Pratt] San Francisco, July
"Mormonism!" "Plurality of Wives!"
An Especial Chapter, for the Especial Edification
of certain inquisitive News Editors, Etc.
A certain Editor in this town,
(San Francisco,) in reviewing our late Spanish and English Proclamation,
complains sorely of our neglect of our own countrymen, the Americans, in our
religious instructions. He also enquires, with all the seeming anxiety of a
penitent man at the anxious seat, as to his excellency Gov. Young's family
matters, and whether "Mormonism" allows a man more wives than one!!!
We inform him, that "Mormonism" is not in a corner, nor its light under a bushel, in the United States. Its books and ministry have long been within the reach of every reader in the English language. If the Americans wish information let them read the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and our other works, and seek the truth at the hand of God, and at the hand of our Apostles and Elders. And let them repent of their priestcraft, errors and folly, and humble themselves as in the dust, and learn to speak and publish the truth.
In regard to Gov. Young's family matters, we never had the curiosity to inform ourselves, although we have been a near neighbor of his for many years. This much we do know, -- that his morality is above all suspicion in the circles where he is known, and we presume the number of his family does not exceed the late estimates, which have been the rounds of the American Press. At any rate his family are respectable and virtuous; and as patterns of faith and piety, and good works, they are honored in every department of society. Marriage, in nearly all countries is regulated by civil legislation, and is therefore beyond the jurisdiction of our Apostleship, or ministry. Some governments allow to each man one wife, some two, some four, and others as many as they can obtain and support.
Every person who reads the Bible must know that the commission is to preach the Gospel to every creature in all the world, and to baptize all who believe, and repent. The Lord, in giving this commission, made no exceptions to the exclusion of any particular family organization growing out of the varied civil institutions.
It is also known, or ought to be, that this commission, without variation has been renewed to the Latter Day Saints, and that every baptized penitent, is a member of the church in good standing, while he observes the laws of God and his country Whether these laws legalize to him one wife or "sixteen."
Our instructions to all nations are that they believe in Jesus Christ, and repent and be baptised. And then serve God and obey the laws and civil institutions under which they live, or a country whose institutions are more congenial to their faith.
But, in all cases to be sure and love, sustain, honor, and cherish every soul of the family which the laws of God or man has given them, and to abstain forever from all unlawful intercourse between the sexes. For all unlawful intercourse of this kind is adultery, or fornication, and by the law of God is punishable with death.
Is it possible there is still in "Christendom," (after so many years of Mormon progress,) a man, or even an EDITOR so ignorant as to suppose that the eternal principles of the Priesthood, Ordinances and Kingdom of God, sent forth as a Standard of Universal Restoration for the Tribes of Israel, and for all nations, would narrow itself down to the petty prejudic
es, local superstitions, and narrow views of that small minority of mankind known as "Christendom!"
And thus exclude Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the kings, patriarchs, and prophets of old from the kingdom of God, and three quarters of the present generation of mankind from all participation in the Gospel ordinances, merely because their family is so large!!!
Nay, more! The narrow, ignorant legislation of some Churches and States, would imprison, for years the Patriarch Jacob, turn his four wives, twelve sons and a daughter into the street, without father or husband, dishonored and rendered illegitimate; and then, if possible, demolish the very gates of New Jerusalem; because the names of the sons of Jacob, by Rachel, Leah, Bilhah, and Zilpah were found engraven on the gates.
This done and the family of Israel broken up, all the good citizens, law makers, judges, and lawyers who had thus shown their indignation against "vice" and their zeal for "virtue" might by the laws of the same State, seduce and ruin as many females as they pleased, by merely paying a fine, and a certain amount of damages!
Or, in other words: so much disease, shame, dishonor, ruin, death and damnation, of our fair daughters for so much money. So much gold for so much blood! -- murder! No -- Editors! -- this is not "Mormonism!"
Should the United States, or any other nation ever rise from the degradation into which a false "Christianity" has plunged them: should they ever ascend to the level of the heathen nations of ancient Egypt or Babylon, and like a Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzer, or a Cyrus, engage a Prophet or an Apostle to teach them; a Joseph or a Daniel to give them wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God, and in the science of government, -- then "Mormonism" will teach their Senators wisdom and their Judges justice; and the latter day Apostles and Prophets restore to them the laws of God. As it is written by Isaiah, Chap 2d, verses 2d, 3d, 4th and 5th.
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it.
And many people shall say, come ye, and let us go unto the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths, for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people, and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
O house of Jacob, come, and let us walk in the light of the Lord."
The law of God, from Zion, in the top of the mountains, when taught to the nations, will provide the means for every female to answer the end of their creation; to be protected in honor and virtue; and to become a happy wife and mother, so far as they are capacitated and inclined. While every man who stoops from his Godlike majesty to a level with the brute creation so far as to trifle with the fountain of life, (female virtue) will atone for the same with his blood.
And thus adultery, and fornication, with all their attendant train of disease, despair, shame, sorrow and death will cease from our planet, and joy, love, confidence, and all the pure kindred affections, and family endearments be cherished in every bosom of man.
Note 1: The above broadside was issued by Parley P. Pratt, in slightly different format than is represented above, on July 13, 1852, in anticipation of the official LDS announcement of polygamy, as a sanctioned doctrine, on Sept.14, 1852. Apostle Pratt published the broadside with a time-table in mind. For the following four weeks he could stir up publicity and offer something like an answer to regional newspapers, like the San Francisco Alta California, which had been criticizing the Mormons' barely secret "spiritual wifery." About the same time that the copies of responses in the California papers reached the East, the copies of the official polygamy announcement in the Deseret News would only be a week or two behind in the mails. Thus, editors at a distance could begin to discuss the topic, based upon reprints and reports of Pratt's July 13, 1852 broadside, and just as that discussion commenced in the eastern papers, the Church's official announcement would arrive, to reveal and explain the entire matter.
Note 2: Editors in cites like Philadelphia took "the bait" and published Pratt's letter, creating responses like Elder Isaac Sheen's rebuttal in the Oct. 9, 1852 issue of the Saturday Evening Post.
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