The gathering at the city council meeting last night was a zoo. I got
there about 6:00. The public comment session was supposed to begin at
7:00, but the crowd had already filled up two overflow rooms and was
winding down the corridors, and there were already many hundreds of
A small group with a vocal presence was the most disruptive. These were
"Jesus" people, come to threaten the Mormons with hellfire and
damnation. Several of these gained the microphone during the open
period. They asserted that Jesus commands their belligerence and
rudeness. One of them asserted that the Pledge to the flag which began
the session should have been directed to Mormon dictatorship.
Most of the speakers I heard were actually rather thoughtful,
notwithstanding the few nutty fanatics. Quite a number of them were
prominent members of the community. I don't know what collective wisdom
the city council might have derived, putting it all together, but it was
an interesting exercise in democracy. At least no one can complain that
there was no public forum in the decision-making process.
One of the ideas that came to me while the anti-Mormon faction was
pounding the pulpit was that we ought to revive the spirit of Porter
Rockwell. These ugly public bullies would not be so bold if Rockwell
I suggested eariler in a letter to the Deseret News that the "Whistling
and Whittling Brigade" might also be a good notion to resurrect. When
the Nauvoo Charter was revoked by Illinois in 1845, following the murder
of Joseph Smith, Nauvoo lost the legal right to enforce laws, and became
a target for troublemakers. Nauvoo Church leaders organized a gang of
young men to identify such parties as they entered the town. The boys
would press around these ill-intentioned characters, saying nothing to
them, but busily whistling and whittling, with an obvious display of a
lot of sharp knives. Apparently most of the bad men were immediately
discouraged and quickly left the town.
Perhaps such a scheme could serve to preserve the peace at Temple Square
while the arguments continue.
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