Opinions of a Non-Mormon Female in Utah (West Jordan: home, neighborhoods)
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Question Janey...what type of work are you in? I was a nurse 25 yrs ago in a local hospital in salt Lake City and I found myself to be surrounded by intelligent single men (doctors, residents, therapists, pharmacists) in the medical profession and it seemed I was in the minority being LDS. I often found myself embarrassed by the kind of idle talk and gossip that went on behind the desk between employees (as in - not in the patients' rooms) that would seem like the "normal world" to whoever it was that said they went to Park City now and then to experience the normal world. Oddly enough, I felt like an outsider at work even though I grew up in Utah. So if you're not in medicine maybe you should make a career move.
Also, I can relate to what jpincone said about checking out LDS beliefs. What we believe is fundamental to how we behave and why we are the way we are. It truely would be enlightening and helpful for non-LDS to have some basic knowledge of LDS beliefs if they want to understand us. I think many are too scared to even take a peek at the church's official website (LDS.org) or open a Book of Mormon for fear the missionaries will be all over them and they will be pressured to commit to getting baptized. No one is asking you to agree with our beliefs if you don't. So many times we are criticized, condemned and insulted by folks who don't know beans about our doctrine or our history or about WHY families are so important to us or WHY temples are so sacred to us. Defensive...yes, a tad when we read so much of the nonsense that people write about us.
For example, there is the terribly sad and angrifying story about an LDS seminary (youth religion teacher) who had an inappropriate (to say the least) relationship with one of his students. Many people who know this man are stunned and sickened by the allegations as they well should be. Some have commented on the reality of Satan's influence in this situation. Professed non-LDS people get on the comment boards and say how stupid Mormons are for thinking Satan made this man do these awful things. The reality is that we DON'T believe that, but that the teacher was responsible for his own actions and that Satan tempted and influenced him.
So my point is that if people who criticize us or at the very least think we are mindless sheep, would take some time to read up on our basic beliefs, they would hopefully have more respect for us, for the things we do and for why a certain lifestyle is so important to us. I think every predominant group of people or culture, regardless of religion, should be afforded the same respect (unless what they are doing is criminal of course). I for one would like to understand, like markg, why the liquor laws are so important to drinkers. What is it about drinking alcohol that is so imortant that so many complain about not being able to buy it on Sunday in Utah (or whatever the law is.)
Anyway, I thought your post was terrific and well written without the usual "stupid Mormon" snubs. It was very diplomatic and graciously written. I can empathize with you since I'm now in a minority here in MN. It doesn't surprise me that people are confused when they move to Utah. Holy cow, i could barely understand what some Minnesotans were saying when i first moved here. The accent, the attitudes, the words used, all the different religions. After a decade, I'm still not sure I fit in here. MY kids have had a hard time finding friends because they don't want to drink and party or watch R rated movies or make out. (Well not that they wouldn't like to make out but they know better than to do that before getting married. )
Best wishes in finding your niche whether it's in Utah or elsewhere.
I would have to say anyone coming to Utah would be best off coming with NO pre conceived notions whatsoever. This way they could more easily discern what bothers them or not. There would be no point to trying to prejudice a jury so to speak, with the idea that they would somehow be excluded automatically by others. I pretty much keep to myself, so I haven't interacted all that much with many of the neighbors. I have little in common with them in the first place so that would have more to do with it than anything else (non LDS, over 50, don't have kids, etc. where the average couples in our neighborhood ARE LDS, have at least 3-6 kids per household, and their average ages are under 30. Geez they could by MY kids if I had any
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I agree, dcisive! When we moved here 15 years ago, the ONLY thing I knew about Utah was it was in the West and a state in our Union. Really..I hadn't heard that it was a hub for LDS (for lack of better terminology), I hadn't heard that there was really a lack of minority population, nothing.
We moved to Utah and that was that. As the months became years, we began to understand more about LDS and the way of life here. We did assimilate and learned to fit in. I have asked some LDS friends TONS of questions because I wanted (and still do want) to learn and understand. I am going with a friend to the Oquirrh Temple open house because I would love to see one. My daughter wants to go to activity days with her bff so she can spend some time with her. She is quite smitten with a guy that she has known since she was born (who happens to be LDS). If, when she grows up, she falls in love and coverts, it doesn't matter to DH or to me. As long as she is happy and her DH treats her right.
I think we will all be in heaven one day anyway, it doesn't matter which road we take to get there!
OK, I guess there are different ways of looking at it, but when I went to Italy and later to Argentina, it was good to know a little about the Catholic church so as not to be freaked out by what I saw or disrespectful in what I said out loud or publicly about my new experiences. What if I had announced loudly on some plaza that a crucifix was really creepy. How would Catholics who revere their crosses and such react to that? So when individuals (I resisted the urge to include an adjective there) harumph about this and that about the LDS church without having any understanding of what is sacred to us and why, it's offensive and tiresome. We'd just rather that person crawl into a cave or back to the east coast or the south and stay there. I think it's simple common courtesy to try to understand what makes a culture of people tick rather than just complain (loudly, offensively with the intention of putting people down) about their actions. That's just rude.
I am really impressed with the courtesy and diplomacy you expressed in stating your views. (You should run for office...
I would love your opinion on my situation. I am a classically trained musician considering grad school at University of Utah. I was born, raised and am doing my undergrad in Connecticut. Not sure if you're familiar with the state, but I'm originally from the Southeastern shoreline (New London, Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, etc.) and go to school in West Hartford. I guess I'm trying to say I'm not from the Gold Coast near NYC or Litchfield County next door to Martha Stewart. I was raised in a religious setting, and used to religious people in that sense (evangelical Baptist) but no longer subscribe to it. I'm pretty good at politely shutting down conversion attempts. Anyways, I wanted to your (and other posters') opinion(s) on the place as a college town, in terms of fun stuff to do(live music, coffeeshops, museums, etc. I'm not really into the bar scene, I'm too cheap ) public transportation, affordable housing and the classical music scene. Also, is SLC a good place for dog owners? I am planning on adopting a Sheltie after graduation, and wondered what kinds of things are available, such as dog parks, dog-friendly restaurants/stores, etc. Thanks for reading!
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