That's a quotation from Wallace Stegner, found in historian James L. Clayton's 10-page review of Wallace Stegner's writings on Mormons, "From Pioneers to Provincials: Mormonism as seen by Wallace Stegner," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 1 No. 4 (1966): 105-114. Stegner's family moved from Saskatchewan to Salt Lake City when he was a young boy, and he lived there until graduating with an English degree from the University of Utah. Later, he returned to teach English at the U for three more years in the mid-1930s. The two books in which he discussed Mormonism at length are Mormon Country (1942) and The Gathering of Zion: The Story of the Mormon Trail (1964). Stegner loves the LDS pioneers who crossed the plains, but, Clayton notes, "When Stegner moves away from descriptions or the original pioneers and their hardships ... he becomes much more critical."
Stegner is primarily a writer, not a historian. A great writer, in fact: Angle of Repose won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1972. So if you find a copy of Gathering of Zion, you should read it as much to get Stegner's view of the Mormon experience and to enjoy his prose as for the historical details he provides. As Clayton notes, Stegner did not have access to sources in the LDS archives, an unfortunate handicap, and he did not use footnotes. He says some very nice things about the handcart companies that got stuck in an early Wyoming winter (and I write these words sitting in the middle of an early Wyoming winter — I shoveled six inches of snow off the driveway last week). You can read the excerpts in the review. More interesting, perhaps, for today's reader is Stegner's measured rejection of the style of LDS church leadership and governance. Here is a short passage from Mormon Country, quoted by Clayton in the review (ellipses in original).
The Mormons were never, in their Church organization or in their social patterns, what we think of as democratic. ... Within the Church the members have never had even the right of nomination, and even yet, at April or October Conference, it is possible to go into the tabernacle in Salt Lake City when a [Church] election is in progress and get a shock from seeing the forest of hands, ten thousand in one motion, go up on every name. It takes courage for a Mormon to dissent. ... Call it a benevolent despotism. It is not a democracy ..., and its essentially fundamentalist hostility to free thought has driven a good many of its sons and daughters into something like exile.