MORMONISM LOOKING OUT FOR THE LOCOMOTIVE.
WHEN the cars on the Union Pacific line of railway have dashed through that weird, wild gorge, grand and awful almost as an Alpine pass— the gorge that bears the name of The Devil's Gate— they stop al-most immediately at a small station, op-posite a raw and straggling "canvas- town." This station is Uintah, and people some-times say that there is a certain fitness in the fact that to reach it one passes through the Devil's Gate; for it is at Uintah that travelers to Salt Lake City begin their special pilgrimage. At Uintah station are waiting two or three hideous, ricketty, musty, ramshackle old "stages "— looking like a sort of compromise between a French diligence of old days and an En-glish mail-coach of Dick Turpin's time; and in these pleasant caravans the curious pilgrims begin their journey from the railway to Salt Lake City. Such a jour-ney! The most magnificent scenery and the most abominable roads. The "stage" climbs up rugged, stony hills; staggers and plunges down into broken, rocky valleys; splashes and crashes across the beds of rivers; leans and reels to this side and that like a yacht in a squall; shakes the wretch-ed passengers up and down and together, as if they were dice in a box, and were presently to be flung out with a cry of "sixes!" on the hard earth. The distance is only some thirty miles; but the journey occupies some five or six weary hours - weary despite of the unspeakable beauty of the mountains, the valleys, and the lake. Thus guarded hitherto from civili-zation, even though the railway binds At-lantic and Pacific together, has the City of the Saints slept securely on the verge of its lake, and within the ramparts of its majestic mountains.
But this is to be so no more. "The old order changeth, yielding place to new." The traveler in the stage, craning his neck from the window, that he might not lose the joy of the glorious scenery, could catch glimpses every now and then of certain works making progress between him and the lake which held the promise of a better day for locomotion. These were the works of the railway which was to connect Salt Lake City with the great Pacific line, and to put an end, once and forever, to the isolation of Mormonism. Now the railway is actually made. The last rail has been laid, the last spike has been driven. Salt Lake City has hung out all her banners, and glittered with such semblance of festivity and joy as her habit-ual sullenness and gloom would allow; and the capital of Mormonism is as free and open to the travelers and the traffic of the world as Chicago or San Francisco. The old days when Mormonism believed itself securely sheltered, even against the authority of the United States and its mil-itary force, by fortresses of mountain and sentinels of crags are gone forever. The light of day streams in upon Mormonism; the competition of enlightenment and free-dom forces it to its final test; the hermit is brought forth from his cavern of isolation, and called on to justify his mission and prove his sanctity in the face of criticism, and science, and civilization. For a long time the leaders of Mormonism perceived the tremendous importance of isolation to their system, and strenuously endeavored and still hoped to maintain their position of salutary solitude. But there came a time at last when this seemed past all hope. Brigham Young is in some respects a wiser pontiff than the Pope of Rome. He sees when a fact becomes irresistible. He is not a man to "argue with the in-exorable." He accepts a reality when it must come, and makes the best of it. So the mot d'ordre was passed round that Salt Lake City must come into the Western railway system, and that railways and rapid communication were the special need and would be the crowning mercy of Mormonism. With characteristic energy, Brigham Young rushed at the work when once he had resolved that it had to be done. He lent the services of hundreds of his people to one of the great Pacific railway companies to help in completing their line; and he received in return certain concessions and assistance for the making of the railway, of which he is the president, from Uintah to Salt Lake City. He made it a common boast that Mormon labor had finished one of the Pacific lines, and prophesied that the railways would con-summate the triumphs of Mormonism. Orson Pratt preached on this theme in the great Tabernacle one Sunday last autumn, at a time when many Gentiles were known to be among his audience. He declared that the very sacred prophecy on which rested the claim of Mormonism to cover all the earth, contained the injunc-tion that "swift messengers " must be sent forth; and he asked whether their means of communication hitherto could be called swift. Many a Gentile present, in-wardly groaning over the memory of the stage-journey, would have cordially ad-mitted that in the matter of swiftness Mormonism had not yet fulfilled its mis-sion. The "swift messengers," then ar-gued the Mormon preacher, were needed by the Saints— were all they needed. And now behold the swift messenger, the rail-way, almost at hand; and with it comes the day of fulfillment and fruition. There was, indeed, a suspicious and painful ea-gerness about the manner in which the Mormon leaders kept on declaring that they rejoiced and triumphed in the ap-proach of railway communication. When one remembered what used to be the creed given out on this theme, and con-trasted it with the present declarations, he could not but admit that the Mormon rulers possessed at least that one quality of successful statesmanship which con-sists in a prompt surrender of logical con-sistency to the argument of necessity and practical advantage.
But those who know Brigham Young as nearly as he allows any one to know him are believed to be convinced that he regards this opening up of Salt Lake City as the one grand test and trial of Mormon-ism. Schisms do not kill a superstition or destroy a church. Military force does not crush out a false faith. Secessions do not annihilate political systems. Brigham Young may, probably, look with great composure on the strife of parties within his bounds; and perhaps in his secret heart he yearns for the pressure of a little force, which he could call persecution, from the United States Government. But the rail-way ; the influx of strangers, which he can no longer control; the efflux of undeceived and disgusted proselytes, which he can no longer prevent; the incursion of Gentile competition in stores and shops, and all ways of trading; the absolute impossibil-ity of any longer keeping up the screen of mystery which shut in and concealed the "peculiar institution"; the inevitable and ever-increasing juxtaposition of the Mor-mon harem with the Christian wedded home—these are the dangers which no one appreciates more justly than does Brigham Young. Isolation is as necessary to Mor-monism as new territory to the slave sys-tem. The energetic and persistent efforts which Young has lately been making to mould and organize all the buying and selling of the city into one exclusive scheme, operating among Mormons only— these very efforts show how well he at least is convinced that Mormonism cannot live in the crowd and breathe the common air. It cannot be doubted that the opening of the railway will tempt multitudes of trad-ers and workers and settlers to pour into that most beautiful of valleys, that the mountain regions will be compelled to yield up their hidden treasures, and that cities peopled by Gentiles will begin to spring up everywhere over the face of the Mormon territory. All this means simply that Mormonism will be outnumbered and outvoted on the soil once its own. We have read of bodies, long and safely kept in the darkness and pent-up solitude of some funereal-vault, which, when their loneliness was invaded and their shrouds were opened up to the light of day, crum-bled instantly into dust. So it will be with Mormonism. The rejoicings in Salt Lake City over the completion of the rail-way may perhaps have been perfectly sincere ; but they are, in fact, a great deal like the pageantry prepared by some Hin-doo widow in honor of the lighting of the funeral-pile which is presently to consume her.
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