THE CONTROVERSY IN UTAH.
MORMONISM AND POLYGAMY—CONFLICTING TES-TIMONY—A REVIEW.
The Utah Reporter (Gentile) gives the follow-ing review of the polygamy question, suggested by the present agitation between Brigham Young and the younger Smiths. It says:
The special excitement in Salt Lake City, consequent on the mission of the young Smiths, seems to have quieted down and given place to a more quiet and argu-mentative discussion on the merits of the case. This is one of those singular controversies in which both parties "know they are right," and can prove it too. As far as human testimony can prove anything, it can be proved beyond a doubt that Joseph Smith, the Prophet, practiced polygamy, while with still more certainty, both by human testimony and documentary evidence, it can be proved that he constantly and bitterly denied it, that he "silenced" all the Elders who preached it, and that nearly the last day of his life he pronounced it a false and damnable doctrine. Sixteen women swore most pos-itively, and allowed their affidavits to be published in The Nauvoo Expositor, that Joseph Smith had made pro-posals to them to become his concubines, and 12 women, now in Salt Lake City, subscribe to affidavits that they were the spiritual wives of Joseph Smith, and lived with him as such. It were difficult to prove a case more plainly. When The Expositor came out Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, John Taylor, Dr. Bernhisel, and all the Nauvoo Council, composed of the leading Mor-mons, pronounced it an infamous libel and the women perjured liars, and destroyed the printing office. In conversation with Gov. Ford, shortly after, both the Smiths, John Taylor, and Willard Richards most solemnly averred that polygamy or spiritual wifery was no doctrine of the Church, and that by such a charge they had been cruelly maligned by the publishers of The Expositor. Could that side of the case be more plainly proved ? But there is other evidence. The Brighamites claim that the revelation authorizing polygamy was given July 12,1813; on the 1st of February, 1844, the following appeared in The Times and Seasons, Church paper at Nauvoo :
NOTICE.—"As we have LATELY been credibly informed that an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by the name of Hyrum Brown, has been preaching polygamy and other false and corrupt doc-trines in the County of Lapeer and State of Michigan, This is to notify him and the Church in general that he has been cut off from the Church for his iniquity, arid he is further notified lo appear at the Special Con-ference on the 6th of April next, to make answer ta these charges.
Hyrum Smith, Presidents of the Church.”
Only six weeks afterward Hyrum wrote to "the breth ren on China Creek" that as he had heard of a man preaching that doctrine there, " it was false doctrine not taught or practiced in Nauvoo," &c. For nine years the church kept up this deceit. And now comes John Taylor, Brigham Young, and others, and deny their old denials, claim that they lied in their statements to Gov. Ford, and that they did practice polygamy extensively in Illinois. How can we believe the testimony of such people on any subject ? They do not claim to be consistent in this thing, but justify it as "pious policy," and state distinctly as their views that "the Lord allows his people to lie for a good cause." Within a few days past two prominent Brighamites have avowed it to me, quoting the example of Abraham in favor of judicious lying, and one of them supplemented his state-ment by the mark: "Anyhow, it's no harm to lie to a gentile !" But Joseph F. Smith, who is conduct-ing the discussion on the Brighamite side, seems still to have a faint sense of honor, and in his sermon last Sun- day evening grew quite indignant over our published statement that he "had proved his own father a liar." He said that he "made a great distinction between tell-ing a lie and not telling all the truth." He then read Webster's definition of the word polygamy, and stated that "that kind of polygamy was not practiced by the Saints; that was the kind his father, Hyrum Smith, meant, and that was a false and abominable doctrine." This is a nice distinction, but I give him the benefit of it, if any one can see it. But with such quibbles on words, such ingenious evasion of the plain meaning any sensible man would put upon a statement, and especially with their avowed doctrine that "it is no harm to lie for a good cause," we hope the Mormons will not expect us to believe any more of their professions.
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.