The John Taylor Papers, by Samuel W. & Raymond W. Taylor Volume I, The Apostle



Download 1.18 Mb.
Page15/28
Date conversion29.04.2016
Size1.18 Mb.
1   ...   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   ...   28

drama, it will be all well. We shall gain the great goal, and inherit eternal

lives..

In New York, Taylor sold the wagon and horses to help finance the



projected newspaper. He wrote to Brigham Young that it was one thing to

be on a mission without purse or scrip, but quite another to publish a

newspaper on the same terms. Expenses would be at least $100 a week,

while he could expect little support from the local Saints, because the

church was shattered in the area.

In New York, when we went there, we found a people that called themselves

"Mormons." I called a meeting, and there were only two that I would

acknowledge as such. I told the rest to go their own way; told them what I

acknowledged to be Mormonism, and, if they would not walk up to that, they


might take their own course.

[184] On Sunday, 17 December, George recorded:

Today we went to a pseudo Bro. Hicks, one of the hasbeenswas, and

still claims to be, Prest. of the N.Y. Branch; but where the Branch is, is

difficult to ascertain. . . . We found that Bro. Hicks had given the Saints a

holiday about two years prior to our arrival, and he had not notified them

when to commence again.

Mission headquarters consisted of two rooms on the third floor of

Mrs. Englebrecht's boarding house at 256 Hicks Street in Brooklyn. The

missionaries paid $4 a week for board, with gas light, fire, and washing

extra.

One with two single beds, a table, wash stand, fireplaceor



rather gratethree chairs and one sofa, and the other adjoining it not any

too large for the single bed and chair and wash stand . . . . are not

the warmest I ever saw as the windows are loose and . . . Jack Frost sometimes

spreads himself upon the windows half an inch in thickness.

George was appointed to draw the impressive heading for The Mormon.

The 20yearold artist worked with stiff fingers while the room was

almost cold enough, he said, to freeze the head off a nail.

At a council meeting 21 December:

J. Taylor spoke upon the establishment of a paper and means to do it

with. It was proposed that the brethren go in different directions and meet

members that are scattered through the country and . . . get them interested

in the work.

[185]

With the new year, George noted that "Father has not means enough to



pay another week's board." However that didn't stop him from engaging two

rooms for the editorial offices, at the corner of Nassau and Ann Streets,

in the heart of newspaper row. Rent, $225 per year. The missionaries

bought a tiny stove for $8, and worked in below zero weather, with fire

bells ringing almost constantly as overloaded chimneys in the city burst

into flame.

The first issue of The Mormon came off the press on Saturday, 17

January 1855. Inasmuch as the initial run was distributed free, a minor

riot resulted.


The news boys got wind of it and rushed into the building en masse,

filling the stairway and passage, and creating such a disturbance with their

clamours for the paper that . . . we ordered them out . . . .

Then we tried physical force, but the youngsters wedged themselves in the

doorway in such a way that it was impossible to get them away, as they had any

amount of backing. Then the proprietor came along and ordered them out, but

couldn't manage them, so he went and called some policemen.

Taylor didn't mince matters in the first issue. "We are Mormon," he

announced, "inside and outside; at home or abroad, in public and

privateeverywhere."

"We are not ashamed," he added frankly, "to declare that we are

polygamists."

We do this calmly, seriously and understandingly, after due deliberation,

careful examination and close investigation of its principles and bearings

religiously, socially, morally, physically and politically. . . .

[186] Since this doctrine has been promulgated by us as a part of our

religious creed, every variety of opinion has been expressed by men in all

classes of society. It has been talked about by religious and irreligious,

professors and profane. It has been the theme in the legislative hall, the

pulpit, the barroom and the press. Polygamy and the Mormons, Mormons and

polygamy, have resounded everywhere . . . . We unhesitatingly pronounce our

full and implicit faith in the principle as emanating from God, and that under

His direction it would be a blessing to the human family . . . .

We are not surprised, then, that men of reflection and virtue . . .

should feel indignant of polygamy. They look upon it as something pandering to

the brutal passions of man; and . . . can scarcely conceive of anything but

lasciviousness associated with it.

We respect the conscientious feelings of such men.... But we would

respectfully ask such persons if they ever seriously reflected upon the

matter? . . . Did they think that Abraham, Jacob, David and Solomon and a host

of other good men mentioned in the scripture were polygamists? That the Twelve

Tribes of Israel, to whom belong the covenants and promises, descended from

four womenthe wives of one man? Did they ever reflect that those men were

more virtuous than this generation; and that for such things that are

practiced here every day with impunityadulterya man would be stoned to

death by all Israel? Did they ever reflect that it might be possible for the

Lord to be unchangeable? That . . . possibly he was not in error then; and if

not then, the same principles might probably be as correct now as they were at

that time? It is well for us not to be too hasty.


This was a bombshell to newspaper row. Nor did it help matters when

Taylor published articles on the Kingdom of God, explaining the Mormon

expectation of taking over control of the nation and the world in

preparation for the millennial reign.

[187]


With vehemence the Gentiles counterattacked. Press, pulpit and

public not only denounced the abominations of Mormonism, but hatched

various schemes to abate this "loathsome ulcer of the body politic." The

American Bible Society planned to flood Utah with Bibles. (Taylor advised

that they be wellbound, for they would get hard use.) Newspapers urged

New York churches to send missionaries to darkest Utah. There was a plan

to send troops to the valley to seduce plural wives; another to send an

army of women'srights females to lead their Mormon sisters into the

light.

So bitter was the feeling that when Utah was threatened with famine



in 1855 because of crop failure, caused by drought and a plague of

crickets, the New York press "but ill concealed its rejoicing," Roberts

says, at the prospect that the Mormon question would be settled by

starvation.

"You may as well talk to sticks and stones as to Gentiles," Taylor

wrote Brigham Young.

In regard to preaching here, it seems to be of very little avail. There

are some odd ones get baptized, but it is like gleaning of grapes when the

vintage is gone . . . .

I have spoken, and so have others, to large congregations; but they seem

to be deaf and dumb and dead; very few indeed have been baptized, although

some of our most diligent Elders have labored among them increasingly. Some

Elders have been laboring for more than twelve months and have not baptized

one.


Mormonism was in the public eye. It was fashionable to know

something about it. People jammed large halls to hear Taylor [188] speak.

But it was curiosity about this outlandish sect that drew people, not

interest in the gospel.

It is almost impossible to produce any effect on the feelings of the

people. In New Jersey, I held several days' meetings, to see if something

could be done. They turned out in great numbers; Mormonism was popular; as

many as 200 carriages were present. We were treated well, and preached




faithfully. Somebody came and set up a little groggery, and it was removed

forthwith. Was anybody converted? No. They turned their ears like a deaf adder

to the cause; and that is the general feeling, so far as I have discovered . .

. . (7)


In newspaper row, "There seems to be a deadly hostility against us,"

Taylor wrote.

We have not a more virulent, bitter and unscrupulous enemy than

Greeley of the Tribune. I have lately spoken very plainly of his course in The

Mormon . . . .

I have examined his articles, watched his course, read his paper daily,

and have formerly conversed with him a little; but latterly I would not be

seen in his company. I was thrown in his society in traveling from Boston, and

occasionally met him afterwards; but I would not talk to him.

Taylor was particularly scornful of Greeley's selfrighteous

attitude in denouncing plural marriage among the Saints, while he himself

was an advocate of free love.

The majority of the people think we are a most corrupt people, following

a doctrine something like those Free Love societies in the east. Greeley . . .

was associated with one of those societies, and was its principal supporter.

[189] That is what is called a virtuous kind of an abomination, used under a

cloak of philosophy, a species of philosophy imported from France. Hence they

call Greeley a philosopher; and, in writing about him, I have called him the

same. I believe him to be as dishonest a man as is in existence . . . .

I do not know that the editor of the Herald is any more honest; but, as a

journalist, he tells more truth. He publishes many things as they are . . . .

But Greeley will not; he will tell what suits his clandestine plans, and leave

the rest untold. (8)

John Taylor, Champion of Liberty, declared that all Gentile editors

"are in a state of vassalage; they cannot tell the truth if they feel so

disposed."

People talk very loudly about liberty; but there are very few who

comprehend its true principles. There is a species of bondage that is

associated with every grade of society . . . . There are yokes made for men of

every grade to put their necks into . . . . With regard to officehunters,

they are in bondage to each other; and even the President of the United States

is trammelled, bound down, and no man has the manliness to say, "I dare do as




I please."

These things are so in a monetary point of view, in a religious point of

view, and they are so in a political point of view. Every man bows down his

neck to his fellow, and every man must be true to his party, no matter what it

is. Politicians are bound by their parties, editors by their employers,

ministers by their congregations, merchants by their creditors and Governors

and Presidents by political cliques. Divisions, strife, contention and evil

are everywhere increasing, and there is little room for truth in the hearts of

the people.

In the mercantile world there is what is called the credit system, which

I consider one of the greatest curses [190] that was ever introduced by man.

Some will set up a small groggery or grocery; they go into debt . . to some

larger ones in St. Louis; those to merchants in Cincinnati, New York and New

Orleans; and they are in debt to larger houses in England, France, Germany and

other places. They all bow the neck; they are all trammeled and bowed down

with the same chain.

People talk about our credit not being good lately. I hope to God nobody

will credit a Mormon. We don't want anything on credit. I want us to live as

we can live; and if we cannot live without going into debt to our enemies, let

us dienever put our heads under the yoke. (9)

John Taylor, Defender of the Faith, outlined the LDS political

policy in The Mormon:

We believe that our fathers were inspired to write the Constitution of

the United States, and that it is an instrument, full, lucid, and

comprehensive; that it was dictated by a wise and forseeing policy, and . . .

that it is the great bulwark of American liberty. We therefore rest ourselves

under its ample folds.

We believe that all legislative assemblies should confine themselves to

constitutional principles; and that all such laws should be implicitly obeyed

by every American.

We believe that all men should have a right to do good; a perfect freedom

of action; and be protected in that right; . . . but that no man is free or at

liberty to do wrong, or transgress law.

We believe that all men are responsible to God for their religious acts,

and therefore ought to have perfect freedom of conscience.

[191] We believe that the president, governors, judges and governmental




officers ought to be respected, honored, and sustained in their stations; but

that they ought to use their positions and power not for political emolument,

or party purposes, but for the administration of justice and equity, and for

the well being and happiness of the people.

We believe that legislators ought to be chosen on account of their

intelligence, honor, integrity, and virtue; and not because they belong to

some particular party clique.

We believe that the high party strife, logrolling, wirepulling,

political juggling and spoilation, are a disgrace to any politician; that they

are beneath the dignity of an American, and disgraceful and humiliating, alike

to the people and statesmen of this great republic.

We believe that legislative enactments ought to be for the good of the

whole, and not for any particular location or district; and that anything else

is at variance with the spirit and genius of our institutions.

We believe that although there is "much to lament, and room for very

great improvement, . . . that we have the most liberal, free, and enlightened

government in the world. (10)

For the Gentile audience, Taylor defined Mormonism as "a revelation

from the heavens to man, introducing a new dispensation to the human

family, viz: the everlasting gospel, which has been corrupted,

transformed, and changed."

It has its origin from God, and is the . . . living, breathing energetic,

intelligent power; instead of the dead, withered, lifeless, inanimate body or

form. It introduces man to a knowledge of himself, shows him his relationship

to his fellow man, to the world, to Saints, spirits, and to God. It unfolds

his origin and destiny, and [192] unlocks the dark, impenetrable future; the

heavens are unveiled, and eternity is laid open.

Standing upon its broad platform, encircled by the mantle of truth, the

man of God, by faith, peers into the future, withdraws the curtains of

eternity, unveils the mystery of the heavens, and through the dark vista of

unnumbered years, beholds the purposes of the great Elohim, as they roll forth

in all their majesty and power and glory. Thus standing upon a narrow neck of

space, and beholding the past, present, and the future, he sees himself as an

eternal being claiming an affinity with God, a son of God, a spark of Deity

struck from the fire of his eternal blaze. He looks upon the world and man in

all their various phases, knows his true interests, and with intelligence

imparted by his Father Celestial, he comprehends their origin and destiny . .

. .



Such was the religion of the ancients, both upon the continents of Asia

and America. The everlasting gospel made known in the last days is nothing

more nor less than the ancient religion restored. It is the commencement of

the "restitution of all things, spoken of by all the holy prophets since the

world was." It is the bringing back of ancient, eternal principles, whereby

men can know God as they knew him formerly; not a vague fantasy, not a simple

form, but a living reality . . . .

Did ancient men of God revel in the truth? So do we. Did they have

revelations and visions? So do we . . . . Did God communicate with them? He

does with us . . . . Did they prophesy of a kingdom of God? We are helping to

build it up. Had they ministering angels? So have we.

Had they prophets, apostles, pastors, teachers, and evangelists? So have

we . . . . Did they expect that God would purge the wicked out of the earth

and introduce a reign of righteousness? So do we. Did they look for Jesus and

the saints to reign on the earth? So do we.

[193] We are, in fact, looking for all things that they did; seeking to know

all things that they knew, and to bring to pass all things that they

prophesied of, the great consummation of which is the restitution of all

things; and men may lie and rant and rave; they cannot frustrate the designs

of God, nor stop the progress of eternal truth one moment. Its course is

onward, ONWARD, ONWARD, and it defies opposition . . . .

The omnipotent power of eternal truth will stand unscathed in the view of

gathering hosts, and the nations will know that God rules the heavens, that

Mormonism is not a vague fantasy and wild chimera, but the greatest boon that

could be conferred upon man; the offspring of heaven, the gift of the Gods, a

celestial treasure, an earthly, heavenly inheritance, a living, abiding, and

eternal reality. (11)

Taylor moved from the rented rooms to a house in Brooklyn. He made

frequent trips to Westport, Connecticut. At Westport was a cotton mill

owned by a convert, Ebenezer Young (unrelated to Brigham), which Taylor

considered a nucleus for a manufacturing center, to provide employment

for converted textile workers from England, who were arriving by the

shipload.

Another reason for the house in Brooklyn, and the trips to Westport,

was Ebenezer's attractive daughter, Margaret, whom Taylor was courting.

Taylor composed an article for The Mormon, "Origin and Destiny of

Woman," which embodied basic LDS doctrine, and was also a love letter to




Margaret:

. . . Lady, whence comest thou? Thine origin? What art thou doing here?

Whither are thou going, and what is thy destiny? Declare unto me if thou hast

understanding.

[194] Knowest thou not that thou art a spark of Deity, struck from the fire of

His eternal blaze, and brought forth in the midst of eternal burning?

Knowest thou not that eternities ago thy spirit, pure and holy, dwelt in

thy Heavenly Father's bosom, and in His presence, and with thy mother, one of

the queens of heaven, surrounded by thy brother and sister spirits in the

spirit world, among the Gods? That . . . thou sawest worlds upon worlds

organized and peopled with thy kindred spirits who took upon them tabernacles,

died, were resurrected and received their exaltation on the redeemed worlds

they once dwelt upon . . . .

Thou longed, thou sighed, and thou prayed to thy Father in heaven for the

time to arrive when thou couldest come to this earth . . . . At length the

time arrived, and thou heard the voice of thy Father saying, go, daughter, to

yonder lower world, and take upon thee a tabernacle, and work out thy

probation with fear and trembling and rise to exaltation. But, daughter, . . .

you are to forget all things . . . in the spirit world . . . truth

shall touch the chords of your heart; . . . then intelligence shall illuminate

your mind, and shed its lustre in your soul, and you shall begin to understand

the things you once knew . . . .

Now crowns, thrones, exaltations and dominions are in reserve for thee in

the eternal worlds, and the way is open for thee to return back into the

presence of thy Heavenly Father, if thou wilt only abide by and walk in a

celestial law, fulfill the designs of thy Creator and hold out to the end; you

may go down to our grave in peace, arise in glory, and receive your

everlasting reward in the resurrection of the just . . . .

Thou will be permitted to pass by the Gods and angels . . . to thy

exaltation in a celestial world among the Gods. To be a priestess queen upon

thy Heavenly Father's throne, and a glory to thy husband and offspring, to

bear the souls of men, to people other worlds. . . . [195] while eternity goes

and eternity comes; and if you will receive it, lady, this is eternal life . .

. .


If faithful, lady, the cup is within thy reach; drink then the heavenly

draught and live. (12)

At Westport on 27 September 1856, John Taylor and Margaret Young


were married. (13) Carefully vague about such matters, George noted in

his journal that "a girl came to keep house."

In The Mormon, Taylor's views went beyond issues of the day to

comprehensive discussions of world development.

A great destiny lies before the United States. The question is, is she

competent for the task? She has outridden the fiery test of revolution, hurled

defiance at a despot's power, and grasped the sceptre of liberty with a

powerful grip. She has, out of the chaotic, confused mass of material

associated with corrupt, governments, organized a system of government and

framed a constitution that guarantees to all, to the fullest extent, "Liberte,

Egalite, Fraternite . . . ." Here man is free to speak, free to think free to

write, free to act, free to do good. The very genius of our Constitution and

institutions is freedom. If there is a fault, it is the fault of party,

sectional strife, or narrow bigotry; it is not in our institutions . . . .

Such is America at present. What is her future? Her destiny is evidently

onward; for although yet in her youth, she has grown to be a giant among the

nations . . . .

Will the concentrated intelligence of past ages, with the improvements of

the present, advance man in the scale of being, and lead him to seek for

improvement in the science of life? We think it will, for man is a progressive

being. It is an era of transition, an age of active, busy preparation.

[196]


"Is it," Taylor asked, "preparatory to the establishment of some

vast permanent moral, political, or religious government. . . . under

which all the nations of the earth may gather?"

Although the present distracted state of the world might seem to forbid

the expectation of an immediate amalgamation, yet the rapid increase of means

1   ...   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   ...   28


The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2016
send message

    Main page