A Victim of the Mormons

Do not tell Dr. Boli that you do not wish to see it, because he will know you are lying. It is called A Victim of the Mormons, and the still above, from a scene “In the Temple of the Mormons,” shows you the kind of scrupulously accurate research that made the reputation of the picture.

Well, you are very fortunate, because you can see the Danish original right now—with the titles translated to Spanish for your convenience.

And although the film is on Wikipedia’s “List of incomplete or partially lost films,” this copy appears to be complete: the caption above specifies that it is a three-reeler, and the file is more than 50 minutes long, which is about as much film as could be crammed on three reels. The scene depicted above begins at about the 38:30 mark. You probably want to skip to that point, and tune out about half a minute later, because the rest of the film simply cannot live up to that set.


  1. von Hindenburg says:

    I recently reread the first Sherlock Holmes story (A Study in Scarlet) and was shocked at how nearly half the novella is a flashback story within a story that centers around how strange and evil Mormons are. By the time the reminiscence wrapped up, I had nearly forgotten that I was reading a Holmes novel. I could have seen it as an inclusion in a later story, but I doubt that any editor today would suggest adding such a discontinuity in a debut novel where we are meeting characters for the first time.

  2. Dr. Boli says:

    Artemus Ward did the best job of describing the Mormons to the outside world. He did it by being funny but scrupulously fair. “As a class the Mormons are not an educated people—but they are by no means the community of ignoramuses so many writers have told us they were.” They were people, first of all, not monsters, and if they had monstrous ideas, so have we all. He spent six weeks in Salt Lake City when it was under the benevolent despotism of Brigham Young, and he developed the experience into a lecture that was a huge hit in London. That lecture was printed with some attempt at representing Mr. Ward’s style of delivery typographically.

    Brigham Young has two hundred wives. Just think of that! Oblige me by thinking of that. That is—he has eighty actual wives, and he is spiritually married to one hundred and twenty more. These spiritual marriages—as the Mormons call them—are contracted with aged widows—who think it a great honour to be sealed—the Mormons call it being sealed—to the Prophet.

    So we may say he has two hundred wives. He loves not wisely—but two hundred well. He is dreadfully married. He’s the most married man I ever saw in my life.

    I saw his mother-in-law while I was there. I can’t exactly tell you how many there is of her—but it’s a good deal. It strikes me that one mother-in-law is about enough to have in a family— unless you’re very fond of excitement.

    A few days before my arrival in Utah—Brigham was married again—to a young and really pretty girl—but he says he shall stop now. He told me confidentially that he shouldn’t get married any more. He says that all he wants now is to live in peace for the remainder of his days—and have his dying pillow soothed by the loving hands of his family. Well—that’s all right—that’s all right—I suppose———but if all his family soothe his dying pillow—he’ll have to go out-doors to die.

    • von Hindenburg says:

      And probably the best modern interpretation comes from Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park and The Book of Mormon, who mock the religion, but love the people.

    • Fred says:

      I guess that’s what they need the really big cauldron for, 200 wives and mothers in law must take a lot of feeding.

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