Loyal Latter-day Saints keep telling themselves that plural marriage was withdrawn from them by the Lord in order to save the church. Mormons today however, euphemize, obfuscate and blur the real Christianized, federal tyranny of that situation however. The whole truth is, the Utah State constitution specifically outlaws plural marriage. It was a condition for statehood dictated by Congress. Quite in spite of this enlightened century’s new, brown, black, red, yellow and tan little Mormons in distant countries in which plural marriage is the social and legal norm, the lily-white, American Mormon church leadership is still parked long-term in Utah, and cannot condone or author any statement along the lines that plural marriage–the patriarchal order–is a valid, Biblical concept. This is so even if they do not permit its institution in the church as a practice, not even in countries abroad where it may be entirely legal and socially dominant. This puts the Mormon church in the ironic and dogmatically awkward position of being the only “Christian” missionary effort in the Muslim or developing, animist/polygamist worlds that wholeheartedly agrees with them on the principle of plural marriage, yet must instead tell potential converts that they cannot join the church because they have more than one wife. The American punishment for advocating any such Biblical correctness under US state and federal laws, is the dissolution of the LDS corporate charter, and the confiscation of every lick of money and property the LDS church owns in the state of Utah. That’s for openers. The LDS church is literally held hostage by the federal government even today.
The federal government directly owns or controls some 80-90% of the state of Utah to this day. Salt Lake County, its most populated area, has struggled to maintain a majority Mormon representation since the mid-1980’s, and Salt Lake City itself has an even lower percentage of active, genuine Mormons in it. The concept of a Utah “Mormon” rebellion or secession from the United States of America, is rather unlikely–even if the Mormon hierarchy actually ever wanted that. Though federal intrusion into territorial and then state political matters began as a crusade against Mormonism, it remains however, the nature of the federal government, that once it takes some portion of your rights or property, it never gives it back. Once the federal government sets a precedent of subverting Constitutional rights in one area, in one circumstance, with one set of people, it relentlessly wedges itself through that little crack in the nation’s protective door of Constitutionalized rights and liberties, until it is forced open wide and the feds rush in to take all the loot, all the booze, all the women, and all the fun. (Figuratively, and literally.)
Mormonism had to choose between statehood, or taking a daily beating while slowly being choked to death. The Mormons had to decide between defending the Biblical practice of plural marriage, sustaining the way of all the Biblical patriarchs, or achieving some measure of national acceptance and a long-term truce with the Christian Nation. Mormonism chose statehood, the truce, and some level of American toleration. In effect, any time LDS authorities are forced by clear Biblical scripture to teach that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, all the great Biblical prophets, took multiple wives and did so with God’s blessing, it could be considered a crime against the United States of America. For more biting irony, in today’s world, there are at present, a score and better of these selfsame United States who have authorized the wedding of avowed and practicing sodomites, or even surgically-altered, pseudo-sodomites. I don’t want to burst anyone’s delusional Bible bubble, but sodomy is indeed specifically banned as an affront to God in the Bible. God hadn’t apparently even considered the transgendered issue, though it would be safe to assume it’s implied under the same clause. I’m not saying stone them all. I’m just saying that plural marriage on the other hand, is clearly Biblically sanctioned, expressly ordained specifically and repeatedly by God, and practiced by the greatest Biblical prophets.
Sodomy, and sodomic marriage is legal. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses would all go to prison for life, their property would be confiscated and their funds would be seized. I’m not judging. I’m just sayin’…
Admittedly, “polygamy” is but one principle, one little device, a gimmick, that Christianity rigged against the Mormons as a constant and ongoing reminder of who really is the master of American religion. It’s not a big enough hindrance to destroy the Mormon church as an institution, but it causes enough pain to tame the heretical Mormon hordes and let them know who’s in charge. Mormonism has had to go-along to get-along on that one issue. They had it crammed down their throats and were forced to swallow it. That’s how federalized, nationalized Christianity “got” Mormonism. That’s how they stuck it to Joe Smith’s rabble in the end. But outlawing plural marriage is not really the point of anti-Mormon legislation or LDS persecution in the first place. It wasn’t even a factor from the first persecutions connected to Joseph Smith’s “First Vision,” his production of the Book of Mormon, and well into Smith’s assassination at Carthage. Barely an inkling of the plural marriage issue had been leaked to the public at the time of Smith’s murder. Indeed, that first dribble of a leak was the whole point of destroying the Nauvoo Expositor. But the Expositor and plural marriage wasn’t the reason Joseph Smith was killed, and it wasn’t the real reason the United States of America eventually sent an Army out to Utah to get Mormonism under federal control. No, the reason for Christian America’s systematic enabling of Mormon persecution was the Mormon voting block.
Vol. V Springfield, Friday, November 13, 1840. No. 37.
The Missouri Republican and Quincy Whig both assert that the Hon. Richard M. Young and Stephen A. Douglass, Esq., were at Nauvoo, in Hancock county, on the day of the election, and it is insinuated by these Federal prints that they “induced two hundred Mormon voters to erase the name of A. Lincoln from the Whig electoral ticket, and substitute the name of James H. Ralston in its stead.” Now, for part of the above, every citizen of Springfield, can answer for its falsity. Mr. Douglass was in this place on the day of the election near the polls all day.
The Quincy Whig speaks of the erasure of Mr. Lincoln’s name as “a trick played upon “two hundred Mormon voters.” We do not view it in this light. It is very certain that Mr. Lincoln runs near 200 votes behind his ticket in Hancock county, and it is equally as certain that Judge Ralston runs near 200 ahead of his ticket, but this the voters had a perfect right to do. The “Mormon voters,” as well as all other voters have the right to vote for whomsoever they please, and no editor has the right to insinuate that any voter is governed by improper motives, or has been “tricked.” as this Whig editor calls it….
Now, the dynamics of these initial courtships between Gentile politicians and the Mormon vote were such that the winners immediately realized the Mormons voted as a block, and winning this block would determine the whole election. Soon, the losers realized that only by turning the entire populace against the Mormons on any and all levels possible would neutralize this phenomenon. This was done by Satanizing, villainizing, and conspiricizing them, first along religious grounds, and then more broadly, along the lines of a threat to personal “freedoms.” Each target constituency was preached a cleverly customized threat message: the pious were told that Mormons would persecute and soon destroy your favorite local churches. The rowdy were cautioned that Mormons would not let you drink on Sunday or ride through town shooting your guns in the air, and planned to close all the whore houses and saloons. Whatever precious “freedom” you feared losing most, that was what the Mormons were billed as trying to take from you. It didn’t matter if on the one hand, Mormonism was alleged to stifle the practice of your favorite vice, or on the other, represented a looming imposition upon your personal virtue. The ploy was personalized for each special interest group, and worked across the whole social, political, and ideological spectrum.
Mitt Romney, at this writing, a current leading Republican presidential candidate, is on the receiving end of heaps of old-style anti-Mormon rhetoric. Essentially, the Tea Party/Religious Right types still seem to prefer anyone but a Mormon, even though Romney consistently polls as the only Republican candidate capable of decidedly beating his incumbent opponent, their hated, Godless Commie, and possible closet Muslim, president Barack Hussein Obama. Romney’s first go at a presidential candidacy in the last election found his Republican primary opponents rallying the Religious Right against him as a possible anti-Christ. Late in the game when it became clear that Republican, Born-Again, fellow-challenger, Mike Huckabee, was falling off the charts, rather than cut a deal with his third-place standing and adding his gravitas to the strong, second-running Romney for a VP shot on Romney’s ticket, the ordained minister, pastor Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and direct legacy of the original Mormon-hating Tennessee hillbilly rednecks, basically told Mitt to feck his smiley Mormon arse off. The reason for this should be obvious to both the Christian and the Mormon observer if you’ve been paying any attention to my ramblings thus far. The vast majority of Mike Huckabee’s church or political constituency, the two of which are one and the same, devoutly believe Mitt Romney is a cultist who worships the devil. They don’t want a cultist in the White House. Sanctioning a Mormon attempt at taking over a Christian America in any capacity would be the kiss of death for our hip and happenin’ Pastor Mike. Even dealing with a Mitt Romney as VP candidate on a Huckabee ticket would only convince Huckabee’s hillbilly faithful that the Mormons plan to snuff Pastor Pastor Mikey right after the election and put Mitt in the Oval Office by force of violence.
Rather than taking a Romney/Huckabee team to the Republican National Convention that almost certainly would have won the nomination, Mike Huckabee took a talk-show gig with Fox News instead, where he could hobnob with his important Christian guests, hang out with famous country music singers, and impose his bass guitar upon a litany of motel-lounge-level pickup bands. This consolidated the front-running Republican ticket into the team of John McCain, doddering old RhINO, and an unelectable, but busty, Born-Again Sarah Palin. The McCain/Palin team decidedly lost the contest for the Republican Party in the general election.
While Mitt Romney takes crap from the Left about his smarmy Mormon ways and insipid personal purity, the Right denounces Mitt Romney as a “progressive” and a “liberal.” This sort of flies in the face of the Right’s other claims that he’s part of a creeping Mormon fascism plotting to take over the nation and subjugate all of its Christians, but it works for them. Mitt’s father before him, George Romney, in spite of a good start, a good reputation, tremendous popularity during his long run as governor of Michigan, and a well-funded organization, was wiped right out of his 1968 attempt at the presidency, for similar reasons.
In Mitt’s father’s case, the LDS leadership seemed as critical of his politics as did the Religious Right. The hawks in and out of his own church beat him up severely for claiming the Viet Nam war was unnecessary and the product of “brainwashing” by the military-industrial complex, intimating that the “domino theory” was essentially a vanity of the Right Wing power structure. George Romney was square into the Civil Rights Movement on top of this, which gained him derision again from the Southern rednecks and Northern “Conservatives,” who still make up a large part of the Republican base. George Romney also took a slap in the face and a warning from apostle Delbert L Stapley to shut up about advancing the cause of the negroes, else the Lord might strike him down. Still, throughout his political career, particularly as a gubernatorial candidate in Michigan, a state with 700,000 negroes in it, his opponents spread the rumor that Mormons believed God had declared negroes to be second-class citizens, doomed to be eternal servants—a tactic remarkably effective on a national and even state level given his open disagreement with LDS leadership on the subject and his fervent pro-civil rights activities. He was also constantly jabbed by the young and the hip, for talking and thinking like a preacher.
Romney’s campaign did often focus on his core beliefs; a Romney billboard in New Hampshire read “The Way To Stop Crime Is To Stop Moral Decay”. Dartmouth College students gave a bemused reaction to his morals message, displaying signs such as “God Is Alive and Thinks He’s George Romney”.
While George was far less beaten up by his detractors on purely Mormon terms than his son Mitt is today, the whole Mormon issue so complicated George’s national aspirations that even with the most successful run as governor in the history of the state of Michigan, he was out of the Republican presidential contest before it began in earnest. George Romney was also a victim of the Cleon Skousenite, Red-baiting, McCarthy-era, Right Wing, takeover of LDS culture in the late 50’s and 1960’s. George Romney was almost singular in his distain for the period’s Birch invasion, which formed an LDS Bircher aristocracy that took over both the church and the Republican Party. (Anyone who told Klingon Skousen and ignorant Utah hicks like Delbert Stapley where to stuff their theories is OK by me.) While it is often contended that his religion had nothing to do with George Romney’s failure to win the Republican presidential nomination, the fact of the matter is, the Right Wing of his own Republican party was so busy slapping him around for his enlightened social views that they never got down to openly castigating any of his specifically religious views.
Even though the present Republican sentiment from the Right is, “anyone but Mitt,” despite the favorable polls and a smooth running campaign that has escaped the bumbling, scandal-ridden, mouth-flapping, miss-stepping of his fellows in the primary race so far, Mitt Romney could have it far worse. Reed Smoot, the first Mormon senator from Utah State, even after a landslide election, went through years of grilling by Congressional committees, refusing to sustain his election and grant him a seat, though he was allowed to be seated silently, during the debates, and eventually won a sustaining vote from Congress. BH Roberts, noted LDS historian, some years previously, was elected to the House of Representatives, and in his case, he was never allowed to be seated.
It would be insightful to recall that it wasn’t until 1960, with the election of an incredibly likeable and popular John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a war-hero, and American son of a beloved bootlegger, so respected and just plain adored by the general population, that the nation’s Protestant bias against Roman Catholics was finally overcome enough to elect a Papist to the presidency.
True, the sort of quibbling hassle the Christian Nation gives Mitt Romney, or even a Jon Huntsman or Harry Reid today, is nothing like the severe persecution of the old days. However, many of modern Christian excuse-makers use phraseology like, “The myth of Persecuted Mormon Innocence,” to mitigate their forefathers’ persecution of the early Latter-day Saints, by suggesting that first, Mormons don’t get persecuted any more, and second, that back when Latter-day Saints were the subjects of persecution, they brought it on themselves.
Mormon “Persecution Deniers” first, in reverse order that is, cite a litany of verifiable Mormon retaliations, cleverly omitting the Christian initiatory brutality that almost invariably prompted them. It allows the anti-Mormonist the pretense of honesty. It leaves their rapt Christian audience shivering over their apparently true tales of brutal, but inexplicable Mormon “atrocities.” It’s easy enough to omit the part where the Christians start the fight, and cut to the part where Mormons finish it as they attempt to liberate themselves from Christian oppression. Of course, in that order, it looks like the Mormons are the oppressors and instigators. Moreover, it looks like Mormons just enjoy heaping violence upon good Christians entirely out of the blue. This must be because they’re evil, the gullible Christian audience will conclude. No other explanation seems possible. Thus, these one-sided fables easily seem to prove that Mormons are the very sort of conquering devils they have been promised to be, and are simply out to kill Christians and take all their stuff.
Even the most honest and “enlightened” of the Christian apologists can’t resist trying to sugar-coat Christian aggression against the early Mormons by pointing out that Jesus would never get pissed off and start a regional war over defending his right to vote like the Mormons did. Jesus, they say, wouldn’t have shot back like Joe Smith did when the mobbers came to butcher Him. As these folks keep pointing out however, Joe Smith is not Jesus Christ. But as I often reply, he doesn’t have to be. The point of my analysis here is that the issue of just who is or isn’t a “true follower of Jesus” is irrelevant. Mormons were, and are, American citizens with Constitutional rights.
Christian aggressors also try to euphemize their instigation of violence against the early Mormons by alluding to vague “mobs,” and writing them off as some far-removed, backslidden, coincidental movement of the offended general population that religious leaders of the day only very reluctantly found associating with their goal to destroy Mormonism. These uncontrollable, inherently violent social cliques they say, are the non-religious portion of “Christian” society, spontaneously responding to Mormon despotism in their own ignorant fashion. Yet, virtually every single mobber to ever attack the Mormons had his name scribbled in the family Bible at birth, had been born and raised a “Christian,” and actual Christian ministers led them in deadly attacks against usually helpless Mormons–even in the regular and volunteer state militias. That’s like Pontius Pilate riding into the garden of Gethsemane with a cohort of troops, sword drawn, hacking his way up to Jesus shouting, “Kill the blasphemer! Death to the heretic!” and when his surrounding followers chop the Savior to pieces in direct obedience to this demand, then, Pilate asks for a bowl of water to wash his hands of the whole business.
The presupposition that American citizens have to present a valid Christian passport before being allowed to enter a polling place is the product of an inherent Christian bigotry and disloyalty to Constitutional, Republican government. This notion has little dissipated in American Christian circles to this day. How can it? It is an assumption that constitutes a central and intrinsic part of their religion. Even in the two most recent “Mormon” presidential campaigns, king-makers from the Religious right and candidates pandering to them, have openly stated that America is a Christian nation, and it should have a Christian president at its head. Only a Christian can properly govern a Christian nation they have openly argued, and God has ordained the office of the president be occupied by a disciple of Christ.
Even more mind boggling than the modern Christian’s continued ignorance of Constitutional principles, is the conspiratorial Christian brushoff of Joseph Smith’s execution by a Christian, clergy-sanctioned mob. Christian apologists continue to suggest that unpopular religions, like Mormons, Moonies, Hindus, Muslims, other non-Christians and heretics, have no expectation of due process in a Constitutionally Christian legal and political system. It is quite natural for the general population to rise up and kill you if you’re not flying the right gospel flag they maintain. This is your fault for not properly confining your belief system to Christian orthodoxy. What else did you expect? they pose, as they excuse the violence of their Christian ancestors—against Mormons or Indians or any of the traditional Christian “threats’ to Godly rule. Christians who confess their part in the assassination of Joseph Smith at all, do so as if it all evened-out since Smith was arrogant enough to arm himself. He knew he had it coming—he even had the gall to shoot back at the lynch mob his Christian neighbors had rallied up and mustered together to do him in. It just proves what a faker he was. Modern Christianity, with a straight face and sober resolve, openly portrays Joseph Smith’s attempt to defend himself against a mob of Christian killers as a vain and petty act of selfishness, or even a vainglorious rebellion against Christian justice.
Naturally, nobody describes Joseph Smith’s assassins as “Christians.” Mormons don’t, because they still think they are Christians, and that would only tarnish the name. Well, the name has been well-tarnished for two-thousand and more years so far: what’s a little more tarnish going to hurt? Christians weasel out of the mob’s thirst for Mormon blood and gore by declaring that the “mobs” obviously couldn’t be “Christians” because Christians don’t act like that. Well, sorry, but that’s exactly how they do act. Frequently. Repeatedly. Perpetually.
While everyone on all sides thinks it would be better to move along and get along, I wonder who they all think killed Joseph Smith then? Was it the large Muslim population of the American Midwest of the 19th century that rose up to stifle his religious rights? Was it the rabbis of the Northeast that screamed for Mormonism’s death from synagogue to synagogue? Was it the three Hindus and the couple of hundred Buddhists in the region that were behind all this murder and destruction?
No, it was the Christians.
Mormons as a people, have never been pacifists. We should all get that straight. That’s never been a tenet of the religion. A Mormon will take a bullet in the head for Jesus if it comes down to it, but all things being equal, a Mormon will earnestly try to dodge that bullet, and put one in the head of the guy shooting at them instead. Mormons figure, it’s really the guy starting the fight that Jesus would want taken out of this world.
No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.
Christian apologists who make the “myth of innocence” argument are essentially saying that Christians should be able to poke Mormons in the eye with a sharp stick at will, and if the Mormons don’t cheerfully offer a clear shot of the other one in response, it proves they’re frauds. I’m sure that makes sense to a Christian, since Christians have been poking out the eyes of heretics and accused sinners for millennia with impunity. They believe it’s their God-given right.
I shouldn’t need to refresh us all on the several Crusades, on Cromwell, on the Highland purges, on the Emperor Constantine’s vision of a crucifix glowing in the sky, and the words that came to him, “in this sign conquer,” after which he subjected most of the known world to his own personally defined and enforced “Christianity.” If you want to understand atrocities by Mormons upon Christians, you can’t pick the narrative up 1857 years into the story. You can’t automatically assume the Christians are the heroes of the tale, as you have been trained since a toddler in Sunday School.
Christians were a despised and persecuted minority for their first three centuries. Christians were blamed for burning Rome and the same sort of general disloyalty Mormons, Jews, and other persecuted religious minorities have been labeled with for ages. Mormons by contrast are barely two centuries into that progression, but it’s not the Pagans in charge of the government this time around, it’s the Christians. And for a Christian, payback is a bitch. Christian payback is in fact, an almost two-thousand-year-old tradition, handed down from father to son to son to son to son….
In its short history on this planet, Mormonism has a handful of angry frontier dustups to apologize for. This much is undeniable. So I’ll just do my apologizing at now, on behalf of all Mormanity: Sorry.
Christian America broke its toe kicking Mormonism’s arse for almost two-hundred years. The Mormons put up a good fight, but in the end they got slapped silly and cried “uncle.” That’s essentially what the record shows. Go ahead. Blame your broken toe on the Mormons. Times were hard. Mormon arses were harder. And you started it. Now, you guys, Christianity, how about apologizing for your 2011 years of wholesale genocide all around the globe? No? Not willing to make that moral comparison? Sound a little too morally un-equivalent for you?
I refer you to: http://bible.cc/matthew/7-3.htm, a little advice from our beloved Matthew about a mote and a beam.
The destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor by Joseph Smith’s Nauvoo city council was clearly the legal match that lit up the Illinois Mormon war in 1844. Of this action, Illinois Governor Thomas Ford, advised Smith that they would have been better off organizing a mob (the same sort of mob that killed Smith shortly afterward) and effect his purpose of silencing the newspaper in that fashion, rather than by putting the color of the law onto it. Frankly, that’s the way you got things done in the frontier at the time. You fought it out. You came to blows if necessary. If that didn’t work you shot it out.
America is fine with hero-worshipping the poor frontier settler against the railroad barons, the cattle barons, the oil barons, who stole their land, murdered, oppressed, and drove them out. The theater crowd rises to its feet and applauds when the little band of immigrants rises up and defends itself against the big bosses, their hired gunslingers and thugs. Put Joe Smith and a small settlement of Mormons in the hero’s role, and suddenly the movie isn’t so popular.
Public opinion is easily swayed, and today’s notion of a biased press has nothing on the outright advocacy press that prevailed in Joseph Smith’s day. Mormon attempts to mail reports and journals outside their own immediate areas of control were systematically put down by universal loss or destruction of their mailings, and then when carted personally to outlying regions and distributed, Mormon newspapers and other documents were utterly destroyed by gangs of persecutors who followed minutes behind their distribution efforts. The mob not only did the dirty deeds, but it controlled how the story was told about those deeds.
Reports, records, commentaries on the various Mormon wars and persecutions are not scarce or difficult to obtain today however. Just Google it, as my kids say. Unfortunately, Mormon historical records are just so contradictory as to be unhelpful to the naïve and uninitiated. You can pick and choose which you care to believe and make Joseph Smith or Brigham Young or the whole church glow in whatever color light suits your prejudices. And the truth be known, BH Robert’s LDS authorized Comprehensive History of the Church, and The Rise and Fall of Nauvoo, do a far better job of factually recording the arguments on all sides than the anti-Mormon efforts, or even allegedly neutral scholars like Fawn Brody, in her No Man Knows My History. But Slogging through Roberts is hard work—lots of footnotes. Lots of actual statements from actual people with actual names, dates, times, witnesses. Actual quotes from actual first-hand notes, letters, publications. Lots of follow-up. Lots and lots and lots of connecting all the dots. Not even most Mormons are that interested or motivated to burn that many brain cells in pure research, and most people in general are just too stupid or lazy to bother at all, even if they pretend to have an earnest desire to know the truth.
It has always been the people motivated by the extreme hate and fear of Mormonism who have written and researched the most about it. Conversely, it has been the self-serving Mormon who has chosen to do the bulk of the counter-research and defense of the religion and its history. Both of these primarily religious extremes more often than not miss the very simple truth of the issue one way or another out of blind ignorance, self-interest, an anal-stage fixation on self-martyrdom, and an inflated sense of “chosenness.” The third group of Mormon researchers, in or out of the church itself, are the so-called “scholars,” who pretend to seek, record, and analyze the “facts.” The caveat there would be that they depend upon “known facts,” and “reliable records.” Re-lie the key word here, because facts are seldom known or knowable, and records are often made and kept and redacted by liars. They lie, and then lie again, or “re-lie.” Most Mormon histories are in that sense, very “re-liable.” Worse yet, is the academic’s standard defense of walking a pretended neutral line down the center of Mormon history, allowing all the factions to be a little bit right or wrong here or there, arguing the overall experience on a case-by-case basis. This is the biggest lie there is.
Given that religion is religion and you and I are not going to agree upon who is serving the devil in the ultimate, cosmic, universal sense, the fact is, from a legal, a civil and Constitutional perspective, Mormons have been basically in the right most of the time. Mormons had a Constitutional, God-given natural right to do what they wanted to do, live they way they wanted to live, believe what they wanted to believe, be who they wanted to be. These fundamental rights were infringed upon by an oppressive Christian social and political majority. These forces of the Christian Nation were on the wrong side of the legal, Constitutional, and even Beattitudinal arguments almost one-hundred percent of the time in their oppression of Mormonism from Joseph Smith’s first vision to Mitt Romney’s second run at the White House. In the final telling, it doesn’t matter a rat’s rectum if Joseph Smith was an earnest, but bogus impostor as a prophet or not. He had a right to pretend he talked to God, and anyone who wanted to believe it had a right to follow him, even Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman.
Furthermore, the one single time Mormonism lost a legal, Constitutional challenge was on the issue of plural marriage—a harmless social and religious contract between consenting adults that frankly is none of your bigoted Christian business. It’s certainly none of the government’s business. Anti-bigamy laws are really just anti-Mormon laws, unequally applied only to those who marry and co-habitate with their multiple sex partners, while permitting serial fornicators to continue to enjoy the fruits of marriage without any of the responsibility of marriage. The same Supreme Court that ruled Christians could define Biblically approved marital status for the non-Christian, also upheld the Dred Scott decision and gave us the “Jim Crow” era that justified racial bigotry via a similarly fallacious “separate but equal” rationale. It was a Supreme Court packed with Christian, hillbilly redneck southern justices.
Christianity’s zeal to eliminate the Mormon practice of multiple wifery really had nothing to do with Biblical interpretation or moral claims of Christian “enlightenment.” Christianity didn’t really care about the wives or the offspring of these perfectly happy and functional marriages, because its agents wholeheartedly destroyed these unions, imprisoned the family breadwinners and thus impoverished and left destitute their wives and children. Christian “reformers” systematically broke up the very families they pretended to care about. Christianity’s true interest in destroying Mormon plural marriage comes once again down to not allowing Mormons by the recruitment of significant numbers of eligible and fertile females into their communities, to rapidly go about out-producing and out-populating the influx of local Christians. Christianity was once again fighting for control over frontier land the Mormons had now made productive. Once again, gaining that control came down to circumventing the solid Mormon voting block.
And I guess that’s why I’ve assumed the role of abridging the Mormon historical record, gleaning out what I think would be most helpful for all sides of the Mormon question. Because, most anti-Mormon “history” is little more than Christian self-interested BS. This has been mindlessly countered by impassioned, “testimony-based” whimpering from Mormon defenders about how innocent and pure Joseph Smith and his band of merry men were, a woeful tale of generational victimhood designed almost exclusively to “convert” you. However, you don’t need to be “converted” to see exactly what was going on between American Christianity and early Mormons. But we don’t have to pick one or the other narrative on blind faith and just ignore contrary evidence we don’t like or doesn’t fit into the scheme we’ve already decided to believe. The truth remains, that every time some neutral investigator went into the Mormon experience, they came out giving Mormonism a fairly clean bill of health—like this little observation from BYU egghead Hugh Nibley, a faddishly popular Mormon apologist throughout the height of the last big anti-Mormon evangelical craze in the 1970’s through the 1980’s:
At the end of the last century, the great tradition of European scholarship in the grand style culminated in the person of Eduard Meyer. … No other man ever combined the learning both of the East and the classical world in a work of such high and lasting authority as Meyer’s Geschichte des Altertums – the ultimate and, in fact, the last general history of antiquity to be the work of a single mind.29
This man had a particular interest in ancient religions, and it occurred to him that in Mormonism he might study at first hand how a real religion gets started. So impressed was he by the possibilities of such a study that he packed up and went to Utah in 1904, to devote a year of his priceless time to studying the Mormons.
Meyer’s entire Ursprung und Geschichte der Mormonen is a study in parallels, comparing the new religion with revealed religions of the past.30 While grandly contemptuous of Joseph Smith’s low coefficient of Kultur, the great savant illustrates at length the “exact identity” of his Church both in “atmosphere” and sundry particulars with that of the early Christians. A “striking and irrefutable” parallelism supports Mormon claims to revelation; “with perfect right” they identify themselves with the apostolic church of old. The similarity extends to the faults as well as the virtues of the Prophet and his followers—they may be matched “at every point” by the faults and virtues of the ancient prophets and the ancient church….
What Eduard Meyer sees in the Mormon doctrine is before everything else Konsequenz (consistency; to use his own words, that doctrine is “absolutely literal, sober, and logical”; verstandesgemäss). Moreover, says Meyer, the scientific aspects of the dogma, “in full agreement with the later discoveries of science,” may well be a cause of considerable gratification to believers….145
Of course, only Mormons seriously study the works of Hugh Nibley, and then only the “scholarly” BYU apologists in the Mormon academic crowd. And I would not expect anyone to take any official LDS apologist, even me, at his word alone. But I have only been trying to say what the bona fide genius, Eduard Meyer said generations ago: Mormons live and preach a consistent and logical set of basic doctrines. (Except when they have shite in their ears and get it all wrong.)
Sorry, that’s just the way it falls historically, by a preponderance of evidence. I know I originally entitled this series, What’s Wrong With Mormonism, but a centrally-governed coven of Satanic murderers, assassins, and New World Order conspirators, simply isn’t one of the things wrong with Mormonism. It never has been. In the words of the legendary frontier journalist, Horace Greely:
“Do I regard the great body of these Mormons,” he asks, “as knaves and hypocrites” Assuredly not. I do not believe there was ever a religion whereof the great mass of the adherents were not honest and sincere. Hypocrites and knaves there are in all sects; it is quite possible that some of the magnates of the Mormon church regard this so-called religion (with all others) as a contrivance for the enslavement and fleecing of the many, and the aggrandizement of the few; but I cannot believe that a sect, so considerable and so vigorous as the Mormons, was ever founded in conscious imposture, or built up on any other basis than that of earnest conviction.”
–Overland Journey, p 223
—Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Volume 4, pg 532
I would submit likewise, that Christians live and act upon their central beliefs. In this, they tend to gravitate toward imposing their religious dogma upon any and all within their dominion. This is because, unlike Mormonism, or for that matter, the Founding Fathers, who’s central doctrines revolve around the blessings of man’s “Free Agency,” and are anchored to the concept of a Constitutionally protected, pluralistic nation that guarantees religious liberty for all, Christianity to this day is based upon the fundamental belief that all non-Christians are the literal spawn of the devil. Non-Christians are “infidels” or “heathens,” and have no place in a Christian society. In Christian theology, the “unredeemed” constitute only an ongoing threat to a Christian Nation. Unlike Mormonism, Christianity has had a long, storied history of universal, unflinching aggression, oppression, extermination, torture, murder and persecution of its rivals. Christianity had conducted its program of violent dominance of “lesser” religions and peoples, both covertly, and also quite openly and proudly, much of which has been vaingloriously committed to record, proudly, by Christianity’s highest officials and most stalwart leaders.
When I got into the whole Mountain Meadows record, in the course of my explorations, I was quite prepared to concede that Christianity had me and my dumbassed Mormon brethren dead-nailed in this one instance. Unfortunately, even though Mountain Meadows represents just the sort of colossal screw-up Mormonism has always been capable of, this turns out to be the case only by accident, out of sheer stupid irony, rather than centralized malice and design.
Sure, some of the anti-Mormon literature can be quite convincing if you simply intended to hate or ridicule Mormons in the first place. But, you don’t have to go to the local Christian fellowship hall and hear some evangelical nutjob dressed in a scary Mormon temple costume or modeling frumpy “magic” Mormon underwear with his worship-team of conspiracy-theory clowns, to feel like you have reliable, non-Mormon sources who can tell us what early Mormonism’s problems really came down to. We don’t have to guess what early Mormons kept doing that was always annoying the Christian population around them. This we can read from sources like Governor Ford’s on-the-spot, direct evaluation of the real problem neighboring Christians had with the Mormon presence in Illinois. Ford is well on the mark, inasmuch as the same primary complaint got the Saints thrown out of Missouri previously:
But the great cause of popular fury was, that the Mormons at several preceding elections had cast their vote as a unit, thereby making the fact apparent that no one could aspire to the honors or offices of the country, within the sphere of their influence, without their approbation and votes. It appears to be one of the principles by which they insist upon being governed as a community, to act as a unit in all matters of government and religion. They express themselves to be fearful that if division should be encouraged in politics, it would soon extend to their religion, and rend their church with schism and into sects.
This seems to me to be an unfortunate view of the subject, and more unfortunate in practice, as I am well satisfied that it must be the fruitful source of excitement, violence, and mobocracy, whilst it is persisted in. It is indeed unfortunate for their peace that they do not divide in elections, according to their individual preferences or political principles, like other people.
You couldn’t however, do a damned thing about American citizens who didn’t vote the way you wanted them to vote. (Legally that is…) You couldn’t do a damned thing if people wanted to form a club, or a church, or a fraternity, like the Freemasons, or the Elks, or the Boy Scouts, or the John Birch Society—and then sit around, fellowship, share philosophies, and decide to all vote the same way. First in Missouri, and then in Illinois, old Christian settlers, badgered and alarmed by their insistent clergy, goaded by their eager press, went about contriving and building up the public image of an inherent Mormon threat, simply to stifle their vote. Even though there was no evidence of immediate or tangible villainous Mormon action, or any clear indication of a dangerous Mormon movement toward brutal conquest, Christian champions have always had a plethora of distant, anecdotal stories of terror to tell. It was, the anti-Mormonists have always contended, only because the Mormons didn’t quite yet dominate the political scene, it was only because they didn’t have the sheer political force to dominate all of Christendom, that they now pretend for the time being, to be so friendly and harmless. They second they got into power—bam! Then they’d take all the Christians out and reveal their true plans for world domination.
Governor Ford continues his evaluation of the unified Mormon voting block phenomenon:
This one principle and practice of theirs arrayed against them in deadly hostility all aspirants for office who were not sure of their support, all who have been unsuccessful in elections, and all who were too proud to court their influence, with all their friends and connections.
These also were the active men in blowing up the fury of the people, in hopes that a popular movement might be set on foot, which would result in the expulsion or extermination of the Mormon voters. For this purpose public meetings had been called; inflammatory speeches had been made; exaggerated reports had been extensively circulated; committees had been appointed, who rode night and day to spread the reports and solicit the aid of neighboring counties, and at a public meeting at Warsaw, resolutions were passed to expel or exterminate the Mormon population. This was not, however, a movement which was unanimously concurred in. The county contained a goodly number of inhabitants in favor of peace, or who at least desired to be neutral in such a contest. These were stigmatized by the name of “Jack-Mormons,” and there were not a few of the more furious exciters of the people who openly expressed their intention to involve them in the common expulsion or extermination.
A system of excitement and agitation was artfully planned and executed with tact. It consisted in spreading reports and rumors of the most fearful character. As examples: — On the morning before my arrival at Carthage, I was awakened at an early hour by the frightful report, which was asserted with confidence and apparent consternation, that the Mormons had already commenced the work of burning, destruction, and murder, and that every man capable of bearing arms was instantly wanted at Carthage for the protection of the county. We lost no time in starting; but when we arrived at Carthage we could hear no more concerning this story. Again, during the few days that the militia were encamped at Carthage, frequent applications were made to me to send a force here, and a force there, and a force all about the country, to prevent murders, robberies, and larcenies which, it was said, were threatened by the Mormons. No such forces were sent; nor were any such offenses committed at that time, except the stealing of some provisions, and there was never the least proof that this was done by a Mormon. Again, on my late visit to Hancock county, I was informed by some of their violent enemies that the larcenies of the Mormons had become unusually numerous and insufferable. They admitted that but little had been done in this way in their immediate vicinity. But they insisted that sixteen horses had been stolen by the Mormons in one night near Lima, in the county of Adams. At the close of the expedition, I called at this same town of Lima, and upon inquiry, was told that no horses had been stolen in that neighborhood, but that sixteen horses had been stolen in one night in Hancock county. This last informant being told of the Hancock story, again changed the venue to another distant settlement in the northern edge of Adams.
If you cannot accept any part of this reasoning so far, I am only wasting your time. If you are willing to entertain at least the notion that the Mormons are all deluded fools who often come off like ignorant and egocentric buffoons, and yet are willing to confess that none of this is punishable by law, then perhaps I have made some progress. Mormon delusion is as Constitutionally protected as Christian delusion.
I’m preaching only one very limited sermon here. I am merely asking you to accept, as Thomas Ford, governor of Illinois, the supreme commander of the state that killed Joseph Smith deduced: when it comes down to it, all the titillating claims of Mormon outrages throughout the years, almost invariably turn out to be willow-the-wisps. Rumors. Wild goose chases. When you get there in person to check it out, there almost never appears to be any concrete examples, only anecdotes passed around third hand. Mormonism, consequently, having not actually exposed any specific legal premise, has been politically, socially, and at times very physically punished by a Christian America based primarily upon what Christianity imagines it would be up to if it were in Mormonism’s place.
Mormonism, I repeat for emphasis, has almost utterly escaped serious self-incrimination from Day-1. There is one resounding exception. That would be the clear-cut assassination of roughly 120 men, women, and older children of the emigrant Fancher Party by a handful of local Mormon leaders and their minions at Mountain Meadows in 1857. And that is one whopping exception. What these particular Mormons did to their ostensibly “Christian” foes is fairly obvious. And hideous. The question of “why” these particular Mormons shot down this particular group of “Christians” isn’t so easy to pin down however. But I will warn you that if you continue honestly digging into the matter, if the one person you want to hang the crime on is Brigham Young or anyone in the official Mormon hierarchy, again, all you come up with is a lot of dangerous rhetoric, murky anecdotal assumptions, and mostly a lot of bold assertion.
Likewise, if you want to put Mountain Meadows down to its perpetrators following some clear mandate out of general LDS doctrine or arising out of a simple extrapolation of central Mormon theology, you will again be unrewarded. The Christian nemeses of Mormonism have tried earnestly to obfuscate the chronology of the events leading up to Mountain Meadows, but the simple fact remains that Christian America had already decided to exterminate Mormonism months before the Fancher Party got anywhere near Utah Territory. Mountain Meadows is not the “reason” James Buchannan sent an army to kill off the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The tragedy at Mountain Meadows was the direct result of America’s determination to destroy Mormonism, not vice-versa. Had a pack of Christian reformers, disgruntled federal appointees and contract-holders, not gone tattling back to Washington with the usual litany of grossly exaggerated tales of Mormon “outrages,” deliberately trying to provoke a federal assault upon the Mormon capital, there would have been no US invasion of Utah Territory. If there had been no invasion, the Mormon officials in southern Utah would have had no cause to hold up the Fancher’s wagon train, no cause to withhold basic provisions from them, and the Fancher Party would have passed, with only some slight complaining on both sides, peaceably through Utah without incident.
And it pains me to say this, but it must be pointed out. The bastard Mormons who wiped out the Fancher company and friends, learned how it was done from the Fancher’s idiot, hillbilly, redneck, hick cousins back in Missouri and Illinois. They didn’t do anything to the “good Christian” Fancher and Baker families that the “good Christian” kin of the Fanchers and Bakers, and certainly the Missouri Wildcats amongst them, hadn’t already done to the Mormons, en-masse, repeatedly, and in spades.
The Mountain Meadows Massacre on a personal level is a great miscarriage of justice and human tragedy. In the great, “Christian America” scheme of things, however, it is a small blip on the anti-Mormon political agenda. In an of itself, it was officially, on both sides, dismissed as collateral damage, an unintended consequence of a short war that was pointless to begin with and concluded peacefully in the end. Today, Mountain Meadows would be little more than a historical afterthought, were it not for the unshakeable true-believers, the serious anti-Mormonists, who still pull it out of their sleeves like a trump card, to add just that little bit of credibility to the contention that subsequent legal sanctions levied against the Mormon religion, were fair and rational. Even sensible and unavoidable.
With the utmost respect, it has to be understood that the victims of the Mountain Meadows Massacre have been made into poster children for THE BIG LIE. Their memory is desecrated every time some evangelical clown uses them to “prove” Brigham Young was a devil worshipper and the Mormons are all clandestine killers. The “good Christians” who continually exploit the deaths of these unfortunate souls to sell their books and trinkets and scary lecture tours full of horror stories of Brigham Young’s deluded slaves and “Danite” henchmen, rather than honor their memory, probably only leaves the Fancher Party blushing and apologetic in the hereafter.
If you can’t get over that, then, as I say, I am wasting your time. Mormonism has lots of problems. Again, secret death squads isn’t one of them.