The University of Utah


1859 - 1861

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 on mines or railroads. Tensions could run high between the LDS faithful and gentiles (non-Mormons), each side using the press to advocate its position: the Deseret News that of the Mormons and the Valley Tan that of the gentiles. The Mountaineer was launched to directly answer attacks by the Valley Tan. In doing so, it kept the church's official organ, the Deseret News, above the fray. The first edition of the Mountaineer, August 27,1859, included a motto 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 editors wrote in the first issue: "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. We come before our friends as the advocates of the common rights of man. We propose to tell the truth and nothing else." Regardless of these statements, it was clear that The Mountaineer was to protect the Deseret News from the slings of the Valley Tan. Read more.

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