Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Meaning of Utah

Since you all, (all four of you as far as I can tell!) were so kind, I feel encouraged, so I am taking the plunge and trying another post. Hopefully, like sex, it will become more fun and I will get better at it as I go along.
First, I live in Utah. Now for some of you, that might mean nothing, yet, but for others, this simple phrase is fraught with deeper meanings and musings.
I was not born here, I am not "from" Utah, I live here. My dh and I moved here with our five kids, (we added one 8 1/2 years ago) because housing prices were cheap, compared to Cali, where it was outrageous! We were quickly outgrowing our 1000 sq foot home and needed more room. We were warned, our California friends kept telling us that Utah was full of those "Utah Mormons" who were on the verge of not being "real" Mormons. A "real" Mormon is a good one, an obedient one. (I consider myself a fairly good Mormon, although I have been told that I am less than obedient!)
We moved to Utah anyway. And found, even though we are Mormon, we do not fit into the Utah culture. The problem with the culture in Utah is the people who live here, Mormon or not, think the church is the culture. Those of us who have lived and practiced Mormonism elsewhere will tell you, the culture in Utah is very strange. My girls were told in church their eternal destiny was to become a wife and mother. I went marching over to the young womens leader's house and had a long chat with her about what is an earthly job is, and that if my girls NEVER got married or became mothers, their eternal destiny was not in jeopardy and I would never be disappointed. I am not having my girls sitting around waiting for Prince Mormon Charming to come find them, set them up with eight kids and all live happily ever after. REALLY! Humph!
We are liberals, and let me tell you, finding democrats in Utah is as hard to find as fleas on a bald man's head! That is a whole 'nother post, being a democrat in Utah. They think Bush is a just next to a prophet in being close to God. Heaven help us all. No kidding, there was a prayer broadcast on TV sending some of the soldiers off, to do "God's Work"! I almost threw up. I just can not stretch my mind into thinking our presence in Iraq as being God directed.
And yes, there are polygamists in Utah. Doing what I did for 20 years, being a midwife, I came to know a whole bunch of them. They are not main stream Mormons, but a branch off, some are considered cults. Some are pretty nice, some are pretty repressive and I have heard some sad stories about girls who grew up in those houses, very scared and very sheltered. The best book I have read about it, was "In My Father's House" by Dorothy Allred Solomon. She left the polygamist life later, after being raised in it. (Yes I know her too!) I have met some of Tom Green's wives, for the any who are drooling about the whole thing, I know some Kingstons, Barlows and Ervil LeBaron's daughter lives up the street from me. I heard her tell someone once that she had been widowed. They then asked her how her husband died. She said a hunting accident. I about died inside, hunting accident?? Yeah, her husband was the prey! Ha.
Mormons are not allowed to drink regular tea or coffee, so the joke goes like this:
How do you tell the Mormons from the Non in Utah?
The temperature of their caffeine! Ha ha. hot for the gentiles, (yes, really, Utah is the only place where a Jew is a gentile) and cold, as in Pepsi for the Mormons. Really, really good Mormons don't drink caffeine drinks either. I used to be one of those, in my latter years of sleep deprivation, I have given up not drinking caffeine. My drug of choice. Mountain Dew or Dr. Pepper. Ambrosia of the Gods. I thought that killing my husband or my kids would be a bigger sin than drinking caffeine.
I figure I need to tackle the whole Mormon thing upfront before this blog goes on, so no one is surprised. I have lots of friends who are not Mormon and I didn't join the church until I was 18. No one else in my family is LDS either. I was actually raised Catholic, catholic school and all, (that is a whole nother blog, about the nuns!) Being an outspoken, liberal, brown, woman in Utah is not an easy path, but I feel that this is where I am supposed to be, so here I stay. (In the Church I mean, not Utah) If you have any questions, feel free to ask, I enjoy learning about new stuff myself.

3 Kids Who Want To Play:

Krissy said...

Man. The only things I know about Mormonism are what I've read, Dateline specials about freakpeople, and SLC Punk.

It's seemed to me that, like any organized religion, you can get the folks who are generally following the "Hey! Be nice to people! Don't steal shit! Try to be good!" kind of methodology, and those where it's definately about drinking the Kool-Aid.

I am of the personal opinion that organized religion is screwy in general, can do great things in small instances, and has a potential for harm unparalleled by any other flag or banner.

But it's that way in all religions. I'll be interested in reading about your experiences and following your story.

achromic said...

Wow that is cool I never have known any mormens before. There is a church around here (we live near the SFO airport) but the VERY young men they send out to prothylize don't seem to be the type I would be making friends with. I have often said that I appreciate the Mormen comercials I have seen on TV as they seem to be about being good human beings. Which in my mind a few more churchs of all religious persuaion could make important. I will probably have some diffrences of opinion as I tend to sort of be suspiouse of religion in genrael but I do my best to TRY and listen and respect people who are diffrent culturally then I am.

Granny said...

My husband is an LDS convert, although over the past several months, he's been attending church (Methodist) with me more and more and his less and less. I haven't nagged; it just seems to be something he has decided is the right thing to do. He watched the entire two days of the Conference over the weekend though. Always does and tapes it.

I'm adding you to my blogroll as soon as I figure out how. A friend is doing it for me now.