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The United Order Movement in Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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Under this regimen the order prospered, both materially and spiritually. Assets of the eighty families tripled from $21,551 to $69,562 in the first four years of operation and reached nearly $80,000 by 1883. The leaders made adjustments as time went on. In 1877 they replaced the earlier loose dependence upon willingness to contribute with an accounting system that placed uniform values on labor and commodities (the wages varying by age and sex, but not type of work). A flood in 1880 destroyed the dining facilities, ending communal meals. In 1883 Erastus Snow, a regional church official, recommended moving to an unequal wage and partial stewardship system, the latter giving each family a plot of ground to till for its own use. Evolution away from the original communal purity continued as specific enterprises were leased to their operators for a fee retained by the order.

External pressures took their toll as well. The largely polygamous leadership of the community was decimated after the U. S. Congress passed the Edmunds Act of 1882. This act stimulated a vigorous campaign to enforce federal anti-polygamy statues, leading to the imprisonment or forced exile of many local leaders. In 1885 central church leaders, eager to reduce the range of federal complaints against Mormon peculiarities (the government was hostile to Mormon economic as well as marital practices), counseled the members to disband the Order, which they agreed reluctantly to do. They retained community ownership of the tannery, woolen mill, and sheep ranch until 1889 and finally let the corporation lapse in 1904.


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