The Mormons in Utah
A remarkable fact is this of Mormonism, from whatever point of view it is considered. A sect whose doctrines are pronounced ab-surd and immoral by these who have ex-plored them with care, and it may be pre-sumed with impartial intelligence ; whose community is refused an abode among the Christian citizens of Illinois, and compelled to flee to the wilderness, not only founds there a flourishing State, but makes converts in all parts of Christendom. And these converts are by no means from the off scour-ings of society, but are substantial, sober, in-dustrious people, not highly educated, but generally, as far as we can judge from those we have known, well endowed with common sense and practical judgment in affairs. In-deed, the success of the Salt Lake colony would seem to prove that the great body of the Mormons are persons of energy and ca-pacity. What is it that brings such men into the Mormon Church ? Is it that spirit of religious fanaticism which is said to prompt adherence to the greatest absurd-ities, provided they arrogate to themselves a supernatural character ? Or is it some de-praved and perverted instinct of the heart seeking justification for immorality under the sanctions of religion ? Or is it something more and different, from these ? We con-fess that it is not clear to our comprehen-sion. There is a mystery in the matter we do not pretend to solve.
Meanwhile the colony in Utah is con-stantly receiving accessions of men who, apart from their peculiar religious and moral notions, would be a gain to any community. A great number of English artisans have already reached this country, or are now leaving their native home, on their way to join the colony. On the continent of Eu-rope the ardent labors of the Mormon mis-sionaries—and we know of no missionaries more enthusiastic and devoted to their work—seem to be hardly less successful. They have made proselytes wherever they have gone, and they appear to have gone every-where. In Denmark and Sweden we hear of them, and of an increase in the number of "Saints" consequent upon their labors. Yesterday there came into our hands the first number of the Etoile du Deseret, an occa-sional publication issued at Paris in defense of their doctrines. Its editor says it will have the advantage of giving instruction and some consolations to the brethren of Italy, of Switzerland, and the Channel Islands, who understand the French lan-guage, as well as to the brethren of France."
All these proselytes to Mormonism turn their faces toward the Great Valley as to the chosen abode of their faith. There re-side its chiefs, and its sacred writings are preserved, and there they can practice its observances without let or hindrance. For the present the spread of Mormonism in Eu-rope tends only to build up that colony, and such it would appear must continue to be the case. Nowhere in the Old World would such a sect be allowed to establish itself; even in the New it had to seek in the desert a place for its habitations.
The people of the United States can, in a commercial and political sense, only be ben-efitted by the growth of this remarkable people. They occupy a region which, but for them, would long have remained unoc-cupied and unimproved. Lying half way, as it were, between the Atlantic and Pa-cific, its settlement at this early period is of the highest consequence in shaping the des-tinies of the Continent, and holding the East and West firmly united. Through their means the opening of rapid communication between the States on each side will be greatly accelerated. And while they are forced by the exigencies of their position, and their own honorable instinct of inde-pendence, to provide for their own wants by establishing among themselves the various branches of mechanical and manufacturing industry, their commerce will be of greater and greater value to the seaboard States. One might almost exclaim that here is a great Providential end of their existence. And whatever may have been the difficulties attending their residence at Nauvoo, they have since then proved themselves patriotic citizens of the Republic, and we see not how, in their present position, they are in danger of ever being assailed by hostile or intolerant neighbors. It is certainly a strik-ing illustration of the genius of our Govern-ment, and of the liberal spirit of the age, that a Mormon delegate will take his seat in the next Congress, and that in due time we shall see Mormon members in both Houses. Two or three centuries ago such heretics would have been burned or hanged for the culpability of their belief. It is cer-tainly a more profitable as well as humane way to leave religious errors wherever they exist, to time and the progress of intelli-gence, and to open to the citizen every ave-nue of honor and usefulness without regard to the nature of his convictions on super-natural subjects.
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