By: Megan Leonard

The Mormons' Involvement in the Westward Expansion

In their original home in Nauvoo, Illinois, the Mormons were severely persecuted. When their leader, Joseph Smith, was killed and violence broke out, the Mormons fled to the West for a safer place to live. They eventually ended up in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Joseph Smith

The Mormon religion was founded by Joseph Smith on April 6th, 1830. As a teenager, Smith had visions, and soon he was a regarded as a prophet to the Mormons. After claiming that an angel showed him some buried gold plates, he created The Book of Mormon, and Mormon became a religion.

(picture of Joseph Smith)

Why the Mormons Moved West

When the Mormon religion was created, many people didn't agree with their beliefs. The Mormons were persecuted severely. Joseph Smith had plans to migrate west (and lead the other Mormons) to escape religious discrimination, but he was killed by prosecutors while he was in jail. Brigham Young took Smith's place and decided to lead the Mormons west, like Smith had planned.

(picture of Brigham Young)

The Journey

The journey took place in 1844. The Mormons had a very difficult journey. Many people traveled on foot. Many people died along the way, but eventually, the group reached Salt Lake City, Utah. More Mormons arrived in Utah, and the population living in Utah grew tremendously.

(picture of the Utah territory)

Salt Lake City, Utah

This is a picture of Salt Lake City today. It obviously looked different when the Mormons settled here, but it's a very beautiful place.

Nauvoo, IL

The picture above shows a map of Nauvoo, IL. Again, this is the modern day map of Illinois, so back in the 1840s it was different.
Mormons and the Move West