Shattering Stereotypes: The LDS Sorority Girl
My name is Kaitlynn Mintz and I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I’m also the only member of the church involved in Greek life on my college campus. I am a junior at the University of Oregon (SCO Ducks!) majoring in English; minoring in creative writing, and I belong to a National Panhellenic Conference chapter (sorority) here on campus. I am a convert to the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints and became a member about a year and 2 months ago (March 17th, 2018). I think my mission is to show people that sorority girls should not be defined by their stereotypes, and neither should members of the church.
Let me back up a bit and start from the beginning. I was born and raised Catholic and when I reached out to the missionaries in my area I had just gotten home from a weekend trip in Whistler Canada that was essentially, for lack of a better term, a weekend for drinking. This weekend was a trip all the sophomores in Greek life at UO take and when I came home I felt very distant from myself and from God and could feel myself missing a very big part of who I used to be.
I was a very religious person before being baptized and so when I felt, what I now know was a prompting from the Holy Spirit, there was no denying I had grown very distant from God. I was sitting at my laptop doing homework and when it just hit me. My initial reaction was “Woah what is this?” That’s when I went onto LDS.org and requested my free Book of Mormon. I thought it was just going to get mailed to me but then I met with the sister missionaries that same week and started my lessons! I wasn’t skeptical about the church but I was conditioned to be skeptical of it. I had heard all the things you've probably heard. That it was a cult, that it was wrong, that if you see missionaries at your door to pretend that you’re not home, etc. So, that first meeting I was scared, curious, and excited all at the same time. There was no doubting how strong the spirit was when I was with my sister missionaries and if it weren’t for them I wouldn’t have decided to be baptized. There was something so comforting about being with sister missionaries. Maybe its because I live in a mansion with 50 other women but, talking with them and seeing how strong they were spiritually and mentally, I knew I had not only found missionaries that would help me on my conversion journey but also sisters for life.
Being involved in Greek life at a D1 school is amazing. Theres no other experience like it in the whole world I'm sure. The walk to Autzen (our football stadium), the rivalry between us, OSU and UW, and the flood of green and yellow on campus at all times. Theres nothing like it in the whole world, yet still I am constantly surrounded by temptations but I know that the temporary pleasures that college life may offer me don’t come close to the blessings I’ve received by following the true gospel of Christ.
After being raised outside of the church and then being thrown into church culture in the middle of my college career, it tossed me for a loop, I was confused and frustrated and started to doubt revelations made by the leaders of the church. Being a member of the church in a sorority was even more difficult. Point blank period, it's hard. You are constantly battling with the little devil on your shoulder wherever you go, whether that's tailgating for a football game, or hanging out on a Friday night, so going from partying and drinking every weekend to...not, was an adjustment. I felt like I was missing out on my “college experience”, the experience everyone tells you about ya know? But aside from it being a change, a positive change might I add, I have received blessings on blessings from it. One thing I always joke about with my sisters is that I am their permanent DD now, which actually gives me peace of mind knowing that they can always rely on me to give them a ride somewhere if they don't feel safe enough to walk. I find comfort in the fact that my sisters can trust me and lean on me whenever they need anything and they often ask me, “Kaitlynn why do you always do such nice things for everyone?” and I almost always respond with, “because that's what Christ teaches”.
I remember when I was first investigating the church and I didn't really want to tell anyone so I kept it pretty secretive and would hide my Book of Mormon in my bag or under my jacket because I didn't want anyone thinking I was weird. But slowly I started to become more proud of it as I started to see its truth and I would leave my BOM out on my bed or on my desk and my sisters were like “Wait, are you Mormon now?” and I’d be like “Kinda, ya!” then they would just ask me all sorts of questions and felt like my chapter’s personal missionary haha. I'm a member of such a strong, diverse, empowering, special, and inspiring organization that lifts women up and values friendship, scholarship, community service and high standards of personal. A lot of the values I've found within my sorority go hand in hand within the values of the church and I think that's why I was so drawn to it. I remember relief society being my favorite hour at my first church attendance and thought it was so amazing to be surrounded by sisters who loved Jesus Christ and Heavenly father as much as I did.
“my sisters were like ‘Wait, are you Mormon now?’ and I’d be like ‘Kinda, ya!’”
When people at church found out I was a member of Greek life I got the reactions you'd expect. People would constantly be asking me about the word of wisdom and what I thought about it and I would get weird stares if I wore my chapter letters to an FHE activity. I think my big bubbly sorority girl personality just wasn't something this little YSA ward in Eugene Oregon was used to. Then on the flip side, if I were to go to a function with my friends, or attend a fraternity’s date dash I would have to go through the process of explaining to someone why I don't drink or why I had to go home early on a Saturday night because I had church the next morning. Spring term sophomore year, probably a month after I was baptized, I was chosen to be a Darling for a fraternity on campus and at an event they held I was the only one not drinking and yes, I felt awkward but it was cool to me to be able to say, “Oh no thanks I don't drink” then that would turn into a conversation starter. It's awesome to me that I can help break down some of the church stereotypes just by saying I’m apart of Greek life on campus and also help to break Greek life stereotypes by saying I'm a member of the church. I take massive pride in not being the “cookie-cutter” member of the church. Shattering glass ceilings is something I will always be striving for and I don't plan on conforming any time soon.
”I felt awkward but it was cool to me to be able to say, “Oh no thanks I don't drink” then that would turn into a conversation starter.”
I don't think I'll ever escape the baffled looks and giggles I get when I tell people I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and in a sorority, but I know I won't ever get tired of expressing how proud I am to be apart of two amazing organizations that have impacted my life for the better.
I think that's what makes me so “peculiar”.