Prelude to the Kingdom: Mormon Desert Conquest, a Chapter in American Cooperative Experience

Prelude to the Kingdom: Mormon Desert Conquest, a Chapter in American Cooperative Experience

Prelude to the Kingdom: Mormon Desert Conquest, a Chapter in American Cooperative Experience

Prelude to the Kingdom: Mormon Desert Conquest, a Chapter in American Cooperative Experience

Excerpt

In days when America's spiritual fire burned more brightly, men dared to believe that God had work for them to do. None became more obsessed with a sense of divine commission than did the Mormons in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Like other contemporary groups, these modern "Saints" undertook to lay the foundations for "the Kingdom of God" as a prelude to Christ's millennial reign. The spiritual kingdom was to have an earthly counterpart. The principles of Christian brotherhood were to find expression through temporal engagements.

Such a Kingdom required concentration of membership into one place, and "the Gathering," as it was called, became an important part of the "latter day" program. The Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company became the machinery of a great cooperative immigration movement. Through its direct and indirect assistance a hundred thousand people were rescued from economic slavery to be planted in the furrows of opportunity in the valleys of the Great Basin.

The enterprise succeeded out of all proportion to the promise of circumstance. It was a victory won through unity of effort. Today in a world which has become cooperative conscious in its quest for social and economic security, the Mormon experiment affords a significant background. It should be called upon to reveal the elements of its success formula. At least three of these were: (1) A strong spiritual incentive, (2) a group consciousness which merged individual and community interest, and (3) a will and aptitude for working together for mutual benefit. While the gathering is not regarded as a finished movement, its narration in these pages closes with the year 1887, when the Emigrating Fund Company was officially dissolved. The concluding . . .

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