Utah

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
Goldilocks
Posts: 24
Joined: 20 Jun 2013, 23:16

Utah

Post by Goldilocks » 29 Oct 2013, 18:42

I moved to Utah a month ago. It's been a decade since I've lived here. I've enjoyed several things about being in Utah but it seems every few days I get completely overwhelmed by the overbearing Mormon culture. What makes it even more difficult is I moved from a foreign country that is extremely tolerant and a total 180 from the Utah way of thinking. Maybe one day I'll have some time to share some of my thoughts on my experiences there.

I don't want this to turn into a rant about Utah, if you've lived here you can probably guess what my frustrations are and what I love about Utah. My issue is I've moved a lot and this is by far the worst move I have ever done. What should be the easiest move ever, I mean gosh I'm from here, has been the hardest. I even had one night I was up with anxiety until 2 AM thinking about how to fit in and how to play all the uncomfortable situations that are coming up in the near future with a massive extended family by marriage, all my hard core high school Mormon friends, and a new neighborhood that is 60% Mormon.

The Bishop and a counselor stopped by without calling first about five days after we moved in. They were really nice but I'm a little stressed about their blunt assumptions that we are active. They also went on and on about the family that lived in the house before us as if they expect us to take over as replacements. They even told me I looked just like the woman, not a dead ringer but close. (?!)

The Bishop straight up asked us what callings we had held. My husband was totally unprepared for this question as he is not active due to personality and work and felt embarrassed. I was uncomfortable because I didn't feel like I knew what to say when I have no intention of taking on a calling but as I rattled off my previous callings they would be assuming I would. Making food for sick people or shoveling walks for old people I'm game for. I guess I need to get into the church building and have a one to one with the Bishop letting him know we aren't anti, inactive, or TBM Mormons and we don't want callings. However, whatever our family does participate in we will pull our weight.

So I'm here to ask for advice. On how to deal with this place in the World where similarity of everything including underwear is the key to belonging, because it's hard right now. Thanks

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Orson
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Re: Utah

Post by Orson » 29 Oct 2013, 19:22

I don't know that I can offer any good advice, but my first thought is to first demonstrate similarities before revealing all your differences. After people decide they like you they can handle the things they will disagree with if they get it in small doses, with time to assimilate each one before the other comes in. I would also try to remind them of the similarities between doses so they can remember why they are comfortable with you.

I have not always been successful with this but those are my thoughts. :D
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church0333
Posts: 589
Joined: 26 Aug 2012, 17:41
Location: Springfield OR

Re: Utah

Post by church0333 » 29 Oct 2013, 19:31

I haven't lived in Utah for a long time but we visit several times a year. One thing that surprises me is how lax many members are. Most of my TR holding family members miss a lot of church and when we are in town they don't have any problem going out to dinner on Sundays. It seems like most members have pretty easy jobs at church like teaching once a month or playing the piano every other week in RS. Half the members there are less active if not more so if you aren't there every meeting it will not be anything new. Good luck and don't stress too much.

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MayB
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Joined: 15 May 2013, 10:01

Re: Utah

Post by MayB » 30 Oct 2013, 10:51

I've lived in Utah my entire life. Now that I'm transitioning out of the church, I totally over analyze every interaction I have with neighbors, family and friends who are TBM. I worry about them realizing I'm not wearing garments or asking me why I'm missing so much church lately. Overall though, these worries have been completely unnecessary. There are things about Utah now that bother me a lot that didn't before. I can see how it would be very hard to move back here after living in another, more liberal and accepting place. Just continue to be yourself.
Orson wrote: my first thought is to first demonstrate similarities before revealing all your differences.
I think this is a great idea. There's no need to broadcast your inactivity in the church. Yes, be honest if someone asks, but I wouldn't bring it up. Just focus on meeting the neighbors and being friendly. I think you'll find that people aren't always as judgmental as we make them out to be in our minds.
I'm sorry your visit from the bishop was unpleasant. Just try to remember that he's doing the best he can. Maybe take things one day at a time. There are a lot of good things about living in Utah. Good luck!
MayB

Roy
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Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Utah

Post by Roy » 30 Oct 2013, 15:46

Goldilocks wrote:The Bishop straight up asked us what callings we had held. My husband was totally unprepared for this question as he is not active due to personality and work and felt embarrassed. I was uncomfortable because I didn't feel like I knew what to say when I have no intention of taking on a calling but as I rattled off my previous callings they would be assuming I would.
When I was a young boy the entire bishopric came to our home dressed in their Sunday best. During the small talk they made reference to the piano sitting in our living room and asked conversationally if my mom played. My mom didn't play. After 15 min more of small talk they excused themselves and left. After the door closed I looked at my mom with a puzzled look on my face and asked why they came over. She laughed and said that they must have wanted to call her as the ward pianist but didn't know that she couldn't play.
Goldilocks wrote:My issue is I've moved a lot and this is by far the worst move I have ever done. What should be the easiest move ever, I mean gosh I'm from here, has been the hardest. I even had one night I was up with anxiety until 2 AM thinking about how to fit in and how to play all the uncomfortable situations that are coming up in the near future with a massive extended family by marriage, all my hard core high school Mormon friends, and a new neighborhood that is 60% Mormon.
I totally understand this. By all accounts I should fit in just fine. I have all the external markers of a lifelong faithful member of the church. I think that part of this is that some elements of the church have become a foil to my current preferences. Take the church rules for example. I don't really oppose rules per se but I am so very tired of hearing about them to the exclusion of other approaches. Part of me thinks that I could leave the LDS church and not miss a thing as I feel I have already internalized everything the church has to teach me....Except for that tricky endure to the end part. :twisted:

I aslo really support the advice Orson gave. :thumbup:
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SamBee
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Re: Utah

Post by SamBee » 30 Oct 2013, 17:47

60% Mormon? That means at least half are not regular attenders/Mormons! At least 10% will be inactive/less active guaranteed, and 40% is actually a lot!
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Kumahito
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Joined: 24 May 2012, 17:31

Re: Utah

Post by Kumahito » 30 Oct 2013, 17:49

I'm afraid I don't have any good advice for you other than what's already been said and what you suggested yourself -- set firm boundaries with the bishopric! Let them know you you're not interested in callings right now, and that in the future you'd appreciate a heads-up phone call before they stop by (as an aside, I can't believe how common this is in the Church - where are people's manners?!?).

The angst you've descrived is why I'll never move back to Utah. I'm a Davis County boy, born and raised. I go back occassionally, and I love it for the first few days. I love the mountains, the seasons, the cost of living, the relively cheap land and housing, the recreational opportunities, and all my friends and family. After about Day Three, though, little things start bugging me, and by the end of the week I can't wait to get the h@ll out of there. I'll enjoy going back for the rest of my life, but I'll never live there again. The Church is just so much better in areas where it's a tiny minority, in my experience.
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Ann
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Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

Re: Utah

Post by Ann » 30 Oct 2013, 18:07

Hi, Goldilocks - I don't have great advice, but sometimes I've wondered if being non-mainstream would actually be easier in Utah. If there isn't someone like-minded on your block, or in your ward, there's probably someone the next block and ward over? Sometimes the fewer the number, the more exacting the expectations at church, and the more influence one bishop or one stake president or one blow-hard has over the whole group. At least that's my theory. Good luck and enjoy what you enjoy.
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Goldilocks
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Joined: 20 Jun 2013, 23:16

Re: Utah

Post by Goldilocks » 03 Nov 2013, 07:42

my first thought is to first demonstrate similarities before revealing all your differences. After people decide they like you they can handle the things they will disagree with if they get it in small doses, with time to assimilate each one before the other comes in. I would also try to remind them of the similarities between doses so they can remember why they are comfortable with you.
This is great advice. It's just so hard to remember when I'm dwelling on all the things that are different about me now and being negative. Reading this post helped me realize that I need to accept myself right now if this is going to work out for me to attend the LDS church in any way, shape or form. I won't be able to play up my similarities if I'm unsure of myself.

Like many LDS women I suffer from a bad case of perfectionism. I wasn't completely perfect this year, long story short, and don't feel like I'm good enough to be there. And I hate that kind of thinking, because I know I have a lot of good qualities and outside the church people would consider me a great person. Add on top of that years of a shelf getting heavy and it seems like the time to leave could be soon.

Today is Sunday. What should I do if they ask me and the husband to speak in church and to introduce ourselves? Is there any rules about who can speak in Sacrament? I'm also curious about praying or making comments in classes as a "heathen". I want to respect the organizational directives.

Another thing I want to do is start attending some other churches as a visitor. Any experiences, advice, or suggestions on doing so? Even if I turned into a full believing practicing member again, I want myself and my kids to understand other religions better.

Thanks to everybody for taking the time to offer your insight. I'll update you guys after church today if anything interesting happens.

roobytoos
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Joined: 07 Jun 2013, 10:34

Re: Utah

Post by roobytoos » 03 Nov 2013, 14:25

I live in a Utah and it is difficult here. It's like you are given 2 options: all in or all out.
If the Bishop asks you to speak in Church, just say NO! Go to church when you want, don't go when you don't want. They'll figure it out eventually.
There are lots of other churches in Utah. Just be careful revealing you are Mormon. A lot of them get really excited that someone has left the Church and really ask for you to speak out against the church and bring as many former members with you as you can.
You will find friends with similar feelings about the church here, lots of members who only go a few times a year, and even some TBM's that will accept you where you are at without giving you a hard time.
Get used to the Bishop showing up unannounced. It's the way it's done here. Drives me nuts. You can ask him not to, but bear in mind, they do think it's friendly and neighborly to do so.
Welcome to Zion. :lol:

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