Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The 100th Anniversary of His Birth

At the 100th anniversary of Joseph Smiths Birth, the Church had a competition. What was the competition?
a.                  A monument competition
b.                  A pageant competition
c.                   A poem competition
d.                  A choir competition
Yesterday’s answer:
b.   Immigration
The world outside, unaware of Zion’s unique workings, saw in all this only an oppressive society made up largely of the ignorant and the superstitious. The cathedral builders of medieval Europe would have understood Zion’s unity and devotion, but not a Protestant America, more at home among warring and free-spoken sects and splinters. Denominational crusaders bent on Christianizing Utah, and political carpetbaggers bent on wresting control from Mormon hands considered Utah alien and seditious and kept it a vassal territory for nearly half a century. The slanders of quarrelsome federal officials brought an army to Utah in 1857 to quell a supposed rebellion and replace Brigham Young with a new governor. After the Civil War, which the Saints considered God’s judgment on the nation for their sufferings in Missouri, the country turned its undivided attention to the “Mormon Question.” “We mean to put that business of the Mormons through,” a New Englander told a British traveler in 1866. “We have done a bigger job in the South; and we shall now fix things upon Salt Lake City.”
   Extremists called for cannon of the biggest bore to thunder the seventh commandment into the Mormons; they wanted to dissolve the legislature and govern Utah by commission; they clamored for enforceable legislation that would disfranchise polygamists and prohibit Mormon immigration. In the eyes of the enforcers, immigration fed all the other iniquities: it replenished polygamy, it strengthened the hand of the priesthood, it supplied subservient colonizers to extend the Mormon empire and docile voters to spread its influence.
   Secretary of State William Evarts in 1879 even called on foreign governments to help the United States stamp out Mormon abominations by prohibiting the emigration of Mormon converts, whom he considered “prospective law-breakers” won by the “criminal enterprises” of Mormon agents. Europe ridiculed the proposal. How could any government prosecute potential lawbreakers? And if America nursed the serpent by permitting Mormon missionaries to go abroad in the first place, she could not expect Europe to kill it by cutting off its tail. “The morality of this circular is admirable,” said the London Examiner; “the logic is lamentable.” There was not injustice enough in all England to punish the Mormons, it said. The Examiner was amazed at the behavior of the United States: “The Great Republic has afforded a refuge to the visionaries of Europe. Into its bosom have been welcomed the professors of every faith and of no faith at all. Imperialist Princes and democratic Nihilists equally go through Garden Island unnoticed. . . . Why do they not prevent the landing of German Socialists, Russian Nihilists, and Irish Finians?”

William Mudler, The Mormons in American History (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1981), 32-33.

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