Did Brigham Young engage in Human Trafficing

And perhaps more importantly is “Human Trafficking” baked into the Mormon narrative?

To understand this, we turn to… the Pope. Yesterday (July 22nd, 2015) the Pope met with Mayors from around the world and discussed Climate change and Human trafficking, two items that are major issues around the world for almost every country.

However, the fascinating thing was that most of the mayors left with an idea how the two were linked.

“When it gets hot, the poor get a lot hotter, and when it gets cold, the poor get a lot colder,” he said. “That’s a quote from Gen. [Russel L.] Honoré. The point of this is, when climate change comes, when we feel its dramatic impact, and it forces people to move out of their homes, like they did after Katrina, people are put in really, really difficult situations where they have to make bad decisions, and in very impoverished countries one of the decisions they make is to sell their bodies, or to give themselves over to somebody else to abuse them, and quite technically enslave them into owing them money for the rest of their lives, which evidently turns into a very large economy for human trafficking across the world.”

And this idea, that climate change could drive human trafficking is kind of a new idea.

***WARNING:  I am now taking the modern view and applying it to the past.  Clearly Brigham was not thought of a Human Trafficker in context of history******

If we apply this logic, that actions by big groups, heads of state, and leaders can push people to lose homes, and those people can sell themselves into a slave-like condition where they are relocated by the whim of the people they hand over their ability to decide where and how to live to ,  And this constitutes Human Trafficking: then Brigham definitely falls into the roll of human trafficker.

The perpetual immigration fund allowed impoverished saints to move into Salt Lake Valley in a method similar to how the railroads were able to obtain Chinese workers for the Railroad.  Although the Chinese were treated worse, the impoverished settings of the pioneers left them trapped, sometimes so in debt that they couldn’t leave the territory even if starving.  The list of failed Deseret settlements is long and includes a lot of tears, broken homes and starving children.

Some of these women would become plural wives… which seems a bit like an attempt at legitimate sex-traffic under the pope’s description.  They have to leave their homes, become destitute, instructed where to work, and when they can’t make it work, they are so deep in debt they can’t escape it.  If a husband dies or leaves, the woman can be “rescued” by a head of the church into a sexual arrangement.

But the trouble is, the story is baked into religion, isn’t it?  Moses and the Exodus, in some way was a mass human trafficker.  Lehi took his family, and Zoram, more or less forced into going, into some tough conditions.  Because fundamentally the Character of God in the Mormon world view, is a Human Trafficker, sending Abraham into a strange land, with promises of huge blessings (and including a near-human sacrifice of his only son to “teach him a lesson”.  Devotion is slavery and the surrender of free will.  It’s a huge problem with the concept of God if that image of God resembles a human trafficker.

As we celebrate Pioneer day, and talk about the faithfulness of the pioneers, we perhaps should also think of Human Trafficking, and singing devoted songs about the faithfulness of individuals driven out of their homes by war into refugee camps and eventually selling themselves into destitute conditions to cruel tyrants who have both religious and political control of a territory untouchable by U.S. or world law.  And maybe we shouldn’t praise the actions of human traffickers, wherever they existed in history.

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Last edited by Mithryn on July 23, 2015 at 5:17 pm

2 Responses to Did Brigham Young engage in Human Trafficing

  1. Heather says:

    I was listening to The Year of Polygamy- the episode in which you discussed Heber J Grant. I was fascinated!! When you mentioned your blog I had to jump on over. I’ll be a reader now. Thank you:)

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