Mormon History

Mormon Slander and Intimidation - 1872

The Deseret News October 2, 1872

For the information of those who do not understand, we may say that there is an intention cherished by certain parties to raise an extensive disturbance here the coming winter. The reason why this disturbance should be brought about, the conspiring parties themselves hardly know, but the whole affair is a species of diabolism, though its movers affect an entirely opposite character and intention.

To bring about this purpose secret conclaves are held, where divers plots are concocted and probabilities discussed. Dispatches and correspondence of the most startling, sensational anou inflammatory character may be expected ever and anon, for the purpose of firing the public heart against "Mormonism" and the "Mormons." Nothing is too base for these plotters against the peace and welfare of ahlis community to attempt, if they think there is any chance of success. The vilest calumnies and the grossest illegalities are eagerly perpetuated if they appear to promise the accomplishment of the evil purposes designed....

Affidavit signers are in request just now. They are hunted after with great avidity and when discovered, collared, button-holed and variously plied and manipulated until deemed sufficiently limber for the grand Christian purpose which is in view. Apostates, with their proverbial venom are favorite subjects and are in strong demand.
The great thing to be accomplished is the criminating by hook or by crook of the "Mormon authorities." The means is an entirely secondary consideration. It is not the "Mormon people" that the shafts are aimed at. O, no, it is the head, because injury to the head affects powerfully the whole body, while to injure a hand or a foot is not so material an affair.

Come on, then, all ye who can be persuaded to take oath lightly, there is work being cut out for you, and it is not difficult to find the parties who are anxious to see and employ you. You are wanted for the express purpose of swearing to some dreadful and infamous crime, which by certain legal kinds of legerdemain it is hoped can be traced to and [fastened] upon the "Mormon authorities." This is the grand object in view. If you will not take an oath of that nature, you are not the individuals wanted, you are literally of no account in this connection, and you can stay at home and follow the plow or push the plane, like other honest citizens, who can't be used as tools in infamous intrigues. It is the enterprising fellows with easy consciences and no scruples who are required to affix their sign-manual or "his X mark" to the most serious charges recognized by the law. Such are wanted to help on the incipient crusade which [as] designed, shall "solve the Mormon problem" during the coming winter, and reduce the whole "Mormon" body first to the originally monstrous and then to the present chaotic condition of a recently loudly pretentious but blubbery local organization.

Now is the time for the takers of tall legal oaths to make a few dimes, be patronized, petted and plied by unprincipled [plotters], and earn the ultimate contempt of every good citizen. But it should not be forgotten that the business is not only disreputable but dangerous, for perjury sometimes meets its proper punishment unexpectedly and promptly, apart from the fact that all business of the kind perpetrated against the "Mormons" has hitherto been very unpromising, and that the inference may be justly drawn that, in the future as in the past, and despite the atrocious bitterness of its enemies and the weaknesses and follies of some of its advocates, "Mormonism" will rise superior to every situation. That we firmly believe, is its unpreventable destiny.

Note 1: Editorial comments reprinted from the Deseret Evening News of Sept. 27th -- alluding to the Klingensmith affidavit of Apr. 10, 1871, (only recently published by the local press). However, anticipating such developments, Brigham Young had already excommunicated John D. Lee and Isaac Haight, two of the more notable promoters and participants in the Mountain Meadows massacre. The Mormon leadership at this time was quietly and carefully preparing the public mind in Utah, for the coming disclosures of Mormon involvement in the 1857 emigrant massacre. See the Salt Lake Tribune of Sept. 28th for the response from the local non-Mormons.

Note 2: The words, "perjury sometimes meets its proper punishment unexpectedly and promptly," may have been read by some Mountain Meadows massacure veterans, as a thinly-veiled warning from the writer (Apostle Cannon), that they not testify at all regarding the events of 1857, whether their intended testimony be a truthful witness, or less than truthful "perjury."