Life in Utah—Four Years Among the Lat-ter-Day Saints—Hypocrisy and Licen-tiousness in the Church—Pro-tection in Utah,
&c., &c., &c.,
[CORRESPONDENCE OF THE WORLD.]
SALT LAKE CITY, October 13.
Much has been written relative to Mormonism as practised by the self-styled "Latter-Day Saints" of Utah Territory, but nearly all that has been said refers mainly to its outside appearance. After a four years' sojourn amongst them, I am anxious to show, in a clear and concise manner, the hypoc-risy practised inside the church of “Moroni."
In the spring of 1865 I was on my way to Denver, Colorado. Having to pass through Salt Lake City, I remained there a day or two, and casually became acquainted with Daniel H. Welles, one of Brigham Young's counsellors. After a lengthy conversation with him, influenced by the inducements held forth, I concluded to remain and accept the editorship of the Salt Lake Daily Telegraph, then in its infancy. Brigham Young's first instructions to me were: be very care-ful and never publish what he said to his people in his speeches, but always wait until they had been remodelled; and then, after having his permission, publish them. What he might say to them was only for them, and not for the outside world. In addition, I must never speak in the paper of him, save as an upright, conscientious man.
MARRIAGE A MOCKERY.
The marriages as now existing in the Church of the Latter-Day Saints are a vile mockery. For in-stance, an elder in the church, or one of the apostles, desires to marry, and one of his neigh-bors has a daughter. He informs the neighbor that God has directed him to take her for a wife, and, although she may at the same time be engaged to a man of her own choice, she is com-pelled to submit. This is not often the case, but there are six instances now in my mind where elders in the Mormon church have married young girls under these circumstances, the marriage cere-mony being performed by the elders themselves. In other cases the marriage ceremony is performed by an elder or bishop in whatever parish the party may live. Often marriages are performed by means of a spiritual letter from Brigham Young, said by him to be specially endowed with power from God. This, very naturally, seems impossible; but when one has ocular evidence of the truth of it, he is compelled to believe. A young man, a personal friend of mine—a Mormon—was to be married last spring, but when the day came Brigham was away in the lower part of the Territory attending to matters pertaining to his mills. Not wishing to wait until his return, my friend wrote to one of Brigham's counsel-lors, requesting permission to marry and also to be married. Brigham replied, through the medium of his secretary, that it was not necessary for him (Brigham) to be present, but that, as the prophet of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he pronounced them man and wife. My friend—poor ignorant fellow that he was—so firmly believed in his religion, that he imagined what Brig-ham said was the word of God, and went to house-keeping.
So implicitly do the people of Utah Territory believe in their religion and the doctrine of marriage and polygamy, as preached by Brig-ham Young and his self-appointed apostles, elders, and bishops, that in many cases Men take wives merely as matter of form, and a young girl over seventeen years of age who is unmarried is not considered a good member of the church, and is looked upon with horror by her com-panions. When a man marries one member of a amily where there are younger sisters, he enters into an agreement to marry each as she becomes of age, and, with the full consent of the parents and all relatives concerned, oft times takes her into his own house to instruct her in the duties of married life. This is of daily occurrence. In nearly all the poorer families of Mormons, if they have only a roof over their head, and the wife has many sisters, the husband almost immediately endeavors to make accommoda-tions for them. By dint of perseverance and fru-gality, he manages to accumulate a sufficiency to be married and support the next sister arriving at maturity. Thus it continues, from one to the other, until all are married, when they separate to different houses, and with jealousy and envy watch each other's advancement.
LOVE IN UTAH.
The only love which exists in the Church of “Moroni" in married life is the love of a mother to her offspring, or the love of the first wife to her hus-band.
I heard a Mormon lady of great intelligence, a leader of one of the ladies' co-operative societies in Salt Lake City, whose husband had four wives besides herself (she being the first), say, upon being asked why she never went out with her husband to the theatre or other places of amusement, that, when she was first married, she loved her husband, but as she now saw so little of him, and as he apparently thought so little of her children, she enjoyed more comfort with the latter than with him. And yet these self-same women will defend their husbands' honor and standing in society with all the ardor and vigor of a Gentile wife. Truly, polygamy and married life m Utah Territory are a mystery.
PROTECTION IN UTAH.
Among the many schemes which have originated in the fertile brain of Brigham Young, the most re-cent is “Zion's Mercantile Co-operative Institu-tion." This so-called "co-operative" movement has for its object the accomplishment of a two-fold purpose—the concentration of the entire Mormon trade in the hands of Brigham and a few of his lead-ing men; and the total cessation of all busi-ness transactions between the Mormon people and the “Gentile" merchants of Salt Lake City. To understand the gigantic nature of this enterprise, and its probabilities of success, could it be carried out according to the plans of the Mormon leaders, it will be necessary to enter into an examination of its ramifications, and the basis upon which it is con-ducted.
The project was first made known to the people of Utah in the early part of last winter, and Brigham Young immediately put in motion the machinery of the church to secure the accomplishment of his object. A plan of operation was drawn out and instructions sent to the bishops of wards and presidents of counties throughout the Territory to preach "co-operation." The subject formed the burden of every conversation, and the text at every meeting. The blessings of Heaven were freely promised to those who would aid the church authorities in putting the affair into successful oper-ation, and the maledictions of Brigham were showered upon all so "weakin the faith" as to doubt its expediency or practicability.
THE FIRST MEETING.
The first meeting to effect an organization was held in the private office of Brigham Young, and was attended by the principal Mormon merchants and the leading dignitaries of the church. Brigham Young was elected President of "Zion's Co-opera-tive Mercantile Association;" several leading digni-taries of the church were elected to other offices, and a plan of operation was adopted.
BEGINNING OF OPERATIONS.
Two large wholesale houses were established in Salt Lake City, and a Mormon firm, of which one of Brigham's sons-in-law was a member, sold out its entire stock and place of business to the asso-ciation. The stock of another Mormon merchant was soon after purchased, and his building rented by the “Co-operative Institution." These goods were paid for partly in shares, and partly in the notes of the association, at invoiced prices, with freight added. Much of the stock had been in the estab-lishments for years, and was known in the language of the trade as "hard." In the spring, as freight rates upon the Union Pacific Railroad were reduced, Zion's Mercantile Co-operative Association found itself with a large stock of goods on hand, consider-ably reduced m value below what had been paid for it. The shares were put at $100 each, and every Mormon merchant in Salt Lake City was required to purchase one or more, according to his ability. In this way the stock of the concern was bought up by the merchants and wealthy Mormons, and the asso-ciation became, what no doubt it was originally de-signed to be,
A CORPORATION OF CAPITALISTS,
controlled by Brigham Young. The fiat then went forth from Brigham to every Mormon merchant in the Territory, requiring him to purchase his goods only of “Zion's Mercantile Co-operative Institution," under penalty of being cut off from the church if he presumed to order or purchase his goods in the east-ern cities or California, except through the "In-stitution." This quiet, certain, and easy method of building up a business, must certainly rec-ommend itself to every merchant or corporation having to wait a certain time, and adopt all the de-vices known to trade, to secure the patronage of retail merchants.
THE PROGRESS OF COERCION.
As Mormon merchant could be excommuni-cated from the church without serious injury to his business, he yielded an unhesitating obedience to the command of Brigham, and "Zion's Institution” controlled the wholesale trade of the Territory. Brigham, by preconcerted arrangement, had secured the election of an employe of his own to the office of Treasurer, and the two or three hundred thousand dollars earned by the people, who had worked on the grade of the Pacific Railroads, or what was left after payment of tithing, taxes, donations, &c. found their way into Brigham's safe, from whence they were disbursed only under the personal super-vision of the “prophet."
Having engineered his wholesale scheme into suc-cessful operation, Brigham next turned his atten-tion to a "Retail Co-operative Institution," upon the same plan. The City of Salt Lake, and the en-tire Territory, is divided into wards, each under the personal supervision of a bishop, assisted by two counsellors, and as many teachers as he may appoint. In each of these wards a retail association was organized with the bishop, follow-ing the example of his illustrious chief, as president. The shares of these ward concerns were fixed at the price of $25 each, and every man in the ward was required to purchase one or more. The ward stores bought their stocks from the wholesale co-operative stores in Salt Lake City, thus adding largely to the receipts of those establishments. The residents of the wards were also required to pur-chase everything needed by them at the stores in their respective wards. The establishment of these retail associations completed Brigham's plan for controlling the trade of the Territory and drawing the hard-earned money of the people into his own coffers.
THE PROSCRIPTION OF GENTILE MERCHANTS.
To render his plans more completely successful, and, by breaking up the "Gentile" merchants, to drive them out of the Territory, Brigham issued strict orders to his people, prohibiting them from buying of a "Gentile" merchant any-thing whatever. Signs were placed upon the wholesale co-operative buildings and over the Mormon retail stores, bearing the in-scription “Holiness to the Lord;" underneath this was painted the all-seeing eye, followed by "Zion's Mercantile Co-operative institution." Spies were placed upon the business street of Salt Lake City to watch the actions of the Mormons, and all who disregarded the prohibitions against trade with "Gentile" merchants were brought under church discipline. Several “Gentile" firms suc-cumbed to the pressure and sold out to the Co-opera-tive Institution, but a number still remained, who, although they have lost a large share of the Mormon trade, yet have not otherwise sustained any serious injury.
SIGNS OF FAILURE.
Through mismanagement, some of the ward stores have been unable to make a sufficiently large profit to pay expenses, and have been forced to close. This spring the two wholesale stores in Salt Lake City, through a large de-crease in the wholesale business, did not pay expenses, and the managers were obliged to drop the "wholesale exclusively" and open them as "wholesale and retail stores." This at once af-fected the ward stores in the city, as well as the minor Mormon merchants who were not in the ring. The ward stores at last were only kept open by posi-tive orders from Brigham, and two Mormon mer-chants have failed. The "Co-operative Institution" is in arrears to Chicago merchants, to whom it is largely indebted, and the indications all point to the speedy ending of this scheme of Brigham's.
DEARTH OF MONEY.
The Territory of Utah is suffering from a dearth of money, there being nothing at present produced in that Territory for which a market can be found. Grain and produce will not pay indebtedness to Eastern merchants, and must be converted into money for that purpose. If the “Institution" re-ceives grain and other produce for goods, it cannot convert it into money, and therefore can-not pay its indebtedness last, or purchase more goods to replace those sold. The Co-operative Institute has, possibly, from seventy-five to one hundred thousand dollars' worth of mer-chandise on hand. Its cash capital, from the nature of business transactions in Utah, could not amount to anything of importance. If the merchandise is converted into grain, and that grain cannot be con-verted into money, the concern merely makes an exchange of one commodity for another for which it cannot obtain the money.
The amount of money thrown into the Territory cannot possibly exceed $250,000. Until quite re-cently the Union Pacific Company was owing the people of Utah about $1,000,000, but Brigham has taken the amount of that indebtedness in iron and rolling stock for his branch railroad. The Central Pacific Company is still indebted in a large amount. Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars must, therefore, cover the amount of ready money thrown into the Territory by the two com-panies. This would be disposed of as follows:
Deduct tithing, taxes, donations, &c ……………………………………………………...50,000
Amount probably received by “Gentile"
Stock of Institute on land……………………………………………………………………...150,000
Salaries as follows:
H. B. Clamson, Manager………………………………………..$5,000
Three principal clerks, $3,000 each...................................9,000
Thirty clerks, at $1,000 each…………………………………30,000
Rent of one store, about………………………………………..10,000
Incidental expenses about………………………………………2,000
Amount brought down…………………………………………………………...40,000
The shareholders are out………………………………………………………$16,000
THE SCHEME A FAILURE.
This leaves nothing to declare a dividend upon. These figures may not be exactly correct, but they approximate to somewhere near the true state of the case. The co-operation scheme can scarcely be called a successful speculation except to Brigham, who continues to get the lion's share, and share-holders must sooner or later become indifferent when they find their dividends amounting to little or nothing. Brigham has originated many schemes which have become brilliant failures, and his co-operation movement promises to win for itself the game fatal experience H. S.
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