Righteousness Fests: When a bunch of Mormon people get together and bash on something they think is evil, and congratulate each other on not participating in said evil thing.
Righteousness fests are a complicated sport, with more rules than football. Like football, you can be penalized for "excessive celebration" of your own righteousness. One too many self-congratulatory remarks and you come off as "prideful." But if you're sidelined the whole game, refusing to comment on how you just don't understand how a member in good standing could watch that R-rated movie, well, then you're not truly playing on the side of the Lord, are you?
I've participated -either via the sidelines, (unrighteously,) or as a running Quarterback,(obnoxiously,) in a great many Righteousness Fests. Since I was raised in the Mormon Church, one could even suggest that I'm close to being the Brett Favre of righteousness. No comment on how many times I've threatened to retire.
If Righteousness Fests are the Mormon Cultural Superbowl, and if you expect to take home the Celestial Trophy, there are a few "plays" you need to know.
1. You must constantly talk about "the good old days" where people valued the traditional family, and the youth were respectable. Openly longing to live in the 1950's will get you a field goal. Ignore topics like segregation, civil rights, women's rights, and the atom bomb.
2. Have a copy of the Proclamation to the Family posted prominently in your home. Make sure to twist the text when you quote it so that your point seems the same as the Prophet's point. Quote it even when irrelevant for extra yardage.
3. Lastly,my favorite play- insult people who have more education, or money, than you. Mormons love to do this. In fact, I heard the following mantra mis-quoted in both Sunday School, Relief Society, and Sacrament meeting last week.
Mis-quote: quoting the 14 Fundamentals and pointing out that "the two groups that have the hardest time following the prophet are the rich and the learned."
Oh my. This is the Shot Gun formation of Righteousness Fests. Mormons love being rich, and love being educated, but they have a hard time with people who are richer, or more educated.
How many times have you heard "Oh her Daddy paid for her college tuition, she's not a hard worker..."
"Rich people don't know how to really work..."
"Yeah it would be nice to have more money, but you know, rich people have a hard time following the prophet. Their boats become false idols...." (That was from Sunday School last week.)
"I wanted to finish my degree, but I realized that the Lord had better plans for me then to listen to the words of men..."
Want to know the actual quote?
"The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich. "
It isn't about how your roomie from college had more parental financial support than you. It's about pride. And it's bad in any form. Being prideful about your spouse's six figure income as an attorney is annoying. But being prideful, and insisting that you are the better Mormon because you "worked harder" to "make it on your own" is annoying too.
It is annoying, but but it's also ineffective. Sadly, even though every Mormon uses Play #3 in a Righteousness Fest, it usually results in an obvious fumble.
Because like NFL football players, only certain types of people get to participate in righteousness fests about the evils of wealth and education. People who complain about boats being a false idol are the people who have access to boats.
They are usually white, American, middle-class Mormons who simply by being born in the U.S. already have access to more riches and learning than their brethren in South America.
I'd venture that if the Chileans (mascot: a Habitat for Humanity Representative) who had their homes destroyed by an earth-quake had to play the Mormons-in-My-Ward (mascot: an SUV) in a Righteousness Fest the Chileans would win. Due to their awesome defense, I mean, humility.
But go on, keep smugly arguing that you're the better Mormon because you don't have a boat.
Fantasy Football time: What teams would you like to see in a Righteousness Fest? I'm waiting for the game where the Modesty Nazis play the Anti-Halloweeners.