Mormonism as "Third Culture"

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Mormonism as "Third Culture"

Post by hawkgrrrl » 02 Jun 2017, 13:56

I wrote a thing: ... d-culture/

One of the things I was thinking about (that I didn't say in the post) is that my own resilience in the church is perhaps related to the church being a "third culture" in my formative years. If you're not familiar with the term, read the post to find out more. It's a term usually applied to children of expats (like my kids, and in a limited sense, myself).

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Re: Mormonism as "Third Culture"

Post by amateurparent » 02 Jun 2017, 16:29

I moved back to California from Brazil at the age of 17. I did my last year of HS instead of early graduation as a way to figure out how to be "American" again. For years in Brazil, I identified as an American. When we moved back to the US, I realized that I wasn't one. I wasn't Brazilian either. I was truly a Third Culture Kid (TCK) .. and had gone to schools full of TCKs while living abroad.

And through it all, I thought I was Mormon. Then I showed up to BYU Provo. I was moving into the dorms at Deseret Towers .. I showed up wearing white harem pants, a red tube top, a cute black vest that covered me up a bit, and stiletto heels. It was a great outfit that had served me well in Santa Barbara. It didn't go over well in Provo. REALLY didn't go over well ..

I quickly learned that my identity as a Mormon had nothing to do with what Mormons did/wore/believed in Provo. They didn't like my very conservative Brazilian swimsuit either. I found out that the word "conservative" means different things in different places.

I look back and laugh about the disconnect. At the time, it was horrible being plopped into the middle of a religious culture that I couldn't identify with. Those were some hard lessons ..
I have no advance degrees in parenting. No national credentials. I am an amateur parent. I read, study, and learn all I can to be the best parent possible. Every time I think I have reached expert status with one child for one stage in their life, something changes and I am back to amateur status again. Now when I really mess up, I just apologize to my child, and explain that I am indeed an amateur .. I'm still learning how to do this right.

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Re: Mormonism as "Third Culture"

Post by SamBee » 02 Jun 2017, 19:01

Surely this is a common American experience -

* Mainstream USA culture is often a century or less old (e.g. car culture, television, junk food).
* US culture is not indigenous, nor is it properly European. African American culture etc is not very African, but is neither of the last two.
* Americans move vast distances for work or a whim without thinking about it. Hundreds, even thousands of miles.
* Many Americans have shallow roots - often less than ten generations there.

All of these provide an unconscioua sense of dislocation and rootlessness. Ironically I believe midwest Mormons are better rooted than some families who have been in New England for a similar length of time.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true is...authorized to administer the Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Re: Mormonism as "Third Culture"

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 02 Jun 2017, 22:19

And through it all, I thought I was Mormon. Then I showed up to BYU Provo. I was moving into the dorms at Deseret Towers .. I showed up wearing white harem pants, a red tube top, a cute black vest that covered me up a bit, and stiletto heels. It was a great outfit that had served me well in Santa Barbara. It didn't go over well in Provo. REALLY didn't go over well ..
That reminds me of when I was member of an LDS singles group on Facebook. I've never seen so many judgemental Mormon women in my life. Yikes!

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Re: Mormonism as "Third Culture"

Post by SilentDawning » 03 Jun 2017, 07:09

I can relate.

I think that growing up in a Born Again Christian family in a different country, and then becoming a Mormon missionary and also an American citizen eventually in my adult life might qualify. This puts me in the position where I have the kind of tension you describe among TCPeople.

To simplify this, you could boil this down to your parental religious culture and your new convert religious culture. Most people seem to adopt the Mormon culture and become disloyal to their parental religious culture after converstion. But when you hit Faith Crisis or Commitment Crisis, you have the perspectives of both cultures. Therefore, it's easier to mediate between the two. I personally have no problem sharing my concerns with Mormonism to my family, while maintaining some loyalty to the LDS experience at the same time. One thing my life has given me is a broad perspective. I have no problem being a chameleon with my kids, encouraging most traditional ideals, while not completely accepting them myself...
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

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Re: Mormonism as "Third Culture"

Post by Curt Sunshine » 04 Jun 2017, 21:05

In many ways, I was a Third Culture Kid even though I was raised in a multi-generational Mormon family (both sides having pioneer roots), surrounded by extended family in central Utah, in a small town with one house and a small apartment building (five units) where two or three non-members lived.

How was this possible?

I simply saw things radically differently than almost everyone around me, including my own parents in some ways, as if I had grown up in a different environment completely. That was strengthened by my six years in Boston and my experience at Harvard.

Fwiw, it has been good to see the Church moving more and more to how I saw the world so many years ago, even though it isn't moving in some obvious areas.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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