I am an active Mormon, and I hate the Utah Mormon culture.
There is a culture among members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that denies the very teachings of Christ himself and gives Mormons a bad representation in the world.
The members I speak of are those who are quick to judge others based on looks and actions, those who believe they are better than others, and those who exclude people from their cliques because of looks. All of these make these members uncharitable servants.
For most members who live outside of Utah, we call it the “Utah Mormon culture” because it is more prevalent here. I have seen it everywhere I have attended church, and it breaks my heart.
Although, I am not innocent of judgement. We all judge each other, but what we do with that judgement is what makes the difference.
A group of kids at my brother’s high school, who fit in the Utah Mormon category, told him he wasn’t a good Mormon and have told other people not to hang out with him because of that.
In the LDS church, we are taught from a young age our purpose in life is to prepare to meet God by becoming like Jesus Christ. The Savior himself invites us to love one another in John 14:15 and to become like him in third Nephi 12:48.
Christ didn’t just invite us to become like him; he showed us how to become like him. He ate with the sinners in Luke 5:30-32, he consoled and forgave the woman caught in adultery in John 8:1-11, and he gave his life for all mankind. Christ died for everyone because he knows the potential each of us has, and he always sees us as a child of God. And the LDS church is Christ’s church.
“The church is designed to nourish the imperfect, the struggling and the exhausted,” said President Dieter F. Ucthdorf, second counselor of the first presidency of the LDS church, in the October 2013 general conference.
Church is not a place for perfect people, it is a place for those looking to become better.
We, as members of the LDS church, are supposed to invite others to come unto Christ, to partake of his gospel, but how can we do that if we don’t befriend those outside our faith? I asked my boss’ daughter, who is not a member of the LDS church and attends a local high school, what the Mormon kids at her school are like, and she said some wouldn’t be friends with her since she wasn’t LDS.
Not every Mormon is like this, and even those who are occasionally seen as Utah Mormon’s are the nicest people. But it is our eternal duty to shirk this prideful, uncharitable judgement off and do as Jesus would do: love others.
As I walked the streets of Texas during my LDS mission, searching for people to share the gospel with, I came across people from all walks of life, and no matter their circumstances or life choices I grew to love them; I gained charity for them. I came to know that we may be doing different things, but we are all equal and no one is better than another. Eighteen months since returning home I am still learning about charity and humility.
This past summer I was a youth camp counselor for Especially for Youth, an organization run by Brigham Young University. As a counselor, I worked with a different group of 20-30 teenagers each week. Not every kid I had became my best friend or was into the same things as me, but as I served these kids and learned with them I saw them through God’s eyes and I loved them.
You don’t have to go on a mission or be an EFY counselor to gain charity or humility. These traits are gained through practice, faith, desire and prayer. Every one of us needs to continually seek out charity and humility.
We may not agree or believe in what those around us do. Sometimes other people’s actions can intervene in our life, which may cause us to go separate ways, but that doesn’t mean we can’t love them. We all judge in some way. We all sin and are imperfect. We all are on different parts of the path of life. Be welcoming, include others and love them for who they are. Leave all the judgement up to God.