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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Mormon Valentine’s Day » Mormon Valentine’s Day

Mormon Valentine’s Day

MCQ - February 10, 2009

I have written previously about this romantic time of year, and I continue to be intrigued by it.  Valentine’s Day is not much in the way of a religious holiday.  Its origins are shrouded in mystery, but it appears, even historically, to have little real connection to religion, despite the quiescent “St.” in its title.

It has even less connection to Mormonism, but at least around the Mormon corridor, it appears to be going strong.  I’ve observed Valentine decorations on houses, schools, public transportation, businesses (of course) and just about every sort of public building.  This got me thinking:  Are Mormons, as a group, more romantic than people of other religions? 

To my way of thinking, Mormonism should be the most romantic religion in existence—-we marry “for time and all eternity!”  We have a history of marrying more than one person at the same time!  What could be more romantic, right?  But do those idiosyncrasies translate to more romantic feelings or behavior?  Or does marriage “for time and all eternity” just make us more likely to procrastinate?  (After all, there’s always the millenium and the spirit world to really connect as a couple, right?) 

So here’s the way I have come up with to determine the answer:  Do we, as Mormons, celebrate this most-romantic of holidays with more consistency or more vigor than people of other faiths?  What are your thoughts and experiences, and more to the point: how do you celebrate this holiday?  Now’s your chance to prove how romantic you are.  Details, please!

34 Comments »

  1. I think the fact that we will have a tri-ward Valentines dance (at least in our ward) makes Valentine’s day an important day in Mormon culture. I mean how many other holidays do we celebrate with a dance?

    As far as my personal celebration it usually involves a small gift and card for my wife and I try to write some poetry. A quiet dinner with the just the two of us is my favorite but we have also had fun dinner parties with multiple couples at our home that I have enjoyed as well.

    I was surprised on Sunday to see Valentine decorations on the Bishop’s office door that were more extensive than the ones there at Christmas time. That’s got to mean something!

    By the way, my wife and I just celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary.

    Comment by lamonte — February 10, 2009 @ 5:29 am

  2. We are having a youth dance this Valentines Day and I have been surprised at the resistance from would-be chaperones. They seem appauled to be called into service on this day. It is very generous of you to attribute this to increased romance, but I thought it was very juvenile. If you need a hallmark holiday to have a romantic evening with your partner, that is sad.

    Comment by ESO — February 10, 2009 @ 7:08 am

  3. Maybe we *are* more romantic … or maybe we just like another excuse to have a party. You’d think that romance would be, um, preferable on the very small scale of two, but we seem to like to organize dances and dinners and other activities for a hundred at a time.

    Congratulations to lamonte and wife, and to all other successfully married ‘naclers!

    (Tag, MCQ, you’re it.)

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — February 10, 2009 @ 7:10 am

  4. Thanks Ardis!

    Comment by MCQ — February 10, 2009 @ 8:03 am

  5. ESO, I don’t think it’s that you need the holiday in order to have a romantic evening; it’s more that you will use any excuse to get out of chaperoning a youth dance.

    Comment by MCQ — February 10, 2009 @ 8:12 am

  6. The last Utah County ward I lived in had a big Sweethearts’ Dinner planned for the couples of the ward one Valentine’s Day and the committee was looking for waitresses and scullery maids. I might have enjoyed helping out, except for the way I was asked: “Since you won’t have anything else to do that night …”

    Somehow that was one “calling” I had no trouble turning down.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — February 10, 2009 @ 8:41 am

  7. Ardis – I am sorry for your unfortunate experience with the activities committee and I am stunned at how insensative and unthoughtful people who have been taught otherwise can be sometimes. I guess that is one more thing that makes Valentines day like any other holiday in that it sometimes evokes painful experiences and memories when just the opposite is intended.

    Comment by lamonte — February 10, 2009 @ 9:19 am

  8. Holy cow. Ardis, let me take this opportunity to apologize on their behalf. On the other hand, that sounds a lot like most people I have met from Utah County. There may be something in the water down there.

    Comment by MCQ — February 10, 2009 @ 9:19 am

  9. The Mormon culture doesn’t strike me as being particularly “romantic.” In fact, I’d almost go so far as to say that the encouragement in lessons and bishops’ counsels to court sweethearts and later date spouses is practically utilitarian. Romance is exotic, passionate, erotic, being swept away. Engaging in some “good, clean fun” is what comes to mind when I think of the Mormon touches on any mating ritual.

    Comment by David T. — February 10, 2009 @ 9:49 am

  10. I don’t like Valentine’s Day, and my wife hates it. That makes me the luckiest man on earth. We are going to celebrate that fact by going out to dinner.

    If only there was an Ethiopian restaurant in Logan. Ethiopian food is the Food of Love. ~

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — February 10, 2009 @ 9:56 am

  11. David, that may be true, but heeding that advice from our leaders has little to do with celebrating Valentine’s Day. It seems to me that the culture embraces this holiday in a manner that goes beyond simple marital utilitarianism. What’s behind that?

    Comment by MCQ — February 10, 2009 @ 10:56 am

  12. Ethiopian food is the Food of Love.

    Yes, shoveling spicy meat and spongy bread into my mouth with my bare fingers is what I was thinking as the food of love as well.

    My wife and I will be babysitting for some friends that night. We’ll just go out the night before when the restaurants have their normal menu and are not packed. Who cares what day it is.

    Comment by Rusty — February 10, 2009 @ 11:10 am

  13. MCQ,

    I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think it’s about Mormons’ romance with romance. Keeping to the utilitarian theme, it may have more to do with a cultural celebration of eternal partnerships. The Church is an eternal partner mill, after all. But I also think Ardis has a point– perhaps not right ON the nail of the head– that it’s another excuse to have a social function. Heck, all the wards I’ve been to make a big deal out of Halloween, too. That doesn’t make us occultists. Party, party, party– strengthen the congregation through cookies and Red Death, that’s the ticket.

    Comment by David T. — February 10, 2009 @ 11:11 am

  14. Oh, the sting left long ago and now I’m laughing at it! Experiences like that remind me to TRY at least to be mindful of others’ peculiar circumstances.

    I went visiting teaching yesterday to the home of a widowed sister who must be close to 80. She had decorated all her windows with multiple red paper hearts. Romance, in one form or another, is very much alive and well in Mormon life.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — February 10, 2009 @ 12:10 pm

  15. BTW, lest you think I’m some kind of St. Valentine’s Day massacrer, just know I got both my wife and daughter Snuggies®, and I’m taking the ol’ ball-and-chain out for a lovely romantic dinner.

    Comment by David T. — February 10, 2009 @ 12:24 pm

  16. Thanks for the suggestion! On Singles Awareness Day I’ll hit an Ethiopian restaurant (there’s four in Nashville!). Me and a plate of Doro Wat and Injera bread – sounds like romance to me!

    Comment by Carrie LC — February 10, 2009 @ 12:26 pm

  17. I prefer Thai. And while I can’t comment on the romance of eternal marriages, our plain ol’ boring temporal marriage has plenty of romance.

    Of course, having a degree in classics, I prefer to call the upcoming holiday Lupercalia. Wishing you all lots of fertility come this weekend.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — February 10, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

  18. Party, party, party– strengthen the congregation through cookies and Red Death, that’s the ticket.

    I’m taking the ol’ ball-and-chain out for a lovely romantic dinner.

    David, you romantic fool, quit going all mushy on us! The red hot love is just overflowing from your comments like a love vesuvius. (I heard “Love Vesuvius” is actually your nickname, is that true?)

    Jack, you are clearly a pagan. Good thing we don’t persecute them here.

    Comment by MCQ — February 10, 2009 @ 4:17 pm

  19. Yes, we will be attending the Ward Family Valentine Dance. What a strange thing to do plan for Valentine’s Day, no? Then again, our pre-teen daughter is giddy with excitement.

    Comment by Hunter — February 10, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

  20. (I heard “Love Vesuvius” is actually your nickname, is that true?)

    That USED to be the moniker, my friend, but now I’m known as “The Mighty Wind.”

    I prefer to call the upcoming holiday Lupercalia.

    Does it involve an aluminum pole like Festivus?

    Comment by David T. — February 10, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

  21. Ardis, we have had at least one actual fight, which I enjoyed, as you are, if anything, a worthy adversary. What was said to you was unpardonable; seriously, what (insert mean words here; I personally they should be of anglo-saxon origin). If you don’t mind the seriously unorthodox, I’ll be your real friend, as I find you a worthy adversary, not to mention actually rather startlingly intelligent. Plus, I love the Aves.

    Comment by djinn — February 10, 2009 @ 6:22 pm

  22. I personally am currently on disability, so useful to blame simple grammatical errors on. [Where is it? An exercise for dear reader.] [As to the use of the preposition at the end of the sentence, above, I am totally with Fowler.--if you don't get the ref, please disregard rest of comment.] OK, I forgive, my skillz are rather odd and useless. Blame me if you like and I’ll still be your friend.) When (if) I get better, maybe you can think of another excuse?

    Comment by djinn — February 10, 2009 @ 6:27 pm

  23. I’m not your typical Mormon, so my opinion probably shouldn’t count. I’m not into Valentine’s Day, I tend to think it’s just another excuse to sell candy.

    But I’m a very unromantic person. I don’t care much for holidays or birthdays or anniversaries…we just had our 20th wedding anniversary, and the only reason we did anything for it was that my in-laws bought us a gift card for Applebees. (The only reason I’d ever go to an Applebees is for free food, BTW.)

    I did buy my husband a singing telegram from the YW for Valentine’s Day, but mainly because it comes with a Sees candybar, and he’s a chocoholic.

    Comment by Susan M — February 10, 2009 @ 7:45 pm

  24. MCQ ~ Jack, you are clearly a pagan. Good thing we don’t persecute them here.

    If I’m a pagan and Mormons are Christians, shouldn’t I be the one persecuting you? Now bow. We serve Nero here.

    David T. ~ Does it involve an aluminum pole like Festivus?

    I don’t think so. It involves whipping women with strips of wolfskin to make them more fertile. Good times for all.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — February 10, 2009 @ 9:05 pm

  25. I’ve always hated this holiday as I’ve never ever had a reason to remotely celebrate it. This rings true for another year.

    If this is a pagan holiday than where are the Vestal Virgins?

    David,

    I cannot believe you bought Snuggies

    Comment by Bret — February 11, 2009 @ 12:02 am

  26. We have stake conference this weekend. I get to attend multiple Church meetings Valentine’s day.

    Oh, the unfettered joy.

    Comment by Chad Too — February 11, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

  27. Bret,

    You wouldn’t believe how much they want them. No, we don’t live in a trailer.

    Comment by David T. — February 11, 2009 @ 9:22 pm

  28. So Mormon women want Snuggies for Valentine’s day and evangelical women want Victoria’s Secret. Why wasn’t there a chapter about this in How Wide the Divide?

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — February 11, 2009 @ 10:55 pm

  29. Hey Jack, between the strips of wolkskin and Victoria’s Secret, I’m converting.

    Comment by Kevin Barney — February 12, 2009 @ 11:12 am

  30. If my wife asked for a Snuggie instead of lingerie for Valentine’s Day, I would feign deafness.

    Comment by MCQ — February 12, 2009 @ 12:03 pm

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  32. Kevin,

    I think you’ll look terrific in Victoria’s Secret.

    Comment by Mark B. — February 12, 2009 @ 2:44 pm

  33. I’m so sorry!

    Comment by Bret — February 12, 2009 @ 11:47 pm

  34. [...] at Nine Moons, I may have discovered yet another innovative new way to convert Mormons. See, I’m good at [...]

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