Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ridiculous Rules of Religion

                                                                 


Recently our sons took us to see The Book Of  Mormon for our anniversary. It's from the creators of the delightfully raunchy South Park; the cartoon that never tires of belittling all beliefs. Though some of the song titles were too filthy to mention, it was all done in the spirit of fun. The audience even gave a standing ovation.

Although the play was a devilish parody on the Mormon religion, I was shocked that the Mormon Organization actually placed three ads in the Playbill. My favorite caption was, "YOU'VE SEEN THE PLAY..NOW READ THE BOOK." It was great that they were able to laugh at themselves.

This made me think about how many religions follow ridiculous rules. For example, my friend just told me some traditions within the more observant sector of our religion that I wasn't familiar with. According to a Jewish Orthodox community on the East Coast, when a young bride and groom marry, the groom's family is responsible for a list of items called FLOPS. This stands for Flowers, Liquor, Orchestra, Photographer, and Sheytl (wig(s) for the bride).

 All Jewish Orthodox married women are required to cover their heads with scarves, hats or wigs. As explained in The New Joys of Yiddish, "The rabbis decreed that once married, a woman's hair, her well-known crowning beauty, should not be visible lest it distract men from prayer or study." 

Wigs can be very costly, and it doesn't make sense why the groom's parents should have to pay for them. These rules are so impractical, because in most cases the marriages are arranged at a young age. Thus, these kids could use the FLOPS funds for food, and a place to raise their six to twelve children.

To add to the absurdity, another popular tradition in this community is to buy your future daughter-in-law a diamond tennis bracelet, and a fine watch for your son-in-law. You may not see the bling under her long sleeved blouse, but at least the groom will know when it's time to put his book down and procreate. Sounds like all the makings of the next Broadway hit.


*A repost from 2013.

52 comments:

  1. Hi Julie .. there was a 'to do' here when the Mormon musical hit the West End here and the ads appeared on the buses ... but they did turn the negativity to their advantage .. and a big advantage now seemingly ...

    I think I'd better come over to East Coast USA .. I need some new hair, and I'd be very happy with a diamond bracelet - any sport would do ... I'd have trouble with the procreation bit though!!

    Certainly stories and ideas can be turned into Broadway hits ... and this could well make a fun one ... FLOPS - the marriage could be too ... but I guess that wouldn't be allowed ...

    Cheers and there are some ridiculous rules ... Hilary

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    1. Hilary - Hats are also acceptable! I can't vouch for the quality of these "diamond bracelets," but I can recommend seeing The Book of Mormon. Though I must warn you, it's not for everyone. Thanks for always entertaining me, Hilary!

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  2. Personally I think there are some ridiculous rules about religion, but that is only my opinion. I haven't heard about that musical,
    You wrote about an interesting topic which people will debate about I guess.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne - Yes, and it does apply to all religions. There's always room for debate on this topic, but everyone seems to understand that it's written in the spirit of fun. Thanks Yvonne!

      Julie

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  3. Traditions, traditions.
    Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as...
    as... as a fiddler on the roof!

    Good morning, Julie! I have a long standing tradition of laughing at myself. It gives me hope when people, political parties and organized religions exhibit self deprecating humor.

    It is also a long standing tradition of mine to follow the blogs of kind, considerate bloggers with a sense of humor. I just signed on the dotted line and am now happily following you. I have come today to thank you, Julie, for reaching out to a 103 year old stranger and her daughter and giving love and encouragement. For quite some time I have been reading your comments on our mutual friend Cherdo's blog and I am hoping that we can keep the ball rolling and become friends. Thank you again for your visit and your kind and generous remarks on my blog. When time permits (she is very busy caring for her mother) Kathleen will also be writing a personalized reply to your comment. Enjoy your day, Julie!

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    1. I like to laugh at myself. Because I beat other people to the punch.

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    2. Shady - How many people can say they know someone who is 103! The sad thing is, that once you've reached this milestone, most of your friends and relatives aren't around to share it with you. I was happy to hear of your friend Margaret's accomplishments. Thanks for inviting her daughter, Kathleen to share them with us. I'm glad that Cherdo mentioned it on her blog, and it's a pleasure to finally meet you, dear Shady! I really appreciate the follow, and I look forward to a wonderful friendship.

      PS - Don't mind Al. He's actually quite harmless. You must read his hilarious haiku poems. Only then will you understand his demons.

      Julie

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    3. I'm not crazy, my mother had me tested. I think I heard that somewhere.

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  4. When I was growing up in the Roman Catholic religion, girls and women had to wear hats or cover their head with something when entering a church. Being a Catholic school student, I was also encouraged (guilted into) to make visits to the church whenever we passed by. Not always having a hat, a Kleenex tissue and a bobbi pin would do. Always having sinus issues, I had no excuse not to go in and pray, unless, of course, it was a bad pollen day and I had to blow my nose beforehand.

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    1. Arleen - I'm glad you didn't wear a used kleenex on your head. I also know a thing or two about guilt! Thanks Arleen!

      Julie

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  5. I wonder how well Mormons did with their counter campaign. I read recently that although missionary numbers are up exponentially converts are, as I recall, well below the ten percent annual increase mark.

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    1. Joanne - I didn't know that. There are some funny (though raunchy) scenes about creative ways to attract converts in the play. Thanks Joanne!

      Julie

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  6. Of all the strange beliefs and customs that people have, religious ones take the cake! And yet we take them SO seriously!

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    1. Debra - Not only do many people take them "SO seriously," but they obey them without question. Great point, Debra!

      Julie

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  7. Ha! I had the song from Fiddler on the Roof running through my head, too, while I read.

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    1. Luanne - Parts of my wedding were like Fiddler on the Roof. I tried to escape during those parts, and my husband didn't let me.

      Julie

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  8. I feel that I must add that we don't all take the Jewish rules to these extremes. Most of us live moderately normal lives. I'd also like to say that I've never heard of FLOPS. Maybe they haven't made it over to this side of the pond yet.

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    1. Rosalind - Well, as long as you said "moderately normal!" I found out about FLOPS two years ago, and wrote about it during the 2013 A to Z. Though my husband was brought up in a more religious family, even his most observant relatives don't partake in this custom. Not that there's anything wrong with it! Thanks Rosalind!

      Julie

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  9. Hi, Julie,

    What a fun/heated topic you chose today. LOL. One must ALWAYS keep a sense of humor, especially about "unusual" religious beliefs!

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    1. Michael - I couldn't agree more! Thanks for lightening up the mood, Michael!

      Julie

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  10. This is a great topic and I loved your insight.

    On the flipside (gratuitous plug), I wish more religions would follow their own rules instead of doing crazy things with wild abandon...then claiming they are "religious."

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    1. Cherdo - I know exactly what you mean! It's like the religious men who cheat on their wives, and think they're admonished of their sins by going to church or synagogue. Actually that's probably not what you meant at all. Oh well, glad you got the subtle plug in!

      Julie

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  11. I grew up going to Catholic school so I know all about "interesting" rules. One of the funniest books I ever read was called Growing Up Catholic. I think it's great when we can laugh at ourselves.

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    1. Julie - I'll have to look for that book! Yes, laughing at ourselves is much better than the alternative.

      Julie

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  12. I had an aunt that was Jewish and she was wanting to buy all the special pans for this or that. My uncle, who is not Jewish said no to that. Of course, later my aunt converted to Christianity so that is probably good she didn't buy all those pans. But, yet she was buried in a Jewish cemetery and that part has always baffled me a little bit.

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    1. Ruth - Maybe her parents purchased the plot for her. They could have gotten a special family rate years ago.

      Julie

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  13. Provocative post- judging from the replies....we don't go to any church/temple/mosque....we tend to our land, our family and friends and just follow the good old Golden Rule.....sometimes I wear something over my head if it's raining or hot and sunny...but we have no rules...except to be kind and thoughtful.
    And I'd love to see that production! Cheers!

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    1. Kathe - Being kind and thoughtful are the most important rules of all! I usually wear a hood when it rains. I'm not a fan of umbrellas.

      Julie

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  14. Reminds me of a funny line in that Bill Murray movie, "St. Vincent." A priest, when he met a new student, told him, "Catholicism is the best religion. Because we have the most rules."
    As a refugee of Penguin Academy myself (aka "Saint Stanislaus Parochial School"), I can relate.

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  15. But we can at least eat bacon.
    Mmmmmmmmm....bacon..............

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    1. Al - What a great line! I really liked St. Vincent. I'm jealous that you can eat bacon, and especially ribs. I still partake from time to time, so we know where I'm going! Thanks for your comment trifecta today, Al!

      Julie

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    2. Well, I'll see you there. At least that's what the nuns (aka, the aforementioned penguins) said.

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  16. Not too long ago, I complimented the Chabad Rabbi's wife on her hairdo. Oops. "Thank you. It's not real," she said. I can't look at her quite the same.

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    1. Robyn - It was a nice compliment. Some of the wigs look more natural than others. I'm thinking Martha might have a great deal on wigs coming up next Monday!

      Julie

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  17. glad you liked Book of Mormon - it cracked me up. And yes, there are some crazy rules.
    That's why I just go to the movies on Sunday morning.

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    1. Joanne - Now that sounds like fun! It's a great way to beat the crowds too.

      Julie

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  18. As Dixie says, how strange. Not being a member of a particular religion, I have never really thought about any rules.

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    1. Jo - I'm sure that you have enough rules to worry about in your bowling league. It's nice not having to worry about other ones though.

      Julie

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  19. You didn't mention the hole in the sheet. That's just a myth, right?

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    1. Gorilla - Have you been binge watching Yentl again? Yes, it's all a myth, Gorilla.

      Julie

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  20. The only rules I need are the ones in the Bible.

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    1. Alex - You certainly are a shining example of all that's good in the Bible, Alex! Thank you for everything!

      Julie

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  21. At least they were able to laugh at themselves.

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    1. Ivy - Yes, we can never laugh too much, especially at ourselves!

      Julie

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  22. Oh religion can be so funny at times. I remember when I had to go to church with my dad and I would see my dad ...and other men all start to nod off. My dad once woke up with quite the start. Another man started snoring-hahahaaaa. It is sad how some religions really hurt people

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    1. Birgit - And the ones who aren't nodding off are busy texting or checking game scores. It was funny that your dad got caught in the act! It's hard to stay awake when some of the sermons go on and on.....

      Julie

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  23. The groom's family paying for that doesn't sound odd, or religious to me. I thought it was pretty standard operating procedure for the grooms family to pay for the rehearsal night which pretty much is ...aside from the wig the same thing. I never understand why the brides family had to foot the biggest part of the bill of a wedding. Much about weddings doesn't make sense to me in today's world, where people live together for years before they bother getting married, often have children well before they get married. Why spend all that money on a wedding? Mormons laughing at themselves...somehow I have a feeling they were thinking they could souls. When we toured the Square in Salt Lake, we found them to be over the top forceful with trying to convert people.

    Sandy at Bridge and Beyond

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  24. FLOPS is a completely new word and concept to me. I am pretty sure we violated about every rule, when we eloped on the beach at sunset in Florida officiated by a JP.

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  25. Well this is fun... I never heard of FLOPS - not that I would have followed it (I always opt for doing things my way) - so rules are neat and meant to be worked with, in my book (which makes organized religion tricky for me).. Book of Mormon, love that musical and have had serious chats with Mormon friends about it. To me it makes perfect sense that there would be an ad in the program - humor and practicality all mixed together :). - Jeri from storytellingmatters.wordpress.com -- somehow I found you through the After Party or someone's blog comment. Cheers!

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