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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



Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers








In June, 1865, a distinguished party from the East visited Salt
Lake City, and their visit was not without public significance.
It included Schuyler Colfax, Speaker of the House of
Representatives, Lieutenant Governor Bross of Illinois, Samuel
Bowles, editor of the Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican, and
A. D. Richardson of the staff of the New York Tribune. Crossing
the continent was still effected by stage-coach at that time,
and the Mormon capital had never been visited by civilians so
well known and so influential. Mr. Colfax had stated publicly
that President Lincoln, a short time before his death, had asked
him to make a thorough investigation of territorial matters, and
his visit was regarded as semiofficial. The city council
formally tendered to the visitors the hospitality of the city,
and Mr. Bowles wrote that the Speaker's reception "was excessive
if not oppressive."

In an interview between Colfax and Young, during which the
subject of polygamy was brought up by the latter, he asked what
the government intended to do with it, now that the slavery
question was out of the way. Mr. Colfax replied with the
expression of a hope that the prophets of the church would have a
new "revelation" which would end the practice, pointing out an
example in the course of Missouri and Maryland in abolishing
slavery, without waiting for action by the federal government.
"Mr. Young," says Bowles, "responded quietly and frankly that he
should readily welcome such a revelation; that polygamy was not
in the original book of the Mormons; that it was not an
essential practice in the church, but only a privilege and a
duty, under special command of God."*

* "Across the Continent," p. 111.


It is worth while to note Mr. Bowles's summing up of his
observations of Mormondom during this visit. "The result," he
wrote, "of the whole experience has been to increase my
appreciation of the value of their material progress and
development to the nation; to evoke congratulations to them and
to the country for the wealth they have created, and the order,
frugality, morality (sic), and industry they have organized in
this remote spot in our continent; to excite wonder at the
perfection of their church system, the extent of its
ramifications, the sweep of its influence, and to enlarge my
respect for the personal sincerity and character of many of the
leaders in the organization."* These were the expressions of a
leading journalist, thought worthy to be printed later in book
form, on a church system and church officers about which he had
gathered his information during a few hours' visit, and
concerning which he was so fundamentally ignorant that he called
their Bible--whose title is, "Book of Mormon"--"book of the
Mormons!" It is reasonably certain that he had never read
Smith's "revelations," doubtful if he was acquainted with even
the framework of the Mormon Bible, and probable that he was
wholly ignorant of the history of their recent "Reformation."
Many a profound opinion of Mormonism has been founded on as
little opportunity for accurate knowledge.**

* "Across the Continent," p. 106.

** As another illustration of the value of observations by such
transient students may be cited the following, from Sir Charles
Wentworth Dilke's "Greater Britain," Vol. I, p. 148: "Brigham's
deeds have been those of a sincere man. His bitterest opponents
cannot dispute the fact that, in 1844, when Nauvoo was about to
be deserted owing to attacks by a ruffianly mob, Brigham Young
rushed to the front and took command. To be a Mormon leader was
then to be the leader of an outcast people, with a price set on
his head, in a Missouri country in which almost every man who
was not a Mormon was by profession an assassin."


The Eastern visitors soon learned, however, how little intention
the Mormon leaders had to be cajoled out of polygamy. Before Mr.
Bowles's book was published, he had to add a supplement, in
which he explained that "since our visit to Utah in June, the
leaders among the Mormons have repudiated their professions of
loyalty to the government, and denied any disposition to yield
the issue of polygamy." Tullidge sneers at Colfax "for
entertaining for a while the pretty plan" of having the Mormons
give up polygamy as the Missourians did slavery. The Deseret
News, soon after the Colfax party left the territory, expressed
the real Mormon view on this subject, saying: "As a people we
view every revelation from the Lord as sacred. Polygamy was none
of our seeking. It came to us from Heaven, and we recognized it,
and still do, the voice of Him whose right it is not only to
teach us, but to dictate and teach all men . . . . They
[Gentiles] talk of revelations given, and of receiving counter
revelations to forbid what has been commanded, as if man was the
sole author, originator, and designer of them . . . . Do they
wish to brand a whole people with the foul stigma of hypocrisy,
who, from their leaders to the last converts that have made the
dreary journey to these mountain wilds for their faith, have
proved their honesty of purpose and deep sincerity of faith by
the most sublime sacrifices? Either that is the issue of their
reasoning, or they imagine that we serve and worship the most
accommodating Deity ever dreamed of in the wildest vagaries of
the most savage polytheist."

This was a perfectly consistent statement of the Mormon position,
a simple elaboration of Young's declaration that, to give up
belief in Smith as a prophet, and in his "revelations," would be
to give up their faith. Just as truly, any later "revelation,"
repealing the one concerning polygamy, must be either a pretence
or a temporary expedient, in orthodox Mormon eyes. The Mormons
date the active crusade of the government against polygamy from
the return of the Colfax party to the East, holding that this
question did not enter into the early differences between them
and the government.*

* Tullidge's "History of Salt Lake City," p. 358.


In the year following Colfax's visit, there occurred in Utah two
murders which attracted wide notice, and which called attention
once more to the insecurity of the life of any man against whom
the finger of the church was crooked. The first victim was O. N.
Brassfield, a non-Mormon, who had the temerity to marry, on
March 20, 1866, the second polygamous wife of a Mormon while the
husband was in Europe on a mission. As he was entering his house
in Salt Lake City, on the third day of the following month, he
was shot dead. An order that had been given to disband the
volunteer troops still remaining in the territory was
countermanded from Washington, and General Sherman, then
commander of that department, telegraphed to Young that he hoped
to hear of no more murders of Gentiles in Utah, intimating that,
if he did, it would be easy to reenlist some of the recently
discharged volunteers and march them through the territory.

The second victim was Dr. J. King Robinson, a young man who had
come to Utah as assistant surgeon of the California volunteers,
married the daughter of a Mormon whose widow and daughters had
left the church, and taken possession of the land on which were
some well-known warm springs, with the intention of establishing
there a sanitarium. The city authorities at once set up a claim
to the warm springs property, a building Dr. Robinson had
erected there was burned, and, as he became aggressive in
asserting his legal rights, he was called out one night,
ostensibly to set a broken leg, knocked down, and shot dead. The
audacity of this crime startled even the Mormons, and the
opinion has been expressed that nothing more serious than a
beating had been intended. There was an inquest before a city
alderman, at which some non-Mormon lawyers and judges Titus and
McCurdy were asked to assist. The chief feature of this hearing
was the summing up by Ex-Governor J. B. Weller, of California,
in which he denounced such murders, asked if there was not an
organized influence which prevented the punishment of their
perpetrators, and confessed that the prosecution had not been
permitted "to lift the veil, and show the perpetrators of this
horrible murder." *

* Text in "Rocky Mountain Saints," Appendix I.


General W. B. Hazen, in his report of February, 1867, said of
these victims: *There is no doubt of their murder from Mormon
church influences, although I do not believe by direct command.
Principles are taught in their churches which would lead to such
murders. I have earnestly to recommend that a list be made of
the Mormon leaders, according to their importance, excepting
Brigham Young, and that the President of the United States
require the commanding officer at Camp Douglas to arrest and
send to the state's prison at Jefferson City, Mo., beginning at
the head of the list, man for man hereafter killed as these men
were, to be held until the real perpetrators of the deed, with
evidence for their conviction, be given up. I believe Young for
the present necessary for us there" *

* Mis. House Doc. No. 75, 2d Session, 39th Congress.


Had this policy been adopted, Mormon prisoners would soon have
started East, for very soon afterward three other murders of the
same character occurred, although the victims were not so
prominent.* Chief Justice Titus incurred the hatred of the
Mormons by determined, if futile, efforts to bring offenders in
such cases to justice, and to show their feeling they sent him a
nightgown ten feet long, at the hands of a negro.

* See note 70, p. 628, Bancroft's "History of Utah." When, in
July, 1869, a delegation from Illinois, that included Senator
Trumbull, Governor Oglesby, Editor Medill of the Chicago
Tribune, and many members of the Chicago Board of Trade, visited
Salt Lake City, they were welcomed by and affiliated with the
Gentile element;* and when, in the following October, Vice
President Colfax paid a second visit to the city, he declined the
courtesies tendered to him by the city officers.** He made an
address from the portico of the Townsend House, of which
polygamy was the principle feature, and was soon afterward drawn
into a newspaper discussion of the subject with John Taylor.

* In an interview between Young and Senator Trumbull during this
visit (reported in the Alta California), the following
conversation took place:--"Young--We can take care of ourselves.
Cumming was good enough in his way, for you know he was simply
Governor of the Territory, while I was and am Governor of the
people."


"Senator Trumbull--Mr. Young, may I say to the President that you
intend to observe the laws under the constitution?"

"Young-Well-yes--we intend to."

"Senator Trumbull--But may I say to him that you will do so?"

"Young--Yes, yes; so far as the laws are just, certainly."

** "Mr. Colfax politely refused to accept the proffered
courtesies of the city. Brigham was reported to have uttered
abusive language in the Tabernacle towards the Government and
Congress, and to have charged the President and Vice President
with being drunkards. One of the Aldermen who waited upon Mr.
Colfax to tender to him the hospitality of the city could only
say that he did not hear Brigham say so."--"Rocky Mountain
Saints," p. 638.





Next: Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism

Previous: Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion



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