Tuesday, February 19, 2019

His First Organist Calling

Alexander Schreiner in recital.jpg
Alexander Schreiner

How old was Tabernacle organist Alexander Schreiner, when he was first called to be the organist in his Germany branch
a.                  3
b.                  5
c.                   8
d.                  12
Yesterday’s answer:
A   Polygamy
Referring to the September 1851 “runaway” of four government territorial officers assigned to Utah Territory and the fact that Thomas L. Kane may not have known about Mormon polygamy prior to 1851 when he question Jedediah Grant:   Kane and Grant probably met in Kane’s office in the historic Philadelphia State House where the U.S. Constitution had been drafted. Kane at first passed over one item as a stale rumor: the “runaways’” explosive claim that the Mormons practiced plural marriage. There was an awkward pause, as Grant, with difficulty, reported to Brigham Young on December 30. “I found myself . . . under the disagreeable necessity of volunteering to tell him how far . . . [the charge of plural marriage] was false and how far it was true. . .  
. . .It seems improbable that Kane could have been so naïve. The Mormon camps of Iowa and Nebraska must have been full of tell-tale clues about plural marriage when he visited them in 1846. Since then the public press had carried one report after another about polygamy, some written by reliable travelers passing through Utah Territory. Yet Kane was so captivated by the cause of Mormonism that he had failed to see what was in plain sight. Kane’s’ naiveté was matched by the Mormons’ lack of candor to their defender.
[Jedediah] Grant, who was certainly in an uncomfortable spot, defended plural marriage to Kane with social and religious theory. He told Kane that faithful Mormon females outnumbered faithful men by a ratio of three to two, “showing that one third of our women must remain single, or marry out of the church.” Mormon practice was “limited and strict in its nature,” Grant asserted. Furthermore, Grant appealed to Kane’s interest in women’s rights by stating that “the rights of women among us are sacredly regarded and respected.” Women “are kindly treated, well provided for, and saved in the scripture sense of the word.” The practice was a special dispensation authorized by God, Grant insisted.
Other men might have changed their course. Plural marriage was anathema to Kane, who saw himself as a modern reformer. Old Testament polygamy seemed archaic. He probably suffered more from his false certitudes. His personal honor was precious to him; he had not only been deceived, but he had also unknowingly deceived others, including Fillmore. Yet, after Kane’s first dreadful pause, he reenrolled in the cause. A few days following his dramatic interview with Grant, Kane wrote to Bernhisel on December 29 that, while the news had brought him” deep pain and humiliation,” he could still be counted on. Grant claimed that he had no doubts about Kane’s loyalty. “I am satisfied he will not fail to do all in his power to help us in the present crisis of affairs.” Grant told Salt Lake City officials. “He declares that he will never leave us when we are in trouble.”
In his letter to [John] Bernhisel on December 29, the day [President] Fillmore was scheduled to release the Utah documents, Kane unveiled a strategy. Because the charges of the “runaways” could not be quickly or simply answered, Kane suggested that the Mormons’ play for time by asking the House of Representatives to establish a committee to look into Utah. Such a committee might require a visit to the distant territory and many months to complete its work. Meanwhile, many of the charges might be put to rest and the public’s anger toward the Mormons could cool. However, on one point Kane was insistent: The Mormon’s much not make any more false statements about plural marriage. Indeed, he suggested that the Mormons write “an Explanation to the Public” on plural marriage “in advance of the Inquiry by the Committee.”
Ronald W. Walker and Matthew J. Grow, The People Are “Hogafeed or Humbugged”: The 1851-52 National Reaction to Utah’s “Runaway” Officers, Journal of Mormon History, Fall 2014, 23-25.

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