36. "The Desert Shall Rejoice, and Blossom as the Rose" | BYU Studies

36. "The Desert Shall Rejoice, and Blossom as the Rose"

The Mormons in early Utah were determined to stand their ground. Brigham Young set out to build a temple that they could use into the Millennium. Through hard work and grit, they succeeded in building settlements throughout the West, places where they could plant their roots.

Salt Lake Temple

"Exterior Symbolism of the Salt Lake Temple: Reflecting the Faith That Called the Place into Being," Richard G. Oman and John P. Snyder, BYU Studies, Volume 36, no. 4

In describing the exterior of the Salt Lake Temple, the author first tried to create simple equations such as identifying the meaning of sunstones. But then he discovered that the relationships between the many symbols was the real meaning. Symbols representing Jesus Christ, the priesthood, celestial objects, time, and the Restoration give the viewer spiritual bearings.  

“The Symbolism of the Beehive in Latter-day Saint Tradition,” by Val Brinkerhoff, BYU Studies Quarterly 52, no. 2

This photo essay presents Brinkerhoff's inspiring photos of beehives in significant Mormon places. For early Mormons, the beehive symbolized the kingdom of God and was used as an architectural feature, in publications and discourse, on gravestones, on money, and more. Beehives used on Salt Lake Temple doors and entryways symbolize entering the kingdom of God. The beehive on financial items symbolizes the Saints' consecration of their worldly goods. The beehive was chosen in 1848 as a symbol for the State of Deseret, using Ether 2:3. Later, when the State of Deseret became Utah, the beehive came to symbolize industry, cooperation, economic well-being, and civic order. But Latter-day Saints would do well to remember the beehive's original symbolism of building the kingdom of God on earth.

The Great Tabernacle

“Design and Construction of the Great Tabernacle Arches,” by Elwin C. Robison and W. Randall Dixon, BYU Studies Quarterly 52, no. 3.

The design of the roof of the Great Tabernacle is a long barrel vault using wooden lattice trussed arches. This article tells how the building was constructed.

The Move South of 1858

The Move South,” by Richard D. Poll, BYU Studies 29, no. 4

In spring 1858, Mormons in Salt Lake City anticipated an invasion of U.S. troops sent by President Buchanan. They feared a continuation of previous persecution in Missouri and Illinois, and tensions were high. LDS Church president and political leader Brigham Young called for all citizens of Salt Lake City and outlying settlements to abandon their homes and establish temporary living situations fifty miles to the south, around Provo. On June 26, 1858, General Albert Sidney Johnston marched U.S. troops into Salt Lake City only to discover a deserted town. By July, residents of Salt Lake returned home. The “Move South” did not materially affect the outcome of the Utah War. The new non-Mormon governor of Utah Territory was installed peacefully, and a military presence was established at Camp Floyd, a good distance from Salt Lake City.

Maps

by Brandon Plewe and others, from Mapping Mormonism

Temple Square in 1860

This map shows Temple Square in Salt Lake City in 1860, with only boweries and an adobe tabernacle for meeting places, with the neighboring Tithing Yard.

Temple Square in 1900

This map shows Temple Square with the Temple, Tabernacle, and Assembly Hall in 1900.  

Surveying the Salt Lake Valley

This map shows the surveys and laying out of plats in 1847, 1848, and 1849.

Settling the Wasatch Front

Settlers spread out from Salt Lake City north and south, from Logan to Nephi. This map shows by color the settlements by 1849, 1857, 1861, and 1869.

Settling the Intermountain West

Through both calls from Church leaders and through individual initiative, Mormon settlements by 1900 stretched north into Alberta, Canada; west to Genoa, Nevada; south to the Mexican Colonies around Colonia Juarez; and east to San Luis Valley, Colorado.  

19th Century Missions

From 1837 to 1900, missions were created around the world, including English-speaking areas such as Hong Kong and Australia, and foreign-speaking areas such as Chile, Italy, and Turkey.

 

Additional resources:

Gathering as One: The History of the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, by Elwin C. Robison and W. Randall Dixon. BYU Press, 2014.

This 278-page book uses hundreds of photographs to demonstrate how the Tabernacle was built. It begins with a history of Mormon buildings, including the first, smaller tabernacle built in Salt Lake City, that led to the construction of the Tabernacle. Chapters on the famous organ, the acoustics, and the events held in the Tabernacle tell why this building is important to the Saints for more than just its unique architecture.