Self-Sufficiency & Preservation

In order to continue and preserver their way of life and religion, the Mormons sought a land they could become self-sufficient, economically, culturally, and religiously.  Brigham Young, the second president of the Mormon religion, laid out a land located in the Western United States, where Mormons could travel to and become independent.  The ultimate goal, for Brigham Young, was to create a land where followers of the Mormon religion could feel safe in their worship, as well as independent in their community.  With the many controversies that arose about the Mormon religion, especially polygamy, self-sufficiency and independence seemed necessary in order to preserve their culture and way of life.

Charcoal kiln, Old Irontown, Utah

In the early days of the self-sufficiency goal, Young commanded people of distinct traits to settle certain areas.  For example, the town of Parowan was determined to provide ceramics for the entire Mormon territory, St. George would provide cotton, and Cedar City was to provide iron.  This meant that church members mined their own coal, sewed clothing, and even manufactured their own paper.

Excavation of Parowan’s Ceramics

However, the desire and goal of self-sufficiency seemed to ultimately be the downfall of Young’s territory goals.  Many of the regions failed to produce a sufficient amount of goods to provide the entire Mormon population, such as iron in Cedar City.  With this failure of regions to provide goods to their society, failure of self-sufficiency was inevitable.

Warnock, Caleb.  "The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers".  Cedar Fort, 2011.