Thursday, April 17, 2014

No Manner of -Ites

I grew up in the wonderful Cache Valley in northern Utah.  My ancestors were pioneers who trekked west and went through many hardships to be allowed to worship “how, where, or  what they may”. (Article of Faith 11).

My husband and I moved to Southern California just months before our first child was born.  We enjoyed our time there, and eventually brought 3 more babies into our home.  We loved our home, our friends, our visitors, and our ward.  We had a great life.  But, we knew that it was time to make a change despite being very happy!  We knew that we needed to be a little closer to our family who were located mostly in northern Utah.

I was surprised at some of the reactions I faced as our news got out, mostly from people who didn’t know me very well.  One stake leader wondered how we could leave the ‘mission field’ to return to a Utah ward where we wouldn’t be nearly as needed.  One gal questioned our decision to ‘raise our children in that environment’.  When I inquired about what environment she was speaking of she replied, ‘Utah Mormons’.

I was frankly speechless.  My husband and I had prayed and pondered this for a long time.  In fact, when we had contemplated it a couple of years earlier we received an answer to stay put and try again later.  We did just that, and now was the time. 

My thoughts of what I could have said came later.  To the leader I might have assured him that I would serve wherever and whenever I was asked (I currently have 2 callings), and that the entire world is the mission field. To the other gal I might have reminded her that our dear prophet and other church leaders are UTAH MORMONS!

Why do we even have to use that term?  I get the feeling that the people who do feel some kind of pride, though I’m not sure what for.  I worry about using terms like this, as it reminds me of times in the Book of Mormon when people divided themselves into “ites”.  Instead, we need to be more like the people in Fourth Nephi when there was no “manner of –ites; but they were one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.  And how blessed were they!”

In a recent local address given by Sister Elaine Dalton, former general young women’s president, she said the following,

“Unity does not mean sameness.”

Can’t we live where we want and still be unified and not call each other names?   Can’t we all just get along in our differences while we focus on our similarities?

For instance, I know that God lives.  I know that Joseph Smith had a vision of our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ.  I know that Thomas S. Monson is our prophet on earth today.  I know that I am a child of God.  And I know that you are too. 
 If you believe these things as well then these are some pretty big similarities!

I am grateful for the opportunity to worship "how, where, or what I may".  I think if I could go back and speak to the naysayers of our move I would reply,

 {Wherever I am!}


I was planning to publish this post today, and was supported in my plan when we read this devotional  this morning from our “Stand a Little Taller” book, quotes from President Gordon B. Hinckley.  “We speak of the fellowship of the Saints.  This is and must be a very real thing.  We must never permit this spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood to weaken.  We must constantly cultivate it.  Simply put, we must be friends.  We must love and honor and respect and assist one another.  Wherever Latter-day Saints go, they are made welcome, because Latter-day Saints are mutual believers in the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ and are engaged together in His great cause.  We are one great family…”.




  1. Great post! I do feel bad that your personal decisions were questioned so much, that it was assumed that you HADN'T thought or prayed about this decision, or worse-that if you HAD done so, you wouldn't have gotten that answer! It's kind of funny, in hind sight, how tactless well meaning people can be when they attempt to voice concern about anything personal (classic examples being what people say to pregnant women....). Obviously if the Lord directed you to move somewhere, He needed you there! Faithful members are needed everywhere, and only the Lord can tell you where He needs you-and where you and your family need to be to meet the people they need and have the experiences they need to have.

    I think you hit the nail on the head about pride-I've felt it on both sides of the fence in various things, for example, people who pride themselves for attending a BYU school, and pride for having NOT "needing" to attend a Church School, as if it's some badge of honor to have survived living an honor code and curfew or NOT having either of those things and still managing to live a chaste life. Pride for having lived in the "mission field" (a term I didn't know existed until I attended BYU-I) and been strong, pride for having lived in Utah and not been swayed by peers whether they were LDS or not to stay strong.

    And total opinion based on my personal experience is that the phrase "Utah Mormon" has absolutely NOTHING to do with the fact that the "Mormon's" in question live in "Utah." In my experience, the term "Utah Mormon" has been used to mean people of the LDS faith who are perceived by others (whether fairly or not) to be living the "Mormon Culture" rather than the "LDS Church doctrine." Unfortunately, when you have a large group of any kind concentrated together, stereotypes are far too easy to come by, and any discrepancies/hypocrisy's seem magnified. My perception of the use of the phrase "Utah Mormon" also tends towards naiveness, maybe those who don't seem to "get" certain things. Like, I don't know...they don't know what it's like to be the only member in a 50 mile radius or wake up at 4:30am to go to seminary and somehow it makes them less...aware? That it they can't appreciate challenges like that? But on the flip side, those not in Utah don't know what it's like to be stereotyped by just about everyone and having assumptions made about them all the time. I know it'd drive ME nuts. Or as a roommate from Draper explained to me, growing up in her ward, she referred to a group of people she knew as "Utah Mormons" because they still held fast to the belief system that physical possessions were proof of blessings for living a righteous life and the lack of those things were proof of a sinful life, which we've been taught over and over that that's not always the case. I wonder if the use of this term is similar to throwing around the words "Southern Baptist" and "Bible Belt"?

    Anyhow, I wholeheartedly agree that we should stop trying to "ite" ourselves into subgroups! We are God's children. We are trying our best to live our lives riddled with challenges and successes-why make it harder on ourselves by categorizing? I dunno, but I am now committed to eliminate the phrase "Utah Mormon" (Sorry I'm guilty! Sometimes I use it to describe perfect hair....) or any other phrase (I didn't even know the term "mission field" meant anywhere OUTSIDE UT/ID until I went to BYU-I and heard someone else use the term-I thought "mission field" meant anywhere a person could be called to serve a mission...) that creates a subgroup.

  2. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever, still miss you lots and curse the day you moved. Stop it with your perfectly inspired reasoning. Bah humbug.

    Ok, of course you are right. Still miss you though.


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