D&C/CHURCH HISTORY - LESSON 46
BUILDING THE KINGDOM - PART II
- Introductory Comments.
- The Gold Rush.
- Gold In California.
- John Sutter was an immigrant to California who had been doing well
in a variety of businesses. He was known as the Patriarch of Sacramento
- The Mexican-American War had hurt business for Sutter. He had sent
out supplies to assist the Donner party, the cost of which was probably
not recoverable. He had additional debts which his crops would not cover.
- In August 1847, when the Mormons were first settling in the Salt Lake
valley, Sutter was in the process of building a large flour mill on the
American River in California. Sutter believed the profits on this mill
would be sufficient to pay his debts. He was held up on the construction
for a lack of timber. He decided that what he needed was a sawmill, high
up in the mountains, where there were plentiful stands of timber.
- On August 25, the first contingent of the Mormon Battalion, which had
been previously disbanded, hand arrived and made came two miles from Fort
Sutter on the American River. They were hoping to receive news from Brigham
Young has to how to proceed.
- Two days later, Captain John Brown arrived from Salt Lake to buy cattle
and feed for the Saints. He carried instructions from President Young that
the Battalion members should remain in California for the winter, to work
and earn what money they could.
- These Battalion members offered their services to Sutter. With this
windfall of manpower, Sutter contracted with his carpenter, James Marshall,
to build needed sawmill 50 miles up the south fork of the American River.
- James Marshall took these Mormons up the river and together they constructed
- By the turn of the new year, in 1848, the sawmill was nearly completed.
When it was completed, they discovered a defect which had to be corrected:
the tailrace was too shallow at the end, causing the dammed-up water to
rush back and prevent the flutter wheel from turning. They decided the
channel had to be deepened by blasting.
- On the morning of January 24, 1848, after the blasting had been done,
while Marshall was inspecting the mill race, he saw something glitter in
- When he showed the nuggets to the members of the Battalion working
on the mill, they were not impressed. They continued working at their tasks.
- Henry Bigler, a Battalion member, went out searching on his own time
and found flecks of gold and later a nugget. Even though the Mormons could
have made more digging for gold at this point, not one man ran out on his
promise to Sutter to work the six weeks necessary to complete the mill.
They did use their spare time to search for gold.
- On January 28, Marshall reported the discovery to Sutter. They tried
to keep the discovery secret, but in time the secret leaked out and the
Mormons were partially responsible.
- It was Sam Brannen who announced the discovery of gold in San Francisco.
- Irving Stone, in his book Men To Match My Mountains, wrote: "Thus
it was that in the year 1847 the Mormons not only settled Bonneville's
Lake, bringing a whole new people and new culture to the Far West, but
the presence of members of the Mormon Battalion, poising at Sutter's for
the winter, was also instrumental in bringing to California, traversing
Colorado, Utah and Nevada en route, the greatest rush of humanity ever
to pour into a country from every radius of the earth's circumference."
(Men To Match My Mountains, p104)
- Impact On The Saints.
- There was a temptation to chase gold in California and establish the
- With members of the Mormon Battalion and the Saints from the Brooklyn,
early claims could be made to the gold fields.
- There were already a few thousand Saints in the Salt Lake valley and
20,000 more at various stages of moving west.
- This situation would have allowed the Church to garner a significant
portion of the gold found in California.
- Brigham said that the Salt Lake Valley was "a good place to
make Saints, and it is a good place for Saints to live; it is the place
the Lord has appointed, and we shall stay here, until He tells us to go
- Brigham added: "If you Elders of Israel want to go to the gold
mines, go and be damned."
- President Young promised that those who stayed behind would do better
than those who went in search of gold, "I will commence at the
north and go to the south settlements, and pick out twenty-five of our
inhabitants as they average; and another man may take fifty of the gold
diggers, off hand, and they cannot buy out the twenty-five who have taried
at home." (DHC 3:348)
- In encouraging the Saints to remain and while they were still struggling
with avoiding starvation, Heber C. Kimball prophesied that within a short
time "states goods would be sold in the streets of Salt Lake City
cheaper than in New York, and that the people could be abundantly supplied
with food and clothing." (DHC 3:349)
- After President Kimball spoke to the Saints, he was so unsure of the
prophecy, delivered to him by the Spirit, that he remarked to his brethren
that he was "afraid he had missed it this time."
- In 1849, almost every article, except sugar and coffee, was selling,
on an average, 50% below wholesale prices in eastern cities.
- The Gold Mission: Due to the critical need for additional capital,
two companies of men were secretly called on missions to go to California
and mine for gold.
- Due to the lack of success and the high costs of working and living
in California, little gold was sent back to the Church.
- 40,000 to 50,000 persons traveled overland to California in both 1849
- They first started arriving in Salt Lake City during July 1849.
- 10,000 to 15,000 went through Salt Lake City in each of those years.
- They provided to the Saints needed capital & supplies.
- The Saints were able to make handsome profits and acquire needed goods
in trade for fresh teams, flour, and vegetables.
- Employment was also provided for blacksmiths, wagonsmiths, teamsters,
laundresses, and millers.
- The presidency wrote to Orson Hyde of the 49ers, "...our peaceful
valley has appeared like the half-way house of the pilgrims to Mecca, and
still they come and go, and probably will continue to do so till fall."
- Unlike the earlier struggles, the harvests of 1849 and 1850 were sufficient
to provide for the ever increasing numbers of Saints migrating to the Valley.
But there was not any extra.
- Hundreds of 49ers arrived in Salt Lake to late in the season to continue
- Many contemplated wintering in Salt Lake. There wasn't enough food
to provide for the Saints and the California emigrants.
- To relieve this situation, Jefferson Hunt, a captain with the Mormon
Battalion, proposed to guide California emigrants over the southern route
that season, and thus avoid the danger of a rigorous winter journey over
- A company of 100 wagons formed and were directed by Captain Hunt.
- About 200 miles south, most of these emigrants left Hunt's company
to follow a "Captain Smith" over what was called "Walker's
cut-off". Hunt tried to persuade them that this route was not a safe
- Hunt's company was left with 7 wagons arriving near the coast on December
- After wandering in the mountains with little grass and water, most
turned back and followed the southern route.
- Captain Smith's company continued westward, arriving in California
after much suffering. Many died from thirst and desert heat in the deserts
of south central Nevada. Most of their stock perished.
- Some 49ers remained in the Salt Lake Valley over the winter. Of those,
some were taught the gospel and were baptized. Some became honest believers.
- Others were what became known as "winter saints". They used
their "conversion" to take advantage of the hospitality of the
- Emigration & Building the Kingdom.
- The Perpetual Emigrating Company.
- The migration of Mormons to the west did not end after the pioneer
treks of 1847 and 1848. This was only the beginning.
- In the fall of 1849, the Perpetual Emigration Fund was organized to
assist the poor in emigrating to the Great Basin. A committee was appointed
to gather contributions and $6,000 was raised that fall. With this help,
2,500 person were brought to the valley in 1850.
- That success lead Church leaders to incorporate the Perpetual Emigrating
- The charter provided that "All persons receiving assistance
from the Perpetual Emigrating Fund for the Poor, shall reimburse the same
in labor or otherwise, as soon as their circumstances will admit."
- President Young served as president of the company.
- Another 2,500 emigrated in 1851, leaving 8,000 still in the Iowa camps.
In 1852, these Saints were organized and the Iowa camps were finally cleared
- Only a skeleton force was left along the corridor to assist with future
- Along with other Saints migrating, nearly 10,000 Saints were brought
to Utah in 1852.
- Efforts were then adjusted to assist thousands of European Saints to
immigrate to Utah.
- By 1870, when the railroad changed the pattern of emigration, more
than 51,000 Mormon emigrants had been assisted to Zion.
- The Missionary Work.
- October 1849:
- Three men were called to missions in the Society Islands (Tahiti).
- One of those called was Addison Pratt, who had been on missions and
had not received the temple endowment. Prior to his departure, he was taken
to the summit of Ensign Peak and there received that ordinance. The mountain
had been dedicated especially for that purpose since there was not a temple
available. (CHC 3:386-387)
- Lorenzo Snow and Joseph Toronto were called on a mission to Italy.
- During this mission, the preaching of the gospel was also extended
to Switzerland and Malta.
- Elder Snow, conferring with his fellow apostles in England, sent William
Willis to Calcutta, where several hundred natives were baptized. Hugh Findlay
was sent to Bombay.
- Erastus Snow was sent to Scandinavia to open the door of the gospel
to those nations.
- John Taylor others were called on a mission to France and Germany.
- The increasing number of immigrants enable the Saints to spread out
and colonize Deseret.
- 1847-48: Salt Lake & Weber Valleys.
- 1849: Utah, Tooele, San Pete valleys.
- 1851: Box Elder, Pahvant, Juab, Parowan Valleys.
- 1853: Ft Bridger & Ft Supply, Wy.
- 1855: Moab, Lemhi.
- 1856: Cache Valley.
- Carson Valley (1849-51).
- Mormon Corridor. The goal: "to establish a chain of forts from
Great Salt Lake City to the Pacific Ocean." By 1855, 27 communities
had been founded along the route including Las Vegas and San Bernardino.
- First 10 years in Great Basin - 96 settlements. By the end of the century
- at least 500.
- Physical Building of the Kingdom.
- Public Works - built in the early years by tithing of labor and goods.
- These public works also provided employment for new emigrants and others
without gainful employment.
- Council House (1855).
- The Old Tabernacle (1852).
- The Endowment House (1855).
- A wall around the temple block.
- Construction begins on the temple.
- Machine shop, foundry, & nail factory (1852-65).
- In 1854 a wall was began around the city (12' high, 6' thick at the
bottom, & 2 1/2' at top) made of mud mixed with straw, hay, or gravel.
It was less than half complete when construction was dropped.
- Industrial Development
- Domestic manufacturing was encouraged by church leadership.
- To become independent of the world.
- The necessity of providing employment for the ongoing immigration into
- The desirability of keeping money in "Zion".
- Outside industries:
- Pottery: Sponsored by the Church in 1852-53. A private pottery was
established in 1856.
- Paper mill: Established in 1853.
- In 1861 the "Rag Mission" was established to provide a continuous
flow of rags necessary for the operation of the paper mill. Turned over
to the Women's Relief Society in 1867.
- One George Goddard was called on a "Rag Mission". Said Brother
Goddard of his mission: "[This calling] was a severe blow to my
native pride.... But after being known in the community for years, as a
merchant and auctioneer, and then to be seen on the streets going from
door to door with a basket on one arm and an empty sack on the other, enquiring
for rags at every house. Oh, what a change in the aspect of affairs....
When President Young first made the proposition, the humiliating prospect
almost stunned me, but a few moments' reflection reminded me that I came
to these valleys of the mountains from my native country, England, for
the purpose of doing the will of my Heavenly Father, my time and means
must be at His disposal. I therefore answered President Young in the affirmative,
and for over three years, from Franklin, Idaho, in the north, and Sanpete
in the south, my labors extended, not only visiting many hundreds of houses
during week days, but preaching rag sermons on Sunday. The first time I
ever spoke in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City,...was a rag discourse, and
Presidents Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball backed it up with their testimony
and enlarged upon it." (GBK, p115)
- Sugar: A sugar works was established by the Church in 1853, but due
to difficulties was not operated after the fall of 1856.
- Wool: A woolen factory was established & started up in 1863. There
had been smaller attempts prior to that time.
- Iron: 1851 - an "iron mission" was established at Cedar City.
- After struggling for nearly ten years and the expenditure of about
$150,000 only a few andirons, kitchen utensils, flat irons, wagon wheels,
molasses rolls, and machine casings had been created.
- Arrington states: "small, volunteer, cooperative industry was
simply unable to cope with the problems associated with developing a major
resource." GBK, p127)
- Many of these early enterprises were "mixed" enterprises
supported and financed by the legislature, the church, and private individuals.
- To support the Church and its various ventures there were several types
of tithing collected by the Church:
- Property tithing: 10% capital levy on property owned by the individual
at the time he began to pay tithing. Usually paid in cash or livestock.
- Labor tithing: The donation of every tenth day towards various church
projects and public enterprises. Often, the well to do members paid their
labor tithing by hiring others to do their work.
- Produce and stock tithing: A tenth of the yield of household, farm,
ranch, factory, mine.
- "The majority allowed their tithing to run into arrears, and
then paid it up in a lump in some staple article, such as wheat or a calf,
that could be conveniently spared." (GBK, p135)
- Bishops were urged by the Church to keep a close watch on the yields
of their ward members: "And we recommend to the bishops throughout
these vallies, to keep their ears open, and when they hear their neighbor's
pigs squeal, just step over and see how many have died, and what they weigh,
and what proportion arrives at the tithing office; for many tons of pork
went out of sight last year, and the bishops made no record of it, and
many more will this year, if the bishops don't attend to their duty, and
the Lord will require the cost at the bishop's hands." (GBK, p135)
- Cash tithing: Particularly sought after by the Church because of the
need for capital at this time.
- Institutional tithing: A levy on the profits of stores, shops, and
- As we continue this discussion of the Building of the Kingdom, we should
ask ourselves, WHAT ARE WE WILLING TO DO FOR THE KINGDOM?
- Are we willing to go on a rag mission?
- Are we willing to leave the gold fields when gold is in sight?
- Are we willing to tithe a tenth of our time?
- WHAT IS YOUR ANSWER? ARE YOU WORTHY TO PARTAKE WITH THE SAINTS? WE
MUST EACH ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS FOR OURSELVES.
- Next Week.
- Challenges To The Kingdom.