In a very real sense, John Lyon’s claim that poetry “has been cultivated more or less by all classes, learned or illiterate” has been fulfilled. The most prevalent form of poetry today has to be music, and much of the poetry in popular music is written by those unschooled as poets. And with the expansion of digital expression, whatever barriers to those not trained in poetry there may have been in the past are being rapidly dismantled.
Lyon’s sees this as an explanation for the volume of Mormon poetry and song–“the common endowment of the whole human family,” poetry is the first expression that humans turn to for understanding their lives.
The exodus of most of the Mormons in the United States to a part of “Upper California” (now Utah) starting in 1846 interrupted publishing by Mormons throughout that country. Of the Church’s three official publications, the Times and Seasons closed down that year, as did the New York Messenger (successor to the Prophet). This left the LDS Church, under the leadership of Brigham Young, with just one official publication, the Millennial Star, published in Manchester, England.