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History of Salt Lake City, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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The settlement of Salt Lake City was not typical in many ways of the westward movement of settlers and pioneers in the United States. The people who founded the city in 1847 were Mormons, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They did not come as individuals acting on their own, but as a well-organized, centrally directed group; and they came for a religious purpose, to establish a religious utopia in the wilderness, which they called the Kingdom of God on Earth. Like the Puritan founders of Massachusetts more than 200 years earlier, Mormons considered themselves on a mission from God, having been sent into the wilderness to establish a model society.

In many ways the history of Salt Lake is the story of that effort: its initial success; its movement away from the original ideas in the face of intense political, economic, and social pressure from the outside; and its increasing, but never complete, assimilation into the mainstream of American life. Its history has been the story of many peoples and of unsteady progress, and it was formed from a process of conflict--a conflict of ideas and values, of economic and political systems, of peoples with different cultural backgrounds, needs, and ambitions.

For about a generation after its founding, Salt Lake City was very much the kind of society its founders intended. A grand experiment in centralized planning and cooperative imagination, it was a relatively self-sufficient, egalitarian, and homogeneous society based mainly on irrigation agriculture and village industry. Religion infused almost every impulse, making it difficult to draw a line between religious and secular activities. A counterculture that differed in fundamental ways from its contemporary American society, it was close-knit, cohesive, and unified, a closely-woven fabric with only a few broken threads. The hand of the Mormon Church was ever present and ever active.


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