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'Mormon Rivals' — That time a Huntsman threw coffee in a prophet's face

Published June 29, 2015 5:08 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

There was a time when Mormons could down coffee any time they wanted. Before the Word of Wisdom took full effect and banned the hot beverage — along with alcohol and tea — it was commonplace for the followers of the LDS Church to brew some grounds for breakfast.

And so it was that the beverage, now shunned by Mormons, played into one of the funnier stories in the Huntsman family history.

The tale takes place in Fillmore, then Utah's territorial capital, where James and Mary Huntsman had a home attached to an old fort. Brigham Young would often stop by the Huntsman homestead on his way from Salt Lake City to St. George. On one of those visits, he saw James chopping wood. They chatted and the Mormon leader abruptly said: "What I really came to ask you is, why don't you take another wife?"

James asked his prophet to talk to Mary and get her permission before he joined the ranks of Mormon polygamists. When he obliged, Mary thought about it for a second, picked up her cup and threw her coffee in Young's face, saying, "This is my answer."

Brother Brigham went out of the house, dried himself off and said: "James, you have all the wives you can handle."






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