3. No apostle of the Mormon Church has publicly protested against that violation.
I know the gravity of the utterances that I have just made. I know what are the probable consequences to myself. But I have pondered long and earnestly upon the subject and have come to the conclusion that duty to the innocent people of my State and that obligation to the Senate and the country require that I shall clearly define my attitude.
This is no quarrel with religion. This is no assault upon any man’s faith. This is rather the reverence toward the inherent right of all men to believe as they please, which separates religious faith from irreligious practice. The Mormon people have a system of their own, somewhat complex, and gathered from the mysticisms of all the ages. It does not appeal to most men; but in its purely theological domain it is theirs, and I respect it as their religion and them as its believers.
The trouble arises now, as it has frequently arisen in the past, from the fact that some of the accidental leaders of the movement since the first zealot founder have sought to make of this religion not only a system of morals, sometimes quite original in themselves, but also a system of social relation, a system of finance, a system of commerce, and a system of politics.
I dismiss the religion with my profound respect; if it can comfort them, I would not, if I could, disturb it. Coming to the social aspect of the society, it is apparent that the great founder sought first to establish equality among men, and then to draw from those equal ranks a special class, who were permitted to practice polygamy and to whom special privileges were accorded in their association with the consecrated temples and the administration of mystic ordinances therein. The polygamous group, or cult as it may be called, soon became the ruling factor in the organization; and it may be observed that ever since the founding of the church almost every man of prominence in the community has belonged to this order. It was so in the time of the martyrs, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, who were killed at Carthage jail in Illinois, and both of whom were polygamists, although it was denied at the time. There were living until recently, and perhaps there are living now, women who testified that they were married in polygamy to one or the other of these two men, Joseph having the larger number. It has been so ever since and is so to-day that nearly every man of the governing class has been or is a polygamist.