Saturday, October 17, 2009

People who say they HAAAAAATE Utah

How? Ha! Naw... I get why people don't like certain places because it's "just not them" or isn't near a Nordstrom's or doesn't have a variety of dining options or it's cold all the time or it's hot all the time; but really, to HATE living somewhere? That's pretty serious. And to HATE living in Utah? In this Utahns opinion is crazy talk!

I've been to a handful of places inside the country and out. I can say that I do not want to live in Provo, Utah... er again... because it's just not the place for me. Do I hate it? NO! In fact my year there was one of the best years of my life. It's also one of the most beautiful places I've lived what with the mountains so close and it's "small cityness." But when it's all said in done, I'd rather not live there if I can avoid it. Just not the place for me; and that's okay!

On the other hand, I could live in San Francisco forever. I love it there. What a unique and amazing city! Yes, I could do San Francisco quite happily for a very long time... as could I do London... and I imagine (though I've never been) I'd like such places as Maine, Boston, or the Carolina's very much as well. These places appeal to me on a personal level. They contain within them things I enjoy having around me in my living space. And since we're on the subject, I could also live in Salt Lake City for a very long time... and have for a very long time... because it's a beautiful fantastic clean city I feel is home.

That said (placing can opener over worm can)...

Some might say, oh of COURSE she loves Salt Lake City, she's a Mormon. Ha. Huh. Well, it definitely makes it more appealing to me as a Mormon because for heavens sake it's the headquarters of the Mormon Church. The Salt Lake temple is literally two blocks from my house, and I'm always reminding myself how very lucky I am as a Mormon to live in Salt Lake City, Utah. Yet, I might venture to say, though that's a bonus, it's not why I love Salt Lake City. I wouldn't move to Nauvoo or Palmyra New York for the soul reason it contains so much of my Churches history. And clearly, if I'm loving to live places like San Francisco or Paris or London, there are many many MANY things that make a city appealing to me than proximity to my faith's religious headquarters. I can't imagine Catholics make mass exodus to live in Vatican City solely because they are Catholic. Though, I would wager that any practicing Catholics living in Vatican City would feel the same as I do being Mormon and living in Salt Lake City; very very blessed.

In contrast, many say they hate living in Utah. Now, clearly I have a bias because I love Utah. And I love it for it's beautiful mountains, it's unique red rock, it's deserts, it's 4 seasons (except this year... seriously... did we have a summer?), the general beauty in the layout of the cities, the cleanliness of the cities (and I've been to some very "dirty" cities and am always reminded of how "clean" particularly Salt Lake City is when I return), and yes for its people. Many "non-Utahns" have commented time and again to myself, friends, family, that Utah has a high concentration of very nice people. I think we are pretty nice people! All of us! So, I always wonder, how can you really absolutely HATE living in Utah? Really, how can you HATE (as in loathe) living most places? I've always been a believer that something is what you make of it. Your attitude is a powerful tool that can color any situation, for better or for worse, if you let it. Cynicism is the best way to go through life always unimpressed and ill-contented. Well, I think people hate living in Utah because they.... dislike the religious concentration of people here. Yeah, I know that's a bold statement, but I think it's true. And my question to those who hate Utah because they recognize that yes, the LDS concentration here does have a huge impact on the culture and thus an impact on a lot of policies, laws, and attitudes here, and they don't like it, then really, why stay? Now, I don't want to be one of those who say "well if you hate it move" because that's somewhat unrealistic for a lot of people. Maybe they would move if they could. But, if you're one of those people, wouldn't your life be much improved if you accepted (not to say you don't have to desire change of course) but at least had an attitude of "well, I do live in a city that is the HEADQUARTERS OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS!!! and may have to interact with those who belong to that Church and additionally be slightly effected by that religion sometimes."

If you still must hate it, consider this line of reasoning:

Utah was settled by Mormon pioneers. Thus, the state's birth and subsequent growth was extended by those of the LDS faith. The first thing pioneers did when they arrived in what is now Utah, was pave the way and prepare to build a temple. Pioneers were sent all over the state to create a safe-haven and establish colonies, a place where they could worship and practice their beliefs in peace. The state of Utah is steeped in Mormon heritage and tradition. And only when (as the biggest factor)the Union Pacfic and Central Pacific railroads met at Promontory Point in Utah forming the transcontinental railroad did a greater influx of Americans begin to enter Utah who did not do so for reasons of religious worship. And thus, Utah began to be integrated into the United States, bring in businesses and industry, and is what it is today. Not as diverse as many other states with very different histories, but it's growing and diversifying as it has since those first Mormon Pioneers entered the valley. THUS - here is my question - if you are frustrated or bothered by this influence in the state of Utah, then I might suggest you utilize some logic and see that it was settled by Mormons, the headquarters of a quickly growing Church is in Salt Lake City, as well as the gathering place for semi-annual conferences, the historic Salt Lake City Temple and now new family history library, and Brigham Young University, a large private Mormon University that brings in many members from all over the United States, from all over the world.

So really, really? You are angry because Utah has a lot of LDS influence and you HATE living in Utah because there are so many MORMONS??? It's like moving to Vatican City and hating Catholics... or to India and hating Buddhists and Hindus... or parts of the Middle East and being annoyed at the Muslim influence " Why do we have to kneel and pray to the sounding of a bell at certain times!!! (shake fist) I hate living here in this highly concentrated Muslim area!"

Like, really? I for one would very much expect if I were to move to Vatican City that much of my daily routine, even the sights I see everyday, and much of that cities politcal influence, would have a connection to Catholicism in some resepct. And I, though not being part of that belief system, would have to either accept that that influence is steeped in centuries (in this case) of tradition and that statistically, because there could be a very large Catholic membership and thus MANY of it's political figures and choices would belong to that faith and thus, lean towards their innate biases, OR curse them all, say I HATE Vatican City and the Catholic influences there, and be angry about it the entire time I live there. Which sounds better to you?

And, if that's not the reason you HATE Utah then first, I still don't get it ;) ha!, but secondly, I don't see how long I could stay in someplace I truly loathed that much. Nor do I see how someone can CHOOSE to MOVE out here from another place and then hate it with everything they have. And, if it's a choice (opposed to those who don't have the means or ability to change their situation), can't you CHOOSE to live somewhere you like a little more? If you move to Utah, at some level residents will need to accept that the LDS Church does have a strong influence here, just like any other major religions headquarters will likely have a strong influence where they are. Religions throughout history have patterns of gathering together, to worship together, and to be near those who practice how they do. It's human nature to create support mechanisms and be "part of something."Muslims from all over the world travel thousands of miles to Mecca to worship together. It's a beautiful and exciting thing when you can be somewhere, even for a short time (i.e. General Conference weekend as my closest to home example) and learn about your faith together with others who also share those ideas. And if someone HATES that Mormons do that in Utah, you've probably chosen the wrong place to live. Or need a serious attitude adjustment; for your own good.


Crazy Walker said...

You make some really valid points, and I like your argument. How someone can absolutely HATE living anywhere is beyond me. There are certainly those people who can't see the good in things through the bad, or the bad through the good.

Being a recent Excommunicated Utahn, I'm appreciating the things in Washington that AREN'T Utahn. I can't make sweeping generalizations like everyone is friendlier in Spokane, or, no one is materialistic in Spokane. That would be as silly as saying that everyone in Utah is Republican. I can say, though, that I've noticed a bit more courtesy in driving. The people in my ward embraced me whole heartedly and were so excited to have me (because their ward has been shrinking). I like the vibe out here. Salt Lake has its own vibe that I really miss and love as well, and I really love Utah as a whole. But Spokane is really growing on me, just because of the non-Utah-ness about it.

Just as I can't see why people hate Utah (I really feel like if you HATE it, then you should leave. Why stay in a place that makes you miserable? And Utah doesn't want you if you don't want it! lol), I wonder how people can say it's the "most beautiful place on earth", or as I heard it the other day "God's Country". Well, it certainly is beautiful, but I'm not quite sure that it holds all of the beauty that God has ever created. I think both ends of the spectrum are a little silly.

But I do appreciate SLC, and love it and miss it. I particularly fell in love with the Millcreek/Holladay area. I'm jealous of your Park City trip. Take in all the fall colors & the beauty! I'm glad there's someone in SLC appreciating it for me. :)

Andrea Jolene said...

The driving!!! HA! I forget about the driving. So true my friend. I don't know why Utahns are such hazards on the road. I get what you mean about liking somewhere because it's different from where you were. I'd like to live out of state for a time (still love Utah of course) just so I can be person without an assumed label because I'm particularly a Mormon IN Utah. I feel that for sure.

(light) Black And Decker said...

Reading this I'm wondering if you've recently had an experience with a non-Mormon who told you they hated Utah...And in that respect, I can see your points.

However, I think it's also safe to say that many Mormon's who didn't grow up in Utah and then move here also throw the comment around that they hate it here. Also, I've heard some born and bread Utahns also say the same thing.

As for me, I didn't grow up here, and moving here definitely is a huge culture shock. I think that's part of the reason here. It's not that we may hate Mormon's in general, but there is just something strange here, a strange culture that has been created just because of the sheer mass of Mormon's there are. And it's hard to get used to. Many people never do, and I'm sure they are among those that say they hate it here. I'm not sure anyone can fully understand it unless they spend many years out of here, and then come back and see the shocking differences.

And on the driving note, I can DEFINITELY say that I HATE Utah Drivers. Loathe, despise, and hate them.

The end.

Andrea Jolene said...

Gina - yes. My post was very specific to those who are not of our faith and because of that - hate being here. Of course I wouldn't think that is the sole reason for hating living in Utah. BUt if it IS: then my arguement stands. In contrast, I am friends with with many non-mormons who love it here. My discussion was very specific.

I also might venture to add: Have you ever lived anywhere in Utah except Provo? Because my friend, Provo is super weird. Ha! I'm not saying it's bad - but it is not the total Utah exerience FOR SURE. If I were to show someone a Utah experience he had never been here before, I would not take them to Provo. If all of Utah were like Provo - I (a native Utahn) would not want to live here long either.

Like I said, I very much enjoyed my time there (because of people like yourself!) but I could not ever live there. It doesn't seem "real" if that makes sense. Now, I know SLC is still "Mormon-heavy" BUT, it is more along the lines of a "normal" city as far as Utah city comparisons to other cities go. In fact, within the next 10 years Mormons in SLC will be the minority. I've spent time "living" out of state briefly (San Franny, London) and feel like I could live the same life and interact with most of the same types of people (to an extent of course) there as I do here.

Likewise I've met the born, bread, live and die Utahns (the great majority hailing from Utah County) who come to SLC and experience THEIR culture shock. Culture shock. IN SLC. Kinda crazy.

So yes, I hear ya for sure. But my encompassing arguement of anyone absolutely HATING where they live is strange to me and I think, in part, has to do with a bad attitude. Like I said, I don't want to live in Provo and when I moved there the first month I thought "wow... I can't do this" ha ha ha ha! But then I had some fantastic experiences and sought for the unique things about the Provo experience. It made a big difference.

Lex and Chris said...

LOVED This post. I have been following (blog-stalking?) you, secretly, for a while. the bag is out because I HAD to comment.

I didn't grow up in Utah and so coming here was like coming to Mecca. Though I lived 40 minutes away from church history sites, I wanted to come to SLC. When I came I had a hard time with the culture too. The "culture" is different in "the mission field" (really can't stand that phrase). I also served my mission in Utah (ogden) and so I had to see the pretty and the U.G.L.Y! of mormon culture that seems to thrive where there are large groups of LDS. And as I thought back I realized I have said that I hate utah. And looking back at that time of my life, I have to say that I actually felt that way, but I actually didn't hate the State of Utah, I didn't like the "culture". I have since lived in Utah for five years and I have fallen in Love with Utah. I still have a few issues with the "culture" but I just deal with it. I had to change my attitude and it does make things easier and helps in appreciating the area in which you live. Life is so much easier when we chose to be happy instead of miserable.

Andrea Jolene said...

Thanks for the comment "Lex and Chris." I'm glad Utah has grown on you. Yes, the culture is very unique and I myself struggle with aspects of it. But, I don't let it taint my beautiful Utah experience. There are weird things for sure - but many unique positive things as well. It truly is about attitude.