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Mormonism: Guide to Materials and Resources: Modernization Era (1890-1945)

The Special Collections & Archives department of the Merrill-Cazier Library contains a multitude of useful resources relating to Mormonism. This guide will provide an introduction to some of the materials, as well as additional resources.

Modernization Era (1890-1945)

In 1890, LDS church president Wilford Woodruff announced the cessation of plural marriages in the United States, though the practice continued into the twentieth century. Plural marriages continued in the LDS Church in secret until at least 1904. Other individuals and groups who refused to give up on the practice of plural marriage constituted the beginnings of what came to be known as “Mormon fundamentalism." Other events of note during this time period include:

  • Utah gaining statehood in 1896 
  • A decrease in Mormon immigration to the United States
  • The publication of the first Latter-day Saint periodicals for children
  • The controversial election of LDS Apostle Reed Smoot to the U.S. Senate in 1902
  • The completion of the Salt Lake Temple in 1893
  • The founding of the Genealogical Society of Utah

Special Collections & Archives holds a number of resources from this time period, with a strong focus in Mormon-related government records (many of which document the Reed Smoot controversy), a variety of anti-Mormon publications, and texts from non-LDS groups.

Journals & Autobiographies

Mormon Life & Doctrine

Anti-Mormon Publications

Individuals, organizations, or publications that are directly critical of the LDS church and its doctrines are often referred to as being anti-Mormon, although many of these individuals or groups would not identify with that term. Regardless, these resources can provide insight into contemporary attitudes toward Mormonism.

Non-LDS Group Publications

Latter-day Saints & Government

Utah became a state in 1896. Following this, Utah - and its large Mormon population - understandably began to feature more in the concerns of the U.S. government. Most of the records listed here are case or senate records detailing legal debates over polygamy, election results, and other issues that arose around the involvement of Mormons in politics.


Non-English Resources

Local Leadership & Congregations

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