Monday, February 8, 2010

Reed Smoot Hearings: Day 6 - Francis M. Lyman, part 2

March 8, 1904

Picking up from where part one left off, Mr. Lyman is being questioned about missionary work in the church.  The Chairman is interested in finding out what Mormon missionaries do if they are verbally attacked concerning polygamy.  Do they respond?
Mr. Worthington.  To what extent, if at all, since 1890, in instructing your missionaries and sending them out to their work, have you told them to inculcate or encourage the practice of polygamy?
Mr. Lyman.  They are always thoroughly warned, Mr. Chairman, to avoid the discussion of that subject, and prohibited from discussing it or advocating and defending or putting it forth, because we have yielded that requirement to the law and have ceased plural marriages entirely, and they never refer to it.  They never advert to it at all unless they are approached and compelled to.
The Chairman.  And then what, if they are assailed?
Mr. Lyman.  If they are compelled, we always advise that they should not listen, should not yield.
The Chairman.  But if compelled, then what?
Mr. Lyman.  How is that?
The Chairman.  If compelled to, by an assault?
Mr. Lyman.  I suppose they do, likely.
The Chairman.  Do what?
Mr. Lyman.  I very much regret that they should answer at all in regard to it.
Mr. Worthington.  They do what?
The Chairman.  What do they do?
Mr. Lyman.  They speak of the principle, I presume, when they are compelled.
The Chairman.  They denounce it or defend it?
Mr. Lyman.  Defend it.  They would not denounce it.
Mr. Worthington.  What are they instructed to say about the practice of it as distinguished from the theory?
Mr. Lyman.  Forbid it entirely, and to instruct the people that nothing of the kind is tolerated in the church.
Mr. Worthington.  that is, you defend it as a belief?
Mr. Lyman.  Yes. 
Mr. Worthington.  But instruct that it is not to be pursued as a practice?
Mr. Lyman.  They are entirely forbidden to handle it or do anything with it, and what they do of course I am unable to say.
The Chairman.  Right there just a moment.  If your theory upon that is assailed in regard to polygamy, do you then defend it?
Mr. Lyman.  If I did anything, I would have to.
Mr. Worthington.  Do you mean defend its rightfulness as a principle or as a practice?
Mr. Lyman.  As a principle of faith.
Mr. Worthington.  I understand.  You always instruct and tell everybody it is forbidden - the practice of it?
Mr. Lyman.  Entirely; always.  We never fail.
Commentary:  This is again a repeat of what Joseph F. Smith has testified to previously; namely, that the missionaries teach that the practice is wrong, but that they believe the principle itself.  This is not new, but it is corroborated information now from a second witness stating essentially the same thing.

Mr. Worthington then take a detour from this line of questioning, and asks about the authority to perform a plural marriage.  He is curious about the alleged marriage of Mrs. Kennedy in Mexico (at which time Wilford Woodruff was president of the church):
Mr. Worthington.  If any elder or preacher of the church had desired to have authority to perform a plural marriage ceremony at that time, from whom could he have obtained that authority?
Mr. Lyman.  I am sure he could not have obtained it from anyone, but President Woodruff would have been the only man that could have given in.
Mr. Worthington.  Do you know what President Woodruff's instructions were at that time, and what he was doing about that?
Mr. Lyman.  Yes, sir; he forbade it entirely.
Commentary:  Alright, so this type of authority is only obtained from the president of the church, and from nowhere else.  To me this means that if a plural marriage is performed correctly, the authority to do this has to be obtained from the president, otherwise it is done outside the church's authority and oversight, and is thus illegal in the eyes of the church.

There is a bit of a discussion here about the authority and "what if " questions.  The committee is interested in knowing the extent to which the president of the church can act should he want to, so that plural marriages could be performed again.  They make all of these queries with the understanding that there has already been a revelation prohibiting the practice of polygamy.  This conversation does get him into a little bit of trouble here with explaining what he knows.
Senator Overman.  I understand you, Mr. Lyman, to state that this manifesto or revelation was only holding in abeyance the law as to plural marriages?
The Chairman.  Suspending it.
Senator Overman.  Suspending it for the time, but that the president still has the authority to confer that upon the elders and apostles?
Mr. Lyman.  Yes; but he is not at liberty to exercise it.
Senator Overman.  He is not at liberty to exercise it?
Mr. Lyman.  He is not at liberty to exercise it, because the Lord has forbidden it.
The Chairman.  If he had a revelation to suspend the suspension, then he would be authorized?
Mr. Lyman.  I do not think there is any - I would not think there was any probability of that at all, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman.  I am not speaking of the probabilities.
Mr. Lyman.  No.
The Chairman.  Suppose the Lord should appear to him and direct him to suspend the suspension; he would then have to obey it?
Mr. Lyman.  He has obeyed the law in -
The Chairman.  I say he would then have to obey that latest revelation?
Mr. Lyman.  He has obeyed the law wherein the Lord forbade plural marriages.
Commentary:  They are trying to pin him down here and see if another revelation would reverse the position of the church on plural marriages.  So far Mr. Lyman has been unwilling to directly answer this question.  He only states that the president has followed the first revelation and is obeying the law (of the land).  He also states, although I'm not sure how he would know this, that the Lord will "probably" not give this type of revelation to the prophet.  Unless Mr. Lyman has had a revelation where the Lord has told him this (not out of the question), then he knows something internally where the church has decided never to implement this practice again, no matter what happens around it (which would seem to be against spiritual instruction for any principle when a decision is made no matter what the Lord says or will say).

The Chairman never does get a direct answer to his question above, and the committee continues on with the hearing by wrangling over the wording of the manifesto of 1890 for a few minutes; what is said exactly, what is mean, is the word "suspended" in there (no), etc.

The Chairman then continues questioning Mr. Lyman, and comes to this little tid bit, which I thought was interesting.
The Chairman.  And they [missionaries] are instructed not to go into the mysteries.
Mr. Lyman.  Yes, of the kingdom.
The Chairman.  Is polygamy one of the mysteries?
Mr. Lyman.  Yes, sir; it would be now.  [Laughter]
The Chairman.  But if that doctrine is assailed, then you would be called upon to defend it as a faith, would you?
Mr. Lyman.  No; I do not think I would say anything about it.  I would let them assail.
The Chairman.  You would let them assail and you would walk off?
Mr. Lyman.  Yes.
The Chairman.  But you would defend the faith, would you not?
Mr. Lyman.  No; I think I would let the faith take care of itself.
The Chairman.  But you would attend to the practice?
Mr. Lyman.  No, sir.  [Laughter]
Commentary:  Polygamy is now classified as a mystery; previously it was not so classified.  He also states, somewhat in opposition to what he stated previously, that he would not defend the principle of polygamy if it were assailed right in front of him; he would let it go and say nothing.

After being asked again about the use of the Doctrine in Covenants by missionaries (haven't we already covered this ground?), Mr. Lyman responds with a similar answer as he testified to before:  "It is not used as a proselyting work at all."  Mr. Tayler then proceeds to question him about revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants and ties that in with the current modern day revelations.
Mr. Tayler.  I understood you to say that some of your apostles have been chosen through revelations?
Mr. Lyman.  Every one of them.
Mr. Tayler.  Every one of them?
Mr. Lyman.  Yes.
Mr. Tayler.  Mr. Smoot was chosen, then, through a revelation?
Mr. Lyman.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  Who received that revelation?
Mr. Lyman.  Lorenzo Snow - President Lorenzo Snow.
Mr. Tayler.  What kind of revelation was it?
Mr. Lyman.  From the Lord.
Mr. Tayler.  What is written or -
Mr. Lyman.  Oral.  It was not written.  It was the voice of the Lord to Lorenzo Snow.
Mr. Tayler.  Speaking directly to him?
Mr. Lyman.  To him.
Mr. Tayler.  And specifically indicating Mr. Smoot?
Mr. Lyman.  Yes, sir; it pointed him out exactly.
Mr. Tayler.  You do not define it as being a desire of Lorenzo Snow?
Mr. Lyman.  No, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  To have Mr. Smoot one of the apostles, which he imagined would be approved by God?
Mr. Lyman.  No, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  But it is more specific and certain and substantive than that I have just stated?
Mr. Lyman.  Yes, sir.
Senator Hoar.  I would like to ask one question there.  You say that Mr. Smoot was selected as an apostle by the voice of the Lord to Lorenzo Snow?
Mr. Lyman.  Yes, sir.
Senator Hoar.  Do you know whether that voice was audible, in the sense of an ordinary sound?
Mr. Lyman.  It was, no doubt, audible to him.
Senator Hoar.  Audible as a sound rather than a light?
Mr. Lyman.  Yes, sir.
Senator Hoar.  How do you know?
Mr. Lyman.  How do I know?
Senator Hoar.  Yes.
Mr. Lyman.  The Lord revealed it to me.
Senator Hoar.  The Lord revealed it to you also?
Mr. Lyman.  Yes; by his spirit.
Senator Hoar.  How did He reveal it to you?
Mr. Lyman.  By the spirit of the Lord.
Senator Hoar.  Did He reveal it to you by an audible sound, as you hear the voice of an ordinary person speaking to you?
Mr. Lyman.  He spoke to me by his spirit.
Senator Hoar.  How?
Mr. Lyman.  By his holy spirit.
Senator Hoar.  How?
Mr. Lyman.  To my soul.
Senator Hoar.  How?
Mr. Lyman.  And heart.
Senator Hoar.  How?
Mr. Lyman.  By the spirit of the Lord.
Senator Hoar.  How did the spirit of the Lord speak by the spirit of the Lord to your soul?  In what way was the speech made?
Mr. Lyman.  I could tell you, Mr. Senator, how I obtained that spirit and testimony so that not only when Mr. Smoot has been chosen, but when every other apostle has been chosen, the spirit of the Lord has borne record to my spirit.
Senator Hoar.  I understood Mr. Smith to testify that he had never had a revelation since he has been president of the church.
Mr. Lyman.  Yes.
Senator Hoar.  You have had some?
Mr. Lyman.  What President Smith does as the president of the church he does by the direction of the spirit of the Lord, not a written revelation.  Two of the apostles were chosen, and revelation was written when George Teasdale was chosen, and Heber J. Grant, but ...
Commentary:  This was an interesting coversation between Mr. Tayler, Senator Hoar and Mr. Lyman.  I don't know if Mr. Lyman was present during some of the questioning of Mr. Smith where he testified that he had not received any revelation since becoming president of the church.  However, he didn't miss a beat and answered in step with the question.  I also found the questioning by Senator Hoar kind of funny.  He wants to know how God speaks to man ... how? ... how? ... how?  He was like a five year old just digging and digging and digging for the answer he wanted.

There is a bit of a "wait a minute" moment where Senator Hoar asks Mr. Lyman to clarify how Mr. Smith could receive no revelations yet lead the church constantly by revelation.  However, this apparent uncomfortability didn't last too long.

Senator Hoar then tries to understand more about the thinking of people, Mormons specifically, in response to a revelation from the Lord.  He wants to understand what Mr. Lyman does with a revelation after it is received.
Senator Hoar.  Have you always obeyed those revelations in your actions about the selection of apostles?
Mr. Lyman.  Yes, sir; in the selection.
Senator Hoar.  Do you make any distinction in your mind between the commands of the Lord, that you are at liberty to disobey, and commands that you are at liberty to obey?
Mr. Lyman.  The commands of the Lord that I have disobeyed - that I presume the Senator refers to - in my life, I trust myself to the mercy of the Lord.
Senator Hoar.  Have you repented of that disobedience?
Mr. Lyman.  How is that?
Senator Hoar.  Have you repented of that idsobedience?
Mr. Lyman.  Not yet; no sir.
Senator Hoar.  Not yet?
Mr. Lyman.  Not yet.  [Laughter]
Commentary:  Mr. Lyman saw ahead and predicted what Senator Hoar was going to ask him.  By knowing two or three questions in advance and seeing the trap being placed for him by Senator Hoar, he knew how to avoid it.  I wonder why the Senator tried to lay the trap in the first place.  Why hide the meaning of the question in a future question?  Just come right out and ask the question without trying to trap someone and make them look silly.  Or, maybe that's what he wanted, to make Mr. Lyman look silly so that he could look superior and smart.  Not cool.  The trap would have been that Mr. Lyman testifies that he obeys all of God's revelations.  Then Senator Hoar would have said he doesn't obey unlawful cohabitation and he needs to explain how he chooses which ones to obey and not obey.  That wouldn't have been a fun conversation.  So, he admitted it up front, and defused the land mind placed for him by the Senator from Massachusetts.

Senator Hoar, never the one to give up easily, does finally catch Mr. Lyman in a conversational trap.  Mr. Lyman states that generally people know and believe he is a polygamist and is living against the rule of the church.  He further states that he excludes Mr. Smoot from this general group of people.  Senator Hoar does not understand how this can be so and drills down on this quite a bit.  At the end, the Senator comes back to the spiritual side of this question and answer after Mr. Lyman recants the testimony that was confusing.
Senator Hoar.  Do you not think, Mr. Apostle, that in this hearing it behooves you to be a little careful of your answers so that in so important a matter you do not have to take back in two or three minutes what you have said?  Have you had any revelation or commandment in regard to the testimony you should give to this case?
Mr. Lyman.  No, sir.
Senator Hoar.  There is no inspiration of that or any part of it?
Mr. Lyman.  As to the testimony I should give here?
Senator Hoar.  As to the testimony you have given or are to give?
Mr. Lyman.  No; I do not know that I have, particularly.  I came here to answer the questions of the committee.
Senator Hoar.  But I want to know whether you are answering them under the direction of the Lord, according to your belief, or merely in your human and uninspired capacity?
Mr. Lyman.  I believe I shall answer the questions that are asked me here as the spirit of the Lord directs me, and truthfully.
Senator Hoar.  Do you mean to say that the spirit of the Lord directs you in your answers here?
Mr. Lyman.  I believe so.
Senator Hoar.  You believe so.
Mr. Lyman.  Yes, sir.
Senator Hoar.  Then in your belief, did the spirit of the Lord direct you to make the answer which you just ook back and said was a mistake?  Well, if you cannot answer it I will not press it.  That is all.
Commentary:  The scriptures so say something very close to what Mr. Lyman is trying to describe to the committee.  Here are a few references to it:
Matthew 10:19:  "But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak:  for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak."

D&C 84:85:  "Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion shall be meted unto every man."

D&C 100:5-6:  "Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men; for it shall be given you in the very hour, year, in the very moment, what ye shall say."

The conversation then turns to the "righteous" people known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; as compared with the "unrighteous" troublemakers known today as the Mormons or those that followed Brigham Young out of Illinois.  Mr. Lyman is asked to state the differences between the two religions and this necessarily follows with a discussion of what is proper to investigate (other religion's doctrine?).  Finally, I've placed an eye opening statement by Mr. Tayler in here where his belief and understanding were very transparent, as was his purpose and direction.
Senator Overman.  Do I understand you to say the difference between the Reorganized Mormon Church and yours is that they are not required to obey their leaders and your people are required to obey their leaders?
Mr. Lyman.  No, I did not say that.  Somebody suggested that.  I do not criticize them in that regard.  I believe they do not gather.  We gather.  I know of no other religious people that gather.  They do not gather.
Mr. Lyman.  Yes; from Europe to the United States and to the land of Zion.  We gather together and they do not.  We build temples and they do not.  We marry for eternity and they do not, as I understand.  I would not like to be taken to task.  I may be mistaken in some of these ideas, but I believe these things make us differ.  On the first principles of the gospel I think they agree pretty well with us, but they do not believe in the endowments, I understand, not temple building, nor the gathering.  I do not think they engage in the doctrine of salvation for the dead, which we do.
Mr. Tayler.  Mr. Chairman, I do not want to be foreclosed by the fact that this informal discussion has taken place from taking a different ground when the juncture comes than that which is stated by Mr. Worthington, for we shall argue that here are two branches, said to be branches of the same church, in which the only difference is that one believes in the doctrein of plural mjariages and in the subordinations of its people.  That is the only distinction between the two.  One of them has a history with which we are all familiar.  I do not comment on that now at all.  It has made great trouble in this country.  The other is composed, so far as history tells us anything about it, of a peaceable, law-abiding, orderly people; and it is in respect of those two things around which all of this case gathers - polygamy and the direction of the people by the apostolate - and if those two were eliminated this hearing would not be going on here.
Commentary:  I thought the discussion about "gathering" was enlightening.  I take it that "gathering" to Mr. Lyman means physically relocating to Zion or to Utah to be with the Saints from whatever locale currently you reside in.  I'm not sure that no other people do this as he states, as Jews do gather to Israel (7 million + there at the current time and growing); however, the gathering of the Saints to Utah was unique in its time and scale.  Over the course of the early part of church history (1830-1890), people were encouraged to move to where the prophet was (Joseph Smith and Brigham Young specifically), and for the most part, converts to the church did move.  Currently the church's position on gathering to Zion has reversed; namely, we are told not to gather but to create a Zion-like atmosphere whereever we are.

One more comment:  While the comparison to the Reorganized Church may have been mostly true when it was said, some of it has changed.  The church now has a temple in Jackson County, Missouri, and they have stated that temple building is something they have believed in all along.  The other items mentioned, I believe, are still true.

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