EMANCIPATION OF THE HAREM.
From a Sermon preached by Brigham, Young, in Utah, Sept. 21, 1856.
* * * It is frequently happening that wo-men say that they are unhappy. A man will say, 'My wife, though a most excellent woman, has not seen a happy day since I took my second wife'; 'No, not a happy day for a year,' says one; and another has not seen a happy day for five years. It is said that women are tied down and abused, that they are misused, and have not the liberty they ought to have; that many of them are wa-ding through a perfect flood of tears, because of the conduct of some men, together with their own folly.
I wish my own women to understand that what I am going to say is for them as well as others, and I want those who are here to tell their sis-ters, yes, all the women of this community, and then write it back to the States, and do as you please with it. I am going to give you from this time to the 6th day of October next for reflection, that you may determine whether you wish to stay with your husbands or no; and then I am going to set every woman at liberty, and say to them, 'Now, go your way, my women with the rest; go your way.' And my wives have got to do one of two things; either round up their shoulders to endure the afflictions of this world, and live for their religion, or they may leave, for I will not have them about me. I will go into heaven alone, rather than to have scratching and fighting around me. I will set all at liberty. 'What, first wife, too!' Yes, I will liberate you all.
I know what my women will say; they will say: 'You can have as many women as you please, Brigham.' But I want to go somewhere and do something to get rid of the whiners; I do not want them to receive a part of the truth, and spurn the rest out of doors.
I wish my women, and brother Kimball's, and brother Grant's, to leave, and every woman in this Territory to leave, or else say in their hearts that they will embrace the Gospel—the whole of it. Tell the Gentiles that I will free every woman in this Territory at our next Conference. 'What, the first wife, too?' Yes, there shall not one be held in bondage; all shall be set free. And then let the father be the head of the family, the mas-ter of his own household; and let him treat them as an angel would treat them; and let the wives and children say amen to what he says, and be subject to his dictates, instead of their dictating the man—instead of their trying to govern him.
No doubt some are thinking, ‘I wish bro. Brig-ham would say what would become of the chil-dren.' I will tell you what my feelings are; I will let my wives take the children, and I have property enough to support them, and can educate them, and give them a good fortune, and I can take a fresh start.
I do not desire to keep a particle of my proper-ty, except enough to protect me from a state of nudity. And I would say. Wives, you are wel-come to my children, only do not teach them in-iquity; for if you do, I will send an elder, or come myself to teach them the gospel. You teach them life and salvation, or I will send elders to instruct them.
Let every man thus treat his wives, keeping rai-ment enough to clothe his body; and say to your wives, 'Take all that I have, and be set at liber-ty: but if you stay with me, you shall comply with the law of God, and that too without any murmuring and whining. You must fulfil the law of God in every respect, and round up your shoul-ders to walk up to the mark without any grunting.'
Now recollect, that two weeks from to-morrow I am going to set you at liberty. But the first wife will say, 'It is hard, for I have lived with my husband twenty years, or thirty, and have raised a family of children for him, and it is a great trial to me for him to have more women:' then I say it is time that you gave him up to other women, who will bear children. If my wife had borne me all the children that she ever would bear, the celestial law would teach me to take young women that would have children.
Do you understand this? I have told you many times that there are multitudes of pure and holy spirits waiting to take tabernacles. Now what is our duty? To prepare tabernacles for them; to take a course that will not tend to drive those spirits into the families of the wicked, where they will be trained in wickedness, debauchery, and every species of crime. It is the duty of every righteous man and every woman to prepare taber-nacles for all the spirits they can. Hence, if my women leave, I will go and search up others who will abide the celestial law, and let all I now have go where they please; though I will send the gos-pel to them.
This is the reason why the doctrine of plurality of wives was revealed, that the noble spirits which are waiting for tabernacles might be brought forth.
If the men of the world were right, or if they were anywhere near right, there might not be the necessity which there now is. But they are whol-ly given up to idolatry, and, lo! to all manner of wickedness.
Do I think that my children will be damned? No, I do not, for I am going to fight the devil until I save them all. I have got my sword ready, and it is a two-edged one. I have not a fear about that, for I would almost be ashamed of my body, if it would beget a child that would not abide the law of God, though I may have some unruly chil-dren.
I am going to ask you a good many things; and, to begin with, I will ask what is your prayer? Do you not ask for the righteous to increase, while the unrighteous shall decrease, and dwindle away? Yes, that is the prayer of every person that prays at all. The Methodists pray for it, the Baptists pray for it, and the Church of England, and all the reformers, the Shaking Quakers not excepted. And if the women belonging to this church will turn Shaking Quakers, I think their sorrows will soon be at an end.
Sisters, I am not joking; I do not throw out my proposition to banter your feelings, to see whether you will leave your husbands, all or any of you. But I do know that there is no cessation to the everlasting whinings of many of the women in this Territory. I am satisfied that this is the case. And if the women will turn from the com-mandments of God, and continue to despise the order of heaven, I will pray that the curse of the Almighty will be close to their heels, and that it may be following them all the day long. And those that enter into it and are faithful, I will promise them that they shall be queens in heaven, and ru-lers to all eternity.
'But,' says one, 'I want to have my paradise now.' And, says another, ‘I did think I should be in paradise, if I was sealed to brother Brig-ham, and I thought I should be happy when I be-came his wife, or brother Heber's. I loved you so much that I thought I was going to have a heaven right off, right here on the spot.'
What a curious doctrine it is, that we are pre-paring to enjoy! The only heaven for you is that which you make yourselves. My heaven is here, [laying his hand upon his heart.] I carry it with me. When do I expect it in its perfection? When I come up in the resurrection; then I shall have it, and not till then.
But the women come and say, 'Really, brother John, and brother William, I thought you were going to make a heaven for me'; and they get into trouble because a heaven is not made for them by the men, even though agency is upon women as well as upon men. True, there is a curse upon the woman that is not upon the man, namely, that 'her whole affections shall be towards her husband'; and what is the next? 'He shall rule over you.'
But how is it now? Your desire is to your hus-band, but you strive to rule over him, whereas the man should rule over you.
Some may ask whether that is the case with me: go to my house and live, and then you will learn that I am very kind, but know how to rule.
If I had only wise men to talk to, there would be no necessity for my saying what I am going to say. Many and many an elder knows no better than to go home and abuse as good a woman as dwells upon this earth, because of what I have said this afternoon. Are you, who act in that way, fit to have a family? No, you are not, and never will be, until you get good common sense.
Then you can go to work and magnify your call-ings; and you can do the best you know how; and on that ground I will promise you salvation, but upon no other principle.
If I were talking to a people that understood themselves and the doctrines of the holy Gospel, there would be no necessity for saying this, be-cause you would understand. But many have been (what shall I say? pardon me, brethren,) hen-pecked so much that they do not know the place of either man or woman; they abuse and rule a good woman with an iron hand. With them it is as Solomon said: 'Bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.' You may talk to them about their duties, about what is required of them, and still they are fools, and will continue to be.
Prepare yourselves for two weeks from to-mor-row; and I will tell you now that if you tarry with your husbands after I have set you free, you must bow down to it and submit yourselves to the celestial law. You may go where you please, af-ter two weeks from to-morrow; but remember that I will not hear any more of this whining.
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.