Latter-day Saints

The first members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (historically known as Mormons or Latter-day Saints) immigrated to what is now Utah in 1847. The initial wave of Mormon immigrants (about 70,000 people) took place between 1847 and 1880.

While members of the LDS church began to move to Utah in the 1840s and 1850s, migration to the region continues into the twenty-first century. Their ideas, religious beliefs, and cultural traditions and practices influenced the social, economic, and political make-up of Utah. 

Temple Square in Salt Lake City before the completion of the temple

Push and Pull Factors

Several factors contributed to Mormon migration to Utah. Since Joseph Smith organized the church in 1830, members of the faith faced persecution from their neighbors. For example, Mormons were pushed from Missouri and Illinois after tensions resulted in violent attacks. In 1847, Utah was a part of Mexico, which was one factor that pulled members of the LDS faith to its lands. They wanted to live outside the United States, hoping that they could practice their religion free from persecution and regulation. Utah territory became part of the United States in 1848 due to the Mexican American War. Mormons were American citizens again. 


Members of the LDS church planted crops, lived on farms, and worked in Utah’s many industries. Members constructed homes, roads, railroad depots, and religious buildings. Others earned money as carpenters, tinsmiths, cobblers, or worked in cloth production. In Fifteenth Ward Relief Society, a women’s organization of the LDS church opened a store that offered food and other goods for purchase. Mormons also worked for or owned railroad and mining companies. They opened restaurants and hotels and published articles in local newspapers.

Building Community

The Relief Society Hall was located at 340 West 100 South in Salt Lake City

Mormons supported each other in many ways. They shopped from Mormon-owned businesses and organized community events, including a celebration that commemorated the arrival of the first members to the Salt Lake Valley in July 1847.

Church membership was an important aspect of Mormon community life.  Members worshiped together on Sunday and during conferences.  Women were part of the Relief Society, and young women participated in the Ladies’ Cooperative Retrenchment Association, later known as the Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Program. Members read church-sponsored publications, including the Relief Society Magazine and the Deseret News. Members also worshiped in temples, attended leadership meetings, and generally counseled one another. Their faith shaped their practices, relationships, and how they lived and thought of others.


Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continue to live, work, and worship in Utah. Since the 1800s, members have continued to immigrate to Utah.  During the spring and fall, Latter-day Saints from around the world travel to Utah to attend the church’s biannual General Conference. Latter-day Saint temples and church buildings dot the Utah landscape. There is no doubt that the arrival of the first members of the LDS church in 1847 shaped Utah’s religious, political, economic, and social culture from that point forward.

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