How many LDS do you know say "crap!" all the time? How about "frick" "fudge" "fetch"? "Oh my heck" fits in here as well.
What about "damn" or "hell"?
Ahh, I didn't think so. Mutter a "damn" or "hell" and your company's eyes will shoot to you with chastising gleams.
Before I joined the church I cursed like a sailor; after I joined I refused to even say "crap" and wondered why even the staunchest of my friends found it okay to say it. It was interesting and probably my first insight into the fact that even LDS pick and choose. It is the extent of our willingness to rebel and be edgy - and that just tickles me to no end. Mormon rebellion. But back to the topic. There are still those times when you want to curse, but can't so we make up stuff that sounds like it.
And that is when the "fetch" comes out or the very...odd "ohmyheck." I didn't even know OMH existed until my trip to Salt Lake City in October 2002. I saw a billboard with a rather crisp mug of beer - perhaps something a bit more controversial, I don't remember - and beside it were the words "If you just said 'Oh my heck' this isn't for you."
Oh my heck?
Ah, my first foray into Utah Mormon Culture.
My husband's best friend's favorite Mormon curse word is Fetch - and I'm sorry, but it sounds almost as bad as "fuck." "Shoot" said with the right intonation can sound almost as guilty as "shit" too. My mom, a very proud non-member, once got on my sixth-grade self for saying "fudge" because it sounded awful, a little too close to what she knew I was trying to get away with.
Then there's the instance with my four year old son a few months ago. He was outside and, out of nowhere, exclaimed "Holy crap!"
I love telling this story for the reactions. Like you people don't say the same stuff. Anyway, I got up and went to see what the deal was. A fat, ugly, totally unnecessary spider was just hanging on a single web strand from the gutter.
Definitely a "holy crap!" moment. Everyone so far has agreed. At least to my face, haha.
I don't know. After about a year after joining, I got over my "crap" moratorium. I'd mostly instituted it because I knew how I worked, I knew that cursing became as much of a part of my vocabulary as the words "the" and "oh" - you know, pretty common. I could control myself around my grandma, and I had enough respect to not drop the f-bomb around my mom and dad - but around friends? Pretty common. Knowing this, and knowing since the age of nine that I pick up on other people pretty easily, I decided to be extra strict, even to replacing "ass" with "donkey" when reading the scriptures. If I'm around someone or speak with someone with a thick accent for fifteen minutes, I'll pick up the accent. If I read an author with a strong style, I'll pick up on their style. If I'm around someone who curses like it's nothing, then I will too. It just comes out. I've learned it's how I work, and I have to take care. We all have our things; that happens to be one of mine.
My propensity ten years ago to litter my conversation with swear words isn't quite like you might hear among some youth today, but it was bad enough - so much so that an LDS friend of mine from high school mentioned the lack thereof at my baptism.
I understand it's absolutely not a way to speak - it doesn't make you sound intelligent, that's for sure. They're pretty coarse words, especially when you consider the history behind some of them...but I'll admit to saying a few every now and again. I do think they have their place. They can be cathartic. They've power - the kind depends on the situation, but words absolutely have power. And sometimes, honestly, it's the only way to get something across.
So I curse. I have to really watch myself to keep it under reigns, but I believe there can be a time and a place. I mostly gave up because, let's face it: may as well, right? Of course I could decide to not at all, but I've decided to fight other battles for the time being. Right now this helps keep me sane, if that makes sense.
And really, "fetch" sounds ridiculous. "Crap" just makes me laugh anymore because of how many LDS say it like it's not a big deal (but no damn or hell). Stop beating around the bush. Don't be a disrespectful idiot, but if it's what you really mean and the situation allows, then why? Why "fudge" and "darn it"? So you can appear clean? Why all these Mormon curse words - the very phrase infers that they're intended to substitute for curse words.
Now, you won't hear me cursing at church, in front of my kids (except for crap), or in front of friends whom I know it would offend: but it happens. Consciously, I'll admit.
Before anyone asks why I don't curse in front of my kids, let me assure you it's not so much because I don't want them cursing. It's more because they're very young and as such their maturity wouldn't allow them to understand the meaning and implications of their words. There are better ways for them to establish a vocabulary in such formative years. I could explain, yes, but I'm saving it for later. They'll run across it in school soon enough. I had friends in the fourth grade dropping the f-bomb. I imagine that begins much sooner now.
I have a fourteen year old sister who, on her myspace page, curses worse than I ever used to. It shocked me at first, but I soon realized: she's fourteen, she's "being cool" and doesn't realize just how lame and immature she sounds. I thought about bringing it up to my dad and her mom, but they look at her page. They know.
It's a part of growing up. I want to be frank with my kids and explain that there is a time and a place for everything. My sister will grow out of it (hopefully) and reign herself in as she matures. Everyone goes through this stuff. To harp on her for this beyond a talk or two will only make things worse. I know because I used to be that kid. I say let her get it out of her system and learn along the way as long as she has set boundaries enough to not speak like that everywhere.
I'm not trying to condone cursing; I'm attempting to get a discussion going. How many of you will admit to cursing and how many don't, and why? Do you ever wonder about the same things? Do you ever roll your eyes and groan inwardly at it all? I just figure the more realistic about things we are, be it about sex, swearing, or anything else - the better chance we'll have teaching others and being an example. I understand the lack of swearing in our culture makes the instances outside our social network quite jarring. We're sensitive to it, and that's okay, but I'm afraid the extra sensitivity makes us less approachable than we want to be.
Is "crap" really not a swear word? Am I really much worse than those who scream "FETCH!"? I get that "oh my heck" is much better than the alternative - but it makes no sense. That's what gets me - and the fact that everyone knows what it's the alternative for.
In the end, it's all in the attitude, isn't it?
A year in landscapes
1 hour ago