Lecture Last Evening by Miss Sarah Alexander.
Pictures of Salt Lake Society by an Escaped Actress.
Miss Sarah Alexander, the escaped Salt Lake actress, who was for ten years a member of the Mormon Church, and for five years a boarder in the house of Brigham Young, delivered an inter-esting lecture to a fair audience last evening, at the Academy of Music, on Mormonism. "In ap-pearance Miss Alexander is rather below the medium height, with fair complexion, black eyes and dark hair, and dresses in deep black. Her movements on the stage are graceful and easy, and her manner of speaking is earnest and im-pressive.
She commenced her lecture last evening by saying it would be impossible to tell all there was to tell, about Mormonism, or one-third of what she knew of Mormon life in Utah, in one lecture. She was urged to become a lecturer by a conviction of what she believed to be right, and by the advice of friends; and she asked all to believe that no sensitive woman could be induced to make a public expose of a system like Mormonism unless well fortified by a bulwark of truth and the righteousness of her cause. She was not an en-tire stranger, as her connection with the Mormon theater was known to many who, would recog-nize her and corroborate the statement of her Mormon relationship. She had lived five years as a boarder in Brigham Young's family, asso-ciated with the heads of the Church, and knew the routine of Mormon life, and intended to tell nothing but the truth, though she could not tell all the truth, for to do that would require hun-dreds of lectures.
The speaker was born in Wheeling, Va., and her mother was religiously inclined. In the course of time her mother became inter-ested in a Mormon missionary at Louisville, and afterward at St. Louis. She was induced to join the Mormon Church; but she did not learn that polygamy was an article of faith until reaching Salt Lake City. In 1868 she was baptized at St. Louis and became a Mormon; in 1869 they reached Salt Lake City, and afterward passed through the endowment ceremony in the Endowment House, where the oaths and obligations were taken that bound Mormons to the Church.
The oaths and obligations taken bound them to the Church stronger than to the United States, and there every marriage was performed that took place. A man could always find some woman who was willing to accept a part of a man.
The plural marriage could only take place pri-vately, showing that they feared the laws of the United States. To apostatize from the Mormon Church was a sin from which there was no re-demption. The Church was to be obeyed in prefer-ence to the laws of the United States, and the officers of the Government were frequently cursed, and it was strange that their application to be admitted as a State should be considered by Americans. No law of the United States was paramount to the Mormon obligation. The Mormons all wore a sacred garment, and they believed if they removed it something dread-ful would happen to them. She once took off her sacred garments and danced at the theater, and the next day Brigham Young said: "Sarah out-did herself last night." She had the pattern of one of these garments and would show it to the ladies; but of course the gentlemen had no curiosity to see one!
The reasons the women did not leave Utah were many. Many who went out there had their expenses out to Utah, and were obliged to pay it back. Many had pledged their honor, lives and souls to Brigham Young, and many had learned entire submission to their husbands, praying for strength to bear their burdens. They brooded over their evils, with no hope this side the grave; but many told strangers that they were happy be-cause they did not feel like exposing their sor-rows to those who could not help them, and would not, if they could. There was no opportunity for the women to ob-tain money to leave the city. Many had chil-dren they loved, and if they did leave they would be called bad women. It was almost im-possible for women to leave Utah, and they in-stinctively shrunk from everything opposed to Mormonism. She had become by her course a particular object of the attention of the Mor-mons, and they would like to see her fail, so that the prophesy that no apostate to Mormonism could succeed; that the judgments of the Lord would follow her, should be fulfilled. It was sure that the judgment of Brigham followed the apostate. The Mormon press had influence that was felt everywhere, and it was directed against all who left the church. She never heard a kind word spoken of the United States among the Mormons. In 1863, at the com-mand of Brigham, the speaker became an actor and an inmate of the Lion House, and she plunged into the profession with the hope of sav-ing herself from the Mormon marriage. One of Brigham's wives was her friend, and she frequently escaped from the house by going to the theater, where Brigham supposed she was needed. After she became successful in her pro-fession and received the applause of the Gentiles, an attempt was made to intimidate her by the Mormons. John T. Kane, the manager, was a true exponent of the spirit of Mormonism. He once threw her off the stage and she threw a stool at him, and from that time there was war between them.
One of the most disgraceful things was for a woman to remain single in Utah, and it required more spirit to remain single than to marry a fraction of a man. One day a Mormon called her a firebrand. In 1867 they commenced paying her $15 per week, half in money and half in store orders, and when she bought a trunk of the man who called her a firebrand he refused to take his own order. She paid Brigham $10 per week for board. She put her money where she could get it, and always kept her wardrobe ready for a sudden movement, for she had had intimations that she ought to marry. The women were taught that the greater the sacrifice the greater the reward in heaven.
"The blood of atonement" was found in the doctrine that the penalty of apostasy was death, and to kill one who had apostatized entitled one to a new probation in eternity. She felt that God would protect her against the Destroying Angels.
A man had offered to marry her and her mother and sister, and Brigham had thought that a man might marry his sister, and the speaker had rea-son to believe that he had married a man to his daughter.
Wm. Hickman, who had left the Mormons and was protected at Camp Douglas, had written a book confessing crimes, and he had told the truth. He was urged to put Gen. Connor out of the way, but declined to do so.
The mystery of the petition of the women of Utah asking to be protected in polygamy was seen in the way in which suffrage was granted to the women. They were allowed to vote as their masters said, but they were not allowed to go to hear Mrs. E. Cady Stanton. The women were not allowed to have a voice even in their house-hold affairs. George Q. Cannon, editor of the Deseret News, usually conducted the church elec-tions, and he simply named those who were to be elected and everybody voted for them.
It was a common invocation that all of the enemies of the Church should be swept from the face of the earth; and all men were enemies who were not members of the Mormon Church; but the women were to be saved and given to the Saints.
The strongest argument in favor of polygamy was the existence of prostitution; but this was absurb, for Brigham had claimed that "the women there could not be proved to be their wives." It was folly to suppose that if Utah was admitted as a State polygamy would be done away with, and the attempt of Thomas Fitch, of Nevada, to have the admission made was a shame and a disgrace; but he was working for Brigham's gold.
As to the progress made by Utah, she did not think as much progress had been made there as in California in the same length of time. If Utah had been settled by Yankees it would be much further advanced than it is. The Mormons believed themselves to be the greatest people in the world— at least the men did, and told the women so, and they, poor things, did not know any better than to believe it.
Visitors and correspondents were frequently deceived, as they had no opportunity to get an insight to social Mormon life. The women they saw were too well trained to say anything against the Church. They could be trusted. Mrs. Eliza R. Snow met Mrs. Stanton, and the latter said she did not wish to receive any revela-tions from God through such men as Young. Eliza replied: "But, Mrs. Stanton, we prefer to receive our revelations in that way." One Englishwoman, who would have her say oc-casionally, remarked that "Poly-gamy was a 'eaven for the men, but it was an 'ell for the women."
The speaker now stood alone in the world, her mother and sister having passed away under the blighting influence of polygamy; and the sister in dying had left an infant daughter to her care. The father wanted to bring the child up as a Mormon; but this should not be if the public would sustain her. She knew that the Mormon agents would do all that was possible to injure her. Few people had any idea of the ex-tent of Mormon influences, and Brigham had spies and agents everywhere. They frequently acted as newspaper correspondents and telegraph operators.
Nothing would do more to strengthen the Mormons than to admit Utah as a State with polygamy; and it was the duty of all persons to do their utmost to prevent such an event taking place.
Miss Alexander was frequently applauded during her lecture, and it was evident that her audience was in full sympathy with her all the time. She will lecture again on "Brigham Young's Family, the Tithing System, and the Sealing Process.”
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