Fruits of Mormonism by Nelson Slater (compiler)

Ever wondered how people named and shamed before facebook?

Here it is, 1851 style. A group of emigrants travelled across America to get to some Californian gold digs. Along the way, those who hadn’t timed things so well, found the threat of winter looming. At this point they were in the territory of the Mormons who had been violently ejected from Missouri and had set up their new colony in Utah.

The Mormons apparently started out all friendly like but soon, once the travellers were trapped, or believed they were on the advice of the locals, things began to turn nasty. In effect the Mormons figured it would be a fine thing if the travellers had to labour for them for nothing, or even better, for less than nothing. The travellers’ hard currency as well as their supplies were looted one way or another. Justice Mormon style was often dispensed with a view to extract even more from their ‘guests’.

In case you are wondering, yes, the ladyfolk were at risk. The Mormons were going through their period of believing that God’s will involved them having a whole bunch of shags per man.

The victims were incensed. The result, upon their escaping, was a pamphlet, the first copyrighted book in California, which detailed their experiences as a warning to others. It is signed by over a hundred of them, representing a lot more according to the compiler, Nelson Slater.

It couldn’t be a book of the period without having a title reflecting its earnest weight:

F R U I T S

OF

M O R M O N I S M,

OR

A FAIR AND CANDID STATEMENT OF FACTS
ILLUSTRATIVE OF MORMON PRINCIPLES,
MORMON POLICY, AND MORMON CHARACTER.

BY MORE THAN FORTY EYE-WITNESSES,

There are all sorts of people who could benefit from reading this. Anybody thinking of becoming a Mormon. Anybody needing to get across Utah at a bad time of year. Anybody who wants a rollicking story of the Mormon version of the Wild West.

The emigrants are all serious upstanding members of the community who are doing this for the good of the rest of America.

It is not the design of the following pages to give a full representation of either mormon principles, mormon policy or mormon character. Only a sketch is intended. Yet we trust it will be sufficient to enable the reader to form a just idea of the principles of action, policy and character, of the mormon people.

The emigrants in making these statements are not prompted by feelings of personal animosity, retaliation or revenge, but by a sense of duty which as United States citizens we owe to ourselves, our country and the world. Should the mormon people receive this testimony as kindly on their part, as it is given on ours, they would take heed to the reproof and amend their ways.

We do not wish needlessly to create a public sentiment against them. We wish simply to tell the truth. If it widens the breach between them and other people, we cannot help it. Their own conduct is the cause.

Oh, I love it. Give me this over facebook any time.

And they do name, such as in this account of the gross situation of women.

The most beastly and unblushing system of polygamy prevails in Salt Lake valley. * Men have from one to sixty wives each. It is true, that only a part, as yet, have more than one wife; but they are increasing the number as fast as women can be obtained. The number of women already in the valley is computed to be more than double that of the men.

Among the wives belonging to one man, are frequently found several sisters, and often a widow and several of her daughters. The following facts illustrate the system:

Mr. Dana, a justice of the peace at Ogden, has two wives. Mr. Graham, living at Brownsville, has three. Among them is a mother and her daughter. Capt. Brown, of Brownsville, has four wives. Among them is a mother and two daughters by the name of Abbott. Mr. Holmes, living about twenty two miles north of the city, has two wives, E. Richardson has three wives. Josiah Canfield has two sisters for wives. Willard Snow has two wives. A Mr. Stewart has three wives, a mother and daughter being among them. Mr. Turpin, near the old fort, has three wives, among them a mother and her daughter. Mr. Scott, living some five miles south of the city, has three wives. Mr. Gardner, a little farther south, and the owner of a grist and saw mill, has four wives.

The leaders generally have a greater number, varying from half a dozen to thirty wives each. They also have sisters, mothers, and daughters, among their wives. “In some instances they have their own nieces for wives. We are informed that Dr. Willard Richards, one of the twelve mormon apostles, lost one of his wives last winter who was his niece. It is said that he has one of his own sisters for a wife. Heber C. Kimball has more wives than any other one except Brigham Young; who says he does not know how many he has, but is generally reported in the mormon community, to have sixty or seventy.

The cases we have mentioned, bear a small proportion to the whole number existing in the valley. Polygamy is extensively practised, and strenuously advocated and encouraged. Various arguments are used by the leaders in favor of the practice, such as the following: 1. It is scriptural. Many of the old testament saints and ancient patriarchs were permitted to have concubines. 2. The greater the number of the wives and children which a man has, the more glory will he have in the future world. The more numerous his family or tribe, the more honored will he and they be in the world to come. *

The mormons use every stratagem to increase the number of women in the valley. They are diligent to induce as many as possible to come wives. Willard Snow has two wives. A Mr. Stewart has three wives, a mother and daughter being among them. Mr. Turpin, near the old fort, has three wives, among them a mother and her daughter. Mr. Scott, living some five miles south of the city, has three wives. Mr. Gardner, a little farther south, and the owner of a grist and saw mill, has four wives.

The leaders generally have a greater number, varying from half a dozen to thirty wives each. They also have sisters, mothers, and daughters, among their wives. “In some instances they have their own nieces for wives. We are informed that Dr. Willard Richards, one of the twelve mormon apostles, lost one of his wives last winter who was his niece. It is said that he has one of his own sisters for a wife. Heber C. Kimball has more wives than any other one except Brigham Young; who says he does not know how many he has, but is generally reported in the mormon community, to have sixty or seventy.

The cases we have mentioned, bear a small proportion to the whole number existing in the valley. Polygamy is extensively practised, and strenuously advocated and encouraged. Various arguments are used by the leaders in favor of the practice, such as the following: 1. It is scriptural. Many of the old testament saints and ancient patriarchs were permitted to have concubines. 2. The greater the number of the wives and children which a man has, the more glory will he have in the future world. The more numerous his family or tribe, the more honored will he and they be in the world to come.

The mormons use every stratagem to increase the number of women in the valley. They are diligent to induce as many as possible to come there, and to retain them after their arrival. Efforts are sometimes made to seduce emigrants’ wives, and prevent their accompanying their husbands to California or elsewhere. They do not hesitate to separate husband and wife, if they can retain the wife among them, and induce her to become the wife of a mormon. Instances of this kind occured during the past winter and spring.

Among the children in the same family you will find brothers and sisters who are at the same time cousins, uncles and nephews, aunts and nieces, &c.

The original pamphlet is rare and expensive. Luckily, for your amusement and edification, you can find the original online here.

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