"Secession fever" did not spare Utah in the later years of the 1990s; Mormon children learning Church history had long been taught about how the early Mormons had suffered at the hands of the US government, and many Church members longed for a chance to try their hand at governing themselves.
After the successes of the Free Oil States in seceding from the US, the Utah House of Representatives passed an Ordinance of Secession creating the Republic of the Deseret ("Deseret" is a word used in the Book of Mormon to mean "honeybee"; the first settlers in the area called it the Territory of Deseret, and the mono appears on the Utah state flag). The US government threatened to move in troops to forcibly reunite Utah with the rest of the country. LDS leaders threatened to "burn their houses and move on."
After months of political back-and-forth turned into years, the Deseret authorities agreed to nullify the Articles of Secession in return for a large degree of autonomy. This turned out to be a wise move, because when the Food Riots broke out Utah/Deseret was spared the violence other areas incurred thanks to the Church's extensive welfare programs.
Today the Church carries on all essential services in the Deseret Autonomous Region, which now includes heavily Mormon areas of Idaho, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada as well. These services include electrical production, water treatment, maintaining a defensive militia, and keeping 1-15 and 1-80 open. Deseret also provides limited ''consular" service through its network of Regional Representatives in charge of liaison with Church officials in 57 countries.
2) AADA Headquarters -- Deseret AADA headquarters is located just across from Temple Square at the corner of Main and South Temple. All services are available; phone (801) 555-DUEL.
3) Utah Stare Fairgrounds/Deseret Duelodrome -- Autoduelling, normally considered a rather violent sport, is condoned and even encouraged in Deseret under the Mormon doctrine of protecting one's home, lands, family, and liberty. Every county in Deseret has a local duelling ground; the best in the Region is the Deseret Duelodrome, formerly known as the Utah State Fairground. A regional Fair is held here every September in conjunction with the Deseret Regional AADA Championship (rather than the other way around). Mormons are taught that blood sport is a grave sin, so fatal duels are a rarity ... in the arena. Certain prominent duellists have maintained that this tends to make Deseret duellists soft. Most of these prominent duellists have never attended a Deseret event.
4) Bonneville Salt Flats -- The Deseret Duelling Control Ordinance specifies that there shall be no duels on public highways or city streets without "sufficient cause"; ''sufficient cause," however, varies from locality to locality. It is generally considered unwise to hold informal duels within city limits or when the Militia is watching. The Militia, however, turns its back on certain areas so as to allow the inevitable. Bonneville Salt Flats is one of those areas. Used in the mid-twentieth century as a testing area for high-speed vehicles, the Salt Flats are far enough away from Salt Lake City to be accessible and yet safe from the "law."
5) The Spencer Kimball Turnpike -- Named for a Church president, the Kimball Turnpike is one of the few remaining toll roads in North America. The turnpike connects Salt Lake with Ogden, Deseret's second biggest city. The Lagoon, an amusement park which houses Deseret's second most popular duelling arena, is located on exit 4 of the Turnpike, halfway between Salt Lake and Ogden.
6) The University of Utah -- The University of Utah (no one is quite sure why it retains the name of the state; the prevailing theory is, the University still receives US funds and the Federal Government had some say in the matter) is one of the leading medical research facilities in North America. U of U contributions to medical science include the artificial heart, diabetes research, and several important advances in cloning. There is a Gold Cross facility here, but the entire concept of Gold Cross is contrary to Mormon doctrine (its use by others is tolerated, though privately disdained by many).
The U of U autoduelling team is known as the "Fightin' Utes"; their livery is red and white, with an Indian's head for their symbol.
7) Brigham Young University -- BYU is one of the more prosperous universities in North America, with some 23,000 students. This makes Logan the largest city west of the Mississippi and north of Mexico whose primary industry is education. Originally located in Prove, some forty miles south of Salt Lake, BYU was moved to Logan when Prove was deserted as indefensible and Utah State University was absorbed into the University of Utah. allowing the Church to buy the Logan campus.
No autoduel fan should miss the traditional BYU -- U of U Autoduel Classic. Held the last weekend of April, the BYUAC is one of the oldest and most hotly contested collegiate autoduel rivalries in the country. BYU's livery is blue and white with a cougar's head em- blazoned upon a capital "Y".
8) Ogden -- Home of the Weber State Wildcats, Ogden is a much smaller town now than it was in its days as a railroad and government center. Ogden is the site of the former US Internal Revenue Service for the central United States; the building is currently maintained as a museum by the Daughters of the Deseret.
Not everyone, however, approves of the Church. The Gadianton Robbers, for instance, are an outlaw cycle gang based in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains east of town. They took their name from the anti-Church group in the Book of Mormon; their leaders admit they did it just to annoy Church and civic leaders. The Robbers fly black flags with a white diagonal stripe.
There is the usual assortment of cycle gangs, pedestrian rights groups, and MONDOs of every stripe. There is also a chapter of BLUD. All of the major TV networks and cable systems are represented in Salt Lake, and in addition, local stations cover local events not picked up by the larger systems.
The Salt Lake City Police drive black and white cars with the city shield on the door. City police have jurisdiction over all of Salt Lake County; however, in certain areas (such as Temple Square, the downtown area in general, the University, and the hospital zones) one is far more likely to come in contact with the Deseret Militia. The Militia consists of all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 35, who donate five weeks a year to Militia service.