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Utah Local Business Directory

The 45th state in the Union, Utah did not achieve statehood until 1896. Utah derives its name from the Ute Indians who resided in the area during its initial exploration. After the death of their leader, Joseph Smith, in 1844, most members of the Illinois contingent of the Church of Latter Day Saints made their way to Utah under the leadership of Brigham Young. It was hoped that the pilgrimage would allow the Mormons to find the freedom to practice their religion without outside interference. Salt Lake City was founded in 1847 and was the center of many other settlements of church members in the surrounding area.

The religious practices of the Mormons, specifically polygamy, were considered unnatural by many members of the U.S. government. As a result, the church members were involved in a few military skirmishes with federal soldiers, and also experienced some Native American hostility. The presence of polygamy in Utah effectively served to block its entry into the U.S. as a state; when the church repudiated the polygamy doctrine in 1890, statehood followed not long after.

Utah is known for its visually stunning landscapes and its numerous state parks. The Sundance Film Festival, the Red Rock Film Festival and the DOCUTAH Film Festival offer insights into modern moviemaking, and numerous ski resorts attract thousands of visitors each year to the state of Utah. The United States Olympic Ski Team is based in Park City. Religious tourism also accounts for a large percentage of visits to Utah; Temple Square attracts as many as five million guests each year.

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