That is what they called it. The Mormon Problem. We no longer hear the reproach, though faint echoes still reflect from the rigid walls of religion and secularism. We can no longer see ourselves as we once were, but we paid a price before accommodating and it is that price that ransoms, in me, empathy and fear.
Because they are our people, the words donâ€™t seem so shocking, but imagine if it were not our people:
Poor rotten curses! And the President of the United States, inasmuch as he has turned against us and will take a course to persist in pleasing the ungodly curses that are howling around him for the destruction of this people, he shall be cursed, in the name of Israel’s God, and he shall not rule over this nation, because they are my brethren; but they have cast me out and cast you out; and I curse him and all his coadjutors in his cursed deeds, in the name of Jesus Christ and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood; and all Israel shall say amen.
Send 2,500 troops here, our brethren, to make a desolation of this people! God Almighty helping me, I will fight until there is not a drop of blood in my veins. Good God! I have wives enough to whip out the United States; for they will whip themselves. Amen. (1)
This was during the Mormon Reformation in 1857 and the memories of their sacrifice were still fresh. However, contention persisted through the decades and in response to the territorial prosecution of co-habitators, many in Salt Lake City flew their flags at half mast on July 4th 1885. The national media ravaged the saints in response (see here, here and here).
The following year the Century, a popular magazine in the 19th and early 20th century, featured two articles (Marriage, Divorce and the Mormon Problem and Marriage and Divorce again) that explicate the national sentiment without particularly inflamitory language. The lead article opens:
Many Americans believed in 1865 that the last of the problems had been worked out by the United States, and that the country had now no more to do than to enjoy its well-earned leisure, with none to molest or make afraid. The futility of the expectation has only become more evident with the years. (2)
The one problem that remains? Mormons. Summarily, the Mormons likely moved to Mexico to build up a population large enough to sustain a viable State. After being admitted to the Union they would use their majority sway to make polygamy legal within the state. As it is not a Federal issue, the Nation as a whole could do nothing to effect the spread of this calculated barbarism. Solution: a constitutional marriage amendment.
There are some, it is said, that do not accept as conservative an individual whose sensibilities justify rights to others which that individual believes are immoral. I donâ€™t particularly care whether I may be considered conservative or liberal. There is, however, a strong libertarian pillar that emerges in me upon such historical reflection. We did pay a price. I am now more sensitive to similar costs with todayâ€™s problems and to the people that exact them.
- Heber C. Kimbal, JD vol. 5 pg. 95
- Millenarian allusion (Micah 4:4) is especially poignant considering the perennial frustration of the Mormon realization of the same. Compare to Messenger and Advocate vol. 2 no. 4 pg. 245. â€œOne of the most important points in the faith of the church of the Latter Day Saints, is, through the fulness of the everlasting gospel, the gathering of Israel; the happy time when Jacob shall go up to the house of the Lord, to worship him in spirit and in truth; to live in holiness, when the Lord will restore his judges as at the first, and his councellors as at the beginning; when every man may sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there will be none to molest or make afraid;â€? See also Times and Seasons vol. 6 no. 23 pg. 1122 & 1130