The War In the Mormon Church.
Great Excitement among the Saints—The Smiths vs. Brigham.
[FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.]
SALT LAKE CITY, August 12,1869.
Advent of the Smiths—What they Claim.
The advent of David Hyrum and William Alex-ander, sons of Joseph Smith the founder of Mormon-im, is causing great excitement among the "Saints." These two young men, with their elder brother, Joseph Smith, Jr., compose the First Presidency of the "Re-organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints," with headquarters at Plano, Illinois. They claim that they have received a revelation from on high to visit the "Brighamites," and reclaim them from the "wilderness of error and sin" into which they were led by Brigham Young on the death of the “Prophet Joseph;" to strike the shackles of physical and moral slavery from the limbs of the people of Utah, and to free them from the bondage to which they have been subjected. This work has been be-lieved by the Mormons to be the peculiar mission of David Smith ever since oppression, cautiously com-menced and steadily increased by Brigham, became "grievous and heavy to be borne." Hundreds among the Mormons have preserved with studious care the tradition that the "Prophet Joseph," before going to Carthage, where he was killed, blessed the child yet unborn in its mother's womb, saying that he should be called David, and should live to do a great work and a mighty one among the children of men. They were fond of quoting such passages of scripture as seemingly pointed to the future coming of David to release them from their bondage, and they secretly cherished the hope that the day was not far distant when he would appear and assume the reins of Gov-ernment.
David Smith's Preaching.
Hence it might be readily inferred that when he did come the excitement would be great, and it is not to be wondered at that, notwithstanding the iron rule of Brigham, crowds flock to hear him preach. On the afternoon of the second Sunday after his arrival here, he preached in Independence Hall. This hall is the only public building owned by the Gentiles in Salt Lake City. It is leased to the Episcopalians for church purposes, and is used by them morning and evening. The use of it on Sunday afternoons has been given to David and Alexander Smith until they can obtain a larger or more suitable place of worship.
A Stormy Interview—Brigham Enraged.
Previously, however, David and Alexander had waited upon Brigham Young and requested permission to preach in the Tabernacle, where the principal Mor-mon meetings are held on Sundays, but were refused, and the most insulting language was used by Brigham in reference to their mother and themselves. The par-ticulars of this interview were received by the Mor-mons generally with great dissatisfaction.
A Crowded House—David Smith and his Style.
During the first service held by the new-comers, Inde-pendence Hall was crowded to suffocation. Many were content to occupy standing places outside around the windows, while hundreds went away unable to get even within hearing or seeing distance.
David Smith, of which so much is expected, is a young man about 23 years of age, nearly six feet in height and slim in proportion, with a pale and some-what intellectual cast of countenance. He is an easy, fluent speaker upon the subject of his religion, and uses good language while preaching. The Mormon preachers belonging to Brigham's Church are mostly ungrammatical, and poor speakers; even Brigham him-self always preaches rambling, disconnected discourses, having really no point and based upon no well defined premises. This tact makes the preaching of David Smith more marked by contrast, and many of the poor ignorant Mormons are readily disposed to believe that such fluency of speech, amounting at times even to eloquence, can only be the result of inspiration from on high. The doctrines of polygamy, Adam worship and blood atonement were handled by him without gloves. The strongest terms consistent with propriety, were used by him in animadverting upon these innova-tions of Brigham Young upon the original faith to the first Smith. The divine right of Brigham to the leader-ship of the Mormon Church was assailed in equally strong terms, and the discourse throughout manifested an evident design to go at after Brigham and his "peculiar institutions" with an unsparing determination to ex-terminate them if possible.
During the preaching the most intense excitement prevailed throughout the congregation, and the speaker was frequently interrupted by acclamations and ap-plause. Referring to tithing, he said: "We believe in tithing the rich to support the poor, but you believe in tithing the poor to put money into the pockets of the rich;" whereat cries of "That's so," were heard from every part of the hall. After the dismissal of the meeting, groups might be seen about the streets and on every corner discussing the questions pro and con. The news of the bold advocacy of these new doc-trines spread like wild-fire throughout the city, and probably an excitement so great has not been witnessed here since the advance of Gen. Johnson's army in 1857 against the modem Zion.
Brigham Alarmed—A Stormy Scene.
As a natural consequence, Brigham could not sit calmly down and allow himself and doctrines to be thus openly assailed. During the meeting on the suc-ceeding Sunday, while Alexander Smith was reading the denials of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, that they ad-vocated or practiced polygamy, from the Times and Seasons, a publication printed at Nauvoo, Joseph F. Smith, a son of Hyrum, and a cousin to David and Alexander, arose and said the assertions of the speaker were false, and requested him to read on further. The congregation at once became excited, and cries of "Put him out" were heard on all sides, accompanied by demonstrations which were only restrained by the voice of Alexander, requesting them to remain quiet. Joseph F. finally subsided, and at the close or the meeting, gave notice that he would reply in the even-ing at the Fourteenth Ward meeting house.
A Counter Mormon Meeting—Brigham's Wrath Kindled.
In the evening a large assemblage tilled the Four-teenth Ward (Brighamite) House to overflowing, and Brigham himself enhanced the interest of the affair by his presence. Your correspondent arriving somewhat late upon the ground, was obliged to take a position in the outer court, not very conducive to good hearing or a fair view of the speakers. Joseph F. Smith led out, but instead of a calm, clear, argumentative sermon calculated to controvert the facts set forth by the Smith boys in the afternoon, he indulged in senseless ravings, vituperations and personal abuse of the Joseph branch of the Smith family. Of course, the Hyrum branch, as represented by himself, was all right. His method and manner of speaking manifestly did Brigham's case more harm than good. Brigham followed with an assault upon the character and motives of Emma Smith, wife of the "prophet, Joseph," and mother of David and Alexander. He charged her with having betrayed her husband into the hands of his enemies, and of conspiring with apostates to compass his death. This was an important admission on the part of Brig-ham, as he had heretofore charged the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum Smith upon the "Gentiles" of Illinois, and the Mountain Meadow massacre was perpetrated for the ostensible purpose of partially avenging the death of the "prophet" upon the Gentiles. The real truth of the matter is, that Smith was killed by apos-tate Mormons whose lives he had threatened, whose property he had taken, whose wives he had seduced, or attempted to, and whom he had outraged in every con-ceivable way.
But, pardon the digression; let us return to the sub-ject. Brigham, after applying to Emma every vile and opprobrious epithet he could think of, seemed to feel relieved, and after saying that she had taught her sons a lot of lies, and was a "liar herself," sat down. The impression made by Brigham's talk was evidently more unfavorable to himself than that made by Joseph F. Smith, and expressions of dissatisfaction could be heard on every side as the audience dispersed.
Another Meeting—The Church Rent in Twain.
Last Sunday afternoon the meeting at Independence Hall was largely attended, notwithstanding heavy showers of rain fell at intervals. David Smith being sick, Alexander took a general view of the Mormon church from its organization to the present time, and dwelt upon the necessity of its reorganization after the death of "Joseph the Prophet," it seems the Mormon church has been split into 24 different sects since its organization, and all in the space of about 40 years, a fact unparallel in the history of any other church organization which has ever existed. In the evening Joseph F. Smith, at the Fourteenth Ward meeting house, labored to prove his father a liar, but how he succeeded must be reserved for future correspondence.
H. W. J.
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