Differences That Persist Between the RLDS and LDS Churches Elbert A. Smith

Chapter 1 - Introduction

Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Amos 3:3

There is no question that our relations with the Utah Mormon Church are more amicable than in years gone by. Without doubt religious neighbors should endeavor to promote mutual good will and minimize ill will.

A Question Asked Us

Out of this situation has arisen some speculation: as for instance, on numerous occasions members of the Utah Mormon Church have asked us if there is any probability or possibility of the two churches uniting. There has been absolutely no official approach to this matter such as has been rumored from time to time, but the question seems to be teasing the minds of a number of people.

It would be a bold prophet who would say there is any probability of such a union. On the other hand, to say that it is forever impossible might bring pause for reflection to the thoughtful. The time may have arrived, however, when the beliefs we have in common and the persistent obstacles that divide us may be canvassed fairly without the argumentative heat that formerly accompanied such discussion.

Back to the Beginning

Seeking first for points of agreement: when we go back in imagination to the historic date of organization, April 6, 1830, and walk up the path to the home of Peter Whitmer, members of the two churches may sit down at the table as one people - in imagination. But after the meeting of organization, we do not travel down the road of time and history even two decades until our paths diverge. In other words, when seeking points of agreement we find them first in our mutual belief in the restoration movement.

Catholics believe in succession, and claim to trace their authority and organic church structure back in unbroken succession to the days of Saint Peter. Protestants aver that there came an apostasy and as a result they turned their backs on the Catholic hierarchy and pinned their faith on reformation. Latter Day Saints believe in restoration. So the two churches under consideration have this in common as distinguished from all other so-called Christian denominations - a belief in “the Restoration”.

The Revelations?

We both believe in the authenticity of the Book of Mormon - though we differ radically in our understanding of some of its teachings. We both accept and publish many of the revelations given through the Prophet Joseph Smith in our respective versions and editions of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Divergence comes here at two points. First, the Mormons include in their book some sections, most notably a purported revelation on celestial marriage (Section 132) that we challenge. Secondly, our Doctrine and Covenants continues to us as an open canon of Scripture and we have added and continue to add revelations as they come to us from time to time through the prophet of the church; while the Mormons have added nothing to their book of revelations that has been received by them since they set foot on the soil of Utah (with the possible exception of the “Manifesto” which was not published as a revelation).

The Gospel?

On the surface, both churches believe in and affirm the fundamental principles of the gospel, commonly referred to as the “first principles.” Both make these the basis of pioneer missionary preaching and the basis of their statements of faith and doctrinal belief.

A difference develops soon when the Mormons set forth the doctrine of “celestial” marriage, including polygamy, as an added revelation of doctrine, a “new and everlasting covenant,” through which salvation and exaltation are assured - whereas we hold that the principles of the gospel referred to are themselves quite adequate to assure salvation and any degree of exaltation possible ever to achieve through righteous living in obedience to the will of God.


Probably both churches have a major objective designated by the word “Zion.” Perhaps both churches have rather hazy perception of all that is included in that objective. We have come to differ over the question of location, at least temporarily so. Ever since their migration to Utah, the Mormons have designated it as Zion. We have held to the position that Missouri was designated as Zion, with Independence as the central gathering place, and that the revelation is specific: “Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered” (Doctrine and Covenants 98:4 ; Utah edition, 101:17).

It is only fair to add that without doubt both peoples look beyond the immediate horizon to a time when Zion shall be established in Missouri. At present and for a long time in the past the Mormons have seemed content to entrench themselves in Utah as far as their spiritual headquarters and commercial interests are concerned and have talked of it and thought of it as their Zion, while we have given immediate attention to gathering in the place designated in the law as Zion and endeavoring there to develop the conditions designated as Zionic.

Thus it will be seen that there is a starting point of common beliefs, with quickly developing differences. In subsequent chapters, we shall discuss some of the “differences that persist.”

Chapter 2 - Conflicting View Concerning God

“Eternity will never reveal God’s seal affixed to two sides of a controverted issue.” - Dr. Joseph Luff

When we canvass differences, ordinarily we think first of our disagreement on the marriage question; but that difference grows out of other differences quite as fundamental. One of these is in our understanding of the character of God. The two churches join in the initial statement of the Epitome of Faith drafted by Prophet Joseph: “ We believe in God the Eternal Father.” But at the very start when we endeavor to interpret the character of God there comes the widest imaginable divergence in views.

The Dogma: “As Man Is, God Once Was.”

We think of God as eternally unchangeable, and commonly assume that there can scarcely be any other view taken. But our Mormon friends do take a very different view. In this we by no means wish to misrepresent their position or to indulge in too much argument: our purpose is to fairly set forth the differences.

There has been an axiom current among Mormons for many years: “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.” Authoritative statements from the pens of responsible church representatives published under the direction of high church officials carry this doctrine on down to current times. In a book entitled The Articles of Faith (Doctor James E. Talmage, author), published in 1901 from the Deseret News Press, Salt Lake City, and bearing on the title page the statement, “prepared by appointment, and published by the church,” this appears: “We believe in a God who is himself progressive. ...In spite of the opposition of all other sects, in the face of direct charges of blasphemy, the church proclaims the eternal truth, ‘As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become’” (pages 442,443).

In a book entitled Rational Theology, by John A. Widtsoe, published “for the use of the Melchisedec priesthood, by the General Priesthood Committee,” Salt Lake City, 1915, this doctrine is reiterated: “As man is, God once was” (page 25).

Brigham Young’s Theology

In Brigham Young’s theology the particular man who progressed to the stature and power of God was Adam:

When our father Adam came into the Garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days, about whom holy men have written and spoken - he is our father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do. - Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, Volume 1, page 50.

Heber C. Kimball, associated in the presidency with Brigham Young, said:

I have learned by experience there is but one God that pertains to this people, and he is the God that pertains to this earth - the first man. - Journal of Discourses, Volume 4, page 1.

This statement might have passed as peculiar to Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball had not others espoused it. Their spokesmen in later years, B.H. Roberts, defended that doctrine and expressed surprise that anyone “should be so lean of intellect, should have such paucity of understanding as to call it into question at all.” “That,” he said, “is what our change of countenance means - not shame for the doctrine Brigham Young taught” (B.H. Roberts, in The Mormon Doctrine of Deity, pages 42,43).

Has God Climbed Up From Man’s Estate?

Not attempting now to hold them to Brigham Young’s doctrine of “Adam God” (unless they wish to defend it) we confine our attention to the Mormon position that God is progressive and has climbed up from man’s stature and station. As we view the matter this would argue that at one time he was an experimenting, blundering personality. Has he passed that stage? Such a process of evolution would also carry with it a fair presumption of the possibility of an ensuing process of devolution. Will he presently begin a process of decline in power and wisdom?

Two Vastly Different Philosophies

It might be assumed that it matters little what view we take of the question, since we cannot change God’s nature, whatever it may be; but to the contrary, it matters very much. Our whole religious thought and life and philosophy of conduct are shaped by our fundamental beliefs concerning God. Two such divergent views as those held by the two churches inevitably result in two vastly different systems of theology.

If we think of God as progressive, possibly feeling his way at times through eternity, his personal attitudes and his laws may to our mind undergo radical and irreconcilable changes. On the other hand, if we believe in an unchangeable God, we expect his law always to correspond with itself and not deviate from fundamental principles, and his conduct to be always consistent with itself.

Our Mormon friends may reconcile their positions to their own satisfaction; but to illustrate our own thought: having accepted the law on marriage, for example, as stated in the Book of Mormon and early revelations to the church, we cannot accept as coming from the same source the subsequent alleged revelation on polygamy.

Doctrine in Contrast

Note now the conflict between Utah Mormon doctrine on this supremely important matter and the doctrine found in the Scriptures:

Utah Mormonism: “As man is, God once was.”
Bible: “I am the Lord, I change not.” - Malachi 3:6
Doctrine and Covenants: “There is a God in heaven...from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God.” - Doctrine and Covenants 17:4; Utah edition, 20:17.
Book of Mormon: “He changeth not, if so, he would cease to be God.” - Book of Mormon 4:82; Utah edition 9:19.

The “New Covenant” of “Celestial Marriage”

Again, correlated with the view of a progressive God is a certain theology concerning the progression and exaltation of men. This has been assumed by individual Mormons to include the passing to other planets, there to organize and create new worlds and people them, under the law and rule of polygamy and celestial marriage.

Passing by any such uncertain speculations of individuals that the Mormons generally might not approve, we go to a source that must be accepted as representing that church; i.e., the statement found in the section on “celestial marriage” in their edition of the book of Doctrine and Covenants. This alleged revelation stipulates that if a man marry a woman according to this law and this “new covenant” and do not commit murder, “to shed innocent blood,” they shall come forth in the next world to inherit thrones, and kingdoms, and dominions, and I quote: “They shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fullness and a continuation of the seeds for ever and ever” (Utah Doctrine and Covenants 132:19).

Our Faith Is In The Old Gospel Covenant

This idea of human progression through and under the law of “celestial marriage” and polygamy is correlated with the idea of a progressive God and has roots in the document on "celestial marriage" and polygamy accepted by the Mormons as a divine revelation. It has no roots at all in our law and theology. We hold that men may develop in righteousness into any degree of glory, including the celestial glory, through obedience to the fundamental gospel principles which were revealed and in full force in the so called "new covenant" in the document on celestial marriage.

Between the idea of a progressive God on the one hand and on the other that of an unchangeable God, there seems to be no compromise. Until one church or the other is converted from its present position there will remain an insuperable theological barrier between them. It need not be debated with any degree of heat or enmity--but it is inescapably there.

Chapter 3 - The Question of Polygamy

The Beginning of the Controversy

Between the Reorganized Church and the Utah Mormons there has existed a long-drawn-out and sometimes heated controversy regarding the doctrine and practice of polygamy. This controversy began about the middle of the nineteenth century and the positions of the two churches are strongly set forth in two statements dating back to about that time. The first of these was made by Brigham Young when he introduced the alleged revelation sanctioning the doctrine to his people during their conference in Salt Lake City, August 29, 1852, as follows:

You heard Brother Pratt state, this morning, that a revelation would be read this afternoon, which was given previous to Joseph's death. It contains a doctrine a small portion of the world is opposed to; but I can deliver a prophecy upon it. Though that doctrine has not been practiced by the elders, this people have believed in it for years....The revelation will be read to you. The principle spoken upon by Brother Pratt, this morning we believe in. And I tell you--for I know it--it will sail over and ride triumphantly above all prejudice and priestcraft of the day; it will be fostered and believed in by the more intelligent portions of the world, as one of the best doctrines ever proclaimed to any people.--Supplement to Millennial Star, Volume 15, page 31.

The second statement is from a revelation given to the pioneer workers of the Reorganized Church at a conference in January, 1853:

Polygamy is an abomination in the sight of the Lord God: it is not of me; I abhor it....Be ye strong; ye shall contend against this doctrine; many will be led into it honestly, for the Devil will seek to establish it, and roll it forth to deceive. They seek to build up their own kingdoms, to suit their own pleasures, but I countenance it not, saith God. I have given my law: I shrink not from my word. My law is given in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, but they have disregarded my law and trampled upon it, and counted it a light thing, and obeyed to not; but my word is the same yesterday as today, and forever.--Church History, Volume 3, page 215

Between these two positions there could be no compromise. There was none. Both could not be true. But time has modified feelings to as extent. Our position is now better recognized by the public. The issue can be discussed dispassionately. The present attitude of the Mormon authorities in forbidding the practice of polygamy has simplified the matter, as that is at least an approach to our own position as previously quoted: "Ye shall contend against this doctrine."

However, they still hold to a belief in the divinity of the doctrine while renouncing its present practice, so that the matter still remains a live issue.

The Question Involving the Prophet Joseph

The controversy between the two churches has involved the question as to whether or not the alleged revelation sanctioning the doctrine actually came through the Prophet Joseph Smith. We have challenged the claim that he ever practiced polygamy; however, that question is secondary in importance and does not directly involve the main issue. As Joseph Smith III said in his pamphlet on The Origin of American Polygamy:

The chief contention of the sons of the Prophet Joseph Smith, however, is not that their father was not a polygamist, but that whether he was or not, the dogma and practice are contrary to Scripture, ancient and modern, and are wrong, being contrary to the laws of both God and the United States. That being contrary to the fundamental and organic laws of the church, neither the dogma nor the practice could in any sense become legitimately the faith and practice of the church. No matter who the human author of the doctrine may have been, it was unlawful in every sense of the word, and is yet.--The Origin of American Polygamy, page 4.

The differences that still persist between the two churches involve, first the introduction of the doctrine, and second, its true character, the latter being the more important of the two.

Proclamation of the Doctrine

Brigham Young promulgated the doctrine of polygamy publicly in Salt Lake City in 1852. It is clearly in evidence that the church as an organization during the days of Joseph Smith had never officially received or sanctioned the doctrine or practice of polygamy. When, eight years after Joseph's death, Brigham Young brought this doctrine before his people he asserted it was predicated on a revelation given to Joseph Smith, July 12, 1843. He claimed to have kept this document secretly after the death of Joseph Smith until he chose to make it public. He said:

This revelation has been in my possession many years, and who has known it? None but those who should know it. I keep a patent lock on my desk, and there does not anything leak out that should not.--Supplement to Millennial Star, Volume 15, page 31

Unable to produce the original document, he declared that Emma Smith had burned it (Millennial Star Supplement, Volume 15, page 30). To this Emma Smith replied that she had never seen such a document, and added concerning the story that she had destroyed the original:

It is false in all its parts, made out of whole cloth, without any foundation in truth.--Church History, Volume 3, page 352 (The student will do well to read her entire testimony.)

Reorganized Church representatives have vigorously maintained the following facts:

1. That no word from the pen of Joseph Smith favorable to polygamy is found in any authentic publication representing the church prior to his death.

2. That, to the contrary, the teachings of the Standard Books of the church all enjoin monogamy. These books include the Book of Mormon, translated by Joseph Smith; the Doctrine and Covenants, containing revelations given through him; and the Inspired Version of the Bible, as corrected by him. These he left to the church as its constitutional law, presumably representing his own mind and will as well as the mind and will of God. Furthermore, the official organ of the church, the Times and Seasons, shortly before his death, contained his signed denunciation of polygamy and notice of expulsion from the church of one who had advocated it (Times and Seasons, Volume 5, page 423, see also Volume 5, page 474; Volume 5, pages 490,491).

3. That his wife, Emma, of outstanding reputation for veracity, in her dying testimony denied that her husband ever had any other wife or ever sanctioned polygamy. She testified: "No such thing as polygamy, or spiritual wifery, was taught, publicly or privately, before my husband's death, that I have now, or ever had any knowledge of.... He had no other wife but me; nor did he to my knowledge ever have" (Church History, Volume 3, pages 355,356). Under the terms of the so-called revelation Joseph could not have taken another wife without Emma's knowledge.

4. That there is no public record of progeny born to Joseph Smith excepting by this on wife, Emma. Judge John F. Philips of the Circuit Court of the United States in his Temple Lot decision (1894) commented in that fact: "No such marriage ever occurred under the rules of the church, and no offspring came from the imputed illicit intercourse, although Joseph Smith was in the full vigor of young manhood and his wife, Emma, was giving birth to healthy children in regular order" (Decision of Judge Philips in the Temple Lot Case, pages 42,43; Federal Reporter, 60:937-959). During July, 1933, Inez Davis, then of the Church Historical Department, prepared a list of the direct posterity of Joseph and Emma Smith. At that time there were 159 living and 31 dead, making a total of 190 descendants born to Joseph Smith through the line of his one wife Emma Hale Smith, and to date no posterity ever in evidence is credited to him from any of the numerous alleged plural wives; 190 to 0 is a heavy score against a system allegedly set up to produce posterity.

5. That testimony of women who claimed they were his wives shows evidence of fraud and collusion and it does not "stand up in court." Two of them, thought to have clearer cases than others, actually did appear in person in the Temple Lot Suit and Judge Philips discredited their testimony in his decision (see Decision, pages 42,43).

6. That the motive for deception on the part of Brigham Young and his immediate associates is found in the fact that on the twenty-ninth day of August, 1852, when they first brought the alleged "revelation" to light they were deeply involved in polygamy and desired to claim the sanction of heaven for their marital ventures. No one of them was a prophet. Brigham Young never claimed to be the legal (rightful) prophetic successor to Joseph Smith (see page 42 of this tract). Unless he was this rightful successor he had no authority to present such a far-reaching revelation to the church. Consequently they invoked the name and the memory of Joseph Smith who was revered by the church as a prophet; and at one stroke secured the prestige of his and themselves came from under the onus of introducing the system which was destined to bring so much grief. On that day in 1852 when Brigham Young introduced the doctrine publicly he was, according to Utah biographers, the husband of twenty women. (See Pictures and Biographies of Brigham Young and His Wives, copyrighted 1896, and endorsed by the presidency of the Utah church.) This was in direct conflict with the constitutional law of the church. Something had to be done. Something was done.

The Doctrine Not a "Dead Issue"

Repeatedly we are told that this is a dead issue--that polygamy has been renounced by the Mormon authorities and the matter need be argued no further. It is not a dead issue, nor can it be so long as their book of Doctrine and Covenants goes into all parts of the world bearing as alleged revelation which sets forth polygamy (and with equal validity, concubinage) as the will of heaven and says that those who reject this document will be damned.

This issue cannot be called dead so long as our friends among the Mormon missionaries everywhere defend the doctrine when pressed in argument, and often when not even questioned about it.

It is to be noted, too, that beginning with the "Woodruff Manifest," issued September 24, 1890,which advised the Mormon people to discontinue the practice of polygamy, six successive times the chief executives of their church have themselves publicly raised the issue through proclamations indicating that the practice was still among their people. (These proclamations were first, the Woodruff Manifesto; second, ten years later one by their president, Lorenzo Snow; third, one by their president, John Fielding Smith, 1904; a fourth, another by the same president 1910; fifth, a proclamation from their presidency, 1911; sixth, another by Heber J. Grant and his counselors, 1933.)

Taking these statements at their face value as sincere, they make it quite clear that polygamous tendencies among many of the members have continued with active manifestations sustained over a long period of time and apparently beyond church control. Sporadic and isolated cases few in number could be dealt with quietly and locally. The church seems unable to stamp this thing out. The matter seems by no means to be a "dead issue."

The Way Toward Better Agreement

It is not conceivable that we shall ever accept the alleged revelation and "new covenant." To renounce it will be difficult for the Utah Mormons, because many of its teachings are woven into their temple service and their theology. It stands as one of the great obstacles between the two churches. But we do cherish the hope that presently it will be dropped from their Doctrine and Covenants and will gradually disappear from among the items of difference with which we must reckon. Their present custom of forbidding the practice of polygamy and at the same time sending out through the mails this revelation which makes beliefs in polygamy mandatory under threat of damnation will involve them in continued difficulties.

Sad Record of Polygamy in Practice

Our Mormon friends (some of them at least) regard the doctrine reverently. We consider it was bad in practice and in principle, contrary to the Scriptures. As to its sad effects in practice, we have firsthand testimony from its chief exponents of years gone by.

President J. M. Grant, counselor to Brigham Young and father of President Heber J. Grant, declared in a sermon September 21, 1856:

If they could break asunder the cable of the church of Christ, there is scarcely a mother in Israel but would do it this day. And they talk it to their husbands, to their daughters, to their neighbors, and say they have not seen a week's happiness since they became acquainted with that law, or since their husbands took a second wife.--Journal of Discourses, Volume 4, page 50.

Brigham Young in a sermon, September 21, 1856, said:

Men will say, "My wife , though an excellent woman, has not seen a happy day since I took my second wife"; "No, not a happy day for a year," says one; and another has not seen a happy day for five years....I am going to give you from this time to the sixth day of October next, for reflection, that you may determine whether you wish to stay with your husbands or not, and the I am going to set every woman at liberty, and say to them, Now go your way, my women with the rest, go your way. And my wives have got to do one of two things; either round up their shoulders to endure the afflictions of this world, and live their religion, or they may leave, for I will not have them about me. I will go into Heaven alone rather than have them scratching and fighting around me.--Journal of Discourses, Volume 4, pages 55- 57.

This is not the testimony of prejudiced men looking in from the outside. This is the testimony of leaders and advocates of the system, the most accurate picture obtainable of what it was like in practice.

The foregoing is in full accord with the picture that Jacob drew in the Book of Mormon when denouncing the polygamy of the Nephites: "Ye have broken the hearts of your wives,...and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you" (Jacob 2:46).

Disastrous as was the experience in these polygamous homes, the effect upon the whole Mormon church was no less grievous. In as official article published in the Deseret News, June 17, 1933, their president, Heber J. Grant, reviewed the troubles that were brought upon them (not through persecution but through governmental prosecution). I quote:

During the entire period of the presidency of John Taylor, 1880 to 1887, relentless prosecution of men who had entered into the relationship of plural marriage was intensified. Under the provisions of the Edmunds-Tucker law the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was disincorporated, the Perpetual Emigration Fund Company was dissolved and all property belonging to the church, with the exception of buildings used exclusively for religious worship, was escheated to the government.

Hundreds of men who had contracted plural marriages were heavily fined and imprisoned. All persons who could not subscribe to a test oath which was provided especially for those who practiced or believed in the practice of plural marriage were disfranchised.

It became obvious that no human power could prevent the disintegration of the church, except upon a pledge by its members to obey the laws which had been enacted prohibiting the practice of polygamy.

Out of such conditions, born of desperate inability to do otherwise, came the "Woodruff Manifesto" renouncing the practice of polygamy. All of this domestic and church grief might have been avoided had they heeded the commandment: "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else" (Doctrine and Covenants 42:7; Utah edition 42:22). It might have been avoided had they heeded the prophetic warning through the Reorganized Church concerning this doctrine: "You shall contend against it."

Polygamy in the Light of Scriptures

Let us consider this polygamy in the light of the Scriptures.

The Bible

In years gone by a series of three brochures was published by three of the sons of the prophet Joseph Smith: One Wife or Many, by Joseph Smith III; Polygamy: Was It an Original Tenet of the Church? by Alexander H. Smith, and The Bible vs. Polygamy, by David H. Smith.

Joseph Smith III emphasized three outstanding facts from Book of Mormon and biblical history: that when God moved directly and personally to people or repeople the earth or a large portion of it, he three times began the work with one wife and not several for each man involved.

This secures a threefold cord of evidence. First; the creation, one man, one woman in marriage. Second; the repeopling of the earth by Noah and his sons, each with one wife only. Third; the settling of a new land by Lehi and his family, each man with on wife.--One Wife or Many, page 3.

In the light of these three divine precedents there seems little ground for the familiar argument that polygamy in modern times was necessary in order to people the territory of Utah.

David H. Smith in his analysis also cites first the historic precedent of Adam.

The earth was all before this people and needed cultivation, filling up with a goodly seed, and God chose through the one-wife system to bring it about.--The Bible vs. Polygamy, page 2.

The prophet Malachi commenting on that historic precedent says:

And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the Spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.--Malachi 2:15

It is true that certain of the old biblical characters were involved in polygamy, and a case may be built up in its defense until the instances cited are examined critically and are found to be of no value as precedent. As for example:

Abraham's wife, Sarah, grew old without children and to remedy the situation she persuaded Abraham to take a servant, Hagar, as consort (Genesis 16:1, 2). Afterward, when the bondwoman, Hagar, had borne a child (Ishmael) Sarah became jealous and admonished her spouse to put the second woman away: "Cast out this bondwoman and her son" (Genesis 21:10). Now for the first time in this whole matter God speaks, and he admonishes Abraham to do as his wife has told him to do (Genesis 21:12). God did not command Abraham to go into polygamy; he commanded him to come out of polygamy, if it might be called polygamy. As a matter of fact while Sarah gave Hagar "to be a wife," God did not recognize her as a wife; he commanded her to be put away and said her son should not be an heir equal to the son of the free woman (Galations 4:30). Hagar evidently was concubine, not wife. A poor precedent to follow.

The case of Jacob is cited as a classical precedent. In this case Jacob loved Rachael and served seven years for her and evidently married her (Genesis 29:21,22). But her father, Laban, on the marriage night, under cover of darkness, imposed upon him the older sister, Leah. Thus came Jacob into polygamy by the duplicity of a godless but crafty father-in-law. Afterward, in jealous controversy, these two sisters each gave him another woman to wife. God appears nowhere in the whole entourage. A sad precedent to follow.

The examples of David and Solomon are cited. Of them the Book of Mormon says: "David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord" (Jacob 2:33). To believers in the Book of Mormon that pronouncement robs the precedent of virtue.

As a matter of fact, David and Solomon and other kings of like type were in violation of the historic precedent set by the Lord in the case of Adam and Noah, and also in violation of the written law governing the kings and priests of Israel. The law for the king was:

Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.--Deuteronomy 17:17

Wives he was not to multiply at all.

The Book of Mormon

The teachings of the Book of Mormon are definite and clear. The book of Jacob contains this instruction as given to the Nephites:

For behold, thus saith the Lord, This people began 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, wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph. Wherefore, I, the Lord God, will not suffer that this people shall so like unto them of old. Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it by one wife; and concubines he shall gave none: For I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women.--Jacob 2:32-36; Utah edition, 2:23-28.

The Doctrine and Covenants

Certainly in the beginning of the church in these later times the Lord sought "to raise up a righteous people." In fact he gave to them this instruction:

And that ye might escape the power of the enemy, and be gathered unto me a righteous people, without spot and blameless: wherefore, for this cause I gave unto you the commandment, that you should go to the Ohio: and there I will give unto you my law.--Doctrine and Covenants 38:7; Utah edition, 38:31,32.

This was given January, 1831. They were to go to the Ohio and there the Lord would give the law that should enable them to raise up a righteous people, without spot and blameless. This was in accord with the Book of Mormon statement: "For if I will, saith the Lord of hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people: (Jacob 2:39; Utah edition, 2:30). They gathered to Ohio as commanded, and there the revelation of February, 1831 was given and on the marriage question it said:

Thou shalt love they wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else.--Doctrine and Covenants 42:7; Utah 42:22.

This law is not capable of successful misrepresentation. It was very well understood. And with it in mind the church in 1835 drafted and adopted the marriage covenant which requires this pledge to be taken: "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 you lives?" (Doctrine and Covenants 111:2. In Utah editions until 1876.)

This same document, approved by the General Assembly of 1835, made a further declaration:

We declare that we believe that one man should have one wife: and one woman but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.--Doctrine and Covenants 111:4.

This section remained in the Utah editions of the Doctrine and Covenants until 1876. It continues its place in our Doctrine and Covenants as representing the law of the church from its beginning until now. Still further instruction is found in the following:

And again, I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry, is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man; wherefore it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation; and that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made.--Doctrine and Covenants 49:3; Utah edition, 49:15-17.


The preponderance of evidence is all in favor of one wife rather than many. No dubious precedents from the Old Testament can overthrow the clear-cut law that runs through the Tree Books. No modern revelation of dubious origin and clandestine introduction to the Saints should stand for a moment against the clear and clean law of the Lord.

Chapter 4 - Secret Temple Rites

In secret have I said nothing.--Jesus (John 18:20).

If they shall say unto you,...he is in the secret chambers, believe it not.--Jesus (Matthew 24:26).

The two churches under discussion both believe in temple building but differ widely as to the conditions under which temples may be built. We hold to the belief that a specific commandment from heaven is required in each instance when a temple is to be erected to God. The Mormons hold that no such specific revelation is required. Brigham Young claimed that none was needed when the famous temple in Salt Lake City was built and none was received. At the time Brigham Young said:

Some might query whether a revelation had been given to build a house to the Lord, but he is a wicked and slothful servant who doeth nothing but what his Lord commandeth, when he knoweth his master's will. I know a temple is needed, and so do you: and when we know a thing, why do we need a revelation to compel us to do that thing? If the Lord and all the people want a revelation, I can give one concerning this temple.

In a few days I shall be able to give a plan of the temple on paper, and then if all heaven, or any good man on the earth will suggest any improvements, we will receive and adopt them.--Millennial Star, Volume 15, page 391.

The Rule Under Joseph The Martyr

In contrast to his position it will be noted that when a temple was to be built at Kirtland and later in Independence direct revelations commanding such building were received; similarly when one was to be built at Nauvoo. When the Saints attempted to build a temple at Far West, Joseph stopped the work, and Andrew Jensen, historical writer for the Utah church, gives the reason:

When Joseph arrived he counseled that the building of that house should be postponed until the Lord should reveal it to be his will to have it commenced.--Historical Record, Volume 7, page 434.

Here we have an unbroken line of precedents, all of which accord with our interpretation of the law regarding temple building: "My holy house, which my people are always commanded to build in unto my holy name" (Doctrine and Covenants 107:12; Utah edition 124:39).

The Kirtland Temple remains the one house of the Lord standing thus, built in obedience to direct divine commandment as a temple to his service; and consistent with our position it has descended by legal decision to the possession of the Reorganized Church as the successor in full accord with the teaching and practices of the church under Joseph the Martyr.

Temple Service

Probably there is as wide a divergence of views concerning the temple service as we have noted regarding temple building. No "Gentile" is admitted to the temple in Salt Lake City, and members must have duly accredited credentials to gain admittance. The temple ritual is secret.

In the Kirtland Temple of the Reorganized Church, there are no secret meetings of any kind, no secret rites, ceremonies, oaths, or practices. All meetings are open to the public, and no parts of the building are closed to the public; everything may be visited under guide service.

The Gospel Open and Free

In the Reorganized Church the gospel is a thing open and free. Not one of the sacraments and ordinances: baptism, confirmation, blessing, administration to the sick, marriage, and the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, is secret. Their nature may be freely revealed to the world. They are not guarded by secret oaths or obligations or secret covenants.

Even the covenant of marriage is set forth in its exact terms in the section on marriage published in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants during the life of Joseph Smith, 1835 edition. This covenant was approved by the church and published to the world, by approval of the prophet, with the specific commandment that marriage should by solemnized in a "public meeting." By no means was it to be a secret ceremony hidden from the knowledge of men.

We feel that secrecy is not and was not a part of the divine plan. Jesus taught his apostles certain things privately, but sent them out under the specific commandment to teach these things to all men, teaching them "all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:20). Nothing secret! Nothing hidden! As Paul said: "This thing was not done in a corner" (Acts 26:26).

Jesus Warned Against "Secret Chambers"

Jesus declared: "I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing" (John 18:20). (Even in the temple he had nothing secret.)

Jesus himself gave us a direct warning to apply to us in the latter days: "Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers: believe it not" (Matthew 24:26).

Married To the Dead, Etc.

Concerning specific works done in the Mormon temple, there seems no prospect of reaching an accord. For example, the sealing of men by proxy in marriage to a number of women deceased; and vice versa, the sealing of a number of women by proxy to dead men. Without doubt in years gone by numbers of women were thus sealed by proxy to Joseph Smith long after his death. All of this has no appeal to us--and never will have. To put the matter very mildly, our reaction is decidedly adverse.

Heber J. Grant, onetime president of the Utah Mormon church, was born twelve years after the death of Joseph the Martyr, and yet the Utah Mormons have soberly set forth the claim that he is a son of the Martyr because his mother is alleged to have been "sealed" to the Martyr some ten years after his (Joseph's) death. And so this astounding conclusion is reached regarding the Mormon church as under the presidency of Heber J. Grant: "The church has a president who is the son of the prophet of God who was the First President of the church one hundred years ago" (Comprehensive History of the Church, by Brigham H. Roberts).

Here seems to be a rather desperate and absurd effort to tie up to the doctrine of "lineage" and find for their presidency a descendant of the prophet. Emma Smith, lawful wife of the prophet, left him a posterity of more than one hundred and ninety souls; the numerous alleged polygamous wives that have been ascribed to him left none--not one. The above-mentioned belated attempt to find for him a son in Utah born out of due season through the mystical ceremonies of celestial marriage to occupy as president opens up avenues of vague absurdities that we cannot enter.

Concerning baptism for the dead we would differ widely as to the conditions under which it might be observed, and the procedure. Their procedure, as we are creditably informed, is to search out carefully and methodically a man's genealogy, noting names of ancestors and relatives who died without having heard and accepted the gospel. Then the individual or some other acting for him is baptized for these people, or for other friends in whom he has had interest.

When we have asked if there is any certain knowledge that those gone on before have in each instance accepted the gospel in the realms of the spirit world and actually desired to be baptized and enrolled as members of the Mormon church, we have been told that there is no such certain knowledge, but that if and when these individuals so accept the gospel the baptism will have been performed and on record and its efficacy will be ready for them to lay hold upon. This does not appeal to our reason by virtue of any adequate instruction found in the revelations from God; it rings no bell in our consciousness of the divine approval upon human actions.

If the logic holds good for the dead it should hold good for the living; and a man might be baptized for living relatives and friends without number who have not yet received or perhaps even heard the gospel and if and when they did accept it the baptism would be a matter record and ready for their acceptance.

Poles Apart in This Matter

With all due deference to the belief of our Mormon friends that their temple ceremonies are sacred and approved of God, we cannot so regard them. The two churches are poles apart on these matters.

Chapter 5 - Prophetic Succession and Leadership

A long-standing controversy has existed between the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Utah Mormons. That controversy involves the whole question of church organization and priesthood but centers around the question of succession in the prophetic office of the president of the church.

Following the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith the Saints were scattered in groups, literally north, south, east, and west. Brigham Young with his followers migrated westward. En route, at Winter Quarters, he was by vote of a group of his followers elevated to the presidency of their organization. So far as we are able to learn he never claimed any revelation authorizing the call nor was there any ordination to the office of president. It was a matter of election by the vote of his people. He himself said:

Who ordained me to be the First President of this church on earth? I answer, it is the choice of this people, and that is sufficient.--Millennial Star, Volume 16, page 442.

In marked contrast to the foregoing is his own statement regarding the calling of Joseph Smith: "Who called Joseph to be a prophet? Did the people or God? God, and not the people called him" (Church History {Utah}, Volume 5, page 521).

President Joseph Smith Succeeded His Father

Joseph Smith III, eldest son of the Martyr, came to the presidency of the Reorganized Church in 1860. Previously there had been an acting or provisional president. (See Church History, Volume 3, pages 209, 213, 233.) he came as successor to his father in line with the following:

The president of the church, who is also president of the council [High Council], is appointed by revelation, and acknowledged, in his administration, by the voice of the church.--Doctrine and Covenants 99:6; Utah edition 102:9.

And now I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding house, which I have commanded you to build, for the boarding of strangers, let it be built unto my name, and Let my name be named upon it, and let my servant Joseph and his house have place therein, from generation to generation; for this anointing have I put upon his head, that his blessing shall also be put upon the head of his posterity after him; and as I said unto Abraham, concerning the kindreds of the earth, even so I say unto my servant Joseph, In thee, and in thy seed, shall the kindred of the earth be blessed.--Doctrine and Covenants 107:18; Utah edition 124:56-58.

Set Apart By His Father

During the lifetime of his father, President Joseph Smith had by his father been blessed and set apart as his successor and had been presented to the church at Nauvoo by the father and declared to be his successor. Following is the testimony of James Whitehead of honorable repute, onetime secretary to Joseph the Martyr, and for many years in later life a resident of Lamoni, Iowa. It is a sworn statement made during the Temple Lot Suit before Judge Philips:

I recollect a meeting that was held in the winter of 1843, at Nauvoo, Illinois, prior to Joseph Smith's death, at which the appointment was made by him, Joseph Smith, of his successor. His son Joseph was selected as his successor. Joseph Smith did the talking. There were present Joseph and Hyrum Smith, John Taylor, and some other who also spoke on the subject; there were twenty-five I suppose at the meeting. At that meeting Joseph Smith, the present presiding officer of the complainant church, was selected by his father as his successor. He was ordained and anointed at that meeting. Hyrum Smith, the Patriarch, anointed him, and Joseph his father blessed him and ordained him, and Newell K. Whitney poured the oil on his head, and he was set apart to be his father's successor in office, holding all the powers that his father held. I cannot tell all the persons that were present, there was a good many there. John Taylor and Willard Richards, they were two of the "Twelve," Ebenezer Robinson was present, and George J. Adams, Alpheus Cutler, and Reynolds Cahoon. I cannot tell them all; I was there too.--Plaintiff's Abstract, Temple Lot Suit, page 28.

To this is added the testimony of John H. Carter of Provo, Utah, during the same Temple Lot Suit:

Joseph Smith came on the stand [in Nauvoo] leading his son, young Joseph, and they sat him down on a bench at the prophet's right hand, and Joseph got up and began to preach and to talk to the people, and the question he said was asked by somebody, "If Joseph Smith should be killed or die, who would be his successor?" And he turned around and said, pointing to his son, "There is the successor," and he went on and said, "My work is pretty nearly done," and that is about all he said in regard to his son. He said in answer to a question that was asked as to who should be his successor in case he should be killed or die, and he pointed to his son, young Joseph, who was sitting there, at his side, and said: "There is your leader."--Plaintiff's Abstract, pages 180,181.

This was similar to the blessing previously pronounced at Liberty jail, of which Joseph III bore witness, his testimony being supported by that of Lyman Wight. The following is from the pen of "Young" Joseph:

In Liberty jail the promise and blessing of a life of usefulness to the cause of truth was pronounced upon our head, by lips tainted by dungeon damps, and by the Spirit confirmed through attesting witnesses.

This blessing has by some been called an ordination, from the usual predilection to confound names and terms.

The blessing which marked Moses as the deliverer from Egyptian bondage, was not that which Jethro pronounced upon his head.

Subsequent to our baptism in 1843, upon two occasions was the some blessing confirmed by Joseph Smith, once in the council room in the brick store on the banks of the Mississippi, of which we have not a doubt there are witnesses who would confirm the present testimony; once, in the last interview Joseph Smith held with his family before he left Nauvoo to his death. A public attestation of the same blessing was made form the stand in the grove in Nauvoo, some time prior to the murder in Carthage.--True Latter Day Saints' Herald, Volume 14, page 105.

Sustained in Civil Courts

The question of succession has twice come before the civil courts and in both instances the Reorganized Church has been sustained as the successor to the original church presided over by the martyr, Joseph Smith. Briefly quoting from the decision in the Kirtland Temple Suit, 1880:

And the Court do further find that the Plaintiff, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is the True and Lawful continuation of, and successor to the said original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, organized in 1830, and is entitled in law to all its rights and property.--Court of Common Pleas, Lake County, Ohio (see journal entry, February term, 1880).

The other decision was rendered in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Western District of Missouri in the Temple Lot Suit, 1894. In general terms it accords with the decision quoted above.

We are not now concerned with a detailed discussion of the legal or technical questions involved in succession. They were ably argued between Brigham H. Roberts for the Mormons and Heman C. Smith for the Reorganized Church. Our position has been set forth in the book, True Succession in Church Presidency, by Heman C. Smith.

We wish to examine some phases of the question of succession in the prophetic office by other tests.

Tests of Prophetic Prescience

The prophet does not alone foretell future events. His mission is to reveal, interpret, and teach the will of God. Brigham Young it is claimed was an able leader and organizer in commercial and business matters. He amassed wealth himself and developed a remarkable community. His achievements as an "empire builder" are often pointed to as an evidence of prophetic leadership. We would not in any way belittle his record in that matter; but it has been equaled if not surpassed more than once by pioneer "empire builders" who made no claim to divine leadership. Judged by political power, holdings of land and wealth. and business acumen, the Catholic Church outranks us all--but is the pope a prophet of God? A prophet is tested by other standards than these--fortunately for John the Baptist and Jesus, the one owning a robe of camel's hair and the other a seamless garment.

President Joseph Smith Led Back To Zion

Joseph Smith III never amassed wealth nor gave his time or powers to that task. He did lead his people back to the appointed place of gathering from which his father and those with him had been violently driven. He did this in direct fulfillment of the Lord's promise and commission:

Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered, they that remain and are pure in heart shall return and come to their children, with songs of everlasting joy; to build up the waste places of Zion.--Doctrine and Covenants 98:4; Utah edition 101:17,18.

His Revelation

In the place appointed for the gathering he so revealed, interpreted, and taught the will of God, that when he died the Kansas City Journal bore this editorial tribute to him:

He was the prophet, but first of all he was the Christian gentleman and the good citizen. As such he lived, as such he died, as such he will be remembered by all outside the household of his faith....

Kindly, cheerful, loyal to his own creed, tolerant of those of others, standing for modesty, simplicity, good citizenship, embodying in his private and public life all the virtues which adorn a character worthy of emulation--such is the revelation which Joseph Smith leaves to the world, as the real interpretation of an ecclesiastical message translated into terms of human character.--Kansas City Journal, December 12, 1914.

He left no great estate, founded no vast commercial enterprises. He did fulfill the prophetic promise of the return to Zion. He brought his people back, organized them, began the work of final redemption; and in the land where his people formerly could not dwell on penalty of death he cleared the good name of the church, redeemed the reputation of his father, and in his own personal life gave such a "revelation" of the "ecclesiastical message" of the Restoration that he won from a formerly hostile community the tribute just quoted.

The Prophetic Test

On A Great Moral Issue Very early there developed the widest imaginable difference in prophetic teaching and leadership between Brigham Young and Joseph Smith III on a great moral issue.

That issue need not be discussed again at this time. Suffice it to say that on the marriage question Brigham Young declared that polygamy was of God and would ride triumphantly above all the prejudice and priestcraft of the day (Supplement of Millennial Star, Volume 15, page 31).

President Joseph Smith from the beginning of his ministry repudiated that doctrine and adhered always to the revelation given to his people:

Polygamy is an abomination in the sight of the Lord God: it is not of me; I abhor it....Be strong; ye shall contend against this doctrine.--Church History, Volume 3, page 215.

He was in full prophetic accord with the voice of the prophet Jacob in the Book of Mormon.

David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.--Jacob 2:33.

Which man stands vindicated as a prophet by the arbitrament of time? Today, in Utah, where Brigham Young spoke the words previously quoted the practice of polygamy is condemned and forbidden by his own church, his followers are excommunicated by his own consent if not at the instigation of his own church leaders, declare polygamy to be a felony.

A prophet can afford to rate low in financial and commercial matters--he cannot afford to be wrong on great moral issues.

Were They Prophets?

Was Brigham Young the legal successor to Joseph Smith, and as such, the true prophet and leader of the church? He had certain traits we may admire. One of them was a terse frankness. On the question at issue he said tersely and frankly:

The brethren testify that Brother Brigham is Brother Joseph's legal successor. You never heard me say so. I say I am a good hand to keep the dogs and wolves out of the flock.--Journal of Discourses, Volume 8, page 69.

With equal blunt frankness and with a touch of pathos, he said:

I do not profess to be a prophet. I never called myself so; but I actually believe I am, because people are all the time telling me that I am.--Journal of Discourses, Volume 5, page 176.

Still again with becoming humility, when a motion was pending to sustain him as "prophet, seer, and revelator," he declared:

I will say that I never dictated the latter part of the sentence. I make this remark because those words in that connection always made me feel as though I am called more than I am deserving of. I am Brigham Young, an apostle of Joseph Smith, and also of Jesus Christ. If I have been profitable to this people I am glad of it. The brethren call me so; and if it be so, I am glad.--Journal of Discourses, Volume 5, page 296.

We do not doubt that he had at one time been called to be an apostle, as he said--but we also doubt not his confession that he did not honestly judge himself to be a prophet or the successor to Joseph the Martyr. He felt out of line, and he was out of line of his original calling.

Startling Admissions

At least one of the successors to Brigham Young is on record in his own words; namely, Joseph Fielding Smith, their president from 1901 to 1918. (Joseph F. Smith was not a descendant of the Joseph Smith who founded the church; he was a son of Hyrum Smith.) When he appeared before the United States Senate committee of investigation in the Reed Smoot case (1903-1904) he went on record as follows, quoting from the official minutes of the committee:

Mr. Smith. - I have never pretended to nor do I profess to have received revelations. I never said I had a revelation except so far as God has shown to me that so-called Mormonism is God's divine truth; that is all (Volume 1, page 99).

Senator Dubois. - Have you received any revelation from God, which has been submitted by you and the apostles to the body of the church in their semiannual conference, which revelation has been sustained by that conference through the upholding of their hands?

Mr. Smith. - Since when?

Senator Dubois. - Since you became president of the church.

Mr. Smith. - No, sir; none whatever (Volume 1, page 483).

Senator Dubois. - Then you do not know whether you have received any such revelation as you have described, or whether you have or not?

Mr. Smith. - Well, I can say this. That if I live as I should in the line of my duties, I am susceptible, I think, of the impressions of the Spirit of the Lord upon my mind at any time, just as any good Methodist or any other good church member might be. And so far as that is concerned, I say yes; I have had impressions of the Spirit upon my mind very frequently, but they are not in the sense revelations (Volume 1, page 484).

This strange confession was made under oath in the capital of the nation while the people of the nation were watching the investigation of the Senate committee with the keenest interest. A more spectacular and public confession could hardly by imagined.

It is obvious why the man under consideration could not be expected to receive revelation, neither he nor his successors in office-one reason being indicated in the following paragraphs.

During the hearing before the Senate committee, before referred to, Joseph F. Smith made the following statements:

The chairman.- Do you obey the law in having five wives at this time, and having them bear you eleven children since the manifesto of 1890?

Mr. Smith.- Mr. Chairman, I have not claimed that in that case I have obeyed the law of the land (Volume 1, page 197).

Senator Overman.- Is there not a revelation that you shall abide by the laws of the state and of the land?

Mr. Smith.- Yes, sir.

Senator Overman.- If that is a revelation, are you not violating the laws of God?

Mr. Smith.- I have admitted that, Mr. Senator, a great many times here (Proceedings in the Smoot Case, Volume 1, pages 334, 335).

So far as the record shows the confession made by Joseph F. Smith that he had received no revelation might also have been made by all of the other successive presidents of the Utah Church.

The Book of Doctrine and Covenants

Today the Doctrine and Covenants as published by the Utah Mormon Church contains nothing claiming to be a revelation coming through any of their presidents since they entered what is now the state of Utah; of such it is sterile and barren.

A single exception might be the "Woodruff Manifesto" forbidding the practice of polygamy. At the time it was published it was not put forth as a revelation - merely as an official "manifesto" issuing from the president of the church. It was never to our knowledge approved by that church as a revelation. However, if it is now claimed to be a revelation it is more in accord with the time-honored position of the Reorganized Church.

The book of Doctrine and Covenants as published by the Reorganized Church continues an open canon of Scripture to which have been added the revelations that have come through the successive presidents of the church in full accord with Latter Day Saint belief in continued revelation.

Where Lay Prophetic Leadership?

Was it inspired and prophetic leadership that brought the Utah Church under Federal prosecution at the turn of the century? We cannot believe it was. We cannot think of these events as persecution, contrary to law, such as was encountered in Missouri and Nauvoo; thus we are compelled to feel was prosecution, under the law - a thing vastly different.

The divine edict was clear, "Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land" (Doctrine and Covenants 58:5; Utah edition 58:21).

Had these men kept the laws of the land and taught their people so to do, incalculable grief might have been spared them, and great reproach been saved all people who believe in the Restoration movement.

Prophetic leadership lay with the presidents of the Reorganization. In both 1861 and 1905 the prophetic leaders of the Reorganization warned the Utah church of the consequences of following polygamous practices. It is a matter of congratulation today that although the doctrine has not been abandoned by the Mormons their leaders are apparently backing the Government in an attempt to root out the practice of polygamy. When President Frederick M. Smith issued his warning to them in 1905 their leading men were under the hammer of prosecution; today they are forcing the prosecution of their own followers who practice polygamy. Time vindicates the prophets! It brings reversal to those who heed not the message of the prophets!

With charity for our Mormon friends, for many of whom we have come to feel admiration and friendship, we believe on a thousand evidences and testimonies that God has expressed himself through the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and that through it has come the line of succession in the prophetic office. There we stand - "God help us we cannot do otherwise!" And we invite our friends of the Mormon church to consider carefully our message to them.

Each must decide for himself beyond dubiety of thought as to which side of these issues bears the seal of divine approval: "Eternity will never reveal God's seal affixed to two sides if a controverted issue."