May 30, 2011 by The Mormon Worker
By William Van Wagenen
When many people think of Mormons, wealthy advocates of capitalism like Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck often come to mind. Because of this, many people are very surprised to learn that Mormons have a long and proud socialist heritage.
The early Mormon settlers in Utah implemented a socialist economic system under the direction of Brigham Young. They never used the word “socialism,” but socialist is the only way it can really be described.
What is even more surprising is that this socialist system helped to save the members of the Church from widespread starvation in 1855. Were it not for a socialist economic system, the Church may not have survived as we know it today.
When a group of new Mormon immigrants arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in the early 1850s, Mormon Church President Brigham Young made it clear what kind of society they were entering:
“Again, with regard to labour – don’t imagine unto your selves that you are going to get rich, at once, by it. As for the poor, there are none here, neither are there any who may be called rich, but all obtain the essential comforts of life.”
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