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- Under the Prophet in Utah - 2/45 -

campaigns that divided the people of the territory on the lines of national issues and freed them from the factions of a religious dispute. He delivered to Washington the pledges of the Mormon leaders, by which the emancipation of their people from hierarchical domination was promised and the right of statehood finally obtained. He was elected the first United States Senator from Utah, against the unwilling candidacy of his own father, when the intrigues of the Mormon priests pitted the father against the son and violated the Church's promise of non-interference in politics almost as soon as it had been given.

It was his voice, in the Senate, that helped to reawaken the national conscience to the crimes of Spanish rule in Cuba, when the "financial interests" of this country were holding the government back from any interference in Cuban affairs. He was one of the leaders in Washington of the first ill-fated "Insurgent Republican" movement against the control of the Republican party by these same piratical "interests;" and he was the only Republican Senator who stood to oppose them by voting against the iniquitous Dingley tariff bill of 1897. He delivered the speech of defiance at the Republican national convention of 1896, when four "Silver Republican" Senators led their delegations out of that convention in revolt. And by all these acts of independence he put himself in opposition to the politicians of the Mormon Church, who were allying themselves with Hanna and Aldrich, the sugar trust, the railroad lobby, and the whole financial and commercial Plunderbund in politics that has since come to be called "The System."

He returned to Utah to prevent the sale of a United States Senatorship by the Mormon Church; and, though he was himself defeated for re-election, he helped to hold the Utah legislature in a deadlock that prevented the selection of a successor to his seat. He fought to compel the leaders of the Church to fulfill the pledges which they had authorized him to give in Washington when statehood was being obtained. After his father's death, when these pledges began to be openly violated, he directed his attack particularly against Joseph F. Smith, the new President of the Church, who was principally responsible for the Church's breach of public faith. Through the columns of the Salt Lake Tribune he exposed the treasonable return to the practice of polygamy which Joseph F. Smith had secretly authorized and encouraged. He opposed the election of Apostle Reed Smoot to the United States Senate, as a violation of the statehood pledges. He criticized the financial absolutism of the Mormon Prophet, which Smith was establishing in partnership with "the Plunderbund." He was finally excommunicated and ostracized, by his father's successors in power, for championing the political and social liberties of the Mormon people whom he had helped to save from destruction and whose statehood sovereignty he had so largely obtained.

When the partnership of the Church and "the Interests" prevented the expulsion of Apostle Smoot from the Senate, Senator Cannon withdrew from Utah, convinced that nothing could be done for the Mormons so long as the national administration sustained the sovereignty of the Mormon kingdom as a co-ordinate power in this Republic. For the last few years he has been a newspaper editor in Denver, Colorado--on the Denver Times and the Rocky Mountain News--helping the reform movement in Colorado against the corporation control of that state, and waiting for the opportunity to renew his long fight for the Mormon people.

In the following narrative he returns to that fight. In fulfillment of a promise made before he left Utah--and seeing now, in the new "insurgency," the hope of freeing Utah from slavery to "the System"--he here addresses himself to the task of exposing the treasons and tyrannies of the Mormon Prophet and the consequent miseries among his people.

In the course of his exposition, he gives a most remarkable picture of the Mormon people, patient, meek, and virtuous, "as gentle as the Quakers, as staunch as the Jews." He introduces the world for the first time to the conclaves of the Mormon ecclesiasts, explains the simplicity of some of them, the bitterness of others, the sincerity of almost all-- illuminating the dark places of Church control with the understanding of a sympathetic experience, and bringing out the virtues of the Mormon system as impartially as he exposes its faults. He traces the degradation of its communism, step by step and incident by incident, from its success as a sort of religious socialism administered for the common good to its present failure as a hierarchical capitalism governed for the benefit of its modern "Prophet of Mammon" at the expense of the liberty, the happiness, and even the prosperity, of its victims.

For the first time in the history of the Mormon Church, there has arrived a man who has the knowledge and the inclination to explain it.

He does this fearlessly, as a duty, and without any apologies, as a public right. "He is not, and never has been an official member of the Church, in any sense or form," Joseph F. Smith, as President of the Church, testified concerning him, at Washington in 1904; and though this statement is one of the inspired Prophet's characteristic perversions of the truth, it covers the fact that Senator Cannon has always opposed the official tyrannies of the hierarchs. The present Mormon leaders accepted his aid in freeing Utah, well aware of his independence. They profited by his success with a more or less doubtful gratitude. They betrayed him promptly--as they betrayed the nation and their own followers--as soon as they found themselves in a position safely to betray. In this book he merely continues an independence which he has always maintained, and replies to secret and personal treason with a public criticism, to which he has never hesitated to resort.

He begins his story with the year 1888, and devotes the first chapters to a depiction of the miseries of the Mormon people in the unhappy days of persecution. He continues with the private details of the confidential negotiations in Washington and the secret conferences in Salt Lake City by which the Mormons were saved. He gives the truth about the political intrigues that accompanied the grant of Utah's statehood, and he relates, pledge by pledge, the covenants then given by the Mormon leaders to the nation and since treasonably violated and repudiated by them. He explains the progress of this repudiation with an intimate "inside" knowledge of facts which the Mormon leaders now deny. And he exposes the horror of conditions in Utah today as no other man in America could expose them--for his life has been spent in combating the influences of which these conditions are the result; and he understands the present situation as a doctor understands the last stages of a disease which he has been for years vainly endeavoring to check.

But aside from all this--aside from his exposure of the Mormon despotism, his study of the degradation of a modern community, or his secret history of the Church's dark policies in "sacred places"--he relates a story that is full of the most astonishing curiosities of human character and of dramatic situations that are almost mediaeval in their religious aspects. He goes from interviews with Cleveland or Blame to discuss American politics with men who believe themselves in direct communication with God--who talk and act like the patriarchs of the Old Testament--who accept their own thoughts as the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and deliver their personal decisions, reverently, as the Will of the Lord. He shows men and women ready to suffer any martyrdom in defense of a doctrine of polygamy that is a continual unhappiness and cross upon them. He depicts the social life of the most peculiar sect that has ever lived in a Western civilization. He writes-- unconsciously, and for the first time that it has ever been written-- the naive, colossal drama of modern Mormonism.

H. J. O'H.


On the fourth day of January, 1896, the territory of Utah was admitted to statehood, and the proscribed among its people were freed to the liberties of American citizenship, upon the solemn covenant of the leaders of the Mormon Church that they and their followers would live, thereafter, according to the laws and institutions of the nation of which they were allowed to become a part. And that gracious settlement of upwards of forty years of conflict was negotiated through responsible mediators, was endorsed by the good faith of the non-Mormons of Utah, and was sealed by a treaty convention in which the high contracting parties were the American Republic and the "Kingdom of God on Earth."

I propose, in this narrative, to show that the leaders of the Mormon Church have broken their covenant to the nation; that they have abused the confidence of the Gentiles of Utah and betrayed the trust of the people under their power, by using that power to prevent the state of Utah from becoming what it had engaged to become. I propose to show that the people of Utah, upraised to freedom by the magnanimity of the nation, are being made to appear traitorous to the generosity that saved them; that the Mormons of Utah are being falsely misled into the peculiar dangers from which they thought they had forever escaped; that the unity, the solidarity, the loyalty of these fervent people is being turned as a weapon of offense against the whole country, for the greater profit of the leaders and the aggrandizement of their power. I undertake, in fact, in this narrative, to expose and to demonstrate what I do believe to be one of the most direful conspiracies of treachery in the history of the United States.

Not that I have anything in my heart against the Mormon people! Heaven forbid! I know them to be great in their virtues, wholesome in their relations, capable of an heroic fortitude, living by the tenderest sentiments of fraternity, as gentle as the Quakers, as staunch as the Jews. I think of them as a man among strangers thinks of the dearness of his home. I am bound to them in affection by all the ties of life. The smiles of neighborliness, the greetings of friends, all the familiar devotion of brothers and sisters, the love of the parents who held me in their arms by these I know them as my own people, and by these I love them as a good people, as a strong people, as a people worthy to be strong and fit to be loved.

But it is even through their virtue and by their very strength that they are being betrayed. A human devotion--the like of which has rarely lived among the citizens of any modern state--is being directed as an instrument of subjugation against others and held as a means of oppression upon the Mormons themselves. Noble when they were weak, they are being led to ignoble purpose now that they have become strong. Praying for justice when they had no power, now that they have gained power it is being abused to ends of injustice. Their leaders, reaching for the fleshpots for which these simple-hearted devotees have never sighed, have allied themselves with all the predaceous "interests" of the country and now use the superhuman power of a religious tyranny to increase the dividends of a national plunder.

In the long years of misery when the Mormons of Utah were proscribed and hunted, because they refused to abandon what was to them, at that, time, a divine revelation and a confirmed article of faith, I sat many times in the gallery of the Senate in Washington, and heard discussed new measures of destruction against these victims of their own fidelity, and felt the dome above me impending like a brazen weight of national resentment upon all our heads. When, a few years later, I stood before the President's desk in the Senate chamber, to take my oath of office as the representative of the freed people of Utah in the councils of the nation, I raised my eyes to my old seat of terror in the gallery, and pledged myself, in that remembrance, never to vote nor speak for

Under the Prophet in Utah - 2/45

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