For some time I have been collecting folk material of the pioneers of Sanpete County, Utah, and their subsequent building of the Manti Temple. A few of the county's senior citizens witnessed part of the construction in the late 1870's and 1880's and the dedication in 1888 of the Temple. Many more are descendants of men and women who were directly involved in the building of the Temple and in the early work done there after its construction.

The stories that these people tell are significant. A collection of them represents a rich folk history of a religious, pioneering people who, in spite of their lack of material possessions, sacrificed to donate in coin and in kind a million dollars and eleven years of labor to build a House of the Lord. Many of their descendants have continued maintenance and ordinance work with similar zeal. Lives that are influneced by this particular building seem buoyed up and intensified by the tremendous task thereby incurred. This commitment, an eternal commitment for the Mormon people, is exemplified in the oral history and folklore that continues to live.

The organization of the collection and its accompanying historical accounts and critical evaluation take the following order: the settlement of the Sanpete Valley as it reflects the character of the builders of the Manti Temple; the folkways and customs of the construction period as revealed in oral tradition and folk history; the folk history of the construction of the Temple and temple guide stories; and finally, the collection in relation to American and Mormon folklore and as a source of material for literature.

This collection of folk history and oral traditions is of value because it preserves the pioneer culture for future generations. Also, it serves as a ballast to the ever-moving tradition of American literature, for it recalls a significant saga of vigorous physical, mental, and particularly spiritual accomplishments instrumental in the building of the nation.



College and Department

Humanities; English



Date Submitted


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Mormons, Folklore, Manti, Utah