BRIGHAM YOUNG'S RELIGION, WEALTH,
BY HORACE GREELEY.
Mr. Greeley, on his way across the conti-nent by the overland route, stopped at Salt Lake City, and there fell in with an old ac-quaintance, Dr. Bernhisel, who was for some time Mormon delegate in Congress. The Doctor proposed to introduce Mr. Greeley to Governor Young, and the offer, as may be imagined, was gladly accepted. We give the rest in Mr. Greeley's own language, simply observing that Brigham Young's statements are the latest and most authentic expositions we have of the Mormon doc-trine :
We were very cordially welcomed at the door by the President, who led us into the second-story parlor of the largest of his houses (he has three), where I was intro-duced to Heber C. Kimball, General Wells, General Ferguson, Albert Carrington, Elias Smith, and several other leading men in the church, with two full-grown sons of the President. After some unimportant conver-sation on general topics, I stated that I had come in quest of fuller knowledge respect-ing the doctrines and polity of the Mormon Church ; and would like to ask some ques-tions bearing directly on these, if there were no objection. President Young avowed his willingness to respond to all pertinent inqui-ries. The conversation proceeded substan-tially as follows :
THE RELIGION OF MORMON.
G.—"Am I to regard Mormonism (so-called) as a new religion, or as simply anew development of Christianity?"
B.—"We hold that there can be no true Christian church without a priesthood di-rectly commisioned by, and in immediate communication with, the Son of God and Sa-vior of mankind. Such a church is that of the Latter-Day Saints, called by their ene-mies Mormons. We know no other that even pretends to have present and direct revelations of God's will."
G.—"Then I am to understand that you regard all other churches professing to be christian as the church of Rome regards all churches not in communication with itself—as schismatic, heretical, and out of the way of salvation?"
G.—"Apart from this, in what respect do your doctrines differ essentially from those of our orthodox Protestant churches—the Baptist or Methodist for example?"
B.—"We hold the doctrines of Christiani-ty, as revealed in the Old and New Testa-ments ; also in the Book of Mormon, which teaches the same cardinal truths, and those only."
G.—"Do you believe in a personal devil—a distinct, conscious, spiritual being, whose nature and acts are essentially malignant and evil?"
G.—"Do you hold the doctrine of Eter-nal Punishment?"
B.—"We do; though perhaps not ex-actly as other churches do. We believe it as the Bible teaches it."
G.—"I understand that you regard Bap-tism by Immersion as essential ?"
G.—"Do you practice Infant Baptism?"
G.—“Do you make removal to these val-leys obligatory on your converts?"
B.—“They would consider themselves greatly aggrieved if they were not invited thither. We hold to such a gathering to-gether of God's people as the Bible fore- tells, and that this is the place and now is the time appointed for its consummation?”
G.—"The predictions to which you refer have usually, I think, been understood to in-dicate Jerusalem (or Judea) as the place of such gathering?"
B.—“Yes, for the Jews ; not for others."
HOW THE BISHOPS AND PRIESTS LIVE.
G.—"Let me now be enlightened with regard more especially to your church poli-ty. I understand that you require each member to pay over one-tenth of all he pro-duces or earns to the church ?"
B.—“That is a requirement of our faith. There is no compulsion as to the payment. Each member acts in the premises according to his pleasure, under the dictates of his own conscience."
G.—"What is done with the proceeds of this tithing?"
B.—"Part of it is devoted to building temples and other places of worship ; part to helping the poor and needy converts on their way to this country; and the largest portion to the support of the poor among the Saints."
G.—“Is none of it paid to bishops and other dignitaries of the church ?"
B.—"Not one penny. No bishop, no elder, no deacon, or other church officer, receives any compensation for his official services. A bishop is often required to put his hand in his own pocket and provide therefrom for the poor of his charge ; but he never receives anything for his service."
G.—"How, then, do your ministers live?"
B.—"By the labor of their own hands, like the first Apostles. Every bishop, eve-ry elder, may be daily seen at work in the field or the shop, like his neighbors ; every minister of the church has his proper calling by which he earns the bread of his family ; he who cannot or will not do the church's work for nothing is not wanted in he ser-vice ; even our lawyers (pointing to Gener-al Ferguson and another present, who are the regular lawyers of the church) and paid nothing for their services.
BRIGHAM CONSIDERS HIMSELF A MILLIONAIRE.
"I am the only person in the church who has not a regular calling apart from the church's service, and I never received one farthing from her treasury. If I obtain any thing from the tithing-house, I am charged with and pay for it, just as any one else would; the clerks in the tithing-store are paid like other clerks, but no one is ever paid for any service pertaining to the minis-try. We think a man who cannot make his living aside from the ministry of Christ un-suited to that office. I am called rich, and consider myself worth $250,000 ; but no dollar of it was ever paid me by the church, or for any service as a minister of the Ever-lasting Gospel. I lost nearly all I had when we were broken up in Missouri and driven from that State ; I was nearly stripped again when Joseph Smith was murdered and we were driven from Illinois; but nothing was ever made up to me by the church, nor by any one. I believe I know how to acquire properly, and how to take care of it."
COMPARES THE MORMONS TO THE APOSTLES,
AND BUCHANAN TO PONTIUS PILATE.
G. —"Can you give me any rational ex-planation of the aversion and hatred with which your people are generally regarded by those among whom they have lived, and with whom they have been brought directly in contact ?"
B.—"No other explanation than is af-forded by the crucifixion of Christ, and the kindred treatment of God's ministers, proph-ets, and saints in all ages."
HOW ABOUT POLYGAMY ?
G—"With regard, then, to the grave question on which your doctrines and prac-tices are avowedly at war with those of the christian world—that of a plurality of wives—is the system of your church acceptable to the majority of its women ?"
B.—"They could not be more averse to it than I was when it was first revealed to us as the Divine will. I think they gener-ally accept it, as I do, as the will of God."
G.—"How general is polygamy among you ?"
B.—"I could not say. Some of those pres-ent [heads of the church] have each but one wife ; others have more. Each determines what is his individual duty."
BRIGHAM HAS BUT FIFTEEN WIVES.
G.—"What is the largest number of wives belonging to any one man ?"
B.—"I have fifteen ; I know no one who has more ; but some of those sealed to me are old ladies whom I regard rather as mothers than wives, but whom I have taken home to cherish and support."
G.—"Does not the Apostle Paul say that a bishop should be the husband of one wife ?"
B.—“So we hold. We do not regard any but a married man as fitted for the office of bishop. But the apostle does not forbid a bishop having more wives than one."
G.—"Does not Christ say that he who puts away his wife, or marries one whom another put away, commits adultery ?"
B.—"Yes ; and I hold that no man should ever put away a wife except for adultery—not always even for that. Such is my indi-vidual view of the matter. I do not say that wives have never been put away in our church, but that I do not approve of the practice."
Mr. Greeley adds:
Governor Young spoke readily, not al-ways with grammatical accuracy, but with no appearance of hesitation or reserve, and with no apparent desire to conceal any thing, nor did he repel any of my questions as impertinent. He was very plainly dress-ed in thin summer clothing, and with no air of sanctimony or fanaticism. In appearance, he is a portly, frank, good-natured rather thick-set man of fifty-five, seeming to enjoy life, and be in no particular hurry to get to heaven. His associates are plain men, evi-dently born and reared to a life of labor, and looking as little like crafty hypocrites or swindlers as any body of men I ever met.—The absence of cant or snuffle from their manner was marked and general ; yet I think I may fairly say that their Mormonism has not impoverished them—that they were generally poor men when they embraced it, and are now in very comfortable circumstan-ces—as men averaging three or four wives apiece certainly need to be.
Mr. Greeley was struck with the entire ascendency of Brigham Young over his as-sociates. Hon. Stephen A. Douglas once told us a good story, showing that this as-cendency was acquired at a very early date:
In 1846 the excitement against the Mor-mons at Nauvoo reached its height. The people of the surrounding country determin-ed to drive them away; the Saints resolved to defend themselves. A civil War seemed imminent. Governor Ford dispatched a regiment to put down both belligerents.—This regiment, consisted of 450 men, was under command of Colonel John J. Hardin, the old political opponent, but warm person-al friend of Mr. Douglas, who held the post of Mayor.
As this little body of troops approached Nauvoo they saw the Mormons, 4000 strong, drawn up to oppose their advance. Every man of them was known to be armed with a "seven shooter" and a brace of Colt's "re-volvers"—twenty-one shots to a man, be-sides a bowie-knife.
Hardin halted his troops just out of rifle-range and addressed them :
"There are the Mormons, ten to one against us. I intend to attack them. If there is a coward here who wishes to go home, he may do so now. Let any one who wishes to go step to the front."
Not a man came forward. "There were, I dare say," says Mr. Douglas, "just 451 of us, including our Colonel, who would have been glad to have retired ; but not one of us had the courage to own that he was a coward."
"Major Douglass," said the Colonel, "will take 100 men, will proceed to Nau-voo, arrest the Twelve Apostles, and bring them here!"
"Colonel Hardin," asked the Major quiet-ly, so that no one else heard," is this a per-emptory order?"
"Then I shall make the attempt to exe-cute it. But I give you warning that not a man of us will ever return."
"The Apostles must be taken, Major Douglas," replied the Colonel. "Very well, Colonel. If you shall send me alone you will be much more likely to get them."
"But you will lose your life."
“I will take the responsibility. If you send me alone I will pledge myself to reach the city. As to bringing in the Twelve, or getting back myself, that is quite another question. I will try."
"Do you assume the responsibility ?"
"Major Douglass," said the Colonel, af-ter reflecting a few moments, "will proceed to Nauvoo, taking such escort as he sees fit."
The order was hardly given when the lit-tle Major-for he was not then a "Little Gi-ant "—dashed off at full speed. As he ap-proached the Mormon Legion General Wells came forward to meet him ; and after a brief conversation escorted him through the hol-low square of troops into the city. He was not long in finding Brigham and the Twelve. All of them were old acquaintances of his. Most of them had, in fact, been before him for trial, as Judge, upon some charge or other.
The Judge is famous for his taking man-ners ; and in a very brief time he succeeded in inducing Brigham and his associates to accompany him. They all packed them-selves into the "Apostolic Coach," drawn by eight horses, and presented themselves in the camp.
The fighting was postponed, and negotia-tions for the removal of the Mormons were entered upon, Judge Douglas feeing chief negotiator on one side. Brigham himself said but little; and at length said he would go out for a while, directing his associates to settle the terms. These were soon inform-ally agreed to by the Twelve, and they were committed to paper.
Brigham returned, and asked how matters had succeeded. He was told that every thing had been settled.
"Let me look at the terms," said Brig-ham, quietly.
He read them over hastily.
"I'll never agree to them ; never !" he exclaimed.
The vote was formally put, and the whole Twelve, without a dissenting voice, declar-ed against them, though they had as unani-mously accepted them not five minutes befores.
The negotiations were then renewed be-tween Brigham and Douglas. New terms were settled ; and when the vote was taken the Twelve agreed to them at once. The treaty was duly signed, and the Mormons prepared to leave the State.
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