The following is first-hand observation of my five years in the Mormon Church.
The second level of the Caste Pyramid is INVESTIGATORS:
An investigator is someone who is considering joining the church. Usually this is when the missionaries on bicycles come to the house and give lessons on the Mormon Church, leading you up to Baptism.
Missionaries would make great salesmen. They know the secret of sales is ABC . Always Be Closing. (I told you before I was in a nightmare of a multi-level marketing headache). But the missionaries are ALWAYS asking if you are ready to commit to a baptism date.
You can go from Investigator to New Convert (Baptized) in as little as six weeks, or take years. You can attend Sunday meetings without committing to baptism.
The Third Level of the Caste Pyramid is New Converts:
For the first ninety days after being a New Convert you actually feel the "love" of being in a church.
You are usually given an easy assignment to get you committed to coming each Sunday - Greeters at the door are a good option.
Also within that 90 days the Church wants a New Convert to go to the Temple Visitor Center, and to conduct Baptisms for the Dead. (I won't go into the details or purpose).
Likewise, you are scheduled to give a talk before the ward/congregation.
There are other minor points, but you get the idea. Reminded me of my Inprocessing Checklists from my Army days when reporting to a new duty assignment.
You are made to feel welcomed.
Now the whole time you attend church as a New Convert you begin to get the sense of how things really are:
- You hear talks of my "pioneer ancestors," or "I'm a third generation" Mormon.
- You hear talk of the ones that graduated seminary in high school, not just the kids, but you hear it from the older members. Seminary which New Converts don't attend, it is generally done in the high school years.
- You hear talks of being Temple-worthy, announcements of going to the Temple for Ward Temple night before Temple-worthy members.
- Returned Missionaries. (Discussed below).
The fourth level of the Caste Pyramid is: Temple Worthy.
Any Mormon in good standing, who has been a member of the Mormon Church for two years (and a minimum age), Males holding the higher priesthood, and is a tithe payer can work to become a
Temple Worthy Mormon.
I was a Temple Recommend Holder, but I feel that I was only given the recommend in order to clear up an embarrassment; my girlfriend (also a Mormon) and I were living together in an apartment. It felt like it was an "OK, give it to him: because at the last moment, it was discovered that someone forgot that you need the higher priesthood, so the marriage almost had to be postponed.
Temple worthy members can attend Ward Temple Night. We held one once a month, and my wife and I made it about every third month. You can attend special events such as Temple dedications broadcasted into the local wards.
The fifth level of the Caste Pyramid system is: Returned Missionaries.
There is extreme presssure placed on the the young men to become missionaries and serve a successful two year mission. From a very young age the boys are told about their father's mission, and hear stories in church of missionaries as they leave and return.
Most Mormon girls will not marry another Mormon boy unless he is a Returned Missionary.
There is nothing necessarily wrong with that, but from an outsider's (New Convert) view, it makes it an exclusive club, one in which membership can't be obtained.
The very top of the pyramid is a combination. We have the Elite White Boys Only Club members. These are white, male, Temple worthy mormons, who have complete a missionary assignment. From this level you will find MOST Bishops and Stake Presidents.
At the very top are those EWBOC members who have Pioneer Ancestors. You can really just think of these as snobs. They talk about being Pioneer Ancestor related like people say that they are related to the Mayflower. (The Mayflower Madame comes to mind, you are only as good as yourself - not your ancestor).
I forgot the base of the Pyramid? NO, just saving this for last.
Dishonored Missionaries are those boys or girls who for whatever embarrassing reason, have been "fired" from being a missionary. Depending upon the embarrassment, it may or not be excommunication, but it is shameful. I doubt if a Dishonored Missionary would show his/her face at church, but if they did - you see why they are at the bottom.
"Raped" Women - not from observation, from reading the information put out by General Authorities. Paraphrasing Prophet Spencer Kimball - a woman must resist a rapist to the point of death, for it is better to die a virgin than to not a pure woman on your wedding night. The scarlett letter of shame?? Come on Mitty.
Outside the Pyramid of course are the excommunicated.