We hear that on Sunday morning, May 21st, 1859, at the Tabernacle, Orson Pratt delivered a discourse.  Set out with an exceedingly lengthy apology for the seeming presumption in an humble individual like himself attempting to enlighten or instruct such an intellectual congregation, but with the assistance of Divine Providence, he would proceed with his remarks.  He spoke of the coming of Christ to reign over his “kingdom on earth;” gave a graphic description of the gathering of the “Latter Day Saints” on that occasion, and the great joy which they would experience; how happily they would live under the new administration—indeed, he appropriated the entire kingdom to the use and benefit of the Mormons, not leaving one quarter section unoccupied.  He portrayed the awful doom which will come upon the ungodly (us Gentiles), magnifying the vials of wrath that are to be poured out upon them into quite respectably sized bottles.  He also made a labored defence of the doctrine of a “Plurality of Wives.”  Said the Mormons were charged with the crime of Polygamy; asked who said it was a crime? (aside, from a gentleman occupying an orchestra seat or stage box, “My grand-mammy!”)  “Yes, your grandmammy, for I defy the world to place a finger on a word or a line contained in the scriptures which pronounces it a crime!”  But, oh, says one, “Custom makes it a crime!”  “Custom!” he did not care for custom; the Patriarchs of old took as many as they wanted, and so would the Latter Day Saints; was not going to limit himself and his brethren to one each, just because the Romans did; they, so he said, being the first to “put on the limits.”  He referred to a prophecy in Isaiah relative to the coming of the Lord, and painted a glowing picture,–scene, on earth, just prior to the removal of the masculine saints from the old kingdom to the new; each male saint was represented as having seven distressed females clinging to the extremities of his coat, weeping, and insisting upon retaining their holds, that they might, through his righteousness, be saved—professing to be able and willing to supply their own wearing apparel, rations and other necessary outfit, without putting him to the least expense or inconvenience on their account.  The speaker said that this prophecy, which is yet to be fulfilled, is a full endorsement of the doctrine, and the people said …

He compared the state of society in this Territory, where men have wives without number, with that of New York, where each man is allowed but one wife, but many mistresses: while all is peace, purity and holiness in the one place, prostitution and all manner of corruption reigns in the other.  He congratulated the Legislators of the Territory upon the wisdom they displayed in not making it illegal, tapered his remarks down to a blessing, and vacated the stand for their “Beloved President,” who had been lolling on a sofa in the pulpit, during the entire discourse.

[Valley Tan, May 24, 1859]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Sept. 2006]

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