The LDS church is expanding its Missionary Training Center here in Provo. Most of the people I know are pretty excited about it and most say it’s about time. The LDS church decided to have a public hearing to get public input. In Utah, this is a superfluous effort. As long a building project adheres to code, the property owner is free to do what they will. The LDS church does not have to ask anything of the public and often does not. They did not with their new downtown Provo City Center Temple or the new mega-complex on 9th east (its actually not that big).
However, one of the supervisors at CUE (where I’m still substitute teaching), used Mr. Wright’s editorial in the Daily Herald to show that even the newspaper thinks the LDS church oppresses minorities in the community. I read the article and only saw poorly written intolerance. Mr. Wright is doing his job as an editorial writer (being a professional, petulant boobie–I’m purely amateur), but his implication that the LDS church doesn’t really care what the local residents think is ridiculous. Many of the upper-eschelons of the LDS church live here in Provo and love it just as much as I do.
I think Mr. Wright is doing nothing more than trying to stir a bubbling pot of anti-mormon discontent here in Utah Valley. Many of my fellow mormons are just as intolerant as Mr. Wright and I can generally see where my friends who are not LDS are coming from when they complain about mormon ignorance. I hate mo-clones with a passion. They are as guilty of intolerant hatred as Mr. Zimmerman in Florida and presidential candidate Rick Santorum (the tea party is alive and well in Provo even when most tea-partiers across the country hate mormons because their preachers tell them to). Mo-clonism is often represented on news-magazine covers and in broadway plays (the cliche mormon image Mitt Romney fits so well). Fortunately, mo-clones are a severe, though visible and vocal, minority in the LDS church.
I hope I am wrong about Mr. Wright. I do think the LDS church is interested in the opinions of Provo residents. If the LDS church did not care, then the church would skip these superfluous and legally unnecessary, public hearings.