THE Mormon Church is in politics again, or rather, never went out of politics, and the issue of polygamy is again to the front in Utah. If the Mormon Church had gone out of politics, the sovereign State of Utah would not now be under Mormon control; but the Mormon Church did not go out of politics. Having the example of the popular churches in the United States before her, and remembering the arguments made to the effect that Christians above all others ought to take an active part in politics, she felt that it was her duty to remain in politics; not however, that the church as such assumed any part in politics—not at all; but each member of the church as a professed believer in the Christian religion and therefore in duty bound to participate in conducting the affairs of state, made himself active in politics; and somehow, the politics of the State took on an essentially Mormon aspect!
If this appears to any one like the Mormon Church being in politics, let him remember that it is the duty of Christians, as such—a duty especially impressed upon Catholic Christians by the pope, and upon Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Baptist, and other Christians by clergymen of their respective denominations, to see that the state is modeled upon Christian principles; and it was with this plain duty before them that the Mormon Christians of Utah went to the polls to cast their votes. That persons were elected to office (the Mormons being largely in the majority) who believed in and practiced the doctrines of the Mormon religion, and even that a congressman should have been chosen whose existing household includes three wives, is only what was naturally to be expected. Will not a Catholic naturally vote for a Catholic, a Methodist for a Methodist, or other Christian voter for one of his own denomination, as being the candidate who will administer his office most nearly in harmony with the principles of the true religion? How then can it be expected that Mormon voters will do anything else?
The Mormon Church has the same right to go into politics that any other church has; and she is justified in doing so by the same logic.
But by the principle that Christians should keep out of politics, as being citizens keep out of politics, as being citizens of a government which is not of force but of love, the Mormon Church would be debarred from politics in Utah, and a Mormon State would not to-day be a thron in the side of the American Federal Union. And every other church professing to be Christian would be debarred from politics in every other state; and the dark cloud of impending calamity in the form of church and state despotism, would not to-day be hanging over the American people.
That principle, and that alone, stands to-day between this nation and people, and the worst form of despotism that has ever cursed mankind.