Imagine the mountains back in the 1800s. I’m sure they looked as beautiful as they do today, but crossing them in a wagon, much less a hand cart? No thanks. Back then, Brigham Young was on to something: get to the other side of the mountains, and you’ll be isolated and safe. Free to practice your religion. So they did–Dragged their carts across the midwest, sailed in from Europe, rode trains, and then dragged carts–the Mormons settled in Salt Lake City. For years it was perfect. A union existed between church and government. The towns were laid out with the temple at the center, each road a number, increasing as they get further from the temple at (0,0). I can tell you right now that I live 9 blocks east and 39 blocks south of the temple. That means I’m (9^2+39^2)^(1/2)* less Godly than someone that lives next door to the temple. That’s totally not true–I’m kidding.
The city is then divided up in to sections–I forget what they’re called. Each section has a church surrounded by a couple blocks of houses. Thus, an incredibly tight-knit community is formed. Your neighbors go to your church. Your church is a couple blocks away. Everyone in your neighborhood knows you. These sections make up larger sections that make up larger sections.
An incredibe emphasis is put on family in the Mormon Church. Sundays are to be spent at church and with family. Marriage at an early age is encouraged, birth control is discouraged (I don’t actually know that for sure). Many Non-Mormons blame the no-sex-until-marriage thing for the tendency to marry at an early age. Having at least some experience in the matter, I’m not entirely sure that that’s the case. It’s kind of just expected. Tara and I have a female friend that is LDS. She is 25, not married, not even engaged. She’s told us that she gets a bit of a tough time from family and fellow church members about it. Such is life as a Utah Mormon.
Imagine growing up in a Mormon family in Utah, and at some point along the line, realizing that Mormonism just isn’t for you. How do you get out? It seems like you’d literally have to flee, and start almost completely over. Make new friends, and, in many cases, find a new job. It’s scary.
Thus the Mormons lived their happy secluded lives in Salt Lake until people started to realize that Utah is not such a bad place to live. Recreation in the mountains came about drawing more people deluding the city with others. The interesting thing is this: although Mormons expect persecution for their faith, they feel persecuted and do not like it when there’s even one non Mormon present in a group. I guess this is understandable. A group of boys acts completely different if there is one girl present (until one of them farts, and then there’s no shame). In any case, it doesn’t seem like they’re very happy about being invaded. To be clear, when I say “they”, I certainly don’t mean “all”. Just with any group, you can’t generalize them to all have the exact same opinions.
In my opinion, I have nothing but respect for the Mormons. They do have some good values, and certainly are dedicated. In my time here, I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with them. There’s just a few things we don’t see eye to eye on.