Letter to the Editor: Utah Heritage Boasts Expensive Roots

By Juan Hernandez Jr., Senior, Political Science


I was amused and yet disturbed by the Jan. 4 letter to the editor in The Daily Utah Chronicle, “Mormon Influences Rooted in Heritage,” written by Bart Gatrell.

Gatrell begins his campaign with a cry for understanding, stating that we are inaccurate when we make claims that there is not an overabundance of Mormon influence here at the University of Utah.

He attempts to support this claim by offering personal testimony that none of his professors, employers, or even roommates are Mormon.

This type of argument would lead one to believe that Mormons are perhaps a minority and thus have no influence here.

I pause at this preposterous claim.

Where else in this country does a person go around inquiring as to the religious affiliation of their professors and employers?

Then, in his infinite wisdom, he contradicts his own initial argument that there is no influence and states that “Mormonism is a part of Utah’s Heritage, deal with it.”

Well, Mr. Gatrell, I will grant you that it is a part, but only a part.

Your arrogance has blurred your ability to comprehend your own statement and provide any credence to your claim.

This is not Mormon. The name of this state is Utah, originating from Native Americans.

The territory illegally entered by the Mormon pioneers was part of Mexico.

Utah was rich in its Native American and Mexican cultures long before the pioneers determined that”This is the Place.”

Mr. Gatrell continues by stating “If they don’t like it, then they should have thought of that before they moved here.”

Is Mormon culture the only culture allowed to exist behind this “Zion Curtain?”

I am under the belief that Mormons are deeply rooted in family, and this I applaud.

So why would you make a statement such as this when the majority of those moving here make such a journey to unite with their families and continue their Utah heritage?

And yet our Utah majority passed the “English Only” law last year. A law that all but forces an abandonment of heritage and replaces it with a Mormon conformity.

This majority tried to kill Utah’s ethnic voice, thinking that the world media covering the Olympics would only hear one thing: Utah’s Mormon heritage.

If Mormons have indeed influenced this heritage, then why is it that the representation has been to replace the heritage rather than be a part of it?

I have yet to see an embracing or discussion of Black Mormon Pioneers during Black History Month, and yet there were many.

I wonder why we don’t spotlight Hispanic or Native American influences.

And yet, as all eyes turn to focus on this city, we have somehow forgotten that one in 10 Utahns are from an ethnic minority and not all living here are Mormon.

We are Utahns, and our heritage is rich. Mormons are only a PART Mr. Gatrell, only a part.

You moved here, get used to it.

Juan Hernandez Jr., Senior, Political Science