Some of the Practical Results of the Utah System
From the San Francisco Post.
A part of the Mormon faith is belief in transmigration of souls. They believe that all spirits are born of God and find dwelling places in fleshy tabernacles. But their belief goes further, and they claim that in man the creative essence becomes a part of the spirit realm and as in that realm the status is fixed by the number of descendents of whom he is the head, they offer that as one excuse for polygamy. Apart from the belief that the size of the family determines the status of man in the realm of bliss, the Mormons believe that men are born with different degrees of luminousness. They compare men to the planets-some luminous, some opaque-and often speak of Christ as the sun, Joe Smith and Brigham Young as the moon, and others as the stars of different degrees of intensity. The luminous ones, they to that extent of the character of the divinity and they believe that they will go on increasing in light at last they evolute to the Pantheon, and will become gods. One man said to me when discussing this question: "I believe I will be a god." Now hare again is a theory on which they base a reason for polygamy. They say that the spirit essence does not dwell in woman; that she has no soul and no hope of, immortality apart from that which she derives from her matrimonial relations to man, and it is only by being sealed to man that woman can hope to enter into the spiritual hereafter. Woman would die physically and spiritually unless joined to man, and she can only hope for immortality by partaking of man's immortality. A woman not sealed to man loses her identity; she is simply flesh without indwelling spirit. Another feature of the Mormon belief is that a strong, luminous spirit goes from one body to another, becoming stronger and brighter, until, at last, it achieves divinity; but if by reason of weakness a spirit cannot stand alone and achieve immortality, it has to pass through a long period of probation. These fine spun theories are involved and perplexed in a mass of rubbishy expressions which sound well, but are really meaningless, and even those who are not understood by the people at large, but, only by the priests and deacons. The people are kept in superstitions ignorance, and being taught that the church alone can save them, they stick to the church for fear of hideous consequences held before their eyes by the crafty men who are in charge of the temple.
The institution and practice of polygamy in an exclusively Mormon community like Beaver or Logan imparts a peculiar tone to society that the men, being at liberty to marry when they please, and as often as they can, are regarded in the light of married men, and are always at liberty in go courting. I attended a ball given by a prominent deacon a short time before I left. There were three hundred and odd young people of both sexes present. My companions were three muchly married Mormons, and I noticed that as soon as we entered the ball-room they acted just as three young men would have done. My host, a nine time husband, would have come under the head of "masher" in any Gentile community, and he was especially attentive to a girl not seventeen years of age, who had caught his eye. He paid her all the compliments that a young lover pays to his sweetheart, and her father looked on approvingly to think that there was a good chance of her becoming the tenth Mrs. ——. The three married mashers with me were all treated by the girls as eligible young men. My status being unknown was of course a bar to any flirtation. Mormondom is a queer estate. The woman has to cleave to the man, but be does not reciprocate. The cleaving is very one sided. Infidelity in a wife is punishable with death. The seduction of a wife is punishable with death, for the church holds that the man who commits adultery outside of the marriage relation is guilty of an unpardonable sin, which never can be condoned. He is cut off from the congregation of the saints, and has no chance hereafter except by the medium of blood atonement—which in plain language, is suicide. The man who saves the church the trouble of killing him has a chance of heaven. For an unmarried man to seduce an unmarried woman is looked upon as a lighter offense, and is punished only by a sort of social ostracism. At the ball I spoke of before there was a young man summarily ejected by the committee, I asked the reason, and was told that he had been guilty of seducing a girl, and he never would be allowed again to associate with the young daughters of Zion, nor defile them with his touch. I was very much struck by the remarkable physical superiority of the Mormon girls over the youths. The girls of the young generation are as a class well formed, straight, plump and fairly good looking, with some few beauties among them. The boys are all rickety, bow legged, knock-kneed, stoop shouldered or deformed in some way. I did not see a fine-looking, well set-up young man in Logan that I can remember. They were a poor, scrubby lot, The number of girl children, too, is greatly in excess of the boys. I can't speak as to births, but of those who live the girls predominate. So far as breeding and manners go, the Mormon youth compares favorably with those of the most refined american communities. They are polite, well behaved, and in society distant and formal as the most cultured, of young Americans. They are far superior in that respect to their fathers and mothers. The result of polygamy on the physical future of the Mormons is hard to determine, as there is but one generation to use as a guide; but I don't think it will raise a great race of people or even a dangerous one. The Mormons are becoming great colonizers The young people marry and then go out into the territories to found colonies They go in large bodies, and it is the boast of the church that they breed so rapidly that Utah can send out annually a colony of 3,000 Mormons and not miss them.
I want to say here that so far as I could learn there is not a single Irish Mormon, nor do the people ever remember the joining of an Irishman to the faith. There is only one Jew Mormon in the Territory. He lives at Brigham City. Mormon cattle are rather scrubby; their sheep are splendid, and their horses the most hardy and enduring animals I have ever seen, and the best saddle horses. It is nothing uncommon to hear of a team hauling a light wagon over 100 miles in a day. The stock comes from the Indian Cayuses, bred up by careful selection. They will ship several car loads of fine saddle horses to San Francisco in a short time, and whoever gets one will he pleased.
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