Mormon Teens Vs. Internet Teens

The teens I see on the internet everyday are truly truly awful. The Mormon teens I met at this weekend’s Hill Cumorah Pageant were wonderful. What’s the deal?

A group of teens from the cast of the Hill Cumorah Pageant takes a photo before getting into costume.

ID: 442738

As part of my job as a BuzzFeed editor, I spend a lot of time looking at how teens are using the internet and reading what they’re posting. Technology has given me a window into teens’ lives, through social media, messageboards, and other sites. None of these things existed or were popular when I was a teen, so I’m completely unable to relate their complicated experience of portaying oneself online. They seem like they’re from another planet. A totally awful, narcissistic, sex-crazed, petulant, parent-disrespecting, cyber-bullying planet that has no rules of grammar.

The teenagers I met at the Hill Cumorah Pageant, a large event in upstate New York where volunteers act out the Book of Mormon, were nothing like the hormone-addled monsters I’ve seen online. They were polite, friendly, well-spoken around adults, and even appeared to enjoy spending family time with their parents. What the h*ck? These are not the teenagers I see begging Justin Beiber to follow them on Twitter, these aren’t the ones posting embarrassing sex questions to Yahoo Answers.

These are Good Teens.

What is it about Mormonism that makes teens so ruly? Setting aside the actual religious doctrine, there must be something about the culture of Mormonism that makes young people not as boorish as their wayward peers. Perhaps the tendancy of Mormons to have large families means older kids learn responsibility by babysitting younger kids, and younger kids have siblings as roles models. Participation in frequent church youth group activities means keeping out of trouble. For young children, Sunday school means extra hours of learning, perhaps giving kids a boost in reading skills and academic advantages. Interacting with other adults at church means teens become socialized and comfortable around adults - something that sounds small, but goes a long way.

Here are a few examples of the difference between the teens I met at the Pageant, and the kind of behavior I see daily on the Internet.

ID: 441210

3. Mormon Teen: loves spending quality time with his parents

ID: 441251

4. Internet Teen: tweets “fuck you dad”

ID: 441132

5. Mormon Teen: volunteers to help pick up trash

ID: 441228

6. Internet Teen: unironicly complains about having a maid

ID: 441359

7. Mormon Teens: friends with members of the opposite gender

ID: 442728

8. Internet Teens: terrible misunderstanding of sex

ID: 440769

9. Mormon Teens: practiced their choreography for their role as dancers

These two girls were Nephite dancers.

ID: 441231

10. Internet Teens: dirty dancing in bikinis on video

ID: 442016

11. Mormon Teen: gets dressed up for family-friendly religious pageant

ID: 441236

12. Internet Teen: gets a Justin Bieber tattoo

ID: 440662

13. Mormon Teens: playing bocci for fun

ID: 441242

14. Internet Teens: sexting while deuecing

ID: 442591

15. Mormon Teens: well-dressed young lads

ID: 441249

16. Internet Teens: cosplayers at Bronycon

ID: 442231

17. Mormon Teens: attending Pageant with their youth group

ID: 441248

18. Internet Teens: think they’re werewolves

ID: 442263

19. Mormon Teens: friendly and outgoing

These two were happy to talk with me, very polite and sweet.

ID: 441250

20. Internet Teens: don’t know “Titanic” was real

ID: 442200

Check out more articles on!

  Your Reaction?


    Hot Buzz

    31 Reasons Potatoes Are The Best Thing At Thanksgiving


    17 Mind-Blowingly Delicious Noodles To Try In NYC


    Now Buzzing