Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reed Smoot Hearings - Day 3: Testimony of Joseph F. Smith, part 2

March 4, 1904

The protestants have completed their inquiry of Mr. Smith.  The last business they have here is the inclusion of testimony in the record in the form of books, talks, and other quotations.

The following were submitted for inclusion in the record (with a short description):
  1. D&C 43:1-7 - Revelations and commandments come only through the one appointed.
  2. D&C 131:1-4 - Celestial marriage is essential to exaltation in the highest heaven.
  3. D&C 68:4 - Words of elders are scripture when moved upon by the Holy Ghost.
  4. D&C 124:56, 60, 62-67 - Directions are given for the building of the Nauvoo House.
  5. D&C 112:30-34 - The First Presidency and the Twelve hold the keys of the dispensation of the fulness of times.
  6. D&C 114:1-2 - Church positions held by those who are not faithful shall be given to others.
  7. D&C 132:7, 45-46, 51-56, 61-66 - Revelation on plural marriage.
  8. Ready References, a Compilation of Scripture Text.  Justification for polygamy from the Bible.
    1. Entire Chapter entitled "Patriarchal Marriage."
  9. Mormonism:  Its Origin and History, by B.H. Roberts (1902).
    1. Chapters that talk about specific Articles of Faith (9-13).
  10. Articles of Faith, by James E. Talmage (1899).
    1. Section:  Continual Revelation Necessary, Revelation Yet Future.
    2. Section:  Submission to Secular Authority.
  11. Cowley's Talks on Doctrine, by Matthias F. Cowley (1902).
    1. Quote on obedience and the infallibility of church leaders.
  12. Moses Thatcher episode
    1. Many different documents describing this event.
  13. Laws of the State of Utah
    1. 4209.  Unlawful cohabitation.
    2. 4210.  Adultery.

Joseph F. Smith resumes the stand.  This begins the testimony of the cross-examination of the witness by the respondent's attorney, Mr. Worthington.

Mr. Worthington starts out wanting a description of how one man is the prophet of the church, but many men in the church (15) are sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators.
Mr. Smith.  We believe that all men are privileged to enjoy the light of revelations for their own guidance in the discharge not only of their personal affairs but also in the discharge of their religious duties, but that only one man at a time holds the authority to receive revelations for the guidance of the whole church.
Mr. Worthington.  I wish to ask whether after that date [January 14, 1847, last revelation in the D&C] there were any revelations coming through the one authorized revelator which are not included in the book [Doctrine and Covenants], except the manifesto?
Mr. Smith.  There have been several revelations since the date of that one which are not included in that book.
Senator Hoar would like Mr. Smith to revisit the first question before moving on with this current subject.  He would like a better explanation.
Senator Hoar.  But are they distinguished from any other ecclesiastical officers?  Where are they mentioned as revelators, prophets, and seers rather than any other officials of the church?
Mr. Smith.  Because they are the general officials of the church.  There are general officials and local officials.  These are classed among the general officials of the church.
Senator Hoar.  But they have, as I understand you, no gift of revelation of prophecy or of sight which does not belong to all other Mormons in full communion?
Mr. Smith.  I would say, Senator, that we hold that every good man, every just man, every man living according to his highest idea of correct life as a member of the church is entitled to revelations for his personal guidance and for his direction in his duties in the calling of the church, whatever that calling may be, whether he is a lay member or an official member, and neither is this, we think, confined to the men or males.  We believe that women also are entitled to inspirations, as were women of old, mentioned in the Scriptures, provided they live worthy to receive the manifestations of the spirit to them.
 Commentary:  This is current doctrine of the Mormon Church, specific to members and the right or ability they have to receive revelations from God.  There is nothing new here from what Mr. Smith is saying that I haven't heard many times before in church.  On an unrelated note, I believe he avoided the question a little about "gifts" of the spirit specific to a prophet, or the prophet.  It is probably best he didn't talk about it, as it would have opened up a completely new subject line for inquiry - gifts of the spirit.
Mr. Worthington.  Then, do I understand that the fact is that only the president, the head of the church, is or ever has been authorized to receive revelations for the church which constitute the law of the church?
Mr. Smith.  That is correct, sir.
Commentary:  Okay, there it is again, just in case it was missed before:  Only the head of the church, the president, may present new laws or new revelations or new rules for the church which are binding upon it.
Mr. Worthington.  You say there have been a number of revelations received which have never been bound up with the Doctrine and Covenants?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  Have they been printed and distributed at all?
Mr. Smith.  Yes; they were printed in brochure form - that is, in pamphlet form - and of course are kept in our book department of the Deseret News, for sale to anybody who wants them, just the same as the book of Doctrine and Covenants, or any other book is held.
Mr. Worthington.  The same as the manifesto?
Mr. Smith.  The same as the manifesto; yes.
Commentary:  Wow.  Okay, so the other "non-published" revelations were actually published?  I wish he would have given a little more information on the subject, like the name(s) of the pamphlet(s), etc.
Mr. Worthington.  What was the last revelation that came to the church from the one authorized to give it as the law of the church?
Mr. Smith.  Well, according to my best recollection, it must have been about 1882.  The purport of the revelation was calling to the apostolate or apostleship two men, who are named in the revelation.
Mr. Worthington.  Who was the president through whom that revelation came?
Mr. Smith.  President John Taylor.
Mr. Worthington.  You say that was the last one?
Mr. Smith.  I do not now recall any since then except the manifesto.
Mr. Worthington.  Except the manifesto?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, except the manifesto.
Mr. Worthington.  Then do I understand you to say the only revelation that has come to the church in the last twenty years is the one that says polygamy shall stop?
Mr. Smith.  Since 1882?
Mr. Worthington.  Yes, since 1882 - twenty-one years.
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; I think it is.
Commentary:  I wonder about this type of a statement I'm going to make here; maybe I should just keep my mouth shut.  If the church doesn't have need of changes or new rules or new "revelations" from God, then what good is a prophet?  Isn't that kind of the mission of a prophet; that is, to talk with God and tell mankind what God wants them to know.  If there aren't any new revelations, does that mean God hasn't spoken to a prophet, or ... I am so confused when I think about this.  This is one of the pieces of church history that I have yet to rectify within myself.  I'm working on it.  Therefore, the last revelations of the church are in 1882 (as mentioned above), 1890 (the manifesto), 1918 (D&C 138), and Official Declaration 2 (1978).  So for 127 years we have had 4 revelations?  The last recorded revelation in the D&C is from 1847.  So, add that one in with the time frame and that means it has been 162 years with 5 total revelations of church-wide relevance.  Either way, those are numbers far too small to be acceptable to anyone that believes in latter-day revelation.  I really find that hard to believe.  Someone has got to be holding out on us.  There must be revelations somewhere, that are not presented to the general public; at least that's one theory of mine.

Mr. Worthington then wants a small review of the history of the manifesto, its presentation in conference and its acceptance.
Mr. Smith.  This manifesto, as it is called, or revelation through Wilford Woodruff, was first submitted to the entire church in conference assembled.
Mr. Worthington.  I wish you would describe, for the benefit of those who do not know so much about it, just what is meant by that conference.  It is a conference of what?  Who comes, or who is authorized to come?
Mr. Smith.  It is a conference at which all of the official members of the church are expected, as far as it is possible for them, to be present.  It does not exclude any member of the church, but it is particularly expected that all official members, all persons holding the priesthood, shall be present at that conference.  It is an official gathering of the church.
Mr. Worthington.  Yes; but of what geographical division, if any?
Mr. Smith.  None; it includes the entire church.
Mr. Worthington.  From all the world?
Mr. Smith.  From all the world.
Mr. Worthington.  As a matter of fact, how many people attend those conferences generally?
Mr. Smith.  Well, generally anywhere from ten to fifteen thousand people.
Commentary:  This is close to what conference is like to day.  As priesthood holders we are not told to attend conference as it appears to be at the turn of the century.  In fact, we're told that conference is so crowded if we want to come, to obtain tickets.  I'm not sure if there is a preference given to tickets for a number of dignitaries or not; I just don't know.  I do remember in the SL Tabernacle that the balcony was for anyone to sit, but the floor seats were reserved for Stake Presidents, Bishops, and other invited guests - I guess that would be priesthood-ish.  So, mostly the same but probably a tad different because of the size of the church, and size of the conference center in comparison to the tabernacle.
Mr. Worthington.  Were you present when the manifesto was first presented and accepted, in October, 1890?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; I was not.
Mr. Worthington.  Then when the manifesto was proposed, was it accepted by a majority, or by unanimous vote?
Mr. Smith.  It was accepted by a unanimous vote of the people.
Mr. Worthington.  Every hand was raised?
Mr. Smith.  Every hand was raised, so far as we have any power of knowing.
Mr. Worthington.  When was it again presented to the conference, and why?
Mr. Smith.  Later a report was made by the Utah Commission, who were sent to Utah -
Mr. Worthington.  By the government?
Mr. Smith.  By the government, that polygamous marriages were being conducted in Utah by the church, and asserting that some forty polygamous marriages could be accounted for.  It became necessary to refute that statement, and a declaration was made by the president of the church denying the charge made by the commissioners and reasserting the manifesto or revelation on suspension of plural marriages, according to my recollection.
This line of questioning is left and he asks Mr. Smith about the Doctrine and Covenants and the manifesto.
Mr. Worthington.  It appears here that the Doctrine and Covenants continue to be printed without the manifesto.  Why is it that the manifesto is not printed and distributed with the other revelations contained in the Doctrine and Covenants?
Mr. Smith.  So far as I know, it is entirely an oversight.  For myself, I never thought of it.  It never occurred to me; but, from the circumstances existing at this time and what I have heard in relation to the matter, it appears to me that it should be in the Doctrine and Covenants, and I shall certainly use my influence to have it put in the next edition that is published.
Commentary:  Okay, he's going to take care of it because it was an oversight.  This is the best answer he has given yet on this subject.

Mr. Worthington then asks if the church has modified the Bible in any way to state that polygamy is against the law of the church.  He answers, no.  Following that thought it is noticed that the church has not modified either the D&C or the Bible to notify its readers that polygamy is against the rule of the church now.

Mr. Worthington then questions him about the books that Mr. Tayler used in the direct examination.  After a brief talk on Cowley's Talks on Doctrine, he talks with him about Articles of Faith by James E. Talmage.
Mr. Worthington.  I find in the beginning of the book a page containing "The articles of faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."  Are those articles the authorized articles of faith of the church?
Mr. Smith.  Those sentiments expressed, and termed the articles of our faith, were the enunciation of Joseph Smith and are accepted by the church as the fundamental principles of our faith; and the lectures, if you please, contained in that work are based upon those fundamental principles.
Commentary:  That, in my personal opinion, was a strong defense or statement of what the articles of faith are.  He stated it clearly, in no uncertain terms, and seemed to be defending them.  I only wish this same feeling were had in other answers to questions he has taken.

At this point all 13 articles of faith are put in the record.  Mr. Worthington then quotes the 12th article of faith (being subject to kings, etc.) with a descriptive paragraph about it from Dr. Talmage's book and asks that the entire chapter be entered into the record.  This inclusion also has in it, the entire contents of D&C 134, which is a declaration of beliefs regarding governments and laws in general.
Mr. Worthington.  That book [Articles of Faith] was issued, I understand, not only by the authority of the church, but was revised, before it was published, by a committee appointed by the first presidency and composed in part of a member of the first presidency?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Commentary:  Having a committee appointed to review the book before it was published and saying that the book was published by the church helps this book become "more" authoritative than other books, but it is still not a Standard Work of the church.

Mr. Smith is asked to give the extent to which the church school system extends.  He lists off the following church schools, as the existed in 1904:
  •  LDS University in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah
  • Brigham Young College in Logan, Utah
  • "Another large and flourishing school in Oneida County, Idaho."
  • Snow Academy in San Pete County, Utah
  • School in Snowflake, Arizona
  • School in St. Johns, Arizona
  • School in Thatcher, Arizona
Mr. Smith.  [Smaller schools] are conducted by the church, in which the principles and doctrines of the church are inculcated, and in each of which there is a missionary class.  This book [Articles of Faith] is the text-book of that class, so adopted by the church; and the manifesto included in this is made a part of the instructions to our missionaries in all these schools.
Commentary:  There is no church school in Oneida County, Idaho today, that I know of.  There is, however, BYU-Idaho in Rexburg, which is a fairly large school.

Mr. Worthington then queries Mr. Smith on missionaries and their method of being instructed.
Mr. Worthington.  Now, as to missionaries.  You said something as to the general instructions which are given them, but I want to ask you if you yourself are ordinarily present when missionaries are instructed, or whether that is done by somebody else?
Mr. Smith.  It is done by the apostles.
Mr. Worthington.  Who, then, could give us the most direct and certain information on that subject?
Mr. Smith.  Well, Mr. Lyman could.
Mr. Worthington.  He is the president of the quorum of the apostles?
Mr. Smith.  He is president of the apostles.
Mr. Worthington.  And he is here?
Mr. Smith.  He is here.
Commentary:  The apostles are put in charge of instructing missionaries as to their duty.  The first presidency does not have authority over this matter.  I don't remember a great deal of instruction by the 12 when I was a missionary.  I remember Hartman Rector speaking to us, but he wasn't an apostle, just a G.A. (70, I think).  I think I got hosed.  I heard a lot from the MTC Mission President, and he was cool, but not a G.A.

Mr. Worthington and Mr. Smith then do a quick Q&A on the history of the Saints in Utah and the laws passed in relation to polygamy:
  • 1847:  Mormons arrive in the Salt Lake Valley.
  • 1852:  Brigham Young publicly announces that polygamy is practiced.
  • 1862:  Congress passes the Morrill anti-bigamy act.  No law against polygamous cohabitation.
  • 1878:  Supreme Court declares 1862 law constitutional.  George Reynolds test case.
  • 1882:  Congress passes the Edmunds Act .  Polygamous cohabitation is illegal now.
  • 1887:  Congress passes the Edmunds-Tucker Act.
  • 1885-1890:  Supreme Court cases concerning polygamy and the Mormons.
  • 1890:  September - the manifesto is broadcast from church headquarters.
  • 1890:  October - the manifesto is unanimously approved during the church's General Conference.
  • 1894:  Congress passes the enabling act for Utah.
  • 1896:  January.  Utah becomes a State of the Union.
Mr. Worthington.  So that your people had been living there and practicing polygamous cohabitation for thirty years before there was any law passed making it an offense?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  In the meantime you had acquired several wives, I believe?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  And many others of your people had?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  Then your people adopted the constitution which has been read here, in which they did make it an offense, and provided that the clause should be irrevocable without the consent of the United States that polygamy or plural marriages should be forever prohibited?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  And there was nothing in the constitution prohibiting polygamous cohabitation?
Mr. Smith.  That is correct.
Mr. Worthington.  Continuing to live with wives already married?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  If I remember rightly, you said that seemed to you to be an implication by the Congress of the United States that perhaps you people who had married in these old times might continue to live with your wives and nothing would be said about it?
Mr. Smith.  But that is a fact, and also the liberal sentiment that was exhibited by all people, both Mormons and Gentiles.
Commentary:  The run-through of the laws is interesting, but it only shows that Congress was slow to act, the Mormons were slow to obey, and that nothing was settled until the manifesto, even after the Supreme Court rulings.  Still a thorn in the side of the Government today (1904) is the polygamous cohabitation issue.

The point is made that the laws against adultery and polygamy were passed by an overwhelming Mormon majority in the Utah legislature.

Mr. Worthington finally gets around to asking more questions.  He wants to know about the act in Utah that was almost made into a law.  This is the law that would have made polygamous cohabitation extremely difficult to prosecute.
Mr. Worthington.  What became of that act?
Mr. Smith.  It was passed by both branches of the legislature, and it was repealed; that is, I would say it was rejected by the governor.
Mr. Worthington.  You mean vetoed?
Mr. Smith.  Vetoed; yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  Was the governor a Gentile or a Mormon?
Mr. Smith.  The governor was a Mormon.
Mr. Worthington.  What is his name?
Mr. Smith.  Heber M. Wells.
Mr. Worthington.  I presume that you had the usual provision of law there that the legislature might pass it over the governor's veto?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  What did they do?
Mr. Smith.  They never attempted anything of the kind.
Mr. Worthington.  It never became a law?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir.
Commentary:  This is one of the main charges that the protestant's counsel is trying to prove; namely, that the church interfered with the legislature and *almost* had an anti-polygamy bill passed.  Right now, this is, in my opinion, a slight win for the Smoot team because after the mostly Mormon legislature passed the bill, the Mormon governor vetoed the bill, and then it was never challenged again.  The problem now is if the church interfered with the legislature.  They don't have to worry about the governor, that Mormon vetoed the bill.

Now Mr. Worthington tries to investigate the church's interference with the bill, and he starts off with this current witness.
Mr. Worthington.  You said you favored that bill.  At that time, I believe, you were not president of the church?
Mr. Smith.  No.
Mr. Worthington.  What position did you hold then?
Mr. Smith.  I was counsel to the president.
Mr. Worthington.  One of the three constituting the first presidency?
Mr. Smith.  One of the three.
Mr. Worthington.  You said you favored the bill and that you had spoken to some of your friends about it, but not to any member of the legislature?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  In justice to you, I will ask you why you favored it?
Mr. Smith.  It was rather personal, so far as I was concerned.  I was one of those unfortunate, or otherwise, men who had a numerous family, and there were certain parties in the State who were making it their special business to pry into the private domestic affairs of men like myself, who were in the status of polygamy.  Without any reference to any other crimes or offenses under the law, we were made the special targets for this individual who was constantly seeking information and giving information in relation to our marital relations and our associations with our families; and it occurred to me that it would be not only a boon to myself, but a great relief to those who were in a similar condition to myself if a law like this should be passed, and thereby put an end to a professional business of espionage and spotting by this individual upon the privacy of our people.  Therefore, I was in favor of the law.  I spoke to friends of mine.  The gentlemen who is here, who is my counsel now, was, I think, about the only person.  I do not recall that I spoke to any other person.
Mr. Worthington.  You mean Mr. Richards?
Mr. Smith.  Mr. Richards.  I spoke to Mr. Richards about it, and I intimated to him that I was very much in favor of the passage of the law.  Further than that I took no interest in that and had nothing to do with it.
Commentary:  His explanation was very good.  All of the committee members should understand why he wanted the law passed.  Having this be a law and wanting this to be a law are two completely different things, and it appears strictly from this response, Mr. Smith had a good reason.

Senator Hoar now wants to drill down to specifics on what the church believed and held as its law or rule during the passage of the laws and the Supreme Court cases.
Senator Hoar.  Now, between 1882 and 1885 and 1890, which was binding upon the conscience of the members of the Mormon Church, the old revelation [Doctrine and Covenants 132] or the statute?
Mr. Smith.  I think the leading authorities of the church felt that the statute was binding.
Senator Hoar.  Over the revelation?
Mr. Smith.  Over the revelation, because it had become the confirmed law of the land.  In other words, the constitutional law of the land, having been so declared by the Supreme Court; but younger fellows like myself, Senator, were a little more difficult to control, I suppose -
Senator Hoar.  You may say that, if you like.  I did not put that with a view to going into any inconsistency.
Mr. Smith.  I presume I am the greatest culprit.
Senator Hoar.  I put that question not with any view to inquire into your personal conduct or anybody's but you will see in a moment that it has a very particular and important significance on this question.  That is, suppose in regard to a matter of personal conduct, like polygamy, the revelation stands on one side unrepealed and the law of the land on the other, which, in your judgment, is binding upon the consciences of your people?
Mr. Smith.  If you please, I will state, having been intimate with these gentlemen, that President Woodruff and George Q. Cannon and President Lorenzo Snow, who afterwards succeeded Wilford Woodruff in the presidency of the church, absolutely obeyed the law of the land.
Senator Hoar.  That does not fully answer the question.
Mr. Smith.  Excuse me, then.  I perhaps do not understand it.
Senator Hoar.  You are the head of the Mormon Church?
Mr. Smith.  Today.
Senator Hoar.  I will not use the word "Mormon" if you do not like it.
Mr. Smith.  That is all right.  I will accept that, Senator.
Senator Hoar.  You are the head of your church, and I ask you, as the most authoritative and weighty exponent of its doctrine and belief, when, in regard to personal conduct, the law of the land comes in conflict with the divine revelation receivced through you or your predecessor, which is binding upon the conduct of the true son of the church?
Mr. Smith.  In this case - and I think, perhaps, you will accept it as the answer to your question - under the manifesto of President Woodruff the law of the land is the binding law on the consciences of the people.
Senator Hoar.  Before the manifesto of Mr. Woodruff, is my question.
Mr. Smith.  We were in something of a state of chaos about that time.
Senator Hoar.  That is not the point.  The point is, which, as a matter of obligation, is the prevalent authority, the law of the land or the revelation?
Mr. Smith.  Well, perhaps the revelation would be paramount.
Commentary:  That took a little while to get to, but he did finally admit it.  I am still confused as to why this question was hard to understand.  I'm not there; I didn't actually hear Senator Hoar speak these words - perhaps they were slow and stumbling so the question was lost??? - but I would think this would be another case of the just-answer-him-or-he'll-drag-it-out-until-you-do inquiries.  I don't know why Mr. Smith would want to drag it out.  If you answer the question he asks, without any kind of evasiveness, he will stop asking that question and move on, possibly let go.  However, if you evade the question, he'll nail you with that and ask it again until you do answer directly.  At that point you look a little foolish for the evasion, kind of like being caught with your hand in the cookie jar.  All of that aside, the church holds the revelations to be paramount.  This seems right from my point of view of being in the church.  When divine revelation clashes with the law of the land, then the church leaders need inspiration from God on whether they should fight the law through the court of last resort, or yield to it and not fight it at all.  Also, the admittance that he, Joseph F. Smith, was probably the greatest culprit of disobeying the law of unlawful cohabitation, was very forthcoming in my opinion.  I assume this would be agreed to by the committe because of the high status of him, ecclesiastically, in the church.

Senator Hoar now has the answer he wanted, and he's going to make sure this is how the president really feels.  He asks more finding/searching questions picking up from the last answer from Mr. Smith:
Mr. Smith.  Does that answer the question, Senator?
Senator Hoar.  I think it does, so far; but I want to go a little farther.  Suppose you should receive a divine revelation, communicated to and sustained by your church, commanding your people tomorrow to do something forbidden by the law of the land.  Which would it be their duty to obey?
Mr. Smith.  They would be at liberty to obey just which they pleased.  There is absolutely no compulsion.  Mr. Worthington.  Have you finished your answer to that question, Mr. Smith.
Mr. Smith.  I do not think I have quite.  One of the standard principles of our faith, and one that has been read here today, is that we shall be obedient to the law. 
This is the word:  "Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.  Wherefore, be subject to the powers that be until He reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues all enemies under His feet.  Behold the laws which ye have received" - that is speaking to the church - "from my hand are the laws of the Church, and in this light ye shall hold them forth." 
Not in conflict with the laws of the land, but simply as the laws of the church.
Senator Beveridge.  Suppose them to be in conflict, Mr. Smith, which would control the conduct of the members of your church, the law of the land or the revelation?
Mr. Smith.  I think under the discipline that we have had for the last twenty years our people would obey the law of the land.
The Chairman.  Which would control you?
Mr. Smith.  I should try with all my might, Mr. Chairman, to obey the law of the land, but I would not like to be put in a position where I would have to abandon my children.  I could not do that very well.  I would rather stand anything than to do that.
Commentary:  Well, I think that matter is finally settled and put to rest.  It appears from reading this that Mr. Smith was a little anxious in answering the questions about this subject.  He had to predict the actions of the church based upon current beliefs, and then tell the committee which was more important:  revelations, or law of the land.

Senator Hoar, satisfied with the answers of Mr. Smith now tries to just be friendly with him and have Mr. Smith teach him about God.
Senator Hoar.  I would like to ask one question which is flatly curiosity, for this is a most interesting matter.  Did I understand you correctly that there has been no revelation since this revelation of Woodruff's for the general government of the church?
Mr. Worthington.  He said there have been none for twenty-one years except that.  That is the only one is twenty-one years.
Senator Hoar.  Then there has been none since, so that you have received no revelation yourself?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir.
Senator Hoar.  Now, if this question is in the least trespassing on any delicacy in your mind I do not want to press it.  I ask it solely for curiosity.  If a revelation were to come to you, or if you have a belief it would come to you, in what way does it come?  By an inward light, by an audible voice, by a writing, or in what way?  Have you anything you can tell us about that?
Mr. Smith.  It might come by an audible voice or it might come by an inspiration known and heard only by myself.
Senator Hoar.  Or by writing, I suppose, as in the case of Joseph Smith?
Mr. Smith.  In the case of the Book of Mormon; yes, sir.
Senator Hoar.  That is all.
Commentary:  Mr. Smith was actually very gracious to even respond to that question with what he did.  When the Chairman asked him essentially the same type of question earlier, Mr. Smith shut him up by quoting a scripture to him to essentially say he was ignorant.  But here, I think Senator Hoar is earnestly seeking to learn and know of the Lord.  He wants Joseph F. Smith to teach him about God and what it is like to communicate with Him.  He doesn't care that it's in front of the committee, this is the only forum these two will ever have, so he just went for it.  He framed the question as a curiosity, and told him that he didn't have to answer if he didn't want to.  Mr. Smith described his knowledge on the subject to the Senator, which I believe must have felt like water on the parched desert of ignorance with Senator Hoar.  I hope he used it well, because in a few months, Senator Hoar would meet his maker (Sept. 30, 1904).

Senator Bailey then assumes the questioning stance and wants to know how the manifesto is a revelation, when to him it doesn't seem like one at all.

Mr. Smith.  The form of words that contains the manifesto, or is the manifesto, is a declaration by Wilford Woodruff, the head of the church, that he will abstain from plural marriages and use his influence to prevent all others from entering into it.
Senator Bailey.  I think, if I correctly read it, it declares that he has not encouraged it, but, on the contrary, has reproved those who taught it.  But what I am trying to do is to draw, at least in my own mind, the distinction between the manifesto and a revelation.  A revelation, as I understand it, comes from on high.  that manifesto seems to have been merely a way of reaching and denying a report made to the American Congress; and while it does establish a code of conduct, I do not understand that to be religious in its character at all.
Mr. Smith.  It was essentially religious for the reason that it was a specific estoppel of plural marriages by the head of the church.
Senator Bailey.  Well, in obedience of the law.  Of course, it might have been communicated to the secret conferences or to the conferences of the church that he had prayed for light and had received a revelation.
Mr. Smith.  That is it.
Senator Bailey.  But so far as that document is concerned, it nowhere indicates that there has been any light from heaven on the subject.  It appears that it is in obedience to the law, and I rather think it puts the responsibility for discontinuing the practice of polygamy on the law of the land.  I would not be sure, but I think maybe the concluding sentence indicates that it is a pure matter of obedience to the law; and while obeying the law is commendable, and I have no criticism about it, I am simply trying to -
Mr. Smith.  It is certainly in pursuance of the decision of the Supreme Court declaring the law against plural marriages and against unlawful cohabitation constitutional, that the church was brought to the adoption of the rule of the church not to allow or permit any further plural marriages.
Senator Bailey.  I understand; but that is a matter of law and not of religion.
Mr. Smith.  Oh, no; it is a matter of religion.
Senator Bailey.  At this time that the official declaration was made, it was not even the law of the church, I believe, until it was what you call sustained.
Mr. Smith.  It was submitted to the entire church.
Senator Bailey.  I was going to say, it could not have been the law, because on the next page I find that President Lorenzo Snow offered the following, which seems to have been a written resolution, approving and adopting this manifesto.
Mr. Smith.  Before the whole conference; yes, sir.
Sentor Bailey.  Yes.  The very last sentence of it is:
"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."
He does not say that he has received a revelation that changes the law of the church.  He simply says that he has come to a resolution to obey the law of the land.
Commentary:  That is a very good point.  If the document is analyzed just on the words alone, this is exactly what it appears to be.  It is one person suggesting to many others not to break the law of the land anymore.  There is no, "Thus saith the Lord" in the document read before conference, and obviously there isn't anything else in there that *feels* like a revelation that the church currently has (speaking of the actual manifesto and those words specifically).  It is just the writing of Wilford Woodruff, and the suggestion he makes to obey the law of the land.  There are, however, quotes from talks by Wilford Woodruff in conference of October 1890, and another from November 1891, where it does talk of the reason behind the manifesto and how God was behind its introduction in the church.

After a few more questions along these lines and some explanation from Mr. Richards about the language of the manifesto not explaining that it is a revelation, Senator Bailey says the following:
Senator Bailey.  The instrument itself negatives that idea.  The paragraph of it preceding the one from which I read the concluding sentence of the document is this:
"Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress fobidding 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."
Now, I take it, if it had been a revelation, he would have used the language of a prophet rather than the language of a lawyer, and instead of declaring that inasmuch as Congress had passed laws forbidding this he would have declared he had received a revelation.
After Senator Dillingham reads from the Church's petition for amnesty, Senator Bailey gives up trying to push this question any further.  However, the Senator has not finished with the witness yet.
Senator Bailey.  I noticed in response to Senator Hoar's question, Mr. Smith, you said as between a conflicting law and a revelation, the law would be binding on some and the revelation on others?
Mr. Smith.  It might be, I said.
Senator Bailey.  Do you mean by that that it would be binding as a matter of conduct or as a matter of conscience?
Mr. Smith.  As a matter of conscience.
Senator Bailey.  I cannot understand how a man who has any Christian faith can yield his conscience to the law, though I do understand how he can conform his conduct to it.  I cannot quite understand how, if the revelation comes from on high, you could as a matter of conscience, yield it to a law that is made by ordinary, every-day lawmakers, either in Utah or at Washington, though I understand perfectly well that as a question of good citizenship you would, in temporal affairs yield to the law of the land.  I would like to know, for my own satisfaction - and it is not a matter with which the committee has much concern, but just for my own satisfaction - would your church people make any distinction between conforming as a matter of law and nonconforming as a matter of conscience?
After an answer he didn't like to the previous question, the following takes place:
Senator Bailey.  I did not make myself entirely plain ... what I was trying to ascertain was whether your people as a church would still adhere to their conscientious beliefs in a given institution, although, as a matter of law, they might yield it.
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; I think that is correct.  I think they would do that as a general thing.
The Chairman.  You think what, Mr. Smith?
Mr. Smith.  I think that our people - the Mormon people - would as a rule, while they might retain their convictions or their conscience, conform to the law; that is, their acts.
Commentary:  Senator Bailey appears to have given up on his questions.  I'm pretty sure he still wasn't satisfied with the answer he received, but I don't think he's going to press it anymore because it is just a curiosity for him, and not a matter for the committee.  However, having Mr. Smith, in a way, evade his questions probably doesn't sit well with him - I know it wouldn't with me, that would make me a little frustrated and wondering if there was anything hidden.  Senator Bailey signs the Majority Report.  Perhaps this is the start of that thinking; that he wasn't answered clearly and non-evasively by Mr. Smith?  Of course, Mr. Smith has given everyone the same types of answers, with the single exception being Senator Hoar, so I wonder if this played into it at all?  I'm probably reading too much into this.

Senator Hoar and Senator Beveridge, possibly sensing the frustration of Senator Bailey, step in to question Mr. Smith with essentially the same type of question previously asked.
Senator Hoar.  Could a man, in your judgment, remain in good standing as an apostle, who, if the divine command by revelation enjoined one thing and the human law the contrary, disobeyed God and obeyed man?
Mr. Smith.  Would he remain in good standing?
Senator Hoar.  Yes.  Would he remain in good standing?
Mr. Smith.  I rather think he would be considered as a little out of harmony with his associates if he did that.
Senator Beveridge.  Mr. Smith, as a matter of conduct, where there is a conflict between revelation - or by whatever term it is called - and the law of the land, which, as a church matter, does your church direct the members to obey?
Mr. Smith.  To obey the law of the land.  That is what we have done absolutely.
Commentary:  Well that was a hard, fast, non-evasive answer.  There's nowhere for Senator Beveridge to go with that, except to accept it.  There was a previous Q&A where Mr. Smith said in a conflict between divine revelation and the law of the land that the revelation would be supreme; however, here he says that he would instruct church members to obey the law of the land; "the revelation would be paramount."  I'm so confused.

Senator Dubois then asks a few hypothetical questions of Mr. Smith.  He wants to know if a revelation is binding upon all, do they all actually obey it?  The answer:  Of course not; some will, and some will not.  Mr. Smith answer it this way:
Mr. Smith.  Not in the least.  There is not a man in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that is under any more obligation to obey the doctrines of the church and the laws of the church than you are, Senator - not one particle.
Senator Dubois.  When promulgated by the head of the church?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Senator Dubois.  You promulgate, then, a revelation to your apostles to start with, and they do not have to accept it?
Mr. Smith.  Not unless they choose.
Senator Dubois.  Then, if they impart that in turn to their people -
Mr. Smith.  Excuse me.  I say not unless they choose.
Senator Dubois.  They are not under any sort of obligation, then, to obey?
Mr. Smith.  Not unless they choose to.  They have their volition, their free agency, and the church does not interfere with the conscience of the free agency of men at all.
Senator Bailey.  So would you not do an exact obedience to your doctrine that far?
Mr. Smith.  Permit me to put it this way, if you please, with exact language:  We preach our doctrine.  We submit it to the judgment of men.  They either receive it or reject it on their own volition.  If they receive it and are initiated into the church as members of the church, then they are amenable to the laws and rules of the church; and if they do not obey the laws and observe the rules of the church after becoming members of it, and commit overt acts or transgress the laws of the church, then they are dealt with for their fellowship in the church, and the hand of fellowship is withdrawn from them unless they repent.
Commentary:  Again, men are free to choose, no matter their station in the church.

The committee adjourned at 4:35 PM.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Reed Smoot Hearings - Day 3: Testimony of Joseph F. Smith, part 1

March 4, 1904

The hearing starts with Senator Hoar questioning Mr. Smith about the rights of women in the church.  After a long series of questions and answers, this is given:
Senator Hoar.  With the exception of the authority as you have defined it, excercised by the charitable organization for the relief of the poor and sick, do women exercise any other priestly authority in your church?
Mr. Smith.  May I, if you please, explain to you that we do not ordain women to the priesthood.
Commentary:  I did not put the entire testimony in of this, but coming to that last answer took a VERY long time.  Senator Hoar wasn't looking for a history lesson on the Relief Society, nor a description of how they have authority over their own matters.  I am a little surprised it took so long to get this phrase out of him.

Mr. Tayler talks with Mr. Smith about Matthias F. Cowley, and his book, Cowley's Talks on Doctrine.  This is the same M.F. Cowley that has been requested to appear at the committee hearings.  Not much comes of this, so he moves on.

He then pulls out a newspaper article from the Deseret News of June 23, 1903.  This is a report of a speech given by Joseph F. Smith to a group of church officials in Ogden, Utah.  Here's a link to the article (Deseret News link).  I will quote the part he reads in its entirety:
"Aunt Bathsheba, widow of George A. Smith, who is with us today, is the last living witness, so far as I know, who received her endowments while Joseph Smith was living.  Here is Aunt Bathsheba, who received endowments in Nauvoo as they are now given in the temples.  She is a living witness, and, if necessary, she will tell us that she received her endowments in Nauvoo as they are now given in the temples.  She is a living witness, and, if necessary, she will tell us that she received these privileges under the direction of Joseph Smith.  Opponents say that Brigham Young established the endowments and also plural marriage, but here is a witness who knows better.  Brigham Young only sought to carry out the instruction he received from Joseph Smith, and Joseph Smith as he received it from God.  So far as the principle of plural marriage itself is concerned, we are not teaching it nor practicing it; but we are taking care of our wives, and I honor the men who take care of them and who are true to them.

"I would not like to sit in judgment on any of my brethren who are not true to their families, and yet I do not think I would be more severe upon them than the Great Judge would be.  I have made no covenants that werre not made in good faith, and I will keep them so far as I can.  When it comes to the principle itself, I can defend it as a principle of purity, strictly in accordance with the Gospel.  To be a Latter-Day Saint one must be honest with himself, with his neighbors, and with his God.  I have received a testimony of the truth of the principles of the Gospel, and I will try to keep them.  Joseph Smith revealed plural marriage and the endowments, and here is a living witness to those facts.  So am I, for I received it of those who received it from Joseph Smith.  Now, am I telling you that plural marriage is practiced or is to be practiced?  No; I am only telling you that it is a principle revealed by God to Joseph Smith the prophet, and the Latter-Day Saint who denies and rejects that truth in his heart might as well reject every other truth connected with his mission.  Every man and woman will get his or her reward, for God is just and deals out justice with mercy."
For quite some time the committee members question Mr. Smith on this speech.  They are specifically interested in knowing why he gave it, if he was teaching the practice of polygamy by example, and how else can this speech be interpreted except as a positive affirmation of polygamy and polygamous cohabitation.
Senator Hoar.  I understand you are under injunction not to teach it publicly or in any other way, but this utterance of yours was teaching it privately, was it not?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir.  It was simply announcing my own belief in it, notwithstanding it was stopped, and my principal object, the main object I had in view, was this:  There are a large number of people who claim that plural marriage was introduced by Brigham Young, and that the endowments were introduced by Brigham Young, whereas I knew that both of these were introduced by Joseph Smith; and I also knew that Bathsheba W. Smith, my aunt, was now about the only living witness of that fact, and I availed myself of the opportunity of her presence in that assembly to announce that she was a living witness that it was Joseph Smith who introduced these principles instead of Brigham Young.
Senator Hoar.  As a matter of history?
Mr. Smith.  As a matter of history.  That is all I had in view.
Right here Senator Hoar and Senator Foraker get into a slightly warm discussion about this topic.  Senator Hoar is looking for more information about this and Senator Foraker breaks in and asks why this is needed:  "It has been asked and answered over and over again."
Senator Hoar.  I do not understand that the witness has answered it over and over again.  I think he has answered it once.
Senator Foraker.  What I mean is that he has over and over again stated that he believed in that principle, but that he had accepted the manifesto in good faith as binding on him, and had ceased to teach it, or to practice it, or to countenance it.  He certainly said that over and over again.  He has said it fifty times.
Senator Hoar.  He has said it fifty times?
Senator Foraker.  Fully that.
Commentary:  Sounds like two teenagers going at it and one using hyperbole to make a point.  Pretty funny in my opinion.  These two go at it for a few more minutes, respectfully arguing about this, seemingly, insignificant point ("fifty times") in the testimony.

Senator Beveridge questions Mr. Smith about the law of the land vs. divine revelation and where they stand in relation to one another.
Senator Beveridge.  Does the fact that this practice is against the law of the land have anything to do with your refraining from teaching the principle?
Mr. Smith.  Most decidedly, Mr. Senator.
Senator Beveridge.  Is the committee to understand that you and your church regard the law of the land as more binding upon your actions than your religious beliefs?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; not in that sense.
Mr. Smith and Senator Beveridge go back and forth for a little bit on this topic, but no concrete answer to this question beside "no" is ever given.  The Chairman then steps in and twists the question a little.
The Chairman.  Mr. Smith, you say you obey the law of the land.  Do you obey the law in having five wives at this time, and having them bear to you eleven children since the manifesto of 1890?
Mr. Smith.  Mr. Chairman, I have not claimed that in that case I have obeyed the law of the land.
The Chairman.  That is all.
Mr. Smith.  I do not claim so, and I have said before that I prefer to stand my chances against the law.
The Chairman.  Certainly.
Mr. Smith.  Rather than to abandon my children and their mothers.  That is all there is to it.
Commentary:  The Chairman took the next step of asking Mr. Smith that if he obeyed the law of the land, why wasn't he obeying the law against polygamous cohabitation.  Certainly the question was a valid one, and the answer was predictable.

Senator Beveridge then restates the Chairman's question and gives Mr. Smith another opportunity to answer it:
Senator Beveridge.  That leads necessarily to another question.  I understood you yesterday to say why it was you continued that, that you were willing to take the chances as an individual.  My question was directed to this:  That, as head of the church, whatever your beliefs may be, it is your practice and the practice of the church to obey the law of the land, in teaching, notwithstanding what your opinion may be.  Is that correct or not?
Mr. Smith.  That is correct, and I wish to assert that the church has obeyed the law of the land, and that it has kept its pleges with this Government; but I have not, as an individual, and I have taken that chance myself.
Commentary:  The thought there is good to make.  Even though he isn't living according to every law of the land, the church has not broken the law.  I'm sure the committee may feel that if the president of the church acts a certain way, that example is teaching enough, despite what he says here.

The committe then asks for Doctrine and Covenants, Section 132, to be read into the record and it gives Mr. Smith an opportunity to briefly explain the background and history of this revelation.
Mr. Smith.  In the first place, this revelation was written in 1843 by Joseph Smith.  It was taught by him to members of the church during his lifetime, to Brigham Young, to Heber C. Kimball, and to his associates, but owing to the conditions that existed at that time, fierce opposition and mobocracy -
The Chairman.  What opposition?
Mr. Smith.  Fierce opposition and mobocracy, which ended finally in the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, it was not published and proclaimed at that time.  But this doctrine was preserved by Brigham Young, carried with him to Salt Lake Valley in 1847, and in 1851, I believe it was, there proclaimed at a public conference of the church as a revelation from God through Joseph Smith, and at that public conference it was accepted as a revelation.
The Chairman.  That was in 1851?
Mr. Worthington.  1852.
Mr. Smith.  Sir?
Mr. Worthington.  1852.
Mr. Smith.  It was in 1852.
Senator Hopkins.  As I understand you, it was proclaimed at Nauvoo?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; it was not published and proclaimed at Nauvoo, but it was taught by Joseph Smith to his confidential friends and associates.
Mr. Worthington.  It was received at Nauvoo.
Senator Foraker wants the part of the Doctrine and Covenants read that specifically pertains to plural marriage.  He wants to ascertain "whether it is a positive command to take plural wives, or a mere recommendation or mere authority or privilege."

After reading the first 3 verses, Mr. Smith then reads verses 61 and 62 on the suggestion of Mr. Richards, his counsel.  Those two verses are described by the committee as the "pith of that revelation;" to which Mr. Smith agrees.

1.  Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand, to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servatns Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines:
2.  Behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this matter.
3.  Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.
61. And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood: If any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent; and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery, for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.
62. And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him, therefore is he justified.
Senator Pettus then asks Mr. Smith to continue reading with verse 63: "read further as to the refusal of the first wife to consent and explain what is meant by the word 'destroyed' in the same connection."

63. But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man; she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfill the promise which was given by my father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.
64. And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.
Senator Pettus.  Now, what is the meaning of the word "destroyed," there, as interpreted by the church?
Mr. Smith.  I have no conception of the meaning of it more than the language itself conveys, that the woman who disobeys is in the hands of the Lord for Him to deal with as He may deem proper.  I suppose that is what it means.
Senator Foraker.  Has the church ever construed that language to give authority to it as a church to destroy the woman?
Mr. Smith.  Never in the world.  It is not so stated.  It is that the Lord -
Senator Foraker.  The church construes it, as I understand, to mean that she is in the hands of the Lord, to be destroyed by the Lord.
Mr. Smith.  By the Lord, if there is any destruction at all.
Senator Pettus.  Have there ever been in the past plural marriages without the consent of the first wife?
Mr. Smith.  I do not know of any, unless it may have been Joseph Smith himself.
Senator Pettus.  Is the language that you have read construed to mean that she is bound to consent?
Mr. Smith.  The condition is that if she does not consent the Lord will destroy here, but I do not know how He will do it.
Senator Bailey.  Is it not true that in the very next verse, if she refuses her consent her husband is exempt from the law which requires her consent?
Mr. Smith.  Yes; he is exempt from the law which requires her consent.
Senator Bailey.  She is commanded to consent, but if she does not, then he is exempt from the requirement?
Mr. Smith.  Then he is at liberty to proceed without her consent, under the law.
Senator Beveridge.  In other words, her consent amounts to nothing?
Mr. Smith.  It amounts to nothing but her consent.
Senator Beveridge.  So that so far as there is anything in there concerning her consent, it might as well not be there?
[question is unanswered and the committee moves on to another topic]
Commentary:  The woman is destroyed; I'll bet that would raise a ruckus if talked about in the present day.  Feminist groups would go wild over that one.  For whatever reason Section 132 has kind of fallen out of use in the church.  We talk about marriage, but don't use a great deal, perhaps a majority, of the verses in Section 132 to help describe it (obviously because of polygamy).  I guess it's kind of a section that is forgotten in plain sight.

The Senators on the committee now switch gears from the revelation, to how the revelation is used and specifically about how polygamous cohabitation exists among the current members of the quorum of the twelve apostles.
Senator Overman.  You say six [apostles] are polygamists.  Now, are those or any one of them disobeying the law of the land in regard to polygamous cohabitation?
Mr. Smith.  I do not know anything about their unlawful cohabitation relations.  I only referred in my answer to the question yesterday to the fact that they were in the status of polygamists; that is, they had more wives than one.
Senator Overman.  You do not know whether they have had children born to them since the manifesto or not?
Mr. Smith.  I am happy to say that I am not a paid spotter or informer.
Senator Overman.  You might know without being a spotter.
Mr. Smith.  I do not know.
Senator Overman.  You do not know whther they have children or not?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir.
Senator Overman.  You might have answered without saying you were not a spotter.
Mr. Smith.  Excuse me; I beg pardon.
Commentary:  He doesn't want to be an informer (or spotter), employed or not, against his fellow church members.  He has mentioned spotters a few times, and it seems to me this is or must be a fairly big concern for those in this type of situation.  The committee does seem to find it hard to believe that all of these men don't know what happens inside the individual families.

At this point in the testimony, all 66 verses of Doctrine and Covenants Section 132 are read into the record.

Senator Dubois then speaks up and says that he doesn't like the fact that Mr. Smith has categorized the percentage of Mormons that practiced plural marriage, and that the statement from him has gone unchallenged or refuted by the protestant's attorney.
Senator Dubois.  Mr. Smith has now several times stated that only three or four percent were in polygamy.  That has gone without challenge.  My judgment is that three or four percent were convicted.  I think the prosecution will be able to show that much more than three or four percent were in the polygamous relations.  I am almost willing to hazard the guess that three or four percent were actually convicted.
This comment/statement touches off a discussion on what is meant by 3 or 4 percent.  Just the men?  Just the men of marriagable age?  Are the women included?  Is this all the membership of the church?  Mr. Worthington questions him on this and gets him to drop it.
Mr. Worthington.  I merely wanted to know whether you meant 3 or 4 percent of the whole church population or that percentage of marriagable males?
Senator Dubois.  I will state at the proper time what I mean.
Commentary:  In other words, I don't have the facts in front of me, and Mr. Tayler isn't coming to my rescue with this, and neither is any other committee member; so, I will defer to a later time when I can have everything ready.

Senator Dubois, still having the "question" hold on Mr. Smith, then asks him how many presidents of the church have been monogamists.  The answer:  "I think that all of the first presidents of the church down to myself have had plural wives."

Senator Dubois then tries, in a way, to speak lightly of the church:
Senator Dubois.  I understand from the testimony here yesterday that the heir to the throne is also a polygamist - the head of the quorum of apostles now, who under the rule and precedents, should he survive you, will be the president of the church.  I understood that he is also a polygamist.
Mr. Smith.  I should like to correct the Senator by saying that we have no heir to the throne.
Senator Dubois.  He is the head of the quorum of apostles, and there has been a line of unbroken precedents that the head of the quorum of the apostles succeeds to the office of president.
Mr. Smith.  That is correct.
Senator Dubois.  If the term "heir to the throne" is offensive, I will withdraw it.
Mr. Smith.  If you please.
Commentary:  Senator Dubois is not stupid, he knew that wasn't going to sit well with Mr. Smith, but he threw it out there anyway.  I wonder if he did this for publicity in the papers?  For whatever reason, I believe he did it knowingly and purposefully.

Senator Dubois.  But apparently, following the precedents of the church, he will succeed to the office of president.  Now, of course you could not state, but has it not been a fact that the great majority of the high ecclesiastical positions in the church have been filled by polygamists?
Mr. Smith.  I could not state that from positive knowledge, but I will say this frankly, that a large number of them have been polygamists.  The fact of the matter is, that the most prominent men, the most influential men, the men who have stood highest in business and in social circles in Utah among the Mormon people, have been men who had more than one wife.
Senator Dubois.  That is a satisfactory answer to me.  I simply wanted to show that this very small percentage are very influential.
Commentary:  Well, Senator Dubois got a question answered exactly how he thought it should be answered.  Additionally, I learn that at the turn of the century, many of the men in high ecclesiastical positions are there because of their standing in the community coupled with their "righteousness," of course.  Silly me, I only thought that righteousness was the prerequisite for church office, not righteousness and community standing.  Is this equivalent to the Jewish sayings that rich men are highly blessed of God and therefore, they are more righteous than poor men?  I sure hope not, that doesn't seem right to me.

Senator Hoar then wants to talk with Mr. Smith about the permissive or obligatory nature of the polygamist principle in the church.  To do this, he summarizes I Timothy 3:2 from the New Testament.

Senator Hoar.  The apostle says that a bishop must be sober and must be the husband of one wife.
Mr. Smith.  At least.
Senator Hoar.  We do not say that.  [Laughter] ... that the principle is mandatory, but that it is not of universal application under all circumstances.
Mr. Smith.  I think, Senator, I can accept of your statement without any criticism at all.
Senator Hoar.  That is what I wanted to know.
Mr. Smith.  I should like to be permitted to call the attention of the honorable Senator to the fact that this injunction was made to the church in Judea in the midst of a polygamist people, and that all of the people believed in the practice of polygamy at that time.
Senator Hoar.  You mean the ancients?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; the Jews at that time.  But it was made obligatory upon the bishop that he should have one wife, because the duties of a bishop require an experienced man.
Commentary:  Senator Hoar quotes scripture to Mr. Smith, and then Mr. Smith describes a little more in depth what the scripture actually means and the background of it.  He is being a teacher here to the Senator to help him understand the scriptures better.  He is being, in a word, a prophet.  Pretty cool.

Senator McComas then takes up the question of permissive versus mandatory and the question of whether polygamy has been supported by the church.  Mr. Smith, of course, denies any of this has happened and states that he has not heard anyone of the church authorities talk about polygamy since the manifesto, nor has he read in the papers "any fair, authoritative, or reliable reports" about it.

Midday Recess
The committee recesses from 11:55 AM until 2:00 PM.

Monday, November 2, 2009

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

March 3, 1904

Back from the break, Joseph F. Smith resumes the stand and is questioned by Mr. Tayler about missionaries teaching polygamy (a follow up to the questions asked immediately before the break by Senator Hoar).  He presents Mr. Smith with a book titled, Ready References; a Compilation of Scripture Texts.  The subtitle to the book says, "Designed especially for the use of missionaries and Scripture students."  In this book, there is a chapter on polygamy which is "an argument in favor of polygamy and its propriety."
Mr. Tayler.  Is there any qualification within the covers of that book of that doctrine and belief in plural marriage?
Mr. Smith.  Not that I know of.  That book, I may say, was published, as will be seen if you will give the date, a great many years ago.
Mr. Tayler.  Yes.
Mr. Smith.  And it has been in existence a great many years.  I do not know anything about recent editions of it, whether that has been continued in it or not.
Mr. Tayler then reads the title page:  "Salt Lake City, October 12, 1902."  Then he states some of the information in a chapter entitled:  "Patriarchal Marriage."  This chapter is a biblical run-through of scriptures that support the doctrine of polygamy.  Mr. Tayler's comment on this:  "Quite a discussion of the subject."  Mr. Smith replies with, "Yes."

Commentary:  Doh!  Well, he said the book was old, but it was just republished with a new edition in 1902, with a quote from the publishers on wishing all readers to do well by the book.  That didn't help at all; his really old book just became two years old.
Mr. Tayler.  Running down to modern times.  Do you recall the marginal description of the text in these words, "Polygamy right in the sight of God?"
Mr. Smith.  From a scriptural standpoint, yes.  I would like to add that according to my best understanding the use of that book by our elders is almost entirely abandoned, it having been set forth to them that it is better for them to take the Bible and the standard works of the church as they are, independent of all auxiliary writings or books.
Commentary:  Ok, so they, LDS missionaries, don't use this book anymore.  Apparently that also implies that some of them, perhaps a majority of them, did use the book at one time.  However, just a few minutes ago the following coversation took place:
Mr. Tayler.  That is a book that is used by your missionaries?
Mr. Smith.  I suppose it is used more or less by them.
So he has now stated it both ways:  They use it "more or less" and it is "almost entirely abandoned" by them.  That is not a good way to win an argument by taking both sides of it.  He got nailed on that set questions right there.

He is questioned by the Chairman for a minute or so about the training of missionaries.
The Chairman.  I understood you to say they were instructed before they go on their missions.  By whom?
Mr. Smith.  By the apostles and by the first presidents of the seventies, whose duty it is to give special instructions to missionaries before they leave their homes.
The Chairman.  That duty rests especially on the apostles?
Mr. Smith.  And the seven presidents of seventies.
The Chairman.  Not on the president?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; they have too much else to do, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman.  Do you know whether they are provided with any other doctrinal declarations except the four books you have mentioned?
Commentary:  Careful, this last question is meant to be a trick.  Missionaries use the Standard Works, and are given what other doctrine from the church?  If he says nothing, then this means that a missionary goes into the field without a counter to the teaching of polygamy in the D&C.  If he says they carry other material, that is almost as if the church sanctions that specific material as being authoritative like the Standard Works.
Mr. Smith.  None whatever except at their own choice.
Commentary:  Ah!!!  He fell into it.  Well, let's see if they give him a chance to correct and explain this answer later.  This is easier to answer without having to be a straight 'yes' or 'no' answer.
The Chairman.  They are not then, to your knowledge, provided with the manifesto of 1890 suspending polygamy?
Mr. Smith.  Every member of the church -
The Chairman.  Are they supplied with that document, to your knowledge?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; they are not supplied with any documents.  They supply themselves with their own documents, their own books.
Mr. Smith.  I could not say that they do or do not, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman.  All right.
Mr. Smith.  But I would like to add this, that every man that goes out understands what the manifesto is.
The Chairman.  Yes; of course.
Commentary:  That didn't work out so well, but it wasn't a complete disaster.  There are obviously a few problems here with the church publications (Standard Works).  Mr. Smith kind of jumped into the trap put down by the Chairman, and the lid was slammed on it.  He did attempt to explain his way out, but usually that looks more like, well, just an explanation than an answer.

Mr. Tayler leaves this subject and comes back to the several wives of Joseph F. Smith.  He testifies that his first wife is Julina Lambson Smith, and another of his wives, named Levira, died many years ago; "she was divorced from me many years before she died, and I lost track of her."
Mr. Worthington.  This seems to have been twenty years or more prior to 1890, the date of the manifesto?
Mr. Smith.  It was a long time before the manifesto, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman.  Yes; the Chair understands that.  What is the purpose of this, Mr. Tayler?
Senator Beveridge.  Inasmuch as the witness has testified to this extent, I think he should be allowed to speak further.
The Chairman.  There is no objection, then.
Mr. Smith.  I would like to say, Mr. Chairman, if you please, that it is very embarrassing and trying to me to publicly announce my private domestic affairs before this committee.
The Chairman.  As far as I am concerned, I do not care so much about that.  You can proceed as you please.
Mr. Smith.  I do it very reluctantly, simply because I am required to do so by this honorable committee.  I regret it very much, and I wish to say that much to the committee, because my statements and testimony here are going to the world, and I do not want it understood, being compelled, as I have been, to give information and to make statements of opinion in relation to my friends, that I am in any sense a spotter or an informer.  If there is anything, gentlemen, that I despise it is an infamous spotter and informer, and I am not one of those.  I wish to state that in order that it may go down in the record.
The Chairman.  Very well.  Proceed Mr. Tayler.
Commentary:  I cannot tell if the Chairman doesn't care to hear anymore of this line of questioning about Mr. Smith's private life, or if he doesn't care about trampling on the feelings of Mr. Smith.  One thing is for sure, Mr. Smith does not like answering these personal questions about his family or friends one bit.

Mr. Tayler continues along this line of questioning for a minute more to see if he actually has 5 or 6 wives, when Senator Hoar interrupts the questioning:
Senator Hoar.  Mr. Tayler, what is the relevancy of the question whether he had five wives or six?
Commentary:  I guess sometimes the Senators on the committee have to step in to keep the attorneys in line with proper questions that pertain to the purpose of the hearing.

Mr. Tayler drops the questions about this point and moves on.  He starts up again on people that Mr. Smith would know about:  B.H. Roberts (one of the seven presidents of the seventy, reputed polygamist - "I am not an informer, sir, on Mr. Roberts," assistant church historian nominated by Church Historian Anthon H. Lund).

He is asked by Senator Dubois just exactly how B.H. Roberts came to be one of the first presidents of the seventy (by nomination), and when this happened (1888).  Mr. Smith offers to help explain this so it can be better understood by the committee.
Mr. Smith.  In this case, in the case of the seventy, it would unquestionably be done - that is, it would be done by a council of the seventies, and the name of the individual recommended to the first presidency and twelve, and then put before the general conference and voted upon to be sustained.
Senator Dubois.  Put before the general conference by whom?
Mr. Smith.  By the presidency of the church, or of the twelve apostles.
Senator Dubois.  That is exactly what I was trying to come at.
Mr. Smith.  That is right.
Senator Dubois.  Then what follows?
Mr. Smith.  It follows that they either sustain him or do not sustain him.
Senator Dubois.  How do they sustain him?
Mr. Smith.  By uplifted hands; by voting for him.
Senator Dubois.  Suppose any apostle should refuse to hold up his hand, and say "I object," what then?
Mr. Smith.  Nothing; only that he would be entitled to his opinion.
Senator Dubois.  Would there be a vote taken, or would the apostle have to state his reasons for objecting?
Mr. Smith.  He might have the privilege of stating his reasons afterwards in council, but not in any public assembly.
Senator Dubois.  As a matter of fact, did any apostle ever object, by holding up his hand or otherwise, to the sustaining of Brigham H. Roberts as one of the first presidents of the seventies since Congress refused to give him a seat here because he is a polygamist?
Mr. Smith.  I have no knowledge of anything of the kind.
Senator Dubois.  As a matter of fact, has any apostle, or has any one of the first presidency objected to the sustaining of Mr. Roberts in this high ecclesiastical position since the action of Congress in this case?
Mr. Smith.  If I might be permitted to ask a question of the Senator -
Senator Dubois.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Smith.  I would ask why should they?
Senator Dubois.  Well, there are several answers which I could give to that which would be very pertinent, but I am not on the witness stand.
Mr. Smith.  I see.  Let me say to you then, Mr. Senator, that B.H. Roberts is in the same status that I am in myself, and I could not object to him with any degree of consistency myself, and I do not think any other man in the priesthood or connected with the presiding authorities could so any more than I could myself.
Senator Dubois.  Did any apostle who is not in polygamy object to sustaining Mr. B.H. Roberts in this high position?
Mr. Smith.  I have never heard of any of them objecting.
Mr. Smith.  I have stated this morning, and I will repeat in substance what I said this morning, that there is a sentiment prevailing, an all-pervading sentiment, in Utah, among Mormons and Jews and Gentiles, not to interfere with men's families who entered into that plural status before the manifesto was issued and before statehood; and consequently we do not expect that an apostle or any member of the church, or anyone having any voice in these matters, would object to a man because he was a polygamist before the manifesto.  We do not expect any such thing.  We do not look for any such thing, and no such thing, to my knowledge, has ever occurred.
Senator Dubois.  Is it not an extremely rare thing, when the men for these high posititions are preferred to the conference and it is asked of the conference that they sustain them, for anyone to refuse to hold up their hand?
Mr. Smith.  It is a very rare thing, because the people are generally very well united.
Commentary:  Senator Dubois needed to satisfy his curiosity I suppose.  However, these questions do tend to lean directly toward an accusation of the protestants; namely, that polygamists are rewarded with high offices in the church without objection.

After a few more questions along this subject line, Mr. Tayler changes the subject.
Mr. Tayler.  You have already testified, Mr. Smith, about the various concerns to which you sustain official relations.  Are your relations to those various corporations and interests due to your own personal holdings in them?
Mr. Smith.  Largely to my own personal holdings, and largely because I am selected and sustained in those positions by my friends who are stockholders and interested in those institutions.
Mr. Tayler.  Does the church have any interest in them?
Mr. Smith.  In some of them it does.
Commentary:  This settles, at least in my mind, why Joseph F. Smith is a member of so many boards and trustees and compaines.  Some of this is because of the church, but he stated that the others are because he was invited to that position.

A few Senators are confused at this line of questioning and how it goes to prove that the church is a propaganda of polygamy.  Mr. Tayler states this is an entirely different charge he is trying to prove; this charge is that the church is involved with a great many temporal affairs (businesses, etc.), and they control their membership and define their actions as a class.  Senator Beveridge tries to sum it up:  "So that the purpose of this testimony - I see it now - is to connect the church with the control of the political relationship of its members."  Mr. Tayler responds to that summation with, "Precisely."  Senator Beveridge then states that "otherwise the control of property and things of that kind would not seem to be pertinent."

Mr. Tayler then makes this remark, which also goes to the heart what he is trying to show and prove pertaining to the charges against Senator Smoot:
"I want to say ... that we do not believe, in the light of all the testimony that will be offered and that will be presented to the committee, documentary and otherwise, in public documents, for instance, that Senator Smoot could by any possibility put himself up against the command of his associates ... Our claim is that it covers practically everything; that things that we call temporal - such as, for instance, the civil marriage, which is governed by the law of this country - are controlled by their church; that it has been and is the subject of revelations, and that when they use the term 'spiritual' and things pertaining to the church it will be very difficult, as we view it, to discern anything that we call temporal that cannot be construed to be spiritual according to the designation of the church and their practice respecting them."
Commentary:  Mr. Tayler obviously believes that the church should not have a say in marriage; that is a temporal matter that should be administered to by the State.  I find this specific point interesting because I believe that most of America would disagree with this statement.  Marriage is, and has been for quite some time, an institution of the church.  He is pushing for something that he cannot win with.

This charge, put forward by Mr. Tayler, includes covering his vote as a United States Senator; specifically this is "an inference which cannot be escaped from in view of all these facts [yet to be presented]."
Senator Beveridge.  Do I understand you to say that if the church were to order Mr. Smoot to give up his private property and deed it to anybody else he would have to do it?
Mr. Tayler.  Yes; I can say that.  I have not sought to prove it, but I will.
Senator Beveridge.  I understand Mr. Tayler's contention to be that he would have to [give up his property].
Mr. Tayler.  Exactly, or else he could not be a member of that church.
Senator Dubois.  Or else give up his apostleship.
Mr. Tayler.  Of course these things are not to be proven by one sentence, or in one minute, or by one circumstance.  That is the only observation I desire to make about it; but I want the committee to remember that I ask no question idly nor for the purpose of taking time, but desire to proceed most expeditiously; and perhaps I ought not to go along as rapidly as I do, but I think I would rather err on that side.
Commentary:  This again comes back to the point of the government possibly controlling the membership of a church ecclesiastical group.  That, in my opinion, is no business of government.

Back to the hearing, the Chairman asks Mr. Tayler to proceed.  He is on the question of the church involvement in local and statewide businesses.  Mr. Smith tells him that he is "not a stockholder in any of these concerns as trustee in trust ... I own property in every one of these institutions in my own right, and by virtue of my own ownership of that property, hold the directorship in them."  He tells the committee, on a question by Senator Hoar, that this property would go to his heirs if he were to die tomorrow.  The trustee property would descend, most likely, to his successor in the presidency of the church.
Mr. Smith.  The property I hold in trust belongs to the church, and when I am no more the title to the property that I hold in trust for the church will go to my successor as trustee in trust.
The Chairman.  That is, to the next president?
Mr. Smith.  To the next president or the next trustee in trust.  It does not always follow that the president is the trustee in trust.
Senator Dillingham.  Does that property on the books of the corporation stand in the name of the church or in the name of an individual as trustee?
Mr. Smith.  It stands in the name of an individual as trustee in trust.
Commentary:  That's interesting.  So the president of the church is not necessarily the trustee in trust for the church.

Mr. Smith then offers a correction to the testimony he gave yesterday.  He testified yesterday that the church had no financial interest in the Deseret News; however, he has since been informed that the church does actually own the Deseret News.  He also tells the committee that he has now read that the Deseret News does report itself as the "organ of the church."
Senator Beveridge.  Are its editorials supposed to be an expression of the church opinion?
Mr. Smith.  Not at all; and the church is not responsible for the editorial expressions unless they are issued over the signatures of the presidency of the church.
Senator Beveridge.  If any editorial appears in that paper advising the leaders to take a certain political course is that in any wise an authority of the church?
Mr. Smith.  Not in the least.  It is as independent as any newspaper in Utah in its expressions and publications.
Mr. Tayler.  As independent as any newspaper could be of its owner?
Mr. Smith.  As independent as any paper in Utah, sir.  I make no exception whatever.
After asking about the editor of the Deseret News (Charles W. Penrose: elder in the church, not an apostle, reputed polygamist, counselor in the Salt Lake Stake Presidency, 72 years old, did not marry after the manifesto), Senator Dubois would like Mr. Smith to describe the entire hierarchy of the church from top to bottom.
Mr. Smith.  The general authorities of the church consist of three first presidents, twelve apostles, or twelve high councilors, if you please, seven presidents of seventies, and three presiding bishops.  These are the general authorities of the church ... Then come the presidents of stakes.
Showing that most of the country is unfamiliar with the Mormon Church and its setup of geographical boundaries, comes this question from Senator Foraker.
Senator Foraker.  When you say the president of a state do you refer to a State of the Union?
Mr. Smith.  No; a stake.
Mr. Worthington.  It is stake, not state, Senator.
Senator Foraker.  I thought from the context it must refer to some kind of a church.
Mr. Smith.  I would like to state, for the information of the Senator, that our church is divided geographically into stakes, as they are called, and then each stake is divided into wards.
He is then asked to describe what the seventy are:
"A quorum of seventy consists of seventy elders.  Seven of that seventy preside over the other sixty-three as the seven presidents of that quorum.  Then there is a general council of seventies which preside over all the seventies - that is, the church presidents."
Mr. Tayler then decides to question him more about divine revelation, and what the church and individuals in it believe about this:
Mr. Tayler.  The prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., received a great many revelations pertaining to temporal affairs, did he not?
Mr. Smith.  I would hardly say a great many, but he did receive some revelations with regard to temporal affairs.
Mr. Tayler.  They were received by the people, were they?
Mr. Smith.  They were accepted generally by the members of the church.
Mr. Tayler.  And they are recognized now as having been revelations from Almighty God, are they not?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  Just as binding upon the conscience of those who receive them as any other revelation that Joseph Smith received?
Mr. Smith.  Just as binding upon the conscience of members of the church as baptism for the remission of sins and the laying on of hands for the Holy Ghost.
Mr. Tayler.  And polygamy?
Mr. Smith.  And I will say to the gentlemen of the committee that there is not, and cannot be, any possible restraint held over the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints except that restraint which people themselves voluntarily give.  Every man and woman and member of the church is as free to belong to the church or to withdraw from it as any other man or woman in the world, and there is no restraint over them except their voluntary wish.
Mr. Tayler.  Then the Almighty does not speak by revelations directly to them?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; but men obey it or not as they please.  They are at liberty to obey or not, just as they please.
Mr. Tayler.  Exactly.
Mr. Smith.  And they disobey if they wish with perfect impunity.
Mr. Tayler.  In your conception of God, then, He is not omnipotent and omniscient?
Mr. Smith.  Oh, yes; I think He is.
Mr. Tayler.  But do you mean to say you, at your pleasure, obey or disobey the commands of Almighty God?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  Communicated to you?
Mr. Smith.  I obey or disobey at my will.
Mr. Tayler.  Just as you please?
Mr. Smith.  Just as I please.
Mr. Tayler.  And that is the kind of a God you believe in?
Mr. Smith.  That is exactly the kind of a God that I believe in.
Mr. Tayler.  I wanted you to define Him.
Senator Beveridge.  I do not think questions as to what are his conceptions of God, or his private, personal duty, are competent.
The Chairman.  I do not think they are either.
Senator Foraker.  I do not understand this to be, anyhow, anything but the doctrine of free moral religion which every good Methodist believes in.
Commentary:  This was an interesting set of questions, and Mr. Smith did not back down from them even in the face of criticism from Mr. Tayler over his definition of God.  At the end, Senator Beveridge and the Chairman stated this line of questioning was unnecessary, and then to make matters worse for Mr. Tayler, Senator Foraker stated that Mr. Smith's beliefs are very Methodist-like.  In other words, what's the problem with what he stated?  I believe he wanted to have Mr. Smith state that all members obey revelations without question, without refusal, and with a single-mindedness of fanatical followers.  He didn't get that kind of response.  The church members are free to choose to obey or disobey; their agency is their own.

Mr. Tayler asks another question about temporal revelations, this time about D&C 124.  Mr. Smith admits again that men are free to obey or disobey any counsel given them, even in a revelation from God; he states that this is "absolutely true."

Commentary:  This section of questioning, in my opinion, did not help the protestants case much.  It appears that he is trying to prove that the hierarchy of the church wields supreme authority and control of the membership; yet, everywhere Mr. Tayler turns, and every question he asks about this subject, Mr. Smith is telling him that people in the church can obey or disobey as they please.  They are their own free agents.  This appears to be why Mr. Tayler mocked, in a sense, the belief of Mr. Smith's definition of God.  I think from the testimony he appears a little frustrated.  His argument is very weak at this point because of the testimony of Mr. Smith, and I believe he knows it.

Trying a different approach, he now tackles a specific charge against Reed Smoot, that the church allegedly tried and almost succeeded in passing a bill through the Utah legislature that would have made polygmous cohabitation extremely difficult to prosecute in the Utah State court system.  Here is the text of the entire bill:
Every person who has reason to believe that a crime or public offense has been committed may make complaint against such person before some magistrate having authority to make inquiry of the same:
Provided, That no prosecution for adultery shall be commenced except on complaint of the husband or wife, or relative of the accused within the first degree of consanguinity, or of the person with whom the unlawful act is alleged to have been committed, or of the father or mother of said person, and no prosecution for unlawful cohabitation shall be commenced except on complaint of the wife or alleged plural wife of the accused; but this proviso shall not apply to prosecutions under section forty-two hundred and either defining and punishing polygamous marriages.
Commentary:  Ok, outside of the $10 word, consanguinity, this is fairly straight foward.  It is easy to see why members of the church, including President Smith, were in favor of this bill.  It doesn't do away with the crime of unlawful cohabitation, but makes it darn near impossible to prosecute because only the wife or plural wife can bring the offense against the husband - if I read that correctly.  The chance of that happening is very remote.  It is also easy to see why non-Mormons were really upset about this bill; it was essentially a license to live or cohabitate without fear of being prosecuted.

Mr. Tayler wants to know from Mr. Smith, his specific involvement in the passage of this bill, and what, if any, pressure he brought to bear in obtaining its passage.
Mr. Tayler.  How did you give expression to your favor of that bill?
Mr. Smith.  To friends that I was intimate with.
The Chairman.  Friends in the legislature, do you mean?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; I had nothing to do, Mr. Chairman, with any member of the legislature.
Mr. Tayler.  Did you not communicate your wishes to any member of the legislature?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; none whatever.
Commentary:  Well, he has just testified that he had no direct involvement in influencing any member of the legislature on the passage of this bill.  Let's see how they prove this now.  I think the Chairman's question was necessary, but stated in a way as if he assumed Mr. Smith talked with the legislature.
Mr. Tayler then questions Mr. Smith about a particular political rule of the church.
Mr. Tayler.  You have a rule, Mr. Smith, respecting the candidacy of persons for office, have you not - members of your church officials of your church?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, we have; that is, active officials of the church.
Mr. Tayler.  Active officials of the church?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  When did you adopt that rule?
Mr. Smith.  It is a rule that has been in existence since the church was organized.
The Chairman.  A rule of what - of the church?
Mr. Smith.  It is a rule of the church in regard to its official members, and the rule is that no official member of the church, such as the president of a stake, one of the twelve apostles, one of the first presidency, one of the seven presidents of seventies or a presiding bishop or ordinary bishop, shall engage in any business whatever that will take him away from the functions and exercise of his ecclesiastical duties without first getting the sanction and approval of his superior officers in the church.  That is the rule.
Senator Hoar.  Let me ask one question right there.  When was that official consent, if ever, given to Mr. Smoot to come here as Senator of the United States?  How; in what form?
Senator Beveridge.  Did he have to get your consent?
Mr. Smith.  He did.  He applied to his associates for their consent for him to become a candidate before the legislature for Senator of the United States.
The Chairman.  Whom do you mean by his associates?
Mr. Smith.  His associates, the apostles.
The Chairman.  The twelve?
Mr. Smith.  The twelve apostles; yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  And the first presidency?
Mr. Smith.  And the first presidency; and he obtained their unanimous consent to become a candidate if he chose.
Senator Beveridge.  Under what conditions was that consent given?
Mr. Smith.  Under what conditions?
Senator Beveridge.  Were there any conditions attached to the consent?
Mr. Smith.  None whatever.  We simply released him from his duty as one of our number to become a candidate and to attend to the duties of the Senatorship if he was elected.
Senator Beveridge.  I understand you then to say he does not attend to the duties of the apostolate?
Mr. Smith.  Not while he is here; he cannot.
Commentary:  This all seems very normal and regular, even if most members of the Mormon Church don't know about it.  The church wants any appointed official to ask permission to be released from their calling duties before assuming the duties of another.  These other duties can be business, political, or anything that would take their time.  I don't see a problem in that.  It is also made clear in this discussion that Reed Smoot, although an apostle in name, is not an apostle in duty; rather, he is a United States Senator first and foremost.
Senator Dubois.  Did anyone else ask your consent to be a candidate for the United States Senate at that time?
Mr. Smith.  Not at that time, because there was no official member of the church a candidate at that time.
Senator Dubois.  No one else of either party or any other citizen of Utah received your consent, except, Apostle Smoot, to become a candidate for the United States Senate?
Mr. Smith.  I wish to be understood that no one else, so far as my knowledge extends, who was a candidate for that position was an official member of the church.  That is what I wish to convey.
Commentary:  This was a veiled question by Senator Dubois with, I believe, a hidden meaning and adjenda to it.  The Senator is trying to gather information that the church not only gave their consent, but their support to the candidacy of Reed Smoot.  Because no other person asked to be a Senator, this simplifies the matter in that the church had the candidate of choice.  It will likely be shown that with a single candidate, it was easy for the church to get behind him and push him for office; thus, interfering in the political affairs of the State (which is one of the charges of this hearing).  It is ridiculous to pull this information from this one specific conversation, but that is exactly what I believe Senator Dubois is going after.

Senator Beveridge catches the drift of Senator Dubois' questions, and decides to follow up on them with a question of his own:
Senator Beveridge.  One or two questions were asked you by Senator Dubois, Mr. Smith, which suggest something to me.  Did the fact that you gave consent to Mr. Smoot to be a candidate for the United States Senate in any wise interfere with your giving consent to any other member of the apostolate, if they had asked it?
Mr. Smith.  Not in the least.
Senator Beveridge.  Would you have given consent to more than one?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; if they had asked it.
Commentary:  Good follow up questions.  The church doesn't hold favorites, and only asks that if you are an official, you ask permission to be released from your ecclesiasitical duties before taking time off.  All officials who ask, appear to be granted this leave of absence.

Mr. Tayler now wants to know what happens if someone doesn't ask, and just goes ahead and runs for office without consent.
Mr. Tayler.  In relation to this subject of consent, what would have happened to Mr. Smoot if he had persisted in running for the Senate without the consent of the apostles and the first presidency?
Mr. Smith.  He would no doubt have been considered in poor standing with his brethren.
Mr. Tayler.  He would have been deposed from his apostleship, would he not?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; not necessarily.
Mr. Tayler.  Not necessarily?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir.
Senator Dubois.  He would have been out of harmony with this quorum?
Mr. Smith.  That is all.
Mr. Tayler.  Your quorums are generally in harmony?
Mr. Smith.  They are generally in harmony.
Mr. Tayler.  It is very rare, indeed, that you are not a unit?
Mr. Smith.  I am very happy to say, sir, that is the fact.
Mr. Tayler.  And that all twelve and the three agree, as a rule?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; as a rule.
Mr. Tayler then asks if there are any exceptions to this "rule" of the quorum; specifically the quorum of the twelve not being in harmony.  Mr. Smith states that an out of harmony example would be the case of Moses Thatcher.
Mr. Tayler.  What was the trouble with him?
Mr. Smith.  He was not in harmony with his council for a great many years.
Mr. Tayler.  Did he remain an apostle all the while?
Mr. Smith.  All the while.
Mr. Tayler.  He did not remain all the while, did he?
Mr. Smith.  He remained all the while for years.
Mr. Tayler.  Yes; until -
Mr. Smith.  Until final action was taken on his case by his quorum.
Mr. Tayler.  And they deposed him?
Mr. Smith.  They deposed him.
Mr. Tayler.  Did he have a formal trial?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  He was present?
Mr. Smith.  That is to say, let me say to you, a time, an appointment for a trial was set, and he was urged to appear, and notified to appear by his council.  And he refused to appear, and absented himself from the council, declining to answer or respond to the call to be there.  And long prior to this circumstance he had been out of harmony with the other members of the quorum, and had absented himself from their meetings many times in succession.
Commentary:  The Moses Thatcher case becomes a very big deal during this hearing.  It represents, as far as the protestants are concerned, the killing of a candidacy by the church; thus, it represents direct interference by the church in the politics of the State.  There will be a lot of questions surrounding this single incident; including, Moses Thatcher on the stand to testify.

Mr. Tayler thinks he has caught Mr. Smith in a controvery of his own making, and goes for the proverbial jugular, only to be slapped back down to earth; pretty funny testimony here.
Mr. Tayler.  But you asserted the right at that time, and so proclaimed, did you not, that you had the right - that is to say, the first presidency and the remaining eleven apostles had the right - to depose him at any time without trial and without hearing?
Mr. Smith.  Oh, no; we never do that.
Mr. Tayler.  Are you not on record as so stating?
Mr. Smith.  Oh, no.
Mr. Tayler.  That he was not entitled to be heard; that it was your right to depose him?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; I think there is no such record.
Mr. Worthington.  The practice in our courts is, that if a man is asked if he has signed a writing or has done something by writing, the paper should be produced.
Mr. Tayler.  That is so technical that I do not think it is worth while discussing it.
Mr. Worthington.  My friend says he does not consider it worth discussing.  I would like to know the opinion of the chairman and the committee about it.
Senator Foraker.  The witness has answered the question anyhow, without hesitation or qualification.
Commentary:  Mr. Tayler got slammed here, and then looked like a moron (my opinion) when he didn't want to discuss what really would have been fair to the witness.  If you accuse him or writing or signing something, produce the proof.  For me I thought this was funny.  Mr. Tayler is, in my opinion, an excellent attorney, but he seemed unprepared for this point of testimony.  Ooops.

Aside:  There is an episode in Mormon Church history where individuals were told to appear at a hearing, and then the hearing date was changed without notification and the trial held without them.  This is the case of William Law (former 2nd Counselor in the first presidency:  Jan. 1841 - Jan. 1844), and other dissenters in Nauvoo, 1844.  He was told his hearing would be April 21, 1844; however, the trial was held April 18, 1844, and he was excommunicated there along with Wilson Law (brother of William), Jane Law (wife of William), and Robert D. Foster.  None of these people were present for the trial and removal of their names from the church records.  This trial was for at least 32 male members of the church; however, Joseph, Hyrum, and Sidney Rigdon were not there.  Brigham Young presided at this meeting along with Newel K. Whitney and Willard Richards.  These people were excommunicated "for unchristianlike conduct."  To further add fuel to this specific fire, the notes of the meeting kept by Willard Richards were extremely cryptic.  William Law commented on this by saying that his "cutting off [was] illegal, and therefore corrupt."  William demanded the names of his accusers, nature of the indictment, "who the witnesses were, [and] what they proved."  He was told by Willard Richards that "there was no record" when he asked for the official transcript and minutes of the meeting.  It is little wonder he was extremely mad at this occurrence.  A few months later he helped found, print, and edit the Nauvoo Expositor, which contributed to the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum in Carthage, Illinois.

Commentary on the aside:  The above incident with William Law and his removal from the church, in my opinion, is something the church would rather forget about.  It obviously wasn't handled very well.  There is a lot more history behind the excommunciations, why they happened, what "unchristianlike conduct" meant, but that is for another day and time.  William was apparently going to bring a great deal of witnesses to his trial to testify for him, etc.  It should be interesting to note that William still believed the Book of Mormon and other principles of the church were correct.  The doctrines were true, according to William; what was restored by Joseph, he believed in.  His fight was with the church leadership, not its core doctrines.

The committee asks for the entire "political rule" of the church to be placed in the record, which it is.  I will not quote it here.  The summary of what Mr. Smith said of it previously is sufficient.

Mr. Tayler then asks Mr. Smith about Charles W. Penrose and J.M. Tanner.  Mr. Tanner was the president of the faculty at Brigham Young College in Logan (doesn't exist anymore; I believe it was closed around 1921).  Mr. Smith states that he left the college to avoid causing it problems; he was not let go because he was a polygamist.  He later became the superintendent of all church schools, a position that is not as prestigious as that of a college president, to Senator Dubois' dismay.

The questions now seem to ping-pong between a few different issues; a single subject is not maintained with Mr. Smith for more than a few minutes.  He is asked about a Rec. Center in Brigham City, which Mr. Smith calls "a tempest in a teapot.  That is all it is.  It is simply a newspaper furor, and there is absolutely nothing in it at all."  Next comes the Chairman's questions about the boat trip to Catalina Island.  He wants to know if "there was any ceremony of any kind performed by you?"  The answer:  "No, sir.  None whatever."

The Chairman then wants Mr. Smith's testimony on alleged plural marriages performed in or by the church.
The Chairman.  Now, one other question.  You have said that you know of no instance of plural marriages since 1890?
Mr. Smith.  Yes.
The Chairman.  Performed in the State of Utah?
Mr. Worthington.  By the church, of course?
Mr. Smith.  Yes.
Senator Foraker.  Or with their approval.
The Chairman.  I so understood you.
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
The Chairman.  Will you state whether you have performed any plural marriages outside the State of Utah?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; I never have.
The Chairman.  Either in Mexico or -
Mr. Smith.  Nowhere on earth, sir.
The Chairman.  Do you know of any such?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; I do not.
The Chairman.  That is all.
Mr. Smith.  I wish to say again, Mr. Chairman, that there have been no plural marriages solemnized by and with the consent or by the knowledge of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by any man, I do not care who he is.
The Chairman.  I understood that.
Commentary:  Nowhere on earth.  That's a pretty big geographic range, and funny response in my opinion.  He was cutting the chairman off to make sure that he knew the church did not officially perform, solemnize, etc., plural marraiges anywhere anymore.  I do find it interesting that the Chairman specifically mentions Mexico.  Later on, another witness testifies to being married in Mexico as a plural wife (by Apostle Brigham Young, Jr.); happening after the manifesto of 1890.  Does this mean the Chairman is aware of the testimony before it is given?  I do not know the rules of Senate Committees; possibly they know of witnesses, what they'll testify to, and generally what the knowledge of that witness is.  Possibly the Chairman, and Senator Dubois, are using this information to question Mr. Smith???

Following along those same lines, Senator Dubois asks him a very similar question and gets an even stronger answer:
Senator Dubois.  If an apostle of the church had performed such a ceremony within or without the jurisdiction of the United States, would you consider that being with the authority of your church?
Mr. Smith.  If any apostle or any other man claiming authority should do any such thing as that, he would not only be subject to prosecution and heavy fine and imprisonment in the State under the State law, but he would also be subjected to discipline and excommunication from the church by the proper tribunals of the church.
Senator Foraker.  As for the excommunication from the church, that would be imposed upon him no matter whether it were performed inside the United States or outside?
Mr. Smith.  I do not know any different.  It is contrary to the rules of the church.
After a few more questions, Senator Hoar raises the question that all of the committee members do not have copies of the 4 Standard Works of the church.  "Now it seems to me each member of the committee ought to have a copy of each of those books."  I love the response from Mr. Smith concerning this:

Mr. Smith.  These four books are the accepted standards of the church; and I would like to say to the Senator that I will take great pleasure myself in sending for copies of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, and the Bible also, if the Senators desire it, and have them brought here and distributed to the committee.
Commentary:  Mr. Smith was only too happy to supply the committee with copies of the standard works of the church.  Is this missionary work for the president while he's on the stand?  Missionaries constantly try to give away copies of the Book of Mormon to potential investigators.  Here, he is asked to give them all of the church standards.  Additionally, he is going to give them the manifesto pamphlet and a copy of the book, Articles of Faith, by James E. Talmage.

Senator Overman is curious if there is a manual to describe the duties of the twelve.  Yes, it is called the Doctrine and Covenants.  This, he readily admits, is one of the standards of the church.

Mr. Tayler asks Mr. Smith if there is a difference, as far as the church is concerned, in the terms marriage, marriage ceremony and sealing or sealing in the temple.  Mr. Smith states:  "No difference, sir."
Mr. Tayler.  Let me call your attention to what I mean, because it will save time:  Sealing for time only, sealing for time and eternity, and sealing for eternity only.
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  Do you have those?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  All three of them?
Mr. Smith.  All three of them.
Mr. Tayler.  In all respects, except as to the solemnization of plural marriages, the practice and form of the church are the same as formerly?
Mr. Smith.  The same as formerly.
Commentary:  I did not know there were 3 different types of sealings.  That was news to me the first time I read this.  I thought there was only one type:  sealing for time and eternity.  Well, I guess that shows how much I know.

The discussion turns to who can perform a marriage ceremony, and Mr. Smith states that only official elders can do this; such as a Bishop, or anyone higher in ecclesiastical rank.  They talk about marriage records (stored in the temples and in the State).  Senator Hoar wants to know if any marriages are solemnized in the temple that the State is not aware of (no, that doesn't happen).

Senator Dubois then breaks in with a single question, quickly answered and then not talked about again:
Senator Dubois.  Is any outsider or Gentile ever admitted to any of these four temples you speak of?
Mr. Smith.  No; nor a great many Mormons, either.
He is asked if records are kept of plural marriages, specifically the alleged plural marriage of Abraham H. Cannon:  "If they do I do not think they would dare to keep any record of it."
Mr. Tayler.  Do you perform celestial marriage ceremonies now?
Mr. Smith.  That is simply a marriage for time and eternity.
Mr. Tayler.  Time and eternity?
Mr. Smith.  That is what it means, nothing more and nothing less.
Mr. Smith.  Those that are married in that way outside the temples, it is simply a civil contract for time, but where they have obtained these licenses and go to the temples to be married they are sealed for time and eternity.
Mr. Tayler.  Are there sealings still going on for eternity alone, not for time?
Mr. Smith.  Not that I know if, unless the parties are dead.
Senator Foraker.  Do you marry people for eternity and not for time?
Mr. Smith.  When they are dead; yes, sir.
Senator Foraker.  You marry them after they are dead?
Mr. Smith.  After they are dead; and, Mr. Senator, we do not have to have a license from the court to do that.
Senator Foraker.  That is simply a church marriage?
Mr. Smith.  That is just simply a principle that we believe in, that men and women are immortal beings.
Senator Foraker.  Are both the parties to that marriage dead the time it is solemnized?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; they are often dead, and they are represented by their heirs, either their sons or daughters, or some of their kinsmen.
Mr. Tayler.  Living persons have been united for eternity, have they not?
Mr. Smith.  I think there have been some few cases of that kind.
Mr. Tayler.  How recently have you know that kind of a marriage?
Mr. Smith.  Not very recently.
Mr. Tayler.  Do you mean five years or twenty-five years?
Mr. Smith.  Oh, twenty years or more.
Mr. Tayler.  Is there any rule of the church prohibiting that kind of marriage?
Mr. Smith.  Not that I know of.
Mr. Tayler.  It has merely fallen into disuse; is that all?
Mr. Smith.  It has merely fallen into disuse; that is all.  I do not know that it could be said to have fallen absolutely into disuse.
Mr. Tayler.  Or rather, that the principle which still adheres has not been invoked or exercised so often?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; it has not been invoked.
Commentary:  Well, there is more discussion on marriage, sealings, and the disuse of one type of sealing.  I don't know how familiar any of the committee members are with vicarious work for the dead and the ordinances that go with that, but they were give a bit of an introduction here to that subject by Mr. Smith.  The living sealing for eternity only, that discussion is interesting.  I don't quite know what to think of it.

The committee dismissed at 4:20 PM.