Monday, December 14, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
So, why does religion have to play such a big part in this rivalry? Why so much bigotry and ugly rhetoric from both sides? Even in sports, Utah cannot seem to get away from the strong religious divide that exists.
At last years game which took place at Rice Eccles Stadium at the U, BYU quarterback Max Hall’s family was treated horribly. They were verbally attacked and had beer dumped on them. Hall asserts that there were “vile comments personally attacking my wife, my mother, other family members, and our religion.” I find this conduct despicable. I do not blame this young man for being angry. I have been at many football games where wild fans have gotten out of hand and have seen numerous people escorted from stadiums. This bad behavior is not unique to University of Utah – it takes place all over the world at sporting events. I don’t understand it, and solving this odd human activity is a topic for another day.
This year, BYU was victorious and Max Hall obviously felt vindicated. Here is what he said to reporters after the game,
“I don’t like Utah. In fact, I hate them. I hate everything about them. I hate their program, I hate their fans, I hate everything….I think the whole university, their fans and their organization, is classless. They threw beer on my family and stuff last year, and they did a whole bunch of nasty things, and I don’t respect them, and they deserve to lose.”
As I said, I really do understand his anger, but a bunch of idiotic fans do not represent an entire university. We have had LDS people do and say some extremely cruel things to my family, and believe me I am very angry about it. However, I know they are just disturbed individuals who do not do a very good job representing their faith. I do not and will not hold an entire group responsible for the actions of a few misguided people.
Max Hall’s hate filled words also do not represent his school or his faith well. To Hall’s credit, he has apologized for some of his remarks. The problem is the damage is done. The blogosphere is going crazy with negativity from both sides. The mistrust and anger grows and frankly I am unbelievably tired of it. I wish I could just say - this is just football people, but I know the problem is so much deeper. We will forget about the “Y” vs. the “U” until next year, but the rift in Utah society is a daily struggle. Today, I vow to do my part to value everyone as an individual, regardless of race, religion, gender, and sexual preference. Can you vow to do the same??
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
According to last week’s Salt Lake Tribune there is “trouble” brewing that I think you should know about. The Bold Headline reads “Co-ed dorms spur drinking?” Frankly, I am quite certain almost all college dorms spur drinking so this headline doesn’t surprise me. As I read further all is revealed
A social experiment???
I lived in co-ed dorms in college over thirty years ago. That is one long experiment!!!
A BYU social science professor looked at 500 students at five universities, none of them in Utah, and found that students who lived in co-ed dorms were 2.5 times more likely to binge drink on a weekly basis. Apparently, these BYU researchers also found “greater use of pornography and more permissive attitudes about sex”.
Wow! What are they really worried about?
BYU students are already required to live in single-sex housing. They should be safe from all this “trouble”. Are they suggesting that every university should follow their lead? As a four year resident of Utah, I can tell you the answer is YOU BET THEY ARE.
You see here in Utah everyone is supposed to fall in line with whatever the Mormon Church dictates. For example, just last week the Salt Lake City council passed an ordinance making it illegal to discriminate against gays in employment and housing. They only did so after the Mormon Church gave a nod of approval. For those of you who live elsewhere, this must seem unbelievable and it is!!!
Here is what I know for sure. The real “trouble” here in “river city” is that there are more and more People Like Us in Utah and we have no intention of going along with archaic restrictions on personal rights. I respect BYU and the Mormon Church and hope they continue their traditions at their school and their places of worship. Utah, however, is part of the United States of America where we are guaranteed freedom of and from religion. So please, keep your single sex dorms and your rules. Just don’t believe for a minute that the rest of us will fall in line.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Debate and discussion are encouraged at her university. When students have differing opinions, they are talked about in a civil manner. Ridicule and name calling are not necessary in a place where respect for diversity is the rule of behavior.
I am so proud that she feels comfortable in that type of environment. It confirms that we raised her to be a loving, accepting and open minded human being. In hindsight, our move to Utah helped to strengthen the core values we taught her. It actually showed her exactly what kind of person she did not want to be.
Many of my closet friends are of different faiths and do not share my political beliefs. So what? We care about each other and we know that good people come in all shapes and sizes. My children grew up living that basic truth. Thank goodness they won’t ever settle for all the same! For the many young people who are afraid to branch out and accept others who are different, I say “Whoa…Dream Big!”
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
During General Conference a few years ago, my family went out for dinner at a local Italian restaurant. This restaurant usually gets pretty crowded on a Saturday night. We were enjoying our pasta, when I looked around the dining room and realized the only two men in the restaurant were my husband and son. This seemed a bit strange and we all noted that this must be some sort of “girl’s night out”. Actually, we learned later, that on Saturday evening during Conference weekend there is a “priesthood meeting”. All LDS men and boys over 13 attend.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
That thick skin serves me well. Now, I am not going to lie. I am a sensitive soul who can get her feelings hurt, but within our family I know most of the banter is all in good fun. I guess I have even picked up on this habit, as I do poke fun at things that amuse me, irritate me, or just confuse me. I wish I could do it more often, as when I do, I am a happier person and clearly more fun to be around. Nothing feels better than making someone laugh.
I hope my readers will continue to laugh along with me and put up with my occasional serious side. Next time we feel angry or unpleasant, let’s all just take a moment, breathe, and “Lighten Up Francis!”
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Our family also prefers the slower pace of life here. It seemed in Northern California, we never had any down time. Sports were seven days a week. The kids had loads more homework and Dave worked and commuted more hours a day. Family has great value here and as a result, we have more time to spend with each other. I know that the Mormon Church has instilled that value in its followers. I love that and am grateful for it.
I have two teenagers and Utah has without a doubt been a safe place to raise them. The issues that face so many teens in our nation are just not as prevalent here in Utah. While I am certain there are teens here that are drinking and doing drugs – my impression is that it is A LOT less. The same goes for teens and sex. I am not so naïve to think that some kids aren’t having sex, but not the majority for sure. Peer pressure is to NOT do these things and that has made it easier for my kids. They don’t struggle with “Just Say No” since they are not asked to participate. Their friends are good kids from nice families!!! What kind of parent wouldn’t like that????
So there you have it - despite my frustrations with living in this homogenous state, we have a good quality of life and the natural splendor brings me joy and keeps me sane. From the moment I open my eyes each morning, I see those magnificent mountains and every day I feel like Streisand - “Hello Gorgeous!”
Monday, September 28, 2009
So it doesn’t surprise me that this has been the case with my blog. Occasionally, I read a comment and think – “Did this person read what I wrote?” Apparently, a couple of readers are determined to make me the “bad guy”. I am OK with this as I know my heart and my actions. I look in the mirror every day and am comfortable with the woman looking back at me. I am not perfect, by any means, but I know that I am kind to everyone and do my best to judge each person as an individual. I have taught these values to my children and as a result they are at ease with themselves and with others who are different.
I have lived in Utah for four years and have found the people here are in general, polite, helpful, and pleasant. However, I have also found many of them to be tremendously judgmental of those outside of their circles. I do believe that this is mostly a result of lack of exposure to people of different faiths, cultures and lifestyles. Like it or not, this has been rough on my family. I don’t get why that offends some people, but it does. Truth is - I don’t care. I tell my story, and you can’t change it to fit what makes you comfortable. You get your own story and I get mine.
So - read at your own risk – if this blog upsets you, it is my guess that is because you may see some of yourself in these recollections. Try this – “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…..”
Looking in the mirror can be frightening if you aren’t comfortable with your own reflection.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I am moved to write today because that two by four (Utah Mormon culture) smacked by daughter upside the head. For the umpteenth time, one of her high school friends (if you can really call it a friend) called her a non-practicing Jew. It must make them feel better about their friendship with her to make such an absurd remark. They have the audacity to think because we do not practice our religion in the same manner in which they practice theirs, they can rattle off such a mean and stupid comment. Amy is mortified that she is accused of “just saying she is Jewish because she thinks it is cool.” Seriously, what is wrong with these people?????? Amy and I chatted a long time about this strange place and she feels tremendous relief that she is finally “out of there!” Narrow minds and ignorance no longer hurt her as she now inhabits a place where people can disagree without being disagreeable.
So after our conversation, I was reminded of the words of my dear friend about those people who are mean and stupid. Call us crazy – but this family will stick to people who are kind hearted and intelligent. Thank goodness we know what that looks like - it is part of our culture. So for those of you who fit into the other category – “FORGET ABOUT IT!!!”
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
So, for those of you care, blogging has helped me tremendously. I now see a story almost everywhere and it has been fun and challenging to share those stories with you. I have been pleasantly surprised at how many LDS readers have appreciated how I approach things and have thanked me for giving them an insight into what it feels like to be an outsider. I have also gotten comments from many “PLU’S” who can totally relate to my experiences. I am happy they have found me and look forward to hearing more from them. However, a few readers have not been so enthusiastic. Unfortunately, it seems a few people were offended by my anecdotes. That was certainly never my intention. I just try to be honest about my life and feelings and add a touch of humor to both. I poke fun at myself as much as I do at Utah. I do appreciate all the commentary I am getting – and am pleased it is mostly positive. To those who fail to find any humor or empathy I ask what do you want from me?
“You Can’t Handle the Truth!”
Monday, August 10, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
From what I understand it should be made easier, so this should please a lot of people.
I'm not sure why I noticed this today. I guess it just seems that no matter where I go or what I do as long as I live in Utah there will always be subtle reminders that “They’re Here!” The truth is, however, the real Poltergeist seems to be me.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Two weekends in a row there have been “kiss ins” on the plaza in protest of church actions. Can you imagine… dozens of couples – gay and straight – just kissing right out in public? Being from San Francisco I can actually imagine it, but here in Utah the church is outraged – the community is outraged, and the Salt Lake Tribune devotes several articles every day to the incident. Really?????
Where do I begin??? I have so much to say about this event that my head feels like it may EXPLODE! In my humble opinion the LDS church does have the right take this action on their property. I, in turn, have the right to think the church is bigoted and unfair. This kiss was deemed inappropriate only because it was a gay couple doing the kissing. I have seen photos (ad nauseum) of couples just married in the temple kissing in the very same spot these men chose to display a bit of harmless affection. Honestly…. the church doesn’t get why people outside of this state think they are nuts?
Here is a situation to ponder. Two young men show up on MY property and behave in ways I think are extremely inappropriate(telling me their religion is superior to mine) and I ask them nicely to leave. They are upset and they think I am discriminating against them and who they are and they get a bit perturbed. Should I have them handcuffed and arrested for trespassing on my property? Would any of my Mormon friends ever speak to me again? Well, let’s just say I know the answers and so do you. The thing is – it would be within my rights to have them arrested and it would be within the rights of my friends to be angry with me. Missionaries are sacred to them and they don’t deserve to be discriminated against just because I don’t approve of proselytizing. If you are a rational human being, you will realize the same should go for those two men exchanging a kiss on Main Street Plaza. If you don’t approve of this gay couple– fine – but…. having them arrested is gross discrimination. So listen up – church members – if you want respect you just might want to try giving some!! I hold out hope that we can find mutual respect and understanding so that truly “A Kiss is just a Kiss, a sigh is just a sigh, the fundamental things apply….As Time Goes By.”
Thursday, July 16, 2009
There is actually a website called: mormon-underwear .com and here is what it says:
“To millions of Mormons around the world, garments are a special piece of clothing worn as a symbolic gesture of the promises that they have made to God. The garment is always worn under other clothing, next to the skin. For most people who wear it, the garment takes the place of regular underwear. (For this reason, some people refer to the garment as Mormon undergarments or as Mormon underwear. Most LDS prefer simply using the term "garment" instead.)
The garment is directly related to Mormon temples. It is there that faithful members first receive the garment after individual instruction on what it stands for and how it should be cared for. The garment is worn as part of a special ceremony called the temple endowment. The garment is worn at all times (day and night) by members as a constant reminder of the promises they have made to God in the Temple to be honest and faithful to the commandments of the Lord.”
Wow! Now you know as much as I do. If “temple worthy” Mormons wear these garments at all times then that certainly leaves all kinds of questions that I with limited knowledge cannot answer. You will just have to use your imaginations. As for me and my underwear….I choose to keep them a secret but I can tell you this with regards to the eye-catching numbers pictured above – This California girl is definitely not wearing any underwear!!!!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Remember that I wanted this blog to be interactive? I was hoping that all the "PLU'S" would share their stories about life in Utah. I know you are out there and I know you are reading. I run into people every day and hear their stories, so I'm just wondering – why no sharing ? What can I do to encourage you to write? I am not very good at begging, but half the fun is in knowing "People Like Us" are out there and we are not alone in this crazy life. Maybe Dirty Harry had it right. Let's see how his tactics work for encouragement. So….I dare you – "Go Ahead….Make My Day!!!!"
Thursday, June 25, 2009
By the way, after at least 20 minutes of heartwarming reunions, I finally started to wonder what happened to my friends. I realized then that I was in the wrong terminal. I had gotten so caught up in the joyful homecomings that I didn’t realize I was in the wrong place. You thought I meant the returned missionaries were wacky didn’t you? Nope…. It’s me who wears that label!!!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Males: conservative slacks, white shirt, tie, dress shoes and socks
Females: modest, conservative dress w/ dress shoes
Amy was dressed appropriately at her graduation, but it definitely wasn’t in anything she has ever worn on a Sunday!
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
When Dave and I went out to dinner in Salt Lake City for the first time, I ordered a cosmopolitan. Our adorable young waiter put a “Polly-Pockets” sized glass in front of me and I just stared at it. Then, I thought, OK, this must be a Utah thing. They let you sample the drink first to make sure you like it. You know, like when you order a bottle of wine. I tasted it, and told the waiter it was fine and he could bring my drink now. He looked straight at me, laughed, and said, “You’re not from Utah are you?” He proceeded to give us a lesson on all of the byzantine Utah liquor laws. I am occasionally cranky about the high cost of my favorite vinos at the state owned liquor store. So my annoyingly wise husband, points out that it is better to live in a state where you pay a little more for your wine and a lot less for your house. Hmm……..the jury is still out on that one!
Saturday, May 23, 2009
"Present your mission call with this postcard, and get a free tie and $50 off your first order."
Just wondering, did any of you outside of the beehive state get this in your mailbox? Really, I'm not complaining - simply pointing out that there is never a day that I am not reminded where I live and whom I live with. For those of you who didn't get this in your mailbox, I feel the need to fill you in on everything I learned about the "missionary mall"(I will add that term to my glossary).
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Beyond the Veil – expression for the spirit world or life after death (this explains a lot about that controversial scene in Big Love)
Celestial Kingdom – Mormons believe this is the highest of three degrees of heaven
Doctrine and Covenants - A volume of Latter-day Saint scripture containing selected revelations given to Joseph Smith and his successors
Endowments – instruction and covenants performed in the Mormon Temple
Fast Sunday – On this Sunday, Church members fast and donate the equivalent cost of meals to the Church to assist the poor and needy
Home Teaching - A Church program in which priesthood holders regularly visit assigned homes of members
Outer Darkness - Mormons believe this is a region totally removed from glory of God, to which Satan and his followers will be consigned (Hell)
Quorum of Twelve - The body of twelve men who, under the direction of the First Presidency, constitute the second-highest presiding quorum of the Church
Scriptures – Mormon scriptures consist of the Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price, and the King James Bible
Sealing – a temple ordinance joining husband and wife or children and parents for eternity
Testimony – members regularly bear witness that the Mormon Church is the “one and only true Church”
Visiting Teaching - A Church program in which members of the Relief Society are assigned to visit regularly other sisters to give brief instruction and support
Word of Wisdom – Mormon Church’s teachings requiring abstinence from tobacco, alcohol and hot drinks (why is hot cocoa OK?)
Saturday, May 9, 2009
CTR – Choose the Right (often seen on rings and other jewelry)
Family Home Evening - families gather, usually on Monday evening, for family-centered spiritual training and social activities. (My family watches “24” together, does that count?)
Mutual – The Church's auxiliary organization for youth ages twelve through eighteen
Primary - The auxiliary organization in the Church for children from ages eighteen months through eleven years.
Seminary – Weekday religious instruction for secondary school students (In Utah public schools build time for this into the regular school schedule - a pet peeve of mine)
Stake Dance – church sponsored dances for middle school kids
Sunbeam - three year old primary level (thanks Rachel)
Young Men’s/ Young Women’s - The instruction and activity program in the Church for young men or women ages twelve to eighteen
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Angel Moroni – Book of Mormon prophet who gave Joseph Smith the gold plates from which he translated the Book of Mormon. His statue tops many Mormon temples (no comment)
Brother – used to address male church members (makes me think of Desmond from Lost)
Calling – invitation to accept an office or assignment
Deseret –Book of Mormon word meaning “honey bee” often used by LDS institutions and businesses
FLDS – Fundamental LDS (Polygamists like the ones in Texas)
General Conference – General assemblies of Church members in Salt Lake City, regularly convened every April and October.
Gentile – non-Mormon (Huh, since when is a nice Jewish girl a gentile?)
Heavenly Father – term for God
Inactive – member of Church who no longer attends services(my “inactive friend hates this word – she claims to exercise regularly)
Jack Mormon – member of Church who attends services, but doesn’t follow all the rules (Has a beer on the weekend)
Molly – really devout Mormon
Pioneer Day - a July 24, celebration of the anniversary of the arrival of the Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake Valley in 1847. (Even most banks are closed in Utah!)
Polygamy - The practice of having more than one wife (like in Big Love, one of my favorite TV shows)
Priesthood – power of God given only to men; boys can receive priesthood at 12 years of age
Relief Society – Adult women’s auxiliary organization
Sacrament – water and bread distributed at ward meeting that symbolize the body and blood of Christ (no wine? Wasn’t one of Jesus’ first miracles changing water to wine?)
Sister – female church members use this to address one another; also a female missionary
Temple Recommend – certificate of worthiness to enter the temple
Tithe – 10% of all gross income donated to the church required to be considered in good standing(no tithe, no temple recommend!)
Years Supply – church leaders encourage members to store a supply of food to sustain life for one year in preparation for an emergency. (Homes in Utah have loads of storage space to accommodate for this practice)
Zion – Utah (What????? I thought Israel was Zion, crazy me!)
Monday, May 4, 2009
LDS – Latter Day Saints (Mormons)
Ward – Members of a local church in a geographical area (you don’t get to pick where you go to church)
Stake – Group of Wards
Bishop – the religious leader of a ward (your neighbor)
Missionary – single young men and women in their late teens and early twenties assigned to a church mission usually far away from home (not a sexual position)
Elder – title for male missionaries (not an old man)
Temple – sacred LDS buildings where ceremonies are performed for the living and the dead. The temple is off limits to non-Mormons and Mormons without a temple recommend
Temple Square – 10 acre city block in Salt Lake City where the Salt Lake Temple and Tabernacle are located
Book of Mormon – part of the Mormon scriptures
Joseph Smith – founder of the LDS faith and first prophet
Brigham Young – the LDS leader who led the movement to Salt Lake City (Mormon Moses)
Prophet - refers to Joseph Smith or the President of the Mormon Church (Thomas Monson is current prophet)
Deseret –Book of Mormon word meaning “honey bee” (many LDS owned business’ use this term)
DI – Deseret Industries which is like the Goodwill (Funny story – see post on 4/30/09)
Garments – sacred ceremonial undergarments associated with temple covenants (often referred to as secret underwear)
The U – University of Utah
The Y – BYU (Brigham Young University)