Utah’s Divide and Immigration

To comprehend the often-tense divide between Mormons and other people in Utah one must understand that Utah has had different population dynamics than most states.  The issue of the divide is not simply the Church and its place in Utah’s society; it also is a matter of historical demographics.
Mormonism has had its own immigration policy.  The gathering brought converts to Utah from places where the Church had grown.   For example, in England the Church grew large quickly in the mid-nineteenth century.  A similar growth occurred in Wales. Douglas Davies notes that about one third of all Welshmen who came to the US during that period went to Utah.  In Scandinavia, the Church also grew like a wildfire and Danes poured into Utah.  These immigrants, English, Welsh, and Danes among others, laid the population, and cultural, base for what is now the LDS Church and the region in which it is centered.  They also provided the base of an expanding economy.

In Utah, among these immigrants, original languages were lost within a single generation, in part because of the common religious belonging.  Even the Welshmen with their strong commitment to Welsh switched to English.  This was not the case in most of the United States.   There ethnic languages persisted a generation or two longer.  This relatively quick building of a common society in Utah, despite Yankee and Anglo prejudices against Scandinavians, made Utah’s history of immigration and society building distinctive.

Nevertheless, dissidence developed among these immigrants.  Many of the early Protestant Churches in Utah, such as the Episcopalian and the Lutheran were formed at the behest of Saints who changed their minds about the LDS Church once resident in Utah, although they often had family who remained Mormon.   These dissident Mormons also formed, and continue to form, much of the other Churches’ membership.    In cases, such as the Episcopalian, the former Saints were joined by Americans who came to Utah for one reason or another. This complexity alone gives the religious divide a peculiar character.

Beginning in the early twentieth century Utah began to draw a diverse set of immigrants to work its mines and fields.   These people were not Mormons.  The nineteenth century heyday of Mormon missionary work had passed and the twentieth century’s had not yet begun.  The gathering was over, yet Utah needed workers, especially for its mines and fields.  The economy was more a secular concern and less a Church concern now.  As a result, the relative percentage of Latter-day Saints in Utah dropped to levels around those of today.

The kinds of social possibilities for identity formation the immigrants found had an impact on the communities that resulted.  In most cases there were two large elements of identity available to them, an ethnic identity based on national origin, such as Italian, Greek, or Japanese, for example, and the fact they were not Mormon.   They may have been Catholic, Orthodox, or Buddhist, but the positive presence of those religions would tend to collapse into the social reality of being different from the majority.  That non-Mormon-ness also turned into a badge of social belonging.  Even when the positive identity was Italian, say, that would merge with Catholicism as a means of symbolizing they were not Mormon.  Religion and ethnicity conjugated.

An example can be shown in the current boom of immigration. Economic growth in Utah over the last two decades has drawn hundreds of thousands of non-Mormons, most of whom may well be Mexicans, to work in the state.  That is one major populational dynamic.  Yet another dynamic also holds. People from regions where the Church is growing tend also to come to Utah.  No longer part of Church policy, the immigration is part of a long-standing practice.  Latter-day Saints immigrate to Utah from other areas of the US and from abroad.  Nevertheless, the influx of non-Mormons far surpasses the immigration of Latter-day Saints, although that immigration is not insignificant.  Mormon immigrants fit into the majority, even when they are an ethnic minority.  They are Mormon.  This makes their situation different from that of non-Mormon immigrants.

But there is more.  It is likely that the LDS immigrants from Mexico have much higher levels of education than those who come as laborers.  Certainly this is the case with immigrants from other Latin American countries, such as Argentina, for whom the Church serves a large magnet motivating immigration.  And, it is demonstrable that Mormon Mexicans have achieved more education than the majority of Mexicans who migrate as workers.

As a result it is no surprise how many of the leadership positions in the Latino community are filled by Mormons, though the vast majority of Latinos are either Catholic or Pentecostal.   The experience of interacting with elites, for Mexicans and other ethnic groups, tends to be the experience of interacting with Mormons.  This can give a peculiar nuance to Mormon non-Mormon interactions; class conjoined with religion splits the ethnic group.

Strangely, this class association with Mormonism is not simply something found in Mexico or among Mexican immigrants.   Utah’s Latter-day Saints tend to be of middle or upper middle class, while the working class tends to be heavily composed of lapsed Mormons or people of other faiths.  As a result, the experience of class differences in Utah is heavily framed by religious difference.  There are exceptions to this, of course, such as the Jewish population, nevertheless the general principle stands.

Outside of the recent boom of economic immigrants, Utahns have tended to intermarry.  Even the Greek community, which has maintained a high degree of separation, has intermarried with Mormons.  As a result Utah, despite differences, has an unusually cohesive population untied by a web of kin connections, common language, and common expectations for how religion is to be structured in society, even when the population is separated by religion.  They are one large and complex interrelated population, even though religion divides them.  People, who are moving in now with the economic boom, do not have the advantage of a kin network to mitigate the religious divide.

Move-ins, including Mexicans as well as Anglos who come to work in Utah, are out of the cultural loop.  They do not understand the complex civilizational aspects of Utah and its religious situations.  They are not part of the family quarrels.  This can make Utah all the more frustrating and alienating for them.  It can also be frustrating for Utahns who try to appeal to national or international standards for purposes of internal arguments.

One final nuance:  with the great depression Mormons began to emigrate from Utah and settle in other cities, especially in the west.   As a result there is a Mormon diaspora, with the complexities of other diasporas.  That family diaspora, which has a quasi-ethnic and definitely religious quality, arguably draws Utah Mormons away from the population issues in the state.  It also enhances their focus on the Church and reduces their attention to the demographic changes in Utah.

Utah is amazingly complex; it is also distinctive in the United States.  Its distinctiveness comes not only from religion, but also from the ways demographics have intertwined with religion to make it what it is.   Utah is its people.  And they impact the Church.

Comments

  1. Very nice post. Some thoughts from my readings:
    William Mulder (Homeward to Zion), places the Mormon/Scandinavian connection at Nauvoo, with the heart of Earlier Scandinavian settlement across the Mississippi River from Nauvoo. Almost all of the 103 Missionaries to Scandinavia came from these earlier settlers, who then brought about 30,000 fellow family members or town people to the West.
    Dean May (Three Frontiers),has a large number of British coming from the Liverpool area due to the American Civil War when the North blocked the export of cotton to the textile mills there, causing mass unemployment, mostly of young girls who then because Salt lake as servants or second wives.
    I believe the Welsh came to dig coal for the railroads and home heating.
    There was two settlings of the early West. First, Yeoman Farmers in their wagon trains. Then big business in their railroads (large agriculture,mining,cattle,lumber,coal,oil, etc.). Each had it’s own kind of Settler.

  2. Nice write-up, David.

    In what way do you determine the religiousity/affiliation of cultural elites?

  3. Wonderful post.

    In my current occupation, I interact with many of the immigrants you mention who have come to Utah seeking advanced education. There are times of the year when I see Brazilians and Chileans in relatively large numbers, most of whom are LDS. They have a different relationship to the culture they are entering than most of the Mexicans I have interacted with, and different still from the itinerant working-class whites. Utah has a fascinating mix of dynamics, which is why I enjoy living here!

    I grew up in the Western U.S. diaspora, and noted the quasi-ethnic character of the California-Utah connection for LDS in both states. I continue to be interested in how this reinforces a blinder mentality for LDS Utahns who fail to notice their next-door neighbor who goes to mass on Saturday night and speaks Spanish as well as English, to focus instead on those California Mormons who moved in a couple of blocks away!

  4. Steve Evans says:

    David, thanks for the thoughts. I’d like to hear more about the LDS Diaspora, as I don’t know if there is any substantial work done about it. First I’d like to know of other major non-Jewish diasporas, but I’d also like to get a better sense of the socio-economic causes and effects. I have my guesses, but if there’s been some research there I’d find it interesting.

  5. david knowlton says:

    Gotta run to class in just a moment. Thank you all for your kind comments. Bob outlines some important aspects of the economic situation, including the notes from Mulder about the Scandinavian presence near Nauvoo and in Nauvoo as being important for future growth in Scandinavia.

    One can also not ignore the relationship between Mormon growth in Oceania (even though I do not mention it above) and whaling as well as European/US growth of empires.

    To J. Stapley. I did not do a survey to arrive at this statement (on the religious affiliation of cultural elites) rather it comes from a few things–the well known religious makeup of the legislature, long experience in Utah Latino issues, other writings by students of Utah minorities (such as Kelen and Stone), and Jorge Iber’s book on Utah’s Hispanic population. Nevertheless you suggest an important point. There are multiple elites and not all are LDS. Nevertheless the conjugation of religion and class is important for most Utahns.

    This issue of class slowly occurred to me. It became most clear in a conversation people from the research arm of the Church made at UVSC. They had plotted the percentage of LDS according to stake in SL County. I had recently been looking at census tracts. It became immediately clear that heavy LDS presence corresponded to the upper income areas, with a few exceptions, and lower income to the low LDS areas. Yikes.

    To jnilsson. I think we need more work and talk on this ethnicity/quasi ethnicity of many Latter-day Saints. Armand Mauss denies it importance. Dean May stipulates it as does Patricia Limerick. I think it important. What do other people think? Is it or is it not an ethnicity, besides just being a religion. I think Mormonism was almost if not exactly and ethnicity where I grew up in El Paso.

    Brazilian migration is complex. There are many LDS but many non LDS also came to Utah because of driver’s license rules and to join LDS families. More needs to be done on the relatively heavy South American migration to Utah. The state stands out for the large relative percentages South Americans make up of its population. But there are both economic and religious immigrants among them. They need disentangling.

    Gotta go.

  6. sister blah 2 says:

    Hi David,

    As someone who finds this discussion fascinating, but maybe doesn’t have the background in the vocabulary and norms of academic sociology or whatever this is–what is the working definition of “ethnicity”? (ie when you say “I think Mormonism was almost if not exactly an ethnicity where I grew up in El Paso”) You asked what do other people think, and I have thoughts, but just need to understand what that word means first. Thanks!

  7. #4:LDS Diaspora: I can only speak from my family’s history. The second wave of Big Business into the West, took a heavy hit to the Mormon Village. (Again see Dean May’s: Three Frontiers). Then in the 1920s, the Depression started ten years early on the farms of Idaho and Utah. The now extra farm kids, headed to the big cities of Ogden, or Salt Lake. But these farm kids (like my mom and dad), found no comfort or welcome there. (Maybe begins the ‘Utah Mormon’ Vs. ‘California Mormon’ split (?)). They moved on to California to farm again.
    WWll cause another big wave from Utah to California.

  8. Two anecdotes:

    My maternal grandparents left Utah County before 1920, and moved to Los Angeles. How substantial was the out-migration to Southern California during that period, or were they pioneers for a movement that really got moving during the 1930s?

    I graduated from Provo High School in 1971. At that time there was a strong correlation between academic achievement and activity in the LDS church. To be sure, there were some non-LDS or inactive LDS back then who were good students, but a substantial majority of the top students were active LDS, and the lousy students by and large seemed to be the jack Mormons–smoking out behind D Wing, etc.

  9. david knowlton says:

    Two quick comments–in between all the professoring stuff of my normal days. First: there has not been much work on the Mormon diaspora to my knowledge. There is substantial work however on diasporas in general, within anthropology and other fields. There are quite a few diasporas in the world today as people have been moved because of economics and yet reform identities in their new lives that relate to transnational existence and places of origin. Tell me about y’all’s experience of the LDS diaspora. I grew up in it and, to be honest, it is the experience of “coming back” to Utah–even when I was never from here, that motivates part of this long meditation I inflict on y’all.

    Thank you Bob for comments on your experience of diaspora.

    On ethnicity, for sister blah 2: wow. The definition is complex and much argued. In general ethnicity refers to a common sense of peopleness and origins. There may be a common culture and generally there are some sort of boundaries limiting movement of people to to her ethnic categories. But yikes. It is difficult. I guess in my question I was asking if you think Mormons have an identity of common peopleness, like other peoples on earth, not simply religious or other social identities, such that they also feel a common origin, a common birth, that gives a strength to being together beyond the simply religious.

    David

  10. sister blah 2 says:

    #9–I think the answer is YES. There are two main situations where this seems to me to be the most obvious, or at least stand out the most to me personally. First is the experience of being a high school student and Mormon in the West. I don’t know how to elaborate without writing a book, but there is a real sense of peopleness that I think was qualitatively different from what I saw in other groups of students who shared the same religion. Also, I have run into many people who are ex-Mo but still consider themselves Mormon in some kind of sense that transcends actual membership or belief. I’ve been on, for example, lefty political blogs where I see commenters jump in to defend the church, explaining that they (or even their parents or grandparents) left the church, but still consider themselves Mormon and still have a knee-jerk defense of the group they still somehow connect to.

    Is this the kind of thing you are getting at when you say “ethnicity”?

    I will also say that there is something about calling us an ethnicity that makes me uncomfortable. My husband is a convert, and also not white. In contrast, I have nothing but storied and minorly famous handcart pioneer ancestors. I may more obviously fit into this “ethnicity” of being LDS, but the notion that I would have any more or less affinity with the church itself OR its people than my husband, make me uncomfortable.

  11. #10: It all starts out so simple: Anthropology is a study of how man is like an animal, and how man is not like an animal. Ethnology (a subset of Anthropology), is a study of how Cultures are the same, and how Cultures are different. Then things start to fall apart. Opposites can come together in a second. You may think America is “Red or Blue”, until someone knocks down their building. You may think Utah is one place, until BYU plays UoU in football. I can understand how you could feel your husband is an ‘odd man out’. But, if he is a Tax Man, and on April 14th, a Mormon is looking for a good Mormon Tax Man, he will be seen as full LDS. Such is ethnicity, it just another way humans putting each other into boxes.

  12. #9 – Sister Blah – “I may more obviously fit into this “ethnicity” of being LDS, but the notion that I would have any more or less affinity with the church itself OR its people than my husband, make me uncomfortable.”

    Your discomfort may be the point. It really is a fascinating cycling of vocabulary. Religions form and spread, incorporating whomever they can into them. That means that all flavors and colors of people can call themselves whatever religion it is that they joined.

    Next, a few generations pass by and something new slowly happens: a new cultures forms, operated on by the religion. This lifestyle, community, and set of relations is so strong that people who leave the church still feel connected to it.

    Therefore, what we now can put in quotes as “religion” encompasses people of many different belief systems, but who still all identify with the collection of behaviors and practices associated with it.

    It’s the phenomenon you come up against any time you hear of a “secular Jew.” Wait, you don’t believe in god, but you are a Jew!? I thought Judaism was a religion! This doesn’t make sense. Judaism has gone through the cycle of becoming an ethnicity, and David is making the case that a similar thing is happening with Mormonism.

    Of course, this was actually probably pretty common before we had the idea that religion was something separate from everyday life. People would fluctuate with how much or little they resonated with whatever the tenets of the land were but they would still identify with whatever word categorized them with the people that they knew.

  13. Northerner says:

    Fascinating post. Do you have some reference(s) for the following?

    “In Utah, among these immigrants, original languages were lost within a single generation, in part because of the common religious belonging.”

  14. david knowlton says:

    Northerner,

    Yep. Douglas Davies’ work “Mormon Spirituality: Latter-day Saints in Wales and Zion” is a source for the Welsh. I will have to go check my notes for Scandinavians. But I looked at the article in the Utah History Encyclopedia on Danes and it indicates the issue, although somewhat indirectly, when Richard L. Jensen writes “Mormon leaders consistently encouraged assimilation, and many Danish converts began to learn English before emigrating. After reaching Utah, wherever possible, they were asked to participate fully in the activities of local Mormon English-speaking wards (congregations). Still, LDS “Scandinavian Meetings” organizations served as a secondary focal point for religious, social, and cultural activities in the mother tongue” (http://www.media.utah.edu/UHE/index_frame.html).

    This assimilation, engineered or not, created what I wrote about, even though there were also Scandinavian and Welsh language publications in Utah.

    One sees exceptions, of course, such as the Greeks, or some Mexicans and perhaps Polynesians, but their existence emphasizes the general principle I articulated: original languages and cultures waned on immigration to Utah.

    In the Mid-West in contrast, many communities maintained original languages for several generations, some up to the present.

    JR’s and Sister Blah’s comments on the contrast between Mormon ethnicity and LDS Faith are important. This idea needs more development but it potentially will help explain some of the differences among different kinds of Latter-day Saints, such as newer Mormons and old families.

    I am also intrigued with those people who have left the Church years or even generations ago and yet maintain an identification with the Mormons as a “people”. For some people there is a very strong identity here whose social conditions of existence need detailing.

    In Mexico, recently, with a BYU professor we entered a cafe to speak for a bit. We could only find seating in a bar and over cokes were talking about our work and schools. Someone interrupted to ask if we were “professors from Utah” and then told how she was from an old Mormon family and that Mormonism was important to her, even though she did not live an LDS life and though her husband was not Mormon. The vehemence of her claim was surprising and fascinating.

  15. #13: Again, I can only speak from personal or family knowledge. My Grandfather came to Utah (Moroni City), age 16, in 1886. My father, born 1911, In Moroni, spoke no a word of Swedish, nor had he ever heard his father use more than a word or two of Swedish. Keep in mind this is the Sanpete Valley, where most were immigrants from Denmark or Sweden.
    But I don’t know about “religious belonging”. This is something I have tried to understand and stay open on. The Sanpete Valley liked it’s Scandinavian roots. BY loved these hard working people, he gave them a ‘pass’ on their tea and coffee drinking, he gave in on their building of the Manti Temple on a hill, and not in the center of the Valley. Yet, there also seemed (??) there was a “plan” (??) of intermarriage between the British and the Scandinavians (??)

  16. David Knowlton says:

    Bob,

    Sanpete Valley is very interesting, because of its Scandinavian-ness. Yet even there non-Scandinavians also settled, and there was conflict among English/Yankee Mormons who seemed to dominate.

    People did intermarry. I would like to know if that was a deliberate policy. I have heard many of those romances with Scandinavians caused consternation in the hearts of good upstanding Anglo members.

    Intermarriage is, furthermore, an important issue for understanding the broader body of the Church. large areas of Mormonism are unified by being part of an interconnected, intermarried set of families. Immigrants tended to marry in, which gave/gives those who did not intermarry a connection with the social “mainstream”.

    This may not be talked about much, anymore, but I still see Latin American intermarrying with Utah families. The members of their wards back home know this and use it to feel part of the larger Church as social body with statuses that only partially conform to the way the Church as gospel might define legitimacy and status.

  17. #16: Again, personal family history notes ( but very good ones) : My Grandfather, (a swede), though an arranged marriage to my Grandmother, was brought into the large ‘Draper Clan’. There is a family ‘rumor’ that BY had William Draper Jr. (7 wives, fifty three kids) moved from Draper and Spanish Fork, to Moroni, to blend with the Scandinavians. (Again, I don’t have the memo).
    In my mother’s and wife’s (not the same person) Idaho history, the Intermarrying between Clans is even more clear. In many ways, this stuff was as important as Polygamy in it’s day , but less visible. But in the 19thC, in general, you were more likely to marry for need/reason, than love.

  18. Sterling says:

    David,

    There are some interesting thoughts. Your claim that “Utah’s Latter-day Saints tend to be of middle or upper middle class, while the working class tends to be heavily composed of lapsed Mormons or people of other faiths” caught my attention. It helped also to hear that you had looked at census tracts in Salt Lake County. Still, here is something for you to consider.

    T&S had a conversation last month that deals with some of the same issues. Here is one of the points that came up. If you go this web site and click on “Income Distribution of Religious Traditions,” you will see that when the Pew Center sampled about 500 Mormons across the nation, they found that the Mormons were very middle class. In fact, the proportion of Mormons making more than $100,000 annually was slightly below the national average. Are you arguing that Utah is one of the few places in this country where the proportion of Mormon households earning more than $100,000 is above the national average?

  19. Sterling says:

    David,

    Do you think this map would help you as probe the correlation between wealth and religiosity in Salt Lake county? It goes into more detail than the census tracts.

  20. Sterling says:

    David,

    If you go to this Census web site, you will find that you can view “Income Distribution of Households and Families” for the United States, Utah, and Salt Lake County. (Just click the links near the top.) When I did this I found that 12.1 percent of households in the United States earned more than $100,000 annually in 2000. The same was true for 12.29 percent of households in Utah and 13.02 percent of households in Salt Lake County. Is this a statistically significant difference? Are Mormons really that much more likely than non-Mormons to become wealthy?

  21. My favorite wealth stat came from the University of North Carolina. Each year, they go back ten years to see which of their departments leads it’s graduates to the highest income average. They were shocked one year to find it was their Sociology Department …. by 400%! But looking closer to that year, they found the name of Michael Jordon.

  22. david knowlton says:

    Sterling,

    Good info. The census map you link to demonstrates my point. The areas which have >8% of their households making 100k or more per year are those whose stakes have the largest relative percentage of Latter-day Saints. Those that are predominantly >8% have the lowest relative percentage of Latter-day Saints. There are, of course, exceptions. There are poor Latter-day Saints and wealthy non-Mormons, such as those around the University of Utah. But the correlation holds.

    Nevertheless we do not know where LDS households fall within those neighborhoods. And that is important. In wealthy areas of Santiago Chile, although Mormons have more highly educated people overall in Chile, they are below the norm, but only in wealthy neighborhoods.

    This association between Latter-day Saints and class needs far more research. We are hoping to do some of that here in Utah. It is unfortunate for this purpose, although legally completely understandable, that the US Census does not acquire data on religious belonging. Nevertheless this association needs looking at.

    I have more on the Pew chart you reference. Next post.

  23. david knowlton says:

    On the Pew data: You are right Sterling that the percentage of Latter-day Saints in their sample making >100k is two percentage points lower than the national average.

    However, if you calculate the total of percentages 50k or greater, 54% of the Mormon sample is included. This is a greater percentage than for Evangelical Protestants, Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Other Christians. It is six percentage points higher than the national average. Mormons have the same percentage as Mainline Protestants and three points less than Orthodox Christians.

    In other words, while the Pew data is slightly skewed towards higher income groups, Mormons show a greater skewing towards the upper middle class–which I am defining as those groups which would be roughly above the 50K range. Mormons also have the lowest percentage, of Christian groups (with the exception of Orthodox Christians) below the

  24. david knowlton says:

    Sorry. Lost part of the post. Here is what should follow.

    below the 30K. Between 30k and 50k Mormons also show relatively low numbers.

    We can quibble on the definition of middle class.

    These are national numbers, however, not Salt Lake City numbers.

    I like the Pew data for the possible comparison it allows with data appearing from other countries that I have worked, to a small extent, and that Tim Heaton is working.

  25. Katie P. says:

    Great post. Very informative.

  26. David,

    Great responses. I thought you had a good point about the Mormon households with $50k+ income. But then it occurred to me that maybe your assertion was problematic since, as you said, “the Pew data is slightly skewed towards higher income groups.” I went back to the census web site and came up with some more percentages. In 1999, 41.9 percent of U.S. households earned $50,000 or more annually, 42 percent of Utah households earned $50,000 or more annually, and 48.3 percent of Salt Lake County households earned $50,000 or more annually. So it looks like the same proportion of Utah and U.S. households were in the upper-middle class in 1999, while the households in Salt Lake County were above average. It looks we need to do more parsing of the data. For instance, Utah county, which is heavily Mormon, saw only 29.9 percent of its households making more than $50,000 annually in 1999.

    You noted that “the US Census does not acquire data on religious belonging.” Maybe it does. Have you thought of tracking Mormon households by surname? If Mormonism is an ethnicity, maybe surnames serve as a marker of identity. Here is a preliminary exploration that occurred at T&S. I have been using Census data to construct lists of Navajo surnames, for instance, and then apparently doing some of the same kind of analysis you and Tim Heaton are doing. I also have reason to think that the LDS Church has studied its membership rolls and determined what are the most common Mormon surnames. We should talk if you guys are interested in this methodology. This could potentially provide a way for figuring out, as you put it, “where LDS households fall within those neighborhoods.”

  27. david knowlton says:

    Hi Sterling,

    I would love to talk more. This issue does need care and well designed analysis. I will look more at the older posts to see what you have done and the discussions that have been carried out.

    We have shifted the conversation, though. I was asserting that as part of understanding the divide in Utah one needed to know the relationship of religion to class. I was using the Salt Lake data I had to argue that Latter-day Saints have a stringer presence in the upper part of the class continuum, while non-Mormons are more represented in the lower. I think that still holds.

    You are bringing up a related, but somewhat different, issue. You are posing the question of the relationship of Latter-day Saints, as a whole, to distributions of income in the United States. This really interests me, particularly since I have been looking at the issue in Latin America. Let’s do talk. You either know where to find me, or can easily find out. After all, I teach at a well known Utah Valley School that is not owned by the Church, :).

    I look forward to more. And if other people still have issues to talk about here, I am delighted. You all are a lively and fun lot. I enjoy these conversations.

  28. Brandon McIntosh says:

    It is interesting to consider the economic culture of Utah with its religious underpinnings. Although it is true that the secular and the spiritual go on record as segregated in today’s Mormon church, it is difficult for one to disassociate the two entirely. The business world seems to be one of great import, and is held to be a worthy venture for the people who subscribe to the faith.
    Mormons are found every where, many are found in all levels of higher business circles. The same could be said about government. Business could be considered, in my opinion, to be an “unwritten”, or “transparent” virtue held by Mormons as a religious approach to secular life.
    The church as an organization, setting an example of its belief in capitalism, is in many ways a business its self. What is it telling its members when it builds a project filled with shopping malls, condominiums and office buildings that will take up another two city blocks in down town Salt Lake City?
    It is no secret that the church has strong policies on economics, one does not have to look deep into its sacred texts to see emphasis on socio-economic philosophies (although these philosophies differ from todays capitalism). For Mormons business is part of religion, and part of religion is business. These “virtues” are not preached from the pulpit and are not read in any books or periodicals published by the church, but there is something there, part of Mormon culture is a business culture. It is no wonder that non-Mormon immigrants to Utah struggle (not all do) to fit into the business culture. Their approach to business is not the same.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,484 other followers