During a conversation with a girl who sits next to me in class, I happened to mention how my wife and daughter had gone up to Utah this weekend to visit our parents. She said, “What part of Utah?” Whenever somebody asks this question, I wonder if they know anything about Utah’s geography. They usually don’t.
I said they were in Provo, which is an hour south of Salt Lake. She said, “I think my boyfriend is from around there. A city called American Fork. He hates it there, though. You know, because of ‘the mormon thing.'”
My eyes narrowed and I turned away, deciding not to legitimize this comment with a response.
So what is this terrible Mormon Thing? And what does this clown boyfriend have against it?
It’s not like we’re running a theocracy in there. So my old Stake President happened to be the Mayor of Provo. Big deal.
I don’t think the church secretly controls the press. The Deseret News may be owned by the church, but it is only the second highest circulating paper in Utah.
Everything in Utah doesn’t scream mormon. Just about 50% of the highway billboards do, like those for “Missionary Mall.”
Alright. So the day-to-day lives of people in the state are influenced by the church. But lets take a brief tangent and make a differentiation: influence is not control. Influence is willful; it allows for choice. People live church standards and promote church ideas because they want to. They aren’t affraid that the church police will come to arrest them if they don’t. Control is the thing that people are affraid of. Control is compelled; it doesn’t allow for dissent. The church doesn’t control Utah.
So this guy doesn’t want to live in a place where most of his neighbors are influenced by an organization that he does not want to be a part of. I suppose that’s reasonable.
But who is this guy anyway? I would speculate that he is himself a sheep-gone-astray, a surmise that seems likely if he is from American Fork. As stray sheep are prone to do naughty things, he probably just doesn’t like to be reminded that he’s wrong. People don’t like to be wrong. One can’t be raised one’s whole life to follow a certain standard, only to abandon that standard and not feel its sting.
If that’s true, his plight becomes much different. The “Mormon Thing” becomes the stigma of living among his own people but not living like them. He would be an infidel, to use an antiquated term, a person who knows but is unfaithful. And who wants to be an infidel? It is much easier to move to another state, say Colorado, and whine about Utah and the Mormon thing.
I could be wrong. He could be some poor non-member kid who got too many pass-a-long cards. I’m just sayin’….