I'd like to first thank this site's organizers. RfM was the first ex-mo site I discovered many years ago when I was researching the church. It was and continues to be an excellent resource. Thanks also to all those who've shared their stories. I still, at 50, struggle with fallout symptoms, but the words of all those who've dealt with similar problems really helps remind me that I'm far from alone.
I write today for advice. Here's the deal:
I grew up in a quasi-LDS household. My mother's side of the family is very TBM; my dad wanted nothing to do with the church. He emphasized that he'd support me either way, though, which I always appreciated. But that fundamental contradiction, during childhood, along with their drinking coffee and alcohol, led me to question early on. I don't remember ever believing and going through the motions always seemed like an ordeal. I only made it to Teacher before I bowed-out, much to the disappointment of my relatives.
Nagging doubts and guilt persisted and I decided, around 2001, to take them head-on. What surprised me was how easily and quickly I was able to disprove the truthfullness of the church to my satisfaction, largely using the church's own archives. So that was good. But as so many here can attest, truth is only part of the equation.
I just went through a breakup after almost 9 years, with the last 6 spent in Hawaii. I feel I need a complete change of scene, and Logan Utah came to mind. I still have LDS relatives there, and while my involvement in their lives has been minimal during my adult years, I love and miss them very much. My mother's older brother is there -- he's basically the family patriarch. He's tried his best to drag me back into the fold for many years, which has led to the standard frustrations.
Part of my thinking of moving to Logan is that my mom has accelerating dementia which she refuses to face. While she doesn't live there presently, she's talked many times of wanting to move to Logan "when the time comes." Since I'm now unattached, I thought it might make sense to set up shop there and prepare for the inevitable. And the lower cost of living would help me get ahead in less time. In theory.
I like to tell myself that I don't have an ax to grind with the church, that I'm comfortable in my own skin these days, and that Cache Valley is more liberal and diverse than it used to be. But I wonder if I'm deluding myself -- that constant subtle corrective and disapproving pressures might quickly get to me if I lived there. But I also wish I could spend more time with my relatives, partly because for some there isn't much time left.
Anybody have any thoughts on that? Any experience with recent living in Logan or Salt Lake? Is it possible to find balance there, being a non believer?
I live just outside Logan and I love it. We are shunned by some in our neighborhood, but others are friendly and seem to be accepting of who we are. Logan is a bit more liberal, but the church is still an overpowering presence. But, there is a thriving counterculture, in some ways - go to the farmers market in the warm months and you'll see all kinds there. I have written letters to the editor occasionally just hashing on the church, the temple, and the preponderance of religious letters in the paper quoting scripture to back up political positions - sometimes I get hosed for it, but, more and more, I'm supported well.
Another bonus is that there are several places for your mother to live. My mother descended into Alzheimers and also had aphasia, so her situation was challenging. I found a wonderful place for her before she got really bad, then had to move her to a place more suited for her, in Preston (just over the border) when her needs were greater. But, there are options.
Logan is also beautiful. It has the most amazing setting. We never tire of it.
I hadn't tuned-in to ex-mo stuff in awhile and was amused by the term "never-mo." New to me! But I'd be shocked if there were a latent Mormon lurking inside me. Even when I was a kid the whole thing seemed screwy.
I have not lived in Cache Valley in many years. I went to USU and lived there for the better part of a decade. But my Dad and step-Mom, plus my sister and her family have lived there for almost ten years now, and I have extended family all over the valley. My Mom passed away ten years ago and is buried in the Logan cemetery, next to my grand-parents and two of my aunts. So my Cache Valley connections are pretty deep. I visited there annually growing up, and still visit almost annually.
To me, Cache Valley seems pretty conservative. Of course I grew up in a liberal Ivy League town in New England and now live Scandinavia, so just about anything will seem conservative to me. That being said, I love Cache Valley and consider it my third home. Much of my extended family are so-called "jack Mormons", officially being on the records, but having little to nothing to do with the church at all. They all seem to have a nice life completely free of the church. The presence of USU does help calm the conservative LDS influence a bit. While it may be more conservative than most universities, there is still a significant liberal presence on campus and that does extend into the valley a bit. IMHO, I think it is possible to be in Cache Valley and not feel totally overwhelmed by the church. You will be able to find people of all back grounds and life-styles. But it is still a majority LDS area, with around 74% of the population being "officially" LDS. So you will not totally escape the LDS influence.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/09/2019 02:44AM by alsd.
Thanks for your thoughts. I think the single biggest challenge for me will be my uncle. I've been working out what to say to him. No point in challenging him on doctrine -- it's more like I need to negotiate conditions of a truce. "I won't challenge your faith, and you will respect my free agency and not try to 'correct' me." Something like that. But I'm glad to hear overall positive things about life in Cache Valley these days. I too used to take annual trips there throughout my childhood and it's still dear to me. My grandfather had a cabin on the Logan River, 7 miles up the canyon. It was glorious!
Lot's Wife Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Wow. That sounds like an interesting life: New > England, the mountains of Zion, and Scandinavia. > > I'm jealous.
I have moved around a lot. I also lived part-time in China for three years. There are some cool things about living in so many places, but it is hard to establish lifelong connections and strong friendships. So that is a bit of a drawback to having this kind of life. Scandinavia is my favorite place though. I have been here for almost a decade now and have no plans to ever leave.
alsd, If you are living in Alsund, NOR, (just a guess based on your username, no need to confirm my guess) color me envious.
On point, I've had a number of neverMo colleagues who attended USU and loved it there. There is also an active UU group there. There was a drag fashion show at USU just a few weeks ago - their first. Lights, cameras, Lilly Allen songs. It may be a bit harder to find, but there is diversity there. I mean, it IS a university town.
Brother Of Jerry Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > alsd, If you are living in Alsund, NOR, (just a > guess based on your username, no need to confirm > my guess) color me envious. > > On point, I've had a number of neverMo colleagues > who attended USU and loved it there. There is also > an active UU group there. There was a drag fashion > show at USU just a few weeks ago - their first. > Lights, cameras, Lilly Allen songs. It may be a > bit harder to find, but there is diversity there. > I mean, it IS a university town.
Sadly I do not live in Alsund, Norway. I live in the flat Scandinavian country. That is my only complaint here, I would love to see more mountains.
I have a cousin who is part of the LGBTQ community and a die hard atheist and vegetarian. She grew up in Logan, just blocks from USU, and graduated from USU last spring. She had no issues finding many like minded people at USU.
From one of my oldest friends, a TBM who's a former bishop and graduated from USU...
He lives near Seattle now and was grumbling about the cold up there, and I gave him the local weather report (which I'm sure he knew because his sister still lives here).
The Cache Valley and Logan area is really cold in the winter, colder than the Salt Lake Valley, and it's finally getting back above freezing here, although the snowstorm will mean we won't be getting any sunshine for several days.
As far as Planet Utah goes, Salt Lake City, Park City, and Moab are the only "slightly liberal" spots around. The challenge for you will be learning to adjust and thrive, probably balancing your love of the scenery against the cultural and political atmosphere.
Both Logan and SLC have lots of outdoor activities....skiing (downhill and cross country), hiking, fishing, boating, mountain climbing, biking, etc. In my opinion SLC has more in the way of the arts....Utah Symphony, dance productions, quality plays, plus draws like soccer (Real), the Jazz team, baseball, and don't forget the UofU teams (my fav).
Both places get hit with the ugly winter inversions. I myself would choose Salt Lake over Logan for the amenities, but in my opinion it might be helpful for you to make a list and decide what you are looking to find in the next couple of years.
And, keep in mind that you can move if you decide things are not working out.
I had similar concerns when I moved to Utah as an exmo. What I quickly realized is that where there are lots of Mormons, there are lots of exmormons. Perhaps a larger concentration than elsewhere, so there are many people here who not only don’t subscribe to the dominant culture, but they also specifically understand my general background of having lived most of my life in the church and then leaving. I have found that to be a great benefit.
You have some solid reasons for moving there. Here are two flags that stuck out to me:
>>I still, at 50, struggle with fallout symptoms
>>My mother's older brother is there -- he's basically the family patriarch. He's tried his best to drag me back into the fold for many years, which has led to the standard frustrations.
If you move you will need to draw some strong boundaries with your brother and with anyone else who tries to shove the church onto you. If you haven't yet resigned, I would definitely do so. When responding to someone who tries to pull the church card on you, look at person directly in the eye, lower your voice, and speak firmly. One mental trick that I would suggest is, in conversation, to always refer to it as "your church" -- i.e. "I have no interest in your church."
You know your relatives, so you will want to think carefully about if you will be able to get them (in time) to back off. Otherwise constant efforts to proselytize might wear you down.
Thanks for your thoughts. Even my relatives who are closer to ky age are becoming hardcore faithful these days, with a couple exceptions. So I really don't know if they'd ever back off. I am reconsidering the whole notion. Also, I fear if I took my name off the rolls that they'd take it as a slap in the face. I like your communication strategy, though, and will put it to use.
My good friend lived there until they left the church about 3 years ago. She said it is much more Mormon there than in Salt Lake, but there is also a really strong post-mormon support group. She misses that group a lot.
She also was able to meet with John Dehlin, who (as far as I know still) lives and works there. He was extremely helpful to her as she dealt with the pain of transition out of the church.
She moved because she had other family there who could not accept her decision and made things very hard for her, among other reasons.
As someone who has been "co-existing" here in Utah for the past thirteen years or so, it's NOT something I'd deliberately choose as an ex-mormon.
It's a beautiful state with a lot of good people in it. Have lived in a friendly neighborhood and have great co-workers but it seems like the friendships only go so far. Am weary of living in a state where the whole world seems to revolve around the LDS Church and the local wards. Also tired of constantly being asked if I'm LDS or not.
It could be worse, but if I had it do over....
Your mileage may vary. (Especially since you have a family incentive!)
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/10/2019 03:15PM by Gold&Green.
(back when you could get away with it). Sundays became my favorite day of the week. While virtually everybody else were all caught up in their Sunday Church-assigned busywork, I had the mountain trails and parks all to myself. The peace and quiet was fantastic!
Just about anywhere you go, there will be pros and cons. Based on my experience, the Utah cons are easily managed. The pros can be quite good. If you get yourself into a reasonably good position as far as job or finances go, the rest is mostly up to you, as long as you are able to establish boundaries and can ignore some of the religious nuttiness. Mormons don't have a monopoly on nuttiness. They're just one brand among many.
Wow! I honestly hadn't considered the benefit of having Sundays mostly to myself. What a major bonus, as my LDS cousin would say! Thanks for that. Back in 2001 my very religious aunt and uncle were serving a senior mission on O'ahu. I came to visit them with my mom and brother. We did all the standard things, like the PCC. On our last day, a Sunday, my uncle started driving us around the windward side of the island in his church clothes, playing tour guide. It was a perfect sunny day and there we were, in a sealed mini van with the AC on. After 40 minutes or so I couldn't take it any longer. I asked if we could turn around so my brother and I could enjoy our last day there at the beach. My uncle complied but wasn't happy, and it was a long awkward and silent drive back. But the swimming was glorious!