Salt Lake City Is Not Mecca.

Culture ex-Mormon

Maybe I should have said Salt Lake City is not like Mecca. For those who are unfamiliar with Islam’s holy city, one of the ways Islam is able to keep it holy is by only allowing Muslims inside the city.

At an ex-Mormon gathering I attended recently I heard more than once what a horrible place Salt Lake City must be to grow up in. Now this was coming from ex-Mormons who had not lived there, or anywhere in Utah. Having grown up in the Salt Lake Valley and lived, for about ten, years in Salt Lake as a former Mormon, I get a bit defensive.

Being an L.D.S. teen in the Salt Lake Valley is fairly similar to being a teen in any other city of that size.

15 thoughts on “Salt Lake City Is Not Mecca.

  1. As a non-drinking, non-partying kind of guy (yes, I’m not a Mormon), I think SLC is kind of nice. It’s not the greatest city in the world, but it’s fine. The real selling point of Utah, though, is all the natural things to do: hiking, biking, camping, all sorts of cool things to see. SLC is okay, but it’s the rest of Utah that’s awesome.

    Of course, people like SLC only if they’re a non-drinker, non-smoker, non-partier. I went to a conference in SLC a few years ago with a friend who smokes. He about lost it in SLC in about 5 minutes. He wanted to smoke in a restaurant – no sir! He wanted to get a drink without ordering food – had to join a private club. He was ready to go back to Cincinnati before the day was out.

  2. The point I wanted to make is this. The reality of living in the Salt Lake Valley is very different than the what non Utah Mormons or ex Mormons think. From what I have heard from both groups they have the impression that the whole place is ruled by the church.

    In a conversation at an exmo gathering here in Oregon on this subject; when sharing my experience as a teen there, they were shocked when I explained that I used to go to punk and “new wave” dance clubs in Salt Lake but that such places existed in Utah.

  3. Profxm-

    Your smoker friend would probably go crazy if he visited California; they banned smoking anywhere in doors several years before Utah banned it they stopped short of bars and night clubs.

  4. Salt Lake City’s a great place. I love living here, and it would be hard to move away.

    And I agree with Wayne. Utah is actually pretty moderate on lifestyle legislation. In fact, go Google “blue law.” You’ll find that there’s silly moral legislations all over the country. Many of them pop up in the Bible Belt, but there are also blue laws in New England.

    I think the fallacy that breeds the misconception about lifestyle in Salt Lake is the same one that makes people believe that it’s freezing in every square inch of Alaska year-round. You can’t listen only to the guy who went there and hated it.

    Besides, if you want night life, go to Vegas. It’s not that far.

  5. profxm,

    Smokers are a heavily persecuted breed just about anywhere in the US nowadays. It’s just not a great pastime to have anymore.

  6. I moved from Provo to Salt Lake in January and shortly thereafter resigned from the church. As a newly minted non-member, I find Salt Lake a very nice city to live in, especially the down-town area. Both where I work, most people aren’t Mormon, and while I wouldn’t mind if they were, it just shows that there is more religious diversity than many think. The real Mormon Mecca has become Orem/Provo/BYU.

    The only real complaints I have about living in Utah are the silly alcohol laws, and the (legalised) discrimination against GLBTQ people (work related, adoption, and marriage/civil-union/domestic partnership rights).

  7. Craig:
    I ‘think’ i got part of your post,
    GLBTQ:(?)
    gay
    lesbian
    bi-sexual
    trans-gender
    ??????

    thanks, I don’t like being ‘clueless!’

  8. Salt Lake City is like a beacon of shining hope surrounded by my two least favorite places; Davis and Utah county.
    I’ll always back up SLC. But being limited to only Salt Lake County proved to be too much for me and I had to leave.
    Ive lived in Davis, SL, Iron, Ephraim, and Washington counties. Salt Lake City was a breath of fresh air (not including the inversion).
    If they got rid of the private club and 3.2% beer laws, I’d consider moving back.

  9. Funny thing about the 3.2 beer is that, back when that was all I could get it was plenty. After living in CA for a while, and getting used to their lax liquor laws (compared to most of the country), drinking ,otherwise, tasty micro brews in Salt Lake,I found myself not even tipsy.

  10. Wayne, I live in California now as well. 3.2 beer is a disgrace to beer. Consuming it just makes you fatter. A Friday night in SLC might have consisted of a 12 pack between me and a buddy or 2. In California I can get a 6 pack of micro brew that gets 3 of us good to go 🙂

    Desert Edge Brewery, Uinta and Wasatch breweries make some good beer. You can get a few at the SLC liquor store for full price, of course you have to wait 3 hours for them to cool in your fridge.

  11. Having not lived in Utah for nearly 12 years, I can’t really say what it is like now. However, I don’t miss living in a place where people start conversations off with: “Are you a member of the church?”

    True it’s not Mecca, but once you’ve lived in another city it does seem quaint and backwards.

  12. In the downtown SLC neighborhood I lived in you were more likely to be asked if you skied or if you liked Pearl Jam than you asked if you were a member of the church.

    That is how SLC is different than say Provo or Sandy, for example. SLC is much more diverse than the rest of state, in all respects.

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