Sunday, April 3, 2016

Planned community in Vermont pisses off locals...

I just read an article in the Salt Lake Tribune about a crazy idea pitched by a Utah businessman to turn LDS church founder Joseph Smith's Vermont birthplace into a utopian community.  David Hall has lots of money, but maybe not enough time left on Earth to see his "vision" come to fruition.  Hall wants to turn pristine Vermont farmland into a community with housing for 20,000 people, 48 swimming pools, 48 basketball courts, and plenty of offices and gardens.

Naturally, many locals in Vermont are not in favor of this plan, which threatens their way of life.  Vermont locals have reason to be worried.  I have seen my mom's hometown of Buena Vista, Virginia turned into an eastern Mormon mecca.  The huge influx of LDS folks, while bringing some needed cash to Buena Vista, has also changed the town considerably.  But while LDS standards may be somewhat okay in a rural Virginia town where there are many Bible believers, Vermont is stereotypically a much more liberal place.  My guess is that this idea will go over like a turd in a punch bowl.

For his part, Hall knows that locals don't like his plan.  He was quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune article saying, "I already know that the local people don't want this," he told the crowd gathered at the Tunbridge library. "What I'm counting on is that over time people will come to like it as they understand it."

So, the people who are already living in the area that he wants to take over will learn to like the idea, once they get to know the Mormon way of life?  Somehow, I doubt it.  But Hall seems to think he knows what the people of Vermont want and need.  They just need to be exposed to it.  They don't know what they're missing or what's really good for them.  Yeah, right.  That attitude has worked out beautifully for Mormons throughout history as they were chased out of several states before landing in Utah.  ETA:  I just read another article about this plan that indicates this isn't a "church" thing.  It's just an idea Hall had based on Joseph Smith's ideas.  And he also says locals needn't worry because they'll probably be dead by the time it happens.  Again I say, yeah right.

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you may already know how I feel about Mormonism.  This idea makes me a little sick to my stomach because I hate to see a town lose its character when a large influx of people move in and take over.  If I thought a group of people related to a church could move into a community and live and let live, I might be more in favor of this kind of community.  But Mormons and other strict religious groups have a tendency to get involved in local politics and change laws so that they are more in line with their personal religious beliefs.  I think that's wrong.

It's always interesting to read the comments on news stories about stuff like this.  One person wrote:

Isn't it amazing how mormons go into a place and take over? They bully the locals into submission with their armies of lawyers and piles of money (used to be the mormon militia and Danites that did the dirty work), then squeal like stuck pigs when nobody likes them. "We're soooo persecuted!"

I used to live in New England, and there is an unmatched natural beauty and rich history around every corner. Mormonism's tacky tastes and unfettered greed will be a blight there. The last thing rural Vermont needs are cheaply built, tacky looking 200 sq ft apartments and billion dollar, religiously themed shopping malls as gaudy as anything in Las Vegas.

Why aren't they developing Jackson County, MO? I was taught that was where the Garden of Eden was, and where the "saints" will returner the Second Conning.

More comments like the one above indicate that I'm not the only one who thinks this plan is offensive and tacky.  I don't think Hall even realizes what he's intending to do.  He says, 

"I'm interested in it just because it's such a beautiful area, and I've just had connection for so long," he said. "And the Joseph Smith papers, not the religion, are the foundation of the concept."

So he wants to sully the beautiful area and put up a bunch of condos?  I think that sucks.  I hope it doesn't happen during my lifetime.  It's enough to make me want to cry.  Besides... this idea has been tried before by another religious organization and it failed spectacularly.  Heritage USA anyone?


  1. Mormons have certainly been alienating their neighbors since the time of Joseph Smith. I suppose David Hall plans to outbid (or have his heirs outbid) everyone else each time a new piece of property comes on the market. It would be nice if the local planning commission held firm and didn't let Hall and his people build their community.

  2. I know he says he doesn't want it to be a "religious" community... If that's the case, why does it have to be Joseph Smith's birthplace? And why even mention his Mormonism?

    While I certainly think people should have the right to do what they want on their own property, I also hate to see wealthy people come in and fuck up someone's community. David Hall is doing the same thing WalMart has done for decades. It's sickening.

  3. I HATE WalMart. I probably don't like David Hall much better.

    1. Yeah, I hate WalMart too. And Vermont has managed to keep WalMart mostly at bay. I think they have four stores in the entire state. So good luck to David Hall and his bullshit.


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