A Mormon Inferiority Complex: The Story of the “Brown” Family

The LDS church is not a place where people can relax and feel welcomed. It is a constant battleground for appearances and who can appear the most devoted and righteous. Mormons judge each other harshly, and have plenty to say behind the scenes about those who they profess to welcome, but fall short of their own high standards. This culture has given birth to the stereotype of the “Molly Mormon“- the ultra righteous, extremely perfect and “letter of the law” adhering member. Every ward tends to have these “core families” and they tend to be picky, stuck up and selective about who they choose to mingle with.

But my old ward, there was a family who was “less” than “perfect”, in the Mormon sense of the word. I will call this family, as I cannot reveal their real names, as the “Browns”, which is close enough as the family was indeed named after a colour (just not that one). The Browns were established members, not converts. However, they were less “fortunate” than the “leading” families of the ward in a number of ways. Here’s how:

  • They were poorer, from a poorer background, and did not have good jobs
  • They were by misfortune, uglier than average
  • Their children subsequently had learning difficulties and were badly behaved (they’re all long grown up now)
  • They didn’t fully live up to church standards, but not enough to be considered “unworthy”
  • The husband had already been excommunicated once for adultery, although reinstated.

The Brown Family had a youngest son called Nathan. Nathan suffered from autism and was unruly when he was young. He used to climb up trees and in church, use bad language. Because of these circumstances, the Brown family developed an “inferiority” complex which led to noticeably odd behaviour around another members of the church, a representation of the perpetual insecurity of its society. I observed the following things

  • The wife, who was an unattractive woman (sorry I have to say) was very, very vindictive and a gossip. Despite putting on a face to be a self-righteous and “compassionate” person, which was completely fake, she frequently stirred up contention with other members of the church and spread malicious rumours about people throughout relief society. It was bad behaviour, because it also led to suicidal behaviour amongst one convert woman. Many a reputation was destroyed by “Mrs Brown”.
  • The family developed a habit of telling lies about their activities and lives when in the presence of other church members, particularly in relation to anything that might make other members “judge” them.
  • They formed a small clique amongst a family who had a “similar background” amongst them, and this created a form of group politics in the ward that was used to antagonise or pursue passive aggression against others, especially its leaders.
  • They thus easily got very, very offended by ward and stake leaders and were hypersensitive to anything which deemed to put them down, including the fact their own son was not deemed ready for a mission due to their behaviour issues. Their mentality was very much an inferiority complex in the intense environment of the ward

Now as I was the same age as their youngest son, I joined the church as a young convert who quickly excelled and became a super-faithful member. Of course it pains me to say I was not like him, and I earned the admiration and praise of ward members for my rapid learning and development. The response of this was for this family and their allies to take a dislike to me and scapegoat me for their problems.

Mrs. Brown started up a rumour that I had successfully “manipulated” the Bishop of the ward and I was at fault for their son “not being ready” for a mission, and the fact that I advanced to progress towards a mission so quickly earned me the contempt of them and their allied families. She also spread destructive gossip about me and other nasty rumours.

This was all while they put up a false façade of pretending to “fellowship” me and if needed, even help me and my grandmother. The level of insincerity was astounding. These people were in so many respects, trying to live double lives and conceal it. Yes, not everyone is fortunate, but these people were not happy with their lives for the very reason that Mormonism made them feel inadequate and inferior to the point they exhibited passive aggressive behaviour towards others.

In the end of course, their son got his mission, and he grew up and he got married, and you know what? He’s still in the Mormon church and he’s a very nice and mature man now. However, the story of Mrs. Brown and her husband, his parents ultimately ended with tragedy. As part of their effort to show “face” in the church, this couple began fostering disabled and vulnerable children, although also as a means of receiving government money.

In the year 2015, they received a teenage girl to look after who had been removed from her mother’s custody. Now Mr. Brown, as noted above, had previously been excommunicated for adultery but repented and became a member in good standing again. However, he continued to have a reputation for illicit promiscuity, the details of which I do not know, and it was of the grave misfortune to the family that in this year, he initiated a sexual relationship with the teenage girl they were fostering…

The girl reported it, the police were involved, and Mr. Brown got excommunicated again and sent to prison as a sex offender. Mrs. Brown, despite being betrayed by her husband, made the decision to “victim blame” the teenage girl as being responsible for it all, despite the fact they were protective foster guardians! This caused a mass fall out between her and some members of the ward for obvious reasons, and the consequences of it were that they stopped attending that ward, and never shown their faces again.

Now the family attend a different branch, with the now released from jail husband. I don’t know how they get on now, but their story always stands out in my mind as to how the environment of the Mormon church actually brings out the worst in people. This family were perpetually unhappy and insecure, constantly putting a face on every day, spreading lies, gossip and negativity, trying to find their way in a intensely competitive and judgemental society. Although that doesn’t make people into paedophiles, it burns people, and shows that Mormons are fundamentally unhappy in what they subject themselves to.

That’s not what Christianity is about.

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