Monday, August 12, 2013

The Non-Mormons Guide to Utah

Originally posted on 2/22/2011.  This is one of my favorite posts and still stand behind all of it! 

I was reading a post from Dooce today about her study.

In this post I discovered that most homes in Utah have a room just off from the front door that is used for Home Study with the Mormon teacher that is assigned to come to your home and check up on you.  ie...Brother Horton.

We thought this room was a dining room but now that I have this bit of information, it makes sense that this is what it was supposed to be used for because it was painted fertile earth brown and it had french doors with no handles on it. All the better to lock Brother Horton in my dear!

Since moving back to Denver, we've had time to reflect on our Utah experience...I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner...but as a public service to all new transplants to Utah I present:

The Non-Mormons Guide to Utah

  • The room near the door is not a dining's a home study room. This would be a good place to visit with the missionaries you will be inundated with. Don't be a dork like me and make them stand outside in the cold. 

  • The room in the basement with shelves is not a wine cellar. It's for your one year (or 3 month if your broke) supply of canned goods. A list of what you are supposed to have on hand can be found here. You can expect at least one neighbor to bring you a couple cans to get you started.

  • The church at the end of your street is called a Ward. The guy that runs it is called a Bishop. The big churches with the gates around it are called can't go in unless you are a Mormon.
  • General Conference is a meeting that is televised twice a year (generally...April and October). You will think that the second coming of Jesus has occurred but it's just that all of the Mormon's are glued to their TV's for the entire weekend. This is a great time to go to the Zoo or any other popular venue.
  • If people at the grocery store don't smile at's because they don't recognize you from The Ward.
  • Liquor stores and grocery store beer. Liquor stores are only open until 7pm and 10pm. Plan accordingly. Whatever you not drink grocery store beer. It's a waste of money...they don't call it near beer for nothing. 
  • Speaking of booze. You can get a (3.2)beer at 10am...but you have to wait until Noon for wine, real beer and liquor. Don't bother ordering a Martini, Margarita or a Long Island Iced Tea. They are only allowed to give you 2.5 ounces of liquor per drink. Also, you have to order food with it.
  • Lots of restaurants and stores are closed on Sunday. Figure out what's open on Sunday and enjoy dining in a near empty restaurant. This is also your best day to go to Target and the Mall.
  • Learn to make the following dishes: Jello Mold, Funeral Potatoes, Frog Eye Salad and Fry Sauce.
  • It may be difficult to make friends in Utah but don't take it personally. Mormons are very busy with church activities and have likely lived in the same area for their entire lives. Also, you won't have much in common with them. Hang out in coffee shops and approach other people drinking coffee.
  • If you aren't interested in becoming Mormon...then don't accept a Book of Mormon or attend any church functions. In some places, this will encourage them to try to convert you. And whatever you not invite them into your living room to discuss things. This gets your name on a special list that you can't be removed from.
  • If you do not convert and continually turn the Missionaries may be shunned by your neighbors. Don't take this personally. It's their loss.
  • If you see a woman at the grocery store that looks like she just stepped out of an episode of Little House on the Prairie and she has a whole bunch of kids...she's probably a sister wife. Smile and say Hi to her because everyone in the store will be whispering about her behind her back. You are both real nice to her.
  • Never admit to having had an abortion, being gay or being Jewish (we aren't...they assumed).
  • The best restaurants and grocery stores with exotic ingredients are located in Salt Lake City.


  1. I totally love this! I was laughing the entire time. And my husband wonders why I don't want to move to Utah?!?!?!

    1. Well, my husband got a job down there so we moved to a little town from seattle. He is white and I am black. It was the first time I was ever made aware. I ran back to seattle and waited for him to fulfill his contract. What a strange place. Almost like another planet.

  2. Haha, the same can be written about Gilbert, AZ! I made the mistake of being nice to the missionaries, afterall it was summertime in AZ with temps 110+, It took them a while to accept we were NOT converting. Haven't had a visit in a couple of years.
    All in all, it's a very nice place to live, crime is low, hard working people, neighbors are quiet and all of us non-mormon folk seem to come together and develop great friendships. :)
    Great Tips!

  3. I thought this was so accurate it was funny. Every time missionaries or advertisers come to our door, which for some reason is always while I'm eating dinner, but anyways we turn down the tv and stand completely still until they leave. Then one of my sisters or myself go check if they're gone. I moved to Utah from Fort Hood Texas. I think the schools are probably the most judgemental.

  4. LOL! I lived in Utah for 6 months and also had a job in a corporate setting. Most of the people there wouldn't talk to me because they figured I wasn't Mo. Yes, Starbucks a great place to meet like-people. I laughed totally at this post. Funny too because I was considering moving back to Utah or to Colorado. Utah has amazing ski resorts. If CO is the same type of snow, I'll go there!

  5. Anyone non-Mormon thinking of moving to St George, Ut, my advice is to run far far away!

  6. Anyone non-morman thinking of relocating to St George, Ut, my advise is to run, run far away! The atmosphere is very oppressive. There is very little opportunity for employment if not in attendance of a Ward.

  7. Haha, this is also fitting for South Eastern Idaho. I'm a Jew who moved here in September...Oi Vey haha.

    1. I moved to south eastern Idaho in the seventies. Boy was I in for a big surprise. No one exept a small handful of non mormans spoke to us for years. We were told of non mormans run out of buisness, kids being left out. I had friends who told me their children were not picked for sports because of religion. I tried to comfort a teenager who was crying because she was told she would never get a date for homecoming because she wasn't lds. She was a beautiful girl with a beautiful heart. But they were right. She never got asked. We bought college housing at what was then a two year lds college. Everyone was so nice while we put our money and time making it a wonderful enviting place for students to stay. Once we were done and waiting for students to move in and recoup some of our money, we realized no students were going to move in as long as the housing was owned by non lds. We lost the investment, came alarmingly close to bankruptcy and....the housing filled up. I moved the end of the eighties. Do I miss it? Yes, the wildlife, the great fishing, the mountains. The majority of people? Not so much. Being treated badly, being ostracized doesn't exactly make me want to return. Beautiful country, maybe if the hearts of the people were beautiful also...good luck. Maybe things have changed, but I doubt it. Just know, it's not you. Look for other non lds, they can be hard to find, they pretty much keep to them selves. But they are there. One of the nice things about living there was that not only idaho but Wyoming and Montana become your stomping ground. You can easily make lasting friends in those states. Endeavor to persevere lol


I love you. You are my best friend! Your hair looks fantastic today!