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The dominant religious group in Utah, accounting for 66% of the entire state population in 2000, was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, popularly known as the Mormons. The church was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr., in 1830, the same year he published the Book of Mormon, the group's sacred text. The Mormons' arrival in Utah climaxed a long pilgrimage that began in New York State and led westward to Missouri, then back to Illinois (where Smith was lynched), and finally across Iowa,

Nebraska, and Wyoming to Salt Lake City in 1847. The Mormon Church and its leadership continue to play a central role in the state's political, economic, and cultural institutions. Among other assets in the state, the church owns Zion Cooperative Mercantile Institute (the largest department store in Salt Lake City), one of the leading newspapers, one television station, and holdings in banks, insurance companies, and real estate.

The Latter-Day Saints had 1,483,858 members in Utah in 2000. The next largest Christian groups were Roman Catholics, 97,085 and Southern Baptists, 13,258. In 2000, there were an estimated 4,500 Jews and 3,645 Muslims in the state. About 25.3% of the population were not counted as members of any religious organization.