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- Under the Prophet in Utah - 1/45 -

Under the Prophet in Utah

The National Menace of a Political Priestcraft

By Frank J. Cannon Formerly United States Senator from Utah


Harvey J. O'Higgins Author "The Smoke-Eaters," "Don-a-Dreams," etc.



Note Introduction Foreword I In the Days of the Raid II On a Mission to Washington III Without a Country IV The Manifesto V On the Road to Freedom VI The Goal--and After VII The First Betrayals VIII The Church and the Interests IX At the Crossways X On the Downward Path XI The Will of the Lord XII The Conspiracy Completed. XIII The Smoot Exposure XIV Treason Triumphant XV The Struggle for Liberty XVI The Price of Protest XVII The New Polygamy XVIII The Prophet of Mammon XIX The Subjects of the Kingdom XX Conclusion


When Harvey J. O'Higgins was in Denver, in the spring of 1910, working with Judge Ben B. Lindsey on the manuscript of "The Beast and the Jungle," for Everybody's Magazine, he met the Hon. Frank J. Cannon, formerly United States Senator from Utah, and heard from him the story of the betrayal of Utah by the present leaders of the Mormon Church. This story the editor of Everybody's Magazine commissioned Messrs. Cannon and O'Higgins to write. They worked on it for a year, verifying every detail of it from government reports, controversial pamphlets, Mormon books of propaganda, and the newspaper files of current record. It ran through nine numbers of the magazine, and not so much as a successful contradiction was ever made of one of the innumerable incidents or accusations that it contains. It is here published in book form at somewhat greater length than the magazine could print it. It is a joint work, but the autobiographic "I" has been used throughout, because it is Mr. Cannon's personal narrative of his personal experience.


This is the story of what has been called "the great American despotism."

It is the story of the establishment of an absolute throne and dynasty by one American citizen over a half-million others.

And it is the story of the amazing reign of this one man, Joseph F. Smith, the Mormon Prophet, a religious fanatic of bitter mind, who claims that he has been divinely ordained to exercise the awful authority of God on earth over all the affairs of all mankind, and who plays the anointed despot in Utah and the surrounding states as cruelly as a Sultan and more securely than any Czar.

To him the Mormon people pay a yearly tribute of more than two million dollars in tithes; and he uses that income, to his own ends, without an accounting. He is president of the Utah branch of the sugar trust, and of the local incorporation's of the salt trust; and he supports the exaction's of monopoly by his financial absolutism, while he defends them from competition by his religious power of interdict and excommunication. He is president of a system of "company stores," from which the faithful buy their merchandise; of a wagon and machine company from which the Mormon farmers purchase their vehicles and implements; of life-insurance and fire-insurance companies, of banking institutions, of a railroad, of a knitting company, of newspapers, which the Mormon people are required by their Church to patronize, and through which they are exploited, commercially and financially, for the sole profit of the sovereign of Utah and his religious court.

He is the political Boss of the state, delivering the votes of his people by revelation of the Will of God, practically appointing the United States Senators from Utah--as he practically appoints the marshals, district attorneys, judges, legislators, officers and administrators of law throughout his "Kingdom of God on Earth"--and ruling the non-Mormons of Utah, as he rules his own people, by virtue of his political and financial partnership with the great "business interests" that govern and exploit this nation, and his Kingdom, for their own gain, and his.

He lives, like the Grand Turk, openly with five wives, against the temporal law of the state, against the spiritual law of his Kingdom, and in violation of his own solemn covenant to the country--which he gave in 1890, in order to obtain amnesty for himself from criminal prosecution and to help Utah obtain the powers of statehood which he has since usurped. He secretly preaches a proscribed doctrine of polygamy as necessary to salvation; he publicly denies his own teaching, so that he may escape responsibility for the sufferings of the "plural wives" and their unfortunate children, who have been betrayed by the authority of his dogma. And these women, by the hundreds, seduced into clandestine marriage relations with polygamous elders of the Church, unable to claim their husbands--even in some cases disowning their children and teaching these children to deny their parents--are suffering a pitiful self-immolation as martyrs to the religious barbarism of his rule.

Demanding unquestioning obedience in all things, as the "mouthpiece of the Lord," and "sole vice-regent of God on Earth," he enforces his demands by his religious, political and financial control of the faith, the votes and the property of his fellow-citizens. He is at once--as the details of this story show--"the modern 'money king,' the absolute political Czar, the social despot and the infallible Pope of his Kingdom."

Ex-Senator Cannon not only exposes but accounts for and explains the conditions that have made the Church-controlled government of Utah less free, less of a democracy, a greater tyranny and more of a disgrace to the nation than ever the corporation rule of Colorado was in the darkest period of the Cripple Creek labor war. He shows the enemies of the republic encouraging and profiting by the shame of Utah as they supported and made gain of Colorado's past disgrace. He shows the piratical "Interests," at Washington, sustaining, and sustained by, the misgovernment of Utah, in their campaign of national pillage. He shows that the condition of Utah today is not merely a local problem; that it affects and concerns the people of the whole country; that it can only be cured with their aid.

The outside world has waited many years to hear the truth about the Mormons; here it is--told with sympathy, with affection, by a man who steadfastly defended and fought for the Mormon people when their present leaders were keeping themselves carefully inconspicuous. The Mormon system of religious communism has long been known as one of the most interesting social experiments of modern civilization; here is an intimate study of it, not only in its success but in the failure that has come upon it from the selfish ambitions of its leaders. The power of the Mormon hierarchy has been the theme of much imaginative fiction; but here is a story of church tyranny and misgovernment in the name of God, that outrages the credibilities of art. That such a story could come out of modern America--that such conditions could be possible in the democracy today--is an amazement that staggers belief.


Hon. Frank J. Cannon is the son of George Q. Cannon of Utah, who was First Councillor of the Mormon Church from 1880 to 1901. After the death of Brigham Young, George Q. Cannon's diplomacy saved the Mormon communism from destruction by the United States government. It was his influence that lifted the curse of polygamy from the Mormon faith. Under his leadership Utah obtained the right of statehood; and his financial policies were establishing the Mormon people in industrial prosperity when he died.

In all these achievements the son shared with his father, and in some of them--notably in the obtaining of Utah's statehood--he had even a larger part than George Q. Cannon himself. When the Mormon communities, in 1888, were being crushed by proscription and confiscation and the righteous bigotries of Federal officials, Frank J. Cannon went to Washington, alone--almost from the doors of a Federal prison--and, by the eloquence of his plea for his people, obtained from President Cleveland a mercy for the Mormons that all the diplomacies of the Church's politicians had been unable to procure. Again, in 1890, when the Mormons were threatened with a general disfranchisement by means of a test oath, he returned to Washington and saved them, with the aid of James G. Blame, on the promise that the doctrine and practice of polygamy were to be abandoned by the Mormon Church; and he assisted in the promulgation and acceptance of the famous "manifesto" of 1890, by which the Mormon Prophet, as the result of a "divine revelation," withdrew the doctrine of polygamy from the practice of the faith.

He organized the Republican party in Utah, and led it in the first

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