After the attacks in Paris, 31 governors in the US said that their states won't accept Syrian refugees even though the attacks were carried out by European nationals. Nearly every Republican governor in the nation joined the chorus, but one refused– this cartoon from The Salt Lake Tribune depicts Utah Governor Gary Herbert standing apart from the pack. This is somewhat unexpected because Utah is one of the most conservative states in the US. Republican presidential candidates have won Utah by at least 19 points in every presidential election since 1964. It's a really red state. Why then is Utah the one conservative state that has pro-refugee? The answer? Mormons. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the Mormon Church religious persecution hits really close to home. Shortly after the church was founded in 1830 it started growing rapidly, it wanted to create a new religious and political community it called Zion, and that didn't go over very well with the people of Ohio where the church set up its headquarters. The Mormons were violently driven out after just a few years.
Persecution continued as they moved west, violent clashes broke out in Missouri instigated by non Mormon trying to evict the Mormon settlers and prevent them from voting the governor of Missouri even issued an extermination order stating that the Mormons must be treated as enemies. By 1840 the Mormons were widely seen as a growing political and economic threat and no one really wanted them around. At the same time they started openly practicing polygamy, an illegal practice that gave mobs even more legal justification for hating the Mormons. By 1846 most Mormons were violently driven out of the United States. They settled in the high desert of Utah, which was a part of Mexico at that point. Every Sunday Mormons are reminded of this history from paintings that hang on the walls of their church to songs they sing to commemorate the early pioneers and their struggles. "Whether or not you are a descendant of pioneers, the Mormon pioneer heritage of faith and sacrifice is your heritage.
" now mormons may not be known as the most progressive or tolerant…"A Mormon bishop excommunicated a woman who demand equal rights inside the church" "The church has now clearly laid out that anybody who enters into a same-sex marriage is considered an apostate." But when Republicans turn away Syrian refugees and Donald Trump goes even further "Total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." Mormons remember that as the governor said recently in a Facebook post, "Utah is a state that was settled by religious exiles who withstood persecution after persecution" …and that's enough to get them to break with the conservative mainstream .