Sunday, August 2, 2009

I'm a Mormon in Cedar Hills Utah

I just have to speak out about what is going on in my town.

First off, I live with my family in a town in Utah that is (according to a statistic I read) OVER 90% LDS. As you may imagine, this has made it a crazy hotbed of religion crossing over to secular decisions over the years. Before 2005 apparently, there was a law against businesses being open on Sunday and also a law against beer being sold in the town. In 2005, a referendum overturned this and now it is ok. For all my non LDS readers that may not know too much about my religion, we are urged not to drink alcohol and we also are urged to "keep the Sabbath Day holy" which basically translates to having a day of rest- rest from everyday work, school, eating out, shopping, etc.)

Enter Walmart. It opened it's doors this year around March, and underestimating my "quirky" town, opens it's doors on Sunday like every other Walmart in the country. Now, we all know how I feel about Walmart, but let us leave that for this post, as it has nothing to do with this issue. It is no secret that the store is doing poorly. Is it the economy? Perhaps. Location? Doubtful, as there are very few stores in the area. There IS a petition going around however on people banning it out of principle until they close their doors on Sunday. How many people are actually doing this and making a true impact on the sales? I have no idea.

Why is this happening? Someone PLEASE logically explain it to me. As already stated, I am a Mormon, I try my best at keeping the Sabboth Day holy. I drive past stores open on Sunday and guess what? I don't go. (In all honesty, I am not perfect at this. I admit to picking up a thing or two on Sunday if I need to. It isn't ALWAYS medicine for a dying baby, but it also is never a full cart of stuff that can't wait.) I also have been known to go out to dinner with family on Sunday on occasion. It is never mine or my husband's choice, but if someone is in town that is going out and we want to see them, we go, because we feel like it is also important to spend time with family, even if they aren't LDS and share my beliefs, but they do have limited time during the week to see us (or during vacation out here). So, in light of that,* gasp*, I'm not perfect, but I do try, and I weigh my decisions and I once in a while, *gasp again* make a mistake.
Back to driving past a store on Sunday and not stopping to shop, that is called "choice" or as my religion likes to call it "free agency" I am faced with a decision of what is right and what is wrong and I chose one. As I understand it, this is a fundamental part of being a member of my church. We follow the teachings of Jesus, and Jesus is the one in heaven that decided we should all have free agency (Satan was the one that wanted no choices for anyone). I use my free agency everyday. I don't always make the right choice, but having a choice is life. I believe I am blessed more when I have a choice and make the right one then when I do the right thing because there is no other option.

With all this in mind, why are people in my town so bent on losing all choice? There are (albeit few) people in my community that aren't LDS. Which actually boggles my mind as I think if I weren't, there would have been an Emily shaped hole in my wall long ago. I was at the park the other day and some guy I met asked me point blank what ward I was in. You know what? I was offended. Don't get me wrong-- I am proud to be a Mormon, I think it's a nice thought that perhaps my countenance led this guy to believe that there is no way I am anything but Mormon, but I think more likely, he "played the odds" and asked me because there is a very good chance that I do in fact belong to a ward. I was offended for the nice mom that may not be LDS and has to answer that question for the millionth time.

A funny thing about me is, I like diversity. I like differences in people. I like being around people of other religions, race, shape, hair style. So why the *beep* am I in this town? Rob and I ask ourselves that everyday. We don't belong here. We don't feel comfortable here. We don't want to raise our children here. I want Scout to experience choices, so she knows how to handle them. I want her to know that she doesn't have to wear shabby chic or Sundance chic (a style sported around here I have labeled myself), she doesn't have to have her house decorated a certain way, because everyone is different and that is the spice of life. There is no spice here. In fact, spice has been sucked out of every corner of this place and it wilts me. Rob and I are wondering when exactly the Mayor and the City Council will just screw it already, and build a huge city wall around the town and make you scan your temple recommend for entrance. Because that is what it feels like they really want to do, that WOULD pretty much secure that no LDS people may enter and bring their non Mormon ways into our dear city. Too much? Perhaps.

Anyways, I think I made my point and got a little off my chest. There is a lot more, but Rob needs the computer. Perhaps I will add a little more later, for now, I would like to close with a nice thing I can say about my town. My neighborhood does feel safe. I feel good having Scout play outside and even out of my sight for a minute or two at a time. I think it has more to do with the very quiet streets and traffic -which we had a more then modest amount of in our other residences- then to the fact that it's a very Mormon neighborhood. The people that our back yard faces aren't LDS, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh watch out!

13 comments:

Haley said...

I agree with you Em. I am grateful that I grew up in a town where my testimony was challenged (pretty much daily) and I had to stand up for my religion. Riverton is about 10% LDS so I had a few friends that were LDS but by far the majority was not. I am grateful for the diversity and I believe that I am stronger because of it. Even though it was had at the time, I am grateful for it. You guys should move to Wyoming :)

Pops said...

I have read this twice and I'm impressed, but I don't know yet what to say about it. I need more time to think.

Cat said...

Way to speak out on choice, Em!

Neaners said...

WOW! Em, I would have to agree with you. I would hate to live like that. Your comment about the temple recommend and the mayor was choice:) Living in Utah as a mormon is so different than California. Even though I am not active anymore, I see a huge difference in the open mindedness of Cali mormons vs Utah mormons. Going to Timpview for High School, praying LDS prayers for every assembly, play etc..was standard back then. Now with the ban on prayer in schools people would be outraged. Thanks for your thoughts.

Emily said...

I want to state (and I am not sure this came across in my post) that I really could care less if Walmart is open on Sunday or not. I just find it extremely hypocritical to ban a store because it is open on Sunday. To do this practice to my satisfaction, these people need to ban every other store and place of business that is open on Sunday. A few examples of places these people need to never ever go to are: Smith's, malls, the Olive Garden, all movie theaters that I am aware of, McDonald's, the Home Depot, the list is long. I am willing to bet these people go to these places without thought. Then where do they draw the line? Not using any electricity or phones on Sunday?
I think a far better plan would be to ban yourselves from patronizing a place of business just on Sunday. Which, as an employee of a business that is open on Sunday (in Provo) I must say, our rushes coincide directly with LDS ward schedules. We can count on the busier times by knowing when church gets out. My favorite thing to witness is the awkwardness of two different families seeing each other from the same ward. There is an initial panic in their eyes and manner at being seen going out to eat on Sunday by a fellow ward member, then wheels turn and they start to relax when they process the fact that this family is also doing the same thing and they start chatting breezily for a moment about a talk or something that day. They still more often then not, choose a seat at the other side of the room after they meet.
I'd also like to add one more thing, I made the comment about the mayor because he seems to bring the church into everything he talks about as mayor. He in fact even brought local church leaders with him to a meeting with the Walmart executives urging them not to be open on Sunday. I find that a tad inappropriate.

Amy said...

I have to agree with you Ems on this topic. It's pretty nauseating. I don't think I could live around that anymore. We've been away from Utah for 19 years. There are a lot of great things, like you mentioned, about Utah and the people, but I really do feel sorry for the "outsiders". People need to wake up!

Pops said...

Good stuff, Ems, about spice and choice and agency. I never had those types of feelings living in Mapleton. Maybe because I am of a different makeup and maybe the people and the wards were different than Cedar Hills. Also there was no commercial business. Mostly LDS with 3000 citizens and 33 total non-members, including part-member families. Those numbers were back when I was in the Stake Presidency (1991 or so).

I have heard that the fast food places in Provo right below the BYU housing and dorms, have to gear up their staff for the rush at 12:01 on Sunday midnight. In my minds eye I can just see the BYU students playing their pictionary games, looking at the clock, waiting for the Sabbath to end and rushing out to get their BigMacs and Whoppers and Twinkies. There is a lesson in there about Letter of the Law and Spirit of the Law. Does the Lord care if it is 11:45 PM on Sunday or 12:15 AM on Monday? Mormons are funny...bless their pointy little heads.

Sue said...

Bless their pointy little heads is the best thing I've heard in a long time dad! Holy Crap that made me laugh out loud!

I would not survive in your neighborhood Em. I was going to ask you if these same people are wanting to ban the new Smiths Marketplace too. To me they are just a bunch of people with nothing better to do than create talking points like this, so that they can seem more spiritual to other people or something.

Our friends, Jeff and Missy, live right next door to an LDS ward. Both of them were born and raised in CA and had never even heard of a mormon until they moved to Utah. Sunday is the day Jeff likes to mow the lawn, work on the car, clean the garage and things like that. They get so many dirty looks from their neighbors who are walking to church. They have even seen people cross the street so they don't have to walk in front of their house, then cross the street again when they get in front of the church. So stupid.

Emily said...

Dad- Mapleton was different, you will find judgment etc. anywhere, but Mapleton people on average were definitely more down to earth then around here. We think we are living around the spoiled children of rich people. This is pretty much a "starter home area" and Rob is currently annoyed at the HOA forums and the conversations going on about rules and yards and fences. He read someone's comment saying, "well in Deer Valley they do this..." Rob goes to me, "Are you kidding? We don't sniff Deer Valley's butts." That comment made me laugh so hard I couldn't stop laughing for quite some time. It was so funny because it's true. Let's take these 100,000 dollar homes on these teeny tiny lots and put on airs like we are living in a multi million dollar resort town. It's just maddening. Anyway, had to share that little comment by my funny husband. That comment about the zoobies and the 12:01 thing is so funny/lame. Sadly, I can believe it but good grief. Letter of the law indeed.

Sue-
That is L-A-M-E! I can't help but hear such stories and think, "hmmm... is that something Jesus would do in that situation?" I'm absolutely sure Jesus wouldn't pull that kind of hudsauce. Not that observing people doing yard work on Sunday is even a "situation", perhaps these Mormons are of the camp that think you can "catch sin" or what they perceive as sin by getting too close to it? Hearing stories like that make me so MAD. What a nice life it must be to walk around knowing how sinless you are and that you were put on this earth to make sure everyone that does sin knows it and knows that you disapprove. What a service they provide.
By the way, Smith's Marketplace is located in Highland, so it isn't within Cedar Hill's boundaries. I don't know how big of a difference that makes to them, perhaps they are the ones that only grocery shop at Macy's, if so, they are the ones that also need to ban McDonalds and Movie Theaters to appease me. If they are only banning Walmart because it is in Cedar Hills, that's because they think it is a blight on their otherwise perfect town (it is, but only because it is Walmart). There are so many reasons to ban Walmart, I'm disappointed they are choosing this reason.

Amy said...

Love the quotes by dad and Rob! Still laughing, too, at Emily for using Jesus and hudsauce in the same sentence! Good stuff. Some ridiculous things going on. The McDonalds at midnight thing is so dumb. The employees still have to work on Sunday, which is a big part of the reason we don't go out on Sundays! And, walking on the other side of the street! Are you kidding me?

Eliza said...

Come here to AZ. It's a good mix.

Emily said...

Aim, my original word was crap, but I changed it because I just couldn't put Jesus and crap in the same sentence (except I just did there). Hudsauce sounded a little less harsh. You nailed it with the empolyees and midnight thing. The stores didn't magically open at 12:00 and employees ride to work right then. Even if they did, I don't care if it is 1:00 in the morning, it is still my Sunday. I would feel better going to the grocery or Wendys or whatever on Saturday night at 12:00 midnight then Sunday night. Bless their pointy little heads.

Liza- Arizona is WAY too hot for me. I know how much you like heat and sun, but I don't think I could handle it. It would be fun to live around you however (and out of Utah). Rob would like it. He likes heat. He also likes humidity though, so perhaps not.

Emily said...

Rob likes humidity?

And I second/third/forth/fifth...the senitments of lameness. I am maybe the biggest non-fan of Wal-mart there is, but gee whiz let people make up their own minds! Our neighborhood is almost the opposite, numbers-wise. I love, as you say, the spice and mix of people. Hey, come move to our neighborhood!

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