WHAT THE MORMONS ARE DOING.
WE have almost forgotten the Mormons. Iso-lated from the rest of mankind in their far Western wilderness, the saints of Utah have claimed as little of our attention as the savages of Timbuctoo. But though overlooked for the moment, they have not neglected to make the most of the opportunity thus presented for prosecuting, as it were, under the cover of darkness, their proselyting labors among the nations of Europe. With what success their emissaries have worked upon the supersti-tion and credulity of the more ignorant classes of people in the old world, is shown by the con-stantly increasing stream of Mormon immigration which pours into our Atlantic ports. Last week above sixteen hundred converts to this vile de-lusion arrived at New York from Liverpool and London. The majority of these people were well-dressed, respectable, [ ? ]d civil spoken and the only circumstance which would suggest a [ ? ] as to their intelligence, was their firm belief in a "religion" so debasing and vile as the Mormon.
It is interesting to know where the emissaries of Mormonism have met with their greatest suc-cess. In the selection of missionary fields they have displayed the cunning of the serpent. Avoiding in general the more cultivated and in-telligent parts of Europe, they have labored chiefly among the ignorant and superstitious peasantry of Sweden, Norway, and Wales. In all these countries they have pursued a cautious, under-hand, but persistent and effective system of tac-tics, which has resulted in astonishing success. Their progress has been silent and rapid; and in order to avoid suspicion, and disarm the opposi-tion of the clergy, they have resorted to very in-genious measures to conceal the development of their plans. Among others, they have organized emigration societies, with large funds at their disposal; and through these agencies converts are shipped off to Utah as fast as they are made. While employing every artifice to avoid publicity,—because they know that their deeds are evil,—they labor insidiously among the com-mon people. Their great gatherings are held in the open air, and always after nightfall. They celebrate baptisms by moonlight, or by the wild glare of pine torches. The secrecy, the pictur-esqueness, the sublimity of these nightly assem-blies, have a strange and wonderful effect on the superstitious minds of the peasantry. In all the above-named countries, the lower classes of peo-ple are characterized by a mournful tendency to superstition, as if the old leaven of their monstrous mythology were still working in their souls.
It is not strange, though it is sad, that these false missionaries should find their most numer-ous converts among the gentler sex. The life of a peasant woman in these countries is one of great hardship, and no one can wonder that they catch eagerly at the opportunity of alleviating their miserable lot. In order to entrap those whose virtuous instincts rebel against the principle of polygamy, they have partially ignored that doc-trine; and multitudes of young women go out to Utah expecting to be the one wife of a devoted and prosperous husband. But we read of one old woman of sixty, a native of Wales, eloping from a venerable spouse of seventy-five in the forlorn hope of becoming the twelfth wife of a patriarch in Utah! The majority of the female emigrants are, however, young and good-looking. The agents are said to devote their proselytizing efforts chiefly to the fair sex, well knowing that the young men will follow so attractive a lure of their own accord.
Miracles, being difficult to manage effectively, have fallen into disrepute with these mission-aries, who make only occasional efforts to prac-tice in this manner on the credulity of their dupes. We give one or two examples. An unknown man, with a humped back, was recently intro-duced into a Mormon assembly, with the an-nouncement that the deformity was to be removed by a miracle. Every one in the vast gathering was eager to behold the wonder; but the shrewd "elders" didn't see it in that light, and pretend-ing that even the miraculous removal of such a hump would be a disagreeable spectacle, they would save the delicate sensibilities of the aud-ience by performing the operation in a little tent! They retired with the afflicted brother. Long and boisterous prayers were offered upon his be-half; and when, after the lapse of an hour, the curtain was drawn aside, the man came forth, erect and smiling. A solemn thanksgiving was held for his miraculous deliverance! A few in-credulous persons made a sly reconnoissance be-hind the curtain, where they found a suspicious bag of sawdust, about the size of the hump which had been removed from the stranger's back. But for all that, it was declared to be a true miracle, and fairly done.
Another attempt at deception had a ludicrous termination. An unbelieving wife was persuaded by her husband, a zealous Mormon, to attend a nightly meeting in the woods, where she was promised a sight of the angels of the Lord. Dur-ing the service the torches were suddenly extin-guished; and in the unbroken silence and solemn gloom of the hour, white figures were dimly dis-cerned moving about among the assembly. Soon afterwards the skeptical woman, who was not in the least terrified by the sheeted ghosts, perceived several small white objects— infant angels— stir-ring near her feet, with a shaky motion and leaf-like rustle. One of these she seized with most irreverent presence of mind, and carried home in her pocket. On examination it was found to be a paper bag, animated by a dear little angel of a tree-toad! But this was declared to be a miracu-lous transformation, to punish unbelief and pre-sumption!
The Mormon missionaries have adopted a pecu-liar method of preaching. Avoiding argument, they appeal wholly to the imagination and the senses. They draw glowing pictures of the life of the saints at Utah, depicting their happiness, their prosperity, their freedom from oppressive laws and customs, in terms that cannot fail to captivate the hearts of the wretched and the op-pressed. The poor father, who forces a misera-ble existence from the churlish soil, whose life is uncheered by a single ray of hope for the better who sees his children growing up in the same hopeless misery, grasps eagerly at the hand which holds out to him the picture of comfort, ease, and prosperity in a country where fertile land is cheap, where the laws are just, where no superior orders tyrannize over the weak and defenseless. When we consider the power of this temptation, and remember that the forms of error are, infinite, while there is "but one way to be in the right," ought we to wonder that so many of the weak and ignorant are led astray? Is it not more won-derful that the number should be comparatively so small?
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