For Memorial weekend around a thousand single Mormons flock to the small town of Duck Beach in North Carolina for a meet and romance. What is a Mormon? Mormons belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who believe in no smoking, drinking, profanity or any other addictive substance. Most importantly, they believe that in order to go to the Celestial Kingdom they have to be married in God’s church so they can spend the rest of their lives with their spouse in eternity. You may think that you don’t know any Mormons but you do: Stephenie Meyer is one. God wouldn’t be too happy to know that she would rather spend eternity on Earth with a vampire rather than with him!
This demand is fine for some Mormons who settle down quickly and have children, but what about those who are ageing and options are running out quick? Duck Beach is one of their last hopes. During Spring Break for four days Mormon singletons will arrive at the town for this annual ritual and they will rent out a beach house alongside a further fifteen people. This is basically an opportunity for them to mingle and try to find the person they could imagine living with for eternity. Although, their religion makes them unable to drink, smoke or have sex, meaning that it isn’t going to be the wildest of parties!
Duck Beach to Eternity is a 2012 documentary directed and produced by Hadleigh Arnst, Stephen Frandsen and Laura Naylor which follows the cultural exploits of four Mormon singletons as they search for love at Duck Beach. BBC Three recently aired a cut-down version of this film and changed the title to: Young, Mormon & Single, obviously hoping to target the Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents audience.
I’ve always felt strange about religion. Strange and jealous. With religion people trust that something better lies ahead for them, as long as they follow the rulebook during their time on Earth, they will have a blissful eternity. I can’t help but feel jealous by this because as well as having faith in the afterlife, they also have religion as an important part of their identity. When you are struggling about who you are and who you want to be, it will always be a reassurance to know one distinct fact about yourself: you are a Mormon.
However, after watching Young, Mormon & Single my jealousy has decreased slightly as I realise, with whatever religion you follow, generally everyone is the same. We still live in this superficial world where looks overrule personality, we still feel conflicted about our beliefs and we still want to be loved, be that may to go to Heaven or have a companion on Earth. Thus, although religion can be a key part of your life, this doesn’t mean that you are immune to the mediated cultures of society; they still have their say.
- Being Transgenderqueerhardfemmesexual Is Kind Of Like Being A Mormon (bugbrennan.com)
- Mormonism in 2012: A (Fashionably Late) Recap (bycommonconsent.com)
- LDS scholars: “Mormon moment” could expand into cultural shift (denverpost.com)
- National survey says perceptions of Mormons largely unchanged (oregonlive.com)
- Three Stories About the Mormon Temple (ghostsofdc.org)