As polling suggests Utah may not vote for the Republican for the first time in 52 years, many wonder why the reddest of states and its prominent socially conservative religious group are drifting away from the party. It’s tempting to chalk it up to a simple answer: last go around, they had one of their own at the top of the ticket and he was expected to assure the public and his party that he is against having multiple wives, but this time, the GOP nominee and party leaders take the position that multiple wives are dandy so long as they’re consecutive, not simultaneous. Glibness is fine for the screamers of cable news, but let’s strive for better. The Mormon question is a complex one. There are theological and cultural influences at play that deserve exploration.
Even among other devout Christians, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints–which from now on I will refer to as Mormons for the sake of clarity and brevity–is considered unusual. As religious belief wanes and socially liberal attitudes enjoy ever wider acceptance  Mormons and the religious right have found each other fighting the same enemies, but their alliance is not based on perfect harmony. Media coverage has unsurprisingly focused on the peculiar aspects of the religion, like sacred undergarments and the sinfulness of drinking coffee, while giving attention, that is at most cursory, to the doctrines that are significantly different from other Christian sects.More