Revival of Mormonism.
“A Modern Knight-Errant" in the Field.
While stopping for a day or two last week, at Maka-wao, East Maui, rumors reached us that a grand fili-bustering, privateering, or some other mysterious scheme, was on foot at Wailuku, which lies in full view on the opposite side of the valley, some sixteen miles distant. Soon other reports came in that a se-cession flag was flying there, that meetings were daily held with closed doors, or rather that the building in which the meetings were held was guarded against interlopers, that persons were being enlisted for secret service, &c. These reports were hardly credible yet hearing them reiterated, we hastened over to Wailuku to learn their truth or falsity. Reaching Kahului, we found they were generally believed, and we were assured by persons who had seen it, that a strange ensign, supposed to be a secession flag, had been displayed at Wailuku. This flag part of the story rather stirred up our loyal blood, and McClellan's soldiers never longed for a shot at the rebels more than did we for a glimpse of the supposed secession bunting. In company with J. D. Havekost, Esq., the worthy tax-collector of Wailuku, we remounted our horses, and spurred them up in double-quick time. On arriving in the village, we found that a Mormon meeting was in session and that a no less important personage than Capt. WALTER M. GIBSON was presiding over it,—"the Captain Gibson" whom most of our Honolulu readers will remember. In company with Mr. Chas. Gray, of Honolulu, we immediately proceeded to the Mormon meeting-house, which is located a few hundred yards south of the Protestant church. As soon as our ap-proach was observed, there was a busy stir among the natives lounging about, and a general stampede for the entrance; but with the salutation aloha, we pushed our way through the door, which bad become filled with natives, though we met no resistance from them in our entry.
Walking up to the table, which was at the farther end of the building, we found Capt. Gibson and Mr. H. B. Eddy seated behind it, whom we accosted, and took a seat beside them. This building holds per-haps 250 persons, and immediately after our en-try, the natives crowded in till it was densely filled, mostly with men, there being but three or four women present. On expressing our surprise to Capt. Gibson at finding him here, he replied that he was equally surprised with his present position. We then asked if there was any foundation for the report that we had heard that he was a Mormon. Without directly answering the question asked, he answered that he had come here as the friend of a poor and despised class of our population, that his sym-pathies were with them, that this was a Mor-mon gathering, and that the audience consisted of delegates from the Mormon churches throughout the group—some having come from each of the islands, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui and Hawaii ; and we may here say that during a residence of twelve years on these islands, we have never met in any assemblage so many intelligent natives, whose appearance and faces bespoke a superiority over the masses. We were not aware that there were a hun-dred Mormons on the group.
We stated to Capt. Gibson that we were surprised that he did not, during his stay of two months in Honolulu, divulge the fact that he came here as a Mormon, and not as we had supposed simply as a traveler on his way to China and the East Indies, as he had, in conversations, given us to understand. He replied that he had not purposely made any con-cealment, that there were gentlemen in Honolulu who knew the fact, naming Mr. Bates, Mr. Damon and Mr. Wyllie. We said that we did not believe that either of them or any one else knew it. He then went on to give us a chapter in his history, how in crossing the continent he arrived at Salt Lake, and was there taken seriously ill, that during his sickness Brigham Young sent for him, received him into his house, nursed him and paid him the kindest atten-tions during his stay of six months in Utah. The result of his sojourn there was a change of views regarding the Mormons and their religion as a sys-tem of social polity, on which latter point he had much to say, and expressed his belief that no other system was so well adapted to the Hawaiians in com-mon with other Polynesian races. We may here add that during our conversations neither Capt. Gibson nor Mr. Eddy admitted that they were members of the Mormon church ; and we have since been in-formed by Dr. Long, U. S. Consul at Lahaina, that Mr. Eddy distinctly denied to him that they were Mormons.
On the table was a considerable amount of silver coin, which, as we learned from the natives, was obtained by selling to them some blanks which also lay on the table, and which we understand were printed at the Government Press in Honolulu. These blanks are filled out to constitute elders or other officers or members of the Mormon church.
On leaving the church, Capt. Gibson expressed a wish to see us again, and as we were to return in the morning by steamer to Honolulu, we promised to call at his dwelling in the evening, which we did, in com-pany with J. D. Havekost, Esq. Arriving at the house, we found the principal room filled with natives, men and women, the latter seated on one side, and singing a Mormon song to a lively tune, which ended with a chorus. These women, of whom there were a dozen or so, were from Lanai, and sung very well—indeed we have seldom heard better native singing. Around the center table were seated Capt. Gibson, Miss Gibson and Mr. Eddy, who acted as secretary, by all whom we were welcomed in. The singing being end-ed, we stated to Capt. G. that we had come to make inquiries, and wished to ask a question which he might perhaps consider impertinent, viz: whether he was authorized by Brigham Young or the Church in Utah to come here and re-organize the Mormons? He replied that he thought we had no right to ask that question, and did not answer it. We then asked if he had satisfied the natives that he had such authority. He said that if he had not done so, they would not not have assembled. A long discussion then ensued regarding the merits of Mormonism, and the plans of the leaders of that church. The princi-pal plan, which Capt. G. warmly advocates, is the removal of the Mormons to the island of Papua or New Guinea, which lies just North of Australia, separated from that continent by the Straits of Torres. Papua contains an area of about 200,000 square miles, and from one to two hundred thousand inhabitants, of whom very little is known. Capt. G. stated that he had visited Lanai, and though he thought the. missionaries who had selected that island [. . .] a mistake in such selection, yet they intended [. . .] […]etain and occupy it, and he thought it could sustain a population of at least 3000 persons ; but as he hoped the sect would number at the end of two years from this at least 10,000 per-sons, some larger island, (Molokai or Maui) would perhaps be occupied. Indeed, he thought that Wai-luku afforded an admirable site for such a thriving and industrious population as the Mormons had ever proved themselves; and if we would pay a visit to the place in four months from this, we should find a new church erected and a fine residence for himself, where he would be able to entertain his visitors in becom-ing style. So long as the Mormons here were let alone, and not interfered with, all would be quiet; but should the Catholics, Protestants or any other party attempt to interfere with them, they would assert their rights.
We here expressed a wish to make some inquiries, which he might deem offensive, but hoped he would pardon our inquisitiveness, as rumors were afloat, the truth of which must either be admitted or con-tradicted. And first we desired to know whether he had come to the islands with any secession or priva-teering scheme in view, or had sought to enlist any persons for privateering. This report he distinctly and firmly denied, and said that, from whatever source it had arisen, there was no truth in it. We assured him that it was believed by some of the most intelligent persons in Honolulu and Lahaina, and if untrue should be contradicted.
We then inquired whether a secession flag had not been raised and displayed at the meeting in the val-ley held on the 8th of October. To this Capt. Gib-son, his daughter and Mr. Eddy all answered to-gether, that there was not the shadow of truth in that report, and if we wished to see the flag which was raised there, they would send for it, which was done. It was a white flag, about five by three feet in size, with a double circle in the center, of which the fol-lowing is a representation
This certainly is no secession flag, although the eight stars might be interpreted by silly bodies to mean eight seceded States, and the eight letters some signi-fican in the center. stars we were given to under-
We then asked whether there was any foundation for the report that they had surveyed the harbor of Kahului, harbors on Molokai and harbors on Lanai. This Capt. Gibson also denied, and said that the only harbor that they had taken soundings in was one on Lanai, for the purpose of seeing whether a small vessel which they were building could enter it, but found it too shallow for that purpose. We remarked that the survey of the harbor on Lanai was sufficient to give rise to the report referred to. On the other hand, we are informed by persons residing at Kahu-lui, that soundings have been taken at Mr. Eddy's instance, in the harbor and on the reef at Kahului. But this, as stated before, is denied.
We next asked whether an oath of secrecy or alle-giance had not been exacted from those natives who entered the secret meetings held in the evening. This report was also denied in toto. On the other hand, we were assured by a native whose brother was admitted at the meeting that he was only admit-ted after taking an oath of secrecy, which oath was exacted from every one who entered the lodge. And for that reason he refused to state what trans-pired at it. Among the natives it was reported that the subject of discussion was a defalcation in the funds of the Mormon church, while others report that the civil war in America was talked over. But there is no good ground for crediting either report. The house may have been guarded against the admis-sion of outsiders, as the natives say was the case.
Capt. Gibson stated that he had no animosity against the Protestant religion or missionaries, but against the spread of the Catholic faith, or rather against the spread of the French influence at the islands, he was opposed. He believed that the French would subjugate this race if they could, and on that account he opposed them. Although his mother was a Catholic, and he was early taught to venerate that church, he himself believed in no creed or sect what-ever. We took the occasion to ask whether his ad-miration of Brigham Young and the Mormon reli-gion arose from the favors shown to him while in Utah, or from an examination of the doctrines of Mormonism. He replied that he had not studied their doctrines or books, but had becomed convinced that the system of social polity practiced by them was the best to be found on the globe. We concluded there was some truth in the remark made by Mr. Havekost to Capt. G.: "You are no more a Mormon than I am."
The doctrine of polygamy coming up, we inquir-ed concerning its working. So far as he had observ-ed, it worked well. Then, we suppose, you will teach it to the natives. Oh, no, he replied, we shall teach nothing contrary to the laws. But where the Mormon church is supreme as in Utah, they preach and practice it. Well, then, when all our islanders are converted, and become Mormons, and they con-trol the government and legislature, we may expect polygamy here. Perhaps so.
We asked whether he held out to the natives the hope generally entertained by Mormons of migrating to some particular locality or country. He said no, though the Mormons generally embrace that as part of their belief. He assured us most positively that he intended nothing against the existing government, but that they were loyal and obedient to the laws.
We inquired the number of native Mormons now on the islands, and learned that advices from the churches reported that they were as follows :
On Kauai, about . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .350
On Oahu, " . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .800
On Molokai, Maui and Lanai, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1400
On Hawaii, about. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 600
Making a total of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3150
They formerly numbered 6,000, but this is the num-ber who now class themselves as Mormons. At the meeting on the 8th there were several baptized, and Capt. Gibson thinks that at the end of two years, there will not be less than 10,000 Mormons in the group.
Our interview having lasted over two hours, we retired, after listening to the singing of a hymn in Hawaiian, which appeared to be the words "When I can read my title clear," &c., sung to a revival melody, which was very well performed.
We cannot better conclude our account of this re-vival of Mormonism, than by giving a humorous anecdote which occurred a day or two before our arrival, vouched for by Mr. Havekost, whose inim-itable recital of it, however, we cannot portray. The Mormons, it appears, are given to the performance of miracles. There was an old native woman living near the church, whom they were anxious to convert, and plied every art and persuasion to bring her over, which she resisted till at last she consented to change her faith, provided they would cure her horse, which lay sick in the pasture near by. Very well, they could easily do that, they said. So in a short time they came back, a large crowd of elders and saints, and surrounded the horse, laying their hands on him till he was literally covered from his nose to the end of his tail. Then kneeling down, they prayed that the old horse's spirit might return to him and he revive. And they anointed him with oil. The poor beast must have felt the power of their incantations, for he gave a long breath and yielded up the ghost. When the old woman saw that the horse was dead, she cried out, “Hele pela oukou ; he poe hoopunipuni oukou ; hele pela!" “Clear out ; you are a set of liars; begone!" They gave up the old woman, as they did her horse, as a pretty hard case.
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