‘Mormon Land’: The potential positives and negatives of an increasingly non-LDS Salt Lake County, Utah

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Refugee Justice League, a group of attorneys that provides pro-bono work for refugees in Utah, holds a news conference. Left to right are Marynell Hinton, McKell Withers, Al-Shammari and James McConkie.

Salt Lake County is home to the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It also boasts the faith’s famous tabernacle and its landmark temple.

But the county is no longer populated mostly by Mormons. The latest membership numbers, supplied by the church itself, show that Utah’s most populous county is now 48.91 percent Latter-day Saint.

In fact, the Latter-day Saint tally statewide has fallen below 62 percent.

This continuing demographic shift is more than a statistical footnote. It carries with it sweeping implications for schools, politics, neighborhoods and the church itself.

Jim McConkie, a Salt Lake City attorney, former Latter-day Saint bishop and an ex-congressional candidate, has witnessed this transformation and sees opportunities for the area to become more cohesive and inclusive even as it grows more diverse and increasingly becomes a place for non-Mormons.

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