Last modified: 2007-11-17 by rob raeside
Keywords: the church of jesus christ of the latter-day saints | latter-day saints | mormons | ensign peak |
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Copyright/trademark 2002 claimed by Wardle Creations LLC, All Rights Reserved
Image provided by John-T Wardle, 27 November 2002; no reproduction or redrawing permitted.
See: challenge of copyright claim
For full history and frequently asked questions see the link to The Church Flag™ history and FlagFAQ page located at http://www.ldsflag.com/Information.htm.
Extracted from this page:
The LDS church created and displayed The Church Flag (a.k.a. The Mormon
Pioneer Flag) in the 1800s. One account of its display was during the first Utah
Pioneer Day in July of 1849. The Church Flag was unfurled and raised in a
celebration on Ensign Peak in Salt Lake City. You can even hear its references
in songs of the church:
"High On A Mountain Top A Banner is Unfurled,
Ye Nations Now Look Up It Waves To All The World !"
(Joel H. Johnson, 1853)
The flag takes its design from historical documents recorded in the mid
1800s. The flag's beginnings can be traced back to the prophet Joseph Smith Jr.
One recorded account was, in preparation to defend Nauvoo from attacks by
anti-Mormon mobs on June 22, 1844 Joseph Smith Jr. gave the instruction for a
"standard to be made and raised to the nation". Just five days later Joseph
Smith Jr. and his brother Hyrum Smith were killed by an angry, bloodthirsty mob
at Carthage jail. It was Brigham Young who continued the preparation for the
standard to be lifted in the mountains of Zion. It is well known in the church
that while still in Nauvoo, Brigham Young had a vision of Joseph Smith Jr., who
showed him the mountain which is called now Ensign Peak, in Salt Lake City, and
that he saw the "colors" fall upon that peak. In that vision Joseph said to him
"Built under the point where the colors fall and you will prosper and have
That's exactly what Brigham Young and the members of the church did after arriving in Salt Lake City. Many pioneer journals recorded Brigham Young preaching sermons in reference to a standard, or Mormon flag. As one account states, in Jan.13, 1846, "President Brigham Young said that the proud banner of Liberty would wave over the valleys that are within the Mountains and I know where the spot is and I know how to make this Flag. Joseph sent the colors and said where the colors settled there would be the spot". Another journal records, on May 29, 1847 that President Young said: "The standard and ensign would be reared in Zion...the standard would be a flag of every nation under heaven". Again, in 1853 it is written that Brigham Young stated that the saints had "hoisted
the flag of our independence".
B.H. Roberts explains the pioneers view of The Church Flag as this: "The
Ensign that these Latter-day Saint Pioneers had in mind, and of which they had
frequently spoke en route, was something larger and greater than any national
flag whatsoever, and what it was meant to represent was greater than any earthly
kingdom's interest...This Ensign in the minds of the Mormon Pioneers concerned
not one nation, but all nations; not one epoch or age, but all epochs and all
ages; not nationality but humanity; is its scope and concern. It was a sign and
ensign of the Empire of Christ; it was a prophecy of the time to come when the
kingdoms of this world would become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ,
and He shall reign forever and forever". In September 1877, an account of The
Church Flag being displayed was described by a visiting Californian: "Utah
history states that the flag known as the Stars and Stripes was placed on Ensign
Peak about the twenty-ninth day of July 1847. The so-called flag of the Stars
and Stripes placed there on that occasion was a flag having in its upper left
hand corner a...field with the circle of twelve stars and in the center
a...large star. The stripes on that flag, instead of being red and white
stripes, were blue and white stripes and it was to be the flag denoting Mormon
sovereignty over the area that they had now taken possession of...During Brigham
Young's Funeral this flag hung from a second story window of Herbert C.
located by Chrystian Kretowicz, 23 July 2002
In fact, there is some ambiguity about the authenticity of this well known LDS flag, which has become associated with the events at Ensign Peak.
This is not the flag of the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), but rather a flag associated with that church. We have no proof that this flag was used prior to the 1870's. It may be a creation of that era as there are no specific verifiable references to this particular flag in the 1840's. In 1866 Brigham Young wrote to Admiral Preble that the flag of the church was the "flag of the United States" This blue and white flag has become associated with the events of Ensign peak, but the flag may in fact be a product of the late 19th century, used to commemorate those events. This flag, with the circular star pattern in canton also seems to be trademarked. See www.thechurchflag.com
Also, we have supplied a variant of this flag with the 3-2-3-2-3 1, 13 star
canton to a pro-polygamy group which referred to it as the Kingdom of God flag,
however their website,
www.helpingmormons.org, shows a different flag.
There are at least two surviving flags from the 1840's that are known to have been used by the Mormons. One is the Flag of the Mormon Battalion, the other is a flag associated with the personal bodyguards of Brigham Young, a group known as the Danites.
There is evidence of a third LDS flag from the 1840's supposedly flown by Sam Brannan on the good ship Brooklyn when he sailed into San Francisco Bay. After he left the Church he kept the flag. A drawing of it was published n the San Francisco examiner in 1907, but the current location of this flag is unknown. Brannan claimed the Danites, or agents of the LDS Church stole the flag.
Jim Ferrigan, 23 July 2002
We cannot place this flag at Ensign Peak in 1847. In fact one journal account of the eight men who climbed the peak states that the inspiration for the name is Biblical not descriptive; while another states that the "ensign" used was only a symbolic yellow bandana on a cane. We really have no proof that this flag was used in 1847. It may have been used in early pioneer celebrations, it certainly was known by the 1870's, but its true origins are still unknown.
The flags modern popularity seems to date from fairly recently, especially
with the recent rededication of the park at Ensign Peak, it use by some
pro-polygamy groups, and attempts to market this flag during the Utah Olympics.
The whole subject of LDS flags is fascinating and deserves our attention, but we have an obligation to post the facts as they are.
This is one of the LDS flags, not the LDS flag, we must be careful not to identify it as such.
Jim Ferrigan, 24 July 2002
See also a response to the comments on this page.
On this web page, Mr. John T. Wardle claims a copyright of the flag design. I
have been in contact with the LDS Church Intellectual Property Office and
received a response back from them indicating that the flag's design is in the
public domain and therefore not copyrightable. I have also contacted the US
Copyright Office in Washington DC and spoke with an attorney there who indicated
that the "Stars and Stripes" and the Betsy Ross flag design were not
copyrightable images. I have contacted Mr. Wardle and conveyed these opinions to
him regarding his claim of copyright protection requesting that he withdraw his
claim, but have not received a reply.
Mike Jensen, 10 May 2006
[Note added by editor: while the overall copyright may be in question the copyright on the specific image above on the FOTW website is not in question. Per our current agreement with Mr. Wardle it is still in force and no reproduction of the gif is allowed.]
Copyright 2006 by Mike Jensen
A white field traversed by twelve dark blue bars, offset towards the hoist,
at the center of which is a circular charge with a dark yellow sun having twelve
rays. The use of the number twelve represents both the twelve Tribes of Israel,
which will be restored in the last days, as well as the twelve apostles. The sun
symbolizes Christ as the center of His church with His twelve apostles, both
ancient and modern, as the guiding light to mankind. The sun also represents the
celestial kingdom that we aspire to attain and the coming millennial rule of
Christ on earth. As well, the use of the sun evokes the desert state of Utah as
the central home of the Mormon religion. The circle represents the one eternal
round of life, without beginning or end. The central device also suggests the
image of a wagon wheel and thus reminds us of our pioneer heritage.
The color white represents purity of the heart – cleanliness of thought, word, and deed. It also represents the clarity of eternal truth.
The color blue represents the first gospel ordinances – Faith in Christ, Repentance, Baptism for the remission of sins and the Gift of the Holy Spirit. It also symbolizes the principles of truthfulness, chastity, benevolence, virtue, humility, sacrifice – striving to live a Christ-like life.
The color yellow represents the brightness of the noon-day sun, celestial glory.
Mike Jensen, 28 August 2006
The Book of Mormon describes one of its main characters raising a "Title of Liberty" or "Standard of Liberty":
11 And now it came to pass that when Moroni, who was the chief commander of
the armies of the Nephites, had heard of these dissensions, he was angry with
12 And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it-In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children-and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.
13 And he fastened on his head-plate, and his abreastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land.
Alma 46: 36
36 And it came to pass also, that he caused the title of liberty to be hoisted upon every tower which was in all the land, which was possessed by the Nephites; and thus Moroni planted the standard of liberty among the Nephites.
Alma 51: 20
20 And the remainder of those dissenters, rather than be smitten down to the earth by the sword, yielded to the standard of liberty, and were compelled to hoist the title of liberty upon their towers, and in their cities, and to take up arms in defence of their country.
Alma 62: 4
4 And he did raise the standard of liberty in whatsoever place he did enter, and gained whatsoever force he could in all his march towards the land of Gideon.
R. Craig Harman, 28 June 2004
located by Blair Elzinga
I have seen reproductions of this flag of historical significance. The Mormon
battalion home page is at
http://www.mormonbattalion.com/ or even more informative was
http://www.three-peaks.net/battalion.htm in which the picture above is
Blair Elzinga, 26 December 2004
There is a reproduction of the 1855 Mormon flag at the Old Las Vegas Mormon
Fort in Las Vegas, NV
www.friendsofthefort.org. Our Civil War Re-enactors gather and train at that
location under 1860's or post war colors as the US Army passed through, and
later left a detachment there post war.
Here is a link to the article about it. At the time, and now, we are uncertain if it is actually a Historic American Flag or a Religious Flag, i.e.: does a US Military Unit salute it, or simply stand at attention.
Here are the pictures of note from the article focused on the Mormon Missionary Reenactors.: http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2005/Jun-12-Sun-2005/news/26707409.html
Jason Coffey, 13 July 2007