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date: 23 August 2017

Mormonism and Deseret

Summary and Keywords

The Mormon exodus marked a new phase for a religious movement that from its inception had always set peoples in motion. The political creation of Deseret and the settlement of the Great Basin were acts of political and religious territoriality, claiming a vast swath of land for the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In turn, the process of settling and defending that territory transformed the spatial dimensions of Mormonism. As the Latter-day Saints gathered to a Rocky Mountain Zion, they reshaped the environment of the Great Basin, clashed with non-Mormon Americans over matters of theocracy and polygamy, and conquered native peoples. Rather than gathering to a particular city as Mormons in the eastern United States had done, the Saints now built up what they understood to be the Kingdom of God on earth. Between 1847 and the 1869 completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, thousands of Mormon emigrants crossed the plains and mountains and settled in colonies that stretched from present-day Idaho to San Bernardino. After losing a series of struggles for political and judicial control of the Utah Territory, and after publicly abandoning the principal of plural marriage, the church stopped encouraging its members to emigrate. The Mormons came to think of Zion in figurative, non-geographic terms. By abandoning the principal of gathering, moreover, the Church of Jesus Christ—especially outside of its Great Basin heartland—functioned more like the Protestant denominations against which it had long defined itself.

Keywords: Mormonism, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Deseret, Council of Fifty, Brigham Young, Utah Territory, Great Basin

The Principle of Gathering

From its 1830 founding by Joseph Smith Jr., and a small handful of followers, the Church of Christ (later the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, hereafter the LDS Church) set peoples in motion. Male converts were baptized and went forth on preaching missions, which within ten years extended to Europe and within twenty years extended to the Sandwich Islands. The church in turn called on converts to gather to what it termed Zion: first a county in western Missouri, then towns in Ohio and Illinois, and finally settlements in the Great Basin of the American West.

In a revelation he dictated in 1831, Joseph Smith identified the town of Independence, in Jackson County, Missouri, as Zion, the site of the New Jerusalem to which Jesus Christ would return. In response, converts gathered to Jackson County, where they expected to greet their returning savior. Other converts moved to Kirtland, Ohio, which another revelation identified as a “stake of Zion.”

Jackson County’s position on the American frontier reflected the Book of Mormon title page’s assertion that the Lamanites, understood as the native peoples of North America, were “a remnant of the House of Israel.” Correspondingly, the Book of Mormon—more specifically, the way that 19th-century Mormons interpreted the text—reshaped the way church members understood the American landscape. The Hill Cumorah was the place where an ancient prophet had buried the records of his people, the surrounding area was the site of ancient battles, and when Smith and his followers encountered burial mounds and skeletons, they understood them as Book of Mormon relics.1 Such interpretations, moreover, also encouraged theological and political claims to land occupied by both Indian tribes and white Americans. The Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith’s revelations predicted that God would soon disrupt existing sovereignties. Redeemed Lamanites and white converts to Mormonism would reign with Jesus Christ over the land. Many characteristics of early Mormonism resembled those of contemporary religious movements. Most Protestant denominations shared the Church of Christ’s intense commitment to evangelism, and groups such as the Shakers also gathered converts into communities. Millennial fervor, meanwhile, was widespread, peaking in conjunction with Millerite predictions in the early 1840s. No other group of Americans, though, envisioned that white and Indian converts would gather to a frontier city of Zion and there anticipate a millennial reign with Jesus Christ.

The Latter-day Saints, as church members came to understand themselves, foresaw a grand future for these communities of Zion. Prior to Christ’s second coming, the Saints intended to establish communities patterned after the “Order of Enoch,” alluding to an antediluvian civilization characterized by cooperation and Christian faith. Smith sketched a plat for the “City of Zion,” which included wide streets encompassing a square mile and space for some twenty-four temples, which he understood as “houses of worship [and] schools.” Much like William Penn’s plan for the city of Philadelphia, Zion would have an orderly grid, abundant open space, and low population density. The City of Zion was meant to be only the beginning, though. Once residents filled the first square mile, the Saints would “lay off another in the same way and so fill up the world in these last days.”2 In this way, the Kingdom of God would eventually spread across the millennial earth, welcoming any righteous individuals who availed themselves of its liberty.3

That incipient kingdom nearly collapsed several times. The Saints’ principle of gathering repeatedly led to tension and conflict with non-Mormon Americans. As David Chidester and Edward Linenthal have suggested, “sacred space is inevitably contested.”4 This was especially true because the Saints did not merely claim a church building, temple, or small site as sacred and therefore theirs, but because the principle of gathering staked a theological and potentially political claim to a city and county. Mobs drove the Mormons out of Jackson County in 1833, and Kirtland’s Mormon community disintegrated in 1837 after the embarrassing failure of a bank established by church leaders. After Smith and his remaining Ohio followers joined the Missouri Saints in 1838, Missouri politicians, militias, and mobs expelled them from the entire state on pain of extermination.

After the Saints’ exodus from Missouri, Joseph Smith considered abandoning the principle of gathering, but despite the risks, he and his followers rejected the idea that the Mormons should scatter and become more akin to a Protestant denomination. This insistence on spatial separation was rooted in Mormon scripture and theology. The Saints understood themselves as following the pattern of Enoch and the example of the ancient Israelites. Gathering fostered group cohesion and collective identity, it imbued the tasks of settlement with sacred significance, and it added a dose of economic boosterism to the church’s missionary appeals.

Smith identified the town of Commerce, Illinois, as a new place of gathering, soon renamed Nauvoo. With a robust state charter, Nauvoo functioned as a quasi-independent city-state, with Joseph Smith as its mayor and as the lieutenant-general of an unusually large militia. The Saints prayed for God to avenge them on their Missouri enemies, but hopes for an imminent return to Jackson County faded. Correspondingly so did expectations of Jesus Christ’s millennial reign.

The meaning of temples evolved during these years as well. Temples became places for rituals alongside worship and instruction. When in 1836 church members dedicated a temple in Kirtland, they understood that Jesus Christ would fill the “House of the Lord” with his presence. Mormon elders would receive an “endowment of power” that would equip them for effective missionary service. In the months before the temple’s dedication, Smith and his closest male followers washed each other with perfumed spirits, then anointed each other with oil. Then, in the early spring of 1836, Latter-day Saint men and women enjoyed several days full of rituals, including foot washing and the partaking of the Lord’s Supper. It was a Latter-day Saint Pentecost, at which church members cursed their Missouri enemies, saw visions, and spoke in tongues.5

In Nauvoo, Smith introduced additional rituals, including baptism for the dead, marital sealings (including between men and plural wives), an endowment ceremony in which initiates reenacted the experiences of Adam and Eve and made a series of covenants with God, and a crowning ritual in which men and women were anointed as kings and queens alongside Christ. As Smith explained them, temple “ordinances” would bring about human exaltation to the highest places in heaven, preparing a group of select men to rule as kings and priests for eternity, with their wives as queens and priestesses at their sides. The new rituals were all initially performed outside of the under-construction Nauvoo Temple. Baptisms for the dead, for example, began with hundreds of church members plunging into the muddy waters of the Mississippi River. As work on the temple continued, however, Smith and then Brigham Young confined performance of sacred ordinances to the temple’s confines.6

The respective designs of the Kirtland and Nauvoo temples reflected these developments in theology and ritual. The Kirtland Temple’s exterior resembled Protestant churches of the time. The Saints divided the interior of the Kirtland Temple into a lower and higher court, both with two opposite series of four-tiered pulpits, representing the offices of the church’s Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods. By contrast, the Nauvoo Temple was designed for the newly introduced rituals. The basement held a large baptismal font, resting on the backs of twelve wooden oxen patterned after the biblical description of Solomon’s temple. While the assembly halls on the ground and second floors resembled the Kirtland Temple’s interior, an attic level was subdivided as endowment and sealing rooms. The stone walls on the Nauvoo Temple’s exterior contained thirty pilasters, each decorated with a sunstone, moonstone, and star, representing the three degrees of glory human beings would occupy in the afterlife.7

During the winter of 1845–1846, thousands of church members received their “endowments” in the Nauvoo Temple. Mormon leaders also sealed husbands to wives, parents to children, and couples to church hierarchs. In addition to serving as a place for ritual activity, the temple also functioned as a social hall and sanctuary. Church members gathered together at night for dancing, which sometimes followed times of glossolalia, prophecy, and sermons. Brigham Young and other high-ranking leaders slept in the temple to avoid the threat of assassination or arrest. Mormons, and at least some of their antagonists, understood the Nauvoo Temple as a safe space, a sanctuary from religious strife.

The Exodus to Deseret

By the time the Mormons had straggled out of Nauvoo and settled into makeshift winter quarters on the banks of the Missouri River, the United States and Mexico were at war.8 When Brigham Young led a vanguard group of church members to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, they entered territory claimed by Mexico as the northeastern part of Upper (Alta) California. The next year, however, the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo ceded Upper California to the United States. Although Spanish and then Mexican trading networks were important to the region’s native peoples, the governments of New Spain and Mexico had never attempted to colonize or actively govern the territory upon which church members now settled.

The Mormons chose the Salt Lake Valley because apart from a few trappers and traders, no white people had settled in its vicinity. Above all, Mormons wanted to be left alone. “[N]o officer of the United States should ever dictate to him in this valley,” Brigham Young vowed, “or he would hang them on a gibbet as a warning to others.”9 Young called on the Mormon people to be self-reliant and self-governing. In Missouri, Kirtland, and Nauvoo, the Saints’ principle of gathering had repeatedly led to conflict between Mormon and non-Mormon settlers. Now, Young articulated a philosophy of self-reliance and isolation designed to insulate the Saints from outside interference and persecution.

When Mormons first arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, they made no effort to set up a formal system of government, leaving authority in the hands of various church officials. After Brigham Young led a much larger wave of Mormon immigration to the valley in 1848, the church’s Council of Fifty began functioning as a secret provisional legislature. In the spring of 1844, Joseph Smith had established the Council of Fifty as the “Kingdom of God and his Laws, with the keys and power thereof.” Recognizing that the Saints might soon be forced to abandon Nauvoo, council members “agreed to look to some place where we can go and establish a Theocracy either in Texas or Oregon or somewhere in California.” In addition to such immediate tasks, council members anticipated that as the nations of the world suffered apocalyptic judgment, the Kingdom of God—as foretold by Daniel—would gradually spread throughout the earth, bringing a righteous remnant under its banner. In Nauvoo, the Council of Fifty affirmed Joseph Smith as its “Prophet, Priest & King.” Several council members drafted a constitution for the coming theocratic kingdom, then abandoned that effort on Smith’s advice. The prophet delivered a revelation to the council: “Verily thus saith the Lord, ye are my constitution, and I am your God, and ye are my spokesmen.” God’s anointed spokesmen would govern his Saints. The provisional authority of the Council of Fifty in Great Salt Lake City signaled that whatever arrangement Mormon leaders concluded with Washington, they intended to govern their new settlements as a theocratic kingdom.10

As much as Young desired Mormon isolation and self-governance, he was realistic about the need to establish arrangements with Washington. His goal was to do so while maximizing Mormon autonomy and spatial isolation. In late 1848, the Council of Fifty elected to petition Congress to create a territory named “Deseret,” a Book of Mormon word meaning honeybee, presumably chosen for its connotations of cooperation and industry.11 The Council of Fifty’s request was audacious. As envisioned by Mormon leaders, Deseret would have included a vast swath of the American Southwest, including most of present-day Arizona, Nevada, and Utah in addition to portions of Wyoming, Colorado, and several other states. After sending the petition, however, church leaders grew increasingly wary as they contemplated the federal government’s power to appoint territorial officials. As those fears built, the Council of Fifty switched course. In March, church leaders organized elections for the “State of Deseret.” The Saints unanimously affirmed a slate of candidates, including Brigham Young as their governor. A flag, currency, and militia gave Deseret the trappings of an independent nation. In July 1849, Mormon leaders quickly wrote a state constitution, fabricated the results of a constitutional convention purportedly held the previous March, and drafted a new memorial to Congress. That petition requested statehood rather than territorial status. Like Californians, the Mormons hoped to bypass the constraints of territorial government.12

On July 24, 1849, church leaders raised a sixty-five-foot “Flag of Deseret” atop a tall liberty pole in the center of Great Salt Lake City. They did so as church members commemorated the second anniversary of Saints’ initial entrance into the Salt Lake Valley. On July 24, 1849, the city’s residents awoke to the firing of cannon and the strains of “martial music.” Serenaded by the ringing of the “Nauvoo Bell” (salvaged from the Illinois temple) and loud cheering, Brigham Young and members of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles then entered the bowery. Dressed in white, the church’s young men held a banner welcoming “the Lion of the Lord”; the young women’s banner read “Hail to our Chieftain.” The crowd included twenty Ute Indians as well as a number of gold-seeking emigrants, some of whom expressed astonishment at such symbols of nationhood and monarchical power. Young led the crowd in vigorously cheering a reading of the Declaration of Independence. In so doing, the Saints celebrated the independence not of the United States, but of Deseret.13

The commemoration brought together a number of symbols that hearkened to the church’s history and pointed toward conflicts ahead. The bell from the Nauvoo Temple summoned up memories of sacred rituals through which thousands of church members had passed. Church leaders had identified a site for a temple in Salt Lake City, but there were no immediate plans to build it. The joint presence of the Flag of Deseret and the Declaration of Independence, meanwhile, represented two very different claims of political sovereignty. The company of Utes attracted relatively little attention. They were bystanders, but the declaration of Deseret had immediate implications for their futures.

As a political entity, Deseret quickly vanished. As part of the intricate Compromise of 1850, Congress instead admitted the Territory of Utah, named for the territory’s most prominent native people. Despite its ephemeral existence, the ideals of Deseret left a deep imprint on the Utah Territory’s first half century.

Building the Kingdom of God

Beginning in 1847, thousands of Latter-day Saint emigrants came to the Great Basin (the space between the Wasatch and Sierra Nevada in which rainfall drains inward) each year, the flow ebbing in the last several decades of the 19th century. Toward the end of his life, Joseph Smith had spoken of the entire continent as Zion, and the Saints’ Great Basin Kingdom became the place in which church members strove to create Zion conditions of concord and harmony. Thus, the Saints during these decades flooded, in the words of Mormon hymnist William Clayton, to “the place which God for us prepared/Far away, in the West.”

In September 1850, the church’s First Presidency (Brigham Young and his two counselors) issued an epistle in which they declared that Deseret’s growth had fulfilled an ancient prophecy. “For truly has [God] made the wilderness to bud and blossom like the rose,” they wrote, alluding to a passage in the Book of Isaiah. They noted that the Saints were cultivating with success peaches, currants, peas, and beans.14 Several years later, church leaders declared that laying the initial foundation for the Salt Lake Temple fulfilled other prophecies—from the Old Testament and from Joseph Smith—that “the Chief Corner Stones of the House of the Lord” would be “laid in the tops of the mountains.”15 According to such lines of reasoning, Mormon colonization of the Salt Lake Valley was far more than an improvised response to persecution. It was the divinely ordained fulfillment of prophecy.

Mormon pioneers named settlements, rivers, and mountains after figures and places in the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Communities established in the 1850s included Lehi and Nephi, leading figures in the Book of Mormon’s early narratives. The Central Utah communities of Manti and Ephraim were named after a Book of Mormon warrior and the biblical son of Joseph, respectively. In 1855, residents of a settlement founded shortly after the initial 1847 emigration renamed their town Bountiful, after Old and New World communities in the Book of Mormon. Mount Nebo, the highest mountain in the southern Wasatch range, was named after the mountain from which Moses looked into the promised land prior to his death. In naming places after scriptural antecedents, the Mormons followed the example of prior generations of Euro-American settlers in the East. There are peaks and rivers named for Mount Nebo and the Jordan River (in Utah, connecting Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake) in the eastern United States as well. More so than past generations of Protestants, however, mid-19th-century Mormons understood themselves to be recapitulating the events of the Bible.16 Having fled Babylon, whether understood as Illinois or other communities in the United States or Europe, they had journeyed to a promised land. “Oh! Babylon, oh! Babylon, we bid thee farewell,” proclaimed a hymn written by Scottish-born Mormon Alexander Ross. “We're going to the mountains of Ephraim to dwell.”

The Mormons laid out their new communities partly on the basis of Joseph Smith’s revelations. Salt Lake City had the wide streets and grid of the 1833 “Plat of the City of Zion” (even wider, in fact), but church leaders planned one temple rather than twenty-four. Salt Lake City was not a new city of Zion; instead, it was the metropole for a series of settlements, organized as tight-knit towns with outlying farms. Also, although Latter-day Saints scattered away from the church’s places of gathering had not built their own churches or places of worship in the 1830s and 1840s, Utah Mormons constructed places of worship. Small settlements each had a single meetinghouse. Salt Lake City and other large settlements were subdivided into wards (a local unit of the church, much like a parish), each with its own meetinghouse. In this respect, Mormon communities came to more closely resemble the congregational life and spatial geography of other American religious groups.17

The path of Elizabeth Lewis illustrates the kinetic motion of Mormonism during its early Utah years. Born in 1812 in Wales, Lewis and her family converted to Mormonism through the preaching of Dan Jones, a Welshman who had immigrated to Illinois, joined the church, and then traveled back to his native land as a missionary. The Lewis family decided to emigrate. After they entered the Salt Lake Valley, many of the Welsh emigrants settled together on land situated on the banks of the Jordan River. Within a month of her arrival, Elizabeth Lewis had received a farm there, and she also possessed—according to Dan Jones—“a paradise-like lot near the temple [block]” with a house nearing completion.18 Lewis then abandoned her husband to become the plural wife of Dan Jones, and she moved with her children to Manti, a community in Central Utah’s Sanpete Valley planted by Mormon settlers in 1849. As was true of the vast majority of church members at this time (the exceptions being children born into the church), for Elizabeth Lewis becoming Mormon meant far more than leaving one church and joining another. Conversion to Mormonism was not akin to disaffiliating with the Church of England and joining a nearby Methodist congregation. For Lewis, becoming Mormon meant leaving behind one set of identities (church, kinship ties, jobs, home, and country) and reorienting herself within new communities. It meant traveling in a company of emigrants on a boat and across the plains. It meant joining a colony and a ward. It meant becoming a strange, unsettled mixture of Mormon and American.

In his magisterial economic history of Utah’s first half century, Leonard Arrington maintained that “Mormon colonization… was the directed movement of an entire new community according to plans carefully worked out by church authorities, rather than the result of the spontaneous and independent movement of individuals.”19 Like other Mormon settlements, the Sanpete colony was not formed haphazardly. At the church’s October 1849 semi-annual conference, hierarchs selected three men to preside over the colony, who in turn selected families to join the settlement. Dan Jones headed one of those chosen families. Church leaders coordinated plans for postal service between the Sanpete Valley and Great Salt Lake City, and they lent their support to a variety of economic initiatives. Brigham Young visited the colony repeatedly over the next several years. Missionary work in the eastern United States and Europe, the gathering of converts to Zion, and the colonization of new settlements were interconnected church efforts to build up the Kingdom of God. Missionaries were sent out, families were gathered to Zion, and families were then dispatched to outlying colonies. Those colonies ultimately stretched from present-day Idaho to San Bernardino, on the outskirts of Los Angeles. “We have succeeded in building many cities, towns, villages, &c., for some four hundred miles north and south,” Orson Pratt explained to a Salt Lake City audience in February 1875. “We have got our farms fenced and our water ditches dug.”20

As the Saints flooded into the Great Basin, their new homeland largely displaced Jackson County in the Mormon imagination. When Latter-day Saints thought systematically about the Second Coming and the millennium, Jackson County retained its importance. Church member John Jacques published a Catechism for Children in 1854. In it, he affirmed that the “New Jerusalem” would stand in “Jackson County, Missouri, where a temple, the site of which was dedicated in 1831, will be eventually built.”21 On occasion, “eventually” seemed nigh. During the 1857–1858 Utah War and again during the U.S. Civil War, apocalyptic speculation reached a fever pitch. In 1862, Brigham Young said that he expected to return to Jackson County in seven years. He did not want to complete the Salt Lake Temple because, Young suggested, “there will not be any Temple finished until the One is finished in Jackson County Missouri.”22 The Union victory dampened such talk.

Apart from bursts of millennial expectation, however, the task of building up Zion communities in Deseret and Utah largely superseded the older goal of redeeming Zion in Jackson County. “[K]now ye not that here is Zion?” Brigham Young proclaimed at the church’s April 1845 conference in Nauvoo. “[K]now ye not that the millennium has commenced? We have had Zion upon the earth this fourteen years.”23 Jackson County was still the millennial Zion, but Zion also meant a people anywhere united in heart and mind. Zion in that sense was possible in the here and now. “We are not going to wait for angels,” Young preached in 1862, “or for Enoch and his company to come and build up Zion, but we are going to build it.” Therefore, the Saints should busy themselves with the tasks at hand. Such reasoning imbued with sacred significance not only preaching missions and temple ordinances, but also the hard work of establishing new settlements, digging for coal, and growing cotton.

The Kingdom’s Political Collapse

The Mormons, though, were not the only mid-19th-century Americans to stake their claim to the land of the Great Basin. In the years following the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, the United States government sent U.S. Army surveyors, military expeditions, political appointees, and Indian agents to the Utah Territory. Shortly after the Compromise of 1850, President Millard Fillmore appointed Brigham Young as the Utah Territory’s first governor, but Fillmore also selected several non-Mormon officials and judges for the new territory. Those non-Mormon appointees arrived with a deep antipathy toward the church. At the same time, despite official professions of loyalty to the United States and its constitution, the Saints made clear their higher allegiance to the Mormon priesthood. “I love my president,” Heber Kimball (counselor in the church’s First Presidency) said of Brigham Young at a Sunday meeting in 1851. “He is not only the president here but he is the president of the states and kingdoms of this world no matter if they have not elected him.”24 Despite his appointment of Young as Utah’s governor, Fillmore sent a backchannel message to Utah stating his concern that the Mormon leader not “be as a Prince of this world and a prophet for the next.”25 That was exactly how Brigham Young understood himself, however.

The blend of ecclesiastical and political power in Utah, the church’s history of persecution, and the fact that many appointees arrived with negative attitudes toward Mormonism all fomented strife between outside appointees and Mormon leaders. Throughout the early to mid-1850s, appointees arrived in Utah, clashed with church leaders, and returned to Washington with allegations about Mormon theocracy. In turn, Mormon leaders became increasingly shrill in their accusations against appointees whom they regarded as the thin end of a Gentile wedge that would eventually subjugate, persecute, and possibly exterminate them. In 1857, President Buchanan responded to reports of Mormon political disloyalty by dispatching one-fifth of the standing U.S. Army with a non-Mormon replacement for Brigham Young as Utah’s governor. Young mobilized the territorial militia, sought alliances with Utah’s native peoples, abandoned outlying Mormon settlements, and prepared to defend the Kingdom of God. He proclaimed that the Saints would burn Salt Lake City and hole up in the mountains, making “a potters field of every Canyon” into which American troops pursued them.26 “We will not have neither their soldiers or officers any more here at all,” Young told a U.S. Army emissary.27 During the standoff, members of a southern Utah militia attacked a group of non-Mormon emigrants bound for California. After inducing their surrender with promises of safe passage to a nearby Mormon community, the militiamen murdered nearly 120 men, women, and children at a place called Mountain Meadows.28

Although Brigham Young soon backed down and accepted a presidential pardon from possible charges of treason, the conflict persisted, driven by competing claims of political and theocratic sovereignty. Clashes with judges, army officers, and political appointees continued for the next several decades. The subject of polygamy was central to what Americans referred to as “the Mormon problem.”29 Church leaders had publicly acknowledged and defended the practice since 1852, and Congress passed the first of several anti-polygamy laws in 1862. Congress pointedly demanded the abandonment of polygamy as the price for Utah’s admission into the Union as a state, a settlement Young repeatedly rejected. After Congress ignored the territory’s application for statehood in 1862, piqued church leaders reactivated the legislature of Deseret. Legislators assembled as a “ghost government,” meeting every January in an elaborate charade to listen to Young’s “governor's message” and symbolically affirm the territory’s laws. Young informed the legislators that they should remain ready to assume their lawful responsibilities. “We are Called the State Legislature,” apostle Wilford Woodruff summarized Young’s January 1863 message, “but when the time comes, we shall be called the Kingdom of God… the time will Come when these men will give laws to the Nations of the Earth.”30 The language evoked the dormant Council of Fifty’s claim to constitute the political Kingdom of God upon the earth. Mormon leaders abandoned the farce after several years, when the Union’s victory in the Civil War made it clear that the Kingdom of God’s millennial reign would not arrive anytime soon.

Although polygamy dominated much of the national discussion about Mormonism, the most basic question concerned sovereignty over the land and politics of the Utah Territory and Mormon settlements in neighboring Arizona and Idaho. The discovery of valuable silver lodes in southern Utah sparked conflict between Mormon settlers and non-Mormon prospectors and bankers. As Paul Reeve has demonstrated, buried riches created a three-way competition for space among Mormons, “Gentiles,” and Paiute Indians, conflicts sometimes settled by federal authority. In 1863, for instance, Congress detached the Territory of Nevada from Utah. After the Civil War, Washington made clear its intention to subdue opposition to American sovereignty in the western territories, whether that opposition came from Indians or Mormons. At the same time, Republican politicians such as James Ashley and Shelby Collum envisioned Utah as a second object of federal reconstruction, in this case understood as legislation designed to convict Mormon polygamists and eliminate the church’s influence over the territory’s courts.31

The 1869 completion of the Transcontinental Railroad at Promontory, Utah, significantly reduced the territory’s relative economic and cultural isolation. The railroad altered the nature of Mormon gathering to Zion, making it a much less arduous—if still financially sobering—rite of passage. Mormon leaders, meanwhile, viewed the railroad as both an engine of prosperity and a threat. One church member referred to the railroad as the “monster” in the “vale,” bringing Gentile merchants and settlers into Mormon country.32 Indeed, the railroad’s completion dramatically increased the territory’s non-Mormon population, leaving church members as a scant majority by century’s end. The growth of non-Mormon numbers and economic clout fomented opposition to Brigham Young’s policies of economic cooperation and autonomy, led to the establishment of non-Mormon newspapers, and weakened church leaders’ ability to resist Washington’s assertion of political sovereignty over the territory.33

In the mid-1870s and 1880s, church members once again revived their hopes for Jesus Christ’s imminent return and establishment of the millennial Kingdom of God. In its 1876 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (primarily a collection of Joseph Smith’s revelations), the church published Smith’s prophecy that if he lived to eighty-five years of age, he would see the Second Coming. “I believe the coming of the Son of Man will not be any sooner than that time,” church members read. Publicly, church leaders cautioned that “the Prophet Joseph was not… definitely informed of the time of the stupendous occurrence.” Nevertheless, many church members fixated on 1890 or 1891 as the probable year of the Second Coming. Wilford Woodruff, for instance, informed an 1879 church conference in Arizona that “there will be no United States in the Year 1890.”34 As the U.S. government incarcerated polygamous men, seized church assets, and upheld the disenfranchisement of Mormon voters, millenarian expectations comforted a beleaguered church. In 1890, Woodruff himself, now president of the church, dashed such hopes. In what became known as “the Manifesto,” Woodruff reversed course and encouraged church members to obey anti-polygamy laws.35 Woodruff’s decision paved the way for Utah statehood, which came in 1896. Millennarian hopes and theocratic aspirations quickly dissipated. The Manifesto and Utah Statehood sounded the death knell for the Mormon vision of Deseret.

Native Space, Mormon Space

In the midst of this half-century conflict over political sovereignty, those competing Mormon and U.S. claims to the Great Basin impacted and in some cases destroyed the lives of those native peoples who inhabited it. Much as the early years of European settlement had dramatically reshaped the landscape of New England and Virginia, and much as mid-19th-century American expansion altered environments from Oregon to Wisconsin, Mormon colonization of the Great Basin inexorably changed its land and waters.36 Early settlers utilized rich stocks of timber, diverted streams to irrigate fields, planted new crops such as cotton (in southern Utah), and mined coal and iron. After early winters of near starvation, Mormon settlers produced more bountiful harvests. The Cotton Mission petered out, though its very name suggests the sacred importance to which church leaders assigned such tasks. In other ways, the success of Mormon colonization depleted natural resources. Mormon settlement quickly depleted stocks of fish, and game became scarce anywhere near Mormon towns and outposts.

As Jared Farmer has demonstrated, Mormon settlement quickly disrupted patterns of natural and human life in Utah Valley (east of Utah Lake to the south of Great Salt Lake City). Prior to Mormon colonization, around a thousand Nuche or Ute people known to other Numic speakers as Tumpanawach (or Timpanogos) or “Fish-Eaters” gathered each spring at the mouth of the Provo River. They caught an abundance of trout, some of which was dried and stored for later use. Over the past half century, the western Utes had traded pelts and slaves for horses from Spaniards. Some bands embraced slave trading and nomadism and increased their power over pedestrian and more sedentary groups. In Utah Valley, fish retained its preeminent importance. Some Utes lived year round along the streams that flowed into Utah Lake, and others arrived from points farther south during the summertime peak of the fishing season.37

The first Mormon settlers had avoided the Utah Valley because of its heavy use by Timpanogos Utes. Despite that initial caution, however, conflict soon arose. Ute bands stole Mormon horses and livestock and drove them into Utah Valley canyons. In return, Brigham Young authorized an expedition that tracked down and killed one group of suspected cattle thieves. Shortly thereafter, the Council of Fifty in March 1849 authorized the creation of a Utah Valley colony. Several dozen Mormon families moved south to establish the settlement. In response to Mormon encroachment on traditional Ute means of livelihood, Indians increased their cattle raids and trampled Mormon crops. With the support and assistance of a U.S. Army surveying expedition, Young organized another military campaign in February 1850. “They must either quit the ground or we must,” he said. “We have to maintain that ground, or vacate this.”38 Young decided that his troops would give the Utes no quarter; his military commander, Daniel H. Wells, instructed his men to “[t]ake no hostile Indians as prisoners.”39 The Mormon settlers-turned-soldiers captured and then executed eleven Ute warriors.40

The slaughter marked the Mormon conquest of Utah Valley. In the fall of 1850, Mormon settlers established the beginnings of eight Utah Valley towns. The rapid Mormon colonization of the valley circumscribed the options available to its native peoples. The swelling population of Saints steadily depleted the Utah Valley fisheries. Settlers sent loads of fish to Salt Lake City, made already scarce game in the neighboring mountains even scarcer, and introduced diseases that ravaged Ute encampments. Prior to the exodus, many Saints had hoped that western Indians would fulfill Book of Mormon prophecies through their conversion, participating in what would become a glorious Lamanite future. Now, having destroyed many Ute forms of subsistence, the Saints found themselves among an impoverished people they came to regard as primitive and cursed.41

Brigham Young, appointed as the U.S. superintendent of Indian affairs for the Utah Territory, suggested that the national government establish reservations for the Utes. “Let the Indians be removed,” he argued, “we can then devote more time to agriculture, raise more grain to feed the starving millions desirous of coming hither.”42 Mormons, in this line of reasoning, would make far more efficient and productive use of the Great Basin’s arable land. No longer stewards of a land once their own, the Indians would become beneficiaries of Mormon and American charity, a charity Young argued was a better policy than ongoing warfare. After the wars of the late 1840s and early 1850s, Young frequently reminded Mormon settlers and U.S. officials alike that it “better and cheaper to feed and clothe the Indians, than to fight them.”43

Warfare, relief, and reservations were all policies designed to facilitate the overriding objective of church leaders: to bring as many Saints to Zion as possible, creating a firm foundation that the United States government could not dislodge.44 Both military reprisals and giving the Indians food and clothing furthered this goal of making the Great Basin into Mormon space in deed as well as claim. Throughout the 1850s and early 1860s, despite retrenchment during the 1857–1858 war with the U.S. government, Mormon settlers pushed into new valleys in Central and Southern Utah and into what became the Idaho Territory in 1863. Mormon expansion continued to impoverish, displace, and often frustrate Utah’s native peoples, especially the Shoshone in the northwestern portion of the territory and Utes in central and eastern Utah. As traditional means of subsistence disappeared, native populations steadily fell, and despite Young’s talk of feeding the Indians, native peoples never received the subsistence necessary to provide for a stable or prosperous existence. The increased presence of the U.S. Army in the Great Basin posed an additional threat as well. In January 1863, Colonel Patrick Edward Connor led the massacre of more than two hundred Shoshone, including women and children, at a village on Bear River.45

Indians for their part responded to Mormon colonization with a variety of strategies, ranging from accommodation (including, in some instances, Mormon baptism) to resistance. In the mid-1860s, Utes under the leadership of Anatonga (Black Hawk) began raiding Mormon settlements in Central Utah. In a bloody cycle of violence, raiders killed settlers, while the Nauvoo Legion fruitlessly tracked Black Hawk’s band, desperate to capture its antagonist but wary of stumbling into ambushes. Brigham Young prodded other Ute leaders to accept removal to a reservation in the Uintah Mountains. He promised that the Indians would always be welcome among the Saints, but he informed the Ute leaders that “we shall occupy this valley and the next, and the next, and so on till we occupy the whole of them.”46 Meanwhile, Young restrained settlers who wanted to wage a war of extermination in keeping with the attitudes of western army officers such as Patrick Edward Connor. At the height of the conflict, he reminded settlers that the Indians were not only the descendants of the Lamanites but also the original inhabitants of the land. “They buried their fathers and mothers here, and children,” he told settlers in the Utah Valley community of Springville, “and this is their home.” “When we came in,” he recalled, “[there were] great hordes [of] fish in this lake in abundance and they came here to catch the fish.” It was the Mormons’ duty to feed the Indians, he added, because “we are living on their possessions and in their homes.” While he insisted that the Saints were not “interlopers” because God had brought them to the Great Basin, both peoples possessed the land, and the Saints had to provide for the Indians whose sustenance they had diminished.47

The Mormon exodus and the establishment of Deseret set peoples in motion. Church members involuntarily abandoned Nauvoo, and converts boarded ships from Liverpool that sailed for New York and New Orleans, organized wagon trains in Kanesville or Iowa City, and in some cases pushed hand carts across the plains and over the mountains. After reaching Salt Lake City, many Mormon settlers then decamped for colonies elsewhere in the Great Basin. As they did so, they displaced native peoples. When those peoples fought back, Mormon and American soldiers subdued and sometimes slaughtered them. The Mormons lost their political, military, and judicial battles against the U.S. government, but in the wake of those defeats, the Saints continued to build up their communities, which grew in population and prosperity. The Great Basin’s native peoples did not disappear in the wake of their defeats either, but they exercised far less political power and enjoyed far less prosperity. A portion of Utah’s surviving native peoples did indeed convert to Mormonism, often blending Latter-day Saint teachings with native practices and beliefs. For the vast majority of Paiutes, Utes, and Shoshone, however, Latter-day Saint colonization and conquest of the Great Basin unleashed devastating consequences. The claim that the Great Basin was “Deseret,” the Kingdom of God on earth, meant that it was Mormon rather than native space.

The Commemoration of Sacred Space

By the time that Wilford Woodruff capitulated to the U.S. government’s demand that his church abandon polygamy, the ideal of Deseret had long been fading. The Saints, with or without statehood, would not govern themselves without outside interference. The non-Mormon population of the Utah Territory, and then state, grew significantly over the last several decades of the 19th century. The church abandoned its overtly theocratic aspirations in the years after 1890, and church members enthusiastically supported American wars against Spain and the Central Powers. Rather than fighting to preserve the earthly Kingdom of God, Mormons fought to expand the territory and economic power of the nation their ancestors had understood as their persecutor. Most tellingly, perhaps, the church stopped encouraging and then flatly discouraged further Mormon emigration to the Great Basin. “STAY WHERE YOU ARE!” ordered the church’s Liverpool-based Millennial Star in 1921. “The counsel of the General Authorities to the yet ungathered Saints,” informed the paper, “is not to flock Zionward under existing conditions.”48

The church’s abandonment of polygamy, which began with Woodruff’s Manifesto, is regarded as a watershed moment that began the transformation of Mormonism into a modern, corporate, and patriotic church. While it attracted far less attention and stoked less internal controversy, the church’s abandonment of gathering was no less significant. It led Mormons to think differently about the land they had settled and the nation in which it now took its place as a state. One year after Utah obtained statehood, the church organized extensive celebrations of the fiftieth anniversary of the pioneers’ entrance into the Salt Lake Valley. There were no public expressions of bitterness against the U.S. government, no talk of separate flags, no proclamations of Mormon independence. Going forward, historian Sara Patterson has explained, Mormon leaders would encourage members to imitate not the journey of their pioneer ancestors but their virtues of faith and hard work, virtues they could practice in any location.49 As the church built temples around Utah, around the United States, and around the world, its members had access to rituals no longer tied to particular notions of Zion or gathering. This was a fundamental redefinition of Mormon space. Particular places, from Utah to Kirtland, possessed sacred significance as pilgrimage sites and for their role in the church’s understanding of its history. Church members could live out their religion in its entirety most anywhere in the world.

The abandonment of gathering, the building of temples (four in Utah in the last quarter of the 19th century), and the church’s reconfiguration of its 19th-century history set the stage for Mormonism’s late-20th-century growth in the United States and internationally. Mormonism remained a religion that set peoples in motion. Young men (and then women) traveled to missionary training centers, undertook missionary assignments around the world, and then returned to start careers and families. Many emigrated outside of Utah, in the process forming new branches and stakes of the church across the United States. As temples proliferated, active church members who lived near them went regularly to perform rituals on behalf of the dead. Mormons regarded these activities as contributing to the creation of Zion-like conditions, as vital contributions to building up the Kingdom of God, but they now understood Zion and God’s Kingdom in metaphorical, figurative, less geographic ways. At least for most church members, they became ideals rather than actual places. By abandoning the principal of gathering, moreover, the Church of Jesus Christ—especially outside of its Great Basin heartland—conformed more closely to what Congregationalist minister A. S. Bailey termed “the American idea of a church.”50 That idea involved not only monogamous marriage but an exchange of theocracy for unabashed patriotism, and it meant that while Mormons might regard Kirtland, Nauvoo, and Utah as places of sacred significance, the church’s temples would increasingly constitute Mormonism’s most sacred space.

Review of the Literature

Many scholars, including Milton Hunter and Leonard Arrington, have carefully tracked the growth of Mormon settlements during the eras of the independent state of Deseret and the Utah Territory.51 More recently, C. Mark Hamilton and Thomas Carter have analyzed the planning of Mormon settlements and the form and function of Latter-day Saint meetinghouses and temples.52

Mormon temples are not public spaces. In order to gain admission, church members need a recommend from their local leaders, a process that requires them to profess belief in the church’s central teachings, pay tithing, and keep the Word of Wisdom. The fact that church leaders instruct Mormons to keep silent about temple ordinances discourages scholarly analysis of temple architecture and ritual. In response to the unauthorized publication of some photographs of the Salt Lake City’s interior, Mormon apostle James E. Talmage in 1912 published extensive photographs of the temple’s rooms.53 David Howlett has explained how the Kirtland Temple became contested space among a variety of religious movements that trace their history to Joseph Smith, and John Turner has traced ways in which the LDS Church has emphasized that its temples are “Christian” space in recent decades.54

Other scholars have analyzed the ways in which Mormon settlement of the Great Basin produced political, economic, and military contests over western land. As discussed by Paul Reeve, the discovery of precious metals sparked a three-way struggle among southern Paiutes, Latter-day Saint settlers, and non-Mormon speculators.55 Jared Farmer’s On Zion’s Mount explains how Mormons forcibly displaced native peoples and then came to understand Utah’s landscape as sacred partly through the creation of pseudo-Indian legends that ignored indigenous claims on and attachments to the land.56

In keeping with recent literature by David Chidester, Edward Linenthal, Roger Stump, and Bret Carroll, other scholars have demonstrated the persistence of religious conflicts over space regarded as sacred by Mormons. Max Mueller has examined conflicts between the LDS Church and non-Mormon Utahans about whether Temple Square and areas surrounding it are private, sacred space or public space, and Carroll has discussed how religious minorities in Utah have struggled for recognition at public sites such as This Is the Place Heritage Park, which commemorates the 1847 entrance of Mormon pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley.57

The popularity of handcart reenactment treks, Pioneer Day festivities, and the significance of church historical sites in Utah and along the Mormon Trail all testify to the importance of western space within Mormon religious identity. As Sara Patterson has explained, however, the meaning of western space has changed significantly over the past century. Commemoration and reenactment encourage church members not to gather to particular geographic spaces, but to emulate the values of their religious predecessors that once traversed them.58

Further Reading

Arrington, Leonard. Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830–1900. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1958.Find this resource:

Bennett, Richard E.Mormons at the Missouri, 1846–1852: “And Should We Die Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987.Find this resource:

Blackhawk, Ned. Violence Over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006.Find this resource:

Carter, Thomas. Building Zion: The Material World of Mormon Settlement. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015.Find this resource:

Farmer, Jared. On Zions Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008.Find this resource:

Flake, Kathleen. The Politics of American Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.Find this resource:

Gordon, Sarah Barringer. The Mormon Question: Polygamy and Constitutional Conflict in Nineteenth-Century America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.Find this resource:

Morgan, Dale L.The State of Deseret. Logan: Utah State University Press, 1987.Find this resource:

Patterson, Sara M. “Everyone Can Be a Pioneer: The Sesquicentennial Celebrations of Mormon Arrival in the Salt Lake Valley.” In Out of Obscurity: Mormonism since 1945, edited by Patrick Q. Mason and John G. Turner. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, ch. 14.Find this resource:

Reeve, W. Paul, Making Space on the Western Frontier: Mormons, Miners, and Southern Paiutes. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006.Find this resource:

Shipps, Jan. Mormonism: A New Religious Tradition. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1985.Find this resource:


(1.) Samuel M. Brown, In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), chs. 3 and 4.

(2.) “Explanation of the Plat of the City of Zion,” circa June 25, 1833, in Gerrit J. Dirkmaat, et al., eds. The Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, vol. 3: February 1833–March 1834 (Salt Lake City, UT: Church Historian’s Press, 2014), 128. See the discussion in Thomas Carter, Building Zion: The Material World of Mormon Settlement (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015), ch. 2.

(3.) On Mormon millenarianism, see Grant Underwood, The Millenarian World of Early Mormonism (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993).

(4.) David Chidester and Edward T. Linenthal, American Sacred Space (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), 18. See the discussion in Bret E. Carroll, “Worlds in Space: American Religious Pluralism in Geographich Perspective,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 80.2 (June 2012): 304–364.

(5.) See David J. Howlett, Kirtland Temple: The Biography of a Shared Mormon Sacred Space (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2014), esp. ch. 1.

(6.) On the Nauvoo Temple cultus and the theology that undergirded it, see Brown, In Heaven, ch. 6.

(7.) Howlett, Kirtland Temple, ch. 1; C. Mark Hamilton, Nineteenth-Century Mormon Architecture and City Planning (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), ch. 3.

(8.) On the Mormon exodus, see Richard E. Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 1846–1852: “And Should We Die (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987).

(9.) Thomas Bullock Journal, July 28, 1847, in Will Bagley, ed., The Pioneer Camp of the Saints: The 1846 and 1847 Mormon Trail Journals of Thomas Bullock (Spokane, WA: Arthur H. Clark, 1997), 244.

(10.) Quotes are from the Council of Fifty Minutes, in Matthew J. Grow et al., eds., The Joseph Smith Papers, Administrative Records: Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844–January 1846 (Salt Lake City, UT: Church Historian’s Press, 2016), 48 (“Kingdom of God and his Laws”), 40 (“establish a Theocracy”), 120 (“Prophet, Priest, and King”), 137 (“ye are my constitution”).

(11.) Ether [Book of Mormon] 2:3.

(12.) See Dale L. Morgan, The State of Deseret (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1987); Peter Crawley, “The Constitution of the State of Deseret,” BYU Studies (Fall 1989): 7–22.

(13.) Account of festivities in July 24, 1849 minutes, Box 2, Folder 13, General Church Minutes, CR 100 318, Church History Library, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT.

(14.) Fourth General Epistle of the First Presidency, September 1850, in Reid L. Neilson and Nathan N. Waite, eds., Settling the Valley, Proclaiming the Gospel: The General Epistles of the Mormon First Presidency (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017), 15.

(15.) Ninth General Epistle of the First Presidency, April 1853, in Neilson and Waite, Settling the Valley.

(16.) Jan Shipps, Mormonism: A New Religious Tradition (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1985).

(17.) On the planning and architecture of Mormon settlements, see Carter, Building Zion, chs. 2 and 7. See also Thomas G. Alexander, Brigham Young and the Expansion of the Mormon Faith (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, forthcoming), ch. 4; Matthew Bowman, The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith (New York: Random House, 2012), 138–139.

(18.) “paradise-like lot” in Dan Jones to W. Phillips, November 20, 1849, in Ronald D. Dennis, The Call of Zion: The Story of the First Welsh Mormon Emigration (Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1987), 190.

(19.) This follows the argument in Leonard Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830–1900 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1958), 89.

(20.) Pratt quoted in Dimick Huntington, “Correspondence: America,” Millennial Star [Liverpool, U.K.], July 5, 1875, in Max Mueller, Race and the Making of Mormonism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017).

(21.) Jacques, Catechism for Children, Exhibiting the Prominent Doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Liverpool: F. D. Richards, 1854), 83.

(22.) Wilford Woodruff Journal, August 23, 1863, in Scott G. Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 1833–1898: Typescript, 9 vols. (Midvale, UT: Signature Books, 1983–1984), 6:71.

(23.) Times and Seasons, July 1, 1845, 956; “not going to wait” in Brigham Young discourse of February 23, 1862, in Journal of Discourses by Brigham Young, His Two Counsellors, the Twelve Apostles and others…, 26 vols. (London: various publishers, 1854–1886), 9:284.

(24.) Kimball in minutes of July 6, 1851, Box 2, Folder 31, General Church Minutes. See Howard Lamar, The Far Southwest: A Territorial History, 1846–1912 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1966), ch. 4.

(25.) Almon Babbitt in minutes of July 23, 1851, Box 2, Folder 31, General Church Minutes, typescript by LaJean Carruth and John Turner.

(26.) Young discourse of August 16, 1857, Box 3, Folder 24, GCM.

(27.) Young quoted in Wilford Woodruff Journal, September 13, 1857, 5:95–97.

(28.) For contrasting explanations of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, see Ronald W. Walker et al., Massacre at Mountain Meadows (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008); Will Bagley, Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2002).

(29.) See Sarah Barringer Gordon, The Mormon Question: Polygamy and Constitutional Conflict in Nineteenth-Century America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002); Norman F. Furniss, The Mormon Conflict, 1850–1859 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1960).

(30.) Wilford Woodruff Journal, January 19, 1863, 6:92, 93.

(31.) W. Paul Reeve, Making Space on the Western Frontier: Mormons, Miners, and Southern Paiutes (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006).

(32.) Jabez Woodard in The Utah Magazine [Salt Lake City, UT], May 8, 1869, 9.

(33.) On the impact of the railroad, see Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom, chs. 8 and 9; Ronald W. Walker, Wayward Saints: The Godbeites and Brigham Young (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998).

(34.) Woodruff in minutes of the Eastern Arizona Stake, June 28, 1879, quoted in Charles S. Peterson, Take Up Your Mission: Mormon Colonizing Along the Little Colorado River, 1870–1900 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1973), 228n18. Dan Erickson, As a Thief in the Night: The Mormon Quest for Millennial Deliverance (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 1998), ch. 8.

(35.) On the Manifesto, see Kathleen Flake, The Politics of American Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), esp. 30–31.

(36.) See William Cronon, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England (New York: Hill and Wang, 1983); Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (New York: W. W. Norton, 1991).

(37.) See Farmer, On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008), esp. chs. 1–3.

(38.) Minutes of February 10, 1850, Box 2, Folder 17, General Church Minutes.

(39.) Wells to Young, February 13/14, 1850, in Box 2, Folder 1, Utah Territorial Militia Records, Series 2210, Utah State Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah.

(40.) See Howard Christy, “Open Hand and Mailed Fist: Mormon-Indian Relations in Utah, 1847–52,” Utah Historical Quarterly 46 (Summer 1978): esp. 223–227.

(41.) See David Rich Lewis, Neither Wolf Nor Dog: American Indians, Environment, and Agrarian Change (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), ch. 3; Farmer, On Zion’s Mount, 85–92.

(42.) Young letter to John M. Bernhisel, draft in Box 3, Folder 10, MS 1490, Church History Library.

(43.) Young letter to Luke Lea, June 8, 1852, Box 55, Folder 1, Brigham Young Papers, CR 1234 1, Church History Library.

(44.) See Reeve, Making Space, 102.

(45.) See Brigham D. Madsen, The Shoshoni Frontier and the Bear River Massacre (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1985), chs. 9 and 10; Scott R. Christensen, Sagwitch: Shoshone Chieftain, Mormon Elder, 1822–1887 (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1999), chs. 2 and 3; Ned Blackhawk, Violence Over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006), 244–266.

(46.) “Articles of Agreement and Conversation made and concluded at Spanish Fork,” Documents Relating to the Negotiation of Unratified Treaties, T494, Reel 10, National Archives, Washington, DC.

(47.) Young discourse of July 28, 1866, transcript of George D. Watt shorthand notes by LaJean Carruth.

(48.) Millennial Star, September 15, 1921, 584.

(49.) See Sara M. Patterson, “Everyone Can Be a Pioneer: The Sesquicentennial Celebrations of Mormon Arrival in the Salt Lake Valley,” in Out of Obscurity: Mormonism since 1945, eds. Patrick Q. Mason and John G. Turner (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), ch. 14.

(50.) Flake, Politics of American Religious Identity, ch. 1.

(51.) Hunter, Brigham Young, the Colonizer (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1940); Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom.

(52.) Hamilton, Nineteenth-Century Mormon Architecture and City Planning.

(53.) Talmage, House of the Lord: A Study of Holy Sanctuaries, Ancient and Modern… (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret News, 1912).

(54.) Howlett, Kirtland Temple; Turner, Mormon Jesus: A Biography (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016), ch. 7.

(55.) Reeve, Making Space.

(56.) Farmer, On Zion’s Mount.

(57.) Chidester and Linenthal, American Sacred Space, introduction; Roger W. Stump, The Geography of Religion: Faith, Place, and Space (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), ch. 4; Mueller, “The Pageantry of Protest in Temple Square,” in Mason and Turner, Out of Obscurity: Mormonism since 1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), 123–143; Carroll, “Worlds in Space,” 330–331.

(58.) Patterson, “Everyone Can Be a Pioneer.”