My fetishism of Mormons begins and ends with housewives and this idyllic view of a simple, purposeful lifestyle. In reality, I have no interest in being Mormon and a lot of what that now culturally entails. Like not cursing.
I love the word fuck. Seriously, I do. It’s great. I don’t love it for some deep philosophical reason, I just like how it feels in my mouth. There are…other words I do not like, but not for any meaningful or arguable reason.
Rather than saying things like hell and…other words, Mormons have taken on “shiz” and “heck.” Battlestar uses “frack.”
Farscape, an important part of my childhood, gave us “frell” and “dren.”
In the Farscape video, we hear “‘frell’…opened up a whole new world for us.”
Mormon Matters talks about why Mormons don’t swear.
- Religious – because taking the Lord’s name in vain is specificially prohibited in the Bible; practicing Mormons avoid this one like the plague.
- Sexual – presumably because our bodies are sacred; speaking lightly or debasingly of sex acts diminishes them.
- Excretory – I suppose to some extent related to treating the body with respect; this seems like the least offensive to me unless directed at another person. The words, I mean.
I would argue that hate speech is the worst of all since it is directed at another person in anger. Of course, within each category, some words are considered more severe than others. So you may think a very mild religious based word like “damn” or “hell” is okay, but would not even think to use the grand Mother of all American swear-words (in the sexual category).
This is just conjecture. While television shows abstain from swearing due to FCC regulations, Mormons seem to do it out of a sense of decency or perhaps even a form of modesty or denial. I think this is silly because, much like with television, we really know what they mean. They are not actually giving anything up.
I mean, seriously people, we all know that when Ellen Ty says “don’t frack with me, Bill” she means “don’t fuck with me, Bill.” When a BYU girl says “fetching heck” or “well, shiz” we all know what she means too.
It might just be my post modern tendencies, but I stopped viewing fuck as a sexual activity. Frack helps us see this, removing it from any sexy context and putting it into a purely expletive form. However, there are times when it is also a contextual replacement–not just an interjection. “Frack me” said in a sexy voice and “don’t crask with me” give frack the same meaning as fuck. Similarly, when heck so obviously stands in for Hell, it is functionally the same word.
It’s not just limited to these “forbidden words.” Caffeine is forbidden and Mountain Dew is the equivalent thrilling taboo of youthful alcohol consumption.
“Giving things up” is something we love to do to demonstrate dedication, suffer in solidarity, and make personal statements. Some vegetarians really like fake leather and fake fur. There are so many ways to approximate chametz and kitniot during Passover that people use. There are so many beautiful hijabi. I frequently think these make the wearers even more beautiful. I cannot conceive of how this adds to modesty. Unless it’s like a challenge: how can I be so beautiful and still be modest?
The real effort, the show of faith and solidarity and principal must come from the challenge to have things as much like the things people are giving up. Do you know how hard it is to make a delicious fluffy sponge cake during Passover? A vegan cheesecake? If you make that happen, you basically deserve the cake. You know what sort of suffering your ancestors went through in fleeing Egypt.