Skip to comments.Many LDS still think Constitution hangs by thread
Posted on 01/24/2010 4:54:22 PM PST by Colofornian
When the Mormon pioneers headed West under duress in 1847, they had reason to feel bitter at their treatment by the world's foremost liberal democracy. For years, Americans had chased, robbed, beaten and killed them.
Joseph Smith, seeking redress for his people, earlier had gone to Washington, D.C. The towering statesmen of the day who received him acted like, well, Washington politicians.
According to Smith, the legendary Henry Clay said, "You had better go to Oregon." The revered John C. Calhoun counseled, "It is a nice question, a critical question, but it will not do to agitate it." And the ultimate inside-the-beltway waffling came from President Martin Van Buren: "Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you."
Following Smith's death, and encouraged by belligerent neighbors with guns, the Saints turned their wagons west. They might have turned their backs forever on the United States of Hypocrisy. Instead, they considered themselves the last Real Americans, the legitimate heirs of the pilgrims and Founding Fathers.
And, they believed, the very survival of the Constitution depended on the Saints. From Smith on, LDS leaders prophesied the Constitution would one day hang by a thread, only to be saved by Mormons.
When (LDS) U.S. Sen. Hatch recently went on (LDS) talk radio host Glenn Beck's show and said the Constitution is hanging by a thread (threatened, one supposes, by President Barack Obama's "socialist agenda" like it never had been by slavery, the Civil War, the Great Depression, McCarthyism, or a president forced to resign for criminal conduct), Hatch was speaking "code" to those in the know. To others it still made for a rollicking right-wing, red meat sound bite.
If the rest of the country was going to hell, then the Saints would protect its sacred heart in their mountain fastness. Brigham Young famously said he loved the Constitution, but did not love "the damn rascals who administer the government."
This love/hate would define Mormon relations with America for a generation.
Polygamy was publicly acknowledged in 1852 and Mormons threw themselves into becoming experts on the Constitution, especially on the religious freedom bits. They were that era's civil libertarians. Curiously, their arguments defending non-traditional marriage are being echoed by gay marriage advocates this very week in a California courtroom. No matter. Moral outrage was fierce toward Mormons and polygamy.
Young plaintively observed, "There is not a territory in the Union that is looked upon with so suspicious an eye as is Utah, and yet it is the only part of the nation that cares anything about the Constitution."
America wasn't buying it. It was tautological nonsense to say one loved the Constitution but hated its government and laws. The United States wanted more than lip service to its institutions -- it demanded loyalty. The screws were applied and laws stripped The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of its property and turned its leadership into fugitives. To avoid destruction, the church finally cried, "Uncle Sam!"
The Manifesto, issued in 1890 by Wilford Woodruff, ended the practice of polygamy and paved the way for Utah's admission to the Union. Ever after, Woodruff took pains to connect the dots between love of the Constitution and fealty to its government. "We live in a government raised up by the God of heaven."
And if anyone missed the point, Woodruff prayed at the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple, "Confer abundant favors upon the president, his Cabinet and Congress ... Show them that we are their friends, that we love liberty ... and give unto us and our children an increased disposition to always be loyal."
However, old habits die hard. Recent polling found Mormons to be the most conservative of the conservative; the strictest of the strict constructionists. Inflexible in their devotion to the Constitution, apt to quote Young's hate of "the damn rascals who administer the government."
Another Young quote:
"The signers of the Declaration of Independence and the framers of the Constitution were inspired from on high to do that work. But was that which was given to them perfect, not admitting of any addition whatever? No; for if men know anything, they must know that the Almighty has never yet found a man in mortality that was capable, at the first intimation, at the first impulse, to receive anything in a state of entire perfection. They laid the foundation, and it was for after generations to rear the superstructure upon it. It is a progressive -- a gradual work."
Pat Bagley is The Salt Lake Tribune's political cartoonist.
(Hmm...Brigham...I guess NO man receiv[ing] ANYTHING in an entire state of perfection would include the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, the JST (Joseph Smith trying to market a "new and improved" version of the King James Bible), etc., eh Brig?]
From the article: This love/hate would define Mormon relations with America for a generation. Polygamy was publicly acknowledged in 1852 and Mormons threw themselves into becoming experts on the Constitution, especially on the religious freedom bits. They were that era's civil libertarians.
Well, imagine that...Lds Mormons...the ACLU "types" of the 1850s!!! Hmm...is it any wonder Lds practices have been a social thorn in the side from their onset???
From the article: Curiously, their [Mormon] arguments defending non-traditional marriage are being echoed by gay marriage advocates this very week in a California courtroom. No matter. Moral outrage was fierce toward Mormons and polygamy.
Curiously??? How about outrageously!!! That 19th century Mormon arguments have established a foundation for what homosexuals have been wrangling for the past 20 years!!!
Moral outrage was fierce toward Mormons and polygamy...America wasn't buying it. It was tautological nonsense to say one loved the Constitution but hated its government and laws. The United States wanted more than lip service to its institutions -- it demanded loyalty. The screws were applied and laws stripped The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of its property and turned its leadership into fugitives. To avoid destruction, the church finally cried, "Uncle Sam!"
All of us are so far removed from the social battles of the late 19th century that we don't realize this social battleground that our forefathers fought 1856 onward. Opposition to polygamy has long been part of our Republican free republic heritage! (And leave it to the Mormon-owned Deseret News to consider American opposition to polygamy as "persecution!"
In 1856 the Republican Party made the defeat of polygamy a key plank in its first national platform, characterizing it alongside slavery as one of the "twin relics of barbarism." The federal government soon criminalized the practice and then in effect outlawed membership in the Mormon Church until it would agree to give up polygamy....The reaction of the Mormon Church to this new wave of persecution was, initially, to take refuge in secrecy once again. [Mormon-owned Deseret News, Jan. 6, 2008]
1856-1865: The Republican party highlights the defeat of polygamy to be a key plank in its first national platform, characterizing it alongside slavery as one of the "twin relics of barbarism."
Lincoln issued two emancipation proclamation orders in 1862 and 1863, and by July, 1865, 4 million slaves had been set free. The 13th amendment was passed by Dec. of 1865, thereby killing off whatever institutional vestige of slavery.
On the other hand, emancipation for mainstream LDS plural wives came only via death or institutionally ended in the 20th century (& even then it continued thru the LDS "step-daughters," the fLDS).
Additionally, it's hard to believe that the biggest petition delivered to Congress in the 19th century (1898) had to do with turning back an elected Mormon congressman from office. B.H. Roberts, a Democrat, had been overwhelmingly elected to represent Utah in Congress. The problem was that Roberts had added a third wife around 1894--4 years after the supposed "door closing" of add-on wives. According to B. Carmon Hardy, a petition of 7 MILLION names--28 rolls long each two feet in diameter and encased in an American flag--was delivered to Congress to voice opposition to Roberts serving Congress.
Democrat Roberts was indeed u-turned back to Utah.
When the Mormon pioneers headed West under duress in 1847, they had reason to feel bitter at their treatment by the world's foremost liberal democracy. For years, Americans had chased, robbed, beaten and killed them.Hmmm, an interesting view of the past. It ignores many facts though.
There's a couple of people on my street who think its hanging by a thread, too. Me, for instance.
Count me in on the thread hanging as well.
This thread is pointless.
U.S. Sen. Hatch recently went on (LDS) talk radio host Glenn Beck’s show
Senators Hatch and Bennett are part of the problem! I hope Utah throws him out.
If all LDS members are such constitutionalists how do we account for Harry Reid
Hmmm, an interesting view of the past. It ignores many facts though. [Narses]
Agreed. In the 14 years prior to this (1833-1847), we're talking about a few years in Nauvoo and Missouri?
Let's look at Missouri: The actual "rough handling" of Mormons only really occurred...
...over a 100-day period in Jackson Co late spring/early Summer...
... + early fall of '33 + another month or so-- maybe 40-45 days in Sept/Oct, 1838 -- with the violence all occurring in Oct., 1838.
If we put those two intense periods together in 1830s Missouri, and it was less than 5 months actual real time, all told.
In the first instance, the "perps" in the first 100 of those days was generated by less than 50 people in 1 county (400-500 did attend a council in mid-July but we have no record of how many in attendence of a mtg acted upon it...showing up at an event doesn't make you an oppressor or persecutor ...and the committee who then attempted to foist themselves upon the Mormons were only 12 men...(per Joseph Fielding Smith, Essentials in [LDS] Church History, p. 133-134). Now, remember, this was out of a state-wide/co-wide pop of how many?
Joseph Fielding Smith also said a mob of 500 (p. 135) existed where no violence was done but threatened it (July 23, 1833). Smith says "about 1200 members forced to leave Jackson co." (p. 209) but the committee which forced them out only specified 11 families according to Smith earlier in the book. [They forced 9 of 11 families to leave within a few mos. warning -- and the two remaining would finish up their business goods (Smith, p. 135)]
So when Lds claim that Mormons were "robbed," I wish they would talk about specifics. Usually, Lds reference only Missouri in the 1830s and Nauvoo in the mid-1840s. In looking at Missouri:
"When again they were forced to leave Clay Co, though they went peaceably at the request of the other citizens, they left behind them a vast amount of property for which no remuneration was ever received. Claims against Missouri for the losses were presented to Congress in the sum of $1,381,044.00 and this represented only 491 individuals...in 1839, the amount of their losses was estimated at two million dollars." (p. 210)
You mean to tell me that many of these poor emigrants averaged possessions worth $2,700 in 1833/1838 dollar values? Really?
We know 11 specific Lds families suffered property losses in Jackson Co. in 1833/early 1834 when they were forced to move (Smith mentions them by name on p. 135 as the ONLY families a committee of 12 Jackson Co. men were forcing to move...but then, suddenly "11" families becomes "about 1200 individuals" on p. 209. Now I don't think even Mormon families back then had over 100 members per family.) Mormons then moved into Clay County in 1834. We know from eyewitnesses that Mormons told the Clay Co. residents that their stay there wouldn't be permanent and so everything was built as a temporary stopgap (Most Lds were there about three years -- 1834 thru 1836...some began exiting to North Ray Co. in Dec, 1836 as part of a new Mormon-designated Co. -- Caldwell Co.)
Beyond that, Bagley the author here seems to follow in the great Mormon tradition of exaggeration. Take again another look at Joseph Fielding Smith's 1950 book, Essentials in Church History (republished 1973).
He starts off chapter 32: "At the beginning of the year 1843, peace reigned in Nauvoo; for a time the Saints remained undisturbed, and the prophet had a breathing spell of freedom." (p. 275)
Now, that's a funny piece of greatly exaggerated writing. Oh, sure, I'm sure Smith was heavily challenged thru 1842 and even beyond that. But this Lds "prophet" was making it sound like the mob was banging down doors in Nauvoo & constantly under sniper fire, when in fact it was Missouri Governor Boggs who was shot and badly wounded by a likely Mormon's assassin bullet in May, 1842.
Now, what's the socio-political proof we have that Smith wasn't in a high state of disturbance -- or as Bagley said, "chased" all over...with lack of a "breathing spell of freedom" in the early 1840s?
#1 Smith was mayor of Nauvoo with tight control of the largely Mormon city & city council
#2 Smith was its militia leader
#3 Smith was beginning to formulate his emboldened idea of running for U.S. President, which he did in 1844.
#4 And here's the "laugher" of them all. JF Smith makes it sound like the Mormon "persecutors" have been in such a frenzy thru 1842 that Smith's been winded from ducking in & out of martyr foxholes. Sorry, Mr. Mormon "prophet" but that may pass the "Let's Recreate Joe Smith in a Hero Image Mold" test but not the straight-face test.
Let's extend our Mormon history test: What, pray tell, was Joe Smith spending a key chunk of 1842 doing? Answer? Why he was courting, marrying, and "attending to" a dozen NEW wives over a 9-month period from December, 1841 thru August, 1842. (And by "thru" I don't mean he suddenly had much additional free time September to Dec 1842 just because he didn't take on any new wives for those 4 months 'cause believe me, if you've had time to build up a 17-wife roster -- including 12 new ones over an 18-month period -- then you hardly feel so insecure. (Otherwise, why would you either want to place new wives in jeopardy of an assassin's bullet or leave them widowed???)
Bottom line: Wow! If Smith could accumulate a dozen new wives over 9 mos. during supposedly Mormon-described hostile, unpeaceful times, just think how many he would have added in a peaceful year...oh, yeah, we have that on record, too -- why he added another 17 new wives during that peaceful 1843 year... what only a 42% increase of new wives when peace broke out???
The only thing I could find "prior" to the Nov. 6, 1838-read extermination order that Lds writers key in on was Smith's arrest & placement in Liberty Jail 3 days prior to that.
Finally, as you said Narses, this piece of writing "ignores many facts":
All kinds of reasons existed in the minds of a great minority of primarily three counties of Missourians as to why they did what they did -- and, BTW, many opposed the Mormons without resorting to violence or vandalism. There's no 19th-century "surveys" to narrow down the reasons -- 'cause I'm sure w/many a combination of reasons accumulated for them to resort to violence & vandalism & eviction.
...were ungodly and violent;
...didn't like that the Mormons hardly contributed to the local economy as they transacted only with Lds businesses.
...resented potential loss of political control. "And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself" (D&C 105:5, June 1834) Evidence? Testimony from MO Judge Joseph Thorp: Their prophet also induced his followers to believe that he would form a temporal kingdom or government, and they would not be subject to the laws of the State, but should make their own laws, have their own civil officers to execute them, Joseph, the prophet, being dictator, aided by revelation and his cabinet or council; and when their edicts were sent forth they were obeyed without a murmur by his followers. Judge Joseph Thorp, Liberty Tribune, "Early Days in Missouri," October 12, 1883. No. 23.
Some feared a physical takeover. Judge Thorp again: Their audacity and impudence in telling the citizens that it was made known to Joseph, their prophet, priest and king, from high heaven, that Jackson county was theirs -- given to them by the Lord, and it was foolishness in them to resist and fight against God; that the temple was to be built in Independence and that saints were to be gathered from the four quarters of the globe to worship the God of Israel in the New Jerusalem, as it was under the Jewish dispensation. Their idea was, it appears, that they were to establish a spiritual kingdom where the latter day saints were to congregate to worship tho God of Ancient Israel as did their fathers in the days of the prophets; they commenced preparing to build the temple, and, if I recollect, partly dug out the foundation. (same source)
(Judge Thorp also added that Their paper was filled up weekly with revelations, promising great things to the saints who were faithful, and threatening destruction to the citizens if they did not give up their lands and homes peaceably, and leave them in peaceable possession, contending that the Jew and Gentile could not live together in the same locality. Certainly, Smith put these threats into Lds "scripture" by June of 1834 that the ungodly would be hit with vengeance like a whirlwind (v. 22), god-based scourging & vexing (v. 23), the indignation of the lord (v. 24) in D&C 105.
Also, as some have mentioned, many were pro-slavery & identified with Southerners, whereas Lds tended to be Northerners/Easterners & were perceived as being "abolitionist" even though Smith himself uttered a D&C "scripture" where he said the Mormon gospel was off-limits to slaves minus their "master's" consent.
...And then many didn't like Independence becoming the world-wide HQ military takeover Smith was preaching in June 1834: "And after these lands are purchased, I will hold the armies of Israel guiltless in taking possession of their own lands, which they have previously purchased with their own moneys, and of throwing down the towers of mine enemies that may be upon them, and scattering their watchmen, and avenging me of mine enemies unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. But first let my army become very great, and let it be sanctified before me, that it may become fair as the sun, and clear as the moon, and that her banners may be terrible unto all nations; That the kingdoms of this world may be constrained to acknowledge that the kingdom of Zion is in very deed the kingdom of our God and his Christ; therefore, let us become subject unto her laws." (D&C 105: 30-32)
Smith was even proclaiming that all nations would bow down to the Lds church in a new "scripture" established on Aug. 2, 1833: "...if Zion doing these things [build a house of the Mormon god & school + obey commandments] she shall prosper, and spread herself and become very glorious, very great, and very terrible. And the nations of the earth shall honor her, and shall say: Surely Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place... (97:18-19)
Instead, they considered themselves the last Real Americans, the legitimate heirs of the pilgrims and Founding Fathers.
And many of them were straight off the boat from Scandinavia...
Many Catholics, agnostics, Presbyterians,____________(fill in the blank) think so, too.
Also, check out this guy, he has a show on in Utah. He's a born again ex-mormon. He talks a lot about the religion, facts and fiction along with documents. It's actually pretty interesting. His name is Shane McCraney and the show is The Heart of the Matter, you can watch it on his website - http://www.hotm.tv/
dang link, try this again:
That’s the truth!
Many non-LDS would completely agree.
Massachusett(e)s bought American freedom some time.
But we’ve got a real threat to our freedoms facing our nation. Now is not the time to throw stones at each other, while Marxists are demolishing the American Constitution.
Back in the 1800’s the mormons murdered innocent people traveling through Utah. I think it was 150.
Try 1500 and more...
Brigham Young ordered at least 1000 murdered...
He was a tyrant crowned king and ran a theocracy/dictatorship...
Remember BY didnt die until the 1870s...
30 years after he had arrived in the Utah Territory...
The murder robbery and mayham was so bad that the US had to send the Army in...
Yes his show is on every Tuesday night...
I agree. Only a fool fights in a burning house.
“Mountain Meadow Massacre”
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