Journal of Discourses/23/7
|←The Southern States Mission, etc.|| Journal of Discourses by
Volume 23, THE GOSPEL'S RESTORATION—ITS PRIESTHOOD AND PRINCIPLES—THE SAINTS MISREPRESENTED—THE "MORMON" WAR—COMPARATIVE STATISTICS—THE IMPENDING JUDGMENTS OF GOD—DUTIES OF THE SAINTS—A WARNING TO THEIR OPPRESSORS—THE WICKEDNESS OF THE WORLD—EXHORTATION TO RIGHTEOUSNESS
|The Laws of God and the Laws of the Land, etc.→|
| DISCOURSE BY PRESIDENT JOHN TAYLOR, DELIVERED AT THE GENERAL CONFERENCE, ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON, APRIL 9TH, 1882 (Reported by Geo. F. Gibbs.)
(Online document scan Journal of Discourses, Volume 23)
In attempting to address the congregation this afternoon, I trust that all will be as quiet as possible. It is extremely difficult to make the congregation hear in this place, especially in so large an assembly, when there is the least confusion. While I address you, I wish to speak
such words as shall be interesting, edifying and instructive, and I desire an interest in the prayers of the faithful, that I may be able to do so intelligently, that we may be the better for our coming together.
I am aware of the position that we occupy to-day. I feel that I am surrounded by a large number of intelligent men and women, and while I am addressing you, I am also addressing the world, for the remarks I make will be reported and published to the world. Therefore, I am desirous to advance such sentiments as will be in accord with the enlightenment of the Latter-day Saints, with the intelligence of the 19th century, and with the principles that have emanated from God.
Any intelligence which we may possess and which we may be able to impart, is not of ourselves, but of God. It did not originate with us; it did not originate with Joseph Smith, with Brigham Young, with the Twelve Apostles, nor was it received from any institution of learning, nor of science, either religious, political, or social. Our philosophy is not the philosophy of the world; but of the earth and the heavens, of time and eternity, and proceeds from God.
A message was announced to us by Joseph Smith the Prophet, as a revelation from God, wherein he stated that holy angels had appeared to him and revealed the everlasting Gospel as it existed in former ages; and that God the Father and God the Son had also appeared to him: the Father pointing to the Son, said, "This is my beloved Son, hear ye him." Moroni, a prophet that had lived on this continent, revealed unto Joseph the plates containing the Book of Mormon, and by the gift and power of God he was enabled to translate them into what is known as the Book of Mormon. That book contains a record of the ancient inhabitants who dwelt upon this continent, a part of whom came from the tower of Babel at the time of the confounding of tongues, and another part came from Jerusalem in the time of Zedikiah, king of Judah, 600 years before the advent of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This book contains a record of the dealings of God with those people; it contains a record of their worship of their wars and commotions, of their righteousness and iniquity, and of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ unto them, and of His preaching unto them the same Gospel that was taught on the continent of Asia, attended by the same ordinances, the same organization and the same principles.
I shall not attempt to bring any proof with regard to these matters to-day; I am simply making statements, the truth of which you Latter-day Saints know, as it would be impossible to enter into all the details in a short discourse. Suffice it to say, that the Father having presented His Son to Joseph Smith, and commanded him to hear Him, Joseph was obedient to the heavenly call, and listened to the various communications made by men holding the Holy Priesthood in the various ages under the direction of the Only Begotten. He and Oliver Cowdery were commanded to baptize each other, which they did. John the Baptist came and conferred upon them the Aaronic Priesthood. Then Peter, James and John, upon whom was conferred, in the Savior's day, the keys of the Melchisedec Priesthood came, and conferred that Priesthood upon them. Then Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Elias, and many
other leading characters mentioned in the Scriptures, who had operated in the various dispensations, came and conferred upon Joseph the various keys, powers, rights, privileges and immunities which they enjoyed in their times.
Again, Joseph was commanded to preach this Gospel and to bear this testimony to the world. He was taught the same principles that were taught to Adam, the same principles that were taught to Noah, to Enoch, to Abraham, to Moses, to Elijah and other Prophets, the same principles that were taught by Jesus Christ and the Apostles in former times on the continent of Asia, accompanied with the same Priesthood and the same organization, only more fully, because the present dispensation is a combination of the various dispensations that have existed in the different ages of the world, and which is designated in the Scriptures as the dispensation of the fulness of times, in which God would gather together all things in one, whether they be things in heaven or things on earth. Therefore, whatever of knowledge, of intelligence, of Priesthood, of powers, of revelations was conferred upon those men in the different ages, was again restored to the earth by the ministration and through the medium of those who held the holy Priesthood of God in the different dispensations in which they lived.
Under the direction of the Almighty, Joseph organized a church; and when people were called upon to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, to repent of their sins, to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and to have hands laid upon them for the reception of the Holy Ghost, those who did believe and obey received the attendant blessings. Then the various offices of the Priesthood began to be conferred upon men who believed, and in due time the quorum of the Twelve was organized, whose commission was to proclaim this Gospel to every people, to every nation, to every kindred, to every tongue. Then a quorum of seventy Elders was selected, known by the name of Seventies; and we now have some 76 times 70 of those Elders.
A First Presidency was also organized to preside over the whole Church in all the world. Then there were High Priests ordained whose office was principally to preside as well as to preach the Gospel. Then there were Elders, Priests, Teachers and Deacons; and this organization was given by direct revelation, by which the Church has been governed from that time until the present. Bishops were also appointed whose position in the Church was clearly defined by the word of the Lord. Then High Councils were organized for the adjustment of all matters of difficulty, for the correction of incorrect doctrine, for the maintenance of purity and correct principles among the Saints, and for the adjudication of all general matters pertaining to Israel. This was the testimony and this is our testimony to-day to the nations of the earth. The Lord stood at the head as instructor, guide and director; and the Elders were told to go forth and to preach the Gospel to every creature, because confusion, disorder, sectarianism and the theories of men had been substituted for the word and will, and the revelation, law and power of God. These Elders were told that we approached the latter times, when God would have a controversy with the nations, and the message which
they had to proclaim was that which was described by John when wrapped in prophetic vision upon the Isle of Patmos. Among other great and important events he said "I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come." This was the commission given by the Lord to the Latter-day Saints. This is the mission we have been trying to carry out from that time to the present; and I myself have traveled tens of thousands of miles without purse or scrip, trusting in God, to teach these holy principles, and so have many of my brethren by whom I am surrounded.
When we started we were told that we were not sent to be taught, but to teach. Why? Because the world was not in possession of the principles of life, and therefore could not teach them. We went in obedience to the direct command of God to us through his servant Joseph, and we have spread forth the Gospel among the nations. And is there anything unreasonable about it? No. Is it true? Yes. Is it scriptural? Yes. Is it philosophical? Yes. And I say to-day, not by way of boasting, because we have nothing to boast of (I have no intelligence but what I am indebted to God, my heavenly Father and my brethren for,) that while I have traveled through various parts of the United States and the Canadas, also in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France, Germany, and different parts of the earth, among the wise and intelligent as well as the poor and ignorant, among all classes of men—I have stood in their halls and talked with their professors, ministers, legislators, rulers, divines, judges and wise men of every class, grade and position in life—but I have never met with a man who could gainsay one principle of the Gospel of the Son of God, and I never expect to; because truth, eternal truth, as it emanates from God, cannot be controverted.
And what is the nature of the Gospel? It is the same as that taught on the day of Pentecost by the Apostles, when they cried out to the multitude, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." That was the testimony which they bore to the people. That is the testimony which the Elders of this Church bear. There is something about this that is reasonable, that is intelligent, and that is susceptible of proof. It was a very fair proposition for the Apostle to make, promising the people who would obey the requirements which the Gospel imposes upon its adherents, that they should receive the Holy Ghost. And what should this do for them? It was to cause their old men to dream dreams and their young men to see visions, it was to make their sons and daughters prophecy, it was to bring things past to their remembrance, to lead them into all truth, and to show them things to come. This proposition was not alone of a religious nature, but it was also strictly philosophical. The farmer sows oats or wheat, or plants corn, and what does he expect? He expects oats, wheat or corn, as the case may be, and nothing else. There are laws and principles in nature, in the vegetable, the animal and the mineral kingdoms, as well as in all
the works of God, that are true in themselves and they are eternal. There are such metals as gold, silver, copper or iron, each possessing certain distinctive elements which they always did possess; and the different bodies in their chemical relations possess principles that are always true to unchangeable laws. It is so also in regard to all the elements by which we are surrounded, and also in regard to the heavenly bodies. Because of these unchanging laws, we know precisely when the sun will rise and when it will set. We know when certain planets or comets will appear and disappear. All their movements are undeviating, exact and true according to the laws of nature.
Now here is a principle of the Gospel that will admit of as strong evidence as anything in nature. What is it? "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Or in other words, sow wheat and you reap wheat; plant corn and you gather corn. It was a bold position to take. I remember that on these points I questioned the Elder who brought the Gospel to me. I asked, What do you mean by this Holy Ghost? Will it cause your old men to dream dreams and your young men to see visions; will it bring to pass the scripture which saith: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit, and they shall prophecy? Yes. Will it give you the permeating influence of the Spirit of the living God, and give you a certain knowledge of the principles that you believe in?
"Yes," he answered, "and if it will not, then I am an impostor." Said I, That is a very fair proposition. Finding the doctrine to be correct, I obeyed, and I received that Spirit through obedience to the Gospel which gave me a knowledge of those principles which I simply believed before, because they were scriptural, reasonable and intelligent, according to that scripture which saith, "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."
I was ordained an Elder by the proper authorities, and I went forth to preach this Gospel. Other Elders went forth as I did to the civilized nations, preaching the same doctrine and holding out the same promises. Some of them were not very learned; some were not very profoundly educated. We send a singular class of people in our Elders. Sometimes a missionary is a merchant, sometimes a legislator, a blacksmith, an adobe maker, a plasterer, a farmer, or common laborer, as the case may be. But all under the same influence and spirit, all going forth as missionaries to preach the Gospel of light, of life and of salvation. They have received the treasures of eternal life, and they are enabled to communicate them to others; and they hold out the same promises. You who hear me this afternoon, as well as thousands upon thousands of others, have listened to those principles, you have had held out unto you those promises; and when you obeyed the Gospel, you received this same spirit; and you are my witnesses of the truth of the things that I now proclaim in your hearing, and of the Spirit and power of God attending the obedience to the Gospel, and you will not deny it. This congregation will not deny it. When you yielded obedience to the laws of God, obeyed
His commandments, were baptized for the remission of your sins and had hands laid upon you for the reception of the Holy Ghost, you did receive it; and you are living witnesses before God. This is a secret that the world does not comprehend. Its people have not obeyed it and they do not know it; and the things of God, say the scriptures, no man knoweth but by the Spirit of God; and this Spirit has imparted to us that intelligence and that knowledge. This people have in their possession a hope that enters within the vail, whither Christ, our forerunner, has gone. They are living and acting and operating for eternity. God is their Father, and they know it. Some people think we are a set of ignorant boobies, who do not know what we are talking about, and they try to overrun the faith of the Latter-day Saints by sophistry, falsehood and folly. Whilst the fact is, we are in possession of the principles of eternal life, and are operating for eternity; and then we are operating to build up the Zion of God, where righteousness can be taught, and where men can be protected, and where liberty can be proclaimed to all men of every color, of every creed and of every nation.
Being placed in communication with God, the sophistry, nonsense and dogmas of men have no influence upon us. We are built upon the rock of revelation, as Peter was, and on the same principle. Said Jesus to him, "Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" The answer was: "Some say thou art one of the Prophets; some say thou art the Elias who was to come," etc. "But whom say you that I am?" Peter answered and said: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven; and I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." What rock? The rock of revelation —upon the intelligence communicated by the Holy Ghost to those who obey the Gospel of the Son of God; by this, men shall know for themselves, and stand as the rock of ages, invulnerable, immovable and unchangeable. That is the position which we the Latter-day Saints occupy.
This, then, is the religious part of the question. What do we believe in? We believe in purity, in virtue, in honesty, in integrity, in truthfulness and in not giving way to falsehood; we believe in treating all men justly, uprightly and honorably; we believe in fearing God, observing His laws and keeping His commandments. Do we all do it? No, not quite. I wish we did. But a great majority of the Latter-day Saints are doing this; and if there are those that are not, let them look well to their path, for God will be after them, and their brethren will be after them, for God cannot look upon sin with any degree of allowance. And as we are here for the purpose of building up Zion, He expects that we will be upright and honorable in all our dealings with one another and with all men.
One part of the Gospel is that we should be gathered together to a land that should be called Zion. Have we been doing this? Yes. Some people are very much opposed to it. Have we injured anybody by gathering in this way? Is this indeed the land of the free, the home
of the brave, and the asylum for the oppressed? Cannot the people of this nation afford to listen to the principles of truth, and allow men who are fearing God to assemble together to worship Him according to the dictates of their own consciences? Have we violated any law of the United States in thus gathering together and in thus worshiping our God? Not that I know of. Have we been opposed to the United States? No! no! no! we never have, and we are at the defiance of all men to prove anything of the kind. There are falsehoods set afoot by low, degraded, unprincipled men. We believe that the Constitution of the United States was given by inspiration of God. And why? Because it is one of those instruments which proclaims liberty throughout the land, and to all the inhabitants thereof. And it was because of those noble sentiments, and the promulgation of those principles which were given by God to man, we believe that it was given by the inspiration of the Almighty. We have always esteemed it in this light, and it was so declared by Joseph Smith. Did we do any wrong in coming here in the way we did? I think not. Did we transgress any of the laws of the United States? I think not. Did we transgress any of the laws of the nations we left? I think not. We gathered together simply because we were told there was a Zion to be built up. And what was that Zion? The term means the pure in heart. In connection with our gathering, I would remark, that a short time ago, at one of our public celebrations, there were twenty-seven nationalities represented. This is in accordance with the scripture which says: I will take them one of a city and two of a family, and bring them to Zion. And I will give them pastors after mine own heart, that shall feed them with knowledge and understanding. This is what we find in the Christian Bible, and there is certainly no harm in believing the Bible. The Christians send their Bible missionaries among us to circulate it, and we are always glad to receive the Bible and be governed by it.
Now, then, being gathered together, we necessarily required some kind of social relations with each other, for when we came here we brought our bodies with us as well as our religion, and we brought our wives and families with us as well as our religion; and we needed to cultivate the earth and build houses, and plant orchards, and vineyards, and gardens, and attend to the common affairs of life. And then as we began to increase we began to open and build farms, hamlets, villages and cities. Is there anything wrong in this? No. Finally, when we came here we petitioned for a State government, the people held a convention and a constitution was framed, and forwarded to Washington. Congress refused our application for a State, but they gave us a Territorial form of government and named the Territory Utah; and strange to say, how men and nations change, they are trying to interfere with us because of our polygamy, and at that time the government appointed a polygamous governor, Brigham Young. People change in their sentiments and views; I suppose they call it progress. Apostle Orson Pratt, whom you all knew, as soon as that revelation was made public, went down to the city of Washington, and there published the doctrine of plural marriage and also lectured upon it. The paper he published
was called The Seer, which many of you brethren remember very well. They were not in ignorance in relation to these matters. It was then well understood by the nation that these were our sentiments, and that President Young was a polygamist.
But passing on. Sometime after that, we had some United States officials sent out here, who were not polygamists, but one of them went so far as to show us what beautiful civilization they had where he came from, and he left his wife at home and brought with him a strumpet and took her on to the bench with him, to let the people see how intelligent and enlightened the people were in the United States. However, fortunately for him, there was no Edmunds bill then. Still, we were not much edified. It might be according to some people's system of ethics; it may be considered beautiful or aesthetic by the admirers of this fast and progressive civilization; but we could not appreciate it, and the consequence was, that the people felt indignant, they looked upon him as a profligate, and that he had defiled and disgraced the ermine. These were the sentiments of the people then, and they are yours to-day, for you have never been taught anything else. He and some others went back to Washington, and reported that the "Mormons" were in a state of rebellion; that they were a very wicked people, very corrupt and very depraved, almost as bad as some of our truth-telling ministers make us out to be, for some of them are not very notorious for telling the truth, nobody believes them here; but then they have reverend put before their names and that, of course, covers—what is it? a multitude of sins. And therefore, the mendacious stories that they tell and circulate are received as actual truth by thousands of blind, ignorant, bigoted people, who, doubtless, are far more sincere and far more honest and pure in their lives than these specimens of fallen humanity who, in the garb of sanctity, manufacture falsehoods and prepare them specially for the vitiated taste of the age.
But to return; judges and other officials were sent here, and suffice it to say, we did not like their civilization; and, then, they were not much enamored with ours, because whatever we may be in the estimation of the world generally, we are utterly averse to anything like licentiousness and debauchery; and, if there is any among us, we are indebted to our Christian friends for it, and to our Christian judges for maintaining and protecting it in our midst. We have no affiliation with such things; they cannot exist among us as a people, only by the force, the power and influence of this federal Christianity that has been introduced among us. Until these people came into our midst we had no house of ill-fame; and a lady could travel as safely in our streets at any time of night as in the day; we had no occasion to lock our doors to prevent thieves from preying upon us; we had no drunkenness, ribaldry or blasphemy in our streets; all these things have been introduced among us by our good, kind, pure, pious Christian friends, and in scores of our remote settlements where this civilization has not penetrated, they are free from these vices to-day
Now we will go back to the statement of these men. They were believed in Washington. What did they state? Among other things they said that we had burned the United States library, and the court records, and that a dreadful
state of anarchy was in existence; and instead of the United States sending out a commission to enquire into these matters, they took the statement of a Lothario and his associates, and sent out an army to destroy us. And these troops were reduced to gnawing mules' legs about the vicinity of Bridger, refusing salt when we sent it to them —for we would have done them good, notwithstanding they came as our enemies. I remember writing a letter to one of the officers who had a letter of introduction to me, and forwarded it by a messenger; I told him that I was very sorry, that as a United States' officer, as an honorable man, he should be placed in the situation he was then in; because he could not help it, as an officer, any more than we could, as he was operating as a servant of the government under military rule and had, therefore, to obey orders. And that while we esteemed him and other officers as patriots and high-minded, honorable men, who had exhibited their patriotism and bravery in Mexico and other places, and while we heard of their excellent military equipments, we did not like the idea of their trying the temper of their steel upon us. I told him that republics which reflected the voice of the people were in many instances excitable and erratic, and that I looked for a reaction in public opinion, and that when that change came I expected the difficulties that the government had placed us in would be done away, and that then I would be glad to extend to him that courtesy in our city that one gentleman should extend to another, and would then be happy to see him. But we could not meet then of course; they could not come to us, and we could not very well go out to them.
So that the Latter-day Saints may know the truth or falsity of the allegations made by Judge Drummond, I will have the official statement of Governor Cumming, who came out with the army, read to this congregation.
It would be unfair and disengenuous [disingenuous] to blame one administration for the acts of another, yet when we see a disposition to listen to the same kind of popular clamor that then existed, we cannot but notice a great similarity of circumstances.
[Elder L. John Nuttall then read the following extracts from the official statement of Governor Cumming, which was dated Great Salt Lake City, April 15th, 1858:]
"Since my arrival I have been employed in examining the records of the Supreme and District Courts, which I am now prepared to report as being perfect and unimpaired. This will, doubtless, be acceptable information to those who have entertained an impression to the contrary.
I have also examined the Legislative Records and other books belonging to the office of Secretary of State, which are in perfect preservation.
The condition of the large and valuable Territorial Library has also commanded my attention: and I am pleased in being able to report that Mr. W. C. Staines, the librarian, has kept the books and records in most excellent condition. I will, at an early day, transmit a catalogue of this library, and schedules of the other public property, with certified copies of the records of the Supreme and District Courts, exhibiting the character and amount of the public business last transacted in them."
Thus it appears that the allegations made by our enemies were
false, and the army was sent out under false representations, and their own Governor furnishes the evidence for their own refutation. Yet we were subjected to the indignity and outrage of having an army sent among us, predicated upon these false statements.
From the above and other similar actions manifested towards us as a people we have learned in the sad school of experience, and by the things that we have suffered, the excitability of the populace, and the unreasonable, savage and relentless feelings that frequently possess the people in their antagonism towards us, to be very careful, in all our acts among men, not to excite that feeling of hate which seems to be implanted in the human bosom against the principles taught by the servants of the Lord in all ages of the world.
Our mission is and always has been peace on earth and goodwill to man, to all men. We have in our midst Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics and all kinds of "ites." Does anybody interfere with them? Not that I know of. Yet there was a man, a professed minister in Sanpete County—[addressing President Canute Peterson of Sanpete Stake] Brother Peterson, did you not have a man in your Stake who got up a sensation by publishing far and wide that he had to preach the Gospel in Sanpete with a revolver on his desk, to prevent the "Mormons" from interfering with him—was not that the purport of his statement? [President Peterson: Yes, sir.] Do you know the man? [Ans.: Yes, sir.] Is he there yet? [Ans.: No, sir.] [Laughter.] Others have stated lately that we were in a state of sedition, and that in our different counties there were armed bodies of men prepared to fight the United States. The person that made and published this last statement was, as I understand, also a minister, one of these reverend gentlemen. Do any of you know his name? [A voice: Sheldon Jackson.] I am told it was one Sheldon Jackson; a reverend gentleman with a big R, a pious man, of course, and therefore what he says must be true. [Laughter.] We have a set of people that seem to be prowling about; I suppose, however, they are as necessary as anything else; I do not know but what they are. We have a species of birds called buzzards, whose natural tastes are for any kind of nauseous food; nothing suits them better than to gorge on carrion. Like them, these defamers are fond of trying to root up something against our people here. They themselves fabricate all kinds of notions and opinions, similar to the above that I have mentioned, that everybody here knows to be false, and they circulate them, and they have fanned the United States almost into a furore. People generally are ignorant of what these men and women are engaged in. They think these persons are honorable men and women; and they get up a lot of stories about some poor woman or some poor girl who has been crowded upon by her husband, and that in this state of polygamy there is the most abject misery, and the greatest distress that can be found anywhere. Are they true? Some individual cases may be true. Some of our men do not treat their wives right, and then some wives do not treat their husbands right. We do not all do right by a great deal. I wish we all did right. But supposing we were to go down to the places where these people hail from, to the slums of Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, New York, and other
cities, beginning, say, in New York, with the gilded palaces of 4th and 5th Avenues, and trace the thing down to Five Points, and then go through other cities in the same way, and what would we find there? Do you not think one could get up something as dirty and filthy as the most foul-minded person can get up about us? A thousand times more so.
They say we are an ignorant people. We admit that we are not so very intelligent, and we never boast of our learning or intelligence; but then, they should not boast of theirs either. However, we can compare favorably with them any day; and while they have had millions of the public funds to sustain their educational establishments, we have been despoiled, plundered and robbed over and over again, yet we are prepared to compare notes with them on education, and also on virtue, honesty and morals, any way they can fix it. And I would be ready to say, as one said of old, Thou fool, first take the beam out of thine own eye, that thou mayest see the more clearly to take the mote out of thy brother's eye.
We will have read some figures for the information of the brethren who come from a distance, who may not be acquainted with these matters.
[President Taylor then called upon his secretary, Elder L. John Nuttall, to read some extracts from a work published by an ex-United States official in New York City, which were as follows: ]
Before citing from the still incomplete census reports of 1880, let us take that of 1870 and compare Utah and Massachusetts, the new theocracy with the descendants of an old theocracy—priest-ridden Utah with "cultured" Massachusetts, also adding the District of Columbia, which has the enlightening presence of the American Congress to add to its advantages, and is under its direct government.
Comparative Statistics from Census of United States 1870
School Attendance Utah 35 Mass. 25 District of Colombia 27
Illiteracy-can't read or write, 10 years and upwards Utah 11 Mass. 12 District of Colombia 40
Paupers Utah 6 Mass. 55 District of Colombia 23
Insane and Idiotic Utah 5 Mass. 23 District of Colombia 35
Convicts Utah 3 Mass. 11 District of Colombia 9
Printing and Publishing establishments Utah 14 Mass. 11 District of Colombia 11
Church Edifices Utah 19 Mass. 12 District of Colombia 8
"From statistics contained in the Report of the Commissioners of Education for 1877, it is shown that in the percentage of enrolment of her School population, Utah is in advance of the general average of the United States, while in the percentage in actual daily attendance at school, she still further exceeds the average of the whole Union.
In 1877, when the school population of Utah numbered 30,792, there was invested in the Territory in school property the creditable sum of $568,984, being about eighteen and one-half dollars per capita of the school population.
In contrast with this, take the amount per capita of their school population, which some of the States have invested in school property: North Carolina, less than $0 60; Louisiana, $3 00; Virginia, about $2 00; Oregon, less than $9 00; Wisconsin, less than $11 00; Tennessee, less than $2 50; Delaware, less than $13 00.
In respect to the amount, per capita, of her school population, which Utah has invested in school property, she exceeds several other Southern and Western States, is in advance of the great States of Indiana and Illinois, and I believe in advance of the general average of the entire Union.
Thus, in the matter of education, Utah stands ahead of many old and
wealthy States, and of the general average of the United States in three very important respects, namely, the enrolment of her school population, the percentage of their daily attendance at school, and the amount per capita invested in school property.
From the census of 1880 I have compiled the following:
COMPARISON OF ILLITERACY.—
The United States & Utah Territory:
United States. Utah.
Total population 50,155,783 143,963
Total over 10 years of age who cannot read 4,923,451 4,851
Percentage who cannot read, 10 years & over 9.82 3.37
Total over 10 years of age who cannot write 6. 239,958 8,826
Percentage who cannot write, 10 yrs. & over 12.14 6.13
Total white population 43,402,970 142,423
Total white population over 10 years of age who cannot write 3,019,080 8,137
Percentage of white population who can- not write, 10 years & over 6.96 5.71
Of all the States and Territories in the Union there are but thirteen showing a lower percentage of total population who cannot read, Connecticut having the same 3.37. The rest range all the way up 32.32. percentage of total population in South Carolina
We will now produce some evidence with regard to crime, etc., drawn from official sources:
The population of Utah by the census of 1880 is about 144,000, divided as follows:
Mormons .............. 120,283
Apostate Mormons. 6,988
Total ........................ 143,963
"It will be seen that the "Gentiles" constitute only ten per cent. of the population, yet from this small minority are taken the incumbents of nearly every position of influence and emolument. They have the Governor, with absolute veto power, Secretary, Judges, Marshals, Prosecuting Attorneys, Land Register, Recorder, Surveyor-General, Clerks of the Courts, Commissioners, principal Post-office Mail Contractors, Postal Agents, Revenue Assessors and Collectors, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Indian Agencies, Indian Supplies, Army Contractors, express, railroad and telegraph lines, the associated press agency, half the jurors in law, but at least three-fourths and always the foreman in practice, in fact, every position not elective.
Last winter there was a census taken of the Utah penitentiary and the Salt Lake City and County prisons, with the following result: In Salt Lake City there are about seventy-five Mormons to twenty-five non-Mormons. In Salt Lake County there are about eighty Mormons to twenty non-Mormons. In the city prison there were twenty-nine convicts, all non-Mormons, in the county prison there were six convicts, all non-Mormons. The jailer stated that the county convicts for the five years past were all anti-Mormons except three.
In Utah we have seen that by the United States Census the proportion of orthodox Mormons to all others is as eighty-three to seventeen. In the Utah penitentiary there were fifty-one prisoners, only five of whom were Mormons, and two of the five were in prison for imitating Father Abraham in their domestic menage, so that the seventeen per cent, "outsiders" had forty-six convicts in the penitentiary, while the eighty-three per cent, Mormons had but five! The total number of Utah
lockups, including the penitentiary, is fourteen; these aggregated one hundred and twenty-five inmates. Of these one hundred and twenty-five, not over eleven were Mormons, several of whom were incarcerated for minor offences and polygamy; while if all the anti-Mormon thieves, adulterers, black-legs, perjurers, murderers and other criminals who are at large, were sent to prison, the Mormons claim that their prisons could not hold them.
In 1878 a Mormon publication made the following boastful statement:
Out of the twenty counties of the Territory, most of which are populous, thirteen are, to-day, without a dram-shop, brewery, gambling or brothel-house, bowling or billiard-saloon, lawyer, doctor, parson beggar, politician or place-hunter, and almost entirely free from social troubles of every kind; yet these counties are exclusively 'Mormon;' and with the exception of a now and then domestic doctor or lawyer, the entire Territory was free from these adjuncts of civilization (?) till after the advent of the professing Christian element, boastingly here to 'regenerate the Mormons,' and to-day every single disreputable concern in Utah is run and fostered by the very same Christian (?) element. Oaths, imprecations, blasphemies, invectives, expletives, blackguardism, the ordinary dialect of the "anti-Mormon," were not heard in Utah till after his advent, nor till then, did we have litigation, drunkenness, harlotry, political and judicial deviltries, gambling and kindred enormities.
This is what the Mormons assert. Let us see how the case stands today, and what the facts attest.
Out of the two hundred saloon, billiard, bowling alley and pool table keepers, not over a dozen even profess to be Mormons. All of the bagnios and other disreputable concerns in the Territory are run and sustained by anti-Mormons. Ninety-eight per cent. of the gamblers of Utah are of the same element, Ninety-five per cent. of the Utah lawyers are Gentiles, and eighty per cent. of all the litigation there is of outside growth and promotion.
Of the two hundred and fifty towns and villages in Utah, over two hundred have no "gaudy sepulchre of departed virtue," and these two hundred and odd towns are almost exclusively Mormon in population. Of the suicides committed in Utah, ninety odd per cent. are non-Mormon; and of the Utah homicides and infanticides, over eighty per cent. are perpetrated by the seventeen per cent. "outsiders.
The arrests made in Salt Lake City from January 1, 1881, to December 8, 1881, are classified, as follows:
Men ........................................................... 782 Women ...................................................... 200 Boys .......................................................... 38
Total ....................... 1,020
Mormons, Men & Boys ...... 163 " , Women ............... 6 169 Anti-Mormon-Men & Boys- 657 " Women ......... 194 851
Total ........................ 1,020
A number of the Mormon arrests were for chicken, cow and water trespass, petty larceny, etc. The arrests of anti-Mormons were in most cases for prostitution, gambling, exposing of person, drunkenness, unlawful dram selling, assault and battery, attempt to kill, etc.
If the seventy-five per cent. Mormon population of Salt Lake City were as lawless and corrupt as
the record shows the twenty-five per cent. anti-Mormons to be, there would have been 2,443 arrests made from their ranks during the year 1881 instead of the comparatively trifling number of 169 shown on the record; while if the twenty-five per cent. anti-Mormon population had as law-abiding and upright a record as the seventy-five per cent. Mormons, instead of the startling number of 851 anti-Mormon arrests during the year, there would have been but 56 made."
I give these statements of facts for the information of the brethren who are here from a distance; but, then, they know them as facts; that is, they know how these soi disant regenerators act, but many of them do not know what their civilization is here, and what is sought to be introduced among us, and the infamous statements circulated concerning us. We are ready, as I said before, to compare notes with them or the people of this or any nation at any time. And then again, we ought to be more pure and virtuous than they, for we do profess to be the Saints of the Most High God. With this view, when this Edmunds bill was being canvassed, and there was a prospect of its passing—although we thought at first it was impossible that such a concern could pass through Congress; but when we saw the falsehoods that were being circulated, the furore that was being raised and fanned by religious fanatics and political demagogues, petitions were gotten up by the people here, one of them representing the male class, another our Relief Societies, another our young men, and another our young ladies' Improvement Societies. All of them represented that we were a virtuous people—that polygamy was a religious institution; and the young people asserted that it had been taught to them by their parents from their youth up, and that the principles of purity, virtue, integrity and loyalty to the government of the United States had been instilled into their minds and hearts since their earliest childhood; and further, that they had been taught and understood that chastity was their greatest boon, far above jewels or wealth, and more precious than life itself. In a few days we had 165,000 signatures, and they were forwarded to Washington. The request was that Congress would not act as the government had before—first send out an army and then send commissioners to inquire, but that they would send commissioners first to inquire into the facts of the case. But they did not choose to listen. In fact, there has been a great furore in the United States in relation to these matters, and that has originated to an extent through our Governor. Now I am very much averse to talking about official men; I do not like to do such things. They ought to be honorable men; the most charitable construction I could put upon his acts would be to say that his education had been sadly neglected, and that he was not acquainted with figures. He might have learned to read and write perhaps, but I would question his having gone so far as arithmetic; because he did not apparently know the difference between 1,300 votes and 18,500 votes. It does denote a lamentable absence of a knowledge of the rudiments of a common education; but then, a man should not, perhaps, be blamed for that which he does not know. And, indeed, it would seem that some of our lawmakers in Washington are not educated. With all due respect to them, with these facts before them
and condemned throughout the United States, they did not think it was any crime for a man to be thus ignorant, or they would not have sent him back again. We hope the Commissioners will be better educated, that they will be men who can tell the difference between 1,300 and 18,500. Now we may be very ignorant—and we do not boast much of our intelligence, but when such people perpetrate such palpable, flagrant outrages, we have to resort to a political phrase in order to express our disgust towards them by saying, "There is something rotten in Denmark." I have to be a politician as well as everything else.
Still, in the midst of these things, what are you going to do? Do the very best we can. Are you going to rebel? That would please our enemies, but we do not have much of that spirit in us. We feel to sympathize with people who have no better judgment than to adopt so suicidal and dishonorable a course as that which has been pursued towards us. Yet notwithstanding this, we are unshaken towards the principles of our government and believe that we have got the best on the earth, these evils arising from the corruptions of men and maladministration. It is said that error and falsehood will run a thousand miles while truth is putting on its boots, but truth ultimately will triumph, as according to the old adage, "Truth, crushed to earth, will rise again." And what will you do? Contend for constitutional principles, or lie down and let the vicious, the mendacious and unprincipled run over and overslaugh you?
We have peacefully, legally and honorably possessed our lands in these valleys of the mountains, and we have purchased and paid for them; we do not revel in any ill-gotten gain. They are ours. We have complied with all the requisitions of law pertaining thereto, and we expect to possess and inhabit them. We covet no man's silver or gold, or apparel, or wife, or servants, or flocks, or herds, or horses, or carriages, or lands, or possessions. But we expect to maintain our own rights. If we are crowded upon by unprincipled men or inimical legislation, we shall not take the course pursued by the lawless, the dissolute and the unprincipled; we shall not have recourse to the dynamite of the Russian Nihilists, the secret plans and machinations of the communists, the boycotting and threats of the Fenians, the force and disorder of the Jayhawkeers, the regulators or the Molly Maguires, nor any other secret or illegal combination; but we still expect to possess and maintain our rights; but to obtain them in a legal, peaceful and constitutional manner. As American citizens, we shall contend for all our liberties, rights and immunities, guaranteed to us by the Constitution; and no matter what action may be taken by mobocratic influence, by excited and unreasonable men, or by inimical legislation, we shall contend inch by inch for our freedom and rights, as well as the freedom and rights of all American citizens and of all mankind. As a people or community, we can abide our time, but I will say to you Latter-day Saints, that there is nothing of which you have been despoiled by oppressive acts or mobocratic rule, but that you will again possess, or your children after you. Your rights in Ohio, your rights in Jackson, Clay, Caldwell and Davis counties in Missouri, will yet be restored to you. Your possessions, of which you have been fraudulently
despoiled in Missouri and Illinois, you will again possess, and that without force, or fraud or violence. The Lord has a way of His own in regulating such matters. We are told the wicked shall slay the wicked. He has a way of His own of "emptying the earth of the inhabitants thereof." A terrible day of reckoning is approaching the nations of the earth; the Lord is coming out of His hiding place to vex the inhabitants thereof; and the destroyer of the Gentiles, as prophesied of, is already on his way. Already the monarchs of the earth are trembling from conspiracies among their own people; already has one Czar of Russia been destroyed and another holds his life by a very uncertain tenure through the perpetual threats and machinations of an infuriated populace; already have the Emperor of Germany, the King of Italy, the Queen of England, the King of Spain, the Sultan of Turkey, and many others of the honorable and noble rulers of the earth had their lives jeopardized by the attacks of regicides; already have two of the Presidents of this Republic been laid low by the hands of the assassin; and the spirit of insubordination, misrule, lynching, and mobocracy of every kind is beginning to ride rampant through the land; already combinations are being entered into which are very ominous for the future prosperity, welfare and happiness of this great Republic. The volcanic fires of disordered and anarchical elements are beginning to manifest themselves and exhibit the internal forces that are at work among the turbulent and unthinking masses of the people. Congress will soon have something else to do than to proscribe and persecute an innocent, law-abiding and patriotic people. Of all bodies in the world, they can least afford to remove the bulwarks that bind society together in this nation, to recklessly trample upon human freedom and rights, and to rend and destroy that great Palladium of human rights—the Constitution of the United States. Ere long they will need all its protecting influence to save this nation from misrule, anarchy and mobocratic influence. They can ill afford to be the foremost in tampering with human rights and human freedom, or in tearing down the bulwarks of safety and protection which that sacred instrument has guaranteed. It is lamentable to see the various disordered and disorganized elements seeking to overthrow the greatest and best government in existence on the earth. Congress can ill afford to set a pattern of violation of that Constitution which it has sworn to support. The internal fires of revolution are already smouldering in this nation, and they need but a spark to set them in a flame. Already are agencies at work in the land calculated to subvert and overthrow every principle of rule and government; already is corruption of every kind prevailing in high places and permeating all society; already are we, as a nation, departing from our God, and corrupting ourselves with malfeasance, dishonor, and a lack of public integrity and good faith; already are licentiousness and debauchery corrupting, undermining and destroying society; already are we interfering with the laws of nature and stopping the functions of life, and have become the slayers of our own offspring, and employ human butchers in the shape of physicians to assist in this diabolical and murderous work. The sins of this nation, the licentiousness, the debauchery, the
murders are entering into the ears of the Lord of Sabbaoth, and I tell you now, from the tops of these mountains, as a humble servant of the living God, that unless these crimes and infamies are stopped, this nation will be overthrown, and its glory, power, dominion and wealth will fade away like the dews of a summer morning. I also say to other nations of the earth, that unless they repent of their crimes, their iniquities and abominations, their thrones will be overturned, their kingdoms and governments overthrown, and their lands made desolate. This is not only my saying, but it is the saying of those ancient prophets which they themselves profess to believe; for God will speedily have a controversy with the nations of the earth, and, as I stated before, the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way to overthrow governments, to destroy dynasties, to lay waste thrones, kingdoms and empires, to spread abroad anarchy and desolation, and to cause war, famine and bloodshed to overspread the earth.
Besides the preaching of the Gospel, we have another mission, namely, the perpetuation of the free agency of man and the maintenance of liberty, freedom, and the rights of man. There are certain principles that belong to humanity outside of the Constitution, outside of the laws, outside of all the enactments and plans of man, among which is the right to live; God gave us the right and not man; no government gave it to us, and no government has a right to take it away from us. We have a right to liberty—that was a right that God gave to all men; and if there has been oppression, fraud or tyranny in the earth, it has been the result of the wickedness and corruptions of men and has always been opposed to God and the principles of truth, righteousness, virtue, and all principles that are calculated to elevate mankind. The Declaration of Independence states that men are in possession of certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This belongs to us; it belongs to all humanity. I wish, and the worst wish I have for the United States, is, that they could have liberality enough to give to all men equal rights, and, while they profess to have delivered the black slaves, that they strike off the fetters of the white men of the South, who have been ground under the heel of sectional injustice, and let them feel that we are all brothers in one great nation, and deliver all people from tyranny and oppression of every kind, and proclaim, as they did at the first, liberty throughout the land and to all people. That is the worst wish I have for them. And when I see them take another course I feel sorry for it. I would like if I had time to talk a little upon constitutional rights; I would like a little to discuss the unconstitutionality of that Edmunds bill; but it was ably done by many senators of the United States, and by others in the House of Representatives. Very ably done; and I honor the men who maintain such sentiments. It is true that most of them apologized and said that they were as much opposed to polygamy as anybody. Well, that is a matter of their own; they have a right to their opinions as much as I have a right to my opinion. Would I deprive them of that right? No, I would not. I preach the Gospel to the world. What is it? Force, tyranny and oppression? No: it is all free grace and it is all free will. Is anybody coerced? Did anybody
coerce you, Latter-day Saints? Are any of you forced to continue Latter-day Saints if you do not want to? If you think you are, you are all absolved to-day. We know of no such principle as coercion; it is a matter of choice. The principle that I spoke of before—that is, men receive the Holy Ghost within themselves, is the cementing, binding, uniting power that exists among the Latter-day Saints. What right have I to expect that members of the House of Representatives or the people of the United States should advocate polygamy? They would not understand it. Nor would it be reasonable for us to expect it at their hands; but what I admired in those Senators and Members was their fealty to the government, to the Constitution and the maintenance of the freedom and the inalienable rights of man, of every color, creed and profession.
I will relate a little conversation that I had with President Hayes, when he was here, on the subject of polygamy. I said to him, we are not generally understood by the people of the world, by the outsiders; and I can look with very great leniency upon the action of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the governors, and others who have expressed strong indignation against this principle. From your standpoint, you think we are a corrupt people; you think it is a part or portion of the thing you call the social evil, that permeates all classes of society, and is sapping the foundation of the life of so many throughout the land. You think that we are trying to introduce something that is encouraging licentiousness and other kindred evils among the people, and to legalize these things by legislative enactment and otherwise, and trying to popularize and make legal those infamies. I continued, that is a false view to take of the subject. Mr. President, I have always abhorred such practices from the time I was quite young; when I have seen men act the part of Lotharios, deceiving the fair sex and despoiling them of their virtue, and then seeing those men received into society and their victims disgraced, ostracised and esteemed as pariahs and outcasts, I could not help sympathising with a woman that was seduced, I looked upon the man who seduced her as a villain; I do so to-day. Said I, when Joseph Smith first made known the revelation concerning plural marriage and of having more wives than one, it made my flesh crawl; but, Mr. President, I received such evidence and testimony pertaining to this matter, scriptural and otherwise, which it was impossible for me as an honest man to resist, and believing it to be right I obeyed it and practised it. I have not time now to enter into all the details; but in regard to those honorable gentlemen in the Senate who maintained the principle of constitutional rights and who declare, as I declare to-day, that that instrument which was then gotten up was unconstitutional in several particulars, I could not expect them to advocate my religion; it is not their business, but is mine and yours. They can take what religion they please; we do not wish to force our religion nor our marital relations upon them, nor have we ever done it, nor could we do it if we wished, for this principle is connected with the Saints alone, and pertains to eternity as well as time, and is known to us by the appellation of "celestial marriage" It does not belong to them, nor does
it pertain to all of our own people. None but the more pure, virtuous, honorable and upright are permitted to enter into these associations. Now I speak to the Latter-day Saints, who are acquainted with what I say. If I state untruths, tell me, and I will consider you my friends, and the friends of this community. Should we preach the doctrine of plurality of wives to the people of the United States? No; you know very well that it is only for honorable men and women, virtuous men and women, honest men and women who can be vouched for by those who preside over them, and whom they recognize as their Presidents; it is only such people as these that can be admitted to participate in this ordinance. You know it. I know it, you Presidents of Stakes know it and the people know it. There are any number of people in this Territory who are good people in many respects, but who cannot come up to that standard. That is the position we occupy in relation to this principle.
If the United States were to ask us if we could give to them the same ordinance, we would say, No; no, we cannot. Why can you not? Because it is a religious ordinance, as I have stated; because it connects men and women together for time and for eternity; because it associates people of this world in the next; because it makes provision for our marital associations in the other world, and that while we have our wives here we expect to have them in eternity; and we believe in that doctrine that reaches beyond time into eternity. Others make their marital relations to end in death; their covenants last only till death does them part. Ours take hold of eternity, they enter into the eternal state of existence, and contemplate an eternal union of the sexes worlds without end.
We believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life in the world to come; and not only in the resurrection of the male, but also of the female. We believe also in eternal unions, union on earth and in heaven, And as the heavens declare the glory of God, and the stellar universes roll on according to eternal laws implanted in them by the Deity, and perform their revolutions through successive ages, so will man progress and increase—himself, his wives, his children—through the eternities to come. Who is injured by this faith? Cannot a great and magnanimous nation afford the privilege to enjoy these principles without passing bills of pains and penalties for the belief and enunciation of such divine, ennobling and Godlike principles?
Man is a dual being, possessed of body and spirit, made in the image of God, and connected with Him and with eternity. He is a God in embryo and will live and progress throughout the eternal ages, if obedient to the laws of the Godhead, as the Gods progress throughout the eternal ages. Is it a thing incredible in this generation that God shall raise the dead? Is it a thing incredible that the finest and most exalted ties and sympathies of humanity, sanctified by family relations—pure undefiled love, should continue in the resurrection?
We have no fault to find with our government. We deem it the best in the world. But we have reason to deplore its maladministration, and I call upon our legislators, our governors and president to pause in their career and not to tamper with the rights and liberties of American citizens, nor wantonly tear down the bulwarks of
American and human liberty. God has given to us glorious institutions; let us preserve them intact and not pander to the vices, passions and fanaticism of a depraved public opinion.
Cannot the enlightenment, civilization and statesmanship of the nineteenth century in this great American nation find a more worthy object than to fetter human thought, to enslave its own citizens, to forge chains for the suppression of human progress, to bind in Cimmerian darkness the noblest aspirations of the human soul, to tear down the pillars of the temple of liberty, to inaugurate a system of serfdom and oppression, and to copy after Egypt, Russia, and the late practices of this nation in enslaving and brutalizing humanity, tearing to pieces that great Palladium of human rights, the Constitution of the United States? Can they afford to do this? If there are supposed wrongs, can they not find a legal and constitutional way of correcting these wrongs? Surely the tearing down of the bulwarks, the very temple of freedom, will not aid them in the solution of this, to them, vexed question, for if they tear away the strongholds of society, they themselves will perish in the ruins.
But with regard to those not of us, I will tell you what I believe about the matter. I believe it would be much better for them to have even polygamy in their state of existence than this corroding, corrupting, demoralizing and damning evil that prevails in their midst. We look upon it that polygamy is the normal condition of man; but that has nothing to do with Mormon plurality of wives, or what is termed "celestial marriage." I would state also, that when we speak of its being the normal condition, it has so existed throughout all ages. And when we talk about polygamy, I have read the speeches of men in Congress when speaking about the Mormon position, telling us that the British in India put down suttee, which is the burning of widows on the funeral pile of their husbands; casting children into the Ganges, etc.—that the British put that down by force of law. But the British, if my memory serves me right, have about two hundred millions of polygamists under their jurisdiction, and they can afford to treat them right and to give them the protection of law; but our free government cannot. And when we talk about the suttee, that is the destruction of life, while polygamy means the propagation of human life. One tends to destruction and death, the other to the propagation of life. I will guarantee to-day, without fear of contradiction, that there is more of the suttee in the United States to-day pertaining to infants than there ever was in India among the same number of population. It has become unfashi[o]nable in the east for women to have large families. I have heard remarks like this: one lady was asked, How many children have you? One or two. Is that all? What do you take me for, do you think I am a cow? Why no, you are not a cow, for cows do not murder their offspring. What a terrible tale is here told! What a horrible state of affairs is here exhibited. And I am told that some of these iniquities are being introduced here. I tell you, in the name of God, if you do we will be after you. I am told of physicians who are acting as they do in the east—as the butchers of infants. Let us look after these things, you Bishops, and if you do find it out,
bring them up. As God lives we will not permit such infamies in our midst; you will not commence your fashionable murders here. And I will say now, Wo to this nation and to the nations of Europe, or any people among any nation, that sanctions these things. Have you not read that no "murderer hath eternal life abiding in him?" What shall be thought of those unnatural monsters, the slayers of their own offspring? This revolting, unnatural, damnable vice may be fashionable, but God will require this crime at their hands. Wo to men and to women that are licentious and corrupt, depraved and debauched, and especially wo, tenfold wo, to the murderers of helpless innocence. I tell you this in the name of the Lord. If these things are not stopped, God will arise and shake the nations of the earth and root out their infamies.
Now then what shall we do?
We do not wish to place ourselves in a state of antagonism, nor to act defiantly, towards this government. We will fulfil the letter, so far as practicable, of that unjust, inhuman, oppressive and unconstitutional law, so far as we can without violating principle; but we cannot sacrifice every principle of human right at the behest of corrupt, unreasoning and unprincipled men; we cannot violate the highest and noblest principles of human nature and make pariahs and outcasts of high-minded, virtuous and honorable women, nor sacrifice at the shrine of popular clamor the highest and noblest principles of humanity!
We shall abide all constitutional law, as we always have done;but while we are Godfearing and law-abiding, and respect all honorable men and officers, we are no craven serfs, and have not learned to lick the feet of oppressors, nor to bow in base submission to unreasoning clamor. We will contend, inch by inch, legally and constitutionally, for our rights as American citizens, and for the universal rights of universal man. We stand proudly erect in the consciousness of our rights as American citizens, and plant ourselves firmly on the sacred guarantees of the Constitution; and that instrument, while it defines the powers and privileges of the President, Congress and the judiciary, also directly provides that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to the people."
I have heard it boasted by British statesmen, that as soon as a slave planted his foot on British sail, his fetters were broken and he was a free man. It is the proud boast of Americans that her flag floats for all; and while Congress claims the right of dominion and legislation over territories, with that same right is associated the right of manhood, freedom and American citizenship. We need have no fears, no trembling in our knees, about these attempts to deprive us of our God-given and constitutional liberties. God will take care of His people, if we will only do right. I am thankful to say that you are doing pretty nearly as well as you know how. There are many things among us that are wrong, many things that are foolish, but generally you are seeking to fear God and keep His commandments. Now, treat your wives right, but do not subject yourselves to the infamous provisions of the Edmund's act more than you can help, avoid
all harsh expressions and improper actions, act carefully and prudently in all your social relations. Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. A gentleman in Washington told another, who related it to me, in answer to the question, What will the "Mormons" do with their wives and children when this bill passes? he was told: Turn them out in the streets as we do our harlots. I say in the name of God we will not do any such thing, and let all Israel say Amen. [The vast congregation, amounting to from 12,000 to 14,000 persons, responded Amen.] We will stand by our covenants, and the Constitution will bear us out in it. Among other things, that instrument says that Congress shall make no law impairing the validity of contracts. You have contracted to be united with your wives in time and in eternity, and it would not do for us to break a constitutional law, would it? [Laughter.] Others may do it, but we cannot. We cannot lay aside our honor, we cannot lay aside our principles; and if people cannot allow us freedom, we can allow freedom to them and to all men. We will be true to our wives and cherish them and maintain them, and stand by them in time, and we will reign with them in eternity, when thousands of others are weltering under the wrath of God. Any man that abuses his wife, or takes advantage of this law to oppress her, is not worthy of a standing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and let the congregation say Amen. [The immense congregation responded by a loud Amen.]
Now, what will we do in our relations with the United States? We will observe the law as we have done, and be as faithful as we have been. We will maintain our principles and live our religion and keep the commandments of God, and obey every constitutional law, pursuing that course that shall direct us in all things.
Brethren and sisters, God bless you and lead you in the paths of life, and give you wisdom; be calm and quiet; all is well in Zion. You need not be under any fears about anything that may transpire, as though some strange thing had happened. We have met such things before; we can meet them again. God has delivered us before. He will deliver us again, if we put our trust in Him and remain true to the covenants we have made with Him. Our trust is in God. You have heard me say before, Hosanna, the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth; and if this congregation feels as I do we will join together in the same acclaim. Follow me.
[The speaker then repeated and was followed by the congregation: Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna! to God and the Lamb, for ever and ever worlds without end, Amen, Amen and Amen.]