Living in the “Mormon State”

Benjamin Hood, Reporter

Utah ints (LDS) was founded in the 1830s in New York. However, since the initial finding of the church beliefs, the American Mormon population has greatly expanded over the country.

A 2013 Gallup poll found that members of the church community are overwhelmingly common in Idaho and, especially, Utah. The poll found that most states in the U.S. have a population of 5% or fewer Mormons. Meanwhile, 11 states had such a low percentage of Mormon residents that Gallup had to round to zero. In current times it has been rechecked that  Utah has 2.1 million members of the Church in Utah, and the total population of Utah is 3.2 million people, non-church goers included.

With Utah having such a large LDS culture; what is it like for people to live in the “Mormon state?” One Taylorsville High School alumni, Riley Manning (real name withheld) who is a member of the LGBT community and has no religious affiliations said, “I have multiple friends that are LDS and they do not judge me for not being religious and vice versa.” He feels loved and cared for by his friends, however, says he has family members within the church who abstain from talking to him due to his sexual orientation.

He also felt that the line separating church and state is blurry. When driving down the street it seems there are churches on every corner or a seminary building 50 yards from the school doors. Utah has 506 congregations in use at the current time and  404,270 seminary students currently enrolled. Showing the mass of the church. However, the church also has affiliations in other states, with 67,049 missionaries currently active. This information all comes from the Newsroom on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ webpage.

Most of the political representatives and senators of Utah have an attachment to the church with an astonishing 88% of the Utah legislation, 8-9, who share the church’s faith, according to an article written by Lee Davidson a reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune. causing someone like Manning with no affiliation to the church feel unrepresented by our states political representatives.

A current Taylorsville High School senior  Kelly Paul (real name withheld) who is an active member of the church said, “ The people are super welcoming and are willing to spend every day to keep you on the right path.” Paul said she has been a member of the church since she was born and it has become the most important part of her life. She didn’t think the church had a lot of power, she believed they just had so many followers that it seemed they hold a lot of power in the state.

With the two extremes of the spectrum, it’s interesting to see how living in a “Mormon State” can affect the individual. The opposing ideas are very different, yet both Manning and Paul have created a comfortable life and are living their respective lives without struggling much with their counterparts. Manning has a life that is less impacted by the church then Paul but both had a strong opinion on the state and what they believed the church was as a whole. They both agreed though that the differing lifestyles should be respected even if you don’t share the belief.