Women of Mormonism
The Story of Polygamy
THE WOMEN OF MORMONISM:
THE STORY OF POLYGAMY
As Told by the Victims Themselves.
JENNIE ANDERSON FROISETH
Editor of the Anti-Polygamy Standard, Salt Lake City,
INTRODUCTION BY MISS FRANCES E. WILLARD
AND SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS BY
REV. LEONARD BACON, DD. LL.D., HON. P.T. VAN ZILE,
C.G.G. PAINE, DETROIT, MICH.
Copyright, 1881 and 1882
By Jennie Anderson Froiseth
HAPPY WIVES AND MOTHERS OF AMERICA,
WHOSE HOMES ARE PROTECTED FROM THE INVASION BY
THE MAJESTIC ARM OF THE LAW;
TO THOSE WHOM THE WAIL FO THEIR FIRST-BORN
IS SWEETER THAN THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES,
BECAUSE THAT BABE IS THE PLEDGE OF
THE UNITED AFFECTION OF
ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN;
TO THOSE WHOSE CHILDREN DO NOT BRING WITH THEM A
BIRTHRIGHT OF SORROW, AND WHOSE MOTHER-
HOOD IS NOT A BADGE OF SHAME,
THIS BOOK IS APPEALINGLY DEDICATED BY SOME OF THE
WOMEN OF MORMONISM.
With an earnest desire to have some part in the great work of redeeming the large,
beautiful, and populous Territory of Utah from the tyrannical and degrading evil which
holds it in its mighty grasp, and which is ruining the souls and bodies of thousands of
men and women, the publisher sends forth this work. He is confident that it will impart
information which will astonish its readers, and hopes it will exert no small influence in
molding public opinion, and thus lead to an energetic demand upon Congress for right and
efficient legislation, and direct the sympathies of the people to some practical end, in
increasing the means of the various "redeeming agencies" that are operating in
Utah and the adjacent territories.
In order to give the work the greatest possible circulation, it will be sold only by
subscription. Every effort has been made to have it thoroughly accurate and reliable, and
to issue it in an attractive style. The illustrations are chiefly portraits of some of the
most prominent persons who are working in various ways for the redemption of the
inhabitants of Utah from the terrible bondage in which they are held, and have been
engraved expressly for this work, at great expense.
Someone has said that an Author's Preface is as unnecessary as absurd, because in
ninety-nine cases out of one hundred it is simply an apology for having written the book.
The Editor of these page certainly does not offer any apology for this book. She only
gives a few words of explanation as to how it came to be presented to the public. A few
years ago, a little band of brave and devoted women in Salt Lake City, associated
themselves together for the purpose of fighting an iniquitous monster which had brought
thousands of their sex to untimely and unwept graves. Some of these women had experienced
personally all the horrors of the Mormon system, and when an organ for the "
Anti-Polygamy Society " was established, they were willing to give their experience
to the world, only stipulating that, for family and personal reasons, their names should
not be made public. They were willing to make private affidavits to all the facts, (these
affidavits to be held in reserve), should their veracity be questioned.
These recitals, told in the powerful language of the heart, were deemed worthy of a
much larger circle of readers than the columns of a new journal afforded. Ardent friends
of the cause were anxious that that narratives would be published in book form, in
connection with other papers bearing upon the subject of polygamic Mormonism. Said these
friends, "If the wives and mothers of America could only be made aware of the extent
and character of this degradation of their sex, and informed of the need of their sympathy
and support, the on-rushing tide of public sentiment, once set in motion, would sweep away
the curse of polygamy in a single year."
Consequently, the Editor of the Anti-Polygamy Standard was empowered by the
writers of the different sketches to revise, re-arrange, and prepare the matter in its
present form, and send it to the WOMEN OF AMERICA, hoping that thus might be set in motion
a tide which would purge our nation of this evil without such a convulsion as imperiled
the national life in extirpating the other "relic of barbarism"
It will be unnecessary to add one word to the pathetic appeals contained in these
pages, and, I trust, just as unnecessary to ask my countrywomen that not in vain shall
sweep over the broad prairies, the cries of the "WOMEN OF MORMONISM."
JENNIE ANDERSON FROISETH
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
CHAPTER I. THE CASE STATED
Polygamy as a Religion. - As a Social System. - Address of the Gentile Women of
Utah. - Appeal of Mrs. Ann Eliza Young. - Design of this Work. - Degrading Influence of
CHAPTER II. THE ORIGIN OF POLYGAMY
Mormon Policy. - Joseph Smith. - Crusade against Women. - Special Revelation. -
Treatment of Those Who Rebelled Against the Doctrine. - Polygamy a Curse.
CHAPTER III. POLYGAMY PROPAGATED
Polygamy Denied Abroad While Practiced at Home. - Ingenious Liars. - Danger of
Admitting Utah as a State. - Relief Societies.
CHAPTER IV. CLASSES OF MORMON WOMEN
Apostates. - Anti-Polygamous Mormons. - Full Believers. - Courage of the Apostates.
CHAPTER V. WOMAN'S CONSENT
First Wife's Story.-Counseled to Humble His Wife.-"Wives Have no Rights in this
Territory."-A Mother's Reason for Going to Utah.-The New House.- The
Baby.-Persecutions. - Husband Persuaded.-Death of the Baby.-Wife Reluctantly
Consents.-Consequences.-A Death-Bed Scene.-Escape
CHAPTER VI. A WIFE'S REVENGE
Both Fanatic and Fool.-A Husband's Promise - The Husband Ensnared.-Happiness of
Polygamous Families. - Sickness - The Vow.-English Mollie. - The Third Wife. - A Religious
CHAPTER VII. A VICTIM OF PIOUS WORDS
Married to a Missionary.-The Awakening.-Tempted to Murder Her Own
Children.-Apostasy.-More Demon than Woman.
CHAPTER VIII. A SLAVE TO THE FIRST WIFE
Sorrows of Plural Wives.-An Elder's Importunities.-An Unwilling Consent.-Slavery.-A
Disappointed Lover.-Escape from Home.-Tracked.-Driven Back.-Shameful Neglect.-Leaving Home
a Second Time.-Lying Justified.-A Husband's Treachery.-Doubts and Apostasy.
CHAPTER IX. EVIDENCE VS. STATEMENTS
Incident of the Endowment House.-Statement of a Mormon Bishop.-Testimony of a
Victim.-Result of a Second Marriage-Testimony of the United States District Attorney for
CHAPTER X. STILL IN THE TOILS
Help of the Nation Needed.-Timidity of the Women Still in the Church.-Their
Despair.-An Infatuated Wife.-A Sad Story.-Wives without Legal Rights.-The Third Wife.
CHAPTER XI. FANATICISM
Degradation of the Fanatics.-Joseph Smith's Holiness.-Brigham Young's Opinion of
Joseph.-Mormonism Justifies Lying for the Truth.-No Cross, No Crown.-One Man the Husband
of Three Generations.-The Mormon Elder and His Wives.- Advice of a Mormon Woman.
CHAPTER XII. TOOLS OF THE PRIESTHOOD
Remarkable Statement.-Polygamy Instilled into the Young.- Apostates Become Infidels or
Spiritualists - No Sympathy for the Tools.-A Young Girl's Statement.-Attempts to Keep a
Young Lady from Apostatizing.-Corruption Fund.-Woman to the Rescue.
CHAPTER XIII. AN EARNEST APPEAL
Quotation from the Deseret News Joseph Smith's Widows.- Changed Views.-Smith's
Denunciation of Polygamy.-Married or Single.-Controversy with God.-Polygamy Binding upon
All or None.-No Plural Marriage.
CHAPTER XIV. OPEN LETTER TO THE MORMON WOMEN
Anti-Polygamists Animated Only by Love of Humanity.-A Revelation Cannot Release from
Allegiance to Law.-Fruits of Polygamy.-Geo. Q. Cannon's Four Wives.-Ann Eliza Young's
Suit.-Letter from Ann Eliza Young.-Woman in Utah and Other Sections.
CHAPTER XV. THE BEAUTIES OF POLYGAMY
A Saintly Husband.-A Wedding and a Funeral.-The Trio Victorious.-"It Rejoices
Mother Beyond Measure."-"I Prefer to Scratch for Myself Now.
"-" I am Heart-Broken. "-The Black Eye.-An Eastern Lady.-Four Wives and
Three Beds. -Sixteen Children Left.-Peculiar Consolation.-Would Visit His Sick Wife Next
Sunday.-Would not Harmonize.-Arraignment of Polygamy by a Victim.
CHAPTER XVI. THE EFFECTS OF POLYGAMY
Affects Unborn Generations-Young Girls.-Remarkable Statement.-Testimony of
Stenhouse.-House of Correction.-An Apostle's Son.-A Bishop's Hopeful Heir.-Taylor's
Refusal. -" Poor Boy."-Unfortunate Girl.-" Surprised that they Lived
together so Long."-Fifty Children in the Cemetery. Joseph Smith's Son.-" Queen
of the Harem."
CHAPTER XVII. A HEART HISTORY
Wedding Anniversary.-Mormon Missionary-his Visit.-The Shock.-The Old Home.-Invalid
Sister.-The Mother's Advice.-The Journey to Zion.-Bishop Parker's Wives.-A Solemn
Promise.-The New Home.-Obscene Sermons.-Mrs. Parker's Friendship.-Unwelcome
CHAPTER XVIII. A HEART HISTORY CONTINUED
A happy Home Picture.-"Brother Ellis."-The Message.-A Stormy Scene.-Attempt
at Reconciliation.-Mrs. Parker's Visit.-Her Advice.-Christmas.-Sealed to Jesus Christ.-
Joining the Church.-"Brother Ellis " Again.-Interview with the President. The
Terrible News.-" One of Papa's Women."-Attempt to Escape.-Death.
CHAPTER XIX. SPREAD OF MORMONISM IN THE UNITED STATES
The People of the Nation Have the Power.-The Let-Alone Policy not Sufficient.-Steady
Influx of Foreigners.-Concealment of Second Marriages.-Mothers Will not Make Known the
Fathers of Their Children.-Mrs. Young's Letter.-Danger to the Nation.-"Danger to
Every Household in America."-Mormon Church at Covington, Ind.-Mormonism in
Michigan.-Canton, Ill.-Young Girl in Colorado.-An Appeal.-Young Lady in Indiana.-An
Infatuated Daughter in Massachusetts.-Will Another War be Needed?
CHAPTER XX. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?
BY THE LATE REV. LEONARD BACON, D.D., LL.D.*
Something Now.-Thirty Years' Compromise.- National Sovereignty.-People Unfit for Self
Government.-No State Rights.-The First of Human Right.-Jim Fisk
CHAPTER XXI. THE TWIN RELIC
BY HON. P.T. VAN ZILE, U.S. DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR UTAH*
Philadelphia Convention, 1857.-No Easy Question.-Mormons Completely
Organized.-Tithes.-Polygamy not Publicly Announced at First.-Wonderful Power of
Forgetting-You Cannot Protect Me. - Proportion of Polygamists.-" Brooming a
Bishop."-Polygamists Holding the Offices.-Spiritual Exaltation.-Mormon
Jurors.-Congress Guilty.-Evil Results of Polygamy.-Laws Suggested.
CHAPTER XXII. SOME SUGGESTIVE LETTERS
BY HON. P.T. VAN ZILE, U.S. DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR UTAH*
Difficulties in the way of Convicting Mormons.-How to Crush It.-Law of
Limitation.-Disfranchise the Polygamists.-Punish Adultery-"Don't Persecute
Us."-Mormon Buncombe.- Treason.-No Kid -Glove Proceedings.-The Young Men
CHAPTER XXIII. VIEWS OF A STATESMAN
BY HON. SCHUYLER COLFAX*
Mormon Defiance.-Juries.-:Female Suffrage.-Right of Dower. - Abolish the Legislature.-Heed
the Gentiles.-The Golden Time.
APPENDIX : DECISION OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
IN THE CASE OF GEORGE REYNOLDS OF UTAH, CONVICTED OF BIGAMY.
THERE are many theories about the " Origin of Evil." The women who will write
theological treatises in the twentieth century, will probably explain its horrid advent
into this world as being consequent upon the first assumption by man of authority over the
mate or comrade who, though weaker than himself in body, was stronger in soul. However
that may be, the degradation of man has always been the inseparable result of the
subjection of woman; for the ,stream cannot rise higher than its fountain, and it is
written in God's Book of Fate, which man calls "Natural Law," that the mother's
relation to the Home, Society, and the State, shall determine their degree of elevation or
Turkey is doubtless the most debased country on earth, and there, as I was told in
Constantinople by an American of twenty years' residence in that capital, a Turkish
gentleman (?) who so far forgets himself as to mention his wife in the hearing of
ears polite, always adds, " I beg your pardon for the allusion." In Syria, I
learned1 from the missionaries that a man never calls himself a father unless he has a
son, his daughters being altogether counted out as ciphers until a brother's birth
places a significant figure before them, after which they are mentioned as "That
But America need not go so far for illustrations. Turkey is in our midst. Modern
Mohammedanism has its Mecca at Salt Lake, where Prophet Heber C. Kimball speaks of his
wives as "cows." Clearly the Koran was Joseph Smith's model, so closely followed
so as to exclude even the poor pretension of originality in his foul "revelations
" Man was to take his position in the future world according to the zeal with which
he had "built up the kingdom," while woman's immortality depended on her
conjugal relations here.
When we consider that the country which permits this abomination of desolation to
continue, is the "bright consummate flower "of Christian civilization; when we
remember what o'clock it is in the Nineteenth Century, and that the formula of Utah's
monstrous lust is, "Live Your Religion" we are tempted to change
Sojourner Truth's famous words " Is God dead ? " from a question into a
If ever the incalculable mischief of excluding women from direct participation in
Government had an illustration so conspicuous as to silence the blindest conservative, it
is afforded by the dalliance of Congress with polygamous Delegate Cannon and his unclean
constituency. Were women in the House of Representatives, the disgraceful record that must
go down in history would not be even thinkable. The same esprit de corps in women
which led a Mormon wife to say as she touched the chilly hand of a dying man, "Thank
God, this can never again strike a woman !" has inspired the brave woman who
writes this book.
I have read its pages with thoughts too deep tears. Some sulphur-shrouded planet may
have a vocabulary fiendish enough to fitly characterize what they reveal, but mere English
is only the vocabulary of a prating parrot in presence of such pathos and such woe.
There is something chivalric as the knights of old in the Author's defense of Mormon
women from the harsh criticisms made by the uninformed upon their course in submitting to
this most awful form of tyranny. But with the physical strength and the money-power in the
one scale, and the mother-heart in the other, there is no more mystery about the passive
attitude of Mormon women than about that of unhappy wives in more favored localities, or
in the mute endurance of slaves or squaws.
When Brigham Young declared that "if women would not submit to polygamy they
should be eternally damned," and when history shows that women who have resisted have
often been murdered, the mystery of the non-resistance policy which they commonly pursue,
is certainly cleared up. " Starve them, and beat them if necessary, to bring them to
submission," said the Mormon apostles; " better crucify the body than let the
soul go to perdition. " Well was the method of these hypocrites characterized by a
Mormon woman who said of one of them, "He is a man who steps on hearts as though he
stepped on stones."
The fact that Emma Smith, the first wife of Joseph, so trained her sons they
reorganized the church, and their branch prohibited polygamy, shows that the one woman who
had power in this subtle hierarchy was swift to use it for a righteous end.
Surely it is time that the Christian women of this nation arouse themselves to organized
action against this sum of all curses which can curse the sex not physically strong.
To say we have been hitherto indifferent would be a libel on our womanhood no less than
our religion; to say we have been idle would be unjust, when we remember the books of Mrs.
Stenhouse, the Anti-Polygamy Journal of Mrs. Froiseth, the lectures of Mrs. Ann
Eliza Young, and the great petitions which have registered where they were little heeded,
the votes of the great army of women whose actual ballot would soon deliver our captive
sisters on the blighted frontier.
But the hour demands a deeper, more combined, and far-reaching movement; and the
instinct of self-protection no less than of philanthropy should warn the wives and mothers
of this land that each that each woman degraded means the potential degradation of all
Who will lead us along the path of high endeavor which this thoughtful volume
indicates, until the Book of Mormon is burned in the fierce blaze of Christian manhood's
indignation and woman's righteous wrath, and the Gospel of Him who came not only to redeem
the world but to restore to woman her lost inheritance, " the equality of
equals," is the beloved Home Religion in every Home?
FRANCIS E. WILLARD
Chapter 1: The Case
Return to the Cults