I loved being raised in Utah, but I would struggle a bit if I had to move back now.
ANY organization that becomes dominant and isolated tends toward totalitarianism. Power corrupts, even in the Church - as D&C 121 says very clearly. I believe strongly that the Church simply had to flee to the wilderness in order to survive the early years of the restoration, but I also feel just as strongly that part of the pruning of the vineyard described in Jacob 5 (the elimination of the bitter fruit) is the need to shed the bad effects of that isolation.
A minority population can express its uniqueness by juxtaposing that uniqueness against the majority culture. In other words, Mormons here in Missouri can "rebel" against the cultural norm by being Mormon. In Utah, however, Mormonism was the cultural norm for many decades (and still is in lots of areas) - so those who aren't comfortable following the cultural norm find expression for their "rebellion" by challenging that norm (in this case, Mormonism). The worst part, however, is that for years (and still in many areas) the only such "rebellion" possible was by Mormons (since there were or are almost no non-Mormons) - which means that the natural reaction of the "faithful majority" was to draw even tighter conditions around "conformity" and move more and more away from the "rebellion" they saw happening within the Church. This caused polarization - where suddenly "pure Mormonism" (which is incredibly moderate and tolerant and flexible, imo) began to be seen almost as "rebellion".
I generally don't like "us against them" views, but even worse is "us against us". Isolated entrenchment under attack tends to do that, and for decades the Church was isolated and entrenched and under attack - perceived and in reality. Thankfully, the world-wide growth of the Church has begun to mitigate against that former movement, and I really believe we are beginning to swing back toward what I see as pure Mormonism.
Thoughts on D&C 107
2 hours ago