Mormon history is rich with faith-filled stories of overcoming persecution, migrating in the vilest of circumstances, and trusting God with everything they had. But there is more to the history of Mormons (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes mistakenly called the “Mormon Church”) than the spiritual side of things—there is of course, logistics. After all, you can’t expect to be fed manna every day just because you’re a believer—you have to plan, build, and grow.
When Mormons arrived at the Salt Lake valley, in Utah, there was nothing there. In fact, it wasn’t even part of the United States yet. Mormons had been driven from so many places because of their unique belief in God—and this valley was pronounced as “the place” where they would finally be able to settle.
After Brigham Young (the second prophet in Mormon history, after Joseph Smith) showed where the temple would be, the people were heavily involved in the planning, or the platting, of the city. Not only were the surprisingly wide streets ingeniously made on an easily understandable grid system (with the center being the temple) but there was much more, like the well-built irrigation systems that are still in use today. Brigham Young had seen all of this in vision. The plan carried Salt Lake City into modern times with very few adjustments needed.
Why was this platting so important, more than just for ease of governance? We learn about the unique history from an article titled, “Travel guide: Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area:”
It was called the plat of Zion (Zion meaning the pure in heart). These were all viewed as little miniature experiments in Zion, in building Zion in each little town… They were called the United Order, a way of living where everybody just deeded over all of their belongings to the church and then they were given back as they needed, according to what their assigned tasks were in a community. If they were a cattle herder, then they needed a horse.
In order for these Latter-day Saints to live this United Order, which was the way God wanted them to live, they needed to be organized.
As a Mormon myself, I have been taught, since my youth, that having an organized life is the way of God. We live by the scripture found in Doctrine and Covenants (a book of modern day revelations) 88:119, “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.” That is why if you ever go into LDS Church building, especially the Temples, that everything is organized—it is the way of God. This is yet another reason the history of Mormonism proves why they established such a successful community—because they followed their way of “platting” after the pattern of God.
I invite you to learn more about Mormons by meeting with Mormon missionaries. I know that God lives and that His Son, Jesus Christ, is the Savior of the world. I love Him, and I will be forever grateful for what He has done for me, my family, and for all mankind.
This article was written by Ashley Bell, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Ashley Bell is a 22-year old wife, mother, BYU graduate, and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ashley loves to run, cook, garden, read, and most of all spend time with family and friends.