The evolution of Mormon shopping

Did you know that ZCMI is considered the first department store in America?

Do you know why?

On Friday morning, as part of the Mormon History Association conference in Missouri, Debi Brady and Kelly Lelegren both discussed how in the mid- to late-19th century President Brigham Young feared that Mormons were becoming slaves to fashion.

Lelegren quoted President Young as saying, "It is beneath the character of the Latter-day Saints that they should have no more independence of mind or feeling then to follow after the groveling customs and fashions of a poor, miserable wicked world."

For the first few decades after the Mormons arrived in Utah, Brigham Young often preached on the importance of self-sufficiency, as he hoped to build a true Zionlike community. Lelegren explained that President Young wanted members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints "to make every possible thing themselves, including fashion."

Read the rest of this story at
Comments and feedback can be sent to