As my regular readers may or may not know, I was born and raised as a Catholic. Growing up in Miami while going to Catholic school, you rarely hear rare about other religions. My grandmother’s best friend and her family are Jewish, and growing up I thought you were either Catholic or Jewish. I didn’t know what a protestant was until I was given a copy of the NIV New Testament at the Miami-Dade County Fair. A sticker on the book had the name of a local Baptist church. Is a Baptist church where they baptize people? I didn’t know.
Now that I am a member of a church that isn’t the Catholic Church, and in fact a church that not many people are familiar with, I couldn’t help but think of the first time I became aware of the Mormons. Sure I would go summer camp at the local community college and right across the street was a church building for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the same building I’d eventually be baptized in) but I didn’t connect that church with the “Mormons”.
Now that I think of it, the first time I’d heard the word “Mormon” came soon after my first holy communion when I was 8. My godfather had given me a VHS (remember those?) of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice about Joseph of Genesis (the first book in the Bible, not the band). I was watching it for about the tenth time (or was it eleventh?) with my mom and in the middle of Donny Osmond, who played Joseph, singing “Close Every Door to Me” (without a shirt, the reason my mother was watching), I asked her, “Is Donny Osmond Catholic?” She responded, “He’s Mormon.” Not knowing what that meant by Mormon, I continued watching the movie.
Twelve years later, not only do I know the word, but embrace it for myself. It is me.
If you have never seen the movie, here is the soundtrack to this amazing technicolor musical: