Zenas Hovey Gurley Jr. and His Fight Against Polygamy and Mormon Zion
John Whitmer Historical Association Journal
Gary C. Vitale discusses the efforts of Zenas Gurley and Edmund L. Kelley, members of the RLDS Church, to have polygamy declared illegal by getting the Edmunds-Tucker Act passed in Congress. He speculates that one reason they did this was to differentiate the RLDS Church from the Utah organization. He mentions speculation that the Edmunds-Tucker Act disenfranchised any Mormon voters who even believed in polygamy, reducing the number of voters in the Utah Territory, which then would remain a territory under the control of Congress instead of an independent state. Vitale also adds that there were those who believed that the Federal attack on polygamy was a smoke screen for breaking LDS political power in the area. He adds that Joseph Smith III may have avioded the concept of 'gathering,' or establishing a Zion-like area to deter any theocratic tendences in his followers. The author concludes that "the Mormon religious tenets of plural wives and Zion had to be abandoned or changed in order to be consonant with the values and beliefs that make us Americans."