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Quora: "How Mormon is Utah?"


Stargazer

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Posting this for the fun of it.  

I'm an occasional commenter on Quora, a Q&A site, and this one came to my attention recently.  It was asked back in 2015 - some of the answers are interesting:

 

Quote

 

How Mormon is Utah?

Like, how noticeable is it in the public sphere?

What percent of Utahans are either Mormon or part of a Mormon family?

 

 

https://www.quora.com/How-Mormon-is-Utah

The highest upvoted answer is from Colin Jensen, as follows...

Colin Jensen, lived in Utah (1993-2006)
Updated Oct 11, 2013


The first place to start is this map from The Association of Religion Data Archives.  There you can zoom in and out and decide what exactly you mean by "Utah" and what exactly you mean by "how Mormon."  That's a funny thing to say, but important.  Do those who are ethnically Mormon but don't really go count?  Do those who are very Mormon but live in Idaho or Arizona count? Because you'll find that while Mormonism is the largest religion in Utah, it is the second largest in all the adjoining states (Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado), and the 3rd largest another generation out (California, etc.)

But any way you count it, Utah is cynically 50% and optimistically 80% members of The Church of Jesus Christ.  Park City and Moab read low, Provo and Logan read high.

Now, can you tell?  Again, first it depends on which part of Utah you're talking about.  In Salt Lake City, where everything's very urban and <50% LDS, all you may notice is a really clean city.  But you won't find rules enforcing religiosity or anything like that.  30 minutes south, when you get into Provo and such, you'll see places with not only 80% membership, but 80% active membership.  So it will be much more of a driving force in the lives of the people.  But still, would someone notice if they weren't told? 

It's a little like saying "how noticeable is homosexuality in the SF Bay Area."  It's a huge percentage of people, it informs their decisions, but if you didn't know it was there and you weren't particularly extrovertive, you might not notice on your own.  Being from there, I always giggle that no matter where I've lived, many people think they'll be dogpiled by gay men if they ever go to SF.  Similarly, any list on Quora of the definition of quintessential requirements to be a San Franciscan will be a list written by a non-native; and so it is with every city.  There's probably nothing necessarily Mormon you would ever notice living in Utah, until you start to hang in circles where people point out that kind of stuff.

See also this article from the Pew Forum: A Portrait of Mormons in the U.S.

UPDATE: One important note to make is that Mormons have a term called "priestcraft."  That means "don't make a craft out of your priesthood," i.e. don't make money off your religiosity.  So unlike the South, where people put their religious "rank" into their yellow-pages ads to try to make more sales based on their religiousness, in Utah people are very passionate that such is a conflict of interest and makes God mad.  So that's perhaps a second answer to your question: Southern Baptists are much more visible in Tennessee than Mormons are in Utah.

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Not all  of what Jensen says is actually true, but it is funny as hell, and so deserves a good laugh for almost getting it right.  :pirate:

Where he goes wrong I think is in underestimating the time-warp one goes through in coming from elsewhere and taking up residence in Utah County, say in Provo.  For those of us who grew up in California, or some other gentile state in the 1950s, we find ourselves transported back in time to the 50s in modern Provo -- where the birthrate is high and families altogether normal.  A great throwback to another time, as though Mayberry RFD actually existed somewhere and we were able to go back and visit for awhile.  It is a place where LDS Church and religion come up in conversation almost as a matter of course, but in very matter of fact ways which assume that everyone knows what you are talking about.  Nearly everyone is assumed to be a fellow Mormon, even if a Jack Mormon.  Which means a lot of smiles and good will.

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7 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Not all  of what Jensen says is actually true, but it is funny as hell, and so deserves a good laugh for almost getting it right.  :pirate:

Where he goes wrong I think is in underestimating the time-warp one goes through in coming from elsewhere and taking up residence in Utah County, say in Provo.  For those of us who grew up in California, or some other gentile state in the 1950s, we find ourselves transported back in time to the 50s in modern Provo -- where the birthrate is high and families altogether normal.  A great throwback to another time, as though Mayberry RFD actually existed somewhere and we were able to go back and visit for awhile.  It is a place where LDS Church and religion come up in conversation almost as a matter of course, but in very matter of fact ways which assume that everyone knows what you are talking about.  Nearly everyone is assumed to be a fellow Mormon, even if a Jack Mormon.  Which means a lot of smiles and good will.

Yep, even I as a TBM find Utah Valley a bit over the top.  I'm way too used to living in what used to be called the "mission field", i.e. outside Utah and Idaho.  And now that I am living in the UK, it's definitely the "mission field"!

 

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