St. Louis Luminary: The Latter-day Saint Experience at the Mississippi River, 1854–1855

The St. Louis Luminary, a Latter-day Saint newspaper printed in St. Louis, was printed for only one year but chronicles the status of the LDS Church on the American frontier in 1854 and 1855. The 2010 book The Best of the St. Louis Luminary gives an in-depth history of the newspaper and its contents and includes a DVD of scans of the entire volume of the newspaper in a searchable format. This article is excerpted from that book. The newspaper played a significant role in the national discussion of polygamy, which had not been publicly announced until 1852. The paper printed an unrelenting defense of Mormon polygamy, confronting exaggerated reports and sensational claims that stemmed from the halls of Congress and from eastern newspapers. Editor Erastus Snow did not hesitate to confront politicians, newspaper columnists, or even the president of the United States on that issue. This article highlights the Luminary’s content, which included, besides articles on polygamy, news from the Salt Lake Valley, minutes of conferences in St. Louis, local Church news and advice on immigration to Utah, missionary news, marriage and death notices, poetry, wise sayings, humor, newspaper exchanges and telegraph dispatches, and advertisements.

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