So, we have established that I had difficulty communicating with people in my new home. I also found myself getting lost A LOT! This problem seems silly now that I understand the grid system in Salt Lake City, but I was completely baffled at first. You see, all things in Salt Lake lead to the LDS temple downtown. I guess you could say the temple is "ground zero". Every address is representative of the coordinates north/south and east/west of the temple. An address at 900 East and 10600 South would be 9 blocks east and 106 blocks south of the temple. Here is the problem – the last two zeros are irrelevant, and everyone rattled off these numbers as if I understood. “Turn left at 13th east.” Well, I was at 1300 east and panic set in. I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to find streets that didn’t exist. Once I had finally bridged the communication gap, I found the grid system easy to navigate. The fact that every address relates to that building at “ground zero” is a rant I will leave for another day!
Hi! My name is Jill and my family and I moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Draper, Utah in December of 2005 due to my husband’s job. We were “warned” over and over again that we would not fit into our new environment. “You know everyone there is Mormon don’t you? And you guys are Jewish?” My children and I had never lived outside of California, so as you may imagine we were poised for a bit of culture shock. Our first year here was generally wonderful. I felt safe and cozy in my new home nestled at the base of the Wasatch Mountains. This new community was kind of beautiful and quaint, and I quickly pushed aside any worries I had. People in Utah were just so pleasant. Well, after some time, the impact of the predominant culture hit my life like a two by four to the head. Soon, we all felt stifled by the constant religious overtones and the daily reminders that we were simply not a part of “their” world. Of course, by “their” I mean the Mormon Church and its members. A counter culture does exist in this "beehive state". Many Utahns who are not Mormon do everything in their power to show they are not associated with anything the Church does or teaches. You can spot these people a mile away. Unfortunately, this can lead to excessive behavior and negativity. I found that my family did not belong in that culture either. Where did we fit? Were there people like us in Utah? To clarify, I love my morning coffee, look forward to a nice glass of wine with my dinner, enjoy all kinds of films (even “R” rated ones), watch HBO for entertainment and get most of my news from MSNBC. Despite these DANGEROUS tendencies, my husband and I have managed to raise two fabulous children. In fact, we are mistaken for a Mormon family ALL THE TIME! I would be rich if I had a dime for every incredulous sputter, “You’re not Mormon???” When asked why they think I am Mormon, the answer is almost always an embarrassed reply “Well your family is just so nice!” WOW! Who knew Mormons had a monopoly on nice. Mormon Church members refer to themselves as LDS (Latter Day Saints). I hope to form a new group PLU (PEOPLE LIKE US!) to provide a place to commiserate, laugh and share frustrations. And so my fellow PLU’s, feel free to join me with your thoughts and your own stories. I can’t wait to hear them. Together, I know we will find comfort in knowing we are not alone. ***There is one requirement - This blog will not turn into a place for Mormon bashing. There is plenty of that in Utah. While I understand how and why this comes about, I do not wish to participate. Almost all of the Mormon people I have met here are genuinely good, kind people and I think they will learn from us about what it feels like to be on the outside of their very tight community. I welcome LDS members to join in our conversation.
I am a 52 year old mother of two. My daughter is 22 and in graduate school. She is smart, kind-hearted and gorgeous. My freakishly intelligent son is 18 and thinks he is the funniest person in the world. I must admit sometimes I agree. My husband is a brilliant man who dazzles me with his knowledge and quick wit. I love them all more than life.
I am a politics junkie and I love Barack Obama, but I will try hard not to get on my soapbox too often. I have a love/hate relationship with Utah and that has led me to start this blog.