A Young Folks' History of the Church HTML version
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
When the army was withdrawn, peace once more prevailed, and the Church was again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.