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Source:Moses Thatcher:JD 23:203:The "Mormon" Priesthood dominates the affairs of the "Mormon" people upon the principles of righteousness and equity
Much has been said about the domination of the "Mormon" Priesthood. In Europe, in the States of the Union, and even in Mexico it has been stated that "Mormons" are controlled like slaves, being obliged to yield obedience, right or wrong, to the behest of Church leaders. I bear my testimony that the statement is utterly untrue. No part of the Union possesses a freer and more independent people than these mountain valleys. Indeed I hesitate not to say that their equal in fearlessness of wrongful church, political or other influences cannot be found elsewhere. They neither crouch beneath public opinion nor cower before the pulpit and press. The names of prominent business men of Eastern cities, with whom for years our merchants have done business, appeared in the public prints as the vice-presidents of anti-"Mormon" meetings; thus making them seem to join in the raid against our people. When asked regarding the matter a number confessed that their names had been used without either their knowledge or consent. But they had not the moral courage necessary to stem the current of public opinion and run the risk of incurring the displeasure of the press by withdrawing their names; and, while disclaiming to me personally, any sympathy with the anti-"Mormon" raids, then so numerous in the East, they dare not publicly so express themselves. Now, while expressing sympathy for those who, under any circumstances, could be placed in such a position, I am bold to assert that nowhere in Utah among Latter-day Saints could such a thing be found. Such domination, ecclesiastical, political or social does not exist in Utah among the "Mormons;" possibly it may exist in the midst of those comprising their enemies, and known here as the "ring." Whatever may have been said or whatever may hereafter be asserted regarding the domination of the "Mormon" Priesthood, I know no people who regard more highly the individual rights of man or who are more willing to defend them than the people called "Mormons," who here, as elsewhere, have the moral courage to protect and defend their names while maintaining their individuality. I don't think they would hesitate to defend the oppressed whether Jew, Gentile or "Mormon," nor would they sacrifice in their lack of independence, principle or persons at the shrine of public opinion or popular prejudice. The "Mormon" Priesthood dominates the affairs of the "Mormon" people upon the principles of righteousness and equity. Outside of these it has neither power nor authority. I wish this were equally true with the religious, political and social organizations throughout the Union; but it is not, as I have already shown. When principle is sacrificed to prejudice there can be neither safety nor stability. Acting upon such a basis men become great in small things, but small in greater matters.