Terrestrial Kingdom of Deseret

Marc Reisner was only half joking in his classic book “Cadillac Desert” that irrigation farming in the West is so fundamentally Mormon that when the U.S. Government formed the Bureau of Reclamation in 1902 to put arid land under the plow, Reclamation was by extension Mormon, too.

The modern fight over a bid by Las Vegas to claim the ground water from beneath the heart of Old Deseret is every bit as centered in Mormondom. The schism caused by it even cuts through the US Senate. There, two old lions of the Upper House, Harry Reid (D) Nevada and Orrin Hatch (R) Utah, are both Mormon, and both on opposite sides of a Las Vegas water war.

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    Emily Green by e-mail at emily.green [at] mac.com
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