We all know a mormon, but do we know what they believe in?

Part one of The Apple Leaf’s multi-issue series on religion


Photo Illustration by Storrie Skalisky

The Book of Mormon contains a compilation of teachings that were recorded by ancient prophets, comparable to the Bible.

It’s Friday night: Maybe some of us are on movie dates, getting drunk at parties, or having an all night finals study session with a dangerously high BCC (Blood Caffeine Content.) These are all pretty normal activities for teenagers, but what if I told you that you’re not allowed to do any of these things? That they’re all against your religion? Step into the life of the handful of Mormon teens here at Wenatchee High School.

Though the rules and restrictions for Mormons seem never ending, senior Jordan Bucknum can see the good intentions behind them. According to Bucknum, these rules are only meant to be helpful and keep young people from getting into trouble.

“I don’t really mind the rules because I like the overall idea behind the Mormon religion,” Bucknum said. “It’s all about a life before and after this one, and I like the hope that comes with that. It’s nice to know that there’s something better than just this.”

However, not all teen Mormons have such an easy time with these rules. Junior Sierra Hedding sometimes finds the rules to be more annoying than helpful.

“[The rules] bother me a lot because I’m a teen. I want to be independent and be able to make my own decisions, and they take that away from me.”

Though all Mormon parents are given standard guidelines for what their kids should and shouldn’t do, they still have flexibility in making household rules. According to Hedding, the general rule for Mormon teen dating is that they must be at least 16-years-old in order to date. However, her parents have said they she is still not allowed to have a steady boyfriend.

“It’s frustrating. My entire family and my extended family is Mormon, and they drag me to church every week,” Hedding said. “I live around my religion every day and in every decision I make. We don’t swear, don’t drink caffeine, and dress modestly, which is a huge part of it for girls.”

Though Hedding is far from the only Mormon who struggles with restrictions, most of them plan on sticking with Mormonism for a while. Sophomore Audrey Parrish, who grew up Mormon, says she goes to church not only because her parents want her to, but because she enjoys the people who attend.

“I have a lot of friends in the church,” she said. “It’s easy to talk to them about your problems or challenges you’re having with your faith.” Parrish disagrees with people who think that Mormons are strange and different.

“A lot of people go to youth group and church; it’s not just us. It can be bothersome when people think we’re so different from them. Sometimes it’s just because they don’t understand the reasons for some of our rules, like not drinking caffeine,” Parrish said.

Hedding agrees with this idea, though she understands why some people tend to have misconceptions about Mormons.

“They don’t know everything about our faith, just like I don’t know everything about Jews or Catholics,” Hedding said.

Each of these teen Mormons have had their friends assume strange things about their faith, from the time a friend asked Hedding if she worshiped seagulls to the time when someone asked Bucknum if he’d ever sacrificed a goat. But if his friends are sincere, Bucknum doesn’t mind answering questions about his religion.

“It just gets to me when people make stuff up about [Mormons.] I have no problem explaining why we don’t drink caffeine or date before we’re 16 if someone actually wants to know,” he said.

All of these young Mormons agree that their parents have had a big influence on their faith, but for Bucknum, the reason he sticks with it goes deeper than parental approval.

“I believe that it’s not just a generational thing of parents forcing kids into a religion,” Bucknam said. “At least for me, it was a personal decision. We’re all encouraged to pray about it and see if being LDS (Latter Day Saint) is right for us. I chose that it was because I like that Mormons are so family oriented and hopeful. My personal faith and conversion keep me going.”