Since Joseph Smith's first revelations, the Latter-Day Saints faced religious persecution and were forced west from Kirtland, Ohio to Nauvoo, Illinois. In 1846, Brigham Young led the first group of Mormons across the Mississippi on an historic trek to the valley of the Great Salt Lake-the promised land. From newly-built homes in small villages such as Deseret, they built temples in St. George, Logan and Manti. Through the second half of the 19th century, Mormon pioneers created "honey bee" communities that made the desert bloom. This is the dramatic story of the miracle of the seagulls, the rescue of the handcart pioneers, and the national debate over plural marriage and religious freedom that led to Utah statehood and brought the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints into mainstream American life.