Do I really have to leave Utah to be happy? It’s such a spectacularly beautiful place. And it’s a relatively safe place, with cohesive communities that care about each other.
It’s just that, if you’re not Mormon, they don’t care as much.
I left the first time for good reason. I was tired of encountering the dominant religion wherever I turned, especially in public and business settings. I spent the first part of my life defending against their overwhelming sense of righteousness. And they are so quick to grasp the mantle of martyrdom at the slightest suggestion of criticism. Except for Dad, himself a Jack Mormon, the whole paternal side of my family is LDS.
When I left the state where I grew up, I discovered a surprising sense of relief at being able to engage in a normal conversation with someone without being asked within 15 minutes if I were LDS.
Utah Mormons are raised with a vise around their minds, and no amount of logic or history will disabuse them of their mythology. Oh, they may say they are diverse and tolerant, but lurking underneath there is always the smug conceit that anyone leaving the “true church” will come back to it. I just don’t want to spend the years I have left having to once again push against a mindset that is both irrational and authoritarian.
This is what Furness’ provocative and illuminating work has made me to think about [“The Mormon Masterpiece,” Oct. 4, City Weekly]. Again. Ad nauseum.