Building Faith Through Church History

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Season 2 Episode 14 The State of Deseret Part 1


The story of the beginnings of the State of Deseret.


The Latter-day Saints were anti-politician and anti-government but they were not anti-American. They reverenced the Constitution and its principles. The first civil government in Utah was ecclesiastical. In March 1849 the Saints formed the provisional State of Deseret. Almon Babbitt and John M. Bernhisel represented the interests of Deseret in Washington. The Saints wanted statehood, not territory status, as being a territory meant that the Saints would not be self-governed. They would be governed by political appointees of Washington. President Zachary Taylor did not support Deseret statehood. Due in large measure to the vitriol of William Smith, brother of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Deseret statehood was denied. Instead, as part of the Missouri Compromise of 1850, Utah was made a territory on September 9, 1850. President Millard Fillmore appointed a number of Latter-day Saints to territorial positions including Brigham Young as governor.


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