“The Church and State System in Utah” American Sentinel 13, 48, pp. 760, 761.

THE Mormon system has been from the first a system which united church and state; like the papacy, it has made the church supreme in both religious and civil affairs. And in this respect Mormonism remains to-day what it was in the days of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.

Under the control of this system, the territory of Utah was received into the Union as a sovereign state. The nation refused to receive polygamy, and compelled this (as it thought) to be thrown out; but it took in a union of church and state. And now it is discovering that this church-and-state system was the real evil of Mormonism, and the real argument against receiving the territory controlled buy it into the Union. For it is now seen that the Mormon Church rules in Utah, and that under its rule the baneful branch of polygamy which was lopped off from the parent tree by the sword of the civil power, is budding into new life, and bids fair to develop again as of old. Upon this point the New York Independent, under the heading “Mormonism Again a Foe,” speaks the following:—

“There has been a disposition among the Christian [762] people of the nation not to judge the Mormon people too harshly since they professed humility and promised that the would abandon polygamy out of respect for American opinion and would never again countenance the union of church and state. Reports from Utah that they were breaking these pledges and that it was never intended to keep them have been received from time to time, but all have felt that the proof must be of the strongest before the nation would be justified in believing it must bring pressure to bear to compel good faith. The time seems to have come, however, when forbearance is no longer a virtue and when the Mormon problem must be faced without compromise and the Mormon people taught that Americans will not tolerate plural marriage within their country.

“The Mormons themselves have given us the convincing proof by sending to Congress an ardent polygamist, one who is thoroughly identified with Mormon interests, and who was elected after fair warning had been given that his triumph would be considered a notice that polygamy was to be forced ‘down the throats of Congress and the American people.’ He says he has taken no wives since the anti-polygamy manifesto, but was justified in maintaining his relations with those to whom he had been united before; and that the law against such association adopted by the Mormon legislature—like some Connecticut blue laws—is not enforced because there is no sentiment behind it. This contention, however, cannot be admitted, as the Mormon leaders and representatives pledged themselves again and again that the last vestige of the system had been wiped out before statehood was granted and that it should never rise again to plague the nation.

“What guaranty have we that the Mormons will obey one part of a statute more than another? If there is no public sentiment requiring the enforcement of a law against cohabitation with polygamous wives what sentiment will enforce one against the taking of more wives? When Mormon authorities and even the governor of Utah are engaged in flaunting the divinity of the ‘celestial marriage’ system, is it probable that they will long refrain from putting it into execution once more?

“It would be an affront to the American people and the Christian churches for Congress to allow Mr. Roberts to hold his seat in the House of Representatives in the face of his plain defiance of the national demands. It seems impossible that some means should not be found of unseating him without trouble under the former anti-polygamy laws, the amnesty proclamation of President Harrison and the enabling act of Utah, and this means should be taken without hesitation. The Mormon people should be shown that no polygamist will be seated in either house of Congress, as a warning that the nation is prepared to take stern measures against such a practice. Measure should be devised to punish those who do not heed the warning.”

Mormonism is not “again” a foe; it has been such all the time; and the mistake of the American people was in not recognizing it as such, without polygamy the same as with it. For that mistake they may yet pay dearly. Mistakes made upon such a point are always costly.

The nation required the Mormon Church to discontinue polygamy and promise that it would never be revived. But the promise of a church that maintains a union with the state is not to be trusted. The American people apparently begin to realize that the promise of discarding polygamy is not to be kept, and it will be well if they discern the real reason why Mormonism has proved itself irreconcilable with American government.

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