Big Love in Congress, 1899
March 10, 2010
by William P. Meyers

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Brigham Henry Roberts was "an American jounalist; born in Washington, Lancshire, England, March 13, 1857. In the summer of 1866 he emigrated with his parents to Davis, co. Ut. At 17 he was apprenticed to the blacksmith trade, at which he worked four years; subsequently attended the University of Utah. Soon after his graduation he was called by the Mormon Church to its missionary service. After laboring for some years as a missionary he was elected to high office in the Church. He was also engaged in journalism and was for a time editor-in-chief of the Salt Lake Herald. In 1894 he was elected to the State Constitutional Convention. At the first State election he was the nominee of the Democratic party for Representative to Congress, but was defeated. In 1898, however, he was elected by a large majority. His election created widespread agitation throughout the country, and on Jan. 25, 1900, the House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority voted to exclude him as constitutionally ineligible, as a polygamist, to a seat in that body."

Quoted from The University Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Knowledge, New York, The Co-operative Publication Society, copyright 1902. Volume 8, page 5169

I don't think highly of polygamy, but what one thinks of polygamy is often a result of one's religious beliefs. So in effect the other Congressmen threw a properly elected fellow out of the House of Representatives for belonging to a different religion. Given the number of Congressmen who had both wives and mistresses at that time, they were probably wanting the public eye taken off their own private lives.

What is particularly strange is that the most rigid and rabbid religionists in the U.S. tend to be big on the Jewish Old Testament, in which polygamy is practiced. None of the commandments is against polygamy. In the New Testament I have seen nothing against polygamy.

The U.S. Congress should apologize to the voters of Utah and to the memory of Brigham Henry Roberts. If the voters elect you, and you are a polygamist or bigamist or hold any religious beliefs you like, the Congress should seat you and put up with you as long as the voters of your district want you to serve them.

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