Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, 2003, Excerpts
Brigham had badly miscalculated how the rest of the republic would react to the Mormons’ embrace of polygamy. After the sacred doctrine became know outside of Utah, a nearly hysterical barrage of condemnation rained down on the Satins from afar – a barrage that would continue unabated for half a century.
Federal officials complained that Brigham had transformed the territory into a theocratic dictatorship. A rising chorus of non-Mormons voices declared Brigham to be a dangerous tyrant who wielded absolute power over his followers. Brigham was unmoved. As far back as 1851 he had blustered that “any President of the United States who lifts his finger against this people shall die an untimely death and go to hell!”
Such rhetoric, on top of ever more numerous reports of Mormon belligerence, alarmed the rest of the nation. The more Washington tried to rein Brigham in, however, the more brazen his insubordination became.