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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 Despotism








There is no reason to believe that, to the date of Joseph Smith's
death, Brigham Young had inspired his fellow-Mormons with an idea
of his leadership. This was certified to by one of the most
radical of them, Mayor Jedediah M. Grant of Salt Lake City, in
1852, in these words:--

"When Joseph Smith lived, a man about whose real character and
pretensions we differ, Joseph was often and almost invariably
imposed upon by those in whom he placed his trust. There was one
man--only one of his early adherents--he could always rely upon
to stick to him closer than a brother, steadfast in faith, clear
in counsel, and foremost in fight. He seemed a plain man in those
days, of a wonderful talent for business and hundred horse-power
of industry, but least of everything affecting cleverness or
quickness. 'Honest Brigham Young,' or 'hard-working Brigham
Young,' was nearly as much as you would ever hear him called,
though he was the almost universal executor and trustee of men's
wills and trusteed estates, and a confidential manager of our
most intricate church affairs."*

* Grant's pamphlet, "Truth about the Mormons."


When the Saints found themselves in Salt Lake Valley they had
learned something from experience. They could not fail to realize
that, distant as they now were from outside interference, union
among themselves was an essential to success. The body of the
church was soon composed of two elements--those who had
constituted the church in the East, and the new members who were
pouring in from Europe. Young established his leadership with
both of these parties in the early days. There was much to
discourage in those days--a soil to cultivate that required
irrigation, houses to build where material was scarce, and
starvation to fight year after year. Young encouraged everybody
by his talk at the church meetings, shared in the manual labor of
building houses and cultivating land, and devised means to
entertain and encourage those who were disposed to look on their
future darkly. No one ever heard him, whatever others might say,
doubt the genuineness of Joseph Smith's inspiration and
revelations, and he so established his own position as Smith's
successor that he secured the devout allegiance of the old flock,
without making such business mistakes as weakened Smith's
reputation. "I believed," says John D. Lee, one of the most
trusted and prominent of the church members almost to the day of
his death, "that Brigham Young spoke by the direction of the God
of heaven. I would have suffered death rather than have disobeyed
any command of his." Said Young's associate in the First
Presidency, Heber C. Kimball, "To me the word comes from Brother
Brigham as the word of God," and again, "His word is the word of
God to his people."*

The new-comers from Europe were simply helpless. They were, in
the first place, religious enthusiasts, who believed, when they
set out on their journey, that they were going to a real Zion.
Large numbers of them were indebted to the church for at least a
part of their passage money from the day of their arrival. Few of
those who had paid their own way brought much cash capital, all
depending on the representations about the richness of the valley
which had been held out to them. Once, there, they soon realized
that all must sustain the same policy if the church was to be a
success. They were, too, of that superstitious class which was
ready, not only to believe in modern miracles, "signs," and
revelations, but actually hungered for such manifestations, and,
once accepting membership in the church, they accepted with it
the dictation of the head of the church in all things. Secretary
Fuller has told me that, after he ascertained the existence of
gold near Salt Lake City, he said to an intelligent goldsmith
there, "Why do you not look for the gold you need in your
business in the mountains?" "Why," was the reply, "if I went to
the mountains and found gold, and put it into my pouch, the pouch
would be empty when I got back to the city. I know this is so,
because Brigham Young has told me so."

* Journal of Discourses, VOL IV, p. 47.


The extent of the dictatorship which Young prescribed and carried
out in all matters, spiritual and commercial, might be questioned
if we were not able to follow the various steps taken in
establishing his authority, and to illustrate its scope, by the
testimony, not of men who suffered from it, but by his own words
and those of his closest associates. With a blindness which seems
incomprehensible, the sermons, or "discourses," delivered in the
early days in Salt Lake City were printed under church authority,
and are preserved in the journal of Discourses. The student of
this chapter of the church's history can obtain what information
he wants by reading the volumes of this Journal. The language
used is often coarse, but there is never any difficulty in
understanding the speakers.

Young referred to his own plain speaking in a discourse on
October 6, 1855. He said that he had received advice about
bridling his tongue--a wheelbarrow load of such letters from the
East, especially on the subject of his attacks on the Gentiles.
"Do you know," he asked, "how I feel when I get such
communications? I will tell you. I feel just like rubbing their
noses with them."* In a discourse on February 17, 1856, he
vouchsafed this explanation, "If I were preaching abroad in the
world, I should feel myself somewhat obliged, through custom, to
adhere to the wishes and feelings of the people in regard to
pursuing the thread of any given subject; but here I feel as free
as air." **

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 48.

** Ibid., p. 211.


Mention has already been made of Young's refusal to continue
Smith's series of "revelations." In doing this he never admitted
for a moment any lack of authority as spokesman for the Almighty.
A few illustrations will make clear his position in this matter.
Defining his view of his own authority, before the General
Conference in Salt Lake City, on April 6, 1850, he said, "It is
your privilege and it is mine to receive revelation; and my
privilege to dictate to the church." *

* Millennial Star, VOL XII, p, 273.


When the site of the Temple was consecrated, in 1853, there were
many inquiries whether a revelation had been given about its
construction. Young said, "If the Lord and all the people want a
revelation, I can give one concerning this Temple"; but he did
not do so, declaring that a revelation was no more necessary
concerning the building of a temple than it was concerning a
kitchen or a bedroom.* We must certainly concede to this man a
dictator's daring.

* Ibid., Vol. XV, p. 391.


An early illustration of Young's policy toward all Mormon
offenders was given in the case of the so-called "Gladdenites."
There were members of the church even in Utah who were ready to
revolt when the open announcement of the "revelation" regarding
polygamy was made in 1852, and they found a leader in Gladden
Bishop, who had had much experience in apostasy, repentance, and
readmission.* These men held meetings and made considerable
headway, but when the time came for Brigham to exercise his
authority he did it.

* "This Gladden gave Joseph much trouble; was cut off from the
church and taken back and rebaptized nine times."--Ferris, "Utah
and the Mormons," p. 326.


On Sunday, March 20, 1853, a meeting, orderly in every respect,
which the Gladdenites were holding in front of the Council House,
was dispersed by the city marshal, and another, called for the
next Sunday, was prohibited entirely. Then Alfred Smith, a
leading Gladdenite, who had accused Young of robbing him of his
property, was arrested and locked up until he gave a promise to
discontinue his rebellion. On the 27th of March Young made the
Gladdenites the subject of a large part of his discourse in the
Tabernacle. What he said is thus stated in the church report of
the address:--

"I say to those persons: You must not court persecution here,
lest you get so much of it you will not know what to do with it.
Do not court persecution. We have known Gladden Bishop for more
than twenty years, and know him to be a poor, dirty curse . . . .
I say again, you Gladdenites, do not court persecution, or you
will get more than you want, and it will come quicker than you
want it. I say to you Bishops, do not allow them to preach in
your wards." (After telling of a dream he had had, in which he
saw two men creep into the bed where one of his wives was lying,
whereupon he took a large bowie knife and cut one of their
throats from ear to ear, saying, "Go to hell across lots," he
continued:) "I say, rather than that apostates should flourish
here I will unsheath my bowie knife and conquer or die." (Great
commotion in the congregation, and a simultaneous burst of
feeling, assenting to the declaration.) "Now, you nasty
apostates, clear out, or judgment will be put to the line and
righteousness to the plummet." (Voices generally, "Go it," "go
it.") "If you say it is all right, raise your hand." (All hands
up.) "Let us call upon the Lord to assist us in this and every
good work." *

*Journal of Discourses, Vol. I, p. 82.


This was the practical end of Gladdenism.

Young's dictatorship was quite as broad and determined in things
temporal as in things spiritual. He made no concealment of the
fact that he was a moneygetter, only insisting on his readiness
to contribute to the support of church enterprises. The canons
through the mountains which shut in the valley were the source of
wood supply for the city, and their control was very valuable.
Young brought this matter before the Conference of October 9,
1852, speaking on it at length, and finally putting his own view
in the form of a resolution that the canons be placed in the
hands of individuals, who should make good roads through them,
and obtain their pay by taking toll at the entrance. After
getting the usual unanimous vote on his proposition, he said:
"Let the Judges of the County of Great Salt Lake take due notice
and govern themselves accordingly . . . . This is my order for
the judges to take due notice of. It does not come from the
Governor, but from the President of the church. You will not see
any proclamation in the paper to this effect, but it is a mere
declaration of the President of the Conference."* The
"declaration," of course, had all the effect of a law, and Young
got one of the best canons.

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. I, pp. 217, 218.


Very early in his rule Young defined his views about the property
rights of the Saints. "A man," he declared in the Tabernacle on
June 5, 1853, "has no right with property which, according to the
laws of the land, legally belongs to him, if he does not want to
use it . . . . When we first came into the valley, the question
was asked me if men would ever be allowed to come into this
church, and remain in it, and hoard up their property. I say,
no." *

* Ibid., Vol. I, pp. 252-253


Another view of property rights was thus set forth in his
discourse of December 5, 1853:--

"If an Elder has borrowed [a hundred or a thousand dollars from
you], and you find he is going to apostatize, then you may
tighten the screws on him. But if he is willing to preach the
Gospel without purse or scrip, it is none of your business what
he does with the money he has borrowed from you." *

* Ibid, Vol. I, p. 340.

Addressing the people in the trying business year of 1856, when
his own creditors were pushing him hard, Young said:

"I wish to give you one text to preach upon, 'From this time
henceforth do not fret thy gizzard.' I will pay you when I can
and not before. Now I hope you will apostatize if you would
rather do it."*

* Ibid., Vol. III, p. 4.


Kimball, in giving Young's order to some seventy men, who had
displeased him, to leave the territory, used these words: "When a
man is appointed to take a mission, unless he has a just and
honorable reason for not going, if he does not go he will be
severed from the church. Why? Because you said you were willing
to be passive, and, if you are not passive, that lump of clay
must be cut off from the church and laid aside, and a lump put on
that will be passive." *

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 242.


With this testimony of men inside the church may be placed that
of Captain Howard Stansbury, of the United Stated Topographical
Engineers, who arrived in the valley in August, 1849, under
instructions from the government to make a survey of the lakes of
that region. The Mormons thought that it was the intention of the
government to divide the land into townships and sections, and to
ignore their claim to title by occupation. In his official
report, after mentioning his haste to disabuse Young's mind on
this point, Captain Stansbury says, "I was induced to pursue this
conciliatory course, not only in justice to the government, but
also because I knew, from the peculiar organization of this
singular community, that, unless the 'President' was fully
satisfied that no evil was intended to his people, it would be
useless for me to attempt to carry out my instructions." The
choice between abject conciliation or open conflict was that
which Brigham Young extended to nearly every federal officer who
entered Utah during his reign.

The Mormons of Utah started in to assert their independence of
the government of the United States in every way. The rejection
of the constitution of Deseret by Congress did not hinder the
elected legislature from meeting and passing laws. The ninth
chapter of the "ordinances," as they were called, passed by this
legislature (on January 19, 1851) was a charter for Great Salt
Lake City. This charter provided for the election of a mayor,
four aldermen, nine councillors, and three judges, the first
judges to be chosen viva voce, and their successors by the City
Council. The appointment of eleven subordinate officers was
placed in the Council's hands. The mayor and aldermen were to be
the justices of the peace, with a right of appeal to the
municipal court, consisting of the same persons sitting together,
and from that to the probate court. The first mayor, aldermen,
and councillors were appointed by the governor of the State of
Deseret. Similar charters were provided for Ogden, Provo City,
and other settlements.

As soon as Salt Lake City was laid off into wards, Young had a
Bishop placed over each of these, and, always under his
direction, these Bishops practically controlled local affairs to
the date of the city charter. Each Bishop came to be a magistrate
of his ward,* and under them in all the settlements all public
work was carried on and all revenue collected. The High Council
of ten is defined by Tullidge as "a quorum of judges, in equity
for the people, at the head of which is the President of the
state."

* Brigham Young testified in the Tabernacle as to the kind of
justice that was meted out in the Bishops' courts. In his sermon
of March 6, 1856, he said: "There are men here by the score who
do not know their right hands from their left, so far as the
principles of justice are concerned. Does our High Council? No,
for they will let men throw dirt in their eyes until you cannot
find the one hundred millionth part of an ounce of common sense
in them. You may go to the Bishops' courts, and what are they? A
set of old grannies. They cannot judge a case pending between two
old women, to say nothing of a case between man and man:' Journal
of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 225.


These men did not hesitate to attempt a currency of their own. On
the arrival of the Mormons in the valley, they first made their
exchanges through barter. Paper currency was issued in 1849 and
some years later. When gold dust from California appeared in
1849, some of it was coined in Salt Lake City by means of
homemade dies and crucibles. The denominations were $2.50, $5,
$10, and $20. Some of these coins, made without alloy, were
stamped with a bee-hive and eagle on one side, and on the reverse
with the motto, "Holiness to the Lord" in the so-called Deseret
alphabet. This alphabet was invented after their arrival in Salt
Lake Valley, to assist in separating the Mormons from the rest of
the nation, its preparation having been intrusted to a committee
of the board of regents in 1853. It contained thirty-two
characters. A primer and two books of the Mormon Bible were
printed in the new characters, the legislature in 1855 having
voted $2500 to meet the expense; but the alphabet was never
practically used, and no attempt is any longer made to remember
it. Early in 1849 the High Council voted that the Kirtland
bank-bills (of which a supply must have remained unissued) be put
out on a par with gold, and in this they saw a fulfilment of the
prophet's declaration that these notes would some day be as good
as gold.

Another early ordinance passed by the Deseret legislature
incorporated "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,"
authorizing the appointment of a trustee in trust to hold and
manage all the property of the church, which should be free from
tax, and giving the church complete authority to make its own
regulations, "provided, however, that each and every act or
practice so established, or adopted for law or custom, shall
relate to solemnities, sacraments, ceremonies, consecrations,
endowments, tithing, marriages, fellowship, or the religious
duties of man to his Maker, inasmuch as the doctrines,
principles, practices, or performances support virtue and
increase morality, and are not inconsistent with or repugnant to
the constitution of the United States or of this State, and are
founded on the revelations of the Lord." Thus early was the
ground taken that the practice of polygamy was a constitutional
right. Brigham Young was chosen as the trustee.

The second ordinance passed by this legislature incorporated the
University of the State of Deseret, at Salt Lake City, to be
governed by a chancellor and twelve regents.

The earliest non-Mormons to experience the effect of that
absolute Mormon rule, the consequences of which the Missourians
had feared, were the emigrants who passed through Salt Lake
Valley on their way to California after the discovery of gold, or
on their way to Oregon. The complaints of the Californians were
set forth in a little book, written by one of them, Nelson
Slater, and printed in Colona, California, in 1851, under the
title, "Fruits of Mormonism." The general complaints were set
forth briefly in a petition to Congress containing nearly two
hundred and fifty signatures, dated Colona, June 1, 1851, which
asked that the territorial government be abrogated, and a
military government be established in its place. This petition
charged that many emigrants had been murdered by the Mormons when
there was a suspicion that they had taken part in the earlier
persecutions; that when any members of the Mormon community,
becoming dissatisfied, tried to leave, they were pursued and
killed; that the Mormons levied a tax of two per cent on the
property of emigrants who were compelled to pass a winter among
them; that it was nearly impossible for emigrants to obtain
justice in the Mormon courts; that the Mormons, high and low,
openly expressed treasonable sentiments against the United States
government; and that letters of emigrants mailed at Salt Lake
City were opened, and in many instances destroyed.

Mr. Slater's book furnishes the specifications of these general
charges.





Next: The Reformation

Previous: Early Political History



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