I was raised in Denver and grew up loving the history of the Old West.
One of my goals in creating the Community Color sites was that sites would justify taking time to explore the colorful history of different regions.
My family moved to Utah some decades ago. The problem I face is that I really do not like the history of Utah.
Utah was settled by Mormons. Mormonism, it turns out, is a culture war religion. The Book of Mormon claims that there was once a great extermination war that took place on this continent between the Nephites (who were white and delightsome) and a variety of other tribes who were dark and loathsome. The Nephites lost the war.
Both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young claim that the proof of the Book of Mormon is the base observation that Europeans have lighter skin that Native Americans.
Mormonism teaches that a group of righteous saints are to be gathered in the "latter days" and that these saints are locked in an unending culture war with everybody who is not a member of their tribe.
Joseph Smith liked the ladies. Smith restored the principle of polygamy and sealed himself to as many women as he could get his hands on. Smith's band of wives included some fourteen year old girls and the wives of his followers.
Polygamy is an interesting device in that it allows powerful men to grab even more wealth and power.
The history of Utah is one in which Brigham Young and the Mormons would form powerful polygamist clans and would then use the clans to grab as much territory as possible.
There were invariably conflicts between the immensely powerful Mormons and everyone else.
The story of Saint Parley Pratt provides the typical settlement story, but with one sensational twist. (Members of the Latter Day Saints consider themselves Saints on earth).
Anyway Parley Pratt was an early convert to Mormonism and was a part of Joseph Smith's twelve Apostles. Pratt saw the potential of polygamy and took to marrying multiple women with a vengeance.
After emigrating with Brigham Young, Pratt helped with the survey of Parley's Canyon and, being an extremely powerful member of the LDS Church, grabbed the choice chunk of land which is now Park City.
While in San Francisco, Parley Pratt seduced a woman named Eleanor who was married and had three children with a man named Mr. Henry McLean. Without gaining a divorce, Eleanor was "sealed" to Parley Pratt in Salt Lake.
I need to point out that Joseph Smith had sealed himself to the wives of several of his followers. So, marrying another person's wife is not considered outlandish among Mormons.
Anyway, Henry McLean was cantankerous. He tried sending his children to their grand parents in New Orleans to keep them from the clutches of Parley Pratt.
Parley and Eleanor went to New Orleans to collect the children. After Pratt took the children, Henry McLean followed and eventually shot Parley Pratt.
So, Parley Pratt, who was an Apostle of Joseph Smith, was pursued, persecuted and martyred by an evil gentile named Henry McClean.
This martyrdom of Apostle Parley Pratt is held by Mormons as one of the great persecutions of their faith.
I guess Mormons hold that a great man like Parley Pratt should be able to marry the wives of non-great mean like Henry McClean without repercussion.
Now, here is the problem I have with Utah history: Mormonism is a culture war religion. The LDS Church teaches that its adherents are the righteous who were gathered in the latter days to engage in an extermination war with the evil gentiles.
Because the area was built by people engaged in culture war, every piece of history in this state gets interpreted as part of the culture war. It is impossible to research the history of the state without getting drug into this mean hateful culture war.
The town of Park City was originally named Parley's Park City after Parley Pratt.
Park City is one of the choicest pieces of real estate in the Mountain West and is now an internationally recognized destination resort.
One cannot talk about the history of Park City without discussing Parley Pratt.
One's opinion of Pratt almost always follows culture war lines.
The righteous hold that Apostle Pratt was a great patriarch of the faith who married 12 women but was persecuted and martyred by an evil gentile. Non Mormons tend to look at Pratt and see a lecherous lout who broke families apart by seducing married women.
The great culture war that dominates live in Utah means that people in general cannot talk about the history of the area without being drawn into a mean hateful culture war launched by Joseph Smith.
BTW, I do not believe that Native Americans are loathsome. My observation is that people in southern climates tend have darker skin than people in northern climates because they spend more time in the sun than people in cold northern climates.