The Quest for Freedom: Brigham Young, Joseph Smith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and Their Ideals.
The Mormons believe that one of the lost tribes of Israel came to America. Then, they lost their way, and were punished by God by making their skin dark.
This is the classic appeal of reform movements. They refer back to an idealized society, and encourage people to live as the elders did.
Also, this connection to the past is seen in a Mormon baptism, in which people take in the name of an ancestor. This strengthens the aforementioned link to the idealized society.
Also, the Mormons had different beliefs from day to day life. They offered some out of the norm ideas, such as polygamy.
The ideas of polygamy also tied into the communities that the mormons built. They had a strict social structure, which they saw as differentiating themselves from the overall society.
To quote Alan Brinkley, "The original Mormons were, for the most part, men and women who felt displaced in their rapidly changing society". These people felt especially connected to the idea of looking backwards to a better time.
These radically conservative ideas caused them to be chased out of most places they tried to found. Many Mormons were seen as outsiders and enemies. Some states even encouraged the killings in an official capacity.
Most famously, the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, was killed by an angry mob after he was arrested.
Even after all these violent failures, Brigham Young brought the Mormons to Salt Lake City. There, the Mormons succeeded in their goal of founding a community for themselves.
The Mormons convinced people to come together and converted many along their way. They got together a like-minded group, and were very secretive to isolate themselves.
Center, National Humanities. "Brigham Young Et Al., Second Great Epistle, 1849." National Humanities Center. http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/triumphna...
"Mormon Extermination Orders." QuaQua. Accessed October 22, 2014. http://www.quaqua.org/extermination.htm.
Brinkley, Alan. American History: A Survey. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1991.
"How Great Thou Art - Mormon Tabernacle Choir." YouTube. Accessed October 22, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1hVY7bmqsA.
"LDS Temples - Mormon Temples - Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." LDS Temples - Mormon Temples - Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Accessed October 22, 2014. http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/.