While my initial response to this question is “ARE YOU INSANE?” that’s just my knee-jerk reaction kicking in. See, I received the following question on my blog, and I will try to answer it to the best of my ability.
I have one question for you, I am a non-mormon with young non-mormon children. We are thinking of moving to Utah. My wife feels a little uncomfortable about being an outcast. Do you think we would encounter this
Well, if you move to, say, Park City, then NO, it shouldn’t be a problem at all. Salt Lake City is fairly moderate and liberal, too. But anywhere else, yes, you will encounter some problems and issues. That said, it’s not that the Mormons aren’t nice people. Most of them are. It’s just there are too many of them all living together, and whenever that happens, they tend to take on a mob mentality. Or at the least, a similar “blinders-on” mentality. They don’t see their actions as offensive. I think Utah would be a great place to live, if it weren’t for this, and that stinky smell that comes off the Great Salt Lake sometimes. Oh, and the inversion.
But the BO (not related to the stinky odor, but rather, referring to Blinders On)mentality was evidenced when the primary president showed up at my door and asked for my daughter, who is 10, never bothering to introduce herself or tell me her intent. This woman, I know, did not mean harm. I had someone comment on what a big meanie I was because I was rude to someone that had only the best intent. Heh. First of all, I was not rude. I just asked her who she was, and why she was asking for my daughter.
I mean, come on. Turn it around. How would SHE react if I showed up on her doorstep, asked for her daughter, and invited her to MY church, the Church of the Living Anti-Christ? Or The True Church of the Child Bride? She’d have been pretty angry. Why is it she, and the people around her, and all the other Mormons, cannot see this? These are not neighbors or people who know me. If my neighbor came and invited me to Church (and this has happened) I would say no thanks. Sorry, not interested. Joke around, and then be done with it.
When the people I know come around asking for donations for Boy Scouts, for instance, I tell them if they will donate to my daughter’s dance team, I will donate to the Boy Scouts. They laugh, and leave, without donating money, of course.
But back to the question at hand. Would you feel left out, and your children be left out, as a non-Mormon in Utah? Of course.
They put fliers on every door announcing church meetings and ward functions. They don’t stop to ask who is Mormon, and who is not. They just figure everybody is Mormon, or wants to be Mormon, or, for hell’s sake, SHOULD be Mormon! After all, it’s God’s true church!
Even out-of-state Mormons are disparaging of Utah Mormons. One of my harshest critics practically beat me up the side of the head because I didn’t seem to realize there is a real difference between Utah Mormons and other Mormons. Do the Utah Mormons know the other Mormons think they are big losers? And if so, would this set off some big divide where the church had to split, or Gordon would have to tell all the kids in the sandbox to play nice?
But despite the differences between the OMs(Out-of-State-Mormons, or perhaps even just Other Mormons) and UMs (Utah Mormons), they still band together when it comes to non-Mormons–whom they regard in a gentle, kindly, slightly condescending light, because these people are not going to the Celestial Kingdom. They also stick together against the ex-Mormons, who are generally reviled because they couldn’t live the commandments, and got offended by somebody, so they had to leave.
Note to non-Mormon Guy thinking about moving to Utah: As far as Mormons are concerned, the ONLY reason someone would leave the LDS Church is because they simply could NOT live up to the standards or someone said something mean and they were offended. Having a half a brain, say, as a reason, and understanding that elephants did NOT exist in the Americas pre-Columbus, despite what the Book of Mormon says, just is not a valid reason.
So, while in moving here you will find that the people are nice, especially when they first meet you and you are a prospect for conversion, part of what happens to non-Mormons in Utah is inevitable and avoidable.
See, the problem with teaching your children that you have the only true religion is that they have a tendency to want to repeat what YOU have drilled into their heads from birth.
In third grade, one of my daughter’s classmates asked her why she wasn’t Mormon. She replied, “I’m Christian.”
“Oh, well, Christians don’t have the true religion. Mormons do,” he told her.
The teacher did not intervene or comment.
I called the school to complain, and the boy was called in, and the teacher (a Mormon)was called in and spoken to, and the principal (also a Mormon) was very apologetic, but when it was all said and done I found myself feeling sorry for the poor kid. I mean, for hell’s sake, he’s been taught ALL his life that Mormonism is true, and that you proclaim it loud and clear, and that you spread it to the world, and when you are 18 you have to go on a mission, and when he DOES proclaim it, he’s in trouble.
The big problem with teaching kids that there is only ONE true thing, and you have it, is that often they believe you. And repeat it. Sometimes where you don’t want it repeated. Kids are good at that.
Once, my friend who is a hairdresser was told this story by an appalled grandmother. “My granddaughter said to me, ‘Guess what grandma? My mom and dad smoke p-o-t.'”
Annnnyway, long story short, if you do move to Utah, and it’s not Park City or Salt Lake City, consider private school. Mormons don’t care much for those. They don’t NEED their own private schools. They have one. It’s called PUBLIC SCHOOL.