Fun

(also see “Guilt, shame, and anxiety” and “Media Consumption”)

 

Pros of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
Believers still have fun, but they learn to have fun in a slightly different way than much of the outside world. Although life outside of Mormonism might appear more fun at times, we must remember that Heavenly Father has given us commandments is to help us be happy.  This is exemplified in a talk called “They’re not really happy”: “The commandments you observe were not given by a dispassionate God to prevent you from having fun, but by a loving Father in Heaven who wants you to be happy while you are living on this earth as well as in the hereafter.”
 
Mormonism teaches us how to have fun in a way that is spiritually safe and will ultimately bring us true happiness and lasting joy.
 
In addition, it is a good thing that Mormonism cautions against things that seem fun but are frequently physically or emotionally damaging, such as drug abuse and gambling. This is likely one of the reasons that Mormons are frequently so successful in professional life. Avoiding much of the entertainment and party life in the world means that Mormons learn to have fun in other healthy ways, such as sports, games, and the outdoors.
The nonbeliever likely agrees that it is a good thing that Mormonism cautions against things that seem fun but are frequently physically or emotionally damaging, such as drug abuse and gambling. This is likely one of the reasons that Mormons are frequently so successful in professional life. Avoiding much of the entertainment and party life in the world means that Mormons learn to have fun in other healthy ways, such as sports, games, and the outdoors.
 
Cons of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
Many believing Mormons acknowledge and sometimes openly or secretly lament the fun things in this world that they are forbidden from participating in. In Mormonism, loud laughter is discouraged or called a sin (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and so on). Abstaining from alcohol can limit how much fun you have in social situations. A vast number of fun movies, music, TV, comedy, video games, and other media and entertainment are forbidden because they are inappropriate for Mormon standards. The weekend has 1 less day for fun things such as swimming, boating, shopping, and sports. The law of chastity can certainly lessen fun at times.  It can seem like there is never a moment for rest or fun, for “The moment you permit yourselves to lay aside any duty that God calls you to perform, to gratify your own desires; the moment you permit yourselves to become careless, you lay a foundation for apostasy.” Many Mormons find it difficult to relax and enjoy themselves because, in the eternal scheme of things, there is almost always something more worthwhile and important that they should be doing. People  outside the church who don’t have this eternal view are sometimes better able to enjoy and live in the moment.
Some believing Mormons assume that those who leave the church do so because they want to have fun. They assume ex Mormons were tempted and succumbed to the “enticement to sin”, or that they have “lack of self-control” and have a desire to live a “lesser and lower life”. To some nonbelievers it feels offensive and condescending that believers feel this way and that Mormonism breeds this culture. Many nonbelievers choose to leave the church on moral grounds and matters of conscious. Some people actually do leave the church because they want to do things that the church forbids, but it is insulting to assume that everyone chooses to leave the church for this reason.
 
On the other hand, some nonbelievers feel differently, arguing that in many cases there is nothing wrong with “wanting to sin”. They sometimes feel that many things that the church considers sinful are actually not wrong at all. They might feel that it is legitimate to “want to sin”, and that it can get fatiguing to be part of an organization that tells you, against logic and reason, that certain behaviors are sinful and wrong.
 
Either way, many nonbelievers would agree with the believer that life outside of Mormonism can be more fun in many ways. In Mormonism, loud laughter is discouraged or called a sin (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and so on). Abstaining from alcohol can limit how much fun you have in social situations. A vast number of fun movies, music, TV, comedy, video games, and other media and entertainment are forbidden because they are inappropriate for Mormon standards. The weekend has 1 less day for fun things such as swimming, boating, shopping, and sports. The law of chastity can certainly lessen fun at times.  It can seem like there is never a moment for rest or fun, for “The moment you permit yourselves to lay aside any duty that God calls you to perform, to gratify your own desires; the moment you permit yourselves to become careless, you lay a foundation for apostasy.” Many Mormons find it difficult to relax and enjoy themselves because, in the eternal scheme of things, there is almost always something more worthwhile and important that they should be doing. People outside the church who don’t have this eternal view are sometimes better able to enjoy and live in the moment.

 

Comments relating to your lived experience with Mormonism are welcome. Although it can be difficult to distinguish at times, please focus on how the church helps and harms rather than it being true vs untrue.

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