Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Complet

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:59 am


Kindness of the Gentiles. Strangers in a Strange Land. My Parents join the Saints in Nauvoo. They Purchase Land in the City. Are shamefully Defrauded. Joseph's Unfaithful Friends. My Parents left almost Destitute. I am Born in the Midst of Troubles. The Saints Bewildered. Who should Succeed Joseph? Sidney Rigdon's Claims to the Presidency. He returns to Nauvoo. Has Dreams and Visions. He Promises to " Pull Little Vic's Nose." The Apostles hear of the Prophet's Murder. They hasten to Nauvoo. Brigham begins his Successful Intrigues. He Settles Sidney Rigdon. An Extraordinary Trial. Brigham's Idea of Free Voting. Women's Suffrage in Utah. Why Brigham gave the Franchise to the Women. My own Experience as a Voter. Brigham Dictates what I'm to Do. I obey Quietly. How Sidney Rigdon was Deposed. Brigham Rules the Church.


UPON the arrival of the Saints in Illinois they made Quincy their first stopping-place, and thence the majority of them went at once to Nauvoo, the new gathering-place.

My parents did not accompany them, but remained in Quincy two months. They reached that city in a state of almost utter destitution, with barely clothing enough to render them decent, certainly not enough to make them comfortable. Their reception by the residents of the city, indeed by the people of Illinois generally, was very cordial, and my mother often says she shall never forget the kindness she received at their hands. Literally, she "was a stranger and they took her in, hungry and they fed her, naked and they clothed her." And not only her, but her little ones.

My mother was energetic and willing, and she found work in plenty, and managed to get together some of the comforts and necessaries of life, when, after a two months' sojourn amid these hospitable people, they removed to Payson, where my father built a carriage manufactory and once more commenced business. After three years of remunerative labor, during which time he had got his business fairly established, he concluded to leave it and join the Saints at Nauvoo; he and my mother both -- the latter more especially -- desiring to be once more in Zion with the "chosen people." My father had purchased five acre-lots in the City of Nauvoo, and felt that he had a material as well as a spiritual hold upon Zion. The deeds were properly executed, and after making sure that everything was right during a visit to the city, he made instant preparations to move his family thither.

When he returned with his family and prepared to take possession of his property, he found it claimed by Dr. Foster, a friend and favorite of Joseph Smith, who pretended to have made a verbal contract for the land two years before. This, of course, brought the property into a dispute which could only be settled by the church authorities, Joseph himself presiding. As a matter of course, there was but one decision, and what that would be my father knew very nearly as well before it was given as he did afterwards. Joseph would not decide against his friend; the rest, seeing how his mind was made up, dared not; and the land was declared to belong to Foster, who, by the way, such were his regard and gratitude for his leader, apostatized not very long afterwards, attached himself to Law and his party, and finally removed from Nauvoo, denouncing the religion and its Prophet, and, indeed, carried his enmity so far that he joined those miscreants to whose violence may be attributed the death of Joseph Smith.

My father was again stripped of his property, by the treachery and unjust ruling of the very man whom he had so faithfully served. He had enough money remaining, however, to purchase other lots, and on the land thus obtained he built two very comfortable houses, in one of which I was born, as I before said, on the 13th of September, 1844, at the most tempestuous and most critical period in all Mormon history.

Joseph Smith had been assassinated the previous July, and his death, sudden and violent as it was, had almost paralyzed the people, who were thus left without a leader, and who were ill fitted to govern themselves, since they had for so long a time given up their wills to the Prophet, following his instructions as obediently as the most tractable children do their parents' behests. They had for so many years depended upon him to guide them that they were unfitted almost to think for themselves. Life was a hopeless muddle, and they saw no way of making it clearer. Then their former friends had turned to enemies, and they began to fear that they should be driven from their pleasant homes in Illinois, as they had been from Missouri. And with all the disturbance outside the church, there were heresy and schism among themselves.

The question who should be the leader in Joseph's place was exercising the church. The "First Presidency" was composed of Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum, and Sidney Rigdon. Hyrum Smith was killed in prison with his brother, and Rigdon, although he had not apostatized, had grown cool in the faith, left Nauvoo, and was living at Pittsburg, Pa., enjoying life outside of Mormondom, and seemingly finding much pleasure in Gentile society. After the Missouri episode his enthusiasm was very much chilled, and he indulged in fewer rhodomontades against the government. When Joseph made his advances to his daughter Nancy, Rigdon was very much offended, and left Nauvoo at once. As soon, however, as he heard of Joseph's death he made all haste to return and secure for himself the "office" of Prophet, Seer, and Revelator," to which he claimed he had been ordained. He was not received with enthusiasm by the Saints, and he very soon discovered that whoever might step into the dead Prophet's shoes, he, for a certainty, would not be allowed to wear them. There was nothing then remaining for him to do but to assume that Joseph's mantle of prophecy had fallen upon his shoulders; consequently, he revelled in visions and dreams of the wildest and most fanatical kind. His prophecies were the most wonderful that ever were heard, and were so very incoherent and inconsistent that serious doubts of his sanity were entertained. There were to be tremendous battles; blood was to flow until the horses waded in it up to their very bridles. All the powers of the earth were to assail the Saints, but Rigdon was to lead the faithful to certain victory. All the strength of earth was to bow before this little band of people and their consecrated leader, and he was, as a final act of triumph as he returned from the battle of Armageddon, to call in England and "pull the nose of little Vic."


What the young queen, then in the full flush of popularity, had done to raise this modern Bombastes' ire, remains to this day a mystery. It is needless to say that the battles have never been fought, nor has her majesty's nose been maltreated by Rigdon or any other crazy Mormon fanatic.

At the time of the assassination of Joseph Smith nearly all the apostles were away on a mission. On hearing the evil tidings from Zion, they hastened there without delay, and Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Hyde, and Heber C. Kimball arrived soon after Rigdon made his appearance, and while he was in the midst of his "revelations." From the moment of their arrival his chances were smaller than ever, although he still maintained, but in not so public a manner as at first, that he held "the keys of David," and that he intended to persist in the maintenance of his claims, even if obliged to do so forcibly.

The man for the situation appeared at this juncture in Brigham Young. Ambitious himself for the position which Rigdon so earnestly coveted, fortune seemed to have placed him exactly in the situation to attain it. He was -- so it happened by the merest chance -- the senior apostle, and that gave him authority. Thomas Marsh, who was at one time the senior, had apostatized; Patten, the second apostle, had been killed by the mob, and this made the third apostle the first or senior of the "twelve." The third happened to be Brigham Young; so that, after all, it was a mere chance that placed him where he is. Both the Pratts were far superior to him in intellect; and they and Orson Hyde were far ahead of him in mental attainments, such as they were. He was a very plain man, entirely uneducated, and had been noted for nothing except his fidelity to the Prophet and the church and his hard-working disposition. But he was shrewd enough to see his opportunity and to seize it, and yet to do it in such a manner that neither his associates nor the church itself had the least suspicion of his real plan.

The first move was to have Rigdon's case settled. He was summoned for public trial before the High Council, and eight of the apostles appeared as witnesses. Brigham Young played a very important part in this trial; he opened proceedings by accusing Rigdon of a determination to rule the church or ruin it, and followed up the accusation by declaring that he should do neither. All the events of his life were passed in review, and although he was not present, being detained, it was said, by illness, the case was by no means deferred, and he was tried without an opportunity of defending himself. At the motion of Brigham, he was "cut off from the Church of Latter-Day Saints, and delivered over to the buffetings of Satan, in the name of the Lord; and all the people said, Amen."  

There were about ten persons who ventured to vote in favor of Rigdon, and they were immediately "suspended" from the church for their temerity. This is the way in which persons are served even now who venture to disagree with Brigham Young. There is absolutely no such thing known among the Mormons as a free expression of opinion.
Whether it be on religious or political subjects, the decision of the people is governed by the wishes of the President. The manner of voting in public assemblies is never varied. Brigham prefaces all ceremonies of the kind by an address, in which he manages to let the people know exactly how he feels upon the subject under discussion, and they understand that they are to feel exactly the same way; and as there is no question of choice, they make themselves fancy they do believe exactly as he does. If they have any question of doubt, they stifle it very quickly, and, if they are very good Mormons, take themselves to task for their wickedness in entertaining a thought contrary to the opinion of their Prophet. After the address, Brigham calls for a show of uplifted hands, and requests every one to vote. The "contrary minds" are then called; but such is the singular unity of this people that there is never a "contrary" mind among them. To make this ceremony of voting more humorous, the Prophet, in requesting all the people to vote, wittily adds, "in one way or the other." This piece of pleasantry on Brigham's part is quite appreciated by the Mormons, and the "one way" receives all the saintly votes, to the utter exclusion of "the other." Let any one attempt to take the Presidential joke au serieux, and it becomes anything but pleasant for him. He is looked upon with suspicion, regarded as an enemy of the church and its ruler, and if he escape serious persecution he may be considered especially fortunate.

In politics there is about the same freedom of opinion, or of its expression, rather. Although a semblance of independent action is kept up, since the people are not publicly told which way they must vote, yet the bishops and ward-teachers manage to make it understood very decidedly what is expected of "the Faithful" at the elections. The expectations, it is perhaps needless to state, are always realized.

I have often heard ladies in the East say that they considered Utah way in advance of the age in one respect at least; that there the equality of the sexes was so far regarded that the ballot was in the women's hands, and that there they had received the right of suffrage. And I know that for this one act Brigham Young is commended by some of the leaders of the Woman Suffrage party, and he is viewed by them with a lenient eye, in spite of all his other acts of gross injustice. If these same radical reformers only understood the reason that the franchise was extended to Utah women, and the peculiar "freedom" and intelligence with which they are allowed to exercise this privilege, I think they would not be so scathing in their denunciations of the Poland bill. To the men and women engaged in this reform there seems to be no possibility that there can be cases where positive harm would ensue when the ballot was given to women; they evidently believe that with universal suffrage will be ushered in the millennium.

It may have that effect in other portions of the States, but in polygamous Utah, ruled over by a treacherous tyrant, this very right, which they claim will loosen the legal and political shackles by which women are bound, and render them absolutely free, only binds the chains the tighter and makes them greater slaves than ever. And the most hateful part is, that they are helping to tighten their own bonds, and are doing it, too, under compulsion.

The reason of this wonderful act of "justice" on Brigham Young's part can easily be given. When the Union Pacific Railroad was completed, and the influx of miners and other outsiders from the Gentile world began to flood the Territory and make homes for themselves in the very midst of Mormondom, the chiefs of the Mormon hierarchy grew very fearful and apprehensive lest the power should pass from their grasp into Gentile hands by the gradual change of population. By adopting female suffrage they would treble their voting power at once. There was no longer any hesitation; the measure was adopted, and so general and generous was it, that in Utah to-day every person of the female sex, from the babe in the arms to the oldest, bed-ridden, imbecile crone, has the right of elective franchise, and is compelled to use it.

To illustrate the intelligence with which women vote, and the freedom of opinion in political matters which is allowed them, I think I can do no better than give my own first experience in exercising the prerogative of a free woman.

It was the first election-day that occurred after the right of suffrage had been, not granted, but commanded. I was standing in front of my husband's office, talking with a friend, when he came out. His first question, put before he had offered either myself or my friend any greeting, was, --

"Have you voted to-day?"

"No, Brother Young, I have not."

"Then I suppose you intend doing so at once."

"Not at all," I replied; "I have no intention of voting at all."

"And why not?" he asked, somewhat angrily.

"Because I have not yet become sufficiently acquainted with the political situation to understand what it is best to do, and I prefer not to vote ignorantly."

"But I wish you to vote," was his peremptory reply.
"Excuse me, please, Brother Young," pleaded I; "I don't know who or what to vote for, and I really had much rather not." I was quite in earnest. I did not know anything then of politics, and I must confess I had no interest in them.

"Get into the carriage," commanded he, so sternly that I knew I must obey, and further parley would be useless. "I want you to vote, and at once. Mr. Rossitur will take you to the polls and tell you how to vote."


Mr. Rossitur, to whose care I was committed, was Brigham's coachman, and was to be my political instructor. All the information I gained will never harm nor help me very materially. I was driven to the polls, a ticket was handed me, and hustled along without the opportunity of examining it, and to this day I am in blissful ignorance of what or who I cast my only vote for. I know, however, that among other officers they were electing a delegate to Congress, and I suppose I must have voted for George Q. Cannon. There is an encouraging and inspiring picture for the advocates of female suffrage, who are jubilant over the triumph of their cause in Utah. A polygamous wife of the President of the church conveyed to the polls by her husband's coachman, and compelled to cast the vote he gives her without an opportunity of exercising her judgment or her choice, and ignorant even of what she is doing. By all means let us have the suffrage in Utah, in spite of Judge Poland.

After the Council had disposed of Sidney Rigdon to its satisfaction, and "all the people" had signified theirs by saying "Amen," he turned about and prepared to fight them. His resistance, however, was short and feeble, He returned to Pittsburg, and attempted to resurrect the "Latter-Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate," a Mormon publication that had died some years before. His attempt was futile, and he gave up the contest with his failure to revive that sheet, and Mormonism has known little or nothing of him since.

In the mean time the Twelve Apostles were to rule over the church until such time as a change in the Presidency should seem necessary. This was Brigham's first step, and the rest came easily and naturally enough. To all intents and purposes he was as much the ruler of the Mormons as he is now, although he did not then arrogate so much to himself. He knew very well that it would not do to declare himself too suddenly; so he quietly worked and waited until he found himself in the position which he now holds -- a position which has never been contested by his followers.

He was always a hard worker, quite successful in making converts, and the steady determination of his character, which amounted to decided obstinacy, united with a scheming cunning, helped him very much at this period of his life.

He was shrewd enough not to attempt, as Rigdon had done, to play the prophet; he knew very well that in that role he would not meet success. He announced that no one should take Joseph's place, and to this day he maintains to those who remember what he said then, and contrast his past assertions with his present position as head of the church -- "No one can take the place of Joseph; he is in his place as the spiritual head of the church, and will always be there, through time and eternity."

"I am no prophet and revelator, as Joseph was," he used to say to the Saints: "but Joseph left revelations enough for you to follow for twenty years; in the mean time, the Lord will reveal Himself to those among you whom He may choose so to honor, and there is no reason why you should not all have revelations."

But, revelations or not, one thing he insisted upon: that was, that the Saints were to "build the kingdom up for Joseph," and that he kept constantly before them. He next proceeded to make the church self-sustaining in a pecuniary sense. Each member was to tithe himself or herself one tenth of all their property, and place it in the hands of the "Twelve" for the use of the church. This tithing fund Brigham had absolute control of -- a control that he has taken pains never to lose. He instituted other "reforms" in the church, and everything he proposed the people acquiesced in with a surprising readiness. They yielded to him, seemingly, without being aware that they were yielding, and he had his own way without opposition, while the poor deluded Saints thought he was carrying out their ideas, in part at least. They came under Brigham's yoke without knowing when they bent their necks to receive it, and in less than six months after the Prophet's death his mastery over the church was as assured as it is to-day.  
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Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:46 am


Childhood in Mormondom. A striking Contrast. The Sorrows of my Earliest Years. How my Mother received Polygamy. Submitting to the Rod. Clinging to Love and Home. Resigning all for Religion. Strange ways of glorifying God. The Reward of Faithfulness. The Prophet Joseph imparts a New Religious Mystery. The Breaking-up of a Home. Fears of Rebellion. The Struggle of Faith against Nature. Seeking Rest, but finding None. Brigham's “Counsels." A New Wife Selected. My Parents enter into Polygamy. The New Bride, Elizabeth. The Marriage Ceremony. My Mother Sealed. She is to become a Queen. Domestic Arrangements in Polygamy. Bearing the Cross. A First Wife's Sorrows. "Where does Polygamy Hurt?" The Mormon Husband; his Position and Privileges.


I OFTEN wonder if there is a child in Mormondom, born under the blight of polygamy, who knows what it is to have a happy, joyous childhood, rendered more happy and more joyous by the smiling, calm content of the mother in whose arms its tiny infant form lies cradled. I fear the cases are as rare as happy women are.

True, childhood always has a certain careless happiness of its own, that even the saddest surroundings cannot wholly repress; but even this happiness is embittered by the tearful eyes that gaze into trustful baby ones, and the lips that quiver with pain, as they try to smile back into laughing baby faces.

In the happy homes which I have visited since I broke the chains that bound me, and came forth a free woman, unshackled in thought and untrammelled in action, although a wanderer on the face of the earth, with no abiding-place where to stay my weary feet, I have been compelled to contrast the difference between childhood in a monogamic country and in a polygamous one; and when I have seen the mother's face grow almost divine in its radiant content as she smiled down into the face of the little one sheltered so closely in her heart, I have felt my heart throb and ache with jealous anguish for the little ones in Utah, and above all for their weary-hearted mothers, to whom maternity brings no such joy, and added love, and tender care.

I was consecrated to sorrow by the Baptism of my mother's tears upon my baby brow. I never remember on her face one such look as I see daily upon mothers' faces now. My baby hands wiped away tears, my baby fingers stroked a cheek furrowed by them, and my baby eyes never saw beyond the mist in hers. I came to her when the greatest misery of her life was about to fall upon her; and that misery came to her, as it came to all the women then, under the guise of religion -- something that must be endured "for Christ's sake." And as her religion had brought her nothing but persecution and sacrifice, she submitted to this new trial as to everything that had preceded it, and received polygamy as a cross laid upon her, but which strength would be given her to bear.

She had never questioned any of Joseph Smith's "revelations," and she did not dare do so now, although this one came to her like a sudden and heavy blow, hurting heart and soul, and rendering the thought of life unendurable. Hitherto, although her sufferings had been severe, and her privations many, yet through them all she had been sustained by her husband's love. That was hers, and together they had shared poverty and tasted plenty. Their sufferings had brought them closer together, and whether in plenty or poverty, they had been happy in each other and in their children, and had made a home, and a cheerful one, wherever they had been, one in which the spirit of love ruled supreme. Now, her religion told her that she was selfish and wicked to try and keep this home and husband. The one must be broken and desolated, the other shared with some one else. "The Lord commanded it." What a blasphemy and satire on Him who is the God of Love, that He should make His children unhappy, and wreck all hopes of peace and content, for His glory! It seems as though this one act of Smith's alone should have opened the eyes of this deluded people, and shown them that their false Prophet was not taught of God, as he pretended, and they so fondly believed, but that he was impelled by the demons of covetousness and lust. But their eyes were blinded, and they could not see; their reason was inthralled, and they did not know it was bound; their wills were obedient to his, and he held them soul and body, and played with them as though they were so many puppets, helpless and lifeless out of his hands.

Being accounted among the specially "faithful," my parents were among the first to whom polygamy was taught by Joseph Smith himself, and my father was commanded by him to "live up to his privileges," and to take another wife.

At first, the thought of taking a second wife to share his home with the one whom he had first loved, who had been the object of his youthful dreams and of his manhood's devotion; who had stood by him, through every reverse, with the courage, and consideration, and love which only a strong-natured, tender-hearted, earnest-souled woman could show under such circumstances; who was, in every sense, a helpmeet, and, above all, the mother of his children, -- was hateful to him. It took a long time, too, to overcome his aversion to the new system. He and my mother had many a long, tearful talk over it; and although they received the doctrine, believing that it must be right, they could not for some time make up their minds to put it in practice. In the mean time Joseph was assassinated, and for a little time they were left to each other in peace. But Brigham Young was bound to carry out Joseph's revelations, and this one relating to the plural wife system was strongly, though secretly, urged upon the Saints. Both my father and mother were visited by Brigham, and "counselled" in regard to the matter. My mother has often said that the "Revelation" was the most hateful thing in the world to her, and she dreaded and abhorred it, but she was afraid to opposite it, lest she should be found "fighting against the Lord." The thought that she might be obliged to live in a polygamous relation with another woman filled her with horror and fear; but she was assured by her religious leader, that the feeling was merely the effect of her early training, which she would soon outgrow under the benign influences of the gospel. For several months she struggled with herself over this subject, before she could think patiently of it for even a minute. She wanted to have it made easy and plain to her, for she could not bear to repudiate any of her beloved Prophet's teachings. She agonized over it day and night; she prayed incessantly to be given the true "spirit" of submission; if it was God's will, she wanted strength to endure it; and she believed she should have it, for surely the kind and loving Father would not impose upon his children burdens greater than they could bear. She had not learned, as she has since, that the God of the Mormon belief was not the heavenly Father whose love the Saviour taught, but a jealous God, a cruel, avenging Spirit, who demanded blood-offerings to appease his awakened wrath. He was not the tender Parent, all-wise, all-powerful; and all-loving, whom she reverenced and adored. There was little use in looking towards her people's God for help or comfort. Retribution, and justice untempered by mercy, were all He had for His subjects, not children.

During all these months of wavering doubt and untold misery, my father never attempted to influence my mother's decision in the least; she had her battle to fight, and he his; the end was inevitable for both; but for all this the contest was no less severe. Brigham's "counselling" began to assume the form of commands, which at last grew so imperative that they were obliged to be obeyed. My mother did not rebel; she looked upon it as duty, and she was determined to "do it silently and uncomplainingly, if not willingly" and cheerfully. My parents consulted together regarding the choice of the new wife, and fixed upon the person with surprising unanimity. They were each anxious to help and comfort the other in this as they had been in every other emergency of their lives. My father wished, if he must take another wife, to choose one who should be agreeable to my mother, or rather as agreeable as one woman could be to another under such circumstances; and my mother was, for her part, equally determined not to oppose him in his selection. But opposition was not necessary, as his choice fell upon the very person whom my mother would have selected, had the task rested with her alone.

A short time after my birth, a Miss Elizabeth Taft came, with a younger sister, to live in our house. She was a very pleasant, cheery, affectionate person, and all the family became very much attached to her. Father, mother, children, all quoted "Elizabeth," and she became almost a part of our very selves. She was thoughtful of my mother, and tender to us little ones, petting us and indulging us in our childish whims, and we, in return, loved her very dearly. She was a good woman in its highest interpretation, and devotedly religious. Naturally enough, seeing her so constantly, both my parents thought of her as the new wife. If they must enter polygamy, they knew they could do no better than to take her into the family, if she could be induced to consider the subject in the same light. My father made proposals to her, and my mother seconded them. The thought of living in a polygamic relation with any one was very unpleasant to her, as indeed it is to every true woman; but she desired to live her religion, and believing this to be a part of it, accepted my father's proposal, and became his first plural wife when I was about a year old.

Her parents were in Michigan at the time, and Elizabeth wished to wait until their arrival; but Brigham, who, as a matter of course, was interested in the affair, counselled the marriage to proceed, and of course it was considered right and prudent to obey his counsel; and as he was hurrying forward the endowments in the Nauvoo Temple, preparatory to leaving for the West, the parties most nearly concerned in the matter thought it best to hasten the nuptials.

My mother was to be "sealed" at the same time, as, according to Joseph's Revelation, her former marriage, having been performed in the Gentile form, was not binding. The place of sealing was the Temple; and there, one midwinter day, in the beginning of the year 1846, my mother was sealed to my father for "time and for all eternity," after which she gave him Elizabeth as his wife according to the Mormon marriage formula. It was with a steady voice and calm composure that she pronounced the words that gave another woman a share in her husband's love; but it was none the less with a heavy, breaking heart. Think of it, wives, who are happy in undivided homes, and in your husbands' unshared love! What if your religion commanded you to give another woman to your husband as a wife; who was to have an equal right with you to his attention and his love; who should bear his name, and be a mother to his children; that all this should be done "in the name of the Lord," and without shrinking or complaint on your part. Take this home to yourself, and you will be able to appreciate as never before the horrors of Mormonism.

It was in January that my father obeyed the "counsel" of his Prophet and leader, and in March his new wife's parents returned, and were shocked and grieved beyond measure to find their daughter married into polygamy; yet, being strong in the faith, and much attached to their church and their religion, submitted without a murmur, like the good Saints they were.

My mother was so quiet and uncomplaining in the position which she had voluntarily assumed, that she was praised by the officious brethren and sisters for submitting with such good grace, and was told by them that great glory awaited her as a reward, and also, as she had so readily made the great sacrifice, she would always be recognized as the first wife, which, among the Mormons, is considered an exceeding great honor. One of the sisters, who was a strong advocate of the new "Celestial" system, said to her:

"You will stand at the head of your husband's kingdom as a queen; no one can ever take your place from you, but you will be honored to stand by his side through the endless ages of eternity." It was by such nonsensical talk and absurd promises as these that the Mormon leaders tried to make polygamy attractive to the women who were already married, and render them more willing to enter it. Such absurdities may have weight with some women, but they did not affect my mother, nor render the cross she had assumed any more easy to bear. Her husband's undivided love during time was better than royal honors in eternity.

The new wife lived in the family, and to outward appearance everything was unchanged. Only a few of the "very faithful " knew of the new arrangement; it was deemed best to keep it a secret from the majority of the people, to whom polygamy was not a fixed fact, and who were wavering slightly in the faith on account of it. The time had not yet come to promulgate the doctrine freely, and many left Nauvoo for the West quite ignorant that the system really existed in their midst. I think many of them never would have crossed those endless plains, and sought shelter under the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, had they known what unhappiness awaited them. But unchanged as our family circle was to those outside it, within was unhappiness and bitterness of spirit. It was much harder to endure, even, than my mother had anticipated. Terrible as was the thought, the reality was much more horrible. She thought she had counted the cost; she found she had, in her ignorance, been unable to estimate it. Every hour of her life her heart was torn by some new agony. She was compelled to see many of the tender, wifely little offices, trifles in themselves, that she had been accustomed to perform, done by other hands, and she herself always turned off with the excuse, "You see, dear, you have the children to attend to, and I did not wish to give you trouble." Trouble! as though anything done for him, with a heart full of love, could be accounted as such! That hurt her almost as much as to see another doing what it had always been her delight to do.

As is the custom of men in polygamy, my father fell more easily into the new arrangement, and even found a certain comfort and content in it, and he wondered very much that my mother could not be happy as well. Indeed, he was a little impatient, after a while, that she would not say she was content and satisfied in the new relation.

"I don't understand it," he would say; "you were willing at first. What is the difficulty now? Don't you think Elizabeth a good, true girl?"

"Yes, indeed," was always the reply; for my mother was too just a woman to do even a rival a wrong.

"Don't you believe in polygamy, then?" he would ask, determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.

"Yes, I suppose so. I wish to live my religion," was the dreary reply.

"Well, what is to be done about it?" was the next anxious question.

"O, I don't know," my mother would say, in bitter despair; "but I can't endure this life."

"And yet you entered it voluntarily. I don't understand you; you are strangely inconsistent."

Her remonstrance and his comfort never went beyond this point. There was nothing more to be said. She had protested with unutterable anguish against the life that she felt was false and in direct contradiction to every law of moral right, although she was told to look upon it as "divine;" and the only answer she could get was, "You are inconsistent; you entered the relation voluntarily." The very truth of this reply silenced her, but it did not make her burdens any lighter or easier to bear.

She saw that patient endurance was all that was required of her, and all she could give. Her husband was hers no longer; she herself had given another woman the same right to his care that she had; and now she turned to all that was left her in life that she could call her own -- her children. Had it not been for us she would have prayed to die. I was the baby, and she has said that at that time I was the strongest tie which held her to life. If it had not been for me, lying helpless in her arms, she would have taken her life into her own hands, and put an end to it then and there. But she could not endure the thought of leaving me, her only daughter, -- her baby girl, -- alone and unshielded by a mother's care. My brothers, who were quite large boys at that time, she thought would not miss her, nor need her so much; and many a time she has knelt with me clasped fast in her arms, the tears falling on my wondering face, and prayed frantically that we both might die. The thought that she had brought a girl into the world to suffer as she was now suffering, to find her whole life's happiness made a wreck by the religion which should be a stay and a comfort, drove her almost wild. She had buried one little girl, and I have often heard her thank God that He had taken her to Himself before life became a terrible bitterness and burden. She often says, in referring to her sufferings at that time, and the desperate state she was in, she wonders she did not commit suicide; what kept her from it she cannot tell to this day, unless the thought that these polygamous relations did not end with time, but were carried on through all eternity."

She had to keep a double guard on her tongue and on her actions. She did not like to vex her husband, and neither did she wish to grieve the young wife, whose position was no pleasanter than her own. Besides, a husband in polygamy is very sensitive regarding the treatment of the last wife by those who have preceded her, and she knew that no act of hers would escape her husband's notice, even had she been inclined to ill-treat her rival.


Once, very mildly and kindly, she tried to tell some of her troubles to Elizabeth, and begged her not to add to her sorrow by bestowing so many marks of affection on my father in her presence. The young wife turned on her quickly, and demanded, bitterly,

"Do you think I have no trials?"

"God forgive me, and help us both; I know you have," was my mother's quick and sympathetic answer.

After all, what could she say or do? She had influenced the girl quite as much as my father had, believing she was only doing what was right, and that the act, hard as it was, would bring its own blessing with it. Instead, it brought what polygamy always does bring -- the curse of a wrecked home and a life's unhappiness.

A gentleman visiting Salt Lake City for the first time once asked me where polygamy hurt the most.

"It hurts all over, body and soul, mind and heart," was my reply. "I can't tell a spot that it does not hurt."

"It is even worse than I thought," he replied, with a shudder.

The reply which I gave then I would give again. Never, until a woman ceases to love her husband, can polygamy cease to be anything but a series of cruel stings, alike to pride and conscience.

I have tried to portray a little something of the misery that fell upon our family by the introduction of polygamy into it, but I have utterly failed to give an adequate idea of it. No pen can possibly depict the heart-breaking sufferings that are endured by women in this relation, and no one can imagine or understand them who has not experienced them. And yet, in spite of all this unhappiness, we were accounted a model family, and were pointed out as the best exponents of the system. "They are so united!" was the admiring verdict. This was due a great deal to my mother's exertions and her conscientiousness. Having taken this new mode of life as a religious duty, she was determined not to be found wanting in readiness to perform whatever it required of her. A happy, contented spirit she could not give; but she could show patience, long-suffering, and a calm, though by no means cheerful, face and manner.

Then, my father was very just in the treatment of his wives. One did not fare better than the other in any respect. If he purchased an article of wearing apparel for one, he got its counterpart for the other; in every particular they shared alike. His position was by no means an enviable one; still it was preferable to that of either of his wives. Men, as I said before, always get the best of it in polygamy, and always become more easily reconciled to it than do the women. At meetings and all social assemblies, my gather appeared with both wives, and they deferred to each other in the most charming way, both of them being too sensible and too proud to show the slightest feeling where it might be commented on. Then, too, in spite of the natural bitterness of feeling between them, there was a mutual respect and regard between them, and each was too just to lay her troubles at the door of the other. Had these two women, with their generous natures and firm principles, met on any other ground, they would not only have "got along" amiably and quietly as they did, but they would have been warm, earnest friends, and the respectful regard would have grown into positive affection. As it was, they had nothing but kind words for each other, my mother, especially, pitying the young wife as she did herself. Elizabeth was still kind to us children, and gained the love which she has held ever since, and which she fully deserved. Still the introduction of polygamy into our midst was not a pleasant thing, and we little ones, even, felt instinctively its baleful influence.

But we were to be diverted from the contemplation of its miseries by a new and absorbing excitement. The Mormon people were again compelled to move, leaving their beautiful new city in the "defiled hands" of the Gentiles; and in the very midst of our first family trouble and unhappiness came the command to seek another Zion, since this could no longer be a shelter for the Saints.
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Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:48 am


A New Home in the Far West. Dangerous Neighbors. Some very Unpleasant Stories. Seeking a New Home. Preparing to Depart. Life at Winter-Quarters. A Lively Time in the Temple. "Little Dancin’ Missy." Bound for Salt Lake Valley. Life by the Way. Songs of the Saints. A False Prophecy. "The Upper California." Saintly Profanity. A Soul-stirring Melody. The Saints Excited. Beside the Camp-Fires. The Journey Ending. Entering Zion. The Valley of the Great Salt Lake.


IN the spring of 1846 our family left Nauvoo, with the large body of the Saints, to find a new home in the West. The Mormon people had become quite as unpopular in Illinois as they had been in Missouri; and collisions between them and the Gentiles were very frequent.

Sometimes it was one side that was the aggressor, sometimes the other. The Saints were indignant at the treachery which resulted in Joseph Smith's death. They held the United States government responsible for it, as well as for the troubles in Missouri, and taught disloyalty to the government, and personal revenge on all who molested them.

The people of Illinois, in their turn, regarded the Mormons as dangerous neighbors, and getting a hint of the new doctrine of polygamy, looked upon them as grossly immoral, and accused them of much greater crimes than they really committed. All sorts of horrible rumors were rife, and the indignation of the people outside knew no bounds.

The Mormon people realized, very soon after Joseph's death, that they must seek a new home, and they looked with a feeling of positive relief to the unexplored region beyond the Rocky Mountains. They believed that there they would find a realization of all that had been promised them by their murdered Prophet. At least they would be beyond all interference and molestation, and after all they had suffered, they did not care how much space they put between themselves and the Gentile world.

All through the winter of 1845 and '46, my father was very busy building wagons for the purpose of transporting the Saints and their property to their new and yet unknown home; for their destination was not definitely known to any of them at that time. The Apostle Taylor advocated California, and, indeed, announced that it would be the Saints' objective point when they should leave Nauvoo. He wrote an emigration song about it, and all the way from Nauvoo to Winter-Quarters, some of the emigrating party were tunefully averring, --

"The Upper California, O, that's the land for me!"

Yet, in spite of Taylor's prophecy and the saintly singing of it, they never reached California.

It mattered little to me, at that period of my existence, where we went. Home was home wherever my mother was, whether it was east, west, or camping on the prairies between. Of course I remember but little respecting the exodus of the Saints from Nauvoo; still there are indistinct recollections of things that happened as early as that which sometimes cross my mind, although they are very dim. My first distinct remembrance was of Winter-Quarters, which were then where Council Bluffs now stands.

My father built a log-house there, and we were comparatively comfortable. Our family consisted of my father, mother, two brothers, myself, and Elizabeth, the new wife. We were together nearly all the time, but when my father went into Missouri to work a while at his business, and get a little money ahead to take us to our new home, and settle us, he took my mother, my younger brother, and myself, leaving Elizabeth the new wife and my oldest brother at Winter-Quarters.

Notwithstanding the facts of the enforced emigration, the uncertainty of their future, and sacrifices they had been compelled to make, the migrating Mormons were not an unhappy party, and they managed to make their stay in Winter-Quarters lively, if not merry. As a people, they have always mixed amusement with their religion in the most amusing manner. Dancing was a favorite recreation with them, and all their balls were commenced with prayer. That custom, by the way, is still continued, and the blessing of "the Lord" invoked at every dancing party which takes place in Mormondom. The Temple at Nauvoo (I have heard) was used for dancing parties, and it was then given out that the exercise was a religious one. It was taught to the Saints that recreation was positively necessary. Everybody dances among the Saints -- president, counsellors, apostles, elders, and all; and they dance with an unction, too, that is very amusing, and frequently ridiculous.

It was while on the way to Salt Lake, when I was only about three years old, that I learned to dance. It was when I was living in Missouri that I had my first lessons. Dancing was the common amusement there, and I remember the negroes used to play. I was active and lithe, and very ready at imitations, and had, besides, a quick ear for music. I was petted by everybody, and the negro musicians took a special fancy to "little dancin' missy," and they taught me several negro dances, which I used to execute to the intense delight of my sable instructors, and the amusement of my friends.

That winter, in Missouri, is one of the bright spots in my childhood, to which I am especially fond of looking back. It is, indeed, the only really happy time I can recollect. My father was busy most of the time, and we lived very pleasantly and comfortably, for that section of the country at that early day; my mother was more cheerful than I had ever known her to be, and the atmosphere of our home was peaceful. The second wife had been left at Council Bluffs, and my mother had her husband's sole care and attention, as she had had it in the old days before the curse of polygamy was thrust upon her to embitter her whole life, and rob her of all that a woman holds most dear, and guards most jealously. Its shadow was over her still, and she knew she could not escape from it; but she would take what comfort she could, and think no more of past or future sufferings than she could possibly help.

In 1847 a party of the Saints left Winter-Quarters for the Salt Lake Valley. My parents had intended to accompany them, but my father was obliged to remain on account of business, and to assist in the final departure of the main body of the church. Brigham Young and his family went, necessarily, with the first party. Brigham was now absolute in authority, and he managed the affairs of the Saints so arbitrarily that no one dreamed of interfering with him, or gainsaying him in the least. He decreed that my father should remain at Winter-Quarters, and as a matter of course he obeyed. We were there another winter, and all the while my mother's heart was setting most strongly Zionward.

It was the 4th of May, 1848, when at last we were fairly started for our Rocky-Mountain home. The hearts of all the people were filled with eager anticipation, and they said "good-bye" cheerfully and heartily to the civilized world, in which were centred all the memories of their past, and turned gladly towards that unknown country beyond the wild plains and pathless deserts in which were all the hopes of their future.

My father took provisions that would last a year, by practising economy, and we had two wagons and three yoke of oxen; there were six of us in the family -- our own selves and Elizabeth. We joined with a train of two hundred wagons, which was afterwards divided into companies of fifties. I suppose the journey must have been a tiresome one to the older members of the party, but I enjoyed it extremely. I ran along, during a portion of the day, by the side of the wagons, picking the flowers by the way, and talking to the different members of the train, for I knew everybody, and was petted almost as much by my fellow-travellers as I had been by my negro friends in Missouri. It is a wonder that I was not completely spoiled; I daresay I should have been, had it not been for my mother's sensible and judicious training. I was her idol, the one object for which she cared the most in the world; but for all that, she ruled me wonderfully, and I yielded her the most implicit obedience, while giving her the most passionate childish love and devotion. I remember her so distinctly on this journey! She occupied herself a great deal with writing, keeping a literal transcript of all that befell us on our journey, mingled with the deepest religious meditation and poetic fancies. She always wrote in a large book, which she afterwards destroyed, when we arrived at Salt Lake City. I have always regretted the destruction of that book, as I should have liked it as a souvenir of that journey to the "Promised Land." But she was so shy of having her feelings known, and so fearful lest it might fall into some person's hands who would not understand her, but who would jeer at her for a sentimentalist, that she put it out of the way at the very earliest opportunity. Among other things, she wrote a song, which used to be sung in camp, and was a great favorite; but even that is lost. I cannot recall it to memory, and my mother will not, as she says it is much better forgotten.


We rested every Sabbath, and always held services. Sometimes we staid a week in camp, resting our tired oxen, and recruiting our own strength. It was a pleasant season of the year, and we could afford to travel leisurely, as we had left Winter-Quarters so early that we had ample time to reach Salt Lake Valley before the weather became disagreeable, even if we made frequent stops. We had plenty of provisions, too, and there was no fear of their becoming exhausted.

Brigham Young had returned from the new settlement to accompany the emigrants and show them the way. We travelled in company with him, and I attracted a great deal of his attention. The two families, Brigham's and our own, had lived in adjoining houses in Nauvoo, and I had known "Brother Young" from my birth; he blessed me in my infancy, and I was at one time as great a favorite of his as any child ever could be; which isn't speaking very enthusiastically of his affection, to be sure, since he is not noted for fondness for children, even his own. I little thought then what relation I should one day hold to this man, who was older than my father. My future was not foreshadowed in that summer journey in search of a home.

The Saints used to cheer their tedious journey by singing from some point or other in the train. I could always catch snatches of song; and on Sunday, while we were encamped, the whole body of the Saints would sing their hymns and local songs together. Some of these I recollect very distinctly, and, even now, find myself humming snatches of them, having taken them up quite unconsciously. One of them I referred to before, by the Apostle Taylor, who at that time was a famous hymn-writer for the Saints. This one especially was a great favorite of the younger men in the company, and if one voice began it while we were journeying on, it would be taken up the whole length of the train and sung with great unction. I give it as a specimen of the style of hymns that was popular in the church.

"The Upper California, O, that's the land for me!
It lies between the mountains and the great Pacific Sea;
The Saints can be supported there,
And taste the sweets of liberty,
In Upper California O, that's the land for me!

We'll go and lift our standard, we'll go there and be free,
We'll go to California, and have our jubilee;
A land that blooms with endless spring,
A land of life and liberty,
With flocks and herds abounding O, that's the land for me!

We'll burst off all our fetters, and break the Gentile yoke,
For long it has beset us, but now it shall be broke;
No more shall Jacob bow his neck;
Henceforth he shall be great and free
In Upper California O, that's the land for me!

We'll reign, we'll rule and triumph, and God shall be our King;
The plains, the hills, the valleys shall with hosannas ring;
Our towers and temples there shall rise
Along the great Pacific Sea,
In Upper California O, that's the land for me!

We'll ask our cousin Lemuel to join us heart and hand,
And spread abroad our curtains throughout fair Zion's land.
Till this is done, we'll pitch our tents
Along the great Pacific Sea,
In Upper California O, that's the land for me!

Then join with me, my brethren, and let us hasten there;
We'll lift our glorious standard, and raise our house of prayer;
We'll call on all the nations round
To join our standard and be free
In Upper California O, that's the land for me!"

Another one that the Saints used to sing a great deal -- and one that was composed in Nauvoo, to be sung in the Temple before the exodus -- was set to the pathetic air of "Old Dan Tucker." I give what I can remember of it.

"In '46 we leave Nauvoo,
And on our journey we'll pursue;
We'll bid the mobbers all farewell,
And let them go to heaven or hell.

Old Governor Ford, he is so small
There is no room for soul at all;
He neither can be damned nor blest,
Though heaven or hell should do their best."

This song, profane as it may seem, was sung, not once, but many times, in Nauvoo Temple, and religious exercises in camp were never considered complete without it. Why these two songs stand out more prominently in my memory than any others -- with one exception, which I shall presently mention -- I do not know, unless it was because the airs pleased me; the first was bright, stirring, and very easily caught; the other was familiar to me in Missouri. When I think of it now, two scenes always come to my mind: one, of a little blue-eyed girl, dancing merrily under the trees while a band of delighted negroes sang the gay tune which the tiny feet were beating out; another, of the same little girl, running along by the side of a covered emigrant-wagon, with her hands full of half-withered flowers which she had picked by the wayside, listening to the old song with the new words, which she only half comprehended, and involuntarily making her steps keep time to the music.

The other hymn which I remember was a great favorite with the Saints, and whenever they sang it, it had the power of awakening the wildest enthusiasm. It is of a style entirely different from either of the other two. I can't help quoting here a verse or two, it is so much a part of the memory of this portion of my life.

"The Spirit of God, like a fire is burning!
The latter-day glory begins to come forth;
The visions and blessings of old are returning;
The angels are coming to visit the earth;
We'll sing and we'll shout, with the armies of heaven;
Hosanna! hosanna to God and the Lamb!
Let glory to them in the highest be given,
Henceforth and for ever. Amen and Amen!

The Lord is extending the Saints' understanding,
Restoring their judges and all as at first;
The knowledge and power of God are expanding;
The veil o'er the earth is beginning to burst.

We'll call in our solemn assemblies in spirit,
To spread forth the kingdom of heaven abroad,
That we through our faith may begin to inherit
The visions, and blessings, and glories of God.

We'll wash and be washed, and with oil be anointed,
Withal not omitting the washing of feet,
For he that receiveth his penny appointed
Must surely be clean at the harvest of wheat.

Old Israel that fled from the world for his freedom,
Must come with the cloud and the pillar amain;
A Moses, and Aaron, and Joshua lead him,
And feed him on manna from heaven again.

How blessed the day when the lamb and the lion
Shall lie down together without any ire,
And Ephraim be crowned with his blessing in Zion,
As Jesus descends with his chariots of fire.

We'll sing and we'll shout, with the armies of heaven:
Hosanna! hosanna to God and the Lamb!
Let glory to them in the highest be given,
For ever and ever. Amen and Amen."

This hymn always stirred the Saints to the very depths of their natures. It was as appealing and sonorous as a battle-cry, as exultant as a trumpet-note of victory. Without understanding it, I was powerfully affected by it; my cheeks would glow, my eyes flush with tears, and my little heart grow so large that I would almost suffocate. The sublime exaltation of the Saints, as they sung this, was felt by me, child as I was, though I could not comprehend it. I shut my eyes now, and see a large company gathered together, in a fast-falling twilight, on a wide plain, that seems as endless as the ocean; the blue of the star-studded sky is the only covering for the heads of this company. In the dusk the white-covered wagons look weird and ghostly. Campfires are burning; men, women, and children are clustered together, and the talk goes back to the old days and the trials and persecutions which these people have borne, and forward to an independent and happy future, blessed of God and unmolested by man. In the glow of anticipation, some one strikes up this fervid hymn, the rallying-song of the Mormons, and the wide plains echo back the stirring strains. I nestle by my mother's side, awed and subdued, but content to feel the clasp of her hand and meet the loving light of her eyes. The song is over, and "hosannas" and "amens" resound on every side, and out of the blue sky the stars smile down on the wanderers with a calm, hopeful light.


Never, to the very last, up to the time of my abandoning Mormonism and leaving Utah, could I hear this hymn unmoved; and even now the very thought of it thrills me strangely. I have heard it sung again and again since then; but it is, nevertheless, indissolubly connected with that journey across the plains and over the mountains.


Towards the last of the journey some of the Saints began to be somewhat impatient, and begged to hasten onward. We had occupied nearly the whole summer with the journey, and probably crossed the plains more comfortably and with less trouble or loss than any train which followed us. Starting as early as we did, we could move as slowly as we liked, with no dread of winter storms overtaking us. The last stop we made of any length was at Weber River, where we remained a week in camp, fishing, and getting ready for the final part of our journey. Our wanderings were nearly at an end; only a few days more and we should reach our new home the "Zion" of the promises, the resting-place for God's people. Brigham, who did not often indulge in "revelations," said the place had been pointed out to him in a vision, and in the shadow of the mountains the Saints should hold their own against the entire world. The pictures of the mountain-fastnesses which he drew for the wandering people, and his assurances of their future safety and constantly increasing power, filled them with anticipation and exultation. Already they saw the masses of the converted from the Gentile world knocking at their doors for admission; this yet unbuilt city in the wilderness was to be the Lord's dwelling-place on earth, and to Him here, from every nation on the globe, sinners were to come flocking, whose future glory would add to the brightness of His kingdom here and swell His kingdom in heaven.

From their stronghold in the mountains they were to reach out and grasp the whole world. "The fulness of the earth" was to be the Lord's through them. Like the Covenanters of old, they might have sung,

"For the strength of the hills we bless Thee,
Our God, our fathers' God!
Thou hast made Thy children mighty
By the touch of the mountain sod.
Thou hast placed the Ark of Refuge
Where the spoiler's foot ne'er trod;
For the strength of the hills we bless Thee,
Our God, our fathers' God."

In spite of all that this devoted people had passed through, they still believed they were the "Chosen of God," to whom it was given to "build the waste places of Zion, and make the desert blossom as the rose."

There was general rejoicing when at last the camp at Weber's River was broken, and we were again on our way. The spirit of prophecy broke loose and fairly run riot among the leaders. The "Promised Land" was near, the "City of Refuge" for the weary-footed Saints was nearly reached, where God Himself would cheer his people. The rest of the journey was accomplished quickly; lagging footsteps hastened and heavy hearts grew light as they neared the Mormon Canaan. It was destined not to be a land overflowing with milk and honey, but they had little care for that, when, on the 20th of September, 1848, they reached the Salt Lake Valley, and were welcomed to the Fort by the little band who had preceded them into the wilderness. They were travel-stained and weary; but here was home at last the "Zion" of their hopes.
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Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:49 am


Our Welcome to Zion. Housekeeping under Difficulties. Our First Home in Utah. The Second Wife's Baby. The Young Mother. A very Delicate Position. Doctors at a Discount. Brigham's Wife turns Midwife. An Obedient Woman. Taking Care of the Baby. Practising Economy. The Path of the Crickets. Too much Cracked Wheat. Building the First Mill. Brother Brigham Speechifies. Tea at Five Dollars per Pound. Californian Gold Discovered. Building up Zion. Brigham's "Dress Reform." A Rather Queer Costume. The Women "Assert" Themselves. Clara Decker Rebels. How the Prophet treats his Wives. I ask for some Furs, and am Snubbed. How the Prophet doled out his Silk. Eliza Snow and Fanny's Finery. The Prophet Snubs Eliza. He Combats the "Grecian Bend." Dancing among the Saints. Polygamy Denied. How the Saints received It. A Nice Little Family Arrangement.


OUR own immediate family were welcomed by Elizabeth's parents, who had gone on with the first body of the Saints, and were living as comfortably as they could under the circumstances, in the Fort. We were their guests but a short time; then we moved into a tent and our covered travelling-wagon, which constituted our first housekeeping establishment in Utah.

We were quite in the fashion, however, as nearly all our friends were living in the same way. My father commenced immediately to build an adobe house, hoping to get us into it before the winter set in. When it was finished it was regarded with admiration, and ourselves with envy, since no one else had so fine a place. The reason of its superiority was, that it was the second house in the place, and the other was a miserable affair of a log-cabin, in contrast with which our adobe structure was quite a palatial affair.

Shortly after our arrival at Salt Lake, Elizabeth added a son to the family. This was a time and an occurrence to try my mother's spirit; but she bore it bravely, and showed herself a true Christian, and a brave and sympathetic woman. She took all the care of the mother and child, and was as devoted to the former as though she had been a daughter. If there was any bitterness in her heart towards her, she certainly did not show it at this crisis of her life. It was a trying position for her to be placed in, as any woman can realize who will give a thought to the circumstances, — a woman caring for another during the birth of a child whose father is her own husband.

For many years the Mormons rejected the aid of physicians altogether. They applied oil, and "laid hands" on all sick persons, without regard to their ailments. If a person was ill, the elders were called, and they anointed him with consecrated oil; then they rubbed or manipulated him, much after the manner of the modern "magnetic treatment," the elders praying audibly all the time. In cases of childbirth, women used to officiate, and Brigham Young compelled one of his wives, Zina Huntington, to learn mid-wifery, in order that she might attend her husband's other wives during their accouchements. The task was extremely distasteful to her, as she was not particularly fond of nursing; and as those to be cared for were her own rivals, she, of course, relished the work still less. But she was a good, conscientious woman, and her reverence for her husband -- for, strange as it may seem, she did reverence him -- would not allow her to resist any commands he might place upon her; and her generous nature and strict sense of justice would not allow her to neglect any one under her care, no matter how distasteful the person might be to her. She never carried her personal feelings into a sick room, and always gave her patient the tenderest, most watchful, and motherly care. The world, Mormon or Gentile, does not hold a nobler, truer woman than Zina Huntington Young.


In the absence of physicians, almost the entire responsibility and care of Elizabeth and the boy, my half brother, fell upon my mother. She has often said that in the care she gave her at that time, she tried to make amends for some of the bitterness of feeling she had shown before. She never expected to be reconciled to the family arrangement; but as it was inevitable, she was determined to do everything in her power to help everyone concerned in it, and to make the new home in Zion as peaceful and harmonious as possible. It was a difficult task; but then polygamy is made up of difficult tasks and trying situations. There is nothing else in it, -- no one palliation for all the woe. My mother grew very much attached to the child, and he clung to her with loving affection. He is twenty-six years old now, but he has always kept his love for "Auntie," as he calls my mother, and she has an unflagging interest in him. Indeed, all Elizabeth's children are fond of my mother, and our two families have been more united than polygamous families usually are. This has been due to the common-sense of the two mothers, who, the dupes of a false system and a still falser religion, nevertheless knew each that the other was not to blame for the mutual suffering. For twelve years they lived together under one roof, eating at the same table, with not an unkind word passing between them. It was a matter of conscience with both; they were neither of them resigned to the situation, but they believed that it was "right, and they must endure it.

When we arrived at "the Valley" we found the people practising the most rigid economy. The crickets had been very numerous, and had almost entirely destroyed the crops, devastating whole fields, until they looked as though they had been scorched by fire. A few had managed, by most desperate exertions, to save some of their wheat; but as there was only an apology for a mill, with no bolting apparatus, this wheat was obliged to be eaten without being sifted. When I have seen persons eating cracked wheat as a delicacy, and heard them speaking of it with the subdued enthusiasm which some people manifest when talking of food, I have thought of the time when this delicacy was the only thing that was seen on the tables at Utah for breakfast, dinner, or supper, and I have come to the conclusion that "delicacies" may, in time, grow monotonous.

To be sure, we brought flour and other necessaries from the Missouri River in considerable quantity, enough to have lasted us a long time, had we kept them exclusively for our own use; but on our arrival we divided with those who had none, and ate our share of the coarse bread. As soon as possible a good mill was built, and the year after we arrived we had our wheaten flour again. Of course when once our small store of groceries was exhausted, it was quite impossible to procure more in the Territory. Everything was used most sparingly, and what had, in the States, been looked upon as actual necessaries, were now positive luxuries. It was a year of deprivation and self-denial, but the Saints bore every cross with patience, and were brave to the end. During the time no word of complaint was heard, and not one seemed to regret the step he had taken. There was an exultation and a spirit of freedom that amounted to bravado. Brigham added to this spirit by his Sunday discourses in the Bowery, by such language as the following:

"We are now out of reach of our enemies, away from civilization, and we will do as we please, with none to molest. The Gentiles cannot reach us now. If they try it, they will find themselves in trouble."

During the first year we had only the groceries we brought with us; but the following year some kinds were brought in from the States, and although the prices demanded were fearfully high, yet buyers were found for all the articles. Tea sold for five dollars a pound, sugar for one dollar and fifty cents a pound; potatoes brought their weight in silver, and potato-balls were brought from California, at a great expense, to be used for seed.

It was at this time that the California mines were discovered, and the gold-dust actually was more plentiful than food or clothing, for a while.

The first winter was filled with a variety of occupations, the men going to the canons for timber, building houses, and taking care of stock; the women knitted, repaired the dilapidated clothing, and attended to the household duties, necessarily in a very primitive fashion. There wasn't a pair of idle hands in the entire settlement. The yarn which the women used for knitting was made from buffalo wool, which we picked from the sage-bush on the journey. The carding and spinning were also done by the sisters.

Our principal food, the first winter, was dried buffalo-meat, very poor beef, and the coarse bread of which I have spoken, made from the unbolted wheat. Occasionally, as a very great luxury, we had dried fruit and a cup of tea; but this was only on state occasions, and at very long intervals.

I am sorry to say that bickerings among this Saintly people were no more infrequent than among the Gentiles, and that there were as many disputes over land and other claims in "Zion," as ever there had been in "Babylon." They were not above jealousies, either, this "chosen people;" and, indeed, on our arrival at Salt Lake we found trouble between the Apostle John Taylor and Bishop Smart, the two men whom Brigham Young had left in authority when he left Utah for the States to fetch the remainder of the Saints. Each had become jealous of the other, and envious of his authority, and it required considerable skill and tact to settle the apostolic quarrel and make matters smooth again. Jedediah M. Grant was presiding, and holding the two factions apart when Brigham arrived; and so well did he manage this most difficult task, that, as a reward for his faithfulness and patience, Brigham made him his second counsellor. It took some time to settle this and other disputes, and often the entire Sunday service was devoted to the adjustment of difficulties between the brethren.

The Fort was by no means large enough to hold all the people who had already arrived, and tents would be comfortable for only a few weeks. The work of building went on as rapidly as possible, those who were able having log or adobe houses, while others of less extensive means "were obliged to content themselves with "dugouts," which were nothing more or less than holes dug in the ground and covered with willow boughs and earth.  
When the clothing wore out, as there was no cloth there, and no wool to make it from, the men wore clothes made of deer and antelope skins. It was at this time that Brigham undertook to inaugurate a "dress reform" among the women, and introduce a most unique style of dress of his own invention. If the dress reformers of the East are likely to fail in their attempts to present a sufficient quantity of novelties to meet the demands of their patrons, I would most respectfully recommend to their most favorable notice President Young's "inspired" dress, which was called the "Deseret costume."

It is a marked peculiarity of the Mormon Mogul, that he is extremely fond of interfering. No matter is too trivial for his mind to dwell upon and consider. Nothing is of too private or personal a nature for him to refrain from meddling with it. From the cuisine of the poorest family in the Territory to the wardrobe of the richest, nothing escapes him, and whatever he may say or do, no one dares resent his interference.

A totalitarian regime attempts to control virtually all aspects of the social life, including the economy, education, art, science, private life and morals of citizens. "The officially proclaimed ideology penetrates into the deepest reaches of societal structure and the totalitarian government seeks to completely control the thoughts and actions of its citizens".

-- Totalitarianism, by Wikipedia

Not long after the arrival of the Saints in Utah, Brigham conceived the idea of a uniform dress, by which the sister Saints should be distinguished from the rest of the world, and for a while he was enthusiastic on the subject of this "dress reform." He not only introduced the idea of this dress, but he planned it himself, and was as proud of his costume as Worth is of any one of the most gorgeous gowns which he sends out from his world-famed establishment. Several of the sisters had adopted the Bloomer costume in Illinois, and President Young had warmly approved of it. He now wanted something more pronounced, and he held meetings with the leading ladies who favored his plan, for the purpose of deciding in what manner to introduce the new costume. There was much excitement over it, and most of the sisters were intensely curious concerning the proposed style of it, when suddenly it was revealed to them in all its beauty.

The costume consisted of a short dress, which did not fit the figure at all, but resembled very closely the modern gored wrapper, such as is worn at the present time. It reached about half way between the knee and ankle, and was worn with long pantalets, made of the same material as the dress itself. Over this was worn a long, loose sacque, of antelope skin. This costume was certainly peculiar and distinctive enough; but it did not quite suit the Mormon Worth; it was not complete enough; so he added a hat eight inches high, with a straight, narrow brim; and then he viewed his achievement with complacent admiration.


It must be confessed, however, that the large majority of the sisters did not share his admiration; and even he, although he strenuously urged the general adoption of this costume, could induce but very few of the sisters to wear it. Even Mormon women will assert themselves in matters of the toilette, and they refused, most persistently, to make perfect guys of themselves. It was a very unbecoming dress, both to face and figure; there was nothing graceful or beautiful about it, and probably the female Mormons have never, in all their lives, come so nearly being actually indignant with their Prophet as they were when he endeavored to induce them to disfigure themselves by wearing this hideous costume.

Some of the sisters, however, were quite energetic in their efforts to bring about the desired dress reform, and they cut their silk dresses and other expensive materials after this pattern. It is true, silk was not very common in Utah at that time, but a few of the more wealthy had brought materials with them for future use; and the first use they made of them was to sacrifice them to one of President Young's whims. They did it with an earnestness, and even eagerness, that was beautiful to behold -- or would have been, had not one been pained at their delusion.

But the "Deseret Costume" was not a success. The high hat killed it at its birth. It is possible that without this addition the rest of the dress might have been tolerated; but as every one who wore it was expected to don the hat also, the short-dress mania was of brief existence. Of course the material that was used for one of these dresses was utterly worthless after that, as nothing could be done with it. The dress was in so many pieces that the cut-up cloth was good for nothing.

One or two of the Prophet's wives who wished to serve the Lord and glorify Brigham, and who were determined to live by "every word that proceeded out of his mouth" persevered in wearing the dress, hat, pantalets and all, long after every one else had abandoned it; until at last they were compelled to succumb to popular opinion and a more prevailing fashion. That was the first and last attempt of Brigham Young to institute a "dress reform," although he has never ceased inveighing in the strongest terms against the follies and vanities of the feminine world, and assailing the women who followed the fashions. It is, indeed, a pet occupation of his when he is in exceedingly bad temper; and the Saints can easily tell when anything has gone wrong with him during the week by the ferocity with which he attacks the sisters on the subject of dress, in the Tabernacle on Sunday. He does not seem to make a very decided impression on his listeners, however; even his wives and daughters following their own inclinations rather than his teachings. The truth is, he says so much about it that it is altogether an old story, and has lost all its impressiveness from its frequent repetition.

His chief topic is retrenchment in dress, and he pleads for it as earnestly as though it were a vital matter with him. And he not only preaches economy in the Tabernacle to his people, but he practices the most rigid parsimony at home with his wives. Except by Amelia, a request for any article of wearing apparel is the signal for all sorts of grumbling. Once in a while, however, some of his wives will turn suddenly and give him an answer; though, I must confess, the occasions are rare.

Clara Decker, one of his numerous wives, was sadly in want of some furs, and she did not hesitate to ask Brother Young to supply her needs. He became positively furious, and declared that her extravagance was beyond all endurance; she wanted to ruin him; she was determined to ruin him; all his wives were banded together for his financial downfall; and so on, with endless abuse. She listened to him patiently for a few minutes; then getting tired of all this abuse, she interrupted him:

"If you think, Brigham Young, that I care anything for you, except for your money and what little I can get from you, you are mistaken. I might have cared more once; but that was a long time ago."

She then turned and left the room, leaving him petrified with amazement. A few hours after a set of furs was sent to her room. She quietly took them, and the subject was never referred to again.

The winter after my marriage with the Prophet, I myself preferred a similar request, and was met by a similar torrent of abuse. Not knowing that this was his usual manner of meeting a request from his wives, and not having Clara Decker's experience, I was perfectly overcome, and felt as though I had committed the unpardonable sin in daring even to think of a set of furs, which, by the way, are actual necessities in a Utah winter. I burst into tears, and sobbed out, --

"O, don't, Brother Young!"


I left the office and went home, puzzled and astonished at this new revelation of my Prophet-husband's meanness and coarseness. The next time he came to see me he brought me my furs. I used them two seasons, when the muff needed re-lining, and I ventured to ask him for silk for the purpose, thinking, of course, he could find no fault with so modest a request as that. But it seems I had not even then tested his full capacity for fault-finding. He treated me to a tirade, longer and more abusive than ever. He had got my furs for me, and yet I was not satisfied, but I must come bothering him again. I knew that he had several trunks full of silks, velvets, and laces, that he was keeping for some purpose or other, and consequently the material for re-lining my muff would cost him nothing; so I did not feel that I merited the lecture I was receiving. I said nothing, however, beyond making my request, and when he had finished he cut off a quarter of a yard of narrow silk from an entire piece which he had in one of the trunks, and gave it to me with as many airs and as much flourish as though he were presenting me with a whole dress pattern. It is needless to say that my muff was not lined with that piece of silk.

The trimming of dresses also comes in for a full share of Brother Brigham's condemnation; but he likes to have all the scolding and fault-finding to himself. If any one else ventures to express a like opinion, he is more than likely to disagree with them, probably from pure contrariness. I remember an incident that illustrates this, which took place at family prayers at the Lion-house one evening. One of the Prophet's daughters, Fanny, a very pretty, stylish girl, came into the parlor wearing a black wrapper trimmed with rows of red braid. The sight of this seemed very greatly to exercise Eliza Snow, —a proxy wife of Brother Brigham, — and she exclaimed in a shocked tone, —

"Is it possible that I see one of Brigham Young's daughters in a dress trimmed with red? I am more surprised than I can tell."

Brother Brigham couldn't stand this invasion of his province, and called out peremptorily, --

"That dress is well enough. Let the girl alone; she shall wear whatever she chooses. I've seen you in more ridiculous finery than that." And this to the woman who was the first to adopt, and the last to relinquish, the hat, pantalets and short gown of the "Deseret Costume!" Such is Prophetic gratitude!

On one occasion he was holding forth on the subject of long dresses; reviling them, of course, and holding up to ridicule and contempt the women who wore them.

"The very next time," said he, growing warm with his subject, "that I see one of my wives with a dress on sweeping the ground, I will take the scissors and cut it off."

The very next day, I was passing through a door in front of him, when he accidentally stepped upon my train, which was a very long one. Of course I expected my dress to be sacrificed to the Prophet's promise, but to my great surprise, he not only refrained from the threatened application of the scissors, but from any comment, even so much as an apology for his awkwardness.

One of his favorite amusements has been imitating the Grecian bend for the benefit of the congregation, and it pleased him so much, and seemed so highly entertaining, that he kept up the practice long after "the bend " was out of fashion. He indulges in the coarsest witticisms, and is not above positive vulgarity and profanity, both in language and manner, often making himself very offensive to the more refined portion of his audience. His own practice is entirely at variance with his teachings, since he wears the finest broadcloth of the most fashionable cut, drives the fastest horses, and rides in the most elegant carriages in the Territory, and his favorite wife is indulged in all the extravagances of the age. And yet a large portion of the Saints seem to take no notice of these inconsistencies, but receive all that he says as the strictest law and the most unimpeachable gospel.

In place of a distinctive costume, which he hoped to make the women adopt, the daughters of Zion fairly rival their Babylonian sisters in gaiety and fineness of attire, and the remotest allusion to the "Deseret Costume" is never heard now in the City of the Saints. It was the last attempt at dress reform in Utah.

Immediately on the arrival of the church in Utah, polygamy was urged upon the people. Having no fear of the outside world, since they were so far removed from it, they laid aside all caution, and preached and practiced it openly. The plural-wives taken in Nauvoo were acknowledged for the first time, and others were added. The men were constantly urged to "build up the kingdom," and in order to do that they were counselled to "take advantage of their privileges." If they did not hasten to obey counsel, they drew down Prophetic and Apostolic wrath onto their heads, and were accused of not "living up to the privileges." It soon became very unpopular for a man to have but one wife, and he quickly found himself looking out for another. In fact, the somewhat coarse song, which was much affected by the Mormon men, described the state of affairs at the introduction of polygamy:—

Some men have a dozen wives,
And some men have a score;
The man that has but one wife
Is looking out for more."

Of course dancing-parties were frequent then, even when there was nothing but the "Bowery" for a ball-room, with the earth for a floor. Joseph Smith had told them that it was the will of the Lord that they should "make themselves merry in the dance," and, like the consistent Christians they were, they determined that the Lord's will, in this matter at least, should be done. They had danced in the Temple at Nauvoo, they had danced while crossing the plains, and now they commenced again, in the only place of worship which the city boasted, which was an open space, overarched by boughs of trees. This served as tabernacle and dancing-room while the weather permitted; after which the religious services were held at Brigham's own house, the dances at the different houses.

Polygamy became so much the fashion, that if a man attended a party with only one wife, he felt ashamed and humiliated, and would instantly select some unappropriated young woman, and commence paying her "particular and peculiar" attentions. He would dance with her, and in the intervals of the dance talk matrimony to his, usually, not uninterested nor unwilling listener; the poor wife sitting by, watching the progress of the courtship with heavy heart and a consciousness of what the result would be. A lady-friend, who had lived that experience, once said to me, "I could write volumes on the misery I endured that first winter in Utah." Another one, referring to the same period, said, "I have divided my last crust with polygamy."


It was horrible, the makeshifts that were obliged to be resorted to, in order to start the system. A neighbor of ours had four wives, and only one room to live in during the entire winter. It was used for sitting-room, kitchen, bedroom and parlor, and the interior arrangements defy all description. No pen can portray the many ingenious expedients adopted to preserve appearances. Modesty and decency forbid my throwing too strong a light on that habitation.

This was only one of many, and was by no means exceptional. The command had gone forth to take more wives, and it did not matter at all whether there was a place to put them in; they must be taken into polygamy. It was kept quiet from the outside world, and the elders who were sent out on missions were commanded to keep utter silence on the subject. Rumors did get out after a while, especially after the California miners began to pass through Utah. There were no hotels at Salt Lake City at that time, and the emigrants who stopped there to rest, before finishing their journey, were compelled to become temporary inmates of Mormon families, where they found polygamous wives and children as a matter of course. Naturally they would grow curious after a time concerning these extra women and children, and as the inquiries were sometimes quite embarrassing, every subterfuge had to be resorted to to keep the guests in ignorance of the system.

But, try the best they might, they could not prevent suspicions of the truth; and it was not long before the missionaries, both in the States and in Europe, found themselves terribly perplexed by all sorts of questions concerning the truth of the reports that were coming thicker and faster from Utah. They were ordered to deny the rumors, and they all did so in the most emphatic manner, up to the very time of the publication of Joseph's "Revelation," in 1852.

In Nauvoo it had been represented to those who had been told of the new doctrine that it was optional; that no one need enter the relation unless he chose; and, consequently, although they felt it was a cruel doctrine, yet most of the women flattered themselves that their husbands, while they might receive it as a religious truth, would never practice it. But when the church was located in Utah, away from everybody, where help could never reach the oppressed and miserable, and from whence there was no possibility of escape, then polygamy was no longer optional, but every man was compelled to enter it, under pain of Brigham's displeasure, and its results.

That was a miserable winter for the Mormon women; they felt that they had in some way been the victims of false pretences, but they did not dare to blame anyone, for fear of displeasing "the Lord." It was represented to them that this was God's will, and they must submit, else they would never see salvation. Many of them were exceedingly rebellious, and would have returned to the States had it been possible; but they had no means, and no prospect of getting any, and they could only stay on and endure in sullen silence and inward rebellion, which, after a while, when they found there was no escape, became a sort of hopeless apathy, which was by no means resignation.

Others, actuated by true religious fervor, —like my mother, — accepted the situation because they really believed it was commanded by God; and while they were always unhappy in it, and considered it the greatest cross that could possibly be put upon them to bear, still made the best of it, and made it a matter of conscience to be as patient, forbearing, and charitable as it was possible for human nature to be under such circumstances. Most of the men took kindly to the new state of affairs, and did not seem at all backward about availing themselves of their privileges. They had a good example set them by their Prophet and his counsellors, and the Apostles fulfilled their duty to the utmost by setting an example to their people in this respect.

The few Saints who had practiced polygamy in Nauvoo had done so very secretly; consequently, when we came to Utah, and were beyond the reach of the government, and, as the leaders taught us, no longer amenable to the laws of the United States, there were some very strange family revelations made. I will instance one, in the case of Lorenzo Young— an elder in the church and a brother of Brigham —and Mrs. Decker. Mr. Young, who had a wife and six children all living, met Mrs. Decker, a very charming and fascinating woman, who did not seem to think that the fact of her having one husband, in the person of Mr. Decker, prevented her from taking Mr. Young for another; and he seemed to find Mrs. Young no obstacle to his union with his new love. Each of them had children married, yet both declared they had never before met their affinity.

Mr. Young laid the case before Joseph Smith, and the Prophet informed him that no doubt they were kindred spirits, intended for each other from the beginning of the world, and that the day would come when they would be united by the bonds of celestial marriage. This was in 1837, which showed that the idea was in his mind as early as that, although it was not reduced to a form and shown to anyone until 1843.

Joseph having given them this much consolation, they arranged matters to suit themselves, and seemed quite enchanted with one another. The only difficulty in the way was Mr. Decker. It was a puzzle to know how to dispose of him. But he and the world must both be deceived, and appearances must be kept up. So the wife remained with her lawful husband until the Revelation of 1843 cut the perplexing knot for them, and unravelled the intricate affairs. Mrs. Decker was sealed to Brother Young, and Mrs. Young to Mr. Decker, who by this means had two wives given him in place of the one who was leaving him.

These mixed families were compelled to live in one house until they left the States. They then separated. Their children scattered everywhere, not knowing to whom they belonged; and, altogether disgusted and dissatisfied, felt more at home with strangers than they did with their parents, — especially as they did not know, positively, what name they were entitled to bear. They were by no means the only ones who were perplexed in the same way. There had been a queer and intricate mixing up in Nauvoo; it is not at all strange if the attempt at straightening out was a difficult one.

Joseph Smith's sons contend that he was not a polygamist; yet, with all the facts concerning his own life, and his encouragement of what would be considered in most communities the broadest kind of license, he either must have been a polygamist or something infinitely worse. Certainly the wildest doctrines of promiscuity, as taught by certain socialists of the present day, are no more startling than those taught by Joseph Smith, and have been forced upon the people by his successor, under the guise of polygamy, or, "Celestial Marriage."

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Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:53 am


The Sorrows of My Uncle. "It's a Hopeless Fix." A Woman's Argument about Polygamy. My Mother "labors" with a First Wife. Wife No. 2 "Walks Off." Marrying a Widow and her Two Daughters. Mrs. Webb becomes a Wife No. 2. Wife No. 1 throws Brickbats into the Nuptial Chamber. She clears the Field of Extra Wives. "Building up the Kingdom." The Atrocious Villainies of Orson Pratt. How he has Seduced Innocent Girls. Brigham's Nephew Rebels. Trouble in the Prophet's Family. Forgetting a Wife's Face. A Woman who liked Polygamy


THERE was literally no end to the muddles in which the Mormon people found themselves while trying to adjust their polygamous affairs.

In our own family it was very smooth sailing, as there were no superfluous members to be accounted for, and the two wives made the best of their unfortunate situation. But the same peace did not prevail in all families. I remember one family quite well where affairs were strangely mixed, and in which the wife exhibited a most amusing inconsistency.

A brother of my father, Milo Webb, had married a very pretty and agreeable woman in Illinois, who was perfectly devoted to him, and he returned her love ardently. They were both members of the Mormon Church, and had lived in the greatest harmony, with not the slightest shadow of discord, until 1846, when the "Endowments" were given in Nauvoo Temple.

To those men who were considered worthy to be called that holy edifice to receive the sacred rite of the Endowments, polygamy was quietly taught as one of the requirements of religion, and these faithful brethren were counselled not to appear with but one wife; and of course after this many felt ashamed to present themselves with only the wife of their first and unbiassed choice, the mother of their children, the sharer of their fortunes, the consoler in trouble, the faithful, loving soul who had made her husband's people her people, his home her home, his God her God; who had considered no sacrifice too great to bear for his sake, no suffering too intense to be endured; who had literally taken him "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer;" had clung to him in sickness and health, in poverty and distress, as well as in plenty and comfort, and who fondly believed that only death should part them.

If a man dared be true to his better nature, and present himself for his Endowments with this wife alone, he was ridiculed by the authorities for being so poorly provided for, especially by Brigham and Heber C. Kimball, who seemed always to supply the buffoonery for the occasions, and warned that he need never expect to be received into the celestial kingdom until he had entered polygamy, as it was quite impossible for him to do so.

My uncle was a conscientious man and a devoted Mormon, and, like my father, believing the command to be from God, dared not disregard it. He made proposals of marriage to a young girl named Jane Matthews, and she, being taught by the leaders of the church, whom she consulted in the matter, that, except as a polygamous wife, she could not attain to exaltation in the future state, accepted the proposal as the only means within her power of securing salvation; and the two, together with the wife, received their Endowments, and were united in the "indissoluble" bonds of "Celestial Marriage."

The wife had given only a reluctant consent to the arrangement, impelled to this solely by a sense of religious duty, and not because she approved of or liked it. It was the first bitter experience of her married life, and she did not accept it with the slightest spirit of resignation, but as something inevitable. Neither she nor her husband realized, in any degree, the magnitude of the undertaking, and the young girl was still more ignorant of the situation. Had they known how utterly wretched the future was to be, I believe they would have hesitated a long time before they assumed such relations with each other, even if they thought they were perilling their salvation by the delay.

The new wife was brought to the home where so entire happiness had reigned, and lived there until the church left Nauvoo; but what a changed home it was! The spirits of Peace and Love that had brooded over it so long, folded their white wings and fled, leaving the demons of Discord and Hate in their places.

It was not long before the first wife discovered that polygamy was a much more serious matter even than she had supposed it to be, and that it grew constantly worse and more unendurable, instead of better and more easily to be borne, as she had been taught it would become. She grew to cordially hate the young wife, and although they were compelled to live under one roof, she could not even make herself feel like speaking to her; so they lived without addressing one word to each other. She grew nearly insane under this trouble, and was wrought up to such a frenzy by jealousy and despair that she committed the most flagrant acts of violence.

The poor husband found himself in a dilemma from which he saw no way of extricating himself. He could not understand how such really good women could behave so much like fiends. Neither of them had bad dispositions naturally, yet both were perfect termagants under the new family system. The house was in inextricable confusion, and he saw no way of setting matters right; so he applied to my father for advice, he having taken his second wife but a short time before. I do not know what advice he gave, but I think he must have referred him to my mother, for he came to her, begging her to assist him in bringing order out of the domestic chaos.

"How do you manage these polygamous affairs?" he asked, anxiously: "you do not appear to be very unhappy."

"I cannot tell you how I manage," was my mother's reply. "I am a riddle to myself; but I do assure you that it is no easy matter to live in polygamy. Its ways are not 'ways of pleasantness,' nor are its paths 'peace.' Trials of every description grow constantly more numerous."

"Yet you manage to preserve an outward appearance of serenity, which is more than we do. I wish you would see my wife and reason with her; I believe she would listen to you. Affairs are horrible with us: my wife hates Jane, and it seems impossible to keep them together, since she will not even try to conceal her aversion towards her. I don't see how I am to keep them together, and yet I cannot afford to build another house. It is a most hopeless fix, and I don't see the way out."

My mother promised him that she would see his wife, and try to induce her to bear her cross more patiently. But what a hypocritical task it seemed to her! While her own heart was breaking with the weight of sorrow and care, she had to counsel patience and resignation to another woman who was suffering from precisely the same cause. It seemed heartless and awry, but it was placed upon her as a duty, and she could not shirk it. She upbraided herself for her reluctance, and prayed for more of the "Spirit." It never occurred to her that the system was false and horrible in the extreme; she only felt that she was lacking in grace and the true spirit of the Lord.

Very shortly after my uncle's appeal to her, she visited his wife, and found her weeping as though her heart would break. Her first impulse was to put her arms about her and weep with her. She felt every throb of that poor lacerated heart, for her own was torn with the same anguish; and for a little while she forgot her mission, and her woman's instinct predominated, while she indulged in a passionate burst of tears.

But horrified at what she feared was a rebellion against her God, she soon quieted herself, although her heart still ached with a pain which she could not banish or control, and as delicately and tenderly as possible introduced the object of her call. This brought forth a wild outburst of indignant protest from my aunt; and my mother listened, not daring to show her sympathy with the passionate utterances. There was quiet between them for a while after this; then my mother, having regained control of her voice, said, —

"But can you not see that it is your duty to submit to the "Order" and be patient. You know very well that when we cannot cure an ill, the only thing that remains to be done is to endure it; and we must not rebel against any doctrine taught by our leaders, no matter how hard it may be to live it."

"I don't believe! I can't believe! I won't believe! that it is my duty to submit to anything of the kind," was the quick answer, made through stormy gusts of weeping. "I cannot live with that woman in the house; I had rather die at once. O, I wish I could! I wish I could! Do you know," continued she, turning round with such suddenness that my mother was fairly startled, "I shall take measures to rid myself of that nuisance if somebody doesn't take her away! I can't endure it! I won't endure it any longer!"

Mother tried to reason with her, but she interrupted her:

"If any woman pretends that she is satisfied with polygamy, she is a hypocrite. I don't believe her; and she knows she is not speaking the truth."

My mother knew that she designed this remark for her, and that she resented her interference; but she did not let her see that she understood her, and determined to make one more effort, though she felt; that it was absolutely hopeless.

"We none of us love the doctrine now," she replied; "but yet we must submit to it as a part of our religion a duty which that religion lays upon us; and we may grow to like it better by and by."

"Well," was the sharp retort, "it will be soon enough for me to comply with its requirements when I know it to be a duty. But at present I do not believe it to be such, and I cannot, nor will not, live in polygamy; on that point I am determined, and there is no use arguing with me, for I shall not change my mind, I am sure, and I will not consent to live in a state against which both conscience and common sense rebel."

This ended my mother's only attempt as missionary in the interests of polygamy. She had not been at all successful, and she was only too glad to drop the subject; for her heart was not in it, and it must be confessed that in this case she was a very unskilful special pleader.

There was no help for it; the young wife could not hold out against all the opposition that was shown her, even though her husband made some pretence of standing by her, and she was finally compelled to leave the house. She saw no prospect of ever being able to live with her husband again, and she concluded that the best thing for her to do was to put as great a distance as possible between herself and him; so she went to Salt Lake with the first body of Saints.

As Brigham had taught the women, if they could not live happily with a man, to "walk off," and leave him without a divorce, she, of course, felt freed from her former marriage, and after a year or more she married Mr. Levi Savage, a single man, with whom she lived very happily for about two years, when she died, leaving one child, who is now grown to manhood. Soon after Mrs. Savage's death, Mr. Webb and his wife left the Missouri for Salt Lake. The husband died on the way, and his wife came on into the valley with her children.

Mr. Savage was at that time feeling very much grieved over the death of his wife, and was exceedingly pained because she had never been sealed to him by the proper authorities. He said, "I know she ought to belong to me, and I will contend for her throughout all eternity." He applied to the priesthood to have the sealing in the Temple to my uncle revoked, that she might be sealed to himself. He was told by the man who "holds the keys of life and death," that he must wait until the Temple in Salt Lake was completed.

Mrs. Webb, however, with wonderful inconsistency, considering her former feeling, opposed Mr. Savage's wish by every means in her power, and contended that this woman, whom she could not and would not live with, ought, now she was dead, to belong to her husband; and she said it was very wrong indeed for Mr. Savage to try and rob her dead husband of his rights and privileges. She evidently felt that there was not the slightest doubt of her ability to endure polygamy in a future state, although it was impossible to do so in this life.

After a few years Mr. Savage married a widow and her two daughters, and is still living with them, waiting, meanwhile, for the Temple to be built, when he hopes to have this "spiritual controversy" decided in his favor; for he has not given up his first wife, though he has taken three others to solace him temporarily until she can be given to him spiritually. Judging from present appearances, he will have to wait some time, as there seems no prospect of the Temple being finished during this generation.

Mrs. Webb found it a most difficult task to provide for herself and her children, and becoming discouraged in her attempts, listened with more patience to the doctrines of polygamy than she had done in Illinois. She was instructed that it was her duty to marry someone for time, that she might raise up more children to her dead husband, to swell his "kingdom." She took the instruction with a properly meek spirit, and very shortly accepted the proposal of Bishop McRae, a distinguished and prominent Mormon, and became Mrs. McRae number two.

As may be imagined, Mrs. McRae number one did not take kindly to the interloper, and, having a decided objection to polygamy, emphasized her objection by throwing bricks into Mrs. McRae number two's window, when their mutual husband was her guest. She varied her expressions of opposition and protest by occasionally sending a pistol shot, instead of a brickbat, through the window.

It may not be out of the way to mention, just here, that the heroine of the brickbat and pistol was, and still is, the President of the Female Relief Society in her ward, and that one of her chief duties is to instruct the young sisters in polygamy. I have never heard whether she had a shooting gallery attached to the society rooms.

Her plan of action was quite successful, and she soon had the field again to herself; for Mrs. McRae number two, after adding two children to her husband's kingdom, declined any longer to act as a target for Mrs. McRae number one, and left her husband voluntarily, and has since lived in a state of widowhood. I have often wondered whether she had any sympathy for Jane Matthews while she was herself the object of persecution.

I have known all the actors in this polygamic drama, except the two who died. I was too young to have any but the most indistinct recollection of my uncle, and Mrs. Savage, I, of course, could not remember at all. But the rest I knew very well, all being intimate visitors at my father's house.

"Build up the kingdom, build up the kingdom," has always been the watchword of polygamy. At Nauvoo it was whispered into the ears of those who were considered strong enough in the faith to receive it unquestioningly, but in Utah it is hurled indiscriminately at all alike. "Build up the kingdom, whether you can support it or not," is the almost literal teaching. The pecuniary condition of a man is never taken into consideration. He is expected to take as many wives as he can support, then take a few more to support themselves and their children.

THE APOSTLE ORSON PRATT, "The Champion of Polygamy."  

The Apostle Orson Pratt is one of the most persistent polygamists in Utah, and he has nothing to give his wives for their maintenance. They struggle on as best they may, striving in every way to earn a scanty sustenance for themelves and their children. Some of them live in the most wretched squalor and degrading poverty. He, in the meanwhile, goes on foreign and home missions, and gathers thousands of unsuspecting victims to "Zion." Polygamy is his favorite subject, and he grows very eloquent while discoursing upon it, quoting Scripture freely in support of the glorious system, —which, by the way, is the only support he does give it, or that he feels it his duty to afford. After he has once converted and married a girl, she is left to shift for herself, or to starve and die of neglect. Two, at least, have met this fate, — one a very pretty English girl, who was starved, body and heart, and who, with her little children, died from exposure, while her husband was at Salt Lake, being "entertained" by some of his rich brothers in the church.

He is still the recognized defender of the gospel of polygamy, and is quoted by every one as an authority; his numerous and more pressing duties prevent his caring for his family, and nowhere in Utah are the wives more wretched or neglected, or children more ignorant and uncared for, than the wives and children of Orson Pratt, the eloquent expounder of the beauties and glories of a polygamous life, and the best educated and most able man, intellectually, in Utah.

Another polygamist of the same stamp is Joseph Young, brother to Brigham, and President of the Seventies. He has busied himself in "building up his kingdom" ever since Joseph Smith gave him that precious piece of counsel in Nauvoo. When he was a young man, he married a girl, and lived very happily with her until he learned from the Prophet Joseph that it was not only his privilege, but his duty, to enlarge his kingdom more speedily by marrying more wives.

His first acquisition was a young widow, who listened assentingly to his proposals of a "celestial marriage," and soon after entered his family as a second wife. However, the marriage with her did not avail him much, as she could only be his for time. Her former husband died a Mormon, and she and her children would belong to him in eternity.


He was past the prime of life, feeble in health, and compelled to accept the support of his brethren; yet all this did not deter him from doing what was required of him by his Prophet. About the time that he married the widow, he took a young girl for his third wife, who was supposed to be his, and his only, with no former husband "behind the veil" to come up "in the morning of the resurrection" and lay claim to herself and her children. All his wives lived in one house, which had been built for him by the "Seventies," in return for his spiritual ministrations in their behalf.

His first wife did not like the new family arrangement any better than other Mormon women who were first wives; but as a matter of course, her liking or disliking was not of the least consequence. She fretted herself ill over it, however, and was prostrated for months. She had toiled and suffered with her husband for many long years, while they were journeying about with the Mormons, and she could not bear to have the dark shadow of polygamy cast over the hitherto unclouded happiness of their domestic life. It seemed a terrible injustice. Yet, knowing her husband's devotion to the faith, she would not openly rebel, although she complied with his demands, that she should receive his other wives, with a feeling of intense bitterness, and lived in this unnatural relationship with her husband and his other wives.  

It is impossible to depict her sufferings; they can never be known or realized outside of Mormonism. It is the very refinement of cruelty, this polygamy, and its hurts are deeper and more poisonous than any other wounds can be. They never heal, but grow constantly more painful, until it makes life unendurable. She was prostrated for months with nervous debility, seeing all the time her family needing her constant care, the care that only a mother can give, and her husband all the while devoting his energies to "building up his kingdom." It is only just to say that he was as kind to her as the circumstances would permit.

After a few years the invalid wife recovered her health, and has been permitted to assist in rearing her children to respectable men and women who do not believe in polygamy. One of her sons has apostatized, and once published a paper in Salt Lake City, called "The Daily Press." This paper was of course offensive to Brigham, containing, as it did, some unpleasant truths regarding himself and other authorities in the church, and he determined to put a stop to its publication. Accordingly he sent for his brother Joseph, and said, on his arrival, --

"I want that 'Daily Press' suppressed."

Joseph "did not know how it was to be done."

"I want you to use your influence with your son to accomplish my wish," demanded Brigham.

"I cannot do it," said his brother; "my son will do as he likes."

Brother Brigham grew angry. "You must put a stop to the printing of that paper; I will not endure the annoyance from it any longer."


Joseph's spirit rose to the occasion. If Brigham was his superior in the church, he was also a younger brother, and he didn't like his peremptoriness of manner; so he quietly answered, --

"I shall do nothing more about it than I have done. I have said all to my son that is necessary, and if he does not wish to follow my advice, he can go his own way, and act according to his own judgment; I most certainly shall not interfere."  
Brigham was terribly angry, and he raved and stormed, while Joseph listened quietly, and then walked out, making no answer to his threats and railings. The Prophet evidently did not succeed in influencing or terrifying either brother or nephew, as the "Press" was still published, and continued to win popularity. I was glad of its success, for the sake of the brave young editor, and the mother who reared him. She, at least, should find comfort and support in her children, although everything else in life has failed her, even her religion proving false and fatal to her happiness.

During his first wife's illness, Joseph added another widow to his establishment. Her husband having been killed at Nauvoo, she wished to assist him to build up a kingdom, and so married Joseph for time. Shortly after another woman applied for "salvation" at his hands, and "conscience" would not allow him to reject her. When he was about seventy years of age he added still another to his family, being united to her the same day that I was married to his brother Brigham, and is still, although over eighty years of age, considered in the matrimonial market.

Joseph had a real romance in his youth, which connects him, in memory and feeling at least, somewhat with my mother's family. His first love, when he was very young, was an aunt of my mother, for whom I was named. He was passionately attached to her, but something occurred to part them, and she died. Her memory has always remained with him, and he has always loved her, in spite of his extensive matrimonial experience. He told my mother that he had had Jane, his first wife, baptized for her, and sealed to him for her; so she is to be his in eternity.

This venerable polygamist has nothing to support his wives upon, or himself, for that matter, except what is given him by the "Seventies." In most respects he is a very good man, much more conscientious and honest than his brother Brigham, of whose conduct towards the people he does not approve; but he has gone mad in his desire to "build-up his kingdom," and he considers it a duty to continue to raise up a young family, who must necessarily have to "shift for themselves," both in childhood and later life. They can have no father's care or attention, no matter how much they may need it, and he evidently does not consider how much misery he is entailing on these children.

Besides the wives I have mentioned, I do not know how many he has been sealed to, whom he does not pretend to look after in the flesh, but whom he expects to "resurrect," to swell his heavenly kingdom.

It is possible that, like Heber C. Kimball, he may have "fifty or more scattered over the earth," whom he has not seen for years, and whom he hopes he never may see again in this world.

A very amusing story was told me of Brigham, by a lady who vouches for its truth; and although I cannot, of course, corroborate it, I am quite ready to give it credence enough to publish it. Brigham met a lady in the streets of Salt Lake City, several years since, who recognized him, and addressed him as Brother Young, greeting him quite cordially.

He scrutinized her closely, with a puzzled expression. "I know I have seen you somewhere," he said; "your face is very familiar, but I cannot recall you."

"You are right," replied she; "you have most certainly seen me before; I was married to you ten years ago. I have never seen you since," she continued, "but my memory is more retentive than yours, for I knew you the moment I saw you."

Very few, even of the most enthusiastic Mormon women, were ready to listen with any degree of patience to the first teachings of the doctrine of polygamy. They rebelled against it in their hearts, even if they dared say nothing of their dislike and disgust of the system. Still less were they willing to advise or urge their husbands to introduce it; and never was a woman, with one exception, heard to say she was happy in it, even if they endured it with any degree of patience.

The one exception of which I have spoken was an old neighbor of ours, and quite a friend of my mother's, Mrs. Delia Dorr Curtis. Both she and her husband were faithful Mormons, but he had, for some time after polygamy was taught, continued living "beneath his privileges." He was constantly reminded of his remissness by the priesthood, until at length he felt obliged to yield to their teachings, and "obey counsel." When he mentioned the matter to his wife, she made no objections, but, on the contrary, she encouraged him in his decision, and proposed their niece, Miss Van Orden, for his consideration.

Her husband was exceedingly pleased with her suggestion. "She is the very one I should have chosen," he said in reply. He instantly made proposals for his niece, and she, being quite willing to marry her uncle, accepted the proposals, and was sealed to him at once, Mrs. Curtis giving the bride to her husband with an alacrity and willingness which were rarely seen in similar circumstances.

About three months after the celebration of the nuptials, the first wife of this good elder came to visit my mother, and, as is always the case when two Mormon women meet, and are together for any length of time, the talk turned on to polygamy, and during the conversation Mrs. Curtis remarked, —

"Well, as far as I am concerned, I never have felt any of the stings of polygamy."

"Do you wish me to believe," questioned my mother, in surprise, "that you have seen your husband going through a courtship and marriage with a young wife, have seen him lavish attentions on her that have heretofore belonged alone to you, and have never felt the pangs of jealousy?"

"Yes; I wish you to believe all that."

"Well," said my mother, somewhat incredulously," I cannot comprehend it, and if I did not know you to be a most truthful woman, I should certainly say I did not believe you."

Mrs. Curtis grew quite eloquent on the subject; she and the other wife lived in one house, not a large one either, and the relation between them was amicable in the extreme. She had always been fond of Sarah; she was fonder than ever of her now.

"Why should there be so much trouble in it?" continued she, waxing earnest; "the Revelation on Celestial Marriage is from the Lord; I know it, and every person might have a testimony for themselves if they would cultivate the Spirit; it is wrong and absurd in us to rebel."

"Yes, to be sure it is," returned my mother, "if one knows it to be true. I do not know it; I merely believe it, and I am not sure that I quite do that even. I try to believe it, and try to practice it, but I must confess to many anxious days and sleepless nights on account of it."

Mrs. Curtis was horrified at my mother's lack of belief. "Why," said she, "if I did not have a perfect knowledge of the truth of polygamy, I should lose all faith in the other principles of Mormonism, I fear."

"Not necessarily so," replied mother. "I still cling to the faith; I must not relinquish that; but polygamy is a hard cross to bear."

"Not at all! not at all!" asseverated Mrs. Curtis; "if you only have the Spirit of the Lord to enlighten your mind, you will find no difficulty."

"Well, you certainly are an exception to the general rule," said mother, "and you are far in advance of me, though I have struggled hard to inure myself to the system."

"Now let me tell you how we manage," persisted the enthusiastic defender of plurality. "When my husband intends going to Sarah's apartment, we first kneel down and have prayers; then he takes me in his arms and blesses me, and after our usual good-night kiss we part, happy in each other's love; and why should there be any trouble? "

"The story you are telling me seems incredible," said my mother; "if it is true, you are really enjoying a very pleasant dream, from which I pray you may never awaken."

"O, no fear of that," was the quick reply. "I love Sarah too well to ever regret giving her to my husband; and you might be just as happy, if you would take the right view of the subject. I am sure, if Sarah had children, I should love them as well as my own, and I really cannot see what there is in polygamy to cause so much annoyance."

"Well," said my mother, as the conversation ended, "let me give you this bit of advice — keep your eyes shut."

My mother did not see her friend again, or even hear from her, for a very long time; but she used often to refer to her, and wonder whether "the stings of polygamy" had reached her in all that time, or whether she was still as enthusiastic a devotee to the system as she was at the time of her memorable visit.

Some years after Mrs. Curtis's visit, the mother of the young wife became our guest. My mother, of course, made instant and interested inquiries regarding the welfare of the family. She was quite surprised when, in answer to them, the lady replied,

"I do not know what to say or to think about Delia. She behaves in the most peculiar manner; we all think she may be insane, and I am very certain she is, for no woman in her right mind would conduct herself in the way she does."

"Why, what is the matter?"

"You know what a disciple of polygamy she professed to be, and how earnest she was that Sarah should join the family. She has turned completely about; you would not recognize in her the same person she was before we went south to live. She raves wildly about polygamy, and says as many things against it as she used to say for it. I never heard anyone more bitter in my life. She abuses Sarah in every possible way, you know how fond she used to be of her, and whips her children shamefully. She has become so violent that Sarah cannot live with her any longer, even if she dared to, and she does not, for Delia absolutely terrifies her in some of her rages; so she is going to move away. I never saw a person so entirely changed in my life. It is terrible."

"What has happened to cause such a change?" asked my mother.

"I do not know, I am sure," was the sad reply; "we none of us know; it is a perfect mystery to us; but of one thing I am quite assured: if she goes on in the way she is going now, she cannot live long; she will literally wear herself out."

It was less than a year from this time that we heard of her death. It was evident she had not been so strong as she imagined, or else the "Spirit" had deserted her. The end of this "happy" woman's life was not so different, after all, from that of hundreds of her "unhappy" sisters. She was another victim to polygamy, that horrible system which crushes women's hearts, kills their bodies, and destroys their souls.
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Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:44 am


"Killed by the Indians." How Apostates Disappeared. A Suspicious Fact. How Brigham "took care" of the People's Property. The Mormon Battalion. Brigham Pockets the Soldiers' Pay. How Proselytes were Made. Scapegraces sent on Mission. My Father goes to Europe. How Missionaries' wives are Left. Collecting funds for the Missionaries. Brigham Embezzles the Money. The "Church Train." Joseph A. Young as a Missionary. His Misdoings in St. Louis. What Brother Brown said of Him. The Perpetual Emigration Fund. How the Money was Raised. Cheating the Confiding Saints. How Brigham Manages the Missionaries' Property. The "Church" makes Whiskey for the Saints. The Missionaries bring home new Wives. How English Girls are Deceived. My First Baptism.


THE first years of life in a new country are full of hardships, peril, and adventure, and all these the Mormon people met.

I can remember listening in round-eyed wonder and terror at recitals of Indian atrocities, for we were surrounded by the wandering Southern tribes, and they were constantly thieving from us, and a murder was by no means an uncommon thing. When a man left home and failed to return, the general verdict, as a matter of course, was, "killed by the Indians." Did an exploring party visit the Territory, and fail to leave it again, their fate, if it was ever alluded to at all, was regarded as "massacred by Indians."

It is a significant fact that most of the persons who thus perished were Gentiles, apostates, or people who, for some reason or other, were suspected by, or disagreeable to, Brigham Young; and it came presently to be noticed that if anyone became tired of Mormonism, or impatient of the increasing despotism of the leader, and returned to the East, or started to do so, he invariably was met by the Indians and killed before he had gone very far.

The effect was to discourage apostasy, and there was no one but knew that the moment he announced his intention of leaving Zion and returning to "Babylon," he pronounced his death sentence. He was never discouraged from his plans, nor was any disapprobation of his course expressed. The faces were as friendly that he met every day, the voices just as kind; his hand was shaken at parting, and there was not a touch either of warning or sarcasm in the "God speed" and bon voyage. But he knew he was a lucky man if, in less than twenty-four hours after leaving Salt Lake City, he was not lying face downward on the cold earth, shot to death by an unerring rifle ball, while the stars looked sorrowfully down, silent witnesses, on this deed of inhuman butchery, and a man rode swiftly cityward, carrying the news of the midnight murder to his master, who had commanded him in the name of his religion to commit this deed, and send an innocent soul before its Maker. "Ah, poor fellow; killed by the Indians," said all his friends; but Brigham Young and Bill Hickman or "Port" Rockwell knew better.

The Indians have been convenient scapegoats and alternate allies and enemies to Brigham Young. But he has managed to make warfare, even with them, a profitable thing for himself.

Indians are notoriously thievish ; they will steal from each other, and from their very best friends. Civilization, even, doesn't seem to take the taint from their characters; they positively can't keep their hands off what doesn't belong to them.

As a matter of course, the Mormons, being their near neighbors, suffered very much from their depredations. They would often steal an ox, or, indeed, a large number of cattle, when they could do so with comparative safety; the owners would soon be on their trail, and would pursue them until they reached them; and sometimes both Mormons and Indians would be killed.

On occasions like these a proclamation would be issued, by the "authorities," for the brethren to fit themselves out for a campaign of indefinite length for the purpose of quelling the "Indian disturbances," and suppressing the trouble; and Brigham, who always has an eye to the main chance, generally managed in some mysterious manner to make large sums of money out of these "wars," as they were called.

Sometimes the manner of the money-making was not at all mysterious. There is one case in particular which I have often heard spoken of by my mother and other Mormons, who would have disapproved of the proceedings, and even called them dishonest, had they dared; but none of them ventured to connect such an adjective as that to the Prophetic name.

At this particular time he became so very anxious for his people's welfare, and so earnest in his endeavors to "protect" their property, that he sent Captain William Walls, of Provo, with a company, to collect all the surplus stock from the settlements south of Salt Lake, and drive them into the city for safe-keeping, reserving only the necessary teams and the milch cows. The orders were very absolute to "drive every hoof that could be spared."

At Cedar City, Iron County, there were three men who as absolutely refused to give up their stock, as that was all they had to depend upon; for, being poor men, with large families, they naturally preferred to keep what property they had where they could look after it themselves, feeling certain that they would take quite as careful an interest in it as a stranger would.


The names of these rebellious men were Hunter, Keer, and Hadshead. They insisted upon defending their property, and the captain commanded them to be arrested and put in irons, and then he started with them for Salt Lake City, having previously secured all their stock. When they arrived at Parowan, they were chained together and confined in the school-house, there being no prison or jail in the place.

They were met by George A. Smith, who at that time was on a visit to the southern settlements; and he, thinking the men were treated with unnecessary harshness, ordered their irons taken off, and them set at liberty and allowed to return to their families -- without their stock, however. These men, after suffering such indignities, could live among the Mormons no longer, and they left for California.

Their stock, with a large herd of cattle collected in that vicinity, was driven to Salt Lake City, where they remained until they were in proper order for sale, when Brigham sold every one of them to pay a large debt which he owed to Livingston and Kincade, Salt Lake merchants.

This was his somewhat novel method of "protection." The cattle, to be sure, were out of the reach of the Indians, but they were equally out of the reach of their lawful owners, who neither saw them again nor any money which accrued from the sale of them.

Some of the owners ventured to ask if they might be turned in for tithing, but the inspired Prophet of the Lord replied, "No; if you had kept them, the Indians would have stolen them, and you are as well off as you would have been if I had not taken them." So was he, and several hundred dollars better off, too.

This reminds me of another instance of Brigham's faculty for "turning things to account," or, as a young Mormon quite wittily said, "taking advantage of his opportunities;" although it has nothing to do with the Indians, yet it occurred at an even earlier date, and was among the first of his notoriously dishonest transactions.

At Council Bluffs, as early as 1846, he counselled five hundred of his followers to enlist in the service of the United States; recruits being wanted at that time for the war in Mexico. They went without a question, on being assured that their families should be cared for. The church at that time was camped on the Missouri River, on its way from Nauvoo to Salt Lake.

The Mormon soldiers -- commonly called "The Battalion" -- sent all their pay to their families, to the care of Brigham Young, and he cared for it so well that the poor families never received it. John D. Lee brought the money which was collected from the soldiers, amounting to several thousand dollars, and gave it to Brigham. The families of these soldiers were, many of them, nearly starving, and all of them were very poor, needing sadly the money that their husbands had sent them; and in the face of all this destitution and suffering Brigham Young bought goods in Missouri to take out to the Valley, and if a soldier's wife ventured to ask him for anything, no matter how trifling it might be, she was rudely repulsed, usually without the slightest excuse for not giving her what was rightfully her own.

The men served in the army two years, receiving pay all the time, which Brigham pocketed, and all the time their families lived on the banks of the Missouri in the most squalid poverty, while Brigham came to Salt Lake in the most comfortable manner possible at that early day, and lived on the provisions that he had brought with him, bought with the money that was not his. He lived in what would be called luxury for the time and the place, by literally taking the bread out of the mouths of hundreds of needy women and children.

When these men came to Utah, after having been honorably discharged, they, of course, expected to find their families there. What was their surprise on learning that they were still at Winter-Quarters, and that no arrangements had been made for bringing them to the Valley! The President of the church would not allow them to go for them until the next spring, and when they did find them in such a wretched, helpless condition, it is no wonder that so many of them apostatized, and refused to believe in a religion whose chief teacher could be capable of such heartless cruelty and mean dishonesty.

It is asserted, by those who have the best means of knowing, that this war put twenty thousand dollars in Brigham Young's pocket; and yet he is very fond of talking about the cruelty and tyranny of the United States government in forcing five hundred of the ablest Mormon men into its service at a time when they were the most needed, and leaving the weak and helpless to cross the plains without sufficient protection.

The Mormons have always been very enthusiastic on the subject of missions. Probably no other church has done so much both home and foreign missionary work as the Church of Latter-Day Saints. They began by travelling about the country, making converts wherever they could, in the days when the entire church, could easily be numbered: as they increased in numbers they extended their work across the ocean, and now nearly all the work is done in England, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

It is a very rare thing nowadays to hear of an American convert, and the southern European nations never did take kindly to the faith.

Brigham Young was among the very earliest of missionaries, and he was very successful at proselyting. He was very different then from the haughty, arrogant blusterer of to-day. He and his brother Joseph were the first Mormons that my mother ever saw, and I have very often heard her describe the peculiar influence they exerted over her, and the manner in which they impressed her.







To her they seemed very humble men, of the most earnest, devoted piety and intense religious zeal, travelling about "without purse or scrip," meeting with ridicule, derision, and persecution, while they preached "the gospel as taught by Christ and his Apostles." They came to a house where she chanced to be visiting, and, after seating themselves, commenced singing one of those earnest, stirring hymns for which the Mormons were at that time celebrated.

" Hark! listen to the trumpeters,
They call for volunteers.
On Zion's bright and flowery mount,
Behold their officers.
Their horses white, their armor bright,
With courage bold they stand;
Enlisting soldiers for their king,
To march to Zion's land.
We want no cowards in our bands,
That will our colors fly;
We call for valiant-hearted men,
Who're not afraid to die;
Sinners, enlist with Jesus Christ,
Th' eternal Son of God,
And march with us to Zion's land,
Beyond the swelling flood."

They were fine singers, both of them, and they threw so much fire and fervor into this song that my mother -- young, enthusiastic girl of sixteen -- made up her mind on the spot to enlist and follow this new army to Zion.

She was baptized and confirmed by Brigham Young almost immediately, and to use her own language, "There was nothing arrogant, haughty, or tyrannical, either in his (Brigham Young's) or Heber Kimball's appearance, as they pronounced, in the most fervent manner, such glorious blessings upon me, a poor ignorant girl, with no one to guide me, but who had given up my little all in this world to follow their teachings, which to me at that time meant the teachings of Christ."

No sooner had the Saints become fairly settled in Utah than Brigham Young commenced sending the brethren off on missions. He had, and still has, a peculiar way of managing, quite original with himself. A few of the leading members of the church were sent; indeed, at that time one or more of the apostles was kept in England all the while, and different elders were sent to relieve each other, and to assist the apostle in taking charge of the "Branches," and starting mission churches, which were afterwards held in charge by some resident brother, who was appointed elder. In addition to these elders, any one who displeased the Prophet was "sent on a mission" as a punishment. Did the polygamous Prophet fancy a man's wife, he was sent to the farthest possible point from Zion, to "enlist" souls for the Mormon Church. If any young man is suddenly started "on a mission" to preach the gospel and win souls to Christ, it is safe to argue that "he has been a little wild," and is accordingly exiled for a while.

My father was sent to England not very long after our arrival in the Valley, and he had charge while there of the Sheffield branch of the church. My mother and myself lived part of the time in Salt Lake City with Elizabeth and her family, and the remainder of the time in Payson. As the missionaries are all expected to give their services, and as they are obliged to go when ordered, whether they wish to or not, the wives have to take care of themselves as best they may. They certainly can expect no aid from their husbands, and they never receive it from the church; so, unless they can do something to support themselves while they are left in this way, they are pretty sure to suffer discomfort, and many times actual want.
My mother was equal to the occasion, however, and we got on better than most Mormon families do whose "head" has gone on a mission. My mother taught school most of the time, either in the city or in Payson, and during all the time I studied with her.

Before sending his missionaries to England, Brigham one Sunday addressed the people in the Tabernacle very much after this fashion:

"Brethren and sisters, the time has been when we were compelled to travel without purse or scrip, and preach the gospel. We have had to beg our way of an ungodly world, and have gone, like the Apostles of old, trusting the Lord to provide for us. And," continued he, waxing excited over his subject, "I have travelled on foot the length and breadth of the United States with my shoes full of blood. Foot-sore and weary, I have often arrived at a house and asked for a night's lodging. I was hungry and cold; yet I was turned away; and many a time I have shaken the dust off my feet as a testimony against those people. But now I want the elders to travel independent of the Gentile world." Then, after reading the names of those whom he had selected to go, he proceeded with his address:

"Brethren and sisters, the missionaries must be supplied with the necessary funds to defray their expenses. And I want this whole people to come forward and donate freely for this purpose. I do not suppose you are all prepared to-day, but you can call at the office to-morrow and leave the money with my clerk; or we will have another meeting for the purpose of receiving donations, and so give all the opportunity of assisting in the noble work of sending missionaries to a foreign land."

As an answer to this appeal there was a large sum raised, the people responding generously to this call for assistance, and there was sufficient to carry all the laborers to their appointed fields. What was the surprise, then, of these men, when calling on the Prophet previous to their departure, and referring to the subject, they were coolly told by Brother Brigham that there was no money for them "not one cent"!

"But what are we to do?" said the bewildered and disappointed men, who had relied on this money to assist them.

"You must go to Bishop Hunter; I have nothing for you," was the careless and heartless reply.

Accordingly they went to the Presiding Bishop, and after telling him their errand, and that they had been sent by President Young, he informed them that there was a "church train" of three hundred wagons going East, which would take them to the frontiers for forty dollars apiece;" and after that," said the bishop, "you must get to your fields of labor as best you can."

Now, the Mormon elders in those days were poor, and could barely support their families when they were at home. And to be informed, just at the last moment, when they had supposed they were well provided for, that they must defray their own expenses to England, was really a hard blow for all of them. And yet such was their devotion to their religion, that each one paid his forty dollars to ride to the frontier in the "church" wagons, and then made their way to England at their own expense.

The Saints supposed that these wagons were sent out for the purpose of bringing emigrants from the Missouri River; but on their return they were loaded with freight, for which Brigham received twenty-five dollars a hundred. Between the amount paid for the passage of the missionaries and the loads of freight on the return, this "church train" certainly paid the head of the church very handsomely for that one trip.

Among the missionaries to England, during my father's residence there, was Joseph A., the Prophet's eldest son, who has recently died. He has always had the reputation among the Saints of being a very "fast" young man. In order, if possible, to cure him of some of his propensities for evil-doing, his father decided to send him on a mission, to carry the light of the everlasting gospel to the benighted nations of the earth. When men of family are sent, it is generally because Brigham wants something belonging to them which he cannot get if they are allowed to stay at home; and single men are often sent to convert the world, who are not capable of writing their own names in a legible manner.

But Joseph A. was sent because his father did not know what else to do with him; he had become so dissipated and caused so much trouble at home.

On his way Joseph stopped a few days in St. Louis, after which he went immediately to England. He was appointed in my father's pastorate, he being at that time pastor over several conferences. Everything was moving on harmoniously, when another Mormon elder, named Brown, arrived from America, telling some hard stories about Joseph's conduct while in St. Louis.

Mr. Brown circulated the reports that Joseph had drank immoderately, several times had been beastly drunk, and had constantly and habitually visited most disreputable resorts; in fact, that his conduct while in that city had been marked by the most profligate excesses, and that it had also been notoriously open, very little attempt being made on his part to hide it. He seemed to fancy that his personality was sufficient protection from scandal, and that the gossips would not wag their tongues over the misconduct of a son of Brigham Young.

Joseph A. Young Preparing for Missionary Work.

These reports shocked the English Saints very much, and many of them were on the point of apostasy on account of it. My father did not doubt that there was some foundation for these stories, although he did not think the fellow could be so bad as he was represented; and he considered it his duty to take immediate steps to suppress the scandal, since it was doing very great injury to the cause of Mormonism. He accordingly represented this view of the case to Mr. Brown, who listened earnestly, and seemed quite convinced of the truth and justice of what my father had said. He took his leave, agreeing to "make it all right for Joe."

The following Sabbath, at the close of the services, my father said, "Mr. Brown will now have the opportunity to retract the scandal which he has put in circulation concerning Joseph A. Young."

Mr. Brown arose before the thousands of people assembled there, and acknowledged that he had misrepresented the character of the Prophet's "beloved" son, and, in the blandest manner possible, made it appear that Joseph was perfectly pure, upright, and moral, and entirely above reproach.

The chief object of this farce was to prevent apostasy; another was to save the Prophet's son from infamy and disgrace. My father, on his return to America, learned that Mr. Brown's reports were all true, and were not exaggerated in the least. Yet this dissipated libertine was considered sufficiently good to preach the truths of the Mormon religion to "a world lying in darkness."

E. Hunter, Presiding Bishop.

Brigham Young's sons usually distinguish themselves while on their missions, rather by their aptitude at getting into scrapes than by the number of converts which they make. Brigham Jr. -- "the probable successor," or, as he is familiarly called, "Briggy" succeeded in distinguishing himself in England. The story popularly told among the Saints is, that regarding himself, without doubt, as a "scion of royalty," and with the egotistical assumption and the assurance which characterize his father, and which he honestly inherited, he actually ventured, in spite of the law, to drive the same number of white horses before his carriage that the queen had on her carriage, and that he was arrested and fined a hundred and fifty thousand dollars for the offence. The true account of the matter is, that when driving in one of the London parks, in a state of inebriety, he committed a trespass, for which he was arrested and mulcted in the ordinary fine -- a few shillings, I believe. Brigham, however, is said to have profited by the exaggerated story, and to have made capital out of it.

The donations that year had been unusually large, for Brigham had announced his intention of "emigrating" a larger number than ever before, and, as a consequence, the "Perpetual Emigration Fund" must, be correspondingly increased.

"Brethren and sisters," he commenced one day, in his most delicate and refined style, "you must retrench your expenses. You have been travelling in a direct line towards eternal damnation for a long time; now you must turn about, and show to the Lord and His holy angels that you still desire to be numbered among His people. I intend, this year, to bring over every Saint from the Old Country, and you must take hold and help me. I want the sisters to leave off their ribbons and finery, and stop running to the stores. I want you, one and all, to stop using tea, coffee, tobacco, and whiskey, and the money you would spend for those things you must donate for the emigration of the poor in Europe. Now is the time to manifest your faith by your works."

All the Saints in the Territory were personally called upon to assist in the work, and responded generously, if not willingly. Poor women contributed their mites, and poor men gave of their hardly-won earnings, that could ill be spared, as they could barely support their families at the best. In England, also, they were made to contribute, and many a working man was compelled to donate an entire week's wages. The English Saints gave willingly, and suffered the privations caused by their generosity cheerfully, as they confidently expected to be gathered to Zion that year. But their suffering availed them nothing, and their generosity was but ill repaid. It was years before many of these patient, long-enduring Saints saw the Zion of their hopes.

As the Prophet has a most decided objection to seeing any of his followers becoming independent in worldly affairs, either because he is afraid they will be able to act without counsel or advice from him, and so get beyond his power to manage them, or because he is jealous of their pecuniary success, since he has often said that he was the only man in the Territory who knew how to make money or how to use it, he always finds some way to put a stop to their growing prosperity. His usual method of doing this is by sending them on a mission. Of course their business is at a standstill altogether as soon as the heads of it are away; and it either remains quiet ever after, or, if it is sufficiently lucrative to make it worth while, Brigham manages to get it into his own hands, and it is as completely lost to its rightful owners as though they never had possessed it.

For a number of years, two men -- named Badley and Hugh Moon -- worked a whiskey distillery in Salt Lake City, and appeared to be becoming rapidly wealthy. They were good Mormons, staunch defenders of Brigham Young, ready in every good work with open purses and generous deeds, and they were highly respected by the entire body of Saints.

What was the consternation of the church, when, during the delivery of a temperance sermon on Sunday, the President, waxing more personal, more eloquent, and consequently more abusive, "cursed, in the name of the Lord," the men that ran the distillery!

They knew very well that these men paid their tithing promptly, -- the greatest virtue a Mormon can possess, by the way, -- and that they were foremost in all charitable works, and they marvelled very much that the Prophet should deal so hardly with them. His language was so abusive that Badley, who was especially attached to the President Young, shed tears during the denunciation. He finally finished his anathemas by ordering them to take their families and go on a mission to an unsettled portion of the Territory, leaving their homes to "the church," which, of course, meant Brigham Young.

As soon as they had gone, the Prophet removed the apparatus for distilling a few miles from the city, and commenced making whiskey for the church. But, unfortunately, the church whiskey did not prove to be so good as that made by Moon and Badley, and the church distillery was short-lived.

The men who were thus heartlessly ruined and unjustly exiled never returned. Their homes were broken up, their property taken from them, and themselves and their families banished to the wilderness, to gratify the covetousness and grasping of an avaricious tyrant, who committed this outrage, as he has all others, with a "Thus saith the Lord." Brigham's missions may be considered moral "Botany Bays," where he sends those persons who in any way incur his sovereign displeasure. It is an easy way of punishing offenders; and so common has it become, that lately, whenever a man is sent away on this errand, the spontaneous question which arises to every lip is, "What has he done?" This is specially true of the younger men. In case of a certain trial which took place some years since, Brigham had given his wishes to a portion of the jury as to how the case should be decided. After retiring, those of the jury who had received instructions from the Prophet came to a decision very readily, while those who had not been "interviewed" by him could see no justice in the way they had decided, and consequently refused to agree with the others.

Brigham was exceedingly angry at this, and took them very severely to task for their disregard of his known wishes.

"Well, Brother Brigham," said one of the obstinate jurymen, "the law will sustain us."

"The law!" said the Prophet. "What do you suppose I care for the law? My word is law here. I wish you distinctly to understand that; and," he continued, "those men who decided against my view of the case shall pay the penalty."

Very soon after that, one of these men, whose only fault had been that he would not be coerced into committing what he knew would be a gross injustice, was sent on a mission to China; another was ordered to Japan, a third to the Sandwich Islands, and one quite old gentleman was appointed to Las Vegas. This man having grown gray in the service of the church, Heber C. Kimball ventured to propose that, in consideration of his age, he be allowed to remain at home, and his son sent on the mission in his stead. The father was actually too feeble to be of any service in building up a new place, and Las Vegas was considered an important point to secure; so, after much deliberation, it was decided that the son should go in his father's stead. Seventy-five families were ordered to abandon their homes, and take their departure for a new and almost unknown portion of the Territory.

They expended thousands of dollars in building, fencing, and every way beautifying and improving their new homes; and just as they were getting nicely settled, and had made their new homes habitable and comfortable, the Prophet pronounced it an utterly unsuitable place for a "Stake of Zion," and ordered them all back again; so that the years passed there, and all the expenditures, were a total loss. After the son of the aged juryman had paid the penalty of his father's sin, he returned to Salt Lake. He has ever since fearlessly expressed his opinion of the Las Vegas mission, in terms not very flattering to its originator, and Brigham has been obliged to withdraw the hand of fellowship from him, very reluctantly indeed, as he had been a faithful servant to the President's interest for several years.

As a comment on his often expressed contempt of the law of lawyers, I wish to say just here that his son Alphilus Young is at this present time a law student at the University of Michigan, sent there by his father to carry out his own ambitious plans for his son's future, and also to have a lawyer in the family, since he has been forced to have so much to do with the law in late years.

It must not be supposed that none others are sent on missions except those who are to be punished, or got out of the way for a while. Brigham Young is shrewd, and so with these he sends every year prominent members of the church. All the apostles, and most of the leading elders, have been in the mission work, both in the States and in Europe, and it is in response to their efforts that so many converts have been made.

The period of my father's stay in England was one specially marked for success in mission work. Very many of the leaders of the church were there then, and mighty efforts were made to secure converts. They worked day and night with unabated zeal, and so great was their success, the whole world marvelled at the number of converts who came yearly to Zion.

In the mean time, the families of the missionaries were getting on as best they could at home, deprived not only of their husbands' society, but of the support which they gave them when at home, — scanty enough in some cases, I assure you, and yet just as much missed as though it had been larger, since it was the all; and above all, there was the horrible shadow of polygamy hanging over them; for no wife ever knew how much her husband may have been moved to "enlarge his kingdom," and the young English girls were apt to be very much taken with the American elders, and they in turn submitted without much struggle to the fascinations of their youthful converts. Very few of the missionaries failed to bring home an English wife, or at least to induce some young girl to emigrate to Zion, with the prospect of becoming his wife on her arrival.

At first polygamy was not preached. Indeed, so very careful were the elders not to mention the subject, or else to deny polygamy altogether, that many of the girls supposed themselves to be the first and only wives of the men whom they married; and it was not until they reached Utah, and were introduced to their husbands' "other wives," that they were undeceived.


So strong was the feeling in England, that for some time after polygamy was openly practiced in Utah, the missionaries denied it, and men who had four and five wives living quoted largely from the Book of Mormon, and other church works, to prove the impossibility of the existence of such a system. At length, however, they were obliged to confess to the truth, which they did by causing the "Revelation" to be published in the ''Millennial Star,'' the church organ published at Liverpool. For a while it seemed almost as though all the labors of the missionaries would go for nothing, so many apostatized. By strenuous effort and redoubled endeavor, however, many were still held in the church. They were told that polygamy was optional; that while the leaders of the church, many of them, practiced it, "for conscience' sake," since the Lord willed it, yet many more had not entered the system, and probably never would, and that no one need enter it, unless they felt themselves especially "called by the Lord."

In England, as in America, the men became much more easily reconciled to the doctrine than the women. The latter had many bitter hours over it; and yet each one, as all their American sisters before them had done, thought her husband would not take a polygamous wife, although he might believe in the theory, and uphold those of his brethren who converted the theory into practice. They had to learn, in the intensest bitterness of suffering, what other women had learned before them —that their husbands were like the majority of men, who had temptation so persistently thrust in their way.

Even now the men who go on missions are very guarded in preaching the doctrine, and advocate it only where they are very certain that it will be received. They admit its existence, but they by no means are willing to confess to what an extent it is practiced; and to this day many of them win wives under false pretences.

It was only a few weeks since, a gentleman living in the British Provinces, on a visit to some friends in New England, spoke of a visit he had received quite recently from a lady friend from England, a relative, I think, who had become converted to Mormonism, and married one of the elders of the church, and was on her way to Utah with him. She was a very lovely person, and in talking of her new religion, concerning which she was very enthusiastic, deplored the existence of polygamy as its only drawback to a perfect faith. Yet she said her husband had told her that it was only a doctrine of the church that was rarely practiced, except by the older Saints, who had received the Revelation directly from Joseph, and had considered the adoption of the system a duty; that in time it would be entirely done away with, except in theory, and that at all events she need have no fear.

Great was the surprise of the gentleman on learning that she, who so fondly believed herself the only wife of her husband, made Number 5 or 6 of his plural wives. The poor girl had, without doubt, learned the truth long before, although her pride, no doubt, would prevent her from informing her friends how cruelly she had been duped.

The Mormon mode of managing missions troubled me very little during those early days. I missed my father, and wished President Young would let him come back; beyond that I had little thought or care. I was busy studying with my mother, and I of course was taught the elements of the religion in which she so firmly believed, and on which she so greatly depended; and, like all children of Mormon parents, I was baptized when I was eight years old.

The Mormon people do not baptize or "christen" their infant children. When they are eight days old they are "blessed," and they are baptized at eight years of age. I was baptized by Bishop Taft, my father's second wife's father; and I was exceedingly terrified. I was taken to a pond, and the bishop carried me in his arms, and plunged me into the water; and so great was the nervous shock that I could not think of it without a shudder for years after.

My mother was glad when it was over, for I was made a child of the church, and by this rite she consecrated me to God and the Mormon faith. To God I still hold loving, trustful allegiance; as for the Mormon faith, I can never be too thankful that I have so entirely freed myself from its tyrannical fetters, that held me, soul and body, in such a long and cruel bondage.  
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Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:48 am


The Beginning of the Reformation. The Payson Saints Stirred Up. What the Wicked "Saints" had been Doing Secretly. The Old Lady who stole a Radish. Confessing the sins of Others. A System of Espionage. Brigham bids them "Go Ahead!" The Story of Brother Jeddy's Mule. The Saints receive a terrible Drubbing. Great Excitement in Mormondom. How the Saints were Catechized. Indelicate Questions are put to Everybody. My Mother and Myself Confess. The Labors of the Home Missionaries. Making Restitution. Everybody is Re-baptized. "Cut off Below their Ears" The "Blood-Atonement " Preached. Murder recommended in the Tabernacle. Cutting their Neighbors' throats for Love. A "Reign of Terror" in Utah. Fearful Outrages Committed. Murdered "by the Indians''? Brigham advises the Assassination of Hatten. Murder of Almon Babbitt, Dr. Robinson, the Parrishes, and Others. Bloodshed the Order of the Day


WHILE my father was in England on mission, my mother was urged very strongly to go to Payson, a town about seventy miles south of Salt Lake City, and start a school there.

She had taught in Kirtland, and in Salt Lake City, and was considered a person of superior attainments by the Saints. Her reputation as a teacher was quite extended among them, and since her arrival in Utah she had often been solicited to resume her profession. She had always hitherto refused persistently; but now, finding her time somewhat unemployed during my father's absence, and wishing to add to the family funds, which were running somewhat low, she decided to accept the situation, which was fairly thrust upon her. Of course I accompanied her to the scene of her labors. I had never been separated from her, and neither she nor I could endure the thought of being parted.

It was, I think, in January, 1855, that a Mormon, named Joseph Hovey, came to Payson to preach. He was a man of an excitable temperament, a fanatic in religion, and he succeeded in stirring the people up to a state of the most intense religious enthusiasm. He held a series of meetings, which were very largely attended, and such was his peculiar magnetism, that he swayed and held the multitudes who thronged to hear him, notwithstanding he was a man of unprepossessing manner, little education, and no culture. He commenced by accusing the people of all sorts of misdeeds and crimes, and he denounced them in the most scathing and the rudest fashion, and they trembled under his fierce denunciations, and cowered before him as before the face of an accusing angel. He accused them of theft, of licentiousness, of blackguardism, of lying, of swindling and cheating, of hypocrisy and lukewarmness in their religion, and of every other sin, of omission or commission, of which he could think. He represented himself as the Lord's messenger, called by Him, and sent to warn the people of Southern Utah of the horrors of their situation; their souls were in imminent peril, so weighted were they with a load of guilt. "Repent, confess, and be re-baptized," was his urgent call, "and all your sins shall be forgiven you; yea, verily, for so hath the Lord promised."

The excitement grew daily, and his work of "Reformation," as he styled it, went bravely on. Meetings were held, lasting all day and late into the night. It was religious madness run riot. There seemed to be a sort of competition as to who should confess the most and the oftenest. The people of Payson had been considered as good as average communities, but this "Reformation" revealed the most astonishing amount of dishonesty and depravity among them.

I was at one of the meetings, and I remember how shocked I was as one after another arose and confessed the crimes of which they were guilty. It made a very vivid impression on my childish mind, and to this day I can recall the very expression of the faces and tones of the voices as the owners professed their criminality. Many of them confessed to stealing flour from a mill; this, indeed, seemed a common peccadillo; others had stolen lumber for various purposes; and one man said he had stolen a sheep. I remember this man very distinctly; there happened to be a bit of wool sticking to his clothes, on the shoulder, and I know I wondered if that was from the sheep he had stolen.

Some had taken potatoes, some turnips, some others parsnips, others had taken all three; one conscience-stricken old lady, who felt impelled to confess, and could think of nothing that she had done wrong, was immensely relieved when she remembered that she had taken a radish without permission; she seemed, too, to derive much consolation from the fact that "it had burned in her stomach ever since."

Taking it all in all, it was a time of the wildest confusion and the intensest ill-feeling. If there were any persons who did not come forward readily, and acknowledge their faults, some one would do it for them, telling their brothers' and sisters' sins in the public congregation.

My mother did not approve of the state of affairs, and would not countenance them any farther than she was positively compelled to do. It was dangerous to express any disapproval of the proceedings; so she was obliged to keep quiet, although she would not take active part in the excitement. The most fanatical of these blinded enthusiasts did not hesitate to threaten the lives of all who dared dissent from them, and the person who failed to confess was looked upon with suspicion. A close watch was kept upon the actions of these persons, and every word that dropped from their lips was noted. In fact, the entire church, with few exceptions, was converted into a detective force, to keep vigilant watch over those few exceptions who were found to be "cool in the faith."

While the excitement was at its height, Brigham Young was informed of Hovey's movements, and their results in Payson. The few who were not in sympathy with the excitement waited anxiously for the Prophet to speak, expecting, of course, that when he heard the state of affairs, there would he a summary stop put to all these fanatical proceedings. Many of the surrounding settlements were very much exercised over the conduct of the Payson people, thinking they were all going mad together; and they also waited curiously to see what action Brigham would take. He was at Fillmore, attending the legislature, when he was told of the excitement at Payson, and his reply was, "Let them go ahead; they won't confess to more than they are guilty of."

As may be supposed, this cavalier manner of treating the matter surprised the more thoughtful of the Saints, who had counted confidently on his interference; but their surprise increased tenfold, when, the very next winter, 1856, Brigham and his counsellors instituted a similar reform throughout the entire territory. It is said that this latter Reformation was caused by President Jedediah M. Grant losing his temper over a mule.


It seems that Brother Grant was to hold a meeting at Kaysville, and had invited several elders to accompany him. To one of these elders he lent a mule, which should bear him to the appointed place. When he arrived, the sharp eyes of Brother Grant discovered that his mule was heated and somewhat jaded; and although he made no remarks at the time, but, on the contrary, was suavity itself, yet he did not let the brother go unrebuked. After every one had spoken at the meeting, testifying to the utmost good feeling themselves, and exhorting faithfulness on the part of their hearers, Brother Grant arose for the last word. He accused the speakers who had preceded him of inconsistency and hypocrisy; charged the bishop with inefficiency, and his people with all manner of crimes, and then personally attacked the unfortunate brother for ill-treating his mule. He called upon everybody to repent, and "do their first works over again," or the judgment of God would speedily overtake them. This was the beginning of the famous Utah "Reformation," of which the local movement at Payson was the immediate forerunner. It was the same thing on a much larger scale; confessions were the order of the day, and accusation was as prevalent as confession. It was a horrible time, and one that never will be forgotten by those who were living in the midst of the excitement. An impressionable twelve-years-old girl, I remember every detail with wonderful distinctness.

This "Reformation" was more systematically conducted than Hovey's revival; a catechism was compiled by the leading spirits of the church, and printed by their order, and elders were appointed to go from house to house with a copy of it, questioning the people. This catechism contained a list of singular questions, many of which I distinctly remember. I dare only mention a few. They were after this style:

"Have you ever committed a murder?"

"Have you ever stolen anything?"

"Have you ever been drunk?"

"Do you believe in polygamy?"

Many were grossly indelicate, others laughably absurd; yet every question was obliged to be answered on pain of expulsion from the church. Men, women, and children alike were catechized; many of the little ones did not know the meaning of some of the questions which were put to them; but they were obliged to answer them; whether understandingly, or not, it made no difference.

It was customary to catechize each member of a family separately; but an exception was made in our case, and my mother and myself were examined together. There was a great part of the catechism that I did not understand, but I always answered as my mother did, feeling sure that what she said must of a necessity be right. When the questioning was over, I was exhorted by the visiting elder to obey my parents, and to marry into polygamy when a little older.

The elders that acted as "Home Missionaries," whose duty it was to catechize the people, were astonished at the grossness of some of the immoralities which were brought to light. The private history and secret acts of all were unfolded. People were accused of sins which they never had committed, and yet they were afraid to deny them. Some of the elders were shocked beyond measure at the sickening details revealed, and begged that a stop be put to this mania for confession; but the poor fanatics were urged forward by their leaders, and they firmly believed that in the fullest and freest confession lay their only hope of salvation. They were goaded to the very verge of frenzy. Every person throughout the Territory was commanded to be rebaptized, even if their sins had not been very grave. It was commanded, too, that every person who had committed a theft should make good what he had taken; and I recollect a man returning some property to my father which he had taken from the family while my father was in England: some others confessed to having stolen the fence from the farm; so, it seems, we had suffered from the dishonesty of our before presumedly honest neighbors. Throughout the whole church there was a general time of accusation, confession, restitution, and re-baptism.

There were many of the Mormon people who did not approve of all this unhealthy excitement, and who foresaw exactly what results would follow, yet not one of them dared venture a protest. It would have been at the risk of their lives, as it was publicly advised, not only by Hovey in Payson, but by men in much more prominent places, to punish such persons as ventured a disapproval by "cutting them off from the church, below their ears."

It was during this excitement that the terrible doctrine of the Blood-Atonement was first preached. So high did the feeling run that people who were guilty of certain crimes were counselled to shed their blood to save their souls. Said the arch-fanatic Jedediah M. Grant, in the Tabernacle, speaking of those who had apostatized or were in danger of apostasy,

"What ought this meek people, who keep the commandments of the Lord, to do unto them? 'Why,' says some one, 'they ought to pray to the Lord to kill them.' I want to know if you would wish the Lord to come down and do all your dirty work? Many of the Latter-Day Saints will pray, and petition, and supplicate the Lord to do a thousand things they themselves would be ashamed to do. When a man prays for a thing, he ought to be willing to perform it himself."

In the same sermon he said,

"What! do you believe that people would do right and keep the law of God by actually putting to death the transgressors? Putting to death the transgressors would exhibit the law of God, no matter by whom it was done. That is my opinion."

Following the expression of his belief, he uttered the following fervent wish:

"I wish we were in a situation favorable to our doing that which is justifiable before God, without any contaminating influence of Gentile amalgamation, laws, and traditions, that the people of God might lay the axe to the root of the tree, and that every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit might be hewn down."

He was so in earnest that he would have the atonement by blood commence at once. Listen to his disinterested counsel: --

"I say there are men and women here that I would advise to go to the President immediately, and ask him to appoint a committee to attend to their case; and then let a place be selected, and let that committee shed their blood."

On another occasion he said, speaking in his wild, fanatical manner,

"We have been trying long enough with this people; and I go in for letting the sword of the Almighty to be unsheathed, not only in word, but in deed."

Brigham Young, not to be behind his counsellor, assured the Saints that this doctrine of throat-cutting and blood-shedding was pleasing to the Lord, and that it was a glorious and soul-saving belief. He says,

"There are sins that can be atoned for by an offering on the altar, as in ancient days; and there are sins that the blood of a lamb or calf, or of turtle-doves, cannot remit, but they must be atoned for by the blood of the man."

Another choice bit from one of his Tabernacle discourses is as follows:

"The time is coming when justice will be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet: when we shall take the old broadsword, and ask, 'Are you for God?' and if you are not heartily on the Lord's side, you will be hewn down."

In a sermon preached from the text, the sweetest and tenderest of all the commandments given by Christ, "Love thy neighbor as thyself," Brigham Young put this peculiarly Christ-like construction on the words:

"When will we love our neighbor as ourselves? Any of you who understand the principles of eternity, if you have sinned a sin requiring the shedding of blood, except the sin unto death, should not be satisfied or rest until your blood should be spilled, that you might gain that salvation you desire. That is the way to love mankind. Now, brethren and sisters, will you live your religion? How many hundreds of times have I asked that question? Will the Latter- Day Saints live their religion?"

He also asked in the same sermon,

"Will you love your brothers and sisters when they have a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or that woman well enough to shed their blood? That is what Jesus meant.

"The time will come when the law of God will be in full force. This is loving our neighbor as ourself: if he needs help, help him; if he wants salvation, and it is necessary to spill his blood upon the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it."

It is no wonder that such language as this, poured into the ears of the already half-crazed Saints, should incite them to deeds of violence. For a while bloodshed and murder were the order of the day. If any person or family were supposed to be lacking in the faith, and failing to exhibit the usual blind submission to the teachings of the priesthood, that person or family was sure to be visited by some disaster — whipped, mobbed, or murdered, and their property destroyed or confiscated to the use of the church. Some instances came under my own observation, and I tell the incidents from actual knowledge, and not from mere hearsay.

A merchant of Salt Lake City, an Englishman, named Jarvis, was suspected of being cool in the faith, and to have little or no sympathy with the fanatical proceedings which attended the Reformation and formed its chief feature. His store was entered one evening by Saints in disguise, he was pulled over the counter by the hair of his head, dragged into the street and thrown into the snow, his store plundered, all the money taken away, his house set on fire, and his two wives barely given time to escape with their children. As an excuse for all this he was accused of having "spoken against the authorities, and had entertained Gentiles at supper."

One of the wives of Mr. Jarvis wrote quite a thrilling account to some of her English friends respecting their treatment; and as her story is so simply and yet plainly told, I shall insert it here, as being the best description I can give of it and similar scenes. It is dated from "Weston, Missouri," the August following the year of the Reformation.

"After Mr. Grimshaw left Salt Lake, Mr. Jarvis made known to Brigham Young his intention to leave the Territory and return to the States, with his reasons for so doing; but his letter was never answered. Brigham made some allusion to it in public, which seemed to convey the idea that he approved of the course Mr. Jarvis had taken, rather than try to leave clandestinely. From that time we began to dispose of our property, and draw everything into as small a compass as possible. As the winter drew on, various reports were circulated; such as, that we intended to dispose of our large house to the soldiers, and were buying grain to store it for them. This is a 'capital' offence in the Salt Lake Valley, for the Mormons protest that no soldier shall sleep in Salt Lake City one night. It was also said that Mr. Jarvis had sworn to take the life of President Young; that he was boarding States officers at his house; and many more such stories, as strange and unlikely as they were untrue; for when Mr. Jarvis wrote to President Young, he made the offer of all or any part of his property to him first, if he chose to purchase it, and told him that he would rather sell it to the church than to anyone else. Time passed on, and we heard some whispers that something dreadful was going to happen to us; but we thought little about it, and felt perfectly safe, until the 13th of January, 1857, when, at half past six in the evening, a man knocked at the front door, which was locked, and asked for some trifling article out of the shop. While Mr. Jarvis was attending to him, two men walked in and hastily stepped up to him. One of them caught him by the hair and by the collar, and pulled him across the counter, saying, 'You are my prisoner.' Mr. Jarvis said, 'For what? If you have any charge against me, I will go where you wish.' To this no answer was returned but oaths and curses. They dragged him on the ground some distance, and then brought him back into the doorway, all the time trying to strangle him, and threatening to shoot him if he made any noise. One of them made a desperate kick at him but missed his aim.

Dealing with a Weak Brother.  

"In the mean time Betsey and I were undressing the children; and hearing sounds of heavy footsteps and muttering undertones of strange voices and persons struggling in the passage, we looked at each other, and rushed to the door, each with a child in our arms. I succeeded in pulling open the room door in the passage, but I had no sooner done so than a man who was holding the door knocked me back into the room, flat upon the floor, with the baby in my arms, and, shutting the door again, held it fast. Instantly I laid the baby on the carpet, and, with all my strength, forced open the door, and found myself surrounded by a number of ruffians, -- I believe five or six, -- who were all in the dark, for they had extinguished the candle, and I calling aloud for Mr. Jarvis several minutes. In the end he, gasping for breath, answered me.

"When I found where he was, I made a desperate rush at the man who was holding him, and the fellow, lifting up his hand, let go his hold of him, and he darted out of the open door like lightning, across the street, and round the corner to a neighbor's house to obtain assistance. He got to the door almost exhausted, and begged for help; but no one dared come until the master of the house, who was absent, returned. They fetched him, and when he heard the particulars of the attack made upon us, he said, 'Sir, you must leave my house instantly. I have no sympathy for you. I would not protect my own father under the same circumstances.' Mr. Jarvis said, 'What have I done?' The man replied, 'You have done plenty; you covenanted to serve the Lord, and you are serving the devil, and I should not be surprised to see you with your throat cut.'

"After Mr. Jarvis had made his escape from the fiends, I turned to enter the house again, firmly believing that some of them were in pursuit of him, and begged to know of the men on the spot what they wanted. On stepping forward to enter the door, I found it guarded by a man on each side, who pushed me backward into the snow. I rose and again attempted to enter the house, but was prevented in like manner, when I saw Mrs. M. coming out with the babies in their night-gowns, one under each arm, to carry them to a place of safety. When I found I could not, after several such attempts, force an entrance, I ran round to the back door and got in, but no sooner was I in than out again. I was tossed by the same ruthless hands as before. Many a time I was knocked down in the way I have described; and one of my front teeth was loosened, and my limbs most mercilessly bruised.

Brutal Assault upon Mrs. Jarvis.

"Finding I could not enter to ascertain the state of affairs in the house, I determined to let the neighborhood know, and for many minutes stood shouting for help, until I was exhausted. I could hear that the windows were all being broken, and the furniture destroyed; when I was appalled by hearing Mrs. M. shriek out, 'O, Mrs. Jarvis, the house is on fire!' I instantly ran in desperation, and got in at the back part of the shop, and O, my dear sister, what a scene! Flames and smoke up to the ceiling; the goods in the store, or shop, burning; and two men, almost suffocated, still intent upon the work of destruction carrying lighted paper, and setting fire to everything that would burn!

"The thoughts of my three boys sleeping up stairs; my husband, I knew not where, perhaps murdered, and seeing no hope of saving the house for three rooms were then burning; the thought that to-morrow I and my children would have no home, no shelter, and be penniless, with the snow two feet deep, and not a friend that dare open the door to us, they dare not do it, however much disposed they might be; for they were threatened with the same, and were told that if they heard the cry of fire they were to take no notice; all these things rushing into my mind at once, I grew desperate, and forced my way in at the front door, and implored the ruffians to let me fetch my children down stairs. They muttered, 'There's none of them there.' I said, 'Yes, they are asleep in bed.' Then he said, 'Go.' On passing up stairs, I saw on one side the shop in flames, and the room, the furniture, and windows broken, and our clothes scattered about, on fire. I shrieked out, when a man caught me by the throat, and I had to gasp for breath. I saved my children in their night-dresses, and the oldest had to run out with the snow up to his hips.

"When we found that the villains were gone, we put out the fire, throwing water upon it; and on one shelf was a large canister of gunpowder, within six inches of the flame, of which I did not know. I saved the house from being blown up, but I got my hands severely burned. Four large windows were broken out, one dozen chairs and a table destroyed; a stove and three tables broken; carpets, clothes, and goods burned in the store; and many silver watches and other substantial things stolen, making the damage sustained amount to nearly eight hundred dollars. Every day after was a living death, a dying daily. We were never safe for an hour. When we appealed to the authorities, they advised us to be quiet about it, and 'let it slide.' And so we did; for we could obtain no redress.

"The outrage upon us was never mentioned in the newspaper. We had to pocket the insult, and bear the loss; and now we are thankful we are out of it. We exchanged our property for land in the States, hired conveyances, and left on the 22d of April. We are now at Weston, eight miles from Leavenworth, where we arrived without any interruption; but we suffered greatly from the heat. We shall remain here till Mr. Jarvis makes arrangements for our future abode."

My father knew these people well in England; they were from Leeds, where they were highly respected. I have met them quite recently in Burlington, Iowa, where they are living in very comfortable circumstances. They have outgrown all tendencies towards Mormonism, and are now among its bitterest opponents.

This outrage is somewhat remarkable, because it was unattended by bloodshed, a most extraordinary circumstance, when so many were killed outright who had sinned as Mr. Jarvis had. Innocent people suffered, and at that time, no Gentile was safe in the Mormon territory.

A cousin of mine, whose parents lived in Utah, married a man named Hatten, in Illinois. When her mother emigrated with the Saints, she, of course, remained behind with her husband, to her mother's great distress. After a few years, Mr. Hatten decided to remove to California, and he came by the way of Utah, so as to give his wife an opportunity of visiting her relatives, whom she had not seen since the exodus from Nauvoo.

At that time it was considered a dishonor to have a friend married to a Gentile -- she was regarded as lost. And for a girl to be taken to California was a still deeper disgrace.

My aunt and her husband were devout Mormons, and they grieved over their daughter as over one dead. My aunt prayed and wept for her and over her; and my uncle—the girl's father— even grew desperate in his despair. He consulted Brigham as to the best course which he should pursue, and the Prophet's ready reply was, "Put Hatten out of the way. It is a sin and a shame to have so good a woman dragged around the world by a Gentile."

That was sufficient. In a few days came the startling news that Hatten had been "killed by the Indians." He had gone to Fillmore on a visit, from which he was destined never to return. The young wife was almost heart-broken at the sudden loss of her husband, but she did not dream what was his real fate until long afterwards. She supposed he had fallen a victim to Indian cruelty, as the reports told her; but when, after many years, she learned the bitter truth, she fairly hated the religion that had made a martyr of her husband, and brought sorrow and affliction to her. She could not get away from it, however; there was no place to which she could go; she had no friends elsewhere; all the years that had intervened between her husband's death and her knowledge of his real fate had been passed in Utah, and she had severed herself in that time most effectually from her former friends. There was nothing to do but to endure; and that she did, as patiently as possible. A few years after her husband's death, she married again, but not happily. However, she was speedily released from this unhappy bondage. Heber C. Kimball had seen and fancied her, and he went to Brigham with the story of her unhappiness, and added, as he finished his recital, "She ought never to have married that man. I designed her for myself."

"It is not too late," replied his friend, the Prophet; "you can have her yet." And he made good his word by divorcing her from her uncongenial husband, and bestowing her on Heber. She was too indifferent to care what became of her, and she became a Mrs. Kimball without a protest. She and her two children are living in Utah now.

Another victim to the Blood-Atonement was a young man named Jesse Earl, a musician of rare talent and great promise. He was a very intimate friend of the Prophet's oldest son, Joseph, and had lived a great deal in the Prophet's family. The reason of his death has never been given; it was only said that his sins were past forgiveness, except his blood should atone for them.

Apostates were even more hardly dealt with than the Gentiles. One of the old Mormons, named Almon Babbitt, was "killed by the Indians," on his way to the States. Mr. Babbitt was among the first seventy apostles appointed by Joseph Smith; he had been among those who went up to Missouri, to "Zion's Camp," and was an eloquent preacher and advocate of Mormon doctrines. After Brigham came into power, Babbitt became quite disaffected towards the authorities, and left Utah to return to the States, when he was overtaken by his doom.

Once in a while some person would become so conscience-stricken for some sin he had committed, that he would voluntarily seek to make the "Atonement;" but those were rare cases. I remember hearing of one at the time of its occurrence. A Mormon named John Evan had shot a man in Council Bluffs. He came at once to Salt Lake, visited Brigham, and begged to atone for his crime in the usual way.

Not long after that, he was on his way home one night, when suddenly the report of a pistol was heard; Mr. Evan was found dead, and although it was currently reported that he had committed suicide, it was well known by the better informed that "he had only paid the debt," and given his life for another that he had taken by violence.

The Potter and Parrish murders at Springville, and the assassination of Dr. Robinson at Salt Lake, are notorious. The Parrish brothers were murdered for apostasy, Dr. Robinson because he was a Gentile whose influence was extending in the Territory, so popular was he, and consequently the authorities considered him dangerous.

More vividly stamped upon my memory than any other of the horrible occurrences, is the murder of a woman named Jones, and her son, in Payson. They were suspected of falling away in the faith, and other grave charges were brought against them, for which it was deemed necessary that they should die. One night there was a great commotion in the streets of the town; pistol-shots were heard; there was a sound of hurrying feet, a murmur of voices, and a subdued excitement, lasting all night. No one dared to venture out to learn the cause, lest their curiosity should be summarily punished. In those days it was dangerous to seek to know more than the priesthood chose to tell. In fact, everything but a blind following of fanatical doctrines was dangerous. Free thought was suicidal. The morning following the night of which I have spoken put an end to the suspense. It was proclaimed everywhere that the Joneses had been killed, and their dead bodies, shockingly mutilated, were placed in a wagon, and exposed to the crowd by being driven through the streets, attended by a jeering, taunting mob, who could not cease their insults though their victims were still in death. I did not see the bodies, nor did my mother, although they were driven past our door; we both shunned the fearful sight. But there were plenty of women who did look at them, and who gloried in their death as a deed of service to the Lord. Mrs. Jones was mixing bread at the time she was shot, and the dough still remained clinging to her hands after her death.


This was the way that "the Lord" was "worshipped" in Utah in 1856 and 1857. I have heard men say, "If I apostatize, I hope some of my brethren will love me well enough to slay me." The Saints are by no means a bloodthirsty people, but these are some of the results of the teachings during the Reformation.

It may be a matter of wonder to many how honest-hearted people could remain in a church that taught and practiced so many and such fearful evils. Concerning the murders, the majority of the people knew nothing, and supposed that the Indians were the assassins, as they were always told so. Yet some were sufficiently fanatical to believe that, if Brigham was the instigator, it was quite right. "The ancient order of things was being restored."

I have heard many Mormons declare that they hoped, some time, light would be thrown on these dark deeds, and the murderers made to pay the penalty of their crimes. But those who suspected that the authorities of the church were implicated felt that their only safeguard was silence. Those living in Utah during the Reformation, and seeing it in all its horrors, as I did, know very well the spirit of the teachings in the Tabernacle; and although many may be slow to impute the commission of crime to Brigham Young, they cannot but admit that his teachings all tended to make crime prevalent. And if they do not acknowledge his direct agency, they must see that his influence all went in the direction of the atonement of sin by blood. As far as I am concerned, I do not hesitate to say that I believe all these murders lie at his door, and that he will have to be personally responsible for them. His hands are red with innocent blood, his garments dyed with it, and no "Atonement" can ever wash out the damning spots.
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Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Sun Jun 17, 2018 1:36 am


Early Emigration to Utah. The Prophet Meditates Economy. The "Divine Plan" Invented. How it was Revealed to the Saints. They Prepare to "Gather to Zion." How the Hand-Carts were Built. The Sufferings of the Emigrants. On Board Ship. An Apostolic Quarrel. Base Conduct of the Apostle Taylor. The Saints arrive in Iowa City. How the Summer-time was Wasted. Beginning a Terrible Journey. Suffering by the Way. "Going Cheap." They reach Council Bluffs. Levi Savage Behaves Bravely. Lying Prophecy of the Apostle Richards. How the Emigrants were Deceived. Brigham Young sends Help to Them. Two Apostles are Denounced. The Prophet in a Fix. He lays His own Sins on the Backs of Others. Preparing to Receive the Emigrants.


IN the history of any people there has never been recorded a case of such gross mismanagement as that of gathering the foreign Saints to Zion in the year 1856.

Until this disastrous year the emigrants had always made the journey across the plains with ox- teams, under the charge of some of the returning elders, who were triumphantly bringing the fruits of their labors in foreign vineyards to garner them in Zion. The able-bodied walked, and those who were too young, too old, or too feeble to perform the journey on foot, went in the wagons with the baggage. It was in the same way that the Saints themselves made their first journey across the plains, and in the proper season of the year was a safe and a pleasant journey. Tedious and wearisome, to be sure, but in no way perilous, as plenty of provisions, bedding, and clothing could be carried, not only for the journey, but sufficient to last some time after the arrival.

The cost of emigration in this way was from £10 to £12, English money, or nominally $50 to $60 in gold -- not very expensive, surely, for a journey from Liverpool to Salt Lake City; but to Brigham, in one of his fits of economy, it seemed altogether too costly, and he set to work to devise some means for retrenchment. During the entire winter of 1855-56, he and his chief supporters were in almost constant consultation on the subject of reducing the expenses of emigration, and they finally hit upon the expedient of having them cross the plains with hand-carts, wheeling their own provisions and baggage, and so saving the expense of teams. The more Brigham thought of his plan, the more in love he grew with it, and he sent detailed instructions concerning it to the Apostle Franklin D. Richards, the Mormon agent at Liverpool, who published it in the "Millennial Star," as the new "divine plan" revealed to Brother Brigham by the Lord, whose will it was that the journey should be made in this manner.

My father was in England when the "command of the Lord concerning them" was given to the gathering Saints, and their enthusiastic devotion and instant acceptance of the revelation showed how entirely they entrusted themselves to the leadership of their superiors in the church, implicitly believing them to be inspired of God. They were told by Richards, in the magazine, and by their missionaries in their addresses, that they should meet many difficulties, that trials would be strewn along their path, and occasional dangers meet them, but that the Lord's chosen people were to be a tried people, and that they should come out unscathed, and enter Zion with great triumph and rejoicing, coming out from the world as by great tribulation; that the Lord would hold them in special charge, and they need not fear terror by night nor pestilence that walketh at noonday, for they should not so much as hurt a foot against a stone.

Apostle Franklin D. Richards, Husband of Ten Wives.

It was represented to them that they were specially privileged and honored in thus being called by the Lord to be the means of showing His power and revealing glory to a world lying in darkness and overwhelmed with guilt, deserted by God and given over to destruction. Considering the class of people from whom most of the converts were made, it is not at all strange that all this talk should impress their imaginations and arouse their enthusiasm. Emotion, instead of reason, guided them almost entirely, and they grew almost ecstatic over the new way in which they were called to Zion.

The United States government was beginning to trouble itself a little about Utah; and in order to make the church as strong as possible, in case of an invasion, Brigham was anxious to increase the number of emigrants, and requested Apostle Richards to send as many as he possibly could. To do this, the elders counselled all the emigrants, who had more money than they needed, to deposit it with the Apostle Richards for the purpose of assisting the poor to Zion. The call was instantly and gladly obeyed, and the number of Saints bound Zion-ward was thereby nearly doubled. In the face of the disaster which attended it, it has been the boast of some of the missionaries and elders that this was the largest number that ever was sent over at one time. So much greater, then, is the weight of responsibility which rests upon the souls of those who originated and carried out this selfish design, made more selfish, more cruel, and more terribly culpable for the hypocrisy and deceit which attended it from its conception to its disastrous close.

Great, however, as was the number of emigrants who that year crossed the plains to Utah, as many, if not more, have, during various seasons since then, traversed the same route; although, of course, for obvious reasons, it is difficult to give approximate statistics. During the summer of 1862 -- the same year in which Eliza Snow and Geo. A. Smith, the fattest of all fat apostles, together with a select company of Saints, wandered off to the Holy Land in order to bring it within the dominions of Brigham -- it was said that more Mormons were landed at Castle Gardens than during any other previous year. I cannot say whether this is true; but it is a fact that only a few weeks ago seven or eight hundred were landed in New York, and every few weeks, all through the summer, other ship-loads will arrive.

On the 14th of March, 1856, my father, who was at Sheffield, England, engaged in missionary work, received a telegram from Richards, telling him to come at once to Liverpool for the purpose of taking passage for America in the mail-packet Canada, which was to sail for Boston on the 15th. He had no time to say good-bye to his friends, but made his preparations hurriedly, and left Sheffield as soon as possible. On arriving at Liverpool and consulting with Richards, he learned that he had been sent for to assist in the proposed hand-cart expedition, and that his part of the work was to be performed in the United States. He, being a practical wagon-maker, was to oversee the building of the carts. In twenty-four hours after the receipt of the telegram -- his first intimation that he was to be called home -- he was on his way. The passage was unusually rough, and he was glad enough to see the shores of America after tossing about on the ocean for fifteen days. He landed in Boston the 30th of March, and went immediately to Iowa City, the gathering-place of the Saints prior to their departure for Utah, arriving there the 10th of April.

He expected, of course, to go to work at once, and was very impatient to do so, as it was very nearly the season when the emigrants should start to cross the plains, and the first vessel filled with them was already due in New York. He knew that it would be a waste both of time and money to keep them in Iowa City any longer than was absolutely necessary; besides which, after a certain date, every day would increase the perils of crossing the plains. But when he arrived, Daniel Spencer, the principal agent, was east on a visit, and did not make his appearance until an entire month had expired; and there was all that valuable time wasted in order that one man might indulge in a little pleasure. What were a thousand or more human lives in comparison to his enjoyment? Less than nothing, it would seem, in his estimation.

Not only were there no materials provided to work with, but no provision had been made for sheltering the poor Saints, who had already commenced to arrive by ship-loads. Their condition was pitiable in the extreme; they had met nothing but privation from the time they left England. The trials that had been promised them they had already encountered, but so great was their faith, that they bore it all without a word of complaint, and some even rejoicing that it was their lot to suffer for the cause of their religion; they were sure they should all be brought to Zion in safety, for had not God promised that through the mouth of His holy Prophet? Their faith was sublime in its exaltation; and in contrast to it, the cold-blooded, scheming, blasphemous policy of Young and his followers shows out false, and blacker than ever. To have deceived a credulous people by wanton misrepresentation is wicked enough, but to do it "in the name of the Lord" is a sin that can never be atoned for to God or man. It is the height of blasphemy, and I fairly shudder as I endeavor to comprehend, in some slight degree, the magnitude of such an offence.


They had been crowded and huddled together on ship- board more like animals than like human beings ; their food had been insufficient and of bad quality ; the sleeping accommodations were limited, and there was not the proper amount of bedding for those who were compelled to sleep in the more exposed places. Some of the persons who saw the emigrants, say that it was like nothing so much as an African slave-ship, filled with its unlawful and ill-gotten freight. The air in the steerage, where most of the emigrants were, was noxious, and yet these people were compelled to breathe it through all the days of the voyage. Many were too ill to leave their beds, and a change of clothing was out of the question. The entire floor was covered with mattresses, and it was impossible to walk about without stepping over some one. Men, women, and children were huddled in together in the most shameless fashion.

Affairs were not much bettered when they arrived at New York; the Apostle John Taylor, whose duty it was to provide for them there, was too deeply engaged in a quarrel with Apostle Franklin D. Richards, as to which of the two was higher in authority, to attend to these poor creatures, who were thrown on his protection, penniless and helpless, in a strange country. But everyone must understand that his personal dignity must be attended to and his position maintained, if all the poor Saints that were emigrated, or dreamed of emigrating, should die of starvation and exposure. I think the great body of Saints must have learned before this time that it is by no means safe to trust to the tender mercies of a Mormon Apostle. When, after a while, the Apostle Taylor's imperative personal business allowed him a moment in which to think of the unhappy emigrants, he started them for Iowa City, where they arrived only to experience a repetition of their New York sufferings, and see another illustration of apostolic neglect. Nothing had been prepared for them either in the way of shanties or tents, and they were compelled to camp in the open air, their only roof a sky that was not always blue. While in camp, there were several very severe rain-storms, from which, as they had no shelter, there was no escape; they got completely drenched, and this caused a great deal of severe illness among them. They were unprotected alike from burning sun and pitiless, chilling rain, and it is no wonder that fevers and dysentery prevailed, and that hundreds of longing eyes closed in death before they beheld the Zion of their hopes.

It would have been strange if the faith of some had not wavered then; yet none dared complain. There was nothing to do but to go on to the end. They were thousands of miles from home, with no means of returning, and they were taught, too, that it would be a curse upon them to turn their backs on Zion. So there they remained through the long summer days, waiting helplessly until they should be ordered to move onward.

At length my father saw his way clear to commence his work, and he went to work with a will, pressing everyone who could be of actual assistance into his service. But here the trouble commenced again. He was instructed to make the wagons on as economical a plan as possible, and every step that he took he found himself hedged about by impossibilities. The agents all talked economy, and when one did not raise an objection to a proposal, another did, and difficulties were placed in his way constantly.

They did not wish to furnish iron for the tires, as it was too expensive; raw hide, they were sure, would do just as well. My father argued this point with them until at last the agents decided to give up raw hides, and they furnished him with hoop iron. He was annoyed and angry, all the while he was making the carts, at the extreme parsimony displayed. A thorough workman himself, he wanted good materials to work with; but every time he asked for anything, no matter how absolutely necessary it was to make the work sufficiently durable to stand the strain of so long a journey, the reply invariably was, "O, Brother Webb, the carts must be made cheap. We can't afford this expenditure; you are too extravagant in your outlay;" forgetting, in their zeal to follow their Prophet's instructions, what the consequences would be to the poor Saints, if delayed on their way to the Valley, by having to stop to repair their carts.

As soon as was possible they started companies on the way. My father strongly objected to any of them starting after the last of June; but he was overruled, and the last company left Iowa City the middle of August, for a journey across arid plains and over snow-clad mountains, which it took twelve weeks of the quickest travelling at that time to accomplish; and in the manner in which these emigrants were going it would take much longer. He also opposed their being started with such a scanty allowance of provisions. He insisted they should have at least double the amount; but in this attempt, also, he was unsuccessful, and one of the survivors of the expedition afterwards said that the rations which were given out to each person for a day could easily be eaten at breakfast. They consisted of ten ounces of flour for each adult, and half that amount for each child under eight years of age. At rare intervals, a little rice, coffee, sugar, and bacon were doled out to the hungry travellers, but this was not often done. Many of the people begged of the farmers in Iowa, so famished were they, and so inadequate was their food which was supplied them by the agents. They were limited, too, in the matter of baggage, and again my father tried to use his influence, but all to no purpose; so much might go, but not a pound more.

Almost discouraged, and altogether disgusted with the meanness and heartless carelessness which were exhibited throughout the whole affair, as far, at least, as he had experience with it, he yet made one more attempt to aid the unfortunate travellers, whose trials, great as they had been, had really not fairly begun. His last proposition was, that more teams should be provided, so that the feeble, who were not likely to endure the fatigues of the long march, should have an opportunity of riding; but he was met again with the inevitable reply, "Can't do it, Brother Webb. We tell you we can't afford it; they must go cheap." It was dear enough in the end, if human lives count for anything.

My father never speaks of those days of preparation in Iowa City that he does not grow indignant. It might have been averted had not Brigham Young been so parsimonious, and his followers so eager to curry favor with him, by carrying out his instructions more implicitly than there was any need of doing. They were only quarrelled and found fault with, and reprimanded publicly in the Tabernacle for their faithfulness to him, when it became necessary to shield himself from odium in the matter. Nothing more would have happened if they had obeyed the instincts of humanity, and deferred a little to their consciences, and they certainly would have been better off, as they would at least have retained their own self-respect, and the regard of their unfortunate charges, which, it is needless to say, they lost most completely.

When some of the last companies reached Council Bluffs, -- better known to most Mormons as "Winter-Quarters," -- there was considerable controversy whether it was best to try and go any farther before spring. Most of the emigrants knew nothing of the climate and the perils of the undertaking, and were eager to press on to Zion. Four men only in the company had crossed the plains; those were captains of the trains -- Willie, Atwood, Savage, and Woodward; but there were several elders at this place superintending emigration. Of these, Levi Savage was the only one to remonstrate against attempting to reach Salt Lake Valley so late in the season. He declared that it would be utterly impossible to cross the mountains without great suffering, and even death.

His remonstrances availed about as much my father's had done in regard to their starting. He was defeated and reprimanded very sharply for his want of faith. He replied that there were cases where "common sense" was the best guide, and he considered this to be one. "However," said he, "seeing you are to go forward, I will go with you, will help you all I can, will work with you, suffer with you, and, if necessary, die with you."

Very soon after the departure of the last company of the emigrants from Iowa City, my father, with the other elders, started for the Valley in mule-teams, intending to return, if they found it necessary, to bring succor to the poor wandering people. In the company with my father were Apostle Franklin D. Richards, and Elders W. H. Kimball, G. D. Grant, Joseph A. Young, Brigham's oldest son, and several others, all of whom were returning to Utah from foreign missions, and all of whom had been engaged in the expedition.

They overtook the emigrants at their camp on the North Fork of the Platte River, and camped with them over night. Richards was told of the opposition which Savage had made, and he openly rebuked him in the morning. He then informed the Saints that "though it might storm on the right hand and on the left, yet the storms should not reach them. The Lord would keep the way open before them, and they should reach Zion in safety." It may be that he believed all this nonsense himself. It is to be hoped, for charity's sake, that he did. If that were the case, however, it is a pity that he had not been endowed with a little of Levi Savage's common sense. It would have been much better for the Saints than all his vaunted "spirit of prophecy."


It is a significant fact, that in the very face of his prophecy, delivered to the victims of his zeal in the cause of Brigham Young, he was anxious to hasten his arrival in Salt Lake in order to send assistance back to the patient Hand-Cart emigrants, who, he must have seen, would soon be in sore straits for food and clothing. The rations were scanty, and would soon have to be lessened; the nights were chilly, and fast growing cold; and already the seventeen pounds of bedding and clothing allowed to each one were scarcely sufficient protection; and as the season advanced, and they approached the mountains, it would be totally inadequate. It was fortunate that they did not know the climate of the country, and the terrible hardships to which they were to be exposed, else their hearts would have failed them, and they would have had no courage to have recommenced the journey. My father realized it, and so did most of the party with him; yet they had no idea how horrible it was to be, else they would have insisted upon their remaining in camp until spring. Even the usually indifferent heart of Joseph A. was touched, and he hurried on to impress upon his father the urgent need for immediate assistance for those poor, forlorn creatures whom he left preparing to cross the mountains, where they would of a surety meet the late autumn and early winter storms, and where so many of them must of a certainty perish of exposure and hunger. He had no faith in the apostolic prophecy, which seemed a mockery to all those who knew the hardships of the journey which lay before these faithful souls before they could reach the Zion of their hopes.

My father had been four years absent from us, yet such was his concern for the poor people whom he so recently left, and who had been his care for so long, that he could only stay to give us the most hurried greetings. His gladness at his return, and our responsive joy, were marred by the thought of the sufferings and privations of those earnest, simple-hearted Saints, who had literally left all to follow the beck of one whom they supposed to be the Prophet of the Lord. After all these years of absence, he only staid two days with us, — as short a time as it could possibly take to get the relief-train ready with the supplies.

I think Brigham Young's heart and conscience must have been touched, for he really seemed for a while to forget himself in the earnestness with which he pushed forward the preparations for relief. He fairly arose to the occasion, and held back nothing which could contribute to the comfort and welfare of his poor, forlorn followers. Yet he was only acting as both justice and decency commanded that he should act. He was the cause of all this terrible suffering, and he felt that he should be made answerable. Such a transaction as this could by no means remain unknown. It would be spread over America and Europe, and used as a strong weapon against Mormonism and its leader, already unpopular enough. He realized the mistake he had made when too late to rectify it, and, with his usual moral cowardice, he set about hunting for somebody on whose shoulders to shift the blame from his own. Richards and Spencer were the unfortunate victims, and he turned his wrath against them, in private conversation and in public assemblies, until they were nearly crushed by the weight of opprobrium which he heaped upon them. He was nearly beside himself with fear of the consequences which would follow, when this crowning act of selfish cupidity and egotistical vanity and presumption should be known. Love of approbation is a striking characteristic of this Latter-Day Prophet, and he puffs and swells with self-importance at every word he receives, even of the baldest, most insincere flattery, and he cringes and crouches in as servile a manner as a whipped cur, when any adverse criticism is passed upon either his personnel or his actions. A moral as well as a physical coward, he dares not face a just opinion of himself and his deeds, and he sneaks, and skulks, and hides behind any one he can find who is broad enough to shield him.  

My father's disgust at a religion which submitted to such chicanery, and his distrust of Brigham Young, were so great, that he was very near apostatizing; but my mother again held him to the church. She argued and explained; she wept and she entreated, until he said no more about it. But though, for her sake, he took no steps towards leaving the church and renouncing the faith, he felt daily his disgust and distrust increasing, and he never again believed so strongly in the Mormon religion, and ever after regarded Brigham with much less awe and respect than formerly.
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Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Sun Jun 17, 2018 1:42 am


Arrival of the First Train. Fearful Sufferings of the Emigrants. Women and Girls toiling at the Carts. The Prophet's "Experiment." Burying the Dead. Greater Mortality among the Men. Arrival of Assistance. Hand-Cart Songs. Scenes in the Camp of the Emigrants. How every Prophecy of the Elders was Falsified. How the Tennant Family were Shamelessly Robbed. One of the Vilest Swindles of the Prophet. Mr. Tennant's Unhappy Death. His Wife Views the "Splendid Property" Bought from Brigham. Brigham Cheats her out of her Last Dollar. She is reduced to Abject Poverty. The Apostle Taylor Hastens to Zion. Richards and Spencer are made Scape-goats. Brigham evades all Responsibility. Utter Failure of the "Divine Plan."


THE first Hand-Cart Companies, which had left Iowa City early in the season, arrived in the Salt Lake Valley the last of September. They were very much fatigued, and were greatly rejoiced when their journey was ended.

The entire company had waded every river on the route to Salt Lake, and, as a consequence, the health of almost every man and woman was completely broken. The married women suffered the least, as they only had to assist their husbands in pulling the handcarts. The young girls had to pull theirs unassisted, and they were literally worn out with the exertion. The children were placed on the carts when they became tired, and so added weight to already overburdened wagons. It was when the second of these companies came in that Brigham Young was heard to say, as he rubbed his hands and smiled with overflowing complacency, "This experiment is a success."

Alas for Brother Brigham, this remark was overheard by some of the emigrants, and it is needless to say that their faith in "inspiration," and "revelation," was very much weakened; and the subsequent adventures of their friends and companions, whose arrival had been delayed, by no means tended to reassure them, or restore their waning belief. It was enough to be the victims of a heartless and mercenary experiment; but to be deluded into the belief that it was by the direct revelation of the will of the Lord made it harder to bear, and there was much bitterness of spirit expressed when the people who had endured so much, and gloried in the endurance, because in so doing they were obeying the commands of God, learned that their sufferings were borne merely to help fill the purses of a false prophet and his corrupt followers.

When the relief train reached Captain Willie's company, they were camped on the Sweetwater, near the Rocky Ridges. They had eaten their last provisions, and death was staring them pitilessly in the face. The camp was filled with dead and dying. There was no help for the latter, and the poor souls had lost all desire to live. They were waiting, with almost apathetic indifference, for release, while those dearest to them were doubly agonized because they must see the loved ones perish, and they were helpless even to bring comforts to them, or make life easier while it lasted. Those who were strong enough, dug one large grave in which all the dead were laid together. It was the best they could do; but their hands were no less tender and loving, their hearts no less sore, than if the last rites had been as imposing as those of royalty itself. The only thing they could do to prepare their dear ones for the grave was to close the eyes, the loving eyes that, to the very last, had turned longingly Zion-ward; to fold the pulseless hands over the silent hearts that, through all the hardships and toil, had kept their trust firm and their faith bright; to straighten out the tired feet that, bleeding and sore, had yet toiled joyfully along the rugged path that led to the fair Canaan of their dreams; to smooth the tangled hair away from haggard faces, where the lines of care lay heavily, and yet through which the light of peace divine shone serene and pure; to arrange as decently as possible the tattered garments, which were their only clothing for the tomb, and to lay them, coffinless, in their cold bed in the Rocky Mountains, in their last, long sleep; then to go away and leave them there, with the relentless winter storms beating upon them, and no stone to mark their resting-place. The road from Winter-Quarters to Salt Lake was a via dolorosa indeed.


Thirteen had died in Willie's camp the day that succor reached them; two more died the next day; and all were buried in one grave. The men succumbed to death before the women. The cause, no doubt, was the greater weariness on account of their more arduous exertions, and their wonderful self-denial for the sake of their wives and children. They would work just so long as they could, then fall dead in front of their carts, their hands still holding them tight in the tenacious grasp of death. There was no time for mourning or delay. Hurried graves were dug, and the bodies placed therein, hastily covered, then the survivors must press on again. Wives left their husbands, husbands their wives, parents their children, and children their parents, under the frozen earth of the desert and mountain ridges.

When the poor Saints knew that assistance had really reached them, that starvation was beaten away and death held at bay, their joy knew no bounds. They cried like children, men as well as women, and burst forth into prayer and songs of praise. They attacked the food like famished animals, and ate it with a wolfish greed. The scene is one that can never be adequately described. It was full of a terrible pathos. It told of a suffering that never can be comprehended except by those who endured it. The clothing and bedding were then divided between them, and they were made comfortable as they could be under the circumstances. That night, for the first time for many weeks, the sounds of rejoicing were heard through the camp. They were not forgotten of the Lord, nor deserted by his people; and again they found heart to sing their hand-cart hymns which had been written for them by some enthusiastic members of the train.

Contrast one of their songs, if you please, with the situation when relief from Salt Lake reached them:

"We're going to Zion with our carts,
And the Spirit of God within our hearts;
The old, decrepit, feeble dame
Will lend a hand to pull the same;
For some must push and some must pull,
As we go marching up the hill,
Until we reach the Valley, O!

"Our maidens, they will dance and sing,
Our young men happier be than kings,
Our strength increasing every day,
As we go travelling up the way.
Yes, some must push and some must pull,
As we go marching up the hill,
Until we reach the Valley, O!"

Rough in phraseology, and rude in structure, it yet shows the spirit which animated the converts when they first started on their pilgrimage to the promised land. Another favorite song had a stirring chorus, as follows: --

"Hurrah for the camp of Israel!
Hurrah for the Hand-Cart scheme!
Hurrah! hurrah! 'tis better far
Than the wagon and ox-team."

In this song the "divine plan" was extolled with all the enthusiastic fervor with which it was first expounded to them by the elders in England. It is needless to say that these songs were written in the first glow of the furor, before any of the hardships even of the sea-voyage had been encountered. They were not sung after the first encounter with a mountain storm; that took the heart out of them. Even in the rejoicing at their deliverance, they sang only the hymns, making no attempt even to revive the spirit of the hand-cart songs.

After seeing Captain Willie's company made comfortable, the relief train started east again in search of Captain Martin's company. This they found in camp at Grease Wood Creek, twenty miles from Willie's camp. The suffering in this company was quite equal to that of the company just relieved, and precisely the same scenes were enacted. They were wild with joy, and men and women fell on the necks of their deliverers with sobs and kisses, calling them their saviours, and invoking blessings of all kinds on their heads.

The camp was filled with dead and dying, and many had been left behind that day, having fallen exhausted in the way. The storm had been blinding, and their companions could not stop for them; they could only hasten on while daylight lasted, making their slow, painful progress towards the haven of their rest. My father and his comrades spent the night in searching for those that were left behind, and bringing them into camp, where they were tenderly cared for. Many of them died very soon after being brought in; others lived, but they were maimed for life, feet and hands, in many cases, having been literally frozen off. This was the people, "the chosen people of God, for whose benefit the Indians, the seasons, nay, the very elements themselves, should be controlled." Their belief in "prophecy" must have been severely tried by this shock.

Everything had happened to them to make their journey hard. Their carts had broken down repeatedly, as my father had prophesied they would, and a great deal of delay had been caused by the frequent stopping for repairs; their cattle had stampeded, so that their supply of milk and fresh beef was cut off, and only oxen enough left to allow one yoke to a team; some of the men who dropped behind the others, wearied with the journey, were eaten by wolves; very many had died, and others were hopelessly crippled; the winter had set in earlier, and with severer storms than have ever been known in all the Utah experience. It seemed as if the Lord were punishing priest and people, the one for the audacious assumption of power, the other for blind belief in, and dependence on, earthly promises, even when purporting to come from Him. Blasphemous presumption and foolish ignorance were alike hateful in His sight.

Richards had promised the people that they should find supplies at Laramie, but he was unable to reach there with them, and on their arrival the Saints found only a message telling them that the supplies would be at South Pass. It was with heavy hearts that they went on their toilsome way, more discouraged than ever they had been before. The swift-falling winter storms made matters worse, and it is only a wonder that so many survived as did, that every one did not perish before aid could reach them.

The day after reaching Martin's camp, the party from Salt Lake pushed on about thirty miles farther east, walking most of the way, through a blinding snow, to meet Captain Hunt's wagon train. They found the people connected with this but very little better off than the Hand-Cart companies; they were suffering severely from the intense cold, and many had their limbs frozen. Captain Hunt might have hastened and reached Salt Lake City earlier, but he had been expressly forbidden to pass the hand-carts, which shows conclusively enough that those very persons who sent the emigrants off at that unfavorable season feared for the results. This was the last company that was to be relieved, and so my father and his companions remained with the train until it overtook the hand-carts at Devil's Gate.

At this point the train was unloaded, and all the goods which were going to Salt Lake City, that could actually be spared, were left there for the winter, and the wagons were filled with the sick and feeble emigrants, who could never have reached the Valley but for this aid. The progress was necessarily slow, but the people were so much more comfortable that the time did not drag so heavily. There were very few deaths after the mountains were well crossed, and a milder climate reached, and those who were ill grew better, although the majority of them have never been well since.

At Fort Bridger, one hundred and thirty miles from Salt Lake City, the emigrants were met by an order from Brigham Young to winter there and at Fort Supply. A general feeling of dismay spread over the camp, in spite of the joy with which the Saints received the added supplies of food and clothing. To be so near their destination, and yet to be kept from it, seemed doubly hard, after all the sorrow and hardships they had met and endured on their way. It did indeed seem as though the way to the land of promise was closed, instead of being opened to them. Were they, like Moses of old, to die in sight of their Canaan? Had they been brought all this way only to perish just outside the walls of their Zion?

The places designated by Brigham were totally unfit to winter in. Should the poor Saints, in their feeble and emaciated condition, attempt it, it was more than likely that they would perish before spring. Seeing the utter impracticability of the plan, and touched by the distress of the poor people, who were again to be made the victims of a prophetic blunder, two or three of the relieving party, among them my father, came at once to the city, travelling day and night, to have arrangements made to bring them to the Valley.

They were successful in their mission, and an express was at once despatched to bring the waiting Saints home. When at length they arrived, they were met with gladness, and given the warmest welcome. The people in Salt Lake City opened their houses to them, and took them gladly in, giving them the best and the kindest care. Those of the Hand-Cart companies, who had come in first, crowded round them, and met them with tears of rejoicing, in which sorrow mingled. It was then that they began to realize their loss. As one after another of their old companions came up, and missing some familiar face, inquired for the friend so dearly beloved, always the same sad answer came "Died on the Plains." Sixty-seven were left on the way from the Missouri River to the Valley, which was about one sixth of the number which started.

Arrival of "Hand-Cart Companies" at Salt Lake City.

I remember distinctly when these companies came in; their wretched condition impressed me at the time, and I have seen many of them since, poor crippled creatures, stumping about the city, trying to do enough work to keep soul and body together; more than that, they were not able to do. I have heard, too, from some of them, the most harrowing stories of their journey, that terrible, fatal journey, which was one of the very worst blunders that the Prince of Blunderers, Brigham Young, ever made.

Brigham Young was widely blamed in Salt Lake City, and he lashed out in rage at his critics: "if any man or woman complains of me or my counselors, in regard to the lateness of some of this season's immigration, let the curse of God be on them and blast their substance with mildew and destruction, until their names are forgotten from the earth." (New York Semi-Weekly Tribune, Vol. VIII, No. 1332, online at 19th Century Mormon Newspaper Index).

One wretched woman survived Brigham Young's handcart fiasco, only to lose her life when she had second thoughts about polygamy. She committed suicide on Christmas day by cutting her throat. The Mormon authorities were not interested in clarifying this tragic case, but the loyal American Indian agent Garland Hurt investigated. Hurt discovered that the victim had "come with the handcarts and been told that she would be denied subsistence and denounced as a prostitute if she did not become the polygamous wife of the man with whose family she was living, and the fatal razor was brought to its relief." (Hirshson, pp. 153-155)

-- Just Too Weird: Bishop Romney and the Mormon Takeover of America: Polygamy, Theocracy, and Subversion, by Webster Griffin Tarpley, Ph.D.

The recollection is made more vivid because my youngest brother, Edward, who went out with a team to assist the emigrants, got lost in the snow, and for a week we supposed him to be dead. After wandering for some days in the mountains, with both feet badly frozen, he was found by a mountaineer named Battiste, who kept him, and cared for him most kindly, until the arrival of my father, who had heard, while with the train, that he was missing, and had gone at once in search of him. It was a narrow escape, and the terrible expedition came near proving a tragedy to us as well as to so many others.

Among the emigrants was a very wealthy gentleman of the name of Tennant. He and his wife were among the early converts, and were very earnest Mormons. They had for a long time been resolved to come to Zion, and when the Hand-Cart scheme was introduced they decided to join that company. Humble followers of Christ, they thought they could in no better way show their love for Him and their devotion to their religion, than by such an act of self-sacrifice as this. Possessed of ample means to have crossed the ocean and travelled in the most comfortable and even luxurious manner, they nevertheless chose to go in this way, with the poorest of the Saints, and share with them all the hardships and dangers which should attend this toilsome, perilous journey.

Mr. Tennant gave liberally to the emigration fund, in order that as many poor Saints as possible might make the long-anticipated pilgrimage to Zion, and both himself and his wife provided liberally for the comfort of their poor fellow-travellers. A short time before the emigrant company left England, the Apostle Richards, in one of his eloquent dissertations on the "plan" and its divine origin, said that in order to assist the poor to emigrate, President Young had given to the Emigration Fund Society an estate in Salt Lake City, to be sold for its benefit. He dilated largely upon the disinterested generosity of the Prophet, and his desire that as many as possible of his faithful followers should be gathered to Zion during that season. Fired by this act of extreme kindness on the part of his revered leader in the church, Mr. Tennant at once bought the property, and paid, it is said, thirty thousand dollars down for it. There is little need, perhaps, of saying that that was immensely more than its real value; but that fact its purchaser was not aware of, as it was glorified by all the apostolic eloquence bestowed upon it, quite beyond recognition.

On the voyage and during the journey across the States, and the tiresome waiting time at Iowa City, no one was more beloved than Mr. Tennant and his gentle, estimable wife. Sharing alike with the poorer Saints, no word of complaint ever passed their lips. They never for a moment seemed to regret their decision to emigrate at this particular time, but accepted every fresh hardship as a trial to their faith, sent by God Himself to test them, and prove their worthiness to enter His glorious kingdom on earth. They moved among their companions with kindly faces and words of cheer and comfort. They encouraged endurance by their example, and made the forced discomforts of some of the party seem easier to bear by their voluntary assumption of them. As far as they could they alleviated the distress which prevailed, and were always ready to perform any deeds of kindness.

The journey with the hand-carts was doubly hard for them, unused as they were to exertion; and day after day the wife saw the husband slowly succumbing to fatigue and disease, and she powerless to assist him. But, though his strength waned and his health failed him, yet his courage and his faith remained steadfast and fixed. Whatever came he believed would surely be right, and though he struggled manfully to keep up until he should reach Zion, yet he was overcome, and died at O'Fallon's Bluffs, literally of exhaustion. His last thought was for his sorrowing wife, and his last word was of comfort and consolation to her. He had one thought to make the parting easier -- he had provided a home for her in Zion; Brother Brigham held it in trust for her, and she would find the comforts to which she was used, and rest and peace in the Valley with the chosen people.

The bereaved wife clung wildly to her husband's remains, with the most heart-broken lamentations. To have him die was a misery in itself; but to see the slow, cruel torture which he underwent, and to watch him slowly dying such a horrible death, was almost unbearable. For a time it seemed almost as though she must be left there with him; that her soul would follow his. Happier would it have been for her had that fate been hers. The cold earth and pitiless winter storms would not be so cold and so pitiless as the world was to her, after this loving protecting arm was taken from her. A woman, unused to toil and hardship, nurtured in luxury, reared in tenderness and love, she was left alone to battle single-handed with the world. And such a world! whose ruling passion was avarice, and whose delight was another's torture; the world of Mormon Sainthood — ruled over by a grasping, lecherous, heartless tyrant, who laughed at a woman's sorrows and flouted at her wrongs. I think if she had known all that was to follow, she would have lain down on the plain by the side of her dead husband, and endured the torture of a horrible, slow death, rather than have gone on to the years of suffering which lay before her.

It is fortunate, indeed, that the future is so closely veiled to us; else we should all lose heart and courage in this unequal struggle called life, and lay down our weapons, convinced that it is of no use to struggle longer. Providence deals wisely with us, after all, and we are forced to admit it at every step of our lives.

The hurried funeral rites were over, and the man who had been so great a benefactor to the people among whom he had cast his lot, was left sleeping his last sleep in a strange land, and the sorrowing party resumed their weary way, saddened by this affliction. On the arrival at Salt Lake Mrs. Tennant at once proceeded to look after her property. The "magnificent estate" for which her husband had paid so fabulous a price, was a small wooden house, inconvenient and out of repair, and worth not a tenth part of what had been paid for it.

She was shocked and troubled at what seemed such a piece of swindling on the part of the President and the church authorities, although at first she was inclined to exonerate Brigham Young and blame Apostle Richards for misrepresentation; but an audience with Brigham soon convinced her that he was at the bottom of the whole affair, and she felt bitterly enough towards the man who, under the guise of religious benevolence, would be guilty of such a piece of trickery. Even this poor shelter was not left her very long. The place, and, indeed, most of the valuable things which her husband had sent to make their home in Zion more comfortable, were taken for tithing and on other pretences, and in a very few months this woman was compelled to go out to daily labor to earn her bread, her rightful property going to fill the already overflowing coffers of the "Prophet of the Lord." Indeed, the entire Hand-Cart expedition was a good speculation for the President, and helped replenish the prophetic pocket.
There is no doubt that Young did repent of this foolish step of his, but it was not at all on account of the suffering and misery which he entailed upon so many innocent persons, but because he knew that an act of that kind, becoming public, would make him and his religion more unpopular than ever, and they were already in sufficiently bad odor with the outside world. He could ill afford to make such a blunder. It would also work against his influence with the Saints themselves, and he was always jealous of his authority over his people.

The Apostle John Taylor arrived home before either Apostle Richards or Elder Spenser, and he, as a matter of course, told his own story, throwing all the blame upon his two co-workers, so that when they arrived they found the full torrent of the Presidential wrath turned against them. They were sadly hurt, for, in their zeal to carry out instructions and gain the approbation of their leader, they had, they affirmed, all through the affair, acted against the dictates of humanity and their own consciences.

He was loud in his denunciations of them; he cursed them "in the name of Israel's God;" he ridiculed them in public until they were compelled to hide their heads in very shame. Their sole fault was, they had been too faithful to him. Spenser never recovered from the disgrace; he always remained a broken-down, helpless man, seeking no favor, expecting none, not even decent treatment, from his master, until, after lingering for ten years under the prophetic ban, he died heart-broken. Richards has, in a degree, overcome the President's feeling towards him, and is gaining favor all the time, but he will never stand as high as he did before this most unfortunate exhibition. The people will never forget his share in it, and those who came to Zion, influenced by his eloquent appeals and encouraged by his prophecies, associate him naturally enough with that unhappy experience. Then, although Brigham Young has partially restored him to favor by certain acts and kindnesses granted to him, yet he has never taken back any of the anathemas which he showered upon him, and they are by no means forgotten by those who heard them, and have a certain influence even now in forming public opinion.

Notwithstanding the terrible consequences of this "divine plan," its originator did not wish to acknowledge that he had in any way been mistaken. The plan, he argued, was all right; it only went wrong through mismanagement, and he would prove its feasibility to the satisfaction of every Saint in the Territory. The plan was "divine," and he would "sanctify it to the glory of the Lord."

So in the April following he sent a company of elders on a mission, compelling them to go with hand-carts. These were properly made, of good material, strongly finished, with iron tires, and everything to make them durable. They had plenty of provisions; so they would not be reduced to the necessity of eating their own shoes nor biting their own flesh in the mad frenzy of starvation, as many a poor fellow did in the expedition whose "divinity" they were sent out to prove. The season was favorable, and there was no danger of their being overtaken by terrible mountain storms, underneath which they would be buried. They were all robust young men, too; better fitted to endure a journey like the one ordained for them by their Prophet, than the feeble old men and women, the young wives, mothers, and maidens, and the tiny, toddling children, who formed a great portion of the other company. Then they started fresh, not wearied already by a rough sea-voyage, a journey thousands of miles across the Continent, to the final starting-point, nor reduced by hunger and exposure. They had the advantage in everything, and yet, although their expedition was by no means fatal, it was very far from being a "success," such as Brigham expected it to be.

On his way to Chicago my father overtook them at Devil's Gate. He found them completely jaded and worn out. In truth, they were almost dead from weariness. They travelled slowly, making long stops to rest, and finally they reached the Missouri River in a perfect state of exhaustion. They left their carts there with the utmost willingness, showing wonderful alacrity at abandoning a "divine" scheme. To this day they all aver they cannot bear to hear the word "Hand-cart" mentioned. It was the last time the "experiment" was tried, and after this but little was said regarding the divine origin of the plan; and it is a significant fact that no one has preserved more utter silence on the subject than the "Revelator," Brigham Young.
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Re: Wife No. 19, the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Com

Postby admin » Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:08 am


The Results of the Reformation. The Story of a Fiendish Deed. The People's Mouths Closed. How the Dreadful Crime was Hushed Up. Judge Cradlebaugh's Efforts to Unravel the Mystery. Who were the Guilty Ones? The Emigrants on the Way to Utah. The People Forbidden to sell them Food. They Arrive at Salt Lake City. Ordered to Break Camp. In need of Supplies. Who was Accountable? Why the Mormons hated the Emigrants. The Story of Parley P. Pratt. How he Seduced McLean's Wife. Their Journey to Cedar City. Hungry and Weary, but still Pressing On. They Reach the Mountain Meadows. Attacked by “the Indians." The Emigrants Besieged. Dying of Thirst. Two little Girls shot by the Mormons. An Appeal for Help. The Last Hope of the Besieged. Waiting for Death.


Of all the numberless atrocities that succeeded the Utah Reformation, and were the direct outgrowth of the teaching of the revolting doctrine of the "Blood-Atonement," nothing approaches in fiendish barbarity the Massacre at the Mountain Meadows, where, on the 17th of September, 1857, a company of emigrants from Arkansas and Missouri, on their way to California, were assassinated in the most cruel and treacherous manner, by a band of disguised Mormons and Indians, under the leadership of officers of the Mormon militia.

Nearly eighteen years have passed, and until within a comparatively short time, little has been definitely known concerning the details of the massacre, either by the Gentile world, or by the mass of the Mormon people, who, to give them the justice which they deserve, would have shrunk with horror from the very idea that the commission of the terrible deed could be laid to the charge of their beloved church.

I was but a child at the time, but I recollect, perfectly, hearing that an emigrant-train had been attacked by the Indians, and all members of the band, with the exception of a few of the smaller children, killed; and I remember, also, seeing these children, who were said to have been taken from their Indian captors by Mormon officers, and were to be cared for by the Mormon people. I suppose the remembrance is the more vivid because, before their arrival in Utah, the people were forbidden by Brigham Young and his elders to sell them anything during their journey through the Territory, and this was so unusual a command that it was a matter of wondering conjecture to most of the Mormons, although no one dreamed of questioning the justice of the Prophet's mandate.

Young as I was, I felt the mystery that shrouded the whole horrible transaction, and I knew instinctively, as did many others, that something was being hidden from the mass of the people, by their leaders, which it was not deemed prudent to reveal; but the terrible truth was not then even suspected by the faithful Saints. I can understand now, as I could not then, why all wonder concerning this wholesale murder was speedily hushed up; why any definite mention of it was avoided by the leaders in the church; why, when it was spoken of at all, it was with cautious manner, apprehensive glances, and in whispered tones under the breath. Priests and people alike hesitated to approach the dreaded subject, and there was an almost superhuman endeavor on the part of the church authorities to erase all remembrance of it from the minds of their followers. But occurrences of this kind are not easily forgotten, and the memory of that bloody and unprovoked butchery is still fresh in other minds besides my own, retained there so distinctly that neither time nor eternity can obliterate it. The very mystery which veiled it made it more awful to me, an imaginative, excitable child; and though I followed the example of my elders, and never spoke of the subject, even to my mother, it haunted me perpetually, and I grew absolutely terrified at the constantly recurring fancies which I drew of it.

Although the people were so quiet, since there was a tacit understanding that they must be so, yet their eyes nor ears were never closed, and thought was by no means idle. Indeed, as the years have rolled on, what was at first a vague suspicion, which it seemed a sin to entertain, has grown to a horrible certainty, until to-day it stands forth; stripped of all its first mystery, fearfully vivid in its monstrosity, the foulest of all the foul blots upon the unclean page of Mormon history. It was a deed unparalleled in its atrocity; unapproachable in the treachery employed by its perpetrators; more horrible in its sickening details than the butcheries by the most barbarous savages; the work of fiends rather than of men; and yet so successful has been the "quiet" policy of the Mormon leaders, that I find the extent of its horrors but dimly understood east of the Rocky Mountains.

Attempts were made by Judge Cradlebaugh to discover the perpetrators, and, above all, the instigators of this deed, and bring them speedily to justice; but with a Mormon jury, blinded by their bigotry, who were taught from the pulpit that allegiance to the church and Brigham Young was paramount to all their duties and obligations to the government of the United States, whose citizens they claimed to be, that perjury to that government would be forgiven by the priesthood, indeed was counselled by it, and that no Mormon was to be delivered over to Gentile justice, no matter what his crime might have been, nor how distinctly it was proved, it followed naturally enough that the efforts, earnest and untiring as they were, were utterly fruitless.

Judge Cradlebaugh's last attempt to ferret out the affair was made in 1859; and since that time no action has been taken by the government until last autumn, when the long-smothered suspicion broke forth into audible accusations, and in this new burst of popular demand for justice, the supposed leaders were arrested. I inadvertently said "supposed" leaders; but it has been shown beyond the possibility of a doubt that John D. Lee, a major in the Mormon militia, and one of the most active and zealous of Brigham Young's devoted adherents, led the attack in person; that many of the victims fell by his hand; and that he, assisted by Bishop Haight and the notorious Dame, acted under instructions from "a higher authority." The plans of massacre were fully matured, at a council held at Parowan, by Brigadier-General George A. Smith, first counsellor to Brigham, and a fit servant for such a master, Colonel William C. Dame, Bishop of Fillmore, Lieutenant-Colonel Haight, President of the Cedar City "Stake of Zion," Bishop Higbee, and John D. Lee.

Of all these men, Lee, who is now under arrest, has been the most closely identified with the massacre, in the public mind, until he has grown to be an object of popular aversion, shunned and dreaded. It may seem childish, but so strong a hold had this affair taken on my imagination, that I have never been able to shake off the feeling of terror with which it filled me; and when, last autumn, I was told of his arrest, and knew that he was safe inside prison walls, I positively experienced a feeling of relief and personal safety, as great as though some enemy of my own had been rendered powerless to harm me. I had never even seen the man; but knowing the record of his crimes, and always hearing of him in connection with some deed of bloody brutality, my horror and fear of him never diminished, and he remained, what he had always been, the ogre of my childish fancies.

It is a horrible story, sickening in its every detail; but it cannot be told too often, until it shall be known all over the country by every person who is ignorant of it now.

It was early in September, 1857, when it was first announced in Salt Lake City that a large emigrant party from Missouri and Arkansas had entered the Valley on their way to California. As soon as the announcement was made, a command was issued by the President of the church, that nothing was to be sold to any member of this party, on the pain of death. The command was most arbitrary, and was totally without precedent, showing beyond a doubt the animus of Brigham Young towards this party, and rendering it much easier to believe that the terrible tragedy which followed was approved, if not instigated, by him.

Salt Lake had been for a long time the depot for obtaining fresh supplies prior to crossing the deserts which separated Utah and California. Every emigrant train which had crossed the plains for some years, had made this a resting-place, and taken a fresh start from here for the remainder of the tedious journey. Much money was left in this way in the Mormon country, and, as usual, Brigham Young got his, the "lion's share," of all the profits.

This train, like all that had gone before it, had laid their plans to supply themselves for their journey at Salt Lake City, and had only brought a sufficient quantity of provisions to last them until they reached that point. Greatly to their surprise, they found themselves unable to purchase anything, and, in addition, were peremptorily ordered to break their camp at Salt Lake and move on. All through the country of the Saints they were met with sturdy refusals to sell them anything. Men who would gladly have placed a quantity of provisions at their disposal dared not do it, fearing to disobey their Prophet's mandate. In vain the emigrants offered them money, wagons, personal property of all kinds. Brigham's law was not to be broken, and the person who should venture to disregard it pronounced his own death sentence. Now and then, however, one more humane or more daring than the rest, came to the camp at night with a small amount of provisions all they could bring without danger of detection; but what was this little to one hundred and fifty hungry men and women, to say nothing of the little children who were to be fed? It might have met a present want, but it did nothing towards providing for future needs. Starvation was staring them in the face while they were journeying in the midst of plenty, for it is a notorious fact that the harvests never were more plentiful in Utah than they were that year.

Whatever may have been Brigham Young's connection with the massacre itself, — whether it was done at his instigation or merely with his connivance, — he was, to all intents and purposes, the murderer of these people, and should be held responsible for their lives. What right had he, the governor of the Territory of Utah, appointed to office by the United States Government, amenable to its laws as a citizen, much more so as an office-holder, bound by an oath of loyalty to protect every person within the limits of his territory, to refuse food to peaceful, law-abiding citizens of the same government, knowing, as he did, that here was their only opportunity to obtain it, and that certain death was their fate if compelled to cross the desert with the scanty rations which remained to them?

The treatment of these people from the moment of entering Brigham Young's dominions until the final tragedy, was so barbarous, and attended with so many horrors, that the Mormon people, contrary to their usual custom, feel obliged to offer some excuse in extenuation. But all the reasons which they give, when combined, are entirely insufficient to justify the deed. Yet, such as they are, they shall be given.

The "Reformation" was over, and the doctrine of the "Blood-Atonement" was still in full force. Young and his confederates were infuriated because United States troops were ordered to Utah. They considered this act of the government an open insult, and they revenged it on the first Gentiles whom they could reach. The train was one of the largest and richest that had ever crossed the plains. The value of their wagons, horses, and stock alone was said to be $300,000, and the women of the party had rich, full wardrobes and elegant, costly jewelry. Brigham, as you have seen, ignores the tenth commandment, and the sixth is a dead-letter to him; to covet his neighbors' goods is to possess them in some way or other, either honestly or otherwise,— generally otherwise.

A part of the emigrants were from Missouri, and the Mormon people will never regard the Missourians in any other light than that of the bitterest enemies. They had never, in all the years, forgotten the persecution which they received at their hands, and Joseph Smith's death they considered unavenged. It was reported that in the train was a man who had openly boasted of having been present at the assassination of Smith, and that he as openly threatened to take the life of the present prophet. This story is generally believed to be utterly without foundation, circulated by the Mormon leaders to stir up the wrath of the people against the emigrants, and to exonerate themselves, if their share in the slaughter of these people should ever become known. The Arkansas members of the train, also, were objects of Mormon vengeance.

Parley P. Pratt, one of the twelve apostles, and also one of the brightest intellectual lights in the Church of the Latter-Day Saints, was sent on a mission to California, where he proselyted with such vigor that many converts were made; among them a Mrs. Eleanor McLean, wife of one Hector McLean, and the mother of three children, who was induced to embrace Mormonism and polygamy as embodied in the person of the seductive apostle. The command to "leave all and follow me" was readily obeyed, especially as she was personally to add to the missionary's present pleasure and future glory, by becoming one of his numerous plural wives.


As there was no authority to marry them in a "legal" manner in this Gentile state, they were obliged to defer that ceremony until their arrival in "Zion." But in cases like this, which were often occurring to the missionary Saints, it was considered quite proper for the pair, who were in haste to wed, to covenant together," and thereafter to be regarded as man and wife, without ministerial or judicial aid, until such time as they could celebrate their nuptials in the presence of saintly witnesses, and after the true saintly fashion. This covenant the Apostle Pratt and Mrs. McLean were not slow to make.

The news soon reached the husband that his wife was going to Utah with the Mormon Elder, and intended taking the children with her. This last design McLean frustrated by sending them to some relatives in one of the Southern States. He then informed his wife that she was at liberty to go where she chose, but that she must go alone, as he had placed the children beyond her reach.

She came to Utah, and immediately on her arrival was sealed to Parley, after having lived under a covenant with him for months. The mother-heart, however, yearned for her children; neither her new religion nor the fractional part of an apostle could fill the void left by the separation from them, and she determined to gain possession of them and bring them also to Utah. After much entreating, she succeeded in inducing her new husband to go to the States with her for the purpose of finding them. She went alone to the place where her children were at school, leaving Pratt in Arkansas, -- which, by the way, was her husband's home. On reaching the town where her children were, she was obliged to assume a disguise, as McLean was there, having followed his children from California. She used every stratagem to obtain them, but only succeeded in carrying away one. She quickly made her way with him to Arkansas, and joined Parley, who was awaiting her there. Together they started to return to Utah, but were overtaken by McLean, who, maddened by the breaking up of his home, the seduction of his wife, and the abduction of his child, determined to wreak summary vengeance on the man who, under the guise of religion, and in the name of the Lord, whom he constantly blasphemed by taking His holy name upon his polluted lips, had wrecked his whole life's happiness. Being examined before a magistrate, Mrs. McLean Pratt assumed all the responsibility of the abduction of the children, and the Apostle was honorably discharged. His friends, however, apprehended danger, and advised him to escape, if he could, for McLean was a violent man. They also offered him a couple of revolvers for his defence.

The Apostle fled, but McLean was on his trail. At length the wronged husband came within sight of his enemy, and pursued him like the avenger of blood. Pratt left the public road, endeavoring to reach a house not far distant; but McLean was too swift for him. Following him closely, with revolver drawn, he fired at the saintly seducer, but failed to touch him. Furious at Pratt's escape, McLean urged forward his horse, and, as he passed his enemy, made a lunge with his bowie-knife, and gave him a fatal thrust in his side. The wounded man fell from his horse instantly, and McLean fired again at the guilty wretch as he lay bleeding on the ground, and the ball penetrated his breast.


The bloody deed performed, McLean returned to Fort Smith, walked through the town with his friends, and in the evening took the passing steamer for the South. He took his child and left the mother to return to Utah, now doubly widowed and childless. The people of Arkansas upheld McLean, and it was considered that he had only done his duty in ridding the world of such a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Makumba heads out in search of his supper.


Sometimes the best dining spot lies outside the neighborhood.
Today he finds a small clearing …


with a big obstacle …


forest elephants.


Makumba has reservations.


Elephants can charge if they feel threatened,
and he takes no chances with his family.



Now the family can enjoy their salad …
… until a sudden sound disrupts the picnic.


It might be the leopard.
The little ones grab their moms.


Another silverback!
This could mean all-out war.
Makumba has to make a tough decision.
If he faces off against his opponent and wins,


he can claim the loser’s mates and expand his harem.


But if he loses, he loses everything.



He weighs his options


before calling his clan back.



Turns out King Kong is a lover, not a fighter.

-- Wild Congo: King Kong's Lair -– Illustrated Screenplay (Vignette), by National Geographic

But the Mormons were deeply infuriated; they held every Arkansas man personally responsible for the murder of their Apostle, whom they at once canonized as saint, and worshipped as martyr, and whose name, to this day, is spoken with reverence by them; and the fact that any of these emigrants were from that state, gave them, as they thought, an opportunity of revenging Pratt's death, at the same time that they avenged the murder of their Prophet. Many of them, too, were from the immediate neighborhood where McLean resided, and where Pratt was killed; and at least one of the number was said to have been interested in his assassination. The fact that Pratt had brought his death upon himself was not taken into consideration. They found no palliation for McLean's action in his wrecked home and blighted life; though no persons in the world are so quick to resent any, even fancied, interference with their families as the Mormons. Yet this is saintly consistency.

At the Parowan council, of which I have spoken, the mode of action was fully determined upon, and the plan of attack matured to the minutest detail. Meeting with the most inhospitable treatment, and unable to obtain provisions, the emigrants were fairly driven from camp to camp, until they reached Cedar City. They camped here only one day; but during their stay they were allowed to purchase fifty bushels of tithing wheat and have it ground at John D. Lee's mill. But this was an insufficient quantity, and would be exhausted several days before they could reach the nearest point in California where food was obtainable, even if they travelled with the utmost speed, and put themselves on the shortest possible rations.

From Cedar City they proceeded south-west less than forty miles, and camped at the Mountain Meadows, which they reached after a five days' journey, so exhausted were they. It was a most cheerless and dreary spot, and so hemmed in that if attacked they would be completely at the mercy of their assailants. The Meadows are about a mile and a half long and a mile wide, and are shut in on every side by mountains; but at the lower end they converge and form a canon. Cane Spring is situated just at the mouth of this canon, and about thirty rods above this spring, a mound, two hundred feet long and one hundred feet wide, shuts out all view. In the midst of this gray desolation of nature, the emigrants settled themselves down for a few days' rest and final preparation before they resumed their perilous journey.


Beyond the annoyance they had experienced by the withholding of provisions, and their enforced march from camp to camp throughout the Mormon territory, they apprehended no ill-treatment from the Saints. I do not think the fear of personal danger had entered their minds at all, and they were resting quietly at the Meadows, when, on the morning of the 10th of September, while the women of the party were engaged in preparing breakfast, and the men in caring for their stock, they were suddenly attacked by the Indians. Seven were killed and fifteen wounded at the first fire.

As unexpected as the attack was, they did not lose for one instant their coolness and presence of mind. Had they done so, the massacre would have been general, and the entire party killed on the spot. But with a promptness unparalleled in the history of any border warfare, these emigrants wheeled their wagons into an oblong corral, and with almost lightning-like rapidity threw up the earth from the centre of the corral against the wagon wheels, making an excellent and almost impenetrable barricade.

It had been decided at the Parowan Council to make the attack at Santa Clara Canon, at the point where it is crossed by the California road, and where the perpendicular walls, which it was impossible to scale, and the blockade of their own wagons, would preclude the possibility of the escape of a single soul. But the Indian allies, "The Battle Axes of the Lord," became impatient, and precipitated the attack. The liberal promises made to them by John D. Lee, the Indian-Agent, of blankets, clothing, rifles, ammunition, and trinkets, excited their cupidity; and so eager were they to obtain the promised spoils, that they could not wait to carry out the original plan.

As soon as the barricade was finished, the first fire of the Indians was returned, and three of the assailants were wounded. They had crept very close to the train, not dreaming a repulse possible, and lay concealed in the brush along the side of the creek. Two of the Indians died, notwithstanding they were taken to Cedar City, where their wounds were anointed with consecrated oil by Bishop Higbee. For once, at least, the "laying on" of "saintly" hands was not efficacious, and the mortal wounds refused to be healed in spite of persistent priestly prayers.

The leaders of the Mormon militia, at Cedar City, were thrown into a state of excitement by the arrival of an Indian runner, bringing news of the unsuccessful assault, and they at once commenced collecting their forces to go to the Meadows to the assistance of their allies. It is said that Haight told a man that orders had come from headquarters to slay every person in the train. The Cedar City forces being considered inadequate, Lee sent to Washington for re-enforcements. When the troops were within a short distance of the Meadows, they were told that the entire company was to be killed, with the exception of the children who were too young to remember.

The Mormons were disguised as Indians, and so successfully that the unfortunate besieged had no idea that their besiegers were white men. The very knowledge of this would have disheartened them more than all the perils of their situation had power to do, when they supposed they had only a savage foe to meet, whom they hoped speedily to repulse. Safely intrenched behind their barricade, they suffered only for lack of water. The spring was only about forty rods distant, and yet they dared not venture to go to it, and the water was as unattainable as though it had been miles away. Every attempt to obtain a supply was frustrated by the reports of cruel guns, hidden behind mounds of earth. The whole rim of the basin formed by the circling hills was a masked battery sending forth destruction every time a form was seen inside the barricade. At first it was supposed only the men were in danger, and a woman of the party stepped outside the corral to milk a cow. She fell pierced with bullets. At length, their thirst becoming intolerable, they decided to send two of the little girls to the spring for water. Surely, they reasoned, they will be let to go unharmed; their youth and innocence will be their safeguard; the most barbarous savage would certainly be touched, and the hand of destruction stayed.

It might have been, had it been savages with whom they were contending; but no feeling of pity for even the children could enter the hearts of these "civilized" white men who were engaged in the "religious" warfare, and shot down their innocent victims in the name of the Lord.


Hand in hand the little ones advanced towards the spring, dressed in white, — fit robes for such lambs of sacrifice. Suddenly came the crack of scores of rifles, and the tiny bodies fell, fairly riddled with bullets, in the very sight of the frantic parents. It was deeds of this kind which, according to John D. Lee, "glorified the name of Israel's God."

Then the emigrants knew they could not expect mercy; but their courage did not fail them. If aid could only reach them! If there was any way in which they could make their situation known! They might hold out a few days, though starvation and the slow, keen torture of unallayed thirst stared them in the face. After four days of siege, they drew up a prayer for aid, telling how they had been attacked by the Indians, and how they were then surrounded; it contained a list of the emigrants' names, their age, place of birth, and residence at the time of the emigration. The number of clergymen, physicians, and other professional men were given; also the number of Freemasons and Oddfellows, with the rank of each and the name of the lodge to which they belonged. The letter was addressed to any friend of humanity; and it was a heart-rending cry of distress from souls in mortal straits. Such a cry as that could not go unheeded; it must be answered by speedy relief. It was the only expression of despair that ever came from the brave hearts in the corral; but it told of torture beyond description; of suffering that exceeds imagination.

But how should it find its way outside the barricade? How could the world be made to hear this agonized appeal? No sooner was the petition finished than three men -- all honor to their bravery! -- volunteered to break through the camp, dash past their enemy, and cross the desert to California. They more than suspected by this time that a portion of their assailants were white men, and they knew they were in more danger from them than from the Indians. It is said that, before these men started on their perilous and almost hopeless undertaking, the entire party knelt down, and an old, white-haired Methodist pastor prayed for their safety. They left the corral in the night under cover of the darkness, and passed their besiegers in safety. But in some way their flight was discovered, the Indian runners were placed on their track, and they were mercilessly murdered. The first one was killed while lying asleep from exhaustion, by an Indian named Jackson, who has since boasted of the deed, and who, in years after, led a person to the spot where he committed the murder; the body had been burned, but the charred remains of the skull and larger bones marked the spot.

The appeal was found near the dead body of the man by Jackson, who gave it to a Mormon gentleman; he kept it for some time without allowing any one to know that it was in his possession; but one day he showed it to one of the men who was nearly concerned in the massacre, and he deliberately tore it in pieces on the spot. Its first possessor has no sympathy with the deed, and expresses himself ready to come forward at any time and testify to the contents of the letter, of which he is perfectly well aware. In speaking of it to a gentleman connected with the western press, he is said to have exclaimed, "I believe that if the Masons and Oddfellows knew how many of their brethren were in the train, they wouldn't let the accursed murderers go unpunished." It must be that in some manner they will be punished.

"The mills of the gods grind slowly,"

to be sure, but they grind with exactness, and retribution is certain to follow crime sooner or later.

The other two men were overtaken at Virgin Hills, stripped of their clothing, and told to run for their lives; a shower of arrows was sent after them, wounding them severely; one could scarcely crawl, and his captors soon overtook him, and, binding him to a stake, piled fagots about him and set fire to them, and exulted with fiendish glee over the death-agonies of their victim.

The last one made his way to the camp of the Vagas Indians, who, pitying his condition, gave him clothing and food. He then tried to make his way to California, but was met by Ira Hatch and his band of Mormons and Indians, and was put to death by slow torture.

In the mean time the condition of the besieged grew worse. Day by day passed, and their sufferings constantly increased; still they kept courageous hearts, and looked for the help that must come. Their food was nearly gone, their increasing thirst was rendered more unendurable, because just beyond they could hear the ripple of the water, as the little brook danced on in merry mockery of their sufferings. And yet not a murmur of complaint was heard; men and women looked calmly into each other's eyes, and parched lips spoke words of cheer and hope, to which, alas! the heavy hearts did not respond. On one thing they were determined; they would die, but they would never surrender. Their wives and children should never be given over to such mercy as they would meet at the hands of their brutal enemies.
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