My little sister-in-law is 19 and beautiful. She is smart and funny, a talented writer and photographer and despite a lot of pressure, she has managed to avoid the Mormon mold. Until now.
After graduating, she had some big ideas. Some very atypical (for Mormons at least – the acceptable range is so much narrower) ideas like traveling. Or volunteering somewhere in South America. She wanted to study fashion and live in London. While we did our best to offer support, money and anything else she might need to make these things happen, these ideas were abandoned. She met a boy, all her friends went on missions, she started talking about BYU Hawaii. We were a bit disappointed but BYU Hawaii was at least somewhere and the chilled atmosphere would suit her personality perfectly. It was still outside the normal range of expectations and so we were pleased. Then it became BYU Provo.
The most recent news is that she will be going to BYU Idaho (formerly Ricks College). And living with her best friend from high school. And will not meet a single non-Mormon during her entire stay. And she’s taking general studies. Basically, she’s passing time until she meets a returned missionary and gets married. I was devastated when she told me. Not because there is anything wrong with BYU Idaho (my husband went there for the year before his mission) or living with your best friend (even though this particular friend has not been good to my little sis and has been pushed on her by my MIL for years) but because the whole concept is so small and my little sister could do so much better. Being young is about meeting people with new perspectives, having your ideas and your identity challenged, learning and falling and growing and sometimes, getting a fresh start. My SIL won’t get any of that and I am so sad for her. And so goddamned angry at her family and the little piss-ant town she lives in. Sigh.