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Monday, September 13, 2010

Mormon Mafia Explained: Personal Stories

Yesterday, I posted an explanation of "Mormon Mafia." Today I want to relate some personal stories that explain the concept better.


When my husband and I moved to a new area, we needed to find professionals locally like dentists, doctors etc. I needed a hair cut. Usually the first people you get to know in a new community are the Bishop and his wife. The Bishop is the equivalent of pastor or priest. When I met the Bishop's wife I noted her haircut. It looked good. I asked her for recommendations for finding a hairdresser. She gave me contact information for her hairdresser. I'll call her Sara (name has been changed). I made an appointment with Sara and was pleased. Her technique was good, she remembered my hair and my stipulations on what I wanted. She told me she also cut the Bishop's hair. I told her, "Well, I thought he had a good haircut but I didn't think to ask him for a recommendation."


Over the course of living in that area I continued going to Sara. I constantly encountered other Mormons I knew or my husband knew who had appointments with Sara either before or after mine. Sara confirmed she cut their hair and that she knew they were Mormons. I recommended other ladies to Sara when someone asked me for a recommendation. Other ladies confirmed they had sent their friends to Sara and were similarly pleased.


Sara remarked that when she told her husband she had a new client, his response was always the same, "Are they Mormon?" In fact, I think Sara cut the hair of most of the people in the stake (organizational unit for about 10 congregations). Sara and her husband were devout Catholics. In this case the Mormon Mafia structure benefited her. It referred new clients to her but her skill as a hairdresser retained them.


The system can also operate in the reverse. When we moved to another community we needed a dentist. There was a dentist in our local congregation. We checked his prices which were several times that of other local dentists. After seeing his expansive, ostentatious home which included a full indoor swimming pool, we decided that we didn't care to finance his lavish lifestyle and found another dentist to patronize.


Every time my Mother has a computer problem I cannot coach her through over the phone, I tell her to snag someone in her local congregation that is computer savvy and ask his or her advice. Several people have come to her home and helped her with various things.


Besides the Mormon Mafia advantages, Mormons have a high level of voluntarism. They are willing to help just about anyone and everyone, usually for free.


This is most evident when someone moves from a community or to a community. Usually there is a whole squad of eager movers who toil long hours to pack or unpack a truck. Sometimes they often turn out to help a Non-Mormon they have become aware of who needs help. These recipients are genuinely astonished.


I just smile. This is the "Mormon Mafia" in action.

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