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December 16, 2019

Comments | Return to Story

Mike GriffithFebruary 20, 2017

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we should really take a closer look at Abraham Lincoln and take into consideration what Brigham Young said about him, among other things. I don't want to be totally negative about Lincoln, because in some respects I, too, admire him. But it should be pointed out that Lincoln was strongly anti-Mormon and that there is considerable evidence that he would have assaulted the Church if he had not been pre-occupied with the Civil War. It was Lincoln's fellow Republicans who nearly destroyed the Church after the war. As president, Lincoln signed the Anti-Polygamy Act of 1862. The bill not only outlawed plural marriage, but it limited the Church’s ownership of property to $50,000 and permitted the federal government to seize all Church property held contrary to the provisions of the act. The Church justifiably protested that the bill was unconstitutional and oppressive. Lincoln did not enforce it (and probably could not enforce it) because he was preoccupied with the Civil War and didn’t want to risk sparking a major confrontation with the Mormons. In late April 1861, after Lincoln had announced his intention to invade the South, John Taylor expressed the view that the war was the reason the Saints weren’t being violently persecuted at that time, saying, “If there is a cessation of open hostilities against us, it is not for want of a disposition, but owing to the peculiar situation. . . .” (“Safety of the Saints At Home -Contrast of Their Position with that of the United States,” General Conference, April 28, 1861, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 9, p. 233). Before the war, Lincoln was a strong critic of the Church. He called plural marriage a "relic of barbarism." He indicated he would be willing to strip Utah of territorial status and said he opposed Utah statehood unless the Church renounced polygamy. He even indicated a willingness to use force against the Church to end plural marriage. In Illinois, it was Lincoln's Republican Party that led the charge to revoke the Nauvoo Charter. Lincoln voiced no opposition to the revocation of the charter and said nothing against the mob violence against the Saints that the Republicans were allowing to occur. Brigham Young regarded Lincoln as among "the cursed scoundrels" who was trying to destroy the Saints. In December 1861, President Young said, "The Governor quotes my saying about the Constitution. I do now, and always have, supported the Constitution, but I am not in league with cursed scoundrels as Abe Lincoln and his minions who have sought our destruction from the beginning." (Journal History, 1861-1862, December 10, 1861; E. B. Long, The Saints and the Union: Utah Territory During the Civil War, Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1981, p. 50)

Breck EnglandFebruary 15, 2017

Incidentally, Orville Browning was once Joseph Smith's lawyer.

DeniseFebruary 15, 2017

Wow ! I am fascinated with this article as I had no idea. I immediately love President Lincoln even more now since we have some more insight of his character. Now I want to study and read more about him. Thanks.

JennyFebruary 15, 2017

This was a fun read! Where can I get the rest?

Janet RichardFebruary 15, 2017

I had never heard of this account. What a great story. Thank you so much! Lincoln is one of my favorites and I have read many accounts. This one is choice.



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