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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



The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood








The first measure "to punish and prevent the practice of polygamy
in the Territories of the United States" was introduced in the
House of Representatives by Mr. Morrill of Vermont (Bill No. 7)
at the first session of the 36th Congress, on February 15, 1860.
It contained clauses annulling some of the acts of the
territorial legislature of Utah, including the one incorporating
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This bill was
reported by the Judiciary Committee on March 14, the committee
declaring that "no argument was deemed necessary to prove that
an act could be regarded as criminal which is so treated by the
universal concurrence of the Christian and civilized world," and
characterizing the church incorporation act as granting "such
monstrous powers and arrogant assumptions as are at war with the
genius of our government." The bill passed the House on April 5,
by a vote of 149 to 60, was favorably reported to the Senate by
Mr. Bayard from the Judiciary Committee on June 13, but did not
pass that House.

Mr. Morrill introduced his bill by unanimous consent in the next
Congress (on April 8, 1862), and it was passed by the House on
April 28. Mr. Bayard, from the judiciary Committee, reported it
back to the Senate on June 3 with amendments. He explained that
the House Bill punished not only polygamous marriages, but
cohabitation without marriage. The committee recommended limiting
the punishment to bigamy--a fine not to exceed $500 and
imprisonment for not more than five years. Another amendment
limited the amount of real estate which a church corporation
could hold in the territories to $50,000. The bill passed the
Senate with the negative votes of only the two California
senators, and the House accepted the amendments. Lincoln signed
it.

Nothing practical was accomplished by this legislation, In 1867
George A. Smith and John Taylor, the presiding officers of the
Utah legislature, petitioned Congress to repeal this act,
setting forth as one reason that "the judiciary of this
territory has not, up to the present time, tried any case under
said law, though repeatedly urged to do so by those who have
been anxious to test its constitutionality." The House Judiciary
Committee reported that this was a practical request for the
sanctioning of polygamy, and said: "Your committee has not been
able to ascertain the reason why this law has not been enforced.
The humiliating fact is, however, apparent that the law is at
present practically a dead letter in the Territory of Utah, and
that the gravest necessity exists for its enforcement; and, in
the opinion of the committee, if it be through the fault or
neglect of the judiciary of that territory that the laws are not
enforced, the judges should be removed without delay; and that,
if the failure to execute the law arises from other causes, it
becomes the duty of the President of the United States to see
that the law is faithfully executed."*

* House Report No. 27, 2nd Session, 39th Congress.


In June, 1866, Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio obtained unanimous
consent to introduce a bill enacting radical legislation
concerning such marriages as were performed and sanctioned by
the Mormon church, but it did not pass. Senator Cragin of New
Hampshire soon introduced a similar bill, but it, too failed to
become a law.

In 1869, in the first Congress that met under President Grant,
Mr. Cullom of Illinois introduced in the House the bill aimed at
polygamy that was designated by his name. This bill was the
practical starting-point of the anti-polygamous legislation
subsequently enacted, as over it was aroused the feeling--in its
behalf in the East and against it in Utah--that resulted in
practical legislation.

Delegate Hooper made the leading speech against it, summing up
his objections as follows:--

"(1) That under our constitution we are entitled to be protected
in the full and free enjoyment of our religious faith.

"(2) That our views of the marriage relation are an essential
portion of our religious faith.

"(3) That, in conceding the cognizance of the marriage relation
as within the province of church regulations, we are practically
in accord with all other Christian denominations.

"(4) That in our view of the marriage relation as a part of our
religious belief we are entitled to immunity from persecution
under the constitution, if such views are sincerely held; that,
if such views are erroneous, their eradication must be by
argument and not by force."

The bill, greatly amended, passed the House on March 23, 1870, by
a vote of 94 to 32. The news of this action caused perhaps the
greatest excitement ever known in Utah. There was no intention
on the part of the Mormons to make any compromise on the
question, and they set out to defeat the bill outright in the
Senate. Meetings of Mormon women were gotten up in all parts of
the territory, in which they asserted their devotion to the
doctrine. The "Reformers," including Stenhouse, Harrison,
Tullidge, and others, and merchants like Walker Brothers,
Colonel Kahn, and T. Marshall, joined in a call for a
mass-meeting at which all expressed disapproval of some of its
provisions, like the one requiring men already having polygamous
wives to break up their families. Mr. Godbe went to Washington
while the bill was before the House, and worked hard for its
modification. The bill did not pass the Senate, a leading
argument against it being the assumed impossibility of
convicting polygamists under it with any juries drawn in Utah.

The arrest of Brigham Young and others under the act to punish
adulterers, and the proceedings against them before Judge McKean
in 1871, have been noted. At the same term of the court Thomas
Hawkins, an English immigrant, was convicted of the same charge
on the evidence of his wife, and sentenced to imprisonment for
three years and to pay a fine of $500. In passing sentence, Judge
McKean told the prisoner that, if he let him off with a fine,
the fine would be paid out of other funds than his own; that he
would thus go free, and that "those men who mislead the people
would make you and thousands of others believe that God had sent
the money to pay the fine; that, by a miracle, you had been
rescued from the authorities of the United States."

After the passage of the Poland law, in 1874, George Reynolds,
Brigham Young's private secretary, was convicted of bigamy under
the law of 1862, but was set free by the Supreme Court of the
territory on the ground of illegality in the drawing of the
grand jury. In the following year he was again convicted, and was
sentenced to imprisonment for two years and to pay a fine of
$500. The case was appealed to the United States Supreme Court,
which rendered its decision in October, 1878, unanimously
sustaining the conviction, except that Justice Field objected to
the admission of one witness's testimony.

In its decision the court stated the question raised to be
"whether religious belief can be accepted as a justification for
an overt act made criminal by the law of the land." Next came a
discussion of views of religious freedom, as bearing on the
meaning of "religion" in the federal constitution, leading up to
the conclusion that "Congress was deprived of all legislative
power over mere opinion, but was left free to reach actions
which were in violation of social duties, or subversive of good
order." The court then traced the view of polygamy in England
and the United States from the time when it was made a capital
offence in England (as it was in Virginia in 1788), declaring
that, "in the face of all this evidence, it is impossible to
believe that the constitutional guaranty of religious freedom
was intended to prohibit legislation in respect to this most
important feature of social life." The opinion continued as
follows:--"In our opinion, the statute immediately under
consideration is within the legislative power of Congress. It is
constitutional and valid as prescribing a rule of action for all
those residing in the Territories, and in places over which the
United States has exclusive control. This being so, the only
question which remains is, whether those who make polygamy a
part of their religion are excepted from the operation of the
statute. If they are, then those who do not make polygamy a part
of their religious belief may be found guilty and punished,
while those who do, must be acquitted and go free. This would be
introducing a new element into criminal law. Laws are made for
the government of actions, and, while they cannot interfere with
mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices.
Suppose one believed that human sacrifices were a necessary part
of religious worship, would it be seriously contended that the
civil government under which he lived could not interfere to
prevent a sacrifice? Or, if a wife religiously believed it was
her duty to burn herself on the funeral pile of her dead
husband, would it be beyond the power of the civil government to
prevent her carrying her belief into practice?

"So here, as a law of the organization of society under the
exclusive dominion of the United States, it is provided that
plural marriages shall not be allowed. Can a man excuse his
practices to the contrary because of his religious belief? To
permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious
belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit
every citizen to become a law unto himself. Government could
exist only in name under such circumstances.

"A criminal intent is generally an element of crime, but every
man is presumed to intend the necessary and legitimate
consequences of what he knowingly does. Here the accused knew he
had been once married, and that his first wife was living. He
also knew that his second marriage was forbidden by law. When,
therefore, he married the second time, he is presumed to have
intended to break the law, and the breaking of the law is the
crime. Every act necessary to constitute the crime was knowingly
done, and the crime was therefore knowingly committed.*

* United States Reports, Otto, Vol. III, p. 162.


P. T. Van Zile of Michigan, who became district attorney of the
territory in 1878, tried John Miles, a polygamist, for bigamy,
in 1879, and he was convicted, the prosecutor taking advantage
of the fact that the territorial legislature had practically
adopted the California code, which allowed challenges of jurors
for actual bias. The principal incident of this trial was the
summoning of "General" Wells, then a counsellor of the church,
as a witness, and his refusal to describe the dress worn during
the ceremonies in the Endowment House, and the ceremonies
themselves. He gave as his excuse, "because I am under moral and
sacred obligations to not answer, and it is interwoven in my
character never to betray a friend, a brother, my country, my
God, or my religion." He was sentenced to pay a fine, of $100,
and to two days' imprisonment. On his release, the City Council
met him at the prison door and escorted him home, accompanied by
bands of music and a procession made up of the benevolent, fire,
and other organizations, and delegations from every ward.

Governor Emery, in his message to the territorial legislature of
1878, spoke as plainly about polygamy as any of his
predecessors, saying that it was a grave crime, even if the law
against it was a dead letter, and characterizing it as an evil
endangering the peace of society.

There was a lull in the agitation against polygamy in Congress
for some years after the contest over the Cullom Bill. In 1878 a
mass-meeting of women of Salt Lake City opposed to polygamy was
held there, and an address "to Mrs. Rutherford B. Hayes and the
women of the United States," and a petition to Congress, were
adopted, and a committee was appointed to distribute the petition
throughout the country for signatures. The address set forth
that there had been more polygamous marriages in the last year
than ever before in the history of the Mormon church; that
Endowment Houses, under the name of temples, and costing
millions, were being erected in different parts of the territory,
in which the members were "sealed and bound by oaths so strong
that even apostates will not reveal them"; that the Mormons had
the balance of power in two territories, and were plotting to
extend it; and asking Congress "to arrest the further progress
of this evil."

President Hayes, in his annual message in December, 1879, spoke
of the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court, and
said that there was no reason for longer delay in the
enforcement of the law, urging "more comprehensive and searching
methods" of punishing and preventing polygamy if they were
necessary. He returned to the subject in his message in 1880,
saying: "Polygamy can only be suppressed by taking away the
political power of the sect which encourages and sustains it . .
. . I recommend that Congress provide for the government of Utah
by a Governor and judges, or Commissioners, appointed by the
President and confirmed by the Senate, (or) that the right to
vote, hold office, or sit on juries in the Territory of Utah be
confined to those who neither practise nor uphold polygamy."

President Garfield took up the subject in his inaugural address
on March 4, 1881. "The Mormon church," he said, "not only
offends the moral sense of mankind by sanctioning polygamy, but
prevents the administration of justice through ordinary
instrumentalities of law." He expressed the opinion that Congress
should prohibit polygamy, and not allow "any ecclesiastical
organization to usurp in the smallest degree the functions and
power, of the national government." President Arthur, in his
message in December, 1881, referred to the difficulty of
securing convictions of persons accused of polygamy--"this
odious crime, so revolting to the moral and religious sense of
Christendom"--and recommended legislation.

In the spirit of these recommendations, Senator Edmunds
introduced in the Senate, on December 12, 1881, a comprehensive
measure amending the antipolygamy law of 1862, which, amended
during the course of the debate, was passed in the Senate on
Feruary 12, 1882, without a roll-call,*and in the House on March
13, by a vote of 199 to 42, and was approved by the President on
March 22. This is what is known as the Edmunds law--the first
really serious blow struck by Congress against polygamy.

* Speeches against the bill were made in the Senate by Brown,
Call, Lamar, Morgan, Pendleton, and Vest.


It provided, in brief, that, in the territories, any person who,
having a husband or wife living, marries another, or marries
more than one woman on the same day, shall be punished by a fine
of not more than $500, and by imprisonment, for not more than
five years; that a male person cohabiting with more than one
woman shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and be subject to a fine
of not more than $300 or to six months' imprisonment, or both;
that in any prosecution for bigamy, polygamy, or unlawful
cohabitation, a juror may be challenged if he is or has been
living in the practice of either offence, or if he believes it
right for a man to have more than one living and undivorced wife
at a time, or to cohabit with more than one woman; that the
President may have power to grant amnesty to offenders, as
described, before the passage of this act; that the issue of
so-called Mormon marriages born before January 1, 1883, be
legitimated; that no polygamist shall be entitled to vote in any
territory, or to hold office under the United States; that the
President shall appoint in Utah a board of five persons for the
registry of voters, and the reception and counting of votes.

To meet the determined opposition to the new law, an amendment
(known as the Edmunds-Tucker law) was enacted in 1887. This law,
in any prosecution coming under the definition of plural
marriages, waived the process of subpoena, on affadavit of
sufficient cause, in favor of an attachment; allowed a lawful
husband or wife to testify regarding each other; required every
marriage certificate in Utah to be signed by the parties and the
person performing the ceremony, and filed in court; abolished
female suffrage, and gave suffrage only to males of proper age
who registered and took an oath, giving the names of their
lawful wives, and promised to obey the laws of the United States,
and especially the Edmunds law; disqualified as a juror or
officeholder any person who had not taken an oath to support the
laws of the United States, or who had been convicted under the
Edmunds law; gave the President power to appoint the judges of
the probate courts;* provided for escheating to the United States
for the use of the common schools the property of corporations
held in violation of the act in 1862, except buildings held
exclusively for the worship of God, the parsonages connected
therewith, and burial places; dissolved the corporation called
the Perpetual Emigration Company, and forbade the legislature to
pass any law to bring persons into the territory; dissolved the
corporation known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints, and gave the Supreme Court of the territory power to
wind up its affairs; and annulled all laws regarding the Nauvoo
Legion, and all acts of the territorial legislature.

* The first territorial legislature which met after the passage
of this law passed an act practically nullifying such
appointments of probate judges, but the governor vetoed it. In
Beaver County, as soon as the appointment of a probate judge by
the President was announced, the Mormon County Court met and
reduced his salary to $5 a year.


The first members of the Utah commission appointed under the
Edmunds law were Alexander Ramsey of Minnesota, A. B. Carleton
of Indiana, A. S. Paddock of Nebraska, G. L. Godfrey of Iowa,
and J. R. Pettigrew of Arkansas, their appointments being dated
June 23, 1882.

The officers of the church and the Mormons as a body met the new
situation as aggressively as did Brigham Young the approach of
United States troops. Their preachers and their newspapers
reiterated the divine nature of the "revelation" concerning
polygamy and its obligatory character, urging the people to stand
by their leaders in opposition to the new laws. The following
extracts from "an Epistle from the First Presidency, to the
officers and members of the church," dated October 6, 1885, will
sufficiently illustrate the attitude of the church
organization:--"The war is openly and undisguisedly made upon our
religion. To induce men to repudiate that, to violate its
precepts, and break its solemn covenants, every encouragement is
given. The man who agrees to discard his wife or wives, and to
trample upon the most sacred obligations which human beings can
enter into, escapes imprisonment, and is applauded: while the
man who will not make this compact of dishonor, who will not
admit that his past life has been a fraud and a lie, who will
not say to the world, 'I intended to deceive my God, my
brethren, and my wives by making covenants I did not expect to
keep,' is, beside being punished to the full extent of the law,
compelled to endure the reproaches, taunts, and insults of a
brutal judge . . . .

"We did not reveal celestial marriage. We cannot withdraw or
renounce it, God revealed it, and he has promised to maintain it
and to bless those who obey it. Whatever fate, then, may
threaten us, there is but one course for men of God to take;
that is, to keep inviolate the holy covenants they have made in
the presence of God and angels. For the remainder, whether it be
life or death, freedom or imprisonment, prosperity or adversity,
we must trust in God. We may say, however, if any man or woman
expects to enter into the celestial kingdom of our God without
making sacrifices and without being tested to the very
uttermost, they have not understood the Gospel . . . .

"Upward of forty years ago the Lord revealed to his church the
principle of celestial marriage. The idea of marrying more wives
than one was as naturally abhorrent to the leading men and women
of the church, at that day, as it could be to any people. They
shrank with dread from the bare thought of entering into such
relationship. But the command of God was before them in language
which no faithful soul dare disobey, 'For, behold, I reveal unto
you a new and everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that
covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this
covenant, and be permitted to enter into my glory.' . . . Who
would suppose that any man, in this land of religious liberty,
would presume to say to his fellow-man that he had no right to
take such steps as he thought necessary to escape damnation? Or
that Congress would enact a law which would present the
alternative to religious believers of being consigned to a
penitentiary if they should attempt to obey a law of God which
would deliver them from damnation?"

There was a characteristic effort to evade the law as regards
political rights. The People's Party (Mormon), to get around the
provision concerning the test oath for voters, issued an address
to them which said: "The questions that intending voters need
therefore ask themselves are these: Are we guilty of the crimes
of said act; or have we THE PRESENT INTENTION of committing these
crimes, or of aiding, abetting, causing or advising any other
person to commit them. Male citizens who can answer these
questions in the negative can qualify under the laws as voters
or office-holders."

Two events in 1885 were the cause of so much feeling that United
States troops were held in readiness for transportation to Utah.
The first of these was the placing of the United States flag at
half mast in Salt Lake City, on July 4, over the city hall,
county court-house, theatre, cooperative store, Deseret News
office, tithing office, and President Taylor's residence, to show
the Mormon opinion that the Edmunds law had destroyed liberty.
When a committee of non-Mormon citizens called at the city hall
for an explanation of this display, the city marshal said that
it was "a whim of his," and the mayor ordered the flag raised to
its proper place.

In November of that year a Mormon night watchman named McMurrin
was shot and severely wounded by a United States deputy marshal
named Collin. This caused great feeling, and there were rumors
that the Mormons threatened to lynch Collin, that armed men had
assembled to take him out of the officers' hands, and that the
Mormons of the territory were arming themselves, and were ready
at a moment's notice to march into Salt Lake City. Federal troops
were held in readiness at Eastern points, but they were not
used. The Salt Lake City Council, on December 8, made a report
denying the truth of the disquieting rumors, and declaring that
"at no time in the history of this city have the lives and
property of its non-Mormon inhabitants been more secure than
now."

The records of the courts in Utah show that the Mormons stood
ready to obey the teachings of the church at any cost.
Prosecutions under the Edmunds law began in 1884, and the
convictions for polygamy or unlawful cohabitation (mostly the
latter) were as follows in the years named: 3 in 1884, 39 in
1885, 112 in 1886, 214 in 1887, and 100 in 1888, with 48 in
Idaho during the same period. Leading men in the church went
into hiding--"under ground," as it was called--or fled from the
territory. As to the actual continuance of polygamous marriages,
the evidence was contradictory. A special report of the Utah
Commission in 1884 expressed the opinion that there had been a
decided decrease in their number in the cities, and very little
decrease in the rural districts. Their regular report for that
year estimated the number of males and females who had entered
into that relation at 459. The report for 1888 stated that the
registration officers gave the names of 29 females who, they had
good reason to believe, had contracted polygamous marriages
since the lists were closed in June, 1887. As late as 1889 Hans
Jespersen was arrested for unlawful cohabitation. As his plural
marriage was understood to be a recent one, the case attracted
wide attention, since it was expected to prove the insincerity
of the church in making the protest against the Edmunds law
principally on the ground that it broke up existing families.
Jespersen pleaded guilty of adultery and polygamy, and was
sentenced to imprisonment for eight years. In making his plea he
said that he was married at the Endowment House in Salt Lake
City, that he and his wife were the only persons there, and that
he did not know who married them. His wife testified that she
"heard a voice pronounce them man and wife, but didn't see any
one nor who spoke." * Such were some of the methods adopted by
the church to set at naught the law.

* Report of the Utah Commission for 1890, p. 23.


But along with this firm attitude, influences were at work
looking to a change of policy. During the first year of the
enforcement of the law it was on many sides declared a failure,
the aggressive attitude of the church, and the willingness of
its leaders to accept imprisonment, hiding, or exile, being
regarded by many persons in the East as proof that the real
remedy for the Utah situation was yet to be discovered. The Utah
Commission, in their earlier reports, combated this idea, and
pointed out that the young men in the church would grow restive
as they saw all the offices out of their reach unless they took
the test oath, and that they "would present an anomaly in human
nature if they should fail to be strongly influenced against
going into a relation which thus subjects them to political
ostracism, and fixes on them the stigma of moral turpitude." How
wide this influence was is seen in the political statistics of
the times. When the Utah Commission entered on their duties in
August, 1882, almost every office in the territory was held by a
polygamist. By April, 1884, about 12,000 voters, male and
female, had been disfranchised by the act, and of the 1351
elective officers in the territory not one was a polygamist, and
not one of the municipal officers of Salt Lake City then in
office had ever been "in polygamy."

The church leaders at first tried to meet this influence in two
ways, by open rebuke of all Saints who showed a disposition to
obey the new laws, and by special honors to those who took their
punishment. Thus, the Deseret News told the brethren that they
could not promise to obey the anti-polygamy laws without
violating obligations that bound them to time and eternity; and
when John Sharp, a leading member of the church in Salt Lake
City, went before the court and announced his intention to obey
these laws, he was instantly removed from the office of Bishop
of his ward.

The restlessness of the flock showed itself in the breaking down
of the business barriers set up by the church between Mormons
and Gentiles. This subject received a good deal of attention in
the minority report signed by two of the commissioners in 1888.
They noted the sale of real estate by Mormons to Gentiles
against the remonstrances of the church, the organization of a
Chamber of Commerce in Salt Lake City in which Mormons and
Gentiles worked together, and the union of both elements in the
last Fourth of July celebration.

In the spring of 1890, at the General Conference held in Salt
Lake City, the office of "Prophet, Seer and Revelator and
President" of the church, that had remained vacant since the
death of John Taylor in 1887, was filled by the election of
Wilford Woodruff, a polygamist who had refused to take the test
oath, while G. Q. Cannon and Lorenzo Snow, who were disfranchised
for the same cause, were made respectively counsellor and
president of the Twelve.* Woodruff was born in Connecticut in
1807, became a Mormon in 1832, was several times sent on
missions to England, and had gained so much prominence while the
church was at Nauvoo that he was the chief dedicator of the
Temple there. While there, he signed a certificate stating that
he knew of no other system of marriage in the church but the
one-wife system then prescribed in the "Book of Doctrine and
Covenants." Before the date of his promotion, Woodruff had
declared that plural marriages were no longer permitted, and,
when he was confronted with evidence to the contrary brought out
in court, he denied all knowledge of it, and afterward declared
that, in consequence of the evidence presented, he had ordered
the Endowment House to be taken down.

* Lorenzo Snow was elected president of the church on September
13, 1898, eleven days after the death of President Woodruff, and
he held that position until his death which occurred on October
10, 1901.


Governor Thomas, in his report for 1890, expressed the opinion
that the church, under its system, could in only one way define
its position regarding polygamy, and that was by a public
declaration by the head of the church, or by action by a
conference, and he added, "There is no reason to believe that any
earthly power can extort from the church any such declaration."
The governor was mistaken, not in measuring the purpose of the
church, but in foreseeing all the influences that were now
making themselves felt.

The revised statutes of Idaho at this time contained a provision
(Sec. 509) disfranchising all polygamists and debarring from
office all polygamists, and all persons who counselled or
encouraged any one to commit polygamy. The constitutionality of
this section was argued before the United States Supreme Court,
which, on February 3, 1890, decided that it was constitutional.
The antipolygamists in Utah saw in this decision a means of
attacking the Mormon belief even more aggressively than had been
done by means of the Edmunds Bill. An act was drawn (Governor
Thomas and ex-Governor West taking it to Washington) providing
that no person living in plural or celestial marriage, or
teaching the same, or being a member of, or a contributor to,
any organization teaching it, or assisting in such a marriage,
should be entitled to vote, to serve as a juror, or to hold
office, a test oath forming a part of the act. Senator Cullom
introduced this bill in the upper House and Mr. Struble of Iowa
in the House of Representatives. The House Committee on
Territories (the Democrats in the negative) voted to report the
bill, amended so as to make it applicable to all the
territories. This proposed legislation caused great excitement in
Mormondom, and petitions against its passage were hurried to
Washington, some of these containing non-Mormon signatures.

As a further menace to the position of the church, the United
States Supreme Court, on May 19, affirmed the decision of the
lower court confiscating the property of the Mormon church, and
declaring that church organization to be an organized rebellion;
and on June 21, the Senate passed Senator Edmunds's bill
disposing of the real estate of the church for the benefit of the
school fund.*

* After the admission of Utah as a state, Congress passed an act
restoring the property to the church.


The Mormon authorities now realized that the public sentiment of
the country, as expressed in the federal law, had them in its
grasp. They must make some concession to this public sentiment,
or surrender all their privileges as citizens and the wealth of
their church organization. Agents were hurried to Washington to
implore the aid of Mr. Blaine in checking the progress of the
Cullom Bill, and at home the head of the church made the
concession in regard to polygamy which secured the admission of
the territory as a state.

On September 25, 1890, Woodruff, as President of the church,
issued a proclamation addressed "to whom it may concern," which
struck out of the NECESSARY beliefs and practices of the Mormon
church, the practice of polygamy.

This important step was taken, not in the form of a "revelation,"
but simply as a proclamation or manifesto. It began with a
solemn declaration that the allegation of the Utah Commission
that plural marriages were still being solemnized was false, and
the assertion that "we are not preaching polygamy nor permitting
any person to enter into its practice." The closing and important

part of the proclamation was as follows:--

"Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress, which laws have
been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I
hereby declare my intention to submit to these laws, and to use
my influence with the members of the church over which I preside
to have them do likewise.

"There is nothing in my teachings to the church, or in those of
my associates, during the time specified, which can be
reasonably construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy, and
when any elder of the church has used language which appeared to
convey any such teachings he has been promptly reproved.

"And now I publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-Day
Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by
the law of the land."

On October 6, the General Conference of the church, on motion of
Lorenzo Snow, unanimously adopted the following resolution:--

"I move that, recognizing Wilford Woodruff as President of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the only man on
the earth at the present time who holds the keys of the sealing
ordinances, we consider him fully authorized, by virtue of his
position, to issue the manifesto that has been read in our
hearing, and which is dated September 24, 1890, and as a church
in general conference assembled we accept his declaration
concerning plural marriages as authoritative and binding."

This action was reaffirmed by the General Conference of October
6, 1891.

Of course the church officers had to make some explanation to the
brethren of their change of front. Cannon fell back on the
"revelation" of January 19, 1841, which Smith put forth to
excuse the failure to establish a Zion in Missouri, namely,
that, when their enemies prevent their performing a task assigned
by the Almighty, he would accept their effort to do so. He said
that "it was on this basis" that President Woodruff had felt
justified in issuing the manifesto. Woodruff explained: "It is
not wisdom for us to make war upon 65,000,000 people . . . . The
prophet Joseph Smith organized the church; and all that he has
promised in this code of revelations the "Book of Doctrine and
Covenants" has been fulfilled as fast as time would permit. THAT
WHICH IS NOT FULFILLED WILL BE." Cannon did explain that the
manifesto was the result of prayer, and Woodruff told the people
that he had had a great many visits from the Prophet Joseph
since his death, in dreams, and also from Brigham Young, but
neither seems to have imparted any very valuable information,
Joseph explaining that he was in an immense hurry preparing
himself "to go to the earth with the Great Bridegroom when he
goes to meet the Bride, the Lamb's wife."

Two recent incidents have indicated the restlessness of the
Mormon church under the restriction placed upon polygamy. In
1898, the candidate for Representative in Congress, nominated by
the Democratic Convention of Utah, was Brigham H. Roberts. It
was commonly known in Utah that Roberts was a violator of the
Edmunds law. A Mormon elder, writing from Brigham, Utah, in
February, 1899, while Roberts's case was under consideration at
Washington, said, "Many prominent Mormons foresaw the storm that
was now raging, and deprecated Mr. Roberts's nomination and
election."* This statement proves both the notoriety of
Roberts's offence, and the connivance of the church in his
nomination, because no Mormon can be nominated to an office in
Utah when the church authorities order otherwise. When Roberts
presented himself to be sworn in, in December, 1899, his case
was referred to a special committee of nine members. The report
of seven members of this committee found that Roberts married his
first wife about the year 1878; that about 1885 he married a
plural wife, who had since born him six children, the last two
twins, born on August 11, 1897; that some years later he married
a second plural wife, and that he had been living with all three
till the time of his election; "that these facts were generally
known in Utah, publicly charged against him during his campaign
for election, and were not denied by him." Roberts refused to
take the stand before the committee, and demurred to its
jurisdiction on the ground that the hearing was an attempt to
try him for a crime without an indictment and jury trial, and to
deprive him of vested rights in the emoluments of the office to
which he was elected, and that, if the crime alleged was proved,
it would not constitute a sufficient cause to deprive him of his
seat, because polygamy is not enumerated in the constitution as
a disqualification for the office of member of Congress. The
majority report recommended that his seat be declared vacant.
Two members of the committee reported that his offence afforded
constitutional ground for expulsion, but not for exclusion from
the House, and recommended that he be sworn in and immediately
expelled. The resolution presented by the majority was adopted by
the House by a vote of 268 to 50.**

* New York Evening Post, February 20, 1899.

** Roberts was tried in the district court in Salt Lake City, on
April 30, 1900, on the charge of unlawful cohabitation. The case
was submitted to the jury of eight men, without testimony, on an
agreed statement of facts, and the jury disagreed, standing six
for conviction and two for acquittal.


The second incident referred to was the passage by the Utah
legislature in March, 1901, of a bill containing this provision:

"No prosecution for adultery shall be commenced except on
complaint of the husband or wife or relative of the accused with
the first degree of consanguinity, or of the person with whom
the unlawful act is alleged to have been committed, or of the
father or mother of said person; and no prosecution for unlawful
cohabitation shall be commenced except on complaint of the wife,
or alleged plural wife of the accused; but this provision shall
not apply to prosecutions under section 4208 of the Revised
Statutes, 1898, defining and punishing polygamous marriages."

This bill passed the Utah senate by a vote of 11 to 7, and the
house by a vote of 174 to 25. The excuse offered for it by the
senator who introduced it was that it would "take away from
certain agitators the opportunity to arouse periodic furors
against the Mormons"; that more than half of the persons who had
been polygamists had died or dissolved their polygamous
relations, and that no good service could be subserved by
prosecuting the remainder. This law aroused a protest throughout
the country, and again the Mormon church saw that it had made a
mistake, and on the 14th of March Governor H. M. Wells vetoed the
bill, on grounds that may be summarized as declaring that the
law would do the Mormons more harm than good. The most
significant part of his message, as indicating what the Mormon
authorities most dread, is contained in the following sentence:
"I have every reason to believe its enactment would be the signal
for a general demand upon the national Congress for a
constitutional amendment directed solely against certain
conditions here, a demand which, under the circumstances, would
assuredly be complied with."

The admission of Utah as a state followed naturally the
promulgation by the Mormon church of a policy which was accepted
by the non-Mormons as putting a practical end to the practice of
polygamy. For the seventh time, in 1887, the Mormons had adopted
a state constitution, the one ratified in that year providing
that "bigamy and polygamy, being considered incompatible with 'a
republican form of government,' each of them is hereby forbidden
and declared a misdemeanor." The non-Mormons attacked the
sincerity of this declaration, among other things pointing out
the advice of the Church organ, while the constitution was
before the people, that they be "as wise as serpents and as
harmless as doves." Congress again refused admission.

On January 4, 1893, President Harrison issued a proclamation
granting amnesty and pardon to all persons liable to the penalty
of the Edmunds law "who have, since November 1, 1890, abstained
from such unlawful cohabitation," but on condition that they
should in future obey the laws of the United States. Until the
time of Woodruff's manifesto there had been in Utah only two
political parties, the People's, as the Mormon organization had
always been known, and the Liberal (anti-Mormon). On June 10,
1894, the People's Territorial Central Committee adopted
resolutions reciting the organization of the Republicans and
Democrats of the territory, declaring that the dissensions of the
past should be left behind and that the People's party should
dissolve. The Republican Territorial Committee a few days later
voted that a division of the people on national party lines
would result only in statehood controlled by the Mormon
theocracy. The Democratic committee eight days later took a
directly contrary view. At the territorial election in the
following August the Democrats won, the vote standing:
Democratic, 14,116; Liberal, 7386; Republican, 6613.

It would have been contrary to all political precedent if the
Republicans had maintained their attitude after the Democrats
had expressed their willingness to receive Mormon allies.
Accordingly, in September, 1891, we find the Republicans
adopting a declaration that it would be wise and patriotic to
accept the changes that had occurred, and denying that statehood
was involved in a division of the people on national party
lines.

All parties in the territory now seemed to be manoeuvring for
position. The Morman newspaper organs expressed complete
indifference about securing statehood. In Congress Mr. Caine,
the Utah Delegate, introduced what was known as the "Home Rule
Bill," taking the control of territorial affairs from the
governor and commission. This was known as a Democratic measure,
and great pressure was brought to bear on Republican leaders at
Washington to show them that Utah as a state would in all
probability add to the strength of the Republican column. When,
at the first session of the 53d Congress, J. L. Rawlins, a
Democrat who had succeeded Caine as Delegate, introduced an act
to enable the people of Utah to gain admission for the territory
as a state, it met with no opposition at home, passed the House
of Representatives on December 13, 1893, and the Senate on July
10, 1894 (without a division in either House), and was signed by
the President on July 16. The enabling act required the
constitutional convention to provide "by ordinance irrevocable
without the consent of the United States and the people of that
state, that perfect toleration of religious sentiment shall be
secured, and that no inhabitant of said state shall ever be
molested in person or property on account of his or her mode of
religious worship; PROVIDED, that polygamous or plural marriages
are forever prohibited."

The constitutional convention held under this act met in Salt
Lake City on March 4, 1895, and completed its work on May 8,
following. In the election of delegates for this convention the
Democrats cast about 19,000 votes, the Republicans about 21,000
and the Populists about 6500. Of the 107 delegates chosen, 48
were Democrats and 59 Republicans. The constitution adopted
contained the following provisions:--

"Art. 1. Sec. 4. The rights of conscience shall never be
infringed. The state shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise
thereof; no religious test shall be required as a qualification
for any office of public trust, or for any vote at any election;
nor shall any person be incompetent as a witness or juror on
account of religious belief or the absence thereof. There shall
be no union of church and state, nor shall any church dominate
the state or interfere with its functions. No public money or
property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious
worship, exercise, or instruction, or for the support of any
ecclesiastical establishment.

"Art. 111. The following ordinance shall be irrevocable without
the consent of the United States and the people of this state:
Perfect toleration of religious sentiment is guaranteed. No
inhabitant of this state shall ever be molested in person or
property on account of his or her mode of religious worship; but
polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited."

This constitution was submitted to the people on November 5,
1895, and was ratified by a vote of 31,305 to 7687, the
Republicans at the same election electing their entire state
ticket and a majority of the legislature. On January 4, 1896,
President Cleveland issued a proclamation announcing the
admission of Utah as a state. The inauguration of the new state
officers took place at Salt Lake City two days later. The first
governor, Heber M. Wells,* in his inaugural address made this
declaration: "Let us learn to resent the absurd attacks that are
made from time to time upon our sincerity by ignorant and
prejudiced persons outside of Utah, and let us learn to know and
respect each other more, and thus cement and intensify the
fraternal sentiments now so widespread in our community, to the
end that, by a mighty unity of purpose and Christian resolution,
we may be able to insure that domestic tranquillity, promote that
general welfare, and secure those blessings of liberty to
ourselves and our posterity guaranteed by the constitution of
the United States."

* Son of "General" Wells of the Nauvoo Legion.


The vote of Utah since its admission as a state has been cast as
follows:--

************* REPUBLICAN **** DEMOCRAT
1895. Governor 20,833 18,519
1896. President 13,491 64,607
1900. Governor 47,600 44,447
1900. President 47,089 44,949





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