Salt Lake City was established in 1847, as a haven for Latter-day Saints. Mormon leaders enjoyed authority over the town even after large numbers of non-Mormons arrived to work in the mines or for the railroad. Tensions could run high between the LDS faithful and gentiles (non-Mormons). Each side used the press to advocate its position, the Deseret News for the Mormons and the Valley Tan for non-Mormons. The Mountaineer was launched as a newspaper that could directly answer attacks by the Valley Tan, and in doing so kept the church's official organ, the Deseret News above the fray. The first edition of the Mountaineer, August 27,1859, included a front-page slogan in capital letters that would stay in place for the lifetime of the paper: "Do what is right, let the consequences follow!" This advice came from a well-known Latter-day Saint hymn.
The masthead of the first issue of the Mountaineer stated: "We have our religious sentiments. We thank God for and have no reason to be ashamed of them. But we do not now appear in our religious character, nor as advocates of our faith." Regardless, it was clear, the Mountaineer was to protect the Deseret News from the slings of the Valley Tan.
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