Amanda suggested the other day that I start a blog about my experience as a Christian in the heart of Mormon culture: Salt Lake City. I don’t want to give her all the credit–I had been thinking about doing this already, but I suppose she was the catalyst. I don’t feel like creating a new blog page, so I’m just going to intermingle these with my other every-day posts.
2 months ago, I completely uprooted my life, got married, honeymooned, and then packed all my belongings and moved from Omaha, NE to Salt Lake City, UT. It’s safe to say that news of mine and Tara’s plan to move to Salt Lake was met with a good amount of skepticism from most friends, family, and acquaintances. Many responded with a polygamy joke. Several had a friend, or a friend of a brother’s ex-wive’s sister’s husband, that had evidently at some point tried living in Utah only to be discriminated against by the Mormons until they could not take it any longer and had to leave. Regardless, at least 99% of the responses we received had something to do with Mormons. I have to admit, I was nervous about it. What if the stories were true? Now, after having safely and happily lived out here as a non-Mormon for nearly 2 months now, I’m begining to realize just how much of a misconception exists in what the rest of the nation thinks about Utah, and reality. And that, is the driving force behind this blog.
The account I’m about to give is based on personal observation, other Utah residents’ opinions, and actual facts, most of which from the adult sunday school class that Tara and I are attending at our church.
First off, it is important to understand the actual religion/social demographic in Salt Lake City. To my understanding, the city is 50% Mormon, 50% other. One of the first things I noticed being out here is the presence a strong “Mormon counterculture”. Many of the participants said “movement” choose to broadcast in a very obvious way that they are NOT Mornon. Excessive body peircings, tattoos, long hair, drug use, and homosexuality seem to be common. Along with these two distinct groups of people, a third culture peacefully coexists. Comprising this group, are what the rest of the Nation (the midwest, in particular) would probably call “normal people”. They are Christians, Atheists, Scholars, Granolas, you-name-it. Finally, there is a common interest that seems to weave this diverse population together: a love for the outdoors.
Thus, we have shattered the misconception that Utah is comprised entirely of Mormons with only a small fraction of non-Mormons. In fact, in Salt Lake, they’re not even the majority anymore (The state as a whole is still 70% Mormon). At this point, you may wonder what the Mormons think about this “invasion”. That will be discussed next time.