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MAX - Where does the myth that mormons have horns come from?

JOEL - I don't think anyone really knows how this got started. It probably came out of the anti-Mormon front during the early days of the Church in Missouri, claiming that the Mormon Church and its members were of the devil. Since people believed the devil had horns, a rumor may have started that Mormons must also have horns. Some of the literature of the day encouraged the idea of horns.

One of the first graphic representations of a horned Mormon appeared in the New York-based Yankee Notions in 1858. They printed an illustration entitled “Ye Popular Idea of Brigham Young and his Followers.” It shows Brigham Young as an anthropomorphic male goat waving to a crowd of followers. The goat caricature of Brigham Young was a symbol of lust, refering to his practicing polygamy.


An 1860 Vanity Fair article entitled “Latest from Polygamutah” portrayed Brigham Young as a partially blind-folded figure—with goat horns, a goat-like beard, and one goat-like leg.


In 1879 the San Francisco Wasp printed “Situation of the Mormons in Utah,” a section of which showed Brigham Young and other leaders with prominent horns


A funny story about this. A missionary was doing tracting with his companion and at one door he met a lady who indicated that she had heard that mormons had horns. Of course she is giving a somewhat quizzical look to the two missionaries at her door. So, what does he do? He asks her to put her hand on his head to check out his horns. “Do you feel them?” he asks the lady. “Unh Uh” comes the response as she moves her hand around the top of his head. “Don’t you feel anything?” he asks again leading up to the end of this discussion. “No, I don’t feel a thing” she says again. The missionary said, “Not even a little bit stupid?”

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