Who were the mormons and why was Salt Lake City unique?

Who were the Mormons
and why was Salt Lake
City unique?
1830 USA
Who were the Mormons?
The Mormons were set up by Joseph Smith.
He had become confused by preachers in America
trying to spread God’s word but they did not say
the same things.
Joseph believed he was visited by an angel who
told him to go to a hill side and dig up golden
plates that had God’s word on them.
The plates were different from the bible and
said the Israelites (Jews) went to America
before Jesus was born and fought each other
until Jesus appeared and made a church there.
Years later fighting started again and one of the
few left was a man called Mormon.
He recorded the stories on the plates and it was
up to the person who found them (Joseph
Smith) to restore the true church so Jesus would
begin his 1,000 year reign.
Why were they unpopular in the
East (New York, Ohio)
The fact Joseph Smith didn’t let anyone
see the plates and told the story behind
a sheet made people suspicious. He
published the Book of Mormon in 1830.
Many Christians found it blasphemous
and attacked his house.
He was seen in New York as a charming
con artist trying to make money.
Kirtland, Ohio
In Kirtland the Mormon movement went for
strength to strength.
By 1831 it had 1000 members and small
communities around Missouri.
There success was their undoing- they worked
hard, owned a mill, a store, a bank, and printing
They soon outgrew the “Gentiles” and they began to
envy and hate the Mormons.
It looked like they would take over everything and
normal Christians saw their ways of “Performing
miracles” and “talking to angels” as corrupting their
Kirtland continued
After praying to God, he moved to Kirtland,
Ohio and tried to set up a “City of God”. It
was successful with more people being
Mormons than not. (Gentiles).
However, when the Mormon bank, as well as
normal ones, collapsed. Non- Mormons
attacked the people who they blamed for
losing their money…, the Mormons.
The Mormons went Missouri but were
not well received there and riots broke
out and property damage.
Mormons were rumoured to free
slaves and stir trouble with native
Smith was imprisoned.
Nauvoo, Illinois
They moved to their own city called Nauvoo and
did well there with nice buildings, healthy living
and no poverty.
They created a huge temple and tried to create a
perfect society. No smoking or drinking or
There was no poor or homeless because they all
cooperated and were honest.
By 1844 they had 33,000 members.
They governed themselves and had there own
army the “Nauvoo Legion.”
Their success was that they kept themselves to
Nauvoo continued and Joseph
Smith’s death.
BUT Smith started having lots of wives and
saying God said so, this made him unpopular.
And seeing many of the converts were women
seeking sanctuary from Europe it was seen as
taking advantage.
People were already suspicious because they
kept to themselves!! Now they were breaking
God’s law to non Mormons and even Mormons
themselves thought he was a fake!
He was taken to jail and in June 1845 a mob
broke in and killed him.
Brigham Young and the journey
Brigham Young become the new leader and
was convinced the Mormons would never be
left in peace in the East.
So they decided to go along the Oregon Trail
to the most isolated place by the Great Salt
The added attraction was that part of the
Rockies was still owned by the Mexicans and
outside of US law.
They agreed to leave Nauvoo in Spring 1846
as long as until then they were left alone.
The journey so far…
Exam question
Why did the Mormons move out to the
The decision had 2 problems;
1. how do you get 16, 000 Mormons across
the Plains and up the Rockies?
2. how would they turn the salt flats into a
rich thriving community?
Young was a brilliant organiser- (he’d organised the
move to Nauvoo from Kirtland.)
He was a determined man. Also he was consideratehe married 8 of Smiths widows! He had 27 in total!!
Wagons we built. Oxen were bought, and food and
equipment were collected.
In Feb 1846 a pioneer band left to set up a
checkpoint called Camp of Israel, Iowa.
The rest of the Mormons would meet there once
Once they left the Camp of Israel they started to
leave in wagon trains made up of hundreds of
wagons. In charge would be a captain and his
Every now and then the first who set off would set
up check points with carpenters and blacksmiths so
when those left behind got there they could have
repairs, supplies and move on.
By June 1846 this chain of little settlement soon
stretched 500 km along the journey up to the
Missouri River.
Young set up a Winter camp with thousands of
cabins for everyone to stay.
Most the Mormons had reached there by the
Autumn due to the excellently planned network.
The winter on the Prairies was awful and food and
fuel was short in the bitter cold.
By Spring 1847 plague and bitter cold had killed
In April 1847 took a scouting party who had good
endurance, farmer and craftsman the rest of the
way despite being told that it was impossible to
grow crops and other places were better.
He believed God had told him to go his way and by
July 1847 they reached Salt Lake.
The journey continued
They would get up at 5am and travel until 8.30- then bed by 9pm!
Salt Lake City- why so organised?
Set up by new leader Brigham Young.
It was intended to produce, manufacture and
make everything the Mormons needed. No
need to see the outside world.
It was set up by religious people so the
temple was in the centre of the city.
The city was planned around this.
The nearest houses were given small plots of
land and were for young ARTISANS who had
little time to work on the land. (5 acres)
the city had ringed areas.
Around the square land was blocked off
all the same size.
These were divided up for houses and
gardens and given to small families or
elderly couples. (8 acres)
As the city spread out more land was
given to larger families. (10- 80 acres.)
What does this map tell you?
The importance of working
together and water
Water was ESSENTIAL. The Mormons
worked together to build a main irrigation
ditch throughout the farming land.
Side ditches were dug so that all the land
could be irrigated.
Each person was given an exact time from
when to draw water.
With such well laid out homes and cooperation
each house had water for themselves and
Housing and streets.
This is important!
The city was very well planned.
All the houses were made out of brick and of
a good standard compared to other settlers.
The houses were neat and different buildings
had different purposes.
The streets were well planned also as we can
see in the earlier map. Long straight roads
and split into blocks to make transport easier.
1887- 20 years in and they have this great
city- how organised is that!!!
Deseret (means honeybee)
Everything seemed to be going great BUT in
1846 the US government took control of the
area after defeating Mexico in war.
Young decided to create a state and called it
Deseret and applied to join the United
States. The US refused to recognise Deseret.
They compromised- Utah was created as a
territory NOT A STATE.
Young would be governor, but gentiles were to
be in government with him.
For now it seemed the Mormons had found
their place of peace.
Mormons spread across Utah
Young wanted Mormons all over Utah.
When a new town was made a party was sent to dig
irrigation ditches and mark out farms.
These included Carson City and Las Vegas.
Then settlers were selected from a balanced
number of farmers, craftsman and shopkeepers.
They were self sufficient and wheat production
increased three times over from 1850- 60.
Again cooperation and a shared goal was the key to
The Perpetual Emigrating Fund
For the Mormon settlement to develop further
more people were needed.
Young missionairies were sent to Europe, Far East
and South America to get converts.
They appealed to the poor and from England alone
almost 33,000 people came.
The Perpetual Emigrating Fund was set up to pay
for the passage to Salt Lake.
Money was lent to immigrants to come over and
paod back once they reached Utah.
They were provided with oxen and wagons and used
the existing checkpoints.
Exam question
How important was Brigham Young in helping
the Mormons overcome the problems of
establishing a permanent settlement at Salt
Lake City in the years 1842-1858? Explain
your answer.
- The Church allocated land to each family
- An independent state of Deseret was
requested in 1848
- The Perpetual Emigration scheme was set up
in 1854.
Mormon failures
They fell behind industrially due to not
enough money for machinery or workers.
They set up textile factories, pottery works
and iron works to produce their own goods.
Education was bad due to not enough money
and many parents only wanted their children
to go to school for 3 months a year because
they were needed on the farm!
The Mormon War
The Mormons were getting a lot more members moving West
and tensions with the outside world grew.
The Mormons were accused of overcharging outsiders for
supplies and ferry crossings.
Prejudice led to rumours growing about Mormons wanting to
kill all gentiles and were giving guns to the Indians to help
Brigham Young had supreme authority in Utah and had been
bending the rules and this coupled with the rumours led to
suspicions from the US government.
The US sent an army of 2500 men to march to the
Mormons. The Mormons saw this as soldier coming to kill
them and destroy their homes.
They deserted their homes and begun guerrilla warfare
against the US army. They were so successful Salt Lake City
wasn’t taken.
The Mountain Meadow Massacre
It was a time of extreme tension.
140 emigrants were passing through on the way to
They didn’t like Mormons and abused Indians who
had become Mormons by letting their cattle into
their fields and calling the women “Whores”.
The Indians killed 7 of them and the rest
barricaded themselves in. The Indians sent for 50
Mormons to help them.
They decided to kill them all to stop the news
getting out!
The Mormons blamed the Indians but no one
believed them and soon newspaper headlines across
the US were screaming for the Mormons to be
dealt with.
Results of the massacre
Panic spread across Utah.
Many Mormon families fled and surprisingly
people from the East felt sorry for them.
The US government said they would pardon
them if…
They accepted the authority of the US
The governor would be a gentile.
If the Mormons agreed they would be left in
One disagreement remained..
Polygamy- what was polygamy?
The US government had passed a law in
1862 it had been made illegal and Utah
had ignored it.
However, in 1892 Utah asked to be a
STATE of the US and the price for
admission was to ban polygamy.
They agreed and in 1896 Utah become a
state. Part of the United STATES.