Brigham Young (1801-77) succeeded Joseph Smith as the spiritual leader of the Mormon Church after Smith, the religion's founder, was murdered in 1844. Young led the Mormons into present-day Utah and founded Salt Lake City in 1847. The settlement quickly became the capital of the Mormon community and a prosperous agricultural center. The Mormons' growing wealth, coupled with their unconventional beliefs which included polygamy, caused suspicion among their neighbors and resulted in the group's ongoing persecution.
This Secret Service issue from August 1909 places the Bradys at the center of Mormon intrigue in Salt Lake City. A group of hooded, white-robed Church elders, their dress not unlike that of the Ku Klux Klan, confront a terrified Mormon as he attempts to abscond from a cave with a stash of bank notes. The image draws upon and reinforces several Mormon stereotypes, both in the emphasis on the group's clandestine financial dealings and the secrecy surrounding their practices. The setting of the scene within a hidden, underground cavern is significant, for the golden tablets on which Mormon scripture is based are believed to be hidden in secret caves around Salt Lake City, having been buried there by the first Mormon settlers.