I have lived here in the UK now for almost 20 years and most of my active years in the church have been here in England. But when I go back home (Salt Lake City) or remember my active years in the church there my mind is constantly doing comparisons!
Here are few of the differences I see.
Talent: Not that we’re not knowledgeable and talented over here ,we are but those attributes are not nearly as saturated here in UK as the wards in Salt Lake. The ward we left could have given Stake and Ward Leadership for all of England. So if you aspire to be a relief society president or bishop and you’re from Salt Lake this place is a gold mine.
Funding: Things are tighter here, from what I am led to believe. We pay about a third of our way and the rest is paid for by you our good friends across the pond. This also reflects in our ward and Stake funding, no youth trips to Hawaii, Disney land, or lake Powell. The youth and the wards have a good time but ward dinners and parties are less elaborate and less frequent and it’s at a much more scaled down version than you would find in probably most the wards in California, Idaho and Utah or anywhere the church is developed
Enthusiasm: Remember the phrase Enthusiasm is contagious-don’t believe it!! If you prescribe to the 80/20 theory 20% of us do 80% of the work. So when an excited American comes along the poor 20% Brit is more than excited to let the excessively energized yank do his thing. This is a sweeping generality I know and there are wards here, which are really vibrant.
We often hear, in England, the sardonic recognition that the Church is really true in Utah. But is it really that much better? I have always thought the Church in Utah would have great teachers, who knew what they were talking about and would develop great lessons. I went to St. George recently and was fiercely disappointed and walked out before Priesthood, now I admit this is fairly small sample, but it still shocked me. So is the Church really better in Utah? What is good or bad about the Church there? Alternatively what is better about the Church elsewhere, even in England? What do we envy about our cross-Atlantic cousins?
Personally, I like the multi-cultural element to the wards here. I like it that we spend most of our time with people who don’t agree with us, I think the opposite is unhealthy. I don’t like the apathy of English people, very little is really very serious. I think, in the south particularly that people are not that friendly, whereas in Utah I had to fight for some time alone: ‘No, I don’t want to talk to you in the supermarket and no I don’t live near your ancestors’? This sounds cynical, but I have to confess, I am from the south and am not that friendly.
- Members in the UK seem to be less afraid of intellectuals and slightly intellectual themselves
- Many UK members are snappier dressers (at least in my ward and particularly men — cuff links come to mind)
- Zealous conservatives don’t seem to be as common, but they still exist. My husband and I call them the Cromwellians. Children’s birthday parties on Sundays and sex education in the schools are of grave concern.
- No one ever talks about R-rated movies! Hooray!
What International or Regional differences do you see?