BRIGHAM YOUNG ON POLYGAMY.
In one of his letters in the Tribune from Great Salt Lake City, A. D. Richardson gives the following sketch of a conversation with Brigham Young, in his office, on the subject of polygamy. Speaker Colfax was the prin-cipal party to manage the controversy with the Mormon President:
At last the discourse turned upon polygamy, and a lively, frank discussion ensued, in which all present, on both sides, took a part. Brigham insisted that experience and history, both sacred and profane, justify it, and 'posed' the scriptural members of our party by asking them to cite from the Bible a single direct prohibition. But when he admitted that even in Utah, as elsewhere, the births of males and females are about equal, he seemed a little staggered by Mr. Colfax's asking how he accounted for that fact if the Almighty designed more than one wife for each man.
Our Party. Is Polygamy a vital and inseparable part of your system ?
Brigham. It is not m our Book of Covenants and Dis-cipline. We did not adopt it of ourselves, but in conso-nance with a revelation from God I was ordered to enter into Plurality. (The Mormons invariably use this word instead of Polygamy—Correspondent) So were several of the other brethren. But for the Church at large it is a privilege rather than an obligation. Abuses of it some-times occur which it is difficult to prevent. But we can point to the highest morality. We have not a house of prostitution, I don’t believe you can find four illegiti-mate children in the Territory. You all think Plurality cannot last. Now tell us frankly how you expect it to be done away.
Colfax. Well, we expect you to have a new revelation prohibiting it. [Laughter.] Brigham. We should out be sorry for that. If God ever so directs we shall be glad to dispense with it.
Colfax. Or there may be another solution. You may do away with it by your own voluntary action, legally, peacefully, just as Missouri and Maryland abolished slavery.
Brigham. But if we did so it would be only the begin-ning. You could then demand that we give up the Book of Mormons, and nest our Church organization. Our Party. No, no! You would be tolerated in your faith just as Methodists, Presbyterians, and all other sects are. We have no right to interfere with your religion—only your practice when it violates civil law.
A Mormon Elder. That infamous law against "Po-lygamy" strikes at our religious liberty, and is unconsti-tutional.
Colfax. It certainly violates no section of the Con-stitution, and accords with the practice of all civilized nations.
Elder. What right had Congress to enact it ?
Our Party. The same it would have to interfere with a sect which, like South Sea Islander, should consider human sacrifices a religious duty, or, like our New Eng-land ancestors, should interpret the scriptural injunction, "Thou Shalt not suffer a witch to live," as requiring them to drown old women on the charge of witchcraft.
Brigham. The cases are not parallel. As I read His Word, God nowhere requires the taking of human life, ex-cept in the single ease of His Son, who was given as a sacrifice end atonement for all our sins. Besides, our system is entirely voluntary.
Our Party. True ; but the comparison holds good inso-much as your system conflicts with civilization and public morality. If you had a revelation requiring you, like Abraham, to sacrifice and slay your son, would you do it
Elder. Yes, if convinced that it was a revelation from God, Our Party, Well, just there the civil law would step in to restrain you. Now, will you answer a question as frankly as we have done ? Do you expect Polygamy to spread throughout the nation and the world ?
Brigham. That is known only to the God of Heaven. If, as we believe, our faith is the true one, it will continue to grow and flourish, and nothing can prevail against it. It is fill in the hands of God.
Soon after the interview ended. Giving only fragmen-tary portions of it, I have endeavored to report the spirit, and, as far as space would allow, the words of its chief discussions. Its like never occurred before in the office of Brigham Young. I trust he will yet receive the new revelation.
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