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- Under the Prophet in Utah - 30/45 -
John L. Leilich, repeated these grounds of objection to Apostle Smoot, and charged further that Apostle Smoot was himself a polygamist; but no attempt was made to prove this latter charge.
Upon the filing of the protest, there was a storm of anger at Church headquarters; and the ecclesiastical newspapers railed with the bitterness of anxious apprehension. Throughout Utah it seemed to be the popular belief that Apostle Smoot would be excluded--on the issue of whether a responsible representative of a Church that was protecting and encouraging law-breaking should be allowed a seat in the highest body of the nation's law-makers. But the issue against him was not to be heard until twelve months after his election, and every agent and influence of the Church was set to work at once to nullify the effect of the protest.
Every financial institution, East or West, to which the Church could appeal, was solicited to demand a favorable hearing of the Smoot case from the Senators of its state. Every political and business interest that could be reached was moved to protect the threatened Apostle. The sugar trust magnates and their Senators were enlisted. The mercantile correspondents of the Church were urged to write letters to their Congressmen and to their Senators, and to use their power at home to check the anti-Mormon newspapers. The Utah representative of a powerful mercantile institution, that had vital business relations with the Church, confessed to me that he had been called East to consult with the head of his company, who had been asked to use his influence for Smoot. "I could not advise our president," he said, "to send the letter that was demanded of him. And yet I couldn't take the responsibility of injuring the company by advising him to refuse the Church request. You know, if we had refused it, point-blank, they would have destroyed every interest we had within the domain of their power. I should have been ruined financially. All our stockholders would have suffered. They would never have forgiven me."
The president of the company failed to send the letter. His failure became known, through Church espionage and the report of the Church's friends in the Senate. Pressure was brought to bear upon him; and, with the aid of his Utah representative, he compromised on a letter that did partial violence to his conscience and partially endangered his business relations with the Church.
Both these men were aware that the Church had broken its covenants to the country, and that Apostle Smoot could not be either a loyal citizen of the nation or a free representative of the people of his state. "I did not like the compromise we made," my friend told me. "I feel humiliated whenever I think of it. But I tried to do the best I could under the circumstances."
The results of this pressure of political and business interests upon Washington showed gradually in the tone of the political newspapers throughout the whole country. It showed in the growing confidence expressed by the organs of the Church authorities in Utah. It showed in the cheerful predictions of the Prophets that the Lord would overrule in Apostle Smoot's behalf. It showed in Smoot's exercise of an autocratic leadership in the political affairs of the State.
He was allowed to take his oath of office as Senator on March 5, 1903; the protests against him were referred to the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections for a hearing (January 27, 1904); and a contest began that lasted from January, 1904, to February, 1907. During those years was completed the business and political conspiracy between financial "privilege" and religious absolutism, of which conspiracy this narrative has described the beginning and the growth.
It is almost impossible to expose the progression of incident by which the end of that conspiracy was approached--since it was necessarily approached in the darkest secrecy. But several indications of the method and the progress did show, here and there, on the surface of events; and these indications are powerfully significant.
As early as 1901 it had become known that Apostle Smoot was negotiating a sale, to the sugar trust, of the Church's sugar holdings. On May 13, 1902, the president of the trust reported to the trust's executive committee--
[FOOTNOTE: See a synopsis of the minutes of the trust's executive committee, published in Hampton's Magazine, in January, 1910.]
that he had agreed to buy a one-half interest in the consolidation of the Mormon factories of La Grande, Logan and Ogden. (The following day, May 14, 1902, is given by Apostle Smoot as the day on which he obtained President Joseph F. Smith's permission to become a candidate for the Senatorship.) On June 24, 1902 the sugar trust's executive committee was informed of the trust's purchase of one-half of the capital stock of these three Church-owned sugar companies. On July 5, 1902 the three companies were consolidated under the name of the Amalgamated Sugar Company, with David Eccles, polygamist, trustee of Church bonds, and protege of Joseph F. Smith, as President; and the sugar trust took half the stock, in exchange for its holdings in the three original companies.
Similarly, in this same year, the old Church-owned Utah Sugar Company increased its stock in order to buy the Garland sugar factory, and the sugar trust, it is understood, was concerned in the purchase In 1903, 1904 and 1905, the Idaho Sugar Company, the Freemont Sugar Company, and West Idaho Sugar Company were incorporated; and in 1906 all these companies were amalgamated in the present Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, of which Joseph F. Smith is president, T. R. Cutler, a Mormon, is vice-president, Horace G. Whitney, the general manager of the Church's Deseret News, is secretary and treasurer, and other Church officials are directors. Of the stock of this company the sugar trust holds fifty-one per cent. So that between 1902 and 1906 a partnership in the manufacture of beet sugar was effected between the Church and the trust; and Apostle Smoot became a Sugar trust Senator, and argued and voted as such.
Furthermore, it was at this same period that the Church sold the street railway of Salt Lake City and its electric power company to the "Harriman interests" under peculiar circumstances--a matter of which I have written in an earlier chapter. The Church owners of this Utah Light and Railway Company, through the Church's control of the City Council, had attempted to obtain a hundred-year franchise from the city on terms that were outrageously unjust to the citizens; and finally, on June 5, 1905, a franchise was obtained for fifty years, for the company of which Joseph F. Smith was the president. On August 3, 1905, another city ordinance was passed, consolidating all former franchises, then held by the Utah Light and Power Company, but originally granted to D. F. Walker, the Salt Lake and Ogden Gas and Electric Light Company, the Pioneer Power Company and the Utah Power Company; and this ordinance extended the franchises to July 1, 1955. The properties were bonded for $6,300,000, but it was understood that they were worth not more than $4,000,000. They were sold to "the Harriman interests" for $10,000,000. The equipment of the Salt Lake City street railway was worse than valueless, and the new company had to remove the rails and discard the rolling stock. But the ten millions were well invested in this public-utility trust, for the company had a monopoly of the street railway service and electric power and gas supply of Salt Lake City; and its franchises left it free to extort whatever it could from the people of the whole country side, by virtue of a partnership with the Church authorities whereby extortion was given the protection of "God's anointed Prophets."
Joseph F. Smith, of course, was already a director of Harriman's Union Pacific Railroad, a position to which he had been elected after his accession to the First Presidency. And he was so elected not because of his railroad holdings--for he came to the Presidency a poor man--and not because of his ability or experience as a financier or a railroad builder, for he had not had any such experience and he had not shown any such ability. He was elected because of the partnership between the Church leaders and the Union Pacific Railroad--a partnership that was doubtlessly used in defense of Apostle Smoot's seat in the Senate, just as the power of the Sugar Trust was used and the influence of the whole financial confederation in politics.
The Smoot Exposure
Just before the subpoenas were issued in the Smoot investigation, I met John R. Winder (then First Councillor to President Smith) on the street in Salt Lake City, and he expressed the hope that when I went "to Washington on the Smoot case," I would not "betray" my "brethren." I assured him that I was not going to Washington as a witness in the Smoot case; that the men whom he should warn, were at Church headquarters. He replied, with indignant alarm, "I don't see what 'the brethren' have to do with this!"
But when the subpoenas arrived for Smith and the hierarchy, alarm and indignation assumed a new complexion. The authorities, for themselves, and through the mouths of such men as Brigham H. Roberts, began to boast of how they were about to "carry the gospel to the benighted nation" and preach it from the witness stand in Washington. The Mormon communities resounded with fervent praises to God that He had, through His servant, Apostle Smoot, given the opportunity to His living oracles to speak to an unrighteous people! And when the Senators decided that they would not summon polygamous wives and their children en bloc to Washington to testify (because it was not desired to "make war on women and children") some of Joseph F. Smith's several wives even complained feelingly that they "were not allowed to testify for Papa."
The first oracular disclosure made by the Prophets, on the witness stand, came as a shock even to Utah. They testified that they had resumed polygamous cohabitation to an extent unsuspected by either Gentiles or Mormons. President Joseph F. Smith admitted that he had had eleven children borne to him by his five wives, since pledging himself to obey the "revealed" manifesto of 1890 forbidding polygamous relations. Apostle Francis Marion Lyman, who was next in succession to the Presidency, made a similar admission of guilt, though in a lesser degree. So did John Henry Smith and Charles W. Penrose, apostles. So did Brigham H. Roberts and George Reynolds, Presidents of Seventies. So did a score of others among the lesser authorities. And they confessed that they were living in polygamy in violation of their pledges to the nation and the terms of their amnesty, against the laws and the constitution of the state, and contrary to the "revelation of God" by which the doctrine of polygamy had been withdrawn from practice in the Church!
President Joseph F. Smith admitted that he was violating the law of the State. He was asked: "Is there not a revelation that you shall abide by the law of the State and of the land?" He answered, "Yes, sir." He was asked: "And if that is a revelation, are you not violating the laws of God?" He answered: "I have admitted that, Mr. Senator, a great many times here."
Apostle Francis Marion Lyman was asked: "You say that you, an apostle of
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