“It’s my truth.”

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.

4 thoughts on ““It’s my truth.””

  1. Good for you! I think you should report her. If she was bashing Jews or African Americans it would never be tolerated. Why should this be any different? I’m wondering what her Sunday school class is like. Hmm.

  2. Jana I am so glad you told this woman that you were offended by her presentation. I don’t understand why everyone can bash Mormans and it’s alright, but you say a word about another religion and you will have a lawsuit. Seems like a double standard to me. I hope you do write letters to the conference organizers, to Weber State and too bad you can’t write a letter to her stake president and bishop. Yes, you should be able to have your own opinions, but I don’t agree that you get up and publicly put down a religion especially one that you are a member of. So much for diversity!

  3. I agree that publicly she shouldn’t have been bashing Mormons. I’ve been thinking about your post for a day now, and wondering what to say. I can tell you I enjoy living outside of the state of Utah. There is an element of truth to what she says. Somehow, those of our faith inside that state think that if they let their kids associate with others not of their faith that somehow they will be blighted. The last time I visited there as I sat in Sunday school class I felt the judgments that were being rendered to the community at large that weren’t LDS or weren’t living the gospel up to standard. I was one of them, but so glad I have a bigger, better picture of what being a Christian is all about having moved away. This woman just chose the wrong venue, and probably was a lot more caustic than you can state in a blog post. So sorry Jana. DO stand up for what you believe in and feel strongly about.

  4. My Cousin who use to live in California and now in Utah told me that the Mormon’s in Utah were a lot different than those in other states. She lives near Provo. I myself have never lived in Utah but of course have heard stories about children not being able to have friends outside of the church which to me is just plain stupid. I think this woman is totally wrong in bashing the church as she did and she should be reported so go for it. It was right for you to stand up to her. This is my truth!!! She is wrong and should be ashamed of herself.

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