Utah is certainly one of the most beautiful places in the United States. It's also one of the most misunderstood. Because of the state's once-strict liquor laws (they were normalized in 2009) and its strong association with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), many expect Utah to be culturally at sea, so to speak. But visitors often come away with a much different notion of the Beehive State, one that includes not only beautiful places, but friendly locals and clean, well-managed cities. Visitors to Utah rightly target its parks and myriad natural wonders, but the state's fascinating history should not be ignored. Take time to delve a little into the stories of Brigham Young and the Mormon pioneers: These tales are not only unique, they're also definitively American. In this section, I introduce you to modern-day Utah and provide a background on the state's history and the influential Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while touching on Utah's geography and its depiction in popular culture.

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