As a devout Latter-day Saint who has lived both in and out of Utah at different times of my life (not including my LDS mission), I am always saddened to read things such as the letter titled “Shunning Happens” [Aug. 22, City Weekly].
I picture some members of my church whom I know personally responding to Marie by playing the “blame the victim” card. I imagine them saying something like, “You say you’re a nonjudgmental person, but that you’re reading the City Weekly proves how judgmental you are. I am certain you agree that LDS people are a bunch of brainwashed, homophobic, money-obsessed, neoconservative cultists and that LDS women are nothing but robotic Stepford Wives. So why would you want your kids hanging out with such evil people in the first place? If anything, that girl you mentioned and her parents did your family a big favor. You should go and thank them.”
On the other hand, I know some members of my church who would approach Marie’s letter in a much different way. Their reaction would be more along the line of, “I can’t tell you how sorry I am that some people who call themselves LDS would behave in such a way. I would be curious to know if those people were around during the Salt Lake floods in ’83. All sorts of residents, regardless of their religion or politics, helped out sandbagging our neighborhood streets. Marie, you and your family are welcomed to our house and your kids are welcome to play with ours. If you’re not interested in listening about our church, that’s OK. We just want you to feel welcome in this beautiful part of the country.”
I think it goes without saying which approach would truly be the most beneficial to all involved, especially to all the Maries out there and their families.