Degree Name

BA

Department

Political Science

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Defense Date

2021-12-16

Publication Date

2022-02-24

First Faculty Advisor

Dr. Quin Monson

First Faculty Reader

Dr. Kelly Patterson

Second Faculty Reader

Dr. Chris Karpowitz

Honors Coordinator

Dr. Ethan Busby

Keywords

Religious resentment, LDSR, Latter-day Saints, intergroup relations, Utah politics

Abstract

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who have continually held majority status in Utah soon after arriving in 1847, dominate the state in terms of culture and politics. In the last few decades, the dominance of the Church and its members has led to contentious disputes regarding issues ranging from property sales to medical marijuana and conversion therapy, but the conflict has existed since the 19th century. The conflict, which is often referred to as Utah’s culture war, has fueled resentful feelings on both sides of the battle and is in turn fueled by the negative sentiments. As the minority group in the cultural conflict, non-Latter-day Saints are often on the losing side of political and social clashes, and many become resentful towards the Church and Latter-day Saints. Though some research has focused on the religious conflict in Utah generally, no research has attempted to systematically measure resentment towards the Church and Latter-day Saints. I introduce a new measure called Latter-day Saint Resentment (LDSR) to accurately capture and quantify religious resentment levels in Utah and determine to what extent LDSR affects political behavior. Motivated by the contact hypothesis, social geography theory and social identity theory, I find that Latter-day Saint population density is negatively and significantly correlated with LDSR in some instances, but in more fully specified models, religious affiliation and political ideology are more predictive of LDSR. LDSR can also be used to predict political attitudes and behavior. I find that LDSR is significantly correlated with vote choice in the 2019 Salt Lake City mayoral election, but the relationship falls away once I account for the religious affiliation of the voters.

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