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19th Century Brigham Young Joseph Smith Latter-day Saint History Polygamy

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich and ‘A House Full of Females’

After attending a Relief Society meeting in 1857, Wilford Woodruff recorded in his journal that “the house was full of females.” As someone who practiced plural marriage instituted by the Prophet Joseph Smith, the comment could have applied to Woodruff’s home life. In this interview, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich discusses how early Latter-day Saint sources shed light on female authority and plural marriage.

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19th Century Come Follow Me Doctrine and Covenants Latter-day Saint History

Susa Young Gates and the Vision of the Redemption of the Dead

Susa Young Gates was one of the first members of the church to learn about the vision of the redemption of the dead. Joseph F. Smith told her about his revelatory experience before it was publicly known. In this interview, historian Lisa Olsen Tait tralks about the relationship between Susa Young Gates and the prophet—and what happened the night she learned about the vision.

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19th Century Brigham Young Latter-day Saint History

How Important Was ZCMI to Utah Pioneers?

Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI) is known as America’s first department store. Founded by Brigham Young in 1869, the store played a central role in the early Utah economy. Nineteenth pioneers saw ZCMI as a tool to eliminate poverty—and it was a requirement for Latter-day Saints to shop there. In this interview, Jeffrey Paul Thompson explains the fascinating history of the ZCMI department store in Salt Lake City.

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19th Century Brigham Young Latter-day Saint History

Brigham Young and the First Federal Income Tax

In a startling moment in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the First Presidency suggested that tithing should be suspended. This was in response to a decision that the Church’s tithing was a taxable income, resulting in an initial assessment of $59,338.51 that President Brigham Young was expected to pay. In this interview, Samuel Brunson discusses how the predicament came about, how Church leaders responded, and the surprising ending to the whole episode.

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19th Century Brigham Young Joseph Smith Latter-day Saint History

Was Zion’s Camp a Failure?

Zion’s Camp—also known as the Camp of Israel—was a formative experience in the life of 28-year-old Joseph Smith. However, like the Law of Consecration, it’s a pioneer experience rife with misunderstanding. In this interview, historian Matt Godfrey separates fact from fiction and discusses the purpose of Zion’s Camp.

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19th Century Joseph Smith Latter-day Saint History

Has a Joseph Smith Photograph Finally Been Found?

A new photograph of Joseph Smith seems to pop up every few years. However, all of the candidates have been ruled out—until now. While not the slam dunk some media outlets would have you believe, the Smith/Larsen daguerreotype makes a stronger case than we’ve seen before. In this interview, Lachlan Mackay walks through some of the historical details.

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19th Century American West Brigham Young Latter-day Saint History

What Was Brigham Young’s Swift Pony Express?

One of many little-known facts about Brigham Young is that he established a pioneer mail system. It was called the Brigham Young Express and Carrying Company, and included a “swift pony express” that predated the legendary Pony Express by several years. In this interview, Devan Jensen explains that the company was a contributing factor to the Utah War—and that it could have transformed the American West if not stopped by the federal government.