As pioneers and Zioneers left Nauvoo due to crushing conflict, Restoration groups in newly-created outposts struggled to build communities of worship. Did they create economic stability and refinement, or did they experience strife with competing neighbors? Perhaps the outpost provided a visionary oasis with new doctrine and ritual. How did saints returning to Nauvoo try to negotiate a peaceful existence?
St. George, Utah, located in the Southwest’s striking Red Rocks, became a distinct outpost. Here saints with Southern farming backgrounds were called to plant cotton as the Civil War began to interfere with cotton’s availability. Settling in the ancient Puebloan areas, where 3,000-year-old petroglyphs are still visible, the pioneers encountered nomadic and established Native American groups. Brigham Young directed construction of a temple and tabernacle, sacred and educational spaces, offering necessary work projects. Women assumed unique roles in the outposts. In this oasis, a revelation on tithing was announced. Cultures converged in mining operations as a rare silver vein in sandstone was discovered. Erratic flooding and wildlife encounters, including desert reptiles, surprised newcomers to the outposts.
The Mountain Meadow Massacre, a violent clash with a passing Arkansas wagon train, transpired 30 miles north of St. George. Juanita Brooks referred to this area as the “Ragged Edge.” Travelers accessed the southern leg of the California Trail, and Mormon Trail, to San Bernardino, a major outpost for Restoration groups. Australian and Pacific saints used the trails, traveling northward seeking a hopeful outpost.
As Restoration groups have enjoyed mobility on a global scale, new outposts have influenced our histories. How have these outposts reflected on Joseph’s history of his 1820 grove experience? How has your experience living, researching, and working in the “outposts” contributed to your perspective of Restoration history?
Come join us in the beautiful “Color Country” of St. George, Utah, next to majestic Zion National Park, for our unforgettable JWHA 2020 conference. Let the discussions begin!
Please submit your 100-200 word proposals by April 6, 2020, to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing your new research in panel discussions or individual papers.