DEFENSE OF POLYGAMY.
A hierarch of Mormonism, who, it hardly need be said, is also proprietor of one of the largest as-sortments of wives outside the kingdom of Da-homey, has written a letter in reply to United States District Attorney Van Zile of Utah, who had arraigned the Mormon "church" for its bestiality, for its defiance of the laws, for its contempt of all authority outside of itself, and for its participation in numerous murders and other crimes. Elder Moses Thatcher is the scribe; and to the district attorney's indict-ment he puts in a plea of not guilty and holds up the Mormon church as a model of patriotism, loyalty and morality. He asserts that "the Mormons are exceptionally law-abiding, peaceable, quiet, non-contentious and industri- ous, and as to their moral status will challenge comparison with any community of similar size in the world.”
It is not necessary to state the process of reasoning by which Elder Thatcher reaches the conclusion that the Mormons are the best peo-ple in the world—literally "saints"—but such is his conclusion. His complaint is that they have been and now are shamefully abused by the government, in that their most sacred rights are denied them. "Never was the loy-alty of any portion of this republic so severely tested," he writes, "as has been that of the Mormon church." They have been disfran-chised, denied the right to hold office, excluded from the jury box, and tried by juries opposed to and prejudiced against them. In a word, they are held up as a meek, long-suffering, non-resisting band of martyrs, who are willing to endure all things for the sake of their religion—their right to worship God according to the dictates of their consciences. With steadfast loyalty to the government and the constitution, they are offering no resistance to these attacks upon their liberties except in the courts and by methods strictly legal.
This would be a strong defence were assertion to take the place of proof. But the methods of religio-political organization known as Mormonism are too well understood, and the cry of "religious freedom" and "martyr-dom" will not beget the least sympathy for those who are determined to maintain and de-fend the odious and immoral features of their disgusting system. Elder Thatcher admits that there is one ground, but one only, that affords the slightest pretext for the charge of disloyalty against the Mormons, namely: the alleged disregard of some of them for the laws of congress which prohibit polygamy, On this point he says: "The doctrine of plural mar-riage is a vital principle of the religion of the Mormon people, and they always maintained that the law of 1862, forbidding it, was uncon-stitutional, as it prohibited the free exercise of their religion." He then makes this rather remarkable statement:
In the Reynolds case the supreme court of the United States affirmed the constitutionality of that law. To that decision the Mormon people have bowed, and the announcement has been made by the Mormon church and by its official organ that here-after any man who violates the anti-polygamy law does it on his own responsibility, and may expect the punishment prescribed by the law. But while thus submitting to fine and imprisonment for his re-ligion's sake, the Mormon knows that the rights of conscience have been invaded, and he awaits with such patience as he may, the day when his motives and religion will not be so grossly misunderstood by the world and the government, and when the rights of conscience will not be denied the citizens of this republic.
The grace with which the Mormon people have "bowed" to the decisions of the court is quite characteris ic. It presents the spectacle of a handful of men arrayed against the stat-utes of a nation and the moral law of the whole civilized world—determined to defend as "a vital principle of religion" that which all true religion condemns is productive of deadly evils to the family, to the social organization and to the state, and that which is in direct violation of the law of every state in the union and of the United States besides. The elder is too zealous by half when he insists on the beastly practice of polygamy as an essen-tial part of the right to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience. He ought to be put in the "cooler" along with Brother Reynolds, whose fate he so deplores.
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