403 Forbidden

Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Mormon Calling Cards » Mormon Calling Cards

Mormon Calling Cards

Rusty - January 17, 2008

While not embarrassed by the fact that I watch American Idol, I was a little embarrassed by the Mormon girl who auditioned at the end of Tuesday’s episode. Of course she didn’t say she was Mormon but the following were revealed throughout the 4-5 minutes the show devoted to her:

1) She’s from Mesa, Arizona
2) She’s a nanny
3) She’s young and married
4) She has never seen a R-rated movie (a restriction her parents set up and she has continued to follow)
5) She doesn’t drink
6) She doesn’t smoke
7) Her reasoning included the word “choice”
8) General demeanor

Of course this is no guarantee, but if I weren’t a God-fearing, prophet-following Mormon I’d put money on it. And the reason I was a little embarrassed was not that she’s Mormon, but because she seemed a little too excited to reveal that information. All in all, she seemed very sweet and was surely talented so I hope her the best when she gets to Hollywood.

What other calling cards do we Mormons carry around (other than the soft glow of the Holy Spirit)?


  1. I tell people that I’m from Utah if they ask. I’ll also flat-out tell them I’m Mormon at any chance, if it’s appropriate.

    Comment by Seth R. — January 17, 2008 @ 11:02 am

  2. Did you see the guy yesterday with the key on a chain that fit into a heart pendant that his father wore on a chain, reserving it for his future wife? That one was a little creepy.

    Comment by Bill — January 17, 2008 @ 11:33 am

  3. I belong to an online community where you post pictures from your daily life (It’s called Day in the Life) and I came across an entry where on the first photo I thought ‘This person LOOKS Mormon’. Sure enough, a few pics down and it was revealed she attends BYU. So I guess Mormons even have a certain look, if you will.

    Here is the entry–containing a Mitt Romney poster, the BYU campus, quilt-making, homemade pizza and board games–all pretty Mormon if you ask me:


    Comment by WendyP — January 17, 2008 @ 11:37 am

  4. I figured that girl was LDS, too. Sort of like Benji on So You Think You Can Dance. He mentioned serving a mission and—bingo. Although that girl was from Van Nuys, I didn’t hear any mention of Mesa.

    The guy with the key on his necklace was really creepy. I asked my husband why all the people with good values have to be completely insane.

    Comment by Susan M — January 17, 2008 @ 11:42 am

  5. I believe the LDS girl’s name is Brooke. I’ve heard her CD at my hairdresser’s and the CD is good. Brooke is friends with my hairdresser’s daughter who grew up in Mesa, but yes, Brooke lives in CA now. So I think both location connections could be correct but I can’t give you specifics.

    As a former missionary at Temple Square, I can tell you that LDS people certainly have a “look”. It is pretty obvious and as missionaries we got very good at pegging it.

    As far as calling cards go, having gone to Ricks or BYU is pretty tell-tale.

    Comment by Carol F. — January 17, 2008 @ 12:01 pm

  6. Reminds me of the evening at the opera in the park–not in Central Park or Prospect Park, where the place is filled with yuppies (can I still use that word?), but Marine Park, where most of the audience were middle aged Italians and Jews from the nearby neighborhoods, and running into a Mormon is rare.

    A family next to us asked if we’d take a picture of the four of them, so we did. When I handed him his camera, he asked “Are you folks LDS?”

    I thought, gee, it’s really true. There’s some kind of aura about us. (That was before we all made a bunch of snide comments about the politician who introduced the opera as The Barbara of Seville.) So, I asked the guy–and he said they’d noticed the lace on the neckline of my wife’s undershirt. So much for that special glow!

    Comment by Mark B. — January 17, 2008 @ 12:07 pm

  7. So, I asked the guy–and he said they’d noticed the lace on the neckline of my wife’s undershirt. So much for that special glow!

    I can spot the “celestial smile” from a mile away.

    Comment by cj douglass — January 17, 2008 @ 12:20 pm

  8. Having more than two or three children.

    We have five, and once when I started a new job, I unpacked the picture of the fam that I like to keep on my desk. A coworker stopped by to introduce himself, noticed the picture, and said: “Let me guess. You’re either Catholic or Mormon, right?”

    That was in suburban Washington, D.C.

    Comment by Mark IV — January 17, 2008 @ 12:34 pm

  9. Mark IV,
    Here in New York, it could well mean Orthodox Jewish, too, although there tend to be other tell-tale (clothing) signs of Orthodox Judaism.

    That said, my wife was watching a Biggest Loser marathon, and one of the finalists was clearly Mormon. He was young, married, in Southern California, and wore a white undershirt under his button-up shirt that wasn’t completely buttoned up. My wife was impressed with my noticing when, in the next episode, he was playing basketball in a cultural hall.

    Comment by Sam B. — January 17, 2008 @ 12:53 pm

  10. I actually thought it was pretty cool she talked about it. What else do you say when they ask “what’s different about you?” That’s better than the guy who collects his own fingernails. Yuck!

    Oh, and yes, Bill, that “not-kissing” kids was creepy, but his father was creepier. I’d like to see the girl that goes for that relationship…

    Signs being Mormon? Once, while in Hawaii, we went to a luau. This college-aged girl and her father approached us and asked if we were LDS and on our honeymoon. I was flattered (we’d been married 3 years and had a daughter) and asked her how she knew.
    “Oh, it was obvious, because your husband has that backpack. Only RM’s carry around backpacks!”

    So, there you go…

    Comment by Cheryl — January 17, 2008 @ 1:11 pm

  11. Seeing a woman wear a shirt with sleeves when the temperature gets over 90 degrees is a pretty sure indicator that you’re looking at a Mormon.

    Also, saying “heck” or “fetch” are tip-offs.

    And smiling too much. I remember a reporter who was in SLC during the 2002 Olympics referring to the “apple-cheeked, bright-eyed, smiling natives” in an article. Made us all sound like 4-year-olds.

    Comment by Melinda — January 17, 2008 @ 1:52 pm

  12. OK, here’s another story. This also took place in Northern Virginia.

    Once, late on a Saturday afternoon, our family was having a picnic dinner at a park. There was a small lake nearby, and a car drove up. A man and a boy got out, carrying fishing poles. The guy was conspicuous because he was wearing a white shirt and tie.

    After our dinner, I walked over and asked if they were catching anything, and got close enough to notice the telltale “smile” under his white shirt. It turns out he was the bishop of one of the local wards, and he had been promising his son all week that they would go fishing. It was now late Saturday afternoon, just an hour or so before dark. The bishop had been at the church all day, and had a one hour break for dinner. He called his son from the church and told him to meet him at the curb with the fishing poles.

    If you see a guy wearing a white shirt and tie while fishing, it’s a good bet he’s Mo’.

    Comment by Mark IV — January 17, 2008 @ 2:13 pm

  13. I was in DC for the fourth of July, and my family and I were walking down the mall towards the Washington monument. On the way, I saw two guys coming in the opposite direction. One was in a white shirt and khakis, but his shirt was undone a bit and his tie was loosened. The other guy was wearing a BYU cap and a casual get-up. When I saw them, I laughed and thought to myself, “Missionaries on a P-day.”

    Comment by Paradox — January 17, 2008 @ 3:28 pm

  14. On vacation in Hawaii with my husband (without our kids), we were on a short trail to a waterfall when an older couple and a woman they were with asked us to take their picture. We took it, and then the woman said, “You’re Mormon, aren’t you?” I said yes, and she said they were too, and they could just tell we were. Probably the fact that we were both dressed modestly in Hawaii, and we were friendly and smiling. I’m from PA, not UT, and my parents are converts, so I don’t have any of those beautiful Scandinavian genes so many Mormons have (blonde hair, big white teeth).

    We also like to spot other Mormons at Disneyland. You can usually tell by length of the husband’s shorts, wife with sleeves, and occasionally the “eternal smile.” But something in the rapport between family members, too.

    Comment by hawkgrrrl — January 17, 2008 @ 5:10 pm

  15. There definately is a “look”. It’s a wholesome, modest, friendly, clean look. Hopefully not frumpy, but sometimes that too. We’ve met more than several LDS on cruises. I like to wear a BYU shirt so that they’ll spot me. It’s always fun to meet other LDS because there’s an instant bond.

    My teenage sons notice there seem to be a lot of cute girls in Utah. We think that’s because many of them don’t have that hardened-by-society look, ie. (weird hair, make up, and clothes), piercings, tatoos, etc.

    Comment by Brenda — January 17, 2008 @ 6:28 pm

  16. Smiling and kids tend to tip me off (other then the hem lines and so forth).

    Last year when my kids were taking swimming lessons, I saw a mom sitting there as content as could be watching her four youngest boys while her two eldest swam. No yelling, no threats, calmly dictating from her chair when the kids needed to be reighned in. Two of our kids were the same age and were off playing together, so we naturally started talking. It wasn’t long before I was certain, and I asked. Turns out that she was the primary president in my friend’s ward.

    Comment by Misty — January 17, 2008 @ 6:58 pm

  17. denim skirts

    Comment by Kristine — January 17, 2008 @ 8:34 pm

  18. I saw the episode and when the nanny came on I said to my husband, “Oh look, a Mormon!” Her lifestyle is just so classic.

    Comment by E — January 17, 2008 @ 8:54 pm

  19. she is mormon. she’s a really nice girl and used to cut my hair. she lives in van nuys, and just to show how small the world of mormon semi-celebrities is, the twins she nannies that they showed on idol that night are those of ryan benson, winner of the first season of the biggest loser.

    Comment by mike d. — January 17, 2008 @ 10:24 pm

  20. There is a specific way Mormon men wear their hair when they start balding and a specific shape of glasses they always wear. It’s the GBH style that even 30 something men pick up.

    My wife and I can spot a Mormon a mile a way based on it.

    Comment by Tim — January 18, 2008 @ 9:25 am

  21. I was once walking through the David O McKay library in Rexburg and spotted two guys with BYU-Idaho t-shirts on. I oculdn’t help but ask them if they were LDS and sure enough, they were!!

    Comment by Bret — January 18, 2008 @ 5:41 pm

  22. Rusty,

    Your post makes me think about the difficult balance of properly wearing our religion on our sleeve as we’ve been counseled and not being too pushy or goading. The girl’s take was kinda weird and uncomfortable, but I don’t think she was inappropriate. Plus, it gave us an interesting new look at the judges’ character.

    Comment by Bret — January 18, 2008 @ 5:46 pm

  23. Bret,

    You make me laugh.

    Comment by Don — January 18, 2008 @ 6:38 pm

  24. Bret,

    You make me laught!!

    Comment by Don — January 18, 2008 @ 6:39 pm

  25. Bret,

    You make me laught!!

    Comment by Don — January 18, 2008 @ 6:40 pm

  26. I’ve never been asked by a stranger if I’m LDS. It must be the beard and longish hair that throws them off.

    Comment by Eric — January 19, 2008 @ 9:29 am

  27. I think the “Mormon” look isn’t as obvious in other countries. One of the Branches that I served in while a missionary in Japan consisted entirely of people who looked nothing like typical Mormons. And outside of Utah/Idaho,the “Mormon” look isn’t as easy to pick out.

    Comment by John Cline — January 19, 2008 @ 10:14 am

  28. Good point, John. Obviously it’s easy to recognize mormons who look like mormons, but the ones that don’t?

    I live in the mision field where the BYU sends kids for study abroad and sometimes the only way I recognize the Zoobies is when I spot them on the way to the English speaking ward, so well have they adopted the local fashions in the few short months they have for shopping.

    Comment by Peter LLC — January 19, 2008 @ 12:10 pm

  29. Our family had the strangest experience at Nauvoo a couple of years ago. Mike and I were wearing our g’s. Our kids were dressed modestly (early summer) and conservatively. The boys had short hair. The guides repeatedly asked us If we were members. After saying that we were; the guides then would ask us when it was that we joined the church. We would say 1831 to 1870.

    I guess that our family does not have that “special” glow.

    Comment by JA Benson — January 20, 2008 @ 6:25 pm

  30. first stop in rome – borghese gallery; standing in line to drop off the bag and coat; nice older couple behind us strikes up a conversation which led into the statement “oh we were here learning about our family history” (clue #1) which led hubby to ask where they were from – answer: “utah.” (clue#2)…and yes, they were mormon. very nice couple.

    a few nights later (sunday, to be exact) evil me spends money for the “Death by Chocolate” gelato experience at Tre Scalina in Piazza Navona. Hubby discovers a group of LDS missionaires in the Piazza – i wasn’t standing next to hubby, moments later missionaries approach me to “share a message.” I guess licking gelato on the Sabbath might be one way people would think you are NOT mormon. lol. :)

    love the post. just wondering, has anyone ever been able to see someone who is not Caucasian and also guess correctly that they are Mormon? not trying to offend, just wondering.

    Comment by anonymous — January 20, 2008 @ 7:49 pm

  31. In Hawaii, yes.

    Comment by Cheryl — January 21, 2008 @ 2:42 pm

  32. I have to agree with #29. I have been a believing, practicing member of the church for 63 years. I have never been tagged as a Mormon. And I dress and look appropriately. I went into a Visitors Center at Christmas time and the missionaries were on me so fast it was funny. People are usually shocked to find out I am a Mormon. Go figure.

    Comment by Lacie — January 22, 2008 @ 4:49 am

  33. I have to agree with #29. I have been a believing, practicing member of the church for 63 years. I have never been tagged as a Mormon. And I dress and look appropriately. I went into a Visitors Center at Christmas time and the missionaries were on me so fast it was funny. People are usually shocked to find out I am a Mormon. Go figure.

    Comment by Lacie — January 22, 2008 @ 4:49 am

  34. My wife, I, and our five sons were in line to enter the Washington Monument. Behind us was a man in town for business who had some time free. I am not sure what in particular made him seem Mormon to me, but he more or less reminded me of half the men I’ve been in Elders’ Quorum with. Really, I began thinking that if he’s not a Latter-day Saint, then I owe him a pass-along card. The funny thing was how neither of us wanted to baldly ask, “Are you a Mormon?” So, we obliquely felt each other out with innocent-sounding Mormon-detecting questions until our mutual religion was confirmed.

    Comment by John Mansfield — January 22, 2008 @ 10:58 am

  35. Out here it’s when you miss the big game sunday.

    Comment by California Star — January 22, 2008 @ 10:47 pm

  36. A CTR bumper sticker could mean a lot of things, but everyone always seems to know that it means I’m a Mormon.

    Comment by Rob — January 24, 2008 @ 8:57 am

  37. My husband has a very dark complexion with black hair. I am blonde, nordic looking, and significantly taller than he is. Our children are also dark complexioned and neither of the two that remain at home dress in that Utah “preppy” style.
    Whenever we go on temple grounds etc. we get approached immediately by the missionaries. It happens all the time when my husband is by himself as well. He laughs about that “profiling”. Honestly, I wish that missionaries would stop trying to figure out who is who and just greet everyone the same.

    Comment by AJ — January 25, 2008 @ 2:50 pm

  38. Does anybody know which current Biggst Loser contestants are mormon? They clearly showed a picture of Filipe last night in front of the Salt Lake Temple but what about the cousins Dane and Blane? I would put money on it?

    Comment by Janell — January 14, 2009 @ 2:00 pm

  39. My family is one of the oldest Mormon families in existence. All of my ancestors joined the church before 1870 and some as early as 1831. I think old Mormon families have a unique look also, but it is slightly more English or American and a little less Scandinavian, but it has a little bit of Scandinavian. This is ironic since we are the most Mormon and yet sometimes we are not seen as Mormon. I think the Mormon look people mostly have ancestors from 1845 to 1900. I do not like to wear a white shirt and tie and I do not wear g’s. I am spiritual but not very active. People always think I am not LDS when I go to church. I guess part of it is because I do not need to prove I am Mormon. I just am.

    Comment by Jeff — January 25, 2009 @ 8:25 am

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI