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. 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."
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.
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?"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. 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.
Mr. Tayler. That is a book that is used by your missionaries?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.
Mr. Smith. I suppose it is used more or less by them.
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?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. 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?
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?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. 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.
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?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. 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.
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.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.
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.
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?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.
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.
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?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.
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.
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.Commentary: That's interesting. So the president of the church is not necessarily the trustee in trust for the church.
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.
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?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. 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.
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?He is then asked to describe what the seventy are:
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.
"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?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. 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.
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?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. 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.
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?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.
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.
Senator Dubois. Did anyone else ask your consent to be a candidate for the United States Senate at that time?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.
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.
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?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. 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.
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. 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. 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. What was the trouble with him?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. 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.
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?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.
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.
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?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???
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.
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?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. 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.
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.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.
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.
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?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. Smith. No; nor a great many Mormons, either.
Mr. Tayler. Do you perform celestial marriage ceremonies now?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.
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.
The committee dismissed at 4:20 PM.