Something happened to Mormons in 2011: They got popular, gained cachet and became, well, cool.

Long thought of as outsiders, followers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are enjoying a newfound acceptability and their church’s profile has risen in politics, theatre and sports.

“This is really a wonderful American story,” says Jon Butler, a professor of religious history at Yale University. “Mormons were always seen as very different. Now they’ve become just other Christians. They’ve become as interesting as Presbyterians.

“[In 2011] people began to say, ‘We have something to learn from these Mormons.’ ”

Over the years, despite Mormons being patriotic, exemplary citizens and entrepreneurs, many Americans harboured lingering suspicions that polygamy — disavowed by the leadership in the early 1900s — was still practised and that the church was more of a cult than another branch of Christianity or even a true religion.

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