Latter-day Saint Life

The Mormon War: 'I Will Not Suffer Myself to be Killed as They Killed Joseph'


MR says: How much do you know about the Mormon War? Many of these little-known quotes and facts might surprise you.

It's July 24, 1857, and in one of the beautiful canyons above Salt Lake City, 2,587 people, along with 464 carriages, 1,028 horses and mules, 332 oxen and cows, had settled in for a lively celebration of their 10th anniversary in the valley of the Great Salt Lake. At least six bands were prepared to perform, there was song and dance, and three “lumber-floored boweries” erected where the entertainment might be held, according to “A Comprehensive History of the Church."

However, 513 miles away, at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, some of the mail-carrier companies who were affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had their contracts suddenly annulled. They learned bit by bit the intention of the supply trains working their way toward Salt Lake: They carried supplies for government troops who had been dispatched to Utah by the president of the United States.

And what about Brother Brigham Young, who was the LDS Church president and had been the territory governor? His spirit expanded, his quick mind rose up to face the moment, and he made immediate and emphatic response. He was sure of his stand. And despite the impending horrors, he did not fail to see the irony in the situation.

“The day I entered Salt Lake Valley 24 July 1847, I remarked — if the devil will let us alone for 10 years — we will bid them defiance. July 24, 1857 — 10 years to a day — first heard of the intended expedition to Utah under Genl. Harney. I feel the same now. I defy all the powers of darkness,” he said, as recorded in "Secretary’s Journal," Aug. 2, 1857, part of the Brigham Young Papers of the LDS Church's archives and printed in "Brigham Young, an Inspiring Personal Biography,” by Susan Evans McCloud.

Lead image from Deseret News.
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