I freely admit that Iâ€™m not the funniest person in the world, but I do think I have a sense of humor. I like a good laugh as much as anyone. Or perhaps I should say, â€œI like a good laugh as much as anyone who is LDS.â€
When I first read Gean Clarkâ€™s contention that she found â€œbut one strictly humorous taleâ€ in her study of Mormon fiction written from 1832 to 1900, I was willing to give our people the benefit of the doubt. So starting a religion, being persecuted, migrating across the country, and settling in the harsh environment of the frontier west wasnâ€™t conducive to hilarity. Totally understandable.
Then we changed, right? We had J. Golden Kimball, with his swearing and quips. We had President Hinckley, with his twinkling eyes and witty remarks. Iâ€™m sure there is a plethora of other funny LDS people. My friend, Kacy, for instance, is one funny LDS lady, and I sometimes laugh out loud when I read her blog (I highly recommend her hamster post from May 13).
Just bouncing around blogs the other day sent me to this one. The female author thinks Kacy is funny, tooâ€”only it surprised her immensely because â€œfunnyâ€ and â€œMormonâ€ do not go together as far as she is concerned. She admits that she has held â€œsome vague preconceptions about Mormons being so focused on their religion that they might tend to take themselves a little too seriously.â€ Her husband suggested that Kacy must be a â€œjack mormonâ€ if she actually has a sense of humor.
This is mostly anecdotal evidence, but it made me wonder if we Mormons are lacking in good humor. Are we so serious about salvation, a truly serious endeavor, that we fail to see the absurdities around us? Or are we merely perceived that way? Are we different than other religious groups in the relative importance we place on humor?
If you donâ€™t want to answer those questions, you could just tell me a good joke.