Mormon History

The Salt Lake Daily Tribune

October 28, 1880



The Mormons are a people. That is the main secret. They are not a political body of people; they are not exclusively, a religious body of people. They are a people.

Professing to be Christ's people, and sheep of his pasture, they understand the world of Jesus in the fullest and most literal sense, "except ye are one, ye are not mine."

All, then, who are one with this idea are, so far, one with them.

But this idea, carried into practice involves a "gathering together in one." It involves exclusiveness (real, though it need not be bitter or narrow), from those who hold no such idea, or deride such an idea.

"It must needs be that offences come, but woe be to him by whom they come." Did Christ here speak his own condemnation? Was such unity as he meant an offence, God-ward or man-ward?

Grant the Christians of unity offences, but is it essentially a just ground of offense? Whom does it most offend?

Unity? Can even two ever become one?

Mormons do not claim to be "one" in any dangerous or disloyal sense, in any fanciful, extravagant, or absurd sense. They have entered into no conspiracy against God or against the best interests of humanity. They are not such idiots as to conceive that two human beings can ever become one human being. But yet, the desires, the hopes, the interests, aims and purposes of two persons may surely become identical, may become "one," and what is claimed for two may become practicable for twenty, for a hundred, ten thousand, a million -- may become true -- gloriously true -- of a whole people. Why not?

Whether such unity as Christ meant be practicable or not, whether it be desirable or not, may (if it please you) be questioned. But if it be conceded that such unity as Christ meant would be beneficial -- is desireable -- what possible harm to any can result from the attempt to bring it about?

However feeble and faulty in practical application (as selfishness is the toughest of all "tough customers" to fully extirpate, and "earthen vessels" are not celestial conduits), this would seem really to be the whole gist of the "strange" Mormon argument and doctrine and position in the matter of "1-ness."

We say "would seem to be," for we have been writing of the subject as a good (real good) "Latter-day Saint" might express his views, And thus put, isn't it plausible enough?

Mormon "one-ness" means simply, one-man power. He rules, bogusly, as the vicegerent of God on earth -- absolutely.

A stream, 'tis said, cannot rise higher than its fountain. IF the fountain of Mormonism were in Christ, the stream might rise incalculably. But if this fountain, however hidden and obscured, be in the crazy crotchets and splenetic vanity (aping Christ while none of His) of Sidney Rigdon, however skillfully the thing was contrived, however dextrously the knowledge of the real originating genius of Mormonism has been suppressed, however plausible to many the scheme may appear, it is a broken cistern at best, and the sham and pretense can not "stand forever." Who originated the idea of temple-building in Mormondom? And who is the master, today, in Mormon temples and tabernacles? Why, Sidney Rigdon. And of all people on earth Mormons are best exemplifying the need of that warning, "Except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it." Who instituted "the gathering" -- saying "Lo here is Christ," (in Ohio,) "Lo there is Christ (in Missouri)? Why, Sidney Rigdon. Who instituted "sealing" and the endowment? Why, Sidney Rigdon. And finally, who is father of the brilliant culminating ideas of Mormon "1-ness?" Who made it compulsory, who "breathed forth threatenings and slaughter" for the sake of compassing this "1-ness," and, following out this crazed, this autocratic, this fatal, deadly idea of "1-ness," who (according to Brigham Young, Orson Hyde, and other Mormon leaders) "was the prime cause of our troubles in Missouri,"and "although Brother Joseph tried to restrain him he would take his own course" (vide Times and Seasons, pp. 651 and 667)? Why, "Elder Rigdon." And so, in a very pertinent and added sense, can Mormons confess, "all we like sheep have gone astray"

Now, if the spirit that was in Christ Jesus, or, that is Christ's bud, been in Sidney Rigdon, the real founder and contriver of Mormonism, why deceive at all? Surely one fails to find in Mormonism the simplicity that was in Christ, [aye?], that us His. On the contrary, do we not see in Mormonism endless subterfuge and chicane? Is not the thing "all a muddle?"

"Unity among ourselves" even? Was the same spirit manifest at the recent Conference in the remarks of Moses Thatcher and of old Joseph Young that deformed the utterances of some others?...

Before the Mormons had gone from Ohio to Missouri, who said "Missouri, the land of your inheritance, which is now the land of your enemies?" And this in June, 1831. The Mormon "Lord," the "Lord" of Mormon revelation, is primarily responsible for the sins of "this people." Christ was no sect builder. Sidney Rigdon was, and his "Lord" (if he had one, outside his own addled brains) was a sect builder. His (or their) wonderful "plan of salvation" involved intense "unity" on the one hand, intensest acrimony on the other hand. Think ye well of this, Oh "Latter day Israel."

The Deseret News is right. Government and the world at large insist upon making a "problem" of Mormonism when none exists, or, if it does, 'tis of easiest solution -- when Sidney Rigdon furnisheth the key: Joseph Smith, the prophet, Joseph Smith, the first President of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. Concede this point, and you concede about everything Mormonism asks of its [enemies?]. Prick that bubble and Mormonism collapses, for Mormonism is nothing if it is not divinely originated through "the prophet Joseph." Humanly speaking, he was incapable; humanly speaking, Rigdon was, on the contrary, quite capable of the whole contrivance.