What Will Be Done with Lee of Mountain-Meadow Fame.
John W. Young Seated on the Right Hand of the Prophet.
Speculations as to the Future Policy of the Mormon Church.
Special Correspondence of The Tribune.
SALT LAKE, Utah, Oct. 7.—There are no defi-nite developments yet from the conviction of Lee. That is to say, although he threatened and stormed by turns, Lee has not yet told any-thing of any consequence. It is generally be-lieved that somebody in the South has got docu-ments fixing the ordering of the Mountain-Meadows massacre on the Church, but it is now thought that Lee has them or can get hold of them. It is said that W. H. Dame, holding then as now high rank in the priesthood, and by virtue thereof Colonel in the Nauvoo Legion and commanding in the South, gave a written order "to exterminate the emi-grants and leave none who could tell the tale," to Haight or Higbee, who were subordinate of-ficers in the militia. The Nauvoo Legion was the legal militia of the Territory; there was a state of war, Utah being in armed rebellion against the Washington Government; Brigham Young, as Governor, had proclaimed martial law, or did about that time, and it would be in some sort a justification of Lee, or any other subordinate actor, could he show that he was legally a militia man or officer, and acted in obedience to orders. If such was the case with Lee, he will no doubt show it should he ever stand in immi-nent danger of execution, which it is doubtful if he does as yet. No one has ever been executed for murder in Utah since I have been here,—nearly eight years,—and there have been several cold-blooded murders committed. The courts somehow seem to be made to shield the crim-inal, and obstruct justice and right.
semi-annual, is in session. The attendance is hardly so great as customary I think. No new policy has been announced, the speakers harp on the old strings, namely: co-operation, cohabitation, and merchandising, mixing in a good deal of "shop" talk on gen-eral topics. The only move of any consequence, so far, is the election, or appointment rather, of John W. Young to the place of First Counselor to the Prophet, made vacant a year or so ago by the timely decease of old George A. Smith. Brigham had three legitimate sons, Joseph A., Brigham, Jr., and John W. Joseph A. suddenly dropped dead in his tracks from heart disease about a year ago. He was a boy with considerable stuff in him, pretty smart and fast, and, with the same opportunities, might have made a passable inheritor of the purple of his sire. Brigham Jr. is portly, not to say por-cine, and more stolid, although he had spirit enough to get into a scrape in England which cost the King, his father, $35,000 to get him out of, as the story goes. It has always been thought that Brigham the Great had an especial fond-ness for this son, his namesake, and that the de-sire of his heart was to see him ascend the throne as his successor. But the people and the higher dignitaries and princes of the church under Brigham will none of it. They say there is nothing in him deserving of such high eminence, and they are not disposed, in short, to be gov-erned by a name.
the youngest of the three, now 32, is the repre-sentative, if he represents anything, of young and progressive Mormondom. He has never done much of anything for himself, his father has set him at this, then at that; now getting together and keeping a museum; now running a steamer, more ornamental than useful, on Salt Lake; now starting a street-railroad, finally, at building railroads that do not pay expenses. This last kind of enterprise having been run into the ground, Johnny, as everybody calls him, is to be put at his real profession, running the church. His experience abroad, for the past few years, negotiating railroad bonds, buying iron and rolling stock, etc., etc., has enlighten-ed and liberalized him. His first wife was a Philadelphia girl. Her cousin on one occasion accompanied John from Philadelphia out on a visit, fell in love with and married him as a third. Since that he has divorced his second, and, it is popularly supposed, his first, but I guess the last is doubtful. A Mormon divorce is a queer thing at best. It is or it isn't, as you please. Now you see it, now you don't. At all events, it is not supposable that John W. Young can sincerely take much more stock in polygamous, murderous, bigoted, fanatical Mormonism, than you do, or than I do. He knows better.
Now his advancement is looked on differently, and who is right, of course, I, not being a prophet, shall not venture to indicate. First, then, one man says, It is a blind. The Church is going to move Heaven and earth, and Old Saturn to get Utah into the Union so that they can make it hot for the Gentile, hotter than the gentle rebels are making it for Republicans in Texas and South Carolina. They have furnished a full-blooded Mormon jury for the conviction of Lee, killing two birds with one stone. They have shown that they can and do subor-dinate the Endowment House oath to the civil oath; and they have atoned for Mountain Meadows by giving Lee away. Now, as an indication that they are going right ahead in the path of reform, John W. Young has been advanced to the right-hand of the King. George Q. Cannon is put up for Congress, a man who has "divorced," so to speak, his brevet-wives, on a platform demand-ing admission into the Union. Here is a seem-ing abandonment of the old objectionable fea-tures of the system, polygamy and murder.
Another man says it is the
SIMPLE RESULT OF FAMILY PRIDE
on the part of Brigham. He feels that his end is drawing near. His darling ambition is to be succeeded by Brigham, Jr. So, to get a power-ful assistant against the crisis, he advanced John to the place next in importance. And now there are father and son to be depended on to help Brigham, Jr., called the Fat Boy, into the first place. Neither of the boys has much in-fluence with the old hard-headed fanatics of the Church,—those who fought, bled, and died with Joseph. But what of that if it is the best that can be done?
Another theory is, that Brigham, with that inspired and practical sagacity which have always stood him in pretty good stead, sees the inevitable—sees that Mormonism, like all other issues, must advance or die in these days, and that he is preparing for it. In other words, he sees that the Church must abandon polygamy and murder as tenets of faith; must once and for all abandon throat-cutting as a means for conversion or as a punishment of apostacy; must adopt a more popular form—no, not form, but spirit, in its government; must keep its fingers out of civil and domestic affairs; in short, that the Church must be, is being, revolutionized. Whether is it better that revolution should proceed from within or without—that is the question. Undoubtedly the former. And if inevitable, why shouldn't the young dynasty still ride the wave of power—why not place itself at the head of the revolu-tion and endeavor at least to control it?
I hope this is the old man's idea. Or, if it is not, that the result may prove the same. Whatever the motive, what-ever the result, I can but hail it is an auspicious omen. It is done, and it cannot fail to have its influence. John Young is no fanatic. At or near the head of the church, his influence must tend to liberalize, humanize, and make it decent. If he shall not be sustained there, his ousting will cause ill-feel-ing and dissension, and free thought and action, will in a word make division—the beginning of the end. I regard it as the most important step taken by the Church since they allowed Reynolds to be convicted of polygamy.
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