“𝗝𝗮𝗰𝗼𝗯 𝗺𝗮𝗿𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗕𝗶𝗹𝗵𝗮𝗵, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘀 𝗗𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗡𝗮𝗽𝗵𝘁𝗮𝗹𝗶. 𝗛𝗲 𝗺𝗮𝗿𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗭𝗶𝗹𝗽𝗮𝗵, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘀 𝗚𝗮𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗔𝘀𝗵𝗲𝗿. 𝗟𝗲𝗮𝗵 𝗯𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘀 𝗜𝘀𝘀𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗭𝗲𝗯𝘂𝗹𝘂𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮 𝗱𝗮𝘂𝗴𝗵𝘁𝗲𝗿, 𝗗𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗵.”
𝗦𝗲𝗲 𝗚𝗲𝗻𝗲𝘀𝗶𝘀 𝟯𝟬:𝟭–𝟮𝟰.
𝗘𝗹𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗢𝗿𝘀𝗼𝗻 𝗣𝗿𝗮𝘁𝘁 𝘀𝗮𝗶𝗱:
“I should be glad to touch upon a great many other points, in relation to plurality, but time will not permit. You have heard partially explained some of the peculiarities of the faith of the people called Latter-day Saints. Now what is necessary in regard to polygamists? Our enemies say, ‘There should be a law passed that all polygamists should be shut up in prison from five to ten years, as the case may be, and pay a heavy fine.’ Very well; this is the voice of the people. But does the voice of the people rule in a manner that is inconsistent with the Constitution of our country, by taking away the rights of the minority? Is it the order of our government that the minority must have their rights wrenched from them because the majority decide against them? Let me ask, suppose the majority of the people should decide against infant sprinkling, many look upon that with the utmost horror, and it is only a small minority in our nation that believe in that awful doctrine, suppose the majority should take it into their heads that those who practice infant sprinkling should be imprisoned, they have the same right to do that as to do the other thing which I have named.
“Again, there is a certain class of people, and they are far in the minority in this great nation, who believe in dancing on the Sabbath day. I allude to the Shaking Quakers. Would it be right to pass a law against this small minority, and say they shall be imprisoned, because the voice of the people in general happens to denounce their practice of dancing as a crime? ‘But then,’ says one, ‘polygamy is a crime.’ Who told you so? Does the Bible tell you so? Oh no, neither the Old nor the New Testament; no Prophet, no revelator, no Apostle, no man of God, nor Jesus Himself, nor any angel ever denounced it as a crime, but on the contrary they advocated it, and the Lord Himself administered in this divine ordinance. He gave to Jacob his four wives and children, so Jacob tells us in Genesis [see Gen. 29:1–35; Gen. 30:1–24].
“Then we might continue and show that every Christian denomination in the United States possesses peculiarities which the majority do not believe in, and which they are convinced should be denounced by the civil law as criminal, and that those who practice such peculiarities ought to be imprisoned for doing so. But because the majority of people condemn a principle, that is no proof that it is a crime. Supposing that the great majority of the people condemned the principle of baptism by immersion, would it be right to pass laws punishing those who practice it? No, the Constitution of our country was framed to protect the people in every item of doctrine that they might glean out of this Bible, and instead of condemning these doctrines as criminal, all the States and all the Territories ought to leave Bible principles as matters of conscience; especially the great principle of marriage should be left open and free to all, either to marry one wife, or two or three, or a dozen, as the case may be, only making laws in relation to criminal abuses of the marital state, and in regard to property, how it should descend to the children, etc. But the very moment that they pass laws that are proscriptive and restrictive in their nature, condemning principles that are not condemned in the Bible, taking away the privileges of the people to believe that which is contained in the word of God, religious liberty is in danger, and there is no telling where that infringement will lead to. By and by they may have a blending of Church and State; and no one must believe anything, unless it be doctrines or creeds got up by the State, or by Congress, or by some legislative body; and everybody must bow to that, or be fined, or imprisoned, or be burned, butchered, or hung.
“That our great and free country may never be afflicted with such a species of despotism, is my most earnest prayer. Amen.”