Political Affairs in Utah— Mormons and Mormon Sentiments— United States Officials— An Afternoon at the Tabernacle.
Correspondence of the Inter-Ocean:
SALT LAKE CITY, June 12.
The nomination of Grant is hailed with joy by the Gentiles of Utah, though the political complexion of the Territory is badly mixed. In fact it is rather fortunate that Utah has a very weak voice in the affairs of the nation, else the Mormons and the vituperous South-erners, who roam about the Territory, at-tracted by mining excitements, would to-gether inaugurate a little rebellion, so far as voting and talk are concerned, and their disposition for shooting would be prety strong if they had an opportunity. To admit Utah as a State, in her present condition, would be bad policy. Of course bitter enemies of Grant who are ready to grab at any possible chance to traduce his motives, as well as the Mormon leaders who have their private interests to compass, all raise a prolonged howl about tyrany, military despotism, and thus on to the end of the chapter, ringing all the usual Changes. But the plain truth is, Utah ought not to be admitted until she has undergone such a regeneration as will render her at least a decently respectable member of the sister-hood of States. The Mormons say the Gen-tiles of Utah oppose admission from purely selfish motives, in order to gain control of the State when admitted. Well, supposing that to be true, why should not the Gentiles have control of Utah? Are not the Mormons trai-tors, rebels to the very limit of their ability? My former experience in Utah, my familiar-ity with Mormons and Mormon sentiment, both here at the "head centre" and in the towns and settlements throughout the Terri-tory, permit me to speak knowingly.
Polygamy is not the first great crime which merits the attention of United States au-thority. Polygamy is bad enough, when prac-tised in a boasted Christian country, in defi-ance of the laws thereof. But to have an ab-solute monarchy, a priestly despotism ruling a portion of the country in the most high-handed manner, committing crimes of the blackest character, doing anything and all things to gain its ends without regard for the laws of the land, absolutely in armed defiance of the government of the land, teaching treason to its people, talking treason openly, boasting of it to the very face of Uncle Sam—to have all this flourishing in the land is worse than polygamy. It has been meat, bread and drink to the Mormon leaders to prophesy all manner of evil to the United States government, and to incite toward it the most bitter hatred on the part of their fol-lowers.
Every one familiar with Mormon history knows that the Mormons have been in arms against the laws of the country, that they have sustained a regular military organization with the sole purpose of fighting any attempt to enforce the laws. Even now the rank and file of Mormondom are constantly taught such stuff as that they will ere long rise against the Gentiles and exterminate not only those in Utah, but also any army that may be sent here. That is the sort of bosh which the great Mogul gives his people. This I get from con-versation with the common herd of Mormon-dom throughout the Territory. Surely the administration has sufficient grounds for co-ercion, if necessary, and more than sufficient reasons for opposing the admission of Utah as a State in her present condition. Yet President Grant is traduced and slander-ously misrepresented when carrying out his honest convictions of right, and doing ex-actly what law and justice demand.
The tone of Mormondom has changed greatly since I first became personally familiar with affairs in Utah. Contact with gentiles and christian customs is breaking down priestly rule and giving Mormons—especially the enslaved women—who perceive the error of their ways, an opportunity to speak with-out fear, and to defy the despotic church which has so long held them in absolute slavery.
The United States officials of Utah and their manner of proceeding might furnish a lengthy chapter although so much has been written, and said, of late, concerning them and their doings. There are wrongs to be righted, crimes to be punished, and much regenera-tion to be accomplished which require the strongest hand of the law. Yet, the manner of attack adopted by those having authority, their very eagerness to carry out a programme dictated partly by personal motives, partly by erroneous judgment, partly by hatred to Mor-mons have led to unfortunate measures which did not coincide with existing laws, and which had so much the appearance of injustice as to defeat the best intentions.
Yet the Mormons have no right to expect that they will be handled tenderly. In truth, their actions, their attitude toward the gov-ernment, their treasonable talk, all put them upon the same basis with Southern Ku-Klux, and they may reasonably expect to be treated in an uncomfortable manner, to say the least. In my humble opinion the government should more carefully consider the class of men appointed to important po-sitions in the Territories, especially in Utah at the present crisis, official positions in this wild country are usually looked upon as any-thing but important, and too often filled by mere adventurers, who are open to all sorts of manipulation. But oftimes the reputation of the party, and particularly of the administra-tion making such appointments, is at stake. Moreover, the character and official bearing of those who hold the chief positions under government, in the West, have much to do with forming the character of growing Terri-tories, and incoming States. Hence we need sound men, who will adminster sound law, and tend to elevate the tone of the people rather than be themselves open to criticism and their names bandied about in low bar-room jokes.
SERVICES AT THE TABERNACLE.
A communication from Utah without men-tion of the Tabernacle would be so heterodox, the readers might doubt its authenticity. I shall not describe the structure, which is an old barn in appearance, and has been described and photographed "to death." I have only to give some items picked up on a Sun-day afternoon, when the vast room was filled with believers and a goodly sprinkling of the unregenerate to hear "The Everlasting Gos-pel" as dispensed by the Saints.
The Mormon speakers are nearly all crude and unattractive oftentimes coarse and inde-cent, though they are now more cautious with their coarse, vulgar language which once cropped out even in so public a place as the Tabernacle. It is decidedly refreshing to study a crowd of eight or ten thousand gap-ing Mormons swallowing the stuff called gospel, which is served up at the Tabernacle to an "intelligent (?) public." It is refresh-ing simply because it carries one back to primitive days when our ancestors were wont to sport among the "forests primeval," practice polygamy, speak a language about as intelligible as that of "The Book of Mormon," and otherwise prove the ancient date of Mormonism.
The first speaker upon this particular occa-sion was a young as-pirant, who, with con-tortions, wild gesticulation and much tearing of the atmosphere, proceeded to tell his hearers how the Mormons would, ere long, rule the whole country from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Laughable as this appears, the Mormon masses swallow it in per-fect faith. Such is their meat and drink.
Orson Pratt followed with a long discourse intended to prove the authenticity of "The Book of Mormon." Pratt succeeded just as Mark Twain did in proving that he found the grave of Adam, for no one could prove that it was not the grave of Adam.
To be obliged to attend services at the Tab-ernacle for one year, regularly, would be next to capital punishment; but there is usually quite a congregation of Gentiles led there by curiosity and a desire to hear the organ, which is a grand structure, second in size to only one in this country, the famous Boston organ. NED.
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