MORMON SECRETS TOLD.
AN HOUR WITH GOVERNOR EM H. MURRAY.
How Brigham Young Got Rich—A Con-stitutional Law Needed—Some Mis-takes of Congress—Polygamy Beastly but Not Criminal.
Governor Eli H. Murray, who has re cently arrived in Louisville from Utah, - was seen last night by a COMMERCIAL re-porter. The Governor said: "I prefer not to be interviewed, but I feel that there are so many facts connected with the past and present of Utah, which the people at large ought to know and don't know and which I sometimes think they persist in not knowing, that it is almost a duty which I ought not to avoid, to an-swer any questions frankly and fully, put to me by individuals, and more espe-cially newspaper men.”
"What was the condition of the Terri- tory when you became its Governor?"
"Just what it had been from the be-ginning, The theory of the founders of Utah was to create a State, in and of themselves and for themselves. The founders of all other States were act-uated by the purpose of creating a gov-ernment and a State to be dedicated to constitutional liberty and the general welfare of the country,"
THE STATE OF DESERET.
"But the Mormons at the outset formed themselves into a State known as Des-eret, covering a vast area of territory, reaching from the California line to the eastern spurs of the Rocky Mountains, including the present State of Colorado, and applied to Congress for admission as a free and independent State. In lieu of that Congress granted to them, as it did to others, a territorial form of gov-ernment, and Brigham Young became its first Governor. This was a grave mis-take, for it enabled the Mormons to ex-ecute a part of their purpose of erecting a polygamous empire. They immedi-ately set to work to appropriate and set apart to Brigham and his trusted leaders the canyons and their streams, without which the soil had no value. The Legislature and Governor re-enacted all the acts passed by the State of Deseret, among which were the acts granting the timber and streams—property of the United States, which could only be legally dis-posed of by Congress—to these leaders of the Mormon Church. Among many other extraordinary acts, they incor-porated a church, not for purposes of worship merely, and made it virtually, if not positively, an established religion. They also created by territorial enact-ment what is known as the "Perpetual Emigration Fund Company," under the direction and control of the President of the Church, which act likewise granted the islands of the Great Salt Lake to the corporation and made escheats, which in all Governments go to the sovereign power, inure to this fund. Under this system of emigration, camel on from that date to this, entirely con-trolled by the church authorities, Utah has been settled and continues to be pop-ulated. No other system has been toler-ated or permitted by law, and all other settlers in the Territory have been re-garded as they are commonly known as 'outsiders.'
HOW BRIGHAM YOUNG GOT RICH,
"Brigham Young was always bitterly opposed to mining; for, with the develop-ment of mines, he feared the overthrow of his absolute power by the influx of people who bore true allegiance to the country rather than to the corporation which was known under the laws as 'The Church of the Latter Day Saints,' of which he was the great and only head. Under such a system he grew rich rapidly, and a number of his favorites were made wealthy and the church itself became a powerful corporation through the exac-tion of tithing taxes on the people of Utah. All who could be induced or driven were made to adopt polygamy in order to fasten them more closely to him and his purpose of establishing a kingdom which should override all governments opposed to him. While Congress has since equivocally repealed some of the acts mentioned passed by a legislature paid out of the Treasury of the United States, yet the system was established which has borne its fruitage of shame to humanity, and continues to be a disgrace to the country."
MORMON SCHOOL OUTRAGE.
"What can you say of the schools of the Territory, Governor?"
"Under the forms of their common school law, the education of the masses of the people was made to foster the es-tablishment of Brigham's Kingdom. The schools were established in districts throughout the Territory on ground be-longing to the Mormon Church, and the school buildings used are either branch churches or located adjoining them. In these schools, paid for by taxes levied on Gentiles and Mormons, Gentile children do not receive instruction. The different religious denominations of the country are establishing their own schools in many places, where all are admitted who see proper to attend, and these are accom-plishing much good.''
"What about Congressional legislation on Utah affairs?"
"In 1862 Congress passed a law de-nouncing polygamy as a crime in the Territory and attaching a penalty to the practice. Next, a questionable repeal of the act incorporating the church was made, and, finally, Congress restricted any church in the Territory from holding more than $50,000 worth of real estate. So far as the first act was concerned, Con-gress having passed that law, should have enforced it; but in failing to do so many inhabitants we're induced by the church authorities to adopt polygamous marri-ages, who would otherwise never have done so. Then they should have fixed a penalty upon the solemnizing of polyga-mous unions."
HOW THE LAW WAS EVADED.
"The second measure, to repeal the act incorporating the church, was performed so bunglingly that the corporation con-tinued to grow richer from year to year. The provisions of the law were evaded on every hand, and the law itself nullified by placing the titles to church property in the Bishops of the church, the Presi-dents of State and other agents of the corporation, and instead of the church being restricted to fifty thousand dollars of real estate, the property in the single county of Salt Lake is estimated at from two to three millions; and how much more there is in all the other counties it would be a thankless as well as difficult task to estimate."
"What is your opinion of polygamy?"
POLYGAMY NOT A GREAT CRIME.
"While I consider it beastly in practice and sad in its results, I do not regard it as a great crime. The greatest crime in Utah is against the flag. Two bodies can-not occupy the same space at once, and under the perfected form of government builded by the Mormon Church in refer-ence to all the relations of man to his fellows, as well as to his Maker, there is no room nor place left for the Govern-ment of the United States. The act of 1862, in the test case of Reynolds, was declared to be constitutional, but notwithstanding, its passage and the adjudication of our Supreme Court have been defiantly set aside and ignored as other acts have been. The several sub-fequent efforts of Congress to grapple with the question have all been fruitless in their results, until the agitation fol-lowing the displacement of Mr. Cannon as a vile polygamist from his seat in the House of Representatives caused the enactment of what is known as the 'Ed-munds bill.' The conservative character of Senator Edmunds, its author, is shown in this bill, preferring, as he evidently did, that a Legislature composed of monoga-mists should have a chance to pass laws that would be in harmoney with the acts of Congress and the universal wish of the people rather than to adopt harsher measures. Such a Legislature has been elected, and will convene in January."
WHAT MAY BE EXPECTED OF THE LEGISLA-TURE.
"What do you expect from it?"
"Very little, if anything. They are no less subservient to the Mormon church than the polygamists."
"Has the Commission appointed by President Arthur done any good?"
"Yes, so far as they were able. They nave faithfully executed the law in the disfranchisement of known polygamists; but the law itself does not reach the de-sired end, and the supporters of good government in the United States will have to ask Congress for further legisla-tion."
"Whot other legislation is necessary, in your judgment?"
"The remedy is a plain one and clearly within the province of Congress and clearly devoid of Constitutional objections. It is the right as it is the duty of Congress to enact such laws under the Constitution as the people demand and the subject may require; and I am sure the people of this country would prefer to have a Leg-islative Council for Utah, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Sen-ate, rather than a similar Council ap pointed by the President of the Mormon or any other Church. Therefore, Con-gress should either take in hand the pass-age of an entire code of laws for Utah or make provisions for a Council composed of good and true men who will do that. This must be done, or else other and more heroic measures will have to be adopted."
DELAY IS DANGEROUS.
"I mean to warn this country that de-lay is dangerous, and am rather inclined now to make demands on the country to do its duty than to criticise the Mormons for what they have done and are doing. The question certainly cannot rest as it is now, and Congress ought to provide that remedy which is at once effectual and lasting. If an establishment of religion in the face of plain constitutional prohi-bition be right, then repeal all laws heretofore passed on the subject, and let us have a polygamous kingdom within our republic, and let that political party who can, defend it. I am sick and tired of seeing sentimentalists and moral the-orists stand in the way of that legislation which is right, and must come sooner or later. The Government cannot afford to see the laws defied and allow men who owe an allegiance to a corporation prior to an allegiance to law, control any part of this country."
The Governor has prepared an elaborate report to the Secretary of the Interior, which deals with all these difficult and delicate questions connected with his ad-ministration, and his statements in this interview may be taken as indicative of the recommendations he will make in the report.
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