Establishing Zion
Eugene E. Campbell

Chapter 16.
Economic and Religious Developments, 1858-1867

[p.274]During the decade following the Utah War, the church continued to grow. The establishment of Camp Floyd in 1858 brought prosperity to the settlements as colonists traded with 4,000 federal troops and 3,000 non-Mormon suppliers, employees, and camp followers. Mormons bartered consumer goods, and several hundred local residents found employment at the camp. Church-supported organizations profited from the sale to the troops of lumber and other supplies. Residents also profited from the sale of surplus army property, especially when the post was abandoned in 1861. A year later, troops from California ordered to Utah to protect the Overland mail established a new post, Camp Douglas, on the hills east of Salt Lake City. The pioneers once again had a source of trade and commerce for their goods and personal labor.

During the same period, the organization of the Pony Express and the completion of the Overland telegraph brought employment and a market for other services and goods. The development of mining in surrounding states and territories also brought opportunity, which increased when mineral wealth was found in the mountains surrounding the Salt Lake Valley. Taking advantage of growing economic opportunities, freighting companies brought thousands of tons of goods into the valley during the mid-1860s.

Such opportunities allowed church leaders to revise their immigration system. They discontinued handcarts and substituted a system of wagon trains. Wagons could make the round trip from Salt Lake to Missouri in one season, hauling east supplies for immigrants [p.274] and surplus goods for sale and returning with immigrants and needed machinery. Prosperity enabled the Saints to build important buildings, especially in Salt Lake City, and to provide employment for an increasing number of immigrants. The Salt Lake Theater was completed in 1862, and the Salt Lake Tabernacle was in use by 1867. Work continued on the Salt Lake Temple, but it would not be completed until the mid-1890s.

Minor organizational or doctrinal changes also occurred in the church during this period. A dispute between Apostle Orson Pratt and Brigham Young revealed some theological differences, as well as the difficulty in resolving those differences, especially when the prophet claimed revelation that seemed disharmonious with scripture or with the teachings of church founder Joseph Smith. The decade also produced two Mormon dissident groups, the Morrisites and the Godbeites (discussed in subsequent chapters).

Initially, Mormon colonists considered Johnston’s Army the enemy and their suppliers, employees, and camp followers, who settled in Douby Town, or Frog Town (now Fairfield), an undesirable element forced on them and their communities. But they were also desperately poor. Although church leaders originally opposed selling anything to the outsiders, they soon recognized the economic advantage and encouraged the people to get the best price possible for their goods and services. Individual villagers were able to supply the troops with buttermilk, pies, vegetables, butter, eggs, dried fish, dried fruit, and “valley tan” whiskey. They received in exchange cash, clothing, tea and coffee, and valuable equipment. They were also able to sell large quantities of hay, straw, grain, meat, as well as lumber. In fact, the church-supported Big Cottonwood Lumber Company was said to have netted as much as $200,000 in building Camp Floyd. Mormon workers also gained employment by manufacturing adobe bricks, assisting in the construction of the quarters, and performing other specialized services.

Periodic auctions of condemned food, surplus animals, and equipment offered bargains. One of the largest sales disposed of 3,500 large freight wagons for $10 each, many of which cost $150-$175 in the Midwest. Then, in 1861, when the Civil War required that the troops return to the East, Camp Floyd, now named Camp Crittenden, was abandoned, occasioning probably the largest government surplus property sale yet. In one large auction, on 16 July 1861, the army sold approximately $4 million worth of property for an estimated $100,000 cash. About two-fifths was purchased in the name [p.275] of Brigham Young for $40,000. The Walker Brothers and other Mormon colonists made huge profits from these purchases.

One of the most spectacular and least understood developments of the period was the famous Pony Express organized in 1860 by the Russell, Majors, and Waddell Freighting Company. The Pony Express was a propaganda move to demonstrate the feasibility of an all-year mail route through the central part of the country and to obtain a franchise for the mail contract. After establishing approximately 300 stations between Missouri and California, and hiring some eighty riders, the Pony Express began its career on 3 April 1860, expecting to carry the mail to California in ten days. During one winter and two summers, 308 relays were made each way, more than 34,000 pieces of mail being carried. The Pony Express route came through Fort Bridger and over much of the Mormon Trail through the Salt Lake Valley, through Lehi and Tooele County to the Nevada border. It required stations, supplies, station masters, and Pony Express riders, as well as fine horses, which the Mormons were ready to provide. Tragically for Russell, Majors, and Waddell, the experiment was a financial disaster and caused them to lose an estimated $500,000. The Pony Express was discontinued after an eighteen-month career when the Overland telegraph was completed.

Construction of the Western Union Telegraph System was partly contracted to Mormons. Salt Lake City became a junction between the Pacific Telegraph Company from the east and the Western Overland Telegraph Company on the west. Both divisions gave contracts to Brigham Young and through him to other Mormons to help support the construction of approximately 500 miles of line. Church records indicate that at the completion of the line in October 1861, Young received $11,000 in gold for his participation. “I did not touch that gold with my fingers or until it was all paid in,” he wrote. “Then I put it in a vessel of water, cleansed it and said what words I wished over it and then I delivered every dime of it for tithing.” The telegraph lines meeting in Salt Lake City in October 1861 became the first of three transcontinental, communication-transportation systems with their meeting points in the Utah territory—the other two being the transcontinental railroad in 1869 and the transcontinental telephone system which was completed in Wendover, Nevada, in 1914.

The Saints eventually tried to construct their own telegraph system in the Great Basin to unite the territory and to avoid such tragedies as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. In a sermon in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on 9 February 1862, Young announced that he [p.276] wanted “a company raised to stretch wire through our settlements in this territory that information may be communicated to all parts with lightning speed.” Telegraphic instruments were ordered and arrived in September 1862. A telegraphy school was immediately established, enrolling some fifty young men. A few months later a church line was run from the Council House to Young’s office.

However, after this promising start, the program was delayed because of the Civil War, which made it impossible for church leaders to acquire the necessary batteries, insulators, wire, sending and receiving sets, and other equipment. Toward the end of the war, in March 1865, the Deseret News questioned why nothing more had been done on the project and suggested that it was now appropriate to complete a line from Logan to St. George. Bishops of the communities along the route were subsequently requested to hold meetings and sound out the feelings of their people. If reactions were favorable, they should send their reports to Young, indicating how many poles each ward would put up and how much money it would furnish. If the reports were universally favorable, church leaders hoped to put up a line during the fall of 1865. After the April conference, a special meeting was held in which it was agreed to start the project.

At this time church leaders decided to extend the line to St. Charles on Bear Lake in the north rather than Logan. Young tried to generate support for the project as he visited various settlements. All during the winter of 1866-67 communities reported that they were cutting poles and surveying lines to complete such a project.

Telegraphy school resumed in Brigham Young’s family schoolhouse. John C. Clowes, the operator in the Salt Lake Office of the Western Union Telegraph Company and a Mormon convert, was the instructor. The school contained some thirty pupils from throughout the territory. Most were between twelve and eighteen years of age and were called in much the same way thousands of elders had been called on proselyting missions. Although they were first instructed not to expect compensation, all operators appear to have later received a token wage from local tithing offices, city revenues, or public subscription.1

[p.277] The poles for the line were set by the fall of 1866, and the 500 miles of wire and necessary supply of insulators and chemicals arrived on 14 October 1866. By 1 December, the line from Salt Lake to Ogden was complete and Young sent a message greeting the northern Saints and expressing satisfaction with the completion of this part of the line. Telegraphic communication between Logan and St. George opened on 15 January 1867, and the rest of the line was operating within thirty days. In almost every case, work was donated. The bishop of each ward usually called men and boys on labor missions to set the poles and string the lines. These temporary missionaries served without pay except for tithing credit. The line was extended north from Logan to Franklin, Idaho, by December 1869 and on to Paris, Idaho, in 1871. In the Salt Lake area, connection was made with Tooele and Grantsville.2

The church-owned Deseret Telegraph Company was incorporated to give direction to the operation of the line. The history of the Deseret Telegraph Company shows that it was never intended to serve as a revenue producer. In fact, the company often operated in the red during its thirty-three-year history from 1867 to 1900. Before the coming of the transcontinental railroad and the subsequent mining boom, receipts were nominal. In 1868, for example, the gross receipts from tolls amounted to only $8,462. By 1873, however, this increased to $75,000. Competition from Western Union, the exhausting of mining deposits, and Mormon business stagnation provoked by the Edmunds Act would cause receipts to drop to $14,000 by 1885. The Deseret Telegraph Line never really made a profit, although some branch lines to the mining settlements helped to subsidize the operation. All losses seem to have been made up out of church tithing funds.

[p.278] Although a failure from a financial point of view, the Deseret telegraph system was indispensable to the effective administration of the Mormon church’s expanding temporal and spiritual affairs. Following completion of the line, Brigham Young could direct the church from St. George, where he spent most of the remaining winters of his life. Lengthy religious messages from Young were sent after midnight when the wires were clear. The Deseret Telegraph saved many lives during the latter half of the Black Hawk Indian War, when the movements of the Indians in the central and southern part of the territory were relayed from settlement to settlement.3 The line was also reportedly used by Mormons to keep polygamists throughout the settlements informed of the movements of the federal deputies during the anti-polygamy raids following passage of the Edmunds Act in 1882. Ultimately, the line was confiscated by the U.S. government in 1888, then later returned and finally sold to Western Union in 1900.

The completion of the transcontinental telegraph caused the end of the Pony Express. Ben Holladay assumed control of the central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company and renamed it the Holladay Overland Mail and Express Company. From 1864 to 1866, this company reigned virtually supreme between the Missouri River and Salt Lake City. This huge concern purchased much of its feed and hired many of its teamsters and other employees in Utah. Hyrum Rumfield, Salt Lake agent for the company, reported that during an eleven-month period from 1861 to 1862 the company purchased approximately “several hundred thousand dollars” worth of supplies in Salt Lake City which they “paid for in glittering gold.” Brigham Young, as church president, contracted with the company in 1862 to furnish 50,000 bushels of oats and barley at one dollar in gold per bushel, plus $1.25 for hauling each 100 pounds 100 miles from Salt Lake City. The company began raising its own feed in 1865. In a similar manner the church would furnish men, supplies, and transportation to parties surveying for the transcontinental railroad in 1864.

[p.279] Another windfall bringing economic prosperity to the church in the 1860s came with the California volunteers, a military unit sent into Utah in 1862 to guard the Overland Telegraph and Overland Mail from Indians and Confederate troops and to keep a watch on the Mormons. Led by Colonel (later General) Patrick E. Connor, the California volunteers comprised between 750 and 1,500 troops. Refusing to settle at Camp Floyd, Connor insisted on establishing a new post on the bluffs overlooking Salt Lake City, which he named Camp Douglas (later Fort Douglas). Connor, who was hostile toward the Mormons, required that all persons furnishing supplies to the troops repeat their allegiance to the Union. To Brigham Young and most Mormons this was an insult. However, when the short harvest and unprecedented demand during 1863-64 forced the soldiers to ration their grain, Young directed tithing offices to supply limited quantities of grain to them at the rate of $3.00 per bushel. The soldiers were allowed to purchase approximately five tons of flour per week as well as beef and vegetables, but at what Connor regarded as “enormous and unreasonable prices.”

The mining boom from the Rockies to the Sierra also opened a large cash market for Mormon produce. Attracted by generous prices offered at the mining camps for flour, salt, dried fruits, and butter, merchants and traders scoured the country for products, especially in the Utah territory. After the Pike’s Peak discoveries, more than a hundred large wagons of Utah flour, grain, and other farm produce were freighted to Colorado. Reportedly, more than 10,000 sacks of Utah flour were shipped out in September 1860 alone. Perhaps equal amounts were shipped from Utah to Colorado in 1861 and 1862. Utah exported even more to Idaho and Montana in 1863 and in the succeeding year to Nevada.

The church did not encourage this trade. Leaders feared a depleted food supply and in general objected to a trading economy. But the trade took place nevertheless, and the church’s chief function was to organize the farmers in such a way as to assure them of high prices for their produce. Leading farmers and mechanics were invited to a price convention after General Conferences in April and October of each year to establish prices. In assuming chairmanship of their conventions, Young stated “that he appeared as the representative of God in this convention as much as yesterday at conference.” The prices agreed upon were approximately double those of the pre-mining period: wheat at $5 per bushel, corn at $4, and flour at $12 per hundred. The list of commodities and services included all grains, meats, dairy products, many vegetables, dried [p.280] fruit, hay, and freighting. There is no doubt that these conventions increased the bargaining power of Mormons and made it possible for them to furnish their families with comforts that would have otherwise been beyond their reach. Prices were high, some even by modern standards, but buyers in the mining areas did not complain. When freight trains were delayed, prices for flour in the camps could reach as high as a dollar a pound.4

All these windfalls bolstered and cushioned the Mormon economy in the 1860s. They supplied cash and capital equipment for manufacturing and agricultural improvements, but they did not lead Mormons to abandon self-sufficiency as a goal.5

The occupation of Utah by federal troops during the “Utah War” seemed to intensify the Mormon imperative to gather. No immigration took place in 1858, but as tension eased in 1859 immigration resumed on a large scale. But initially the resources of the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company (PEF) were so exhausted that those who could not procure teams were advised to cross the plains by handcart. Only one company, consisting of 235 souls with sixty handcarts and six wagons, made such a trek in 1859. Total immigration was much more in 1860, but only two companies of 349 persons came by handcart. The handcart was clearly not popular, although mule trains were sent from Salt Lake Valley to meet each of the companies as they reached Fort Laramie.

Before the end of 1860, church leaders had decided to abandon handcarts in favor of dispatching companies of teams from Utah to bring back immigrants and merchandise. This seemed a natural step, although some questioned whether a yoke of oxen could travel so far in one season. The Perpetual Emigrating Fund, which had inherited most of the animals and properties of the Brigham Young Express and Carrying Company, benefitted from sales to the army and to Russell, Majors, and Waddell in 1858 and 1860. The rush of miners to Colorado drove prices higher and higher, but the outbreak of the Civil War threatened commercial relations between the East and Far West. So Mormons were once again driven to do their own importing and exporting. Mormon teams were to carry provisions for immigrants as well as exports to outfitting centers in Missouri and return to Utah with immigrants and their supplies, manufactured goods, machinery, staple imports, and other items for church and private [p.281] use. By transporting their own flour, beans, and bacon to supply the immigrants on these “down and back trips,” Mormons reserved their cash to buy machinery and other items for their self-sufficiency campaign.

Merchants and church agents had experimented with round trip freighting between Salt Lake City and the Missouri Valley in 1859. This experiment proved that oxen could make the 2,200 mile round trip in approximately six months if they were properly cared for. Several companies then used the down-and-back scheme in 1860. One of these was led by Joseph W. Young, Brigham’s nephew, who captained a thirty-wagon company which left Utah in the spring of 1860 and returned the same fall with new machinery and merchandise. On his return, Young was invited to deliver a sermon on “the science of ox teamology” before the 1860 General Conference. His proposals were favorably received and preparations were made immediately to try out the scheme on a large scale in 1861.

The procedure to be followed was outlined by the First Presidency: “We are rich in cattle, but do not abound in money either at home or abroad, and we desire to so plan and operate as to use our small amount of money and large number of cattle in the best possible manner for accomplishing the best good.” First, the number of men, teams, equipment and provisions needed to transport immigrants and machine would be determined. Needs would be apportioned to each ward and settlement on a prorata basis. On a specified date in April all the requested men, teams, and supplies were to be in Salt Lake City ready for the trip east. In Salt Lake City they would be inspected and loaded under the direction of the Presiding Bishop and organized into companies of approximately fifty each. The captain of each company would be given complete authority to “see the train through.”

Each wagon was to be pulled by four yoke of oxen or its equivalent in mules to carry a thousand pounds of flour. The teams would also take loose oxen, thus providing a market for Utah oxen and keeping within the church $10,000 and $30,000 per year which had previously been paid in the Missouri Valley for cattle and wagons. Other Utah products which could be sold in the Midwest could also be carried. An extra man on horseback was required for each group of four wagons to look after the cattle and hunt for game. The teams were expected to reach the Missouri River in July and return with ten to twenty immigrants per wagon. Some of the wagons would return with church freight, and each community was free to send additional persons and facilities for freighting machinery and other [p.282] imported merchandise.6 In case the teams sent from Utah were insufficient to transport all the immigrants and freight, the Perpetual Emigrating Fund was prepared to augment the returning caravan by purchasing necessary facilities.7

During the six years that church trains were organized, approximately 2,000 wagons, employing some 2,500 men and 17,500 oxen, were sent east for immigrants. As a result, more than 20,000 European immigrants were assisted to Utah; 16,000 came by church train and 229 were listed as PEF immigrants. Approximately 726 purchased their own teams, and the remainder came in independent companies. These figures do not include immigrants from the United States. Total expenditures by the church for this immigration varied from $300,000 to $500,000 annually, for a total of about $2.4 million for the entire period.

Meeting the quota of men and supplies required cooperation within each settlement. In 1862, the stakes of Parowan, Beaver, and St. George, which comprised the southern Utah mission, were asked to send 57 wagons, with three yoke of good cattle each, and provisions for the teamsters’ six-month journey and for the immigrants they would bring back. They were also to furnish 57 teamsters and 14 mounted men. On receipt of this call the officers of the southern mission issued calls to each ward and settlement. The town of Harmony, for example, with less than a hundred people, was asked to furnish three outfits of wagons, four yoke of cattle, and a thousand pounds of flour for each wagon. These outfits were raised in one day. The individual contributions were all in kind and ranged from Susan Hill’s mat, pillow, night cap, plate, spoon, cups, needles, and thread to John D. Lee’s Chicago wagon cover, pair of pants, pair of shoes, three overshirts, flour, bacon, molasses, rifle, and ammunition, to the amount of $122.50. Three young men volunteered as teamsters, and in Sunday meeting they were formally blessed and [p.283] set apart. Benjamin J. Redd requested a dance before leaving, which was granted. These men had to travel almost 500 miles to Salt Lake City before even beginning the journey east.

The church trains represented a voluntary, cooperative investment in people, that is, immigrants. They also made possible the importation of needed machinery and merchandise, facilitated the sale of an unknown quantity of surplus cattle and cotton, and made it possible for the PEF to make large purchases of cattle and wagons during the 1860s. This phase of immigration ended with the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869.

As immigrants poured into Salt Lake Valley in the 1860s, most were assigned to various local wards for wintering and then were employed on church public works. In addition to foundries, machine shops, and carpentry and paint shops, the public works operated factories which supplied the territory with paper, nails, buttons, wooden buckets, carding machines, and milling machinery. The public works department occasionally constructed roads, bridges, dams, and canals. The largest projects undertaken by church public works in the 1860s were the Salt Lake Theater, the Salt Lake Tabernacle, and continued work on the Salt Lake Temple.

The Salt Lake Theater was constructed in 1861-62 and represented a community investment of some $100,000. With a seating capacity of 3,000 persons, the theater reportedly duplicated, both inside and outside, the famous Drury Lane Theater of London. The auditorium had a parquet, a dress circle, and three balconies. Samuel Bowles, who visited in 1865, wrote, “The building is itself a rare triumph of art and enterprise. No eastern city of 100,000 inhabitants, and remember Salt Lake City has less than 20,000, possesses so fine a theatrical structure. It ranks alike in capacity and elegance of structure and finish along with the opera houses and academies of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Cincinnati.”

The construction of this building utilized nails made by the public works factory out of the iron left behind by Johnston’s Army in 1861.8 The construction also provided labor for scores of European architects, artists, masons, and carpenters. In August 1861, for example, 16 stonemasons, 8 stonecutters, 16 diggers, 3 millwrights, and 15 carpenters were at work on the building. After the roof timbers were placed, some three dozen carpenters were put to work on [p.284] the interior. Most of these laborers were paid with tithing orders and in some cases with written promises of future theater tickets. One person recalled that Brigham Young specifically wanted sailors to work on the new buildings because they were used to working at high levels.9 A sixteen-foot water wheel, formerly used at the sugar works, was placed at a branch on City Creek near the building. Connected with a drive shaft and gearing, the wheel elevated the rock and massive timber used in the construction.

Because the theater was a church enterprise until Mormon artists leased it from the church in 1873, performers were often called as missionaries. One young lady was “requisitioned” with the following: “Dear Brother and Sister Colebrook, Would you allow your daughter Nelly to act upon the stage; It would please me very much. Your brother, Brigham Young.” During these years admission was commonly paid by receipt for delivery of a quantity of produce, poultry, or livestock at the General Tithing Office, and performers were also paid from tithing. The Salt Lake Theater was the first important theater west of the Mississippi throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century. During its heyday, the best actors and actresses in the nation performed on its stage.

The Salt Lake Tabernacle, an immense elliptical turtleback auditorium 250 feet long, 150 feet wide, and 80 feet in height, which can seat 8,000-10,000 people, was constructed from 1863 to 1870 and dedicated in 1875. The most interesting feature of the building is the self-supporting wooden roof with its lattice arches held together with wooden pins. The rounded dome was made of rawhide tied together with leather thongs. Its construction required more than 1.5 million feet of lumber. Architects boasted that it was the largest hall in the world unsupported by columns. Especially notable were its acoustical properties, particularly after the completion of the gallery in 1870. Previously, pine branches had to be hung from the ceiling to break the reverberations of sound against the walls.

Exclusive of the organ, which was made of native materials, the building cost some $300,000. About 150 men worked at any one time for approximately two years to complete the exterior. Much of the labor was done by immigrants, particularly in 1867, a poor year financially for most new settlers. One new immigrant who found work [p.285] on the building reported that despite the general slump he could earn in two days enough to last him a whole week and enough in fourteen days to provide for the whole winter. Typical wages, or credits, were $2, $3, $3.50 per day, depending on the work performed.

The third important building under construction during the 1860s was the Salt Lake Temple, begun in 1853 but not completed until 1893. The foundation was initially of sandstone but was torn up when a large granite quarry was located in Little Cottonwood Canyon, twenty miles southeast of the city. Except during the Utah War, several hundred tithing artisans worked steadily on the structure. Other workers brought lumber from a sawmill in Big Cottonwood Canyon. About fifty teams from the various wards in Salt Lake Valley hauled rock from the quarry to the temple site, where stonecutters dressed the large stones. Three or four yoke of oxen were required for each load, which consisted of one huge block and two smaller blocks. Larger granite blocks weighed as much as five tons; blocks weighing three tons were common. Cattle yards to take care of three hundred head of cattle were constructed near the Little Cottonwood quarry. Hay was furnished by the public works, and each ward was asked to furnish grain for the animals. The drivers lodged near the corral in tents. With luck, teams could go from Salt Lake City to the quarry and return with a load to the temple site in two days.

In general, church leaders tried to restrict the use of tithing funds to the purchase of imported machinery and supplies and, after the construction of a railroad to the quarry in 1873, to pay for the freight. Construction of the railway made it possible for whole trainloads of granite blocks to be rolled onto the temple grounds every few days as needed. Threatened famine from grasshoppers and other natural crises interrupted the work repeatedly, and it was also suspended in 1868-69 during the construction of the transcontinental railroad.

Although the Utah War temporarily reduced the number of missionaries, missionary work continued to function, especially in Great Britain. Louis A. Bertrand, a native of France living in Salt Lake City, tried to take the gospel to France. He arrived in March 1861, applied for permission to preach, but was prohibited. As a result the French Mission remained closed for many years. The church encountered more success in the Scandinavian Mission led from 1857 to 1860 by Hector C. Haight and then Carl Winterbourg. Proselyting continued in South Africa, where William Fotheringham and other missionaries arrived in 1861. Missionary work also continued in Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania, but little progress was made. In general, these [p.286] were difficult years for missionary work, both in Europe and elsewhere.10

Concurrently, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), headed by Joseph Smith III, the oldest living son of Joseph Smith, was founded and began a missionary effort to the Mormons in Salt Lake City. RLDS missionaries enjoyed little success in Utah but were nonetheless able to convince a few Mormons to join them. Many RLDS converts subsequently gathered around Malad, Idaho, which became a center of the RLDS church in the West. RLDS missionaries also encountered some success in San Bernardino, California, where almost half of the Mormon settlers had refused to leave when they were recalled by Brigham Young in 1857.

A final development during the 1860s was a doctrinal dispute between Apostle Orson Pratt and Brigham Young concerning the nature of God. These two men, who had been colleagues since the organization of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1835, had different temperaments and saw some things differently. Pratt was an intellectual, whereas Young, with little formal education, was a pragmatist who spoke in concrete terms and was not hampered by an appeal to scriptures. He was much more concerned with inspiration and the words of the living prophets than Pratt. Pratt rejected Young’s Adam-God teaching as irrational, not in harmony with the scriptures, and not in accordance with Joseph Smith’s teachings, whereas Young criticized Pratt’s emphasis on the characteristics of godliness, such as divine omniscience. Young believed that God continued to progress in knowledge; Pratt did not. In January 1860, Young called the Twelve Apostles together to consider Pratt’s doctrines.

Initially, Pratt refused to recant, but after a series of interviews and meetings throughout the next several months he relented. However, tensions surfaced again five years later, in 1865, because Pratt had published the reminiscences of Joseph Smith’s mother in 1853, [p.287] which Young felt contained serious error. After the First Presidency issued an official proclamation denouncing Pratt’s doctrinal speculations and his edition of the Smith history, Pratt wrote to Young on 1 July 1868:

I have greatly sinned against you … Hereafter, through the grace of God assisting me, I am determined to be one with you, and never be found opposing anything that comes through the legitimate order of the Priesthood, knowing that it is perfectly right for me to humbly submit, in all matter of doctrine and principle, my judgment to those whose right it is by divine appointment, to receive revelations and guide the Church.

Although neither Pratt nor Young altered his views significantly, open disagreement between them subsided. Ironically, some of Pratt’s speculations, particularly his rejection of the Adam-God theory and his views on God’s omniscience, have since come to dominate contemporary Mormon theology, whereas several of Young’s theories have been repudiated by twentieth-century church leaders. [p.289]


1. For example, Estelle Parks who operated a Sanpete County Office in 1868, received in addition to her board fifty bushels of wheat delivered to her father in Nephi for six months’ service. The operator at Beaver was paid with voluntary donations from the local church congregation. When the Moroni office was established, the people were told that they were to satisfy the needs of the telegraph operators. At a church meeting in June 1867, the congregation voted to pay the operator $50 a month in produce or stock, to be raised by assessment or taxes levied by the bishop and approved by the entire group. Among the early telegraph missionaries was Anthon H. Lund, later a member of the First Presidency, who operated the Mount Pleasant office when it opened on 28 December 1866.

2. During Utah’s mining boom in the early 1870s, lines would be stretched to all important mining districts—from Salt Lake City to Alta and Bingham, from Echo to Coalville, from Payson to the Tintic District, from Beaver to the Star District and Frisco, from St. George to Pioche and Bullionville and other mining areas in southeastern Nevada. Lines were also built in the 1870s to several outlying agriculture settlements—from Toquerville to Kanab and Rockville, Utah, and to Windsor Castle, Arizona (Pipe Springs), the first telegraph line in Arizona. Lines also extended from Moroni to Gunnison and on up the Sevier to Monroe and from Brigham City to Corinne. In some cases the line also extended to newly constructed railway lines. In 1871, 600 miles of telegraph line were in operation and supplies had been ordered to extend the lines within three months 400 miles further in different directions. By 1880 there were 955 miles of lines and 68 offices.

3. In fact, the outbreak of Indian hostilities seems to have been one of the factors prompting church officials to revive the project in 1865. George Q. Cannon, one of the Twelve Apostles, admitted later that the Deseret Telegraph was necessary “in consequence of Indian troubles.” In fact, the first news of General Custer’s defeat by the Sioux on the Little Big Horn reached the world through the agency of the Deseret Telegraph. A horseman rode all the way from the army command post at Fort Hall to Franklin, Idaho, in 1876, and the Mormon operator relayed the news of Custer’s last stand to federal authorities and newsmen in the east.

4. Leonard J. Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830-1900 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1958), 204.

5. Considering the obstacles presented by nature, Mormon production did well to keep up with the increases in population. Through immigration and natural increase the population rose from less than 40,000 in 1858 to more than 80,000 in 1869.

6. Church trains often freighted machinery. The 1862 train, for example, purchased and transported 25 carding machines, 100 cotton gins, spinning jennies, a number of nail-making machines, several saws, and many boxes of mill fixings. The 1863 eastbound trains also carried Utah-raised cotton, which was exchanged in St. Louis for cotton cloth.

7. The individuals who were called or who volunteered to take part in these expeditions were regarded as missionaries, but they were credited on tithing books with the value of service rendered. Those who loaned teams and who contributed flour and other produce were also given tithing credit. In 1864, the amount credited for these services in one valley was: mounted guard, $300; mule wagon and teamster, $250; two yoke of oxen, wagon, $140; a yoke of oxen, $60; a wagon, $50; and a saddle, $5. Often unmarried men would volunteer, hoping to find prospective brides among the incoming immigrants.

8. “Judged from the present period,” quipped a contemporary, “one would almost be led to believe that Johnston’s Army was sent to Utah to assist the Saints in their recreational activities.”

9. One of these sailors was George Jarvis, a one-eyed Englishman who obtained food and clothing for his family of six in this way during the crucial winter of 1861-62. By spring, Jarvis had earned enough credit to obtain “a steady yoke of oxen” and took his family to St. George. There he helped build the St. George Tabernacle and later the St. George Temple.

10. Walter Gibson attempted to take over the church in Hawaii after missionaries were recalled. At that time, church records listed approximately 4,000 members, in name at least, who were struggling to survive in the absence of the missionaries. Gibson organized the new members, assumed the presidency of the Hawaiian Mission, and resolved to purchase all the government lands on the island of Lanai. Not having the necessary means, he proceeded to organize a church independent of the church in Utah. He created a quorum of twelve apostles, high priests, seventies, and bishops, and sold these offices to the natives. Even women received from his hand the honor of priestess. He sent missionaries to other islands and gathered more natives to Lanai. Eventually, however, Gibson was excommunicated, and Utah apostle Joseph F. Smith assumed charge of church affairs. Gibson went on to become an important man in Hawaiian history, becoming prime minister and helping to develop the idea of Hawaii for Hawaiians.