Sunday, December 9, 2012
Confession Time: Yes, I am a Utahn
Let's face facts. I've now lived the majority of my life in Utah even if in segments (1975-76, 1978-82, 1987-91, and 2005 to present). That adds up to sixteen years, two more than I lived in New Mexico, which even beats out Washington (State) where I lived for only twelve years - even if very formative developmental years (ages 4-16). I was merely born in Oregon, even if proud of that fact. There were those wonderful five years in Maryland. And if you're trying to add up my age, we just won't account for the lost years (Idaho. Oh, and Wyoming - nearly wiped from my memory banks).
Look, I have solid Mormon Pioneer roots on both sides of my family - back to 1847 on my dad's side (William Kelsey Rice, 1822-1913, Hunter-Foutz Company) and 1848 on my Mom's (Peninah Cotten Wood, 1827-1878, Brigham Young Company [why doesn't husband Daniel appear on the list when his journal is cited for the source?]. My closest relation to an LDS General Authority is first half-cousin, thrice removed (we weren't real close), Henry D. Moyle, who was a Member of the First Presidency. Not a bad chap. And my credentials are further shored up by marrying into all the Kimballs and Burtons, etc. (and there are a lot of them). I'm not saying all this to brag. The point for me is simply to accept my heritage and status as a Utahn. (There's no way I'm spelling it "Utahan" like Mr. Auto-spell-check wants).
My friend at Keepapitchinin.org has a standing policy of not criticizing "Utah Mormons" to avoid the Utah vs. outside-Utah cultural conflicts in Mormonism. I'm trying to respect that. I've had my challenges like the constant stream of testimonies in my suburban Seattle ward when visitors from Utah were so "surprised" to see the church "just the same" in "the mission field." (What did they think we were? chopped liver?) And there are my ongoing, constant conflicts with the politics of the "dominant culture" here. But I've found a lot of soul-mates by blogging, even in Utah. So I'm starting to feel better about it.
And I've certainly seen strange things in Mormon culture both in and out of Utah. We'll save those maybe for story-specific blogging. I'm still struggling to face the fact that this is my real home. But where else would I go?
Today, there we were, driving to church (3 blocks) and we stopped to pick up my wife's cousin-[once-removed]-in-law walking down the street. She is expecting her second child and lives around the corner from us two blocks from the church. I guess we're Utahns.