THE DAYS OF MY CHILDHOOD. - WHY I EVER WAS A MORMON.
An Important Question.- Born in Mormonism. - Telling my own Story. - Joseph Smith's Mission. - He preaches a New Dispensation. My Parents Introduced to the Reader. -The Days before Polygamy. - My Mother's Childhood. - Learning under Difficulties - First Thoughts of Mormonism. - Received into the Church. - Persecution for the Faith.- Forsaking all for the New Religion. - First Acquaintance with the Apostle Brigham. - His Ambitious Intrigues. - His Poverty. - His Mission-work. - Deceptive Appearances.- My Mothers Marriage. - A Brief Dream of Happiness. - That Sweet Word "Home." - The Prophet Smith turns Banker. - The "Kirtland Safety Society Bank." - The Prophet and Sidney Rigdon Flee. - A Moment of Hesitation. - Another "Zion" Appointed. - Losing All for the Church. - Privation and Distress. - Sidney Rigdon and his
"Declaration of Independence." - He Excites an Immense Sensation. - Mobs Assemble and Fights Ensure. - Lively Times among the Saints. - The Outrages of the Danites
During the somewhat public career which I have led since my apostasy from the Mormon Church, I have often been asked why I ever became a Mormon. Indeed. I have scarcely entered a town this question has not been put by some one, almost on the instant of my arrival. It is the first query of the newspaper reporter, and the anxious inquiry of the clergymen, who with one accord, without regard to creed or sect, have bidden me welcome into the light of Christian faith, from out the dark bondage of fanaticism and bigotry; and I have often answered it at the hospitable table of some entertainer, who has kindly given me shelter during a lecture engagement. Curiosity, interest, desire to gratify a wondering public by some personal items concerning me, are the different motives which prompt the question; but surprise is almost without exception betrayed when I tell them that I was born in the faith. Sometimes I think that the people of the outside world consider it impossible that a person can be born in Mormonism; they regard every Mormon as a deluded proselyte to a false faith.
It is with a desire to impress upon the world what Mormonism really is to show the pitiable condition of its women, held in a system of bondage that is more cruel than African slavery ever was, since it claims to hold body and soul alike; to arouse compassion for its children and youth, born and growing up in an atmosphere of social impurity; and, above all, to awaken an interest in the hearts of the American people
that shall at length deepen into indignation, - that I venture to undertake the task of writing this book. I have consecrated myself to the work, not merely for my own sake, but for the sake of all the, unhappy women of Utah, who, unlike myself, are either too powerless or too timid to break the fetters which bind them.
I intend to give a truthful picture of Mormon life; to veil nothing which should be revealed, even though the recital should be painful to me at times, coming so close, as it necessarily must, to my inmost life, awakening memories which I would fain permit to remain slumbering, and opening old wounds which I had fondly hoped were healed. Neither shall I intentionally tinge any occurrence with the slightest coloring of romance; the real is so vivid and so strange that I need have no recourse to the imaginary.
All the events which I shall relate will be some of my own personal experiences or the experience of those so closely connected with me that they have fallen directly under my observation, and for whose truth I can vouch without hesitation. To tell the story as it ought to be told, I must begin at the very beginning of my life; for I have always been so closely connected with these people that I could not easily take up the narrative at any intermediate point.
I was born at Nauvoo, Illinois, on the 13th of September, 1844, and was the youngest child and only surviving daughter of a family of five children.
My father and mother were most devout Mormons. and were among the very earliest of Joseph Smith's converts. They have, indeed, been closely identified with the Church of the Latter-Day Saints almost from its first establishment. They have followed it in all its wanderings, have been identified with its every movement, and their fortunes have risen or fallen as the Church has been prosperous or distressed. They were enthusiastic adherents of Joseph Smith, and devoted personal friends of Brigham Young, until he, by his own treacherous acts, betrayed their friendship, and himself broke every link that had united them to him, even that of religious sympathy, which among this people is the most difficult to sunder.
My father, Chauncey G. Webb, was born in 1812, In Hanover, Chatauqua County, N. Y. He first heard the Mormon doctrine preached in 1833, only a very short time after Joseph Smith had given the Book of Mormon to the world, and had announced himself as another Messiah, chosen by "the Lord" to restore true religion to the world, to whom also had been revealed all the glories of "the kingdom" that should yet be established on the earth, and over which he was to be, by command from the Lord, both temporal and spiritual ruler.
They - the old folks - embraced the new faith immediately, and prepared for removal to Kirtland, Ohio, which was to be the nucleus of the new church, the "Zion" given by revelation to Joseph Smith as the gathering-place of the Saints. They were naturally anxious to gather all their children into the fold, and they urged my father, with tearful, prayerful entreaties, to accompany them to the city of refuge prepared for the faithful followers of the Lord and His prophet Smith.
Like many young people, he had at that time but little sympathy with religion. He had given but very little thought to the peculiar beliefs of the different churches. This world held so much of interest to him, that he had considered but very little the mysteries of the future, and the world to come. Of a practical, and even to some extent sceptical turn of mind, he was inclined to take things as they came to him, and was not easily influenced by the
marvellous or supernatural. If left to himself, he might, probably, never have embraced Mormonism; but he yielded to the entreaties of his parents, and joined the Mormon Church more as an expression of filial regard than of deep religious conviction. The Saints were at that time an humble, spiritual-minded, God-fearing, law-abiding people, holding their new belief with sincerity and enthusiasm, and proving their position, to their own
satisfaction at least, from the Bible. They had not then developed the spirit of intolerance which has since characterized them, and though they were touched with religious fanaticism, they were honest in their very bigotry. The Mormon Church, in its earliest days, cannot be fairly judged by the Mormon Church of the present time, which retains none of its early simplicity, and which seems to have lost sight entirely of the fundamental principles on which it was built. My father, although not entering fully into the spirit of his new religion at that early period of his saintly experience, yet found nothing of the insincerity which he claimed to have met in other beliefs; and having embraced the new faith, he was prepared to hold to it, and to cast his lot with it. So he went with his parents to Kirtland, in 1834, where he found the first romance of his life in the person of Eliza Churchill, my mother, then a young girl of seventeen, just blossoming into fairest womanhood.
Never was there a greater mental or spiritual contrast between two persons. My mother was a religious enthusiast, almost a mystic. She believed implicitly in personal revelation, and never doubted but that the Mormon faith came directly from "the Lord." She "saw visions and dreamed dreams," and at times it would have taken but little persuasion to have made her believe herself inspired. It was a religious nature like hers, dreamy, devoted, and mystical, that, in other conditions and amid other surroundings had given to France a Joan of Arc. It must have been the attraction of opposite natures that brought together in so close a relationship the practical, shrewd, somewhat sceptical man, and the devoted, enthusiastic. religious girl. It was probably the very contrast that made the young man feel such tenderness and care for the homeless orphan girl, and made her cling to him, trusting her helplessness to his strength.
Her early life had by no means been so sheltered as his, and to her the thought of tender care and protecting watchfulness, through all the rest of her days, was unutterably sweet and restful. If her dream could only have been realized! But polygamy cursed her life, as it has that of every Mormon woman, and shattered her hopes before she had but a taste of their realization.
She was born at Union Springs, Cayuga County, N. Y., on the 4th of May, 1817, but only lived there until she was two years old, when her parents removed to Livingston County, in the same state. When she was four years old her mother died, leaving three little children, the youngest a mere baby. Her father, finding it impossible to obtain any one to take care of the three as they should be cared for, was obliged, much against his will, to separate them, and put them in the charge of different persons, until such time as he was in a situation to make a home for them together. But that was destined never to be, and these children were never reunited, although they have never lost sight of one another; and to this day the hearts of the Gentile and Mormon sisters yearn towards each other, and the more fortunate one suffers in sympathy with her sister's sufferings.
My mother was given into the care of a family of the name of Brown, with whom she staid twelve years. Her life with them was rendered most unhappy by the treatment which she received, and from lack of sympathy. Ambitious, and craving know ledge most ardently, she was denied all means of procuring a proper education, and was reduced to the position of a mere drudge. But her perceptions were keen, her memory retentive, and in spite of all drawbacks she managed to learn something; enough, indeed, to lay the foundation for the knowledge which she afterwards acquired. and which stood her in good stead as a means of support for herself and her children, after the arrival of the Saints in Utah. Whatever came in her way in the shape of reading-matter she eagerly devoured, whether it was the torn bit of an old newspaper, the inevitable "Farmer's Almanac," or some odd volume of history, biography, or fiction, which had found its way mysteriously to the New York farm-house of other days; but above all, the Bible and Methodist hymn-books. These she had read and re-read until she could repeat large portions of them from memory. Wesley's beautiful hymns, with their earnest,
fervid tone, were her special favorites among these religious songs, and her young heart glowed as she listened to the poetic inspirations of Isaiah and those other prophecies, which she believed, although she could not understand.
When she was fifteen years of age, she united with the Methodist Church; and it was while she was in the first flush of her religious experience that the Mormon missionaries came to Avon, the town in which she lived, preaching their new doctrines. My mother had very naturally a great deal of curiosity concerning this new religion, which was railed at as a delusion, and its prophet and founder, Joseph Smith, who was called a hypocrite, a false teacher, a blasphemer, and every other opprobrious name that could be heaped upon him, in the bitterness of religious persecution. But she was forbidden to attend their meetings, and it was many months before she was able to listen to one of the sermons. During this time she had grown somewhat into sympathy with these people, and had come to feel an interest in them greater than she would have felt had she not met with such persistent, and, what seemed to her, unreasonable opposition to her often expressed wish to hear them and judge of their sincerity and truth for herself.
After a time, however, she found an opportunity of attending a two days' meeting, without the knowledge of her friends; and she listened eagerly to Joseph Young as he expounded the new doctrine and dwelt upon the glories of the "kingdom" which was to be speedily set up upon the earth. Predisposed as she already was in its favor, it is not strange that she was readily convinced of its divine origin, and accepted it at once as the true religion. Before the meeting was over, she was numbered among Elder Joseph Youngs converts, and was received into the Mormon Church, being baptized by the apostolic hands of his brother Brigham.
When it became known that she had become a convert to the obnoxious faith, she was the object of bitter persecution. The family with whom she lived were especially intolerant, and in their anger resorted to every expedient to force her to give up her new faith. They confined her in a cellar for several days, kept her upon bread and water, and subjected her to other seventies of a like nature. All this opposition did not move her one particle.
She remained firm in her chosen faith, and was steadfast and true to her convictions of right. All this severity of treatment she rather gloried in. Was it not worth while to suffer persecution, and be treated with contumely and contempt, for the sake of the church that had been specially called by the Lord to "build up the waste places of Zion"? Would not her reward be the greater by and by? So filled was she with the new enthusiasm that nothing had power even to render her unhappy; as she says, she triumphed in persecution and rejoiced in suffering.
When her persecutors found that neither arguments nor threats could move her, they turned her out of doors, considering that they were doing only their duty, since it would be a sin to harbor a Mormon. The thought of her extreme youth and her unprotected situation did not move them in the slightest degree. Their doors were shut against her, as their hearts had always been.
Instinctively she turned towards the people with whom she had so lately connected herself, and for whose sake she had left home and friends; they received her kindly and hospitably, and she went with them to Kirtland, where my father found her when he arrived a few months later.
It was at this time that the friendship began between my mother and Brigham Young, which lasted so many years - a faithful friendship on her part, met, as a matter of course, by unkindness and treachery on his side. At that time he was young and zealous, and seemingly sincere. He was one of the most successful of the early Mormon missionaries. and was considered specially gifted. He was an ardent supporter and personal friend of Joseph Smith, and young as he was, had attained a high position in the Church of the Saints, being the second of the twelve apostles, all of whom were chosen
by the Prophet Smith himself.
Some have considered that his zeal was assumed, and that beyond the ambition of attaining a high position he had no personal regard for Mormonism. It is believed by many of the old Mormons that he always entertained the hope of becoming Joseph's successor, and standing at the head of the church. He has no natural religious nature; indeed, he is at times a positive sceptic. He has made the church a stepping-stone to temporal prosperity, and the Mormon people have been the pliant tools with which he has carved his fortune.
In those days he was struggling with poverty, going on missions, as the apostles of old were commanded to do, and as all these new apostles did, in their first days of apostleship, "without purse or scrip;" and to my mother the "Apostle Brigham was invested with all the attributes which belong to an earnest nature, intensified by deep religious faith. In short, he was, as she regarded him, a creature of her imagination, and utterly unlike his real self as she came at length to know him.
The year following my father's arrival in Kirtland, and his first meeting with my mother, they were married. The first few months of their married life were peculiarly happy, and they prospered beyond their most sanguine expectations. My father was a wheelwright by trade, and directly on reaching Kirtland built a wagon manufactory, and started in business for himself. He was eminently successful in his undertaking, and made money sufficiently fast to suit his own ideas and ambitions. He built a cosy little house, and carried my mother to it; and there, for the first time since she was a little child, she knew what it was to have a home - a genuine home! not a mere resting-place, where she felt herself an intruder, but a place in which she was mistress, over which love and she held absolute and undisputed sway.
It was during that happy period, the only happy time in her whole life, that she fitted herself to teach. She was an indefatigable student, and she made the most and the best of her time. At that time she studied to satisfy her intense craving for knowledge, and as a pleasant recreation. with no thought that she might some day have to turn her studies to practical account. She had not then been introduced to the doctrine of "plural wives," and its attendant "glories," which, being defined, meant miseries and torture. And the definition has never been altered, and never will be, until women's natures are most
As I said before, my father was prospering in worldly affairs, and when it was "revealed" to Joseph Smith that in addition to the profession of "Prophet," he should add that of banker, he assisted Smith in founding the "Kirtland Safety Society Bank," by promising to deposit all his money therein; in short, giving Smith all that he possessed outside of his house and shop towards completing the amount necessary for a capital on which to start the new enterprise. When the bank failed, which it did very shortly after its establishment, my father, of course, lost every cent which he had invested. He was intensely disgusted with the whole proceeding, which, if it had happened in the Gentile world, would have been termed swindling, and Smith would not have been easily let off by the mere calling of names. Many Gentiles, who had suffered by the failure, were not so lenient as Smith's followers, and demanded that the Prophet should answer to the complaint of swindling before the United States court. But, as usual, he eluded the officers of justice. and all attempts to arrest him were unavailing.
The poor Saints, although losing, many of them, all their hard-earned savings, were still loyal to their leader. and excused him on the ground that "he had lost the Spirit" for the time, and the revelation was not of divine origin; although hew as unconscious of that fact, and received it in good faith. My father, however, not so ready to excuse what seemed to him an act of premeditated dishonesty, and having very little faith in "revelation" at any time, was very bitter in his denunciations; and it was only by my mother's influence, who still clung fondly to her faith, that he did not then renounce Mormonism. Although she has never openly acknowledged it, I think that my mother has since often regretted her steadfast adherence to the church at that time. Her loyalty and persistence brought upon her the unhappiness of her life, and finally plunged her into such utter misery as only polygamous wives can experience. Her religion, that was to be so much to her, brought her not one ray of comfort, but in after years blighted her domestic life, and laid upon her a cross almost too heavy to be borne. But I must do her the justice to say, that through it all she has never complained, but has endured her sufferings in silence, and met her woes with patience.
This unfortunate revelation of the Prophet's, together with other somewhat questionable business transactions, and the consequent growing prejudice of the people of Ohio against him and his followers, made it necessary for the Saints to seek some other place, where they might build their "Zion." It was certain that the Lord did not favor Ohio; and about that time he "revealed" to Joseph that the place he had selected in which to establish His temporal kingdom was Missouri. This was to be the Mormon Canaan, the land which they - the chosen people of the Lord - should enter and possess.
To be sure, He had revealed the very same thing concerning Kirtland; it was there that he declared "He had established His name for the salvation of the nations." But according to the Prophet's later explanation. Satan was striving to break up the kingdom, and the spirit of "apostate mobocracy" raged and grew hotter, until Smith and his confederate, Sidney Rigdon, were obliged "to flee from its deadly influence, as did the apostles and prophets of old;" and "as Jesus had commanded his followers, when persecuted in one city, to flee to another," so these two worthies left the chosen city of the Lord most unceremoniously, under cover of darkness, pursued by officers of the law, and never returned to it again. But from Missouri Smith sent messages and exhortations to those of the Saints who still remained faithful, "to gather quickly to Zion."
Very many members of the church apostatized at that time, and the numbers of the faithful "chosen" were decidedly lessened. Among those who remained unshaken was my mother, who in her almost fanatical blindness, accepted the Prophet's explanations, and was still willing to be led by his revelations. My father was held by his affection for her rather than by any conviction of the "divine leading" of Smith, whom, indeed, he distrusted almost
entirely; and it was in compliance with my mother's ardent wish to follow her prophet, and to establish herself and family in Zion amidst the Saints, that my father finally decided to emigrate with the remnant of the church to Missouri.
He settled in Daviess County, about thirty miles from Far-West, where the body of the Saints were located, and was again tasting the sweets of prosperity and domestic comfort, when the Missouri war broke out, and he was obliged to remove his family, in the greatest haste, to Far-West for their safety, leaving house and property to be confiscated by an angry mob.
This was the second time, since casting his lot with the Saints, that all my father's possessions had been suddenly swept away, and this last would have discouraged him sadly had it not made him so indignant to see the injustice which was shown by Gentiles to the Mormons; and he assisted in guarding the lives of the Mormon people, and the remnant of property which was left to them, until such time as they could find another home.
During this time my mother's sufferings were intense. Many of the houses had been burned by mobs, and she, and many other women in as severe straits as herself, were compelled to live as best they could, exposed to the wind and rain, and without any proper shelter, during almost the entire winter, with two little children, one a baby only a few months old, the other about two years old. In addition to all the discomforts of the situation, she was always in constant terror of an attack by the infuriated mobs, who were waging a genuine war of extermination with the suffering Saints. As is always the case with a religious war, the feeling was intensely bitter. The Gentiles had no charity for the Mormons, and would neither tolerate their faith nor them. The Mormons returned the hatred of the Gentiles with interest, and considering themselves the chosen of the Lord, selected by Him to the exclusion of all the rest of the world, of course argued that whatever they did could by no possibility be wrong, and they returned their ill-treatment with interest.
Although there had been, always, a strong prejudice against the Mormons in Missouri, as in other states where they had lived, it was not until after Sidney Rigdon made his famous incendiary speech, at the commencement of the foundation of the new Temple at Far-West, on the 4th of July, 1838, that the feeling broke into anything like aggressive hostilities.
Rigdon had embraced Mormonism in 1830, and had been ever since that time an ardent Saint. He was a Campbellite preacher in Ohio at the time of his conversion, which was accomplished under the teachings of Parley P. Pratt, a man who played quite an important part in the early Mormon history.
Rigdon was a very fluent speaker, much revered by the Saints on account of his eloquence, which, it must be confessed, was decidedly of the "buncombe" order. For a long time he was the intimate friend and chief counsellor of Joseph Smith, was connected with him in the Kirtland Bank swindle, and escaped with him to Missouri.
It had been revealed to the Prophet Smith that another temple must be built to the Lord in the new Zion. since the one at Kirtland had been desecrated by falling into Gentile hands, and Rigdon was chosen to make the speech on the occasion of laying the first foundation-stone of this sacred edifice.
The "Champion of Liberty," as Rigdon was called by his admirers, was more bombastic and more denunciatory than usual. He surpassed himself in invective, and maddened the already prejudiced Missourians, who were only waiting for some excuse to quarrel with their unwelcome neighbors. Among other absurd things, he said:
"We take God and all the holy angels to witness, that we warn all men to come on us no more for ever. The man or set of men that attempts it, does so at the expense of their lives. The mob that comes to disturb us we will follow until the last drop of their blood is spilled, or else they will have to exterminate us. We will carry the war into their own homes and families. No man shall come into our streets to threaten us with mobs; if he does, he shall atone for it before he leaves the place. We this day proclaim ourselves free, with a purpose and determination that can never be broken. No, never! No, never!! No, never!!!"
This speech fired the excitable nature of the Saints, and they were aroused to a high pitch of warlike enthusiasm. Already, in imagination, they saw Missouri conquered, and the church in possession of the entire state. There could be no doubt of the final result, for this was the Promised Land into which they had been led by the hand of the Lord.
With the superstition which characterizes this people, they turned every accident or occurrence into some sign from Heaven, and it was always interpreted to promise success to them and confusion to their enemies. On this day of celebration the Mormons had erected a liberty-pole in honor of the occasion: in the afternoon it was struck by lightning, shivered to atoms, and fell, its flag trailing in the dust. There was rejoicing among the Mormons; that was certainly an omen of the speedy downfall of their enemies. It seems now as though - if it must be considered an omen of anything - that it was prophetic of the uprooting and scattering of this people, so soon was it followed by their expulsion from the state.
The feeling of bitterness between the two contending factions grew more intense daily, and each party was eagerly watching for some acts of violence from the other. The next month, at the election, the war commenced in earnest. A man named William Peniston was candidate for the legislature. The Mormons objected to him on the ground that he had headed a mob against them in Clay County. The Missourians, aware of this objection, endeavored to prevent the Mormons from voting, and a fight ensued, in which the latter proclaimed themselves victorious. Gallatin, the court town of Daviess County, was soon after burned by the Mormons. Then commenced robbing, plundering, and outrages of every kind by both parties. It was a season of the wildest confusion, and both sides were blinded with passion, and lost sight of reason, toleration, and, above all, Christian forbearance. It was a positive reign of terror. Houses, barns, and haystacks were burned, men shot, and all manner of depredations committed.
It is impossible for me to say which party was the principal aggressor; probably there was equal blame on both sides; but I have been informed that Joseph taught his followers that it was right, and "commanded of the Lord," for them to take anything they could find which belonged to their enemies, in retaliation for the wrongs which they had suffered at their hands. I can the more easily believe this to be true, because the spirit of the Mormon Church has always been that of retaliation. The stern old Mosaic law, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," is in full force among them, and is not only advised by the leaders, but insisted upon by them. Indeed, they have added to its severity, until now it stands, "A life for an offence, real or suspected, of any kind." In support of this they refer to the Israelites "borrowing" jewelry from the Egyptians before they took their flight from Egypt; and they quote, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof;" and as they claim to be the Lord's particularly favored children, - in fact, his only acknowledged ones, - they seem to consider this text peculiarly applicable to the situation, and all the excuse they need to give for any irregularities in the way of appropriating other people's property. They are merely coming into their inheritance.
At all events, the people were not slow to obey the command of the Lord and the counsel of Joseph, and they displayed their spirit of obedience by laying hold of every kind of property which came within their reach. In the midst of these troubles, Joseph came out to Daviess County to a town called "Adam-ondi-Alzman, named, of course, by revelation, and meaning, when translated, "The valley of God in which Adam blessed his children;" said to be the identical spot where Adam and Eve first sought refuge after their expulsion from Eden. Upon his arrival, he called the people together, and harangued them after this mild and conciliatory fashion: "Go ahead! Do all you can to harass the enemy. I never felt more of the spirit of God at any time than since we commenced this stealing and house-burning." My parents were living at Adam-ondi-Ahman at that time, and were present when Joseph delivered this peculiarly saint-like address.
About this time the Danite bands were first organized, for the purpose of plundering and harassing the people of the surrounding country. I have been told this by a person who heard the oaths administered at a meeting of the band in Daviess County. They were instructed to go out on the borders of the Settlements, and take the spoils from the "ungodly Gentiles;" for was it not written, "The riches of the Gentiles shall be consecrated to the people of the house of Israel?"
Joseph Smith always denied that he had in any way authorized the formation of the Danite bands; and, in fact, in public he repeatedly repudiated both them and their deeds of violence. At the time of which I speak, however, Thomas B. Marsh, who was then the president of the "twelve apostles," together with Orson Hyde, who now occupies that post, apostatized. Both subsequently returned to the bosom of the church, making the most abject submission. Poor Marsh died, crushed and broken-hearted. Hyde's heart was of tougher composition. and he still lives; but Brigham will never forget or forgive his apostasy.
While both Marsh and Hyde were separated from the church, they made solemn affidavits against Joseph and the Mormons in general, accusing them of the grossest crimes and outrages, as well as of abetting the Danites and their deeds. The cowardly Apostles afterwards declared that these affidavits were made under the influence of fear. That is very probable, but at the same time there can be no real doubt that there was a larger amount of truth in what they affirmed than jealous Mormons would be disposed to admit.
The outrages committed by these Danites, and others like them, caused the expulsion of the Saints from Missouri. Joseph and about fifty of his followers were taken prisoners, and between his arrest and imprisonment, and the final exodus from the state, there was great suffering among the Mormon people.
FOUNDING THE NEW RELIGION. - ASSASSINATION OF
The Saints expelled from Missouri. - They cross the Mississippi into Illinois. - Forming a New Settlement. - Arrival in Quincy. - A Kind Reception. - The City of "Nauvoo"
Founded. - A New Temple Begun. - Great Success of the Foreign Missions. - The Saints flock from Europe. - Thousands assemble in Nauvoo. - The Prophet Joseph applies
for a City Charter. - Nauvoo Incorporated. - The Saints Petition the National Government. - The Prophet visits Washington. - His Interview with President Van Buren. - He
Coquets with Politics. - He Stands on the Edge of the Precipice. - The Saints in Danger. - The Prophet Smith nominated for President. - He tries to find the "Golden Way." -
Mormon Missionaries preach Politics. - The Prophet looks towards the Pacific Coast - The Blind Obedience of the Saints. -The Real Devotion of their Faith. - Gentile
Opinions. - How Boggs was Shot in the Head. - The Spiritual-Wife Doctrine. - Dr. William Law Protests. - Terrible Charges against the Prophet.- The "Nauvoo Expositor." -
The Prophet Surrenders. - He is Murdered in Jail.
After this, crime succeeded crime, and the state of affairs grew worse daily. The Mormons were getting decidedly the worst of the warfare, and their opponents showed them no mercy. At the massacre at Haun's Mills, for instance, men, women, and
children were shot down in cold blood by a company of the Missouri militia, the houses plundered and burned, and the clothing even stripped from the dead bodies.
There had been inhuman murders in other places, men and women alike falling victims to the fury of the mobs; there had been a battle fought at Crooked River, and several skirmishes between the Mormons and Missourians, exaggerated reports of which had spread through the country like wildfire. The whole state was in arms against the Mormons. The governor issued an order of expulsion, thinking it the surest way to quell the disturbance, which had almost grown beyond him, and gave the Saints three months in which to leave the state. Every Mormon was to be out of the state at the end of that time,
except those who were in prison. Of them the governor said, " Their fate is fixed; the die is cast; their doom is sealed."
As on the occasion of the removal from Ohio, there was considerable apostasy in the church. Many persons grew discouraged, and their faith wavered. In following Smith they had been led from difficulty into danger, had suffered persecution and poverty, and were now driven from their homes to seek refuge in some more hospitable spot. Every man's hand seemed turned against them, and they had grown tired of perpetual warfare. If God had ever called, He had surely deserted them now, and there was no use in their longer undergoing trial and suffering.
Those who remained firm were still strong in the faith; stronger, if possible, than ever. Joseph was their Prophet, and they clung to him and his revelations with unshaken confidence. Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, was a favorite and comforting quotation at that time. They were cheered by frequent letters from Joseph, written in prison, as they journeyed towards Illinois, which was the next point towards which they turned their feet, already weary with wandering. On receiving the order of expulsion, the Saints pledged themselves never to cease their exertions until every one of their faith was out of the state; and to accomplish this within the time required, they worked unceasingly, through sickness, poverty, and privation.
My mother has often described to me this enforced journey. She was always deeply moved, and never spoke of it that the hot tears did not rush to her eyes, and her voice quiver with indignation. The journey was taken in the dead of winter. Many of the women and children were already ill from exposure, yet they were obliged to leave the state with the rest; and although everything was done for their comfort that could well be done, yet their sufferings were most intense. They were robbed of their horses, and were obliged to make their escape with ox-teams, crossing those twenty-mile prairies, facing cold, wintry winds without even a cover to the wagons. My mother held her two infants close in her arms during all the long, tedious journey, to keep them from perishing. She had but one dress to wear, as she had to leave Daviess County in great haste, taking only her children with her; and on her arrival in Illinois she was entirely destitute, her clothing being literally torn in pieces. In the spring of 1839 all were safely landed across the Mississippi River, where they were joined in April, soon after their arrival, by Joseph and his fellow-prisoners, who had miraculously, as Joseph said, made their escape from their enemies.
The joy of the Saints was very great at his arrival. The waning courage was restored, wavering faith was strengthened, and they were all ready to enter the next scheme which his prophetic soul should propose, and to follow blindly and unquestioningly the next " revelation."
The feeling of the Mormon people towards the Missourians is very bitter to this day, and they have never lost an opportunity in all these years of injuring them whenever it became possible. The memory of the indignities heaped upon them, and the sufferings to which they were subjected, is still most vivid. Even my mother, notwithstanding the fact of her having apostatized, and having now no interest or faith in the Mormon Church, can never
forgive the Missourians. She says, "If the Mormons were the greatest fanatics on the earth, the Missourians cannot be justified in the course which they pursued. There is no doubt they were exasperated by the actions of the Mormons, and suffered loss of property, and even life, at the hands of the Danite bands; but they need not, in the cruel spirit of revenge, punish the innocent women and children, for it was on these that the blow fell the hardest.
It was they, who had no part in bringing on the trouble, who were to suffer in retribution for the misdeeds of others."
Notwithstanding all that had taken place in Missouri, some of the more enthusiastic Saints believed that it was the promised land, and that some time they should come in and possess it. Indeed, that belief has prevailed among some of the older Mormons until within a very short time. Brigham has preached it and promised it; but now he says very little about it, and when he does he is wise to add, "if the Lord shall will it so." The present indications are, that the Lord will not "will it so," and all the Saints have contentedly accepted Utah as "Zion," in the face of of revelation.
In giving, thus briefly, a sketch of the Missouri war, I tell the story as I have always heard it, since I was a child, from my parents, who were in the midst of it, and who were rendered homeless and poor by it. Although always hearing it from the Mormon side, I must, to do the narrators justice, say they have never attempted to hide any part of the provocation which the Saints gave; and they now hold Joseph responsible for it, by his, to say the least, unwise teachings.
It is not very long since I was talking with a person who was with the Mormons in Missouri and Illinois. He said that Joseph not only advised his people publicly to plunder from the Gentiles, but privately ordered them to do so. At one time he was himself sent by the Prophet to steal lumber for coffins. He went with a party of men down the river, loaded a raft with lumber from a Gentile saw-mill, and brought it up to the City of the Saints.
Another man, now a bishop in the Mormon Church, told my mother that he was deputed by Joseph to go and take some cattle, and drive them to the city. As he was entering the town on his return from his successful marauding trip, he was called into a house, where there were sick persons, to anoint and pray for them in connection with another elder. On meeting this elder afterwards, he remarked, I have often wondered that the Lord listened to our prayers in behalf of the sick under such circumstances. The elder replied, quietly, "I had not been stealing."
Had such teachings been given by the Gentiles, and followed by their people, it would have been sin. But with the Mormons it was always "the will of the Lord," and in His name they committed the crimes that produced disaster and disgrace among the people of Missouri, and finally resulted in their own expulsion from that state. Thus it was that at length we find them driven out by violence from among a people who at first had received them with the utmost friendliness, and forced to seek refuge on the farther shore of the Mississippi. despite the promise which Joseph had so often given them, "in the name of the Lord," that Missouri should be the abiding-place of the Saints.
Joseph, however, still continued to assert that the Saints "should return again and build up the waste places of Zion," and pointed out Missouri as the spot which was to be the "central stake" from which he was eventually to rule all America; but the fact remained that the people must have homes until such good time as they might be allowed to "come again to their own."
They had landed at Quincy, Illinois, and had been very kindly received by the residents. On their arrival they at once commenced searching for a place to settle, and build another "stake;" and the place finally selected by the Prophet was situated on the Mississippi River, about forty miles from Quincy. It was first called Commerce; but this name being considered altogether too matter-of-fact and practical, it was named, by inspiration, Nauvoo, which, being translated from the "Reformed Egyptian," - the language in which all revelations were first given, - means "The Beautiful."
The new city grew rapidly; another Temple was commenced by command of the Lord, and the people were adjured not to cease work upon it until it was finished; all the Saints were commanded to gather there as soon as it was practicable. Missionaries were sent to Europe, and converts flocked from thence to Zion. Never were missions crowned with greater success than those that were established in Europe by the Mormon Church. The elders went first to England, from there to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, France, and they even attempted Italy, but with so little success that the mission there was speedily abandoned. Indeed, the southern countries of Europe did not seem to have taken kindly to the new doctrine of the Saints, and evinced but slight interest in the establishment of a "spiritual kingdom on the earth," and paid no heed whatever to Joseph's revelations. But hundreds of converts were made among the English and Scandinavian people, and they all evinced a strong desire to "gather to Zion," and considered no sacrifice too great to be made to facilitate their emigration. Most of them were from the poorer classes, but some among them were persons of considerable wealth, and many were from the comfortable middle class of farmers and trades people.
The people of Illinois were inclined to be very friendly with the Mormon people, and to make up by sympathy and kindness for the treatment which the Saints had received in Missouri. But, as has invariably been the case, the Mormons, by their own acts, managed to turn these friends into enemies, and to embroil themselves in more quarrels.
The people in the surrounding towns found them trouble-some, and most undesirable neighbors; for in spite of their kindly reception, Joseph did not cease his injunctions to "get all you can from the wicked Gentiles," and the consequence was perpetual trouble and constant complaint.
Early on his arrival at Nauvoo, Joseph applied to the Illinois legislature for a city charter, which was granted at once. This charter was extremely liberal, and by its ambiguous wording deceived the legislature, they considering it straightforward and honorable, while really it gave Joseph unlimited power in the government of the city, without regard to state or national laws, and rendered it impossible that he could be held prisoner, even if arrested. He had the right to release himself: the charter provided for that.
Before the establishment of the city it was " revealed " to Joseph that his people must importune at the feet of all in authority for a redress of their wrongs in Missouri. They commenced with the justices of the peace from them they went to the state officers; finally to the President himself. They
prepared very carefully, and, as far as possible, very accurately, a statement of the losses of the Saints in Missouri, and Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Elias Higbee went to Washington with it, to endeavor to seek redress through the agency of Congress.
Martin Van Buren, who was President at that time, received them with that peculiar suavity of manner for which he was specially noted, that impressiveness which expressed so much and meant so little, and listened to them with the most courteous patience. But his answer was: "Gentlemen, your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you." The party returned to Nauvoo disappointed, but in no wise discouraged, and exceedingly indignant with the government and the entire American people, whom they considered their enemies from that moment. From the lowest officer to the highest, they considered that they had failed to meet with the slightest sympathy, and there was no desire shown to make any amends to these people. Joseph and the elders indulged in more incendiary talk than ever; but this was now devoted entirely against the government.
"In the name of the Lord God of Israel," prophesied Joseph, "unless the United States redress the wrongs committed upon the Saints in Missouri, in a few years the government will be entirely overthrown." And again: "They all turned a deaf ear to our entreaties, and now the Lord will come out in swift fury and vex the nation."
The troubles in Illinois culminated, as they had in Missouri, in political difficulties. The people of Illinois were growing exceedingly tired of their new citizens, whom they had welcomed so warmly, since their kindness had been returned with so much ingratitude by the Mormons; but the political leaders of the state endeavored to curry favor with Joseph. and obtain his influence, since it had been discovered that the Mormon vote was solid. Whigs and Democrats had each tried to secure them, but Smith had his own purpose to serve, and he used either Whigs or Democrats as best suited him. Neither party could rely on him or his promises, and consequently both became exceedingly hostile towards him, and were equally zealous in endeavoring to limit his power. He was, indeed, rendered perfectly independent of the state laws by the charter which the governor so readily signed, without being aware what a blunder he was committing; and the exertions of the Illinoisans were directed towards getting this charter repealed. Anti-Mormon organizations were formed for the purpose of inducing the legislature to cancel the charter, disband the Nauvoo Legion, a military organization, of which Joseph was commander-in-chief, and, if possible, to eventually get rid of the Mormons altogether. The feeling ran quite as high as it had done in Missouri, although there were no such deeds of violence as that state witnessed. It remained, for some time at least, a political rather than a personal warfare, and Joseph seemed for many months to maintain his position in spite of every exertion of his enemies; and, in fact, got decidedly the best of them in every way.
Joseph's political career was, to say the least, an intricate and an ambitious one. He aimed at the very highest position which the country could give him. He inaugurated a legislature at Nauvoo, in opposition to that of the state; but he took good care that it should be kept from the knowledge of all persons outside of the city, and this same legislature did, in its way, the most remarkable work. One of its acts was to nominate Joseph for the Presidency of the United States.
Clay and Calhoun were at that time rival candidates for the Presidency, and Joseph wrote to both of them, asking them what course they would pursue towards the Mormons in case they were elected. Neither of them answered in a manner to please him; they were altogether too indefinite, refusing in any way to commit themselves to the Mormon cause; and he gave them both a severe castigation, and withdrew his support and countenance
from both parties; and with him, of course, went the whole body of the Mormons.
He published his own views on the national policy in a pamphlet, and announced himself as Presidential Candidate. His followers confidently believed that he would be elected. They had no idea that he could fail to attain whatever he attempted. Missionaries were sent all over the United States, proselyting and electioneering, and the Saints certainly worked faithfully to further their Prophet's ambition.
In the legislative assembly he had those friends and allies in training who were to form his cabinet when he should reach the White House. Of this assembly, Brigham Young was an important, active, and favorite member, and Joseph prophesied wonderful things of him. It is said that he even named him as his successor as leader of the Mormon people. But I think that that story is a little more than doubtful.
In the midst of all this seeking after political influence, Joseph Smith must, I think, have had some idea of the hopelessness of it all, and some presentiment at least that his failure must be followed by another exodus of the Mormon people, for as early as 1842 he began to talk of the superior advantages of the Pacific valley as a settlement, and the Lord's finger seemed turning slowly but surely in that direction, and it was not long before the
Prophet sent a company of men to explore that, then, almost unknown country, and not long after he began prophesying that in five years' time the Saints would be located "away from the influence of mobs."
The Saints, as usual, received the prediction in good faith, and were ready to follow him wherever he should lead, notwithstanding that doing so meant giving up home, and property, and becoming poor, exiled wanderers. The devotion of this deluded, persecuted people to their false Prophet was almost sublime. In answer to his Leave all and follow me, came the self-sacrificing words, "Whither thou goest we will go; thy God shall be our God."
Mistaken, deceived, deluded as they were, the great body of this people deserve some charitable regard, since they obeyed the dictates of their consciences, and were willing to suffer martyrdom for their religion. The great body of them are not answerable for most of the crimes committed by the command of the leaders, since they were ignorant of them, and their hatred of the Gentiles is not so greatly to be wondered at, since they suffered the persecution without even knowing that there was the slightest cause for it, except their objectionable belief. I feel that I must pay this tribute to the Mormon people. Naturally, they were a law-abiding, peace-loving, intensely religious people; their peculiar natures, touched a little with fanaticism, having that mental organization that not only accepts the supernatural, but demands it, made it the more easy for them to become the victims of a man like Joseph Smith.
The belief that they were the very chosen of God; that He revealed Himself to them through their Prophet; that He took special note of their in-comings and out-goings; that He led their way in au their wanderings, sometimes in thorny paths, sometimes through pleasant places, - made them positively heroic in their devotion. I hold that their earnestness and singleness of purpose ought to win them a certain degree of respect, mingled with the intensest pity that they could become the dupes of such unscrupulous, overbearing, unprincipled men as their leaders have proved themselves to be.
They have been blinded by fanaticism, and led by false representations. Kept in a community by themselves, forbidden any intercourse with the outside world, they have known nothing outside of Mormonism except what their rulers have chosen to tell them, and that has never been the truth. They have believed that every man's hand was against them that they were literally "persecuted for righteousness' sake;" and they have been taught that the Lord commanded them to hate all persons not of their belief, and that it was an act pleasing to Him whenever a Gentile was put out of the way without being
murderers at heart, they have been taught that murder is a part of their religion, a vital portion of their worship. I shall explain that belief more fully presently, when I come to speak of the "Blood-Atonement."
The Gentiles have had very little opportunity, until lately, of mingling at all with this people; and they have, quite as naturally on their part, judged the Mormons to be a blood- thirsty, cruel, dishonest, and licentious people, who not only did not merit toleration, even, but ought, indeed, to be utterly exterminated. No good could possibly come out of Nazareth, they thought; and a person avowing himself a Mormon has not been so much an object of hatred as of loathing and contempt.
Mind you, I am not upholding the Mormon faith; I consider it the falsest, most hypocritical, and most cruel belief under the sun. Although its founder arrogated to it the title of the "Church of Jesus Christ," there is nothing Christlike in its teachings or in its practice. Its leaders always have been, and still are, supremely selfish, caring for their personal aggrandizement, disloyal to the government under which they live, treacherous to their friends, revengeful to their foes; insincere, believing nothing which they teach, and tyrannical and grasping in the extreme, taking everything that their lustful eyes may desire,
and greedy, grasping hands can clutch, no matter at whose expense it may be taken, or what suffering the appropriation may cause. But the people themselves have no part in the treachery, revengefulness, hypocrisy, or cupidity of their leaders, and should be judged from an entirely different standpoint.
In 1842 Governor Boggs, of Missouri, was shot at and wounded severely in the head. This act was suspected to have been done at the instigation of Joseph, and the feeling against him grew stronger than ever. It was with considerable difficulty that his followers prevented his seizure and forcible abduction into Missouri. He was very nearly in the power of his enemies several times; but the devices of the Missourians were nothing compared to the wiles and cunning of the crafty Prophet and his officers. The governor of Illinois attempted to arrest him, but found the warrant of apprehension set aside by the charter which he himself had signed. In fact, it was found that the law was powerless to touch the Prophet, and he could afford to set it at defiance. With that charter to uphold him, and the "Nauvoo Legion" to defend him, he, for a time, completely baffled his enemies.
About this time an added reason was found for hating and dreading the Mormon people and their influence. The "Spiritual-Wife" doctrine was hinted at just at this juncture, and this created even a greater disturbance than the political difficulties had done, since this caused a large apostasy, and divided the church against itself. The accusations that some of the apostates brought against Smith were damaging in the extreme.
One of his chief accusers was a man named William Law, who had been his earnest friend and one of his counsellors. The Prophet had had no stauncher friend or warmer defender than Law, and he was also highly esteemed by all the Mormon people, as well as by Smith himself. He strongly disapproved of some of Joseph's acts, and finally felt obliged to withdraw from him altogether.
After his apostasy, he, with some other disaffected Mormons, among whom were his brother, Wilson Law, Dr. Forster, William Marks, and the Higbee brothers, all men of standing and influence among the Saints, commenced to hold meetings in a grove on Sundays. This grove was a mile from the place where the Mormons held their regular services; yet parties of the Saints were accustomed to go to the other meeting to hear what was said and report to the Prophet. So he was kept well informed of the movements of the apostates, and their attitude towards him and the church.
At one of these meetings, William Law electrified and almost stunned his listeners by testifying that the Prophet had made dishonorable proposals to his wife, Mrs. Law, making the request under cover of his asserted Revelation, that the Lord had commanded that he should take spiritual wives, to add to his glory. He also stated that Smith made his visit to his wife in the middle of the night, when he knew her husband to be absent. Mrs. Law was present, and her husband called upon her to testify as to whether he had made the statement correctly. She corroborated all that he had said, and added that Joseph had asked her to give him half her love; she was at liberty to keep the other half for her husband.
The Higbees testified, at the same meeting, to having frequently seen Joseph's horse standing for a long time before the door of certain improper resorts. This statement was certainly untrue, and was probably made under a mistake. The greatest excitement prevailed after this meeting, and the feeling ran very high between the contending factions of the church. Joseph and his adherents, on their part, charged some of the apostates with gross
immorality and they retaliated by saying they had only followed the teachings of Smith. Criminations and recriminations were hurled furiously at each other by the two parties.
Law and some of his associates started a paper called the "Nauvoo Expositor," which they intended to devote to the criticism of Smith's policy, and the denunciation of his character. As may be imagined, it was not a very long-lived sheet, only one number being issued. Enraged by its plain speech, Joseph and some of his followers destroyed the building, broke the machinery, and threw away the type, in their strenuous endeavors to
suppress "the freedom of the press."
Affairs had reached such a crisis, that to allay the excitement and to explain some of his "peculiar" moral weaknesses, the Prophet found it necessary to produce the famous Revelation, giving the most unbridled license to all the worst passions of their nature. This "Revelation" was intended to silence the noisy clamorings of the Saints; for who of them would venture to question the convincing "Thus saith the Lord."
It was only given to the faithful in Zion. Its existence was denied loudly, if in any way a whisper of it reached the outside world, and the missionaries were cautioned to keep utter silence upon the subject. Among the Saints it was received most reluctantly. The women, especially, felt that a cross was being laid upon them greater than they could bear, and many openly rebelled. They felt that some great trouble was come upon them, but they did not then know the intense bitterness of it, nor what the moral results would be. The majority of them did not believe that they would suffer personally from it; but, alas! they little knew how easy it would be to convince a man that positive wrong would become moral right, when all legal restrictions were removed, or when the conscience could be so easily soothed by the opiate of Revelation.
Joseph's career, after producing his "Celestial Marriage" cheat, and palming it off on his followers with the blasphemous "Thus saith the Lord," was very short. He was induced to surrender himself to the authorities, and with his brother Hyrum, the Apostle John Taylor, and the Apostle Willard Richards, was placed in the Carthage jail.
It was feared by the Mormons, and by some of the Gentiles, that attempts would be made to massacre him in prisons but Governor Ford, under whose protection he was, seemed to apprehend no danger, and placed no extra guards about the prison. He himself went from Carthage to Nauvoo, to see personally into the condition of affairs there, and also to assert his authority but took no measures for a redoubled care and watch over the prisoners. While he was away the jail was attacked, and the Prophet and his brother Hyrum assassinated. Their companions escaped with wounds.
The history of Joseph Smith is one of the most remarkable on record. From an ignorant, superstitious farmer's boy, he became "Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, founder of a new religion, which was to make his name known, not only in his own country, but over the world; made by Divine appointment "God's Vicegerent upon the earth, and Religious Dictator to the whole world." So much for his spiritual titles. He was no less fortunate in earthly honors; being President of the "Council of Fifty," chief of the legislature of Nauvoo, and Mayor of the city; and at last he aspired to the Presidency of the United States - a position, it is needless to say, which he did not attain.
It is safe to believe, that no one man can wear all these honors without growing somewhat dizzy under them; and it is no wonder that the Prophet Smith overreached himself at last, and fell a victim to his overweening ambition and stupendous self-esteem, which probably made him believe that he could accomplish impossibilities.
THE "REVELATION ON CELESTIAL MARRIAGE." - TROUBLE
AMONG THE SAINTS
The Announcement of Polygamy. - " Celestial Marriage." - Joseph "sets himself Right."- Mrs. Smith is very Rebellious - Mrs. Smith's Adopted Daughter- The Prophet too fond of Fanny - Mrs. Smith takes her in Hand - Marital Storms - Oliver Cowdery called In. - He goes and "Does Likewise" - Joseph first preaches Polygamy- The Saints Rebel - The Revelation given in Secret - Eleven "Adopted Daughters" sealed to the Prophet - A Domestic Squall in the Prophet's House - Nancy Rigdon Insulted by Joseph - Sidney's Zeal Grows Cold - How Celestial Marriage was Introduced - Mr. Noble begins to Build Up his Kingdom. -The first Plural Marriage. - False Position of the Second Wife - John C. Bennett - His Profligacy and Crimes - He Apostatizes and Writes a Book - Joseph Defends Himself - Apostasy of an Apostle's Wife - The Prophet in Difficulties - The Revelation on "Celestial Marriage"
AFTER the Revelation on Celestial Marriage was publicly announced, in 1852, it was stated that Joseph Smith first produced it in 1843; but there were, no doubt, hints of this new doctrine at a much earlier date. It is generally believed, and in fact well known by many of the old Nauvoo Mormons, that he had it in contemplation at a much earlier date;
certain indiscretions rendering it necessary that he should find an excuse of some kind for acts that were scarcely consistent with his position as Vicegerent upon earth, and set himself right, not only with his followers, but with Mrs. Emma Smith, his wife, who objected very decidedly to some of his prophetic eccentricities.
Mrs. Smith had an adopted daughter, a very pretty, pleasing young girl, about seventeen years old. She was extremely fond of her; no own mother could be more devoted, and their affection for each other was a constant object of remark, so absorbing and genuine did it seem. Consequently it was with a shocked surprise that the people heard that
sister Emma had turned Fanny out of the house in the night.
This sudden movement was incomprehensible, since Emma was known to be a just woman, not given to freaks or caprices, and it was felt that she certainly must have had some very good reason for her action. By degrees it became whispered about that Joseph's love for his adopted daughter was by no means a paternal affection, and his wife, discovering the fact, at once took measures to place the girl beyond his reach. Angered at finding the two persons whom most she loved playing such a treacherous part towards her, she by no means spared her reproaches, and, finally, the storm became so furious, that Joseph was obliged to send, at midnight, for Oliver Cowdery, his scribe, to come and endeavor to settle matters between them. For once he was at his wits' end; he could face an angry mob, but a wronged woman made a coward of him at once.
The scribe was a worthy servant of his master. He was at that time residing with a certain young woman, and at the same time he had a wife living. He had taken kindly to Joseph's teachings, although he by no means coveted publicity in the affair; and after seeing Mrs. Smith's indignation he dreaded exceedingly lest Mrs. Cowdery should discover that he was practising his new religious duties with another woman.
The worthy couple - the Prophet and his scribe - were sorely perplexed what to do with the girl, since Emma refused decidedly to allow her to remain in her house; but after some consultation, my mother offered to take her until she could be sent to her relatives. Although her parents were living, they considered it the highest honor to have their daughter adopted into the Prophet's family, and her mother has always claimed that she was sealed to Joseph at that time.
The first public announcement Joseph ever made of his belief in the plurality of wives was at Nauvoo, in 1840. In a sermon one Sunday he declared that it was perfectly right in the sight of the Lord for a man to have as many wives as he pleased, if he could evade the laws of the land. Said he:
"People of polygamous nations will be converted to the church, and will desire to gather with the Saints to Zion; and what will they do with their wives? We must have polygamy among us as an established institution, and then they can bring all their wives with them."
He referred to the Bible to sustain his position, and grew very eloquent on the subject. He seemed determined not only to maintain the doctrine to his own satisfaction, but to convince his people of its truth and its desirability.
As may readily be imagined, it caused the greatest excitement and indignation in the church; and many threatened to abandon the faith. The women most especially were aroused, and they declared they never would accept a doctrine so hateful. It was the first open rebellion against any of the Prophet's teachings by his most devoted followers, and he was wise enough to see his mistake, and to rectify it. Evidently, as he said to certain
followers, it was "too soon for The Lord to reveal Himself upon this subject."
The following Sabbath he arose, and said he wished to retract what he had said the Sabbath before; he was at that time only trying the Saints, to see what they could bear.
The Revelation at first was made known only to a few of Joseph's most intimate friends, and they were solemnly bound to keep its existence a secret; but in some way it became known very generally that there was such a Revelation, although it was not given to the world until 1852. It is on this ground that Smith's sons endeavor to palm the Revelation on to Brigham, and deny that their father ever intended to have polygamy become a church institution. The elder Mormons, who were at Nauvoo, among whom are my parents, know better than this, however, and also know the exact time when the "Revelation" was first talked of. If Smith was not a polygamist, his sons must allow that he was a libertine, or an advocate of free-love principles. It makes little difference which; the results are the same. The wife of the Prophet took no more kindly to this new doctrine of Celestial Marriage than did the rest of the Mormon women, and no woman of them all allowed her objections to become so widely known as Mrs. Smith. She knew her husband's nature too well to believe in the Divine origin of the system, and she fought it persistently during his lifetime.
At one time he had eleven young ladies living in his family as adopted daughters, to whom he had been sealed without the knowledge of his wife. She for some time supposed that his object in having them there was purely a charitable one. To be sure, some of them had parents living; yet there was some plausible reason always given for having them under his roof, which none of the Saints dared to question, although many of them, especially those
who were growing disaffected, were dissatisfied with his reasons, and suspicious of his motives. Very little was said about it openly, until his wife saw something which aroused her suspicions, and she remonstrated with Joseph for having the girls there; but with no effect. The girls should remain - on that point he was decided.
Unlike many of the Mormon women, Mrs. Smith was not one to accept a cross of this kind submissively. She by no means bowed her head, broke her heart, and silenced her lips, and allowed her husband to pursue his licentious course without opposition. When Joseph would not send away the girls, she said very quietly, but with a determination which showed she was making no idle threat, -
"Either those girls leave this house to-night, or I do."
"Very well, replied her husband, in a passion at having his authority questioned you may go, then, for I intend them to stay."
Without another word she left the house. No sooner had she gone than he began to consider the I consequences of her departure directly it should be known, and she would keep neither it nor the cause which provoked her to the step a secret. The publicity of the affair was more than he dared meet. He was not yet ready to encounter the storm it would
raise. Great as was his influence over his people, he did not dare risk his popularity by such a bold movement as this. Consequently he followed his wife, and prevailed upon her to return, by promising to dismiss the girls, which he did the next morning. This was her second triumph over his practice of the divine ordinance.
Emma Smith was, as may be supposed from the above- narrated incidents, an energetic, strong-minded woman, possessing a great influence over Joseph, whose superior she was, both mentally and socially, when he married her. She was fond and proud of her
husband during the first years of his success; but when there was any disagreement between them, she generally got the better of him, being less passionate in temper, and more quietly decided in manner. She forced her husband to respect her and her opinions, although he was notoriously unfaithful to her during all their married life.
Several young girls left the church in consequence of the dishonorable proposals which the Prophet made to them. One of these was a daughter of William Marks, another a daughter of Sidney Rigdon. Both these men - Rigdon especially - had been his warm friends and supporters; but this insult offered to their daughters exasperated them beyond measure, and both withdrew from him. Marks joined William Law and his apostate circle, and was as bitter in his denunciation as Law himself. Rigdon removed from Nauvoo, but still avowed himself a "true Mormon," while he repudiated Joseph and his teachings. Other young girls made affidavits to his offers of Celestial Marriage, and their statements were published in many of the leading papers all over the country, creating the most intense excitement. Joseph not only paid his addresses to the young and unmarried women, but he sought "spiritual" alliance with many married ladies who happened to strike his fancy. He taught them that all former marriages were null and void, and that they were at perfect liberty to make another choice of a husband. The marriage covenants were not binding, because they were ratified only by Gentile laws. These laws the Lord did not recognize; consequently all the women were free.
Again, he would appeal to their religious sentiments, and their strong desire to enter into the celestial kingdom. He used often to argue in this manner while endeavoring to convince some wavering or unwilling victim: "Now, my dear sister, it is true that your husband is a good man, a very good man, but you and he are by no means kindred spirits, and he will never be able to save you in the celestial kingdom; it has been revealed by the Spirit that you ought to belong to me."
This sophistry, strange as it may seem, had its weight, and scarcely ever failed of its desired results. Many a woman, with a kind, good husband, who loved her and trusted her, and a family of children, would suffer herself to be sealed to Joseph, at the same time living with the husband whom she was wronging so deeply, he believing fondly that her love was all his own.
One woman said to me not very long since, while giving me some of her experiences in polygamy: "The greatest trial I ever endured in my life was living with my husband and deceiving him, by receiving Joseph's attentions whenever he chose to come to me."
This woman, and others, whose experience has been very similar, are among the very best women in the church; they are as pure-minded and virtuous women as any in the world. They were seduced under the guise of religion, taught that the Lord commanded it, and they submitted as to a cross laid upon them by the divine will. Believing implicitly in the Prophet, they never dreamed of questioning the truth of his revelations, and would have
considered themselves on the verge of apostasy, which to a Mormon is a most dangerous and horrible state, from which there is no possible salvation, had they refused to submit to him and to receive his "divine" doctrines.
Some of these women have since said they did not know who was the father of their children; this is not to be wondered at, for after Joseph's declaration annulling all Gentile marriages, the greatest promiscuity was practised; and, indeed, all sense of morality seemed to have been lost by a portion at least of the church. Shocking as all this may appear, women that were sealed to Joseph at that time are more highly respected than any
others. It is said, as the. highest meed of praise which can be given, that they never repudiated any of the Prophet's teachings, but submitted to all his requirements without a murmur, and eventually they will be exalted to a high position in the celestial kingdom.
Among the earliest converts to the doctrine of plural wives was a Mr. Noble, who, more impressible, or, according to Joseph, "more faithful" than any others, opened his heart very readily to receive the teachings of the Prophet, and was willing to reduce the teachings to practice. Joseph had paid his addresses to Mr. Noble's sister-in-law, a very worthy woman, and had succeeded in overcoming her scruples so far that she had consented to be sealed to him.
He then advised Noble to seek a second wife for himself, and to commence at once to "build up his kingdom." He was not slow in following his Prophet's advice, and together the two men, with their chosen celestial brides, repaired one night to the banks of the Mississippi River, where Joseph sealed Noble to his first plural wife, and in return Noble performed the same office for the Prophet and his sister. These were the first plural marriages that ever took place in the Mormon Church, and they were obliged to be very secretly performed, and kept hidden afterwards.
The young girl that Mr. Noble married went to live with his first wife, and, as a matter of course, this arrangement produced the greatest misery to both. Outwardly they were compelled to keep a semblance of regard; but they hated each other with an intensity of hatred that cannot possibly be felt outside of polygamy. The first wife pined gradually away, until she was a mere shadow of her former self. Life for her was utterly wrecked. Compelled to share her home, her husband's affections, and his attentions with another woman, and to keep the strictest silence through it all, it is no wonder that the poor woman longed eagerly for death as a release from all her woes.
The condition of the second wife was, if possible, less enviable. A son having been born to her after her marriage to Noble, she was compelled to see herself pointed out as an object of pity, and her child branded as illegitimate. She was in a cruelly false position before the world, and she was powerless to justify herself; her lips were sealed, and she, too, must suffer in silence. Her parents were heart-broken at their daughter's shame. They
were living in one of the eastern states, but they came instantly to Nauvoo to take their child home. She was compelled to turn a deaf ear to all their entreaties to return with them, and she could not tell them her secret. Her mother was nearly distracted when she was obliged to return home without her daughter, heart-broken and disconsolate, and bowed down with shame at her supposed dishonor. She remained at Nauvoo, and the burden of her life becoming greater than she could bear, she became insane, - a common fate of polygamous wives, by the way, - and remained a maniac until her death. Her son, now a man grown, and living in Utah, was the first child born in polygamy. She was an innocent, engaging young girl, and a great favorite until this sad affair occurred; her sensitive spirit could not endure the torture of existence, and she died - the first martyr to polygamy.
The first wife died soon after, literally broken-hearted. The husband has had many wives since then; indeed, he has been an indefatigable disciple of the Celestial Marriage system; but his many wives have died one by one, until he has been left alone. He is living still, and is pointed out and referred to with praise as the first man brave enough to respond to the call of Joseph Smith and become a polygamist.
One of the first persons to be initiated into the plural-wife doctrine, if not indeed Joseph's confederate in producing it, was Dr. John C. Bennett, at that time Mayor of the city, Major-General of the Nauvoo Legion, and a very great friend of Joseph. It is said that the pupil fairly outran the teacher, and his success as special pleader for the system of Celestial Marriage was so decided that he incurred the displeasure of the Prophet, and they quarrelled violently. He taught the doctrine to some ladies whom Smith had intended to convert himself, and thus coming directly in contact with the Prophet and his schemes, a rupture was caused between the worthy co-workers.
Bennett apostatized, left Nauvoo, and wrote a book called "Mormonism Exposed," in which he fully ventilated the doctrine of spiritual wives which Joseph was about to introduce into the church, and accused the Prophet of the grossest immoralities. This exposé created a wide-spread feeling of indignation, and, to save himself and his people, Joseph was obliged to deny all Bennett's statements; and several of the leading men and women denied them also, although they knew perfectly well that the greater portion of them was true. It is probable that the book would have had a much wider influence had not Bennett's character been so well known. He was a notorious profligate, and was pronounced by Gentiles who had known him before he embraced Mormonism to be the greatest villain unhung.
Joseph's only method of defending himself from Bennett's attacks was to assail him in return. The raven was taunting the crow for being a blackamoor. He coupled Bennett's name with that of a lady of high standing in the Mormon community, in the most disgraceful manner, and published the scandal to a large congregation of the Saints, causing the utmost consternation and dismay. The lady in question had always been considered above reproach; never before had suspicion touched her name by even a breath, and the accusation which Joseph brought against her seemed too horrible to
believe. But the Saints could more easily credit the scandal than they could believe for one instant that their Prophet could be guilty of misrepresentation; and the general conclusion was, that the lady had fallen from her virtuous estate, broken her marriage vows, and become a creature unworthy of countenance or sympathy.
Her husband was away from home when the trouble first commenced, but returning while the excitement was at its height, his indignation and rage at the position in which his wife was placed knew no bounds. He realized the situation at once, and saw that his wife was suffering from the Prophet's jealous anger, and was simply being used as a means of revenge and retaliation on his enemy Bennett. This has been the Mormon leaders' manner of doing things from the beginning; they believe most implicitly in vicarious suffering, and it is with them always the innocent and helpless who are punished for the wrong-doings of the more powerful.
The husband of this unfortunate lady came at once to the rescue of his injured wife's reputation. He "bearded the lion in his den, and defended his wife's character in public, hurling the lie at his leader's head, and incurring anathemas in return. He did not mind them, however, but still maintained his wife's honor in the face of everything. He was nearly insane with grief and rage, but he behaved nobly through the whole affair. He was greatly attached to the church, and could not make up his mind to forsake it, and he grieved over this action of his Prophet, but yet found an excuse for him on the
ground that he had "lost the Spirit," and had been taken possession of by evil influences for a while. He loved his wife, and considered her terribly wronged and sinned against, and he tried by all the tenderness in his power to heal the cruel hurt which she had received. His own regard for and belief in her turned the tide of public opinion again in her favor, and she has been, if possible, more highly esteemed than ever since that unfortunate
accusation. In course of time her husband, who is none other than Orson Pratt, one of the twelve apostles, took several plural wives, and became so warm in his advocacy of the system that he is called "the defender of polygamy." Mrs. Pratt has since apostatized, and is working nobly against Mormonism and its peculiar system. No woman is more highly regarded by Gentiles and Mormons than she. Her husband even, although she has steadfastly refused to live in polygamy with him, and has fought it from its first introduction, still has a high regard for her, although he looks upon her as lost beyond redemption. She is now an elderly woman, but her energy has not abated one whit, and she declares she will never relax her exertions towards putting down polygamy while she lives. If her husband is its "defender," she may be called its "denouncer;" and her work is the most certain of being crowned with ultimate success.
The days that preceded the Revelation were exciting ones in the church. Apostasy prevailed to an alarming extent, and the numbers of the faithful were sadly depleted, and many more threatened to leave the church, who were finally prevailed upon to remain. So intense was the feeling that in the summer of 1843 the Prophet, moved by pressure on every side, dissatisfaction within the church and hatred and indignation without, heightened by
Bennett's exposé and the corroborating accounts given by apostates, was compelled to entrench himself behind a divine "revelation" to shield himself from public odium and restore the wavering confidence of his people.
It had always been a practice of Joseph, whenever he met with any difficulty, to receive a "Revelation," which immediately put everything straight. On the present occasion he was equal to the emergency, and received that celebrated "Revelation " which then and since has constituted the sole authority in the Mormon Church for the practice of polygamy. It was at first only communicated to a chosen few, and it was not until long after polygamy had been practised more or less openly in Utah that Brigham Young delivered it to the world in 1852. It was then published in the "Seer, and also in the "Millennial Star," under the title of
Of all the extraordinary revelations given by Joseph Smith during his eventful career, this is, perhaps, the most remarkable. It certainly produced a deeper and more lasting influence upon his deluded followers than all his other effusions put together, although its language is as ungrammatical as its tendency is immoral. The opening clause is peculiarly absurd. The Book of Mormon, the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and countless "revelations" had denounced polygamy, and stated how offensive the conduct of some of the patriarchs in this respect had been to "the Lord." Yet here Joseph is made to ask that same "Lord" how he "justified" the very principle that Joseph had all along proclaimed that "the Lord" held to be "an abomination"! The Prophet's sons of course point to this fact, and say that it was impossible for their father to be guilty of such an unparalleled contradiction. The clause reads thus :-
"Verily, thus saith the Lord, unto you, my servant Joseph, that, inasmuch as you have enquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my
servants as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines: Behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this
matter: Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all these that have this law revealed unto them must obey
the same; for, behold, I reveal unto you a new and everlasting covenant, and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be
permitted to enter into my glory ; for all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing and the conditions thereof, as was
instituted from before the foundations of the world and as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant. it was instituted for the fullness of my glory; and he that
receiveth a fullness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God."
Having made this very pleasant announcement, the Revelation goes on to declare that all contracts - matrimonial or other - were null and void unless ratified by the Prophet :-
2d. "And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these : All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, Connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise of him who is anointed both as well for time and for all eternity, and that, too, most holy. by revelation and commandment, through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power, - and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of the priesthood are conferred, - are of no efficacy, virtue or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are
The third clause is simply a reiteration of the sentiments contained in the preceding; but the fourth announces one of the most peculiar tenets of Mormon theology. The reader will see that in it the assertion is distinctly made that if a man and woman are married by civil contract or according to the usage of any of the ordinary sects, although they may be among the most faithful members of the Mormon Church in every other respect, yet, after
death, they shall not enjoy exaltation in heaven, they shall not become gods, shall not marry or have children, shall have no kingdom or priesthood, but shall simply be as the angels - servants and messengers of the Saints. It reads thus :
4th. "Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world, and she with him, their covenant and marriage is not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world ; therefore they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding and an eternal weight of glory; for these angels did not abide my law, therefore they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God for ever and ever."
Thus far the Revelation sets forth the uncomfortable fate of those who do not strictly conform to the teachings of the Prophet in matrimonial affairs. We now come to the other side of the question - the rewards which are to crown the faithful. The reader will observe that the strictest obedience is required to be paid to him who is anointed, and who carries the keys.
6th. "And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood, and it shall be said unto them, Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection, and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities and powers, dominions, all heights and depths, then shall it be written in the Lamb's Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood. And if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time and through all eternity, and shall be of full force when they are out of the world, and they shall pass by the angels and the gods which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fullness and a continuation of the seeds for ever and ever."
7th. "Then shall they he gods, because they have no end therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all,
because all things are subject unto them; then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them."
This is the reward of the faithful. The Revelation, however, was intended to be comprehensive and final; it was to meet every case, and there was to be no appeal from its decisions. The married couple being united in strict accordance with the Revelation, they are now assured of salvation and exaltation in the world to come, provided they commit no unpardonable sin. In the following paragraph that sin is defined, but the reader must bear in mind that the blood of Gentiles is not " innocent" blood; the shedding of it, therefore, is no crime :-
9th. " Verily, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, - yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation, but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the bufferings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.
10th. "The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall not be forgiven in the world nor out of the world, is in that ye commit murder, wherein ye shed innocent blood and assent unto my death after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant, saith the Lord God; and he that abideth not this law can in no wise enter into my glory, but shall be damned, saith the Lord.
In the italicized words, but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, is foreshadowed that terrible doctrine - the Blood-Atonement; of which I shall presently speak more. It was not long before the Saints were taught openly that it was their duty to destroy in the flesh all upon whom the leaders of the church frowned.
We come now to the examples which were held up for the Saints to follow :-
12th. "Abraham received promises concerning his seed and of the fruit of his loins, - from whose loins ye are, namely, my servant Joseph. - which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue ; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars, or if ye were to count the sand upon the sea-shore ye could not number them. This promise is yours also, because ye are of Abraham, and the promise was made unto Abraham; and by this law are the continuation of the works of my Father, wherein He glorifieth himself. Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law, and ye shall be saved. But if ye enter not into my law ye cannot receive the promises of my Father which he made unto Abraham.
13th. "God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law, and from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promises. Was Abraham, therefore, under condemnation? Verily, I say unto you, Nay; for I, the Lord, commanded it. Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac; nevertheless it was written, Thou shalt not kill. Abraham, however, did not refuse, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.
14th. "Abraham received concubines, and they bare him children, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him and be abode in my law. As Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded, and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones; and are not angels, but Gods. David also received many wives and concubines, as also Solomon, and Moses my servant; as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin, save in those things which they received not of me.
15th. "David's wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan my servant, and others of the prophets, who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me, save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world; for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord."
The audacity of Joseph Smith in stating as a Revelation from God, that "David's wives and concubines were given him of me by the hand of Nathan . . . in none of these things did he sin against me," is scarcely conceivable, when it is remembered that in the "divinely inspired" Book of Mormon it is written, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. "The Lord," however, whom Joseph served, seems to have been as inconsistent in this as in many other matters. But in case of difficulty, Joseph was specially commissioned to restore all things. Celestial Marriage was more exactly defined, and that the whole concern should run more smoothly, the keys of the kingdom on earth and in heaven were handed over to the Prophet.
16th. "I am the Lord thy God, and I gave unto thee my servant Joseph, an appointment, and restore all things; ask what ye will, and it shall be given unto you, according to my word; and as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery, and shall be de destroyed. If she be not in the new and everlasting covenant, and she be with another man, she has committed adultery; and if her husband be with another woman, and he was under a vow, he hath broken his vow, and hath committed adultery; and if she bath not committed adultery, but is innocent, and hath not broken her vow, and she knoweth it, and I reveal it unto you, my servant Joseph, then shall you have power, by the power of my Holy Priesthood, to take her, and give her unto him that hath not committed adultery, but hath been faithful, for he shall be made ruler over many; for I have conferred upon you the keys and power of the priesthood, wherein I restore all things, and make known unto you all things in due time.
17th. " And verily, verily I say unto you, that whatsoever you seal on earth. shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth. in my name, and by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you remit on earth shall be remitted eternally in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you retain on earth shall be retained in heaven.
18th. "And again verily I say, whomsoever you bless I will bless ; and whomsoever you curse I will curse, saith the Lord ; for I, the Lord, am thy God."
After all this preamble, - the keys committed to Joseph, the relation of husbands and wives under the new dispensation defined. "Celestial Marriage" instituted, and a great many other matters discussed, we come to what was, no doubt, prominent in the Prophet's mind all the while he was dictating the Revelation to Elder Clayton, - namely, how to manage "the Elect Lady," Mrs. Emma Smith. Accordingly she is made the subject of a special address. She is told to "receive all that have been given to my servant Joseph. She is forbidden to leave the Prophet, as she had threatened to do if he carried out
his "celestial" systems and certain other very useful hints are given for her guidance if she would remain in peace. One particular passage is said to refer to a matrimonial scene in which a threat was held out that the life of the Elect Lady should be terminated by poison. She is here commanded to "stay herself, and partake not" of that which Joseph had offered her. It is, however, only right to add that the Mormon exponents of the Revelation say that this passage refers to an offer which Joseph had made to sacrifice, his own personal feelings, and to accede to a divorce between Emma and himself. In these few lines more is disclosed of the Prophet's domestic life and difficulties than he probably was aware of. I give these paragraphs in full, that the reader may judge for himself.
20th. "Verily I say unto you. a commandment I give unto mine handmaid Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you. that she stay herself, and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham; and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice; 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 ; for I am the Lord thy God, and ye shall obey my voice; and I give unto my servant Joseph, that he shall be made ruler over many things, for he hath been faithful over a few things, and from henceforth I will strengthen him.
21st. "And I command mine handmaid Emma Smith to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none 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; but if she will not abide this commandment, then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her, even as he has said; and I will bless him and multiply him, and give unto him an hundred fold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal worlds. And again, verily I say let mine handmaid forgive my servant Joseph his trespasses, and then shall she be forgiven her trespasses, wherein she has trespassed against me; and I, the Lord thy God, will bless her, and multiply her, and make her heart to rejoice."
The concluding clauses speak for themselves. The reader will see that in the twenty-third the Prophet is completely set free from all responsibility, and left at liberty, without let or hinderance, to follow the dictates of his own sweet will. In the two concluding paragraphs the wildest licentiousness is permitted, in the name of the Lord, to the masculine portion of humanity, - if believers in Joseph, - and the weaker sex are sternly warned of the penalties of doubt and disobedience.
23d. "Now as touching the law of the priesthood, there are many things pertaining thereunto. Verily, if a man be called of my Father, as was Aaron. by mine own voice, and by the voice of him that sent me. and I have endowed him with the keys of the power of this priesthood, if he do anything in my name, and according to my law, and by my word, he will not commit sin, and I will justify him. Let no one, therefore, set on my servant Joseph; for I will justify him; for he shall do the sacrifice which I require at his hands, for his transgressions, saith the Lord your God.
24th. "And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood: If any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent; and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery, for they are given unto him. For he cannot commit adultery with that which belongeth unto him, and to none else; and if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him; and they are given unto him - therefore is he justified. But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world; and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that He may be glorified.
25th. "And again, verily, verily I say unto you, if any man have a wife who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things; then shall she believe, and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God, for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law. Therefore it shall be lawful in me, if she receive not this law, for him to receive all things whatsoever I the Lord his God will give unto him, because she did not believe, and administer unto him, according to my word; and she then becomes the transgressor, and he is exempt from the law of Sarah, who administered unto Abraham according to the law, when I commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife. 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.
When Joseph released all other wives from their marriage contracts, of course Emma was also released. It is said she thought of making another choice, and would have done so, but the Revelation came in time to prevent it. Joseph offered to make the sacrifice, but the Lord told Emma to "abide and cleave to my servant Joseph," who had been cunning enough to insert these clauses in his "Revelation," so as to hold her more closely. It is said that she was shown the first copy of it, and burned it; if so, there must have been another in existence, for the one that Brigham Young gave in 1852 as Joseph's revelation was identical with that given a few of the chosen Saints in 1843.
I have entered somewhat more into detail regarding the early history of Mormonism than I intended in the beginning; but I have considered it necessary to do so, in order to show to my readers more fully the doctrines I have been taught from my infancy, and to give them some idea of the Mormon stand-point. They can easily see how things may become distorted when looked at from such a one-sided position.
AFTER JOSEPH'S DEATH. - BRIGHAM YOUNG ELECTED
Kindness of the Gentiles. - Strangers in a Strange Land. - My Parents join the Saints in Nauvoo - They Purchase Land in the City - Are shamefully Defrauded - Joseph's unfaithful Friends - My Parents are left almost Destitute - I am Born in the Midst of Troubles - The Saints Bewildered - Who should Succeed Joseph? - Sidney Rigdon's Claims to the Presidency - He returns to Nauvoo - Has Dreams and Visions - He Promises to "Pull Little Vic's Nose" - The Apostles hear of the Prophet's Murder - They hasten to Nauvoo - Brigham begins his Successful Intrigues - He Settles Sidney Rigdon - An Extraordinary Trial - Brigham's Idea of Free Voting - Women's Suffrage in Utah - Why Brigham gave the Franchise to the Women - My own Experience as a Voter -Brigham Dictates what I'm to Do - I obey Quietly - How Sidney Rigdon was Deposed - Brigham Rules the Church
Upon the arrival of the Saints in Illinois they made Quincy their first stopping-place, and thence the majority of them went at once to Nauvoo, the new gathering-place.
My parents did not accompany them, but remained in Quincy two months. They reached that city in a state of almost utter destitution, with barely clothing enough to render them decent, certainly not enough to make them comfortable. Their reception by the residents of the city, indeed by the people of Illinois generally, was very cordial, and my mother often says she shall never forget the kindness she received at their hands. Literally, she was a stranger and they took her in, hungry and they fed her, naked and they clothed her. And not only her, but her little ones.
My mother was energetic and willing, and she found work in plenty, and managed to get together some of the comforts and necessaries of life, when, after a two months' sojourn amid these hospitable people, they removed to Payson, where my father built a carriage manufactory and once more commenced business. After three years of remunerative labor, during which time he had got his business fairly established, he concluded to leave it and join the Saints at Nauvoo; he and my mother both the latter more especially desiring to be once more in Zion with the "chosen people." My father had purchased five acre-lots in the City of Nauvoo, and felt that he had a material as well as a spiritual hold upon Zion. The deeds were properly executed, and after making sure that everything was right during a visit to the city, he made instant preparations to move his family thither.
When he returned with his family and prepared to take possession of his property, he found it claimed by Dr. Foster a friend and favorite of Joseph Smith, who pretended to have made a verbal contract for the land two years before. This, of course, brought the property into a dispute which could only be settled by the church authorities, Joseph himself presiding. As a matter of course, there was but one decision, and what that would be my father knew very nearly as well before it was given as he did afterwards. Joseph would not decide against his friend; the rest, seeing how his mind was made up, dared not; and the land was declared to belong to Foster, who, by the way,- such were his regard and gratitude for his leader,- apostatized not very long afterwards, attached himself to Law and his party, and finally removed from Nauvoo, denouncing the religion and its Prophet, and, indeed, carried his enmity so far that he joined those miscreants to whose violence may be attributed the death of Joseph Smith.
My father was again stripped of his property, by the treachery and unjust ruling of the very man whom he had so faithfully served. He had enough money remaining, however, to purchase other lots, and on the land thus obtained he built two very comfortable houses, in one of which I was born, as I before said, on the 13th of September, 1844, at the most tempestuous and most critical period in all Mormon history.
Joseph Smith had been assassinated the previous July, and his death, sudden and violent as it was, had almost paralyzed the people, who were thus left without a leader, and who were ill fitted to govern themselves, since they had for so long a time given up their wills to the Prophet, following his instructions as obediently as the most tractable children do their parents' behests. They had for so many years depended upon him to guide them that
they were unfitted almost to think for themselves. Life was a hopeless muddle, and they saw no way of making it clearer. Them their former friends had turned to enemies, and they began to fear that they should be driven from their pleasant homes in Illinois, as they had been from Missouri. And with all the disturbance outside the church, there were heresy and schism among themselves.
The question who should be the leader in Joseph's place was exercising the church. The First Presidency was Composed of Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum, and Sidney Rigdon. Hyrum Smith was killed in prison with his brother, and Rigdon, although he had not apostatized, had grown cool in the faith, left Nauvoo, and was living at Pittsburgh, Pa., enjoying life outside of Mormondom, and seemingly finding much pleasure in Gentile society. After the Missouri episode his enthusiasm was very much chilled, and he indulged in fewer rhodomontades against the government. When Joseph made his advances to his daughter Nancy, Rigdon was very much offended, and left Nauvoo at once. As soon, however, as he heard of Joseph's death he made all haste to return and secure for himself the office of Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, to which he claimed he had been ordained. He was not received with enthusiasm by the Saints, and he very soon discovered that whoever might step into the dead Prophet's shoes, he, for a certainty, would not be allowed to wear them. There was nothing then remaining for him to do but to assume that Joseph's mantle of prophecy had fallen upon his shoulders; consequently, he revelled in visions and dreams of the wildest and most fanatical kind. His prophecies were the most wonderful that ever were heard, and were so very incoherent and inconsistent that serious doubts of his sanity were entertained. There were to be tremendous battles; blood was to flow until the horses waded in it up to their very bridles. All the powers of the earth were to assail the Saints, but Rigdon was to lead the faithful to certain victory. All the strength of earth was to bow before this little band of people and their consecrated leader, and he was, as a final act of triumph as he returned from the battle of Armageddon, to call in England and "pull the nose of little Vic."
What the young queen, then in the full flush of popularity, had done to raise this modern Bombastes' ire, remains to this day a mystery. It is needless to say that the battles have never been fought, nor has her majesty's nose been maltreated by Rigdon or any other crazy Mormon fanatic.
At the time of the assassination of Joseph Smith nearly all the apostles were away on a mission. On hearing the evil tidings from Zion, they hastened there without delay, and Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Hyde, and Heber C. Kimball arrived soon after
Rigdon made his appearance, and while he was in the midst of his "revelations." From the moment of their arrival his chances were smaller than ever, although he still maintained, but in not so public a manner as at first, that he held "the keys of David," and that he intended to persist in the maintenance of his claims, even if obliged to do so forcibly.
The man for the situation appeared at this juncture in Brigham Young. Ambitious himself for the position which Rigdon so earnestly coveted, fortune seemed to have placed him exactly in the situation to attain it. He was - so it happened by the merest chance - the senior apostle, and that gave him authority. Thomas Marsh, who was at one time the senior, had apostatized; Patten, the second apostle, had been killed by the mob, and this made the third apostle the first or senior of the "twelve." The third happened to be Brigham Young; so that, after all, it was a mere chance that placed him where
he is. Both the Pratts were far superior to him in intellect; and they and Orson Hyde were far ahead of him in mental attainments, such as they were. He was a very plain man, entirely uneducated, and had been noted for nothing except his fidelity to the Prophet and the church and his hard-working disposition. But he was shrewd enough to see his opportunity and to seize it, and yet to do it in such a manner that neither his associates nor the church itself had the least suspicion of his real plan.
The first move was to have Rigdon's case settled. He was summoned for public trial before the High Council, and eight of the apostles appeared as witnesses. Brigham Young played a very important part in this trial; he opened proceedings by accusing Rigdon of a determination to rule the church or ruin it, and followed up the accusation by declaring that he should do neither. All the events of his life were passed in review, and although he was not present, being detained, it was said, by illness, the case was by no means deferred, and he was tried without an opportunity of defending himself. At the motion of Brigham, he was "cut off from the Church of Latter-Day Saints, and delivered over to the buffetings of Satan, in the name of the Lord; and all the people said, Amen."
There were about ten persons who ventured to vote in favor of Rigdon, and they were immediately "suspended" from the church for their temerity. This is the way in which persons are served even now who venture to disagree with Brigham Young. There is absolutely no such thing known among the Mormons as a free expression of opinion. Whether it be on religious or political subjects, the decision of the people is governed by the wishes of the President. The manner of voting in public assemblies is never varied. Brigham prefaces all ceremonies of the kind by an address, in which he manages to
let the people know exactly how he feels upon the subject under discussion, and they understand that they are to feel exactly the same way ; and as there is no question of choice, they make themselves fancy they do believe exactly as he does. If they have any question of doubt, they stifle it very quickly, and, if they are very good Mormons, take themselves to task for their wickedness in entertaining a thought contrary to the opinion of their Prophet. After the address, Brigham calls for a show of uplifted hands, and requests every one to vote. The "contrary minds" are then called; but such is the singular unity of this people that there is never a "contrary" mind among them. To make this ceremony of voting more humorous, the Prophet, in requesting all the people to vote, wittily adds, "in one way or the other." This piece of pleasantry on Brigham's part is quite appreciated by the Mormons, and the "one way" receives all the saintly votes, to the utter exclusion of "the other." Let any one attempt to take the Presidential joke au sérieux, and it becomes anything but pleasant for him. He is looked upon with suspicion, regarded as an enemy of the church and its ruler, and if he escape serious persecution he may be considered especially fortunate.
In politics there is about the same freedom of opinion, or of its expression, rather. Although a semblance of independent action is kept up, since the people are not publicly told which way they must vote, yet the bishops and ward-teachers manage to make it understood very decidedly what is expected of "the Faithful" at the elections. The expectations, it is perhaps needless to state, are always realized.
I have often heard ladies in the East say that they considered Utah way in advance of the age in one respect at least; that there the equality of the sexes was so far regarded that the ballot was in the women's hands, and that there they had received the right of suffrage. And I know that for this one act Brigham Young is commended by some of the leaders of the Woman Suffrage party, and he is viewed by them with a lenient eye, in spite of all his
other acts of gross injustice. If these same radical reformers only understood the reason that the franchise was extended to Utah women, and the peculiar "freedom" and intelligence with which they are allowed to exercise this privilege, I think they would not be so scathing in their denunciations of the Poland bill. To the men and women engaged in this reform there seems to be no possibility that there can be cases where positive harm would ensue when the ballot was given to women; they evidently believe that with universal suffrage will be ushered in the millennium.
It may have that effect in other portions of the States, but in polygamous Utah, ruled over by a treacherous tyrant, this very right; which they claim will loosen the legal and political shackles by which women are bound, and render them absolutely free, only binds the chains the tighter and makes them greater slaves than ever. And the most hateful part is, that they are helping to tighten their own bonds, and are doing it, too, under compulsion.
The reason of this wonderful act of "justice" on Brigham Young's part can easily be given. When the Union Pacific Railroad was completed, and the influx of miners and other outsiders from the Gentile world began to flood the Territory and make homes for themselves in the very midst of Mormondom, the chiefs of the Mormon hierarchy grew very fearful and apprehensive lest the power should pass from their grasp into Gentile hands by the gradual change of population. By adopting female suffrage they would treble their voting power at once. There was no longer any hesitation; the measure was adopted, and so general and generous was it, that in Utah to-day every person of the female sex, from the babe in the arms to the oldest, bedridden, imbecile crone, has the right of elective franchise, and is compelled to use it.
To illustrate the intelligence with which women vote, and the freedom of opinion in political matters which is allowed them, I think I can do no better than give my own first experience in exercising the prerogative of a free woman.
It was the first election-day that occurred after the right of suffrage had been, not granted, but commanded. I was standing in front of my husband's office, talking with a friend, when he came out. His first question, put before he had offered either myself or my friend any greeting, was, -
"Have you voted to-day?"
"No, Brother Young, I have not."
"Then I suppose you intend doing so at once."
"Not at all," I replied; "I have no intention of voting at all."
"And why not?" he asked, somewhat angrily.
"Because I have riot yet become sufficiently acquainted with the political situation to understand what it is best to do, and I prefer not to vote ignorantly."
"But I wish you to vote," was his peremptory reply.
"Excuse me, please, Brother Young," pleaded I; "I don't know who or what to vote for, and I really had much rather not." I was quite in earnest. I did not know any thing then of politics, and I must confess I had no interest in them.
"Get into the carriage," commanded he, so sternly that I knew I must obey, and further parley would be useless. "I want you to vote, and at once. Mr. Rossitur will take you to the polls and tell you how to vote."
Mr. Rossitur, to whose care I was committed, was Brigham's coachman, and was to be my political instructor. All the information I gained will never harm nor help me very materially. I was driven to the polls, a ticket was handed me, and hustled along without the opportunity of examining it, and to this day I am in blissful ignorance of what or who I cast my only vote for. I know, however, that among other officers they were electing a delegate to Congress, and I suppose I must have voted for George Q, Cannon. There is an encouraging and inspiring picture for the advocates of female suffrage, who are jubilant over the triumph of their cause in Utah. A polygamous wife of the President of the church
conveyed to the polls by her husband's coachman, and compelled to cast the vote he gives her without an opportunity of exercising her judgment or her choice, and ignorant even of what she is doing. By all means let us have the suffrage in Utah, in spite of Judge Poland.
After the Council had disposed of Sidney Rigdon to its satisfaction, and "all the people" had signified theirs by saying "Amen," he turned about and prepared to fight them. His resistance, however, was short and feeble. He returned to Pittsburgh, and attempted to
resurrect the "Latter-Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate," a Mormon publication that had died some years before. His attempt was futile, and he gave up the contest with his failure to revive that sheet, and Mormonism has known little or nothing of him since.
In the mean time the Twelve Apostles were to rule over the church until such time as a change in the Presidency should seem necessary. This was Brigham's first step, and the rest came easily and naturally enough. To all intents and purposes he was as much the ruler of the Mormons as he is now, although he did not then arrogate so much to himself. He knew very well that it would not do to declare himself too suddenly; so he quietly worked and waited until he found himself in the position which he now holds - a position which has never been contested by his followers.
He was always a hard worker, quite successful in making converts, and the steady determination of his character, which amounted to decided obstinacy, united with a scheming cunning, helped him very much at this period of his life.
He was shrewd enough not to attempt, as Rigdon had done, to play the prophet; he knew very well that in that role he would not meet success. He announced that no one should take Joseph's place, and to this day he maintains to those who remember what he said then, and contrast his past assertions with his present position as head of the church - "No one can take the place of Joseph;" he is in his place as the spiritual head of the church, and will always be there, through time and eternity."
"I am no prophet and revelator, as Joseph was," he used to say to the Saints: "but Joseph left revelations enough for you to follow for twenty years; in the mean time, the Lord will reveal Himself to those among you whom He may choose so to honor, and there is no reason why you should not all have revelations."
But, revelations or not, one thing he insisted upon: that was, that the Saints were to "build the kingdom up for Joseph," and that he kept constantly before them. He next proceeded to make the church self-sustaining in a pecuniary sense. Each member was to tithe himself or herself one tenth of all their property, and place it in the hands of the "Twelve" for the use of the church. This tithing fund Brigham had absolute control of - a control that he
has taken pains never to lose. He instituted other "reforms" in the church, and everything he proposed the people acquiesced in with a surprising readiness. They yielded to him, seemingly, without being aware that they were yielding, and he had his own way without opposition, while the poor deluded Saints thought he was carrying out their ideas, in part at least. They came under Brigham's yoke without knowing when they bent their necks to
receive it, and in less than six months after the Prophet's death his mastery over the church was as assured as it is to-day.
MY FATHER'S PLURAL WIFE. - CHILDHOOD IN POLYGAMY.
Childhood in Mormondom. - A striking Contrast. - The Sorrows of my Earliest Years. - How my Mother received Polygamy. - Submitting to the Rod. - Clinging to Love and
Home. - Resigning all for Religion. - Strange ways of glorifying God. - The Reward of Faithfulness. - The Prophet Joseph imparts a New Religious Mystery. - The Breaking
up of a Home. - Fears of Rebellion. - The Struggle of Faith against Nature. - Seeking Rest, but finding None. - Brigham's "Counsels." - A New Wife Selected. My Parents
enter into Polygamy. - The New Bride, Elizabeth. - The Marriage Ceremony. - My Mother Sealed. - She is to become a Queen. - Domestic Arrangements in Polygamy. -
Bearing the Cross. - A First Wife's Sorrows. - Where does Polygamy Hurt? - The Mormon Husband; his Position and Privileges.
Often wonder if there is a child in Mormondom, born under the blight of polygamy, who knows what it is to have a happy, joyous childhood, rendered more happy and more joyous by the smiling, calm content of the mother in whose arms its tiny infant form lies cradled. I fear the cases are as rare as happy women are.
True, childhood always has a certain careless happiness of its own, that even the saddest surroundings cannot wholly repress; but even this happiness is embittered by the tearful eyes that gaze into trustful baby ones, and the lips that quiver with pain, as they try to smile back into laughing baby faces.
In the happy homes which I have visited since I broke the chains that bound me, and came forth a free woman, unshackled in thought and untrammeled in action, although a wanderer on the face of the earth, with no abiding-place where to stay my weary feet, I have been compelled to contrast the difference between childhood in a monogamic
country and in a polygamous one; and when I have seen the mother's face grow almost divine in its radiant content as she smiled down into the face of the little one sheltered so closely in her heart. I have felt my heart throb and ache with jealous anguish for the little ones in Utah, and above all for their weary-hearted mothers, to whom maternity brings no such joy, and added love, and tender care.
I was consecrated to sorrow by the baptism of my mother's tears upon my baby brow. I never remember on her face one such look as I see daily upon mothers' faces now. My baby hands wiped away tears, my baby fingers stroked a cheek furrowed by them, and my baby eyes never saw beyond the mist in hers. I came to her when the greatest misery of her life was about to fall upon her; and that misery came to her, as it came to all the women then, under the guise of religion - something that must be endured for Christ's sake. And as her religion had brought her nothing but persecution and sacrifice, she submitted to this new trial as to everything that had preceded it, and received polygamy as a cross laid upon her, but which strength wouldbe given her to bear.
She had never questioned any of Joseph Smith's "revelations," and she did not dare do so now, although this one came to her like a sudden and heavy blow, hurting heart and soul, and rendering the thought of life unendurable. Hitherto, although her sufferings had been severe, and her privations many, yet through them all she had been sustained by her husband's love. That was hers, and together they had shared poverty and tasted plenty. Their sufferings had brought them closer together, and whether in plenty or poverty, they had been happy in each other and in their children, and had made a home, and a cheerful one, wherever they had been, one in which the spirit of love ruled supreme. Now, her religion told her that she was selfish and wicked to try and keep this home and husband. The one must be broken and desolated, the other shared with some one else. "The Lord commanded it." What a blasphemy and satire on Him who is the God of Love, that He should make His children unhappy, and wreck all hopes of peace and content, for His glory! It seems as though this one act of Smith's alone should have opened the eves of this deluded people, and shown them that their false Prophet was not taught of God, as he pretended, and they so fondly believed, but that he was impelled by the demons of covetousness and lust. But their eyes were blinded, and they could not see; their reason was enthralled, and they did not know it was bound; their wills were obedient to his,
and he held them soul and body, and played with them as though they were so many puppets, helpless and lifeless out of his hands.
Being accounted among the specially "faithful," my parents were among the first to whom polygamy was taught by Joseph Smith himself, and my father was commanded by him to live up to his privileges, and to take another wife.
At first, the thought of taking a second wife to share his home with the one whom he had first loved, who had been the object of his youthful dreams and of his manhood's devotion; who had stood by him, through every reverse, with the courage, and consideration, and love which only a strong-natured, tender-hearted. earnest-souled woman could show under such circumstances; who was, in every sense, a help meet, and, above all, the mother of his children, - was hateful to him. It took a long time, too, to overcome his aversion to the new system. He and my mother had many a long, tearful talk over it; and although they received the doctrine, believing that it must be right, they could not for some time make up their minds to put it in practice. In the mean time Joseph was assassinated, and for a little time they were left to each other in peace. But Brigham Young was bound to carry
out Joseph's revelations, and this one relating to the plural wife system was strongly, though secretly. urged upon the Saints. Both my father and mother were visited by Brigham, and "counselled" in regard to the matter. My mother has often said that the "Revelation" was the most hateful thing in the world to her, and she dreaded and abhorred it. But she was afraid to oppose it, lest she should be found "fighting against the Lord." The thought that she might be obliged to live in a polygamous relation with another woman filled her with horror and tear; but she was assured by her religious leader, that the
feeling was merely the effect of her early training, which she would soon outgrow under the benign influences of the gospel. For several months she struggled with herself over this subject, before she could think patiently of it for even a minute. She wanted to have it made easy and plain to her, for she could not bear to repudiate any of her beloved Prophet's teachings. She agonized over it day and night; she prayed incessantly to be given the true "spirit" of submission; if it was God's will, she wanted strength to endure it; and she believed she should have it, for surely the kind and loving Father would not impose upon his children burdens greater than they could bear. She had not learned, as she has since, that the God of the Mormon belief was not the heavenly Father whose love the Saviour taught, but a jealous God; a cruel, avenging Spirit, who demanded blood-offerings to appease his awakened wrath. He was not the tender Parent, all-wise, all-powerful, and all-loving, whom she reverenced and adored. There was little use in looking towards her people's God for help or comfort. Retribution, and justice untempered by mercy, were all He had for His subjects, not children.
During all these months of wavering doubt and untold misery, my father never attempted to influence my mother's decision in the least; she had her battle to fight, and he his; the end was inevitable for both; but for all this the contest was no less severe. Brigham's counselling began to assume the form of commands, which at last grew so imperative that they were obliged to be obeyed. My mother did not rebel; she looked upon it as duty, and she was determined to do it silently and uncomplainingly, if not willingly and cheerfully. My parents consulted together regarding the choice of the new wife, and fixed upon the person with surprising unanimity. They were each anxious to help and comfort the other in this as they had been in every other emergency of their lives. My father wished, if he must take another wife, to choose one who should be agreeable to my mother, or rather as agreeable as one woman could be to another under such circumstances; and my mother was, for her part, equally determined not to oppose him in his selection. But opposition was not necessary, as his choice fell upon the very person whom my mother would have selected, had the task rested with her alone.
A short time after my birth, a Miss Elizabeth Taft came, with a younger sister, to live in our house. She was a very pleasant, cheery, affectionate person, and all the family became very much attached to her. Father, mother, children, all quoted "Elizabeth," and she became almost a part of our very selves. She was thoughtful of my mother, and tender to us little ones, petting us and indulging us in our childish whims, and we, in return, loved her very dearly. She was a good woman in its highest interpretation, and devotedly religious. Naturally enough, seeing her so constantly, both my parents thought of her as the new wife. If they must enter polygamy, they knew they could do no better than to take her into the family, if she could be induced to consider the subject in the same light. My father made proposals to her, and my mother seconded them. The thought of living in a polygamic relation with any one was very unpleasant to her, as indeed it is to every true woman; but she desired to live her religion, and believing this to be a part of it, accepted my father's proposal, and became his first plural wife when I was about a year old.
Her parents were in Michigan at the time, and Elizabeth wished to wait until their arrival; but Brigham, who, as a matter of course, was interested in the affair, counselled the marriage to proceed, and of course it was considered right and prudent to obey his counsel; and as he was hurrying forward the endowments in the Nauvoo Temple, preparatory to leaving for the West, the parties most nearly concerned in the matter thought it best to hasten the nuptials.
My mother was to be "sealed" at the same time, as, according to Joseph's Revelation, her former marriage, having been performed in the Gentile form, was not binding. The place of sealing was the Temple; and there, one midwinter day, in the beginning of the year 1846, my mother was sealed to my father for "time and for all eternity," after which she gave him Elizabeth as his wife according to the Mormon marriage formula. It was with a steady voice and calm composure that she pronounced the words that gave another woman a share in her husband's love; but it was none the less with a heavy, breaking heart. Think of it, wives, who are happy in undivided homes, and in your husbands' unshared love! What if your religion commanded you to give another woman to your husband as a wife; who was to have an equal right with you to his attention and his love; who should bear his name, and be a mother to his children; that all this should be done "in the name of the Lord," and without shrinking or complaint on your part. Take this home
to yourself, and you will be able to appreciate as never before the horrors of Mormonism.
It was in January that my father obeyed the "counsel" of his Prophet and leader, and in March his new wife's parents returned, and were shocked and grieved beyond measure to find their daughter married into polygamy; yet, being strong in the faith, and much attached to their church and their religion, submitted without a murmur, like the good Saints they were.
My mother was so quiet and uncomplaining in the position which she had voluntarily assumed, that she was praised by the officious brethren and sisters for submitting with such good grace, and was told by them that great glory awaited her as a reward, and also, as she had so readily made the great sacrifice, she would always be recognized as the first wife, which, among the Mormons, is considered an exceeding great honor. One of the
sisters, who was a strong advocate of the new "Celestial" system, said to her:
"You will stand at the head of your husband's kingdom as a queen; no one can ever take your place from you. but you will be honored to stand by his side through the endless ages of eternity." It was by such nonsensical talk and absurd promises as these that the Mormon leaders tried to make polygamy attractive to the women who were already married, and render them more willing to enter it. Such absurdities may have weight with some women, but they did not affect my mother, nor render the cross she had assumed any more easy to bear. Her husband's undivided love during time was better than royal honors in eternity.
The new wife lived in the family, and to outward appearance everything was unchanged. Only a few of the "very faithful" knew of the new arrangement; it was deemed best to keep it a secret from the majority of the people, to whom polygamy was not a fixed fact, and who were wavering
slightly in the faith on account of it. The time had not yet come to promulgate the doctrine freely, and many left Nauvoo for the West quite ignorant that the system really existed in their midst. I think many of them never would have crossed those endless plains, and sought shelter under the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, had they known what unhappiness awaited them. But unchanged as our family circle was to those outside it, within was unhappiness and bitterness of spirit. It was much harder to endure, even, than my mother had anticipated. Terrible as was the thought. the reality was much more horrible. She thought she had counted the cost; she found she had, in her ignorance, been unable to estimate it. Every hour of her life her heart was torn by some new agony. She was compelled to see many of the tender, wifely little offices, trifles in themselves, that she had been accustomed to perform, done by other hands, and she herself always turned off with the excuse. "You see, dear, you have the children to attend to, and I did not wish to give you trouble." Trouble as though anything done for him, with a heart full of love, could be accounted as such! That hurt her almost as much as to see another doing what it had always been her delight to do.
As is the custom of men in polygamy, my father fell more easily into the new arrangement, and even found a certain comfort and content in it, and he wondered very much that my mother could not be happy as well. Indeed, he was a little impatient, after a while, that she would not say she was content and satisfied in the new relation.
"I don't understand it, he would say; "you were willing at first. What is the difficulty now? Don't you think Elizabeth a good, true girl?"
"Yes, indeed," was always the reply; for my mother was too just a woman to do even a rival a wrong.
"Don't you believe in polygamy, then?" he would ask, determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.
"Yes, I suppose so. I wish to live my religion," was the dreary reply.
"Well, what is to be done about it?" was the next anxious question.
"O, I don't know," my mother would say, in bitter despair; "but I can't endure this life.
"And yet you entered it voluntarily. I don't understand you; you are strangely inconsistent."
Her remonstrance and his comfort never went beyond this point. There was nothing more to be said. She had protested with unutterable anguish against the life that she felt was false and in direct contradiction to every law of moral right, although she was told to look upon it as "divine;" and the only answer she could get was, "You are inconsistent you entered the relation voluntarily." The very truth of this reply silenced her, but it did not make her burdens any lighter or easier to bear.
She saw that patient endurance was all that was required of her, and all she could give. Her husband was hers no longer; she herself had given another woman the same right to his care that she had; and now she turned to all that was left her in life that she could call her own - her children. Had it not been for us she would have prayed to die. I was the baby, and she has said that at that time I was the strongest tie which held her to life. If it had not been for me, lying helpless in her arms, she would have taken her life into her own hands, and put an end to it then and there. But she could not endure the thought of leaving me, her only daughter, - her baby girl, - alone and unshielded by a mother's care. My brothers, who were quite large boys at that time, she thought would not miss her, nor need her so much; and many a time she has knelt with me clasped fast in her arms, the tears falling On my wondering face, and prayed frantically that we both might die. The thought that she had brought a girl into the world to suffer as she was now suffering, to find her whole life's happiness made a wreck by the religion which should be a stay and a comfort, drove her almost wild. She had buried one little girl, and I have often heard her thank God that He had taken her to Himself before life became a terrible bitterness and burden. She often says, in referring to her sufferings at that time, and the desperate state she was in, she wonders she did not commit suicide; what kept her from it she cannot tell to this day, unless the thought that these polygamous relations did not end with time, but were carried on through all eternity.
She had to keep a double guard on her tongue and on her actions. She did not like to vex her husband, and neither did she wish to grieve the young wife, whose position was no pleasanter than her own. Besides, a husband in polygamy is very sensitive regarding the treatment of the last wife by those who have preceded her, and she knew that no act of hers would escape her husband's notice, even had she been inclined to ill-treat her rival.
Once, very mildly and kindly, she tried to tell some of her troubles to Elizabeth, and begged her not to add to her sorrow by bestowing so many marks of affection on my father in her presence. The young wife turned on her quickly, and demanded, bitterly, -
"Do you think I have no trials?"
"God forgive me, and help us both; I know you have," was my mother's quick and sympathetic answer.
After all, what could she say or do? She had influenced the girl quite as much as my father had, believing she was only doing what was right, and that the act, hard as it was, would bring its own blessing with it. Instead, it brought what polygamy always does bring - the curse of a wrecked home and alife's unhappiness.
A gentleman visiting Salt Lake City for the first time once asked me where polygamy hurt the most.
"It hurts all over, body and soul, mind and heart, was my reply. "I can't tell a spot that it does not hurt."
"It is even worse than I thought," he replied, with a shudder.
The reply which I gave then I would give again. Never, until a woman ceases to love her husband, can polygamy cease to be anything but a series of cruel stings, alike to pride and conscience.
I have tried to portray a little something of the misery that fell upon our family by the introduction of polygamy into it. but I have utterly failed to give an adequate idea of it. No pen can possibly depict the heart-breaking sufferings that are endured by women in this relation, and no one can imagine or understand them who has not experienced them. And yet, in spite of all this unhappiness, we were accounted a model family, and were pointed out as the best exponents of the system. "They are so united!" was the admiring verdict. This was due a great deal to my mother's exertions and her conscientiousness. Having taken this new mode of life as a religious duty, she was determined not to be found wanting in readiness to perform whatever it required of her. A happy, contented spirit she could not give; but she could show patience, long-suffering, and a calm, though by no means cheerful, face and manner.
Then, my father was very just in the treatment of his wives. One did not fare better than the other in any respect. If he purchased an article of wearing apparel for one, he got its counterpart for the other; in every particular they shared alike. His position was by no means an enviable one; still it was preferable to that of either of his wives. Men, as I said before, always get the best of it in polygamy, and always become more easily reconciled to it than do the women. At meetings and all social assemblies, my father appeared with both wives, and they deferred to each other in the most charming way, both of them being too sensible and too proud to show the slightest feeling where it might be commented on. Then, too, in spite of the natural bitterness of feeling between them, there was a mutual respect and regard between them, and each was too just to lay her troubles at the door of the other. Had these two women, with their generous natures and firm principles, met on any other ground, they would not only have "got along" amiably and quietly as they did, but they would have been warm, earnest friends, and the respectful regard would have grown into positive affection. As it was, they had nothing but kind words for each other, my mother, especially, pitying the young wife as she did herself. Elizabeth was still kind to us children, and gained the love which she has held ever since, and which she fully deserved. Still the introduction of polygamy into our midst was not a pleasant
thing, and we little ones, even, felt instinctively its baleful influence.
But we were to be diverted from the contemplation of its miseries by a new and absorbing excitement. The Mormon people were again compelled to move, leaving their beautiful new city in the "defiled hands" of the Gentiles; and in the very midst of our first family trouble and unhappiness came the command to seek another Zion, since this could no longer be a shelter for the Saints.
FORSAKING DEAR ZION. - WE FIND A NEW HOME IN THE
A New Home in the Far West. - Dangerous Neighbors. - Some very Unpleasant Stories. - Seeking a New Home. - Preparing to Depart. - Life at Winter-Quarters. - A Lively
Time in the Temple. - "Little Dancin' Missy." - Bound for Salt Lake Valley. - Life by the Way. - Songs of the Saints. - A False Prophecy. - "The Upper California." - Saintly
Profanity. - A Soul-stirring Melody. - The Saints Excited. - Beside the Camp-Fires. -The Journey Ending. - Entering Zion. -The Valley of the Great Salt Lake
In the spring of 1846 our family left Nauvoo, with the large body of the Saints, to find a new home in the West. The Mormon people had become quite as unpopular in Illinois as they had been in Missouri; and collisions between them and the Gentiles were very frequent.
Sometimes it was one side that was the aggressor, sometimes the other. The Saints were indignant at the treachery which resulted in Joseph Smith's death. They held the United States government responsible for it, as well as for the troubles in Missouri, and taught disloyalty to the government, and personal revenge on all who molested them.
The people of Illinois, in their turn, regarded the Mormons as dangerous neighbors, and getting a hint of the new doctrine of polygamy, looked upon them as grossly " immoral, and accused them of much greater crimes than they really committed. All sorts of horrible rumors were rife, and the indignation of the people outside knew no bounds.
The Mormon people realized, very soon after Joseph's death, that they must seek a new home, and they looked with a feeling of positive relief to the unexplored region beyond the Rocky Mountains. They believed that there they would find a realization of all that had been promised them by their murdered Prophet. At least they would be beyond all interference and molestation, and after all they had suffered. they did not care how much space they put between themselves and the Gentile world.
All through the winter of 1845 and 46, my father was very busy building wagons for the purpose of transporting the Saints and their property to their new and yet unknown home; for their destination was not definitely known to any of them at that time. The Apostle Taylor advocated California and indeed, announced that it would be the Saints' objective point when they should leave Nauvoo. He wrote an emigration song about it, and all the way from Nauvoo to Winter-Quarters, some of the emigrating party were tunefully averring,-
"The Upper California, 0, that's the land for me!"
Yet, in spite of Taylor's prophecy and the saintly singing of it, they never reached California.
It mattered little to me, at that period of my existence, where we went. Home was home wherever my mother was, whether it was east, west, or camping on the prairies between. Of course I remember but little respecting the exodus of the Saints from Nauvoo; still there are indistinct recollections of things that happened as early as that which sometimes cross my mind, although they are very dim. My first distinct remembrance was of
Winter-Quarters, which were then where Council Bluffs now stands.
My father built a log-house there, and we were comparatively comfortable. Our family consisted of my father, mother, two brothers, myself, and Elizabeth, the new wife. We were together nearly all the time, but when my father went into Missouri to work a while at his business, and get a little money ahead to take us to our new home, and settle us, he took my mother, my younger brother, and myself, leaving Elizabeth - the new wife - and my oldest brother at Winter-Quarters.
Notwithstanding the facts of the enforced emigration, the uncertainty of their future, and sacrifices they had been compelled to make, the migrating Mormons were not an unhappy party, and they managed to make their stay in Winter-Quarters lively, if not merry. As a people-, they have always mixed amusement with their religion in the most amusing manner. Dancing was a favorite recreation with them, and all their balls were commenced with prayer. That custom, by the way. is still continued, and the blessing of "the Lord invoked at every dancing party which takes place in Mormondom. The Temple at Nauvoo (I have heard) was used for dancing parties, and it was then given out that the exercise was a religious one. It was taught to the Saints that recreation was positively necessary. Everybody dances among the Saints - president, counsellors, apostles, elders, and all; and they dance with an unction, too, that is very amusing, and frequently ridiculous.
It was while on the way to Salt Lake, when I was only about three years old, that I learned to dance. It was when I was living in Missouri that I had my first lessons. Dancing was the common amusement there, and I remember the negroes used to play. I was active and lithe, and very ready at imitations, and had, besides, a quick ear for music. I was petted by everybody, and the negro musicians took a special fancy to "little dancin' missy," and they taught me several negro dances, which I used to execute to the intense delight of my sable instructors, and the amusement of my friends.
That winter, in Missouri, is one of the bright spots in my childhood, to which I'm especially fond of looking back. It is, indeed, the really happy time I can recollect My father was busy most of the time, and we lived very pleasantly and comfortably, for that section of the at that early day; my mother was more cheerful country than I had ever known her to be, and the atmosphere of our home was peaceful. The second wife had been left at Council Bluffs and my mother had her husband's sole care and attention, as she had had it in the old days before the curse of polygamy was thrust upon her to
embitter her whole life, and rob her of all that a woman holds most dear, and guards most jealously. Its shadow was over her still, and she knew She could not escape from it; but she would take what comfort she could, and think no more of past or future sufferings than she could possibly help.
In 1847 a party of the Saints left Winter-Quarters for the Salt Lake Valley. My parents had intended to accompany them, but my father was obliged to remain on account of business, and to assist in the final departure of the main body of the church. Brigham Young and his family went, necessarily, with the first party. Brigham was now absolute in authority, and he managed the affairs of the Saints so arbitrarily that no one dreamed of interfering with him, or gainsaying him in the least. He decreed that my father should remain at Winter-Quarters, and as a matter of course he obeyed. We were there another winter, and all the while my mother's heart was setting most strongly Zionward.
It was the 4th of May, 1848, when at last we were fairly started for our Rocky-Mountain home. The hearts of all the people were filled with eager anticipation, and they said "good-bye" cheerfully and heartily to the civilized world, in which were centered all the memories of their past, and turned gladly towards that unknown country beyond the wild plains and pathless deserts in which were all the hopes of their future.
My father took provisions that would last a year, by practising economy, and we had two wagons and three yoke of oxen; there were six of us in the family-our own selves and Elizabeth. We joined with a train of two hundred wagons, which was afterwards divided into companies of fifties. I suppose the journey must have been a tiresome one to the older members of the party, but I enjoyed it extremely. I ran along, during a portion of the day, by the side of the wagons, picking the flowers by the way, and talking to the different members of' the train, for I knew everybody, and was petted almost as much by my fellow-travellers as I had been by my negro friends in Missouri. It is a wonder that I was not completely spoiled ; I daresay I should have been, had it not been for my mother's sensible and judicious training. I was her idol, the one object for which she cared the most in the world; but for all that, she ruled me wonderfully, and I yielded her the most implicit obedience, while giving her the most passionate childish love and devotion.
I remember her so distinctly on this journey! She occupied herself a great deal with writing, keeping a literal transcript of all that befell us on our journey, mingled with the deepest religious meditation and poetic fancies. She always wrote in a large book, which she afterwards destroyed, when we arrived at Salt Lake City. I have always regretted the destruction of that book, as I should have liked it as a souvenir of that journey to the "Promised Land." But she was so shy of having her feelings known, and so fearful lest it might fall into some person's hands who would not understand her, but who would jeer at her for a sentimentalist, that she put it out of the way at the very earliest opportunity. Among other things, she wrote a song, which used to be sung in camp, and was a great favorite; but even that is lost. I cannot recall it to memory, and my mother will not, as she says it is much better forgotten.
We rested every Sabbath, and always held services. Sometimes we staid a week in camp, resting our tired oxen, and recruiting our own strength. It was a pleasant season of the year, and we could afford to travel leisurely, as we had left Winter-quarters so early that we had ample time to reach Salt Lake Valley before the weather became disagreeable, even if we made frequent stops. We had plenty of provisions, too, and there was no fear of their becoming exhausted.
Brigham Young bad returned from the new settlement to accompany the emigrants and show them the way. We travelled in company with him, and I attracted a great deal of his attention. The two families, Brigham's and our own, had lived in adjoining houses in Nauvoo, and I had known "Brother Young" from my birth; he blessed me in my infancy, and I was at one time as great a favorite of his as any child ever could be; which isn't speaking very enthusiastically of his affection, to be sure, since he is not noted for fondness for children, even his own. I little thought then what relation I should one day hold to this man, who was older than my father. My future was not foreshadowed in that summer journey in search of a home.
The Saints used to cheer their tedious journey by singing from some point or other in the train. I could always catch snatches of song; and on Sunday, while we were encamped, the whole body of the Saints would sing their hymns and local songs together. Some of these I recollect very distinctly, and, even now, find myself humming snatches of them, having taken them up quite unconsciously. One of them I referred to before, by the Apostle Taylor, who at that time was a famous hymn-writer for the Saints. This one especially was a great favorite of the younger men in the company, and if one voice began it while we were journeying on, it would be taken up the whole length of the train and sung with great unction. I give it as a specimen of the style of hymns that was popular in the church.
"The Upper California. 0, that's the land for me!
It lies between the mountains and the great Pacific Sea;
The Saints can be supported there,
And taste the sweets of liberty,
In Upper California - 0, that's the land for me!
We'll go and lift our standard, we'll go there and be free,
We'll go to California, and have our jubilee;
A land that blooms with endless spring,
A land of life and liberty,
With flocks and herds abounding - O, that's the land for rue!
We'll burst off all our fetters, and break the Gentile yoke,
For long it has beset us, but now it shall be broke;
No more shall Jacob bow his neck;
Henceforth he shall be great and free
In Upper California - 0, that's the land for me!
We'll reign, we'll rule and triumph, and God shall be our King;
The plains, the hills, the valleys shall with hosannas ring;
Our towers and temples there shall rise
Along the great Pacific Sea,
In Upper California - 0, that's the land for me
We'll ask our cousin Lemuel to join us heart and hand,
And spread abroad our curtains throughout fair Zion's land.
Till this is done. we'll Ditch our tents
Along the great Pacific Sea,
In Upper California - 0, that's the land for me!
Then join with me. my brethren, and let us hasten there;
We'll lift our glorious standard, and raise our house of prayer;
We'll call on all the nations round
To join our standard and be free
In Upper California - 0, that's the land for me!"
Another one that the Saints used to sing a great deal - and one that was composed in Nauvoo, to be sung in the Temple before the exodus - was set to the pathetic air of "Old Dan Tucker." I give what I can remember of it.
"In 46 we leave Nauvoo,
And on our journey we'll pursue;
We'll bid the mobbers all farewell,
And let them go to heaven or hell.
Old Governor Ford. he is so small
There is no room for soul at all;
He neither can be damned nor blest,
Though heaven or hell should do their best."
This song, profane as it may seem, was sung, not once, but many times, in Nauvoo Temple, and religious exercises in camp were never considered complete without it. Why these two songs stand out more prominently in my memory than any others - with one exception, which I shall presently mention - I do not know, unless it was because the airs pleased me; the first was bright, stirring, and very easily caught; the other was familiar to me in Missouri. When I think of it now, two scenes always come to my mind: one, of a little blue-eyed girl, dancing merrily under the trees while a band of delighted negroes sang the gay tune which the tiny feet were beating out; another, of the same little girl, running along by the side of a covered emigrant-wagon, with her hands full of half-withered flowers which she had picked by the wayside, listening to the old song with the new words, which she only half comprehended, and involuntarily making her steps keep time to the music.
The other hymn which I remember was a great favorite with the Saints, and whenever they sang it, it had the power of awakening the wildest enthusiasm. It is of a style entirely different from either of the other two. I can't help quoting here a verse or two, it is so much a part of the memory of this portion of my life.
"The Spirit of God, like a fire is burning!
The latter-day glory begins to come forth;
The visions and blessings of old are returning;
The angels are coming to visit the earth;
We'll sing and we'll shout, with the armies of heaven;
Hosanna! hosanna to God and the Lamb!
Let glory to them in the highest be given,
Henceforth and for ever. Amen and Amen!
The Lord is extending the Saints' understanding,
Restoring their judges and all as at first;
The knowledge and power of God are expanding;
The veil o'er the earth is beginning to burst.
We'll call in our solemn assemblies in spirit,
To spread forth the kingdom of heaven abroad,
That we through our faith may begin to inherit
The visions, and blessings, and glories of God.
We'll wash and be washed, and with oil be anointed,
Withal not omitting the washing of feet,
For he that receiveth his penny appointed
Must surely be clean at the harvest of wheat.
Old Israel that fled from the world for his freedom,
Must come with the cloud and the pillar amain;
A Moses, and Aaron, and Joshua lead him,
And feed him on manna from heaven again.
How blessed the day when the lamb and the lion
Shall lie down together without any ire,
And Ephraim be crowned with his blessing in Zion,
As Jesus descends with his chariots of fire.
We'll sing and we'll shout, with the armies of heaven:
Hosanna! hosanna to God and the Lamb:
Let glory to them in the highest be given,
For ever and ever. Amen and Amen."
This hymn always stirred the Saints to the very depths of their natures. It was as appealing and sonorous as a battle-cry, as exultant as a trumpet-note of victory. Without understanding it, I was powerfully affected by it; my cheeks would glow, my eyes flush with tears, and my little heart grow so large that I would almost suffocate. The sublime exaltation of the Saints, as they sung this, was felt by me, child as I was, though I could not comprehend it. I shut my eyes now, and see a large company gathered together, in a fast-falling twilight, on a wide plain, that seems as endless as the ocean; the blue of
the star-studded sky is the only covering for the heads of this company. In the dusk the white-covered wagons look weird and ghostly. Campfires are burning; men, women, and children are clustered together, and the talk goes back to the old days and the trials and persecutions which these people have borne, and forward to an independent and happy future, blessed of God and unmolested by man. In the glow of anticipation, some one strikes up this fervid hymn, - the rallying-song of the Mormons, - and the wide plains echo back the stirring strains. I nestle by my mother's side, awed and subdued, but content to feel the clasp of her hand and meet the loving light of her eyes. The song is over, and "hosannas" and "amens" resound on every side, and out of the blue sky the stars smile own on the wanderers with a I calm, hopeful light.
Never, to the very last, up to the time of my abandoning Mormonism and leaving Utah, could I hear this hymn unmoved; and even now the very thought of it thrills me strangely. I have heard it sung again and again since then; but it is, nevertheless, indissolubly connected with that journey across the plains and over the mountains.
Towards the last of the journey some of the Saints began to be somewhat impatient, and begged to hasten onward. We had occupied nearly the whole summer with the journey, and probably crossed the plains more comfortably and with less trouble or loss than any train which followed us. Starting as early as we did, we could move as slowly as we liked, with no dread of winter storms overtaking us. The last stop we made of any length was at Weber River, where we remained a week in camp, fishing, and getting ready for the final part of our journey. Our wanderings were nearly at an end; only a few days more and we should reach our new home - the Zion of the promises, the resting-place for God's people. Brigham, who did not often indulge in "revelations," said the place had been pointed out to him in a vision, and in the shadow of the mountains the Saints should hold their own against the entire world. The pictures of the mountain-fastnesses which he drew for the wandering people, and his assurances of their future safety and constantly increasing power, filled them with anticipation and exultation. Already they saw the masses of the converted from the Gentile world knocking at their doors for admission; this yet unbuilt city in the wilderness was to be the Lord's dwelling-place on earth, and to Him here, from every nation on the globe, sinners were to come flocking, whose future glory would add to the brightness of His kingdom here and swell His kingdom in heaven.
From their stronghold in the mountains they were to reach out and grasp the whole world. "The fullness of the earth was to be the Lord's through them. Like the Covenanters of old, they might have sung, -
"For the strength of the hills ; we bless Thee,
Our God. our fathers' God!
Thou hast made Thy children mighty
By the touch of the mountain sod.
Thou host placed the Ark of Refuge
Where the spoiler's foot ne'er trod;
For the strength of the hills we bless Thee,
Our God, our fathers' God."
In spite of all that this devoted people had passed through, they still believed they were the "Chosen of God," to whom it was given to build the waste places of Zion, and make the desert blossom as the rose.
There was general rejoicing when at last the camp at Weber's River was broken, and we were again on our way. The spirit of prophecy broke loose and fairly run riot among the leaders. The "Promised Land" was near, the "City of Refuge" for the weary-footed Saints was nearly reached, where God Himself would cheer his people. The rest of the journey was accomplished quickly; lagging footsteps hastened and heavy hearts grew light as they
neared the Mormon Canaan. It was destined not to be a land overflowing with milk and honey, but they had little care for that, when, on the 20th of September, 1848, they reached the Salt Lake Valley, and were welcomed to the Fort by the little band who had preceded them into the wilderness. They were travel-stained and weary; but here was home at last - the "Zion" of their hopes.
OUR WELCOME TO "ZION." - UTAH IN THE EARLY DAYS.
Our Welcome to Zion. - Housekeeping under Difficulties. - Our First Home in Utah. - The Second Wife's Baby. - The Young Mother. - A very Delicate Position. - Doctors at a Discount. - Brigham's Wife turns Midwife. - An Obedient Woman. - Taking Care of the Baby. - Practising Economy. - The Path of the Crickets. - Too much Cracked
Wheat. - Building the First Mill. - Brother Brigham Speechifies. - Tea at Five Dollars per Pound. - Californian Gold Discovered. - Building up Zion. - Brigham's " Dress
Reform." - A Rather Queer Costume. - The Women "Assert" Themselves. - Clara Decker Rebels. - How the Prophet treats his Wives. - I ask for some Furs, and am Snubbed - How the Prophet doled out his Silk. - Eliza Snow and Fanny's Finery. - The Prophet Snubs Eliza. - He Combats the "Grecian Bend." - Dancing among the Saints. -
Polygamy Denied. - How the Saints received It. - A Nice Little Family Arrangement.
Our own immediate family were welcomed by Elizabeth's parents, who had gone on with the first body of the Saints, and were living as comfortably as they could under the circumstances, in the Fort. We were their guests but a short time; then we moved into a tent and our covered travelling-wagon, which constituted our first housekeeping establishment in Utah.
We were quite in the fashion, however, as nearly all our friends were living in the same way. My father commenced immediately to build an adobe house, hoping to get us into it before the winter set in. When it was finished it was regarded with admiration, and ourselves with envy, since no one else had so fine a place. The reason of its superiority was, that it was the second house in the place, and the other was a miserable affair of a log-cabin, in contrast with which our adobe structure was quite a palatial affair.
Shortly after our arrival at Salt Lake, Elizabeth added a son to the family. This was a time and an occurrence to try my mother's spirit; but she bore it bravely, and showed herself a true Christian, and a brave and sympathetic woman. She took all the care of the mother and child, and was as devoted to the former as though she had been a daughter. If there was any bitterness in her heart towards her, she certainly did not show it at this crisis of her life. It was a trying position for her to be placed in, as any woman can realize who will give a thought to the circumstances, - a woman caring for another during the birth of a child whose father is her own husband.
For many years the Mormons rejected the aid of physicians altogether. They applied oil, and "laid hands" on all sick persons, without regard to their ailments. If a person was ill, the elders were called, and they anointed him with consecrated oil; then, they rubbed or manipulated him, much after the manner of the modern "magnetic treatment," the elders praying audibly all the time. In cases of childbirth, women used to officiate, and Brigham Young compelled one of his wives, Zina Huntington, to learn midwifery, in order that she might attend her husband's other wives during their accouchements. The task was extremely distasteful to her, as she was not particularly fond of nursing; and as those to be cared for were her own rivals, she, of course, relished the work still less. But she was a good, conscientious woman, and her reverence for her husband - for, strange as it may seem, she did reverence him - would not allow her to resist any commands he might place upon her; and her generous nature and strict sense of justice would not allow her to neglect any one under her care, no matter how distasteful the person might be to her. She never carried her personal feelings into a sick room, and always gave her patient the tenderest, most watchful, and motherly care. The world. Mormon or Gentile, does not hold a nobler, truer woman than Zina Huntington Young.
In the absence of physicians, almost the entire responsibility and care of Elizabeth and the boy, my half brother, fell upon my mother. She has often said that in the care she gave her at that time, she tried to make amends for some of the bitterness of feeling she had shown before. She never expected to be reconciled to the family arrangement; but as it was inevitable, she was determined to do everything in her power to help everyone concerned in it, and to make the new home in Zion as peaceful and harmonious as possible. It was a difficult task; but then polygamy is made up of difficult tasks and trying situations. There is nothing else in it, - no one palliation for all the woe. My mother grew very much attached to the child, and he clung to her with loving affection. He is twenty- six years old now, but he has always kept his love for "Auntie," as he calls my mother, and she has an unflagging interest in him. Indeed, all Elizabeth's children are fond of my mother, and our two families have been more united than polygamous families usually are. This has been due to the common-sense of the two mothers, who, the dupes of a false system and a still falser religion, nevertheless knew each that the other was not to blame for the mutual suffering. For twelve years they lived together under one roof, eating at the same table, with not an unkind word passing between them. It was a matter of conscience with both; they were neither of them resigned to the situation, but they believed that it was right, and they must endure it.
When we arrived at the Valley we. found the people practising the most rigid economy. The crickets had been very numerous, and had almost entirely destroyed the crops. devastating whole fields, until they looked as though they had been scorched by fire. A few had managed, by most desperate exertions, to save some of their wheat: but as there was only an apology. for a mill, with no bolting apparatus, this wheat was obliged to be
eaten without being sifted. When I have seen persons eating cracked wheat as a delicacy, and heard them speaking of it with the subdued enthusiasm which some people manifest when talking of food, I have thought of the time when this delicacy was the only thing that was seen on the tables at Utah for breakfast, dinner, or supper, and I have come to the conclusion that "delicacies" may, in time, grow monotonous.
To be sure, we brought flour and other necessaries from the Missouri River in considerable quantity, - enough to have lasted us a long time, had we kept them exclusively for our own use; but on our arrival we divided with those who had none, and ate our share of the coarse bread. As soon as possible a good mill was built, and the year after we arrived we had our wheaten flour again. Of course when once our small store of groceries was exhausted, it was quite impossible to procure more in the Territory. Everything was used most sparingly, and what had, in the States, been looked upon
as actual necessaries, were now positive luxuries. It was a year of deprivation and self- denial, but the Saints bore every cross with patience, and were brave to the end. During the time no word of complaint was heard, and not one seemed to regret the step he had taken. - There was an exultation and a spirit of freedom that amounted to bravado. Brigham added to this spirit by his Sunday discourses in the Bowery, by such language as the following: -
"We are now out of reach of our enemies, away from civilization, and we will do as we please, with none to molest. The Gentiles cannot reach us now. If they try it they will find themselves in trouble."
During the first year we had only the groceries we brought with us but the following year some kinds were brought in from the States, and although the prices demanded were fearfully high, yet buyers were found for all the articles. Tea sold for five dollars a pound, sugar for one dollar and fifty cents a pound; potatoes brought their weight in silver, and potato-balls were brought from California, at a great expense, to be used for seed.
It was at this time that the California mines were discovered, and the gold-dust actually was more plentiful than food or clothing, for a while.
The first winter was filled with a variety of occupations, the men going to the cañons for timber, building houses, and taking care of stock; the women knitted, repaired the dilapidated clothing, and attended to the household duties, necessarily in a very primitive fashion. There wasn't a pair of idle hands in the entire settlement. The yarn which the women used for knitting was made from buffalo wool, which we picked from the sage-bush on the journey. The carding and spinning were also done by the sisters.
Our principal food, the first winter, was dried buffalo-meat, very poor beef, and the coarse bread of which I have spoken, made from the unbolted wheat. Occasionally, as a very great luxury, we had dried fruit and a cup of tea; but this was only on state occasions, and at very long intervals.
I am sorry to say that bickerings among this Saintly people were no more infrequent than among the Gentiles, and that there were as many disputes over land and other claims in "Zion," as ever there had been in "Babylon." They were not above jealousies, either, this "chosen people;" and, indeed, on our arrival at Salt Lake we found trouble between the Apostle John Taylor and Bishop Smart, the two men whom Brigham Young had left in authority when he left Utah for the States to fetch the remainder of the Saints. Each had become jealous of the other, and envious of his authority, and it required considerable skill and tact to settle the apostolic quarrel and make matters smooth again. Jedediah M. Grant was presiding, and holding the two factions apart when Brigham arrived; and so well did he manage this most difficult task, that, as a reward for his faithfulness and patience, Brigham made him his second counsellor. It took some time to settle this and other disputes, and often the entire Sunday service was devoted to the adjustment of difficulties between the brethren.
The Fort was by no means large enough to hold all the people who had already arrived, and tents would be comfortable for only a few weeks. The work of building went on as rapidly as possible, those who were able having log or adobe houses, while others - of less extensive means were obliged to content themselves with dugouts, which were nothing more or less than holes dug in the ground and covered with willow boughs and earth.
When the clothing wore out, as there was no cloth there, and no wool to make it from, the men wore clothes made of deer and antelope skins. It was at this time that Brigham undertook to inaugurate a "dress reform "among the women, and introduce a most unique style of dress of his own invention. If the dress reformers of the East are likely to fail in their attempts to present a sufficient quantity of novelties to meet the demands of their patrons, I would most respectfully recommend to their most favorable notice President Young's "inspired" dress, which was called the "Deseret costume."
It is a marked peculiarity of the Mormon Mogul, that he is extremely fond of interfering. No matter is too trivial for his mind to dwell upon and consider. Nothing is of too private or personal a nature for him to refrain from meddling with it. From the cuisine of the poorest family in the Territory to the wardrobe of the richest, nothing escapes him, and whatever he may say or do, no one dares resent his interference.
Not long after the arrival of the Saints in Utah, Brigham conceived the idea of a uniform dress, by which the sister Saints should be distinguished from the rest of the world, and for a while he was enthusiastic on the subject of this "dress reform." He not only introduced the idea of this dress, but he planned it himself, and was as proud of his costume as Worth is of any one of the most gorgeous gowns which he sends out from his world-famed establishment. Several of the sisters had adopted the Bloomer costume in Illinois, and President Young had warmly approved of it. He now wanted something more pronounced, and he held meetings with the leading ladies who favored his plan, for the purpose of deciding in what manner to introduce the new costume. There was much excitement over it, and most of the sisters were intensely curious concerning the proposed style of it, when suddenly it was revealed to them in all its beauty.
The costume consisted of a short dress, which did not fit the figure at all, but resembled very closely the modern gored wrapper, such as is worn at the present time. It reached about half way between the knee and ankle, and was worn with long pantalets, made of the same material as the dress itself. Over this was worn a long, loose sacque, of antelope skin. This costume was certainly peculiar and distinctive enough; but it did not quite suit the Mormon Worth: it was not complete enough; so he added a hat eight inches high, with a straight, narrow brim; and then he viewed his achievement with complacent admiration.
It must be confessed, however, that the large majority of the sisters did not share his admiration; and even he, although he strenuously urged the general adoption of this costume, could induce but very few of the sisters to wear it. Even Mormon women will assert themselves in matters of the toilette, and they refused, most persistently, to
make perfect guys of themselves. It was a very unbecoming dress, both to face and figure; there was nothing graceful or beautiful about it, and probably the female Mormons have never, in all their lives, come so nearly being actually indignant with their Prophet as they were when he endeavored to induce them to disfigure themselves by wearing this hideous costume.
Some of the sisters, however, were quite energetic in their efforts to bring about the desired dress reform, and they cut their silk dresses and other expensive materials after this pattern. It is true, silk was not very common in Utah at that time, but a few of the more wealthy had brought materials with them for future use; and the first use they made of them was to sacrifice them to one of President Young's whims. They did it with an earnestness, and even eagerness, that was beautiful to behold - or would have been, had not one been pained at their delusion.
But the "Deseret Costume" was not a success. The high hat killed it at its birth. It is possible that without this addition the rest of the dress might have been tolerated; but as every one who wore it was expected to don the hat also, the short-dress mania was of
brief existence. Of course the material that was used for one of these dresses was utterly worthless after that, as nothing could be done with it. The dress was in so many pieces that the cut-up cloth was good for nothing.
One or two of the Prophet's wives-who wished to serve the Lord and glorify Brigham, and who were determined to live by "every word that proceeded out of his mouth" - persevered in wearing the dress, hat, pantalets and all, long after every one else had abandoned it; until at last they were compelled to succumb to popular opinion and a more prevailing fashion. That was the first and last attempt of Brigham Young to institute a dress reform, although he has never ceased inveighing in the strongest terms against the follies and vanities of the feminine world, and assailing the women who followed the fashions. It is indeed, a pet occupation of his when he is in exceedingly bad temper; and the Saints can easily tell when anything has gone wrong with him during the week by the ferocity with which he attacks the sisters on the subject of dress, in the Tabernacle on Sunday. He does not seem to make a very decided impression on his listeners, however; even his wives and daughters following their own inclinations rather than his teachings. The truth is, he says so much about it that it is altogether an old story, and has lost all its impressiveness from its frequent repetition.
His chief topic is retrenchment in dress, and he pleads for it as earnestly as though it were a vital matter with him. And he not only preaches economy in the Tabernacle to his people, but he practices the most rigid parsimony at home with his wives. Except by Amelia, a request for any article of wearing apparel is the signal for all sorts of grumbling. Once in a while, however, some of his wives will turn suddenly and give him an answer; though, I must confess, the occasions are rare.
Clara Decker, one of his numerous wives, was sadly in want of some furs, and she did not hesitate to ask Brother Young to supply her needs. He became positively furious, and declared that her extravagance was beyond all endurance; she wanted to ruin him; she was determined to ruin him; all his wives were banded together for his financial downfall; and so on, with endless abuse. She listened to him patiently for a few minutes ; then getting tired of all this abuse, she interrupted him: -
"If you think, Brigham Young, that I care anything for you, except for your money and what little I can get from you, you are mistaken. I might have cared more once; but that was a long time ago."
She then turned and left the room, leaving him petrified with amazement. A few hours after a set of furs was sent to her room. She quietly took them, and the subject was never referred to again.
The winter after my marriage with the Prophet, I myself preferred a similar request, and was met by a similar torrent of abuse. Not knowing that this was his usual manner of meeting a request from his wives, and not having Clara Decker's experience, I was perfectly overcome, and felt as though I had committed the unpardonable sin in daring even to think of a set of furs, which, by the way, are actual necessities in a Utah winter. I burst into tears, and sobbed out, -
"0, don't, Brother Young!"
I left the office and went home, puzzled and astonished at this new revelation of my Prophet-husband's meanness and coarseness. The next time he came to see me he brought me my furs. I used them two seasons, when the muff needed re-lining, and I ventured to ask him for silk for the purpose, thinking, of course, he could find no fault with so modest a request as that. But it seems I had not even then tested his full capacity for fault-finding. He treated me to a tirade, longer and more abusive than ever. He had got my furs for me, and yet I was not satisfied, but I must come bothering him again. I knew that he had several trunks full of silks, velvets, and laces, that he was keeping for some purpose or other, and consequently the material for re-lining my muff would cost him nothing; so I did not feel that I merited the lecture I was receiving. I said nothing, however, beyond making my request, and when he had finished he cut off a quarter of a yard of narrow silk from an entire piece which he had in one of the trunks, and gave it to me with as many airs and as much flourish as though he were presenting me with a whole dress pattern. It is needless to say that my muff was not lined with that piece of silk.
The trimming of dresses also comes in for a full share of Brother Brigham's condemnation; but he likes to have all the scolding and fault-finding to himself. If any one else ventures to express a like opinion, he is more than likely to disagree with them, probably from pure contrariness. I remember an incident that illustrates this, which took place at family prayers at the Lion-house one evening. One of the Prophet's daughters, Fanny, a very pretty, stylish girl, came into the parlor wearing a black wrapper trimmed with rows of red braid. The sight of this seemed very greatly to exercise Eliza Snow, -
a proxy wife of Brother Brigham, - and she exclaimed in a shocked tone, - "Is it possible that I see one of Brigham Young's daughters in a dress trimmed with red? I am more surprised than I can tell."
Brother Brigham couldn't stand this invasion of his province, and called out peremptorily, - "That dress is well enough. Let the girl alone; she shall wear whatever she chooses. I've seen you in more ridiculous finery than that." And this to the woman who was the first to adopt, and the last to relinquish, the hat, pantalets and short gown of the "Deseret Costume!" Such is Prophetic gratitude!
On one occasion he was holding forth on the subject of long dresses; reviling them, of course, and holding up to ridicule and contempt the women who wore them.
"The very next time," said he, growing warm with his subject, "that I see one of my wives with a dress on sweeping the ground, I will take the scissors and cut it off."
The very next day, I was passing through a door in front of him, when he accidentally stepped upon my train, which was a very long one. Of course I expected my dress to be sacrificed to the Prophet's promise, but to my great surprise, he not only refrained from the threatened application of the scissors, but from any comment, even so much as an apology for his awkwardness.
One of his favorite amusements has been imitating the Grecian bend for the benefit of the congregation, and it pleased him so much, and seemed so highly entertaining, that he kept up the practice long after "the bend" was out of fashion. He indulges in the coarsest witticisms, and is not above positive vulgarity and profanity, both in language and manner, often making himself very offensive to the more refined portion of his audience.
His own practice is entirely at variance with his teachings, since he wears the finest broadcloth of the most fashionable cut, drives the fastest horses, and rides in the most elegant carriages in the Territory, and his favorite wife is indulged in all the extravagances of the age. And yet a large portion of the Saints seem to take no notice of these inconsistencies, but receive all that he says as the strictest law and the most unimpeachable gospel.
In place of a distinctive costume, which he hoped to make the women adopt, the daughters of Zion fairly rival their Babylonian sisters in gaiety and fineness of attire, and the remotest allusion to the "Deseret Costume" is never heard now in the City of the Saints. It was the last attempt at dress reform in Utah.
Immediately on the arrival of the church in Utah, polygamy was urged upon the people. Having no fear of the outside world, since they were so far removed from it, they laid aside all caution, and preached and practiced it openly. The plural-wives taken in Nauvoo were acknowledged for the first time, and others were added. The men were constantly urged, to "build up the kingdom," and in order to do that they were counselled to "take
advantage of their privileges." If they did not hasten to obey counsel, they drew down Prophetic and Apostolic wrath onto their heads, and were accused of not "living up to the privileges." It soon became very unpopular for a man to have but one wife, and he quickly found himself looking out for another. in fact, the somewhat coarse song, which was much affected by the Mormon men, described the state of affairs at the introduction of polygamy :-
"Some men have a dozen wives,
And some men have a score;
The man that has but one wife
Is looking out for more."
Of course dancing-parties were frequent then, even when there was nothing but the "Bowery" for a ball-room, with the earth for a floor. Joseph Smith had told them that it was the will of the Lord that they should "make themselves merry in the dance," and, like the consistent Christians they were, they determined that the Lord's will, in this matter at least, should be done. They had danced in the Temple at Nauvoo, they had danced while crossing the plains, and now they commenced again, in the only place of worship which the city boasted, which was an open space, overarched by boughs of trees. This served as tabernacle and dancing-room while the weather permitted; after which the religious services were held at Brigham's own house, the dances at the different houses.
Polygamy became so much the fashion, that if a man attended a party with only one wife, he felt ashamed and humiliated, and would instantly select some unappropriated young woman, and commence paying her "particular and peculiar" attentions. He would dance with her, and in the intervals of the dance talk matrimony to her, usually, not uninterested nor unwilling listener; the poor wife sitting by, watching the progress of the courtship with heavy heart and a consciousness of what the result would be. A lady friend, who had lived that experience, once said to me, "I could write volumes on the misery I endured that first winter in Utah." Another one, referring to the same period, said, "I have divided my last crust with polygamy."
It was horrible, the makeshifts that were obliged to be resorted to, in order to start the system. A neighbor of ours had four wives, and only one room to live in during the entire winter. It was used for sitting-room, kitchen, bedroom and parlor, and the interior arrangements defy all description. No pen can portray the many ingenious expedients adopted to preserve appearances. Modesty and decency forbid my throwing too strong a light on that habitation.
This was only one of many, and was by no means exceptional. The command had gone forth to take more wives, and it did not matter at all whether there was a place to put them in; they must be taken into polygamy. It was kept quiet from the outside world, and the elders who were sent out on missions were commanded to keep utter silence on the subject. Rumors did get out after a while, especially after the California miners began to pass through Utah. There were no hotels at Salt Lake City at that time, and the emigrants who stopped there to rest, before finishing their journey, were compelled to become temporary inmates of Mormon families, where they found polygamous wives and children as a matter of course. Naturally they would grow curious after a time concerning these extra women and children, and as the inquiries were sometimes quite embarrassing, every subterfuge had to be resorted to to keep the guests in ignorance of the system.
But, try the best they might, they could not prevent suspicions of the truth; and it was not long before the missionaries, both in the States and in Europe, found themselves terribly perplexed by all sorts of questions concerning the truth of the reports that were coming thicker and faster from Utah. They were ordered to deny the rumors, and they all did so in the most emphatic manner, up to the very time of the publication of Joseph's "Revelation," in 1852.
In Nauvoo it had been represented to those who had been told of the new doctrine that it was optional; that no one need enter the relation unless he chose; and, consequently, although they felt it was a cruel doctrine, yet most of the women flattered themselves that Their husbands, while they might receive it as a religious truth, would never practice it. But when the church was located in Utah, away from everybody, where help could never reach the oppressed and miserable, and from whence there was no possibility of escape, then polygamy was no longer optional, but every man was compelled to enter it, under pain of Brigham's displeasure, and its results.
That was a miserable winter for the Mormon women; they felt that they had in some way been the victims of false pretences, but they did not dare to blame anyone, for fear of displeasing "the Lord." It was represented to them that this was God's will, and they must submit, else they would never see salvation. Many of them were exceedingly rebellious, and would have returned to the States had it been possible; but they had no means, and no prospect of getting any, and they could only stay on and endure in sullen silence and inward rebellion, which, after a while, when they found there was no escape, became a sort of hopeless apathy, which was by no means resignation.
Others, actuated by true religious fervor, - like my mother, - accepted the situation because they really believed it was commanded by God; and while they were always unhappy in it, and considered it the greatest cross that could possibly be put upon them to bear, still made the best of it, and made it a matter of conscience to be as patient, forbearing, and charitable as it was possible for human nature to be under such circumstances.
Most of the men took kindly to the new state of affairs, and did not seem at all backward about availing themselves of their privileges. They had a good example set them by their Prophet and his counsellors, and the Apostles fulfilled their duty to the utmost by setting an example to their people in
The few Saints who had practiced polygamy in Nauvoo had done so very secretly; consequently, when we came to Utah, and were beyond the reach of the government, and, as the leaders taught us, no longer amenable to the laws of the United States, there were some very strange family revelations made. I will instance one, in the case of Lorenzo Young - an eider in the church and a brother of Brigham and Mrs. Decker. Mr. Young,
who had a wife and six children all living, met Mrs. Decker, a very charming and fascinating woman, who did not seem to think that the fact of her having one husband, in the person of Mr. Decker, prevented her from taking Mr. Young for another; and he seemed to find Mrs. Young no obstacle to his union with his new love. Each of them had children married, yet both declared they had never before met their affinity.
Mr. Young laid the case before Joseph Smith, and the Prophet informed him that no doubt they were kindred spirits, intended for each other from the beginning of the world, and that the day would come when they would be united by the bonds of celestial marriage. This was in 1837, which showed that the idea was in his mind as early as that, although it was not reduced to a form and shown to anyone until 1843.
Joseph having given them this much consolation, they arranged matters to suit themselves, and seemed quite enchanted with one another. The only difficulty in the way was Mr. Decker. It was a puzzle to know how to dispose of him. But he and the world must both be deceived, and appearances must be kept up. So the wife remained with her lawful husband until the Revelation of 1843 cut the perplexing knot for them, and unraveled the intricate affairs.
Mrs. Decker was sealed to Brother Young, and Mrs. Young to Mr. Decker, who by this means had two wives given him in place of the one who was leaving him.
These mixed families were compelled to live in one house until they left the States. They then separated. Their children scattered everywhere, not knowing to whom they belonged; and, altogether disgusted and dissatisfied, felt more at home with strangers than they did with their parents, - especially as they did not know, positively, what name they were entitled to bear.- They were by no means the only ones who were perplexed in the
same way. There had been a queer and intricate mixing up in Nauvoo; it is not at all strange if the attempt at straightening out was a difficult one.
Joseph Smith's sons contend that he was not a polygamist; yet, with all the facts concerning his own life, and his encouragement of what would be considered in most communities the broadest kind of license, he either must have been a polygamist or something infinitely worse. Certainly the wildest doctrines of promiscuity, as taught by certain socialists of the present day, are no more startling than those taught by Joseph Smith, and have been forced upon the people by his successor, under the guise of polygamy, or, "Celestial Marriage."
TROUBLES UNDER THE NEW SYSTEM.
The Sorrows of My Uncle. - "It's a Hopeless Fix." - A Woman's Argument about Polygamy. - My Mother "labors" with a First Wife. - Wife No. 2 "Walks Off." -Marrying a Widow and her Two Daughters. - Mrs. Webb becomes a Wife No. 2. - Wife No. 1 throws Brickbats into the Nuptial Chamber. - She clears the Field of Extra Wives. - "Building up the Kingdom." - The Atrocious Villainies of Orson Pratt. - How he has Seduced Innocent Girls. - Brigham's Nephew Rebels. - Trouble in the Prophet's Family - Forgetting a Wife's Face. - A Woman who liked Polygamy
There was literally no end to the muddles in which the Mormon people found themselves while trying to adjust their polygamous affairs.
In our own family it was very smooth sailing, as there were no superfluous members to be accounted for, and the two wives made the best of their unfortunate situation. But the same peace did not prevail in all families. I remember one family quite well where affairs were strangely mixed, and in which the wife exhibited a most amusing
A brother of my father, Nib Webb, had married a very pretty and agreeable woman in Illinois, who was perfectly devoted to him, and he returned her love ardently. They were both members of the Mormon Church, and had lived in the greatest harmony, with not the slightest shadow of discord, until 1846, when the "Endowments" were given in
To those men who were considered worthy to be called to that holy edifice to receive the sacred rite of the Endowments, polygamy was quietly taught as one of the requirements of religion, and these faithful brethren were counselled not to appear with but one wife; and of course after this many felt ashamed to present themselves with only the wife of their first and unbiased choice, the mother of their children, the sharer of their fortunes, the consoler in trouble. the faithful, loving soul who had made her husband's people her people, his home her home, his God her God; who had considered no sacrifice too great to bear for his sake no suffering too intense to be endured; who had literally taken him "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer;" had clung to him in sickness and health, in poverty and distress, as well as in plenty and comfort, and who fondly believed that only death should part them.
If a man dared be true to his better nature, and present himself for his Endowments with this wife alone, he was ridiculed by the authorities for being so poorly provided for, especially by Brigham and Heber C. Kimball, - who seemed always to supply the buffoonery for the occasions, - and warned that he need never expect to be received into the celestial kingdom until he had entered polygamy, as it was quite impossible for him to do so.
My uncle was a conscientious man and a devoted Mormon, and, like my father, believing the command to be from God, dared not disregard it. He made proposals of marriage to a young girl named Jane Matthews, and she, being taught by the leaders of the church, whom she consulted in the matter, that, except as a polygamous Wife, she could not attain to exaltation in the future state, accepted the proposal as the only means within her power of securing salvation; and the two, together with the wife, received their Endowments, and were united in the indissoluble bonds of "Celestial
The wife had given only a reluctant consent to the arrangement, impelled to this solely by a sense of religious duty, and not because she approved of or liked it. It was the first bitter experience of her married life, and she did not accept it with the slightest spirit of resignation, but as something inevitable. Neither she nor her husband realized, in any degree, the magnitude of the undertaking, and the young girl was still more ignorant of the situation. Had they known how utterly wretched the future was to be, I believe they would have hesitated a long time before they assumed such relations with each other, even if they thought they were periling their salvation by the delay.
The new wife was brought to the home where so entire happiness had reigned, and lived there until the church left Nauvoo; but what a changed home it was! The spirits of Peace and Love that had brooded over it so long, folded their white wings and fled, leaving the demons of Discord and Hate in their places.
It was not long before the first wife discovered that polygamy was a much more serious matter even than she had supposed it to be, and that it grew constantly worse and more unendurable, instead of better and more easily to be borne, as she had been taught it would become. She grew to cordially hate the young wife, and although they were compelled to live under one roof, she could not even make herself feel like speaking to her; so they lived without addressing one word to each other. She grew nearly insane under this trouble, and was wrought up to such a frenzy by jealousy and despair
that she committed the most flagrant acts of violence.
The poor husband found himself in a dilemma from which he saw no way of extricating himself. He could not understand how such really good women could behave so much like fiends. Neither of them had bad dispositions naturally, yet both were perfect termagants under the new family system. The house was in inextricable confusion, and he saw no way of setting matters right; so he applied to my father for advice, he having taken his second wife but a short time before. I do not know what advice he gave, but I think he must have referred him to my mother, for he came to her, begging her to assist him in bringing order out of the domestic chaos.
"How do you manage these polygamous affairs?" he asked, anxiously: "you do not appear to be very unhappy." "I cannot tell you how I manage," was my mother's reply. "I am a riddle to myself; but I do assure you that it is no easy matter to live in polygamy. Its ways are not ways of pleasantness,' nor are its paths `peace.' Trials of every description grow constantly more numerous."
"Yet you manage to preserve an outward appearance of serenity, which is more than we do. I wish you would see my wife and reason with her; I believe she would listen to you. Affairs are horrible with us: my wife hates Jane, and it seems impossible to keep them together, since she will not even try to conceal her aversion towards her. I don't see how I am to keep them together, and yet I cannot afford to build another house. It is a most hopeless fix, and I don't see the way out."
My mother promised him that she would see his wife, and try to induce her to bear her cross more patiently. But what a hypocritical task it seemed to her! While her own heart was breaking with the weight of sorrow and care, she had to counsel patience and resignation to another woman who was suffering from precisely the same cause. It seemed heartless and awry, but it was placed upon' her as a duty, and she could not shirk it. She upbraided herself for her reluctance, and prayed for more of the "Spirit." It never occurred to her that the system was false and horrible in the extreme; she only
felt that she was lacking in grace and the true spirit of the Lord.
Very shortly after my uncle's appeal to her, she visited his wife, and found her weeping as though her heart would break. Her first impulse was to put her arms about her and weep with her. She felt every throb of that poor lacerated heart, for her own was torn with the same anguish; and for a little while she forgot her mission, and her woman's instinct predominated, while she indulged in a passion ate burst of tears.
But horrified at what she feared was a rebellion against her God, she soon quieted herself, although her heart still ached with a pain which she could not banish or control, and as delicately and tenderly as possible introduced the object of her call. This brought forth a wild outburst of indignant protest from my aunt; and my mother listened. not daring to show her sympathy with the passionate utterances. There was quiet between them for a while after this; then my mother, having regained control of her voice, said,-
"But can you not see that it is your duty to submit to the "Order" and be patient. You know very well that when we cannot cure an ill, the only thing that remains to be done is to endure it; and we must not rebel against any doctrine taught by our leaders, no matter how hard it may be to live it."
"I don't believe! I can't believe! I won't believe! that it is my duty to submit to any thing of the kind," was the quick answer, made through stormy gusts of weeping. "I cannot live with that woman in the house; I had rather die at once. 0, I wish I could! I wish I could! Do you know," continued she, turning round with such suddenness that my mother was fairly startled, "I shall take measures to rid myself of that nuisance if somebody doesn't take her away! I can't endure it! I won't endure it any longer!"
Mother tried to reason with her, but she interrupted her:
"If any woman pretends that she is satisfied with polygamy, she is a hypocrite. I don't believe her; and she knows she is not speaking the truth."
My mother knew that she designed this remark for her, and that she resented her interference; but she did not let her see that she understood her, and determined to make one more effort, though she felt that it was absolutely hopeless.
"We none of us love the doctrine now," she replied; "but yet we must submit to it as a part of our religion - a duty which that religion lays upon us; and we may grow to like it better by and by."
"Well," was the sharp retort, "it will be soon enough for me to comply with its requirements when I know it to be a duty. But at present I do not believe it to be such, and I cannot, nor will not, live in polygamy; on that point I am determined, and there is no use arguing with me, for I shall not change my mind, I am sure, and I will not consent to live in a state against which both conscience and common sense rebel."
This ended my mother's only attempt as missionary in the interests of polygamy. She had not been at all successful, and she was only too glad to drop the subject; for her heart was not in it, and it must be confessed that in this case she was a very unskillful special pleader.
There was no help for it; the young wife could not hold out against all the opposition that was shown her, even though her husband made some pretence of standing by her, and she was finally compelled to leave the house. She saw no prospect of ever being able to live with her husband again, and she concluded that the best thing for her to do was to put as great a distance as possible between herself and him; so she went to Salt Lake with the first body of Saints.
As Brigham had taught the women, if they could not live happily with a man, to "walk off," and leave him without a divorce, she, of course, felt freed from her former marriage, and after a year or more she married Mr. Levi Savage, a single man, with whom she lived very happily for about two years, when she died, leaving one child, who is now grown to manhood. Soon after Mrs. Savage's death, Mr. Webb and his wife left the Missouri for Salt Lake. The husband died on the way, and his wife came on into the valley with her children.
Mr. Savage was at that time feeling very much grieved over the death of his wife, and was exceedingly pained because she had never been sealed to him by the proper authorities. He said, "I know she ought to belong to me, and I will contend for her throughout all eternity." He applied to the priesthood to have the sealing in the Temple to my uncle revoked, that she might be sealed to himself. He was told by the man who "holds the keys of life and death," that he must wait until the Temple in Salt Lake was completed.
Mrs. Webb, however, with wonderful inconsistency, considering her former feeling, opposed Mr. Savage's wish by every means in her power, and contended that this woman, whom she could not and would not live with, ought, now she was dead, to belong to her husband; and she said it was very wrong indeed for Mr. Savage to try and rob her dead husband of his rights and privileges. She evidently felt that there was not the slightest doubt of her ability to endure polygamy in a future state, although it was impossible to do so in this life.
After a few years Mr. Savage married a widow and her two daughters, and is still living with them, waiting, meanwhile, for the Temple to be built, when he hopes to have this "spiritual controversy" decided in his favor; for he has not given up his first wife, though he has taken three others to solace him temporarily until she can be given to him spiritually. Judging from present appearances, he will have to wait some time, as there seems no prospect of the Temple being finished during this generation.
Mrs. Webb found it a most difficult task to provide for herself and her children, and becoming discouraged in her attempts, listened with more patience to the doctrines of polygamy than she had done in Illinois. She was instructed that it was her duty to marry someone for time, that she might raise up more children to her dead husband, to swell his "kingdom." She took the instruction with a properly meek spirit, and very shortly accepted the proposal of Bishop McRae, a distinguished and prominent Mormon, and became Mrs. McRae number two.
As may be imagined, Mrs. McRae number one did not take kindly to the interloper, and, having a decided objection to polygamy, emphasized her objection by throwing bricks into Mrs. McRae number two's window, when their mutual husband was her guest. She varied her expressions of opposition and protest by occasionally sending a pistol shot. instead of a brickbat, through the window.
It may not be out of the way to mention, just here, that the heroine of the brickbat and pistol was, and still is, the President of the Female Relief Society in her ward, and that one of her chief duties is to instruct the young sisters in polygamy. I have never heard whether she had a shooting gallery attached to the society rooms.
Her plan of action was quite successful, and she soon had the field again to herself; for Mrs. McRae number two, after adding two children to her husband's kingdom, declined any longer to act as a target for Mrs. McRae number one, and left her husband voluntarily, and has since lived in a state of widowhood. I have often wondered whether she had any sympathy for Jane Matthews while she was herself the object of persecution.
I have known all the actors in this polygamic drama, except the two who died. I was too young to have any but the most indistinct recollection of my uncle, and Mrs. Savage, I, of course, could not remember at all. But the rest I knew very well, all being intimate visitors at my father's house.
"Build up the kingdom, build up the kingdom," has always been the watchword of polygamy. At Nauvoo it was whispered into the ears of those who were considered strong enough in the faith to receive it unquestioningly, but in Utah it is hurled indiscriminately at all alike. "Build up the kingdom, whether you can support it or not," is the almost literal teaching. The pecuniary condition of a man is never taken into consideration. He is expected to take as many wives as he can support, then take a few more to support themselves and their children.
The Apostle Orson Pratt is one of the most persistent polygamists in Utah, and he has nothing to give his wives for their maintenance. They struggle on as best they may, striving in every way to earn a scanty sustenance for themselves and their children. Some of them live in the most wretched squalor and degrading poverty. He, in the mean while, goes on foreign and home missions, and gathers thousands of unsuspecting victims to "Zion." Polygamy is his favorite subject, and he grows very eloquent while discoursing upon it, quoting Scripture freely in support of the glorious system, - which, by the way, is the only support he does give it, or that he feels it his duty to afford. After he has once converted and married a girl, she is left to shift for herself, or to starve and die of neglect. Two, at least, have met this fate, - one a very pretty
English girl, who was starved, body and heart, and who, with her little children, died from exposure, while her husband was at Salt Lake, being entertained by some of his rich brothers in the church.
He is still the recognized defender of the gospel of polygamy, and is quoted by every one as an authority; his numerous and more pressing duties prevent his caring for his family, and nowhere in Utah are the wives more wretched or neglected, or children more ignorant and uncared for, than the wives and children of Orson Pratt, the eloquent
expounder of the beauties and glories of a polygamous life, and the best educated and most able man, intellectually, in Utah.
Another polygamist of the same stamp is Joseph Young, brother to Brigham, and President of the Seventies. He has busied himself in "building up his kingdom" ever since Joseph Smith gave him that precious piece of counsel in Nauvoo. When he was a young man, he married a girl, and lived very happily with her until he learned from the Prophet Joseph that it was not only his privilege, but his duty, to enlarge his kingdom more speedily by marrying more wives.
His first acquisition was a young widow, who listened assentingly to his proposals of a "celestial marriage," and soon after entered his family as a second wife. However, the marriage with her did not avail him much, as she could only be his for time. Her former husband died a Mormon, and she and her children would belong to him in eternity.
He was past the prime of life, feeble in health, and compelled to accept the support of his brethren ; yet all this did not deter him from doing what was required of him by his Prophet. About the time that he married the widow, he took a young girl for his third wife, who was supposed to be his, and his only, with no former husband "behind the veil" to come up "in the morning of the resurrection" and lay claim to herself and her children. All his wives lived in one house, which had been built for him by the "Seventies," in return for his spiritual ministrations in their behalf.
His first wife did not like the new family arrangement any better than other Mormon women who were first wives; but as a matter of course, her liking or disliking was not of the least consequence. She fretted herself ill over it, however, and was prostrated for months. She had toiled and suffered with her husband for many long years, while they were journeying about with the Mormons, and she could not bear to have the dark shadow of polygamy cast over the hitherto unclouded happiness of their domestic
life. It seemed a terrible injustice. Yet, knowing her husband's devotion to the faith, she would not openly rebel, although she complied with his demands, that she should receive his other wives, with a feeling of intense bitterness, and lived in this unnatural relationship with her husband and his other wives.
It is impossible to depict her sufferings; they can never be known or realized outside of Mormonism. It is the very refinement of cruelty, this polygamy, and its hurts are deeper and more poisonous than any other wounds can be. They never heal, but grow constantly more painful, until it makes life unendurable. She was prostrated for months with nervous debility, seeing all the time her family needing her constant care, the care that only a mother can give, and her husband all the while devoting his energies to "building up his kingdom." It is only just to say that he was as kind to her as the
circumstances would permit.
After a few years the invalid wife recovered her health, and has been permitted to assist in rearing her children to respectable men and women who do not believe in polygamy. One of her sons has apostatized, and once published a paper in Salt Lake City, called "The Daily Press." This paper was of course offensive to Brigham, containing, as it did, some unpleasant truths regarding himself and other authorities in the church, and he determined to
put a stop to its publication. Accordingly he sent for his brother Joseph, and said, on his arrival, -
"I want that `Daily Press' suppressed."
Joseph "did not know how it was to be done."
"I want you to use your influence with your son to accomplish my wish," demanded Brigham.
"I cannot do it," said his brother; "my son will do as he likes."
Brother Brigham grew angry. "You must put a stop to the printing of that paper; I will not endure the annoyance from it any longer."
Joseph's spirit rose to the occasion. If Brigham was his superior in the church, he was also a younger brother, and he didn't like his peremptoriness of
manner; so he quietly answered, -
"I shall do nothing more about it than I have done I have said all to my son that is necessary, and if he does not wish to follow my advice, he can go his own way and act according to his own judgment; I most certainly shall not interfere."
Brigham was terribly angry, and he raved and stormed, while Joseph listened quietly, and then walked out, making no answer to his threats and railings. The Prophet evidently did not succeed in influencing or terrifying either brother or nephew, as the "Press" was still published, and continued to win popularity. I was glad of its success, for the sake of the brave young editor, and the mother who reared him. She, at least, should find comfort and support in her children, although everything else in life has failed her, even her religion proving false and fatal to her happiness.
During his first Wife's illness, Joseph added another widow to his establishment. Her husband having been killed at Nauvoo, she wished to assist him to build up a kingdom, and so married Joseph for time. Shortly after another woman applied for " salvation" at his hands, and "conscience" would not allow him to reject her. When he was about seventy years of age he added still another to his family, being united to her the same day that I was married to his brother Brigham, and is still, although over eighty years of age, considered in the matrimonial market.
Joseph had a real romance in his youth, which connects him, in memory and feeling at least, somewhat with my mother's family. His first love, when he was very young, was an aunt of my mother, for whom I was named. He was passionately attached to her, but something occurred to part them, and she died. Her memory has always remained with him, and he has always loved her, in spite of his extensive matrimonial experience. He told my mother that he had had Jane, his first wife, baptized for her, and sealed to him for her; so she is to be his in eternity.
This venerable polygamist has nothing to support his wives upon, or himself, for that matter, except what is given him by the " Seventies." In most respects he is a very good man, much more conscientious and honest than his brother Brigham, of whose conduct towards the people he does not approve; but he has gone mad in his desire to "build up his kingdom," and he considers it a duty to continue to raise up a young family, who must necessarily have to "shift for themselves," both in childhood and later life. They can have no father's care or attention, no matter how much they may need it, and he evidently does not consider how much misery he is entailing on these children.
Besides the wives I have mentioned, I do not know how many he has been sealed to, whom he does not pretend to look after in the flesh, but whom he expects to "resurrect," to swell his heavenly kingdom.
It is possible that, like Heber C. Kimball, he may have "fifty or more scattered over the earth," whom he has not seen for rears, and whom he hopes he never may see again in this world.
A very amusing story was told me of Brigham, by a lady who vouches for its truth; and although I cannot, of course, corroborate it, I am quite ready to give it credence enough to publish it. Brigham met a lady in the streets of Salt Lake City, several years since, who recognized him, and addressed him as Brother Young, greeting him quite cordially.
He scrutinized her closely, with a puzzled expression. "I know I have seen you somewhere," he said; "your face is very familiar, but I cannot recall you."
"You are right," replied she; "you have most certainly seen me before; I was married to you ten years ago. I have never seen you since," she continued, "but my memory is more retentive than yours, for I knew you the moment I saw you."
Very few, even of the most enthusiastic Mormon women, were ready to listen with any degree of patience to the first teachings of the doctrine of polygamy. They rebelled against it in their hearts, even if they dared say nothing of their dislike and disgust of the system. Still less were they willing to advise or urge their husbands to introduce it; and never was a woman, with one exception, heard to say she was happy in it, even if they endured it with any degree of patience.
The one exception of which I have spoken was an old neighbor of ours, and quite a friend of my mother's, Mrs. Delia Dorr Curtis. Both she and her husband were faithful Mormons, but he had, for some time after polygamy was taught, continued living "beneath his privileges." He was constantly reminded of his remissness by the priesthood, until at length he felt obliged to yield to their teachings, and "obey counsel." When he mentioned the matter to his wife, she made no objections, but, on the contrary, she encouraged him in his decision, and proposed their niece, Miss Van Orden, for his consideration.
Her husband was exceedingly pleased with her suggestion. "She is the very one I should have chosen," he said in reply. He instantly made proposals for his niece, and she, being quite willing to marry her uncle, accepted the proposals, and was sealed to him at once, Mrs. Curtis giving the bride to her husband with an alacrity and willingness which were rarely seen in similar circumstances.
About three months after the celebration of the nuptials, the first wife of this good elder came to visit my mother, and, as is always the case when two Mormon women meet, and are together for any length of time, the talk turned on to polygamy, and during the conversation Mrs. Curtis remarked, -
"Well, as far as I am concerned, I never have felt any of the stings of polygamy."
" Do you wish me to believe," questioned my mother, in surprise, "that you have seen your husband going through a courtship and marriage with a young wife, have seen him lavish attentions on her that have heretofore belonged alone to you, and have never felt the pangs of jealousy?"
"Yes; I wish you to believe all that."
Well, said my mother, somewhat incredulously, "I cannot comprehend it, and if I did not know you to be a most truthful woman, I should certainly say I did not believe you."
Mrs. Curtis grew quite eloquent on the subject; she and the other wife lived in one house, not a large one either, and the relation between them was amicable in the extreme. She had always been fond of Sarah; she was fonder than ever of her now.
"Why should there be so much trouble in it?" continued she, waxing earnest; "the Revelation on Celestial Marriage is from the Lord; I know it, and every person might have a testimony for themselves if they would cultivate the Spirit; it is wrong and absurd in us to rebel."
"Why should there be so much trouble in it?" continued she, waxing earnest; "the Revelation on Celestial Marriage is from the Lord; I know it, and every person might have a testimony for themselves if they would cultivate the Spirit; it is wrong and absurd in us to rebel."
"Yes, to be sure it is," returned my mother, "if one knows it to be true. I do not know it; I merely believe it, and I am not sure that I quite do that even. I try to believe it, and try to practice it, but I must confess to many anxious days and sleepless nights on account of it."
Mrs. Curtis was horrified at my mother's lack of belief. "Why," said she, "if I did not have a perfect knowledge of the truth of polygamy, I should lose all faith in the other principles of Mormonism, I fear."
"Not necessarily so," replied mother. "I still cling to the faith; I must not relinquish that; but polygamy is a hard cross to bear."
"Not at all ! not at all!" asseverated Mrs. Curtis; "if you only have the Spirit of the Lord to enlighten your mind, you will find no difficulty."
"Well, you certainly are an exception to the general rule," said mother, "and you are far in advance of me, though I have struggled hard to inure myself to the system."
"Now let me tell you how we manage," persisted the enthusiastic defender of plurality. "When my husband intends going to Sarah's apartment, we first kneel down and have prayers; then he takes me in his arms and blesses me, and after our usual good-night kiss we part, happy in each other's love; and why should there be any trouble?"
"The story you are telling me seems incredible," said my mother; "if it is true, you are really enjoying a very pleasant dream, from which I pray you may never awaken."
"0, no fear of that," was the quick reply. "I love Sarah too well to ever regret giving her to my husband; and you might be just as happy, if you would take the right view of the subject. I am sure, if Sarah had children, I should love them as well as my own, and I really cannot see what there is in polygamy to cause so much annoyance."
"Well," said my mother, as the conversation ended, "let me give you this bit of advice - keep your eyes shut."
My mother did not see her friend again, or even hear from her, for a very long time; but she used often to refer to her, and wonder whether "the stings of polygamy" had reached her in all that time, or whether she was still as enthusiastic a devotee to the system as she was at the time of her memorable visit.
Some years after Mrs. Curtis's visit, the mother of the young wife became our guest. My mother, of course, made instant and interested inquiries regarding the welfare of the family. She was quite surprised when, in answer to them, the lady replied, -
"I do not know what to say or to think about Delia. She behaves in the most peculiar manner; we all think she may be insane, and I am very certain she is, for no woman in her right mind would conduct herself in the way she does."
"Why, what is the matter?"
"You know what a disciple of polygamy she professed to be, and how earnest she was that Sarah should join the family. She has turned completely about; you would not recognize in her the same person she was before we went south to live. She raves wildly about polygamy, and says as many things against it as she used to say for it. I never heard anyone more bitter in my life. She abuses Sarah in every possible way, - you know how fond she used to be of her, - and whips her children shamefully. She has become so violent that Sarah cannot live with her any longer, even if she dared to, and she does not, for Delia absolutely terrifies her in some of her rages; so she is going to move away. I never saw a person so entirely changed in my life. It is terrible."
"What has happened to cause such a change?" asked my mother.
"I do not know, I am sure," was the sad reply; "we none of us know; it is a perfect mystery to us; but of one thing I am quite assured: if she goes on in the way she is going now, she cannot live long; she will literally wear herself out."
It was less than a year from this time that we heard of her death. It was evident she had not been so strong as she imagined, or else the "Spirit" had deserted her. The end of this "happy" woman's life was not so different, after all, from that of hundreds of her "unhappy" sisters. She was another victim to polygamy, that horrible system which crushes women's hearts, kills their bodies, and destroys their souls.
THE HARDSHIPS AND PERILS OF LIFE IN A NEW COUNTRY.
"Killed by the Indians." - How Apostates Disappeared. - A Suspicious Fact. - How Brigham "took care" of the People's Property. - The Mormon Battalion. - Brigham
Pockets the Soldiers' Pay. - How Proselytes were Made. - Scapegraces sent on Mission. - My Father goes to Europe. - How Missionaries' wives are Left. - Collecting funds for the Missionaries. - Brigham Embezzles the Money. - The " Church Train." - Joseph A. Young as a Missionary. - His Misdoings in St. Louis. - What Brother Brown said of Him. - The Perpetual Emigration Fund. - How the Money was Raised. - Cheating the Confiding Saints. - How Brigham Manages the Missionaries' Property. - The "Church" makes Whiskey for the Saints. - The Missionaries bring home new Wives. - How English Girls are Deceived. - My First Baptism.
The first years of life in a new country are full of hardships, peril, and adventure, and all these the Mormon people met.
I can remember listening in round-eyed wonder and terror at recitals of Indian atrocities, for we were surrounded by the wandering Southern tribes, and they were constantly thieving from us, and a murder was by no means an uncommon thing. When a man left home and failed to return, the general verdict, as a matter of course, was, "killed by
the Indians." Did an exploring party visit the Territory, and fail to leave it again, their fate, if it was ever alluded to at all, was regarded as "massacred by Indians."
It is a significant fact that most of the persons who thus perished were Gentiles, apostates, or people who, for some reason or other, were suspected by, or disagreeable to, Brigham Young; and it came presently to be noticed that if
anyone became tired of Mormonism, or impatient of the increasing despotism of the leader, and returned to the East, or started to do so, he invariably was met by the Indians and killed before he had gone very far.
The effect was to discourage apostasy, and there was no one but knew that the moment he announced his intention of leaving Zion and returning to "Babylon," he pronounced his death sentence. He was never discouraged from his plans, nor was any disapprobation of his course expressed. The faces were as friendly that he met every day, the voices just as kind; his hand was shaken at parting, and there was not a touch either of warning or sarcasm in the "God speed" and bon voyage. But he knew he was a lucky man if, in less than twenty-four hours after leaving Salt Lake City, he was
not lying face downward on the cold earth, shot to death by an unerring rifle ball, while the stars looked sorrowfully down, silent witnesses, on this deed of inhuman butchery, and a man rode swiftly cityward, carrying the news of the midnight murder to his master, who had commanded him in the name of his religion to commit this deed, and send an innocent soul before its Maker. "Ah, poor fellow; killed by the Indians," said all his friends; but Brigham Young and Bill Hickman or "Port" Rockwell knew better.
The Indians have been convenient scapegoats and alternate allies and enemies to Brigham Young. But he has managed to make warfare, even with them, a profitable thing for himself.
The Indians are notoriously thievish; they will steal from each other, and from their very best friends. Civilization, even, doesn't seem to take the taint from their characters; they positively can't keep their hands off what doesn't belong to them.
As a matter of course, the Mormons, being their near neighbors, suffered very much from their depredations. They would often steal an ox, or, indeed, a large number of cattle, when . they could do so with comparative safety; the owners would soon be on their trail, and would pursue them until they reached them; and sometimes both Mormons and Indians would be killed.
On occasions like these a proclamation would be issued, by the "authorities," for the brethren to fit themselves out for a campaign of indefinite length for the purpose of quelling the "Indian disturbances," and suppressing the trouble; and Brigham, who always has an eve to the main chance, generally managed in some mysterious manner to make large sums of money out of these "wars," as they were called.
Sometimes the manner of the money-making was not at all mysterious. There is one case in particular which I have often heard spoken of by my mother and other Mormons, who would have disapproved of the proceedings, and even called them dishonest, had they dared; but none of them ventured to connect such an adjective as that to the Prophetic name.
At this particular time he became so very anxious for his people's welfare, and so earnest in his endeavors to "protect" their property, that he sent Captain William Walls, of Provo, with a company, to collect all the surplus stock from the settlements south of Salt Lake, and drive them into the city for safe-keeping, reserving only the necessary teams and the milch cows. The orders were very absolute to "drive every hoof that could be spared."
At Cedar City, Iron County, there were three men who as absolutely refused to give up their stock, as that was all they had to depend upon; for, being poor men, with large families, they naturally preferred to keep what property they had where they could look after it themselves, feeling certain that they would take quite as careful an interest in it as a stranger would.
The names of these rebellious men were Hunter, Keer, and Hadshead. They insisted upon defending their property, and the captain commanded them to be arrested and put in irons, and then he started with them for Salt Lake City, having previously secured all their stock. When they arrived at Parowan, they were chained together and confined in the school-house, there being no prison or jail in the place.
They were met by George A. Smith, who at that time was on a visit to the southern settlements; and he, thinking the men were treated with unnecessary harshness, ordered their irons taken off, and them set at liberty and allowed to return to their families - without their stock, however. These men, after suffering such indignities, could live among the Mormons no longer, and they left for California.
Their stock, with a large herd of cattle collected in that vicinity, was driven to Salt Lake City, where they remained until they were in proper order for sale, when Brigham sold every one of them to pay a large debt which he owed to Livingston and Kincade, Salt Lake merchants.
This was his somewhat novel method of "protection." The cattle, to be sure, were out of the reach of the Indians, but they were equally out of the reach of their lawful owners, who neither saw them again nor any money which accrued from the sale of them.
Some of the owners ventured to ask if they might be turned in for tithing, but the inspired Prophet of the Lord replied, "No; if you had kept them, the Indians would have stolen them, and you are as well off as you would have been if I had not taken them." So was he, and several hundred dollars better off, too.
This reminds me of another instance of Brigham's faculty for "turning things to account," or, as a young Mormon quite wittily said, "taking advantage of his opportunities;" although it has nothing to do with the Indians, yet it occurred at an even earlier date, and was among the first of his notoriously dishonest transactions.
At Council Bluffs, as early as 1846, he counselled five hundred of his followers to enlist in the service of the United States; recruits being wanted at that time for the war in Mexico. They went without a question, on being assured that their families should be cared for. The church at that time was camped on the Missouri River, on its way from Nauvoo to Salt Lake.
The Mormon soldiers - commonly called "The Battalion" - sent all their pay to their families, to the care of Brigham Young, and he cared for it so well that the poor families never received it. John D. Lee brought the money which was collected from the soldiers, amounting to several thousand dollars, and gave it to Brigham. The families of these soldiers were, many of them, nearly starving, and all of them were very poor, needing sadly the money that their husbands had sent them; and in the face of all this destitution and suffering Brigham Young bought goods in Missouri to take out to the
Valley, and if a soldier's wife ventured to ask him for anything, no matter how trifling it might be, she was rudely repulsed, usually without the slightest excuse for not giving her what was rightfully her own.
The men served in the army two years, receiving pay all the time, which Brigham pocketed, and all the time their families lived on the banks of the Missouri in the most squalid poverty, while Brigham came to Salt Lake in the most comfortable manner possible at that early day, and lived on the provisions that he had brought with him, bought with the money that was not his. He lived in what would be called luxury for the time and the place, by literally taking the bread out of the mouths of hundreds of needy women and children.
When these men came to Utah, after having been honorably discharged, they, of course, expected to find their families there. What was their surprise on learning that they were still at Winter-Quarters, and that no arrangements had been made for bringing them to the Valley! The President of the church would not allow them to go for them until the next spring, and when they did find them in such a wretched, helpless condition, it is no wonder that so many of them apostatized, and refused to believe in a religion whose chief teacher could be capable of such heartless cruelty and mean
It is asserted, by those who have the best means of knowing, that this war put twenty thousand dollars in Brigham Young's pocket; and yet he is very fond of talking about the cruelty and tyranny of the United States government in forcing five hundred of the ablest Mormon men into it's service at a time when they were the most needed, and leaving the weak and helpless to cross the plains without sufficient protection.
The Mormons have always been very enthusiastic on the subject of missions. Probably no other church has done so much both home and foreign missionary work as the Church of Latter-Day Saints. They began by travelling about the country, making converts wherever they could, in the days when the entire church could easily be numbered: as they increased in numbers they extended their work across the ocean, and now nearly all the work is done in England, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
It is a very rare thing nowadays to hear of an American convert, and the southern European nations never did take kindly to the faith.
Brigham Young was among the very earliest of missionaries, and he was very successful at proselyting. He was very different then from the haughty, arrogant, blusterer of to-day. He and his brother Joseph were the first Mormons that my mother ever saw, and I have very often heard her describe the peculiar influence they exerted over her, and the manner in which they impressed her.
To her they seemed very humble men, of the most earnest, devoted piety and intense religious zeal, travelling about without purse or scrip, meeting with ridicule, derision, and persecution, while they preached "the gospel as taught by Christ and his Apostles." They came to a house where she chanced to be visiting, and, after seating themselves, commenced singing one of those earnest, stirring hymns for which the Mormons were at that time celebrated.
"Hark! listen to the trumpeters,
They call for volunteers.
On Zion's bright and flowery mount,
Behold their officers.
Their horses white, their armor bright,
With courage bold they stand;
Enlisting soldiers for their king,
To march to Zion's land.
"We want no cowards in our bands,
That will our colors fly;
We call for valiant-hearted men.
Who're not afraid to die;
Sinners, enlist with Jesus Christ,
Th' eternal Son of God,
And march with us to Zion's land,
Beyond the swelling flood.
They were fine singers, both of them, and they threw so much fire and fervor into this song that my mother - young, enthusiastic girl of sixteen - made up her mind on the spot to enlist and follow this new army to Zion.
She was baptized and confirmed by Brigham Young almost immediately, and to use her own language, "There was nothing arrogant, haughty, or tyrannical, either in his (Brigham Young's) or Heber Kimball's appearance, as they pronounced, in the most fervent manner, such glorious blessings upon me, a poor ignorant girl, with no one to guide me, but who had given up my little all in this world to follow their teachings, which to me at that time meant the teachings of Christ."
No sooner had the Saints become fairly settled in Utah than Brigham Young commenced sending the brethren off on missions. He had, and still has, a peculiar way of managing, quite original with himself. A few of the leading members of the church were sent; indeed, at that time one or more of the apostles was kept in England all the while, and different elders were sent to relieve each other, and to assist the apostle in taking charge of the "Branches," and starting mission churches, which were afterwards held in charge by some resident brother, who was appointed elder. In addition to
these elders, any one who displeased the Prophet was "sent on a mission" as a punishment. Did the polygamous Prophet fancy a man's wife, he was sent to the farthest possible point from Zion, to "enlist souls for the Mormon Church. If any young man is suddenly started "on a mission" to preach the gospel and win souls to Christ, it is safe to argue that "he has been a little wild," and is accordingly exiled for a while.
My father was sent to England not very long after our arrival in the Valley, and he had charge while there of the Sheffield branch of the church. My mother and myself lived part of the time in Salt Lake City with Elizabeth and her family, and the remainder of the time in Payson. As the missionaries are all expected to give their services, and as they are obliged to go when ordered, whether they wish to or not, the wives have to take care of themselves as best they may. They certainly can expect no aid from their husbands, and they never receive it from the church; so, unless they can do something to support themselves while they are left in this way, they are pretty sure to suffer discomfort, and many times actual want. My mother was equal to the occasion, however, and we got on better than most Mormon families do whose "head has gone on a mission. My mother taught school most of the time, either in the city or in Payson, and during all the time I studied with her.
Before sending his missionaries to England, Brigham one Sunday addressed the people in the Tabernacle very much after this fashion -
"Brethren and sisters, the time has been when we were compelled to travel without purse or scrip, and preach the gospel. We have had to beg our way of an ungodly world, and have gone, like the Apostles of old, trusting the Lord to provide for us. And, continued he, waxing excited over his subject, "I have travelled on foot the length and breadth of the United States with my shoes full of blood. Foot-sore and weary, I have often arrived at a house and asked for a night's lodging. I was hungry and cold; yet I was turned away; and many a time I have shaken the dust off my feet as a testimony against those people. But now I want the elders to travel independent of the Gentile world." - Then, after reading the names of those whom he had
selected to go, he proceeded with his address -
"Brethren and sisters, the missionaries must be supplied with the necessary funds to defray their expenses. And I want this whole people to come forward and donate freely for this purpose. I do not suppose you are all prepared to-day, but you can call at the office to-morrow and leave the money with my clerk; or we will have another meeting for the purpose of receiving donations, and so give all the opportunity of assisting in the noble work of sending missionaries to a foreign land."
As an answer to this appeal there was a large sum raised, the people responding generously to this call for assistance, and there was sufficient to carry all the laborers to their appointed fields. What was the surprise, then, of these men, when calling on the Prophet previous to their departure, and referring to the subject, they were coolly told by Brother Brigham that there was no money for them- "not one cent"!
"But what are we to do?" said the bewildered and disappointed men, who had relied on this money to assist them.
"You must go to Bishop Hunter; I have nothing for you," was the careless and heartless reply.
Accordingly they went to the Presiding Bishop, and after telling him their errand, and that they had been sent by President Young, he informed them that there was a "church train of three hundred wagons going East, which would take them to the frontiers for forty dollars apiece; "and after that, said the bishop, "you must get to your fields of labor as best you can."
Now, the Mormon elders in those days were poor, and could barely support their families when they were at home. And to be informed, just at the last moment, when they had supposed they were well provided for, that they must defray their own expenses to England, was really a hard blow for all of them. And yet such was their devotion to their religion, that each one paid his forty dollars to ride to the frontier in the "church" wagons, and then made their way to England at their own expense.
The Saints supposed that these wagons were sent out for the purpose of bringing emigrants from the Missouri River; but on their return they were loaded with freight, for which Brigham received twenty-five dollars a hundred. Between the amount paid for the passage of the missionaries and the loads of freight on the return, this "church train" certainly paid the head of the church very handsomely for that one trip.
Among the missionaries to England, during my father's residence there, was Joseph A., the Prophet's eldest son, who has recently died. He has always had the reputation among the Saints of being a very "fast" young man. In order, if possible, to cure him of some of his propensities for evil-doing, his father decided to send him on a mission, to carry the light of the everlasting gospel to the benighted nations of the earth. When men of family are sent, it is generally because Brigham wants something belonging to them which he cannot get if they are allowed to stay at home; and single men are often sent to convert the world, who are not capable of writing their own names in a legible manner.
But Joseph A. was sent because his father did not know what else to do with him; he had become so dissipated and caused so much trouble at home.
On his way Joseph stopped a few days in St. Louis, after which he went immediately to England. He was appointed in my father's pastorate, he being at that time pastor over several conferences. Everything was moving on harmoniously, when another Mormon elder, named Brown, arrived from America, telling some hard stories about Joseph's conduct while in St. Louis.
Mr. Brown circulated the reports that Joseph had drank immoderately, several times had been beastly drunk, and had constantly and habitually visited most disreputable resorts; in fact, that his conduct while in that city had been marked by the most profligate excesses, and that it had also been notoriously open, very little attempt being made on his part to hide it. He seemed to fancy that his personality was sufficient protection from scandal, and that the gossips would not wag their tongues over the misconduct of a son of Brigham Young.
These reports shocked the English Saints very much, and many of them were on the point of apostasy on account of it. My father did not doubt that there was some foundation for these stories, although he did not think the fellow could be so bad as he was represented; and he considered it his duty to take immediate steps to suppress the scandal, since it was doing very great injury to the cause of Mormonism. He accordingly represented this view of the case to Mr. Brown, who listened earnestly, and seemed quite convinced of the truth and justice of what my father had said. He took his leave, agreeing to "make it all right for Joe."
Mr. Brown arose before the thousands of people assembled there, and acknowledged that he had misrepresented the character of the Prophet's "beloved" son, and, in the blandest manner possible, made it appear that Joseph was perfectly pure, upright, and moral, and entirely above reproach.
The chief object of this farce was to prevent apostasy; another was to save the Prophet's son from infamy and disgrace. My father, on his return to America, learned that Mr. Brown's reports were all true, and were not exaggerated in the least. Yet this dissipated libertine was considered sufficiently good to preach the truths of the Mormon religion to "a world lying in darkness."
Brigham Young's Sons usually distinguish themselves while on their missions, rather by their aptitude at getting into scrapes than by the number of converts which they make. Brigham Jr.- the probable successor, or, as he is familiarly called ,"Briggy " - succeeded in distinguishing himself in England. The story popularly told among the Saints is, that regarding himself, without doubt, as a "scion of royalty," and with the egotistical assumption and the assurance which characterize his father, and which he honestly inherited, he actually ventured, in spite of the law, to drive the same number of white horses before his carriage that the queen had on her carriage, and that he was arrested and fined a hundred and fifty thousand dollars for the offence. The true account of the matter is, that when driving in one of the London parks, in a state of inebriety, he committed a trespass, for which he was arrested and mulcted in the ordinary fine - a few shillings, I believe. Brigham, however, is said to have profited by the exaggerated story, and to have made capital out of it.
The donations that year had been unusually large, for Brigham had announced his intention of "emigrating" a larger number than ever before, and, as a consequence, the "Perpetual Emigration Fund" must be correspondingly increased.
"Brethren and sisters," he commenced one day, in his most delicate and refined style, "you must retrench your expenses. You have been travelling in a direct line towards eternal damnation for a long time; now you must turn about, and show to the Lord and His holy angels that you still desire to be numbered among His people. I intend, this year, to bring over every Saint from the Old Country, and you must take hold and help me. I want the sisters to leave off their ribbons and finery, and stop running to the stores. I want you, one and all, to stop using tea, coffee, tobacco, and whiskey, and the
money you would spend for those things you must donate for the emigration of the poor in Europe. Now is the time to manifest your faith by your works."
All the Saints in the Territory were personally called upon to assist in the work, and responded generously, if not willingly. Poor women contributed their mites, and poor men gave of their hardly-won earnings, that could ill be spared, as they could barely support their families at the best. In England, also, they were made to contribute, and many a working man was compelled to donate an entire week's wages. The English Saints gave willingly, and suffered the privations caused by their generosity cheerfully, as they confidently expected to be gathered to Zion that year. But their suffering availed
them nothing, and their generosity was but ill repaid. It was years before many of these patient, long-enduring Saints saw the Zion of their hopes.
As the Prophet has a most decided objection to seeing any of his followers becoming independent in worldly affairs, either because he is afraid they will be able to act without counsel or advice from him, and so get beyond his power to manage them, or because he is jealous of their pecuniary success, since he has often said that he was the only man in the Territory who knew how to make money or how to use it, he always finds some way to put a stop to their growing prosperity. His usual method of doing this is by sending them on a mission. Of course their business is at a standstill altogether as soon as the heads of it are away; and it either remains quiet ever after, or, if it is sufficiently lucrative to make it worth while, Brigham manages to get it into his own hands, and it is as completely lost to its rightful owners as though they never had possessed it.
For a number of years, two men-named Badley and Hugh Moon - worked a whiskey distillery in Salt Lake City, and appeared to be becoming rapidly wealthy. They were good Mormons, staunch defenders of Brigham Young, ready in every good work with open purses and generous deeds, and they were highly respected by the entire body of Saints.
What was the consternation of the church, when, during the delivery of a temperance sermon on Sunday, the President, waxing more personal, more eloquent, and consequently more abusive, "cursed, in the name of the Lord," the men that ran the distillery!
They knew very well that these men paid their tithing promptly, - the greatest virtue a Mormon can possess, by the way, - and that they were foremost in all charitable works, and they marvelled very much that the Prophet should deal so hardly with them. His language was so abusive that Badley, who was especially attached to the President Young, shed tears during the denunciation. He finally finished his anathemas by ordering them to take their families and go on a mission to an unsettled portion of the Territory, leaving their homes to "the church," which, of course, meant Brigham
As soon as they had gone, the Prophet remove& the apparatus for distilling a few miles from the city, and commenced making whiskey for the church. But, unfortunately, the church whiskey did not prove to be so good as that made by Moon and Badley, and the church distillery was short-lived.
The men who were thus heartlessly ruined and unjustly exiled never returned. Their homes were broken up, their property taken from them, and themselves and their families banished to the wilderness, to gratify the covetousness and grasping of an avaricious tyrant, who committed this outrage, as he has all others, with a "Thus saith the Lord."
Brigham's missions may be considered moral "Botany Bays," where he sends those persons who in any way incur his sovereign displeasure. It is an easy way of punishing offenders; and so common has it become, that lately, whenever a man is sent away on this errand, the spontaneous question which arises to every lip is, "What has he done? This is specially true of the younger men.
In case of a certain trial which took place some years since, Brigham had given his wishes to a portion of the jury as to how the case should be decided. After retiring, those of the jury who had received instructions from the Prophet came to a decision very readily, while those who had not been interviewed by him could see no justice in the way they had decided, and consequently refused to agree with the others.
Brigham was exceedingly angry at this, and took them very severely to task for their disregard of his known wishes.
Well, Brother Brigham, said one of the obstinate jurymen, "the law will sustain us.
"The law!" said the Prophet. "What do you suppose I care for the law? My word is law here. I wish you distinctly to understand that;" and, he continued, "those men who decided against my view of the case shall pay the penalty."
Very soon after that, one of these men, whose only fault had been that he would not be coerced into committing what he knew would be a gross injustice, was sent on a mission to China; another was ordered to Japan, a third to the Sandwich Islands, and one quite old gentleman was appointed to Las Vegas This man having grown gray in the service of the church, Heber C. Kimball ventured to propose that, in consideration of his age, he be allowed to remain at home, and his son sent on the mission in his stead. The father was actually too feeble to be of any service in building up a new
place, and Las Vegas was considered an important point to secure; so, after much deliberation, it was decided that the son should go in his father's stead. Seventy-five families were ordered to abandon their homes, and take their departure for a new and almost unknown portion of the Territory.
They expended thousands of dollars in building, fencing, and every way beautifying and improving their new homes; and just as they were getting nicely settled, and had made their new homes habitable and comfortable, the Prophet pronounced it an utterly unsuitable place for a "Stake of Zion," and ordered them all back again; so that the years passed there, and all the expenditures, were a total toss.
After the son of the aged juryman had paid the penalty of his father's sin, he returned to Salt Lake. He has ever since fearlessly expressed his opinion of the Las Vegas mission, in terms not very flattering to its originator, and Brigham has been obliged to withdraw the hand of fellowship from him, very reluctantly indeed, as he had been a faithful servant to the President's interest for several years.
As a comment on his often expressed contempt of the law and of lawyers, I wish to say just here that his son Alphilus Young is at this present time a law student at the University of Michigan. sent there by his father to carry out his own ambitious plans for his son's future, and also to have a lawyer in the family, since he has been forced to have so much to do with the law in late years.
It must not be supposed that none others are sent on missions except those who are to be punished, or got out of the way for a while. Brigham Young is shrewd, and so with these he sends every year prominent members of the church. All the apostles, and most of the leading elders, have been in the mission work, both in the States and in Europe, and it is in response to their efforts that so many converts have been made.
The period of my father's stay in England was one specially marked for success in mission work. Very many of the leaders of the church were there then, and mighty efforts were made to secure converts. They worked day and night with unabated zeal, and so great was their success, the whole world marvelled at the number of converts who came yearly to Zion.
In the mean time, the families of the missionaries were getting on as best they could at home, deprived not only of their husbands' society, but of the support which they gave them when at home, - scanty enough in some cases, I assure you, and yet just as much missed as though it had been larger, since it was the all; and above all, there was the horrible shadow of polygamy hanging over then; for no wife ever knew how much her husband may have been moved to "enlarge" his kingdom, and the young English girls were apt to be very much taken with the American elders, and they in turn submitted without much struggle to the fascinations of their youthful converts. Very few of the missionaries failed to bring home an English wife, or at least to induce some young girl to emigrate to Zion, with the prospect of becoming his wife on her arrival.
At first polygamy was not preached. Indeed, so very careful were the elders not to mention the subject, or else to deny polygamy altogether, that many of the girls supposed themselves to be the first and only wives of the men whom they married; and it was not until they reached Utah, and were introduced to their husbands' "other wives, that they were undeceived.
So strong was the feeling in England, that for some time after polygamy was openly practiced in Utah, the missionaries denied it. and men who had four and five wives living quoted largely from the Book of Mormon, and other church works, to prove the
impossibility of the existence of such a system. At length, however, they were obliged to confess to the truth, which they did by causing the "Revelation" to be published in the "Millennial Star," the church organ published at Liverpool. For a while it seemed almost as though all the labors of the missionaries would go for nothing, so many apostatized. By strenuous effort and redoubled endeavor, however, many were still held in the church. They were told that polygamy was optional; that while the leaders of the church, many of them, practiced it, "for conscience' sake," since the Lord willed it, yet many more had not entered the system, and probably never would, and that no one need enter it, unless they felt themselves especially "called by the Lord."
In England. as in America, the men became much more easily reconciled to the doctrine than the women. The latter had many bitter hours over it; and yet each one, as all their American sisters before them had done, thought her husband would not take a polygamous wife, although he might believe in the theory, and uphold those of his brethren who converted the theory into practice. They had to learn, in the intensest bitterness of suffering, what other \women had learned before them - that their husbands were like the majority of men, who had temptation so persistently thrust in their way.
Even now the men who go on missions are very guarded in preaching the doctrine, and advocate it only where they are very certain that it will be received. They admit its existence. but they by no means are willing to confess to what an extent it is practiced; and to this day many of them win wives under false pretences.
It was only a few weeks since, a gentleman living in the British Provinces, on a visit to some friends in New England, spoke of a visit he had received quite recently from a lady friend from England, a relative, I think, who had become converted to Mormonism, and married one of the elders of the church, and was on her way to Utah with him. She was a very lovely person, and in talking of her new religion, concerning which she was very enthusiastic, deplored the existence of polygamy as its only drawback to a perfect faith. Yet she said her husband had told her that it was only a
doctrine of the church that was rarely practiced, except by the older Saints, who had received the Revelation directly from Joseph, and had considered the adoption of the system a duty; that in time it would, be entirely done away with, except in theory, and that at all events she need have no fear.
Great was the surprise of the gentleman on learning that she, who so fondly believed herself the only wife of her husband, made Number 5 or 6 of his plural wives. The poor girl had, without doubt, learned the truth long before, although her pride, no doubt, would prevent her from informing her friends how cruelly she had been duped.
The Mormon mode of managing missions troubled me very little during those early days. I missed my father, and wished President Young would let him come back; beyond that I had little thought or care. I was busy studying with my mother, and I of course was merits of the religion in which she so firmly believed, and on which she so greatly depended; and, hike all children of Mormon parents, I was baptized when I was eight years old.
The Mormon people do not baptize or "christen" their infant children. When they are eight days old they are "blessed," and they are baptized at eight years of age. I was baptized by Bishop Taft, my father's second wife's father; and I was exceedingly terrified. I was taken to a pond, and the bishop carried me in his arms, and plunged me into the water; and so great was the nervous shock that I could not think of it without a shudder for years after.
My mother was glad when it was over, for I was made a child of the church, and by this rite she consecrated me to God and the Mormon faith. To God I still hold loving, trustful allegiance; as for the Mormon faith, I can never be too thankful that I have so entirely freed myself from its tyrannical fetters, that held me, soul and body, in such a long and cruel bondage.
THE UTAH "REFORMATION." - "A REIGN OF TERROR." -
THE BLOOD-ATONEMENT PREACHED.
The Beginning of the Reformation. - The Payson Saints Stirred Up. - What the Wicked "Saints" had been Doing Secretly. - The Old Lady who stole a Radish. - Confessing the sins of Others. - A System of Espionage. - Brigham bids them "Go Ahead" - The Story of Brother Jeddy's Mule. - The Saints receive a terrible Drubbing. - Great Excitement in Mormondom. - How the Saints were Catechized. - Indelicate Questions are put to Everybody. - My Mother and Myself Confess. - The Labors of the Home Missionaries. - Making Restitution. - Everybody is Re-baptized. - Cut off Below their Ears." - The "Blood-Atonement" Preached. - Murder recommended in the Tabernacle. - Cutting their Neighbors' throats for Love. - A Reign of Terror in Utah. - Fearful Outrages Committed. - Murdered "by the Indians"? - Brigham advises the Assassination of Hatten. - Murder of Almon Babbitt, Dr. Robinson, the Parrishes, and Others. - Bloodshed the Order of the Day
While my father was in England on mission, my mother was urged very strongly to go to Payson, a town about seventy miles south of Salt Lake City, and start a school there.
She had taught in Kirtland, and in Salt Lake City, and was considered a person of superior attainments by the Saints. Her reputation as a teacher was quite extended among them, and since her arrival in Utah she had often been solicited to resume her profession. She had always hitherto refused persistently; but now, finding her time somewhat unemployed during my father's absence, and wishing to add to the family funds, which were running somewhat low, she decided to accept the situation, which was fairly thrust upon her. Of course I accompanied her to the scene of her labors. I had never been separated from her, and neither she nor I could endure the thought of being parted.
It was, I think, in January, 1855, that a Mormon, named Joseph Hovey, came to Payson to preach. He was a man of an excitable temperament, a fanatic in religion, and he succeeded in stirring the people up to a state of the most intense religious enthusiasm. He held a series of meetings, which were very largely attended, and such was his peculiar magnetism, that he swayed and held the multitudes who thronged to hear him, notwithstanding he was a man of unprepossessing manner, little education, and no culture. He commenced by accusing the people of all sorts of misdeeds and crimes, and he denounced them in the most scathing and the rudest fashion, and they trembled under his fierce denunciations, and cowered before him as before the face of an accusing angel. He accused them of theft, of licentiousness, of blackguardism, of lying, of swindling and cheating, of hypocrisy and luke warmness in their religion, and of every other sin, of omission or commission, of which he could think. He represented himself as the Lord's messenger, called by Him, and sent to warn the people of Southern Utah of the horrors of their situation; their souls were in imminent peril, so weighted were they with a load of guilt. "Repent, confess, and be re-baptized," was his urgent call, and "all your sins shall be forgiven you; yea, verily, for so hath the Lord promised."
The excitement grew daily, and his work of "Reformation," as he styled it, went bravely on. Meetings were held, lasting all day and late into the night. It was religious madness run riot. There seemed to be a sort of competition as to who should confess the most and the oftenest. The people of Payson had been considered as good as average communities, but this " Reformation" revealed the most astonishing amount of dishonesty and depravity among them.
I was at one of the meetings, and I remember how shocked I was as one after another arose and confessed the crimes of which they were guilty. It made a very vivid impression on my childish mind, and to this day I can recall the very expression of the faces and tones of the voices as the owners professed their criminality. Many of them confessed to stealing flour from a mill; this, indeed, seemed a common peccadillo; others had stolen lumber for various purposes; and one man said he had stolen a sheep. I remember, this man very distinctly; there happened to be a bit of wool sticking to his clothes, on the shoulder, and I know I wondered if that was from the sheep he had stolen.
Some had taken potatoes, some turnips, some others parsnips, others had taken all three; one conscience-stricken old lady, who felt impelled to confess, and could think of nothing that she had done wrong, was immensely relieved when she remembered that she had taken a radish without permission; she seemed, too, to derive much consolation from the fact that "it had burned in her stomach ever since."
Taking it all in all, it was a time of the wildest confusion and the intensest ill-feeling. If there were any persons who did not come forward readily, and acknowledge their faults, some one would do it for them, telling their brothers' and sisters' sins in the public congregation.
My mother did not approve of the state of affairs, and would not countenance them any farther than she was positively compelled to do. It was dangerous to express any disapproval of the proceedings; so she was obliged to keep quiet, although she would not take active part in the excitement The most fanatical of these blinded enthusiasts did not hesitate to threaten the lives of all who dared dissent from them, and the person who failed to confess was looked upon with suspicion. A close watch was kept upon the actions of these persons, and every word that dropped few exceptions, was converted into a detective force, to from their lips was noted. In fact, the entire church, with watch over those few exceptions who were "cool in the faith."
While the excitement was at its height, Brigham Young was informed of Hovey's movements, and their results in Payson. The few who were not in sympathy with the excitement waited anxiously for the Prophet to speak, expecting, of course, that when he heard the state of affairs, there would be a summary stop put to all these fanatical proceedings. Many of the surrounding settlements were very much exercised over the conduct of the Payson people, thinking they were all going mad together; and they also waited curiously to see what action Brigham would take. He was at Fillmore, attending the legislature, when he was told of the excitement at Payson, and his reply was, "Let them go ahead; they won't confess to more than they are guilty of."
As may be supposed, this cavalier manner of treating the matter surprised the more thoughtful of the Saints, who had counted confidently on his interference; but their surprise increased tenfold, when, the very next winter, 1856, Brigham and his counsellors instituted a similar reform throughout the entire territory. It is said that this latter Reformation was caused by President Jedediah M. Grant losing his temper over a mule.
It seems that Brother Grant was to hold a meeting at Kaysville, and had invited several elders to accompany him. To one of these elders he lent a mule, which should bear him to the appointed place. When he arrived, the sharp eyes of Brother Grant discovered that his mule was heated and somewhat jaded; and although he made no remarks at the time, but, on the contrary, was suavity itself, yet he did not let the brother go unrebuked. After every one had spoken at the meeting, testifying to the utmost good feeling themselves, and exhorting faithfulness on the part of their hearers, Brother Grant arose for the last word. He accused the speakers who had preceded him of inconsistency and hypocrisy; charged the bishop with inefficiency, and his people with all manner of crimes, and then personally attacked the unfortunate brother for ill-treating his mule. He called upon everybody to repent, and "do their first works over again," or the judgment of God would speedily overtake them. This was the beginning of the famous Utah "Reformation," of which the local movement at Payson was the immediate forerunner. It was the same thing on a much larger scale; confessions were the order of the day, and accusation was as prevalent as confession. It was a horrible time, and one that never will be forgotten by those who were living in the midst of the excitement. An
impressionable twelve-years-old girl, I remember every detail with wonderful distinctness.
This "Reformation" was more systematically conducted than Hovey's revival; a catechism was compiled by the leading spirits of the church, and printed by their order, and elders were appointed to go from house to house with a copy of it, questioning the people. This catechism contained a list of singular questions, many of which I distinctly remember. I dare only mention a few. They were after this style :-
"Have you ever committed a murder?"
"Have you ever stolen anything?"
"Have you ever been drunk?"
"Do you believe in polygamy?"
Many were grossly indelicate, others laughably absurd; yet every question was obliged to be answered on pain of expulsion from the church. Men, women, and children alike were catechized; many of the little ones did not know the meaning of some of the questions which were put to them; but they were obliged to answer them; whether understandingly, or not, it made no difference.
It was customary to catechize each member of a family separately; but an exception was made in our case, and my mother and myself were examined together. There was a great part of the catechism that I did not understand, but I always answered as my mother did, feeling sure that what she said must of a necessity be right. When the questioning was over, I was exhorted by the visiting elder to obey my parents, and to marry into polygamy when a little older.
The elders that acted as "Home Missionaries," whose duty it was to catechize the people, were astonished at the grossness of some of the immoralities which were brought to light. The private history and secret acts of all were unfolded. People were accused of sins which they never had committed, and yet they were afraid to deny them. Some of the elders were shocked beyond measure at the sickening details revealed, and begged that a stop be put to this mania for confession; but the poor fanatics were urged forward by their leaders, and they firmly believed that in the fullest and freest confession lay their only hope of salvation. They were goaded to the very verge of frenzy. Every person throughout the Territory was commanded to be rebaptized, even if their sins had not been very grave. It was commanded, too, that every person who had committed a theft should make good what he had taken; and I
recollect a man returning some property to my father which he had taken from the family while my father was in England: some others confessed to having stolen the fence from the farm; so, it seems, we had suffered from the dishonesty of our before presumedly honest neighbors. Throughout the whole church there was a general time of accusation, confession, restitution, and re-baptism.
There were many of the Mormon people who did not approve of all this unhealthy excitement, and who foresaw exactly what results would follow, yet not one of them dared venture a protest. It would have been at the risk of their lives, as it was publicly advised, not only by Hovey in Payson, but by men in much more prominent places, to punish such persons as ventured a disapproval by "cutting them off from the church, below their ears."
It was during this excitement that the terrible doctrine of the Blood-Atonement was first preached. So high did the feeling run that people who were guilty of certain crimes were counselled to shed their blood to save their souls. Said the arch-fanatic Jedediah M. Grant, in the Tabernacle, speaking of those who had apostized or were in danger of apostasy, -
"What ought this meek people, who keep the commandments of the Lord, to do unto them? `Why,' says some one, `they ought to pray to the Lord to kill them.' I want to know if you would wish the Lord to come down and do all your dirty work? Many of the Latter-Day Saints will pray, and petition, and supplicate the Lord to do a thousand things they themselves would be ashamed to do. When a man prays for a thing, he ought to be willing to perform it himself."
In the same sermon he said, -
"What! do you believe that people would do right and keep the law of God by actually putting to death the transgressors? Putting to death the transgressors would exhibit the law of God, no matter by whom it was done. That is my opinion."
Following the expression of his belief, he uttered tile following fervent wish:-
"I wish we were in a situation favorable to our doing that which is justifiable before God, without any contaminating influence of Gentile amalgamation, laws, and traditions, that the people of God might lay the axe to the root of the tree and that every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit might be hewn down."
He was so in earnest that he would have the atonement by blood commence at once. Listen to his disinterested counsel -
"I say there are men and women here that I would advise to go to the President immediately, and ask him to appoint a committee to attend to their case; and then let a place be selected, and let that committee shed their blood."
On another occasion he said, speaking in his wild, fanatical manner, -
"We have been trying long enough with this people; and I go in for letting the sword of the Almighty to be unsheathed, not only in word, but in deed.
Brigham Young, not to be behind his counsellor, assured the Saints that this doctrine of throat-cutting and blood-shedding was pleasing to the Lord, and that it was a glorious and soul-saving belief. He says, -
"There are sins that can be atoned for by an offering on the altar, as in ancient days; and there are sins that the blood of a lamb or calf, or of turtle-doves, cannot remit, but they must be atoned for by the blood of the man."
Another choice bit from one of his Tabernacle discourses is as follows : -
"The time is coming when justice will be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet: when we shall take the old broadsword, and ask, `Are you for
God?' and if you are not heartily on the Lord's side, you will be hewn down."
In a sermon preached from the text, - the sweetest and tenderest of all the commandments given by Christ,- "Love thy neighbor as thyself," Brigham
Young put this peculiarly Christ-like construction on the words : -
"When will we love our neighbor as ourselves? 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, should not be satisfied or rest until your blood should be spilled, that you might gain that salvation you desire. That is the way to love mankind. Now, brethren, and sisters, will you live your religion? How many hundreds of times have I asked that question? Will the Latter Day Saints live their religion?"
He also asked in the same sermon, -
"Will you love your brothers and sisters when they have a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or that woman well enough· to shed their blood? That is what Jesus meant.
"The time will come when the law of God will be in full force. This is loving our neighbor as ourself: if he needs help, help him; if he wants salvation, and it is necessary to spill his blood upon the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it."
It is no wonder that such language as this, poured into the ears of the already half-crazed Saints, should incite them to deeds of violence. For a while bloodshed and murder were the order of the day. If any person or family were supposed to be lacking in the faith, and failing to exhibit tile usual blind submission to the teachings of the priesthood, that person or family was sure to be visited by some disaster - whipped, mobbed, or murdered, and their property destroyed or confiscated to the use of the church. Some instances came under my Own observation, and I tell the incidents from actual knowledge, and not from mere hearsay.
A merchant of Salt Lake City, an Englishman named Jarvis, was suspected of being cool in the faith, and to have little or no sympathy with the fanatical proceedings which attended the Reformation and formed its chief feature. His store was entered one evening by Saints in disguise, he was pulled over the Counter by the hair of his head, dragged into the street and thrown into the snow, his store plundered, all the money taken away, his house set on fire, and his two wives barely given time to escape with their children. As an excuse for all this he was accused of having "spoken against the authorities, and had entertained Gentiles at supper."
One of the wives of Mr. Jarvis wrote quite a thrilling account to some of her English friends respecting their treatment; and as her story is so simply and yet plainly told, I shall insert it here, as being the best description I can give of it and similar scenes. It is dated from " Weston, Missouri," the August following the year of the Reformation.
"After Mr. Grimshaw left Salt Lake, Mr. Jarvis made known to Brigham Young his intention to leave the Territory and return to the States, with his reasons for so doing; but his letter was never answered. Brigham made some allusion to it in public, which seemed to convey the idea that he approved of the course Mr. Jarvis had taken, rather than try to leave clandestinely. From that time we began to dispose of our property, and draw everything into as small a compass as possible. As the winter drew on, various reports were circulated ; such as, that we intended to dispose of our large house to the soldiers, and were buying grain to store it for them. This is a `capital' offence in the Salt Lake Valley, for the Mormons protest that no Soldier shall sleep in Salt Lake City one night. It was also said that Mr. Jarvis had sworn to take the life of President Young that be was boarding States officers at his house; and many more such stories, as strange and unlikely as they were untrue; for when Mr. Jarvis wrote to President Young, he made the offer of all or any part of his property to him first, if he chose to purchase it, and told him that he would rather sell it to the church than to any one else. Time passed on, and we heard some whispers that something dreadful was going to happen to us; but we thought little about it, and felt perfectly safe, until the 13th of January, 1857. when, at half past six in the evening, a man knocked at the front door, which was locked, and asked for some trifling article out of the shop. While Mr. Jarvis was attending to him, two men walked in and hastily stepped up to him. One of them caught him by the hair and by the collar, and pulled him across the counter, saying, `You are my prisoner.' Mr. Jarvis said, `For what? If you have any charge against me, I will go where you wish.' To this no answer was returned but oaths and curses. They dragged him on the ground some distance, and then brought him back into the doorway, all the time trying to strangle him, and threatening to shoot him if he made any noise. One of them made a desperate kick at him but missed his aim.
"In the mean time Betsey and I were undressing the children; and hearing sounds of heavy footsteps and muttering undertones of strange voices and persons struggling in the passage, we looked at each other, and rushed to the door, each with a child in our arms. I succeeded in pulling open the room door in the passage, but I had no sooner done so than a man who was holding the door knocked me back into the room, flat upon the floor, with the baby in my arms, and, shutting the door again, held it fast. Instantly I laid the baby on the carpet, and, with all my strength, forced open the door, and found myself surrounded by a number of ruffians. - I believe five or six, - who were all in time dark, for they had extinguished the candle, and I calling aloud for Mr. Jarvis several minutes. In the end he, gasping for breath, answered me.
When I found where he was, I made a desperate rush at the man who was holding him, and the fellow, lifting up his hand, let go his hold of him, and he darted out of the open door like lightning, across the street, and round the corner to a neighbor's house to obtain assistance. He got to the door almost exhausted, and begged for help; but no one dared come until the master of the house, who was absent, returned. They fetched him, and when he heard the particulars of the attack made upon us, he said, `Sir, you must leave my house instantly. I have no sympathy for you. I would not protect my own father under the same circumstances.' Mr. Jarvis said, `What have I done?' The man replied, `You have done plenty; you covenanted to serve the Lord, and you are serving the devil, and I should not be surprised to see you with your throat cut.'
"After Mr. Jarvis had made his escape from the fiends, I turned to enter the house again, firmly believing that some of them were in pursuit of him, and begged to know of the men on the spot what they wanted. On stepping forward to enter the door, I found it guarded by a man on each side, who pushed me backward into the snow. I rose and again attempted to enter the house, but was prevented in like manner, when I saw Mrs. M. coming out with the babies in their night-gowns, one under each arm, to carry them to a place of safety. When I found I could not, after several such attempts, force an entrance, I ran round to the back door and got in, but no sooner was I in than out again. I was tossed by the same ruthless hands as before. Many a time I was knocked down in the way I have described; and one of my front teeth was loosened, and my limbs most mercilessly bruised.
"Finding I could not enter to ascertain the state of affairs in the house, I determined to let the neighborhood know, and for many minutes stood shouting for help, until I
was exhausted. I could hear that the windows were all being broken, and the furniture destroyed; when I was appalled by hearing Mrs. M. shriek out, `0, Mrs. Jarvis. the
house is on fire!' I instantly ran in desperation, and got in at the back part of the shop, - and 0, my dear sister, what a scene! Flames and smoke up to the ceiling; the goods
in the store, or shop, burning; and two men, almost suffocated, still intent upon the work of destruction - carrying lighted paper, and setting fire to everything that would
"The thoughts of my three boys sleeping up stairs; my husband, I knew not where, - perhaps murdered, - and seeing no hope of saving the house - for three rooms were then burning; the thought that to-morrow I and my children would have no home, no shelter, and be penniless, with the snow two feet deep, and not a friend that dare open the door to us, - they dare not do it, however much disposed they might be; for they were threatened with the same, and were told that if they heard the cry of fire they were to take no notice; all these things rushing into my mind at once, I grew desperate, and forced my way in at the front door, and implored the ruffians to let me fetch my children clown stairs. They muttered, `There's none of them there.' I said, `Yes, they are asleep in bed.' Then he said, `Go.' On passing Up stairs, I saw on one side the shop in flames, and the room, the furniture and windows broken, and our clothes scattered about, on fire. I shrieked out, when a man caught me by the throat, and I had to gasp for breath. I saved my children in their night-dresses, and the oldest had to run out with the snow up to his hips.
"When we found that the villains were gone, we put out the fire, throwing water upon it; and on one shelf was a large canister of gunpowder, within six inches of the flame, of which I did not know. I saved the house from being blown up, but I got my hands severely burned. Four large windows were broken out, one dozen chairs and a table destroyed; a stove and three tables broken; carpets, clothes, and goods burned in the store; and many silver watches and other substantial things stolen. making the damage sustained amount to nearly eight hundred dollars. Every day after was a living death, - a dying daily. We were never safe for an hour. When we appealed to the authorities, they advised us to be quiet about it, and `let it slide.' And so we did; for we could obtain no redress.
"The outrage upon us was never mentioned in the newspaper. We had to pocket the insult, and bear the loss; and now we are thankful we are out of it. We exchanged our property for land in the States, hired conveyances, and left on the 22d of April. We are now at Weston, eight miles from Leavenworth, where we arrived without any interruption; but we suffered greatly from the heat. We shall remain here till Mr. Jarvis makes arrangements for our future abode."
My father knew these people well in England; they were from Leeds, where they were highly respected. I have met them quite recently in Burlington, Iowa, where they are living in very comfortable circumstances. They have outgrown all tendencies towards Mormonism, and are now among its bitterest opponents.
This outrage is somewhat remarkable, because it was unattended by bloodshed, - a most extraordinary circumstance, when so many were killed outright who had sinned as Mr. Jarvis had. Innocent people suffered, and at that time, no Gentile was safe in the Mormon territory.
A cousin of mine, whose parents lived in Utah, married a man named Hatten, in Illinois. When her mother migrated with the Saints, she, of course, remained behind with her husband, to her mother's great distress. After a few years, Mr. Hatten decided to remove to California, and he came by the way of Utah, so as to give his wife an opportunity of visiting her relatives, whom she had not seen since the exodus from Nauvoo.
At that time it was considered a dishonor to have a friend married to a Gentile - she was regarded as lost. And for a girl to be taken to California was a still deeper disgrace.
My aunt and her husband were devout Mormons, and grieved their daughter as over one dead. My aunt prayed and wept for her and over her; and my uncle - the girls father - even grew desperate in his despair. He consulted Brigham as to the best course which he should pursue, and the Prophet's ready reply was, "Put Hatten out of the way. It is a sin and a shame to have so good a woman dragged around the world by a Gentile."
That was sufficient. In a few days came the startling news that Hatten had been "killed by the Indians." He had gone to Fillmore on a visit, from which he was destined never to return. The young wife was almost heart-broken at the sudden loss of her husband, but she did not dream what was his real fate until long afterwards. She supposed he had fallen a victim to Indian cruelty, as the reports told her; but when, after many years, she learned the bitter truth, she fairly hated the religion that had made a martyr of her husband, and brought sorrow and affliction to her. She could not get away from it, however; there was no place to which she could go; she had no friends elsewhere; all the years that had intervened between her husband's death and her knowledge of his real fate had been passed in Utah, and she had severed herself in that time most effectually from her former friends. There was nothing to do but endure; and that she did, as patiently as possible. A few years after her husband's death, she married again, but not happily. However, she was speedily released from this unhappy bondage. Heber C. Kimball had seen and fancied her, and he went to Brigham with the story of her unhappiness, and added, as he finished his recital, "She ought never to have married that man. I designed her for myself."
"It is not too late, replied his friend, the Prophet; "you can have her yet." And he made good his word by divorcing her from her uncongenial husband, and bestowing her on Heber. She was too indifferent to care what became of her, and she became a Mrs. Kimball without a protest. She and her two children are living in Utah now.
Another victim to the Blood-Atonement was a young man named Jesse Earl, a musician of rare talent and great promise. He was a very intimate friend of the Prophet's oldest son, Joseph, and had lived a great deal in the Prophet's family. The reason of his death has never been given; it was only said that his sins were past forgiveness, except his blood should atone for them.
Apostates were even more hardly dealt with than the Gentiles. One of the old Mormons, named Almon Babbitt, was "killed by the Indians," on his way to the States. Mr. Babbitt was among the first seventy apostles appointed by Joseph Smith; he had been among those who went up to Missouri, to "Zion's Camp," and was an eloquent preacher and advocate of Mormon doctrines. After Brigham came into power, Babbitt became quite disaffected towards the authorities, and left Utah to return to the States, when he was overtaken by his doom.
Once in a while some person would become so conscience-stricken for some sin he had committed, that he would voluntarily seek to make the "Atonement;" but those were rare cases. I remember hearing of one at the time of its occurrence. A Mormon named John Evan had shot a man in Council Bluffs. He came at once to Salt Lake, visited Brigham, and begged to atone for his crime in the usual way.
Not long after that, he was on his way home one night, when suddenly the report of a pistol was heard; Mr. Evan was found dead, and although it was currently reported that he had committed suicide, it was well known by the better informed "that he had only paid the debt," and given his life for another that he had taken by violence.
The Potter and Parrish murders at Springville, and the assassination of Dr. Robinson at Salt Lake, are notorious. The Parrish brothers were murdered for apostasy, Dr. Robinson because he was a Gentile whose influence was extending in the Territory, so popular was he, and consequently the authorities considered him dangerous.
More vividly stamped upon my memory than any other of the horrible occurrences, is the murder of a woman named Jones, and her son, in Payson. They were suspected of falling away in the faith, and other grave charges were brought against them, for which it was deemed necessary that they should die. One night there was a great commotion in the streets of the town; pistol-shots were heard; there was a sound of hurrying feet, a murmur of voices, and a subdued excitement, lasting all night. No one dared to venture out to learn the cause, lest their curiosity should be summarily punished. In those days
it was dangerous to seek to know more than the priesthood chose to tell. In fact, everything but a blind following of fanatical doctrines was dangerous. Free thought was suicidal. The morning following the night of which I have spoken put an end to the suspense. It was proclaimed everywhere that the Joneses had been killed, and their dead bodies, shockingly mutilated, were placed in a wagon, and exposed to the crowd by being driven through the streets, attended by a jeering, taunting mob, who could not cease their insults though their victims were still in death. I did not see the bodies, nor did my mother, although they were driven past our door; we both shunned the fearful sight. But there were plenty of women who did look at them, and who gloried in their death as a deed of service to the Lord. Mrs. Jones was mixing bread at the time she was shot, and the dough still remained clinging to her hands after her death.
This was the way that "the Lord" was "worshipped" in Utah in 1856 and 1857. I have heard men say, "If I apostatize, I hope some of my brethren will love me well enough to slay me." The Saints are by no means a bloodthirsty people, but these are some of the results of the teachings during the Reformation.
It may be a matter of wonder to many how honest- hearted people could remain in a church that taught and practiced so many and such fearful evils. Concerning the murders, the majority of the people knew nothing, and supposed that the Indians were the assassins, as they were always told so. Yet some were sufficiently fanatical to believe that, if Brigham was the instigator, it was quite right. "The ancient order of things was being restored."
I have heard many Mormons declare that they hoped, some time, light would be thrown on these dark deeds, and the murderers made to pay the penalty of their crimes. But those who suspected that the authorities of the church were implicated felt that their only safeguard was silence. Those living in Utah during the Reformation, and seeing it in all its horrors, as I did, know very well the spirit of the teachings in the Tabernacle; and although many may be slow to impute the commission of crime to Brigham Young, they cannot but admit that his teachings all tended to make crime prevalent. And if they do not acknowledge his direct agency, they must see that his influence all went in tile direction of the atonement of sin by blood. As far as I am concerned, I do not hesitate to say that I believe all these murders lie at his door, and that he will have to be personally responsible for them. His hands are red with innocent blood, his garments dyed with it, and no "Atonement" can ever wash out the damning spots.