Although Mormons and Utah had always been a target of incendiary press coverage up until statehood, numerous publications attempted to discredit Mormonism through scurrilous accounts at the beginning of the 20th Century. In 1910- 1911, muckraking magazines took on Mormons and the State of Utah, attempting to expose new polygamist marriages and un-American disloyalty to the nation. Those articles were quelled by none other than former President Theodore Roosevelt, when he was invited by Utah native and muckraker, Isaac Russell, to counter the inflammatory articles.
During the next decade, anti-Mormonism hit a high point in Great Britain with the work of Winifred Graham, who promoted the narrative that Mormon missionaries were enticing young women to Utah with jobs and money, and then enslaving them in polygamy. In 1919, the Salt Lake Commercial Club took on Graham’s writings as outright false or exaggerations for what Club members saw happening in Utah. The Club issued a lengthy recitation of Graham’s writings and others who had apparently copied her. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called the Mormon Church, is working in harmony with other institutions in Utah, ecclesiastical and civic, for the maintenance of the highest standard of morality, and has made an enviable record of this accomplishment, as also in patriotic and devoted service to the country’s needs.” The Club also attached a letter from ministers of the Evangelical churches of Utah disputing Winifred Graham’s claims about the perpetuation of polygamy.