The Mormon Outposts are almost entirely based in Utah and Idaho, with some counties in nearby states and one in western Missouri. Why? These counties are strongly bound to the Salt Lake City-based, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That tie to one faith makes them unique among the Patchwork Nation types, but it is for a reason. These counties operate in different ways from other places with the church serving as the backbone of life, politics and culture. A few examples: Provo, UT Twin Falls, ID
Economically, the Outposts can be varied places. Some have more of a suburban feel – full of strip malls and office parks – and some contain academic institutions, such as Brigham Young University in Utah County. But many of these counties are fairly rural with lower incomes driven by agriculture and the service industries. There are distinct differences to Mormon Outpost communities. Many of them were founded by members of the LDS Church who were sent to the various locales to create Mormon villages and towns. Driving the streets of Mormon Outpost communities you notice subtle differences. Rather than Salvation Army Thrift Shops, people in need often visit the local Deseret Industry Shops marked with a beehive logo, a prominent symbol of the Mormon Church. Some towns are still “dry,” without the local pubs and watering holes that mark many small towns (alcohol consumption is forbidden in the Mormon church), but even in those Outposts where the liquor flows those places usually do not serve as big gathering places.
In some ways the Outposts share much with the Evangelical Epicenters – particularly the strong vein of social conservatism that runs through them. But there are also major differences, the principal one being that the Mormon Outposts are truly dominated by one faith, while the Epicenters are usually home to many different congregations. This difference is crucial. Much of what happens in the Outposts in local politics is determined by the leaders in the local Mormon stakes – that is collections of smaller congregations. Those leaders often hold key positions in city and county government.