Jan 25, 2014

Mormon Money

Conversation #1

Relative (driving into my apartment complex): Do many LDS people live here?
Me: Yeah, some.
Relative (gesturing at the nicer apartments across the way): Probably more live over in these, huh?
Me: Yeah, probably.

Conversation #2

Me (talking to friend from out of state): Well going out on Sundays is always a little funny because places are filled with non-Mormons, you know?
Friend: Uh, not really. Everywhere I go everyday is filled with non-Mormons.
Me: Oh, I guess that's true. But in these parts it's only like white trash and immigrants that shop on Sundays.


I don't know if the idea extends outside of Utah or not, but there is definitely a preconception that Mormons tend to skew wealthier than the rest. I haven't seen any statistics that back the idea up, and I wouldn't be surprised if it isn't even true, but it's definitely a stereotype that I recently realized I inadvertently hold to.

Possible factors:

  • Most of the big business leaders in Utah are naturally Mormon because they're a group that's been around longer. When I think of most of the places I've worked since living here, the owner of the company is usually LDS and the peons on my level usually aren't.
  • Mitt Romney. The first two things many think of when they he's brought up are 1) Rich, 2) Mormon.
  • The emphasis on appearance in LDS culture. Especially in Utah, there seems to be a lot of pressure in the Mormon circles to always be well-dressed/well-groomed, have a clean/nice house, etc. This reads as wealthier even if it isn't necessarily actually wealthier.
  • The Book of Mormon is chock full of examples of "when you are a righteous people, you are a wealthy people". This is possibly part of why there is the emphasis on appearance. It also is possibly part of why this state is very friendly to the pursuit of wealth, both culturally and politically.
  • The nicest parts of downtown Salt Lake are church-owned. The nicest shopping center in the state (City Creek) is church-owned.
  • Emphasis on education in the church. Education statistically equals money, and there is a push in the church toward learning that goes back to the very early days. "The glory of God is intelligence" and the School of the Prophets and all that. One of the only two "good" schools in Utah is church-owned, and the other is State-of-Utah-owned, which sometimes feels like it might as well mean church-owned.
  • The way the church hierarchy and ordinance structure is set up is very goal-oriented. Always gotta get to the next level. In this way, the LDS mindset is from a very young age trained to a model that translates to the business world nicely.
  • Brigham Young. More than anyone, this guy had the vision that Utah's power would be self-reliant business: ZCMI, railroads, sending people on steel missions/cotton missions, etc. The very foundation of this state is very money-oriented, and it's the families that come from that old tradition (the Mormons) that seem the most immersed in that tradition.
Regardless, I think I'm pretty okay with moving out of this state to a place where not being LDS doesn't have a stigma that you live in a trailer park.

It would also be nice to live somewhere where living in a trailer park doesn't have a stigma that you're uneducated, dirty, and on drugs, but this is America.

Jan 15, 2014

Moving Update

For those curious about where the moving to LA thing is at:
  • Barring any unexpected financial catastrophe that causes us to push back the date, we're leaving Provo on March 7th.
  • My last day of work will be February 28th. I don't hate my job, but I can't help but count down the days every time I'm there, excited to get out. Mostly because I'm still naive enough to think that whatever job I end up working in LA will be better.
  • Between my last day of work and our moving day, I'll be doing a trip out to California to pin down an apartment and pick up my parent's large van, which we are using in lieu of a moving truck because even with the gas to drive it to Utah and back, it's the most economical option. Especially since we don't have that much stuff that's coming with us.
  • We'll be buying a car in Utah just a few days before moving so that we only have to register it in CA, but can still use it to drive out there.
  • I keep browsing TMZ street pictures. Not because I love "celebs are just like us!" crap, but because I like seeing how little clothing those celebs in LA are wearing even though it's January. Makes me excited about the weather in our future.
  • I'm feeling kind of drawn to the Franklin Village area, followed by North Hollywood, followed by East Hollywood. But I'm waiting until I'm actually out there to really commit to living anywhere.
  • Sometimes I lie to people about why we're moving (not people I care about, just like acquaintances and strangers who it happens to come up with) because "My husband is going to go become a famous actor/comedian!" is embarrassingly cliche, and you can see in their eyes that they don't believe it'll ever work out for you.
  • We have a lot of really great friends and family who are super supportive and encouraging of this crazy thing. And while I'm a obviously a believer in the dream myself, I worry about disappointing them. It'll likely be years of the struggling-LA-actor grind before anything happens. If anything happens. I know Trevor feels that weight on his shoulders much worse than I do, so I try not to bring it up. But really, we have nothing to lose. We don't have kids to move or illustrious careers we're leaving behind or anything.
  • I'm mostly just excited. I never wanted to settle down in Utah. I want to try life in the city. Trevor's excited to get more training and perform for a whole different audience and prove his talent in an improv scene that takes itself more seriously than anything here.
  • I'll try to pin down a job while I'm out on my apartment hunting expedition. We have enough money saved that I won't have to get a job immediately before we starve, but I'd rather not use up all of our savings, if possible. I feel really confident that I should be able to find something quickly, because I've never really struggled with finding work in the past. Though I do realize LA is a completely different sort of place from Utah Valley. So hopefully that doesn't become a nightmare.
  • At one point in the movie Her, Joaquin Phoenix runs through a space which I recognized as the metro station at Hollywood and Western by the tile on the walls. When he exits, he is at the beach. This made me upset because the intersection of Hollywood and Western is nowhere near the beach. Two realizations came out of this: 1) Once I'm a seasoned LA resident and know the city really well, I'm probably going to start noticing things like this all the time in film/TV and nobody's going to ever want to watch anything with me again. 2) I might be over-researching certain aspects of this move. I've never been to the metro station at Hollywood and Western. But I recognized it instantly. Because I've looked at apartment complexes in that area and wanted to see if the station looked nice. I could tell you what the inside of grocery stores in some of the areas we might live look like. This isn't helpful info. But I have to keep looking into every little thing. The internet was made for people like me.