Every city has it’s own pulse that pumps life into the community. Each is unique in its special way with quirky or cool personalities, or both. My city, Salt Lake City, is no different.
Salt Lake City roads are built on a grid system. From a center point, each road is numbered in an outward direction. That center is Temple Square, the Mecca of the Mormon Church. All roads are defined by their proximity to the trumpet playing golden angel. Finding your way around is a snap. But in the city by the big salty lake, it’s hard to miss that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), or the Mormon Church as it known by most, plays a major part in sculpting the city beat.
Despite outside perceptions, Salt Lake City is not all Mormon. In fact, a couple of recent news articles suggest the population is only about 40% LDS, likely because of the growth of the city and the many Mormons fleeing to the outlying suburbs.
So as a non-Mormon resident of the city, I hope I can use this Burnside column to shed light on life from within Salt Lake. Living in such a place, where the religious divide cuts deep, has taught me much about my own Christian faith and the body of believers. Looking through the lens at the Mormon culture is interesting, humorous, and often acts as a mirror.
As the months pass and I share more and more about life in Mormon Country, I’m guessing a member or two of the LDS church will stumble upon this column. If I’ve done my job correctly, they’ll say, “Well, that’s fair” and maybe they’ll join the conversation. (If I haven’t done my job well, they’ll think, “That dude is a jackass.” But they can only think it to themselves because like with most Evangelicals, it’s not appropriate for Mormons to say “ass.”)
But if I’m honest, the non-Mormons will find more than just interesting information on Mormonism and the Mormon culture, they’ll see something of themselves in a new light or they’ll have a firmer grasp on a foundational portion of their own beliefs. And for the rest of you, maybe you’ll just have a laugh or two. Whatever the case, I look forward to where this column may lead our discussion.