So i’ve been traveling to the east coast the last little bit (hence the lack of posts), and that led me to an observation:
→We are such an incredibly non-urban church!
Or, more precisely, we just don’t seem to do central cities. I mean, the way conferences in my field work is that they generally end on Sunday around noon and then i spend my afternoon flying home so i don’t get to go to church, but this time i actually had the time to go to church after the meeting ended—but there wasn’t a Mormon congregation anywhere i could have gotten to.
And i was in downtown Boston, which is a pretty big city—over 625,000 people. Really? We only have one ward in the entire city,* and i’d’ve had to have figured out a way to the suburbs to get to another one?
And i’m not cherry-picking here—Philadelphia has a similarly meager presence in the city itself compared to the suburbs, as does Washington DC. Even here in Alaska, where we’ve got a good presence in Anchorage, the suburbs have more congregations than you’d expect given their comparative population.
And even in the heart of Mormon country, there’s gobs and tons of church units in Salt Lake City, but compared to its suburbs? Not even close.
So what is it about our church that doesn’t appeal to city dwellers so much?** Back when i was growing up on the east coast people used to chalk it up to our whiteness (what with the cities having such a large number of non-white individuals), but that kind of falls apart when you see the same pattern in Anchorage and Salt Lake City.
So: Any ideas?
* One English-speaking non-singles ward, that is.
** In the United States, at least. My intuition is that you’re more likely to see Mormonism as an urban church is some other parts of the world.
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