Archive for April, 2014

April Announcement for the Utah Westerners

SILVER TO SAVE ZION:

THE BULLION, BECK & CHAMPION MINING COMPANY AND THE REDEMPTION OF ZION

 R. JEAN ADDAMS

A fundamental tenet of the LDS Church and other churches of the 1830 “Restoration,” inspired by Joseph Smith, is the “redemption of Zion,” meaning a “return to Jackson County, Missouri,” from which the early church was driven in the fall of 1833. The “return” to “redeem Zion” was, thereafter, a promise proclaimed by leaders of the various churches of the Restoration. The Church of Christ was the first group of early members to return to Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, in 1867. The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints began their movement back to Jackson County a decade later. The LDS Church was “late to the gathering” notwithstanding the frequent discussion and desires of the church leaders and members from the 1850s through the 1890s.

In 1870, John Beck, a German Mormon convert, staked a mining claim in the Tintic Mountains in and around what is now Eureka, Utah. He went on to establish the Bullion Beck and Champion Mining Company and became its principal owner, president, and general manager. He was also a major owner of the Bullion-Beck Tunnel and was sole owner of the hot spring resort, Saratoga Springs. In 1883, Beck solicited the help of LDS Church President John Taylor and Taylor’s first counselor George Q. Cannon in his mining venture. Soon the three men entered into an arrangement which turned over 60% of their individual shares to John Taylor and established a “consecrated” stock fund with Taylor as trustee. A select group of other church officers and clerks were also included, but on a minor scale. The primary purpose of this fund was to re-acquire land in Independence, Missouri, building the Jackson County Temple and, in general, to re-establish a meaningful LDS Church presence in the area. The mine became profitable early on. However, the death of John Taylor in 1887 complicated the arrangement and dissension arose within the leadership of the church over the consecrated stock ownership and mine management.

Until now, this piece of Utah history has been virtually unknown and has gone untold. R. Jean Addams now tells the story of this fascinating tale of mining, money, and religious fervor in Utah.

R. Jean Addams is a lifelong enthusiast of Mormon and Utah history and has become a recognized independent historian. He has written and has had published several articles in various scholarly journals dealing with the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) in Independence, including “’Upon a Lot . . . Not Far from the Courthouse:’ A Photographic History of the Temple Lot in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri.” He also wrote a book on the subject. More recently, his interest has shifted to the LDS Church and the redemption of Zion and he has written on that topic. His article, “The Bullion, Beck, & Champion Mining Company and the Redemption of Zion” will be soon be published in the Journal of Mormon History. Addams is past president of the John Whitmer Historical Association. Besides researching and writing history, his interests include family, skiing, and fishing.

April 8, 2014 at 2:37 pm Leave a comment


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