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Investigation Made by the British Government of the Mormon Question

By: Ardis E. Parshall - June 11, 2009

Being
A Summary Statement
of the
Investigation
Made by
The British Government
of the
“Mormon” Question
in England.

By
Elder Arthur L. Beeley.

Printed and Published at the Millennial Star
Office, 295 Edge Lane, Liverpool.

Government Investigation of “Mormon Question.

Rarely a day passes but the keen observer can find in the columns of sensational periodicals such captions as: “Beware of the ‘Mormons,’” “Capturing Soul-brides for Utah,” “Elders of ‘Mormon’ Church Entice Girls to Utah,” “Sleek-haired Devils in Sheep’s Clothing,” “Local Girl Kidnapped by ‘Mormon,’” etc., and under such headings an array of villifying accusations which make themselves obnoxious to thinking people. The “Mormon” elder, according to “yellow journalism,” is a villain of the deepest dye; he is a white-slave trafficker, and is charged with resorting to the basest practices to induce people to espouse his creed; in fact, he is charged with almost every crime on the calendar. And, strange to say, these charges are made by and at the instigation of Christian ministers, so-called.

But, says the man in the street, “If these charges are all false, men would not dare to make them!” And further, “If they are not true, why doesn’t the ‘Mormon’ Church as an institution prosecute the offenders?”

That is exactly the point: Are these accusations true, or are they false? Who shall say? “Let [4:] an impartial tribunal judge,” says one. Very good! “But,” says another, “whose is the prerogative to undertake such a task?” According to professor Anson, in his book, The Law and Custom of the Constitution, “The Home Secretary is responsible for peace and goo order throughout the land by (a) exercising control over the elements of possible disorder, and (b) by supervising the police forces of counties and towns.” Therefore, since it is the duty of the Home Secretary, let us leave the matter entirely in his hands and await the outcome. Further, we will guarantee to the opposition that the defendants will remain absolutely mute during the whole trial, so as to eliminate the possibility of influencing the judge in favor of the “Mormons.” Further, we will concede to the affirmative the privilege of summoning to their aid all the forensic genius in the House of Commons, and grant them the privilege of presenting their brief in whatsoever manner they choose.

The following are excerpts from “Parliamentary Debates (Official Report),” published by the English Government.

On the 29th of July, 1910:

“Mr. Peto asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the expulsion of Mormon ‘apostles’ from Berlin on Friday last, and their departure for Rotterdam, and to the presence of members of that body at Hungerford, Berkshire, and whether he will take steps to prevent meetings being held to spread their views in this country, during the Recess? [5:]

“Mr. Churchill: I have seen a statement in the press about the expulsion of the Mormons from Berlin, but I have no official knowledge of the matter, and I have no information as to the presence of members of that body at Hungerford. I have no power to prevent the holding of such meetings as long as they are held in conformity with the law.”

On the 18th November, 1910:

“Mr. Fitzroy asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware of the propaganda which is being carried on all over the country by the Mormons with a view to inducing women and young girls from English villages to go out to America to join their community, and whether he has taken or is taking any steps to prevent English women and girls from being subjected to these inducements to join a community which acts contrary to the laws of both England and the United States?

“Mr. Churchill: Inquiry has from time to time been made into allegations which have reached the Home Office, but no ground for action has been found. I am informed that polygamy is now forbidden by the rules of the Mormon Church as well as by the law of the United States.”

On the 6th March, 1911:

“Mr. Arnold Ward asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the attention of the Government has been called to the growing activity in this country of Mormon missionaries from the United States; whether he has any official information showing that [6:] young English girls are being induced to emigrate to Utah, and if so, whether the Government propose to take any steps to safeguard English homes from this danger?

“Mr. Churchill: My attention has been called to the matter, and I am making inquiries. I have at present no official information showing that young girls are being induced to emigrate to Utah.

“Mr. Cathcart Wason: May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has any information that polygamy is still practised in Utah, and whether there is any objection to the girls going there?

“Mr. Arnold Ward: May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has official information that the United States Senate has reported that the leaders of the Mormon church have practised and encouraged polygamy?

“Mr. Churchill: I am aware that the matter is causing a great deal of concern in certain quarters in this country. I am treating it in a serious spirit, and looking into it very thoroughly.”

Later in the same day:

“Mr. Harmood-Banner asked the Home Secretary if his attention has been called to the active propaganda of Mormon principles at present prosecuted in Liverpool and district, and whether in view of the character of the fundamental principles, His Majesty’s Government will employ means to abate the nuisance?

“Mr. Churchill: I am making inquiry into this matter.”

On the 19th April, 1911:

“Mr. Houston asked the Home Secretary whether he has any official information showing that the [7:] German government has expelled Mormon missionaries from any portion of German territory, and whether he is prepared to introduce legislation to expel and exclude Mormon missionaries from this country?

“Mr. Churchill: I have no official information on the point, but inquiries are being made through te Foreign Office. I am unable at present to make any statement as regards the second part of the question.

“Mr. Houston: Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that it is public knowledge that the German government did, six years ago, peremptorily expel Mormon missionaries from Germany on the grounds of their faith being against the interests of public morality; and is he aware that as late as last year, the twelve apostles of Mormonism who went to Germany for purposes of propaganda were peremptorily expelled?

(Note. – It is a matter of fact that the Twelve Apostles of “Mormonism”have never, at any time, ben in Germany, simultaneously).

“Mr. Churchill: I have not yet made the inquiries which are necessary. I do not think there is any difference of opinion between us as to the character of this propaganda.”

On the 20th April, 1911:

“Captain Faber asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the Mormon campaign, whether Mormon missionaries are making houses to house calls in Chesterfield, and offering money bribes to girls to emigrate, and whether he contemplates any action against the Mormons? [8:]

“Mr. Churchill: I am informed that tracts have been distributed at houses in Chesterfield by Mormons, but that no instance is known to the police of the offer of money bribes to emigrate. As I have already stated, the whole question is receiving consideration, and if the hon. and gallant Member has any definite information, I shall be glad if he will communicate it to me.

“Captain Faber: Is it not possible to include Mormons in the Aliens Act?

“Mr. Churchill: That is a very difficult question, and if the hon. and gallant Gentleman will look into the matter he will realize that it is not so simple as it seems at first sight.

“Captain Faber: Is it not the fact that no law can touch them unless they really practice polygamy in this country?

“Mr. Churchill: There is very wide toleration of opinion in this country, and it is only when those opinions merge into action contrary to the law that the law can step in.

“Mr. Houston: Has the right hon. Gentleman received any information from the Foreign Office with regard to the expulsion of Mormons from Germany?

“Mr. Churchill: They can do a great many things by police action in Germany which we cannot do in this country, and to do which I do no propose to ask the House to give me powers.”

On the 25th April, 1911:

“Mr. Houston asked the Home Secretary whether he has yet received any information from His Majesty’s Ambassador at Berlin as to the expulsion of Mormon missionaries from Germany, [9:] and if not, whether he can state when he expects to receive information?

“Mr. Churchill: No information on the point has yet been received from His Majesty’s Ambassador at Berlin, but the matter is being carried forward, and I expect to learn at a very early date the result of the inquiries which are being made.

“Mr. Houston: Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in various parts of the country, notably in the North, the spirit an temper of the people is rapidly rising, and may result in rioting and conflict with the police unless prompt steps are taken?

“Mr. Speaker: That does not arise out of a question about Mormonism in Germany.”

On the 8th May, 1911:

“Mr. Houston asked the Home Secretary whether he has yet received any reply from the British Ambassador at Berlin as to the expulsion of Mormon missionaries from Germany: if so, will he state the nature of the reply; if the German Government have so dealt with Mormon missionaries in Germany, does he propose to adopt similar measures in Great Britain; or, if not, whether he will introduce legislation prohibiting Mormon propaganda in Great Britain, and the nature of such legislation?

“Mr. Churchill: A reply has now been received from the British Ambassador at Berlin to the effect that no special legislative measures for prohibiting or restricting the Mormon propaganda have been adopted in Germany. Steps are taken by the police to expel any foreign members of the sect who may render themselves [10:] obnoxious in any way, but, as I have already stated in this House, the police in Germany have a great many powers that are not possessed by the police in this country. I am not yet in a position to state the full result of my inquiries with regard to Mormon propaganda in this country and America, but I have not so far discovered any ground for legislative action in the matter.

“Mr. Houston: Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the hostility to this propaganda is growing rapidly in this country, and that in some instances benches of magistrates are so sympathetic with the rioters that they have dismissed the complaints against them made by the police?

“Mr. Churchill: I think anything in the nature of rowdyism and mob action ought to be sternly suppressed by those responsible for the maintenance of the peace.”

From the above citations it is obvious that the chief indictment against the “Mormon” elder in Great Britain is that he is bribing and secretly induing English girls and women to emigrate to Utah for immoral purposes. It is interesting to note, however, what the law has to say in this regard, and I therefore refer to The Criminal Law Amendment act, 1885 (48 and 49 Vict., chapter 69, Sec. 2),which says:

“Any person who procures or attempts to procure any woman or girl to leave her usual place of abode int eh United Kingdom (such place not being a brothel), with intent that she may, for the purposes of prostitution, become an inmate of a brothel within or without the Queen’s domin- [11:] ions, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and being convicted thereof hall be liable at the discretion of the court to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding two years with or without hard labor.”

Referring tot his identical clause The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1912 (2 and 3 Geo. 5, chapter 20, Sec. 1), says:

“A constable may take into custody without a warrant, any person whom he shall have good cause to suspect of having committed, or of attempting to commit, any offence against section two of the Criminal Law Amendment act, 1885 (which relates to procuration and attempted procuration).”

Is it not reasonable to suppose, therefore, that if there existed an atom of truth in the indictment, that the laws just quoted and others would have been used in the suppression of the “Mormon” propaganda in this country? The fact is, on the other hand, that during the 77 years that the “Mormon” elder has proselyted in the British Isles not a single case has been proved nor has one yet arisen.

he fact that no mention of the “Mormon” question has been made in the House of Commons since the 8th of May, 1911, until the present time, proves that Mr. Churchill’ statement on that date was accepted as final. But since, on the other hand, his conclusion was preceded by the clause, “I am not yet in a position to state the full result of my inquiries,” there still remained the possibility of the appearance of further [12:] evidence which might modify this conclusion. With this idea in view the following letter was penned:

Durham House,
295 Edge Lane, Liverpool,
May 14th, 1914.

Sir:

On he 8th of May, 1911, the Secretary of State for Home Affairs, Mr. Winston Churchill, made the following statement in the House of Commons: “I am not yet in a position to state the full result of my inquiries with regard to Mormon propaganda in this country and America, but I have not so far discovered any ground for legislative action in the matter.”

I am desirous of ascertaining the conclusions drawn, or the result of the inquiries on the “Mormon” question, spoken of above, and should therefore deem it a favor to receive an official copy of same.

In the event that this is not available, could the records containing such facts be viewed by appointment, and could citations be made to some reliable periodical containing the facts in the case?

Thanking you in anticipation of this favor, and apologizing for this intrusion upon your valuable time,

I am, Sir, Yours sincerely,

(Signed) Arthur L. Beeley.

Rt. Hon. Reginald McKenna, K.C.,
Home Office,
Whitehall,
London, S.W. [13:]

The following letter was received in reply:

Home Office,
Whitehall,
22nd May, 1914.

Sir,

In reply to your letter of the 14th instant, with reference to the Mormon propaganda in this country and in America, I am directed by the Secretary of State to say that no official report has been published, but that the extensive enquiries which were made did not reveal any grounds for legislative action.

The Secretary of State regrets that it would be contrary to practice to accede to your request to be allowed to see the official records dealing with this matter.

I am, Sir, Your obedient Servant,

(Signed) A.J. Eagleston.

Arthur L. Beeley, Esq.,
Durham House,
295 Edge Lane, Liverpool.

The only difference between Mr. Churchill’s conclusion of May 8th, 1911, and the statement in the letter of May 22nd, 1914, is the inclusion in the latter of the phrase “extensive inquiries.” Referring again to the prescribed powers of the Secretary of State, Professor Alpheus Todd in his treatise, Parliamentary Government in England, says: “In addition to his prescribed police powers, large statutory authority has been assigned to the Home Secretary. he ha a direct controlling power over the administration of justice and police in all the municipal boroughs.”

It is apparent, therefore, that the “extensive enquiries” would be made through the very effec- [14:] tive channels at the disposal of the Home Secretary, viz., the different police forces. Now, it is an absolute fact, and has late become common knowledge, that the various police forces throughout the United Kingdom wee instructed to make full inquiries into these allegations and to report their findings to the Home Office. The fact that eight different members of Parliament, each representing different constituencies, brought the matter before the attention of the House of Commons, is further proof that the inquiries would be thorough and universal, i.e., not confined to any one part of the country. The fact that the question was debated eight times within nine months on the floor of the House of Commons is further evidence that the question had become an aggravated on and would be dealt with ‘very thoroughly,” as Mr. Churchill promised. Again, the fact, as stated by Mr. Churchill on the 18th of November, 1911, that the allegations which reached the Home Office were inquired into and no ground for action found, is an additional reason for believing that the inquiries would be thorough-going. In this connection let it be borne in mind that Mr. Churchill, on the 20th April, 1911, stated that “the whole question is receiving consideration,” and on the 6th of March, 1911, said: “I am treating it in a serious spirit, and looking into it very thoroughly.”

Now, then, in the light of these facts, the conclusion drawn b Mr. Churchill in May, 1911, and the declaration of the Home Secretary, so recent as may 22nd, 1914, to the effect “that the extensive inquiries which wee made did not reveal [15:] any grounds for legislative action,” prove conclusively that such allegations are untrue. And what is very remarkable is the fact that Mr. Winston Churchill made ths statement and reached this conclusion in spite of himself, for on the 19th of April, 1911, he implied that he himself regarded the “Mormon” propaganda as dangerous. Now, then, since as Professor Todd further points out, that “He (the Home Secretary) himself is a magistrate, and exercises a power to examine and commit for trial persons charged with offenses against the State,” is it not only reasonable to suppose that in the exercise of this power and duty he would have committed for trial and punished most rigorously any and all offenders; and further, is not the argument also tenable that he undoubtedly would have proposed and introduced “effective legislation”?

The judge has rendered his decision, dear reader. The court of last appeal, after “extensive inquiries,” has awarded in favor of the silent defendants. The “Mormon elder is exonerated, and the falsifier, in spite of his prejudice, calumny and invective, has ben ignominiously defeated.

The question logically raises itself here: What can be said of our accusers who persist in the circulation of these charges, who reject the findings of their own Government, and thereby insult it by tacitly implying that the British Government is aiding, abetting, and conniving at the alleged infamous practices of the “Mormon” Church? Such a man is either an ignoramus or a prevaricator of the first water, and we care not which horn of the dilemma he chooses.



1 Comment »

  1. I always thought Winston Churchill was a wise leader and am glad that his common sense prevailed when dealing with the anti-LDS nonsense going on at the time.

    Comment by Rosanne Hersee — October 19, 2014 @ 12:23 pm

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