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Raising kids in Utah

In our discussion about the high suicide rate in Utah Laurence brought up the ever-so-fascinating topic of the experience of growing up as a Mormon kid in here in the great state of Utah:

I grew up mostly in Utah. There are some really cool things about that experience (maybe we'll get to that later), but there is also an unfortunate dark side. The dark side is this: Mormons in Utah high-schools are either "good kids" or they are "bad kids" - much more so than elsewhere. I was a "good kid" - President of my seminary class three years running. But its easy to become part of the "bad kids". A beer every now and then at a party, for example. Once you're a "bad kid", you'll have a hard time kicking the label.

I've always thought that it would be easier to raise my (future) children in "the mission field" for precisely this reason. I think that I, at least, am a lot better off for not having grown up here. Like most kids that age I had a bit of an against-the-norm mindset, but it worked out great because the norm was to drink, smoke, have premarital sex, etc., so I could be different by simply not doing those things.

But it's got to be a lot different here. You can't turn down a drink claiming that it's "against my religion." I guess what I'm getting at is that peer pressure from other Mormon kids is much stronger than it is from kids who aren't of your same faith.

Another reason I wouldn't want to raise my kids here in Utah is because it seems as though the Church gets taken for granted more easily when you grow up here. It's like being a Catholic in Mexico City. "Yeah? So what? We're all Catholics!" -- that's the mindset people get into. I also think that, when growing up here, it's a lot harder to distinguish between what is part of our faith and what is simply Utah Mormon culture. And in my book, understanding this distinction is critical.

What do you guys think about raising a family in Utah?

No I'm plenty bright, I just

No I'm plenty bright, I just got my terms jumbled perhaps.
I'll explain what I meant using the supposed contradiction you cited.

"The gospel was never meant to be a monoculture as I am wont to say."

The gospel was never meant to produce a monoculture might be more accurate.
When I say monoculture I am referring to the situation in Utah where the saints
make up a majority, huddle together and look outside with suspicion and treat others
and sometimes even each other in a less-than-christian way. When I say the gospel
wasn't meant to produce that, I mean that pluralism is part of the plan - even after
the wicked are destroyed and the Lord comes to reign during the millenium, not all will
be LDS or even Christian. Since that is certainly an ideal situation, than there's no
point in "taking refuge" in Utah since it presents a perilous spiritual challenge
because of the attitudes it has produced (mentioned above) that are against the gospel
itself.
I'll write more later...

"The standards are there so we can be identified from other people"

The standards of the church refer to the official policies and doctrines of the church as handed
down from Church headquarters.

If you want your LDS kids to

If you want your LDS kids to grow up with a serious us-and-them mentality raise them in Utah.
If you want your LDS kids to have a complex about not standing out enough raise them in Utah and watch them get boob jobs, join gospel "scholarship" cults, quit the church, etc. The gospel was never meant to be a monoculture as I am wont to say. Gaining charity is a mighty endeavor. Parents would do well to make it a part of their lifestyle to expose kids to a lot of different kinds of people to help this process. I would like to raise my kids in New York City for this reason. In a place like Utah it can be hard, especially in public schools, but that's another subject altogether.
When people live in a monoculture their thinking too often follows this continuum: different = weird = suspicious = wrong = evil. And they break ties with people after the "different" part. This is the exactly opposite of what Jesus Christ teaches and is a spiritually perilous and needless, like being rich.

Too Many Mormons?

Granted, I didn't grow up in Utah, and there are obviously a lot of reasons why one wouldn't want to live in Utah (lack of economic oppurtunity for some professions, etc) but I never considered that having a majority of members would make you not want to raise your children here. It may be true being labeled a "bad kid" makes it difficult for someone to break free of the stereotype but just having the option to be part of a cohesive group of "good kids" is an oppurtunity that many outside of Utah don't really get.

Just this sunday our stake president was talking about church activity rates inside of and outside of Utah. The activity percentage was 15-20% higher in Utah that outside of it. Whatever the reason for that difference, statistically your kids have a higher chance of remaining active when living in Utah. Doesn't seem to leave much room for argument. I'm not planning on raising my kids in Utah but I'm not opposed to it. It's just easier to remain faithful as part of a cohesive group than all by yourself.

Attending Church in Utah can

Attending Church in Utah can be a very different experience than in other places. If you're looking down your nose at people and that is the predominant attitude in the ward and if active members beat their wives more than people outside Utah and those that don't attend are playing in the occult and addicting themselves to drugs more and quicker than in the "mission field" than other arguments could be made. Part of the problem is that attending Church is seen as proof that everything is OK. Unfortunately people from other places can see and feel the difference even at church.

Church Attendance isn't everything

I agree that attending church in Utah can be a different experience. At the same time I think the problems that plague Utah wards aren't any better or any worse than problems experienced outside of Utah (I refuse to call it the "mission field").

Also, while church attendance isn't everything, if I was going to list the top 5 indicators of someones spiritual well being I would probably put church activity on that list.

Not too bright?

ProvoJoe, as difficult as it was to get through your post, I thought this might help a bit. If you want, go to dictionary.com, and you can look up the two terms yourself.

culture: The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.

"What makes it a monoculture is when there are so many Mormons in one place they become more self righteous than righteous; when charity is compromised by the natural-man-heard-instinct"

Not so much.

monoculture: A single, homogeneous culture without diversity or dissension.

I think the things I mentioned in the post are perfect evidence of a monoculture that runs throughout the LDS religion. In fact, if you could provide some contrary evidence that it is not a monoculture, I would like to see it.

Furthermore, the fact that the church has a monoculture is something that is usually talked about in sacrament meeting: "no matter where you go, you can always count on the church being the same" or some other similar sentiments.

"The gospel was never meant to be a monoculture as I am wont to say."

"The standards are there so we can be identified from other people"

I believe you just contradicted yourself.

raised in the south

hmm, im very well aware that this is an old topic now, but eh...i have a say on this one....born in texas, raised in georgia, and had my summers spent in new orleans, or tennessee, can anyone spell bible belt? i was amongst the most hated -religion wise....ppl related more to the kkk than they did LDS members. granted, that is a broad generalization of ppl, but i honestly--as a 1st-5th grader had kids i couldnt play with cause their mommy said i was going to hell... but in high school, i was a four year designated driver, a mostly on time member of 5:45am seminary, and know for what i stood for....which here are the reasons i like this vs. raising kids here....everyone litteraly watched me..if i swore, half the school knew, im a busty girl, and ppl watched the way i dressed, at my school of 1400, there were 5 of us..and when i told someone i was lds they could name the other 4..that is hard. but the missionary oppurtunities were staggering, and it's kinda liek sink or swim, you learn if you are standing for something you believe in, or something your parents believe in....down side, its not always cool/popular/thing to be-case in point my beauttiful sister who was laurel class pres. ect..but that didnt make her popular or get her dates, she now lives with her catholic boyfriend of 3 years in a beautiful house. she gave up on what she still knows is true because it didnt fit her desired life style.. THAT vs utah...much larger support group, very little explaining, which as a teenager can be oooh so important! why i will not raise my kids here:
I had never been to conference, seen the SLC temple..not until i was 18, and to me, it was amazing...more than that--breathtaking. I think here, as someone said earlier, it is easily taken for granted because it is everywhere. i want my children to sit in the 4 hour traffic when the prophet does come to town, or to drive an hour to the temple and look at as a blessing that it is so close, and i want being good to make them good...i want them to discover it for themselves...itll be harder, and easier, but i believe it will be well worth it...

Question:

Which makes more sense:

Deprive children of comfort in numbers and countless less temptations in order for them to have a bit of awe towards the SLC temple

or

Live in a Mormon community and take the chance that they might take some things for granted while significantly raising their chances of living the gospel because it is 'normal'

You make the call.

Can you spell generalization

ProvoJoe's comments are all broad generalizations and as a result have no practicle use to someone who actually wants to discuss the subject of living in a Mormon populated community. In fact, I doubt he has the confictions he professes and just wants to give people something to talk about. The truth is that there are advantages to living in both places. My goal was always to live outside of Utah while I was a young adult, so that I could have more missionary experiences and learn to appreciate the culture of others while still understanding my own. Then, when kids came, especially when they are younger I would love to have them live in an area that support my beliefs.

Can you spell?

Coward's comments are all broad generalizations and as a result have no practical use to someone who actually wants to discuss the subject of living in a Mormon populated community. In fact, I doubt she has the convictions he professes and just wants to give people something to talk about. The truth is that there are advantages to living in both places. My goal was always to live outside of Utah while I was a young adult, so that I could have more missionary experiences and learn to appreciate the culture of others while still understanding my own. Then, when kids came, especially when they are younger I would love to have them live in an area that support my beliefs.

Spelling corrections by provojoe 1-800-555-6273

no way

hey i have lived both in and out of utah...and honestly i would 100% give up the easier route! 100%!!!! although it is the same doctrine, and classes, and lessons from here to new zealand, the feel of it, the sincerity of it, very different. itll be hard..but isnt that what they say? hard but worht it? (and yes to say all of utah is like that-broad generalization, and to say that all areas outside of utah are diff, broad generalization) but from my experince, yes i will make that choice. But heck, i guess its on a per person basis..ill ask the Lord first, and then make the best of what is right, but if the choice were just mine & my husbands, it would/will not be here in utah--all be it beautiful.

ok

Actually, the "saints make up a majority, huddle together and look outside with suspicion and treat others and sometimes even each other in a less-than-christian way" mentality has much more to do with human behaviour than Mormonism. It doesn't matter where you go in the world, when there is a majority of people with the same cultural and social behaviours, they will always have an us vs. them mentality. It has little or nothing to do with the LDS theology; it's simply human behaviour.

If you actually believe that the gospel was never meant to produce a monoculture, then why does the church do so incessantly?

"I mean that pluralism is part of the plan"

Where do you get this doctrine? You shouldn't just make stuff like that up. If that were the case, then again, why does the church do exactly the opposite of what you interpret to be right?

"even after the wicked are destroyed and the Lord comes to reign during the millenium, not all will
be LDS or even Christian"

Just because it may happen, it doesn't follow that it is supposed to be that way. There is a big difference.

Lunch Money

"The gospel was never meant to be a monoculture"

Is this why in every country regardless of the native vestments, all lds people where the same clothes to church? Or no matter what country you are in, they sing the same hymns? Watch the same lds movies just in different languages? Go to the same designed churches? For not meaning to be a monoculture, the church seems to stand in contradiction to your supposition.

Also, growing up outside of Utah was not the funnest experience. Albeit there were many different cultures to practice my "charity" on, but more often then not, it was like the survival of the fittest.

In particular, I had to eat in the lunch room every day so the big black kids didn't try to throw me over the secondary story ledge above the gym. Or I had to worry about getting punched in the face for no apparent reason while walking down the hall. Or be sitting next to a kid on the way home on a bus when the cops pull the bus over, run into the bus, and then grab the kid next to me out of his seat and pull out a 22 pistol from his pant pocket. All of these things and more really happened. Ahh yes, wonderful multi-culturalism.

In reality, most schools are like prisons. They lock the kids in during the day, and they don't let anyone else in; there are school police that carry weapons, and if you don't have a club of friends, you might as well be called "lunch money." What happens in the prison, stays in the prison.

All of this to say the following: I would rather my kids grow up in a safe and secure environment, even if that meant they might be on the 'outs' with the pseudo religious gangs, then subject them to physical danger.

"If you're looking down your

"If you're looking down your nose at people and that is the predominant attitude in the ward"

"if active members beat their wives"

"those that don't attend are playing in the occult and addicting themselves to drugs more and quicker than in the "mission field"

What ward do you go to, ProvoJoe?

I think you overgeneralize far too often in your posts; this would be a good case in point.

It's not that simple.

It's not that simple.

For one thing, comfort is not the goal of the gospel. It tends to lead to less righteousness instead of more.

Countless less temptations? Are you saying that because you didn't count them?

It's well known that Utah Mormons have trouble living the gospel. Heck, they're even famous for it
among those who aren't members. If you don't believe it just ask around, or check out my "Bridging the Religious Divide" article posted on this site. It's a true, and now public, embarrassment and impediment to the growth of the Church.

Actually, I've pointed out th

Actually, I've pointed out the complexity of life in Utah. That's the opposite.
You assumed that life in Utah was certain way. That's the generalization.
It may seem that way to you, and there may be many other people who are unwilling
to devote the time and energy necessary to see below the surface, but that doesn't
make your point of view any more useful or accurate.

wow

and you were condemning my over-generalizations?

You've got to be kidding:

You are giving grammatical advice?! The bellicose bloviator? Your posts are so long and incoherent that I have to take a break while reading them. Just try to reread your last few posts and one thing becomes quite apparent: you wouldn't know pith if it came up and slapped you in the face.

Moral of the story: those in glass houses, oh, well, you know the rest.

Actually, the "saints make up

Actually, the "saints make up a majority, huddle together and look outside with suspicion and treat others and sometimes even each other in a less-than-christian way" mentality has much more to do with human behaviour than Mormonism. It doesn't matter where you go in the world, when there is a majority of people with the same cultural and social behaviours, they will always have an us vs. them mentality. It has little or nothing to do with the LDS theology; it's simply human behaviour.

True, but the gospel is designed to counteract human behavior. I'm not criticizing LDS doctrine, I'm speaking in support of it. The people in Utah are in some cases hearkening to their society more than the gospel. Furthermore, it's worse than in other places where the saints are still a minority.

The church isn't trying to create a monoculture. (When I say "church" I'm referring to the organization itself as designed by the Lord through the leaders) Check my previous comments. The church couldn't do it it wanted to. At best the church has a culture in the sense that a company has a culture, but it doesn't even try to replace the overarching, complex cultures that are inherited through nationality for example, with unique music, food, dance, art, social structure, etc. - unless those things come in conflict with the gospel- which isn't that often. President Hinckley is encouraging us to celebrate those differences that add color and variety to our world.

The idea of generosity with regard to people that are different than us has always been a part of the gospel. The fact that people of different persuasions will survive to live during the millenium shows that the Lord judges some outside the church to be righteous. Yes, they are supposed to be righteous and yes they will play a part in sustaining the peace that will prevail at that time.
It is the most idealistic earthly situation imaginable and it has been prophesied about for quite a while, as you know. Since the Lord will have already chosen those who are to live during that time (based on who is destroyed and who isn't), I judge there is some wisdom in his choices and that it is indeed "supposed" to be that way.

Is this why in every country

Is this why in every country regardless of the native vestments, all lds people where the same clothes to church?

go to some polynesian islands. go to japan. go plenty of places. they do not all where the same clothes. though the "proper attire" created by american businessmen has become more and more the standard. it seems if you are going ot be passing the sacrament or presiding, you must be dressed like an american businessman. so perhaps you are right.

Those things don't make it a

Those things don't make it a monoculture. What makes it a monoculture is when there are so many Mormons in one place they become more self righteous than righteous; when charity is compromised by the natural-man-heard-instinct. That is, they create a culture which diverges from the gospel that becomes confused with the actual gospel. One example is Republicanism. Many look on those from other parties as less righteous. There's an important distinction between the dress standards of the Church and other things you mentioned and the monoculture I am addressing. The standards are there so we can be identified from other people so we can more effectively share the gospel. If we fit in perfectly with everyone else no one's curiosity will be piqued, among other things. Contrast that with the jubilee celebrations President Hinckley has instituted before temple dedications. They actually highlight cultural differences, even within the church. That is a wonderful thing. We have been counseled that those are great, if they don't lead to tribalism and conflicts with the commandments. Unfamiliarity breeds suspicion and fear which results in spiritual trial because charity is so important. That's part of what missions are designed to correct. President Hinckley said as much when he was interviewed on 60 minutes. He didn't even mention sharing the gospel as a reason, though that is obvious. "Safe and Secure" is an illusion (the result of a huge assumption), especially if you're planning on educating your kids in public schools. To assign blame to minorities for being bullied in school is folly. Physical danger is nothing compared to spiritual danger found in Utah. Besides, per capita violent crime in Utah may surprise you. Besides, since you're afraid of minorities, Utah's government has a pretty liberal (and enlightened) approach to illegal immigrants, even if the people don't. Their numbers are growing fast and they're society is beginnng to produce some fine church leaders as well. Maybe it's time to take a more Christian (i.e.- progessive), attitude before it's too late.

Yes.

Why not? If the shoe fits.

Oh, please.

"For one thing, comfort is not the goal of the gospel"

Bravo. But no one is arguing that point.

"It's well known that Utah Mormons have trouble living the gospel. Heck, they're even famous for it among those who aren't members"

Right. So those packed meeting houses and conference centers are really just 'pretenders' we all know the 'real' utah, right pj?

"It's a true, and now public, embarrassment and impediment to the growth of the Church."

One person's sad anecdotal evidence does not make it a slam shut case. Tardo.

Ooh, someone was in high school debate!

Never trust anyone who would use "pith" in a sentence. Unless they were talking about a "pith helmet". And, really, why would anyone want to talk about that?

Anonymity breeds false courage

I'll think I'll give this discussion a rest. Any time you want to actually have a conversation, let me know.
Just because you don't agree with me doesn't mean I'm incoherent and certainly my comments aren't
even very long, at least in this thread. I hope you're having fun crashing the blog. Intelligent communication is really more
appropiate, though.

Those things are possible fac

Those things are possible factors that could influence a persons decision to live in Utah.
Domestic violence is statistically a concern in Utah. Aloofness is a well known problem in Utah wards.
People tend to fall hard from church activity here as well. However, I meant the comment simply to
illustrate that there are variety of factors that could and probably should be taken into consideration
when deciding whether or not to move here, in this case statistics and the experiences of people
who have come before. People have moved here with the naive assumption that it's easier to be in the
Church here and lost there faith as a result of what they found.

That was me...

That was me...

It's not just me. If you want

It's not just me. If you want to hear more about it there's a public forum on the subject on February 2 ~ 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Sorenson Multicultural Center 855 West California Avenue, in Salt Lake. The members here have offended many many people with their exclusive, intolerant and Unchristian behavior. This is not a secret. And yes, these are the people
who are packing the churches.

Don't trust me.

From Websters:

pith: the essential part

Reread some of pj's past posts, and you'll see why one should care.

I know this might sound like

I know this might sound like a cop out, but although I think it would have been a bad thing for me to have grown up here, I can see how for other personality types it could be the other way around. So, it's like my father says, "Different strokes for different folks."

I still don't comprehend how utah could be an easier place to grow up as a member of the church, but that doesn't mean that that's not actually the case for certain people.