I had the opportunity to attend the Mentoring Institute’s conference at the University of New Mexico for three days last week. I wasn’t able to attend, but for a few hours each day. On Friday, I went to one session and the presenter did not show up. I made the decision to go to another session that sounded interesting – Mono-culturalism, conversing our way to success. It was presented by an English woman who is currently living in Utah and teaching at Weber State University. Knowing that this presentation was about diversity, I was shocked when she opened up her presentation by bashing Utah and Mormons. I was about to jump out of myseat and call her out. I didn’t. I thought I would just see what would happen next. It continued. She said in her experience people in Utah in particular Mormons are not accepting of others. They only see Mormonism and Zion. They never look beyond. She also said that if you are not a Mormon in Utah than you are referred to as a gentile and your children will be shunned. My mouth was gaping. In between her rants, she spoke about her success in partnering English speakers with ESL students. But even then she would bash Mormons. She said that while returned missionaries were quick to volunteer as a conversation partner they don’t empathize with the person or their situation. What!?! I learned very little about her program and only about her feelings about Utah and Mormons. I wondered why she chose to live there. She could always go back to England. So after the presentation, I wanted to speak to her. Another attendee had her attention so I followed them out of the room. As they were talking, I quietly stood to the side. I jumped in when she began to tell the woman about Mormons. I said excuse me but I am a Mormon. I am offended by what you have presented. She said I am sorry you are offended, but it is my truth. She then told me she is a Mormon! I was shocked. My mouth fell to the floor. She said she is the Gospel Doctrine teacher in her ward. I found this very hard to believe. I told her I found it very interesting that she would paint such a wide brush stroke over the church knowing that the majority of people in the room (there maybe 10 people) were not members of the church and would believe whatever she said. She never once said during her presentation that she is a Mormon. She never made that disclaimer. Here was a member or at least she said is bashing her own church and its members. She said she watched the recent general conference and that she hated everything the church leaders said. From what I remember, it was about following Christ and strengthening families. How could anyone be upset about that? I told her we all have free agency to think and act how we want, but I was disappointed that she would portray the church in such a poor light. She didn’t care what I had to say and I had to get back to work so I left. My blood was boiling. I was glad that I had said something, but I really should have jumped out of my seat. I understand that everyone has their opinions and ideas and I respect that. I just don’t understand how denigrating a religion is helping the dialogue in this country. I am writing a letter to the organizers of the event as I think they should know about this incident. If they want someone to speak about diversity, then maybe they should screen them first. I might even write a letter to the president of Weber State University. I wonder how they feel about a woman representing herself as from Weber State that goes around beating up the Mormon church and the state of Utah? Maybe this is going too far, but I don’t think so. I believe in doing what is right and just. That is my truth.