Another of the old books my father gave me is this book on “The Secret History of the Mormons” written by C.L. Stevens, and published in London in 1911.  As you can see from the cover, it is a very Frontsensationalized account of the Mormon church.  The Publisher, C. Author Pearson, produced a variety of books on magic tricks, and true crime books like “Confessions of a Poacher”, “The Man they Could Not Hang”, and “Startling Crimes & Notorious Criminals”.

This book on the Mormons contains the typical anti-Mormon stories from that time, with lots a stuff on Polygamy, Blood atonement (and castration!), the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and the like.

What makes my copy of the book different is that it is highly annotated by the previous owner , with highlights and even commentary in the borders, as seen below


Every page is like this, with lines and marks in the margins. I liked the political commentary  hand written on this page,  which talks of the supposed murder of Mormon Joseph Morris by the Danites. The handwriting says “The birth and growth of the U.S. is founded upon violence and is reflected in present day U.S.A.”  I gather from this comment that the owner of this book was maybe from the UK.  The book is full of these kind of statements.

One item that was new to me was the claim that the Mormons, as they were preparing to leave for Utah, used counterfeit money to pay for their provisions.  From page 30 of the book

It is typical of the Mormons of those days that they paid for much of the stores and outfits which they got from gentile outsiders in counterfeit bank notes, printed in Nauvoo from plates prepared there, and on a press set up by Young’s orders.

Counterfeit dollars were also struck in large quantities. At one mill £300 was paid for wheat in one week, all in bad money. Long afterwords, when taxed with this, the Mormon leader freely acknowledged it, and not only that, but gloried in it.

“What would you do?” he said “We were being driven from our homes by mob law, leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of our property in the possession of our enemies. I considered all means were justified that enabled us to get our own back from those who were persecuting us. Did not the children of Israel spoil the Egyptians under similar circumstances?”  Thus Brigham Young!

So have any of you heard of the Mormons producing counterfeit notes, or coins? And have any of you heard that quote from Brigham Young?