Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Reed Smoot Hearings: Day 5 - Joseph F. Smith, part 2

March 7, 1904

Before proceeding with the afternoon session of questioning, Mr. Worthington wishes to make a clarification of previous comments:
Mr. Worthington.  Mr. Chairman, before going on with the examination of the witness, I would like to say that just before the recess I made a remark which has been misinterpreted by some, and perhaps by the committee.  I remarked, when Senator Dubois had, by accident, referred to me as counsel for the witness, that I was not his counsel, and I said if I were his counsel that there would have been some difference in his testimony, or something to that effect.  I only meant by that to say that as I understood the law he had a right to refuse to answer a great many of the questions which have been asked him here, and if I had been in his place I would have refused to answer them.

I did not, in the slightest degree, of course, mean to reflect upon any person who may have advised him, because we all know he is represented here by very able, conscientious, and distinguished counsel.  I am advised, however, that even, in so far as that is concerned, I was mistaken, because - and in this the witness can answer whether it is true or not - I am informed he was fully advised in the premises, and decided of his own motion that he would answer everything, whether he was compelled to answer it or not.

How is that, Mr. Smith?

Mr. Smith.  That is correct, sir.
Commentary:  I like the fact that this is put out into the open.  There is not a single question he is avoiding, and not a question he will purposely not answer.  He came here to answer every question asked of him.  What he doesn't say, and what I can assume from that statement, is that Mr. Smith wants to answer every question honestly and as truthfully as he can; no deception, no concealment, and no hidden meanings to his answers.

Mr. Worthington then starts in on questioning Mr. Smith about the charge of rewarding those who are the most defiant law-breakers with high ecclesiastical positions in the church.  We find from this conversation that President Wilford Woodruff, true to the manifesto, did not violate the law after its release; the same can be said of President Lorenzo Snow.  This violation mentioned here would include both polygamy and polygamous cohabitation.  His statement concerning President Snow:  "My understanding is that he complied strictly with it."

Mr. Worthington then asks him to review, again, how the next president of the church is chosen.
Mr. Worthington.  I wish you would explain a little more fully than you have about this matter of promotion - how it was you came to take the place of Lorenzo Snow.  I think you have told us there has been a custom, at least, of promotion.
Mr. Smith.  It has been the custom, since the death of Joseph Smith that the president of the twelve succeeded to the presidency of the church.
Mr. Worthington.  That has been from the beginning - that has been a rule that has been followed?
Mr. Smith.  It was the case with Brigham Young and his successors.
Mr. Worthington.  So that the last apostle takes the foot of the list?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  And as vacancies occur he moves up?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  Has there, so far as you know, from the beginning been any other rule followed?
Mr. Smith.  No.
Mr. Worthington.  Or has that been universally followed?
Mr. Smith.  That has been universally followed.
Mr. Worthington.  So that all the rewards that have come in that way have been by simply following the custom of the church?
Mr. Smith.  That is correct, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  I understand you to say, however, that there is no law - no revelation or command - of the church in any way which requires that.
Mr. Smith.  No; it is just simply a custom.
Mr. Worthington.  And that if a vacancy should occur tomorrow it would be competent for any member of the church to be selected as president?
Mr. Smith.  That is quite right.
Commentary:  I don't know how much more clear this can be made.  It has been gone over a few times, and here again the succession is normally handled by the senior member of the twelve, but that is only the custom of the church; there is no revelation or command from God that it must be this way.  Additionally, any member of the church has the possibility to be the next prophet.  Interesting.

To further pursue this same subject of rewards, every new apostle since the manifesto is reviewed and his marital status (monogamist or polygamist) is stated.  Since the manifesto was given (in 1890), there have been 6 vacancies filled in the Twelve:  Matthias F. Cowley (reputed polygamist, 2 wives, do not know about cohabitation status), Abraham O. Woodruff (monogamist), Rudger Clawson (monogamist), Reed Smoot (monogamist), Hyrum M. Smith (monogamist), and George Albert Smith (monogamist).
Mr. Worthington.  So, that out of the six apostles who have come into office since the manifesto, five have been monogamists, one had two wives, and whether he actually lived with more than one wife after that you do not know?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; I do not know.
Commentary:  So, it would be hard to say from the manifesto on that the most defiant law breakers of the church are rewarded with high ecclesiasitcal positions.  The president of the church is chosen typically through seniority, not in any other way.  New members of the apostles are 83% monogamists.  I'm hard pressed to believe that this demonstrates a reward in the highest levels of the church.

Then to make sure that there is no misunderstanding, he asks this question:
Mr. Worthington.  Now, finally, on that subject, so far as I am concerned, let me ask you whether, to your knowledge, in any case, any man in the church has been given any office whatever because he was a polygamist or lived in polygamous cohabitation, or whether, so far as you know, such appointments have gone by merit and deserts?
Mr. Smith.  They have gone by merit entirely.
Commentary:  Well, that's the answer I expected.  I would have been shocked had it been something else.

The line kind of blurs here from cross-examination into redirect-examination.  Mr. Tayler just kind of starts asking questions and Mr. Worthington does not object or have more questions, therefore, he must have been finished or signaled Mr. Tayler and the Chairman that he was finished.


Mr. Tayler comes back to the hypothetical question of someone reporting Mr. Smith to the bishop of his ward for violating the church rule of not cohabiting with more than one wife.  He goes through the process of where the trial would be held; where the appeal would be heard, etc.  In the middle of these questions, Mr. Smith appears to get a little grumpy about this.
Mr. Tayler.  Who is the bishop of your ward?
Mr. Smith.  George R. Emery.
Mr. Tayler.  He is a polygamist, is he not?
Mr. Smith.  I do not know.
Mr. Tayler.  Is not that his reputation?
Mr. Smith.  I do not know.
Mr. Tayler.  You do not know?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; I do not know.
Mr. Tayler.  Have you any idea whether he is a polygamist or not?
Mr. Smith.  If I had I should decline to tell you.
Mr. Tayler.  You should decline to tell us?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir; I do not know anything about George R. Emery's family.
Commentary:  I wasn't there.  I didn't hear him speak these words.  However, just from reading it, this seemed just a tad snippy to me.  If it was, he is getting tired of answering the same questions over and over and over again for different Senators who missed the meetings, or the attorneys that want to revisit the same subject again (beating a dead horse).

Mr. Tayler leaves this subject and then tries to confuse Mr. Smith by accusing him of lying.  Mr. Smith sees through this and denies the statement.
Mr. Tayler.  You stated in your examination in chief that you have had 11 children born since the manifesto.
Mr. Smith.  Yes.
Mr. Tayler.  Are you sure of the number?
Mr. Smith.  I cannot say that I was absolutely sure, but I think I am about right.
Mr. Tayler.  Is it not a fact - and I do not put this is an offensive way, but only to get at the fact as quickly as possible - that you have ahd 20 children born since the manifesto?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; I have not.
Mr. Tayler then has Mr. Smith list off his children wife by wife; the children born since the manifesto:  Alice (Fielding, Jesse, and Andrew); Mary (Silas, Agnes, and James).  After a few more questions, it is apparent that Mr. Tayler is confused as to the children born, their ages, how many from each wife, etc.
Mr. Smith.  I can furnish the committee a correct statement of exactly the ages and dates of my children, if I have the time to do it.
Mr. Tayler.  You were subpoenaed to brigh with you a family record?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; I was not.
Mr. Tayler.  You were not?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  There was no instruction to you to bring any record of your marriages and of the births of your children?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  Is not the subpoena here, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. Tayler.  I presume it did not go out.  The press statement was to that effect.
Mr. Smith.  I have the subpoena in my pocket here.
The Chairman.  Therre is no question about it.  It was not a subpoena duces tecum.
Commentary:  Well, he didn't bring his family records like Mr. Tayler thought he should have.  He believed this was part of the subpoena and he would catch him on it.  It didn't work.  Furthermore, Mr. Smith has the subpoena in his pocket; which I assume from the Chairman's comment doesn't request this specific information.  This does, in a way, make Mr. Tayler look a little foolish for not doing his homework beforehand.
Mr. Tayler.  What is your best recollection now, Mr. Smith, as to the number of your children since the manifesto?
Commentary:  That was, in my opinion, a stupid question.  Mr. Tayler is normally a really sharp guy, but I think he fell down or something because this question is d.u.m.b. in my opinion.  He's already answered this a few times, but Mr. Tayler asks him again (to check and see if he'll change his answer???).  Does he think it is going to morph from 11 to 12 or perhaps 20 within the course of a few says and in this case a few minutes?
Mr. Smith.  My recollection is that I have had eleven born since the manifesto.
Commentary:  There.  Did that help?  I expect better from Mr. Tayler.

Next, Mr. Tayler moves on to naming the children from the other wives and there is a bit of a discussion as to whether the first wife, Mr. Smith's current legal wife, should have her children listed.  Mr. Smith says that he will leave her off because she is not classified as a plural wife.  After some wrangling, he does finally list the children born from this first wife (Julina) after the manifesto (Edith and Rachel).  Sarah, his second wife (Asinith and Jenetta), and Edna, his third wife (Martha).

Finally after listing off all of hist post-manifesto children, Mr. Tayler questions Mr. Smith about a child named "Robert" and other he believes were left out of this list (born since the manifesto).
Mr. Tayler.  Whose child is Robert?  Have you a son named Robert?
Mr. Smith.  I have a son Robert that was born - if he was living he would be 18 years old today.
Mr. Tayler.  That is the only Robert?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  And a daughter Lucy?
Mr. Smith.  I have a daughter Lucy, and she is living, but she was born before the manifesto.
Mr. Tayler.  How old is she?
Mr. Smith.  I think she is 15 years of age.
We also find out that Mr. Smith married his first wife, Julina, when she was "between 16 and 17 years of age."
Mr. Worthington.  Mr. Chairman, what in the world has that to do with whether Senator Smoot should hold his seat in the Senate or not - asking him whether a child was begotten when his wife was 45 years old?
Mr. Tayler.  Well, I do not know.  Some things might be important.  When did you marry her?
Mr. Smith.  I married her on the 5th day of April, 1866.
When then find out that his first wife divorced him shortly after his marriage to his second wife.
Mr. Tayler.  You then had a wife?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  She was, then, your plural wife?
Mr. Smith.  This one was my plural wife.
Mr. Tayler.  Have you been married to her since?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  When?
Mr. Smith.  After the divorce of my first wife.
Mr. Tayler.  When did you get that divorce?
Mr. Smith.  I cannot tell you from memory.
Mr. Tayler.  I mean was it a short time after your plural marriage?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  Or a long time?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; it was a short time after the marriage of the second wife.
There is a bit of an argument between attorneys here where Mr. Worthington laughs at a question by Mr. Tayler, and Mr. Van Cott objects to the question.  Mr. Tayler then makes a statement of his supposed fact which Mr. Van Cott objects to because it says the church allowed plural marriage after the manifesto.  This did not come from the witness, thus the objection.

Mr. Tayler then states that he is finished, at which time the committee Chairman begins asking questions of the witness.
The Chairman.  Mr. Smith, I will not press it, but I will ask you if you have any objections to stating how many children you have in all.
Mr. Smith.  Altogether?
The Chairman.  Yes.
Mr. Smith.  I have had born to me, sir, 42 children, 21 boys and 21 girls, and I am proud of every one of them.
The Chairman.  Where is your official residence?  You spoke of the official residence.  Where is that?
Mr. Smith.  My official residence is in the Beehive House, Salt Lake City.
The Chairman.  Where is that?
Mr. Smith.  It is adjoining my office.
The Chairman.  The Beehive House.  How long has that been the official residence of the various presidents?
Mr. Smith.  It was purchased by the church during the administration of Lorenzo Snow, and fitted up for him.
The Chairman.  And you live with one of your wives in that official residence?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
He continues questioning him about the location of the house (central part of Salt Lake), is it protected or covered with a high wall (no), is it open (absolutely open on 3 sides).
The Chairman.  Now, where are the residences of your other wives?
Mr. Smith.  Three of them reside in the Sixteenth Ward.
The Chairman.  As to this official residence, I want to know where they are?
Mr. Smith.  Sir?
The Chairman.  As to this official residence, how far are these residences of the other wives from the official residence?
Mr. Smith.  By the nearest road, about 1 mile.
The Chairman.  And these residences of your other wives are not connected, then, with the grounds of the official residence?
Mr. Smith.  No sir.
Commentary:  So he lives with one wife (Julina) in the Beehive House, and 3 of the other 4 are about 1 mile away from this house.
The Chairman.  Where do you attend service on the Sabbath?
Mr. Smith.  My duties call me to attend the quarterly conferences of the church, and nine-tenths of the time, nearly, during the year, I am absent from Salt Lake City, attending conferences of the people.
The Chairman.  Do you families attend this tabernacle?
Mr. Smith.  They attend it sometimes, and sometimes their ward meetings.
The Chairman.  But they attend every Sabbath one meeting or the other?
Mr. Smith.  I could not say.  I wish they would, Mr. Chairman, but sometimes they do not go to meeting.
The Chairman.  And with their children?
Mr. Smith.  Oh, yes; they sometimes take their children.
Commentary:  Well, at least it is good to know that not everyone, including Mr. Smith's immediate family, goes to church 100% of the time.

The Chairman.  These other residences in which your wives live, do those belong to the church?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; they belong to my wives.
The Chairman.  Purchased by them?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; purchased by me and given to them.
The Chairman.  Oh, yes; I see.
Mr. Smith.  They own their own homes.
The Chairman.  You purchased them, and then -
Mr. Smith.  Deeded them to the mothers.
Commentary:  Interesting.  He bought and gave the deed to the mothers.

The Chairman then asks if Mr. Smith has any relations with the Reorganized Church.  Mr. Smith talked there (Plano, Ill.) once with his cousin, Joseph Smith III (son of the prophet, Joseph Smith), but has not talked with him since that time.

The Chairman then wants to try and establish testimony as to the fact that polygamy was an investion of Brigham Young, and not Joseph Smith.
The Chairman.  I understood you to say that the prophet Joseph Smith - I mean the original revelator -
Mr. Smith.  Yes.
The Chairman.  I understood you to say, somewhere in your testimony, that he was in his lifetime a polygamist?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
The Chairman.  Can you name any person to whom he was married?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
The Chairman.  Or any child born to him -
Mr. Smith.  Oh, no; I cannot tell you anything about the children.  I can tell you one or two of his wives.
The Chairman.  If you will be kind enough to give them to me, I will be obliged to you.
Mr. Smith.  Eliza R. Snow.
The Chairman.  When did he marry her?
Mr. Smith.  He married her in 1842, I think.
The Chairman.  Well, another?
Mr. Smith.  Eliza Maria Partidge was one of his wives.
The Chairman.  When was that?
Mr. Smith.  Somewhere in the forties; I do not know just when; I could not tell from memory.
The Chairman.  Was his first wife alive at that time?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
The Chairman.  Whom else, that you know of?
Mr. Smith.  It would be very difficult for me to tell you who else from memory.
Mr. Worthington.  Mr. Chairman, pardon me for making the suggestion, but I understood the committee to decide that the inquiry was to be limited to what happened after the manifesto, in relation to the violation of the laws.
The Chairman.  It is not for the purpose.  He has testified to the fact that the original prophet, Joseph Smith, was a polygamist, which is denied by some people, and I want to find out the fact.  That is all.
Mr. Smith.  I was going to say to you, Mr. Chairman, that I can give you the names of the ladies that were maried to Joseph Smith, and the dtes on which they were married, and the name of the person officiating, if I have the time to do it.  I did not bring any data of the kind with me here.
The Chairman.  Are these women living, any of them, now?
Mr. Smith.  Sir?
The Chairman.  Are any of these several wives you speak of, of Joseph Smith, living now?
Mr. Smith.  I do not think any of them are living now.
Commentary:  Ok, so he named two, in addition to Joseph's first wife, Emma.  There are more, but the Chairman did not request that information because none of the women included in taht list are alive, and thus they are not available for examination and cross-examination.  I believe he would have subpoenaed any woman still living that was Joseph's wife to prove this point.  Also, wow, what a nice little piece of information this would be to have; right from the church archives, all of the wives of the prophet Joseph Smith.  Darn.  That would have been interesting to see.

All of the Chairman's questions seem to have run out.  He asked about his wives attending conference and other women attending and little more on Sunday meeting attendance, and that was it.  Now, other Senators one the committee are asking their one-off questions to Mr. Smith.
Senator Hoar.  I wish to ask one think, Mr. Smith.  When you took the chair you declined to take the oath, but took an affirmation.  Is that some view of duty personal to you, or is it a part of the doctrine in your church, as it is with the Quakers and Shakers?
Mr. Smith.  We believe in the Scriptures, "swear not at all."
Senator Hoar.  Then that is a doctrine of your church?
Mr. Smith.  Yes, sir.
Senator Hoar.  I have asked that because it has been said by the counsel opposed to you that they conceded that Mr. Smoot had taken no oath, I think, inconsistent with his obligation as a Senator.  I do not think there is any doubt, but I think it ought to be made clear that that phrase, "taking no oath," applies in Mr. Smoot's mind and in the mind of the counsel to having taken no affirmation.
Mr. Smith.  Just the same.
There is just one more question from Senator Overman, and it is a wild, very much off-topic, doctrinal one.  Check this out:
Senator Overman.  Let me ask a question for my own satisfaction.  I have a little pamphlet which states that you teach that our Savior was a polygamist.  Is that so?
Mr. Smith.  We do not teach any such doctrine.  We simply teach the historical fact the Jesus Christ descended through a line of polygamists from David and Abraham.
Senator Overman.  You do not teach that he had polygmous relations?
Mr. Smith.  Oh, no, sir.
Commentary:  Apparently Senator Overman is in possession of a pamphlet that is anti-Mormon and there is a statement therein that says the Mormons teach that Jesus was a polygamist.  Lucky for Senator Overman, the president of the Mormon Church is on the stand and he could directly and authoritatively answer that question.

That is the last question for Mr. Smith.

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