If there is such a thing.

For those of you still in Utah, what is it like? Are most of your friends still Mormon? Do missionaries come to your door? Does the culture still bother you, or are you coping happily? Planning to leave, or have already left?

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I'm a devout atheist with no tolerance for bigotry and assholeishness. I also absolutely love living in Salt Lake City. It's an amazing place. I've lived in Germany, Louisiana, and Minnesota. None are really better or worse, just different: all have fun places to go, bars to party in (New Orleans had a ton of them), bands to see, both nice people and total assholes to meet, both shitty politicians and great politicians, strange religions, etc. I work with some Mormons but it doesn't really affect anything and outside of the realm of work and the families of a few friends I don't interact with Mormons at all.
Sadly, most of my friends are still Mormon, which makes things awkward because a lot of them act weird now that I have left "the church". I try to pretend I don't notice, which is hard for me because generally I just say what I think about stuff. However, in the interest of not being completely isolated, most of the time I try to keep my thoughts to myself. It gets kind of depressing in the long run. I have found very few people in my town that think like I do, and the few my husband and I did find have ended up moving elsewhere because they couldn't stand living in our little small-minded town. Missionaries don't come to my door, but the Relief Society does, and so do the Primary people, bringing little churchy gifts for my son, which really pisses me off. They are dense folk - hinting does you no good. I find you end up having to be out and out rude for them to get the message. I can't wait to get out of this place.
Yikes, Jenni, that's rough. I hope you can meet some good people before you lose it, what town are you in?

When I first moved out to SLC I didn't know about the church people that come to your door. Apparently when my girlfriend stopped bringing herself and her daughter to church her mother called up and had them send someone around to entice her back into the flock. One day I was chillin' watching some Dora the Explorer with the little 4 year old when the doorbell rang. Two grown men asked to speak with the little girl. Where I'm from that gets you a good old fashioned ass kicking. Luckily for them my girlfriend came home right then and sorted things out. The guys were actually trying to talk to my girlfriend but got the names mixed up.

Anyway, I feel your pain about the people coming around messing with your kids. There is no excuse for that. How about if I went to their house and gave their kids some Iron Maiden CDs, a copy of the Communist Manifesto, and told them their parents were nuts. They'd be furious.
I moved to Utah in 2007 after living in six states and two other countries. I thought I could handle it all. I lived above a funeral home in the Bluegrass region of KY, in a TINY studio on Tokyo, in San Francisco, in the Over-The-Rhine district in Cincinnati, and now I live in Provo. I've never felt so out of place in my life. This is a strange place. My son's friends can't come over, my colleagues from work won't come over. I get a condescending "sorry" when I tell people we have only one child. My wife grew up a Buddhist; we have prayer flags and a small Buddha in the front yard and people stop and stare. I was told I should be shot when wearing an "Obama!" t-shirt at the local grocery.
My biggest beef is with there being "Seminary" class at the High Schools. That's just wrong. It isn't even a real seminary. My uncle went to seminary school and three years later received a PHd. What is this "Seminary" in high school?
Another beef is the hubris the people have around here. I've never lived anywhere where there was so much pride. Oh, and the casual racism and sexism that's bandied about really gets to me as well. I don't hear the N-word, but the knowing glance and the "Well, you know..." comments are shocking. Not just about black people, but anyone who isn't lily-white.
On the positive side: It's beautiful here and I hike and camp a lot. I find that living amongst people with whom I disagree on a lot of core principles has strengthened my own values. As a teacher I find that I can do a lot of good for the kids who are not of the majority and who feel lost. In the like-minded friends that I'm (finally!) making I find a great spirit of openness and kindness.
Even though Utah Valley is the land of "Happy Pills" and a birth rate greater than Bangladesh, I see no joy in their lives. But while I'd love to move back to America, I find a certain satisfaction with being a stranger in a strange land, and I firmly believe that these people need more like us to live amongst them in order to help them come out of the dark ages and realize that it is OK to be different.
That's wild that of all the places you've been, Provo Utah wins most-alienating award!

Hi Jezzy,

I've lived in Southern Utah for just over ten years now. Most of my friends are Mormon, because most of the people here are. Yes, missionaries come to my house. They seem to be sent by the nice elderly couple down the road. Its no secret that I'm not LDS, but only a few know I'm an atheist. When asked i tell the truth. But most of the time they only ask "What church do you go to?" I can answer quite honestly that I am a Unitarian. Most Unitarians , at least the ones I know, are openly atheist, or at least agnostic. We think that religion is a pretty bad idea, but church has some merit.

The thing about the local culture that bothers me the most, is the complete lack of curiosity about the outside world. They honestly think that people are "just like them" everywhere else. And what they don't know is mind boggling.  I've talked to kids about to go on their mission who have never met a Jew. They didn't even know that Jews are not followers of Jesus. I swear that's true. One girl told me that converting people to Mormonism should be easy, once they tell them about it. After all, its a better deal than worshiping half a god.

 

 

Where in Southern Utah? I've been living in SG for the past school year. People here seem a lot friendlier, and I'm not being stalked (because they don't have my info), but it's still a dense and deluded area.

I have lived in Utah for 38 mostly agonizing years.  I grew up in So Lame City, but I'm currently in Ogden, which actually isn't too bad, if only there were more jobs in my field here.  I will stop there, otherwise I'd end up writing a book.

I have been saving my pennies to leave this miserable place for a very long time.  I am so close to being able to afford to move right now that I can almost taste it.

I expect to be moving within a year, maybe two.  When I do, I will never look back.

I moved to Utah five years ago. I was born and raised in Alabama (the Bible Belt), and spent five years in Colorado before moving to Utah. I own a home here, met my husband here and had my daughter here. Some of my friends are Mormon, but you should know that Salt Lake City itself is actually less than 50% Mormon. We have one of the most liberal mayors in the country, and there is a thriving GLBT population. We also have a very active cultural/art scene.

Missionaries have come to our door before, but I usually just mess with them. We are happy here, and we have a huge group of atheist/non-religious friends. We don't feel like the minority. We plan to stay here probably until retirement. :)

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