No apology is offered for presenting to the public the only authentic account of Brigham Young, of his polygamous family, and of that complicated and incongruous system of social and political machinery, called Mormonism.
The only form of religion in this country which refuses to conform either to the spirit of progress and improvement and enlightened humanity which characterizes the age in which we live, or to our laws and the genius of our free institutions, -- drawing constantly from foreign countries hosts of votaries, impelled hither not by a love of republicanism, but rather by the desire to exchange a political for a religious monarchy, -- is Mormonism, which presents an antagonism to our Government, and can scarcely fail to result in national trouble.
The elements of a second rebellion are in active progress in Utah, and, as in the case of the slavery rebellion, the great danger lies in failing to place a proper estimate upon the power of those elements for mischief, and to take the proper precautions in time. Religious fanaticism is more active, and, when hostile, more dangerous, than political ambition; hence the arrogant and intolerant spirit, and the bitter hostility of the Mormons, are more worthy the serious attention of our statesmen than would be the opposition of so many mere political traitors.
Again; their power for mischief is much increased by the position they occupy upon the great thoroughfare between the eastern and western portions of our country.
It is with the view of calling the attention of the Government and of the people of the country to the dangerous character of this monarchy growing up in the midst of the Republic, that the political history of Utah has been written.
The chief interest of the work, however, with a large class of readers, will doubtless consist in the information it contains, relative to the family and social relations of the celebrated Mormon leader. These, and all other facts contained in this volume, may be relied upon as true, and many of them are now published for the first time.
The subject of polygamy is treated thoroughly, and as dispassionately as the writer's utter abhorrence of the system will permit. A residence of two years in the midst of this state of society, could not fail to afford me a tolerably good view of its inside workings, and this view I have presented to my readers.
Some of the facts narrated in this volume have been furnished by persons in Salt Lake, who are thoroughly conversant with them; in some cases, by persons who have long been in the service of Young, and known whereof they relate. While I am not at liberty to mention their names, I take this opportunity to return them my thanks for such valuable information.
This book is believed to be a desideratum demanded by the social and political well-being of the country, and as such it is presented to the consideration of the people of this country, and especially to my own sex, who are deeply interested in preventing the framework of our social system from being broken up and superseded by the customs and maxims of the worst ages of barbarism.
To the suffering women of Utah, I especially dedicate this result of my labors in their behalf; and I am not without hope that many of them may, upon a perusal of its pages, be induced to retrace their steps, and rescue themselves from the snares of the religious impostors now seeking their destruction.