I've decided to start this blog in order to offer some observations on Utah-Mormon culture "from the inside." By that I mean, observations from a perspective that is within the Church--I am an active member--but outside of the local culture (I am NOT originally from Utah).
There are numerous blogs written by "former" Mormons, "Jack" Mormons and "Graduated" Mormons that claim to offer "insight" into the culture because the writers claim to have "been there"--once active, even "devout" members of "the Church"--but are now "free" to express themselves because they no longer affiliate themselves with "the Church." However, the more I speak with people who claim to have this insight, the more I realize that many of these people can't seem to make a distinction between Utah-Mormon culture and the Mormon religion. They have bought into the myth--the same myth embraced by many active Mormons--that the culture and the Church and one and the same.
They are NOT.
Another realization that I came to is that I have experienced much of the same treatment, ridicule and emotional ostracism that many of my "former" Mormon friends have so I can completely empathize with their experiences and yet, I remain an active member of the Church with a testimony of the Gospel that remains very important to me; which begs the question: Why do I remain active in the Church despite having experienced much of the same treatment that many "former" Mormons have experienced and used to justify leaving the faith? This is the question that I intend to explore with this blog. The question is--by its very nature--complex and multifaceted, as are the many answers it brings up which is why I think a blog is probably the best medium in which to explore it.
One particular answer to the question that I've touched on already is the understanding that I have come to, that the culture and the Church are not the same thing. When I see or hear Mormons passing judgment against others for their lack of conformity to the "teachings" of the Church and/or "The General Authorities," they are not in fact referring to any specific teachings or doctrine, but are more likely making inferences based on often vague statements or pieces of counsel that are taken grossly outside of the context in which they were presented.
I hope that the reader will come to appreciate my observations and the place from which they are made. It is not my intention to offend anyone but I will say now that I can be blunt--even crass in the opinions of some--but anyone who knows me personally would not be surprised by my bluntness or even the occasional azure utterance from time to time. ;-)
I would also like to invite the reader to comment and share with me their own observations and experiences within and outside of Utah-Mormon culture.