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MORMONS


573


MORMONS


Btatohoofl, and organized the Territory of Utah, nam- ing it after a local tribe of Indians. Brigliani Young was appointed governor by President Millard Fill- more (September, 1850) and four years later was reap- pointed by President Franklin Pierce. The period between 1850 and 185S, during which the Mor- mons defied the authority of the Federal Govern- ment, is one of the least creditable chapters of their history.

One reason given for the persistent hostility to the Mormons was the dislike caused by the acrimoni- ous controversy over polygamy or plural marriage. Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, claimed to have received a revelation and a command ordering him to re-introduce plural marriage and restore the polygamous condition tolerated among the pre-Judaeic tribes. Polygamy now became a principle of the creed of the Latter-Day Saints, and, though not en- forced by the laws of the Mormon hierarchy, was preached by the elders and practised by the chiefs of the cult and by many of the people. The violation by the Mormons of the monogamous law of Christianity and of the United States was brought to the attention of Congress, which prohibited under penalty of fine and imprisonment the perpetuation of the anti- Christian practice, refusing, however, to make the pro- hibition retroactive. The Mormons appealed to the Supreme Court, which sustained the action of Con- gress, and established the constitutionahty of the anti- polygamy statutes. The Latter-Day Saints, strangely enough, submitted to the decrees of Congress, unwit- tingly admitting by their submission that the revela- tion of their founder and prophet, Joseph Smith, could not have come from God. If the command to restore polygamy to the modern world was from on High, then, by submitting to the decision of the Supreme Court, the Mormon hierarchy reversed the apostolic proclamation and acknowledged it was better "to obey man than to obey God".

So long as Utah remained a territory there was much bitterness between her Mormon and non-Mor- mon citizens, the latter termed "Gentiles". The Mormons submitted, however, and their president, Wilford Woodruff, issued a "Manifesto", which, being accepted by the Latter-Day Saints in General Confer- ence, withdrew the sanction of the Church from the further solemnization of any marriages forbidden by the law of the land. One of the results of this action was the admission of Utah into the L^nion of States on 6 January, 1896.

Instances of the violation of the anti-polygamy laws subsequent to the date of the "Manifesto" having been brought to light, the present head of the Church, President Joseph F. Smith, in April, 1904, made the following statement to the General Conference assem- bled at Salt Lake City, and it was endorsed by resolu- tion and adopted by unanimous vote:

" OFFICIAL ST.4TEMBNT.

" Inasmuch as there are numerous reports in circula- tion, that plural marriages have been entered into, con- trary to the official declaration of President Woodruff, of September 24th, 1890, commonly called the 'Mani- festo', which was issued by President Woodruff and adopted by the Church at its General Conference October 6th, 1S90, which forbade any marriages vio- lative of the law of the land ; I, Joseph F. Smith, Presi- dent of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, hereby affirm and declare that no such mar- riages have been solemnized with the sanction, con- sent, or knowledge of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and

" I hereby announce that all such marriages are pro- hibited, and if any officer or member of the Church shall assume to solemnize or enter into any such mar- riage, he will be deemed in transgression against the


Church, and will be liable to be dealt with according to the rules and regulations thereof, and excommuni- cated therefrom.

Joseph F. Smith,

President of the Church of Jesus Christ of

Latter-day Saints."

In an " Address to the World ", adopted at the Gen- eral Conference of April, 1907, President Smith and his counsellors, John R. Winder and Anthon H. Lund, in behalf of the Church, reaffirmed its attitude of obedience to the laws of Congress. The practice of plural marriage is indeed fast becoming a thing of the past.

Mormonism announces as one of its principal aims the preparation of a people for the coming of the Lord ; a people who will build the New Jerusalem, and there await His coming. The United Order, the means of preparation, is at present in abeyance, but the prelim- inary work of gathering Israel goes on, not to Zion proper (Jackson County, Missouri), but to the Stakes of Zion, now numbering sixty-one, most of them in Utah; the others are in Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, Oregon, Canada, and Mexico. A stake is a division of the Mormon Church, organized in such a way as to constitute almost a "church" in itself; in each stake are subdivisions called wards, also fully or- ganized. The area of a stake is usually that of a county, though the extent of territory differs according to population or other conditions. Each stake is pre- sided over by three high-priests, who, with twelve high councilors, constitute a tribunal for the adjudication of differences among church members within their jurisdiction. Each ward has a bishopric of three, a lower tribunal, from whose decisions appeals may be taken to the high council. The extreme penalty in- flicted by the church courts is excommunication. In each stake are quorums of high-priests, seventies, and elders, officers and callings in the Melchisedech priest- hood: and in each ward, quorums of priests, teachers, and deacons, who officiate in the Aaronic priesthood. This lesser authority ministers in temporal things, while the higher priesthood ministers in things spirit- ual, which include the temporal.

Presiding over the entire Church is a supreme coun- cil of three high-priests, called the First Presidency, otherwise known as the president and his counsellors. Next to these are the twelve apostles, equal in author- ity to the First Presidency, though subject to and act- ing under their direction. Whenever the First Presi- dency is dissolved, which occurs at the death of the president, the apostles take the government and reor- ganize the supreme council — always, however, with the consent of the Church, whose members are called to vote for or against this or any other proposition sub- mitted to them. The manner of voting is with the uplifted right hand, women voting as well as men. Besides the general conferences held semi-annually and the usual Sabbath meetings, there are stake and ward conferences, in which the consent of the people is obtained before any important action is taken. The special function of the apostles is to preach the Gospel, or have it preached, in all nations, and to set in order, whenever nece.ssary, the affairs of the entire Mormon Church. Among the general authorities there is also a presiding patriarch, who, with his subordinates in the various stakes, gives blessings to the people and comforts them with sacred ministrations. The first council of the Seventies, seven in number, assist the twelve apostles, and preside over all the quorums of seventies. Upon a presiding bishopric of three devolves the duty of receiving and disbursing the revenues of the Church, and otherwise managing its business, under the general direction of the first presidency.

The Mormon Church is supported by the tithes and