LAST DAYS OF BRIGHAM.
HIS EXPEDITION SOUTH.
AFFAIRS IN MORMONDOM—PROSPECTS OF THE NEW MOVEMENT—WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
SALT LAKE CITY, March 12.—Brigham's ex-ploring expedition south, undertaken on the 24th ult., is the one subject of conversation. He was accompanied by his favorite Amelia, one of his Counselors, and a dozen or so of the Elders and Apostles, outfitted for a two or three months' trip. Orders had been previously sent to St. George, for 40 men to hold themselves in readiness, with 40 days' rations, to move at a moment's notice. St. George, 300 miles south of this city, is the southernmost considerable settlement of the Mormons, and the furthest telegraph station in that direction. Brigham and his party arrived there last night. According to the story, there is a rainy belt of country about 300 miles south of St. George, large enough for a State, which the Mormons know of. Now, in view of a pos-sible emergency, Brigham has gone to take another and more critical look at it. An idea of the im-portance attached to this movement may be had from the fact that the April Conference, which convenes an-nually on the anniversary of the organization of the Church, was postponed for it, the first time such a thing has ever been done.
Many are the surmises as to the object in view. The one which seems to me most likely to be true is that it is to find, if possible, another suitable place "to lay the foundations of Zion"—one to which the polygamists, and possibly such others as prefer to cast their lot with them, may retire and be safe from molestation in case the Gov-ernment does enforce the anti-polygamy law of 1862. Brigham evidently believes in himself and the mission of his people as fanatically as ever. They have been called, raised up, and chosen, to fill and rule the earth. Their’s is the Kingdom of God and His Christ which is to cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. If the time has not yet come when they may cease to fly before their enemies, it is because of their unfaithfulness. That the Lord is on their side, and will finally prove too much even "for Congress and Gen. Grant, they are convinced. Meanwhile they are not with-out a good deal of what is called worldly policy. Brigham sees that the isolation of his people in Utah is no longer possible. Isolation is necessary to their growth, to their existence even. "It is futile to think," says President Wells, "that we could live our religion where we were not in the majority." Brigham sees that from the attrition of the world his people are growing and bursting the shackles on their limbs. As for himself, he is not the man to change. He may die, but he will die Brigham. Now he has sworn by all the gods he worships that he never will submit to dictation from the outside in the matter of polygamy or anything else he deems religion. He has psychologized a part of his people, so that they think his thoughts and do his will. What proportion of them? About one-eighth of the men are polygamists, and 16,000 would be a large estimate of the number of their able-bodied men. Some of these have been careful not to violate the anti-polygamy law of 1800, and as it is not presumable that any possible action of the Government can trouble those who violated no existing law in entering on the practice of polygamy, they will not be forced to flee. So that 2,000 would be a liberal estimate of those straightest of their sect who would be likely, in any event, to follow Brigham to the new and more isolated "Zion." And that about that num-ber should do it, does seem probable, in case the law should be enforced. It is understood that the School of the Prophets, where public policy is most and most se-cretly discussed among them, has concluded that if the Cullom bill passes and is enforced, it will be best for such as cannot stand the pressure to quietly withdraw south-ward, and "woe," they say, "to any who shall dare to follow them." Elder Woodruff, one of the Apostles, said, in a sermon not long since, that he would not have to flee to escape the law, even if the Cullom bill should pass, because he had taken no additional wives since the pas-sage of the anti-polygamy law of 1862. It stands to reason, if reason may be applied to a people who would seem to have taken leave of it, that few who are not amenable to the law will join in "vamosing the ranch." The number who are amenable to the law cannot exceed 2,000. With them would go the iron reign of terror Brigham has maintained in the mountains for 20 years, and the trebly oath-bound priesthood, which embraces every man and woman in the Church, and accounts for their Unity, would soon crumble from the sturdy blows of men who have for a score of years felt its iron in their souls.
THE BLOOD ATONEMENT.
The Mormons are fanatics. Their minds are darkened by the terrible doctrine of blood atonement. The enlightened world may not be able to believe it, but their published discourses are full of it. How far it has been practiced it would be difficult to determine. There have been schisms in the Church before, one started by Glad-den Bishop in 1853, and one by Morris, ten years or so later. Each drew some followers, Morris as many as 500, but they were all driven from the country or extermi-nated. The thunders of the Church, the proscription of society, the machinery of the law, and the rancor of a fanatical militia, were all invoked to crush them. Brigham said, on the first occasion, "Rather than that apostates should flourish here, I will unsheath my bowie-knife and conquer or die," at which there was great com-motion in the congregation and a simultaneous burst of feeling assenting to the declaration. "Now, you nasty apostates," continued he, "clear out, or judgment will be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet. [Voices generally, 'Go it! Go it!'] If you say it is right, raise your hands. [All hands up]. Let us call upon the Lord to assist us in this and every good work." As to the doc-trine of blood atonement, Brigham said on one occasion, "Do you think it would be any sin to kill me if I were to break my covenants? Do you believe you would kill me if I broke the covenants of God and you had the spirit of God? Yes, and the more spirit of God I had the more I should strive to save your soul by spilling your blood when you had committed sins that could not be remitted by baptism."
These quotations are from Brigham's discourses, as re-perted and published by the Church paper, The Deseret News. They precisely illustrate the spirit of the man and the people from year to year continually. I quote them to show what the present schismatics, Godbe & Co., have to fear. They live, now, only by Brigham's sufferance. The sword of Damocles is impending over them, but if it does not fall while Brigham is absent; if it is not dropped subsequently in a spirit of revenge or "saintly love;" if by the Providence of God and possibly of the Government they shall live through the contem-plated passage of the Cullom bill, and the hegira of the polygamists as above, then will the modern Jesuitical order of priesthood be destroyed by their sturdy blows.
The English and Scotch Elders, men who began to preach Mormonism a quarter of a century ago, when they were young and enthusiastic and before polygamy had been engrafted on it, who converted and baptized four-fifths of the people of Utah, who have traveled with them, slept with them, eaten and drunk and prayed with them, who have furnished the human material of the Kingdom of Brigham, yet who have been suppressed by that potentate and his Yankee associates, broken on the wheel, shelved, crushed, the fruits of their labors per-verted to their own enslavement—these are the men, who, favored by circumstances, have attempted to be heard in their own cause. They are in the prime of life, while Brigham and his set are tottering on the brink of the grave. They are the bone and sinew and nerve and brain of Mormomdom. Among them are 5,000 missiona-ries. Let the Godbe leaders be relieved of the constant fear of assassination which haunts them, and let them get the willing ear of their brethren by blood, by com-mon associations, by age, sympathy, interest, hope and ambition, and Utah would be advanced 20 years in as many months. Some of them openly denounce polygamy now, and all of them say they are willing it should stand on its own merits, admitting, if pressed, that it has none to stand on. Four-fifths of those who follow them are pronounced earnest anti-polygamists.
THE CULLOM BILL.
The reader will have gathered from the foregoing that I hope the Cullom bill, divested of some of its harsher features, will pass, and that the President will judiciously set about enforcing it. I do not anticipate anything worse from it in any event than the flight to Arizona of the more fanatical polygamists, who, with the power and influence they exert, constitute the incubus which rests upon Utah like a blight, and closes the door effectually upon every regenerating influence. The exile or subju-gation of these men is the first step toward the American-izing of Utah. If the passage of the Cullom bill and judicious action thereupon by the Executive would in-duce their flight, and there seems to be good ground for believing it would, let us have it by all means. And it might be well to follow them only as we have to Utah. Or, possibly, the Church, modernized and Christianized, would be a sufficiently powerful magnet to draw back the body of them after their hard-headed leaders should have been gathered to their fathers.
The Legislature recently adjourned had some spasms of sense—something heretofore unknown, in its history. For I suppose you know it is the same Legislature, mainly, that has convened annually in Utah for twenty years, composed of ecclesiastical Judges, Presidents, Bishops, and Elders. In 1854 they held "that common law in a labyrinth of abominations, and should be struck out of existence; and that the laws of Utah were so few and plain there was no need of courts and lawyers." They have ever forbidden mining for the precious metals, often disfellowshipping those who would do it. They regarded the Gentile town of Corinne, on the railroad, as the very stench from the bottomless pit. They held woman go cheaply as not to be worth damning, hardly worth saving, fit only to hasten the day when Mormonism should become respectable from the number of its be-lievers. The late Legislature adopted for Utah the civil and criminal code of Nevada, with slight alteration. They passed a law regulating mining, although, whether intentionally of ignorantly, they made it so restrictive that the Governor was obliged to veto it. They gave Corinne a charter, and finally they admitted woman to the ballot-box. They are iconoclasts as well as eclectics. It would be strange if in their slashing about they didn't occasionally blunder into the right path. A selfish motive, however, is not unlikely to have been at the bot-tom of the movement. It gives the practical polygamists four-fold power in any contest with their adversaries at the polls. Polygamy de facto is all that stands between the women and disgrace. But some of them may be saved yet by this action.
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