100 Years Ago: War On Mormons Is Waged In Britain

The following was adapted from the Improvement Era magazine of April 1911

Investigation of Mormon activity

Investigation of “Mormon” activity in England will be made by the House of Commons. On the 6th of March, Secretary Churchill stated that the attention of the government had been attracted to recent allegations that young girls were being induced to emigrate to Utah, and that the matter was causing deep concern. He therefore proposed to investigate the subject exhaustively, with a view to bringing out the exact facts.

Hans P. Freece

Hans P. Freece

President Rudger Clawson, of the European Mission of the Latter-day Saints, welcomes the investigation, as do his co-laborers in that country, for they are confident there can be no other outcome before a fair judicial tribunal than a complete vindication of the actions of the Church. It has nothing to fear from an impartial and honest investigation, for its emigration affairs, as well as its missionary work in Great Britain, have been conducted in a manner that will bear the closest scrutiny. The Church has nothing to lose and everything to gain by the action which the home secretary has recommended.

On the 6th of March a demented man broke the windows and door of the mission house in Liverpool, “for God’s sake,” he said.

War On Mormons

Meanwhile the New York Times was reporting the story thus:

War on Mormons Is Waged In Britain

The crusade against Mormons initiated by the International Reform Bureau at Washington is being actively pursued in Great Britain.

Hans P. Freece, the bureau’s special delegate, has arrived in London after a 10 weeks’ tour in Scotland and the north of England, during which he succeeded in locating about 100 Mormon meeting places and 325 American Mormons engaged in inducing young women to emigrate to Utah. He also collected the signed statements of parents whose daughters had been enticed to America, and is in possession of irrefutable evidence that the Mormon church is in the habit of paying for the transportation of converts from England to Utah in violation of the United States immigration law.

Mr. Freece entertains great hope of succeeding in getting a bill into Parliament prohibiting American Mormon elders from proselytizing in this country—in fact, the same law as that adopted by Prussia and Hungary not long ago.

Although Mr. Freece declared his mission to be unofficial, he said he believed that should such a law, cutting off British-Mormon immigration to America, be passed, the Mormons would lose the control of Utah and a Democratic Representative might be expected to be sent to Congress at the next election.

[Hans P. Freece, an apostate, lectured the people against the dangers of “Mormonism,” and sought to prohibit them from preaching in the United Kingdom. A number of those who attended the lectures expressed themselves as being very much disappointed in them. They expected to hear something new from this man, who claims to have been born in the Church, of polygamous parents, but instead he had only the same false stories that have been retold so many times by others.

The International Reform Bureau was founded in 1895 and was known from 1924 as the International Reform Federation. Today it supports those moral and social reforms on which the churches generally agree, focusing especially on drugs and the spread of legalized gambling.]

Sources

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