The Mormons, by H. T. Buckle
Looking upon the world, the voyager through space discerns vast tracts of
land, uninhabited barren wastes, and immense forests echoing only the
tread of the wild beast and the cries of birds of prey.
It becomes the duty of the political economist to reclaim these lands and
place them in the hands of civilization.
How is this to be done? Shall it be by following in the beaten track of
custom? No: it can only be accomplished by the zeal of the enthusiast.
Joe Smith was an inspired man; even as Columbus was he inspired. Through
his agency a colony was started near the dismal Salt Lake. Through his
agency, and by the aid of his apostles or followers, the hardy men and
women from the overcrowded population of Europe, cramped by man, and
priest-ridden, have been brought across the ocean into republican
America. They have been placed in this seemingly unpropitious Salt Lake
country. There they have founded a city; they have erected factories and
mills. The steam engine, the plow, and the sewing machine have aided
them; and now, in place of a company of barbarous peasants, ignorant and
benighted, and steeped in poverty, you find them transformed into
energetic, intelligent citizens, surrounded with comforts and luxuries.
And all this has been brought about by a religious enthusiast; by an
enthusiast whose religion is believed to be inferior to the religion of
Imagine for a moment what result would ensue from a movement of this kind
set on foot by the followers of the Protestant religion as it is taught
by the churches of the present day. No theatres or places of amusement
would add gayety to the sombre city. The dance and the sound of mirth
would be hushed. The inhabitants would walk ever in solemn fear of the
awful future that might await them; they would despise their physical
frames, crucify their passions, and trample under foot the most divine
attributes of their nature.
But the religion of the Mormons is a natural religion; it is primitive.
They people the world even as God peopled it in the time of Abraham and
They enrich the state by their tithes. They bring in their corn, their
wine, and their fruits, as offerings, and the state pays them back by
improving their roads and building houses for instruction and pleasure
Their domestic system, which has been so much despised and ridiculed,
does not greatly differ from the custom of the civilized world. Such as
are wives with them become with you the neglected women of the town. What
with you is considered dishonorable, with them becomes honorable.
The man of wealth in Utah does not concentrate his riches on a few
relatives; he distributes it among his many wives and numerous children.
In all times, nations which have grown rapidly and have been developed in
arts and sciences have been peopled in the same manner. The female
element introduces into a community taste, ornament, and grace. Look at
California previous to the emigration of women to that land! Misrule and
misery reigned. It is a law of nature that men and women should be
united. In the present form of civilization, a large proportion of women
are compelled to remain single, and their usefulness to community and
humanity is dissipated. The Mormon system eradicates this evil.
The progress of civilization points to a time when a magnetic relation
shall be established between all the inhabitants of earth; when the globe
shall form one vast circle of mind as it does now of matter. At present
the chain is broken; the intermediate spaces are not filled up by
population. The spirit world is using all its skill to bring about this
magnetic connection, but till this is complete the magnetic relation
between the spirit world and earth cannot be perfect.
Wise intelligences in the world of spirits have originated and guided the
Mormon movement, and these intelligences will develop new communities
under similar auspices. The legislators of the land, the Napoleons of the
day, would do well to investigate the policy of the leaders of Utah.
The crimes common in your large cities are not known among the Mormons.
They live on friendly terms with the red men of the plains, and are just
in their dealings.
Each citizen is taught that the public welfare is his own welfare. In
your own large towns the citizens shirk public duties; but in Utah there
is a oneness of feeling, which it would be well for those who consider
themselves superior in the scale of civilization to imitate.