Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism

The end of the complete seclusion of the Mormon settlement in

Utah from the rest of the country--complete except so far as it

was interrupted by the passage through the territory of the

California emigration--dates from the establishment of Camp

Floyd, and the breaking up of that camp and the disposal of its

accumulation of supplies, which gave the first big impetus to

mercantile traffic in Utah.* Young was ever jealous of the

mercantile power, so openly jealous that, as Tullidge puts it,

"to become a merchant was to antagonize the church and her

policies, so that it was almost illegitimate for Mormon men of

enterprising character to enter into mercantile pursuits." This

policy naturally increased the business of non-Mormons who

established themselves in the city, and their prosperity

directed the attention of the church authorities to them, and

the pulpit orators hurled anathemas at those who traded with

them. Thus Young, in a discourse, on March 28, 1858, urging the

people to use home-made material, said: "Let the calicoes lie on

the shelves and rot. I would rather build buildings every day

and burn them down at night, than have traders here communing

with our enemies outside, and keeping up a hell all the time, and

raising devils to keep it going. They brought their hell with

them. We can have enough of our own without their help."** A

system of espionage, by means of the city police, was kept on

the stores of non-Mormons, until it required courage for a

Mormon to make a purchase in one of these establishments. To

trade with an apostate Mormon was, of course, a still greater


* "The community had become utterly destitute of almost

everything necessary to their social comfort. The people were

poorly clad, and rarely ever saw anything on their tables but

what was prepared from flour, corn, beet-molasses, and the

vegetables and fruits of their gardens. . . . It was at Camp

Floyd, indeed, where the principal Utah merchants and business

men of the second decade of our history may be said to have laid

the foundation of their fortunes, among whom were the Walker

Brothers."--Tullidge, "History of Salt Lake City," pp. 246-247.

** Journal of Discourses, Vol. VII, p. 45.

Among the mercantile houses that became strong after the

establishment of Camp Floyd was that of Walker Brothers. There

were four of them, Englishmen, who had come over with their

mother, and shared in the privations of the early Utah

settlement. Possessed of practical business talent and

independence of thought, they rebelled against Young's

dictatorial rule and the varied trammels by which their business

was restricted. Without openly apostatizing, they insisted on a

measure of independence. One manifestation of this was a refusal

to contribute one-tenth of their income as a tithe for the

expenditure of which no account was rendered. One year, when

asked for their tithe, they gave the Bishop of their ward a

check for $500 as "a contribution to the poor." When this form of

contribution was reported to Young, he refused to accept it, and

sent the brothers word that he would cut them off from the

church unless they paid their tithe in the regular way. Their

reply was to tear up the check and defy Young.

The natural result followed. Brigham and his lieutenants waged an

open war on these merchants, denouncing them in the Tabernacle,

and keeping policemen before their doors. The Walkers, on their

part, kept on offering good wares at reasonable prices, and thus

retained the custom of as many Mormons as dared trade with them

openly, or could slip in undiscovered. Even the expedient of

placing a sign bearing an "all-seeing eye" and the words

"Holiness to the Lord" over every Mormon trader's door did not

steer away from other doors the Mormon customers who delighted

in bargains. But the church power was too great for any one firm

to fight. Not only was a business man's capital in danger in

those times, when the church was opposed to him, but his life

was not safe. Stenhouse draws this picture of the condition of

affairs in 1866:--"After the assassination of Dr. Robinson, fears

of violence were not unnatural, and many men who had never

before carried arms buckled on their revolvers. Highly

respectable men in Salt Lake City forsook the sidewalks after

dusk, and, as they repaired to their residences, traversed the

middle of the public street, carrying their revolvers in their


With such a feeling of uneasiness, nearly all the non-Mormon

merchants joined in a letter to Brigham Young, offering, if the

church would purchase their goods and estates at twentyfive per

cent less than their valuation, they would leave the Territory.

Brigham answered them cavalierly that he had not asked them to

come into the Territory, did not ask them to leave it, and that

they might stay as long as they pleased.

"It was clear that Brigham felt himself master of the situation,

and the merchants had to bide their time, and await the coming

change that was anticipated from the completion of the Pacific

Railroad. As the great iron way approached the mountains, and

every day gave greater evidence of its being finished at a much

earlier period than was at first anticipated, the hope of what

it would accomplish nerved the discontented to struggle with the

passing day." *

* "Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 625.

The Mormon historian incorporates these two last paragraphs in

his book, and says: "Here is at once described the Gentile and

apostate view of the situation in those times, and, confined as

it is to the salient point, no lengthy special argument in favor

of President Young's policies could more clearly justify his

mercantile cooperative movement. IT WAS THE MOMENT OF LIFE OR


organization of Z. C. M. I. at that crisis saved the temporal

supremacy of the Mormon commonwealth."* It was to meet outside

competition with a force which would be invincible that Young

conceived the idea of Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution,

which was incorporated in 1869, with Young as president. In

carrying out this idea no opposing interest, whether inside the

church or out of it, received the slightest consideration. "The

universal dominance of the head of the church is admitted," says

Tullidge, "and in 1868, before the opening of the Utah mines and

the existence of a mixed population, there was no commercial

escape from the necessities of a combination."**

* Tullidge's "History of Salt Lake City," p. 385.

** Cooperation is as much a cardinal and essential doctrine of

the Mormon church as baptism for the remission of

sin."--Tullidge, "History of Salt Lake City."

Young is said to have received the idea of the big Cooperative

enterprise from a small trader who asked permission to establish

a mercantile system on the Cooperative plan, of moderate

dimensions, throughout the territory. He gave it definite shape

at a meeting of merchants in October, 1868, which was followed by

a circular explaining the scheme to the people. A preamble

asserted "the impolicy of leaving the trade and commerce of this

territory to be conducted by strangers." The constitution of the

concern provided for a capital of $3,000,000 in $100 shares.

Young's original idea was to have all the merchants pool their

stocks, those who found no places in the new establishment to go

into some other business,--farming for instance,-- renting their

stores as they could. Of course this meant financial ruin to the

unprovided for, and the opposition was strong. But Young was not

to be turned from the object he had in view. One man told

Stenhouse that when he reported to Young that a certain merchant

would be ruined by the scheme, and would not only be unable to

pay his debts, but would lose his homestead, Young's reply was

that the man had no business to get into debt, and that "if he

loses his property it serves him right." Tullidge, in an article

in Harpers Magazine for September, 1871 (written when he was at

odds with Young), said, "The Mormon merchants were publicly told

that all who refused to join the cooperation should be left out

in the cold; and against the two most popular of them the Lion

of the Lord roared, 'If Henry Lawrence don't mind what's he's

about I'll send him on a mission, and W. S. Godbe I'll cut off

from the church."'

After the organization of the concern in 1869 some of the leading

Mormon merchants in Salt Lake City sold their goods to it on

favorable terms, knowing that the prices of their stock would go

down when the opening of the railroad lowered freight rates. The

Z. C. M. I. was started as a wholesale and retail concern, and

Young recommended that ward stores be opened throughout the city

which should buy their goods of the Institution. Local

cooperative stores were also organized throughout the territory,

each of which was under pressure to make its purchases of the

central concern. Branches were afterward established at Ogden,

at Logan, and at Soda Springs, Idaho, and a large business was

built up and is still continued.* The effect of this new

competition on the non-Mormon establishments was, of course,

very serious. Walker Brothers' sales, for instance, dropped

$5000 or $6000 a month, and only the opportunity to divert their

capital profitably to mining saved them and others from immediate


Bancroft says that in 1883 the total sales of the Institution

exceeded $4,000,000, and a half yearly dividend of five per cent

was paid in October of that year, and there was a reserve fund

of about $125,000; he placed the sales of the Ogden branch, in

1883, at about $800,000, and of the Logan branch at about

$600,000. The thirty-second annual statement of the Institution,

dated April 5,1901, contains the following figures: Capital

stock, $1,077,144.89; reserve, $362,898.95; undivided profits,

$179,042.88; cash receipts, February 1 to December 31, 1900,

$3,457,624.44, sales for the same period, $3,489.571 .84. The

branch houses named is this report are at Ogden City and Provo,

Utah, and at Idaho Falls, Idaho.

But at this time an influence was preparing to make itself felt

in Utah which was a more powerful opponent of Brigham Young's

authority than any he had yet encountered. This influence took

shape in what was known as the "New Movement," and also as "The

Reformation." Its original leaders were W. S. Godbe and E. L. T.

Harrison. Godbe was an Englishman, who saw a good deal of the

world as a sailor, embraced the Mormon faith in his own country

when seventeen years of age, and walked most of the way from New

York to Salt Lake City in 1851. He became prominent in the

Mormon capital as a merchant, making the trip over the plains

twenty-four times between 1851 and 1859. Harrison was an

architect by profession, a classical scholar, and a writer of no

mean ability.

With these men were soon associated Eli B. Kelsey, a leading

elder in the Mormon church, a president of Seventies, and a

prominent worker in the English missions; H. W. Lawrence, a

wealthy merchant who was a Bishop's counsellor; Amasa M. Lyman,

who had been one of the Twelve Apostles and was acknowledged to

be one of the most eloquent preachers in the church; W. H.

Sherman, a prominent elder and a man of literary ability, who

many years later went back to the church; T. B. H. Stenhouse, a

Scotchman by birth, who was converted to Mormonism in 1846, and

took a prominent part in missionary work in Europe, for three

years holding the position of president of the Swiss and Italian

missions; he emigrated to this country with his wife and

children in 1855, practically penniless, and supported himself

for a time in New York City as a newspaper writer; in Salt Lake

City he married a second wife by Young's direction, and one of

his daughters by his first wife married Brigham's eldest son.

Stenhouse did not win the confidence of either Mormons or

non-Mormons in the course of his career, but his book, "The

Rocky Mountain Saints," contains much valuable information.

Active with these men in the "New Movement" was Edward W.

Tullidge, an elder and one of the Seventy, and a man of great

literary ability. In later years Tullidge, while not openly

associating himself with the Mormon church, wrote the "History

of Salt Lake City" which the church accepts, a "Life of Brigham

Young," which could not have been more fulsome if written by the

most devout Mormon, and a "Life of Joseph the Prophet," which is

a valueless expurgated edition of Joseph's autobiography which

ran through the Millennial Star.

The "New Movement" was assisted by the advent of non-Mormons to

the territory, by Young's arbitrary methods in starting his

cooperative scheme, by the approaching completion of the Pacific

Railroad, and, in a measure, by the organization of the

Reorganized Church under the leadership of the prophet Joseph

Smith's eldest son. Two elders of that church, who went to Salt

Lake City in 1863, were refused permission to preach in the

Tabernacle, but did effective work by house-to-house

visitations, and there were said to be more than three hundred

of the "Josephites," as they were called, in Salt Lake City in


* "Persecution followed, as they claimed; and in early summer

about one-half of the Josephites in Salt Lake City started

eastward, so great being the excitement that General Connor

ordered a strong escort to accompany them as far as Greene

River. To those who remained, protection was also afforded by the

authorities."--Bancroft, "History of Utah," p. 645.

Harrison and Tullidge had begun the publication of a magazine

called the Peep o' Day at Camp Douglas, but it was a financial

failure. Then Godbe and Harrison started the Utah Magazine, of

which Harrison was editor. This, too, was only a drain on their

purses. Accordingly, some time in the year 1868, giving it over

to the care of Tullidge, they set out on a trip to New York by

stage. Both were in doubt on many points regarding their church;

both were of that mental make-up which is susceptible to

"revelations" and "callings"; by the time they reached New York

they realized that they were "on the road to apostasy."

Long discussions of the situation took place between them, and

the outcome was characteristic of men who had been influenced by

such teachings as those of the Mormons. Kneeling down in their

room, they prayed earnestly, and as they did so "a voice spoke

to them." For three weeks, while Godbe transacted his mercantile

business, his friend prepared questions on religion and

philosophy, "and in the evening, by appointment, 'a band of

spirits' came to them and held converse with them, as friends

would speak with friends. One by one the questions prepared by

Mr. Harrison were read, and Mr. Godbe and Mr. Harrison, with

pencil and paper, took down the answers as they heard them given

by the spirits."* The instruction which they thus received was

Delphic in its clearness--that which was true in Mormonism

should be preserved and the rest should be rejected.

* "Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 631.

When they returned to Utah they took Elder Eli B. Kelsey, Elder

H. W. Lawrence, a man of wealth, and Stenhouse into their

confidence, and it was decided to wage open warfare on Young's

despotism, using the Utah Magazine as their mouthpiece. Without

attacking Young personally, or the fundamental Mormon beliefs,

the magazine disputed Young's doctrine that the world . was

degenerating to ruin, held up the really "great characters" the

world has known, that Young might be contrasted with them, and

discussed the probabilities of honest errors in religious

beliefs. When the Mormon leaders read in the magazine such

doctrine as that, "There is one false error which possesses the

minds of some in this, that God Almighty intended the priesthood

to do our thinking," they realized that they had a contest on

their hands. Young got into trouble with the laboring men at

this time. He had contracts for building a part of the Pacific

Railroad, which were sublet at a profit. An attempt by him to

bring about a reduction of wages gave the magazine an

opportunity to plead the laborers' cause which it gladly


* Harpers Magazine, Vol. XLIII, p. 605.

In the summer of 1869 Alexander and David Hyrum Smith, sons of

the prophet, visited Salt Lake City in the interest of the

Reorganized Church. Many of Young's followers still looked on

the sons of the prophet as their father's rightful successor to

the leadership of the Church, as Young at Nauvoo had promised

that Joseph III should be. But these sons now found that, even to

be acknowledged as members of Brigham's fold, they must accept

baptism at the hands of one of his elders, and acknowledge the

"revelation" concerning polygamy as coming from God. They had

not come with that intent. But they called on Young and

discussed with him the injection of polygamy into the church

doctrines. Young finally told them that they possessed, not the

spirit of their father, but of their mother Emma, whom Young

characterized as "a liar, yes, the damnedest liar that lived,"

declaring that she tried to poison the prophet * He refused to

them the use of the Tabernacle, but they spoke in private houses

and, through the influence of the Walker brothers, secured

Independence Hall. The Brighamites, using a son of Hyrum Smith

as their mouthpiece,** took pains that a goodly number of

polygamists should attend the Independence Hall meetings, and

interruptions of the speakers turned the gatherings into

something like personal wrangles.

* For Alexander Smith's report, see True Latter-Day Saints'

Herald, Vol. XVI, pp. 85-86.

** Hyrum's widow went to Salt lake City, and died there in

September, 1852, at the house of H. C. Kimball, who had taken

care of her.

The presence of the prophet's sons gave the leaders of "The

Reformation" an opportunity to aim a thrust at what was then

generally understood to be one of Brigham Young's ambitions,

namely, the handing down of the Presidency of the church to his

oldest son; and an article in their magazine presented the matter

in this light: "If we know the true feeling of our brethren, it

is that they never intend Joseph Smith's nor any other man's son

to preside over them, simply because of their sonship. The

principle of heirship has cursed the world for ages, and with

our brethren we expect to fight it till, with every other relic

of tyranny, it is trodden under foot." Young accepted this

challenge, and at once ordered Harrison and two other elders in

affiliation with him to depart on missions. They disobeyed the


Godbe and Harrison told their friends in Utah that they had

learned from the spirits who visited them in New York that the

release of the people of the territory from the despotism of the

church could come only through the development of the mines. So

determined was the opposition of Young's priesthood to this

development that its open advocacy in the magazine was the cause

of more serious discussion than that given to any of the other

subjects treated. As "The Reformation" did not then embrace more

than a dozen members, the courage necessary to defy the church

on such a question was not to be belittled. Just at that time

came the visit of the Illinois party and of Vice President

Colfax, and the latter was made acquainted with their plans and

gave them encouragement. Ten days later the magazine, in an

article on "The True Development of the Territory," openly

advised paying more attention to mining. Young immediately

called together the "School of the Prophets." This was an

organization instituted in Utah, with the professed object of

discussing doctrinal questions, having the "revelations" of the

prophet elucidated by his colleagues, etc. It was not open to

all church members, the "scholars" attending by invitation, and

it soon became an organization under Young's direction which took

cognizance of the secular doings of the people, exercising an

espionage over them. The school is no longer maintained. Before

this school Young denounced the "Reformers" in his most scathing

terms, going so far as to intimate that his rule was itself in

danger. Consequently the leaders of the "New Movement" were

notified to appear before the High Council for a hearing.

When this hearing occurred, Young managed that Godbe and Harrison

should be the only persons on trial. Both of them defied him to

his face, denying his "right to dictate to them in all things

spiritual and temporal,"--this was the question put to

them,--and protesting against his rule. They also read a set of

resolutions giving an outline of their intended movements. They

were at once excommunicated, and the only elder, Eli B. Kelsey,

who voted against this action was immediately punished in the

same way. Kelsey was not granted even the perfunctory hearing

that was customarily allowed in such cases, and he was "turned

over to the devil," instead of being consigned by the usual

formula "to the buffetings of Satan."

But this did not silence the "Reformers." Their lives were

considered in danger by their acquaintances, and the

assassination of the most prominent of them was anticipated;*

but they went straight ahead on the lines they had proclaimed.

Their first public meetings were held on Sunday, December 19,

1869. The knowledge of the fact that they claimed to act by

direct and recent revelation gave them no small advantage with a

people whose belief rested on such manifestations of the divine

will, and they had crowded audiences. The services were

continued every Sunday, and on the evening of one week day; the

magazine went on with its work, and they were the founders of

the Salt Lake Tribune which later, as a secular journal, has led

the Gentile press in Utah.

* "In August my husband sent a respectful and kindly letter to

the Bishop of our ward, stating that he had no faith in

Brigham's claim to an Infallible Priesthood; and that he

considered that he ought to be cut off from the church. I added

a postscript stating that I wished to share my husband's fate. A

little after ten o'clock, on the Saturday night succeeding our

withdrawal from the church, we were returning home together . .

. when we suddenly saw four men come out from under some trees

at a little distance from us . . . . As soon as they approached,

they seized hold of my husband's arms, one on each side, and held

him firmly, thus rendering him almost powerless. They were all

masked . . . . In an instant I saw them raise their arms, as if

taking aim, and for one brief second I thought that our end had

surely come, and that we, like so many obnoxious persons before

us, were about to be murdered for the great sin of apostasy.

This I firmly believe would have been my husband's fate if I had

not chanced to be with him or had I run away . . . . The

wretches, although otherwise well armed, were not holding

revolvers in their hands as I at first supposed. They were

furnished with huge garden syringes, charged with the most

disgusting filth. My hair, bonnet, face, clothes, person--every

inch of my body, every shred I wore--were in an instant

saturated, and my husband and myself stood there reeking from

head to foot. The villains, when they had perpetrated this

disgusting and brutal outrage, turned and fled."--Mrs. Stenhouse,

"Tell it All," pp. 578-581.

But the attempt to establish a reformed Mormonism did not

succeed, and the organization gradually disappeared. One of the

surviving leaders said to me (in October, 1901): "My parents had

believed in Mormonism, and I believed in the Mormon prophet and

the doctrines set forth in his revelations. We hoped to purify

the Mormon church, eradicating evils that had annexed themselves

to it in later years. But our study of the question showed us

that the Mormon faith rested on no substantial basis, and we

became believers in transcendentalism." Mr. Godbe and Mr.

Lawrence still reside in Utah. The former has made and lost more

than one fortune in the mines. The Mormon historian Whitney says

of the leaders in this attempted reform: "These men were all

reputable and respected members of the community. Naught against

their morality or general uprightness of character was known or

advanced."* Stenhouse, writing three years before Young's death,


* Whitney's "History of Utah," Vol. II, p. 332.

"But for the boldness of the Reformers, Utah to-day would not

have been what it is. Inspired by their example, the people who

have listened to them disregarded the teachings of the

priesthood against trading with or purchasing of the Gentiles.

The spell was broken, and, as in all such like experience, the

other extreme was for a time threatened. Walker Brothers

regained their lost trade . . . . Reference could be made to

elders, some of whom had to steal away from Utah, for fear of

violent hands being laid upon them had their intended departure

been made known, who are to-day wealthy and respected gentlemen

in the highest walks of life, both in the United States and in


** For accounts of "The Reformation" by leaders in it,

see Chap. 53 of Stenhouse's "Rocky Mountain Saints," and

Tullidge's article, Harper's Magazine, Vol. XLIII, p. 602.

Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail