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Posted by: anon2828 ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 02:59AM

What are Mormons like in the Deep South, where Southern Baptist churches are the dominant norm? Is it expressed differently than in say, more neutral parts of the U.S.? This is in contrast to Provo and surrounding cities, where the COJCOLDS dominates every block. Please share if you have personal or a sociological perspective on this. I think this stuff is super interesting!

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Posted by: Atari ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 08:17AM

I was a missionary in rural Georgia. Most people do not like Mormons and equate them to the Jehovah Witnesses. I heard all kinds of crazy stuff, like Mormons stole babies and the temples had sexual initiations.

I kept hoping the temple sex rumors were true, but sadly all I got was some older guy touching my side under a robe.

As far as the members of the church, they were definitely different than Utah. They did not seem to take it too seriously. Being in a minority has a way of making your more compassionate.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/10/2019 08:19AM by Atari.

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Posted by: DaveinTX ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 08:52AM

I was born and raised in UT, and my roots go back to the 1847 group of pioneers to enter SL Valley. I have lived in SE Texas for most of the past 22 years though.

For me, MOST, but not all, of the LDS people I know down her are not native Southerners, but transplants to the South from other areas; most from UT or the Morridor. They are no different from the UT Mormons (my opinion), except that they do not throw it into your face like they do in SLC and surrounding areas. They know they are the massive minority, and realize that they cannot act like they do in UT.

There are only like three Ward buildings and one Stakehouse around me, all about 5 or 10 miles apart. There are some major intersections around me where there are four So Baptist churches, one on each corner. Or all in a row, on a majopr thoroughfare.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 10:17AM

I lived in AL nearly 10 years. Mormons are almost invisible and fairly quiet.

There are LOTS of vocal Jesus people in the South who are determined to put Jesus into everything which is dangerous and annoying. These types make Mormons seem reasonable.

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Posted by: PHIL ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 12:26PM

I am from the deep south and love it. What I hate are Ufah people stereotyping us all into evangelical nut cases.Yes there is a strong christian presence and it shocks Utah people when you can have a bible in school.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 12:48PM

I take it you would be fine if Korans are taught and incorporated into schools.

That's the problem. The type of Christian I am talking about is so used to being the vocal majority that they don't realize what their rules would be like if another religion got to follow them the same way.

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Posted by: fossilman ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 02:21PM

To be fair, PHIL, there are A LOT of evangelical nut cases here in the south, and what's worse is that the government is being run by them for the most part. That's the part that get's the attention of people from out of the south.

I'd love to move out of Alabamastan to a more progressive area of the country, but I can't for several reasons right now. That said, there are a number of nice things about the south that, in some small part, make up for the governmental theocracy, fire ants, kudzu, tornados, love bugs, racism, and humidity.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/10/2019 02:22PM by fossilman.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 03:16PM


Kudzu. I was shocked the first time I saw first hand trees and buildings completely covered with it.

I just moved out of the South. I know this sounds weird, but it's a relief not having to be so darn polite all the time. (After you, ma'am. No, you go ahead. No you. Ad nauseum for 3 minutes.)

I'm back where the basic rule is to get the heck out of the way of others and talking is not required.

I'm not going to miss the humid summer but will miss some of the friends I made there. I will miss the beautiful flowers the most.

I'm not going to miss the police having to escort the traffic out of the megachurches on the roads near where I lived.

I am going to miss having racial diversity in my circle of everyday acquaintances. I saw one black person where I moved and wanted to go hug him. Unfortunately he was from Ethiopia so he wouldn't know why. :-)

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Posted by: normdeplume ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 09:51PM

PHIL Wrote:
> I am from the deep south and love it. Yes there is a strong
> christian presence and it shocks Utah people when
> you can have a bible in school.

"Hoorah, Hoorah, for Southern rights hoorah", which region preserves the right of Christians to keep the Bible in their schools.

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Posted by: cftexan ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 12:36PM

I wouldnt say Im in the deep south as Im in North Texas.. but I know some mormons as my brother is down here too. A lot of them do seem to be from Utah and act similiar.

Most people don't seem to know much about Mormons here. They've heard of them, but don't know or care about the details.

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Posted by: stillanon ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 12:50PM

I grew up in Texas. Two friends/teammates were mormon.In Houston, you may have a friend for a year before you knew, or cared, what his religion was. One guy on my water ski team didn't drink coke after practice (coach bought us cokes). I asked him why-he said he was mormon. One weekend he invited me to play softball (this was in 9th grade.) Turns out it was his church softball. Everyone was nice, but seemed to go out of their way to be super friendly. It seemed phony. The other guy was on my football team, he was playing softball too. There was one other guy and his sister from my school. Our high school had about 2,800 kids, grades 9-12. Maybe 10 mormons in the entire school. They tried to fit in and never brought up religion. After college, I got transferred to Mississippi. Tons of Southern Baptists, many Presbyterians and Methodists. Southern Baptists "didn't cotton none" to mormons. Mormons in the deep south pretty much kept to themselves. In 10 years in Mississippi, I never had missionaries knock on my door. Maybe a dozen JW's, but never mormons.

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Posted by: Ted ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 01:02PM

I am in the South, and I can tell you that the Baptist (3 main divisions in the Baptist faith) all regard Mormnonism as a cult - which it is. I have been plagued my entire life w/ the label of "Mormon", and it sucks. In every employment encounter post mission, somehow someway it got out that I was a Mormon - and then people treat you like a crazy cult member.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 01:48PM

My mom took me with her along for the ride when I was 14, to parts of the South, ie, Chattanooga, TN, Decatur, GA, Birmingham, AL, and stops in between.

We stayed with some LDS families while in Chattanooga when mom was scouring the local libraries and courthouses researching their archives and records.

They were pretty decent considerate sorts.

Some of the friendliest people we met along our trip were black people. They were the most willing to give us directions when we stopped to ask for help from passersby in towns and cities.

At church when I went with my mom the times we did, it was fairly similar to back home except for the size of the meeting places were much smaller because the congregations were fewer and farther between.

At a MIA meeting I attended in Chattanooga one night some of the girls said to me in their southern drawl, "My, what a funny northern accent you have." I laughed because I thought they were the ones with the funny southern accent. :)

Otherwise, the teens were not really any different that I could tell than from where I was born and raised. Except for perhaps their southern manners which were overall more distinct than their northern counterparts were/are. We're talking over 45 years ago. I imagine times have changed considerably since then, as they have elsewhere.

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Posted by: macaRomney ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 03:01PM

I lived in the South for a while. The were some Northerners come down to escape New York expenses, and for a tamer climate and those coming from Miami escaping the diversity. One thing about the South is the social hierarchy that exists and in the M. Church. Here in Utah it seems like there has been a tradition of everyone being middle class, homo-ethnic, same political views, same clothes, same speech.

Down South the dialects change according to who's from the mountains, Who's a Yankee, who's black, city versus country. Then there is those from what we would call the old gentry South that wear the jewelry the hats, have tailored suits, some own the old plantation lands. The ladies are ladies and don't work. In the m. Church they are addressed by their last names always. Below this level you've got the professionals and working class, with less prestige and worse table manners, then of course the poor white trash, immigrants and blacks who are called by their first names or Miss. (first name), never Mrs. They don't hold the positions of respect. And a black woman never looks at a white man directly. But sure will tell him everything she thinks anyway.

This mostly all comes back from the old plantation days.

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Posted by: 100% Cotton ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 03:26PM

As a life long resident of the Deep South and an ex-Mormon after many years in the church-I can tell you that Mormons here are in the minority and show mostly common sense and keep a low profile.
Most do not toute Mormonism except in the ward on Sundays, and try hard to assimilate.
I noticed when we occasionally got a fire eater from Utah the local members would simmer him down with common sense.
Mormons did not fit into the culture of infinite ballgames,bass fishing,pick up trucks, ice cold watermelon,sweet tea,coffee,good Bourbon, smoked meat,and tobacco in any form.
They were considered good people but deluded religious nuts and part of the fringe element.
Now that I'm an ex I agree with 'em.

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Posted by: mel ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 03:52PM

I presently live in Mississippi, which is about as Deep South as you can get. I've lived here for 20 years, came here for a job, after growing up on the West Coast.

I haven't seen anything like what macaRomney describes, lots of ladies work, lots of ladies are addressed by their first names, and I don't see any white trash or blacks and immigrants acting any differently or being addressed differently from anyone else. In my workplace and neighborhood of mixed races, everyone calls everyone by first name, hugs and greetings are affectionate, there is no barrier of class that he speaks of.

Where I work, two of the top three leadership positions are held by blacks and you can believe they will look at anyone directly, and they are called, and are accorded, titles and positions of respect, by everyone.

I'm not sure when macaRomney was here but I have not seen those behaviors and descriptors; they are not representative of any reality I have seen. My workplace and neighborhood are about equally made up of blacks and whites and they are not treated any differently by their race. Some advance, some don't, advancement is by merit.

As far as the Mormon church, which I attended as a convert for around 18 months, that was the least integrated place I have been in the South. There were only two mixed-race families there, all the rest were white.

The large Baptist churches I have visited, and other churches such as Episcopalian and non-denominational that I have been to here, have all had an integrated congregation.

I chatted with the Pastor of the large Baptist church, which is a few blocks from the little Mormon ward chapel. Ward had around 250 families, of which around 100 attended regularly. The Baptist church (one of many in this neighborhood) had arena seating for all 4 morning and evening Sunday services, of 1800, each service I ever attended was full, sometimes people were standing at the back. The ward never ran out of seating in the one Sunday service.

In addition the Baptist had a professional choir, a professional band, televised services, huge, beautifully designed (stained glass, etc) premises, many paid helpers (child carers and armed security were all paid, as well as paid janitorial). Income for the Baptist church was publicly discussed in regular meetings open to all, that church reported around $10M per year in donations according to the meeting accounting I attended. Of course I never knew any numbers for the Ward. Donations were voluntary at services. I know any comparison (what you get for your money) that Baptist church, probably most of them, would shine compared to the small Ward chapel.

When I mentioned to the Baptist pastor once in casual conversation (he invited everyone to speak to him after services) that I had recently been a member of the Mormon church, it was clear he'd either never heard of it, or at least, knew nothing about it.

My sense, and of course I wasn't a born-in member of Mormonism, but I felt that they mostly kept pretty low key because in the South, religion is not just lip service.

These Baptists, really, really know their Bibles. Many are true scholars, and read their Bible and attend study groups, and could debate anyone about anything the Bible says. If Mormons took on these Baptists in a discussion of God or the Holy Ghost or any facet of the Bible, my bets would be on the scholarship of the Baptist against anyone who has spent most of their time studying the so-called 'scripture' of the BoM.

That is my view as a current, long-time resident of the Deep South, and a sometime Mormon convert (got out last year).

Thanks for listening to my thoughts!

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Posted by: stillanon ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 06:02PM

If not too much info, where in MS?. I attended the 1st Baptist church in Jackson. On State st. This was in the mid 90's. I attended with a girl I was dating that was a member. After the service, the usual greeters and deacons came to meet me. The entire service held about 1,200 people (one of 3 Sunday services). No black people. When I asked about that, one of the deacons, about 75 years old) said, "The N-words have their own Baptist church" near Ridgeland (Tougaloo). Needless to say, I wasn't interested in becoming a member. Here's a story from 5 years ago in Crystal Springs. I know they've made strides, but religious racism is alive and well in MS.

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Posted by: mel ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 06:39PM

stillanon Wrote:
> If not too much info, where in MS?.

Wow, I am sorry to hear about your experience in the mid-90's. Maybe a lot of those old-timers have retired to nursing homes by now! Sorry to see that story you linked to, also, bearing in mind it is seven years ago, and it is also in the middle of a rural area which would be much less progressive than some areas of the state.

Here, I live in a suburb around 20 miles east, outside Jackson metro-area. I do know where the First Baptist on State Street is, though I haven't been there. That is also a large church.

My neighborhood is newly built, as is much of the area, my guess is mostly it was not here while you lived here. The oldest house in my subdivision is 10 years old.

I think there was a history of the Jackson-metro area being segregated which, perhaps, the suburbs have changed. My very-nice neighborhood is just about 50/50, and the large Baptist church I spoke of was probably around 30/70 black/white.

I do think, especially in the metro area, there are some churches predominately black and some more just white, but times have changed.

I have lived here 20 years and I have only heard that "n-word" said one-time by a very elderly old hick dude. I think those old attitudes have been pretty much replaced. In nice neighborhoods in the suburbs, that is not the reality. There is no plantation here. Younger, more educated Southerners are very aware of the negative stereotypes held against them by most of the US and actively work for racial harmony. You will note there may have been some instances of racism but you do not see race riots here like they had around St. Louis, for instance. Tolerance is the word, here.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/10/2019 06:43PM by mel.

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Posted by: stillanon ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 07:11PM

Thanks. I know it's gotten better since I moved there in the 80's and left in the 90's. I still have friends there. I lived by the Rez, first on the Rankin county side, just past the spillway. Then moved to a subdivision called Dinsmore in Madison. Kept my boat in the Marina. I covered the whole state. It varied greatly by area as far as racism. I had to give a presentation to a group of customers in Laurel. My manager from Ohio flew in to assist. It was at our distributor's Country Club. Didn't know it at the time, but no blacks. Confederate flags in the banquet room.I had just got done explaining how the South was progressing, and then that happened.Good part was, he didn't find much time to visit after that. Kind of sketchy in the Delta too. Just heard from my old customer in Cleveland. He sent me this;

It's hard to change 5th generation Delta Mississippian that are descendants of slave owners.

You must be out near Brandon. I was there when that tornado hit in around 1990. I heard that area has really grown. Thanks for sharing.

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Posted by: siobhan ( )
Date: May 11, 2019 12:36PM

Hattiesburg here.
The mormon family I had to deal with were total assholes.

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Posted by: stillanon ( )
Date: May 11, 2019 10:04PM

Hattiesburg? I remember the Purple Parrot and the End Zone (Or was it the Goal Post?)bar.

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Posted by: DanBodell ( )
Date: May 12, 2019 12:59AM

Petal Mississippi was was first area on my mission in '79. I was horrified at my first day in church when the Bishop got up and was running Sacrament Meeting like normal, but with a televangelist twang in his voice. I was a dumb 19 year old kid.

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Posted by: Cold beer ( )
Date: May 16, 2019 01:10AM

I grew up near Hattiesburg, and lived in Hattiesburg And Petal. baptised as a convert in 79. haven't lived there in nearly 20yrs. Resigned last yr.

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Posted by: siobhan ( )
Date: May 14, 2019 05:22PM

Purple Parrot still there. North End Zone moved downtown and didn't last long. Another similar bar is in the old location. Gold Post on Hardy still unchanged.

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Posted by: mel ( )
Date: May 10, 2019 08:26PM

Yes, Dinsmore is nice, I used to live in Madison by there. The Rez is also nice. Educated and sophisticated neighbors.

Of course there are incidents but I think generally there is a big commitment to inclusion and tolerance here. Politeness which I couldn’t believe after growing up in California where people would as soon kill you as look at you let alone hold a door for you.

Yes, live in Brandon, the traffic in Madison became too much! If you haven’t been there here for a while you’d be amazed how it’s grown. I’m glad you still have friends here. Lots of good people here. :)

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Posted by: stillanon ( )
Date: May 11, 2019 09:37AM

"Yes, live in Brandon, the traffic in Madison became too much! If you haven’t been there here for a while you’d be amazed how it’s grown. I’m glad you still have friends here. Lots of good people here. :)"

Yep, I agree. Great people. Great hospitality, great food. I miss the Red Beans and Rice festival (hope it's still an event) and Malcolm White's St. Pat's parade and celebration. Good times.

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Posted by: mel ( )
Date: May 11, 2019 09:11PM

stillanon Wrote:
> "Red Beans and Rice festival ... and Malcolm White's St.
> Pat's parade and celebration. Good times.

Yep. Practically every weekend there are parades or festivals or church fairs. People put a lot of effort into celebrating just about anything here!

Glad you also met good people and have good memories!!! :)

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: May 11, 2019 11:10AM

The only active hostility towards Mormons that I've seen has come from certain people from the deep south. In other places that I've lived and traveled (New England, the mid-Atlantic, Colorado, the upper Midwest, California) I would say that the most common reaction to Mormons is indifference. In most places, Mormons are a religious minority and are treated as a part of the religious landscape. People don't think about them a whole lot.

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Posted by: stillanon ( )
Date: May 11, 2019 12:00PM

"In most places, Mormons are a religious minority and are treated as a part of the religious landscape. People don't think about them a whole lot."

In EVERY place, outside of Utah, they are a religious minority. Plus, in other places they are much more polite and not pushy. Most of my neighbors, that moved here from other states, are embarrassed by the behavior and arrogance of Utah mormons.

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Posted by: mel ( )
Date: May 11, 2019 09:07PM

Yes, it was very interesting to read the comments on the board that Utah Mormons seem angry and pushy and rude drivers. Their heads are just messed up from the cult, or they’re having a bad day... every day...?

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Posted by: stillanon ( )
Date: May 11, 2019 10:08PM

No, I think it's when they hold the majority in population, politics, business, etc., they are not inclusive. The saying here, if you criticize them, the church or the state, is "Why don't you just move!". It's probably the most beautiful and diverse state in the country, but the dominant religion makes it unattractive.

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Posted by: Southern Belle ( )
Date: May 14, 2019 11:25PM

I grew up in a large city in the south. There were a handful of Mormons, and they were regarded as odd or quirky. I regarded them as just another Christian denomination, albeit one with some wacky beliefs. “Did you know they don’t drink coffee or coke, and they have an entire year of food stored up in case the world ends???”. There was little to no proselytizing. No Mormons went around bragging about their superior way of living, or being God’s one true blah blah blah. They must’ve known that if they wanted to get along in the community, at work or school, etc that that crap wasn’t going to fly.

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Posted by: Betty G ( )
Date: May 15, 2019 01:20PM

I'm from the South. I was born, raised, grew up, and lived in the South for the majority of my life (Mid-Georgia).

Southern Baptist.

I came to this board to figure out things when I moved to the Morridor for work.

I don't think MacaRomney has ever been to our portion of the South, or went there before me, my parent, or grandparents were even born.

Women work in the South and have been working for decades. There are some similarities between the Southern Baptists and Mormons.

There is the idea or ideal of a stay at home wife/mother and there are many that still do this.

In my area there really is this idea where the Blacks had their churches and others went to theirs. My congregation I went to did not really have a mixed congregation. WE were primarily white with an occasionally Asian or Hispanic. We had a large building.

Some churches had mixed congregations, I think it just depended on the part of town, preferences, and other things.

In the city I didn't notice much difference in racism and other things. It's a lot more progressive. When you get more into the rural areas you can find a lot more racism that still exists. I was mainly in a rural area which is why my church probably had such a deep divide. In many urban areas (Atlanta, Columbus, Macon) the congregations were far more mixed.

As for Mormons, I didn't really know many. Those that I did know, I didn't know well. There weren't many of them. We did hear about the religion and learned about them (a lot of it was not true, some of it was, this board has taught me a lot more about Mormons than what I learned before). I did not know a lot about Mormons.

I've found a lot more about them living in the Morridor.

Before I moved here I probably thought they were similar to Jehovah's witnesses. I probably couldn't have told you the differences between a JW, a Mormon, and a Seventh Day Adventist. They were all sort of the same to me back then.

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Posted by: shylock ( )
Date: May 15, 2019 04:02PM

I lived in the sticks in southern Illinois. The closest Mormon church was 40 miles away. Didn't have to go that often. Yes!!!! But the local baptist viewed the church with distrust. I unwittingly when ask would declare I am a Mormon. A quick way to be shunned in those communities.

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