Regulars and Shorts, Slightly Off Center

Slightly Off Center: How To Understand Non-Mormons

By Dennis Hinkamp

The secret scrolls of non-Mormonia.
by Dennis Hinkamp

I’m generally not a negative person. Okay, it’s not good to start off a column with a lie. I most certainly am a negative person, but I’m making an effort to see through the seasonal hype and get in tune with nonmaterial gifts.

That’s why after 33 years in Utah, for the first time I am going to share the secret scrolls of non-Mormonia; I’m going to tell you how to get along with us non-Mormons so that we can live the peace accord that Palestine and Israel can only dream of. Follow me.

Here’s how to live with and understand non-Mormons:

1. We like coffee; a lot of coffee. We like coffee shops, coffee cups, coffee tables and even coffee-colored dogs. We like it on a boat, across a moat, with roast goat, when we float and, you must note, you won’t be smote if you try it. Though the chemical composition of caffeine in Diet Coke may not differ from steaming, hot, yummy coffee, in our eyes Diet Coke is akin to smoking bubble gum cigarettes. If you are having an event ranging from a tax seminar to a garage sale that you hope will attract your gentile brethren, all you have to do to get us there is to offer free coffee. Decaf, by the way, is the work of the devil.

2. We’re pretty good at potlucks, but we concede victory; you win. We are creative when it comes to kale, quinoa, tubule and other exotics but not so much when it comes to comfort food. You have perfected the meat, potatoes, cheese and dessert combos that make even a funeral a delightful culinary experience. And, the ward cookbooks are like secret food porn to foodies.

3. You may never understand drinking alcohol. To us, it just makes life seem more interesting and at times more tolerable. We will never condone overuse when driving, working, operating heavy equipment or even texting while under the influence. Think of our drinking as state tax base security. Thank you for your tolerance in this arena.

4. We thank you for Sundays. We love Sundays here. If you ever change your worship patterns, we may leave faster than Syrian refugees. We love having the trails, theaters, ski slopes and Buffalo Hot Wings all to ourselves on Sundays.

5. We left someplace worse to come here. We may complain about Happy Valley but the truth is most of us non-Mormons came from hideous places in the Midwest and southern US where religion is often more oppressive and there isn’t even any scenery to compensate. We complain, but we don’t really want to exit. To quote one of my favorite administrators, “It’s like a constant mutiny on a ship that nobody wants to leave.” We grumble but never crumble.

6. We are more alike than different. I have shared locker room space with many of you; I know this to be true.

Dennis Hinkamp does not pretend to speak for all non-Mormons, just the honest ones.

This article was originally published on November 28, 2013.