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When she [Mrs Lewis] had lived at the farm a year, she told me that Brigham had never been to see her once during all that time; but that he had got possession of her property, and was using it for factory purposes. The water-course ran through her yard, her house was made an office, and the whole place was so changed and so entirely spoiled as a residence, that she never could go there again to live. She must, whether she would or not, live there until Brigham chose to move her somewhere else, or until her children could find some place for her to go to. She supports herself entirely, independently of the man who has swindled her out of her home and her property; and the only assistance she receives is from her children, who are very kind to her, annoyed as they were at her for giving up her home, and, above all, allowing it to fall into Brigham Young’s hands. His duck-and-goose story was all misrepresentation, made use of merely to induce her to go to the farm; and when she got there she very soon found that she would have those lovely feather beds, not, at least, by raising the fowls to supply the feathers. The Prophet’s imagination had evidently run away with memory when he ardently painted the glories of the farm to his bride. This poor old lady was made a tool for the gratification of Brigham Young’s avarice, as her son had been the victim to one of his followers’ jealous anger. She has little to love Mormonism for. Its two leading doctrines, the ‘Celestial Marriage’ and ‘Blood-Atonement’ have pretty thoroughly shut out happiness from her life, and rendered her in her old age lonely and dependent. Ann Eliza Webb-Young, ‘Wife no 19’ re Mrs Lewis
In the history of any people there has never been recorded a case of such gross mismanagement as that of gathering the foreign Saints to Zion in the year 1856.
Until this disastrous year the emigrants had always made the journey across the plains with ox-teams ...
The cost of emigration in this way was from £10 to £12, English money, or nominally $50 to $60 in gold – not very expensive, surely, for a journey from Liverpool to Salt Lake City; but to Brigham, in one of his fits of economy, it seemed altogether too costly, and he set to work to devise some means for retrenchment. During the entire winter of 1855-56, he and his chief supporters were in almost constant consultation on the subject of reducing the expenses of emigration, and they finally hit upon the expedient of having them cross the plains with hand-carts, wheeling their own provisions and baggage, and so saving the expense of teams. The more Brigham thought of his plan, the more in love he grew with it, and he sent detailed instructions concerning it to the Apostle Franklin D Richards, the Mormon agent at Liverpool, who published it in the Millennial Star, as the new ‘divine plan’ revealed to Brother Brigham by the Lord, whose will it was that the journey should be made in this manner. ibid. ch11: 'Divine Emigration – The Prophet and the Handcart Scheme’
Nothing will disturb an LDS member more than finding out that Brigham Young taught the Adam/God theory. That having some modern Mormon apostle lie about it. And so the Church really doesn’t do any value for its members by sanitising the Book of Abraham. Brent Lee Metcalfe, author New Approaches to the Book of Mormon
About 5 p.m. President Brigham Young & suite arrived in the city ... On the following day I went to see him in his Mansion where I spent near day – very agreeable indeed. He had a decanter of sp[l]endid wine brought in of his own make & said, ‘I want to treat Brother Lee to as Good an article, I think, as can be bought in Dixie.’ The wine indeed was a Superior article. He said that he had some 300 gallons & treated about 2000$ worth of liquers yearly & continued that we wish that some one would take his wine at 5$ per gallon & sell it, where upon President D H Wells said that he would take 200 gallons at $6 a gallon. John D Lee, A Mormon Chronicle: The Diaries of John D Lee vol 2 pp.71-72
Whether the hot blood which must now be seething and boiling in the veins of Brigham Young and his satellites in Salt Lake is to be cooled by the murder of Gentiles who pass through their territory, whether the destroying angels of Mormondom are to be brought into requisition to make reprisals upon travelers, whether, as has been done before, saints disguised as Indians are to constitute themselves the supposed ministers of God’s vengeance in this case, we are not informed, but have no doubt that such intentions are prevalent among those saintly villains, adulterers, and seducers of Salt Lake. Alta California, edition 9th July 1857
By the mid-1850s LDS Church leaders needed less expensive ways to move poor immigrants to Utah. The Perpetual Emigrating Fund that loaned to the needy was depleted, and costs for wagons and ox-teams were high. Therefore, Brigham Young announced on 29th October 1855 a handcart system by which the Church would provide carts to be pulled by hand across the Mormon Trail. As a result, between 1856 and 1860 nearly 3000 Latter-day Saint emigrants joined ten handcart companies - about 650 handcarts total – and walked to Utah from Iowa City, Iowa, (a distance of 1300 miles) or from Florence, Nebraska (1030 miles). History of Utah
Like despots both ancient and modern, Brigham Young eagerly seized on this external threat to consolidate his power. He also ramped up Mormon recruitment efforts in Great Britain and Scandinavia (where Mormon missionaries carefully concealed the doctrine of polygamy) as a way of building up his kingdom. To cut down on the time and expense involved in bringing new Mormons to Zion, Young ordered the construction of handcarts – rickshaw-like vehicles – used to carry the pilgrims and their possessions across the plains.
The handcart initiative led to disaster in late 1856 as two companies of Mormon immigrants (known as the Martin and Willie companies), promised by Mormon leaders that God would hold back the winter snows, were caught in an abnormally early and severe blizzard. More than 200 men, women, and children died, making the Martin/Willie debacle ‘the worst disaster in the history of America’s overland trails’.
Mormon leaders refused to shoulder any blame for the catastrophe. Jedediah Grant ... laid the blame on the victims ... ‘the same disobedience and sinfulness that had induced spiritual sleepiness among the people already in Zion’. Will Bagley author Blood of the Prophets
Zion’s Camp did not redeem Zion, but it transformed Mormon leadership and culture. In February 1834, the Kirtland high council elected Joseph Smith as ‘commander-in-chief of the armies of Israel’. This was one of the first acts of the newly organized high council which thus acknowledged Smith's religious right to give God’s command to ‘go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people’. Zion’s Camp was the first organization established for the external security of Mormonism. A year later, the military experience of Zion’s Camp (rather than any ecclesiastical service) was the basis upon which Smith said he was selecting men for the newly organized Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the Seventy. Unlike other American denominations, ‘the church militant’ was a literal fact in Mormonism, not just a symbolic slogan. D Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy p85
In an incident about which Smith’s personal diary and official history are completely silent, he was acquitted in June 1837 of conspiring to murder anti-Mormon Grandison Newell. The silence may be due to the fact that two of Smith’s supporting witnesses in the case, both apostles, acknowledged that the prophet discussed with them the possibility of killing Newell. Apostle Orson Hyde testified that ‘Smith seemed much excited and declared that Newell should be put out of the way, or where the crows could not find him; he said destroying Newell would be justifiable in the sight of God, that it was the will of God’ etc. Hyde tried to be helpful by adding that he had ‘never heard Smith use similar language before,’ ... Apostle Luke S Johnson acknowledged to the court that Smith had said ‘if Newell or any other man should head a mob against him, they ought to be put out of the way, and it would be our duty to do so.’ However, Johnson also affirmed: ‘I believe Smith to be a tender-hearted, humane man.’ Whether or not the court agreed with that assessment, the judge acquitted Smith because there was insufficient evidence to support the charge of conspiracy to commit murder. ibid. pp.91-92
In Nauvoo it was the orders from Joseph Smith and his apostles to beat, wound and castrate all Gentiles that the police could take in the act of entering or leaving a Mormon household under circumstances that led to the belief that they had been there for immoral purposes ... In Utah it was the favorite revenge of old, worn-out members of the Priesthood, who wanted young women sealed to them, and found that the girl preferred some handsome young man. The old priests generally got the girls, and many a young man was unsexed for refusing to give up his sweetheart at the request of an old and failing, but still sensual, apostle or member of the Priesthood. As an illustration ... Warren Snow was Bishop of the Church at Manti, San Pete County, Utah.
He had several wives, but there was a fair, buxom young woman in the town that Snow wanted for a wife ... She thanked him for the honor offered, but told him she was then engaged to a young man, a member of the Church, and consequently could not marry the old priest ... He told her it was the will of God that she should marry him, and she must do so; that the young man could be got rid of, sent on a mission or dealt with in some way ... that, in fact, a promise made to the young man was not binding, when she was informed that it was contrary to the wishes of the authorities.