There is a young man at the grocery store where I shop who is overly friendly, talks non-stop about himself, and does not respect social boundaries such as personal space or changing the subject when the other person doesn't appear interested. The first time I met him, I inferred that he had Asperger's syndrome(I am a professional who works with people on the autism spectrum) and that he was a Mormon. After several more trips to the grocery (it seems like he ends up bagging my groceries almost every time) he brought up topics such as visiting relatives in Utah, his church "calling",and his upcoming mission that confirmed that he is a Mormon. I still believe he has Asperger's, but of course I have no way of officially confirming this. I kind of feel sorry for him because normally a person with Asperger's syndrome would have family support for working on more appropriate social skills and boundaries, but in this case his "friendliness" is probably being encouraged. Also, I doubt if he will be successful as a missionary because of his "in your face" approach and it would be sad to see him punished or made to feel guilty because of not baptizing enough people. I've been thinking about how I might have a bit of influence on him, but the only thing I've said so far (in response to him telling me about his mission for the third time) was "Do you have to go on this mission, or is it your choice?" He appeared confused and then hesitantly said it was his parent's choice. I then shared that at my church people only go on mission trips or become missionaries if they chose to do so. He didn't respond to that. I know the situation is really out of my hands, I just wonder if anyone has had a similar experience or suggestions of what else I could say to him.
Thanks for sharing your perspective. I really think of Mormonism as a sub-culture with very different social rules and boundaries than those held by non-Mormons in America. For a person with Asperger's growing up in that sub-culture, it must be all the more difficult to relate appropriately to the "outside world" and to be successful in so many aspects of their lives.
Mindlight, I'm sorry if reading my post stirred up negative or angry feelings in you. I'm just grateful that you found your way out of the Mormon church and now have a much greater chance of learning the social skills you need to be successful in life. Maybe you should consider joining a support group for adult Aspies.
As someone who grew up as an undiagnosed Aspie and is now 53, I can tell you that you just sort of learn as you go. I probably still make gaffs, but after suffering the consequences of saying inappropriate things, you make a mental note of, "Oops. Don't do that again."
They didn't have the support that kids have now when I was a kid, so I just had to learn on my own. I think I've done fairly well, considering the circumstances.
You wouldn't happen to live somewhere in the greater Seattle area, would you?
There is a young Mormon checker/bagger at a local grocery who is just like this. I was sure that he was a mormon the first time I met him, and a friend of mine later on confirmed it, saying that he was chatting about relatives in Utah and his upcoming mission.
He says the strangest things to me in the checkout stand, such as "I've been here 3 hours!", and comments on random items that I'm buying - unless it's beer or coffee.
I also went in with my wife one time, and he tried very hard not to stare at her boobs the whole time, but failed miserably.
Nope, I don't live in the Seattle area, but that's strange how you've run into someone so similar. The guy at the grocery I shop at also comments on whatever customers buy. Once he saw that I was buying Oreos and went on and on about how he really wanted one. The cashier looked really embarrassed.
I have Asperger's Syndrome myself, so I know what this poor kid is going though. I'm a nevermo, but a kid with this illness can so be manipulated to do whatever the people around him want, just so he can gain acceptance.
Wow, do we go to the same grocery store (over by 9th and 9th in SLC)? You described one of the baggers there very similar to the one I am thinking at this particular store. I know it's a long shot to be thinking of the same person, but interesting nonetheless.
This goes well beyond Mormonism and apsbergers. Our stores here do a really good job at providing employment for a variety of people with different disabilities who might have trouble getting into public settings.
They unfortunately often do a terrible job of supervising and training these people. They don't adequately train their other employees to monitor, either. I was verbally assaulted by one while a checker just turned her back, and I will never go back to that store.
I see it as a management issue. I complained to the manager, who acted like it was my problem.