Monday, March 14, 2011

Why we hate each other

My last post got me thinking about regionalism in the church, and something i’ve often heard from Utah Mormons: Why do Mormons from places outside of Utah hold a grudge against Utah Mormons? Why is there so much Utah Mormon bashing?

Well, i suspect that it’s largely more of a perception thing than anything else, to begin with. I tend to think that it’s simply a case of Mormons having stereotypes about the various cultural subgroups (often geographically based) within Mormonism, and whatever group you’re part of seems to you to be the one that gets slammed the hardest.

That is, Utah Mormons are sensitive to (and notice) jabs at Utah Mormons ’cause they’re Utah Mormons, California Mormons are sensitive to jabs about California Mormons, Eastern [US] Mormons would be sensitive to jabs about Eastern Mormons except that we know we’re evil, &c.

According to my own perception, though, i think there’s also a cultural trend among Utahns (not just Mormons from Utah, by the way) to talk about Utah as if it’s necessarily the greatest place on earth, and everybody’d better agree with that claim—and i would expect a backlash against that sort of thing.

Consider that, while i was growing up in Southern Maryland, i had to listen to Utah transplants go on about how it was too humid (never thinking that some of us might think that the air is actually pleasant in Maryland, but that it’s too dry in Utah), our mountains were just “baby mountains” (completely missing the point when i’d respond “Yeah, but our mountains have trees!”), that it took too long to get to church (40 minutes on Sunday morning for my family before they improved the roads, an hour and a half for some families in the ward), and the like. I feel that, faced with such, it would only be natural to expect a certain amount of backlash.

So i’m sorta sorry, Utahns, but i feel no sympathy.


Michelle said...

Ditto on feeling no sympathy.

I'd like Utah Mormons a lot more if they'd quit referring to every place outside of Utah (and maybe Idaho) as "the mission field."

Heather the Mama Duk said...

Yes, Michelle! I always respond with "huh... and here I thought there were missionaries in Utah" all sarcastic and they don't know what to say (mostly because a whole lot of Utahns I've run into don't really get sarcasm).

I was in a ward that had a very us-them mentality due to the very high numbers of Utahns in the ward. Most of them were interns for Congresspeople or doing internships for government agencies. Most were only here a few months and had nothing but disdain for all things Virginia/east coast. I heard many times that "they" were better because they grew up surrounded by other Mormons (I have other theories on that, actually) and "they" are from the promised land that Joseph Smith saw in a vision and so on. They got very annoying actually.

John said...

Well, it IS too humid in Maryland.

David B said...

It isn’t too humid until fish can swim through the air!

(And, to be honest, that only happens very rarely, even in Maryland.)