United Order

Picture of Joseph A Geddes
Joseph A Geddes


Commonly referred to as the United Order, some aspects of this communal society were promoted by Joseph A. Geddes, another USU faculty member, in his quest to revitalize rural Utah communities.

Joseph A. Geddes was influential in Utah's co-operative movement and helped establish the Utah Co-operative Association (which we will learn more about later in the exhibit). Dr. Geddes' academic interest in co-operatives, social organization and community building stemmed from his experiences as a youth in Plain City, Utah. He continued his interest as he investigated the United Order as the subject for his doctoral dissertation at Columbia University.


Papers, Essays and Manuals written by Joseph A Geddes that shaped perspective on the United Order and cooperative work

"It will be noted that careful planning was needed to insure that the connections between the physical layout and the spiritual results were fast and solid and were governed by the principle of relative equality, which pervaded the United Order revelations. Thus insuring that the ensuing results actually brought into existence the superior or Zion Community with few unsolved problems knocking at the doors and rich rewards coming to all of the members of the community. The community centers would thus be very active and succeeding community organs." [2] 

Thus church leaders used the organization of the community and environment to create certain mind sets and ideals within the population.

Interview with Joseph A Geddes about the United Order

According to the interview with Joseph Geddes, the purpose of the United Order was to focus, like a corporation, on us and we. Men and women worked together to create a community of strength and like minded principles of helping and serving each other. Joseph Geddes says that it was ideas about free enterprise and individual market efforts that undermined the United Order, though he says that the two ideas can co-exist, if you strive for the ultimate purpose behind both ideals.

[1] Joseph A. Geddes, "Two Constrating Meanings of the Words "Mormon Community'" September 1978. USUSCA SCAMSS0075Bx008Fd04-626.
[2] Geddes, "Two Constrating Meanings of the Words "Mormon Community'".
[3] Leonard J. Arrington, "Trends in Mormon Economic Policy" Symposium on Mormon Culture. Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters. Utah State Agricultural College, Logan, Utah November 14, 1952. [Utah State University Special Collections and Archives.] SCA289p307Ut1sy pg 2.