In my last post I tried to spotlight the silliness of the “Utah versus the East” bantering I get so tired of hearing about in the Mormon Church. Well, I really stuck my foot in it this time. After a dozen or so temper-flared comments back and forth with some worthy opponent down in Texas, I’ve come to the following incontrovertible conclusion (and I know I’m right, so you need not comment except to shower me with adulations for my superior insight and sublime wisdom).
So, here it is:
There is merit in being “exclusive” and there is equal merit in being “inclusive.”
The “exclusive” argument: At certain times we need to make assumptions. There are relationships between observed attributes and the laws of probability. Example: A man with nudey pictures all over his walls just might have infidelity problems. But, one must be careful that such “judgments” aren’t simply covers for our own fears and insecurities. Someone who makes mental notes about the color of mens shirts in sacrament meeting (“Don’t go near that heathen, my boy, he’s wearing a blue shirt!”) definitely has some psychological issues to work out.
The “inclusive” argument: In many cases differences among people should be enjoyed. People with “unusual” attributes, tastes, interests, etc. make life interesting and are opportunities to gain understanding and insight we would never acquire on our own. But, one must be careful that such “acceptance” does not blind us to the guy smoking a joint in the church foyer or other “signs” of potential trouble. [Sentence here now removed, it was two in the morning when I wrote it and I was tired and I certainly went too far. I apologize.]
The common misconception I’m trying to debunk is that somehow many Mormons have come to categorize the “exclusive” tendencies in Mormondom as the “Utah Culture” and the equally pervasive “inclusive” tendencies in the Church as the “Eastern Culture.” This is all a load of foul-smelling donkey leavings! I’ve been, no, lived, worked, and played in both “cultural territories” and it simply doesn’t hold water. There are “inclusive” Mormons in Utah and there are “exclusive” Mormons in Georgia, New York, or wherever else you want to look. I can’t make categorical claims as to whether Utah or Virginia is one way or the other when it comes to Mormon “culture.” So, enough with the arrogance! On both sides! There. I have made my decree, now it is up to all of you, my ignorant minions, to follow it!