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June 19, 2009 3:22 PM Subscribe
How should I interpret these recent interactions with my new, very-LDS neighbors in Sandy, UT? Will a housewarming party be more awkward than it's worth?
posted by lbo to Human Relations (26 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Background: My husband and I just moved into a very family-oriented neighborhood in Sandy, Utah. We've been living in Utah for four years, but have lived in apartments where neighborly contact was minimal. I'm 27, my husband is 30, we aren't LDS and we don't have any kids yet. We knew that buying a home in Sandy would mean that we would have a lot of LDS neighbors, and we have no problem with that. If anything, we've heard generalizations about what great neighbors LDS people make-- friendly, willing to help, unlikely to have obnoxious late-night parties, etc. We really like Sandy and, for a variety of reasons, we wouldn't be interested in living in parts of Salt Lake City that non-Mormons typically consider more desirable (e.g., Sugarhouse or the Avenues).
On Tuesday night when I wasn't home, my husband was working in our yard and was approached by a car full of LDS missionaries who stopped and casually asked him (without leaving their car) if he was a man of faith, if he had ever been to a temple, and if he wanted to go with them to one of the local temples that is offering tours to non-members this month. He politely declined and they left. About a minute later, two men drove up together in separate cars (one was a police cruiser) and stopped to talk to him. The timing seemed odd since their arrival was in such rapid succession after the car full of missionaries left. The police officer (in plain clothes) joked that their visit was "unofficial police business" while the other person, wearing a work ID for the LDS Church, just said that they were neighbors (without indicating where they lived) and told him we should let our next door neighbor know if we need anything because they all belong to the same ward and would be happy to help us if anything came up. They emphasized their membership in the ward several times. My husband was friendly and thanked them for the offer. Once they left, though, the more he thought about it, the more uncomfortable it made him that the officer brought his cruiser.
We interpreted the whole encounter as their giving us a gentle reminder that they know we're not LDS and that they're keeping an eye on us. Was the cruiser meant to be intimidating? The whole thing seemed kind of awkward more than anything, but we are just trying to figure out what the intention was behind it. Why had they driven down separately? And was it just a coincidence that the men who seemed to be missionaries had just left?
Before this little meeting, I had been thinking about hosting a housewarming party and inviting my neighbors. I'd still like to do that, but I want to minimize awkwardness in every possible way, which is leading me to feel a little concern about whether I should include my non-LDS friends. Should I have two separate parties? If I invite my neighbors and my other friends, will I have to keep it totally alcohol-free? I don't want to alienate anyone-- LDS or non-LDS.
I've read another question regarding being a non-Mormon in Utah and I found the general responses and advice to be very helpful and insightful, but I'm really looking for advice about this particular situation. We're going to be living here for at least another three or four years, so we want to keep things as friendly as possible.