Teacher Background Information

            In order for teachers to effectively teach this unit they will need to have knowledge about the first permanent white settlers in Utah. The teacher will need to know that these settlers were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the history of this church as to why a majority of its members moved and settled in Utah and its surrounding areas. Teachers will need to know how and when this church was organized and its movement across the United States. Teachers will need to know about the religious persecution this church and its members received while living in Missouri and Illinois. They will also need to know about the long journey the members made from Nauvoo, Illinois to the Salt Lake Valley. Lastly a teacher wishing to teach this unit will need to know about how the first settlers cultivated the land for farms, and designed their cities prior to building them.

            Along with this history, a teacher would need to have knowledge about the concepts of how cultural values and ideals of people in a community influence that community both the way it is built and set up, and with the ideals that become important in the community. A teacher will also need to know and understand how culture is transmitted from generation to generation through language, literature, art, traditions, values etc. Teachers will need to feel comfortable talking about these issues along with the religious persecution the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints received while they were living in Missouri and in Illinois. They will need to be able to talk about the features and influences that cause religious persecution both in the past and in the present.

There are many resources a teacher can get in order to gain this knowledge required to teach the unit. A teacher could begin by finding a Utah history book and reading the chapters about the Mormon pioneers who came and settled in Utah. This will only give a very brief and short description about the pioneers and will not be sufficient for this unit, but it is a place to begin. The best place to learn about the history of the Mormon pioneers is to go to www.lds.org and then to Church History. Here you can find a wealth of information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or the Mormon pioneers. You can learn the details about the crossing of the plain from Illinois to Utah, where the church began, and why its members moved so many times from state to state. When teachers are trying to learn about this subject a problem that arises is most history found about the Mormon pioneers comes from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and so is therefore only one perspective. You can find a lot of information from other sources but a majority of it is about the religious beliefs of this church and not about its history, so finding sources not from a Latter Day Saint viewpoint can prove challenging. What I suggest is for teachers to go to the sources and learn about the history, they do not need to focus on this church’s beliefs, it does not matter what their beliefs are, what is important is to learn their history and what happened to them regardless of what they believe.