Comments about ‘Author shares how it feels to live among Mormons in Utah’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 25 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

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Far East USA, SC

I lived in the Salt Lake Area for 10 years. The LDS are certainly very good and nice people.

That said, I was certainly a conversion target. Which I understand. However, once it was determined that conversion was not in my future, the "neighborly" attitude dried up. I am not saying that anyone was unfriendly. I became someone to wave at from a distance.

I did have one neighbor express their displeasure to me about mowing my lawn on a Sunday.

The LDS I have known or worked with outside of Utah were much more accepting. I believe that in Utah it is just so easy to surround one self with no one but other LDS who validate and embolden beliefs and stereotypes.

I lived in the SLC area. I cannot imagine moving a non LDS family with kids to a Provo/Orem type area.

Danny Chipman
Lehi, UT

I live in an older neighborhood in Sandy where the LDS/other ratio is about 50/50. I've also spent a couple of years living outside of the inbred Utah-Mormon culture where I was definitely in the religious minority. That being said, I would never be so blunt asking someone's religion in the first conversation, or even the first few. To me that would be like asking someone what their income is.

I try to be a good neighbor regardless of the beliefs of those around me. After all, opportunities to share the gospel, especial in areas that have been run ragged by missionaries over the years, often only come after proving to your neighbors you genuinely care about THEM, not their religious status.

I'm a leader in our Primary's "Activity Days" program. Over half of our regularly attending girls are not even LDS. Great! I'm glad they have the opportunity to get to know us and do wholesome, fun activities with us, and I hope they'll carry those feelings of safety and acceptance with them throughout their lives, regardless of whether or not they ever join the church.

w d m
South Jordan, UT

Frequently, the "Are you LDS?" question is asked to provide information, not to assess or judge the new move in. If the new family is LDS, the question is followed with comments like the following:
"Your house is in the South Jordan 384th Ward."
"The ward boundaries are this block and the two blocks west of here."
"The bishop lives in the green house. The Relief Society President lives in the red house."
This was our experience when we moved to South Jordan three years ago, and we welcomed the information.

Utes Fan
Salt Lake City, UT

I can understand the frustration being non-LDS in a predominantly LDS neighborhood. I sometimes think we Latter-Day Saints let our goals and assignments overtake our common sense. A few years ago in my ward, we had over-zealous ward mission goals such as a goal of 12 baptisms in the ward for the year. This lead to ward members talking to neighbors and knocking on doors only to meet short-term goals or assignments, and not to get to know the people better. Those non-LDS can sense this easily and it is easy to be turned off by the over-zealous ward leader who is more concerned about how to explain the the Stake President when ward mission goals are not met and less concerned about the actual people in the ward boundaries, whether LDS or not.

Ironically, I think missionary opportunities in Utah go best when you are not looking for them. People are more relaxed and trusting of a Latter-Day Saint when there is genuine neighborly concern and not some agenda, thus leading to more interest overall in the Church.

JD Tractor
Iowa City, IA

Next week there needs to be an article about being a Mormon outside of Utah and what happens when your neighbors find out your religion. One thing I've discovered is the non-religous neighbors are much more accepting than the "Christian" neighbors. It is somewhat ironic.

I also am amazed how many churches advertise their socials, special weeks of lent, etc. and nobody cares. And I have yet to see one protestor standing outside a religious center calling people names and holding signs protesting their beliefs.

Utah has a lot to work and it may not all be just the Mormons.

Casey See

I only have one minor point of disagreement with the above article. Here in the deep south, as soon as one moves into a neighborhood, the 3rd question asked, after what is your name, how many kids do you have, is "Do you have a church?" If you answer in negative, then you will be invited to that person's church. If you answer in the positive, they will ask where is it located and what is the name of the church. It isn't really a "nosey" thing, it is just the way they are here.

I agree with the rest of the article and most of the comments. LDS, I am one, need to be friends with all of their neighbors. Try and push the church, and you will get push back most of the time. However, simple invites to church activities and especially family activities were you really want the individual or family to come and not to join the church, will go a long way to establishing a firm friendship and possibly interest in the church.

If they have similar morals, don't worry about interactions. It can only lead to better understanding are worst.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Casey See,


Danny Chipman,

Except for Casey See's comment, I agree completely.

Far East USA, SC

I grew up in a neighborhood in Texas and went thru 12 years of school with a bunch of neighborhood kids. With the exception of those that I saw in church, I had no idea what religion, if any, the rest of them were.

Didn't know, and didn't care.

I found that in conversations with LDS relatives, it is difficult to go 5 minutes without some aspect of religion entering the conversation. I do understand why that is. In Utah, the LDS religion is an all-encompassing way of life. It basically permeates everything, so it is understandable.

Not a knock, just my observation.

sandy, ut

I don't get why the mormon culture promotes pestering those who aren't members. It is quite annoying to have somebody ask you your religion before they get to know you. Common sense would be to get to know somebody before spouting that question. If mormons lead by example they might get more people interested. Pestering people that aren't members is quite counter productive. If somebody is interested, they will ask you. If not, leave them alone.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

When we moved to Kentucky, folks could tell we were not from here. Very shortly after meeting us (often in line at the grocery store or some other very casual venue) folks would ask "do you have a church home"?

It wasn't exclusive but inclusive. They were inviting us in with them if we did not have a religious preference of our own. I did not feel insulted. They were just reaching out to us.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

@JD Tractor

"And I have yet to see one protestor standing outside a religious center calling people names and holding signs protesting their beliefs."

Clearly you've never stood outside the Conference Center during general conference or at the Manti temple during the pageant.

Far East USA, SC

Twin, Let me first say that I appreciate your presence on this board.

You write
"do you have a church home"? They were inviting us in with them if we did not have a religious preference of our own.

I would agree. This would be a kind gesture in the right spirit. (no pun intended)

I understand when Christians try to bring others into the "fold". And by that, I mean inviting non church goers to their church.

But, I never understood the LDS desire to convert other church going Christians to the LDS religion

It sends the message that "our church" is better than "your church" or yours is missing something that ours can provide.

I have to believe that fuels some of the contempt for the LDS by some.

Iowa City, IA

re:Brave Sir Robin,

Notice where I live. I'm saying their is a lot of bigotry in Utah, a lot. I think this authors efforts to get to know Mormons is a great example for non-mormons. I'm getting tired of articles that can point out every flaw of the Mormon way, but never focus or mention the flaws of those outside the LDS scene.


Good for her. She could have been offended and put off, but realizing that she had moved into an LDS area, rather than kick against the pricks, she educated herself, and got to know her neighbors for who they are. It really is silly to be put off by LDS culture if you move to an LDS area. It would be like me being offended by Judaism in Jerusalem.

That being said, many LDS are actually put off by other LDS in highly concentrated LDS areas. It seems that the "critical mass" has been reached, and sometimes we LDS develop a pack mentality. We really need to learn from this great lady, and love people for who they are, and not expect everyone to be in the investigator pool. They can just be really good people, who can be our friends. I've found that I really can't have too many friends.

DN Subscriber 2

Having lived all over the country most of our lives, we moved to Utah the first time about 25 years ago, for about 3 years, then elected to move back here permanently about 15 years ago. We are not LDS.

Both times we moved to Utah in the SLC area, we have been warmly welcomed by our LDS (and non-LDS) neighbors, and find this to be one of the most pleasant, safe, hospitable places we have ever lived.

Sure, the missionary kids come around every so often, but they did that in other places we lived, too. We feel no pressure to join the LDS church, nor any distancing by others because we are not LDS.

The LDS people have the values which made this country great; self reliance, tolerance, patriotism, charity, and a strong work ethic and family focus. As for the detailed aspects of the faith, I will let theologians debate those, but the results shown in the lives of the LDS as they live life are most admirable, and there can be no debate on that.

A LDS community is a great place to live!

Counter Intelligence
Salt Lake City, UT

“Anywhere else in the country it’s rude to ask what religion you are, but when we moved to Alpine 10 years ago, it seemed like religion was brought up within the first few minutes of meeting someone,”

Interesting: I am not LDS but it seems like whenever I go anywhere else (particuraly California for some reson)and I say I live in Salt Lake, I am always asked if I am Mormon within the first few minutes of the conversation. I find it tedious - but I remind myself that they are probably only curious (or misinformed). So I take a deep breath and explain the same thing for the umpteenth time. It works the same way in reverse. I have been around Mormons (including family)long enough to understand their predicament of being judged for behaving like other humans.

Considering that my 10 closest friends consist of a former LDS Bishop, two active Catholics, four active evangelicals, two active Mormons and an inactive one, and an agnostic stoner; My observation is that those who want to get along do so: and when you dont get along it is probably the other persons fault (sarcasm).

Heber City, UT

Being LDS and having lived in the South, I can report that Southerners are also very open about religion, inviting folks to come to their church etc. etc. In general, the Southern folks appeared equally interested in "conversions" and like Mormons are certainly interested in bringing souls to Christ. As described in the article, people should take an active interest in their neighbors and build on common belief.

Kaysville, UT

It seems like us Mormons just can't win. If you invite the new neighbors to ward functions then you're being pushy and trying to convert them. If you don't invite the new neighbors then you're being a snob and exclusive.

Santaquin, UT

"It really is silly to be put off by LDS culture if you move to an LDS area. It would be like me being offended by Judaism in Jerusalem."

I don't think it is any secret that there are many people in Jerusalem who are very offended by Judaism.

aunt lucy
Looneyville, UT

When someone new moves in next to me, I usually just ask if they have a decent smoker and know how to cook a tender brisket? If the answer is yes, then I know I am going to heaven regardless of where they go to church.

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