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Iowa's Place In Mormon Tradition

January 3, 2012

Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated where Joseph Smith was killed. He died in Carthage, Ill.

If there's one subterranean factor that has prevented Mitt Romney from excelling in Iowa, it is evangelical Christians' discomfort with his Mormon religion. It's a part of Romney's life he deals with carefully, playing up his faith's demonstration of his values while discussing it only as necessary.

But Iowa once played a pivotal role in the Mormon Church's history. Council Bluffs served not only as a key waystation in the Mormon migration westward, to Salt Lake City -- a point the Washington Post's Jason Horowitz hints at today, in a story datelined from the banks of the Missouri River -- it was also the location at which the foundation of the Church's governing hierarchy was established.

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