Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Indoctrination starts young... Mormon mommy videos

Maybe a couple of years ago, I was messing around on YouTube watching videos of kids throwing tantrums in cars.  Don't ask me why I was doing that... maybe it was because I was comforting myself that I never became a mom.  Anyway, I came across one video that intrigued me.  A little boy was sitting in the middle seat of a car.  His sister was sitting next to him, properly strapped into a carseat.  Another child could be heard crying.  The boy was in the middle, wearing a seatbelt without a booster.  He was too short for the shoulder belt, so it was cutting across his neck, touching his ear.  This distressed the boy, so he was screaming at the top of his lungs about it.  Mom was apparently filming this spectacle for the masses instead of fixing the situation somehow.

Now, I actually hate seatbelts.  I always have.  I wear them because if I don't, Bill turns into Pat Boone.  Also, because if you don't wear them in Germany, there's a huge fine.  By now, I've gotten used to them, anyway.  I do remember being a small child, though, and sitting in the front seat of my parents' cars (back when it was legal for kids to sit up there).  They'd sometimes make me wear a seatbelt and I was too short.  It was uncomfortable, so the damn thing would cut me across the neck.  I'd usually just put the shoulder part behind my back.  Of course, nowadays, you can't do that.  Most cars don't just have lap belts anymore, either.  So kids need booster seats if they can't sit in a carseat anymore.  Actually, this kid was small enough that he probably could have been in a carseat for larger kids, but he had two little sisters who needed them more than he did and there was no room for another carseat.

A couple of days ago, I came across the carseat tantrum video again.  Not having a lot to do, I started looking at other ones posted by the kids' mother.  She's now up to four small kids.  It wasn't long before I noticed that this family is very Mormon.  The kids are really cute, so mom has posted all sorts of videos.  There's one of the boy and older girl in bathing suits in the bathtub.  Actually, I was glad to see that, since someone actually encouraged the mom to film them nude (pedophiles, people!!!).

There's one video where mom is in a rushing river of some sort.  She takes her oldest daughter (at the time the video was shot, maybe 3 years old) under a log in cold water.  Mom writes that the water is usually about 55 degrees.  The girl doesn't cry, which mom comments on... amazed.  Honestly, if you think your child might cry and scream in cold water, why would you even attempt to swim with them under a log under they're older and can decide for themselves?

In another video, she shows an even younger daughter eating raw onion.  Apparently, the kid really likes it.  There's no accounting for taste, I guess.  It does surprise me a bit, though.  That girl must have interesting taste buds for being so little.

The one video that really caught my attention was one of her three year old girl giving a "church talk" for the first time.  This kid is basically unintelligible, so mom has helpfully provided a transcript in the video description.  She's not actually speaking in church-- looks like maybe it was a dress rehearsal of some sort and they're in a classroom.  But she's saying things mom feeds to her, like "Thomas S. Monson is the prophet" and "When I follow the prophet, I am happy".  She holds up signs as she says these things, surely not really knowing what she's saying, but pleasing her mother, who is also filming her for all to see.  Her brother, the same one who was screeching about wearing a seatbelt incorrectly, is clearly bored and can be heard commenting throughout the video as mom tries to keep him contained while filming her barely verbal daughter giving a "talk" that she clearly doesn't yet comprehend.  And freakily enough, what the child is saying reminds me a little bit of what North Koreans say about their "dear leader".

A North Korean girl sings praises to the "Dear Leader".

I shared the video with some people in the know... and I noticed one person came back and took mom to task for it.  She basically invited him to watch Meet the Mormons, a new documentary now showing in movie theaters near you.  Naturally, it's all about Mormons.  This lady figured her commenter was "confused" and didn't know about how great the Mormons are.  But, as it turned out, he was a former missionary who did time in Peru trying to convert people.  So then she apologized that he was "offended", which is another common assumption many church members have about people who don't like their church.  Frankly, I don't think that's a bad reason to dislike Mormonism.  If enough of the people in the church are so yucky that you'd completely abandon your religious belief system, there must be something wrong with the church.  But no, the commenter claimed that he left because of doctrine.

After watching one more video featuring her youngest child in the womb, two days before he was born, I decided to stop watching.  I was alternately amazed and weirded out by the sight of this woman's gyrating pregnant belly.  In some ways it was pretty cool... in other ways, it was a little too personal.

3 year olds giving "talks" in church is a little creepy.  I know that many church members think this is the way to bring their kids up right.  Some probably think it's cute.  But having an adult feed you the right things to say in front of a church crowd is not really so much developing a belief system as it is submitting to indoctrination and being rewarded with parental approval.  Maybe a case could be made that it teaches kids how to speak in public... but it seems to me that kids ought to be physically able to speak, have rational thoughts of their own, and make some sense before they are expected to give a "talk" anywhere.  If not for the child's well-being, the comfort and well-being of onlookers should be considered.  It's true that some people find kids adorable and enchanting and think whatever they do is cute.  Other people tolerate kids.  Some people actively dislike them and won't think hearing their "canned testimonies" hand fed by their parents is all that interesting.

I do like kids.  I do think this mom is fortunate to have four adorable and apparently very healthy kids.  She obviously loves them enough to record a lot of their moments on video and put them on public YouTube videos.  I'm not sure she enjoys the negative response some of the videos have received, but I give her credit for not deleting the comments or becoming belligerent.  I do wonder what her motives are, though.  Why put your kids on YouTube for strangers to see?  Why invite criticism?  Are you doing it because you want to be an example to everyone else?  The videos are interesting, but perhaps not in the way mom intended them to be.              


  1. I have little LDS cousins and first0cousins-ince-rimved who can recite the articules of faith but weho don't even know thier colors yet. The child in question wwas probably preparing to give a talk in primary, which would be held in a classroom. It was probably a ddry run. in talks given in actual LDS chapel, no props or visual aids of any kind are allowed. don't ask why. It makes no sense to anyone. my dad told me that back in the dAY, IF A KID GAVE A TALK, IT WAS EXPECTED TO BE MEMORIZED IF THE KID WASN'T GIFTED ENOUGH TO SPEAK FROM BULLET-POINT NOTES. There was no reading of talks or mommies whispering words in children's ears.

    Regarding the Koren child, she looks a lot like the tiny North Korean guitar players. They're talented for their ages, but they have choreographed routines to go along with their guitar playing, and the faces they make are unreal. It would be legitimately funny if it weren't for the likelihoof that both the child and his or hwer entire family is probably starved for a week or even worse if the kid makes a single error.

    1. I know that some people think religion is so important that certain things need to be memorized before basic skills are learned... Personally, I think it's kind of sad.

      As for public speaking, I am all for teaching people how to do it. It's a valuable and powerful skill. I got pretty good at it when I was in high school, though I'm probably not so good at it now. I do think it's creepy to make non verbal kids do it, though.

      North Korea is just plain sad. I'm sure any kids with identifiable talents get better treatment, until they make a mistake. Then they get punished. I've read several books about North Korea, though, and some of what I read does remind me of oppressive religious indoctrination. Not necessarily or only Mormonism, but any religion that requires complete devotion and attention.


Comments on older posts will be moderated until further notice.