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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : “The Mission Field” (ouch!) » “The Mission Field” (ouch!)

“The Mission Field” (ouch!)

Christian J - May 18, 2009

I heard it again yesterday: Someone referring to the world outside of the Mormon West as “the mission field”. The problem this time was that the individual using the phrase was someone I have deep love and respect for. I’m starting to wonder if I’m over-reacting.

Yesterday was a stake/regional conference broadcast to New York and New England from Salt Lake. I really enjoyed the whole conference and the final talk by President Eyring was as powerful as any other talk I’ve heard him give. The man has never really given a talk that didn’t deeply move me. The minor hiccup was the reference to his days in New Jersey as “living in the mission field”. Following is an explanation of why this phrase offends me and also why I might be overacting.

Why this phrase offends me:

1. I heard this term every other day while serving a two-year mission in Southern Utah. It made me furious because it usually followed a list of reasons why sharing the gospel in Utah was impossible (i.e. “there aren’t any non members living here”, or “we take things for granted here – we can’t help it”).

It also was a constant reminder that, at the end of the day, we were serving a mission in Utah.* After a plethora of insults including condolences, condensations and outright mocking that we weren’t on a “real” mission, hearing that we were serving in the area not described as “the mission field” was the last straw.

2. In general, I think the term feeds the apathy of members in predominantly Mormon areas. As I mentioned above, there seems to be an attitude among some Utah Mormons that they don’t really appreciate the gospel and can’t really help it. After all, they don’t know anyone without it. My goal as a missionary was to convince them that A. there were actually many of their neighbors with different religious beliefs. (i had met them) B. It was up to them to seek these people out and develop genuine friendships. They are the majority – the ball is in their court.

Why I might be over-reacting:

1. I realize that this phrase was useful at one time. The congregations outside the Mountain West were once a collection of Missions, Districts and Branches. Calling the rest of the world “the mission field” was once a very accurate description of what it actually was at the time. While I’d prefer people say “what once was called the mission field” or even “the Mormon Diaspora”, I understand the use of the term among the 50+ crowd. I don’t think they mean it in an offensive way – the way it comes a cross to me.

2. I’m the first one to argue that the congregations of the church have a very regional identity – in spite of correlation. The church in Utah is a prime example of that. Activity in the church really is a different experience in Utah. To ignore that fact would be brushing over the good (unity) and the bad (exclusion) aspects of predominance. I might have spent so much time legitimizing my missionary efforts in Utah, that I let a harmless phrase cause offense.

So, there it is. Am I:

1. A justified victim

2. An over-reacting crybaby

*My non-member friends back home were so confused by my call to serve in Utah that they started calling it a pilgrimage.

60 Comments »

  1. At work, we refer to everything outside the main office as “the field.” So, too, the headquarters of the Church is Salt Lake City, so technically, everything outside of that is “the field.” Which is to say that the term “mission field” doesn’t bother me much.

    I do see your points, but without having had your experience serving a mission in Utah, I just don’t react to it in the same way. I do feel for you, though. So, how about “a justified crybaby”? [wink]

    Comment by Hunter — May 18, 2009 @ 9:11 am

  2. Over-reacting would be if you actually got angry with someone for using this term. I’m with you on the fact that it’s outdated, inaccurate and borderline offensive, but I generally just make a joke about it when people use it, and they get the idea. I haven’t heard it much lately, so it may be dying out somewhat. Let’s hope.

    BTW, the idea that Utah Mormons just don’t get that there are non-Mormons among their neighbors and have a bad attitude about missionary work is, in my view, also an outdated stereotype. As with all stereotypes, it has a kernal of truth, but it’s a good idea, since we’re talking about it, to pitch out all the outdated attitudes, rather than just one.

    Comment by MCQ — May 18, 2009 @ 9:47 am

  3. CJ – having witnessed your anger over this term and having been the recipient of your scolding for using the term, I now see what you mean. In fact it now seems to me that my ward and stake in Northen Virginia, where about 10,000 members live, is becoming as “comfortable” a place to be a member as my ward in Sandy, Utah where the entire ward was made up of about 4 or 5 city blocks. And because of that I feel like we sometimes become complacent about missionary work just like the folks in “Zion.” Oops! There I go again. I know, Zion can exist in your heart, wherever you are.

    Comment by lamonte — May 18, 2009 @ 10:15 am

  4. Oops, and I just used that term myself when talking about a new family history blog my mom started. Sorry…

    Comment by C. L. Hanson — May 18, 2009 @ 10:19 am

  5. p.s. Aside from when I was at BYU, I’ve never lived in a place where there was a high concentration of Mormons. I’ve always just taken “Zion/Mormon corridor” vs. “mission field” terminology as the standard shorthand for the difference between living where Mormonism is common vs. living where Mormonism is strange and exotic.

    Comment by C. L. Hanson — May 18, 2009 @ 10:24 am

  6. BTW, the idea that Utah Mormons just don’t get that there are non-Mormons among their neighbors and have a bad attitude about missionary work is, in my view, also an outdated stereotype.

    Fair enough MCQ. I’ve been working really hard at not lumping all Utah Mormons together (I admit its pretty ignorant to do so) and this particular issue is a two way street for sure. I’ve also stated on many occasions that my “success” as a missionary was directly related to the members. In two years I so no one baptized that was not referred by a member of the church – no one.

    - but – I would also add (as humbly as possible) that my own anecdotal experience with the matter has to be seen as a step above almost anyone else who did not serve there. From ’99 -’01 it was day after day of the same attitude from 9/10ths of those I met. Not my own conjecture – but actually hearing it come out of peoples mouths – day after day…

    of course 8 years is a long time – I’m willing to assume that things have changed.

    Comment by CJ Douglass — May 18, 2009 @ 10:30 am

  7. The first time I heard the term “mission field” was at BYU when a student from Ohio and another from Missouri were explaining to a third from Arizona that the life of the LDS Church wasn’t quite the same where they came from. It was the fellows from Ohio and Missouri using the term “mission field,” not the Arizonan. Now, that was twenty-five years ago. Maybe things have changed, such that those growing up in Ohio and Arizona today both have the same experience with the LDS Church, and a term like “mission field” is outdated, but I don’t think so.

    Comment by John Mansfield — May 18, 2009 @ 11:03 am

  8. Of course, CJ, until about 25 years ago, Utah was not the “mission field” because there were no full-time missionaries in Utah, so you’d literally be going out into the mission field when you left Utah and headed to, say, New York.

    Now that there are stakes all across the world (with a few small exceptions in the U.S.), it does seem that “mission field” is an anachronism for most of the world. But maybe Pres. Eyring was speaking historically–New Jersey certainly was the “mission field” back in the early 1930s.

    Comment by Mark B. — May 18, 2009 @ 12:14 pm

  9. I joined the church in South CArolina and also lived in Indiana and Southern England; and I had never heard that term ever used until my freshman year at BYU. Some girl said it and it took me a while to what she was referring to, but when I finally understood it felt like a derogatory term. It seemed like the attitude was that the non-Utah Mormons were somehow less than those who were from there. Like I wasn’t a real member.

    Anyways, I eventually married a non-Utahn, graduated and left the state – perfectly content to stay away and not think about it anymore. The only problem is we did pick up a Utah Mormon while we were there, and now he is 15 and a real pain in the butt sometimes. Only two more years and we can send him back :-)

    Comment by TStevens — May 18, 2009 @ 1:02 pm

  10. I think “justified” and “victim” are both too strong, but I do prefer “outside the Mormon Culture Region” or “outside the Mormon corridor” to “the mission field.”

    It’s not so much “the mission field” side of the distinction that gets me. I frequently hear it phrased as “here in Zion and out there in the mission field.”

    Administratively, Zion is made up of stakes. A “stake of Zion” in New Jersey is neither more nor less a part of Zion than a stake in Utah. Those members of Zion who do not reside in stakes can be said to live in the mission field.

    Continuing the administrative definition track: I can think of three definitions of “mission field”:
    (1) anywhere not part of stake, whether part of a mission or not;
    (2) anywhere not part of stake, but part of a mission;
    (3) anywhere part of a mission, whether part of a stake or not.

    By 1 and 2, a stake in New Jersey and a stake in Utah are both in the same column; by 3 they are both in the other column. Other than the historical usage, none of the definitions of Zion I’ve thought of put New Jersey and Utah in separate columns.

    Comment by Edje — May 18, 2009 @ 1:25 pm

  11. CJ,
    When you ask if you are overacting all I can think about is Jon Lovitz on SNL doing Masterpiece Theatre, responding to John Lithgow’s character, saying, “ACTING!” Of course, if you are asking if you are over-reacting, then I’d have to say yes. And as a newly-called ward missionary you are in the mission field whether you like it or not.

    Now if there is a petition to stop using the terms “Zion” and “Gentile” sign me up. Those terms have come to mean too many things and I’m bored with the classes in which we spend 45 minutes discussing what it means to come unto Zion.

    Comment by Rusty — May 18, 2009 @ 2:04 pm

  12. My wife and I, neither having lived in Utah, make a light joke to those who utter this phrase to us when we tell them where we are from by replying, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, “You realize they have a ‘mission field’ in Utah, too, right? The difference is that missionaries there are trying to convert members.”

    Comment by Bull Moose — May 18, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

  13. good lookin Rusty. I give my spell check way too much responsibility.

    Bull Moose, I was nearly thrown out of a few homes for making the same joke. I saw too many gun vaults in the family rooms to ever dare to say it again…

    Comment by CJ Douglass — May 18, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

  14. I’m with TStevens. I tend to bristle when I hear Utahns use the phrase as a means of separating ‘us’ from ‘them’ as though geography somehow renders my membership different from theirs, perhaps even suspect.

    I live in Virginia and frequently pass a local Baptist church. There’s a small sign directed at cars leaving the building’s parking lot saying, “You are now entering the mission field.” Aside from the slight disorientation at seeing ‘someone else’ (gasp!) use the phrase, I like the attitude it conveys. It’s far more useful to think of the area immediately outside of our sacred spaces as the mission field rather than anything outside the Mormon Corridor.

    Comment by dmt — May 18, 2009 @ 5:29 pm

  15. I agree the term is outdated. I probably wouldn’t tolerate it among Utah natives younger than I am. I understand the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission is one of the highest (if not *the* highest) baptizing missions in the United States.

    A lot of members from outside the state seem to use the term as a point of pride, however, an implicit counterpoint to those supposedly indifferent ‘Utah’ Mormons.

    The equally annoying practice of calling the Mormon corridor ‘Zion’ has been doctrinally obsolete since the day the leadership decided they preferred converts to stay and build up the Church in their own areas. I believe that was almost a century ago.

    Comment by Mark D. — May 18, 2009 @ 5:59 pm

  16. If the only choices are 1. A justified victim or 2. An over-reacting crybaby, then I’ll have to go with #2 because a victim, IMO, is someone who has been trespassed against and it appears you are merely annoyed.

    Comment by ed42 — May 18, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

  17. FWIW, I refer to where I live as Zion all the time — both in private conversations and in public, and often to the exclusion of everywhere else.

    Unfortunately, some people seem to think that I’m joking when I refer to New York City as Zion.

    Actually, I couldn’t be more serious. I love it here, and, IMO, Utah Mormons suffer from the ills that come from being a majority – insensitivity and intolerance for those who aren’t part of the majority.

    This happens everywhere (even here in New York), but its easier for me to consider it Zion because here I am in the minority.

    Comment by Kent Larsen — May 18, 2009 @ 6:24 pm

  18. I’m more amused by Utahns who don’t realize that SLC is a small, pretty, but still nondescript city in the middle of nowhere but talk like SLC is the center of the universe. They refer to places like NYC and DC as if they’re remote islands removed from civilization. I suppose they come out here in “the mission field” and behave like they’ve left civilization and are resisting the urge to “go native.” To nonmembers and non-Utahns, they must come across as just wacky.

    Comment by rb — May 18, 2009 @ 7:47 pm

  19. The other phrase that is often used to divide the church is “Utah Mormon”. It’s used here in Michigan as a perjorative. What I’ve found though is that it’s typically used to describe a valiant member. I’ve been called that even though I’m from New Mexico by way of Philadelphia.

    Comment by Floyd the Wonderdog — May 19, 2009 @ 3:56 am

  20. In context, when the elder Eyring (justaposed against Elder Eyring) and his family were living in Princeton, The Church had one ward east of Denver – in Washington, D.C. They may have attended a branch in Princeton, or the Church may have been even less organized. With some certainty, Princeton was part of a mission district, and not part of a stake.

    “The Mission Field” was an apt description of the place.

    Comment by Paul — May 19, 2009 @ 6:33 am

  21. Absolutely Paul. Like Mark B. mentioned, Pres. Eyring was probably speaking historically. I understood the context in which he was speaking and certainly didn’t take offense to what he was saying. It simply brought back some bad memories…

    Comment by CJ Douglass — May 19, 2009 @ 6:43 am

  22. Regardless of what term you use, the dichotomy remains. The Mormon experience inside Utah and the surrounding areas has aspects that are completely foreign to those who’s experience is primarily in areas where the Church is less prominent. It will continue to color the interactions between those who’s experiences are heavily weighted to one side or the other.

    As one from the other side, I struggle not to think that those who’s primary Church experience is behind the Zion curtain don’t appreciate living the specific value of having lived the Gospel outside the safety and comfort of a Mormon critical mass.

    Comment by MAC — May 19, 2009 @ 10:40 am

  23. MAC, it sounds like you’re saying that the poor benighted Mormons in Utah are missing out on the “specfic value” of your experience in the wonder and joy of living outside of Utah.

    That’s the same attitude I have encountered in some Church members when I have lived outside of Utah and I think it’s ridiculous. Having lived both inside and outside Utah, my experience is that the “specific value” of each is more similar than it is different, and is largely dependent on your attitude. The “safety and comfort” you refer to is a mystery to me. Can you explain what you mean by that?

    It would probably be better if you stopped using phrases like the “Zion Curtain.” Here in Utah, that phrase generally applies to a specific aspect of our liquor laws that has now been repealed. Used in the way you are using it, it sounds a little offensive.

    Also, at the risk of sounding like the grammar police: “who’s” means “who is.” You meant “whose.”

    Comment by MCQ — May 19, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

  24. I can appreciate the different challenges Mormon Corridor members face over those of us from the outside. They have friends who drink and party but don’t have the excuse of NOT participating because their religion says so, because those people are members too (I know they DO have the excuse but it’s easier to tell people who aren’t of your religion, you get what I mean)

    However, I’ve continually struggled with the basic mentality dichotomy. I’ve lived here in Utah almost 2 years and I just can’t seem to get on the same brain wave as those who are from here and/or Southern Idaho (let’s face it, Southern Idaho is the Cultural Hall Overflow Section of Utah) I don’t understand the way they think and look at the world. This makes dating especially difficult. I need to get out:)

    Comment by Bret — May 19, 2009 @ 12:17 pm

  25. An over-reacting crybaby.

    No offense.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — May 19, 2009 @ 2:15 pm

  26. “I don’t understand the way they think and look at the world.”

    How do “they” think and look at the world Bret? Please enlighten me.

    Comment by MCQ — May 19, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

  27. Sorry, I haven’t read all the comments. When I got to a count of 15 references to Mormons in Utah as if we were a lesser, homogenous “them” speaking, thinking, acting and feeling as a mindless, insulting blob, I was no longer interested in hearing anybody protest about stereotypes and labels.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — May 19, 2009 @ 5:28 pm

  28. Amen Ardis. If this kind of comment were being applied to any other ethnic or religious group it would be labeled bigoted and it would not be tolerated. How is it ok to refer to Utah Mormons this way?

    Comment by MCQ — May 19, 2009 @ 5:36 pm

  29. ouch Ardis, I had no intention of this becoming a Utah Mormon bash-fest. My apologies if my post was the catalyst.

    Comment by CJ Douglass — May 19, 2009 @ 6:49 pm

  30. The “safety and comfort” you refer to is a mystery to me. Can you explain what you mean by that?

    An area where there is a large concentration of membership affords opportunities and choices that do not exist outside, particularly for the kids and young adults. Creating a more safe and comfortable place was how the Church ended up in Utah in the first place.

    it sounds like you’re saying that the poor benighted Mormons in Utah are missing out on the “specfic value” of your experience in the wonder and joy of living outside of Utah.

    Minus the sarcasm, that is pretty close to what I am saying. I am not discounting the experience of growing up in the majority-Mormon environment, you can assign that what ever value you want.

    Pardon my lack of nuance in using the term “Zion curtain,” but your taking offensive in and of itself is pretty demonstrative. You cannot in one breath say that the experience is more “similar than different” and then in the next breath say “Here in Utah…”

    At the end of the day, it has nothing to do with the Church. As in any community, there is a certain cachet to having claim on the exotic. Within the Mormon community Utah is at the blah end of the spectrum of exotic-ness and will probably be there for the foreseeable future.

    If that makes you feel like a rube, well then spit that elk jerky out of you mouth and stop telling people that while you did serve your mission in Utah “my second area was in Blanding and to go on the reservation I had to get the same shots as missionaries going to Kenya.”

    Comment by MAC — May 19, 2009 @ 8:57 pm

  31. If that makes you feel like a rube, well then spit that elk jerky out of you mouth and stop telling people that while you did serve your mission in Utah “my second area was in Blanding and to go on the reservation I had to get the same shots as missionaries going to Kenya.”

    Well, that’s just gibberish. I guess you were typing angry. FYI, I didn’t serve my mission in Utah, if that’s what you’re trying to say. I didn’t say that your comment made me feel like a rube, I said it was inaccurate, ignorant and stereotypical. If that makes you feel like an idiot, sorry: the truth hurts.

    This conversation also has nothing to do with being exotic, but nice straw man. This is about making stereotypical assumptions that have nothing to do with actual reality. Your comment about elk jerky has revealed you for what you really are: someone who knows nothing about Utah other than stereotypes. It would be best if you just stopped talking.

    Comment by MCQ — May 19, 2009 @ 9:52 pm

  32. MCQ,

    I don’t know how “they” think. That’s my point. I don’t get it.

    Please of course don’t take that as a put down. There’s nothing wrong with that in the least. I’m speaking in generalities here, of which there are always exceptions. It’s like any other cultural difference but maybe on a lesser scale. I doubt I’ll ever “get” the East Asian way of thinking, either. Or the Twilight fans. Or whatever.

    Oh, and I really want out mostly because I don’t like being a small fish in a big pond. The smaller ponds are more suited to us smaller fish:)

    Comment by Bret — May 19, 2009 @ 10:08 pm

  33. MCQ

    Even if my comment is inaccurate, ignorant and stereotypical, it can still have the effect of making you feel like a rube. And while I wouldn’t trot out my comments as the paragon of rhetorical thought, telling me to shut up is a little much, no?

    But I stand by the idea that the problem presented in the original post is related to exotic-ness (a word I made up my very own self) with respect to the community. I really doubt that the quality of the membership is different inside or outside of Utah. But in conversation there is a certain dismissiveness about being a member of the Church in Utah because it is normal, plain, a non-event.

    It doesn’t take but reading a few comments on the Salt Lake Tribune comment threads to realize that Utahness/Mormonism is a BIG DEAL for you people and those of us who can take some satisfaction from needling you about it. This kind of teasing is actually a pretty common pass-time outside the sugary-sweet bubble of Happy Valley.

    Comment by MAC — May 19, 2009 @ 11:16 pm

  34. MAC, I’m still curious. Now what you mean by “you people?” Which people are you talking about? I don’t live in Utah County, if that is what you meant by “Happy Valley,” and I wouldn’t presume to speak for people who do, but I would guess that they would have some issues with you saying they live in a “sugary-sweet bubble.”

    Can you explain please, what makes their lives more sugary sweet than yours? Here’s an even better question: can you get through a single comment without uttering an inane stereotype?

    If you read the Trib comment threads, you’ll never want for a more unrepresentative sample of people from Utah, and if that’s where you’re getting your information on Utahns, I feel sorry for you.

    Comment by MCQ — May 19, 2009 @ 11:44 pm

  35. “You people” is self-selecting for those who take offense at those comments perceived as derogatory to Utahns.

    Sorry about the Happy Valley crack, again there are certain nuances that are lost on us that don’t speak fluent Utahnics, having just acquired some vocabulary through osmosis.

    I never said that I got all my information on Utahns from the ‘Trib’ (I guess you don’t write it out as Salt Lake Tribune there, another entry for my mental list of Utahisms. I will try to use it correctly, you are starting to make me feel like I am all thumbs MCQ). I only used it to show that there is in fact a “Utah” attitude about the Church and the way that the Church interacts with civil life, an idea that is pretty foreign to those who are from an area where the Church hold little political sway.

    My particular biases aside, I think it is still fair to say that there is a uniqueness to the members of the Church who are from the Mormon Cultural Area. Although, I think a lot of us here in the mission field are more annoyed by those who are trying a little too hard to disprove the stereotype than by those who reinforce it.

    Comment by MAC — May 20, 2009 @ 3:52 am

  36. Sorry to annoy you MAC. I know how irritating it can be to have your cherished illusions disrupted. Just imagine how irritated you will be when you find out that all black people don’t love fried chicken and watermelon!

    Comment by MCQ — May 20, 2009 @ 9:32 am

  37. “Mission field” has always bugged me, and I can’t recall ever hearing it used by anyone who wasn’t originally from Utah. It always feels to me like a subtle reminder that “real” Mormons are supposed to live in Utah, and that living somewhere else is a form of what one hopes will be a temporary exile. I also dislike “the East,” as if the entire Eastern seaboard were a homogeneous wasteland of godless intellectualism.

    I have repented of using “Utah Mormon” as a pejorative in my speech, and have almost succeeded in banishing it as a category in my thoughts.

    Comment by Kristine — May 20, 2009 @ 9:55 am

  38. “The mission field” bothers me to almost no end, whether used by someone from Utah or from outside of Utah. I lived in a mission field for two years; other than that, I’ve lived at home. (Of course, my biggest irritation was when the people who painted a mural for the New York temple came and gave a presentation in Sunday School–they were horrifically condescending, explaining what happened in the temple in elementary terms, as if nobody in that room had ever been to a temple before. They were, I believe, from Utah, but plenty of clueless and offensive people come from places other than Utah.)

    As for “the East,” it doesn’t bother me. We generally use broad categories to define areas–the East or the Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest or the South. It always broadly overgeneralizes, but even to describe the Upper West Side of New York broadly overgeneralizes (unless you say too many banks and drugstores).

    Comment by Sam B. — May 20, 2009 @ 10:19 am

  39. @ Ardis #27

    “When I got to a count of 15 references to Mormons in Utah as if we were a lesser, homogenous “them” speaking, thinking, acting and feeling as a mindless, insulting blob, I was no longer interested in hearing anybody protest about stereotypes and labels.”

    Great! Now you can empathize with those of us who are stuck in “the Mission Field” when it comes to lazy stereotyping! :)

    Comment by dmt — May 20, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

  40. As for “the East,” it doesn’t bother me. We generally use broad categories to define areas–the East or the Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest or the South.

    Yes, but no one ever tells stories in conference talks about scholars in the South who dismiss the truth because they’re proud intellectuals. A survey of Mormon discourse would suggest that “the East” is the only place Satan has been able to effectively tempt people to “read by the lamp of their own conceit.”

    Comment by Kristine — May 20, 2009 @ 7:37 pm

  41. Yeah, Kristine, but the wise men were from “the East” so it balances out.

    Comment by MCQ — May 20, 2009 @ 10:29 pm

  42. Kristine,
    While I confess that my attention-paying skillz in General Conference may not be the most honed, I don’t recall any themed stories of scholars in “the East” who dismiss the truth because they’re proud intellectuals. (I readily confess that it is supremely possible that they show up on a regular basis and I’ve just missed them.)

    Even still, I wonder how much would be religious bias against the East and how much would be Western bias against the East. Growing up in Southern California, I was remarkably anti-East, not for religious reasons, but because Easterners were perceived as being, well, jerks. Dave Barry’s writings didn’t help.

    (An elementary school friend–not Mormon–and his family moved to CT when I was about 7; a couple years later, they were back in California, reputedly because his mom hated how cold the people were. Whether or not that was true, that was our perception. And by “our,” I mean Californians’, not Mormons’.)

    Comment by Sam B. — May 21, 2009 @ 2:15 pm

  43. To prop up my credentials, I should probably note that I’ve lived in the Deep East for the last 8 or so years, and have found that, while Easterners aren’t as friendly as San Diegans, they (we) aren’t as bad as I thought growing up.

    Comment by Sam B. — May 21, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

  44. The “Deep East?” Where is that? Are you living in the NYC Subway?

    Comment by MCQ — May 21, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

  45. I think the Deep East is Vernal

    Comment by TStevens — May 22, 2009 @ 5:38 am

  46. MCQ,
    Close, actually. But not quite–I can still make my rent, but I can also leave my door and be in a subway within 5 minutes.

    Comment by Sam B. — May 22, 2009 @ 6:56 am

  47. I think the phrase “mission field” will always be offensive to me. I grew up in Southern California at the time there were more mormons there than in all of Utah. The phrase just came across as so incredibly dismissive of my home.

    You just can call *my home* *your mission field.*

    It always seemed to me, even if I had to drive more than an hour to my meetinghouse, that I’d hate outsiders calling MY HOME that. Because utahns make themselves outsiders when they talk that way.

    Comment by Johnna — May 22, 2009 @ 1:05 pm

  48. Wait… so just because I’m living in Provo doesn’t mean I have license to get a coffee every morning, see Terminator Salvation on Sunday, or ignore my nonmember Mexican neighbors? Gosh darn it!

    Getting the elders motivated in our quorum can be a really dismal attempt, but I keep the faith (and I’m a mostly-Utah Mormon through and through).

    ;-)

    Comment by Tod Robbins — May 22, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

  49. My EQ saw Terminator Salvation last night

    Comment by TStevens — May 26, 2009 @ 6:54 am

  50. Here in Utah, I’ve frequently felt that everyone was playing by a set of rules that I’m not privy to. Not in my ward, so much, and not only among Mormons.

    Of course, I’ve felt this pretty much everywhere I’ve been, so there you go. ~

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — May 26, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

  51. Oh, and #45. That’s beautiful. ~

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — May 26, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

  52. In context, when the elder Eyring (justaposed against Elder Eyring) and his family were living in Princeton, The Church had one ward east of Denver – in Washington, D.C. They may have attended a branch in Princeton, or the Church may have been even less organized. With some certainty, Princeton was part of a mission district, and not part of a stake.

    I’m sorry to come late to this comment, but there are some errors that should be corrected. For some context, Henry Eyring (President Eyring’s father) was at Princeton from 1931 to 1946. President Eyring was born in 1933.

    The New York Stake was organized on December 9, 1934, when President Eyring was less than two years old. That stake reached far beyond the city limits–I don’t know if it reached as far as Princeton.

    If it did, then the small branch in Princeton that President Eyring speaks of was part of a stake from the time of his earliest memories.

    And there were surely more wards than one in the Washington, D.C., stake which was organized in 1940.

    So, President Eyring may not have lived in the “mission field” as it seems to have been defined here (as outside of an organized stake) except for the first eighteen months of his life.

    Comment by Mark B. — May 27, 2009 @ 10:11 am

  53. One of my favorite mission memories is hearing a senior (couple) missionary from Idaho sputter when, immediately after beginning to note some differences between “Zion” and the location of his missionary service, the good brother was interrupted by our mission president. Quoth the president: “THIS is Zion.”

    Comment by Ugly Mahana — May 28, 2009 @ 1:51 pm

  54. Worse than this terminology, in my opinion, is the tendency for Utah Mormons to call Utah “Zion.” Growing up in the East, and living in an area which saw a large number of Utah Mormons transfering in for their jobs, I had more than my share of this mentality. Guess what…the Church in other parts of the world does not need Utah Mormons coming in as outsiders and telling us how it should be run. Also, I don’t give a damn if your mountains are “real” mountains because they have rocky peaks. The Appalachians, with their sensuous curves and lushly forested slopes, are home to me. Please don’t mock it for what it isn’t. Maybe if you try hard enough, you’ll actually see the beauty in the differences.

    Comment by sam — May 28, 2009 @ 2:07 pm

  55. “I grew up in Southern California at the time there were more mormons there than in all of Utah.”

    That would be a moment in imaginary time.

    Comment by John Mansfield — May 29, 2009 @ 7:11 am

  56. Worse than this terminology, in my opinion, is the tendency for Utah Mormons to call Utah “Zion.”

    Yeah! Everybody knows Zion is in Missouri.

    Also, I don’t give a damn if your mountains are “real” mountains because they have rocky peaks.

    “…to crooked eyes truth may wear a wry face.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

    Comment by MCQ — May 30, 2009 @ 3:55 pm

  57. So to sum up everything here we can all just say “I chose to be offended by something”?

    Comment by Bryce — June 4, 2009 @ 4:28 pm

  58. I heard Pres. Eyring say this just today on his CD, “To Draw Closer to God.” I found it humorous.

    The fact that he was from the East and self-identified as being from the mission field puts a different spin on it though. Maybe it was after he moved to Utah that he picked up that lingo, but nonetheless, he still self-identifies with it.

    And I think he would be the last person on earth to say there is no missionary work to do in Utah.

    Comment by Tom — June 4, 2009 @ 7:22 pm

  59. Actually I think a vast majority of us would say when people from Utah separate themselves from us with a turn of phrase (i.e. mission field, zion) it IS terribly offensive; but when we separate them from us with a turn of phrase (Utah Mormons) they CHOOSE to be offended.

    Almost what you said, but this way I am still an okay guy.

    Comment by TStevens — June 4, 2009 @ 7:23 pm

  60. I think Bednar has youth and stamina on his side and would totally outlast Eyring in a showdown to be the LAST person on earth to say there is no missionary work to do in Utah.

    Maybe BCC can do a poll on it when the warrior one is done.

    Comment by TStevens — June 4, 2009 @ 7:26 pm

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