Because of its relative isolation from other population centers to the west and east, Utah was saved from much of the marauding bands who would attempt to reach it, protected in the north by the nuclear slag heap that Salt Lake City had become, from the south and west by large tracts of desert and from the East by desert and mountains.
The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on September 25, 1983 was as follows:
- First Presidency
- President Spencer W. Kimball, 1st Counselor Marion G. Romney, and 2nd Counselor Gordon B. Hinckley
- Quorum of the Twelve
- Ezra Taft Benson, Mark E. Petersen, Howard W. Hunter, Thomas S. Monson, Boyd K. Packer, Marvin J. Ashton, Bruce R. McConkie, L. Tom Perry, David B. Haight, James E. Faust, Neal A. Maxwell
Spencer W. Kimball, Marion G. Romney, Ezra Taft Benson, Mark E. Petersen, Howard W. Hunter, Marvin J. Ashton and Bruce R. McConkie were all in Salt Lake and perished in the blast.
The state legislature was not in session, but Governor Bangerter and Lt. Governor Val Oveson were also victims.
Gordon B. Hinckley's flight returning him to Salt Lake City had been re-routed and had been forced to land in Phoenix on September 24th. He was returning via car when news of the strike came. Given that the government of the church, and likely the state had devolved to his hands, President Hinckley began orchestrating protective measures for the state from Fillmore, Utah, where he had stopped.
Fallout - January, 1984
Much of the radiation that was released by the bomb that struck Salt Lake City was mitigated by the following factors:
- The explosion was an air-burst. While it destroyed much of the city, including the Salt Lake Temple, the resulting fall out was greatly reduced.
- The mountains to the east contained much of the fallout.
- Heavy rainstorms on the 26th, 27th and 28th washed much of the airborne matter into local rivers and streams which rendered much of the fallout into the Great Salt Lake.
While the Salt Lake Valley has remained a no-man's land due to fallout, the surrounding valleys are gradually being repopulated after verification of minimal radiation levels.
1984 - Reconstitution of the LDS Church and the State of Deseret
Name Date Called Dallin H. Oaks 1/3/1984 Joseph B. Wirthlin 1/3/1984 Richard G. Scott 1/4/1984 Robert D. Hales 1/15/1984 Jeffrey R. Holland 1/20/1984 Henry B. Eyring 1/27/1984 John H. Groberg 2/15/1984 Wilbur W. Cox 2/20/1984
In April the calling of 8 new apostles was announced, as was the temporary calling of a governor for the state. Bill Orton was called upon to serve as Governor pro tempore by President Hinckley.
It was announced that the capital of the state would be relocated to Fillmore, while Manti would serve as the religious capital of the state. A mandatory enlistment procedure was instated with militarized foraging parties began ranging throughout the decimated region to gather together goods and weapons to help defend against invaders. Martial law was declared for the duration of the crisis.
The decimation of Las Vegas and Denver by nuclear strikes assisted the Utahans survival, as the nearest population centers and thus survivors were put at some distance. Massive community farming efforts were begun using the LDS Church's welfare system as a template to ensure that there was enough food for the winter of 1984.
Military checkpoints were established at the Utah-side of the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70, and the tunnel was strung with explosives as a preventive measure. Refugees were screened and set up in encampments along the I-70 corridor for the first few years following Doomsday.
Changing Weather, 1985-1990
Increasing wet weather coupled with the existing El Niño system that had brought flooding to Salt Lake City in the spring of 1983 created a growing problem for the remaining settlements in the Salt Lake Valley. The Great Salt Lake, being an endorheic basin began quickly rising to fill the lower Salt Lake Valley.
Pumping stations that were nearly completed on the shores of the Great Salt Lake were relocated at great risk from the radioactive shores of the lake and were reconstructed near a series of constructed dikes, one at Point of the Mountain, in particular. Traverse mountain was effectively demolished by the soldiers of Camp Williams and used to construct a dike, effectively poldering Utah Valley. The pumping station was used to raise the waters of the Jordan river to the Great Salt Lake.
Camp Williams, a smaller military reserve unit expanded in these years, taking in much of the land that was formerly farmer's fields for the training of the Utah Militia, although some began calling it the Deseret Army.
Massive public works projects were undertaken, creating irrigation channels for the newly rejuvenated Lake Sevier and the western deserts. Retaining basins began dotting the mountain sides as all industry was devoted to catching and using the new water to feed the growing population of the state.
Projections for the growth of the lake suggest that it could grow to fill the basin up to the former outlet, Red Rock Pass in what used to be Idaho. This pass being at 5,000 ft. elevation would result in the inundation of most arable and populated land in the state, and the public works initiative is redirected to the cutting of a sluice in the northwest of the lake, just west of Curlew Junction. The Curlew Sluice effectively adds the Greater Salt Lake to the Columbia River drainage. The Greater Salt Lake began more commonly to be referred to as the Mormon Sea by immigrants at this point.
A large dike was constructed across the west desert to further save Delta and other cities in the region which would've been inundated, effectively crippling the power generation capacity of Utah. When it was discovered that the lake would likely crest at 4800 feet, rather than have the whole of Cache Valley inundated, the decision was made to place a dike, protecting the valley. This was coupled with a redirection of the Bear River to further protect the valley.
Further efforts to stem the flow of water into the Greater Salt Lake involved the redirecting of the Bear River via canal across the valley from Soda Springs to Lund, and through a tunnel to empty into Fish Creek, adding Bear Lake to the drainage of the Columbia. Deer Creek Reservoir continued to be diverted toward the Salt Lake Valley once the Curfew Sluice was completed.
The diversion of water from Strawberry Reservoir was stopped in 1984, and runoff was put solely into the Colorado River drainage, and continued pumping as well as trenching and soil retention measures were put into place to stop the Thistle landslide that had created an artificial lake in April of 1983.
Changes & Rumors of War
By 1987 the immediate crisis was deemed over and Bill Orton was re-elected as Governor-General with a new constitution to provide for the safety of the Commonwealth of Deseret. Older means of communication were revived, including mountain top bonfires, designed to relay news to Provo, the largest city and then via telephone to the capitals of Fillmore and Manti. This forethought proved providential when the state faced its first test of strength in the 1990s. Given the volatile nature of city-states surrounding Deseret, it was deemed best to maintain radio silence and a closely controlled cable television network.
A massive horse-breeding program was begun to supply reliable transportation to scouting and foraging parties, as well as the newly constituted cavalry.
The sudden change in the weather produced a need for a Minister of the Environment, and Professor Von D. Jolley of BYU was tapped by Governor-General Orton to fill the position.
In 1989 rumblings of military organizations near Spokane reached northern Deseret and while the Deseret Militia moved north in part to prevent attack, a diplomatic corps was dispatched. They were never heard from again and are presumed dead. The first incursions of this military group against Deseretan settlements began in 1989, but were thought to be small clans of desperate survivors.
The Spokane War, 1990-1993
Despite the utter collapse of society in and around Boise and outward toward the coastal cities, a cadre of hard-bitten survivalists had cobbled together something of a dictatorship around Spokane, holding their own against rivals and the coastal city-states. Their rise to prominence following Doomsday can be best attributed to their reversion to a warrior society.
In 1990, the Militia was brought in with air support from the newly created Park Summit Field to the east of Park City. Hill Air Force base, where the planes had come from had been shielded from the ionizing radiation due to the mountains. Because of the slow rise of the lake most of the material was able to be deconstructed and relocated.
Lewiston, Idaho, an affiliated but autonomous city-state issued a brief telegraph plea for help before it was silenced. Two reconnaissance parties were lost before a high flying recon mission returned the news of the takeover. Due to this incursion, citizens from the Snake River Valley were relocated eastward while military units were brought in for defense, all the while carefully making it appear to outsiders that this was merely a loose alignment of local warlords.
Reconnaissance was lost on the first two attempts to infiltrate Lewiston. The third attempt yielded information on the occupation force, though at the cost of the agent's life. Lewiston had been reduced to a feudal city-state, with a warrior caste of Spokanian warriors ruling everyone, taking, raping and pillaging with impunity.
Deseret troops moved in on the area, with overflights covering the region to assess forces of the Spokane dictatorship, and with their cavalry and other mechanical support were able to capture or kill most of the junta that had moved into power. With peace restored in Lewiston, the city fathers that had survived pleaded for at least temporary inclusion in the region of Deseret.
The Generals of the military remained wary of the Spokane dictatorship and further massed troops in Lewiston and at points along the 84 and 95 corridor. Overflight Reconnaissance revealed that the Spokane junta had succeeded in developing some sort of internal combustion that wasn't reliant on gasoline, and were equipped to attack, should they so choose. Interrogation of the few survivors that had occupied Lewiston had proven to be dissenters from Kennewick and Walla Walla.
Rather than attract the attention of the the various warlords, the Deseretans adopted a wait-and-see tack. When it became apparent in 1991 that the warlords were consolidating their feudal structure under warlord a leader known only as Harlan the Militia sent a covert group posing as a peace party from Lewiston to gauge his response.
Without warning in June of 1991 Harlan and his junta launched blitzkrieg on what they perceived as the fertile lands of Utah and Deseret. The cavalry stationed along the 84 and 95 corridor was quickly overcome, and settlements north of the rising Great Salt Lake were quickly evacuated before the onslaught. Landslides in the canyons to the east were triggered to trap the road dependent invaders between the lake and the Wasatch range, effectively channelizing them to the radioactive morass of the remains of Salt Lake City.
All food and livestock in the Davis County corridor had been reduced and otherwise removed in May 1991 when word of the peace party's refusal reached Fillmore, and so Harlan and his junta were left no choice but to continue onward. By 1992, the Great Salt Lake had risen approximately 80 feet from its 1983 height, reaching a height of 4300 feet, effectively submerging I-15 from Centerville toward points south. The militia had done their best to construct road blocks throughout Bountiful and North Salt Lake to further impeded the flow of the fighters, who, finding themselves blocked abandoned their vehicles and continued further south afoot. Initial overflights saw an armed force of about 500 men, but later flights were canceled when the junta revealed they had shoulder mounted anti-aircraft weapons, likely scavenged from the rubble of Hill Air Force Base.
Negotiations with the Navajo Nation had been undertaken in January of 1991 to gather their support against this threat and the threat of marauding bands from the great plains. On May 23, 1991 a mutual-aid agreement had been made between the two nations and thus when the Spokanians arrived at Traverse City (where Traverse Mountain had been), they were faced with heavily armed Militia from Camp Williams and well-armed Navajo warriors.
Fighting lasted for five days from June 29th until July 3rd. The survivors of the Spokanians retreated northward, with the Military and Navajo Braves (as the regiment chose to be called) followed swiftly.
The remainder of 1992 and 1993 consisted of guerrilla warfare on the part of the Spokanians and offensives on the part of Deseret to liberate the cities of the former Washington interior. When local militias were effectively in place the Militia retired from the scene, but the loose confederation of city states now established at Pasco remained in contact with the Militia and Deseret from that time forward. The temporary state established at this time in what had been northern Idaho also incorporated the remains of Spokane and the rest of easternmost Washington State, before joining the new United States as the state of Lincoln in 1995.
Resettlement of the cities of the Snake River Plateau took some time, in some places until 1995 to re-settle the citizens who had been relocated south during the course of the war. David A. Bednar who had traversed the Great Plains with a convoy of Mormons from the plains states was called to be an apostle at the death of Wilber Cox.
Growth and the Incorporation of Northern Deseret (1995-Present)
While skirmishing continued with Spokanian hold-outs, resettlement of the Snake River Plateau continued, and, due to the increased rain, more land was tilled than ever before, allowing an increase in agricultural production. As the population grew, the distance from Fillmore became ever more apparent. Locals soon began asking for their own local leadership who would have the appropriate power to manage day to day affairs.
In 1995, newly elected by popular vote, Governor-General Bill Orton moved for legislation to create the position of Vice-Governor for Northern Deseret. The bill was passed through the body of the legislature within days, and the region of Northern Deseret was created. Admission to the region was to be handled by vote of local communities. In the end, the whole of the Snake River Plateau and Cache Valley as well as the remaining northern settlements on the shores of the Mormon Sea chose to incorporate. Popular election selected John V. Evans to serve as Vice-Governor.
Because of the growing green space in the state, and the tendency of Mormons to gather to Zion, population continued to increase as groups of Latter-day Saints arrived from their far-flung lives in the remainder of the US. Efforts were made to continue the conservation efforts of the deserts soil, turning it into farm land. This became known as the Front, as the grasses and farming efforts took further and further reach toward the south, west and east.
Gordon B. Hinckley died in early 2007 of cancer. He was succeeded by Thomas S. Monson as President of the Church. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, the only member of the Church from Germany known to have survived at that time was called to be the newest apostle.
Cities began to develop on the new islands of the Mormon Sea, most of them fisheries, selling their wares to the north and the south, and scavenging among the abandoned wreckage. By the end of 2005, the level of the surface of the Mormon Sea had reached 4400 feet, and by 2009, 4450. The crest height is expected to reach 4600 feet, with work ongoing at the Curlew Sluice through Kelton Pass. If work is not completed in time, the Mormon Sea could rise as high as 4700 or 4800 feet, however, work continues apace and Governor-General Leavitt has repeatedly promised the northern cities that they will be spared the rising flood.
Talks of Unification with Dinétah
In March of 2009 talks were brokered with Tribal leaders to discuss a possible union of government between the Navajo Nation and Utah. Little has been released to the press other than this meeting has occurred. Some pundits have suggested that Governor-General Leavitt suspected Utah's isolation was drawing to a close, and that a strong front of regional government was needed to protect the interests of the survivors in the Intermountain West.
Contact with the World, 2009-10
Recent news dispatches have revealed that Leavitt has sent envoys to the rumored survivor state of the US Government in Australia. In August of 2009 contact was made with the Municipal States of the Pacific. Initial public reaction has been tempered by experiences in the past with the Spokane Junta and other survivor groups in the surrounding region.
Leavitt met in January 2010 with leaders of Dinetah and West Texas in the Dinetah capital of Rainbow Bridge to discuss closer ties between the three nations, as well as their relations with other countries in the region.
Renewed contact with the North American Union and the Municipal States of the Pacific has lead to negotiations with Vice-Governor Evans leading the treaty negotiations for use of the rail-lines passing through Northern Deseret hosted at the governor's home in Idaho Falls.
Membership in the North American Union, 2010 - Present
Rumours regarding Utah's ascension into the North American Union first started in the Spring of 2010. They were confirmed true by the Utah and NAU governments the next couple months. Joining the North American Union was one of the biggest decisions made by the Utah government, since it would have to go through a lone and tedious application process. Utah didn't become an official member of the North American Union until 2014.
The economic impact of Utah's integration into this multinational Union was felt throughout the country and the region. Numerous goods not found in Utah were suddenly appearing on shelves in markets and general stores across the nation. Infrastructure to this day is undergoing integration into the Union. The first item of said integration was the connection of Utah's rail lines with those of the United States and other members. The steel produced at the Deseret Steel Mill would allow for the creation of such lines. Coal from Carbon County, Wyoming would supply the trains needed for the transport of freight and passengers to other states and countries.
The political impact was also soon felt throughout Utah. Due to the integration into the bloc, the Church of Latter-Day Saints began to feel their influence over government affairs begin to weaken. Not that they always had power, but their opinion was very influential when the legislature meets to pass bills and discuss foreign or domestic policy. More citizens began to question the amount of power that the Church had as a "shadow government" over the secular authorities, especially from those who aren't Mormon or are citizens from another country; to this day however, the status quo remains firmly entrenched especially among Mormons.
The society of Utah was also affected by the country's ascension into the NAU. Integration has allowed the citizens of Utah, especially the younger generation, to travel to different countries and get introduced to new ideas. This has led to many questioning traditional beliefs in in various degrees such as the doctrine of the Latter-Day Saints or the amount of power they had over Utah's government, while conversely has also allowed the Church to reach out to other Mormons among other Union members. Another part of society that was impacted by integration was high school and collegiate sports. With the construction of new rail lines to other nations such as the United States, there have been calls for the resurrection of either a collegiate sports league and allowing high schools to play against those from different states. It is a small motion, but one that continues to gain strength as time moves on.