I was talking with my sister from the “Arrogant East” the other day. She said she would never move back to Utah because we’re all just a bunch of “Cultural” Mormons. Not like the Mormons (like herself) back East who have to fight for their beliefs and such. I have to disagree. Yes, it’s easier to slide by in Utah without having your convictions challenged, and you are not as readily tempted by liquor stores, porn shops, brothels, and global warming freaks everywhere, but you have challenges nonetheless. Not least among these is the innate desire to rebel against the Mormon “culture.”
One of our High Councilmen (yes, you Eastern Mormons, they’re called CouncilMEN, not CouncilPERSONS) spoke at our thoroughly “Utahized” Sacrament Meeting last Sunday (nope, not a single person in flip-flops, and very few with goatees—but we don’t speak to them). He was admiring all the beautiful young women for their modest prom dresses. The night before was our high school’s prom. He was raised outside the Church out in the “real” Mormon territory and, even though not in the Church at the time, was saddened by the risque and immodest dresses girls used to wear at proms when he was growing up. He was touched by the simple, clean beauty evident in these Utah young women.
Why was Joseph Smith commanded to build a Zion city (Utah)? Was it so that we can relax our guard and not worry about being tempted? NO! It was so that we wouldn’t have to take up all our time dealing with stupid worldly vices and be able to focus more on the love for one another and learning of higher ideals that would bring us closer to a heavenly kingdom on earth. In this sense, preferring to live in the East where things are more “real” is like going to X-rated movies to prove we won’t fornicate, or hanging out in a bar to prove we won’t drink.
This argument made by Eastern Mormons is simply a coverup for their disdain for what they perceive as culturally backwards ignorant Utah Mormons. It is all an illusion. If you look at the stats, Utah has essentially the same teen pregnancy rates, similar divorce rates, plenty of drunk driving, a larger state prison system than most states its size, and the highest online porn subscription rate in the country (must be all those polygamous tendencies in our blood), in short, plenty of vices to make the Eastern Arrogant Mormon feel right at home. Okay, so there are those annoying missionary two-for-one suit billboards in Utah County, I’ll give you that. And the lack of facial hair on the BYU campus. Alright, seeing a Mormon chapel on almost literally every block can be annoying too, since they all look alike. But overall, you wouldn’t know you were in Utah versus, say, Nebraska or Montana if you didn’t turn up your nose the instant you landed here.
Maybe the Utah Development Board should campaign to attract more non-Mormons to come live here so that re-patriated Eastern Mormons will have someone to play with. The campaign slogan could be something like, “Utah: We’re just like you, but without the arrogance.”