Saturday, December 19, 2009

Reed Smoot Hearings - Day 4: Testimony of Joseph F. Smith

March 5, 1904
This is Saturday morning that the committee is meeting.  They only stay until the noon break; so there is only half a day of testimony.

After a really brief discussion of what unchristianlike behavior is, with a few examples (drinking, gambling, swearing), Mr. Worthington brings up the proportion of Mormons that were and are polygamists, which sparks a debate with Senator Dubois, who disagrees over the testified figures.
Mr. Worthington.  There has been a good deal said here about the proportion of polygamists to the Mormon population.  Have you any statistics on that subject?
Mr. Smith.    I have not any in my possession, but some years ago the facts were published, and I think they were reached by the Utah Commission, and as near, Mr. Chairman, as my recollection goes - it is a long time ago and it is a matter which has not been brough to my attention since, although I have some recollection it - when the Utah Commission was created and sent to Utah to administer the government there, they excluded all polygamists from the elective franchise, and as women held the elective franchise the same as men they were excluded of course as well as men.
Senator Dubois.  I think it is a courtesy due to the president and myself that I should make my statement here.  I am willing to accept the statement which the president has made.  I think it is altogether likely that we reason from different premises, and, of course, if we do we will reach different conclusions.
The Chairman.  What is the point?
Senator Dubois.  As to the proportion of polygamists?
The Chairman.  Do you desire to question him at this point?
Senator Dubois.  I desire to make a statement.  He says that by the Utah Commission there were 12,000 polygamists excluded from voting, and he assumes there are 2 women to each man.  There must of necessity have been 2 women to each man.
The discussion continues for a little while longer with Senator Dubois arguing, nicely, with the position of Mr. Smith.  Neither of the men are backing down and both believe their position is the correct one.
Senator Dubois.  The controversy between you and me is because you include all and I include only those of sufficient age.
Mr. Smith.  I would be rather inclined to think that at that time probably three women to one man might have been the average.  I could not say.
The Chairman.  Right there, at what date was that?
Mr. Smith.  That was in 1882.
Senator Dubois.  Then you would have had 12,000 -
Mr. Worthington.  One-fourth would have been men.
Senator Dubois.  Twelve thousand polygamists out of a Mormon population, including everybody, of 170,000.
Mr. Smith.  there were over 200,000, considerably.
Senator Dubois.  There is a discrepancy, but we will figure it at 200,000.  Now, with the large families in Utah, I think it would be fair to assume that there were four children to each family.  I think there are seven children to a family in Minnesota and some of those other States..  Ordinarily I think it is one to five.  But here there are plural wives.  Taking it all together, I should think, including the polygamous families and all, there were four children to a family.  What would you say to that?
Mr. Smith.  I have no objection to that.
Mr. Worthington.  Do the census returns give the number of Mormons, males and females?
Senator Dubois.  Yes.
Mr. Worthington.  I think it is a matter we can get at, then.
Senator Dubois.  I want to put this in here.
Senator Dillingham.  Senator, you had better make your statement of what you claim, so that we will have both statements on the record.
Senator Dubois.  I stated the other day that in my judgment the convictions showed that there were more than 2 or 3 percent, and that in my judgment there were a great many more than 3 or 4 percent in polygamy at this time.
Senator Hoar.  What is the date?
Senator Dubois.  1890.  I have already proven my contention, because at the least there were 80,000 people who were of sufficient age to go into polygamy and out of that number there were about 15,000 polygamists.
The Chairman.  Is there any further question on that point, Mr. Senator?
Senator Dubois.  That is my statement.  I can put in the more exact figures if necessary.  I did not want that statment to go to the country unchallenged.  The difference between the president and myself is that we were reasoning from different premises.  He included all the members of the church.  I excluded, of course, those who are not in condition to be in polygamy.  I do not question the veracity of the president's statement at all.  I simply wish to call attention to the fact that our premises being so totally at variance, of course, our conclusions would very much at variance.
 Commentary:  I guess Senator Dubois just had to get that off his chest.  the morning session of yesterday had this gem of a conversation in it:
Senator Dubois.  To start out with, 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.
Mr. Worthington.  I merely wanted to know whether you meant 3 or 4 percent of the whole church population or that percentage of the marriageable males.
Senator Dubois.  I will state at the proper tim what I mean.
He wasn't ready yesterday with figures or anything to be presented to the committee to challenge this statement; except, of course, his words.  Now, he has the same chance again to challenge the statement ... and it falls flat again.  All he has are words.  President Smith will shortly present a newspaper article from the Associated Press backing up his numbers.  He has also said the government appointed Utah Commission agrees with his numbers.  Senator Dubois just has his words, and he says that statistics will be added if necessary.  Don't get me wrong, his argument is a good one; in fact, a very good one.  However, without statistics, it is meaningless and without foundation.  Um, Senator, the stats are necessary, where are they?

Back on track now, Mr. Worthington continues the discussion he started 30 minutes ago with Mr. Smith concerning the specific statistics of polygamous relations.
Mr. Worthington.  Mr. Smith, have you any statistics as to the number of polygamists in the year 1890 in the Mormon Church, and at any different dates since that down approximately to this time?  If you have, please give us the result.
Mr. Smith.  I have.  I have a statement here, if you please, which was gotten up a short time ago, giving the present status of polygamists in Utah, and I can vouch for its accuracy up to the date that is here named.  If I may be permitted, I should like to read the whole paper.  It is not very long.
He then reads an interview between himself and a reporter, Mr. Copp, of the Associated Press.  the pertinent question on statistics is as follows from the article:
Q.  To what extent are these relations of polygamous families sustained?
A.  It was ascertained by careful census in 1890, when President Woodruff issued his manifesto against further polygamous marriages, there were 2,451 families belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the United States.  In October, 1899, by another count, it was found that the number had been reduced, by death, 750; by removals beyond confines of the Republic, 63; by divorce, 95; leaving then but 1,543.  In May, 1902, a complete and thorough inquiry showed that the original number in 1890 had been reduced 63 percent, leaving then only 897, and the great majority of whom were of advanced age, and many of them have since departed this life.  It is evident that with no additions to this total, but a rapid and continual decrease, the number of polygamous families will soon be reduced to zero.
Other questions asked in that interview have already been asked here in the hearing; for instance, if the church solemnizes or permits plural marriages, and why do prominent Mormons still practice polygamy.  In answer to the second question he states that "this is erroneously construed as practicing 'polygamy,' and creates the impression that polygamous marriages are still permitted in and by the church;" which, of course, he has already stated they are not.
Mr. Worthington.  Do these figures, for instance the figures for 1902, 897 polygamists, include men and women or only men?
Mr. Smith.  That includes, I think, the families - the heads of families only.
Mr. Worthington.  The men only?
Mr. Smith.  The men, in other words.
Mr. Worthington.  And can you tell us whether or not, since the date of that census in 1902, the decrease has gone on it about the same proportion to the present time?
Mr. Smith.  I think, Mr. Chairman, that the decrease has gone on in greater ratio, for the reason that these elderly men are continually getting odler and they are more rapidly passing away.
Commentary:  For me, being 100+ years removed from this time period and not personally knowing any of these people, I have to judge the arguments without emotion (because I cannot hear them speak) and soley on the logic I find therein.  Going off of that, this seems like a very logical and fact based argument.  If no more plural marriages are being contracted, and this ended in 1890, then the number of people getting older and dying will steadily increase until they are all gone.  Of course, from present history this decline to zero did not happen.  Present day fundamentalists split off from the church at this time (early 1900's) and formed their own church where they could still practice polygamy (and that continues to this very day).  However, with very few exceptions, I believe the statement of  Mr. Smith on the statistics.

Mr. Worthington then starts in on questions about Mr. Smith's families, members, ages, wives, children, etc.
Mr. Worthington.  You have had children.  How old is your oldest child?
Mr. Smith.  My oldest child is probably about 35 or 36 years of age.
Mr. Worthington.  You have a son, I believe, who is one of the apostles?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthingon.  What is his name?
Mr. Smith.  Hyrum M. Smith.
Mr. Worthington.  Is he here?
Mr. Smith.  He is here.
Mr. Worthington.  How old is he?
Mr. Smith.  My recollection -
Mr. Hyrum M. Smith.  Thirty-two.
Mr. Smith.  Thirty-two; that is my recollection, although I was not quite sure.
Mr. Worthington.  Is he married?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  Has he any more than one wife?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  He has little children?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  And a separate household in Salt Lake City?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  They are your grandchildren?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  I should like to have it noted on the record that all these children born prior to 1888 are legitimate, having been made legitimate by act of Congress.  The Edmunds Act, as it was called, which was passed on 22d of March, 1882, provided that all children of these polygamous relations born before the 1st of January following, should be legitimate.
The Chairman.  That will go in the record.
Commentary:  A few questions there leading up to the point that children from polygamous marriages can be legitimate if born within a certain time period.

Mr. Worthington continues asking him questions about his families.  Does he visit them?  Does the mother (his wife) visit them?  Do they have family reunions where he acknowledges his wives?  Yes to every one of those questions.

Next Mr. Worthington asks Mr. Smith about when he became president, choosing his counselors, and the status of their marital relations.
Mr. Worthington.  I will now come down to the time when you became the president.  I want to see what you have done since that time which indicates that this committee of fifteen is a conspiracy to inculcate and perpetuate polygamy.
The Chairman.  What is the date?
Mr. Worthington.  When did you become president?
Mr. Smith.  On the 10th of November I was sustained.  Prior to that I acted as senior president.  On the 10th of November, 1901.  Is that correct?
Senator Smoot.  1901.
The Chairman.  May I ask right here, in this connection, so as to have it appear, when did you become an apostle?
Mr. Smith.  In 1867.
The Chairman.  Now go on.
Mr. Worthington.  Who was your predecessor?
Mr. Smith.  Lorenzo Snow.
Mr. Worthington.  Do you remember the date of his death?
Mr. Smith.  I think it was on the 10th day of October, 1901.
Mr. Worthington.  Then under your rule you became acting president until the vacancy should be filled?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  When was it filled?
Mr. Smith.  On the 10th day of November following.
Mr. Worthington.  Then you were presented and sustained and confirmed by the general assembly?
Mr. Smith.  By the whole chuch in general conference assembled.
Mr. Worthington.  When President Snow died, or just prior to this death, what office did you hold?
Mr. Smith.  I was his second councilor.
Mr. Worthington.  Who was the first councilor?
Mr. Smith.  George Q. Cannon when living, but he was then dead.  He had died previously.
Mr. Smith.  At the time of his death he had chosen me as first councilor, and he had chosen rudger Clawson his second councilor.
Mr. Worthington.  Was Mr. Clawson a polygamist?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  He was a monogamist?
Mr. Smith.  He was a monogamist.
Mr. Worthington.  So, at the time Lorenzo Snow died a majority of the first presidency, the highest tribunal in your church, were polygamists?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; that is right.
Mr. Worthington.  I want to find out what you did about having that body constituted - the first presidency.  Who became your councilor?
Mr. Smith.  I selected Hon. John R. Winder as my first councilor.
Mr. Worthington.  Is he a polygamist or a monogamist?
Mr. Smith.  A monogamist.
Mr. Worthington.  Who was your second councilor?
Mr. Smith.  My second councilor was Anthon H. Lund.
Mr. Worthington.  What was his status as to the marriage relation?
Mr. Smith.  He is reputed to have but one wife, and that he never had any other.
Mr. Worthington.  Have those gentlemen remained your coucilors?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  So that from the time you became president a majority of the highest tribunal have been monogamists?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Commentary:  Very nicely done.  He showed how since the changing of administrations, the first presidency has gone from a majority of polygamists to a majority of monogamists.  One of the arguments against Senator Smoot is that polygamists are rewarded with the highest ecclesiastical positions in the church.  This kind of negates that idea because there were plenty of polygamists to choose from, but yet Mr. Smith decided on monogamists.  Perhaps he chooses whomever he wants independent of their marital status; kind of a "best man for the job" type of pick.  In my opinion, some committee members are reading too much into this piece of the charge (I'm looking at you, Senator Dubois).  Men appear to be picked according to their status in the church, and their ability to help out.  As I stated before, whether they have more than one wife is irrelevant and immaterial to their selection as a councilor.

Continuing on, Mr. Worthington decided to further prove his point:
Mr. Worthington.  Now, what vacancies, if any, have been filled in the twelve since you became president?
Mr. Smith.  Since I became president there have been two vacancies filled in the council of the twelve.
Mr. Worthington.  How were they filled; by whom were they filled?
Mr. Smith.  They were filled in the usual manner by the nomination or suggestion of members of the council and confirmation by the presidency of the church.
Mr. Worthington.  Who are the persons who were selected?
Mr. Smith.  Who were the persons selected?
Mr. Worthington.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Smith.  My son, Hyrum M. Smith.
Mr. Worthington.  You have already said that he is a man with but one wife?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  He never had but one wife?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; that is correct.  And the second was George A. Smith [George Albert Smith], who is also a monogamist, and always has been a monogamist.
Senator Overman.  Is he any relation to you?
Mr. Smith.  He is my cousin's son.  He is the son of John Henry Smith, and his father is my cousin.
Mr. Worthington.  Then, if I understand you correctly, you have appointed since you became president two councilors and two of the twelve apostles?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  And all have been monogamists and are?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; all of them.
Commentary:  Again, the point has been made and it appears to be completed.  It is now up to the committee to decide whether or not they believe this testimony.

Mr. Worthington then goes to the majority question on the twelve.  Certainly there were a majority of the twelve previously that were polygamists, but how about today?
Mr. Smith.  I mean only that today there are six of the twelve who are reputed to be polygamists.
Mr. Worthington.  I want to know what you mean by the word "polygamists" in that connection.
Mr. Smith.  I mean that they are in the status of polygamy; that they are reputed to have moer than one wife.  That is what I desire to have understood.
He now switches subjects and wants to know if these men on the Twelve break the law by cohabitating with more than one wife.
Mr. Worthington.  Are they also reputed to acknowledge and hold the plural wives as their wives?
Mr. Smith.  That I am not able to say; I do not know.
Mr. Worthington.  What is your knowledge, obtained personally or by reputation, as to whether or not as to the others they, like you, actually live and cohabit with more than one woman?  What do you know about that?
Mr. Smith.  All I know about it, sir, is that these men who are in the polygamous status with myself take their own chances individually as to the consequences of living with or abstaining from living with their families.  They are amenable to the law.
Mr. Worthington.  That does not answer my question.
Mr. Smith.  Excuse me.
Mr. Worthington.  My question is what knowledge you have - I include knowledge acquired in any way - as to whether or not they are actually cohabiting with more than one women?
Mr. Smith.  Not having inquired into the matter at all, I am really not in a position to say.  I do not know.
Commentary:  There you go ... "I do not know."  Nothing more need be said.  They can question you about that, but if you don't know, you don't know.  That is an answer, even if it doesn't supply the committee with more "juicy" gossip.

Going a little bit further, Mr. Worthington decides to be specific.  He grouped the twelve apostles in one, for which Mr. Smith answered with an "I don't know."  Now, he's going to separate them.  He asks specifically about Mr. Smith's cousin, John Henry Smith, and whether he cohabitates with more than one wife.
Mr. Smith.  I am very strongly inclined to believe that he does.
Commentary:  I think that's the most direct kind of information they'll get out of him, and this will be the only one he even knows this much about.

Mr. Worthington waited until Senator Bailey arrived at the hearings, then he asked Mr. Smith about the status of the manifesto being a revelation or not.  Senator Bailey has some doubts about this, so Mr. Worthington wanted to make sure he was present before this line of questioning began.  He reads portions of a talk given by Wilford Woodruff in November 1891 (1 year after the manifesto was adopted):
"I should have let all the temples go out of our hands; I should have gone to prison myself and let every other man go there had not the God of heaven commanded me to do what I did do; and when the hour came that I was commanded to do that, it was all clear to me.  I laid it before my brethren, such strong men as Brother George Q. Cannon, Brother Joseph F. Smith, and the twelve apostles.  I might was well undertake to turn an army with banners out of its course as to turn them out of a course that they considered to be right.  There men agreed with me, and 10,000 Latter-Day Saints also agreed with me.  Why?  Because they were moved upon by the spirit of God and by the revelations of Jesus Christ to do it."
In the committee record, the entire talk is included.

Senator Bailey then returns to his argument concerning the revelatory nature of the manifesto.
Senator Bailey.  I do not still see that the head of the church declares that he received a revelation.  He does say that he went to God in anguish and prayer, just as Christians of various denominations do when their duty is not plain, and they rise from it more or less instructed.  But that was an instruction to obey the law.  I, myself, think a Christian would go to the stake before he would abandon his creed; and if that is a revelation, contradicting a former revelation -
Mr. Smith.  It is not contradicting it.
Senator Bailey.  I think it is.  The former revelation undoubtedly permitted plural marriages, if it did not command them, and this revelation forbids them.
Mr. Smith.  It simply forbids the practice.
Senator Bailey.  That is a distinction without a difference -
Mr. Smith.  Oh, no.
Senator Bailey.  Because the other undoubtedly permitted its practice.  This forbids the practice.  Now, if there is not a conflict between these two I am unable to comprehend what a conflict is.  Under one state of the case they were permitted to enter into plural marriage and in another state of the case they were forbidden to do it.  Now, from what I can understand -
Mr. Smith.  Will the Senator please allow me to say a word just there?
The Chairman.  Let the Senator complete his statement.
Mr. Smith.  I beg your pardon.
Senator Bailey.  I will pause to hear the witness.
The Chairman.  Very well.
Mr. Smith.  The one is no more emphatic than the other.  President Woodruff declares that he himself will stop and that he will use all his influence to have all the people stop the continuance of plural marriages, and all the people assembled in conference agreed with him that they would stop the practice of plural marriage.
Senator Bailey.  That does not touch the question which I have in mind.
Mr. Smith.  All right.
Senator Bailey.  I will say to you very frankly that I do not have much patience with a doctrine which does not receive a revelation until there is a statute and where the revelation happens to conform to the statute.  What I have been trying to fix in my mind is whether you taught that this was a revelation or merely a submission to the law.  If it were a submission to the law, then it would be a question whether the Christian would submit to the laws of the land or to the laws of God.  I do not pretend to judge about that, but when a sect teaches that an inspiration comes just after a statute has been passed and a report made to Congress, I do not quite understand that anybody is required to accept it as a revelation.
Mr. Smith.  May I please try to explain this matter a little to the Senator?  I will try to be brief.
Senator Bailey.  Very well.
Mr. Smith.  Mr. Senator, the facts are these:  When the laws against plural marriage were passed by the Congress of the United States we held to the idea that they were unconstitutional laws.  We are compelled by our doctrines - the doctrines of our church - to obey and observe the constitutional laws of our land.
Senator Bailey.  I have heard such a statement read here.
Mr. Smith.  We fought the validity of those laws in court all the way from the first and lower court to the highest court of our land, and when the subject finally came before the Supreme Court of the United States and was settled and the law was sustained as a constitutional law, then we, to be obedient to our own doctrines and faith, were naturally inclined to obey the law.
     But we had a revelation on our statute books, commanding us, or at least not commanding us - yes, commanding us to enter into a certain covenant for eternity as well as for time, which is mandatory, with reference to the blessings that are promised in the law; they cannot be received with it; and, with reference to the plural part of it, permissive, and we had the alternative before us as to whether we should observe even the constitutional law of the land that was so pronounced by the Supreme Court of the United States or to continue to practice the law of the Church.
     President Woodruff, as president of the church, entitled, as we hold, as you may not hold, and as everybody is free to have his own opinion about it, to receive revelations and inspiration from Almighty God for the guidance of the church and that he is the final arbitrator for the church on matters of doctrine, sought to the Lord, and, as he says himself in the language which has been read here, the Lord made manifest to him clearly that it was his duty to stop plural marriages, and he received that revelation and that commandment from the Lord to stop it.  He published it; announced it.  It was submitted first to the officials of the church and accepted by them and then it was submitted to the entire church in conference assembled and it was accepted by them, and thus it became binding upon the church; and the church has from that day to this kept the law so far as plural marriages are concerned.
     I should like to draw a distinction in the Senator's mind that there is a great difference in our judgment, in our feelings, between the law prohibiting plural marriages and the law prohibiting what is termed in the law unlawful cohabitation - a very great difference.  Plural marriage has stopped; but I choose, rather than to abandon my children and their mothers, to run my risks before the law.  I want to say, too, that it is the law of my State - it is not the law of Congress - under which I am living and by which I am punishable.  It is the law of my State, and the courts of my State have competent jurisdiction to deal with me in my offenses against the law, and the Congress of the United States has no business with my private conduct any more than it has with the private conduct of any citizen of Utah or any other State.  It is the law of my State to which I am amenable, and if the officers of the law have not done their duty toward me I cannot blame them.  I think they have some respect for me.
The Chairman.  I wish to ask you a question right here.  You speak of your unwillingness to abandon your children.
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
The Chairman.  Why is it necessary, in order to support your children, educate, and clothe them, that you should continue to have children by a multiplicity of wives?
Mr. Smith.  Because my wives are like everbody else's wives.
The Chairman.  I am not speaking of them.
Mr. Smith.  I understand.
The Chairman.  I am speaking of the children now in existence born to you.
Mr. Smith.  Yes.
The Chairman.  Why is it necessary to continue to have issue by five wives in order to support and educate the children already in existence?  Why is it necessary?
Mr. Smith.  It is only to the peace and harmony and good will of myself and my wives; that is all.
The Chairman.  Then you could educate your children and clothe them and feed them without having new issue?
Mr. Smith.  Well, yes; I possibly could, but that is just exactly the kernel in the nut.
The Chairman.  Yes.
Mr. Smith.  I have chosen not to do that, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman.  You have chosen not to do it?
Mr. Smith.  That is it.  I am responsible before the law for my action.
The Chairman.  And in not doing it, you are violating the law?
Mr. Smith.  The law of my State?
The Chairman.  Yes.
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Commentary:  That was quite a long dialog I put in there, but it was so interesting that I couldn't leave it out.  The main point of this was that lengthy discussion from Mr. Smith about polygamy and if the manifesto was a revelation or not based upon the pressure from the government concerning it.  He put the whole matter of this revelation business right at the doorstep of faith.  If you are a Mormon, then you'll believe that the president of the church speaks for God; if you are not, then it is likely you won't believe this and you are welcome to your opinion.  I also liked the way he described the difference between plural marriage and unlawful cohabitation (it feels like this subject, the distinction, is a dead horse constantly being beating.  Wham!  Wham!  I'm sure more are coming).

The long solilioquy by Mr. Smith caught the attention of newspaper writers and editors across the country.  As an example of what was thought of this, in the New York Times dated March 6, 1904, a headline read:  "President Smith's Outbreak.  Mormon Leader Angered by Questions by the Senators."  The quote in the article attributed to Mr. Smith is a little off from the actual testimony as shown above and in the record, but this is for sure the same discussion which is talked about in the article.  Not having been there to hear this testimony, it apparently was a little "warm" in the room due to the visible anger by Mr. Smith.  Interesting.

[Here's link to the NYTimes article (I hope it works):  President Smith's Outburst]

Continuing on, Senator Bailey and Senator Overman continue questioning Mr. Smith about this matter (revelation or not).  All parties involved are not backing down from the questions.  They are trying to understand how there can be a revelation to keep the laws of the land, but yet Mr. Smith violates them.  Therefore, the only conclusion is that Mr. Smith violates both the laws of the land and the laws of God at the same time.

Senator Overman.  Is there not a revelation published in the Book of Covenants here that you shall abide by the law of the State?
Mr. Smith.  It includes both unlawful cohabitation and polygamy.
Senator Overman.  Is there not a revelation that you shall abide by the laws of the State and of the land.
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Senator Overman.  If that is a revelation, are you not violating the laws of God?
Mr. Smith.  I have admitted that, Mr. Senator, a great man times here.
Senator Overman.  I did not know that you had.
Commentary:  Ok, you'd think this response would have been good enough, but the Senators do not give up here even after a complete admission, they keep pushing him.  I guess this is what lawyers do when they smell blood.
Mr. Smith.  And I am amenable to the law for it.  But I see the point of the Senator's question.  Gentlemen, you have shown a great deal of leniency in permitting me to express my views here, and I do not wish to be offensive and I do not wish to take more time than I need to.  But the church itself - I understand your point, that the church forbids me to violate the law, certainly it does - but the church gave me those wives, and the church cannot be consistent with itself and compel me to forsake them and surrender them.
Senator Bailey.  "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away," and when the Lord gave this second revelation forbidding it -
Mr. Smith.  He did not forbid it.
Senator Bailey.  Well, he did, if the manifesto is based upon a revelation, because the manifesto declares against it.
Mr. Smith.  The manifesto declares positively the prohibition of plural marriages, and in the examination before the master in chancery the president of the church and other leading members of the church agreed before the master in chancery that the spirit and meaning of that revelation applied to unlawful cohabitation as well as to plural marriages.
Senator Bailey.  That is what I was coming to now, Mr. Smith.  Then, as I understand you, both plural marriage and unlawful cohabitation are forbidden by the statutes of Utah and by the revelations of God.  Is that true?
Mr. Smith.  That is the spirit of it, yes.
Commentary:  Aside from the scriptural quip from Senator Bailey, which was really more mocking than anything else in my opinion, this is ground that has already been covered with previous testimony of his.  I guess if Senators miss a day, they rehash it on their own with the witness.  Or, maybe if you get a person to admit the same thing multiple times, it is stronger evidence against him/her than a single admission.  Beats me why this is rehashed again.

Mr. Smith and Senator Bailey continue going back and forth.  One interesting tid-bit here is that Mr. Smith decides to classify the manifesto, not as an inspirational revelation; which he says is the same thing as a revelation.  Senator Bailey doesn't seen the language of revelation in the manifesto, and this is why he wants to know if this is a revelation or not.
Senator Bailey.  What I am trying now to emphasize is that the manifesto is a revelation, or that it is based upon a revelation; that the revelation -
Mr. Smith.  If the Senator will permit me, it is inspired.  It is the same thing.  I admit what you say.
Finally Senator Bailey concludes this line of questioning with this:
Senator Bailey.  I agree with you entirely, that for your individual conduct you are amenable to the State of Utah and not to the Federal Government.  I concur in that statement; but is it true that the head of the church in Utah is living in open and proclaimed defiance of the statutes of that State, and also in defiance or a revelation received by your predecessor - not your immediate predecessor, I believe, but a predecessor - and communicated to the church and sustained by it?  Am I correct in that?
Mr. Smith.  You are correct so far - that I have confessed here openly, and it has gone to the world - that I have not observed the law against cohabitation with my wives.  That is all there is to it.
Senator Bailey.  What I am trying to make clear is that it is a law not only of the State of Utah but also a law of the church.
Mr. Smith.  It is a rule of the church.
Senator Bailey.  That is what I want to make clear.
Mr. Smith.  Yes.
Commentary:  Ok, it's done.  He's admitted the same thing 50 different ways, let's move on.

The Chairman then picks up where Senator Bailey left off, but with a twist of putting the family in the mix.  He wants to know how, if the church doesn't teach polygamy and if Mr. Smith doesn't personally teach polygamy, he could not be teaching polygamy if he himself is living it.  Mr. Smith draws the distinction, in answer to that statement, between polygamy and polygamous cohabitation with both of his lawyers piping up to say that Congress and statutes make that exact same distinction.

Mr. Tayler speaks up (first time in quite some time) and adds clarification to this set of questions.  He states that there is a pamphlet the church publishes which has the manifesto in it; however, it does not contain any of the statements read previously in the hearing from President Woodruff, specifically about this being a revelation.
Senator Overman.  The question is whether or not the pamphlet he described as a manifesto, which is sent broadcast by your missionaries and is used by your missionaries, contains a statement that this is a revelation from God.
Mr. Smith.  I could not tell just form memory without examining the pamphlet, but I will say that the contents of this pamphlet embrace the prohibition of plural marriage, and it also gives a statement of fact that it was presented before the church and approved and became binding upon the church to stop plural marriages, which is in effect -
Senator Overman.  Which is in effect what?
Mr. Smith.  As complete and as perfect as it could possibly have been couched under any other terms or words.
Senator Overman.  The question is whether it is so stated in terms.
Mr. Smith.  It does not state in terms that it was a revelation, and it is not necessary that it should, inasmuch as the object is accomplished by it.
Commentary:  To sum up everything brought before the committee about this, it is known that the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) does not contain any repudiation of Section 132 (revelation about plural marriage).  Furthermore, the pamphlet that does contain the manifesto, does not contain any language stating that said manifesto was a revelation from God to the prophet of the church.  Ouch!  I still go back to my first inclination about this:  I personally believe the manifesto was not included in the D&C because it wasn't a revelation given to Joseph Smith.

Mr. Worthington.  Let me ask you whether anything which is intended for the government of the church and proceeds from the president and has first been approved by the apostles -
Mr. Smith.  How is that?
Mr. Worthington.  When it has been introduced by the president, submitted to the apostles and approved by them, and is then submitted to the body of the church and in general conference approved by the church, whether it is binding upon the members of the church - whether it is a revelation or a rule.
Mr. Smith.  It is equally binding on the church, whether it is a revelation or a rule.
Mr. Worthington.  And a man who disobeys it would be just as much out of harmony if it were a rule as if it were a revelation?
Mr. Smith.  Just the same.
Commentary:  This continues to sound very much like a review of what has previously been testified to.  However, sometimes there are little nuggets of knowledge tucked away inside these conversations, so I note them when I find them.  In this case, either a revelation or a rule (read: non-revelation) of the church is treated with equal weight before the congregation.  I guess he's trying to say that it wouldn't matter if it was or was not a revelation, it was accepted just the same, so it is just as binding.

The entire pamphlet of which this conversation has been revolving around lately is now offered to put into the committee record.  Here is a basic outline of the contents of this pamphlet:

1.  Articles of Faith - there are the normal Articles of Faith as presented in the current Doctrine and Covenants, except for #4, as read in General Conference October 6, 1890.  It is worded slightly different today.
a.  1890 version:  We believe that these ordinances are:  First, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, repentance; third, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, laying of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
b.  1981 version:  We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are:  first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
2.  Apostle Franklin D. Richards moved that the church adopt the Articles of Faith "as the rule of our faith and of our conduct during our mortal lives."  Voting was unanimous.
3.  The manifesto itself.
4.  A talk given by George Q. Cannon where in he quotes D&C 124:49, and then says, "It is on this basis that President Woodruff has felt himself justified in issuing this manifesto."  He then talks a little about the history of polygamy, laws against it, his feelings, etc.
5.  A talk given by President Woodruff:  "I want to say to all Israel that the step which I have taken in issuing the manifesto has not been done without earnest prayer before the Lord."  He talks about things the Saints were asked to do that were not completed (the temple in Jackson County, Missouri and the temple in Far West, Missouri - to name two).  He also talks about Lorenzo Snow's "doctrine of election."  Says he:  "It is like this:  You can and you can't; you will and you won't; you shall and you shan't; you'll be damned if you do and you'll be damned if you don't."

At 11:55 AM, the committee adjourned until Monday morning.

No comments:

Post a Comment