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Anne Eliza Young


auteur55

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Just stumbled across a show on lifetime called the 19th wife. Apparently tells the story of Ann Eliza Young who escaped from the tyranny of Mormon polygamy under Brigham Young. The movie portrays her brave and dangerous story.

At the end a "what happened next" text came up and said she spent her life fighting against polygamy and helped get the Poland act passed which allowed for prosecution of mormon polygamists. It also asserts that she disappeared later in life and most likely was murdered as revenge for her opposition to Mormon Polygamy.

I remember reading about her years ago but wanted to get the whole story.

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Just stumbled across a show on lifetime called the 19th wife. Apparently tells the story of Ann Eliza Young who escaped from the tyranny of Mormon polygamy under Brigham Young. The movie portrays her brave and dangerous story.

At the end a "what happened next" text came up and said she spent her life fighting against polygamy and helped get the Poland act passed which allowed for prosecution of mormon polygamists. It also asserts that she disappeared later in life and most likely was murdered as revenge for her opposition to Mormon Polygamy.

I remember reading about her years ago but wanted to get the whole story.

See here fore discussion from last week: http://www.mormonapologetics.org/topic/51203-more-publicity-for-the-church/

If it was for revenge, it must have been quite cold by then.

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Just stumbled across a show on lifetime called the 19th wife. Apparently tells the story of Ann Eliza Young who escaped from the tyranny of Mormon polygamy under Brigham Young. The movie portrays her brave and dangerous story.

You mean the movie portays her story as brave and dangerous.

Which may take some doing, since she was never in any danger, and always ensured her own immunity before she did anything.

At the end a "what happened next" text came up and said she spent her life fighting against polygamy and helped get the Poland act passed which allowed for prosecution of mormon polygamists. It also asserts that she disappeared later in life and most likely was murdered as revenge for her opposition to Mormon Polygamy.

There is, of course, not a shred of evidence for this vicious and irresponsible accusation; which, in the hands of a malignantly anti-Mormon film-maker, is entirely sufficient to make it "most likely."

I remember reading about her years ago but wanted to get the whole story.

Which is a good idea, since the propaganda piece in question entirely fails to provide it.

Regards,

Pahoran

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Just stumbled across a show on lifetime called the 19th wife. Apparently tells the story of Ann Eliza Young who escaped from the tyranny of Mormon polygamy under Brigham Young. The movie portrays her brave and dangerous story.

At the end a "what happened next" text came up and said she spent her life fighting against polygamy and helped get the Poland act passed which allowed for prosecution of mormon polygamists. It also asserts that she disappeared later in life and most likely was murdered as revenge for her opposition to Mormon Polygamy.

I remember reading about her years ago but wanted to get the whole story.

If you haven't read my review of the film, feel free to view it here:

http://amateurldsapologist.blogspot.com/2010/09/lifetimes-19th-wife-responding-to.html

Ann Eliza Churchill Webb Dee Young Denning fought against plural marriage until she met Moses Denning. Denning was a non-Mormon wealthy, married businessman highly invested in the local Michigan lumber industry, and twice Ann Eliza's age. Ann Eliza broke up Denning's marriage of 25 years and married Denning. Finding herself financially secure, she stopped lecturing against plural marriage....if that gives you any idea of what her motivations were. Once she went through her third divorce and left Denning, little is known of what happened to her, though she did return to Utah after the death of her first husband (referred to by Ann Eliza as "the blight of my life) to collect $2,000 that had been left to her. Like she had with Brigham Young, Ann Eliza attempted to sell off vast amounts of furniture and other possessions prior to her divorce from Denning in order to collect as much money as possible. She tells a saucy tale of her initial escape from Utah, but apparently had no problem with returning when there was money involved.

Ann Eliza's testimony to Congress undoubtedly served a persuasive role in passing the Poland Act, though anti-polygamy legislation was being discussed and debated many years before the Stenhouses and Ann Eliza found their way into the landscape of American political persona. Ann Eliza's exit from the Church came largely after she learned of the notoriety and success of the Stenhouses, whose publications Ann Eliza used (and plagiarized from) in the production of what would become Wife No. 19. The Stenhouse's literature played a profound role in Ann Eliza's highly controversial exit from the Church, but never caught a particularly strong hold until she'd left Utah and began lecturing. Since few non-Mormons would dare to question Ann Eliza's narrative for fear of being "pro-polygamy," the books that had been written on Ann Eliza's story were relatively unanswered for nearly a century.

Historical records suggest that Ann Eliza died in 1925 in Rochester, NY. However, in 1930 one of her grandsons suggested that she may very well have been alive as late as then, stating rather candidly, "I hope to hell I never see the woman again."

Ann Eliza was a deeply troubled, contradictory, and disturbing person. The 19th Wife serves only to perpetuate these myths for another generation. Hugh Nibley's Sounding Brass is in my opinion, the most honest examination of Ann Eliza's story written to date.

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There certainly was abuse of women in Mormon polygamy under Brigham Young, and it continues today in sub-groups which still practice polygamy as a commandment (D&C 132). For any interested in the subject, there is a good site on the net:

http://www.polygamy.org/

The movie was a joke in terms of it's historical revisionism of Eliza. I'm of the opinion that fake martyrs generally don't do justice to real ones.

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There certainly was abuse of women in Mormon polygamy under Brigham Young, and it continues today in sub-groups which still practice polygamy as a commandment (D&C 132). For any interested in the subject, there is a good site on the net

There are three things any intelligent reader should take away from this thread:

1) Anne Eliza was an unhappy opportunist who allowed her story to become corrupted and co-opted by anti-Mormon zealots and by the pursuit of the almighty dollar.

Her inflated tales and slacious, unfounded gossip are the tainted fountain from which three generations of anti-mormon bigots drank. I cannot think of any credible historian who places any stock in her tales.

2) The passion for the salacious and for the titillating rumor have not abated. Two generations ago, the audience for this dreck would be standing around the back fence spreading malicious gossip about their neighbors. Indeed, Lifetime's philosophy can be summed up in two clear statements:

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There certainly was abuse of women in Mormon polygamy under Brigham Young, and it continues today in sub-groups which still practice polygamy as a commandment (D&C 132). For any interested in the subject, there is a good site on the net:

http://www.polygamy.org/

Would you care to cite a reference supporting the "abuse of women in Mormon polygamy under Brigham Young"?

I visited the site, and was particularly interested in the portrayed "history" of Mormon polygamy. I own two of the books, both of which have their pros and flaws, but was surprised to find that the overwhelming number of resources on plural marriage were linked to vehemently hostile and scholastically illiterate sources, including several articles on former "Utah Govinor (sic) Mike Leviett (sic)."

Todd Compton would laugh at the website.

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There certainly was abuse of women in Mormon polygamy under Brigham Young, and it continues today in sub-groups which still practice polygamy as a commandment (D&C 132). For any interested in the subject, there is a good site on the net:

http://www.polygamy.org/

And there was no abuse of women in non-Mormon monogamy? Oh, puleeze. There was just as much, probably more, it just wasn't talked about.

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And there was no abuse of women in non-Mormon monogamy? Oh, puleeze. There was just as much, probably more, it just wasn't talked about.

It's also interesting to note that the earliest- and most vehement- "exposers" of Mormon 'perfidy' vis-a-vis polygamy were men who'd abused and abandoned their wives.

In fact, most of the allegations and slander "early on" was as much a form of projection as anything else.

Afterwards, it was simply a matter of parroting talking points that reinforced one's prejudices- as King's Jester has amply personified.

That is not, however, to say that there are not abuses- the "lost boys" phenomenon is especially tragic.

The problem however, lies in the closed and insular nature of the societies in question- NOT in their practice of polygamy,

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There certainly was abuse of women in Mormon polygamy under Brigham Young
Of course the real question is if the abuse was less or more than the abuse in the traditional type of marriages that occurred elsewhere in the US.

Read the descriptions of marriage given by the activists of the time---they saw it as bad as slavery and with good reason:

http://www.infopleas...l#axzz100nwD6x4

Of interest as well: http://www.mincava.u...y/herstory.html (for example: "1882--Maryland is the first state to pass a law that makes wife-beating a crime, punishable by 40 lashes, or a year in jail." and yet quite a few years later "1905 In Texas, Frazier v. State, a husband is convicted of assault with the intent to commit rape. The appellate court overturns the conviction by essentially restating Lord Hale's rule of immunity (1500's).")

OTOH, Utah was the second state or territory to give women the right to vote (and it was taken away later because the women were voting in support for polygyny issues). Divorce was so much easier for women to acquire in Utah (not so for men) that women came from other parts of the US to get one.

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OTOH, Utah was the second state or territory to give women the right to vote (and it was taken away later because the women were voting in support for polygyny issues). Divorce was so much easier for women to acquire in Utah (not so for men) that women came from other parts of the US to get one.

I had to suppress a loud laugh when they had her sitting at the table with the stately older gentleman who tells her in the most serious tone that divorce was her only hope as if they had been transported to the next century. The only reason she would have had protection from Brigham was because Brigham let women divorce at will and didn't give their property rights and children to the husband as was customary in the rest of the country.

It was also hilarious that they had "the prophet" pushing people against walls and threatening to cut off heads. The control over the woman accused of murder was her belief not her fear that "the prophet" who she thought talked with God would come in the night and slit her throat. Why would he need to physically threaten people who thought he talked to God when all he had to do is say he talked to God? The effort to turn this group into the Taliban was ham fisted to say the least. Godwin's Law describes this mess of a movie.

Did Eliza actually have a child by Brigham? I've never heard that.

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Did Eliza actually have a child by Brigham? I've never heard that.

From what I have been able to determine, the only children she ever had were in her first marriage to Dee.

She described Dee as "the blight of my life" and spoke ill of him repetitively in her lectures and her first book. She claimed spousal abuse along with a laundry list of other issues that resulted in her divorce and the two that would follow. The fact that they lived for two years in the Chauncey Webb home with her parents never seeing or hearing a thing.

At the time of his death, Dee would leave a $2,000 legacy for Ann Eliza in Utah, where she returned and received the money. There were no death threats, no Danites, no lynch mobs, or demonstrations in Salt Lake when she arrived. Of course, we Danites no that the silence was deafening and only served as evidence of a conspiracy along the hiways and biways of frontier Utah. My great great grandfather, Kolipoki Pratt Kimball Grant Jeffs McKay (who is also the grandfather of WalkerW, blackstrap, Pahoran, E=MC2, volgadon, Rommelator, and rabanes) told it to a reporter from Harper's Weekly, who then sold the rights of the story to a well-meaning widow from Harrisburg, PA who happened to then recount the story to a traveling pet taxidermist, who was a second cousin to Coleen Ralston's nephew, who recounted the story in vivid detail to me over a smoothie at a Jamba Juice outside Wamsutter, WY. :P

Ann Eliza tells stories without having to prove a thing to an uncritical audience. While some historians may use her narrative at face value, the stories recounted in Wife No. 19 beg for citations. Ann Eliza left out her story of Dee and her third marriage to Denning in her second book (1908), revising but essentially telling the same rehashed sordid tale that she'd told in 1876 with the help of her ghost writer, who also wrote the Stenhouse diatribe. The vignettes in her book are to die for. ;)

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Is there proof her allegations were not true? I know nothing about her story.

After marrying Brigham Young, Ann Eliza moved to one of Brigham's farms where she, along with her mother, maintained a sort of boarding house for about 35 farm workers. Ann Eliza was a socialite and loved being in the city where she enjoyed a career as a stage actress and was involved in parties, etc. The farm was a major adjustment for her. For one, she didn't like having to use the same stairs as the farm hands. She was above them. She did not toil and sweat in the kitchen for hours on end (she can't keep her story straight on that subject) nor did she have administrative power in delegating the agricultural financing of the farm (something she claims in her own book to 'prop' herself up). She first claimed that Brigham Young seldom visited her. This is probably true, given the fact that he had multiple farms and several responsibilities. Ann Eliza felt neglected and out of the loop and wanted to move back into town. She began reading anti-Mormon pamphlets published by the Stenhouses and became more unstable in her membership in the Church.

Brigham eventually built Ann Eliza her own home where she could be closer to friends. Upon entering the home, she was disgusted at what would now be considered "tacky" or "cheap" interior decorating. She didn't have the best of what she wanted, only what was sufficient for her needs. Soon, stories of Brigham's "neglect" as Ann Eliza saw it, turned into stories of spousal abuse. Because her furniture and provisions didn't have the right name-brand labels and price tags on them, she claimed Brigham was starving herself and her family. She soon began auctioning off pieces of Brigham's property and taking the money for herself, and issue which ultimately lead to their divorce, as well as openly criticizing Church leaders who did not support her efforts.

The Stenhouses made a major impact in the U.S. in the production of anti-Mormon literature. After leaving Utah, Ann Eliza enlisted the help of a ghost writer (the same author who wrote T.B.H. Stenhouse's book) who wrote a sensationalized account of Mormonism and plural marriage and adding to it the testimony of Ann Eliza. The picture of Mormonism painted in Wife No. 19 was almost unrecognizable. But with a Church still relatively obscurely based in the Intermountain West and few Americans interested in a positive treatment of Mormonism, sinister was the man who dared to call himself "Mormon." Then, as it is now, stories of murder, mystery, conspiracy, and romance were general norms in best-selling literature. Cries of vengeance would call from every street corner gossiper who would recount the Mormologous stories of Brigham Young and his Danite vigilantes, of defenseless women who were almost always beaten as if it were as normal as afternoon tea, and of Mormon plans to take over the government.

Ann Eliza's story probably contained many elements of truth, but also contains demonstrable falsehoods that are taken at face value by an uncritical audience. Few would dare to venture to Utah to "see for themselves" what the Mormons were all about, especially after hearing stories of kidnappings, disappearances, and Danite murders. To be critical of Ann Eliza was to "side with the Mormons," something no proper socialite or politician would risk doing in such a time period.

Ultimately I think the veracity of Ann Eliza's story must be understood from those who were directly involved, not just Ann Eliza's account. Even after that, we'll never know the full story. Such accounts can show themselves to be problematic for historians and sociologists, but are interesting to study as "captive" or "exit" narratives, something MADB poster and religious scholar Seth Payne addressed in 2008 through the Sunstone Symposium.

Purposeful Strangers: A Study of the ex-Mormon Narrative

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I just finished watching The 19th Wife movie, and I agree, it's a stinker... the sad thing is, yet again, that the general audience will not bother to go further but will accept this as "the true story of the 19th wife." The result is an opinion that can only be negative.

And the way they kept talking about "the prophet" and holding him as infallible was laughable, but again, will be accepted as fact. Even Brigham made it clear that prophets were not infallible.

Just one more thing that will influence the way a good number of people will view the Church... sigh :P This is not to say that there weren't any problems in Church History with a number of things or events... but this portrayal was too much.

GG

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What has surprised me the most is the blatant disregard for historical facts by those who liked the film, in response to those who found the film grossly distorted. Lifetime's discussion board on the film is a cesspool of bigotry and misinformation at the moment.

Here are a few *gems*:

For those of you that patently espouse Mormon (LDS) or even obviously FLDS ideas in these comments, this forum is for people wanting to discuss the film (which you may note was against polygamy). We want to talk about the film not your ethics, or lack thereof.

..if you have researched the church, as you say you have, you should know better.Joseph Smith not only practiced polygamy, but lied and denied it often in public. The practice of polygamy in the Bible was a cultural thing, not of "revelation"... I hardly doubt God intended a man in his mid thirties to be having sex with 14,15,16,17 year olds ..even sets of sisters. Today, that is called statutory rape, whether you proclaim to be a prophet or not. There were also 11 women, of which were already married to other men, who Joe Smith promised eternal salvation to that he took as eternal wives of his own...how the Church dismisses the adultery in that I do not know. I was raised LDS my whole life. I started doing my independent research 3 years ago. A Mainstream Mormons history is a mile long, but only an inch deep. The FLDS live way closer to the teachings of JSmith...the fact that Mainstream Mormons don't care to see it that way baffles me.

The book is amazing! It made me realize how polygamist get away with collecting welfare etc. Great research on this book. The lyon house today is pretty creepy! This book shows that the first 2 Prophets of the Mormon church were Lustful men. I am LDS but not one of the firsts. This book opened my eyes too polygamy and that it was not a prophecy from God but a Prophecy from lustful men. My question for the Author is: So is Aaron Webb a true character that started the firsts? And does Warren Jeffs community consider Aarron Webb a Prophet?

I was told all my life that the reason for Polygamy was because the Mormons on their way to Utah lost a lot of men from sickness, disease and fighting. And so thats when Brigham Young fasted and prayed about the problem and he recieved a prophecy from God to start Polygamy because there were to many families without a Father, Husband, etc.

And now I know if was actually started by Joseph Smith himself in Missouri. I believe out of lust and not a Prophecy from God.

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