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):
- D&C 43:1-7 - Revelations and commandments come only through the one appointed.
- D&C 131:1-4 - Celestial marriage is essential to exaltation in the highest heaven.
- D&C 68:4 - Words of elders are scripture when moved upon by the Holy Ghost.
- D&C 124:56, 60, 62-67 - Directions are given for the building of the Nauvoo House.
- D&C 112:30-34 - The First Presidency and the Twelve hold the keys of the dispensation of the fulness of times.
- D&C 114:1-2 - Church positions held by those who are not faithful shall be given to others.
- D&C 132:7, 45-46, 51-56, 61-66 - Revelation on plural marriage.
- Ready References, a Compilation of Scripture Text. Justification for polygamy from the Bible.
- Entire Chapter entitled "Patriarchal Marriage."
- Mormonism: Its Origin and History, by B.H. Roberts (1902).
- Chapters that talk about specific Articles of Faith (9-13).
- Articles of Faith, by James E. Talmage (1899).
- Section: Continual Revelation Necessary, Revelation Yet Future.
- Section: Submission to Secular Authority.
- Cowley's Talks on Doctrine, by Matthias F. Cowley (1902).
- Quote on obedience and the infallibility of church leaders.
- Moses Thatcher episode
- Many different documents describing this event.
- Laws of the State of Utah
- 4209. Unlawful cohabitation.
- 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.Senator Hoar would like Mr. Smith to revisit the first question before moving on with this current subject. He would like a better explanation.
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. 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?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. 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.
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?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. Smith. That is correct, sir.
Mr. Worthington. You say there have been a number of revelations received which have never been bound up with the Doctrine and Covenants?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. 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.
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?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. 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.
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.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. 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.
Mr. Worthington. Were you present when the manifesto was first presented and accepted, in October, 1890?This line of questioning is left and he asks Mr. Smith about the Doctrine and Covenants and the manifesto.
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.
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?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. 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.
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?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.
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.
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?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. Yes, sir.
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?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. 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.
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?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.
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.
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?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.
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.
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?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.
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.
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?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.
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.
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?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. 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.
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?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).
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.
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.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.
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.
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: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.
"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.
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?After an answer he didn't like to the previous question, the following takes place:
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?
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.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.
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.
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?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.
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.
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.Commentary: Again, men are free to choose, no matter their station in the church.
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.
The committee adjourned at 4:35 PM.