Not right this second, mind you. But within the next year. The question on everyone's minds now is, "Why?" Well, be patient and I'll tell you. And I'll try to be more specific than, "because, that's why." Though that answer would be true enough.
Number one: I know from extensive research (in my heart) that Joseph Smith was a Prophet and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the one true church. Two: I rejected labels and being a part of groups and communities for most of my youth. This reactionary rebelliousness eventually takes its toll. Now I'm all grown up and trying to collect as many labels as I can carry. Three, and this is the most important one - you've just gotta be Mormon to be a successful new filmmaker these days. I mean, look at Jerusha Hess. Mormon. This is not a coincidence, folks.
When I think of Napoleon Dynamite, I get Mormon envy. I can only imagine the joy and satisfaction that comes from being in a group of scrappy young filmmakers who all share the same belief system and are making a movie that fits within that belief system perfectly - yet has universal appeal. This is the joy Jeremy Coon is feeling right this second as he edits The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang.
Granted, there's a whole industry of Mormon-made movies that are basically unwatchable outside of Utah. But those movies are fantastic in a strange way too. Making them has to be the best feeling in the world. AND THE BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD IS WHAT I'VE DESPERATELY BEEN SEEKING ALL MY LIFE.
Still, converting to Mormonism has not been an easy choice for me.
When deciding upon a religion to advance my Beating Jeremy Coon cause, I only saw two options... Judaism and Mormonism. Here are the flaws and benefits I weighed in each:
* Judaism seems to foster thoughtfulness, questioning, and a search for truth.
* Judaism also seems to - unlike most religions - encourage a sense of humor.
* You can be Jewish without believing in Jewish mysticism, like that Jesus was not the Messiah.
* Historically, Jews have always been on the right side. As far as I know, there is little to be ashamed of in the Jewish past. Jews have been persecuted countless times in horrific ways, but persecuting back does not seem to be the Jewish style.
* Though steeped with history and tradition, Judaism doesn't seem to foster stagnant, old-fashioned dogmatists. Jews seem to be relatively resilient and innovative.
* I live with a Jew and a future Jew. It's only fair that I be Jewish too.
* Rachel would probably convert with me.
* Jews are better than Christians.
* You can't really be a converted Jew who doesn't believe in Jewish mysticism. Only born Jews have that luxury. If you convert to Judaism, you have to believe that Jesus was not the Messiah.
* Circumcision is a big part of Judaism. Hannukah isn't just a festival of lights. It's a celebration of the fight against the Greeks who, amongst other things, banned circumcision (though, admittedly, probably not for baby rights reasons). You don't have to cut and be cut to be Jewish, but you're going against the grain, something converts should never do. And let's call a spade a spade. My whole life has been nothing but a fight against the aesthetic unpleasantness of circumcised penises.
* This might sound weird coming from a Jesus-hater, but any religion that isn't Jesus-based feels kind of empty to me. Christians can see who they're worshipping - a bloody Guy with a gash in his side and a sad look on His face. Jews, however, worship an invisible being that they admit they know very little about. And as admirable and refreshing as that may be, especially in this MTV 2 age where everyone wants to see violence and gore and messiahs all the time in rapid fire, it's just not as fun. True, Judaism almost makes up for it with all the culture and history and celebrations of life. But I want my messiah now. Waiting for one seems incredibly frustrating, especially since it will never come. Jesus is as close as you're going to get. I'm not saying Jesus wasn't a bad person. He probably Was. But the fact is, He won the culture war. Any religion that doesn't at least give Him a tip of the hat has missed the boat. At least in my Book.
CONCLUSION: Three flaws for an entire way of life isn't bad. If there were no other religion, Judaism's benefits probably would have beat the flaws. But there is one more.
* Christianity took Judaism to the next level by adding Jesus. Mormonism took Christianity to the next level by adding Joseph Smith. Eventually some other religion will take Mormonism to the next level by adding some new Guy, probably a woman. I would be that future religion if I could, but I can't. Working with what is available today, Mormonism seems like the most up-to-date, relevant religion there is. Why settle for anything ancient?
* I would fit into Mormon culture fairly well for someone raised outside of it. I look like a Mormon, I've only been drinking for six months and could easily stop, I don't believe in promiscuity, I don't drink coffee or do drugs, and I don't swear all that much. And, the ways in which I don't fit in are correctable. For instance, I could easily pretend to be a terrible dancer.
* Mormons know exactly what happens after you die. You end up in one of various levels of heaven, all of which are better than earth, and if you're at the top by being an especially good Mormon, you can be the God of your own world. There's not really a hell. There's an "outer darkness," but it's pretty much impossible to end up there. I would like to believe all this stuff, because then I could plan ahead.
* Mormonism is an evolving religion with Prophets who have the ability to receive new revelations and rules from God. Pretty dynamic for a religion.
* Jews aren't looking for converts, but Mormons are. If I converted, I could really make a missionary's day.
* Mormonism takes The United States to be the Holy Land, which means no pilgrimige hassle. And it makes sense. The U.S. certainly has its flaws, but for good or for ill, it's the country right now. Why would the Holy Land be some out of the way place that nobody's ever heard of?
* There's just something about Mormonism that really appeals to me. I can't quite place it. Maybe its the cohesive, wholesome culture. Or perhaps the creativity that flourishes so strongly within such severe restrictions. Or it could just be the imaginativeness of the religion itself. For whatever reason, I just feel drawn to it. Fucking hell, it would just be damn fun to say I was a Mormon.
* I would be a filmmaker.
* I could only make PG-rated movies. Unless I went the Neil LaBute route. But come on, that guy can't be a real Mormon.
* Mormonism doesn't evolve as much as it potentially could. Joseph Smith was the only Mormon Prophet who got a ton of new revalations from God. Even Brigham Young, his celebrated successor, only had one revelation, and that was travel advice. Besides that whole taking the Mormons to Utah bit, the only major Post-Smith revelation that I know of was a reversal of one of Joseph Smith's revelations - the one about polygamy! Talk about turning your back on the fundamentals! Then there was that revelation that black people could join the church. But coming as late as it did (1978), it almost feels worse than no revelation at all.
* Though Mormonism doesn't explicitly demand circumcision, it doesn't take a stance either way, and most Mormons circumsize anyway. I would guess that Jews, whose religion compels it, might even be less likely to circumsize, because they're more apt to question what they're told. Point of fact, 99 perecent of Jews don't even believe in God, so why make the covenant with him?
* Speaking of that, Mormonism does encourage questioning religion and what people are told. But only other religions and what other people are told. Church leaders consider anti-LDS literature to be worse than pornography. LDS historians who don't tow the line are excommunicated quick. And people who leave the religion voluntarily are as damned as anyone can possibly be, which is still better than earth. All of this tends to breed a certain anti-intellectualism within God's army.
* Mormons have had their share of persecution. But sometimes, they were the ones doing the persecuting.
* Rachel will never be a Mormon.
* Knowing that no matter what I do I won't go to a torturous fiery hell would probably turn me into a murderer.
CONCLUSION: Unlike with Judaism, the flaws in Mormonism clearly outweigh the benefits. But basically it came down to this: Jeremy Coon is a Mormon, and you have to fight fire with fire.
ULTIMATE CONCLUSION: Mormonism, here I come!