The North, the South and the Mormons

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Cactus Jack

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Between the two, the North and the South, which side was more accepting of the Mormons?

I know that history shows the LDS to have been more Union than anything, but still refrained from getting involved, short of assisting with the indians uprisings in Utah/Wyoming stretch of the telegraph and railroad.
 

Zella

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I don't know that either side would have been especially welcoming or that the Mormons would have had much incentive to get involved.

Some of my mother's family were Mormon at this time. They were early Utah pioneers but seems like they wandered back to the Midwest around this time, and I can't find where any of them have Civil War service. The only recorded opinion from one I have is from my great-great-great-great grandpa, who apparently tried to start his own Mormon sect. During the war, he apparently cursed the Union and predicted a Confederate victory. But that was after a Union soldier shot at him! I think he was chased out of the area around the same time.

I'd imagine his thoughts on the subject were pretty individual to him, though.
 
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AndyHall

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Agree with the others here, that neither region was welcoming, or even tolerant, of the LDS.

John G. Walker, who would go on to command Walker's Texas Division in the Trans-Mississippi, had served in the West with the Old Army, and he seems to have had more sympathy with the Navajo than with the Mormons he encountered, who he called "fanatics" and believed that they were actively working surreptitiously to bring about armed conflict between the U.S. soldiers and the Navajo. This was in the same period as the Mountain Meadows Massacre, so Walker's views were perhaps understandable. See the introduction to Richard Lowe's Greyhound Commander: Confederate General John G. Walker's History of the Civil War West of the Mississippi.
 
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mofederal

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The Mormons were definitely anti slavery. So that put them into more into the Northern camp, Young did not like Federal interference in his kingdom. They had good relations with different tribal groups. Many Army officers had taken part in the Utah Expedition, and they did not forget, even though it had a peaceful resolution. Mountain Meadows did not let them forget. Alfred Cummings was a Southerner who became the Federal governor at the end of the Expedition. Perhaps Thomas L. Kane should have been left to deal with the Mormons, as he had excellent relations with them. The whole Utah Territory was a mess inherited from Buchanan and it took a long time for it to be cleared up. Yes, I could see the Mormons stirring up trouble with the Indians. Past troubles in various Northern states followed the Mormons for a long time. People had long memories, and they did not forget ever.
 

archieclement

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The Mormons were definitely anti slavery. So that put them into more into the Northern camp, Young did not like Federal interference in his kingdom. They had good relations with different tribal groups. Many Army officers had taken part in the Utah Expedition, and they did not forget, even though it had a peaceful resolution. Mountain Meadows did not let them forget. Alfred Cummings was a Southerner who became the Federal governor at the end of the Expedition. Perhaps Thomas L. Kane should have been left to deal with the Mormons, as he had excellent relations with them. The whole Utah Territory was a mess inherited from Buchanan and it took a long time for it to be cleared up. Yes, I could see the Mormons stirring up trouble with the Indians. Past troubles in various Northern states followed the Mormons for a long time. People had long memories, and they did not forget ever.
I would say the south since they never really dealt with them. IIRC they were NY, then Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois and were driven out west way before the CW. They committed the Mountain Meadows massacre against Americans in 1857 even out west.
 

Zella

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I would say the south since they never really dealt with them. IIRC they were NY, then Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois and were driven out west way before the CW. They committed the Mountain Meadows massacre against Americans in 1857 even out west.
Most of the Mountain Meadows Massacre victims were from Arkansas. There's still some hard feelings about that in the area even now from what I have observed, so I don't think Confederate Arkansans would have been very welcoming of Mormon allies.
 
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archieclement

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Most of the Mountain Meadows Massacre victims were from Arkansas. There's still some hard feelings about that in the area even now from what I have observed, so I don't think Confederate Arkansans would have been very welcoming of Mormon allies.
However in 1857 Arkansas was American as anywhere else, the Mormons never really had any dealings at all with Confederates.
 

Zella

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However in 1857 Arkansas was American as anywhere else, the Mormons never really had any dealings at all with Confederates.
Right, perhaps I misunderstood your original post? I was under the impression it said that between the North and the South, the South would be more likely to tolerate the Mormons because they had never dealt with them. I was just pointing out that many of those murdered in that massacre were from a Southern state, so a few years down the road during the Civil War, I wouldn't see Arkansans welcoming Mormon assistance of any kind if it had been offered. If I misunderstood what you were saying in your original point, I apologize!
 
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archieclement

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Not seeing what difference it makes the train was largely from Arkansas, the Mormons hadn't ever had any real dealings in Arkansas to provide any motivation for attack, but they had with Americans. The fact that the train was prosperous probably was more motivation then them being from Arkansas. Both in Missouri and Illinois accusations of theft, particularly livestock seemed to follow them.
 

Zella

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Not seeing what difference it makes the train was largely from Arkansas, the Mormons hadn't ever had any real dealings in Arkansas to provide any motivation for attack, but they had with Americans. The fact that the train was prosperous probably was more motivation then them being from Arkansas. Both in Missouri and Illinois accusations of theft, particularly livestock seemed to follow them.
I understand that and agree with you 100%--I'm not actually talking about the motivation for the attack, though. I'm talking about the aftereffects of hard feelings that it led to since the OP was asking about which side would favor Mormons or that Mormons would favor.
 

MattL

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They certainly don't fit well with either side of the conflict, though if you have to force them without a doubt the North:

1) They were anti-slavery, this alone with the slave vs anti-slavery territorial dispute alone is probably enough
2) Mormons were mostly a combination of two groups, the first being the older school Mormons who were from New England, especially around New York (picking up some people along the way of them having issues with the local, both native and White, and moving further west). So their closest cultural and blood ties were with the North. My wife was raised Mormon born in Utah from many generations of North, her and other Utah Mormons still form a major DNA match to New England.
3) The other group that made them up were recent immigrants into the US (mostly from Denmark, England, Scotland, etc) coming through the North. Certainly the North being the port of harbor for most and the immigration political aspects would greatly align them. Most of my wife's ancestry were European immigrants in the mid to late 1800s, some coming over during the Civil War and traveling straight west to Utah... the rest were older school Mormons from the North (one was pretty close to Joseph Smith, he managed his farm and his daughter was one of Joseph Smith's plural wives).

Those are some pretty key and strong ties to the North, most of which work equally as motivations against aligning with the South as well.

The only things I could think of that would tie them to the South would be a sympathy for being separate from the US Federal government since they were having major conflicts over polygamy as well as potentially keeping freedom for how they wanted to deal with local natives they were displacing (the US wasn't pro-Native in a general sense, but they still had a general policy and way of doing things and the Mormons never really wanted to follow any of that, waging their own wars with the Natives). Still even if they were not exactly pro US Federal government most of their political and blood ties would place them against the South in a general sense.
 
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archieclement

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I understand that and agree with you 100%--I'm not actually talking about the motivation for the attack, though. I'm talking about the aftereffects of hard feelings that it led to since the OP was asking about which side would favor Mormons.
Still think the default answer would be the south then.... It's a matter of record their failed dealings and distrust of the north/United States, since they had little to no dealings with the south/Confederacy, it's just conjecture. There's no reason for the Mormons to have had hard feelings to the south, they hadn't ever been driven from there.

Just seems common sense if have to choose between known failures, and a unknown, the unknown would be choice that least leaves a prospect of a different outcome.
 

Zella

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Still think the default answer would be the south then.... It's a matter of record their failed dealings and distrust of the north/United States, since they had little to no dealings with the south/Confederacy, it's just conjecture. There's no reason for the Mormons to have had hard feelings to the south, they hadn't ever been driven from there.

Just seems common sense if have to choose between known failures, and a unknown, the unknown would be choice that least leaves a prospect of a different outcome.
Yes, I can certainly see that.

I do suspect that their previous experience with the Mormon Wars made them more than happy to stay out of the Civil War either way. Out of sight, out of mind.
 

WJC

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I do suspect that their previous experience with the Mormon Wars made them more than happy to stay out of the Civil War either way. Out of sight, out of mind.
I agree. I can see no reason for them to become involved. If they did, my guess is that they would have aligned with the U. S.
 
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MattL

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Still think the default answer would be the south then.... It's a matter of record their failed dealings and distrust of the north/United States, since they had little to no dealings with the south/Confederacy, it's just conjecture. There's no reason for the Mormons to have had hard feelings to the south, they hadn't ever been driven from there.

Just seems common sense if have to choose between known failures, and a unknown, the unknown would be choice that least leaves a prospect of a different outcome.
I'm not sure that makes sense. The Confederacy was not the unknown, the US they had issues with included the South that would become the Confederacy. The major division between the Mormons and other Christian sects was their declaration (at the time) to be separate from the rest of Christianity and the only correct one (at a level not seen by most other branches) and polygamy, both challenged basically on religious grounds. I know of no reason to think that there would be any less religious friction with the South than the North. On top of that add the South/Confederacy likely pursuing slave territories (which would bring their territorial status into friction being anti-slavery) and their bloodline and relation ties to the North and immigrant heavy from Northern ports (and aligned far more with Northern immigrant culture and policy). Then of course the Arkansas people that were massacred etc. I've seen nothing to suggest that Southerners viewed Mormons any different at the time than Northerners and/or the Mormons felt any different about Southerners.

Remember that anything done by the US before the Confederacy was owned by the South as well, including at times by their regions specific influence. The South & Confederacy didn't shed the US history and issues, they inherited them because they were a critical part of them.
 

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https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/civil-war-saints/what-means-carnage-civil-war-mormon-thought

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To counter national distrust, Brigham made it known that “he did not wish Utah mixed up with the secession movement.”[31] When someone asked if the Saints would secede if an undesirable man was appointed governor of the territory, Brigham responded, “No, we will keep our records Clean. . . . It is better for us to Submit to those things which are unplesant than for us to do wrong.” He then promised, “For all the oppressions [the government] put upon us God will bring them into Judgment.”[32] In answer to the continued questions of Mormon loyalty, Brigham noted that Utah was “preparing to appropriately celebrate our Nation’s birthday” in 1861, while “commotion and war [were] rife in our land.” Noting the irony of the circumstances, he commented that “when the nation that sought our destruction is disunited, we celebrate the day it asserted its independence against oppression.” For Brigham, such actions proved the Saints’ “constant loyalty to our Government correctly administered.”[33] These displays of patriotism were important to Brigham Young, who was trying to convince government officials that “Utah [had] not seceded but [was] firm for the constitution and laws” of the country.[34]

Although Latter-day Saint leaders were anxious to emphasize their loyalty to the United States, they had not forgotten the Utah War and frequently referred to it in speaking about the Civil War. For some Saints, it was a kind of poetic justice to see the army that had been sent to Utah divided and fighting each other. Brigham Young found it particularly fitting that the secession crisis happened at the end of “the reign of king James [Buchanan] the defunct.”[35] Sharing similar feelings, some Saints prayed that Confederate general Albert Sidney Johnston, commander of the Utah Expedition, would “be hung as a traitor” or find himself involved in a battle where he would “be right well whipped.”[36] Johnston died during the bloody fighting at the battle of Shiloh on April 6, 1862. In spite of the many hurt feelings that Johnston’s name occasioned in Utah, his death was reported to the Saints in a matter-of-fact manner.[37]


...

For Brigham Young, the cause of this sectional strife was clear: slavery. Since America’s founding, no single issue had been more politically divisive than slavery. To appease the slaveholding colonies, the Continental Congress had eliminated several lines about slavery from the Declaration of Independence.[43] Then, during the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the debate over slavery became so strident that the founders finally agreed to leave it alone with hopes that the issue would eventually resolve itself “without intervention by the central government.”[44] Such hopes, however, proved to be unrealistically optimistic as slavery and sectional strife increasingly plagued the country in the decades following the 1780s, eventually erupting into the Southern secession and Civil War.

Since 1832, the Saints had suspected that a conflict would eventually arise in the States “through the slave question” (see D&C 87:1–4; 130:12–13). Mormons learned just how divisive the politics of slavery could be during their experience in Jackson County in the early 1830s and witnessed the contentious debate over the topic during 1850 with keen interest.[45]Between 1830 and 1860, the topic of slavery affected nearly every American, including Mormons. Although Brigham emphatically denied any connections to the abolitionist movement, he opposed the institution of slavery.[46] When some questioned whether Utah would “lay a foundation for Negro slavery” in the early 1850s, Brigham responded, “No[,] God forbid. And I forbid. I say let us be free.”[47] He then proclaimed his belief that “those who mistreat slaves will be ****ed.”[48] But Brigham’s opposition to slavery went beyond the well-founded concern that slaves were often mistreated. With his New England eyes, he saw the South’s “peculiar institution” as a blight on America and “the ruin of the South.” Brigham was convinced that “slavery ruins any soil,” including the South with its “beautiful climate and rich soil.”[49] His views reflected the views of most people with a New England upbringing who had challenged the institution of slavery. Hence, when he ascribed political reasons to the war, Brigham was quick to note that the war had begun “to give freedom to millions that are bound.”[50] Given the significant historiographical debates since 1865 about the cause of the Civil War, it is significant that, at least for Brigham Young, the political origins of the war had everything to do with the question of slavery and its detrimental effects on the country.

Brigham noted a number of additional factors linked to the issue of slavery that led to the war. He felt that the war was at least partially due to the work of radical politicians who had been allowed to take center stage on the country’s political scene, and he bemoaned the contributions of both the secessionists and abolitionists who had “set the whole national fabric on fire.”[51] Brigham believed that the war might have been shortened if the government had “cast out the Seceders” when the secession crisis had begun.[52] Although many Mormons sympathized with the South, Brigham was emphatic that “South Carolina [had] committed treason” when it seceded, and he regretted that Buchanan had not “hung up the first man who rebelled” in the state.[53] When some suggested that peaceful secession was an option, Brigham scoffed at the idea and argued that eventually “the fierce spirit urging to civil war” would overwhelm the nation, resulting in “rapine, flame, and bloodshed.”[54]

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The North was a lesser of two evils basically. It's not surprising that the Mormon leadership were so anti-slavery since they were and Mormonism started in the North.
 
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