Jacob Boreman, in charge to Grand Jury, states that the Mormons are ignorant due to acceptance of polygamy and leaders engage in deception.

Sep 16, 1874
Speech / Court Transcript
Jacob S. Boreman
Scribed Verbatim

Jacob S. Boreman, Charge to the Grand Jury, September 8, 1874 in "Charge to the Grand Jury of the Second District Court," Deseret News 23 no. 33 (September 16, 1874): 8

Deseret News
Mary Ann Angell Young, Brigham Young, Ann Eliza Young, Jacob S. Boreman
Reading Public

You are called to act as a grand jury, now, in accordance with a late act of the Congress of the United States and not in pursuance of any Territorial statute. Over a year ago, I sought to enforce the laws through a grand jury without Congressional action, hoping that in so doing, I should be sustained by the people through their Legislature. In this I was greatly deceived, for the Territorial Legislature last winter scouted the idea of paying the officers, whom, in the absence of any one whatever authorized to act. I had appointed to summon the juries and to attend to the other duties of executive officer of the Court at that term. The Legislature thus showed an unwarranted hostility to the courts and a disgraceful opposition to the enforcement of the laws in Utah. Some of the members of that body and others in sympathy with this repudiation of legitimate court expenses, took great pleasure in pointing (when it suited their purpose) to my action at that time in calling juries, as evidence that I had no difficulties in securing juries in my district . . .

The people in this Territory, friendly to the Government, who have come to this Territory from various parts of the Union, as they have the right to come desire only that the laws be respected here as elsewhere in the Union; that crime may be put down here as elsewhere, and not be allowed to stand defiant as it is doing and has done for years in this Territory. They want security for life and for property, a higher standard of morals, and equal and exact justice to all. When men talk to you that the government and its friends desire to persecute any people here for their religion opinions, they well know that their statements are bald falsehoods, and they well know that all that is desired is that crime shall not continuely go unwhipt of justice. With men’s rel[ig]ion, government has nothing whatever to do . . .

The United States statue against polygamy or bigamy will require your attention. It was passed in 1862 and its existence and binding force has been well known from that time to the present; yet it has not been respected, and every possible means has been used to prevent its enforcement. It is now, daily violated in this Territory and the people have been, by the false teachings of their leaders, led to ignore it. These leaders from Brigham Young down have taught that plural or polygamous marriages were legal, when that law against polygamy stared them squarely in the face and they well knew that such teachings were not true. Brigham Young’s subsequent actions plainly show this. He, as you have no doubt seen from the public prints, has lately acknowledge the illegality of these plural marriages. His answer in the divorce suit of Ann Eliza Young against Brigham Young has been published in three leading Salt Lake City papers, the Tribune, the Herald, and the News. He there is that answer upon oath denies the marriage and then admits that she is his plural or “celestial” wife, but gives two reasons why that plural marriage was illegal: First that when it took place he had a legal wife, Mary Ann Angell and still so has: and, second, that Ann Eliza at the time of said marriage had and still has a legal husband living. If his marriage with Ann Eliza was illegal because he had a lawful wife at the time one whom he married in 1834, in Ohio, then every other plural marriage of his since 1834 was and is illegal and void. And this being true in his case, he cannot have the hardihood and audacity to teach his people that it would not be so in their cases. The answer of Brigham Young is a stinging indictment of this thirty years teachings and practices and is a bald and plain reputation of the legality of plural marriages. And he swears to that answer, another of these leaders has made a similar statement and repudiation of polygamy of which no doubt you are aware . . .

These women have been taught that polygamy was not wrong, when those so teaching were fully aware of its enormity as their subsequent actions now show. The corrupting influences of this institution are seen on every side. Woman, in Utah, is more oppressed, more degraded, more unhappy, than anywhere else in the whole United States. And the moral sensibilities of the men are becoming blunted and brutalized, and their children are losing their finer feelings and having their natures ruined for nobler and higher aspirations. Some men no doubt enter into bigamy or polygamy from conscientious convictions, but such cases are rare and always amongst the most ignorant. Polygamy indeed will not bear the test of light, the test of intelligence. It thrives only in the midst of ignorance. Hence you see the bitterest hostility to free schools in this Territory on the part of the leaders of this people. There is no a free school in this Territory. Such a thing ought not be; it is a burning shame. Crime loves and reveals in darkness and the people ought to repudiate all leaders who seek to keep them and their children in ignorance. Of course it will do, as I said before, to teach ignorant and superstitious people that polygamy is no crime and that the Government wants to crush out of their religion, but I think that American ideas are gaining ground at the time if fast passing away when such ideas will prosper in Utah . .

The people of the United States will go as far in supporting and sustaining the people of Utah in their religious rights and privileges as they would for any other people, and the day is not far distant when polygamy and other crimes perpetrated in the name of religion, will be buried with the past; and the masses of the people of Utah see the Government and people of the United States are their truest friends and the firmest friends of religious freedom that the world has ever seen. They have no bitterness against the Mormon people, and would gladly see them prosper, except as to polygamy, union of Church and State, Blood Atonement, and the like . . .

Besides these there are old cases which have never been investigated. Amongst these is the Mountain Meadow massacre. Many years ago the whole nation was shocked at this most foul, shocking and cowardly massacre. It was one of the most cruel butcheries ever known to civilized society. It occurred in this district, and the people of the United States have long and patiently waited for an investigation thereof, and for the punishment of the instigators of and the participants therein. No such investigation has ever taken place; no man has been brought to justice or punished for it. Yet he witnesses are not hard to find; they are still abundant. The children who were not butchered were distributed to various parties throughout the Territory, and the property, goods and clothing of those who were butchered, were also distributed out. No crime had been alleged against whose murdered men and women. After leaving Salt Lake City they were harassed and not allowed to purchase the necessaries of life, and people were forbidden to sell or give such to them. This course was followed up until the emigrants reached Mountain Meadows when the demon-like work was finished by their wholesale massacre. The blood of those innocent victims cries out to you today for justice, and the stain of that innocent blood will forever rest upon the people of this Territory until they wash their hands of the awful crime and bring to justice the cowardly villains who had the cruelty to commit such a black and bloody deed. You, gentlemen, have it now in your power to bring to justice these outlaws and vindicate the cause of that long-delayed justice.

BHR Staff Commentary

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