BYU

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY

History of the Church

[This entry discusses the History of the Church in the following three periods:

c. 1878–1898, Late Pioneer Utah Period
c. 1898–1945, Transitions: Early-Twentieth-Century Period
c. 1945–1990, Post World War II International Era Period

In addition, several other articles cover the history of the Church in the light of specific historical disciplines or approaches: see Doctrine: Meaning, Source, and History; Economic History; Intellectual History; Legal and Judicial History; Politics: Political History; Social and Cultural History; and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The.

Bibliographic sources relevant to all of these periods are: James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, 1976; Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton, The Mormon Experience, New York, 1979; Church Education System, History in the Fulness of Times, Salt Lake City, 1989; and Joseph Fielding Smith, Essentials in Church History, Salt Lake City, 1950.]

 

C. 1878-1898, Late Pioneer Utah Period

[This article discusses a period of stress and adaptation following the death of Brigham Young as the Church confronted great pressures to conform to contemporary American mores. After presenting an overview of the period, the article considers organizational changes, economic programs, establishment of new LDS settlements, and missionary work, then focuses on the struggle over Polygamy, culminating in the Manifesto of 1890 announcing the official end of Plural Marriage. In the wake of the Manifesto came home rule for Utah (see Utah Statehood), expanded proselytizing, attempts to shore up religious education (see Academies), and more limited Church economic involvement (see Pioneer Economy).

To understand daily life and what it meant to be a Latter-day Saint during this period, see Pioneer Life and Worship and Social and Cultural History. For additional information on continued Church Colonization into new areas, see entries on pioneer settlements in Mexico and Canada, and in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming. On developments related to plural marriage, see: Legal and Judicial History; Antipolygamy Legislation; Reynolds v. United States; and Manifesto of 1890.]

During the 1878–1898 period of growth, severe problems, and pronounced changes, the Church met many challenges under Church Presidents John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff. The 1879 Supreme Court ruling upholding antipolygamy legislation introduced a decade of ever harsher enforcement of ever harsher laws. Facing governmental persecution and seeking "home rule" through statehood, the Church moved to end the practice of plural marriage and surrender its once firm control of Utah Territory´s politics and economics. In the 1890s Utah Territory and its LDS residents embarked on the road to "Americanization."

Though this period was noted for its prolonged confrontation with the federal government, growth was also a striking characteristic. Church membership doubled (from 115,065 to 229,428), as did the number of stakes (20 to 40) and wards (252 to 516). LDS settlements extended into Mexico and Canada. As proselytizing efforts expanded, the number of missions increased (from 8 to 20). Priesthood quorum work became more orderly and standardized. General Authorities regularly visited quarterly stake conferences and ward conferences. Auxiliary organizations became widely established in stakes and wards, and general-level auxiliary presidencies and boards were appointed. The Church also finished three new temples, bringing the total in Utah to four.

After President Young´s death in August 1877, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles did not immediately organize a new First Presidency. John Taylor presided over the Church as president of the Twelve until October 1880. Under his leadership the Twelve completed the reorganization of wards and stakes that President Young had begun.

They also expanded auxiliary organizations. By 1880 the Twelve selected three of their own (Elders Wilford Woodruff, Joseph F. Smith, and Moses Thatcher) to form a general superintendency of the Young Men´s Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA; see Young Men) and to supervise new central YMMIA boards or committees created first for counties and later for stakes. The Young Ladies´ retrenchment association became the Young Ladies´ Mutual Improvement Association (YLMIA) in 1878, with boards established in the stakes beginning that year and a Churchwide organization beginning in 1880 with Elmina S. taylor as president (see Young Women). The Primary Association, a new organization to benefit children, was started in 1878 in Farmington, Utah. After other wards copied the program, a Churchwide primary organization was created in 1880, headed by Louie B. Felt. Relief Society President Eliza R. Snow continued to supervise all women´s work in the Church, which now included YLMIA and Primary. Elder George Q. Cannon of the First Presidency continued as general superintendent of the Sunday schools throughout this period. The Sunday Schools, Relief Society, and MIA were organized in the British Isles and Scandinavia beginning in the late 1870s and early 1880s.

Legal tangles surrounding the settlement of Brigham Young´s estate became a bothersome problem for the Twelve. After federal legislation severely limited Church holdings, President Young had controlled a complicated mix of personal and Church property. His heirs and the Church finally settled the matter by compromise out of court in 1879.

In 1880, its fiftieth birthday, the Church proclaimed a Year of Jubilee, modeled on an ancient Hebrew custom, to give relief to the poor. It erased from the books an indebtedness of $802,000 to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund—half of the outstanding total. In addition to distributing cattle and sheep to the needy, authorities forgave the worthy poor half their unpaid tithing. The Relief Society also lent nearly 35,000 bushels of wheat from its storage bins to help drought-stricken farmers.

After directing the Church for three years, in October 1880 John Taylor and the Twelve again organized a First Presidency: John Taylor, President of the Church, and George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith, who had previously served in the First Presidency under Brigham Young, as counselors.

Revelations to President Taylor in 1882 and 1883 prompted a reorganization of the seventy. For the first time the seventy-six local quorums were organized on a geographic basis, enrolling all seventies within their respective boundaries. In addition, between 1884 and 1888, twenty-five new quorums were created. This reorganization revitalized the Seventy, and the number of seventies filling full-time missions increased as soon as the change was implemented.

This period also saw a growth in Church-related publications. Two new magazines served the youth: the Contributor (1879–1896) for young men and the Young Woman´s Journal (1889–1929) for young ladies. The Morgenstjernen (1882–1885), a historical publication in Danish, continued in English as The Historical Record (1886–1890). The Sunday School published its first music book (1884), and the Book of Mormon first appeared in a Swedish translation (1878). In 1880 the Church accepted by vote the Pearl of Great Price as scripture, giving the Church the fourth of its standard works. It also published, in 1879, editions of the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, with Elder Orson Pratt´s chapter and verse divisions, cross-references, and notes.

President Taylor also implemented a new economic program. Less rigidly structured than the earlier united orders, it struck a balance between private enterprise and group economic planning. Zion´s Central Board of Trade fostered cooperative economic activity by promoting business, seeking new markets, providing information to farmers and manufacturers, preventing competition harmful to home industry, and sometimes regulating wages and prices. Stake boards of trade coordinated with the central agency. Unfortunately, by 1885 anti-Mormon crusades forced these boards of trade to disband. Pioneer and presiding bishop Edward Hunter, who had served since the 1850s, died in 1883 and was replaced in 1884 by William B. Preston.

During the 1880s the Relief Society further developed programs that had begun in the 1870s: storing grain, maintaining ward Relief Society halls and commission stores, sponsoring nursing and midwifery education programs, overseeing the organizations for children and young women, watching over the spiritual well-being of LDS women, and improving the ongoing care of the poor. New developments included the 1882 opening of the Deseret hospital, Utah´s second hospital and the first operated by the Church. The death of Eliza R. Snow in 1887 marked the end of an era for the Relief Society; in 1888 Zina Diantha H. Young replaced her as president.

Despite severe problems, Church leaders remained committed to providing the blessings of temples to more of the Saints. To supplement the one functioning temple in St. George, President John Taylor dedicated Utah´s second temple, at Logan, on May 17, 1884. Built primarily with donated money, materials, and labor, it cost an estimated $800,000. A third temple, in Manti, Utah, built at a cost close to $1 million, was dedicated in 1888 by Elder Lorenzo Snow, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Work also continued on the larger Salt Lake Temple, begun in 1853, but not completed until 1893.

Colonization continued. Between 1876 and 1879, no fewer than 100 new LDS settlements were established outside Utah and more than 20 within the territory. LDS settlements in Arizona expanded rapidly. Stakes, formed in the vicinity of the Little Colorado River in 1878 and 1879, were absorbed into the newly created St. Johns and Snowflake stakes in 1887. Meanwhile, along the Gila and Salt rivers, the St. Joseph and Maricopa stakes were formed in 1883. New LDS settlements appeared in Nevada; in eastern Utah, where the Emery Stake was created in 1882; and in southeastern Utah and nearby parts of Colorado and New Mexico, where the San Juan Stake was formed in 1883. Many LDS converts from the southern states settled in the San Luis Valley in south-central Colorado, and in 1883 their settlements became the San Luis Stake.

Antipolygamy prosecution caused Church leaders to found colonies in Mexico and Canada, beyond the reach of U.S. laws. After President Taylor´s 1885 visit to Mexico, hundreds of Saints poured into Chihuahua and established villages in a region that is still identified as Mexico´s "Mormon Colonies" (see Mexico, Pioneer Settlements in). These settlements at first were part of the Mexican Mission. Within a decade more than 3,000 Saints had moved in, more settlements were established, and in December 1895 the Ju rez Stake was created to direct Saints in the Mexican colonies.

Under instructions from President Taylor, Cache Stake President Charles Ora Card located a place of refuge in southern Alberta in 1886 for Latter-day Saint colonists (see Canada, Pioneer Settlements in). The next spring, arrivals from Utah founded Cardston, fourteen miles north of the United States border. Settlements sprang up nearby in Aetna (1888) and Mountain View (1893). In June 1895 the Alberta Stake became the first stake organized outside the United States (the Salt Lake Stake excepted, then in Mexican territory).

Missionary work produced impressive successes and brought frustrating problems. Between 1879 and 1889 the Church operated a small mission in Mexico that had about 242 converts. In New Zealand a branch was organized among the Maoris in 1883. In 1884 Jacob Spori opened the Turkish Mission, which included Palestine. Numbers of missionaries bound for Europe increased. The gathering to Utah of European converts continued, despite anti-Mormon publicity that prompted U.S. officials to ask European governments to stop Mormons from emigrating. That request was not granted.

After a Southern States Mission was organized in 1875, conversions occasionally provoked violence. Missionaries were driven from some communities, and in 1879 a Georgia mob shot and killed Elder Joseph Standing. At Cane Creek, Tennessee, in 1884, a mob murdered two missionaries and two residents who had shown an interest in the Church.

Wanting to see their history told fairly, Church leaders provided extensive information to California-based historian Hubert Howe Bancroft. Bancroft´s History of Utah (1889) was one of the first non-LDS scholarly histories to treat the Church in a fair light.

In 1879 the Supreme Court upheld as constitutional the Anti-Bigamy Act of 1862, affirming the illegality of plural marriage (see Reynolds v. United States). As new legislation was passed and prosecutions became more severe, polygamous husbands and fathers had four choices—give up their families, hide from the law, face prosecution, or leave the United States. Despite this crisis, President Taylor, declaring that when the laws of man and God conflict he would obey God, refused to desert his own plural families or to tell the other brethren to abandon theirs. Attacks on polygamy, often led by religious organizations, came from every direction. When national women´s groups urged President Rutherford B. Hayes to prosecute Utah polygamists, 2,000 LDS women signed a resolution affirming that plural marriage was a religious practice protected under the Constitution.

Bitterness between the Saints and the gentiles brewed nationally and within Utah. Public pressure led Congress to pass the Edmunds Act in 1882, which mandated up to five years´ imprisonment and $500 fines for polygamy, and up to six months and $300 fines for unlawful cohabitation (see Antipolygamy Legislation). Persons practicing polygamy or unlawful cohabitation lost their civil rights to serve on juries, hold public office, and vote. The law created a board of five commissioners to handle voter registration and elections. It declared children born of polygamists before January 1, 1883, legitimate, and it gave the president power to grant amnesties at his discretion.

The Utah Commission began its work in 1882 by declaring that anyone who had ever practiced plural marriage, even before the 1862 anti-bigamy law, could not vote. Since the commission required voters to take a "test oath," swearing that they were not in violation of the law, within one year the law disfranchised more than 12,000 Latter-day Saints. In 1885, however, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that this test oath was unconstitutional.

The judicial crusade against polygamists severely disrupted Church society in Utah, Idaho, and Arizona. Polygamous men and their families suffered greatly, as did the Church as an organization. Otherwise law-abiding husbands and fathers—and some wives and children—became fugitives in a Mormon "underground," frequently moving from place to place to escape federal marshals hunting "cohabs." Saints developed secret hiding places in homes, barns, and fields, codes to warn one another, and spotters to watch for the marshals. Federal "deps" (deputy marshals) adopted disguises as peddlers or census takers and hired their own spotters to question children and neighbors and to invade the privacy of homes. Bounties were offered for every cohab captured. Families suffered, particularly wives left to tend farms while their husbands were in hiding. Wives who refused to testify against their husbands were sent to prison. Men, women, and children suffered long periods of deprivation and fear.

In Utah between 1884 and 1893, 939 Saints went to prison for polygamy-related charges. In Idaho and Arizona the Saints suffered from similarly harsh prosecution. When Arizona prisons became crowded, cohabs were sent to a Detroit penitentiary. One Utahan, Edward M. Dalton, was killed by a pursuing deputy, which embittered the Saints against the government. So did a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a man who stopped living with his wife but who provided her food and shelter was guilty of cohabitation.

The crusade disrupted normal Church activities significantly. President Taylor avoided arrest by traveling. In the last public sermon he preached, he criticized what he called a judicial outrage, then went into hiding. Several apostles went into exile, taking special missions to remote areas in the West, Mexico, Canada, and Hawaii. Several others filled European missions and missions to Native Americans. Many stake presidents and bishops likewise tried to avoid arrest.

Between 1884 and 1887 general conferences were held in Provo, Logan, and Coalville, rather than in Salt Lake City, to help attenders avoid arrest. Few General Authorities attended. Elder Franklin D. Richards, an apostle who was immune from arrest because his plural wife had died, presided over some of the conferences. General epistles from President Taylor and President Cannon gave guidance to the conferences.

President Taylor directed the Church by letters. For more than two years President Taylor remained "underground," separated from most of his family and friends. He died in hiding in Kaysville, Utah, on July 25, 1887, after serving as a General Authority nearly forty-nine years. By the time of his death, nearly every settlement in Utah had been raided by federal marshals, hundreds of Saints had become refugees in Mexico or Canada, and nearly all the leaders were in hiding. At his funeral in Salt Lake City, he was honored for being a double martyr whose blood was shed in Carthage Jail with Joseph and Hyrum Smith and who then died in exile because of government persecution.

Once again the Council of the Twelve, led by senior apostle Wilford Woodruff, took the helm of the Church and steered the course, largely from the "underground," until they again established a First Presidency at general conference in April 1889. Elder Woodruff became Church President, and George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith were his counselors. This would be the last time that the Twelve delayed reorganizing the First Presidency upon the death of the President. In December 1892, President Woodruff, indicating that prolonged delay was not pleasing to the Lord, instructed senior apostle Lorenzo Snow to reorganize immediately upon his death.

By 1887 national political leaders saw that the Church was not bending to the law, so Congress framed a tougher measure, the Edmunds-Tucker Act, designed to destroy the Church as a political and economic entity in order to force the Saints to abandon plural marriage. The law dissolved the Church as a legal corporation, required the forfeiture of all property in excess of $50,000, dissolved the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company and claimed its property, and disbanded the Nauvoo Legion (territorial militia). To aid prosecutions, the law required compulsory attendance of witnesses at trials and confirmed the legality of forcing wives to testify against husbands. County probate judges, who helped impanel juries, had to be appointed by the President of the United States. Federally appointed officers took control of schools. Probate courts certified all marriages. The act disinherited all children born of plural marriages one year or more after the act was passed. Woman suffrage was abolished and a new test oath was designed. No one could vote, serve on a jury, or hold public office without signing an oath pledging support of antipolygamy laws.

Federal lawmen zealously tried to arrest and imprison Church leaders. President Woodruff stayed in the underground, near St. George, Utah, directing the Church by letter and private meetings. George Q. Cannon, President Woodruff´s first counselor, was arrested in February 1886, posted bail, and then escaped into hiding until 1888 when, with a more lenient judge on the bench, he gave himself up. He served 175 days in prison and paid a $450 fine. Allowed visitors in prison, he was able to conduct much Church and personal business. He supervised the Sunday Schools and finished writing a biography of Joseph Smith. His presence buoyed up the spirits of his fellow cohabs in the prison. Latter-day Saints regarded these prisoners as martyrs and gave them gala receptions when they were released.

Arrests were a problem, but most damaging to the Church were its inability to acquire and use funds to further its work and the loss of political rights. To protect $3 million worth of real and personal property from confiscation, the Church asked prominent members to assume ownership of certain properties as trustees. Nonprofit associations were created to hold property, including the three Utah temples. Ward and stake associations took over local meetinghouses, tithing houses, and Church livestock. Many stakes established academies with the use of tithing that was returned to them by the Church.

Federal receivers confiscated about $800,000 worth of property not turned over to private parties or associations, then rented back certain properties to the Church, such as the Temple Block in Salt Lake City. Church leaders tested the constitutionality of the confiscations, but in 1890 the Supreme Court upheld the new law by a 5–4 vote. The economic destruction of the Church seemed certain.

Matching this economic crusade was a political assault. With all women, thousands of LDS men, and all convert-immigrants disfranchised, anti-Mormon politicians won control of the Ogden and Salt Lake City governments. In Idaho practically all Church members were disfranchised by a test oath requiring them to state under oath that they did not believe in or belong to a church that believed in plural marriage. When the Supreme Court in 1890 upheld the Idaho test oath, anti-Mormons pushed the Cullom-Struble Bill in Congress that would disfranchise all Latter-day Saints everywhere (see Legal and Judicial History).

Economically crippled and with its members denied political rights, the Church faced a ruinous future unless its practice of plural marriage was stopped. President Woodruff consulted with leaders and prayed earnestly to know what to do. After receiving divine revelation, he issued the manifesto on September 24, 1890, announcing an official end to plural marriage. "The Lord showed me by vision and revelation exactly what would take place if we did not stop this practice," President Woodruff later said. "He has told me exactly what to do, and what the result would be if we did not do it" (Deseret Evening News, Nov. 14, 1891). The Manifesto said that the Church had halted the teaching of plural marriage and was not allowing new plural marriages. President Woodruff said he would submit himself to the laws of the land and urged Church members to do the same. At general conference on October 6, 1890, the Church accepted the Manifesto. It was incorporated into the Doctrine and Covenants in 1908.

Speaking for the First Presidency, George Q. Cannon explained that a revelation from 1841 applied in 1890; it had instructed the Church that when "enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those…men, but to accept of their offerings" (D&C 124:49). Most Saints accepted the new direction, but not easily and not all. Indeed, a limited number of new plural marriages occurred in the next decade before Church leaders made it clear that all who persisted in the practice faced excommunication.

With the issuance of the Manifesto, hostilities ebbed and the Church entered a new era of cooperation. It was generally understood that husbands would not be required to reject their plural wives and their children, and local prosecutors became very lenient in punishing those charged with polygamy. U.S. President Benjamin Harrison, who in 1891 had visited Utah and shaken hands with President Woodruff, granted a limited amnesty to the Saints in 1893, followed by a general amnesty granted by U.S. President Grover Cleveland in 1894. After the Manifesto and the amnesties, General Authorities resumed their normal administrative duties.

Seeking statehood for Utah, Church leaders instructed Utah Saints to join the national political parties and become Democrats or Republicans. A Republican Congress passed an enabling act in 1894 that Democratic President Grover Cleveland signed. Utah wrote a new Constitution that prohibited plural marriage and ensured the separation of church and state. On January 4, 1896, Utah became a state, nearly fifty years after President Brigham Young first sought that status (see Utah Statehood).

In 1896 General Authorities accepted a "political manifesto" stipulating that none of them would run for elected office without prior approval of their presiding Church authorities. When Elder Moses Thatcher, an apostle, refused to sign the document, he was dropped from the Quorum of the Twelve.

During the 1890s the Church missionary force nearly tripled. In the Pacific region, missionary work penetrated into Samoa in 1888 and Tonga in 1891. In 1898 the Australasian Mission was split into the Australian and the New Zealand missions. Some Hawaiian Saints immigrated to Utah and created a settlement at Iosepa in western Utah. Missionary work was resumed in California in 1892 and in the eastern United States in 1893. Proselytizing continued in Europe, though emigration from there declined by 50 percent in the 1890s compared with the 1880s. By the 1890s the Church, with its base in America secured and most good land in the West occupied, discouraged immigration and asked overseas converts to build up stakes in their homelands rather than gather to Zion.

The Edmunds-Tucker Act strengthened public schools, which excluded religious education. In response, the Church began holding after-school religion classes in meetinghouses and established academies or high schools in larger settlements. Between 1888 and 1891 thirty-one LDS academies were opened in Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Canada, and Mexico.

The 1890s saw Church women extending their reach and demonstrating their political rights. Continuing their affiliation with eastern women´s movements, they became charter members of the National Council of Women and found their eastern associates to be important allies in their fight against disfranchisement. Relief Society-sponsored suffrage activities led to the inclusion of guaranteed woman suffrage in the 1895 Utah State Constitution.

After forty years, construction of the Salt Lake Temple was completed and dedicated in April 1893. Following a brief open house on April 5, the first opportunity for nonmembers to tour a temple, the sacred edifice was dedicated on April 6, forty years after the laying of the cornerstone. The dedicatory services were repeated between April 6 and May 18, and included five sessions reserved for children under the age for baptism; about 75,000 Latter-day Saints attended. Thereafter members of the Church entered the temple only to perform ordinances for the living and the dead. The following year President Woodruff announced by revelation that LDS family groups no longer needed to be sealed to prominent priesthood leaders by adoption (see Law of Adoption), but that they should be sealed by lineage as far back in time as possible. As a result, members began pursuing genealogy and performed sealing ordinances for ancestors several generations back. The Church created the genealogical society of Utah to assist researchers.

In 1893 the Salt Lake Tabernacle Choir, while on a major tour, sang at the Chicago World´s Fair, winning second prize in an important contest. The entire First Presidency traveled with the choir, marking the first time a Church President had traveled east since the migration to the West nearly fifty years before. This performance was indicative of a new public image for the Church, though that same year the Church was denied representation in the World´s Parliament of Religions, which also met in Chicago.

There were other significant developments under Wilford Woodruff´s direction: in November 1896, the Church´s monthly Fast Day was changed from the first Thursday to the first Sunday of each month, a practice that continues; in 1897, the custom of rebaptism was ended. In the same year, Wilford Woodruff, himself a pioneer of 1847, presided over a Churchwide commemoration of the first entrance into the Salt Lake Valley fifty years before. Salt Lake City celebrated with parades, programs, and the unveiling of a Brigham Young Monument.

During the 1890s the Church and Utah joined the American mainstream economically as well as politically. Many cooperative ventures became private, and most Church-controlled businesses were sold or started to compete as income-producing enterprises. But integration into the national economy was not painless. The earlier confiscation of properties and decrease in the payment of tithing caused by the antipolygamy crusade hurt the Church severely, as did the national depression of 1893. Leaders were forced to borrow heavily from eastern financiers to pay debts and meet obligations, and by 1898 the Church´s debts exceeded $1,250,000. However, despite debt and a national depression, the Church promoted and invested in such basic industries as beet sugar manufacturing, hydroelectric power, and selected mining and transportation ventures to help expand the economic base of the Great Basin and benefit Latter-day Saint communities (see Economic History).

With the ending of plural marriages, the achievement of statehood for Utah, and entrance into the American mainstream in terms of politics and finances, Latter-day Saints moved firmly into a new era. One measure of the change was Church response to the Spanish-American War in 1898: the First Presidency encouraged LDS young men to support the national effort, thereby demonstrating LDS patriotism and loyalty.

President Wilford Woodruff died on September 2, 1898, in San Francisco, California, at the age of ninety-one. In accordance with his instructions, a new First Presidency was immediately named, with Elder Lorenzo Snow becoming the Church´s fifth President.

 

WILLIAM G. HARTLEY
GENE A. SESSIONS

Bibliography

Alexander, Thomas G. Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-day Saints, 1890–1930. Urbana and Chicago, 1986.

Arrington, Leonard J. Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints 1830–1900. Lincoln, Neb., 1966.

Larson, Gustive O. The "Americanization" of Utah for Statehood. San Marino, Calif., 1971.

Lyman, Edward Leo. Political Deliverance: The Mormon Quest for Utah Statehood. Urbana and Chicago, 1986.

Roberts, B. H. A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Century I, Vol. 6. Provo, Utah, 1965 (reprint).

 

C. 1898-1945, Transitions: Early-Twentieth-Century Period

[At the turn of the century the Church´s finances suffered from the lingering effects of the federal crusade against Polygamy and the public doubted that its recently declared cessation of Plural Marriage had indeed taken effect. After discussing developments in these two areas, this article looks at the Latter-day Saints´ integration into the larger American society, including examining the Church´s position on war and peace. It also reviews the efforts to systematize that accompanied the steady growth throughout this period.

In addition to cross-references found in the text, relevant general articles include Organizational and Administrative History and Economic History. Centennial Observances accompanied the Church´s one-hundredth anniversary in 1930. Lorenzo Snow, Joseph F. Smith, and Heber J. Grant were Presidents of the Church during this period.]

The Church entered the twentieth century beleaguered and isolated. The LDS experience hitherto had involved founding, exodus to the isolated American West, building there a spiritual and temporal kingdom of God, and grappling with an unsympathetic and often hostile larger American community. The year 1898, however, was a watershed. Following the death of President Wilford Woodruff in September, Lorenzo Snow (1898–1901) succeeded to office and began a series of changes aimed at renewal and redefinition. He, along with his successors President Joseph F. Smith (1901–1918) and President Heber J. Grant (1918–1945), reacted to the sweeping changes of the first half of the twentieth century and reached back to preserve old values in a rapidly changing world. The result by the middle of the century was a Church accepted by and integrated into American society, more vigorous and vital than anyone but its most stalwart defenders might have foreseen a half century earlier.

An immediate problem was finances. The antipolygamy crusade (see Antipolygamy Legislation) had severely impaired revenue and assets, first by incarcerating leaders who normally managed donations and second by seizing and mismanaging Church property. The Panic of 1893 and the resulting depression made the situation worse. In an effort to provide employment and stimulate the local economy, leaders had borrowed money to fund public works and business projects. President Snow quickly ended this practice. His administration slashed expenditures, sold nonessential property, and urged followers to increase their financial contributions.

He dramatically announced this new policy in a southern Utah preaching tour. In May 1899, speaking to assembled members in St. George, he promised that faithful compliance to the Church´s longstanding tithing code would bless members and at the same time free the Church from its debts. A year after President Snow´s tithing emphasis, Church income doubled. Leaders also encouraged cash donations instead of in-kind commodities and instituted systematic spending and auditing procedures. Because of these reforms, by 1907 President Smith was able to announce that the Church at last had retired its debt. Annual tithing receipts stood at $1.8 million, in contrast to the Church´s 1898 debt of $1.25 million. Moreover, the Church had property worth more than $10 million. The Church never again resorted to deficit spending, not even during the Great Depression.

President Snow´s reforms did not preclude the holding of investment property or controlling of businesses by Church officers and directors (see Economic History). While some enterprises were divested, such as the Deseret Telegraph, the Utah Light and Railway Company, and the Saltair Resort at the Great Salt Lake, the Church particularly invested in concerns that advanced its social or institutional purposes. It retained the Deseret News, and in the early 1920s leaders established one of the country´s first radio stations, later known as KSL Radio. The Salt Lake theatre, the Pioneer Playhouse, was returned to the Church to provide sanctioned recreation—only to close at the onset of the Depression because of reduced box office revenues and what Church leaders thought were declining theatrical values.

Drawing on the precedent of the Nauvoo house, Salt Lake City´s Hotel Utah was built to draw tourists from hostile non-Mormon hoteliers and enhance the Church´s image. The Beneficial Life Insurance Company provided low-cost insurance. The Utah Sugar Company, transformed into the Utah–Idaho Sugar Company, continued to provide local farmers a market for their most important cash crop, while Zion´s Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI) and Zion´s Savings Bank & Trust attended the public with competitive retailing and banking services. This altruistic investment policy was also pursued on a broader level. Church leaders sat on the board of other corporations important to the region.

These investments and the social concerns they expressed harked back to the pioneer ideals of community concern and uplift. They were not the only remnant of the past. Plural marriage continued to be a troublesome issue for Latter-day Saints and focused national attention on the Church, particularly during the Snow and Smith administrations. Although many members believed that the 1890 Manifesto ended plural marriage, others interpreted the pronouncement as simply shifting the responsibility for practicing it from the Church to the individual. As a result, from 1890 to 1904 some plural marriages continued, though on a greatly reduced level. Moreover, while some husbands stopped living with plural wives, most felt a moral and spiritual obligation to continue caring for their families.

This confusion and ambiguity spilled over visibly into politics. In 1898 Elder B. H. Roberts, a member of the first council of seventy and the husband of three wives, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. The Salt Lake Ministerial Association and similar organizations elsewhere used Roberts´s election to focus on continuing plural marriages, charging the Church with failure to abide by the agreements that had brought Utah statehood. Anti-Roberts petitions containing seven million signatures flooded Congress and the House eventually refused Roberts his seat.

Still more serious was the case of Reed Smoot. The 1903 election of Smoot, a monogamous member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, to the U.S. Senate once more stirred national uproar. The Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections commenced hearings on Smoot in 1904 (see Smoot Hearings), but Congress focused more often on the Church itself. Were church and state truly separate in Utah? Did the Church control the conduct of its members? Did it encourage polygamy and polygamous cohabitation? During the two-year investigation, President Joseph F. Smith and other leaders testified before the committee. Others, such as Matthias F. Cowley and John W. Taylor, suspected of performing plural marriages since the Manifesto, refused. To close the controversy and demonstrate the Church´s willingness to make the question a matter of discipline, President Smith announced a "Second Manifesto" that expressly forbade future plural marriages. He also required the resignations of both Cowley and Taylor from the Council of the Twelve. In 1907 the Senate narrowly voted to allow Smoot to retain his seat.

Plural marriage still failed to recede entirely, even in the face of the now resolute policy of President Smith and later President Grant. Elders Cowley and Taylor, for instance, each received further discipline for additional plural marriage activity, the former being "disfellowshipped," while Taylor, after taking an additional plural wife, was excommunicated. Their conduct was similar to that of a growing number of former Mormons in the twentieth century. Styled fundamentalists, they accepted automatic excommunication rather than yield on plural marriage or discard other nineteenth-century practices. Unlike Latter-day Saints generally, who were strengthened by their belief in current prophetic revelation and therefore approached new times in new ways, the Fundamentalists faced the modern world by looking backward.

Nor did the plural marriage issue go away in the popular press. During the first decade of the twentieth century and even beyond, the Church came under severe public scrutiny by muckrakers and political opponents in Utah. Newspapers, magazines, and cinema in both the United States and Europe focused on sensationalized (and often fictionalized) aspects of polygamy, depicted Church leaders as autocrats, and denounced the Church as un-American and un-Christian (see Anti-Mormon Publications; Stereotyping of Mormons). Old charges of danite atrocities and blood Atonement resurfaced. In Utah the assault was led by two former U.S. Senators, Frank J. Cannon and Thomas Kearns, who used the Salt Lake Tribune to launch bitter attacks on Smoot and the Church and to support the American Party. This short-lived, anti-Mormon political party controlled Salt Lake City government from 1905 to 1911.

The Church attempted to meet the barrage of abuse even though the tide flowed strongly against it. Early efforts included promoting Saltair Resort and Salt Lake City´s Temple Square as visitors centers. With the tabernacle organ and Mormon Tabernacle Choir as attractions, the latter site by 1905 annually drew 200,000 visitors. Attendance climbed steeply thereafter. When possible, leaders placed refutations in the muckraker publications. Moreover, a point-by-point rebuttal was read during the Church 1911 general conference. Perhaps the ablest and most enduring rejoinder came from B. H. Roberts. From 1909 to 1915, he issued a series of articles on Mormon history in the magazine Americana. These were later updated as Roberts´s fair-minded, six-volume comprehensive History of the Church.

Increasingly men and women outside the Church also defended the Latter-day Saints. By 1900 C. C. Goodwin, a former editor of the anti-Mormon Salt Lake Tribune and longstanding critic, frankly labeled Mormons as successful, prosperous, and generally likable. Leading sociologist Richard T. Ely praised LDS group life. Morris R. Werner produced a Brigham Young biography devoid of previous stereotypes and hostility. These path-breaking ventures were followed by others. By the late 1920s President Grant conceded that virtually anything the Church might request could be placed in the media. Indeed Time Magazine gave President Grant cover treatment, while Hollywood studios completed such favorable motion pictures as Union Pacific and Brigham Young.

In part the change in public attitude came from the integration of Church members into the larger American society. Nineteenth-century Latter-day Saints expanded their agricultural settlements throughout the mountain West and even into Canada and Mexico (see Colonization), although their agrarian communities were often tightly knit, provincial enclaves. In contrast, as LDS outmigration continued in the twentieth century, Church members now rubbed shoulders with fellow Americans in urban settings. During the 1920s, for instance, the percentage of Latter-day Saints living in the intermountain West declined while those living on the American West Coast rose. In 1923 the Los Angeles Stake, the first modern stake outside the traditional Mormon cultural area, was created. Between 1919 and 1927 the number of Latter-day Saints in California increased from fewer than 2,000 to more than 20,000. The twentieth-century Church dispersion had begun, first with the migration of large numbers to the West Coast, then also with increasing volume to the East and Midwest.

Direct contact with neighbors lessened cultural, religious, and even emotional barriers, bringing Mormons and non-Mormons an increased appreciation for each other. The growing number of successful Americans who were also Latter-day Saints or Utah-born accelerated the process. Maud Adams was lionized for her widely popular stage portrayal of Peter Pan. Philo T. Farnsworth´s inventions brought about television. Cyrus Dallin and Mahonri Young achieved distinction in the arts.

Latter-day Saints were particularly drawn to public affairs. Edgar B. Brossard became a member and then chairman of the United States Tariff Commission. J. Reuben Clark, Jr., rose in the higher levels of the State Department bureaucracy, finishing his government career as ambassador to Mexico. During the New Deal, Marriner S. Eccles was chairman of the Federal Reserve System. James H. Moyle served as assistant secretary of the treasury from 1917 to 1921, while William Spry was commissioner of public lands from 1921 to 1929. Heber M. Wells was the treasurer of the U.S. Shipping Board. Richard W. Young became a U.S. commissioner of the Philippines and returned from the First World War as Utah´s first regular army general. For members of a once persecuted religious minority, each such personal success betokened the Church´s growing acceptance and prestige. "Outsiders" were becoming "insiders."

Two Church members had disproportionate influence in shaping the Church´s new image. One was Reed Smoot. Aloof, but honest and utterly tireless in his devotion to government duty and Church interests, Smoot remained in the Senate for thirty years. As chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, he wielded major influence over American economic policy. More than any other Latter-day Saint in public service, he personified the Church, assuaging questions about its patriotism and integrity by his personality and presence.

The other was President Heber J. Grant. A businessman by inclination and early profession, President Grant´s homespun ways and business-mindedness charmed an age given to commercial enterprise. Non-Mormons delighted particularly in his speeches. Concluding an address before the San Francisco Commonwealth Club, he was greeted with cries of "Go on! Go on!" When he addressed the Second Dearborn Conference of Agriculture, Industry, and Science, the "Chemurgicians" twice gave him standing ovations. His public relations ministry included more than delivering speeches. He promoted tours of the Tabernacle Choir. He personally guided nationally prominent business and political leaders through Salt Lake City and cultivated their friendship. He visited U.S. Presidents Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House. While President Grant was respected by his own people, non-Mormons also liked and idealized him.

The Church´s sturdy growth during the period reflected its more positive image. Membership more than tripled during the half century; from the years 1900 to 1945 totals grew from 268,331 to 979,454. Prior to 1898 the Church had organized 37 stakes (16 were discontinued); by 1945 another 116 had been added. The Church´s missionary force changed and increased accordingly, growing younger, attracting more unmarried individuals, and after 1898, including an increasing number of young women. At the turn of the century, fewer than 900 missionaries were called annually; by 1940 there were 2,117.

Missionary work continued to be a major preoccupation. The most ambitious new mission was Japan, opened in 1901 by missionaries led by Elder Heber J. Grant, then an apostle. Three years later the Mexican mission was reopened. The 1920s saw more than 11,000 German-speaking converts, though most converts came from English-speaking areas: Great Britain, Canada, and the United States, with the Southern States Mission being the most successful. Unfortunately, there as elsewhere, missionaries were subject to acts of physical violence. At the beginning of the century, annual convert baptisms were 3,786; a half century later the total had reached 7,877.

The Church sought to make its proselytizing more effective. Instead of dispatching missionaries without "purse and scrip," most now were financially supported by their families or local congregations. Missionary training classes were organized at Church academies and colleges. In the mid-1920s a Salt Lake City "Mission Home" for departing sisters and elders was inaugurated, where missionaries typically received lessons on proper diet, hygiene, etiquette, and especially missionary techniques and Church doctrine for two weeks. The era also produced new proselytizing tracts. Charles W. Penrose wrote a series entitled Rays of Living Light, James Talmage completed the Great Apostasy, and Ben E. Rich authored A Friendly Discussion. To preserve a sense of its heritage and to help tell its story, the Church purchased sites of significance to its early history (see Historical Sites): the Carthage Jail in Illinois (1903), where Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum had been killed; a part of the Independence, Missouri, temple site (1904); Joseph Smith´s birthplace in Sharon, Vermont (1905-1907); and the Smith homestead in Manchester, New York (1907). At each of these locations, the Church eventually constructed visitors centers.

Perhaps more than by expansion, the era was characterized by internal consolidation. Lorenzo Snow´s succession to office was symptomatic. For the first time the accession of the senior-tenured apostle to the office of Church president was completed within days instead of the past interregnums of about three years (see Succession in the Presidency). Recognizing the Church´s increasing complexity, President Snow urged General Authorities to devote their full time to their ministry. By 1941 the question no longer was simply leadership efficiency but expansion. "The rapid growth of the Church in recent times, the constantly increasing establishment of new Wards and Stakes…[and] the steadily pressing necessity for increasing our missions in numbers and efficiency," the First Presidency noted in 1941, "have built up an apostolic service of the greatest magnitude" (CR [Apr. 1941]:94–95). In response to these new requirements, five men were appointed assistants to the Twelve. In contrast to the short-term laity that continued to occupy most Church positions, "general" Church officers—about thirty in number—now received compensation and served full-time, lifelong ministries.

Priesthood governance was also altered. The first half of the century saw a steady decentralizing of decision making as stake and local leaders received enlarged authority. The Church reduced the size of stakes to make them more functional and placed new emphasis on "ward teaching" (see Home Teaching). With smaller districts and more boys and men assigned to teaching, the percentage of families receiving monthly visits grew from 20 percent in 1911 to 70 percent a decade later. Finally, in a major departure from pioneer practice, members were urged to take secular disputes to civil and criminal courts rather than to Church tribunals. Once a means of regulating social and economic issues, Church courts now concerned themselves exclusively with Church discipline.

Priesthood quorums were strengthened. Priesthood meetings were now held weekly, with meeting quality improved by centrally generated lesson materials. President Joseph F. Smith in 1906 outlined a program of progressive priesthood advancement for male youth. Contingent on worthiness, young men received ordination to the office of deacon at the age of twelve, teacher at fifteen, and priest three years later. In turn, worthy men typically received the offices of elder and high priest, altering the nineteenth century dominance of the seventy among adult men. In 1910 quorums of high priest and seventy were realigned to coincide with stake boundaries, allowing closer direction by local authorities.

The tendency toward consolidation was also manifest in the Church´s auxiliary organizations. Youth programs, once informal, diverse, and locally administered, increasingly yielded to centrally directed age group programs and unified curricula. The children´s primary Association no longer served older youth, while the Young Men´s Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA) and its young women counterpart (YWMIA) included adolescents as young as twelve (see Young Men; Young Women). At first both the national Boy Scout and Campfire Girl programs were used for younger MIA members (see Scouting), but soon the latter was dropped in favor of an indigenous program. Activity programs received increasingly strong emphasis. With Sunday school and now priesthood quorums providing doctrinal instruction, the MIA increasingly turned to dance, drama, music, and sports. Church headquarters produced a magazine for each auxiliary: The Primary had the Children´s Friend (1902) and the Sunday School the Juvenile Instructor (1900), later known as the Instructor (1929). YMMIA had the Improvement Era (1897), YWMIA the Young Woman´s Journal (1889); in 1929 the two joined forces and the Improvement Era became the publication for both. Articles, curricula, and programs were periodically reviewed and correlated. For instance, a general Church Correlation Committee and the Social Advisory Committee combined to issue a pivotal and far-reaching report in 1921 (see Correlation).

The Relief Society experienced these same trends. Its first three twentieth-century presidents, Zina D. H. Young (1888–1901), Bathsheba W. Smith (1901–1910), and Emmeline B. Wells (1910–1921), all remembered the Nauvoo organization. For them women´s meetings were to be spontaneous, spiritually active, and locally determined. The new century, however, redefined their vision. In 1901 a few lesson outlines were provisionally provided. Twelve years later, with the recommendation of a Church correlation committee, Relief Society leaders adopted a uniform, prescribed curriculum. They also implemented uniform meeting days (Tuesday), record books, and a monthly message for the visiting teaching women who made monthly home visits. In 1915 an official Relief Society Magazine replaced the semi-independent Woman´s Exponent, a voice for Relief Society since 1872. While the First Presidency at first endorsed the continuation of female prayer healing—often undertaken in meetings on an impromptu basis—the practice dwindled and by mid-century was abolished. As a further sign of centralization under priesthood leadership, the Relief Society was housed in the Bishop´s Building and increasingly received its direction from the Presiding Bishopric rather than the First Presidency. Though Relief Society had once played a role in developing and supervising the Primary and YWMIA, their supervision of the children´s and youth auxiliaries ended.

The Relief Society´s later presidents, Clarissa S. Williams (1921–1928), Louise Y. Robison (1928–1939), and Amy Brown Lyman (1940–1945), cooperated in these changes. Speaking for modernism and efficiency, they and their advisory boards set aside such past tasks as home industry, silk culture, and commission retailing in favor of community outreach; "scientific" or professionally trained social work; campaigns against alcohol, tobacco, and delinquency; and, during the Great Depression, public relief. The latter effort was crucial. "To the extent that Relief Society Organizations in Wards are operating in cooperation with Priesthood Quorums and Bishoprics," declared Elder Harold B. Lee, who led the Church´s relief efforts, "just to that extent is there a security [welfare] program in that ward" (Relief Society Magazine 24 [Mar. 1937]:143). These efforts reflected the early-twentieth-century Mormon feminine ideal. Women were to uplift, soften, and assist. While women leaders continued to play an active role in the National and International Council of Women, the rank and file were less active in political, social, and professional roles than in homemaking.

Several doctrinal issues were clarified, another indication of systematization at work. From the early years of the Snow administration, Church authorities discussed how strictly the 1833 health revelation, the Word of Wisdom, should be obeyed. In 1921 the question was answered by making abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee one of the standards for admission to temples. During the century´s first three decades, the health code led most Latter-day Saints to support local, state, and national prohibition.

In 1909 the First Presidency issued a statement designed to clarify the Church position on evolution. While the method of creation was not discussed, the declaration held that "Adam was the first man and that he was created in the image of God." The issue remained troublesome, however. Along with the question of higher biblical criticism, it led to the resignation of three Brigham Young University professors in 1911 and to extended private discussion among Church leaders two decades later.

In 1916 the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve issued a second important doctrinal exposition entitled "The Father and the Son." Apparently occasioned by anti-Mormon pamphleteering charging the Church leaders with conferring divinity on Adam, the statement delineated the respective roles of the first two members of the Godhead. Shortly before his death, Joseph F. Smith received a vision of missionary work and spiritual existence in the afterlife, which was eventually included as Section 138 in the Doctrine and Covenants. In addition to specific matters, general LDS doctrine and history received systematic treatment, often for the first time, by such works as President Smith´s Gospel Doctrine, Elder James E. Talmage´s Articles of Faith and Jesus the Christ, and Elder B. H. Roberts´s three-volume New Witnesses for God.

With its membership still predominantly American, the Church was especially affected by the events occurring in the United States during this period. Almost from the outset, President Grant´s administration was beset with hard times. Farming and mining, two of Utah´s main industries, slumped badly in the 1920s and especially in the 1930s during the Great Depression. President Grant carefully conserved Church finances, trimming expenditures and construction projects. Using his contacts with national business and political leaders, he kept key Utah and Church-owned enterprises afloat. He was also concerned for the individual Saint. After careful preparation, he announced in 1936 the Church Welfare Program (see Welfare Services), which sought self-sufficiency and sustenance for the needy by simultaneously providing both work and needed commodities.

Despite difficult times, the Church maintained its primary functions. Just prior to the economic downturn, it completed an imposing five-story building in Salt Lake City. Temples were completed in Hawaii (1919); Cardston, Alberta, Canada (1923); and Mesa, Arizona (1927). Education also received attention. Between 1875 and 1911, the Church established thirty-four all-purpose academies. However, as the century progressed, financial distress and the rising acceptance of public education brought changes, and many of the academies were closed or transferred to state control (see also Education). The Church, however, did not entirely surrender its educative role. A released-time seminary program for high school students began in 1912 (see Seminaries), and during the 1920s, institutes of religion for college students were established, the first at the University of Idaho.

Twentieth-century wars and warfare demonstrated the distance the Church had traveled from nineteenth-century alienation and isolation. Latter-day Saints supported the Spanish-American War effort and U.S. involvement in the two twentieth-century world wars. In the former the First Presidency issued a statement affirming the loyalty of the Latter-day Saints and telegraphed local leaders to encourage enlistment. Utah became one of the first states to fill its initial quota. Involvement in World War I was even more substantial. At first uncertain of its proper role, the Church eventually helped Utahans oversubscribe the government´s financial quota for the state. By September 1918 Utah had more than 18,000 men under arms, almost half of them volunteers. Participation in the Second World War was more dutiful, perhaps because of the private misgivings of President Grant and his Counselor J. Reuben Clark over New Deal policymaking. Nevertheless, by April 1942, 6 percent of the total Church population served in the American forces or in defense-related industries; others served for Canada, Britain, and Germany.

While each conflict saw some pacifist currents and even opposition, the general tendency was supportive of the need to yield loyalty to constituted government. "The Church is and must be against war," the First Presidency declared in April 1942. Yet when "constitutional law…calls the manhood of the Church into the armed service of any country to which they owe allegiance, their highest civic duty requires that they heed that call" (CR, pp. 88–97; see War and Peace).

While documenting religiosity is difficult, statistics suggest the impact of the Church on the everyday life of its people. Meeting attendance showed sturdy growth throughout the era. In 1920 weekly average attendance at Sacrament meeting was 16 percent; in 1930, 19 percent; in 1940, 23 percent; and 1950, 25 percent. Suggestive of Church family ideals, LDS birthrates exceeded the national average, as did marriage rates. No doubt the Church health code is reflected in the fact that in 1945 the LDS death rate was about half the national average.

A closer view of statistics reveals that in the decades of the early twentieth century the number of children born per LDS family declined, the age at time of marriage increased, and divorce ratios often mirrored national trends—lingering behind but moving in the same direction as national trends, as if assimilation were simply incomplete (see Vital Statistics).

The half-century brought social, cultural, and political integration; growth and consolidation; and programs that redefined and reapplied earlier Church ideals. But the era also produced indications that Church members were not immune to such broad currents as secularism and even materialism. For observers, at mid-century basic questions remained: Could the Church preserve its traditional values and energy? Or would its journey into the modern world cost the movement its identity and mission?

 

RONALD W. WALKER
RICHARD W. SADLER

Bibliography

For general surveys of the period:

Alexander, Thomas G. Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-day Saints, 1890–1930. Urbana, Ill., 1986.

Allen, James B., and Glen M. Leonard. The Story of the Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, 1976.

Arrington, Leonard J., and Davis Bitton. The Mormon Experience. New York, 1979.

Church Education System. Church History in the Fulness of Times. Salt Lake City, 1989.

Cowan, Richard O. The Church in the Twentieth Century. Salt Lake City, 1985.

Roberts, B. H. A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, 1930.

For LDS programs, policies, and teachings during the period:

Alexander, Thomas G. "Between Revivalism and the Social Gospel: The Latter-day Saints Social Advisory Committee, 1916-1922." BYU Studies 23 (Winter 1983):19–39.

Alexander, Thomas G. "The Reconstruction of Mormon Doctrine: From Joseph Smith to Progressive Theology." Sunstone 5 (July–Aug. 1980):24–33.

Alexander, Thomas G. "To Maintain Harmony´: Adjusting to External and Internal Stress, 1890–1930." Dialogue 15 (Winter 1982):44–58.

Hartley, William G. "The Priesthood Reform Movement, 1908–1922." BYU Studies 13 (Winter 1973):137–56.

Hefner, Loretta L. "This Decade Was Different: Relief Society´s Social Services Department, 1919–1929." Dialogue 15 (Autumn 1982):64–73.

 

C. 1945-1990, Post World War II International Era Period

[Since World War II, the Church has enjoyed—and had to cope with—rapid international growth. After summarizing postwar revitalization and the attendant increases in membership, the article focuses on the adaptations that accompanied growth and internationalization. In surveying recent developments, it provides an introduction to the contemporary Church.

For additional information about Church growth during this period, see Vital Statistics and articles about the Church in Africa; Asia, East; Asia, South and Southeast; Australia; British Isles; Canada; Europe; Hawaii; Mexico and Central America; Middle East; New Zealand; Oceania; Scandinavia; South America: Brazil; South America: North; South America: South; and West Indies. For developments in organization and procedure, see Organization: Organizational and Administrative History; Organization: Contemporary. Consult also the biographies of those who served as Church President in this period: George Albert Smith (1945–1951); David O. McKay (1951–1970); Joseph Fielding Smith (1970–1972); Harold B. Lee (1972–1973); Spencer W. Kimball (1973–1985); and Ezra Taft Benson (1985–).]

Throughout his life and ministry, President George Albert Smith´s prevailing message was one of love. It was fitting, therefore, that it was during his administration that goods were sent from America to Europe to help relieve the suffering of the Saints following World War II, especially those in Germany who had been devastated by war. In 1946 Ezra Taft Benson, of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, directed the reopening of the European Mission and the Church´s relief efforts there. He found branches disorganized, meetinghouses destroyed, and many members without homes. Most had lost possessions and everywhere there was pressing need for food and clothing. The Church´s Welfare Services became a significant factor in the recovery of many Saints as well as some nonmembers.

Since the war had postponed everything from missionary work to building construction, it was necessary to reestablish and revitalize Church programs everywhere. The missionary force was rapidly rebuilt and hundreds of meetinghouses were constructed. Half of all the chapels in use in the mid-1950s were erected in the years following World War II, a period when more than half of all Church expenditures went for building projects.

BECOMING AN INTERNATIONAL CHURCH. The close of World War II marked the dawn of a new era in Church history in which a dominant theme was international growth. In 1947 Church membership reached one million, and by 1990 the total was over seven million. Growth was especially strong along America´s West Coast, in Latin America, and, after 1978, in Africa. In 1950 the Church had 180 organized stakes, nearly half of them in Utah; in 1990 there were 1,700 stakes, with less than one-fourth in Utah. In 1950 the Church was organized in fewer than 50 nations or territories, but by 1990 it had expanded to 128. Less than 8 percent of the Church lived outside the United States and Canada in 1950, but forty years later this was approximately 35 percent. During the same period the number of missionaries grew from 6,000 to 40,000 and the number of temples increased from eight, only one of which was outside the United States, to forty-four, with twenty-three outside the United States.

This remarkable growth resulted from renewed efforts to fulfill the revelation given to Joseph Smith "that the kingdom…may become a great mountain and fill the whole earth" (D&C 109:72). Early in his administration President David O. McKay, the first to travel so extensively as Church President, toured missions in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the South Pacific, dedicating two temple sites in Europe and announcing that a temple would be built in New Zealand. In 1955 he declared that the Church must "put forth every effort within reason and practicability to place within reach of Church members in these distant missions every educational and spiritual privilege that the Church has to offer" (CR [Apr. 1955]:25). Building temples, increasing the number of missions, organizing stakes worldwide, persuading the Saints to build up Zion in their homelands rather than emigrate to America, and eventually putting Church leadership into the hands of each country´s native people were all significant steps toward fulfilling that goal. In addition, increasing emphasis was placed on calling local missionaries who, in some areas, later essentially replaced American missionaries.

Growth did not come without its problems, however, not the least of which was sorting out which practices, teachings, and programs really constituted the essence of the gospel and which were reflections of the American culture in which the Church had grown. To open the eyes of members—particularly Americans—to the need for defining the gospel in terms of universal principles, Church leaders spoke out with increasing frequency. In 1971, for example, Elder Bruce R. McConkie reminded some American Saints that in New Testament times even the apostles were so indoctrinated with the idea that the Plan of Salvation was limited to a particular people that they found it difficult to take it to gentile nations, and he applied the lesson to the modern Church. He called upon American Saints to rise above their biases, though there would be "some struggles and some difficulties, some prejudices, and some uncertainties along the way." Other peoples, he noted, "have a different background than we have, which is of no moment to the Lord…. It is no different to have different social customs than it is to have different languages…. And the Lord knows all languages" (Palmer, pp. 143, 147). In 1987 Elder Boyd K. Packer reminded a group of Church leaders that "We can´t move [into various countries] with a 1947 Utah Church! Could it be that we are not prepared to take the gospel because we are not prepared to take (and they are not prepared to receive) all of the things we have wrapped up with it as extra baggage?" (as quoted in Dialogue 21 [Fall 1988]:97). The goal was to ennoble people of diverse cultures and perspectives to more fully find true brotherhood and sisterhood within the common spiritual bounds of the Church.

In 1974 President Spencer W. Kimball challenged members to "lengthen our stride" in carrying the gospel to all the earth, and urged them to pray that barriers might be removed. He appointed David M. Kennedy, former U.S. secretary of the treasury and ambassador-at-large, as the Church´s international representative to work with governments in resolving problems that had hindered the Church´s activities. In 1977 the Church was legally recognized in Poland, and in 1985 a temple was dedicated in the German Democratic Republic. The dramatic political revolutions of 1989–1990 opened other eastern bloc countries and led to the beginnings of LDS missionary work in the Soviet Union.

One of the far-reaching changes in the twentieth century was the revelation received by President Spencer W. Kimball in June 1978 extending priesthood blessings to all worthy male members. The result of long and earnest prayer, the revelation meant that "the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood…without regard for race or color" (see Doctrine and Covenants: Declaration—2). Without delay, worthy blacks were sealed in temples and many received assignments as missionaries and leaders. In Ghana and Nigeria, where blacks had been pleading for the establishment of the Church for years, the Church grew rapidly, but it also expanded in other areas with large black populations. The first black General Authority, Elder Helvécio Martins of Brazil, was sustained at the general conference of the Church in April 1990.

ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES. Numerous administrative changes also reflected the demands of Church growth. In 1967 stakes were organized into regions. Beginning in 1975, several regions were organized into areas, and by 1984 area presidencies, each consisting of three General Authorities, were assigned responsibility for stakes throughout the world.

In 1975 President Kimball announced the organization of the First Quorum of the seventy, members of which were General Authorities of the Church and included the former assistants to the Twelve. In 1989 the Second Quorum of the Seventy was organized; these General Authorities serve for terms of three or five years. In 1978 the practice was begun of placing members of the Seventy on emeritus status for reasons of health or age, and the following year the patriarch to the church also became an emeritus.

General Authorities also took steps to more effectively coordinate Church programs and, beginning in 1961, placed greater emphasis on "priesthood correlation" (see Priesthood; Correlation of the Church). Under the chairmanship of Elder Harold B. Lee, committees at Church headquarters planned, prepared, and reviewed curricula and activities for all organizations or age groups. They defined more carefully the unique roles of each organization and eliminated unnecessary duplication. Leaders focused on the home as the most effective place for teaching and applying gospel principles. Family Home Evening received renewed emphasis, and beginning in 1965 attractive manuals providing lesson helps were issued.

In the early 1970s there was also a consolidation of administrative responsibilities at Church headquarters. Agencies were grouped into several large departments, each under the jurisdiction of one or more General Authorities, with full-time professionals generally managing day-to-day operations. For example, the Welfare, Social Services, and health programs were consolidated into a Welfare Services Department. A tangible symbol of this consolidation was the new twenty-eight-story Church office building in Salt Lake City, bringing most Church administrative units together. In 1970, functions of Aaronic Priesthood and the Young Men´s Mutual Improvement Association were combined (see Young Men). In 1971 the publishing program was consolidated (see Magazines). Magazines in other languages than English were unified in 1967, with standardized content except for local matters (see International Magazines).

Other changes came as rapid international growth increased the travel and administrative load of Church leaders. In the 1970s stake presidents were authorized to "set apart" full-time missionaries (see Setting Apart), ordain bishops and Patriarchs, and dedicate chapels. General Authorities met in conference with individual stakes less frequently but, beginning in 1971, the Church began holding "area conferences," where a delegation of General Authorities met with the Saints gathered from geographic regions. In 1979 the number of stake conferences each year was reduced from four to two, and in the 1980s regional or multiregional conferences replaced area conferences (see Conferences).

CHURCH EDUCATION. Between 1950 and 1990 total enrollment in the Church´s educational programs increased from 38,400 to 442,500 (see Church Educational System). Full-time enrollment at Brigham Young University soared from 5,400 in 1950 to nearly 25,000 by 1975, leading to an enrollment ceiling. Rather than devoting ever larger amounts to higher education, funds increasingly went to meet more basic needs associated with worldwide growth. The major expansion in enrollment came in the area of religious education. Since the early twentieth century, students in predominantly LDS communities had attended "released time" seminary classes adjacent to their secondary schools. Beginning in California in the 1950s, "early morning" seminaries convened in church buildings near public secondary schools. After 1968, in areas where members were even more scattered, young people received "home study" seminary materials. The Church also increased the number of institutes of religion placed adjacent to college and university campuses. By 1990 seminary or institute programs were conducted in seventy-four nations or territories.

The Church also gave special attention to the religious life of college students. In 1956 the first student stake, with twelve wards, was organized on the Brigham Young University campus. This provided Church services that ministered directly to student needs and offered expanded opportunities for leadership. The plan spread to other areas where there were enough students to justify it. Subjective evidence suggested greater spiritual growth; and in such statistically measurable matters as temple marriage and attendance at meetings, student wards led the Church.

In some areas of the Pacific and Latin America, areas of particularly rapid Church growth where public education was not widely available, the Church returned to its earlier practice of establishing schools for religious instruction and to teach educational basics. It established forty elementary and secondary schools in Mexico, and established a junior college on the outskirts of Mexico City. As better public educational facilities developed, the Church closed many schools.

BUILDING PROGRAM. New congregations required new buildings. Even with two or three wards sharing most buildings, the Church found it necessary to complete more than one new meetinghouse every day. Potential costs were enormous, and in many areas the local Saints could not afford to raise their share.

One solution emerged when the Church encountered a labor shortage while erecting school buildings in the South Pacific. Beginning in 1950, it called young men as "building missionaries" to donate their labor for two years. As they completed buildings at a much lower cost, experienced builders taught them construction skills; labor missionaries also learned marketable skills from experienced builders. In the 1950s and 1960s building missionaries erected schools and chapels in the South Pacific, Latin America, Europe, and elsewhere. Later, in an effort to minimize construction and maintenance costs, the building department developed a series of standardized plans that could be adapted to different locations and expanded as needed.

Though general Church funds assisted with meetinghouses, local congregations were expected to contribute not only labor but also a significant portion of the money needed—in addition to paying regular tithes and offerings. With a view toward easing the financial burden on local congregations, the share borne by local Saints gradually diminished until, by 1989, local contribution was no longer required.

By the 1980s, new meetinghouses were generally smaller and sometimes more austere than earlier ones, but this approach allowed the Church to erect hundreds of chapels annually, and especially to provide badly needed meeting places in developing areas. It was also a move towards equality. Money that might have gone to build more expensive buildings in affluent areas instead provided comfortable places for worship throughout the Church.

TECHNOLOGY AND THE MODERN CHURCH. The Church actively seeks to harness the astonishing developments in modern technology to enhance its administrative capabilities and to aid in delivering its spiritual message. Since the Church installed its first computer in the Financial Department in 1962, it has made use of this technology in myriad ways, including in architectural design, a computerized membership record system, automated accounting, processing missionary papers, record keeping at both the general and local level, and in providing resources for historical and genealogical research.

Perhaps no Church activity has felt the impact of modern technology more than genealogical work. As Church membership grew, so did the need for more effective means of gathering and processing names for temple work. The Genealogical Department (now the Family History Department) microfilmed vital records from around the world, making them available in its library in Salt Lake City (see Family History Library) and in hundreds of family history centers throughout the world. In the 1960s, the Genealogical Department also began using the computer to organize names obtained from these records. Since 1978, designated Church members have been devoting four or more hours of weekly service "extracting" information from microfilms for the sake of temple work. The Family History Department also produced personal ancestral file, a widely used computerized genealogical program, and began making key genealogical data available on laser disks.

Technology touched the temple in other ways. Motion picture and video technology allowed temple instructions to be presented more efficiently and more effectively. Because this could be done in one room instead of the former series of four rooms, temples could be built smaller and thus were less expensive to construct, making it possible for more members throughout the world to have a temple nearby. The new technology also made it possible to present the ordinances in several languages simultaneously, if necessary.

The effect of television on Church communications and the Church public image was also dramatic. General conferences of the Church were first broadcast on KSL Television in Salt Lake City in 1949, and by the mid-1960s one or more session of each conference were being televised coast-to-coast in the United States. In the 1980s the Church developed a satellite communication system connected to stake centers throughout the world so that Latter-day Saints could view both conference and other Church-initiated programs.

MISSIONARY WORK. By 1990 over two-thirds of the Church´s annual growth came from convert baptisms. Approximately 30,000 of more than 40,000 full-time missionaries were young men ages nineteen to twenty-one; single women twenty-one years of age or older and couples who had reached retirement age made up most of the remainder.

Considerable attention was given to improving proselytizing techniques and abilities. After much experimentation, a systematic plan based on a series of regularized lesson discussions was officially adopted in the 1950s. After considerable refinement and modification, by 1990 the plan focused less on memorization on the part of the missionaries and more on their ability to rely on the Spirit in the presentation of outlined subject matter.

Missionaries were also given more effective training, especially in languages. In 1963 a Language Training Mission, later known as Missionary Training Center, was established near Brigham Young University, and five years later a similar program opened near the Church College of Hawaii (see Brigham Young University: Hawaii Campus). By 1990 missionaries were receiving intensive language and missionary training in fourteen missionary training centers around the world, though about 75 percent were attending the Provo center.

Innovations in the missionary program included encouraging more nonproselytizing activities and Christian service. In 1971, for instance, "health missionaries" began teaching the basics of nutrition, sanitation, and disease prevention, especially in developing countries. By 1990 all missionaries were urged to spend two to four hours a week in community service, in addition to proselytizing. Also, older missionary couples were often assigned to nonproselytizing Church service, including health and Welfare work, leadership training, staffing visitors centers and doing other public relations activities, assisting patrons in the Church´s various family history centers, temple service missions, and teaching missions.

PUBLIC ISSUES AND SOCIAL CONCERNS. Though the Church attempted to distance itself from direct political involvement, Church leaders nevertheless from time to time declared official positions on moral issues. The First Presidency publicly lamented the growing flood of pornography, the widespread practice of birth control, and abortion, and the general decline in moral standards, including the rising number of divorces and the increased prominence of homosexuality. In 1968 the Church became directly involved in Utah´s political process by openly opposing liquor-by-the-drink. It has also made public pronouncements in favor of Sunday closing laws and state right-to-work laws and against state lotteries (see Gambling).

Amid the intense civil rights conflict that characterized the United States in the 1960s the First Presidency openly called for "full civil equality for all of God´s children," and specifically urged Latter-day Saints to work for civil rights for blacks. In the 1970s, as the controversy in America over women´s rights escalated, the First Presidency took a public stance in favor of full equality before the law for women but, at the same time, publicly opposed the Equal Rights Amendment as anti-family. The First Presidency was also deeply concerned with the morality of the nuclear arms race and officially denounced it in 1980 and again in 1981 (see War and Peace).

In contrast to the early twentieth century when most Latter-day Saints lived in predominately rural settings, since mid-century, most have lived in urban centers. The hectic lifestyle in large cities created added emotional strains, and an array of attractions and temptations tended to pull family members in different directions. Responding to these and other needs, the Church instituted a series of social programs. Since 1919 the Relief Society had operated an adoption agency and provided foster homes for disadvantaged children. This was expanded. The Indian Student Placement Services, begun in the 1950s under the chairmanship of Elder Spencer W. Kimball, extended to thousands of Native American children the advantages of attending good schools while living in wholesome LDS family environments. A "youth guidance" program provided counseling to families in need. These three programs, required by law to employ licensed professional social workers, were combined in 1969 to form the Church´s Social Services Department. This department also sponsored youth day camps, programs for members in prison, and counseling for alcohol or drug abusers.

Church leaders also began to show more concern for the special needs of unmarried men and women. Whether divorced, widowed, or simply never married, their social and spiritual needs were often not being met through traditional Church activity oriented toward couples and families. In the 1970s special programs for young single adults as well as older singles were created under the auspices of the priesthood and Relief Society. Through self-directed councils at the ward, stake, and regional level, they participated in dances and other cultural activities and found broader opportunities to become acquainted with other members their own age who shared common interests. In addition, wards for young singles were organized, first in the Emigration Stake in Salt Lake City, and then in other areas.

RETURN TO BASICS. One of President Ezra Taft Benson´s clarion calls to the Saints in the 1980s was to return to traditional values. In particular, he urged regular study of the Book of Mormon as a means to strengthen faith in Christ and to receive guidance in meeting contemporary challenges. His call, however, was only one manifestation of the efforts of modern Church leaders to respond to the ever-deepening challenges of the world and to lead the Saints in a return to basics.

In 1972 the adult Gospel Doctrine class in Sunday School began a systematic study of the standard works. The scriptures were the only texts, and they were to be studied in an eight-year (later four-year) rotation. Soon all Church curricula were tied to the scriptures. To support the curriculum and encourage individual scripture study, Church leaders supervised the publication of new editions of the standard works, each cross-referenced to the others. The Church publication of the King James Version of the Bible, in 1979, contained an important 800-page appendix that included a Bible dictionary, a topical guide to all the scriptures, maps, and extracts from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. In 1981 new editions of the other standard works appeared, including additional study helps.

The "return to basics" theme was echoed also in many other changes in Church policies and programs. In 1980 the Church meeting schedule was consolidated into a single three-hour block on Sundays, replacing the traditional schedule of priesthood meeting and Sunday school in the morning, Sacrament meeting in the late afternoon or evening, and auxiliary meetings during the week (see Meetings, Major Church). The move simplified transportation challenges for many members, but Church leaders emphasized that the central objective was to allow more time for families to study the scriptures or engage in other appropriate Sabbath activities together.

Beginning in 1990 in the United States and Canada and extended to other parts of the world in 1991, ward and stake budget donations were no longer required from members; all operating expenses of local units would be paid from tithes and offerings. The uniform system promoted greater equality, cutting many local operating budgets while increasing others (see Finances of the Church; Financial Contributions). In explaining the new policy, Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Council of the Twelve called it an inspired "course correction," part of an overall effort to get back to basics (Ensign 10 [May 1990]:89–91). The metaphor could well be applied to much of what had happened since 1945.

Church members have generally accepted changes well, and have seen in them an opportunity for further spiritual growth. As a result, in 1990 the Church was moving more rapidly than ever before toward being able to accommodate diverse nationalities, language groups, and cultures. Church leaders continued to emphasize the traditional doctrines, but general conference addresses increasingly tended also to define Sainthood in terms of what Elder M. Russell Ballard characterized in April 1990, as the "small and simple things": love, service, home, family, and worship of the Savior (Ensign 10 [May 1990]:6–8). These are among the universals that constitute the essence of what it means to be a Latter-day Saint.

Much has been written about this period in professional journals. A few broad treatments are mentioned in the introduction to this history section. See also Spencer J. Palmer, The Expanding Church (Salt Lake City, 1978). For additional information, consult the bibliographies accompanying the biographies of Church Presidents who served during this period: George Albert Smith, David O. McKay, Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball, and Ezra Taft Benson.

JAMES B. ALLEN
RICHARD O. COWAN
Bibliography

[This entry discusses the History of the Church in the following three periods:


c. 1878–1898, Late Pioneer Utah Period
c. 1898–1945, Transitions: Early-Twentieth-Century Period
c. 1945–1990, Post World War II International Era Period

In addition, several other articles cover the history of the Church in the light of specific historical disciplines or approaches: see Doctrine: Meaning, Source, and History; Economic History; Intellectual History; Legal and Judicial History; Politics: Political History; Social and Cultural History; and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The.

Bibliographic sources relevant to all of these periods are: James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, 1976; Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton, The Mormon Experience, New York, 1979; Church Education System, History in the Fulness of Times, Salt Lake City, 1989; and Joseph Fielding Smith, Essentials in Church History, Salt Lake City, 1950.]

 

C. 1878-1898, Late Pioneer Utah Period

[This article discusses a period of stress and adaptation following the death of Brigham Young as the Church confronted great pressures to conform to contemporary American mores. After presenting an overview of the period, the article considers organizational changes, economic programs, establishment of new LDS settlements, and missionary work, then focuses on the struggle over Polygamy, culminating in the Manifesto of 1890 announcing the official end of Plural Marriage. In the wake of the Manifesto came home rule for Utah (see Utah Statehood), expanded proselytizing, attempts to shore up religious education (see Academies), and more limited Church economic involvement (see Pioneer Economy).

To understand daily life and what it meant to be a Latter-day Saint during this period, see Pioneer Life and Worship and Social and Cultural History. For additional information on continued Church Colonization into new areas, see entries on pioneer settlements in Mexico and Canada, and in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming. On developments related to plural marriage, see: Legal and Judicial History; Antipolygamy Legislation; Reynolds v. United States; and Manifesto of 1890.]

During the 1878–1898 period of growth, severe problems, and pronounced changes, the Church met many challenges under Church Presidents John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff. The 1879 Supreme Court ruling upholding antipolygamy legislation introduced a decade of ever harsher enforcement of ever harsher laws. Facing governmental persecution and seeking "home rule" through statehood, the Church moved to end the practice of plural marriage and surrender its once firm control of Utah Territory´s politics and economics. In the 1890s Utah Territory and its LDS residents embarked on the road to "Americanization."

Though this period was noted for its prolonged confrontation with the federal government, growth was also a striking characteristic. Church membership doubled (from 115,065 to 229,428), as did the number of stakes (20 to 40) and wards (252 to 516). LDS settlements extended into Mexico and Canada. As proselytizing efforts expanded, the number of missions increased (from 8 to 20). Priesthood quorum work became more orderly and standardized. General Authorities regularly visited quarterly stake conferences and ward conferences. Auxiliary organizations became widely established in stakes and wards, and general-level auxiliary presidencies and boards were appointed. The Church also finished three new temples, bringing the total in Utah to four.

After President Young´s death in August 1877, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles did not immediately organize a new First Presidency. John Taylor presided over the Church as president of the Twelve until October 1880. Under his leadership the Twelve completed the reorganization of wards and stakes that President Young had begun.

They also expanded auxiliary organizations. By 1880 the Twelve selected three of their own (Elders Wilford Woodruff, Joseph F. Smith, and Moses Thatcher) to form a general superintendency of the Young Men´s Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA; see Young Men) and to supervise new central YMMIA boards or committees created first for counties and later for stakes. The Young Ladies´ retrenchment association became the Young Ladies´ Mutual Improvement Association (YLMIA) in 1878, with boards established in the stakes beginning that year and a Churchwide organization beginning in 1880 with Elmina S. taylor as president (see Young Women). The Primary Association, a new organization to benefit children, was started in 1878 in Farmington, Utah. After other wards copied the program, a Churchwide primary organization was created in 1880, headed by Louie B. Felt. Relief Society President Eliza R. Snow continued to supervise all women´s work in the Church, which now included YLMIA and Primary. Elder George Q. Cannon of the First Presidency continued as general superintendent of the Sunday schools throughout this period. The Sunday Schools, Relief Society, and MIA were organized in the British Isles and Scandinavia beginning in the late 1870s and early 1880s.

Legal tangles surrounding the settlement of Brigham Young´s estate became a bothersome problem for the Twelve. After federal legislation severely limited Church holdings, President Young had controlled a complicated mix of personal and Church property. His heirs and the Church finally settled the matter by compromise out of court in 1879.

In 1880, its fiftieth birthday, the Church proclaimed a Year of Jubilee, modeled on an ancient Hebrew custom, to give relief to the poor. It erased from the books an indebtedness of $802,000 to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund—half of the outstanding total. In addition to distributing cattle and sheep to the needy, authorities forgave the worthy poor half their unpaid tithing. The Relief Society also lent nearly 35,000 bushels of wheat from its storage bins to help drought-stricken farmers.

After directing the Church for three years, in October 1880 John Taylor and the Twelve again organized a First Presidency: John Taylor, President of the Church, and George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith, who had previously served in the First Presidency under Brigham Young, as counselors.

Revelations to President Taylor in 1882 and 1883 prompted a reorganization of the seventy. For the first time the seventy-six local quorums were organized on a geographic basis, enrolling all seventies within their respective boundaries. In addition, between 1884 and 1888, twenty-five new quorums were created. This reorganization revitalized the Seventy, and the number of seventies filling full-time missions increased as soon as the change was implemented.

This period also saw a growth in Church-related publications. Two new magazines served the youth: the Contributor (1879–1896) for young men and the Young Woman´s Journal (1889–1929) for young ladies. The Morgenstjernen (1882–1885), a historical publication in Danish, continued in English as The Historical Record (1886–1890). The Sunday School published its first music book (1884), and the Book of Mormon first appeared in a Swedish translation (1878). In 1880 the Church accepted by vote the Pearl of Great Price as scripture, giving the Church the fourth of its standard works. It also published, in 1879, editions of the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, with Elder Orson Pratt´s chapter and verse divisions, cross-references, and notes.

President Taylor also implemented a new economic program. Less rigidly structured than the earlier united orders, it struck a balance between private enterprise and group economic planning. Zion´s Central Board of Trade fostered cooperative economic activity by promoting business, seeking new markets, providing information to farmers and manufacturers, preventing competition harmful to home industry, and sometimes regulating wages and prices. Stake boards of trade coordinated with the central agency. Unfortunately, by 1885 anti-Mormon crusades forced these boards of trade to disband. Pioneer and presiding bishop Edward Hunter, who had served since the 1850s, died in 1883 and was replaced in 1884 by William B. Preston.

During the 1880s the Relief Society further developed programs that had begun in the 1870s: storing grain, maintaining ward Relief Society halls and commission stores, sponsoring nursing and midwifery education programs, overseeing the organizations for children and young women, watching over the spiritual well-being of LDS women, and improving the ongoing care of the poor. New developments included the 1882 opening of the Deseret hospital, Utah´s second hospital and the first operated by the Church. The death of Eliza R. Snow in 1887 marked the end of an era for the Relief Society; in 1888 Zina Diantha H. Young replaced her as president.

Despite severe problems, Church leaders remained committed to providing the blessings of temples to more of the Saints. To supplement the one functioning temple in St. George, President John Taylor dedicated Utah´s second temple, at Logan, on May 17, 1884. Built primarily with donated money, materials, and labor, it cost an estimated $800,000. A third temple, in Manti, Utah, built at a cost close to $1 million, was dedicated in 1888 by Elder Lorenzo Snow, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Work also continued on the larger Salt Lake Temple, begun in 1853, but not completed until 1893.

Colonization continued. Between 1876 and 1879, no fewer than 100 new LDS settlements were established outside Utah and more than 20 within the territory. LDS settlements in Arizona expanded rapidly. Stakes, formed in the vicinity of the Little Colorado River in 1878 and 1879, were absorbed into the newly created St. Johns and Snowflake stakes in 1887. Meanwhile, along the Gila and Salt rivers, the St. Joseph and Maricopa stakes were formed in 1883. New LDS settlements appeared in Nevada; in eastern Utah, where the Emery Stake was created in 1882; and in southeastern Utah and nearby parts of Colorado and New Mexico, where the San Juan Stake was formed in 1883. Many LDS converts from the southern states settled in the San Luis Valley in south-central Colorado, and in 1883 their settlements became the San Luis Stake.

Antipolygamy prosecution caused Church leaders to found colonies in Mexico and Canada, beyond the reach of U.S. laws. After President Taylor´s 1885 visit to Mexico, hundreds of Saints poured into Chihuahua and established villages in a region that is still identified as Mexico´s "Mormon Colonies" (see Mexico, Pioneer Settlements in). These settlements at first were part of the Mexican Mission. Within a decade more than 3,000 Saints had moved in, more settlements were established, and in December 1895 the Ju rez Stake was created to direct Saints in the Mexican colonies.

Under instructions from President Taylor, Cache Stake President Charles Ora Card located a place of refuge in southern Alberta in 1886 for Latter-day Saint colonists (see Canada, Pioneer Settlements in). The next spring, arrivals from Utah founded Cardston, fourteen miles north of the United States border. Settlements sprang up nearby in Aetna (1888) and Mountain View (1893). In June 1895 the Alberta Stake became the first stake organized outside the United States (the Salt Lake Stake excepted, then in Mexican territory).

Missionary work produced impressive successes and brought frustrating problems. Between 1879 and 1889 the Church operated a small mission in Mexico that had about 242 converts. In New Zealand a branch was organized among the Maoris in 1883. In 1884 Jacob Spori opened the Turkish Mission, which included Palestine. Numbers of missionaries bound for Europe increased. The gathering to Utah of European converts continued, despite anti-Mormon publicity that prompted U.S. officials to ask European governments to stop Mormons from emigrating. That request was not granted.

After a Southern States Mission was organized in 1875, conversions occasionally provoked violence. Missionaries were driven from some communities, and in 1879 a Georgia mob shot and killed Elder Joseph Standing. At Cane Creek, Tennessee, in 1884, a mob murdered two missionaries and two residents who had shown an interest in the Church.

Wanting to see their history told fairly, Church leaders provided extensive information to California-based historian Hubert Howe Bancroft. Bancroft´s History of Utah (1889) was one of the first non-LDS scholarly histories to treat the Church in a fair light.

In 1879 the Supreme Court upheld as constitutional the Anti-Bigamy Act of 1862, affirming the illegality of plural marriage (see Reynolds v. United States). As new legislation was passed and prosecutions became more severe, polygamous husbands and fathers had four choices—give up their families, hide from the law, face prosecution, or leave the United States. Despite this crisis, President Taylor, declaring that when the laws of man and God conflict he would obey God, refused to desert his own plural families or to tell the other brethren to abandon theirs. Attacks on polygamy, often led by religious organizations, came from every direction. When national women´s groups urged President Rutherford B. Hayes to prosecute Utah polygamists, 2,000 LDS women signed a resolution affirming that plural marriage was a religious practice protected under the Constitution.

Bitterness between the Saints and the gentiles brewed nationally and within Utah. Public pressure led Congress to pass the Edmunds Act in 1882, which mandated up to five years´ imprisonment and $500 fines for polygamy, and up to six months and $300 fines for unlawful cohabitation (see Antipolygamy Legislation). Persons practicing polygamy or unlawful cohabitation lost their civil rights to serve on juries, hold public office, and vote. The law created a board of five commissioners to handle voter registration and elections. It declared children born of polygamists before January 1, 1883, legitimate, and it gave the president power to grant amnesties at his discretion.

The Utah Commission began its work in 1882 by declaring that anyone who had ever practiced plural marriage, even before the 1862 anti-bigamy law, could not vote. Since the commission required voters to take a "test oath," swearing that they were not in violation of the law, within one year the law disfranchised more than 12,000 Latter-day Saints. In 1885, however, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that this test oath was unconstitutional.

The judicial crusade against polygamists severely disrupted Church society in Utah, Idaho, and Arizona. Polygamous men and their families suffered greatly, as did the Church as an organization. Otherwise law-abiding husbands and fathers—and some wives and children—became fugitives in a Mormon "underground," frequently moving from place to place to escape federal marshals hunting "cohabs." Saints developed secret hiding places in homes, barns, and fields, codes to warn one another, and spotters to watch for the marshals. Federal "deps" (deputy marshals) adopted disguises as peddlers or census takers and hired their own spotters to question children and neighbors and to invade the privacy of homes. Bounties were offered for every cohab captured. Families suffered, particularly wives left to tend farms while their husbands were in hiding. Wives who refused to testify against their husbands were sent to prison. Men, women, and children suffered long periods of deprivation and fear.

In Utah between 1884 and 1893, 939 Saints went to prison for polygamy-related charges. In Idaho and Arizona the Saints suffered from similarly harsh prosecution. When Arizona prisons became crowded, cohabs were sent to a Detroit penitentiary. One Utahan, Edward M. Dalton, was killed by a pursuing deputy, which embittered the Saints against the government. So did a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a man who stopped living with his wife but who provided her food and shelter was guilty of cohabitation.

The crusade disrupted normal Church activities significantly. President Taylor avoided arrest by traveling. In the last public sermon he preached, he criticized what he called a judicial outrage, then went into hiding. Several apostles went into exile, taking special missions to remote areas in the West, Mexico, Canada, and Hawaii. Several others filled European missions and missions to Native Americans. Many stake presidents and bishops likewise tried to avoid arrest.

Between 1884 and 1887 general conferences were held in Provo, Logan, and Coalville, rather than in Salt Lake City, to help attenders avoid arrest. Few General Authorities attended. Elder Franklin D. Richards, an apostle who was immune from arrest because his plural wife had died, presided over some of the conferences. General epistles from President Taylor and President Cannon gave guidance to the conferences.

President Taylor directed the Church by letters. For more than two years President Taylor remained "underground," separated from most of his family and friends. He died in hiding in Kaysville, Utah, on July 25, 1887, after serving as a General Authority nearly forty-nine years. By the time of his death, nearly every settlement in Utah had been raided by federal marshals, hundreds of Saints had become refugees in Mexico or Canada, and nearly all the leaders were in hiding. At his funeral in Salt Lake City, he was honored for being a double martyr whose blood was shed in Carthage Jail with Joseph and Hyrum Smith and who then died in exile because of government persecution.

Once again the Council of the Twelve, led by senior apostle Wilford Woodruff, took the helm of the Church and steered the course, largely from the "underground," until they again established a First Presidency at general conference in April 1889. Elder Woodruff became Church President, and George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith were his counselors. This would be the last time that the Twelve delayed reorganizing the First Presidency upon the death of the President. In December 1892, President Woodruff, indicating that prolonged delay was not pleasing to the Lord, instructed senior apostle Lorenzo Snow to reorganize immediately upon his death.

By 1887 national political leaders saw that the Church was not bending to the law, so Congress framed a tougher measure, the Edmunds-Tucker Act, designed to destroy the Church as a political and economic entity in order to force the Saints to abandon plural marriage. The law dissolved the Church as a legal corporation, required the forfeiture of all property in excess of $50,000, dissolved the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company and claimed its property, and disbanded the Nauvoo Legion (territorial militia). To aid prosecutions, the law required compulsory attendance of witnesses at trials and confirmed the legality of forcing wives to testify against husbands. County probate judges, who helped impanel juries, had to be appointed by the President of the United States. Federally appointed officers took control of schools. Probate courts certified all marriages. The act disinherited all children born of plural marriages one year or more after the act was passed. Woman suffrage was abolished and a new test oath was designed. No one could vote, serve on a jury, or hold public office without signing an oath pledging support of antipolygamy laws.

Federal lawmen zealously tried to arrest and imprison Church leaders. President Woodruff stayed in the underground, near St. George, Utah, directing the Church by letter and private meetings. George Q. Cannon, President Woodruff´s first counselor, was arrested in February 1886, posted bail, and then escaped into hiding until 1888 when, with a more lenient judge on the bench, he gave himself up. He served 175 days in prison and paid a $450 fine. Allowed visitors in prison, he was able to conduct much Church and personal business. He supervised the Sunday Schools and finished writing a biography of Joseph Smith. His presence buoyed up the spirits of his fellow cohabs in the prison. Latter-day Saints regarded these prisoners as martyrs and gave them gala receptions when they were released.

Arrests were a problem, but most damaging to the Church were its inability to acquire and use funds to further its work and the loss of political rights. To protect $3 million worth of real and personal property from confiscation, the Church asked prominent members to assume ownership of certain properties as trustees. Nonprofit associations were created to hold property, including the three Utah temples. Ward and stake associations took over local meetinghouses, tithing houses, and Church livestock. Many stakes established academies with the use of tithing that was returned to them by the Church.

Federal receivers confiscated about $800,000 worth of property not turned over to private parties or associations, then rented back certain properties to the Church, such as the Temple Block in Salt Lake City. Church leaders tested the constitutionality of the confiscations, but in 1890 the Supreme Court upheld the new law by a 5–4 vote. The economic destruction of the Church seemed certain.

Matching this economic crusade was a political assault. With all women, thousands of LDS men, and all convert-immigrants disfranchised, anti-Mormon politicians won control of the Ogden and Salt Lake City governments. In Idaho practically all Church members were disfranchised by a test oath requiring them to state under oath that they did not believe in or belong to a church that believed in plural marriage. When the Supreme Court in 1890 upheld the Idaho test oath, anti-Mormons pushed the Cullom-Struble Bill in Congress that would disfranchise all Latter-day Saints everywhere (see Legal and Judicial History).

Economically crippled and with its members denied political rights, the Church faced a ruinous future unless its practice of plural marriage was stopped. President Woodruff consulted with leaders and prayed earnestly to know what to do. After receiving divine revelation, he issued the manifesto on September 24, 1890, announcing an official end to plural marriage. "The Lord showed me by vision and revelation exactly what would take place if we did not stop this practice," President Woodruff later said. "He has told me exactly what to do, and what the result would be if we did not do it" (Deseret Evening News, Nov. 14, 1891). The Manifesto said that the Church had halted the teaching of plural marriage and was not allowing new plural marriages. President Woodruff said he would submit himself to the laws of the land and urged Church members to do the same. At general conference on October 6, 1890, the Church accepted the Manifesto. It was incorporated into the Doctrine and Covenants in 1908.

Speaking for the First Presidency, George Q. Cannon explained that a revelation from 1841 applied in 1890; it had instructed the Church that when "enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those…men, but to accept of their offerings" (D&C 124:49). Most Saints accepted the new direction, but not easily and not all. Indeed, a limited number of new plural marriages occurred in the next decade before Church leaders made it clear that all who persisted in the practice faced excommunication.

With the issuance of the Manifesto, hostilities ebbed and the Church entered a new era of cooperation. It was generally understood that husbands would not be required to reject their plural wives and their children, and local prosecutors became very lenient in punishing those charged with polygamy. U.S. President Benjamin Harrison, who in 1891 had visited Utah and shaken hands with President Woodruff, granted a limited amnesty to the Saints in 1893, followed by a general amnesty granted by U.S. President Grover Cleveland in 1894. After the Manifesto and the amnesties, General Authorities resumed their normal administrative duties.

Seeking statehood for Utah, Church leaders instructed Utah Saints to join the national political parties and become Democrats or Republicans. A Republican Congress passed an enabling act in 1894 that Democratic President Grover Cleveland signed. Utah wrote a new Constitution that prohibited plural marriage and ensured the separation of church and state. On January 4, 1896, Utah became a state, nearly fifty years after President Brigham Young first sought that status (see Utah Statehood).

In 1896 General Authorities accepted a "political manifesto" stipulating that none of them would run for elected office without prior approval of their presiding Church authorities. When Elder Moses Thatcher, an apostle, refused to sign the document, he was dropped from the Quorum of the Twelve.

During the 1890s the Church missionary force nearly tripled. In the Pacific region, missionary work penetrated into Samoa in 1888 and Tonga in 1891. In 1898 the Australasian Mission was split into the Australian and the New Zealand missions. Some Hawaiian Saints immigrated to Utah and created a settlement at Iosepa in western Utah. Missionary work was resumed in California in 1892 and in the eastern United States in 1893. Proselytizing continued in Europe, though emigration from there declined by 50 percent in the 1890s compared with the 1880s. By the 1890s the Church, with its base in America secured and most good land in the West occupied, discouraged immigration and asked overseas converts to build up stakes in their homelands rather than gather to Zion.

The Edmunds-Tucker Act strengthened public schools, which excluded religious education. In response, the Church began holding after-school religion classes in meetinghouses and established academies or high schools in larger settlements. Between 1888 and 1891 thirty-one LDS academies were opened in Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Canada, and Mexico.

The 1890s saw Church women extending their reach and demonstrating their political rights. Continuing their affiliation with eastern women´s movements, they became charter members of the National Council of Women and found their eastern associates to be important allies in their fight against disfranchisement. Relief Society-sponsored suffrage activities led to the inclusion of guaranteed woman suffrage in the 1895 Utah State Constitution.

After forty years, construction of the Salt Lake Temple was completed and dedicated in April 1893. Following a brief open house on April 5, the first opportunity for nonmembers to tour a temple, the sacred edifice was dedicated on April 6, forty years after the laying of the cornerstone. The dedicatory services were repeated between April 6 and May 18, and included five sessions reserved for children under the age for baptism; about 75,000 Latter-day Saints attended. Thereafter members of the Church entered the temple only to perform ordinances for the living and the dead. The following year President Woodruff announced by revelation that LDS family groups no longer needed to be sealed to prominent priesthood leaders by adoption (see Law of Adoption), but that they should be sealed by lineage as far back in time as possible. As a result, members began pursuing genealogy and performed sealing ordinances for ancestors several generations back. The Church created the genealogical society of Utah to assist researchers.

In 1893 the Salt Lake Tabernacle Choir, while on a major tour, sang at the Chicago World´s Fair, winning second prize in an important contest. The entire First Presidency traveled with the choir, marking the first time a Church President had traveled east since the migration to the West nearly fifty years before. This performance was indicative of a new public image for the Church, though that same year the Church was denied representation in the World´s Parliament of Religions, which also met in Chicago.

There were other significant developments under Wilford Woodruff´s direction: in November 1896, the Church´s monthly Fast Day was changed from the first Thursday to the first Sunday of each month, a practice that continues; in 1897, the custom of rebaptism was ended. In the same year, Wilford Woodruff, himself a pioneer of 1847, presided over a Churchwide commemoration of the first entrance into the Salt Lake Valley fifty years before. Salt Lake City celebrated with parades, programs, and the unveiling of a Brigham Young Monument.

During the 1890s the Church and Utah joined the American mainstream economically as well as politically. Many cooperative ventures became private, and most Church-controlled businesses were sold or started to compete as income-producing enterprises. But integration into the national economy was not painless. The earlier confiscation of properties and decrease in the payment of tithing caused by the antipolygamy crusade hurt the Church severely, as did the national depression of 1893. Leaders were forced to borrow heavily from eastern financiers to pay debts and meet obligations, and by 1898 the Church´s debts exceeded $1,250,000. However, despite debt and a national depression, the Church promoted and invested in such basic industries as beet sugar manufacturing, hydroelectric power, and selected mining and transportation ventures to help expand the economic base of the Great Basin and benefit Latter-day Saint communities (see Economic History).

With the ending of plural marriages, the achievement of statehood for Utah, and entrance into the American mainstream in terms of politics and finances, Latter-day Saints moved firmly into a new era. One measure of the change was Church response to the Spanish-American War in 1898: the First Presidency encouraged LDS young men to support the national effort, thereby demonstrating LDS patriotism and loyalty.

President Wilford Woodruff died on September 2, 1898, in San Francisco, California, at the age of ninety-one. In accordance with his instructions, a new First Presidency was immediately named, with Elder Lorenzo Snow becoming the Church´s fifth President.

 

WILLIAM G. HARTLEY
GENE A. SESSIONS

Bibliography

Alexander, Thomas G. Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-day Saints, 1890–1930. Urbana and Chicago, 1986.

Arrington, Leonard J. Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints 1830–1900. Lincoln, Neb., 1966.

Larson, Gustive O. The "Americanization" of Utah for Statehood. San Marino, Calif., 1971.

Lyman, Edward Leo. Political Deliverance: The Mormon Quest for Utah Statehood. Urbana and Chicago, 1986.

Roberts, B. H. A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Century I, Vol. 6. Provo, Utah, 1965 (reprint).

 

C. 1898-1945, Transitions: Early-Twentieth-Century Period

[At the turn of the century the Church´s finances suffered from the lingering effects of the federal crusade against Polygamy and the public doubted that its recently declared cessation of Plural Marriage had indeed taken effect. After discussing developments in these two areas, this article looks at the Latter-day Saints´ integration into the larger American society, including examining the Church´s position on war and peace. It also reviews the efforts to systematize that accompanied the steady growth throughout this period.

In addition to cross-references found in the text, relevant general articles include Organizational and Administrative History and Economic History. Centennial Observances accompanied the Church´s one-hundredth anniversary in 1930. Lorenzo Snow, Joseph F. Smith, and Heber J. Grant were Presidents of the Church during this period.]

The Church entered the twentieth century beleaguered and isolated. The LDS experience hitherto had involved founding, exodus to the isolated American West, building there a spiritual and temporal kingdom of God, and grappling with an unsympathetic and often hostile larger American community. The year 1898, however, was a watershed. Following the death of President Wilford Woodruff in September, Lorenzo Snow (1898–1901) succeeded to office and began a series of changes aimed at renewal and redefinition. He, along with his successors President Joseph F. Smith (1901–1918) and President Heber J. Grant (1918–1945), reacted to the sweeping changes of the first half of the twentieth century and reached back to preserve old values in a rapidly changing world. The result by the middle of the century was a Church accepted by and integrated into American society, more vigorous and vital than anyone but its most stalwart defenders might have foreseen a half century earlier.

An immediate problem was finances. The antipolygamy crusade (see Antipolygamy Legislation) had severely impaired revenue and assets, first by incarcerating leaders who normally managed donations and second by seizing and mismanaging Church property. The Panic of 1893 and the resulting depression made the situation worse. In an effort to provide employment and stimulate the local economy, leaders had borrowed money to fund public works and business projects. President Snow quickly ended this practice. His administration slashed expenditures, sold nonessential property, and urged followers to increase their financial contributions.

He dramatically announced this new policy in a southern Utah preaching tour. In May 1899, speaking to assembled members in St. George, he promised that faithful compliance to the Church´s longstanding tithing code would bless members and at the same time free the Church from its debts. A year after President Snow´s tithing emphasis, Church income doubled. Leaders also encouraged cash donations instead of in-kind commodities and instituted systematic spending and auditing procedures. Because of these reforms, by 1907 President Smith was able to announce that the Church at last had retired its debt. Annual tithing receipts stood at $1.8 million, in contrast to the Church´s 1898 debt of $1.25 million. Moreover, the Church had property worth more than $10 million. The Church never again resorted to deficit spending, not even during the Great Depression.

President Snow´s reforms did not preclude the holding of investment property or controlling of businesses by Church officers and directors (see Economic History). While some enterprises were divested, such as the Deseret Telegraph, the Utah Light and Railway Company, and the Saltair Resort at the Great Salt Lake, the Church particularly invested in concerns that advanced its social or institutional purposes. It retained the Deseret News, and in the early 1920s leaders established one of the country´s first radio stations, later known as KSL Radio. The Salt Lake theatre, the Pioneer Playhouse, was returned to the Church to provide sanctioned recreation—only to close at the onset of the Depression because of reduced box office revenues and what Church leaders thought were declining theatrical values.

Drawing on the precedent of the Nauvoo house, Salt Lake City´s Hotel Utah was built to draw tourists from hostile non-Mormon hoteliers and enhance the Church´s image. The Beneficial Life Insurance Company provided low-cost insurance. The Utah Sugar Company, transformed into the Utah–Idaho Sugar Company, continued to provide local farmers a market for their most important cash crop, while Zion´s Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI) and Zion´s Savings Bank & Trust attended the public with competitive retailing and banking services. This altruistic investment policy was also pursued on a broader level. Church leaders sat on the board of other corporations important to the region.

These investments and the social concerns they expressed harked back to the pioneer ideals of community concern and uplift. They were not the only remnant of the past. Plural marriage continued to be a troublesome issue for Latter-day Saints and focused national attention on the Church, particularly during the Snow and Smith administrations. Although many members believed that the 1890 Manifesto ended plural marriage, others interpreted the pronouncement as simply shifting the responsibility for practicing it from the Church to the individual. As a result, from 1890 to 1904 some plural marriages continued, though on a greatly reduced level. Moreover, while some husbands stopped living with plural wives, most felt a moral and spiritual obligation to continue caring for their families.

This confusion and ambiguity spilled over visibly into politics. In 1898 Elder B. H. Roberts, a member of the first council of seventy and the husband of three wives, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. The Salt Lake Ministerial Association and similar organizations elsewhere used Roberts´s election to focus on continuing plural marriages, charging the Church with failure to abide by the agreements that had brought Utah statehood. Anti-Roberts petitions containing seven million signatures flooded Congress and the House eventually refused Roberts his seat.

Still more serious was the case of Reed Smoot. The 1903 election of Smoot, a monogamous member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, to the U.S. Senate once more stirred national uproar. The Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections commenced hearings on Smoot in 1904 (see Smoot Hearings), but Congress focused more often on the Church itself. Were church and state truly separate in Utah? Did the Church control the conduct of its members? Did it encourage polygamy and polygamous cohabitation? During the two-year investigation, President Joseph F. Smith and other leaders testified before the committee. Others, such as Matthias F. Cowley and John W. Taylor, suspected of performing plural marriages since the Manifesto, refused. To close the controversy and demonstrate the Church´s willingness to make the question a matter of discipline, President Smith announced a "Second Manifesto" that expressly forbade future plural marriages. He also required the resignations of both Cowley and Taylor from the Council of the Twelve. In 1907 the Senate narrowly voted to allow Smoot to retain his seat.

Plural marriage still failed to recede entirely, even in the face of the now resolute policy of President Smith and later President Grant. Elders Cowley and Taylor, for instance, each received further discipline for additional plural marriage activity, the former being "disfellowshipped," while Taylor, after taking an additional plural wife, was excommunicated. Their conduct was similar to that of a growing number of former Mormons in the twentieth century. Styled fundamentalists, they accepted automatic excommunication rather than yield on plural marriage or discard other nineteenth-century practices. Unlike Latter-day Saints generally, who were strengthened by their belief in current prophetic revelation and therefore approached new times in new ways, the Fundamentalists faced the modern world by looking backward.

Nor did the plural marriage issue go away in the popular press. During the first decade of the twentieth century and even beyond, the Church came under severe public scrutiny by muckrakers and political opponents in Utah. Newspapers, magazines, and cinema in both the United States and Europe focused on sensationalized (and often fictionalized) aspects of polygamy, depicted Church leaders as autocrats, and denounced the Church as un-American and un-Christian (see Anti-Mormon Publications; Stereotyping of Mormons). Old charges of danite atrocities and blood Atonement resurfaced. In Utah the assault was led by two former U.S. Senators, Frank J. Cannon and Thomas Kearns, who used the Salt Lake Tribune to launch bitter attacks on Smoot and the Church and to support the American Party. This short-lived, anti-Mormon political party controlled Salt Lake City government from 1905 to 1911.

The Church attempted to meet the barrage of abuse even though the tide flowed strongly against it. Early efforts included promoting Saltair Resort and Salt Lake City´s Temple Square as visitors centers. With the tabernacle organ and Mormon Tabernacle Choir as attractions, the latter site by 1905 annually drew 200,000 visitors. Attendance climbed steeply thereafter. When possible, leaders placed refutations in the muckraker publications. Moreover, a point-by-point rebuttal was read during the Church 1911 general conference. Perhaps the ablest and most enduring rejoinder came from B. H. Roberts. From 1909 to 1915, he issued a series of articles on Mormon history in the magazine Americana. These were later updated as Roberts´s fair-minded, six-volume comprehensive History of the Church.

Increasingly men and women outside the Church also defended the Latter-day Saints. By 1900 C. C. Goodwin, a former editor of the anti-Mormon Salt Lake Tribune and longstanding critic, frankly labeled Mormons as successful, prosperous, and generally likable. Leading sociologist Richard T. Ely praised LDS group life. Morris R. Werner produced a Brigham Young biography devoid of previous stereotypes and hostility. These path-breaking ventures were followed by others. By the late 1920s President Grant conceded that virtually anything the Church might request could be placed in the media. Indeed Time Magazine gave President Grant cover treatment, while Hollywood studios completed such favorable motion pictures as Union Pacific and Brigham Young.

In part the change in public attitude came from the integration of Church members into the larger American society. Nineteenth-century Latter-day Saints expanded their agricultural settlements throughout the mountain West and even into Canada and Mexico (see Colonization), although their agrarian communities were often tightly knit, provincial enclaves. In contrast, as LDS outmigration continued in the twentieth century, Church members now rubbed shoulders with fellow Americans in urban settings. During the 1920s, for instance, the percentage of Latter-day Saints living in the intermountain West declined while those living on the American West Coast rose. In 1923 the Los Angeles Stake, the first modern stake outside the traditional Mormon cultural area, was created. Between 1919 and 1927 the number of Latter-day Saints in California increased from fewer than 2,000 to more than 20,000. The twentieth-century Church dispersion had begun, first with the migration of large numbers to the West Coast, then also with increasing volume to the East and Midwest.

Direct contact with neighbors lessened cultural, religious, and even emotional barriers, bringing Mormons and non-Mormons an increased appreciation for each other. The growing number of successful Americans who were also Latter-day Saints or Utah-born accelerated the process. Maud Adams was lionized for her widely popular stage portrayal of Peter Pan. Philo T. Farnsworth´s inventions brought about television. Cyrus Dallin and Mahonri Young achieved distinction in the arts.

Latter-day Saints were particularly drawn to public affairs. Edgar B. Brossard became a member and then chairman of the United States Tariff Commission. J. Reuben Clark, Jr., rose in the higher levels of the State Department bureaucracy, finishing his government career as ambassador to Mexico. During the New Deal, Marriner S. Eccles was chairman of the Federal Reserve System. James H. Moyle served as assistant secretary of the treasury from 1917 to 1921, while William Spry was commissioner of public lands from 1921 to 1929. Heber M. Wells was the treasurer of the U.S. Shipping Board. Richard W. Young became a U.S. commissioner of the Philippines and returned from the First World War as Utah´s first regular army general. For members of a once persecuted religious minority, each such personal success betokened the Church´s growing acceptance and prestige. "Outsiders" were becoming "insiders."

Two Church members had disproportionate influence in shaping the Church´s new image. One was Reed Smoot. Aloof, but honest and utterly tireless in his devotion to government duty and Church interests, Smoot remained in the Senate for thirty years. As chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, he wielded major influence over American economic policy. More than any other Latter-day Saint in public service, he personified the Church, assuaging questions about its patriotism and integrity by his personality and presence.

The other was President Heber J. Grant. A businessman by inclination and early profession, President Grant´s homespun ways and business-mindedness charmed an age given to commercial enterprise. Non-Mormons delighted particularly in his speeches. Concluding an address before the San Francisco Commonwealth Club, he was greeted with cries of "Go on! Go on!" When he addressed the Second Dearborn Conference of Agriculture, Industry, and Science, the "Chemurgicians" twice gave him standing ovations. His public relations ministry included more than delivering speeches. He promoted tours of the Tabernacle Choir. He personally guided nationally prominent business and political leaders through Salt Lake City and cultivated their friendship. He visited U.S. Presidents Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House. While President Grant was respected by his own people, non-Mormons also liked and idealized him.

The Church´s sturdy growth during the period reflected its more positive image. Membership more than tripled during the half century; from the years 1900 to 1945 totals grew from 268,331 to 979,454. Prior to 1898 the Church had organized 37 stakes (16 were discontinued); by 1945 another 116 had been added. The Church´s missionary force changed and increased accordingly, growing younger, attracting more unmarried individuals, and after 1898, including an increasing number of young women. At the turn of the century, fewer than 900 missionaries were called annually; by 1940 there were 2,117.

Missionary work continued to be a major preoccupation. The most ambitious new mission was Japan, opened in 1901 by missionaries led by Elder Heber J. Grant, then an apostle. Three years later the Mexican mission was reopened. The 1920s saw more than 11,000 German-speaking converts, though most converts came from English-speaking areas: Great Britain, Canada, and the United States, with the Southern States Mission being the most successful. Unfortunately, there as elsewhere, missionaries were subject to acts of physical violence. At the beginning of the century, annual convert baptisms were 3,786; a half century later the total had reached 7,877.

The Church sought to make its proselytizing more effective. Instead of dispatching missionaries without "purse and scrip," most now were financially supported by their families or local congregations. Missionary training classes were organized at Church academies and colleges. In the mid-1920s a Salt Lake City "Mission Home" for departing sisters and elders was inaugurated, where missionaries typically received lessons on proper diet, hygiene, etiquette, and especially missionary techniques and Church doctrine for two weeks. The era also produced new proselytizing tracts. Charles W. Penrose wrote a series entitled Rays of Living Light, James Talmage completed the Great Apostasy, and Ben E. Rich authored A Friendly Discussion. To preserve a sense of its heritage and to help tell its story, the Church purchased sites of significance to its early history (see Historical Sites): the Carthage Jail in Illinois (1903), where Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum had been killed; a part of the Independence, Missouri, temple site (1904); Joseph Smith´s birthplace in Sharon, Vermont (1905-1907); and the Smith homestead in Manchester, New York (1907). At each of these locations, the Church eventually constructed visitors centers.

Perhaps more than by expansion, the era was characterized by internal consolidation. Lorenzo Snow´s succession to office was symptomatic. For the first time the accession of the senior-tenured apostle to the office of Church president was completed within days instead of the past interregnums of about three years (see Succession in the Presidency). Recognizing the Church´s increasing complexity, President Snow urged General Authorities to devote their full time to their ministry. By 1941 the question no longer was simply leadership efficiency but expansion. "The rapid growth of the Church in recent times, the constantly increasing establishment of new Wards and Stakes…[and] the steadily pressing necessity for increasing our missions in numbers and efficiency," the First Presidency noted in 1941, "have built up an apostolic service of the greatest magnitude" (CR [Apr. 1941]:94–95). In response to these new requirements, five men were appointed assistants to the Twelve. In contrast to the short-term laity that continued to occupy most Church positions, "general" Church officers—about thirty in number—now received compensation and served full-time, lifelong ministries.

Priesthood governance was also altered. The first half of the century saw a steady decentralizing of decision making as stake and local leaders received enlarged authority. The Church reduced the size of stakes to make them more functional and placed new emphasis on "ward teaching" (see Home Teaching). With smaller districts and more boys and men assigned to teaching, the percentage of families receiving monthly visits grew from 20 percent in 1911 to 70 percent a decade later. Finally, in a major departure from pioneer practice, members were urged to take secular disputes to civil and criminal courts rather than to Church tribunals. Once a means of regulating social and economic issues, Church courts now concerned themselves exclusively with Church discipline.

Priesthood quorums were strengthened. Priesthood meetings were now held weekly, with meeting quality improved by centrally generated lesson materials. President Joseph F. Smith in 1906 outlined a program of progressive priesthood advancement for male youth. Contingent on worthiness, young men received ordination to the office of deacon at the age of twelve, teacher at fifteen, and priest three years later. In turn, worthy men typically received the offices of elder and high priest, altering the nineteenth century dominance of the seventy among adult men. In 1910 quorums of high priest and seventy were realigned to coincide with stake boundaries, allowing closer direction by local authorities.

The tendency toward consolidation was also manifest in the Church´s auxiliary organizations. Youth programs, once informal, diverse, and locally administered, increasingly yielded to centrally directed age group programs and unified curricula. The children´s primary Association no longer served older youth, while the Young Men´s Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA) and its young women counterpart (YWMIA) included adolescents as young as twelve (see Young Men; Young Women). At first both the national Boy Scout and Campfire Girl programs were used for younger MIA members (see Scouting), but soon the latter was dropped in favor of an indigenous program. Activity programs received increasingly strong emphasis. With Sunday school and now priesthood quorums providing doctrinal instruction, the MIA increasingly turned to dance, drama, music, and sports. Church headquarters produced a magazine for each auxiliary: The Primary had the Children´s Friend (1902) and the Sunday School the Juvenile Instructor (1900), later known as the Instructor (1929). YMMIA had the Improvement Era (1897), YWMIA the Young Woman´s Journal (1889); in 1929 the two joined forces and the Improvement Era became the publication for both. Articles, curricula, and programs were periodically reviewed and correlated. For instance, a general Church Correlation Committee and the Social Advisory Committee combined to issue a pivotal and far-reaching report in 1921 (see Correlation).

The Relief Society experienced these same trends. Its first three twentieth-century presidents, Zina D. H. Young (1888–1901), Bathsheba W. Smith (1901–1910), and Emmeline B. Wells (1910–1921), all remembered the Nauvoo organization. For them women´s meetings were to be spontaneous, spiritually active, and locally determined. The new century, however, redefined their vision. In 1901 a few lesson outlines were provisionally provided. Twelve years later, with the recommendation of a Church correlation committee, Relief Society leaders adopted a uniform, prescribed curriculum. They also implemented uniform meeting days (Tuesday), record books, and a monthly message for the visiting teaching women who made monthly home visits. In 1915 an official Relief Society Magazine replaced the semi-independent Woman´s Exponent, a voice for Relief Society since 1872. While the First Presidency at first endorsed the continuation of female prayer healing—often undertaken in meetings on an impromptu basis—the practice dwindled and by mid-century was abolished. As a further sign of centralization under priesthood leadership, the Relief Society was housed in the Bishop´s Building and increasingly received its direction from the Presiding Bishopric rather than the First Presidency. Though Relief Society had once played a role in developing and supervising the Primary and YWMIA, their supervision of the children´s and youth auxiliaries ended.

The Relief Society´s later presidents, Clarissa S. Williams (1921–1928), Louise Y. Robison (1928–1939), and Amy Brown Lyman (1940–1945), cooperated in these changes. Speaking for modernism and efficiency, they and their advisory boards set aside such past tasks as home industry, silk culture, and commission retailing in favor of community outreach; "scientific" or professionally trained social work; campaigns against alcohol, tobacco, and delinquency; and, during the Great Depression, public relief. The latter effort was crucial. "To the extent that Relief Society Organizations in Wards are operating in cooperation with Priesthood Quorums and Bishoprics," declared Elder Harold B. Lee, who led the Church´s relief efforts, "just to that extent is there a security [welfare] program in that ward" (Relief Society Magazine 24 [Mar. 1937]:143). These efforts reflected the early-twentieth-century Mormon feminine ideal. Women were to uplift, soften, and assist. While women leaders continued to play an active role in the National and International Council of Women, the rank and file were less active in political, social, and professional roles than in homemaking.

Several doctrinal issues were clarified, another indication of systematization at work. From the early years of the Snow administration, Church authorities discussed how strictly the 1833 health revelation, the Word of Wisdom, should be obeyed. In 1921 the question was answered by making abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee one of the standards for admission to temples. During the century´s first three decades, the health code led most Latter-day Saints to support local, state, and national prohibition.

In 1909 the First Presidency issued a statement designed to clarify the Church position on evolution. While the method of creation was not discussed, the declaration held that "Adam was the first man and that he was created in the image of God." The issue remained troublesome, however. Along with the question of higher biblical criticism, it led to the resignation of three Brigham Young University professors in 1911 and to extended private discussion among Church leaders two decades later.

In 1916 the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve issued a second important doctrinal exposition entitled "The Father and the Son." Apparently occasioned by anti-Mormon pamphleteering charging the Church leaders with conferring divinity on Adam, the statement delineated the respective roles of the first two members of the Godhead. Shortly before his death, Joseph F. Smith received a vision of missionary work and spiritual existence in the afterlife, which was eventually included as Section 138 in the Doctrine and Covenants. In addition to specific matters, general LDS doctrine and history received systematic treatment, often for the first time, by such works as President Smith´s Gospel Doctrine, Elder James E. Talmage´s Articles of Faith and Jesus the Christ, and Elder B. H. Roberts´s three-volume New Witnesses for God.

With its membership still predominantly American, the Church was especially affected by the events occurring in the United States during this period. Almost from the outset, President Grant´s administration was beset with hard times. Farming and mining, two of Utah´s main industries, slumped badly in the 1920s and especially in the 1930s during the Great Depression. President Grant carefully conserved Church finances, trimming expenditures and construction projects. Using his contacts with national business and political leaders, he kept key Utah and Church-owned enterprises afloat. He was also concerned for the individual Saint. After careful preparation, he announced in 1936 the Church Welfare Program (see Welfare Services), which sought self-sufficiency and sustenance for the needy by simultaneously providing both work and needed commodities.

Despite difficult times, the Church maintained its primary functions. Just prior to the economic downturn, it completed an imposing five-story building in Salt Lake City. Temples were completed in Hawaii (1919); Cardston, Alberta, Canada (1923); and Mesa, Arizona (1927). Education also received attention. Between 1875 and 1911, the Church established thirty-four all-purpose academies. However, as the century progressed, financial distress and the rising acceptance of public education brought changes, and many of the academies were closed or transferred to state control (see also Education). The Church, however, did not entirely surrender its educative role. A released-time seminary program for high school students began in 1912 (see Seminaries), and during the 1920s, institutes of religion for college students were established, the first at the University of Idaho.

Twentieth-century wars and warfare demonstrated the distance the Church had traveled from nineteenth-century alienation and isolation. Latter-day Saints supported the Spanish-American War effort and U.S. involvement in the two twentieth-century world wars. In the former the First Presidency issued a statement affirming the loyalty of the Latter-day Saints and telegraphed local leaders to encourage enlistment. Utah became one of the first states to fill its initial quota. Involvement in World War I was even more substantial. At first uncertain of its proper role, the Church eventually helped Utahans oversubscribe the government´s financial quota for the state. By September 1918 Utah had more than 18,000 men under arms, almost half of them volunteers. Participation in the Second World War was more dutiful, perhaps because of the private misgivings of President Grant and his Counselor J. Reuben Clark over New Deal policymaking. Nevertheless, by April 1942, 6 percent of the total Church population served in the American forces or in defense-related industries; others served for Canada, Britain, and Germany.

While each conflict saw some pacifist currents and even opposition, the general tendency was supportive of the need to yield loyalty to constituted government. "The Church is and must be against war," the First Presidency declared in April 1942. Yet when "constitutional law…calls the manhood of the Church into the armed service of any country to which they owe allegiance, their highest civic duty requires that they heed that call" (CR, pp. 88–97; see War and Peace).

While documenting religiosity is difficult, statistics suggest the impact of the Church on the everyday life of its people. Meeting attendance showed sturdy growth throughout the era. In 1920 weekly average attendance at Sacrament meeting was 16 percent; in 1930, 19 percent; in 1940, 23 percent; and 1950, 25 percent. Suggestive of Church family ideals, LDS birthrates exceeded the national average, as did marriage rates. No doubt the Church health code is reflected in the fact that in 1945 the LDS death rate was about half the national average.

A closer view of statistics reveals that in the decades of the early twentieth century the number of children born per LDS family declined, the age at time of marriage increased, and divorce ratios often mirrored national trends—lingering behind but moving in the same direction as national trends, as if assimilation were simply incomplete (see Vital Statistics).

The half-century brought social, cultural, and political integration; growth and consolidation; and programs that redefined and reapplied earlier Church ideals. But the era also produced indications that Church members were not immune to such broad currents as secularism and even materialism. For observers, at mid-century basic questions remained: Could the Church preserve its traditional values and energy? Or would its journey into the modern world cost the movement its identity and mission?

 

RONALD W. WALKER
RICHARD W. SADLER

Bibliography

For general surveys of the period:

Alexander, Thomas G. Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-day Saints, 1890–1930. Urbana, Ill., 1986.

Allen, James B., and Glen M. Leonard. The Story of the Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, 1976.

Arrington, Leonard J., and Davis Bitton. The Mormon Experience. New York, 1979.

Church Education System. Church History in the Fulness of Times. Salt Lake City, 1989.

Cowan, Richard O. The Church in the Twentieth Century. Salt Lake City, 1985.

Roberts, B. H. A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, 1930.

For LDS programs, policies, and teachings during the period:

Alexander, Thomas G. "Between Revivalism and the Social Gospel: The Latter-day Saints Social Advisory Committee, 1916-1922." BYU Studies 23 (Winter 1983):19–39.

Alexander, Thomas G. "The Reconstruction of Mormon Doctrine: From Joseph Smith to Progressive Theology." Sunstone 5 (July–Aug. 1980):24–33.

Alexander, Thomas G. "To Maintain Harmony´: Adjusting to External and Internal Stress, 1890–1930." Dialogue 15 (Winter 1982):44–58.

Hartley, William G. "The Priesthood Reform Movement, 1908–1922." BYU Studies 13 (Winter 1973):137–56.

Hefner, Loretta L. "This Decade Was Different: Relief Society´s Social Services Department, 1919–1929." Dialogue 15 (Autumn 1982):64–73.

 

C. 1945-1990, Post World War II International Era Period

[Since World War II, the Church has enjoyed—and had to cope with—rapid international growth. After summarizing postwar revitalization and the attendant increases in membership, the article focuses on the adaptations that accompanied growth and internationalization. In surveying recent developments, it provides an introduction to the contemporary Church.

For additional information about Church growth during this period, see Vital Statistics and articles about the Church in Africa; Asia, East; Asia, South and Southeast; Australia; British Isles; Canada; Europe; Hawaii; Mexico and Central America; Middle East; New Zealand; Oceania; Scandinavia; South America: Brazil; South America: North; South America: South; and West Indies. For developments in organization and procedure, see Organization: Organizational and Administrative History; Organization: Contemporary. Consult also the biographies of those who served as Church President in this period: George Albert Smith (1945–1951); David O. McKay (1951–1970); Joseph Fielding Smith (1970–1972); Harold B. Lee (1972–1973); Spencer W. Kimball (1973–1985); and Ezra Taft Benson (1985–).]

Throughout his life and ministry, President George Albert Smith´s prevailing message was one of love. It was fitting, therefore, that it was during his administration that goods were sent from America to Europe to help relieve the suffering of the Saints following World War II, especially those in Germany who had been devastated by war. In 1946 Ezra Taft Benson, of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, directed the reopening of the European Mission and the Church´s relief efforts there. He found branches disorganized, meetinghouses destroyed, and many members without homes. Most had lost possessions and everywhere there was pressing need for food and clothing. The Church´s Welfare Services became a significant factor in the recovery of many Saints as well as some nonmembers.

Since the war had postponed everything from missionary work to building construction, it was necessary to reestablish and revitalize Church programs everywhere. The missionary force was rapidly rebuilt and hundreds of meetinghouses were constructed. Half of all the chapels in use in the mid-1950s were erected in the years following World War II, a period when more than half of all Church expenditures went for building projects.

BECOMING AN INTERNATIONAL CHURCH. The close of World War II marked the dawn of a new era in Church history in which a dominant theme was international growth. In 1947 Church membership reached one million, and by 1990 the total was over seven million. Growth was especially strong along America´s West Coast, in Latin America, and, after 1978, in Africa. In 1950 the Church had 180 organized stakes, nearly half of them in Utah; in 1990 there were 1,700 stakes, with less than one-fourth in Utah. In 1950 the Church was organized in fewer than 50 nations or territories, but by 1990 it had expanded to 128. Less than 8 percent of the Church lived outside the United States and Canada in 1950, but forty years later this was approximately 35 percent. During the same period the number of missionaries grew from 6,000 to 40,000 and the number of temples increased from eight, only one of which was outside the United States, to forty-four, with twenty-three outside the United States.

This remarkable growth resulted from renewed efforts to fulfill the revelation given to Joseph Smith "that the kingdom…may become a great mountain and fill the whole earth" (D&C 109:72). Early in his administration President David O. McKay, the first to travel so extensively as Church President, toured missions in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the South Pacific, dedicating two temple sites in Europe and announcing that a temple would be built in New Zealand. In 1955 he declared that the Church must "put forth every effort within reason and practicability to place within reach of Church members in these distant missions every educational and spiritual privilege that the Church has to offer" (CR [Apr. 1955]:25). Building temples, increasing the number of missions, organizing stakes worldwide, persuading the Saints to build up Zion in their homelands rather than emigrate to America, and eventually putting Church leadership into the hands of each country´s native people were all significant steps toward fulfilling that goal. In addition, increasing emphasis was placed on calling local missionaries who, in some areas, later essentially replaced American missionaries.

Growth did not come without its problems, however, not the least of which was sorting out which practices, teachings, and programs really constituted the essence of the gospel and which were reflections of the American culture in which the Church had grown. To open the eyes of members—particularly Americans—to the need for defining the gospel in terms of universal principles, Church leaders spoke out with increasing frequency. In 1971, for example, Elder Bruce R. McConkie reminded some American Saints that in New Testament times even the apostles were so indoctrinated with the idea that the Plan of Salvation was limited to a particular people that they found it difficult to take it to gentile nations, and he applied the lesson to the modern Church. He called upon American Saints to rise above their biases, though there would be "some struggles and some difficulties, some prejudices, and some uncertainties along the way." Other peoples, he noted, "have a different background than we have, which is of no moment to the Lord…. It is no different to have different social customs than it is to have different languages…. And the Lord knows all languages" (Palmer, pp. 143, 147). In 1987 Elder Boyd K. Packer reminded a group of Church leaders that "We can´t move [into various countries] with a 1947 Utah Church! Could it be that we are not prepared to take the gospel because we are not prepared to take (and they are not prepared to receive) all of the things we have wrapped up with it as extra baggage?" (as quoted in Dialogue 21 [Fall 1988]:97). The goal was to ennoble people of diverse cultures and perspectives to more fully find true brotherhood and sisterhood within the common spiritual bounds of the Church.

In 1974 President Spencer W. Kimball challenged members to "lengthen our stride" in carrying the gospel to all the earth, and urged them to pray that barriers might be removed. He appointed David M. Kennedy, former U.S. secretary of the treasury and ambassador-at-large, as the Church´s international representative to work with governments in resolving problems that had hindered the Church´s activities. In 1977 the Church was legally recognized in Poland, and in 1985 a temple was dedicated in the German Democratic Republic. The dramatic political revolutions of 1989–1990 opened other eastern bloc countries and led to the beginnings of LDS missionary work in the Soviet Union.

One of the far-reaching changes in the twentieth century was the revelation received by President Spencer W. Kimball in June 1978 extending priesthood blessings to all worthy male members. The result of long and earnest prayer, the revelation meant that "the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood…without regard for race or color" (see Doctrine and Covenants: Declaration—2). Without delay, worthy blacks were sealed in temples and many received assignments as missionaries and leaders. In Ghana and Nigeria, where blacks had been pleading for the establishment of the Church for years, the Church grew rapidly, but it also expanded in other areas with large black populations. The first black General Authority, Elder Helvécio Martins of Brazil, was sustained at the general conference of the Church in April 1990.

ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES. Numerous administrative changes also reflected the demands of Church growth. In 1967 stakes were organized into regions. Beginning in 1975, several regions were organized into areas, and by 1984 area presidencies, each consisting of three General Authorities, were assigned responsibility for stakes throughout the world.

In 1975 President Kimball announced the organization of the First Quorum of the seventy, members of which were General Authorities of the Church and included the former assistants to the Twelve. In 1989 the Second Quorum of the Seventy was organized; these General Authorities serve for terms of three or five years. In 1978 the practice was begun of placing members of the Seventy on emeritus status for reasons of health or age, and the following year the patriarch to the church also became an emeritus.

General Authorities also took steps to more effectively coordinate Church programs and, beginning in 1961, placed greater emphasis on "priesthood correlation" (see Priesthood; Correlation of the Church). Under the chairmanship of Elder Harold B. Lee, committees at Church headquarters planned, prepared, and reviewed curricula and activities for all organizations or age groups. They defined more carefully the unique roles of each organization and eliminated unnecessary duplication. Leaders focused on the home as the most effective place for teaching and applying gospel principles. Family Home Evening received renewed emphasis, and beginning in 1965 attractive manuals providing lesson helps were issued.

In the early 1970s there was also a consolidation of administrative responsibilities at Church headquarters. Agencies were grouped into several large departments, each under the jurisdiction of one or more General Authorities, with full-time professionals generally managing day-to-day operations. For example, the Welfare, Social Services, and health programs were consolidated into a Welfare Services Department. A tangible symbol of this consolidation was the new twenty-eight-story Church office building in Salt Lake City, bringing most Church administrative units together. In 1970, functions of Aaronic Priesthood and the Young Men´s Mutual Improvement Association were combined (see Young Men). In 1971 the publishing program was consolidated (see Magazines). Magazines in other languages than English were unified in 1967, with standardized content except for local matters (see International Magazines).

Other changes came as rapid international growth increased the travel and administrative load of Church leaders. In the 1970s stake presidents were authorized to "set apart" full-time missionaries (see Setting Apart), ordain bishops and Patriarchs, and dedicate chapels. General Authorities met in conference with individual stakes less frequently but, beginning in 1971, the Church began holding "area conferences," where a delegation of General Authorities met with the Saints gathered from geographic regions. In 1979 the number of stake conferences each year was reduced from four to two, and in the 1980s regional or multiregional conferences replaced area conferences (see Conferences).

CHURCH EDUCATION. Between 1950 and 1990 total enrollment in the Church´s educational programs increased from 38,400 to 442,500 (see Church Educational System). Full-time enrollment at Brigham Young University soared from 5,400 in 1950 to nearly 25,000 by 1975, leading to an enrollment ceiling. Rather than devoting ever larger amounts to higher education, funds increasingly went to meet more basic needs associated with worldwide growth. The major expansion in enrollment came in the area of religious education. Since the early twentieth century, students in predominantly LDS communities had attended "released time" seminary classes adjacent to their secondary schools. Beginning in California in the 1950s, "early morning" seminaries convened in church buildings near public secondary schools. After 1968, in areas where members were even more scattered, young people received "home study" seminary materials. The Church also increased the number of institutes of religion placed adjacent to college and university campuses. By 1990 seminary or institute programs were conducted in seventy-four nations or territories.

The Church also gave special attention to the religious life of college students. In 1956 the first student stake, with twelve wards, was organized on the Brigham Young University campus. This provided Church services that ministered directly to student needs and offered expanded opportunities for leadership. The plan spread to other areas where there were enough students to justify it. Subjective evidence suggested greater spiritual growth; and in such statistically measurable matters as temple marriage and attendance at meetings, student wards led the Church.

In some areas of the Pacific and Latin America, areas of particularly rapid Church growth where public education was not widely available, the Church returned to its earlier practice of establishing schools for religious instruction and to teach educational basics. It established forty elementary and secondary schools in Mexico, and established a junior college on the outskirts of Mexico City. As better public educational facilities developed, the Church closed many schools.

BUILDING PROGRAM. New congregations required new buildings. Even with two or three wards sharing most buildings, the Church found it necessary to complete more than one new meetinghouse every day. Potential costs were enormous, and in many areas the local Saints could not afford to raise their share.

One solution emerged when the Church encountered a labor shortage while erecting school buildings in the South Pacific. Beginning in 1950, it called young men as "building missionaries" to donate their labor for two years. As they completed buildings at a much lower cost, experienced builders taught them construction skills; labor missionaries also learned marketable skills from experienced builders. In the 1950s and 1960s building missionaries erected schools and chapels in the South Pacific, Latin America, Europe, and elsewhere. Later, in an effort to minimize construction and maintenance costs, the building department developed a series of standardized plans that could be adapted to different locations and expanded as needed.

Though general Church funds assisted with meetinghouses, local congregations were expected to contribute not only labor but also a significant portion of the money needed—in addition to paying regular tithes and offerings. With a view toward easing the financial burden on local congregations, the share borne by local Saints gradually diminished until, by 1989, local contribution was no longer required.

By the 1980s, new meetinghouses were generally smaller and sometimes more austere than earlier ones, but this approach allowed the Church to erect hundreds of chapels annually, and especially to provide badly needed meeting places in developing areas. It was also a move towards equality. Money that might have gone to build more expensive buildings in affluent areas instead provided comfortable places for worship throughout the Church.

TECHNOLOGY AND THE MODERN CHURCH. The Church actively seeks to harness the astonishing developments in modern technology to enhance its administrative capabilities and to aid in delivering its spiritual message. Since the Church installed its first computer in the Financial Department in 1962, it has made use of this technology in myriad ways, including in architectural design, a computerized membership record system, automated accounting, processing missionary papers, record keeping at both the general and local level, and in providing resources for historical and genealogical research.

Perhaps no Church activity has felt the impact of modern technology more than genealogical work. As Church membership grew, so did the need for more effective means of gathering and processing names for temple work. The Genealogical Department (now the Family History Department) microfilmed vital records from around the world, making them available in its library in Salt Lake City (see Family History Library) and in hundreds of family history centers throughout the world. In the 1960s, the Genealogical Department also began using the computer to organize names obtained from these records. Since 1978, designated Church members have been devoting four or more hours of weekly service "extracting" information from microfilms for the sake of temple work. The Family History Department also produced personal ancestral file, a widely used computerized genealogical program, and began making key genealogical data available on laser disks.

Technology touched the temple in other ways. Motion picture and video technology allowed temple instructions to be presented more efficiently and more effectively. Because this could be done in one room instead of the former series of four rooms, temples could be built smaller and thus were less expensive to construct, making it possible for more members throughout the world to have a temple nearby. The new technology also made it possible to present the ordinances in several languages simultaneously, if necessary.

The effect of television on Church communications and the Church public image was also dramatic. General conferences of the Church were first broadcast on KSL Television in Salt Lake City in 1949, and by the mid-1960s one or more session of each conference were being televised coast-to-coast in the United States. In the 1980s the Church developed a satellite communication system connected to stake centers throughout the world so that Latter-day Saints could view both conference and other Church-initiated programs.

MISSIONARY WORK. By 1990 over two-thirds of the Church´s annual growth came from convert baptisms. Approximately 30,000 of more than 40,000 full-time missionaries were young men ages nineteen to twenty-one; single women twenty-one years of age or older and couples who had reached retirement age made up most of the remainder.

Considerable attention was given to improving proselytizing techniques and abilities. After much experimentation, a systematic plan based on a series of regularized lesson discussions was officially adopted in the 1950s. After considerable refinement and modification, by 1990 the plan focused less on memorization on the part of the missionaries and more on their ability to rely on the Spirit in the presentation of outlined subject matter.

Missionaries were also given more effective training, especially in languages. In 1963 a Language Training Mission, later known as Missionary Training Center, was established near Brigham Young University, and five years later a similar program opened near the Church College of Hawaii (see Brigham Young University: Hawaii Campus). By 1990 missionaries were receiving intensive language and missionary training in fourteen missionary training centers around the world, though about 75 percent were attending the Provo center.

Innovations in the missionary program included encouraging more nonproselytizing activities and Christian service. In 1971, for instance, "health missionaries" began teaching the basics of nutrition, sanitation, and disease prevention, especially in developing countries. By 1990 all missionaries were urged to spend two to four hours a week in community service, in addition to proselytizing. Also, older missionary couples were often assigned to nonproselytizing Church service, including health and Welfare work, leadership training, staffing visitors centers and doing other public relations activities, assisting patrons in the Church´s various family history centers, temple service missions, and teaching missions.

PUBLIC ISSUES AND SOCIAL CONCERNS. Though the Church attempted to distance itself from direct political involvement, Church leaders nevertheless from time to time declared official positions on moral issues. The First Presidency publicly lamented the growing flood of pornography, the widespread practice of birth control, and abortion, and the general decline in moral standards, including the rising number of divorces and the increased prominence of homosexuality. In 1968 the Church became directly involved in Utah´s political process by openly opposing liquor-by-the-drink. It has also made public pronouncements in favor of Sunday closing laws and state right-to-work laws and against state lotteries (see Gambling).

Amid the intense civil rights conflict that characterized the United States in the 1960s the First Presidency openly called for "full civil equality for all of God´s children," and specifically urged Latter-day Saints to work for civil rights for blacks. In the 1970s, as the controversy in America over women´s rights escalated, the First Presidency took a public stance in favor of full equality before the law for women but, at the same time, publicly opposed the Equal Rights Amendment as anti-family. The First Presidency was also deeply concerned with the morality of the nuclear arms race and officially denounced it in 1980 and again in 1981 (see War and Peace).

In contrast to the early twentieth century when most Latter-day Saints lived in predominately rural settings, since mid-century, most have lived in urban centers. The hectic lifestyle in large cities created added emotional strains, and an array of attractions and temptations tended to pull family members in different directions. Responding to these and other needs, the Church instituted a series of social programs. Since 1919 the Relief Society had operated an adoption agency and provided foster homes for disadvantaged children. This was expanded. The Indian Student Placement Services, begun in the 1950s under the chairmanship of Elder Spencer W. Kimball, extended to thousands of Native American children the advantages of attending good schools while living in wholesome LDS family environments. A "youth guidance" program provided counseling to families in need. These three programs, required by law to employ licensed professional social workers, were combined in 1969 to form the Church´s Social Services Department. This department also sponsored youth day camps, programs for members in prison, and counseling for alcohol or drug abusers.

Church leaders also began to show more concern for the special needs of unmarried men and women. Whether divorced, widowed, or simply never married, their social and spiritual needs were often not being met through traditional Church activity oriented toward couples and families. In the 1970s special programs for young single adults as well as older singles were created under the auspices of the priesthood and Relief Society. Through self-directed councils at the ward, stake, and regional level, they participated in dances and other cultural activities and found broader opportunities to become acquainted with other members their own age who shared common interests. In addition, wards for young singles were organized, first in the Emigration Stake in Salt Lake City, and then in other areas.

RETURN TO BASICS. One of President Ezra Taft Benson´s clarion calls to the Saints in the 1980s was to return to traditional values. In particular, he urged regular study of the Book of Mormon as a means to strengthen faith in Christ and to receive guidance in meeting contemporary challenges. His call, however, was only one manifestation of the efforts of modern Church leaders to respond to the ever-deepening challenges of the world and to lead the Saints in a return to basics.

In 1972 the adult Gospel Doctrine class in Sunday School began a systematic study of the standard works. The scriptures were the only texts, and they were to be studied in an eight-year (later four-year) rotation. Soon all Church curricula were tied to the scriptures. To support the curriculum and encourage individual scripture study, Church leaders supervised the publication of new editions of the standard works, each cross-referenced to the others. The Church publication of the King James Version of the Bible, in 1979, contained an important 800-page appendix that included a Bible dictionary, a topical guide to all the scriptures, maps, and extracts from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. In 1981 new editions of the other standard works appeared, including additional study helps.

The "return to basics" theme was echoed also in many other changes in Church policies and programs. In 1980 the Church meeting schedule was consolidated into a single three-hour block on Sundays, replacing the traditional schedule of priesthood meeting and Sunday school in the morning, Sacrament meeting in the late afternoon or evening, and auxiliary meetings during the week (see Meetings, Major Church). The move simplified transportation challenges for many members, but Church leaders emphasized that the central objective was to allow more time for families to study the scriptures or engage in other appropriate Sabbath activities together.

Beginning in 1990 in the United States and Canada and extended to other parts of the world in 1991, ward and stake budget donations were no longer required from members; all operating expenses of local units would be paid from tithes and offerings. The uniform system promoted greater equality, cutting many local operating budgets while increasing others (see Finances of the Church; Financial Contributions). In explaining the new policy, Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Council of the Twelve called it an inspired "course correction," part of an overall effort to get back to basics (Ensign 10 [May 1990]:89–91). The metaphor could well be applied to much of what had happened since 1945.

Church members have generally accepted changes well, and have seen in them an opportunity for further spiritual growth. As a result, in 1990 the Church was moving more rapidly than ever before toward being able to accommodate diverse nationalities, language groups, and cultures. Church leaders continued to emphasize the traditional doctrines, but general conference addresses increasingly tended also to define Sainthood in terms of what Elder M. Russell Ballard characterized in April 1990, as the "small and simple things": love, service, home, family, and worship of the Savior (Ensign 10 [May 1990]:6–8). These are among the universals that constitute the essence of what it means to be a Latter-day Saint.

Much has been written about this period in professional journals. A few broad treatments are mentioned in the introduction to this history section. See also Spencer J. Palmer, The Expanding Church (Salt Lake City, 1978). For additional information, consult the bibliographies accompanying the biographies of Church Presidents who served during this period: George Albert Smith, David O. McKay, Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball, and Ezra Taft Benson.