Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith
Prophet, Seer and Revelator

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Brigham Young and Education

Before the pioneers came west, Brigham urged them to bring copies of books, maps, paper, pencils and other things that would be helpful in teaching children to read. So books and note pads were tucked into blankets in the wagon beds and brought west. At Brigham’s request, the Saints who sailed around South America brought with them a large library of school books.

The first school in the Salt Lake Valley opened in October of 1847, in an old military tent shaped like a wigwam erected in the middle of the fort. The teacher, Mary Jane Dilworth, sat on an old camp stool, and the students sat on logs. Some of the pupils brought slates to write on and others had paper and pencils. But a few wrote on smooth logs or dried bark with a piece of charcoal.

The first day of school, the teacher began with a prayer and then each pupil learned a psalm from the Bible. In the winter, schools were opened for adults. Several languages were taught, including Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. A series of classes cost $1.20 and an individual lecture was $0.20.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mormon War II

Since the army was delayed through the winter, Colonel Thomas L. Kane, a long-time friend of the Mormons from the Missouri persecution, had time to get to Utah to help with the problem. He came, under a false name of Dr. Osborne, by way of the Isthmus of Panama to California and then on to Utah. In the spring Colonel Kane traveled to Wyoming to talk with Governor Cumming. He suggested that the governor come ahead of the United States Army to Salt Lake to meet the Church leaders.

When Governor Cumming met with Brigham, he found out that the charges against the Mormons were false. He wrote to President Buchanan immediately to let him know that the Mormons were law-abiding citizens. Governor Cumming and Brigham were both kind leaders and soon began to trust each other. They learned to work together by talking over their problems and listening to each other.

Brigham still did not want the army to come into Salt Lake. He was afraid they would persecute the pioneers like the mobs did in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Since Brigham didn’t trust the army, he had all the Mormons leave Northern Utah and the Salt Lake Valley and go south to Provo and beyond. The pioneers were prepared to burn their homes rather than have the army take them over. Brigham left a few men in every city ready to destroy their property if the army did not keep to itself. The building of the Salt Lake temple stopped, and the entire temple lot was leveled and covered over so that it looked like plowed ground.

Johnston’s Army came into the Salt Lake Valley in June and passed through the city without disturbing anything. They settled forty miles to the south of the city, leaving the Mormons alone. When Brigham saw that the army was not going to harm the pioneers, he told the Mormons they could return to their homes.

People in the east were upset with Buchanan for sending an army to Utah because the Utah War cost the United States government forty million dollars, nearly emptying the U.S. Treasury. In 1861the troops were called back to fight in the Civil War. The Mormons were left to themselves again.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Mormon War

In 1854 President Pierce wanted to appoint Colonel Steptoe as governor, but when Steptoe visited Utah, he could see that the people loved Brigham and followed him. Colonel Steptoe recommended that Brigham Young remain as governor because Brigham was “the most suitable person . . . for that office.”

Some of the judges sent to Utah did not get along with the Mormons. They accused Brigham of rebelling against the United States Government. Even though Brigham sent letters telling President Buchanan that the Mormons supported the United States Government, it did no good.

At the time Congress was divided on the issue of slavery. Each side wanted the support of the western territories. A new Republican party had been formed in Nebraska that didn’t want slavery or polygamy (a man marrying more than one wife) in the territories. Though President Buchanan was a Democrat, he didn’t want anyone to think he was in favor of polygamy. He also wanted to show the south that rebellion would not be tolerated, whether it was Brigham Young and polygamy in the west or slavery in the south. To make his point, Buchanan sent an army of two thousand five hundred soldiers to Utah under the leadership of General Albert Sidney Johnston. But the President didn’t bother to let Brigham know they were coming. President Buchanan also replaced Brigham as governor, appointing Alfred Cumming in his place. Governor Cumming traveled west with the army.

Abraham O. Smoot, mayor of Salt Lake City, was out on the plains taking mail across the country, and he was the first to learn that the army was coming. He and several others raced back to tell Brigham. They averaged over one hundred miles a day with their best horses hitched to a small wagon.

When Brigham heard that Johnston’s Army was heading west, he sent men out to delay their progress. The men burned the grass so the animals of the army had nothing to eat; they lit the army’s supply wagons on fire and destroyed the bridges they had to cross. The men also burned the Mormon outposts of Fort Bridger and Fort Supply so the troops would have nowhere to stay. The army had to camp in Wyoming during the winter of 1857.They suffered without food and shelter for protection.

More next week on what happened.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Sick Child

Once when Brigham visited Chief Walker, there was a sick child in his tribe. The medicine man said the child would die. Chief Walker asked Brigham if he could kill a white man to go with the child to the after-life. Brigham was shocked. That was not a good idea. He asked to see the child and administered a blessing. The child recovered and Chief Walker thanked Brigham Young.