115 years ago today - Jan 11, 1907

Elder David O. McKay said ... In cases of cohabitation by men with their wives, when that relation was entered into before the [Wilford Woodruff] Manifesto, he felt that they should be upheld in it and were upheld by the better classes of the entire nation, at least they condoned it and under the circumstances we should do so. Also the Church had been true to its pledges in the matter of Church influence in politics. Freedom of speech was guaranteed by the Constitution and the Church had been true in secular matters as the evidence will prove. Elder Nephi L. Morris said he was in doubt as to the best manner to handle the matter. The local interest concerns us most. To a degree he thought that the Church was guilty of political duplicity, if not as a Church, at least the people had been. We do not want to lose our power in temporal and business affairs and privileges. In his judgment the Church had been guilty of duplicity internally, saying one thing to the world and meaning another. It was done in the interpretation of the Manifesto, and it is a sad thing that members of the Church have believed and do now believe that duplicity has been used. We should vindicate the Church if possible. ... We should get down on the foundation of truth and correct the misstatements in the treatment of our history, doctrines, etc. We could correct this and also with truth deny the responsibility for new plural marriages, that there was such a thing as an oath of disloyalty. President [Joseph F.] Smith in his declaration at the April conference in 1904, must be sustained and his position confirmed. We should explain the reason for unlawful cohabitation if we can. The nation tried to stop the stream by closing the flood-gates'a most unnatural thing to do'with the result that the stream overflowed The only way to do in the matter of cohabitation was to wait until the stream dried of itself, or in other words, in the course of a few years the old polygamists will have passed beyond. ... In regard to the Manifesto, many of the members of the Church had not voted for it and did not sustain it and could we say that they had broken their pledge if they had not accepted that document? In answer to this question brother Roberts said: When the Church accepts a document presented as was the Manifest by the Authorities, it is binding on all, even though some do not vote for it. The majority in Church government as in civil government, rules, and their decision should be considered binding on all alike. ... Elder Joseph F[ielding]. Smith Jr. expressed his views. ... He maintained that the Church had been true to its promise in regard to plural marriage and also in regard to the union of Church and State. ... When Statehood was granted there was no opposition to polygamists holding office in the State. Many of them were in the Constitutional Convention whose president was a polygamist and an Apostle. But times have changed and now it is looked upon as a sin for any polygamist to hold office in the state, and many even among our own people were loudest in their opposition to this and to the holding of political office by officials of the Church. These things originated with our enemies but many of our people are falling in line. It has even gone so far that the leading brethren, the Presidency and Apostles, are not supposed to have an opinion regarding political matters much less express them, but should confine themselves to spiritual advice. The speaker [i.e., Joseph Fielding Smith] felt that they had the right to advise and act in the welfare of the members of the Church even in temporal things; but that they had attempted to coerce the members, or to interfere with their free political agency was not true. ... Elder B. H. Roberts felt that the idea that the Manifesto was merely advice could not be held.

President Smith had said it was the law of the Church and we must stand by it. If we do not do so, our foundation of truth that some of the brethren contended for was gone. If we make that interpretation we will prove that we have been guilty of duplicity. We cannot put the Church on that ground. Elder LeGrand Young looked at it in a different light. Presidents Smith and Lyman came out in their testimony in Washington and stated that they were violating the law of the land and also of God. The Mormon people were shocked to hear this. They knew it was not true. Missionaries have to meet this and it is hard to do. We don't believe it for it is not a true condition. The Manifesto intended to stop plural marriages, but not cohabitation with wives taken before that time. The interpretation of President Woodruff cannot be given to the Manifesto according to the plain reading of the words.... Elder Nephi L. Morris thought the interpretation of President Woodruff on the Manifesto was not mandatory as it had never been presented to the Church for their vote. With this LeGrand Young [a]greed. Elder Orson F. Whitney said that he appreciated the difficulties confronting us, but we had to do one of two things. First, return to President Smith and say we could do nothing or, Second, do something. He wished the Presidency and Apostles could have been present during the discussion. It was the unanimous wish, he believed, of the brethren to accomplish what they were called to do. He was in favor without further argument or remarks of going to work. He was satisfied that President Smith was inspired when he asked that something be done.

[1907 Committee, Minutes, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1835-1951, Electronic Edition, 2015]

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