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The Mormons

The migration of the Mormons from New York to Utah is interpreted by Mormon believers as their search for haven that’s free from discrimination and prejudice from non-Mormons or what they call “gentiles”. It was their escape and chance to build their own community based on their religion. True enough, they came to Utah and established their own community. However, their exodus to Utah was not out of free will and it did not go as easy as it sounds. Before they settled in to Utah they basically moved from one city to another because of different reasons.

Their founder Joseph Smith was a charismatic leader who ruled with an iron fist. He defied federal laws and even challenged some of the officials. The Mormons gained a lot of converts by the time of Joseph Smith and they built a saving bank that eventually went bankrupt. The citizens of Kirtland were outraged when it got bankrupt and drove them out of the town to Ohio. Then at Ohio their leader Joseph Smith gained a lot of converts and a lot of enemies as well so they fled again and finally landing to Illinois where he found his final fate. As usual he defied federal rules and offended public officials.

His views on polygamy as legal were also a cause of outrage from conservatives. His popularity, autocratic leadership, and prosperity of his members scared the community. He was pretty stern in his sermons about vengeance to the “gentiles” that he was already considered a threat by the government so he was jailed and was lynched together with his brother. Because he and his brother died out of lynching he was considered a martyr and drew sympathy from some people. Out from his death another charismatic leader followed in the name of Brigham Young who later on led the Mormons to Utah.

They fled to Utah mainly because they have to. It was a need for them to seek safety away from the eyes of non-Mormons because if not, they will always find opposition and will always be considered as a threat to the state. The beginning. Joseph Smith founded the Mormon religion after the name of the angel whom he says gave him the gospel for him to translate. He was from New York and he went from city to city to convert people and he even sent some of his followers to Europe for so that they can spread their ideology.

For every city that they settled in they gained members which later comprised the thousands of Mormons who joined the march to Utah. The growth. When the Mormons came to Utah they named it Deseret because it was a dry place. They diverted the streams to dams and water works so that they can plow the fields and build a community. They plotted a city with a grand church and even set their won rules and taxes. Agriculture was the main source of income and they traded with neighboring communities. The Mormon community considered it independent from the United States and created laws that allowed polygamy.

Brigham Young for instance was reported to have 27 wives like almost all men in the community. Anthropologist believes that such was done because it was cheaper to have your own children plow the fields than buy slaves. Slave trading was an expensive business so polygamy was a very good alternative. Furthermore, there were more women than men so women were very attracted to becoming wives. For visitors their practice was taboo and very barbaric. They created a community wherein everything was communal and the church was basically the law.

What they created was for the community especially their produce in agriculture. By the time of the gold rush, Utah prospered by providing goods to the large population of miners that settled in California. They drafted their own constitution and declared it as an independent state of Deseret. The war. The Mormons headed by Brigham Young has prospered greatly and their population also increased. Because of their triumph Young was said to dream of getting the office of the president of the United States.

At one point he even declared running for president while he continued to think of Deseret as an independent state and defied federal laws. He was an autocratic leader and he ruled his community with an iron fists. However, the United States did not consider Deseret and named their empire Utah and appointed Young as governor. Brigham Young started appointing church followers and began interfering with court proceeding. It came to a point wherein they harassed non-Mormons in office. Some non-Mormon officials had to leave Utah out of fear. They also did not follow federal laws such as monogamy.

Politicians from other states even view them as a threat and have given their outspoken outrage of polygamy that was practiced by the Mormons. Then the US President James Buchanan was pretty much convinced that the Mormons and their Deseret Empire was fueling a rebellion against the United States. He sent troops to Utah headed by Albert Johnston and declared war on the Mormons for them to conform to the US. The Mormons retreated but their guerillas fought. They were defeated as there was not much bloodshed.

Works Cited

Harrel, D. E. et al. Unto a Good Land. 2005

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