Early in 1849 the Mormon community was organized as the state of Deseret 1 with Brigham Young as governor.
With Brigham Young and his little band of Mormon followers (between 140 and 150 members)., who entered the Great Salt Lake Valley in July 1847, begins the story of settlement and civilization (see Mormons).
The excesses of John of Leiden, the Brigham Young of that age, cast an unjust stigma on the Baptists, of whom the vast majority were good, quiet people who merely carried out in practice the early Christian ideals of which their persecutors prated.
The gold excitement of 1849 and the following years was the source of the city's first prosperity: the Mormons did not attempt to do any mining - Brigham Young counselled them not to abandon agriculture for prospecting - but they made themselves rich by outfitting those of the gold-seekers who went to California overland and who stopped at the City of the Great Salt Lake, the westernmost settlement of any importance.
There is a state commission which promotes the establishment of free libraries and gymnasiums. The Mormons control Brigham Young University (1876) at Provo, Brigham Young College (1878) at Logan, the Latterday Saints University (1887) at Salt Lake City, and academies at Ogden, Ephraim, Castle Dale, Beaver and Vernal.
In 1847 Brigham Young had succeeded Joseph Smith as president of the Mormons, and he held that position of veritable dictator until his death (1877); John Taylor succeeded him, and Wilford Woodruff in 1890 was chosen head of the organization; then Lorenzo Snow was president in 1898-1901, and Joseph Fielding Smith was elected in 1901.