Mistaken Identity

I worked at a ski shop in Utah that was the last stop on the way up to the Salt Lake ski resorts. It was a popular spot for tourists to visit to grab whatever they'd forgotten to pack. Most of our customers came from outside the state. People from outside Utah have a lot of strange ideas of things that go on in Utah. The vast, vast majority of these ideas center around Mormon culture, and almost all of them are completely wrong. The ski shop where I worked was run by a family that was Mormon and its staff was largely Mormon. At least once a week, I'd be standing next to a Mormon coworker and a customer from out of state would stop in, and in the course of buying ski goggles or a lift ticket, say something derisive about Mormons. It was awkward. I wondered how these visitors could feel confident that they could talk like that to everyone in the shop and assume that no one in earshot was Mormon. I finally figured out that it was because their ideas of the Mormons were so massively out of touch, that they thought they'd be able to recognize one from a mile away. That my coworkers did not walk around in billowy white robes and sandals was enough for most out-of-state visitors to assume they were not Mormon.

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