Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reed Smoot Hearings - Day 2: Testimony of Joseph F. Smith, part 1

March 3, 1904.

This is the second day of testimony for Joseph F. Smith.  I will again divide the testimony into 2 parts because of the length; with the first part ending at the midday recess.

Almost the entire afternoon session yesterday was spent in one argument about what is pertinent testimony and what is not.  Joseph F. Smith gave very little testimony after the recess.

Mr. Worthington's statement from yesterday afternoon seems like a good way to start this day out as a reminder of what happened:
"The question is asked whether a certain Mr. Teasdale was a polygamist.  Let us see where this will lead ... Would it be competent to prove, these men being scattered all over the State of Utah [are polygamists]?"

"If you have proved there were 500 people and every one of them had a dozen wives, you would not have advanced the case one step, because the question would come back, Did these people who met around this board, and who are called the first presidency and the apostles, organize for the purpose of encouraging and pursuing that thing?  Are they encouraging the 500 who are living with the wives they married before the manifesto or are they representing the hundreds of thousands of people who are living in monogamy, as civilized people generally do?

"It does seem to me this is an important and vital point, and the committee ought to give it careful consideration and decide before we go on to this boundless sea to which counsel are taking us, and as to which, if they succeed in proving there were 500 polygamists and 2,500 plural wives, it would not as to Reed Smoot, advance the cause a particle, and would not even call upon us to reply."

The committee hearing resumes and a decision has been made on the discussion from yesterday afternoon.  Here is the decision:
"As bearing upon that charge, the committee will permit counsel to inquire into the teachings and practice of the president and twelve apostles in this regard since the 26th day of September, 1890, the date of the Woodruff manifesto."
Commentary:  Well, this ruling has put in place the limit of testimony.  It is allowable to ask and receive testimony about plural marriages since the 1890 manifesto.  For the vast majority of the hearing, excepting the investigation into the laws passed against polygamy by the Government, both sides stick to this rule.

Before Mr. Smith takes the stand again, Senator Beveridge makes a statement concerning the charges being investigated.  He says that members of the committee, and the country at large, understood falsely, that Senator Smoot was being investigated for being a polygamist.  This is untrue and "is conceded by [the] protestants that his life in that particular is as correct as that of anyone else."  Next, that the charge of Senator Smoot having taken an oath inconsistent with that of being a Senator "never was made so far as [Mr. Tayler's] clients are concerned."
Senator Beveridge.  Therefore, at this juncture we find that Mr. Smoot is not being tried as a polygamist, for it is conceded that that condition does not exist, and that his life is correct, and, on the other hand, it is not charged and we are not trying him upon the ground that he has taken an oath inconsistent with his oath as a Senator of the United States.  Hence, the issue to which this is reduced, and upon which we are proceeding and shall proceed from now on, and upon which, so far as the protestants are concerned, Mr. Smoot is being tried, as it were, is the one stated by the chairman, in substance, that he is a member of a conspiracy.
Senator Dubois then speaks up to rephrase the charges and share his insight into them:
Senator Dubois.  For the first time in fifty years this committee understood, if I understand the committee rightly, that the relations of this organization to the United States were to be investigated at this meeting.  There was no disposition upon the part of anyone represented here in person, or by counsel, to try Mr. Smoot on the charge that he was a polygamist, or that he had taken an oath as an apostle which was incompatible with the oath he has taken as United States Senator, while constantly the attorneys on the other side, and people not representing the protestants, have been trying to force the protestants to issues which they themselves have never raised.
Commentary:  Outside of all the really long sentences, where I can't breathe while reading, this essentially says what Senator Smoot is going to be tried on.  Not an oath; not that he practices polygamy; but that he is a member of a conspiratorial group of lawbreakers.  Ok, finally this is all done and we can get back to the business of the committee hearing with a witness testifying.

Joseph F. Smith resumes the stand.

Mr. Tayler decides to start the day out with questions about Abraham H. Cannon again, where he in a round-about way asks him about the marriage of Mr. Cannon and Lillian Hamlin.  Mr. Smith again denies that a marriage took place on the boat.

Next Mr. Tayler questions Mr. Smith about polygamous relations.  Mr. Smith knew that Abraham H. Cannon was a polygamist, so did he ever criticize or tell him that he should not be with more than one woman as a wife?  No.  He is then asked about polygamous cohabitation (living with more than one wife) and how the church feels about that (is it, or is it not a rule of the church), the answer he gives is used throughout the trial.
Mr. Tayler.  Is the cohabitation with one who is claimed to be a plural wife a violation of the law or rule of the church, as well as of the law of the land?
Mr. Smith.  That it is contrary to the rule of the church and contrary as well to the law of the land for a man to cohabit with his wives.  But I was placed in this position.  I had a plural family, if you please; that is, my first wife was married to me over thirty-eight years ago, my last wife was married to me over twenty years ago, and with these wives I had children, and I simply took my chances, preferring to meet the consequences of the law rather than to abandon my children and their mothers; and I have cohabited with my wives - not openly, that is, not in a manner that I thought would be offensive to my neighbors - but I have acknowledged them; I have visited them.  They have borne me children since 1890, and I have done it, knowing the responsibility and knowing that I was amenable to the law.

Since the admission of the State there has been a sentiment existing and prevalent in Utah that these old marriages would be in a measure condoned.  They were not looked upon as offensive, as really violative of law; there were, in other words, regarded as an existing fact, and if they saw any wrong in it they simply winked at it.  In other words, Mr. Chairman, the people of Utah, as a rule, as well as the people of this nation, are broad-minded and liberal-minded people, and they have rather condoned that otherwise, I presume, my offense against the law.  I have never been disturbed.  Nobody has ever called me in question, that I know of, and if I had, I was there to answer to the charges or any charge that might have been made against me, and I would have been willing to submit to the penalty of the law, whatever it might have been.
Commentary:  This speech comes back to bite him later on.  The word "condoned" is spread all over the country and many people write in to the committee and protest the speech and say they do not condone polygamous cohabitation at all.  Many are also upset with the term "wink" that he uses.

Mr. Tayler continues with this topic and asks him about his violation of the law of unlawful cohabitation, and Mr. Smith admits it.
Mr. Tayler.  You have not in any respect changed your relations to these wives since the manifesto or since the passage of this law of the State of Utah?  I am not meaning to be unfair in the question, but only to understand you.  What I mean is, you have been holding your several wives out as wives, not offensively, as you say.  You have furnished them homes.  You have given them your society.  You have taken care of the children that they bore you, and you have caused them to bear you new children - all of them?
Mr. Smith.  That is correct, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  That is correct?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  Now, since that was a violation of the law, why have you done it?
Mr. Smith.  For the reason I have stated.  I preferred to face the penalties of the law to abandoning my family.
Mr. Tayler.  Do you consider it an abandonment of your family to maintain relations with your wives except that of occupying their beds?
Mr. Smith.  I do not wish to be impertinent, but I should like the gentlemen to ask any woman, who is a wife, that question.
Mr. Tayler.  Unfortunately, or fotunately, that is not the status of this examination at this point.
Mr. Smith.  All the same; it is my sentiment.
The examination is interrupted here by Senator Foraker.  He doesn't like the line of questioning, and the Chairman agrees and tells him:  "confine yourself to the question of fact."

Commentary:  Mr. Tayler was gutsy enough, or perhaps crass enough, to ask Mr. Smith about sex.  Unbelieveable!

The committee then drills down on the specific marriages of Mr. Smith.
The Chairman.  Mr. Smith, I wish to ask you a question preliminarily.  I understood you, in response to a question of counsel, to state that you married your first wife at such a time, and the second wife at such a time, both before 1890?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
The Chairman.  The last wife, I mean.  Were there any intermediate marriages?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
The Chairman.  How many?
Mr. Smith.  There were three besides the first and the last.
The Chairman.  Then you have five wives?
Mr. Smith.  I have.
The Chairman.  Mr. Tayler, what is your question?
Mr. Tayler.  My question is, How many children have been borne to him by these wives since 1890?
The Chairman.  The chair thinks that question is competent.
Mr. Smith.  I have had 11 children born since 1890.
Mr. Tayler.  Those are all the children that have been born to you since 1890?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; those are all.
Mr. Tayler.  Were those children by all of your wives; that is did all of your wives bear children?
Mr. Smith.  All of my wives bore children.
Mr. Tayler.  Since 1890?
Mr. Smith.  That is correct.

Commentary:  This small piece of testimony was broadcast across the nation; political cartoons were drawn up.  One of these cartoons is shown below with Reed Smoot smacking his forehead with his hand when he hears the testimony that President Smith has 5 wives who have given birth to 11 different children after the manifesto of 1890.

He is then asked about the where each wife lives:
Mr. Smith.  I will state, Mr. Chairman, in answer to the question, that each of my families has a home of its own.  They live near to each other, not very far away from each other, in their own homes.
Senator Hoar.  In the same city?
Mr. Smith.  In Salt Lake City.  My custom has been to live with my first wife in her home, and I have lived with her exclusively ever since that time, and I am living with her still; but I have, as I said before, visited my other families and provided for them and their children, for the schooling, etc.
Commentary:  Well, if nothing else, this is a description of what life is like being a polygamist.  Each wife has her own house where her children live.  The husband visits the wife regularly and provides for each family individually.

Coming back to one of the main points of the inquiry, the committee wants to know about Reed Smoot and his interaction with Mr. Smith on polygamous cohabitation.
Senator Overman.  Did Senator Smoot ever advise you to desist from polygamous cohabitation with your plural wives?
Mr. Smith.  Not that I know of.  I do not think that Mr. Smoot has ever attempted to interfere with my family relations.  I do not know that he knows anything about them, except what I have told you here today.
Senator Overman.  Did he ever discuss the matter with you in any way?
Mr. Smith.  Never to my knowledge.  I should like to repeat, in connection with this question, that it is a well-known fact throughout all Utah, and I have never sought to disguise the fact in the least, or to disclaim it, that I have five wives in Utah.  My friends all know that - Gentiles, and Jews and Mormons.  They all knew that I had five wives.
Mr. Tayler.  I do not doubt it at all.
Mr. Smith.  Whether they knew that I was living with them or not I cannot say.  I did not inform them of that.  I did not acknowledge it to them, because they never asked me nor interrogated me on that point at all.
Senator Overman then takes the next step with the questioning to ask about the apostles and the advisory capacity with him.
Senator Overman.  Are the apostles your advisors?
Mr. Smith.  Mr. Senator, I receive advice and counsel from any and every good man.
Senator Overman.  Do they have any special authority?
Mr. Smith.  No more than any other member of the church, except as a body or a council of the church.
Senator Overman.  Did any of the apostles ever advise you or ask you to desist from this conduct?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir.
Then they talk about George Teasdale (with a few objections peppered in) and whether he is or was a polygamist (was = yes; is = no).  Mr. Tayler states the following, which is carried through the rest of the hearings:  "It is proper to show what his repute was.  That is one of the questions here - how far knowledge of that sort has been carried home to Senator Smoot."  To this statement, the Chairman says, "Give your opinion.  Answer the question."

Mr. Tayler then moves away from the questions about George Teasdale, to someone of much more interest in his eyes:  John W. Taylor.  Mr. Taylor, according to testimony from Mr. Smith, is a member of the twelve apostles (5th in line as far as seniority), and reputed to be a polygamist.  He is asked if he knows where he, John W. Taylor, is currently (he doesn't know).  The last he heard he was sent to investigate a possible land deal for Mormon colonies.

Senator Dubois has been silent long enough.
Senator Dubois.  Could an apostle be a polygamist without your knowledge?
Mr. Smith.  I hardly think he could.
Senator Dubois.  Then what is the use of saying "I think;" "I do not know?"
Mr. Smith.  Because I never saw a woman married to him [John W. Taylor] in my life.
Senator Dubois.  Could an apostle be a polygamist without your knowledge?  Can they go out and enter into polygamy without your knowledge?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; not that I know of.  I say "not that I know of."
Senator Dubois.  Then an apostle could not be a polygamist unless you knew it?
Mr. Smith.  Unless he violated the rule of the church without my knowledge, and I do not think he would do that.
Commentary:  This means that the president of the church should know if every apostle is or is not a polygamist.  This is kind of important because is appears Senator Dubois is trying to place responsibility for all polygamist relations on the Mormon hierarchy; especially those in the hierarchy.

Next, a list of people Mr. Smith is familiar with are run by him: 
  • Marriner W. Merrill:  apostle, reputed polygamist, no idea on the number of wives, lives in Richmond, Cache County, Utah.
  • Heber J. Grant:  apostle, acknowledged polygamist, he's seen two women supposedly that are his wives, and he is currently in Europe on church business with his second wife.
  • John Henry Smith:  apostle, polygamist with two wives - "I am pretty well acquainted with his folks.  He is a kinsman of mine." - lives in Salt Lake City, he does not know if he has had any children lately.
  • Matthias F. Cowley:  apostle, reputed polygamist with two wives, lives in Salt Lake, currently "making a tour of the northern missions of the church in Idaho and Montana and Oregon," he does not have any information regarding children.
  • Rudger Clawson:  apostle, not a polygamist "because he was at one time, but his wife left him, and he has but one wife" and this happened in the 1880's.
  • Francis M. Lyman:  president of the apostles by seniority, next in line for succession to the presidency of the church, reputed polygamist with two wives.
Here is a bit of the testimony from the above inquiry:
Mr. Tayler.  You, as the head of the church never undertook to apply any more rigid rule of conduct to him [John Henry Smith] that you applied to yourself?
Mr. Smith.  I certainly could not condemn him when I was in the same practice.
Mr. Tayler.  I suppose not.
Mr. Tayler.  That you can use language of such positiveness in the one case and not in the other?
Mr. Smith.  I happen, sir, to be very well acquainted with Rdger Clawson.  At one time he was the second counsilor to President Snow with myself.  He lives as a neighbor to me, and we sit in the same office together from day to day, and I am very intimate with Rudger Clawson and with his family.
Senator Beveridge.  Has any of these men about whom Mr. Tayler has asked you married plural wives since the manifesto?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; not one of them.
Senator Beveridge.  Then the wives that you refer to were wives married before the manifesto?
Mr. Smith.  Before the manifesto for years.
Senator Pettus.  They were married before?
Senator Beveridge.  I was asking whether any have taken wives since
Mr. Smith.  Let me say to you, Mr. Senator - I have said it, but I repeat it - there has not any man, with the consent or knowledge or approval of the church, ever married a plural wife since the manifesto.
Right here Mr. Tayler tries to circle back on Mr. Smith and catch him in his answers.  He wants to know how George Teasdale could have married a woman in 1893, a plural marriage, without the knowledge of the president of the church.  Mr. Van Cott immediately objects to the question as being hypothetical and asks that counsel ask Mr. Smith about facts, not hypothetical questions.  To this, Senator Hoar steps in and clears it up.
Senator Hoar.  In the first place, the witness has stated his belief about this gentleman; then he stated that no person, with the knowledge of the authorities of the church, with the consent or approval, has contracted a plural marriage since the manifesto.  Now, it seems to me fair, as testing the accuracy of Mr. Smith's understanding, to call his attention to this condition and ask him how it could have been brought about.
The Chairman.  Answer the question, Mr. Smith.
Commentary:  Senator Hoar appears to be the voice of reason and logic in these hearings.  If he speaks, it is as if everyone shuts up, listens; he appears to be the E.F. Hutton of his day.  The committee accepts what Senator Hoar says almost unquestionined.  Therefore, if he believes a question is proper, the Chairman will agree and ask the witness to answer the question.

Mr. Smith answers and says that he does not know anything about this situation.  "I do not know of any way by which it could have been done."

Right before the break, Senator Hoar wants to know if missionaries for the church teach converts about the principle of plural marriage.
Mr. Smith.  Never.
Senator Hoar.  Today?
Mr. Smith.  Today, never.  Only when they are forced into a defense of their belief.  They do not advocate nor teach the doctrine nor inculcate it in any way, shape, or form.
Mr. Smith.  And let me add, Mr. Senator, that in every instance our elders who are sent out to preach the gospel are instructed not to advocate plural marriage in their ministrations.  It is a thing of the past.

The committee takes a recess from 11:55 AM until 2:00 PM.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Joseph Smith: "A key that will never rust"

I have to put this in the blog because I'm thinking about it.  This obviously has nothing to do with the Reed Smoot hearings.  I'll work on getting Day #2 of Joseph F. Smith's testimony posted soon enough.

William G. Nelson reported the prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., as saying the following:

"I will give you a key that will never rust — if you will stay with the majority of the Twelve Apostles, and the records of the Church, you will never be led astray."

I've heard this statement through the years, and wondered if there ever was a time when the majority of the Twelve Apostles have gone astray or been excommunicated.  Today, this is almost an unthinkable reality; however, during the time frame of 1837-1839, it was very much a real concern.  Many high ranking church leaders left Joseph during the early years of the church's existance.

As chosen by the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, here are the original Twelve Apostles of the modern era (in order of seniority - different topic):
  1. Thomas B. Marsh
  2. David W. Patten
  3. Brigham Young
  4. Heber C. Kimball
  5. Orson Hyde
  6. William E. M'Lellin
  7. Parley P. Pratt
  8. Luke S. Johnson
  9. William Smith
  10. Orson Pratt
  11. John F. Boynton
  12. Lyman E. Johnson
In 1835, between February 14th and April 26th, all 12 of these men were ordained to the apostleship.

Between September 1837 and October 1838, 6 members left the 12, and 1 was killed (David W. Patten in the Battle of Crooked River). 

John F. Boynton, Luke and Lyman Johnson, and William E. M'Lellin all left the church in Kirtland; mainly because of financial problems with the church and their opinion that Joseph was a fallen prophet.

Also in Kirtland, at this time, the Three Witnesses and one of the First Presidency (Frederick G. Williams) left Joseph.  That's a huge portion of the leadership of the church that just walked out.

Thomas B. Marsh and Orson Hyde left the church in Missouri in October 1838; mainly because of the mobbings and stance of the church against these events (in some cases being very aggressive in defense).

This makes a total of 6 dissenters:  Boynton, Johnson(2), M'Lellin, Marsh, and Hyde.

Okay, so by November 1838, there are 5 active members in the quorum:  Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, William Smith, and Orson Pratt.  This is less than half.  Admittedly Orson Hyde was on his way back to the church, and would rejoin the Twelve in June 1839, but he doesn't count yet.

That's 5 members of 12; one less than half, and definitely less than a majority.  However, the other 6 living ex-members, did not stick together, so I'm not sure you can count them as the actual majority in the quorum.

The lack of members in the 12 was remedied in late 1838 and early to mid 1839.  At this time John E. Page, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, and Orson Hyde were added to the 12.

My point:  If the quote from Joseph is true, can it still be true when half the 12 left him?  I think it can.  This statement still stands up because the 7th member (David W. Patten) did not leave the church because of apostasy; he was killed, thus he remained faithful to the end.

I'm satisfied, this still is a true statement with the history record bearing out the results.  I can rest easy now.  :)

F.Y.I.:  Of the 6 who left, Orson Hyde returned to the Twelve, Luke S. Johnson made his way out to Salt Lake (joined the church again) and died there, and Thomas B. Marsh made his way out to Salt Lake (joining the church again) and died in Ogden, Utah, I believe.  Only John F. Boynton, Lyman E. Johnson, and William E. M'Lellin did not return to the church; although I've read that Boynton visited with Brigham in Salt Lake and was friendly with the church.

I believe M'Lellin stayed bitter towards the prophet Joseph to the end; although, there is some talk about him being friendly with many other Saints.  He was among the anti-Mormon crowd that worked with the Missouri militia to capture the city of Far West (along with the prophet and his companions).  However, there must have been something about the church, the teachings and the fellowship of the Saints that M'Lellin missed; because after the death of Joseph, he associated with Sidney Rigdon, James Strang, and David Whitmer in their post-martyrdom 'Mormon' churches.
I guess with all of the financial and political problems behind them, there was still something about the fellowship of the Saints that these men needed.

Origin of the above quote:
Young Women's Journal, 1906, p. 543.

Although it is not specifically stated in this book, it appears that this quote from Joseph is from the period of time when the church was based in Nauvoo, Illinois.

Here's a link to the book with the quote in it:  Google Books Reference

Monday, October 26, 2009

Reed Smoot Hearings - Day 1: Testimony of Joseph F. Smith, part 2

This is part 2 of the first day of testimony from Joseph F. Smith (March 2, 1904).

Senator Hoar starts off the afternoon session by asking for clarification on revelations and the sustaining of them.  He wants to know what happens if a revelation is given to the president, and presented to conference, but rejected by a majority of those present, "in that case it would not become part of the established faith?"  Mr. Smith's answer:  "Yes, sir."

Mr. Tayler starts out questioning Mr. Smith about the origins of polygamy.  The response from Mr. Smith is that "there were a few who received the doctrine under the direct teaching of Joseph Smith and entered into it at that time, before his death."  He then reviews some history of the laws enacted against polygamy, starting with the law in 1862.  According to Mr. Smith, "Our people took the ground that it was an unconstitutional law."  However, this apparently changed in 1878, when George Reynolds v. United States was heard before the Supreme Court of the United States.  In this case the 1862 law was sustained (the decision was that religion could not protect all religious practices, like polygamy, if they were declared illegal by law; only religious belief is protected by the Constitution).

Mr. Tayler.  Did the church accept that decision of the Supreme Court as controlling their conduct?
Mr. Smith.  It is so on record.
Mr. Tayler.  Did it?
Mr. Smith.  I think it did, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  That is to say, no plural marriages were solemnized in the church after October, 1878?
Mr. Smith.  No; I cannot say as to that.
Mr. Tayler.  Well, if the church solemnized marriages after that time it did not accept that decision as conclusive upon it, did it?
Mr. Smith.  I am not aware that the church practiced polygamy, or plural marriages, at least, after the manifesto.
Mr. Tayler.  Yes, I know; but that was a long, long time after that.  I am speaking now of 1878, when the Supreme Court decided the law to be constitutional.
Mr. Smith.  I will say this, Mr. Chairman, that I do not know of any marriages occurring after that decision.
Commentary:  Mr. Smith is being a little evasive here and even acting dumb to the question.  Counsel is asking about plural marriages after 1878, when the Supreme Court ruled the 1862 law was constitutional.  His first answer was a complete agreement.  His second answer was confused when asked the same question.  His third answer was a deflection to a different period of time not asked about.  His fourth answer, all to basically the same question, is a denial based on no specific knowledge.  This appears to be a completely evasive manuever by Mr. Smith to not answer the question as posed.

He is fortunately saved by Senator Beveridge, who interrupts this Q&A with a question trying to figure out why this line of questioning is being asked.  Senator Beveridge is trying to determine which piece of proof this question fits in (1.  Reed Smoot is a polygamist, or 2.  He took an oath inconsistent with his duty as Senator).

Mr. Tayler's answer, in part, is very important in light of future testimony:
"I have stated here more than once that I was not undertaking, and should not undertake, so far as I was concerned, to offer proof respecting the polygamy of Reed Smoot, nor have I ever intimated that I was going to prove that he took any oath.  I do not know anything about that ... Surely the status of Reed Smoot - because it is a personal question, in the last analysis, as respects his right to be a Senator of the United States - under a claim that he holds supreme allegiance to the sovereignty of this Government, is largely to be determined by precisely what it is, as exhibited by the law of the church of which he is an orthodox member, he declares he must stand for, and which the church, through its history, as exhibited by its acts, stands for.

"We cannot understand whether Mr. Smoot's statement is to be taken as really expressive of his state of mind or as indicating a knowledge upon his part of what his real obligation is to this church, until we have really examined, not on the surface, but in the depths, precisely what the church and its leaders stand for; and if Mr. Smoot wants to wholly differentiate himself from his church and his people and the doctrine and life and living of those people, then that is for him to determine; but I do assert, and that is the heart of this thing, that he must do that or else declare himself subject to this church of which he is a member."
Commentary:  In other words, we're going to dig into the church, its history, its policy, its rules, its doctrine, and its leaders.  Unless Mr. Smoot resigns his position as an apostle and from the church he is a member of, thereby distancing himself from the church, we will do this investigation and dig up as much dirt on the church and fling it upon him until he is covered with it.  This is almost a threat and a way for the government to say who can, and who cannot, become a Senator based upon religious office.

Mr. Worthington, Reed Smoot's lawyer, appears to be a little angry about the questions asked to Joseph F. Smith, and he states:
"I am not his counsel, however, and he does not refer to Reed Smoot; but if I were on the stand and asked as to communications I had had from the Almighty and what I believed of them, or thought of them, I should take the judgment of the court of last resort before I should answer it.  I submit he ought not to be asked what his private beliefs and convictions are."
To this statement by Mr. Worthington there is no recorded answer, only the Chairman asking Mr. Tayler to continue with the examination.

Mr. Tayler continues with this line of question and tries to understand the church's position after the manifesto was released in 1890.

Mr. Tayler.  Did this manifesto and the plea for amnesty affect also the continuance of cohabitation between those who had been previously married?
Mr. Smith.  It was so declared in the examination before the master in chancery.
Mr. Tayler.  I am asking you.
Mr. Smith.  Well, sir; I will have to refresh my memory by the written word.  You have the written word there, and that states the fact as it existed.
Mr. Tayler.
  The revelation which Wilford Woodruff received, in consequence of which the command to take plural wives was suspended, did not, as you understand it, change the divine view of plural marriages, did it?
Mr. Smith.  It did not change our belief at all.
Mr. Tayler.  It did not change your belief at all?
Mr. Smith.  Not at all, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  You continued to believe that plural marriages were right?
Mr. Smith.  We do.  I do, at least.  I do not answer for anybody else.  I continue to believe as I did before.

Commentary:  This is significant, and Mr. Tayler will come back to it again.  The manifesto was released, but this did not change the belief of members of the church, only the practice.  In this case, plural marriages were suspended by the church; however, the belief that this was a true and correct doctrine was not suspended.  This is important testimony for the protestants because one of their items of proof is that the hierarchy still believes in polygamy and polygamous cohabitation.  Mr. Smith practically hand delivered that one right to them; this is why he restated the question again for emphasis.

Mr. Tayler now comes back to the Doctrine and Covenants.  He wants to talk about the inclusion of the revelation of plural marriage (section 132) and the manifesto.

Mr. Tayler.  You stated what were the standard inspired works of the church, and we find in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants the revelation made to Joseph Smith in 1843 respecting plural marriages.  Where do we find the revelation suspending the operation of that command?
Commentary:  Uh, oh.  That was not included in the D&C in the early 1900s.  Let's see what happens.

Mr. Smith.  Printed in our public works.
Mr. Tayler.  Printed in your public works?
Mr. Smith.  Printed in pamphlet form.  You have a pamphlet of it right there.
Mr. Tayler.  It is not printed in your work of Doctrine and Covenants?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; nor a great many other revelations, either.
Mr. Tayler.  Nor a great many other revelations?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  How many revelations do you suppose -
Mr. Smith.  I could not tell you how many.
Mr. Tayler.  But a great many?
Mr. Smith.  A great many.
Mr. Tayler.  Why have they not been printed in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants?
Mr. Smith.  Because it has not been deemed necessary to publish or print them.
Mr. Tayler.  Are they matters that have been proclaimed to the people at large?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; not in every instance.
Mr. Tayler.  Why not?
Mr. Smith.  Well, I don't know why not.  It was simply because they have not been.
Mr. Tayler.  Is it because they are not of general interest, or that all of the people need to know of?
Mr. Smith.  A great many of these revelations are local.
Mr. Tayler.  Local?
Mr. Smith.  In their nature.  They apply to local matters.
Mr. Tayler.  Yes, exactly.
Mr. Smith.  And these, in many instances, are not incorporated in the general revelations, and in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.
Mr. Tayler.  For instance, what do you mean by local?
Mr. Smith.  Matters that pertain to local interests of the church.
Mr. Tayler.  Of course the law or revelation suspending polygamy is a matter that does affect everybody in the church.
Mr. Smith.  Yes.
Mr. Tayler.
  And as new revelations were given they were added to the body of the revelations previously received?
Mr. Smith.  From time to time they were, but not all.

Commentary:  Well, I don't think Mr. Smith was ready for the question.  I don't think anyone had really given any thought about putting the manifesto in the D&C.  Up to this point in time the D&C contained almost in totality all revelations through the prophet Joseph Smith, Jr.  Adding a revelation from Wilford Woodruff wasn't even thought of as being necessary.  The other side of this discussion is how Mr. Smith tried to change the subject a little by saying that many revelations aren't published; including the manifesto.  Really?  There are a "great many" revelations that the church has that have never been given to the public nor published in any form at this time.  I wonder if the passage of 100+ years since his statement has changed any of that?  Have the church vaults been opened and the revelations he is talking about here released?  I'm not sure, but I lean toward a response of no they haven't.

Mr. Tayler continues to question Mr. Smith about the inclusion of the manifesto in the D&C and the absence of the manifesto from it.
Mr. Tayler. The revelation of Joseph Smith respecting plural marriages remains in the book?
Mr. Smith. Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler. And in the last editions just as it did when first promulgated?
Mr. Smith. Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler. And it remains now without expurgation or note or anything to show that it is not now a valid law?
Mr. Smith. In the book?
Mr. Tayler. In the book; exactly.
Mr. Smith. Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler. And in connection with the publication of the revelation itself.
Mr. Smith. But the fact is publicly and universally known by the people.

Commentary:  It seems as though any excuse will do at this point.  He should just cry out "Uncle," and admit that it isn't there, and that it will be in the next release.  I think he does admit this later on, but right now the testimony, as I read it, is awkward, and a little tense.

The next interesting section of testimony happens right after.  The Chairman questions Mr. Smith about the manifesto, revelation, and his personal beliefs surrounding this revelation.
The Chairman.  There is one thing I do not understand that I want to ask about.  This manifesto suspending polygamy, I understand was a revelation and a direction to the church?
Mr. Smith.  I understand it, Mr. Chairman, just as it is stated there by President Woodruff himself.  President Woodruff makes his own statement.  I cannot add to nor take anything from that statement.
The Chairman.  Do you understand it was a revelation the same as other revelations?
Mr. Smith.  I understand personally that President Woodruff was inspired to put forth that manifesto.
The Chairman.  And in that sense it was a revelation?
Mr. Smith.  Well, it was a revelation to me.
The Chairman.  Yes.
Mr. Smith.  Most emphatically.
Commentary:  I hate to say this, but it appears from this Q&A, that President Smith is being evasive about directly answering the question from the Chairman; I don't know why, the question seems simple.  I am possibly mistaken, but I would have thought a simple and direct answer would suffice.  For instance, he could have said, "Yes, it was a revelation from God to President Woodruff given from the current prophet of God."  Instead, he kind of beats around the bush, never admits it was a genuine revelation other than the change of doctrine being a kind of revelation to him.  I have to say this disappointed me a little.  I expected a stronger statement for truth and a courageous defense of this truth by the prophet of God.  He seems to be pulling a little bit of a Jonah, in that he's hiding; he's hiding behind language so as not to commit to anything.

The next couple minutes of the committee hearing are spent trying to understand what is meant by the practice of polygamy being suspended, yet some of the members of the church still believing in the principle.  Here's a few quotes from this section of the testimony:
The Chairman.  And I understand you to say now that you believe in the former revelation directing plural marriages in spite of this later revelation for a discontinuance?
Mr. Smith.  That is simply a matter of belief on my part.  I cannot help my belief.
The Chairman.  Yes; you adhere to the original revelation and discard the latter one.
Mr. Smith.  I adhere to both.  I adhere to the first in my belief.  I believe that the principle is as correct a principle today as it was then.
The Chairman.  What principle?
Mr. Smith.  The principle of plural marriage.  If I had not believed it, Mr. Chairman, I never would have married more than one wife.
Senator Hoar.  So that I understand, if I get it right, that your attitude is that while it was originally a divine command to practice it, and so of course it must be a thing innocent and lawful and proper in itself in the nature of things, yet that the obligation to do it as a divine ordinance is now discontinued, and therefore, there being no divine command to do it, your people submit themselves to the civil law in that particular.   Is that your idea?
Mr. Smith.  That is correct, Senator.

Senator Foraker then tangents off of this inquiry topic to ask about the number of members of the church that practice the plural marriage principle.  "Not to exceed 3 per cent, Senator," is the answer from Mr. Smith.  He is then asked about this principle being required of members, and answers with this:  "No, sir; it was in the nature of permission rather than mandatory."

Mr. Tayler's attention is next focused on a man named Abraham H. Cannon.  He is asked if he knows him.  "Abraham H. Cannon - I knew him well."

Commentary:  Mr. Tayler believes he has proof of Mr. Cannon being married to a plural wife, Lillian Hamlin, on the "high seas" between Los Angeles and Catalina Island by President Smith in about the year 1896.  This is the beginning of the questions for this event.

Mr. Smith is asked he he knew whether Mr. Cannon was a reputed polygamist (he died in 1896).  He believes he was.

Mr. Tayler.  Do you know her?
Mr. Smith.  Yes; I know here now.
Mr. Tayler.  Was she his wife?
Mr. Smith.  That is my understanding, that she was his wife.
Mr. Tayler.  Do you know when he married her?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; I do not.
Mr. Tayler.  Did you marry them?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; I did not.

Commentary:  Ok, so the direct question failed; he flat out denied that he married them.  Mr. Tayler is now going to try and lead the witness through more questions and see if he can get a "confession" another way.
Mr. Tayler.  You did not see her in California about that time [June of 1896]?
Mr. Smith.  I did, most distinctly.
Mr. Tayler.  Where?
Mr. Smith.  In Los Angeles.
Mr. Tayler.  With whom was she there?
Mr. Smith.  She was with Abraham Cannon.
Mr. Tayler.  Was she married to him then?
Mr. Smith.  That is my understanding, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  Was she married to him when you saw her shortly before that?
Mr. Smith.  That is my belief.  That is, I do not know anything about it, but that is my belief, that she was his wife.
Mr. Tayler.
  When did you first learn that Lillian Hamlin was his wife?
Mr. Smith.  The first that I suspected anything of the kind was on that trip, because I never knew the lady before.

Commentary:  Well, that theory was just blown up.  He just testified that they were married, he thought before going to California.  If this is true, then President Smith could not have married them.  Now there is testimony that he didn't marry them, that they were married before the California trip, and this witness seems confident of it.

From this point Mr. Tayler questions Mr. Smith about Apostle George Teasdale.  Yes, he knows him.  Yes, he's known him for quite some time (since 1863), how long he's been an apostle (over 20 years), how often the apostles generally meet (once a week), etc.  He then asks Mr. Smith if George Teasdale is a polygamist ("Was he a polygamist?").  Immediately Mr. Van Cott, one of Senator Smoot's attorneys, interrupts the questioning without allowing Mr. Smith to answer the question:
"Mr. Chairman, we object to this question for the reason that it is entirely immaterial and irrelevant in the inquiry affecting Mr. Smoot's right to be a Senator, as to any offense that may have been committed by any other person ... If he has committed any offense, as polygamy, if he has taken any oath that is inconsistent with good citizenship, of course that can be inquired into; but it was claimed by counsel for the protestants at that time that the would go into offenses that they alleged had been committed by other persons than Reed Smoot, and the question is whether that is material.

"Suppose that the testimony should be introduced, and the committee should receive it, that A, B, and C have violated the law of the marriage relation.  When it is received, are you going to deny Reed Smoot a seat in the United States Senate on that proof?  If you are, then you might as well stop here, because the answer admits that some people who were polygamists before the manifesto have kept up their relations; that is, the relation of living with more than one wife, so that it is unnecessary to go on if that is all that is required.  If, on the other hand, that class of testimony is not going to deny Mr. Smoot a seat in the Senate, then it is immaterial and irrelevant and should not be received here."

Commentary:  I really liked that argument; it was very good.  If this is all that is required, then we should stop right here because it is almost a certainty that you'll find people cohabitating with more than one wife that they married before the manifesto.  If this will not exclude, then the evidence is immaterial and irrelevant. 

This sets the hearing on about a 1 hour hiatus while this topic is discussed and figured out.  The committee also takes a 10 minute recess (executive session) to discuss this off the record.

After the return, there is confusion about what the protestants are trying to prove, and this topic takes the rest of the day.  At the end, the Senators are all straightened out and the Chairman allows this type of questioning to be asked of the witness.

Reed Smoot Hearings - Day 1: Testimony of Joseph F. Smith, part 1

There is not the room, nor do I have the time or patience, to copy the entire testimony verbatim of any witness into this blog, let alone that of Joseph F. Smith.  With that in mind, I will summarize, quote testimony, as I find it important, and comment on what I include.  I'm not sure how this will all work out, so let's see what happens.  For this portion, I'll put in a summary of the first day until the recess at noon.  One note, I use "Mr. Smith" in my commentary, that is not meant to be disrespectful at all.  I follow only the custom of the committee.  It would probably be better to title him with "President" instead, but in most cases I did not.

March 2, 1904.  Joseph F. Smith is called to the stand to testify.  He is a witness for the protestants, thus Mr. Tayler will do the direct examination. 

The first thing of notice is that Mr. Smith refuses to be sworn, but instead prefers to 'affirm.'  "I prefer to affirm, if you please."

Mr. Smith is a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah, and has lived there since 1848.  He is currently the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and has been a member of the church all his life.

Mr. Tayler.  What official position do you now hold in the church?
Mr. Smith.  I am now the president of the church.
Mr. Tayler.  Is there any other description of your title than mere president?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; not that I know of.
Mr. Tayler.  Are you prophet, seer, and revelator?
Mr. Smith.  I am so sustained and upheld by my people.
Mr. Tayler.  Do you get that title by reason of being president or by reason of having been an apostle?
Mr. Smith.  By reason of being president.
Mr. Tayler.  Are not all of the apostles also prophets, seers, and revelators?
Mr. Smith.  They are sustained as such at our conferences.

Commentary:  I don't want to sound too critical here, but when I first read this I was hoping for a stronger answer than, "I am so sustained."  How about, "Yes I am" as an answer without qualification?  I'll leave this comment alone for now.

After naming all of his predecessors, Mr. Tayler directs him to businesses in which he has an interest.  The following are mentioned:  ZCMI (president), State Bank of Utah (president), Zion Savings Bank and Trust Company, Utah Sugar Company (president), Consolidated Wagon and Machine Company (president), Utah Light and Power Company (directory and president), Salt Lake and Los Angeles Railroad Company (director and president), Salt Air Beach Company (president), Idaho Sugar Company (directory and president), Inland Crystal Salt Company (president), Salt Lake Dramatic Association (director and president), Salt Lake Knitting Company (director and president), Union Pacific Railway Company (director), Bullion, Beck, and Champion Mining Company (vice-president), the Young Men's Mutal Improvement Association (editor), the Juvenile Instructor (editor), and he has no business relation with the Deseret News.

Commentary:  Wow, that's a few.  How does he find time to breathe?  He must be extremely busy with both church and business meetings.

He next goes through a very brief history of the church, what the standard works are (Book of Mormon, Bible-KJV, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price), and what he thinks of church writers such as James E. Talmage, Orson Pratt, and B.H. Roberts.

For Orson Pratt, Mr. Smith states the following as far as if he was authoritative in writing or not:  "He was in some things, and in some things he was not."  As far as if writings from B.H. Roberts were "approved by the Mormon Hierarchy," Mr. Smith states:  "I do not think so."

Commentary:  Mr. Tayler wants to get a feel for how the church feels about writers and their commentaries about church doctrine.  Essentially what has been said here is that anything outside of the standard works is just a commentary and is the responsibility of the writer.  It is not accepted as doctrinal nor binding upon the church as to understanding or interpretation.  He tries to make this point even when the church itself owns the copyright, published the book, and in the introduction it states it was published under authority of the church authorities.

Moving on, the Senator question him on how vacancies in the Twelve are filled and how the next president of the church is chosen.

Senator McComas.  I should like to ask one question.  You say that the councilors are appointed by the president of the church.  How are the apostles selected?
Mr. Smith.  In the first place they were chosen by revelation.  The council of the apostles have had a voice ever since in the selection of their successors.
Senator McComas.  When vacancies occurred thereafter, by what body were the vacancies in the twelve apostles filled?
Mr. Smith.  Perhaps I may say in this way: Chosen by the body, the twelve themselves, by and with the consent and approval of the first presidency.
Senator Hoar.  Was there a revelation in regard to each of them?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; not in regard to each of them.  Do you mean in the beginning?
Senator Hoar.  I understand you to say that the original twelve apostles were selected by revelation?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Senator Hoar.  Through Joseph Smith?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; that is right.
Senator Hoar.  Is there any revelation in regard to the subsequent ones?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; it has been the choice of the body.
Senator McComas.  Then the apostles are perpetuated in succession by their own act and the approval of the first presidency?
Mr. Smith.  That is right.

Senator Bailey then wishes to know if the apostles could nominate someone to their group over the objections of the first president.  Yes, they can, "they have the power if they chose to do it," but "the twelve would be very reluctant to insist upon the election of a man to whom the president was opposed," and in fact he states that "I do not think they would."

Next up is how the president of the church is chosen or appointed.
Mr. Smith.  I was nominated by the twelve apostles and submitted to the whole church and sustained by the whole church ... the senior apostle, through custom of the church since the death of Joseph Smith, has been recognized on the death of the president as the legitimate successor to the president.
Senator Bailey.  It is a question of succession rather than of election?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Senator Bailey.  Has that the force of law?
Mr. Smith.  Still he is elected, just the same.
Senator Bailey.  Has that the force of law or has it merely the persuasion of custom?
Mr. Smith.  Merely a custom.  There is no law in relation to it.  It does not of necessity follow that the senior apostle would be or should be chosen as the president of the church.
Senator Bailey.  And if they did not elect him it would do no violence to the church or the organization?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; not in the least.
Mr. Tayler.  Has anyone of the first presidents after Joseph Smith been appointed to his place in consequence of revelation?
Mr. Smith.  I was not present on the selection or choice of President Young to succeed Joseph Smith, but I have been led to understand by the history of the church that it was by the spirit of revelation that he was chosen to be president of the church.
Mr. Tayler.  Now, was any successor of his in like manner chosen?
Mr. Smith.  We believe that there is inspiration in all those things.
Mr. Tayler.  And you believe therefore that all of the first presidents from Joseph Smith down have been chosen through inspiration or revelation?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  That there has been actual divine interposition in that choice?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; I believe that.

Commentary:  Lots of church procedure is covered there.  First off, there doesn't seem to be any specific revelations, per se, for individual Apostle replacements.  There were initially, and I think a few more in the 1880's, but since then it has always been a matter of the current quorum choosing a new member on its own.  For the president of the church, it is merely the custom that the senior apostle is the successor.  He does state, rather strongly, that all of these things happen by way of inspiration or revelation.

F.Y.I.:  A good chunk of this testimony on succession in the Twelve and succession in the presidency is visible from the actual committee book in a picture posted here October 23, 2009.  Here's a link to the photo:  Committee Testimony.

Mr. Tayler then moves on to the specific authority held by the first presidents of the church.  He asks what authority they have, and Mr. Smith answers:  "My understanding is that they are endowed with the authority of the holy priesthood."  The committee chairman, Senator Burrows, wants to know what that means exactly, to which Mr. Smith responds with the following definition:

"The holy priesthood, which gives them authority to preach the gospel and administer in all the ordinances of the gospel by authority from God, the gospel being a gospel of repentance of sin, faith in God and in Jesus Christ, his Son, and in the Holy Ghost, and baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, by one holding authority from God to baptize and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.  This is the authority that is exercised and held by the president of the church, as we believe."

The next subject talked about is revelation.  Mr. Tayler quotes D&C 68:4, and asks Mr. Smith if he believes this passage:  "4.  And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation."

Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; I believe that doctrine, and it does not apply only to me, but it applies to every elder in the church with equal force.
Mr. Tayler.  With equal force?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  That applies only when moved upon by the Holy Ghost?
Mr. Smith.  That is correct.
Mr. Tayler.  Do you understand that that is intended to cover the case of inspiration or revelation?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  Is every elder of the church, according to the belief and practice of your organization, likely to receive revelations directly from God?
Mr. Smith.  When he is inspired by the Holy Ghost; yes.
Mr. Tayler.  I am coming to the subject of revelation in a moment.  But does anybody, except the head of the church, have what you call revelations binding upon the church?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; everybody is entitled to revelations.
Mr. Tayler.  Has any person, except a first president of the church, ever received a revelation which was proclaimed and became binding upon the church?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  No?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir.  The revelations for the government and guidance of the church come only through the head.  But every elder of the church and every member of the church is entitled to the spirit of revelation.
Mr. Tayler.  I suppose -
Senator Overman.  Do you mean entitled from God or through the presidency?
Mr. Smith.  From God.
Senator Overman.  To receive it direct from God?
Mr. Smith.  From God.
Senator Overman.  Has any revelation ever been received from God to the members or elders of the church except through the president?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.  Let me say that we hold that every member of the church receives a witness of the spirit of God of the truth of the doctrine that he embraces and he receives it because of the testimony of the spirit to him, which is the spirit of revelation.
Mr. Tayler.  Then any elder in the church may receive a revelation?
Mr. Smith.  For his own guidance.
Mr. Tayler.  He may come into direct contact with God in the form of a revelation to him for his own guidance?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.

Commentary:  This is straight Mormon doctrine as understood today.  Revelation for the church as a whole comes through the head, or the prophet of the church.  However, any individual is entitled to receive revelation for their own questions/problems personally from God.  I find it interesting, as well, to note that Mr. Smith states that every member receives a witness from the Spirit of the truths/doctrines they embrace which comes by the spirit of revelation.

Mr. Smith.  I will say this, Mr. Chairman, that no revelation given through the head of the church ever becomes binding and authoritative upon the members of the church until it has been presented to the church and accepted by them.
Mr. Worthington.  What do you mean by being presented to the church?
Mr. Smith.  Presented in conference.
Mr. Tayler.  Do you mean by that that the church in conference may say to you, Joseph F. Smith, the first president of the church, "We deny that God has told you to tell us this?"
Mr. Smith.  They can say that if they choose.
Mr. Tayler.  They can say it?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; they can.  And it is not binding upon them as members of the church until they accept it.
Mr. Tayler.  Until they accept it?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.

Commentary:  That last comment strkes right at the heart of one of the main positions of the protestants; namely, that the church authorities are supreme in their power and that church members will always obey them.  Here, the president of the church has just stated that any member may choose not to obey a rule or law or revelation from the head of the church, and until they accepts it, it is not binding upon them.

Mr. Tayler.  Were the revelations to Joseph Smith, Jr., all submitted to the people?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Senator Overman.  Does it require a majority to accept or must it be the unanimous voice?
Mr. Smith.  A majority.  Of course only those who accept would be considered as in good standing in the church.
Mr. Tayler.  Exactly.  Has any revelation made by God to the first president of the church and presented by him to the church ever been rejected?
Mr. Smith.  I do not know that it has; not that I know of.

Commentary:  Majority vote is all that is needed ... interesting.  And, obviously, any who reject the majority view are not considered in good standing.  They didn't state it that way exactly, but that is what it means; unless, of course, the majority rejects a revelation and the minority agrees to it.  What then?

Continuing on with this same line of questioning, Senator Hoar is asking if J.F.S. has inspiration about this knowledge of people rejecting revelations presented to them.

Senator Hoar.  That then is not a matter in which you have an inspired knowledge?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir.
The Chairman.  But you do not know of any instance where the revelation so imparted to the church has been rejected?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; not by the whole church.  I know if instances in which large numbers of members of the church have rejected the revelation, but not the body of the church.
Senator Overman.  What became of those people who rejected it?
Mr. Smith.  Sir?
Senator Overman.  What became of the people who rejected the divine revelation; were they unchurched?
Mr. Smith.  They unchurched themselves.
Senator Overman.  Oh, yes.  They were outside the pale of the church then?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
The Chairman.  They unchurched themselves by not believing?
Mr. Smith.  By not accepting.

Commentary:  Again, if you do not accept revelation from the head of the church, you essentially "unchurch" yourself.  I think that word is funny:  unchurch.  I laugh when I read that, I don't know why.

Mr. Tayler having heard this discussion, wants in on some of the action and asks some specific questions on what would happen if a revelation is presented by President Smith and some people fail to accept it, would they automatically be unchurched?  To clarify his position on this, Mr. Smith gives the following explanation:

"Our people are given the largest possible latitude for their convictions, and if a man rejects a message that I may give to him but is still moral and believes in the main principles of the gospel and desires to continue in his membership in the church, he is permitted to remain and he is not unchurched.  It is only those who on rejecting a revelation rebel against the church and withdraw from the church at their own volition."

This statement seems to be a bit contradictory to the committee, specifically voiced so by Senator Hoar.  They don't understand how a revelation from God can be rejected; revelations ... from God ... should always be followed is their thinking.  Mr. Smith reiterates some of the thoughts already given to the committee again.  He talks about individual free agency, and that "so long as they don't come in conflict with the standard principles of the church," they can remain in the church and are entitled to their own opinion and views.  To support this statement he says of the principle of plural marriage "many thousands of [Saints] never received it or believed it; but they were not cut off from the church."  Senator Dubois jumps all over this analogy and wants an explanation.

Senator Dubois.  You misunderstand me.  I do not undertake to say that they practiced it.  I accept your statement on that point.  But do you mean to say that any member of the Mormon Church in the past or at the present time say openly that he does not believe in the principle of plural marriage?
Mr. Smith.  I know that there are hundreds, of my own knowledge, who say they never did believe in it and never did receive it, and they are members of the church in good fellowship.  Only the other day I heard a man, prominent among us, a man of wealth, too, say that he had received all the principles of Mormonism except plural marriage, and that he never had received it and could not see it.  I myself heard him say it within the last ten days.

This stopped Senator Dubois' questions, but it didn't really answer Senator Hoar's question on the contradictory nature of a divine revelation being rejected.  This leads to an interesting piece of testimony.

Senator Hoar.  Is the doctrine of the inspiration of the head of the church and revelation given to him one of the fundamental or non-fundamental doctrines of Mormonism?
Mr. Smith.  The principle of revelation is a fundamental principle to the church.
Senator Hoar.  I speak of the revelations given to the head of the church.  Is that a fundamental doctrine of Mormonism?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Senator Hoar.  Does or does not a person who does not believe that a revelation given through the head of the church comes from God reject a fundamental principle of Mormonism?
Mr. Smith.  He does; always if the revelation is a divine revelation from God.
Senator Hoar.  It always is, is it not?  It comes through the head of the church?
Mr. Smith.  When it is divine, it always is; when it is divine, most decidedly.
The Chairman.  I do not quite understand that - "when it is divine."  You have revelations, have you not?
Mr. Smith.  I have never pretended to nor do I profess to have received revelations.  I never said I had a revelation except so far as God has shown me that so-called Mormonism is God's divine truth; that is all.
The Chairman.  You say that was shown to you by God?
Mr. Smith.  By inspiration.
The Chairman.  How by inspiration; does it come in the shape of a vision?
Mr. Smith.  "The things of God knoweth no man but the spirit of God;" and I cannot tell you any more than that I received that knowledge and that testimony by the spirit of God.
Mr. Tayler.  You do not mean that you reached it by any process of reasoning or by any other method by which you reach other conclusions in your mind, do you?
Mr. Smith.  Well, I have reached principles; that is, I have been confirmed in my acceptance and knowledge of principles that have been revealed to me, shown to me, on which I was ignorant before, by reason and fact.

Commentary:  This is significant testimony.  First off, Mr. Smith states that revelation and the receipt of revelation is a fundamental doctrine of the Mormon Church.  To put it in a shorter format:  Without revelation, this church doesn't exist.  Secondly, Mr. Smith states that as president and prophet of the church, he has received no revelations as acting head of the church, for the entire church.  He was the president of the church from 1901-1918.  It is 1904, at the time this testimony was given.  Within the 3 years he has been president of the church, he hasn't received any revelations.  He has received inspiration on points of the gospel and he has reasoned things out in his mind; however, no general church-wide revelation has come from Joseph F. Smith that needed to be presented in conference assembled for a sustaining vote of the church.  I have seen this tiny piece of testimony quoted by anti-Mormons to prove that Mormons just don't have "it" anymore.  I find it funny when he quotes I Cor. 2:11 to the Chairman.  He immediately stopped that specific line of questioning.

After the death of Hyrum Mack Smith, eldest son of Joseph F. Smith and Edna Lambson, on January 23, 1918 (from a ruptured appendix), at the age of 45, Joseph F. Smith was reportedly grief-stricken.  On October 3, 1918, Joseph F. Smith reported have a "Vision of the Dead.  On October 31, 1918, this was presented to the church and General Authorities and initially placed in the Pearl of Great Price.  It took until 1978, when President Kimball had the vision moved and placed in the D&C (Section 138) and re-canonized again.  It can then be said that Joseph F. Smith did receive a revelation that was presented to conference assembled and voted on.  This doesn't count all of the non-canonized statements of the First Presidency made during Joseph F. Smith's presidency:  The Origin of Man (1909) and The Father and the Son (1916) being two of the most prominent.

At this point Senator Bailey speaks up and wants to know why this type of testimony is being gone into.  This is purely a religious discussion and doesn't appear on the surface to have anything to do with Senator Smoot's right to a seat in the Senate.

Commentary:  It is noteworthy that the Chairman of the committee was the one that directed the specific questions about revelation at Mr. Smith.  The others just wanted a general feel of the subject when the Chairman jumped in the middle of it and wanted a complete explanation of revelation; who gets it; how does it come; have you had any; how do you know; etc., etc., etc.  This type of questioning by the Chairman doesn't stop here; throughout the entire committee hearing he is one of the most biased committee members, if not the most, in the room (even Senator Dubois, Mormon hater, isn't as biased it seems).  He asks all of the "dirty laundry" type of questions and demands answers.

Even after that little talk by Senator Bailey, Mr. Tayler picks right up with the same type of questions again.  He asks how Joseph Smith, Jr., received revelations; angels, spirit of God, how?

Mr. Tayler.  Mr. Smith, in what different ways did Joseph Smith, Jr., receive revelations?
Mr. Smith.  I do not know, sir; I was not there.
Mr. Tayler.  Do you place any faith at all in the account of Joseph Smith, Jr., as to how he received those revelations?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; I do.
Mr. Tayler.  How does he say he got them?
Mr. Smith.  He does not say.
Mr. Tayler.  He does not say?
Mr. Smith.  Only by the spirit of God.
Mr. Tayler.  Only by the spirit of God?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  Did Joseph Smith ever say that God or an angel appeared to him in fact?
Mr. Smith.  He did.
Mr. Tayler.  That is what I asked you a moment ago.
Mr. Smith.  He did.
Mr. Tayler.  Did Joseph Smith contend that always there was a visible appearance of the Almighty or of an angel?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; he did not.
Mr. Tayler.  How otherwise did he claim to receive revelations?
Mr. Smith.  By the spirit of the Lord.
Mr. Tayler.  And in that way, such revelations as you have received, you have had them?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.

Commentary:  That was a softball question, but it was needed.  He readily hit that one out of the park.

Mr. Tayler.  The revelation concerning plural marriages was received by Joseph Smith?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; it was.
Mr. Tayler.  And was published by him, was it not -
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  To some members of the church?
Mr. Smith.  It was.
Commentary:  Mr. Tayler wanted to establish the fact that the revelation on plural marriage was divine; was received by Joseph Smith, Jr.; was published by him; and given to only "some" members of the church.

The Chairman interrupts the questioning to break for lunch.
This is the end of the first half of Day #1 of the testimony of Joseph F. Smith.  The committee took a break from 11:45 AM until 2:00 PM, and then began again.  Part 2 of Day #1 will follow shortly.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cemetery of the Prophets

The Salt Lake Cemetary, in the avenues, has the grave markers of 11 of the 15 latter-day prophets that have passed on.  The missing prophets are Joseph Smith (in Nauvoo, Illinois), Brigham Young (in downtown SLC), Lorenzo Snow (in Brigham City, Utah), and Ezra Taft Benson (in Whitney, Idaho).  All others are located here, with a good chunk of other church General Authorities past and present.

This is obviously a break from the Reed Smoot hearings.  Here are the pictures I took of their grave markers.

John Taylor:  3rd President of the Church, from 1877-1887.

Wilford Woodruff:  4th President of the Church, from 1887-1898.

Joseph F. Smith:  6th President of the Church, from 1901-1918.

Heber J. Grant:  7th President of the Church, from 1918-1945.

George Albert Smith:  8th President of the Church, from 1945-1951

David O. McKay:  9th President of the Church, from 1951-1970

Joseph Fielding Smith:  10th President of the Church, from 1970-1972.

Harold B. Lee:  11th President of the Church, from 1972-1973

Spencer W. Kimball:  12th President of the Church, from 1973-1985.

Howard W. Hunter:  14th President of the Church, from 1994-1995.

Gordon B. Hinckley:  15th President of the Church, from 1995-2008

Friday, October 23, 2009

Photos of the Committee Hearing Book, Vol. I

I found a copy of Volume I of the testimony that I was allowed to borrow.  The book is still in fairly good condition, although the paint (?) on the spine comes off on my hand if I hold it there.  I tried to touch it as little as possible.

I've uploaded a few pictures of the book, just to give you a general sense of the book and the testimony inside of it.

The last photo is of testimony from the first day given by President Joseph F. Smith.  The resolution on the photo is larger so you can, hopefully, actually read some of his testimony given before the committee.  This specific piece of his testimony is about how vacancies in the Twelve are filled, and how a new president and prophet of the church is chosen.  This is only 2 pages of his testimony that goes on page after page.  Fairly interesting reading in my opinion.  This book has obviously been read before as it is underlined in both red and blue marking pencils.  There is also lead writing in the margins of the book on subjects discussed or sometimes a cross-reference to another source.

This testimony was given on March 2, 1904, in Washington D.C.

FYI:  Mr. Tayler is the attorney for the protestants.  Mr. Worthington and Mr. Van Cott are the attorneys for the respondent (Reed Smoot).  The other Senators mentioned on this page are members of the committee. 

The full name of the book on the spine is as follows:


No. 13c
PROCEEDINGS in matter of protests against REED SMOOT Senator from Utah  Vol. 1

59th CONGRESS  1st SESSION  1905  1906

Don't forget, there are 4 Volumes for this hearing, this is just the first one.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Protest Against Senator-Elect Smoot

To start off, I'll put in a summary of the protest filed against Senator Smoot.  There were a great many protests filed in all; however, two found their way to this committee.  The first, was signed by 19 individuals.  Please excuse any obvious spelling mistakes.  Anything directly from the protest, word-for-word, is in quotes.  Anything not in quotes is a summary.

By way of reference, all of the material I present here came from the actual committee hearing books printed by the Senate of the United States from between 1903 and 1906.


To the President and Members of the Senate of the United States:

"We protest as above upon the ground and for the reason that he is one of a self-perpetuating body of fifteen men who, constituting the ruling authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or 'Mormon' Church, claim, and by their followers are accorded the right to claim, supreme authority, divinely sanctioned, to shape the belief and control the conduct of those under them in all matters whatsoever, civil and religious, temporal and spiritual, and who thus, uniting in themselves authority in church and state, do so exercise the same as to inculcate and rncourage a belief in polygamy and polygamous cohabitation; who countenance and connive at violations of the laws of the State prohibiting the same regardless of pledges made for the purpose of obtaining statehood and of covenants made with the people of the United States, and who by all the means in their power protect and honor those who with themselves violate the laws of the land and are guilty of practices destructive of the family and the home."

The protest is then listed with detailed charges and descriptions of why the charges are valid.  Without quoting the entire document, or any of the details mentioned for each individual charge, here are the charges (quoted exactly):
  1. The Mormon priesthood, according to the doctrines of that church, is vested with supreme authority in all things temporal and spiritual.
  2. The first presidency and twelve apostles are supreme in the exercise and transmission of the mandates of this authority.
  3. As this body of men has not abandoned the principles and practice of political dictation, so also it has not abandoned belief in polygamy and polygamous cohabitation.
  4. That this attitude of the first presidency and apostolate, even since the suspensory manifesto of 1890, is evidenced by their teachings since then.
  5. This body of officials, of whom Senator-elect Smoot is one, also practice or connive at and encourage the practice of polygamy and polygamous cohabitation, and those who they have permitted to hold legislative office have, without protest or objection from them, sought to pass a law nullifying enactments against polygamous cohabitation.
  6. The supreme authorities in the church, of whom Senator-elect Reed Smoot is one, to wit, the first presidency and twelve apostles, not only connive at violations of, but protect and honor the violators of the laws against polygamy and polygamous cohabitation.
"All the matters and things in this petition we affirm to be true according to our information and belief, and, all of them, if they be denied, and more we stand ready to prove."

"We wage no war against his religious belief as such.  We do not to the slightest extent deny him the same freedom of thought, the same freedom of action within the law, which we claim for ourselves.

"We accuse him of no offense cognizable by law."

"What we do deny to him is the right, either natural or political, to the high station of Senator of the United States from which to wage war upon the home - the basic institution upon whose purity and perpetuity rests the very Government itself.

"However broad the grant by Federal enactments to the State of Utah or its citizens, the enjoyment of the privileges of statehood must depend upon the observance of the sacred compact upon which statehood was secured.  The rights thereby granted are not inalienable, and we do insist that he is and ever must be unfitted to make laws who shows himself unalterably opposed to that which underlies all law.

"We submit that however formal and regular may be Apostle Smoot's credentials or his qualifications by way of citizenship, whatever his protestations of patriotism and loyalty, it is clear that the obligations of any official oath which he may subscribe are and of necessity must be as threads of tow compared with the covenants which bind his intellect, his will, and his affections, and which hold him forever in accord with and subject to the will of a defiant and lawbreaking apostolate."

"We ask that in the exercise of your high prerogative to see that no harm come to the Republic, you do halt this man at the door of the Senate that he may be there inquired of touching the matters we have herein set forth."

Dated at Salt Lake City, January 26, 1903.  Signed by the following individuals:
W.M. Paden
C.C. Goodwin
J.J. Corum
Harry C. Hill
H.G. McMillan
P.L. Williams
W.A. Neldon
George R. Hancock
C.E. Allen
Abill Leonard
E.B. Critchlow
Clarence T. Brown
W. Mont. Ferry
George M. Scott
E.W. Wilson
Ezra Thompson
J.L. Leilich
S.H. Lewis

Commentary on this protest:
My favorite quote from the protest is the following:  "We accuse him of no offense cognizable by law."  Well then, if he has committed no crime that the law can reach, then there is no crime by which to exclude him; including being a member of a conspiratorial group of men that flagrantly break the law (what the charge is).  Interestingly enough, the lawyers for Senator Smoot picked up on this same phrase and used it multiple times throughout their opening and closing statements/arguments.  I can picture E.B. Critchlow who was the main author of the protest:  "Doh! ... Should have worded that a little differently!"

The next protest in the committee hearing volume is that from J.L. Leilich.  I am not going to quote very much at all from this protest.  This is a completely separate protest from the one above, and was signed only by a single individual; from hereafter in the committee hearings it is known as the "Leilich protest."  Well, apparently he wanted his own protest, so he filed a separate one.

Charge #9:  "That the oath of office required of and taken by the said Reed Smoot, as an apostle of the said church, is of such a nature and character as that he is thereby disqualified from taking the oath of office required of a United States Senator."

Charge #13:  "That the said Reed Smoot is a polygamist, and that since the admission of Utah into the union of States he, although then and there having a legal wife, married a plural wife" and has cohabited with both of them since that time.

Commentary:  The #13 charge got him in some hot water with other religious groups.  I read a few articles in the Deseret News about this.  This charge was patently false.  Reed Smoot has only ever had one wife.  Yes, he was born from a plural wife of his father, but he himself only married once and never cohabited with another woman.  This charge was dropped, and the attorney for the protestants never attempted to prove it.  The 9th charge is a little off from what the committee does actually investigate.  And although the protest from the 19 vaguely references this type of charge against Senator Smoot, it is this protest that comes right out and states it.  Essentially this type charge (#9) is investigated by the committee by querying witnesses about the LDS Temple Endowment ceremony; specifically they were looking for what was called at the time the "Oath of Vengeance."

The rest of the protest by J.L. Leilich was completely ignored by the attorneys on both sides.  There was no representation in the committee hearing for this protest, thus no investigation into the other charges.

I am curious as to why this second protest was even filed and submitted to the committee for inclusion in the record.  Is it because it was fantastic in its claims as to Senator Smoot being a polygamist?  Was it included so that the oath could specifically be investigated because it wasn't directly stated in the first protest?  Well, okay, that's not exactly correct; there was a paragraph in the first protest quoted above that referenced an oath; but it wasn't a direct reference.

Reed Smoot answered all of the charges listed above on January 4, 1904.  There is no need to quote from his response, because it was essentially a denial of everything said and every charge leveled; as would be expected in this kind of response.

Opening Statement of Robert W. Tayler (January 16, 1904):
The last point of the hearing I'll talk about in this blog is the opening statement of Robert W. Tayler, attorney for the 19 protestants.  I'll skip all of the talk about his argument of power in the Senate to expel members of its body; it was rather dull and after reading his closing statements, not as good.

He essentially rewrites the charges into 4 distinct propositions:

Proposition #1:  The Mormon priesthood is vested with supreme authority in all things spiritual and temporal, political and civil.  The head of this organization claims to receive revelation from God Almighty, and these revelations Reed Smoot is required to obey.

Here is a little bit of testimony from this first propsition:
     Senator Beveridge.  Is that the first proposition upon which you base your contest against the respondent?
     Mr. Tayler.  Yes, sir.
     Senator Beveridge.  His membership in the Mormon Church?
     Mr. Tayler.  Yes, sir; exactly.

Proposition #2:  "The first presidency and twelve apostles, of whom Reed Smoot is one, are supreme in the exercise of this authority of the church and in the transmission of that authority to their successors.  Each of them is called prophet, seer, and revelator."

Proposition #3:  The hierarchy of the church, composed of 15 men, has not abandoned their belief in polygamy or polygamous cohabitation.  On the contrary, they promulate and practice this doctrine.

"The president of the Mormon Church and a majority of the twelve apostles now practice polygamy and polygamous cohabitation, and some of them have taken polygamous wives since the manifesto of 1890.  These things have been done with the knowledge and countenance of Reed Smoot.  Plural marriage ceremonies have been performed by apostles since the manifesto of 1890, and many bishops and other high officials of the church have taken plural wives since that time.  All of the first presidency and the twelve apostles encourage, countenance, conceal, and connive at polygamy and polygamous cohabitation, and honor and reward by high office and distinguished preferment those who most persistently and defiantly violate the law of the land."

"That is the concrete charge against this individual."

Proposition #4:  "Though pledged by the compact of statehood and bound by the law of their Commonwealth, this supreme body, whose voice is law to its people, and whose members were individually directly responsible for good faith to the American people, permitted, without protest or objection, their legislators to pass a law nullifying the statute against polygamous cohabitation."

Here's a little bit of testimony from the fourth proposition:
     Senator Beveridge.  What has the respondent to do with that law?
     Mr. Tayler.  I have said only that the respondent was one of the ruling officers of the church, and that he entered no protest against nor did he undertake to prevent this nullification of the law.
     Senator Beveridge.  You do not assert that he had anything to do with the passage of the law, one way or the other?
     Mr. Tayler.  Oh, no.

"Now, gentlemen, those are the things we expect to prove, and upon them ask the opinion of the committee and the Senate as to its duty."

Commentary:  Ok, so the original 6 charges have been reduced to 4, and they possibly include one of the charges from the Leilich protest; so we'll say 5, although Mr. Tayler denies going after this item from J.L. Leilich during the hearing.

Charge #1:  You're a Mormon.
Charge #2:  You're a member of the hierarchy of the Mormon Church, which wields supreme authority.
Charge #3:  Your church hierarchy still practice and teach polygamous cohabitation, and since you're a member of that hierarchy, you are in league with this conspiracy; even though you do not subscribe to the practice.
Charge #4:  Your church hierarchy tried to pass a law in Utah to reduce ciminal exposure to polygamous cohabitation laws, of which you had no part.

When the charges are put like this, to me at least, they seem very weak, and almost silly.  However, this was no joke and these were the charges that Mr. Tayler attempted to sustain via proof by testimony from witnesses.

The concrete charge is #3; namely, that he is a member of a conspiratorial organization of 15 men that are defiant lawbreakers and teach this to others.  This means that testimony will be introduced to show that these 15 men are either polygamous, engage in polygamous cohabitation, teach polygamy, encourage polygamy, do not punish polygamous lawbreakers, or help conceal this practice from the law of the land; thus combining with them to form a conspiracy against the Government and law of the United States.

I will not put in the opening statement summaries from Mr. Worthington and Mr. Van Cott, Senator Smoot's attorneys.  It is enough to know that they denied the charges and did so very capably.

One more thing to watch for:  Senator Beveridge signed the Minority Report, at the end of the hearing, to allow Reed Smoot to keep his seat.  His comments even at the initial stage of the hearing tend to show already which way he is leaning.  He, along with Senators Knox, Foraker, Dillingham, and Hopkins all signed the Minority Report.  It is rumored that if Senator Hoar wouldn't have died (late 1904) he was leaning toward keeping Senator Smoot as well; however, his committee seat replacement was Senator Knox who signed the Minority Report, so that was essentially a wash in the plus/minus column.  Additionally, Senators Dolliver and Overman, I believe, did not want to sign the Majority Report until Senator Burrows reworded it; they were very close to signing the Minority Report and making it actually the Majority Report.  Watch for their comments throughout the committee hearing.

Next up, the first day of testimony with President Joseph F. Smith on the stand.