According to Wikipedia, the Mormon Reformation was a period of renewed emphasis on spirituality within the LDS Church. It took place in 1856 and 1857 under the direction of Church President Brigham Young. This period of history has an indirect relevance to the Luces, who lived through it.
“All pioneers who gathered to Utah Territory under the direction of Young, whether members of the LDS Church or sympathetic non-members, were welcome as long as they helped in efforts to build up Zion. The undeveloped area required labor for the cutting of timber, road development, the creation of farms and pastures for cattle and other livestock; and the construction of homes, meetinghouses, mills, businesses, and irrigation systems. Church members who were willing to physically strengthen the Mormon settlements were so valued that ‘problems they might have with smoking, drinking, profaning, Sabbath breaking, and even immoral living did not normally cost them their standing in the community and the Church.‘ Consequently, by the early 1850s, communities within the Mormon settlement region were prospering and secure but contained a segment whose personal practices were not within the exacting standards of the LDS Church.”
Knowing there was a reform movement in the late 1850s gives us an insight into the Luces. They were a rough bunch, particularly Jason Luce, who was related through his marriage to another rough bunch, the “Bad Seed Grahams”. The documentation we find about their outlawry is all in the period 1859 to 1864.
What strikes me here is that all these events came after the Mormon Reformation. I wonder whether we can confirm that any of the Luces were re-baptized during this period. If they were or were not, it would indicate something more about the way they saw themselves and their relationship to the Church.
In the meantime, perhaps we might think the Luces didn’t quite accommodate themselves to the newer ideas of personal holiness.
- Mormon Reformation, at Wikipedia, visited Oct. 1, 2019.