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  • These moms are Mormon mythbusters

    The 'Mysterious Mormon Moms' dispel rumors about their religion with podcast
  • Shawnie Cannon is tired of hearing people spit out misinformation and believe rumors about her religion.
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  • Shawnie Cannon is tired of hearing people spit out misinformation and believe rumors about her religion.
    "We are not barefoot and pregnant," said Cannon, who was born into an inactive Mormon family and found the religion herself at age 12.
    Cannon and four other Southern Oregon mothers — Kitti Chandler, Kirsten Savage, Heidi Jarvis and Lisa Anderson — have dubbed themselves the "Mysterious Mormon Moms" and banded together to produce a podcast about their religion.
    The podcast debuted early last month, and aims to dismiss what Cannon believes are common misconceptions about being a Mormon, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
    Yes, Mormons can dance, use perfume and ice and do believe in Jesus, Cannon said.
    "People wonder, are we these oppressed creatures?" Cannon said about Mormon women. "But we choose to be stay-at-home moms."
    Cannon, who holds a bachelor's degree in business, said most Mormon women take their turn as a breadwinner at some point in their lives, yet discrimination toward her religion still is common.
    Cannon held a job in the corporate world for years, and said it was hard to settle down and become a homemaker.
    "We want to let people hear things from our side," said Cannon, who hopes the podcast will show people that Mormons aren't so different from the rest of the world.
    Cannon said that 4 percent of Oregon is Mormon, and closer to 7 percent of people in Grants Pass are.
    "You probably know several Mormons and don't realize it," Cannon said.
    For the group's first podcast, the women talked about how Mormons are part of the Christian faith.
    Cannon took pains to point out that the controversial Fundamentalist Church of Latter-day Saints is a splinter group from the mainstream Mormon church.
    Cannon said that Warren Jeffs, the former leader of the FLDS church who has since been sent to jail for sexual assault of young girls, had a "twisted contortion" of polygamy that most Mormons, including herself, find repulsive.
    "He makes my stomach tie in knots," said Cannon.
    Under pressure from the U.S. government, the mainstream LDS Church disavowed polygamy in 1890 and prohibited church members from entering into any marriage that violated the law.
    "We do not identify with the FLDS at all," Cannon said.
    Cannon said the Mormon religion has gotten a lot of attention in recent years, and will receive even more now because of presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, a Mormon and the Republican party front-runner.
    "I'm pleased that he has been able to go as far as he has," said Cannon. "He's interesting. I don't agree with him politically on every issue."
    Cannon said another misconception about Mormons is that they would all back the same political candidate.
    "That's another myth — that we all work in lockstep, and support the same person."
    While Cannon is eager to chat about her religion and quell any rumors, there is one thing she's grown tired of hearing people talk about.
    "It's really a private thing," said Cannon, referring to the special underwear worn by Mormons.
    Cannon said the underwear act as an outward symbol of the vows they take for higher Christian living.
    Cannon said she sometimes wants to ask people why they are so fixated with her underwear, but admits she usually keeps the thought to herself.
    Another one of the Mysterious Mormon Moms, Heidi Jarvis, has nine children, and was born and raised in a Mormon family.
    "Other people have misconceptions or strange ideas about Mormons," said Jarvis, who holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Brigham Young University, and teaches piano lessons to more than 30 children.
    Jarvis said that Mormons aren't forced to have a large number of children, only to value family, which she said logically leads to having lots of children.
    "They never put a number on it, or tell us how many to have," said Jarvis. "But it's going to happen naturally if family is something you value. People who value money will have a lot of that."
    The five members of the Mysterious Mormon Moms have a combined 34 children and 12 grandchildren.
    Jarvis said education and family values are strong morals among Mormons and she plans to pass these ideals onto her many children.
    "There's a big emphasis on education," said Jarvis. "And we're raising them to have families, too."
    Cannon said the group is meeting to come up with topics for future podcasts about Mormon misconceptions, the next of which will probably be about the role of women in the Mormon Church.
    "We're really mainstream, normal people," said Cannon. "And we just want to bridge the gap."
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