Who owns Utah?

An atheist in Utah says, “They don’t own this state anymore…they are only one voice among many now.”

The “they” this Salt Lake City resident is referring to is the Mormon Church. But it looks like that assessment of the political landscape is wrong.

A dispute over the exercise of free speech on a downton city block in Salt Lake has demonstrated the schism between the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) and “non-Mormons” in Utah, reports the Salt Lake City Tribune.

LDS wants protest silenced on the block it bought from the city, but the courts ruled it couldn’t do that.

Never mind.

Now the Mormon Church has effectively done its own end run around the legal system by creating political pressure to change the rules of the game. And it looks like the mayor is playing ball, or at least willing to craft a compromise to please the powerful church.

Mayor Rocky Anderson has come up with what he calls “time, place, manner” rules for the disputed city block. But the city council may reject his plan and simply follow the dictates of the LDS instead.

The Mormon Church is used to having its way in Utah. Almost every elected leader in the state is an active member of the LDS. Mayor Anderson is a “non-practicing Mormon.” And some church members apparently feel that by not following the wishes of LDS Anderson might be an “anti-Christ.”

“They seem to want to scapegoat me and portray me as being in opposition to their religion,” Anderson said.

It appears that the LDS, which believes it’s the “one true church,” wants to remain the one ultimate power in Utah. And it is unlikely that Mayor Anderson or anyone else can change that truth.


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