'Zion' can be anywhere where there are Mormons

Leaving Utah for a Massachusetts prep school in the 1940s, 15-year-old Chase Peterson felt like a Brigham Young going East.

Peterson, the future University of Utah president, was the only Mormon most of his high school -- and later Harvard -- peers would ever know and thus felt a keen responsibility to uphold the traditions and standards of his parents, culture, church and place. But he was never homesick.

"My values, my religion, and my parents all traveled with me," Peterson said Thursday at a two-day conference sponsored by Utah Valley University's Religious Studies Program. "With them, I had a passport that allowed me to engage opportunities that were not guaranteed to succeed and not always in areas where I was trained."

Ned Hill studied chemistry at Cornell in 1969 and ended up serving as the area's LDS Institute of Religion director. His office was on the same floor as Catholic anti-war activist Daniel Berrigan.

"It was so fun to associate with brilliant people, refined, thoughtful and kind from all different backgrounds, religions and parts of the world," said Hill, now professor of finance at Brigham Young University. "I tell people -- 'Get out of Utah, you'll have an adventure.' "

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