Mormon Coon, The
DESCRIPTION: "Young Abraham left home one day." A friend receives his note: "I'm out in Utah in the Mormon land, I'm going to stay because I'm living grand... Now every day I get a band new wife." He can spare six or seven wives, "For I am a Mormon coon."
EARLIEST DATE: 1945 (JAFL 58)
KEYWORDS: rambling wife humorous
FOUND IN: US(MW,Ro)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Hubbard, #224, "Mormon Coon" (2 short texts)
ADDITIONAL: James P. Leary, Compiler and Annotator, _Wisconsin Folklore_ University of Wisconsin Press, 2009, article "The Wanigan Songbook" by Isabel J. Ebert, p. 218, "The Mormon Coon" (1 text, sung by Emory DeNoyer)
Richard M. Dorson, _Buying the Wind: Regional Folklore in the United States_, University of Chicago Press, 1964, pp. 530-532, "The Mormon Coon" (1 text)
NOTES [225 words]: Ordinary Christians viewed Mormons as scandalous because they had multiple wives, and this song portrays a very flirtatious Mormon girl. In fact Mormons, except for being polygynous, were sexually strict. And in fact the church had abandoned multiple marriage by the time this song was collected. Today the Mormons' primary difference from Protestant Christianity is their acceptance of several books by Joseph Smith as scripture. There are other theological differences, to be sure (including some over how salvation is achieved) which are of great importance to scholars -- but they generally don't interest ordinary people much, and are not widely published.
It probably goes without saying that very few Mormon men were allowed as many wives as this song implies; there weren't enough available women for that! Even Brigham Young had only 17 living wives at the time of his death (see the notes to "Brigham Young"). Joseph Smith had somewhat more -- but if one reads the catalog of wives in Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, 1945, 1971, it quickly becomes evident that many of these were middle-aged and even elderly women; while one cannot but suspect that Smith introduced polygamy to improve his reproductive life, he in fact doesn't seem to have spent much time rolling in the hay with pretty young women. - RBW
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