Unvarying type traits or stigmata mark Gentile and Mormon. Your Gentile will clench fist, grit teeth, and sputter bad words. Your Mormon, with the usual suavity of an under dog, will spread forth his fat palms, smile a bland, sweet, Asiatic smile, and honey his talk with Scriptural quotations. Half an eye sees which is right. Yet noblesse oblige; let us grant this devil his due. Consider, I beg you, the case of the Mormon, who pleads for polygamy, and boasts a bright liege loyalty to country and country's flag.
Heeding the example of the Rev. Laurence Sterne, who sat in his desobligeante and classified travelers, I looked And found that polygamous Mormons were of five sorts—sentimental Mormons, exegetical Mormons, philosophical Mormons, and barnyard Mormons.
Said a sentimental Mormon: "Polygamy with us is as sacred as baptism. It is for children, who are the heritage of God. The more children we have, the richer and move blessed we are; for we can take our children with us into heaven, and be blessed with them forever. I've three wives and twenty-seven children, and I'll die in the penitentiary before I'll give them up." So saying, he opened a drawer of his desk and took out a bulging packet of portraits, which he spread across my lap and across both arms of my chair, while I took the rest in my hand. One caught my fancy, a dainty lass of seventeen, wide-browed and fair, with the look of a Perugino angel. "A dear, sweet girl," said Abou ben Brigham. "Polygamous child. And I tell you, sir, if Congress knew what splendid children are born in polygamy, we’d soon see an end of this cruel persecution." Another oily sentimentalist proudly whipped open his watch, where lurked a composite photograph of his wives. Such call plural marriage "the supreme exaltation of earthly existence, and the sole key to highest heaven." Hence the Mormon definition of happiness: forty feet on a fender.
The exegetical Mormon sleeps with a Holy bible beneath his pillow. Being a logbook of spiritual progress, the Scripture reflects the successive stages of psychical evolution which produced it. Polygamy prevailing in old Israel, you find no condemnation of it in the Pentateuch; polygamy disappearing from the Semitic social order, you find no mention of it in the gospel; neither is monogamy, distinctly commanded there. And this is most unfortunate. For never will you persuade a Brighamite to call Christian marriage a lily sprung out of the mire. He "believes his Bible from cover to cover," and finding no explicit mention of the pale, pure lily, makes himself a filthy mud gospel from the muck and slime at its root. Nothing can exceed the glibness of his Biblical citations. The Book, forsooth, has turned him a pious knave. To break law is to "live his religion." When he tells the wife of his bosom that he is about to fetch home a concubine, he puts on a sweet, smug front, and says, "Deane, I 'in resolved to live closer to my church and my God." She demurs? Not for long. He will open the sacred volume, and read her a thing or two. This is a commentary on the doctrine of an infallible, inerrant, and verbally inspired divine book, every part of which is as good as every other.
The philosophical Mormon prates long and loud of preexistence and the bright world above us. Human souls, he will argue, had a life of their own ere they entered the body. That magnificent welter of white clouds amid the snowcapped mountain crags is crowded with untabernacled spirits longing to enter upon corporeal existence. Merciful, then is plural marriage which provides in roundest number the fleshly coils they crave. Suppose a man take a wife; suppose the wife die; suppose the man marry again. Then, beyond a doubt the man must be wedded to both in paradise; for Mormons are joined together for time and eternity. If polygamy is right in Heaven, it must a fortiori be right on earth. “Quod erat demonstrandum.”
The sociological Mormon would floor you with statistics. There are more women than men. Unspeakably sad, says he, were it not for polygamy. Curse on his hypocrisy! See what polygamy means. Here are four sisters married to one man; yonder mother and daughter share the love of a bishop; while just over the way, a priest of the order of Melchizedek has lately espoused the granddaughter of his second wife. And what, think you, will be he moral possibilities of children bred of such unions and reared in such homes?
Now the barnyard Mormon keeps this to his honor: he owns the truth. He crassly confesses the creed of the mews. But of the barnyard Mormon the less said the better.
Are these, then, five wholly distinct and separate classes of Mormons? Bless you, no! For the last includes each or all of the others. Mormons, like Gentiles, are moved by mingled motives, —one compels, another condones. Sin wears the varied robe of hypocrisy. Yet this applies only to men. And, Heaven save us, what of the women? They reason alike, and they reason thus: Polygamous wives shall be queen in Elysium. Acquiescence in the husband's plural marriage or plural marriages mounts to the very pinnacle of virtues. Besides, once in, there is never a hope of escape. Then it is only to hold a high head, to land this vice, to beat back the shame of it.
Polygamy, remember, is not abolished; it is only suspended. To the holy apostles I said: "Suppose, sirs, the day of relief should come; suppose the federal government should absolve you from your pledge: what then?" "Then," replied the holy apostles, "we'll go straight back to polygamy!" And this in America! I felt for my fez. Yet think! These vile Asiatics brag big of their patriotism. They have filched from heaven a "revelation" which pronounces the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence to be inspired documents. On the Fourth of July, they parade a Goddess of Liberty surrounded by polygamous children representing the states of the Union. "The American people," they say, "have killed our prophet, bombarded our cities, burned our Temple, stoned our elders, and hounded us across the continent; but, spite of all that persecution, we love them still. We feel to say, God forgive them; they know not what they do."
Say unto such they lie. Quote in retort the inspired utterance of Apostle Orson Pratt: "The kingdom of God [id est, the Mormon church] is an order of government established by divine authority. It is the only legal government that can exist in any part of the universe. All other governments are illegal and unauthorized. Any people attempting to govern themselves by laws of their own making or by officers of their own appointment are in direct rebellion against the kingdom of God." Look back to 1861. Said Brigham Young: "The people of the North are praying to God to destroy the people of the South. The people of the South are praying to God to destroy the people of the North. I say Amen to both prayers." These Utah patriots refused for two years to recognize the territorial government, and impudently convened their own congress instead. For many a day they took oath of vengeance upon the United States government. They drove out the first territorial officers. They called Lincoln's assassination the justice of God. They refused admission to Johnson's army. The nation's flag has floated at half-mast in Salt Lake City on Independence Day; it has been dragged in the dust by a Mormon mob. By their own confession, the Saints sought statehood because they "could better redress their grievances inside the Union than outside it."
Pierce the trailing fog of Jesuitic falsehood, and you find the Mormon theocracy still awaiting the day of its triumph, still delighting in hallowed sensuality, still lusting for conquest. That is the meaning of the enormous scheme of colonization. State after state falls victim; all will at last be theirs. Then what holds the storm in leash? "It is fear, little hunter, it is fear."
Lord Rosebery has lately remarked that the Mormons are Boers, the Gentiles Uitlanders, and Utah another South Africa. How perfect the parallel! From the very first the Latter Day Saints have been farmers; from the first their foes have been miners. And the problem is precisely the problem of the present day Transvaal: a state laden with inconceivable mineral treasure is crippled, halted, and dwarfed by the tyranny of an unprogressive race. The Mormon, like Oom Paul, is a "thorn in the hand of Destiny."
Now when two peoples fall foul of each other, the quicker they make trial of strength, the better for both. As with Boer, so with Mormon: the Saint must shortly be beaten; and, very fortunately, he keeps a white flag handy, with a convenient doctrinal beanpole to fly it when needed. Hammered hard enough, he will receive a "revelation; " the revelation will bid him submit. Then how pliable, and at last how feeble, this monster! The Mormon was once commanded to take many wives; then commanded to discard all but one. "God gave us that precious privilege," he says, " and afterward took it from us, because we had not sufficiently availed ourselves of it." The gods of Utah are continually changing their minds; they have always their ears to the ground.
Let us make short shrift of polygamy. Let us promptly cease winking at crime and at treason, for there is no mercy in temporizing sentimentality. “He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow." We must immediately frame a constitutional amendment, prohibiting polygamy in every part of the United States. That will throw all such cases squarely upon the federal courts, where they belong. Two things will happen the Gentiles will soon outnumber the Mormons; the Mormon empire will disintegrate.