The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930

Book Reviews and Notices

Utah and the Nation. By Leland Hargrave Creer. Publications
of the University of Washington in Social Sciences, volume 7
(Seattle: The University Press. 1929. Pp. X, 276. Paper
cover.)
Due to the nature of her settlement and to the peculiar institu-
tions of her people, Utah possesses an eventful history. Her rela-
tions with the Federal government during the period of 1846-1896
form a most interesting chapter in the history of the United States.
A great deal has been written on this subject, but, as Dr. Creer
points out, much of the literature on the history of Utah is biased
and untrustworthy. The aim of most writers is to make out a
case either for or against the Mormons. In the present volume we
have an honest effort, by a well-trained historian, to study the sub-
ject without preconceived notions and to present conclusions war-
ranted by the facts as seen by him.
This volume is a study of the Federal relations of Utah, 1846-
1861, a period of stress and storm in the history of that territory.
It contains twelve chapters dealing with the birth of Mormonism,
the Mormon migration and settlement of Utah, the struggle for
government the "Utah War" of 1857, the Mountain Meadows
Massacre, the Indian question, and the overland mail.
In his discussion of the rise of Mormonism Dr. Creer states that
his aim is not to prove the truth or falsity of Mormon beliefs, but
to present a few of them "as the Mormons themselves interpret
them." The author believes that the main cause for the persecu-
tion of the Mormons was religious prejudice-"the antagonism, dis-
trust and fear aroused by the Saint's religious claims and preten-
sions." The reviewer agrees with this conclusion. Majority
groups are always suspicious of newly-arrived minority groups in
their midst who practice different religions and follow different
customs. Toleration is a virtue rarely found even among frontier
communities. But there were also other causes, namely: political
fear of the increasing Mormon vote and the antipathy of the South-
erners in Missouri to the New England Mormons inculcated with
abolition sentiment. Dr. Creer believes that the assassination of
Joseph Smith gave to the Mormon faith and a great deal of "sta-
bility and vitality."
The author devotes much space to the so-called "Utah War" of
1857. The whole episode was a great blunder, caused by a mis-

245

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101090/. Accessed January 30, 2015.