Three Visits to America (4)

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CHAPTER XI.


Brigham Young and the "true inwardness of Mormonism"—Inducements to converts to emigrate to the "promised land"—Polygamy kept out of sight—Zion's poet-laureate, Eliza Snow—Mrs. Emmeline Wells, etc.—Mormon women and wives—The effects of polygamy—Sermons in the Tabernacle and Sunday evening ward meetings—Brigham Young and others on the "women's discontent"—Exclusion of unmarried women from the kingdom of heaven—Introduction of second wives—The effect of any lengthened visit to Salt Lake City—War between Mormons and Gentiles—Endowment House, with its religious dramas, baptisms, and sealings.


WHEN Brigham Young and his Mormon followers were driven from Nauvoo in 1847, he started with a band of pioneers to find "fresh fields and pastures new," and following for several hundred miles a trapper's trail, according to directions received from scouts wisely sent in advance, he reached the summit of the Wahsatch Mountains, and there before him lay the beautiful valley which extends some forty miles to the Great Salt Lake.  No wonder that the keen eye of the "prophet" at once discerned his opportunities, and that he resolved to build up his "Zion" on this fertile spot.  The territory really belonged to Mexico, but Brigham Young hoisted the United States flag, and under the banner of religion established a temporal power which his followers retain to the present hour.

    Many persons expected that Mormonism would collapse when Brigham Young died, but such people little understood its "true inwardness."  There are few systems so thoroughly well organized; the Jesuits themselves are not a more disciplined body than the Latter-Day Saints.

    In the opinion of those best fitted to form an unprejudiced and independent judgment, I found Mormonism regarded as "a carefully organized land speculation scheme."  The land "flowing with milk and honey" is what the agent missionaries have ever promised to intending converts, and everywhere their spies have gone forth to search for fertile places in the West, where they might build cities and plant vineyards.  One-thirteenth part of Utah can be irrigated, and the best positions in Idaho,. Arizona, and South-western Colorado have been chosen for the same reason.  Between three and four hundred missionaries are constantly employed in Europe, and having been furnished with lists of the people who have already emigrated to various parts of Utah, they find out their relatives and friends, and tell them how admirably these settlers are getting on, offering them forty acres of land, if they like to join them in these happy valleys, where every man sits under the shadow of his own fig-tree, and owns his own house and land.  Of course to avail themselves of these advantages they must embrace the Mormon faith.  For the most part the doctrine of polygamy is carefully suppressed till the promised land is in sight and retreat impossible.  These ignorant people, drawn from English hamlets, the rural districts of Scotland, Wales, Sweden, and Germany, gratefully accept the land as the generous gift of the Mormon Church, instead of realizing the source from which it really comes, the United States Homestead Law, and they willingly agree to pay the yearly tax imposed by the Mormon hierarchy—a tax which produces such a splendid annual revenue for the support of the Church.

    I endeavoured as far as I could during my residence in Salt Lake City to study, without prejudice, the problem this extraordinary community presents; and while it is very painful to me, after the kindness and courtesy I received from the President of the Mormons downwards, to write any words which must sound harsh and condemnatory, I must needs speak without fear or favour from my own "point of view," even if the judgment formed be crude and erroneous.  I have studied the literature given to me by friends who were anxious I should not be misled by the Gentiles surrounding me, and I have patiently listened to the arguments in favour of the system; but the more I read and the more I hear, the less justification can I discover for a religion which has in times past countenanced the grossest frauds, cold-blooded murders, the Mountain Meadow massacre, and to the present hour sanctions the hateful system of polygamy, which strikes, in my opinion, the deadliest blow at the purity of family life, and involves the cruellest subjection and the most hopeless degradation of the women belonging to the community.

    It must of course be acknowledged that even among the Mormon ladies themselves there is a vast amount of conflicting testimony as to the happiness enjoyed, notwithstanding the very much married condition of their lords and masters!  Eliza Snow, known as "Zion's poet-laureate," and "high priestess"—the first plural wife of Joseph Smith, after he received the astounding revelation, and subsequently one of Brigham Young's wives—assured me with apparent sincerity of her perfect faith and entire satisfaction in the teachings and practices of Mormonism.  I was invited to the entertainment which celebrated her eightieth birthday, on the 21st of January (1884), when "her dauntless and undying heroism" were extolled in poems and addresses, and tributes of respect, in the shape of gifts and flowers, were showered on this "veteran mother in Israel,"—a name she appears to bear, though no children rise up and call her blessed.  She believes in plural marriage as sacredly as she does in any other institution God has revealed; she regards it as "necessary for the redemption of the human family from the low state of corruption into which it has sunk," and maintains that it tends to promote "virtue, purity and holiness."  In conjunction with Mrs. Emmeline B. Wells, Mrs. King, and others, with whom, in spite of the gulf between us on these vital points, I had much pleasant social intercourse, she esteems it her highest privilege to "labour" with rebellious wives who are wicked enough to object to plural marriages; and many a young girl has been induced against her better feelings to enter into polygamy on the representations and persuasions of these energetic fanatics.  Continually Mrs. Hannah T. King, an English lady, said to me, "The laws of this Church coincide with the laws of my nature; I have three beautiful daughters living in polygamy.  They were educated in all the refinements of the world, but gladly left their home and its early attractions to obey God.  I have been in the Church now for thirty years, and would not return to my former state for Queen Victoria's crown and all its appendages."

    Most indignantly do these ladies repudiate the assertion that Mormon women are slaves to the passions and caprices of men, "downtrodden victims" of a profligate conspiracy, and they freely express their sympathy for Gentile women who are subjected to "infidelities no Mormon wife ever experiences"!  They are proud of principles it seems my plain duty to assail, and boldly assert "there is no place on earth where woman's virtue is more protected than in Salt Lake City."  They would have it believed that they represent the opinions of Mormon women generally, and wives in particular, when they say that the women of their community enjoy more "rights" than are accorded to the sex elsewhere; they assure you that they are "thoroughly contented, and filled with righteous indignation" towards those who would fain put an end to the plural marriages of the saints.  They read with "disgust" the wicked misrepresentations of Gentile travellers describing them as "poor-spirited and depressed," and are ready to resent "impertinent efforts" to deliver them from "a tyranny" which, in their opinion, does not exist, and retort that "the carnal Gentile mind" can not comprehend either the will of God, or the peace and happiness of the patriarchal order of marriage.

    On the other hand, though Mormon women are watched with a scrutiny they find it difficult to evade, and seem to fear that the very walls have ears to hear and tongues to betray them, it was confided to me by more than one plural wife that "the accursed doctrine of polygamy" had poisoned her happiness and blighted her life.  Many a poor soul has bravely tried to bear with silent submission the dreaded affliction of a second wife, pacing her lonely chamber all night, struggling with keen anguish, naturally mixed with bitter indignation, as she realized that she had lost the "rights" most sacred to a true woman, the undivided possession of her husband's love.  Although trained to regard "the sacrifice" as a religious duty, and a "means of exalting the husband in the kingdom of heaven," many a victim has asked with breaking heart how a merciful God could ever have implanted such feelings in her nature only to torture her, and to require her to crush them at the bidding of the man to whom she has freely yielded all the fresh affections of her youth.

    No one with any insight into human nature can for one moment suppose that women are happy under this yoke.  No loving wife can see her husband's affections straying to another woman with placid submission.  Some are perhaps indifferent when they have outlived their love, but far more pass their lives in strife and jealousy—evil passions which destroy all the good in them.  I was told of a wife who had sought Eliza Snow's counsel in the supreme hour of her anguish, when her dearly loved husband was about to take unto himself a second wife, a prettier and more attractive girl than herself.  "I can not live," she cried in her despair, "and see her with him."

    "Pray for resignation," said the poetess.

    "I do, but I shall die if he brings her home," was still the despairing response.

    The woman must indeed have been lost in the "priestess" before Eliza Snow's lips could have framed the cruel answer, "Die, then; there are hundreds of women up in that burying-ground who have gone there because they could not be resigned to the will and order of God."

    Sometimes the husband "breaks the news gently."  He says the authorities have urged him to take another wife, "and explained to him how great his loss will be in the celestial world if he does not live up to his privileges here."  I knew a wife who reminded her husband that on her marriage with him he solemnly swore that she should be "his sole and only wife"; but he unblushingly replied that "a promise wrong in itself could not be kept"; revelation not only justified, but compelled the breaking of it; that he had now awakened to a sense of his religious duties, and dared no longer neglect them.  Many have boldly asserted that they take additional wives "against their own wishes," only "to increase their kingdom," and to hold "a more exalted position in the Church and the world to come."  But no one who has studied the matter can believe for a moment that polygamy is "the trial" to a husband's "faith" some Mormons would have their first wife suppose it!  She, at least, is not slow to notice his altered manner toward herself; his ill-concealed anxiety to be with the new object of his affections as much as other duties allow; his readiness to attend the meetings at which the young lady is likely to be present; his sacrificing efforts to make himself "look as attractive as possible" in the eyes of his latest love, and his laudable desire thus to carry out the command of God.

    "When I suddenly met my husband one evening, walking with his intended bride, looking tenderly into her eyes, with the expression I had once known so well, and with all the proud consciousness of a triumphant lover, my very heart turned to stone.  At first I longed for vengeance on the father of my children; I felt degraded and humiliated at the recollection of the loving devotion I had given him for years," was the confession of one lady, who told me the story of her life while the tears rolled down her face, though years had passed since the fatal day, when "endurance" had taken the place of love, and she had realized in her own home, through the husband she had once so fondly worshipped, the bitter sacrifices polygamy demanded from its victims.

    The only way in which any submission whatever to this detestable system was obtained was simply through the doctrine "that the husband is empowered to teach the wife the law and will of God," and that she is bound to believe what he teaches: "She shall believe, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God," according to that arch-impostor, "Joseph Smith the Seer."

    There is ample proof that women have hated polygamy from the days when the evil thing was instituted by Joseph Smith to the present time, though few dare own it, for obvious reasons.  Nothing was more convincing to my own mind than the allusions I saw to "discontented women" in sermons published in the Mormon newspaper, the Desert News, in times when a far greater freedom of speech was used in the Tabernacle at the Bishop's Sunday evening ward meetings, and far less discretion shown in the publication of Mormon extempore utterances.

    In one sermon, for example, these remarkable words occur: "We have women here who like anything but the celestial law of God, and, if they could, would break asunder the cable of the Church of Christ; there is scarcely a mother in Israel but would do it this day.  And they talk it to their husbands, to their daughters, and to their neighbors, and say that they have not seen a week's happiness since they became acquainted with that law, or since their husbands took a second wife."  For it must be remembered that many had embraced the Mormon faith years before "plural marriage" had been dreamt of.  At first it was only hinted at, under men's breath, then stigmatized as a calumny.  The gift of tongues, the power of effecting cures by the laying on of hands, had long been the boast of the Latter-Day Saints.  The doctrine of polygamy, however, was not only at first denounced by the elders and bishops, but even the President himself, then Apostle John Taylor, denied that "the Mormons were growing unsound on the marriage question."  In a public discussion in France, he declared that they were accused by their enemies "of actions the most depraved, which none but a corrupt heart could have conceived.  These things are too outrageous to admit of belief."  Nevertheless, a short time after these words were uttered, all prevarications were silenced by the bold publication of the revelation which was said to have been made to Joseph Smith some ten years previously, and actually carried into practice by saints who had had "from the beginning faith enough to live up to God's command."

    No wonder the women rebelled against the recognition of a system which could not but fill their minds with evil forebodings, and might altogether destroy their dearly prized home happiness.

    President Brigham Young evidently had a hard time of it when his repulsive doctrine was first enforced.  He had to demand submission in extremely plain terms before he smothered what he described as the "everlasting whinings of many of the women of this territory."  He said:


    "Now for my proposition: it is more particularly for my sisters, as it is frequently happening that women say that they are unhappy.  Men will say, 'My wife, though a most excellent woman, has not seen a happy day since I took my second wife'; 'No, not a happy day for a year.'  It is said that women are tied down and abused; that they are misused, and have not the liberty they ought to have; that many of them are wading through a perfect flood of tears, because of the conduct of some men, together with their own folly.

    "I wish my women to understand that what I am going to say is for them, as well as all others, and I want those who are here to tell their sisters, yes, all the women of this community, and then write it back to the States, and do as you please with it.  I am going to give you from this time to the 6th day of October next for reflection, that you may determine whether you wish to stay with your husbands or not, and then I am going to set every woman at liberty, and say to them, 'Now, go your way, my woman, with the rest, go your way.'  And my wives have got to do one of the two things: either round up their shoulders to endure the afflictions of this world and live their religion, or they may leave, for I will not have them about me.  I will go into heaven alone, rather than have scratching and fighting around me.  I will set all at liberty.  'What, first wife, too?'  Yes, I will liberate you all.

    "I know what my women will say: they will say, 'You can have as many women as you please, Brigham.'  But I want to go somewhere and do something to get rid of the whiners; I do not want them to receive a part of the truth, and spurn the rest out of doors."


    I am glad the ruthless tyrant had at least the grace to speak of the poor women as enduring "the afflictions of this world."  Bishop Heber C. Kimbal, in many discourses too coarse for quotation, also afforded complete evidence that neither specious promises that those who accepted plural marriage should be "queens in heaven and rulers throughout eternity," nor threats of the "free inheritance of hell" for all who refused submission, could at first induce the women allured into the community placidly to accept a practice so revolting to nineteenth century civilization.  How could the victims of the system go forth into the wilderness with their children?  They naturally succumbed to Brigham Young, who was one of the greatest despots that ever lived; and even under the gentler sway of the present day, you can see by the depressed faces of the wives the martyrdom they are passing through.  How best to free them is another matter.  Here and there a woman has had sufficient courage to take her life in her own hands, and go forth with her children from the home to which another wife has been brought; but these women are exceptionally brave, and it is impossible to describe the sufferings and privations they have encountered.  Consequently, they have served as warnings to deter, rather than as beacons to encourage, feebler sisters to escape from outrages inflicted in the name of religion.

    A plural wife is also kept in check by being told that while in the Church she is an "honourable wife," but as an "apostate" loses her position both with "saints" and outsiders; her children will be stigmatized as illegitimate, and she herself subjected to slander and personal abuse.

    The Mormons declare that they never take another wife without the "consent" of the first.  It is true that the first wife is forced, by a barbarous rite, to place her rival's hand in that of her husband during the sealing ceremony in the Endowment House; but this mockery is endured because the wife dare not refuse.  Many wives try to believe that, in thus "kissing the Lord's rod," they are fulfilling the will of God, and offering up a sacrifice for which they will be rewarded in the world to come.  Others regard this as an "act of perjury," from which there is no escape.  Never shall I forget the heartrending story told me by one lady, who had been compelled, after many happy years of marriage, to go through this revolting ceremony shortly before she was once again to become a mother.

    It seems strange that women can act so basely toward each other.  It has indeed to be admitted that, among the members of all religious sects in every part of the world, women are to be found who are mean enough to supplant others secretly; they lure away the heart which is bound in honour elsewhere, but they have at least the grace to be ashamed of their villainy, and have not the cruelty, save in the most abandoned cases, to parade their triumph in the face of the forsaken wife.  It must, however, be remembered that misguided Mormon girls have been taught from childhood that they can not "rise again at the last day" unless they have been "sealed" in this world; that without a husband no woman can enter the kingdom of heaven!

    Girls, too, are told that polygamy is practiced everywhere, in one form or another, and that the open plurality of the Mormon husband is the only pure and holy system.  According to the saints, "sin or polygamy" must exist.  They are informed that polygamy tends to promote their own physical wellbeing, enabling them to escape many complaints which embitter the lives and destroy the domestic happiness of other women, and that it also secures the sound health of their offspring.

    Consequently, a Salt Lake City belle speculates as openly about her chance of becoming the favourite wife of the man who has attracted her, as an English maiden contemplates her opportunities for securing the beau of the neighbourhood.  Taught from her cradle to regard polygamy as right, she often prefers to be the second, third, or even fourth wife, on the ground that she will be "more petted and loved," and less liable to be supplanted in her turn.  She seems dead to the feeling that she is acting "basely" by assuming such a relationship with another woman's husband.  She would resent the imputation "with righteous indignation."  She regards her conduct as natural and becoming, and in proper conformity with God's will; for has she not been taught that the great object of her existence is to be ready to "build up lion," and "to become a mother in Israel"?

    No one who has simply visited Salt Lake City as a passing tourist can imagine the peculiarity of the life there.  The external features of the place alone affect him.  The great lake, so salt that the bather is compelled to have recourse immediately to a tub of fresh water, and so buoyant that nobody has been known to sink in it; the barren but majestic mountains which surround the town; the shady sidewalks; the mammoth store, familiarly known as "Zion's Co-op.," with its motto, "Holiness to the Lord," and a representation of the All-seeing Eye of God as its sign; the red stone City Hall, and the well-built, substantial theatres.  He sees the Guardo House, formerly known as the "Amelia Palace," after the favourite wife of Brigham Young, for whom it was built; the Eagle Gate is pointed out, also the Lion House and the Beehive—the first with a crouching lion over the front entrance, the second with a carved beehive, Utah's insignia,—and finally, the crowning wonder of all, the Temple block, the Sacred Square of the Latter-Day Saints, which covers ten acres, and contains the magnificent Temple now in course of erection, the Assembly Hall, the mysterious Endowment House, into which no Gentile is allowed to enter, and the famous Tabernacle, with its far-famed organ.  If he stays over Sunday, he perhaps attends a service there.  He is probably taken down Brigham Street, and is informed that the endless residences he sees belong to Brigham Young's widows and children, and two houses in particular are pointed out as belonging to two of his daughters and their numerous families, both sisters being married to the same man.  But here his experience generally ends.

    Unless the traveller remains long enough to become personally acquainted with the residents of this place, he will certainly miss the strange sensation I experienced when I realized that for the first time in my life I was in a city of two peoples—Mormons and Gentiles—who no more mingle than oil and water, but hate one another with that worst of all hatreds, the rancour founded on religious differences.  "A rascally, lying, double-dealing sect," is the Gentile definition of the Latter-Day Saints, who in their turn are stigmatized for having introduced "drinking-saloons and every kind of iniquity" into the midst of a God-fearing, sober, frugal, hard-working people.  In the Tabernacle and Mormon newspapers are exhortations "to live holy lives in spite of persecution, to build up the kingdom"; while the Gentile press and pulpits call for "fire and sword" to destroy "a wholesale animalism unknown since the days of Mahomet."

    The sermons in the Sunday evening ward meetings of the Mormons chiefly consisted in advice as to the raising of cattle, the destruction of vermin, the cleaning of water-ditches, and other worldly concerns; and indeed some of the sermons in earlier times were couched in language so coarse and revolting, that ladies have told me they hardly knew how to endure it.  Rabelais himself could not have surpassed it!

    I learned from both Gentile and Mormon sources the secrets of the Endowment House, through which it is considered the sacred duty of a good Mormon to pass, but respecting which, under the penalty of death, every Mormon mouth is ordered to be closed.  In the Endowment House are administered the three oaths by which allegiance is sworn to Mormon laws in preference to those of the United States—oaths binding them to stand by each other, and to keep Gentile influence, as far as possible, out of the territory.  Here also take place the baptisms, the plural marriages, and the Garden of Eden dramas.  The first ceremony includes wholesale immersion.  The male and female candidates are bidden to take off their shoes in an anteroom, before they pass into the room divided by a heavy curtain which separates the men from the women.  Here each person is undressed, and washed from head to foot by the officiating priest on one side of the division, and a priestess on the women's side of the curtain.  After this they are anointed with green olive oil, while unpleasantly appropriate prayers are said over every part of the body.  The new celestial name is whispered into the ear of each.  This is never to be spoken, only thought of, "to keep away evil spirits," until it is confided to the husband.  Then a combination garment is put on: this is never to be wholly removed.  It is supposed to keep the wearer from sickness, and even death.  When a clean one is required, the saints are to slip out one limb at a time, but never to be entirely without it.  I may mention that the baptismal or religious name invariably given to the woman is "Sarah," very much to the disappointment of many of the more romantic girls.  Indeed, this poverty of invention seems to have caused general dissatisfaction to the ladies of Utah.  When the women have been arrayed in white dresses, and the men have donned white shirts, the curtain is withdrawn, and they face each other to their mutual confusion!  A brief discourse follows, and the play begins when they have been ushered into a room painted over with various Masonic signs.  Voices are heard outside; Jehovah is supposed to be telling Elohim to order Michael to collect the elements together, and to make the earth.  When it is pronounced good, man is made from a handful of dust; and while all the candidates shut their eyes, one of the men is taken and placed as Adam in the garden of Eden, and ordered to fall into a deep sleep.  This he is obliging enough to do, and one of the ladies is selected in the same way to represent Eve.  In a corner of the room an apple-tree has been rudely painted, and Adam and Eve are invited to eat of any tree but that.  Before long, however, a little old gentleman in black tights, with an apron, appears on the scene to play the important part of the devil.  The present actor of this role is known as "Brother Thomas."  He assisted at the administration of the Sacrament the first Sunday I was in Salt Lake City.

    After the temptation and the fall, aprons are produced for the entire company, composed of green silk, on which nine fig-leaves have been worked in brown.  Then a voice calls for Adam, who tries to hide himself; and so on throughout this absurd and irreverent travesty.  This ends the first degree.

    Certain passwords and signals, known as grips, are taught at every stage of these performances.  The men are adorned with caps like those worn by pastry cooks, and the women are put into caps with veils.  Good Mormons are buried in their Endowment robes, and the veil worn by the women covers their faces in the coffin.  This veil must be lifted by their husbands on the morning of the resurrection, and thus alone can a woman see God.  Without a husband to perform this office, no woman can be "resurrected."

    The candidates have now passed into a room called the world, where temptations assail them.  All kinds of men are introduced into this scene representing different creeds, which are coarsely satirized.  Peter; James, and John take part in this act, and the devil is also busily employed in telling every one "to take their own pleasure, and never mind about religion at all."  At last Peter ejects him summarily from the room.  All this time the people are supposed to be looking for "a plan of salvation."  At last a man appears, and declares that after 1800 years a gospel had been revealed by an angel to a young boy named Joseph Smith, together with all the gifts, blessings, and prophecies of olden times.  This last revelation to the world is called "The Latter-Day dispensation."  The priests receive it with joy, as the things they have been searching for.  Then other "grips" are given, and the next degree is completed.

    Very terrible are the oaths, with their attendant penalties, which are taken while "passing through the Endowment House."  Every one has to swear to avenge the death of Joseph Smith, and never to reveal what happens to them during these ceremonies.  Absolute obedience to the priesthood is enjoined, also chaste lives, which, in the case of the men, is explained as "never taking wives save by permission."  The penalty for breaking these oaths is to have the tongue and heart cut out while the victim lives, and in "the world to come, everlasting damnation."  The first part of the penalty is said to have been enforced many times by Brigham Young; the second, fortunately, was not within the tyrant's command, except in the imagination of his victims.

    The marriage candidates then proceed to the sealing-room.  Once the names were written in a book, and the ceremony performed in the presence of witnesses.  Both these forms are, however, now dispensed with, and no certificate is given.  Polygamous marriages may possibly prove troublesome, so no record of them is kept.  I know of a case in which the officiating priest denied in a court of law all knowledge of a certain marriage; and, under compulsion, the wife, with the baby in her arms, swore that she did not know who was its father, in order that the too much married husband might evade the punishment which the United States Government sometimes vainly tries to inflict for this defiance of its law.

    Kneeling at a little wooden altar together, the couple to be "sealed" are married by the priest, after declaring their willingness to take each other, and the man is told to look to God, and the woman to look to her husband as her God, and to yield to him unquestioning obedience.

    The marriages are for time and eternity, or for time only, as may be agreed upon.  Rich elderly ladies are married by men who sometimes undertake to look after their property on earth, and become their real husbands in heaven.  One kind of spiritual wife—what grim satire lies in the very choice of that word!—is a lady already married to one who does not sufficiently "exalt" her, so she is secretly sealed to a holier brother.  In the resurrection she will be the wife of the latter altogether, to the exclusion the earthly husband.  Women are often sealed to a distinguished man or departed saint.  Some have been patriotically sealed to George Washington, whose chances of heaven were considered but slight with only one wife.  The proxies who act in these ceremonies are generally elders and bishops, who pass over the earthly children of the union to the heavenly husband in the next world.  A Boston lady, with whose daughter I am well acquainted, deserted her husband and children to follow Brigham Young, by whom she was sealed to Joseph Smith, he acting proxy. On earth she has borne Brigham's name, and lives now on the means he left her, but in the resurrection she will be passed on to Mr. Joseph Smith.

    Certainly America has been the scene of strange matrimonial experiments.  What with the Mormons, the Free Love Institutions, the Shakers, and the Oneida community, she may indeed be said to have carried off the palm in this direction; and, at the same time, she is equally unrivalled in the freedom of her divorce laws, which occasionally produce unprecedented complications.  "For instance," writes Mrs. Devereux Blake, "a man who has been married, divorced, and re-married, will, in travelling, find himself sometimes a bachelor, sometimes married to his first wife, sometimes to his second.  Sometimes he is a divorced man, and sometimes a bigamist, according to the laws of the State in which he is travelling."  In short, the divorce law, as it stands at present, gives a colouring to the Mormon's statement that it differs from polygamy only in name.

    I was greatly disappointed in the architectural character of the Tabernacle.  Instead of being grand or imposing, the roof resembles a huge dish-cover with a handle, and when I saw it I rather sympathized with the traveller who likened the entire building "to a gigantic prairie dog-hole."  In the winter, as it has been found impossible to warm it, the services are held in the Assembly Hall, which holds more than 2,000 people, and is always so crowded that it is with great difficulty a stranger can secure a seat.  As an Episcopalian, I must certainly say that the administration of the Holy Communion on the Sunday afternoon I attended the service there struck me as most painfully, though doubtless it was unintentionally, irreverent.  It was administered while the sermon was being preached.  Twelve elders stood behind a long table, and broke up bread as fast as they could, which was then handed round the entire congregation by young men, who followed with silver flagons containing water.  With this the mothers of several babies present actually slacked their infants' thirst, and silenced, for the time being, their shrill screams.  The preacher broke off his discourse to partake of each as they were passed along the dais on which he stood among the other bishops and apostles, who occupied this raised platform above the sacramental table.  Behind them all sat President Taylor, on whom Brigham Young's mantle has descended.

    The hymn which preceded the Sacrament commenced—


"Behold the great Redeemer die,
 A broken law to satisfy;
 He dies a sacrifice for sin,
 That man may live, and glory win."


The sermon, which lasted nearly two hours, was on repentance, faith, baptism, and the laying-on of hands, described as the four first principles of the gospel taught by Joseph Smith, for which the "saints had been persecuted, and would be till the end of the world."  Then followed the doctrine of "redemption beyond the grave," which the preacher maintained "ought at once to induce honest and good people to view the religion of the Latter-Day Saints with favour."  Then he warned his hearers to expect tribulation in this world, for God had determined to have "a tried people"; but in spite of all persecution the kingdom of God would be built up by the hands of the apostles, for "it is not," he said, "a struggle between the 150,000 Latter-Day Saints and the world, any more than it was a contest between Luther and the priests, but it is a conflict between truth and error, right and wrong.  This work," continued the preacher, "was begun by Joseph Smith, and the clash of opinions and the conflict of ideas which existed at Nauvoo does not pertain to the Latter-Day Saints, but to the whole human family.  Can this conflict cease at the command of man?  Can laws be passed to stop the onward march of these principles?  No more can it be done to-day than it could in the days of the Puritans and the Huguenots.  Has it been left for this land to engage in persecution for religious belief?  The doctrine of redemption beyond the grave recently advanced by Henry Ward Beecher, of Brooklyn, and Dr. Thomas, of Chicago, was revealed to Joseph Smith years ago, and thus it is that the world is gradually adopting the principles that have been a part of our faith since the organization of this Church.  This plan of salvation is broad enough to admit all who have lived in the past, or who are to come in the future.  Though we may have principles obnoxious to the world, and in conflict with even the honest and good people of the world, yet when they come to reflect in regard to this one principle of redemption beyond the grave which we believe in, that alone ought to suffice to make them look upon us with more favour, and to hold us in higher esteem.  But human nature is strong in these matters, and hard to convince.  God will have a tried people, who shall pass through tribulations.  This work and this struggle will continue; the kingdom of God will be built up; our temples will arise, and we will all eventually join hands with the apostles and the good and true of all nations."

    The preacher, Elder John Morgan, a Scotchman, called on me at the Continental Hotel the next day, and seemed anxious to know how the sermon had struck me.  He took me to the Legislature, which was then sitting.  Actual polygamists are now excluded from the Legislature, but the entire body has hitherto followed the directions of the Church, and asserted its loyalty to Mormon despotism and polygamy, and has passed an election law which would do away with the results of the Edmunds' Bill had the Governor signed it, for it would have restored the franchise to all polygamists, except the few who have been convicted of that offence by the Government, and would have also conferred the privilege of voting on immigrants after only six months' residence in the country.

    During my visit to this assembly I heard and saw nothing of much interest, save a full-length oil-painting of Brigham Young, who was originally a stonemason and builder.  I stayed in one of the houses he helped in early life to build—Governor Seward's residence at Auburn, in the State of New York; and his early want of education and consequent refinement may perhaps be remembered as some excuse for the coarseness of his addresses in the Tabernacle.  There is certainly no despotism so severe as that of the man not accustomed to power, who by dint of unscrupulous use of talent achieves a position of absolute sovereignty.  President Young's slightest word was law.  The Mormon rebel of to-day, under the milder sway of President Taylor, may be perhaps brought to reason by the cutting off of the water supply on which his farming operations depend, but under the rule of the Napoleon of Mormonism the sickening horrors of the Black Vault enforced obedience, or silenced the unruly member.  The people were not only oppressed and robbed, but were continually face to face with the terrible "rite of blood atonement."  Whatever "the Lord" called for, whether life or property, had to be surrendered at once; and Bishop Heber Kimbal did not hesitate to say in his sermons, while "Brigham Young lived, he was the only Lord that the people had to do with."  How plainly but plausibly the shedding of blood for the remission of sins was taught is certainly proved by the following extract from a sermon preached by Brigham Young in the Tabernacle on the 8th of February, 1857, and afterward published in the official organ of the saints:


    "Suppose a man is overtaken in a gross fault, that he has committed a sin which he knows will deprive him of that exaltation which he desires, and that he can not attain to it without the shedding of his blood, and also knows that by having his blood shed he will atone for that sin, and be saved and exalted with the gods, is there a man or woman in this house but what would say, 'Shed my blood, that I may be saved and exalted with the gods?'

    "All mankind love themselves; and let these principles be known by an individual, and he would be glad to have his blood shed.  That would be loving themselves even unto an eternal exaltation.  Will you love your brothers and sisters likewise when they have committed a sin that can not be atoned for without the shedding of their blood?  Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood?  That is what Jesus Christ meant.  He never told a man or woman to love their enemies in their wickedness.  He never intended any such thing."


    "I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain in order to atone for their sins.  I have seen scores and hundreds of people for whom there would have been a chance in the last resurrection if their lives had been taken and their blood spilled upon the ground as a smoking incense to the Almighty but who are now angels to the devil, until our elder Brother, Jesus Christ, raises them up, conquers death, hell, and the grave.  I have known a great many men who have left this Church, for whom there is no chance whatever for exaltation; but if their blood had been spilled it would have been better for them.  The wickedness and ignorance of the nations forbid this principle being in full force, but the time will come when the law of God will be in full force.

    "This is loving our neighbor as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation, and it is necessary to spill his blood upon the ground in order that he may be saved, spill it.  Any of you who understand the principles of eternity, if you have sinned a sin requiring the shedding of blood, except the sin unto death, would not be satisfied nor rest until your blood should be spilled, that you might gain that salvation you desire.  That is the way to love mankind."


    As a natural consequence of this teaching, credulous and ignorant fanatics were easily induced to carry out hints plainly directed by the cunning President at some obnoxious individual, who was forthwith put out of the way, on the ground that by thus spilling his blood they were saving his immortal soul, and giving the best possible proof of their own brotherhood.

    There are many documents which amply justify what I have written about the real feeling of the ladies of Utah.  Some time ago a petition was sent to Congress signed by nearly 500 women, numbers of whom had a "personal and bitter experience of the practical workings of polygamy."  I am acquainted with some of the ladies: one was the wife of William S. Godbe, who began at this crisis an effort to start a reformed branch of the Mormon Church, in which polygamy should not be tolerated.  The despotism of Brigham Young was very plainly denounced, and his frequent resort to "the atonement by blood" doctrine alluded to in these remarkable words: "Never in this world will the history of these dark deeds be fully written, for the victim and witness of many a tragedy are hidden together in the grave"; and again, speaking of Brigham Young as being the ecclesiastical, civil, and military head of the territory, the document continues, "The history of his reign—for it is nothing else—is written in characters of blood."  But in spite of all this testimony, Mr. Cannon has actually asserted that the whole foundation of the blood atonement charge is that the Latter-Day Saints believe in "the Biblical doctrine that men who commit crimes should be executed!"

    When it was known in America that I was visiting Salt Lake City, several of the leading newspapers expressed the hope that I should bring the "real inwardness" of Mormonism before our people at home.  "A very large proportion of the victims," wrote the Chicago Inter-Ocean, "are importations from Great Britain.  Missionaries, supplied with ample letters of credit, act as panders for polygamy in the large towns and hamlets, inducing poor people to accept family tickets to Utah, generally withholding from them the knowledge of what awaits the girls of the household.  Mr. Evarts, when Secretary of State, tried to check this evil through consuls; but he could accomplish nothing.  Queen Victoria should protect her subjects from such an imposition.  Our Government would gladly co-operate in any feasible plan having that object in view."

    How far Her Majesty can "protect her subjects" in this direction I can not undertake to say; but believing that some service can be done by presenting to the public true pictures of Mormon life, I have endeavoured in these pages to give my readers the benefit of all the information I obtained while residing among this "peculiar people," which I consider has an important bearing on the extraordinary phase presented to the world by the social life and practices of the Latter-Day Saints.

    The feeling of the necessity for a better understanding among the English people of the true nature of Mormonism has certainly been very much strengthened by the numerous letters I have received from strangers since my return to this country.  Many persons have written to me about a friend, a niece, or even a daughter.  "She has gone to Salt Lake City, and is longing to come back, she is so unhappy," is the burden of the several letters now lying by my side.  Another writes that "agents of Mormonism are still inducing numbers of our young people, in the east of London, to go out of our country; they are deluded by the missionary's perversion of the Scriptures to suit his own inclinations, and allured with the belief that in Salt Lake City they will find Zion or Paradise at once."

    A few years ago such a missionary visited a remote district in Cornwall.  He made many converts, among them a respectable, worthy woman, who, at her sister's death, had taken charge of her children, and brought them up with such tender affection that the eldest daughter quite regarded her in the light of a mother.  Great was the grief and consternation of that little household when it was discovered that the "aunt" had resolved to join the band of Mormon converts, and leave her home and kindred to seek the New Jerusalem in the heart of the great American continent.  Three years later the missionary returned to the same place for new recruits.  Nothing in the meanwhile had been beard of the dearly-loved relative whose departure had left such a blank in that once happy little home.  Joy filled the entire household on hearing of her happiness and prosperity in the far-away land of her adoption.  The eldest daughter was much moved when told that her "aunt-mother" greatly desired her family and friends to join her, and share in the good things that had fallen to her lot, and at last she herself was induced to accept the faith which brought with it such rich spiritual and temporal benefits, and finally consented to leave her father and the rest of the children to start off to Utah, with a few other converts from the village.  She would write for her dear ones to join her, she thought, when she found the "promised land" all it was represented.  Meanwhile she was delighted with the idea of "the joyful surprise" she would give her aunt, and set forth, gaily anticipating that happy reunion, little dreaming, poor girl, of the fate that really awaited her.  Of course the degrading doctrine of polygamy had in both instances been carefully kept out of sight.  She was assured that all her past sins had been washed away by the waters of baptism, and the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit were freely promised her in the impressive and convincing language which the Mormon brothers who are selected for this work know so well how to use.

    During the sea voyage the missionary's deep interest in his young disciple's spiritual condition was exchanged for the more attractive attentions of an ordinary lover, and, as might be expected, he gradually succeeded in winning this young and inexperienced girl's affections.  Naturally proud of her conquest of this "great and good man's heart," she gladly consented to marry him.  On landing in New York some little delay was experienced.  The "elder" was awaiting fresh instructions, he said; but the time passed very pleasantly, while he made full use of all his opportunities, representing to her how much better it would be if the marriage took place while they waited in the city, before they started forth on the long journey across the plains.  Having by this time gained complete ascendancy over the girl's mind and heart, she contentedly yielded to his solicitation; the marriage ceremony was performed, and she felt that when she met her aunt her cup of happiness would indeed be filled to the brim.  Just before, however, they reached the town in Utah where her husband resided, it was rudely dashed from her lips by the startling acknowledgment of the polygamy practiced by the saints, and the still more dreadful announcement that he was himself already married, and would have to take her to his first wife's own abode on reaching their destination.  Stunned by a revelation as unexpected as it was repugnant, with the happy joy and loving pride which had hitherto filled her soul turned thus suddenly into bitterness and distrust, the poor girl began to anticipate with simple horror the meeting between herself and the supplanted wife; for her husband's protestations of devotion, combined with the early training she had received from her aunt in her simple English home, made her feel as if she had basely helped to injure and betray the slighted wife, who would now be required to give place to a rival in tier husband's affections.  Imagine her dismay when the home was reached and the first wife proved to be her own aunt.  The veil is better drawn over the misery endured by both these victims.  Deceived alike by the man who combined the religious teacher with the apparently devoted husband into a position they both regarded as equally degrading, tortured by the love more easily kindled than extinguished in the heart of a true woman, the shock proved fatal to the aunt.  Crushed and humiliated, after a few months of mental anguish and physical suffering death came to her bruised spirit, not as a stern conqueror, but as a welcome deliverer from a bondage against which her whole nature revolted.

    This is no romance; it is one of the many sad histories I know to be true.  I could recount others still more heartrending; but too many of the tales of plural wives are not only painful but revolting.  It is by no means uncommon for a Mormon to marry two sisters, and the marriage of an aged elder with his own youthful step-daughter has even outraged the feelings of a wretched mother; but as a good wife she was bound to submit to this horrible ordeal, for was not this the celestial order of marriage, and undertaken in obedience to direct revelation?


 
CHAPTER XII.


The President's Secretary, Mr. George Reynolds—Mr. G. Q. Cannon—A religious argument after the President's luncheon—The ox-team wagon journey across the plains—Mormon amusements, theatres, and dances—The effect of stage-plays on the plural wives—Captain Boyd on the Latter-Day Saints—The Mormon Bible—The Doctrines and Covenants—"Joseph the Seer's" revelations from the Lord to his wife Emma—The women's right to the franchise and their deprivation of dower—Accusations against the Gentiles—Mormon criminal statistics—The Salt Lake Tribune on "Gulled English travellers"—Celestial marriages and divorces—Governor Murray—Mrs. Paddick—The duty of Congress.


AS I have already stated, nothing could exceed the kindness and courtesy shown to me by the leading Mormons.  Shortly after my arrival at Salt Lake City, the President gave a large luncheon party in my honour at the Guardo House.  He kindly sent his own carriage to the hotel for me, and his Secretary was desired to explain how a cold had unfortunately detained him in the house, but that he had given instructions that, before proceeding to the Guardo House, I should be driven to the chief points of interest in the neighbourhood, and to the hills, from which a magnificent view of the city could be obtained.  I discovered subsequently that the said Secretary who had me thus in charge was the notorious Mr. George Reynolds, one of the few Mormon husbands convicted of polygamy under the Act passed in 1862, and subjected to the penalty of his transgression.  After his two years' imprisonment, however, he returned to his former wives, though I believe he has abstained from increasing their number.

    When I arrived at the Guardo House, one of the daughters met me—a pleasant girl about twenty years of age, who seemed very proud of the city, and anxious I should admire all its institutions.  On entering the drawing-room, the President presented me to a lady, "one of my wives" being the strange formulary!  I soon found myself in the thick of apostles, priests, and priestesses.  Foremost among the latter was "Sister Eliza Snow," the Mormon poetess, who, in spite of having celebrated her eightieth birthday two or three days previously, had evidently lost none of her vigour and enthusiasm, as she fully showed in an effort she made at the conclusion of the luncheon for my conversion.  Opposite me sat Joseph F. Smith, nephew of the Mormon founder, and next to him a lady from Stockport, "sealed " to President Taylor for the life that now is and that which is to come.  Both of them alluded openly to their relationship, and regretted I did not see the value of forming associations which would last throughout eternity.

    President John Taylor is a mild, benevolent-looking old gentleman from Cumberland, and was a Methodist preacher in England before his conversion to Mormonism; he is a very intelligent but not a strong man, consequently he yields to the advice of his two counsellors, Mr. George Q. Cannon and Mr. Joseph Smith—both of them men of brains, the former, who was born in Liverpool, having to a certain degree the polish of the man of the world as well.  None of Mr. Cannon's wives were present with him on this occasion; he took the young English lady who was travelling with me—Miss Charlotte Robinson—into luncheon, and made himself particularly agreeable, talking on many matters with the familiarity of a man who has seen and read much, and taken a keen interest in matters beyond his own immediate religion and circle.

    While we were discussing the good things provided, which, I may remark, were excellently cooked, and served by six young ladies, who were evidently related to the President—probably his daughters—the conversation was general.  It included the usual topics introduced at such gatherings, and of course the inevitable question, "How did I like America?"  Before we left the table, however, " Sister Eliza" attacked me on certain vital questions, likely, in her opinion, to put a Gentile to open confusion.  For instance, if I admitted that I regarded the Bible as an inspired book, how could I reject the doctrine of plural marriage, which was decidedly taught in it and practiced by Biblical saints "whom the Lord loved"?  If I believed that God walked and talked with holy men of old, that He gave them the gift of prophecy, and vouchsafed to them special revelations, why should His power be limited now?  Those who were stubborn and stiff-necked in days gone by had refused to listen to God's servants then, just as the Gentiles of to-day reject the teachings of Joseph Smith, and deny the revelations made to Latter-Day Saints!  When she spoke of the heavenly joys in store for those who had obeyed God's commandments by having plural wives on earth, I ventured to remind her of the answer Christ gave the Sadducees, to the effect that "when they rise from the dead they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels in heaven"; but in reply there was quite a general chorus to the effect that the marriages had already taken place on earth, and, in short, the verse was held to establish their dicta on the propriety of arranging such relationships in the present world for enjoyment in the next.

    The conversation was but another instance of the way in which all things read according to our personal "point of view."  As I remarked to my Mormon friends, it reminded me of the story of the dream that during one night the Bible became a blank, and when the people were called together the next day to supply as far as possible the valuable guidance the world had thus lost, each denomination furnished that part of the text that exactly coincided with its own way of thinking, and conveniently forgot the rest!  To reconstruct the Bible upon this system, was, however, deemed worse than useless; the work was consequently abandoned, and the blank Bible remained, the legend states, as a witness against the inhabitants of that city forevermore.  From time immemorial there have not been wanting in every community those who thus "wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction," and religious arguments are notoriously futile everywhere!

    Many present at that luncheon party had crossed the plains long before the Great Pacific Railroad made travelling from New York to Salt Lake City only a matter of a few days' journey, and they gave most interesting accounts of perilous adventures with Indians, and of life in ox-team wagons, when fifteen miles a day was esteemed a fair progress, and every evening saw the emigrants in some newly pitched tent, where they beguiled the weary hours with song and story.  Sometimes rivers had to be forded, at other times no water could be found; the women and children shared with strong men the agonies of thirst; the sun smote them by day, and the cruel frosts of the night crippled them with rheumatism, and many who expected to see the promised Zion were left by the wayside in lonely graves, for sickness of all kinds came upon them in that terrible desert, and winter with its fearful hardships overtook the wanderers.  After the privations recounted, I wondered that any one had survived to tell the tale!

    Dances are very popular in Utah; some of them are opened and closed by prayer by some of the so-called elders, who are invariably present, and take an active part in the dancing, often discharging the onerous duties of floor master, for "calling the figures" is quite a feature of a country dance in America.  These dances are the delight of the Mormon brethren and younger sisters, and are eagerly anticipated by them.  They afford excellent opportunities for "courtships."  The wives, after one dance with their husbands, sit patiently round the room while their lords enjoy themselves with the young girls who have recently attracted their fancy.  Many a heartache has been experienced in these gay and festive scenes.  A wife has watched with kindling eye her husband's devotion to his last love, till, unable to endure it any longer, she has taken refuge in the dressing-room, and vented her feelings in angry and indignant words to a group of sympathetic listeners of her own sex.  English chaperones sometimes find the task of watching and waiting dreary enough; but what is the anxiety of seeing a daughter dancing with young Briefless, or sitting out a "square" with some ineligible in the conservatory, or some equally secluded spot, to the anguish of beholding a husband using every art to win another bride, knowing that the girl he has selected will probably not scruple to claim from him the complete surrender of his affections, which, for the time being, Utah husbands—like other gentlemen—are generally willing to accord.

    Literary and choral unions, glee clubs and musical parties, also abound, and the Salt Lake City theatres are well patronized.  Mrs. Stenhouse, an "apostate" lady I met in San Francisco, considers that "the worst day's work Brigham Young ever did in the interests of his religion" was the building of the theatre, for she believes "it has done more than anything else to shake the faith of Mormon women."  The pictures represented on the stage of the delicate tender union of


"Two souls with but a single thought,
 Two hearts that beat as one";


the happiness springing from the marriage based on the gift for life of the entire heart, over which one wife alone has the right to reign and rule, contrasted strangely with the coarse and painful effects of the polygamy around them, which simply reduces woman to an "inferior creature" made to obey man's sovereign will and pleasure, grateful for the honour of becoming the mother of his children, and only allowed a hope of another life through his intervention, with the reward of still serving him in the next existence if she has proved faithful here.  The courtship and marriage of the husband with some young girl who might have been his daughter, in the face of the wife of his youth, seemed all the more revolting after even a theatrical representation of a higher and purer life.  The ready perceptive faculty of the women, quickened by a sense of personal wrongs, enabled many Salt Lake wives to appreciate keenly the wide gulf between the poetic ideals of wedded bliss as seen behind the footlights, and the degradation involved in Joseph Smith's revelation of celestial marriage.  "Mormonism," said Captain Boyd to me one day at Greeley, "is the only brand new religion the American nation has had the honour of inventing."  The transcendentalism of New England is a philosophy rather than a religion, and owes everything to Kant and Hegel, but Mormonism is a new departure.  Its essentially characteristic doctrine is that revelation is perpetual.  Not only has it a new inspired prophet of its own, whose word is more authoritative than that of all preceding prophets, but with "genuine Yankee liberality," as my friend described it, it keeps the lists open for other inspired prophets, each of whose latest utterances will not only be more authoritative than those of his predecessors, but may contradict and reverse the prophet's own earlier dicta.  "This perpetually renewed inspiration" certainly gives an elasticity to their system unknown to other creeds.  The Book of Mormon and The Doctrines and Covenants, their two most important books, are supposed to be "divine revelations."

    Mr. James Jeffries, of Hartford County, gives the following account of the origin of the Book of Mormon, which is stated to be a romance purporting to give the origin and history of the American Indians:


"Forty years ago I was in business in St. Louis.  The Mormons then had their temple in Nauvoo, Illinois.  I had business transactions with them.  Sidney Rigdon I knew very well.  He was general manager of the affairs of the Mormons.  Rigdon, in course of conversation, told me a number of times that there was in the printing-office with which he was connected in Ohio a manuscript of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding's, tracing the origin of the Indian race from the lost tribes of Israel; that this manuscript was in the office for several years; that he was familiar with it; that Spaulding had wanted it printed, but had not the means to pay for the printing; that he (Rigdon) and Joe Smith used to look over the manuscript and read it on Sundays.  Rigdon said Smith took the manuscript and said, 'I'll print it,' and went off to Palmyra, New York."


    The only passages worth reading in the Book of Mormon are those directly stolen from the Bible, and the following extracts from the other volume will, I think, enable my readers to form an opinion not only as to its puerile character, but the extremely convenient nature of the so-called "revelations" through "Joseph the Seer," as Mr. Smith is designated.  For instance, when this worthy gentleman wanted a house built for himself, he published a revelation he had received at Nauvoo, in which "the Lord God," after promising to save all the pure in heart that had been slain in the land of Missouri, continues:


    "And now I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding house, which I have commanded you to build for the boarding of strangers, let it be built unto my name, and let my name be named upon it, and let my servant Joseph and his house have place therein, from generation to generation.  For this anointing have I put upon his head, that his blessing shall also be put upon the head of his posterity after him.

    "Therefore, let my servant Joseph and his seed after him have place in that house, from generation to generation, forever and ever, saith the Lord.  And let the name of that house be called Nauvoo House, and let it be a delightful habitation for man, and a resting-place for the weary traveller, that he may contemplate the glory of Zion, and the glory of this the corner-stone thereof."


    As an example of the prophet's eye to business, and his cool method of disposing of other men's goods, this quotation will suffice:


    "And again I say unto you, that my servant Isaac Moreley may not be tempted above that which he is able to bear, and counsel wrongfully to your hurt.  I give commandment that his farm should be sold.

    "I will not that my servant Frederick G. Williams should sell his farm, for I the Lord will to retain a stronghold in the land of Kirtland for the space of five years, in the which I will not overthrow the wicked, and thereby I may save some.

    "And again verily I say unto you, let my servant Sidney Gilbert plant himself in this place and establish a store, that he may sell goods without fraud, that he may obtain money to buy lands for the good of the saints, and that he may obtain whatsoever things the disciples may need to plant them in their inheritance.  And also let my servant Sidney Gilbert obtain a license (behold! here is wisdom, and whoso readeth, let him understand), that he may send goods also unto the people, even by whom he will, as clerks employed in his service.

    "And again verily I say unto you, let my servant William W. Phelps be planted in this place, and be established as a printer unto the Church.

    "And lo, if the world receiveth his writing; (behold here is wisdom), let him obtain whatsoever he can obtain in righteousness for the good of the saints."


    After the revelation about the plurality of wives, Joseph Smith had special messages from the Lord for his wife, which ran thus:


    "And let mine handmaid Emma Smith receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me, and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.

    "And I command mine handmaid Emma Smith to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to no one else.  But if she will not abide this commandment, she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord, for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law."


    To leave the way open for any future revelations which might be deemed politic, the astute and saintly Joseph concludes:


    "And now, as pertaining to this law, verily, verily I say unto you, I will reveal more unto you hereafter; therefore, let this suffice for the present.  Behold, I am Alpha and Omega.  Amen."


    Among the curious anomalies existing in Utah is the right of women to the franchise and their deprivation of dower.  The organ of the Latter-Day Saints explains that dower was an "invention of barbarism"—a miserable compensation for "the vassalage" under which the same law placed women.  But I was at a loss to discover how the laws of Utah improve the condition of women, when a husband is given the power to take away his wife's goods—to hand them over, if it be his lordly pleasure, to the new wife who has supplanted her in his affections.  I was told, on authority which could not be impugned, of women robbed of their property for the benefit of a new wife.  It also struck me as very strange, that, while President Taylor claimed that "celestial marriages" were "eternal covenants, eternal unions, eternal associations," that divorces were to be had without difficulty, and for a few dollars, in Utah.  Some Mormons assured me that mutual consent alone is necessary; the marriages are religious, not legal; and, accordingly, no real legal difficulty attends their dissolution.  "Celestial marriage," too, certainly conveys an idea of a purely spiritual union, and when Joseph Smith first published his revelation, it was supposed to be such by many of his followers.  No wonder that when the truth came out many of his horrified disciples forsook him and fled.

    There are many other contradictions in this extraordinary system which could be easily pointed out, and those who wish to pursue the matter further should read a vivid picture of Mormon life by Mrs. A. G. Paddick, entitled, The Fate of Madame La Tour.  It was published about three years ago in the form of a novel, and certainly deserves to rank with Mrs. Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, for it throws as much light upon the practices of the Latter-Day Saints as Mrs. Stowe's book did upon the evils of slavery.  I have reasons for confidently stating it is a trustworthy history, which at least should be carefully studied by those who are endeavouring to understand the problems presented by Mormonism.

    It is difficult for a stranger to arrive at a sound conclusion respecting the criminal statistics shown by the Mormons.  Some people assert that " figures never lie," others that "they will prove anything," and I rather incline to the latter idea.  Disreputable houses, gambling and drinking saloons, are declared to be the direct importations of the Gentiles.  "We have no waifs and strays such as are found in the large cities of Christendom," insists President Taylor; "the children of our families do not gravitate to the poor-house, for we have no such establishments in the Territory, and our poor are cared for by the bishops and by the members of our ladies' relief societies."

    The Salt Lake Tribune indulges in severe comments on the fact that the passing visitor is often misled by the specious statements put before him.  While I was in the city, "Another Gulled Englishman" was the heading of an article on Mr. James W. Barclay's contribution to this vexed question, in which he maintained, and with truth, that the people are industrious and temperate.  "If they are," wrote the Tribune, "it is no more than the slaves of the South were, and proves nothing save that there can often be a calm under an absolute despotism.  Then the crime statistics, so stale in their repetition, prove nothing, for a threefold reason.  What is a crime in a Gentile is not a crime in a Mormon.  If a Gentile gets drunk, he is arrested and fined.  If a Mormon does the same thing, he is carried home by the police or locked up until sober and then turned out, and no charge is made against him.  Again, the Mormons have their own secret courts, and no mortal outside knows of their decrees.  Finally, all who are not in good standing in the Mormon Church are called Gentiles.  What would be said of the Methodist or Presbyterian or Baptist minister who should say of his congregation, 'Of all people convicted of crime in my parish last year, not more than ten per cent. were members in good standing in my church.'  That is what the Mormon priests, in effect, did when they were stuffing Mr. Barclay.  And Mr. Barclay insists that polygamy is already rare and is swiftly dying out, and right below refers to the ignorance of the people.  By going out on the streets in Salt Lake and inquiring of any intelligent man, he could have found out that quite one-fourth, if not one-third, of the men of marriageable age in Utah are polygamists; that it is increasing with frightful rapidity, and that it is the one essential badge of promotion in that Government which he thinks other States might profitably pattern after."  In the same way great exception has been taken to many of the statements in Phil Robinson's clever Saints and Sinners; but in my opinion his contention that "Mormonism is not the wind-and-rain inflated pumpkin the world at a distance believes it," can not be honestly contradicted; the two hundred thousand Mormons in Utah and the surrounding States are held together by the secret oaths of an organization so powerful that all the efforts of the United States Congress have hitherto failed to stamp out an institution full of danger to the well-being of the entire Republic.  For years bills have been before Congress, and various methods suggested for the settlement of the matter, and the feeling is gaining ground that it can be trifled with no longer.

    The legal assaults on the system hitherto made have been compared by the Rev. H. Ward Beecher to the efforts of a cat to eat a wasp.  "She darts at it, she scrambles at it, but she can't chew it up," observes the eccentric divine.

    Accordingly some are suggesting "fire and sword."  "Thirty days of Oliver Cromwell," remarks a religious paper, "would suffice for an honourable and healthy ending of this cancer in our midst."  Governor Murray, however, is anxious to shield the State he controls from such a calamity, though he holds that the present state of things can not continue; that either the Government must repeal its laws, or find some way to enforce them.  "I do not, even now," he says, "advocate military force.  I believe with proper legislation a settlement can be effected peaceably; but if that legislation is much longer withheld, it will have to be effected with strife and bloodshed."  The Edmunds Bill was evidently intended to prepare the way for the correction of the evils by the Mormons themselves.  It was also hoped that the Gentile influence, missionaries, and schools, and the establishment of a military post in Salt Lake City, would dispose of the difficulty, but they have hitherto signally failed to uproot polygamy.  The railroad which was completed fifteen years ago was said to be "the beginning of the regeneration of Utah," and the dissension within the camp itself, led by William S. Godbe, was once regarded as "the thin edge of the wedge" which would lead to disunion and confusion.  The death of "King Brigham" was to solve the problem, but unhappily Mormonism remains master of the situation to this very hour.

    The present Government of Utah may well be described as a curious anomaly, with a Governor appointed by Federal authority, anti-polygamic and anti-hierarchical in his opinions; a Legislature every member of which, though monogamatic, is a Mormon, bound to the support of the civil power of the hierarchy and polygamy as divinely appointed institutions; the judges of the local courts are Mormons and county officers; the schools are taught by Mormons; the municipal corporations are under the control of the Mormon Government, with the settled portions of the Territory laid off into districts, and organized into municipal governments with Mormons as the officers, taking in large tracts of land, which can not be entered or pre-empted by persons not Mormons; in fact, the entire machinery for the local government of the Territory is in the hands of Mormons, dictated to by the Church; and finally, a commission authorized by Congress to put down polygamy, which seems to have incurred the dislike and distrust of both the Gentile and Mormon inhabitants of the Territory.

    Meanwhile the foes of Mormons are denounced as "carpet-baggers," "wild-cat speculators," and "Mormon-eaters"; it is further intimated that those "who raised the anti-Mormon cry have done so in a mad desire to possess themselves of Mormon wealth"; the "moralists who go into virtuous spasms" over "the patriarchal order of marriage" are advised to remedy "the vile and wicked social practices of Christian communities."  "Look at the secret combinations and secret societies," retort the saints; "look at the struggle between capital and labour, the lack of confidence in men of position!  Unless the rulers and statesmen rid themselves of their selfishness, and let honour, truth, and justice be their motto, they will have enough to do nearer home than Utah."  Congress itself is warned to be careful how it denies even to "deluded people" the right of self-government, and attempts the branding of Mormon children as illegitimate, or ventures to hand them over for relief to the sense of equity possessed by a board of politicians.  A Gentile American advocate of the let-alone system remarks, "that while the religious heretic is tolerated in law, the social heretic is persecuted, and the Mormon problem will test to the utmost the boasted liberality of America."  He continues, "When citizens are deprived of the right of franchise for acts of which those most interested do not complain, but indorse, and which involve no moral criminality, and this to a people upon whose moral character the only blot is in the non-Mormon portion, we strike a blow at the American idea of liberty and toleration that might well arouse Thomas Jefferson from his tomb."

    President Arthur's message to Congress treated the matter with earnest gravity.  "I am convinced," he said, "that polygamy has become so strongly entrenched in the Territory of Utah, that it is profitless to attack it with any but the stoutest weapons which constitutional legislation can make; I favour, therefore, the repeal of the Act upon which the existing Government depends, and the resumption by the National Legislature of the entire political control of the Territory, and the establishment of a commission."  Consequently Congress has shown a wise inclination, in spite of Senator Brown of Georgia, to pass a bill more effective than the recent Edmunds Commission, and the President's recommendation has been fully endorsed by the press and the people.  Clearly the present is the time for action; every year makes the work more difficult and complicated, and the suppression of polygamy must be made one of the living is sues of the campaign of 1884.  It is a serious enough matter now, but in a few years it will certainly entail actual war, and loss of life and property.  There are now more than 200,000 Mormons in Utah and the neighbouring States; in the year 1880 it is authentically stated that there were more polygamous marriages than in any previous year since the settlement of Utah, which directly strengthens their "political, spiritual, social, independent despotism," and also increases the number of wives and children who have to be considered in any action the Government may see fit to take.  This is a point upon which hinges a great deal of the hesitation experienced by those who shrink from bringing upon the innocent the punishment and sorrow which ought in common justice to fall upon the Mormon leaders, elders, and bishops alone.  "What will be done with these poor victims if deprived of the protection of their husbands and fathers?" is the question often asked by the tender-hearted outsider, who is not quite familiar with the present condition of the "victims."  Mrs. Paddick, the authority to whom I have already alluded, answers this at once by the bold assertion that "polygamists as a rule do not support their families."  I extract from her work the following remarkable statement:


    "The masses of the Mormon people are poor, and the constant drain of the tithing system keeps them so; yet men who can not support one family in comfort are continually taking more wives.  The consequence is, that none of their numerous families have even the bare necessaries of life, unless the women and children earn them.  Wealthy Mormons support their families much better than they did before the anti-polygamists in Utah began their war upon the system; but even among these there are many husband who think they are doing all that can reasonably be expected of them, if they provide their wives with shelter, fuel, and flour.  Not long ago the wife of a wealthy Mormon complained to the bishop of her ward that her husband did not support her.  'Your husband gives you a house to live in, does he not?' asked the bishop.  'Yes,' was the reply.  'Does he keep you well supplied with wood and flour?'  'Yes.'  'Then I think,' he responded, 'he is a very good provider, and you ought to be ashamed to enter a complaint against him.'  From such decisions there is no appeal, inasmuch as the law does not give either a legal or plural wife any claim upon the property or earnings of her husband.  If polygamy were abolished to-day, in five years the women of the poorer classes would be far better off than they are now, even if the law which ended their polygamous relations made no provision for them; but there is not a Gentile in Utah who would favour a bill for the immediate suppression of polygamy, unless there was a clause in it which provided some means of support for plural wives and their children."


    Joaquin Miller and others have argued that the Mormons, having made "the wilderness to blossom like the rose," have a right to remain undisturbed; "a man who has planted a tree and dug a well in the desert has done more good than an army with banners."  On the other hand, it is maintained the pretence of reclaiming the alkali soil and subduing the Indians is groundless.  Mr. M'Bride, a Salt Lake barrister, wrote in the Tribune published in that city his experience as one of the oldest pioneers in that district, in which it is stated that "there were stretches of miles upon miles of meadow-land, where even irrigation was not needed, when the saints came into the valley; all that was needed was ordinary industry, and that the lands, in the early settlement of Utah, were more easily brought to bear fruitful returns than the ordinary wild lands of the Western States.  All this talk and sentiment about the hardships of pioneering in Utah are pure fustian."

    Be this as it may, industry deserves its recognition and reward, and the Mormons are fully entitled to all the credit due to perseverance, endurance, and self-denial.  They have reduced the principle of co-operation from the religious duty, as taught by Brigham Young, to a voluntary and profitable system, and are carrying it out, after fourteen years' experience, on a grander scale than I have seen it anywhere else in the world.  If you separate "the people" from the leaders, they are, in my opinion, "the honest, kind-hearted, simple men and women" that Phil Robinson, in his Saints and Sinners, represents them—"patterns in commercial honesty, religious earnestness and social charity."

    Mrs. Barrett Browning tells us "we get no good by being ungenerous even to a book," and we certainly shall gain no worthy end by ignoring the good points of this "peculiar people," who belong to the most credulous, illiterate classes of the countries from which they are drawn, and possess a deeply-rooted love of the miraculous and mysterious, and are therefore easily duped by those who represent that heaven will be best secured by tithe-paying and living after the manner of Abraham, Isaac, and the saints of old, on the banks of the new Jordan, in the Zion of the "Latter-Day Saints."  Nor do I think the full and free acknowledgment of the amendment in the physical and temporal well-being of these emigrants should be withheld.  One of the poorer Mormons I talked to was once a messenger in a publishing house in Paternoster Row, and as he frankly said to me, "Had I remained there, I should probably be a messenger still; now I am a jobbing carpenter, and own my own house and bit of garden."  Thrift is a lesson well taught in the Mormon school; and it must be allowed, as far as temporal matters are concerned, the half-starved proselytes obtained in the Old World have a chance given them out here which would never have come to them at home.  They have been hurried across the continent to Utah, and know nothing of the country they have come to, save what their spiritual pastors and masters choose to tell them.

    These leaders—who, by the way, have been described by the erratic defender of Mormon liberty, Joaquin Miller, as "Guiteaus"—encourage a spirit of hostility to the United States Government, misrepresent the American nation, its civilization, actions, and aims, and, as far as they can, are evidently determined to act in conformity with the spirit displayed by the pioneer who, as he crossed the Missouri, cursed "the East" which he and his followers had left forever, resolving to set up in the West "a kingdom that should break in pieces all the nations of the earth."  The Mormon denomination now is all-powerful under the existing Territorial system of government.  The United States Government pays the bills, but is only a secondary power in Utah, and the very isolation of the Territory has enabled the Church to prevent a sufficient practical investigation of its practices.  No commission will be available unless composed of residents in Utah, who thoroughly understand the position of affairs, and are able to follow up and secure the punishment of the crimes perpetrated in the name of religion against the laws of the land.  As Senator Cullom informed Congress last January, "It is worse than folly to tinker with this matter from year to year, and at the same time leave the whole legal power of the Territory in the hands of men who are defiantly violating national law."

    It is impossible not to recognize the fact that hitherto the Government has utterly failed to deal with this outrage of its laws, and the rectifying influences of moral and intellectual forces have had but little effect.  No one can hate more than I do the employment of force and law against mistaken beliefs in religion and politics; but polygamy, as practiced in Utah, is such a crime against nature, involving such terrible degradation, that those who have the interests of women at heart can never rest satisfied until they are freed from the worst form of slavery the heart of man ever yet invented, and justified on biblical and religious grounds.

    In the present day most men find it difficult to maintain one fashionably-dressed wife, therefore it is reasonable to suppose that the support of half a dozen under such circumstances would prove impossible.  Consequently, it has been jestingly proposed by those who believe that Mormon husbands "pay for everything," that the army of French milliners recently ejected from Constantinople should be despatched to Utah, as most likely to break the bonds of polygamy asunder.  But Mormon ingenuity might even discover some means for checkmating the French milliners.  Anyhow, Brigham Young circumvented poor Mrs. Stenhouse, who told me that, partly for employment and partly for self-support, she started a little business in this direction in Salt Lake City.  A bonnet was ordered for Brigham's favourite wife; subsequently Mrs. Stenhouse received an order to make bonnets for all his wives, and gloves, ribbons, and laces were supplied in addition.  The bill amounted to 275 dollars; but when it was presented, the poor woman found the wily prophet had ordered "that the amount should be credited against her for tithing."

    The matter, however, is too serious, and involves too many grave interests, to admit of being for a moment treated from a jesting point of view; and I confess that the extirpation of polygamy by brute force is to me equally repugnant.  The British Government certainly found it impossible to crush the crime of infanticide in India without military measures; the Abolitionists in America vainly combated by other means, for two generations, the institution of slavery, and at last moral forces had to be supplemented by the strong arm of the law.  It would almost seem that the legislative opportunity now open is Utah's last chance to initiate peaceable reforms from within.  The law of the United States can not be much longer defied with safety.  I fancy this is almost acknowledged within the citadel itself, for Bishop Sharp, whom I met while in Salt Lake City, on his return from Washington, observed, "No power but the Almighty can save the Mormon people; if God does not pilot the ship it will go down."  Not that the Latter-Day Saints themselves are ready to "go back" on their so-called principles: Apostle George Teasdale, who may be taken as a representative speaker, in a recent address at the Assembly Hall, "bore testimony" to his unshaken faith in the tenets of the one true religion revealed by the angel at Noroni, and to "the priesthood which was then established upon earth."  He continued: "Have we any occasion to fear the people or nations?  No!  I don't go back on one principle of the revelations.  I believe in the doctrine of plural marriage as much as I do in baptism for the remission of sins.  I would not give up one of the principles of this gospel.  I do not fear the face of man as I fear the face of God.  I should fear to go behind the veil and meet those who would know that I had given up any of the principles of eternal truth.  I bear my testimony that plural marriage is a necessity, and the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints can not exist without it.  It is one of the marks of this Church."

    It is impossible for the United States Government to delay the settlement of this question, and escape from the charge of wilful neglect and incapacity; it may also expect considerable outside pressure if it does not deal with the problem quickly, and in a thoroughly practical way.  The majesty of the law can alone be vindicated by a well-aimed blow at the power of the Mormon chiefs.  Polygamy must be suppressed by unflinching enforcements, unless the nation is willing to let it spread and flourish for ever over the western portion of America.



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