How Utah’s Pioneer Heritage Might Affect its Involvement with Refugee Aid


Following the terrorist attacks in Paris last November, many Republican governors across the country stated they would not accept Syrian refugees into their states. Vox released a video in an attempt to explain why the governor of Utah, from one of the most conservative states, actually supports refugees.

In November, Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert’s spokesman released a statement, saying, “we will work to do all we can to ease their suffering without compromising public safety.”

In its video, Vox took the stance of comparing the refugees to the early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Latter-day Saint faith is the religious majority in the state of Utah, as more than half of the state’s population claims membership in the Church.

The video suggests that Utah’s religious majority may have influenced Herbert’s decision to accept refugees as it compares the Syrian refugees to early members of the Church. Vox explains in its video that members of the Church identify with the refugees as they reflect on their own history. Many members of early Church endured immense persecution in the United States as mobs forced Latter-day Saints from their homes—multiple times.

Vox suggests that as a governor of a state with many people who are familiar with religious discrimination, Herbert will not stand for discriminating against any religion.

Watch the video, posted above, for more information.

Kylie is a writer at and graduate of BYU with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She grew up in a Chicago suburb where she gained a passion for the Chicago Cubs. She enjoys writing and live event video production.