“If some causes of the Mormon War are only dimly visible today, the part played by eastern public opinion is not. throughout the 1850s, hostility toward the Latter-day Saints had increased until it approached unreasoning frenzy by mid-1857. . . .
there is no doubt that the Saints’ practice of polygamy was another potent force inflaming Gentiles against Mormonism. . . the Church’s explanation of ‘the Principle,’ as plural marriage came to be called, was an intricate one. . . .
To eastern minds the Mormons were guilty of more than immoral conduct; they also formed a society of conspirators against the national government. . . There was even greater concern among anti-Mormon Gentiles that Young might seek the more treasonable goal of complete separation from the Union. . . .
Agents Holeman and Hurt, supported by other federal officials, accused the Mormons of tempering with the tribes of their region, seeking to entice them from their dutiful allegiance to the country. . . .
The conceptions of the eastern Gentiles, then, pictured the Saints as libidinous villains, eager to terminate their relation with the country and prepared to transgress every standard of moral behavior by forming alliances with the hated Indian. On the other side of the anti-Mormon stereotype the leaders of the Church were held guilty of innumerable murders, indeed had a powerful secret society of assassins to commit their infamous deeds.