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IN preceding chapters we have spoken of different factions springing out of the original church soon after the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, among others, that body led by a majority of the Quorum of the Twelve who went west with a colony into what now is known as Salt Lake Valley, Utah, where they rebaptized and reordained each other, and also rebaptized those who were with them. A part of them then returned to Kanesville, now Council Bluffs, Iowa, where they formed what they called a reorganization of the church, elevating Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Willard Richards to the Presidency.
There is no record of which we are aware that these three men received any special ordination to the positions they then assumed. They were simply selected, first by four members of their quorum (as it existed at the death of Joseph Smith) aside from themselves, and then by about one thousand members of the church, according to their own estimate, which is too large when we consider the building occupied. Brigham Young said it was a "capacious log house, sixty by forty feet inside, and will seat one thousand persons." (Millennial Star, vol. 10, p. 114.) This would necessitate seating them in a space averaging two and two fifths square feet to each person. According to usual rules of computation the building would seat about six hundred persons.
That these men received no ordination to these positions is evident from the fact that no record was made of it, and
from the further fact that they persistently refuse to answer questions regarding it, as will be seen by correspondence with Historian Richards. (See pages 25-27 this volume.)
Since writing the correspondence referred to above, letters have come into our possession from F. D. Richards, Church Historian, and C. W. Penrose, his assistant, in which each commits himself to the position that such ordinations did not take place. Elder Richards writes from Salt Lake City, Utah, March 7,1898, to J. B. Clark, of Eula, Alabama. The following is an extract from his letter:-
"In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no one has ever been ordained to be President of the Church. In the beginning the Lord sent Peter, James and John, and they ordained Joseph Smith an Apostle and he was instructed how to organize and build up the Church in this dispensation. When the Prophet and Apostle Joseph Smith was taken from us, Brigham Young, being President of the Twelve Apostles, it devolved upon him to preside over the Church, as the Apostle is the highest office known in the Church of Christ. So also, when the Prophet and Apostle Brigham Young died, John Taylor, being President of the Twelve Apostles, it devolved upon him. In the same manner, when he departed, Wilford Woodruff, being President of the Twelve Apostles, the Presidency devolved upon him. Neither Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor nor Wilford Woodruff were ordained Presidents of the Church. It is not according to the order of the Church to ordain Presidents of the Church, for there is no such order of the Priesthood known in the Church."-True Succession in Church Presidency, p. 154.
The following is an extract from Elder Penrose's letter to J. O. Long, of Higdon, Alabama, dated Historian's Office, No. 60 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 18,1898:-
"No man is ordained President of the Church. He is ordained to that Priesthood which qualifies him for the position of President when chosen and sustained by the Church. The question might be asked, when was Joseph
the Prophet ordained President of the Church? He was ordained an Apostle and thus being a Presiding High Priest was accepted by the Church and sustained in that capacity.
"Priesthood is conferred by ordination; Presidency is another thing. It does not come by ordination, using that term in the same sense as in reference to conferring Priesthood, nor does it come by lineage. It is by choice and appointment and the common consent of the Church; but the person so chosen must have been ordained to the proper Priesthood to be qualified for the position."-True Succession in Church Presidency, p. 153.
The Reorganization has objected to these proceedings on the following grounds: That they are both irregular and illegal. For a part of the Quorum of Twelve to take such an important action without notice to other members of their own quorum would be irregular, even if the quorum had authority to do such a thing; but there is no warrant in the law for the Quorum of the Twelve to create a First Presidency. For the small minority present at Kanesville to elect a Presidency without notice to the majority, was both irregular and illegal. Even if they had been legally chosen, there is no warrant in law for them to occupy until regularly ordained. To do so is in violation of the law, which says: "He that is ordained of me, shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you before," etc. (Doctrine and Covenants 43:2.) It is not claimed that Brigham Young had any other ordination than that which was common to other members of his quorum, hence he had no more authority of presidency than had any of his colleagues. According to the theory that all the Twelve were ordained presidents, the right to the Presidency of the Church was vested in William Smith, J. E. Page, and Lyman Wight as much so as in Young or any of his associates. Further, Brigham Young was not eligible to election for the reason that the law provides that Joseph Smith's blessing should be placed upon his posterity. It says of him: "For this anointing have I put upon his head, that his blessing shall also be put upon the head of his posterity after him," etc. (Doctrine and Covenants 107:18.)
In addition to the above irregularities the Reorganization objects to changes in doctrine on several points, only a few of which we have space to mention.
The doctrine of polygamy, as we have already seen, was emphatically denied at Nauvoo, and by other factions. The representatives of the organization under Brigham Young continued to deny its existence among them until the year 1852, when they publicly espoused it and produced a document claimed to bear date of July 12, 1843, purporting to be a revelation given through Joseph Smith, which not only justified the practice of polygamy, but enjoined the receiving of the doctrine under pain of damnation for rejection. What is more astounding than this is, that they have and do actually confess that they were practicing this doctrine at the time they denied it, thus convicting themselves of hypocrisy, lying, and deceit.
The Reorganization has questioned the genuineness and authenticity of this purported revelation, and has demanded the proof, contending that the statements of these self-convicted witnesses are not sufficient to establish their affirmation.
The document was first presented publicly at a special conference at Salt Lake City, Utah, August 29, 1852, when certain strange claims were made concerning its authenticity. When this document was first publicly presented, Brigham Young said:-
"You heard Bro. Pratt state, this morning, that a revelation would be read this afternoon, which was given previous to Joseph's death. It contains a doctrine, a small portion of the world is opposed to; but I can deliver a prophecy upon it. Though that doctrine has not been practiced by the elders, this people have believed in it for years.
"The original copy of this revelation was burnt up; William Clayton was the man who wrote it from the mouth of the Prophet. In the meantime it was in Bishop Whitney's possession. He wished the privilege to copy it, which Brother Joseph granted. Sister Emma burnt the original. The reason I mention this is, because that the people who
did know of the revelation suppose it is not now in existence.
"The revelation will be read to you. The principle spoken upon by Brother Pratt, this morning, we believe in. And I tell you-for I know it-it will sail over and ride triumphantly above all the prejudice and priestcraft of the day; it will be fostered and believed in by the more intelligent portions of the world, as one of the best doctrines ever proclaimed to any people. Your hearts need not beat; you need not think that a mob is coming here to tread upon the sacred liberty which the Constitution of our country guarantees unto us, for it will not be. The world have known, long ago, even in Brother Joseph's days, that he had more wives than one. One of the senators in Congress knew it very well. Did he oppose it? No! but he has been our friend all the day long, especially upon that subject. He said pointedly to his friends, 'if the United States do not adopt that very method-let them continue as they now are-pursue the precise course they are now pursuing, and it will come to this-that their generations will not live until they are thirty years old; they are going to destruction; disease is spreading so fast among the inhabitants of the United States, that they are born rotten with it, and in a few years they are gone.' Said he, 'Joseph has introduced the best plan for restoring and establishing strength and long life among men, of any man on the earth; and the Mormons are a very good and virtuous people.'
"Many others are of the same mind; they are not ignorant of what we are doing in our social capacity. They have cried out, 'proclaim it;' but it would not do, a few years ago; everything must come in its time, as there is a time to all things. I am now ready to proclaim it.
"This revelation has been in my possession many years; and who has known it? None but those who should know it. I keep a patent lock on my desk, and there does not anything leak out that should not."-Supplement to Millennial Star, vol. 15, p. 31.
There is a conflict in the testimony. In the Temple Lot Suit Mr. Joseph C. Kingsbury affirmed that it was he that
made the copy, or rather, deceitfully kept the original. In his direct examination he said:-
"I knew in regard to the revelation concerning the doctrine of plural marriage, cannot tell you exactly when I first saw it; it was along in the middle of July somewhere, in 1842. Yes, I guess it was in 1842.
"Bishop Whitney got the revelation, and presented it to me, and wanted me to copy it, and so I went into a room by myself, and copied it; that is, I copied the revelation on plural marriage that he handed me, and just as I got through copying it, Hyrum Smith came in and wanted it,-the original revelation was what he wanted.
"He came in to see how I got along with it; that is, Bishop Whitney did, and then he went out and told Hyrum Smith that he would hand him the revelation in a few minutes, for I was not quite through making the copy. When I had got through making the copy, I took the one I had made myself and read it, and he took the other and read it at the same time to see if I had made any mistakes, and that it was correct, and when he found that it was all correct, he took the one that I had made, and went out and handed it to Hyrum Smith, who was outside the door ready to take it. I copied it just a day or two after it was given. The revelation I copied is just the same as the one published in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants by the Salt Lake Church in Defendant's Exhibit A."-Plaintiff's Abstract, pp. 333, 334.
It will be seen that the copyist is about one year too early in his dates. If notwithstanding his inaccuracy we accept this man's testimony, we must do so at the expense of his veracity and honesty, for he states that when Hyrum Smith came for the original, he and Whitney gave him a copy instead, and of course kept the original.
To accept this theory we must further believe that Hyrum Smith could be deceived by the substitution of a copy for the original, when one was in the handwriting of William Clayton, and the other in the handwriting of J. C. Kingsbury. Again, if we grant this theory notwithstanding its inconsistencies, it leads us to suspect that men guilty of such duplicity might fail to make a true copy.
Under cross-examination, after some evasive answers, Mr. Kingsbury made the following statement:-
"I was a pretty good writer in those days, and I could write pretty fast when I tried, and I do not think it was more than an hour that I was copying it, but I do not know. The paper I copied, I presume was copied in an hour, but I could not tell you exactly, of course. Yes, I said I copied the revelation on one sheet of paper,-foolscap."-Plaintiff's Abstract, p. 342.
The revelation as shown to the witness, and identified by him as being the one copied by him, would cover about nine of the pages of this history. If the reader would like to make a practical test let him put nine of these pages on one sheet of foolscap in longhand, without dictation, and be careful enough to avoid all mistakes, and see if it can be done in one hour or less.
Elder Young says: "Sister Emma burnt the original."
If she did, and if Mr. Kingsbury is to be credited, she burnt the document left in the hands of Bishop Whitney. So to establish the genuineness of the copy presented on August 29,1852, they should trace it back to Hyrum Smith instead of Bishop Whitney.
We quote the testimony of Emma Smith, and then leave this point with the reader. Elder Jason W. Briggs states concerning the purported revelation:-
"It purports to have been given through Joseph Smith; which, if true, our conclusions respecting its character, would make him either the victim or the instrument of deception and fraud. It must be remembered that its appearance, other than in some dark corner, if indeed there, was not until August, 1852, over eight years after the death of Joseph Smith. And when introduced, certain statements are made, which, if true, would seem to establish the claim that it came through him. This statement of facts is, that when the revelation was given, Emma Smith got possession of it in its original and 'burnt it'. Upon this point we subjoin the following questions and answers from a memorandum of an interview with the Sister Emma Smith referred to (now Mrs. Bidamon), at Nauvoo, in April, 1867.
"J. W. Briggs.-Mrs. Bidamon, have you seen the revelation on polygamy, published by Orson Pratt, in the Seer, in 1852?
"Mrs. B.-I have.
"J. W. B.-Have you read it?
"Mrs. B.-I have read it, and heard it read.
"J. W. B.-Did you ever see that document in manuscript, previous to its publication, by Pratt?
"Mrs. B.-I never did.
"J. W. B.-Did you ever see any document of that kind, purporting to be a revelation, to authorize polygamy?
"Mrs. B.-No; I never did.
"J. W. B.-Did Joseph Smith ever teach you the principles of polygamy, as being revealed to him, or as a correct and righteous principle?
"Mrs. B.-He never did.
"J. W. B.-What about that statement of Brigham Young, that you burnt the original manuscript of that revelation?
"Mrs. B.-It is false in all its parts, made out of whole cloth, without any foundation in truth.
"This certainly stamps the most circumstantial fact alleged, in support of the genuineness of that document, as a base fraud, in keeping with the document itself. False facts are usually alleged to support false theories. Thus at every step in the investigation of this subject, proof develops how untenable is the position assumed for polygamy, both in its alleged facts, its principles, and its fruits."-The Messenger, vol. 1, p. 23.
Elder Young states in the speech previously quoted from that "the world have known, long ago, even in Brother Joseph's days, that he had more wives than one." If the world did know it, they have failed to give us any direct or personal testimony of it.
Those most nearly associated with Joseph Smith did not know it. The following statements were made by his wife but a short time before her death in 1879, in an interview published in The Saints' Herald for October 1, 1879:-
'LAST TESTIMONY OF SISTER EMMA.
"In a conversation held in the Herald Office during the early days of the present year, between Bishop Rogers, Elders W. W. Blair, H. A. Stebbins, and a few others, leading minds in the church, it was thought advisable to secure from Mother Bidamon (Sister Emma Smith) her testimony upon certain points upon which various opinions existed; and to do this, it was decided to present to her a few prominent questions, which were penned and agreed upon, the answers to which might, so far as she was concerned, settle these differences of opinion. In accordance with this understanding the Senior Editor of the Herald visited Nauvoo, in February last, arriving on the 4th and remaining until the 10th. Sister Emma answered the questions freely and in the presence of her husband, Major Lewis C. Bidamon, who was generally present in their sitting room where the conversation took place. We were more particular in this, because it had been frequently stated to us: 'Ask your mother, she knows.' 'Why don't you ask your mother; she dare not deny these things.' 'You do not dare to ask your mother!'
"Our thought was, that if we had lacked courage to ask her, because we feared the answers she might give, we would put aside that fear; and, whatever the worst might be, we would hear it. The result is given below; it having been decided to give the statements to the readers of the Herald, in view of the death of Sister Emma having occurred so soon after she made them, thus giving them the character of a last testimony.
"It is intended to incorporate these questions and answers in the forthcoming history of the Reorganization.
"We apologized to our mother for putting the questions respecting polygamy and plural wives, as we felt we ought to do.
"Question.-Who performed the marriage ceremony for Joseph Smith and Emma Hale? When? Where?
"Answer.-I was married at South Bainbridge, New York; at the house of Squire Tarbell, by him, when I was in my twenty-second or twenty-third year.
"We here suggested that Mother Smith's History gave the date of the marriage as January 18, 1827. To this she replied:-
"I think the date correct. My certificate of marriage was lost many years ago, in some of the marches we were forced to make.
"In answer to a suggestion by us that she might mistake about who married Father and herself; and that it was rumored that it was Sidney Rigdon, or a Presbyterian clergyman, she stated:-
"It was not Sidney Rigdon, for I did not see him for years after that. It was not a Presbyterian clergyman. I was visiting at Mr. Stowell's, who lived in Bainbridge, and saw your father there. I had no intention of marrying when I left home; but, during my visit at Mr. Stowell's, your father visited me there. My folks were bitterly opposed to him; and, being importuned by your father, aided by Mr. Stowell, who urged me to marry him, and preferring to marry him to any other man I knew, I consented. We went to Squire Tarbell's and were married. Afterwards, when Father found that I was married, he sent for us. The account in Mother Smith's History is substantially correct as to date and place. Your father bought your uncle Jesse's [Hale] place, off Father's farm, and we lived there till the Book of Mormon was translated; and I think published. I was not in Palmyra long.
"Q.-How many children did you lose, Mother, before I was born?
"A.-There were three. I buried one in Pennsylvania, and a pair of twins in Ohio.
"Q.-Who were the twins that died?
"A.-They were not named.
"Q.-Who were the twins whom you took to raise?
'A.-I lost twins. Mrs. Murdock had twins and died. Bro. Murdock came to me and asked me to take them, and I took the babes. Joseph died at eleven months. They were both sick when your father was mobbed. The mob who tarred and feathered him, left the door open when
they went out with him, the child relapsed and died. Julia lived, though weaker than the boy.
"Q.-When did you first know Sidney Rigdon? Where?
"A.-I was residing at Father Whitmer's, when I first saw Sidney Rigdon. I think he came there.
"Q.-Was this before or after the publication of the Book of Mormon?
"A.-The Book of Mormon had been translated and published some time before. Parley P. Pratt had united with the church before I knew Sidney Rigdon, or heard of him. At the time the Book of Mormon was translated there was no church organized, and Rigdon did not become acquainted with Joseph and me till after the church was established in 1830. How long after that I do not know, but it was some time.
'Q.-Who were scribes for Father when translating the Book of Mormon?
"A.-Myself, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and my brother, Reuben Hale.
"Q.-Was Alva Hale one?
"A.-I think not. He may have written some; but if he did, I do not remember it.
"Q-What about the revelation on polygamy? Did Joseph Smith have anything like it? What of spiritual wifery?
"A.-There was no revelation on either polygamy, or spiritual wives. There were some rumors of something of the sort, of which I asked my husband. He assured me that all there was of it was, that, in a chat about plural wives, he had said, 'Well, such a system might possibly be, if everybody was agreed to it, and would behave as they should; but they would not; and, besides, it was contrary to the will of heaven.'
"No such thing as polygamy, or spiritual wifery, was taught, publicly or privately, before my husband's death, that I have now, or ever had any knowledge of.
"Q.-Did he not have other wives than yourself?
"A.-He had no other wife but me; nor did he to my knowledge ever have.
"Q-Did he not hold marital relation with women other than yourself?
"A.-He did not have improper relations with any woman that ever came to my knowledge.
"Q.-Was there nothing about spiritual wives that you recollect?
"A.-At one time my husband came to me and asked me if I had heard certain rumors about spiritual marriages, or anything of the kind; and assured me that if I had, that they were without foundation; that there was no such doctrine, and never should be with his knowledge, or consent. I know that he had no other wife or wives than myself, in any sense, either spiritual or otherwise.
"Q.-What of the truth of Mormonism?
"A.-I know Mormonism to be the truth; and believe the church to have been established by divine direction. I have complete faith in it. In writing for your father I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us.
"Q.-Had he not a book or manuscript from which he read or dictated to you?
"A.-He had neither manuscript nor book to read from.
"Q.-Could he not have had, and you not know it?
"A.-If he had had anything of the kind he could not have concealed it from me.
"Q.-Are you sure that he had the plates at the time you were writing for him?
"A.-The plates often lay on the table without any attempt at concealment, wrapped in a small linen tablecloth, which I had given him to fold them in. I once felt of the plates, as they thus lay on the table, tracing their outline and shape. They seemed to be pliable like thick paper, and would rustle with a metallic sound when the edges were moved by the thumb, as one does sometimes thumb the edges of a book.
"Q.-Where did Father and Oliver Cowdery write?
"A.-Oliver Cowdery and your father wrote in the room where I was at work.
"Q-Could not Father have dictated the Book of Mormon to you, Oliver Cowdery, and the others who wrote for him, after having first written it, or having first read it out of some book?
"A.-Joseph Smith [and for the first time she used his name direct, having usually used the words, 'your father,' or 'my husband'] could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter; let alone dictating a book like the Book of Mormon. And, though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, and was present during the translation of the plates, and had cognizance of things as they transpired, it is marvelous to me, 'a marvel and a wonder,' as much so as to anyone else.
"Q.-I should suppose that you would have uncovered the plates and examined them?
"A.-I did not attempt to handle the plates, other than I have told you, nor uncover them to look at them. I was satisfied that it was the work of God, and therefore did not feel it to be necessary to do so.
"Major Bidamon here suggested: Did Mr. Smith forbid your examining the plates?
"A.-I do not think he did. I knew that he had them, and was not specially curious about them. I moved them from place to place on the table, as it was necessary in doing my work.
"Q-Mother, what is your belief about the authenticity or origin of the Book of Mormon?
"A.-My belief is that the Book of Mormon is of divine authenticity-I have not the slightest doubt of it. I am satisfied that no man could have dictated the writing of the manuscripts unless he was inspired; for, when acting as his scribe, your father would dictate to me hour after hour; and when returning after meals, or after interruptions, he would at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him. This was a usual thing for him to do. It would have been improbable that a learned man could do this; and, for one so ignorant and unlearned as he was, it was simply impossible.
"Q.-What was the condition of feeling between you and Father?
"A.-It was good.
"Q.-Were you in the habit of quarreling?
"A.-No. There was no necessity for any quarreling. He knew that I wished for nothing but what was right; and, as he wished for nothing else, we did not disagree. He usually gave some heed to what I had to say. It was quite a grievous thing to many that I had any influence with him.
"Q.-What do you think of David Whitmer?
"A.-David Whitmer I believe to be an honest and truthful man. I think what he states may be relied on.
"Q.-It has been stated sometimes that you apostatized at Father's death, and joined the Methodist Church. What do you say to this?
"A.-I have been called apostate; but I have never apostatized, nor forsaken the faith I at first accepted; but was called so because I would not accept their new-fangled notion.
"Q.-By whom were you baptized? Do you remember?
"A.-I think by Oliver Cowdery, at Bainbridge.
"Q.-You say that you were married at South Bainbridge, and have used the word Bainbridge. Were they one and the same town?
"A.-No. There was Bainbridge and South Bainbridge; some distance apart; how far I don't know. I was in South Bainbridge.
"These questions, and the answers she had given to them, were read to my mother by me, the day before my leaving Nauvoo for home, and were affirmed by her. Major Bidamon stated that he had frequently conversed with her on the subject of the translation of the Book of Mormon, and her present answers were substantially what she had always stated in regard to it.
-The Saints' Herald, vol. 26, pp. 289, 290.
In the speech quoted from above Elder Young stated: "Though that doctrine has not been practiced by the elders, this people have believed it for years."
According to this the elders had not practiced polygamy as late as August 29,1852. This is evidently false, but it establishes the unreliability of the witness, and kills the effect of the statement that it was practiced in the days of Joseph Smith.
Elder Young in an interview with Senator Trumbull, as reported in the Alta Californian, stated that polygamy was introduced after they settled in Utah:-
"Senator Trumbull.-'You can depend upon a fair hearing in Congress.'
"Brigham Young.-"What! take our papers and throw them under the table. Send more-under the table they go.' [This was said with energetic gesticulation.] 'As to our institutions, we know we are right, and polygamy, which you object to, was not originally a part of our system, but was adopted by us as a necessity, after we came here.'"- True Latter Day Saints' Herald, vol. 16, p. 158.
Elder William W. Blair publishes the following interview with Elder William B. Smith, brother of the Prophet, and one of the Twelve at Joseph's death:-
"That Joseph the Seer was not the author of the endowment given either at Voree, Nauvoo, or in Utah, may be further seen by the following questions by the writer in July last, and their answers by W. B. Smith, the only surviving brother of the Seer, and one of the Quorum of the Twelve at his death.
"Question.-Did Joseph the Seer teach or give an endowment at Nauvoo, or elsewhere, the same or similar to that given by the Brighamites?
"Answer.-My answer is, he did not.
"Q.-Did Joseph the Seer teach or sanction, in church affairs, the giving of secret oaths, covenants, signs, grips, passwords, etc.?
"A.-My answer is, he did not.
"Q-Did Joseph the Seer teach that the Twelve, or any one of them, should lead the church after his death?
"A-My answer is, he did not.
"Q-Did Joseph the Seer teach that the priesthood was
superior to the law of the church and the revealed word of God?
"A.-My answer is, he did not.
"Joseph's teaching always was that the law was the supreme rule of the church, and that all other powers were in subjection to the law and the books.
"Q.-Did Joseph the Seer teach that polygamy was essential to salvation and a fullness of glory?
"A.-My answer is, Joseph taught no polygamy-not to my knowledge.
"Q.-Did Joseph the Seer teach that, by the will of God, the saints would be gathered to the Rocky Mountains?
"A.-My answer is, he did not. For at the last General Conference held in Nauvoo, in the spring of 1844, Joseph's teaching was that the next great work to be accomplished after the completion of the temple, would be to divide the United States into districts, [in which to build up the church,] charging the ministry with special care to this work."-The Saints' Advocate, vol. 1, p. 61.
On April 13, 1883, in the temple at Kirtland, Ohio, Elder William Smith made the following statement, which we reported at the time:-
"We would as well cut off our right hand as to have taught that there was any legitimacy in polygamy, in the early days of the church. The United States is responsible for polygamy for not putting a stop to it. When Millard Fillmore appointed Brigham Young Governor of Utah, he knew he was a polygamist. I drew up a petition at the time setting forth the fact that Brigham Young went to Utah to practice polygamy. I got three hundred names to it, had it printed, and laid on every Senator's desk."
This will account for the bitter attack made on Elder Smith, by Col. Thomas L. Kane, when he espoused the cause of Brigham Young in 1851.
In a letter written to President Fillmore from Philadelphia, July 11, 1851, Colonel Kane assumes to defend Elder Young against certain charges, and among other things states:-
"The remaining charge connects itself with that unmixed outrage, the spiritual wife story, which was fastened on the Mormons by a poor ribald scamp, whom, though the sole surviving brother and representative of their Jo. Smith, they were literally forced to excommunicate for his licentiousness, and who thereupon revenged himself by editing confessions and disclosures of savor to please the public that peruses works in yellow paper covers."-Millennial Star, vol. 13, p. 344.
Whether Colonel Kane knew it was unjust to fix the responsibility for the charge of this "unmixed outrage" on William Smith or not, we cannot say; but Franklin D. Richards did know it when, as editor, he permitted this statement to be published in the Millennial Star without correction, in November, 1851. If Colonel Kane was deceived, how chagrined he must have been when in about one year Brigham Young publicly proclaimed that the charge of "unmixed outrage" was true.
Elder Young on August 29, 1852, ventured this prediction: "And I tell you-for I know it-it will sail over, and ride triumphantly above all the prejudice and priestcraft of the day; it will be fostered and believed in by the more intelligent portions of the world, as one of the best doctrines ever proclaimed to any people."
How does this prediction stand in the light of subsequent events? In 1862 Congress legislated adversely to the practice of polygamy in the Territories by the passage of the Morrill bill, which was signed by President Lincoln July 8 of that year. The people of Utah ignored this under the plea that it was unconstitutional. This was followed some years after by the passage of the Poland bill, which was approved by President Grant July 23, 1874.
Under this bill a test case was arranged and George Reynolds was arraigned, in the Third District Court, in Salt Lake City, October 26, 1874, and bound over under a twenty five hundred dollar bond. The case was called in March, 1875, and on April 1 he was found guilty, and on the 10th he was sentenced to one year's
imprisonment and three hundred dollars fine. An appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of Utah, and he was admitted to bail in bonds of five thousand dollars. On September 19, 1875, the Supreme Court reversed the decision on the grounds of the illegality of the grand jury that found the bill of indictment.
On November 1,1875, Mr. Reynolds was again arrested on an indictment for polygamy previously found by the grand jury. He was placed under a twenty-five hundred dollar bond. The trial of this case was commenced on December 9, which resulted in a verdict of "guilty." On the 21st Mr. Reynolds was sentenced to two years' imprisonment and to pay a fine of five hundred dollars. An appeal was taken, and Mr. Reynolds was admitted to bail in the sum of ten thousand dollars. On July 6, 1876, the Supreme Court of Utah confirmed the decision and proceedings of the court below against George Reynolds.
Subsequently an appeal was taken to the United States Supreme Court. The question of the constitutionality of the anti-polygamy acts was raised and argued before the United States Supreme Court. On January 6, 1879, the Supreme Court handed down an opinion unanimously confirming the constitutionality of the law against polygamy and bigamy, and confirming the sentence of the lower courts. June 14,1879, Mr. Reynolds was resentenced in the Third District Court of Utah, and he was subsequently confined in the Territorial penitentiary to serve his sentence.
This was the termination of the test case where the constitutionality of the law against polygamy was the leading issue. But few convictions were made, however, under this bill. On March 22,1882, what is known as the Edmunds bill was signed, and became operative. This was subsequently (in 1887) supplemented by what is known as the Edmunds-Tucker bill.
A vigorous execution of these laws was enforced and hundreds served terms of various lengths in the penitentiary, and were fined. Though the Supreme Court overruled the contention of the church and declared the law constitutional, the Mormon people continued to practice polygamy
in defiance of the law, but after much suffering and tenacious resistance submitted.
President Woodruff, at the October Conference of 1890, represented that he had sought the Lord in their extremity, and received information directing him to issue a "Manifesto," which was at the time interpreted by them and understood by others to mean an entire abandonment of the practice of polygamy in every sense. 1
Subsequently a State Constitution was adopted, receiving the support of church leaders, which prohibits forever plural or polygamous marriages. Since this the church in Utah has construed both the Constitution and the Manifesto to forbid the celebration of polygamous
1President George Q. Cannon said: President Woodruff, as doubtless the members of the conference are aware, has felt himself called upon to issue a Manifesto concerning certain things connected with our affairs in this Territory, as he is desirous to have this submitted to this conference; to have their views or their expressions concerning it, and Bishop Whitney will read this document now in your hearing.
Following is the Manifesto as read:-
"To Whom it May Concern:-Press dispatches having been sent for political purposes, from Salt Lake City, which have been widely published, to the effect that the Utah commission, in their recent report to the Secretary of the Interior, allege that plural marriages are still being solemnized and that forty or more such marriages have been contracted in Utah since last June or during the past year; also that in public discourses the leaders of the church have taught, encouraged, and urged the continuance of the practice of polygamy;
"I, therefore, as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, do hereby, in the most solemn manner, declare that these charges are false. We are not teaching polygamy, or plural marriage nor permitting any person to enter into its practice, and I deny that either forty or any other number of plural marriages have during that period been solemnized in our temples or in any other place in the Territory.
"One case has been reported, in which the parties alleged that the marriage was performed in the Endowment House, in Salt Lake City, in the spring of 1889, but I have not been able to learn who performed the ceremony; whatever was done in this matter was without my knowledge. In consequence of this alleged occurrence the Endowment House was, by my instructions, taken down without delay.
"Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws, and to use my influence with the members of the church over which I preside to have them do likewise.
"There is nothing in my teachings to the church or in those of my associates, during the time specified, which can be reasonably construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy, and when any elder of the church has
marriage ceremonies only, but not interfering with polygamous relations entered into before the Manifesto was issued. Compare this condition of things with the prediction of Elder Young made of August 29, 1852, and the reader can see what estimate to put upon him as a prophet.
Other doctrines were taught which are repugnant to many of the believers in the gospel as taught by Joseph Smith, but we have space for a few items only. The theories of Adam being the God of the human family, and that Jesus Christ was begotten by Adam, instead of being begotten by the Holy Ghost as the Scriptures assert (Matthew 1:20 and Luke 1:35), were very objectionable to many; yet Brigham Young, in Salt Lake City, Utah, April 9,1852, taught these objectionable tenets very positively, as reported in their own. 2
used language which appeared to convey any such teaching, he has been promptly reproved. And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter Day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.
"President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."
President Lorenzo Snow offered the following:-
"I move that, recognizing Wilford Woodruff as the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the only man on the earth at the present time who holds the keys of the sealing ordinances, we consider him fully authorized by virtue of his position to issue the Manifesto which has been read in our hearing and which is dated September 24, 1890, and that as a church in General Conference assembled, we accept his declaration concerning plural marriages as authoritative and binding."
The vote to sustain the foregoing motion was unanimous.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 37, p. 689
2Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives , with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is MICHAEL, the Archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about whom holy men have written and spoken-HE is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom WE have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or nonprofessing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later. They came here, organized the raw material, and arranged in their order the herbs of the field, the trees, the apple, the peach, the plum, the pear, and every other fruit that is desirable and good for man; the seed was brought from another sphere, and planted in this earth. The thistle the thorn, the brier, and the obnoxious weed did not appear until after the earth was cursed. When Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, their bodies became mortal from its effects, and therefore their offspring were mortal. When the Virgin Mary conceived the child
The theory concerning atonement, as taught by President Young, and his counselor, Elder Grant, which provided for the killing of men to save them, and which denied the efficacy of Christ's blood to atone for some sins, was very obnoxious to the advocates of the restored gospel. 3
Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family; and when he took a tabernacle, it was begotten by his Father in heaven, after the same manner as the tabernacles of Cain Abel, and the rest of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve; from the fruits of the earth the first earthly tabernacles were originated by the Father, and so on in succession. I could tell you much more about this; but were I to tell you the whole truth, blasphemy would be nothing to it! in the estimation of the superstitious and overrighteous of mankind. . . .
Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in heaven. Now, let all who may hear these doctrines, pause before they make light of them, or treat them with indifference, for they will prove their salvation or damnation.
I have given you a few leading items upon this subject, but a great deal more remains to be told. Now, remember from this time forth and forever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost.-Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, pp. 50, 51.
3Brigham Young, in a sermon preached in Salt City, February 8,1857, said:-
"All mankind love themselves, and let these principles be known by an individual, and he would be glad to have his blood shed. That would be loving themselves, even unto an eternal exaltation. Will you love your brothers or sisters likewise when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood? That is what Jesus Christ meant. He never told a man or woman to love their enemies in their wickedness, never. He never intended any such thing. . . I have known a great many men who have left this church for whom there is no chance whatever for exaltation, but if their blood had been spilled, it would have been better for them. The wickedness and ignorance of the nations forbid this principle's being in full force, but the time will come when the law of God will be in full force.
"This is loving our neighbor as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it. Any of you who understand the principles of eternity, if you have sinned a sin requiring the shedding of blood, except the sin unto death, would not be satisfied nor rest until your blood should be spilled, that you might gain that salvation you desire. That is the way to love mankind"-Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, pp, 219, 220: Deseret News vol. 6, p. 397.
Jedediah M. Grant, Brigham's counselor, says:-
"I say there are men and women here that I would advise to go to the president immediately, and ask him to appoint a committee to attend to their case; and then let a place be selected, and let that committee shed their blood."-Deseret News, vol. 6, p. 235.
We have had space for but very few of the many reasons why many fail to recognize in the Utah faction the original church of which we write. That they formed a new organization, and in doing so ignored the laws of organization before obtaining; that members coming to them from the original church were required to be rebaptized in order to retain membership with them; that those holding the priesthood in the original church, from President Young down, were required to be reordained; and that they departed in several material points from the original doctrine; are facts well known to the student of history.
In the remnant, which, out of the confusion into which the church had been plunged, sounded the rallying cry to scattered Israel, pointed to the old paths, and recognized only the word of God as law, the investigator will recognize the original church in succession. As such its history will be written in this work, while other organizations will be mentioned incidentally, as the history of the church may require.
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