"Five Kinds of Mormons"

With 30 years in the LDS Church (10 states and four countries), I think I'm something of an expert on Mormons. Enough of an expert, in fact, to know I'm going to catch hell for this.

Here it is: In the entire world, there are only five kinds of Mormons. Basically.

The first kind of Mormon is the Liberal Mormon. This includes all Mormons who attend church only when they feel like it. Liberal Mormons vote anywhere to the left of the Republican Party, are not rabidly pro-life and don't think every word that falls from the lips of a general authority represents the actual personal opinion of Jesus Christ.

Liberal Mormons are going to hell. Just ask any of the other four kinds of Mormons. On the other hand, Liberal Mormons think the intolerance and nieve stupidity of other Mormons is more of a threat to mankind than Russian missiles, wheat weevils or R-rated movies.

After Liberal Mormons come Genuine Mormons. Nearly every Mormon thinks this is the kind of Mormon he represents. In reality, Genuine Mormons are about as rare as, oh, say, angels or golden plates.

Genuine Mormons are unimpressed with themselves and their opinions. They are affable, easy-going and keenly interested in the well-being of others. They live various lifestyles and, when compared to the more outlandish lifestyles of other Mormons, tend to be dang near invisible. A friend of mine says this is because they've all been translated. He's wrong.

My studies have proven there are only 11 Genuine Mormons on the face of the earth. Two of them live in Utah, three in the remainder of the United States, two in South America, one each in Japan, Canada, Samoa and Spain. There are no Genuine Mormons in California or Idaho. One doubles as a Liberal Mormon. Of the remaining 10, four are the Three Nephites and John the Beloved.

The third kind of Mormon is the Conservative Mormon. These kinds of Mormons are the suit and flowered dress crowd you see at church. They tend to be a little overweight and Republican. They attend church 95 percent of the time but may, if pressed hard enough, sleep through General Conference. They pay tithing on their net income and have 4.5 children. The homes of C.M.s are decorated with Relief Society-produeced knickknacks. Conservative Mormons humor the Liberal Mormons because, after all, they are God's children, too.

Seventy-five percent of the LDS Church is C.M., and 99 percent of all Conservative Mormons were born into the church.

Fourth are Orthodox Mormons. Orthodox Mormons would not miss church for the death of a relative. Left to their own devices, O.M.s would eventually make the bringing of dry cereal in Tupperware bowls to sacrament meeting a gospel ordinance. Orthodox Mormons have 7.8 children - - not because they enjoy them but because somewhere it says they should, and because even abstinence is an intolerable form of birth control.

Orthodox Mormons are scared of Russians, MTV and accidentally partaking of the sacrament with their left hands. They believe Liberal Mormons are children of the devil. Orthodox Mormons pay tithing based on their gross income and believe Diet Coke is part of the Word of Wisdom.

Finally, there are the Nazi Mormons. Ten percent of the LDS Church is Nazi Mormon. Of that 10 percent, 90 percent live in Utah, most within shouting distance of BYU. Nazi Mormons are prone to wild claims in testimony meeting about things that cannot be proven. Nazi Mormons claim Diet Coke is the same thing as heroin, and heaven is a multi-level marketing system. Nazi Mormons always want to have private talks with you about either gold futures, alien landing strips or soap.

Nazi Mormons believe French kissing is cause for excommunication. They routinely take the advice of general authorities and improve on it: If no single dating until 16 is good, no single dating until draft age is even better. Nazi Mormons pay tithing on their gross income, including the stuff they get from the bishop's storehouse.

There you go. Remember that it is possible to fluctuate between levels. In truth, one could find himself swayed from the C.M. level by a particularly powerful fireside speaker. This only applies to one level jumps. A Liberal Mormon, for example, could never drop four levels to Nazi Mormon.