|Seth reads the Book of Mormon. Photo by Beth Doyle.|
From the start, the church suffered intense persecution, moving several times from New York to Kirtland, Ohio to Missouri to Nauvoo, Illinois. This persecution eventually resulted in the death of Joseph Smith and the start of a great western migration lead by religious leader Brigham Young (in time, Young would be sustained as a prophet and Joseph Smith’s successor as the president of the church).
Beginning in April of 1847, Young lead approximately 70,000 pioneers on a western migration from Illinois. On July 24th of that year, weary pioneers arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley, their new home and the future capital city of Utah. This day is celebrated annually by the Latter-Day Saints as Pioneer Day.
Brigham Young prayed that God would grant the pioneers 10 years of peace, which they received almost to the day. In 1857, based on fictitious reports of a “Utah Rebellion,” President James Buchanan appointed Alfred Cumming to replace Young as governor of Utah Territory and sent 2,500 soldiers to quell the supposed uprising. Upon arrival, Cummings discovered a people fearful of attack but respectful of his new position as governor. This experience is documented in the correspondence between Young and Cumming found in the RBMSCL's Alfred Cumming Papers. These letters, like the first edition copies of the Book of Mormon, represent a relationship to a prophet and a history and are available for you to come see.
Post contributed by Seth Shaw, Electronic Records Archivist. Thanks to Kelly Wooten, Research Services and Collection Development Librarian, for suggesting this post and to Beth Doyle, Collections Conservator, for the photograph.