Date of Award:
Master of Arts (MA)
S. George Ellsworth
The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints began missionary activities in Utah in 1863. Missionaries were active throughout the territory. Over three thousand members of the Utah Mormon Church were brought into the ranks of the Reorganization during the nineteenth century.
Dissatisfied Mormons found the message of the Reorganization attractive. The "new church" denied polygamy and was led by Joseph Smith III, the oldest son of the mormon Prophet Joseph Smith. Its anti-Brigham Young attitude encouraged many dissatisfied Utah Mormons to join the Reorganization. Outstanding Josephite missionaries, often ex-Utah Mormons, were very successful in spreading their new found faith among their friends and relatives. Very few of the converts remained in Utah; each spring from 1863-1875 a migration of Josephites left the Great Basin.
Small temporary branches of the Reorganized Church were established in most of the larger communities in Utah. Many of these fell apart as migration deplete numbers, but the branches at Ogden, Provo, Union Fort, Salt Lake City in Utah, and Malad, Idaho, survived into the twentieth century.
The Reorganized missionaries and converts in Utah made a significant impact upon federal government anti-Mormon legislation of the late nineteenth century. The Josephites also acted as a safety valve for dissatisfied Latter-day Saints. No other religious group was so successful in proselyting among Mormons in Utah as the Reorganized Church during the nineteenth century.
Shipley, Richard Lyle, "Voices of Dissent: The History of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Utah, 1863-1900" (1969). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 7005.
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