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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Flying way past stereotypes

I spent 5 days in Utah. Yes, Utah. Specifically in the Salt Lake area. Yes, land of Mormons. I must admit that my knowledge of Mormonism or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Of course I had heard the rumors, but since I claim to be halfway intelligent I ignored them all. Still I was intrigued. I knew that polygamy exists. I mean I have seen Sister Wives and have heard of Warren Jeffs. I just was not sure how pervasive the practice was and was not sure how to ask without sounding like an idiot.

I expected to see something that caused me to 'know' a Mormon when I saw one. Why? Because I had heard from others that it was hard not to be a Mormon in Salt Lake. Barring the idea that Mormons carried club cards or had a secret handshake, I imagined that there must be some way to tell if someone was a Mormon. Well, that isn't true. Neither is the club card or secret handshake (at least not in my limited experience).

I finally had the opportunity to ask a Mormon my questions. She was patient and was eager to share. Asking if someone is Mormon is not allowed. People generally know if you are Mormon because people generally go to the church within their neighborhoods, attend the same meetings, and belong to the same church groups. That is how they know each other. Polygamy is not the prevailing culture although there are communities. Mormons do not dress in a particular way that identifies them as anything other than humans. Silly me for thinking that.

All I experienced was nice, friendly people. No side-eyes or pauses in service at the airport, hotel, restaurant, or anywhere else. And that is exactly how life is supposed to be. Oh and one of the largest salt lakes in the world.

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