Among the Mormons—Present Condi-tion of the Latter-day Saints. As Mormonism grows and expands in Utah, it becomes more and more a subject of inter-est to the people of the United States. Much has been said and written about it, but a full picture of the iniquity has never yet been drawn. The following sketch, giving an ac-count of an interview with Brigham Young, will be found interesting:
I regard Brigham Young as a greatly under-estimated man by most persons in the East. They all judge him mainly by his ribald and often blasphemous harangues from the pulpit, and do not appreciate him as a great adminis-trator and leader of surpassing attainments. I first saw him in his own business room. He was nearly or perhaps quite alone when I entered, but almost instantly several side doors opened, and half a dozen brothers, sons, secretaries, etc., were seated around the little office. I learn that he never sees any person alone, unless that he knows perfectly the character of the visitor, and when strangers call on him his person is guarded from possible assassination by the ap-parently casual but evidently systematic appearance of his immediate friends. He greets the visitor with serene dignity but faultless courtesy, and converses freely and quite intelligently on all agreeable topics. He was evidently in no mood for a talk about, the inside workings of Mormon-ism, and an inquiry as to the number of his wives and children, and their health, would doubtless have terminated the interview most abrubtly. He is a well preserved man of sixty years, of medium bight, rather corpulent, with an abundant growth of light auburn hair, and a heavy crop of sandy whiskers, except-ing on his upper and lower lips. His eyes are a very light, dull blue, and wanting in expression, his nose sharp and prominent, his lips thick and firmly set, apd the whole give him the appearance of a man of obstinate will, and cold, calculating purpose. His bead is of unusual shape. The face is quite broad just across the center, and gradually narrows to the top of the forehead, and point of the chin, while his neck is of uncommon thickness, and describes a semi-oval line from the base of the head to the top, taper-ing gradually to the crown, giving it a sugar loaf finish. He is evidently a man of the keenest perception, of great self-reliance and will, of the subtlest cunning, and pos-sesses an organization capable of the highest measure of physical endurance. In his man-ners and movements he is quite graceful, indicating considerable culture, but really the fruits of his varied experience and inter-course with alt classes of men. No man could acquire any needed quality more readily than Brigham Young. He is eminent as a mimic, and often resorts to mimicing as his most powerful weapon in hurling his anath-emas against the gentiles or apostates in his sermons. In short, I would put him down, after meeting him in his office and leaving him in the pulpit, as a most scienced imposter, singularly able, versatile and unscrupulous, and as one who seeks to hide his revolting, beastly licentiousness by deliberate blas-phemy.
I do not pretend to know the number of wives and children Brigham Young can boast. I believe that no two writers have estimated them alike, and I have found no Mormon, in the scores with whom I have conversed on the subject, who professed to know. It is con-ceded, however, that he has some fifteen or twenty who are members of his household, and probably a score of others who are simply sealed to him as spiritual wives, so as to share his high crown in the future world. Even the dead have been wedded to him by proxy, to satisfy the anxiety of deluded parents, who wished their departed daughters to wear starry robes around the prophet in heaven. Of his living wives, who are subject to his domestic laws, the first, who was his lawful wife before polygamy was thought of as part of the Mormon faith, now lives in a pleasant, spacious cottage by herself, some distance from the harem, peopled with the fairer and more tender acquisitions to his family circle. She is said to be a firm believer in the faith, and accepts her position as a cross imposed on her to enhance her reward hereafter. I saw her in the theater, along with five junior wives, who in turn succeeded each other in the favor of the prophet, and gave way in time to younger and fresher charms. Of all the so-called Mrs. Youngs I have seen, the lawful wife seems much the most intelligent and refined. The last one, and of course for the present the favorite, had a private box in the theater, sported gay ribbons and furbelows, and seemed to look down upon her faded predecessors with the contempt they deserved. She is a neice of the first wife, and defies even Brigham’s do-mestic government. She was tried in the ha-rem, but her rebellious spirit threatened the subversion of all law and order there, and she is now quartered in a house of her own, beyond range of the others. I do not, of course, credit all the revolting scenes detailed as occurring in the extensive family of the Prophet, but it is well known that the last addition to the wives hectors her anointed fraction of a husband in a most irreverent style, and storms the holy inner circle of in-spired power with profane speech and violent pugilistic gestures. Although each one after the first has usurped the place of another, not one has been discarded for a successor with-out the keenest sorrow, and often only after frenzied but fruitless resistance.
I had much anxiety to see polygamy in the household, but have faded. Not only are strangers practically denied acquaintance with plural wives, but the subject is never a wel-come one in conversation. I have talked with many Mormons who are polygamists, and in every instance when I asked respecting their wives, they responded as if I had intro-duced to them some painful and delicate scandal about their families. I found one who claimed, and I learned justly, to have two wives in one house, and all happy, but only one. In most instances each wife must have a separate house to hide herself from mu-tual humiliation and shame. To all who introduced the subject to me, I asked the question, ''Did your first wife cheerfully consent to your manage to another ?" and in not a single instance could an affirmative an-swer be given. Mormon or Gentile, with one accord, they revolt against it. They must cease to be women and descend into the scale of brutes, or even lower still, before the wives of Salt Lake can voluntarily consent to such appalling degradation. One-third of the entire male population of Utah is now prac-ticing polygamy, and in Salt Lake City the proportion is larger. It hangs like a terrible pall upon the mothers, wives, and daughters of the Saints. Not only those who have been enfolded in its slimy embrace mourn from day to day their hard lot, but those who have thus far escaped its pollution, know not how soon the spoiler may enter their firesides, and harrowing anxiety dim the luster of their eyes and trace its shadows upon their faces.
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