The coming of the gentiles

The U.S. government, suspicious of the LDS Church and Brigham Young’s plans, sent the Army to keep an eye on them. In 1862, General Patrick Connor set up Camp Douglas on the east side of Salt Lake City. His troops were all of different religious backgrounds. Non-Mormon businessmen also came to Salt Lake to take advantage of its location as the center of the interior West and a crossroads of western trails. In 1864, Father John B. Raverdy arrived from Denver, and with the Irish Catholic Connor as host, spent several weeks seeking out and ministering to Catholics in the area. Two years later, Father Edward Kelly arrived and began to gather a Catholic community. He established cordial relations with Brigham Young, who allowed him to use the old Assembly Hall to celebrate the first Catholic Mass in Salt Lake,  in 1866.

On January 16, 1865, the various Protestants gathered in a building on Main Street to hear the first Protestant sermon preached in Utah, by the Rev. Norman McLeod, a Congregationalist. Soon the Protestants were holding regular services and built a meeting house called Independence Hall. This is considered the beginnings of the Congregational Church in Salt Lake City, but as other denominations increased in numbers, those who still identified with other traditions left to establish their own churches and build separate houses of worship. Episcopalians began organizing in July of 1867, the Methodists in 1870, and the Presbyterians in 1871.

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