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 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.


  1. I struggle with the Ardis policy too, but since it is pretty much just about Utah, I don't have to bite my tongue too often. I only lived in Utah for 4 hellish months and honestly don't have more than a handful of good memories. (Thinking about it, all of my good memories are at Primary Children's Hospital (where my son was for about three weeks of that time) and donating blood at the Red Cross.)

    At least through blogging I have been able to meet some Utahns that I respect. I am sure that a lot of it is that my two sets of cousins who grew up in Utah are VERY different. They think it is reprehensible that our side works in "government jobs." (We do have a lot of teachers, social workers and a couple of librarians, but mostly teachers.) I know everyone in Utah does not make their money in multi-level marketing, serially starting small businesses and declaring bankruptcy, or selling security systems and LDS themed video tapes. I just happen to be related to a number of people who do.

    I think for someone who doesn't have any desire to live in Utah or Idaho, or Arizona, I am just as strange to many. My siblings went to college in Idaho or Utah, taking advantage of BYU tuition, and then leaving as soon as possible after graduation. They had varying experiences, but didn't live outside of Provo, and from what I understand Democrats and left leaning independents are more accepted there. My brother wasn't as accepted as a Democrat in Rexburg, but he did community college first, so he only had two years and did internships in Otegon during the summer to get a break.

    Not sure that this is really going anywhere, except to say that you, Ardis, and Mormon Iconoclast have given me more acceptance than I ever would have guessed anyone from Utah would be kind to me. (Those four months really were brutal.) So, thanks for not treating me like the bastard step-child. I guess if you were born in Oregon you couldn't truly kick me out, right? ;-)

    1. Yes. That reminds me. I have to blog that story about nearly restarting the Civil War once in Columbia, SC, by declaring I was an Oregonian with "UNION" proudly displayed on our flag!


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