I have attended BYU. I have also lived in the "mission" field, the
Southern United States, for most of my life and I am in my 50's. I miss
the fellowship of members, since I am the only member in the town where I live
and have to drive 30 miles to church. Seldom do I run into a member of the
Church in my daily work life. We are all God's children. It is a blessing
to live in Utah. It is also a blessing to live in the mission field. Bloom
where you are planted. You are all my brothers and sisters and while I may not
agree with all that you say, I dearly wish I had the chance to fellowship with
members more often. I thank God that I can connect with members on the internet,
such as this. Every member is a missionary no matter where they live. We all
serve a purpose, whether in Utah, or elsewhere.
I agree with BYU Rugby. I've visited a couple of times and unfortunately
both times we have been met with a very condescending attitude and greeting or
lack there of. A lot of us in Houston really feel appreciative of the fact that
we do not live so close to our General Authorities or a temple on every block or
surrounded by those who are supposed to be of the same flock. We feel that
living a distance away really helps us in clinging and developing a testimony
and it really helps to bring our ward family closer to one another. Sometimes
being in the middle is not best if what you are surrounded by if the flock you
are in the middle of is not moving in the right direction.
Faithfully living the standards of the church, without need for drama and
recognition is creating power and strength of character in you. Believe it. My
wife is one such saint. She didn't realize her strength until a drug-addled
neighbor who eventually succumbed to her tragic life pointed out just how much
strength she had. At first it really bothered my wife, until she realized that
while her friend was busy "partying" and engaging in "riotous
living" my wife was at home alone, was never asked to go on dates, she did
her duty, probably bored a lot, missed out on a lot of opportunities to be
popular. But come twenty years later and she had five well-behaved kids and a
strong home life, while her friend had a chemical dependency, lost custody of
her children, and eventually wandered into traffic and got hit by a car late at
night.Never regret doing the right thing. That steadiness and quiet
unassuming life is more valuable than you know.
There are only 2 people whose notice you need in this life; 1) Yourself so you
can ponder your weakneses and work to overcome them and 2) - your Father in
Heaven to help you through the atoning gift of His Son.When
it's all said and done, if it's right with those 2 - you'll be
One with Him and that's the ultimate goal. That should make you feel
special, except it'll be real gratitude and not the praise of men.
@suzyk#1 :) Thank you for the uplifting words.RE: Utah vs.
Non-Utah MormonsI too have felt spurned by some in Utah because I was from
Sin City. However, there is no way I would believe all, most, or even a great
many, would actually feel that way. We Non-Utah Mormons would sin, by painting
the entire state with that same ugly color. Let us all follow the words of
President Lorenzo Snow, and "examine OURSELVES, hold communion with
OURSELVES in the secret closet, to ascertain how WE stand â€¦ before the
Lord." Or as President Uchtdorf puts it, "(Not) judge, because (we) sin
differently than you." Just as we all have different gifts from God, we all
will have different struggles to overcome as well. Indeed, we are all prodigal
sons and daughters.
The letter writer should be careful what he wishes for. Those who are
"different" (like the liberal who didn't serve a mission that I
was) have a tendency to get a lot of negative attention.
â€śI havenâ€™t sinned"Well first off, anyone who
considers themselves in that category definitely has some pride sins going on.
Everyday, your bishopric thanks you for being you. They appreciate the stalwart,
the ones who show up, the ones who have faith -- even if it's just the
faith to show up and hope. I was born in Utah, left when I was 18, and I can
tell you, there is a huge difference in the attitudes of those in and those out.
There are good people all over, but sometimes, we have to peel back the social
expectations to find the good; some of us carry the cultural expectation heavier
Good guy - If you really want to screw up on the same level as some of the
"prodigal sons" have, you're welcome to, but I doubt any of them
would recommend it. They're coming back because something on that other
track didn't work.
So, according to the individual who posted after me, when an individual is
visiting Utah, they are supposed to act very humble, not look anyone in the eye,
and hope not to bring any attention to them selves?Really? As a
covert to the church making their first solo trip to Utah, I was nervous as all
get out to be standing in places where the very first saints had build the
church. What did I get? Rude and thoughtless comments.The blessing
in disguise is that once I graduated transferred to and graduated from BYU 8
years later, I got out of the state as fast as I could and, have only come back
for business. And then, I have fun acting like an ignorant gentile, so the
locals will at least treat me with common courtesy!If you want
evidence of the difference between Utah Mormons and the balance of the church,
get a set of ward building plans. In Utah, the buildings are designed and
build for 11% activity. In the balance of North America they are built for 80%
activity. Again,"Tell me all is well in ZION." Go ahead!
"How do you think he felt about or treated Non-Mormon in Utah."I have no idea JoeBlow. Either way it doesn't really matter. That is
between him and God. I strongly believe how we treat people says a lot about
who we are as a person. All I'm going to worry about at this point is how
I treat others and sometimes, I need to do better.
i can understand completely how the good guy feels. i think it is natural to
feel this way and i think any member of the church where ever they live, can not
honestly say they have not felt this way at one time or another. i have seen
many strong youth be passed by because the leaders don't have to
"worry" about them. i have seen strong wonderful members that serve
others with all their heart go un-noticed because leaders don't have to
"worry" about them. out of those two groups i just mentioned, i have
seen some slip through the cracks because they have felt un appreciated. i think
we as members need to remember everyone needs a word of appreciation from time
to time. we need to learn to help the "one" with out losing most of the
"99." i think as far as cultures are concerned not only do we need to
embrace them but they need to embrace ours too. i think the problem some people
have is that it seems we have to embrace other cultures at the expense of ours,
not with ours.
Having grown up in Utah, I have to admit that I rarely felt just like another
Mormon who wasn't noticed. In fact, I felt like I was noticed too much.
It was more like there was a stigma with following the gospel all of the way.
It seemed like there was a set way to parent, a set way to act (there is
definitely a social correctness in Utah). Pressure to parent in spiritually
weak ways or you were weird. Pressure to sin without going all of the way.
Pressure to follow the people instead of the Spirit of the Lord. Actually, a
lot of this pressure came from within my own family there. So, maybe my
experiences were not like other people's experiences. Utah is definitely
different in different cities, wards, and families.
RE: SLCWatch. The captain of their salvationâ€¦ (Hebrews 2:9 KJV ).
"captain"=(G. archeĚ„gos), the author or source, of Christians'
salvation.@ What do we supply? Faith." No, Hebrews 12:2,
looking unto Jesus [is], the author and finisher of our faith.
â€śGod does not reward the Christians according to the success of their
labor, because that depends on himself; but he rewards them according to the
faithful labor which they bestow on his work.â€ť(1 Corinthians 3:8 NLT), Or
a good apple tree produces good apples.,â€¦Work hard â€ťto
show the Results of your Salvationâ€ťâ€™ obeying God with â€™deep
reverenceâ€™ and fear.(Phil 2:12 NLT) .
In the grand sweep of eternity, you don't matter much. Moses discovered
this after his vision of the universe was unfolded: "for this cause I know
that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed." (Moses 1:10)
I attended a stake general priesthood meeting where the speaker was from
California. He commented that he had no idea if he would have stayed so solid if
he had not had so many opportunities to serve. One of his bottom lines was
expressing a lot of respect for those of us who lived here and just didn't
have as much opportunity.I hate the Utah/mission-field thing...work
hard to be worth it no matter where and I work to damp that one down no matter
what. I visited Boston a few years back and did a temple session there. The
officiator treated me like a visiting authority. I tried to be very gracious and
thank him and respect him...who probably faced a lot of challenges. We do too...
"right here in River City." We all fall short of the mark.
To say we haven't sinned is ... well think about it.We're all prodigal
and we all have issues. These are typical issues...there are so many more. This is not something to break a sweat over.
There will always be times we may feel that way. Just another one of the
adversary's tools. When I feel like that I like to listen to
Michael McLean's song called "I'm Just One of the Ninety and
Nine". He sings of not being the one who strayed and basically kept at least
a loose grasp of the iron rod. It then goes on to say that we are His and He
values us every bit as much as all of His other sheep. He will still hold us in
His embrace and we can feel His love when we seek Him as much as anyone else.
It is worth looking up.
Let me take a totally different look at this:We (followers of
Christ) are at war with evil (followers of Satan)We joined the crew of the
SS Kingdom of God (Warship not Cruise ship)We have only one Captain,
Christ.We aren't just passengers, we are supposed to be working crew.
Some take their obligations seriously. Some don't.Some plot the
course the Captain gives. Some pump the bilge.War is won not with battles
but with logistics. (Supplies that win the war)If you want to help the
Captain win the war, fight the ship from where you are assigned not from where
you want to be. And supply logistics.What do we supply? Faith. Everytime some one goes to church in Utah it strengthens a member in Japan.
Everytime you pay tithes in Payson you build a bunker in Vancouver. Everytime
you pray you strengthen a youth in Africa. Home teach and a missionary tries
harder. Visit the sick and you help a relief society president.Everyday
member is winning the war with logistics. FaithIf we all stopped
supplying faith this ship would sink.We all aren't generals.We
all are supplying faith.
I for one have no problem with the "Utah Mormon" thing. I rejoice in
the goodness of those who've repented and returned, and those who in
obscure and exotic places have found the Church and thrive in its glow, even
when the world around them is oblivious to it. There is a sort of stigma with
the "Utah Mormon" image, but so what? Utah Mormons are great!
They're generous, they're kind, they're eager to serve, and they
have the coveted opportunity to live in a place where the Gospel is prevalent.
I was born in Utah, but I haven't lived there since I was two. But when I
visit I enjoy basking in the warmth of the people there. There are horror
stories, to be sure. But they're few and far between. As long as
there's no looking down the nose at outsiders (I rarely meet them), I say
enjoy it! Just a thought. Keep calm, and Utah on!
I'm thinking perhaps your introduction sounded braggy which incited the
negative responses. A better introduction might have mentioned that you are from
Oregon, excited to be visiting Utah and so happy to meet some new people. When
the focus is about us and our accomplishments (even when asked to introduce
ourselves) our response can be off putting. But when we have a desire to meet
and like others they generally reciprocate.
To Dadof5sons:Where it may be true that those that are struggling are
assigned the more proactive, faithful and regular home and visiting teachers you
can do more a lot to help the situation. Have you tried inviting your home
teachers over for dessert on a Sunday night and inviting them to share a
message? Has your wife called her visiting teachers and told them 2 or 3 days
and times she would love them to come by for a quick visit? We have no way to
know why those that are assigned to serve our families are hesitant: perhaps
they are shy, super busy, unorganized with their calendars. But we can do a lot
to make it easy for them to come and in doing so bless their lives as well as
ours. Perhaps there was inspiration in the assigning of the home teachers and
visiting teachers to your family and YOU just need to make a bigger effort for
it to happen.
Now I feel that I am stronger than ever, I have come back into the fold and
never once have the members of my ward ever looked down on me. I try to use my
experiences to warn others not to make the same choices that I unfortunately
made. I even have my temple recommend back.I used to think that
those who were "born in the covenant" had some special status, but even
they can sin. I was proven wrong. My ex-wife, who comes from a very strong
multi-generational LDS family in my area, chose to apostatize and turn her back
on the church, thus forcing me to divorce her. I sincerely hope that someday
she will choose to repent and come back to the fold, even as I did.
Fortunately, my in-laws have been very good to me, not taking sides, but doing
their best to set an example on how to live a Christ-like life. I am still
invited to family functions, which has been a great blessing unto me. Yet, she
chooses to stay away.I thank the Lord daily for the atonement. We
are all prodigals in some way or another.
I tend to agree with milojthatch that the LDS culture needs to get over the
"Utah Mormon/Non-Utah Mormon" thing. I too, am from CA and have felt
that "some" of the Utah Mormons have a chip on their shoulder because
they tend to think that they are "closer to God" because of their
residency status. It has, in some ways, caused me to think that in order to
become a true Mormon, one needs to move out of Utah in order to experience life.
Specifically out of the Salt Lake valley. It tends to make me believe they
live a sheltered life.I have been a member since the age of 11 when
converted into the church with my parents, never went on a mission because I
didn't feel ready, struggled greatly with inactivity, committed sins worthy
enough to go through a repentance process with the bishop, yada yada yada. What
matters is not where you've been, but where you are in life and where you
are going. I feel my testimony is much stronger because of my experiences. We
all sin. Just don't judge me because I sin differently than you.
BYU RUGBY - We all have our warts, Utah Mormons and "mission field"
A few months after returning from a mission, I found myself visiting a ward in
Utah (I was raised in Oregon). I was asked at the beginning of a young adult
Sunday school class to introduce myself. I mentioned my mission, being an eagle
scout, and impending attendance at Ricks. Two voices from the back of the room
said flatly," We all are, your nothing special." I looked around and
every person in the room just shrugged, including the married adult couple
instructors. Says everything you need to know about Utah Mormons.I
have never visited Utah when I have not had multiple experiences of a similar
nature. Best thing that could happen to the church is for the brethren to move
headquarters out of the state.
I heard a prayer offered by a humble brother in stake conference once in which
he asked the Lord to "bless him with patience with those who sin differently
than he." We are all prodigal at some level, and knowing we live in a
telestial place here in mortality, and cannot achieve absolute perfection, need
to be tolerant of those in this condition, as we all sin and come short of the
Glory of God. We are more alike than we are different, and should act as such
with each other.William Kettley
Something tells me that Good Guy is having a little fun at the expense of Miss
Angela Trusty and all of those commenting on this. It is obvious satire.
"My trainer there was from a small town in Utah and he made me feel like
such a worthless person for being from LA. He'd tell me things like "LA
Mormons aren't really Mormons" or "The church is only it's
truest in Utah."How do you think he felt about or treated
Non-Mormon in Utah.
I think LDS culture needs to get over the "Utah Mormon/Non-Utah Mormon"
thing. It serves no purpose but to split us up. I'm from Los Angeles, CA
and went on a mission to Mississippi. My trainer there was from a small town in
Utah and he made me feel like such a worthless person for being from LA.
He'd tell me things like "LA Mormons aren't really Mormons" or
"The church is only it's truest in Utah."I started to
grow a dislike for all things Utah as a result. What I've come to realize
however is that these feelings, both mine and his and feelings like these others
in and out of the state of Utah in the church may hold, only hurt us as a
people. The church is ment to be a united front. Each one of us matter to God
the same. Yet many of these mean spirited feelings seem to stay alive on both
sides. It is time we as a people put these feelings to bed.
To: Hagothsen: I truly sympathize with you and your struggle to feel good about
yourself and the decisions you make. We must be in command of our own choices
and not our families. It is between us and God. I, too made terrible choices and
my family had a difficult time with that. I was excommunicated(of which I
deserved) but through "The Miracle of Forgivesness" by Spencer W.
Kimball, fervant prayer I was found worthy of rebaptism. Elder Marvin J. Ashton
told me that we don't make "dumb" mistakes, they are careless
mistakes. There are still times when I beat myself up for being less than
perfect but as I continue to fervantly work on overcoming my weaknesses I find
that I feel less angry at myself and my testimony has grown remarkably. It is
between us and the Lord and He is always there for us whether good or bad. We
can't live our lives by others opinions....only through the Atonement of
Jesus Christ will peace come to our soul.
RE: Twin Lights, the best of us are Prodigal Sons who need the atonement.
True,For God so loved the world that he gave his one and Only Son, that
â€śwhoever believes in himâ€ť shall not perish but have eternal life
(John 3:16 NIV).Sinners are attractive because they are loved; they
are not loved because they are attractive. Godâ€™s love does not dependent
upon our achievements, nor can we ever earn our salvation. Martin Luther.Weâ€™re not sinners because we sin. We sin because weâ€™re sinners. In
(Psalm 51:5) Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother
conceived me.(Psalm 51:17). aâ€ť broken and contrite
heart.â€ť The word for "contrite" means To be bowed down with the
awareness of our spiritual bankruptcy. Eph 2:3b: "We were by
nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind."
Perhaps more important is not does one matter, but does one make a difference.
My second thought I'd like to share has to do with comparing ourselves to
the prodigal son. Those of us who have gone through a period of inactivity or
who are converts to the church sometimes label ourselves as the prodigal son or
daughter. We need to remember the context in which Jesus gave the
parable. He was answering questions and speaking to lawyers and politicians
about the law. While we can take many meanings from parables, I sometimes think
we categorize ourselves incorrectly or assume that we cannot be restored to
receive eternal blessings through incorrectly interpreting this parable. The
Atonement of Jesus Christ can restore ALL things. We know this from scripture
and the words of living prophets.I feel that we should look past the
prodigal son label and remember: Alma the Younger and the Sons of Mosiah were
members of the church that had strayed and were persecuting the church whose
course was corrrected. King Limhi and his household were converted from great
wickedness unto light. Paul persecuted the church and was called to repentence.
Even the Brother of Jared was reminded by the Lord that he had slacked off in
his devotions and worship.
In all ways we are the prodigal son. We have all fallen away from our
Father's House. The "faithful son" in that parable is a reflection
on those of us who feel we are not prodigals. None of us have earned our way
home yet, none of us have been faithful all along.The only truly
faithful son is our Savior, and He does not begrudge our Father's love for
us as prodigals. We have to remember that, as we were told in general
conference just this month, our Heavenly Father WANTS to forgive us.I'm with Hagothsen in remembering that no matter when we repent and
decide to strive to return Home, we will be welcomed and loved, not just by our
Heavenly Father, but also by His Only Faithful Son. The sooner we do it,
though, and the sooner we stop thinking of ourselves as the "faithful"
ones, the greater our blessings will be in this life, and the greater and sooner
will be our joy - in part because we will also, as we become more like our
Savior, join in the celebrations of others who have been able to return.
'The Good Guy' makes an excellent observation about our culture, and
the response turned into a "Prodigal Son" commentary instead of
addressing the point he is making. I feel his observations valid for discussion,
and that we shouldn't minimize it by quoting scripture and moralizing. Growing up in Utah as an adolescent, it seemed that those who promoted
themselves well, were popular, or were highly connected received the most
attention in our Mormon culture. I've learned that this also extends into
adulthood, and have observed it to be a strong element in the media messages the
church sends out. My favorite messages are from those who are humble and
sincere, not self-promoting. I consider myself a "boots on the
ground" member of the church. I'm on the front lines. I had a long
period of inactivity in the church. I'm a single, middle-aged female with
no children. Most of the time I feel that I don't fit into the culture.
However, I would prefer to be known not for my period of rebellion and struggle,
but for my ability to take the lessons learned from that period to minister and
In the words of President Utchdorf, "Lift where you stand" brothers and
sisters. It took me many years to learn this lesson. Your personal
relationship with God is much more important than your calling.
With all the inspirational stories in the church, I always felt the need to be
or do something amazing. I realized that I could be amazing in small ways: be
a good husband, father, brother, son, neighbor, home teacher, etc.
There's greater fulfillment when you don't make it about yourself.
To a degree, even the best of us are Prodigal Sons who need the atonement.
I'm a recently returned prodigal son, born, raised and living in sin city.
Despite being born "in the covenant" of "goodly parents", I
forsook The Lord for 2+ decades. I'd give ANYTHING to start over, and
remain true to the faith throughout my entire life. I'd give ANYTHING to
have been a "Good Guy". One can always choose to sin, but one cannot
choose the effects of sin. Life, even as a "Good Guy" is hard enough,
no? I promise you, you don't want the added heartache of serious sin.
Repentance has blessed me profoundly, and like Alma, I am "harrowed up by
the memory of my sins no more." But my family thinks I'm nuts, and
doesn't share my faith, in large part, because of my poor example.
Nevertheless, like the prodigal son, I know that my faithful brother (Good Guy)
will receive all that our father has. As the other, unfaithful son, I look to
another parable to find comfort, as an 11th hour worker in the vineyard.
Regardless, I know His ways are just. I trust in Him. I'm thankful for the
Good Guys that show me the way.
In the poem "Desiderata" there is a line which reads: "If you
compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there
will be greater and lesser persons than yourself."You may not
think you matter, You live in an area where you and others live the gospel on a
daily basis. But what if the example of your strength and righteous living was
the very thing helping someone else to make the choices for living righteously
as well? You may not realize it but everything you do that reflects
your desire to do Heavenly Father's will causes ripples which may be small
when they spread from you, but as they travel they build in magnitude and power
and become a great source of light and strength to others around you.So never think you do not matter. Every one of us matters. We are Children of
"Iâ€™ve noticed that members put a large emphasis on diversity and being
different."Seriously? Could it be that those that
are diverse or different get the attention because they don't fit the
mold?Get a tattoo. That will get you noticed.
It does not matter were one lives at. It can be in Utah or it can be at the
farthest reaches of the planet. We are all Gods Children. I just Have to say the
only thing that matters is we work out our own salvation. Something that really
rubs me the wrong way is how everything is wrapped around the inactive and then
the active is Oh their ok they never miss church. I have never missed church
drive 30 miles one way to go. Yet have never in the past 15 years ever had my
home teacher over or even my wife have a visiting teacher over. Yes my neighbor
who wants zero to do with the church gets home teachers visiting teachers. even
though they never enter the door. One thing I want to know is when do the active
matter? when do we stop rewarding bad behavior? seems that to get attention from
the church i need to go inactive fall way and then maybe I will matter.
One of the wonderful things about the parable of the Prodigal Son is that we can
fill in the "rest of the story". I like to suppose that after the
father's counsel to his older son, the "good guy" repented and
welcomed his brother. That's what he would have done if he followed the
example of the Savior, the true "Elder Brother". Could it be that Christ
deliberately left this story a bit open-ended, master teacher that he was, so we
could ponder an acceptable conclusion?
Right on Angela! Sounds like your reader is having a little humility issue. We
definitely ALL sinners but hopefully we are not all trying to repent of the
worst kinds of sins. The church's 12-step program for people with an
addiction is an awesome resource for every member of the church. After all, we
all sin and we all might even have 'addictions' that we are not aware
of until we dig deeply and honestly into our personal lives. Do we have an
addiction to gossip? Overeating? Under eating? Electronics? Shopping? the
list goes on. "Cast the beam out of our own eye first".
I like the response to the letter. Credibility is all we have, how competent is
something you protect. Sure lairs cheaters and thieves won't be respected
or trusted. That is earned. To be taken for granite is a complement.