The Defense of Deseret : An Examination of LDS Church Trade Politics and Development Efforts in the American West
Utah Historical Quarterly
The massive Mormon migration to the western United States proves interesting because the LDS Church, a religious organization, was essentially in charge of the entire local economy. Some believe that the centralized and isolated LDS economic system actually held the community together, while others argue that this system hindered development. Garrett analyzes both of these views. He also draws several economic parallels between the nineteenth-century Mormon community and present-day third world countries. There are many explanations which attempt to explain why Mormons chose this system, with reasons such as the imminent Second Coming and the need to remain self suficient, fear of fraud, providing jobs to church members, and the related political independence. Garrett also explains the effects of this economic system, which included chronic deficits and loss of currency. The LDS economic policies were very much "inward looking." This gave the Mormons a time to unite, focus their attention, and enhance civic pride. Garrett believes that although Mormons were poor economists in the nineteenth century, they were great sociologists. Although the policies set by LDS leaders hurt the Church financially, they helped the Church unite its members into a strong, socially-cohesive group.