D&C/CHURCH HISTORY - LESSON 48
CHALLENGES TO THE KINGDOM - II
- Introductory Comments.
- Aftermath of the Utah War.
- The Mountain Meadows Massacre.
- B.H. Roberts: "The writer recognizes it as the most difficult
of all the many subjects with which he has to deal in this History. Difficult
because it is well-nigh impossible to sift out the absolute truth of the
matter from the mass of conflicting statements made by witnesses and near
witnesses of the affair; and equally difficult to reconcile the differences
of contending partisans." (CHC 4:139)
- Although occurring shortly after the discovery of troops on the way
to Utah, I place this as a possible result of the war due to worry and
fevered pitch of events at this time.
- 1857: A group of overland immigrants were passing through Utah. This
group was made up mostly of people from the state of Arkansas and a few
from Missouri, numbering about 144 persons. They were reported to be a
well to do immigrant company.
- This company arrived in Salt Lake City during the last part of July.
They camped out along the Jordan River. No particular note seems to have
been made of their arrival. It was just another immigrant company heading
- From Salt Lake they turned south and traveled through Provo, Springville,
Payson, and Fillmore.
- No trouble was reported until after they passed through Fillmore. Evidently
they, more particularly the Missouri contingent of the group, threatened
the destruction of the town. They also boasted of their participation in
the murders and other outrages that were inflicted upon the Mormons in
Missouri and Illinois.
- At Corn Creek, they poisened the springs which led to the death of
an ox. The carcass was eaten by some Indians. It was reported that ten
Indians died from the poisoned meat and also a considerable number of cattle
from the poisoned water.
- A son of a Mr. Robison of Fillmore died from handling the meat.
- As the Fancher party passed through the southern settlements, they
continued to boast of their participation in the expulsion of the Mormons
from Missouri. They threatened to stop and fatten their stock so there
would be plenty of beef when U.S. troops arrived. They would then help
to kill every Mormon in the mountains.
- This conduct, along with the rumors that began to fly, created an unpredicable
- The Fancher company passed through the settlements of Cedar and Pinto
the first week of September and camped at a place called Mountain Meadows,
a valley on a plateau north of St. George.
- A council of leading men in the nearby southern settlements gathered
to consider the question of how to deal with the Fancher party.
- Some were in favor of destroying the party and some were not.
- It was "unanimously decided" that action be suspended until
a message could be sent to President Young to learn what the best course
of action should be. James Haslem, from Cedar, was sent to Salt Lake.
- President Young's message to Haslem: "Go with all speed, spare
no horse flesh. The emigrants must not be meddled with, if it takes all
Iron county to prevent it. They must go free and unmolested."
- Brother Haslem returned by relay of horses arriving at Cedar on Sunday,
September 13. When he arrived and delivered his message to Isaac C. Haight,
brother Haight broke into tears and said, "Too late, too late!"
The attack was over.
- The massacre.
- Earlier in the week, several hundred Indians had gathered at Mountain
Meadows and began an attack on the emigrant camp. The emigrants fought
back and eventually repulsed the Indians killing some of their braves.
- They sent runners to gather more tribesmen and also one to John D.
Lee, urging him to come and join them. Lee reports that he found the Indians
in a frenzy of excitement and demanded that he lead them in an attack on
the camp. Lee said that the Indians threatened that if he did not join
the attack, they would declare war upon the Mormons. We only have Lee's
word to support this statement.
- Lee called for settlers from Cedar to join him. By Thursday, between
50 and 60 white settlers had joined him and the Indians. They continued
to debate the fate of the Fancher party. A plan was eventually settled
- The slaughter was done in a joint action with the Indians in three
to five minutes. Only three men escaped the first deadly assault and they
were followed and killed. 17 young children were saved. All the other men,
women, and children were slain and then given an imperfect burial.
- There is no possible excuse for this horrible tragedy, but this even
must be viewed in light of its times. And, hopefully, we can learn from
the mistakes that were made and not let action be dictated by rumor and
- Brother's Arrington & Bitton wrote: "It become historically
understandable if not pardonable when viewed as the result of a combination
of Mormon hysteria during the early stages of the Utah War, the rumors
that this company was a reconnoitering party in advance of the main federal
army, and the misbehavior of some members of the Fancher train, mainly
a few hangers-on known as Missouri wildcats, who forcibly expropriated
supplies and made profance, provocative boasts that they had participated
in the Haun's Mill Massacre and other mob actions against the Saints. Add
to this the volatile, agitated state of the Indian tribes, who had determined
to attack the train because its members had poisoned some of ther wells,
and the convegence of factors became such as to allow an explosion of passion
that under most circumstances simply could not have occurred."
(The Mormon Experience, p167)
- Federal Troops In Utah.
- Camp Floyd: About 4,000 federal troops were at first located at Camp
Floyd. Another 3,000 non-Mormon suppliers, employees, and camp followers
were located at "Dobietown" or "Frogtown" (now Fairfield).
- A flourishing trade was built up between the Mormon villagers and the
troops. This was a boost to the struggling Mormon economic trade.
- At first the church discouraged trade, then shortly thereafter stated:
"There is no sin in selling grain to the army, but the sin is in
disposing of it for less than it is worth, and depriving the poor of obtaining
sufficient for their wants."
- Provo Canyon Road: Built by the church during the move south and used
as a tool road.
- During the occupation of the army, the suppliers Russell, Majors, and
Waddell paid several thousand a year to the church in road tolls. Stated
the suppliers: "Here a saintly keeper, slate in hand, kept tally of
our wagons as they lumbered past, the toll being one dollar per ton, or
$1,250 for our train.
- The road belonged to the Mormon Church & Brigham Young.
- Paying an enemy toll to enter his conquered territory was the height
- In July of 1861, the camp was evacuated due to the outbreak of the
- An auction was held to sell off the government property left behind.
At one auction $4,000,000 in property was sold for $100,000. $40,000 was
bought in the name of Brigham Young and then most was turned over to the
public works department. Property sold included iron, tools, livestock,
stock feed, and food supplies.
- Self-Sufficiency and Retrenchment.
- Since arriving in Utah, their had been a continuing drive for self-sufficiency.
This drive continued after the arrival of federal officers and may have
been increased by the subsequent arrival of federal troops.
- Cotton Mission: In October 1861, 309 families were called to go south
to settle in Utah's Dixie and work to supply the territory with cotton,
sugar, grapes, tobacco, figs, almonds, olive oil, etc.
- Over the next decade+ about 4,000 persons were called to this area.
- The first crop of cotton in 1862 yielded 100,000 pounds of seed cotton.
A large portion of it was sent east and sold as a cash crop.
- The cotton industry in Utah never became a big success and was mostly
discontinued in the 1870s.
- Deseret Telegraph line: With the upcoming completion of the transcontinental
telegraph line, Brigham Young called for a North-South telegraph line connecting
all Mormon settlements. A 500 mile line was in place and put into operation
- The Railroad: The railroad was coming west and the church was concerned
about the effect the railroad might have on immigration, morality, and
the continued drive for independence.
- In December of 1867, Brigham Young organized the School of the Prophets
(named after the Kirtland school). It was a successor to the Council of
Fifty. The school was a forum or town meeting of leading high priest in
which theology, church government, and problems of church and community
were discussed and appropriate action taken. It became somewhat of an economic
planning conference and resolved upon policies to deal with the incoming
- Securing a contract to construct 90 miles of road from Echo Canyon
to Ogden. This would reduce the number of undesirable characters poluting
the Mormon communities. The income would also support the Utah saints and
- Established locally owned "cooperative" enterprises designed
to prevent unemployment and make the communities less dependent on imports
from the East. A number of manufacturing concerns were established including
the Utah Manufacturing Company (wagons, carriages, & agricultural equipment)
and Provo Woolen Mills.
- Increase exports to the east. To become competitive some wage reductions
were put into effect. The faithful were willing to sacrifice for the kingdom,
but there were others who critized the church for this action.
- The construction of a 37 mile church owned railroad from Ogden to Salt
Lake and eventually other extensions.
- ZCMI was organized to assist the saints in purchasing imported goods.
Many merchants were considered hostile towards the interests of the church
and taking advantage of the Saints.
- At the October 1868 conference, a general boycott of outside merchants
- Retail outlets were established in about 100 communities.
- Word of Wisdom campaign: It had not been a binding commandment upon
the Saints. The main reason for this was to help stop the cash drain from
the territory and use the money saved to bring "the poor to Zion."
- The Women's Relief Society.
- To marshall support for these policies of continuing independence the
Women's Relief Society was reorganized with Eliza R. Snow appointed as
- States Arrington: "The object of the Relief Societies was to
teach the poor to provide for themselves & to establish institutions
and programs which would assist the poor to live more comfortably and those
not so poor to live more frugally."
- The Relief Society encouraged and supported the home industry movement.
- They organized the Deseret Silk Association. Nearly every one of the
150 local Relief Society organizations had a silk project during the 1870s.
- Retrenchement Societies.
- After the formation of the Relief Society, President Young called for
the formation of "Retrenchment Societies" among the young women
of the settlements.
- President Young set the pattern for these societies when he called
his wives and daughters together in the parlor room of the Lion House in
- Said President Young at that time: "All Israel are looking
for my family and watching the example set by my wives and children. For
this reason I desire to organize my own family first into a society for
the promotion of habits of order, thrift, industry, and charity; and, above
all things, I desire them to retrench from their extravagance in dress,
in eating, and even in speech. The time has come when the sisters must
agree to give up their follies of dress and cultivate a modest apparel,
a meek deportment, and to set an example before the people of the world
worth of imitation.... "I want you to set your own fashins. Let your
apparel be neat and comely, and the workmanship of your own hands. Wear
the good cloth manufactured in our own mills, and cease to build up the
merchant who sends your money out of the Territory for fine clothes made
in the East." (GBK, p252)
- Eliza R. Snow oversaw the organization of the "Young Ladies Department
of the Co-operative Retrenchment Association" both within the Young
household and through the Relief Societies to the rest of the territory.
- The girls were taught to glean wheat, piece quilts, crochet, make hats,
knit stockings, and to engage in many cultural activities.
- The fruits of their efforts were donate to the P.E.F. and other worthwhile
- These retrenchment societies eventually evolved into "The Young
Ladies' Mutual Improvement Association" first organized in 1877.
- The United Order of Enoch.
- Motivated by the depression following the Panic of 1873 various cooperative
movements were organized under the name of the United Order of Enoch.
- Brigham City: In 1864 Lorenzo Snow organized a mercantile cooperative
in which many citizens took shares.
- Profits were dispersed in kind rather than cash. A tannery and woolen
factory were built and operated. By 1874, 40 departments had been established
covering almost every phase of industry and agriculture. The settlement
became 85% self-sufficient.
- Brigham City gained a reputation as a "hive of industry".
It was one of the most prosperous and progressive settlements in the territory.
- The Brigham City experiment was so successful that they barely felt
the depression following the Panic.
- Brigham Young was so impressed with the Brigham City enterprise that
he wanted to extend such cooperative movements. Four types evolved:
- The community contributed all their economic property to the Order
and received wages and dividends depending upon their labor and property.
- About half of these type of orders lasted only a year. Some in these
communities refused to join. There were often arguments of its operation.
- Brigham City type plans.
- A modification of the Brigham City plan used in the larger cities.
- Each ward would have a speciality. In Salt Lake City the 8th Ward operated
a hat factory, the 11th Ward a tailor's shop, the 19th Ward a soap manufactury,
the 20th Ward a boot and shoe shop.
- A communal plan. All property was contributed to the Community.
- The best known of these communities was that at Orderville, in southern
- They ranged in size from 50 to 750. They ate at a common table and
wore clothes from the same bolt of cloth. Labor was directed by a board
lf management and life was regulated by a United Order bugler who signaled
the community to rise, to eat, to attend to prayers, to go to work, to
return from work, etc.
- Evidently, these communities worked remarkably well.
- The Orderville community operated farms, gardens, and orchards, a cotton
farm, a poultry project, 3 dairies, a sheep enterprise, a steam sawmill,
water-powered gristmill, and several molasses mills. Almost complete self-sufficiency
- The Orderville community was not without its challenges. As local communities
prospered from the mining boom at Silver Reef, some of the inhabitants
of Orderville became jealous. Consider this story about a young man related
by Mark Pendleton:
- "As he gained stature, the pants he wore seemed to shrink,
but as there were no holes in them, and no patches, his application for
a new pair was denied. But where 'there is a will there is a way.' There
was a big crop of lambs that spring. When the lambs' tails were docked,
the young brother surreptitiously gathered them and sheared off the wool
which he stored in sacks. When he was assigned to take a load of wool to
Nephi, he secretly took the lambs' tail wool with his load and excanged
it for a pair of store pants. On his return, he wore his new pants to the
next dance. His entrance caused a sensation. The story is that one young
lady rushed to him, embraced and kissed him. The president of the Order
demanded an explanation, and when it was truthfully given, he said: 'According
to your own story these pants belong to the Order. You are requested to
appear before the Board of Management tomorrow evening at half past eight,
and to bring the store pants with you'."
- At the meeting, the brother was commended for his enterprise, but was
reminded that all pants must be made of cloth from the same bolt. The Board
of Management, being reasonable, decided to unseam the store pants and
use the as a pattern for all new pants. This young man would get the first
- "The tailoring department was soon swamped with orders for
pants. The elders of the Order protested. The boys went to work, as usual,
but loafed on the job. It was noticed that the everlasting pants worn by
the boys were getting thin in spots, and even some holes had developed.
These boys were often on their knees when at prayers, or when weeding in
the garden, but not much time was spent sitting down. Why was this unusual
wear on the seat of the pants? When the elders saw the boys going in groups
to the shed where the grindstone was housed, they became suspicious and
investigated. Yes, the boys were wearing out their pants on the grindstone.
The elders protested and then capitulated. A load of wool was dispatched
to Washington Mills to trade for cloth. The tailor shop was a busy place.
The boys were hard at work. The pants rebellion was over!" (GBK,
- By the late 1880's these orders faded and private enterprise became
almost universal throughout the settlements.
- One of the significant achievements of the various orders was the construction
of the four early Utah temples.
- The Raid.
- The integration of Utah into the national mainstream was brought about
by the increased contact with the rest of the country, trade, and eventually
statehood. But statehood was not achieved until after the Raid and the
elimination of the practice of plural marriage.
- Laws against the Church & plural marriage.
- While the Church was attempting to build an independent kingdom in
the West, powerful groups elsewhere were seeking to strengthen federal
controls. These groups included Western businessmen, Protestant ministers,
& ladies aid societies indignant over plural marriage.
- Several laws were passed that had an increasing affect upon the Saints
- 1862: An act of Congress in 1862 prohibited polygamy, disincorporated
the church, & prohibited it from owning more than $50,000 in property.
- This act, by itself, was able to accomplish little. The Church complied
somewhat. Only 1 civil marriage was permitted, the others were called sealings.
Most property was put in the hands of trustees. A large portion of the
property was put under the name of Brigham Young.
- 1866: The Wade Bill.
- To have placed the Nauvoo Legion under federal control, officers in
church prohibited from solemizing marriages, U.S. marshall to select all
jurors, tax all real & personal property of the church in excess of
$20,000. This bill failed to pass.
- 1869: The Cullom Bill.
- Some features of the Wade Bill included: Polygamy cases were the exclusive
jurisdiction of federal judges, plural wives deprived of immunity as witnesses
in cases against their husbands, cohabitation would be declared a misdemeanor.
Authorized the President to send part of the army to Utah to assist in
compliance. Failed to pass.
- 1869: The Ashley Bill.
- Provided for the dismemberment of Utah by transferring portions of
it to Nevada, Wyoming, & Colorado. Failed to pass.
- 1874: The Poland Act.
- Strengthened the 1862 law by transferring to federal judges jurisdiction
over criminal, civil, and chancery cases in Utah; and transferred to federal
officials the duties of the territorial attorney general and marshall;
and gave federal judges considerable leeway in the selection of jurors.
- 1882: The Edmunds Act.
- Put teeth into the 1862 law. Provided heavy penalties for the practice
of polygamy, cohabitation with a polygamous wife defined as a misdemeanor
punishable by a fine not to exceed $300 and 6 months in prison; anyone
guilty of polygamy or cohabitation declared incompetent for jury service
and also declared them ineligible for public office and disfranchised them.
- Rudger Clawson, a leader in Brigham City, and later to become one of
the Twelve, was Convicted of polygamy in October 1884. In March 1885, Clawson's
appeal was denied and the constitutionality of the this law was upheld.
- This began the period known as The Raid.
- Between 1884 and 1893 there were 1,004 convictions for unlawful habitation
and 31 for polygamy.
- Church leaders considering their covenants as sacred, refused to abandon
their marriage ties. In 1885, most Church leaders went "underground."
- President John Taylor's last public appearance was in the Tabernacle
in February 1885. He died while in hiding on July 25, 1887. His counselors
also went into hiding.
- Joseph F. Smith, went to Hawaii and did not return until 1889.
- George Q. Cannon, was probably the most sought after because of his
influence. He seldom spent two nights in the same place and was pursued
all over the west.
- In February 1886 he was captured while enroute to Mexico. He escaped
during the return trip to Salt Lake, but was later recaptured.
- He forfeited $45,000 in bail and went to Arizona.
- He finally surrendered after Wilford Woodruff became president and
served nine months in the Utah penitentiary.
- 1887: The Edmunds-Tucker Act.
- Amended the Edmunds Act and provided:
- The Corporation of the church as a legal entity was dissolved.
- The Attorney General to institute proceedings to forfeit and escheat
all property, real and personal held in excess of the 1862 limitation of
- Perpetual Emigrating Company to be dissolved.
- Abolished woman suffrage in Utah, disinherited children of plural marriages;
prescribed a test oath for voting, holding office, & serving on juries.
- Required all marriages to be certified by certificate in the probate
courts, wiped out all existing election districts, and dissolved the Nauvoo
- The Church's Response.
- The policy of asking certain members to hold church property in trust
was extended. This included the tithing office, the Church Historian's
office, the office & residence of President Taylor, the lots on which
Zions Savings Bank, ZCMI, and other church enterprises were erected. And
numerous other properties.
- Separate non-profit associations were organized to hold other properties
such as the St. George, Logan, and Manti temple associations.
- Other property was sold outright, to be held for the Church. Tithing
property was transferred to the stakes and ecclesiastical authority there.
- As a result of the Edmunds-Tucker Act and court action, the federal
government confiscated property with a value of over $1,000,000. Included:
- The temple block.
- Tithing yard and offices.
- Historian's office.
- Office of the President of the Church.
- Church farm in SLC.
- 30,000 sheep.
- Stock in the Deseret Telegraph Company, and the Gas Company.
- The Edmunds-Tucker Act was tried and eventually appealed to the United
States Supreme Court where it was upheld on May 19, 1890.
- The court indicated that the state had a "perfect right to prohibit
polygamy" and to apply the misdirected church properties to "other
- In September 25, 1890 Wilford Woodruff wrote in his journal: "I
have arrived at a point in the history of my life as the president of the
Church...where I am under the necessity of acting for the temporal salvation
of the Church."
- It was on this date the President Woodruff issued the Official Declaration
which proclaimed an end to polygamy among the Mormons.
- The Manifesto eased the pressure of the raid. What was left of Church
property was returned in 1894. Statehood was finally achieved in 1896.
- Arrington concluded that "The temporal Kingdom, for all practical
purposes, was dead--slain by the dragon of Edmunds-Tucker."