Friday, December 5, 2008

Among the Mormons in Colorado

While looking at a local paper, The Hickman Pioneer on March 07, 1884, for clues about Cane Creek I found this article. Most of the converts from the South that moved to Zion were sent to Colorado. Apparently not all of them were happy.
Among the Mormons in Colorado.
A correspondent from Colorado to the Fayetteville Observer, speaking of the Mormon settlement in Colorado, says that a formidable revolt has taken place among the proselytes to that faith there, and mentions the name of J. H. Totty, of Hickman County, Tenn. as one of the most prominent leaders of the revolt, and says that a great number of the Southerns have joined in the revolt and have withdrawn from the Church. We make the following extract from the published letter of the correspondent above referred to:
I came west to join the Mormons in 1877; am a native of Lincoln County, Tenn., but lived in Rome twenty-eight years; have eight children out here with me; am a wagon maker. I was converted to Mormonism in 1876. There were a good many Mormon missionaries in Georgia; six or seven in the neighborhood of Rome. Not many of the upper class in Georgia took hold of Mormonism, nor many of the lower. Nearly all that took hold of it were comfortable people of what you might call the middle class. They made a good many converts in that religion; forty or fifty about the time I was converted. I belonged to the Missionary Baptist in Rome before I became a Mormon. We were nearly (allured?) to this believe by the thought to a simple and pious people that their church was the chosen instrument of God to regenerate the world, and that it was in constant and direct intercourse with God, through revelations, and knew His will, and had the fullness of His grace beyond all other churches. They claimed the gift of healing, of prophesy, of tongues, the intercourse with the spirit world, and so forth. We are disappointed in Mormons. I do not consider them a moral people. They do not live up to their doctrine as they preach it to us. You would not think it the same religion. Blasphemy is shockingly common, and Sabbath breaking is the rule.
There is great suffering among our Southern people here. We try to help one another, but it is very hard, and there is much actual suffering. Nobody can make crops here. The Mexicans do not do it; It’s too cold. Our wheat does not ripen until September and the frost generally clutches it in the milk, so that it is spoiled for flour and only good for feed.
I ain’t ashamed of my name where I am known, and the folks in Floyd County will know what value to put on my word. Tell them to go slow on this Utah business.
It good rumored about that the priesthood was selling out the Mormon vote for money, as we Mormons held the balance of power in this county, and our priesthood were consequently courted by both parties. As long as we thought the thing was square we were willing to vote together, but when we came to believe that we were being sold out we revolted at the last election. I was immediately summoned to appear before the council for discipline for disobeying the dictates of the priesthood. I went, and they told if would acknowledge that I had done wrong it be alright, but I wouldn’t apologize. I thought it looked like slavery, and the apology was due me instead of to them. I considered it an insult to my manhood. As long as they worked us through our faith and throug (sic) our church sympathies they had us alright, but when we saw that there was a threat back of it, you see they found they’d got hold of a powerful unruly lot of stock to drive. There is some polygamy here, but that is all among the Utah people. None of the Southerners have taken up with that abomination. Tell the folks at home that we havn’t (sic) got that low.


Steve C. said...

You mean to tell me that all is not well in Zion? :-) Very interesting post.

Bruce Crow said...

If the newspapers are to be believed, a surprising number of converts developed "buyers remorse" after they got to Zion. I wonder if anyone has tried to come up with an actual figure.