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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 Reformation








Young soon had occasion to make practical use of the dictatorial
power that he had assumed. The character which those members of
the flock who had migrated from Missouri and Illinois had
established among their neighbors in those states was not changed
simply by their removal to a wilderness all by themselves. They
had no longer the old excuse that their misdeeds were reprisals
on persecuting enemies, but this did not save them from the
temptation to exercise their natural propensities. Again we shall
take only the highest Mormon testimony on this subject.

One of the first sins for which Young openly reproved his
congregation was profane swearing. He brought this matter
pointedly to their attention in an address to the Conference of
October 9, 1852, when he said: "You Elders of Israel will go into
the canons, and curse and swear--damn and curse your oxen, and
swear by Him who created you. I am telling the truth. Yes, you
rip and curse and swear as bad as any pirates ever did."*

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. I, p. 211.


Possibly the church authorities could have overlooked the
swearing, but a matter which gave them more distress was the
insecurity of property. This became so great an annoyance that
Young spoke out plainly on the subject, and he did not attempt to
place the responsibility outside of his own people. A few
citations will illustrate this.

In an address in the Tabernacle on June 5, 1853, noticing
complaints about the stealing and rebranding of cattle, he said:
"I will propose a plan to stop the stealing of cattle in coming
time, and it is this--let those who have cattle on hand join in a
company, and fence in about fifty thousand acres of land, and so
keep on fencing until all the vacant land is substantially
enclosed. Some persons will perhaps say, 'I do not know how good
or how high a fence it will be necessary to build to keep thieves
out.' I do not know either, except you build one that will keep
out the devil."* On another occasion, with a personal grievance
to air, he said in the Tabernacle: "I have gone to work and made
roads to get wood, and have not been able to get it. I have cut
it down and piled it up, and still have not got it. I wonder if
anybody else can say so. Have any of you piled up your wood, and,
when you have gone back, could not find it? Some stories could be
told of this kind that would make professional thieves
ashamed."**

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. I, p. 252.

** Ibid., Vol. I, p. 213.


Young made no concealment of the fact that men high in the
councils of the church were among the peculators. In his
discourse of June 15, 1856, he said: "I have proof ready to show
that Bishops have taken in thousands of pounds in weight of
tithing which they have never reported to the General Tithing
Office. We have documents to show that Bishops have taken in
hundreds of bushels of wheat, and only a small portion of it has
come into the General Tithing Office. They stole it to let their
friends speculate upon."*

* Ibid., Vol. III, p. 342.


The new-comers from Europe also received his attention. Referring
to unkept promises of speedy repayment by assisted immigrants of
advances made to them, Young said, in 1855: "And what will they
do when they get here? Steal our wagons, and go off with them to
Canada, and try to steal the bake-kettles, fryingpans, tents, and
wagon-covers; and will borrow the oxen and run away with them, if
you do not watch them closely. Do they all do this? No, but many
of them will try to do it."* And again, a month later: "What
previous characters some of you had in Wales, in England, in
Scotland, and perhaps in Ireland. Do not be scared if it is
proven against some one in the Bishop's court that you did steal
the poles from your neighbor's garden fence. If it is proven that
you have been to some person's wood pile and stolen wood, don't
be frightened, for if you will steal it must be made manifest."
** J. M. Grant was quite as plain spoken. In an address in the
bowery in Salt Lake City in September, 1856, he declared that
"you can scarcely find a place in this city that is not full of
filth and abominations."***

* Ibid., Vol. III, p. 3.

** Ibid., Vol. III, p. 49.

*** Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 51.


Young's denunciations were not quietly accepted, but protests and
threats were alike wasted upon him. Referring to complaints of
some of the flock that his denunciation was more than they could
bear, he replied, "But you have got to bear it, and, if you will
not, make up your minds to go to hell at once and have done with
it." * On another occasion he said, "You need, figuratively, to
have it rain pitchforks, tines downward, from this pulpit, Sunday
after Sunday." On another occasion, alluding to letters he had
received, warning him against attacking men's characters, he
said, "When such epistles come to me, I feel like saying, I ask
no advice of you nor of all your clan this side of hell."**

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 49.

** Ibid, p. 50.


When mere denunciation did not reform his followers, Young became
still plainer in his language, and began to explain to them the
latitude which the church proposed to take in applying
punishment. In a remarkable sermon on October 6, 1855, on the
"stealing, lying, deceiving, wickedness, and covetousness" of the
elders in Israel, he spoke as follows:--

"Live on here, then, you poor miserable curses, until the time of
retribution, when your heads will have to be severed from your
bodies. Just let the Lord Almighty say, Lay judgment to the line
and righteousness to the plummet,* and the time of thieves is
short in this community. What do you suppose they would say in
old Massachusetts should they hear that the Latter-day Saints had
received a revelation or commandment to 'lay judgment to the line
and righteousness to the plummet'? What would they say in old
Connecticut? They would raise a universal howl of, 'How wicked
the Mormons are. They are killing the evil doers who are among
them. Why, I hear that they kill the wicked away up yonder in
Utah.' . . . What do I care for the wrath of man? No more than I
do for the chickens that run in my door yard. I am here to teach
the ways of the Lord, and lead men to life everlasting; but if
they have not a mind to go there, I wish them to keep out of my
path."**

* These words, from Isaiah xxviii. 17, are constantly used by
Young to denote the extreme punishment which the church might
inflict on any offender.

** Journal of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 50.


From this time Young and his closest associates seemed to make
no concealment of their intention to take the lives of any
persons whom they considered offenders. One or two more citations
from his discourses may be made to sustain this statement. On
February 24, 1856, he declared, "I am not afraid of all hell, nor
of all the world, in laying judgment to the line when the Lord
says so."* In the following month he told his congregation: "The
time is coming when justice will be laid to the line and
righteousness to the plummet; when we shall take the old
broadsword and ask, Are you for God? And if you are not heartily
on the Lord's side, you will be hewn down."** Heber C. Kimball
was equally plain spoken. A year earlier he had said in the
Tabernacle: "If a man rebels, I will tell him of it, and if he
resents a timely warning, HE IS UNWISE . . . . I have never yet
shed man's blood, and I pray to God that I never may, unless it
is actually necessary."*** Sultans and doges have freely used
assassination as a weapon, but it seems to have remained for the
Mormon church under Brigham Young to declare openly its intention
to make whatever it might call church apostasy subject to capital
punishment.

*Journal of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 241.

** Ibid., p. 266.

*** Ibid., pp, 163-164.


Out of the lawless condition of the Mormon flock, as we have thus
seen it pictured, and out of this radical view of the proper
punishment of offenders, resulted, in 1856, that remarkable
movement still known in Mormondon as "The Reformation "--a
movement that has been characterized by one writer as "a reign of
lust and fanatical fury unequalled since the Dark Ages," and by
another as "a fanaticism at once blind, dangerous, and terrible."
During its continuance the religious zealot, the amorous priest,
the jealous lover, the man covetous of worldly goods, and the
framers of the church policy, from acknowledged Apostle to secret
Danite, all had their own way. " Were I counsel for a Mormon on
trial for a crime committed at the time under consideration, I
should plead wholesale insanity," said J. H. Beadle. It was
during this period that that system was perfected under which the
life of no man,--or company of men,--against whom the wrath of
the church was directed, was of any value; no household was safe
from the lust of any aged elder; no person once in the valley
could leave it alive against the church's consent.

The active agent in starting "The Reformation" was the inventor
of "blood atonement," Jedediah M. Grant.* That his censure of a
Bishop and his counsellors at Kayesville was the actual origin of
the movement, as has been stated,** cannot be accepted as proven,
in view of the preparation made for the era of blood, as
indicated in the church discourses. Lieutenant Gunnison, for whom
the Mormons in later years always asserted their friendship,
writing concerning his observations as early as 1852, said:--

* A correspondent of the. New York Times at this date described
Grant as "a tall, thin, repulsive-looking man, of acute, vigorous
intellect, a thorough-paced scoundrel, and the most essential
blackguard in the pulpit. He was sometimes called Brigham's
sledge hammer."

** "Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 293.


"Witnesses are seldom put on oath in the lower courts, and there
is nothing known of the 'law's delay,' and the quibbles whereby
the ends of truth and justice may be defeated. But they have a
criminal code called 'The Laws of the Lord,' which has been given
by revelation and not promulgated, the people not being able
quite to bear it, or the organization still too imperfect. It is
to be put in force, however, before long, and when in vogue, all
grave crimes will be punished and atoned for by cutting off the
head of the offender. This regulation arises from the fact that
without shedding of blood there is no remission."*

* "History of the Mormons," Book 1, Chapter X.


Gunnison's statement furnishes indisputable proof that this legal
system was so generally talked of some four years before it was
put in force that it came to the ears of a non-Mormon temporary
resident.

After the condemnation of the Kayesville offenders and their
rebaptism, the next move was the appointment of missionaries to
hold services in every ward, and the sending out of what were
really confessors, appointed for every block, to inquire of
all--young and old--concerning the most intimate details of their
lives. The printed catechism given to these confessors was so
indelicate that it was suppressed in later years. These prying
inquisitors found opportunity to gain information for their
superiors about any persons suspected of disloyalty, and one use
they made of their visitations was to urge the younger sisters to
be married to the older men, as a readier means of salvation than
union with men of their own age. That there was opposition to
this espionage is shown by some remarks of H. C. Kimball in the
Tabernacle, in March, 1856, when he said: "I have heard some
individuals saying that, if the Bishops came into their houses
and opened their cupboards, they would split their heads open.
THAT WOULD NOT BE A WISE OR SAFE OPERATION." *

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 271.


Some of the information secured by the church confessional was
embarrassing to the leaders. At a meeting of male members in
Social Hall, Young, Grant, and others denounced the sinners in
scathing terms, Young ending his remarks by saying, "All you who
have been guilty of committing adultery, stand up." At once more
than three-quarters of those present arose.* For such confessors
a way of repentance was provided through rebaptism, but the
secretly accused had no such avenue opened to them.

* "A leading Bishop in Salt Lake City stated to the author that
Brigham was as much appalled at this sight as was Macbeth when he
beheld the woods of Birnam marching on to Dunsinane. A Bishop
arose and asked if there were not some misunderstanding among the
brethren concerning the question. He thought that perhaps the
elders understood Brigham's inquiry to apply to their conduct
before they had thrown off the works of the devil and embraced
Mormonism; but upon Brigham reiterating that it was the adultery
committed since they had entered the church, the brethren to a
man still stood up:"--"Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 296.


One of the first victims of the reformers was H. J. Jarvis, a
reputable merchant of Salt Lake City. He was dragged over his
counter one evening and thrown into the street by men who then
robbed his store and defiled his household goods, giving him as
the cause of the visitation the explanation that he had spoken
evil of the authorities, and had invited Gentiles to supper. His
two wives could not secure even a hearing from Young in his
behalf.* This, however, was a minor incident.

* "Rocky Mountain Saints;" p. 297.


That Young's rule should be objected to by some members of the
church was inevitable. There were men in the valley at that early
day who would rebel against such a dictatorship under any name;
others--men of means--who were alarmed by the declarations about
property rights, and others to whom the announcement concerning
polygamy was repugnant. When such persons gave expression to
their discontent, they angered the church officers; when they
indicated their purpose to leave the valley, they alarmed them.
Anything like an exodus of the flock would have broken up all of
Young's plans, and have undone the scheme of immigration that had
cost so much time and money. Accordingly, when this movement for
"reform" began, the church let it be known that any desertion of
the flock would be considered the worst form of apostasy, and
that the deserter must take the consequences. To quote Brigham
Young's own words: "The moment a person decides to leave this
people, he is cut off from every object that is desirable for
time and eternity. Every possession and object of affection will
be taken from those who forsake the truth, and their identity and
existence will eventually cease."*

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. IV, p. 31.


The almost unbreakable hedge that surrounded the inhabitants of
the valley at this time, under the system of church espionage,
has formed a subject for the novelist, and has seemed to many
persons, as described, a probable exaggeration. But, while Young
did not narrate in his pulpit the tales of blood which his
instructions gave rise to, there is testimony concerning them
which leaves no reasonable doubt of their truthfulness.





Next: Some Church-inspired Murders

Previous: Brigham Young's Despotism



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