A Young Folks' History of the Church by Nephi Anderson - HTML preview

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Prosperity

 

The action of the "Mormons" in again leaving the homes they had newly made in the wilderness of the West, called the whole world's attention to them. Many honest people began to see what a mistake it had been to send armed soldiers against an innocent people.

When the army was withdrawn, peace once more prevailed, and the Church was again busy preaching the Gospel to the world and gathering the honest from the nations. Many missionaries were sent out and new fields were opened.

From Europe the Saints came by the thousands. Sometimes a whole ship would be engaged to take a company of Saints across the ocean, in charge of one of the Apostles or some leading elder. From the sea, they would travel in train loads to the end of the railroad, where companies of teams and wagons would take them the remainder of the journey to Utah.

Now came the telegraph line westward. October 17, 1861, it was completed to Salt Lake City, and the next day President Young sent the first message east. At this time the war between the north and the south was beginning, and in this first telegram President Young said that Utah had not seceded, but was firm for the Union.

Following the telegraph came the railroads. The Union Pacific was being built from the east, while the Central Pacific came from the west. May 10, 1869, the two roads met in Northern Utah near the Promontory, and the last spike was driven with much ceremony. Thus was completed the first iron road across the continent.

But true to the past history of the Latter-day Saints, peace was not a blessing they were permitted to enjoy for many years at a time In the year 1869 a number of prominent elders in the Church opposed President Young and the authorities, and were cut off from the Church. One of these elders was Wm. S. Godbe, therefore those who followed him were sometimes called "Godbeites." These men joined with the anti-"Mormons" and formed what was called the Liberal Party. It was the object of this organization to oppose the "Mormons," and they were aided in this by the officers sent to Utah by the government. It had been the policy of Presidents Lincoln and Johnson to let the "Mormons" alone, but when General Grant became president he changed the program and at once sent officers to Utah to "straighten out" the "Mormons." President Grant, no doubt obtained much of his information about the "Mormons" from his friend, the Rev. J.P. Newman. This minister had held a three days' discussion in the Tabernacle at Salt Lake City with Apostle Orson Pratt on the subject of polygamy. Elder Pratt seems to have got the better of the argument, and it can well be imagined what kind of information this preacher gave to the president.

The Saints never had more bitter enemies than some of these territorial officers, especially Governor Shaffer and Chief Judge McKean. For years these officials, aided by the Liberal Party, tried to run affairs their own way; and you can easily understand that they could do a great many hateful things against the "Mormons," having the officers of the law, if not the law itself, on their side. Especially was their hate directed towards President Young and the leading brethren who were accused of all manner of crimes. They were arrested, tried, and placed in prison in many unlawful ways.Notwithstanding all these annoyances, the Church continued to grow in strength and numbers. The Sunday Schools, the first of which was organized in 1849, by Elder Richard Ballantyne, in the Fourteenth Ward of Salt Lake City, had by this time grown to be a strong institution. The Mutual Improvement Associations were organized in 1875, and soon did much good among the young.

President Young and his brethren were busy organizing stakes of Zion, setting the quorums of the priesthood in order, directing the building of temples, laying out towns and cities, and attending to the general duties of the Church. Thus Zion grew and became stronger day by day.

Brigham City is named after President Young. August 19, 1877, the president was at that place and the Box Elder Stake of Zion was organized. Shortly after his return home, he was taken ill and died August 29th, at the age of seventy-six.

Thus passed away the second president of the Church. Joseph had laid the foundation deep and strong. Brigham had built upon it. For thirty years he had stood at the head of the Church and had led the Saints through some of the most trying scenes of their history. Brigham Young was the leading spirit in the removal from Nauvoo, in the march across the wild prairies and mountains, in the building up of a great state in the desert valleys of the Rocky Mountains; and his name will be ever honored as the great pioneer of the west.

Topics.—1. Prosperity of the Saints. 2. The telegraph and railroad. 3. The Liberal Party. 4. Death of President Young.

Questions and Review.—1. How did the Saints come from Europe in early days? 2. Tell about the overland telegraph line in Utah and the first telegram. 3. Tell about the railroads. 4. Who composed the Liberal party? 5. What was its object? 6. How did President Grant treat the "Mormons?" 7. Tell about the Newman-Pratt discussion. 8. Why could the Utah officials greatly annoy the Saints? 9. Who organized the first Sunday School? 10. Where and when was it? 11. Tell of the death of President Young. 12. Tell what you can of his life.