Is Utah the Mormon Mecca?

When I tell people that before living in New England I lived in Utah there is always this look of understanding and then a head nod. I’m pretty sure people are thinking, “Ahh now I understand why you seem a little different, you must be Mormon.” I know it’s coming so I normally tell people with a smile because I am kind of anticipating the reaction. Sometimes the conversations get a little awkward after that because people don’t know how to proceed. It’s obvious they’re calculating in their head but it’s also obvious they don’t want to say it out loud. I mean, I’m Mormon, so if you bring it up I’ll probably try to assail you with all sorts of Mormon propaganda and try to get you to join right? Some people are brave and just come out and ask, “So…are you Mormon?” Normally I just say yes and if they have questions I’ll answer them but I don’t take it beyond that unless they are interested (so no, I won’t try to assail you with Mormon propaganda). Most of the time though, there’s a conversation about the weather in Utah and then we’re done talking about Utah.

So are all Mormons from Utah? Is Utah the Mormon Mecca and everyone aspires to be there? Well, that depends on who you are. For me, I lived in Virginia until I was 13 and then my family moved to Utah. I went to college in Utah and now live in Massachusetts. I think a lot of people see the Mormon Church as a Utah Church. So here are some facts I thought would be interesting. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has 13.8 million members (as of 2009). Not all of these people are from Utah. In fact, there are more Mormons outside of the U.S. than inside. There are 5.9 million members inside the U.S. and there are 7.9 million members outside of the US.

So, no, the Mormon Church is not a Utah church. Utah is predominately Mormon but Mormons are not predominantly Utahans. I live in Massachusetts and there are 24,478 Mormons here. In the U.S., there is a good chance that a Mormon will at least have a connection to Utah be it family or going to BYU or friends that live in the state. Utah holds a lot of Mormon history and there are lots of conferences and gatherings there that attract Mormons. So do all Mormons want to live in Utah? Some do, some don’t.

My husband and I don’t feel a strong pull there. Personally, I like being different from everyone else. I like doing my own thing and being unique. I enjoyed living in Utah, my parents are there, my in-laws are there but we’re not going to live there just because we’re Mormon. We’ll go wherever opportunity takes us. There are Mormons in every state of the U.S. and most counties across the world. So it may be a little cliché, but yes I lived in Utah and yes I’m a Mormon. But now I live in Massachusetts and yes I’m still Mormon. So the next time someone says they are from Massachusetts, you should ask them, “Are you Mormon?” You never know, they very well could be.

2 thoughts on “Is Utah the Mormon Mecca?

  1. Brigham

    I’m not from Utah (but I do love the state) and after 4 years my PhD advisers *still* think I’m from there! I suppose even though most Mormons are not from Utah it is the single most likely place for them to be from. I’ve often wondered, though, on the East Coast just how connected Utah and Mormons are in people’s minds. Is “Mormon” the first thing that pops into people’s heads when they hear “Utah?” Anybody know?

  2. Natalie

    I always love the subtle humor in your posts Lindsey–great post! I’ve had coworkers ask me these questions before; I’m glad I now have somewhere to send them to read up!


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