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Erin Ann McBride
Tuesday, August 13 2013

The Jello Belt: Mormon Culture and Burnout

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What is the “Jello Belt?” And where did that name come from?

The “Jello Belt” is a funny term I heard years ago to describe a certain culture found in Utah, Idaho, and Arizona. I thought it was a fun way to refer to the Jello-eating culture of Mormons and have used it ever since. And I thought it was the perfect non-serious name to kick off this column.

Welcome to a new little corner of Meridian where we will take a look at the Mormon culture, modern media, and anything else that strikes our fancy. For the purposes of this column, “Jello Belt” will not just refer to the heavily populated Mormon areas, but to the general culture of North American Mormons overall.

This column will come to you in a new format each week, and will often include videos, images, and music embeds to spark the conversation. And each column will conclude with a survey that we hope you will take. Your answers and insights will be shared in the column’s next appearance the following week.

We kick off the “Jello Belt” with a look at burnout within the Mormon culture.

Sound off! If you would like to participate in a non-scientific, just for curiousity’s sake survey about the Mormon culture and burnout, please click here. Survey responses will be shared next week.


If you would like to participate in a non-scientific, just for curiousity’s sake survey about the Mormon culture and burnout, please click here. Survey responses will be shared next week.

Erin Ann McBride is a writer, dreamer, and single woman. By day she works in marketing, and by night she hunts unicorns and writes political fiction romance novels, “You Heard It Here First,” and the sequel


  1. I'm Mormon, I live in Utah, and don't particularly like jello. Some jello salads are creative and okay, but don't expect me to make one. I haven't even seen one at a potluck for a long time. However, you can make some great divinity using jello powder.
  2. I think the true jello culture was a generation ago. My kids never see a so-called jello "salad" unless someone aged 50 or older brings it to a ward potluck. Then they say, "That's a salad?"
  3. I know you wanted to call it something cute and clever and fun but I have to agree jello culture or belt is a phrase like amazing that has come and gone. It does imply a degree of silliness and unstable shaking that may apply to your chosen subjects but clearly does not apply to the church members living in the Mormon dense area nor the entire USA. not a very positive image.
  4. Jell-O originally contained horse hooves and such (animal) products-gelatin; hence the joke of a perfect people with perfect diets being taken in by the affects of media marketing and social norms. Orobably why this artist claims to hunt unicorns, works in marketing and filmed this during an adulterous tryst? Nevertheless, the L-RD does delight in the chastity of women and the perfection of His sons and daughters. Sometimes self mockery is worse than pride and more phony and fallible than Jell-O.
  5. I have lived many places in the US and around the world. Have to say, the church is the same everywhere -- except in Utah. Utah wards break the rules ("They are just guidelines"), and they allow cultural traditions to become part of the Church, and they think those traditions are doctrine.
  6. I started to do the survey and clicked on the DONE button by mistake. Is there some way you can clear that up for me so I can try again. You asked some very important questions that really do need to be addressed. Thank you.
  7. Come on! I am a born and bred Mormon, aged 61, living in Utah, and in all those years have bought Jello maybe 6 times. Jello was my Mom's generation. We need to describe ourselves much more realistically. Telling intelligent women that we live in the Jello Belt is a slam.
  8. I haven't seen a jello salad at church for years...and I never miss an activity. People today seem to know better --- that jello is like a Twinkie---totally nutrition free-- or as one of the apostles said "fried froth."

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