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Mormon Utopia in Utah?

A new Gallup poll confirms what we already suspected at Via Meadia: despite incessant insinuations in the MSM that life among the Latter Day Saints could be anything other than a hell on earth, Mormon Utah is the most pleasant state in the union to live in. More than half a million Americans were asked to assess the states using a range of metrics from availability of good jobs to workplace relations to standard of living to optimism about the future, health, and education quality:

Utah does best in part because it is among the top two best-performing states for low smoking habits, ease of finding clean and safe water, having supervisors who treat workers like a partner rather than a boss, learning something new or interesting on any given day, and perceptions that your city or area are “getting better” rather than “getting worse.”

Contrary to what we’ve seen in the NYT, the tolerant, hard-working Mormons in Utah seem to be doing just fine, judging by many Americans’ standards. Perhaps Mitt Romney shouldn’t hide his Mormonism but confidently own it and be proud of his religion’s focus on values, strong communities, public service, and compassion for the poor and sick.

Something tells me we won’t be reading much in the press about the utopia in Utah, but that just means the increasing number of Americans moving there will be pleasantly surprised when they get to experience it firsthand.

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  • thibaud

    Yet another drive-by posting from Mead, of a report he apparently didn’t bother to read.

    Gallup’s rankings, such as they are – this recalls the kind of absurd city rankings you see in US News that proclaim Oklahoma City to be a better place to live than San Francisco, or Vancouver to be a more dynamic metropolis than London or New York – certainly don’t support Mead’s conclusions.

    Right up there with Utah is that increasingly blue state, Colorado. Down at the absolute bottom are Obama-loathing West Virginia and Mississippi.

    Gallup determines that North Dakota is somehow a better place to “learn something new every day” (yes, this is actually a Gallup criterion) than New York or Massachusetts. Perhaps the good Professor should move to Fargo-on-Hudson.

    What this means for policy choices is anyone’s guess, but it doesn’t stop our resident academic from jumping in and proclaiming his hatred of that media source for about half of his posts, the New York Times.

    Re. Romney, when your defenders are reduced to touting Utah as America’s future based on a ludicrous poll like this, it’s a good sign that your candidacy’s in trouble.

    Poor Republicans. Romney’s the worst candidate they could have nominated – except for all the others.

  • Paul

    Not to mention that no one can name a Mormon that is not good-looking. Harry Reid doesn’t count – he’s a latter-day Latter-day convert.

  • Corlyss

    “Something tells me we won’t be reading much in the press about the utopia in Utah”

    That’s fine by me. The state is already too crowded. I live in a tiny little town that for several years was the fastest growing city in Utah and in the nation. Since moving here 9 years ago, urban blight, illegal aliens, and the sweat-equity crowd has infested my paradise.

  • cacrucil

    Number 2 on that list is Minnesota. A blue state! Shocking!

  • silia

    Because it’s the whitest state. A bit calm though.

  • Steve Sailer

    Amazing scenery, too.

  • juliuscancer

    On the whole, the big bad MSM does not seriously question whether Mormons are upstanding neighbors and citizens. Even Bill Maher would probably admit that living in a Mormon neighborhood would be like the Simpsons living next to the friendly neighbor Flanders. But “a living hell” — seriously? I know this is tongue and cheek, but it is a frivolous red herring and trivializes the conversation.

    The issue is not whether Mormons are good neighbors or happy or anything like that; but it would be willfully ignorant at best not to recognize that the Church has had an antagonistic history with the U.S. government (armed conflict against the federal government before Utah was a state, not mention against states citizens and militas before they got to the Promised Land which was still nominally part of Mexico and thus a haven out of federal juridistiction), has come down on the wrong side of ‘American’ values (separation of church and state, polygamy, and membership for non-caucasians in 1978).

    The legacy of these events has created a certain ambivalence towards Mormons nationally. Poll people and they will tell you that Mormons are either un-American or quintessentially American, something to be feared or something to be admired etc.

    Just because one is generally sympathetic toward religion, does not mean one can simply gloss over history, let alone ignore that this history and not the MSM is responsible for creating skepticism. This taps into a deep nerve in the American psyche, back to the anti-mason movement, a conspiratorial alarm toward powerful secretive orders directing events, and a fear a manchurian candidate.

    Americans are pluralistic and happy to have people among them of all faiths, but it is entirely reasonable (even necessary) considering the truly unique history of LDS that the American public scrutinize such a candidate’s values, particularly when that candidate (like the faith community in question) is so deliberately secretive and equivocal.

  • john haskell

    St George (the “tiny little town…my paradise”) is also known for its nuclear fallout and average July high of 100F.

  • Lorenz Gude

    Nice bit of ‘drive by’ irony WRM.

  • Nathan

    I’m not sure why thibaud has to bring an article like this (even Mead didn’t bother with his own blue terminology here) into the political realm…it’s pretty unrelated.

    Juliuscancer seems to think that over 100 years of statehood doesn’t mean anything either. The ‘secrets’ of the Mormons are all over the internet for those who wish to satisfy their voyeurism.

    Get real you two.

  • WhiteMonk

    Very little “diversity” = high level of trust and happiness among the community.

  • Buce

    Be interesting to ask Mitt Romney why he doesn’t live there.

  • BobN

    These “best places to live” polls strike me as little more than a list of places targeted for ruination over the next decade. The still pleasant city of SL will soon become America’s next victim to sprawl.

    And, as for “tolerant”, dedicating tens of millions of dollars to block the civil rights of a minority in other states doesn’t seem very tolerant. Oh, and the Gallup analysis left off the abysmal suicide rate among teens…

  • thibaud

    #12 – Good point. Wonder why Romney chooses to live in blue California, which per our host is a living [heck].

  • RSC

    Of course we know these rankings are a bit silly, thibaud, but when they support leftist memes they’re gospel truth, as in Belize has better health care than the US. Or the French do X so much better. Or everybody “knows” that San Francisco is a better place to live than Oklahoma City.

  • Corlyss

    @ John
    There’s not enough money on the planet to make me live in Saint George (Utah’s Palm Springs). My paradise is at the other end of the state.

  • Corlyss

    @ Julius

    “MSM does not seriously question whether Mormons are upstanding neighbors and citizens.”

    That sort of thing don’t matter to the MSM. All they care about is whether your ideological credentials are in good standing by their reckoning. Utah and Texas will never be in their good standing, no matter the number of putative civic virtues.

  • Felipe Pait

    It appears to me that the key point of this post, more than prasing life in Utah, is an attack on the mainstream media, the NYTimes in particular. Where does the idea that the NYTimes have a prejudice against Mormons or Utah come from?

    This blog’s attack on the regular idea are starting to sound more and more like the hard left attacking, well, the regular media. If this goes on, soon Via Meadia will have as much credibility as blogs supporting Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez – none.

  • Rich K

    Lots of people like the rural/urban lifestyle that SLC offers as well as many towns in Montana,Idaho,etc and all across the U.S. I personally detest that quiet ‘waiting to die’ lifestyle but thats what great about America. So to all you guys pissing on utah,mormans etc,Go F yourselves and be glad we have those quiet folks who maintain this messy,crazy country we have .

  • Lorenz Gude

    @18 Felipe Pait
    Yes, I think you are correct that the piece is aimed at the MSM in general and the Times innparticular. but I don’t agree that the tone is similar to that found in one sided political commentary of either the left or the right because it ironic rather than scathing.

    The idea that the Times has prejudices or if you prefer a certain point of view comes directly from reading the NY Times something I started doing in 1956. The Times has a liberal/left editorial policy and sees the world th

  • Mike C

    Utah certainy is a lovely place to visit and work. I didn’t live there but worked there extensively in a “previous life’ (as we say in my industry) and always looked forward to a visit. I never missed a chance to take in one of the noonday pipe-organ concerts or evening choir performances at the Mormon Tabernacle. Lest anyone peg me as incurably anglo, I also enjoyed the vibrant Spanish-speaking and Native American cultures in Arizona whenever I worked there.

    I’ve lived and worked in much less attractive places than Utah.

    As for the first commentator’s mocking mention than OKC is a better place to live than SF, and that you can learn more in North Dakota than in NYC or Massachusetts – both assertions are true. I’ve worked in all these places, and have firsthand knowledge of the situation in all of them. I had my pick of places to live after a recent job change. I settled on… Oklahoma.

  • Lorenz Gude

    Sorry posted accidentally. The Times has a liberal/left editorial policy and sees issues through the lens of a regional NY world view. There is probably no place in ‘fly over country’ more alien to that view than Mormon Utah. Nor perhaps is there any place more alien than NY for Mormons living in Utah (not NYC) than NY. Rich soil for irony. Speaking of which I have some long lost Mormon cousins out there and the older generation are staunch Obama supporters while their children are Republicans.

  • bsheffcpa


    Seeing as you know about the “armed conflict” between the Federal gov’t and Mormons while Utah was a territory (by the way, no one was killed or wounded during this “conflict”), you should also know that the Mormons a few years before had been driven out of Missouri (the governor there signed the “Extermination Order” [BTW that was the actual name of the order] that said any Mormon still in the state after a deadline was to be killed).

    After that the Mormons moved to Commerce, IL and built Nauvoo, a city that became one of the largest cities in IL at the time. After a few years, they were driven out again by mobs.

    Over all this time, the Federal govt did nothing, so you can understand where they might be a little paranoid when the US Army comes to town.

  • Lowell Brown

    juliuscancer, what on earth are you talking about?

    “particularly when that candidate (like the faith community in question) is so deliberately secretive and equivocal.”

    Can anyone imagine such a statement being made about American Jews, Catholics or Muslims?

  • thibaud

    Felipe – very odd to see our host biting the media hand that feeds him. Wonder what he’d do without all the heavy lifting provided by real journalists at the Times, FT, Economist etc? Just make stuff up each day?

    Chalk up this increasing surliness to the dark clouds gathering over our host’s preferred candidate in the upcoming election.

    All the evidence is that the recession is not getting worse and likely will not get worse before November. (If the opposite were the case, you would have be seeing different behavior from the Fed right now.)

    Add to this the surprisingly incompetent, even clownish performance by Romney so far, and it’s becoming obvious to the smart money that Obama is going to win. The London oddsmakers now have him as a heavy favorite, as does the best and most objective pollster of all, Nate Silver. Nate now puts Obama’s chances at 74%.

    It’s going to get really ugly around these parts as we get closer to Obama’s re-election.

  • Darkwater

    I expect it would be fine if you were to move to a large city, but a small city composed mainly of Mormons would present the difficulty of maintaining a business unless you were part of the Mormon community. Non-Mormons don’t get a lot of support or even communication.

    As for “Romney’s problem”, it isn’t so much his as it is the church’s. The LDS realized back in the 1970s that it needed to come out of its shell and not always rely on the fact that they were “discriminated against” a hundred years ago, without acknowledging how separate they are.

    But WRM is right — it is an excellent place to put a business for a variety of reasons. Just understand that you’re going to have to play ball according to their rules.

  • flyshooter

    I’m not surprised that UT ranks high. Yes Mam’s and Yes Sir’s abound. UT has lots of friendly folks who look after one another and are kind to frequent visitors like me. The scenery is beautiful. The air is clean. The snow is dry. And, the GLOCK match held in Park City in September is the best one on the circuit! Why would anyone condemn a state filled with so many self reliant and kind people?

  • Felipe Pait

    Lorenz Gude #22, the NYTimes certainly has a point of view, call it liberal if you want, and a NYC point of view for sure, exactly as you say. However the argument implicit in the post, that its point of view is anti-Mormon, is arrant nonsense.

  • earl t

    Since juliuscancer is SOOOO concerned about:

    “particularly when that candidate (like the faith community in question) is so deliberately secretive and equivocal.”

    He must be going crazy over the candidate who issued an admittedly fake auto-biography, has spent almost $2 million purposely concealing his background and who used his first Executive Order in office, to seal his records!

    Right, Julius???……(crickets)

  • teapartydoc

    Utah is not a Blue state. That is why it is of interest now. It is part of a trend. Stay tuned for more.

  • Steve Kartchner

    “Seeing as you know about the “armed conflict” between the Federal gov’t and Mormons while Utah was a territory (by the way, no one was killed or wounded during this “conflict”), you should also know that the Mormons a few years before had been driven out of Missouri (the governor there signed the “Extermination Order” [BTW that was the actual name of the order] that said any Mormon still in the state after a deadline was to be killed).”

    For the record, the Massacure at the Mountain Meadows was during this “bloodless conflict” 120 men women and children murdered under a white flag of treachery. Also the term “Extermination” used by Gov Boggs Order was a reference to Sydney Rigdons “Salt Sermon”, 4th of July 1838, where he stated that all who were not Mormons in good standing were to leave Far West or be “Exterminated”. That was the origin of that term and it sparked the 1838 Mormon war in Missouri.

    I live in Salt Lake City and it is the only city that I know of(there might be others) that has an Army base directly above it to fire cannon down on the town. The army left camp Floyd to fight the Civil War. After the war was over Col Conner parked his troops at Fort Douglas to keep an eye on Brigham Young.

    I know my history and it isn’t what they taught me in Sunday School. It is a sin to know our history. It is called “Dwelving into the Mysteries”.

    I coould go on but it’s too long as it is.

    BTW I’m voting for Romney, because I think he is competent.

  • Steve Kartchner the web linked to my name in the above post was owned by a buddy of mine. It was an expose on strange Mormon history. I thought I’d send him some traffic. He spends about half the year over seas and last time he came home, someone had stolen his URL. He’s either going to fight it or just buy another URL. In the mean time his site is “off the air”. If you click on my name above it won’t take you to the site I had intended.

  • werewife

    So Matt Stone and Trey Parker hit it on the bullseye yet again!

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