We lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, for 6 years. My company transferred me there. How did I end up there? One day my boss called me in his office and said:
“You have been in a ‘staff assignment’ for too long. I want you to go for a ‘line assignment’. I am going to transfer you as of next Monday. Do you want to work in Los Angeles or Salt Lake City?” I asked him to give me 24 hours time. I discussed with my wife and kids and decided to go to Salt Lake City rather than Los Angeles.
I made the right decision. Salt Lake City is a famous holy city in the USA.
Like Vatican for Roman Catholics, like Varanasi for Hindus, Salt Lake City is for Mormons. They consider themselves Christians. Their church is called The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church. It is also known as the LDS Temple. However, the Catholics and Protestants do not consider them as Christians.
Their living style is slightly different from others. Let me write about some of their religious lifestyle choices:
After the 18th birthday, everyone should serve the Temple for 2 years on a mission. The church will send them all over the world to represent their religion. They are called missionaries. This is mainly for the males. Females are encouraged to marry young, if not then go on a mission.
10% of their earnings (via income or otherwise) must go to the Temple every month as a donation. It is called tithing.
In the early days of the Mormon Church (1830 AD), the elders (Church leaders) encouraged polygamy. Even though it is not practiced now, some people secretly still practice this. However, most Mormon families have lots of kids. 6 children in a family is very common in this day and age.
They do not drink alcohol, coffee, tea, or soda.
They have to volunteer their services to the Church – just a few hours every week. Mormons must spend time with their family every Monday evening. This is called Family Night.
Many highly educated Mormons want to live and die in Salt Lake City. Therefore, they are even prepared to accept lower salaries to stay in SLC as opposed to leaving for bright lights of New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco.
Quite a few of the Americans consider Mormons as “weird”. However we had a great time in Salt Lake City. We enjoyed our stay, made a lot of friends and it’s a great place to raise kids.
FYI: In the forth coming US Presidential Election, the Republican Party candidate who is going to oppose President Obama is Mr. Mitt Romney. He is a Mormon. Mr. Romney is the first Mormon ever to be nominated as a Presidential candidate by either party. Will majority of the Americans vote for him? According to Gallup poll, 22% of the Americans are hesitant to support a Mormon in 2012. Will he win? I will let you know on the night of November 6, 2012.