By D. Michael Quinn
11 August 1991
[Via a friend, Mike explained that when he gave the Bluffdale speech and, someone tape recorded it and then shared the transcript with him (Mike), and he thought it was accurate. He said he spoke without a prepared text, but had a couple of note cards for reference.)
I'm glad to be with you. I attended your general meeting about two years ago, and I was very pleased to have that opportunity and pleased for the fellowship here. Brother Woodward told me that you are planning on a two hour meeting, and you've already been in two or three hours of meeting. I admire your courage and physical endurance.
Because of the length of the meetings you've already been through and the one that is now going to start, after about an hour at whatever point I am after about an hour I'll just interrupt myself where it seems to work at a convenient stopping point, and give you an opportunity to stretch and stand up and walk around for a few minutes before we continue for the next hour of the meeting.
In the relations of the
There was what was happening publicly, and then there was what was happening
privately. The private directions of the
But before that, I'll summarize the public position of the
Then in 1904, the U.S. Senate published testimony by the Church President. and other General Authorities that they admitted violating the 1891 Church law by having cohabited with their wives since 1890, and by fathering children for them during the previous twelve to thirteen years.
In April 1904, Joseph F. Smith published his statement, the so-called "Second Manifesto," which denied that there were any plural marriages after 1890, but then threatened excommunication for anyone entering into or performing plural marriages after 1904.
In reality, that was no different than what the First Presidency said in October 1891, at least as a statement in its content.
In April 1906, the Quorum of Twelve formally and publicly drooped Apostles John W. Taylor and Matthias F. Cowley for "being out of harmony" with the Manifesto.
In November of 1906, and this is all in the public record, Joseph F. Smith plead guilty to unlawful cohabitation and paid a fine in a court.
Then in April 1907, Conference adopted the First Presidency declaration that the Church "has been true to its pledge respecting the abandonment of the practice of plural marriage," and that the few violators had been acting on their own responsibility.
Then in October and November of 1907 occurred the Church's first excommunications and disfellowshipping for violating the 1904 Manifesto. And these excommunications included a Bishop.
In July 1909, Joseph F. Smith appointed a committee of the Apostles to investigate and excommunicate persons entering into plural marriage after the 1904 Manifesto. Excommunications that year included a General Board member.
From 1909 to 1910, the Salt Lake Tribune printed the names and marriage information of more than 200 men who married plural wives after the Manifesto.
In October 1910, the Conference adopted a Presidency order for stake president to investigate and excommunicate officiators and husbands of post 1904 plural marriages. That month, Patriarch Judson Tolman was excommunicated.
Then in 1911, John W. Taylor was excommunicated, as well as Patriarch John W. Woolley and several stake presidents in 1914.
And the policy continues to the present.
Up until 1930, known post-1890 polygamists spoke and prayed at General Conferences at the same time that the Church was excommunicating fundamentalists in local wards and stakes and prohibiting them from speaking.
In 1933, the First Presidency statement denied that there was an 1886 revelation and denied that there had ever been any post-Manifesto plural marriages that occurred with the authorization of the First Presidency.
In 1935, suspected polygamists were required to sign a statement that they "repudiated any intimation that any one of the Presidency or the Apostles of the Church is living a double life," and refusal to sign this statement meant that the person was automatically going to be excommunicated.
I'm going to present the details, but there's a large number of details, and I'm going to be looking at each man who served in the General Authority positions from the Presidency down. This will be a large number of men with a large amount of detail, so let me give a summary of the secret dimensions of what was happening that was contrary to the public record.
The 1890 Manifesto, the 1904 Second Manifesto, the release of Apostles Taylor and Cowley as Apostles in 1906, and the Church trials of new polygamists which began in 1907, were all surrounded by ambiguity, and the General Authority involvement in new plural marriages overlap the early stages of what we can call Mormon Fundamentalism and its officiators, which began in 1906.
All First Presidency members either allowed or authorized new plural marriages from 1890 to 1904, and a few as late as 1906 and 1907. One Church President married a plural wife, and three Counselors in the First Presidency performed marriages for men who had living wives already.
A Presidency's secretary proposed polygamous marriage in 1903, and another Presidency's secretary performed a polygamous marriage in 1907. Of the sixteen men who served only as Apostles in other words, their service did not extend into the First Presidency, but they served only as Apostles from 1890 until April 1904, eight of these sixteen men married post-Manifesto plural wives. Three of them who did not do so, performed plural marriages. Two of them who did not do either of the above, arranged for plural marriages.
Only three of the men who served only as Apostles from 1890 to 1904 did not participate at all in encouraging, promoting or entering into new plural marriage.
One of the new Apostles who was appointed after April 1904, the time of the second Manifesto, assured post-1890 polygamists that the second Manifesto was meaningless. Another of these new Apostles appointed in the years after the second Manifesto, courted polygamously before and after his appointment in 1906. A third of the Apostles appointed after 1906, had performed 43 plural marriages after the Manifesto himself. And a fourth Apostle appointed after the second Manifesto himself entered into a polygamous marriage in 1925.
Now, looking at the men individually. Wilford Woodruff, who was senior Apostle and President from 1887 until his death in 1898.
On the day the Manifesto was accepted in October of 1890. He
personally approved 7 new plural marriages, to be performed in
President Woodruff told a
President Woodruff himself married a new Plural Wife in 1897, Lydia Mountford, who was a Jew, born in Palestine and had
lectured widely throughout the United States on Palestine. He married her
in September of 1897 on a steamship on the Pacific Ocean, between
Concerning this marriage which occurred outside the
President Woodruff's proxy was his son, and Madam Mountford's proxy was Susan Young Gates, who was a sister of another of President Woodruff's lesser known plural wives.
President Lorenzo Snow, President of the
He cohabited with his youngest plural wife who went to
He told Matthias F. Cowley in 1898 that he did not want to know about or interfere with Cowley's commission from George Q. Cannon to perform new plural marriages. So he essentially was willing to turn a blind eye to the new plural marriages that Apostle Matthias F. Cowley asked if he could continue to perform.
And Lorenzo Snow said, "I won't interfere with President Cannon's work." In 1900, Lorenzo Snow told the Presidency secretary that he "admired the grit of a post-Manifesto plural wife who risked excommunication by her local ward Bishop because she refused to identify her plural husband." President Snow instructed the Bishop to accept her confession and to forgive "her transgression without any further requirement." In 1901, Lorenzo Snow authorized Heber J. Grant, who was an Apostle, to marry a plural wife. But then two months later, he changed his mind apparently because he felt there was too much jeopardy for the Church for him to authorize an Apostle to marry so long after the Manifesto.
Then Joseph F. Smith. He was a counselor in the First Presidency from
the Manifesto until 1901, when he became President and served until his death
in 1918. In 1896 as a counselor, he performed in the
Because Lorenzo Snow refused to allow Anthony W. Ivins
to perform new plural marriages for residents of
Smith instructed Seymour B. Young of the First council of seventy, to
perform two plural marriages in
MacDonald stopped performing those ceremonies for 4 months, and then Apostle
When he became President, Joseph F. Smith renewed permission for Anthony W. Ivins to perform plural marriages for Mexican
residents. And Ivins did this from 1902 to
1904. And then he extended that to include permission for Ivins to perform marriages for non-residents. This
was more dangerous, because this required written permission from
On 17 April 1902, I have the only contemporary account of Joseph F. Smith as Church President giving authorization for a man to marry polygamously. And he did it in this way: "As President of the Church I cannot authorize you to marry this plural wife.
However, I will not oppose your doing it." And that's the kind of authorization he gave.
As Church President, Joseph F. Smith did not want to know the specifics of new ceremonies, but he increased financial support for post-Manifesto plural wives and children of Apostles and mission presidents, and he gave advice for the hiding of plural wives so that they would not be subject to arrest. Joseph F. Smith probably authorized Apostles Clawson and Cowley to marry their plural wives after the second Manifesto of 1904, since he did authorize a close friend to perform one plural marriage as late as 1906, and o.k.'d another one that occurred in 1907.
When the man President Smith authorized to perform the 1906 plural marriage was investigate; by the Apostles for probable excommunication, this man obtained the Church President's permission to tell the details. And those details obviously disturbed the Apostles. Their formal decision after hearing his testimony was that they didn't believe a word of what he had said, that Joseph F. Smith had authorized him. And they wouldn't offend the Church President by asking for verification of whether in fact he had given that authorization. And then they exonerated the man from any punishment, even though he admitted all the details of performing a plural marriage in 1906.
Joseph F. Smith's shield also was obvious when the Apostles tried to excommunicate a mission president who married a plural wife in 1907. After discussing the matter with Joseph F. Smith for years. The Quorum of Twelve said they exonerated the mission president because there was no witness to the marriage. It was performed by a now-deceased secretary to the First Presidency's office.
There is no evidence that I've seen that Joseph F. Smith commissioned. Patriarch Judson Tolman to perform plural marriages from 1906 to 1910. But President Smith did protect a few men who ware married by Tolman. Even though this Patriarch and several of the others he married were excommunicated by the Apostles, the Church President, Joseph F. Smith, intervened. He not only prevented the excommunication but he even continued in prominent Church offices men who had been married by Judson Tolman as late as 1907 and 1908. They, in some cases, continued cohabiting with their plural wives.
These protected men were stake officials with the kind of General Authority family connections that would have most likely made them, or encouraged them, to consult with Joseph F. Smith in advance of Judson Tolman's performing the ceremony.
Now, Joseph F. Smith's post-Manifesto relationship with John W. Woolley is the most complicated and the most contested, argued against. they were friends, that's undeniable. John W. Woolley was a friend of most of the General Authorities of the Church. He was one of the pioneer members of the Church who lived as late as he lived into the twentieth century. And the Church President.
Joseph F. Smith, performed John W. Woolley's civil
marriage in the
Woolley had been serving as a stake high
councilman since 1877, and a
He violated his promise to those persons he had married.
Patriarch Woolley claimed that ex-Apostle Cowley was responsible for John Woolley feeling that he could perform new plural marriages. Cowley denied this vehemently. And John W.
Woolley's explanation to the Apostles may have been protecting somebody else by re-sacrificing the already punished Cowley. The fundamentalist claim is that John W. Woolley was protecting Joseph F. Smith, who allowed Apostles like Francis M. Lyman to punish new polygamy to protect the Church.
I haven't seen any evidence conclusively to support or refute the claim that Joseph F. Smith secretly endorsed plural marriages from 1910 to his death in 1918. But known evidence does show that his actions certainly were ambiguous regarding new plural marriage after his second Manifesto for 6 years after it. So it would not be inconsistent for him to have given encouragement to Judson Tolman or John W. Woolley. But I have no evidence that that was in fact the case. And historians are always bound by our evidence; we can't go, really, beyond that.
George Q. Cannon was Presidency counselor and next in line to be Church President
from 1899 to 1901. He personally authorized new plural marriages
But after 1890, George Q. Cannon did make polygamous vows with a woman who was 62 years old when the Manifesto was issued.
Anthon H. Lund, who was an Apostle from the Manifesto, although he was an Apostle before, but he was an Apostle after the Manifesto until 1901, when he became a counselor in the First Presidency. He served in that position until his death in 1921.
He performed a civil plural marriage in 1892, in the
One could say, well those were ambiguous. Well, these were not ambiguous. He
performed two plural marriages, Anthon H. Lund, aboard steamships, one in 1887
on the Pacific Ocean and one in 1898 on the
Apostle Lund, and now counselor
Contrary to Apostle-Senator Reed Smoot's wish, Apostles Taylor and Cowley
were sustained in the April 1905 Conference. Counselor
President to Farr's pre-Manifesto plural wives.
It's unclear whether John R. Winder as counselor knew that his daughter gave her husband a new plural wife in 1903, which ceremony was performed by Apostle Matthias F. Cowley.
George F. Gibbs, secretary to the Church President during this whole period. He was aware of the authorizations given for the post-Manifesto plural marriages, and he intervened with Lorenzo Snow in 1900 to protect the post Manifesto plural wife from being excommunicated by a local Bishop and I referred to her case earlier.
George F. Gibbs as secretary to the First Presidency also advised Apostle
Heber J. Grant in 1903, to marry a plural wife and to take her on Grant's
In 1921, while still secretary to the First Presidency, George F. Gibbs
spoke at the funeral of the mother of the young woman who had declined his
proposal to enter plural marriage. And he "commended those who were
keeping it alive and were continuing in the faith of their fathers."
George Reynolds was a secretary in the First Presidency's office, and he was
also a member of The Council of Seventy. As a secretary, he helped draft
the final version of the 1890 Manifesto, and he later testified of his role in
the Manifesto before the
Senate in 1903. He also recorded the few 18 post Manifesto plural
marriages that were actually entered into in a record at the First Presidency's
office as they occurred. This included the shipboard plural marriage that
Anthon H. Lund performed in 1897. It also included several plural marriage
performed by John W. Taylor in
George Reynolds knew and approved of his daughter's plural marriage performed in Mexico during 1900, by the authority of Counselor Joseph F. Smith, despite Reynolds clearly knowing that the Church President opposed this marriage, because in Reynolds' presence Lorenzo Snow told the husband, "There cannot be any new plural marriages performed anywhere in the world." And then just a few months after that meeting, by permission and authorization of his counselor, that marriage occurred.
George Reynolds also performed a plural marriage in 1907. And another
daughter of his became a plural wife in 1908, in
Franklin D. Richards was an Apostle and President of the Quorum of Twelve,
and next in line to be Church President from 1898 to 1899. In December of
1890, he unsuccessfully tried to obtain permission from the First Presidency
for a man to be married polygamously in
Apostle Richards may have known of Abraham Owen Woodruff's recent Patriarchal Blessing that promised the Apostle plural wives.
In any event, shortly after the Apostle received that Patriarchal Blessing,
Franklin D. Richards promised him in a
Brigham Young, Jr., son of the pioneer President of the Church. He was
President of the Quorum of Twelve and next in line to be Church President from
1901 to 1903. He performed seven plural marriages during visits to
Moses Thatcher was an Apostle until he was released in 1896 because of a
conflict over Church-State politics with the Quorum of Twelve and The First
Presidency. In November 1890, he unsuccessfully tried to obtain the First
Presidency's authorization for a man to marry polygamously.
In February of 1891, he apparently was the one who verbally transmitted
authorization from the First Presidency for a plural marriage in
Francis M. Lyman was an Apostle until his death in 1916. He performed
a plural marriage a day before the Quorum of Twelve voted to sustain the
recently published Manifesto as binding. In his legalistic mind, this was
not a violation of the Manifesto because it had not been ratified by the Quorum
of Twelve. From 1891 onward, he was opposed to new plural
marriages. But he was not entirely consistent. He favored allowing
men with plural wives to marry a new plural wife civilly after the death of the
legal wife, even though in actuality this was a new plural marriage.
Lyman performed one such de facto plural marriage in the
He publicly preached as late as that same year, "No man can obtain exaltation without living plural marriage in this life." And as late as 1909, Apostle Lyman would not allow men to become members of local prayer circles unless they believed in plural marriage. There is an obvious inconsistency, because at the same time he was hunting down men who were entering into plural marriage after the Manifesto and having to excommunicate them. I'm not sure how he could reconcile in his own mind, saying no one could be exalted without polygamy, and at the same time he was excommunicating man who were doing the only thing he said was necessary for them to obtain exaltation. Otherwise, Lyman was adamantly opposed to new plural marriages.
As early as 1899, he arranged for the excommunication of a post-Manifesto polygamist. And from 1906 until his death, he did his best to get pre-1904 polygamists released from Church office.
And he did his best to excommunicate every post-1904 polygamists he could locate.
John Henry Smith was an Apostle and then became Presidency counselor from
1910 to 1911. He performed no plural marriages after the Manifesto of
1890. But he virtually forced Apostle Heber J. Grant to perform two plural
Apostle Smith instructed John W. Taylor to performed six more plural
Apostle Smith was also instrumental in obtaining the First Presidency
approval in 1898 for Anthon W. Ivins to perform
plural marriages for Mexican residents, without any individual authorizations
George Teasdale was an Apostle until his death in 1907. He performed
at least fifteen plural marriages in
Apostle Teasdale encouraged men in
Heber J. Grant was an Apostle until he became Church President in 1918 and
served in that position until his death in 1945. He is the prime example
of how confused a conscientious
Apostle Grant was apparently unaware of new polygamous marriages being
authorized until 1897, when his superior in the Quorum, John Henry Smith,
ordered him to perform two plural marriages in
In 1898, his cousin Anthony W. Ivins informed him
that new plural marriages were occurring in
And hearing this from his cousin, Heber J. Grant expressed approval and gratitude in fact. By 1901, Heber J. Grant wanted, to marry a plural wife to give him the sons he knew he would not otherwise have. His only surviving son had already died, and he wanted sons to carry on his name.
President Snow agreed to this in 1901, but he then changed his mind two
months later. Grant's shyness had always been a problem for him and had
made him very shy in polygamous courtship. So he left for a mission to
Grant returned in 1902, therefore, having to start all over in terms of a
polygamous courtship. Between his return from
John W. Taylor was an Apostle until he was released from the Quorum of Twelve in 1906, after which he continued to be an Apostle outside the Quorum, until his excommunication in 1911. On 30 September 1890, during the first discussion of the Manifesto by the full Quorum of Twelve and after its publication, he referred and told the Apostles about the 1886 revelation to his father, that plural marriages should never be discontinued.
The next day, John W. Taylor married a new plural wife. This was the day before the Quorum of Twelve voted to sustain the Manifesto. He later told the Quorum that this occurred by permission of President Woodruff.
During a discussion of the Manifesto at a regular meeting of the Quorum of Twelve, in April of 1892, John W. Taylor again referred to the 1886 revelation to his father. This was about the time that he unsuccessfully proposed marriage to a sister of his most recent wife. Then in a meeting of the Apostles in 1896, John W. Taylor expressed apparently sincere disbelief of the rumors about Apostle Abraham H. Cannon's plural marriage only a month before. So even those very closely involved in plural marriage after the Manifesto didn't know what others were doing about plural marriage after the Manifesto.
In 1898 in
One couple also claimed that John W. Taylor performed their plural marriage
later claimed to have performed only two other plural marriages since the
A month later, Apostle Taylor preached in a
Many in that ward already had married plural wives after the Manifesto,
including the stake president and his counselor. During a public meeting
This was about the same time that Apostle Taylor unsuccessfully proposed to Ivin's daughter. Curiously, John W.
In September 1903, after consulting with President Joseph F. Smith, John W.
Taylor authorized Patriarch John A. Wolfe to perform plural marriages in
From 1904 to 1906, John W. Taylor was absent from General Conferences and
Contrary to what he later told them, John W. Taylor apparently also
performed two other plural marriages in
In August 1906, a Canadian friend married a plural wife at the urging of John W. Taylor.
In October 1906, after days of secret meetings with the other Apostles, in which he protested that everything he did after the Manifesto had the approval of higher authority, John W. Taylor signed a resignation. He promised that that resignation would be used only as a last resort to save the Senatorship of Reed Smoot, because that would humiliate the Church and also create possible problems of citizenship, because there were proposals to pass a Constitutional Amendment against plural marriage.
When the resignation was announced in April 1906 Conference, John W. told
one of his wives, "I was sacrificed for Reed Smoot's personal
ambition." As early as 1906, John W. Taylor gave out copies of his
father's 1886 revelation against suspending the practice of plural
About 1908, John W. Taylor gave permission for his daughter to marry polygamously if the man got permission of President Smith.
The marriage didn't occur because the man could never get President Smith's permission.
In June 1909, John W. Taylor married a plural wife in
According to others, John W. Taylor later referred men to his wife's uncle, John W. Woolley. I don't know if I mentioned that before, but John W. Woolley was the uncle of John W. Taylor, through his wife.
In August 1916, John W. Taylor was baptized and reinstated into the
The First Presidency in 1917 officially stated that the reinstatement that
had occurred in 1916 was null and void. John W. Taylor was not officially
reinstated and baptized into the
Marriner W. Merrill was an Apostle until his death in 1906.
With a signed recommend by George Q. Cannon, Merrill performed a polygamous
marriage in 1904 in the
This was the first post-Manifesto plural marriage performed in the
Then in 1895, he performed one for his son in the
In July 1899, he told the Apostles that the Manifesto was not a revelation
and that there would always be polygamous children born into the Church.
A week later, Apostle Merrill performed a plural marriage for Apostle Matthias
F. Cowley in the
In January 1900, he reminded the Apostles again that plural marriage
"had come to stay in one form or another." Then in 1901, he
demonstrated that personally by marrying a plural wife in
He executed a perjured denial in 1904, which said that he had never married
any woman after the Manifesto of 1890. That was clear perjury.
Despite the second Manifesto, Marriner W. Merrill
performed a plural marriage in 1905 in the
Abraham H. Cannon was an Apostle and died in 1896. I'm giving these in order of their seniority within the Quorum of Twelve.
From 1891 to 1894, young women regarded him as eligible for plural marriage and kept proposing to him. He kept repeatedly declining these proposals. Then in October 1894, George Q. Cannon, his father and counselor in the Presidency, told-Apostle Cannon that Presidents Woodruff and Smith authorized Abraham to marry a young woman in a proxy ceremony for his brother, who had died on a mission two years earlier. And during the next year and a half, Abraham courted several women as possible candidates for marriage.
In June 1896, he married a plural wife through the proxy ceremony which
Joseph F. Smith performed in the
Then he went on a honeymoon to
Matthias F. Cowley was an Apostle from 1897 and released in 1906. He
was the first person advanced to the Quorum of Twelve after the Manifesto of
1890. For that reason, he became the most prominent one involved in
plural marriage. The Manifesto denied that any plural marriages were
Therefore, Cowley had the distinction that with full Church authorization, he had violated the Manifesto even before it was written and published. He was the first Apostle appointed after the Manifesto and the first whose name was not on the 1892 Petition to the U.S. President for general amnesty. Thus, George Q. Cannon chose Apostle Cowley as the moat appropriate Apostle to perform plural marriages.
On 11 April 1898, Cowley received his second anointing from President
Lorenzo Snow. Two days later, Apostle Cowley performed the first of
nearly 80 plural marriages. He performed more plural marriages than any
other officiator from 1890 to 1905. Cowley performed most of these plural
marriages in the
Matthias Cowley married a plural wife himself in 1905, the ceremony being
performed by a Patriarch in
He also referred some men to Patriarchs Tolman and Woolley for plural marriage ceremonies.
Cowley felt that he wasn't technically violating the second Manifesto, which said nothing about providing information for plural marriage. So he felt that there was no problem for him to say, "I know a man who knows the sealing ceremony;" when somebody asked him to perform a plural marriage and he chose not to himself.
To protect his Church membership, he denied these things when he was called before the Quorum of Twelve. In 1911, Cowley was "deprived of the right to exercise the priesthood" after three fourths of the Quorum of Twelve refused to disfellowship him as Francis M. Lyman wanted to. Cowley was never disfellowshipped.
That's the thing that three fourths of the Quorum of Twelve voted against doing. And they only agreed to end the two-day deadlock over the issue by saying, "We'll have him deprived of the right to exercise the priesthood, but we won't agree to having him disfellowshipped." So therefore he could partake of the Sacrament, which he did, and he could enter the Temple, which he did, and he could have other blessings of the Church that were typically denied to those who had been disfellowshipped.
Apostle Lyman was unrelenting and tried unsuccessfully to have Cowley excommunicated in 1914, not on the basis of anything new but for what they had proved he had done before his resignation in 1906. Cowley did not affiliate with the fundamentalists after the 1920s. He did up until the mid-1920s. He was closely associated with them in a number of ways. And I say "them" in the sense of the distinction the Church made between those who were continuing plural marriage at that time. The First Presidency fully restored him in April 3, 1936.
I have a fairly long discussion about Abraham O. Woodruff at this point, who is interesting for a number of reasons, so why don't we take a break at this time, and you can stand and stretch a couple of minutes, and when you feel rested, then we'll sit down and resume.
Abraham O. Woodruff died in 1904 in
In January 1899, Apostle Franklin D. Richards promised Owen that God would
fulfill all the promises made to the Apostle. Nine months later, Owen's wife bore his first child. A month after this
birth fulfilled the first part of the promises by the Patriarch and Apostle
Richards, Owen Woodruff performed two plural marriages in
After consultation with Joseph F. Smith for their first visit to the
Latter-day Saints in Juarez Stake in November 1900, Apostle Woodruff arrived
first and while there, before Counselor Smith arrived, he performed a plural
marriage there. And then Apostle Woodruff witnessed the first plural
marriage which Alexander F. MacDonald performed in
At Juarez Stake Conference a few days later, Apostle Woodruff prophesied that polygamous children would always be born in the Church until the second coming of Jesus Christ. Counselor Smith sat on the stand next to him and made no effort to correct him.
The President of the Seventy, Seymour B. Young. Stood in the conference and endorsed Woodruff's remarks.
In January 1901, Apostle Woodruff married his new plural wife in
Owen met beforehand with President Snow, who may not have known of this plural marriage, but certainly his counselor, Joseph F. Smith, did, and so did George Q. Cannon.
In 1902, Church President Joseph F. Smith authorized him to marry another
plural wife. And in December 1902, Apostle Woodruff wrote Heber J. Grant
that, "The regulation denials of new plural marriage are being called
In November 1903, Apostle Woodruff performed four plural marriages in
Owen's first wife wrote in February 1904 that they
had decided for him to marry again. He was subpoenaed to testify in
Rudger Clawson became an Apostle in October
1898. He was President of the Quorum of Twelve and next in line to be
Church President from 1901 to 1943. In November 1901,
By early 1903, Rudger Clawson was aware of the
plural marriage of Apostle Owen Woodruff. In the first part of August
1903, his brother-in-law entered a plural marriage. At the end of that
Rudger Clawson performed a plural marriage in
Rudger Clawson himself married a plural wife, and
the ceremony was performed by Apostle Cowley in August 1904. This
From 1909 thereafter, Rudger Clawson was understandably quiet when the Quorum of Twelve tried those who were entering plural marriage after the second Manifesto of 1904. He must have felt special anxiety in 1911 and 1914, when the Quorum of Twelve tried repeatedly to get Cowley to list all the plural marriages he had ever performed. There, sitting in front of Cowley, who was fighting to keep his membership in the Church, was one of the Apostles he had performed a marriage for, after the second Manifesto.
Reed Smoot became an Apostle in 1900. Despite his testimony before the U.S. Senate that he had never heard a discussion of plural marriage in meetings of the Apostles, Reed Smoot was present at 16 meetings before 1904, where plural marriage was discussed by the Apostles, including a January 1902 meeting, when Smoot told his fellow Apostles, "This order of marriage if universally practiced would save the world much sorrow and distress, and he looked forward to its restoration.
In October 1903, he heard Marriner W. Merrill
advise three Apostles to marry plural wives, and yet in 1904 he testified under
oath before the U.S. Senate that he had never heard a discussion of plural
marriage in the
In 1904, Apostle Smoot advised the First Presidency to have post-Manifesto plural wives hide, in order to avoid being arrested.
Then from 1905 onward, Reed Smoot pressured President Joseph F. Smith to excommunicate all post-Manifesto polygamists, no matter who performed or authorized their marriages. He failed at this but succeeded in getting John W. Taylor and Matthias F. Cowley released, by threatening himself to resign from the Apostleship, if they were not released.
Smoot also successfully urged the release of many prominent post-1890 polygamists from Church Offices where they would need to be sustained by Conferences. At the last minute, Smoot also prevented the appointment of a post 1890 Manifesto polygamist, Ben E. Rich, to the First council of Seventy in 1909. The First Presidency had approved this, even though Rich had publicly been recognized and identified as a man who married plural wives after the Manifesto. Reed Smoot was able to cancel that appointment.
Hyrum M. Smith became an Apostle in 1901. Included in his charge as a new Apostle was the admonition, "that you accept the principle of plural marriage." He visited the Canadian Mormons in March 1902 with Apostles John W. Taylor and Owen Woodruff. Later, Hugh B. Brown remembered that all three indicated "they did not approve of the suspension of polygamy." I have no other evidence that Hyrum M. Smith advocated even verbally new plural marriages.
But certainly by October 1903 he was expressing in the
In January 1904, Hyrum M. Smith denied before the Quorum of Twelve that he
ever encouraged or performed any plural marriages anywhere in the world.
Either he failed to remember his anti-Manifesto statements during his 1902
George Albert Smith became an Apostle in 1903 and then President of the Church from 1945 to 1951. His father, Apostle John Henry Smith, told mission presidents that he could not sustain his son as an Apostle if George Albert Smith did not accept plural marriage, and then he told his son the same thing in the Apostle's Charge. In October 1904, George Albert Smith expressed opposition to the performance of new plural marriages. But this may have reflected the caution of his pro-polygamist father, rather than total rejection of new polygamy.
In February 1905, George Albert told Reed Smoot's secretary that no action would be taken against Apostles Taylor and Cowley.
He also told of the revelation to Lyman for John W. Taylor not to
testify. After Reed Smoot wrote the Presidency in December 1905 to have
Owen Woodruff's post-Manifesto plural wife hide, Apostle George Albert Smith
was the one who visited her in
Then George Albert Smith condemned John W. Taylor's 1909 plural marriage. George Albert apparently suggested that this was adultery. For this, John W. Taylor threatened to kill him, but instead cursed him by the Priesthood. And John W. Taylor said that George Albert Smith's nervous breakdown from 1909 to 1911 was the result of that curse.
In January 1928. he confirmed Joseph W. Musser's polygamist son
"he" being George Albert Smith who was an Apostle at this time into
Charles W. Penrose, an Apostle in 1904 and then Presidency Counselor from
1911 to 1925. He helped draft the final version of the 1890
Manifesto. In September 1898 as editor of the Deseret
News, he told a meeting of the first President and Apostles that he had
evidence some of them had performed at least one or two plural marriages.
Then a month later, Penrose wrote an editorial that not a single plural
marriage had occurred "in the Mormon Church." Then he also helped
draft the 1904 second Manifesto. Then six months later, in October 1904,
newly appointed Apostle Penrose told a mission president, who was also a known
post-1890 polygamist, that the second Manifesto of 1904, "doesn't mean
anything more than the other, and that doesn't mean
Penrose told him that the 1890 Manifesto was phrased ambiguously so that it wouldn't mean "anything at all." After Taylor and Cowley were released in April 1906, Penrose's public and private position was against post-Manifesto polygamy, consistently. And he did not in any way advocate in any manner plural marriage after the release of these two Apostles.
Orson F. Whitney is one of the most interesting. He became an Apostle in 1906 as the replacement for John W. Taylor in the Quorum of Twelve. As a Salt Lake City Bishop, he was courting a young woman in his ward from 1893 to 1895, when the Apostles sent Heber J. Grant to warn him to stop his attentions because they were attracting gossip.
Bishop Whitney expressed interest in another local young woman from 1898 to 1900, when he finally proposed to her after George Teasdale, an Apostle, encouraged him to do so. Bishop Whitney was stunned to learn that she had become somebody else's plural wife that very same month, just before he proposed to her. Foiled again !
In 1903, Bishop Whitney again proposed plural marriage, but this time it isn't clear whether he actually married the young woman. Whether it was courtship or marriage, this relationship continued through 1905. But apparently it ended after his appointment as an Apostle in 1906.
In March 1909, his son-in-law's sister became a plural wife, the ceremony performed by Patriarch Judson Tolman. Tolman also performed a plural marriage that same year Orson F. Whitney, now an Apostle for his brother-in-law. In July 1909 when the Apostles investigated Joseph W. Musser's post-1890 plural marriage, Musser noted that Whitney was "very generous and considerate." Apostle Whitney told his fellow-Apostles that most Mormons felt Apostles Taylor and Cowley had not been out of harmony in 1906, but were sacrificed for the Church. This put Francis M. Lyman into a fit of anger.
Later in 1909, that same year, Apostle Whitney began courting another woman.
She was the sister of a post-1890 polygamist in
In December 1910, Orson F. Whitney entered into a covenant of marriage with a Young woman, but their relationship ended within a year. In January 1915. Whitney may have had some role in the plural marriage of the brother of this same young woman that he had courted in 1909 to 1910. This couple was excommunicated by the Apostles in April 1918. By May 1918, Whitney had given up promoting plural marriage, according to the publication here I depend upon the fundamentalist publication by Lynn Bishop and his brother, The Keys of the Priesthood Illustrated. They base that on interviews that they had done, which I have not seen. But they indicated that he was favorable to plural marriage until 1918.
In Anthony W. Ivins we have another interesting
case. He became an Apostle in 1907 and a Counselor in the First
Presidency from 1921 to 1934. He performed about 45 plural marriages in
From 1897 to 1898, and again from 1903 to 1904, Ivins
performed plural marriages from non-residents of
Although Ivins courted a young woman he declined to marry her after the Manifesto, even though the Apostles were pressuring him to do so. And the woman died unmarried after his own death. They were both true to their covenant, remained true to each other, but they never entered into a plural marriage.
Still, Ivins was not opposed to plural marriage per se, even though he was in his own life, because he performed a polygamous ceremony for his daughter in 1903. Anthony W. Ivins consistently opposed new plural marriages after the April 1904 second Manifesto.
He saw that there could be, in his view, no exceptions to that.
Richard R. Lyman became an Apostle in 1918; he was excommunicated in 1943. In 1925, Apostle Lyman entered into a mutual covenant of plural marriage with a woman who had been disfellowshipped in 1921 for her earlier plural marriage to a man from whom she had now separated. Ironically, his father, Francis M. Lyman, had investigated this woman's post-Manifesto marriage.
Richard R. Lyman became acquainted with her when he arranged for her restoration to full Church membership in 1922. Their marriage was a marriage of love. They saw themselves as soul-mates. He saw himself as unhappily married to his first wife who had no knowledge of this relationship.
At their marriage in 1925, he was 55 Years old, and she was 53. And
his first wife did not know. Apostle Lyman and his plural wife ware in
their 70s when they were discovered and excommunicated, 18 years later.
They did not finally end their nearly 30 year association until 2 years before
Lyman was again baptized into the
I've focused primarily on the men. But let me speak to you briefly and give you a list of the prominent women who entered into plural marriages after the Manifesto. (Guessing at these names and spellings.)
Julie Ann Goodbrioksen was the young ladies YLMIA Board member from 1898 to 1926. She became a plural wife in 1903 of a General Board member, Louis A. Kelsch, Sr., father of Louis Kelsch who became a martyr of the fundamentalist movement with his many imprisonments, beginning with the raid in 1945.
Agness S. Campbell was a member of the YLMIA General Board from 1898 to 1929. She married stake counselor Edwin T. Bennion in 1904, after the second Manifesto.
Amelia B. Carlin, one of the earliest lady missionaries in 1901 to 1902, became a plural wife in 1902 of mission president James G. Duffin.
Hannah Grover became a plural wife in 1904 of Victor C. Beckstead.
I don't know who performed this ordinance, but it was performed in
Lillian Hamlin was a BYU faculty member from 1898 to 1902, and she became
plural wife of Apostle Abraham H. Cannon in 1896 in a
Harriet Bennion Harker
was a plural wife in 1899 of Apostle Matthias F. Cowley, the ceremony performed
She was a member of the Relief Society General Board from 1906 to 1910. She was one of those, incidentally, who was released from General Boards under the pressure from Apostle Francis M. Lyman and Reed Smoot.
Nancy Murphy Humphrey was a plural wife in 1901 of a Seventy, Jabez E. Durphy, and she was counselor in a stake YLMIA presidency from 1904 to 1912.
Martha Jane LeFevre was president of a stake YLMIA. She became a plural wife in 1902.
Mary Lucretia Lyerla, if any of the descendants of Louis Kelsch are here, she became a plural wife in 1899 of mission president Louis A. Kelsch. She was one of the early lady missionaries in 1899.
Alice Caroline McLaughlin, Salt Lake Tabernacle Choir from 1891 to 1893, became a plural wife in 1899 of mission president Ben E. Rich. And then she became a lady missionary in 1900.
Margaret P. Cardell became a plural wife in 1900
of stake counselor John M. Cannon. She was the Matron of the
Vilate Pearson became a plural wife in 1900 of General Board member Hugh J. Cannon, and she served on the Primary General Board from 1906 to 1909, during which time she had two children and died in childbirth with a polygamous child.
Margaret Curtis Shipp was a physician and became a plural wife in 1891 of The President of Seventy, B. H. Roberts.
Catherine Sorenson was stake Primary President from 1898 to 1904. She became a plural wife in 1903 of a stake counselor.
Bertha Christine Wilkins Stewart was an instructor at Brigham Young college
Clarisse Thatcher, Apostle Thatcher's daughter, was a guide at
Pearl Udall became a plural wife after the second Manifesto of 1904, to Apostle Rudger Clawson. She became a member of the YLMIA General Board in 1917. But as soon as President Grant became President in 1918, he released her.
Fanny Woolley, early lady missionary, from 1900 to 1902, became a plural wife in 1902 of stake President George C. Parkinson. She became a member of the Primary General Board in 1903.
and in alphabetical order last, Margareta Zundel became a wife in 1901 of Stake President Oliver C. Hoskins, and she became a Stake Primary President from 1904 to 1909.
In what I've presented to you today, I present it for your interest in showing that the messages of the official Church were very ambiguous from the 1890 Manifesto onward, and that prominent men and women in leadership positions at the general Church level, as well as the local level, by their conscience, by their faith and in many cases by instruction of General Authorities, entered into plural marriages. As you well know, that principle has not ceased. So with that, I'll turn the time over to you for whatever questions or comments you may want to make. I know your patience has been long, and I don't want to draw that out. And when the questions end, whenever they do, whether it's 5 minutes or 25, then we'll call an end and, as far as I'm concerned, you'll be free. I don't know if there will be any other things that your presiding officers will want to present before we finally close.
Question: Do you get questions from
Yes, to the first part of that question, I find that many
And they expressed to me their gratitude for knowing that although secret, that these marriages had been entered into with authorization of the Church Presidency.
Concerning the question of my own getting into trouble, after I published
the 1985 Dialogue article, the members of the Quorum of Twelve gave orders to
my stake president to withdraw my Temple recommend, and if that didn't stop me from
publishing controversial Mormon history, to hold a court on me. The stake
president didn't roll over and die, he said this was wrong and he was a
"Dialogue" subscriber and had read the article and found nothing
objectionable in it. His counselors likewise had done so: in fact, I had
them read the article before they came into print. But he felt it
necessary to comply with the letter of the law in withdrawing my
I told him I would, but I told him to tell them "them", (we know who they are) that I would not be intimidated by anybody. Nobody can intimidate me. And that I was going to go ahead and do what I wanted to do, and they had to know that, that this was not going to stop me, but that I would not speak of it to others. and I did not.
I kept silent about that.
My stake president, on his part, left me in a stake presiding position I was
in, because they hadn't mentioned that to him. So I was being sustained
in stake conferences, some of which were held in the assembly hall on
Question: Where was Lady Mountford ?
Well, I don't have any evidence of her whereabouts on the days that he was
on the ship, and if he has evidence from
Question: Do you have any evidence of any modern Apostles after Richard R. Lyman, such as Joseph Fielding Smith or Harold B.
Lee J. Reuben Clark is another one who has been identified as one who had entered into plural marriage, whether in fact do you have any evidence that they did so?
My answer is no, I don't have any evidence that they did. The evidence that I do have indicates that they were privately extremely opposed to anyone entering into plural marriage, and that any rumors that they did, I think, are unfounded. But the absence of evidence doesn't prove anything, it just proves that you don't have evidence of this. But I don't have evidence that there were any other Apostles after Richard R. Lyman, who did enter into plural marriage.
This, of course, is setting aside eternal plural marriage, because many of them, Joseph Fielding Smith among them, have entered into eternal plural marriages where, after the death of one wife, they have been sealed for time and eternity to another wife.
In Joseph Fielding's case, to three such wives. So in terms of sealing, a number of the Apostles have been sealed to wives where there would be a polygamous relationship following this life. But that's the only sense which I am aware of their having any participation in plural marriage.
Question: why was it necessary to ratify a marriage that had occurred
There was a difference of opinion in the period after the Manifesto about
whether any sealing performed outside the
So the fulfillment of that was haphazard. A number of the couples who
were sealed outside the
That was always a family question, and I can only think that it was not
something that was ever imposed by the Church Leaders saying, "you should
go back." or, "I require you to go back into the
Question: What were the circumstances that resulted in John W. Taylor being reinstated in 1965?
This was at the repeated request of Samuel W. Taylor and Raymond W. Taylor who were two sons of John W. Taylor. They had jointly collaborated in writing such books as, "I Had Six Wives." Which was a somewhat fictionalized biography of Rulon Allred.
They had also published a family memoir about John W. Taylor called,
Question: How did you get interested in plural marriage and plural marriage after the Manifesto?
Actually, it was that book I just referred to,
When I was 17, a girlfriend of mine said, "you know, there's this book
my mother just read. It's about early Mormonism. I think you'd be
interested in it." So she gave me the book and I read
Well, in our ward, my Bishop was a son-in-law of Apostle LeGrand Richards who frequently came to my ward to see his daughter and son-in-law and speak our ward meetings. The New years Eve after I read the book, New years Eve fell on Sunday, so we couldn't have our traditional Sunday dances and celebrations on new years Eve, so our youth group met in the Bishop's home. With us at that time was LeGrand Richards. The Bishop said that LeGrand Richards was going to give us a talk about whatever he chose to speak about, and after that time 'we were free to ask him any questions we wanted to.
So I'd been reading the Journal of Discourses, the first volume that summer, too, so I asked him about plural marriage after the Manifesto and the Adam-God doctrine. Of course this was in front of these other friends of mine who had never heard of either one of these things. I thought Brother Richards was very blunt, and I thought he was very honest in what he said. about Adam-God, he didn't deny it in any respect. He said Brigham Young taught a lot of things that he (Richards) didn't understand. He said that, "The Adam-God doctrine is one of those things that I just put on the shelf. And I don't claim any ability to understand it now.
I will one day take it off the shelf when I can meet with our Lord and ask him personally about it. But until that time. I don't make any statement about it." Which I felt was a very honest thing to say. That was the position I took thereafter.
About plural marriage after the Manifesto, he only knew of it through what his father had told him, George F. Richards, who was one of the replacements he was the replacement for Matthias F. Cowley when he was released in 1906. And Apostle Richards told me that his father regarded John W. Taylor as a very proud man, and that John W. Taylor felt that because his father had this revelation, this gave him the right to do anything regarding plural marriage no matter what the President of the Church felt. Apostle LeGrand Richards told me that he felt that John W. Taylor's downfall came because he was arrogant, and that, to me, sounded reasonable. So I accepted that argument and felt that they had acted contrary to the First Presidency's proposals, and I didn't really explore plural marriage after the Manifesto until I was a returned missionary. One of my young men I had responsibility for at B.Y.U. came up to me furious, saying he was going to leave B.Y.U., he was definitely going to leave his Book of Mormon class and was probably going to leave B.Y.U. that term, and might leave the Church.
I tried to calm him down and said, "what's the matter?" he said,
"well, I've been used to being given misinformation by my seminary
teachers about plural marriage after the Manifesto, and I Knew that they didn't
understand a lot, and I figured that this was just honest misinformation on
their part. But a religion professor at B.Y.U. told me that anyone who
entered into plural marriage after the Manifesto was an adulterer. My
grandfather was a mission president who married two plural wives in
But this really disturbed me, because it went so much against what I had felt was a reasonable explanation that LeGrand Richards gave to me. So I went up to The Salt Lake Genealogical Society that next weekend and checked his father's genealogical group sheet, and sure enough there were the dates for the marriages and the children's births, places of the marriages, and I checked Andrew Jenson's list in the "Biographical Encyclopedia" for this man, and sure enough, he was mission president from 1901 to 1919. The answer no longer worked. So from that point forward I wanted to understand, and I felt that not only was it important for me to understand, it was important for these descendants of these marriages to understand too. So that's how I got involved in this.
Question: The question relates to the proxy ceremony for Wilford Woodruff and Lydia Mountford. Wilford Woodruff's proxy was one of his sons. The proxy for Lydia Mountford was Susa Young Gates, who was the sister-in-law of Wilford Woodruff. She was the sister of another secret marriage that Wilford Woodruff had entered into, but this one he had entered into in 1877, and had married the sister of Susa Young Gates. The marriage didn't last long, it ended in divorce.
Susa Young Gates is also interesting as a proxy, because she was an advocate of plural marriage after the Manifesto and had tried to get her daughter, Leah, to marry Abraham Cannon, in 1896, and she was seriously being courted by Abraham Cannon. But when Abraham Cannon died, in 1896, a year later, Leah Dunford married John A. Widtsoe. So those were the proxys.
Question: What is the source of your information for this proxy marriage".
The Salt Lake Temple record.
Question: How do we get access to those?
If you have a
That is that Anthon H. Lund performed the marriage, and he recorded the ceremony in his diary; and those diaries are going to be published in another year or so.
Question: What is your understanding of the circumstances surrounding the 1886 revelation and what is your personal evaluation of whether it was valid and what significance has it?
As a historian. I find that there is abundant evidence to demonstrate that
the 1886 revelation occurred, that John Taylor was being asked to suspend or
end the practice of plural marriage. And in response to a question
relating to that, God told him in a revelation, a fairly brief revelation, that
that should not occur and that God could not revoke the practice or principle
of plural marriage. And because of that, John Taylor did something fairly
interesting, and that is that John Taylor had never been in violation of the
federal laws concerning plural marriage, because he had entered into his plural
Within a month, it was a month after the 1886 revelation, John Taylor married a plural wife, which was his first violation of federal law concerning plural marriage. The 1886 revelation, however, in my view, really added nothing to any of the revelations that had been given on plural marriage. It did respond to that specific circumstance from 1885 to 1886, when many loyal Church members saying, "why should we suffer anymore? Why don't we just agree to suspend the practice of plural marriage and end this crusade?" And the 1886 revelation did respond to that specific situation and request or consideration.
But if you read, as I have read the 1886 revelation, I don't find that it says anything different than the original written 1843 revelation. In there, God says that this is a new and everlasting covenant which shall never be abrogated. It is an eternal covenant. The 1889 revelation of Wilford Woodruff, who was an Apostle at that time, says the same thing. The 1889 revelation received on November 24, 1889 by Wilford Woodruff, when there was a similar proposal to him about making a promise to the federal government not only said that, the revelation of marriage being eternal, but also told him to make no promises to the Federal Government at all, of any kind.
So I don't think that the 1886 revelation, in terms of the irrevocability of
the principle of plural marriage, said anything new. I really find it
curious that there has been such a strenuous effort on the part of
The reason the 1886 revelation, though, has historical significance beyond its actual content is because through the later testimony of Lorin Woolley, the 1886 revelation is linked with another event. And they are two separate historical circumstances.
The 1886 revelation is linked with the ordination or setting apart of men to the office of High Priest Apostle, to have an authority to perform plural marriages, as defined later "no matter what the Church itself might do." I find no historical contemporary evidence to support that ordination of the Council of Friends in 1886.
As I said, absence of evidence doesn't prove anything. lt doesn't prove that something did not occur. All absence of evidence does is that you can say. "I don't have evidence of this." And as a historian, I have no evidence that there was a setting apart or an ordination of a Council of Friends in 1886. However, I do have as early as 1906 a reference by local Church members that there had been men who had been set apart to keep plural marriage alive no matter what. And that certainly is a support for the account of 1886, but it doesn't refer in any specific way to the 1886 ordination of the Council of Friends. So the 1886 revelation relates to that event, that alleged event or that claimed event, but the existence of the 1886 revelation as a true document does not prove that there was an ordination of men in 1886. They are really two separate historical items. I would be more than happy to find verification, and if I did find it, I certainly wouldn't conceal evidence of the ordination of men in 1886 as a council of Friends to continue plural marriage. But aside from the one reference I gave to you, in 1906, I find no evidence of that event prior to Lorin Woolley's detailed statements on various occasions in the 1920s concerning the 1886 ordination.
Question: Are you writing a book about plural marriage and what you've been talking about today?
Yes, I've been working on this for a number of years and eventually it'll be two books. I'm planning to write one book on plural marriage before it was publicly announced in 1852, when it was secret and being denied, and you had the public and then you had the private confusion going on, and then I plan to write a book on the similar event or similar circumstances in Mormonism that occurred after 1890. That book will deal with plural marriage among the Mormons. I'm not sure what the cutoff will be. If I have my preference, I think I'll cover from 1890 to 1990, but we'll see what my energy level is for that. But that's upcoming.
I also have, as some of you know here who have been kind enough to allow me
to interview you, I have an article coming out on, "Plural Marriage and
Mormon Fundamentalism." and the
lt is 60 pages of typed text and 30 pages of notes. I don't know what the full book is going to be like it's probably going to look like a medical dictionary because there are about 20 other contributors, and they're writing articles that are 40 pages long supposedly. Every time I kept sending something to the authors, they kept asking me to ask more questions, and that kept expanding the length of the article until it ended up being 60 pages of text.
O.k., we're out of time for questions. I can just allow one more you have greater patience than I think I would under your circumstances of sitting in meetings for 5 hours at a stretch.
Question: you've referred to concubinage, and what
does that mean in the
You need to remember that if you read section 132, the 1843 revelation, that revelation not only approves plural wives, it also approves concubines.
The question is, what does that mean? well, the term "concubine" as I understand it, and I'm not a biblical scholar and haven't researched this carefully, but in the Old Testament you have references to wives and concubines. My understanding is that in the Old Testament when it used that term, whatever the original Hebrew was, it meant that it was a wife who did not have the same social and legal status as other wives. Topically, concubines were slave women or servants in the home who became wives of the master of the home.
Several of Abraham's wives, he had four, and two of those wives were concubines. They were his servant women who became his wives. I believe two of them had the higher social and legal status. They were not his servant women. So there was that distinction. lt related not to the legitimacy of the marriage, but to the social standing of the women in the marriage.
Then in contemporary use, concubine came to mean basically a woman who was in like a mistress, and that became a conventional British and American understanding of the word concubine.
Then you have the revelation of 1843 approving plural wives and concubines, and it doesn't explain what they are. So you are left to wonder what we're talking about there, because there are no slaves. Well, that's not true, there were black slaves in American society, but there were no slaves in Nauvoo society that this would have applied to, so what was it referring to? My only understanding of this, any time the brethren referred to concubines, they never explained what they meant. They just said "concubines." I think that what it came to mean in Mormon practice and in Mormon thought in the 19th century was a woman who was married to a man without benefit of a sealing ceremony performed by a Priesthood holder. So it referred to a woman who became married to a man through an ordinance of what I call a "solemn covenant of marriage." And I don't like referring to those women as concubines because of the very negative connotations that term had and did have, even in the 19th century. But I think that's what George Q. Cannon and others were referring to when they said that concubinage is a true principle of the Lord, and if necessary it's going to occur again. It meant that if necessary, if they for, one reason or another couldn't have a Priesthood holder perform a ceremony of sealing for a couple, that the couple could enter into concubinage under the authorization of God by agreement or vow of love and fidelity between themselves and this goes to what I regard as a principle that the structure of the Church is not necessary to ratify what God approves, and that in terms of relationships, a relationship of love and commitment doesn't need to have an ordinance to perform it, to have the approval of God, that that is between the couple and their relationship and God.
Yet, in the 19th century, that was a minority practice. Most of the polygamous relationships that existed began with a formal ceremony in which there was a formal officiator performing it.
There were very few of concubinage. But I've traced down a number of them. I focused on them primarily after 1890. and there were very few of those. That will have to be the last question, I'm afraid. I don't want to take the patience of those sitting here wondering, "will he never stop?" So thank you again for the opportunity to speak before you.
Ralph Woodward: What do You have on the visit of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith to John Taylor in 1886, and of the 8-hour meeting other than Lorin Woolley's affidavit?
O.k., this is the traditional, foundational claim. I think it's fair to say, of Mormon fundamentalism. One is the 1886 revelation. Two, is the miraculous appearances of angels and of Joseph Smith and of Christ himself to John Taylor. And three, the ordination of those men.
There is no question that again, the historical evidence in terms of what I am bound by in terms of my training as a historian, there is no question historically to cast any doubt on the 1886 revelation. There can also be no question that John Taylor spoke with God face to face in 1885 and also in 1886. I'll refer you to that. In December 1885, Joseph Smith III, from actually November to December, Joseph Smith III of the Reorganized Church, was going throughout Utah, preaching that plural marriage was not a practice of his father and that it was only a corrupt, evil invention of Brigham Young.
During that time, John Taylor received a revelation in December wherein Jesus Christ appeared to him face to face. That revelation and that appearance of Christ to John Taylor face to face was being referred to in people's diaries and in meetings of local wards as early as May 1886. So this is months before the September 1886 events that you have people publicly saying and recording in their diaries that John Taylor had received a revelation concerning plural marriage and had spoken with Christ face to face.
During this period from 1885 to May of 1886, John Taylor had not lived in the home of John W. Woolley, so it had nothing to do with the Woolley home. Then in 1897, while Lorin Woolley was on a speaking engagement outside Utah, he spoke to a ward and bore testimony that while in his father's home, the home of John W. Woolley, President John Taylor had spoken with Jesus face to face, as well as a number of other angelic ministers. He didn't at that time associate it with a plural marriage revelation. He just testified that this had occurred. So that's the earliest contemporary account I have of the appearance of Jesus Christ and other messengers, to John Taylor while John Taylor was in John W. Woolley's home in September 1886.
Then years later, Lorin Woolley gave more details about those visions appearances that occurred in his father's home, involving John Taylor. But I think it's important to know that people in the early part of 1886, were talking about John Taylor speaking face to face with Jesus Christ in regard to a revelation on polygamy.