Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Many people know that there will be a movie released soon (September Dawn) that "portrays" the events of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. As with most Hollywood versions of history, this movie takes creative license to add to the story. Unfortunately, this story is altered to a surprising degree. Of course, I as a Mormon do not have very much credence when I make such a statement. Fortunately, many non-LDS people have made similar, and sometimes very pointed comments. A few of them have been well collected and posted on another blog. If you want a good explanation of the situation read here as well. The gist of it is that there were some members that did some very evil acts. Both members, non-members and anti-member historians all will agree that no evidence has been found to show the the church leadership sanctioned or encouraged these actions. Knowing the complete story makes this a non-issue as far as troubling church history goes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Utah Mormons

I saw the following on an LDS blog and I thought it was pretty interesting...the person was talking about LDS people in foreign countries.

"You know all those things you used to say about Utah Mormons? That’s more or less how the rest of the world sometimes feels about American Mormons. Don’t reinforce stereotypes."

Having grown up in Utah and lived outside of Utah on both the East and West coasts I feel pretty good about my understanding of American Mormons. Growing up in Utah I lived in an area that was probably 90% or more LDS and having spent time working in Utah jobs where I was the only one not smoking, drinking or looking at porn I feel like I have seen the entire Utah resident spectrum as well.

While at BYU talking with friends and dating my wife the subject came up frequently about living in/out and raising kids inside or outside of Utah. I feel pretty strong about this issue and will discuss the themes below. That strong feeling is hard to supress in front of people that paint all Utah Mormons with the same brush. So here is my bullet list of discussion points for this sometimes sensitive nerve:
  • First and foremost, there are many flavors of personality/religiosity/style/etc amongst Utah Mormons and you can't say you understand that because you spent a few years at BYU going to school. Provo is not Utah, 18-24 year olds are not Utah, people deciding on the majority of their future (spouse, career, who you are as a person, etc) and the ensuing stress is not Utah. BYU is best described as the church mating grounds, and I mean that in a good way, I love BYU.
  • That oft quoted, but never researched claim about women in Utah having a greater incidence of depression is false and then correlating this with LDS women is even more false. I had a BYU professor call up the initiator of this claim and ask for his methods and materials. After quite a lot of harassment he finally admitted that his brother was a pharmacist in Utah and it seemed to him like he gave out more depression medication in Utah than he did outside of Utah when he was in school! Can you believe it? I tried to get funding when I was at BYU in the honor's program to conduct a real study and put this false claim to rest, but didn't get it.
  • Utah bankruptcy issue has also been mostly proved to be a non-LDS issue. The rate of bankruptcy in Utah amongst non-LDS people is actually greater than that amongst LDS people. I believe it is due to the nature of the economy, this is why I chose not to work in Utah.
  • Many people in the "its better to grow up outside of Utah" school of though have suggested that they are glad they grew up outside of Utah because it helped them with their testimony being around others that were not of the same belief as them. They also incorrectly state that when growing up inside Utah everybody is the same so they have no reference for differentiation and therefore no way to develop their "own" testimony. My answer to that is: in Utah I couldn't use the church as a crutch and had to therefore actually use my testimony. When those that offered me alcohol on a wrestling tournament were LDS I had to say that I wouldn't do it because I didn't want to, not because my church doesn't want me to. Ironically, it helped my testimony being around others that were of the same faith as me, yet pulling me in bad directions.
  • I didn't choose to raise my family in Utah for career reasons, but chose an area that has a relative high density of LDS families. I believe this is the best of both worlds. My kids won't have a difficult time finding LDS kids to date seriously (sorry Jodee, you are amazing and we love you tons) and they still can interact with people who aren't LDS and have the beneficial experiences that come with that. This relates to the discussion also because I don't think I could live in an area where my kid is the only LDS one in the high school.
  • With all the above being said, I think it all comes down to the family. You can live anywhere and obviously turn out fine, but the limiting factor is definitely the family. Friends can have a greater influence in certain situations, but still...the family is the most important factor at to how a person turns out because they are there first and can ultimately influence who the friends can be. In summary, friends can have a greater influence, but family can have a more important influence. It might seem contradictory, but it isn't.
  • That brings me to the point that some people refer to eccentricities in certain LDS people and say it is because they are a Utah Mormon. A good example of this was Julie from the MTV show The Real World. She Was not from Utah, but many non-Utahns at BYU where I was at the time assumed she was due to her obvious over-sheltered past. People make this assumption, stereotypify it as a Utah complex and propagate the fallacy. Other examples include anything weird that someone does at BYU (because you are obviously Mormon, but no one can look at you and know where you are from, unless you are Canadian because they always have a Canadian flag on their backpack!). It is immediately incorrectly assumed they are from Utah, probably Provo and that is the source of their problem.
  • The quintessential example of this is socks with sandals. Although there are people in Utah that do this, sorry dad, it is definitely not a Utah thing. Living in the Pacific Northwest I get the occasional email, "You know you are from the PNW if you..." and in that is says, "wear socks with your sandals." So...case closed.
  • Basically I think these incorrect stereotypes stem from Utah's obvious higher concentration of LDS people. Weird LDS things are not due to being a Utah Mormon...it is just sometimes due to being a Mormon in general and you notice it easier in Utah because of the greater density.
In closing I give anyone the following challenge: post a "Utah Mormon Eccentricity" and see if I can't shoot it down. Also, feel free to contradict me :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

BOM Peoples

Now back to religion. I can't have the majority of my posts be negative or political since neither really describes me. So, back in dental school I rode the metro every day. In the mornings I would do my daily scripture study on the metro reading from my palm day planner. Since I am such a documentation freak I have made a few lists. Below is a list of the general peoples in the BOM. I made this to help me see the major population flow in the book. I know it needs some tweaking so if you see anything incorrect or questionable please point it out.

I-Lehi's family

A-Nephites under Nephi

B-Nephites under Mosiah ~ Muelekites


1-In the land of Lehi

2-In the land of Nephi

3-Stolen Lamanite daughters~Amulonites

4-In the land of Amulon ~ Lamanites in the land of Lehi

5-Converts of Ammon & his brethren = Anti-Nephi-Lehies - AKA - People of Ammon

6-Additional groups of Lamanites converted by the Anti-Nephi-Lehies ~Anti-Nephi-Lehies

7-Servants of the king that Amalackiah killed

8-4000 Lamanite warriors that Moroni makes covenant against war and live with the people of Ammon (on his way to Nephihah)

9-Lamanite warriors that Moroni makes covenant against war and live with the people of Ammon (in Nephihah)

D-Ishmael and his family

II-Muelekites in Zarahemla

III-Nephites & Muelekites under Mosiah*

A-Zeniff & his search party

1-Alma and the believers

2-King Noah's priests~Amulonites

B-Ammon & 15 other men

C-The sons of Mosiah

D-Amlicites~Lamanites in the land of Nephi


F-5400 men & their wives & children, & other North bound groups at time of Hagoth


H-Gadianton & the band of Kishkumen - AKA - Gadianton Robbers

I-North bound groups to the Land of Desolation~


1-Converts of Alma 2's group that flees to Jershon ~ Anti-Nephi-Lehies


A-Main group of people

B-Corihor's group

V-Amulonites=King Noah's priests & the Lamanite daughters


A-North bound groups to the Land of Desolation ~

VII-North bound groups to the Land of Desolation

Total # of peoples = 25 (General Lamanites are all considered one people until they become separated & join with another group)

*not included in the overall number because they are/will be other groups combined

~became a part of another main group