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Comments about ‘Linda & Richard Eyre: Utah’s interesting, divided society’

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Published: Thursday, July 31 2014 10:14 a.m. MDT

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Common-Tator
Saint Paul, MN

There is certainly an entire spectrum rather than simply a bi-polar environment within Utah. Within "the church", I had a graduate advisor at BYU who stated that it must be incredibly difficult for me, a non-Utah convert, to be living out there, as in his mind there were three churches within the church (and thus, reflective of life in Utah). First, there was the church outside of Utah, where folks tended either to be fully committed, or living out their lives "inactive", but under the radar. Second, there was the "flag pole church" inside of Utah, wherein resided a number of incredibly strong Saints, but also existed an under culture of "societal Mormons", active on Sunday but attempting to prove on the other six days just how "non-Mormon" they were. And lastly, he said there was the "Church at BYU", where there existed a strict "letter of the law" mentality ... "How could you wear blue jeans -- let's go speak with your Bishop", also followed by those who would stay as close astride the line as they could, to prove non-conformity. Simplistic perhaps, was his reasoning -- but insightful!

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

As the church grows now beyond 15 million and on toward 20 million a larger diversity of members are joining with all sorts of cultural differences as well as their own individual uniqueness such as tatoos and piercings and then even bigger issues such as same sex attraction etc... the once small Utah-Idaho dominated church is now world wide and carries with it all sorts pluses and minus's. The main thing however that matters is that whomever the person is we need to all chill out a bit and understand you can worship Jesus Christ fully and go to the temple with green hair and tatoos if you choose so long as you are keeping the commandments to the best you can and you meet the basic qualifications for worthiness.

as far the BYU / U of U rivalry...I won't touch that one.

Pitt Man
New York City, NY

I was taken aback when I saw this column, because the divided and stereotyping quality of this state recently led us to the decision to move back East (though not NY, as shown in my screen name). Thank you for taking on this issue, and I hope for all those that live here that it will improve.

kdmicha22
Saint Louis, MO

Checking into the history of Utah might enlighten a few skeptics. No Mormon came here out of a love for this place. They came to put enough distance to survive those who would not let them live in peace and exercise the right to believe as they chose. Anyone living in Utah now, benefits greatly from a culture, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints created, turning an undesirable land into an oasis that has made it into many top rankings as one of the best places to live. Others had a choice to come to Utah and through no great deeds of their own, enjoy awesome benefits as well as its rich cultural diversity and certainly are not forced to stay.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

@skeptic

"The problem with Utah is that there are just too many Mormons."

I hope you never move to Rome.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

If I were moving to Utah I would only consider moving to Salt Lake County and maybe a couple of other pockets. Try to move to a small-town community in Utah. It is likely that you'll never fully be accepted into the fabric of that society. It is especially tough on the wives, sometimes the children. But Salt Lake County, the city especially, is more diverse and more live and let live.

U-tar
Woodland Hills, UT

@ Skeptic
The problem with the world is, there are too many skeptics. Most people who perceive intolerance are those who are intolerant themselves. Best place to change perception is to start with your self first, then perhaps the world may be a little more beautiful than you think, Utah included.

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

Patriot, how many of those 15 million Mormons do you think are truly active and how many just simply have their names on the rolls?

djc
Stansbury Park, Ut

To make a comment that infers that nonmembers shouldn't come here to Utah, misses much of the history of this state. Yes the followers came in 1847, but the non-believers came very soon after. I don't feel qualified to make a comment about how nonmembers "enjoy awesome benefits" "through no great deeds of their own". I'm sure that the miners who labored in the mines, the Japanese who were forcibly moved here during WWII and stayed, the thousands of military who were stationed here over the years all have a stake in the state of the State. Those anti-nonmember statements were a perfect illustration of the author's point. All people should be welcomed. This is a great state. The quality of life is extraordinary. But there is a lot of finger pointing and temple card comparing going on. I love my neighbors and it really doesn't matter where they worship, or even if they do as long as they are respectful and we are all good neighbors. I think the Goshute, Shone and Utes might have issue with your opinion about who should or shouldn't be allowed to live here.

Strider303
Salt Lake City, UT

@ Skeptic

Strange, I was thinking the same thing about skeptics. But I digress.

@ Howard Beal

I am of the opinion you have a good point, having lived for a year in Central Utah, I think you will find the more cloistered society syndrome in any small town. I can cite experiences in the Midwest were new people were initially excluded but over time accepted into the fabric of the town. My suggestion? Get over it, be a friend, overlook the fear they feel and get involved. Volunteer to work in the local election polling places, do something in PTA or whatever the school has going, check out the city governments list of volunteer help wanted committees. It’s hard to ignore people who are on the same committee or work group.

Buzzards
LEHI, UT

Having spent both parts of my youth and adult life both in and out of Utah, there is one small slice of Utah society that makes living here more "interesting", if that is the right word. In southern California where I passed a couple of decades, there was a lot of religious and demographic diversity. But those who were not religious, including those who had been in the past, seemed to just head for the beach or the lake on Sunday, or worship at the church of the NFL, pretty much ignoring those who made church part of their lives. Live and let live.
Here in Utah, at least some of those who do not make religion part of their lives, especially some who have left the LDS faith, seem to make it their life's work to belittle and fight against the influence that church members have due to their sheer numbers.
A lot less live and let live. Some I guess are trying to rescue their former coreligionists from their errors, some seem to resent any and all things LDS, from BYU to weak beer.

Democrat
Provo, UT

@Linda and Richard: Good job! Excellent article.
@kdmicha22: I agree with DJC. Utah's diversity didn't start yesterday. Catholics and protestants were building churches and pioneering in Utah during Brigham Young's lifetime. Of course we honor the singular contributions of the Mormon pioneers in this state but over the past 167 years there has been a lot of pioneering by different people.

Some of the statements about the judgmental ways of others are true of course, but that is the one sin that is seldom corrected by pointing it out in others. The best solution is to vigilantly patrol one's own prejudice and try to be a good neighbor. Let's follow the Eyre's advice and not jump to conclusions about others. Just because someone lives in the Avenues or Park City doesn't mean they have nothing in common with someone who grew up in Orem or Kanab.

Democrat
Provo, UT

I also agree with Strider303. While I would stop short of saying "get over it", I am a strong believer that you can show up in a small town and make friends and make a difference. You have to be willing to let the first few real/perceived snubs roll off your shoulders. But if you donate items to the community church bake sale, show up at the High School band bazaar or help coach little league, people will notice.

Melanna
Salt Lake City, Utah

Comments like kdmicha22 sure do make people feel welcome! It would be a lot easier to live and let live if those who don't fit the mold were not constantly being told to leave.

christoph
Brigham City, UT

Mr. Obama winning Salt Lake County in 2008 is proof that Utah is diverse.

Socal Coug
San Diego, CA

Utah is very unique. I imagine that the early settlers thought it would be a Mormon-only place. That reality didn't last relatively long, but the mentality (of those settlers) persisted for many years beyond. So there was an "outsider" feel, and somewhat still is.
I went to BYU and having had roommates and mission companions from Utah, I saw there perspective as well. One went to East High in Salt Lake and said just about everyone is Mormon, so there are two kinds: Those trying to be good (majority), and those trying to be as bad as they can. He recommended not raising kids in that kind of environment. He also grew up with a distorted view of BYU, mainly because of the rivalry. He didn't want to go there growing up, but was glad he did, and saw how different it was versus how it was portrayed.
I love Utah, it was a great place to live, and defend it any chance I get.

Shane333
Cedar Hills, UT

Kings Court,
How many are active? If I understand correctly, "activity" is measured as attending church meetings at least once a month. Worldwide I believe it is somewhere around 45%.
It can vary a lot from region to region, though. In Alpine, Utah, I wouldn't be surprised if it were around 90+% activity. In parts of Latin America, however, I wouldn't be surprised with an activity rate of 20%.

Ranch
Here, UT

"There is little that is wrong with the reality of Utah ..."

--- One of those things that is wrong is that Utahns feel they can revoke the civil rights of others.

"We met and fell in love at Utah State University and got married while I was in graduate school at BYU before we left together for Boston and Harvard."

--- You were allowed to marry in Utah and carry your marriage to MA, yet YOU want to prevent someone married in MA from carrying their marriage to Utah (not to mention prevent that couple from marrying in Utah in the first place).

"...we think most Utahns are pretty happy ..."

--- Possibly true; however Utah has the largest anti-depressant use in the country.

"We accept others for who they are..."

--- Nope.

"Kids pick up quickly on signs of intolerance or criticism and judgment of others who are a little different from themselves."

Ranch
Here, UT

@kdmicha22;

There were actually some settlers here BEFORE the "saints" arrived. Not everything nice here is due to Mormon influence.

@Brave Sir Robin;

I have lived in Rome. Catholicism there is much like Mormonism here: Largely cultural.

@Buzzards;

That "lot less live and let live" attitude you mention in Utah could be due to the judgementalism felt by "that crowd" from PLY.

donn
layton, UT

RE: divided, two-sided, competition-mixed-with-animosity division persists.

Mormons are the majority over 60% and then you have the second group which is liberal, but you have a very small third group of Bible believing Christians. When you add the first two groups together you probaly have the least Christian state in the U.S..

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