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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



Progress Of The Settlement








With the arrival of the later companies from Winter Quarters the
population of the city was increased by the winter of 1848 to
about five thousand, or more than one-quarter of those who went
out from Nauvoo. The settlers then had three sawmills, one
flouring mill, and a threshing machine run by water, another
sawmill and flour mill nearly completed, and several mills under
way for the manufacture of sugar from corn stalks.

Brigham Young, again on the ground, took the lead at once in
pushing on the work. To save fencing, material for which was hard
to obtain, a tract of eight thousand acres was set apart and
fenced for the common use, within which farmhouses could be
built. The plan adopted for fencing in the city itself was to
enclose each ward separately, every lot owner building his share.
A stone council house, forty-five feet square, was begun, the
labor counting as a part of the tithe; unappropriated city lots
were distributed among the new-comers by a system of drawing, and
the building of houses went briskly on, the officers of the
church sharing in the labor. A number of bridges were also
provided, a tax of one per cent being levied to pay for them.

Among the incidents of the winter mentioned in an epistle of the
First Presidency was the establishment of schools in the
different wards, in which, it was stated, "the Hebrew, Greek,
Latin, French, German, Tahitian and English languages have been
taught successfully"; and the organization of a temporary local
government, and of a Stake of Zion, with Daniel Spencer as
president. It was early the policy of the church to carry on an
extended system of public works, including manufacturing
enterprises. The assisted immigrants were expected to repay by
work on these buildings the advance made to them to cover their
travelling expenses. Young saw at once the advantage of starting
branches of manufacture, both to make his people independent of a
distant supply and to give employment to the population. Writing
to Orson Pratt on October 14, 1849, when Pratt was in England, he
said that they would have the material for cotton and woollen
factories ready by the time men and machinery were prepared to
handle it, and urged him to send on cotton operatives and "all
the necessary fixtures." The third General Epistle spoke of the
need of furnaces and forges, and Orson Pratt, in an address to
the Saints in Great Britain, dated July 2, I850, urged the
officers of companies "to seek diligently in every branch for
wise, skilful and ingenious mechanics, manufacturers, potters,
etc."*

* The General Epistle of April, 1852, announced two potteries in
operation, a small woollen factory begun, a nail factory, wooden
bowl factory, and many grist and saw mills. The General Epistle
of October, 1855, enumerated, as among the established
industries, a foundery, a cutlery shop, and manufactories of
locks, cloth, leather, hats, cordage, brushes, soap, paper,
combs, and cutlery.


The General Conference of October, 1849, ordered one man to build
a glass factory in the valley, and voted to organize a company to
transport passengers and freight between the Missouri River and
California, directing that settlements be established along the
route. This company was called the Great Salt Lake Valley
Carrying Company. Its prospectus in the Frontier Guardian in
December, 1849, stated that the fare from Kanesville to Sutter's
Fort, California, would be $300, and the freight rate to Great
Salt Lake City $12.50 per hundredweight, the passenger wagons to
be drawn by four horses or mules, and the freight wagons by oxen.

But the work of making the new Mormon home a business and
manufacturing success did not meet with rapid encouragement.
Where settlements were made outside of Salt Lake City, the people
were not scattered in farmhouses over the country, but lived in
what they called "forts," squalid looking settlements, laid out
in a square and defended by a dirt or adobe wall. The inhabitants
of these settlements had to depend on the soil for their
subsistence, and such necessary workmen as carpenters and
shoemakers plied their trade as they could find leisure after
working in the fields. When Johnston's army entered the valley in
1858, the largest attempt at manufacturing that had been
undertaken there--a beet sugar factory, toward which English
capitalists had contributed more than $100,000--had already
proved a failure. There were tanneries, distilleries, and
breweries in operation, a few rifles and revolvers were made from
iron supplied by wagon tires, and in the larger settlements a few
good mechanics were kept busy. But if no outside influences had
contributed to the prosperity of the valley, and hastened the day
when it secured railroad communication, the future of the people
whom Young gathered in Utah would have been very different.

A correspondent of the New York Tribune, on his way to
California, writing on July 8, 1849, thus described Salt Lake
City as it presented itself to him at that time:-- "There are no
hotels, because there had been no travel; no barber shops,
because every one chose to shave himself and no one had time to
shave his neighbor; no stores, because they had no goods to sell
nor time to traffic; no center of business, because all were too
busy to make a center. There was abundance of mechanics' shops,
of dressmakers, milliners and tailors, etc., but they needed no
sign, nor had they any time to paint or erect one, for they were
crowded with business. Besides their several trades, all must
cultivate the land or die; for the country was new, and no
cultivation but their own within 1000 miles. Everyone had his lot
and built on it; every one cultivated it, and perhaps a small
farm in the distance. And the strangest of all was that this
great city, extending over several square miles, had been
erected, and every house and fence made, within nine or ten
months of our arrival; while at the same time good bridges were
erected over the principal streams, and the country settlements
extended nearly 100 miles up and down the valley."*

* New York Tribune, October 9, 1849.


The winter of 1848 set in early and severe, with frequent
snowstorms from December 1 until late in February, and the
temperature dropping one degree below zero as late as February 5.
The deep snow in the canons, the only outlets through the
mountains, rendered it difficult to bring in fuel, and the
suffering from the cold was terrible, as many families had
arrived too late to provide themselves with any shelter but their
prairie wagons. The apprehended scarcity of food, too, was
realized. Early in February an inventory of the breadstuffs in
the valley, taken by the Bishops, showed only three-quarters of a
pound a day per head until July 5, although it was believed that
many had concealed stores on hand. When the first General Epistle
of the First Presidency was sent out from Salt Lake City in the
spring of 1849,* corn, which had sold for $2 and $3 a bushel, was
not to be had, wheat had ranged from $4 to $5 a bushel, and
potatoes from $6 to $20, with none then in market.

* Millennial Star, Vol. XI, p. 227.

The people generally exerted themselves to obtain food for those
whose supplies had been exhausted, but the situation became
desperate before the snow melted. Three attempts to reach Fort
Bridger failed because of the depth of snow in the canons. There
is a record of a winter hunt of two rival parties of 100 men
each, but they killed "varmints" rather than game, the list
including 700 wolves and foxes, 20 minks and skunks, 500 hawks,
owls and magpies, and 1000 ravens.* Some of the Mormons, with the
aid of Indian guides, dug roots that the savages had learned to
eat, and some removed the hide roofs from their cabins and stewed
them for food. The lack of breadstuffs continued until well into
the summer, and the celebration of the anniversary of the arrival
of the pioneers in the valley, which had been planned for July 4,
was postponed until the 24th, as Young explained in his address,
"that we might have a little bread to set on our tables."

* General Epistle, Millennial Star, Vol. XI, p. 227.


Word was now sent to the states and to Europe that no more of the
brethren should make the trip to the valley at that time unless
they had means to get through without assistance, and could bring
breadstuffs to last them several months after their arrival.

But something now occurred which turned the eyes of a large part
of the world to that new acquisition of the United States on the
Pacific coast which was called California, which made the Mormon
settlement in Utah a way station for thousands of travellers
where a dozen would not have passed it without the new incentive,
and which brought to the Mormon settlers, almost at their own
prices, supplies of which they were desperately in need, and
which they could not otherwise have obtained. This something was
the discovery of gold in California.

When the news of this discovery reached the Atlantic states and
those farther west, men simply calculated by what route they
could most quickly reach the new El Dorado, and the first
companies of miners who travelled across the plains sacrificed
everything for speed. The first rush passed through Salt Lake
Valley in August, 1849. Some of the Mormons who had reached
California with Brannan's company had by that time arrived in the
valley, bringing with them a few bags of gold dust. When the
would-be miners from the East saw this proof of the existence of
gold in the country ahead of them, their enthusiasm knew no
limits, and their one wish was to lighten themselves so that they
could reach the gold-fields in the shortest time possible. Then
the harvest of the Mormons began. Pack mules and horses that had
been worth only $25 or $30 would now bring $200 in exchange for
other articles at a low price, and the travellers were auctioning
off their surplus supplies every day. For a light wagon they did
not hesitate to offer three or four heavy ones, with a yoke of
oxen sometimes thrown in. Such needed supplies as domestic
sheetings could be had at from five to ten cents a yard, spades
and shovels, with which the miners were overstocked, at fifty
cents each, and nearly everything in their outfit, except sugar
and coffee, at half the price that would have been charged at
wholesale in the Eastern states.*

* Salt Lake City letter to the Frontier Guardian.


The commercial profit to the Mormons from this emigration was
greater still in 1850, when the rush had increased. Before the
grain of that summer was cut, the gold seekers paid $1 a pound
for flour in Salt Lake City. After the new grain was harvested
they eagerly bought the flour as fast as five mills could grind
it, at $25 per hundredweight. Unground wheat sold for $8 a
bushel, wood for $10 a cord, adobe bricks for more than seven
shillings a hundred, and skilled mechanics were getting twelve
shillings and sixpence a day.* At the same time that the
emigrants were paying so well for what they absolutely required,
they were sacrificing large supplies of what they did not need on
almost any terms. Some of them had started across the plains with
heavy loads of machinery and miscellaneous goods, on which they
expected to reap a big profit in California. Learning, however,
when they reached Salt Lake City, that ship-loads of such
merchandise were on their way around the Horn, the owners
sacrificed their stock where it was, and hurried on to get their
share of the gold.

* Millennial Star, Vol. XII, p. 350.


This is not the place in which to tell the story of that rush of
the gold seekers. The clerk at Fort Laramie reported, "The total
number of emigrants who passed this post up to June 10, 1850,
included 16,915 men, 235 women, 242 children, 4672 wagons, 14,974
horses, 4641 mules, 7475 oxen, and 1653 cows." A letter from
Sacramento dated September 10, 1850, gave this picture of the
trail left by these travellers: "Many believed there are dead
animals enough on the desert (of 45 miles) between Humboldt Lake
and Carson River to pave a road the whole distance. We will make
a moderate estimate and say there is a dead animal to every five
feet, left on the desert this season. I counted 153 wagons within
a mile and a half. Not half of those left were to be seen, many
having been burned to make lights in the night. The desert is
strewn with all kinds of property--tools, clothes, crockery,
harnesses, etc."

Naturally, in this rush for sudden riches, many a Mormon had a
desire to join. A dozen families left Utah for California early
in 1849, and in March, 1851, a company of more than five hundred
assembled in Payson, preparatory to making the trip. Here was an
unexpected danger to the growth of the Mormon population, and one
which the head of the church did not delay in checking. The
second General Epistle, dated October 12, 1849,* stated that the
valley of the Sacramento was unhealthy, and that the Saints could
do better raising grain in Utah, adding, "The true use of gold is
for paving streets, covering houses, and making culinary dishes,
and when the Saints shall have preached the Gospel, raised grain,
and built up cities enough, the Lord will open up the way for a
supply of gold, to the perfect satisfaction of his people."

* Millennial Star, Vol. XII, p. 119.


Notwithstanding this advice, a good many Mormons acted on the
idea that the Lord would help those who helped themselves, and
that if they were to have golden culinary dishes they must go and
dig the gold. Accordingly, we find the third General Epistle,
dated April 12, 1850, acknowledging that many brethren had gone
to the gold mines, but declaring that they were counselled only
"by their own wills and covetous feelings," and that they would
have done more good by staying in the valley. Young did not,
however, stop with a mere rebuke. He proposed to check the
exodus. "Let such men," the Epistle added, "remember that they
are not wanted in our midst. Let such leave their carcasses where
they do their work; we want not our burial grounds polluted with
such hypocrites." Young was quite as plain spoken in his remarks
to the General Conference that spring, naming as those who "will
go down to hell, poverty-stricken and naked," the Mormons who
felt that they were so poor that they would have to go to the
gold mines.* Such talk had its effect, and Salt Lake Valley
retained most of its population.

* Millennial Star, Vol. XII, p. 274,


The progress of the settlement received a serious check some
years later in the failure of the crops in 1855, followed by a
near approach to a famine in the ensuing winter. Very little
reference to this was made in the official church correspondence,
but a picture of the situation in Salt Lake City that winter was
drawn in two letters from Heber C. Kimball to his sons in
England.* In the first, written in February, he said that his
family and Brigham Young's were then on a ration of half a pound
of bread each per day, and that thousands had scarcely any
breadstuff at all. Kimball's family of one hundred persons then
had on hand about seventy bushels of potatoes and a few beets and
carrots, "so you can judge," he says, "whether we can get through
until harvest without digging roots." There were then not more
than five hundred bushels of grain in the tithing office, and all
public work was stopped until the next harvest, and all mechanics
were advised to drop their tools and to set about raising grain.
"There is not a settlement in the territory," said the writer,
"but is also in the same fix as we are. Dollars and cents do not
count in these times, for they are the tightest I have ever seen
in the territory of Utah." In April he wrote: "I suppose one-half
the church stock is dead. There are not more than one-half the
people that have bread, and they have not more than one-half or
one quarter of a pound a day to a person. A great portion of the
people are digging roots, and hundreds and thousands, their teams
being dead, are under the necessity of spading their ground to
put in their grain." The harvest of 1856 also suffered from
drought and insects, and the Deseret News that summer declared
that "the most rigid economy and untiring, well-directed industry
may enable us to escape starvation until a harvest in 1857, and
until the lapse of another year emigrants and others will run
great risks of starving unless they bring their supplies with
them." The first load of barley brought into Salt Lake City that
summer sold for $2 a bushel.

* Ibid., Vol. XVIII, pp. 395-476.


The first building erected in Salt Lake City in which to hold
church services was called a tabernacle. It was begun in 1851,
and was consecrated on April 6, 1852. It stood in Temple block,
where the Assembly Hall now stands, measuring about 60 by 120
feet, and providing accommodation for 2500 people. The present
Tabernacle, in which the public church services are held, was
completed in 1870. It stands just west of the Temple, is
elliptical in shape, and, with its broad gallery running around
the entire interior, except the end occupied by the organ loft
and pulpit, it can seat about 9000 persons. Its acoustic
properties are remarkable, and one of the duties of any guide who
exhibits the auditorium to visitors is to station them at the end
of the gallery opposite the pulpit, and to drop a pin on the
floor to show them how distinctly that sound can be heard.

The Temple in Salt Lake City was begun in April, 1853, and was
not dedicated until April, 1893. This building is devoted to the
secret ceremonies of the church, and no Gentile is ever admitted
to it. The building, of granite taken from the near-by mountains,
is architecturally imposing, measuring 200 by 100 feet. Its cost
is admitted to have been about $4,000,000. The building could
probably be duplicated to-day for one-half that sum. The excuse
given by church authorities for the excessive cost is that,
during the early years of the work upon it, the granite had to be
hauled from the mountains by ox teams, and that everything in the
way of building material was expensive in Utah when the church
there was young. The interior is divided into different rooms, in
which such ceremonies as the baptism for the dead are performed;
the baptismal font is copied after the one that was in the Temple
at Nauvoo.

There are three other temples in Utah, all of which were
completed before the one in Salt Lake City, namely, at St.
George, at Logan, and at Manti.





Next: The Foreign Immigration To Utah

Previous: The Founding Of Salt Lake City



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