But was Baum a Bryan Democrat? In the summer of 1888, Baum moved his family to Aberdeen, South Dakota, where he opened a dry goods store. In January 1890, after the business failed, he bought a local newspaper, renaming it the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer . The Pioneer was obviously a Republican paper. During the municipal elections that spring, Baum editorialized in support of the Republican candidates; after they won, he wrote that "Aberdeen has redeemed herself . . [a]fter suffering for nearly a year from the incompetence of a democratic administration." Later that year, Baum urged unity against the growing Independent movement: "We are all members of one great family, the family which saved the Union, the family which stands together as the emblem of prosperity among the nations--Republicanism!" Not only did Baum speak for the Republican party; he spoke against the movement that would soon evolve into the Populists. (18)
Although some victims of Kumare could never forgive him, what sets him miles apart from Joseph Smith is this: he confessed and owned up his wrongdoing. He did not let the whole deception go on indefinitely. Perhaps while training to become a fake guru, he accidentally learned ethics, that there are lines in the unseen world that he must never cross. For If the material world is all there is, then there is no reason why Kumare could let something immaterial or abstract like ethics spoil his fun. I don’t think he was ever naive to believe he will be reincarnated as a swine in this world.