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Moniavioisuus ja totuus

Sandra ja Jerald Tanner Salt Lake City Messenger No. 66, tammik. 1988

Polygamy And Truth From Its Inception--To A United States Senate Investigation

In his book, Joseph Smith-Seeker After Truth, 1951, p. 324, Mormon Apostle John A. Widtsoe contended that

The record of Joseph's life is one of honesty, He taught honesty in all affairs; he insisted that his people be honest;...

In the single-volume edition of Evidences and Reconciliations, page 282, Apostle Widtsoe boasted:

The Church ever operates in full light. There is no secrecy about its doctrine, aim or work.

On page 226 of the same book, Widtsoe said that

From the beginning of its history the Church has opposed unsupported beliefs. It has fought half-truth and untruth.

In this article we want to take a close look at Joseph Smith's doctrine of plural marriage in the light of Apostle Widtsoe's statements concerning truth.

A Tangled Web

The Prophet Joseph Smith was obviously reflecting on the question of whether polygamy was right or wrong when he wrote the Book of Mormon. He ended up taking a very strong stand against it. In Jacob 2:23-24 we read:

But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.

Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.

The first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, printed in 1835, also denounced the practice:

Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again. (Doctrine and Covenants, section 101, verse 4)

This denial of polygamy, was printed in every edition of the Doctrine and Covenants until the year 1876. At that time the Mormon leaders inserted section 132, which permits a plurality of wives. Obviously, it would have been too contradictory to have one section condemning polygamy and another approving of it in the same book! Therefore, the section condemning polygamy was completely removed from the D&C.

The section which was added to the D&C in 1876 was a revelation given by Joseph Smith on July 12, 1843. It is still published in the D&C even though the church has gone back to practicing monogamy. The following is taken from Joseph Smith's revelation (the reader will notice that it begins by contradicting the statement in the Book of Mormon which said that "David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me,...):

Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines--
Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.
For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory...
And again, very I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant,... they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation...
Then they shall be gods, because they have no end;...
God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife...
Was Abraham, therefore, under condemnation? Verily I say unto you, Nay; for I, the Lord, commanded it...
Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness,...
David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants,... and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.
David's wives and concubines were given unto him of me,...
And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God...
Let no one, therefore, set on my servant Joseph; for I will justify him;...
And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood--if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery with that belongeth unto him and to no one else.
And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified. (D&C, section 132, verses 1-4, 19, 20, 34, 35, 37, 38, 39, 52, 60-62)

Just when and how the practice of plural marriage started in the Mormon Church has caused much controversy. There is evidence, however, to show that it was secretly practiced when the church was in Kirtland, Ohio, in the 1830's. In the Introduction to volume 5 of Joseph Smith's History of the Church, Mormon historian B. H. Roberts reveals that the

date in the heading of the Revelation [July 12, 1843]... notes the time at which the revelation was committed to writing, not the time at which the principles set forth in the revelation were first made known to the Prophet.

The Mormon writer John J. Stewart commented:

...Joseph as a servant of God was authorized to enter plural marriage, and it is not at all unlikely that he did so in the early or mid-1830's. Perhaps Nancy Johnson or Fanny Alger was his first 'plural' wife at Hiram or Kirtland, Ohio. ((Brigham Young and His Wives, page 31)

Oliver Cowdery, one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon, claimed that there was a relationship between Joseph Smith and Fanny Alger but he felt it was an adulterous relationship. In a letter dated Jan. 21, 1838, Cowdery wrote:

When he [Joseph Smith] was there we had some conversation in which in every instance I did not fail to affirm that what I had said was strictly true. A dirty, nasty, filthy affair of his and Fanny Alger's was talked over in which I strictly declared that I had never deviated from the truth in the matter, and as I supposed was admitted by himself. (Letter written by Oliver Cowdery and recorded by his brother Warren Cowdery; see photograph in The Mormon Kingdom, vol. 1, page 27)

As we have shown, Mormon apologists put the best possible light on this embarrassing situation. Andrew Jenson, who was the Assistant Church Historian, made a list of 27 women who were sealed to Joseph Smith. In this list he talked of "Fanny Alger, one of the first plural wives sealed to the Prophet." (Historical Record, May 1887, vol.6, page 233)

In any case, Mormon leaders admit that by July 12, 1843, when the revelation was supposed to have been given, Joseph Smith had already acquired plural wives. The revelation itself makes it clear that he was already involved with a number of women besides his wife, Emma: "And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph,..." (verse 52)

The revelation itself (verse 61) makes it clear that the first wife must "give her consent." Joseph Smith, however, did not follow the rules of his own revelation, for he took plural wives without seeking consent. Emily Dow Partridge, for instance, testified that she and her sister were married to Joseph without Emma's consent:

...the Prophet Joseph and his wife Emma offered us a home in their family,... We had been there about a year when the principle of plural marriage was made known to us, and I was married to Joseph Smith on the 4th of March 1843, Elder Heber C. Kimball performing the ceremony. My sister Eliza was also married to Joseph a few days later. This was done without the knowledge of Emma Smith. Two months afterward she consented to give her husband two wives, providing he would give her the privilege of choosing them. She accordingly chose my sister Eliza and myself, and to save family trouble Brother Joseph thought it best to have another ceremony performed. Accordingly on the 11th of May, 1843, we were sealed to Joseph Smith a second time, in Emma's presence,... From that very hour, however, Emma was our bitter enemy. We remained in the family several months after this, but things went from bad to worse until we were obligated to leave the house and find another home. (Historical Record, vol. 6, page 240)

As we have already indicated, Assistant Church Historian Andrew Jenson listed 27 women who were sealed to Joseph Smith. The Mormon author John J. Stewart, however, states that Smith "married many other women, perhaps three or four dozen or more..." (Brigham Young and His Wives, page 31) In No Man Knows My History, Fawn M. Brodie included a list of 48 women who may have been married to Joseph Smith. Stanley S. Ivins, who was considered to be "one of the great authorities on Mormon polygamy," said that the number of Joseph Smith's wives "can only be guessed at, but it might have gone as high as sixty or more." (Western Humanities Review, vol.10, pages 232-233)

In the Preface to the Second Edition of her book No Man Knows My History, Brodie revealed:

...over two hundred women, apparently at their own request, were sealed as wives to Joseph Smith after his death in special temple ceremonies. Moreover, a great many distinguished women in history, including several Catholic saints, were also sealed to Joseph Smith in Utah. I saw these astonishing lists in the Latter-day Saint Genealogical Archives in Salt Lake City in 1944.

Mormon Apostle John A. Widtsoe admitted that "Women no longer living, whether in Joseph's day or later, have also been sealed to the Prophet for eternity." (Evidences and Reconciliations, Single Volume Edition, pages 342-343) If the Mormon doctrine concerning plural marriage were true, Joseph Smith would have hundreds of wives in the resurrection!

Some of the Mormon men seemed to have an insatiable desire for plural wives. Wilford Woodruff, the 4th president of the church, was sealed to about 400 dead women. According to the journal of the Mormon Apostle Abraham H. Cannon, a man could have up to 999 wives sealed to him for eternity:

THURSDAY, APRIL 5th, 1894.... I met with the Quorum and Presidency in the temple.... President Woodruff then spoke '...In searching out my genealogy I found about four hundred of my femal[e] kindred who were never married. I asked Pres. Young what I should do with them. He said for me to have them sealed to me unless there were more that [than?] 999 of them. The doctrine startled me, but I had it done,...' ("Daily Journal of Abraham H. Cannon," April 5, 1894, vol. 18, pp. 66-67; original located at the Brigham Young University Library)

Other Men's Wives

The fact that Joseph Smith asked for other men's wives was made very plain in a sermon given in the Tabernacle by Jedediah M. Grant, second counselor to Brigham Young. In this sermon, delivered Feb. 19 1854, Grant revealed:

When the family organization was revealed from heaven--the patriarchal order of God, and Joseph began, on the right and on the left, to add to his family, what a quaking there was in Israel. Says one brother to another, 'Joseph says all covenants are done away, and none are binding but the new covenants: now suppose Joseph should come and say he wanted your wife, what would you say to that?' 'I would tell him to go to hell.' This was the spirit of many in the early days of this Church...

What would a man of God say, who felt aright, when Joseph asked him for his money? He would say, 'Yes, and I wish I had more to help to build up the kingdom of God.' Or if he came and said, 'I want your wife?' 'O yes,' he would say, 'here she is, there are plenty more.'... Did the Prophet Joseph want every man's wife he asked for?... If such a man of God should come to me and say, 'I want your gold and silver, or your wives,' I should say, 'Here they are, I wish I had more to give you, take all I have got.' (Journal of Discourses, vol.2, pages 13-14)

Ann Eliza Young, who had been married to Brigham Young, charged that Joseph Smith was guilty of adultery:

Joseph not only paid his addresses to the young and unmarried women, but he sought 'spiritual alliance' with many married ladies... He taught them that all former marriages were null and void, and that they were at perfect liberty to make another choice of a husband. The marriage covenants were not binding, because they were ratified only by Gentile laws... consequently all the women were free...

One woman said to me not very long since, while giving me some of her experiences in polygamy: 'The greatest trial I ever endured in my life was living with my husband and deceiving him, by receiving Joseph's attentions whenever he chose to come to me.'

This woman, and others, whose experience has been very similar, are among the very best women in the church; they are as pure-minded and virtuous women as any in the world. They were seduced under the guise of religion,...

Some of these women have since said they did not know who was the father of their children; this is not to be wondered at, for after Joseph's declaration annulling all Gentile marriages, the greatest promiscuity was practiced; and, indeed, all sense of morality seemed to have been lost by a portion at least of the church. (Wife No.19, 1876, pages 70-71)

The Mormon Apostle John A Widtsoe admitted that Joseph Smith was sealed to married women, but he claimed that they were not to be his wives until after death:

7. Another kind of celestial marriages seems to have been practiced in the early days of plural marriage. It has not been practiced since Nauvoo days, for it is under Church prohibition. Zealous women, married or unmarried,... considered their condition in the hereafter. Some of them asked that they might be sealed to the Prophet for eternity. They were not to be his wives on earth, in mortality, but only after death in the eternities... Such marriages led to misunderstandings by those not of the Church,... Therefore any ceremony uniting a married woman, for example to Joseph Smith for eternity seemed adulterous to such people. Yet, in any day, in our day, there may be women who prefer to spend eternity with another than their husband on earth. (Evidences and Reconciliations, 1960, p. 343)

John A. Widtsoe's statement that Joseph Smith did not live with the married women to whom he was sealed is certainly false. Patty Bartlett Sessions, the wife of David Sessions, made it very clear in her private journal that she was married to Joseph Smith for both "time" and "eternity":

I was sealed to Joseph Smith by Willard Richards Mar 9, 1842, in Newel K Whitney's chamber, Nauvoo, for time and all eternity,... Sylvia my daughter was present when I was sealed to Joseph Smith. I was after Mr. Sessions' death sealed to John Parry for time on the 27th, March, 1852, GSL City. (Journal of Patty Sessions, as quoted in Intimate Disciple, Portrait of Willard Richards, 1957, p. 611)

Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, the wife of Adam Lightner, stated:

Joseph said I was his before I came here and he said all the Devils in Hell should never get me from him. I was sealed to him in the Masonic Hall,... by Brigham Young in February 1842 and then again in the Nauvoo Temple by Heber C. Kimball (Affidavit of Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, as cited in No Man Knows My History, p. 444)

In a speech given at Brigham Young University (see Mormonism-- Shadow or Reality? pages 215-216), Mrs. Lightner said that Joseph claimed an "angel" came with a "drawn sword" and told him that if he did not enter into polygamy "he would slay him." She frankly admitted that she "had been dreaming for a number of years that I was his [Joseph's] wife." Since both Joseph and herself were already married, she "felt it was a sin." Joseph, however, convinced her that the "Almighty" had revealed the principle and while her "husband was far away," she was sealed to him.

In a study on Joseph Smith's wives, which we published in Joseph Smith and Polygamy, pp. 41-47, Stanley Ivins wrote the following:

22. -- MARY ELIZABETH ROLLINS LIGHTNER. Daughter of John Rollins and wife of Adam Lightner... Married Lightner on August 11, 1835. Married Joseph Smith in February, 1843.... On January 17, 1846 she was sealed to Joseph Smith for eternity and to Brigham Young for time. However she remained with her legal husband and came to Utah with him in 1863.

It would appear, then, that Mary E. Lightner had two different husbands for "time" and a third for "eternity." Mormon writer John J. Stewart confirms this in his book Brigham Young and His Wives, page 89:

17. Mary Elizabeth Rollins. Born April 9, 1818 at Luna, New York; died December 17, 1913. The wife of a non-Mormon, Adam Lightner. Sealed to the Prophet Joseph in February, 1842, at the age of 23, and again January 17, 1846, at which time she was sealed to Brigham for time.

In our publications, Mormonism--Shadow or Reality? and Joseph Smith and Polygamy, we present so much evidence that it is hard to escape the conclusion that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were living in adultery. In an unpublished sermon by President Brigham Young, which has been preserved in the Historical Department of the Mormon Church, he revealed that it was possible for a man who held a "higher power" in the priesthood to take someone else's wife without a divorce:

I will give you a few words of Doctrine,... Br Watt will write it, but it is not my intention to have it published; therefore pay good attention, and store it up in your memories.... Can a woman be freed from a man to whome [sic] she is sealed? Yes, but a bill of divorcement does not free her.... How can a woman be made free from a man to whome she has been sealed for time and all eternity? There are two ways.... The second way in which a wife can be seperated [sic] from her husband, while he continues to be faithful to his God and his priesthood, I have not revealed, except to a few persons in this Church, and a few have received it from Joseph the prophet as well as myself. If a woman can find a man holding the keys of the preisthood [sic] with higher power and authority than her husband, and he is disposed to take her he can do so, otherwise she has got to remain where she is. In either of these ways of seperation, you can discover, there is no need for a bill of divorcement. To recapitulate. First if a man forfiets [sic] his covenants with a wife, or wives, becoming unfaithful to his God, and his priesthood, that wife or wives are free from him without a bill of divorcement. Second. If a woman claims protection at the hands of a man, possessing more power in the preisthood and higher keys, if he is disposed to rescue her and has obtained the consent of her husband to make her his wife he can do so without a bill of divorcement.
("A few words of Doctrine," a speech given by President Brigham Young in the Tabernacle on Oct. 8, 1861; photocopy of a document in the Mormon Church Historical Department, Brigham Young Addresses, Ms/d/1243/Bx 49/fd 8)

Joseph Smith went to great lengths to conceal his practice of plural marriage. H. Michael Marquardt discovered that he even had a pretended marriage performed to cover up his own marriage to Sarah Ann Whitney. On July 27, 1842, the Mormon Prophet gave a revelation to Newel K Whitney, that he was to seal his daughter, Sarah Ann, "to Joseph Smith, to be his wife." In his booklet, The Strange Marriages of Sarah Ann Whitney to Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet, Joseph C. Kingsbury and Heber C. Kimball, Mr. Marquardt reveals how he uncovered the fact that Joseph Smith actually performed a "pretended" marriage ceremony between Sarah Ann Whitney and Joseph C. Kingsbury so that his own relationship with her would not be noticed. Mr. Marquardt cited the following from "The History of Joseph C. Kingsbury," a document that is now in the Western Americana section of the University of Utah Library:

...on 29th of April 1843 I according to President Joseph Smith Couscil & others agreed to Stand by Sarah Ann Whitny as supposed to be her husband & had a prete[n]ded marriage for the purpose of Bringing about the purposes of God...

Marquardt also found that Joseph Smith signed a document in which he stated: "I hereby certify, that I have upon this the 29th day of April 1843, joined together in marriage Joseph C. Kingsbury and Sarah Ann Whitney, in the City of Nauvoo, Illinois." It seems difficult to believe that a man professing to be a prophet of God would perform a "pretended" marriage to cover up his own iniquity. In his pamphlet, Mr. Marquardt goes on to show that after Joseph Smith's death, Sarah Ann Whitney continued to live with Joseph C. Kingsbury in this "pretended" marriage--he referred to her as "Sarah my Supposed wife." While still living with Kingsbury, she married the Apostle Heber C. Kimball. She was married to Kimball for time and sealed to Joseph Smith for eternity in the Nauvoo temple on Jan.12, 1846. She became pregnant with Apostle Kimball's child but continued to live with Kingsbury until after the child was born. For more information on these strange marriages see Michael Marquardt's pamphlet, The Strange Marriages of Sarah Ann Whitney. Marquardt's research has brought into focus the total disregard Joseph Smith had for marriage vows. Not only did he break the sacred vows he took with his first wife, Emma, but he also encouraged Sarah Ann Whitney to take false vows pledging herself to Joseph C. Kingsbury to cover up the fact that she would be having a sexual relationship with Joseph Smith. The marriage ceremony which was supposed to be used at that time contained the following:

You both mutually agree to be each other's companion, husband and wife, observing the legal rights belonging to this condition; that is keeping yourselves wholly for each other, and from all others, during your lives. (D&C, 1835 edition, section 101, verse 2)

According to the diary of Joseph Smith's private secretary, William Clayton, Smith would even go so far as to initiate a fake excommunication from the church to make it appear that he did not believe in polygamy:

Thursday 19.... Prest. J... began to tell me that E. was turned quite friendly & kind.... He said it was her advice that I should keep M [Clayton's plural wife Margaret] at home and it was also his council. Says he just keep her at home and brook it and if they raise trouble about it and bring you before me I will give you an awful scourging & probably cut you off from the church and then I will baptise you & set you ahead as good as ever. (William Clayton's Diary, Oct.19, 1843, Andrew Ehat's typed extracts)

In the Mormon paper, Times and Seasons, Joseph Smith actually announced the excommunication of a man who had been preaching polygamy:


As we have lately been credibly informed, that an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-day Saints, by the name of Hiram Brown, has been preaching polygamy, and other false and corrupt doctrines, in the county of Lapeer, state of Michigan.

This is to notify him and the Church in general, that he has been cut off from the church, for his iniquity; and he is further notified to appear at the Special Conference, on the 6th of April next, to make answer to these charges.

Presidents of said Church.

Times and Seasons, vol. 5, page 423

An index to the Times and Seasons reveals nothing further regarding Hiram Brown, and he is not mentioned at all in the large index of Joseph Smith's History of the Church compiled by E. Keith Howick. If Hiram Brown was a real person, this may be an example of the type of fake excommunication mentioned in Clayton's diary. In any case, it seems to be a strange way to handle an excommunication. It appears to be nothing but propaganda by the Smith brothers to cover their own iniquity.

Absolutely Essential

After 1852, when the Mormon Church was openly practicing polygamy, the leaders of the church were declaring that it was absolutely essential for exaltation. Joseph F. Smith, who served as the 6th president of the church, made this emphatic declaration concerning the importance of polygamy:

Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or nonessential to the salvation of mankind. In other words, some of the Saints have said, and believe that a man with one wife, sealed to him by the authority of the Priesthood for time and eternity, will receive an exaltation as great and glorious, if he is faithful, as he possibly could with more than one. I want here to enter my protest against this idea, for I know it is false... Therefore, whoever has imagined that he could obtain the fullness of the blessings pertaining to this celestial law, by complying with only a portion of its conditions, has deceived himself. He cannot do it. When that principle was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith,... he did not falter, although it was not until an angel of God, with a drawn sword, stood before him and commanded that he should enter into the practice of that principle, or he should be utterly destroyed, or rejected....

If then, this principle was of such great importance that the Prophet himself was threatened with destruction,... it is useless to tell me that there is no blessing attached to obedience to the law, or that a man with only one wife can obtain as great a reward, glory or kingdom as he can with more than one,...

I understand the law of celestial marriage to mean that every man in this Church, who has the ability to obey and practice it in righteousness and will not, shall be damned, I say I understand it to mean this and nothing less, and I testify in the name of Jesus that it does mean that. (Journal of Discourses, vol. 20, pp. 28-31)

In 1891 the First Presidency and Apostles of the Mormon Church made the following statement in a petition to the President of the United States:

We formerly taught to our people that polygamy or celestial marriage as commanded by God through Joseph Smith was right; that it was a necessity to man's highest exaltation in the life to come. (Reed Smoot Case, vol. 1, page 18)

Brigham Young made this uncompromising statement on August 19, 1866:

The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, page 269)

John Taylor, the third president of the church, claimed that he believed in keeping all the laws of the United States "except one"--i.e., "The law in relation to polygamy." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 20, page 317)

Thomas G. Alexander, of Brigham Young University, admitted that

long after the 1879 Reynolds decision, Church members brought to bar for sentencing told federal judges that the law of God was higher than the law of the land and deserved prior obedience. The Manifesto officially ending polygamy as Church practice was not issued until 1890, and excommunication for practicing plural marriage did not come until 1904. (Dialogue, Summer 1966, p. 128)

The Mormons continued to openly preach polygamy until the year 1890. During this period the leaders taught that it was going to be a permanent part of the church and that it would never be stopped. Heber C. Kimball, First Counselor to Brigham Young, emphasized that the "principle of plurality of wives never will be done away,..." (Deseret News, Nov. 7, 1855) Kimball also warned:

Some quietly listen to those who speak... against the plurality of wives, and against almost every principle that God has revealed. Such persons have half-a-dozen devils with them all the time. You might as well deny 'Mormonism,' and turn away from it, as to oppose the plurality of wives. Let the Presidency of this Church, and the Twelve Apostles, and all the authorities unite and say with one voice that they will oppose the doctrine, and the whole of them will be damned. (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 203)

In another discourse, Kimball made this emphatic declaration:

It would be as easy for the United States to build a tower to remove the sun, as to remove polygamy, or the Church and kingdom of God. (Millennial Star, vol. 28, p.190)

Apostle Orson Pratt strongly affirmed that it was absolutely essential that polygamy not be given up by the church:

God has told us Latter-day Saints that we shall be condemned if we do not enter into that principle; and yet I have heard now and then... a brother or sister say, 'I am a Latter-day Saint, but I do not believe in polygamy.' Oh, what an absurd expression! What an absurd idea! A person might as well say, 'I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, but I do not believe in him.' One is just as consistent as the other.... If the doctrine of polygamy, as revealed to the Latter-day Saints, is not true, I would not give a fig for all your other revelations that came through Joseph Smith the Prophet; I would renounce the whole of them, because it is utterly impossible,... to believe a part of them to be divine--from God--and a part of them to be from the devil;... The Lord has said that those who reject this principle reject their salvation, they shall be damned, saith the Lord;...

Now I want to prophecy a little.... I want to prophecy that all men who oppose the revelation which God has given in relation to polygamy will find themselves in darkness; the Spirit of God will withdraw from them the very moment of their opposition to that principle, until they will finally go down to hell and be damned, if they do not repent.... if you do not become as dark as midnight there is no truth in Mormonism. (Journal of Discourses, vol. 17, pp. 224-225)

In the Deseret News for Oct.10, 1866, President Brigham Young responded to a question which was frequently asked:

'Do you think that we shall ever be admitted as a State into the Union without denying the principle of polygamy?' If we are not admitted until then, we shall never be admitted.

The Mormons did everything they could to escape the federal deputies. Kimball Young gives this information:

In addition to false names, disguises, and ruses, a whole system of information gathering, signaling, and spotting informers was developed. For example, the church authorities would pass the word down to the smaller communities of movements of federal deputies out of Salt Lake City in the direction of any particular town. (Isn't One Wife Enough? page 396)

Wilford Woodruff, who became the 4th president of the church, had an armed guard to protect him. In a letter written in 1887, Woodruff wrote:

I have a large stout man who goes with me every ____ [where?] night and day [he] carries 2 pistols & a double barrel shot gun and sayes he will shoot the marshals if they come to take me (Dont tell anybody this) so I am ____ well garded...
(Letter from Wilford Woodruff to Miss Nellie Atkin, dated Sept. 3, 1887, microfilm copy of the original)

By 1890 the church leaders were using bribery to prevent the government from arresting them. Under the dates of October 17 and 18, 1890, Apostle Abraham H. Cannon recorded the following in his journal:

Uncle David came in about noon and told me... a deputy marshal... told him that there were papers out for my arrest,... I got Chas H Wilcken to investigate... Bro. Wilcken came and informed me that he had bought Doyle off, and had got his promise that I should not be molested, nor should any other person without sufficient notice being given for them to escape, and to get witnesses out of the way. He gave Bro. Wilcken the names of some 51 persons whose arrest he intended to try to effect... A messenger was therefore despatched to give these people warning. Thus with a little money a channel of communication is kept open between the government offices and the suffering and persecuted Church members.

The government increased the pressure against polygamy, but the Mormons were determined to continue the practice. Shortly before the revelation known as the Manifesto (which declared an end to the practice of polygamy) was given, Lorenzo Snow, who later became president of the church, was claiming that no such revelation would ever come. When Snow was on trial for practicing polygamy, Mr. Bierbower, the prosecuting attorney, predicted that if he was convicted, "a new revelation would soon follow, changing the divine law of celestial marriage." To this Lorenzo Snow responded:

Whatever fame Mr. Bierbower may have secured as a lawyer, he certainly will fail as a prophet. The severest prosecutions have never been followed by revelations changing a divine law, obedience to which brought imprisonment or martyrdom.

Though I go to prison, God will not change his law of celestial marriage. But the man, the people, the nation, that oppose and fight against this doctrine and the Church of God, will be overthrown. (Historical Record, 1886, vol. 5, page 144)

Although Lorenzo Snow said that the "severest prosecutions have never been followed by revelations changing a divine law," Wilford Woodruff, the 4th president of the church, issued the Manifesto in 1890. He claimed the Manifesto was given to stop the persecution the church would have to go through if the Mormons continued to practice polygamy. He stated:

The Lord showed me by vision and revelation exactly what would happen if we did not stop this practice... all ordinances would be stopped... many men would be made prisoners... I went before the Lord, and I wrote what the Lord told me to write... (Evidences and Reconciliations, 3 volume edition, pp. 105-106)

Before Wilford Woodruff became president of the Mormon Church, he maintained that the church could not give up polygamy (see Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, p. 166). On January 26, 1880, Woodruff even claimed to have a revelation which threatened the United States with destruction if it continued to oppose the "Patriarchal Law"--i.e., plural marriage:

Thus saith the Lord unto my servant Wilford Woodruff... it is not my will that mine Elders should fight the Battles of Zion for I will fight your Battles...

The Nation is ripened in iniquity and the Cup of the wrath of mine indignation is full, and I will not stay my hand in Judgment upon this Nation...

And I say again wo unto that Nation or House or people, who seek to hinder my People from obeying the Patriarchal Law of Abraham which leadeth to a Celestial Glory... for whosoever doeth these things shall be damned Saith the Lord of Hosts and shall be broaken up & washed away from under Heaven by the Judgments which I have sent forth and shall not return unto me void. (Wilford Woodruffs Journal, edited by Scott G. Kenney, vol. 7, pages 615-617)

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