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Title: An Englishwoman in Utah - The Story of A Life's Experience in Mormonism
Author: Stenhouse, Mrs. T. B. H.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Englishwoman in Utah - The Story of A Life's Experience in Mormonism" ***

[Illustration: Faithfully, yours, Fanny Stenhouse]

                        AN ENGLISHWOMAN IN UTAH:
                              THE STORY OF
                   _A Life’s Experience in Mormonism_.

                            An Autobiography:

                        MRS. T. B. H. STENHOUSE,
                           OF SALT LAKE CITY,
                               AND ELDER.


                       INCLUDING A FULL ACCOUNT OF
                               AND OF THE

                           FULLY ILLUSTRATED.

                   CROWN BUILDINGS, 188, FLEET STREET.

                        [_All rights reserved._]



In these pages, a woman, a wife and mother, speaks the sorrows and
oppressions of which she has been the witness and the victim.

It is because her sorrows and her oppressions are those of thousands,
who, suffering like her, cannot or dare not speak for themselves, that
she thus gives this history to the public.

It is no sensational story, but a plain, unvarnished tale of truth,
stranger and sadder than fiction.

Our day has seen a glorious breaking of fetters. The slave-pens of
the South have become a nightmare of the past; the auction-block and
whipping-post have given place to the church and school-house; and the
songs of emancipated millions are heard through our land.

May we not then hope that the hour is come to loose the bonds of a cruel
slavery whose chains have cut into the very hearts of thousands of our
sisters—a slavery which debases and degrades womanhood, motherhood, and
the family?

Let every happy wife and mother who reads these lines give her their
sympathy, prayers, and aid to free her sisters from this degrading
bondage. Let all the womanhood of the country stand united for them.
There is a power in combined enlightened sentiment and sympathy before
which every form of injustice and cruelty _must_ finally go down.

May He who came to break every yoke hasten this deliverance!

                                                   HARRIET BEECHER STOWE.


In the fall of the year 1869, a few earnest, thinking men, members of
the Mormon Church, and living in Salt Lake City, inaugurated what was
regarded at the time as a grand schism. Those who had watched with
anxiety the progress of Mormonism, hailed the “New Movement” as the
harbinger of the work of disintegration so long anticipated by the
thoughtful-minded Saints, and believed that the opposition to Theocracy,
then begun, would continue until the extraordinary assumptions of the
Mormon priesthood were exploded, and Mormonism itself should lose its
political _status_ and find its place only among the singular sects of
the day.

It was freely predicted that Woman, in her turn, would accept her part in
the work of reformation, take up the marriage question among the Saints,
and make an end of Polygamy.

Little did I imagine, at that period, that any such mission as that which
I have since realized as mine, was in the Providence of Time awaiting
me, or that I should ever have the boldness, either with tongue or
pen, to plead the cause of the Women of Utah. But, impelled by those
unseen influences which shape our destinies, I took my stand with the
“heretics;” and, as it happened, my own was the first woman’s name
enrolled in their cause.

The circumstances which wrought a change in my own life produced a
corresponding revolution in the life of my husband.

In withdrawing from the Mormon Church, we laid ourselves, our
associations, and the labours of over twenty years, upon the altar,
and took up the burden of life anew. We had sacrificed everything in
obedience to the “counsel” of Brigham Young; and my husband, to give a
new direction to his mind, and also to form some plan for our future
life, thought it advisable that he should visit New York. He did so;
and shortly after employed himself in writing a history of the “Rocky
Mountain Saints,” which has since been published.

In course of time, the burden of providing for a large family, and the
anxiety and care of conducting successfully a business among a people
who make it a religious duty to sternly set their faces against those
who dissent from their faith, exhausted my physical and mental strength.
Considering, therefore, that change might be beneficial to me, and my
own personal affairs urgently calling me to New York City, I followed my
husband thither.

On my way East I met a highly-valued friend of my family, who,
in the course of our journey together over the Pacific Railroad,
enthusiastically urged me to tell the story of my past life, and to give
to the world what I knew about Polygamy. I had been repeatedly advised to
do so by friends at home, but up to that time no plan had been arranged
for carrying out the suggestion.

I had hardly arrived in New York before the electric messenger announced
that a severe snow-storm was raging on the vast plains between the Rocky
Mountains and the Missouri River, and for several weeks all traffic over
the Union Pacific Railroad was interrupted, and I could not return to my
home in the distant West.

That unlooked-for snow-blockade became seriously annoying; for not only
was I most anxious to return to my children, but also, never having known
an idle hour, I could not live without something to do. At that moment
of unsettled feeling, a lady-friend, with whom I was visiting, suggested
again “_the book_;” and she would not permit me to leave her house until
she had exacted from me a promise that it should be written.

Next morning I began my task in earnest. I faithfully kept my room and
laboured unremittingly; and in three weeks the manuscript of my little
work on “Polygamy in Utah” was completed. It was very kindly welcomed
by the press—both secular and religious—and for this I was sincerely
grateful. I had not, up to that time, thought of much else than its
effect upon the people of Utah; but the voluminous notices which that
little book received showed the deep interest which the people of the
United States had taken in “the Mormon question,” and how ardently they
desired to see the extinction of the polygamic institution among the

In Salt Lake City I was so situated that I was daily—I might almost say
hourly—brought in contact with visitors to the Modern Zion; for, during
the summer, thousands of travellers pass over the Pacific Railroad.
Not a few of these called to see me; and I received from ladies and
gentlemen—whose kind interest in my welfare I felt very deeply—many
personal attentions, many words of sympathy and encouragement, and many
intelligent and useful suggestions in respect to my future life. Indeed,
I saw myself quite unexpectedly, and, I may truthfully say, without my
own desire, become an object of interest.

By the earnest suggestions of friends and strangers, and by the
widely published opinions of the press, I was made to feel that I had
only _begun_ my work—that I had but partly drawn aside the veil that
covered the worst oppression and degradation of woman ever known in a
civilized country. Nearly all who spoke to me expressed their surprise
that intelligent men and women should be found in communion with the
Mormon Church, in which it was so clearly evident that the teachings of
Christianity had been supplanted by an attempt to imitate the barbarism
of Oriental nations in a long past age, and the sweet influences of the
religion of Jesus were superseded by the most objectionable practices of
the ancient Jews. How persons of education and refinement could ever have
embraced a faith that prostrated them at the feet of the Mormon Prophet,
and his successor Brigham Young, was to the inquiring mind a perfect

The numerous questions which I had to answer, and the explanations
which I had to give, showed me that my little book had only whetted the
appetite of the intelligent investigator, and that there was a general
call for _a woman’s book_ on Mormonism—a book that should reveal _the
inner life_ of the Saints,—exhibit the influences which had contributed
to draw Christian people away from Christian Churches to the standard
of the American Prophet, Joseph Smith, and subject them to the power of
that organization which has, since his death, subjugated the mass of the
Mormon people in Utah to the will and wickedness of the Priesthood under
the leadership of Brigham Young.

A few months after the publication of my first book, I was invited to
lecture upon “Polygamy in Utah;” and wherever I spoke I observed the same
spirit of inquiry, and met with a renewed demand for more of circumstance
and narrative—which I had, from a sense of personal delicacy, withheld in
my former work.

I saw no way of satisfying myself and others than by accepting the
rather spiteful invitation of a certain Mormon paper to “TELL IT ALL;”
and this, in a narrative of my own personal experience, which I now
present to the reader, I have endeavoured to do. Not being in any sense
a literary woman, or making any pretensions as a writer, I hope to
escape severe criticism from the public and the press. I had a simple
story to tell—the story of my life and of the wrongs of women in Utah.
Startling and terrible facts have fallen under my observation. These also
I have related; but my constant effort has been to tell my story in the
plainest, simplest way, and, while avoiding exaggeration, never to shrink
from a straightforward statement of facts. I have disguised nothing, and
palliated nothing; and I feel assured that those who from their actual
and intimate acquaintance with Mormonism in Utah as it really is, are
capable of passing a just and impartial judgment upon my story, will
declare without hesitation that I have told “_the truth, the whole truth
and nothing but the truth_.”

                                                         FANNY STENHOUSE.



       CHAP.                                                          PAGE

          I. MY EARLY LIFE                                               1

         II. MY FIRST INTRODUCTION TO MORMONISM                          7

               MADE CONVERTS                                            16

         IV. LIFE AMONG THE SAINTS—MY NEW ENGAGEMENTS                   25

          V. THE FIRST WHISPERINGS OF POLYGAMY                          33

         VI. MY HUSBAND’S MISSION—I AM LEFT ALONE                       41

               STORM                                                    56

       VIII. THE REVELATION ON “CELESTIAL MARRIAGE”                     67

         IX. MISSIONARY WORK—TEACHING POLYGAMY                          76


         XI. EMIGRATING TO ZION—WE ARRIVE IN NEW YORK                   97


               SCHEME                                                  111

               PLAINS                                                  123

               HAND-CART SCHEME                                        132

               ACROSS THE PLAINS                                       145


               WIVES                                                   163

               DAILY LIFE                                              168

               BILL                                                    179

               SECRET CEREMONIES                                       189

               FRIEND                                                  202

               “WALL-FLOWERS,” AND DIVORCE                             209

               THE SAINTS                                              224

               SAINTS                                                  235

               THE LORD”                                               247


               MY HUSBAND                                              268



               WIFE                                                    293

               WOMAN’S STANDPOINT                                      299

               FOR THE DEAD                                            306

               SON—THE SECOND ENDOWMENTS                               314

               HIS YOUNG ENGLISH WIFE                                  323

               TOWARDS APOSTASY                                        331

               FORTUNES—BELINDA DIVORCES “OUR” HUSBAND                 340


               OUTRAGE UPON MY HUSBAND AND MYSELF                      357

               THE GOLDEN HAIR                                         361

               FIGURES—MORMONISM AND MORMONS OF TO-DAY                 363

             L’ENVOI                                                   377

             POSTSCRIPT                                                380

               BISHOP JOHN D. LEE                                      384

             KILLING A RIVAL PROPHET                                   398


     1. Steel-plate Portrait of the Author                   _Frontispiece_

     2. Steel-plate Portrait of Brigham Young                     _To face_

     3. “Gathering to Zion”—Life on the Plains                         125

     4. Over at Last                                                   136

     5. View of Main Street, Salt Lake City (_From a Photograph_)      148
          The Ladies’ Side of Mormonism.

     6. Amelia Folsom Young, Brigham’s Favourite Wife                  168

     7. “Ann Eliza,” Brigham’s Nineteenth Wife                         168

     8. Miss Eliza R. Snow, Mormon Poetess and High Priestess          168

     9. Mrs. John W. Young, Wife of Brigham’s Apostate Son             168

    10. Brother Brigham’s Last Baby                                    168

    11. Scene of the Mountain Meadows Massacre                         255

    12. The Crisis of a Life—Entering into Polygamy                    296

    13. Polygamy in Low Life—The Poor Man’s Family                     302

    14. Polygamy in High Life—The Prophet’s Mansion                    302

    15. Despair!                                                       326

    16. Fac-simile of a Mormon “Bill of Divorce”                       344




The story which I propose to tell in these pages is a plain,
unexaggerated record of facts which have come immediately under my own
notice, or which I have myself personally experienced.

Much that to the reader may seem altogether incredible, would to a
Mormon mind appear simply a matter of ordinary every-day occurrence
with which every one in Utah is supposed to be perfectly familiar. The
reader must please remember that I am not telling—as so many writers have
told in newspaper correspondence and sensational stories—the hasty and
incorrect statements and opinions gleaned during a short visit to Salt
Lake City; but my own experience—the story of a faith, strange, wild,
and terrible it may be, but which was once so intimately enwoven with
all my associations that it became a part of my very existence itself;
and facts, the too true reality of which there are living witnesses by
hundreds, and even thousands, who could attest if only they would.

With the reader’s permission I shall briefly sketch my experience from
the very beginning.

I was born in the year 1829, in St. Heliers, Jersey—one of the islands of
the English Channel.

From my earliest recollection I was favourably disposed to religious
influences, and when only fourteen years of age I became a member of the
Baptist Church, of which my father and mother were also members. With the
simplicity and enthusiasm of youth I was devoted to the religious faith
of the denomination to which I had attached myself, and sought to live in
a manner which should be acceptable to God.

My childhood passed away without the occurrence of any events which
would be worthy of mention, although, of course, my mind was even then
receiving that religious bias which afterwards led me to adopt the faith
of the Latter-day Saints. Like most girls in their teens I had a natural
love of dress—a weakness, if such it be, of the sex generally. I was
not extravagant, for that I could not be; but thirty years ago members
of dissenting churches were more staid in their dress and demeanour and
were less of the world, I think, than they are to-day. In plainness of
dress the Methodists and Baptists much resembled the Quakers. My girlish
weakness caused me to be the subject of many a reprimand from older
church-members who were rather strict in their views. I well remember
one smooth-faced, pious, corpulent brother, who was old enough to be my
father, saying to me one day: “My dear young sister, were it not for your
love of dress, I have seriously thought that I would some day make you my
wife.” I wickedly resolved that if a few bright coloured ribbons would
disgust my pious admirer, it should not be my fault if he still continued
to think of me. But many of our other church-members were more lenient.
Our good minister in particular bore with my imperfections, as he said,
on account of my youth and inexperience; and later still, when I was
ready to leave my native island, an extra ribbon or a fashionable dress
had not affected my standing in the Baptist denomination.

I mention these trifles, not because I attach any importance to them in
themselves, but because similar religious tendencies and a devotional
feeling were almost universally found to be the causes which induced
men and women to join the Mormon Church. From among Roman Catholics,
who place unquestioning confidence in their priesthood, and also from
among persons predisposed to infidelity, came few, if any, converts
to Mormonism. But it was from among the religiously inclined, the
Evangelical Protestants of the Old World, that the greater number of
proselytes came.

But to return to my story. I was one of the younger members of a large
family; and when I thought of the future I readily saw that if I desired
a position in life I should have to make it for myself; and this I
resolved to do. I began by consulting all my friends who I thought would
be able to counsel or assist me in carrying out my determination; and
before long I found the opportunity which I sought. An English lady,
the wife of a captain in the British army, to whom I had confided my
aspirations, proposed—although I was not yet fifteen years of age—to
take me with her to France, in the temporary capacity of governess, to
her children, assuring me at the same time that she would advance my
interests in every possible way after our arrival.

This lady and her husband were as kind to me as my own parents could
have been; and soon after our arrival in France they procured for
me a situation in one of the best schools in St. Brieux, called the
Maison-Martin, where, young as I was, I engaged myself to teach the young
ladies fancy-needlework and embroidery, as well as to give lessons in
English. Some of the elder girls, I soon found, were further advanced
in fancy-needlework and some other matters than I was myself. This, of
course, I did not tell them; but to supply my deficiency I spent many
a midnight hour in study and in preparing myself to give the advanced
instructions which would be required by my pupils on the following day.
For some time after I began my work as teacher in that school, I spent
the whole of my salary in paying for private lessons to keep me in
advance of my pupils. It was for awhile a severe task and a strain upon
my youthful energies; but I have never since regretted it, as it gave an
impulse to my mind that has remained with me through life.

I had not been more than six months in my situation when the parents of
one of the pupils objected to the school retaining a Protestant teacher,
and I was consequently given to understand that unless I consented to
be instructed, if nothing more, in the Roman Catholic faith, I could
not remain in my present position. This was my first experience of that
religious intolerance of which I afterwards saw so much. The principal
of the establishment, however, being very kindly disposed towards me,
advised me to submit, and it was finally agreed that I should be allowed
twelve months for instruction and consideration.

During this probationary year I attended mass every morning from seven to
eight o’clock, and was present at vespers at least three times a week.
Every Saturday morning I accompanied my pupils to the confessional, where
I had to remain from seven o’clock till noon; after which we returned
to breakfast. On Sundays there was the usual morning mass, and after
that high mass; and in the afternoon, from two to four, we listened to
a sermon. In addition to all these services, at which I was expected to
“assist,” a very good-looking, interesting young priest was appointed
to attend to the spiritual instruction of the young Protestant, as
they called me, after school hours. He saw me frequently, but he was
ill-qualified to instruct me in the Catholic faith or to remove my
doubts, for he was not himself too happy in the sacerdotal robe. At first
he aimed at convincing me that the apostolic priesthood vested in the
fishermen of Galilee had descended in unbroken succession in the Church
of Rome; but he seemed to me much more inclined for a flirtation than for
argument; I thought I could at times discover something of regret on his
own part at having taken holy orders; and in after years I heard that he
had abandoned his profession.

To the numerous stories of Catholic oppression and artifice in
undermining Protestants and seducing them from their faith, I cannot add
my own testimony. Those among whom I lived very naturally desired that
I should be instructed in their religion, and join the church to which
they belonged; but their bearing towards me was ever kind and respectful;
although when the twelve months of probation had expired, I found myself
as much attached to the religion of my childhood as ever, and had in
consequence to resign my situation. I had made many warm friends in the
school, and none were kinder to me than the principal, who proved her
attachment by finding for me a lucrative situation in a wealthy private

My new position was a decided advance in social life. The family
consisted of husband and wife, two children, the husband’s brother, and
an elderly uncle. The little girls were, when I first knew them, of the
ages of five and seven years respectively. The young gentleman alluded
to—the husband’s brother—had been educated for the church, but when
the proper time came had refused to take orders; the uncle was a fine
old gentleman, a retired general in the French army, and a bachelor.
Altogether they formed as happy a domestic circle as I had ever known.
The position which I occupied among them was that of governess and
English teacher to the two little girls.

My young charges during the first year made rapid progress, which was
very gratifying to the family, and secured for me their good-will and
interest. Had I been their nearest relative I could not have received
more respect and consideration from them. One member of the circle alone
seemed to be entirely indifferent to my presence; this was the brother of
Monsieur D——. Though I had lived in the same house with him a whole year,
and had sat at the same table every day, scarcely a word had ever passed
between us beyond a formal salutation.

The young gentleman was very handsome, and when conversing with
others his manner was extremely fascinating. I did not believe that I
particularly desired his attentions, but his indifference annoyed me—for
I had never before been treated with such coldness, and I determined to
become as frigid and formal as he could possibly be himself. This formal
acquaintanceship continued for two years, and I persuaded myself that I
had become altogether indifferent to the presence of my icicle, while
at the same time all the other members of the family increased in their
manifestations of attachment to me.

But trifles often possess a great significance. It was the custom of the
family to get up a little lottery once a week for the children, if my
report of their deportment and progress was favourable. In this lottery
were presents of books, toys, gloves, and a variety of fancy articles,
and among them there was sure to be a _bouquet_ of choice flowers for
“Mademoiselle-Miss,” as they familiarly called me. I knew not positively
whom to thank, although I instinctively felt from whom they came, for the
other members of the family always made me more useful presents. In time
one little attention led to another, until at the end of three years I
found myself the _fiancée_ of the wealthy Constant D——.

Madame D—— was opposed to my marriage with her brother-in-law, as she
desired that he should marry one of her own wealthy cousins of the
old _noblesse_ of France. She treated me, notwithstanding, with great
kindness, and confined her opposition to persuading me not to listen to
her brother’s suit; but finding opposition to his wishes ineffectual, she
finally consented to our engagement, which took place in the following

From what I observed of the relations which existed between husbands
and wives in France, I did not feel perfectly happy in the thought of
becoming the wife of a Frenchman, although I dearly loved the French
people. Several of my young lady acquaintances, I knew, had married
because it was fashionable, and especially because it was an emancipation
from what ladies in the higher ranks of society regarded as a severe
social restraint. It was considered shocking for any young lady to be
seen talking to a young gentleman in the street; indeed it was hardly
proper for any unmarried girl to be seen in the street at all without a
_bonne_ or some married lady to accompany her. But immediately she was
married she was at liberty to flirt and promenade with all the gentlemen
of her acquaintance, while her husband enjoyed the same liberty among the
ladies. This state of affairs did not at all coincide with my English
ideas, for to me the very thought of marriage was invested with the most
sacred obligations, and I knew I should never be able to bring my mind to
accept less from my husband than I should feel it my duty to render to

I loved the French people, and was pleased with their polite mannerism,
but I was not French in character; and though the prospect before me of
an alliance with a wealthy and noble family was certainly pleasant, and
I was greatly attached to my _fiancé_, my mind was considerably agitated
upon the subject of marriage, as it had before been occupied with

During my sojourn in France I had frequently questioned myself whether
I had not done wrong in remaining absent for so many years from my home
and from communion with the church of my childhood, and I had always
looked forward to the time when I should return to them again. To this
occasional self-examination was now added another cause of anxiety,
produced by the thought of marriage with a person of a different faith.
Marriage, to me, was the all-important event in a woman’s life, and some
mysterious presentiment seemed to forewarn me that marriage in _my_ life
was to be more than an ordinary episode—though little did I then dream
that it would have a polygamic shaping.

My young ambition alone had led me to France. I had aspired to an
honourable social position, and had found both it and also devoted
friends. Sometimes I felt that I could not relinquish what I had gained;
at other times I yearned for the associations of my childhood and the
guiding hand of earlier friends. The conflict in my mind was often
painful. My early prejudices and the teachings of those around me induced
me to believe that the Roman Catholic religion was entirely wrong; yet,
notwithstanding, while living among Catholics I saw nothing to condemn
in their personal lives, but much to the contrary. In fact, Romanism
fascinated me, while it failed to convince my judgment.

While labouring under these conflicting sentiments, I resolved to
visit my native land, to consult with my parents about my contemplated
marriage; and for that purpose I asked and obtained two months’ vacation.
Surely some mysterious destiny must have been drawing me to England at
that particular crisis, and before the fulfilling of my engagement, which
would have changed so entirely the whole current of my existence.



During my residence in France, my parents had left St. Heliers and
returned to Southampton, England. To visit them now I had to take a
sailing vessel from Portrieux to the Isle of Jersey, and thence I could
take the steamer to Southampton.

Monsieur and Madame D——, together with the two little girls, accompanied
me in their private carriage to Portrieux, a distance of forty miles, in
order to confide me safely to the captain’s care. As they wished me “_bon
voyage_” and embraced me affectionately, Mons. D—— handed me a valuable
purse for pocket-money during my absence, and they all exhibited great
anxiety for my welfare, saying over and over again _au revoir_, as they
entered their carriage to return to their happy home;—thereby implying
that this was not a final _adieu_, but that we should soon meet again.

I cannot tell why it was, but I experienced at that moment a painful
feeling of mental indecision about the future. I had no real reason to
doubt my return to France, and the certainty of a warm welcome when I
should again greet those dear ones who were now leaving me in tears; but
my mind was troubled by a vague feeling of uncertainty which made me
anything but happy. Filial affection and a sense of duty drew me towards
my parents in England; while a feeling of gratitude, and, I think,
another and more tender sentiment, turned the current of my thoughts
towards the happy home at St. Brieux.

It was not necessary for me to stop in Jersey for more than a few hours,
but I wanted to revisit the scenes of my childhood’s happy days, and to
speak again with those whom I had known and loved in early life. In later
years the scenes and memories of childhood seem like the imaginings of
a pleasant dream. A sweet charm is thrown around all that we then said
and did; and the men and women who then were known to us are pictured
in our recollection as beings possessing charms and graces such as never
belonged to the common-place children of earth. The glamour of a fairy
wand is over all the past history of mankind; but upon nothing does it
cast so potent a spell as upon the personal reminiscences of our own
infant years. To me that little island had charms which no stranger
could ever have discovered; and even now, after the lapse of so many
long, eventful years I often feel an earnest wish to visit again those
rock-bound shores, to listen to the everlasting murmur of the wild, wild
waves, to watch the distant speck-like vessels far away upon the swelling
ocean, and to drink in the invigorating breezes which seem to give life
and energy to every pulsation of the living soul.

But I must not theorize: life has been to me too earnest and too painful
to admit of much sentiment or fancy as I recall the past. Little as I
thought it, during the short visit which I paid to my birthplace the web
of destiny was being woven for me in a way which I could not then have
conjectured even in a dream.

At St. Heliers I heard for the first time of the Latter-day Saints, or
Mormonites, as they were more familiarly called; but I cannot express
how perfectly astonished I was when I learned that my father, mother,
sisters, and one of my brothers had been converted to the new faith.

It was my own brother-in-law who told me this. He himself, with my
sister, were “Apostate” Mormons. They had been baptized into the Mormon
Church, but became dissatisfied, and abandoned it. The St. Heliers branch
of the Latter-day Saints had had a turbulent experience. Their first
teachings had been a mixture of Bible texts about the last days, and
arguments about the millennium, the return of the Jews to Palestine, the
resurrection of the dead, and a new revelation and a new prophet; but
the improper conduct of some of the elders had disgusted the people with
their doctrines, and the tales of wickedness which I heard were, if true,
certainly sufficient to justify them in rejecting such instructors.

The more I heard of this strange religion the more I was troubled; yet,
as I knew my parents were devoted Christians, I could hardly believe
that Mormonism was such a vile delusion and imposture as it had been
represented to me, or they would never have accepted it: still it was
possible that they had been led astray by the fascinations of a new

In this state of mind I met in the street the wife of the Baptist
minister whom I have already mentioned. She greeted me affectionately and
then began at once to warn me against the Latter-day Saints. I inquired
what she knew of them; and she replied that personally she knew nothing,
but she believed them to be servants of the Evil One, adding, “There is
a strange power with them that fascinates the people and draws them into
their meshes in spite of themselves. Let me entreat you not to go near
them. Do not trust yourself at one of their meetings, or the delusion
will take hold of _you_ too.”

“I cannot ignore Mormonism in this way,” I said, “or pass it by with
indifference; for my parents whom I tenderly love have been blinded
by this delusion, and I can do no less than investigate its teachings
thoroughly, and if I find it false, expose its errors, and, if possible,
save my father’s family from ruin.”

She was not convinced that this was the wisest course for me to pursue,
but I resolved at once to attend a meeting of the Saints and judge for
myself. My brother-in-law, when he heard of my intentions, tried to
dissuade me, but, finding me determined, finally offered to escort me to
the meeting-place.

What I heard on this occasion made a great impression on my mind, and set
me thinking as I had never thought before. On returning to my sister’s
house she asked me what opinion I had now formed of the Latter-day
Saints. I replied that I had not yet formed any conclusion, but that what
I had heard had given me serious cause for reflection. “Oh,” she said,
“you have caught the Mormon fever, I see.”

I felt a disposition to resent this implication, but I was half afraid
that, after all, my sister was right. Much that I had heard could, I
knew, be proved true from Scripture; and the rest seemed to me to be
capable of demonstration from the same authority. I resolved, however, to
fortify myself against a too easy credulity, and thought that probably if
I heard more of these doctrines I might be able to discover their falsity.

On the following day, the elder who had preached at the meeting, and who,
by the way, is one of the present proprietors of the Salt Lake _Herald_,
called to see me, as he had been intimate with my parents before they
left the island. I hardly knew how to be civil to him, though he had done
nothing to offend me, nor had he been the cause of my parents entering
the Mormon Church; but I disliked him solely on account of the stories
which I had heard about the Mormons. Intending only to be kind to me, he
told me that on the following day he proposed to take the steamer for
Southampton, as he was going to attend a conference of the Saints in
London, and that he should be pleased to show me any attentions while
crossing the Channel, and would see me safe home in England. I confess
I really felt insulted at a Mormon Elder offering to be my escort;
and although my trunks were ready packed for my departure by the same
steamer, and Mr. Dunbar knew it, I thanked him politely, but said I would
not go by that boat. He tried to persuade me to change my mind, and said
that I should have to wait a whole week for another vessel; and at last
I frankly told him the abhorrence I felt at the things I had heard about
the Mormons, and that I should be afraid to travel in the same steamer
with him or any of the Mormon Elders whom I regarded as no better than
so many whited sepulchres. He, however, very kindly took no offence, for
he knew that I had been listening to those who disliked the Saints. I
felt ashamed at having been betrayed into such unladylike rudeness, but,
notwithstanding, tried to persuade myself that his civility was, after
all, an insult; for I had conceived a detestation of every Mormon, on
account of the deception which I felt sure had been practised upon my

This feeling was not lessened by the consciousness that an impression had
been made upon my own mind. The more in accordance with Scripture the
teaching of the Elders appeared, the more firmly I believed it must be a
powerful delusion. Here, I said, Satan has indeed taken the form of an
angel of light to deceive, if possible, the very elect.

Elder Dunbar, finding me unyielding, left by the next steamer, and had a
pleasant passage across the Channel, and I remained on the island another
week. During that interval my mind was haunted with what I had heard of
this new gospel dispensation, as it was called. That angels had again
descended from heaven to teach man upon earth; that a prophet had been
raised up to speak again the mind of the Lord to the children of men;
that the Saints were partakers of the gifts of the Spirit, as in the
Early Christian Church,—all these assumed facts took the form of reality,
and came back into my mind with greater force every time I strove to
drive them away; just as our thoughts do when we desire to sleep, and
cannot—our very efforts to dismiss them bring them back with greater
force to torment us.

We had an unusually bad passage across the Channel, which annoyed me all
the more when I remembered my scornful refusal to go in the same boat
with Elder Dunbar.

On my arrival in Southampton I soon discovered that my father, mother,
and sisters were full of the spirit of Mormonism. They were rejoicing in
it, ardently believing that it was the fulness of the everlasting gospel,
as the Elders styled it; and whatever I might think of the new religion,
I was forced to confess that it brought into my father’s house peace,
love, kindness, and charity such as were seldom seen in many households
of religious people. My sisters were completely changed in their manner
of life. They cared I nothing for the amusements which girls of their age
usually crave and enjoy. Their whole thoughts seemed to be occupied with
the Church, attending the meetings of the Saints, and employing every
leisure hour in preparing comforts for the Elders who were travelling and
preaching without purse and scrip. And in all this they were as happy as

Of my parents I might say the same. My dear mother rejoiced in the belief
that she had been peculiarly blessed in being privileged to live at a
time when “the last dispensation” was revealed; and my father, though
an invalid, rejoiced that he had entered into the kingdom by baptism.
Such was the condition of my father’s house; and who can wonder that,
accustomed as I was to listen with respect to the opinions of my parents,
I was more than ever troubled about the new religion which they had

The first Sunday morning that I was in England, my parents asked me to
accompany them to meeting, and I readily complied, as I wanted to hear
more of the strange doctrines which in some mysterious way had made our
family so happy, but which in other quarters had provoked such bitter
hostility. I know _now_ that this joyousness of heart is not peculiar to
new converts to Mormonism, but may be found among the newly-converted
of every sect which allows the emotional feelings to come into play.
To me, at the time, however, it was a mystery, but I must confess that
the change which had taken place in those nearest and dearest to me,
affecting me personally, and being so evidently in accordance with the
teachings of the Saviour, led me to regard Mormonism with less antipathy.
The bright side alone of the new faith was presented to the world abroad;
we had yet to go to Utah and witness the effects of Brigham Young’s
teachings at home before we could know what Mormonism really was.

I shall never forget the trial it was to my pride to enter the dirty,
mean-looking room where the Saints assembled at that time. No one would
rent a respectable hall to them, and they were glad to obtain the use
of any place which was large enough for their meetings. On the present
occasion there was a very fair gathering of people, who had come together
influenced by the most varied motives. The Presiding Elder—I should here
remark that the word “Elder” has among the Mormons no reference whatever
to age, but is simply a rank in the priesthood—called the meeting to
order, and read the following hymn:

    The morning breaks, the shadows flee;
      Lo! Zion’s standard is unfurl’d!
    The dawning of a brighter day
      Majestic rises on the world.

    The clouds of error disappear
      Before the rays of truth divine;
    The glory bursting from afar,
      Wide o’er the nations soon will shine!

    The Gentile fulness now comes in,
      And Israel’s blessings are at hand;
    Lo! Judah’s remnant, cleansed from sin,
      Shall in the promised Canaan stand.

    Angels from heaven and truth from earth
      Have met, and both have record borne;
    Thus Zion’s light is bursting forth
      To bring her ransom’d children home.

Every word of this hymn had a meaning peculiar to itself, relating to the
distinctive doctrines of the Saints. The congregation sang with an energy
and enthusiasm which made the room shake again. Self and the outer world
were alike forgotten, and an ecstasy of rapture seemed to possess the
souls of all present. Then all kneeled down, and prayer was offered for
the Prophet, the apostles, high-priests, “seventies,” elders, priests,
teachers, and deacons; blessings were invoked upon the Saints, and power
to convert the Gentiles; and as the earnest words of supplication left
the speaker’s lips, the congregation shouted a loud “Amen.”

There was no prepared sermon. There never is at a Mormon meeting. The
people are taught that the Holy Ghost is “mouth, matter, and wisdom.”
Whatever the preaching Elder may say is supposed to come directly by
inspiration from heaven, and the Saints listening, as they believe, not
to his utterances but to the words of God Himself, have nothing to do but
to hear and obey.

The first speaker on this occasion was a young gentleman of respectable
family, who had been recently baptized and ordained. He, too, was from
St. Heliers, and I had known him from childhood. His address impressed me
very much. He had been a member of the Baptist church, and he related his
experience, told how often he had wondered why there were not inspired
men to preach the glad tidings of salvation to the world to-day, as there
were eighteen centuries ago. He spoke of the joy which he had experienced
in being baptized into the Mormon Church and realizing that he had
received the “gift of the Holy Ghost.” The simplicity with which he
spoke, his evident honesty, and the sacrifice he had made in leaving the
respectable Baptists and joining the despised Mormons, were, I thought,
so many evidences of his sincerity.

Alas! how little could that young preacher conjecture how different the
practical Mormonism in Utah was from the theoretical Mormonism which
he had learned to believe in Europe, before polygamy was known among
the Saints. A short time afterwards he gave up his business, married
an accomplished young lady, and went with her to Salt Lake City. There
they were soon utterly disgusted with what they witnessed, apostatized,
and set out for England. When they had gone three-fourths of their way
back to the Missouri river, the young man, his wife, child, and another
apostate and his wife, were killed by “Indians:”—such, at least, was the
report; but dissenting Mormons have always charged their “taking off” to
the order of the leaders of the Mormon Church.

But to return to the meeting. The reader must please forgive me if I
dwell a little upon the events of that particular morning, for naturally
they made a deep impression upon my own mind—it was there that I saw for
the first time my husband who was to be.

I had heard a good deal about a certain Elder, from my family and from
the Saints who visited at our house. They spoke with great enthusiasm of
the earnestness with which he preached, of the effect which his addresses
produced, and of his confidence in the final triumph of “the kingdom.”

At that time—the summer of 1849—although the branch of the Mormon Church
in Britain was in a most flourishing condition, there were not in England
more than two or three American Elders preaching the faith, for when—two
years before the period of which I speak—the Saints left Nauvoo and
undertook that most extraordinary exodus across the plains to the Rocky
Mountains, the missionary Elders were all called home, and the work of
proselytizing in Europe was left entirely to the native Elders. To direct
their labours there was placed over them an American elder named Orson
Spencer, a graduate of Dartmouth University, a scholar and a gentleman—a
man well calculated from his previous Christian education to give an
elevated tone to the teachings of the young English missionaries.

Mormonism in England then, had no resemblance to the Mormonism of Utah
to-day. The Mormons were then simply an earnest religious people, in
many respects like the Methodists, especially in their missionary zeal
and fervour of spirit. The Mormon Church abroad was purely a religious
institution, and Mormonism was preached by the Elders as the gospel
of Christianity restored. The Church had no political shaping nor the
remotest antagonism to the civil power. The name of Joseph Smith was
seldom spoken, and still more seldom was heard the name of Brigham Young,
and then only so far as they had reference to the Church of the Saints.

About eighteen months before I visited Southampton, one of these
missionaries had come into that town, “without purse or scrip.” He was
quite a young man and almost penniless, but he was rich in faith and
overflowing with zeal. He knew no one there; and homeless, and frequently
hungry, he continued his labours. Of fasting he knew much, of feasting
nothing. He first preached under the branches of a spreading beech-tree
in a public park, and when more favoured he held forth in a school-room
or public hall. He had come to convert the people to Mormonism, or he
was going to die among them; and before such zeal and determination,
discouragements, of course, soon vanished away. He troubled the ministers
of other dissenting churches when they found him distributing tracts and
talking to their people. He was sowing broadcast dissatisfaction and
discontent wherever he could get any one to listen to him, and thus he
drew down upon himself the eloquence of the dissenting pulpits and the
derision of the local press. But the more they attacked him the more
zealously did he labour, and defied his opponents to public discussion.
Mormonism was bold then in Europe—it had no American history to meet in
those days.

This, and a great deal more, I had heard discussed in glowing language
by my relatives and friends; and thus the young missionary—Elder
Stenhouse—was, by name, no stranger to me.

It was Elder Stenhouse who now addressed the meeting, and I listened to
him with attention. The reader must remember that at that time polygamy
was unheard of as a doctrine of the Saints, and the blood-atonement, the
doctrine that Adam is God, together with the polytheism and priestly
theocracy of after-years, were things undreamed of. The saving love of
Christ, the glory and fulness of the everlasting Gospel, the gifts and
graces of the Spirit, together with repentance, baptism, and faith, were
the points upon which the Mormon teachers touched; and who can wonder
that with such topics as these, and fortifying every statement with
powerful and numerous texts of Scripture, they should captivate the minds
of religiously inclined people? However this may be, I can only confess
that, as I listened to Elder Stenhouse’s earnest discourse, I felt my
antipathy to Mormonism rapidly melting away.

At the close of the service, when he left the platform, he was warmly
received by the brethren and sisters, for so the Saints speak of one
another, and they came about him to shake hands, or it might be to seize
the opportunity of slipping a trifle into his hand to help him in his
work. Young and old, the poor and their more wealthy neighbours, mingled
together like one happy family. It was altogether a most pleasing scene;
and, whatever explanation may yet be given to Mormonism in America, one
thing I know—the facts of its early history in Europe are among the most
pleasant reminiscences of my life.

Elder Stenhouse came up in a familiar and open-hearted way to my mother
and sisters, and I was introduced to him as “the other daughter from
France.” He kindly welcomed me, and when I frankly told him the state of
my mind, he made, I must admit, a successful attempt to solve my doubts,
and when I left the meeting it was with sentiments towards the Saints
and their religion far different from those which I entertained when I

This meeting was a memorable era in my life.



In the afternoon I attended a meeting of a still more interesting
character. These Sunday afternoon meetings were held for the purpose
of receiving the sacrament, and the confirmation of those who had been
baptized during the week; they were intended exclusively for the Saints,
but for certain reasons I was permitted to be present.

The meeting was opened with singing and prayer, and then the presiding
Elder—Brother Cowdy—arose, and invited all those who had been baptized
during the week to come to the front seats. Several ladies and gentlemen
came forward, and also three little children. Upon inquiry I found that
children of eight years of age were admitted members of the Church by
baptism—which is administered by immersion. At that age they are supposed
to understand what they are doing; but before that, if of Mormon parents,
they are considered members of the Church by virtue of the blessing which
they received in infancy. Brother Cowdy—the presiding’ Elder—then called
upon two other Elders to assist him in the confirmation.

One of the ladies took off her bonnet, but retained her seat, when all
three of the Elders placed their hands upon her head, and one of them

“Martha; by virtue of the authority vested in us, we confirm you a member
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and as you have been
obedient to the teachings of the Elders, and have gone down into the
waters of baptism for the remission of your sins, we confer upon you the
Gift of the Holy Ghost, that it may abide with you for ever, and be a
lamp unto your feet, and a light upon your pathway, leading and guiding
you into all truth. This blessing we confirm upon your head, in the name
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

Then, before they took their hands off her head, the presiding Elder
asked the other two if they wished to say anything. Whereupon one of them
began to invoke a blessing upon the newly-confirmed sister. He spoke for
some time with extreme earnestness, when suddenly he was seized with
a nervous trembling which was quite perceptible, and which evidently
betokened intense mental or physical excitement. He began to prophecy
great things for this sister in the future, and in solemn and mysterious
language proclaimed the wonders which God would perform for her sake.
When we consider the excited state of her mind, and—if the statements of
psychologists be true—the magnetic currents which were being transmitted
from the sensitive nature of the man into the excited brain of the new
convert, together with the pressure of half a dozen human hands upon her
head, it is not at all astonishing that when the hands were lifted off
she should firmly believe that she had been blessed indeed. She had been
told that she should receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost; and she did not
for an instant doubt that her expectations had been realized.

Each of the newly-baptized went through the same ceremony, and then they
all partook of the sacrament, when, after another hymn, the meeting was
closed with prayer.

In the evening I returned, to listen to a lecture upon “the character,
spirit, and genius” of the new church, delivered by Elder Stenhouse;
and I was captivated by the picture which he drew of the marvellous
latter-day work which he affirmed had already begun. The visions of
by-gone ages were again vouchsafed to men; angels had visibly descended
to earth; God had raised up in a mighty way a Prophet, as of old, to
preach the dispensation of the last days; gifts of prophecy, healing,
and the working of miracles were now, as in the days of the Apostles,
witnesses to the power of God. The long-lost tribes of Israel were about
to be gathered into the one great fold of Christ; and the fulness of
the Gentiles being come, they, too, were to be taken under the care of
the Good Shepherd. All were freely invited to come and cast away their
sins, ere it was too late; and the fullest offers of pardon, grace,
sanctification, and blessing, in this world and in the next, were
presented to every repentant soul.

Surely, I thought, these are the self-same doctrines which my mother
taught me, when I knelt beside her in childhood, and which I have so
often heard—only in colder and less persuasive language—urged from
the pulpits of those whom I have ever regarded in the light of true
disciples of Jesus. Who can wonder that I listened with rapt attention,
and that my heart was even then half won to the new faith? The days
passed; and as I pondered over these things it appeared to me that I had
at last found that which I had so long earnestly desired and prayed for—a
knowledge of that true religion for which the Saviour presented Himself
a Holy Sacrifice, and which the Apostles preached at peril of their
lives—the _only_ faith, in which I might find joy and peace in believing.

But why should I dwell upon those moments, soul-absorbing as was their
interest to me _then_—sadly-pleasing as is their memory _now_! The reader
can see the drift of my thoughts at that time; and I feel sure, although
I have but hastily sketched the causes which brought about these great
changes in my religious belief and in my life, that he will not hastily
accuse me of fickleness and love of change, if he himself has fought the
battles of the soul, and has learned even in a slight measure to realize
the mystery of his inner being.

Each day the finger of destiny drew me nearer to the final step. The
young Elder, whose words I had listened to with such strange and, to
me, momentous results, was intimate with my father’s family, and called
frequently to see us, and before long he convinced me that it was my duty
to test for myself whether the work was of God, or not. In the agitated
state of my mind at that time, I could not withstand the earnest appeals
which were made to my affections and hopes; and within two weeks after
my arrival in England I became formally a member of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints; or in more popular language—I became a

The day was fixed for my baptism. Several others were to be baptized
at the same time; for scarcely a week passed without quite a number
of persons joining the Church. For this purpose we all repaired to a
bath-house on the banks of the Southampton river. This place was not
perhaps the most convenient, and it certainly was devoid of the slightest
tinge of romance; but it was the only one available to the saints at that

When we were all assembled and had united in singing and prayer, Elder
Stenhouse went down into the water first, and then two men went down
and were baptized, and came up again. Now came my turn. I was greatly
agitated, for I felt all the solemnity of the occasion. I had dressed
myself very neatly and purely, for I believed that angel eyes were upon
me; I wished to give myself—a perfect and acceptable offering—to my God,
and I was filled with the determination henceforth to devote my whole
life to His service.

As I went down into the waters of baptism, how thankful I felt that it
had been my privilege to hear the gospel in my youth, for now I could
give my heart in all its freshness to the Lord, before it had been
chilled by the cold, hard experience of life.

I descended the steps, and Elder Stenhouse came forward and led me out
into the water; then, taking both my hands in one of his, he raised his
other hand towards heaven, and in a solemn and impressive voice he said,—

“_Fanny; by virtue of the authority vested in me, I baptize you for the
remission of your sins; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost. Amen._”

Then he immersed me in the water; and as I reascended the steps, I really
felt like another being: all my past was buried in the deep—the waters of
baptism had washed away my sins; and a new life lay open before me, in
which my footsteps would be guided by the inspired servants of God. All
now would be peace and joy within me, for I had obeyed the commands of
God, and I doubted not that I should receive the promised blessing, and
that now I could indeed go on my way rejoicing.

My baptism took place one Saturday afternoon, and the afternoon following
I was confirmed a member of the Church. Elder Stenhouse presided at the
meeting, and he, with Elder Cowdy, and two other elders, confirmed me. As
the “blessing” which I then myself received differs somewhat from the one
which I have already given, and as it is a very fair specimen of those
effusions, I present it to the reader in full.

Elder Stenhouse, Elder Cowdy, and the two other Elders, placed their
hands solemnly upon my head, and Elder Stenhouse said,—

“Fanny; by virtue of the authority vested in me, I confirm you a member
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and inasmuch as you
have been obedient to the command of God, through his servants, and have
been baptized for the remission of your sins, I say unto you that those
sins are remitted. And in the name of God I bless you, and say unto you,
that inasmuch as you are faithful and obedient to the teachings of the
priesthood, and seek the advancement of the kingdom, there is no good
thing that your heart can desire that the Lord will not give unto you.
You shall have visions and dreams, and angels shall visit you by day and
by night. You shall stand in the temple in Zion, and administer to the
Saints of the Most High God. You shall speak in tongues, and prophecy;
and the Lord shall bless you abundantly, both temporally and spiritually.
These blessings I seal upon your head, inasmuch as you shall be faithful;
and I pray heaven to bless you; and say unto you—_Be thou blessed_, in
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

After the meeting, I received the congratulations of all the Saints
present, and more particularly those of my own family. My dear mother and
father were overjoyed; and I now learned how anxious they had been, and
how they had feared that I should return to France and reject the faith
of the new dispensation. Altogether we were very happy.

Elder Stenhouse and Elder Cowdy returned home with us to tea, and
afterwards we all attended the usual evening lecture. In this way was
passed one of the happiest days of my life—one which I shall ever
remember;—and yet that memory will always be mingled with regret that so
much love and devotion as I then felt were not enlisted in a better cause.

Thus began a new era in my life. All my former friends and associations
were now to be remembered no more; my lot was cast among the Saints; and
in the state of my mind at that time, I believed that I should be happy
in my new position, and resolved to give evidence of the sincerity of my

The untiring energy and restless activity of Elder Stenhouse was ever
before our eyes, and inspired all who associated with him with a similar
enthusiasm. There were no drones in that hive. The brethren, at a word
from him, would roam the country, teaching and preaching in the open air,
while the sisters would go from house to house in the city, distributing
tracts about the new faith. I caught the enthusiasm of the rest, and was
soon in the ranks with the other sisters, as devoted in my endeavours as
a young, ambitious heart could be. I was indeed like one born again from
an old existence into a new life. I felt grateful and happy—I began to
dream of the eternal honour which crowns a faithful missionary life; and
I soon found an ample field for testing my fitness for that vocation.

At the time of which I speak, the Primitive Methodists in England were
doing a great work in the way of converting sinners. Their missionaries
were zealous and devoted men, though generally poor and uneducated.
They resembled very closely the Mormon elders in their labours; and,
in fact, a very large number of the leading Mormons had been Methodist
local-preachers and exhorters; and the greater number of the new-born
Saints had come from that denomination with their former teachers, or
else had followed them soon after.

The change from Methodist to Mormon was, in course of time, very strongly
marked; but for a considerable period the same, or what seemed the same,
influences were at work among the people. Remarkable scenes of excitement
were often witnessed at the “love feasts;” and from the “anxious seats,”
as they were called, might be heard, the entreaties of self-accusing
souls, frightened by a multitude of sins, crying earnestly, nay, wildly,
for grace, mercy, and the Holy Ghost; while many of the supplicants
would fall upon the ground, completely overcome by nervous excitement.
Then they would have visions, and beheld great and unutterable
things; received the forgiveness of their sins; and, coming back to
consciousness, believed themselves now to be the children of God, and new
creatures; doubting not that they would ever after be happy in the Lord.

The experience of the Saints at their meetings, when Mormonism was first
preached, was exactly similar to this. Into the psychological, moral, or
religious causes of these scenes of excitement I cannot here enter;—I
simply mention facts as they came under my own observation.

The Mormon Missionary often came upon whole communities in the rural
districts of England, where this “good time” was in full operation; and
being a man of texts he would follow up the revival, preaching that the
spirit of the prophet was subject to the prophet, and not the prophet
subject to the spirit. Controversy would arise, and his appeal to
Scripture, literally interpreted, was almost invariably triumphant. Even
in America, especially in New York and Ohio, the same causes produced the
same effects. It was after his mind was excited by a general revival near
his native place, that Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, received
his first religious impression, and saw, as he asserted, his first
angelic vision. His followers, even in the early days of the Church, had
revival-meetings and meetings at which the most extraordinary excitement
was manifested,—when the Saints fell into ecstatic trances, saw heaven
opened, and spake with tongues. But Joseph, shrewd man as he was, albeit
“a prophet,” when he found too many rival seers were coming into the
field, announced by “special revelation,” that these too-gifted persons
were possessed by devils, and that their visions and prophesyings must be
at once suppressed. And he did suppress them.

Not long after my own baptism I was present at a meeting of this
description, in Southampton. It was called a “testimony meeting,” and was
held in a large upper room situated, if I rightly remember, in Chandos
Street. No one from the outside would have supposed that it was the place
of assembly of the Saints, for it was generally used for ordinary secular
meetings, and I have heard that great objections were at first raised as
to the propriety of letting it to the Mormons.

As we entered the door, we were saluted by Brother Williams, who
expressed great pleasure at seeing us. There was a full attendance of
the Saints, and every face wore an expression of peaceful earnestness. A
person who has never attended a Mormon meeting can form no idea of the
joyous spirit which seemed to animate every one present. I am not, of
course, speaking of modern meetings, but of meetings as they used to be.
Whence and whatever that “spirit” might be which moved the sisters and
brethren when they met in early times, I cannot tell; but I, and with
me, ten thousand Mormons and seceding Mormons in Utah, can, from our own
experience, testify that _that_ spirit no longer visits the Tabernacle
services over which Brigham Young presides, or the meetings of the Saints
since they adopted the accursed doctrine of polygamy, and forsook the
gentle leadings of their first love.

Often have I heard Mormons of good standing and high position in the
Church, lament the “good old times” as they called them, when the
outpouring of the Spirit was so abundant, and mourn over the cold, barren
services of the present day. But the elders explain this away. It is,
they say, the fault of the people themselves, and because their own
hearts have become cold.

At the meeting of which I speak, that happy spirit was peculiarly marked.
An encouraging smile, or a kind word, greeted me on every side, and, as a
newly-converted sister, I received the most cordial welcome. The brethren
were seated on forms and chairs and any other convenient article which
came to hand, while at the further end of the room was Brother Bench, who
was to preside, and with him several other leading Elders. Brother Bench
gave out a suitable hymn.

The whole congregation joined in the singing, and every heart seemed
lifted up with devotion. Then another Elder rose, and offered a
spirit-moving prayer; and then the brother who presided stated that for
the time he withdrew his control of the proceedings, and, as the phrase
was, he “put the meeting in the hands of the Saints,” exhorting them not
to let the time pass by unimproved.

Then arose Brother Edwards, a well-tried champion of the faith, and to
him every one listened with profound attention, eagerly drinking in his
every utterance. I could almost, even now, imagine that he was really
inspired. _Then_ I firmly believed he was. His voice thrilled with an
earnestness which seemed to us something more than the mere excitement of
the soul. A burning fire seemed to flash from his large, expressive eyes;
his features were lighted up with that animation which gives a saint-like
halo to the earnest face when fired with indignation or pleading
soul-felt truths; while his whole frame seemed to glow with the glory
of a land beyond this earth, as in the most impressive and convincing
language he reminded us that our sins had been washed away by the waters
of baptism, that upon us had been poured the gifts and graces of the
Spirit, and that it was our sacred privilege to testify of these things.

The effect of this exhortation was magical. We forgot all our outward
surroundings, in the realization that the great work of the Lord was
so gloriously begun, and that it would surely go on, conquering and to
conquer. One sister—an elderly woman—who was present, unable to control
her emotion, burst out with that Mormon hymn which I have heard some
old Nauvoo Saints declare produced upon the people in those days an
enthusiasm similar to that which moves the heart of every true Frenchman
when he listens to the soul-stirring notes of the Marseillaise:—

    The Spirit of God like a fire is burning!
      The latter day glory begins to come forth;
    The visions and blessings of old are returning,
      The angels are coming to visit the earth.
    We’ll sing and we’ll shout with the armies of heaven,
      Hosannah! Hosannah to God and the Lamb,
    All glory to them in the highest be given
      Henceforth and for ever: Amen, and Amen.

I have often heard in magnificent cathedrals, hoary with the dust of
time, and in vast places of amusement dedicated specially to music and to
song, the outpouring of that glorious vocal flood, which a chorus of a
thousand well-trained singers can alone send forth. I have felt sometimes
that entrancing state of ecstasy which thrilled the soul of the seer in
Patmos, as he listened to the melody of the angelic throng—“the voice of
many waters, and the peal of mighty thunders, and the notes of harpers
harping upon their harps;” but never, even when surrounded by all that
was best calculated to produce a sentiment of devotion in my mind—never
did I experience so rapt a feeling of communion with “the armies of
heaven”—as I felt in that unadorned meeting-room, surrounded by those
plain but earnest and united people.

Nor was I alone in this. The feeling was contagious. There was not one
present who did not sympathize. And thus, I suppose, melody has always
played a prominent part in all religious revivals, whether of divine or
human origin. The Apostles had their psalms, and hymns, and spiritual
songs; the Martyrs their _Te Deum_; the Waldenses made the hills and
vales of Piedmont vocal with their singing; the Lollards and Hussites had
their melodies; and in more modern days the followers of Luther, Wesley,
and (may I add?) Joseph Smith, have poured out the fulness of their souls
after the same fashion.

The last notes of the hymn had scarcely died away when another, and then
another brother, arose and bore testimony to the great work, told what
the Lord had done for them personally, told of their zeal for the faith,
and fervently exhorted all present to persevere unto the end. Again
prayer was offered, another hymn sung, and the Saints were dismissed with
a solemn benediction.



I was now a Mormon in every sense of the word, although entirely ignorant
of Utah politics and polygamy.

My dreams were of a life of happiness spent in seeking to convert the
whole world to the religion of Jesus, which I believed had been restored
again to earth by the ministry of holy angels. It is easy to say that
such an ambition was ill-directed when associated with Mormonism, but no
one can deny that, in itself, it was the noblest and purest that could
inspire the heart of man. There was no sacrifice too great for me to
make; there was no object too dear for me to resign, if it stood in the
way of my sacred calling. The whole current of my thoughts and plans was
now changed. It was henceforth my duty to be entirely forgetful of self,
and to devote my energies—my all—to the advancement of the Kingdom of
God. My life was to be identified with the Saints,—my faith required it,
and I was willing that it should be so.

But what of my beloved France, all this time; and my betrothed husband?

This reflection aroused within me a most painful train of thought. How
many fond and endearing memories entwined themselves around my heart
at that moment, when most I needed to banish them for ever! With what
lingering love did I look back to those dear ones from whom I had parted
but a few short weeks before, and whom I might perhaps never see again!
To return would be to desert my newly-adopted friends and faith—to
violate the covenant which I had made at baptism to “be ever afterwards
governed by the servants of God.”

No; it was too late—I could not now return;—I tried to persuade
myself that I did not even wish to;—in a word, affection, and what I
thought duty, were at war together in my heart. All my former ties and
associations must now be severed, however terrible the cost might be; and
I was bound not only to submit, but even to glory in the sacrifice. Thus
I argued away the regrets which would at times agitate my very soul, and
cause me much painful thought.

The trial of my profession in the new faith came swiftly to my door. My
marriage-engagement must be broken off, though I knew not how that could
honourably and conscientiously be done. Of myself I had no wish to draw
back from anything that I had promised of my own free will; and much less
did I desire to be faithless to my solemnly plighted word.

I now first realized the all-absorbing influence of an earnest religious
faith. I was brought face to face with the fact that I could not marry
out of the Mormon Church. The teaching of the Elders was against it, and
I saw that in this they were consistent. Great as was the trial, and
painful as was the sacrifice, I resolved to be true to my religion. How
very earnestly the Elders insisted upon such sacrifices, may be seen from
an appeal made at a later date by the “Apostle” Orson Pratt. Brother
Orson was in Europe, and, speaking authoritatively, he set forth the
duties of mothers and daughters in “Babylon,” as he graciously styled the
rest of the world, in the following terms, which unmistakably show the
purposes of the leaders relative to marriage:—

“Many of you have daughters, some of whom are grown to womanhood; others
are now young. Would, you have them gather with you to a land where
virtue and peace dwell, where God has promised to protect and bless the
righteous? If so, teach them, as they love their parents, and the Saints,
and the truth, not to throw themselves away by marrying Gentiles; teach
them to _keep themselves entirely aloof from Gentile_ courtships and
associations. Scores of women who once were counselled as you are now,
are mourning in wretchedness, in bondage to Gentile husbands, cut off
from all privilege of gathering with their fathers, mothers, brethren,
and sisters; and, in some instances, cut off from even attending the
Saints’ meetings. But this is not all. They are raising up children in
these lands to perish with themselves in the general desolations coming
upon Babylon. But what is still more aggravating and heart-rending, they
are raising up children not only destined for temporal judgments, but who
must for ever be cut off from the presence of God and the glory of the
celestial kingdom.... What fearful responsibility for any young sister to
voluntarily take upon herself, after all the warnings she has received.
See to it, then, parents, that you not only do not give your consent,
but actually forbid all such marriages....

“_Let them marry according to the holy order of God_, and begin to
lay the foundation of a little family kingdom which shall no more be
scattered upon the face of the earth, but dwell in one country, keeping
their genealogies from generation to generation, until each man’s house
shall be multiplied as the stars of heaven.”

These were the influences which were brought to bear upon my mind at
a time when it was peculiarly sensitive, and open to impressions from

While in this uncertain state a little incident occurred which, though
in itself of the most trifling nature, assisted in forming my ultimate

It was a beautiful evening in early summer, and my mother and sister
asked me to accompany them to one of the testimony-meetings which I have
already described. This meeting was very similar to the others, with one
notable exception:—it was here that I saw and heard, for the first time
in my own experience, the “gift of tongues” exercised.

Long before I had even heard of Mormonism, I had frequently thought how
wonderfully useful this gift must have been to the Apostles. One of the
great difficulties encountered by the missionary is learning the language
of the people among whom he works and lives. To be able to dispense
with all this labour, and to be understood wherever he went, must have
lightened the mind of the holy man of half its load; and naturally, when
I heard that the Mormons had “the Gift of Tongues,” I supposed it was
the self-same power of diverse speech as that exercised by the Apostles;
and I presume the reader will conjecture with me that it was the same
“gift,” or, at least, some imitation of it. How surprised I was when I
first discovered the meaning of the term “speaking in tongues” among the
Mormons, may perhaps be imagined when I explain what happened at that

After prayer, and singing, and listening to several very fervent
addresses from some of the elders, Brother Seely had delivered a most
impassioned speech, and had hardly concluded, when Sister Ellis, who
was sitting near me, gave evidence of being in an abnormal condition of
mind, which to me was painful in the extreme. Her hands were clenched,
and her eyes had that wild and supernatural glare which is never seen,
save in cases of lunacy or intense feverish excitement. Every one waited
breathlessly, listening to catch what she might say;—you might have heard
a pin drop.

Then in oracular language and with all the impassioned dignity of one
inspired of heaven, she began to speak.

I say “speak,” as that term is generally applied to the utterances of
the human voice; but she did not _speak_ in the sense in which we always
employ that word; she simply emitted a series of sounds. They seemed to
me chiefly the repetition of the same syllables—something like a child
repeating, _la, la, la, le, lo_; _ma, ma, ma, mi, ma_; _dele, dele,
dele, dela_—followed, perhaps, by a number of sounds strung together,
which could not be rendered in _any_ shape by the pen. Sometimes in
the Far West, in later years, I have heard old Indian women, crooning
weirdly monotonous and outlandish ditties in their native tongue. These
wild dirges, more nearly than anything else I ever heard, resembled the
prophetic utterances of Sister Ellis; save only, that the appearance of
the latter was far too solemn to admit of even a smile at what she said.

Ridiculous as this appears when I now write it down on paper, and strange
as even then it was to me, there was something so commanding, so earnest,
so “inspirational,” if I may be allowed the term, in Sister Ellis’s
manner, that I could not wonder at the attention which the brethren and
sisters paid to this gifted speaker in tongues.

I now know that these extraordinary displays are by no means confined to
Mormonism. People of a certain temperament, excited to frenzy—generally
by religious enthusiasm—have in all ages given painful illustrations of
this mental disease; as the student who remembers the _Convulsionnaires_
of the middle ages, the Munster Anabaptists of Luther’s time, and the
various emotional sects of more modern days, will abundantly bear me
witness. But at that time, new in the faith, and believing as I did
that, as the Elders said, it was the manifestion of the power of God,
as foretold by the prophet Joel, though I secretly felt a sense of
repugnance, I tried to combat my better sentiments.

Overcome by the excitement of the moment, Sister Ellis suddenly paused,
not so much intentionally as from sheer inability to proceed; and the
leading Elders looked round from one to another to see if any one was
present who could interpret. The gift of interpretation is very rarely
possessed by the same person who has the gift of tongues, and you may
often hear one after another arise and “speak,” but there is no one to
“interpret,” and the Saints go away unedified. Even when an interpreter
is present, there is no authority to determine whether he gives the
proper rendering of the sounds uttered, and I have over and over again
heard the most ludicrous stories of the comical interpretation placed by
some half-witty or half-witted expounder upon these oracles.

When Brother Brigham—then a man who was lowly in his own eyes—first met
the prophet Joseph Smith, at Kirtland, Ohio, there was a scene somewhat
like the one I have described; and the future leader of “this people,”
as he calls the Saints, himself spake with tongues and uttered wonderful
things. But even supposing his words at that time to have been of the
wisest, we all know from the example of Balaam’s _reprover_, that it
does not require a very high order of intellect to speak in unaccustomed
language—and that, too, to some purpose. In later days the exercise of
this gift has been discouraged by the Elders, and especially by Brigham
Young. Going one day, some years after, to the Lion-House to see a
certain member of the Prophet’s little family concerning a subject which
lay very near to my heart at that time, we prayed together earnestly
and anxiously; when suddenly the lady’s face was lighted up with a
supernatural glow, and placing her hand on my head she, sibyl-like,
poured forth a flood of eloquence which—although I did not understand a
single word that was uttered—I confess sent through me a magnetic thrill
as if I had been listening to an inspired seeress. Another of Brigham’s
wives who was present interpreted the words of blessing to me, but added:
“Do not speak of this, Sister Stenhouse, for Brother Young does not like
to hear of these things.” Thus we see that one inspired prophet in the
presence of another “prophet, seer, and revelator,” could himself take
part at one time in a miraculous manifestation, which in later years he
“would not like to hear of,” if it was only one of his many wives who
enacted the prophet’s _rôle_.

But my meeting! I have wandered far away from that. Let me proceed.

After more testimony, more “speaking,” and much enthusiasm, the Saints
separated. My sister was talking with a young-lady friend, and regretting
that no one present had been able to interpret; and I stood by, but did
not join in the conversation. Suddenly the young lady turned to me and
said: “Sister Fanny, do you not see in all this, more and more, the
convincing power of God?”

Rather hesitatingly I replied, “Yes, I think I do.”

“_Think!_ sister?” said she, with warmth. “Oh, yes, I see by your looks
that you are only half convinced; your faith is not strong enough yet;
but remember, whatsoever is of doubt _is sin_!”

“But,” I answered, “I do not see clearly what good we receive from these
manifestations when no one can understand them.”

“That is your want of faith—nothing else; you have the evidence of
the truth before you, and you see how these miraculous powers build
up the belief of God’s people; and yet you doubt. _To doubt is sin_:
whatsoever is not of faith is sin. You must pray and strive, sister, to
be strengthened against temptation.”

All this was not very logical, and it certainly did not help to dispel my
doubts. But twice in the course of a few short sentences, she had used a
certain expression which, though trifling in itself, was recalled to my
mind very forcibly before many days had passed.

This was my first experience of speaking in tongues.

But there were every-day matters of much more real importance to me than
those strange speculations which had recently employed so much of my time
and attention. It was now necessary that I should either return to France
and fulfil my engagement with Monsieur D—— or else resolve, once and for
ever, to renounce all those ties which had become so dear to me.

Meanwhile, religious theories were not the only influences brought to
bear upon my mind.

While day by day I began to be still more doubtful whether it would not
after all be sinful in God’s sight for me to leave my friends in the new
faith and go back to France and my betrothed, who I knew neither was nor
ever could become a Saint, other thoughts began to intrude themselves,
and to shake my determination.

Elder Stenhouse’s visits to my father’s house began to be more frequent
than ever, but as he desired to become familiar with the French language,
and would bring his French grammar with him “to get a lesson,” as he
said, no particular notice was taken of his frequent coming. He was
always welcomed with pleasure by the whole family, and, of course, by
myself, who was his teacher. After awhile he took so much delight in his
studies that he could not endure to let an evening pass without a lesson;
and somehow or other, I must confess, it was the first time since I
had been a teacher that I felt such a peculiar pleasure in imparting
instruction. I suppose it was the interest which all teachers experience
when their pupils are studiously inclined. My pupil was particularly
studious—so much so that he told my father and mother that he could not
study very well in the parlour where every one was conversing, and begged
the privilege of having the folding doors thrown partly open, that we
might sit in the back parlour and be more quiet.

This was granted. But after a few evenings my pupil took a notion to
partly close the folding doors after him, and, as mother’s eyes are
ever watchful, one of my sisters was sent in with her sewing to keep us
company. But my pupil by this time had made rapid progress in the French
language, and while my sister was innocently sewing, he was repeating his
lesson to me; and it was not our fault if in those French phrase-books
there were passages expressive of love and devotion. Unconsciously to us
both, he formed the habit of repeating those phrases to me at all times,
and I formed the equally bad habit of blushing whenever he made use of

This my sister observed, and communicated the fact to my mother, who
immediately said that we had better discontinue our French for awhile,
as it was monopolizing too much of our time, and keeping both of us from
attending to other and more important duties. But the discontinuation of
the French lessons did not put an end to the visits of Elder Stenhouse.
He was a persevering young man; but the secret of the great interest
taken in the French lessons was soon discovered.

Then it was that arguments of all kinds, and strong reasons, were brought
forward to shake my purpose of returning to France. I was “in doubt;”
when one day, discussing the point, Elder Stenhouse made use of the
very same expression which had fallen from the sister’s lips at the
testimony-meeting—“Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” My mind unsettled,
with all the strength of argument and religion on the one side, and on
the other no one to plead for reason and for my return to France, who can
wonder that I—at best only a weak and inexperienced girl—listened to the
entreaties of my friends, and resolved to stay.

In the course of a few months I was engaged to be married to Elder
Stenhouse. It may, perhaps, seem strange that I could so soon forget
the past, with all its pleasant memories and renouncing my betrothed
husband, accept the attentions of another; but it should be remembered
that I now firmly believed it was my duty—a duty which I dared not
neglect—to blot out for ever all past associations, however dear to my
heart they might be. Besides which, I, in common with all around me, had
learned to look upon Elder Stenhouse as almost an angel, on account of
what he had endured for the gospel’s sake; and I thought that any girl
might consider herself honoured by an offer of marriage from a man in his
position in the Church. My marriage in France would, I feared, have been
but doubtful happiness in this world, and certain ruin in the next; but
heaven itself would bless my union with one of its own ordained and tried

Thus it came to pass that on the 6th of February, 1850—eight months after
my arrival in Southampton—I was married to the young Mormon missionary,
Elder Stenhouse. I entered upon my new sphere as a missionary’s wife,
feeling that there were no obstacles so great that I could not overcome
them for the gospel’s sake. How little could I then imagine the life that
was before me!

I wrote to my friends in France. I told them frankly _all_. In return
they wrote to me—especially Monsieur D——, entreating me to alter my
determination. Kind, and very gentle, were those letters. Dear, very
dear, has been the memory of them, and of their writers, in later days.
But at the time I felt that the influence which they still retained over
me was in itself a sin.



About three months after our marriage it was rumoured that four of the
Twelve Apostles had been appointed to foreign missions, and were then on
their way to England.

The Saints in Britain had been for several years without any missionaries
direct from the body of the church, and the announcement of this foreign
mission was hailed with joy.

I confess to experiencing much pleasure at the thought of becoming
acquainted with a living Apostle. How often in my girlhood I had wished
that I had lived when men inspired of God walked the earth. What a joy,
I thought, it would have been to have listened to the wisdom of such
teachers. Now the time was near when I should realize all the happiness
of my day-dreams—when I should really have the privilege of conversing
with those chosen men of God. The invitation, therefore, to meet the
Conference in London on the 1st of June, was very welcome intelligence.

We went to the London Conference—my husband and I; and there for the
first time I met with Apostles, who were also Prophets, and Priests, and
High-priests, and Teachers, and Elders, and Deacons—all assembled in
solemn convocation.

The four Apostles whom I met at that time were John Taylor, Lorenzo Snow,
Erastus Snow, and Franklin D. Richards—pleasant and agreeable men, and
withal very fair specimens of Mormon missionaries, who had found favour
in the eyes of Brigham Young and of the leaders in Zion, and who had been
promoted accordingly. They lived comfortably, wore the finest broadcloth,
fashionably cut, and were not averse to gold chains, and charms, and
signet-rings, and other personal adornments. They put on no particular
airs, were as polite and attentive to ladies as gentlemen always are, and
could go to a theatre or any other place of amusement without hesitation.
I afterwards discovered that in one particular, at least, if not in all,
they resembled the early Apostles, for they too could, like St. Paul,
“lead about a sister” without any compunctions of conscience.

The Southampton Saints had hitherto formed only a branch of the London
Conference, but did not form a conference of their own. It was now
resolved that since so large a number had recently been baptized in
Hampshire, the several branches of the church there should be organized
into a special conference at Southampton, with Elder Stenhouse as its
president; and the Sunday following was appointed for that purpose, when
the Apostle Snow, _en route_ to Italy—to which country he had just been
appointed missionary—would honour the occasion with his presence.

As we returned, some gentlemen in the same railway carriage, to while
away the time, I suppose, entered into a religious discussion. What the
subject was I do not now remember; but I can recollect that a good deal
was said as to which of all the numerous Christian sects really possessed
Divine authority. Elder Stenhouse took an active part in the argument,
and being, like all the Mormon Missionaries at that time, very well
posted in Scriptural discussions, he attracted considerable attention,
and was much complimented by several persons present.

The Apostle Lorenzo Snow was silent all the time, but he took note of
all that passed. Elder Stenhouse was a man of great zeal and untiring
energy—qualities in which perhaps Brother Snow felt himself a little
deficient; and he was going on a mission which required unflagging
devotion and perseverance. We had not been an hour at home, before
he told my husband that the Lord had _thrice_ revealed to him that
he should accompany him to Italy! How often—even while I still clung
to Mormonism—did it appear strange to me that the “revelations” of
distinguished Saints should so frequently coincide with their own
personal wishes, and come at such convenient times.

I had laid aside my travelling-dress, and was hastening to provide some
refreshment for the Apostle, when my husband came and told me of the
revelation which had been so opportunely received. I was at that time
as much an enthusiast as Elder Stenhouse himself, and I felt honoured
that my husband should be the first English elder appointed to a foreign
mission. Here was the fulfilment of my ambition, that we should be in
the forefront of the battle, and should obtain distinction as zealous
servants of God. But at what a cost was this ambition purchased! My
poor, weak heart sickened at the thought—I had been but four months

When the Apostle asked me if I were willing that Elder Stenhouse should
go to Italy, I answered “Yes,” though I felt as if my heart would break.
I remembered that in my first transport of joy and gratitude after being
baptized, I had made a covenant with the Lord that I would do anything
which He might require of me; and I dared not rebel, or break that vow.
Oh, the agony that fell upon my young heart! It seemed that the weight
of a mountain rested upon it when I was told that my husband might be
five years absent. He had already been five years a travelling elder
without a home, trusting for daily bread to the voluntary kindness of
the Saints. He had laboured faithfully, and looked forward to the day
when his “Conference” should be established, and he could count upon an
improvement in his temporal position, and an early call to emigrate to
Zion. In the few months that I had been his wife, it was only natural
that I should share his hopes; but just at the moment when they were
about to be realized, hopes and expectations were scattered to the winds.

On the following day the Saints assembled, the Southampton Conference was
organized, and Elder Stenhouse elected its president. Ten minutes later
he was publicly appointed by the Apostle on a mission to Italy.

During the few days which intervened between the time when Elder
Stenhouse received his appointment, to the hour of his departure,
I enjoyed but little of his society. Arranging the affairs of the
Conference which he was leaving, and preparation for his mission, fully
occupied his attention. I do not think we either of us uttered a word,
when alone together, respecting the future that was before us. It was
probably better that we did not. There are moments of our life when
silence is better than speech; and it is safer to trust in the mercy of
God than to try to shape our own destiny.

The Saints are noted for the fraternal spirit which exists among them.
There are, of course, exceptions; but, as a rule, every Mormon is willing
to help his brother in the faith, acting upon the principle “One is
your Master, even Christ: and all ye are brethren.” The Southampton
Saints were no exception to this rule, but showed their kindness both
to my husband and myself in a thousand little ways. I have spoken of my
unhappiness during that week of preparation, but I must not forget that
there were gleams of hope in the darkness. One occasion I shall never
forget—a picnic which our friends held as a kind of valedictory feast in
honour of the missionaries—of Elder Stenhouse in particular.

Right up the Southampton river, not far from Netley Abbey, is a pleasant
and picturesque spot, named Bittern, which I need not too particularly
describe, although the memory of its beauty recalls recollections of
mingled sadness and pleasure to my mind. There my parents now lived, and
thither it was proposed our friends should go. They could obtain all they
needed for the picnic at my father’s house, and we could take our good
things into the woods, and enjoy ourselves as we pleased. We had a very
happy time; for the moment, even _I_ forgot the cloud that was hanging
over me; and our dear friends not only enjoyed themselves to the utmost,
but seemed bent upon making the time pass pleasantly to every one else.

I had been talking to Sister White about the recent doings of the Saints,
the establishment of the Conference and the sending away of Elder
Stenhouse. I wanted Sister White, as in fact I wanted every one else, to
think that I was perfectly happy in the separation, and that I counted my
feelings as a wife as nothing when placed in the balance against my duty
as a missionary; and I tried to impress upon her how proud I was that
my husband should be the first English Elder entrusted with a foreign
mission. We talked together a great deal. She was still quite a young
woman, though married, and the mother of four darling little children;
but probably she had a better experience than I had, and could see
through my attempts to stifle my natural feelings, while at the same time
she sympathized with me. She spoke very kindly to me; and as we talked,
we wandered inadvertently away from the rest of the party. Suddenly she
thought of her little boy, and, mother-like, thinking he might be in
danger, ran off in search of him, promising to come back immediately.

I sat down upon the grass to await her return. I was somewhat excited
by the conversation which had passed between us; but as I sat musing my
agitation began to cool down, and I was soon lost in thought, and did not
notice that I was not alone.

I did not hear the light footsteps near me, and did not see a little
fairy friend, as I called her, pass between me and the sun. But a tiny
hand was laid gently on my shoulder, and looking up I saw the loving eyes
of Mary Burton looking straight down into mine.

“Where have you been, dear?” I asked. “Why, I have hardly seen you all
the day.”

“But I knew you were here,” she said, “and I thought you were alone; and
I wanted to see you, and talk with you.”

“Come and sit down beside me, Mary,” I said, “and let us have a little
chat together.” Then I drew her gently towards me, and she sat down by
my side. For a few moments we said nothing, but I was watching her, and
waiting to hear what she would say. She seemed such a pretty, such a
sweet and gentle girl—more like one of those little birds of glorious
plumage and thrilling song that we see glittering among the dew-drops
and the dancing leaves, than a child of earth. And I pitied her for her
beauty, for such beauty is a snare; and I wondered whether her innocent
soul was as fair and glorious before God as her face was sweet to me;
and I asked whether, in years to come, when the glory of her childish
radiance had passed away, the brightness of a soul pure and serene would
lend a new beauty to her features—the beauty, not of childish innocence,
but of a noble womanhood.

I took her hand in mine, and asked her some trifling question; but she
did not answer. Suddenly she looked up full into my face, and said,
“Sister Stenhouse; I’m very, very sorry for you.”

“Sorry for _me_, dear?” I said. “_Why_ should you be sorry? I am not sad.”

“You shouldn’t say so,” she replied; “you know in your heart you _are_
sad, although you don’t say so. It’s a fine thing, no doubt, for Elder
Stenhouse to go away, though for my part I’d rather stop at home if I
loved any one there; and at any rate, you must feel sorry that he is
going away so far, if you love him.”

“But Mary,” I said, “you know it is his duty to go; and he has been
called to it by the Apostle, and it is a great honour.”

“Oh yes, I know that,” she replied, “I know that.” Then we relapsed into
silence for some few moments. Presently drawing nearer to me, she said
again, quite suddenly, “Sister Stenhouse, do you know the meaning of the
word _Polygamy_?”

“Why, what a funny question to ask me, child!” I exclaimed.

“Child, you call me, Sister Stenhouse; but I’m not a child—at least not
quite a child; I shall be fifteen next birthday.”

“Well, dear,” I said, “I did not mean to offend you; and I call you
‘child’ because I love you; but you asked me such a strange question, and
used such a strange word.”

This was quite true, for at that time the word Polygamy was as seldom
used as the word “polyandry,” or any other word signifying a state of
things with which we have nothing to do.

“I’m not offended,” she said; “only people have a way of treating me as
if I were only such a _very_ little girl: I suppose I look so.”

She certainly did look so, and I suppose she read my thoughts. Womanhood,
by-and-by, brought to her more of reality, both in face and figure, as
well as in the terrible facts of life; but at that time the term “little
fairy,” which I have so often used respecting her, seemed the most
appropriate. The meaning of that terrible word Polygamy she understood,
in later years, fully as well as I did.

“Well, dear,” I said, “why did you ask me that strange question?”

“You must promise not to be angry with me if I tell you,” she answered;
“and yet I think you ought to know.”

I readily promised—what could I have refused her?—and she said,—

“The other day two of the sisters were at our house—I may not tell you
their names for fear of making mischief—and they were talking together
between themselves, and did not notice that I was present—or else they
didn’t care. And I heard one of them tell the other, that she had heard,
secretly, that in Zion men were allowed to have many wives; and she used
that word Polygamy very often, and said that was what the people of the
world called it.”

“Well, Mary dear,” I replied, “that is no great secret. We have all heard
that said before. Wicked people who hate the Gospel say that, and a great
deal more, in order to bring scandal upon the Church; but of course it
isn’t true.”

“Ah, but I haven’t told you all,” she said. “The sisters had a long talk
about it, and they explained whom they heard it from, and it was from no
one outside the Church. And then one of them said that Elder Stenhouse
had heard all about it, and knew it was true, only of course he did not
talk about such things yet; but that the time would come when everyone
would acknowledge it, and all the Saints would have many wives. I was
frightened when I heard this, and very angry—for I thought of you—and I
spoke to her, and said it was all untrue, and I’d ask Elder Stenhouse.
And they scolded me very much for saying so, and said it was very wicked
for a child to listen; and that was why I did not like you to call me

“Well, darling,” I said, “I’ll not offend you any more in that way; and
it was very good of you to tell me anything you thought I ought to know.”
Then I kissed her, and continued, “But, after all, I don’t think it’s of
any consequence. It’s the old scandal, just as in the early days they
said wicked things of Christ and His apostles. Elder Stenhouse knows all
that people say, but he has told me again and again that there is not a
word of truth in it; and I believe him.”

“You think so, Sister Stenhouse,” she replied, “and I suppose I ought
to think so too; but if it’s all false how did people first begin to
think of it? People don’t say that the Mormons are murderers or thieves,
because we have given them no reason to think so. Then why should they
think of such an unheard-of thing as Polygamy—surely there must have been
_some_ reason. Don’t you think so?”

“No, dear,” I answered, “Elder Stenhouse says that some very wicked men
have sometimes joined the Church, and have done all manner of shocking
things, so that they had to be cut off; and then they went about trying
to make other people believe that the Mormons were as wicked as they
were. There was John C. Bennett, who lived a frightful life at Nauvoo,
and then tried to make out that Joseph Smith was as bad as he was. And
Marsh, the president of the twelve apostles, and Orson Hyde, when they
apostatized not only said bad things of Joseph, but took affidavit, and
swore solemnly before the magistrates, that the prophet had been guilty
of the most fearful crimes.”

I kissed her again; and she said, “Well, perhaps you are right;” but I
could see that in her heart she was not convinced.

Then we talked of ourselves and all that interested us, and she told me
all her childish hopes and ambitions; and to me—young as I was myself—it
was pleasant to listen to her innocent prattle. She promised to come and
see me when Elder Stenhouse had gone, and I should be left alone; and
when we got back to the rest of the party we were as firm friends as if
we had known each other a lifetime.

At midnight, Saturday, June 15th, 1850, the steamer left Southampton for
Havre-de-Grace, bearing on board the first two Mormon missionaries to
Italy; one of them was my husband.

The Saints had called in the evening to bid Elder Stenhouse good-bye; and
as he was, of course, to travel “without purse or scrip,” they vied with
each other in showing their appreciation of his position and his devotion
to the faith. The poorest among them would not be denied the privilege
of contributing their mites to aid in the conversion of the Italians;
and none of the brethren felt that they could show too much kindness to
the departing missionary. Just in this way have all the foreign missions
of the Mormon Church been projected and sustained; the elements of
success were always present—devotion and self-abnegation on the part of
the missionaries, and an earnest, self-sacrificing disposition on the
part of the people, commanding respect, however erroneous or foolish the
foundation of their faith.

In the bustle of departure, Mr. Stenhouse seemed never to have thought
about himself, and certainly he made no preparation for me. I had full
confidence in him, however, and loved him devotedly, and knew that my
love was returned. But men who look for miracles, and count upon special
providences for daily bread, are not generally very prudent or far-seeing
in their domestic arrangements. Elder Stenhouse had been told that “the
Lord would provide,” and it therefore seemed to him superfluous that he
should interfere; it would have been a lack of faith to have shown too
much interest in what might become of me. He left me with only 1_l._

I now realized the loneliness of my position; there was no earthly friend
to whom I could turn for sympathy at a time like this. Before my Heavenly
Father alone I could pour out the bitterness of my soul and all my
griefs, and in His presence weep and pray.



When the Apostle Snow called upon Mr. Stenhouse to go to Italy, the
Saints willingly accepted the responsibility of providing for me during
his absence.

They thought it was more an honour than a burden to have this charge
committed to them; but it was very humiliating to me to be placed in such
a position, however anxious they might be to assist me and to serve the
general cause. To face opposition, or to give my all for my religion,
I was willing indeed; but to depend upon others for my daily bread was
utterly repugnant to my feelings, although, of course, if the Church
sent away my husband, whose proper place and duty it was to support
his family, it was only right that the members of that Church should
undertake the responsibility. But then, and at many other times during my
life, I have learned the truth of Christ’s precept, “It is more blessed
to give than to receive.”

The American Apostle was not without worldly wisdom when he proposed that
an unmarried man should be appointed to preside over the Southampton
Conference, as his wants would be few. But Mr. Stenhouse had been
solicited by a friend, who had a wife and children, to secure his
appointment; and with ready confidence in that friend, he overlooked his
own interests and my welfare, and I was left to pass through trials and
privations which I can never forget.

The Saints were very kind, and took pleasure in doing all they could for
me; but the mistake which my husband committed in leaving his friend
to succeed him as president of the Conference was soon apparent. The
“friend” thought of his own family first, and the family required all
that the Saints could reasonably be expected to contribute; and even then
they had not enough. I therefore received only such little sums as could
be withheld from them; and to make the matter worse, those who had any
property or estate were counselled to sell all, and “gather to Zion.”
The more wealthy Saints were soon gone; and the current expenses of the
church fell heavily upon those who were hardly able to support their own

They tried to send me something every week, and I have no doubt they did
send me all that they could. When their contributions reached four or
five shillings (about $1) I thought myself fortunate; more often I did
not receive the value of fifty cents in the whole week, at times less,
and sometimes nothing at all. That unfailing comfort to respectable
English poverty, a cup of tea, was my greatest luxury, but at times for
weeks together I had not even that; I had nothing but bread; but I never

Whenever it was possible I concealed my true situation from every one,
and in my almost daily letters to my husband not a shadow of a hint was
ever dropped relative to my own privations. I wanted him to be successful
in his mission, and I feared that his energy would desert him if he knew
of my difficulties. I was in extreme poverty, certainly, but for myself I
was not in trouble. God would provide for me, I felt; and it was glorious
to suffer in a sacred cause.

But darker days, days of severer trial, were creeping slowly near me. Up
to this time I had worshipped God and loved my husband with a perfect
heart. Now the dark shadow of an accursed thing was looming in the
distance, and approaching surely if slowly.

In some way an idea had got abroad that the Mormons were somewhat unsound
respecting the marriage question. Still the elders stoutly denied the
charge, and the more they were accused the more strenuous became their

At a public discussion at Boulogne-sur-mer, in France, the Apostle John
Taylor, in reply to the accusations of Polygamy which were brought
against him, said,—

“We are accused here of actions the most indelicate and disgusting, such
as none but a corrupt and depraved heart could have conceived. These
things are too outrageous to admit of belief.... I shall content myself
with quoting our views of chastity and marriage from a work published by
us, containing some of our articles of faith—Doctrine and Covenants.”

He then proceeded to quote from the “Book of Doctrine and Covenants” such
passages as the following:—

“Marriage is ordained by God unto man; wherefore it is lawful that he
should have _one_ wife, and they _twain_ should be _one_ flesh” (p. 218).

He quoted many other things also, among which might be enumerated the

“Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her,
and none else.”

He quoted also many other passages of Scripture which had reference to
the subject—each powerful to put aside even the idea of polygamy; and
each equally powerful as an argument against polygamy itself.

Let the reader here note the value of what Mormons say when their faith
is called in question. See and judge.

Brother Taylor, who spoke at that meeting, and utterly denied polygamy,
had himself—at that very moment when he so atrociously perjured himself,
and when he swore that no Mormon had more than one wife—_five wives_
living in Salt Lake City. One of his friends there present had two wives;
and the other was married to a mother, and her own daughter!

Any conclusion, any expression of disgust at these abominations and
deliberate perjuries, I leave to the reader.

Among those who came to see Mr. Stenhouse before he left for Italy,
was Elder Margetts, an English elder of some prominence in the British
mission. At the picnic of which I have already spoken, I noticed that
this elder was more than usually attentive to a pretty young sister who
was also present. There was always an affectionate familiarity among the
Saints; as I previously mentioned, they were like brothers and sisters,
and addressed each other as such. But the attentions of the elder I speak
of pointed a little beyond all this. He could not, perhaps, be accused of
any open impropriety, but he certainly looked much more like the girl’s
lover than an ordinary friend or her spiritual adviser.

I knew this Elder’s family in London, and his conduct pained me a good
deal. So I drew the attention of my husband to the circumstance; and he
said the Elder was foolish, but he would speak to them both; and this he

After the departure of the missionaries, this elder remained for several
days. He then returned to London, but it was not long before he was again
in Southampton, and he still paid marked attention to the same young
sister. This caused unpleasant remarks among the Saints, who at this time
certainly did not believe that polygamy was practised in Utah.

At a later date this Elder, with some others, was again in Southampton,
and I was invited to take tea with them at the house of one of the
Saints. In the course of the evening there was a general conversation on
“the work of the Lord,” in which I, of course, was greatly interested.

Whenever any of the missionaries were visiting, the Saints would seek
their society, just like children who were glad to meet again their
parents after a long absence; and at such times they were at liberty
to ask what questions they pleased. On the evening I speak of, I well
remember that the general subject of conversation was the apostasy of
the Christian Church from the true order of God’s salvation. Prominence
was given to the history of Abraham and his descendants, and occasional
allusion was made to their marital relations; but nothing directly was
spoken. It was very evident that these elders only wanted to drop a word
or two here and there, to suit those who wanted it; but nevertheless they
spoke so obscurely and mysteriously that they could easily have retracted
what was said if any one had accused them of teaching a doctrine which
they were unwilling openly to avow.

When I returned home that night I was fully satisfied that the Elder I
have spoken of had a reason for his frequent visits to Southampton, and
shortly after the young sister went to London. Whether Polygamy was ever
to be a doctrine of the Church or not, it was very clear to me that the
London Elder was a polygamist at heart. The more my mind dwelt on these
things, the more sick at heart did I become, and faint and weary.

I had, however, personal cares and trials enough to engage my attention.
I found that I could not depend upon the Saints to provide me with even
the barest necessaries of life, so I looked about me and made inquiries
for some light employment by which I might support myself. My health
at that time would not have allowed me to do much, but for a long time
I could not get anything at all to do. I had, of course, been used to
teaching, but employment of that kind it was just then impossible for me
to take, even if I could have got it; the only resource which seemed left
to me was to find occupation for my needle, and it was a long and weary
time before I could obtain even this.

At length I got a little plain sewing to do, and out of the miserable
pittance thus earned I contrived to pay my rent and provide a few
necessaries; but at times that too was beyond my power, and I have gone
a fortnight at a time with nothing to eat but dry bread. Still my faith
never failed. And thus the weary days passed by.

Now, however, a new interest began to gather round my life, for I
expected before the end of the year the arrival of a little stranger to
share my affections and my care. This certainly was a sad beginning of
domestic bliss, but still the thought was pleasant to me. I had at that
time no one to aid me or comfort me. The Saints were very kind, but they
could not supply the place of an absent husband. My dearest friend, Mary
Burton, used to come as often as she could to see me, and her presence
was like a gleam of sunshine; but she was so young, and innocent, and
happy, that I had not the heart to trouble her with my sorrows. All
my jewellery and trinkets, and the greater part of my wardrobe, had
gone in providing for my daily wants, and in preparing those necessary
trifles upon which a young mother bestows so much loving care. My health
was daily failing, and sometimes I doubted if I should ever be well
and strong again. But all that I suffered was for the Church, and that
thought sustained me.

Often I would sit alone and think—think of the past, and all my early
day-dreams of love, and hope, and bliss; think of my husband in a far-off
land devoting his life and all his energies to the preaching of the
latter-day glory; think of those whisperings of that accursed doctrine
which has since brought desolation and anguish to the hearts of so many
weary women; think of my future life, dark as its promise even then

Sometimes I heard from Italy—heard how my husband was progressing
with his work, and with wifely love I sympathized with him in all his
difficulties, for he told me how arduous the task was in which he was

It was not the expectation of the Mormon Apostles that the missionaries
would do much in Catholic Italy. The same causes were in operation there
as affected the work in France. Few, if any, really good Roman Catholics
have ever joined the Saints. The Irish mission was never successful, and
the same may be said of the French and Italian missions. In France and
Italy by far the greater part of the people might be classed under two
heads—Roman Catholics, and infidels. The first had already an infallible
guide in which they trusted; and as for the infidels, they ridiculed
the idea of any guide at all. Both classes were utterly devoid of that
acquaintance with Scripture of which the Mormon missionaries understood
so well how to take advantage, and which rendered those so susceptible to
religious influences who took the Bible as their basis. The missionaries
in Italy soon experienced the difficulties presented by these facts.

After their arrival in Genoa, Mr. Stenhouse was directed to carry the
gospel to the Waldenses—those brave old Protestants of the dark ages, who
so manfully suffered, even unto death, for conscience sake; and some time
after he had begun his labours among them, the Apostle Snow joined him.

Whatever they might believe or teach theoretically, there can be no doubt
that the American Apostles were largely endowed with the “organ” of
caution. Preaching without purse or scrip among people who either detest
you as a heretic or else regard you with profound indifference is not a
pleasant task, and the Mormon Apostles very prudently “took up” liberal
collections in England before they started. Had it not been for this
common-sense proceeding, I am at a loss to say what would have become
of the missionaries in Italy; and as it was, their lot was not a very
enviable one.

Besides the scarcity of money, the other great difficulty experienced by
the missionaries was learning the language of their destined converts.
For many years it was supposed among the Saints that the “gift of
tongues” would be all-sufficient for this purpose. The two distinguished
Apostles, Orson and Parley P. Pratt, whose writings did so much for
Mormonism, had both of them eloquently discussed the subject in print;
but the missionaries soon discovered that for practical purposes the
“gift” was not of much service; and the two Pratts themselves afterwards
experienced—the one in South America and the other in Austria—the fallacy
of their theories. Without the “gift” in any shape the work in Italy
was necessarily very slow, and an Elder who could speak a little French
was sent out from London to assist them. They had at last come to the
conclusion that if the Lord would not bestow the “gift” upon them, they
must try to acquire it themselves.

The Apostle Snow now thought of sending the Gospel to the Swiss, and Mr.
Stenhouse was selected for the work. But before he went it was determined
that the Church in Italy should be “organized,” and about a week later, I
received a long account of how this was done. I heard how, one pleasant
November morning, the Apostle Snow, Elders Stenhouse and Woodward,
together with several Waldenses whom they had converted, ascended the
mountain side contiguous to La Tour, and overlooking the fertile valley
of Pinerello. There they sang praises and prayed. They christened the
place “Mount Brigham;” and the stone upon which the three elders stood
and offered up a written prayer, they named “The Rock of Prophecy;” and
there they organized the church, dedicating the soil of Italy to the
Lord. Moreover, then and there my husband was solemnly consecrated a
“High-Priest after the Order of the Son of God.”

All this I heard, and much more; and in confiding faith that this was
indeed a great and glorious work, I rejoiced that I had been accounted
worthy to suffer patiently at home, if only my husband might successfully
fulfil his task abroad.

After that I heard that he had left Italy, and had arrived in Geneva,
believing that he would be more successful among the Swiss than the

A few days after the arrival of the missionary in Geneva, an event
occurred which interested my own self personally—my little Clara was
born. Very happy was I when I looked upon her tiny little face for the
first time, and kissed her for being the prettiest baby in the world;
very happy was I when I folded her in my arms, and talked to her as if
she could understand all that I said; very happy indeed, as I looked at
her again and again, and marvelled whether she really could be, indeed
and certainly, my own baby girl. It seemed as if baby’s papa would never
come back again, but I had a companion now in my child; and weak and
weary as I was, with new responsibilities and less power to help myself,
I found comfort in my new care, and realized the truth of the old Scotch

    “Muckle lichter is the load
    When luve bears up the creel.”

I was not now alone.

Then, too, came round to see me, Mary Burton. She was as fond and tender
to me as ever, and tripped quietly about the room, and tried to wait upon
me, and sat by the bed, playing with baby, calling her all the pretty
things she could think of; and I felt that her presence brought new light
and life to my room. She brought me another letter from my husband, and
I found that he was now acquiring for himself the “gift” of the French
tongue, unable to do much else, as he and everybody didn’t understand
each other. He could not yet talk to the French-speaking Genevese; and
the English-speaking residents would not listen to him; they had only
heard of Mormonism as a clumsy fraud, and looked upon the prophet Joseph
Smith as an impostor. So, for a whole winter, he sat shut up in his own
room, poring over a French grammar, and deploring his hard fate in being
denied the gift of tongues.

In the spring of the new year I received a distinguished visitor, who
kindly interested himself in my welfare. The Apostle Lorenzo Snow left
Piedmont for England, and passed through Geneva _en route_. On his way
to London he called upon me at Southampton, and expressed much sympathy
for me. He noticed the change in my appearance, and immediately sent for
Mr. Stenhouse to return to England. He acted very kindly by me at that
time; did all that he could to assist me, and said that he never again
would ask any man to make such a sacrifice. I fully appreciated all his
kindness; but much as I wanted to, I did not venture to ask him about
the truth or falsity of those terrible suggestions which I had heard
whispered of late.

My husband hastened home, coming by way of Calais, in order to meet his
president and receive his instructions. The Apostle showed much sympathy
for him, and very early in the morning accompanied him some miles to the
railway station; but he never once mentioned how I had been situated in
Southampton until he left him, and then he exacted from him a promise not
to open his lips whatever he might learn.

I need not say that I was happy to see my husband once again, and to
present to him his little daughter, who was now five months old. He was,
of course, soon busy in visiting the Saints, and he received from them
many tokens of attachment.

In the beginning of June a General Conference of the branches of
the Church in Britain was held in London. The Apostles and foreign
missionaries were present, and my husband and I were also there. We had
speeches and prayers. The business of the Conference occupied but very
few minutes, for no measure was questioned. Among the Mormons there are
no opinions, no discussion. The presiding head has made out his programme
before he comes to the Conference; he knows what he wants to do, and
no one ever questions him. He may perhaps for form’s sake invite the
brethren to speak on any point he introduces; but when he has furnished
the clue to his wishes, the Elders who speak only spend their time in
arguments in favour of his measures. At the Conference of which I speak
the reports of the native elders were very cheering to us. Throughout
England and Wales they had been most successful in adding members to the
Church. Mormonism was then most successfully preached in Britain. There
were more Mormons there than in all Utah Territory: there were fifty
Conferences, with over seven hundred organized “branches,” and more than
six thousand men ordained to the priesthood. That peculiar influence
which the Mormons call “the Spirit,” of which I have spoken elsewhere,
was spoken of by the Elders as being a common experience everywhere.

During all that Conference I listened carefully for a word from the lips
of any of the speakers which might indicate in any way that Polygamy was
part of the Mormon faith; but not a whisper, not a hint, was uttered.
I naturally concluded that the Elders, whose doubtful expressions at
Southampton had so troubled my mind, were misinformed or unsafe men.
Still I could not altogether banish my apprehension of coming evil; but
so bound to secrecy were those who did know of Polygamy being practised
in Utah, that there was not one who would admit it, and even my own
husband’s lips were sealed to me. He did not deny it, but he would not
talk about it, and did everything he could to banish the thought from my

At that Conference the Apostle Snow spoke very strongly of the way in
which I had been neglected; and it was arranged that Elder Stenhouse
should return to Switzerland, and that I should accompany him. My
knowledge of French was expected to be very serviceable.

We now made preparations for an early departure, and prepared to leave
our friends. To the reader it may seem strange for a man, his wife,
and babe, to be sent out in this way on a mission without any proper
arrangement for their maintenance; but to my mind, at the time, it seemed
to me not only perfectly proper, but altogether in accordance with God’s
word and commandment.

My young friend, Mary Burton, came round to bid me good-bye; and the poor
girl wept, and I wept with her, and we kissed one another tenderly as our
tears mingled. We had become very dear to each other, and the thought of
separation for years, or perhaps for ever, was very painful to us. She
hung about my neck at the last moment, kissing me, and begging me not to
forget to write to her very, very often; and this I gladly promised her,
asking the same in return. Then with a fond embrace we parted, and it was
years before I saw her dear face again.

Thus it was that we three—my husband, my babe, and myself—set forth on
our pilgrimage to convert the Swiss.

It was with no ordinary feelings that I entered the ancient city of
Geneva. I was not ignorant of its history, and the struggles of its
inhabitants for civil and religious liberty. It had been the refuge for
the English Protestants during the fiery days of Queen Mary; just as
in the time of the French Revolution it was the refuge of infidel and
Papist, royalist and republican alike. There Calvin lived in gloomy
austerity, battling with Rome; there Servetus, the Unitarian, was
condemned to be roasted alive as a heretic; and there we expected in our
own humble way to be able to testify, by our suffering and patience, to
what we firmly believed was the truth.

In free countries like England and the United states—free from the
surveillance of a military police, it is easy, if he wishes it, for the
missionary to mount a chair at a street corner, or hold forth under a
tree; and such has often been done. But all over continental Europe
there is hardly a place where this would be possible. In the various
grand duchies, kingdoms, and empires, paternal governments look too
closely after the morals and religion of their subjects; while under the
ephemeral republics, as long as they happen to last, there is often to be
found, under the name of liberty, a despotism more despotic than under
the rule of royalty. It is the _colporteur_, the man of books and tracts,
who makes the converts there; and in this slow way we soon found that we
were destined to proceed.

During my husband’s former stay in Geneva he had had neither Mormon books
nor Mormon papers, with the exception of a paper published at Boulogne,
containing a letter by the Apostle Taylor, in French and English. This
single copy he lent to a Genevese to read, and never saw it again; and
yet in a short time, even before he could properly speak French, he
converted and baptized two men in the Rhone, one of whom is to-day a
devoted Mormon in Southern Utah.

His first attack was upon a shoemaker, whom he visited for the purpose
of repairs. While the shoemaker worked, Elder Stenhouse talked; and
as the English are all reputed wealthy on the continent, the friendly
overtures of the Mormon missionary were graciously received. As they grew
intimate, Elder Stenhouse would sit down on the bench beside the man as
he worked, and taking from his pocket a French Testament, which he always
carried about with him, would try to read it aloud—the good-natured
shoemaker undertaking to correct his pronunciation. In this way he kept
his auditor’s attention constantly fixed upon certain passages, more
especially those which spoke of baptism for the remission of sins, and
the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. So persistent was
he that at last the shoemaker’s curiosity was awakened, and finally he
was baptized; but unfortunately, not long after a small pamphlet upon the
mission of Joseph Smith fell into his hands, and made shipwreck of his

With his second convert he was much more successful. This time it was
his landlord who was to be the subject of attack. He was a tailor, and,
fortunately for the missionary, somewhat talkative. The same arrangement
was made about reading and correction, and with a like result—the tailor
was baptized. Just at this time came the Apostle Snow’s letter, telling
my husband to return to England; and as he might not leave the country
without a representative, he ordained the tailor a priest in the Mormon

When we arrived in Geneva, _Monsieur le tailleur_ was all that
constituted the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in

Soon a few personal friends began to gather, to hear the English
missionary tell about the new religion; and my husband being very much
in earnest, interest before long began to be excited. I remember well
our first meetings among the Swiss—half-a-dozen people sitting round a
table with open Bibles before them, passages from which Mr. Stenhouse
was trying in very bad French to make them understand. I pitied him very
much, but those who were present made as if they did not notice his
embarrassment, and listened with marked attention. Among the Mormons it
is a woman’s duty to keep silence; I therefore remained a listener only.
But at the close of the service—for such it was regarded—when I might
speak, my missionary labours began; I was aroused to eloquence, and our
parting was longer than our meeting.

The warmth with which the few who were present responded to our efforts
satisfied me that they had come under the same mysterious influence
which I had observed in England. I was then convinced that Mormonism
could awaken the Christian soul more to a realization of what it already
possessed, than impart to it any new moral or religious qualities.
Mormonism of itself never made Christians, but Christianity built up
Mormonism. It was an awakening to the teachings of Christ and His
Apostles that begat confidence in the mission of the Mormon Prophet.

Although we observed the very strictest economy, it did not take long
for us to exhaust what little money we brought from England. This placed
us in a very awkward position. It is inconvenient enough to be without
money in one’s own country, where one understands and is understood by
everybody; but to be in a strange land, especially in a country like
Switzerland, where every Englishman is supposed to be a “milor” and the
bounteous dispenser of unlimited wealth, it is more than inconvenient.

We left our first quarters, where we had had so many visitors, and
rented a room from a widow woman, who fortunately was not inquisitive.
She had a family of children to support; and as we paid our rent monthly
in advance, she had no occasion to know whether or not we kept a bank
account; and we were thankful that it was so, for, had it been so
ordained, we could there have starved to death without attracting the
notice of any one. A nice thing to be thankful for!

We were not hopeless, though we were heavy hearted; but we had expected
trial, and could not complain, for we knew from the beginning that thus
it would probably be.

One day my husband received a letter from an infidel gentleman who lived
in Lausanne, a neighbouring canton, requesting him to come and see him,
that they might talk together over Mormonism, for he had heard of us and
of our doctrine; and my husband resolved to visit him before our money
was all gone.

When Mr. Stenhouse reached Lausanne, he visited first a Protestant
minister with whom he had some slight acquaintance, and who was also
interested in Mormonism, and told him that he was going to call upon the
Gouverneur de l’Hôpital. The minister was greatly opposed to my husband
visiting such a man. “He is a socialist,” he said, “a revolutionist; he
fought at the barricades; he is a _mauvais sujet_, and anything but a fit
person to be spoken to about religion.”

This only increased the interest which Mr. Stenhouse felt in the
governor, and made him more than ever determined to see him; and he did
see him, although the good minister had represented him “_aussi noir que
le diable_.” So they met; and my husband began the work for which he had
come. They had long talks together, and my husband—as did the elders
ever in such cases—spoke to the governor of redemption through Christ,
and baptism for the remission of sins. Faith is not an act of the will.
Like the unseen wind, it comes, and we see the power thereof, but know
not whence it proceeds. Thus at first the unbelieving governor found it;
he might find himself no match for the arguments of his opponent, but he
could not force his heart to believe, and he was by no means a willing
convert. My husband, however, remained with him; and before he left, the
governor had been baptized into the church.

Our new convert proved to be a most excellent and worthy man,
notwithstanding his former infidelity, and he was subsequently a great
aid to us in our mission. We felt satisfied that the expenses of that
journey had been well spent, although a few francs at that time could ill
be spared.

But our circumstances seemed to be getting worse and worse, and my health
began to fail. For several months neither of us had had sufficient
nourishment, and my anxieties increased my physical weakness. I was
dispirited, yet I feared to complain, or even to let my husband know
what I felt. At length I fell really ill, and could not leave my bed. I
well remember the solemn silence that reigned in our home one day. I had
risen from my bed, weak, and oh, so faint-hearted that I had scarcely any
desire to live; and I was sitting with my little daughter in my arms.
She had cried herself to sleep, cold and hungry, and, much as I loved
her—nay, idolized her—I confess that for an instant I harboured in my
soul the impious, the unnatural wish, that rather than see my darling
awake again to cold and hunger, she might sleep her sweet young life
away. For _me_ to yield to such a thought—to wish my child to wake no
more! I, who would have given gladly the last drop of my life-blood to
save her! For _me_ to look upon her innocent little face with such a
thought! I can hardly now believe that such a thing was possible, even
for a moment. But I was desperate, and bold, and cowardly—all at the same
time; or my heart was humiliated by poverty, and my faith was rousing
bitter thoughts in my mind.

My husband was pacing the room. I knew too well all that was passing in
his mind, although we had long been silent. At length I said to him,
“Take courage, dear, for we are the servants of the great God, and surely
He will find a means of escape for us. We were sent here; we came because
the Lord wanted us to come, and surely He will provide for us!”

He turned to me in reply, and said kindly, “We can at least have some
water;” and he went for some water; and then, with as reverential feeling
in his soul as ever inspired a grace before dinner, he blessed it, and we

We had scarcely done so when the mail-courier brought a letter to our

Governor Stoudeman, with a feeling of delicacy, had hesitated, when my
husband visited him at Lausanne, to offer him any assistance; but, he
said in his letter, he had been “impressed” to do so, and hoped that we
should not be offended. As the letter was opened, a piece of gold fell
upon the table. We could hardly believe that God had so soon answered
our prayers, and sent us relief; and our emotions of gratitude for this
timely aid, found expression in tears.

All this time our landlady knew nothing of our distress; she was as
ignorant of our situation as if she had never seen us. So long as I was
able to walk about, I used at regular hours to go to the kitchen, get the
cooking utensils, and go through the routine of cooking, as if we had
had a well-filled larder all the time. I set the table with punctilious
care, and the good old widow never suspected but that we had plenty. Thus
supposing that we wanted nothing, she and her children were more than
ordinarily kind to us and to our little girl, who was now old enough to
toddle round and go from room to room. Very often they would get her into
their room at meal-time, and give her little things to please her; and
while they felt honoured in being permitted to do so, we were silently
thankful for our child’s sake, for her sufferings were more than we could

The temporary aid from Lausanne was very welcome to us, though it only
served to make us feel more keenly our dependent position. I might relate
stories, alas, too true! of cold and want; of days, and even almost an
entire week, passed at one time without food—stories which for painful
detail would eclipse romance. It was a weary waiting for Providence! Such
things are better forgotten. And yet I feel that in after years my temper
was more subdued, and my mind more patient under affliction, than it
would have been had I not experienced this preparatory discipline.

People who have heard, with a sneer, of Mormon missionaries and their
work, would perhaps have realized that faith may be sincere, although
mistaken, if they could have seen us at that time. The first teachers
of a doctrine, whether it be good or evil, if only it stems the current
opinions of the hour, have ever found that at the end of a rocky way
there was waiting for them a crown of thorns.

Many a time since then I have felt the weight of anxious care in
providing for my family; the trial of our faith has not been light, or
seldom repeated; but those days of trouble in Switzerland were, I think,
the darkest I ever experienced. We realized literally the necessity of
trusting to God’s daily mercies for our daily bread; and the assurance
that the Lord would provide, was our only hope. To say that we practised
the strictest economy, would be to give but a faint idea of the way in
which we had to consider and contrive in order to exist at all. For
years we kept the “Word of Wisdom”—a “Revelation of Joseph Smith,” which
enjoined abstinence from wine, coffee, tea, or, in fact, warm drinks of
any kind; and trifling as such self-denial may at first appear, it was
not really so when other privations were added thereto. For months at a
time we existed—for I dare not say lived—without what are considered,
even by the poorest, the most common necessaries. I can even recall to
mind one trying week in Switzerland, when, for the whole seven long days,
we had less than a pint of corn-flour to live upon, and that was chiefly
reserved for our poor child.

As I look back to those dark, painful times I feel that it was by little
short of a miracle that our lives were spared. Our faith alone saved us.



Very soon after this we were notified that the Apostle Snow was on his
way to Switzerland, and that we might shortly expect him.

This to me was joyful news, for he had relieved me of my trouble once
before, and I almost looked upon him as my good angel. He came, and
remained with us a few days; and before he left he instructed Mr.
Stenhouse to repair to England, to raise funds to aid the mission. He
also gave me a few pounds to procure what I needed for an event which I
expected shortly to take place. This kindness on his part brought to my
mind such a sense of relief, and so renewed my energy, that I felt ready
for my missionary labours again.

When my second child was about two months old I went to Lausanne to
reside, while my husband was absent in England. Apartments were engaged
for me at the house of a gentleman who had recently been baptized. I was
made very comfortable there, and for the first time since my husband was
sent on a mission, I experienced a feeling of repose, so that I now had
some hopes of regaining mental and physical strength. No provision had
been made by the Saints for my support; but even without that, I thought,
living among those who were themselves happy, and one with us in the
faith, I should myself find more tranquillity of mind.

Madame and Monsieur Balif, in whose house I resided, were persons of good
social position. The husband was one of nature’s gentlemen, and as good
a man as I ever knew. He received the Mormonism taught by Mr. Stenhouse
with all his heart, and never seemed weary of showing his gratitude
by his good deeds. Madame Balif did not at once join the church, and
probably never would have done so but for the love which she bore to her
husband. She was not, however, hostile to the new faith, as some other
wives were, and she did all that she could to render pleasant my stay
with them, and tried to make me forget what I had suffered in Geneva.

Madame Balif was a high-spirited, impulsive woman, and devotedly attached
to her husband; I never saw a woman more so. She impressed me as being
one of the happiest of wives; he one of the best of husbands. After I
had lived in the house a few weeks, she was baptized; but she never was
satisfied with Mormonism. Poor, dear lady! How often have I bitterly
regretted that I was instrumental in leading her into the Mormon Church,
in which, as (years later, in Utah) she told me, she endured such cruel
humiliation and martyrdom. I knew well indeed then what all that meant.

While I lived with them, it was agreed that I should pay for my
apartments monthly; but after I had paid for the first month, Monsieur
Balif told me that I should do so no more. And knowing that he meant it
as an expression of kindness and gratitude on his part, I felt relieved
of all anxiety on that account. All that I had, even then, for the
support of myself and my two little ones was about five francs ($1) a
week; but my wants were few, for I had taught myself to require nothing
but what was absolutely necessary to keep me alive.

During Mr. Stenhouse’s absence, the meetings were held in my parlour;
and as the brethren who had joined the church had not previously been
religious men, though they were persons of the best moral character,
they were very diffident about conducting the meetings, and for a time
could not think of praying before others. It devolved upon me—of sheer
necessity, for I disliked prominence as much as they did—to lead the
singing, to pray, to preach—in fact, to do everything. Had I not done so,
they would have sat looking at each other, for they were all too timid to
speak. I encouraged them in every way to try, and finally we got along
very well. A “good spirit” prevailed; and we were like a little band of
brothers and sisters.

The only person, now, who gave me any anxiety was Madame Balif, who was
very weak in the faith. Her doubts and fears troubled me much, for I
had conceived a very great regard for her. I feared that with a heart
so proud and rebellious as hers, she would never get salvation, and I
trembled for her happiness. How slight a hold the new faith had taken of
her mind, I was forcibly reminded by an incident which was at the time a
great trial to me.

My little daughter fell sick of intermittent fever, and I dared not call
in a physician; it would not do for me, a missionary’s wife, to show lack
of faith. Such was our zeal in those days. But now, as I once before
stated, even the most orthodox Mormons, including Brigham Young, do not
think of relying upon God and the ordinances of the church, as they used
to in former years, but call in the best physician they can get.

I was much troubled about my little girl, for she was evidently failing
fast. She had been “administered to” by one of the native elders, who
had anointed her with oil, and prayed over her; but yet she did not get
better. Madame Balif, in the midst of my affliction, taunted me about the
child not recovering, and asked where was the power of God, of which I
had talked so much: “Now,” she said “if you could get that child healed,
it would be some proof to my mind that the power you speak of is still
in the church.” I felt ashamed that I had not exercised more faith. I
was certain that the gift of healing _was_ in the church, and I believed
it was my own fault that the child was not even now well. In my zeal I
replied rather warmly, “My child _will_ be healed, and you shall see
it.” But I had no sooner uttered these words than I began to fear I had
promised too much.

I determined, however, that nothing on my part should be left undone. I
sent for Governor Stoudeman, our new convert, as he was the president of
the branch and an elder. I told him that this child _must_ be healed by
the power of God. We had not witnessed any manifestation of the healing
power among the Saints in Switzerland up to that time; and I earnestly
desired that now for the first time this gift might be proved among us,
for the sake of the church as well as for my own. So I told the governor
that it was his duty, as well as mine, to fast and pray that the Lord
might grant us this blessing, that it might be a testimony that it was
His work and that we were His servants.

He became as enthusiastic as I was myself, and we fasted and prayed for
nearly two days. At the end of that time he came to see me, and by the
bedside we knelt and prayed; and he laid his hands upon the child, and
blessed her in the name of the Lord.

That night the child was very low; and though I strove to show my faith,
I dreaded that she would have her usual attack of fever about midnight.
After the departure of the elder, Madame Balif came into the room, and
said, “Your child is very ill; if your God cannot help her, why do not
you send for a physician?” This appeared to me so profane, and such an
insult to my God and my faith, that I replied indignantly, “Madame, she
_will_ and _shall_ be healed this very night; for I know that power is in
the church. The reason why the child was not healed before is, because I
have not been earnest enough in seeking the Lord.”

When I was left alone I sat down by the bedside, trembling lest I had
been too rash in declaring that the child would be healed that same
night. Much and fondly as I loved my little treasure, I confess that I
suffered more at the thought of God’s name suffering reproach than I
did from fear of my darling’s death; and I tried earnestly to banish my
doubts, with the remembrance that all things are possible to them that

Kneeling there in the dark and lonesome midnight, I poured out my soul
fervently to God, beseeching Him, for His kingdom’s sake, and for the
glory of His great name, to answer, and not to suffer my unworthiness to
stand in the way. I watched hour after hour beside my darling’s bed, and
the child slept on peacefully, without any symptoms of returning fever;
and, oh! how anxiously I waited for her awaking.

At last, worn out with fatigue and watching, I laid myself down on the
bed beside her, and soon fell asleep; and when I awoke it was daylight,
and my little one was peacefully sleeping on still—the fever had left
her. No tongue could tell the gratitude which filled my heart; I could
only weep tears of joy, and sing aloud my praise to God.

Madame Balif entered the room early in the morning to see what kind of
a night we had passed. Then I drew her to the bedside, and told her how
tranquilly the child had slept all night, and showed her how much better
she looked, and asked her if she did not see in all this the providence
of God. But she simply said, “Ah, well! I suppose the disease had run its
course.” This grieved me, for I had trusted that such a direct answer
to my prayers would have helped to increase her faith in our religion;
but Mormonism had not touched her heart; and I believe it is much more
the devotion of the heart than it is the mental acquiescence in doctrine
which gives us the power to hope, and endure, and believe.

When, by-and-by, my little Clara awoke, she was evidently very much
better, and not only free from the fever, but bright and cheerful, like
her former self; and she never relapsed. In the course of a week she was
running about as well as ever, and the Saints were greatly confirmed in
their faith.

One morning, not long after this, Madame Balif brought me a letter which,
as it bore the English postmark, she supposed came from my husband. The
writing, however, was strange to me; and dreading that some terrible
thing might have happened, I tore it open. There, at the bottom of the
last page—for the letter was very long—in neat, clear characters, was the
signature of my fairy friend, as I called her, Mary Burton. I read the
letter through with the deepest interest. It was addressed “To darling
Sister Stenhouse,” and was overflowing with affection. Used as I was to
all her endearing ways, I could almost fancy that while I read I heard
her speaking the words. After a great outpouring of love, she said,—

    “Since you went, I have grown quite an old woman. You used
    to call me ‘Little fairy,’ but, Sister Stenhouse, I am much
    bigger now. I am now a good deal over seventeen, and people say
    that I am getting to be quite a woman. I might tell you some
    other pretty things that are said about me, but I’m afraid you
    would say it was all vanity of vanities. If you stay away much
    longer, you won’t recognize me when we meet again.

    “And now I want to tell you something that interests you as
    much as me. I have not been able to discover anything more
    with certainty about those hateful things of which I told you,
    although the word Polygamy seems to me to become every day much
    more familiar in people’s conversation. Elder Shrewsbury tells
    me that there is not a word of truth in it; and he has had a
    good deal of conversation upon that subject with the apostles
    who are here, and also with a man named Curtis E. Bolton—an
    Elder from the Salt Lake; and they all positively declare that
    it is a foul slander upon the Saints of the Most High. So you
    see that all our unhappiness was for naught. Our Saviour said
    we should be blessed when all men spoke evil of us falsely for
    His name’s take; and the wicked scandal which has been raised
    against our religion has had a tendency to strengthen my faith,
    which you know was rather wavering.

    “And yet do you know, Sister Stenhouse, that even while I am
    writing to you in this strain, I am weak enough to allow doubts
    and fears to creep into my heart when I think of the conduct of
    some of the American brethren.

    “They appear to me, for married men, to act _so very_
    imprudently; and to call their conduct ‘imprudent’ is really
    treating it with the greatest leniency, for I have often been
    quite shocked at the way in which some of the brethren and
    sisters acted. But I will tell you a little about it, and you
    shall judge for yourself.

    “When I found out, as I had long suspected, that dear papa was
    going to marry again, I at once resolved that I would no longer
    be a burden to him, but would find some employment, and support
    myself. I was induced to do this, partly because as you know,
    step-mothers and daughters do not always love each other quite
    as much as they might. So I communicated my wishes to papa,
    and told him that I had been introduced to a very nice lady,
    who had a large dressmaking establishment at the west end of
    London. She is a member of the Church, and has always been
    very highly spoken of. I told him that she employed a number
    of highly respectable young girls, and that four, at least, of
    them were members of the Church, and that, in consideration
    of my lonely situation, and at the earnest request of Elder
    Shrewsbury, she was willing to take me into her house, to board
    and lodge me, and teach me the business thoroughly, if my
    father would pay her a premium of fifty pounds.

    “This papa readily agreed to do, as I expected he would, for
    he is so taken up with my step-mamma that is to be; and beside
    which he has, I know, been unfortunate lately in some railway
    speculations, and has lost a great deal of money, and therefore
    wishes to economize. In this way I went to London, and became a
    member of Mrs. Elsworth’s family—and here I am still.

    “Now you have been in London, Sister Stenhouse, and must
    remember ‘the office’ in Jewin Street—the head-quarters where
    all the elders congregate, and where the American elders board,
    and church business is managed. Well, the very first week I was
    at Mrs. Elsworth’s I noticed that the four young sisters who
    were working there were constantly talking of Jewin Street,
    and the dear American brethren who were stopping there. One of
    them in particular was always talking about dear Elder Snow;
    and another girl whispered to me that she went to Jewin Street
    every evening, and frequently remained there to tea with him,
    and went afterwards to the theatre with him, or to a meeting,
    as the case might be; and the young lady added, ‘She does make
    such a fuss over him, toying with him, and brushing and combing
    his hair. I know that she does it, for I have been there with
    her, and have seen her do it; and he appears to enjoy it quite
    as much as she does; and I believe, if Polygamy was true he
    would marry her.’

    “‘But,’ I said, ‘it is not true, and therefore it is very wrong
    for her to act in that way, for he is a married man.’

    “‘Oh, but you know,’ she answered, ‘that we are all brothers
    and sisters, and the brethren tell us that those little
    attentions make them feel that they are not so far from home,
    and they are thus enabled to perform their mission better; and
    if that is so, it is the duty of the young sisters to encourage
    them. These _little attentions_ cost nothing, and I’m sure it’s
    quite a pleasure to me.’

    “‘Then _you_ go to Jewin Street?’ I asked.

    “‘Yes,’ she said, ‘sometimes, but not very often, for _my_
    elder calls here frequently, as he is acquainted with Mrs.
    Elsworth; and then I take my work up into the parlour
    sometimes, and have a long talk with him. Mrs. Elsworth does
    not like it, I know, but she does not care to oppose the
    elders;—in fact, her husband will not allow any such thing—he
    has dared her to do so. After all, she is very silly, for we
    ought to love each other and be free and friendly. My elder—I
    call him _my_ elder, you know, simply because I like him better
    than the others—calls Mrs. Elsworth ‘Gentilish,’ and says
    she’ll get over it when she goes to Zion. But she says she
    won’t. She is awfully jealous of her husband and a certain Miss
    Caroline somebody, though she doesn’t care for him.’

    “‘But what difference can it make to him?’ I asked her. ‘He has
    a wife, and ought not to pay attention to any other woman.’

    “‘Ah, you silly child,’ she said, ‘it is only brotherly love,
    after all, and men often have wives who do not make them happy,
    and that makes them seek the society of the young sisters, for
    those who are far from home are lonely. My own elder’s wife is
    here in London, but he isn’t much with her. He spends nearly
    all his time in Jewin Street; he is a travelling Elder, and
    when he is going anywhere to preach he always calls for me,
    as he does not like going alone, he is such a genial soul. If
    Polygamy were true, I’d promise to marry him when we reached
    the Valley.’

    “Then I asked why his wife didn’t go with him; and she said,
    ‘Oh, poor man! he has no pleasure in _her_ society. She is
    always moping and unhappy. You know, some women are naturally
    so. I do all I can to make him feel well, for it must be awful
    to be married to a woman who is always sad.’

    “I asked her _why_ his wife should be so unhappy; and she said,
    ‘He tells me that she has got it into her head that somehow or
    other Polygamy is practised in Zion; and I’m sure I, for one,
    wish it was so, for then we could marry whoever we pleased.’

    “‘Oh, for shame!’ I said. ‘I’m sure I’d never go there, if I
    thought so.’

    “Then I asked her whether she did not think it was wrong for
    her to encourage the attentions of _her_ elder; and she said,
    ‘He wishes it just as much as I do; and his wife had better
    behave herself, or I’ll marry him whether Polygamy exists or
    not in Zion; and he does not know, though we both suspect,
    that there _is_ something in the rumours which we have heard.’
    Then I told her I thought it was very wicked to encourage the
    visits of that man; for I believe that if he paid a little more
    attention to his wife she would be less unhappy—for I suppose
    she knew of his attentions to her.

    “She said the wife knew nothing about it; that he was obliged
    to be out late at night, preaching, or at Jewin Street—which I
    knew meant flirting with the sisters and going to the theatre;
    and I fancy he does more of that than preaching. But she seemed
    to think it was all the wife’s fault, and blamed her. I asked
    her if she would like to be treated so, if she were an Elder’s
    wife, and had to work as hard and endure as much as all the
    Missionaries’ wives do. But she said she never could be in
    such a position, and told me that I was not a good Mormon or I
    would not set myself up as the accuser of the brethren. But I
    ask you, Sister Stenhouse, if that is the Mormonism which the
    elders used to teach us?

    “And now I have told you all our long talk together, and so you
    can judge for yourself what a change has taken place since you

    “The same day, after dinner, Brother Snow called, in company
    with two other elders, to see Mrs. Elsworth, and to ask her and
    the girls to a tea-party the next day. Mrs. Elsworth declined;
    but one young lady would go with Brother Snow, and Miss
    Caroline went with another elder; and my light-hearted friend
    waited till _her_ Elder came also to ask _her_. After that,
    came Elder Shrewsbury, and I, of course, was to go with him.

    “With all my faith, I am very much troubled about these things.
    They are not right, I think. Why, scarcely a day passes but
    some of these elders, who appear to have very little to do,
    call here, and send for one or two of these young sisters, and
    detain them from their work, much to the annoyance of poor Mrs.
    Elsworth, who, I believe, will apostatize over it eventually.

    “See what a long letter I have written to you! I am afraid it
    will tire you. I often long to have you here, that I might come
    to you and tell you all my troubles. But perhaps after all I
    am wrong, and ought to see things in a different light. Have
    not the Elders and Apostles positively denied that Polygamy or
    any other sin was practised in Utah, or formed any part of the
    Mormon religion? and we know that these men of God would not
    deceive us.

    “Be sure, dear, to write a nice long letter to me _very soon_;
    and, with fondest love, remember your own

                                                     “MARY BURTON.”

I read this letter carefully through, and I sat down and thought of
dear Mary Burton, and felt deeply sorry that she should be placed in a
situation surrounded by so many temptations. To myself the letter brought
a sad confirmation of all my fears. There was something painful in the
thought. Had Polygamy been openly avowed as a Mormon doctrine, I should
never have joined the Church. But now, what could I do?

After three months’ absence, Mr. Stenhouse was to return home, and I went
to Geneva to meet him, feeling very happy when I saw him once again.
Numbers of persons, both in Geneva and Lausanne had been converted while
he was away, and were waiting for him to baptize them—among them was
a retired Protestant minister, Monsieur Petitpierre, of whom I have
something yet to mention. We began at last to rejoice in our success, and
to be thankful that the Lord had answered our prayers.

I was now more than ever anxious about Polygamy. From much thinking on
that subject, it had become the haunting spectre of my existence, and
I dreaded what every day might bring forth. The news which my husband
brought with him by no means reassured me. He told me that he had heard
in England from the American Elders that there was a general expectation
among the Saints in Utah that at the October Conference in Salt Lake
City, Brigham Young would publish to the world that Polygamy was a
doctrine of the Mormon Church.

After all the prevarications and denials then of the Apostles and
Elders, Polygamy among the Saints was really a fact. As the truth
became clearer to my mind, I thought I should lose my senses. The very
foundations of my faith were shaken, and not only did I feel a personal
repugnance to the unholy doctrine, but I began to realize that the men
to whom I had listened with such profound respect, and had regarded as
the representatives of God, had been guilty of the most deliberate and
unblushing falsehood; and I began to ask myself whether, if they could
do this in order to carry out their purpose in one particular, they
might not be guilty of deception upon other points? _Who_ could I trust
now? For ten years the Mormon Prophets and Apostles had been living in
Polygamy at home, while abroad they vehemently denied it, and spoke of
it as a deadly sin. This was a painful awakening to me; we had all of us
been betrayed. I lost confidence in man, and almost began to question
within myself whether I could even trust in God.

There was no argument between Mr. Stenhouse and myself. It would have
been worse than useless, for it was not his doing, and he assured me that
he had as great a repugnance to the doctrine as I had. He had at first
only hinted that it _might_ eventually be acknowledged by the leaders of
the Church; but it was a matter of too deeply a personal character for me
to keep silence, and I did not rest until he had told me all. He had not
seen the revelation, but the information which he had received was beyond
a question; and singularly enough Elder Margetts, the London Elder of
whose flirtation in Southampton I have already spoken, was at that time
on a visit to Switzerland, and confirmed all that my husband had said.
Thus the very man who, two years before, first excited my suspicions, now
confirmed my fears, and openly stated as a fact that which he then was
ashamed almost to suggest.

Elder Margetts had been in Utah from the time I saw him in England, and
was now on a mission to Italy. He knew, therefore, very well what was
said and done among the Saints in Zion. I, and those like me, whose faith
was not too strong, were spoken of as “babes” to whom milk only must
be given; and in this way any deception necessary to quiet our tender
consciences was allowable; but Elder Margetts was one of the “strong
men,” to whom meat was necessary—in other words, they were initiated into
all the mysteries of the faith.

My husband enjoined me not to speak of what I had heard, and I felt very
little inclination to do so—my heart was too full. The pleasant dreams
and hopes of life were ended now to me. What could I look forward too?
Henceforth the stern realities of a lonely and weary existence were all
the future that should be mine.

Still, the “Revelation” sanctioning a change in the doctrines and
practice of the church, was not yet published; and until polygamy was
openly avowed I felt that the doom of my happiness was not yet sealed;
and like many another heart-broken woman, I hoped against hope.



And time flew by; and at length the dreaded Revelation came.

One very pleasant morning, early in January, 1853, two Elders of the
Italian Mission, Jabez Woodward and Thomas Margetts, took breakfast with
us; and with them also was Mons. Petitpierre from Geneva, the Protestant
minister of whom I have already spoken. While I was busy preparing the
meal, Mr Stenhouse and the two English elders went to the post office to
get their letters, for at that time they were expecting important news.
When they returned, breakfast was quite ready, and they took their seats
at the table. I asked if there were any letters from England; and my
husband said, “No, no letters; but there is a _Star_, and it contains the
Revelation on Polygamy.”

He handed me a copy of the _Millennial Star_, a Mormon paper published
in Liverpool; and as I took it, I felt as if I were receiving my
death-warrant. It was indeed the death-warrant to all my hopes of
happiness. I rose from the table, asking them to excuse me; and overcome
with agitation and conflicting emotions, I retired to my own chamber.
There, for the first time, I read that document which has since brought
such sorrow and misery to so many wronged and heart-broken women. The
reader may perhaps like to see the only foundation and authority for
the practice of polygamy ever produced by the Mormon leaders. So I copy
_exactly_ from the _Millennial Star_ what I then read, leaving out only a
few lines here and there, which had no special reference to the subject,
but helped to swell the size of the “Revelation:”—



    _Given to Joseph Smith, the Seer, in Nauvoo, July 12th, 1843._

    1. Verily, thus saith the Lord, unto you, my servant Joseph,
    that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand, to know and
    understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants,
    Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; as also Moses, David, and Solomon,
    my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of
    their having many wives and concubines: Behold! and lo, I
    am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this
    matter: Therefore prepare thy heart to receive and obey the
    instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those
    who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same; for
    behold! I reveal unto you a new and everlasting covenant, and
    if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one
    can reject this covenant, and be permitted to enter into my
    glory; for all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide
    the law which is appointed for that blessing and the conditions
    thereof, as was instituted from before the foundations of the
    world: and as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant,
    it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that
    receiveth a fulness thereof, must and shall abide the law, or
    he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.

    2. And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law
    are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths,
    vows, performances, connexions, associations, or expectations,
    that are not made or entered into, and sealed, by the Holy
    Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed both as well for time
    and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and
    commandment, through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have
    appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed
    unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days;
    and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this
    power and the keys of the priesthood are conferred), are of no
    efficacy, virtue, or force, in and after the resurrection from
    the dead: for all contracts that are not made unto this end,
    have an end when men are dead.


    4. Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he
    marry her not by me, nor by my word; and he covenant with her
    so long as he is in the world, and she with him, their covenant
    and marriage is not of force when they are dead, and when they
    are out of the world; therefore they are not bound by any law
    when they are out of the world; therefore, when they are out of
    the world, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but
    are appointed angels in heaven, which _angels are ministering
    servants_, to minister for those who are worthy of a far
    more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory; for
    these angels did not abide my law, therefore they cannot be
    enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation,
    in their saved condition, to all eternity, and from henceforth
    are not gods, but are angels of God for ever and ever.

    5. And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife,
    and make a covenant with her for time, and for all eternity,
    if that covenant is not by me, or by my word, which is my law,
    and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him
    whom I have anointed and appointed unto this power, then it is
    not valid, neither of force, when they are out of the world,
    because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by
    my word; when they are out of the world, it cannot be received
    there, because the angels and the gods are appointed there,
    by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my
    glory, for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God.

    6. And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife
    by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting
    covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit
    of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have
    appointed this power, and the keys of this priesthood, and
    it shall be said unto them, Ye shall come forth in the first
    resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in
    the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms,
    principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and
    depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life,
    that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood;
    and if ye abide in my covenant and commit no murder whereby
    to shed _innocent blood_, it shall be done unto them in all
    things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and
    through all eternity, and shall be of full force when they are
    out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the
    gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all
    things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall
    be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds for ever and ever.

    7. Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore
    shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they
    continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are
    subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have
    all power, and the angels are subject unto them.


    9. Verily, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife
    according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of
    promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall
    commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting
    covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they
    commit no murder, _wherein they shed innocent blood_—yet they
    shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into
    their exaltation, but _they shall be destroyed in the flesh_,
    and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan, unto the
    day of redemption, saith the Lord God.

    10. The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall not be
    forgiven in this world, nor out of the world, is in that ye
    commit murder, wherein ye shed innocent blood, and assent
    unto my death, after ye have received my new and everlasting
    covenant, saith the Lord God; and he that abideth not this law
    can in no wise enter into my glory, but shall be damned, saith
    the Lord.


    13. God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham,
    to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law. And
    from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling,
    among other things, the promises. Was Abraham, therefore, under
    condemnation? Verily, I say unto you, _Nay_; for I, the Lord,
    commanded it. Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac;
    nevertheless, it was written, Thou shalt not kill. Abraham,
    however, did not refuse, and it was accounted to him for

    14. Abraham received concubines, and they bare him children,
    and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they
    were given unto him, and he abode in my law. As Isaac also
    and Jacob did none other things than that which they were
    commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according
    to the promises, and sit upon thrones; and are not angels, but
    are gods. David also received many wives and concubines, as
    also Solomon, and Moses my servant; as also many others of my
    servants, from the beginning of the creation until this time;
    and in nothing did they sin, save in those things which they
    received not of me.

    15. David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by
    the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who
    had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he
    sin against me, save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and
    therefore, he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his
    portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world; for I
    gave them unto another, saith the Lord.

    16. I am the Lord thy God, and I gave unto thee, my servant
    Joseph, an appointment, and restore all things.... I have
    conferred upon you the keys and power of the priesthood,
    wherein I restore all things, and make known unto you all
    things, in due time.

    17. And verily, verily I say unto you, that whosoever you
    seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you
    bind on earth, in my name, and by my word, saith the Lord, if
    shall be eternally bound in the heavens; and whosoever sins
    you remit on earth shall be remitted eternally in the heavens;
    and whosesoever sins you retain on earth shall be retained in

    18. And again, verily I say, whomsoever you bless I will bless,
    and whomsoever you curse I will curse, saith the Lord; for I,
    the Lord, am thy God.

    19. And again, verily I say unto you, my servant Joseph, that
    whatsoever you give on earth, and to whomsoever you give any
    one on earth, by my word, and according to my law, it shall be
    visited with blessings.


    20. Verily I say unto you, a commandment I give unto mine
    handmaid Emma Smith, your wife ... let mine handmaid Emma Smith
    receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph,
    and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not
    pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith
    the Lord God!... I give unto my servant Joseph, that he shall
    be made ruler over many things, for he hath been faithful over
    a few things, and from henceforth I will strengthen him.

    21. And I command mine handmaid Emma Smith to abide and cleave
    unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not
    abide this commandment, she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord;
    for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide
    not in my law; but if she will not abide this commandment,
    then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her, even as he
    hath said; and I will bless him, and multiply him, and give
    unto him a hundredfold in this world, of fathers and mothers,
    brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children,
    and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal worlds. And again,
    verily I say, let mine handmaid forgive my servant Joseph his
    trespasses, and then shall she be forgiven her trespasses,
    wherein she has trespassed against me; and I, the Lord thy God,
    will bless her, and multiply her, and make her heart to rejoice.


    24. And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood: If
    any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and
    the first give her consent; and if he espouse the second, and
    they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he
    justified. He cannot commit adultery, for they are given him;
    for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto
    him, and to none else; and if he have ten virgins given unto
    him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to
    him; and they are given unto him—therefore is he justified.
    But if one or other of the ten virgins, after she is espoused,
    shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and
    shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and
    replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil
    the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation
    of the world; and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds,
    that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of
    my Father continued, that he may be glorified.

    25. And again, verily, verily I say unto you, if any man has
    a wife who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto
    her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things,
    then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall
    be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her;
    for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and
    abide in my law. Therefore it shall be lawful in me, if she
    receive not this law, for him to receive all things whatsoever
    I, the Lord his God, will give unto him, because she did not
    believe and administer unto him, according to my word; and she
    then becomes the transgressor, and he is exempt from the law
    of Sarah, who administered unto Abraham according to the law,
    when I commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife. And now, as
    pertaining to this law: Verily, verily I say unto you, I will
    reveal more unto you hereafter; therefore, let this suffice for
    the present. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega. Amen....

And this was the Revelation!—this mass of confusion, cunning absurdity,
and falsehood. _This_ was the celebrated document which was henceforth
to be law to the confiding men and women who had embraced Mormonism!
Looking at it now—noting its inconsistencies and its flagrant outrage
upon common decency and morality, I can hardly credit that I should ever
have been such a silly dupe as to give it a second thought. And yet, what
_could_ I do? I was bound hand and foot, as it were, and my very vision
itself was distorted. Unquestioning obedience, we had been taught, was
the highest virtue; rebellion was as the sin of witchcraft. I had been
convinced of the truth of some of the tenets of the Mormon faith; and
confident in them, I accepted without question all the rest. Never,
till the possibility that polygamy might some day be acknowledged by
the Church, began to be whispered among the Saints—never did a solitary
doubt respecting my religion intrude itself upon my mind; and after my
apprehensions were fairly aroused by those rumours, whenever I felt the
faintest shadow of unbelief or suspicion arising in my heart, I banished
it as an unholy thing. The time had not yet come when I could judge
dispassionately: the Revelation aroused within me feelings of horror
and dismay, but I did not dare to question its authenticity. It brought
bitterness to my soul, but I believed it was from God, and that I must
learn to bear the cross patiently.

I did not at that time read the document through from beginning to end.
No; my indignation was such that before I had read half of it I threw
it from me in anger. Perhaps if I had read it all, and considered it
carefully, my own judgment and my sense of right and wrong might have
pointed out its absurdity and wickedness. But I was far from being
tranquil enough to think calmly. I felt bitterly that this new doctrine
was a degradation to woman, and I wondered why God should see fit to
humiliate my sex in this way. I was willing to devote myself, my life, my
all to His service, but wherefore should He doom me to everlasting sorrow?

What now was to be a woman’s lot among the Mormons? A life without
hope! Who can express the terrible meaning of those words—_without
hope_? Yet so it was. Hereafter our hearts were to be daily and hourly
trampled upon; the most sacred feelings of our sex were to be outraged,
our affections were to be crushed. Henceforth we were to be nothing by
ourselves; without a husband, we were told, we could not even enter
heaven! But had our trials been limited to this life we might have borne
them, as many a weary soul has done, waiting for the relief of death.
But death was to bring no hope to us; we were told that in the other
world polygamy should be the only order of marriage, and that without it
none could be exalted in glory. We were told these things by men who we
believed were true and holy men of God; and we trusted in them.

Rebellious I felt, indeed, as I paced the room after I had thrown the
Revelation on the ground: I almost felt as if I should lose my reason.
A woman in the time of trouble always looks to some one in whom she can
confide; but to whom could I turn for one kind or cheering word? _who_
would comfort me? I had neither relation nor friend to whom I could
speak of _this_ trial; there was no one who could understand me. I could
not turn to my husband in _this_ sorrow, and I dared not even kneel to
my God to implore His aid. It was He, they said, who had declared this
Revelation was His will; how then could I turn to Him? No; my heart sank
within me; henceforth there was to be no hope, no peace, for me!

There was a knock at my chamber door, and my husband came in. He knew how
acutely I must feel, and he came to comfort me. I was almost choked with
emotion and tears, but he threw his arms round me tenderly, and spoke to
me as if I had been a child that needed consolation. He tried to persuade
me that God as a loving Father could never have intended the pain or
misery of His children, and that when we came to understand the doctrine
better, we should find that all would be well. He spoke also of his own
unchanging attachment; and appealed to me whether I thought he could ever
love me less, or place his affections on another.

I tried to believe, and when I felt a little better I went with him to
the breakfast-room, where the others were waiting for us.

We were not a very entertaining party that morning. The Elders present
of course knew what had kept me in my room, and their attempt at
cheerfulness was not very successful. My husband was in sympathy with me,
and I have no doubt that I looked sad enough. There was only one person
present who did not appreciate the situation—Monsieur Petitpierre, the
Protestant minister—and they handed the Revelation to him. Mr. Stenhouse
and the other Elders had some misgivings as to how he would receive it,
and they were afraid it might disgust him with Mormonism. But the old
gentleman stood the test bravely; and I saw then, as I have seen since,
that men can be easily satisfied that the Revelation on Polygamy, or _any
other_ revelation, is divine, if they desire, it to be so.

Here was old Monsieur Petitpierre, a man of more than threescore years,
and childless. To him the example of Abraham and Solomon appeared most
instructive—an example which might be followed with advantage. His wife,
like Sarah of old, had never been called by a mother’s name; and now,
although thus far he had no idea who might act the part of a second
Hagar, there seemed a fair chance that a little Ishmael might perpetuate
the race of Petitpierres on earth, if only the Revelation was acted upon
by the faithful.

“It ought to be prayerfully thought of,” he said.

Prayerfully thought of! Poor, silly old man! Before then I had respect
for his years and learning; but now—what could I think of a man who
talked such nonsense? Had the Revelation told him that the wife of
his youth, now tottering in step, and with hair silvered by age, was
commanded to take two or a dozen young husbands—I wondered whether he
would have added with such satisfaction “It ought to be prayerfully
thought of!”

From that day I learned to regard polygamy as an essential part of the
Mormon faith, and such for many years the world has considered it; but
when I first joined the church, such an innovation would have appeared to
the European Saints beyond the wildest fancies of a dream.



I now entered upon a new phase of my missionary life; the Elders assured
me that it was my duty to teach polygamy to the women of Switzerland.

Hitherto, although I had suffered much from poverty and privation, my
work as a missionary had been very pleasant. I believed with my whole
heart all that I taught, and my best wishes for the people around me were
that they might become altogether such as I was, except in my sufferings.

Now, however, all this was changed. It was no longer salvation through
faith in Christ, or repentance, or baptism; it was no longer love and
peace for this world, and the promise of everlasting joy in the world to
come, that I was called upon to teach. My task hitherto had been a labour
of love; now it was to be a weary work of pain. How could I teach the
sisters, the affection of whose guileless hearts I had won to myself—how
could I teach them that which my own heart abhorred, a doctrine which I
hated with my whole soul!

How I strove against my rebellious nature! how I battled with myself!
That God had sent the Revelation I never questioned, and all rebellion
to His will I knew must be sinful. I had no thought of evading the
responsibility; my heart must be subdued. It might be subdued; it might
be crushed and broken; but I could never again, I felt, be truly happy.
I tried to reason with myself, and to persuade myself that it was I who
was to blame and not the Revelation. If the Lord required me to submit,
it must be for some good purpose; and I must not refuse the cross
that He called upon me to bear. Sometimes for a few moments something
would attract my attention and divert my thoughts; but the terrible
reality—polygamy, refused to be ignored, and I felt all the more bitterly
afterwards. I never was happy, for life had lost its charm to me. Ere I
slept at night one dreadful thought was haunting my pillow—it disturbed
my very dreams; and when I awoke in the morning, it was with a feverish
apprehension of coming evil hanging over me. All through the long, weary
day it haunted my footsteps like a spectre; and like a fearful blight
that had fallen upon me, it seemed to be withering my soul. One thought
was ever present in my mind—that thought, polygamy!

It can be no wonder that I lost all interest in life, and that I should
almost wish to die rather than live that life of degradation which I
dreaded would be mine. But death flies from those who woo her; the
wretched, the weary, the hopeless, they find her not. I felt that there
was no rest for me. My only comfort was in my children; no revelation, I
felt, could change their relationship to me. But over my little daughter
Clara I mourned, for I thought if this revelation were acted upon by
the Saints, as doubtless it would be, she would some day be called upon
to suffer as I did. How little did I then, however, anticipate in what
way my fears would be realized! My Clara became the daughter-in-law of
Brigham Young, having married his eldest son, Joseph A. Young.

I am afraid at that time I was somewhat of a trial to my husband, for
my heart was not yet quite subdued. I grew impatient at the wrong which
I felt had been done to me, and I often said bitter things against the
Prophet of the Lord and all his sex, including my husband, who was then,
and for years after, a devoted Mormon, and was quite horrified at what
I said. He often told me that I was a great hindrance to him, and that
it was impossible for any one who lived with me to enjoy the Spirit of
God—and I was afraid that he only spoke the truth.

Then I repented, and sought to chasten myself; and I fasted and prayed,
and asked forgiveness of God and my husband. But even when most subdued
I was as unhappy as ever, and some one was sure to say something which
reminded me of my trouble; and whenever the elders came to the house they
were sure to discuss the one painful topic. Then my indignant feelings
all came back again, and I felt the spirit of rebellion stirring within
me. I could not help it, for I felt that woman’s nature itself was
insulted by the degrading doctrine, and any mention of it excited my

My husband and the Elders had anticipated that I would not readily
submit, and they bore with me as patiently as they could, losing no
opportunity of strengthening me in the faith, ever keeping before me the
obligation that rested upon me in particular to explain the doctrine
to the Swiss sisters. They knew very well that nothing tends more to
confirm the faith of the wavering than setting them to teach others.
Brigham Young has always acted on this principle, and whenever any of the
brethren have evinced signs of doubt or disaffection they have been at
once despatched on a mission. Their efforts to convert others established
their own faith.

Among the Swiss we had never spoken on polygamy or any kindred subject,
and we were therefore spared the humiliation which the British Elders
experienced in having to retract their own teachings. Nevertheless,
Mr. Stenhouse and the other Elders felt great anxiety as to how the
new doctrine would be received. My husband did not at once openly tell
them that such a Revelation had been sent from Zion; but whenever an
opportunity presented he took them aside singly, and spoke to them
about the ancient patriarchs who practised polygamy; and so great was
his influence with the converts that he soon won them over to the
new teaching, and made them feel that they would not be justified
in rejecting the Revelation. Many of the Swiss Saints before their
conversion had been more Socialists than Christians, and they probably
thought that this change in the marriage institution was a sign of
advancing intellectual supremacy; but their wives were very far from
sharing these opinions with them.

After many days and nights of prayer and fasting I prepared myself for
my work. To a certain extent I had brought my own self under control—or
I thought I had; and I almost felt anxious to begin, so that I might get
over the painful scenes which I fully anticipated. It was agreed that
Madame Balif, of whom I have already spoken as being rather sceptical
when my child recovered from her critical condition, should be the first
to whom the intelligence should be imparted, for it was thought that if
she accepted this Revelation without much difficulty, the other sisters
would be more easily won over. She was a well educated and intelligent
woman, and had seen a good deal of the world. She had met her husband
while travelling in Russia, had married him, and they had returned to
their native land. She was in every respect a lady, but she was a spoilt
child, and had her whims; and she possessed a great influence over the
minds of the other sisters. On this account it was that she was selected
as the victim to whom should be first imparted the mysteries of the
Revelation, for it was thought that whatever reception she might give to
polygamy, her views would greatly influence the conduct of the rest.

As I before mentioned, Madame Balif and her husband were models of
affection to one another, and it seemed to me quite a sin that I should
introduce into such a household a doctrine which could only produce
disunion and misery. I had, however, schooled my heart to what I thought
was my duty, and I strove to smother the rebellion rising within me. But,
after all, it seemed to me hardly fair that I should be selected for this
painful task. These husbands had not courage enough, or were ashamed, to
tell their own wives about this wonderful Revelation; and so I, a weak
woman, hating in my heart the doctrine as much as a woman could hate—_I_
was chosen to introduce this pleasant subject, and to persuade those I
loved to their own ruin. I had had it all fully explained to me, and I
thoroughly understood the _beauties_ of the system in the sight of the
elders, and what they considered the strong points in the Revelation;—but
it is miserable work to try to convince others of a thing that you
yourself detest.

One day, quite unexpectedly to her, they had told Madame Balif that a new
Revelation had been sent from Zion, and that I would explain it to her;
then Monsieur Balif left the house, and remained absent until the wife
whom he so devotedly loved should have heard this new thing.

Madame Balif came down stairs singing, in her usual gay spirits, little
expecting what she was going to hear; and when she came to me I felt so
unfitted for my task that I dared not look her straight in the face,
although she was my dearest friend, and I had such an affection for her.
I stood there, pale and trembling, and she thought that I was not well. I
was not indeed well; I was sick at heart. Never before had the face of a
friend been so unwelcome.

She asked me what it was that I had to tell her; and when I hesitatingly
denied having wanted to speak to her at all, she said she knew there must
be something, as her husband had told her so.

I hesitated still; but at last found courage, and told her all. It was a
cruel task to impose upon me. Day after day I had observed her and her
husband, I had noticed their deep affection; had seen her watching at the
window for his return; and he would come with a little offering of choice
fruit or flowers; and I thought no woman could be happier than Madame
Balif. And now for me to so cruelly awaken them from their dream of bliss!

She sat and listened eagerly as I told my story; and when at length
she began to understand what was meant by it, she thought that I must
be playing some unseasonable joke upon her, and showed as much in her
countenance. But when she saw that I really was in earnest, she sprang
up, and cried out, “Oh, my God! what a beastly religion! How dared your
husband and you come to us Swiss with such a religion as that?” My eyes
sank before her as she turned on me with mingled rage and disgust, as if
she would wither me with her contemptuous looks. I felt as humbled as if
I myself had been the author of the Revelation.

“And does my Serge believe this?” she cried.

I assured her that he did believe it, and she paced the room, to and
fro, as if she would go crazy; my heart ached for her. She gave way to
a perfect storm of rage, and then sobbed and cried like a child who had
lost its mother. I was silent, for I knew how she must feel, and I felt
that she would be relieved by tears. I had gone through the trial all
alone, without one word from a woman’s heart that could reach my own.
And I tried to comfort her. I remembered how I had felt myself, and I
believed that thus it was now with her. In an instant, when I first
realized that polygamy had anything to do with me, just as I have heard
it said of dying men, all my past life rushed to my remembrance, and
every word or deed of love therein, stood out in brightest reality.
Thus I doubted not it was with my friend. Every tender word which her
husband had ever uttered; every loving deed he had ever done, came to her
recollection with a ten-fold dearness as she realized the horrors which
awaited her in the future.

How little did we either of us imagine the story she would afterwards
tell me in Utah!

I tried to soothe her, and she threw her arms passionately round me, and
pressed me to her throbbing heart, and wept again. She thought of her
husband and her little girls. But with all her fears she dreamed not
how miserable was the life before her in poverty and polygamy. She was
herself handsome in form and fair in feature; and, in the full enjoyment
of all that could be desired in her sphere of life, she was as happy as a
youthful wife could be. She pictured to herself a time—not now, her Serge
loved her too truly _now_—when her husband might cast his eyes upon some
blooming damsel, younger than she was _then_, and might begin to take a
nearer interest in polygamy. She pictured him bestowing on the youthful
beauty the love and tenderness which he had always bestowed on _her_; how
his affections would die out towards her; how her heart would be desolate
and alone!

I took her hand in mine and spoke very gently to her; and when she was
calmer, I talked to her more freely. We found now, as we tried to look
our common enemy in the face, how strong a hold Mormonism had taken of
us; and it is in this that persons unacquainted with the Saints have so
greatly misjudged the women of Utah; they know how small a hold such a
religion—now they look upon Mormonism and polygamy as identical—would
have upon them; and they forget how all-absorbing was our faith in
Mormonism _without_ polygamy. We confided not wisely, but too well.

Had polygamy been an invention of our husbands, or a system which they
capriciously adopted, we might have been grieved, but we should have
known how to act, for we were in a Christian country, where women had
rights as well as men; it was our own hearts which were traitors to us.
We had been taught to regard Abraham and Jacob, and David and Solomon as
types of holiness, as men who were fit objects for imitation; and now it
was proved to us, from Scripture, that these men were polygamists, and
yet were blessed by God; and we were called upon to follow their example.
Thus we tried to crush out the remembrance of our own womanhood. Had
we but followed the light of reason which God had given for our guide,
we should have trampled in the dust that vile burlesque upon the holy
religion of Jesus called a “Revelation upon Celestial Marriage.” As it
was, the religious teachings which we had received, both before and after
we embraced Mormonism, alike combined to blind us to the truth.

In this state of mind we knelt, and prayed for the Lord to increase our
faith in that very doctrine which in our hearts we cursed and hated; and
on our knees we wept again; and natural feelings of repugnance mingled
with an earnest struggle to submit to the will of God. Madame Balif had
not so much faith in Mormonism as I had, and she had consequently less
to trouble her in that respect; but she loved her husband, and she knew
that he was determined to go to Zion as soon as he could; and then not
only would all the luxuries of a happy home be sacrificed, but all her
anticipations of the future were overshadowed by a terrible apprehension.
Thus we were equally troubled, though I had to endure most, as the task
of teaching fell upon me. I did at last manage to persuade her not to
offer any active opposition to the Revelation, but I could not satisfy
her that all was right. She even went so far as to promise to try to
overcome her own feelings, for if it was really true she did not wish
to be found fighting against the Lord. She had, however, hardly ceased
speaking when the thought of her little daughters crossed her mind, and
once more she paced the room like an enraged tigress, declaring angrily
that “no vile polygamist should ever possess either of her sweet girls.”
I had felt like this for my own darling Clara.

I had now a companion in misery, some one who could sympathize with me.
Even had my husband detested the doctrine as I did, he could not have
comforted me as a woman and a mother could. My poor friend could feel as
I felt, and her sympathy was very dear to me; misery loves companionship;
we were sisters in affliction. Not only so, Madame Balif declared that
this painful task should not rest on me alone; she would help me in
speaking to the sisters. Thus we helped each other in the time of our

It must have been about this time that I received another letter from
Mary Burton. The postmark is quite indistinct, but a week or two one way
or the other does not signify much. In her usual quick and impulsive way,
she gave me _her_ views of the “beauties” of polygamy, and perhaps the
reader would like to hear what she said.

    “ ... I am very miserable, Sister Stenhouse, and furiously
    indignant. I little thought when I last wrote to you that I
    should have such news to tell; but I suppose you know it all
    without my saying a word. How we all felt when we first learned
    that polygamy was true, no words of mine can describe; we
    hardly dared look one another in the face. Let me tell you how
    it was.

    “One night, quite late, Elder Shrewsbury came round in a hurry,
    and asked to see me. I went down into the parlour to meet him,
    and Mrs. Elsworth came down also, and remained until he went
    away. Elder Shrewsbury looked very strange that night, just
    like a man who had been doing something wrong and was ashamed
    of it.

    “He excused himself for coming so late, but he said he had
    only just received some important news, and could not rest
    until he had seen us. He had been round at the Conference
    house, and had there seen a good many of the Elders. They
    were all talking earnestly upon the same subject, for that
    day they had received, not only letters from the apostle at
    Liverpool, but also copies of the _Millennial Star_, with the
    Revelation in it, which I suppose you have seen. Of course it
    was impossible for them to doubt any longer, but most of them
    felt it was a cruel blow. Elder Shrewsbury said they looked at
    one another, but did not dare to speak. Nearly all of them
    had been anxiously trying to get rid of the false scandal, as
    they supposed the accusation of polygamy to be; and in public
    in their sermons, and in private to all the weak brethren, they
    had over and over again solemnly declared that polygamy was
    unheard of among the Saints, that it was a Gentile lie; and
    they had proved from the Bible, and from the Book of Mormon,
    that a doctrine so sinful could never be believed or practised
    by God’s people.

    “Now all this would be thrown in their teeth. Those who
    hated Mormonism would revile them for it, and, worse still,
    the Saints themselves would despise and doubt them for the
    falsehoods which many of them had innocently told. Who could
    tell where all this would end? When they were found to have
    been deceived in a matter like polygamy, about which it was so
    easy to arrive at facts and certainty, who would trust them
    concerning other doctrines, which depended upon their veracity
    and testimony alone?

    “Then, too, there was worse to be said about the American
    elders and apostles. Who could believe that Orson Pratt or
    Lorenzo Snow knew nothing of polygamy? And yet they denied it
    in the most solemn way. And, oh, Sister Stenhouse, think of the
    Apostle Taylor calling God to witness his truth when he proved
    from the Book of Covenants that there was no such thing as
    polygamy: and all the while he had himself _five_ wives in Salt
    Lake City!

    “Elder Shrewsbury told us all this, but he spoke slowly and
    disjointedly, like a man whose mind is troubled. He said he
    hardly knew what he was doing. Then he gave Mrs. Elsworth
    a copy of the _Star_, and he asked me, too, to read the
    Revelation carefully before I condemned it.

    “‘If the Revelation, as you call it, allows polygamy,’ I
    exclaimed, ‘I hate and despise it, and you, and Mormonism, and
    all!’ I was quite in a fury, and I _did_ feel as if I hated him

    “He did not answer me; he seemed too cut up to utter a word;
    but I did not pity him. I felt that men who would write such a
    revelation as that for their own wicked purposes deserved all
    the hatred which the cruellest heart could muster up; they were
    loathesome to any pure-minded woman. As he was about to leave
    he said mournfully, ‘Sister Mary, I know you have good cause
    for anger; but be just. I have been just as much deceived as
    ever you have been. It has unsettled all my faith; even our
    best and most tried missionaries are shrinking from it. Do not
    blame me for what I have not done. I never deceived you about

    “I did not answer him; and after a few moments he said, ‘Mary,
    I want to speak to you _alone_ about these things. Can I see
    you, to-morrow evening, if I call?’

    “‘I wish you would not call me Mary any more, Elder
    Shrewsbury,’ I said; ‘it is too familiar _now_. We have been
    far too friendly; but, thank God, I have found out in time, and
    know how to act.’ He went away looking most miserable. Then I
    went to my own room, and tried to think the matter out. If I
    were married, as you are, Sister Stenhouse, and if my husband
    believed in the Revelation, I think I should go crazy. As it
    was, I felt it terribly. You know, dear, I told you that I
    _liked_ Elder Shrewsbury very well, but nothing more. Well,
    that was very true _then_, but now I know that it was not all
    the truth. I take care that he shall never know what I think of
    him, but I know that he is not the same to me as other people.
    I do not think I love him; no, I’m sure I don’t _now_; but I
    do feel a great deal of interest in him. That night, however,
    I felt very mad at him. That he had been deceived, I knew, and
    also that he must have felt sorry for having deceived me; and,
    if he cares for me, he must have felt uneasy for what I might
    say or do, now the doctrine was proclaimed.

    “Well, the more I thought of it, the more angry I became, and
    I couldn’t sleep all night. The next morning I wrote a little
    note to Elder Shrewsbury, saying that after all that had
    happened I had fully resolved not to see him again. Many of my
    friends, I said, were married, and could not help themselves,
    but I both could and would. The Mormon sisters I should ever
    pity and love; but as for the Mormon men, I would never have
    anything to do with one of them as long as I lived. I did not
    want to be unkind to him personally, but I really could not
    trust any one now.

    “Then I showed this note to Mrs. Elsworth, and asked her to
    give it to Elder Shrewsbury that night when he came.

    “He came, of course, and he came again and again; but I would
    not see him; and I did not even go to the meetings for fear of
    coming across him there. He had long talks with Mrs. Elsworth,
    and tried to get her to interfere, and at last he sent me a
    long letter, entreating me not to refuse him. I was cooler now;
    and when Mrs. Elsworth said I ought at least to see him, even
    if I dismissed him then, I agreed to do so, and the next night
    he came.

    “He was very humble that night. You know what torrents of
    eloquence he pours forth about anything that interests him,
    and how earnest he is. But then all his eloquence had fled. He
    hesitated and blundered, until I really quite pitied him. He
    came and sat by me, and would have taken my hand, but I would
    not let him. He did not tell me that he loved me, but he spoke
    as if I were conscious of the fact; and you know, of course, I
    couldn’t help feeling that he cared for me, whether he spoke
    about it or not. He assured me over and over again that though
    he had often heard the scandal, as I had done, he did not for
    a moment believe it; he said that he should _never_ himself
    act up to the Revelation; that if he loved, it should be an
    undivided and all-absorbing love; that he would rather have
    less glory in eternity, with _one_ whom he could idolize, than
    obey the Revelation on Polygamy, and obtain a higher position.

    “All this time he hardly once looked at me, but when I did
    see his eyes, they seemed very sorrowful and very earnest. I
    confess to you that what he said made me feel very differently
    for him. For a man of his ability and talents, who has such an
    influence, and wins so much respect from every one he meets, to
    be sitting there all bashful, like a naughty child, before a
    young girl like me, and all because he loved me, made me feel
    for him a pity which was very near to love.

    “I told him that I had quite resolved, now that polygamy was
    acknowledged, never to see him again, except as I might see
    the other elders at meeting. I said I believed I was still a
    good Mormon, as Mormons used to be; but I would never receive
    polygamy, or be more than an ordinary friend to any one who did
    believe it.

    “After that I only saw him at the meeting. And, oh dear! you
    should see what meetings we have now! Half the people don’t
    attend, and everything is so cold and lifeless. Some of our
    most earnest elders never come; and it is said among the
    brethren that polygamy will produce the greatest apostasy which
    the church has ever seen. Every one seems ashamed of it.

    “And now, dear, I have written you a terrible long letter, but
    you must please forgive me, for I have no one to whom I can
    open my heart except to you. Kiss the babies, please, for me;
    and write soon to your most affectionately loving,

                                                    “MARY BURTON.”

Poor girl! I said, as I folded up her letter; but it is better for her
to suffer a little now, than for her to have been married first, as I
was, and then, when too late to go back, to have polygamy announced as an
article of faith.



It was fortunate for the Swiss mission that the new converts in general
could not read any language but their own, and thus were ignorant of the
deceptions which the American Elders had practised upon the people.

Monsieur Petitpierre, the Protestant minister who thought that the
Revelation ought to be “prayerfully considered,” was the only one who
understood English, and his knowledge was very limited. His wife did not
at all coincide with him about the prayerful consideration of polygamy;
she disposed of the subject without any prayer at all; and it is to be
regretted that in this respect the whole body of the Mormon women did not
follow her example.

What arguments she used I do not know; but that they were very much to
the point no one can doubt, for they banished for ever all thoughts of
polygamy from her husband’s mind. It was said among the Saints that she
was very energetic in her private discussions with her husband. But
however this might be, it is certain that Monsieur Petitpierre resisted
as long as he could, for the Revelation quite fascinated the childless
old man; and it is possible that he might have held fast to the faith,
but unfortunately, just then certain documents and publications of
the apostles, and a very large amount of evidence respecting them and
their doings, attracted his attention. He was in the main a good and
truthful man, although of small mental calibre, and the deceptions and
contradictions which he discovered quite disgusted him. His wife’s strong
personal arguments gave the finishing blow to his faith, and the spell
was broken. The vision of a modern Hagar and a little Ishmael vanished
from his mind; he apostatised—and Mr. Stenhouse lost the services of a
very useful translator.

When I heard that he had left the church, how I wished that I could have
followed in his footsteps! But apostasy from Mormonism is only possible
to two classes—the young disciple, who has embraced the faith more from
enthusiasm than from conviction, whose experience is limited; and the old
disciple, who has entirely outgrown it, and has become disgusted with it

I was neither of these. My faith was too firmly grounded to admit of my
giving it up. Though I hated polygamy, I did not dare to question the
divinity of its origin. I only pitied myself and my sex for the burden
which God had seen fit to place upon us. I never for a moment supposed
that any man would have been so wicked as to fabricate a “Revelation,” or
so blasphemous as to palm it off in the name of the Lord.

Oh yes, I hated polygamy in my heart. And my efforts in teaching it only
increased my hatred; for when I was gravely told by the Elders that
woman had been cursed in the garden of Eden, and that polygamy was one
of the results of that curse—“her desire shall be unto her husband, and
_he shall rule over her_!”—I must confess that my heart within me was
rebellious. From my earliest childhood I had thought of God as a father
and a friend, to whom I might go and tell all my griefs and cares; but
now He was presented to me as a hard taskmaster, not as a father or a

I met with much kindness, but I did not meet with much sympathy from
the brethren. They could not understand that opposition to polygamy was
anything else than selfishness on the part of the sisters; they did not
comprehend the feelings of a woman’s heart—its craving for some object
upon which to devote its whole wealth of love. They were taught that
theirs was a nobler position than that of the sisters, and that women
might consider themselves sufficiently honoured in being allowed to
become the mothers of their children, and to help in building up _their_

Of my missionary work in Switzerland subsequent to the introduction of
polygamy I will say but little, except that it was too successful. The
same sorrow and indignation which Madame Balif had so forcibly expressed,
were shown by almost every new convert, and I had to bear the blame of
teaching such a doctrine. The sisters became unhappy, and wished that
they had died in ignorance of Mormonism; and I felt humbled to the
dust to think that I should be the innocent cause of so much misery to
others. I looked anxiously for a change; but the only change which seemed
probable was that we might be permitted to emigrate to Utah—and there was
no comfort for me in that prospect.

We remained in Switzerland until the close of the year 1854, and through
the unremitting efforts of my husband Mormonism was introduced into six
cantons of the Confederation. Monsieur Balif became an indefatigable
missionary, as was also Governor Stoudeman; and to their liberality and
zeal Mr. Stenhouse was greatly indebted. With the aid of Monsieur Balif,
he established in Geneva a monthly periodical in the French language, for
the edification of the Saints, besides publishing a book in reply to the
attacks of the clergy, and many minor effusions.

At that time there was great excitement among the Saints in Utah.
Brigham Young and his apostles were denouncing the Gentiles in the most
unmeasured language. As I write, a volume of sermons delivered at that
time is before me, and I really can hardly credit that so much ridiculous
nonsense, bad grammar, and blasphemy, could ever have been uttered in a
public place of worship—yet it was so. The Saints were told that in these
last times all the vials of the wrath of God were about to be poured
upon the earth; wars and desolations, anarchy and persecution, fire,
pestilence, and unheard of horrors, were to desolate all the world, until
men should call upon the rocks to hide them, and in the bitterness of
their souls curse the day in which they were born; death was to be sought
for, but not found. Believing, as they did, that all this was true, it
is no wonder that the Saints in Europe were alarmed, and became anxious
to emigrate to Utah, where they were told they would be safe. A seven
years’ famine was said to be at the door, when a sack of wheat should be
sold for a sack of gold, and Gentile kings and princes were to come and
crouch to the Saints for a morsel of bread. The very women in Zion were
counselled to sell the ribbons from their bonnets, to buy flour with the
proceeds, and to hide it away against the day of wrath.

The brethren and sisters in Switzerland who could dispose of their
property hastened to “flee to Zion.” Some did so at a ruinous sacrifice.
One gentleman, a Monsieur Robella, I knew, who was part proprietor of a
newspaper and printing establishment. In a very short time it would have
been entirely in his own hands; but he sold out at a great loss, dreading
that the storm might overtake him before he reached the “chambers of the
Lord in the mountains,” as the Elders called Salt Lake City.

The journey from Europe to Utah at that time occupied six or eight
months; it was a very tedious pilgrimage. My Swiss friends had first to
travel to Liverpool; thence by sailing vessel to New Orleans; by steamer
up the Mississippi as far as St. Louis; up the Missouri to the frontiers;
and then across the plains by ox-teams. Much of this distance had to be
travelled during the worst part of the year. They left their homes while
the Jura mountains were still draped in snow; and those who escaped the
ravages of cholera and the perils of the ways, reached their destination
just as the frosts of winter were beginning to whiten the hoary heads of
the hills which stand about Zion.

All the Swiss pilgrims travelled together until they arrived at St.
Louis; there they separated, one party going up the river, and the other
making the journey overland. The cholera attacked the latter party,
and cut off the greater number of them, and their bones now whiten the

The news of their death soon arrived in Switzerland, and the people at
Lausanne were exasperated against the Mormon missionaries; and when my
husband visited that place he found it prudent not to remain long. At
the same time those of the Saints whose relations had perished in the
emigration were pained to hear that it was because they “had not obeyed
counsel,” and gone up the river with the other party, that they fell by
the way. And, as if in mockery of this statement, the next news that we
received was that a Missouri steamer, on board of which were many Mormon
missionaries—all most obedient to counsel—had been blown to atoms. Many
of the Saints began to consider these things, and their love waxed cold.

Through all this our position was anything but pleasant, and my husband
applied for permission to be released from the presidency of the Swiss
and Italian missions, in order that he might “gather to Zion.” His
request was granted; and in the autumn of 1854 we bade a final adieu to

We might now be said to have _begun_ our journey to Zion, although we
tarried long by the way, and several years elapsed before we reached our

When we arrived in London we obtained apartments in the house of the
President of the London Conference, and there I had opportunities of
observing the effects of the system upon the English Saints. Elder
Marsden, the president, was a thorough Mormon, and a man who was very
highly thought of. He had been acquainted with all the apostles and high
priests who had resided in Liverpool—the great _rendezvous_ of the
Saints in England; had been President of the Conference there, and now
occupied the highest position of the European mission. He was a pleasant,
intelligent man, who in his day had done much to build up the church;
but, like his two predecessors, John Banks and Thomas Margetts, he also
apostatized from the Mormonism of later years. At the time, however, of
which I speak, he was considered to be of good standing among the Saints.

Up to this time I had never seriously doubted my religion, and I probably
never should have done so had it not been for the introduction of
polygamy. But what I saw in London at that time sadly shook my faith,
and the stories which I heard from Utah quite frightened me. Nothing, of
course, was openly said, and at first I disbelieved every evil report,
until at last it was impossible for me altogether to reject what was
told me. The testimony of an apostate or of a Gentile would have been
dismissed with contempt; but when we saw letters from mothers to their
children, and husbands to their wives—all people of unquestioned faith,
setting forth the troubled state of men’s minds in Utah, expressing fears
for their own safety, and hinting at “cutting off” the transgressor,
and the doings of “Avenging Angels,” we could not cast them aside with
contempt. My views of the glories of Zion were changing; henceforth I was
never firm in the faith; I felt that there was _something_ wrong.

Perhaps the reader may think that now I might have left the church,
and thus have avoided all those troubles which awaited me in Utah. But
let him remember that, although my faith was shaken, it was not wholly
destroyed. All that I clung to on earth—my husband, whom I truly loved,
and my darling children—were part and parcel of Mormonism. I could not
tear myself from them, and isolate my soul from all that made life worth

My unsettled state of mind, however, did not long remain a secret. It
was spoken of among the Saints, and I became an object of interest. The
pastor over the London and adjoining Conferences was the son of one of
the chief apostles in Utah—a young man, whose good nature was far better
than his religion. He visited us very frequently, and used to bring
with him the distinguished American Elders who might be visiting the
metropolis. I have no doubt that they were sincere in their desire to do
me good; but it was not kind attentions that I then needed, it was the
removal of the cause of my sorrows.

They tried to persuade me that it was all “the work of the Lord;” but
I could not see it in that light, and very often in reply to their
consolations I said very hard things of polygamy and the leaders of the
church, whose conduct I considered sinful. And in this I did not stand
alone, for I soon found that the President of the Conference, Elder
Marsden, had been in the same position for years, and his wife was
“quite through” with Mormonism. In fact, so great had been the distrust
occasioned by polygamy, that in the report ending June 30th, 1853, it
was stated that from the whole British church, which then numbered very
nearly 31,000 souls—1776 had been excommunicated for apostasy!

Of those who remained faithful I cannot give a much more cheering
account. The Elders who visited President Marsden made as damaging
reports of the condition of the Saints as their worst enemies could
desire. All that my young friend, Mary Burton, had told me did not equal
the truth of what I saw for myself. No one had any confidence _now_ in
what the Elders said; how could they be trusted after so many years of

The Elders who visited me and reasoned with me about my want of faith,
tried to persuade me to be baptized again. Among the Mormons it is
the privilege of the faithful to be baptized over and over again, as
often as may be needed, for the remission of their sins, which are thus
washed away, and the penitent is enabled to start afresh. At that time
of fearful excitement in Utah, called by the Mormons “The Reformation,”
when people were being exhorted under terrible penalties to confess their
sins, many were so frightened that they acknowledged themselves guilty
of crimes of which they had never dreamed, while at the same time many
horrible and detestable sins were brought to light. Brigham and the
leaders found that they were confessing too much—the sinners were far
more numerous than the godly. Brigham, with his usual craft, soon found a
way of escape; the people were told to be baptized again, so that their
sins being washed away, they could truly say they were not guilty of the
crimes of which they might be accused.

I was not convinced, and did not see that I had anything to repent of,
but I was quite willing to be re-baptized if it was thought proper.
At the same time I stipulated that the President of the Conference,
Elder Marsden, should be baptized with me. I felt that if I required
re-baptizing, how much more necessary was it for Elder Marsden to have
_his_ sins washed away also. I partly believed in the fearful stories
that I had heard from Zion, but it was _he_ who had shown them to me. The
Pastor of the Conference gave no sign that he suspected my meaning in
wishing Elder Marsden to be baptized at the same time as I was, though
I believe he must have formed a pretty shrewd guess. And so we two
went down into the water, but I am afraid that little of our sins was
washed away. Not long after, President Marsden apostatized, and my heart
remained as hard as ever. At least I was frequently told so.

Poor Elder Marsden! He was branded with the most opprobrious titles which
Mormon ingenuity or malice could fling against him: and yet I know of
_many_ men—not one nor two, associated most intimately with Brigham Young
to-day, whose faith is not a whit stronger than that apostate’s, who
serve the Prophet because it is their interest to do so, but who in their
hearts no more believe in his high pretensions than did James Marsden,
the President of the London Conference.

Meanwhile, the season for emigration had again arrived, and we were
directed to hold ourselves in readiness to start. Although by no means
unexpected, this “counsel” to emigrate came very painfully to me,
for every step we took towards Utah seemed to bring me nearer to the
realization of my worst apprehensions. I had lost my affection for
Mormonism, and my enthusiasm had now quite melted away. But to refuse to
go was altogether out of the question.

Two little ones had been added to our family in Geneva, and a fourth was
born in London, the Christmas Day after our return from the continent.
The foggy atmosphere of the metropolis did not agree with them at all,
accustomed, as they had been, to the pure and bracing air of Switzerland,
and I soon had serious illness in my family. My second little girl,
Minnie, was so sick that we almost despaired of her life, and the others
required constant attention; while the little baby boy, only a few weeks
old, was seldom out of my arms. Just then it was, when so very awkwardly
situated, that the notification came for us to set our faces Zionward.

They chided us for our want of faith, because we did not take our poor
little sick child from her bed at the risk of life; but I thank God now
that nature was stronger than our fanaticism, and that our little girl
was spared to grow up a blessing of which we shall ever be proud.

One day, President Marsden came to me confidentially, and told me that
the brethren were determined that I should leave England, and had counted
upon my yielding in a moment of despair. My husband was to be counselled
to go without me to Utah, if I persisted in my refusal. After he had left
London, Elder Marsden was to give me notice to leave his house; and left
destitute, and entirely among strangers, it was thought that I should be
only too glad to follow.

I cannot tell how indignant I was; I could not find words sufficiently
contemptuous to express what I felt; I reproached Elder Marsden with
cowardice for agreeing to such an inhuman proposition, and I declared
that I would not risk the life of my child if an eternity of suffering
awaited me.

My husband was absent when this took place; but when he returned
he approved of what I had done, and Elder Marsden was consequently
“counselled” to send us away. The doctor warned us against the danger
of exposing my little daughter to the cold in removing her; but we had
no choice, for we were obliged to leave. Those were very painful times.
Constant watching and anxiety had undermined my own health, and I fell
ill. Even then, had we been left alone we might have escaped much of
our trouble; but the incessant meddling of “counsel” was a perpetual
irritation, and we were completely worn out with annoyance.

A pleasant apartment at the west end of the town was taken for me, by
the advice of the medical man, and I was removed thither with my baby. I
was not equal even to the task of taking care of that little thing, and
had to procure the assistance of a nurse; the other children were cared
for by friends. All that I needed was rest and tranquillity of mind, and
I soon began to recover strength, though far from well. But this state
of quietude was soon to be disturbed. Again we were notified that the
last emigrant ship of the season was about to leave, and we must sail
in her; and again we were obliged to refuse. My husband telegraphed to
the Apostle at Liverpool that I was not well enough to travel, and he
was told to “bring me along, and I should get better.” The Apostle (!)
cared nothing for individual suffering providing the ambitious plans
of the priesthood in Salt Lake City were carried out. But my husband,
anxious though he was to set out for Utah, and obedient as he ever was to
“counsel,” was not such a slave as they thought him, and he positively
refused to go. For this he was very much blamed, and it was said that his
own faith must be wavering.

Since my arrival in London I had several times seen my young friend, Mary
Burton. She had, as she told me in her letters, very greatly changed, for
she had now become quite a young lady. Still she retained most of her
winning ways, though her childish prettiness had given place to the more
mature beauty of womanhood; and when I saw her I was not surprised that
she should be an object of attention, or that Elder Shrewsbury should
have felt so deeply her rejection of him.

I also had a visit from another person, whom I little expected to see.
This was no other than Elder Shrewsbury himself, who, I had been told,
had left London some months before. This, he said was quite true; he had
left London, and gone to work as a missionary hundreds of miles away;
trying to forget his disappointment, but to no purpose. His was one
of those natures which, though kind and considerate to every one, are
not ready to form hasty attachments, but which, when once they do meet
with an object upon which to lavish their affections, became devoted in
friendship and unchanging in love. Their affections flow more deeply than
those of most people.

Such was Elder Shrewsbury, and such I thought he would always be; but
what disposition, however good, can be relied upon when influenced by
religious fanaticism? He stood before me, _then_, manly and upright in
his bearing, truthful and honest—a man who would have scorned evasion or
deceit; and his every thought of Mary was replete with tenderness and
love. And yet I lived to see that man again, in Utah—alas, how changed a

Before we first left England I was acquainted with Elder Shrewsbury, but
not very intimately. We had had one or two interesting conversations
together, but I remembered him chiefly in connexion with Mary Burton. It
was about her that he now came to see me;—he wanted me to talk to her,
and intercede with her in his behalf. But I was no match-maker, and all
my thoughts respecting love and marriage had recently been anything but
pleasant. I told him plainly that I thought Mary had done quite right in
refusing to see him, and, in fact, declining to receive the attentions of
_any_ Mormon man. I did not doubt his love for her at present, I said;
but no one could any longer rely upon a Mormon Elder’s word. Years to
come, when they had a little family growing up around them, and when it
would be too late for Mary to repent of trusting him, he might suddenly
be convinced of the necessity of obeying the Revelation, and then what
could she do? No! Even supposing that she loved him, which, I said, was
very questionable, it was better that she should suffer a disappointment
now, than have her heart wrung with cruelty and neglect in after-years.

“What!” he cried, his eyes dashing with indignation; “do you take me for
a dog that I should treat _her_ so?”

“No, no,” I said, and tried to pacify him; “I do not think anything
bad of you, but I look upon you as a man who is in love, and therefore
blind. You think of nothing now but Mary, and are willing to sacrifice
everything, and to promise anything, providing you can win her. But when
she has become your wife, if she ever does, and you have time to cool
down, you’ll begin to see things in another light. You’ll find that she
is only an ordinary woman, made of flesh and blood, like all the other
daughters of Eve, and with, I daresay, quite as many whims, and fancies,
and perverse ways as any of them; and then, when she ceases to be ‘an
angel’ in your eyes, and becomes merely a woman, you’ll begin to assert
your right to think and judge for yourself, and very probably all your
former devotion to your religion will return.”

“Sister Stenhouse,” he replied, “you do not seem to have a very high
opinion of my constancy; but I can assure you that I have given this
matter my most earnest, prayerful thought. My love for Mary I need not
mention; my devotion to my religion you only partly know. While we were
told that Polygamy was not true, no one could be more steadfast in the
faith than I was; and when the Revelation came, I looked upon it as a
blight and a curse to the Church of God. And how well-founded my fears
were, you can see from this terrible apostasy which has come upon us. I
almost myself left the Church. Then I went to the Apostle, and I told him
how I was situated. I told him all about Mary, and my devotion to her;
that I wished to win her for my wife, but that I knew she would not marry
me if she thought there was the shadow of a chance that I should live up
to the Revelation. I told him that I myself should be perfectly wretched
in Polygamy, and that it was impossible that I should love more than
_one_. The Apostle said that I was quite right in all this. We had no
proof, he said, in the Bible, that Isaac had more than one wife, and he
was accepted of God. He counselled me to do all I could to win Mary, and
told me that I might truthfully promise her that I would never enter into
Polygamy. But Mary would not so much as listen to me; in fact, since then
she never would see me alone.”

“I am not sure,” I answered, “whether I am doing right; but I don’t mind
saying to you that I think, from what I have seen of Mary, that she does
not dislike you; but she is a sensible girl, and does not choose to risk
the happiness of her whole life.”

He was vexed with me for saying this. How could I suppose that _he_ would
wreck her happiness? Was he not willing to die if it would give her a
moment’s pleasure? And much more lover’s nonsense he talked.



The afternoon following, Mary herself came to see me, her face all
flushed with excitement, and eager to tell me something.

“Whom do you think I’ve been talking to, Sister Stenhouse?” she
exclaimed. “You’d never guess.”

“I don’t think there’s much need for guessing,” I said. “Your face
betrays the secret, Mary.”

“Well,” she said, “perhaps it does, but you wouldn’t wonder at it, if
you only knew how very anxious I have been. All this time I have kept my
word, and I did not see him or speak to him once, except at meetings,
and not much then, and I have been _very_ unhappy. This afternoon I came
round about an hour ago to see you, and there on the step was Elder
Shrewsbury. He said he was here yesterday, and was just going to call
on you again, and then he asked me to go a little way with him, as he
had something very important to say to me. At first I refused to go, but
he wouldn’t listen to it for a moment. So I went with him, and we have
been talking ever since; or rather he has been talking, and I have been
listening to him. I can’t tell you, Sister Stenhouse, all he said—you can
guess better than I can tell you. But I’m afraid I shall not be able to
keep my resolution much longer, for when we came back to the door again
he said he wouldn’t come in to see you now, and when he begged me to let
him call at Mrs. Elsworth’s to-morrow night, I did not feel it in my
heart to refuse him;—was it very wrong of me to do so?”

Said I, “I’m afraid, Mary, my opinion would not matter much either way;
Elder Shrewsbury’s eloquence is the music which you like best to listen

She blushed, and came and sat down beside me, and we talked together
until the sun went down and my little room was quite dark. I told her of
my troubles in Switzerland, and of the miserable effects of introducing
Polygamy there; and she in return told me all her love affairs with
Elder Shrewsbury and of her resolution not to listen to him unless he
solemnly promised never to have anything to do with the hated Revelation.
Her faith in Mormonism itself had, as I expected, been very severely
shaken; and I think that had it not been for my efforts to reassure her,
she would have left the Church at that time. Would to God she had.

After tea, she said, “Have you a copy of the Revelation here, Sister
Stenhouse? I want to show you some strong points in it which I think will
astonish you. I learned all about it from Elder Shrewsbury that night
when he came to see me, and it was that that disgusted me with the whole
affair.” We searched through my trunk but could not find the document,
and I told her that I had not patience to read it quite through when it
was given to me, and that since then I was not sure that I had even seen
it. “Never mind,” she said; “I’ll bring it with me when I come again.”

How often have I thought since how much depended upon that trifling
circumstance. Had we then together read over the Revelation and noticed
the “strong points” of which she spoke, I believe my eyes would have
been opened, and I never should have submitted to the misery which I
afterwards endured in Utah.

Towards the end of the year 1855 it was determined that a company of
Mormon emigrants, numbering several hundreds, should leave Liverpool _en
route_ for Salt Lake City; and for that purpose a vessel was chartered
early in November. This was not the ordinary season for emigration, but
there were then in England numbers of the Saints, anxious to go to Zion,
but too poor to pay their passage all the way. It was thought that when
they arrived in New York they would have time to earn sufficient to carry
them on, and it was then supposed they could join those who came over by
the ordinary spring emigration. My husband and myself were counselled to
join these emigrants in Liverpool and proceed at once to New York.

The Mormons in London were very kind to us before we left, and did all
they could to help us in preparing for our journey. A kinder people
than the Saints in Europe could nowhere be found. My husband had been
directed to take charge of the emigrants in the transit from London to
Liverpool, and consequently I received no assistance from him. It seemed
to me a very cruel arrangement for the Elders to take away from me and my
helpless little ones the very person to whom we ought naturally to have
turned for protection; but what were the feelings of a weak woman when
they came in conflict with the “counsel” of inspired Apostles?

We arrived at Liverpool the same evening, and there my husband was
relieved of the charge of the company, and some of the brethren were
appointed to see that the baggage was safely transferred from the railway
to the ship. Early the next morning we went on board, and it was not long
before we began to experience the pleasures (?) of an emigrant life.

Before we set out for Liverpool, I had been told that on board ship I
should be able to obtain all the “help” that I might desire; and, anxious
to provide for the comfort of the children, I engaged the services of
two young girls to look after them and assist me generally. This was
an imprudent step, as I afterwards found to my cost; but at the time I
thought that I had made a very sensible arrangement. Help being secured,
my next thought was to get our berths fixed, so that all might be ready
before the rolling of the ship began. My first inquiries were for our
bedding; but it was nowhere to be found. Now this was very annoying, for
we were all tired, and the children, poor things, were fidgetty; and
anticipating a long and unpleasant voyage, I wanted to have everything in
readiness. Besides which I had made special preparations in the shape of
many additional comforts which I knew on board ship would be absolutely
necessary, and had even sold my watch and jewellery for that purpose.

I inquired of the proper authorities, but could obtain no information,
and nothing remained but for me to wait until the Apostle came on board
to bid a final adieu to the emigrants. I felt this annoyance all the
more, as I considered that we had no right to expect such mismanagement.
We would naturally have preferred to make our own arrangements and to go
alone, had we been permitted to do so; but we had, over and over again,
been instructed not to go by any other vessel than that chartered by the
Apostle Richards, that so we might escape the perils which were sure to
overtake the Gentiles. Imagine our disgust when we found that as there
were not enough of the Saints to occupy the whole ship, the lower deck
was filled with Irish emigrants of a very low order, and that their
luggage and ours had been thrown together indiscriminately into the hold.
Most of the Mormon emigrants recovered their property when they arrived
at New York; but as for our own, personally, we never saw it again, and
all the voyage through we were left utterly destitute.

Nothing remained but for me to put the best face I could upon matters. I
took my wearing apparel and other articles out of the trunks and put them
into pillow-slips, and extemporized as well as I could a rough substitute
for beds. These served for the children, and I covered them with my
cloaks and shawls; and for our own berths and bed-covering I had only a
few pieces of carpet which I put aside for the cabin floor, together with
a worn-out blanket which an old lady on board was good enough to lend me.
This was our going to Zion.

We had not been long at sea when the young sisters whom I had engaged to
help me fell sick, and some of the brethren were very anxious to nurse
them. This appeared to be quite the established order of things, for I
then found that it was very seldom that a Mormon emigrant ship crossed
the ocean without one or more marriages on board. It was, no doubt, very
interesting to them, but to me it was extremely inconvenient, especially
considering that my husband had now taken to his berth, which he did not
leave during the remainder of the voyage, and myself and the children
were not much better off.

Sick as I was, I had to prepare our food and manage everything, for
in those times emigrants either took out their own provisions or were
allowanced in raw material, and in either case had to do their own
cooking. My chief difficulty was in getting what I had prepared to the
fire-galley, for I could not leave the children, and I was afraid to
venture myself upon deck. So I got any of the brethren who chanced to
be passing to take it up, and of course they were willing to oblige me;
but the galley was so crowded—every one having his or her own interest
to attend to—that I very rarely, if ever, had my provisions decently
cooked, and on more than one occasion I never saw them again. This was an
inconvenience which emigrants do not suffer at the present day.

Unsuccessful with the young sisters, I thought I would try if I could
not get one of the brethren to help me, and fortune at first appeared
to favour me. There was on board a young man—Harry they called him—and
he was so situated that I found it easy to open a negotiation with him.
He had been a saddler’s apprentice in a country town in England, and
having listened to some itinerant preacher, had been converted, joined
the Church, and began to think for himself. So hearing that terrible
judgments were quickly coming upon the Old World, he resolved to flee to
the New, and in his hurry to get there he forgot to inform his master
that he was about to leave. This accounted for his being so badly
provided for.

Now, Harry had those two great blessings—a splendid appetite and
unimpeachable powers of digestion. I will not say that he enjoyed these
two blessings, for that he did not, on account of lacking a third
blessing, namely, the wherewithal to make the first two blessings a
pleasure, and not an inconvenience. The ship’s allowance was altogether
insufficient for him, and he therefore gladly engaged to do what few
things I required upon condition that I should add a little to his own
private commissariat.

Harry was a smart lad and at first very useful, and he soon convinced me
that he had told the truth when he said that he had not had enough to eat
ever since he came on board—it seemed to me very questionable whether he
ever had before. He had, however, nothing to complain of in that respect
while in our employment; for although the children were able to eat
whenever we had anything fit for them, my husband and myself could seldom
touch our rations, and as everything that was not used fell to Harry’s
share, he fared pretty well.

Harry was not the lad to neglect his own interests, and as our interests
appeared just then to be his also, matters worked very harmoniously. Our
bread was never now brought back to us half raw or burnt to a cinder. It
must be properly cooked for our eating or it would not do for Harry’s;
and as for it being lost or delayed on its way to or from the galley,
that was, of course, quite out of the question. But the strangest thing
of all connected with Harry was that immediately after his coming we
were incessantly annoyed by _the rats_. I had brought for the children’s
use a small supply of preserves and other little delicacies; but these
mysteriously disappeared with alarming rapidity; and whenever I saved any
trifle for the children to eat between meals, that also was gone when
it was wanted, and in every instance Harry suggested that it was “the
rats,” though I never could find any traces of those interesting animals.
I was sorry to part with Harry, for he used to tell funny stories to the
children, and amused them a great deal; but “the rats” and Harry were
so closely associated in my mind, that I thought if Harry left the rats
might perhaps also cease their visits. So Harry went, and I was once
more left alone to do the best I could.

The weather was very cold, and we felt its severity very much. The
rigging of the ship was hung with icicles, and, without fire or warmth of
any sort, it is no wonder that we all were soon hardly able to move from
cold and sickness.

In the midst of my trouble I was told of an ancient Scotch sister—a
maiden lady, sharp and shrewd—who, like the miser in Scott’s “Fortunes of
Nigel,” was willing to help us “for a consideration.” It was agreed that
she should give me her services for the remainder of the voyage; and the
“consideration” was to be two pounds English. Small as was our stock of
money, and much as I knew we should need it upon our arrival, I felt that
I could do no better than engage her. There was no saying upon whom _she_
might chance to set her maiden fancy, but there was not the remotest
chance of any of the brethren falling in love _with her_; so I considered
her a safe investment, and, besides, I must have _somebody_—there was no

It was now Christmas time—a season sacred to joyous memories and
festivities; but to us, exiles and wanderers, seeking a land of which we
knew nothing, and which to us was a new and untried world, it was far
from being a happy time. In the midst of the wild, dreary ocean there was
nothing to recall the pleasant reminiscences of the past, or to inspire
us with hope and courage as we thought of the future.

The captain told us that we might prepare to eat our Christmas dinner in
New York; but he was mistaken in his calculations. We did not eat our
Christmas dinner in New York, as he had promised. A storm came on, which
compelled us to stand out to sea again, and then a dead calm followed,
and it was not until New Year’s eve that we set foot upon the shore of
the New World.



Very cold, and dark, and dreary, were the first days which we spent in
the New World. That faith which once had led me to hope, and believe, and
“endure all things,” was now powerless to nerve me to any new course of
action for my religion’s sake; for the dark shadow of Polygamy had come
across my way; hope had fled, and my love, with the love of many other
faithful Saints, had waxed cold.

To my husband and children I was, of course, devotedly attached, and was
willing to combat any difficulty or endure any trial with them, or for
their sake; and it was not long before my constancy was put to the test.

The Mormon emigrants have always a Captain and two “Counsellors” to every
company. The Captain on board the “Emerald Isle,”—the vessel in which
we came—was a returning Utah Elder;—one of his Counsellors was also a
returning Elder, and my husband was the other. As soon as the Mormon
Captain had come on shore, and had reported to the Apostle in charge of
the New York Saints, he left to visit his friends. The Utah Counsellor
had a young lady in the company to whom he had become very much attached,
and who afterwards became one of his wives. I was not, therefore,
surprised that, as soon as he could get his baggage, he also should
disappear; but my husband—the other Counsellor—being encumbered with a
wife and family, was obliged to remain, and the whole charge of seeing to
the company devolved upon him.

We had, therefore, to remain in Castle Gardens until the whole company of
emigrants was provided for; and during all the next week I, with my four
children, remained in that public place, sick and weary, and as destitute
of bedding and covering as we had been on board ship. The weather was
intensely cold, and, unaccustomed as we were to the severity of an
American winter, we suffered not a little. The other unfortunate victims
to faith were in the same condition, with the exception that they had
something to sleep on at nights, while I had nothing but the bare boards
for my bed since we left Liverpool;—all that I could gather together had
been reserved for my babes. How we lived through that journey I know
not, but I am certain that, could I have foreseen what we should have to
endure, I would never have left England, whatever my refusal might have
cost me.

I could not refrain from contrasting my life before and since I knew
Mormonism. Before, I scarcely knew what suffering was, so little had
I been called upon to endure. I never knew what it was to be without
money, or to want for anything; but now I was in a strange land, in the
depth of winter, without a home, without a pillow to rest my weary head
upon, and with a future before me so dark that not a single ray of light
gave to it the promise of hope. Could any slavery be more complete than
mine? My fanaticism and zeal were all gone—I had nothing to sustain
me. Certainly, I was still held by the fear that Mormonism, after all,
_might_ be of God, and that all this suffering _might_ be necessary for
my salvation—but if at that time I had only had a friend whose mind was
clear from all the nonsense of Mormonism, and who had felt sufficient
interest in me to advise me for my good, I think even then I might have
freed myself from the mental slavery in which I was bound. But I had no
intercourse with any but Mormons; and, indeed, a wish to form Gentile
friendships I should then have considered a sin.

A week after our arrival, my husband found time to seek for apartments
for his family, and I was thankful to leave our miserable quarters at
Castle Gardens.

The Mormon authorities had, meanwhile, given instructions to the other
emigrants how to act, and they did little more than this. Those who had
not found work or places to go to were ordered to leave the gardens,
and received permission to occupy an old dilapidated school-room in
Williamsburgh, which had been used for preaching. I went there almost
daily to see them, and therefore state what I saw as an eye-witness, and
neither exaggerate nor misrepresent. There they huddled together, about
one hundred and fifty—men, women and children. Most of the men had been
respectable mechanics in their own country; many of them I had known
personally and had visited in their cosy English homes; and their wives
and families had been decently brought up. What they must have suffered
under this change of circumstances I leave the reader to guess.

In that miserable place they lived day and night—the poor, dispirited
mothers (many of them very sick) having to cook, and wash, and perform
all the necessary domestic duties, round two small sheet-iron stoves.
It was not long before the place became like a pest-house from so many
being confined in so small a place, and breathing the same fetid and
pestilential atmosphere; and many of the young children died of an
epidemic which was raging among them.

They had saved some of the ship’s provisions, and that was all they
had to eat, and it did not last long. To me it was most distressing to
witness so much misery without being able to render any assistance,
particularly to see the poor little children shivering and crying with
hunger and cold, while many of their mothers were in such a miserable
state of apathy that they paid little or no attention to them. I often
tried to awaken in them feelings of human sympathy, but I was met with
a murmur of discontent. The people, men and women alike—seemed to be
utterly demoralized. Nor can this be a matter of wonder; for in England
the men had been told that—while at home they could only earn four
or five shillings a day, and would never be able to put by enough to
carry them all the way to Utah—in New York they would be able to earn
two-and-a-half to three, and even four dollars a day—equal to from ten
to sixteen shillings English—and that employers would even come on board
ship anxious to engage them. Thus they had by false statements been
allured from their homes and plunged into the most abject poverty. Day by
day they went out seeking work, but finding none; willing to do anything
to provide bread for their families, but returning nightly, unsuccessful,
to their starving wives and children.

My own resources were gone. I could do nothing. When we left Castle
Gardens I think we only had about five dollars left, while the heavy snow
which covered the ground and the intense cold promised many weeks of
unusual severity. Needing so greatly pity myself, how I sympathized with
those poor sufferers, how I pitied them!

In the midst of all this, the Apostle John Taylor learned that some of
these poor souls had been seen begging. So he came from his comfortable
boarding-house in Brooklyn, well wrapped up in a handsome overcoat, and
scolded these poor, starving creatures, and harangued them concerning the
meanness of begging. With great swelling words he spoke of the dignity
of the Saints of the Most High, and told them that he despised a Mormon
who could fall to the level of a common street beggar.

Could he have heard the unspoken curses of the poor, wounded hearts of
those who listened to him, as they thought of his brother “Apostle” in
England, and of how he had deceived them and sent them into a strange
country, in the depth of winter, to beg, to starve, or to steal, he would
have learned that though the victim of a delusive faith may mentally
submit to man-made creeds and priesthoods, in his heart he will judge,
not so much the words he hears as the man who utters them.

The wisdom of the Apostle found out a remedy. He “counselled” the men and
boys to buy shovels, and go forth into the streets and clean away the
snow from the fronts of the doors and from the side-walks, and told them
that they would thus get plenty of money to keep them until winter was
over. One elderly brother, who had a little money left, bought a stock
of shovels; but the emigrants found that there were plenty of others who
were as eager as they for work, and who were much better acquainted with
the way of obtaining it. The shovel experiment was a failure, and the
poor old brother lost his money in the investment.

For whatever the Apostle Taylor may have contributed to these unfortunate
persons—whether in “counsel,” money, or provisions—he will doubtless
have his reward; and, for aught I know, he may have been unable to
give anything more than counsel; but, at the same time, my opinion
of the value of counsel remains unchanged. There has been no lack of
“counsel” or counsellors in the Mormon Church. “Counsel” has been given
in abundance to all, and by no means always for the benefit of those
who received it. It was not, however, because he failed to assist them
practically that the people hated the Apostle Taylor, and have hated
him ever since; but it was for his pride and arrogance, and the way in
which he dared to talk to free-born Englishmen and Englishwomen about the
dignity of the Priesthood, and the contempt in which he held them in the
hour of their humiliation and distress—for that they hated him.

I do not, of course, wish to justify the people in begging; such conduct
would have been despicable if they could have found employment of any
sort. But when I saw the starving condition of those men and their
helpless families, in that wretched school-house, in my heart I almost
honoured them for having the courage to beg; and I thanked God that the
“mean Yankee Gentiles”—as the Elders taught the Saints to call American
citizens who did not believe in Mormonism—were able and willing to assist

One of those emigrants very recently related to me some of the painful
circumstances through which he passed at that time. He told me that he
walked the streets of Williamsburgh for three days and three nights
without a mouthful of anything to eat, or a place to lay his head;—he
could obtain no work, and at length, in sheer desperation, he was
_forced_ to beg. The Church authorities knew well the misery of the
people, but took no adequate steps to alleviate it.

During the first weeks after our arrival in New York city, we had nothing
to depend upon but the provisions which we had saved from the ship’s
rations. I had known what it was to be in a foreign country without money
and without food; and on board ship I took care of our rations when they
were not consumed by Harry or “the rats;” for I thought that if I did
not need them—which, indeed, I sincerely hoped might be the case—I could
certainly find some one who would be thankful for them. These rations
consisted chiefly of sugar that was almost black; very bad black tea,
which when made looked like dye; the poorest kind of sea-biscuit; and
other things accordingly. The provisions for the Mormon emigrants were
purchased in bulk by the Church authorities, who made their own profits
out of them, and the Apostle at Liverpool had the benefit of all that
could be saved out of them during the voyage. It was commonly said among
the people that the sight of them alone was quite sufficient for any one
who was not half-starved; and yet they had paid the price of the best.

We had been in New York several weeks when one day my husband called at
the office of a paper called _The Mormon_, and there met with the Apostle
Taylor, who conducted that paper. The Apostle expressed great regret that
Mr. Stenhouse should be without occupation at that season of the year,
and with a family of children upon his hands. This sympathy, coming from
a brother Missionary was, I thought, very tardy, for my husband had then
devoted over ten years of his life to the cause, and his record in the
Church had been untarnished. The Apostle was living in an elegant house,
surrounded by every comfort and luxury, while he knew that we had not
so much as a chair, or even a bed to lie upon. What had he done for
the Church more than my husband had done? Indeed, I firmly believe that
he had not endured half so much, but—he was an Apostle! His unhelping
sympathy appeared to me a little more than questionable.

He told my husband that he might come into the office of _The Mormon_,
and write the addresses on the wrappers, and that he would give him a few
dollars a week “to help things along,” until something better presented
itself. My husband thought this a disinterested action on the part of
the Apostle John Taylor, but my experience in Mormonism led me to be
distrustful and suspicious of everything that an Elder or Apostle said or
did. This offer, however, came when we really had nothing to look to, and
dared not refuse any assistance that was offered, however small it might
be. But I must admit that my ideas of Apostolic liberality were very
much shocked when at the end of the week Mr. Stenhouse informed me that
he had been allowed four dollars for his services, and that out of that
magnificent sum the Apostle John Taylor had deducted twenty-five cents
which sheer necessity had compelled him to borrow for the week’s ferriage.

The Apostle-editor had two assistants from Utah with him in _The Mormon_
office—the one a “Seventy,” and the other a “High-Priest”—terms and
titles which I shall presently explain. A few weeks after my husband
entered the office, the “Seventy” who had charge of getting out the paper
was allowed to return to Zion. The High-Priest remained in the Eastern
States visiting alternately the various branches of the Church, and
doing some very zealous courting with a young English girl who lived in
Williamsburgh, while his two unsuspecting wives at home in Salt Lake City
were earnestly praying the Lord to bless him in his “mission.”

Whatever the Apostle may have thought of his associate, he could not very
well remonstrate with him, for he himself was, and had been for some
time, doing a good deal in that line with an amiable Connecticut girl,
and was only waiting for special permission from Brigham Young, to add
her to the half-dozen wives he already had in Utah.

There was, moreover, another High-Priest attached to that office, but
no one seemed to understand his exact position. To all appearance his
principal occupation was travelling from New York to Connecticut and from
Connecticut back again to New York. He was a very robust-looking man,
but it was reported that he was troubled with heart-disease, and that
the purer air of Connecticut was a great relief to him. This I fully
believed when, some time after, I discovered that the young lady engaged
to the Apostle had a charming sister, for I thought it very probable that
she rendered no small assistance to the Connecticut air in giving relief
to his diseased heart.

My husband not being at that particular time under the influence of
“heart-disease,” soon became very useful on the editorial staff. In fact,
pretty well everything was left to him, and not unfrequently for two or
three days he saw nothing of the Apostle or either of his associates,
and the whole responsibility of getting out the paper—at the magnificent
salary of four dollars a week!—rested upon him. He was told that he must
regard it as a mission, and be prepared to act accordingly.

In course of time, however, the visits to Connecticut came to an end.
The Apostle obtained Brother Brigham’s permission to practise a little
Polygamy among the Gentiles, and Miss Young made him an excellent
housekeeper in a handsomely furnished house in Brooklyn. The poor
High-Priest and the Seventy did not fare so well: they were expected
to wait until they reached Zion. The two young ladies to whom they
were engaged were amiable and good girls, who would without doubt have
met with excellent husbands either in or out of the Church; but the
name of an Apostle or High-Priest—when the men themselves were away
from home—carried with it many charms, and won the hearts of the young
ladies and their friends. The Apostle was, of course, well used to the
training of wives in the “celestial order,” and when he returned home
with his youngest bride he suffered no particular inconvenience. But the
High-Priests realized the truth of the adage “The course of true love
never did run smooth.” The first wife of one of them refused to have
anything to do with his new bride, and kept him at a respectful distance
from herself then and ever afterwards; while the first wife of the other
declined to acknowledge the claims of her youthful rival. The first
High-Priest has gone to heaven; the other, in the course of time, gave a
bill of divorce to his wife. What happiness either of these three girls
found in Polygamy they best know, but the young widow appears decidedly
the happiest of the three.

I had heard much while in London about men taking wives “from principle,”
and that, after the first wife, they made no open display of their love,
but I could not see that they differed in the slightest from their
Gentile brethren in that respect; the Utah Elders of whom I have spoken
always seemed to be very human. In all Polygamic courtships that I have
since witnessed, the brethren have appeared to think that the “Lord’s”
revelation was a trifle too slow in arranging affairs of the heart, and
they have been zealously preparing for its coming. In some instances
the revelation has come too late, and in many others it would have been
very disastrous if it had not come at all. In all cases it may be safely
asserted that all that has been said about getting the consent of the
first wife and obtaining a revelation from the Lord as to whether it is
pleasing in His sight for a man to take another wife, or not—is pure
folly and nonsense. Brigham Young is the only “lord” who has ever been
consulted on that question. If he acknowledged this to the people and
they chose to abide by it, they alone would be to blame; but it is the
grossest of frauds for men claiming to be the representatives of Jesus
Christ to play upon the credulity of an honest people, trifling with
the most sacred subjects, and telling them that God answers by special
revelation and declares whether or not it is His will that each of these
plural marriages should take place. The Apostles and Elders themselves
are not deceived. They know well enough that there is no truth in all
this mockery; they know that the only source of all their revelations is
the man Brigham Young.



One Sunday morning in early spring I attended a meeting of the Saints in

My husband was there, and took part in the service, and so did the
Apostle Taylor, and one or two other Utah Elders. I went to that meeting
in a very desponding state of mind, for our prospects since the day of
our arrival had not brightened very much, and I felt the need of some
comforting and cheering words.

Whether it was the influence of the clear spring morning, or that the
Elders had noticed the depression of spirit among the Saints, I cannot
tell, but I know that on that particular occasion their words seemed to
me more earnest and encouraging than they had been for a long time past.

As we came out from the meeting, Brother Benton, one of the Elders,
stepped up to my husband, and said, “Brother Stenhouse, _they_ are
expected to arrive to-night or to-morrow; I suppose you will be down at
the ‘Gardens’ to meet them.”

I knew well enough who “they” were who were expected to arrive, and so
did Mr. Stenhouse. “Yes,” he said, “of course I shall be there, but
most likely we shall have to wait a few days before they come.” Then he
stopped and talked over the matter with Elder Benton.

Now it chanced that at that time Brigham Young was trying an experiment.
The “Prophet of the Lord” sometimes finds it necessary—notwithstanding
the “revelations” which he is supposed to receive—to try experiments like
other men before he can feel sure that his plans are likely to succeed.
The only difference between him and other men is, that he—knowing
himself that his plans are his own inventions, or the inventions of the
leaders—gives out that they come direct from God, thereby deceiving the
ignorant, innocent, and confiding people; and when his plans fail, as
they often do, he never confesses that he is wrong or mistaken, but lays
all the blame on some other person, or, failing that, on “the Lord” or
the devil. Other men, as a rule, say nothing about “the Lord” or devil,
but when their experiments fail they frankly confess that they themselves
were not inspired, but were liable to err. That is all the difference.

In the present instance Brigham Young tried an experiment upon a rather
large scale.

Up to the year 1856 the Mormon emigrants made the journey from the
Frontiers across the Plains by ox-teams, as I have already described,
and every season some of the wealthier Mormons formed themselves into an
independent company, paid their own expenses, and travelled with more
comfort. The expense to the poorer emigrants was very small, for they
performed the greater part of the journey on foot—the ox-teams being used
for transporting provisions and baggage—one hundred pounds of the latter
being allowed to each emigrant.

This “plan” was, so far, a success, and the settlements of the Saints
increased thereby, slowly but surely, in population and wealth. There
were, however, at that time, thousands of Saints in Europe anxious to
emigrate, but who were too poor to provide the small sum requisite for
that purpose. During the winter of 1855 this difficulty was discussed
in Conference by Brigham and the leading men in Salt Lake, and some
one suggested what was afterwards known as the “Hand-Cart Scheme.” The
idea of this “scheme” was to transfer the people from Liverpool to the
Frontiers in the cheapest possible way, and for them then to cross the
Plains with light-made hand-carts, just strong enough to carry the fewest
possible necessary articles, but sufficiently light for the men, women,
and even young girls, to draw them.

This “plan” would not perhaps have been a bad one if it had been properly
carried out, and if Brigham Young had seen, as he might have done, that
suitable preparations were made beforehand. But the Hand-Cart Emigration
Scheme began with a lie and ended in ruin.

The confiding Saints were told that “God” had specially inspired His
servant Brigham for this purpose, and the scheme was a revelation
direct from on high.—No proper measures were taken to provide for the
emigrants—all was done upon faith—faith on the part of the people in
their—as they supposed—inspired leaders; deception on the part of those
leaders towards the people, whose only fault was that they trusted them
too well.

The _Millennial Star_ proclaimed the “plan” to the Saints in Europe,
and so great was the response to this special summons that in that
year—1856—it was roughly estimated that no fewer than five or six
thousand Mormon emigrants travelled from Liverpool to Salt Lake City.
It was the first company of these emigrants that Brother Benton alluded
to when he told Mr. Stenhouse that “_they_” were expected that night or
the next; but in those days emigrant vessels were frequently delayed by
adverse winds and other circumstances, and no one could calculate upon
the exact time of their arrival in port.

The following morning, my husband, when he returned from the _Mormon_
office, brought with him a letter bearing the English postmark, and
addressed to me in the neat unmistakable handwriting of Mary Burton.
I had been waiting and watching for a letter from her ever since our
arrival; I was anxious to hear from her, and I hastily tore it open, so
impatient was I to know how she was getting on. What I read interested
me deeply, though it did not surprise me. I had seen Mary many times
after the interview which I have already related, and our conversations
and discussions were to us of all-absorbing interest; but as they were
mostly personal I have not cared to record them in this narrative. To
tell the truth, her love affairs with Elder Shrewsbury occupied more and
more the most prominent place in all our discussions. His enthusiasm was
perfectly infectious. As long as Mary absolutely refused to see him, her
love for him and her faith in Mormonism were anything but overpowering.
But Elder Shrewsbury was one of those peculiar persons who have a sort of
magnetic charm about them; who, without our knowing it, or even, in some
instances, contrary to our will and reason, enlist all our sympathies and
leave behind them an impression that we vainly try to efface. He only
wanted _opportunity_, and his success was sure.

Opportunity he had had for pressing his suit with Mary and making an
impression upon her heart, ever since the day when they met at my door,
and had taken that walk together, as Mary said, for the purpose of
discussing important matters.

Now the letter which I received opened to me another chapter in Mary’s
life, which without the gift of prophecy I might have easily predicted.
Elder Shrewsbury’s patience and perseverance met with their due reward,
and Mary at length promised to become his wife; but fascinated though she
was, and herself almost as deeply in love as he was, she nevertheless
made one condition which showed that she had not entirely lost that
prudence and determination which she had shown in the early days of their

“When he spoke to me in _that_ way—you know _how_, Sister Stenhouse”—she
said in her impulsive way, “How could I persist in saying _No_ to him?
It wasn’t in my heart to do so. I didn’t say ‘Yes’ in so many words, but
I simply said nothing, and he took my silence for consent. Then—but no,
I won’t even tell _you_ everything.... I know he thought he was going to
have it all his own way; but I didn’t think so. I told him then that I
had firmly resolved upon one thing—that I never would marry him unless he
made a solemn vow and promise before God that he would never enter into
Polygamy. I could not hide from him that I loved him—he knew it and could
see it; but I said I _never_ would go to Utah alone, and I certainly
never would marry at the risk of my husband taking another wife. No; I
was willing to give him my heart, my all—it was only fair for him to do
the same by me.... He was very near me then, and my hand was in his; and
he was looking into my eyes. Then he whispered the promise I had asked of
him, and, dear Sister Stenhouse, I _know_ I can depend upon _his_ word.
We shall be happier in this world _by ourselves_, and we feel quite sure
that God will not ask us to do anything in heaven that would make us
miserable. Perhaps I oughtn’t to say this, but I’m so happy that I cannot
allow myself one single wretched doubt about the future or _my_ husband,
such as I used to have.... We were married on the 27th of January....

“And now we are getting ready for Zion, and are busy day and night. Of
course you have heard of the “Divine Plan”—the Hand-Cart Scheme. Oh,
Sister Stenhouse, I am so very, _very_ much ashamed of myself for all
the wicked things that I used to say about the Apostles and the Elders.
Since our marriage, Elder Shrewsbury has explained everything to me, and
set things in their right light. It is a glorious privilege for us to be
permitted to gather to Zion, and now that I know my dear husband will
never even think of another besides myself, I glory in the thought of
leaving the Gentile world and all its wickedness....

“We go with the first company this season.

“I will tell you all the rest of the news when I meet you, dear.”

So Mary Burton was married, and coming with the Hand-Cart Company. “Why,”
I said, turning to my husband, “they’ll be here in a day or two now.”

“Perhaps to-day,” he replied.

They did not, however, arrive either that day or the next; but towards
the end of the week we were told that their vessel was in the river, and
I accompanied my husband to Castle Gardens to see them.

A strange spectacle was presented to our view. More than six hundred
Mormon emigrants were gathered there, all on their way to Zion, and
burning with zeal and enthusiasm worthy of a better cause. There were
aged men and women, whose heads were hoary with the snows of many a
winter, and whose tottering steps had borne them to the verge of three
score years and ten; there were stout-hearted fathers and families, and
matrons with sons and daughters growing up around them; there were young
men in the pride and strength of manhood; and maidens in the modest blush
of womanly beauty; and little toddling children, and babes in their
mothers’ arms—all obedient to what they thought was the command of God
Himself—all with their faces set steadfastly and anxiously Zionward.

Let not the reader smile at the blind infatuation of those poor
emigrants. Would he or she have suffered so confidingly—so faithfully—for
his or her religion? They might be mistaken; but truly theirs was a
faith which “hoped all things, believed all things, endured all things.”
Surely, in His sight—who judges the heart—the blind obedience of those
men and women who were ready to suffer and to endure unto the bitter
end, because in their child-like faith they thought that it was His holy
will—such practical devotion was more truly acceptable than the formal
professions of an untested faith.

I met at Castle Gardens many whom I had known in the old country; but it
was one particular face which I was anxious to see. A man wrapped in a
thick great coat, and with a fur cap upon his head, brushed against me;
and before I had time to raise my eyes, my hand was grasped in his, and I
heard Mary’s husband say, “Oh Sister Stenhouse, I’m so glad to see you; I
knew we should meet you in New York. Come and see Mary. She’s _my_ Mary

I went with Elder Shrewsbury and I saw Mary. But oh, how greatly was she
changed! When I returned from our Swiss mission and saw her after an
interval of several years, I was, of course, struck with the alteration
which had then transformed her from a pretty little fairy-like girl
into a decorous young lady contemplating matrimony; but although I had
now been absent from England only a few months, I observed a much more
striking alteration in her than on the previous occasion. It was not now,
I thought, so much an outward and personal change, as a new development
of her inner consciousness—her soul itself. Her form was as graceful, and
her eyes as bright as ever; but from those eyes there now shone forth
another light than that which I had thought so charming in the by-gone

Her affection for me was as warm and demonstrative as when we first met.
She recognized me in a moment, before her husband had time to say a word;
and, throwing both her arms round me, she kissed me again and again with
all the effusion of her childish days. Taking my hand she led me gently
into a quiet corner and seated me beside her on a big trunk, and then
she began to talk. It was the same soft sweet voice again, which used to
be so dear to me when I was left all alone in Southampton, soon after my
marriage, while my husband was on mission in Italy.

She told me all the story of her courtship—all, and much more, than she
had told me in her letter. But it was when she came to speak of her
marriage, of her husband, and especially of their pilgrimage to Utah,
that I observed more especially the change which had taken place in her.
She was no longer the light-hearted girl, half-doubting her strange
religion, and rejecting it altogether when it did not coincide with her
own ideas and wishes. No: Elder Shrewsbury—had he been ten times a Mormon
Elder—could not have wished for a more obedient, a more earnest, I might
say, a more fanatical believer than was now to be found in his young and
beautiful wife. Her eyes really glowed with enthusiasm as she spoke of
“the work of the Lord” and of “gathering to Zion;” and her voice, though
soft and sweet as ever, had in it, now and then, a tinge of sternness
which told of a determination and spirit which the casual observer would
never have suspected.

I expressed some surprise that she and her husband, not being without
funds, should have gone with the Hand-Cart Company when they might
have waited and have gone with so much more comfort with one of the
independent companies.

“Why, Sister Stenhouse,” she said, “we have done it as a matter of faith.
Certainly we could have afforded to go in any way we chose, but my
husband said we ought to be an example to the poorer saints; so we gave
away nearly all our money to help the emigration fund, and then we came,
just as you see us, along with the rest.”

“But the danger and discomfort is so great,” I suggested. “Surely the
Lord does not want us to sacrifice ourselves when no one is benefitted by

“Not a bit,” said she; “there’s no danger, Sister Stenhouse, and if there
were it would only please me all the more. As for discomfort, why we
should have had that any way, and we both glory in making sacrifices.
Besides which, we have been told by the Apostle that this will be the
most pleasant and successful journey across the Plains that has ever been

“I am a little doubtful of the promises of Apostles and Elders,” I said;
“and I remember, Mary, when you used to agree with me.”

“I know I did,” she answered; “but Brother Shrewsbury has shown me how
wrong I was—I never doubt _now_. But I think you have a wrong notion
about this hand-cart scheme. It is not an ordinary plan such as any man
might have made. God Himself revealed this plan to Brigham, and in fact
we call it ‘the divine plan’ in our songs. Oh, you should hear our songs!
They’re a little rough, but the singing is so earnest and the voices of
the men and girls blend so well together, that I know you’d like them.
There’s only one thing that I don’t like about this plan, and that I
daresay is all right if only I knew it.”

“I think, Mary,” I said, “I could tell you a good deal that you wouldn’t
like if you knew it.”

“No, dear,” she replied hastily, as if afraid to hear me, “don’t tell
me unpleasant matters. I’ll tell you all I meant. The Prophet and Heber
C. Kimball, and Jedediah Grant, counselled the richer emigrants to give
as much as they could—all their property, if they had faith enough—to
help the poor brethren to emigrate; but the American Elders had private
instructions—so Brother Shrewsbury told me—to use the money to help
out all the unmarried girls who are willing to go. I confess that this
troubled me not a little; but my husband says that when we get to Zion we
shall find all will be right, and of course I believe him.”

Mary’s conversation puzzled me a good deal at the time. She had formerly
been so clear-sighted and so unbiassed by prejudice, and now she seemed
ready to believe anything. All her husband’s enthusiasm was now her own;
she saw with his eyes, and in the intensity of her love for him she
believed all that he accepted as true. Long after, when I thought of that
short interview, I called to mind her impulsive earnestness, and I felt
that a secret misgiving, unconsciously to herself, was partly the cause
of it. Unknown to herself her excess of zeal was the offspring of doubt.

Life in the future was in anticipation to my poor friend one long day of
hope and happiness. She could not see the shadow of a cloud—no coming
sorrow darkened her way. Zion, to her excited imagination, was the abode
of peace, and sanctity, and unchanging joy.

I asked her whether the Saints in England had heard any of those strange
reports about Brigham Young defying the Government, which had attracted
so much attention in this country.

“Certainly,” she said; “it is because the day is so very near when all
intercourse between God’s people and the Gentile world shall be cut off
for ever that these great efforts are being made to gather the Saints to
Zion. Of course you know this, but I don’t think you know all. Why, at
the last general conference in Liverpool, the president had instructions
from Salt Lake to propose Brigham Young as ‘prophet, seer, revelator, and

“_King?_” I said. “How can President Young ever be ‘king’? Utah is part
of the territory of the States, and under their jurisdiction; it is not
even a State itself yet, and Congress has refused to sanction the name of
_Deseret_. This country will never suffer a kingdom to be set up in Utah;
you must be misinformed, Sister Mary.”

“No, Sister Stenhouse,” she exclaimed, “I am under no mistake. My husband
assured me that the conference accepted the proposition, and that it was
received unanimously. The Saints are gathering in from all parts of the
world, and when war is declared they will not be found unprepared. Why,
here on board with us, the American Elders are all provided with swords
and revolvers of the very best make that could be got for love or money,
and I myself have heard them say that Brigham Young intends shortly to
declare his independence of the United States. We didn’t know this before
we left England, but we felt sure that he had some great purpose in view
which had been revealed to him.”

“Before we left,” I said, “the Saints were all eager to emigrate.”

“Yes, dear,” she answered, “but nothing like they are now. You have no
idea how excited and anxious everybody is. Some of the people, in order
to obey counsel, sold their watches and jewellery, and even their best
clothes, scarcely keeping enough for the journey, and every one who had
any money gave it away. Brigham Young set a noble example in that; even
the Gentiles would admire him if they knew all. Why, we had on board
ship with us Brother Tenant, the rich new convert, who paid thirty
thousand dollars for the property which Brigham Young so generously gave
to help the Emigration Fund. He hardly had enough left to carry him and
his family to Zion; and now he is going to cross the Plains with us, to
settle in Salt Lake City. He is somewhere here among the emigrants, I
believe, at the present moment, and you could ask him all about it if you
liked. The brethren assure him that Brother Brigham is so liberal that he
will get vastly more than the value of his thirty thousand dollars when
he reaches Zion, and I hope he will, for I like both him and his wife.”

All this was thus far true, but it was with some misgivings that I heard
Mary talk about it. Still I tried to persuade myself that it was a sin to
doubt. How little did either of us imagine that after poor Mr. Tenant’s
miserable death upon the Plains we should live to see his wife—destitute
and defrauded of her property by generous-hearted Brigham—dragging out a
miserable existence in Zion, and dependent even for a crust of bread upon
the kindness of the brethren. And yet, as I have previously stated, this
was how the Prophet, under the mask of liberality, contrived, for his own
purposes, to cheat this unfortunate and too-confiding Saint.

Then we talked of what more nearly interested ourselves, and Mary asked
me when Mr. Stenhouse and myself were coming out. I told her that it was
quite uncertain, but that we expected to before long. “At any rate you
will come out before the season is over?” she said.

“Most likely so,” I replied; “but you will be safely there and settled
before we arrive.”

How little did she imagine the fearful scenes she was to witness—the
terrible sufferings she was to endure—before the season she spoke of had
passed away. Could I at that time have known all, I would have prayed
that sooner than set out on that fearful journey she might find refuge
in the grave from the horrors which, unknown to her, were brooding over
her way.

We talked long, and then my husband joined us—Elder Shrewsbury was called
away by some necessary duty—and when we parted it was with many promises
to write frequently to each other of our common religious interests, as
well as the welfare of ourselves and those we loved. Then I spoke with
several other old friends, and we exchanged greetings with all sorts
of people, for my husband wherever he goes is always sure to be upon
speaking terms with almost everybody he meets.

The Hand-Cart Company left New York for Utah—a long and formidable
journey at best—but in that instance, through mismanagement and neglect,
one of the most fatal expeditions that imprudent man has ever undertaken;
and it was not until months and months had passed away, and another
season had come round, that we heard anything of their fate.

And time went on, but my troubles did not lighten. My husband still
continued to work at the _Mormon_ office, and after a while his salary
was slightly increased from time to time; but still his earnings were
altogether inadequate for the support of a family, and I found it
absolutely necessary to obtain some employment for myself. It cost me
many a long and weary day of search and inquiry, and many a battle
with my pride, before I could get anything to do; but at last I was
successful, and although my little ones required constant attention, I
contrived to add a very decent quota to the scanty family purse.

And thus matters continued until the following year—our life of
uncertainty and care unchanged. Little in my life at that time is worth
recording: to me it was one long, painful struggle, and any change which
could come I felt must be for the better. My experience of Mormonism was
of course enlarged as new facts presented themselves to my observation,
and by nothing was my faith so much shaken as by the discrepancies
between the written and spoken Mormonism which was presented with fair
face to the European Saints and the world at large, and the actual
conduct of the Elders.

From the first moment when Polygamy was announced, the leaders had
strictly forbidden the missionaries to enter into any alliances with
the sisters abroad, or to make any proposals of marriage to them, or
to enter into any matrimonial covenants. In the language of Heber C.
Kimball—Brigham’s first counsellor—they were “not to pick out from the
flock the young, fair, and tender lambs,” but were to bring them all
safely home to Zion.

This counsel was all very well, for it tended to keep the Elders out of
mischief, and afforded an opportunity to the brethren at home to select
more and more youthful wives from the fair converts who were gathered in
to Zion. But the missionaries found it very irksome to obey this counsel,
and in point of fact those who did so formed a very small minority.

One of the missionaries who had just returned from Europe came one day to
our house in New York, and brought a youthful sister with him. He was by
no means a handsome man or prepossessing in his appearance, but I saw at
once that he had succeeded in obtaining considerable influence over the
young sister’s mind. He said she was not very happy, and he wanted her to
stay with some respectable family for a week or two until they set out
for Utah, and I agreed that she should stay with us.

She began to play with the children, and took one of them in her arms
in a way which attracted my attention, for I noticed that tears were
in her eyes, and she excited my sympathy. I asked her as gently and as
delicately as I could what was the matter with her, and what her sorrow
was, and she told me that she herself had two little ones at home and was
wretched at being parted from them. She had obeyed counsel, and had left
her husband and a happy home to go to Zion. She loved them all dearly;
but, deluded by false teachings, and promises that she should soon have
her children again, she had stolen away and left them all.

I reasoned with her, tried to make her see how wrongly she had acted,
and persuaded her to return to her husband and seek his forgiveness. But
it was all in vain. The salvation of her soul she thought was beyond all
earthly considerations; she must stifle the suggestions of her heart
within her; she must hasten to Zion. Thus she left me, and like many
another victim, I never expected to see her again.

One morning, a few months later, I was astonished to receive a visit from
her. After expressing my pleasure at seeing her once more, she told me
that what I said had so impressed her that when the emigrants had arrived
at St. Louis she had refused to proceed any further on the journey, had
written to her husband, had made everything right with him, and was now
on her way back to her home in England.

My story is so full of painful reminiscences, that it is with pleasure
that I record this incident—one of the rare cases in which folly was
not succeeded by utter ruin and misery. Alas, how many instances I
might mention, which fell beneath my own personal observation, of wives
and mothers led away by the delusive doctrines which they mistook for
inspiration, and who sought vainly, through years of misery, for peace
and rest, until at length they found it in the darkness of the tomb.

Towards the end of the year 1857, the difficulties in Utah, and a
financial panic in New York, resulted in the discontinuance of the
_Mormon_. My husband was thus thrown out of employment, and to add to
our difficulties the people for whom I worked suspended operations. This
new trial of our faith, however, was not long; out of apparent evil
good came. Released from his obligations to the Apostle and the Mormon
paper, my husband now set earnestly to work to obtain a living without
the crippling influences of “counsel” or the dictates of those whom his
religion taught him to respect.

I had always believed that if suffered to act for himself, his energy
was such that he would certainly carve his way to a respectable position
in the world. In this I was not deceived, either at the time of which
I speak or at a later period when, in Salt Lake City, he engaged in
active business on his own account. In New York, where he had been, by
this time, appointed President of the Eastern Mission, and was actively
engaged in advocating the claims of the Mormon Church, he sought and
found employment on the staff of the _Herald_, and in connexion with
other daily papers; and such was his success, that from a condition of
misery and poverty we were very soon raised to a position of comfort,
and surrounded by every luxury suitable to our station in life; and this
position we enjoyed until called upon to leave all and journey across the
Plains to Zion.

Our own journey to Zion was postponed for a while; but not long before
we set forth, I received the long-expected letter which Mary Burton had
promised me; and as it contains a vivid picture of a mode of transit—the
only mode which could _then_ be used—across the Plains, and shows what
people were forced to endure so recently as a few short years ago, I
shall give it in the following chapter; for I feel sure that if the
reader did not peruse the story in the exact words of my unfortunate
friend, he never would believe that in this country and in our own times
such a terrible tragedy could have been enacted.



“I promised to write and tell you all about our journey across the
Plains, but I little expected to have such a terrible tale to tell.

“You have heard so much of the journey to Salt Lake Valley that you
know pretty well how we must have travelled to Iowa City, where it was
necessary that we should wait until the whole company was quite ready for
the long journey which lay before us.

“Our life up to a certain point was much the same, and we met with the
same difficulties as all other emigrants who had gone before us. But
there the comparison ends. Privation, and toil, and weariness, and not
infrequently sickness and death, wore out many of the companies that went
before us, but they never suffered as we did. It is utterly impossible
for me to tell you all that we went through. And when I finish this
letter and lay down my pen, and even when you read the fearful story
of my own experience during that journey, you will still have but the
faintest idea of the horrors and sufferings which we endured.

“At Iowa City we found nothing prepared for us. When we left Liverpool we
were told that hand-carts, provisions, and all that we needed, should be
provided before we arrived. If this had been done we should have had just
fairly time enough to travel over the Plains and reach Salt Lake before
the terrible cold of winter set in. As it was, everything went wrong. The
Elders who had been sent out before us to buy tents and carts and all
that we wanted had either been unfortunate or very careless, for, as I
said, when we arrived in Iowa City not the slightest preparation had been

“You know how strong my faith was when we left New York, and how Brother
Shrewsbury and myself were ready to sacrifice everything. I can assure
you that we were fully tested, and I do think that but for our strong
faith not a single soul of all that company would have survived that

“Three companies had, after a long delay, been sent out before we reached
Iowa City. As it was then early in the season, they completed their
journey before the cold of winter set in. I afterwards heard that Brigham
Young and the Elders, when they saw those companies arrive safely in
Salt Lake City, spoke of the scheme as _a successful experiment_. We had
been taught that the scheme came directly from heaven, and was neither
speculation nor experiment, and when I heard that, after all, the Prophet
himself spoke of it as a matter of doubtful issue, I asked myself—_Whom_,
then, can we believe?

“We waited three weeks in Iowa Camp while they were making the
hand-carts. They were very lightly made, and I think not at all suitable
for such a long and wearisome journey; and being so hastily put together,
and most of the wood unseasoned, they were utterly unfit for the rough
work for which they were constructed. Twenty of these carts—one to every
five—were allowed to every hundred persons, who were also allowed five
good-sized tents and one Chicago waggon, with three yoke of oxen, to
transport the baggage and provisions. We were only allowed seventeen
pounds of bedding and clothing each, which, with cooking utensils, &c.,
made up about one hundred pounds to each cart, and that was quite as
much as the cart (itself only sixty pounds in weight) could carry. You
can see, Sister Stenhouse, how difficult it must have been out of every
hundred persons—men, women, and children—to find twenty who were strong
enough to pull even such frail things as those hand-carts were. The
married men and the young men and boys did the best they could, but they
could do no more, and some of the carts were drawn by young girls alone.

“The girls and women who had no husbands used to occupy a tent by
themselves at night; but in the other tents, whole families, without
respect to age or sex, together with the young men who assisted them
during the day, used to find shelter. This you will see at once was
exceedingly inconvenient; but we had no choice, and we had been so long
associated, and had suffered so much together, that we did not feel it as
much as we otherwise must have done.


_To face p. 125._]

“What weary days we spent! Hour after hour went by, mile after mile we
walked, and never, never seemed to be a step the further on our way.
Sometimes I recalled to mind a hymn which we used to sing at Sunday
School, when I was a child—an evening hymn in which we returned thanks
that we were—

    ‘A day’s march nearer home.’

“But day after day went by—wearily, hopelessly—and when each night came
on, and, tired and footsore, we lay down to rest, we seemed no nearer to
our home in Zion.

“Do not think, Sister Stenhouse, that we gave way to despondency. What we
felt, God alone knows; but our poor weary hearts were full of confiding
faith in Him, and we placed undoubting confidence in the promises and
prophecies which we had received through His chosen servants. The young
folks were light-hearted and gay, and with all the enthusiasm of youth
they pressed on, thinking not of the way but only of the end; and their
example was most encouraging.

“My husband was one of the bravest and truest of all that band. He
drew the cart which we shared with another Elder and his wife and
their grown-up daughter. They were old people—I mean the Elder and his
wife—and the daughter was an old maid, unpleasant, thin, and sour, and
too feeble to do anything. There were reasons why I was excused from
taking any share in hard work; but I felt as zealous as the rest, and day
after day walked beside my husband, thinking that, if nothing more, my
companionship might cheer him. The old folks walked behind, and so did
the children; but sometimes, when the little ones were very weary indeed,
the parents would place them on the top of the bedding in the hand-cart,
and give them a lift. But some of the elderly people who were unused to
walking far, and whom it was impossible to carry, suffered a great deal;
and sometimes mothers with children at their breasts would trudge on mile
after mile in all the heat and dust without a murmur or complaint, until
they almost dropped down with fatigue. What some of those poor creatures
suffered, no words could tell.

“The sun shone down upon us with intense heat as we travelled through
Iowa, and the people from the farm-houses and villages came out to see
us, and wondered at our rashness in undertaking such a journey. They were
very kind to us, and came and visited us in our camps, and offered some
of the men work and good wages if they would stay there instead of going
on to Zion. A few of the people accepted these offers; but the Elders,
as you may suppose, watched carefully every company and every man; and
in the evening, when meetings for prayer and preaching were held, we
were earnestly exhorted to obedience, and the sin of acting upon our own
judgments was set forth in the very plainest terms. The kindness of the
Iowa people, however, encouraged us, and they freely gave to those who
most needed whatever they could to help us on our way.

“And we needed help and sympathy.

“Of course, with only one waggon to carry all the provisions for a
hundred persons, besides five tents, our supply of food was very limited.
At that period of the journey the grown-up people were allowed ten ounces
of flour a day and a little—and but a very little—coffee, sugar, rice,
and bacon. This was a very scanty allowance for people who all day long
had to draw the hand-carts or to trudge mile after mile in all that
burning heat and dust—but we never complained. Some of the men ate all
their rations at breakfast, and went without anything more until the next
morning, unless they were able to beg a little of some friendly farmer by
the way. The little children received just half as much as the others.
With a very small amount of management this inconvenience might certainly
have been avoided, for provisions of all sorts were very cheap in the
districts through which we passed. Some of the more thoughtful saints, I
know, felt very bitterly the injustice of this; for, as you are aware, we
had paid _all_ our expenses _in full_—even to the uttermost farthing; and
we had been promised in return a safe and sufficient outfit with plenty
of provisions, and in fact all that was necessary. Had we been left to
ourselves, we should of course have provided for every contingency; but
we came in obedience to counsel under the direction of the Church, and
after we had paid for everything; the Church even ‘took care’ of our
money, so that we therefore could not procure necessaries by the way, as
otherwise we might have done.

“Thus wearily, and suffering not a little privation, we travelled all
through Iowa, until we came to the Missouri river and encamped at
Florence, a place about six miles north of Omaha, and there we remained
about a week, preparing for our journey across the Plains.

“It was the middle of August when we arrived at Florence, and we had
been delayed so much on the way that it appeared to many of the more
experienced that it would now be the height of imprudence for us to cross
the Plains at that season. With old people, delicate women, and little
children, and without carriages of any sort—except the frail hand-carts
that carried our bedding—it would be a weary, long time, before we could
reach Salt Lake. Every step must be trudged on foot, and it was quite
impossible that we could walk many miles a day, while there was before us
a journey of over a thousand. Some of the Elders proposed that we should
settle where we were, or somewhere near by, until the following spring,
and then go on to Zion; but others who were more confident urged that we
should proceed at once. The Elders called a great meeting to settle the
matter, at which we were all present.

“I should tell you that when we first started our whole company was
placed under the guidance of Elder James G. Willie as captain; and we
were again subdivided into five parties of about one hundred each, and
over every hundred was placed an Elder or sub-captain. The first hundred
was headed by Elder Atwood, the second by Levi Savage, the third by
William Woodward, the fourth by John Chislett, and the fifth by Elder
Ahmensen. About two hundred of the people were Scotch and Scandinavians;
nearly all the rest were English. All were assembled at the meeting. You
know, Sister Stenhouse, how meetings were held at home. Well, it was just
the same there. We, of course, had nothing really to say—we had only to
obey counsel and sanction the decision of the leading Elders. I used to
feel annoyed rather at that sort of thing in London, as you may remember;
but now, when life and death depended upon the wisdom of our decision,
with all my faith, I felt worse than annoyed, wicked as I have no doubt
it was for me to feel so. My husband never uttered a word, but I know he
felt much as I did, and in that he was not alone among the Elders.

“We had neither vote nor influence—the Elders held our destiny in their
hands. In all our company there were only three or four men who had been
out to Salt Lake before, and of course they could not be overlooked, so
they gave their opinion at the meeting. They must have fully known the
dangers and difficulties of the way, and what hardships _must_ overtake
a company so scantily provided for as was ours, if we continued our
journey. But, for all that, they not only spoke slightingly of the danger
which threatened us, but prophesied, in the name of the Lord, that we
should pass through triumphantly and suffer neither loss nor harm.

“One man alone—Levi Savage—dared to tell the truth. People well-mounted,
or even with good ox-teams, could safely and easily make the journey,
he said; but for a band of people like ourselves, with aged folks, and
women, and little children, to attempt it so late was little short of
madness. He strongly urged that we should take up our quarters there for
the Winter, when, he said, as soon as spring came on, we could safely and
successfully perform the remainder of our journey.

“The other Elders thought that he was weak in the faith, and plainly
told him so; and one of them even said, ‘he’d eat all the snow that fell
between Florence and Salt Lake City.’ The people, of course, believed
without question what they were told to believe, for they had long ago
made up their minds that the leaders were inspired, and therefore they
dared not doubt them, and the prudent counsel of Brother Savage was
rejected accordingly. I was not near enough to hear his words, but I was
afterwards told that he said, ‘What I have said, I know is the truth; but
as you are counselled to go forward, I will go with you; I will work, and
rest, and suffer with you; and, if God wills it so, I will also die with
you.’ Never was man more faithful to his word than was Brother Savage,
and often after that, when sickness, and weariness, and cold, and hunger,
and death, overtook us—as he had foreseen—he never for one moment forgot
the promise which he had so solemnly made.

“Then—the middle of August being passed—we left Florence behind us,
and began our weary journey across the Plains in much the same fashion
as we had already travelled through Iowa. We had, however, taken fresh
provisions to last us until we reached Utah, and as the oxen could not
draw so much extra weight, one sack, weighing about a hundred pounds,
was placed on each of the hand-carts, in addition to the other baggage.
This was a severe tax upon the endurance of the people, but most of them
bore it without a murmur. On the other hand, we fared a little better
in the matter of provisions, for we were allowed a pound of flour a day
each, and also, occasionally, a little fresh beef, and besides that each
hundred had three or four milch cows. As we continued our journey, and
the provisions were consumed, the burdens on the carts, of course, grew

“But this was only the beginning of our pilgrimage;—the end we could not
foresee. Every evening, when we pitched our tents, we endeavoured—by
songs, and jests, and interesting stories—to beguile the tediousness of
the way. The days were not quite so warm now, and the nights were more
chilly; but altogether, it was much more pleasant travelling than it was
in the earlier part of the journey, and no one seemed to remember the
almost prophetic remonstrance of Brother Savage.

“Still we travelled very slowly, for the carts were always breaking down;
the wheels came off, and we had nothing to grease them with. The boxes
of the wheels were made of unseasoned wood, and the heavy pressure upon
them, and the dust that got into them, soon wore them out. Some of the
people cut off the tops of their boots and wrapped them round the axles,
and others cut up their tin plates and kettles for the same purpose; and
for grease they used soap, and even their pitiful allowance of bacon. But
as the days passed, and the flour began to be used up, these accidents
became less frequent.

“Upon an average, they said, we travelled about fifteen miles a day,
which I think was very good. Some few days we even made a little over
twenty miles, but they were balanced by the shortcomings. We tried to
feel happy and hopeful, and even the aged and infirm tried to make light
of their toil and privations, for we did not see that heavy cloud which
was looming across our way. I frequently talked with the old and weakly
among the people, to whom both my husband and myself were able to offer
little kindnesses, and they all spoke cheerfully of our prospects. Such
faith had they in the promises of the Elders.

“Just before we reached Wood river, vast herds of buffaloes appeared in
our vicinity, and one evening all our cattle stampeded, and the men had
to go in search of them. About thirty were lost, and after hunting after
them for three days, we gave them up. We had only one yoke of oxen now
for each waggon, and as the waggons were loaded each with three thousand
pounds of flower, the teams could not move them. So they yoked up the
beef-cattle, and cows, and heifers, but they were unmanageable; and at
last we were obliged again to place a sack of flower upon each hand-cart.

“This sorely tried us all. Some of the people even complained, but the
greater part of us bore up bravely, believing that it was the will of the
Lord. We still had faith that all would yet be well. This was, however,
a hard blow. Our milch cows were useless to us, our beef-rations were
stopped, and the burdens which we drew were doubled. Every one did his or
her best, but many of us began to be disheartened, and could hardly get

“One evening there was quite a commotion in the camp. We had pitched
our tents for the night on the banks of the Platte river, I think, when
suddenly quite a grand turn-out of carriages and light waggons came up
from the east and joined us. Each carriage was drawn by four horses, and
the outfits were in first-class style. Nothing could be too good for
Apostles and other ‘distinguished’ servants of the Lord, I was anxious
to know who they were, but was not long in finding out. There was the
Apostle Franklin Richards, and Elders Webb and Felt, and Joseph A. Young,
the son of the Prophet, and Elders Dunbar, and Kimball, and Grant—all
returning Missionaries. They stayed with us all night, and in the morning
called a great meeting, and the Apostle Richards delivered a speech,
which since has troubled me not a little, and made me very sorrowful.

“He had heard of what Brother Savage had said, and then and there, before
us all, he rebuked him. He then exhorted us to remember the hope set
before us, and told us to pray and work on, and especially to be obedient
to counsel; and he finished by solemnly prophesying, in the name of the
God of Israel, that the Almighty would make a way for us to Zion; and
that though the snow might fall and the storm rage on the right hand and
on the left, not a hair of our heads should be hurt.

“Some of the people wept with joy as they heard these words. My own heart
was full. To me, this was the voice of inspiration—the voice of God—how
could I doubt again?

“Sister Stenhouse, before a month was over, I saw with my own eyes that
prophecy, those promises, falsified to the very letter; and yet at the
time they came to me and to all else as the word of the Lord from heaven.
Tell me, if men can thus deceive themselves—for I do not doubt for a
moment that the Apostle believed his own prophecy—and if we could be so
sadly deluded as to believe that what was said was divine—what surety
have we for our religion at all? I strive against these sinful doubts,
but they _will_ sometimes creep into my heart unbidden.

“The Apostle and the Elders with him told Captain Willie that they wanted
some fresh meat, and the Elders killed and gave them of our very best.
What could be denied to the Servants of the Lord? We were then more
than four hundred in number—aged men and feeble women, with babes and
poor little children too young to walk; many of them infirm and sick,
all of them footsore and weary. We were far away from home, travelling
slowly hundreds and hundreds of miles, worn out, and without sufficient
provisions for the way, or the remotest chance of obtaining any. And
yet, oh God! I shame to tell it; these servants of Heaven—our leaders,
our guides, our example—these chosen vessels who came to us, riding
comfortably and at ease in their well-appointed carriages, took of our
poverty—took the very best we had!

“As they left the camp, I looked up into my husband’s face, and our eyes
met. We said not a word, but in our hearts there was the same thought.
Sister Stenhouse, there must have been that self-same thought in the mind
of many another poor soul who watched those Elders depart after they had
lectured us on faith and patience and obedience!

“They crossed the river pleasantly enough, and pointed out the best
fording-place, and then they watched us wade through—the water there
being nearly a mile in width, and in some places two and even three feet
in depth—and though many of the heavy-laden carts were drawn by women and
girls they never so much as offered to lend us the aid of their handsome
teams. One sister told me that they watched the poor people crossing,
through glasses, as if it were an entertainment; but I did not see that,
and can hardly believe it was true. All that they did, however, was
to promise that when we reached Laramie we should find provisions and
bedding and other necessaries ready for us, and that they would send help
from Salt Lake Valley to meet us.”



“It was early in September when we reached Laramie, but we found nothing
awaiting us there. We were all very much discouraged at this, and Captain
Willie called another meeting for consultation. We knew of course,
beforehand, that our position was very bad; but figures, when stated
plainly, become startling facts. We now learned that if we continued
at the same rate as that at which we had previously been travelling,
and received each the same allowance daily, we should be left utterly
destitute of provisions when we were yet three hundred and fifty
miles from the end of our journey. Nothing remained but to reduce our
allowance; so, instead of one pound, we were rationed at three-quarters
of a pound a day, and at the same time were forced to make incredible
exertions to travel faster.

“Not long after this, Captain Willie received a message from the Apostle
Richards. It is the custom, you know, for people who want to send
messages to emigrants who come after them to write a note on a scrap of
paper, and tie it to a stone or a piece of wood, and leave it on the way.
No one disturbs it, as no one but the emigrants travel along that road,
and they are sure to find it. It was from a rough post-office like this
that Captain Willie got his letter. In it the Apostle told him that we
should receive supplies from Salt Lake when we reached the South Pass;
but that we knew would be too late. So our allowance was again reduced,
and after that we were rationed at an average of ten ounces for every
person over ten years of age. The men who drew the carts received twelve
ounces, the women and aged men nine ounces, and the children from four
to eight ounces according to age. Before this, the men with families had
done better than the single men, as they had been able to save a little
from the children’s rations, and of course they did not like this new
arrangement so well.

“Picture to yourself these men—in the cool air of September, drawing
after them each one a loaded cart, with one or more children most
frequently superadded to its weight, trudging wearily every day, ten,
fifteen, or twenty miles over the rough desert, wading across streams
with the women and children, setting up tents at night, working as they
never worked before in all their lives, and withal keeping soul and body
together upon twelve ounces of flour a day. This is but one side of the
picture—the physical toil and endurance of the working men. Think what
the feeble and aged, the sick, the women and children, must have endured!

“By this time many of those who had hitherto held out bravely began to
fail, and the people in general were greatly discouraged. Captain Willie
and the Elders who assisted him did their best to keep up the spirits
of the people, and to get them over as much ground as they could each
day. The captains over the hundreds had also no little work to perform
in distributing provisions, helping the sick and infirm, and, in fact,
superintending everything.

“For some time the nights had been getting colder and colder, and by the
time we arrived at the Sweetwater river we suffered considerably from
that cause; we felt that winter was fast approaching. In fact, it came
on earlier and more severely last year than at any time before since the
Saints settled in Utah. Does it not seem strange that at the very time
when they were offering up special prayers for us in Zion, that we might
be defended from cold and storm, the terrors of a more than ordinary
winter overtook us and proved fatal to so many of our company? The
mountains were covered with snow; and it was soon quite evident, even to
those who had prophesied most loudly that the Lord would work a special
miracle in our behalf, that the storm-clouds of winter would soon burst
upon us.

“You have never seen the Sweetwater river, so I may as well tell you that
it is a very irregular stream, and we had to cross it again and again
upon our way. As usual we had to wade through the water each time, and
though the men helped over the women and children as well as they could,
many of us got very wet indeed, and quite chilled, and we were all cold
and miserable. Still, our faith never gave way—some, I know, began to
doubt a little, but they had not yet lost all faith, and discouraged
and wretched, as indeed we were, the greater number bore up with heroic
resolution. I noticed, however, on the faces of some poor souls—men
and women—a peculiar expression which it is quite impossible for me to
describe. Later on I was led to believe that at that time they, perhaps
unconsciously, felt the presentiment of that fearful death which so soon
overtook them.

“We suffered much at night. You may remember that I told you we were only
allowed seventeen pounds of clothing and bedding, and that, of course,
was of little use. Sleeping in a tent, under any circumstances, is not
generally pleasant to those who are accustomed to the shelter of a house;
but sleeping in a tent, exposed to the keen night air of a wilderness,
and with scarcely a rag of covering, was almost sufficient to prove fatal
to the stoutest and strongest. During the summer time, although our fare
was scanty and our labour incessant, we rose each morning refreshed and
strengthened, and ready for the toils of the day. But now we crept out of
our tents cramped and miserable, half-frozen, and with our eyes red and
tearful with the cold. We seemed to have no life left in us.

“These things soon began to tell upon the health of every one of us,
especially upon the aged and those who were sickly. Hope at last died out
in their poor weary hearts. One by one they fell off—utterly worn out.
Poor things! how they had longed to see the promised Zion, and now all
expectation of peaceful rest on earth was over—the bitter end had come.

“We dug graves for them by the wayside in the desert, and there we laid
them with many tears, scarcely daring to look one another in the face,
for we felt that our own time might perhaps be nearer than we thought.

“One by one at first they fell off, but before long the deaths became so
frequent that it was seldom that we left a camp-ground without burying
one or more. This was, however, only the beginning of evil.

“Soon it was no longer the aged and sickly who were taken off, but the
young and strong, who under other circumstances would have set disease
and death at defiance. Cold, hunger, and excessive toil brought on
dysentery; and when once attacked by that there was little hope for the
sufferer, for we had no medicine, and it was quite out of our power to
give them relief in any other way. I now began to fear for my husband,
for I had noticed for some time an expression of extreme weariness in his
face. Our trials had not hardened our hearts; on the contrary, I think,
as death seemed to be drawing near, our affection for each other grew
more pure and devoted, and in my heart I often prayed, that if it were
His will, God would let us die together and rest in the same grave. We
never spoke a word to each other on this subject, but we felt the more.
I exerted all my strength, and day after day toiled along at his side,
helping him all I could; but although he never complained, I saw in his
eyes a dull and heavy look which, more than any words, told of failing
strength and the approach of disease, and my heart sank within me.

“But my own troubles did not alone engross my attention; there was too
much wretchedness around us to allow any one to be absorbed entirely in
his own griefs. Acts of devotion on the part of both parents and children
came before me daily such as would have put to shame the stories of
filial and parental piety which we used to be taught at school.

“I saw one poor man, whose health had evidently never been strong, draw
the cart with his two little ones in it, as well as the baggage, mile
after mile, until he could hardly drag his weary limbs a step further;
his wife carried a little five-months old baby in her bosom. This they
did day after day, until disease attacked the husband, and it was evident
that he could bear up no longer. The next morning I saw him, pale as a
corpse, bowed down, and shivering in every limb, but still stumbling on
as best he could. Before the day was half over, the poor wife lagged
behind with her babe, and the husband did not seem to notice her. This
was not the result of heartlessness on his part; I believe that even then
he had lost all consciousness. He did not know it, but he was dying.
Still he stumbled on, until the short wintry day came to a close, and we
pitched our camp, and then I missed him. There was no time to inquire,
and a chill came over my heart as I thought of what might be his fate.
Presently my husband came to the tent and told me all. The poor man had
dragged the cart up to the last moment, and, when the company halted
for the night, he had turned aside, and sitting down he bowed his head
between his knees and never spoke again. Later still, the poor wife
reached the camp, and I saw her then. There was no tear in her eyes,
and she uttered neither cry nor moan, but there was upon her features a
terrible expression of fixed despair which I dared not even look upon.

“A few days after this, one morning as we were almost ready to start, I
saw that poor mother in her tent, just as they had found her. She was
cold and still—frozen to death—her sorrows were over at last, and her
poor weary spirit was at rest; but on her bosom, still clasped in her
arms, and still living, was her little child, unconscious of its mother’s

“Most of those who died, as far as I could tell, seemed to pass away
quietly and with little pain, as if every feeling of the heart were
numbed and dead. But my own sufferings and fears at that time were so
great that I could not be a very close observer. Strange as it may
seem, the fear of death did not so much appear to terrify these poor
victims as the thought that their bodies would be buried by the wayside
in the desert, instead of in the sacred ground of Zion. Poor souls! the
absorbing passion of their life was strong in death.

“As death thinned our ranks, the labours of those who survived were
increased, until at last there were hardly enough left with strength
sufficient to pitch our tents at night. A great deal devolved upon the
captain of our hundred, Elder Chislett. He is a very good man, and a
devoted Saint; and I am glad to say that both he and a lady to whom he
was betrothed, and who was also with our company, escaped with their
lives. I have often seen him, when we stopped for the night, carrying the
sick and feeble on his back from the waggon to the fire, and then working
harder than a slave would work in putting things straight for the night.
He showed a great many kindnesses to my husband and myself.

“But individual efforts availed nothing against fatigue and hunger,
and the fearful cold. To the minds of all of us, the end was fast
approaching. Nothing but our faith sustained us; and foolish as many
people would think that faith, I am quite sure, that but for it, no
living soul of all our company would have ever reached Salt Lake.

“At last the storm came, and the snow fell—I think it must have been at
least five or six inches deep within half an hour. The wind was very
keen and cutting, and it drifted the snow right into our faces; and thus
blinded by the storm, and scarcely able to stand, we stumbled on that day
for fully sixteen miles. What we suffered it would be useless for me to
attempt to describe. Some of the scenes we witnessed were heart-rending.

[Illustration: OVER AT LAST.

_To face p. 136._]

“There was a young girl, with whom I was very well acquainted, and whom I
saw struggling in the snow, clinging to one of the hand-carts, and vainly
trying to help in pushing it on, but really doing just the contrary. She
is now in Salt Lake City, a helpless cripple, her limbs downwards having
been frozen during that storm, and subsequently amputated. A poor old
woman, too, whom I think you must have known in London, lingered behind
later in the day. When night came on it was impossible for any one to
go back to search for her, but, in the morning, not very far from the
camp, some torn rags—the remains of her dress—were found, a few bones, a
quantity of hair, and at a little distance a female skull, well gnawed,
and with the marks of the wolf-fangs still wet upon it;—the snow all
round was crimsoned with blood.

“We halted for a little while in the middle of that day, and to our
surprise and joy, Joseph A. Young and Elder Stephen Taylor drove into
the camp. We found that when the returning missionaries, of whom I have
already told you, left us by the Platte river, they made their way as
speedily as they could to Salt Lake City. Joseph A., who felt deeply for
our sufferings, although he had been away from home for two whole years,
hastened to his father, and reported to him the condition in which we
were. Brigham Young was of course anxious to undo the mischief which had
resulted from the people following his inspired counsel, and at his son’s
earnest entreaty allowed him to return with provisions and clothing to
meet us. Joseph A. lost no time, but pressed on to the rescue, and having
told us that assistance was on the way, hastened eastward to meet the
company that was following us.

“I cannot tell you what a relief this intelligence was to the minds of
all, and how much the poor people felt encouraged by it. But as for me,
at that time my heart was sad enough. For some time my husband’s strength
had evidently been failing, and for the last two days I had felt very
serious apprehensions on his behalf. He had been overtasked, and like
the rest of us he was starving with cold and hunger, and I saw that he
could not hold out much longer. My worst fears were speedily realized.
We had not journeyed half a mile from the place where we rested at noon,
when, blinded by the snow, and completely broken down, he dropped the
rail of the cart, and I saw that he could go no further. How I felt,
you, as a wife and mother, only can guess. In a moment my own weakness
was forgotten; my love for my husband made me strong again. To leave
him there or to delay would have been death to one if not all of us.
So I called to those who shared the cart with us, and they helped me
as well as they could to lift my husband up, and put him under part
of the bedding. It was the only chance of saving his life; for, as I
before mentioned, some, previous to this, who had been overcome, and had
lingered by the way, had been frozen to death or devoured by the wolves.

“I then took hold of the cross-bar or handle of the cart, and numbed with
the cold, and trembling in every limb, it was as much as I could do to
raise it from the ground. To move the cart was impossible, so I appealed
to the old folks again, and they exerted all their strength to push it
from behind, and our combined efforts at length succeeded; but the chief
weight fell upon me. How gladly I bore it; how gladly I would have borne
anything for the mere chance of saving my dear husband’s life, your own
heart can tell.

“The snow drifted wildly around us, and beat in our faces so blindingly
that we could hardly proceed. The greater part of the train had passed on
while we delayed on account of my husband, and now every one was making
the most desperate efforts to keep up with the rest; to be left behind
was death. Had I been asked whether under any circumstances I could have
dragged that heavy cart along in all that storm, I should certainly have
replied that it would be utterly impossible; but until we are tried we
do not know what we can bear. It was not until the night came on, and we
pitched our tents, that I realized what I had passed through.

“They helped me to carry my husband to the tent, and there we laid him,
and I tried to make him as easy as was possible under the circumstances,
but comfort or rest was altogether out of the question. All that night
I sat beside him, sometimes watching, sometimes falling into a fitful
sleep. I did not believe that he would live through the night. In the
morning he was by no means improved, and then I felt too truly the abject
misery of our position. It is a painful thing to watch at the bedside of
those we love when hope for their recovery is gone; but think what it
must be to sit upon the cold earth in the tent, upon the open desert,
with the piercing wind of winter penetrating to the very bones, and there
before you, the dear one—your life, your all on earth—dying, and you
without a drop of medicine, or even a morsel of the coarsest nourishment,
to give him. Oh, the bitterness of my soul at that moment! I tried to
pray, but my heart was full of cursing; it seemed to me as if even God
Himself had forgotten us. The fearful misery of that dark hour has left
on my soul itself a record as ineffaceable as the imprint of a burning
iron upon the flesh.

“The morning broke at last, dark and dreary, and a thick heavy mantle
of snow covered all the camp; but we contrived to communicate with each
other, and soon it was whispered that five poor creatures had been found
dead in the tents. Want, and weariness, and the bitter cold, had done
their work, and we did not weep for them—they were at rest; but for
ourselves we wept that we were left behind—and we looked at one another,
wistfully, wondering which of us would be taken next.

“We buried those five poor frozen corpses in one grave, wrapped in the
clothing in which they died, and then we comforted each other as best
we might, and left the dead who were now beyond our reach, that we
might do what we could for those who were fast following them to the
grave. A meeting of the leaders was held, and it was resolved that we
should remain where we were until the promised supplies reached us.
We could not, in fact, do otherwise, for the snow was so deep that
it was impossible for us to proceed, and the sick and dying demanded
immediate attention. That morning, for the first time, no flour was
distributed—there was none. All that remained, besides our miserable
cattle, was a small quantity of hard biscuit which Captain Willie bought
at Laramie, and a few pounds of rice and dried apples. Nearly all the
biscuit was at once divided among the whole company, and the few pounds
which remained, together with the rice and apples, were given to Elder
Chislett for the use of the sick and the very little children. They also
killed two of the cattle and divided the beef. Most of the people got
through their miserable allowance that very morning, and then they had to

“Captain Willie set out that morning with another Elder to meet the
coming supplies and hasten them on, and as we saw them disappear in the
distant west we almost felt as if our last hope departed with them, so
many chances there were that we should never see them again.

“The whole of that long, long day I sat beside my husband in the tent—and
I might almost say I did no more. There was nothing that I could do. The
little bedding that was allowed for both of us I made up into a couch
for him; but what a wretched makeshift it was! And I got from Elder
Chislett a few of the dried apples which had been reserved for the sick;
but it was not until nightfall that my husband was capable of swallowing
anything—and then, what nourishment to give to a sick man! The day was
freezing cold, and I had hardly anything on me, and had eaten nothing
since the day before; for my mind was so agitated that I do not think the
most delicate food would have tempted me. God alone knows the bitterness
of my heart as I sat there during all that weary day. I never expected to
see my husband open his eyes again, and I thought that when evening came
I would lie down beside him, and we would take our last long sleep on
earth together.

“When night came on and all was dark I still sat there; I dreaded to
move lest I should learn the terrible truth—my husband dead! I looked
towards the place where I knew he was lying, but I could see nothing. I
listened, and I fancied that I heard a gentle breathing—but it was only
fancy. Then, louder than the incessant moaning of the wind, I could hear
in the distance a fearful cry—a cry which had often chilled our hearts
at midnight on the plains—it was the wolves! The darkness grew darker
still—so thick that one could almost feel it; the horror of death seemed
stealing over all my senses. Oh that there might be one long eternal
night to blot out for ever our miseries and our existence. I threw my
hands wildly above me, and cried bitterly, ‘Oh God, my God, _let me die_!’

“God was nearer to me than I thought. As my hand dropped lifelessly to
the ground it touched some moving thing—it was my husband’s hand—the
same hand which I had watched in the twilight, stiffening, as I thought,
in death. The long, thin fingers grasped my own, and though they were
very, very cold, I felt that life was in them; and as I stooped down to
kiss them I heard my husband’s voice, very weak and feeble, saying in a
whisper, ‘Mary.’ I threw myself upon his bosom. In a moment the fear of
death—the longing for death—the wild and terrible thoughts, all had gone;
the sound of that voice was life to me, and forgetful of his weakness,
forgetful of everything but him, I threw myself upon his bosom and wept
tears of joy.

“Very carefully and gently I raised him up, and, in the darkness, every
whispered word conveyed more meaning to my mind than all his eloquence
in by-gone times. After some time I persuaded him to take a little
nourishment—miserable stuff that it was—and presently he fell asleep
again. I laid his dear head upon the best pillow that I could make of
some of my own clothes, and then I slept a little myself—not much, but it
was more refreshing than any sleep that had visited my eyes for a long
time past—hope had come again.

“The next morning my husband was evidently better, and I knelt down
beside him and thanked God for the miracle that He had wrought; for was
it not a miracle thus to raise my dead to life again? How many stronger,
stouter men than he had I seen fall sick and die; but to me God had shown
mercy in my utmost need.

“We waited three long days for the return of Captain Willie. My heart was
so full of thankfulness that my husband had been spared that I certainly
did not feel so acutely the misery with which I was surrounded as I
otherwise should have done; I was like the prisoner who feels happy in a
reprieve from death, but whose situation is nevertheless such as would
appear to any other person the most wretched in which he could be placed.
The misery that was suffered in that camp was beyond the power of words
to describe. On the second day they gave us some more beef-rations,
but they did us little good. The beef was, of course, of the poorest,
and, eaten alone, it did not seem to satisfy hunger, and those who were
prostrated by dysentery, although they ate it ravenously, suffered much
in consequence afterwards.

“The number of the sick rapidly increased, and not a few died from
exhaustion; and really those seemed happiest who were thus taken from the
horrors which surrounded them. Had it not been for the intense frost, we
should all probably have fallen victims to the intolerable atmosphere of
the camp. I would not even allow my mind to recall some of the scenes
which I witnessed at that time: scenes, the disgusting and filthy horrors
of which no decent words could describe. When you consider the frightful
condition in which we were, the hunger and cold which we endured, you may
perhaps be able in a small degree to conjecture—as far as a person can
conjecture who has not himself suffered such things—what we then passed
through. I saw poor miserable creatures, utterly worn out, dying in the
arms of other forlorn and hopeless creatures as wretched as themselves; I
saw strong and honest, honourable men, or who had once been such, begging
of the captain for the miserable scraps which had been saved for the sick
and the helpless children; I saw poor heart-broken mothers freezing to
death, but clasping as they died, in an agony of loving woe, the torn
and wretched remnants of clothing which they still retained, around the
emaciated forms of their innocent babes—the mother-instinct strong in
death; and sometimes at night when, all unbidden, I see again in dreams
the awful sufferings of those poor God-forsaken wretches, I start in
horror and pray the Almighty rather to blot out from my mind the memory
of _all_ the past, than to let me ever recollect, if but in fancy, that
fearful time.

“The third day came, and still no relief. There are mysterious powers of
endurance in human nature, weak as we often deem it, but there is a point
beyond which the bow, however flexible, will not bend. It was evident
that if no help arrived speedily, the end was not far off.

“The sun was sinking behind the distant western hills, in all the glory
of the clear frosty atmosphere of the desert, and many who gazed upon
its beauty did so with a mournful interest, believing that they would
never again behold the light of day. But at that moment some who were
anxiously watching with a last hope—watching for what they hardly dared
expect to see—raised a shout of joy. We knew what it was! Men, women, and
children rushed from their tents to welcome the approaching waggons and
our friends in time of need. Captain Willie and the other Elder had found
the rescue from Salt Lake overtaken by the storm just as we were, but he
had told them of our terrible situation, and they had hastened on without
a moment’s delay. It was he and they, convoying good supplies, who now
approached us. The poor creatures shouted wildly for joy; even the strong
men shed tears; and the sisters, overcome with the sudden change from
death to life, flung themselves into the arms of the brethren as they
came into the camp and covered them with kisses. Such happiness you never
saw—every one shaking hands and speaking joyfully—every one saying ‘God
bless you’ with a meaning such as is seldom attached to those words.

“The supplies were to us more than food and clothing—they were life
itself. Elder John Chislett was appointed to distribute the provisions
and clothing, and everything was placed in his hands. He gave out to us
all that was immediately necessary, but strongly cautioned us to be very
moderate in what we ate, as it was dangerous to go from the extreme of
fasting to a full meal. After supper the clothing and bedding was fairly
divided, and we felt more thankful for those little comforts than a
person, who had never endured as we had, would have felt had he become
suddenly the recipient of boundless luxury.

“Two of the Elders who had held forth such delusive hopes to the company,
not long before, as I have already told you, were with the brethren who
came to our relief. I have never ventured to ask how it was that they
could hold out to us in God’s name such promises, when they must have
known after a moment’s reflection, that they were utterly baseless; but
I think that probably they left their comfortable homes in Salt Lake City
and came across the stormy desert with supplies to meet us, only to show
practically how anxious they were to atone for having led us astray. Next
morning Elder Grant went on east to meet the company following us, but
Elder W. H. Kimball took command of our company for the rest of the way.

“We could now journey but very slowly, for the road was bad; the sick and
weakly were, however, able to ride, and altogether we suffered less. To
some this change for the better arrived too late—the mental and physical
sufferings which they had endured were too much for them. Poor souls!
they alone and their Father in heaven knew what they had passed through.
They seemed to have lost all consciousness, as if their faculties had
been numbed and stultified. We talked to them of the past, but they
looked at us with unmeaning eyes, as if we spoke of something in which
they had no interest; we tried to lead their thoughts to Zion, and the
promises of the Lord; but it was all in vain. They turned from us with a
look of terrible apathy; and one or two, who partly seemed to understand,
only replied with an indifference painful to witness—‘Too late, too late!’

“As we journeyed, the weather every day grew colder. Many of the
unfortunate people lost their fingers and toes, others their ears; one
poor woman lost her sight, and I was told of a poor sick man who held on
to the waggon-bars to save himself from jolting, and had all his fingers
frozen off. Few, if any, of the people recovered from the effects of
that frost. One morning they found a poor old man who had vainly tried
the evening before to keep up with the rest. His corpse was not far
from the camp, but it had been sadly mangled by the wolves. Then there
came another snow-storm, only worse in proportion as the weather was
colder, and it was with the utmost difficulty that we could be kept from
freezing. We wrapped blankets and anything else we could get around us,
but the cold wind penetrated to our very bones. I was told that some of
the people, even women and children, who lagged behind, were whipped so
as to make them keep up, and to keep life in them. I did not see this
myself; but I believe, if the story was true, it was an act of mercy
and not of cruelty, for to delay a moment was fatal. The captain of our
hundred more than once stayed behind the company to bury some unfortunate
person who died on the road: how he ever got up with us again I cannot
tell, but he seemed to be as indefatigable in his labours as he was
wonderfully preserved.

“Sometimes the carts came to a dead stand-still, and several had to be
fastened together and drawn by a united effort, and in more than one
instance the poor people gave up altogether;—they were carried on, while
they lived, as well as we could; but their carts were abandoned. The
stragglers came in slowly to camp the night of the storm—the people from
the Valley even went back to fetch some in—and it was nearly six o’clock
in the morning before the last arrived.

“The next day we remained in camp, for there were so many sick and dying
that we could not proceed. Early in the morning Elder Chislett and three
other Elders went round to see who was dead, that they might be buried.
They found in the tents fifteen corpses—all stiff and frozen. Two more
died during the day. A large square hole was dug, and they were buried in
it three abreast, and then they were covered with leaves and earth, every
precaution being taken to keep them from the wolves. Few of the relatives
of those who were dead came to the burial—they did not seem to care—death
had become familiar to them, and personal misery precluded sorrow for the

“As we drew nearer to Salt Lake Valley we met more of the brethren
coming to our assistance. They supplied us with all we needed, and then
hastened on to meet those who followed us. The atmosphere seemed to
become sensibly warmer, and our sufferings were proportionately less as
we approached Zion.

“What the feelings of others might have been when they first saw the goal
of our hopes—Zion of our prayers and songs—I cannot tell. Weary, oh _so_
weary I felt, but thankful, more than thankful, that my husband’s life
had been spared. He was pale and sick, but he was with us still.

“I have written too much already, Sister Stenhouse. I cannot tell you
more now, but I may as well add that when we left Iowa City we were about
five hundred in all. Some left us on the way. When we left Florence,
and began the journey across the Plains, we were over four hundred and
twenty, of which number we buried sixty-seven—a sixth of the whole. The
company which followed us, and to which I have frequently alluded, fared
worse than we. They numbered six hundred when they started, but they
buried one hundred and fifty on the journey—one in every four. May God
grant that I may never again see such a sight as was presented by the
miserable remnant of that last company as they came on slowly through the
Cañon towards Salt Lake Valley.”



IT was with strange feelings of doubt and unrest that I read that painful
story; but I folded up Mary Burton’s letter and stored it carefully away
in my desk, and then I began to think.

Certainly I was still a Mormon—at least I was nothing else—but I was not
now so firmly grounded in my faith as once I was, and these terrible
stories completely unsettled my mind. Then, too, I was well aware that,
before long, my husband and myself would be called upon to cross the
Plains to Zion, and I felt that if our experience were anything like
that of Mary Burton, I and my children would never reach Salt Lake. The
prospect was not very cheering.

One morning we were surprised to receive a visit from the Apostle George
Q. Cannon, who had come to take the place of Mr. Stenhouse as President
of the Mission in the Eastern States, and we were now to prepare to
travel with the next company of emigrants.

To me this was most unpleasant intelligence. Polygamy—the knowledge
that before long I should be brought personally within its degrading
influence—had now for years been the curse of my life, and I had welcomed
every reprieve from immediate contact with it in Utah. But the time had
come at last when I was to realize my worst apprehensions, and I think
at that time, had I been permitted to choose, I would have preferred to
die rather than journey to Zion. Besides this, ever since my husband had
been engaged with the secular papers, we had been getting along very
comfortably. We had now a pleasant home and many comforts and little
luxuries which we had not enjoyed since we left Switzerland, and I was
beginning to hope that we should be allowed to remain in New York for a
few years at least. We had also by this time six children—the youngest
only a few days old—and I leave it to any mother to determine whether I
had not good cause for vexation when I was told that we were expected
to leave New York within two weeks, with the emigrants who were then _en
route_ from England. My husband also was to take charge of the company,
and therefore everything would depend upon me—all the preparations for
our long and perilous journey, the disposal of our furniture, and, in
fact, the thousand and one little necessary duties which must attend the
packing up and departure of a family.

In the course of a few days the emigrants arrived, and then my husband
was compelled to devote all his time to them. When I told the Elders that
it was almost impossible for me, in the delicate state of health in which
I was, and with a babe only two weeks old, to undertake such a journey,
they told me that I had no faith in the power of God, and that if I
would arise and begin my preparations, the Lord would give me strength
according to my day. Thinking that probably my husband believed as they
did, I made the effort, but it cost me much. In the Mormon Church the
feelings or sufferings of women are seldom considered. If an order is
given to any man to take a journey or perform any given task, his wife
or wives are not to be thought of. They are his property just as much as
his horses, mules, or oxen; and if one wife should die, it is of little
consequence if he has others, and if he has not he can easily get them;
and if he is not young or fascinating enough to win his way with the
young ladies, he has only to keep on good terms with Brigham Young, or
even with his bishop, and every difficulty will be smoothed away, and
they will be “counselled” to marry him.

It is never expected, nor would it be tolerated in any Mormon woman,
that she should exercise her own judgment in opposition to her husband,
no matter how much she might feel that he was in the wrong: I have
frequently seen intelligent women subjected to the grossest tyranny on
the part of ignorant and fanatical husbands who were influenced by the
absurd teachings of the Tabernacle. One of the greatest Mormon writers,
Orson Pratt, has said,—

“_The wife should never follow her own judgment in preference to that
of her husband_; for if her husband desires to do right, but errs in
judgment, the Lord will bless her in endeavouring to carry out his
counsels; for _God has placed him at the head_, and though he may err
in judgment, yet God will not justify the wife in disregarding his
instructions and counsels; far greater is the sin of rebellion, than the
errors which arise from the want of judgment; therefore _she would be
condemned for suffering her will to rise against his. Be obedient_, and
God will cause all things to work for good.”

The trouble and annoyance occasioned by leaving a comfortable position
in New York to travel to such an unknown region as Utah was then, was
not a trifle; but we hastened our preparations, sacrificing all that we
possessed in the most reckless manner, and in due time set out.

When we reached Florence—the starting-point on the Frontiers—we were
detained on account of some mismanagement on the part of the Church
Agents, and remained for three weeks in camp. Ours was what was called
“an independent company;” by which I mean that we were able to defray our
own expenses without borrowing from the Church: the poorer emigrants were
assisted from a fund provided for that purpose—the Perpetual Emigration

Our company was in an infinitely better position than that of those
emigrants of whose sad fate my friend Mary Burton had told me; for our
journey was made at the proper season, and, as far as was possible under
the circumstances, convenience and comfort had been attended to. The
incidents which befell us were few, and although, of course, every one
of us felt weary and worn out, we were not called upon to pass through
the miseries and sufferings endured by the hand-cart emigrants. Looking
back to our primitive mode of travelling, it appears to me almost as if
I must be making some mistake about my own age, and that it must have
been several centuries, instead of a few years ago, since we crossed
the Plains. The ox-team and waggon, the walk on foot in the day and the
camp-life at night, have been pleasantly exchanged for the swift travel
of a few days in a Pullman palace-car.

What living contradictions we were as we crossed the Plains—singing in
a circle, night and morning, the songs of Zion and listening to prayers
and thanksgivings for having been permitted to gather out of Babylon; and
then during the day as we trudged along in twos and threes expressing to
each other all our misgivings, and doubts, and fears, and the bitterness
our thoughts against Polygamy; while each wife, confiding in her
husband’s honour and faithfulness, solaced herself with the hope that all
might yet be well. How little sometimes do the songs of gladness reflect
the real sentiments of the heart. How often have I heard many a poor
heart-broken woman singing the chorus,—

    “I never knew what joy was
    Till I became a Mormon.”

I never could sing that song, for my experience had been exactly the

It was the month of September—the beginning of our beautiful Indian
summer—when we emerged from the cañon, and caught sight of Salt Lake
City. Everything looked green and lovely, and in spite of all my sad
forebodings while crossing the Plains, I involuntarily exclaimed, “Ah,
what a glorious spot!” It looked like a beautiful garden—another Eden—in
the midst of a desert valley. We had a glimpse of the Great Salt Lake
far away in the distance, stretching out like a placid sheet of molten
silver, while everywhere around were the lonely-looking snow-clapped
mountains, encircling us like mighty prison-walls.

It would be impossible for me to describe my feelings at that time.
Even while I was enchanted with the glorious prospect before me, there
arose again in my mind that haunting spectre of my existence—Polygamy. I
believed that this little earthly paradise would probably be to me, and
my daughters after me, a prison-house, and with a mother’s instinct I
shuddered as I thought of what they might be destined to suffer there.
Lovely as the scene was, there was a fatal shadow overhanging it all.
Then, too, there was no escape: if the sad forebodings of my heart were
realized, it would be utterly impossible for us ever to get away. The
idea of a railway being constructed across those desert plains and rocky
mountains never for a moment entered my mind, and even had I thought
it possible, I should have supposed that it would take a lifetime to
complete. No, there was no help for me, even if it came to the worst. I
felt that my doom was sealed; and there were many women in our company
who thought just the same as I did, and who were troubled at heart with
fears as sad as mine.

My first impressions of Salt Lake City when we began life there were
anything but pleasant—we had to “rough it.” For nearly two weeks we were
obliged to remain in our waggons, as it was quite impossible to obtain
house-room. At that time each family built their own little hut, and
there were no vacant houses to let.


(_From a Photograph._)

_To face p. 148._]

The weather was now growing very cold and wintry, and it was absolutely
necessary that we should have some better shelter than the waggons
afforded. One day my husband told me, when he came home, that he had
been offered a house which belonged to the Church. It was in a very
dilapidated condition, he said, but that if I would go and look at it
with him, we could then decide about taking it. No time was to be
lost, for companies of emigrants were coming in almost daily, and if we
neglected this chance we might not find another.

When we arrived at the house I was much discouraged at seeing the
condition it was in: the window-panes were all cracked or broken out, the
floors and walls looked as if they had never known soap or paint, and the
upper rooms had no ceilings; in fact it was not fit for any civilized
Christian to live in. In point of size there was nothing to complain of,
but of comfort or convenience there was none—the wind whistled through
every door and every cracked window; and altogether it presented anything
but a cheering prospect for winter.

My husband told me that Daniel H. Wells, who was superintendent of Church
property and also one of the First Presidency of the Church, had promised
him that if we took the house it should be repaired and made fit for
living in before winter fully set in; and under the circumstances we
thought we could do no better than accept his offer.

Thus we began housekeeping in Utah, and we unpacked our trunks and tried
to give the place as home-like an appearance as we possibly could. I
had known what it was to be in a strange country and destitute; and,
therefore, benefiting by experience, when I left New York, regardless of
the teachings of the Elders and of my own husband’s directions to the
contrary, I had secretly stowed away many little necessaries towards
housekeeping. Indeed had I not done so, we should have been as badly off
when we reached Zion as when we arrived in New York. Besides which, I
have no doubt that our waggons would have been filled with the trunks
of those very brethren who counselled us not to take more than was
absolutely necessary. The brethren who gave this counsel were, I noticed,
constantly purchasing while they advised every one else to sell, and I
thought it wiser to follow their example than their precepts.

Among my treasures was some carpet, and when that was laid down and the
stove put up we began to feel almost at home. The wind, however, soon
drove away all thoughts of comfort, for it came whistling in through
a thousand undetected crevices, and the tallow candles which we were
obliged to burn presented a woeful spectacle. Even the most wealthy,
then, had no other light but candles, and every family had to make their
own: I have often seen people burning a little melted grease with a bit
of cotton-rag stuck in the middle for a wick—how pleasant the smell,
and how brilliant the light thus produced can be imagined. Everything
was upon the same scale—and to keep house in any fashion was really a
formidable undertaking, especially to those who had been accustomed to
the conveniences of large towns. I believe that many women consented to
their husbands taking other wives for the sake of getting some assistance
in their home duties.

We spent nearly all the first evening in our new house in trying to
discover some means of keeping out the storm, but to little purpose.
Nearly a fortnight passed before any one came to see about repairing the
house, but as it belonged to the Church my husband seemed to think it
must be all right. The Mormon men are always very lenient towards “the
Church”—very much more so than the Mormon women, for the latter have
somehow got mixed up in their minds the idea that Brigham Young and “the
Church” are synonymous terms. I remember one day a good young sister—a
daughter of one of the twelve Apostles—saying to me, “I have just seen
the Church,” and when I asked her what she meant, she said, “I have just
met Brigham Young and Hyram Clawson, and are they not the Church?” It was
evident to me that others besides myself sometimes gave way to wicked
thoughts. Nevertheless I was still of opinion that “the Church” had
plenty of money and ought to have repaired the house.

One day a man whom I had never seen before, called upon me and asked what
repairs I should like done. I was not feeling very well, and had been
annoyed at the delay, and I answered rather ungraciously that I should
like anything done, if it were only done at once, for I thought we had
waited long enough. He answered me very politely, and said that he would
see to it immediately. When Mr. Stenhouse returned home in the evening,
he said, “So you have had a visit from President Wells.” “No,” I said,
“there has been no one here but a carpenter—an ugly man with a cast in
his eye, and I told him that I wanted the house fixed right away.”

“Why, that was President Wells,” he said, very much shocked, and I think
I felt as bad as he did when I realized that I had treated one of the
“First Presidency” so unceremoniously.

This Daniel H. Wells, besides being an Apostle, a Counsellor of Brigham
Young, and one of the three “Presidents” who share with Brigham the first
position in the Church, and are associated with him in all his official
acts, was Lieutenant-General of the Nauvoo Legion, and at the present
time and for some years past Mayor of Salt Lake City. It was a shocking
indiscretion, to say the least, to speak slightingly of such a high and
mighty personage.

The repairs, however, were seen to, and the house rendered a little more
habitable. We had now to begin the struggle of life afresh, and could
not afford to be too particular about trifles;—to obtain shelter was
something—for the rest we must still continue to hope and trust.



When I arrived in Salt Lake City, a great many improvements had been
effected; and expecting, as I did that this would be our future home for
many years, perhaps for life, I was interested in everything that I saw.

The first Sunday I went to the Tabernacle I was greatly amused at the
way in which some of the sisters were dressed. Quite a number wore
sun-bonnets, but the majority wore curious and diverse specimens of
the milliner’s art—relics of former days. Some wore a little tuft of
gauze and feathers on the top of the head, while others had helmets of
extraordinary size. There were little bonnets, half-grown bonnets, and
“grandmother bonnets” with steeple crowns and fronts so large that it was
difficult to get a peep at the faces which they concealed. As for the
dresses, they were as diversified as the bonnets. Some of them presented
a rather curious spectacle. I noticed two young women who sat near me:
they were dressed alike in green calico sun-bonnets, green calico skirts,
and pink calico sacks. On inquiring who they were, I was told that they
were the wives of one man, and had both been married to him on the same
day, so that neither could claim precedence of the other. Outside of
Utah such a thing would seem impossible; but so many of the young girls
at that time came out to Zion without father or mother or any one else
to guide them; and left to their own inexperience and afraid to disobey
“counsel,” it is no wonder that they soon yielded to the universal custom.

The two young women whom I have mentioned did not appear to me to be
overburdened with intelligence; they looked like girls who could be made
to believe anything; but after that I met with two well-educated women
who, like these foolish girls, thoughtlessly tried the experiment of two
or more marrying the same man on the same day, agreeing with their “lord”
that that would be the best way to preserve peace in their household.
But they were terribly mistaken; and even before the marriage-day was
over, the poor bewildered husband had to fly to Brother Brigham for

The Tabernacle services seemed to me as strange as the women. There
was no regular order in conducting the proceedings, but the prominent
brethren made prayers or “sermons” as they were called upon to do so.
The “sermons” would be more properly called speeches; they are nothing
but a rambling, disconnected glorification of the Saints, interspersed
with fearful denunciations of the Gentiles, and not unfrequently a good
sprinkling of words and expressions such as are never used in decent
society. More unedifying discourses could hardly be imagined. As for the
spirituality and devotional feeling which characterized our meetings in
England, they were only conspicuous by their absence, and many devout
Saints have told me that when they first went there, before the erection
of the great organ, the free-and-easy manners of the speakers and the
brass band which was stationed in front of the platform, made them feel
as if they had come to witness a puppet-show rather than to attend a
religious meeting.

There was one lady at the Tabernacle service whom I regarded with
considerable interest. This was no other than Eliza R. Snow, one of the
Prophet’s wives. I was told that she was the first woman married in
Polygamy after Joseph Smith received the Revelation, and I believed it
was so. People who lived in Nauvoo, respectable people, and not one or
two either, have assured me that for four years before Joseph is said to
have received the Revelation, he was practising Polygamy, or something
worse, and that the Revelation was given to justify what was already
done. However this might be, it is generally understood that Miss Eliza
Snow was the first plural wife of the Prophet. Her principal occupation
at the present time is converting rebellious wives to obedience to their
husbands, and convincing young girls that it is their duty to enter into
Polygamy. Unhappy husbands derive great consolation from her counsels.
In matters of religion she is a perfect fanatic, and in connexion with
the Female Relief Society she reigns supreme; but otherwise there are
many excellent traits in her character, and I could tell of many acts of
loving-kindness and self-denial which she has performed, and which will
surely have their reward. As the chief poet of the Mormon Church, and as
the Representative of Eve in the mysteries of the Endowment House, she
enjoys a reputation such as would be impossible to any other woman among
the Saints.

Another of the late Joseph’s wives is a Mrs. Doctor Jacobs, who was
actually married to the Prophet while she was still living with her
original husband, Jacobs. Under the same circumstances she married
Brigham Young, after Joseph’s death. For some time her husband knew
nothing of the whole affair, but Brigham very soon gave him to understand
that his company was not wanted. The sister of Mrs. Jacobs—a Mrs.
Buel—was another of Joseph’s wives, and she married the Apostle Heber C.
Kimball, but does not appear to have made a very good bargain.

Besides these there is another lady, a Mrs. Shearer—or, as she is
familiarly called—“Aunty Shearer.” She is in every respect a unique
specimen of womanhood, tall and angular, with cold yet eager grey eyes; a
woman of great volubility, and altogether grim-looking and strong-minded.
She was an early disciple, and is said to have sacrificed everything
for Mormonism. She lived in Joseph Smith’s family, and, of course, saw
and heard a great deal about Polygamy, and at first it was a great
stumbling-block to her. She was, however, instructed by the immaculate
Joseph, and so far managed to overcome her feelings as to be married to
him for eternity. Like the others, she is called “Mrs.,” and I suppose
there is a _Mr._ Shearer somewhere, but upon that point she is very
reticent. Her little lonely hut is fitted with innumerable curiosities
and little knick-knacks, which some people are for ever hoarding away in
the belief that they will come into use some day. She is a woman that
one could not easily forget. She wears a muslin cap with a very wide
border flapping in the wind under a comical-looking hood, and is easily
recognized by her old yellow marten-fur cape and enormous muff: her
dress, which is of her own spinning and weaving, is but just wide enough,
and its length could never inconvenience her. Add to these personal
ornaments a stout pair of brogues, and you will see before you “Aunty
Shearer,” one of the Prophet’s spiritual wives.

I may as well explain what is meant by “spiritual” wives and “proxy”

Marriages contracted by the Gentiles, or by Mormons in accordance with
Gentile institutions, are not considered binding by the Saints. That was
partly the cause of my indignation and the indignation of many another
wife and mother. We were told that we had never been married at all,
and that our husbands and our children were not lawfully ours: surely
that was enough to excite the indignation of any wife, whatever her
faith might be. For a marriage to be valid it must be solemnized in the
Endowment House in Salt Lake City, or the persons contracting it can
never expect to be husband and wife in eternity. Should the husband die
before he reaches Zion, and if the wife loves him sufficiently well
to wish to be his in eternity—when she arrives in Salt Lake City, if
she receives an offer of marriage from one of the brethren, and does
not object to him as a second husband in this world, she will make an
agreement with him that she will be his wife, _for time_, but that in
eternity she and all her children shall be handed over to the first
husband. A woman thus married is called a “proxy” wife.

Now “spiritual” wives are of two classes. The one consists of old ladies
who have plenty of money or property which of course needs looking after;
and generous Elders marry them, and accordingly “look after” the said
property, and the owner of it becomes the Elder’s _spiritual_ wife. She
will only be his _real_ wife in eternity when she is rejuvenated.

The other kind of “spiritual” wife is one who is married already, but who
does not think that her husband can “exalt” her to so high a position in
the celestial world as she deserves—perhaps some kind brother who takes
a great interest in her welfare has told her so—she then is _secretly_
“_sealed_” to one of the brethren who is better able to exalt her—perhaps
to this same brother; and in the resurrection she will pass from him who
was her husband on earth to him who is to be her husband in heaven—_if
she has not done so before_.

This is what is meant by “proxy” and “spiritual” wives. I think it will
be evident even to the dullest comprehension that under such a system,
“the world, the flesh, and the devil” are far more likely to play a
prominent part than anything heavenly or spiritual.

All this is so repugnant to the instincts and feelings of a true woman,
that I feel quite ashamed to write about it. And yet the working out
of this system has produced results which would be perfectly grotesque
were it not that they outrage every ordinary sense of propriety. Let
me give an example. One of the wives of Brigham Young—Mrs. Augustus
Cobb Young—a highly educated and intelligent Boston lady with whom I am
intimately acquainted, requested of her Prophet husband a favour of a
most extraordinary description. She had forsaken her lawful husband and
family and a happy and luxurious home to join the Saints, under the
impression that Brigham Young would make her his queen in heaven. She was
a handsome woman—a woman of many gifts and graces—and Brigham thoroughly
appreciated her; but she made a slight miscalculation in respect to the
Prophet. He cares little enough for his first wife, poor lady, and few
people who know him doubt for a moment that he would un-queen her and
cut her adrift for time and eternity too, if his avaricious soul saw the
slightest prospect of gain by doing so; he did not care for her, but he
never would allow himself to be dictated to by any woman. So when the
lady of whom I speak asked him to place her at the head of his household,
he refused: she begged hard, but he would not relent. Then finding
that she could not be Brigham’s “queen,” and having been taught by the
highest Mormon authorities that our Saviour had, and has, many wives, she
requested to be “sealed to Him!” Brigham Young told her (for what reason
I do not know) that it really was out of his power to do that, but that
he would do “the next best thing” for her—he would “seal” her to Joseph
Smith. She was sealed to Joseph Smith, and though Brigham still supports
her, and she is called by his name on earth, in the resurrection she will
leave him and go over to the original Prophet.

The reader will be certainly shocked at this terrible burlesque of sacred
things, but I felt it my duty to state the truth and place facts in their
right light. It is not generally known that the Mormons are taught that
the marriage at Cana of Galilee was Christ’s own nuptial feast, that Mary
and Martha were his plural wives, and that those women who in various
parts of the New Testament are spoken of as ministering to him stood to
him in the same relation.

Malicious first wives, especially if they are rather elderly themselves,
frequently call the proxy wives “fixins;” and the tone in which some
of them utter the word is in the last degree contemptuous. These poor
“fixins” are seldom treated as real wives by the husband himself. He may
think sufficiently well of the “proxy” wife to make her his for time
and to raise up children to his friend, as the Elders say, but he never
forgets that in eternity she will be handed over to the man for whom he
has stood proxy, and he expects that she also will bear that in mind,
and do all she can for her own support, and never complain of his want
of attention to her. Some men, after having married a young proxy wife,
have become so enamoured that they grew jealous of the dead husband, and
have tried to get the wife to break faith with him, and be married to
them for eternity as well as time. This was certainly rather mean. Very
few Gentile husbands would fret themselves about possibilities in the
world to come, if in this world they had the certainty of enjoying the
undivided affections of their wives.

Mormon husbands are so influenced by their religion that they neither
act nor think like other men. I am thinking of one wretched family that
I knew soon after I went to Utah. There was a man and his wife and four
children, all living together in a miserable, poverty-stricken hut. I had
heard that the man was paying attentions to a young girl with a view of
making her his second wife, and I frequently watched the first wife as
she went in and out, doing her “chores,” and wondered how she felt about
it. The poverty of the man, of course, was of no consequence; living
in the primitive style in which necessity then compelled the Saints to
live, one, or even half-a-dozen extra wives made very little difference,
and Brigham and the leading Elders have always represented it as a
meritorious act, for the young especially, to “build up the kingdom,”
without regard to consequences, or the misery of bringing up a family in
a destitute condition. I never can see children without loving them, and
in this case it was not long before I contrived to make acquaintance with
the little ones. One day, while I was talking to them, the mother came
out. She seemed pleased to see me, for she had heard of me that I was not
too strong in the faith, and she told me that her husband had said, in
speaking of such women as myself, who did not like the celestial order
of marriage, that their husbands ought to force them right into it, and
that would show what they were made of: if they were true-hearted women,
seeking their husband’s glory and “exaltation” in the world to come,
they would bear it well enough; and if not, the sooner it killed them
the better; for if they were dead their husbands could save them in the
resurrection, but if they lived they would only be an incumbrance.

This, I found, was the general opinion among the Mormon men. Even in
England the American Elders had taught us that the man was the head and
“saviour” of the woman, and that the woman was only responsible to her
husband. It was necessary, we were told, that the woman should keep in
favour with her lord, otherwise he might withdraw his protection and
refuse to take her into the celestial kingdom; in which case when she got
to heaven she would only be an angel! To be an angel is not considered
by the Saints to be by any means the highest state of glory. Those who
do not obey the “Celestial Order of Marriage” will, like the angels,
neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be located, the men in
one place, and the women in another, and will serve as slaves, lackeys,
and boot-blacks to the Saints. Brigham Young once publicly said of a
certain President of the United States, that he would clean the boots
of the Mormon leaders in heaven. He did not say this as a figure of
speech, but meant it literally. Those who have obeyed the Gospel of the
new dispensation, but who have failed to enter into Polygamy, will be as
upper servants; but the rebellious—the “vile apostates” and the “wicked
Gentiles”—will join the angels and do all the drudgery for the men of
many wives. Thus I learned in Zion that my youthful notions about the
glory of the cherubim were quite a mistake, and that it was not such a
fine thing to be an angel after all.

But I have run away from my story, and had almost forgotten my poor
acquaintance. She was a woman who was likely to preserve a painful place
in the memory of any one who once saw her. Her face was pale as death,
and her jet-black eyes glistened with an unearthly lustre; it was easy to
perceive that she was very unhappy, although she tried hard to exhibit a
cheerful disposition, and when our conversation turned to that subject
which to women here is all-absorbing, the nervous twitching of her pale
face showed how deeply painful such thoughts were to her. She told me
that her husband was soon to be married to a young girl about fourteen
years of age. “Do you see,” she said, “that he is building for her?” And
sure enough he was, at odd hours, adding another hut to the miserable
hovel in which they already lived; and thither, when it was finished, he
intended to take his bride. As I looked at the poor wife, I felt little
doubt that ere that time came, her troubles on earth would have ended,
and her little ones would be motherless.

The Mormon women, as well as the Mormon men, are noted for attending to
their own business—they do not care to tell their sorrows and trials
to strangers or to people who are not of their own faith. In this
way visitors to Salt Lake who have gone there with the intention of
“writing-up” the Saints in the newspapers or in a book, have generally
been misled. My own experience as a Mormon woman leads me to form
anything but a flattering opinion of the Mormon stories told by Gentile
pens. The following instance will show that the sisters are not quite so
free in giving their experience as some writers would suggest.

One day, while passing through the city, I saw a young woman running
across the road with a little child in her arms. The child was crying
piteously, for the water was running from its clothing, and I saw in
a moment that it had fallen into the stream which ran in front of
the house. I followed, to see if I could be of any assistance, but
fortunately found that the little creature was not seriously hurt, but
would soon recover from the fright and cold. I helped the mother to
change its clothing, and while she was lulling her baby to sleep we
entered into conversation. At first she appeared to be very shy of me,
and avoided speaking of anything in the slightest degree personal; but
growing more interested, she said at last,—

“Are you a Mormon?”

“Certainly,” I answered; “but why do you ask me?”

“Because,” she said, “we have had one or two Gentile women among us, and
they go round among our people and question the women, and get them to
tell their troubles, which God knows are heavy enough; and then they go
and write about it, and Brigham Young finds it out, and their husbands
are called to account for allowing their wives to speak to the Gentiles.
You are sure you are a Mormon?” she added, “and you are not deceiving me?”

“I’m sorry you should think such a thing,” I said; “but if you suppose I
would deceive you, I will not trouble you with my company.” And I rose up
to leave.

“Do not go yet,” she said, “and pray forgive me, if I have wounded your
feelings; it is simply the fear I have of getting into trouble. Brigham
Young and the Elders have frequently told us to have nothing to do with
the Gentiles, for they are enemies to the kingdom of God, and are seeking
our overthrow—and I suppose it is true.”

“How long have you been here?” I asked.

“Over two years,” she replied, “and it seems almost twenty—time has
passed so slowly. I left father and mother, sisters and brother, for the
Gospel’s sake, and I do not regret it, because it is right; but it was a
very great sacrifice to make. Yet I believe that God blesses us for the
sacrifices we make, and I shall get my reward.”

“You have it already,” I said, “in that pretty child on your knee; and
your husband, I hope, is a good man and kind to you.”

“Yes,” she answered, “my child is a very great source of happiness to
me, and I love my husband very much, but—” (hesitatingly) “are _you_ in

“No, not yet; but I do not know how soon my husband may take it into his
head to get another wife.”

“Are you first wife?” she asked.

“Yes,” I replied, “and I suppose you are also?”

“No, I am third wife,” she said, “I wish I were first wife.”

“But why,” I suggested, “do you wish that? If Polygamy is the true order
of marriage, I do not see that it makes much difference whether one is
the first or the twentieth wife?”

“Oh dear, yes,” she replied, “it _does_ make a great deal of difference;
for the first wife will be queen over all the others, and reign with her
husband. If I had known that before I was married, I should have made my
husband promise to place me first. Men can do that if they like.”

“But do you think you would be doing right in trying to gain the position
of first wife in that way?”

“Why not?” she said; “didn’t Jacob obtain his brother’s birthright by
deception—and was he ever punished for it? Do you think that Brother
Brigham, notwithstanding that he is the inspired servant of God, could
have obtained his position, and all his money, by simple honest dealing?
If you think so, I don’t; and it is just as proper and right for us women
to secure a position for ourselves by such means as it is for Brigham
Young—the end justifies the means.”

“If that is so,” I said, “it is a wonder to me that any woman should
consent to become second, third, or fourth wife—seeing they cannot be

“I can see that you have not yet had your ‘Endowments,’” she said, “or
you would understand more about these things; but as you are a good
Mormon, I can speak freely to you. You see it is not always those who are
first wives in this world who will be first in the celestial kingdom. It
all depends upon the amount of sacrifice the wife is capable of making
for her husband, her faithfulness to him, and the number of children
she has borne him. If she pleases him in every particular, and is good,
patient, and above all things obedient to all his wishes and commands,
then she is almost certain to be made queen, unless the first wife is
just as good, and then I don’t know how they would fix that. And so you
see it is safer to be first wife at once.”

“Well, but,” I asked, “knowing all this, I am surprised that you
consented to be third wife!”

“But I did not know it then,” she continued. “My husband told me that
_all_ the wives were queens—all equal—and he says so still when I talk
to him about it. But he can’t deceive me. I have spoken to some of the
old Nauvoo women who know all about it, and they tell me that all the
Polygamic wives will be subject to the first wife; but the first wife,
having suffered most, will be the one who has gone through the fire and
been purified, and found worthy.”

“But do you think that your husband would wish to deceive you about such
an important matter?” I said.

“Wait till you have lived a little longer here,” she replied, “and you
will be able to answer that question yourself, or else your experience
will be very different from that of the rest of the people here.”

Just then the husband made his appearance, and put an end to the
conversation. He was a tall, dark-looking man, with grey hair, old enough
to be her father. He appeared to be well educated and to have seen
better days, though everything about their home indicated poverty—the
room in which we were sitting had no carpet on the floor, there was a
plain white-pine table in the middle, a small sheet-iron stove, four
wooden chairs, a small looking-glass, and some cheap pictures. This was
the sitting-room for the whole family—three wives, eleven children, one
husband. He asked me if I had seen the rest of the family.

I replied negatively, and he said he would see if any of them were
about. Presently he returned accompanied by an elderly woman whom he
introduced as Mrs. Simpson. Then came another, not quite as good-looking
as the first, but a great deal younger, and he introduced her as “My
wife Ellen. And this one,” he said, turning to the one with whom I had
been conversing, “is my wife Sarah. Don’t you think I have got three
fine-looking women?” Then, after a pause, he added, “And they are just
as good as they are good-looking—good, obedient wives. I have no trouble
with them; my wishes are law in this house. Here you have a family in
which the Spirit of God reigns. We are not rich in worldly goods, as you
see, but we are laying up treasure in heaven. We all live in this little
home of four rooms. My wife Ellen here, has given up her room for a
parlour for us all to meet together in, and she sleeps in a waggon-box;
it is not the most comfortable, but she never grumbles. Then, here is
our Sarah; we are obliged to humour her a little, and give her a room
all to herself. She is young and inexperienced, and doesn’t like to put
up with the inconveniences that the Saints have to bear with; while old
mother here has got to have half-a-dozen children in her room, but she
never complains.”

“Why did you not wait,” I said, “until you had a larger house?”

“Then where would my kingdom be?” he answered, “Young men may wait, but
old men must improve their time.”

There came in now a troop of children of all ages. They had been playing
in the lot, were miserably clad, barefooted, and some looked gaunt
and hungry:—manners to match. “These,” he said, with all a father’s
fondness—“these constitute my kingdom, and I am proud of them.”

I felt thankful that I was not destined to be queen over such a kingdom,
wished them good-bye, and with a sad heart went home to my own darling
little ones, not knowing what might be _their_ fate.

[Illustration: Brigham Young]



Shortly after our arrival in Salt Lake City we visited President Young,
who received us very graciously and appointed an early day for us to dine
with him.

On that occasion he invited some of the Apostles and leading men to meet
us at his table, and we passed an exceedingly pleasant evening. The
Prophet made himself very affable; talked with us about our missionary
life and other subjects of personal and general interest; and expressed
a high opinion of the energy and ability which my husband had displayed.
His wives, too,—whom I found, as far as I could judge from such a casual
acquaintance, to be amiable and kind-hearted ladies,—made every effort to
render our visit agreeable.

I was much pleased with the manner and appearance of Brigham Young, and
felt greatly reassured; for he did not seem to me like a man who would
preach and practise such things as I had heard of him while I was in
London. This I was glad to see, for it encouraged me to think that,
perhaps, after all, matters might not be so bad as I had anticipated.
We were, in fact, very kindly received in Salt Lake City by every one
with whom we came in contact; for having been Missionaries for so many
years, we were, of course, well known by name, and had a wide circle of
acquaintances among the chief Elders and emigrants.

Fifteen years have, of course, worked a great change in the appearance of
Brigham Young; but though he is now nearly seventy-three years of age, he
is still a portly-looking—I might almost say handsome man. His good looks
are not of the poetic or romantic kind at all; he is very common-place
and practical in his appearance, but long and habitual exercise of
despotic authority has stamped itself upon his features, and is seen
even in the way he carries himself: he might without any stretch of the
imagination be mistaken for a retired sea-captain.

When I first knew him, in appearance he was little over fifty years of
age, was of medium height, well built, upright, and, as I just stated,
had the air of one accustomed to be obeyed. His hair was light,—sandy,
I suppose I ought to call it,—with eyes to match; and the expression
of his countenance was pleasant and manly. I, of course, regarded him
from a woman’s stand-point; but there were others who were accustomed to
study physiognomy, and they detected—or thought they detected—in the cold
expression of his eye and the stern, hard lines of his lips, evidences of
cruelty, selfishness, and dogged determination which, it is only fair to
say, I myself never saw.

The lines on his face have deepened of late years, as what little of
gentleness his heart ever knew has died out within him; but still he
presents the appearance of a man who would afford a deep study to the
observer of human nature. In early life he had to work hard for a living,
and according to his own statement he had a rough time of it. He was, by
trade, a painter and glazier, and has frequently said in public that in
those times he was glad to work for “six bits” a day, and to keep his
hands busy from morning to night to get even that. Whether or not the
privations of early years fostered in him that avaricious and grasping
spirit which of late years has been so conspicuous in him, I cannot say,
but it is certain that it cropped out very early in his career as a
Saint. An old Nauvoo Missionary,—a Mormon of the Mormons once, but now,
alas! a “vile apostate” as Brigham would politely call him,—once told me
that when the Prophet Joseph Smith sent the Apostle Young on Mission, a
good deal of discontent was shown that the said Apostle did not account
properly for the collections and tithings which passed through his hands.
Brother Joseph who was _then_ “the Church” suggested in a pleasant
way—for the Prophet Smith was a big, jovial fellow, six feet two or three
inches in height, and withal somewhat of a humorist—that the said Apostle
Brigham would appear in his eyes a better Saint if he displayed a little
less love for filthy lucre. Thereupon the Apostle, like somebody else who
shall be nameless, quoted Scripture, and reminded the Prophet that Moses
had said, “Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out
the corn.” “True, Brother Brigham,” said Joseph, “but Moses did not say
the ox was to eat up _all_ the corn.” Brother Brigham made no reply, but
is said to have “sulked” for two or three days.

I have often heard intelligent Gentiles remark, “Well, Brigham Young may
be a wicked man and an impostor, but there _must_ be a great deal of
talent in him, to manage those people for so many years.”

From this opinion I altogether dissent; and those who know Brigham best,
think with me, though many of them would not dare to say so. I do not
think Brigham Young a wicked man or an impostor in the sense in which
those words are ordinarily used; but experience, and a careful study of
his life and doings, have convinced me that he is certainly not a great
man or a man of genius in _any_ sense of the word. There can be no doubt
that he has been guilty of many and great crimes, but I believe that in
the early part of his career he was so blinded by fanaticism that those
crimes appeared to him actually virtues:—the force of habit and the daily
associations of his life have so completely taken from him all sense of
right and wrong; while the devotion of his people has made the idea that
_he_ could possibly do the slightest wrong so utterly inconceivable to
him and to them, that his perceptions of justice, truth, honour, honesty,
and upright dealing are as utterly stultified as they ever were in the
mind of the wildest savage who prowled among the cliffs and cañons of the
Rocky Mountains.

People think that Brigham Young attained to his present position by the
exercise of ability, such as has been displayed, only on a greater scale,
by all those men who, not being born to power, nor having it thrust upon
them, have by the force of their genius seized it and held it—unlawfully
it might be, but, nevertheless, with talent and moral energy.

Of the Prophet’s moral character, the less said the better. He has been
remorseless and cruel in his enmities, and he has connived at and even
suggested, if nothing more, some of the most atrocious crimes that have
ever been perpetrated on the face of the earth. In business matters,
in the payment of money—to use a popular phrase—his word is as good as
his bond, but in the accumulation of wealth he has evinced an amount
of dishonesty which can scarcely be credited. Brigham always meets his
obligations, and pays his debts, and gets a lawful receipt:—the prophetic
business could not otherwise be carried on; but the way in which he has
obtained his wealth would put to the blush the most dishonest member
of any “ring” in New York, or elsewhere. When he attended his first
Conference, he says he had to borrow certain masculine garments and a
pair of boots before he could put in an appearance. Now it would be
difficult to estimate the value of his property. He has taken up large
tracts of land all over the Territory, he has the uncontrolled and
unquestioned command of all the tithing and contributions of the Saints,
and from gifts and confiscations, and innumerable other sources, his
revenue pours in. It was once rumoured that he had eighteen or twenty
millions of dollars in the Bank of England; but Brigham said that the
report was not true. “The Church,” he added, had a little money invested
abroad. The difference between “The Church” and the individual Brigham
Young has yet to be determined.

In the year 1852 the “Prophet of the Lord” found that he had borrowed an
inconveniently large sum from the funds of the Church. He is “Trustee
in Trust” and, of course, legally responsible; but he never renders an
account of his stewardship, and no one ever asks him for it. His sense
of honesty was, however, so strong that he resolved to have his account
balanced, and he went down to the Tithing-Office for that purpose.
There he found that his indebtedness amounted to two hundred thousand
dollars, and he proceeded to pay it after his own fashion: the clerk
was instructed to place to his credit the same amount “_for services
rendered_.” In 1867, he owed _very nearly one million dollars_, which he
had borrowed from the same fund, and he balanced his account in the same
way. His contract for the Pacific Railroad is said to have yielded him a
quarter of a million, and his other contracts and mining speculations,
purchases _and thefts_ of lands, houses, &c., have been very profitable.
The expenses of such a family as Brother Brigham’s must be something
enormous, but the contributions which by honest and dishonest means he
has levied have been so large that he must still be one of the wealthiest
men in the States.

Brigham is not a generous man. He has given occasionally, as for instance
at the time of the Chicago fire, when he presented a thousand dollars
for the sufferers, but even then his motive was evident—the affairs of
“Deseret” were under discussion in Congress. Without the certainty of a
profitable return, Brigham never gave a cent. The story of his sordid
avarice and his contemptible meanness in the accumulation of money would
fill a volume.

Morally and physically the Prophet is a great coward. When he and other
Church leaders were arrested a year or two ago, charged with the very
gravest crimes, the effect upon the Prophet was most distressing. He
had solemnly sworn in the Tabernacle that he would shoot the man who
attempted to arrest him; but when Judge McKean opened court and placed
him under arrest, he swallowed his threats and played the coward’s part.
Before this the world has seen wretches who were notorious for their
cruelty and tyranny, and who were also remarkable for their cowardice.
For many years he has imitated royalty and has had a strong body-guard to
keep watch and ward around his person every night. No man has less cause
to apprehend personal violence than Brother Brigham, but the voice of
conscience, which, as the poet says, makes cowards of us all, suggests
his fears.



The wives of Brigham Young have always been subjects of interest to
Gentiles who visited Zion; and having spoken of their husband, I think it
is only fair that I should say a few words about them.

For many years I have known personally all the Prophet’s wives who reside
in Salt Lake City, and I wish to speak of them with kindness and respect.
They are women whom any one would esteem—conscientious, good, earnest
women; faithful, true-hearted wives, who have devoted their lives to the
carrying out of what they believe is the revealed will of God.

When I first knew Brother Brigham, poor man, he had _only_ sixteen living
with him in Salt Lake City; and even now he has no more than nineteen!
Perhaps I ought to say eighteen, since Eliza-Ann has run away from him,
and left the poor old gentleman desolate and forlorn. The three whom he
took after I came to Utah, were Amelia Folsom, Mary Van Cott Cobb, and
Eliza-Ann. But the reader will perhaps be interested in hearing about
them all, and so I will state the names and order of the ladies as they
at present stand—according to the date of their marriage; making mention
of the proxy wives last of all, for the sake of convenience and without
reference to date. Of course Brother Brigham has _had_ many more than
nineteen wives, but the following are the living ladies; others are dead
or have strayed away, no one knew whither, and perhaps, as Brother Heber
once said to me, nobody cared.






_To face p. 168._]

Allow me to introduce _the_ Mrs. Young.


[Number One.]

First in order is Mrs. Mary Ann Angell Young, but she is not the first
wife that Brother Brigham ever had. Once upon a time, Brother Brigham
was a Methodist; but after listening to the preaching of the Mormon
Missionaries he became a vile apostate—as he loves to call those who
leave his present faith—and he forsook Methodism. In those days, before
he apostatised, and long before he ever dreamed of Polygamy, he had but
_one_ wife—one only! It must seem strange to the Prophet to look back
to that period of solitary existence. His second wife was Mrs. Angell
Young; and I call her his first wife because she is the first of those
living now. As she was married to him after the death of his first wife,
she is, of course, his legal wife, and would be recognized as such in
any civilized country. She is a very fine-looking old lady and very much
devoted to her unfaithful lord and master, firmly believing in his divine
mission. She lives by herself and is seldom troubled with a visit from
her affectionate spouse. Once in a while Brigham brings her out to a
party when he has invited any Gentiles, just for appearance sake. Quite
a number of persons in Utah believe that she is dead, so very little
is seen and known of her. She lives in the White House—Brigham’s first
residence in Salt Lake City—and is much thought of by those who do know
her. Her children are greatly attached to her, and show her a great
deal of attention, making up in this way, to a certain extent, for her
husband’s neglect; her three sons, Joseph A. Brigham—who it is expected
will succeed his father as President of the Church—and John W., as well
as her two daughters, Alice and Luna, are all in Polygamy. Each of the
sons has three wives; and each of the daughters has a half-sister as
a partner in her husband’s affections. Brigham has not the slightest
objection to giving two of his daughters to the same husband.


[Number Two.]

Lucy Decker Seely Young was his first wife in Polygamy. Her former
husband was a Mr. Seely. She is short and stout, a very excellent mother
and a devoted wife.


[Number Three.]

Clara Decker Young is the third wife. She is a sister of Lucy Seely, and
like her is short and stout, but otherwise good-looking. She is more
than twenty years younger than her lord, with whom she was once quite a
favourite, but like many others, she has “had her day”—to use Brigham’s
own expression—and is now, as a matter of course, neglected.


[Number Four.]

Harriet Cook Young is tall, with light hair and blue eyes, and is an
intelligent but not at all a refined woman. She is said to have given a
great deal of trouble to Brother Brigham, of whom she has frequently said
very hard things. In times past she had the reputation of being a good
deal more than a match for her husband when she had any cause of offence
against him, but in her quiet moments she is a very sincere Mormon. She
has only one son—Oscar Young—now about twenty-five years of age. When
he was born, Brigham kindly announced to her that because she was not
obedient she should have no more children, and during more than a quarter
of a century he has kept his word. Why she has remained with him so long
is a mystery, for she makes no secret of her feelings towards him.


[Number Five.]

Lucy Bigelow Young is quite a fine-looking woman—tall and fair, and still
quite young. She has three pretty daughters. Brigham has recently sent
her to live in southern Utah.


[Number Six.]

Mrs. Twiss Young has no children, but she is a very good housewife, and
Brigham appreciates her accordingly, and has given her the position of
housekeeper in the Lion House. Women have two great privileges in the
Mormon Church—they may ask a man to marry them, if they chance to fancy
him, and if they don’t like him afterwards they are able to obtain a
divorce for the moderate sum of ten dollars, which sum the husband is
expected to pay. Mrs. Twiss exercised the first privilege in reference
to Brother Brigham, but has not yet availed herself of the last. There
are other ladies who thought it would be a great honour to be called the
wives of the Prophet, and they have requested him to allow them to be
called by his name. This he has done, but he has never troubled them with
his society.


[Number Seven.]

Martha Bowker Young is a quiet little body, with piercing dark eyes,
and very retiring. Brother Brigham acts towards her as if he had quite
forgotten that he had ever married her, and she lives in all the
loneliness of married spinsterhood.


[Number Eight.]

Harriet Barney Seagers Young, the eighth wife, is a tall, fine-looking
woman. She was another man’s wife when Brigham made love to her. It is
not supposed to be the correct thing for a Saint to court his neighbour’s
wife, but the Prophet did so in the case of Harriet Barney, and in
several other cases too. Harriet was married to a respectable young
Mormon gentleman, but after she had lived with him some time and had
borne three children to him, the Prophet persuaded her to join his ranks,
and she did so, believing that the word of the Prophet was the revelation
of the Lord to her, but she has since had bitter cause to repent of her
folly. To a Gentile mind such an infatuation must appear very strange,
but the Mormon people personally understand the powerful influence which
their religion exercises over them, and to them there is nothing very
singular in all this.


[Number Nine.]

Eliza Burgess Young is the only English wife that Brigham has. She fell
in love with the Prophet, wanted him to marry her, and even offered to
wait, like Jacob, for seven years if she might be his at last. So she
served in the family of her lord for the appointed time, and he finally
took her to wife as a recompense for her faithfulness. She has added one
son to the Prophet’s kingdom.


[Number Ten.]

The tenth wife on my list is Susan Snively Young. She is a German
woman—smart, active, and industrious. She has no children, but has been
quite a help-meet to her husband in making butter and cheese, in which
she excels. Smart Mormons have always had an eye to business, and while
living up to their privileges have not invariably sought for wives who
were only fair and pleasant to look upon, but have frequently taken them
for their own intrinsic worth: one as a good dairymaid, another as a
good cook, a third as a good laundress, and a fourth as a lady to grace
the parlour—perhaps even two or three of this last kind, if the Saint
were wealthy. There is a good deal of practical wisdom in this. Brother
Brigham has gathered of all sorts into his net, and has then sorted them
out, placing each lady in the position where he considered she would be
most useful and profitable to himself.


[Number Eleven.]

Margaret Pierce Young is very lady-like, tall, and genteel. She has the
appearance of being very unhappy, and it is certain that she has been
very much neglected, but not more so than many of the other wives. She
has one son.


[Number Twelve.]

When first I went to Utah, Emmeline Free Young was the reigning
favourite, and she was really the handsomest of Brigham’s wives—tall and
graceful, with curling hair, beautiful eyes, and fair complexion. Brigham
was as fond of her, at the time, as a man of his nature, with such a low
estimate of woman, could be. But a younger, though not a handsomer, rival
soon captivated his fickle heart, and he left poor Emmeline to mourn in
sorrow. She has never been herself since then, and probably never will
be—she is a broken-hearted woman. She is the mother of quite a numerous
family, and doubtless, as she had been the favourite for so long a time,
she had come to believe that her husband would never seek another love.
But, if this was so, she sadly miscalculated Brigham, for when his
licentious fancy was attracted to another object of affection he cast off
Emmeline as ruthlessly as he would an old garment. What decent person
could refrain from loathing such a man! How often has my heart gone out
in sympathy towards that poor, wrecked woman whom he had forsaken; what a
pity I deemed it that so much love should be wasted upon a creature who
could never understand or appreciate it. And yet Emmeline’s fate has been
no worse than that of the others; but I was more with her, and saw how
keenly she suffered, and I sympathized with her when her sorrows brought
her nearly to the point of death.


[Number Thirteen.]

Amelia Folsom Young is now the favourite, and it is supposed that she
will continue to be so, for at last poor Brother Brigham has found a
woman of whom he stands in dread. It is doubtful whether he loves her,
but nobody in Zion doubts that he fears her. It is said that the Prophet
has confided so many of his secrets to Amelia that he is obliged to
submit to her tyranny, for fear of her leaving him, and exposing some of
his little ways which would not bear the light. Be that as it may, it is
generally believed that after all his matrimonial alliances he has at
last found his _master_ in the person of Amelia. Even good Saints—friends
of the Prophet—secretly enjoy the idea of him being at last brought under
petticoat government, for it is believed that Brigham used unfair means
to obtain her, and that at last he only gained his object by deluding
her into the belief that the Lord had revealed to him that it was her
duty to become his wife. One thing is very certain—he was as crazy over
her as a silly boy over his first love, much to the disgust of his more
sober brethren, who felt rather ashamed of the folly of their leader. At
the theatre a seat was reserved for her at his side, and in the ball-room
the same special attention was shown to her. He would open the ball, and,
after dancing with each of his other wives who might be present—simply
for appearance sake—the remainder of the evening was devoted to her. For
all that, his inconstant heart could not remain faithful to her, and old
habits and feelings, to all appearance, have come over him again, and he
has gone astray.

Julia Dean, the actress, was the first to draw him from Amelia’s side,
and it would have been a sorry day for Amelia if Julia had favoured the
Prophet’s suit. Then the charms of Mary Van Cott touched his sensitive
heart, to say nothing of Eliza-Ann, his last but yet not his best-beloved.

With all this experience, and the constant evidences of the fickleness
of Brother Brigham’s heart before her eyes, there is no wonder that poor
Amelia feels compelled to hold tight the reins, now that they are in
her own hands, for, if it is not much to be known as Brigham’s wife, it
is a great deal to be known as his favourite. As for the future, it is
whispered that Brother Brigham has lately been “setting his house in
order,” and in the ordinary course of nature, Amelia is almost certain
to outlive for many years her aged lord, she, therefore, can afford to
wait for the good time coming. But Amelia knows that she would sink into
oblivion if he were to cast her off for another before his death.


[Number Fourteen.]

Mary Van Cott Cobb—who became Brigham’s wife after his marriage to
Amelia—is a very handsome woman, about twenty-eight years of age. She
is tall, slender, and graceful, and has been married to the Prophet
about six years. At first he appeared to be very devoted to her, but
Amelia soon put a stop to that. Nevertheless, she has since her marriage
presented a little daughter to her lord, greatly to the annoyance of
Amelia, who has no children. She is said to be very unhappy, and though
Brigham has provided her with a fine house and every comfort, yet she
seldom sees him—not perhaps more than once in three months, or so—though
it is generally believed that his spirit is willing, but Amelia won’t
allow it.


[Number Fifteen.]

Eliza-Ann Webb Dee Young, commonly known as his “runaway wife,” is his
last wedded and nineteenth living wife. If his deceased wives were taken
into consideration she would probably be his thirtieth. In this list I
have put all the living wives who are sealed to Brigham for eternity
first, and thus I count Eliza-Ann fifteen, but had I placed the proxy
wives—who are only Brigham’s “for time,” in the list, she would, of
course, be the “nineteenth,” as she is generally called.


[Number Sixteen.]

“Miss” Eliza R. Snow I mention here as I have not followed the order of
date. She and the three ladies whose names I shall presently give, are
the proxy wives of Brigham, living with him.


[Number Seventeen.]

Zina D. Huntington Jacobs Young is another proxy wife, and a widow of
the Prophet Joseph. She, too, will have to be handed over in the day of
reckoning. She has one grown up daughter, of whom I shall presently speak
under rather interesting circumstances.


[Number Eighteen.]

Emily Partridge Young is a tall, dark-eyed, handsome woman, and she also
is a “proxy” wife—a relict of Joseph. When Joseph died, Brigham told his
wives that they were at liberty to choose whom they would for husbands;
and some of them showed their appreciation of his generosity by choosing
him himself. Thus it was that Emily Partridge became Brigham’s wife. The
Prophet has dealt kindly to his brother Joseph Smith, through her, for
she has quite a family of children to be handed over with her. She was
young and handsome when the Prophet died, but perhaps it would be wrong
to suppose that that had anything to do with Brigham’s generosity to his
brother, for it is generally believed that he took all those wives of
Joseph, from pure principle.


[Number Nineteen.]

Augusta Cobb Young is a very fine-looking woman, and must have been quite
handsome in her youthful days. As I before stated, she formerly lived in
Boston, but hearing Brigham preach, she fell in love with him, abandoned
her home, children, and husband, and, taking her youngest child with her,
went to Salt Lake City, and was married to the Prophet. It was she who,
when Brigham began to neglect her, wanted to be sealed to Christ, but was
ultimately added to the kingdom of Joseph Smith.

Now these are the Prophet’s wives—his real, living wives—nineteen in
all. How many spiritual wives he has had it would be impossible to say.
Probably he himself does not know their number.

In his habits and mode of living, Brigham Young is very simple, or at
least was so until recently. When I first knew him he dressed in plain,
home-spun, home-made, and every article about his person and his houses
was as plain and unostentatious as could possibly be. But the importation
of Gentiles and Gentile goods, since the opening of the railway, has
worked a great change. His wives, who once carried simplicity of dress
almost to the verge of dowdyism, have now acquired a taste for Eastern

The Prophet’s first home in Utah was a little cottage which is now known
as the White House.—The same house, I believe, which was valued at sixty
thousand dollars, and which Brother Tenant supposed he bought:—a more
scandalous and barefaced robbery never was perpetrated.

This is on the hill-side, north of the Eagle Gate, and is now the
residence of his first wife, Mrs. Angell Young. The Bee-Hive House is the
official residence of Brother Brigham. There he used to reign supreme as
“Governor” Young; and thence he now issues secular and ecclesiastical
edicts to all who acknowledge his sway. There is one lady resident in
this house—Mrs. Lucy Decker Young—and no one else is permitted to intrude
upon its privacy. Here the prophet has his own private bedroom, and here
he breakfasts when he has been at home over night.

The Lion House is what ought to be the home of the Prophet, for here
nearly all his wives reside. (He has, however, many other houses in the
city.) On the basement floor is the dining-room, kitchen, pantry, and
other general offices. The first floor is divided by a long passage with
doors on each side. On the right hand, about half-a-dozen wives with
small families find accommodation. On the left, at the entrance, is
the parlour, and the other rooms on that side are occupied by mothers
with larger families, and ladies who have a little more than ordinary
attention. The upper floor is divided into twenty square bedrooms.

There is no extravagance in the furniture or apparel of these wives, but
they are comfortable and are kept neat and clean. Again and again, the
Prophet has declared that the ten-dollar fees which are obtained from the
divorces provide his wives with pin-money. I do not believe a word of
this, as the amount thus obtained is far more than the avaricious soul of
the Prophet would allow to pass out of his hands for feminine vanities.
But I know of another source of income which is open to the wives.
They are allowed all the fruit—peaches especially—which they or their
children, can gather or dry. This, in fact, is pretty nearly their only
“pin-money” their “lord” is not a generous man, and they have to make the
most of trifles.

The Prophet usually dines in the Lion House at three in the afternoon.
Mrs. Twiss Young, as I mentioned before, acts the part of housekeeper,
and she acts it well. At three punctually the bell rings, and the
mothers with their children move down to the dining-room. They are all
seated at a very long table which is lengthened by turning round at the
end of the room. Each mother has her children around her. Brigham sits
at the head of the table, with his favourite—when at home—_vis à vis_,
or on his left, and if a visitor is present he sits at the Prophet’s
right hand. The repast is frugal but ample, for Brigham is a sober and
exceedingly economical man. This is the first time he sees his family. In
the evening at seven o’clock the bell again rings, and the mothers and
the children again fill the sides and end of the parlour. When they are
all seated, the patriarch enters, takes his seat at the table and chats
quietly with those who chance to go in with him to prayers. When all the
members of the family are assembled, the door is closed. All kneel down
and the Prophet prays, invoking special blessings upon Zion and “the
kingdom.” This is the last that his family see of him for the day, unless
they have occasion to seek him privately.

With his family Brother Brigham is said to be kind; but it is supposed
to be more the awe which his position as Prophet inspires, than the love
which they bear him as a man which renders him successful in managing
them. At the same time, that sweet familiarity is destroyed which
should exist between husband and wife, father and children. With such
a number of wives, he cannot possibly wait upon them in visiting, and
in the ball-room, and other places of amusement. With the exception of
his reigning favourite, whoever for the time she may happen to be, no
one expects his attentions. At the theatre a full number of seats are
reserved, and his wives attend, or remain at home, as they please. They
sit in the body of the parquette, among the rest of the people; but one
of the two proscenium boxes is reserved for him, and beside him is a
chair for the favourite Amelia.

When he goes to the ball, the same special attention is shown. He dances
first with the favourite, and, if half-a-dozen more of his wives have
accompanied them, he will dance with each of them once in the course of
the evening; but with the favourite he dances as frequently as any youth
in the ball-room with his first maiden love. The Apostles and leading men
of the community, who dance attendance on him and desire his favour, are
sure to seek the pleasure of her hand and place her in the same cotillion
with Brigham, who is thus able all the evening to enjoy her company.

Some of the Apostles and Elders look with pain upon this boyishness of
the Prophet, and deplore it. Many of them are attached to their first
wives, and have shown them consideration and attention which has not
always pleased Brother Brigham. I have heard more than one of them,
express a wish that the Prophet had been a little more attentive to his
own first wife.



When I arrived in Utah I found that nearly all the Elders with whom I
had formerly been acquainted had more than one wife there. Many of these
brethren called to see me, and kindly insisted that I should visit their
families; but this I felt was almost an impossibility.

My whole nature rebelled at the thought of visiting where there were
several wives; for, in defiance of all the teaching that I had listened
to, and the tyranny to which we had submitted, human nature would assert
itself, and my womanly instincts revolted against the system. I could not
endure the thought of visiting those families in company with my husband.
I thought that perhaps sometimes I might venture _alone_; but, oh, not
with him,—no, not with him. It was bad enough and humiliating enough
for me to witness by myself the degradation of my sex; but to do so in
the presence of my husband was more than I could calmly contemplate. I
knew that I should not be able to control myself, and might probably say
some very unpleasant things, which I should afterwards regret; for I so
thoroughly loathed even the idea of polygamy at that time that I was
filled with a desire to let every one know and understand just what my
feelings were on that subject.

I had left New York against my will, although I had not openly rebelled.
I had never reproached my husband about it, for I felt that his lot was
irrevocably cast with the Mormons: I knew that when I married him, and it
was of no use now for me to repine. I must go on to the end—there was no
help for me. The journey across the Plains, and all the discoveries which
I had made, had not tended to soothe my rebellious heart, and I am not
quite sure that I did not sow by the way a little discontent among the
sisters. The idea, however, that such was the case did not, I must admit,
fill me with much repentance. To my husband I had said very little,
but I think he would bear me witness that what I did say was said
effectively. Now when I was brought face to face with practical polygamy
and could observe it in its most repulsive phases, I hated it more than

One day not long after our arrival, as we were taking a walk together,
I saw across the road a man gesticulating after an eccentric fashion
and beckoning to us. Mr. Stenhouse said, “That is Brother Heber C.
Kimball;” and I looked again with interest to see what that celebrated
Apostle was like. I had both heard and read a great deal about Brother
Heber, and what I had learned was not at all of a character to impress
me favourably—he had been so severe in his denunciation of every woman
who dared to oppose polygamy. On the present occasion his conduct was,
I thought, anything but gentlemanly; and when we crossed the road to
him,—which on account of his position in the Church—next to Brigham
himself—we, of course, were compelled to do,—my face must have betrayed
my feelings I am sure, for almost his first words after shaking hands
were, “Have you got the blues?”

My answer was ready in a moment. “I have had nothing else ever since I
came here.”

“Well,” he replied, “it is time that you should get rid of them, and I am
going to talk to you some day soon, for I rather like your looks.”

I did not like _his_ looks much, however, nor was I at all pleased with
his manner. I do not say that I was altogether without blame in feeling
thus, for I was prejudiced. Of course I was prejudiced. From the first
moment when I heard that polygamy was a doctrine of the Church, I was
predisposed to be dissatisfied with everything: I was henceforth not
myself, for the terrible apprehension of my own fate in the “Celestial
Order” had changed my whole nature, and that change of itself was a
great source of grief to me. I keenly realized that I was no longer the
light-hearted, pleasant companion to my husband that I had been, and many
a time and oft I wished for his sake that I could die, for I felt that I
never could be happy in Mormonism again.

How many times have I knelt by my husband’s couch when he was unconscious
of it, and have wept bitter tears of sorrow, earnestly praying to the
Lord to subdue my rebellious heart, and, if it were necessary, rather
than I should be a continual annoyance to my husband, whom I loved with
all my soul, that every particle of love in my heart should be withered,
so that I might perchance, if without love, be able at least to do my
duty. I fully realized that in polygamy there could be no real love; and
while my affections were still placed upon my husband, it was torture to
live in a community where I was compelled to listen to the “counsels”
which were given to him, day after day, regardless of my presence, to
take another wife. I was too proud to notice any ordinary allusion that
was made to the subject before me; but when the conversation was turned
in that direction by those who professed to be sincere friends and to
entertain a kindly interest in my welfare, I was compelled to listen and

In my unhappy condition, I thought that perhaps I might derive some
consolation from the sermons in the Tabernacle—something that might
shed a softer light upon my rugged pathway. But instead of obtaining
consolation, I heard that which aroused every feeling of my soul to
rebellion, and kindled again within me the indignation which I had been
so long struggling to conquer. I heard that woman was an inferior being,
designed by the Lord for the special glory and exaltation of man, that
she was a creature that should feel herself honoured if he would only
make her the mother of his children—a creature who if very obedient and
faithful through all the trials and tribulations in life, might some day
be rewarded by becoming one of her husband’s queens, but should even then
shine only by virtue of the reflected light derived from the glory of her
spouse and lord. He was to be her “saviour,” for he was all in all to
her; and it was through him alone and at his will that she could obtain
salvation. We were informed that man was the crowning glory of creation,
for whom all things—woman included—were brought into being; and that the
chief object of woman’s existence was to help man to his great destiny.

Not a sentence—indeed, not a word—did we ever hear as to the possibility
of womanly perfection and exaltation in her own right; and not only so,
but, as if this were not enough to crush all ambition out of our souls,
we were instructed in some new views of marriage. The great object of
marriage, we were told, was the increase of children. Those diviner
objects—the companionship of soul, the devotion of a refined and pure
affection, the indissoluble union of two existences—were never presented
to the yearning hearts of those poor women who listened to the miserable
harangues of the Tabernacle: such aspirations had nothing to do with the
hard, cruel facts of their life in polygamy.

And this I found was how the women of Utah were spiritually sustained.
Seldom, indeed, was taught anything better, but frequently much that was
worse. If Nature, asserting its right to a full return of love, should
manifest itself, and inspire some of these poor wives to rebel against
the lives which they were compelled to lead in polygamy, then it would
be said, in the language of the Tabernacle, that the women were “filled
with the devil,” and that unless they repented speedily, they would
“apostatize and go to hell;”—an assurance which was scarcely necessary,
for many of those poor souls were enduring as much as if they were there
already. Or if some woman was found objecting to polygamy on account of
its crushing and degrading effects upon women generally, then, as I just
said, she was told in the coarse language of Brigham Young himself, that
“such women had no business to complain; it was quite enough honour for
them to be permitted to bear children to God’s holy Priesthood.”

I found, therefore; that the sermons in the Tabernacle were not
calculated to help me much spiritually. I had neither friend nor
counsellor on earth to whom I could turn for help—my God alone remained
to me. But, ah, how different were my ideas of God then, from those which
I entertained before and since. Once I could look upon the beauties of
nature and the varied experiences of human life, and while my soul was
lifted up with devotion and gratitude, I could see the loving hand of my
Heavenly Father in everything around me. Now there was neither light nor
beauty before my eyes—all was dark and dreary; there was nothing to draw
away my heart from such sad thoughts as these. It was painfully clear to
my understanding, then as now, that in Mormonism woman was to lose her
personal identity. All that Christianity had done to elevate her was to
be ruthlessly set aside and trampled under foot, and she was instantly
to return to the position which she occupied in the darkest ages of the
world’s existence.

I had at that time the daily and hourly cares of a family devolving
upon me, and had not therefore much leisure to spend in visiting my
friends even if I had desired to do so. Notwithstanding that, however,
I had abundant opportunities of observation; and thus my experience of
Mormonism and polygamy in Utah is much the same as that of any Mormon
woman of ordinary sense; I only tell what others could relate if they had
the inclination to do so. It was not possible for me to live in Salt Lake
City without being brought face to face with polygamy in some shape or
other every day of my life. Had it been otherwise, and if remaining at
home would have kept it from my view, I probably never should have had
the courage to enter a house where it was practised. To those who know
nothing of that degrading system this may seem rather an exaggeration
of feeling; and yet, even at that early day, I had seen so much of the
folly and weakness of the Mormon brethren, both in London and New York,
before we went to Utah, and had witnessed so many evil results of their
teachings, that it was with the greatest difficulty that I could control
my feelings sufficiently to call upon any family where there was more
than one wife. And yet what I knew then was nothing in comparison to what
I afterwards witnessed—yes, that I myself endured.

During the winter, although I visited very little, I attended a good many
parties at the Social Hall; but I did so more from a wish to be agreeable
to my husband than from any pleasure that they afforded me, for life had
long since been losing almost all its charms for me. How many times have
I gazed wistfully at those lofty mountains which surrounded the city, and
felt that they were indeed my prison walls. How bitterly have I realized
that I should never be able to go beyond them. But in a new country, with
a family to provide for, a mother has not much time to waste in pining,
even if it be for liberty itself, and I would willingly draw the veil
over that portion of my life.

As my husband had been on mission for so many years and had spent all
his time in the service of the Church, with the exception of a few brief
months before we left New York—when he was engaged on the staff of
the New York _Herald_—I naturally enough thought that when we reached
Zion his occupation would be gone. There would be no need of preaching
to the Saints: on the contrary they would be able to teach us; and we
should have to find out what we could do in this new country to support
ourselves and our children. In this I was not mistaken.

Now among the “absolutely necessary” things which I had brought with
me from New York, were about three hundred dollars’ worth of millinery
goods, which I had secreted among our other properties, thinking that
they would very probably come in useful to the fair daughters of
Zion—notwithstanding that the Elders had told me of fiery sermons,
delivered by the Prophet himself, condemning all feminine display, and
that the sisters would scorn to wear Gentile fashions. I knew my own sex
too well to believe that all this was strictly true, and I felt certain
that I should find, even among the Saints, some weak sisters who would
appreciate my thoughtfulness in bringing such articles for their use. I
had also noticed that the American Elders themselves would frequently
inquire where they could buy the best gloves and the prettiest ribbons
and laces, and that looked a little suspicious.

Quite a number of such articles, therefore, found their way into my list
of “absolute necessaries,” and I know that my husband was secretly quite
at a loss to know what had become of a certain sum of money which he was
aware I had obtained from the sale of some of our things in New York. But
my foresight in this instance was very useful to us when we arrived in

One day when Mr. Stenhouse was absent seeking employment, I thought I
would make a display of my treasures and surprise him on his return.
Accordingly, with the assistance of our faithful domestic, whom I had
brought with me across the Plains, and who had also lived with me in
Switzerland, we contrived to place two or three planks in such a way as
to make a rough table on which to display the goods. I had been secretly
at work for about two weeks, trimming the bonnets and hats, and making a
number of head-dresses, such as were worn in New York when we left; and,
although we had been three months on the Plains, and quite a month in
Utah, yet those bonnets and head-dresses were of the very latest style to
the ladies of Salt Lake City.

My Swiss girl was quite a carpenter, and when my temporary table was
arranged, I placed a pretty-looking cloth over it to hide its defects,
and then began to arrange the various articles. I found that I had a
much finer assortment than I had imagined, for I had bought them at
different times, and had packed them away hurriedly, lest Mr. Stenhouse
or some of the other Elders—for there were generally one or two in the
house—should object to my taking them. When my table was filled, and I
found that I had still more to display, I was very much pleased, for I
saw in my hats and bonnets, flour, meat, and potatoes for my children,
and I felt hopeful, for one of the sisters had assured me that I should
be certain to sell them. The next thing to do was to advertise my stock.
After some reflection, I remembered another of the sisters, who was quite
a good talker, and who felt very kindly towards me. I had known her in
England—she had been in Utah about three years, and her husband had by
that time been blessed with two other wives. She used to say that she
had no patience with a set of grumbling women, who did not know what was
good for them. I do not think that the blessedness enjoyed by her husband
was shared by the two wives, for more forlorn-looking women I never saw.
My husband, however, told me that this was none of my business, and I
believed him, of course, after the fashion of all good wives.

But to return. This good sister, besides being an excellent talker, had
really nothing else to do except visiting her neighbours, for the other
wives now took entire charge of all the household duties. So I made her a
present of a new bonnet, as I knew that then in two days my goods would
be quite sufficiently advertised; and in this I was not mistaken.

Almost the first visitors who called to see me were a lady and her
daughter. I talked freely to her and answered her inquiries, and she
told me that she herself had had some experience in the business. “In
Salt Lake City,” she said, “I think you will not be able to sell those
goods; they are too fashionable for the people here, and there is no
encouragement given to any one in this business. I am afraid you will be

I believed every word she said, and felt all my airy, hopeful castles
begin to crumble away. Before she left, however, she very kindly offered
to purchase all my goods at a low figure and thus relieve me of the
anxiety and trouble of selling them. But I had had a little experience in
the world,—although probably I appeared to her somewhat innocent,—and I
thought that if she could sell them, there was a chance at least that I
also might be able to do so. At any rate, I resolved to try, and I told
her so, when she left me with many kind wishes for my success. But what
she had said during her visit had chilled my enthusiasm, and I pictured
all my pretty newly-made articles becoming soiled and faded, with no one
to buy them; while the little ones, barefooted—like so many children in
Utah then—were running about crying for bread which I could not buy them.
I felt sad, and, if I must confess it, I sat down and had a good cry.

Just at that moment I heard a knock at the door, and hastily drying my
eyes, I opened it, and there stood my talkative friend.

“Stop crying!” she exclaimed. “What is the matter, my dear? Oh _do_ stop
crying. I don’t like crying women: we see so many of them among the
Saints of God that it is really a shame and a disgrace. Tell me what is
the matter? Has your husband got another wife? or are you afraid he
won’t be able to get one? Come, tell me!”

All this was uttered in a breath, and without the possibility of my
putting in a word by way of reply or remonstrance. At last I told her
that I had just had a visit from one of the sisters and her daughter,
whom I described.

“I know,” she said; “I met her as I was coming here. Do you know who she

“No,” I replied, “I do not think she told me her name; she simply came to
look at the goods.”

“And did she tell you that they would sell well, and that they are the
best investment that you could have made?”

“Quite the contrary,” I said, “she discouraged me so much that I could
not help shedding tears.”

“Well now,” she answered, “that was Mrs. C——, one of our milliners here;
and you suppose she was going to encourage you to set up an opposition
shop, do you? If you do, why, you’ve got something yet to learn.” Indeed
I felt that I had got a great deal to learn.

“Now I have come to tell you quite a different story,” she said. “This
very afternoon you will have at least a dozen ladies here; and ladies,
too, who have got the money to pay for what they have, and who won’t pay
you in salt chips and whetstones.”

“Do they ever pay in such things?” I inquired.

“Why certainly they do. That is the kind of pay that the good Saints
generally expect their poor brethren and sisters to be satisfied with,
and to feed their hungry children upon. But I say that this is wrong.
Not that I want to set myself up as a judge in Zion, or that I should
criticize the actions of the brethren, God forbid! But when I see the
rich brethren grinding the faces of the poor in that way, why, I say that
it is wrong. But you must not take any such pay as that. You may not
always get money, but you can at least get flour, potatoes, and molasses.
Now, I tell you that you are going to sell every article that you have
got, and I shall take pleasure in recommending you and talking about it.
Why, I’ve been to about two score people already; but, there! I see your
husband coming, and I must go!” My husband, indeed, _was_ there. He was
not very fond of my talkative friend, and passed her by with a polite
salutation only; but when he saw what I had been doing, the light dawned
upon his mind, he no longer wondered what had become of the dollars in
New York, and, astonished at my success, he congratulated me upon the
good use to which I had put them.

After this interview I felt quite encouraged, and I very soon found that
my friend’s predictions were correct. I had no difficulty in selling,
and I created quite a little business, although we lived a considerable
distance from Main Street. And what with my efforts, and some employment
which my husband obtained, we contrived to get through our first winter
in Salt Lake City.

But I anticipate.

One day my husband informed me that there was a house about to be vacated
shortly, and that Brigham Young had told him we had better take it. It
was pleasantly situated near the Tabernacle, and, as houses then were, it
was quite a desirable residence. We had it thoroughly cleaned, and then
moved in. When I arrived in the evening I found that Mr. Stenhouse, with
the assistance of our faithful Swiss girl, had arranged everything as the
goods arrived from the other house; and the place looked so clean, and
there was such a bright fire burning that I felt that we now had really
something like a home, and my heart was filled with gratitude.

Soon after our establishment in our new home, Brigham sent for me and
asked me to make a handsome bonnet for his then favourite wife Emmeline.
He left it entirely to my taste; I was to make just what I pleased, so
that it suited her and gave satisfaction.

I made my bonnet; and when I presented it, Brigham Young was so pleased
that he immediately gave me an order to make one for each of his wives.
I was very much pleased at this, for we needed furniture and many other
necessaries very badly, and I thought that this would enable me to get
them. I expected, of course, that my account would be paid in money, for
I did not suppose that the Prophet of the Lord would offer me chips or
whetstones: he could afford to pay cash, and, of course, would do so.
He had furnished me with some material out of his own store—for Brigham
Young had a dry-goods and grocery store of his own at that time—and I was
to furnish the remainder. It was very little indeed that he supplied,
and therefore my account was likely to amount to a considerable sum, for
almost every wife had at least one bonnet which she wished made over with
new trimmings, besides the new one.

I worked constantly for three weeks, with the assistance of two girls,
to each of whom I paid six dollars a week besides board. This was a
difficult thing for me to do at that time in Utah, for money was seldom
seen there then; but I was rejoicing in the prospect of the comfortable
new furniture which I should have when it was all done. Furniture at
that time was very expensive; there was nothing better than white pine
articles, stained or painted. The commonest kind of wooden rocking-chair
cost fifteen dollars, and common painted wooden chairs were six dollars a
piece, with everything else in proportion. This being our first winter,
we had not been able to get much, and I thought I would devote the
proceeds of the work I was doing for Brigham to fitting up the house a
little; and, with what I earned from my other customers, I contrived to
pay my help, so as to have all the rest clear.

All was completed, and great satisfaction expressed at the result of my
labours. So I asked my husband to present my account and, if possible,
get it settled; it amounted to about 275 dollars, although I had dealt
very liberally with the Prophet, and had charged for the goods but little
more than they cost me. When he returned, I hastened to meet him, for I
had partly selected the furniture and I wanted to go and purchase it. But
I was like poor Perrette, the milkmaid, who counted her chickens a little
too soon; for Mr. Stenhouse told me that Brother Brigham had given orders
that the amount should be credited to us _for tithing_! What a shock this
was to me; for that sum, small as it may appear, was my whole fortune at
the time, and it was gone at one sweep! “Can it be possible,” I said,
“that he can be so mean as that? Where can his conscience be? or has he
any; to deprive me of my hard earnings in this way? He shall not do it—I
will _make_ him pay me.”

My indignation was so great that I did not reflect how imprudent I was to
talk thus of the Prophet of the Lord; but my husband said, “What can you
_do_? You cannot help yourself. You can _do_ nothing but submit. Let us
try to forget it; or, if not, it will perhaps be a lesson to us.” But I
did not forget it and never could, although I tried very hard; and when
many months had passed, and I no longer suffered from the effects of my
loss, I still remembered it, and I always _shall_ remember the way in
which Brigham paid for his wives’ bonnets.

[Illustration: ORSON HYDE, Late President of the Twelve Apostles.

_Born January, 1805._]

[Illustration: GEORGE Q. CANNON, Utah Delegate to Congress.

_Born in Liverpool, England, 1827._]



Not many weeks after our arrival in Salt Lake City, my husband told me
that we might now enjoy the privilege of going through the Endowment

This was intended as a great favour to us, on the part of the
authorities, for most people have to wait a long while before receiving
their Endowments; but my husband’s influence and position in the Church
was, I presume, the reason why we were admitted so soon.

Now, I had heard so much of the Endowments and the Endowment House that I
quite dreaded to pass through this ordeal. The idea of the whole ceremony
was, that thereby we should receive the special grace of God; be united,
man and woman, making one perfect creature; receive our inheritance as
children of God; and, in fact, be made partakers of the plenitude of
every blessing.

I knew well that no marriage was considered binding unless it had been
celebrated in that place. I knew that the Saints, however long they might
have been wedded, were under the necessity of being reunited there before
they could be considered lawfully married and their children legitimate.
According to the highest Mormon authority, no marriage is valid unless
the ceremony is performed in the Temple. The Temple is not yet built,
and as Joseph, the Prophet, said, “No fellow can be damned for doing the
best he knows how,” the Saints, meanwhile, do “the next best thing,”
and are married in the Endowment House. I knew that there and then the
faithful were said to be “endowed” with their heavenly inheritance. I
saw how _absolutely needful_ it was that my husband and myself should
become partakers of those mysteries; but I was influenced by the strange
stories which I had heard of unhallowed and shameful doings in that same
Endowment House, and consequently I feared to enter in.

My fears were not, however, altogether groundless or visionary. It has
been whispered—falsely perhaps—that in that Endowment House scenes have
been enacted so fearful that words would falter on the lips of those who
told the tale concerning them. I have _heard_ of such things from men
of integrity and honour; but they were not eye-witnesses of what they
related, and they could not, or would not, give me their authorities.
One thing I am certain of; if such horrible deeds were ever perpetrated
within those walls, there remains no _living_ witness to testify of them.
The lips of those who alone could tell the whole truth are sealed in a
silence which the trump of doom alone shall break.

It was, of course, no fear of any personal violence or any painful
disclosures in that respect, that made me reluctant to receive my
Endowments, for at that time I was by profession apparently a good
Mormon; if I had my doubts and misgivings, I had them in common with
nine-tenths of the Mormon women, and had therefore nothing to fear. The
true cause of my reluctance was of a more delicate and personal nature.
I had been informed that, if I refused to go, my husband could not go
alone; he would be compelled to take another wife, and go with her. This
was not all. I found that it was quite common for the Elders to take a
second wife when they took their first Endowments, and thus, as they
coarsely expressed it, “kill two birds with one stone.” Moreover, I had
heard of men who feared to introduce Polygamy into their households,
presenting to their wives, while going through the House, a young girl as
their intended bride, feeling sure that the wife would not dare to make
a scene before the Assembly. How could I know that my husband also had
not such an idea in his mind? True, I trusted him implicitly, and did not
believe it possible that he could deceive me. But had not men who were
universally known for their integrity and honour acted in the same way
to _their_ wives; and with so many evidences of the best and most honest
natures being corrupted by the unrighteous teachings of their religion,
could I be blamed for doubting him whom I loved best?

There was also another reason why I particularly objected to passing
through the Endowment House. I had been told many strange and revolting
stories about the ceremonies which were there performed, for it was said
that in the Nauvoo Temple the most disgraceful things were done. About
what was done at Nauvoo I can say nothing, as it was before my time, but
still it is only fair to say, that people who in every other relation
in life I should have deemed most reliable and trustworthy were my
informants respecting those strange stories. Of the Endowments in Utah I
can, of course, speak more positively, as I myself passed through them;
and I wish to say most distinctly that, although the initiation of the
Saints into “The Kingdom,” appears now to my mind as a piece of the most
ridiculous absurdity, there was, nevertheless, nothing in it indecent or
immoral—of which the reader himself shall presently be the judge.

It is an invariable rule among the Mormons, as I have before intimated,
for every man or woman to mind his or her own business, and nothing
else. Thus it was, that until I myself went through the Endowments,
I was totally ignorant of what they were; although, of course, many
people, with whom I had daily intercourse could easily have enlightened
me if they had been thus minded. Besides this, every Mormon’s mouth was
closed by the oath of that same Endowment House—the penalty of which was
death, a penalty which no one doubted would be sternly enforced. Thus,
totally in the dark, and remembering only the strange stories told about
“washings” and “anointings,” and an imitation of the Garden of Eden, with
Adam and Eve clothed in their own innocence alone, it can be no wonder
that any modest woman should wish to evade all participation in such

I spoke to my husband about it, and he tried to reassure me, but what he
said had rather a contrary effect.

Before we left England, when speaking of these ceremonies, my husband
told me that they were simply a privilege and a matter of choice. But
what a choice! I might go or refuse to go; but, if I refused, he must—if
he went through it all—take another wife in my place, and, as I knew,
there would be no difficulty in finding one. I should in consequence be
known as a rebellious woman; annoyance and indignity would be heaped upon
me; while within my own home I should be compelled to occupy the position
of second wife—as the one who is married first in the Endowment House is
considered the first wife, and has the control of everything.

My husband told me that now he was most anxious to go; he had already
been notified three times that such was his privilege, and there were, he
said, good reasons why we ought gladly to accept the opportunity. It was
an honour, he said, for which many people had waited for years.

My husband reminded me that we had been married by a Gentile, and while
living among Gentiles, and that, as I said before, our marriage was
not valid, and our children were not legitimate. Only those children of
ours who were born _after_ the ceremony in the Endowment House would be
legitimate; the others were outcasts from the “Kingdom” unless we adopted
them _after_ our initiation, and thus made them heirs. In any case, poor
children, they could never be considered the _real_ heirs; they could
only be “heirs by adoption.”

So I agreed to go, trying to persuade myself that it was a sacred duty;
for, although my faith in Mormonism had been roughly shaken, I still
believed that its origin was divine.

The Temple robe, which is a long, loose, flowing garment, made of white
linen or bleached muslin, and reaching to the ankle, had been placed
upon us just before we took the oaths. It was gathered to a band about
twelve inches long, which rested on the right shoulder, passed across the
breast, and came together under the left arm, and was then fastened by
a linen belt. This leaves the left arm entirely free. The veil consists
of a large square of Swiss muslin, gathered in one corner so as to form
a sort of cap to fit the head; the remainder falls down as a veil. The
men wear the same kind of under garment as the women, and their robes
are the same, but their head-dress is a round piece of linen drawn up
with a string and a bow in front, something after the fashion of a Scotch
cap. All good Mormons, after they have received their first Endowments,
get whole suits of Temple robes made on purpose for them, so that they
may be ready for use at any time when they are needed. All marriages in
the Endowment House are performed in these robes, and in them all Saints
who have received their Endowments are buried. Besides our robes we were
instructed to take with us a bottle of the best olive oil.

At seven o’clock in the morning of the day appointed, we presented
ourselves at the door of the Endowment House, and were admitted by
Brother Lyon, the Mormon poet. Everything within was beautifully neat and
clean, and a solemn silence pervaded the whole place. The only sound that
could be heard was the splashing of water, but whence the sound proceeded
we could not see. In spite of myself, a feeling of dread and uncertainty
respecting what I had to go through would steal over my mind, and I
earnestly wished that the day was over.

We waited patiently for a little while, and presently a man entered and
seated himself at a table placed there for that purpose, upon which
was a large book. He opened the book, and then calling each person in
turn, he took their names and ages, and the names of their fathers and
mothers, and carefully entered each particular in the book. Our bottles
of oil were then taken from us, and we were supposed to be ready for the

First we were told to take off our shoes, and leave them in the anteroom,
and then to take up our bundles and pass into another room beyond. This
was a large bath-room, which was divided down the middle by a curtain of
heavy material placed there for the purpose of separating the men from
the women. Here my husband left me—he going to the men’s and I to the
women’s division. In the bath-room were two or three large bathing-tubs
supplied by streams of hot and cold water. We were as much concealed from
the men as if we had been in an entirely separate room, and everything
was very quiet and orderly.

Miss Eliza R. Snow, the poetess, and a Mrs. Whitney, were the officiating
attendants on that occasion. The former conducted me to one of the
bathing-tubs, and placing me in it, she proceeded to wash me from the
crown of my head to the soles of my feet. As she did this she repeated
various formulas to the effect that I was now washed clean from the blood
of this generation and should never, if I remained faithful, be partaker
in the plagues and miseries which were about to come upon the earth. When
I had thus been washed clean, she wiped me dry, and then taking a large
horn filled with the olive oil which we had brought, she anointed me. The
oil was poured from the horn by Mrs. Whitney into the hand of Eliza Snow,
who then applied it to me. The horn was said to be the horn of plenty
which, like the widow’s cruse of oil, would never fail as long as the
ordinance should continue to be administered. In addition to the crown of
my head, my eyes, ears, and mouth were also anointed; my eyes that they
might be quick to see, my ears that they might be apt at hearing, and
my mouth that I might with wisdom speak the words of eternal life. She
also anointed my feet, that they might be swift to run in the ways of the
Lord. I was then given a certain garment to put on.

Now this garment is one peculiar to the Mormon people. It is made so as
to envelope the whole body, and it is worn night and day. I was told
that after having once put it on, I must never wholly take it off before
putting on another, but that I should change one half at a time, and
that if I did so I should be protected from disease, and even from death
itself; for the bullet of an enemy would not penetrate that garment, and
that from it even the dagger’s point should be turned aside. It has been
said that the Prophet Joseph carelessly left off this peculiar garment
on the day of his death, and that, had he not done so, the rifles of his
assassins would have been harmless against him.

When thus arrayed, I proceeded to put on a white nightdress and skirt,
stockings, and white linen shoes. A new name was then whispered into my
ear, which I was told I must never mention to any living soul except my
husband in the Endowment House. This name was taken from the Bible, and
I was given to understand that it would be the name whereby I should be
admitted into the celestial kingdom. This was of course very gratifying.
A circumstance, however, occurred which took from me all the pride which
might have been mine in the possession of a new name. There was among
our number a deaf woman; Mrs. Whitney had to tell her her name once or
twice over, loud enough for me to hear, and thus I found that her new
name, as well as mine, was Sarah. To make the matter worse, another
sister whispered, “Why, that is my name too.” This entirely dispelled any
enthusiasm which otherwise I might have felt. I could well understand
that I might yet become a Sarah in Israel, but if we all were Sarahs,
there would not be much distinction or honour in being called by that
name. As a matter of course I supposed that the men would all become

Our washing and anointing being now over, we were ready for the
initiation—there were about fifteen couples in all.

A voice from behind the curtain asked Miss Snow if we were ready, and was
answered in the affirmative. We were then arranged in a row, the curtain
was drawn aside, and we stood face to face with the men, who had, of
course, on their side of the curtain, been put through the same ordeal. I
felt dreadfully nervous, for I did not know what was coming next, and I
could not quite dismiss from my mind the stories that I had heard about
these mysteries. But in spite of my nervousness, curiosity was strong in
me at that moment, as it was, I suppose, in the others; for, as soon as
the curtain was drawn aside, we all cast our eyes in the direction of the
men. They, as might be expected, were looking in our direction, and when
I beheld them I must say that my sympathies were drawn out towards the
poor creatures. However little vanity or personal pride they possessed,
they must have felt it unpleasant to have to appear in the presence of
ladies in such a dress—or rather _un_dress; and notwithstanding the
solemn meaning of the ceremony, there was just the ghost of a smile upon
our faces as we looked at each other and dropped our eyes again. To any
one who did not feel as we did the religious nature of the initiation,
the scene must have appeared perfectly ludicrous. In fact, some of us
felt it so. One sister, just as the curtain was drawn up and we came in
full view of our lords, cried out, “Oh dear, oh dear, where shall I go?
What shall I do?” This, as may be supposed, caused a laugh, which was, of
course, immediately suppressed.

We could see how the men looked, but of our own appearance we could not
so easily judge. Certainly, we must have looked anything but handsome in
our white garments, and with the oil trickling down our faces and into
our eyes, making them smart and look red. There was nothing, however, for
us to do but to submit quietly and make the best of it we could. Ashamed
as I was, I thought I might venture to look at my husband; there could be
no harm in that; but when I saw his demure-looking countenance and his
efforts to keep his clothing in order, I thought I should be compelled
to laugh outright, for I could see that his thoughts were more occupied
about his personal appearance than with the solemnity of the occasion.
The men were all dressed in the same kind of garment as the women—drawers
and shirt all in one, very much like those which are used for children to
sleep in, and over that an ordinary white shirt, such as men always wear;
that, with socks and white linen shoes, completed their toilet.

Clad after this interesting fashion, we sat opposite to each other for
several minutes, and then my husband and myself were instructed to come
forward and kneel at the altar while all the rest remained standing.
It is the custom thus to select two persons, and we were either picked
out by chance, or it might be, as my husband was thought a good deal of
by the authorities, that they considered he would feel honoured by the

Suddenly a voice was heard speaking to some one, who also replied.
This voice from the unseen was supposed to be the voice of Elohim in
conversation with Jehovah, and the words that were used were much the
same as those contained in the first chapter of the book of Genesis,
describing the creation of the world. Finally, Jehovah and Elohim declare
their intention to come down and visit the earth. This they do, and
pronounce all that they behold very good; but they declare that it is
necessary that one of a higher order of intelligence than the brute
creation should be placed in the world to govern and control all else.

Michael the Archangel is now called, and he is placed upon the earth
under the name of Adam, and power is given him over all the beasts of
the field, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea. Moreover,
the fruits of the earth are all given to him for his sustenance and
pleasure; but he is strictly charged, as in Bible story, not to eat of
one particular tree which stands in the midst of the garden. This tree is
represented by a small real evergreen, and a few bunches of dried raisins
are hung upon it as fruit.

It is now discovered that it is not good for man to be alone; Elohim and
Jehovah, therefore, hold another conversation upon that subject, and they
finally determine to give a companion to Adam. They, therefore, cause
a deep sleep to fall upon Michael—or Adam as he is now called—and they
prepare to operate upon him. Here we were all instructed to assume the
attitude of deep sleep by dropping our heads upon our breasts. Elohim
and Jehovah then come down and go through the motions of removing a rib
from the side of the sleeper, which said rib appears immediately upon the
scene in the person of Eliza R. Snow. Elohim and Jehovah are generally
represented by two of the Twelve Apostles. When Brigham is present he
plays a prominent part.

And now the devil makes his appearance in the person of W. W. Phelps.
Phelps used always to personate the devil in the Endowments, and the
_rôle_ suited him admirably. He is dead now, but whether it has made
any difference in his _status_ I cannot tell, nor do I know who has
succeeded him in his office. The devil wears a very tight-fitting suit
of black muslin, with knee-breeches and black stockings and slippers.
This dress had all the appearance of a theatrical costume, and the man
looked as much like what one might imagine the devil would look as he
possibly could. He began by trying to scrape acquaintance with Eve, whom
he meets while taking a walk in the garden. The innocent, unsuspecting
woman is fascinated by his attentions. Father Adam—who seems to have
had a touch of the Mormon about him—perhaps was not the most attentive
of husbands; or he may have made the same mistake as that which so many
of his sons have since made—neglecting to pay the same attentions after
marriage as he was wont to before—and left his young wife to the mercy of
the tempter. However that may be, Satan and Eve are soon discovered in
conversation together, and Eve appears to be particularly pleased with
Satan. At length he offers her some of the fruit of the forbidden tree,
and after some little demur she accepts it and eats thereof.

Then the devil leaves her, Adam makes his appearance, and Eve persuades
him also to eat of the fruit of the tree. After this they make a dumb
show of perceiving their condition, and an apron of white linen is
produced, on which are sewn pieces of green silk, in imitation of fig
leaves, and in these they both attire themselves.

Then all the brethren and sisters produced similar aprons which they had
brought with them on purpose, and these they put on, as Adam and Eve
had already done. Elohim now appeared again, and called Adam; but Adam
was afraid, and hid himself in the garden with Eve. The curse was now
pronounced upon the serpent—the devil—who reappears upon his hands and
knees, making a hissing noise as one might suppose a serpent would do. We
were then all driven out of the Garden of Eden into another room which
represented the world—and this ended the “First Degree.”

We were now supposed to be out in the world, earning our daily bread by
the sweat of our brows, and we were informed that although we had been
driven out from the presence of the Lord, yet a plan of salvation would
be devised for us, by which we should be enabled to return to our first
estate. We were to wait patiently until this plan should be disclosed to

There was here such a mixture of persons and events that I could not
exactly follow the idea that was intended to be conveyed—if there was
any idea at all. Men representing the ancient prophets entered, and gave
instructions to the people to prepare themselves for the first coming
of our Saviour upon earth. Then we were taught certain pass-words and
grips; and then we were all arranged in a circle. The women covered their
faces with their veils, and we all kneeled down, and, with our right
hands uplifted towards heaven, we took the solemn oath of obedience and
secrecy.[1] We swore that by every means in our power we would seek to
avenge the death of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, upon the Gentiles who had
caused his murder, and that we would teach our children to do so; we
swore, that without murmur or questioning, we would implicitly obey the
commands of the priesthood in everything; we swore that we would not
commit adultery—which, with reference to the men, was explained to mean
the taking of wives without the permission of the holy Priesthood; and
we swore that we would never, under any circumstances, reveal that which
transpired in the Endowment House.

The penalty for breaking this oath, which was worded in the most
startling and impressive way, was then explained to us. His bowels
were—while he was yet living—to be torn from him, his throat was to be
cut from ear to ear, and his heart and tongue were to be cut out. In the
world to come, everlasting damnation would be his portion.

Let not the reader think that this was merely an imaginary penalty,
or that it was expressed merely for the purpose of frightening the
weak-minded; for, as will be shown, punishments quite as horrible as that
have been deliberately meted out to the Apostate, the Gentile, and the
suspected Saint, by the Mormon Priesthood. The innocent blood which cries
for vengeance against Brigham Young and some of the leaders of the Church
is sufficient to weigh the purest spirit which stands before the throne
of God down to the nethermost abysses of hell.

After these fearful oaths had been taken with due solemnity, we were
instructed in the various signs representing those dreadful penalties;
and we were also given a “grip” peculiar to this degree.

We were next entertained by a long address from the Apostle Heber C.
Kimball.—Never in my life—except from Brigham Young—have I listened to
such disgusting language, and I trust I never shall be compelled to
listen to anything like it again. Brother Kimball always used to pride
himself upon using “plain” language, but that day I think he surpassed
himself; he seemed to take quite a pleasure in saying anything which
could make us blush. The subject of which he discoursed was the married
life in the “Celestial Order;” he also laid great stress upon the
necessity of our keeping silence concerning all that we had witnessed
in the Endowment House—even husbands to their wives, and wives to their
husbands, were not to utter a single word. With the sermon ended our
“Second Degree.”

We were now taken to another room for the purpose of passing through
the “Third Degree” of the Order of the Melchisedec Priesthood. When we
were all arranged on one side against the wall, a number of individuals
entered who were supposed to represent the ministers of every
denomination and religion upon the face of the earth. The devil also
makes his appearance again. The ministers set forth the various claims of
their respective creeds—each one striving to show that his is the purest
and the best—but the devil sows division and hatred among them, and a
good deal of confusion ensues.

Then came in personages representing Peter, James, and John, the
Apostles; and they commanded ministers, devil, and all to depart. They
then appeared to organize a new Church, in which the true principles of
the Gospel were to be taught; our Temple robes were also all changed from
the right shoulder to the left, indicating that we were now in the true
Church, and that we were to be absolutely and in every way dependent upon
the priesthood. Another grip was then given to us, and thus we received
the third degree of the Order of Melchisedec Priesthood. In that room
was a division made of bleached muslin; in the division a door and in
the door a hole, with a lap of muslin over it, through which to pass
the hand. Whoever was on the other side could see us, but we could not
see them. The men first approached this door. A person representing the
Apostle Peter appeared at the opening and demanded who was there. He
was told that some one desired to enter. Hands came through the opening
in the muslin curtain, and mysterious fingers cut a mark on the left
breast of the men’s shirts—one mark also over the abdomen, and one over
the right knee—which marks the women religiously imitated upon their
own garments when they got home. The applicant was then told to put his
hand through the opening, and give the last grip belonging to the “Third
Degree,” and mention his new name. He was then permitted to enter. This
was called “going behind the veil.” When the men were all admitted, the
women were suffered to approach, and were passed through by their own
husbands. When a woman has no husband she is passed through by one of
the brethren, and to those who are not going to be married or sealed for
eternity here the ceremonies end.

Now, as I before stated, according to Mormon ideas we had never before
been legally married. It was therefore, necessary that we should now pass
through that ceremony. We accordingly were conducted to a desk, where
our names were entered, and we were then passed into another room. In
that room was a long, low altar, covered with red velvet, and an armchair
placed at one end of it, in which sat Brigham Young. My husband knelt at
one side of the altar and I at the other, with our hands clasped above
it in the last grip which had been given to us. Then the ordinary formula
of marriage was gone through with, and we were informed that we were
sealed for time and for eternity.

Thus we passed through the mysteries of the Endowment House, and at three
o’clock in the afternoon we found ourselves at liberty to return home.
The various ceremonies had occupied eight hours.

When we reached home, my husband said, “Well, what do you think of the
Endowments?” But I did not dare to answer him truthfully at that time.
Had I done so, I should have told him that I was ashamed and disgusted.
Never in all my life did I suffer such humiliation as I did that day;
for the whole time I was under the impression that those who officiated
looked upon us as a set of silly dupes, and I felt annoyed to think
that I dared not tell them so. So I told my husband that I would rather
not speak about it, and we never have spoken of it to this day. What
were his own feelings about the matter, I do not know, for Mormon wives
are taught never to pry into their husband’s feelings or meddle with
their actions. But notwithstanding all my feelings in reference to the
Endowments, so foolish was I that when I afterwards heard the brethren
and sisters talking about the happiness which they had experienced while
going through, and saying how privileged we ought to feel at being in
Zion among the Saints of God, secure in His Kingdom where we could bring
up our children in the fear of the Lord, I began again to think that the
fault was all in myself, and that it was I who was wrong and not the
Endowments. I wondered how, with such a rebellious heart, I should ever
get salvation, and I mourned to think that I had not accepted everything
with the simplicity of a child.

Some time after our initiation I met the Apostle Heber C. Kimball, and
he asked me how I felt upon the occasion. I frankly told him all, but
added that I regretted feeling so. He said, “I shall see if you cannot
go through again; it is not just the thing, and I shall try and make
the opportunity.” Nothing more, however, was said about it. But that
which troubled me most was the fact that while the oaths were being
administered, I dropped my hand and inwardly vowed that I would never
subscribe to such things, and at the same time my heart was filled with
bitter opposition. This, although I did it involuntarily—my better nature
rising within me, and overcoming my superstition—I thought at the time
was sinful. I now, however, rejoice that such was the case; for not
having actually vowed to keep secret those abominable oaths, I can say,
without any cavil or equivocation, that I have broken no promise and
betrayed no trust by the revelations which I have just made.



Not long after I had received my Endowments, my talkative friend, of whom
I have already spoken, came to see me and to offer her congratulations.
She was quite enthusiastic upon the subject, spoke of the honour which
had been conferred upon us, and promised to call frequently “to build me
up.” She was particularly anxious to learn whether I did not feel much
better and happier now.

On that point I could say little, for to have answered her truthfully
would have provoked discussion, into which I did not care to enter. I
knew, too, that anything I said to her would soon be known to every one
else. So I told her that I was feeling well enough.

“‘Well enough!’” she said. “Is that how you feel? Come now, I thought you
would have got over all that when you had been through your Endowments.
You remind me of what Brother Brigham says,—We have so many whining women
in Zion that it is quite a reproach. I do hope that you are not going to
become one of them. Let me give you a bit of advice: The wisest thing
that you can do is to look out for another wife for your husband, and get
him to marry her.”

“Oh my!” I said; “what are you talking about? You surely cannot be in

“I never was more earnest in my life,” she answered. “If you had
persuaded your husband to take another wife when you went through your
Endowments, you would have got over all your troubles at one time. The
anticipation is ten times worse than the reality.”

“I do not see it in that light,” I said. “My own opinion is that my
troubles in that case would only then have begun. I do not think that you
yourself are really happy.”

“Oh, nonsense!” she exclaimed. “Why you can see how happy I am. My
husband has two other wives, besides myself, and a more comfortable
family could not be.”

“You never told me,” I said, “how your husband managed to get those
wives. I should like to hear.”

“My husband managed! Why _he_ did not manage at all; it was I who
arranged everything for him, and I’ll tell you how it was done.

“During the Reformation,” she continued, “you, of course, know the men
were constantly urged to take more wives; but my husband was rather
backward, and used to tell me there was plenty of time, and not the
slightest occasion for him to be in a hurry. I had my own opinion of the
matter and did not agree with him, for you see I was afraid that after
all, he would pick up some young girl or other and fall in love with her,
and all my plans would be disarranged. It is, you know much the best for
the first wife to look out for some girl who will look up to her and
respect her, but not love her husband too much, and then they are likely
to get on well together. If the first wife selects the other wives,
it has the effect of showing them that the husband thinks much of her
judgment and is willing to abide by it, and that they will have to do the
same. This, of course, is as it should be. But if she lets her husband
choose his own wife, he is almost certain to take a fancy to some one
whom the first wife does not like at all, and consequently her authority
is undermined. The first wife ought to keep all the power in her own

“Well,” I said, “I should not care much, I think, who ruled in my home if
another wife was there.”

“You think so now,” she replied; “but when you get used to polygamy you
will feel quite otherwise. People get used to it—the women as well as the
men—and then they leave off fretting and become less selfish. But I was
going to tell you how I managed my husband.

“I was very anxious, as I told you, to find another wife for him, and I
took into consideration all the suitable girls I knew. There was some
objection to almost every one. Some were too pretty and I knew I should
detest them; and others were not good-looking, and those my husband
could not bear. So I waited patiently, but did not give up the hope of
succeeding eventually. At last I met with a girl who I thought would do.
She was certainly not bad-looking, but she was very young, and I thought
I should be able to manage her. The name of this girl was Alice Maynard;
she was a neighbour of ours, and one of a large family. She seemed to me
to be a quiet modest little creature, and I knew that she had to work
hard and received very little in return. In fact, she led at home a life
of drudgery, and even her very clothing bore witness to the poverty of
the family. Her mother had often told me that she felt badly for Alice,
for Mr. Maynard had three other wives, and it was more than he could do
to support them all properly.

“I called one day on Mrs. Maynard to broach the matter to her. She
received me very kindly, and entered into my views at once. She was
anxious, she said, for Alice to get married, for then she would be better
off. I asked her how she would like her to marry my husband, and told her
that we were very comfortably off—as you know we are—and that my husband
owned his house and lot, and was doing a very good business, and, of
course, ought to take another wife. Would she agree to my proposal, and
let me mention Alice to him?

“She said she herself had no objection, but that perhaps my husband might
not like Alice, or Alice might not like him.

“I felt indignant at the idea that any girl should hesitate to marry _my_
husband, and I told Sister Maynard that there could not possibly be any
hesitation on Alice’s part. ‘I’m sure I have no objection,’ she said,
‘if Alice has none. I should only be too happy to see my child in a more
comfortable home.’

“Well, then, we’ll consider the matter settled, I said, and asked if
I could see Alice; so her mother called her in, and I proposed to her
for my husband. You can guess, perhaps, how astonished I was when she
actually laughed in my face, and said she should like to consider the
matter! I did not, however, show her what I thought, but assented to what
she said, and invited her to come and take tea with us.

“My husband had often told me, when I was teasing him about taking
another wife, that he would willingly marry _any_ girl I might choose for
him; and I felt pleased at this, for it showed confidence in my judgment.
So when he came in, later in the day, I told him I had found a wife for
him at last, and that I knew he would like her. ‘Why, Ann,’ he said, ‘I
do believe you are going crazy over the wife question; but if you are, I
do not want you to drive me crazy also.’ I really thought this was too
bad, after all my trouble for him; but nevertheless I was resolved that
the marriage should take place.

“Three days after that, in accordance with my invitation, Alice came to
take tea with us, and I fixed her up to look nice. When she was ready, I
took her into the parlour to introduce her to my husband, who was sitting
there reading. Henry, I said, this is Miss Maynard—the young lady of whom
I spoke to you the other day. He looked up from his paper, and, to my
astonishment, said, ‘Why, Alice, my girl, how do you do? How are mother
and father?’

“‘What, I said, do you know Alice, Henry?’”

“‘Certainly I do,” he answered; ‘Alice and I have met many times before
this, haven’t we, Alice?’

“‘Yes, sir,’ she said, and, oh, _so_ demurely. Why, Sister Stenhouse, I
began to think that I had actually been deceived, and that while I had
innocently supposed that I had found out the girl myself, it was the very
one upon whom my husband had had his eye for a long while past. I watched
them, however, very narrowly, for I was determined that if my husband had
really taken a fancy for the girl he should never have her.”

“Why, that would have facilitated matters, would it not?” I said.

“Do you think,” she replied, “that I would have allowed them to marry if
they loved each other? No, indeed! The Saints marry from principle and
not from love, as Brother Brigham has often told us. I hope you believe
me, dear, when I say that I am not at all a jealous woman, but if my
husband dared to fall in love with a girl and to hide it from me, I could
not stand it I am sure. No! _principle_ is the only thing—there can be
no love in Polygamy. If a man loved his wife, do you think he could have
the heart to pain her by taking another? On the other hand, it is because
of the love which still remains in their hearts, and which they weary
themselves to crush out, that so many of the first wives are miserable.
But I was going to tell you about Alice. I was mistaken in thinking that
my husband had been paying her any attentions. It appeared that he was
acquainted with her father and mother, and that at their house he had
frequently seen the child Alice, but never supposed she was the Miss
Maynard of whom I had spoken. But now they had come together at last he
took to her kindly and she to him, and really I sometimes almost thought
they wished to ignore me altogether.

“I did not let them waste much time fussing with one another, but they
got on very rapidly, nevertheless; and before I had time to arrange
matters properly, my husband told me that _to please me_ he was going to
marry Alice. Only fancy me being pleased at him marrying Alice! Why, it
wasn’t to please myself that I introduced the child to him, but simply
because, if he _must_ have another wife, it was certainly best for me
to choose one whom I could manage. However, they were married not long
after, and really I think I never was more disgusted in my life than I
was on that occasion. I was not jealous, but I do think he might have
paid her a little less attention. In fact I quite regretted, when it was
too late, that I had ever brought them together.

“The Mormon men always do make themselves silly over their new wives,
and I did not expect my husband to be an exception to the rule; but I
was perfectly astonished at the change that took place in Alice. Instead
of the quiet, modest girl she used to be, she put on all sorts of airs,
and treated me as if I were of not the slightest consequence. I couldn’t
stand that, and I resolved, if it were only to take the pride out of her,
I would get my husband to marry another wife still. He wouldn’t object,
I knew, for he takes life very easily, and he has a great respect for
my opinion. Besides which, he is quite well enough off to support three
wives; and as a matter of duty, if nothing else, he ought to do so. That
would soon bring Miss Alice to a proper state of mind, and she needed
something of the sort; for, do you know, she had actually made that
silly husband of mine think that she ought to be treated with the same
consideration as myself.”

“Well, but,” I said, “if the principle of polygamy is of God, it is only
just that all the wives should be treated alike. If my husband were to
marry another woman, much as it would pain me, I should treat her as an

“Then,” she replied, “if you do so you will find that the first wives
will have nothing to do with you. You will find, when you come to be
better acquainted with the people here, that the first wives do not
waste much love over the polygamic wives; and, of course, as a rule,
the polygamic wives detest the first wives. Then the plural wives get
together and talk all manner of evil about the first wives, who do pretty
much the same in respect to them. It is only natural that they should do

“But I was going to tell you,” she continued, “how I selected the third
wife. There was an emigrant-train expected in every day; and you know,
when the emigrants arrive, all those women who want wives for their
husbands, and all those men who want to choose for themselves, go down
to the camping-ground, and if they see a girl who takes their fancy they
ask her if she has got a place to go to, and if she has not they offer to
receive her themselves. There are hundreds of young girls who arrive here
without any one to look after them, and who are only too glad to accept a
home for the winter. Now this was exactly what I did. I went down to the
camp and looked round for myself, and at last my eyes rested upon a young
woman of about thirty or thirty-five years of age, who I thought would
be a more suitable wife for my husband than that giggling chit that I
chose for him at first. I decided at once that she would do, so I went up
to her and asked her if she had any friends. She said she had a brother
living in the City; but when I explained to her how we were situated, and
said that I should like her to come and stay with us till she could look
round a little for herself, she agreed at once. Now—I thought—Miss Alice,
we shall see whether you are going to have things all your own way any

“I told her, however, as well as my husband, that I had brought home
a sister to stay with us a while, and they received her very kindly,
and she soon made herself very useful and agreeable to us all. The
bishop came and talked to my husband, and he made no difficulty at all
in acceding to my wishes, and before long he made our visitor wife
number three; and Alice, as a matter of course, lost a good deal of her
influence over him. For my own part, I am much more comfortable. The two
plural wives do nearly all the work, and I have little else to do than
superintend the household and enjoy myself. My husband is one of those
quiet sort of men who never interfere with domestic affairs, and I have
matters pretty much my own way now. The only thing that annoys me is
his fondness for Alice, who makes herself appear most amiable _to him_,
deceitful thing! I can’t break him of that, but I often tell him that
he will find her out some day. He tells me that he looks upon her as a
child, and feels like a father towards her; no woman, he says, can ever
have his love but me. That sounds all very well; but as to believing it,
that is quite another thing—I keep my eye on them, and watch them well.”

“But,” I said, “it appears to me that it would have been far better
if you had never given him another wife at all, you would have been
saved from annoyance, and the privacy of your home would not have been
disturbed. I am the more surprised, as your husband did not himself
desire it.”

“When you understand better the order of the kingdom, you will not speak
in that way,” she said. “Do you suppose that I shall be satisfied to be
the wife of a man who could not exalt me in the celestial kingdom—a man
with only one wife? Why I have often told my husband that if he did not
get other wives I would leave. It is necessary for a man to have two
wives, at least, if he would enter into the celestial kingdom. That is
why I have been so anxious to get wives for my husband. At the same time
there is no necessity for him to fall in love, and act in a silly way
over them. The only way in such a case is to set one to watch the other,
and then they are pretty certain to keep the old man straight. You think,
perhaps, that I don’t feel all this, but you must not be deceived by
appearances. I try to do the will of heaven with a smile on my face; and
the brethren have often told me that if the other sisters were more like
me they would not have so much difficulty in establishing Polygamy. But,
dear me, Sister Stenhouse, what a long talk we’ve had! I’ll come and see
you soon again, but I must hasten away now, for my husband will be home
to supper by this time.”

So she left me wondering over her strange story of a woman’s experience
in supplying her own husband with wives.



We had not been long in Salt Lake City before the ball-season commenced.
These balls afford splendid opportunities to the men for flirting with
the girls. No matter how old and homely a man is, he thinks that he has
as much right to flirt and dance with the girls as the youngest boy; for
they all look upon themselves and each other as boys and single men, even
if they have a dozen wives. There is no limit to their “privileges.”
They are always in the market. Brigham, in his public discourses, has
said that the brethren “are all young men under a hundred years of age.”
With such an extended privilege, it is here in Utah that hoary Winter
and smiling May can be seen galloping forth in the dance together—a
thoughtful subject for the artist’s pencil.

It is of no consequence how much a man may flirt in the presence of his
wife or wives. They must not presume to say one word to him about it; for
the husband is free to do whatever he likes. He is one of the lords of
creation. He is master of his wives, of his children. Then, how can one
of his own dare to call in question anything he may think fit to do? She
_may_, it is true, do so; but she must take the consequences of that rash

Oh! how I loathe even the very remembrance of those hateful ball-rooms,
where I have seen so many unhappy wives, and have heard so many tales of
sorrow. For, while the wives would be sitting as “wall-flowers” along
the sides of the halls, after having danced the first dance with their
husbands, as a matter of form, I have heard them many times telling each
other about what they had seen their husbands doing during the evening;
and how they had been compelled to pay attention to some simpering girl
that their husbands chanced to fancy; and how they had had to do it for
peace sake, and appear to be satisfied.

I do not mean to say that I did not like these social amusements myself,
for I did; and could, under other circumstances, have enjoyed them
very much. But I had been told so many things of the unpleasantness
of a ball-room in Salt Lake City—at least, to married women—that my
apprehensions were aroused. But all that was ever told me never half came
up to the truth; nor can I possibly myself give the reader any correct
idea of the heartaches and sorrows which these scenes bring to the wives
of Mormons.

It is quite a common thing for married men to go with young girls to
these balls. The majority of the men, however, prefer to take their first
wives with them at the same time; but it is not infrequent to hear a lady
say in the ball-room, “My husband has brought his girl here to-night;
but I have not spoken one word to her, nor will I do so.” Yet, if any
one were to ask these same ladies if they believed that Polygamy was
right, they would say, “Certainly I do; but I do not like _her_”—and this
simply because their husbands had paid _her_ attentions. This seems like
inconsistency; but it serves to show what conflicting feelings Mormon
women have to contend with.

The men should hear what their wives say about them in the ball-rooms,
and the hatred they feel for them. I have seen some women sitting quietly
eyeing their husbands, as they danced or flirted with their younger
loves, till their cup of indignation was full. Then they would make for
the dressing-rooms, where their anger would burst upon the ears of a
group of eager listeners, who were seemingly pleased to learn that some
one else was suffering as well as themselves. A half-repressed threat, “I
will be even with him” has escaped the lips of those who, before that,
had passed for being happily situated.

Where new matrimonial alliances are continually taking place, the arrival
of a gentleman, with his wife, wives, or a maiden, in the ball-room,
is never remarked; and, not infrequently, different wives arrive at
different hours during the evenings, as it suits their convenience; and
thus it would be difficult to say who came with their “lord.” Besides,
no observation is made if a lady thus enters the ball-room alone, though
it is expected that her husband is aware of her coming. This coming
alone, however, is not a common habit; but, as it is admissible, it does
occasionally happen that a husband is dancing or enjoying himself in the
ball-room with his last _fiancée_, when a vigilant pair of eyes searches
over the room and lights upon the happy “lord.” When eyes like these
encounter the eyes they seek, a change is seen, and the youthful airiness
of the gentleman vanishes, and sober looks follow the gaiety of the
earlier hour.

I met President Heber C. Kimball at one of these balls, soon after my
arrival. He said that he would introduce me to _his wife_. Every one
liked Heber for his outspoken, honest bluntness. He took me up the hall
and introduced me to five wives in succession! “Now,” said he, “I think
I’ll quit; for I fancy you are not over strong in the faith.”

I asked, “Are these all you have got?”

“O dear, no,” he said: “I have _a few more at home_, and _about fifty
more_ scattered over the earth somewhere. I have never seen them since
they were sealed to me in Nauvoo, and I hope I never shall again.”

I thought this was terrible; but it was only the beginning of worse

After this winter, I had very little peace; for the women were constantly
talking to me about my husband getting another wife. He held out,
however, for five years; but at last he “felt that it was his duty to do
so,” and I was silly enough to allow that “he was not living up to his
religion” unless he took an extra wife.

I shall never forget those ball-room scenes. Even to this day, when
I chance to listen to tunes which I used to hear played in those
times, they grate terribly upon my ear, and bring back so many sad
recollections, that I want to get away from the sound of them as quickly
as possible, for they are more than I can endure. Bygone recollections
are often recalled by trifles such as this.

A few months ago I attended a ball in Salt Lake City. It was the first I
had been to since I withdrew from the Church; and of course it was got up
by the “Liberal Party.” I felt free and happy, for there was nothing to
annoy or disturb me. Suddenly the band struck up a tune which I had heard
while attending the Mormon balls. It sounded like the death-knell of all
my pleasant feelings, and aroused memories of the past which were so
intensely painful that I could not rally from the depression that I felt
for the rest of the evening. I had heard that tune before, and many like
it, and had even danced to it, while my heart was breaking.

Let me ask my lady readers—those, I mean, who have never been in Utah.
Ladies, how do you think you would feel if _you_ were kept waiting long
after the hour of midnight, far away into the morning, until your
husbands had got through with their dancing and flirting, while your own
hearts were breaking? I think I hear you say, “I would not stand it.” You
do not know, I assure you, _what_ you would do under the circumstances.
How can you possibly judge what the feelings of a Mormon woman are, who
has been taught to believe that “her desire shall be unto her husband,
_and he shall rule over her_.”

In very early days Brigham built a theatre, and a very fair amount of
histrionic talent was developed among the Saints. The Social Hall, in
which were held balls, public entertainments, and other amusements, was
used for histrionic performances before the theatre was built. Brigham
owned the theatre. Money was to be made out of it; and the chance of
making money Brother Brigham never permitted to slip through his fingers.
Brigham’s eyes were sharp enough to see that a theatre would be to him a
source of profit, but he did not look far enough. That theatre—under the
immediate direction of the Prophet, with his own daughters acting in it,
with the plays which were performed under his own censorship—has been one
of the many causes which have perceptibly, although perhaps indirectly,
shaken the hold which Mormonism had upon many a woman’s mind.

A man would probably witness the performance of a play and return from
the theatre with no other thought than the remembrance of an hour’s
amusement. But not so a woman. To her the play suggested something
more, and her daughters would share her thoughts. Daily and hourly, it
might be, the effects of Polygamy would be brought under their notice
as a matter affecting themselves personally. They might be firm in the
faith, but the observant instincts of their sex could never be wholly
crushed. They would notice the neglect which wives endured even from good
husbands; they would see a man leaving the wife of his youth, the mother
of his children, and, careless of the cruel wrong he did her, leave her
in lonely sorrow while he was spending his time in love-making with
some young girl who might have been his daughter. They would see a wife
crushing out from her heart the holiest impulses which God had implanted
there, striving to destroy all affection for him whose dearest treasure
that affection should have been, because, indeed, Polygamy could not
exist with love. They would see and know, and themselves personally feel,
the degradation and misery of the “_Celestial_ Order of Marriage;” and
that to them would be the practical picture of life.

But in the theatre—short-sighted Brigham, to allow it to be so!—another
picture would be presented for their consideration; a picture it might
be, ideal in its details and surroundings, but true to the letter in
the lesson which it conveyed and the thoughts which it suggested. The
disgusting, the brutalizing cruelties of Polygamy, were never represented
on the stage. Thoughts so coarse, so sensual, could never inspire the
true poet’s pen. No; the tale of love, as the poet tells it, is all that
is refined, and chaste, and delicate, and pure; the commingling of two
souls, the unison of two loving hearts, the hopes, the aspirations, the
tender joyful sorrows of two fond natures—of _two alone_! Such is the
picture presented as the ideal of the beautiful and of the good. Then,
too, the delicate attentions of the devoted lover, his happiness even in
the shadow of a smile from _her_, the lofty pedestal upon which to his
imagination _she_ stands, a queen and peerless; or the confiding love of
the heroine of the story; blushingly confessing to herself that there is
_one_ heart on earth which is all her own, and in which none but herself
can ever rule or reign.

The Mormon women are not devoid of common sense, nor are they destitute
of those quick perceptions which, under all circumstances, distinguish
their sex. They see on the stage representations of the happiness
attendant upon love and marriage, such as God ordained, and such as finds
a response in every heart; and they compare such pleasant pictures with
what they know and have witnessed of Polygamy, and they draw painful
inferences therefrom. Their faith may be proof against apostasy, but the
impression left upon their minds produces its effect notwithstanding.

The spring came on, and our prospects began to brighten. My husband not
only found remunerative employment for his pen in Salt Lake City, but
was also engaged as special correspondent to the _New York Herald_ and
several of the California papers.

One morning, a countryman, roughly dressed and looking the picture of
care, called at our house and asked to see Mr. Stenhouse. I gazed at him
for a moment, for I thought there was something familiar in the sound of
his voice. He looked at me, and I at once recognized him; it was Monsieur
Balif himself, in whose house we had lived in Switzerland. But, oh, how
changed he was! Once a refined, handsome, gentlemanly man; now a mere
wreck of his former self, careworn, rough-looking, poorly clad. He and
his family had been in Utah six years, and had suffered all the ills that
poverty can induce: the change which was wrought in him was so great,
that for some moments I was so overcome by my feelings that I could not
utter a word. In the few short years which had elapsed since I saw him in
his own bright and happy home, he had become quite an old man. I hardly
dared to ask about his wife, for I feared what his answer might be; but
after a little while he told me that she had sent her love, and would
like to see me whenever I could find an opportunity to call upon her.
They lived some miles from the city, but I told him that I would not fail
to visit them whenever it was possible for me to do so.

I talked a long while with Monsieur Balif, and was much interested in
what he told me. He made no complaints; he had still firm faith in
Mormonism, and said that if the brethren had not dealt fairly by him they
would be answerable to God for what they had done. “Besides,” he added,
“I do not blame them so much, for they are Americans, and would not be
happy if they did not get the advantage in some way.”

I was anxious to ask him if he had been induced to take another wife,
as he had been in Utah during the “Reformation,” and I did not see
how it was possible for him to have escaped; but while I was thinking
how I might put the question delicately, he saved me the trouble by
himself telling me that he had married the young servant-girl, whom his
wife had taken from Switzerland with her. This information was quite
a shock to me, for I well knew the proud spirit of his wife, and I
could realize what anguish this second marriage must have caused her;
I did not, however, like to question him on the subject. So I turned
the conversation into another channel, and when he went away I sent
kind messages to Madame Balif, saying that I would seize the very first
opportunity of hearing from her own lips the story of all they had gone

Here, again, I found the trail of that monster—Polygamy. This time in the
home of my dearest friend. From the moment when she and I had mingled our
tears together in Switzerland, over that abomination, life had been to me
one long, weary, sickening battle with my own heart; one futile attempt
to fully convince myself that Polygamy was right and that I was wrong. I
certainly did believe, or thought that I believed, the doctrine was true.
But at times nature prevailed in the struggle, and womanly indignation
and anger rose in arms against faith. These feelings were, however, at
once and unhesitatingly subdued; faith returned triumphant, and I was
again convinced that the Revelation _must_ have been the will of the
Lord, and that my duty was to submit, but not to question. In moments
of comparative self-control I had even tried, as a Missionary’s wife,
to justify it to others, but only to witness an outburst of sorrow and
anger, and to feel still more the weakness of my position. That had been
my own experience; but how had the time passed with my dear old friend?
She must, no doubt, have been as greatly disappointed as I was when she
came to Zion and saw things as they really were, and not as they had been
represented to us.

My own eyes had certainly been opened not a little since my arrival.
Instead of finding the people enjoying the comforts and blessings of
life, which we had been taught were strewn around them in profuse
abundance, we found among all but the leading families the greatest
poverty and privation. The majority of the people were living in little
log or adobe houses, of one or at the utmost two rooms, of most primitive
construction, and without the slightest convenience of any description.
Their food was bread and molasses, and it might be an occasional morsel
of meat; but many of them scarcely ever indulged in the latter, or in any
article of grocery, for months at a time. Their floors and walls were
bare, and their clothing poor and scanty; and yet, destitute as they were
of all the comforts and conveniences of life, they were conscientiously
endeavouring like good Saints to practise Polygamy, because, as they
believed, the Lord had commanded it.

In respect to education they were in even a worse position. Books,
pictures, and periodicals of any kind, there were none, with the
exception of that dreary organ of the church, the _Deseret News_—the
soporific influence of which some wicked Apostate has likened to a
dose of Winslow’s soothing syrup. Brigham Young, himself an illiterate
man, and the leading Elders, frowned upon every attempt to raise the
intellectual _status_ of the people; and so little encouragement was
given, that no one could afford to keep school. The consequence was,
that the boys and girls grew up with little more education than their
own sense of necessity taught them to acquire for themselves; and it was
not until very recently that any suitable efforts were made to supply
trained teachers and to open schools in which a thorough education could
be afforded.

I have already mentioned the sermons of the Tabernacle, and observed
how little calculated they were to elevate the character or cultivate
the minds of the people. I have before me as I write a choice morsel
extracted from one of the sermons of Heber C. Kimball, which I think I
must give for the reader’s benefit.

Fancy an “Apostle!” thus addressing a large and mixed congregation of
men, women, and children:—

“Here are some edicated men jest under my nose. They come here and they
think they know more than I do, and then they git the big head, and it
swells and swells until it gits like the old woman’s squash—you go to
touch it and it goes ker-smash; and when you look for the man, why he
ain’t thar. They’re jest like so many pots in a furnace—yer know I’ve
been a potter in my time—almighty thin and almighty big; and when they’re
sot up the heat makes ’em smoke a little, and then they collapse and
tumble in, and they aint no whar.”

This was Heber’s style in general. Next to making modest people blush,
nothing pleased him better than to annoy or ridicule any one who had
the smallest pretensions to education; and yet naturally Heber was
a kind-hearted man. Brigham’s style is very little better, and the
substance of his discourses quite as bad. I will give a very favourable
specimen, taken from a sermon on Polygamy, delivered some years ago,
touched up and corrected, and published in the official organ, the
_Deseret News_:—

“Men will say, ‘My wife, though a most excellent woman, has not seen a
happy day since I took my second wife.’ ‘No, not a happy day for a year,’
says one; and another has not seen a happy day for five years.

“I am going to set every woman at liberty, and say to them, Now go
your way—my women with the rest; go your way. And my wives have got to
do one of two things; either round up their shoulders to endure the
afflictions of this world and live their religion, or they must leave;
for I will not have them about me. I will go into heaven alone rather
than have scratching and fighting around me. I will set all at liberty.
‘What, first wife too!’ Yes, I will liberate you all. I know there is
no cessation to the everlasting whinings of many of the women in this
territory; I am satisfied that this is the case; and if the women will
turn from the commandments of God, and continue to despise the order of
heaven, I will pray that the curse of the Almighty may be close to their
heels, and that it may be following them all the day long. And those that
enter into it (the celestial order) and are faithful, I will promise
them that they shall be queens in heaven and rulers to all eternity.

“Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do
so, I promise that you will be damned.”

This was sweet language for a Prophet and a Saint to utter, and yet it is
not half so coarse or improper as some whole sermons that I have listened
to from the lips of Brother Brigham and the other leaders of the Church.

The Apostle Orson Pratt is the only one who has dared, in the presence of
Brigham, to say that education was a proper thing, and that there were
many books which would be of good service to the Saints, if they obtained
and studied them. On one occasion, Brigham arose in ire, and said,—

“The professor has told you that there are many books in the world, and
I tell you that there are many people there. He says there is something
in all these books; I say each of those persons has got a name. It would
do you just as much good to learn those somebodies’ names as it would to
read those books. Five minutes’ revelation would teach me more truth than
all this pack of nonsense that I should have packed away in my unlucky
brains from books.”

But the Prophet has changed with the times, and there are now in Utah
very good schools, both Mormon and Gentile, but none of them are
_free_-schools. Bishop Taylor once said in a public lecture that they
were “destructive to the best interests of the community;” and the
bishop’s “lord” in the Lion-House is exactly of the same opinion, for he
has repeatedly declared that “there _shall be no_ ‘free-schools’ within
his Saintly ‘Kingdom’ on earth.” Nevertheless, Brother Brigham and his
“_Infallible_ Priesthood” are at last beginning to discover that although
the night of ignorance and superstition may hate the clear daylight of
truth and knowledge, when the great Ruler of all commands the light to
come forth it is not in the power of man, with all his boasting, to
forbid the sun to shine upon the dark places of the earth.

Balls, parties, and the theatre provided amusement for the people in Salt
Lake City itself; but in the Settlements there was little else in the
shape of recreation than idle gossip or the harangues of the Tabernacle.

At the time when we went to Utah, Mormon society was slowly recovering
from that terrible marrying mania which had set in during the
“Reformation,” and a season of divorce was the result.

The authorities at that time, as I have already observed, had urged every
person, without distinction, into Polygamy. Men and women had been forced
to marry one another without any respect to affection or fitness, and the
result was that hundreds of marriages were entered into which made those
who contracted them miserable for life, but the consequences of which
they could not avoid. At the same time not a few were divorced almost
immediately after they were married, and these things were a matter of
daily occurrence. Brigham Young, with his eye perpetually on the dollar,
finding that his marrying scheme, like many other of his “divine” plans,
was a failure, saw at once that quite a nice little sum might be realized
by charging a fee for divorces. Nothing was charged for marrying; but if
the people insisted on having divorces, why, the best, and certainly the
most profitable thing, was to make them pay for them. When we first went
to Utah, the Prophet was doing quite a flourishing business in that line.
Any one could get a divorce for ten dollars; and Brigham publicly in the
Tabernacle jested about it, and said that the money thus obtained came
in very conveniently as pin-money for his wives, though I doubt if they
ever received a dollar of it. He added, that so far as “eternity” was
concerned, these divorces were not worth the paper they were written on;
the people had married for eternity, and in eternity they would have to
live together, whether they liked it or not. He says the same to-day; but
still he sells his divorces, and gathers in the ten dollars.

As I have written so much of the troubles of the sisters, perhaps it will
be as well to give the reader an idea of the trials and difficulties
which the brethren had to contend with when they first attempted the
introduction of Polygamy. To do this, I shall give the correspondence
of Miss Martha Brotherton, formerly of Manchester, England, relating to
a very interesting courtship between herself and Brigham Young. I would
have the reader remark that this correspondence distinctly proves that
Polygamy was taught by the heads of the church _before_ the Prophet
received the professed revelation.

This account was published just a year, lacking one day, before the
revelation on Polygamy was given to Joseph Smith. It was published in
Boston, in book form, in 1842. The revelation was given at Nauvoo, on the
12th of July 1843.

The following is the letter referred to:[2]—

                          “ST. LOUIS, Missouri, July 13, A.D. 1842.

    “DEAR SIR,—I left Warsaw a short time since for this city, and
    having been called upon by you, through the _Sangamo Journal_,
    to come out and disclose to the world the facts of the case
    in relation to certain propositions made to me, at Nauvoo, by
    some of the Mormon leaders, I now proceed to respond to the
    call, and discharge what I consider to be a duty devolving
    upon me as an innocent, but insulted and abused female. I
    had been at Nauvoo nearly three weeks, during which time my
    father’s family received frequent visits from Elders Brigham
    Young and Heber C. Kimball, two of the Mormon Apostles; when,
    early one morning, they both came to my brother-in-law’s (John
    McIlwrick’s) house, at which place I was then on a visit, and
    particularly requested me to go and spend a few days with them.
    I told them I could not at that time, as my brother-in-law was
    not at home; however, they urged me to go the next day and
    spend one day with them. The day being fine, I accordingly
    went. When I arrived at the foot of the hill, Young and Kimball
    were standing conversing together. They both came to me, and
    after several flattering compliments, Kimball wished me to
    go to his house first. I said it was immaterial to me, and
    went accordingly. We had not, however, gone many steps when
    Young suddenly stopped, and said he would go to that brother’s
    (pointing to a little log hut a few yards distant), and tell
    him that you (speaking to Kimball) and Brother Glover, or
    Grover (I do not remember which) will value his land. When he
    had gone, Kimball turned to me and said, ‘Martha, I want you
    to say to my wife, when you go to my house, that you want to
    buy some things at Joseph’s store (Joseph Smith’s), and I will
    say I am going with you to show you the way. You know you want
    to see the Prophet, and you will then have an opportunity.’ I
    made no reply. Young again made his appearance, and the subject
    was dropped. We soon reached Kimball’s house, when Young took
    his leave, saying, ‘I shall see you again, Martha.’ I remained
    at Kimball’s nearly an hour; when Kimball, seeing I would not
    tell the lies he wished me to, told them to his wife himself.
    He then went and whispered in her ear, and asked if that would
    please her. ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘or I can go along with you and
    Martha.’ ‘No,’ said he, ‘I have some business to do, and I
    will call for you afterwards to go with me to the debate,’
    meaning the debate between yourself and Joseph. To this she
    consented. So Kimball and I went to the store together. As
    we were going along, he said, ‘Sister Martha, are you willing
    to do all that the Prophet requires you to do?’ I said, I
    believed I was—thinking, of course, he would require nothing
    wrong. ‘Then,’ said he, ‘are you ready to take counsel?’ I
    answered in the affirmative, thinking of the great and glorious
    blessings that had been pronounced upon my head if I adhered
    to the counsel of those placed over me in the Lord. ‘Well,’
    said he ‘there are many things revealed in these last days
    that the world would laugh and scoff at; but unto us is given
    to know the mysteries of the kingdom.’ He further observed,
    ‘Martha, you must learn to hold your tongue, and it will be
    well with you. You will see Joseph, and very likely will have
    some conversation with him, and he will tell you what you shall
    do.’ When we reached the building, he led me up some stairs
    to a small room, the door of which was locked, and on it the
    following inscription, ‘Positively no admittance.’ He observed,
    ‘Ah! Brother Joseph must be sick, for, strange to say, he is
    not here. Come down into the tithing-office, Martha.’ He then
    left me in the tithing-office and went out, I know not where.
    In this office were two men writing, one of whom, William
    Clayton, I had seen in England; the other I did not know. Young
    came in and seated himself before me, and asked where Kimball
    was. I said he had gone out. He said it was all right. Soon
    after, Joseph came in and spoke to one of the clerks, and then
    went upstairs, followed by Young. Immediately after, Kimball
    came in. ‘Now Martha,’ said he, ‘the Prophet has come; come
    upstairs.’ I went, and we found Young and the Prophet alone.
    I was introduced to the Prophet by Young. Joseph offered me
    his seat, and, to my astonishment, the moment I was seated,
    Joseph and Kimball walked out of the room, and left me with
    Young, who arose, locked the door, closed the window, and drew
    the curtain. He then came and sat before me and said, ‘This
    is our private room, Martha.’ ‘Indeed, sir,’ said I; ‘I must
    be highly honoured to be permitted to enter it.’ He smiled,
    and then proceeded, ‘Sister Martha, I want to ask you a few
    questions; will you answer them?’ ‘Yes, sir,’ said I. ‘And
    will you promise me not to mention them to any one?’ ‘If it
    is your desire, sir,’ said I, ‘I will not.’ ‘And you will not
    think any the worse of me for it; will you, Martha?’ said he.
    ‘No, sir,’ I replied. ‘Well,’ said he, ‘what are your feelings
    toward me?’ I replied, ‘My feelings are just the same toward
    you that they ever were, sir.’ ‘But, to come to the point
    more closely,’ said he, ‘have not you an affection for me,
    that, were it lawful and right, you would accept of me for
    your husband and companion?’ My feelings at this moment were
    indescribable. God only knows them. What, thought I, are these
    men, that I thought almost perfection itself, deceivers, and
    is all my fancied happiness but a dream? ’Twas even so; but
    my next thought was, which is the best way for me to act at
    this time? If I say _No_, they may do as they think proper;
    and to say _Yes_, I never would. So I considered it best to
    ask for time to think and pray about it. I therefore said,
    ‘If it was lawful and right, perhaps I might; but you know,
    sir, it is not.’ ‘Well, but,’ said he, ‘Brother Joseph has
    had a revelation from God that it is lawful and right for a
    man to have two wives; for, as it was in the days of Abraham,
    so it shall be in these last days, and whoever is the first
    that is willing to take up the cross will receive the greatest
    blessings; and, if you will accept of me, I will take you
    straight to the celestial kingdom; and, if you will have me
    in this world, I will have you in that which is to come, and
    Brother Joseph will marry us here, to-day, and you can go home
    this evening, and your parents will not know anything about
    it.’ ‘Sir,’ said I, ‘I should not like to do anything of the
    kind without the permission of my parents.’ ‘Well, but,’ said
    he, ‘you are of age, are you not?’ ‘No, sir,’ said I; ‘I shall
    not be until the 24th of May.’ ‘Well,’ said he, ‘that does not
    make any difference. You will be of age before they know, and
    you need not fear. If you will take my counsel, it will be well
    with you, for I know it to be right before God; and if there is
    any sin in it, I will answer for it. But Brother Joseph wishes
    to have some talk with you on the subject; he will explain
    things; will you hear him?’ ‘I do not mind,’ said I. ‘Well, but
    I want you to say something,’ said he. ‘I want to think about
    it,’ said I. ‘Well,’ said he, ‘I will have a kiss, anyhow,’ and
    then rose, and said he would bring Joseph. He then unlocked the
    door, and took the key, and locked me up alone. He was absent
    about ten minutes, and then returned with Joseph. ‘Well,’ said
    Young, ‘Sister Martha would be willing if she knew it was
    lawful and right before God.’ ‘Well, Martha,’ said Joseph, ‘it
    is lawful and right before God—I _know_ it is. Look here, sis;
    don’t you believe in me.’ I did not answer. ‘Well, Martha,’
    said Joseph, ‘just go ahead, and do as Brigham wants you to; he
    is the best man in the world, except me.’ ‘Oh!’ said Brigham,
    ‘then you are as good.’ ‘Yes,’ said Joseph. ‘Well,’ said
    Young, ‘we believe Joseph to be a Prophet. I have known him
    near eight years, and have always found him the same.’ ‘Yes,’
    said Joseph, ‘and I know that this is lawful and right before
    God, and if there is any sin in it, I will answer for it before
    God; and I have the keys of the kingdom, and whatever I bind
    on earth is bound in heaven, and whatever I loose on earth is
    loosed in heaven; and if you will accept of Brigham, you shall
    be blessed—God shall bless you, and my blessing shall rest upon
    you; and, if you will be led by him, you will do well; for I
    know that Brigham will do well by you, and if he don’t do his
    duty to you, come to me, and I will make him; and if you do not
    like it in a month or two, come to me and I will make you free
    again; and if he turns you off, I will take you on.’ ‘Sir,’
    said I, rather warmly, ‘it will be too late to think in a month
    or two after. I want time to think first.’ ‘Well, but,’ said
    he, ‘the old proverb is, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,”
    and it will be the greatest blessing that was ever bestowed
    upon you.’ ‘Yes,’ said Young, ‘and you will never have reason
    to repent it—that is, if I do not turn from righteousness, and
    that, I trust, I never shall; for I believe God, who has kept
    me so long, will continue to keep me faithful. Did you ever see
    me act in any way wrong in England, Martha?’ ‘No, sir,’ said
    I. ‘No,’ said he; ‘neither can any one else lay anything to my
    charge.’ ‘Well, then,’ said Joseph, ‘what are you afraid of,
    sis? Come, let me do the business for you.’ ‘Sir,’ said I, ‘do
    let me have a little time to think about it, and I will promise
    not to mention it to any one.’ ‘Well, but look here,’ said he;
    ‘you know a fellow will never be damned for doing the best he
    knows how.’ ‘Well, then,’ said I, ‘the best way I know of is,
    to go home and think and pray about it.’ ‘Well,’ said Young, ‘I
    shall leave it with Brother Joseph, whether it would be best
    for you to have time or not.’ ‘Well,’ said Joseph, ‘I see no
    harm in her having time to think, if she will not fall into
    temptation.’ ‘Oh sir!’ said I, ‘there is no fear of my falling
    into temptation.’ ‘Well, but,’ said Brigham, ‘you must promise
    me you will never mention it to any one.’ ‘I do promise it,’
    said I. ‘Well,’ said Joseph, ‘you must promise me the same.’ I
    promised him the same. ‘Upon your honour,’ said he, ‘you will
    not tell.’ ‘No, sir; I will lose my life first,’ said I. ‘Well,
    that will do,’ said he; ‘that is the principle we go upon. I
    think I can trust you, Martha,’ said he. ‘Yes,’ said I, ‘I
    think you ought.’ Joseph said, ‘She looks as if she could keep
    a secret.’ I then rose to go, when Joseph commenced to beg
    of me again. He said it was the best opportunity they might
    have for months, for the room was often engaged. I, however,
    had determined what to do. ‘Well,’ said Young, ‘I will see you
    to-morrow. I am going to preach at the school-house opposite
    your house. I have never preached there yet; you will be there,
    I suppose.’ ‘Yes,’ said I. The next day being Sunday, I sat
    down, instead of going to meeting, and wrote the conversation,
    and gave it to my sister, who was not a little surprised;
    but she said it would be best to go to the meeting in the
    afternoon. We went, and Young administered the sacrament. After
    it was over, I was passing out, and Young stopped me, saying,
    ‘Wait, Martha; I am coming.’ I said, ‘I cannot; my sister is
    waiting for me.’ He then threw his coat over his shoulders, and
    followed me out, and whispered, ‘Have you made up your mind,
    Martha?’ ‘Not exactly, sir,’ said I; and we parted. I shall
    proceed to a justice of the peace, and make oath to the truth
    of these statements, and you are at liberty to make what use of
    them you may think best.

                       “Yours respectfully,

                                             “MARTHA A. BROTHERTON.

    “Sworn to and described before me, this 13th day of July, A.D.

                                      “DU BOUFFAY FREMON,
                         “Justice of the Peace for St. Louis County.”



The popular idea of Mormonism is that the peculiar feature which
distinguishes it from all other Christian sects is Polygamy. To a certain
extent this is, of course, true; but it is only a partial statement of
the truth. If Polygamy were to be relinquished, it would still be found
that Mormonism had really very little in common with other sects, and
very much that was completely antagonistic to them.

The confession of faith published by Joseph Smith during his lifetime
would certainly deceive an uninitiated person; and it was in consequence
of the ambiguity of that very document that so many unsuspecting persons
were from the beginning of Mormonism led astray by the teachings of the
Missionaries. The convert was told that the Mormon faith proclaimed the
existence of one true God, but he was not told that Father Adam was
that deity, and that he is “like a well-to-do farmer.” He was told that
Christ was the Son of God, but he was not taught that the Virgin Mary
was “the lawful wife of God the Father,” and that “He intended after the
resurrection to take her again, as one of His own wives, to raise up
immortal spirits in eternity. He was told of faith in a Saviour, he was
not told that men were the only saviours of their wives, and that unless
a woman pleased her husband, and was obedient and was saved _by him_, she
could not be saved at all. He was told that the Saints believed in the
Holy Ghost, but he was not told that “The Holy Ghost is a man; he is one
of the sons of our Father and our God.... You think our Father and our
God is not a lively, sociable, and cheerful man; He is one of the most
lively men that ever lived!”

And yet, although such fearful and shocking blasphemy was, of course,
hidden from the convert whom it was desirable to impress with the idea
that Mormonism was only a development of Christianity, it was openly
taught in the sermons in the Tabernacle before thousands of people, and
inculcated in the writings of the highest authorities. The passages which
I have just quoted, were preached in public, were taken down in shorthand
were revised under the superintendence of Brigham Young or one of the
chief leaders, were then printed and published in Salt Lake City, and
afterwards reprinted in another form.

The verbal repetition of such blasphemy as this would be simply painful
and disgusting to any right-minded person. I shall therefore endeavour to
give an idea of some of these outrageous doctrines without entering too
closely into details. Should the reader, however, wish to search and see
for him self, I refer him to the _Journals of Discourses_, the files of
the Church papers, and the publications of the Mormon writers generally.

One of the first innovations upon the received faith of ordinary
Christians was the doctrine of Polytheism. There can be no doubt that,
even in Joseph’s time, that doctrine was taught, although, as in the
case of Polygamy, all knowledge of it was kept from every one but the
initiated—the “strong men” who could be entrusted with the inner secrets
of the church leaders. That such a doctrine, however, was beginning,
even then, to form part of the faith of the Saints, may be seen in the
following lines upon the occasion of the Prophet’s murder:—

    “Unchanged in death, with a _Saviour’s_ love,
    He pleads their cause in the courts above.
    His home’s in the sky, _he dwells with the Gods_,
    Far from the furious rage of mobs!
    He died! he died for those he loved;
    _He reigns!_ _He reigns_ in the realms above.”

Many other instances, even stronger than this, could easily be given.

The Mormon idea of the other world, while in some respects it differed
from the teachings of certain modern “Spiritualists,” was not altogether
dissimilar. The soul was said to be immortal, and it had three stages of
existence. The first was purely spiritual—the state of the soul _before_
it came into this world. Spirits in that condition were not perfect, they
must first take a fleshly body, and pass through the trials of life,
before they could attain to the highest state of existence. Hence it was
a solemn duty, as well as their highest privilege, for men to practise
polygamy:—their duty, as by this means, and by this alone, the yet
imperfect souls now waiting to come into this world could ever hope to be
admitted into the “Celestial Kingdom;”—and a privilege,—as all the souls
whom they thus assisted to emigrate would form their own “Kingdoms” in
eternity, over which, as kings and priests, they would reign for ever and

The second stage of the soul’s existence is the mortal; with which we all
are sadly well acquainted. The third is the condition subsequent to the
Resurrection, when they believe the flesh and bones will form the raised
body, but the blood will not be there; for the blood is the principle
of corrupt life, and therefore another spirit supplies its place in
heaven. That Christ partook of some broiled fish and part of a honeycomb
is evident from Holy Scripture; the Mormons therefore teach that heaven
will be very much the same as earth, only considerably improved. We shall
not marry there or be given in marriage; hence it is necessary for us
to marry here, and to marry as much as we can, for then in heaven a man
will take the wives whom he married on earth, or who have been sealed to
him by proxy; they will be his queens, and their children will be his
subjects. We shall eat, and drink, and feast, and spend a happy time
generally. We shall henceforth never die; hence we shall ourselves be

It was in the pre-existent state, the Mormons teach, that the work of
salvation was first planned; but not after the fashion believed by all
Christians. A grand celestial council was held, at which all the Sons
of God appeared. Michael, the father of all, presided, and stated that
he proposed to create a new world, of which he proceeded to give some
details. His first begotten then arose, and made a speech, in which he
proposed that Michael, his father, should go down to the world, when
created, with Eve, his mother, and do there much after the fashion of
what is related of our first parents in the Book of Genesis; he himself
would descend some thousands of years subsequently, and would lead his
erring brethren back, and save them _from_ their sins. Lucifer, the
second son, then stood forth and unfolded _his_ plan. Jealous of the
popularity of his elder brother, he proposed to save men _in_ their sins.

Great discussion ensued, in which the unnumbered family of heaven divided
into three parties; one under each of the two elder sons, and the third
standing neutral. After a terrible conflict, Lucifer, the second son, was
defeated, and, with all his followers, was driven out of heaven. They
descended into the abyss, where they founded the infernal kingdom, of
which Lucifer became the chief. He was henceforth known as the Devil.
Adam created his world, and carried out his part of the plan; and in due
time the eldest son, who conquered in heaven, took upon him the form of
flesh, dwelt among men, and was known as their Redeemer. The spirits
who stood neutral during the fight subsequently took upon them forms of
flesh, entering into the children of Ham, and were known as negroes.
Therefore it is, that although the American Indians and all other races
are eligible for the Mormon priesthood, the negro alone could never
attain to that high dignity.

On the 9th of April, 1852, Brigham Young publicly announced that,—

“When our father Adam came into the Garden of Eden, he came into it with
a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped
to make and organize this world. He is Michael the Archangel, the Ancient
of Days, about whom holy men have written and spoken. He is our ‘Father
and our God,’ and the only god with whom we have to do.”

This public declaration gave great offence, and led to the apostacy of
many. Nevertheless, Brigham Young thinks that just as Adam came down to
Eden and subsequently became a god, in like manner he also himself will
attain to the godhead. Heber C. Kimball, zealous to go a step further,
declared that Brigham _was_ “God,” and that he, Kimball, stood toward
him in the same relation as the Third Person in the Blessed Trinity does
towards the First.

It will hence be seen that subordination is one of the first principles
of the Mormon faith, and this even in the Church organization of the
Saints has been distinctively shown. For the purposes for which it exists
the Mormon hierarchy could not be surpassed. Of the Priesthood there are
two orders—the Melchisedec and the Aaronic; of which the former ranks
first and highest. The lowest rank in the Church is the “Deacon;” he
looks after the places of meeting, takes up collections, and attends to
other similar duties. Next comes the “Teacher.” He visits the Saints and
takes note of their standing, and reports the same: weakness of faith,
or backwardness in paying tithing, is never overlooked by him. After
him is the “Priest,” and above him is the Elder whose office it is to
preach, baptize, and lay on hands. All these belong to the order of
the Aaronic—or the Levitical priesthood. “Bishops” are simply Church
officers having local jurisdiction.

The lowest grade in the Melchisedec Priesthood is the “Elder.” He
administers in all the ordinances of the Church. Above him there is
no higher rank as respects the priesthood, but in respect to office
there are various gradations, as, for example, the “High Priests,” the
“Seventies,” and “Bishops,” who occupy positions of authority, although
both go on missions, and also the Apostles. The “Apostles” were chosen in
imitation of the “Twelve” appointed by Christ; and in the same way the
“Seventies,” in imitation of the _seventy_ disciples sent forth to preach
and work miracles. They claim rank next to the Twelve. The “Quorum of the
Apostles” is presided over by the eldest of their number; the “Quorums of
Seventies” are each composed of seventy Elders with a “President” and six
“Counsellors.” The number of “quorums” is unlimited; and over them all
collectively is another president and six counsellors.

The highest authority in the Church is the “First Presidency;” the three
members of which at present are Brigham Young, George A. Smith, and
Daniel H. Wells,—who are said to represent on earth the three Persons of
the Blessed Trinity!

As, from “President” Young down to the most illiterate “Elder,” every
one is supposed to be specially inspired, and to be immediately guided
by the gift of the Holy Ghost, education is utterly unnecessary to the
members of the Mormon priesthood; in fact, it has always been looked upon
as an impediment to its possessor. _Obedience_ is considered the highest
qualification, and it was the strict enforcement of obedience on the part
of the ordinary people and the lower grades of the priesthood towards the
higher that alone could have made possible that state of affairs which
existed during the “Reformation.” Hence also it is that Brigham Young and
the leaders are rightly held responsible for the deeds of violence and
fanaticism which their followers may perpetrate; for it is well known
that _no_ Mormon, in a matter of grave importance, would dare to act upon
his own responsibility, and without he felt sure that what he did would
meet with the approbation of those in authority.

There is another class of Church officer which I had very nearly
forgotten—the Patriarchs. The chief of these is called “The Presiding
Patriarch _over_ the Church;” the rest are “Patriarchs _in_ the Church.”
The office of these dignitaries is to bless the people and to be paid
for their blessings. The price of good blessings is variable. Not long
ago, when money was scarce and payments were made in produce, two dollars
was considered reasonable; and if several were wanted for the same
family, a reduction was made. Hyrum Smith, the original Prophet’s eldest
brother, was the first Patriarch; and to him succeeded “Uncle John,”
as he was popularly called, the eldest brother of Brigham. The present
Patriarch is the son of Hyrum; still a young man, who obtained his office
by inheritance—and this, I believe, is about the only office in the
Church which Brother Brigham has permitted the Smith family to inherit or

The idea of reviving the old Jewish polity was always uppermost in
the minds of the Mormons. Hence they revived the Priesthood and
High-priesthood in their various forms; a magnificent temple was built in
Nauvoo, just as another temple is now being erected at Salt Lake City;
and so far did they go that it was even determined that the ancient
sacrifices should eventually be restored.

It is alleged that in Nauvoo, among the Mormons, a secret body of men
had been chosen, who were enrolled, under the most frightful oaths, to
avenge every wrong which might be perpetrated against the Saints. This
band was said to have originated with Sidney Rigdon and Dr. Sampson
Avard, and, as I have somewhere else mentioned, Thomas B. Marsh and Hyde
the present chief of the Apostles both made affidavit that such was the
case, and that the band was sworn to commit the most shocking acts of
vengeance,—and surely Marsh and Hyde ought to know. Various names were
chosen for this “death society.” First the members were called Daughters
of Zion [_from_ Micah iv. 13]. But as it sounded rather ridiculous to
speak of bearded ruffians as “daughters,” that name was abandoned, and
the title “Avenging Angels” substituted; and that, with some other names
then temporarily used, were subsequently dropped for the name “Danites”
[_from_ Genesis xlix. 17], which has since been retained;—not by the
Mormons, for they have ever denied the existence of any such band, but by
the Gentiles.

It matters very little what the name of such a society might be, so long
as it existed at all; and that it does, and has, existed in _some_ form
cannot reasonably be denied. There probably is not at the present time
any formally enrolled society, but it is quite certain that for many
years past if “The Church” had only dropped a hint that any man’s blood
ought to be shed, that man would have had a very short tenure of his
life. Even Brigham himself said publicly:

“If men come here and do not behave themselves, they will not only find
the Danites, whom they talk so much about, biting the horses’ heels, but
the scoundrels will find something biting _their_ heels. In my plain
remarks I simply call things by their own names.”

It is beyond a doubt that, notwithstanding all the social changes and
improvements of late years, the secret police of Salt Lake City are in
matters of crime, as well as _in fact_, though not perhaps nominally,
the successors of the original “death society;”—many of its members are
known to have committed grievous crimes and to have repeatedly dyed their
hands in blood. The shocking deeds that every now and then are divulged
to the world are all of their doing, and no resident of Salt Lake City,
whether Mormon or Gentile, although he might prudently decline to state
his opinions, would in his mind question the fact that it is fear of
consequences, and only because the Saints are “on their good behaviour”
in the sight of the Federal Government, that the hands of these wretches
are withheld from a continuance of their old enormities.

As might be supposed, the establishment of a secret band of men
professedly ready at a moment to steal, to shed blood, or commit any
crime at the command of their leaders, created great excitement in the
whole State of Missouri, and especially in the vicinity of the Mormon

Like the Ishmaelites of old, the hands of the Saints were against every
man, and every man’s hand was against them. They were taught that they
were “a chosen nation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar people”—the “Sword
of the Lord and of Gideon” was to be theirs; they were to go forth
conquering and to conquer; and the Gentiles were to be trodden down
beneath their feet.

As might be expected, trouble immediately arose; the people of Missouri
outraged the Mormons, and the Mormons in return outraged them. Murders,
thefts, and the most shameful atrocities were of daily occurrence, and
the history of those terrible doings would fill a good-sized volume.
Suffice it to say, that the excitement continued and increased, reprisals
being made on both sides; finally the mob was triumphant, and after
committing many fearful excesses it was organized into a militia—the
leading men in authority declaring that the Mormons must either leave the
State or else they must be extirpated by the sword.

Notwithstanding all this, the Mormons, at all times an industrious
people, were in one sense successful and prosperous; the morality,
however, of some of their leading men was to say the least very
questionable. It was openly argued that the silver and gold were the
Lord’s, and so were the cattle on a thousand hills. The Scripture says
that God has given His people all things richly to enjoy. The Saints were
the people of God:—He had given _them_ all the wealth and substance of
the earth, and therefore it was no sin for them to help themselves; they
were but taking their own. To overreach or defraud their enemies was
facetiously called by the Mormons “milking the Gentiles.”

Their city called Nauvoo—The Beautiful,—a name given by the Prophet
Joseph and supposed to be of celestial origin, was well laid out and well
built, a costly Temple was nearly complete, and the leaders, at least,
began to show signs of wealth and prosperity. This however was but a
lull before the storm. Writs upon various charges against Joseph and
the leading Elders had always been floating about, and the serving of
some of the later ones had only been prevented by technical difficulties
or the personal fears of the Sheriff. To enter Nauvoo for the purpose
of arresting the Prophet was like bearding the lion in his den; for by
this time a splendidly equipped and drilled militia regiments under the
name of Nauvoo Legion had been organized, and Joseph had been elected
Lieutenant-General. The regiment consisted solely of well-tried Mormons
who were devotedly attached to their leader; besides which, the whole of
the population of the city was at his call at a moment’s notice.

Into the city of the Saints, as far as was possible to prevent it, no
Gentile was allowed to intrude. It was at risk of life and property that
any one ventured. One oddly original mode of driving out the devoted
stranger is worthy of mention—it was called “_whittling_ a man out of
the town!” Opposite the victim’s door a number of men and overgrown
boys would take up their quarters, each armed with a stout stick of
wood and a huge knife. No sooner did the Gentile appear than the whole
horde gathered in a circle round him. Not a word was uttered, but each
man grasping firmly his stick in his left hand, pointed its other end
to within a few inches of the victim’s face, while with the knife in
his right hand he sliced a shaving out of the wood in such a way as to
bring the point of the knife almost against the face of the unfortunate
man. Wherever he turned they attended him, always preserving the
strictest silence, and never actually touching him. The intolerable
sensation caused by the “whittling” of this strange body-guard, who were
in attendance day and night, and the unpleasantness of seeing half a
score of sharp knives flashing perpetually within an inch of his nose,
generally subdued the strongest-minded Gentile;—few could endure it for
more than a day or so at the utmost: they were glad to leave—“_Whittled
out_ of the town!”

The evil day, however, at last came. The Prophet, fearing arrest, fled,
but was persuaded to return and deliver himself up. The charge against
him was one for which reasonable bail could be taken; bail was offered,
accepted, and the prisoners discharged. Before leaving court, however,
the Prophet and his brother Hyrum, the Patriarch, were arrested upon
a trumped-up charge of treason, a charge for which it was impossible
that bail should be taken; they were therefore committed to custody in
Carthage jail, under solemn promise from Governor Ford of Illinois that
the State should be answerable for their personal protection. The same
day, however, a mob of over one hundred men, assisted, it is said, by the
militia who were left in charge, burst into the jail and assassinated the
Prophet and his brother.

As might be supposed, this outrage by no means weakened the Mormon cause;
their Prophet was now a martyr, and his name became more powerful after
death than it could possibly have been had he lived. It was, however,
clearer than ever that nothing could now reconcile the people of Illinois
to the Mormons, and the latter seriously began to think of leaving that
State in a body as they had formerly left Missouri.

The terrible doings of those times I have no idea of relating just now;
I simply allude to them in order that the reader may understand how,
in the excitement produced in that border-warfare, it was possible for
such strange events as afterwards transpired in Utah to originate. I may
simply add, that the Temple being completed, and the first “Endowments”
given there, the people gathered up what little property they could
rescue from the mob, and under the guidance of Brigham Young, and amidst
privations, sufferings, and outrages of the most painful character, left
the city which they had founded in Illinois, and set out for the Rocky
Mountains, where, beside the Great Salt Lake, they founded their modern

Free now from the violence of mobs and Gentile enmity, it might have been
supposed that the hatred which had so long been part of the Mormon faith
would have died a natural death. The contrary, however, was the case. The
Mexican war was then raging, and, _en route_ to the Rocky Mountains, the
Mormons had received a proposal from the Federal Government that they
should supply a regiment, upon highly advantageous conditions, to join
the United States troops which were then operating in California. This
suggestion was kindly made, for it was thought that the Mormon regiment
thus raised would in reality be only marching their own way in going
to California, and that the outfits, pay, arms, &c., which were to be
theirs, after the year for which they were enrolled had expired, would be
of essential service to them. It was like paying men liberally for making
a journey for their own benefit.

Notwithstanding all this, Brigham Young and the leaders represented the
transaction in quite another light, and the people were taught that an
engagement, into which they had entered of their own free will, and from
which they had derived substantial advantages, was an act of heartless
cruelty and despotic tyranny on the part of the Government. This feeling
was fostered, until at length the Saints as a body regarded themselves
as a wronged and outraged people, and considered every Gentile, in fact
the whole nation, as their natural enemies. This was perhaps all the more
singular, since, after the vast tract of country, of which Utah forms
a part, had, at the end of the war, been wrested from Mexico, Brigham
Young had been appointed by President Millard Fillmore the first Governor
and Indian Agent of the territory; he was therefore in Federal pay, and
bound, as long as he retained office, to support the Government, or at
the very least not to stir up disaffection.

Trouble soon arose between Governor Young and the Mormons on one side and
the Judges and United States courts and officials on the other. Once an
armed mob burst into the Supreme Court, and forced the Judge then sitting
to adjourn; at another time a _bonfire_ was made of the books and papers
of the District Courts; then a Judge on the bench was threatened with
personal outrage; and subsequently a _posse_ summoned by legal(!) process
“encamped” for a whole fortnight over against another _posse_ summoned
without legal process, the two bodies burning with bitter hatred and
breathing out threatenings and slaughter. Such a state of affairs could
not, of course, last long. On the one side the wildest statements were
publicly made against the Government; threats which, uttered by a little
band of pioneers against a mighty nation, were perfectly ridiculous,
stirred up the hearts of the Saints. On the other hand it was pretty
certain that Federal troops would have to be sent out to Utah to preserve
the peace of the Territory. The Federal Government was nevertheless
defied, abused, and derided, and the people, thoroughly blinded by their
fanaticism, did not for a moment doubt that, should Governor Young
“declare war,” the United States troops would vanish before the “Armies”
of the Saints like chaff upon the threshing-floor. So absurd does all
this appear that I should really hardly venture to repeat it were it
not that every one in Utah—Mormon and Gentile—knows that I am really
understating facts rather than otherwise. Very soon came a crisis in
Mormon history, for which all the wild sayings and unlawful doings had
been so long paving the way:—“THE REFORMATION” was destined to be the
crowning point of Saintly folly and Saintly sin.



The people were now thoroughly excited. Their religious antipathy, their
political hatred—two of the most powerful passions which move individuals
or bodies of men—had been appealed to, and both in public and private
they had been stirred up to a pitch of frenzy which it is hardly possible
at the present time to comprehend.

There were whisperings now of a most fearful doctrine, calculated not
only to strike terror into the hearts of those whose faith was weakening,
but even to shock with a sense of horror those who only heard of it from
afar—I mean the doctrine of the BLOOD ATONEMENT.

The Saints had all along been taught to distinguish between murder and
the shedding of innocent blood—the former being spoken of as a crime for
which atonement might be made, but for the latter there was no repentance
on earth—it was an unpardonable sin. They were also taught to distinguish
carefully between sins which might be forgiven, and sins for which pardon
was impossible. Now the difference between murder and shedding innocent
blood is this:—the latter is the crime of killing a Saint, which can
never be forgiven, but by the death of the transgressor; but the former
is of quite a different character. To murder a Gentile may sometimes be
inexpedient, or perhaps even to a certain extent wrong, but it is seldom
if ever a crime, and never an unpardonable sin.

A friend of mine was in a state of apostacy. The Bishop went to her to
expostulate, and told her that, if he were her husband, he would get rid
of her and take away her children as well—he would not on any account
live with her.

“Perhaps,” she said, “you would not allow me to live at all?”

“Certainly not,” he replied. “I would think about as much of killing
you or any other miserable Apostate as I would about killing a cat. If
Brigham Young were to tell me to put you to death, I would do it with the
greatest of pleasure;—and it would be for your good, too.”

Thus, when the famous Revelation on Polygamy says that a man cannot be
pardoned for shedding innocent blood, it does not mean that he cannot be
pardoned for murdering a Gentile or an Apostate; for that, under some
circumstances, might even be meritorious; but that the murder of a Saint
by one of the brethren cannot under _any_ circumstances be forgiven on
earth, and that his only chance of forgiveness lies in his own blood
being shed as an “atonement.”

Certain sins cannot be forgiven here on earth—shedding innocent blood,
divulging the secrets of the Endowment House—marital unfaithfulness on
the part of the wife—Apostacy;—these are unpardonable. All other crimes
which Gentiles abhor may become even virtues, if done in the cause of
the Church. I do not, of course, mean to say that the mass of the Mormon
people act up to such atrocious doctrines; for although, when among
themselves, they would admit that the theory was correct, the better
instincts of their nature keep them from ever putting that theory into
practice. But what I do mean to say is, that such doctrines have, over
and over again, been distinctly taught in the plainest words in the
public hearing of thousands; that they _have_ been printed and reprinted
by authority; that they have been practised, and the very highest of the
Mormon leaders have applauded; and that, even at the present moment,
these doctrines form part of the dogmas of the Church. It is this day a
matter of fact, and not a matter of question, that if any Mormon Apostate
were to commit any of the unpardonable sins which I have mentioned,
and if he or she were to be assassinated by a private individual, all
zealous Mormons—all the leaders—would maintain that not only was the deed
justifiable but even meritorious!

This may seem bad enough, but it is not the worst. The doctrine of the
“BLOOD ATONEMENT” is that the murder of an Apostate is _a deed of love_!
If a Saint sees another leave the Church, or if even he only believes
that his brother’s faith is weakening and that he will apostatize before
long, he knows that the soul of his unbelieving brother will be lost if
he dies in such a state, and that only by his blood being shed is there
any chance of forgiveness for him; it is therefore the kindest action
that he can perform toward him to shed his blood—the doing so is a deed
of truest love. The nearer, the dearer, the more tenderly loved the
sinner is, the greater the affection shown by the shedder of blood—the
action is no longer murder or the shedding of innocent blood, for the
taint of apostacy takes away its innocence—it is making atonement, not a
crime; it is an act of mercy, therefore meritorious.

These were the terrible teachings which the “Reformation” brought to
light:—they had been whispered before among the elect, and had been
acted upon by the “Avenging Angels,” but before this they had never been
publicly and intelligibly explained.

Jedediah M. Grant, an enthusiast of the wildest kind; a man without
education or mental discipline of any description; one of the First
Presidency and high in authority among the Saints, had occasion to attend
a meeting which was held at Kaysville, a place about twenty-five miles
distant from Salt Lake City, and he invited some of the Elders to meet
him there to take part in the proceedings. To one of these “Jeddy,” as
he was familiarly called, obligingly lent a mule; he himself did not
accompany the party, but went on before. These elders were pretty well
mounted, and one of them, being a good horseman, made the rest keep up
with him. In consequence of this, when they arrived at Kaysville, the
beasts were heated and tired. The Apostle “Jeddy” watched them but said

Up to a certain point, the meeting passed off pleasantly enough; the
Elders present were “good at testimony” and strong in exhorting the
hearers to faithfulness. Jeddy was the last speaker. He began in his
usual way, but presently warmed up until he became quite excited, and
then proceeded to accuse every one present of all sorts of wrong-doing.
The Elders who had preceded him came in for their full share; he
denounced them for their inconsistency and hypocrisy, and bitterly
upbraided them for running his mule and their own beasts in such a
manner. The Bishop of the place and his counsellors he accused of
inactivity and carelessness; and he called loudly upon every one present
to repent and do their first works; threatening them with the speedy
judgments of Heaven.

All this was well enough if it had stopped there, for it might have
been taken for just what it was—an ebullition of temper on the part of
“Jeddy,” who was naturally vexed that his mule had been over-heated.
But, like many other manias and epidemics, this Mormon movement began
with a most insignificant trifle, and the spirit of fiery denunciation
became perfectly contagious. Another meeting was held in the course
of a few weeks, and then the mutual accusations of those who were
present became, if possible, more bitter than before; the “Saints” were
denounced as the vilest of sinners, and they were all commanded to be
re-baptized. Accordingly, after the meeting, although it was night and
the weather was cold, a considerable number were immersed by the Elders,
and Jeddy himself was so enthusiastically engaged in the performance,
and he remained in the water so long that he got a thorough chill, and
contracted the disease of which he died.

Sunday after Sunday similar scenes were repeated in the Tabernacle,
until, had it not been painful, the whole affair would have been
ludicrous in the extreme. Every one had strayed from the path of duty,
and the fact was announced in the strongest terms. People were called
upon by name to publicly confess their sins, and many were then and there
pointed out and accused of crimes of which they were entirely guiltless,
but which they dared not deny. In the midst of all this, the duty of
implicit obedience to the Priesthood and the payment of tithes was loudly
insisted upon.

The Missionaries were sent out all over the territory, armed with the
full authority of the Priesthood, and also a catechism which, on account
of its obscene character, has since been bought up so successfully by
Brigham that it is doubtful if there is a copy in existence. The Mormons
have a curious way of appointing Missionaries. If a man is weak in the
faith—a depraved, bad man—or if a youth exhibits a disposition to sow his
wild oats a little too luxuriantly, he is sent on his travels to preach
the Gospel; nothing strengthens a man’s faith, it is thought, more than
having to defend it from the opposition of unbelievers, and the enforced
good example which the Missionary is obliged to set will, it is said,
produce a salutary effect upon the exuberance of youth or the depravity
of more mature years. In the present instance many of the Missionaries
thus sent forth were known to be as immoral as they were grossly ignorant.

There was one terrible meeting at which Brigham himself was put to the
blush. Men of note were there; no one was present who did not belong to
the Priesthood. “Jeddy” held forth, and Heber and Brigham were strong
upon the occasion. In the midst of the proceedings, Brother Brigham,
full of confidence, in the plainest words called upon all who could not
plead guiltless of certain crimes to stand up. Three-fourths of those
present immediately arose. Utterly shocked, the Prophet entered into
explanations; but self-convicted these three-fourths of his hearers stood
conscientiously firm. Even Brigham saw the necessity of taking some
stringent measures. The Saints were told that if they were re-baptized
their sins would be washed away, and they could then say they were
not guilty of the crimes suggested in the catechism. Subsequently the
catechism itself was, as I said, bought up and burnt.

The burden of every sermon was unquestioning obedience, repentance,
payment of tithing, and above all the taking of more wives. The
Missionaries, without the slightest ceremony, would visit the houses of
respectable Saints, examine them out of the abominable catechism, and
question husbands and wives in the presence of their children about even
their very thoughts, in a manner, and upon subjects, which would amply
have justified their being hung up to the nearest tree; Lynch law was in
fact too good for such atrocities. Wicked ideas, the utterance of which
would have called forth a blush, even if heard from the lips of a drunken
rowdy in a pot-house, were suggested and explained to young children;
while it would have been literally at the risk of life for their parents
to have expostulated; to do so would have shown want of faith, and want
of faith would have justified some fanatical scoundrel in using his knife
or his pistol for the loving purpose of cutting off his brother’s soul
from earth in order to save it in heaven!

Meanwhile Jedediah did not for a moment cease his exhortations; the work
must be done thoroughly: the Blood-Atonement must not be forgotten. On
one occasion, in the Tabernacle, this crazy fanatic said:—

“I would advise some of you men here to go to President Young, and
confess your sins, and ask him to take you outside the city and have your
blood shed to atone for your sins.”


“There are men and women that I would advise to go to the President
immediately, and ask him to appoint a committee to attend to their case;
and then let a place be selected, and let that committee shed their

“I would ask how many covenant-breakers there are in this city and in
this kingdom? I believe that there are a great many; and if they are
covenant-breakers, we need a place designated where we can shed their


“We have been trying long enough with this people, and I go in for
letting the sword of the Almighty be unsheathed, not only in word but _in

Lest he should be mistaken, he said:—

“What ought this meek people who keep the commandments of God do unto
them? ‘Why,’ says one, ‘they ought to pray _the Lord_ to kill them,’ I
want to know if you would wish the Lord to come down and do all your
dirty work?.... When a man prays for a thing, he ought to be willing to
perform it himself.... Putting to death the transgressors would exhibit
the law of God, _no matter by whom it was done_.”

Heber C. Kimball, the “model Saint,” after a speech to the same effect,
in which, as usual, he made use of the most disgusting language, added:—

“Joseph Smith was God to the inhabitants of the earth when he was among
us, and Brigham is God now!”

But more shocking than any other was the language of Brigham Young
himself. On the 21st of September, 1856, in a discourse delivered in the
Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, and afterwards reprinted by authority in
the _Journals of Discourses_, vol. iv., pp. 53-4, he said:—

“The time is coming when justice will be laid to the line and
righteousness to the plummet; when we shall take the old broadsword and
ask, ‘Are you for God?’ and if you are not heartily on the Lord’s side,
_you will be hewn down_!”


“There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness
in this world or in that which is to come; and if they had their eyes
opened to see their true condition, they would be perfectly willing to
have their blood spilt upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might
ascend to Heaven as an offering for their sins, and the smoking incense
would atone for their sins; whereas, if such is not the case, they will
stick to them and remain with them in the spirit world.

“I know, when you hear my brethren telling about cutting people off from
the earth, that you consider it is strong doctrine; but it is to save
them, not to destroy them....

“I do know that there are sins committed of such a nature that, if the
people did understand the doctrine of salvation, they would tremble
because of their situation. And, furthermore, I know that there are
transgressors who, if they knew themselves, and the only condition upon
which they can obtain forgiveness, would beg of their brethren to shed
their blood, that the smoke thereof might ascend to God as an offering to
appease the wrath that is kindled against them, and that the law might
have its course. I will say, further, I have had men come to me and offer
their lives to atone for their sins.

“It is true that the blood of the Son of God was shed for sins through
the fall and those committed by men, yet men can commit sins which it can
never remit. As it was in ancient days, so it is in our day; and though
the principles are taught publicly from this stand, still the people do
not understand them; yet the law is precisely the same. There are sins
that can be atoned for by an offering upon an altar, as in ancient days;
and there are sins that the blood of a lamb, of a calf, or of turtle
doves cannot remit, but _they must be atoned for by the blood of the

One would have supposed that even Brigham had now reached the culminating
point of horror and blasphemy. But no;—a month or so later he even
surpassed himself when in a Tabernacle sermon he said:—

“When will we love our neighbours as ourselves? In the first place, Jesus
said that no man hateth his own flesh. It is admitted by all that every
person loves himself. Now if we do rightly love ourselves, we want to be
saved, and continue to exist; we want to go into the kingdom where we can
enjoy eternity, and see no more sorrow nor death. This is the desire of
every person who believes in God. Now take a person in this congregation
who has knowledge with regard to being saved in the kingdom of our God
and our Father, and being exalted, one who knows and understands the
principles of eternal life, and sees the beauties and excellency of the
eternities before him compared with the vain and foolish things of the
world, and suppose that he is overtaken in a gross fault, that he had
committed a sin that he knows will deprive him of that exaltation which
he desires, and that he cannot attain to it without the shedding of his
blood, and also knows that by having his blood shed he will atone for
that sin and be saved and exalted with the gods, is there a man or a
woman in this house but would say, ‘Shed my blood that I might be saved
and exalted with the gods?’

“All mankind love themselves: and let those principles but be known by
an individual, and _he would_ be glad to have his blood shed. This would
be loving ourselves even unto an eternal exaltation. Will you love your
brothers or sisters likewise when they have a sin that cannot be atoned
for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman
well enough to shed their blood? _That is what Jesus Christ meant._ He
never told a man or woman to love their enemies in their wickedness,
never. He never meant any such thing; His language is left as it is for
those to read who have the spirit to discern between truth and error; it
was so left for those who can discern the things of God. Jesus Christ
never meant that we should love a wicked man in his wickedness.

“_I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been
righteously slain in order to atone for their sins._ I have seen scores
and hundreds of people for whom there would have been a chance (in the
last resurrection there will be) if their lives had been taken and their
blood spilled on the ground as a smoking incense to the Almighty, but
who are now angels to the devil, until our elder brother, Jesus Christ,
raises them up and conquers death, hell, and the grave.

“I have known a great many men who have left this church, for whom there
is no chance whatever for exaltion, but if their blood had been spilled
it would have been better for them.

“The wickedness and ignorance of the nations forbid this principle being
in full force, but the time will come when the law of God will be in full
force. This is loving our neighbour as ourselves; if he needs help, _help
him_; if he wants salvation, and it is necessary to spill his blood on
the earth in order that he may be saved, _spill_ it.

“Any of you who understand the principles of eternity, if you have sinned
a sin requiring the shedding of blood, except the sin unto death, should
not be satisfied or rest until your blood should be spilled, that you
might gain that salvation you desire. That is the way to love mankind....
Light and darkness cannot dwell together, and so it is with the kingdom
of God.

“Now, brethren and sisters, will you live your religion? How many
hundreds of times have I asked that question! Will the Latter-Day Saints
live their religion?”

And so, according to Brigham Young, their Prophet, this was the religion
of the Saints! And the people acted up to the “religion” thus taught: and
the story is so terrible that one dare not even whisper all its details.

It is no secret that all this was understood _literally_. The wife of one
Elder, when he was absent on a mission, acted unfaithfully towards him.
Her husband took counsel of the authorities, and was reminded that the
shedding of her blood alone could save her. He returned and told her, but
she asked for time, which was readily granted. One day, in a moment of
affection, when she was seated on his knee, he reminded her of her doom,
and suggested that now when their hearts were full of love was a suitable
time for carrying it into execution. She acquiesced, and _out of love_ he
cut her throat from ear to ear.

In many instances the outrages committed against persons who were known
to be innocent were so revolting that no woman—nay, even no right-minded
man—would venture to more than just allude to them. _A few_, however, and
only a few, and they _by no means the worst_, of the milder cases I will
just mention.

There was the murder of the Aikin party—six persons—who were killed
on their way to California. The same year a man name Yates was killed
under atrocious circumstances; and Franklin McNeil who had sued Brigham
for false imprisonment and who was killed at his hotel door. There was
Sergeant Pike, and there was Arnold and Drown. There was Price and
William Bryan at Fairfield; there was Almon Babbitt, and Brassfield,
and Dr. Robinson; there was also James Cowdy and his wife and child,
and Margetts and his wife; and many another, too—to say nothing of that
frightful murder at the Mountain Meadows.

Besides these there is good reason to think that Lieutenant Gunnison and
his party were also victims, although it was said that they were shot by
“Indians.” The Potter and Parrish murders were notorious; Forbes, and
Jones and his mother, might be added to the same list; the dumb boy,
Andrew Bernard; a woman killed by her own husband; Morris the rival
Prophet, and Banks, and four women who belonged to their party; Isaac
Potter, and Charles Wilson, and John Walker. These are but a few. The
death list is too long for me to venture to give it.

One instance I can give from my own personal knowledge. A sister, who
occasionally does a little work at my house, on one occasion said to
me: “Mrs. Stenhouse, when first I came to this country I lived in the
southern portion of Utah. One day I saw a woman running across the fields
towards our house, pale and trembling. When she came in she looked round
her as if she were frightened, and she asked if any one besides our own
family were present. On being assured that there was no one present whom
she might fear, she said:—‘Two men came to our house late last night
and asked to see my husband, who had already retired. He was in bed,
but they insisted that he must get up, as they had a message from “the
authorities” for him. When they saw him they requested him to go with
them to attend, they said, to some Church business. I became very much
alarmed, for my poor husband had been known to speak rather freely of
late of some of the measures of the Church, but he tried to reassure me,
and finally left the house with the two men. In about an hour after they
came back, bearing between them his lifeless body. They laid him upon the
bed, and then one of them pulled aside the curtain which constituted our
only cupboard, and took therefrom a bake-kettle and stood it beside the
bed, in order to catch the blood that was flowing from a fearful wound
in his throat. They then left the house, telling me to make as little
noise about it as possible, or they might serve me in the same way. The
men were masked, and I cannot tell who they are, but I spent a fearful
night with my poor dead husband.’” This sister added: “Sister Stenhouse,
in those more fearful times we dared not speak to each other about such
things for fear of spies.”

These were all well-known and notorious instances. I say nothing of
those of whose fate nothing—not even a whisper—was ever heard; and I say
nothing of the frightful “cuttings off” _before_ the Reformation and in
recent years.

Gentile men and women were _killed_, for hatred; and _that_ “killing” was
no murder, for theirs was not innocent blood. Apostates, and Saints of
doubtful faith, and those who were obnoxious, _had their blood shed_—all
_for love_—and that “cutting off” was also no murder, because to secure
their salvation by cutting their throats was an act of mercy. Can it be
possible that men should thus act and say—and _believe_—that Jesus, the
gentle and merciful Saviour, commanded it when He said: “Thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself”?

All through this Reign of Terror, marrying and giving in marriage was
the order of the day. It mattered not if a man was seventy years of age,
according to Brother Brigham he was still a boy—“the brethren are all
boys until they are a hundred years old”—and some young girl of sixteen,
fifteen, or even younger would be “counselled”—that is, _commanded_—to
marry him. She might even have a sister no older than herself, and then
as likely as not he would take the two to wife, and very probably both
on the same day. The girls were told that to marry a young man was not
a safe thing, for young men were not tried—it was better to marry a
well-tested patriarch, and then their chances of “exaltation” in the
kingdom of heaven were sure and certain. In this way the life-long
happiness of many a girl—little more than a child—was blighted for ever.
At the time of which I speak, every unmarried woman, or girl who could
by the utmost stretch of possibility be thought old enough to marry, was
forced to find a husband, or a husband was immediately found for her,
and without any regard to her wishes was forced upon her. Young men,
and even boys, were forced, not only into marriage, but even polygamy,
and none dared resist. The marrying mania, in fact, was universal and
irresistible—everyone _must_ marry or be given in marriage. So evidently
was this the case that women in jest said that, if one were to hang a
petticoat upon a fence-pole, half a dozen men would flock at once to
marry it! Absurd as this may seem, it was not very far from the truth.
Young men and maidens, old men and children, widows, virgins, and
youths—in fact, every one, whether married or unmarried, it mattered not,
was “counselled”—commanded—to marry.

There is above fanaticism a stronger law which, despite every effort of
the deluded victim, _will_ occasionally make itself heard—the voice of
Nature. Even during that strange time in which every Saint seemed to
have gone stark crazy mad, the frightful anomaly of men of fifty, sixty,
and even seventy, marrying mere children—girls of fourteen, and even
thirteen—forced itself upon the attention of some of the leaders. The
question arose—an odd question to Gentile ears—“At what age is a girl
old enough to marry?” Considerable discussion ensued, and even in the
Tabernacle the subject was taken up. The voice of authority, however,
eventually answered the matter, but not in the way that any ordinary
civilized person would expect.

In those times, unmarried girls were very scarce—in the settlements it
was difficult to find any at all. Not infrequently it happened that a
brother was “counselled” to marry, but could not obey, as there was no
unmarried woman in the place where he lived. In that case he generally
paid a visit to Salt Lake City. But business at the Endowment House
nevertheless was pretty lively; in fact, so much so that it was deemed
necessary to set apart certain days for the various Settlements. Once,
when the “Provo day” was fast approaching, two old brethren from that
town who had been counselled to enlarge their families, but who had been
unsuccessful in finding partners, began to despair of being able to obey
“the word of the Lord!” The day before that appointed for the Endowments
and Celestial Marriage arrived, and they were as far from success as
ever. Being neighbours, the two old gentlemen met and mingled their
griefs, and considered what might be done. It then occurred to them that
there was a certain brother who had two daughters, respectively _twelve_
and _fourteen_ years of age, and they resolved to call upon him about
these children. As might be supposed, the father at first refused them,
giving as a reason that the girls were too young. The old men explained
that if they could not marry the children it was impossible for them to
“obey counsel,” and the father then agreed. The next morning the marriage
ceremony was performed in the Endowment House. One of these wretches was
sixty years of age, and the other a few years younger. The father of
the children was about forty. I am really afraid that the reader will
think that I exaggerate or misrepresent facts. I wish it were so, for
the case is so outrageously atrocious; but I am sorry to say that scores
and hundreds of instances similar to this, which occurred during the
Reformation, might be given.

There are before me as I write, letters, papers, documents of various
sorts relative to marriage and the matrimonial affairs of the Saints, at
the time of which I speak, that I wish the reader could peep at. I would
not like him to read them—in fact, I dared not read them all myself, for
some of them are so shameful that the mere knowledge of having read them
through would make any right-minded person blush. Taking more wives was
the order of the day—_how_, was of little matter.

The work of “Reformation” was in full progress; the people were excited
to frenzy; the Federal troops were expected; men were marrying and
maidens were given in marriage; every one in Utah was looking forward to
the time when the Prophecies of Joseph, the Seer, should be fulfilled,
and the Son of Man should come:—and then, when one would have supposed
that every man would have wished that his hands should be pure, was
perpetrated a deed which is unparalleled in modern civilized times—a deed
at which angels and men have stood aghast with horror.

[Illustration: BISHOP JOHN D. LEE, Mormon Commander in the Mountain
Meadow Massacre.]

[Illustration: JOHN TAYLOR, Acting President of the Mormon Church.

_Born in Westmoreland, England, in 1803._]



I feel myself utterly incompetent to tell the story of the Mountain
Meadows Massacre—it is so shocking, so fiend-like. And yet it must be

While the work of “Reformation” was going on, and when the United States
troops were constantly expected in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, a
large train of emigrants passed through Utah on its way to California.
The train consisted of one hundred and twenty or one hundred and thirty
persons, and they came chiefly from Arkansas. They were people from the
country districts, sober, hard-working, plain folks, but well-to-do, and,
taken all in all, about as respectable a band of emigrants as ever passed
through Salt Lake City.

Nothing worthy of any particular note occurred to them until they reached
the Valley—that was the point from which they started towards death.

My old friend Eli B. Kelsey travelled with them from Fort Bridger to
Salt Lake City, and he spoke of them in the highest terms. If I remember
rightly he said that the train was divided into two parts—the first a
rough-and-ready set of men—regular frontier pioneers; the other a picked
community, the members of which were all more or less connected by family
ties. They travelled along in the most orderly fashion, without hurry
or confusion. On Sunday they rested, and one of their number who had
been a Methodist preacher conducted divine service. All went well until
they reached Salt Lake City, where they expected to be able to refit
and replenish their stock of provisions; but it was there that they
first discovered that feeling of enmity which finally resulted in their

Now it so happened that the minds of the Saints in Salt Lake City were
at that time strongly prejudiced against the people of Arkansas, and
for a most unsaintly reason. The Apostle Parley P. Pratt was one of the
earliest converts to Mormonism, and who so ably defended his adopted
creed with his pen and from the platform, had not very long before been
sojourning in Arkansas, and had there run away with another man’s wife.
This was only a trifle for an “Apostle” to do, and the husband—Mr.
McLean—might have known it. But he was a most inconsiderate man, and
was actually offended with the amorous Apostle for what he had done. He
pursued him and killed him, for in those rough parts it was considered
that the Apostle did wrong in marrying the man’s wife. Nobody, however,
took any notice of the matter or brought the murderer to trial. The
Mormon people, of course, took the side of the Apostle Parley P. Pratt.
Sensitive themselves to the highest degree concerning their wives and
daughters, they considered McLean a sinner for doing just exactly what
any Saint would have certainly done. Their opinion, however, would
have been a matter of consequence only to themselves, had not such
fatal consequences resulted from it. Reasoning without reason, they
argued that McLean was the enemy of every Mormon, and every Mormon was
the enemy of McLean; McLean was protected in Arkansas—therefore every
man from Arkansas was an enemy of the Mormons;—an enemy ought to be
cut off—therefore it was the duty of every Mormon to “cut off”—if he
could—every Arkansas man.

This appears to have been the tone of thought which actuated the minds of
the leaders of the people at the time when this emigrant train arrived in
the City.

Weary and footsore they encamped by the Jordan River, trusting there
to recruit themselves and their teams, and to replenish their stock of
provisions. The harvest in Utah that year had been abundant, and there
was nothing to hinder them from obtaining a speedy and full supply.
Brigham Young was then Governor of Utah Territory, Commander-in-Chief of
the Militia, and Indian Agent as well: he was therefore responsible for
all that took place within his jurisdiction. It was his duty to protect
all law-abiding persons who either resided in or travelled through the
country. The emigrants, so far from being protected, were ordered to
break up their camp and move on; and it is said that written instructions
were sent on before them, directing the people in the settlements through
which they would have to pass to have no dealings with them. This,
considering their need of provisions, was much the same as condemning
them to certain death.

Compelled to travel on, they pursued their journey slowly towards Los
Angeles. At American Fork they wished to trade off some of their worn-out
stock and to purchase fresh—they also desired to obtain provisions. There
was abundance of everything from the farm and from the field, for God had
very greatly blessed the land that year; but they could obtain nothing.
They passed on, and went through Battle Creek, Provo, Springville,
Spanish Fork, Payson, Salt Creek, and Fillmore, and their reception was
still the same,—the word of the Mormon Pontiff had gone forth, and no man
dared to hold communion or to trade with them. Now and then, some Mormon,
weak in the faith or braver or more fond of money than his fellows,
would steal into the camp, in the darkness of the night, bearing with
him just what he was able to carry; but beyond this they could procure
nothing. Their only hope now lay in the chance of holding out until they
could push through to some Gentile settlement where the word of the
priestly Governor of Utah was not law. Through fifteen different Mormon
settlements did they pass, without being able to purchase a morsel of
bread. With empty waggons and on short allowance, they pushed on until
they reached Corn Creek, where, for the first time in saintly Utah, they
met a friendly greeting _from the Indians_, and purchased from them
thirty bushels of corn, of which they stood very greatly in need.

At Beaver they were again repulsed, and at Parowan they were not
permitted to enter the town—they were forced to leave the public highway
and pass round the west side of the fort wall. They encamped by the
stream, and tried as before to obtain food and fresh cattle, but again to
no purpose. The reason why they were refused admission to the town was
probably because the militia was there assembled under Colonel Wm. H.
Dame—which militia afterwards assisted in their destruction, for which
preparations were even now being made.

They made their way to Cedar City, the most populous of all the towns
of Southern Utah. Here they were allowed to purchase fifty bushels
of tithing wheat, and to have it ground at the mill of that infamous
scoundrel John D. Lee, upon whose memory will rest the eternal curses of
all who have ever heard his name. It was, however, no act of mercy, the
supplying of this corn. The sellers of it knew well enough even then that
it would return to them again in the course of a few days. After all,
they had but forty days’ rations to carry them on to San Bernardino, in
California—a journey of about seventy days. Scanty kindness—miserable
generosity!—fifty bushels of corn for a seventy days’ journey, for men,
women, and young children, and at least one little one to be born on the

They remained in Cedar City only one day, and so jaded were their teams
that it took them three days to travel thence to Iron Creek, a distance
of twenty miles; and two days were occupied in journeying fifteen
miles—the distance between Iron Creek and the Meadows.

The morning after they left Iron Creek, the Mormon militia followed them
in pursuit, intending, it is supposed, to assault them at Clara Crossing.
That this was no private outburst, and that, on the contrary, it was
done by authority, is evident from sworn testimony to the effect that
the assembling of those troops was the result of “_a regular military
call from the superior officers to the subordinate officers and privates
of the regiments.... Said regiment was duly ordered to muster, armed
and equipped as the law directs, and prepared for field operations._”
A regular military council was held at Parowan, at which were present
President Isaac C. Haight, the Mormon High Priest of Southern Utah,
Colonel Dame, Major John D. Lee, and the Apostle George A. Smith.

No military council, whether of the militia or the ordinary troops of
the line, would dare to determine upon such an important matter as the
cutting off of an emigrant train of one hundred and thirty persons
without receiving permission from superior authority. Brigham Young was
in this case the superior authority—he was the Commander-in-Chief of the
Militia:—the inference is obvious. I do not, of course, say that he gave
the order for this accursed deed, but that it was his business to bring
the criminals to justice no one can doubt or deny.

The regiment, which started from Cedar City under the command of Major
John D. Lee, the sub-agent for Indian affairs in Southern Utah, was
accompanied by baggage-waggons and the other paraphernalia of war
excepting only heavy artillery, which in this case would have been
useless. But, at the same time, a large body of the Piede Indians had
been invited to accompany them.

An order came from head-quarters to cut off the entire company except the
little children. The emigrants were utterly unprepared, and the first
onslaught found them defenceless. Accustomed, however, to border warfare,
they immediately corralled their waggons and prepared for a siege—their
great misfortune was that they had not any water—Major John D. Lee,
finding the emigrants resolute, sent to Cedar City and Washington City
for reinforcements, which duly arrived.

The next morning, Major John D. Lee assembled his troops, including
the auxiliaries which he had summoned, about half a mile from the
entrenchment of the fated emigrants, and then and there informed them,
with all the coolness which such an infamous scoundrel alone could
muster, that the whole company was to be killed, and only the little
children who were too young to remember anything were to be spared.

The unfortunate emigrants did not know who their foes were. They saw
Indians, or men who were so coloured that they looked like Indians,
and they saw others who were more than strangers to them, but they had
no clue to the cause of their detention. To them all was mystery. That
Indians should attack them was quite within the bounds of probability,
although there was at that time no cause for such an outrage; but that
such an attack should be persistent, and should be carried on under
the peculiar circumstances in question, was, to say the least, highly

Who could rightly tell a story so fearful as this? The emigrant
train—men, women, and children fainting and famishing for want of bread
and meat. In their pockets was money wherewith the necessaries of life
might have been bought, and the generous hand of the Almighty had that
year been open so wide, and had scattered those necessaries so liberally,
that nothing but the wickedness of man towards his fellow could have
created a dearth. But so it was that darkness and the fear of death—a
fearful death even at the door—was all those poor emigrants had standing
before their eyes. What right had the Mormon militia to be pursuing, to
be hanging about the skirts of any body of emigrants? Their very presence
was in itself unauthorized—criminal. The emigrants supposed that they
were surrounded by Indians, and expected the cruellest treatment in case
of resistance not only death, but the outrage and shocking atrocities
of savages. They did not know that the red men who threatened their
lives and the lives of their helpless wives and infants were brought
together at that spot for that same purpose by the counsel of Mormon
authorities. They did not know that so many of the appearing red-skins
were only painted devils, mocks of humanity, wretches who under the
mask of a red-skin’s colour were eager to perpetrate the foulest of
offences—scoundrels a thousand times damned in the opinion of men, and by
the decree of God.

Day after day went by, and the poor creatures began to despair—who
can wonder? The brave men cared little for their own lives; but there
was something fearful in the thought that their darling ones would be
scalped, and torn in pieces, and brutally outraged! Who can wonder that
they resolved to sell life as dearly as they possibly could? They might
at least die in defence of those they loved.

So day followed day. The agony of the unhappy men and women who were thus
besieged, and were in daily, hourly peril of the most frightful of all
deaths, can be imagined—not told. Meanwhile, what were those atrocious
scoundrels doing who were lying in wait for their blood? Some of them
were tricked out as Indians; some were in their own proper dresses; and,
moreover, real Utes were there. The unhappy victims could not possibly
escape—there was time for the murderers to do their work leisurely.
Between chance shots, which were intended to, and did, carry death with
them, they amused themselves with “pitching horse-shoe quoits:”—such
heartlessness is almost beyond conception.

In terrible need of water, they thought that even the Indians, who they
supposed were their assailants, might possibly respect a token of truce;
so they dressed two little girls in white and sent them down to the well.
But the fiends—the Mormon militia—shot them down. In the day of doom, the
blood of those babes will testify more heavily against Major John D. Lee,
and Isaac C. Haight, and Colonel Dame, and George A. Smith, and the other
wretch who plotted and contrived that fearful iniquity, than any of the
base and cowardly crimes which have for years and years blackened their
contemptible and miserable souls.

They could not possibly advance. Their corn would not last long. They
were famishing for water. How long they could hold out was evidently
only a matter of time. Had the train consisted only of men, they might
certainly, if with loss, have cut their way through their besiegers and
escaped; but with wives and children, and others bound to them by the
tenderest ties, such a thing was impossible. They looked and waited.
Savage Indians they supposed were their only enemies. Coldly, strangely
as they had been treated at the Mormon settlements, they never for a
moment supposed that white men could be in league against them or could
meditate their destruction.

Up in the meadows—in the distance—there was a white dusty cloud as if of
some person or persons approaching:—the hearts of the emigrants leaped
for joy. Was help coming at last? It was evident that a waggon was coming
near, and the waggon was filled with armed men;—here was hope. After all
the misery of that waitful watching, they were overjoyed, and shouted
aloud with gladness, and sprang with open arms to welcome their visitors.
Little did they suppose that the fiends who then came down, with pale
faces and the manners of white men, were the same as those who, painted
and decked out like Indians, had been leaguered about their camp with
murderous intentions for so many days.

The waggon came near, and was found to be filled with armed men. Surely
now, the unhappy emigrants thought, substantial help had come—the
authorities of Utah in the neighbourhood, whether Gentile or Mormon, had
come out in the cause of civilization and humanity, and succour was at

A white flag was waved from the waggon as an emblem of peace, and in
order that the emigrants might know that it was white men and not the red
demons of the hills who approached. They did not, indeed, know that these
themselves were the monsters who had wronged them all this time, and who
were even now compassing their death.

Inside that waggon was President Haight, the infamous Mormon Bishop
John D. Lee, and other authorities of the Church in Southern Utah. They
professed to the emigrants that they came upon the friendly errand of
standing between them and the Indians. They said that the Indians had
taken offence at something that the emigrants had done, that they were
thirsting for their blood, but that they, the Mormon officials, were on
good terms with them and had influence, and would use their good offices
in the cause of mercy and of peace. After some discussion they left with
the professed view of conciliating the Indians. Then they returned and
said that the Indians had agreed that, if the emigrants marched back to
Salt Lake City, their lives should be spared; but that they must leave
everything behind them in their camp, even including the common weapons
of defence which every Western man carries about his person. The Mormon
officials then solemnly undertook to bring an armed force and to guard
the emigrants safely back again to the Settlements.

The emigrants were not cowards, and would doubtless have preferred to cut
their way through to the south, but they could not leave their wives and
little ones, and any terms, however disadvantageous, were better than
leaving those they loved to the tender mercy of those wretches.

This agreement being made, the Mormon officials retired, and after a
short time again returned with thirty or forty armed men. Then the
emigrants were marched out—the women and children in the front, and the
men following, while the Mormon guard followed in the rear. When they had
marched in this way about a mile, and had arrived at the place where the
Indians were hid in the bushes on each side of the road, the signal was
given for the slaughter. So taken by surprise were the emigrants, and
so implicitly had they confided in these murderers, that they offered
no resistance. The Mormon Militia, their guard, immediately opened fire
upon them from the rear, while the Indians, and Mormons disguised as
Indians, who were hidden among the bushes, rushed out upon them, shooting
them down with guns and bows and arrows, and cutting some of the men’s
throats with knives. The women and children, shrieking with mortal
terror, scattered and fled, some trying to hide in the bushes. Two young
girls actually did escape for about a quarter of a mile, when they were
overtaken and butchered under circumstances of the greatest brutality.
The son of John D. Lee endeavoured to protect one poor girl who clung to
him for help; but his father, tearing her from him by violence, blew out
her brains. Another unhappy girl is said to have kneeled to this same
monster Lee, entreating him to spare her life. He dragged her into the
bushes, stripped her naked, and cut her throat from ear to ear, after she
had suffered worse at his hands than death itself. About half an hour was
probably occupied in the butchery, and every soul of that company was cut
off, excepting only a few little children who were supposed to be too
young to understand or remember what had taken place. The unfortunate
victims were stripped, without reference to age or sex, and then left to
rot upon the field. There they remained until torn and dismembered by the
wolves, when it was then thought prudent to conceal such as lay nearest
to the road. An eye-witness subsequently visiting the spot said:—

“The scene of the massacre, even at this late day, was horrible to look
upon. Women’s hair in detached locks and in masses hung to the sage
bushes and was strewn over the ground in many places. Parts of little
children’s dresses and of female costume dangled from the shrubbery, or
lay scattered about, and among these, here and there on every hand, for
at least a mile in the direction of the road, by two miles east and west,
there gleamed, bleached white by the weather, the skulls and other bones
of those who had suffered. A glance into the waggon, when all these had
been collected, revealed a sight which never can be forgotten.”


_To face p. 255._]

The remains were subsequently gathered together by Major Carleton, the
United States Commissioner, who erected over them a large cairn of
stones, surmounted by a cross of red cedar, with the inscription thereon:
“_Vengeance is mine: I will repay, saith the Lord_;” and on a stone
beneath were engraved the words:—

“Here 120 men, women, and children were massacred in cold blood, early in
September, 1857. They were from Arkansas.”

It is said that this monument was subsequently destroyed by order of
Brigham Young, when he visited that part of the territory.

The little children, while their parents were being butchered, had clung
about their murderers’ knees, entreating mercy, but none of them finding
it save those who were little more than infants. Their fears and cries
the night after the murder are said to have been heart-rending. One
little babe, just beginning to walk, was shot through the arm. Another
little girl was shot through the ear, and the clothes of most of them
were saturated with their mothers’ blood. They were distributed among
the people of the settlements, and when finally the Government took
them under the protection of the nation, the people among whom these
little ones lived actually charged for their boarding. Two of them are
said to have uttered some words from which it was presumed that their
intelligence was in advance of their years. They were taken out quietly
and _buried_! This happened some time after the massacre.

Most of the property of the emigrants was sold by _public auction_ in
Cedar City: the Indians got most of the flour and ammunition, and the
Mormons the more valuable articles. They jested over it and called it
“Spoil taken at the siege of Sevastopol.” There is legal proof that
the clothing stripped from the corpses, blood-stained, riddled by the
bullets, and with shreds of flesh attached to it, was placed in the
cellar of the tithing office, where it lay about three weeks, when it
was privately sold. The cellar is said to have smelt of it for years.
Long after this time, jewellery torn from the mangled bodies of the
unfortunate women was publicly worn in Salt Lake City, and every one knew
whence it came. A tithing of it all is reported, upon very conclusive
evidence, to have been laid at the feet of Brigham Young.

This is the story, most imperfectly told, for I dare not sketch its
foulest details, of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Brigham Young, who
was at the time Governor of the Territory and also Indian Agent, made no
report of the matter. Let that fact of itself speak for his innocence or
guilt. Would any other governor or agent in another territory have been
thus silent? John D. Lee, and Dame, and Haight, and the other wretches
have never been brought to trial or cut off from the Church, although
their monstrous crime has never been a secret, nor have any endeavours
been made to conceal it.

This fearful deed was one of the unavoidable results of the teachings
of the Mormon leaders during the Reformation. There were crimes then
perpetrated in secret which will never be known until the day of doom;
and there were horrors which have been known and recorded, but for which
no one has been brought to trial or has suffered inconvenience. There are
men in Salt Lake City, who walk about unblushingly in broad daylight, but
who are known to be murderers, and whose hands have been again and again
dyed with blood under circumstances of the most atrocious cruelty.

There was one cruel murder, but by no means the worst—which came under
my own personal observation, and which I have alluded to elsewhere—the
murder of Dr. John King Robinson in Salt Lake City, which attracted
more than ordinary attention. This gentleman was a physician of good
standing, who came out as assistant-surgeon with the United States army,
and afterwards began to practise in Salt Lake City. He was known as a
man of unimpeachable moral character, and there are to this day hundreds
of responsible people who would testify to his fair fame and rectitude;
although he had by some means incurred the dislike of many of the Mormon
leaders. He formed the idea of taking possession of some warm springs on
the north of the city, and proposed to erect there baths, an hospital,
&c. A small wooden shanty was erected for the purpose of holding
possession, but the city authorities claimed the spring, and, after some
very unpleasant proceedings, the matter was referred to the law courts,
and Judge Titus decided against the doctor.

After this verdict had been rendered, Dr. Robinson seems to have acted
very prudently, and to have remained in-doors as much as possible during
the succeeding days. Between eleven and twelve o’clock on the night of
the third day, however, after the family had retired to rest, a man
called at the house, and stating that his brother had broken his leg by
a fall from a mule and was suffering very much, he, after some earnest
persuasion, induced the doctor to accompany him. Anxious as he might be
to remain in-doors at such a time, no professional man would refuse to
perform an act of mercy. He accordingly went. At a distance of about a
couple of hundred steps from the house he was struck over the head with
some sharp instrument, and immediately after shot through the brain. His
wife, a young girl, to whom he had only been married a very short time,
heard the report of the pistol, and witnesses saw men fleeing from the
spot. The police were sent for, and the body was carried to Independence
Hall, and afterwards to the victim’s house. The Mayor of the city was
not informed of the murder until ten o’clock the next day, and the chief
of police, who was sitting round the fire with his men when news of the
murder arrived, went to bed immediately, and did not visit the scene of
the outrage for three days.

The following Sunday, Brigham Young, in the Tabernacle, publicly
suggested that the doctor had probably been murdered by some of the
soldiers from Camp Douglas, who were dissatisfied with his treatment when
they were under his hands, or else that he had fallen in some gambling
transaction—both of which statements, however, were known by every one
present to be utterly false. No one was ever prosecuted for this cruel
murder. It did not occur during the Reformation, but was the natural
result of the teachings of those times.

I simply mention these facts without any comment of my own. Let the
reader form his own conclusion. More of these frightful stories I do not
care to relate; and I should not even have presented these to the notice
of the reader had it not been impossible otherwise to give any adequate
idea of that terrible “Reformation.” The Gentile army came in. The Union
Pacific Railroad was opened. Changes and chances altered all that had
been, and brought into being that which might be, and that which finally
really was. Instead of looking to the events of three or four thousand
years ago, men began to act up to things which were—to think and act in
the present, not to dream of the past. The day has gone by, but not far,
when the perpetration openly of such deeds was possible; but it is still
boasted that, when “_Deseret_” becomes a State, the “Saints” will “show
still greater zeal _for the Lord_!”

In concluding this too brief sketch of the most tragic episodes in
Mormon domestic history, I must warn my readers against the inference
that the ghastly facts and details there presented came to my knowledge
either immediately or soon after my arrival in Utah. No, it was only
after many years’ residence there, and by very slow degrees, that they
became known to me, and the effect which they produced on my mind was
necessarily broken and impaired by the gradual and disconnected way in
which they oozed out, the horrible and bewildering travesty of biblical
argument urged in their defence, and by my utter isolation from the outer
and higher world, and communication with the heart and brain ennobling
influences of a wholesome and invigorating public opinion.



One bright summer morning, about six months after our arrival in Salt
Lake City, I was sitting in the work-room, busy with my girls, when a
light tap was heard at the door, and the next instant a lady entered,
and, coming straight up to me, was about to kiss me.

I started back a step, held out my hand, looked her full in the face,
and in a moment we were in each other’s arms. It was my old friend, Mary

I could with difficulty find words to express my astonishment when I
recognized her, so greatly was she changed in every respect. From the
very first, whenever we met after a long separation, I had noticed a more
than ordinary alteration in her appearance. But it must be remembered
that at the time of our first re-union she had grown out of childhood
into womanhood; when I met her again in New York, she had passed through
the most interesting phase of a woman’s life—she had forsaken maidenhood
for matrimony; and now I met her once more after she had endured those
horrors on the Plains—of which the reader has already heard—and she
had entered into a life of sorrow worse than any she had known before.
No wonder, then, that now, as upon previous occasions, I noticed quite
a startling change in her appearance. Her dress was of the coarsest
and plainest kind, but neat, as was everything she touched; yet not so
carefully arranged as in the old time in England. She used formerly
to have a way of adjusting a dress or a bonnet so that it set her off
ten times better than it would a girl who had not naturally the same
taste; but now, although, as I said, her clothes, if coarse, were neat,
she evidently had not taken any pains to set herself off to the best
advantage; and in a woman what a story did that simple fact tell! But it
was in her features and manners that the change was most remarkable.
In looking at her face you would have been puzzled to say in what the
alteration consisted. Her cheeks were thinner and sadly pale, but that
was not the cause of her appearing as she did. Had she been older, I
verily believe the anguish she had passed through would have blanched
her hair and left upon her brow deep marks of thought and suffering. As
it was, however, though no one feature in particular was very greatly
altered, the whole expression of her face was that of one whose heart was
utterly crushed and broken; and when her eyes met mine, I could hardly
refrain from tears as I saw the mournful look of subdued pain, which told
in them the terrific conflict which her heart had endured.

I took her to my own room—poor girl, how my heart bled for her!—and
again and again I held her in my arms and tried to comfort her, for she
was very weary; and at last she wept. I was glad to see that passionate
flood of tears, for I knew it would relieve her, and in that I was not
mistaken. She threw her arms round my neck, and, kissing me repeatedly,
sobbed out, “Don’t blame me, Sister Stenhouse; don’t blame me very much;
I cannot help it.”

“There, there, Mary,” I said; “be calm and you will soon be better. You
must tell me all your troubles, and I will do all I can to help and
comfort you.”

“There is no help, Sister Stenhouse, no comfort for me; I’m past all
that,” she answered.

“Don’t say that, Mary,” I said; “I know that you have passed through a
terrible amount of suffering, and have had much trouble in every way; but
your husband is still alive, is he not?—and there may be many years of
happiness before you.”

“It is the thought of him that makes me so wretched,” she said; “oh! I
could have borne death a thousand times rather than this. I would gladly
have seen him die rather than see him changed as he is now. You do not
know, Sister Stenhouse, how my whole soul was wrapped up in that man, how
I almost worshipped him. When we suffered so much together on the Plains,
I felt happy in comparison with what I feel now. I remember that terrible
night when I believed he was dying—I remember the anguish that I felt;
but, oh! I knew then that he loved me and that his heart was all my own.
Had I lost him, if I could myself have lived, I should have felt that he
had never loved another beside me; I should have known that we would meet
together again in heaven and be happy in each other’s love. After all we
went through together, I loved him more and more; we seemed to live with
one life; we had the same thoughts, and hopes, and pleasures; I leaned
upon him, and I loved him—ah, so fondly! and, Sister Stenhouse, I know he
loved me then. We were getting over the effects of our sufferings on the
Plains, and I was gaining strength and was looking forward to the time
when my child should be born. It was then that they came and taught him
that devil’s doctrine and led him away from me. Oh dear! I cannot bear
it, Sister Stenhouse, I cannot bear it; it will drive me mad!”

She buried her face in her hands, and sobbed again.

“Mary, dear,” I said, “don’t talk like that; he cannot have ceased to
love you, I am sure; he used to almost worship you, dear.”

“It is because I know that he did once, that drives me crazy. You do not
know what I feel, and what I have to bear!”

I did not utter a word; my own sorrows were hidden in my own heart. The
heart knoweth its bitterness, and a stranger intermeddleth not in the
matter. “You have been through the Endowments?” she asked. “So have I.
We went through, Sister Stenhouse, about three months after we came to
Utah, and never since then have I known a moment’s peace. I do not know
what they said to my husband, but, whatever it was, it produced a great
effect upon his mind, and changed him altogether; he has been an altered
man from that very time. I have no doubt that they told them that it was
his duty to take another wife, and they would say that no promise made
to me before our marriage was binding if it comes in opposition to our
religion. You know how devoted he is, how firm his faith is. Why, I do
believe that he would obey counsel even if it broke his heart, and cost
him his life. Did they say nothing to you or your husband, dear?”

“Certainly they did, Mary; we have heard it daily and hourly, and my
husband is constantly being counselled about it. I am wretched, Mary, you
know I must be; I feel just as you do, but how can we help ourselves?”

“No, we cannot help ourselves, there is no hope,” she said; “but it is
a cruel wrong. You know well enough how determined I was never to marry
a man who would take another wife. When I thought that Elder Shrewsbury
might be influenced by his religion, I made him go to the Apostle and get
counsel, and then he solemnly vowed to me that he never would enter into
polygamy without my consent; which, of course, was the same as saying
that he never would do so at all. Until we went through our Endowments,
he never even hinted at such a thing. But they spoke to him then; and one
day, after he had been having a long consultation with the Bishop, he
came and spoke to me. He was not unkind in the least. In fact he seemed
to be as much pained at all mention of the subject as I was. He said that
the Bishop had been urging him to live up to his privileges, and had
explained to him how great a loss in the celestial world it would be,
both to him and to me, if he did not take more wives. He was told that
now while he was young was the time, and that I would soon get over any
pain that I might suffer. Yes, they actually said so. Fancy tearing out
the very affections of one’s heart, and blasting every hope and happiness
in life, and then saying that I should soon ‘get used to it!’ I tell
you, Sister Stenhouse, a true woman never can ‘get used’ to this hideous
system. If the hearts of some are dead and cold, it is a curse to them
and a curse to their husband and children; and if a wife seems careless
or callous, as the case may be, it is because love for her husband has
first died out in her heart. She feels no jealousy because she has no
love; but if a woman has but a spark of love for her husband, she will
hate with a deadly hatred any other woman whom that husband loves.”

“But what did Elder Shrewsbury say when they told him to enter into
polygamy?” I inquired.

“At first he told them it was utterly impossible,” she replied, “and he
mentioned his promise to me, and said we were very happy together, and
that he wished for nothing more. But they knew his weakness, and that he
would do anything for his religion, and they urged him on that point.
It was even a sin against me they said, for if he had no more than one
wife he could never exalt me in the celestial kingdom; that I ought to be
treated like a child—a very dear, but spoilt child; and if I refused what
was for my own and my husband’s benefit and everlasting welfare, he ought
to act up to what he knew was right, and leave the consequences with the
Lord, who would order all things for the best. My husband told me all
this very sadly at first, but I could see that it had an effect upon his
mind. They saw it, too, and did not let the subject drop. Every day they
spoke to him of it, and at last he gave way—for _my_ sake, he said! This
was the cruellest wrong of all. Then one day he told me very firmly and
very coldly, as if he had steeled his heart to do so, that he had made up
his mind to take another wife.”

“What!” I exclaimed, “after the solemn oath he swore never to do such a
thing? Why, I could not have believed it of Elder Shrewsbury!”

“I reminded him of his promise,” she said, “but he told me that the
Revelation justified him in breaking it; that it said in the second
clause that ‘All covenants, contracts, and oaths not sealed by him who
is appointed on earth to hold this power in the last days are of no
force after the resurrection;’ that for this cause we had been married
again for eternity, and that now he was free from his oath. I knelt down
before him, and I wept and prayed as if for life itself; I entreated him,
if no more, to wait and put off all thoughts of another marriage for a
few months, until he had time to consider the matter carefully. He had
already thoroughly thought it over, he said, and could not go back now,
for the Bishop had chosen a wife for him, and had arranged everything.
He even told me who it was—a young girl named Wilbur, about fourteen
years of age—a mere child. I prayed him if he would be so wicked as to
perjure himself and wrong me so foully, at least not to add to his sin by
injuring a poor innocent child. He was very indignant with me for that,
said that he was doing the child the greatest good he possibly could by
marrying her; that he was ensuring her salvation as well as mine; and
that he expected to receive the blessing of God.”

“Mary,” I said, “this system is a fearful curse.”

“Curse!” she exclaimed, “curse is a heavenly word to apply to such a
system. Why there is nothing in hell so hateful, so vile, so detestable.
It is blight and ruin to everything that is fair and good. I never pass a
day but I curse with the bitterest hatred the men who devised it. Women
_can_ hate bitterly when they choose; but I hate _them_ more than ever
woman hated before.”

“Hush! hush, dear!” I said; “you mustn’t talk so, Mary!”

“I mustn’t say it perhaps—it’s dangerous, I know; but I may think so.
There is not a true-hearted woman in Utah who does not feel as I do this
day. Do you think that when they have ruined all our hopes for time
and for eternity we shall love them still? Here, but for this wretched
system, I should have been a happy wife and mother, and now see what I
am—husband, child, all lost—all lost!”

“Is the child dead, Mary?” I asked very gently, for I feared to pain her.

“Yes, dear,” she replied, “in fact, I believe it never lived—the one I
was thinking of. I was ill, very ill indeed, after what my husband had
told me. They thought I should die, and I think he was sorry, for he
became very kind and tender to me, but that only made me feel worse. Then
my child was born, but I never saw it, for I was unconscious for more
than a week after, and then they told me that it was not alive, but my
husband would never speak to me about it. As I grew better, his cold,
stern manner returned, and then at last he married that girl Wilbur,
and since then he has married two more, for he is doing very well in
business. I think that all his love for me has gone. At first he thought
of marrying again because it was a religious principle; and as it was
the time of the Reformation he did not dare to refuse; but now his heart
is grown hard and cold. You see a change in me, Sister Stenhouse, but I
think you’d see a greater change in him. I know, of course, that I used
to look at him with the eyes of love, and of course did not see him as
other people did; but that is not the only change—it isn’t in his face
alone; his whole nature is altered. It quite pains me sometimes to see

“Do you feel any happier now—any calmer, Mary?”

“Yes,” she said, “yes, and no. I do not love him as I used to; how could
I? But when I look into my heart I find, if I tell you the truth, that a
little love _does_ remain there. If only I could _quite_ cease to love
him I think I should be happy; but when I pet and play with my little
girl—for we have had one child since that dreadful time—some of my love
for him comes back again, and I sit down and have a good cry. Sometimes
that isn’t enough to calm me, and I shut the door and walk up and down
the room and swear. There! don’t look so horrified, Sister Stenhouse,
I cannot help it; if I did not give way to my feelings now and then I
should die outright; and sometimes I break a few things, but he never
knows it, and it does me good. We came into the city yesterday on a
visit, and we shall stay for a few days. He brought me, I believe, as a
matter of form; but I found out where you lived, and I came to see you.
You never answered my letter, and I did not know whether you had left New
York yet. I really _am_ glad to see you, Sister Stenhouse. And is it true
that Brother Stenhouse has not taken another wife yet?”

“Not yet,” I said; “but, as I told you, he has been spoken to about it,
and I cannot tell what he may do. As you say, Mary, the Mormon women have
not much to make them happy.”

Mary gave me a great deal of information. In that she was quite herself,
as I knew her in by-gone days. Nothing escaped her observation. She sat
down with me and told me all her troubles, and I need hardly say how
deeply I sympathized with her. So I tried to comfort her, and spoke about
her child, but even respecting that poor little thing she felt no hope.
“Why, when it grows up,” she said, “it will be as miserable as I am—I can
see no prospect of happiness in the future for it.” We agreed that the
only way whereby we might prevent our children from experiencing sorrow
and misery similar to our own was to teach them from the very first that
Polygamy was the natural and proper, as well as the revealed order of
marriage; in fact to “bring them up” in the system. What a miserable
resource was this for a mother who loved her children!

“One thing, Mary,” I said, referring to her own personal experience
in Polygamy; “one thing I do not quite understand. _You_, of course,
had made your husband specially promise, before you married him, that
he would never take another wife, and he was therefore bound, as a
man, by every moral obligation, not to do so. But other women have
not been situated as you were, and they have exacted no promises from
their husbands. Yet it always seemed to me that your doing so was quite
superfluous, for you must be aware, Mary, that the Revelation says that,
before a man can take a second wife, he must have the full consent of
the first. The elders in Europe used to make a great deal of that point,
as you may remember, for they said that this provision took from the
Revelation any harshness or injustice which it might otherwise appear to
show. I know many women who submitted on this account, for they argued
that, if their permission was necessary, they could always, by refusing,
save themselves from any further trouble. Now if that was so, how came
_your_ husband to take another wife against your will? I say _your_
husband, because I should have no difficulty in many other cases. I
have been repeatedly told that husbands never troubled themselves about
the Revelation when they wanted another wife, unless it was to silence
the first wife with it, if she rebelled. But I always regarded Elder
Shrewsbury as a conscientious man, and I firmly believed that he would
never willingly give you a moment’s pain. When he made that promise to
you, he had the Revelation before him, and had also the Apostle to go
to if he needed the ‘Word of the Lord.’ He was therefore bound by that
promise, notwithstanding anything that the Revelation might say to the
contrary; and even had he made no promise, the Revelation was on your
side. We are told that every woman must first give her consent.”

“That is all very true, Sister Stenhouse,” she said, “to a certain
extent. The theory is as you say, but you have not heard the whole.
I know the Revelation pretty nearly by heart, and so I can tell you
exactly what it does say. The first wife is said to hold the keys of this
power, by which is meant that she can refuse. But then it goes on to say
that when her husband has taught her the law of the Priesthood—that is
Polygamy—‘_she shall believe or she shall be destroyed_, saith the Lord
your God, for I will destroy her.’ You see there is no loophole of escape
for the woman. Her husband is to teach her the law, and she _shall_
believe; and if she does not—and of course people have no power to make
themselves believe what they please—she is to be destroyed, and God will
destroy her! Do you know, Sister Stenhouse, there are stories whispered
here of women who _did_ refuse, and who stood in their husbands’ way;
and it is said that the Priesthood did not wait for the Lord to destroy,
but carried out the law themselves. But we have wandered sadly from your
question. You were talking about the first wife giving her consent?”

“Yes,” I said, “and you were about to tell me whether it was really and
practically necessary in every instance. You have been here longer, and
have seen more, than I have.”

“The wife’s consent is by no means necessary, Sister Stenhouse. It may
be asked sometimes as a mere matter of form, and, of course, in the
Endowment House, when she gives the other wives to her husband, she may
be said to give her consent to his marrying them. It is nothing but a
piece of folly to talk about women having the power to withhold their
consent, and it is simply an insult and a mockery for their husbands to
ask it; they well know before they ask that their wives dare not refuse
to give it. But it enables them to boast to the Gentiles that they do not
take other wives until their first wife gives her consent. This is what
is meant by ‘the liberty of the Gospel,’ I suppose, about which Brother
Brigham talks so much. But every one knows perfectly well that this is
all a farce. Without President Young’s consent there can be no marriage
at all; but if it is the will of Brigham, the refusal of the first wife,
and the parents, and the girl herself do not for a moment signify.”

“But did your husband, Mary, act in this way?”

“Well, not quite. He told me that, if I refused, it would make not the
slightest difference; and as I believed him, I, of course, went, and did
not make a scene. It would have only made matters worse. Some of the
older sisters came round and talked me over, and explained and insisted,
and ‘laboured’ with me as they called it, until I hardly knew what to
think or do; my mind was quite unsettled. Eliza R. Snow is quite great
at that sort of work. When my husband took his other two wives, he did
not consult me at all, but simply told me that on a certain day I must go
with him to the Endowment House. We went, and he married two sisters on
the same day, but it did not do him much good. They are handsome girls,
but have very bad tempers, and we often have a very unpleasant time. The
second wife, poor child! suffered most when he married the other two.
She did not seem to like me very well at first, which was quite natural;
but, when the other two were brought home, she seemed quite to cling to
me, and I have, strange to say, taken quite a fancy to her. In all our
disputes she always sides with me, and in return I always stand up for
her, as a matter of course. I am getting used to this wretched life; I
try to stifle my love; and I am sorry to say that sometimes I almost hate
every one around me, including my husband. Now and then the old longing
for some one to love, for some one to confide in, comes over me. I felt
like that this morning when I came here, and that is what made me act so

“Say nothing of that, Mary,” I replied. “I wish you would stay with me
while you are in the city.”

“No,” she said, “we shall be here for a day or two, but I do not think
my husband would like me to stay here altogether. He knows that you are
aware of his attachment to me once, and his promises in the old times,
and very likely he would be a little ashamed to meet you. He’ll make
business an excuse, and in fact he is busy all the day. So I’ll come
round alone as much as I can, and we’ll have a good talk again.”

I saw her to the door, and then she turned and said, “I’ll come again and
see you, Sister Stenhouse, before we leave the city.”

Thus saying, she kissed me, laughed with the ghost of her former merry
ways when I first knew her, and said good-bye. I watched her till she was
lost to sight, and then I closed the door, saying to myself, with a sigh,
“Ah, me! can this be the Mary that I once knew?”



Not long after this, I was enabled to visit my Swiss friend, Madame
Bailiff. Ever since her husband had called upon me in Salt Lake City, I
had watched anxiously for an opportunity of seeing her, for I felt much
interested in learning how time had passed with her since we parted in

I found her in a little log-cabin of two rooms, with bare walls, bare
floor, and miserably furnished; and in this wretched abode poverty and
polygamy had wrecked the life of my poor friend, whom I had known under
such different circumstances. Here, together with their five children,
lived also the second wife, with _her_ two children. It was with
difficulty that I could recognize in the poor, careworn, broken-spirited,
and ill-clad woman who stood before me, the once gay, light-hearted,
happy, and elegantly-dressed lady whom I had known in Switzerland.
Mormonism had in her case utterly blighted her existence. It seemed to me
hardly possible that so great a change should have been wrought in her in
such a few years as had elapsed since last I saw her. What suffering she
must have endured, I thought, what mental agony, what physical pain, to
write those wrinkled lines of care upon her once handsome face; and, ah!
what a pang I felt at the remembrance that I myself had been instrumental
in leading her into Mormonism and Polygamy. Self-reproach I did not feel,
but sorrow I did. I had thought to lead her into the way of holiness and
heavenly peace by winning her to the religion of the Saints, but that
which I in my enthusiasm had believed would be the greatest blessing
which one poor mortal could communicate to another, had turned to a
curse, and, instead of the happy wife and mother which she once had been,
she had become a victim to that faith which in its very existence is an
insult to womanhood.

In temper and disposition she was, however, just the same; her
affectionate nature was unchanged. No doubt she read in my features
the painful surprise which I experienced in witnessing her altered
circumstances; but she met me with not a single word of reproach for my
being the cause of her leaving her own dear country. I should not have
blamed her had she hated me, though she knew, of course, that I had
wronged her innocently.

She told me of the difficulties which they had had to contend with after
their arrival in Utah, and how they had been compelled to part with
almost everything they had, in order to provide bread for their children.
When they left London, they took with them several handsome carpets,
china, glass, and a large quantity of silver ware, besides bedding and
clothing of every description; for they were well-to-do in the world, and
had quite enough for themselves, after they had liberally assisted the
poorer Saints to emigrate. Upon their arrival in Utah, the husband—good
man that he was—was willing to come down to the level of his brethren
and go to farming among them. A brother who knew him in his own country,
and imagined, I suppose, that he could afford to lose, sold him a farm
that he himself had become disgusted with, though, of course, he did not
say so; and when my inexperienced friend, Monsieur Bailiff, found that
nothing could be done with it, he supposed that the land was good enough,
but that he himself was not competent to work it. No one ventured to hint
that he had been cheated, as it was one of the Church authorities who
had sold him the land. After spending upon it all that he possessed, he
was finally compelled to abandon it. They were now very much straitened
in circumstances, and my poor friend told me that she had frequently
been compelled—as they were entirely destitute of money—to take a silver
spoon or fork to the butcher’s market to trade with, and there they drove
a hard bargain with her, and she obtained next to nothing in exchange
for her silver. Her crystal and plate now grace the table of a certain
rich man in Utah. Every article they possessed went in this way at a
most ruinous sacrifice, until nothing remained; and then the husband was
forced to engage in manual labour, while the poor wife employed herself
in whatever feminine work she could obtain; they receiving in return just
what people chose to pay them. In the midst of their troubles the husband
was “counselled” to take another wife.

“But why did he not refuse to do so?” I asked.

“If you had been here during the Reformation, you would not ask me such
a question as that. Sister Stenhouse, you ought to thank God that you
were not here then. There were shocking things done at that time, and
the men were all crazy about marrying. They married every woman who was
single, and even little girls who had scarcely reached their teens; it
was a time of terror, and no one dared to rebel.”

She then told me that her husband had been, as one might say, compelled
to marry a young Swiss girl whom they had brought out to Utah with them
as a domestic. This girl had been a very faithful servant, and Madame
Bailiff had become very much attached to her. During the Reformation the
Bishop visited them, and “counselled” Monsieur Bailiff to take a second
wife. The girl was also “counselled” to marry, and when she said that she
did not know of any one to whom she would like to be married, the Bishop
told her that he himself would find a suitable man.

“My husband told me what the Bishop had urged him to do,” said Madame
Bailiff, “and we talked the matter over in a practical way. We knew that
the girl would be forced to marry somebody, and that then she would have
to leave us, which would put us to the very greatest inconvenience, for,
situated as we were, we could hardly get on without her assistance. At
the same time, he also would be compelled to obey counsel, and we came
to the conclusion that as there was no way of evading the difficulty
altogether, it would be better for him to marry the girl than to bring a
stranger into the house. So he asked her, and she accepted him, and they
were married. She is a good girl, and tries to do her best, but it is a
great trial to me, and one which I trust you may never be called upon to
bear. My husband is as kind and gentle a man as ever lived, and he has
done all he could to keep me from feeling unhappy; had it been otherwise,
I dare not think what I should have done—I believe I should have gone mad
or died. In our household arrangements, of course it made very little
difference, but it was inexpressibly painful to me, and though I suppose
I shall remain a Mormon till the day of my death, I have learned to hate

Poor Madame Bailiff! Hers was a life of privation and sorrow of late
years. Happy as woman could be in her youthful days, she little dreamed
what Providence had in store for her ere her earthly course had run. With
a faithful and devoted husband; with a charming little family growing
up around her; with all that could make life fair and beautiful. But
that accursed thing—Polygamy—came and poisoned all her happiness, and
blighted all her hopes; and when, but a few months ago, worn out and
weary of life, she left behind her all her sorrows and all her misery, I
could not weep that she had gone to a better land beyond the veil, but
I thanked God that at last, poor soul, her days of trial were for ever
over, and she had entered into her eternal rest.

One day Brother Brigham sent me word that he wished to see me.

I went to him, and he told me that he wanted me to become acquainted
with a certain young girl in whom he took a great interest. She was the
daughter, by his first wife, of Jedediah M. Grant, the famous Apostle of
the “Reformation”—her name was Carrie, and she was now an orphan. Brother
Brigham wished me to have her with me every day, for she was not “feeling
well,” he said, and he thought I might do her some good. This “not
feeling well” I afterwards discovered meant that she was almost ready to
apostatize. If she desired it, I was to teach her my business; not that
she needed to follow any profession, for, as President Young explained,
she had a good home; but her mind needed occupation, and he did not care
how she employed her time, so long as she was with me every day and could
be made to “feel well.”

I listened to all that Brother Brigham said, and accepted the trust in
good faith—not only to please him, but because the girl was an orphan,
and my heart went out towards her even before I had seen her.

Before I returned home I called at the house where Carrie was stopping,
and arranged that she should come every day to see me, under pretext of
learning the business. Now it so happened that we each conceived a liking
to the other the very first moment we met; we made friends together at
once, and she wanted to begin coming to me the very next day. She was
a sweet-looking and intelligent girl, fair, but fragile, and with a
peculiar expression of melancholy sadness dwelling upon her features,
which gave her a painfully interesting appearance. I never before, or
since, met with a young girl who habitually looked so unhappy; and I
thought that perhaps physical weakness might be the cause, for it was
evident that in constitution she was extremely delicate—I almost feared

The first day we spent together she told me that her parents had been
among the pioneers to Utah, that her only sister had died on the Plains,
and that she had lost her mother soon after they had arrived in Salt Lake
City. As the only remaining child of her mother, she had been a great
pet with her father, but he too had died about four years previous to
the time of which I speak, and she had never been happy since. “I often
long to die,” she said, “that I might join my mother and father; no one
loves me here, and I have nothing to live for.” Her father had married
four wives after her mother’s death, and they were all very kind to her,
but she did not feel that she had a home. She told me that about six
months before she came to me she had started to go east, to her mother’s
friends, for they had frequently written to her, urging her to come to
them, and that when she was about two weeks’ journey from Salt Lake City,
Brigham Young sent after her, and she was brought back. “But,” she said,
“I shall never be happy here, Sister Stenhouse, I know I never shall; and
why should they not let me leave and go to my relatives?”

I knew very well that it was of no use for her to try to get away, for
we had no railroad then, and escape was almost impossible. I therefore
tried to make her more cheerful, and told her that a girl as young as
she was—for she was scarcely seventeen—had much to live for. But her
unhappiness had become almost a settled melancholy, and she seemed to be
interested in nothing. Besides which, the task I attempted was all the
more difficult as I was not at all happy myself.

One day the conversation happened to turn upon Polygamy, and in a moment
I saw that all her trouble arose from that miserable doctrine, and from
that alone. We had not exchanged many words upon the subject when she
exclaimed: “Oh, how I hate Polygamy! God forgive me; but I cannot help
it, Sister Stenhouse! I do hate it; and yet I believe that it is true.”
Poor child! I understood her too well, for her position was exactly mine.
From that moment we were fast friends.

Here was the child of one of the greatest fanatics that Mormonism has
ever known, one of the wildest advocates of the “Celestial Order of
Marriage,” perfectly loathing the system; and yet, poor girl, believing
it firmly, and believing too that she could not obtain salvation unless
she entered into it. How I pitied and loved that poor girl!—and yet what
strength or consolation could I offer her, being myself as painfully
situated as she was? Our mutual sorrow united us still more painfully
in loving companionship. I had rarely met among the Mormon girls with
one so thoughtful and observing, so kind and gentle. She had not been
with me many weeks before she had entwined herself so completely round
my heart that I was lonely when she stayed away, and I tried to keep her
with me altogether. I tried in every way to make her feel at home when
at my house; and noticing her delicate health, and thinking that she did
not always get those little things to tempt her appetite which an invalid
should always have, I found out many trifles which I believed would
please her, and always tried to get them for her. She seemed to think
much of these little attentions, and I have always believed that she
loved me very dearly.

Some of my neighbours began to whisper pretty plainly to me that Brother
Brigham had an object in view in asking me to interest myself in Carrie’s
welfare. They told me they believed that my husband, if he had not
already been counselled to marry her, would be before long. Knowing, as
I did, Carrie’s aversion to Polygamy, these suggestions did not trouble
me very much; but I begged my informants not to speak of the matter in my
young friend’s presence, as it would only disturb and annoy her. I was
the more anxious on this point as her health had by that time began very
perceptibly to improve, and sometimes she seemed to be almost joyous and
light-hearted. Sometimes she would sew, and sometimes she read or played
with the children, of whom she was very fond, and I always allowed her to
do just as she pleased.

One day my talkative friend called to see me. She had not been near the
house for several months, and I think, at her last visit, she must have
taken offence at my telling her that I thought she had not acted wisely
in procuring wives for her husband. She had, however, now an object in
coming which I soon discovered.

She was shown in, and as soon as she was fairly seated, I observed that,
while talking to me, she was inquisitively scrutinizing Carrie’s face, as
if trying to discover her character or read her thoughts. Suddenly—she
did everything impulsively—she interrupted the conversation, saying:
“Sister Stenhouse, I want to speak to you privately.” I asked her to come
with me into the next room, and she did so, but before I had time to
close the door, she exclaimed: “Allow me to congratulate you; you have
done very wisely!”

“Congratulate me upon what?” I asked.

“Upon the excellent choice you have made for your husband,” she replied;
“I knew very well you would ponder over my good counsel and seek another
wife for Brother Stenhouse, and I am certain that my example and my faith
and prayers have helped you, for I have asked the Lord to strengthen you
to do just what you are doing.”

“Doing!” I said, “what am I doing? I really don’t understand what you

“Oh, nonsense!” she exclaimed; “but I understand, if you don’t. You wish
to keep it a secret, I suppose, until the happy event takes place. And
you are quite right in that, for there are so many busybodies here, and
they do interfere so much in their neighbours’ affairs that it isn’t
pleasant. But of course you needn’t fear _me_—_I_ shouldn’t think of
breathing one single word of the matter, unless you wished me to do so.”

“I am really at a loss to know what you mean,” I said, very much annoyed
with her.

“Oh,” she said, “if you think that I am interfering, I will not say
another word, for I should very much dislike to be considered meddlesome.
But you know, my dear Sister Stenhouse, the great interest I have always
felt concerning you; from the very first when I knew you in England I
always prophesied great things of you, but I was a little afraid when I
saw your opposition to Polygamy, and I cannot tell how happy I felt when
I heard yesterday that you had found a wife—and a good wife too—for your

“I find a wife for my husband!” I exclaimed. “That I never would. I
dislike Polygamy far too much to do so. No; if he ever wants another
wife, I shall never help him to find her; he’ll have to get her himself.”

“Who is that young girl, then, that I saw just now?” she asked; “is that
not Miss Grant?”

I replied that it was.

“Well,” said she, “I was told that you had asked her to marry your

“There is no truth in the report,” I said; “I am sure that she has never
thought of such a thing, nor have I, nor has my husband; and I would not
have such a thing spoken of for the world.”

“Well,” she replied, “I am really quite disappointed. You have a splendid
opportunity, and I do believe that that was what Brother Brigham meant
when he asked me to see after her. In fact, I was told that it was his
only motive, all along.”

“Then Brother Brigham will soon find out his mistake, I can assure you,”
I answered, “for I never will ask her; and, moreover, if I thought for
a moment that she would ever wish such a thing, much as I love her, I
should then hate her.”

“My dear Sister,” she said, “how do you expect ever to get salvation? I
suppose you think that is none of my business, and that I should leave
you in the hands of the Lord. But before I go, let me ask you to see
Eliza Snow as soon as you have an opportunity. She will build you up, and
do you a world of good.”

I told her I needed no “building up;” all I wanted was that my husband
and myself should be left alone, and that people should not meddle with
our affairs.

After she had gone, her conversation troubled me a great deal. What did
it all mean? Had the busybodies been trying to bring about an alliance
between my husband and Carrie? Had Brigham Young been working all along
to this end? However it might be, I resolved that, at least, Carrie
should know nothing of the matter from me.

One morning, the Apostle Heber C. Kimball called in his carriage. It was
very early, being only about seven o’clock. Mr. Stenhouse went out to
see him, but in his blunt way he said: “I do not want you, I want Sister
Fanny to take a ride with me.” My husband brought him into the house and
he told me he wanted to have a talk with me. “You must not fix up,” he
said, “or I won’t ride with you. Come along in your wrapper and slippers,
and just put on your sun-bonnet.”

I told him that I never went out in a sun-bonnet. “Well, then, do it for
the first time,” he said.

I suggested that I had had no breakfast, and asked him if he would wait
and have some with us.

“No,” said he; “I have plenty of wives around this town, and we will
find breakfast somewhere.” So I started just as I was, and he told the
driver—who, I think, was one of his own sons—to call round and see “the
folks”—meaning his wives. Then, turning to me, he said: “You never looked
prettier, Sister Fanny; you ought always to wear a sun-bonnet, but you
like dress a great deal too much—you will keep your husband poor, and
then how will he be able to carry out the commands of God? Did you ever
think of that? Then, again, you dress your children too much; it must
take pretty well all your time to make their clothes; and see what it
must cost. Now, I’m going to give you some good advice. Do what my folks
do. I tell them to make a linsey dress for each of the children in the
spring, and let them wear it all the summer; and then, when the winter
comes, it will be so full of grease and dirt that it will be sure to keep
them warm. Now I’m sure you won’t consent to do that with your children,
so it is good counsel thrown away.” I knew well enough that Brother Heber
was only jesting, for apparently he provided very well for his family,
although he allowed them no luxuries. He went on to say: “But that
isn’t what I wanted to speak to you about; I had something else to say.
When is your husband going to marry Miss Grant? That girl has got to be
looked after by some good man and woman, and I think that you and Brother
Stenhouse will do first-class. What do you think?”

“I should not like my husband to marry her,” I said.

“And why not, Sister Fanny?” he asked.

“Because I myself love her,” I replied.

“Why, that is the very reason why he ought to do it the sooner,” he said,
“and you would continue to love her, and love her all the better too,
when she belonged to your husband, and when you saw how much he loved
her.” He laughed outright as he said this, and told me not to look so
solemn. “Why,” he said, “it’s the finest thing in the world to develope
love in the women; a man never gets so much attention in his life as when
he has got several wives all trying their best to please him.”

“That may be,” I said; “but who is to pay attention to their wives?”

“Things have been all upside down in the world, Sister Fanny,” he
answered, “and the Priesthood is going to set them all in order. It is
the women’s place to minister to the men, and the men, in return, will
save them in the Kingdom, if they are good girls.”

By this time we had driven round several of his fields in the lower part
of the city, and at last we stopped at the house of one of his wives. She
very kindly prepared breakfast for us; after which we called to see two
or three other wives, and then returned home. On the way back he tried to
get me to promise that I would persuade my husband to marry Miss Grant.
This I positively refused to do, although it would have been dangerous
for me not to acquiesce had it not been that Brother Heber was attached
to me and allowed me to say what I liked against Polygamy, laughing at me
and telling me to “hold on” when I became too much in earnest.

This constant reference to Carrie began to trouble me seriously,
although, so far, I had not yet spoken about it either to her or to my
husband, and did not intend to do it. I felt sure that Carrie, poor
child, was perfectly innocent; she had refused to go to several parties
with us, and had otherwise declined to accompany my husband, and I
believed that I had no cause for uneasiness.

Thus time passed, and more than a year flew by, and Carrie still remained
with me. Lately I thought that her manner was changed, and that she was
a good deal altered. I noticed that she was shy when in the presence of
my husband, and that she rather avoided him. For a long time I had not
suspected that anything was wrong between them, and the knowledge that
Carrie was troubled, and that my husband was the cause, came upon me
suddenly. She began by staying away for several days at a time, and at
last she told me that she was going away for a while to visit a friend
in the country. She looked so unhappy that I felt sure that all was not
right, and begged her not to go, but she would not listen to me. It was
necessary for her to go, she stated, and would say no more. She bade
me good-bye, and for two months I heard nothing of her, supposing that
she was in the country, and then I was surprised to learn that she was
visiting with a friend in another part of the city, and that she was
very ill indeed. I immediately went to call upon her, and she was very
much pleased to see me, and then I discovered that she had not been in
the country at all, but had been there in the city with her friend. I
could not at the time understand her conduct; but as she, in common
with most other delicate people, was rather capricious, I allowed it to
pass without any comment. She told me that as soon as she felt a little
better she would come and see me; but she never came, and I was somewhat
offended at her supposed neglect, and thought that before I visited her
again I would wait and see whether she first came up to our house.

All this time, a friend of Carrie’s was in the habit of looking in very
frequently upon some trifling errand or other, and I noticed that she
always waited for the return of my husband, and then made some excuse to
go out with him, and they had long conversations together. There was some
mystery, I clearly perceived, and as a wife and a woman I determined that
it was my duty to find out what that mystery was.



I did not presume to ask my husband what it was that he had to talk about
with Carrie’s friend, but I instinctively felt what it might be, and I
was so much troubled in mind that I thought I would never go to see her

By that time I had learned, as every Mormon wife does learn, never to ask
questions. The wife of a Saint never dares to ask her husband whither he
is going or when he will return. She is not expected to know or care what
business her husband may have on hand when he leaves home in the evening,
after making a most elaborate toilet, with frequent admiration of himself
in the mirror. If the poor wife feels that she _must_ say something, to
give vent to her overwrought feelings, she simply asks in a conscious,
guilty way, when he will be home again; wishing too often in her secret
heart that he might say—Never. Her duty is to be silent and unobservant;
and though some poor women have, when their outraged feelings were
overcharged, inadvertently betrayed curiosity respecting the movements
of the absent ones, they have soon been sternly taught their duty, and
those loving husbands have given them good cause to repent of their

And who can blame these disconsolate, lonely women, if thus they feel?
Their religion alone is to blame. It has been the destruction of that
sweet confidence which should exist between husband and wife, and it has
divided hearts and interests which should inseparably have been for ever
one. This, slowly but no less painfully, I was beginning to understand.
However earnestly I might try to combat the idea, my life was wretched
with the one continual fear of what I might see or hear of my husband.
I tried to drive away such thoughts, and I called to mind all the acts
of kindness and devotion which he had shown to those whose love my heart
held dear. Sometimes, arguing with myself, I said: “No, _my_ husband
will not deceive _me_; no matter what other men may do or be with their
wives, _my_ husband will be frank and true with me.”

So I thought then; but I was destined to realize in my own experience how
utterly impossible it is for any man, no matter how honest and truthful
he may naturally be, to practise Polygamy without becoming a hypocrite;
and the more he loves his wife the greater hypocrite he will become,
trying to deceive her with the foolish notion that half his cruelty is
done in attempting to “spare her feelings.”

My husband thought that he was acting kindly to me when he said nothing
of all that transpired between him and Carrie; but when I saw the visit
of Carrie’s lady-friend so frequently repeated, I began to suspect the
truth, and was much troubled. I was, however, too proud to question him
on the subject, at the risk of getting an evasive answer, and it was
evident that the two persons most intimately interested in the matter
intended that I should be kept in the dark. I saw through all this, and
it did not tend either to restore my peace of mind or to make me more
pleasant in my intercourse with Carrie or my husband. In their conduct I
could see nothing but deception, however good their intention might be,
and I felt that they were treating me as a child. The thought was very
painful to me, and it was only with a great effort that I suppressed it.

These painful feelings, of course, had a marked effect upon my daily
life. I grew weary, and my health failed, I became thin, and my features
were marked with care and anxiety. When people came to see me, I said
little to them, and their very presence I felt irksome. Mechanically
I went through the daily routine of duty, but my heart was in nothing
that I did. I dared not even trust myself to speak to any one, for fear
of becoming the subject of conversation and attracting the attention of
the authorities, which was not at all desirable, for the position of
a “rebellious woman” in those days was anything but pleasant. I stood
alone. Upon my husband I looked with suspicion; my children were too
young to understand me; Carrie—whom I had taken to my heart, to whom I
had confided my sorrows, whose own welfare had been so dear to me—had, as
I thought, turned against me, like an adder, and there was no one in whom
I could trust. It seemed to me too cruel for Carrie to treat me so, and
yet I could not doubt that she was acting unfaithfully towards me.

Surrounded by my children, living under the same roof with my husband,
my heart was, nevertheless, filled with a sense of utter loneliness
and desolation. There was no one in whom I could confide, to whom I
might tell my sorrows, and from whose counsel or strength I might derive
comfort. I dared not even go and lay my griefs before God, for I had
been led to believe that all my suffering was caused by an arbitrary
decree which He willed to be enforced. How false a notion of that loving
heavenly Father whose tender care is so manifestly shown in His gentle
dealings with the weakest of His creatures!

It was now about six months since Carrie left my house, and I was under
the impression that all that time certain well-intentioned sisters had
been doing all they could to bring about a marriage between her and
my husband. Her health, however, was so bad that sometimes for weeks
together she did not leave her room. At the time, of course, I knew
nothing of this, but I afterwards heard of it. When I called upon her,
which I did when I found that she was too ill to come to see me, I
thought she was greatly changed in her manner; but when I thought of
her lonely position, my heart warmed towards her, and I forgot all my
suspicions. Certainly, I wanted to ask her one plain question relative
to my husband, but my pride would not allow me to speak to her on that
subject unless she first mentioned it to me. One day I thought that
she was about to make a confession. Talking indifferently of ordinary
matters, she suddenly said, “I am surprised you ever wished to see me;”
but when I asked her why, expecting that she would now explain what had
so long troubled me, she answered evasively, and nothing more was said.

With Carrie’s absence from our house the rumours about her which had
troubled me so much somewhat subsided. Nothing could silence the secret
apprehension which continually held my soul in dread; but the fear of
my young friend’s influence once removed, I was comparatively at peace.
It was, however, but the lull before the storm. I soon learned that in
losing Carrie I did not lose Polygamy, and from about that time I can
date my husband’s desire to sustain his brethren in the performance of
their duty, and his wish to act as they did, especially in reference
to the “Celestial Order of Heaven.” Just at that time the “Morrill
Bill” for the suppression of Polygamy was presented to Congress, and
all true Mormons were made to feel that it was their duty to stand by
their leader; and though, in itself, they might see nothing desirable in
Polygamy, yet, if they had not already multiplied wives, it was their
duty to do so without any delay.

Ever watchful as I was, I noticed little changes in my husband, which
under ordinary circumstances would have escaped my observation. By this
time one all-absorbing idea had taken possession of my mind, and my
husband’s thoughts, I believe, were turned in the same direction—only our
wishes did not exactly coincide. Polygamy was the thought common to both,
but upon its desirability we entertained dissimilar views.

A man with Polygamy upon his mind was then a creature which I did not
understand, and which I had not fully studied. Some years later, when
I had a little more experience in Mormonism, I discovered several
never-failing signs by which one might know when a man wished to take
another wife. He would suddenly “awaken to a sense of his duties;”
he would have serious misgivings as to whether the Lord would pardon
his neglect in not living up to his privileges; he would become very
religious, and would attend to his meetings—his “testimony meetings,”
singing meetings, and all sorts of other “meetings,” which seemed just
then to be very numerous, and in various other ways he would show his
anxiety to live up to his religion. He would thus be frequently absent
from home, which, of course, “he deeply regrets,” as “he loves so dearly
the society of his wife and children.” The wife, perhaps, poor simple
soul! thinks that he is becoming unusually loving and affectionate, for
he used not, at one time, to express much sorrow at leaving her alone
for a few hours; and she thinks how happy she ought to feel that such a
change has come over her husband, although, to be sure, he was always as
good as most of the other Mormon men.

My husband was a good and consistent Mormon, and very much like the rest
of his brethren in these matters; and the brethren, knowing themselves
how he felt, sympathized with him, and urged him on, and, by every
means in their power, aided him in his noble attempts to carry out “the
commands of God!”

One evening, when he came home, he seemed pre-occupied, as if some matter
of importance were troubling his mind. This set me thinking, too. I saw
that he wanted to say something to me, and I waited patiently. “I am
going to the ball,” he presently remarked, “and I am going alone, for
Brother Brigham wishes me to meet him there.” I knew at once what was
passing in his mind, and dared not question him. He went and saw Brigham.
What passed between them I do not know; but, when my husband returned, he
intimated to me that it had been arranged that he should take another

The idea that some day another wife would be added to our household was
ever present in my mind, but, somehow, when the fact was placed before me
in so many unmistakable words, my heart sank within me, and I shrank from
the realization that _our_ home was at last to be desecrated by the foul
presence of Polygamy.

Almost fainting, now that the truth came home to me in all its startling
reality, I asked my husband when he proposed to take his second wife.

“Immediately,” he replied; “that is to say, as soon as I can.”

We were silent for some time. My mind was troubled. Had I been able to
consider the whole affair as an outrage upon humanity in general, and
an insult to my sex in particular, I should have replied with scorn and
defiance. Had I implicitly believed in the divinity of the Revelation, I
should have bowed my head in meek submission. But I did neither of these.
The feelings of my heart naturally led me to hate with a most perfect
hatred the very mention of the word Polygamy, while at the same time I
still believed, or tried to make myself believe, that the Revelation
was from God, and must therefore be obeyed. Such was the strange and
contradictory position in which I was placed.

“Are you not satisfied that it is right for me to take another wife?” my
husband asked.

“I have never yet really doubted that the Revelation was from God,” I
replied, “for I cannot believe that any man would be so blasphemous
and wicked as to set forth such a revelation in God’s name, unless he
received it as he said he did. If it is from God, of course you are
right to obey it; but if I were to consult my own feelings I would never
consent to live in Polygamy. I would rather risk salvation, and tell the
Lord that He had placed upon me a burden heavier that I was able to bear,
and that I regarded Him as a hard taskmaster. But when the salvation of
my husband and children, to say nothing of my own, is at stake, my wishes
and happiness go for nothing, and I can only consent.”

From that moment I felt like a condemned criminal for whom there was not
a shadow of hope or a chance of escape. Could I possibly have looked
upon the sacred obligations of marriage as lightly as Mormonism taught
me to regard them, I believe I should have broken every tie and risked
the consequences. But I had vowed to be faithful unto death, and if
this second marriage was for my husband’s welfare, and for the salvation
of us and of our children, I resolved to make the effort to subdue my
rebellious heart, or die in the attempt. For the first time in my life,
I thanked God that I was not a man, and that the salvation of my family
did not depend upon me; for if fifty revelations had commanded it, I
could not have taken the responsibility of withering one loving, trusting
heart. I felt that if such laws were given to us, our woman’s nature
ought to have been adapted to them, so that submission to them might be
as much a pleasure to us as it was to the men, and that we might at least
feel that we were justly dealt with.

Not long after this, my husband brought me a message from Eliza R.
Snow. She wanted me to take tea with her, and he urged me to accept
the invitation. I did not want to go, for I knew too well her object
in sending for me. She had been talking with my husband about me, I
felt sure, and that was how she came to send the message by him. I
went, however, and, as I anticipated, she wanted to talk with me about
Polygamy, and to try to convince me that it was for our best interests
that my husband should take another wife, and that it was quite time he
did so.

I told her that he was not yet in a position to do so. “We have quite
a family,” I said, “and I think he should at least be allowed to wait
until he has accumulated a little before he embarrasses himself with new

“And where would the kingdom of God be,” she asked, “if we had all talked
in this way? Let your husband take more wives, and let them help him, and
you will feel blessed in keeping the commands of God.”

“There would be no good in my husband taking another wife,” I said,
“while I feel as I do now. To be acceptable to the Lord, a sacrifice
should be made willingly and in a proper spirit, and I do not think that
under present circumstances it is proper for him to do this thing.”

“Let him be the judge of that,” she replied; “do not seek to control him;
he alone is responsible, and therefore let him do as he thinks best.”

“But,” I said, “he himself does not want another wife yet.” But I spoke
with hesitation, for my heart misgave me.

“You are mistaken,” she answered; “your husband is a very good man, and
desires to live his religion, and it is a great grief to him to know that
you feel as you do, and you really must try to overcome your opposition.
If you had a loaf of bread to make, and you made it, and it was
pronounced good, do you think it would be of the slightest consequence
what feelings agitated your mind while you were making it, so long as
it was well made? So it is with the Lord. He does not care with what
feelings you give your husband another wife, so long as you do so.”

This was a miserable attempt at reasoning, to say nothing of its falsity;
and notwithstanding all she said, I still felt that no blessing would
ever attend an unwilling sacrifice, and I told her so. She spoke to me
very kindly, however, and tried to encourage me, and suggested that
Carrie would be a very proper person for my husband to marry. I had now
no longer any doubt in my mind that it had been all “arranged,” and that
opposition on my part would be all in vain. I was indignant at this, for
I believed that, as the Revelation itself said, I—the first wife—ought
first to have been consulted. This, however, I subsequently found was as
false as the system itself.

I returned home, pondering over what had been said to me, with a feeling
of intense weariness oppressing my heart. I did not know what to think.
It appeared to me that every one had determined that Carrie should be my
husband’s second wife; and I now believed, with my talkative friend, that
Brigham Young had certainly intended it from the beginning. I felt that
I would rather that he should marry almost any one else than her; for I
felt certain that I should hate any woman whom he might marry, no matter
how much I might have loved her before.

But my mind was soon relieved of its trouble respecting poor Carrie;
for, as I before mentioned, her failing health forbade all thoughts of
marriage, and my husband, after a short time, never spoke to me about
her. The real cause of my distress, however, was by no means removed; it
was determined, without appeal, that my husband should, notwithstanding
any impediment to the contrary, take another wife, whoever that chosen
one might be. My apprehensions, therefore, were not removed; they were
only turned in another direction.



It is a custom among the Mormon married men—those at least who make any
pretensions to doing what is right, and who wish to spare the feelings of
their wives as much as the degrading system will allow—to make it appear
as if the second wife were chosen by the first, and they go through the
form of consulting with her as to who shall be selected. The husband
will mention the names of several eligible young ladies, among whom is
sure to be the one upon whom he has already set his affections. If the
wife should try to make herself agreeable by suggesting one or another
of these young ladies, some objection is sure to be raised. One is too
thoughtless; the relations of another are not quite so agreeable as
they might be; and the temper of a third is said to be not very good.
In this way, one after another is taken off the list, until only one
remains—the bright particular star of whom all along the husband has been
thinking—and if the wife should make any objections to _this_ one, the
husband, of course, has a ready answer. In most cases her extreme youth
is an excuse for everything; she will have plenty of time to learn, and
will be the more ready to be taught.

When once they have obtained the reluctant consent of their wives, it
is astonishing how bright and cheerful these Mormon husbands become.
Notwithstanding all that they have said to the contrary, it is evident
that Polygamy is no trial to _their_ faith. They say that it is as great
a cross to them as it is to their wives, but somehow or other they take
very kindly to it.

It was soon settled who should be the honoured maiden to whom my husband
should pay his addresses. Her name was Belinda, and she was the daughter
of the Apostle Parley P. Pratt. I of course was not expected to ask any
questions or evince any curiosity respecting the girl or my husband’s
relations towards her. I had given my consent, I had acted my part, or
at least all the part that was expected of me; I had fulfilled my duty
as a Mormon first wife when I agreed to another wife being taken; and,
henceforth, all that transpired was—so the Elders would have said—no
business of mine.

My husband’s intended certainly was very young—almost too young for a
bride she would have been considered in any other community—and I must in
fairness allow that she was very handsome. It is of the utmost importance
that a Mormon girl should marry young. Women everywhere are never anxious
to grow old, but among the Mormons age is especially dreaded by the
women; for when years have robbed them of their personal attractions, in
most cases they lose all hold upon their husbands’ affections, and find
themselves obliged to give place to prettier and more youthful rivals.
A woman’s position in the world to come, as I have before mentioned,
depends, so the Elders say, very much upon the number of children she
has borne in this; it is, therefore, a consideration of the very first
importance that she should marry as early in life as possible, and
this obligation is never for a moment overlooked by the refined and
pure-minded Mormon men.

And now began the “painful task” of wooing the young lady. My husband
told me that it was “a very painful duty,” and as an obedient wife I
felt bound to believe him. It was, of course, no pleasure to him to pay
his addresses to an interesting young girl; it was no anxiety to be with
her which made him hasten away to the damsel’s house of an evening. Oh,
dear, no! it was pure principle, love for the kingdom of God, and “a
very _painful_ task!” He seemed, however, to bear it remarkably well,
and manifested a zeal which was perfectly astonishing to me, considering
the circumstances. In fact, I felt it my duty to restrain him a little
for the sake of his health, for he seemed so anxious to perform his
“task” properly that he could scarcely spare time to take his meals;
but, regardless of his own feelings, he did not pay much attention to my

But, deeply as I sympathized with my husband, there were times when I
felt that mine was indeed no imaginary sorrow, and that nothing could
lull the storm that had gathered in my breast. The affliction which
I had so long dreaded was now right at my door, and the most painful
feelings agitated my mind. Sometimes I shut myself up in my own room
and tried to reason with myself; then I would kneel, and pray, and weep
with passionate emotion; and again I would pace the floor, my heart
overflowing with anger and indignation. I never, at that time, knew
what it was to be happy, for I felt that I was a burden and hindrance
to my husband, and I longed to die. I had loved him so devotedly that I
could not even now cast him from my heart, and, though I felt bitterly my
position, I believed that he would not willingly wound me, and that he
was acting from the purest of motives. But it was all in vain. I could
not change my nature, and my heart would rebel.

It would be impossible for me to tell the thousand annoyances and
indignities to which I was forced to submit—trials which might appear too
trifling even to name, but which to a wife, under such circumstances,
were crosses which she found it hard enough to bear. My husband knew
nothing of these things, and, had he done so, it is more than probable
that he would have considered it weakness in me to be troubled about
matters of such small consequence—little actions and foolish words which
he would have said I ought to have treated with contempt. It was easy
to say that, but not so easy to do. Let any wife picture to herself
how she would feel, if, after schooling her heart to submission, after
realizing that she was no longer to be first and dearest in her husband’s
affections, she were to be constantly hearing the friends and relations
of the young girl to whom her husband was engaged, boasting of his
devotion to her, and openly expressing their belief that he had never
loved before! How would any wife be pleased if, whenever her husband’s
intended received a valuable present from him, she were particularly
informed of the fact, and a thousand little aggravating details were
added to make her, if possible, more miserable?

A woman can nerve herself to endure almost anything, and outwardly she
may conceal her feelings, but there are limits beyond which endurance
is not possible. A chance meeting with the girl who has superseded her
in her husband’s love,—or worse still, should she chance to surprise
the affectionate couple _tête-á-tête_,—is sufficient to dispel all her
good resolutions and to destroy that tranquillity of mind which she
finds it so difficult to preserve. She becomes sick at heart, nervous,
and entirely unfitted for her duties. I have frequently heard Mormon
women say that, notwithstanding their husbands had been for many years
polygamists, they could never see the other wives without a feeling of
anger and indignation arising in their hearts. I know that in my own case
I never became reconciled to the system.

My husband was called away to the Eastern States upon business, and his
marriage was postponed. I thought that the present would be a good time
to show her some little attentions, which I believed it was my duty to
do. The idea of coming in contact with her was certainly not at all
pleasant; but I felt that it was only right for me to act in a friendly
manner towards her, however painful it might be. She was the cause of
much sorrow to me, but I could not blame her, for she had been born and
brought up in the system, and, of course, supposed it true.

Belinda was a very nice girl, and, under other circumstances, I believe
I should have liked her very much. I looked upon her as little more than
a child, and my husband has frequently told me that he also regarded her
in that light; but to me it was of small consequence that he thought of
her as a child, so long as he acted towards her as a woman. Now that
he was away from home, there was no danger that she would meet him,
so I invited her in a friendly way to call upon me. She came, and I
had one or two other ladies present, for I was not like my husband in
that particular—_I_ had no anxiety to be alone with her. My effort to
cultivate a friendly feeling towards her was not very successful. There
was a coldness and restraint on both sides which we could not overcome,
and I felt not a little relief when the evening was over. Subsequently I
renewed the attempt, but to no purpose; her very presence in my house,
and among my children, seemed in itself an insult to me.

During my husband’s absence my poor friend Carrie Grant had been daily
growing worse in health. I had once asked my husband if there was any
truth in the rumours that I had heard of his attachment to her, but he
had assured me that there was no foundation for them.

Poor Carrie! Hers was a short and unhappy life; even her little dream of
love was overclouded by disappointment. She was now constantly confined
to her room, and whenever it was possible I used to call upon her, and
attempted to make her feel more happy and cheerful. She used to ask me to
talk with her about Mormonism. “You know,” she said, “that I have never
known any other religion, and I believe that this is right, though it
does not make me happy. My father loved Mormonism so much that I feel it
_must_ be right; the fault is in my own evil nature, that does not bend
to the will of Heaven.”

One day she said to me: “I am getting worse, Sister Stenhouse, and I am
glad of it, for I shall die. I am of no good here—there is nothing for me
to do; if I lived, I should only cause trouble; it is better as it is.”

“Carrie,” I said, “you must not talk like that. You are still very young,
and probably will live for many years, and you do not know what future
may lie before you.”

“Do not blame me too much,” she replied, “for I am not the only unhappy
girl in the city. I know many girls who are very miserable. Married women
think that they are the only ones who suffer, while we girls know that
nowhere upon the face of the earth can be found such an unhappy set as we
are. Why did Brigham Young keep me from going to my friends in the East?
I should have been happier then; I should have felt better. But now I
want to die, and I am weary waiting for death.”

In this melancholy mood I found her one day, when she appeared
particularly sad. She had been ill then about ten months; but her loving
blue eyes were just as bright as ever, and I could see very little change
in her, except that she was not able now to leave her couch without
assistance, and she spoke as if it fatigued her very much. It was quite
impossible to arouse her from the state of melancholy into which she had
fallen, and it seemed to me that she could not last long. I offered to
take her to my house, and said I would nurse her there and take care of
her; but she said she was very kindly treated by her father’s family, and
did not wish to change. She seemed to cling to me as if she could not
bear that I should leave her, and she told me she had something on her
mind that troubled her; she wanted to have a long talk with me about it,
but not that day, she said.

As the end was fast approaching, she one day said: “I want to tell you
now, Sister Stenhouse, what I spoke of before, if you are willing to
listen and will not be angry with anything I say. Remember, I am dying,
or I never would speak to you as I am going to.”

I told her of my great love for her, and that nothing that she could say
would change that love.

“You do not know what I want to ask you, or you would not say so,” she
replied; “and I so dread to lose your love that I am afraid to tell you
what is in my mind. But you know that I am dying, and you will not be
very hard with me.”

She was then silent for some time, as if too much fatigued to continue
the conversation. “No, I cannot tell you to-day,” she said at last; “I
want you to love me one day longer.”

I urged her not to doubt that my love towards her could never change,
and told her that it was better for her to speak at once and relieve her
mind. She took my hand, and looked long and tenderly at me, and then she
said: “I will tell you all; and if your love can stand that test, then
indeed you _do_ love me.”

I encouraged her, and she began: “Would you hate me if I told you that I
loved your husband?”

“No,” I replied, “I would not hate you, Carrie.” I said no more, for it
seemed to me that it would be wrong of me to tell her of my suspicions,
and all that I had suffered at the thought that my husband had conceived
an affection for her.

“Can you possibly answer me as calmly as that?” she said. “I thought that
the very mention of such a thing would almost kill you, for I saw how
much you loved your husband, and, ah! how I have suffered at the thought
of telling you! But that is not all I wanted to say, or I need never have
spoken to you at all. I wanted to ask you to do me one last kindness,
and then I think I shall die happy. You know that we have been taught
that Polygamy is absolutely necessary to salvation, and if I were to die
without being sealed to some man I could not possibly enter the celestial
kingdom. My friends wished me to be sealed to one of the authorities of
the Church, but I cannot bear the idea of being sealed to a man whom I do
not love. I love your husband, and I want you to promise that I shall be
sealed to him. If I had thought that I should recover, I never would have
let you know this, for I would not live to give you sorrow. But, when I
am gone, will you kneel by your husband’s side in the Endowment House,
and be married to him for me? Will it pain you much to do that for me,
Sister Stenhouse?”

I felt so strangely as I listened to all this, that I could not utter a
single word, and she continued: “We shall then be together in eternity,
and I am happy at the thought of that, for I think I love you even
better than I love him. And then I believe we shall have overcome all
our earthly feelings and shall be prepared to live that celestial law,
and perhaps we may prefer it, for no doubt we shall know no unhappiness

The exertion of talking seemed to be too much for her, and she remained
silent for some time. I felt ashamed that I had allowed my feelings to
influence me at such a moment, for while she had been speaking I had
allowed my thoughts to travel back over the past year; and now that she
admitted her love for my husband, very many circumstances came painfully
to my recollection and confirmed all that she said. I resolved, however,
not to question her, but to allow her to tell me just what she pleased.
So I knelt down by her side and whispered into her ear a solemn promise
that I would do all that she desired. Poor girl! how I felt for her!
When I had given her this pledge, she appeared much relieved and told me
freely all that had passed between my husband and herself, and she said
she had left my house simply because she could not endure to cause me any
sorrow. I told her of my husband’s contemplated marriage with Belinda
Pratt, and she appeared a good deal troubled at it. “Let me be second,”
she said, “for then I shall feel that I am nearer to you, and I want you
always to think that, when you die, if I have the power, I shall be the
first to meet you and take you by the hand.”

Thus we talked together for a long time, and it was with painful interest
that I listened to what she said. It was a singular interview—a wife
receiving from a young girl the confession that she loved her husband;
that he had fully returned her affection, and had even talked with her
about marriage; the girl requesting the wife to be married for her to her
own husband; and the wife, full of tender love towards the girl, freely
giving her a promise that she would do so. In my sorrow at parting from
her, and the great affection that I felt towards her, all feelings of
jealousy were utterly forgotten. Before I left I said: “Carrie, whether
you live or die, you shall be married to my husband, if he ever enters
into Polygamy; and I say this although I do not doubt that he will do so,
and at the same time I think that you will live.”

I really believed that she might recover; for now this burden was off
her mind, I thought she would have strength to subdue her sickness, and
at first it seemed as if this would really be the case. The next day she
appeared so much better that her friends all became hopeful, and when I
told her that I had written to my husband and had told him, that since he
had made up his mind to go into Polygamy, I wished him to marry her, she
appeared so happy, and showed her joy in so many innocent ways, that I
could not be angry.

“How do you think he will feel,” she said, “when he gets your letter? Do
I look pretty well to-day? And do you think that if I continue to get
better I shall have regained my looks before he comes home?”

“Oh,” I said, humouring her, “you will look quite pretty by the time he
returns; I shall be really jealous of you.”

In an instant the thought of how much all mention of her in connexion
with my husband must be painful to me, occurred to her mind, and she
begged me to forgive her for her carelessness. “No,” said she, “I will
try never to give you pain, and you must always love me.”

For some days this improvement in her appearance continued, and I thought
and hoped that we should soon have her round again. I really wished her
to live now, for if it was absolutely necessary that Mr. Stenhouse _must_
practise Polygamy, I would prefer that, rather than any other woman, he
should marry her, for I felt that she would understand me as no one else

Thus, after all, I really had selected a second wife for my husband!

But the change in poor Carrie’s looks was altogether deceptive. News came
to me one morning that she was very much worse, and I hastened to see
her. As I entered the room, her eyes brightened, and she said: “I am glad
that you have come, Sister Stenhouse, for I feel that I am going soon.”
Then, after a pause, she added, holding up her hands—“Do you know what
that means?” The fingernails were turning blue.

“That means death,” she said; “and it is better so.”

After this we conversed together for some time upon various topics of
special interest to her in the position in which she then was, and
presently she said, as if asking a question, “You will keep your promise,
I know.”

“Carrie,” I answered, “if there is anything that I can say or do that
will make you feel more certain that I will keep my promise, if I live to
do so, tell me, and I will do it.”

“I am afraid,” she said, “that, after all, he never loved me. He pitied
my lonely situation and was so kind and good to me, that I learned to
love him, and those meddlesome sisters tried to get him to marry me, but
I would not be false to you. Then we both thought it was best not to tell
you, as it would make you grieve, although it never could take place.
Even now, had I not known that I was dying, I never would have told you.
But you will not love me less when you think of me after I am gone?”

I told her that my affection for her would never change, and I talked
with her, and tried to soothe her dying moments, and to make her feel
less lonely; and thus the morning passed away. In the afternoon she was
silent and apparently unconscious, and before another day dawned she had
passed away to her rest.



The following evening I went round again to the house, to gaze once more
at the form of my dear friend. She was lying in her coffin, dressed for
the grave, and I looked at her long and tenderly as she rested sleeping
there. Her features were peaceful and natural as if in slumber; an
expression of calm tranquillity hovered around her countenance, and
in the repose of death she seemed almost happy. Poor girl! her life
had been short indeed, and she had known but little pleasure; but I
believed that she was now beyond the reach of earthly sorrow and earthly
disappointment, happy in that land where suffering and tears are all
unknown. “There shall be no night there,” the Lord of that other life had
said. Sorrow and sighing shall flee away from that bright and glorious
land; and the grief and pain, which on earth are the portion of so many
tried and weary hearts, shall find no entrance into that eternal rest
which our Father in heaven has prepared for us beyond the floods of death.

Oh, better far! I thought, it is that thus she should pass away. True,
she has seen but little of life, and has not tasted many of its joys;
but, as a compensation, how much has she been spared! She was so gentle
and so sensitive, so unfit to battle with the stern realities of
existence, that I felt she had gained rather than lost in being taken
away in the morning of her life.

I now expected very soon to be called upon to undergo the most painful
ordeal that any wife can be required to pass through: I was to give my
husband another wife—such is the sacrifice demanded of every Mormon woman.

The thought of doing this was worse than death to me. I felt injured,
humiliated and degraded by it, and yet I still tried to believe that it
was the will of God, and must therefore be right. To me, this outrage
upon all the purest feelings of womanhood seemed more like the will of
men—men of the basest and most unholy passions. It was repulsive to me in
whatever form it was presented, but still I reproached my own rebellious
heart for feeling so, for I had been told that the ways of the Lord were
past finding out, and, however unlike Him this Revelation might appear,
we Mormon women had been taught that it was our duty to bend our wills
and to suffer in unquestioning and uncomplaining silence.

As the time approached, I felt like a condemned criminal awaiting the day
of execution. A sense of apprehension, a dread of coming evil, was ever
present to my mind, and everything appeared to me through the medium of
my griefs. To a certain extent, my husband also suffered, for it would be
impossible, I think, for any man to see his wife suffering so intensely
without feeling for her, and I sometimes believed that his sympathy for
me was so great, that, if he had dared, he would even then have refused
to obey the counsel of the Priesthood.

Then, too, he had a little trouble of his own, for he began to realize
that this innovation upon the sanctity of our home would make a great
change in his future—his freedom would be gone.

However gratifying it may be to a man’s feelings to know that there is
no limit to his privileges, and that he is always at liberty—no matter
how many wives he may already possess—to fall in love with every pretty
girl he meets, and marry her if she consents; yet every intelligent man
must be conscious that it can be no easy matter to keep peace between
many wives in one house, and that, if he wishes to act rightly by all, he
must train himself to be scrupulously just, never showing any partiality
in look or deed, or even by a word. There are many such men among the
Mormons. They are conscientious and good men, who try to live their
religion, but who at the same time desire to act kindly towards their
wives. My husband began to realize the great responsibility that he was
about to take upon himself, and, seeing his thoughtful and troubled look,
I tried to hide my own feelings; for every true wife knows that nothing
so powerfully arouses a woman to struggle with her own sorrows as the
knowledge that her husband is unhappy.

The dreaded day at length arrived, the day which for so long, and
with such painful forebodings, I had anticipated. I had spent a very
wakeful and unhappy night, and felt very sick and nervous, for I was
about to become a mother, and my health was anything but strong. I
hardly felt as if I should have courage to go through that day. I was,
however, compelled to nerve myself to the task, and I began to make my
preparations for going to the Endowment House. The only thing that gave
me strength was the thought that my husband had consented that I should
go through the ceremony of being married to him that day for Carrie; for
even then I supposed that those who would be married in heaven must first
be married on earth, and that, too, by those who had received authority
from on high.

Ever since I had first embraced Mormonism I had been entirely cut off
from Gentile society, although living in the Gentile world. Abroad, and
also when in New York, the cares of a family kept me very much at home,
and the continual state of apprehension in which I was rendered me averse
to visiting among friends. Thus it was that I never conversed freely with
any one who could have informed me truthfully of the origin of Mormonism,
and consequently I brooded over my religion as a melancholy fact; but,
though with moments of weakness and wavering, I never thoroughly doubted
its divine origin. The terrible sacrifice which was about to be required
of me might, I thought, be painful to make, but it was no less the will
of God. I must submit, whatever the effort might cost me.

The morning was bright and lovely—a morning calculated to inspire happy
hopes and pleasant feelings; but to me it brought nothing but fear and
trembling. Even the innocent prattle of my children annoyed me, and they,
not knowing how deeply I was suffering, looked at me with wonder in
their eyes. Oh, I thought, surely my husband will at length comprehend
the greatness of the love I bear him? surely he will now appreciate the
sacrifice I make for his sake and for my religion? Even now, if I did
not know that he believes this doctrine to be true, and he would feel
condemned if, through any opposition of mine, he were not allowed to
practise it, I would at the last moment dash this bitter cup from my lips
and take my chance of the consequences in a future state!

Utterly cast down and broken-hearted, I felt almost as if the Lord
Himself had forsaken me, and there was no one to whom I could look for
aid. I could not go to my husband in that hour for sympathy; for I well
knew that his thoughts must be with his intended bride, and that my
sorrows would only trouble him at a time when he must desire to be at
peace. Besides which, I was too proud to plead for love at a shrine
that I felt should rightfully be all my own. And then, too, I knew not
but what he might tell _her_ of my feelings; and it would be too great a
humiliation for me should she think me jealous of the position which she
now occupied, and her influence over my husband.

With such feelings I went to the Endowment House. There at the altar I
was to give proof of my obedience and of my faith in my religion, by
placing the hand of the new wife in that of my husband. The thought was
almost madness. To have followed my husband to the grave would have been
a terrible blow to me, but to live to see him the husband of another
woman was something that seemed to me beyond endurance. Notwithstanding
every effort of faith, doubts would arise, and in bitterest anguish I
thought—this is more like the work of cruel man than of God. Why should
man have this power over woman, and she so helpless? Surely a just and
impartial God can have nothing to do with this! There was a darkness
before my eyes, and, struggle as I might, I could see no ray of light—no
glimmering of hope.

First, my husband was married to Miss Pratt; and then to me for Carrie!
Thus I fulfilled my pledge to my departed friend. I had found, before
going to the Endowment House, that I could not have Carrie sealed to my
husband next to me, for Belinda had objected, and her mother had appealed
to Brigham Young about it. They told me that he had said that the living
had claims before the dead, although my own feelings would have led me
to think otherwise. Brigham Young performed the ceremony. He sat at the
end of the altar and we three knelt down—my husband on one side, and Miss
Pratt and myself on the other. Speaking to me, Brigham Young asked: “Are
you willing to give this woman to your husband to be his lawful wife for
time and for all eternity? If you are, you will signify it by placing her
right hand within the right hand of your husband.”

I did so; but what words can describe my feelings? The anguish of a whole
lifetime was crowded into that one single moment. The painful meaning
of those words, “for all eternity,” withered my soul, and the unending
contract which my husband had made with another woman was practically a
divorce from me. I had now laid everything upon the altar of sacrifice,
for I had given away my husband. What more could the Lord require of me
that I was not prepared to do?


_To face p. 296._]

I was bewildered and almost beside myself, and yet I had to hide my
feelings. Hope was for ever banished from my life. To whom could I
look for sympathy among those who were around me? They were most of
them men who had ruthlessly wrecked the lives and lacerated the hearts
of hundreds of women before my turn came, and the sight of an unhappy
wife was so common in their experience that it was more likely to awaken
their anger than their pity. I felt this instinctively, and I resolved
that they should never know how much my poor heart was torn. My husband,
it is true, was there. _My_ husband! Was he not now the husband of
another woman, and therefore no longer belonging to me? I knew that I
never could overcome my early teaching sufficiently to _feel_ that this
was right, though such was my wretched fanaticism that I mentally and
verbally assented to it. I felt that now I stood alone—our union was
severed, there could never be any copartnership between that other wife
and myself—no, never! Salvation or no salvation, it was impossible that I
could ever love her. From that day I began to hide all my sorrows from my
husband, and it was but very seldom that I uttered a word of discontent,
and when I expressed what I felt, it was in anger; but never in sorrow
seeking sympathy.

I remember when we returned home—that home which had now lost its charm,
for the young wife was to live there—my husband said to me: “You have
been very brave, but it is not so hard to bear, after all, is it?” I had
hidden my feelings so well that he really thought that I was indifferent.
But during the remainder of the day, how I watched their looks and
noticed every word! To me their tender tones were daggers, piercing my
heart and filling me with a desire to revenge myself upon the father of
my children. Oh, what fanatics we Mormon women have been ever to have
believed for a single moment that a just and loving Father and God would
have given a command that in almost every instance has produced such
fearful results upon those who should have been happy wives and mothers,
and consequently upon their children! Indeed, even then it made me feel
that there was no justice in heaven, if this love which is the best part
of woman’s nature—this love that we had always believed was a part of
divinity itself—this principle, without which there would be nothing
worth living for—if this was to be our greatest curse, and the woman
who showed herself most actuated by this gentle influence was to be the
greatest victim.

I felt that day that if I could not get away by myself alone and give
expression to my overcharged feelings, I should certainly lose my reason.
I was utterly miserable. It was only in the dead of night, in my own
chamber, that I gave way to the terrible anguish that was consuming me.
God and my own soul can alone bear witness to what I suffered in that
time of woe. That night was to me such as even the most God-forsaken
might pray never to know; and morning dawned without my having for a
moment closed my eyes.



I was now to realize personally, in my own home life, what Polygamy
actually was. Hitherto I had observed how other women suffered, and how
other men treated their wives; but now the painful reality had come to my
own door, and I was to experience the effects of the system upon myself,
and, instead of noting the conduct of other men, I should be able to
observe the change which Polygamy might work in my own husband.

How little do the Mormon men know what it is in the truest sense to have
_a_ wife, though they have so many “wives” after their own fashion!
Almost imperceptibly to the husband, and even to the wife herself, a
barrier rises between them from the very day that he marries another
woman. It matters not how much she believes in the doctrine of plural
marriage, or how willing she may be to submit to it, the fact remains
the same. The estrangement begins by her trying to hide from him all her
secret sorrows; for she feels that what has been done cannot be undone
now, and she says: “I cannot change it; neither would I if I could,
because it is the will of God, and I must bear it; besides, what good
will it do to worry my husband with all my feelings? He cannot help me;
and is he not another woman’s husband?” Then comes, perhaps, the painful
thought, “I have no longer any desire to confide in him.” Or it may be
that she detects some familiarity between her husband and the other wife;
and she feels bitterly towards both, for, strive as she may, human nature
cannot be altogether crushed out.

That was a time of great misery to me, much as I tried to control my
feelings. Day by day I strove to hide from my heart even the knowledge
of my own unhappiness; and when I could no longer endure, I would lock
myself in my room and give vent to the anguish that was consuming me. I
realized, however, that this continual conflict of feeling was unfitting
me for my duties. Everything was becoming a trial to me. I could not
bear to be spoken to; the prattle of my children, that had always been
so dear to me, was now discordant to my feelings; and all their little
questionings were irksome. I determined that this should no longer be
the case; I would battle with my own heart; I would henceforth devote my
whole life—worthless as that life appeared to have become—to the welfare
of my little ones. This was a conclusion that hundreds of wretched Mormon
wives have arrived at; and when this is the case, there is some hope for
them. But many give way to despair, and go down broken-hearted to their

How terribly these Mormon men deceive themselves! When peace, or rather
quiet, reigns in their homes, they think that the Spirit of God is there.
But it is not so. It is a calm not like the gentle silence of sleep,
but as the painful stillness of death—the death of the heart’s best
affection and all that is worth calling love. All _true_ love has fled,
and indifference has taken its place. The very children feel it. What do
they, what can they, care about their father, whom they so seldom see?

Some wives, afraid of creating a prejudice against themselves and of
being forsaken altogether, deceive their husbands, and make them believe
that they are satisfied. It must be admitted that, in acting thus, these
wives are not always actuated by a fear of losing the society or love of
their husbands, for, in Polygamy, love dies a natural death; but it is
galling to a woman’s pride to have it said that she has been cast off for
another. Then, too—and some women would consider this the most important
reason of all—the best provision is usually made for the home where the
husband stops most frequently; and the wife, if not for her own sake, at
least for her children’s, will be anxious to have a well-provided house.
This is only natural. The “divine” plan has always been worked out in a
very human way.

When a man has several wives, there is, of course, no necessity for him
to stay with an unhappy or mopish one, as he can always find a more
pleasant reception elsewhere. Men who can really believe that women are
satisfied and happy under such a system must be entirely ignorant of
human nature.

When a man has more than one wife, his affections must of necessity be
divided; he really has no home in the truest sense of the word; his
houses are simply boarding-places. Should he have all his wives in one
house, as is often the case, they are then all slaves to the system;
each one is watching the others, and they know it—trying to discover
something that can be secretly told to the husband to draw away his
affections from the rest. What more miserable position could be imagined?

There is, however, no fixed principle regulating Mormon men in the
management of their families; every one is at liberty to do as he thinks
best, and scarcely two families are governed alike. When Salt Lake City
was first settled, the people had to live as best they could, and a man
was glad to get even one roof under which he and all his wives might
be sheltered. Now, when the husband is wealthy, he generally provides
separate homes for his wives. Some wealthy men, however, still have all
their wives and families together.

I have in my mind, as I write, a very prominent Mormon, who has
half-a-dozen wives; and he divides his time among them after this
fashion. The first week he stays with the first wife; the next week he
is with the second; then he goes back to the first. The fourth week he
passes with the third wife; then he returns for another week to the
first. And thus he continues to give one week to the first wife, and the
next to one of the other five in turn, until he has blessed them all with
his presence. Now, it would at a casual glance appear that this first
wife has by far the largest share of her husband’s society; but if the
truth must be told, it must be admitted that the husband is not quite so
generous as he appears. The last wife of this good man is a young and
pretty girl, and she lives with the first wife, and thus his devotion to
the latter is rewarded by the presence of the former. Each of the other
wives has one week of his society and attentions in every eleven—about
five weeks apiece of companionship with their husband in the course of
a whole year. Other men with the same number of wives pass constantly
between one house and another; they can never be found when wanted; their
lives are one eternal round, and they may be said to have no real abiding

In every settlement in Utah, long, low-roofed houses may be seen with a
row of doors and windows alternating. Even in Salt Lake City, much as
it has changed of late years, such houses may still be found. To every
door and window there is, of course, a wife; and the furniture of her
room consists of a bed, three chairs, and a table. Then, if the man is a
very devout Mormon and wishes to increase his kingdom by adding another
wife to the inhabitants of the long many-doored house, a waggon-box is so
arranged as to form a sleeping apartment for the new comer; or, what is
more likely, one of the old wives is put into the waggon-box, and the new
one takes her place.

A house with two wings is rather a favourite style with those men, who,
to silence their conscience and the priesthood, conclude to take “just
_one_ extra wife,” and no more. The wives, with their children, occupy,
respectively, each a wing; and the entrance-door opens into a parlour,
which serves as a reception-room for both families. The husband in this
case spends a week on one side of the house and a week on the other,
alternately; and thus, by an impartial division of his attentions,
he preserves peace in his family. A man who is comfortably off can,
of course, arrange his domestic affairs so as to avoid, as far as is
possible, the inconveniences of the system, but a poor man is forced to
submit to circumstances. Many men have entered into Polygamy, with two,
three, and even four wives, all, with their children, living together
under one roof—in one room—in the most disgraceful and barbarous manner;
but even for this the leaders were really more to blame than the poor
deluded men themselves; for the command to “Build up the Kingdom!—build
up the Kingdom!”—in other words, take many wives and raise up large
families—has been so constantly and imperatively insisted upon that good
sense and propriety have at last been entirely overlooked.



_To face p. 302._]

In a very large house, with many wives, there is greater safety and peace
for the husband than in a small house with only two wives. When there
are only two apartments, the husband, if not in one, is supposed to be
in the other, and the neglected wife frequently expresses her opinion of
her rival in the opposite room in very powerful language. Scenes may be
witnessed in such households which are too shocking to disclose. Brigham
Young was conscious of this when he said he “would stand no more fighting
and scratching around him”; and yet, in the face of all this, he dares to
tell the people that this is the “Order of _Celestial_ Marriage.” With
many wives living together in a large house there are many advantages.
The whereabouts of the husband is not so easily discovered, and the
unhappy or jealous wife is at a loss to know upon whom to vent her
ire. On this account even men with small means prefer to have three
wives instead of two, as each wife, not knowing which of the other two
she ought to hate the most, divides her jealousy. It takes, however,
a wise man to know how to live in Polygamy, so as to balance all the
conflicting interests and obtain a little peace, if happiness is out of
the question.

Where the husband is a rich man and has abundant wealth wherewith to
supply the wants of his numerous wives and children, and to furnish all
the necessary accommodation that a growing family demands, much of the
jealousy and ill-feeling inseparable from Polygamy can, to a certain
extent, be avoided.

It would be quite impossible, with any regard to propriety, to relate all
the horrible results of this disgraceful system. It has debased the minds
and degraded the lives of good and honest men and women, while those
who naturally had a tendency towards evil have become a hundred times
worse. Marriages have been contracted between the nearest relatives;
and old men tottering on the brink of the grave have been united to
little girls scarcely in their teens; while unnatural alliances of every
description, which in any other community would be regarded with disgust
and abhorrence, are here entered into in the name of God, and under the
sanction of a “Revelation” supposed to proceed from the pure and holy

I was much shocked and disgusted when first I went to Utah, to find a man
whom under other circumstances I had known in London, living with two
sisters whom he had married in the manner I have just described, and,
strange as it may appear, it was not with them a matter of necessity.
When I knew the husband in Europe, I considered him a man of education
and refinement; but I certainly was mistaken, for no man whose nature was
at all sensitive would have lived as he did. His wives, too, who had been
considered highly respectable English girls, were not ashamed of their
degraded position; they professed to believe in bringing the world back
to its primitive purity and innocence.

It is quite a common thing in Utah for a man to marry two and even three
sisters. I was well acquainted with one man who married his half-sister,
and I know several who have married mother and daughter. I know also
another man who married a widow with several children; and, when one of
the girls had grown into her teens, he insisted on marrying her also,
having first by some means won her affections. The mother, however, was
much opposed to this marriage, and finally gave up her husband entirely
to her daughter; and to this very day the daughter bears children to her
step-father, living as wife in the same house with her mother!

In another instance, a well-known man in Salt Lake City, who has several
wives and married daughters, married a young girl of fifteen years of age
whom his wife had adopted and brought up as her own.

Quite a number of the leading Mormons have wives in the various
settlements; and this is very convenient to them if they have to travel
much. If the wives are old and experienced, as wives who are sent into
the country generally are, they can then look after and manage a farm;
and if they have growing boys, the farm can be worked upon a very
economical plan. The younger wives in the city can be supplied from them
with all the butter, cheese, vegetables, &c., that they require. It takes
considerable shrewdness to manage women in such a way as to turn all
their abilities to good account and to make them profitable.

Let me ask the good brethren who read this to act for once impartially,
and try to put themselves in a woman’s place; and let me for their
benefit draw a little picture for them to contemplate.

It is evening, and the family are all assembled in their pleasant home—a
home made happy by the kind and thoughtful care of a loving father. Peace
and tranquillity dwell in every heart, and the father is happy in being
surrounded by his children, to whom he is fondly attached. He listens
to the prattle of the little ones, or the music and songs of the elder
children; and for a time he is forgetful of everything save the happiness
of the hour.

Suddenly his wife, the mother of his children, whom he dearly loves,
rises from her seat beside the fire and retires to her own apartment.
There she arranges her toilet with irreproachable care, sees that every
straying curl is in its place, and gives every touch to her appearance
which she thinks is likely to render her attractive in the eyes of a
man. She now descends the stairs, ready to leave the home of this, her
first husband, for she is going to see her second husband, or some young
man to whom she has taken a fancy, and who she thinks would be suitable
for a third. She kisses her children good-bye, and is about to take an
affectionate farewell of their father, when she suddenly discovers that
he is not looking happy. “What is the matter now?” she says; “is not your
home a pleasant one? have I not taken pains to train your children in a
proper manner, and have I not remained an hour longer than usual with
you? What folly it is for you to be moping in this way! this is not the
way to live our religion, if we expect to get the blessing of God. You
know very well it is very painful for me to leave you and my children;
but we must be obedient to the commands of God, and I owe attentions to
my other husband as well as to you!”

Can any man be supposed who would for a moment endure such an outrage
upon decency and common sense, such a violation of all that is sacred in
the human heart? And yet this is only reversing the case; and just as any
Mormon man can suppose he would feel, if the wife he loved were to act
in the way I have described, so do Mormon wives feel, only as much more
acutely, as women are more sensitive in their affections than men.



My life was now one continued series of deceptions, as was also that of
my husband, and we began habitually to wear the mask when in each other’s

It may have been wrong, perhaps, but I confess that for my husband’s
intended bride I felt such a detestation that I could not endure her
presence, although I knew that she was not to blame. I believed that I
should not have felt it so much if she had been a little older; but to
have a mere child placed on a level with me, and to be compelled to treat
her with all the respect due to a wife, was so terribly humiliating to me
that at times I thought that I could not endure it another day. She, of
course, expected to be treated with all the consideration which is proper
to a wife, and to be consulted in everything by my husband, as a wife
should be. She was not, however, competent to undertake any household
duties or wifely cares, and was herself an additional responsibility to
me. Young and inexperienced as she was, she had everything to learn; but,
at the same time, she stood so much upon her dignity that it was anything
but a pleasant task to teach her. It of course devolved upon me to
instruct her in everything, and I found it anything but a congenial task.
I soon began to look upon her simply as a boarder, and expected nothing
more from her than I should if she had really been such.

She took very kindly to this position, and would spend her days in her
own room, reading and otherwise amusing herself, and of course was always
pleasant and well-dressed to receive her husband. But this did not suit
_me_. In fact I do not know what would have suited me at that time, for
I was disposed to be displeased with everything. And yet a visitor to
our house would, I have no doubt, have, said, “How very pleasantly those
two wives get along together!” This has been said of scores of women in
Utah by casual observers—Gentiles, who thought they “understood” the
system. How little do they know the aching void and the bitter hatred
which exists in the hearts of those wives—the detestation which they have
of one another! How little can they know, when everything is so carefully
hidden, even from their husbands! It is a shameful thing that women,
faithful wives and mothers, should be placed in such a position.

How many times during the day have I been compelled to leave everything
and rush to my chamber, and there on my bended knees supplicate for
strength to endure, thinking all the time that, in ordaining this
Revelation, God had given us a burden greater than we could bear!

Then in the evening, when we were assembled together in our cosy parlour,
as we were wont to be, all traces that remained of the terrible struggle
which I had endured were a sad countenance and perhaps the deepening
lines upon my brow, which contrasted unpleasantly with the bright and
cheerful face of the young wife, and made my husband feel that I was
getting very sour in my disposition, as indeed was probably the case.

Things and actions, which at another time I should have considered
too trifling to notice, had now a painful significance to me. On one
occasion, not long after the wedding, my husband asked me to take a walk
with him, and I consented. Among the Mormons it is a custom to take
their wives out together very frequently. Their object, I presume, is
to display the “jewels” in their crowns before the eyes of their less
fortunate brethren. I had resolved that I would never submit to this;
if my husband would not take me out alone, I would stay at home. On the
occasion I mention, when I came out of my room ready dressed, I found
him and his wife, Belinda, waiting and chatting pleasantly together,
and looking unutterable love at each other—at least, so I thought—and I
felt greatly insulted and annoyed, and told them I did not wish to go.
I carefully avoided showing any outbursts of temper before the young
lady, which I thought would be undignified, for I desired at least that
she should respect me, though I did not want her love. If I had expected
that they would urge me to accompany them, I should have been greatly
mistaken, for my refusal appeared to be just what they wanted. They
tripped off together as light-hearted and happy as children, while I
remained rooted to the spot, tearing my pocket-handkerchief to pieces,
and wishing I could do the same with them.

I used sometimes to wonder whether it would be the same in the Mormon
heaven, where this Celestial Order of Marriage is expected to be carried
out in all its fullness, and I felt troubled for myself. These dreadful
feelings would, I believed, be the ruin of my soul, and I thought it
was impossible for me to obtain salvation until I had entirely subdued
them—and that I had not power yet to do. I had, however, so concealed
what I felt, that my husband believed that I was becoming used to this
new life.

Day after day my rebellious soul was agitated by the same troubled
feelings. There was no rest for me—nothing upon which I could stay my
mind. My husband was painfully aware that there was a coldness and
restraint existing between his young wife and myself, and I know that he
was grieved by it, for he had tried in every way to create a friendly
feeling between us. I felt, however, that it was utterly impossible that
I could ever be affectionate towards his other wife, much as I might
strive. I would do my duty, but I could not love her, or, in fact, him
either for that matter, when he was associated with her. I regret to be
obliged to confess such a truth; but from that time, and as long as I
remained in Mormonism, the sentiment that was uppermost in my mind was
an utter detestation of the whole system. I despised myself for being
the abject slave that I was. Why could I not have the moral courage to
set everything at defiance—Revelation and all—and free myself from the
bondage that enthralled me?

I know this day scores of women in Utah who think and feel exactly as I
did then, who suffer wrongs against which their hearts daily and hourly
rebel, but who, like me, dread to cast aside the yoke of the oppressor.

At that time, in respect to pecuniary matters, we were very comfortably
off. Almost immediately after our arrival in Utah, Mr. Stenhouse had
found employment on the staff of the _Deseret News_. Before long he
obtained the appointment of postmaster for Salt Lake City, and before his
marriage with Miss Pratt he had started the _Telegraph_, the first daily
paper that was ever published in Utah. From the beginning it had been
remarkably successful; for Brigham had counselled the people to sustain
it, knowing very well that he himself would in return be supported by
my husband. Brigham had no more devoted follower than Mr. Stenhouse was
then, for the scales had not yet fallen from his eyes, and he believed
the Prophet was really what he claimed to be—a faithful servant of God.
True, we had frequently talked together of his very mean actions; but
my too generous, or perhaps too credulous, husband had attributed all
that to the weakness of his human nature, and would not believe that
it affected his priesthood. He therefore sustained him strongly and
consistently before the public; not for gain, for he had given too many
instances of his devotion to be suspected of that; but I may say from
pure attachment, for I know too well that at that time he was almost
ready to lay down his life for the sake of his religion.

The _Telegraph_ soon became the leading journal in Utah, and in a little
while we were surrounded by every comfort and luxury which at that time
could be procured in Salt Lake City. No family in the Territory was
better provided for than was ours, not excepting Brigham Young’s. I had
always believed that if my husband were left alone, untrammelled by the
Church, to make his own way, he would do so successfully. In this I was
not mistaken. We now owned a fine dwelling-house, a valuable city lot and
house, where the paper was printed, and also another very desirable lot,
near to Brigham Young’s residence. This last lot was my own; it was very
beautifully situated, and we expended on it upwards of three thousand
dollars. Everything that my husband undertook at that time seemed to
prosper—not excepting his love affairs.

Just then a great deal was whispered privately about certain murders
which had been committed, all knowledge of which was strenuously denied
by the authorities. When any case was so notorious that it could not
possibly be altogether hushed up, we were told that the murdered persons
were dangerous people, and had been killed in self-defence by those whom
they in the first instance had attacked.

My husband, like hundreds of others, was never in the confidence of the
Church authorities in these matters. He believed firmly in the divine
mission of Joseph Smith, and shut his eyes to the actions of Brigham
Young, thinking that he alone would be responsible to the Lord for his
misdeeds. When I drew his attention to the inconsistency of Brigham’s
conduct, as on more than one occasion I did, he said we had enough to
do to look at home and see that we ourselves did what was right. This,
of course, was true; but I thought, nevertheless, that a little more
consistency on Brigham’s part would not be amiss.

My talkative friend called one day to speak of a very serious subject.

“I have come, Sister Stenhouse,” she said, “to talk to you about a matter
of great importance, but I don’t want to offend you, and you must
promise beforehand to forgive me.”

I readily promised, and she added: “I thought I should find you very
unhappy, Sister Stenhouse, about poor dear Carrie Grant, and I think if
you are so you deserve it, but I don’t like you to be miserable, and so I
came to comfort you.”

“But, Sister Ann,” I said, “I don’t want to be comforted in the way you
seem to mean. I have been very sad indeed at losing Carrie; but you know
I did everything I could for her, poor girl, and I have nothing to blame
myself for.”

“Nothing to blame yourself for?” she exclaimed. “Why, Sister Stenhouse,
you have everything to blame yourself for. If poor Carrie has less glory,
it is all your fault.”

“How so?” I said.

“Why,” she answered, “if you had not held back and expressed your
dislike, Carrie would have married your husband, and would most likely
have been alive now. She would have had _her_ family, and would have
added to your husband’s glory; while now, although she is your husband’s
wife, she has no children, and, of course, must have less glory in the

“Well, Sister Ann,” I said, “I never thought of it in that light. I
loved Carrie very much, and I tried to make her love me. It was not
until almost the last that I knew of her love for my husband; but if I
had known before, I am sure my own heart would have rebelled against my
husband taking another wife. I did, however, ask him to marry her, and
after she was dead I was married to him for her.”

“That’s all very well, Sister Stenhouse,” she replied, “but for all that
I think you have committed a great wrong against that poor orphan girl.
You ought to be thankful that at last you were able to repair a little
of the mischief which you did. I don’t want to vex you, but I am really
sorry that you had such an antipathy to your husband having Carrie.
However, I suppose, now he has really got another wife, you are not so
much set against Polygamy. You must find it quite a blessing to have Miss
Pratt—I beg pardon, I mean Mrs. Stenhouse number two—with you now.”

I did not answer her, for I had my own opinion about the matter. She went
on without hesitation: “Well, you must not be vexed with me, dear; I say
it all for your good, you know; but I do wish you felt a little more as I
do about these matters. Why, do you know, I have been trying to show my
faith and zeal in every possible way ever since we came to Utah. It was
only last week I was baptized for Queen Anne.”

“Queen Anne!” I exclaimed. “What can you possibly mean?”

“Exactly what I say, Sister Stenhouse; I was baptized for Queen Anne, and
if you like I’ll tell you all about it. It is only just what every one
else has been doing, only they were baptized for other people. I don’t
think you’ve ever thought much of this, and so I’ll explain myself. You
see, Sister Stenhouse, the Elders teach us that the whole world is lying
in darkness and sin, and has been so ever since the apostolic gifts were
lost ages ago. Now there is no salvation outside the Church, and you may
remember that Christ Himself went and preached to the miserable souls in

“In Paradise?” I said, “why I thought that was a happy place.”

“Oh, no, Sister Stenhouse,” she said, “not very happy. The souls of those
who have not heard the gospel, and have not been baptized, go there, and
it’s a sort of prison for them until they are brought out again through
the kindness of some believer. The thief on the cross went there, and
Christ went there and preached to the spirits in prison; and when the
Elders die, they go on mission to Paradise and preach to them also. All
your people and my people, our fathers, and mothers, and grandfathers,
and so on, right up to the apostolic times, are waiting in Paradise with
millions and millions of souls to be released and be admitted into the
Celestial Kingdom. All the good brethren and sisters have been doing
their best to get out their relations and friends, and I know many of
them who have sent over to England and have spent large sums of money in
tracing their pedigrees and genealogies, in order to find out the right
names and to be baptized as proxies for the dead who owned those names.
I have been baptized for a good many of my own relations, and I mean to
be baptized for scores more; and many of the brethren, too, have been
married as proxies for their own friends, and for distinguished people
besides, so that they might be admitted into the Celestial Kingdom, and
raise up patriarchal families of their own. The poor souls, if they were
released from Paradise by a proxy baptism, could not, of course, have
been married in heaven, as there is no giving in marriage there; so some
one was married for them as proxy to some one else, and now they can
begin to establish their own celestial kingdoms.”

“And have you been proxy in this way, Sister Ann?” I asked.

“No, and yes,” she replied; “I haven’t yet been proxy in marriage for
any one, but I was proxy in baptism. When we were children, I remember we
used to have some rhymes about Queen Anne, and, as it was my own name,
I always thought a great deal of her. It seemed to me that it would be
very nice, and at the same time very charitable, if I were to help her
out of Paradise. It quite struck my fancy, for it was no small thing to
have a real queen thankful to you for so much. So I went and was baptized
for her, and now she is out of Paradise and has entered the Celestial
Kingdom. But that isn’t all. There was my old friend, George Wilford,
who heard all about the matter, for I see him frequently, and he at once
said that he would be baptized for Prince George of Denmark, Queen Anne’s
husband, and he means to do so; and after that we’ll be married by proxy
for them here on earth, and then they’ll both be happy.”

“Why, Sister Ann, what a droll idea!” I said.

“Sister Stenhouse,” she replied, quite seriously, “it’s very wrong of you
to talk so. Some of the best Saints have stood proxy in this way. There
was one lady who stood proxy for the Empress Josephine, and her son stood
for Napoleon, and some one else for Washington. Queen Elizabeth, too, has
been baptized by proxy. And now Napoleon and Washington are both Mormon
Elders, and I suppose some one will be married for Queen Elizabeth, and
she’ll enter into Polygamy. Do you know, Sister Stenhouse, there was one
brother who, out of pure kindness, said he would be baptized for the
thief on the cross, for he supposed that no one else would take pity on
him, and a sister who was present said she would be baptized for his
wife, if Brother Brigham thought he ever had one. I’ve been persuading my
Henry to be baptized for Henry the Eighth, for I’m sure he needed baptism
for the remission of sins; and he—I mean _my_ Henry—has promised me to do
so; but he says that he means to ask Brother Brigham first before he is
married for him—if ever he is—as King Henry was almost a polygamist in
his way, and my husband thinks there is not much need to be married for
him at all.”

“I can’t help being amused,” I said. “Of course I have often heard of
being baptized for the dead, and I know the Elders say that St. Paul
spoke of it in one of his epistles, but I never thought of it in _that_
light; I always thought we should have to wait till the Temple was

“That’s true, Sister Stenhouse,” she replied; “all the marriages of all
the Saints—of every one, in fact, on the face of the earth—ought to be
solemnized in the Temple here in Salt Lake City, and every one ought to
receive their Endowments in it; but as it is not yet finished, the Lord
permits us to be married, and everything else, in the Endowment House.
But you know yourself that there’s a record kept, and that, when the
Temple is finished, the ceremony will be all gone through with again.
I’ve heard it said that many of the Elders and their wives will live
there, and that day and night perpetually the ceremonies will be going
on. You ought to be baptized, however, _now_ for as many relations as you
can think of.”

“I think I shall wait, Sister Ann,” I said, “until I can find a Queen
Fanny, and then I’ll be baptized for her.”

She did not like me saying this, for she evidently thought I was jesting.
I was not jesting, however, but I felt greatly amused, for this peculiar
doctrine of the Saints had never struck me in such an odd light before.
Sister Ann was shocked at the way in which I viewed her strange stories,
but “I’ll come again in the course of a day or two, Sister Stenhouse,”
she said, “and put you all straight.”



After I had consented, and in reality had given my husband a second wife,
my _status_ in Mormon polygamic society was very considerably improved.
First wives who lived in, and firmly believed, this “Order of Celestial
Marriage,” tried in every way to make me feel that I was one with them;
and those who had not much faith felt more kindly towards me, because I
had been caught in the same snare with themselves.

Every polygamic wife, whether first, second, third, or tenth, no matter
how much or how little she may believe in “Celestial Marriage”—no matter
how refined or how coarse and degraded her nature may chance to be—must
feel that her position is inferior to that of a monogamic wife. On this
account, many of the Mormon women are never satisfied until they have
drawn every woman of their acquaintance down to their own level. The
influence of this supposed “Revelation” is by no means elevating or

I was now upon an equal footing with other first wives. They had,
therefore, no hesitation in confiding to me their griefs; and, situated
as I was, I had abundant opportunities of hearing stories of cruelty,
wrong, and suffering, under the “Celestial” system—many of them so
utterly revolting that I would not dream of relating them again. Polygamy
among the Mormons is so full of disgusting and disgraceful details, that
a modest woman would not dare to relate all she knew. In this book I have
endeavoured to be true to my title and to “_tell all_,” as far as such a
thing is possible. But there are thousands of horrible incidents, which
form part and parcel of the system of Polygamy, but which no woman who
had any respect for herself would think of putting upon paper.

Previous to the time when my husband took his second wife, although I
had learned too much, I had to a certain extent been kept in the dark
respecting some of the vile and loathsome practices of Polygamy; but
after that, by slow degrees, I was thoroughly initiated into the system.

Visitors to Utah would perhaps notice in the faces of the Mormon wives
a dull, careworn, weary expression, altogether the reverse of that
contented look which is seen among “Gentile” women. But those very women
would never disclose to the stranger the depth of that sorrow which is
wearing away their lives. Some few, indeed, have been led to speak of
their troubles; but they have afterwards found that the very persons in
whom they confided most distorted and exaggerated every word that they
had uttered, for the sake of making a good story for the press. In many
cases the names of those who were thoughtless enough to expose their
sorrows, together with little personal matters which should never have
been made public, were put into print; and when the matter came before
the Church authorities, as in course of time it was certain to do, there
was a great deal of trouble and unpleasantness. Women, consequently,
as a rule, tell nothing; and book-makers and people connected with the
press, while they give to the world astonishing stories of what they
have heard, know really nothing of the truth. When a smart man, or a man
connected with the press, comes to Utah, the Church authorities take
him in hand at once. He is carried here and there, and treated with the
utmost deference; a pair of Mormon spectacles is placed by Brigham, or
one of his numerous factotums, upon the visitor’s eyes, and through them
he looks at all that transpires. Then comes a glowing account in the
papers, or else apocryphal stories appear in the visitor’s last new book;
and unsophisticated people, who innocently suppose that all that is in
print must be true, begin to think that the stories of the evil-doing
of the Prophet, which from time to time have crept out, were only
scandalous reports, and that Brigham Young—like somebody else who shall
be nameless!—was, after all, not quite so black as he has been painted.

A gentleman, who had for five years resided in Salt Lake City, said to
me a few months ago: “Mrs. Stenhouse, when I had been here about three
weeks, I thought that I knew enough of Mormonism to write a book; when I
had been here three months, I began to think that I did not know quite
as much; and now, after five years, I have come to the conclusion that I
really know nothing at all. I have lived in a Mormon family for the past
year, but that has not increased my knowledge. They are constantly upon
their guard. They treat me kindly, but they never let me know anything.”

This, I believe, has been the experience of nearly all the Gentiles
resident in Salt Lake City. Gentlemen had no chance of learning anything,
and the opportunities of ladies were only a trifle better.

Up to this time I had said very little to my children about my doubts and
fears. With the exception of my daughter Clara, they were all too young.
Clara was just budding into womanhood, and day by day gave promise of
more beauty and interest in her future life. I dreaded to cast a cloud
across her way by telling her of my own apprehensions in respect to
Polygamy. If that were the “Order” of “Heaven,” she would certainly have
to live in it; and in any case it was the “order” of Brigham Young, and
my child could not escape from it.

We had lived together in Polygamy about a year, when my husband told
me that his young wife desired to have a home of her own, and that he
intended to provide her with one. This was very pleasant intelligence to
me; for the sight of that other wife constantly before my eyes, sitting
at my table, in the midst of my family, walking in the garden with my
husband in the evening, or _tête-á-tête_ with him in the parlour, was
more than I could bear. I began to feel, whether justly or not, that my
presence was a restraint to them, and that they felt annoyed when I was
with them. This feeling was so strong with me that I constantly avoided
them, and I finally concluded to spend the evenings in my own room with
my children, for, being out of their presence, I should perhaps be at

This, however, was all changed when my husband established a second home.
I did not mind being deprived of his society so long as I could get rid
of _her_: her presence was painful to me, and when she was near me I
hardly felt able to breathe.

Just at that time the marriage of my daughter Clara first began to be
talked about seriously. One day my husband being out driving with Joseph
A. Young, the eldest son of the Prophet, the subject was discussed
between them, and Joseph A. made a proposition of marriage. This, to me,
was the cause of considerable uneasiness, as Joseph A. was a Polygamist,
and at first I altogether refused to listen to the suggestion. At that
time Clara was not fifteen years of age, and not only did I consider her
altogether too young to think of marriage, but I was shocked at the bare
idea of her becoming a polygamic wife. I almost hated Joseph for asking
for her.

Personally I had no objection to Clara’s lover. I had known him for
several years. He was an intelligent, generous-hearted, and handsome
man, of very good standing among the Saints, and wealthy. As a friend, I
valued and esteemed him; but that he, a polygamist, should wish to marry
my darling daughter, was very repugnant to my feelings. Clara was then
growing old enough to understand my more serious thoughts and sentiments,
and her companionship was very precious to me. The thought of her
marrying into Polygamy was to my mind almost as painful as the thought of
her death would have been.

My husband agreed with me that she was too young to marry; but on that
point _he_ could not offer any great objection, as his own wife, although
very womanly in appearance, was but very little older in years. I told
Joseph A. of my reluctance to the proposed marriage, and he fully entered
into my feelings. I could not absolutely refuse him, but I wished to gain
time. Every day found me more and more weak in the faith, and I thought
that, if I could only postpone my Clara’s marriage for a few years,
something might transpire which would relieve me of my difficulty.

Joseph promised to wait just as long as we thought proper, if only we
would allow him to speak to Clara and explain to her the sentiments with
which he regarded her. In this he acted in a way very unlike the Mormon
men generally, and I respected him accordingly. I promised him that I
would not influence my daughter, but would let her decide for herself.
This, after much careful consideration, I came to the conclusion was
all that I could do. My mind at that time was in a very troubled state.
Day by day my doubts respecting the plural wife system became stronger
and stronger, and I felt that before very long some great change _must_
take place, both in my fate and in my life. At the same time, outward
circumstances gave no promise of any such change. My husband gave no
signs of apostasy, and, as a Saint, I knew he would never think of
undertaking anything without the permission of Brother Brigham. We did
not even dare to leave the city without consulting the Prophet. In times,
then very recent, it was at the risk, and sometimes, indeed, at the
sacrifice of life, that any one left Salt Lake Valley without permission;
and even at the present moment no good Saint who values his standing
in the Church would dream of going East without first obtaining the
approval of Brigham Young. I could not, therefore, at the time of which I
write, foresee the great changes which have since taken place. To refuse
my daughter to the Prophet’s son would, I knew, be utterly useless.
By partial submission I might gain some advantages; and the longer I
postponed the marriage, the greater chance there was that “something”
might turn up, which we all more or less look for when we are placed in
circumstances which admit of the exercise of very little choice or effort.

My only objection against Joseph A. was, as I just stated, that he was a
polygamist; but so long as we remained in the Church I could not openly
allege this in opposition to the proposed marriage. If my Clara married
a single man, there was every chance, if not an absolute certainty, that
after a while he would take another wife, or wives. This had been the
case with other girls with whom my child was acquainted. They had married
single men, trusting that their influence over them would be sufficient
to retain their affections ever to themselves alone; but they had soon
reason to see how groundless their expectations and hopes had been.
If, on the other hand, I gave my daughter to a polygamist, there was
certainly no reason why Joseph A. should be refused. I felt surrounded on
every side by difficulties, and out of them all I endeavoured to choose
the least.

One day my husband told me that Brigham Young had seriously spoken to him
about the matter, and had “counselled” him to let the marriage take place
at once, saying that my Clara was quite old enough. After this, objection
on my part would have been utterly unavailing. Everything was settled
at the _fiat_ of Brigham; and the feelings and judgment of a father and
mother in respect of their own daughter were, of course, of not the
slightest consequence.

The wedding-day was therefore fixed, when the sweet flower of my own
quiet garden was to be transplanted to another home.

We went to the Endowment House—my husband, myself, and our daughter,
together with some friends of the family. There we met with Joseph A.
Young, the expectant bridegroom; his father, Brigham Young; Joseph A.’s
first wife, Mary Young; and several of the brethren. The bride and
bridegroom, and the bridegroom’s first wife, were all dressed in their
Temple robes. We then entered a small room where the altar, of which I
have already spoken, is placed. At the end of the altar, Brigham was
seated in a large armchair covered with crimson velvet. The altar was
also crimson. Brigham officiated. Joseph A.’s first wife, Mary Young,
knelt in front of the long crimson altar; and my daughter Clara knelt
beside her on a sort of faldstool or ledge, arranged for that purpose.
Behind the altar knelt Joseph A. Brigham said: “Joseph, are you willing
to take Clara Stenhouse to be your lawful and wedded wife for time and
for all eternity?” Joseph answered, “Yes.” Then Joseph’s first wife was
told to place the right hand of my daughter in the right hand of her
husband, in token that she was willing; and then Clara was questioned,
as Joseph had been. When she replied in the affirmative, Brigham said,
“I pronounce you man and wife in the name of the Lord. Amen.” They were
now married; and Brigham Young, Joseph A.’s first wife, and a few other
friends, came home to the wedding breakfast, after which my daughter went
to her own pleasant home.

Thus my worst fears were realized. My own daughter had become a polygamic
wife; she was the fourth wife of her husband, Joseph A. Young.

It is a source of sorrow to any mother who really loves her children to
lose them, even if it be for their own good and happiness; but in my own
case there were reasons why I felt the loss of my daughter more than I
should have done under ordinary circumstances. I felt quite desolate
without her; for when left all alone, when my husband took his second
wife, and when I had no one else to turn to, my little daughter had
entwined herself about my heart in a thousand sweet and loving ways. She
knew how great an influence music had over me, and how much I loved to
hear her play and sing; and when she saw how sad my heart was, or caught
me in tears, she would go to her piano, and lure me to her side by some
sweet song which she knew was dear to my memory. But with her went all
that love and gentleness which in my time of deepest trouble sustained me
and kept me from absolute despair.

I have often wondered whether Joseph ever realized how great, how
dear a gift, I bestowed upon him when I gave him my little Clara. But
in saying this I do not mean to cast the shadow of a doubt upon his
true-heartedness and love towards her. He was always kind and thoughtful,
considering her comfort in everything; and although they have now been
married seven years, he has never changed, but is the same to her as on
the first day of their marriage. A good, kind, and gentle husband he has
ever been, anticipating her every wish, tenderly and carefully guarding
her from even a painful thought. My only regret has been that he is a
polygamist, and she a polygamic wife.

Not long after this, my husband one day told me that a select few had
been chosen to receive their Second Endowments, and that we were to be
honoured with the same privilege. This I was told was one of the highest
honours that could be conferred upon us, as the Second Endowments had
never been given to any one since the Mormons left Nauvoo.

The glory of this privilege I did not myself, however, feel; and,
notwithstanding any respect which might be intended by our names being
added to the list of chosen ones, I refused to see the slightest good in
the whole affair. I am afraid I was naturally perverse—or was it that the
light was now beginning to dawn more clearly upon my mind? I know not.
But I raised every possible objection, feeling, though I did, that all
opposition on my part was useless. I knew that I should have to go, but I
felt a dismal satisfaction in letting every one know how much I hated the

“Our” second wife—I say “_our_,” because I had been taught that my
husband and myself were indissolubly one, even in the matter of taking
wives—“our” second wife seemed the happiest of us all when the day
arrived, and I believe she considered that we were very highly favoured.
After preparing our Temple robes, we started for the Endowment House.
The reluctance which I felt caused me to lag behind, and I was _gently_
reminded several times that I was making myself very disagreeable. I
did not, however, feel much remorse, for my husband had still one good,
obedient wife walking at his side, who I knew would sympathize with him;
and that, as every one is aware, is more than falls to the lot of every

When we reached the Endowment House, we ladies were shown into one room
and _our_ husband into another. We then proceeded to array ourselves
in our robes, caps, and aprons—the same as when we received our first
Endowments—and when all was ready we were ushered into another room by
one of the brethren, who was also dressed in his Temple robes. There we
met _our_ husband and several other brethren, all dressed in the same
way. We sat down, and oil was then poured upon the head of _our_ husband
by two of the brethren—Daniel H. Wells and another—and he was then
ordained a King and Priest to all eternity. After that, we two wives were
anointed in like manner, and ordained Queens and Priestesses, to reign
and rule with _our_ husband over his kingdom in the celestial world.

Had I ever solaced myself with the notion, which some Mormon women
entertain, that first wives are queens over all the rest, I should have
been sadly disappointed when I heard “_our_” second wife ordained to the
same high office as myself. As it was, however, my faith was so small
that I should have been quite contented had they consecrated her alone
queen for Eternity, so long as they would have allowed me to rule and
reign by myself in my own home for Time.

The ceremony did not last long; but it all appeared to me such folly that
I was anxious to leave the place, and, though I dared not say so, I was
truly ashamed to be seen coming out of the House. While going through
these Endowments I was filled with a thorough contempt for everybody and
everything around me, and I suppose that my feelings were visible upon my
countenance; for, after leaving the House, I remember the Apostle John
Taylor asking me if I did not feel well, and I told him as plainly as I
dared what really was the matter. He spoke to me very kindly, and tried
to reassure me; but the scales were now falling from my eyes, and all his
arguments availed nothing.

Notwithstanding all this, I was not ready yet to cast off the yoke, and
a few months after our Second Endowments I again gave evidence of my
faith. An event occurred in the other branch of my husband’s family which
produced a strong impression upon my mind—a little daughter was presented
to him by his second wife. I was, of course, expected to go and visit the
young mother and child, and I thought I could never bring my mind to do

It would be impossible for me to define my feelings at that time—loathing
and hatred for him and for her, and even for the poor innocent babe,
on the one side; and, on the other, thoughts of what I considered was
my duty towards God, my husband, and his other lawful wife. I was
bewildered. My heart said, Do not go; but my conscience said, It is your
duty to treat her kindly, for she believes she has done you no wrong.
Then I thought, She is a young mother, and, without you frowning upon
her, sorrow will come swiftly enough to her door.

I saw that my husband was troubled as to what my feelings might be,
although he had not had courage to tell me himself of the interesting
event. He was afraid of paining me, and sent a lady friend with the
intelligence. I spoke to him myself, and told him that I would go and
see Belinda and her child. He thanked me, and said, “God bless you for
that.” Then I went to see her; but I was thankful when the visit was
over; and although I went again many times, and tried my very best to
treat her kindly and even affectionately, I could never get over the
painful feelings which agitated my mind when in her presence.

[Illustration: ORSON PRATT, The Mormon Philosopher.

_Born in 1811._]



The position of the plural wives—second, third, fourth, or twentieth, it
matters not—is but a mockery, after all; and in many respects they are
more to be pitied than the first wives. The first wives have known, if
only for a little while, a husband’s love and care; but that has never
been felt by the second wives. They are, in fact, in many respects little
better than slaves; and if they are sensitive girls, their position
must be extremely painful, for they must realize at all times that they
are receiving the attentions of another woman’s husband; and in many
instances they are even afraid to be seen speaking to their husband for
fear of bringing down the wrath of the first wife upon their heads.
Others, who are not so sensitive, assert their own rights and are defiant.

I am well acquainted with a pretty young Welsh girl who was a second
wife. Her husband had converted her to Mormonism while he was on a
mission to Europe, and when they reached Salt Lake he married her. I saw
her first two years after her marriage, when one day she came to me in
the greatest distress. She asked me if I would give her some employment,
and, greatly surprised at the request, I asked her how she came to need
anything to do, as I knew her husband could well afford to support her.

“I have left my husband,” she answered, “for I could stand no longer the
ill-treatment that I received. I endured it until, as you see, my health
is failing and I am broken-hearted. The creature I married has no manhood
in him. He has allowed me to be treated like a slave, and has himself
half-starved me, and has acted towards me with the greatest inhumanity.
When I married him,” she said, “I was willing to make myself useful in
the family, and I did so. But one thing after another was given me to do,
until I became a regular drudge; they would not have dared to treat a
hired girl in the way they treated me. I was put into a miserable little
back room, and was never allowed to see any of my friends; I had to work
early and late. When at last my position would not admit of my working
quite so much, they punished me with all sorts of petty unkindnesses, and
nearly starved me, giving me only a little flour or a few potatoes every

“At last,” she continued, “I went to Brother Brigham to know what I
should do. He sent for my husband and talked to him a long time, and
he promised to do better if I would go back with him. Brother Brigham
counselled me to do so, and try him again; and I went. Soon after that,
my babe was born, and then they treated me with worse unkindness.”

“Who do you mean by _they_?” I asked.

“I mean my husband and his wife,” she replied. “They did not seem to
look upon me as a wife at all, and even in the coldest mornings, and
immediately after my child was born, they used to make me get up first
and light fires and prepare breakfast and begin work generally, and I
was only too glad if I escaped with a little fault-finding. I stood it
as long as I could, because Brother Brigham had counselled me to do so;
but now I have left them again, and do not mean to return.” This was the
story of one poor girl’s troubles.

Now the man, Elder Jos. Bull, who did this is a good Mormon, in good
standing in the Church to-day. He is employed by the authorities, and his
poor young wife is now working for the Gentiles—a much happier woman, if
her face speaks truly, since her separation, although she has to support
herself and child. She, like hundreds of other young girls, came to Utah
without friend or relative, and this is how a good brother “took care” of

But I must be permitted to relate a still more painful story—the story of
a poor innocent girl allured from her happy home in England by one of the
most distinguished of the Mormon Apostles; brought over by him to Utah as
his wife, and there suffered to die in misery and neglect.

The Apostle Orson Pratt, who is called among the Saints “The Champion of
Polygamy”—a man who has devoted his life to Mormonism, and whose writings
have done more than the labours of all the other Apostles to win converts
to Polygamy; a man who on more than one occasion has boldly stood up
against many of the absurdities and blasphemies of Brigham Young; a man
upon whom, on account of his independence, Brigham has frowned, and who
has consequently never attained to the wealth of his more obsequious
brethren; a man who in all the ordinary affairs of life would command the
respect of every one around him. This was the man who perpetrated the
atrocious villainy which I am about to relate; and much against my own
personal inclinations I feel compelled to tell the story, as it shows how
shockingly this debasing system can pervert an otherwise upright mind.

Orson Pratt married the young girl of whom I speak in Liverpool, by
special dispensation from Brigham Young; and her parents—themselves
devout Mormons—thought that their daughter was highly honoured in
becoming the wife of an Apostle. She was very pretty and attractive,
and for a time he paid great attention to her, and brought her over to
Utah as his bride. Arrived there, he utterly neglected her, and she
experienced all the horrors of polygamic life.

The Apostle was living in Salt Lake City. He had left his young wife
and her children in Tooele—a place about forty miles distant. There
they lived in a wretched little log-cabin, the young mother supporting
her little ones as best she could. When her last child was born, she
was suffering all the miseries of poverty, dependent entirely upon the
charity of her neighbours. At the time when most she needed the gentle
sympathy of her husband’s love, that husband never came to see her.

One morning there was literally nothing in the house for herself and her
children, who, knowing nothing of their mother’s sufferings, cried to her
for bread.

The poor mother quieted them with a promise that they should soon have
something to eat, and then she went and begged a few potatoes from a
neighbour; and upon these they subsisted for three days. She then took
her children with her, for they were too young to be left alone—her babe
was only three weeks old—and she went round to see if she could get work
of any kind to do. In this she was not successful; and at length, worn
out by continual anxiety and privation, and heart-broken by the neglect
which she had experienced, she sank beneath a fever which promised very
soon to prove fatal.

For some time the neighbours nursed her; but they, of course, had their
own families to attend to, and could not give her quite all their time,
and thus occasionally she was left alone. One evening, when such was the
case, she got up in a state of delirium, and barefooted, and almost
destitute of clothing, took her children, and wandered forth with them
into the snow. The good people of Tooele went out over the prairie,
anxious to find and bring back the poor maniac, but for a long time their
search was in vain. At last, not knowing whither she went, she wandered
to the house of Brother Eli B. Kelsey—a “vile apostate” as Brigham Young
would call him; but known to every one else, Saint, Apostate, or Gentile,
as one of the best and kindest-hearted men that ever lived. In Brother
Kelsey’s house she and her little ones were kindly received by him and
his good wife, and their wants attended to. They were clothed and fed,
and were then carried back to the log-cabin which they called their home.

Next day the Mormon Bishop of Tooele assembled the people, and money was
collected and sent to Salt Lake City, to Orson Pratt, begging him to come
immediately, if he wished to see his wife alive. But the Apostle did not
come. At that time he was actually engaged in taking another bride, and
he wanted to hear nothing of his dying wife.

Then the good Bishop sent a young man, who rode all night, to compel him
immediately to take the coach for Tooele—the young man paying his fare,
so that he might have no excuse. Then, at last, he came.

Arrived at the little town where his poor wife lay dying, Orson conducted
himself like the philosopher he professes to be. Before him stood
the hovel, within which were his deserted little ones—wailing, as if
sensible of the great loss of a mother’s care which they would soon have
to sustain—and there, on her dying bed, was that poor wife and mother,
tossing in wild delirium. But he, the cause of all that woe, passed by
that wretched hovel and its death-scene to the comfortable home of a
well-to-do brother, at whose house he first obtained his supper, and
then, calmly returning, entered the place where his wife was lying, and
for a moment surveyed the scene. Then he quietly remarked to one of the
sisters present: “She has a good deal of fever.”

Another sister, who stood by, impulsively exclaimed, “Good God! Brother
Pratt, this is more than fever; she is dying.”

“Oh dear no, sister,” he calmly replied; “she will recover.”

It was evident, however, to all but Orson that his wife _was_ dying, and
that no earthly power could save her.

[Illustration: DESPAIR.

_To face p. 326._]

The next day she was still raving, and it was told me that in her wild
frenzy she even attempted to strangle her babe. Orson essayed to hold
her, but she caught his gold chain and snapped it in two. His touch and
the sight of the chain recalled her for a moment to her senses, and she
said reproachfully, “You are puffed up with pride, Orson, with your gold
chain and rings, while you leave me and my babes to starve. Poor little
lambs! where are they?”

For a moment the yearning of a mother’s heart for her children conquered
the fever that tortured her mind, and she listened to her husband’s
attempted words of comfort, as he said, “I am with you now, Eliza, and I
will take care of you.”

Steadily, for a moment, she looked up into his face, and, with tears in
her eyes, said mournfully: “It is _too late_, Orson—it is _too late_!”

These were the last sane words which she uttered in this life, although
she still lingered on insensible.

The next morning the Apostle Pratt resolved to leave for Salt Lake City
and his young bride. The Bishop, however, called a council and summoned
him to remain until his wife was dead. Nevertheless he did not wish to
stay, and, being an Apostle, he overruled the council. At the last moment
before his intended departure, one of the sisters said: “Brother Pratt,
should she die, what shall we do with her?”

“Oh, she won’t die,” he replied.

“But should she?” the sister urged.

“Then bury her with her children,” he answered.

After much solicitation, he was prevailed upon to remain for a few hours,
and the next morning his wife died. The language of her last moments, as
she raved and tossed in mad delirium, showed how terrible had been her
mental agony, and how much she had suffered from this frightful system.

But one might easily fill a large volume with stories quite as cruel as
this. It is simply absurd to expect that it should be otherwise. Men
and women can train and discipline their minds, they can crush out the
affections of their hearts if they will; but no effort of man can change
man’s nature entirely, or root out altogether humanity from the soul.
Women may endure, as that poor woman did whose story I have just related,
but they never can get perfectly adapted to the system of “Celestial
Marriage.” The nearer they approach to its requirements, the further they
recede from all that is held good and noble in womanhood; and as for the
men, they are brutalized by every effort which they make to conform to it.

During the summer, about three years ago, a young-looking woman, very
shabbily dressed, came frequently to my house with heavy baskets of
fruit, which she entreated me to buy. One day she said: “You do not
remember me, Sister Stenhouse, I think, and I do not wonder, for I am so
changed. I have to work very hard now, for all I have to live upon is
what I can make by selling fruit, or any little work that I can get my
neighbours to give me to do; and if my husband could prevent even that,
I believe he would. I am obliged to gather my fruit at night and hide it
from him, and that is why I urged you so to buy, for I never know when I
may meet him.”

I was very much surprised at this, as her husband, I knew, was getting a
good salary, and appeared to be a most gentlemanly man. His first wife, I
was aware, had left him, it was said, on account of cruelty and neglect,
and he had married this one just after her arrival from England. I had
every reason to believe that she had been a good wife to him, and a
mother to his motherless children; but he had taken another wife since he
married her, and had cruelly neglected this poor woman, leaving her his
first wife’s children to take care of. She said that he was again paying
his addresses to another still, and she expected that he would soon marry
her. And yet this woman [his second wife] told me that all he had left
for her and the children to live on was a sack of bran and about fifty
pounds of corn meal. Everything else had been taken to the third wife,
even to the best articles of furniture.

She said: “One evening I had been sitting in the porch in my
rocking-chair, when he came in and remained about an hour. As soon as
he left, I went out to bring in the chair, and was just in time to see
him carrying it off. I knew where he was going with it.” I saw this poor
woman frequently, and bought her fruit often when I did not need it, for
it grieved me to see her carrying such heavy loads in her then delicate
situation. After a time I lost sight of her, and then I heard that she
was dead. One day her own daughter—for she was a widow when she married
this man—came to me before leaving the city. “I am going away to some
friends,” she said, “for I will never live near that man; he killed my
mother; he kicked her so severely that she never recovered, and when her
child was born, they both died from the effects of the blows which she
had received—and I hate him.”

The first wife of “Brig.” Hampton, one of the Mormon authorities, told
me how her husband whipped her because she would not consent to his
stripping their home of everything that was either useful or handsome
in order to furnish a house for his second wife. Finally, he shut her up
while he took her entire parlour furniture away. She was a fragile little
woman, and perfectly helpless when in the power of a strong man, and
therefore was forced to submit, as there was no appeal to law in Utah.

It is a very difficult thing for a woman, after listening, day after
day, to such tales of woe and misery, and knowing them to be true, to
retain any respect for a polygamist, whoever he may be. For my own part
I regard them all with such feelings of loathing that I can hardly speak
civilly of them, and would prefer never to speak to them. I know scores
of ladies—married ladies—Mormon ladies, who in secret feel and speak just
as I do upon this subject.

For many years past the American Elders have derived a rich harvest from
Britain and Scandinavia. After the introduction of Polygamy, an Elder
was seldom known to return from Mission without bringing with him one,
two, and sometimes three young girls, or else arranging in some way for
their emigration. The Missionaries, however, preferred, whenever it was
possible, to bring the girls with them; for if they trusted them to the
care of a brother returning before or after, he very frequently turned
traitor, and carried off the prize himself.

The Elders were not permitted to marry these extra wives while on or
returning from a mission, unless they had special permission from Brigham
Young. But quite a number of the poor weak brethren were so impulsive and
so anxious to be married, that they could not wait for the ceremonies of
the Endowment House. One conscientious Swiss brother, named Loba, who
could find no one willing to take the responsibility of marrying him
while crossing the Plains, said that as he was an Elder he could just as
well marry himself, and be under no obligation to anybody; and he did so.
He had fallen in love with a little miss—a mere child, about one quarter
of his own age.

Many men have married wives, and have brought them home, before their
first wives knew even that they were in love. They had not had courage to
introduce the subject, but believed that when the wife found that it was
done, and could not be undone, she would see the uselessness of feeling
badly, and would soon get over it. But no wife who has been thus treated
ever did “get over it.” What can a man know of woman’s nature who would
dare to act thus towards her, and think that she would become reconciled
to such treatment?

What strange ideas the Mormon men must have of woman’s nature if they
believe that women can submit to such treatment as this and still love
them! What folly to think even of love!

It would be very wrong for me to say that there are _no_ men who try to
be just in the practice of Polygamy, for I know many who try their very
best to act impartially to all their wives; but this is not really the
result of their religion, about which some of these men appear to care
very little. I feel sure that if they are good men, notwithstanding the
evil effects of Mormonism upon them, they would have been much better men
without it.

On the other hand, I have known men who, before they became Mormons, were
reputed good husbands and fathers, but who afterwards became cold and
harsh in their natures, cruel to their wives, and neglectful to their
children. It seemed as if they thought of nothing else but courting the
girls and taking more wives, altogether regardless as to whether they
could support them or not.

Some of the Elders, finding that they might not marry plural wives before
they reached Utah, have bound the girls by solemn vows and covenants to
marry them when they arrived in Salt Lake Valley; and the poor girls,
believing that, because these men were Missionaries, all they said and
did _must_ be right, have often—in fact, in almost every instance—to
their own great injury, kept their “covenants” and married the men to
whom they were vowed. I have known personally and intimately several
women who have in this way ruined their prospects and blighted the hopes
of their whole lives, and sadder stories than theirs could not be told.

My husband had again left Salt Lake City, and had gone to “the States,”
as we then called “going East;” for it was such a long journey that
we felt ourselves altogether out of the pale of civilization. I felt,
therefore, comparatively free; for I could now, whenever I desired to do
so, walk out, or visit a friend, without the constant dread of meeting
him and his wife. It always humiliated me to see them together, although
I believed that it was perfectly right that my husband should show
attentions to his other wife. It was not _now_ jealousy that I felt—the
day of jealous feeling was long past. I felt disgusted, and I was humbled
at the sight of them. At one time, for nearly six months, I remained at
home, never going further than my own garden, simply for the reason that
I feared to meet _her_ in the presence of any of my friends—particularly
any of my Gentile friends; or worse still, with _him_.



At one time I had almost begun to think that my husband had seen enough
of the discomforts and heartlessness of polygamic life, and that his eyes
were looking back wishfully to the time when, as the old Scotch ballad

    “One loving heart was all his own,
    But there as king he reign’d supreme.”

My faith in my own acuteness and perception was, however, very
considerably shaken when one day he told me that he thought it was about
time for him to think of taking another wife. I suppose he expected that
I should express some astonishment or offer objections, for he proceeded
to give me excellent reasons for what he was about to do. His greatly
improved circumstances; his desire to sustain his brethren; and, above
all, the necessity that he should “build up a kingdom!”

There was no gainsaying all this. The Lord had certainly very greatly
blessed him in basket and in store; it was, moreover, praiseworthy in
him to wish to sustain his brethren; and nobody could deny that he ought
to have a “kingdom!” To crown all, the young lady whom he proposed to
honour this time could not possibly be objected to by any loyal Saint,
for she was of the seed royal of the modern Israel—a daughter of the
high-priestly house of Brigham Young!

I suppose, if I had been a right-minded woman, I should have felt the
great glory that there was in the proposed alliance. But, in point of
fact, such is the perversity of human nature, I did not feel at all
pleased, although I could say nothing in objection. I had had some slight
suspicion that my husband’s eyes, to say nothing of his heart, had lately
been inclined to wander in a certain direction, for he had become so
particularly regular in his attendance at the theatre. I mentioned the
matter to him once or twice, but he answered that as an editor it was
a matter of necessity for him to attend, and that he ought to be there
always. This I might, perhaps, have believed, had it not been that it was
now several years since his paper was first established, and hitherto
his personal attendance at every representation had not been considered
absolutely indispensable. Reporters had been able to do all that was

His proposal to marry this young lady, now it was openly stated, shed
light upon many things which had before appeared to me rather obscure.
Her name was Zina, and she was the daughter of Mrs. Zina D. Huntington
Jacobs, whom I have already mentioned as one of the Prophet’s wives. She
was one of the actresses in the theatre—for many of Brigham’s daughters
at that time took part in the representations—and I had frequently
observed very pretty little notices of her in the Salt Lake _Daily

I did not much care now how many wives my husband took—he might as well
have twenty, as the one too many which he already had—his marriage to
another could not possibly make me feel any worse, provided I was not
compelled to associate with her. I had resolved that I would never live
on familiar terms with his other wives—not because I might disrespect or
dislike them personally, but because I could not overcome the purer and
better teachings of my early life.

My husband in due form proposed, and was accepted; and it was soon
rumoured abroad that he was going to many one of the “President’s”
daughters—Brigham is always spoken of as “President” Young among the
Saints. In the course of a day or two they were formally “engaged,” and
a more loving couple could not possibly have been found. The young lady
herself afterwards told me that their love was of no ordinary kind,
and I’m sure I did not doubt her word. But consider how pleasant such
intelligence must have been to a wife!

Zina’s friends, who wished to cheer me up and make me happy, told me that
my husband’s love for her was perfectly engrossing; they “thought he
could never have really loved before”—“there was something very beautiful
in their loves!”

Zina pitied us, I know, when she realized that _we_ could never know
the great depth of _our_ husband’s love for her. She spoke and acted as
if this were how she felt; and I have no doubt that she intended, after
her marriage with _our_ husband, to treat us with great kindness and
consideration, as a sort of recompense for what we never had truly known,
and never could know _now_—_our_ husband’s love!

As is almost always the case when the husband takes a third wife, a
better state of feeling was brought about between my own husband’s second
wife and myself. Belinda no longer centred all her jealousy in me. She
now, to a certain extent, began to realize what I had suffered when my
husband courted her; she felt badly, and I really did sympathize with
her when I remembered how young she was, and that she was the mother of
three little children. She had her moiety of a husband, it is true; but,
like all other polygamic wives, that was her misfortune rather than her
comfort and strength. Many a wife would be happier were she a widow; in
fact, widows are the happiest class of women in Utah, for they realize
that it is far better to have a dead sorrow than a living one.

Now, our husband always maintained that he was not in love with Miss
Zina, but that in making love to her he was acting entirely from
principle. So all the brethren say, and I have never yet heard of any one
of them ever confessing—except, of course, to the maiden herself—that he
was in love. To the maiden herself he says, not only that, but a great
deal more. But if our husband, at the time of which I speak, was not in
love, the saints forbid that I should ever see him in that condition!
I am sure when I heard his fiancée speaking of their devotion to each
other, and of the fond attachment of her heart to him (for she felt no
delicacy in speaking to me—his wife—about such matters), I came to the
conclusion that I had never known what it was to really love, and that
my nature was too crude and unrefined to understand the mysteries of the
tender passion. There was no love in the case, _our_ husband told us—all
pure duty!

Long courtships had become quite fashionable among the brethren in Salt
Lake City, and I dreaded a long courtship more than anything else, for
there is so much that is humiliating, and I might even say disgusting, to
a wife when her husband is engaged in love-making to another woman, that
I hoped, as much as possible, to be spared passing through such an ordeal
a second time.

As the accepted lover and affianced husband of Brother Brigham’s
daughter, our husband was, of course, constantly in attendance at the
Prophet’s house. But he was not the only good brother who spent his
evenings in Brigham Young’s parlour; for it was then—and I suppose it
is to-day—a regular rendezvous for middle-aged and young men, and
even boys; and there the Prophet’s little girls, as well as those who
were grown or growing up, obtained an excellent training in the art of
flirting and courting.

It has always been said among the Saints that Brigham’s girls, and the
daughters of Daniel H. Wells, were the boldest and least retiring maidens
to be found in Salt Lake City, and that they presumed greatly upon their
imaginary high position; which position nobody but themselves cared
anything about. It is well known that the very people upon whom they
look down are those who rightly should receive their warmest gratitude
and respect, on account of the more than liberal support which they have
given to their father, even to the detriment of their own children.

When first I heard that my husband had set his affections upon one of
these girls, I felt convinced that he could not have made a very wise
choice; and I could not help dreading that the mere fact of my husband
having selected a daughter of the Prophet as his future wife would
bring trouble upon us all. What shape that trouble would take I could
form no conjecture, but I felt sure that a change of some sort was fast
approaching. My faith was almost gone; I felt the degrading position in
which the “Celestial” system placed me and my children, and it seemed to
me that I could no longer endure it. My children I could not, and would
not leave, but it was impossible for me to continue to live as I had
been living; nor would I think of bringing up my children any longer to
believe and live a religion which had so cruelly blighted my own life. It
was for them that I feared now; I felt that for their sake I must break
away from this horrible system.

My own life, I thought, was not worth caring for, but the idea of my
little girls growing up and following in my footsteps and enduring as I
had endured, was more than I could bear. Something must be done to save
them from such a fate.

About this time I procured a copy of the “Revelation on Celestial
Marriage,” and read it through carefully and calmly, from beginning to
end. The reader may, perhaps, remember that when a copy of it was first
given to me, in Switzerland, years before, I was so angry and indignant
that when I had got only partly through it I cast it from me in disgust
as an outrage upon all that was good and true. From that time, although
I had heard portions of it quoted and read, I had never perused it as a
whole. On two occasions, at least, my friend Mary Burton was very near
reading it through with me, and had we done so, I have not the slightest
doubt that my eyes would have been opened to the absurdity and wickedness
of the whole system, and years of wretchedness would have been spared me.

Such, however, was not the case. It was not until I had almost drained
the cup of sorrow and degradation that, at last, I found an antidote in
the deadly thing itself which had been the source of all my unhappiness.
I was acting upon the homœopathic principle—“_similia similibus
curantur_”—and using a dose of poison to cure a disease caused by that

As I read, I saw plainly, _from the wording of the document_, that if
ever it was given to Joseph Smith—no matter by whom—it was given _long
after_ he had _practised_ Polygamy—or something as bad—and to sanction
what he had already done. I had read in the Book of Mormon:

“David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, _which thing was
an abomination before me, saith the Lord_.... Hearken to the Word of the
Lord: for there shall not any man among you have, save it be one wife;
and concubines he shall have none.” [_Book of Mormon_, p. 118.]

In the Book of the Covenants, given through Joseph Smith, and held sacred
by every Saint, I had read:

“Thou shalt love thy _wife_ with all thy heart, and cleave unto _her_ and
_none_ else.” [_Book of Covenants_, p. 124.]

And yet when I turned to the “Revelation” I found in the very first

“Verily, thus saith the Lord unto my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you
have enquired at my hand, to know and understand wherein I, the Lord,
JUSTIFIED [!] my servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as also Moses, David
and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their
having many wives and concubines,” &c.

What could I possibly think of a “Prophet” who, after having the law
laid down so clearly, and being told so distinctly that the doings of
David and Solomon were an “abomination,” and that a man should have
_but one wife_, should enquire of the Lord how He “justified” the very
things which He had just declared were “an abomination” unto Him?—Then,
too, what blasphemy to represent God as one day giving a “Revelation”
declaring a thing sinful, and the next day “justifying” it! I felt
perfectly humiliated with myself that I had never before had the courage
to look the matter calmly in the face and discover, as I must have
discovered, had I only used my unaided reason, the shameful imposture
which had been palmed upon us. I now made careful enquiry, and it was
soon clear to me that evidence was not wanting to prove that the doctrine
of plural marriages originated in the licentious hearts of Joseph Smith
and those associated with him. When once I was convinced of that, the
whole fabric of my religion crumbled before my eyes; and from that time I
can hardly say that I had faith in anything that had been taught me.

My husband’s second wife was also very unhappy now. She, too, after the
general rule, had flattered herself that _she_ was “his first and only
love,” and it was not pleasant to have her dream of happiness dispelled;
but now that another “jewel” was to be added to _our_ husband’s crown,
she could no longer deceive herself. She little knew, poor girl, when
she married, that a Mormon’s heart is like a honeycomb—there is always a
vacant cell wherein another may nestle.

Real trouble, too, she had. One of her children was taken very sick, and
after a very severe illness died. I remained with her night and day, and
did what I could for the poor child. Had it been possible for me to have
felt a greater loathing and detestation for that vile system of Polygamy,
that feeling would have been conceived while I watched at the bedside of
my husband’s dying child. It was there that I vowed that no polygamists
should ever marry another daughter of mine, and resolved that to my dying
day my voice should be raised against the unholy and unnatural teachings
of the Mormon Priesthood. I looked at that lonely young mother, who in
her hour of trial ought to have had _all_ her husband’s sympathy, _all_
his attention, to support her; but who, instead, knew that, however kind
he might be to her, he was contemplating a new marriage, and his thoughts
must of necessity be more or less with his purposed bride. All unkind
feeling was banished from my heart—I forgot that she was my husband’s
wife, and remembered only that, like myself, she was a suffering woman,
a victim to a false faith; and I felt very deeply for her in her time of
sorrow and bereavement.

My husband, at this time, had been a member of the Mormon Church for
twenty-five years. He had lectured, preached, written and published,
in Great Britain, Switzerland, and the United States, in support of
the Mormon faith. He had been a most earnest and consistent member of
the Church, and devotedly attached to Brigham Young. This attachment
to Brother Brigham he shared in common with all the staunchest of his
brethren; for while the members of the Church retain unshaken confidence
in the new revelation, they naturally acquire a great regard for the
Prophet, and render him unquestioning obedience. I believe that my
husband would willingly have laid down his life, if by so doing he could
have shielded Brigham Young from harm or have been of essential service
to him.

But causes were now in operation which, by-and-by, detached him from
the Church, and made it possible for me also to leave the Mormon faith.
Hitherto, for my children’s sake, I dared not leave the Church without
my husband, and I therefore anxiously watched for anything which might
rescue him from the bondage in which he was held.

As proprietor of a daily paper, his business had frequently called him
to the Eastern States for several months at a time, and I observed that
after those visits his editorials took a more liberal turn. My Mormon
friends frequently said to me, “Brother Stenhouse is doing himself no
good by his constant association with the Gentiles;” and subsequently,
when he did apostatize, our secession from the Church was attributed to
contaminating Gentile influences.

Then, too, we had frequent visits from strangers passing through Salt
Lake City. I saw, with pleasure, that this intercourse with the outside
world was gradually undermining my husband’s confidence in the teachings
of the Elders, and it gave me courage to hope that, after all, the day of
liberty might dawn at last. Feeling as I did thus, it will not surprise
the reader that I regarded with more and more distrust the proposed
marriage of my husband to Brother Brigham’s daughter; for I felt that
then he would be deeper than ever in the toils of the Priesthood, and I
sometimes almost believed that it was my duty to use every influence in
my power to prevent it.

Putting my own feelings out of the question, it is probable that I might
have done this simply for his own good; for I doubted not that some day
the scales must fall from his eyes, and then he would be thankful that I
had prevented the marriage. Our paths by this time had certainly diverged
far asunder, and my husband had another wife and family; but I believed
that he was sincere, though sadly mistaken, or I should not have felt so
kindly towards him as I did.

At other times, and observing his devotion, I almost myself began to
think that perhaps the nonsense that I had heard was, after all, true,
and that this girl _was_ the only one he had really loved; and, if so, of
course he ought to marry her. In fact, so divided was my attention that
I hardly knew what to think; I therefore resolved to act according to

Brigham Young, in one of his sermons, says that “the first thing
manifested in the case of apostasy was the idea that the Prophet was
liable to make a mistake: when a man believes that, he has taken the
first step towards apostasy; he need only take one step more, and he is
out of the Church.” This was spoken of Joseph and his saints, but it
suits just as well Brigham and his; I knew very well that my husband had
taken the first step, and I sincerely hoped that he might soon take the
second. For my own part, I had for some time not only believed that a
Prophet _might_ be mistaken, but, as Brother Heber would say, I _knew_ it.

My husband and his bride elect, like all other lovers, had frequent
little quarrels—I suppose for the purpose of making up again, and
being then all the more ardent in their affection. But they now had a
disagreement which lasted longer than all that had gone before; although
I suppose that neither of them had, at that time, the slightest idea how
it was going to end. They had been courting for fifteen months at least,
and after so much devotion on the part of my husband, and so much fervent
affection on the part of the young lady, it really did seem too bad that
so large an amount of love should be thrown away. It was hard that after
such a long strain upon their religious and devotional feelings—for
they were both very pious lovers—all their labour of love should come
to nought. Things had certainly taken a twist, for I knew well enough
that at one time they both firmly believed that their marriage was
pre-ordained in heaven, and that they were as completely one in feeling
as mortals ever could be. The mother, too, who was a very pious woman,
once told my husband that she had had a vision in which it was revealed
to her that they were destined for each other in the eternal worlds:—the
lovers of course firmly believed her. But, for all that, the estrangement
still continued, and my husband was constantly making it wider by the
articles which appeared in his paper, until at last certain of the
sisters whispered that the heart of the lady had been attracted towards
some brighter luminary.

Long courtships often end disastrously; but when I heard rumours of the
lady’s presumed faithlessness, it seemed to me hardly fair, for the day
had been fixed for the marriage and the wedding-dress actually made.
Of course I sympathized with my husband. Would any wife like to see her
husband disappointed in his love-affairs with another woman, I wonder?

While under these natural feelings of indignation, I one day told Brigham
Young that I thought, after all the courting that had been done—and it
was not a trifle—they certainly ought to be married. He said he was
willing enough himself, if they wished it; but girls, he said, often
changed their minds, and as they could but have one husband, it was only
fair that their wishes should be consulted. “If Zina has really changed
her mind,” he added, “I have plenty of other daughters, and they have all
got to be married; let him take one of them—if one won’t another will!”
The reader will see the liberal ideas which Brother Brigham entertains on
the subject of marriage.

It may, perhaps, seem rather strange that I should be anxious to have
them marry; but, after all that I had seen and endured in Polygamy,
can it be wondered at that I should no longer regard the father of my
children as my own husband? Had I thought him a bad man, or had he acted
as I know many of the good brethren do act; had he brought home girl
after girl with the hope of alluring one or more of them into Polygamy,
or had he been utterly reckless of my feelings, I might perhaps have
been able to cast him from my heart without a single regret. But I
really believed that he was acting consistently with the teachings of
his religion, and if I felt degraded by the life I lived, it was not his
fault—it was the fault of the system. I therefore felt that if things
came to the worst, and if I were driven to extremities, and forced to
separate from him, I should like to know that he had a wife whom he
loved. I felt certain that there was now but little love between him and
his second wife, and that some day a separation was sure to take place.
The idea of divorce was so repugnant to my feelings that it was only in
moments when grief overpowered me, and my heart was wrung with anguish,
and I felt utterly reckless, that I for one moment thought of anything
like it. Even then I only entertained the idea of a separate life—not



Mormonism had been, to my husband, everything. It had for years grown
with his growth, until it had become a part of himself. Doubts had
occasionally crept into his mind, it is true, but it required time to
effect a change. The measures adopted by Brigham Young in the spring of
1869, for the purpose of controlling the commerce of Utah, as well as the
property and faith of the people, caused great discontent. The teachings
of the Tabernacle were wild and arrogant, and Brigham assumed that it
was his right to dictate in everything, “even,” he said, “to the setting
up of a stocking or the ribbons which a woman should wear.” Many of the
people, when they heard these words and witnessed the fanaticism created
thereby, were aroused to opposition, but Brigham only became more fierce
in his denunciations and more harsh in his measures.

I could plainly see that all this had the, to me, much desired effect of
alienating my husband from Mormonism, and I never allowed an opportunity
of strengthening the impression thus produced to pass unimproved. The
articles in his paper showed the condition of his mind, and brought down
upon him the wrath of Brigham. At this also I rejoiced, and did not fail
to make him feel that he ought to resent the Prophet’s interference.
Brigham felt too certain of the submission of his slave, and accused
Mr. Stenhouse of having published favourable notices of Gentile stores,
also of having their advertisements in his paper, and otherwise aiding
and abetting the wicked Gentiles—all which accusations my husband began
to feel was an infringement upon his own private personal rights as a
citizen and a man. One circumstance followed another, and I could plainly
see that his confidence in Brigham’s inspiration was slowly but surely
dwindling away, and that the day which I had so long anxiously watched
for was breaking at last. Notwithstanding this, however, there was
one bond which still united him by no weak tie to the Church—he was a
Polygamist. The contemplated marriage between him and Brigham’s daughter
could, I believed, never now take place; but, even allowing that, he
still had another wife; and now that I had entirely lost faith in
Mormonism generally, and the “Celestial Order of Marriage” in particular,
I resolved that I would no longer have a partner in my husband’s
affections—as if he were a “joint-stock concern!”—I would have the whole
of my husband, or none. I had not yet, however, sufficient courage to
speak to him of my feelings.

One Sunday evening, Mr. Stenhouse, when he came home, said to me:
“Brother Brigham has given me a mission; he wishes me to go to Ogden and
publish my paper there.”

I can imagine I see some strong-minded woman smile at the idea of a wife
wanting courage to speak to her husband. But such women do not know what
Mormonism is.

This was very unexpected news; but with the vividness of lightning,
a glimpse of what the Prophet intended by such a strange proposition
flashed across my mind. “He wishes to ruin us!” I exclaimed; “you surely
will not go!”

Now Brigham, of course, knew that my husband’s paper had a large
circulation in Utah Territory as well as in Salt Lake City, and that his
business was in a most prosperous condition; he knew also that to do
aught that might impair or destroy that business would be to bring misery
and disaster upon all who were dependent upon it for their daily bread.
And yet, for all that, he told my husband to break up his establishment,
or in his own words, “to pull up root and branch,” and go to a place
where the people were so miserably poor that it was impossible to make a
newspaper successful among them.

In all this the crafty Prophet no doubt acted wisely. The _Daily
Telegraph_ would in all probability become a power in the Territory,
and he feared that in a short time it would emancipate itself from his

I do not doubt that, long before this time, he had noted that my husband
was weakening in the faith; but he had waited for his opportunity, and
now he considered that it had come. We knew very well that this was the
way in which he had always acted towards those whom he feared or doubted;
when he saw them growing weak in the faith he ruined them, or did the
best he could to that effect, before they finally left the Church. I
urged my husband to resist this arbitrary decree on the part of the
Prophet, and represented strongly the misery which would result from his
failure, and the utter impossibility of success. But I soon found that,
though he doubted Brigham, his faith in Mormonism was by no means all
gone—he, like many another, feared that in disobeying Brigham, perhaps,
after all, he might be resisting God. He could see the wrong-doing of the
Prophet, and felt that his conduct was unworthy of one who pretended to
such great things; but be regarded this as the weakness of the Prophet’s
humanity, at the same time believing that in matters of religion he might
be divinely inspired. He was still so under the influence of the past
that he could not yet break asunder the yoke and bid defiance to Brigham
and the Priesthood. He told me that now was the time for him to prove his
obedience, cost what it might; and all the brethren urged him to submit,
saying that the Lord would overrule everything for his good.

Believing this, he broke up his establishment at Salt Lake City, and
went, as “counselled,” to Ogden. There he remained for several months,
during which time he was losing money every day. Finding at last that
he could stand it no longer, he asked Brigham Young’s permission to
return and recommence his paper in Salt Lake City, for no one then
dared stir a foot without permission. This was granted, for Brigham had
now accomplished his purpose. But some of our friends told me that the
teachers, when making their weekly visits, were telling the people not
to take in Brother Stenhouse’s paper again, if he came back to Salt Lake
City, for he was apostatizing, and they must not sustain an Apostate.
Now, I thought, my husband will believe that I was right in my judgment
of Brigham’s motives.

My own family and that of the second wife did not accompany my husband to
Ogden; he was therefore quite at home when he returned, but the expense
of transferring his business from one place to another was perfectly
ruinous. He had not only purchased valuable property, as I before
mentioned, in the City, but he had also realized quite a comfortable
little fortune by the success of his paper; but now the property had to
be mortgaged, and his fortune was, of course, utterly insufficient for
these heavy daily losses. Just then, the severe illness of my eldest son,
in San Francisco, made it necessary that we should leave immediately
to attend him, for we had received intelligence that he was not at all
likely to recover. As it was my own son who was sick, my husband had
very naturally determined that I should accompany him; but this brought
on such a severe fit of jealousy on the part of his young wife, who
already was by no means too happy, that when we returned, after my son’s
recovery, she threatened to obtain a divorce. My husband told me of this,
but I had so frequently heard such threats from wives who were unhappy or
neglected that I thought little about it.

One day, not long after our return, I was quite surprised to see Mr.
Stenhouse and Joseph A. Young drive up to the door, looking as if
something of great importance had just transpired. Mr. Stenhouse jumped
out of his buggy and hurriedly gave me a letter, as I thought—at the same
time saying, “Take great care of this, for it makes me a free man again.”
Saying this, he left the house, jumped into the buggy again, and was
gone, while I stood holding the paper, wondering what it all could mean.

My husband had told me to “take care” of the paper. He neither said “read
it” or “don’t read it,” and, of course, I was not in the least curious.
The envelope was not sealed, so I made up my mind that, though he had not
said so, he must have wished me to read what was inside, and at any rate
I resolved to risk doing so. To my astonishment I found that the document
which he said set him free was nothing else than a bill of divorce
between him and his young wife. It appeared afterwards that she had been
to Brother Brigham, had told him of her grievances, and had asked for a

Now when the wife of any man who is of good standing in the Church, and
whom Brigham wishes to honour, comes to him for a divorce, he generally
sends for the husband _first_, tells him about it, and they talk it
over together. The husband is counselled to “make the matter up,” and
a compromise is effected. In the case of my husband, Brigham acted
otherwise. The clerk had been directed to make out the papers, which
the second wife signed, and, as far as she was concerned, her marriage
was dissolved. My husband was then notified that he was wanted at the
Prophet’s office, and he had a very shrewd guess as to what the nature
of the business was for which his presence was desired. He waited till
the afternoon, when he knew that Brigham would be absent, and then as
he was driving out with Joseph A., the Prophet’s son, he drew up before
the office and asked Joseph to accompany him inside in order to witness
a little business which he had to transact. Joseph agreed; but when he
found what the business really was, he strongly urged my husband not to
sign the papers, or, at least, to take time and consult with President
Young first. Mr. Stenhouse, however, never for a moment doubted that
Brigham had expected by this hasty move to bring him to his feet, and he
would not therefore yield. So, asking the clerk for the papers, he signed
them, and Joseph also signed them as a witness; the other witness was
David Mackenzie, Brigham’s clerk. Belinda had already affixed her name.
Ten dollars were then handed over as the usual fee. My husband took one
copy of the “bill of divorce,” the wife had a right to a second copy, and
the third was deposited in the archives of Zion. My husband had then, as
we have seen, hastened home to tell me that he was “a free man:” and yet
these two had been “sealed” to each other at the altar in the Endowment
House “_for all eternity!_”

This is the way that divorces are granted in Utah. There is not the
slightest difficulty about them, if only Brother Brigham is willing. The
reader would, perhaps, be interested in seeing one of these terrible
documents. I therefore append a true, perfect, and exact copy of my
husband’s own bill of divorce. It is a _fac-simile_—type, signatures,
and all. This is a specimen of an orthodox divorce among the _bon ton_
in Salt Lake City. Out in the Settlements they do things in a much more
primitive style, and some of their documents are rather amusing. The
following is a correct copy of a Mormon divorce bill taken from the
records of Beaver City:—

                                                     March 8th 1871

    To whomsoever it may concern

    This is to certify in the beginning of 1869 when I gave a bill
    of divorce to Sarah Ann Lowry I gave to her for the good of her
    four children the following property viz. A parcel of land of
    about nine acres enclosed all around with a house of two rooms
    and one cow and heifer

                                                  WILLIAM C RITTER

I could, if space permitted, give many others equally interesting.


_To face p. 344._]

I cannot say that I was much grieved at the sight of my husband’s
divorce. At the same time, long training in the school of trouble had
hardened my heart and rendered me almost indifferent, and I cannot say
that I very greatly rejoiced. Nature adapts us morally, as well as
physically, to the positions which we have to occupy in life. The hand
of him who labours much becomes hard, the unshodden foot grows horny,
and the heart which at first is tender and, like the Æolian harp, ready
to answer to the slightest passing breath, by and by, beneath the rough
hand of trial and the world, becomes callous and stony, and the roughest
storms and the sweetest pleasures alike seem to make little impression
upon it.

Thus it was with me when I received that paper. A few years before, a
reliable assurance that my husband would never enter into Polygamy would
have been to me the realization of my best earthly wishes. But now my
heart was almost dead, and I felt as if I hardly cared one way or the
other. If I felt thus, who had still all my darling children around me,
who had never missed one dear little face from the fireside or from the
table, what must have been endured by those mothers who not only gave
away their husbands to other wives, but who lost child after child,
until, bereft of all they loved on earth, they could but, like Rachael,
sit down in ashes and mourn for the dead?

But the more I thought over what had happened, the more doubtful I felt
as to what the result would be. That there would be some great change
in our life, I felt assured; but to me the change was coming almost too
late. Then, too, the young wife who in her hasty anger had obtained the
divorce. I felt that her happiness must surely be gone, and I could not
bear the thought that my peace should be purchased with the sorrows of
another. Brother Brigham’s part in the matter was also ever present in
my mind. That he had resolved to bring ruin upon my husband I did not
now for a moment doubt. But if a weak woman’s efforts could in any way
assist in thwarting his designs, I fully resolved that he never should
have the satisfaction of seeing those designs successful. I would stand
by my husband, I would work for and assist him, and would give not even
a passing thought to what I might have suffered, or remember that he had
ever loved others better than myself. I would be to him now the true wife
that before God I had vowed to be, for worse as well as for better; and
however I myself might have been wronged, I would, for my part, endeavour
faithfully to perform my whole duty to my husband and to God.

After I had formed this mental resolution, and had begun to realize our
new position, I felt as if awakening from a long dream of many years.
I was released from the clutches of that frightful nightmare—Polygamy;
and I could once more take my place beside my husband as his wife. I
knew that he would have much to contend against, and would need all the
moral support that I could accord to him. Brigham’s efforts in respect
to my husband’s paper had been far too successful, and although it was
still carried on, fresh difficulties sprang up every day. My husband had
been deceived by Brigham’s oily manner and plausible way; but to others
his intention in sending him away was no secret. A man named Bull, who
is now and was also at that time employed in the _Deseret News_ office,
said that no one but Mr. Stenhouse had ever been deceived by what the
Prophet had done; it was commonly reported that Brigham intended to ruin
my husband, and that when he prophesied that the paper in Ogden should
be a great success, he was himself perfectly aware that it was utterly
impossible that such could be the case.

Whether Brigham was the deceiver or the deceived, I do not wish to say.
Men who consider themselves inspired, and go on day by day uttering all
sorts of nonsense and blasphemy, and giving impertinent and mischievous
advice in the “name of the Lord,” at last become thoroughly impervious
to reason, and daily and hourly deceive themselves. I hope, for his own
sake, it was so with Brigham, for I would rather believe him a self-made
fool than a downright knave; and in many of his transactions—perhaps I
ought almost to say _all_—it is clear to every one that he is either
one or the other. Of one thing I am certain—I was fully contented that
we should lose all, if only my husband were taken, once and for ever,
clean out of the meshes of Mormonism. We might have to make a terrible
sacrifice, but to me it was a sacrifice well worth the making.



It was about this time that one morning, very early, before I was well
up, a young girl came to the house in a great hurry, asking to speak to
me without a moment’s delay.

I threw a wrapper round me, and went out at once to see her. She said she
came from the house of Sister Mary Burton, and begged me to come directly
and see her, for Mary had taken poison, and it was thought she was dying.

Now, I have been so much engaged of late in telling my own sorrows,
that Mary Burton has quite dropped out of my story. But it must not be
supposed that all that time I saw nothing of my poor friend. On the
contrary, I had seen her much more frequently of late than I used to when
I first came to Salt Lake City. When I last spoke of her it was when she
was about to return to Southern Utah, where she and her husband then
resided. It was evident to me from her conversation, as it must have been
to the reader, that her faith in Mormonism had even then entirely gone;
that she felt her husband’s neglect and unkindness most keenly, and that
she had become a miserable, broken-hearted woman. It was very painful to
contrast what she now was with what she had been when I first knew her,
and then to think what a happy wife and mother she might have been if the
spectre of Mormonism had not crossed her path.

Mary and her husband, Elder Shrewsbury, left the Settlements about a year
after the time I last mentioned her, and took up their abode in Salt Lake
City. Elder Shrewsbury had prospered exceedingly, and when he came to
Salt Lake he brought with him, besides Mary, his second wife, Ellen, who,
as we before noticed, had become very much attached to her. The other
three wives and their children were left at the farm in Southern Utah. He
would probably have brought them all with him, had there been in the city
a house large enough to hold them all. As it was, he purchased a good lot
about half a mile from where we resided, with a comfortable house upon
it; and there his first and second wives lived together. This was the
man who had solemnly sworn before God, that _he_ would _never_ practise
Polygamy! But I doubt if Elder Shrewsbury, with his comfortable house in
the city, his farm and lands in the South, his fast increasing property,
and his many wives, felt truly the hundredth part of the happiness which
he would have experienced in the devotion of _one_ faithful heart,
even had it been in the midst of poverty and care. He, however, poor
infatuated man, did not think thus; he was actually even now courting
a young girl of about seventeen years of age, who the two wives daily
expected would be brought home to aid in building up their husband’s
“Kingdom.” I do not think Mary cared much about this. It was the taking
of the first plural wife that was her great sorrow. After that, her love
for her husband weakened, until it altogether died out, and she did not
care how many wives he took.

Mary’s high spirit was always urging her into rebellion. In married
life both husband and wife give way to each other in a thousand little
things, of no consequence in themselves, but quite sufficient, without
the presence of love, to sow the seeds of discord. But when love has
fled, and the husband looks upon his wife—the companion of his youth,
the mother of his children—not as the partner of his whole life and the
sharer of all his joys and sorrows, but as a person whose presence is a
reproach to him and who is an inconvenience rather than otherwise; and
when the wife regards her husband as one whom formerly she loved with
true devotion, but who has cruelly broken her heart and trampled upon her
feelings, and who is nothing to her now but a tyrant whose very presence
is painful to her, can there then be any forbearance, any of those gentle
kindnesses, any of those loving forgivenesses, any of those mutual
tendernesses and sweet confidences which constitute the charm of married

In giving up Mormonism, my unhappy friend gave up, as too many have done,
faith in all else. She had lived, as she thought, a life of religion; and
when she found what a terrible mockery of all that is holy that so-called
religion was, she cast it aside, thinking that all religion was vain. She
did not see that she would have acted just as wisely in rejecting all
food because she chanced to partake of some that was poisoned; she did
not see that, although the broken reed on which she rested was unable
to yield her any true support, nevertheless the everlasting foundations
of eternal truth which God Himself has laid can _never_ be removed;
and that though creeds and systems may fail and pass away, only to give
place to others equally unsatisfactory, yet those divine verities are
established for ever, are beyond the reach of earthly vicissitudes, and
know nothing of time or change.

Utterly miserable and sick at heart, Mary cared not whether she lived or
died. There was nothing to bind her to life, and beyond the life of this
world she was altogether without hope. A more wretched existence it is
scarcely possible to imagine.

While they were still in the Settlements, she treated the other wives
with the greatest contempt, sitting by them at the table or passing them
in the house without vouchsafing a look or a word. Her husband, as might
be expected, avoided her whenever it was possible, and the other wives
returned her coldness and disdain, and in turn annoyed her as much as
they could when they were not too busy looking after one another. It
would be impossible to picture a house more divided against itself than
was that of Elder Shrewsbury.

When the two wives, Ellen and Mary, lived together with their husband in
Salt Lake City, Mary of course had no opportunity of showing her hatred
and contempt for the polygamic wives. But towards her husband she evinced
a cold disdain, as if he were now nothing at all to her—as if her very
heart itself had been withered. For Ellen, who, since Elder Shrewsbury
had taken his other wives, had clung to her with a child-like affection,
and to her own little girl alone, she showed that deep and constant love
which she had once lavished upon such an unworthy object.

She used to come to me and tell me all her griefs; and in a passion of
rage and tears she would hurl defiance at Mormonism and curse bitterly
the system that had wrecked her life. Then I would soothe her, and speak
calmly to her, and try to place matters in their best light; and she
would sit and listen in a painful state of apathy, as if she cared for
none of these things. Presently she would rise and go, and then, perhaps,
I would not see her for weeks together, unless I chanced to call upon her
at her own house. Sometimes, for days and even weeks at a time, she would
shut herself up in her room and refuse to see her husband or any one
else, except her little girl, who slept in the same room with her, and
who at such times used to bring in what food they wanted; for in these
melancholy fits she would not even let the servants come near her.

There was a little table near the window, and from the casement of the
window could be seen in the far distance the lofty ranges of the Wahsatch
Mountains. And sitting at that table, gazing from that window, with her
cheek resting upon her hand, Mary would watch the whole day long, as if
entranced in some ecstatic vision. Her little girl—a child of winning
ways, bashful to an extreme and very pretty, but, though so young, with a
look of wistful sadness upon her childish face—had become accustomed to
her mother’s ways; and when one of these long spells of melancholy came
upon her, she would either steal out quietly and wander away for a long
walk all by herself—for she never played with the other children in her
father’s house—or else, as was more frequently the case, she would sit
down on the ground near her mother and silently amuse herself with a book
or some childish toy.

To my mind there was something inexpressibly painful in all this. When
Mary did not come to see me, I would call round at her husband’s house,
and try to draw her out from her melancholy seclusion. It was very seldom
that I saw Elder Shrewsbury, and I cannot say that I wished to do so. He
had, as his wife told me, undergone a complete change since I knew him in
England. The open look, the upright bearing, the earnestness of speech,
which then characterized him, were now gone for ever. He was still a
handsome man, rather portly, and evidently well to do in the world; but
there were lines about his eyes which ought not to have been seen in the
face of a man of his years; and his lips, without uttering a word, told
their own story.

Heartbroken and wretched, weary of life, and yet with no hopeful
assurance of life beyond the grave, poor Mary lived on year after year,
while those who seemed to dance in the very sunshine of existence were
cut off like the summer flowers in the harvest-field. Lately, however, I
thought I saw symptoms of a change. I noticed that she was perceptibly
growing thinner and thinner; her eye seemed brighter, and there was
always a flush upon her cheek, which would have been beautiful had it not
been for the seal of melancholy which was stamped upon every feature. But
the brightness of the eye, and the flush upon the cheek, were not symbols
of health, but the imprint of the finger of death.

She did not know this. Though she longed to die, she little thought that
death was so near her. Sometimes she would talk almost happily of the old
by-gone days; then she would sit brooding over her griefs; and then again
she would talk anxiously about the future of her little daughter. I had
seen other wives as wretched as poor Mary was—ay, more so, for they had
abject, grinding poverty superadded to all their woes; but, more than for
any other I felt for my poor friend, and exerted myself to the uttermost
to comfort her. In this I had been to a certain extent successful. She
would appear for a time a little more cheerful, but it was not long
before she relapsed into her habitual melancholy way.

That which troubled me most of late, in my intercourse with Mary, was
the fact that she was always talking about _death_. This certainly was
no matter of surprise to me, but it was very painful. Over and over
again she would discuss the question whether, under _any_ circumstances,
suicide could be justified, and whether if any one, in absolute despair,
were to take away their own life, God would ever pardon them.

I would never enter into such subjects as these, for I considered that
such conversation showed a morbid condition of mind, and could not
possibly be of any good to either of us, and would only suggest harmful
thoughts. But again and again Mary reverted to the subject, and I really
at last began to grow quite anxious about her.

It was not, therefore, with surprise that I received the summons that
morning. I did not wait to ask any questions about the poisoning, but
hastened to the bedside of my unfortunate friend, trusting that I might
yet be in time to render some assistance.

I found her lying on the bed, partly dressed, and, as it seemed to me
at first, asleep. There was, at the bedside, and bending over her, the
second wife, who was in as much trouble as if the sufferer had been her
own sister. The poor girl had been weeping, and was evidently very much
distressed. There was also present in the room another sister, whom I
recognized as a friend of Mary’s. The little daughter of the unfortunate
woman was there as well. One person, whom every one would naturally have
expected to see at the bedside of a dying wife under such circumstances,
was conspicuous by his absence—I mean, of course, Elder Shrewsbury

I sat down on the bed, beside poor Mary, and took her hand in mine. It
was cold but damp, and her breathing was somewhat heavy. She was still
unconscious. I asked the pretty pale-faced girl—the second wife—who was
bending over her, how it had all happened, and whether they had had a

“Oh, yes,” she said, sobbing all the time; “we sent for the doctor, and
he has only just gone. He said he had done all he could, and that we
could let her sleep on now.”

She then told me what had taken place. It appeared that the night before
Elder Shrewsbury had gone up into Mary’s room to speak to her about some
matter of importance. Although living in the same house, she had not
seen him for several weeks, and the mere fact of being in his presence
agitated her. He told her he had come to talk about her child—little
Mary, called Mary after her mother. For some reason or other, which
nobody then seemed to understand, Elder Shrewsbury had taken a fancy
that the child should be separated from her mother; he wanted to send
her to stay with his other family in the Settlements, and it was for
this purpose he came to see Mary that night. It certainly did seem the
refinement of cruelty to separate the child from her poor mother, who
would thus have become, as one might say, doubly widowed; and I am
strongly inclined to question whether Elder Shrewsbury’s motives were of
the purest kind. It is, however, only just to state that subsequently,
when speaking to a friend about the matter, he said that he had long
noticed in his wife what he considered were incipient symptoms of
madness, and he thought that his duty towards the child imperatively
demanded that he should immediately take her away from her mother. He
added—as was indeed true—that his other wives in the South would have
taken the greatest care of her.

Mary was furious when the proposal was made to her. She bitterly
upbraided her husband for all his cruelty and neglect; she cursed him for
his perfidy, and she avowed that nothing but death should separate her
from her little girl.

Elder Shrewsbury trembled at the anger of his poor forsaken wife, and he
crept out of her room and downstairs. But Mary could not be appeased.
She went to the room of the second wife—the only creature in the house,
besides her little girl, with whom she sometimes condescended to hold
intercourse—and there she acted in a very wild and extravagant way. It
was with great difficulty that she was at last persuaded to lie down
and take a little rest. She would not go to her own room; so Ellen—the
second wife—persuaded her to remain with her all the night. She lay down,
but did not sleep. She muttered strange things, and by-and-by sat up in
the bed and spoke as if people were present whom she had known years
and years ago. Ellen was frightened; but out of love to Mary, and not
wishing that others should see her in that crazy condition, she did not
call for help, thinking that presently she would fall asleep, and in the
morning all would be right. But the long night passed away, and just
before daybreak Ellen fell into a sort of fitful slumber. It would seem
that just then poor Mary discovered for the first time that she was not
sleeping in her own room, and that her little daughter was not with her.
Distracted as her mind was, she probably thought that they had stolen the
child away, and went in search of her.

She found her way to her own room, and then what happened no one, of
course, could tell. She must have seen that her child was safe; and it
is not unlikely that, reassured on that point, she felt that she needed
rest, and thought that it would be best to take some sedative to produce
the sleep which she believed would restore her to herself again. She had
in her room a little leather medicine-chest—a very useful article for any
one travelling, or to keep in the house—and to that she must have had
resort. Certain it is, that when, an hour later, Ellen awoke and went to
see what had become of her husband’s first wife, she found the little
medicine-chest open upon the bureau, Mary lying upon the bed, apparently
asleep, and a faint sickly smell, which one better versed in such things
would have known was the smell of opium, pervading the whole room.

Ellen began to scream and call for help, and one of the women about the
house, who was up at that early hour, came to see what was the matter.
She, upon hearing what Ellen said, rushed downstairs shrieking for
assistance. Fortunately for every one, Elder Shrewsbury, who had just
risen, was standing in the hall-way below. He took hold of the noisy
woman and asked her what was the matter; and after hearing all she had
to say he sent her to attend to her domestic duties, with a strict
injunction to say nothing to a living soul about what she had seen or

Elder Shrewsbury then went up to Mary’s room, and there he learned
that all that the silly woman had just said to him was quite true. He,
however, betrayed no emotion. Very calmly he put the stopper back into
the laudanum bottle, then looked at his watch and hesitated, all the
while that pale-faced Ellen was looking anxiously at him, wanting to know
what she could _do_. After a few moments of indecision, Elder Shrewsbury
turned to Ellen and said, “Yes; go for the doctor.”

Ellen flew upon her mission.

Meanwhile, Elder Shrewsbury looked towards the bed where poor Mary
lay—Mary, for whose love he had perjured his soul—Mary who never would
have been his had he not given that sacred promise, the breaking of
which made him an outlaw from heaven and a thing to be despised of men.
He looked for one single moment at his poor wife as she lay there, and
then he turned upon his heel and went out of the room. For the wealth
of all the world I would not feel as that man felt, if the thoughts
which then crowded upon his brain were what, for the sake of our common
humanity, I trust they were. The remembrance of the life which his folly
or fanaticism—it matters little which—had blasted; the thought of that
solemn vow which he had taken to love her only and for ever; the sight
of that dear one to whom he had once plighted his troth, now desolate,
forsaken, almost maniac in her wretchedness. Oh God! what a curse was
_there_ for any man’s soul to bear!

The physician, when he came, administered an emetic and made them walk
the patient about the room. Ellen and the friend of Mary who was present
volunteered for this service. They supported her, one on each side, and
paced her round and round the room, thus compelling her to exertion;
and from time to time they made her swallow doses of strong coffee, in
which a little brandy had been mixed. When, at length, signs of returning
consciousness were apparent, the physician left, promising to call again
in the course of the morning.

It was then that some one present thought of sending for me, and I
arrived not long after the physician had gone. I was the only person,
outside the family, beside the friend whom I have mentioned, who knew of
anything that had taken place—so careful were they that the matter should
not get abroad; and I should certainly not have been summoned had it not
been for the close intimacy which existed between Mary and myself, which
made us more like sisters than friends. The reader must not, however,
suppose that in relating this I am even now betraying a trust; for my
friends in Utah know as well as I do that so many unhappy wives have in
their desperation been driven to attempt self-destruction, that having
no clue in the name, which solely out of love for my poor friend, I have
all through this narrative given her, they will not know who to fix
upon as the person to whom I allude.[3] There is, however, _one_ still
living—_he_ will know—let his own conscience be his accuser.

In about half an hour’s time, Mary began to recognize those who were
around her, but she did not seem disposed to speak. She opened her eyes
and looked dreamily at me for a long time, but the slight pressure of
my hand was her only recognition of my presence. I bent down over her
and whispered a few assuring words in her ear, and for a moment a faint,
weary smile lighted up her thin, pale face. It was not like the sweet
smiles of the by-gone days which used to suffuse her whole countenance
with sunshine—it was but the very ghost of a smile. Presently she sank
into a gentle slumber; but I still sat by her on the bed, holding her
hand in mine, and I remained there for two or three hours. Then, after
seeing that everything was at hand which she could possibly want if she
awoke, and assured by Ellen that she would not leave her until she was
able to sit up, I left for my own home.

At the bottom of the stairs, in the hall-way, I was confronted by Elder
Shrewsbury himself. This surprised me, as hitherto he had most sedulously
avoided coming in contact with me. He gave me one searching glance, as
if to read my thoughts, and then said: “Sister Stenhouse, this is a most
unhappy affair, but say nothing about it—no good can come of talking of
such matters.”

I assured him that for Mary’s sake—not for his—I would not speak of what
had transpired; but when he held out his hand for me to shake, I affected
not to see it, but wished him good-morning, and left the house.

       *       *       *       *       *

For some time she said nothing to me about the sad event which had so
greatly troubled us, and when at length she hesitatingly alluded to it,
I was much relieved to find that the taking of the deadly drug was on
her part wholly accidental. It was as I from the first suspected—for I
knew and loved my dear friend too well to wrong her even by a thought.
Cruelly as she had suffered, wretched and miserable as she was, bitterly
as she felt, the instincts of her heart were too true and her nature too
noble to allow of her seeking oblivion from her troubles in voluntary
and premeditated death, as I have known was the case with many wretched
Mormon wives. She had only thought to take an opiate to soothe the
feverish excitement which had almost bereft her of reason, and, in the
weak and enfeebled condition in which she was, the draught had been too
powerful for her. Guiltless as she was, she dreaded that others might
impute wrong motives to her in what she had done; and even to me she
spoke of her sickness painfully and with hesitation.

After this, I called day after day upon my poor friend, until she was
sufficiently recovered to walk about and even to get out of doors a
little. The story of the unhappy attempt which she was supposed to have
made upon her life, by some means, however, got rumoured abroad, and she
heard of it. She said nothing at the time, but I believe it preyed upon
her mind. Weak and failing in health, as she long had been, the shock
which her system had received was too much for her, and it was evident to
every one who saw her that her earthly trials would soon be ended. She
sank gradually, and life ebbed from her gently and without pain. A few
days before she died, she sent for me, and I spent several hours with
her. I might say that they were happy hours; for the near prospect of
death seemed to have dispelled all those gloomy fears of the future life
which had for so many years troubled her soul; and she now looked forward
with peaceful resignation to her approaching change. Death came at last
to her when she was sleeping, and she passed away tranquilly and without
a sigh. I almost rejoiced when I heard that at last her weary journey
was over, and she was at rest. I loved her with the fondest affection,
and shall never think of her without bitter feelings towards that unholy
system which brought her to an untimely grave.



Notwithstanding all my own personal troubles and the difficulties which
surrounded us, the loss of my dear friend affected me very deeply.
And yet her story is the same as might be told of hundreds of other
English girls who have been lured from their happy homes and have died
broken-hearted and neglected in Utah.

Now came that change in our life which I had so long hoped for, but which
had always seemed to me so very far distant. We had been tossed by many
a storm, but the violence of this last gale was such that it forced us
clean out of the sea of Mormonism, and landed us high and dry upon the
firm ground of Apostasy.

About the time when my husband returned with his paper to Salt Lake
City, the _Utah Magazine_, a liberal journal just struggling into
existence, began to call in question some of Brigham’s measures; and
the editors, who were all men of some mark in the Mormon Church,
presumed to hint that the people had rights and privileges as well as
the Priesthood. This was done in a very quiet, unobtrusive way; but it
was, nevertheless, pronounced rebellion and apostasy. My husband’s paper
was silent upon the subject; and, in consequence, he was suspected of
being in league with the enemy. This was another good reason why the
people should be “counselled” not to take the _Telegraph_. Although he
was not yet sufficiently advanced in thought to give much direct aid to
the questioners of Brigham’s authority, I saw with pleasure that he did
not wish to oppose them; the tone of his paper was evidently changing,
and the articles which appeared from time to time gave serious offence
to Brigham Young. This, however, was not all his wrong-doing; he had of
late been neglectful in his attendance at the “School of the Prophets”—a
meeting which was then held every Saturday for the benefit of the Elders.

Together with the editors of the _Utah Magazine_, Mr. Stenhouse and
one or two others were summoned to appear at the School, to give their
reasons for previous non-attendance. This they had all along anticipated,
and were therefore not surprised at the summons, but they hardly expected
that Brigham would act so precipitately; for, without waiting to hear
their reasons, he disfellowshipped them all for irregular attendance.

Brigham’s assumption of the right to disfellowship men from the Church
because of irregular attendance at the School was a stretch of authority
which startled my husband: “What will he not do next?” he said. “To
submit would be to acknowledge him absolute, and myself a slave. There is
but one alternative now—slavery or freedom. Cost me what it may, I _will_
be free!”

In August of the same year my husband sent a respectful and kindly letter
to the Bishop of our ward, stating that he had no faith in Brigham’s
claim to an “Infallible Priesthood,” and that he considered that he ought
to be cut off from the Church. I added a postscript, stating that I
wished to share my husband’s fate—little thinking that within three days
my request would be answered in a too literal manner.

A little after ten o’clock on the Saturday night succeeding our
withdrawal from the Church, we were returning home together. The night
was very dark, and as our residence was in the suburbs of the City, north
of the Temple block, and the road very quiet, the walk was a very lonely
one and perhaps not altogether too safe. We had gone about a third of
the way, when we suddenly saw four men come out from under some trees
at a little distance from us. In the gloom of the night we could only
see them very indistinctly, and could not distinguish who they were.
They separated; and two of them came forward and stumbled up against
us, and two passed on beside us. For a moment I thought that they were
intoxicated, but it was soon clear that they were acting from design.
As soon as they approached, they seized hold of my husband’s arms, one
on each side, and held him firmly, thus rendering him almost powerless.
They were all masked, for it was supposed that thus we should not be able
to discover their identity, and that if by any chance an investigation
should subsequently be made into the doings of that night it would not be
possible for any one to witness against them.

The movements of the two men who held my husband were somewhat impeded by
my clinging to his arm, and they seemed to hesitate for a moment. The
other two, who stood a few feet distant from us, also hesitated. One of
the men who held my husband said to them, “Brethren, do your duty.” We
recognized his voice at once as that of a policeman, Philips, a young man
whom we had known in Southampton, England, when a child.

In an instant I saw them raise their arms, as if taking aim, and for
one brief second I thought that our end had now surely come, and that
we, like so many obnoxious persons before us, were about to be murdered
for the great sin of Apostasy. This, I firmly believe, would have been
my husband’s fate, if I had not chanced to be with him, or had I run
away—they would probably have beaten him to death—they were two of the
regular and two of the special policemen—and then, the next morning, they
would have “discovered” the body, and it would have been said that he
had been murdered by the Gentiles or Apostates in a personal quarrel. My
presence somewhat disarranged their plans, and it was that probably which
caused the two men to hesitate, not knowing what would be considered
their “duty” under present circumstances.

A much less noble fate than assassination was reserved for us. The
wretches, although otherwise well armed, were not holding revolvers
in their hands as I first supposed. They were furnished with huge
garden-syringes charged with the most disgusting filth, in the
preparation of which they took especial pains. So kindred to their own
base natures was such an act, that I doubt not they found it quite a
labour of love. The moment the syringes were pointed at us, my husband,
thinking a shot was coming, moved his head, and thus to a certain
extent escaped the full force of the discharge. I, however, was not so
fortunate. My hair, bonnet, face, clothes, person—every inch of my body,
every shred that I wore—were in an instant saturated, from head to foot.

The villains, when they had perpetrated this disgusting and brutal
outrage, turned and fled. We ran after them for some little distance,
but we had no arms and nothing with which to defend ourselves; in fact,
we pursued them instinctively rather than with any idea of overtaking
them. There was another man standing a little distance off in the
direction in which they were running, and we could not tell how many
might be concealed. The place, too, was dark and lonely, for they had
gone behind the Temple block—a fit corner for murderers to skulk in; a
convenient spot for the commission of any unholy deed. I was burning
with indignation, and longed to revenge myself upon the brutal cowards
who had assaulted us. In my anger I called upon them to come and kill us
outright, for I would have preferred death to such an indignity. I almost
wonder that they did not take me at my word and return and finish their
foul work, for they have long acted upon the principle that “dead men
tell no tales.”

I shall never forget that night. I declared that henceforth I would
tear from my heart every association, every memory, every affection,
which still remained to bind me to Mormonism; not one solitary link
should be left. Henceforth I would be the declared and open enemy of the
Priesthood. To the utmost of my power—weak though I might be—I would
arouse the women of Utah to a sense of the wrongs which they endured; I
would proclaim to the world the disgrace which Mormonism is to the great
American nation, the foul blot that it is upon Christianity and the
civilization of the age!

My son-in-law, Joseph A. Young, on the night of the attack, offered a
reward to the chief of the police for the apprehension of the ruffians;
but we knew well enough they would never be discovered. A few Gentile
friends also offered a reward of five hundred dollars for any evidence
that might lead to their identification; but nothing, of course, was



Not long after our separation from the Mormon Church, I received another
visit from my talkative friend.

As, according to her custom, she was making a preliminary “fuss” at the
door before entering, I heard her voice, and was at a loss to conjecture
whether she came for the purpose of lamenting my apostasy and entreating
my immediate return to the bosom of the Church, or to condole with me
concerning the brutal outrage to which we had been subjected. In both
suppositions I was, however, mistaken—she came to talk about her own woes.

“You’ll be surprised, my dear Sister Stenhouse,” she said, “to see
me looking so utterly miserable. I’m sure I must look the picture of
despair, and I feel it. You don’t know what I’ve been suffering, and how
shamefully I have been used.”

“You look very well I think, but I’m sorry to hear you have met with any
difficulty,” said I, when she stopped for a moment to take breath.

“Oh, you may say so,” she replied, “but you know you don’t think so in
your heart. Why, I did not even stop to put on my bonnet straight,” she
said, stealing a look at the glass, “and I ran all the way here, for I
felt as if I should die if I could not pour my sorrows into the bosom
of some faithful-hearted friend. Oh, I have been treated shamefully,
and I feel it the more as you know what a reserved woman I am, and how
seldom it is that I open my lips about family matters, even to my dearest

“Well, but,” I said, “what really is the matter? You have not yet told me
what your trouble is.”

“Sister Stenhouse,” she said, “you have had a few little vexations in
the course of your life, I know, but they are nothing to compare to the
frightful indignities that I have suffered in the course of the last few
days. I never thought I should come to this! I hate every man in the
place, and I detest my husband most of all, and I loathe his wives, and I
execrate Brother Brig—”

“Why, Sister Ann, what can have happened?” I exclaimed, interrupting her.

“Happened!” she cried, starting from her chair in indignation, “I tell
you, Sister Stenhouse, nothing has ‘_happened_’—nothing was done by
chance—he did it all with his eyes open and against my advice—I tell you
he did it on _purpose_!”

“Did _what_?” I asked, “and _who_ was it that did it?” But by this time I
had begun to form a shrewd guess _who_ the culprit was.

“Why, he married that wretched little shrimp of a girl, with blue eyes
and red hair, and a die-away, lackadaisical manner—it was _he_—my husband
Henry—he married her this very day, and I tell you he did it on purpose!”

“I’m sorry that it annoys you,” I said; “but really I am surprised,
after all you have said to me, that you should not care if he had taken
half-a-dozen wives, to say nothing of the one he married this morning,
and who you say is only a very little one.”

“It doesn’t matter the size, Sister Stenhouse,” she said, “but the colour
of the eyes and the shade of the hair matters a great deal. If that
miserable little minx had had black hair or green eyes, I daresay Henry
would not have cared two straws about her, unless he had done it out of
sheer perversity, for all men are made of the same contrary stuff. But he
dotes on blue eyes; I heard him myself tell her so one day, when I was
listening to them through the crack of the door, and they didn’t know
I was so near. But my wounded feelings would not suffer me to remain
silent, and I bounced in, and, said I, ‘Henry, how dare you talk such
outrageous nonsense to that child in my presence?’

“‘But I didn’t know you were present,’ he said.

“‘I tell you,’ said I, ‘I’m quite disgusted with you; a man with three
wives—and _me_ one of them—to go talking twaddle to a little chattering
hussy like that, with her cat’s eyes and her red hair!’

“‘Golden hair, my dear,’ he said, ‘Charlotte’s hair is golden.’

“‘I say _red!_—it’s straight, staring _red_—as red as red can be,’ I
told him; and then we had a regular fight over it. I don’t mean that
we came to blows, but we had some hot words, and he went out and left
us two alone. Then that young hussy was impudent, and I don’t know
how it was, but somehow, when we left off our conversation, I found
some of Charlotte’s red hair between my fingers; and there”—she said,
innocently, holding out quite a respectable sized tuft of auburn
hair—“there; I put it to you, Sister Stenhouse, _is_ that red, or is it

I was about to reply; but, without waiting an instant, she dashed the
stolen locks to the ground, and said, “I daresay, Sister Stenhouse, you
think me a little hasty, and yet among my friends I’ve always been quite
proverbial for the calmness and evenness of my temper; but I’ve been
tried very much lately, and—if only you would not keep interrupting me,
dear!—if you’d just allow _me_ to say a word or two in my turn!—I’d tell
you something that would open your eyes to the ingratitude and wickedness
of men. I don’t wonder that you have left the Church; I am thinking of
doing so myself, and you won’t wonder at it when you hear what I’ve got
to say. What do you say to _my_ leaving the Church? Won’t people be
astonished? But I declare, Sister Stenhouse, I _do_ seriously mean to
leave the Church as soon as I get my new bonnet—”

“Why your new bonnet?” I asked in surprise.

“Because, dear, I shall become an object of interest. All the sisters
will have their eyes upon me, and even Gentiles will say, ‘There’s a lady
who had courage to leave the Mormon Church and quit an ungrateful husband
who was not worthy of her.’ And you know, Sister Stenhouse, it would not
do to have people looking at me and talking about me before I got my new

This was a rather amusing reason for delay in changing one’s religion,
but it was quite characteristic of my friend. So I humoured her a little,
and tried to get her to explain how it all came about.

“Oh, yes,” she said, “I ought to have told you that before, but I was to
angry at what had just happened that I forgot everything else. The fact
is, my husband is _a man_, and there’s no calculating what a man will do.
Women, you know, are proverbial for the constancy of their affections
and their slowness in changing their minds—you know when you’re talking
to a woman that she _is_ a woman, and you know exactly what to do with
her; but with a man it’s quite different. You can’t calculate a man—you
can’t fathom him. When you’ve been thinking one way and another, and at
last begin to fancy you know what to do, why then, a man—if it’s him
you’ve got to do with—will turn just round, and while you’ve been making
everything smooth for him to do one thing, he’ll go and do exactly the
opposite. I know what men are by this time, and I speak from experience.

“It was just so with Henry and this girl. He has gone quite against the
grain with me, and I feel it all the more because he used to be so quiet
and anxious to do exactly what I wanted. But he doesn’t care a fig now
whether I’m pleased or not—he only thinks about this red-headed girl. In
fact, he’s quite crazy about her, and if there’s any sin in apostasy, you
may remember that it was he who drove me into it.”

“That seems hardly fair,” I said, “for you knew all along that it was his
privilege to take more wives.”

“That’s very true,” she exclaimed; “it _is_ his privilege to take wives,
but it’s _my_ privilege to choose them for him. I’m a good Mormon, and I
don’t mind how many wives my husband takes, if he’ll only act reasonably
about getting them. But, Sister Stenhouse, I do _not_ want a parcel of
girls about the house. I’m so far from wishing to usurp authority, that,
as I told Henry, I would not mind if his wives were even a little older
than me, but I won’t have them younger. It makes Henry look so silly.
Why, to see him with that girl Charlotte, now, who isn’t more than half
my own age—no; I don’t mean that, I mean she’s slightly younger than I
am—you might really almost imagine that he thought more of her than he
does of me. I know he doesn’t, for he has told me so; but any one to see
them together would get quite a wrong impression.”

“When did he marry Charlotte?” I asked. “You spoke so hastily, Sister
Ann, that I did not quite understand you.”

“When? Why he married her this morning, as I thought I told you; he has
only just done it. He said he was anxious to be in a quiet state of mind
to-day, so I gave him a piece of _my_ mind, and he was so astonished at
the pointed way in which I explained to him what a fool he’d been making
of himself that he quite showed it in his face. The fact is, Sister
Stenhouse, he has lately become rather more than I could manage.”

“Well, Sister,” I said, “I should have thought that his finding a wife
for himself would have saved you a world of trouble.”

“Oh dear no, Sister Stenhouse,” she replied; “it was trouble I did not
want to be saved. Men have no business, in my opinion, to choose their
own wives, after the first. I know the men do do it, one and all; but
it’s a shameful stretch of authority. I should like to know whether it
is not of much more consequence to me what wife my husband has than it
is to him? However, I resolved that my husband should never marry the
red-headed girl, and I told him so; and what do you think the inhuman
creature said? ‘You’ve been persuading me all these years,’ he said, ‘to
take another wife, although I’ve already got three, and now I’ve begun to
do so you blame me. I think I’ve as good a right as any one to say who
I’ll marry and who I won’t.’ Did you ever hear of such ingratitude? Would
you hear of such a thing from _your_ husband, Sister Stenhouse?”

I told her that with Mormonism my husband had given up Polygamy, and she

“Well, I tried to bring him to reason, but it was of no use. And then I
told him that the girl should never set foot inside the house while I was
in it. This was a very unfortunate speech, for I do believe that up to
that time he wanted as much as possible to keep the girl out of my way;
but the moment I said that, to show his dignity, I suppose, he declared
that she should come to tea with us that very afternoon, and he would go
and fetch her; and he did so. I wouldn’t go down to tea at first, though
both the other wives were there and he sent up for me, but my pride would
not allow me to stoop. At last I got tired of being all alone, and as it
occurred to me that perhaps they might be enjoying themselves without me,
I resolved to go down and see if I could not do something to annoy them.
Down I went, and Henry, all smiling, introduced the girl to me as ‘Sister
Charlotte,’ talking of her as if he had known her for years. Was it not

“It must have been very awkward for you,” I said.

“It was indeed, Sister Stenhouse, and I soon made it awkward for _them_.
I assure you, after I joined them, there was not a soul present who had a
moment’s comfort till that girl went away. My husband, however, took her
home, and from that very day he seemed resolved to have the upper hand.
He never for a moment would listen to a word I said about the girl; he
brought her in every evening and took her to the theatre constantly, and
paid her ten times more attention than he ever paid me. I wasn’t jealous,
Sister Stenhouse; no one—as I said before—could ever suspect _me_ of
jealousy, but I _did_ hate that girl. If he had not loved her, I can’t
say whether I myself might not have liked her. But the very fact of him
loving her makes me detest her; but it’s only a little proper pride on my
part—I’m not in the least jealous, oh dear no!”

“Of course not,” I said.

“I don’t know about that,” she said, “I’ve borne enough from those two
to drive fifty women crazy with jealousy, and things went on from bad
to worse, until the other day when, as I told you, we had that little
unpleasantness. My husband, when he came back, was downright angry, and
made use of shocking language, and told me that, if he could not have
peace in the house, he would have me board out by myself in some other
part of the city. He said that I had scratched Charlotte’s face and torn
out her hair; but that was quite untrue, as I told him; and as for the
hair which fell out, it was all an accident. He said that Charlotte did
not like such accidents, and that he would not put up with it. He was
very cross and disagreeable all the rest of the day, and made me quite
miserable and broken-hearted; and the next day, to wind it all up, he
told me that he and Charlotte had arranged the day of the wedding. I
was forced to go over with him to the Endowment House, to give him that
detestable little vixen. I tell you, Sister Stenhouse, I hate her; and
oh, oh dear, what _shall_ I do now my husband has fallen in love with

Here, to my infinite astonishment, she rose from her seat and rushed
about the room, wringing her hands and exclaiming, “Oh dear! oh dear!”
She then threw herself right down on the couch and actually burst into
tears, crying out, “Oh dear, what shall I do with my Henry and that girl!”

After that I did not see her for several weeks, and then I accidentally
met her in the street, and asked her why she had not called upon me

“Oh, Sister Stenhouse,” she said, “I’m delighted to see you! You’ve been
constantly in my thoughts, but I’ve been so hard at work—oh, _so_ busy,
that I really had not time for anything—not even to apostatize. Then,
too, you see I’ve had my hands full. If you want to make a man slight one
woman and get tired of her, there’s nothing like putting a nicer woman
than her in his way. So I reconsidered the matter and resolved, cost what
it might, I’d get another wife for my husband right away. I don’t care
now whether she’s old or young, ugly or pretty, so long as she cuts out
that detestable red-headed girl. I’ve run all over the town and rushed
about here and there, all for his sake, though he’ll never be grateful
for it; and now at last, do you know, dear, I really do think I’ve got
the girl I want. She’s all dark—dark hair, dark eyes, dark complexion.
If he marries her, as I mean him to do, she’ll lead him a fine life,
notwithstanding all her winning ways. I wouldn’t stand in _his_ shoes
when she’s his wife; but I know _I_ shall be able to manage her, for I
have a deeper insight into character than he has, and a better command of
temper. She’ll teach Miss Charlotte to keep her place, and she’ll make
Henry mind too. It’ll do him good; I’ve done it all out of love to him,
not a spark of jealousy or ill-feeling, as you are well aware.”

The idea of setting one wife against another, in order to keep the peace,
would appear in the case of my talkative friend to have been successful;
for, sure enough, six months after the time of which I have just spoken,
her Henry did marry the dark beauty, and she and her auburn predecessor
presented an interesting contrast when they chanced to appear in the
street together in the company of their husband. There did not seem to be
much love lost between them.

Successful in her plans, and having, as she said, now brought her Henry
to reason, my talkative friend gave up all idea of leaving the Church,
and when I last saw her she said, “I’m busy now looking after a likely
girl, for I do think a man in my Henry’s position ought to live his
religion and have _at least seven wives_!—seven, you know, is such a very
lucky number.”



    “The world was all before them where to choose
    Their place of rest: with Providence their guide,
    They hand in hand, with trembling steps and slow,
    Through Eden took their solitary way.”

                                      _Paradise Lost._

When we left the Mormon Church, we were not quite as badly off as were
our first parents when they began life, although in some respects we
certainly resembled them. The world was all before us, and it was
necessary that we also should choose a place of rest; but it was by no
means an Eden from which we were dismissed—or, rather, had dismissed
ourselves—and in the matter of experience in the thorny ways of that
world in which we were about to begin afresh the battle of existence, we
certainly had the advantage over the exiles from Paradise.

The crisis of our own lives had now arrived. The act of sending in our
resignation as members of the Church cut us off from all the associations
of the past and all the friendships and pleasant intimacies of so many
years. A great gulf divided our by-gone life from the unknown future
which lay before us.

My husband was now made painfully aware that it was altogether useless
for him to attempt to carry on his paper; for his subscribers, as I
before stated, had been “counselled” to discontinue taking it in. The
_Daily Telegraph_ had had a very large circulation, but as there was very
little money in the Territory, the yearly subscriptions were mostly paid
at harvest time, and many of them in grain. At the time, therefore, when
the paper was finally given up, the Mormon people, as the book-keeper in
Ogden informed me, owed about twenty thousand dollars; but when it was
discovered that we were “Apostates,” the majority of them considered that
they were released from all obligations on that score, and my husband
being an easy, generous-minded man, most of them evaded payment. The idea
that, because we had left the Church, no Saint was bound to pay us any
debts which they might happen at the time to owe, was the natural result
of the teachings of the Tabernacle. Apostates are delivered over to “the
buffetings of Satan,” and the Saints consider it is _their_ duty to begin
in this world their master’s work of castigation. Any ill turn that can
be done to an Apostate is consequently a good action in the opinion of
the Mormons, and they neglect no opportunity of showing that these are
the sentiments which influence them.

Although we had now left the Mormon Church, never to return, my husband
could not at once shake off entirely that influence which had so long
held him captive. His thoughts and belief, his hopes and ambitions, had
for a quarter of a century all pointed in one direction, and the very
idea of rebellion on his part against the authority of the Priesthood,
would, but a very little while before the time of which I speak, have
been considered by him an utter impossibility. It was impossible, in a
few short months only, to undo the work of five-and-twenty years—the
best years of his life. He could no longer remain in the Church or
conscientiously support Brigham Young; but he had not outgrown Mormonism
sufficiently to enable him to throw off the yoke entirely and make his
paper an opponent of Brigham and his faith. Could he have done so, I
think it is highly probable that the _Telegraph_ might yet have been
saved, for I know that many of the more influential of the Gentiles would
have aided him materially in such a course. As it was, nothing remained
but to give it up with the best grace he could.

Two offers in reference to the paper were received by Mr. Stenhouse, and
it remained for him to decide which he would accept. One of them came
from a Gentile, who proposed to run it in opposition to Brigham Young,
and the other came from a certain Mr. Fuller, who had for some time been
my husband’s travelling agent, and was a very intimate friend of John W.
Young, Brigham’s youngest son by his first wife. We knew that this Mr.
Fuller had nothing beyond his salary; but, as the friend of Brigham’s
son, we thought that probably it was the Prophet’s wish that he should
have this paper, and we believed that he was simply buying it for the
Church. My husband argued that, although he could no longer unite with
the Mormons, he could at least refrain from doing them any injury; he
therefore concluded that, rather than let the paper go into the hands of
an avowed enemy, he would sell it to Mr. Fuller, who, on account of his
friendship for the Prophet’s family, would, he presumed, try to be just
to the people.

This, no doubt, was very conscientious and just, although, of course, no
Mormon would give my husband credit for entertaining such sentiments.
For my own part, I naturally wished him to accept the offer that would
pay him best, which was that made by the Gentile. He could not, however,
bring his mind to do this. The paper, therefore, was sold to Mr. Fuller,
who ran it for a few months and then himself ran away, leaving behind
him debts enough to swallow up everything. Thus ended the _Telegraph_
under that name, but destined, however, to rise again as the _Salt Lake
Herald_—a paper devoted to the interests of Brigham and the Priesthood.
To my husband it was an utter loss, but it was hardly fair that his
conscientious conduct should meet with such an ill return.

It was now necessary that some steps should be taken to provide for our
family. The reader may, perhaps, remember that when we first arrived
in Salt Lake City, as I stated, I myself engaged in business until
my husband was able to find some suitable and profitable employment.
When the _Telegraph_, however, was established and proved such a great
success, and we were in a position of affluence, I considered—the
pressure of necessity being removed—that I should do well to resign my
own business connection and employ my time more profitably in domestic
affairs. This was a great relief to me, for I always felt considerable
repugnance to mixing with the world in the way of business, while among
my children and attending to their wants and interests I found myself in
my own legitimate sphere. But there was now no alternative. All interest
in the _Telegraph_ had been resigned; my husband’s property had been
wasted in an attempt to keep it up, and he had nothing now to depend
upon. Something must be done, and I resolved that I would not be backward
in bearing my full share of the burden.

It was only natural that we should feel very much unsettled in mind by
the great change which had taken place in our position, for it is no
easy matter to cut asunder the ties and associations of a lifetime. Any
one suddenly changing his religious faith would, to a certain extent,
feel and understand what I mean in this respect. But in reference to any
ordinary religion, the person forsaking it would probably experience
comparatively little alteration in his every-day life. In Mormonism it
is very different, especially to any one who has occupied a prominent
position among the Saints. To resign our religion was to revolutionize
our lives. Everything was changed: the friends of years would look coldly
on us and avoid us; persons whom we had before shunned as Gentiles or
Apostates would be the only individuals who would regard us with favour;
our entire position in the midst of a most exclusive community was
completely reversed; in a word, we ourselves were now “Apostates!”

Thinking to turn the current of his thoughts, and believing that change
would be beneficial to him, I suggested to my husband that he should
pay a visit to the Eastern States. In New York I believed he could find
employment which would help to divert his thoughts from Mormon affairs,
and, at the same time, would be profitable to him in other respects. My
suggestion was acted upon, and my husband set out East, while I prepared
to engage again in the same business which I had formerly conducted so

Now, for the first time since I embraced Mormonism, I mixed freely with
Gentiles and those who had left the Church, and it was not long before I
found that this intercourse with the outer world produced a marked and
decided effect upon my mind. My views were enlarged, and my thoughts
became more liberal in their tone. My husband’s letters showed me that a
similar change was taking place in him.

We were not the only Apostates from the Church at that time. The New
Movement, as the reaction against the tyranny of Brigham Young was
called, was then in progress; and the minds of all intelligent Saints
were led to reflect upon the unheard-of claims of Brigham’s “Infallible”
Priesthood. At this time the Prophet endeavoured to rivet still more
firmly the fetters which bound his deluded followers, by establishing
“Zion’s Co-operative Mercantile Institution” and reviving the “Order of

The Co-operative Institution was announced as a joint-stock concern,
established under the pretence that it would be a benefit to the working
classes, and all the members of the Church were invited to purchase
shares, which were sold at twenty-five dollars each. The statement so
often made by Brigham and repeated by strangers, to the effect that
the exorbitant prices charged by Gentile merchants necessitated the
establishment of such an institution was, as every Mormon knows, only a
pretence, and a very shallow one too; for the Walker Brothers and other
merchants had, for many years, supplied goods to Mormons and Gentiles
alike, at what, under the circumstances, were reasonable and just
prices; for the railway not then being constructed, and every article of
commerce being of necessity carried across the Plains—a distance of over
a thousand miles—by horse-teams, prices were, of course, very high, and
would, if this circumstance were not taken into consideration, appear
extortionate. In fact, subsequently, the “Co-operative” stores, which
had started with high rates, under the belief that every rival would be
crushed, were compelled to lower their prices to those of the Walker
Brothers, or, in spite of their faith, the Mormons would have forsaken
Brigham’s Institution for the sake of their pockets. Many, in fact, did
secretly go to Gentile stores, but they were watched by the police and
reported to the teachers.

That large Mormon store, in which Brigham Young had such a heavy
interest, was to become the parent establishment—the fountain-head
from which temporal blessings, in the shape of cheap goods of every
description, were to flow unto the people. Each Ward was to have its
own store, and there the Saints of that Ward were expected to deal
exclusively, and, as the teachers said, “keep off Main street where the
Gentile stores were located.” These Ward-stores purchased their goods
from the parent store, where nothing was sold by retail.

All the lesser Mormon merchants were “counselled” to sell out their stock
to the Church, for just what the Church chose to offer them, or dispose
of it otherwise as best they could, and then they might go farming, or on
mission, or anything else; but sell out they must, for they were plainly
told that they would not be allowed to carry on business in opposition to
the new Institution.

Now, instead of benefiting the poorer Saints, by supplying goods to them
at a small advance upon cost prices, as was at first proclaimed to be
the object of the “Co-op”—as the Institution was briefly and familiarly
called—the reverse was the case, for competition was altogether banished.
All the trade of the Gentile merchants—with one or two exceptions—was
forcibly taken from them, for the people were not to trade in any store
without first looking to see if the sign of the Institution—a picture of
“The All-seeing Eye,” and the words “Holiness unto the Lord” were over
the doorway. How often I have seen groups of country people straggling
along, with their heads thrown back and their eyes straining aloft in
eager quest of that sign, although perhaps their purchases would only
amount to a few yards of ribbon or a paper of pins!

No one can predict what the Church—otherwise Brigham—will do, if money
should chance to tempt him. In this case, the parent Co-operative store
turned, as I might say, traitor to the Ward-stores—its own children—for
no sooner had they all been established, and had bought up all the old
stock from the parent store, than it was whispered abroad that the
latter was about to open in the retail line with a splendid stock of new
goods—to suit the Gentiles, of course; for the Saints were not allowed
to trade outside of their own Ward-stores, where they were expected to
buy up all the old goods. In fact, in order to gain Gentile trade and
fill the pockets of Brigham and the leading Elders who really constituted
the Institution (and do so still), the same prices were asked at the
parent store as had been charged the poor confiding stock-holders of the
Ward-stores at wholesale. This, of course, caused great dissatisfaction,
and many of the Saints rebelled, declaring they would go where
they pleased to spend their money, when they had any to spend. The
Ward-stores, in consequence, were obliged, at great loss, to lower their
prices, and many were utterly ruined. Others which had more capital tided
over the difficulty, and learned a lesson concerning the honesty of the
Church leaders which it is to be hoped did them good.

As an example of the way in which matters were managed, I may instance
a very old and infirm woman who was one of their victims. She came to
me one day and said, “Sister Stenhouse, will you buy out my stock in
the Co-operative store? Our store has failed, and I have my twenty-five
dollars’ worth in my basket. I pitied her and asked her to let me see
her stock, and thereupon she brought out _a pound and a half of nails!_
I _did_ buy out her stock, for I thought that the nails might be handy
to have in the house, although I did not give her twenty-five dollars
for them. Another person—a Frenchman, whom I knew—bought a share, and
when he saw certain ruin looming over his Ward-store, he went to the
head-quarters and purchased twenty-five dollars’ worth of goods, and
having got them all secured, laid down his shareholders’ receipt in
payment and beat a hasty retreat. He was a fortunate man and acted
prudently, but alas! for the poor souls who ventured all their little
savings in these Church “Institutions” and then were left to poverty and

About this time, also, it was that the Mormon women, under the auspices
of Eliza R. Snow and the Female Relief Society, got up a petition to Mrs.
Grant, begging her to use her influence with the President in favour of a
toleration of Polygamy. The names to that petition were affixed without
any reference to propriety or right. Hundreds of names were copied from
the books of the Society without any permission being obtained, or even
asked, of their owners. It was then, as I before stated, that the names
of the dead were actually added as subscribers to the petition; and in
one case, when a lady mentioned that her dead daughter had never belonged
to the Church, as she died before her mother heard of Mormonism, she was
told that her daughter would now, of course, have found out that Polygamy
was the true order of domestic life in heaven, and that she would
certainly be willing to subscribe if she could return to earth. Her name
was, therefore, added without any further ceremony, although she had been
dead a good many years.

In January, 1872, a counter-petition was got up by the Gentile and
Apostate ladies. It set forth the cruel bondage which Polygamy inflicts
upon women; spoke of the heartless conduct of the Mormon leaders, and
of the murders and other foul crimes which had been committed by them
or at their instigation; showed that, should Utah become a State, under
the name of _Deseret_—which has ever been the ambition of Brigham
Young—there would be no protection for life or property; stated that the
authorities themselves had declared that when statehood was conferred,
Gentiles and Apostates would have good cause to tremble; and, finally,
prayed the National Government to stretch forth its long arm of power
for the defence and protection of honest and law-abiding citizens. This
petition was signed by four hundred and forty ladies of Utah, most of
them members of the Mormon Church, whose _real_ names were all fairly
and openly _affixed by their own selves_. It was presented to the Senate
by the Hon. Schuyler Colfax—then Vice-President; was read, discussed,
and ordered to be printed. As might be supposed, it excited a great
deal of angry discussion on the part of the Church authorities; and the
following Sundays the names of those who had signed were read out in
the Tabernacle, and _strong_ remarks made upon their conduct, in order
to intimidate them and prevent others from following their example. The
consequence was that many of their husbands and sons were threatened with
loss of employment, and they were thus forced to retract.

That same year a bill was brought into the Territorial Legislature,
providing that _boys of fifteen years of age and girls of twelve
might legally contract marriage_, with the consent of their parents
or guardians! In stating this disgraceful fact, I feel certain that
the reader who has never lived among the Saints, and is not versed in
Utah affairs, will think that I must be mistaken in what I say. It
is, however, I am sorry to say, only too true, and the records of the
Legislature will bear me witness.

With the exception of the little literary efforts which I have made from
time to time to expose through the press the iniquity of the “Celestial
Order of Marriage,” no event of more than personal and private interest
has, since I left the Mormon Church, interrupted the even tenor of my
life. Last year, however, I was able to deal another blow—weak, it might
be, but still it was a blow—directed at that false system against which I
have sworn eternal enmity. I lectured upon Mormon Polygamy in Washington
and Boston, and other large cities, and attempted in my humble way to
attract the attention of the Gentile world to the iniquities of that
terrible superstition which, in Utah, has degraded womanhood and wrecked
the happiness of thousands of my deluded sisters. I met with sympathy
everywhere; and then, as now, I resolved that efforts like these I would
never relax until, if God spared my life, I should see the last stone in
the fabric of Mormonism overturned and Mormon Polygamy counted among the
sins and follies of the past.

His literary work accomplished, my husband returned to Salt Lake City.
Looking back over the past, our Missionary life and our faith in
Brighamism seems like a dream, so difficult is it for us to realize that
we ever submitted our souls to the slavery of the Priesthood or placed
any credence in that mass of folly, superstition, and licentiousness,
known as Mormonism. During all his efforts to obey counsel and build
up a “kingdom,” my husband, I know, never ceased to love me. For the
misery which he then, in—as I firmly believe—his conscientious endeavours
to live his religion, inflicted upon me, I have long ago freely and
fully forgiven him. I think that during all that time he never ceased
to entertain the fondest affection for me; and, if he was foolishly
confiding in those who he believed were divinely authorized and speaking
by inspiration, can I blame him when I remember that I myself was
actuated by the same faith?

It was impossible to obliterate utterly the education and influences
of a whole life’s experience. That wall of partition—Polygamy—which
separated my husband from me for so many years, is now for ever broken
down. But the effects of Mormonism will, no doubt, though unconsciously
to ourselves, tinge the whole of our future life. We can never forget the
past. The mournful sympathy which, according to the poet, the Peri at the
gate of Paradise expressed over the sins and sorrows of humanity, might,
with a slight variation, be applied to our own lives:—

    “‘Poor race of men!’ said the pitying spirit,
      ‘Dearly ye pay for your primal fall;
    Some traces of Eden ye still inherit,
      But the trail of the serpent is over them all.’”


In the preceding pages I have endeavoured to present to the reader the
story of my life’s experience in Mormonism and Polygamy, and to place
before him a truthful picture of the doctrines and practices of the

Two objects influenced my mind when I first proposed to write this
volume. In the first place, I earnestly desired to stir up my Mormon
sisters to a just sense of their own position. I longed to make them
feel, as I do, the cruel degradation, the humiliating tyranny, which
Polygamy inflicts. I wanted to arouse them to a sense of their own
womanhood, and a just appreciation of those rights and duties which,
as women, God has conferred upon them. I was anxious that they should
understand and know the inconsistency and folly of that superstitious
faith by which they have been so egregiously deluded; that they might
learn to hate and loathe the falsely-named “Celestial” system of
marriage; and rising in honest indignation and disgust against the
tyranny of the oppressor, break asunder the yoke of bondage, cast from
them for ever the moral, religious, and social fetters wherewith they are
bound, and, walking in the light of truth, assert their perfect equality
with their sons, their husbands, their fathers, and their brethren, and
henceforth claim and occupy that position which God assigned them, and
which _by right_ is theirs!

In the second place, I was anxious to enlist for them the sympathy of the
Gentile world. Most strenuous efforts have been made, large sums of money
have been spent, and secret intrigues, as well as open and honourable
negotiations, have been carried on for the purpose of obtaining admission
for Utah into the Union, under the title of _The State of Deseret_. The
name “Deseret” itself is taken from the Book of Mormon, and is said
to signify in the celestial tongue a honey-bee; wherefore it is that
the escutcheon of Utah Territory is a bee-hive; and to grant that name
“Deseret” alone would be a concession to Mormon superstition. Out here
in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake we are perfectly well aware that,
with Utah once admitted as a State, it would be almost impossible for
Gentiles to live peaceably and safely among the Mormons; and of this fact
their leading men and their official organs have repeatedly boasted. With
Utah as a State, the enslavement of the people to the Priesthood would be
complete, and the cruel bondage of Polygamy would be rivetted a thousand
times more firmly upon the unfortunate women. I was anxious, therefore,
to attract the attention of Congress and the nation at large to these
facts; that thus, when Mormon bills and Mormon petitions, replete with
falsified statistics, and perverted, and—in many instances—utterly
untrue, statements are presented to the National Legislature, neither the
representatives of the nation nor the nation itself might be deceived
thereby. These were the two objects which I had proposed to myself in
writing my own experience as a wife and mother among the Mormons, and I
trust to some extent at least I have realized them.

I send forth this little book with many earnest prayers and many
heartfelt aspirations that my Mormon sisters may be benefited thereby.
Out of the evil which man originates, God alone can produce good; and I
trust that my feeble attempt to portray the cruel wrong which Polygamy
inflicts upon the women of Utah may excite the sympathy of every man
and woman whose influence may avail to hasten that time when this relic
of ancient barbarism may be utterly rooted out before the advancing
civilization of the age.

The night—the gloomy night of superstition—cannot last for ever. Already
there are signs of the coming dawn. The time, I trust and pray, will
not long be delayed when the veil shall be removed from the eyes of the
enslaved men and women of our modern Zion, and they shall cast aside for
ever the yoke of the Priesthood. I trust that I shall yet live to see the
day when the Mormon wives and mothers shall awake to a sense of their
position and responsibilities, shall understand that God never required
that their womanhood should be degraded, their love crushed out, and
the holiest instincts of their nature perverted; I trust to see them
assert their inalienable rights—their womanly prerogatives—their very
birthright itself; I trust to see them shake off the slavery of that
cruel superstition which has so long held them captive; I trust to see
them take their places side by side with Gentile matrons—the honoured
wives and mothers of the men of Utah; I trust to see that dark shadow
banished from their features, banished from their hearts, banished from
their lives; I trust to see them FREE!

Full of love for them—my sisters, my friends, the companions of my life
hitherto, whose religion was once my own, whose hopes and joys I have
shared, whose sorrows and trials have been also mine—with hopeful prayer
I lay down my pen and present my labours to the world. And if my humble
efforts shall have conduced, even in the smallest degree, to keep one
sister from entering into this sinful “Order”; if they shall have aroused
the women of Utah to investigate the foundations of their faith, to
calmly and impartially consider the iniquities of the system of Polygamy,
to renounce the man-made slavery of the “Celestial Order”; if I shall be
found to have awakened in the minds of thinking men and women a hatred
for the licentious doctrine which enslaves the wives and daughters of
the Saints; if I have to any extent enlisted active, practical sympathy
in their behalf, I shall feel that my endeavours have been abundantly
rewarded, and that my labours have not been bestowed in vain.


The publication of this book has probably contributed more to bring the
terrible realities of Mormon life to the knowledge of the public, and to
hasten their day of judgment, than has any other human agency.

The officers of justice in Utah were from that time urged to bring the
notorious criminals to justice, but many well-contrived plans for their
arrest failed in the accomplishment.

Unexpectedly, John D. Lee, the hero of the Mountain Meadows Massacre,
was, while visiting one of his wives, surprised and placed under
confinement in the U.S. Military Fort near Beaver City.

In the summer of 1875 a lengthy trial ensued, and as there were Mormons
among the jurors, they failed to agree in a verdict.

Public indignation grew intensely against the system of falsehood
constantly practised by the Mormon jurors, when the Church or any of its
leaders were interested in the courts, and a second trial of John D. Lee
was earnestly demanded.

During his first trial the Apostle George A. Smith, Brigham’s favourite
and counsellor, who was undoubtedly the instrument through whom Lee and
his associates had been “counselled” to destroy the emigrants, was still
living, and to screen him it was necessary that Lee should escape the
penalty of his crime.

Between the first and second trials of John D. Lee, Smith died, and
Lee might now confess what he pleased, for the link in the chain of
communication from Brigham Young to the murderers was for ever broken.

Continually striving to gain the admission of Utah into the Union as
a State, and being always met with a repulse based upon the wholesale
murder crimes in Utah that had gone unpunished, Brigham, having no longer
anything to fear from Lee’s confessions of his (Brigham’s) complicity
in the Mountain Meadows Massacre, resolved to sacrifice Lee to appease
the public clamour; accordingly the testimony from eye-witnesses was
overwhelming, and Lee was condemned by his own Mormon brethren, who for
nearly twenty years had carried in their minds this guilty evidence.

Lee was sentenced to be executed on the 23rd of March, 1877, and as he
had the choice of the manner of his death, he elected to be shot. The
court so approved, and ordered him to be, on the day named, taken to the
Mountain Meadows, where the great slaughter of the innocent men, women,
and children, had been consummated, to there meet his doom.

How truthfully I had told the story of this great crime will be seen
in the confession of Lee before his execution; and what a dreadful
commentary that document is on the Mormon Priesthood will be apparent to
every intelligent reader.

Under the name of a Prophet of Jesus Christ, Brigham Young could rule
with unchallenged sway hundreds of thousands of honest men and women, who
were born of Christian parents, and trained in the civilized customs of
Europe and America!

It would seem impossible, yet it is within this book revealed to be an
astounding and humiliating fact.

In the escort conducting Lee to the place of execution there were in all
about eighty persons, one of whom was a photographer, who deemed the
circumstance worthy perpetuation by the unerring camera. From one of
those present I copy the sketch of the ending of John D. Lee.

It was Friday morning when the party stopped at their destination, and
Lee was immediately ordered to descend from the waggon in which he rode,
which he did without delay.

Marshal Nelson then read the orders of the court regarding the execution,
and when the reading was concluded, Lee was asked if he had anything to
say. Just at this moment the photographer was arranging his camera to
take a picture of the prisoner. Lee caught sight of him, and pointing
to him said, “I want to see that man,” and added in a louder voice,
addressed to the photographer, “Come over here.”

Mr. Fennimore, the artist, replied, “In a second, Mr. Lee,” and very soon
after was by the side of Lee, who said,—

“I want to ask a favour of you, sir; I want you to furnish each of my
three wives with a copy of the photograph—one to Rachel A., Emma B., and
Sarah C.”

He had had in all eighteen wives; but only the three named remained.
Rachel was the oldest and most faithful to his interests.

The artist consented to do as he had been requested, and Lee then sat for
his picture, which was successfully taken. Then he arose and, looking
over those standing about, said,—

“I have but little to say this morning. Of course, I feel that I am upon
the brink of eternity, and the solemnity of eternity should rest upon my
mind at the present moment. I have made out, or endeavoured to do so, a
manuscript and an abridged history of my life. This will be published.
Sir, [turning to District Attorney Howard] I have given my views and
feelings with regard to all these things. I feel resigned to my fate. I
feel as calm as a summer morning. I have done nothing adversely wrong.
My conscience is clear before God and man, and I am ready to meet my
Redeemer. This it is that places me on this field. I am not an infidel;
I have not denied God or His mercy. I am a strong believer in these
things. The most I regret is parting with my family. Many of them are
unprotected, and will be left fatherless. When I speak of those little
ones, they touch a tender chord within me.”

At this moment his voice trembled, and he perceptibly faltered in his
words. He continued, however, as follows:—

“I have done nothing designedly wrong in this affair. I used my utmost
endeavours to save those people. I would have given worlds were they
at my command to have avoided that calamity, but I could not. I am
sacrificed to satisfy feelings, and am used to gratify parties; but I am
ready to die. I have no fear of death. It has no terrors for me; and no
particle of mercy have I asked for from court or officials to spare my
life. I do not fear death. I shall never go to a worse place than the one
I am now in. I have said it to my family, and I will say it to-day, that
the Government of the United States sacrifices their best friend, and
that is saying a great deal; but it is true. I am a true believer in the
Gospel of Jesus Christ. I do not believe everything that is now practised
and taught by Brigham Young. I do not agree with him. I believe he is
leading his people astray. But I believe in the gospel as taught in its
purity by Joseph Smith in former days. I have my reasons for saying this.
I used to make this man’s will my pleasure (evidently alluding to Brigham
Young), and did so for thirty years. See how and what I have come to
this day! I have been sacrificed in a cowardly, dastardly manner. There
are thousands of people in the Church—honourable, good-hearted—whom I
cherish in my heart. I regret to leave my family. They are near and dear
to me. These are things to rouse my sympathy. I declare I did nothing
designedly wrong in this unfortunate affair. I did everything in my power
to save all emigrants, but I am the one that must suffer. Having said
this I feel resigned. I ask the Lord, my God, to extend His mercy to me
and receive my spirit. My labours are here done.”

This ceremony, altogether, had occupied about an hour, and it was now
close upon eleven o’clock. The sun, which had been fitfully bright during
the morning, had become veiled behind a passing cloud, yet the sky was
only partially overcast, as down the horizon were bright streaks of
golden light; and the effect of light and shadow, as portrayed upon the
scene, soon to culminate in the execution of the law, was one that seemed
to be in full harmony with the painful silence that prevailed. Then it
was that the words upon the rude monument, which once had stood to mark
the spot of the massacre, came out with vivid force—

    “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.”

The stillness of the occasion was broken by Lee’s seating himself,
according to orders, upon the coffin provided for his burial. He tried
to appear calm as he faced the squad of soldiers whose rifles were
soon to discharge their contents into his body. A Methodist preacher,
Parson Stokes, then knelt beside the coffin and offered a short prayer,
following which a white handkerchief was placed over Lee’s eyes. While
the marshal was arranging the handkerchief, Lee said in a low but firm
tone of voice—“Let them shoot the balls through my heart; don’t let them
mangle my body.”

He was assured that the aim would be as true as possible, and the marshal
then stepped back and gave his order to the five riflemen who had been
selected to do the work,—

                           “READY! AIM! FIRE!”

The men made ready by raising their weapons to the shoulder, and then
took deliberate aim at the blindfolded man, who was about twenty feet
off, and at the word “fire!” the volley was discharged, with but a single
sound perceptible to the ear, and Lee fell back upon the coffin, dead,
without a cry or even a moan. He was shot through the heart, as he had
hoped to be, and died instantly. The marshal, after a few moments, viewed
the body, and said: “He is quite dead; the law is satisfied at last.”



In the month of September, 1857, the company of emigrants, known as the
“Arkansas Company,” arrived at Parowan, Iron county, Utah, on their
way to California. At Parowan young Aden, one of the company, saw and
recognized one William Laney, a Mormon resident of Parowan. Aden and his
father had rescued Laney from an anti-Mormon mob in Tennessee several
years before, and saved his life. He (Laney) at the time he was attacked
by the mob was a Mormon missionary in Tennessee. Laney was glad to see
his friend and benefactor, and invited him to his house and gave him some
“garden sauce” to take back to the camp with him. The same evening, it
was reported to Bishop (Colonel) Dame, that Laney had given potatoes and
onions to the man Aden, one of the emigrants. When the report was made
to Bishop Dame, he raised his hand and crooked his little finger in a
significant manner to one Barney Carter, his brother-in-law, and one of
the “Angels of Death.” Carter, without another word, walked out, went to
Laney’s house with a long picket in his hand, called Laney out and struck
him a heavy blow on the head, fracturing his skull, and left him on the
ground for dead. C. Y. Webb and Isaac Naoman, President of the “High
Council,” both told me they saw Dame’s manœuvres. James McGuffee, then
a resident of Parowan, but through oppression has been forced to leave
there and is now a merchant in Pahranagat Valley, near Pioche, Nev.,
knows these facts. About the last of August, 1857, some ten days before
the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the company of emigrants passed through
Cedar City. George A. Smith, then first counsellor in the Church and
Brigham Young’s right-hand man, came down from Salt Lake City, preaching
to the different settlements. I at that time was in Washington county,
near where St. George now stands. He sent for me. I went to him and
he asked me to take him to Cedar City by way of Fort Clara and Pinto
settlements, as he was on business and must visit all the settlements. We
started on our way up through the canyon. We saw herds of Indians, and he
(George A. Smith) remarked to me that these Indians, with the advantages
they had of the rocks, could use up a large company of emigrants, or
make it very hot for them. After pausing for a short time he said to me,
“Brother Lee, what do you think the brethren would do if a company of
emigrants should come down through here making threats? Don’t you think
they would pitch into them?” I replied that “they certainly would.” This
seemed to please him, and he again said to me, “And you really think the
brethren would pitch into them?” “I certainly do,” was my reply, “and
you had better instruct Colonel Dame and Haight to tend to it that the
emigrants are permitted to pass, if you want them to pass unmolested.”
He continued, “I asked Isaac (meaning Haight) the same question, and he
answered me just as you do, and I expect the boys would pitch into them.”
I again said to him that he had better say to Gov. Young that if he wants
emigrant companies to pass without molestation that he must instruct
Col. Dame or Major Haight to that effect; for if they are not ordered
otherwise they will use them up by the help of the Indians. He told the
people at the Clara not to sell their grain to the emigrants, nor to feed
it to their animals, as they might expect a big fight the next spring
with the United States. President Young did not intend to let the troops
into the territory. He said: “We are going to stand up for our rights,
and will no longer be imposed upon by our enemies, and want every man to
be on hand with his gun in good order and his powder dry,” and instructed
the people to part with nothing that would sustain life. From the 1st
to the 10th of September, 1857, a messenger came to me—his name was Sam
Wood—and told me that President Isaac C. Haight wanted me to be at Cedar
City that evening without fail. This was Saturday. He told me that a
large company of emigrants had gone south. I think he lived at Harmony,
twenty miles south of Cedar City.

I obeyed the summons. President Haight met me. It was near sundown. We
spent the night in an open house on some blankets, where we talked most
all night. He told me that a company of emigrants had passed through
some two days before, threatening the Mormons with destruction, and
that one of them had said he had helped to kill old Joe Smith and his
brother Hyrum, that other members of the company of emigrants had helped
drive the Mormons out of Missouri; that others had said they had come
to help Johnson’s army clean the Mormons out of Utah; that they had the
halters ready to hang old Brigham and Heber, and would have them strung
up before the snow flew; that one of the emigrants called one of his
oxen (a pair of stags) “Brig.” and the other “Heber;” and that several
of the emigrants had used all kinds of threats and profanity. John M.
Higbee, the City Marshal, had informed them that it was a breach of the
city ordinance to use profane language, whereupon one of them replied
that he did not care a —— for the Mormon laws or the Mormons either;
that they had fought their way through the Indians, and would do it
through the —— Mormons; and if their god, old Brigham, and his priests
would not sell their provisions, by —— they would take what they wanted
any way they could get it; that thus enraged, one of them let loose his
long whip and killed two chickens, and threw them into the waggon; that
the widow Evans said, “Gentlemen, those are my chickens; please don’t
kill them; I am a poor widow;” that they ordered her to “shut up,” or
they would blow her —— brains out, etc.; that they had been raising
trouble with all the settlements and Indians on their way; that we were
threatened on the North by Johnson’s army; that now our safety depended
on prompt and immediate action; that a company of Indians had already
gone South from Parowan and Cedar City to surprise the emigrants, who
were then at the Mountain Meadows, and he wanted me to return home in
the morning (Sunday), and send Carl Schurtz (Indian interpreter) from
my home (Harmony), to raise the Indians South, at Harmony, Washington,
and Santa Clara, to join the Indians from the North and make the attack
upon the emigrants at the Meadows. I said to him, “Would it not be well
to hold a council of the brethren before making a move?” He replied that
“every true Latter-Day Saint that regarded their covenants knew well
their duty, and that the company of emigrants had forfeited their lives
by their acts,” and that Bishop P. K. Smith (Klingensmith) and Joel White
had already gone by way of Pinto, to raise the Indians in that direction,
and those that had gone from Parowan and here would make the attack, and
might be repulsed. “We can’t now delay for a council of the brethren.
Return immediately, and start Carl Schurtz; tell him that I ordered you
to tell him to go; and I want you to try and get there before the attack
is made, and make the plan for the Indians, and will send Nephi Johnson,
the interpreter, to the Meadows as soon as he can be got to help Carl
Schurtz manage the Indians.” I did just as I was ordered. The Indians
from the North and about Harmony had already started for the Meadows
before I reached home. Schurtz started immediately to do his part.

I arrived at home in the night, and remained till morning. I thought
over the matter, and the more I thought the more my feelings revolted
against such a horrid deed. Sleep had fled from me. I talked to my wife
Rachel about it. She felt as I did about it, and advised me to let them
do their own dirty work, and said that if things did not go just to
suit them the blame would be laid on me. She never did believe in blood
atonement, and said it was from the devil, and that she would rather
break such a covenant, if she had to die for so doing, than to live and
be guilty of doing such an act. I finally concluded that I would go; that
I would start by daybreak in the morning, and try to get there before an
attack was made on the company, and use my influence with the Indians
to let them alone. I crossed the mountains by a trail, and reached the
Meadows between nine and ten in the morning, the distance from my place
being about twenty-five miles. But I was too late. The attack had been
made just before daybreak in the morning, the Indians repulsed, with one
killed and two of their chiefs from Cedar City shot through the legs,
breaking a leg for each of them. The Indians were in a terrible rage. I
went to some of them that were in a ravine. They told me to go to the
main body, or they would kill me for not coming before the attack was
made. While I was standing there I received a shot just above the belt,
cutting through my clothes to the skin, some six inches across. The
Indians with whom I was talking lived with me at Harmony. I was Indian
Farmer. They told me I was in danger, and to get down into the ravine.
I said that it was impossible for me to do anything there, and I dare
not venture to the camp of the emigrants without endangering my life.
I mounted my horse and started south to meet Carl Schurtz. I travelled
sixteen miles and stopped on the Megotsy to bait my animal, as there
was good grass and water. I had rode over forty miles without eating or
drinking. This is the place where Mr. Tobin met his assassinators. About
sunset I saw Schurtz and some ten or fifteen white men and about one
hundred and fifty Indians. We camped.

During the night the Indians left for the Meadows. I reported to the men
what had taken place. They attacked the emigrants again, about sunrise
the next morning, which was Tuesday, and had one of their number killed
and several wounded. I, with the white men, reached the Meadows about one
o’clock p.m. On the way we met a small band of Indians returning, with
some eighteen or twenty head of cattle. One of the Indians was wounded
in the shoulder. They told me that the Indians were encamped east of the
emigrants, at some springs. On our arrival at the springs we found some
two hundred Indians, among whom were the two wounded chiefs, Moqueetus
and Bill. The Indians were in a high state of excitement; had killed many
cattle and horses belonging to the company. I counted sixty head near
their encampment, that they had killed in revenge for the wounding of
their men. By the assistance of Oscar Hamblin (brother of Jacob Hamblin)
and Schurtz, we succeeded in getting the Indians to desist from killing
any more stock that night. The company of emigrants had corraled all
their waggons but one for better defence. This corral was about one
hundred yards above the springs. This they did to get away from the
ravine and from the rocks on the west. The attack was renewed that night
by the Indians, in spite of all we could do to prevent it.

When the attack commenced, Oscar Hamblin, William Young, and myself
started to go to the Indians. When opposite the corral, on the north,
the bullets came around us like a shower of hail. We had two Indians
with us to pilot us; they threw themselves flat on the ground to protect
themselves from the bullets. I stood erect and asked my Father in heaven
to protect me from the missiles of death, and enable me to reach the
Indians. One ball passed through my hat and the hair of my head, and
another through my shirt, grazing my arm near the shoulder. A most
hideous yell of the Indians commenced. The cries and shrieks of the
women and children so overcame me that I forgot my danger and rushed
through the fire to the Indians, and pleaded with them, in tears, to
desist. I told them that the Great Spirit would be angry with them for
killing women and little children. They told me to leave or they would
serve me the same way, and that I was not their friend, but a friend
of their enemies; that I was a squaw, and did not have the heart of a
brave, and that I could not see blood shed without crying like a baby,
and called me cry-baby, and by that name I am known by all the Indians
to this day. I owe my life on that occasion to Oscar Hamblin, who was a
missionary with the Indians, and had much influence with the Santa Clara
Indians. They were the ones that wanted to kill me. Hamblin shamed them,
and called them dogs and wolves for wanting to shed the blood of their
father (myself), who had fed and clothed them. We finally prevailed on
them to return to camp, where we would hold a council; that I would send
for big Captains to come and talk. We told them that they had punished
the emigrants enough, and may be they had killed nearly all of them. We
told them that Bishop Dame and President Haight would come, and may be
they would give them part of the cattle, and let the company go with the
teams. In this way we reconciled them to suspend hostilities for the
present. The two that had been with Hamblin and myself the night before
said they had seen two men on horseback come out of the emigrant’s camp
under full speed, and that they went toward Cedar City.

Wednesday morning I asked a man—I think his name was Edwards—to go to
Cedar City and say to President Haight, for God’s sake, for my sake,
and for the sake of suffering humanity, to send out men to rescue that
company. This day we all lay still, waiting orders. Occasionally a few
of the Indians withdrew, taking a few head of animals with them. About
noon I crossed the valley north of the corral, thinking to examine their
location from the west range. The company recognized me as a white man,
and sent two little boys, about four years old, to meet me. I hid from
them, fearing the Indians, who discovered the children. I called the
Indians, who wanted my gun or ammunition to kill them. I prevailed with
them to let the children go back to camp, which they very soon did when
they saw the Indians. I crept up behind some rock, on the west range,
where I had a full view of the corral. In it they had dug a rifle-pit.
The wheels of their waggons were chained together, and the only chance
for the Indians was to starve them out, or shoot them as they went for
water. I lay there some two hours, and contemplated their situation,
and wept like a child. When I returned to camp, some six or eight men
had come from Cedar City. Joel White, William C. Stewart, and Elliot C.
Weldon, were among the number, but they had no orders. They had come
merely to see how things were. The Meadows are about fifty miles from
Cedar City. Thursday afternoon the messenger from Cedar City returned. He
said that President Haight had gone to Parowan to confer with Col. Dame,
and a company of men and orders would be sent on to-morrow (Friday);
that up to the time he had left, the council had come to no definite
conclusion. During this time the Indians and men were engaged in broiling
beef and making up their hides into lassos. I had flattered myself that
bloodshed was at an end. After the emigrants saw me cross the valley,
they hoisted a white flag in the midst of their corral.

Friday afternoon four waggons drove up with armed men. When they saw the
white flag in the corral, they raised one also, but drove to the springs
where we were, and took refreshment, after which a council meeting was
called of Presidents, Bishops, and other Church officers and members
of the High Council, societies, High Priests, &c. Major John M. Higbee
presided as chairman. Several of the dignitaries bowed in prayer, invoked
the aid of the Holy Spirit to prepare their minds, and guide them to do
right, and carry out the counsels of their leaders. Higbee said that
“President J. C. Haight had been to Parowan to confer with Col. Dame and
their counsel, and orders were that, this emigrant camp must be used
up.” I replied, “Men, women, and children?” “All,” said he, “except such
as are too young to tell tales; and if the Indians cannot do it without
help, we must help them.” I commenced pleading for the company, and I
said, though some of them have behaved badly, they have been pretty well
chastised. My policy would be to draw off the Indians, let them have a
portion of the loose cattle, and withdraw with them, under promise that
they would not molest the company any more; that the company would then
have teams enough left to take them to California. I told them that this
course could not bring them into trouble. Higbee said, “White men have
interposed, and the emigrants know it, and there lies the danger in
letting them go.” I said, “What white man interfered?” He replied that in
the attack on Tuesday night two men broke out of the corral and started
for Cedar City on horseback; that they were met at Richey’s Spring by
Stewart, Joel White, and another man, whose name has passed from me.
Stewart asked the two men their names when they met at the spring, and
being told in reply by one of the men that his name was Aden, and that
the other was a Dutchman from the emigrant’s company, Stewart shoved a
pistol to Aden’s breast, and killed him, saying, “Take that, —— you.”
The other man (the Dutchman) wheeled to leave as Joel White fired and
wounded him. I asked him how he knew the wounded Dutchman got back to
the emigrants’ camp. He said because he was tracked back, and they knew
he was there. I again said that it was better to deliver the man to them,
and let them do anything they wished with them, and tell them that we did
not approve such things. Ira Allen, high councillor, and Robert Wiley,
and others, spoke, reproving me sharply for trying to dictate to the
priesthood; that it would set at naught all authority; that he would not
give the life of one of our brethren for a thousand such persons. “If we
let them go,” he continued, “they will raise hell in California, and the
result will be that our wives and children will have to be butchered,
and ourselves too, and they are no better to die than ours, and I am
surprised to hear Brother Lee talk as he does, as he, who has always been
considered one of the staunchest in the Church, now is the first to shirk
from his duty.” I said, “Brethren, the Lord must harden my heart before
I can do such a thing.” Allen said, “It is not wicked to obey counsel.”
At this juncture I withdrew, walked off some fifty paces, and prostrated
myself on the ground and wept in the bitter anguish of my soul, and asked
the Lord to avert that evil.

While in that situation Councillor C. Hopkins, a near friend of mine,
came to me and said, “Brother Lee, come, get up, and don’t draw off
from the priesthood. You ought not to do so. You are only endangering
your own life by standing out. You can’t help it, if this is wrong; the
blame won’t rest on you.” I said, “Charley, this is the worst move this
people ever made; I feel it.” He said, “Come, go back, and let them have
their way.” I went back, weeping like a child, and took my place, and
tried to be silent, and was until Higbee said, they (the emigrants) must
be decoyed out through pretended friendship. I could no longer hold my
peace, and said I, “Joseph Smith said that God hated a traitor, and so
do I: before I would be a traitor, I would rather take ten men, and go
to that camp and tell them they must die, and now to defend themselves,
and give them a show for their lives; that would be more honourable
than to betray them like Judas.” Here I got another reproof, and was
ordered to hold my peace. The plan agreed upon there was to meet them
with a flag of truce, tell them that the Indians were determined on their
destruction; that we dare not oppose the Indians, for we were at their
mercy; that the best we could do for them (the emigrants) was to get
them and what few traps we could take in the waggons, to lay their arms
in the bottom of the waggon and cover them up with bed-clothes, and
start for the settlement as soon as possible, and to trust themselves
in our hands. The small children and wounded were to go with the two
waggons, the women to follow the waggons, and the men next, the troops to
stand in readiness on the east side of the road ready to receive them.
Schurtz and Nephi Johnson were to conceal the Indians in the brush and
rocks till the company was strung out on the road to a certain point,
and at the watchword, “Halt; do your duty!” each man was to cover his
victim and fire. Johnson and Schurtz were to rally the Indians, and rush
upon and despatch the women and larger children. It was further told
the men that President Haight said, if we were united in carrying out
the instructions, we would all receive “celestial reward.” I said I was
willing to put up with a less reward if I could be excused. “How can you
do this without shedding innocent blood?” Here I got another lampooning
for my stubbornness and disobedience to the priesthood. I was told that
there was not a drop of innocent blood in the whole company of emigrants.
Also referred to the Gentile nations who refused the children of Israel
passage through their country when Moses led them out of Egypt—that
the Lord held that crime against them, and when Israel waxed strong
the Lord commanded Joshua to slay the whole nation, men, women, and
children. “Have not these people done worse than that to us? Have they
not threatened to murder our leaders and prophets, and have they not
boasted of murdering our patriarchs and prophets, Joseph and Hyrum? Now
talk about shedding innocent blood.” They said I was a good, liberal,
free-hearted man, but too much of this sympathy would be always in the
way; that every man now had to show his colours; that it was not safe
to have a Judas in camp. Then it was proposed that every man express
himself; that if there was a man who would not keep a close mouth, they
wanted to know it then. This gave me to understand what I might expect
if I continued to oppose. Major Higbee said, “Brother Lee is right. Let
him take an expression of the people.” I knew I dared not refuse; so I
had every man speak and express himself. All said they were willing to
carry out the counsel of their leaders; that the leaders had the spirit
of God, and knew better what was right than they did. They then wanted to
know my feelings. I replied, I have already expressed them. Every eye was
upon me as I paused; “but,” said I, “you can do as you please; I will not
oppose you any longer.” “Will you keep a close mouth?” was the question.
“I will try,” was my answer. I will here say that the fear of offending
Brigham Young and George A. Smith had saved my life. I was near being
“blood-atoned” in Parowan, under J. C. L. Smith, in 1854, but on this I
have spoken in my autobiography.

Saturday morning all was ready, and every man assigned to his post of
duty. During the night, or rather just before daylight, Johnson and
Schurtz ambushed their Indians, the better to deceive the emigrants.
About 11 o’clock a.m. the troops under Major Higbee took their position
on the road. The white flag was still kept up in the corral. Higbee
called William Bateman out of the ranks to take a flag of truce to the
corral. He was met about half way with another white flag from the
emigrants’ camp. They had a talk. The emigrant was told we had come to
rescue them if they would trust us. Both men with flags returned to
their respective places and reported, and were to meet again and bring
word. Higbee called me out to go and inform them the conditions, and if
accepted, Dan McFarland, brother to John McFarland, lawyer, who acted
as aid-de-camp, would bring back word, and then the waggons would be
sent for the firearms, children, clothing, etc. I obeyed, and the terms
proposed were accepted, but not without distrust. I had as little to say
as possible; in fact, my tongue refused to perform its office. I sat down
on the ground in the corral, near where some young men were engaged in
paying their last respects to some person who had just died of a wound.
A large fleshy old lady came to me twice, and talked while I sat there.
She related their troubles; said that seven of their number were killed,
and forty-seven wounded on the first attack; that several had died since.
She asked me if I were an Indian agent. I said, “In one sense I am, as
Government has appointed me farmer to the Indians.” I told her this to
satisfy her. I heard afterwards that the same question was asked and
answered in the same manner by McFarland, who had been sent by Higbee to
the corral to “hurry me up, for fear that the Indians would come back and
be upon them.”

When all was ready, Samuel McMurdy, counsel to Bishop P. K. Smith
(Klingensmith), drove out on the lead. His waggon had the seventeen
children, clothing, and arms. Samuel Knight drove the other team, with
five wounded men and one boy about fifteen years old. I walked behind the
front waggon to direct the course, and to shun being in the heat of the
slaughter; but this I kept to myself. When we got turned fairly to the
east, I motioned to McMurdy to steer north, across the valley. I, at the
same time, told the women, who were next to the waggon, to follow the
road up to the troop, which they did. Instead of saying to McMurdy not to
drive so fast (as he swore on my trial), I said to the contrary, to drive
on, as my aim was to get out of sight before the firing commenced, which
we did. We were about half a mile ahead of the company when we heard the
first firing. We drove over a ridge of rolling ground, and down on a
low flat. The firing was simultaneous along the whole line. The moment
the firing commenced McMurdy halted and tied his lines across the rod
of the waggon-box, stepped down coolly with double-barrelled shot-gun,
walked back to Knight’s waggon, who had the wounded men, and was about
twenty feet in the rear. As he raised his piece, he said, “Lord, my God,
receive their spirits, for it is for the kingdom of heaven’s sake that we
do this,” fired and killed two men. Samuel Knight had a muzzle-loading
rifle, and he shot and killed the three men, then struck the wounded boy
on the head, who fell dead. In the meantime I drew a five-shooter from
my belt, which accidentally went off, cutting across McMurdy’s buskin
pantaloons in front, below the crotch. McMurdy said, “Brother Lee, you
are excited; take things cool; you was near killin’ me. Look where the
bullet cut,” pointing to the place in his pantaloons. At this moment I
heard the scream of a child. I looked up and saw an Indian have a little
boy by the hair of his head, dragging him out of the hind end of the
waggon, with a knife in his hand, getting ready to cut his throat. I
sprang for the Indian with my revolver in hand, and shouted to the top
of my voice, “Arick, oomo, cot too sooet” (stop, you fool!). The child
was terror-stricken. His chin was bleeding. I supposed it was the cut
of a knife, but afterwards learned that it was done on the waggon-box,
as the Indian yanked the boy down by the hair of the head. I had no
sooner rescued this child than another Indian seized a little girl by
the hair. I rescued her as soon as I could speak; I told the Indians
that they must not hurt the children—that I would die before they should
be hurt; that we would buy the children of them. Before this time the
Indians had rushed around the waggon in quest of blood, and despatched
the two runaway wounded men. In justice to my statement I would say
that if my shooter had not prematurely exploded, I would have had a
hand in despatching the five wounded. I had lost control of myself, and
scarce knew what I was about. I saw an Indian pursue a little girl who
was fleeing. He caught her about one hundred feet from the waggon, and
plunged his knife through her. I said to McMurdy that he had better drive
the children to Hamblin’s ranch, and give them some nourishment, while I
would go down and get my horse at the camp. Passing along the road I saw
the dead strung along the distance of about half a mile. The women and
children were killed by the Indians. I saw Schurtz with the Indians, and
no other white man with them. When I came to the men, they lay about a
rod apart. Here I came up with Higbee, Bishop Smith, and the rest of the

As I came up, Higbee said to me, “Let us search these persons for
valuables,” and asked me to assist him; gave me a hat to hold. Several
men were already engaged in searching the bodies. I replied that I was
unwell, and wanted to get upon my horse and go to the ranch and nurse
myself. My request was granted. Reaching Hamblin’s ranch—being heartsick
and worn out—I lay down on my saddle-blanket and slept, and knew but
little of what passed during the night.

About daybreak in the morning, I heard the voices of Col. Dame and Isaac
C. Haight. I heard some very angry words pass between them, which drew
my attention. Dame said he would have to report the destruction of the
emigrant camp and company. Haight said, “How, as an Indian massacre?”
Dame said he did not know so well about that. This reply seemed to
irritate Haight, who spoke quite loudly, saying, “How the —— can you
report it any other way without implicating yourself?” At this Dame
lowered his voice almost to a whisper; I could not understand what he
said, and the conversation stopped.

I got up, saw the children, and among the others the boy who was pulled
by the hair of his head out of the waggon by the Indian and saved by me;
that boy I took home and kept until Dr. Forney, Government agent, came
to gather up the children and take them East; he took the boy with the
others; that boy’s name was William Fancher; his father was captain of
the train; he was taken East and adopted by a man in Nebraska, named
Richard Sloan; he remained East several years, and then returned to Utah,
and is now a convict in the Utah Penitentiary, having been convicted the
past year for the crime of highway robbery. He is now known by the name
of “Idaho Bill,” but his true name is William Fancher. His little sister
was also taken East, and is now the wife of a man working for the Union
Pacific Railroad Company, near Green River. The boy (now man) has yet got
the scar on his chin caused by the cut on the waggon-box, and those who
are curious enough to examine will find a large scar on the ball of his
left foot, caused by a deep cut made by an axe while he was with me.

I got breakfast that morning. Then all hands returned to the scene of
the slaughter to bury the dead. The bodies were all in a nude state.
The Indians, through the night, had stripped them of every vestige of
clothing. Many of the parties were laughing and talking as they carried
the bodies to the ravine for burial. They were just covered over a
little, but did not long remain so; for the wolves dug them up, and,
after eating the flesh from them, the bones laid upon the ground until
buried, some time after, by a Government military officer. At the time of
burying the bodies Dame and Haight got into another quarrel. Dame seemed
to be terror-stricken, and again said he would have to publish it. They
were about two paces from me. Dame spoke low, as if careful to avoid
being heard. Haight spoke loud, and said, “You know that you counselled
it, and ordered me to have them used up.” Dame said, “I did not think
that there were so many women and children. I thought they were nearly
all killed by the Indians.” Haight said, “It is too late in the day for
you to back water. You know you ordered and counselled it, and now you
want to back out.” Dame said, “Have you the papers for that?” or “Show
the papers for that.” This enraged Haight to the highest pitch, and Dame
walked off. Haight said, “You throw the blame of this thing on me, and
I will be revenged upon you, if I have to meet you in hell to get it.”
From this place we rode to the waggons; we found them stripped of their
covers and every particle of clothing, even the feather beds had been
ripped open and the contents turned upon the ground, looking for plunder.
I crossed the mountains by an Indian trail, taking my little Indian boy
with me on my horse. The gathering up of the property and cattle was left
in the charge of Bishop P. K. Smith. The testimony of Smith in regard to
the property and the disposition of it was very nearly correct.

I must not forget to state, that after the attack a messenger by the
name of James Haslem was sent with a despatch to President Brigham
Young, asking his advice about interfering with the company, but he did
not return in time. This I had no knowledge of until the massacre was
committed. Some two weeks after the deed was done, Isaac C. Haight sent
me to report to Governor Young in person. I asked him why he did not send
a written report. He replied that I could tell him more satisfactorily
than he could write, and if I would stand up and shoulder as much of the
responsibility as I could conveniently, that it would be a feather in
my cap some day, and that I would get a celestial salvation, but that
the man who shrank from it now would go to hell. I went and did as I was
commanded. Brigham asked me if Isaac C. Haight had written a letter to
him. I replied, not by me, but I said he wished me to report in person.
“All right,” said Brigham; “were you an eye-witness?” “To the most of
it,” was my reply. Then I proceeded and gave him a full history of all
except that of my opposition. That I left out entirely. I told him of
the killing of the women and children, and the betraying of the company.
That, I told him, I was opposed to, but I did not say to him to what
extent I was opposed to it, only that I was opposed to shedding innocent
blood. “Why,” said he, “you differ from Isaac (Haight), for he said
there was not a drop of innocent blood in the whole company.” When I was
through, he said that it was awful; that he cared nothing about the men,
but the women and children was what troubled him. I said, “President
Young, you should either release men from their obligation or sustain
them when they do what they have entered into the most sacred obligations
to do.” He replied, “I will think over the matter, and make it a subject
of prayer, and you may come back in the morning and see me.” I did so,
and he said, “John, I feel first-rate; I asked the Lord if it was all
right for that deed to be done, to take away the vision of the deed from
my mind, and the Lord did so, and I feel first-rate. It is all right.
The only fear I have is of traitors.” He told me never to lisp it to
any mortal being, not even to Brother Heber. President Young has always
treated me with the friendship of a father since, and has sealed several
women to me since, and has made my house his home when in that part of
the territory, until danger has threatened him. This is a true statement
according to the best of my recollection.

                                                             JOHN D. LEE.


Enough has been already written to satisfy all with whom facts have any
weight that the Mormonism which claims in Europe to be “of Christ,” is in
Utah a despotism of the harshest character, allied to falsehood, murder,
and the worst of crimes that degrade human nature. And here would I rest
my pen; but it seems that one other episode in Utah life should still be
added, showing as it does the intolerance of the ruling Mormon Priesthood
when their own sway is challenged.

Thirty-five miles north of Salt Lake City—a short distance from where
the Union Pacific debouches from Weber Canyon—a Welchman named Joseph
Morris had found eager listeners to new revelations. The Bishop of
Kington Fort, Richard Cook, formerly a noted Missionary in Manchester,
England, and a number of intelligent men and women, received gladly the
new prophet who had been raised up by “the Lord” to “deliver Israel
from bondage.” Numerous believers in a very short time gathered from
various parts of the territory, and Kington fort, on the Weber, became an
important place. Morris abounded with revelations. His “gifts” exceeded
in profusion those of all who had ever gone before him. The founder of
Mormonism was nothing in comparison with his disciple from Wales. The
adherents of the new prophet were perfectly overjoyed at the abundance
of light that now shone upon their path, and some very intelligent men
gathered to the Weber. Three English and three Danish clerks were daily
employed in writing the heavenly communications from the mouth of the
new prophet. Brigham had been barren—Morris was overflowing. The new
disciples “consecrated” all they possessed to a common fund. Christ
was seen to descend among them, and their wants would only be of short
duration. As “the Lord” tarried, the enthusiasm of some of the converts
cooled, and here began the difficulty with the new prophet. It became
a question how much of their property they could reclaim. It had all
been “consecrated.” The leading men of the sect decided to let them
peacefully retire; but it was expected that they would honestly meet
their accrued share of the obligations of the little colony. Some of them
proved dishonest, and attempted to take away better cattle than they had
brought, and they refused to make allowance for the support they had
derived from the property of others. A feud arose, the dissenters applied
to the Mormon Courts, and the latter were pleased with the opportunity
afforded. Writs were issued, served and repulsed. The dissenters waited
for the chance of seizing the moveable property of the colony, and as
wheat was sent to mill they pounced upon it, and took teams and waggons
as well. On one occasion the Morrisites arose early in the morning, and
spread themselves over the country, keeping within view of the advancing
teams. As the dissenter and two others pounced upon the convoy the second
time, up sprang the Morrisites from places of concealment, and took them
prisoners. They were taken to Kington Fort and imprisoned. The friends of
the captured men sought their release ineffectually, for the Sheriff in
that country could do nothing. One or two of the wives of the prisoners
went to Brigham, but he refused to interfere. He was too shrewd to meddle
directly in the affair. Justice Kinney was next visited. As judge of that
judicial district a petition was filed before him, setting forth that
these men were kept in close confinement and heavily ironed by order of
Joseph Morris, John Banks, and Richard Cook. On the 24th of May, 1862,
a writ of habeas corpus was issued to the Territorial Marshal, and by
his deputy served, but no attention was paid to it. On the 11th of June
a second writ was issued and was also disregarded. Kinney was intensely
indignant, and insisted upon the militia being called out as a posse
comitatus to accompany the Territorial Marshal. Acting Governor Fuller
issued the necessary order. The Morrisites had been warned by the “Lord”
that the “Brighamites” were plotting their destruction, and accordingly
purchased all the rifles and ammunition possible. Early on the morning of
the 13th of June an armed posse were seen on South Mountain overlooking
the Morrisite community, and the following proclamation was sent to the
Morrisites by one of their herd-boys:

                       Head-quarters, Marshal’s Posse, Weber River,
                                                     June 13, 1862.

    _To Joseph Morris, John Banks, Richard Cook, John Parsons, and
    Peter Klemgard_:

    Whereas you have heretofore disregarded and defied the
    judicial officers and laws of the Territory of Utah: and
    whereas certain writs have been issued for you from the Third
    Judicial District Court of said Territory, and a sufficient
    force furnished by the executive of the same to enforce
    the laws. This is therefore to notify you to peaceably and
    quietly surrender yourselves and the prisoners in your
    custody forthwith. An answer is required in thirty minutes
    after the receipt of this document; if not, forcible measures
    will be taken for your arrest. Should you disregard this
    proposition and place your lives in jeopardy, you are hereby
    required to remove your women and children: and all persons
    peaceably disposed are hereby notified to forthwith leave your
    encampment, and are informed that they can find protection with
    this posse.

                                                 H. W. LAWRENCE,
                                             _Territorial Marshal_.

    Per R. T. Burton and Theodore McKean, deputies.

A gentleman who was then in the Morrisites camp has furnished the
author with the following statement:—Morris, a firm believer in the
revelations he received, remarked, in answer to the inquiry “What shall
be done?” that he would “go and inquire of the Lord.” He was soon heard
in solemn and earnest prayer. In the meantime word was sent round the
camp for the people to at once assemble in meeting and consult on the
question. Women and children came together hurriedly, yet there was no
excitement, and soon the Bowery was well filled. Morris was seen to come
out from his dwelling with a paper in his hand. This paper proved to
be a written revelation. His council were awaiting him. The revelation
was read to the council, and a peculiar document it was. It purported
to be from God, who was represented as being pleased with his faithful
people there, and as having brought the posse against them to show his
own power in the complete destruction of their enemies. It also promised
that now the triumph of his people should come. Their enemies should be
smitten before them, but that not one of his faithful people should be
destroyed—that “not a hair of their heads should be harmed.” The council
at once stepped out into the Bowery, close to which lived all the leading
men, and, to save time, singing was omitted, and the meeting was opened
briefly by prayer. John Parsons (previously a noted Mormon preacher
in London), in his clear sonorous voice, then read the revelation. R.
Cook arose to consult with the people as to which should be obeyed—the
proclamation demanding the surrender of the prisoners held in custody
of Peter Klemgard, and four of the leading men of the Church, or the
revelation forbidding the surrender of these men. Before the people had a
chance to speak or vote, or do anything at all in the matter, the booming
sound of a cannon was heard, and screams arose from the third seat from
the stand in the Bowery, and instantly two women were seen dead in the
congregation, and the lower jaw, hanging only by a small strip of skin,
was shot off a young girl of from twelve to fifteen years of age. It
was the fearful and heart-rending screams of this girl that stopped the
meeting. The people arose in utter confusion. Cook, still on his feet,
suggested to all to go at once to their homes, and that each man should
take care of his own family as best he could. Never was a revelation
more immediately falsified, for scarcely had the promise of absolute
safety been made than sudden destruction came. Panic-stricken men and
women rushed hither and thither, some seeking safety in cellars, some in
potato-pits; in short, anywhere or in any place in which security could
be either reasonably or unreasonably hoped for. The first shot was in a
few minutes followed by another and still another, and the attack was
continued. The posse drew nearer and nearer, and the firing was kept
up incessantly both with cannon and musketry. Had Burton or McKean had
the pluck of a common constable, they could have gone safely into the
fort, served the summons, and saved all effusion of blood. There was
not a Morrisite in the fort that was armed or thought of arming. They
met to consider the question, and to pray over it. About an hour and
a half after the firing commenced they got their arms and effected an
organization, and a regular defence was made. After fighting three days
they raised the white flag, and ceased firing. Cautiously Burton and his
aids, with a number of men, entered into the camp, and then transpired a
bloody scene, concerning which the following affidavit has been made:

                  United States of America, Territory of Utah, S.S.

    Alexander Dow, of said territory, being duly sworn, says: “In
    the spring of 1861 I joined the Morrisites, and was present
    when Joseph Morris was killed. The Morrisites had surrendered,
    a white flag was flying, and the arms were all grounded and
    guarded by a large number of the posse. Robert T. Burton
    and Judson L. Stoddard rode in among the Morrisites. Burton
    was excited. He said, “Where is the man? I don’t know him.”
    Stoddard replied, “That’s him,” pointing to Morris. Barton
    rode his horse upon Morris, and commanded him to give himself
    up in the name of the Lord. Morris replied, “No, never, never!”
    Morris said he wanted to speak to the people. Burton said, “Be
    d—d quick about it.” Morris said, “Brethren, I’ve taught you
    true principles.” He had scarcely got the words out of his
    mouth before Burton fired his revolver. The ball passed in his
    neck or shoulder. Burton exclaimed, “There’s your prophet.” He
    fired again, saying, “What do you think of your prophet now?”
    He then turned suddenly and shot Banks, who was standing five
    or six paces distant. Banks fell. Mrs. Bowman, wife of James
    Bowman, came running up crying, “Oh, you bloodthirsty wretch!”
    Burton said, “No one shall tell me that and live,” and shot her
    dead. A Danish woman then came running up to Morris, crying,
    and Burton shot her dead also. Burton could easily have taken
    Morris and Banks prisoners, if he had tried. I was standing but
    a few feet from Burton all this time. And further saith not.

                                                     ALEXANDER DOW.

    Subscribed and sworn before me, this 18th day of April, A.D.

                                              CHARLES B. WAITE,
                                          _Associate Justice, U.T._

In the fight two of the Marshal’s posse were killed, and six of the
Morrisites, and three of the latter were wounded. Only one in the
Morrisite camp was killed by rifle-ball. It was the cannon at long range
that did the damage. The first shot killed two women as before stated,
and wounded a girl; another cannon-ball killed a woman and her child in
the “wickiup.” The mother-in-law of the new prophet was also killed in
her “wickiup.” A little infant had two narrow escapes. The first shot
killed its mother, Mrs. Marsh, while it was in her arms, and it was in
the arms of Mrs. Bowman when she was shot down. After the surrender all
the prisoners were marched to Salt Lake on the 17th, and on the 18th they
were examined before Judge Kinney in chambers, and placed under bonds
to appear at the next regular term of Court. In urging measures against
the Morrisites, Kinney claimed to be satisfied that he did only do his
duty. It is difficult to see how he could long be passive when the order
of his Court was disregarded. Burton committed the atrocity of which he
is accused most undoubtedly, and it was the work of a devoted fanatic,
who, seeking to please the Prophet Brigham, did not hesitate to do so by
ridding him of a troublesome rival. That John Banks was foully dealt with
there seems little room to doubt. He was wounded at the time of Morris’s
death, but not fatally. The manner of his “taking off” only is obscure.
In the evening he was well enough to sit up and enjoy his pipe. Suddenly
he died. Was he poisoned, shot, or “knifed?” is the only query. It is
generally believed that Dr. Clinton “knifed him.” Banks was among the
first to receive Mormonism in Preston, Lancashire, England. He was soon
ordained a high-priest, and during many years of labour among the Saints
he had presided over the largest conferences in Britain, and at one time
was one of the Presidency over the whole Church there. He was the most
eloquent preacher that was ever in the Mormon Church. As his faith waned
in Mormonism he was painfully grieved, and at times became intemperate.
Before he was a Mormon he had been a Chartist, and the “despotism” of the
ruling Priesthood was irksome to him. Years before he left England for
Zion he silently mourned over the one-man power. His best life had been
spent for Mormonism, and he was then too far advanced in years to begin
a new life, and he emigrated to Zion when ordered, hoping that his fears
might be removed by better experience. Brigham Young was personally kind
to him after he arrived at Salt Lake, and sought to help him over his
material troubles; but there was in the heart of John Banks more than he
could tell the Prophet. When he heard Morris, it was the opening of a
fresh career to him, and he eagerly embraced the new faith.

Before the regular session of the Third Judicial District Court, at
which the Morrisites were to be tried, an element was imported into
Utah that was destined to trouble the happiness of the Prophet. A new
Governor, in the person of Stephen S. Harding, of Indiana, was appointed
to succeed Dawson; and Thomas J. Drake of Michigan and Charles B. Waite
of Illinois, were appointed Associate Justices. At the same time a body
of California volunteers, under command of Colonel Connor, were sent on
the overland mail route to protect that and the telegraph line across
the Plains, but the Commander had also instructions to establish posts
near Salt Lake City. At the March session of the Third Judicial District
Court the Morrisites were tried. Ten of them were indicted for killing
two of the posse during the flight; seven of these were convicted, one
was “nolled,” and two were acquitted. Sixty-six others were fined $100
each for resisting the posse. Of the seven convicted of “murder in the
second degree,” one was sentenced to fifteen years’ imprisonment, one to
twelve years, and five to ten years each. Governor Harding, regarding the
prisoners as deserving of clemency, pardoned them all. Most of those who
had professed the Morrisite faith, and who did not immediately leave the
Territory, found employment and refuge at Camp Douglas.

A month later, Colonel Connor took 250 of them and a company of the
California volunteers, to Soda Springs, where he established a post in
Idaho, immediately beyond the northern Territorial limits of Utah, and
the Morrisites have there lost their peculiarities among a more humane
population. After the “Morrisite war” Burton enjoyed the respect of the
community and the honours of the Church. Offices and appointments were
showered upon him, and wives multiplied in his household. If Brigham
was horrified at the murder of Morris, Banks, and the two women, he was
unfelicitous in its expression. Burton was, through his influence, made
United States Assessor of Internal Revenue, was made a Bishop of the
Church, and grew from Colonel Burton to Brigadier and Major-General.
He was made a member of the City Government and Sheriff of the county
of Great Salt Lake. His wealth increased with his honours, and he was
associated with Brigham in nearly all of his enterprises. About four
years ago the first move was made against him by the grand jury for the
murders on the Weber, and he managed to conceal himself for about a year,
and was sent on a mission “to preach the gospel” in England, with the
indictment for murder hanging over him. There he was further elevated,
and when he returned to “Zion” he was again honoured by being appointed
the second counsellor to the chief Bishop of the whole Mormon Church. For
the last eighteen months he has enjoyed perfect freedom, and has attended
to his numerous affairs with the utmost assurance that nothing could be
done with him, and in that he is probably correct, for nothing has ever
been done against a prominent Mormon like Burton when a jury had the
disposal of the business.

On the 6th of March, 1879, with all this evidence, and the testimony of
living eye-witnesses before them, Major-General Burton was acquitted, by
a jury in Salt Lake City, of the murder of Mrs. Bowman!


[1] I myself made a movement with my hand—for I believed that my life was
at stake, and I dared not do otherwise. The words of the oath I did not
utter. [See explanation at the end of the chapter.]

[2] _Mormonism Exposed_, p. 236.

[3] Besides poor Mary’s family, in _every_ other instance [with the
solitary exception of Sister Ann—my “talkative friend”—who is still
living, and is so well known in Salt Lake City], I have been as
scrupulous in giving _real_ names as I have been in stating only facts
which I had either witnessed or knew beyond question were true.


*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Englishwoman in Utah - The Story of A Life's Experience in Mormonism" ***

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