Episode 42: The Scandal of Soldiers, Wives, and Sex

Written by Lindsay Hansen Park on . Posted in Uncategorized, year of polygamy

steptoe TW: This podcast contains some discussions of rape. Join Lindsay as she discusses how women’s sexuality became the catalyst for a decade or more of Mormon violence, and the curious Victorian scandal involving Brigham Young’s daughter-in-law and a “Gentile” soldier. Links mentioned in this podcast:  

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Comments (16)

  • Noell Hyman

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    Thank you for doing this series this year! It is absolutely brilliant and I’m finding them more and more fascinating as we go!

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  • Noell Hyman

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    I’m reading through the essay now and I’m at the part in Mowry’s letters where he says this: “They are jealous lecherous and revengeful in all that concerns women I believe.
    It will require tact and shrewdness on the part of woman and man to conduct an intrigue successful[l]y, but I think it can be done….”

    I interpret this slightly differently than you, Lindsay, I think; if in a very subtle and nuanced way. I see it as him saying that for a woman and man (such as himself) to get together for intimacy/sex (“Intrigue”) it requires a lot of careful tact because the Mormons are very jealous and vengeful and, apparently, have a strong “system of espionage,” or spies, to watch out for the females.

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    • lindsay

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      Yeah, I can totally see that read too.

      Reply

  • Noell Hyman

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    Still reading.

    Lindsay, did you see this footnote on page 238 about Mary J. Ayers Young? >> “For an interesting interview with her about her views of the Utah War and Mountain Meadows massacre, see “Brigham Young’s Home a Dove Cote, Says wife of Son” Los Angeles Herald, April 11, 1919.”

    Did you look into this source?

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    • lindsay

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      No! I must have skipped past that. Thank you so much for the heads up. Let me know if you find anything else.

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    • bombadillo2

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      Hi ya’ll. Found this to be an interesting article. Since you seem interested in the details, I’ve found an archived version of this source which has made for some fun reading.
      https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=LAH19190411.2.107&e=——-en–20–1–txt-txIN——–1

      It’s scanned so there are lots of errors I won’t correct here, but you get the gist. There’s a great photo of her too.

      BRIGHAM YOUNG’S HOME A DOVE COTE/ SAYS WIFE OF SON
      By MAY RIDGWAY “Brigham Young used to say that the average wife. Instead of being a helpmeeL ‘was only a help eaL* “And Brigham Young oertahily knew women!” It ‘was Mrs. Mary Young; first wife of the eUest son of Ihe first ‘Wlfis of the famous Mormon leader, who spoke. A merry eyed little old lady of 86. the oldest member of the famous Young family In existence, this quaint philosopher on life has many Interesting things to tell of the Mormons, to which sect she has belonged slnee the ags of 8. She Is living In Los Angeles now. WIVES AS COMPANIONS “Brigham Young would say that women weren’t taken from the foot of man to be trampled on, nor from his head, to rule him, but from his side for companionship. And that’s ‘What fas made of hla wives. “I lived in the home of that wonderful man for seven years and I never heard one word of quarreling between him, his wives or hla children. They all adored him. “And I don’t see many families tike that today. LIKE “DOVE COTE” The lilon house, where Brigham Young lived with his 19 wivea and 56 children, might have been called the dove eote, so gsntle and liappy ‘were Its tnmatea. If, being Iraman, we sometime had a little heart pang, we didn’t show tt. ‘We ‘were trained not to. “Ton see; accorfllng te the
      lof our Prophet Joseph Smith, the I larger a man’s family was here, the I greater his kingdom in heaven. And I we ali wanted to make our husband happy in the next world.” The Mormons defy the belief that there is no marrying or giving In mandage in heaven. Heaven would not be heaven to a Mormon without marriage. Of course not! RESPECTED WOMEN “The Mormon man revered attd r»spected and married his women. Things are not like th.at today, where women are flung aside like broken dolls. Also they supported their offspring, Tliat, too, could be followed to advantage today, “The Mormons, according to their lights, were perfectly moral and the happiest sect of people on earth. Polygamy was an economic necessity In the great waste desert, which I crossed in ’62, We built up a beautiful city. “I was nearby at the terrible Mountain massacre, when 150 emigrants were killed by the Mormons and Indians. But for weeks they had assaulted u.s—stolen, attacked our women, threatened to kill us. ’They poisoned ail our streams: and, though this was perhaps a blot on our escutcheon, we were forced to kiil every one,” Mrs. Toung, Whom everybody loves, has had a most interesting life. She has known well five Presidents — Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Harrison and Cleveland and one of her best friends is Maude Adams, who, in a ■ big family album, sits demurely in the next .frame to the mighty Mormon, Brigliam Young, “the lover of women,” as Mrs. Young expressed it. Many a time she used, she says, to dig into the great desert for the natural salaratus with which to make biscuits. And she has fought with the Indians, woven her own clothes—in fact, helped make everything that the Mormons used. Of her ten children only three are living, one being a son, B. S. Young, prominent in the Chamber of Commerce,
      Mrs. Mary Yoang. Wife of the First Son of Npted Mormon Leader, Who Now Livea in Los Angeles.

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    • Noell Hyman

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      Actually, the footnote I mentioned above says some things about her life, including the facts that she stayed married to Young until he died, then she married a Louis Demotte Bunce else and moved to California. It sounds like she and her husband moved out there together, probably with at least some, if not all her children, depending on how old they were.

      Reply

  • OntheEdgeofMormonism (@awhitneyln)

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    It looks like a biography of her husband exists:
    http://atom.lib.byu.edu/smh/id/24550

    She had 10 children with him, four of whom died in infancy. He had two other wives and children with them as well. He died at the age of 40, and at that time she had a 20 year old and the remainder of her children were under 14. The youngest was 3 and an infant had just died. I’m not sure what happened to all of his wives and children when he died, but more than one of her children died in California so at some point she moved to California with some of them.

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    • lindsay

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      I love you people. Thanks so much!

      Reply

  • listener

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    I’m sorry. He didn’t fall in love with her, he fell in love with her pussy. Just like any other soldier.

    The whole scandal was that he tried to bone her and got caught before he could get her naked. If he had pumped her and got away with it he would have been all happy and moved on to the next available sweet spot

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  • listener

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    This has nothing to do with polygamy. It is only about parents trying to keep their daughters from getting used and then cast aside by soldiers traveling through. You tell it like he pines away for her when he is out in the boonies. – Yet all the while he has found a nice source for local pussy so he doesn’t run dry. Think about those girls – do they not deserve respect? The way you tell this tale is totally distorted. It is nothing but the age old story of bad men taking advantage of newly horny young women so they can get their pants of and then throw them away. Still happens every day today.

    Reply

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