Thinking back on it, the happiness of Mormons always struck me as being illusionary or self-delusional.
"We are just as happy as non-Mormons!" Was often the cry I heard. But why? Why did Mormons always have to be so damned emphatic that they were just as happy as everyone else?
Had someone ever said to them all: "Gosh! You Mormons are so damn miserable! Lighten up, a little!"
No, I do not think that happened. What I think happened was this: The Mormons I knew were almost all converts. They had lived normal, pretty ordinary, happy lives. Then they had converted to Mormonism.
how best to describe the effect of Mormonism on the life of an ordinary, decent person? It is simple you can describe the effect in this way: "Can't, Shouldn't, Wouldn't."
As in: "You Can't do that; You shouldn't do that, I wouldn't do that."
The Mormon church is filled not with the great things you can do, but with the many great things that you can't do.