To the Editor of Liberty :
In the "Investigator" and "Truth Seeker" Mr. S.P. Putnam gives me a slight rap for defending the Mormons as encouraging cooperation. With the not unfamiliar illiberality of alleged "Liberals," he has formed his opinion offhand on a subject which he has not examined. My assertion was based on careful personal investigation and truth seeking. If I desired information regarding the Secular Union and its champions, I would not seek for it from Christian sources; yet Mr. Putnam, on a flying visit through Utah, lending a capacious ear to avowed enemies and bigots on this subject, feels competent to decide without evidence. He says: "(1) The Mormons are money-getters, like the Jews; (2) I see that Dyer Lum, in Liberty, has some praise for the cooperative system of the Mormon church, but there is no genuine cooperation at all: it is only a form of monopoly to put the profits into the hands of a few. If anything is run by the capitalist, it is the Mormon Z. C. M. I., with its 'Holiness to the Lord.' There is not a particle of democracy in Mormonism; (3) it is the most thoroughgoing aristocratic and despotic institution in the world; (4) it makes the few rich and the many poor."
Let us see. 1. If Mr. Putnam's every-day, secular liberality will permit him to look up the "Articles of Association of Zion's Central Board of Trade," covering every county in the territory, he will find the preamble to read as follows:
- The objects of this Association are to maintain a Commercial Exchange; to promote uniformity in the customs and usages of producers, manufacturers, and merchants; to inculcate principles of equity and justice in trade; to facilitate the speedy adjustment of business disputes; to seek remunerative markets for home products; to foster Capital and protect Labor, uniting them as friends rather than dividing them as enemies; to encourage manufacturing, to aid in placing imported articles in the hands of consumers as cheaply as possible; to acquire and disseminate valuable agricultural, manufacturing, commercial, and economic information; and generally to secure to its members the benefits of cooperation in the furtherance of their legitimate pursuits.
Does he think this was written by "money-getters, like the Jews"?
2. If he will take time to see and ask a Mormon for a copy of the Mormon Encyclical Letter, issued by Brigham Young and others, of July 10, 1875, I think he will learn something of the extent of Mormon cooperation he never dreamed of in his philosophy. The evils of our system are pointed out and general cooperation urged as a remedy, and as a matter of fact the Z. C. M. I. is not the only cooperative mercantile institution in Utah, being only the largest; smaller ones dot the whole territory. If he has no scruples about going to first sources for information, General Eldredge might, if there were room, plant at least one new idea in his head.
3. No officer in the Mormon church holds his office save on the tenure of popular election, repeated every year. Nor even then do any of them receive any salary, not even the president at home or the missionary abroad. They all, high or low, must earn their own living, a fact which may well excite the disgust of apostles of other faiths or no-faiths.
4. If Mr. Putnam should stay in Utah so long that a spirit of truth-seeking could penetrate his armor of prejudice, he would never see a Mormon poor house or a Mormon appealing to him for alms.
If our secular investigating truth-seeker were really seeking information,—other than from avowed enemies,—I would commend to him two facts: 1. To search the court records and see if he can find six cases where a Mormon has sued a Mormon, or can learn of a single case where, in the adjustment of civil disputes between Mormons, either party has had to pay one cent for time and trouble taken or for witness fees. Singular conduct in a non-cooperative people, who thus eliminate the lawyer. 2. If he will look up the criminal records in Salt Lake City for the past year, he will find that his Liberal friends conjointly with the Christians, twin relics of Utah bigotry, have contributed over eleven- twelfths of the city's criminals, although they only constitute one-fifth of the entire population! Whether the larger portion come from the followers of Ingersoll or of Jesus, I can only surmise, but I trust Mr. Putnam's ministrations will tend to lower this liberal and alarming percentage.
From his own reports we see that Mormons attend his lectures; it is they who make his overflowing audiences, and that in Mormon halls in Mormon communities; that he has been treated by them in a liberal manner; and lo! the Liberal return. I once heard a good story out there that I will relate.
A Methodist protracted meeting was once started in Logan City in a small room. One evening a Mormon youth sauntered in late, and, seeing some vacant seats immediately in front, sat down there, unaware that it was reserved for spiritual "mourners." When the sermon was concluded, the dominie came down to wrestle with his one convert in prayer, but was astonished to find him unresponsive to his solicitous inquiries concerning his soul's health. He finally asked him if he was a Mormon. The boy answered: " Well, I reckon I'm what you call a Mormon." "Why! " said the astounded parson," what did you come in here for?" "Oh!" replied the boy, "father wanted me to come and see what a derned fool he made of himself at my age!"
Whether this accounts in any way for his "overcrowded audiences" I cannot say, but the Mormon looks on the Methodist pulpit-banger and the Secular exhorter as equally fit subjects for curiosity and mirth; and in reading the "News and Notes" written from Mormondom by Mr. Putnam, the same feeling is more or less shared by,