The Mormon Battalion Association™
Welcome to the official website of the Mormon Battalion Association,™ aka Mormon Battalion Heritage Association,™ and formerly known as the U.S. Mormon Battalion, Inc.™
The Association was established in the late 1940s when LDS President David O. McKay asked his Huntsville neighbor and personal friend, Fred M. Reese, to form a quasi-military organization to help fulfill a prophesy by Brigham Young:
"The Mormon Battalion will be held in honorable remembrance to the latest generation; and I will prophesy that the children of those who have been in the army, in defense of their country, will grow up and bless their fathers for what they did at that time. And men and nations will rise up and bless the men who went in that Battalion. ...As the Lord lives, ...you will never be forgotten, worlds without end, but you will be had in honorable remembrance, for ever and ever." (Brigham Young, quoted in Daniel Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War, 1846–1847, p. 354)
The original 1846-47 Mormon Battalion, part of the Army of the West during the Mexican-American War, was a unique blending of religion and military unlike anything before or since in U.S. history. It was only religious unit in United States military history recruited from a single religion with a religious unit designation. These intrepid, but cultured, Eastern and European civilian craftsmen and farmers endured unthinkable hardships and near starvation to master vital wilderness survival techniques, being forged by their crucible of fire into seasoned frontiersmen and pioneer engineers. After trekking over 2,000 miles from Council Bluffs, Iowa down the Santa Fe Trail and across the Southwestern deserts to the Pacific Coast, they befriended the local Californios through numerous public service projects, digging wells and building community walls, buildings, and forts. Upon release from their enlistment, some participated in the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill. Knowing that their families were literally more precious than gold, they abandoned the gold fields to trek all the way back to Council Bluffs, blazing much of the California Trail later used by the westbound gold rush of 1849. Once back in Utah with their families, most Battalion members had traveled almost four times the distance of other Mormon pioneers. There, their hard earned survival skills were in great demand as they led in the colonization of Mormon settlements all over the west. Theirs was a lifetime worthy of emulation, filled with unselfish service to their country, their Native American and Spanish American friends, and to their fellow Mormons.
The Mormon Battalion Association™ is neither a religious organization nor a military unit, but a nondenominational non-profit quasi-military service organization striving to match the dedication and community service of the original 1846-47 volunteer militia infantry battalion. Similar to other military heritage and service organizations, we combine the best features of the unit we emulate with those of a non-profit service organization. One does not have to be a descendant of the original Mormon Battalion, or a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the “Mormons”) from which it was drawn to belong to the modern Mormon Battalion Association.™ Membership is open to patriotic individuals, families, and organizations of good will – regardless of gender, race, creed, religion, national origin, or heritage – who wish to unite in emulating the unselfish service they gave their communities, nation, and fellow mankind wherever they went. We are building a new legacy for citizens of all ages, faiths, and national origins can learn, emulate, and apply the heritage and experience of the Mormon Battalion to their current lives through service to humanity.
Our new website, which went active 8 May 2015, includes many new features, some still under development:
Quartermaster's Corner - Long awaited online membership application, plus new Boy Scout and Mormon Battalion memorabilia products.
History - Improved rosters of original Battalion still under development, plus Carl V. Larson's exhaustive graves memorialization list, and member provided histories of Battalion members. We will soon be adding new items previously not found on the internet such as Mr. Larson's Annals of the Mormon Battalion, a day by day merging of 26 journals and diaries of original Battalion members, and side by side photos and transcriptions of these journals and diaries.
Publications - We are posting our Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, and will soon be adding our General Handbook, plus all currently held issues of The Valiant newsletter, and samples of talks and presentations given by LDS General Authorities and other VIPs at our Heritage Day and Battalion Day presentations, and samples of our youth essay contest winners.
Member Activities - We are posting all known issues of our minutes since founding of the modern Battalion in the late 1940s. (Your assistance is welcome in identifying and posting missing issues.)
Links - We are building a list of links to all known associated organizations, including family organizations.
Contact Us - We are providing an expanded list of Battalion leader email addresses, plus new organizational charts, and a listing of all known modern leaders of the Mormon Battalion Association since the late 1940s.
Header Photo: Foothills of the Rockies, East of Springer, NM (approx. 36.2911 N, 104.460 W), taken by Kevin Henson – The Canadian (Red) River lies just behind (west) of the mesa.