The people contested these measures one by one in the courts; presenting in case after case the different phases of the subject, and urging the unconstitutionality of the measure. Then the Church was disincorporated, and its property both real and personal confiscated and escheated to the government of the United States; and although the personal property was soon restored, real estate of great value long lay in the hands of the court’s receiver, and the “Mormon” Church had to pay the national government high rental on its own property. But the people have suspended the practise of plural marriage; and the testimony of the governors, judges, and district attorneys of the territory, and later that of the officers of the state, have declared the sincerity of the renunciation.
As the people had adopted the practise under what was believed to be divine approval, they suspended it when they were justified in so doing. In whatever light this practise has been regarded in the past, it is today a dead issue, forbidden by ecclesiastical rule as it is prohibited by legal statute. And the world is learning, to its manifest surprise, that plural marriage and “Mormonism” are not synonymous terms.
And so the story of “Mormonism” runs on; its finale has not yet been written; the current press presents continuously new stages of its progress, new developments of its plan. Today the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is stronger than ever before; and the people are confident that it is at its weakest stage for all time to come. It lives and thrives because within it are the elements of thrift and the forces of life. It embraces a boundless liberality of belief and practise; true toleration is one of its essential features; it makes love for mankind second only to love for Deity. Its creed provides for the protection of all men in their rights of worship according to the dictates of conscience. It contemplates a millennium of peace, when every man shall love his neighbor and respect his neighbor’s opinion as he regards himself and his own—a day when the voice of the people shall be in unison with the voice of God.
In this attempt to treat the philosophy of “Mormonism” it is assumed that no discussion of Christianity in general nor of the philosophy of Christianity is required. The “Mormon” creed, so far as there is a creed professed by the Latter-day Saints, is pre-eminently Christian in theory, precept, and practise. In what respect, then, may be properly asked, does “Mormonism” differ from the faith and practise of other professedly Christian systems—in short, what is “Mormonism?”