For our website, we want to research the Mormon migration across the U.S. and into Utah territory following the lynching of Joseph Smith. We will emphasize the Latter Day Saint secession from the United States Government. We would like to outline their path and the altercations they had with non-Mormons- peaceful and violent. Once they got to Utah, at that time part of Mexico, they believed they were free of U.S. control and Brigham Young (Joseph Smith’s controversial successor) established a theocracy in the territory. But after the Mexican-American War, the US gained the Utah Territory, and Mormons were subject once again to US jurisdiction. They were denied statehood for 50 years due to their polygamous practices, the third president of the LDS church (John Taylor) even stating “God is greater than the United States, and when the Government conflicts with heaven, we will be ranged under the banner of heaven against the Government. The United States says we cannot marry more than one wife. God says different”. The fourth president (Wilford Woodruff), however, ended polygamy in the faith after claiming to receive a revelation from God, and Utah gained statehood six years later. The ending of polygamy in the church caused one of its most major splits – into the LDS and FLDS (Fundamental) churches, the latter of which still practices polygamy to this day.
Throughout our research project we will emphasize multiple different secessionist movements. Number one, the Latter Day Saint split from the United States Government. Number two, the split in the LDS church itself and the FLDS secession from the LDS. Number three, the suspected- and definitely spurious- claim that Utah is still trying to secede from the union.
On the website itself, we will have an interactive map tracing the Mormon migration, with key points – settlements, battles, sabotage, etc – highlighted. We will also include a timeline with our map. With the large amount of resources Southern Utah has concerning the Mormon pioneers, we will be able to include actual journal entries, early settlement photos, and many more primary resources.