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They have founded their Jerusalem in a Holy Land wonderfully like the original. Like Gennesaret Lake Utah is a body of fresh water emptying by a river Jordan into a Dead Sea without outlet and intensely saline. The Saints find their Edomites and Philistines in the Indians of the desert, whose good will they can only keep by perpetual tribute under the less humiliating guise of presents (as necessary as the backsheesh you give to a Bedouin, or the ransom you pay to a brigand), and in the Gentile troops of Uncle Sam. The climate is a photographic copy of the Judaean ; the thirsty fields must be irrigated through long seasons of rainless, cloudless heat, while the ridges of Lebanon, here called the Wahsatch, are covered with snow. The timberless plains, the wooded mountain gorges of Judaea are here, and here are the summer-shrunken streams, the dry beds or “wadies,” which mark the path of the Syrian traveller. In the City of Salt Lake biblical imagery is perpetually recalled to the mind by the low adobe houses, which resemble the clay dwellings of Jewish times, and by the thick refreshing shade of irrigated gardens, where the inmates of the houses rest from the heat of the day, and slake their thirst with the delicious juice of that most oriental among fruits, the melon, which grows as luxuriantly here as in Palestine. I have elsewhere referred to the striking illustration of that passage, “He turneth men's hearts as the rivers of water are turned,” when in such a garden I saw the master leading the precious liquid with his foot to the rootlets of some favorite plant by a little extempore channel from the main trenches. Nature, in Utah, having repeated the physical conditions of Palestine as closely as she ever repeats any of her work, has been assisted to the utmost by the energies of man. Mormonism is intended to be a theocracy like the Jewish. Mormonism is a theocracy so far as human agency can make one. The Mormons have shown what can be made of the old Puritan idea carried out consistently to its ultimate conclusions. If the Jewish notions of theology are good for the nineteenth century, they have reasoned, why not the Jewish theory of government? Both being equally of Divine ordinance for the Jews; and one being insisted on as binding upon the conscience of the nineteenth century, why not the other? The Puritans, equally with the Mormons, assented to the conclusiveness of this logic, and attempted to imitate the Jewish theocracy in their government of the early New England communities, quoting the Old Testament to any extent in support of their civil ordinances for the compulsory observance of Sabbath (as all Christians with Judaistic tendencies love to call Sunday); their commission of penal authority to the hands of clergymen, deacons, and other ecclesiastical officers; their whole code of religious pains and penalties. But the Puritans broke down in one important particular where the Mormons have triumphantly gone on. They lacked one essential piece of the theocratic machinery—the supernatural. They had no prophets; no miracle-workers; none endowed with the gifts of healing and of tongues. They had a very rampant devil to be sure; and witches innumerable, who in partnership did innumerable grievous deviltries and sore witcheries ; but those were all on the debit side of their theocracy — a supernatural which belonged to somebody else, and represented the stock in trade of a hostile house. Thus they came gradually to find that a Jewish theocracy was not adapted to modern times; that is, their children so found it — and little by little, the substitution of here a piece and there a piece of governmental enginery resulted in quite an enlightened system of Republicanism, such as prevails in the greater part of New England at this day. If it were not the sorrowful fact that men's religious ideas are a matter of much less essential consequence to them than their ideas of material well-being; and that they will worry along with a spiritual system that does not fit, a great while after they would have found intolerable a municipal or a digestive system, or even a pair of boots of the same character, the inapplicability of the Jewish theocracy to an era of Christianity and civilization would have been discovered at the same time with that of the theocracy; and then we should have had no Mormonism. The Mormons have been better off than the Puritans. Through superior gifts of inspiration and faith, or, as skeptics prefer to say, of “cheek” and credulity, they have acquired a supernatural which works as well as any in modern ages. They have not an empty shrine like the Puritan theocracy; their divinity has descended to the tripod, and his presence fills the Temple. They are not compelled to put up with the meagre make-shift of a few petty selectmen and deacons. They have wealth of exorcists, and speakers in unknown tongues: the former being as numerous as the Saints possessed of powerful animal magnetism ; the latter, as they are not compelled to translate, susceptible of indefinite multiplication. They have prophets and apostles whose imposition of hands is infallible; some of them are said by the ungodly to take away whatever they lay their hands on, be it portable property or insupportable pains; they have seers who wait on the Lord and are visited by angels; but a rule prevails similar to that posted on the walls of some public institutions, and none of the waiters are permitted to receive anything from visitors, except the head-waiter Brigham. In other words, though the doctrine of open communication between earth and heaven is recognized by the Saints, the only person in the Church who can become the recipient of infallible revelations is the President. With his permission, however, Heber Kimball 1 or General Wells, his colleagues, may act as his proxy. The supernatural element is used with comparative infrequency. The fact that they possess it is, generally, enough for the Mormons. Now and then, on occasions of great excitement, — like the anti-Gentile assemblies 1 This assertion was written before Kimball died, but probably holds good for any successor he may have in the co-presidency. It may be as well, to avoid the necessity of any further explanation on the subject, to say here once for all that the entire
Appendix supposes Kimball still living, and no substantial misapprehension will occur to any reader keeping this fact in mind.
during Johnston's occupation, for instance, — a Saint is suddenly inspired to speak in an unknown tongue. A friend of mine, present at a sort of camp-meeting called together near Nephi in the year 1857, heard one of the saints address the audience to great apparent edification for nearly ten minutes, in language purporting to be that of an ancient Lamanite tribe, called the “Children of Glawdulgrum.” My friend took down on the back of an old letter (the only note-book which happened to be convenient) a few snatches from the part which, as he said, interested him as much as any of it. I give one snatch: — “Kravighil Karoom Roeptepetla hrancobolomei degesh mapsasalbonor. Hokopariini Képtepénil senkandra. Moipsøpāgath genendlis loludógro tolla? Kedepôrkomal untinu pegesh sokathdolgoni. Nenopétemi lalaptágro ebo-dungrüno. Oheki degesh Wi was 1 Wi was Moepne Karoom? Mopalpârtogos lubébe bottolob lupete bolobilandro 2 Manapalbonor Kravighesseros Wi, bagamolu, penetebangroni—solugheldepinpin Wi was Wi was 1 Hrancobolomei degesh epsekenkorugu kragash. Molu nongodógragon 2 Otse degesh — Wi was Wi was 1” The therapeutic imposition of hands and the exorcism of evil spirits are supernatural gifts oftener employed; and their exercise has been attended with really marvelous results in well-authenticated cases of nervous and mental disease, such as chorea, epilepsy, neuralgia, hysteria, periodic mania, and the like — whose cures, however, the ungodly classify with the phenomena of animal magnetism acting upon susceptible organizations. Of the more startling class of miracles, those seeming to contravene some established law of nature and verifiable by direct experience, the Saints are properly chary. Brigham Young's splendid executive talents insure revelation from falling into disrepute, since a project which he decides to have accomplished, even in circumstances apparently the most unfavorable to its realization, is either inherently so feasible or carried through by such tact and force of will, that his followers have no difficulty in believing that he acts under Divine guidance. Possessing the supernatural as the credential and prop of its authority, the Mormon theocracy wields more unlimited power than any despotism on the globe. Here again it is a copy of the Jewish. As the High-priest, after consulting the Urim and Thummim, was infallible, and to be disobeyed only on pain of death or being cut off from one's people, so is Brigham in any case, for he carries his Urim and Thummim in his own breast—a judgment perpetually flooded with divine light, and always accessible. He is therefore the concentrated will, on all subjects which he chooses to assume the right of deciding, of more than one hundred thousand people. He nominally occupies no despotic place. Many a Mormon will indignantly deny that his power is any more absolute than that of the President of the United States. The external shows of Republicanism are so far preserved that the unthinking part of the population really imagine themselves under a free government. Their head is a president, not an emperor; but Louis Napoleon might be glad if his supremacy over the French were a fraction of that wielded by Brigham Young over the Mormons. His acts are called neither ukases, nor pronunciamentos, nor decrees; but no Asiatic tyrant ever issued such irresistible expressions of his will as does Brigham in publishing the orders of the Church. He, ostensibly, is nothing but the Church's mouth-piece; yet as the Church has no other mouth-piece, and the Church is absolute, Brigham Young is the most indisputable tyrant on earth. In Japan — hitherto supposed the ideal representative of a pure despotism—the supreme power is weakened by division; the spiritual and the temporal rulers may fall out and the people get their own; but Brigham Young, under the skillfully painted disguise of “the Church,” is Tycoon and Mikado in one; he holds in his hand the gathered heart-strings and purse-strings of the whole nation, — the wires which control and move the mechanism of their entire interests for time and for eternity. A page of illustration is worth a chapter of mere statement. Let me. suppose my reader a subject of the Mormon government, and take him through the career which every such an one is liable to run; showing him the nature of the theocracy by the manner in which it may legitimately act upon the individual. I will expose him to no exceptional hardships. I will make him the victim of no peculiar oppressions, such as result in every nation — even in our own sometimes, as we must blushingly acknowledge — to the subordinate who incurs the dislike of the powers that be. He shall suffer only from the natural workings of the Mormon system — in most respects as all Mormons suffer daily—in all respects as some,one of them suffers every month or every year. I shall exaggerate nothing; suppose nothing to have happened which has not happened in every essential point repeatedly, and been known to happen by the great body of the Mormons themselves. Mr. Polypeith (my reader can well excuse my hiding him under a Greek name when I have already gone so far as to take the liberty of Mormonizing him) determines that he will leave his pleasant home in the Eastern States, and cast in his lot with the Saints of the Salt Lake basin. He learns at the New York Agency, by one of whose officers he was converted, that a train of the brethren is expected to leave Atchison or Omaha early during the next month. He converts all his property into cash, save a couple of thousands which he spends in getting his own and his family's outfit. This consists of a large Plains' wagon with a canvas tilt, a load of furniture and provisions, a few cattle, and four mules whose value will be about doubled when they reach Salt Lake, or more than doubled if after they have drawn his wagon there he sends them on to California. The Polypeith family penetrate the Wahsatch by Emigration Cañon, and proceed to the public square, situated at the centre of the city. Here the Church, in the person of one of the presidents, or an elder appointed by Brigham, -perhaps, as happens on some occasions, though more rarely than in the early days of emigration, in the person of Brigham himself-meets Mr. Polypeith, makes him an address, and gives him the right hand of fellowship. He is then appointed quarters until he can look about him and prepare for his family permanent accommodations consistent with their circumstances, and the will of the Church. His wagon is unpacked, his goods are stored, and if it be warm weather, his cattle may be delivered to the charge of the Church herder, who makes a note of their marks and that afternoon takes them down to Church Island. After he has the dust washed out of his pores and the bruises of his jolting ride across the mountains have turned a healthy color, he receives a billet from the Church (Brigham), commanding him to report himself at the office in Prophet's Block at 11 o'clock A. M. on the following Tuesday. Obeying the mandate, he finds himself at the appointed time in a small plain room, like that appropriated by the recorder of deeds in a rural eastern county, where he is confronted with the Church in the shape of a peculiar but pleasant-looking man in pepper-and-salt clothes, who asks him a variety of questions, and with a younger man who puts down his answers in a sort of ledger, belonging, when at rest, on a shelf flanked by tin boxes. His name, age, and place of nativity are carefully noted; likewise those of his family, and their total number. Then the Church (still Brigham) desires to know the avocation he has pursued before leaving the States. He replies that he has of late kept a grocery, but was formerly a cabinet maker by trade—he thought of going on with the grocery business here. Where did he prefer to settle; in Salt Lake City or in one of the outer settlements —Nephi, Ogden, or Rush Walley, for instance? He had meant to settle in Salt Lake City — the chances for his kind of business would probably be better there; besides, there were greater advantages there of society and for the education of his children. The Church in pepper-and-salt takes an attitude of deep thought—hm —hm — will Mr. Clerk reach down from the shelf among the deed-boxes Book Bo The Church whispers—there is more thought. Mr. Polypeith waits in silent veneration until the Prophet speaks again. “Brother Polypeith — The Church, being as nearly as possible dependent on its own internal resources, is obliged to distribute them with discretion so as to use every brother to the very best advantage. The Church has no room for any more grocers in Zion itself. That branch of industry is abundantly stocked at present. Without prejudice to the right of changing his avocation at some future time, if he is still so drawn, and the Lord opens the way to another grocery, Brother Polypeith may be of use to the Church in his former profession. Zion needs another cabinet maker. Or (Book B is consulted again), Brother Polypeith may find occupation, if he have agricultural leanings, in the development of the indigo of Zion. Or, there is a grist-mill sorely needed at Tuilla. But really the best opening seems to be that of the furniture.” The result is that before he has at all worn off the novelty of his position—standing a full-grown American citizen of means and family, to receive absolute dictation upon the method he shall adopt to employ