It's personal anecdote time here at UoM, inspired by a comment made on T&S's "Utah(ish) Non-Mormons"
I was born in Utah, but grew up in Idaho (or, "Little Utah"). I hated it. I still hate it. Every time I go back there, for Christmases and whatnot, I am reminded just how much I dislike Boise--and Boise is the best Southern Idaho can offer. I can unequivocally say that the best decision I ever made was to go to a college 1600 miles away. When I find other people who are/were from Idaho, my response is, "I'm sorry." And I mean it.
I could go on, but I think my contempt is clear.
Idaho itself--the land--is gorgeous. The climate is quite good, with low humidity and semi-desert; by comparison, spring in the midwest is oppressively green and damn near unbearable without a fan. (Though, after five years, I'm finally getting used to the humidity.) Cour d'Laine is quite possible the most perfect place on the planet.
I know some great people in Idaho: my immediate family still lives there, a few high school friends, family friends. I've had some good nacle interaction with a few from there: persons like Laura
seem to be stand-up people.
But the people! The culture! My god, the culture! Nate Oman says this in his original post: "...all conversations about religion or Mormonism were tainted by the siege mentality of the Utah non-Mormons and Mormon defensiveness at the implicit accusation of oppression."
I've never heard a better way of describing my high school years.
On of the big problems I have with the culture of Utah/Idaho is the lack of a "center." The Church--especially when it is politically powerful--is such a polarizing force that it (more or less) forces everyone into two camps. This is why everyone at a bar in Boise smokes.
This effected me a fair bit because: (1) my "formative years" were spent dealing it, and (2) I was trying to maintain a center position. I wasn't good enough (that is, Mormon) to be with the good kids [though I did take seminary and most my friends were LDS] and wasn't "bad" enough to be with the "bad kids." (That is, I didn't care about partying, drinking, etc.)
So, yeah, I'm fairly bitter about it, but it is what made me who I am, so who am I to complain? I can say, though, that it would take something drastic (family emergency, lucrative job offer) for me to move back there. It would take something even more drastic for me to raise children there. (Idaho: Not Good for Children or Other Living Things)
Anyway, this is all to say that I agree with a comment made by Seth R.
However, I think it’s important to remind everyone that it’s only those who are familiar with Mormonism that fear it. Those who aren’t familiar with it either dismiss it as “some fringe religion” or are unaware of it entirely. It’s those who have gotten to know us who are threatened by us.
So true! And might I add, that we--the non-mormons--should be. I'm not sure what the implications for future Church actions are, but I don't think it's particularly rosy.