When I first moved to Salt Lake City over 10 years ago with a job at the Olympics, I fell in love with it here: Beautiful land, lovely people and a great place to raise a family.
And that I did. My husband and I started out in a small, adorable bungalow in Sugar House, with a 2-year-old and another on the way. It proved a wonderful place to live, with all kinds of diverse folk I got to know on my daily walks.
Fast forward five years. As we grew out of our tiny house, we chose to move to Sandy, where you can get more for your money.
It was a hard move for me to stomach. I love to walk, and here, it is all driving. I started my kids at the local school and was very pleased with this experience. I noticed that none of my neighbors were too responsive when I tried to have small talk with them on my walks. I am an outgoing and nonjudgmental person with a quirky fashion sense; nonetheless, I tend to make friends with people quickly. It was not working here, though—what was wrong?
I had heard rumors from folks who grew up in Salt Lake City that LDS women tend to shun us “gentiles.” I found this ridiculous—didn’t those kind of prejudices end in the ’50s?
Recently, my sons were playing in the backyard—on our balcony, to be specific—and for the umpteenth time, yelled down at the neighbor girls who are their age to ask if they wanted to play. They said they could not, and what happened next simply floored me: The little girl told my son that she was not allowed to play with him, or even speak to him, as her dad told her he does not go to church.
When I’d heard the rumors that Mormon women don’t let their kids play with non-Mormons, I’d honestly thought that they were making it up. But now I know this is true. I am rejected and so are my children, and it makes me sad.
I am going to move as soon as I can, and I just wanted to give a shout-out that such cruel treatment by Mormon children of non-Mormon children is alive and well. I know that this nonsense comes from the parents. Breeding intolerance and hate in their impressionable children is simply wrong for anyone to do, especially based on religious difference.
What would Jesus do? Not tell his kids this crap.