Mormon Church Falsely Claims 1890 Manifesto Ended Polygamy

steve benson Nov. 2012

In an unending effort to twist history and turn it on its head, the Mormon Church dishonestly declares (despite mountains of documented evidence to the contrary) that its 1890 "Manifesto" ended, dead in its tracks, the Mormon practice of polygamy. As is so often the case, the historical record speaks loudly and clearly to the contrary.

If the Mormon Church's assertion was actually true, then the Mormon Church and its loyally-lying apologists need to explain why most Mormon polygamists in the Manifesto era (with the benefit of Mormon Church's clearly expressed and well-understood blessing) continued to practice multi-wifery in violation of the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887 (which disincorporated LDS Inc. for its crime of fostering polygamy).

Indeed, Mormon polygamists of the 1890s and early 1900s continued their multi-wifing ways precisely because they had the wink-and-a-nod support of none other than their LDS Church presidents--leaders who lied for the Lord under oath (and wherever else they felt they needed to) about Mormonism's supposed abandonment of its heavenly-harem herding.

Let's kick some behinds and take some names.

--Mormon Church President Woodrow Lies About Abandoning Polygamy While Authorizing Its Continued Practice--

Since Woodruff officially started the Big Lie, let's start with him in step-by-step debunking it.

**Woodruff’s Lie That the Manifesto Only Banned Future Polygamous Marriages**

Woodruff, as Mormon Church president, asserted that the cessation of polygamy only applied to future marriages:

"This [1890] Manifesto only refers to future marriages, and does not affect past conditions. I did not, I could not, and would not promise that you would desert your wives and children. This you cannot do in honor."

(Marriner W. Merrill, diary entry, 1890-10-06, in LDS Church archives, cited in B. Carmon Hardy, "Solemn Covenant: The Mormon Polygamous Passage" (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1992) p. 141)

What the record actually shows:

**Woodruff’s Continued Encouragement and Authorization of Post-Manifesto Polygamous Marriages—from Behind an Unsaintly Scheme of Cover-up and Distortion**

As historian D. Michael Quinn notes in his essay, "LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages: 1890-1904" (the publication of which led directly to Quinn's excommunicated), Mormon Church president Woodruff clearly did not view the 1890 Manifesto as banning future polygamous marriages.

Quite to the contrary, the historical record shows that under Woodruff’s direction the Mormon Church continued to perform multi-wife wedlock in private, while Woodruff continued to lie about it in public.

Quinn unmasks the grand Mormon façade which Woodruff and his co-conspirators constructed in a truth-impaired design to hide from public view the reality Mormonism's post-Manifesto non-monogamous marriages:

"On 24 September 1890, President Wilford Woodruff issued his famous Manifesto which stated in part:

"' . . . [A]nd I deny that either 40 or any other number of plural marriages have during the period [since June 1889] been solemnized in our temples or in any other place in the Territory,' and concluded, 'And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.'

"The Church-owned 'Deseret Evening News' editorialized on 30 September [1890]: 'Anyone who calls the language of President Woodruff's declaration 'indefinite' must be either exceedingly dense or determined to find fault. It is so definite that its meaning cannot be mistaken by any one who understands simple English.' On 3 October it added, 'Nothing could he more direct and unambiguous than the language of President Woodruff, nor could anything be more authoritative.'

"A few days after this last editorial, the Church authorities presented this 'unambiguous' document for a sustaining vote of the General Conference. Yet during the next 13-and-a-half years, members of the First Presidency individually or as a unit published 24 denials that any new plural marriages were being performed. The climax of that series of little manifestoes was the 'Second Manifesto' on plural marriage sustained by a vote of a general conference. President Joseph F. Smith's statement of 6 April 1904, read in part:

"'Inasmuch as there are numerous reports in circulation that plural marriages have been entered into contrary to the official declaration of President Woodruff, of September 24, 1890, commonly called the Manifesto . . . I, Joseph F. Smith, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, hereby affirm and declare that no such marriages have been solemnized with the sanction, consent or knowledge of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.'"

Way to go, Joseph. Wilford would have been so proud of you.

**Woodruff Did Not Receive the Manifesto by Divine Revelation; Rather, It Was Written for Him by Mere Mortals, Mormon and Non-Mormon Alike**

Before addressing who actually authored the 1890 Manifesto, let's dispense with the notion that God was the Penman.

Woodruff, of course, claimed that he had received the Manifest from God, declaring:

"The Lord showed me by vision and revelation exactly what would happen if we did not stop this practice [of polygamy]. . . . [A]ll ordinances would be stopped . . . . [M]any men would be made prionsers . . . ."

(Wilford Woodruff, in John A. Widstoe, "Evidence and Reconciliations," 1 vol. ed., pp. 105-06)

Unfortunately for Woodruff, eventual Mormon Church president, Joseph F. Smith, stated unequivocally that he did not regard the 1890 Manifesto as having heavenly origins, nor did he believe it constituted an order from On High to halt the practice of polygamy.

Quinn reports the confession:

“Responding to Heber J. Grant’s question in August 1891, if he regarded the Manifesto as a revelation, ‘President Smith answered emphatically no.’ [adding that] . . . he did not believe it to be an emphatic revelation from God abolishing plural marriage.’”

Further undermining Woodruff's tale that God prompted the Manifesto's command that polygamy be discontinued, Woodruff had earlier claimed just the opposite--declaring that God had revealed to him not to give into the federal government by abandoning polygamy. Apostle Abraham H. Cannon wrote in his journal of 19 December 1889 (less than a year before Woodruff issued the Manifesto):

"During our meeting, a revelation was read which President Woodruff received Sunday evening, November 24th. Propositions had been made for the Church to make some concession to the Courts in regard to the principles [of polygamy]. . . . [President Woodruff] laid the matter before the Lord.

"The answer cam quick and strong. The word of the Lord was for us not to yield one particle of that which he had revealed and established. . . . [W]e need have no fear of our enemies when we were in the line of duty. We are promised redemption and deliverance if we will trust in God and not in the arm of flesh . . . . [M]y heart was filled with joy and peace during the entire reading. It sets all doubts at rest concerning the course to pursue."

Apparently, Woodruff's God decided to reverse course.

Now, who actully wrote the Manifesto?

Woodruff insisted that God dictated the Manifesto's contents to him, saying: "I went before the Lord, and I wrote what the Lord told me to write . . . ."

(Widstoe, "Evidence and Reconciliations," pp. 105-06)

Never let the facts get in the way of a good faith-promoting story. Instead of supposedly being handed to Woodruff by God, the Manifesto was instead authored behind the scenes by assorted LDS authorities, with the assistance of non-Mormon officials from the United States government.

Quinn notes, for example, that Secretary to the First Presidency, George Reynolds, admitted to participating in the creation of the Manifesto--in collaboration with Woodruff's two First Presidency counselors, Charles W. Penrose and John R. Winder.

In addition, Quinn reports that "Lorin C. Woolley told Mormon Fundamentalists that Wilford Woodruff was not the author of the Manifesto but that it was actually written by Charles W. Penrose, Frank J. Cannon, and 'John H. White, the butcher,' revised by non-Mormon federal officials and that Woodruff merely signed it."

Richard Abanes, in his book, "One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church," observes that the Manifesto lacked the look and feel of a genuine revelation: "Its wording and the way leaders publicly released it dramatically differed from every other 'revelation' that had been give to the Saints.

"Before being issue, this so-called 'revelation' was written re-written, edited and re-edited many times behind closed doors by various persons ranging from Mormon politicians, to LDS apostles, to non-Mormon legal advisors.

"It was addressed 'To whom it my concern,' a decidedly secular phrase that failed to hold the authority of a 'Thus saith the Lord' declaration.

"It was publicly issued as a press release from Washington by Utah's delegate in Congress, John T. Caine, rather than being presented to the congregation by Church authorities at a Church Conference, which was how other revelations had been presented.

"It was not signed by the First Presidency, but only signed by Wilford Woodruff.

"Woodruff carefully worded the Manifesto to read, 'I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land,' which means that the entire declaration was Woodruff's personal advice, rather than a command from God. Thus, a sort of tehological loophole was give for disobedience."

(Richard Abanes, "One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church," Chapter 14, "The Politics of Compromise" (New York/London: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002), p. 324)

Not only did Woodruff not receive the 1890 Manifesto in a blaze of celestial glory, it was not regarded by Woodruff himself as signaling a wholesale Mormon Church suspension of polygamous practices. Despite such inner attitudes, however, Woodruff was more than willing to lie in public, as he perjuriously insisted under oath that polygamy had been completely abandoned by the Mormon Church.

Quinn writes:

"Two weeks after having the General Conference of the Church re-sustain the Manifesto on 6 October 1891, President Wilford Woodruff took the witness stand in [a] confiscation case [involving the return by the U.S. government of property to the Mormon Church, stipulated on the LDS Church's agreement to abandon, along with polygamy, the practice of unlawful co-habitation].

"He [Woodruff] made the following statements under oath which were reprinted in three editions of the 'Deseret News':

"'A[nswer, from Woodruff]: Any person entering into plural marriage after that date [24 September 1890] would be liable to become excommunicated from the Church.

"'Q[uestion]: [Per] the concluding portion of your statement [the Manifesto] . . . Do you understand that the language was to be expanded and to include the further statement of living or associating in plural marriage by those already in the status [of plural marriage]?

"'A: Yes, sir; I intended the proclamation to cover the ground, to keep the laws--to obey the law myself, and expected the people to obey the law. . . .

"'Q: Was the Manifesto intended to apply to the Church everywhere?

“’A: Yes, sir.

"'Q: In every nation and every country?

"'A: Yes, sir; as far as I had a knowledge in the matter.

"'Q: In places outside of the United States as well as within the United States?

"'A: Yes, sir; we are given no liberties for entering into that anywhere--entering into that principle. . . .

"'Q: Your attention was called to the fact, that nothing is said in this Manifesto about the dissolution of the existing polygamous relations. I want to ask you, President Woodruff, whether in your advice to the Church officials and the people of the Church, you have advised them that your intention was--and that their requirement of the church was--that the polygamous relations already formed before that [Manifesto] should not be continued; that is, there should be no association with plural wives; in other words, that unlawful cohabitation, as it is named and spoken of, should also stop, as well, as future polygamous marriages?

"'A: Yes, sir; that has been the intention."

Woodruff was lying out his Masonic garments--as proven by his private admission to a gathering of the Mormon Church's highest leaders.

Quinn recounts the moment:

". .. [A]fter he made the most explicit and authoritative public pronouncements that the Manifesto prohibited polygamous cohabitation and that excommunication was the penalty for violating the Manifesto, President Woodruff told the First Presidency and Twelve on 12 November 1891 'that he was placed in such a position on the witness stand that he could not answer other than he did; yet any man who deserts and neglects his wives or children because of the Manifesto, should be handled on his fellowship.'"

**Under Woodruff, Post-Manifesto Polygamy Continued Both the United States and Abroad**

In reality, both the solemnization and practice of post-Manifesto Mormon polygamous marriages was proceeded at various times and rates of speed, particularly in Mexico, as well (as will be detailed later) in the United States.

Quinn reports:

" . . . [T]he understanding of the First Presidency and apostles in September-October 1890 was that the Manifesto prohibited new polygamy only in the United States. The First Presidency’s secretary, George F. Gibbs, later wrote:

"'President Woodruff’s Manifesto of 1890 abandoning the practice of polygamy was not intended to apply to Mexico, and did not, as the Church was not dealing with the Mexican government, but only with our own government; and for the further reason that the Mexican government extended the hand of welcome to Mormon polygamists.'

"As regards continued sexual cohabitation and child-bearing in polygamous marriages entered into before the Manifesto, a meeting of the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, and all stake presidencies on 7 October 1890 clearly indicated the scope of the Manifesto in that respect: 'President Woodruff drew the attention of the brethren to the fact that the Manifesto did not affect our present family relations, but it simply stated that all plural marriages had ceased.'"

**Woodruff Covered His Tracks by Having Others Authorize Post-Manifesto Marriages in His Behalf**

Doing most of the lying-for-the-Lord legwork in that regard was Woodruff’s First Presidency Counselor, George Q. Cannon.

Quinn writes:

“Sometime between this meeting and July 1894, he [Cannon] signed a temple recommend, ‘W.W [Wilford Woodruff’ per G.Q.C. [George Q. Cannon],’ for Hattie Merrill, daughter of Apostle Marriner W. Merrill, president of the Logan Temple. The stake presidency was the highest recommending authority necessary for temple ordinances; Cannon’s signature indicates clearly his knowledge that the marriage would be polygamous. Apostle Merrill performed the ceremony for his daughter and John W. Barnett on 16 July 1894 in the Logan Temple.

“Cannon’s act on behalf of President Woodruff . . . was the first of several unambiguously polygamous marriages Merrill performed after the Manifesto in the Logan Temple, and Counselor Cannon’s initialed endorsement was what he kept as evidence of First Presidency authorization. . . .

“According to Apostle Brigham Young, Jr., by 1895 President Woodruff had delegated all authorizations for plural marriages to George Q. Cannon. After a private conversation with Cannon in April 1895, Apostle Young wrote:

"‘Brother George and I had a pleasant chat on [the] doctrine of marriage, etc. His views are peculiar but I know the responsibility of this whole question rests upon him and how can he meet the demands in this nation? Rulers will have a heavy bill to settle when they reach the spirit world.’ Two months after this talk, Apostle Young traveled down to the Mexican border with two prospective polygamists, and ‘I furnished a guide to both men, they had their wives with them.’

**Under Woodruff, Excommunication Show-Trials Were Conducted In Order to Mislead the Federal Government**

With the Mormon Church under increasing pressure from the U.S. authorities to completely jettison the practice of polygamy, the LDS Church, under the leadership of Woodruff, began excommunicating certain polygamists, especially as the involvement of these individuals in plural marriage became matters of public knowledge.

Quinn reports:

"During 1899 . . . [p]lural marriages were being performed in Mexico and in various places in the United States but because anti-Mormons began publishing accusations of these violations of the Manifesto, Church authorities began excommunicating a few new polygamists.”

**Under Woodruff, Post-Manifesto Polygamous Marriages Were Officially Authorized by the Mormon Church Not Only in Mexico, But Also in the United States and Canada**

Despite window-dressing excommunication of selected multi-wifers, the Mormon Church did not discontinue the practice of polygamy--in either the LDS colonies in Mexico or in the United States itself.

Quinn charts the chronology of post-Manifesto Mormon polygamous unionizing taking place in Mexico, the United States and Canada:

-"From the publication of the Manifesto until November 1890, the First Presidency authorized seven residents of the United States to go to Mexico to be married there. All but one of the couples remained in the Mexican colonies. . . .

-"In July 1892, the First Presidency authorized a couple of marriages to be performed in Mexico and Canada . . . .

-"In 1893, the Presidency authorized . . . one U.S. resident to visit Mexico for a plural marriage ceremony, and . . . one was performed there for a local resident."

Woodruff was clearly involved authorizing and permitting the ongoing consummation of Mormon polygamous marriages.:

-" . . . [Although for] nearly two years, President Woodruff did not encourage new plural marriages and permitted only three United States residents and one local resident to marry plural wives in Mexico and Canada, . . . [t]hat changed in 1894. At the meeting of the Presidency and Twelve in the Salt Lake Temple on 5 April 1894, President Cannon expressed regrets that there were no provisions for polygamous marriages, to which President Woodruff replied: 'The day is near when there will be no difficulty in the way of good men securing noble wives.'

"A month later, President Woodruff wrote a letter of instruction to Apostles Brigham Young, Jr., and John Henry Smith concerning their second trip to Mexico in five months, authorizing them 'in adjusting all matters that properly come under your calling.'

“. . . Apostle Young--who had told the Mexican Saints in February that it was impossible for any man to marry a plural wife anywhere in the world and to cancel any polygamous engagements--performed at least five plural marriages there when he returned in May-June 1894. Among these plural marriages was one for Franklin S. Bramwell, then a stake high councilman, who later wrote, 'When I took my second wife I had a letter signed by President Woodruff himself and went to Mexico with a personal letter from President George Q. Cannon.'

". . . [T]here can be no question that in October 1894 President Woodruff personally authorized Apostle Abraham H. Cannon to marry a new plural wife [with Abraham Cannon writing the following]: 'Father [George Q. Cannon] also spoke to me about taking some good girl and raising up seed by her for my brother David. . . . Such a ceremony as this could be performed in Mexico, so President Woodruff has said.'

"Six months later, Wilford Woodruff gave a newspaper interview: 'I hurl defiance at the world,' said President Woodruff, 'to prove that the Manifesto forbidding plural marriages has not been observed.'

-"[Also in] 1894, the First Presidency committed themselves to the position that there were circumstances under which plural marriages would not only be permitted but also encouraged, and by the authority of the Presidency, one plural marriage occurred in Canada, six in Mexico, and two in Utah temples.

-“Th[is] pattern continued about the same in 1895 and 1896.

-“Plural marriages had ceased for six months in Mexico even for residents of the newly created Juarez Stake until two apostles visited the colonies early in 1897 and performed plural marriages for two residents. During the last six months of 1897 the First Presidency authorized seven U.S. residents to visit Mexico for plural marriage ceremonies and also authorized two ceremonies to occur aboard ship.”

" . . . [S]pecific evidence of Wilford Woodruff’s direct involvement in new polygamous marriages emerge[d] . . . [in] 1897. In June 1897, the First Presidency authorized Juarez Stake President Anthony W. Ivins to perform polygamous ceremonies in Mexico and in the fall President Woodruff authorized [apostle] Anthon H. Lund to perform two plural marriages aboard ship, one on the Pacific Ocean and one on the Great Lakes.

"President Woodruff met with Lund on 1 December 1897, apparently to authorize the aboard-ship ceremony that Lund would perform exactly one month later en route to Palestine, and Lund made the following observation: 'President Woodruff took me to one side and spoke to me concerning Mrs. Mountford. I was rather astonished.' Born in Jerusalem and raised as a Christian, Madame Lydia Mary von Finkelstein Mountford claimed descent from Ephraim and Judah, and lectured throughout the United States about Palestine and evidences for Christ’s life. She was baptized in the LDS Church shortly after her first lectures in Salt Lake City in February 1897."

-"During 1898, mounting pressures for polygamy resulted in an expansion of orderly avenues for performing new plural marriages. The First Presidency authorized nine more U.S. residents to visit the Juarez Stake for their polygamous ceremonies but visiting apostles were the only ones who would perform plural marriages for residents of the Mexican colonies who were becoming impatient that their stake president would perform plural ceremonies only for visitors who had letters from the First Presidency, not for them. Toward the end of the year, the First Presidency instructed the Juarez Stake president to perform plural marriages for worthy residents of the stake without obtaining specific authorization from the First Presidency for individual cases.

"Although lower-ranking Church members continued to travel from Utah with letters from the Presidency for their plural marriages to be performed in Mexico, during 1898 the First Presidency established still another avenue for plural marriages to be performed by an apostle in the United States for higher-ranking Mormons.”

-“The Church president stopped plural marriages in Mexico in 1899 but turned a blind eye to those still occurring in Utah and Idaho."

Abanes notes the extent of post-Manifesto polygamous marriages that occurred, desite Mormon Church denials to the contrary:

"Countless plural marriages . . . [took] place throughout Utah, Canada and Mexico." He puts the actual documented count at "262 post-Manifesto marriages between October 1890 and December 1910 involving 200 different Mormon men."

(Abanes, "One Nation Under Gods," Chapter 14, "The Politics of Compromise," pp. 325, 328; and "Notes" for Chapter 14, pp. 591n53, 593n67)

--Not Only Did Woodruff Lie About Post-Manifesto Polygamous Marriages Being Authorized by the Mormon Church, He Himself Was Polygamously Wed While Performing His Lying Duties--

Quinn notes:

"Circumstantial evidence indicates that Wilford Woodruff married Madame Mountford as a plural wife," writing that "[t]he evidence seems compelling that L. John Nuttall performed a polygamous marriage for Wilford Woodruff and Madame Lydia Mary Mountford aboard ship on the Pacific Ocean on 20 September 1897. That such a marriage has never been acknowledged in the Woodruff family’s published genealogies is no argument against its existence: those genealogies also fail to mention that he married Eudora Young Dunford as a plural wife in 1877, even though she bore him a child that died the day of its birth."

Quinn also writes that “Woodruff’s nephew, Apostle Matthias F. Cowley, later told the Quorum of Twelve, 'I believed President Woodruff married a wife the year before he died, of course, I don’t know, I can’t prove it,' and still later, Mormon Fundamentalists (who had no access to the Lund diary) stated that Madame Mountford was the plural wife Wilford Woodruff married after 1890."

In short, Woodruff had a regular habit of lying about the ongoing official Mormon sanction of post-Manifesto polygamy, both in his word and in his deed.

Quinn summarizes Woodruff's history of untruthful wanderings:

"In the last year of his life, Wilford Woodruff thus maintained a public stance that was at variance with his private activities regarding polygamy. When Protestant ministers charged the [Mormon] Church with allowing new plural marriages, President Woodruff wrote the editor of the Protestant newspaper that 'no one has entered into plural marriage by my permission since the Manifesto was issued.'

"Four days after that denial was published, President Woodruff held a special meeting with the married children born to his youngest wife and had L. John Nuttall read them the revelation he had received in 1880, which stated in part: 'And I say again, woe unto that Nation or house or people who seek to hinder my People from obeying the Patriarchal Law of Abraham,' and concluded, 'Therefore let mine Apostles keep my commandments and obey my laws and the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.' One of Wilford Woodruff’s sons at this meeting was an apostle, took this reading to heart and married a plural wife three years later.

"In August 1898, a student at Brigham Young Academy in Provo went with her prospective husband to request President Woodruff’s permission to marry polygamously: 'He brushed them aside with a wave of his hand and said he would have nothing to do with the matter, but referred them to President George Q. Cannon. . . . Then they were given a letter by President George Q. Cannon to President Ivins, of the Juarez stake, and they went to Mexico' where Ivins performed the ceremony.

"The First Presidency’s office not only authorized these post-Manifesto plural marriages in Mexico as performed by the presiding authority there, but also was aware of and recorded the plural marriages that visiting apostles performed in Mexico.

"First Presidency clerk George Reynolds wrote to A. W. Ivins asking for the name of the officiator of four sealings that occurred in Mexico during March 1898 (two were polygamous) with the comment: 'I imagine it was Brother John W. Taylor,' and then he routinely recorded the ordinances in the record book of the then-defunct Salt Lake Endowment House.

"Until his death in September 1898, Wilford Woodruff maintained a public image of opposition to, a private image of official aloofness from, and a personal involvement with post-Manifesto polygamy."

--Under the New Management of President Lorenzo Snow, the Mormon Church Continues Its Campaign of Lies and Cover-ups Regarding Official Sanction of Post-Manifesto Polygamy--

Despite its behind-the-scenes wink-and-nod sanctioning of post-Manifesto polygamy, the Mormon Church persisted in vehemently denying that the practice was occurring with its ecclesiatical blessing.

Quinn observes:

" . . . [I]n January 1900. . . . Church president [Lorenzo Snow] made a public denial that either new polygamous marriages or polygamous cohabitation had his or the Church’s sanction."

Yet, post-Manifesto polygamous marriages sanctioned by the LDS Church’s president were still occurring, with them being authorized in limited respects under Woodruff's successor:

"[While] Lorenzo Snow stopped plural marriages in Mexico for United States residents who needed First Presidency recommends, . . . , he simultaneously authorized an expansion of post-Manifesto polygamy that Wilford Woodruff never allowed: the performance of plural marriages by the Juarez Stake president for stake members who needed no First Presidency authorization. Since March 1898 Miles A. Romney of the Juarez Stake High Council had written three letters to Salt Lake City asking for such permission. It was not granted until October 1898 when Anthony W. Ivins began performing plural marriages for Romney and other residents of the stake."

Snow also permitted post-Manifesto polygamous marriages in the United States:

". . . B]efore performing a plural marriage in Idaho in October 1898 for Joseph Morrell, Apostle Matthias F. Cowley asked permission of President Snow who 'simply told me that he would not interfere with Brother Woodruff’s and Cannon’s work.' . . . What President Snow had done in October 1898 was stop plural marriages that required his personal knowledge and consent for specific individuals; what Ivins did in Mexico and Cowley did in the United States no longer required the Church President’s personal knowledge."

Despite ongoing indulgence and approval of post-Manifesto polygamy, Snow continued the time-honored Mormon practice of Woodruff in lying about it.

Quinn writes:

"As 1899 closed, more than seven million Americans signed a petition asking the U.S. House of Representatives to exclude B. H. Roberts from his elected seat because he was a polygamist. There were proposals to pass a Constitutional amendment prohibiting polygamy and polygamous cohabitation, and even talk of efforts to disfranchise all Mormons.

"In separate interviews with newspaper correspondents, President Snow denied that polygamous marriages 'had been performed by the Church, or with its sanction, since he became its President' and decided, as a further concession, that polygamists should promise to obey the laws against unlawful cohabitation when brought to trial.

"When this decision was challenged in a meeting of the First Presidency with the apostles, the Presiding Bishop, and the senior president of the First Council of Seventy, President Snow asked, 'Which was worse: the abrogation of polygamy or the counsel to abstain from having children?' The meeting adjourned without formal vote. A week later on 8 January 1900, President Snow issued a formal statement written for him by non-Mormon Judge George W. Bartch, which stated:

"' . . . [T]he [Mormon] Church has positively abandoned the practice of polygamy, or the solemnization of plural marriages, in this and every other State; and . . . no member or officer thereof has any authority whatever to perform such plural marriages or enter into such relations. Nor does the Church advise or encourage unlawful cohabitation on the part of any of its members.

"'If, therefore, any member disobeys the law, either as to polygamy or unlawful cohabitation, he must bear his own burden, or in other words be answerable to the tribunals of the land for his own action pertaining thereto.'”

The Mormon Church continued to covertly practice and solemnize polygamous marriages, under the protective cover of Snow's dishonest public disavowals.

Quinn lays out the case in that regard:

"While President Snow was expressing public and private denials of new polygamy in 1900, he also seemed to be giving private, retroactive approval to new plural marriages already performed. At the temple meeting of the First Presidency and apostles on 29 December 1899, Apostle Owen Woodruff reported that at Colonia Oaxaca he had sealed some couples who could not afford to travel to the nearest temple and 'now asked for authority to perform sealings in that country.' President Cannon and Apostle John Henry Smith recommended that President Snow reinstitute this authorization to perform sealings outside the temple, particularly in Mexico, and President Snow agreed. . . .

"In May 1900, David Eccles asked Gibbs to intercede on behalf of his post-Manifesto plural wife whose bishop threatened to excommunicate her for refusing to identify the father of her child.

"'President Snow said he admired the grit of the girl,' said that he did not want to know the identity of the child’s father and told Gibbs to advise the man to move to Mexico with his plural wife. Presidents Snow and Cannon wrote a letter to the polygamous wife’s bishop instructing him to accept the woman’s admission that she had given birth to a child and to make no further requirement of her or take action against her."

Snow, in fact, was engaging in active permission-granting for certain Mormons to marry polygamously while, conversely, firmly denying ever doing such a thing.

Writes Quinn:

" . . . [I]n private instructions until well into 1901, the last year of his life, Lorenzo Snow seemed resolute in his refusal to authorize the performance of new polygamous marriages. When Alexander F. Macdonald asked permission in August 1900 to perform a plural marriage for a bishop in the Mexican colonies, 'President Snow then declared that no such sealings could be performed in Mexico any quicker than in the United States, with his consent, for such marriages had been forbidden.' Apostle Brigham Young, Jr., who wanted to marry a new plural wife, recorded their conversation on 13 March 1901:

"'He said there cannot be a plural marriage solemnized in this Church without my consent and I have never given consent for this to be done since president of the Church. God has removed this privilege from the people and until He restores it I shall not consent to any man taking a plural wife; it is just as fair for one as it is for all to go without . . . . Has any one of the apostles a right to seal plural wives to men by reason of former concessions made to them by presidency? No sir, such right must come from me and no man shall be authorized by me to break the law of the land.'"

As to Snow breaking the law of the land, the record speaks for itself, as Quinn lets it speak:

"It would be difficult to compose a more explicit, comprehensive denial of sanctioned polygamy; but the fact remains that during the presidency of Lorenzo Snow in 1901, four apostles (including Brigham Young, Jr.) married plural wives, and at least one other apostle attempted to do so.

"Abraham Owen Woodruff had been courting his prospective plural wife for months and, after several private meetings with Lorenzo Snow in January 1901, he married her.

"Apostle Matthias F. Cowley performed the plural marriage an 7 April 1901 for Apostle Marriner W. Merrill. Despite President Snow’s firm refusal when Brigham Young, Jr., spoke with him about new polygamy in March, Young married a plural wife the following August. In view of Young’s lifelong compliance even with Church presidents with whom he ardently disagreed, it is virtually impossible to see this marriage as an act of deliberate insubordination.

"John W. Taylor claimed that he married two plural wives in August 1901 with the permission of the Church president; but the clearest evidence that Lorenzo Snow gave permission individually to the apostles to marry plural wives in 1901 comes from Heber J. Grant, who later wrote: 'Before I went to Japan [in July 1901] my President intimated that I had better take the action needed to increase my family,' and Grant’s notebook indicates that President Snow gave this permission on 26 May 1901: 'Temple Fast meeting--17 years since Gusta and I married--She willing to have me do my duty, and President Snow.'

"But to make the ambiguity complete, despite what Lorenzo Snow may have told these five apostles privately, he told the Quorum of the Twelve as a body at the temple meeting of 11 July 1901:

“'Some of the brethren are worrying about the matter, and feel that they ought to have other wives. Brethren do not worry; you will lose nothing. . . . Brethren, don’t worry about these things, and if you don’t happen to secure the means you would like, don’t feel disappointed.'

“In these remarks, President Snow referred specifically to Heber J. Grant who concluded that these instructions to the entire Quorum repealed the private authorization the Church president had given him in May; he 'dropped the matter' and left within a few days for Japan."

--Under the Enthusiastic Multi-Wifing and Deliberately Deceitful Leadership of Mormon Church President Joseph F. Smith, Post-Manifesto Polygamy Marches On--

Quinn reports how LDS President Joseph F. Smith retrenched and then expanded post-Manifesto polygamy:

"In 1902, . . . Church president [Smith] authorized the Juarez Stake president to resume performing plural marriages for Mexican colonists, who were also having their polygamous unions solemnized by the stake patriarch and visiting apostles. . . . [T]he first of which occurred on 9 March 1902 after the two-and-a-half year suspension originally imposed upon Ivins by Lorenzo Snow.”

"The year 1903 was the climax of post-Manifesto polygamy with [official] Church authority. Anti-Mormon newspapers were accusing Mormons of new plural marriages, a young man voted in Salt Lake stake conference against sustaining a prominent post-1890 polygamist, a grand jury in Salt Lake City convened to investigate this new polygamy, and the U.S. Senate received a protest to investigate these charges.

"Yet at the same time, apostles were performing new polygamous marriages in the United States and Mexico, where both the stake patriarch and president were also officiating for residents of the Juarez Stake. The stake president had, furthermore, been authorized by the First Presidency to perform plural marriages for U.S. residents with the necessary letter from Salt Lake City. In addition, for the first time since the establishment of the Canadian settlement of Mormons, the Church president authorized local Church authority to perform plural marriages there for Canadian Mormons."

“By the fall of 1903, Joseph F. Smith had decided to expand new polygamous marriages even further. During early September 1903, he was in the Mormon settlements of Canada to reorganize the Alberta Stake and organize the Taylor Stake. Up until this time, no polygamous marriages had been performed in Canada for local Mormons; but within a week Patriarch John A. Woolf performed the first such marriage for Franklin D. Leavitt.

“Later John W. Taylor, resident apostle in Canada, said he acted as intermediary in commissioning Woolf: ‘I simply delivered a message to him from some in authority."’ Matthias F. Cowley, who was Woolf’s brother-in-law, answered a question about Woolf’s authority by saying: ‘All I know, I think a Brother Le[a]vitt went to President Smith and asked him if it would be alright and he referred him to Brother Taylor who had charge of all things in Canada.’ Supporting evidence for President Smith’s authorization of these Canadian plural marriages from 1903 onward is found in the fact that the records of these ordinances have been kept under First Presidency control.”

Mormon President Joseph F. Smith also authorized the approval of post-Manifesto polygamous unions in the United States.

Again, Quinn:

“After leaving Canada, Joseph F. Smith and his party traveled to Wyoming . . . where] Matthias F. Cowley performed a polygamous marriage for [Big Horn] Stake President Byron Sessions. When asked later about that marriage, Cowley said that he ‘had the idea that President Smith was not opposed to these marriages if it could be done without trouble with the government.’

In fact, Church President Smith was an unabashed fan of post-Manifesto polygamy and let his feelings be known.

Quinn notes:

“President Smith . . . thoroughly communicated his sentiment in favor of post-Manifesto polygamy to his secretary George F. Gibbs . . . [who] . . . proposed polygamous marriage to a woman in 1903. She responded by asking whether the Manifesto was ‘just a gesture,’ and the First Presidency secretary replied, ‘Marvelous that you can see so far.’

"Heber J. Grant later wrote that Apostle Abraham Owen Woodruff performed plural marriages in Mexico in November 1903 because Woodruff ‘was under the impression that President Joseph F. Smith sanctioned those marriages;’ and on 31 January 1904, when Ivins performed the last plural marriage in Mexico for a visiting U.S. resident, it was for John A. Silver, a business associate of President Smith who likely gave him the necessary recommend.”

Like Mormon Church presidents before him, Joseph F. Smith was an unrepentant, two-faced liar when it came to telling the truth about post-Manifesto polygamy, as Quinn demonstrates with specifics:

“Joseph F. Smith continued the familiar pattern of denying publicly what was happening privately throughout these years. More significantly, he was keeping his own counselors and half of the apostles in the dark about what he and the other half were doing to promote new polygamous marriages.

"At the temple meeting of 17 April 1902, Counselor Lund recorded, ‘Polygamy was referred to and President Smith said he must follow the example of President Snow and not give any permission to such marriages.' Apostle Clawson added the phrase, ‘within the United States’ in his diary, but even if President Smith said those words, that solved only half of the problem of what he was actually allowing despite the denial.

“In 1902, when members of the BYU board of trustees complained that the institution’s president Benjamin Cluff had actually succeeded in marrying a new plural wife, Joseph F. Smith (who had authorized the ceremony) ‘said that such a thing could not be, with the sanction of the church, and that if Cluff had done it he had done something he had no authority to do.’

“At the Salt Lake Temple fast and testimony meeting of 25 May 1902, President Smith testified to the truth of plural marriage but added, ‘at the present time there was no opportunity for any person to practice this principle.’

“More comprehensively, at a meeting on 5 June 1902 of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve (half of whom had married new plural wives or had performed such marriages for others):

“’Pres. Smith denied that any plural marriages were taking place to his knowledge in the church either in U.S. or any other country. It is thoroughly understood and has been for years that no one is authorized to perform any such marriages.’

“On 19 February 1903, President Smith told the temple meeting that rumors expressed by Kanab Stake members that plural marriages were being solemnized under the sanction of the Presidency were ‘foundationless.’ At this time, the post-Manifesto plural wife of Kanab’s stake counselor-patriarch Thomas Chamberlain was secluded in the house of President Smith’s wife Julina, but the Church President told the Quorum of Twelve that he was sending two apostles to Orderville to ‘endeavor to correct any wrong impression in the minds of the people.’ The two he sent were Matthias F. Cowley (who had performed the Chamberlain plural marriage in Salt Lake City) and George Teasdale (whose own post-1890 polygamous marriage had been repeatedly described in the newspapers).

“When the Presidency and apostles discussed rumors of new polygamous marriages exactly nine months later, ‘President Smith told the brethren pointedly that he had not given his consent to anyone to solemnize plural marriages; that he did not know of any such cases, and if members of our Church have entered into such alliances, they have done it upon their own responsibility and without his approval or sanction, and they must therefore abide the consequences.’

When subpoenaed to testify before the U.S. Senate during the Reed Smoot hearings (which were called to determine whether or not Smoot should be seated in Congress whose Mormon Church was violating federal anti-polygamy statutes), Smith--to put it bluntly--lied his head off.

Quinn reviews the devastating record of deceit:

“Under oath before the Senate, Joseph F. Smith led future witnesses by example. He volunteered that he had cohabited with his wives and that they had borne him eleven children since the Manifesto, even though he said that the Manifesto ‘was a revelation to me.’ . . .

“Upon being questioned several times about whether there had been any plural marriages after the 1890 Manifesto, Joseph F. Smith testified:

“‘I know of no marriages occurring after the final decision of the Supreme Court of the United States on that question . . . and from that time till today there has never been, to my knowledge, a plural marriage performed in accordance with the understanding, instruction, connivance, counsel or permission of the presiding authorities of the Church, or of the Church, in any shape or form,’ and when asked if he had performed or knew of any post-Manifesto plural marriages:

“’Mr. Smith: No, sir; I never have.

“’The Chairman: Either in Mexico or--

“’Mr. Smith: Nowhere on earth, sir.

“’The Chairman: Do you know of any such.

“’Mr. Smith: No, sir; I do not.’

“He also testified that he had never heard an apostle publicly advocate or defend plural marriage since the Manifesto.349 Concerning the Abraham H. Cannon plural marriage in 1896, President Smith testified that he did not know when Cannon married Lillian Hamlin, that he did not marry them, that he did not know she was engaged to marry Cannon’s deceased brother, that he had never talked with George Q. Cannon about Abram’s marrying Lillian, and that none of the current apostles had married plural wives since the Manifesto. . . .

“Joseph F. Smith set a pattern for all other witnesses in the Smoot investigation by . . . risking a perjury indictment by concealing any evidence detrimental to the Church as an institution or to any individual (including himself) who acted in his capacity as a Church official in promoting post-Manifesto polygamy. As President Smith told another prospective witness in the Smoot case, ‘We should consider the interests of the Church rather than our own.’”

In the face of embarrassing revelations of the Smoot hearings, Smith decided to issue a "Second Manifesto." Abanes observes, however, that "[u]nfortunately, Smith . . . included in this declaration a blatant untruth in an apparent attempt to propagate the ongoing myth that LDS authorities were in no way connected to post-Manifesto plural marriages, saying, 'I, Joseph F. Smith, . . . do hereby affirm and declare that no such marriages have been solemnized with the sanction, consent or knowledge of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

(Abanes, "One Nation Under Gods," Chapter 15, "Making the Transition," p. 343)

In other words, Joseph F. Smith demonstrated a principle of doctrine central to the Mormon faith: When necessary, Lie for the Lord.

Federal invessigators picked up on the lying.

At the conclusion of the Reed Smoot hearings, the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections submitted a report of findings of fact, which included the following:

"A sufficient number of specific instances of the taking of plural wives since the Manifesto of 1890, so called, have been shown by the testimony as having taken place among officials of the Mormon Church to demonstrate the fact that the leaders in this Church, the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles connive at the practice of taking plural wives and have done so ever since the Manifesto was issued . . . .

"[A]s late as 1896 one Lillian Hamlin became the plural wife of Abrahm H. Cannon, who was then an apostle . . . . It was generally reputed in the community and understood by the families . . . that they had been married on the high seas by Joseph F. Smith."

With regard to the suppression of testimony by Mormon Church leaders, the Committee reported:

"It was claimed by the Protestants that the records kept in the Mormon temple in Salt Lake City and Logan would disclose the fact that plural marriages have been contracted in Utah since the Manifesto with the sanction of the officials of the Church. A witness who was required to bring the records in the temple at Salt Lake City refused to do so after consulting with President Smith. . . .

"The witness who was required to bring the records kept in the temple at Logan excused himself from attending on the plea of ill health. But the important part of the mandate of the Committee--the production of the records--was not obeyed by sending the records, which could easily have been done."

The Committee issued a scathing indictment of the Mormon Church leadership, accusing it of committing crimes at its highest levels:

". . . [N]ot only do the President and the majority of the Twelve Apostles practice polygamy, but in the case of eacn and every one guilty of this crime who testified before the Committee, the determination was expressed openly and defiantly to continue the commisson of this crime without regard to the mandates of the law or the prohibition contained in the Manifesto. . . . [T]hose who are in authority in the Mormon Church of whom Mr. Smoot is one, are encouraging the practice of polygamy among the members of that Church, and that polygamy is being practiced to such an extent as to call for the severest condemnation in all legitimate ways."

("Reed Smoot Case," vol. 4, pp. 476-82)

So much for "obeying, honoring and sustaining the law."

--The Mormon Church Lied Then, and Lies Now, About its History of Polygamous Practice--

As Quinn concludes:

“Regardless of our personal views about polygamy itself, we are obliged to recognize that its practice at times required men [Mormons] revere as prophets, seers, and revelators to say and do things that do not strictly conform to our definitions of veracity and consistency.

"The resulting situation caused significant segments of the Mormon Church to function in ‘cognitive dissonance’ for prolonged periods of time. We can ignore that past; we can even deny it; but we cannot escape its intrusion upon our faithful history.”


--Postscript: How D. Michael Quinn's Groundbreaking Essay on Post-Manifesto Polygamy Resulted in His Excommunication from the Mormon Church--

Prior to being booted out of the LDS Church for apostasy, Quinn--a noted historian and former tenured BYU professor--had written at least six articles for the LDS Church’s premiere magazine, the “Ensign,” as well as published several more in the LDS-owned and operated journal, "BYU Studies."

("The September Six: The LDS Church Sanctions Six Prominent Scholars," under "D. Michael Quinn," at:

As to what prompted Quinn’s expulsion from Mormonism’s ranks, RfM poster, "Mad Viking," asked:

"In light of [Quinn's post-excommunication expression of his personal testimony per the truthfulness of the Mormon Church], it is simply amazing that he would maintain faith. I am honestly baffled by it.

Is the research that got him excommunicated available to the public?"

(Mad Viking, z'Re: No, that was not my impression," on "Recovery from Mormonism” bulletin board, 4 August 2005)

Yes, Quinn's research on the subject is publicly available.

In a nutshell, Quinn’s ”sins'" were having published in the Spring 1985 issue of “Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought,” the above-cited, expansively honest historical account of the shell game played for decades by the Mormon Church in its deliberate campaign of misdirection and misinformation.

Quinn’s “Dialogue” article has been praised thusly:

”This essay is one of the best pieces of Mormon literature we have. [Quinn] went to Gordon [B.] Hinckley before he ever published this essay and showed him what he had. He then told . . . Hinckley that if he did not want it published then [Quinn] would not publish it. . . . Hinckley told [Quinn] that he needed to do what he felt best so [Quinn] published it because he felt it dealt with a very sensitive issue that needed to be addressed.”

(introduction to D. Michael, Quinn, "LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages, 1890-1904," at:

Quinn himself explains in his article, "On Being a Mormon Historian (and Its Aftermath)," how his research into post-Manifesto polygamy took form, despite a decided lack of cooperation from the highest levels of the Mormon Church:

"President Hinckley telephoned in June 1982 to say that he was sympathetic about a request I had written to obtain access to documents in the First Presidency fault [about post-Manifesto polygamy] but that my request could not be granted. Since I now knew all I ever would about post-Manifesto polygamy, I told him I would go ahead and publish the most detailed and supportive study I could of the topic. President Hinckley said the decision was up to me, that he had done what he could to help."

(Quinn, D. Michael, "On Being A Mormon Historian (and Its Aftermath)," in "Faithful History: Essays on Writing Mormon History," George D. Smith, ed. [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1992], p. 90)

Quinn also details in the same article the post-Manifesto reasons for his excommunication:

“In 1985, after ‘Dialogue’ published my article ‘LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages, 1890-1904,' three apostles [Boyd K. Packer, Mark E. Petersen and Ezra Taft Benson] gave orders for my Stake President to confiscate my temple recommend.

"Six years earlier, I had formally notified the First Presidency and the Managing Director of the Church Historical Department about my research on post-Manifesto polygamy and my intention to publish it . . . Now I was told that three apostles believed I was guilty of ‘speaking evil of the Lord's anointed.’ The Stake President was also told to ‘take further action’ against me if this did not ‘remedy the situation’ of my writing controversial Mormon history. . . .

"I told my Stake President that this was an obvious effort to intimidate me from doing history that might ‘offend the Brethren’ (to use Ezra Taft Benson’s phrase). . . . The Stake President also saw this as a back-door effort to have me fired from BYU. . . .

“At various stake and regional meetings, Apostle Packer began publicly referring to ‘a BYU historian who is writing about polygamy to embarrass the Church.’ At firesides in Utah and California, a member of BYU’s Religious Education Department referred to me as ‘the anti-Christ of BYU.’ . . .

"Church leaders today seem to regard my post-Manifesto polygamy article . . . as ‘speaking evil of the Lord’s anointed’ because they themselves regard certain acts and words of those earlier Church leaders as embarrassing, if not actually wrong. I do not regard it as disloyal to conscientiously recreate the words, acts and circumstances of earlier prophets and apostles. . . .

“No one ever gave me an ultimatum or threatened to fire me from Brigham Young University. However, University administrators and I were both on the losing side of a war of attrition mandated by the General Authorities. . . .

“On 20 January 1988, I wrote a letter of resignation, effective at the end of the current school semester. . . . I explained [that] ‘the situation seems to be that academic freedom merely survives at BYU without fundamental support by the institution, exists against tremendous pressure and is nurtured only through the dedication of individual administrators and faculty members.’ . . .

“Three months after my departure, it angered me to learn to learn that BYU had fired a Hebrew professor for his private views on the historicity of the Book of Mormon. Although I personally regard the Book of Mormon as ancient history and sacred text, I told an inquiring newspaper reporter:

‘BYU officials have said that Harvard should aspire to become the BYU of the East. That’s like saying the Mayo Clinic should aspire to be Auschwitz. BYU is an Auschwitz of the mind.’ . . .

“When BYU’s Associate Academic Vice-President asked me if that was an accurate quote, I confirmed that it was. ‘Academic freedom exists at BYU only for what is considered non-controversial by the University’s Board of Trustees [meaning the Quorum of the Twelve] and administrators,’ I wrote. ‘By those definitions, academic freedom has always existed at Soviet universities (even during the Stalin era). . . .

“It is . . . my conviction that God desires everyone to enjoy freedom of inquiry and expression without fear, obstruction or intimidation. I find it one of the fundamental ironies of modern Mormonism that the General Authorities, who praise free agency, also do their best to limit free agency's prerequisites --access to information, uninhibited inquiry and freedom of expression.”

(Quinn, “On Being a Mormon Historian (And Its Aftermath),” in Smith, ed. Faithful History: Essays on Writing Mormon History, pp. 91-95)

(The complete text of Quinn’s explosive essay that propelled paranoid Mormon leaders into lynching him for the Lord can be found here at "D. Michael Quinn, 'LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages, 1890-1904,

But wait, there’s more.

--Years Later Amongst the Quorum of the Twelve: Babbling Baloney About History and Bubbling Bitterness Over Quinn--

Additional sordid details behind the excommunication of Quinn seeped out some eight years after his post-Manifesto essay was first published.

These facts were provided by two of the Mormon Church's highest henchmen--“Apostle-ologists” Neal A. Maxwell and Dallin H. Oaks.

On 9 September 1993, I met with Oaks and Maxwell in Maxwell's Church office, #303, located in the Church Administration Building, in downtown Salt Lake City.

I had approached them with a list of detailed and wide-ranging questions about fundamental doctrines, teachings, practices and policies of the Mormon Church that significantly troubled me--and about which I felt I deserved credible and straight-forward answers.

In the broad sense on the polygamy question, I wanted to know from these pre-eminent LDS damage controllers why the Mormon Church had not been more forthcoming and honest with its history with regard to the official practice (and later blatant denial of) polygamy.

Specifically, I wanted to know about what I have subsequently referred to as “the mystery of history, and those who tell the truth about polygamy--without permission."

In that meeting, “good cop” Maxwell offered unconvincing rationalizations for the Mormon Church’s failure to be honest and forthcoming about its practice of polygamy.

“Bad cop” Oaks followed up by launching a shockingly shabby attack on Quinn’s personal integrity.

--Maxwell's Murky Meanderings--

In answer to the larger inquiry, Maxwell cagily replied by noting that the process of writing history is frustrating, complex and incomplete.

He handed me a photocopy of a sermon. The copy turned out, I discovered later, to be a talk Maxwell had himself delivered during the 1984 October General Conference entitled, “Out of Obscurity.” However, the single sheet excerpts that he handed me contained no title or author, although it had been marked up in red ink for my benefit. Maxwell’s address ultimately appeared in the General Conference issue of the "Ensign," November 1984, p. 11).

Quoting from a "Tribute to Neville Chamberlain," delivered in the British House of Commons, 12 November 1940, Maxwell’s sermon declared:

"History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days."

The sermon then addressed what Maxwell verbally described to us as the definition of history: a collection, he said, of "floating mosaic tiles":

"The finished mosaic of the history of the Restoration will be larger and more varied as more pieces of tile emerge, adjusting a sequence here or enlarging there a sector of our understanding.

The fundamental outline is in place now, however. But history deals with imperfect people in process of time, whose imperfections produce refractions as the pure light of the gospel plays upon them. There may even be a few pieces of tile which, for the moment, do not seem to fit . . . . So, belatedly, the fullness of the history of the dispensation of the fullness of times will be written.

The final mosaic of the Restoration will be resplendent, reflecting divine design and the same centerpiece—the Father's plan of salvation and exaltation and the atonement of His Son, Jesus Christ."

What Maxwell’s excuses lacked in clarity, Oaks’ made up for in character assassination.

--Oaks' Vicious Personal Attack on Quinn--

While Oaks was much less colorful than his charming co-charlatan Maxwell, he was much more direct in dealing with the substance of our question.

Oaks acknowledged that he had read Quinn's article on post-Manifesto polygamy, covering the period from 1890 into the early 20th century.

Oaks also confessed that the Mormon Church had not, in fact, been honest about its practice of polygamy during that time. He admitted that the case, as laid out by Quinn, was, in fact, true. Oaks admitted that, in his opinion, lies had indeed been told by Mormon Church leaders about the continuing practice of polygamy after it supposedly was ended by the Manifesto of 1890.

But enough of admitting "divinely-inspired" Church wrongdoing.

Oaks then proceeded to attack Quinn personally by accusing him of breaking his word.

Oaks said that Quinn had been given access to all of J. Reuben Clark's papers for the purpose of writing a book on Clark's years of Church service. Oaks said he had assured the Church that Quinn was credible, in order that Quinn could be given access to those records. Oaks noted that shortly after Quinn's research was published on Clark, out came Quinn's article on post-Manifesto polygamy.

Quinn, Oaks told me angrily, had violated Oaks' confidence. He accused Quinn of having taken more information out of Church archives than he had been given permission to examine and research, going in.

Oaks said that Quinn was not an innocent victim in this affair.

Oaks informed me that he subsequently wrote Quinn a letter in which he expressed his "deep disappointment" with him and telling Quinn he had exceeded the limits of their original understanding.

In that letter, Oaks further said, he told Quinn that he now regarded him as someone who could not be trusted. Oaks added that Quinn would not tell us about these things, if asked, because of Quinn's involvement.

On that last point, I wanted to see for myself.

In August 2001, in a personal visit with Quinn at a gathering in Fort Worden, Washington, hosted by a group of gay Mormon fathers (who had asked me, as a straight father, along with my then-spouse, to speak about our own exit from the LDS Church), I recounted to him Oaks' version of events and asked him for his own recollections.

Visibly agitated but in a controlled and quiet voice, Quinn emphatically denied that he had violated any research agreement with the Church Historical Department.

He told me that it was clearly understood going in that he had open access to archival materials.

--Conclusion: Truth? The Mormon Church Can’t Handle the Truth--

And when it comes to post-Manifesto polygamy, the Mormon Church can’t tell the truth, either.

It's not good at lying for the Lord; it's not good at lying, period.

Re: Earth to the Lying Mormon Church: Quit Falsely, Disproveably Claiming That Your 1890 "Manifesto" Resulted in the End of Mormon Church-Sanctioned Polygamy. It Did Not . . .
My wife and I, after discovering that the church wasn't true, found at least 3 ancestral men who married (in the temple) plural wives after the manifesto. And neither of our families goes all the way back to the pioneers on both sides. It did a lot to help my wife understand that the church isn't honest with its members. I recommend that anyone who has a TBM spouse who refuses to believe that the church is dishonest do some family history.

"Recovery from Mormonism -"