I’ve always thought it would really be awful to grow up in Utah if you weren’t Mormon.
I love Mormons. I am one and have always been one. I just don’t think I’d want to be the only one on my street who wasn’t socializing with the other women and children simply because I don’t spend three hours with them each Sunday and at least one night a week at a church activity.
I know leaders of the LDS Church have worked hard to get members of the church to be more inclusive to members of other faiths, and not just to convert them, but simply to include them. Still, I know that in the places I’ve lived in Utah, there is a pretty clear Mormon/non-Mormon split. It doesn’t happen in every neighborhood, and it’s not out of malice, but it just kind of happens.
But as a mother, I wonder if that split is painful for other mothers whose kids get left out because of religion. I wonder if their kids ever notice that all the Mormon kids are out on the trampoline, but they don’t ever seem to be invited.
I also wonder what could be done to bridge the gap. I’m sure Utahns who are not Mormon don’t want to be a charity project, but I also imagine they would like to feel just as worthy of playdates and Sunday dinners as anyone else.
I grew up as one of only a handful of LDS students in my high school and the only one in my neighborhood. I never thought about it because I was allowed to play at anyone’s home, and my religion was never a part of who my friends were.
But I get that some LDS parents may worry about the values in other homes, and given a choice, they’d rather send their kid to play at the home of the woman who gave a talk on “Love at Home” in Relief Society last Sunday. Although I’m convinced that having the same religion does not mean you necessarily share the same values behind closed doors.
I’d love to hear your stories of growing up either Mormon or not. Were you included because you were Mormon or excluded because you were not? What about children today – are some left out because of their religion? Is there a way to fix it?
How can we personally bridge the gap and truly love ALL our neighbors?