THE CASTRATION OF THOMAS LEWIS … at the hands of Bishop Warren Snow.
“Warren Snow was Bishop of the Church at Manti, San Pete County, Utah. He had several wives, but there was a fair, buxom young woman in the town that Snow wanted for a wife. He made love to her with all his powers, went to parties where she was, visited her at her home, and proposed to make her his wife. She thanked him for the honor offered, but told him she was then engaged to a young man [Thomas Lewis], a member of the Church, and consequently could not marry the old priest. This was no sufficient reason to Snow. He told her it was the will of God that she should marry him, and she must do so; that the young man could be got rid of, sent on a mission or dealt with in some way as to release her from her engagement—that, in fact, a promise made to the young man was not binding, when she was informed that it was contrary to the wishes of the authorities.
“The girl continued obstinate. The teachers of the town visited her and advised her to marry Bishop Snow. Her parents, under the orders of the Counselors of the Bishop, also insisted that their daughter must marry the old man. She still refused. Then the authorities called on the young man and directed him to give up the young woman. This he steadfastly refused to do. He was promised Church preferment, celestial rewards, and everything that could be thought of—all to no purpose. He remained true to his intended, and said he would die before he would surrender his intended wife to the embraces of another.
“This unusual resistance of authority by the young people made Snow more anxious than ever to capture the girl. The young man was ordered to go on a mission to some distant locality, so that the authorities would have no trouble in effecting their purpose of forcing the girl to marry as they desired. But the mission was refused by the still contrary and unfaithful young man.
“It was then determined that the rebellious young man must be forced by harsh treatment to respect the advice and orders of the Priesthood. His fate was left to Bishop Snow for his decision. He decided that the young man should be castrated; Snow saying, ‘When that is done, he will not be liable to want the girl badly, and she will listen to reason when she knows that her lover is no longer a man.’
“It was then decided to call a meeting of the people who lived true to counsel, which was to be held in the school-house in Manti, at which place the young man should be present, and dealt with according to Snow’s will. The meeting was called. The young man was there, and was again requested, ordered and threatened, to get him to surrender the young woman to Snow, but true to his plighted troth, he refused to consent to give up the girl. The lights were then put out. An attack was made on the young man. He was severely beaten, and then tied with his back down on a bench, when Bishop Snow took a bowie-knife, and performed the operation in a most brutal manner, and then took the portion severed from his victim and hung it up in the school-house on a nail, so that it could be seen by all who visited the house afterwards.
“The party then left the young man weltering in his blood, and in a lifeless condition. During the night he succeeded in releasing himself from his confinement, and dragged himself to some hay-stacks, where he lay until the next day, when he was discovered by his friends. The young man regained his health, but has been an idiot or quiet lunatic ever since, and is well known by hundreds of both Mormons and Gentiles in Utah.
“After this outrage old Bishop Snow took occasion to get up & meeting at the school-house, so as to get the people of Manti, and the young woman that he wanted to marry, to attend the meeting. When all had assembled, the old man talked to the people about their duty to the Church, and their duty to obey counsel, and the dangers of refusal, and then publicly called attention to the mangled parts of the young man, that had been severed from his person, and stated that the deed had been done to teach the people that the counsel of the Priesthood must be obeyed. To make a long story short, I will say, the young woman was soon after forced into being sealed to Bishop Snow.
“Brigham Young, when he heard of this treatment of the young man, was very mad, but did nothing against Snow. He left him in charge as Bishop at Manti, and ordered the matter to be hushed up. This is only one instance of many that I might give to show the danger of refusing to obey counsel in Utah.”
John D. Lee, Mormonism Unvailed (St. Louis, MO: Sun Publishing Company, 1882), 285-286.