After the death of their leader, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young became the leader of a group that referred to themselves as The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints. At the time, they lived in Nauvoo, Illinois. However, due to conflict between the people of the area and the church members, they began a quest to find a location that would be more accepting of them.
Brigham Young led the first group of Latter-Day Saints (also referred to as Mormon’s) to Salt Lake Valley on July 24 of 1847. For the next 22 years over 70,000 more church members would cross the plains and settle in the Utah Valley.
The first several years were very rough and they struggled to survive. It had been determined that the arid desert was an ideal place to live without harassment for their beliefs. Soon, they had developed quite the community and they were converting the locals to their belief system.
With new converts locally as well as new members coming from the East, they soon had a thriving municipality. Church leaders began to assign groups to become missionaries and establish other Mormon settlements in other areas.
Soon, the Wasatch front (which encompassed Salt Lake City as well as Bountiful and the Weber Valley as well as Provo and the Utah Valley) was the hub of activity for the LDS.
For the remainder of the 19th century, the Mormon pioneers would establish hundreds of settlements in the West including Idaho, Nevada, California, Wyoming, and Arizona as well as in Canada and Mexico.
Brigham Young had a vision of the territory that he wanted and he, as well as other pioneers, began to call the area Deseret, according to the Book of Mormon, this word meant Honeybee. Thus, Utah adopted the beehive on its flag and as the state’s motto.
Originally a Mexican territory in the year 1847, Utah was now a part of the United States and soon, the entire Southwest region was taken control of by the United States.
Although the Utah Territory was much smaller than the proposed area for Deseret, it was still sizeable and the LDS found it was perfect for their needs. Church members were considered to be Un-American and rebellious when others found out that they believed in polygamy.
This created a lot of conflict with their neighboring towns The belief was considered to be immoral and soon, war broke out.