Saturday, December 1, 2012

Counsel for December

The following comes from W. W. Phelps, Almanac for the Year 1859: The Third after Leap Year; and after the 6th of April, Thirtieth year of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Great Salt Lake City, UT: J. McKnight, 1859), 14:
DECEMBER, like a wise calculator, comes to close the year's concerns. Blessed is he that can say: - "Thy servant is ready; with the five talents thou lentest me, I have made ten." So it seems the earth hath done her part; the Lord His; and happy is he that responds and "I mine" - ready for a NEW YEAR. New motto: - Time is never tight.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Counsel for November

The following comes from W. W. Phelps, Almanac for the Year 1859: The Third after Leap Year; and after the 6th of April, Thirtieth year of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Great Salt Lake City, UT: J. McKnight, 1859), 13:
NOVEMBER brings short days, but much good may be done in them; by preparing for winter, setting out fruit trees, fixing gardens and settling old debts for newspapers, almanacs, etc. and paying them. Wives and daughters sowing and knitting - or preparing the children for school to learn parental science. Youth runs to old age.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Counsel for October

The following comes from W. W. Phelps, Almanac for the Year 1859: The Third after Leap Year; and after the 6th of April, Thirtieth year of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Great Salt Lake City, UT: J. McKnight, 1859), 12:
OCTOBER is nearly the end of annual outfitting. Fruit, grain, meat, sauce, wood and clothes, with a receipt from the Tithing office, ought to be in their proper place, ready for the cool head of winter, that often tries the recess of a stone. Pleasure is good, but PLENTY is better; and so he that keepeth the commandments of the Lord is blessed.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Counsel for September

The following comes from W. W. Phelps, Almanac for the Year 1859: The Third after Leap Year; and after the 6th of April, Thirtieth year of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Great Salt Lake City, UT: J. McKnight, 1859), 11:
SEPTEMBER says sow fall wheat. Now is the season of fruit. Dry peaches, save the bounties of a liberal Providence, who knows that you have need of all those things. Secure what has been raised, for waste and want are a couple of foolish virgins that will never get to heaven. Idleness will bring thee to poverty; but a diligent hand maketh rich.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Counsel for August

The following comes from W. W. Phelps, Almanac for the Year 1859: The Third after Leap Year; and after the 6th of April, Thirtieth year of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Great Salt Lake City, UT: J. McKnight, 1859), 10:
AUGUST for worthy women affords plenty of time to spin and weave; nice cloth from May's "shearing of the flock;" wool, cotton, flax, hemp, and rags for carpets, all adorn the toilet of wives and daughters better than the foreigner's costly commodities of ambition. Prudence says, cloth thyself, and the Lord will help thee.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Counsel for July

The following comes from W. W. Phelps, Almanac for the Year 1859: The Third after Leap Year; and after the 6th of April, Thirtieth year of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Great Salt Lake City, UT: J. McKnight, 1859), 9:
JULY, in vigor, should be set apart, agriculturally, for HAYING AND HARVEST; the season to secure plenty for the use of prosperity. The farmer's "penny saved," for the widow and orphan, is worth more than the speculator's "dime horded." Prudence and care save fortunes. Wisdom whispers, save all.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Counsel for June

The following comes from W. W. Phelps, Almanac for the Year 1859: The Third after Leap Year; and after the 6th of April, Thirtieth year of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Great Salt Lake City, UT: J. McKnight, 1859), 8:
JUNE is a season of beauty; dress the gardens, weed the corn, sow turnips and roota baga, buckwheat and late corn for fodder may finish the farmer's vegetable catalogue of summer truck. A well cultivated country shows the marks of civilization as much as church steeples, courthouse domes and iron eyes. Grace and grain gain glory.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Local Reminiscences from New Holland

The 4 December 1897 issue of the New Holland Clarion included an interesting front-page piece titled "Local Reminiscences: Bygone Events in New Holland and Vicinity". Part of the article is of interest here in particular because it relates in retrospect some of the LDS missionary efforts in the region up until that point and ties it in to a recounting (of, at times, limited accuracy) of Latter-day Saint history. (Note: when the first paragraph makes reference to "the Albright and the U. B. churches", it refers to Jacob Albright's Evangelical Association and to the United Brethren movement started by Philip Otterbein and Martin Boehm, both begun locally to reach the German-speaking peoples that the Methodists at the time refused to - hence reference to the "native vernacular". The bulk of both eventually merged into what is now the United Methodist Church, though my denomination is a smaller remnant of the Albright movement.)
Temperance made invasions through the agency of the Albright and the U. B. churches. They were energetic proselytors, profound believers in Christ crucified ande arisen as mediator; built small churches, talked in the native vernacular. Whole communities that had held aloof from the established churches and were rough in sentiment and voice, believers in farm distilleries, were through the agency of the missionaries of this church converted; abandoning their distilleries, character and sentiment improved at once, industrial habits assumed vigorous life, enterprise in field and shop became quickly manifest, prosperity and peace soon reigned supreme in this new-born, God-fearing people, whose farm products increased astonishingly, thrift and wealth abounding. Hammondville was one of the beneficiaries, their new church the pride of the community. This wave of reform was in the forties.

The Mormon missionary cause also prospered along the foot of the mountain. A Mr. Bechtel or Bechthal, residing in the vicinity of Binkley's mill, became a convert, held meetings in the old school house in New Holland, without results, then the converts sold their effects and followed the Mormon colony to Nauvoo, Illinois. That nucleus has grown to the magnitude of national recognition as a political factor. These religionists after many stormy vicissitudes moved into the wilderness of the Rocky mountain valleys and opened up a vast unknown region of territory, that has now world-wide renown. James Buchanan, President of the United States, in 1856 or 1857 sent an army on foot and horse, with a great wagon train of food and munitions of war supplies, across the trackless wilderness to subdue the irascible Mormon who laid tribute and impost duties on all that passed through the gateway to the Pacific coast. The astute Mormon let Uncle Sam's military cavalcade wend its way slowly over mountains and rivers and through valleys, until they entered the portals of Mormonism's domain. The narrow mountain defile is reached and entered safely, when the Mormon general and his troops close up front and rear, burn Gen. Johnston's wagon train, and the Union troops surrender conditionally without a fight. Uncle Sam is beat ingloriously. April, 1862, this same Gen. Johnston is killed on the battlefield of Shiloh, leading his rebel troops against the Union forces. Ford's History of Illinois relates the aggressive importance of the Mormons at Nauvoo as a political factor in national and State elections. Slavery and anti-slavery were the live issues of the day, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas the exponents, both adopted citizens of Illinois; the election of State Supreme court justices the contention. In the district embracing Nauvoo Mormons, both parties condescended to the Mormon level in their eager rivalry for the vote held in Joe Smith's vest pocket. Election to-morrow, and the Whig candidate is assured at nightfall that their vote will be cast for the Whigs. The political Whig head rests easy on the pillow with assured success. Next morning Joe Smith announced that he had during the night received a revelation from heaven that the Mormon vote must be cast for Stephen A. Douglas. Imagine the chagrin of Lincoln's political friends. Let the observant student of predestined events look at the horoscope of revealed destiny in the evolution of political character in these two representative men. And behold the hand of the Lord chiding, fostering and leading that poor, illiterate, obscure son of the Kentucky forest into the path of national destiny, crowning him the defender of human liberties, leading his people to successfully resist the combined assaults of the slave holder and crowned heads of Europe to overthrow and subvert Christ's earthly-appointed citadel of peaceful government, while on the other hand the rubbish of Kansas-Nebraska popular-sovereignty crime encumbers the political fate of the Little Giant.

Monday, May 21, 2012

"When God Made Man ... He Made Him White": An 1868 LDS Reflection on Race

I came across an article in the Juvenile Instructor, an old LDS periodical, that I found very interesting for some of the attitudes it reflects regarding racial issues in the nineteenth century. Since the history of LDS stances on race has always been a hot-button issue, I think it's worth sharing an excerpt here, with the natural caveat that this by no means reflects modern-day LDS doctrine on the issue.
We will first inquire into the results of the approbation or displeasure of God upon a people, starting with the belief that a black skin is a mark of the curse of Heaven placed upon some portion of mankind. Some, however, will argue that a black skin is not a curse, nor a white skin a blessing. In fact, some have been so foolish as to believe and say that a black skin is a blessing, and that the negro is the finest type of a perfect man that exists on the earth; but to us such teachings are foolishness. We understand that when God made man in his own image and pronounced him very good, that he made him white. We have no record of any of God's favored servants being of a black race. All His prophets and apostles belonged to the most handsome race on the face of the earth - Israel, who still, as represented in the scattered tribe of Judah, bear the impress of their former beauty. In this race was born His Son Jesus, who, were are told was very lovely, and "in the express image of his Father's person," and every angel who ever brought a message of God's mercy to man was beautiful to look upon, clad in the purest white and with a countenance bright as the noonday sun.

When God cursed Cain for murdering his brother Abel, He set a mark upon him that all meeting him might know him. No mark could be so plain to his fellow-men as a black skin. This was the mark God placed upon him, and which is children bore. After the flood this curse fell upon the seed of Ham, through the sin of their father, and his descendants bear it to this day. The Bible tells us but little of the races that sprung from Ham, but from that little, and from the traditions of various tribes, we are led to believe that from him came the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Egyptians and most of the earliest inhabitants of Africa.

We are told in the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price, that Egypt was discovered by a woman, who was a daughter of Ham, the son of Noah. This was probably the first portion of Africa inhabited by men after the flood, it being the nearest to the land (Asia Minor) where the ark rested and the children of Noah first settled. From Egypt the families of men gradually spread out to the southward, up the river Nile and along the borders of the Red Sea, and westward by the shores of the Mediterranean.

The pure Negro, as represented by the people of Guinea and its neighboring countries, is generally regarded as the unmixed descendant of Ham. Our engraving of a Negro is of this type. Their skin is quite black, their hair woolly and black, their intelligence stunted, and they appear never to have arisen from the most savage state of barbarism. But it must not be supposed that all the inhabitants of Africa are of this unmixed black class, for it is not so; some of the mountain tribes of that continent approach to nearly white. Hence, we sometimes hear travelers speak of white Kafirs, white Arabs, &c. There are also quite a number of African tribes who vary in color from olive to dark brown and reddish black.
Source: "The Negro Race", Juvenile Instructor 3/20 (15 October 1868): 157. Written by one 'G. R.' This is part of a series called "Man and His Varieties". Reference to 'our engraving of a Negro' is to a drawing of a representative African that appears on the page. I also note that an earlier installment in this series, "From Caucasian to Negro" (Juvenile Instructor 3/18 [15 Sept. 1868]: 141), describes those of African heritage this way:
Next in order is the Negro race, the lowest in intelligence and the most barbarous of all the children of men. The race whose intellect is the least developed, whose advancement has been the slowest, and who appear to be the least capable of improvement of all people. The hand of the Lord appears to be heavy upon them, dwarfing them by the side of their fellow men in everything good and great.
My only comment is that it's reading things like this that remind me how far we've come as a culture in repudiating this sort of racist nonsense.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Woman: The Dawn of Love

In celebration of Mother's Day, we present the following lines - taken from the latter half of Augusta Joyce Crocheron's poem "Woman: The Dawn of Love" - as reprinted from Augusta Joyce Crocheron, Wild Flowers of Deseret: A Collection of Efforts in Verse (Salt Lake City, UT: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1881), 128-132:
The mother's lot: like Christ to weep,
While loved ones, wearied, sink in sleep;
The mother's lot, like Him to bear
The burden of their wrongs, and wear
A name assailed, if by that cost,
A soul were saved that else were lost.
He died, that souls of men might live;
She, life-long sacrifice doth give.

Too often on her brow doth press
The cruel thorns of thanklessness;
And oft her life its peace hath missed,
Betrayed, too, by a Judas' kiss.
Forget not in thy misery,
The heritage He gave to thee,
To bear, like Him, earth's griefs, and win
A triumph o'er the world within
Thy narrow sphere; and then to share
Reward that greatest love doth bear.

Never recorded to His name -
Stern judgment on thee, weak and shamed;
His charity and wisdom turned
The accuser's blow, and hearts that burned
To wreak their hate and cruelty,
In shame and silence, turned from thee.
And she who came with perfumes sweet,
And, weeping, washed the Savior's feet,
Though sinful, mercy found, and heard
From lips divine, the blest reward -
"Thy sins are all forgiven thee,
And this shall thy memorial be."

For thee, what miracles He wrought!
Thy dead to life again He brought;
The widow's mite He blessed, and she
Lives in His sacred history.
Where'er is told His life divine,
There woman's faith is intertwined.
Never recorded to thy name -
The deed or word, that tongue might claim,
In proof that woman's soul denied
Belief in Him. Though crucified,
Though cold, inanimate, He lay,
In faith and love no fear could stay
(Mightiest love that ever moved
Hearts in mortality, and proved
Their faith and constancy to Him),
They came while morning yet was dim
In the far east, and weeping brought
Their sacred gifts, and found Him not!

To them who waited through the night
In desolation, for the light,
Nor even yet their Lord could yield
From their existence, He revealed
Fulfillment of His prophecy -
To rise in immortality!
They, who undoubting faith had kept,
O'erjoyed, enraptured, kneeling wept,
With inspiration's eyes to see
The resurrection's mystery!
The first to see the risen Lord,
Thou wert not first to doubt His word;
But first, the wondrous joy to share,
And the glad word ordained to bear.

Though thou hast lost that light of love,
Which made thy path so bright before,
Or though its glow hath died away,
To shine again for thee no more,
Despair not thou, nor silent turn,
In wounded pride, to steel thy heart
Against the faithless, when anew
Thy tender thoughts relenting start.

Too oft demanded in love's name,
Such test of thy soul's strength we see,
As greater minds would scorn to bear,
And justice ne'er would claim of thee;
'Till wearied, tired, and sore at heart,
Thy nature riseth swift to turn
'Gainst all the record of thy hopes,
And all their promises to spurn.

Despair not thou, though 'gainst thy soul
The wrongs of earth seem to prevail;
Though thou hast yielded all and bowed,
Weeping above life's phantoms pale,
Thy heritage to love, and give
Thy life's best deeds unto thy kind;
Though that reward, which thou hast earned,
Thou ne'er within this life shalt find.

Still to thy standard be thou true,
And passing time to thee shall bring
Perfected fruit of all thine aims;
And griefs that bowed thee shall take wing.
The ideal within thy soul
Is not a fiction of thine own;
Hereafter thou wilt see in full,
That which was here but dimly shown.

Thou art not least and last of all
In heaven's mighty plan;
Thou too hast place of high degree
Beside the soul of man.
Thou wilt not there be counted weak,
Though led by love thou art;
In that high court where all is love,
Such thought will bear no part.
There wilt thou in thy soul redeemed
The jewel, love, retain;
And wear it as a diadem,
Not as a master's chain.

Unto this blest and grand estate,
The gospel lights the way;
Trust thou its guidance, let no doubts
Thine onward footsteps stay.
O, be thou like the blessed five -
Thy robes and lamp prepare,
At marriage supper of the Lamb,
A name and place to share.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Counsel for May

The following comes from W. W. Phelps, Almanac for the Year 1859: The Third after Leap Year; and after the 6th of April, Thirtieth year of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Great Salt Lake City, UT: J. McKnight, 1859), 7:
MAY comes upon the tapis for a full share of labor; corn, beans, flax, hemp, cucumbers, melons, squashes, pumpkins, and all the garden nick-nacks, too delicate to be handled by frost, must have their portion of mother earth now, in order to obtain an early share of the WET and WARMTH of Taurus and Gemini. Early turnips may be sown in April and May.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Idaho Campaign

The following item, included here as a somewhat tangential part of our 'Newspaper Wars Over the Manifesto' series, appeared originally as "The Idaho Campaign: The Manifesto Disconcerts Plans of Both Parties", Salt Lake Herald 21/100 (28 September 1890): 1.

The Manifesto Disconcerts Plans of Both Parties


Willis Sweet's Abusive Speech - Secretary Curtis Says It Is a Fraud - The Politicians are Nonplussed
BOISE CITY, Ida., Sept. 27 - [Special telegram to THE HERALD.]  -  The authoritative declaration of President Woodruff, received here in THE HERALD to-day, created a great deal of surprise and confusion in political circles.  Dubois had frequently declared that no such manifesto could by any possibility be made without an entire disruption of the Mormon church, and during the last week Willis Sweet, the Republican candidate for Congress, had abused the Mormons in the most violent language in a speech made in this city, which the Statesman left out of the printed report, having been informed by Fremont Wood, United States district attorney, who was camped in eastern Idaho, that something was in the wind.

Hon. Milton Kelley, former editor of the Statesman, said he thought something of the kind would have transpired before.

Ex-Delegate Ainslie, chairman of the Democratic central committee, said the Mormons meant to vote, but he feared a majority would go with the Republicans.

S. W. Moody, candidate for state auditor, was taken by surprise and did not know what to say.

Secretary Curtis said that President Woodruff had no authority to issue such a manifesto, that it is a fraud, and intended exclusively for effect in this election.

D. V. Pride said that Senator Edmunds had remarked in the Senate that the Mormons had their citizenship in their own hands, and when they chose to abjure polygamy, they would be citizens as much as anyone else.  He says there is nothing to prevent their voting.

L. H. Hayes, Esq., son of the late chief justice, said that Judge Berry and the Supreme court had held that the Mormon church of Idaho was a branch of the Utah church; that now the mother church having declared against polygamy, the matter seemed settled.  The Mormons could vote.

Fremont Wood, United States attorney, being interrogated, said he had just returned from eastern Idaho, where, through the influence of Bishop Budge, Joe Rich and R. S. Spence, President Woodruff had been induced to issue the manifesto so that the Republican ticket might be elected.

John Lemp, the wealthiest man in the county, who often takes an active part in politics, said he had no time for politics this year.  His business was too pressing.

The politicians all seem nonplussed at the turns affairs have taken and it disarranges the entire campaign work of both parties.  What may come of it no one seems to know.  Nearly all the public men of the city are out of town.  It is admitted that the Mormons hold the balance of power.

There are meetings in Middletown, Star Pomeroy, Pagette and Caldwell precincts of this county to-night.

Another trial of the Boise water works as concerns its adaptability to fire extinguishing purposes, took place this evening, with better results than before reported.
Here we get a fascinating brief glimpse into the political ramifications of the Manifesto.  The voting privileges of the Mormon bloc had been held in the balance, and the Manifesto, being taken as an actual change in stance on the part of the LDS Church, freed the Latter-day Saints of Idaho to have their political voice be heard.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Make Them Tell

The following item, printed here as part of our 'Newspaper Wars Over the Manifesto' series, appeared originally as "Make Them Tell", Salt Lake Herald 21/99 (27 September 1890): 4.
Make Them Tell
If the Utah commission has reported to the secretary of the interior that it has evidence that forty, or any other number of men in this territory, have violated the anti-polygamy laws of the country within a year, we hold it to be the duty of the grand jury to summon the members of the commission before the inquisitorial body and compel them to disclose that evidence.  The marshal and his deputies are working early and late, and employing more or less shrewdness to discover just a little of the testimony with which the commission claims to be so well supplied.  Just one case of a polygamous marriage within a year would be a God-send to the marshal's office.  The deputy who will dig up or discover a probable case may be certain of a reward, and a conviction would make him a hero in and out of federal court circles.  We believe that the marshal would so highly value a genuine, live case of modern polygamy that he would pay handsomely for one, and for forty cases he would be willing to surrender a quarter's salary and fees.

Anybody who knows the commissioners and is at all familiar with their insane desire to do something that will operate injuriously to the Mormons, will smile at this suggestion that the evidence exists of the polygamous marriage of forty Mormons.  If there were any such evidence the gentlemen would not content themselves with intimations regarding it.  Rather would they endanger their necks in their mad case to reach a court and set officers on the trail of the violators of the law.  Even withered and shrunken WILLIAMS, with so little life in him that he exists in perpetual doubt as to his ability to pump enough of breath to last him a week, would find strength to reach the marshal's office and spread before that official evidence of a man committing polygamy.  Imagine such pronounced and confessed anti-Mormons as GODFREY, ROBERTSON and SAUNDERS nursing information which would send forty Mormons to the penitentiary for five years!  Can anyone conceive the probability of such a thing?  If so, he can think of a cat turning from milk and ducks cutting the webs of their feet and going inland to pick with the chickens.

The fact is, the commission has no evidence of a single polygamous marriage having been celebrated within a year, or within three years, for that matter.  Some of its disreputable tools and agents may have said that in their opinion certain men had violated the anti-polygamy laws, and that is the extent of the commission's evidence that the law has been violated.  To say that such expressions of belief are evidence is to make light of the law and to trifle with the credulity of men.  Especially is this so when the character of some of the fellows employed by the commission for election work is taken into account; that for instance of the late judge of election in the Fourth precinct who threw up his employment as barkeeper and took the first train out of town after the federal judge had called in the grand jury and given it special instructions to investigate his manipulation of ballots.  Perhaps ALLEN told the commission that he believed the Mormons whose ballots he changed for Liberal ones were guilty of polygamy.

We say the inquisitors should call the gentlemen of the commission in and force them to tell what they know, or admit that they have been guilty of maliciously circulating falsehoods.

That "Manifesto"

The following brief blurb, also presented here as part of our 'Newspaper Wars Over the Manifesto' series, appeared originally as "That 'Manifesto'", Salt Lake Tribune 39/249 (27 September 1890): 5.
That "Manifesto"

Much Uncertainty About Whether or Not It Means a Change
Some citizens are disposed to think the Church is knuckling under and that the Saints will be ordered to give up polygamy at the next Conference.  Others say that manifesto is only a blind, a subterfuge to counteract the report of the Utah Commission, and that the bishops throughout the "kingdom" have instructions not to notice it.  The effect of the manifesto upon the cohabs when asked if they will obey the law will be looked forward to with interest.  The recent sermon of George Q. Cannon at St. George is held not to jibe at all with Woodruff's "advice."  George told as plainly as the English language can tell that the Lord blessed him when he took his second wife, while after his third marriage he prospered exceedingly.  George has now two wives in San Francisco soon to become mothers.  Does this look like giving up polygamy?

That Manifesto

The following item, presented here as the latest installment of our 'Newspaper Wars Over the Manifesto' series, appeared originally as "That Manifesto", Salt Lake Tribune 39/249 (27 September 1890): 4.
That Manifesto
It is only eight or ten days until the regular semi-annual Mormon conference, and a great many people are wondering why President WOODRUFF put out his manifesto in advance of that conference.  We think it is plain enough why it is done.  One reason is supplied by by the report of the Utah Commission; the other reason is that there will be an election in Idaho, before the Conference meets, and from what we know of the Mormon people there will be an attempt on their part to vote on the ground that they do not belong to any organization that teaches or practices polygamy.  Mr. CAINE writes to the Evening Star in Washington that the object of the dispatches, giving the substance of the report of the Utah Commission, is to crowd through certain legislation now pending before Congress, which if enacted into a law, would disfranchise every member of the Mormon Church by prescribing a test oath which no Mormon could well subscribe to.  It goes on to explain that this proposed legislation would not affect the polygamist Mormon, already disfranchised, but that it would apply to the non-polygamists, the young men of Utah, who have never violated the anti-polygamy law, and have taken oaths that they will not do so in the future; and that the object in disfranchising them is because they will not vote to suit the radical anti-Mormon ring at Salt Lake City.  He further states that this ring wishes to obtain political control of the Territory; to manipulate its affairs in their interest; to collect and expend the people's money, and to shape its destiny.  And he winds up by declaring that he knows that the charges lately made against the Mormons of Utah are false, and that such statements are injurious to them and dangerous to the best interests of Utah.

Now, about the non-Mormons here wishing to obtain control of this Territory, it is just as well to state the absolute fact, which is, not that they would obtain control of this Territory because they want to collect its taxes or to hold its offices; but they do want to break forever in this Territory the political power of the Mormon Church.  That has been their public aim for many years.  They have never deviated from it, and they are quite as conscientious and not nearly so much given to telling untruths as Mr. CAINE himself.  Mr. CAINE has made many a statement in Washington not substantiated by the facts.  And the reason why those Gentiles desire the disfranchisement of Mormons, whether they have been in polygamy or not, is because they are not free agents; they are not citizens of the United States in any legitimate sense.  There are hereditary aliens, and if Utah was a State to-day, without any restraining clauses in its Constitution, the government of the State within six months would be just such a government as the President of the Mormon Church might dictate; the first presidency would nominate every officer, the people would vote solidly for the nominees.  The Legislature would pass no law until it was first submitted to the first presidency for approval.  It would be the same in the government of the cities.  The government of the State would be that of a perfect theocracy.  The Mormon chiefs have been plotting and planning this for fifty years; and it is to make any such thing as that impossible that the Gentiles have been working and will continue to until that terror shall have been taken away, from this Territory.

There is nothing, when we come to examine it closely, in this manifesto of President WOODRUFF.  He merely says that he advises his people not to engage in polygamy, since the law against it has been declared constitutional.  That law was declared Constitutional by the Supreme Court years ago, and since then the predecessor of President WOODRUFF, in a manifesto very much more imposing than this, declared that for the Saints to abandon polygamy would be damnation.  In this manifesto President WOODRUFF cautiously advises the people.  That is not the style in which manifestos are given to the Mormon people by their chiefs.  That law was the last time declared Constitutional prior to the meeting of last April's conference, and yet at that Conference the same old exactions were insisted upon, the same discipline, the same rules; and there was not one breath of anything that looked like giving up polygamy or of relaxing in the slightest one tenet of their faith.

Hence, we believe, and it is with a feeling which is conclusive evidence on our part, that his manifesto was not intended to be accepted as a command by the President of the Church, but as a little bit of harmless dodging to deceive the people of the East, and especially the men in Congress.  Hence, we say that the Republicans in Congress, on the strength of that proclamation alone, ought to pick up the Struble bill and make it the law at once.  It is not a hardship to deny aliens the right of casting a ballot, or of holding office.  And it will be just as easy after that bill shall have been passed for Mormons to set themselves right, to become citizens of the United States, as it is for any other set of aliens whose homes are in this country.

A Question of Sealing

Reprinted as part of our 'Newspaper Wars Over the Manifesto', the following letter to the editor was written by one 'Nemo' of Logan, Utah, and appeared originally as "A Question of 'Sealing'", Salt Lake Tribune 39/249 (27 September 1890): 3.
A Question of "Sealing"
Case Cited in Cache County - Is This the Church Dodge on Polygamy?
EDITOR TRIBUNE: - The child is born at last, thank heaven, and the mountain has brought forth the proverbial mouse.  Our town has been disturbed for twenty-four hours last past in the expectation of a new revelation.  Bets have been freely laid that it was only a "fake" of the most transparent kind, and the extra of the Logan Journal issued to-day at 10 a.m. shows the prescience of the Gentile mind, which "know better."  It has been circulated that a new revelation had been uttered from above to the effect that polygamy was to be relegate to the shades of oblivion, and all the concomitants of that divine order should be sat down upon by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Quite a number of the elite swore that if this was so they'd be d----d if they would stand it, and would apostatize and join the Liberals.  Commissioner Goodwin's office has been besieged steadily by the Gentiles and apostates since last night for "news" in relation to the reports circulated as to the revelation, and not a few of the faithful have also hung around to get "pointers" as to the truth of the rumors.  What need has Brother Woodruff for endowment houses?  Has he not temples which are far better suited for his purposes?  Temples in which no record is kept of these marriages; at least such is the statement of those who have had their washings and anointings.  If Mr. Woodruff's statement is true and he be as honest as his manifesto would make him appear to be, the sooner he investigate the doings in the Logan Temple the better.  It is less than six months ago that a married man residing in Paradise took a young girl through the Logan Temple and tried his "darndest" to get her for a second wife, but her father hearing of the matter put a stop to the proceedings.  It appears that this same man had asked the father of the girl for his consent to take her for a plural wife on two or three occasions, but had been refused.  He then got a "recommend" and took the girl through the house as far as to the marriage room, then the father stepped in and stopped the music.  Some time after this the young woman married another man, and now the former beau claims that she was sealed to him, and that the lucky (?) winner had taken his wife away from him.  Had not Apostle Woodruff better be looking after his deputies in Cache county?  If the sealing of this girl is a fact, about which there seems to be no doubt, what else is it but plural marriage?  I suppose this is the hole which the Church of J. C. of L. D. S. proposes to crawl through, but it won't do, and something less transparent than this will have to be circulated before the American people can be thus hoodwinked.
LOGAN, Sept. 26, 1890.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

President Woodruff's Declaration

In the 26 September 1890 issue, the Salt Lake Herald reprinted the "Official Declaration" that had initially appeared the day before in the Deseret Evening News.  Immediately thereafter, they also posted another article, "President Woodruff's Declaration".  What follows, the latest installment in our 'Newspaper Wars Over the Manifesto' series, appeared originally as "President Woodruff's Declaration", Salt Lake Herald 21/98 (26 September 1890): 4.
President Woodruff's Declaration
The official declaration of President WOODRUFF of the Mormon church, which was referred to in the Associated Press dispatches of Thursday morning, and which appears in full in this issue of THE HERALD, ought not to have been necessary, because everybody hereabouts, Mormon and Gentile, have long known that the facts were precisely as stated by President WOODRUFF.  The court records for years past have furnished fairly conclusive proof that polygamous marriages were discontinued in this community.  Vigilant and eager officers, with greater powers than are enjoyed by officials in any other part of the republic, have failed to learn of such marriages and will testify that if any have taken place, not even the neighbors and associates of the offending parties know of them.  Grand juries specially charged to indict in these cases and jealously eager to obey the instructions, can find nobody to punish.  In hundreds of churches and meeting houses scattered all over the territory there is public preaching by Mormon elders more or less prominent in the church, and at none of these places does one ever hear the practice of polygamy advocated or advised.  If the subject is referred to at all it is mentioned in a way to discourage the practice.  We say that in light of the known facts it ought not to have been necessary for President WOODRUFF to say more than he has said in the pulpit and through the press.  The lying report of the Utah Commission - and we use the word advisedly and with full knowledge of its scope and meaning - has induced the president of the church to make the declaration which we print.  He does this officially as the head of the organization, hence what he says must be accepted as authoritative.  The declaration, which is plain, frank and unequivocal, should end discussion as to whether or not polygamous marriages are now authorized or permitted.  It should also put to shame the members of the Utah commission who have been guilty of prostituting their office and lending themselves and their official influence to further the schemes of a disreputable band of plunderers who are waging wicked and relentless war against helpless Mormons, the latter by showing by their acts and utterances that they are doing their utmost to keep in harmony with the laws of this country.  When the commission said that forty or any other number of polygamous marriages had taken place within the year, it knew that it was stating an untruth, and that it was falsifying for no other purpose than to injure the Mormon people.  It knew that if there were a vague suspicion that forty men had broken the law there would have been forty arrests before the commission had received an intimation of the suspicion.

President WOODRUFF's declaration will have little or no effect here, for the reason that the facts as he states them were known by everybody to exist.  Let us hope that what the venerable chief official of the church says will convince the press and people elsewhere that what has been asserted so many times, namely, that polygamy has practically ceased, is true.

That Manifesto

The following item, the next installment in our 'Newspaper Wars Over the Manifesto' series, appeared originally as "That Manifesto", Salt Lake Tribune 39/249 (26 September 1890): 4.
That Manifesto
It seems that President WOODRUFF of the Mormon Church has caused a dispatch to be sent through the Associated Press to the newspapers of the United States, giving his advice to the Latter-Day Saints to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.  It is unnecessary to say that that is not the usual way by which the President of the Mormon Church makes his decrees known.  In private conversation, President WOODRUFF has more than once in the last year and a half stated that if plural marriages were being celebrated they were without his knowledge.  It seems this dispatch was called out probably because of the statement of the Utah Commission that they had evidence which convinced them that the practice is being indulged in more or less throughout the Territory.  But there is something about this dispatch itself which causes people familiar with Mormonism to be suspicious.  It does not come in the authoritative manner in which the orders of the Church are generally clothed.  President WOODRUFF says: "My advice to the Latter-Day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the laws of the land."  He speaks merely as an individual.  He does not speak as though that advice had come authoritatively by revelation, but as a poor human being in perplexity he gives to his flock the advice of a patriarch.  The question is, how will they understand it?  It is not at all as JOHN TAYLOR announced to a convention of the priesthood that in his bath-room he had received a revelation that Mr. YOUNG was to have one office, and Mr. Somebody else another office.  It is not at all in the same tone that President WOODRUFF at the last conference announced to the people that the blood of the prophets HYRUM and JOSEPH were yet to be avenged; that so far they had not been avenged.  We cannot resist the thought that this was not prompted by President WOODRUFF at all, but that it was prompted by shrewd men in the Church, and that the object is purely political.  Of course it is all right with Eastern people.  There, it is the advice of the President of the Mormon Church.  But it seems to us if it had been genuine, the president himself in the Tabernacle, backed by more than one apostle, would have said to his people, "There is a new deal.  You are not to involve yourselves in plural marriages any more, so long as the laws of the United States forbid.  While ours is a distinct creed, it is subject to the laws, and you will not disobey the laws in the matter of taking more wives."  That would have been the usual way.  That would not only have been sounded in the Tabernacle, but it would have been echoed in every ward meeting-house in the city and Territory.  If we had to make a diagnosis of this case we should say it came about like this:  Mr. CANNON said to President WOODRUFF, "The Nation is greatly exercised about our affairs.  A good many of our brethren in Idaho are in trouble; they want to vote.  Legislation is pending which threatens to disfranchise us, and the ground is that we still adhere to and persist in plural or celestial marriage as a sacrament which we are bound to respect and comply with.  Now, it would be a good thing to send to the country something which would give the country an idea that we had abandoned polygamy because of our respect for the laws.  We will not put it in the usual way of an edict from the Church, but you, as the president of the Church can sign this dispatch to go to the country, which merely gives your personal, individual, human advice to the Saints, and which, of course, does not count any more than the advice of any other man, it not pretending to be in the nature of an authoritative mandate to the people."

President WOODRUFF is an easy-going, quiet old gentleman, but down deep he is a genuine fanatic.  He has never said a word yet that indicated that he thinks he went too far in that dedicatory prayer at St. George; indeed, his words in the last conference were a fair supplement to that prayer, considering the changed conditions here, and, hence, it is natural for even a man like him to think that a little trick is not out of the way when by it he is serving the Lord.  So we take it that he subscribed to the opinion of Mr. CANNON, and it was for that his dispatch was sent out.  And we believe that yesterday, being Thursday, there was more than one plural marriage celebrated in one or other of the Temples of this Territo[r]y, and that, while President WOODRUFF himself knew nothing of it, the parties engaged in it knew that if President WOODRUFF ever heard of it, notwithstanding his advice, he would look upon it as an act of grace on the part of the parties engaged in it.
And, in a brief blurb following a line break, they similarly wrote:
THE best review of President WOODRUFF's "advice" to the people was made by a newsboy last evening.  He was selling the paper, and as an inducement to purchases was crying: "All about President WOODRUFF abandoning polygamy."  A by-stander said: "So he has come to it at last, has he?"  "Yes," said the boy, "and I wish my father would, but he never will."  And that, we take it, is about the fact of the case.  The President advises, but the people know that the old man would not state it that way if he wanted the people to follow the advice, and so will continue to do business at the old stand.

A Frantic Mormon Lobby

The following item, the next installment of our 'Newspaper Wars Over the Manifesto' series, appeared originally as "A Frantic Mormon Lobby", Salt Lake Tribune 39/249 (26 September 1890): 1.

Me Too Caine Issues a Little "Manifesto" of His Own.


Woodruff's Vagabond "To Whom It May Concern" Bulwarked by Our Delegate With the Usual Rubbish - The Washington Stake of Zion Badly Scared.
The report of the Utah Commission, with its vigorous denunciations of polygamy, still practiced and persistently denied in Utah, has spurred the Mormon lobby in Washington in its depths.  Immediately upon its publication, several days after the announcement of its receipt by the Interior Department, John T. Caine placed himself in communication with the Church, and urged the necessity of a pronunciamento to counteract the effect.

The result was Wilford Woodruff's letter, published this morning, addressed "to whom it may concern," denying that plural marriages are still being solemnized in Utah, and affirming that all the influence of the Church will be used to make the Saints obey the law of the land.

The precious document is emphasized tonight by a letter from the smooth-tongued Caine, who is panic-stricken over the effect which the Commission's report may have upon pending legislation.  His letter, printed in the Evening Star, is as follows:

"There have recently been published in your paper extracts from the last report of the Utah Commission, telegraphed from Salt Lake in advance of its receipt by the Secretary of the Interior.  These convey the idea that polygamous marriages are still being entered into by the Mormons, and that the leaders of the Mormon Church continue to teach and enforce the doctrine and practice upon the adherents of that faith.

"The object of this and similar dispatches about the practice of polygamy among the Mormons is well understood here.  There are pending before Congress two or three bills, which, if enacted into a law would disfranchise every member of the Mormon Church by prescribing a test oath such as no Mormon could conscientiously subscribe to.  This proposed legislation would not affect the polygamous Mormons, they are already disfranchised - can neither vote, hold office, nor sit on juries - but it would apply to the non-polygamous Mormons, the young men of Utah who have never violated the anti-polygamous laws and have taken oaths that they will not do so in the future, who have always been loyal to their country and its laws.  They are to be disfranchised because they will not vote to suit the radical anti-Mormon ring at Salt Lake City.  The minority wish to obtain political control of the Territory, to manipulate its affairs in their interest, to collect and expend the people's taxes and to shape its destiny.  To do this all the non-polygamous Mormons, the sons of the hardy pioneers who discovered and settled that arid region, must be disfranchised for no reason but that some few members of the Mormon Church believe and have heretofore practiced polygamy.

"Knowing as I do that the charges lately made against the Mormons of Utah are false, and that such statements are injurious to them and dangerous to the best interests of the Territory, I take the great pleasure of handing you a declaration of the President of the Mormon Church which I have just received by telegraph from Salt Lake, and request its publication as an act of justice to a much maligned and persecuted people, and as a complete refutation of the malicious statements heretofore published.
Very respectfully,
JOHN T. CAINEDelegate in Congress from the Territory in Utah"
Caine is evidently thoroughly alarmed over the situation, and he may well be.  The Commission report has opened the eyes of many who have heretofore believed that politics have colored the views of those delegated to note the actual situation in Utah, and who now see their mistake.

The Latest "Liberal" Trick Exposed

The following item, the fourth installment in our 'Newspaper Wars Over the Manifesto' series, appeared originally as "The Latest 'Liberal' Trick Exposed", Deseret Evening News 23/261 (26 September 1890): 2.  Caine's letter also made up the body of an article on the front page of the same day's Salt Lake Herald, with no commentary of substance.
The Latest "Liberal" Trick Exposed
We learn by telegraph that the Delegate from Utah has addressed a communication to the Washington Evening Star, the most popular journal published at the Capital.  It is as follows, and appeared in that paper last night, with the Official Declaration of President Wilford Woodruff:

Editor of the Evening Star:

"There have recently been published in your paper extracts from the last report of the Utah Commission, telegraphed from Salt Lake in advance of its receipt by the Secretary of the Interior.  These convey the idea that polygamous marriages are still being entered into by the Mormons, and that the leaders of the Mormon Church continue to teach and enforce the doctrine and practice upon the adherents of that faith.  The object of this and similar dispatches about the practice of polygamy among the Mormons is well understood here.  There are pending before Congress two or three bills, which, if enacted into a law would disfranchise every member of the Mormon Church by prescribing a test oath such as no Mormon could conscientiously subscribe to.  This proposed legislation would not affect the polygamous Mormons, they are already disfranchised - can neither vote, hold office, nor sit on juries - but it would apply to the non-polygamous Mormons, the young men of Utah who have never violated the anti-polygamous laws and have taken oaths that they will not do so in the future, who have always been loyal to their country and its laws.  They are to be disfranchised because they will not vote to suit the radical anti-Mormon ring at Salt Lake City.  The minority wish to obtain political control of the Territory, to manipulate its affairs in their interest, to collect and expend the people's taxes and to shape its destiny.  To do this all the non-polygamous Mormons, the sons of the hardy pioneers who discovered and settled that arid region, must be disfranchised for no reason but that some few members of the Mormon Church believe and have heretofore practiced polygamy.

"Knowing as I do that the charges lately made against the Mormons of Utah are false, and that such statements are injurious to them and dangerous to the best interests of the Territory, I take the great pleasure of handing you a declaration of the President of the Mormon Church which I have just received by telegraph from Salt Lake, and request its publication as an act of justice to a much maligned and persecuted people, and as a complete refutation of the malicious statements heretofore published.
Very respectfully,
The purpose of sending from this point garbled extracts from the Report of the Utah Commission, was clear to thinking people in Utah when the papers containing them reached this city.  It is correctly defined by Delegate Caine in his pungent letter to the Washington Star.

Before the document was filed with the Secretary of the Interior, it was published in mutilated form in Salt Lake, and the dispatch fiend found in it ample opportunities for the exercise of its peculiar forte.  Remarks made by the Commission as published, appeared in a distorted form in eastern papers as dispatches from Salt Lake City, dated September 17th.  Language was thus attributed to the Commission which they did not use, and sentences were given without the explanatory context.  All this was to stir up anew the ignorant prejudice against the "Mormons" prevailing in the country, and form an excuse for certain Congressman to move for the bringing forward of the measures that have been sleeping, designed to consummate the theft of the Church property and to deprive the law-obeying "Mormons" of the right of suffrage.

The immediate object in view is the carrying of the November election.  The recent exposure of "Liberal["] methods at the polls, the probability of the prosecution of some of the scoundrels who have helped to cheat honest citizens out of their votes, and open the way for non-residents to cast illegal votes for "Liberal" candidates, and the likelihood that further frauds will be rather dangerous to the perpetrators, make the "Liberal" prospects in November very dark and unpromising.  Something desperate had to be done in order to bring the accomplishment of the "Liberal" scheme within the bounds of possibility.

It had been fondly hoped that one of the disfranchisement bills would have been pushed through Congress in time to exclude all the "Mormon" votes from the ballot box.  But the shelving of these measures and the widespread dislike among Congressment to such drastic expedients, made the conspirators in this city sick at the stomach.  The Utah Commissioners' report furnished a probable antidote.  So it was culled and clipped, and such parts of it as suited the plotters and made them feel more comfortable, were wired, and the Associated Press helped to scatter the scraps of misinformation throughout the land.

Take these sentences as examples:

"The Commissioners say that the practice of polygamy is rather on the increase than the decrease and that the doctrine is taught in all the Mormon Churches."

That is from a Salt Lake City dispatch of Sept. 17th in the Chicago News.  The annexed is from the Cleveland Plain Dealer and has the same origin and date:

"The commission believes that more than eighty plural marriages have been contracted since June 1890 and only a small proportion have been reported."

These are not press comments or items of news given by these papers, but they appear in the regular press dispatches from Salt Lake.  We repeat that we do not believe the Commissioners have said anything of the kind.  But we do believe that these falsehoods were sent from this city with malicious intent, misrepresenting the Commission, deceiving the public and maligning the "Mormons," which is the dispatch fiend's greatest delight.

But whether the Commissioners said this or not; whether they so worded their report as to give an excuse for these statements or not; whether the statements picked out isolated sentences to telegraph, garbled and misquoted them or not; they convey that which is totally untrue and they have been published with vile and wicked intent.

The official declaration of President Woodruff should be a sufficient refutation of these calumnies, wherever they originated.  Of course it will not suit the fanatics who can see no good in those who differ from them, nor the malignant creatures who feed and fatten on anti-"Mormonism," and whose stock in trade is the cry of "polygamy."  Nothing that could be done or said would satisfy them, and least of all are they pleased with any settlement of the polygamy question.  That means the death-knell of their hackneyed arguments, stale falsehoods and mouldy sophisms.

The Utah Commission have, no doubt, as they have done before, given the unsupported guesses of some of their registrars in regard to supposed polygamous marriages, and these have been telegraphed as the official statements of the Commission.  When the report is filed with the Secretary of the Interior and comes to hand, we will deal with it on its merits.  We do not care to treat anything that may be prematurely published, here or elsewhere, by known garblers, professional falsifiers and political stricksters, as the utterances of any respectable person or body.  As to the facts at issue, President Woodruff's declaration sets them at rest beyond a reasonable doubt.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why the Devious Way?

The following item, the third installment of our 'Newspaper Wars Over the Manifesto' series, appeared originally as "Why the Devious Way? The Mormon President's Artfully Promulgated 'Manifesto'", Salt Lake Tribune 39/249 (25 September 1890): 1.  From the looks of things, the Tribune's commentary here is chiefly to be found in the four-layered title.

The Mormon President's Artfully Promulgated "Manifesto."

And His "Advice" to the People, by Way of Chicago, Is to Obey the Law - Will It Be Read at the Tabernacle?
The following was received in this city as an Associated Press dispatch sent out from the Chicago headquarters:

SALT LAKE, Sept. 24. - President Woodruff of the Mormon Church to-day issued a manifesto in which, referring to the statement in the report of the Utah Commission that plural marriages have been solemnized during the past year, and that the leaders of the church have encouraged the continuance of polygamy, he enters a sweeping denial that such things have occurred.

President Woodruff further says that inasmuch as the law forbidding polygamy has been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort he hereby declares his intention to submit to those laws and use his influence with the members of the church to have them do likewise.  There is nothing in his teaching to the church or in the teaching of his associates during the time specified which can reasonably be construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy, and when any elder has used language which appeared to convey such teachings, he has been promptly reproved.

He concludes: "I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land."
Already the Tribune has chosen to zero in on the word "advice", a trope that will recur throughout their subsequent discussion of the Manifesto.

Official Declaration

The following item, the second installment of our 'Newspaper Wars Over the Manifesto', appeared originally as "Official Declaration", Deseret Evening News 23/260 (25 September 1890): 2.  The declaration itself here printed, although immediately having some effect, was approved by a majority at the next General Conference, and later (in the early twentieth century) became canonized as "Official Declaration - 1", though from the beginning has often informally been known as the "Manifesto".
Official Declaration
To Whom it May Concern:
PRESS dispatches having been sent for political purposes, from Salt Lake City, which have been widely published, to the effect that the Utah Commission, in their recent report to the Secretary of the Interior, allege that plural marriages are still being solemnized and that forty or more such marriages have been contracted in Utah since last June or during the past year; also that in public discourses the leaders of the Church have taught, encouraged and urged the continuance of the practice of polygamy;

I, therefore, as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do hereby, in the most solemn manner, declare that these charges are false.  We are not teaching polygamy, or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice, and I deny that either forty or any other number of plural marriages have during that period been solemnized in our temples or in any other place in the Territory.

One case has been reported, in which the parties alleged that the marriage was performed in the Endowment House, in Salt Lake City, in the spring of 1889; but I have not been able to learn who performed the ceremony; whatever was done in this matter was without my knowledge.  In consequence of this alleged occurrence the Endowment House was, by my instructions, taken down without delay.

Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to those 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 reasonably be construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy, and when any Elder of the Church has used language which appeared to convey such teaching he has been promptly reproved.  And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.
President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The foregoing was sent to the Associated Press for publication, but has only appeared here in a condensed form, which poorly conveys the sentiments of the writer.  This is the full document as prepared and signed officially by President Wilford Woodruff.

This document came in time to be regarded as in some manner revelatory, though some of its contents are wanting in accuracy.  During the time period in question, numerous plural marriages were officially performed by authorized church leaders, and one member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Marriner W. Merrill) seems to have taken a plural wife during the time that, according to this declaration, was free of new polygamous unions.  Plural marriages continued to be officially authorized for years after this, with a majority of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles engaging in post-Manifesto polygamous activities.  Additionally, contrary to the above statement's assertion that plural marriage was no longer being taught, a December 1891 petition for amnesty signed by the First Presidency conceded that polygamy was taught up to just a short time prior to September 1890.  As for the specific case of Hans Jespersen's 1889 marriage in the Endowment House as alluded to in the above statement, official records show that it was performed by Franklin S. Richards, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  Further, although this Official Declaration professes to be in response to a very recent decision in favor of anti-polygamy legislation, such a decision was made previously in the 1885 Supreme Court decision Clawson v. United States.  Several members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles learned of the Manifesto only from reading of it in the newspaper.  Perhaps worthy of note is that, while an earlier official statement also titled "Official Declaration" was signed by the whole First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, this declaration was signed exclusively by President Wilford Woodruff, though several members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were consulted about the matter.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The "Mormon" Perplexity

The following item, the first 'regular' installment in our 'Newspaper Wars Over the Manifesto' series, appeared originally as "The 'Mormon' Perplexity", Deseret Evening News 23/258 (23 September 1890): [2].  This was an editorial printed two days before the publication of the 1890 Woodruff Manifesto (for which, stay tuned); in it, the Deseret Evening News replies to an editorial from the Globe-Democrat of St. Louis, Missouri.
The 'Mormon' Perplexity
The annexed article appears as an editorial in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat of September 19th:

"The report of the Utah Commission for the past year resembles all preceding ones in the important respect that it urges the necessity of more stringent legislation to solve the Mormon problem.  Congress has been passing laws for that purpose from time to time for many years, and still the perplexity remains.  Mormonism seems to be practically just as strong as it ever was.  The successive blows inflicted upon it have done it some harm, doubtless, but in each instance it has recovered and gone on growing.  There are more Mormons in Utah now than ever, and they keep coming from different quarters, principally beyond the Atlantic, the same as if nothing had been done by the Government to suppress the monstrous iniquity which has so long made Utah a national reproach.  The Mormon Church maintains its absolute power over its members, both spiritually and temporally; the edicts of the priesthood are implicitly obeyed, and there are no signs of that revolt against ecclesiastical tyranny which has so often been predicted.  After all the penalties that have been provided for those who indulge in a plurality of wives, the commission declares that polygamy continues to be practiced; and the opinion is added, curiously enough, that the only real hope of abating the evil lies in the possible renunciation of the doctrine as a part of the Mormon creed.

"It is astonishing, to say the least, that no way can be found to deal effectively with this great wrong.  The power of the government is practically unlimited in the case, and public sentiment is decidedly inimical to Mormon interests of every kind.  This implies that the task should be an easy one, but some how it is not.  Some of the legislation upon the subject has been very drastic, and the courts have enforced it with reasonable rigor, and yet the much-desired consummation does not come to pass.  There is something lacking somewhere, it is easy to understand; but it not so easy to say what or where the trouble is.  Most likely, however, the chief mistake has been in not directly and thoroughly taking away the occupation of the priesthood.  The leaders of the Church are its chief strength.  They rule as so many autocrats, acknowledging no sense of duty except their own inclinations, and recognizing no law except those which they personally make or dictate.  The Mormon problem will never be solved, it is safe to say, so long as they are permitted to exercise such sway over their followers.  They are men of extraordinary ability in their way, thoroughly acquainted with the weaknesses of human nature, and quick to seize every advantage that may be presented.  If these adroit and unscrupulous individuals could be deprived of their power for mischief the whole matter would soon adjust itself in a sound and wholesome manner.  They are the principal stumbling-blocks, and no legislation can prove satisfactory that leaves them in possession of such authority as they now have.  How to dislodge them is a difficult question, but it is nevertheless the vital question, and Congress can not afford to evade or postpone it."

These remarks were prompted by the dispatches which have been sent from this city giving garbled extracts from the report of the Utah Commission for 1890.  The urging of more legislation to solve the "Mormon" problem, is the annual effort of that body in the interest of the "Liberal" faction in this Territory.  Its object is to deprive that part of the "Mormon" people who have not broken the law, of every political right and privilege.  This is what they mean by "solving the Mormon problem."

The Globe-Democrat, in common with the greater part of the American press, evidently regards polygamy as "Mormonism" and "Mormonism" as polygamy.  The Utah Commission know better than that.  They understand that all the legislation necessary, and a great deal more, to handle the polygamy question has been enacted.  And further, that the doctrine of plural marriage, even when it was openly advocated and practiced, was but one out of a very large number of tenets that made up the creed of "Mormonism."  Also that plural marriage apart, the religion of the Latter-day Saints is as much above the reach of law as the religion of any body of worshippers in the land.

Does the Globe-Democrat seriously claim that Congress has of right any authority or power to interfere with such a religion?  If not, why should accessions to the "Mormon" Church trouble the editors of that paper or anybody else?  Or do they mean to say that the "practically unlimited power of the government" extends to the regulation of religious belief?

They may answer that all they mean by that power is the authority to suppress practices that are declared to be criminal.  If that is the case, we unhesitatingly affirm that laws to that effect are in force in Utah more potently and effectually than in any other part of the United States.  Moreover, there have been less convictions for polygamy for two or three years past than there have been for bigamy in other parts of this great and moral country.  The records of courts will demonstrate the truth of this statement.

If it be urged that the report of the Utah Commission alleges to the contrary, we answer, we do not believe it.  The concocter of false dispatches in this city may have stated that the Commissioners have so declared, but that is another thing.  We are of the opinion that the report when published will disprove his assertion.  But whether they have stated or not that eighty or forty or twenty polygamous marriages have been solemnized in Utah during the last few months of the last year, that is something that neither they nor any other body can prove, and it has been made with malicious intent, that is, to injure the law-obeying "Mormon" people and deceive the American press and public.

The statement that the leaders of the Church "rule as so many autocrats" and that "they recognize no law except those which they personally make or dictate" is grossly untrue and absurd, and can only be excused by the evidence ignorance of the writer.  Such a rule, if it existed, would be the very antipodes of "Mormonism."  It would be destructive of the system.  The "edicts of the priesthood" have no existence except in the imagination of persons who are too prejudiced to look into the facts, and the "Mormon" leaders are today more strictly observant of every law of the land than ninety-nine hundredths of their accusers.

That oft predicted "revolt against ecclesiastical tyranny" of which there are "no signs," has never come because there is no such tyranny to revolt from.  All things in the "Mormon" Church are and must be done "by common consent."  The "Priesthood" is composed of nearly all the adult male members.  Women as well as men vote on all Church questions and officers, and the "occupation of the priesthood" is beyond the legitimate reach of any secular power.

Of course in the attempt to solve "the Mormon perplexity" there is "something lacking," and there always will be.  What is it?  It is a failure to get at the truth.  Its opponents are figuring, and thrusting, and plunging in the dark.  They do not know what they are fighting.  It is not these formidable leaders that stand in the way, as supposed.  If the vindictive befugs who desire their extinction could kill every one of these leaders or immure them for life in dungeons, the "perplexity" would remain and the "problem["] would remain unsolved.

The abatement of the evil, the Globe-Democrat says, in the opinion of the Commission depends upon the "renunciation" of a certain ["]part of the Mormon creed."  And does any one who is sane believe that can be accomplished by "more stringent legislation."  Does not the Globe-Democrat understand that drastic laws against a belief are more likely to confirm than destroy that belief?  And if the belief of the Latter-day Saints is the real root of the trouble, why not try to reach it by reason instead of seeking to crush it out by force?

We submit for the consideration of the reflecting that a more rational and Christian method of combating "Mormonism," would be first to find out what it is, and to overcome the power of its Priesthood, to ascertain in what it consists.  Then instead of misrepresenting and abusing and maltreating the "Mormons," show them "a more excellent way."  They are a good, honest, industrious, temperate and cheerful people, able to comprehend an argument and highly appreciative of kindness.  They have convictions which are personal, and for these they have suffered much.  They will never be coerced into renunciation of their belief, and while falsehood and force continue to be the means employed, the "Mormon" perplexity will remain to vex sectarians and puzzle politicians.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Newspaper Wars Over the Manifesto

Lately I've been finishing up the reading of B. Carmon Hardy's excellent book Solemn Covenant: The Mormon Polygamous Passage.  While reflecting on some of the newspaper sources he used with reference to the 1890 Woodruff Manifesto, I started looking through them and found them (and a few others not there cited) quite interesting.  With that in mind, I'm setting in motion a brief but dense series here in which I hope to provide noteworthy articles from the Deseret News, the Salt Lake Tribune, and the Salt Lake Herald from late September and October 1890.  While the main subject for many is polygamy or the status of the Manifesto itself, the exchange of heated editorials back and forth provide insight into a variety of other secondary issues involved as well.  This post will serve as a hub to be updated with each new installment; I hope to release each on the corresponding date in late April and May, so as to provide the sensation of attempting to keep up with the war of words as it happened.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The "Secret of Mormon Proselyters": An 1891 Outsiders' View

The following comments about LDS missionary work are taken from the 12 December 1891 issue of the New Holland Clarion:
The secret of Mormon proselyters is not hard to understand. They go among the poorer classes in Europe and America, the people to whom plenty is only a far off dream. The many wived elders preach to hungry stomachs of a land of abundance, where want is unknown, and where even luxury may fall to the lot of the poor man. What wonder the ignorant flock in droves to the land of promise, where they find abundance at length, it is true, but an iron despotism that makes them work for it whether they will or not, and earn it before they get it. The Mormons are always prosperous wherever they are. This much is to be said in their favor. They will take the most unpromising soil and turn it into a garden by thrift, hard work and good management. Shrewdness and industry would accomplish the same results for the Mormon victims anywhere else if they had these qualities.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

O Susan Then I Thought of Thee

Lately I've been reading the journals of Wilford Woodruff, and on 20 February 1845 he had the opportunity to visit the grave of Elder Lorenzo D. Barnes (1812-1842), who had died on 20 December 1842 of illness while on his mission in England. In the course of relating the experience, Woodruff transcribes a few love poems exchanged between Lorenzo Barnes and a young woman named Susan Conrad. The last of these poems, written to Conrad by Barnes from England sometime in 1842, is especially touching, and as I cannot find a transcription of it elsewhere online, I here offer it:
When I bade my home farewell
On Brittons shore far hence to dwell
When I watched by evening light
My native shores face from my sight
O! Susan then I thought of thee.

When I ploughed the raging sea
Whose Billows rolled Continually
When on high our Ship was bourn
Or fiercely driven by winters storm
When roaring surges dashed oer me
O Susan then I thought of thee.

When I gazed with eager eyes
On Britons Shores before me rise
I viewed her mountains capted with snow
While chilling winds did round me blow
Till late our haven hove in view
O Susan then I thought of you.

When on Europes Shores I stood
And gazed far oer old oceans flood
I thought of all I'd left behind
My Parents dear And friends so kind
I thought of their [-] company
But Susan most I thought of thee.

When I the streets of towns parade
And gaze upon proud Britons maids
With sparkling eyes and silken hair
With rosy checks and bosoms fair
Methinks they have no chairmes for me
For Susan yet I think on thee.

When wafted by the power of steam
Through landscapes fair and meadows green
Through wide spread fields of waving grain
Mid wood land hills or on the plain
Though swift I fly and fair my view
Yet Susan then I think of you.

When amid my foreign friends
A Cheerful hour I try to spend
Whare kindness beams in evry face
And danties rich our feastings grace
Mid all these scenes our hearts are true
That heart which's Susans placed on you.

When before Jehovah's Throne
I bow and all my wants make known
I ask for blessings on my friends
And heavenly grace my stepts to attend
While thus in prayer I bow my knee
O! Susan then I pray for thee.
Source: Scott G. Kenney, Wilford Woodruff's Journals, 1833-1898: Typescript. 9 vols. (Midvale, UT: Signature Books, 1983-1985), 2:514-515.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Mormon Question and the Limits of Liberty: Thoughts from 1884

The following two-paragraph editorial remark on the subject of "The Mormon Question" appeared in the 25 July 1884 issue of the New Holland Clarion and illustrates one on-the-ground perspective of LDS polygamous practices in light of the American tradition of religious liberty:
Religious liberty is the right of every citizen of the Republic. Congress is forbidden by the Constitution to make any law "respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." For a century, under this guarantee, Protestant and Catholic, Jew and Gentile, have worshipped God according to the dictates of conscience. But religious liberty must not be perverted to the justification of offenses against the law. A religious sect, strongly intrenched in one of the Territories of the Union, and spreading rapidly into four other Territories, claims the right to destroy the great safeguard and muniment of social order, and to practice as a religious privilege that which is a crime punished with severe penalty in every State of the Union. The sacredness and unity of the family must be preserved as the foundation of all civil government, as the source of orderly administration, as the surest guarantee of moral purity.

The claim of the Mormons that they are divinely authorized to practice polygamy should no more be admitted than the claim of certain heathen tribes, if they should come among us, to continue the rite of human sacrifice. The law does not interfere with what a man believes; it takes cognizance only of what he does. As citizens, the Mormons are entitled to the same civil rights as others, and to these they must be confined. Polygamy can never receive national sanction or toleration by admitting the community that upholds it as a State in the Union. Like others, the Mormons must learn that the liberty of the individual ceases where the rights of society begin.
What do we make of this asserted principle here, "the liberty of the individual ceases where the rights of the society begin"?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Celebrate! The Lord is Risen!

A blessed Easter to all! Say, "Christ is risen!"; and hear the reply, "He is risen indeed!" In the (slightly adapted) words of a wonderful hymn by Isaac Watts:
He dies! the Friend of sinners dies!
Lo! Salem's daughters weep around!
A solemn darkness veils the skies;
A sudden trembling shakes the ground:
Come, saints, and drop a tear or two
On the dear bosom of your God:
He shed a thousand drops for you,
A thousand drops of richer blood.

Here's love and grief beyond degree;
The Lord of glory dies for man!
But lo! what sudden joys I see;
Jesus, the dead, revives again!
The rising God forsakes the tomb;
The tomb in vain forbids his rise!
Cherubic legions guard him home,
And shout him welcome to the skies!

Break off your tears, ye saints, and tell
How high your great Deliverer reigns;
Sing how he spoil'd the hosts of hell,
And led the monster death in chains.
Say, "Live forever, wondrous King!
Born to redeem, and strong to save!"
Then ask the monster, "Where's thy sting?"
And, "Where's thy victory, boasting grave?"1
Or, in the words of the full version of the classic Charles Wesley hymn for an occasion no less than this:
"CHRIST the Lord is ris'n To-day,"
Sons of Men and Angels say,
Raise your Joys and Triumphs high,
Sing ye Heav'ns, and Earth reply.

Love's Redeeming Work is done,
Fought the Fight, the Battle won,
Lo! our Sun's Eclipse is o'er,
Lo! He sets in Blood no more.

Vain the Stone, the Watch, the Seal;
CHRIST hath burst the Gates of Hell!
Death in vain forbids his Rise:
CHRIST hath open'd Paradise!

Lives again our glorious King,
Where, O Death, is now thy Sting?
Once He died our Souls to save,
Where thy Victory, O Grave?

Soar we now, where CHRIST has led,
Following our Exalted Head,
Made like Him, like Him we rise:
Ours the Cross; the Grave; the Skies.

What tho' once we perish'd All,
Partners of our Parent's Fall,
Second Life we All receive,
In our Heav'nly Adam live.

Ris'n with Him, we upward move,
Still we seek the Things above,
Still pursue, and kiss the Son,
Seated on his Father's Throne;

Scarce on Earth a Thought bestow,
Dead to all we leave below,
Heav'n our Aim, and lov'd Abode,
Hid our Life with CHRIST in GOD!

Hid; 'till CHRIST our Life appear,
Glorious in his Members here:
Join'd to Him, we then shall shine,
All Immortal, all Divine!

Hail to the LORD of Earth and Heav'n!
Praise to Thee by both be giv'n:
Thee we greet Triumphant now;
Hail the Resurrection Thou!

King of Glory, Soul of Bliss,
Everlasting Life is This,
Thee to know, thy Pow'r to prove,
Thus to sing, and thus to love!2
What a wonderful thought! And today is the day we have the privilege of celebrating it. I don't think I can express it better than the words of Paul:
If we've been united with him in a death like his, we'll certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin - because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we'll also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he can't die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:5-11)

1 Hymn 553, in John Wesley, A Collection of Hymns, for the Use of the People Called Methodists (London: John Mason, 1845), 515; compare a similar version as Hymn 133 in Hymn-Book of the Evangelical Association (Cleveland, OH: Evangelical Association, 1882), 81.
2 John Wesley and Charles Wesley, Hymns and Sacred Poems. 4th ed. (Bristol: Felix Farley, 1743), 144-146.

* For Easter, see also Kristine's post "Eternity's Sunrise" at the By Common Consent blog, and also the recent videos put out by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "He Is Risen" and "Jesus Is Resurrected".

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Brief Good Friday Message from Anthon Lund

Today is Good Friday, and in remembrance of that, I bring you a brief message on Good Friday from Anthon H. Lund, formerly of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
It is Good Friday today. This is celebrated by the Christian world in commemoration of the sufferings of our Savior. Eighteen hundred years and seventy-nine years ago last night, He spent some time in the Garden of Gethsemane. You know how He suffered, in contemplating that which was before Him, the bitter cup that He was to drain. He asked His Father: "If thou be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not My will, but Thine be done." Now, this is what we all should feel to say. Today, Good Friday, the day on which He suffered so much for us, let us not forget to let our thoughts go to Him in thankfulness.
Source: Anthon H. Lund, address delivered at General Conference on 5 April 1912, in Eighty-second Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret News Book Store, 1912), 11-12.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Edna and Lottie Tell of Utah

In 1906, two local girls from West Earl Township in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, sent a series of letters to the New Holland Clarion detailing their travels out West. In the 1 September 1906 issue, the Clarion printed a letter from Edna P. Hurst and Lottie Eckert that included a section about their passage back through Utah on their return, which reads partly as thus:
The next point of interest was Great Salt Lake. The railroad crosses it from one side to the other, a distance of seven miles. Leaving the lake we passed through Ogden. Salt Lake City was our next stopping place. This is a beautiful city, twenty miles south of the lake. Here the streets are 132 feet wide and bordered on each side with trees and streams of water. Some of the finest homes in the west are found here, belonging mostly to wealthy miners. All buildings are well built.

Temple Square contains the Mormon temple, tabernacle and assembly hall. With the exception of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York it is the most costly place of worship in the country, having cost $6,000,000. It is built of snow-white granite. It has four large towers and can be seen for fifty miles. Of course, as the temple is used only for marriages and other Mormon ceremonies, we could not get in. The tabernacle is a large structure designed by Brigham Young. It was built before iron nails were used and wooden pegs and raw hide were used to fasten things together. This building has a seating capacity of 18,000. It also contains one of the largest pipe organs in the world. We heard an organ recital by McClellan, the German musician. A choir of 500 voices sings in the tabernacle on Sunday, but we could not stay to hear it.

We also saw the Bee Hive and the Lion House, which were the homes of Brigham Young and his many wives. The photos of twenty-one of these with Brigham in the centre of the group are a novelty as a souvenir post card. We also visited his grave. To our surprise there are sixteen other denominations that have houses of worship in Salt Lake City.

A trip to Salt Air Bench and a float in Salt Lake were delightful. The water is so dense with salt that one can not sink. The water crystallizes on the hair or any part of the body with which it comes in contact.