THE MORMON PROBLEM.
How Brigham is Increasing the
Number of His Followers.
The Great Recruiting Field.
Ignorance of the Converts to Mormonism—
Reclaiming the Desert—Feeding the
Hungry Before Prayers—An
Estimate the Future.
[Correspondence of the CHRONICLE.]
SALT LAKE CITY, August 16, 1873.
In this beautiful valley, cut up by clear, running streams, and surrounded by snow-capped moun-tains, I have passed many days trying to solve the great Mormon problem. It is a problem which one day or another we must squarely meet, and it becomes us as prudent men to look it full in the face now. The subject has hitherto been treated altogether too lightly. It has seemed a small thing, this herding together of a few thou-sand men and women upon the most fertile and a beautiful valley in the land, living in recognized concubinage and gloriously defying the laws of the country, which they have sworn to obey; and, indeed, when we consider the millions out-side the boundaries of Utah, it is, just now, a small thing. But it must not be forgotten that when this Mormon movement first began to build up in Salt Lake, it was smaller than now, and in Nauvoo smaller still. It has grown and is growing apace, converting into the huge harem the fertile fields and rich mountains of Northern Utah, and unless soon checked in its onward pro-gress will eventually give the Government a vast deal of trouble.
THEORETICAL AND PRACTICAL POLYGAMY
Mormonism in theory opens a vista of beauty and happiness. To hear one of the Saints de-scribe the glories of the religion and the blessings of polygamy, you would think paradise was re-gained and the Garden of Eden was again planned In the midst of mankind. The practical realiza-tion of this picture, however, never takes place. The intelligent convert finds when too late that he has tasted of an applet which turns to ash in his mouth. The divorce suit of Ann Eliza Young, the seventeenth wife of the Prophet, will bring to light some curious facts if it is ever permitted to go to trial, and the "blessedness" of the plural wife system will be fully revealed. In a future letter I propose to relate some of my observations respecting polygamy. Just now I wish to show how Brigham is increasing the force of his fol-lowers, and by what methods the great evil of Mormonism is made to grow beneath our very eyes.
MORMONISM IN SALT LAKE.
The notion [...] the mass of Mormons are in-telligent is a very grave error. They are a class the most ignorant people in the world. The religion is founded on the ignorance of its be-lievers. Brigham and his leaders are indeed ex-ceptionally smart, and the power of their su-periors' will is what molds the uneducated mul-titude into abject submission. Nor is Salt Lake City, which is the headquarters, by any means the stronghold of Mormonisn. Here are too many Gentiles and too many newspapers which spread abroad information. Among the professed Mormons in this place many are in this place many are in their hearts apostates, but fear to acknowledge it on account of their business relations. I have talked with many such, and they have given me much more val-uable information regarding the inner workings of the institution.
THE GREAT RECRUITING FIELD OF MORMONISM
The great body of recruits which go to make up Brigham's army of Saints are from Europe. In Sweden, Norway and England, Mormon missionaries are constantly laboring to gain converts to the new faith. They go to the poor and lowly and, it must be con-fessed, often stretch forth hand. The classes which they seek are gener-ally groaning beneath the oppression of a hard and tyrannical government. They are men used to labor, uneducated, knowing nothing whatever of the institutions of the country and, indeed, only know they are poor, needy and suffering. To these men the missionary offers a home in America free from the oppression with which they are burdened. He tells them of Brigham Young and his lieutenants, and points to them as the authors of the good things to come to them. He preaches Mormonism to them and offers them a home beyond the seas for the mere taking. Is it to be wondered at that men and women gladly embrace this opportunity to escape from bondage in their overcrowded cities, even thought it be to plunge into a worse slavery to superstition in Utah?
DRILLING THE RECRUITS.
Nearly every month about a thousand of these wretched creatures are brought to this country. They remain in the Castle Garden, New York, one day, and then are hustled off to Utah. Arriving here, they are placed in the tithing-house until provision, can be made for them in the country. But few are allowed to remain in Salt Lake City, for here their eyes would be opened to the ab-surdities of the faith they have embraced. In the country there are no schools and but few Gentiles, and the poor devils may live a lifetime without knowing that there is such a thing as a President of the United States. The Elders will take good care, however, to let them know that these is such a man as President Young, and if Elders don't, Reverence, the Prophet, will!
DEVOTION OF THE RECRUITS.
These strong hands and willing hearts. To them the limited freedom of owning their own little farm is a blessing which makes of the land a paradise, and they are ready to fall down and worship the great master, Brigham Young who gave it to them. They know noth-ing, and care less, other than what the Elders of the Church tell them; and so they live and die in blessed ignorance of politics and in complete sub-jection to the will of the Holy Church. They will fight for Brigham. They will die for Brigham, if need be, asking no queetions, and desiring no reasons. His will is their law, and in these hardy yeoman the Prophet has an army, growing steadily In. number, composed of rough but solid material, and one which would stare death in the face without flinching to defend the annotated of God.
THE MEN WHO HAVE RECLAIMED THE DESERT.
These are the men who have developed the re-sources of Utah, and made the desert to bloom like a garden. The Mormons have received great praise for thus redeeming this apparently barren land, and if their motives had been better they would fully deserve it. The labor has been done by these hardy Immigrants, to whom all work in the new land of the Saints seemed easy, because of the manifold sufferings they had undergone In their own countries. To Brigham Young Justly belongs the praise of being shrewd enough to im-port ignorance which he could direct. To the foreigners belongs the credit of developing the country, and I am at a loss to see where the Gov-ernment of the United States is under any obliga-tion to Brigham Young, simply because his shrewd plans to obtain power have indirectly re-sulted in benefit to the country generally,
There is one feature of this Mormon Mission-ary enterprise which may teach a lesson to the Christians. Brigham sends out his emissaries with food in their hands and the Book of Mor-monism in their pockets. The hungry are fed before prayers. If Christian missionaries would follow the same course I am inclined to the opinion that more real effect would be produced upon the benighted heathen. I tell you it is hard to pray on an empty stomach. I tried it once, and my mother whipped me two hours be-fore I said, "Now I lay me down to sleep," The next morning I ate a double allowance of break-fast.
AN ESTIMATE OF THE FUTURE,
You can see by this how the Mormon question is affected by immigration. About ten thousand of these Mormon emigrants arrive annually. In ten years this will add one hundred thousand to the numerical strength of Brigham's Army of the Lord. They are strong, hearty, ignorant men, sunk in superstition, and knowing no law but the Church. What a bulwark is this with which to surround the Saints? Who shall say where this Momon movement will end, unless summary measures are taken to avert the im-pending evil?
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