I am sincerely sorry for slacking in the blog and video departments. I have been very busy with lots of unexpected things happening. On President's Day weekend I totaled my car out-of-state and was stuck without my computer for several days. So right now I am driving a rental while insurance figures things out. Oh, and no worries... no one was injured... except a large rock and my car. I also started a regular full-time job this week. I am doing that as well as free-lance filmmaking, so it keeps me very busy.
Anyway, I wanted to talk about something I was thinking about today that actually has to do with work. I work in Salt Lake. In the past two days I have met probably 25 or so people. Many of them report to me, others are my equals. Some are white others are Asian or black. Some have degrees, others are going to school, and some haven't taken a single course after high school. They are from different states and some are even from another country. I love getting to know people no matter what color their skin is or where they are from.
Most of my co-workers are between the 19-26 range... so naturally, when you are getting to know someone, school comes up. This is the first time that I have been in an environment in Utah where BYU students are a minority. I wish it could just be a name of some school, but it is so much more than that. Immediately, people sum up in their head who you are. You are Mormon. And being Mormon means a whole lot of things. In places outside of Utah (and Idaho) I feel like it isn't such an issue. Growing up in California, telling someone I was Mormon didn't cause someone to bring all these pre-conceived notions to the forefront of their minds. I mean, many people had heard of Mormons... but in California it was generally limited to "they marry lots of women at a young age and they hate gay people." That wasn't so bad. Here though... I am ASHAMED to say I am Mormon.
Please don't get me wrong. That scripture mastery in the bible reads, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ," and I am not- truly. I will never be ashamed of my beliefs in Christ and his teachings. Why? Because I know they are good and true and that there would never be any reason to be ashamed. I don't give anyone much thought it they say, "oh my gosh... you are such a good neighbor- EWW!" or, "Why don't you just be more mean to people? You are too nice. It's stupid."
So then why am I feeling so much shame and guilt when I realize the moment people I meet make the connection between me, BYU, and Mormonism? Because these people have not had good experiences with Mormons. I know because I've talked to some of them about it. I am not ashamed of the gospel, but I am ashamed of telling people I am Mormon (at least here) because the name has been muddled. When I say I am Mormon, people associate the hurt and pain they have experienced from other Mormons with me. I become that person who looked down upon them. I become that person who told them they were bad. I become that person who wouldn't allow their kids to play with mine. I become THAT person to them.
It makes me really sad to hear the experiences people have had with "Mormons." And if in the minds of these people, a Mormon is someone who makes them feel less than, or unworthy of, or dirty, or unwanted... I am NOT a Mormon. However, I will always strive to be a disciple of Christ with the hope that one day he will call me his and I will know his voice.