Heber J Grant (Church)
Utah, parts of Idaho
Salt Lake City
In some ways, Deseret's independence predates even the stock market crash. In 1928, Utah passed the Smith Law, formally establishing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the state religion and reforming the Nauvoo Legion, which had been disbanded in 1887. The Federal Government failed to respond to the law, causing massive emigrations both of Mormons to Utah and non-Mormons exiting the state. This inaction on the Smith Law was cited as proof of the impotence of the Federal government in the secessions of Texas, Hollywood, and the Empire State. In April of 1930, Utah was the fourth country to secede from the union, renaming itself Deseret shortly thereafter.
An insular and isolationist nation, Deseret only admits traders and merchants along specific proscribed routes. Ogden serves as the commercial hub of the country, while no foreign aircraft is allowed within 10 miles of Salt Lake City.
Claiming a "mission from God," Deseret's expansionist aims have been made clear to those near and far. It will likely be helped in this aim by the presence of the Browning Arms Company in Ogden. Currently, it focuses on pacifying the Disputed Western Territories, and Deseret's limited success exceeds any other attempt in this area. That said, Deseret's methods also endear it to the locals quite a bit more than anyone else's attempts - standard procedure is to send in a mixed military and civilian force who either build a small fort or establish themselves in a town which welcomes them in. The missionaries then build themselves up while defending themselves (and anyone willing to accept their protection) from local bandits and gangs, providing supplies and food where they can. In extreme cases, the settlers may go on the offensive to break a particularly bad warlord's grip. Generally speaking, these forts develop into small towns, although in some cases their presence is rendered unnecessary as a region's population emigrates to Deseret wholesale.
While no other country is particularly friendly to Deseret (the People's Collective views them as "heretics"), Free Colorado's pirates and Navajo Territory are the most immediate threats. In countries with more neutral attitudes towards Deseret, or at least those who strongly value religious freedom, Deseret has sent missionaries who establish embassies that are one part political consulate, one part center for religious evangelism.
Magic and DemographicsEdit
Unlike the People's Collective's brand of Evangelical Christianity, Mormonism encourages academic study when it can further the goals of the church. Thus, similar to Texas, attempts have to been made to found a state-controlled Qigong school, though Deseret is frankly less likely to succeed in this aim. There are, of course, a small handful of priests who have been touched by God and granted the power to work miracles, and these are usually fast-tracked for advancement in the Church. Young members of the faith are, of course, strongly encouraged to seek paladin-hood, and the small number of paladins currently serving in the militia are held up as exemplars of the faith.
Mormonism, for whatever reason, rarely seems to appeal to elves or dwarves, but gnomes seem particularly drawn in by its community focus. Thus, gnomes contribute a sizeable minority to Deseret's otherwise human and epesi-dominated population.