THE OBSERVER ON MORMONISM.
THE New York Observer is deeply exercised on account of the evils and immoralities of Mormonism. It says:
"While yet Utah is a Territory of the United States, and before she becomes even an applicant for admission into the Union, we would have measures adopted to pro-mote the moral improvement of that people. Our bene-volent and missionary Societies have not turned their attention, as they ought, to Utah as a field of labour. The Constitution of the United States forbids Congress to make any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, and the Territory may not enact any law in conflict with the United States Constitution. It is therefore plain that missionaries and colporters may be sent there with the Gospel, with Bibles and Tracts, and if the far off pagan tribes are to be visited with such agencies of mercy, why will not our missionary spirit and patriotism suggest such efforts for these wretched polygamists and fanatics, on our own soil?
"Here is a noble object to employ the minds and means of American Christians. Is not Utah worth saving for virtue and for heaven? Or is Kansas everything and Utah nothing ?"
The Observer, like some other venomous creatures, car-ries its sting in its tail, as is apparent from this malignant thrust at those who are struggling to preserve Kansas from the blight of slavery. Its zeal for the conversion of "the wretched polygamists and fanatics" of Utah only masks the deadly enmity toward the friends of freedom revealed in its closing interrogatory.
We wish, however, to call attention now to another point. Suppose the American Home Missionary Society, acting upon the Observer’s hint, should send preachers and colporters to Utah to save the Mormons "for virtue and for heaven," and that the Bible and Tract Societies should lend their aid in the good work. How would the Observer have the missionaries, thus commissioned, treat the sub-ject of polygamy? Ought they, in its opinion, to de-nounce it as a sin against God, to be repented of and forsaken on peril of eternal punishment; or should they follow the example of the missionaries of the American Board in India and admit "the wretched polygamists" to the Church, permitting them to cohabit with their forty wives, if they happen to have so many, and only not allowing them to become ministers and deacons? We suggest that the Rev. D. O. Allen, D.D., the missionary of the American Board in India for twenty-five years, and lately returned from that country, would be just the man to head a missionary expedition to Utah. That he would be welcomed by the inhabitants of that Territory we have no doubt, for we see that The Mormon, a weekly paper pub-lished in this city and devoted to the exposition of the doctrines and practices of the "Latter Day Saints," is highly delighted with the views of polygamy avowed and defended in his recent work on India. Who knows but we may yet have the pleasure of recording the admission of Brigham Young, with his score or two of wives, into an evangelical Church, on the principle so ingeniously set forth by Dr. Allen and acted upon by the Calcutta Mis-sionary Conference? What a triumph that would be of the Gospel—according to the Observer!
But even if the missionaries in India (under the direc-tion of the American Board) had not set an example of the "evangelical" method of treating polygamy, the course of the missionaries to Utah, in the case supposed, would no doubt be determined by precedents nearer home. It is a doctrine of the American Church—of that portion thereof at least with which the Observer is in affinity—that ministers must confine themselves to their appropriate work of preaching "Christ and him crucified," not med-dling with the domestic institutions of the people to whom they are sent, and, above all, not waging war against the laws enacted by the civil authority. Such has long been the Observer's doctrine in regard to slavery, which is a system of legalized concubinage and unbri-dled lust. Now, polygamy in Utah, like slavery at the South, is an institution of the State, and there is not an argument against anti-slavery preaching in Carolina which would not be equally cogent if used to dissuade a missionary from assailing the Mormons for their polyga-mous practices; and if slaveholders should be admitted to the Church because the patriarchs held slaves and the system was tolerated by the primitive Christians, why should not polygamists be welcomed to religious fellow-ship for the same reason? The Calcutta Missionary Con-ference, as quoted by Dr. Allen, took exactly this view of the case, declaring it to be "in accordance with the spirit of the Bible and the practice of the Protestant Church, to consider the State as the proper fountain of legisla-tion in all civil questions affecting marriage and divorce." "Heathen and Mohammedan marriages and divorces recognised by the laws of the country are to be held valid." "If a con-vert, before becoming a Christian, has married more wives than one, in accordance with the practice of the Jewish and primitive Christian Churches, HE SHALL BE PERMITTED TO KEEP THEM ALL." Of course this doctrine is as good for Utah as for India, and hence there is no insuperable difficulty in the way of Brigham Young's conversion to the Obser-ver's gospel, or of the annexation of his whole domestic establishment to the evengelical Church. True, he could not, according to the rule adopted in India, be elected a deacon or a minister; but then he could be made an honorary or corporate member of the American Board, or elected to a place in the Executive Committee of the Tract Society, which would probably satisfy his ambition quite as well.
No wonder The Mormon is jubilant over this "free-love" gospel of the American Board and the Orthodox Religious Press. We must put its words on record, to shame, if it be possible, these corrupters of Christianity, who would rob it of its glory and its power by making it a cover for the worst iniquities that curse our humanity.
From The Mormon of Feb. 23.
CHURCH OF ENGLAND (EPISCOPALIANS), PRESBYTERIANS, BAPTISTS AND CONGREGATIONALISTS TURNED POLYGAMISTS.
The above may seem strange to many, and its announce-ment be looked upon as an exaggeration, but it is never-theless true; and notwithstanding the professed purity of Christian professors who, with sanctimonious looks, solemn visages and affected virtuous indignation, have repelled the polluted polygamous Mormons; notwithstanding the holy horror of an immaculate press, and the fierce decla-mations of the meek soi-disant ministers of Christ, against such practices; and notwithstanding the sacred dread entertained by many of our Senators and Representatives "in Congress assembled" of admitting Utah as a State for fear of "fastening an incubus" upon this truly Christian and virtuous nation, it is nevertheless true that the mis-sionaries of those several Churches, before referred to, have unitedly been sanctioning the very things for which the people, the pulpit, the press and Congress have been condemning the Mormons. Such is the world, religiously, politically and socially; and such is the so-called Chris-tian consistency.
[Here follow extracts from Dr. Allen's work, which, as they have already appeared in THE STANDARD, we omit.]
It would seem that the missionaries of those several Churches, having imbibed a cosmopolitan spirit, freed from the narrow sectional and sectarian influence in the contracted circles of their home, have been led to contem-plate the marital relations in another point of view from what they have been in the habit of speaking about them at home, as taught by their ministers, pedagogues and grandmothers, or even by their theologians and divines. The world is more of a matter-of-fact school, and teaches more practicable lessons than either bodies of divinity or systems of theology. Perhaps, however, those Christian gentlemen, finding themselves as teachers among the polygamous Hindoos, Mahommedans and Jews, and being unable to refute the Hindoo philosophical arguments, and the scriptural arguments adduced both by the Jews and Mahommedans, found themselves either obliged to deny their own Bible, or to receive this doctrine; for, notwith-standing it is quite popular for Christians, in a Christian country, to disbelieve their Bible and reject it as evidence in most matters, it places missionaries in a very awkward position, after having proved that the Bible is true and that Christianity is of God, and holding up Abraham, David and others as men of God, to have to turn round and say, as Christians here do, "It is true polygamy was ordained of God and practised by good men, but now God I has nothing to do with it, and it is an abominable pollution. The Bible is a good book and those were holy men of God, but their practices were corrupt and lascivious; and the Lord, not being so well instructed as our modern divines, being at that time in his youth, made a great mistake about these matters." This kind of thing may do among Christians, but Mahommedans and Hindoos, heathen though they be, could not receive it; they could not comprehend so well as Christians do, how the Bible can be true and men good, holy and virtuous, and the doc-trines taught in the Bible false—nor how good, virtuous, chaste men can be corrupt and lascivious. It needs Christian philosophy to unravel this mystery.
Now, we can readily account for the position in which these missionaries are placed, and think they have acted perfectly rational and consistent under the circumstances; but what are we to think of the barefaced hypocrisy of those churches and Christian ministers who, whilst they abuse the Mormons for polygamy in the United States, admit of it in their own churches in India.
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On the ground of morality, then, taking these reverend gentlemen's own statements, there can be no bar to Utah being admitted and recognised as a State. But as it regards the "recognition of Mormonism as one of the religious sects of the country," we wish distinctly to be understood that, although nationally we have all the rights of other citizens, we want no association with, nor claim we any affinity to, any other Church in existence. We have left them long ago, on account of their corrup-tion, and, having found better and purer principles, we should feel ourselves disgraced by their association; it would with us be a return of the "dog to its vomit," or "the sow that was washed to wallowing in the mire." We had their fellowship before we were Mormons; we could have it again if we would act hypocritically, smother our consciences, and deny what we know to be true. Having found the inestimable treasures of truth, the "pearl of great price," we can listen to no syren songs, nor can we feast on the apples of Sodom; but in answer both to their insidious wiles and vulgar hate, like Bunyan's Pilgrim, we press forward, put our fingers in our ears, and cry "life, life, eternal life.”
From the same of March 1.
It will be seen from the above [the articles of the Cal-cutta Missionary Conference] that all the missionaries in Calcutta and vicinity subscribed to these articles, and were unanimous in their adoption; that it was not the opinion of one alone, but the opinion of all; and that however they might disagree on other doctrines, they were unanimous in their opinions upon the subject of poly-gamy, as expressed above; that it was not an opinion formed in haste, without examination, but after frequent consultations and much deliberation that they arrived at their conclusions. They, of course, had to struggle against education, early habits, and ideas of propriety, and per-haps against some of their own teachings. It is also pos-sible that not a few of them might have some serious twinges of conscience, in consequence of remarks made about the Mormons, before their "much consideration and frequent consultations on the subject." Be that as it may, the calm investigation of this matter led them to the above conclusions.
There were, unquestionably, other reasons that would operate upon their minds, not the least of which would be the influence and power of the State in regard to such matters; this is specifically referred to in the first article above alluded to, where it is expressly stated "that it is the practice of the Protestant Church to consider the State as the proper fountain of legislation in all questions affect-ing marriage and divorce."
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The above, then, being the law of the State, how could the Church resist it? The Episcopal or English Church is a creature of State; and if the State permitted poly-gamy, the Church must, for the Queen is "the defender of the faith." If the State, therefore, permitted its hundred millions of people to practise polygamy, what could the Church do? Its voice would be very feeble against law, scripture and universal custom. It is, in fact, acknow-ledged by the Church that the State is the proper fountain of legislation in this matter. The Church of England admitting polygamy, and that Church orthodox, of course other orthodox Churches must acknowledge the Chris-tianity of the Episcopalians, or be behind the times—be behind them in policy, in enlightenment, and probably in converts. A compromise is therefore made, and the thing decided upon by "all the missionaries of the different Christian Churches in and around Calcutta." We may consider the thing, then, as fairly settled there; and, by all fair rea-soning, we must naturally conclude that it is also settled with the Churches, of which they form a part, unless they instantly repudiate the practice of the Missionary Board, and cut them off from Church fellowship; for, if polygamy is wrong here, it must be in India. We must acknow-ledge that we were scarcely prepared for so wholesale a conversion to this principle, which has hitherto been con-sidered the most obnoxious part of Mormonism—but such is the mutability of human affairs. We learn that it is principally attributed to their examination of the Scrip-tures and to their testimony on this subject. If they search them a little farther, they will want to be baptized for the remission of sins, and have hands laid on them for the gift of the Holy Ghost; for, having made the dis-covery that polygamy is "in accordance with the practice of the Jewish and primitive Christian Churches," they cannot fail to discover that the above doctrines are also primitive Christian doctrines.
But some may ask, "What will the Church say?" Why, it is the Church that is believing these things; and although not in accordance with the feelings of some, it is nevertheless, they say, the doctrine of the Bible, and the practice of the primitive Christians. And although not strictly orthodox, they think it expedient sometimes to take the practice of the ancient patriarchs, the primitive Christians, and the Bible, as a "standard of faith and practice," although unpopular, and to believe that Abra-ham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Jesus and his apostles, and the primitive Christians, were tolerably good men, especially when it suits Christian convenience.
We may, therefore, set it down as a settled fact that we shall hear no more from these Churches about Mormon polygamy. Furthermore, polygamy won't do now, even for buncombe, in Congress; for if Christian England allows one hundred millions of her subjects to practise polygamy, and protects these millions in their practices by special laws—if her own Christian Church, of which her most gracious Christian majesty Queen Victoria is the head, permits it—and if, in addition to this, the whole of the United States Christian Missionary Board in India sanction polygamy, and receive polygamists into their Churches—how can the Congress of the United States, who do not profess to interfere in religious matters, rea-sonably reject the admission of Utah, as a State, on that score?
Until the Observer is prepared to denounce the American Board for sanctioning polygamy among the Hindoos, and to rend in pieces the fine-spun cloak for slavery which it has woven from the example of the Hebrew patriarchs and primitive Christians, let it cease to prate of the im-moralities of the Mormons, and no more disgust us with its lachrymal twattle about the need of missionaries in Utah. The American Church herself must be Christian-ized before she can be fitted to proclaim the Gospel of the Son of God.
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