Prisoner for Polygamy

Just finished reading Rudger Clawson’s memoirs of his life in the Utah Pen.  It was certainly interesting stuff.  His coverage of simple things like the food, the life in the general, being forced to worship like Protestants, and so many other things really is an education.

One the most interesting situations is when Lorenzo Snow, President of the Quorum of the Twelve is imprisoned and how he dealt with life in jail.  Clawson relates one story of the Warden being told that Clawson was passing letters to Snow amongst others without the Warden seeing them.

 The Warden who was seen as very stiff and harsh earlier in the memoirs says.

“Mr. Clawson there is Wilford Woodruff, president of your Church, and Mr. Lorenzo Snow, president of the Council of the Twelve, the latter now serving sentence here, who doubtlessly would desire at times to communicate with each other in a confidential manner on Church matters. If you have been secretly passing communications between these two men, in volation of the prison rule, why thats alright.  There is an excuse for it.”

Interesting perspective and definately a worthy book to follow if you want to understand the life of a “cohab” in prison.  It is also amazing to note that cohabs easily outnumbered prisoners for higher crimes after only two years.  From 1884 when Clawson was imprisoned to 1887 when he was released cohab prisoners (those arrested for illegally cohabitating with more than one woman) ranged from 1 to 75.

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3 Responses to Prisoner for Polygamy

  1. Jon W says:

    btw this is the reference for this comment:
    Rudger Clawson, Prisoner for Polygamy : The Memoirs and Letters of Rudger Clawson at the Utah Territorial Penitentiary, 1884-87, ed. Stan Larson, (Urbana: University of Illinois), 1993, 128.

  2. David G. says:

    FYI, the Religious Studies Center at BYU is putting together a book of essays on the various prisons that housed cohabs and their prison experience. Although the RSC puts out a lot of fluff they also publish some quality works. I expect this volume to fall in the latter category.

  3. Erin says:

    This is a period of Mormon history that I know little about, so I’ll have to ILL this book.

    Thanks for swinging by my blog – I’m happy to meet another related-through-marriage descendant of Sarah Studevant Leavitt.

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