Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Reed Smoot Hearings: Day 6 - Mrs. Emma Mathews

March 8, 1904

Mrs. Mathews is the mother of Mrs. Kennedy who was on the stand before Mr. Merrill.  She currently lives in Marysville, Utah; is a member of the Mormon Church, and has been for 25 years.  She was previously a plural wife, but her husband died and then she married her current husband, and has been married for 10 years.

Testimony Summary:
Mrs. Mathews testifies to asking for her daughter to be married as a plural wife to Mr. Johnson.  She talked with Apostle George Teasdale serveral times, who turned her down stating that it was against the laws of the church for plural marriages to be performed.  She also states that her and her daughter did not talk about her marriage after the fact.

I thought this bit of testimony was an interesting look into the past:
Mr. Tayler.  Do you hold any position in the Mormon Church?
Mrs. Mathews.  No.
Mr. Tayler.  Are you a member of any of the women's organizations?
Mrs. Mathews.  No.
Mr. Tayler.  Have you been?
Mrs. Mathews.  I have been.
Mr. Tayler.  You are a member of the church, however, in good standing?
Mrs. Mathews.  Yes.
Mr. Tayler.  And subscribe to its doctrines and obey your superiors?
Mrs. Mathews.  Yes.
Commentary:  Today in the church all women are automatically a member of the Relief Society.  Apparently this auto-enrollment was not in effect earlier in the church 100 years ago or so.  I don't know when this changed to the way it is today; however, the point is - it changed.  I find this interesting in a "things that have changed" sort of way.

Mr. Tayler continues asking about her life in the colonies in Mexico:
Mr. Tayler.  You at one time lived in a Mormon colony in Mexico?
Mrs. Mathews.  Yes.
Mr. Tayler.  At Diaz?
Mrs. Mathews.  Yes.
Mr. Tayler.  Was that community made up altogether of Mormons?
Mrs. Mathews.  Yes.
Mr. Tayler.  And mostly of polygamous Mormons?
Mrs. Mathews.  Yes. 
She goes on to say that the community maybe had two to three hundred people living there; "there were not a thousand." 

Commentary:  It appears that the Mormon colonies, or at least the Diaz colony, was inhabited mainly by polygamous Mormons.  Is this because it was outside the United States and therefore the U.S. law could not prosecute there?  I don't know the answer to that.

Mr. Tayler then tries to drill down and determine what the mother knew about her daughter's wedding.  She is asked about when he daughter and future husband left Diaz to travel to Juarez for the ceremony.

Mr. Tayler.  How long was it before she came back?
Mrs. Mathews.  I think it was about ten days.
Mr. Tayler.  That is all you know about their being married?
Mrs. Mathews.  That is all I know about it.
Mr. Tayler.  You only know that they were married from what they said to you?
Mrs. Mathews.  No; they did not say anything about it when they returned.
Mr. Tayler.  You mean your daughter has never told you she was married?
Mrs. Mathews.  No, sir; I never have asked her.
Mr. Tayler.  You never have asked her?
Mrs. Mathews.  No.
Commentary:  Wow!  That is shocking to me.  A marriage is normally a very exciting time within a family; a celebration for everyone to be a part of.  How can it be that a marriage is kept secret, and the daughter doesn't talk with her mother about it?  I would find that very difficult to live with.

Mr. Worthington then starts the cross-examination, and he's curious about the mother's attempts in the past to get her daughter married.

Mr. Worthington.  Before this drive to Juarez had you made any effort to have your daughter married at Diaz?
Mrs. Mathews.  I did.
Mr. Worthington.  To get the consent of any authority of the church?
Mrs. Mathews.  No; I could not get it.
Mr. Worthington.  How did you know?
Mrs. Mathews.  I applied to Brother Teasdale.
Mr. Worthington.  You mean Apostle Teasdale?
Mrs. Mathews.  Yes, sir; for the privilege.
Mr. Worthington.  What did he tell you?
Mrs. Mathews.  He told me it could not be done.
Mr. Worthington.  Did you urge it upon him?
Mrs. Mathews.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  More than once?
Mrs. Mathews.  Yes.
Mr. Worthington.  What did he constantly reply?
Mrs. Mathews.  That it could not be done; simply impossible.
Mr. Worthington.  Did he tell you why it could not be done?
Mrs. Mathews.  Well, simply because the church would not allow it.
Senator Dubois.  Did Apostle Teasdale tell you that it was contrary to the laws of the United States for plural marriages to be performed in the United States?
Mrs. Mathews.  I do not remember whether he said that, but he said that the authorities would not allow it; would not allow a ceremony to be performed; would not allow a plural marriage at that time.
Mr. Worthington.  Where was Brother Teasdale, as you term him, when you made this application to him to have your daughter married?
Mrs. Mathews.  In Diaz, Mexico.
Mr. Worthington.  He was in Mexico, and you were?
Mrs. Mathews.  Yes.
Mr. Worthington.  And your daughter was there?
Mrs. Mathews.  Yes, sir.
Mr. Worthington.  And you were asking to have the ceremony performed in Mexico?
Mrs. Mathews.  Yes.
Mr. Worthington.  Did he tell you that it was against the law of Mexico, or against the law of the church, or what?
Mrs. Mathews.  No; against the law of the church.
Commentary:  That's interesting.  The mother had been trying to marry the daughter off - as a plural wife - and she had been denied by the church authorities several times.  However, like all mothers she insisted and eventually it happened as evidenced by her daughter testifying she did get married.  George Teasdale had been asked, probably pleaded to, several times by the mother to allow the daughter to be married, and each time he replied that it could not be done. 

The interesting thing about this testimony is not what is recorded here as being said, but what is not recorded.  I do not see any questions from either counsel as to whether Mrs. Mathews or someone she knew had a conversation with Brigham Young, Jr., asking him to perform the marriage ceremony.  This would have certainly been an investigation into the knowledge of the church on this matter and would have been pertinent testimony in my opinion.  Did she talk to her Stake President or Bishop after being turned down so many times by George Teasdale?  I am left to wonder if this conversation between counsel and witness did take place and was striken from the record, or if both lawyers were morons and didn't think to ask her about it (there's obviously more than two options here, but these are the two that immediately come to mind).  Having read over the entire hearing testimony previously, I know neither of these men are morons; therefore, there has to be another explanation.

No comments:

Post a Comment