“If Gentiles in the 1850s found abundant reasons for antagonism toward the Church, the Mormons also had strong motivation for unruly activities. In their early history they had been treated with a cruel intolerance, the memories of which they carried with them to Utah. After struggling against famine in their new home, and at times reduced to eating the animal skins used as shelter, they had at last built the basis for economic survival. Then had come new trouble wit their opponents, indicting that their patient suffering had not after all taken them beyond persecution. Federal officials had meddled in their affairs, apparently with the intention of overthrowing their carefully devised political system. The uncertainty of their title to the land, the cancellation of their mail contract—these and other important events seemed to them proof of the Government’s intention to oppress them even in the remoteness of the Salt Lake Basin. . . .
The leaders of the Church never let the people forget their past misfortunes. . . .
The tendency toward emotionalism on the part of the Mormons, so unsettling in relations between Utah and the nation, was heightened by a religious revival during 1856. . . .Violence of language had been characteristic of the Saints in the past. During the reformation, when the leaders of the Church shared the excitement of their congregations, speech from the pulpit became even more frenetic. . . .
It was inevitable that the reformation, as its emotional frenzy increased, should not affect not only the lives of the people but their relations with the United States, for it made the Saints more intolerant of Gentiles in Utah and more unresponsive to the Government’s authority during 1856 and 1857. Some writers have blamed the Mountain Meadows Massacre upon the hysteria let loose by the revival. . . .
At any rate there can be no doubt that the revival, by increasing the hostility of the Saints toward the Gentiles and their Government, helped precipitate the Mormon War of 1857.”