Springville Utah, is a small and quaint city on the out-skirts of the city Provo. This city like many in Utah along the Wasatch Front is nested in to the foothills of rocky mountains. This city has exceptional beauty and a very affluent atmosphere, also known as “Art City”.
For many who live in Springville, this is, or was, an oasis away from the busy cities in the area, and much more rural than your average city, which made it a great place at one time to own horses and to do various types of farming. In the surrounding areas, THAT life is still a reality, and the local rodeo is only one town away in Spanish Fork.
However apart from the beautiful geography, the town of Springville Utah has started to become over-ran with a busier atmosphere. Recently the city put up for a vote; the building of a recreation center to replace the old public pool. This massive project brought in a lot of desired recreational services, classes and facilities. The citizens of Springville agreed to a bond, that over the time of repayment, including interest and principle, will cost the citizens over $34 million. That is if all goes as planned, and there is no refinancing of the debt, or future borrowing.
Beyond the tax payers getting an additional property tax for this bond, there is also a lot more traffic in the area, both with Walmart, and other big box retailers coming into the area, but now also a huge public recreation center.
With all of this change in Springville, there has been a huge loss of the agricultural atmosphere and that rural down to earth community, is now becoming more and more affluent and wealth has replaced middle class housing development projects. Homes of nearly a million dollars are being built by the hundreds, and now there is a sketchy new vibe of people competing with the Jones’s so-to-speak.
With these radical changes in culture in just 30 or 40 years, has also affected the anti-social behavior in the area. From competing in high school for the pecking order, to competing as an adult in a similar way but in other community roles, such as in business, religious callings, and related roles. It creates an air of depression, and un-satisfaction. This has been evident by the massive amount of prescription drugs that Utah as state uses, but also smaller towns and sort of more rural areas, that are even more affected than by the city life.
The dystopian and sort of depressing atmosphere shows up in other ways as well, such as having very high suicide rates. The suicide rates fluctuate in Utah, but for the last 40 years at least, Utah has always been in the top 10 states for high suicide rates. As of 2018, Utah was #5 out of 50 states for suicide over all, and even high in teen suicide rates, and where the leading cause of death for children ages ten through seventeen.
Dr. Curt Canning, the former director of the Utah Psychiatric Association, labeled one of the dystopian side effects of this unique Utah culture “The Mother Of Zion Syndrome”.
From a 2002 article from the LA Times, Dr. Canning said about the high prescription drug usage, and the depression and suicide issue in Utah;
“In Mormondom, there is a social expectation–particularly among the females–to put on a mask, say ‘Yes’ to everything that comes at her and hide the misery and pain. I call it the ‘Mother of Zion’ syndrome. You are supposed to be perfect because Mrs. Smith across the street can do it and she has three more kids than you and her hair is always in place. I think the cultural issue is very real. There is the expectation that you should be happy, and if you’re not happy, you’re failing.”
This does seem reflected of many LDS church policies after learning more about their policies in October 13, 1999 when the LDS Church sued Utah Lighthouse Ministries over releasing parts of the Bishop Handbook. In the end Sandra and Jerald Tanner prevailed in this blatant attempt to censor someone. But the findings inside that manual, and also in many other policies surrounding church court, and temple bishop meetings with members. The church doctrine, even and most definitely including the Word of Wisdom (Doctrine and Covenants 89), is very strict and usually the consequences that come with breaking these rules, is mostly ostracization to various extents.Mormons believe sometimes that “distance makes the heart grow fonder”, and various levels of punishment can go all of the way to excommunication. What social and economic effects that has on a person, varies greatly.
One thing that it fairly obvious to me, is that when the culture sort of agrees on something, that it is best to go along with it, or at least keep your mouth shut. I know people like private conversation between friends who agree, and there is some level of counter culture in Utah. However the counter culture has always been very weak in Utah. Very little resistance to the status quo.In places like Springville where the large majority of the religious demographics is Mormon, it is even more important to follow those simple instructions. Some do continue to resist, and some even gain powerful voices in the community, prior to releasing art or reporting that is counter to the culture, and then they are quickly silenced. It could not be any more obvious than what happened with the September Six in September 1993. Or later what happened with Grant Palmer, a church historian and the former director of the CES or also known as the Church Education System for thirty on years. The consequences of speaking out against the Mormon rule in Utah vary, often based on geography. But I would want to grow up as a kid affluent areas of Utah similar to how I lived as a child in Utah. I think the rural agricultural towns in Utah has a certain moxy and humbleness that I can identify with still, and I pray for the best for Utah as a whole going forward.
It is beginning to look like those who are turning to drugs, are passing by very safe and effective herbs like cannabis, in favor of taking prescription medications.
It appears that the shunning of drugs in Utah, and the consequences of using various herbs in Utah, is pushing people from safe and natural substances like cannabis, to very toxic and deadly substances like prescription drugs.
This is from a Springville City Council meeting March 18th 2008.
” Cl. Jolley commented that he can see two real issues-one is that prescription drugs are higher than the State and County average by 7/10-percent. Mr. Bird agreed. Lt. Caron agreed that the incidence has increased over the years. He has seen a steady increase. Cl. Jolley observed that prescription drugs are not seen as “dirty drugs” in the DARE program. Lt. Caron commented that these drugs come from doctors. Parents make them accessible to their children. Mr. Bird observed that the need is to change attitudes. Adults have learned to ask for drugs by name from advertising. He emphasized that Springville’s incidence is less than 10-percent. This amount is half the rates of the nation. Mayor Mangum asked why Springville is worst in the state for prescription drugs. Lt. Caron pointed out that Springville’s rates are statistically insignificant, although there is more problem now than in the past. Mr. Conover suggested that doctors are overprescribing. Mr. Bird reported that the doctors have an ethical obligation to take care of pain.”That is small clip of this meeting. The rest of the meeting minutes from March 18th 2008 can be found at www.UtahPirateRadio.com
City Council Meeting 03/18/2008 (original Version) http://goo.gl/spqVoR
In an ideal environment, the law makers would take the profit motive out of illegal drugs, and put the illegal drugs in the free market, where cartels and gangs do not have a profit motive to get involved with widely used substances like cannabis.
Let’s end prohibition, again. The following video was from a protest at Circuit Court in Provo Utah in 2009