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Surely, most North American colonies were founded as religious projects, escaping religious prosecution in Europe. But they were disintegrating as such after a generation, as utopias. With so much fertile land around and so much labour to be done, authoritarian rule did not have a chance. Now US is dense, squeezed, resources expensive for most - thus a large potential for Big Brother.
There is a serious discontinuity of religious "madness" of the first settlers and later Awakenings. Romanticism and those Great Awakenings were direct anti-intellectual reactions to Enlightenment, industrial revolution. Apparently, there are human aspirations that progressive developments do not satisfy still, nor understand fairly. And that is where there could be a serious similarity with Islam - the cyclical pattern of stronger anti-intellectual sentiments. But then, differences in this similarity would be just as interesting.
Utah was not the first territory the Mormons were escaping to. Yes, they were seeking a religous state, theodemocracy. But they developed in opposition to the established religion and politics. Thus shelving them on the Christian spectrum without a footnote is not remarkably illuminating.
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