At first Rocky Anderson, the non-practicing Mormon mayor of Salt Lake City, took a brave stand. The politician said he would not bow to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) regarding an easement the church sought to squelch free speech near its temple property.

That easement allows critics of the church to speak freely on the block the church recently bought from the city. But it seems the LDS doesn’t appreciate the First Amendment when it guarantees the rights of others to criticize them.

First the church fought in court to restrict activity on the property, but when that effort failed they used some old-fashioned theocratic muscle by inciting their loyal members.

Anderson was subjected to increasing pressure from his Mormon constituents to give up the easement and capitulate to LDS demands.

The mayor resisted, but now he has apparently caved in. A deal is in the works to trade the easement for land the church owns elsewhere in the metro area, reports the Billings Gazette and Desert News.

So much for the illusion that church and state is somehow separate in Utah.

Apparently things really have not changed that much since the days of Brigham Young. The Mormon Church seems to have a stranglehold on the state, or at least ultimate veto power over anything that draws its interest.

The mayor may have held out for awhile, but ultimately Rocky crumbled. That’s life, behind the “Zion Curtain.”


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