The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Smith's murder in 1844 did not placate the Mormons' enemies.  Faced with the threat of invasion and violent expulsion, the Mormons agreed to leave Nauvoo by the fall of 1845 at the request of representatives of the state of Illinois. Under the leadership of Brigham Young, the Mormons began leaving Nauvoo in February 1846. In July 1847, Brigham Young and his vanguard pioneer company entered the valley of the Great Salt Lake in what was to become Utah territory.

From 1847 until 1890, the Mormons prospered in the Great Basin as their settlements spread into Idaho, Arizona, California, Mexico, and Canada. Plural marriage, practiced openly in Mormon settlements after 1852, eventually drew criticism and legal action. After years of attempting to establish their constitutional right to practice polygamy, the Mormons finally disavowed the practice in 1890, although it would continue to be practiced in some quarters until the second decade of the 20th century. With the turn of the new century, Mormons gained entry into the mainstream of American society, and gradually overcame their identity as alien outsiders.

Study Questions:
1.     How is it argued that Mormonism was formed out of divine guidance?
2.     Who was Moroni? What did he offer?
3.     Describe the relationship between sacred space and the origins of Mormonism.
4.     Explain the role of the media in creating controversy for the Mormon faith.

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