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    Mormonism.ca - Story Of

In Utah

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Even More On The History Of Mormonism
Even More On The Religious Puzzle
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
History Of Mormonism
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Introductory Remarks
Last Days At Kirtland
More On Mormonism Social Puzzle
More On The History Of Mormonism
More On The Religious Puzzle
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Mormonism The Political Puzzle
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Notes On The History Of Mormonism
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Political Puzzle
The Political Puzzle Continued
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Religious Puzzle
The Religious Puzzle Notes
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Social And Society Puzzle
The Social Puzzle
The Social Puzzle Notes
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts


The Story Of The Mormons

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Brigham Young
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Last Days At Kirtland
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts



Brigham Young's Death - His Character








Brigham Young died in Salt Lake City at 4 P.M. on Wednesday,
August 29, 1877. He was attacked with acute cholera morbus on
the evening of the 23rd, after delivering an address in the
Council House, and it was followed by inflammation of the
bowels. The body lay in state in the Tabernacle from Saturday,
September 1, until Sunday noon, when the funeral services were
held. He was buriod in a little plot on one of the main streets
of Salt Lake City, not far from his place of residence.

The steps by which Young reached the position of head of the
Mormon church, the character of his rule, and the means by which
he maintained it have been set forth in the previous chapters of
this work. In the ruler we have seen a man without education,
but possessed of an iron will, courage to take advantage of
unusual opportunities, and a thorough knowledge of his flock
gained by association with them in all their wanderings. In his
people we have seen a nucleus of fanatics, including some of
Joseph Smith's fellow-plotters, constantly added to by new
recruits, mostly poor and ignorant foreigners, who had been made
to believe in Smith's Bible and "revelations," and been further
lured to a change of residence by false pictures of the country
they were going to, and the business opportunities that awaited
them there. Having made a prominent tenet of the church the
practice of polygamy, which Young certainly knew the federal
government would not approve, he had an additional bond with
which to unite the interests of his flock with his own, and thus
to make them believe his approval as necessary to their personal
safety as they believed it to be necessary to their salvation.
The command which Young exercised in these circumstances is not
an illustration of any form of leadership which can be held up
to admiration. It is rather an exemplification of that tyranny in
church and state which the world condemns whenever an example of
it is afforded.

Young was the centre of responsibility for all the rebellion,
nullification, and crime carried on under the authority of the
church while he was its head. He never concealed his own power.
He gloried in it, and declared it openly in and out of the
Tabernacle. Authority of this kind cannot be divided. Whatever
credit is due to Young for securing it, is legitimately his. But
those who point to its acquisition as a sign of greatness, must
accept for him, with it, responsibility for the crimes that were
carried on under it.

The laudators of Young have found evidence of great executive
ability in his management of the migration from Nauvoo to Utah.
But, in the first place, this migration was compulsory; the
Mormons were obliged to move. In the second place its
accomplishment was no more successful than the contemporary
migrations to Oregon, and the loss of life in the camps on the
Missouri River was greater than that incurred in the great rush
across the plains to California; while the horrors of the
hand-cart movement--a scheme of Young's own device--have never
been equalled in Western travel. In Utah, circumstances greatly
favored Young's success. Had not gold been discovered when it
was in California, the Mormon settlement would long have been
like a dot in a desert, and its ability to support the stream Of
immigrants attracted from Europe would have been problematic,
since, in more than one summer, those already there had narrowly
escaped starvation while depending on the agricultural resources
of the valley.

J. Hyde, writing in 1857, said that Young "by the native force
and vigor of a strong mind" had taken from beneath the Mormon
church system "the monstrous stilts of a miserable superstition,
and consolidated it into a compact scheme of the sternest
fanaticism."* In other words, he might have explained, instead of
relying on such "revelations" as served Smith, he refused to use
artificial commands of God, and substituted the commands of
Young, teaching, and having his associates teach, that obedience
to the head of the church was obedience to the Supreme Power.
Both Hyde and Stenhouse, writing before Young's death, and as
witnesses of the strength of his autocratic government,
overestimated him. This is seen in the view they took of the
effect of his death. Hyde declared that under any of the other
contemporary leadersTaylor, Kimball, Orson Hyde, or Pratt:
"Mormonism will decline. Brigham is its tun; this is its
daytime." Stenhouse asserted that, "Theocracy will die out with
Brigham's flickering flame of life; and, when he is laid in the
tomb, many who are silent now will curse his memory for the
cruel suffering that his ambition caused them to endure." But
all such prophecies remain unfulfilled. Young's death caused no
more revolution or change in the Mormon church than does the
death of a Pope in the Church of Rome. "Regret it who may,"
wrote a Salt Lake City correspondent less than three months
after his burial, "the fact is visible to every intelligent
person here that Mormonism has taken a new lease of life, and,
instead of disintegration, there never was such unity among its
people; and in the place of a rapidly dying consumptive, whose
days were numbered, the body of the church is the picture of
pristine health and vigor, with all the ambition and enthusiasm
of a first love."** The new leadership has, grudgingly, traded
polygamy for statehood; but the church power is as strong and
despotic and unified to-day on the lines on which it is working
as it was under Young, only exercising that power on the more
civilized basis rendered necessary by closer connection with an
outside civilization.

* "Mormonism," p.151.

** New York Times, November 23, 1877.


Young was a successful accumulator of property for his own use. A
poor man when he set out from Nauvoo, his estate at his death
was valued at between $2,000,000 and $3,000,000. This was a
great accumulation for a pioneer who had settled in a
wilderness, been burdened with a polygamous family of over twenty
wives and fifty children, and the cares of a church
denomination, without salary as a church officer. "I am the only
person in the church," Young said to Greeley in 1859, "who has
not a regular calling apart from the church service"; and he
added, "We think a man who cannot make his living aside from the
ministry of the church unsuited to that office. I am called
rich, and consider myself worth $250,000; but no dollar of it
ever was paid me by the church, nor for any service as a
minister of the Everlasting Gospel." * Two years after his death
a writer in the Salt Lake Tribune** asserted that Young had
secured in Utah from the tithing $13,000,000, squandered about
$9,000,o on his family, and left the rest to be fought for by
his heirs and assigns.*** Notwithstanding the vast sums taken by
him in tithing for the alleged benefit of the poor, there was not
in Salt Lake City, at the time of his death, a single hospital
or "home" creditable to that settlement.

* "Overland Journey," p. 213.

** June 25, 1879.

*** "Having control of the tithing, and possessing unlimited
credit, he has added 'house to house and field to field,' while
every one knew that he had no personal enterprises sufficient to
enable him to meet anything like the current expenses of his
numerous wives and children. As trustee in trust he renders no
account of the funds that come into his hands, but tells the
faithful that they are at perfect liberty to examine the books
at any moment."--"Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 665.


The mere acquisition of his wealth no more entitled Young to be
held up as a marvellous man of business than did Tweed's
accumulations give him this distinction in New York. Beadle
declares that "Brigham never made a success of any business he
undertook except managing the Mormons," and cites among his
business failures the non-success of every distant colony he
planted, the Cottonwood Canal (whose mouth was ten feet higher
than its source), his beet-sugar manufactory, and his Colorado
Transportation Company (to bring goods for southern Utah up the
Colorado River).*

* "Polygamy," p. 484.


The reports of Young's discourses in the Temple show that he was
as determined in carrying out his own financial schemes as he
was in enforcing orders pertaining to the church. Here is an
almost humorous illustration of this. In urging the people one
day to be more regular in paying their tithing, he said they
need not fear that he would make a bad use of their money, as he
had plenty of his own, adding:--"I believe I will tell you how I
get some of it. A great many of these elders in Israel, soon
after courting these young ladies, and old ladies, and
middle-aged ladies, and having them sealed to them, want to have
a bill of divorce. I have told them from the beginning that
sealing men and women for time and all eternity is one of the
ordinances of the House of God, and that I never wanted a
farthing for sealing them, nor for officiating in any of the
ordinances of God's house. But when you ask for a bill of
divorce, I intend that you shall pay for it. That keeps me in
spending money, besides enabling me to give hundreds of dollars
to the poor, and buy butter, eggs, and little notions for women
and children, and otherwise use it where it does good. You may
think this a singular feature of the Gospel, but I cannot
exactly say that this is in the Gospel."*

* Deseret News, March 20, 1861. For such an openly jolly old
hypocrite one can scarcely resist the feeling that he would like
to pass around the hat.


We have seen how Young gave himself control of a valuable canon.
That was only the beginning of such acquisitions. The
territorial legislature of Utah was continually making special
grants to him. Among them may be mentioned the control of City
Creek Canon (said to have been worth $10,000 a year) on payment
of $500; of the waters of Mill Creek; exclusive right to Kansas
Prairie as a herd-ground; the whole of Cache Valley for a
herd-ground; Rush Valley for a herd-ground; rights to establish
ferries; an appropriation of $2500 for an academy in Salt Lake
City (which was not built), etc.*

* Here is the text of one of these acts: "Be it ordained by the
General Assembly of the State of Deseret that Brigham Young has
the sole control of City Creek and Canon; and that he pay into
the public treasury the sum of $500 therefore. Dec. 9, 1850."


Young's holdings of real estate were large, not only in Salt Lake
City, but in almost every county in the territory.* Besides city
lots and farm lands, he. owned grist and saw mills, and he took
care that his farms were well cultivated and that his mills made
fine flour.**

* "For several years past the agent of the church, A. M. Musser,
has been engaged in securing legal deeds for all the property
the prophet claims, and by this he will be able to secure in his
lifetime to his different families such property as will render
them independent at his death. The building of the Pacific
Railroad is said to have yielded him about a quarter of a
million."--"Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 666.

** "His position secured him also many valuable presents. From a
barrel of brandy down to an umbrella, Brigham receives
courteously and remembers the donors with increased kindness. I
saw one man make him a present of ten fine milch cows."--Hyde,
"Mormonism," p. 165.


As trustee in trust for the church Young had control of all the
church property and income, practically without responsibility
or oversight. Mrs. Waite (writing in 1866) said that attempts
for many years by the General Conference to procure a balance
sheet of receipts and expenditures had failed, and that the
accounts in the tithing office, such as they were, were kept by
clerks who were the leading actors in the Salt Lake Theatre,
owned by Young.* It was openly charged that, in 1852, Young
"balanced his account" with the church by having the clerk
credit him with the amount due by him, "for services rendered,"
and that, in 1867, he balanced his account again by crediting
himself with $967,000. A committee appointed to investigate the
accounts of Young after his death reported to the Conference of
October, 1878, that "for the sole purpose of preserving it from
the spoliation of the enemy," he "had transferred certain
property from the possession of the church to his own individual
possession," but that it had been transferred back again.

* "The Mormon Prophet," pp. 148-149,


Young's will divided his wives and children into nineteen
"classes," and directed his executors to pay to each such a sum
as might be necessary for their comfortable support; the word
"marriage" in the will to mean "either by ceremony before a
lawful magistrate, or according to the order of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or by their cohabitation in
conformity to our custom."

On June 14, 1879, Emmeline A. Young, on behalf of herself and
the heirs at law, began a suit against the executors of Young's
estate, charging that they had improperly appropriated $200,000;
had improperly allowed nearly $1,000,000 to John Taylor as
trustee in trust to the church, less a credit of $300,000 for
Young's services as trustee; and that they claimed the power, as
members of the Apostles' Quorum, to dispose of all the
testator's property and to disinherit any heir who refused to
submit. This suit was compromised in the following September,
the seven persons joining in it executing a release on payment of
$75,000. A suit which the church had begun against the heirs and
executors was also discontinued. The Salt Lake Herald (Mormon)
of October 5, 1879, said, "The adjustment is far preferable to a
continuance of the suit, which was proving not only expensive,
but had become excessively annoying to many people, was a large
disturbing element in the community, and was rapidly descending
into paths that nobody here cares to see trodden."

Just how many wives Brigham Young had, in the course of his life,
would depend on his own and others' definition of that term. He
told Horace Greeley, in 1859: "I have fifteen; I know no one who
has more. But some of those sealed to me are old ladies, whom I
regard rather as mothers than wives, but whom I have taken home
to cherish and support."* In 1869, he informed the Boston Board
of Trade, when that body visited Salt Lake City, that he had
sixteen wives living, and had lost four, and that forty-nine of
his children were living then. " He was," says Beadle, "sealed
on the spiritual wife system to more women than any one can
count; all over Mormondom are pious old widows, or wives of
Gentiles and apostates, who hope to rise at the last day and
claim a celestial share in Brigham." J. Hyde said that he knew
of about twenty-five wives with whom Brigham lived. The
following list is made up from "Pictures and Biographies of
Brigham Young and his Wives," published by J. H. Crockwell of
Salt Lake City, by authority of Young's eldest son and of seven
of his wives, but is not complete:--

* "Overland journey," p. 215.


NAME************* DATE OF MARRIAGE *** NUMBER OF CHILDREN***
Mary Ann Angell * February, 1834. Ohio 6
Louisa Beman ** April, 1841. Nauvoo 4
Mrs. Lucy Decker Seely June, 1842. Nauvoo 7
H. E. C. Campbell November, 1843.Nauvoo 1
Augusta Adams November, 1843. Nauvoo 0
Clara Decker May, 1844. Nauvoo 5
Clara C. Ross September, 1844. Nauvoo 4
Emily Dow Partridge** September, 1844. Nauvoo 7
Susan Snively November, 1844. Nauvoo 0
Olive Grey Frost** February, 1845. Nauvoo 0
Emmeline Free April, 1845. Nauvoo 0
Margaret Pierce April, 1845. Nauvoo 1
N. K. T. Carter January, 1846. Nauvoo 0
Ellen Rockwood January, 1846. Nauvoo 0
Maria Lawrence** January, 1846. Nauvoo 0
Martha Bowker January, 1846. Nauvoo 0
Margaret M. Alley January, 1846. Nauvoo 2
Lucy Bigelow March, 1847. (?) 3
Z. D. Huntington ** March, 1847 (?). Nauvoo 1
Eliza K. Snow** June, 1849. S. L. C. 0
Eliza Burgess October, 1850. S. L. C. 1
Harriet Barney October, 1850. S. L. C. 1
Harriet A. Folsom January, 1863. S. L. C. 0
Mary Van Cott January, 1865. S. L. C. 1
Ann Eliza Webb April, 1868. S. L. C. 0

* His first wife died 1832.
** Joseph Smith's widows.

Young's principal houses in Salt Lake City stood at the
southeastern corner of the block adjoining the Temple block, and
designated on the map as block 8. The largest building,
occupying the corner, was called the Beehive House; connected
with this was a smaller building in which were Young's private
offices, the tithing office, etc; and next to this was a
building partly of stone, called the Lion House, taking its name
from the figure of a lion sculptured on its front, representing
Young's title "The Lion of the Lord." When J. Hyde wrote,
seventeen or eighteen of Young's wives dwelt in the Lion House,
and the Beehive House became his official residence.* Individual
wives were provided for elsewhere. His legal wife lived in what
was called the White House, a few hundred yards from his
official home. His well-beloved Amelia lived in another house
half a block distant; another favorite, just across the street;
Emmeline, on the same block; and not far away the latest
acquisition to his harem.

* The Beehive House is still the official residence of the head
of the church, and in it President Snow was living at the time
of his death. The office building is still devoted to office
uses, and the Lion House now furnishes temporary quarters to the
Latter-Day Saints' College.


Young's life in his later years was a very orderly one, although
he was not methodical in arranging his office hours and
attending to his many duties. Rising before eight A.m., he was
usually in his office at nine, transacting business with his
secretary, and was ready to receive callers at ten. So many were
the people who had occasion to see him, and so varied were the
matters that could be brought to his attention, that many hours
would be devoted to these callers if other engagements did not
interfere. Once a year he made a sort of visit of state to all
the principal settlements in the territory, accompanied by
counsellors, apostles, and Bishops, and sometimes by a favorite
wife. Shorter excursions of the same kind were made at other
times. Each settlement was expected to give him a formal
greeting, and this sometimes took the form of a procession with
banners, such as might have been prepared for a conquering hero.





Next: Social Aspects Of Polygamy

Previous: The Last Years Of Brigham Young



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