Was More risking persecution by the church because of his book, Utopia?
I do not believe that More was facing any risks of being persecuted by the church when he published Utopia. I assume that he thought that most of the people who read his book would realize that the book was satire- depicting the place of Utopia as a foolish and nonsensical society.
To give a few of the book’s satire examples, the people in Utopia did not care about fashion trends; Utopian wives did not complain; precious metals were used as toilet bowls and toys; there was no currency; and Utopians were not greedy or prideful.
From what I gather, in its day Utopia was a popular piece of humorous literature and being as it was humorous it was not to be taken very seriously. And besides the humorous part of Utopia, Thomas More was a Chancellor of the Catholic Church, which made him highly respected among church leaders.