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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



Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers








The next federal officers for Utah appointed by the President (in
August, 1852) were Lazarus H. Reid of New York to be chief
justice, Leonidas Shaver, associate justice, and B. G. Ferris,
secretary. Neither of these officers incurred the Mormon wrath.
Both of the judges died while in office, and the next chief
justice was John F. Kinney, who had occupied a seat on the Iowa
Supreme Bench, with W. W. Drummond of Illinois, and George P.
Stiles, one of Joseph Smith's counsel at the time of the
prophet's death, as associates. A. W. Babbitt received the
appointment of secretary of the territory.*

* Some years later Babbitt was killed. Mrs. Waite, in "The Mormon
Prophet" (p. 34) says: "In the summer of 1862 Brigham was
referring to this affair in a tea-table conversation at which
judge Waite and the writer of this were present. After making
some remarks to impress upon the minds of those present the
necessity of maintaining friendly relations between the federal
officers and the authorities of the church, he used language
substantially as follows: 'There is no need of any difficulty,
and there need be none if the officers do their duty and mind
their affairs. If they do not, if they undertake to interfere
with affairs that do not concern them, I will not be far off.
There was Almon W. Babbitt. He undertook to quarrel with me, but
soon afterward was killed by Indians."


The territorial legislature had continued to meet from time to
time, Young having a seat of honor in front of the Speaker at
each opening joint session, and presenting his message. The most
important measure passed was an election law which practically
gave the church authorities control of the ballot. It provided
that each voter must hand his ballot, folded, to the judge of
election, who must deposit it after numbering it, and after the
clerk had recorded the name and number. This, of course, gave the
church officers knowledge concerning the candidate for whom each
man voted. Its purpose needs no explanation.

In August, 1854, a force of some three hundred soldiers, under
command of Lieutenant Colonel E. J. Steptoe of the United States
army, on their way to the Pacific coast, arrived in Salt Lake
City and passed the succeeding winter there. Young's term as
governor was about to expire, and the appointment of his
successor rested with President Pierce. Public opinion in the
East had become more outspoken against the Mormons since the
resignation of the first federal officers sent to the territory,
the "revelation" concerning polygamy having been publicly avowed
meanwhile, and there was an expressed feeling that a non- Mormon
should be governor. Accordingly, President Pierce, in December,
1854, offered the governorship to Lieutenant Colonel Steptoe.

Brigham Young, just before and after this period, openly declared
that he would not surrender the actual government of the
territory to any man. In a discourse in the Tabernacle, on June
19, 1853, in which he reviewed the events of 1851, he said, "We
have got a territorial government, and I am and will be governor,
and no power can hinder it, until the Lord Almighty says,
'Brigham, you need not be governor any longer.'"* In a defiant
discourse in the Tabernacle, on February 18, 1855, Young again
stated his position on this subject: "For a man to come here [as
governor] and infringe upon my individual rights and privileges,
and upon those of my brethren, will never meet my sanction, and I
will scourge such a one until he leaves. I am after him."
Defining his position further, and the independence of his
people, he said: "Come on with your knives, your swords, and your
faggots of fire, and destroy the whole of us rather than we will
forsake our religion. Whether the doctrine of plurality of wives
is true or false is none of your business. We have as good a
right to adopt tenets in our religion as the Church of England,
or the Methodists, or the Baptists, or any other denomination
have to theirs."**

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p. 187.

** Ibid., Vol. II, pp. 187-188.


Having thus defied the federal appointing power, the nomination
of Colonel Steptoe as Young's successor might have been expected
to cause an outbreak; but the Mormon leaders were always
diplomatic--at least, when Young did not lose his temper. The
outcome of this appointment was its declination by Steptoe, a
petition to President Pierce for Young's reappointment signed by
Steptoe himself and all the federal officers in the territory,
and the granting of the request of these petitioners.

Mrs. C. B. Waite, wife of Associate Justice C. B. Waite, one of

Lincoln's appointees, gives a circumstantial account of the
manner in which Colonel Steptoe was influenced to decline the
nomination and sign the petition in favor of Young.* Two women,
whose beauty then attracted the attention of Salt Lake City
society, were a relative by marriage of Brigham Young and an
actress in the church theatre. The federal army officers were
favored with a good deal of their society. When Steptoe's
appointment as governor was announced, Young called these women
to his assistance. In conformity with the plan then suggested,
Young one evening suddenly demanded admission to Colonel
Steptoe's office, which was granted after considerable delay.
Passing into the back room, he found the two women there, dressed
in men's clothes and with their faces concealed by their hats. He
sent the women home with a rebuke, and then described to Steptoe
the danger he was in if the women's friends learned of the
incident, and the disgrace which would follow its exposure.
Steptoe's declination of the nomination and his recommendation of
Young soon followed.

President Pierce's selection of judicial officers for Utah was
not made with proper care, nor with due regard to the dignity of
the places to be filled. Chief Justice Kinney took with him to
Utah a large stock of goods which he sold at retail after his
arrival there, and he also kept a boarding-house in Salt Lake
City. With his "trade" dependent on Mormon customers, he had
every object in cultivating their popularity. Known as a "Jack-
Mormon" in Iowa, Mrs. Waite declared that his uniform course, to
the time about which she wrote, had been "to aid and abet Brigham
Young in his ambitious schemes," and that he was then "an open
apologist and advocate of polygamy." Judge Drummond's course in
Utah was in many respects scandalous. A former member of the
bench in Illinois writes to me: "I remember that when Drummond's
appointment was announced there was considerable comment as to
his lack of fitness for the place, and, after the troubles
between him and the Mormon leaders got aired through the press,
members of the bar from his part of the state said they did not
blame the Mormons--that it was an imposition upon them to have
sent him out there as a judge. I never heard his moral character
discussed." If the Mormon leaders had shown any respect for the
government at Washington, or for the reputable men appointed to
territorial offices, more attention might be paid to their
hostility manifested to certain individuals.

* "The Mormon Prophet," p. 36, confirmed by Beadle's "Life in
Utah," p. 171.


A few of the leading questions at issue under the new territorial
officers will illustrate the nature of the government with which
they had to deal. The territorial legislature had passed acts
defining the powers and duties of the territorial courts. These
acts provided that the district courts should have original
jurisdiction, both civil and criminal, wherever not otherwise
provided by law. Chapter 64 (approved January 14, 1864) provided
as follows: "All questions of law, the meaning of writings other
than law, and the admissibility of testimony shall be decided by
the court; and no laws or parts of laws shall be read, argued,
cited, or adopted in any courts, during any trial, except those
enacted by the governor and legislative assembly of this
territory, and those passed by the Congress of the United States,
WHEN APPLICABLE; and no report, decision, or doings of any court
shall be read, argued, cited, or adopted as precedent in any
other trial." This obliterated at a stroke the whole body of the
English common law. Another act provided that, by consent of the
court and the parties, any person could be selected to act as
judge in a particular case. As the district court judges were
federal appointees, a judge of probate was provided for each
county, to be elected by joint ballot of the legislature. These
probate courts, besides the authority legitimately belonging to
such tribunals, were given "power to exercise original
jurisdiction, both civil and criminal, as well in chancery as at
common law." Thus there were in the territory two kinds of
courts, to one of which alone a non-Mormon could look for
justice, and to the other of which every Mormon would appeal when
he was not prevented.

The act of Congress organizing the territory provided for the
appointment of a marshal, approved by the President; the
territorial legislature on March 3, 1852, provided for another
marshal to be elected by joint ballot, and for an attorney
general. A nonMormon had succeeded the original Mormon who was
appointed as federal marshal, and he took the ground that he
should have charge of all business pertaining to the marshal's
office in the United States courts. Judge Stiles having issued
writs to the federal marshal, the latter was not able to serve
them, and the demand was openly made that only territorial law
should be enforced in Utah. When the question of jurisdiction
came before the judge, three Mormon lawyers appeared in behalf of
the Mormon claim, and one of them, James Ferguson, openly told
the judge that, if he decided against him, they "would take him
from the bench d--d quick." Judge Stiles adjourned his court, and
applied to Governor Young for assistance; but got only the reply
that "the boys had got their spunk up, and he would not
interfere," and that, if Judge Stiles could not enforce the
United States laws, the sooner he adjourned court the better.*
All the records and papers of the United States court were kept
in Judge Stiles's office. In his absence, Ferguson led a crowd to
the office, seized and deposited in a safe belonging to Young the
court papers, and, piling up the personal books and papers of the
judge in an outhouse, set fire to them. The judge, supposing that
the court papers were included in the bonfire, innocently made
that statement in an affidavit submitted on his return to
Washington in 1857.

* This account is given in Mrs. Waite's "The Mormon Prophet."
Tullidge omits the incident in his "History of Salt Lake City."


Judge Drummond, reversing the policy of Chief Justice Kinney and
Judge Shaver, announced, before the opening of the first session
of his court, that he should ignore all proceedings of the
territorial probate courts except such as pertained to legitimate
probate business. This position was at once recognized as a
challenge of the entire Mormon judicial system,* and steps were
promptly taken to overthrow it. There are somewhat conflicting
accounts of the method adopted. Mrs. Waite, in her "Mormon
Prophet," Hickman, in his confessions, and Remy, in his
"Journey," have all described it with variations. All agree that
a quarrel was brought about between the judge and a Jew, which
led to the arrest of both of them. "During the prosecution of the
case," says Mrs. Waite, "the judge gave some sort of a
stipulation that he would not interfere any further with the
probate courts."

* A member of the legislature wrote to his brother in England, of
Drummond: He has brass to declare in open court that the Utah
laws are founded in ignorance, and has attempted to set some of
the most important ones aside,... and he will be able to
appreciate the merits of a returned compliment some day."

* Tullidge, "History of Salt Lake City," p. 412.


Judge Stiles left the territory in the spring of 1857, and gave
the government an account of his treatment in the form of an
affidavit when he reached Washington. Judge Drummond held court a
short time for Judge Stiles in Carson County (now Nevada)* in the
spring of 1857, and then returned to the East by way of
California, not concealing his opinion of Mormon rule on the way,
and giving the government a statement of the case in a letter
resigning his judgeship.

* The settlement of what is now Nevada was begun by both Mormons
and non-Mormons in 1854, and, the latter being in the majority,
the Utah legislature organized the entire western part of the
territory as one county, called Carson, and Governor Young
appointed Orson Hyde its probate judge. Many persons coming in
after the settlement of California, as miners, farmers, or
stock-raisers, the Mormons saw their majority in danger, and
ordered the non-Mormons to leave. Both sides took up arms, and
they camped in sight of each other for two weeks. The Mormons,
learning that their opponents were to receive reenforcements from
California, agreed on equal rights for all in that part of the
territory; but when the legislature learned of this, it repealed
the county act, recalled the judge, and left the district without
any legal protection whatever. Thus matters remained until late
in 1858, when a probate judge was quietly appointed for Carson
Valley. After this an election was held, but although the
non-Mormons won at the polls, the officers elected refused to
qualify and enforce Mormon statutes.--Letter of Delegate-elect J.
M. Crane of Nevada, "The Mormon Prophet," pp. 4l-45.

After the departure of the non-Mormon federal judges from Utah,
the only non-Mormon officers left there were those belonging to
the office of the surveyor general, and two Indian agents. Toward
these officers the Mormons were as hostile as they had been
toward the judges, and the latest information that the government
received about the disposition and intentions of the Mormons came
from them.

The Mormon view of their title to the land in Salt Lake Valley
appeared in Young's declaration on his first Sunday there, that
it was theirs and would be divided by the officers of the
church.* Tullidge, explaining this view in his history published
in 1886, says that this was simply following out the social plan
of a Zion which Smith attempted in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois,
under "revelation." He explains: "According to the primal law of
colonization, recognized in all ages, it was THEIR LAND if they
could hold and possess it. They could have done this so far as
the Mexican government was concerned, which government probably
never would even have made the first step to overthrow the
superstructure of these Mormon society builders. At that date,
before this territory was ceded to the United States, Brigham
Young, as the master builder of the colonies which were soon to
spread throughout these valleys, could with absolute propriety
give the above utterances on the land question."**

* "They will not, however, without protest, buy the land, and
hope that grants will be made to actual settlers or the state,
sufficient to cover their improvements. If not, the state will be
obliged to buy, and then confirm the titles already given."--
Gunnison. "The Mormons," 1852, p. 414.

** Captain Gunnison, who as lieutenant accompanied Stansbury's
surveying party and printed a book giving his personal
observations, was murdered in 1853 while surveying a railroad
route at a camp on Sevier River. His party were surprised by a
band of Pah Utes while at breakfast, and nine of them were
killed. The charge was often made that this massacre was inspired
by Mormons, but it has not been supported by direct evidence.


When the act organizing the territory was passed, very little of
the Indian title to the land had been extinguished, and the
Indians made bitter complaints of the seizure of their homes and
hunting-grounds, and the establishment of private rights to
canons and ferries, by the people who professed so great a regard
for the "Lamanites." Congress, in February, 1855, created the
office of surveyor general of Utah and defined his duties. The
presence of this officer was resented at once, and as soon as
Surveyor General David H. Burr arrived in Salt Lake City the
church directed all its members to convey their lands to Young as
trustee in trust for the church, "in consideration of the good
will which---- have to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints." Explaining this order in a discourse in the Tabernacle
on March 1, 1857, H. C. Kimball said: "I do not compel you to do
it; the trustee in trust does not; God does not. But He says that
if you will do this and the other things which He has counselled
for our good, do so and prove Him.... If you trifle with me when
I tell you the truth, you will trifle with Brother Brigham, and
if you trifle with him you will also trifle with angels and with
God, and thus you will trifle yourselves down to hell."*

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. IV, pp. 249, 252.


The Mormon policy toward the surveyors soon took practical shape.
On August 30, 1856, Burr reported a nearly fatal assault on one
of his deputies by three Danites. Deputy Surveyor Craig reported
efforts of the Mormons to stir up the Indians against the
surveyors, and quoted a suggestion of the Deseret News that the
surveyors be prosecuted in the territorial court for trespass. In
February, 1857, Burr reported a visit he had had from the clerk
of the Supreme Court, the acting district attorney, and the
territorial marshal, who told him plainly that the country was
theirs.

They showed him a copy of a report that he had made to
Washington, charging Young with extensive depredations, warned
him that he could not write to Washington without their
knowledge, and ordered that such letter writing should stop. "The
fact is," Burr added, "these people repudiate the authority of
the United States in this country, and are in open rebellion
against the general government.... So strong have been my
apprehensions of danger to the surveyors that I scarcely deemed
it prudent to send any out.... We are by no means sure that we
will be permitted to leave, for it is boldly asserted we would
not get away alive."* He did escape early in the spring.

* For text of reports, see House Ex. Doc. No. 71, 1st Session,
35th Congress.


The reports of the Indian agents to the commissioner at
Washington at this time were of the same character. Mormon
trespasses on Indian land had caused more than one conflict with
the savages, but, when there was a prospect of hostilities with
the government, the Mormons took steps to secure Indian aid. In
May, 1855, Indian Agent Hurt called the attention of the
commissioner at Washington to the fact that the Mormons at their
recent Conference had appointed a large number of missionaries to
preach among the "Lamanites"; that these missionaries were "a
class of lawless young men," and, as their influence was likely
to be in favor of hostilities with the whites, he suggested that
all Indian officers receive warning on the subject. Hurt was
added to the list of fugitive federal officers from Utah, deeming
it necessary to flee when news came of the approach of the troops
in the fall of 1857. His escape was quite dramatic, some of his
Indian friends assisting him. They reached General Johnston's
camp about the middle of October, after suffering greatly from
hunger and cold.

The Mormon leaders could scarcely fail to realize that a point
must be reached when the federal government would assert its
authority in Utah territory, but they deemed a conflict with the
government of less serious moment than a surrender which would
curtail their own civil and criminal jurisdiction, and bring
their doctrine of polygamy within reach of the law. A specimen of
the unbridled utterances of these leaders in those days will be
found in a discourse by Mayor Grant in the Tabernacle, on March
2, 1856:--

"Who is afraid to die? None but the wicked. If they want to send
troops here, let them come to those who have imported filth and
whores, though we can attend to that class without so much
expense to the Government. They will threaten us with United
States troops! Why, your impudence and ignorance would bring a
blush to the cheek of the veriest camp-follower among them. We
ask no odds of you, you rotten carcasses, and I am not going to
bow one hair's breadth to your influence. I would rather be cut
into inch pieces than succumb one particle to such filthiness
.... If we were to establish a whorehouse on every corner of our
streets, as in nearly all other cities outside of Utah, either by
law or otherwise, we should doubtless then be considered good
fellows."*

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. III, pp. 234-235


Two weeks later Brigham Young, in a sermon in the same place,
said, "I said then, and I shall always say, that I shall be
governor as long as the Lord Almighty wishes me to govern this
people.*

* Ibid., p. 258.


In January, 1853, Orson Pratt, as Mormon representative, began
the publication in Washington, D.C., of a monthly periodical
called The Seer, in which he defended polygamy, explained the
Mormon creed, and set forth the attitude of the Mormons toward
the United States government. The latter subject occupied a large
part of the issue of January, 1854, in the shape of questions and
answers. The following will give an illustration of their tone:--

"Q.--In what manner have the people of the United States treated
the divine message contained in the Book of Mormon?

"A.--They have closed their eyes, their ears, their hearts and
their doors against it. They have scorned, rejected and hated the
servants of God who were sent to bear testimony of it.

"Q.--In what manner has the United States treated the Saints who
have believed in this divine message?

"A.--They have proceeded to the most savage and outrageous
persecutions;... dragged little children from their
hiding-places, and, placing the muzzles of their guns to their
heads, have blown out their brains, with the most horrid oaths
and imprecations. They have taken the fair daughters of American
citizens, bound them on benches used for public worship, and
there, in great numbers, ravished them until death came to their
relief."

Further answers were in the shape of an argument that the federal
government was responsible for the losses of the Saints in
Missouri and Illinois.





Next: The Mormon War

Previous: The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience



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