Megan McArdle considers this in a thoughtful and ultimately delusional article for Bloomberg View.
She credits Utah's overwhelming whiteness and Mormon culture for making possible things other states can't. Where she runs off the rails is trying to square the circle of how it only really works if you see the world as an LDS world, and measure success only within the frame of who- and what- it approves.
Take LGBT rights, for example.
Of Utah, she writes,
(And before you start muttering words like “theocracy,” let me point out that Salt Lake City also has a thriving LGBT community, and alone in the middle of the post-Obergefell culture wars, managed to bring that community together with religious leaders to hammer out a compromise that protected LGBT rights while also leaving some space for religious liberty.)It's telling that she reduces it to a parenthetical: 58 words out of over 4700.
The Governor of Utah, Gary Herbert, and his wife were headline speakers at a meeting of the World Congress of Families, a Moscow-based Putin front chaired by National Organization for Marriage grifter Brian Brown and adored by Franklin Graham.
The LDS Church has spent a quarter century in alliances with Catholics and Southern Baptists to lavishly bankroll anti-gay referenda across the country.
A new policy adopted last year declared same-sex marriage an apostasy triggering excommunication, called for children of same-sex relationships to be be denied batptism until they are eighteen and can make their own decision (and after they renounce their families) has triggered dozens of suicides and hundreds of LDS resignations.
And while Houston recently had a successful lesbian mayor, just like Salt Lake City, that didn't stop the usual church denominations from championing a 2016 referendum to roll back LGBT civil rights protections in the Texas city.
In short, Utah works fine for you if you fit into Utah. Without the unique ubiquity of the LDS Church, it'd jst be another Aynrandia, as North Carolina's billionaire-bankrolled social experiment proves daily.