[Illustration: SALT LAKE TABERNACLE (INTERIOR.)]
Following the telegraph came the railroads. The Union Pacific was being built from the east, while the Central Pacific came from the west. May 10, 1869, the two roads met in Northern Utah near the Promontory, and the last spike was driven with much ceremony. Thus was completed the first iron road across the continent.
But true to the past history of the Latter-day Saints, peace was not a blessing they were permitted to enjoy for many years at a time.
[Illustration: SALT LAKE TABERNACLE (EXTERIOR.)]
In the year 1869 a number of prominent elders in the Church opposed President Young and the authorities, and were cut off from the Church. One of these elders was Wm. S. Godbe, therefore those who followed him were sometimes called “Godbeites.” These men joined with the anti-"Mormons” and formed what was called the Liberal Party. It was the object of this organization to oppose the “Mormons,” and they were aided in this by the officers sent to Utah by the government. It had been the policy of Presidents Lincoln and Johnson to let the “Mormons” alone, but when General Grant became president he changed the program and at once sent officers to Utah to “straighten out” the “Mormons.” President Grant, no doubt obtained much of his information about the “Mormons” from his friend, the Rev. J.P. Newman. This minister had held a three days’ discussion in the Tabernacle at Salt Lake City with Apostle Orson Pratt on the subject of polygamy. Elder Pratt seems to have got the better of the argument, and it can well be imagined what kind of information this preacher gave to the president.
The Saints never had more bitter enemies than some of these territorial officers, especially Governor Shaffer and Chief Judge McKean. For years these officials, aided by the Liberal Party, tried to run affairs their own way; and you can easily understand that they could do a great many hateful things against the “Mormons,” having the officers of the law, if not the law itself, on their side. Especially was their hate directed towards President Young and the leading brethren who were accused of all manner of crimes. They were arrested, tried, and placed in prison in many unlawful ways.
Notwithstanding all these annoyances, the Church continued to grow in strength and numbers. The Sunday Schools, the first of which was organized in 1849, by Elder Richard Ballantyne, in the Fourteenth Ward of Salt Lake City, had by this time grown to be a strong institution. The Mutual Improvement Associations were organized in 1875, and soon did much good among the young.
President Young and his brethren were busy organizing stakes of Zion, setting the quorums of the priesthood in order, directing the building of temples, laying out towns and cities, and attending to the general duties of the Church. Thus Zion grew and became stronger day by day.