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    Mormonism.ca - Story Of

In Utah

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Even More On The History Of Mormonism
Even More On The Religious Puzzle
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
History Of Mormonism
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Introductory Remarks
Last Days At Kirtland
More On Mormonism Social Puzzle
More On The History Of Mormonism
More On The Religious Puzzle
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Mormonism The Political Puzzle
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Notes On The History Of Mormonism
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Political Puzzle
The Political Puzzle Continued
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Religious Puzzle
The Religious Puzzle Notes
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Social And Society Puzzle
The Social Puzzle
The Social Puzzle Notes
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts


The Story Of The Mormons

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Brigham Young
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Last Days At Kirtland
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts



Early Political History








We have seen that Joseph Smith's desire was, when he suggested a
possible removal of the church to the Far West, that they should
have, not only an undisturbed place of residence, but a
government of their own. This idea of political independence
Young never lost sight of. Had Utah remained a distant province
of the Mexican government, the Mormons might have been allowed to
dwell there a long time, practically without governmental
control. But when that region passed under the government of the
United States by the proclamation of the Treaty of
Guadalupe-Hidalgo, on July 4, 1848, Brigham Young had to face
anew situation. He then decided that what he wanted was an
independent state government, not territorial rule under the
federal authorities, and he planned accordingly. Every device was
employed to increase the number of the Saints in Utah, to bring
the population up to the figure required for admission as a
state, and he encouraged outlying settlements at every attractive
point. In this way, by 1851, Ogden and Provo had become large
enough to form Stakes, and in a few years the country around Salt
Lake City was dotted with settlements, many of them on lands to
which the "Lamanites," who held so deep a place in Joseph Smith's
heart, asserted in vain their ancestral titles.

The first General Epistle sent out from Great Salt Lake City, in
1849, thus explained the first government set up there, "In
consequence of Indian depredations on our horses, cattle, and
other property, and the wicked conduct of a few base fellows who
came among the Saints, the inhabitants of this valley, as is
common in new countries generally, have organized a temporary
government to exist during its necessity, or until we can obtain
a charter for a territorial government, a petition for which is
already in progress."

On March 4, 1849, a convention, to which were invited all the
inhabitants of upper California east of the Sierra Nevadas, was
held in Great Salt Lake City to frame a system of government. The
outcome was the adoption of a constitution for a state to be
called the State of Deseret, and the election of a full set of
state officers. The boundaries of this state were liberal.
Starting at a point in what is now New Mexico, the line was to
run down to the Mexican border, then west along the border of
lower California to the Pacific, up the coast to 118 degrees 30
minutes west longitude, north to the dividing ridge of the Sierra
Nevadas, and along their summit to the divide between the
Columbia River and the Salt Lake Basin, and thence south to the
place of beginning, "by the dividing range of mountains that
separate the waters flowing into the Gulf of Mexico from the
waters flowing into the Gulf of California." The constitution
adopted followed the general form of such instruments in the
United States. In regard to religion it declared, "All men have a
natural and inalienable right to worship God according to the
dictates of their own consciences; and the General Assembly shall
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or disturb any person in
his religious worship or sentiments." *

*For text of this constitution and the memorial to Congress, see
Millennial Star, January 15, 1850.


An epistle of the Twelve to Orson Pratt in England, explaining
this subject, said, "We have petitioned the Congress of the
United States for the organization of a territorial government
here. Until this petition is granted, we are under the necessity
of organizing a local government for the time being."* The
territorial government referred to was that of the State of
Deseret. The local government mentioned was organized on March
12, by the election of Brigham Young as governor, H. C. Kimball
as chief justice, John Taylor and N. K. Whitney as associate
justices, and the Bishops of the wards as city magistrates, with
minor positions filled. Six hundred and seventy-four votes were
polled for this ticket.

* Millennial Star, Vol. XI, p. 244.


The General Assembly, chosen later, met on July 2, and adopted a
memorial to Congress setting forth the failure of that body to
provide any form of government for the territory ceded by
Mexico,* declaring that "the revolver and the bowie knife have
been the highest law of the land," and asking for the admission
of the State of Deseret into the Union. That same year the
Californians framed a government for themselves, and a plan was
discussed to consolidate California and Deseret until 1851, when
a separation should take place. The governor of California
condemned this scheme, and the legislature gave it no
countenance.

* "When Congress adjourned on March 4, 1849, all that had been
done toward establishing some form of government for the immense
domain acquired by the treaty with Mexico was to extend over it
the revenue laws and make San Francisco a port of
entry."--Bancroft's "Utah," p. 446.


The Mormons had a confused idea about the government that they
had set up. In the constitution adopted they called their domain
the State of Deseret, but they allowed their legislature to elect
their representative in Congress, sending A. W. Babbitt as their
delegate to Washington, with their memorial asking for the
admission of Deseret, or that they be given "such other form of
civil government as your wisdom and magnanimity may award to the
people of Deseret." The Mormons' old political friend in
Illinois, Stephen A. Douglas, presented this memorial in the
Senate on December 27, 1849, with a statement that it was an
application for admission as a state, but with the alternative of
admission as a territory if Congress should so direct. The
memorial was referred to the Committee on Territories.

On the 31st of December, a counter memorial against the admission
of the Mormon state was presented by Mr. Underwood of Kentucky, a
Whig. This was signed by William Smith, the prophet's brother,
and Isaac Sheen (who called themselves the "legitimate
presidents" of the Mormon church), and by twelve other members.
This memorial alleged that fifteen hundred of the emigrants from
Nauvoo to Salt Lake City, before their departure for Illinois,
took the following oath:--

"You do solemnly swear, in the presence of Almighty God, his holy
angels, and these witnesses, that you will avenge the blood of
Joseph Smith upon this nation; and so teach your children; and
that you will from this day henceforth and forever begin and
carry out hostility against this nation, and keep the same a
profound secret now and ever. So help you God."

This memorial also set forth that the Mormons were practising
polygamy in the Salt Lake Valley; that since their arrival there
they had tried two Indian agents on a charge of participation in
the expulsion of the Mormons from Missouri, and that they were,
by their own assumed authority, imposing duties on all goods
imported into the Salt Lake region from the rest of the United
States. Senator Douglas, in an explanation concerning the latter
charge, admitted that Delegate Babbitt acknowledged the levying
of duties, the excuse being that the Mormons had found it
necessary to set up a government for themselves, pending the
action of Congress, and as a means of revenue they had imposed
duties on all goods brought into and sold within the limits of
Great Salt Lake City, but asserted that goods simply passing
through were not molested. This tax seems to have been
established entirely by the church authorities, the first of the
"ordinances" of the Deseret legislature being dated January 15,
1850.

The constitution of Deseret was presented to the House of
Representatives by Mr. Boyd, a Kentucky Democrat, on January 28,
1850, and referred to the Committee on Territories. On July 25,
John Wentworth, an Illinois Democrat, presented a petition from
citizens of Lee County, in his state, asking Congress to protect
the rights of American citizens passing through the Salt Lake
Valley, and charging on the organizers of the State of Deseret
treason, a desire for a kingly government, murder, robbery, and
polygamy.

The Mormon memorial was taken up in the House of Representatives
on July 18, after the committee had unanimously reported that "it
is inexpedient to admit Almon W. Babbitt, Esq., to a seat in this
body from the alleged State of Deseret." A long debate on the
admission of the delegate from New Mexico had deferred action.
The chairman of the committee, Mr. Strong, a Pennsylvania Whig,
explained that their report was founded on the terms of the
Mormon memorial, which did not ask for Babbitt's reception as a
delegate until some form of government was provided for them. Mr.
McDonald, an Indiana Whig, offered an amendment admitting
Babbitt, and a debate of considerable length followed, in which
the slavery question received some attention. The Committee of
the Whole voted to report to the House the resolution against
seating Babbitt, and then the House, by a vote of 104 yeas to 78
nays, laid the resolution on the table (on motion of its
friends), and tabled a motion for reconsideration. On the 9th of
September following, the law for the admission of Utah as a
territory was signed. The boundaries defined were California on
the west, Oregon on the north, the summit of the Rocky Mountains
on the east, and the 37th parallel of north latitude on the
south.





Next: Brigham Young's Despotism

Previous: The Hand-cart Tragedy



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