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Faith

Author shares how it feels to live among Mormons in Utah

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  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 25, 2013 6:35 a.m.

    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
    Feb. 25, 2013 7:38 a.m.

    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
    Feb. 25, 2013 9:58 a.m.

    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
    Feb. 25, 2013 10:07 a.m.

    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
    Feb. 25, 2013 10:28 a.m.

    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 FLOWER MOUND, TX
    Feb. 25, 2013 10:27 a.m.

    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
    Feb. 25, 2013 11:01 a.m.

    Casey See,

    Exactly.

    Danny Chipman,

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

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 25, 2013 12:25 p.m.

    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.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Feb. 25, 2013 1:06 p.m.

    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
    Feb. 25, 2013 1:46 p.m.

    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
    Feb. 25, 2013 2:34 p.m.

    @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.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 25, 2013 2:51 p.m.

    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.

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    Feb. 25, 2013 2:59 p.m.

    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.

  • MTDoc FORT BENTON, MT
    Feb. 25, 2013 3:01 p.m.

    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 SLC, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 3:46 p.m.

    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
    Feb. 25, 2013 3:49 p.m.

    “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).

  • TDowEsq Heber City, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 3:57 p.m.

    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.

  • Feliz Kaysville, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 4:13 p.m.

    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.

  • Eliot Santaquin, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 4:22 p.m.

    "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
    Feb. 25, 2013 4:25 p.m.

    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.

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    Feb. 25, 2013 4:50 p.m.

    Doesn't matter if you're LDS or not-LDS - when you're dealing with others, mutual respect goes the distance, not just a long ways. You have to choose to take offense at the actions of others. That includes those ridiculing your beliefs, proselytizing you or rejecting you in any social way. Love one another, and learn how to accept enough about their cultural mores to associate gracefully. I'm LDS and lived in a Jewish neighborhood in Dayton, OH and my neighbors made a point to invite me to their many events and explain traditions etc. It was wonderful, and many of them asked me about LDS and "christian" topics all the time, knowing I'd accepted knowing what they were about. I am for the first time in my adult life living in UT after 30 years in OH, AL and TX. How I approached it worked for me, them and I have many friends and colleagues who seek me out to know about LDS stances and beliefs in return because they know I care about their own too. Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you. It works. Shalom !

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 5:28 p.m.

    @JoeBlow
    "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." You have a point, but consider the opposite: When being nice ends with accusations of trying to convert and leaving others alone results in accusations of being snobbish - it is pretty easy to throw in the towel (not healthy - but easy), and simply retreat to the familiar; particularly when you can have a completely full and busy life in your own bubble. The fact that it may be easier for Mormons to retreat into the group in Utah does not mean that such a character trait is exclusively or even predominantly Mormon. I know many non-LDS people in Utah who retreat to their own cliques. Everywhere I have lived there has always been a predominant something (who was usually oblivious to the quirks of their dominance).
    Being non-LDS in Provo is less difficult than being a conservative religious person in SFO. Critics seldom consider that it works both ways because it is always more obvious when you are on the receiving, rather than giving, end of things.

  • dutgut Saint George, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 5:51 p.m.

    I grew up outside of the LDS environment and I can tell you that non-lds ask what religion you belong to just as much. I was invited many times to attend the predominate religion's services and activities. Sometimes I went, sometimes I didn't and I was never offended.
    Asking questions is all about getting to know someone. Their religion or non-religion is part of who they are, just like what they do for work or where they went to school. Asking questions and getting to know them is how you make friends and develop relationships.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 5:57 p.m.

    I'll always be on the wrong side of the tracks but I'm good with that.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 25, 2013 6:06 p.m.

    "When being nice ends with accusations of trying to convert and leaving others alone results in accusations of being snobbish "

    Huge area in the middle of those two options.

    If "being nice" is genuine and has absolutely nothing to do with their religion situation, then I see no issue, even for LDS.

    To invite someone to a church BBQ is one thing. Eying them as potential converts changes everything. And it's pretty easy to spot.

    Religion and politics is not something to be discussed with new neighbors. Once a relationship has been established, it is easy to determine if those are appropriate topics of discussion.

    I would never discuss religion with a stranger, even if they lived next door.

    And I would never knock on someones door to discuss religion. Never.

    Obviously, I would not make a good Latter Day Saint.

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 6:44 p.m.

    Lived all over the world. In Virginia we didn't have to worry about what it was like to live next to Baptists because as soon as they discovered we were LDS, they just talk to us, let alone invite us to their social church functions -- we would have been happy to attend.

    Living in Iver, Bucks. England, we had a BBQ the first month we were there and invited all of the neighbors. They were startled someone was having such a fete and came... and we introduced them to their other neighbors.

    When we moved to Orem we had one family next to us and another two doors down that were not LDS. We invited everyone to everything. One family had their bristles up and refused to be tainted and was the typical grumpy non-LDS oversensitive person just waiting to be offended. The other neighbor couldn't wait to come to everything and anything (including Relief Society luncheons). They loved the neighborhood and we loved them. When they moved back to Ohio (job transfer) we had a going away party and it was a tearful goodbye. The other family wouldn't attend.

    Life is what you make it.

  • Eddie Syracuse, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 6:55 p.m.

    Having lived in Oklahoma for many years I can tell you that one of the first questions asked of us was where we go to Church. In this town you were either Baptist or Methodist. After telling them that we were LDS, we were shunned and talked about by all the neighbors. I guess it just depends on where you live. After 15 years we moved, having made many friends, but they still thought we were of the devil. Nice people, salt of the earth type, but so closed minded that we just had to get out of there.

  • Austin Coug Pflugerville, TX
    Feb. 25, 2013 7:15 p.m.

    I live in Texas. Religion comes up all the time in conversation with neighbors and others who are not LDS. This was suprising after coming from Utah where it seemed people were offended to hear the mere mention of religion.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Feb. 25, 2013 7:17 p.m.

    JoeBlow,

    Thank you.

    I see both as an invite. As to the church’s mission focus, I think that you would find most of the missionary effort ends up being to the unchurched rather than those who are strong and active in their own church.

    Yes, there is the "our church is better than your church" issue. That is inherent in the concept of the primitive church restored. However, the concept of truthfulness is held by other religions as well. I think the issue is how it is presented – as you say, an invitation rather than a push.

    I am sorry if that has been a problem to you or yours.

    JD Tractor,

    Brave Sir Robin is right. When the temple here was being built there were protesters. When I took my family to the Hill Cumorah Pageant they had to pass through a gauntlet of folks yelling and saying all kinds of things.

    All,

    Rlsintx is right. When dealing with others, mutual respect goes the distance”. It is the only way to go.

  • Chad S Derby, KS
    Feb. 25, 2013 7:33 p.m.

    And remember, there is a significant contingent of Mormons who simply don't care about converting you or anyone else. They, like you, just want to be left alone.

  • DogsBarking utah/florida, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 8:19 p.m.

    It goes both ways. I live outside of Utah as a Mormon and have people in my neighborhood who've made fun of my faith to me, to others about me who then shared it with me.. and then ones who yelled at my children for having stickers on their cars for Mitt during the election. I find it interesting that the ones moving to Utah Valley are afraid of pressure to convert...while I am afraid of offensive behavior or worse. Which do you prefer?

  • panamadesnews Lindon, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 8:51 p.m.

    @Brave: I believe J D was referring to religions outside of Utah. Note where J D lives. He was comparing the churches where he lives (no one bashes any of them) to the LDS conference center in Utah, where representatives from other religions bash the Mormons as they arrive to attend general conference.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 9:16 p.m.

    To me America may not be perfect but it's better than any other country, Living in Utah may not be perfect but it's better than any other state around. Living in my town may not me perfect but it'
    s better than any place around. I don't get out much.

  • Shazandra Bakersfield, CA
    Feb. 25, 2013 10:13 p.m.

    Enjoyed the article, will get the book.

    There are no better people to live around! There are sometimes better LDS examples, but that goes for all imperfect humans. There will always be the upside and the downside to every situation on planet earth. Just love people, care about them and share your testimony/witness when asked.

    I've lived in Utah, Idaho and California. Attended Ricks, BYU, CSUN, and several community colleges. I was active LDS for 35 years, and have been a sold-out born-again follower of Jesus for the past 26. I attend Jewish synagogues with my Christain Hebrew class (I'm the teacher), and many other Protestant and Catholic special programs. My home church happens to be Southern Baptist, but it is the same doctrinally to any historical, Biblical church.

    I enjoy teaching religion and Bible classes in my community and I can tell you that while Mormons are socially friendly and charitable, they are the only group who lose their smile if it comes out that I am former-LDS. If we can get past that, the friendships are the best!

  • dnay Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 10:21 p.m.

    I've always been one who believed that you get out of something what you put into it. And reading this article you have someone who made an effort to understand and not criticize everything so she got the positive, many go the other way. You get back in life what you put into it, you reap what you sew in other words.
    I'm a member of the church and I'm sometimes frustrated with how we act and approach others, and some teachers or leaders have good intentions in mind but get a different result. They may set a goal of 5 baptisms in the ward for the year, but I think a better goal would be to help 5 people really understand what we believe, that way it's more towards helping and it stops members from being pushy and offending others. It's all how you go about it. Personally I don't ask the religion question, only if the a conversation brings it up, but I'd rather make a friend and help that way. More people come into the church because of examples and watching then from someone pushing an agenda.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 8:47 a.m.

    @JoeBlow
    You responded to my comment: "When being nice ends with accusations of trying to convert and leaving others alone results in accusations of being snobbish ", with "Huge area in the middle of those two options."

    Yes; logic would say so.

    However, if you have been in the majority all your life and all of a sudden you are not - paranoia can see darkness in that gray, when in reality they may be behaving absolutely no different than you did when you were in the majority. Also if one already has a judgment, such as condescension towards people who proselytize, it is easy to ascertain even the smallest gaff as an excuse to rationalize that predisposition.

    People can easily be "genuinely nice" and still be misunderstood through the lens of other peoples experience: The fact that everyone is human inherently makes the water muddy, aka gray, which is a problem when most humans tend to categorize in starker shades.
    Not saying you are absolutely wrong; just that a view from another angle gives a different picture. AKA two blind men describing an elephant.

    Point remains: It takes two to get along; one side cannot do it alone.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 10:02 a.m.

    JoeBlow wrote:

    "To invite someone to a church BBQ is one thing. Eying (sic) them as potential converts changes everything. And it's pretty easy to spot."

    You must beware of counterfeit intelligence passed off as good ideas.

    Inviting non-members to Church activities seems "nice", but it is not. The problem is that the Church dominates the lives and time of members to such an extent that they don't have any time or interest left over to join the "heathen" in THEIR activities!

    Friendships that are one-way, where the Mormon is inviting the non-Mormon to Mormon activities, but the Mormon never goes golfing with the non-Mormon (on Sunday), or goes with the non-Mormon on a weekend get-away (because the Mormon has a "calling" and won't miss a Sunday for fear of being labeled "less active") -- all these are a few of the many manifestations of how the LDS Church so dominates the lives of its members as to thwart meaningful relationships with non-members.

    We don't want to be proselytized, but we also don't want your Church setting the agenda of our friendship or the larger community of activities.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Feb. 26, 2013 10:41 a.m.

    A Scientist,

    We never join the “heathen” in their activities? First, I hardly consider my friends and neighbors heathens. Second, what about my turns at coaching, supervising a community sports program, volunteering for the PTA/PTO, and the TAG programs? Do none of those qualify?

    As to golf. I don’t but I have LDS friends who do and they certainly golf with non-member (but no, not on Sunday).

    Most folks I know miss church now and then for a variety of reasons and do not get labeled less active (like folks in my bishopric - one of whom was gone for 5 weeks straight). It depends on the what and why.

    Two of my best friends are non-members (and I don’t live close to either one anymore). Here in Kentucky I have good friends who are active in other churches (they even threw us an anniversary party using another church’s activity room).

    Yes, many of our activities are family oriented. And it is certainly true that the church holds an important place in our lives. But we have wider lives in the community and we are encouraged to do so.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 10:55 a.m.

    @A Scientist
    "all these are a few of the many manifestations of how the LDS Church so dominates the lives of its members as to thwart meaningful relationships with non-members."

    I am not LDS and get along just fine with Mormons (because I am not constantly looking for rationalizations NOT to) - so please dont lump me in with YOUR problems and bitterness (You would think a scientist would be a little more open)

    But thanks for proving my previous point anyhow

  • rnoble Pendleton, OR
    Feb. 26, 2013 2:51 p.m.

    I ask people about their religion so that I CAN get to know them. It(religiosity) speaks volumes about someone regardless of membership or interest. In fact, and in principle, being religious and displaying comfort in discussing it says something different than being religious and displaying discomfort; it is also different than being non-religious/comfortable or non-religious/not comfortable.

  • Moracle Blackshear, GA
    Feb. 26, 2013 4:32 p.m.

    Down where I live in South Georgia, I think we may have a different reason for talking to non-members about The Church of Jesus Christ. I think we do it because we realize we have the greatest gift God has to offer and want to freely share it with others: that of Eternal Life and Exaltation, a step way beyond Salvation alone, which is all other Christians and non-Christians know about.

    We know that the authority to perform the ordinances necessary for families to be sealed for time and eternity resides in this restored Church, and want all to share in it. It isn't about quotas, it's about our love for others and our desire for them to have all that we hope to have and enjoy in the hereafter.

  • Ghost Writer GILBERT, AZ
    Feb. 26, 2013 4:37 p.m.

    Awesome article by a mother of an awesome family. As a Latter-day Saint in a neighborhood with a lot of members of the church, it does seem to be a struggle at times to balance between being inclusive and not pushy at the same time. Nothing makes me feel like withdrawing into my little cultural cacoon faster than a neighbor who becomes put out because I invite them to a church function. This story makes me realize that we should all be able to be ourselves in front of our neighbors, and then let the chips fall where they may regarding which church or philosophy we will all individually choose.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Feb. 26, 2013 7:27 p.m.

    Scientist is wrong. In the neighborhood where I lived for a while we had seven LDS families and the rest were members of different sects or just didn't attend any church. When a friend of mine moved in across the street we invited everyone within a block and half to breakfast on Memorial Day. We did this for three years until I moved. Everyone knew we were LDS. Everyone knew if they asked that the missionaries would be there also but only to eat. If someone wanted to know more they could ask the missionaries themselves, otherwise it was just to get to know them. Neighbors on both sides of me came to the breakfast every year. My son played sports with them. They accepted who I was and I accepted who they were. They came to some church activities and even funerals of individuals each of us knew. I didn't preach to them but if they asked certain questions I answered them as best I could. I invited them to the Winter Quarters Temple Open House and some came and some didn't. We remain friends today and miss the times we spent together.

  • 3GrandKeys Walnut Creek, CA
    Feb. 27, 2013 1:13 a.m.

    Umm...there is most definitely a "scoreboard". It's just not at the chapel, it's on the wall at the mission home of whatever mission boundaries you live in. The numbers are prayerfully and diligently tracked day by day and every single Book of Mormon handed out, lesson taught, baptism committed and membership confirmed is eagerly being reported, recorded and added up. Every LDS member who has served a mission like me knows it. The jumbotron in the sky is always on.

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    Feb. 27, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    Being immersed in Mormon culture may actually cause a person to develop a worse, not better, understanding of Mormonism because there are so many things in the culture that are contrary to the religion itself. However, they seem to be doing s pretty good job so far of fellowshipping her and respecting her free agency. I suspect she will probably join the Church eventually. If not her then most likely her children.

  • oldcougar Orem, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 9:11 a.m.

    Thanks for a very interesting and encouraging article...and for entertaining comments!

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Feb. 27, 2013 9:18 a.m.

    Bill - I wonder if your friends who were not members would have still responded positively to you if they knew you referred to those who don't believe in mormonism "pawns of satan"? My guess would be no.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 10:26 a.m.

    I suppose the anecdotal evidence from Louisville Kentucky and Maryville, MO may be exceptions, but here in the heart of Mormondom, things are as I described them.

  • GeoMan SALEM, OR
    Feb. 27, 2013 1:55 p.m.

    After reading most of these comments, my conclusion is that what we think of our neighbors (whoever and wherever) says a lot about us and very little about the neighbors.

    I exercise most of my judging on the guy in the mirror. I've often wondered if I'd be happier judging my neighbors. I just haven't figured out how to make the switch. There is always the "judge not..." option, but I don't think I have much hope of making it much of the way to that goal.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Feb. 27, 2013 4:41 p.m.

    I'm LDS, born and raised here in Utah.
    I'vve lived all over the world, and in at least 12 different States over my mnay years --

    All I can say is this --

    It's easier to be a non-Mormon Republican in Utah,
    than it is to be a non-Republican Mormon in Utah.

    Enough said.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Feb. 27, 2013 4:42 p.m.

    Brahmabull: By the way I never said that anyone who doesn't believe in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a pawn of satan. In fact it is for those who are deceivers and misleaders like several posters who have become such. I also didn't coin the phrase. The first time I know it was used was in a talk by Elder Dahlin H Oakes in 2004 during General Conference. So no my friends never tried to be deceivers or misleaders. They passed on their beliefs and I gave them mine when asked. I never pushed my thoughts on them.

    A Scientist/The Scientist/Vanka: It is not nearly as bad as you make it out to be in your area of Utah. There are several from your area and probably even your neighborhood who would say just the opposite that are not LDS. You make it out like the whole world is out to get you and only you. When in reality you are probably a individual that has created it for themselves. Please, don't give us the sob story of how your spouse is a faithful member and how much tithing you pay.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Feb. 27, 2013 7:24 p.m.

    A Scientist wrote:

    Friendships that are one-way, where the Mormon is inviting the non-Mormon to Mormon activities, but the Mormon never goes golfing with the non-Mormon (on Sunday), or goes with the non-Mormon on a weekend get-away (because the Mormon has a "calling" and won't miss a Sunday for fear of being labeled "less active") -- all these are a few of the many manifestations of how the LDS Church so dominates the lives of its members as to thwart meaningful relationships with non-members.

    So general as to be laughable. Sure, stereotypes are there for a reason. But explain to me if this is the way with all Mormons why my active Mormon family in Texas:

    Participated in Katrina relief on Sundays.
    Attends friends' First Communions.
    Sponsors a Girl Scout troop, which at times requires Sunday camping.

    Oh, yes, Scientist, our social lives and friendships with our non-LDS neighbors have been "thwarted" by our overbearing LDS Religion.

    Here's some salsa for that chip on your shoulder.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Feb. 28, 2013 4:09 p.m.

    Bill - You can't quote Dallin H. Oaks, because it is just his opinion.

  • Hunam Layton, UT
    March 1, 2013 6:38 a.m.

    Growing up in utah, I remember once having a crush on a cute asian girl in my high school class. I asked her to go with me to a dance. She said her parents wouldn't let her go, because I was LDS. It stung a little, because my intentions were entirely pure and motivated by friendship and a desire to include her in my circle of friendship.

    All cultures struggle to preserve their identities and thrive. Sometimes living side by side, we struggle to know what's a safe distance, because we all have different expectations. I admire the author of this article's willingness to learn about the one in which she lived and make peace. I wish there were more tolerant, self-assured folks like her in this world.

    Sometimes I get the feeling that most folks try to prove the superiority of their way by tearing down or criticizing others and casting themselves as victims, when with a little understanding and patient listening, we discover at the root we're all decent, if a little awkward, kids just trying to go to a dance and be better friends...

  • Rockarolla West Jordan, UT
    March 22, 2013 11:18 p.m.

    I love the aunt lucy comment...and I LOVE tender brisket.
    I'm a life long Mormon and I have friends that are not LDS. we get along great! And I love them just like I love my LDS friends. Just treat people like you would want to be treated and if a missionary opportunity comes along, just go with it.

  • Rainy242 Eagle Mountain, UT
    May 13, 2014 1:55 p.m.

    So my husband and I (non-LDS) recently moved into a new neighborhood in Utah County. I have lived all over the country and it is very different here. We want to be friendly with all people, but our next door neighbors for some reason won't even look at us. The lady next door will often have the lady two doors down over and they'll stand on their porch and look at me as I work on getting our yard set up. Then when I see them and try to wave they both look away. I know they are LDS, which is fine. We live next door to them and would like to be at least friendly, but every time we go in for a wave they turn away. I just don't understand the animosity as we are neighbors and why create an uncomfortable situation? Who knows how long we will live near each other, possibly a long time. Why do they do this? What kind of behavior does it teach their kids? Mostly, what can we do to improve this situation?