The Odyssey of a Latter-day Prophet

Wilford Woodruff and the Manifesto of 1890

Thomas G. Alexander

Thomas G. Alexander, “The Odyssey of a Latter-day Prophet: Wilford Woodruff and the Manifesto of 1890,” in Banner of the Gospel: Wilford Woodruff, ed. Alexander L. Baugh and Susan Easton Black (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2010).

Thomas G. Alexander is Lemuel Hardison Redd Professor of Western American History Emeritus at Brigham Young University.

On September 24 and 25, 1890, eighty-three-year-old Wilford Woodruff—prophet, seer, and revelator, and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—met with three of the Twelve and his counselors to discuss “an important Subject.” Writing about the experience in his diary, he said that he had “arived at a point in the History of my life as the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints whare I am under the necessity of acting for the Temporal Salvation of the Church. The United State Governmet has taken a Stand & passed Laws to destroy the Latter day Saints upon the Subjet of poligamy or Patriarchal order of Marriage. And after Praying to the Lord & feeling inspired by his spirit I have issued . . . [a] Proclamation which is sustained by my Councillors and the 12 Apostles.” [1]

The proclamation, labeled an “Official Declaration,” was addressed “To whom it may Concern.” In the proclamation, also known as the Manifesto, Woodruff denied that the Church had continued to solemnize plural marriages. Indicating that since the Supreme Court had declared constitutional laws forbidding polygamy, he intended to “submit to those laws and to use . . . [his] influence with the members of the Church . . . to have them do likewise.” He denied that the Church encouraged members to enter polygamy, and insisted that Church leaders had “promptly reproved” those elders who had done so. [2]

In issuing this declaration, Woodruff and the leadership acknowledged a major change in practice in the Church. [3] Possibly as early as 1833, and at least by 1841, Joseph Smith had begun to enter into plural marriages. Other leaders followed. Officially acknowledging polygamy in 1852, many Mormons considered such marriages a divinely sanctioned responsibility for those who expected the highest blessings of eternity. By 1890 the federal government had imprisoned more than a thousand priesthood holders for their refusal to abandon the principle. Judges had sent a number of women to prison for declining to testify against their husbands in such cases.

Woodruff himself had supported the principle. Married to Phebe Whittmore Carter in 1837, he was sealed to his second wife in 1846, and during the 1850s he had added four more wives to his family. The marriage to his second wife, Mary Ann Jackson, ended in divorce, and his third wife, Mary Giles Meeks Webster, died shortly after their marriage in 1852. Phebe died in 1885. In 1890, he still had three living wives: Emma Smith and Sarah Brown, whom he had married on the same day in March 1853, and Sarah Delight Stocking, whom he married early in 1857 during the Mormon Reformation. [4]

What led Woodruff to issue the Manifesto? The revelation and subsequent change in policy resulted, I believe, from a spiritual, physical, and mental odyssey that ended shortly after Woodruff’s return from California in September 1890. In the process, the President’s attitude changed from apocalyptic belligerency to reluctant cooperation as he and the Mormons moved across a watershed of self-perception and public identity, evolving from persecuted outsiders and sectarians into members of a prominent American church and members of one of the fastest-growing religious traditions in the world. [5]

Woodruff’s odyssey started at least a decade before the Manifesto. From February 1879 through early 1880, after the Supreme Court decision in the George Reynolds case, U.S. marshals kept Woodruff, then St. George Temple president, on the run in Nevada, southern Utah, New Mexico, and particularly northern Arizona. [6] January 26, 1880, found him at a sheepherders’ camp in the wilderness of the San Francisco Mountains east of Little Colorado. [7] Surrounded by the harsh solitude of a high-country winter, he spent the day reading letters from relatives and friends and ruminating over a series of anti-Mormon lectures. He awoke “about Midnight,” full of the Spirit of the Lord, and received a revelation that he committed to paper the next day. [8]

Several themes predominated in the wilderness revelation. The message emphasized the imminence of the apocalypse and Christ’s Second Coming, the judgments of God upon the nation, the divinity of plural marriage, the need for Saints to remain pure and blameless, the power of the Lord in protecting the Saints in building their temples, and the Lord’s approval of the labors of the Twelve.

Linking the imminent apocalypse to the Saints’ persecutors, the message identified those targeted for the Lord’s wrath. In a comprehensive list, the text named the president of the United States; members of the Supreme Court, the cabinet, the Senate and the House, the governors of several states and territories, judges, officials, and others. The revelation said the Lord would pour out his judgment upon “that Nation or House or people, who seek to hinder my People from obeying the Patriarchal Law of Abraham which leadeth to a Celestial Glory which has been revealed unto my Saints through the mouth of my servant Joseph.” Moreover, the revelation instructed Woodruff to call upon the Twelve to offer a testimony in innocence against those who had persecuted the Saints. The message called upon the Apostles to cleanse their feet with pure water as a witness to the Lord, to clothe themselves in “the Robes of the Holy Priesthood,” and to bear a testimony through prayer against their persecutors. The Church leaders gathered in a prayer circle on January 19, 1881, and did as they had been directed. [9]

At the October 1880 general conference, the Apostles had agreed to reorganize the First Presidency, sustaining John Taylor as President, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith as counselors, and Woodruff as President of the Quorum of the Twelve. As leader of the Apostles, Wilford stood next in line for the presidency of the Church.

As federal officials increased the pressure on the Latter-day Saints during the l880s, the Church leadership sought to avoid the burdens of the various laws. On March 24, 1882, the day that President Chester A. Arthur signed the Edmunds Act, Woodruff met with the First Presidency, and they agreed to counsel “the brethren to live with but one wife under the same Roof.” [10] Nevertheless, in November 1882, the Brethren concluded that they “could not swap . . . the Kingdom of God or any of its Laws or Principals for a State Government.” [11]

Between 1882 and early 1885, after the passage of the Edmunds Act, practicing polygamists stood in the eye of a hurricane. The decision in the Miles case had virtually halted prosecution under the Morrill Act, and the government had yet to work a systematic means of arresting and prosecuting Edmunds Act violators. Thus Woodruff and other Church leaders continued with their duties. Woodruff continued to serve as St. George Temple president and to advise the construction of new temples in Manti and Logan.

In August 1884 the eye of the storm began to pass, and the hurricane descended on the Utah landscape. As advance agent of the storm’s fury, Charles S. Zane of Illinois rode into Utah to assume the posts of chief justice of the Utah Territorial Supreme Court and judge of the Third Judicial District, centered in Salt Lake City. Working with U.S. attorney Charles S. Varian, who pressed for grand jury indictments, and U.S. marshal Edwin A. Ireland and his deputies, who scoured the country looking for cohabitants, Zane and his fellow judges began systematic prosecution and conviction, which filled the territorial penitentiary in Sugar House with unrepentant polygamists. [12] This raid sent Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith, and others to the underground. Woodruff hid out in the Salt Lake Seventeenth Ward meetinghouse, wrote to Sarah, Emma, and Delight, blessed Phebe, and then left for St. George on January 17, 1885. [13] He remained in St. George under the name of Lewis Allen, a boyhood friend from Connecticut, until November 1885, when John Taylor called him back to Salt Lake. [14] In St. George, he conducted temple sessions, visited conferences in southern Utah and southeastern Nevada, fished, hunted ducks, and farmed.

Although he returned to Salt Lake in November 1885 to attend a meeting of the Twelve to consider the fellowship of two Apostles, for Woodruff the visit bore anguish. [15] On November 9, he risked a visit to Phebe, who had suffered a severe attack of “chills” about a month before, and during her sickness had fallen and split her scalp. When Woodruff arrived, she lay on the verge of death. Recognizing Phebe’s hopeless condition, Woodruff blessed her and “anointed her for her burial.” She died a few hours later.

Unable to attend the November 12 funeral for fear of arrest, Woodruff hid at the president’s office on South Temple and watched through the windows while friends and family conducted Phebe’s last rites and accompanied her remains to the cemetery. Later that day, having watched the funeral cortege pass, he reflected, “I am passing through a strange Chapter in the history of my life.” [16]

Phebe’s death changed Wilford’s life. He made arrangements for the disposition of his two houses in Salt Lake City and moved his belongings to Emma’s house about six miles south of the city in Farmer’s Ward. After that, he rotated between living on the farm with Emma, staying with friends, living in St. George, and, after his call as President of the Church, living in the Gardo House on South Temple. [17]

Throughout these trials, Woodruff had not budged from the defiant and apocalyptic attitude evident in the wilderness revelation. In various writings in 1885, 1886, and 1887 he emphasized his continuing anticipation of God’s imminent judgments upon the nation. On January 13, 1887, as the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Edmunds-Tucker Act, he expected that the approval of that bill would seal Congress’s “condemnation” and lay “the foundation for the overthrow & final destruction of the United States government.” [18]

During early 1887, John Taylor became increasingly infirm, and members of the Twelve began to contemplate a succession in the Presidency. Responding to an inquiry from Heber J. Grant, Wilford expressed his strong conviction that the President of the Quorum should automatically succeed to the Presidency of the Church. [19]

The question became actual rather than theoretical in July 1887 when Woodruff learned that President Taylor had died. He felt quite strongly the burden laid upon him and called upon the Lord to prepare him “for whatever awaits him on Earth and have power to perform whatever is required at his hands by the God of Heaven.” Returning from St. George to Salt Lake City on July 29, Woodruff watched Taylor’s funeral procession through the same windows he had viewed Phebe’s cortege two years earlier. [20]

The Apostles met on August 3 to discuss the governance of the Church. They voted to restore George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith to their former positions in the Twelve, but heated opposition to Cannon thwarted Woodruff’s desire for an immediate reorganization of the First Presidency. Some of the mud aimed at Cannon splattered on Woodruff himself as younger members of the quorum charged that they both “were men worshipers, sycophants, & [guilty of] todyism.” [21] The Twelve did not resolve the matter or reorganize the First Presidency until the April 1889 conference, in part because of the disputes and in part because Cannon surrendered himself and spent a term during the fall and winter of 1888–89 in prison. [22]

Although the call of Woodruff, Cannon, and Smith to the First Presidency solved the problem of inaugurating new Church leadership, it did not address the more fundamental friction between American culture and institutions and Mormon doctrines and practices. The most visible of those abrasive issues was the continued practice of plural marriage and the intense prosecution it engendered.

As part of the attempt to reduce political opposition to the Church leadership, by 1887 Elder John W. Young, then living in New York, had forged extensive links with national Democratic political leaders, through whom he tried to get the federal government to moderate the harshness of its dealings with the Latter-day Saints. He wrote to President Grover Cleveland’s private secretary, Daniel S. Lamont, and to solicitor general George A. Jenks, asking that the federal government relieve old and sick Church leaders, particularly Taylor and Woodruff, from the strain of potential prosecution. [23]

Young’s efforts may have succeeded in Woodruff’s case. After Taylor’s death, Marshal Ireland’s successor, Democrat Frank H. Dyer, told Woodruff he had not sought to prosecute the aged leader but thought the Gentiles should allow those who married before the Supreme Court decisions to live out their lives and the Mormons should agree not to engage in any new plural marriages. Woodruff lived free from fear of prosecution from the fall of 1887 on. [24]

Dyer’s attitude also extended to a number of other leaders in Salt Lake City, and while federal marshals seemed “more than ordinarily vigilant” in outlying areas north and south, at the center of the Church the leadership sensed “a gradual softening of the feelings of the non-Mormons.” [25] By the April conference of 1888, most of the Twelve were free to attend. [26] Moreover, the administration of Democratic appointee and Utah chief justice Eliott Sandford promised easier sentences for members of the leadership than under his predecessor, Charles S. Zane. George Q. Cannon and Francis M. Lyman both surrendered voluntarily and entered prison, and the First Presidency suggested selective subjection to the law. [27] This did not, of course, mean that the federal government would exempt unrepentant polygamists from imprisonment. In fact, by May l889, 211 cohabs remained incarcerated at Sugarhouse. [28]

Beyond the prosecution of polygamists, other matters seemed pressing. Although the imprisonment of Church members caused temporary disruption of normal routine, the Church as an institution faced an infinitely more serious challenge. The Morrill Act of 1862 had disincorporated the Church and prohibited any religious organization from owning an excess of fifty thousand dollars worth of property in any territory. The 1862 act had carried no enforcement provisions, but the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887 established a mechanism for confiscating—or escheating—the Church’s property for the benefit of the public schools of the territory. The Act, however, excluded from escheat buildings and grounds “held and occupied exclusively for purposes of the worship of God, or parsonage connected therewith, or burial grounds.” [29] On November 23, 1887, Dyer began to take possession of Church properties, which the Church rented back, paying the rental into the Territorial school fund. [30]

In 1887, the Church leadership sought to finesse the confiscation proceedings by applying for the admission of Utah as a state. Had they succeeded, they would have freed themselves from the provisions of the Morrill, Edmunds, and Edmunds-Tucker Acts, since the laws applied only in territories and not in states. This was the sixth time that Utah had tried to obtain statehood, each of the efforts coming at a critical juncture. [31]

Woodruff and the Church leadership sent a number of representatives to Washington to lobby for statehood. [32] In Washington, the lobbyists enlisted the aid of Democratic representative William L. Scott of Pennsylvania and prominent political insider and judge George Ticknor Curtis. In February 1888, Wilford Woodruff sent Joseph F. Smith to Washington as leader of the lobbying effort to replace John W. Young, in whom they had lost confidence. [33]

The lobbyists tried first to attach an amendment, proposed by Representative Scott, to the Edmunds-Tucker Act. The amendment would have placed a six month moratorium on the enforcement of the law in order to allow Utahns to adopt a constitution with a provision prohibiting polygamy. [34] Strong opposition from House Judiciary Committee chairman and bill sponsor J. Randolph Tucker of Virginia thwarted the Pennsylvania Congressman’s efforts, and the bill passed quickly.

The constitutional convention met in Salt Lake City from June 30 through July 7, 1887. Thereafter, the Utah lobbyists tried to get the Cleveland administration and members of Congress to accept their good faith in voting to prohibit polygamy in the constitution. Cleveland and a number of Democrats seemed convinced of the Church’s sincerity, but several powerful Republican leaders in the Senate were not. [35]

The efforts to achieve statehood revealed the status of Woodruff’s odyssey and the degree to which the Church leadership had changed its views and was prepared to compromise by late 1887 and early 1888. The Senate Committee on Territories conducted hearings on the Utah Constitution in February and March 1888. Senator Joseph E. McDonald, Judge Jeremiah M. Wilson, and attorney Franklin S. Richards presented the case. Richards, Joseph F. Smith, and Charles W. Penrose coached the other two before the hearings, and Penrose formulated a number of arguments focusing on Church doctrine and practice. Using a textual argument, Richards interpreted the words of Joseph Smith’s revelation on plural marriage to mean that the Church considered the practice permissive rather than mandatory for its members. He admitted that individuals might interpret the words as commanding the practice of polygamy, but insisted that the revelation itself did not warrant such an interpretation. Furthermore, Richards indicated the Church’s willingness to conform to the requirements and demands of the law, which was passed to punish actual offenders.

In arguing the case against priesthood domination in political and economic matters, Richards focused on the allegation that tithing constituted a tax on Church members exacted under priesthood sanctions. He said that members paid tithing as a voluntary contribution and not a Church tax. From this example, he deduced the freedom of the members to follow or ignore the advice of Church leaders. [36] Reading press reports and letters from Richards and others, Woodruff felt encouraged by the efforts, but Congress did not act. [37]

By early 1889, Wilford Woodruff recognized that “statehood to all outward appearance, is shelved for an indefinite period.” [38] He knew that in the absence of statehood, Utah remained “politically speaking, a dependency or ward of the United States.” Moreover, statehood promised deliverance from what he now perceived as a future rather than an imminent apocalypse, since “in the event of the disruption of the general government [we would] be independent of all earthly powers and clothed with legal as well as divine authority to assume the position in the earth God has designed or may design us to fill.” [39]

Given the critical need for support to achieve statehood, Wilford Woodruff and the Church leadership pressed Church officials to soft-pedal their rhetoric. They tried to suppress anti-government commentary in the Church controlled press, counseled missionaries to remain low-key in their proselyting efforts, and reproved General Authorities who publicly supported or encouraged plural marriage. [40]

Even after it became abundantly clear in early 1889 that Congress and the president would never approve Utah’s 1887 constitution, the First Presidency and Twelve pressed to restrain the actions and statements encouraging polygamy. On March 13, 1889, the First Presidency and Twelve met in a council at the Gardo House with John W. Taylor. Taylor had publicly attacked as a “damned lie” Utah delegate John T. Caine’s declaration that polygamy was a dead issue in Utah. Duly reported in the Salt Lake Tribune, Taylor’s outburst created an immediate stir. Confronted by President Woodruff, Elder Taylor “manifested a vary Bad spirit.” He said that anyone that said polygamy was not mandatory was “a liar and the truth is not in him.” He made a number of other accusations, but eventually agreed to make “any reparation necessary.” [41] This does not mean that plural marriages ceased. Rather those who solemnized them performed the marriages quietly, out of the public eye, and preferably in Mexico. [42]

After Phebe’s death, Wilford arranged his family affairs to abide by a strict interpretation of the Edmunds Act. He became a practicing monogamist but a spiritual polygamist. During the early l880s, he had spent little time with Delight, who lived near Emma’s farm south of Salt Lake City. Sarah and their son Newton lived in Smithfield, and he had often visited there. In February l884, as Woodruff visited in Logan for the temple dedication, he stayed at the home he and Sarah shared in Smithfield. [43] On August 3, 1890, he visited Sarah’s house in Smithfield, the first time he had done so “for seven years.” [44] When not on the underground, however, he had spent most time either with Phebe or with Emma. After Phebe’s death, Woodruff appeared publicly only with Emma, though he entertained his other families and children at private celebrations, such as his birthday. [45]

Moreover, he began to spend his private time with the children Emma had borne him rather than with his other families. Although he corresponded with his other wives and children, his diary from the mid-1880s through 1890 is full of visits, work, and vacations with Asahel, Abraham Owen, and Clara and her husband Ovando Beebe. He seldom met with his other children except on family business. He corresponded with a number of his children, but most often with Phebe’s and Emma’s, and with Newton, who seems to have filled his father’s place in caring for and repairing Sarah’s home in Smithfield. Moreover, although he corresponded with Sarah and Delight, he seldom wrote to any of the children Delight had borne him and to any of Sarah’s children except Newton. [46]

As the March 1889 inauguration of Benjamin Harrison neared, the Church leadership feared the renewal of intense prosecution from the generally hostile Republicans. Even though Cleveland remained in office between the election and inauguration, relations seemed tense and Woodruff thought—erroneously, as it proved—that the new Democratic attorney general for Utah, George Peters, might want to demonstrate his vigilance by having the grand jury indict Cannon, Smith, and others for adultery. [47]

The president and representatives of the new Republican administration promised to temper the severity of their treatment of the Mormons, but in practice their regime became more harsh. [48] In Idaho, for instance, the legislature banned Mormons from voting, and at its admission to statehood in 1890, the state enshrined the principle in constitutional law. [49]

In Utah, the federal government broadened its attack on the Latter-day Saints in late 1889 by refusing to naturalize Mormon immigrants. On November 14, 1889, Judge Thomas J. Anderson, sitting temporarily as Third District Judge, began hearings in Salt Lake City on the petition of John Moore, a Mormon immigrant from Great Britain. An intense political contest for control of the Salt Lake City government ensued, and Joseph Lipman of the Salt Lake Tribune, representing the Liberal Party, had hired former U.S. attorney William H. Dickson and former assistant U.S. attorney Robert N. Baskin to oppose Moore’s petition. They charged the Mormons with disloyalty to the United States government. [50]

The court concerned itself with the loyalty of members of the Church to the United States government and their collective disdain for the law rather than their marriage practices. In the hearing, a number of Mormon excommunicants testified that they had taken vows against the government because of the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. The prosecution also read passages on such subjects as blood atonement from the Journal of Discourses and the Millennial Star to support their contention that Mormons were disloyal. [51]

Since Woodruff, Cannon, and Smith were away visiting Saints in Canada, the Twelve devised means of defense until their return on November 16, selecting various apostles and prominent lay members to testify. [52] In addition to active Church members, the Church called Elias L. T. Harrison, who had been a leader in the dissident Godbeite movement, and several other former Mormons who had received endowments. They all testified that Mormons took no oath against the government. [53]

In rebuttal, Dickson put Henry W. Lawrence, another prominent Godbeite who had left the Church, on the stand. Lawrence testified that he had officiated in the Endowment House from 1865 through 1869 and had administered oaths “inimical to the interests of the government.” [54]

Although Wilford Woodruff did not appear in court, he gave an interview to an Associated Press reporter on the case. Woodruff said that the members of the Church staunchly supported the Constitution and the government. Admitting the secrecy of the endowment ceremony, he said the ritual contained nothing threatening or treasonable. Counterattacking, he also charged that the Liberals had pressed the suit for political purposes. [55]

Apparently recognizing the contradictory testimony on the endowment oath, Judge Anderson, nevertheless, issued a sweeping indictment of Church doctrine and practice. Anderson based his ruling on public statements of Church leaders, particularly their emphasis on millennialism and the imminence of the apocalypse. Beginning with the premise that the Church taught that their organization was the actual Kingdom of God on earth with authority vested in the priesthood, Anderson ruled that it perceived itself as a temporal and spiritual kingdom holding authority to control all aspects of the lives of its members. He cited the Church’s millennial doctrines that the kingdom of God would eventually overthrow the United States and all other governments and showed that Church leaders had preached blood atonement for certain sins. He pointed out also that the Church believed that polygamy was a commandment of God and cited statements of General Authorities taking issue with the Reynolds decision by insisting that all laws interfering with religion were unconstitutional. [56]

The naturalization case became the catalyst for a new revelation and several other Church initiatives. On Sunday, November 24, Woodruff met at the Gardo House with the lawyers handling the case. They urged him to make some concession to the court on polygamy and other questions. After hearing their pleas, Woodruff retired from the group and spent several hours alone enquiring of the Lord about the matter. Following his inquiry, he received a revelation on the subject.

The revelation reaffirmed the basic principles that the Church leadership had taught previously, but in much less strident or apocalyptic tone than the 1880 wilderness revelation. The Lord told the Church leadership, “Let not my servants who are called to the Presidency of my church, deny my word or my law. . . . Place not yourselves in jeopardy to your enemies by promise.” The document instructed the lawyers to “make their pleadings as they are moved upon by the Holy spirit, without any further pledges from the Priesthood.” The Lord promised he would “hold the courts, with the officers of government, and the nation responsible for their acts towards the inhabitants of Zion.” The revelation promised further that the Lord would remain with the Saints and that he would pour out his judgments “upon all nations under the heavens which include great Babylon.” The judgments stood “at the door,” and the Lord promised to deliver the Saints from the wicked “in mine own due time and way.” [57]

By the early part of December l889, Woodruff and his counselors felt quite deeply the burdens they and the Church bore. By that time, the Utah Territorial Supreme Court had issued its decision sustaining the escheat of Church property, and while the Church had appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, the higher court had not yet rendered its decision. By this time, President Woodruff’s attitudes had changed considerably. Instead of taking a defiant attitude as in l880 and calling upon the Lord to curse the leaders of the nation, he worked with his counselors to draft a circular letter to presidents of stakes to pray that the Lord would soften the hearts of the executive and judiciary branches, cabinet, Senate, House of Representatives, and people of the nation toward the people of God. They urged members of the Church to spend Joseph Smith’s birthday, December 23, in fasting and prayer, calling upon the Lord to interfere in behalf of his people and preserve them from the power of their enemies. He urged Church members to pray for “a righteous decision” in the Church suits pending before the Supreme Court. [58]

A following letter, labeled an “Official Declaration” and generally called the Manifesto of the Apostles, was drafted by Charles W. Penrose. Edited and signed by the First Presidency and Twelve on December 12. [59] The declaration began by setting the events in the context of the recent naturalization hearings. It denied that the Church preached blood atonement, said that Church courts had no right to “supersede, annul or modify a judgment of any civil court,” and asserted that the Church “does not claim or exercise the right to interfere with citizens in the free exercise of social or political rights and privileges.” Furthermore, it said that nothing in the endowment ceremony or in any doctrine of the Church was “hostile to the Government of the United States.” The declaration also said that, although the Latter-day Saints proclaimed that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” the Church did not constitute itself an “imperium in imperio” aimed at the overthrow of the United States or any other civil government. [60]

Although prospects seemed particularly bleak by early 1890 and the promises of Harrison administration officials to administer the law evenhandedly seemed to fly in the face of Judge Anderson’s ruling and the continued efforts to confiscate Church property, conditions were already beginning to change. Shortly after John Taylor’s death in 1887, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith worked through Hiram B. Clawson to contact a group of California Republican leaders. After Woodruff returned to Salt Lake City, he began operating directly with the group. The political initiatives taken with the Californians sought to neutralize Republican opposition and to ally certain prominent GOP leaders with the Latter-day Saint effort for justice and eventual statehood.

On September 15, 1887, Wilford Woodruff met with Alexander Badlam and Isaac Trumbo of San Francisco. Badlam, a California businessman, was a brother-in-law of Samuel Brannan. More important, he had been president of the Boston Branch of the Church while Woodruff was president of the Eastern States Mission from l848 through l850. During the late 1840s, Woodruff and Elder Badlam had become good friends, and Woodruff had encouraged Badlam to emigrate to California to prospect for gold upon his return, Alexander had given Wilford a present of nine and one-half ounces of the metal. [61]

After their initial meeting in September 1887 until the end of 1888, Woodruff, Cannon, and their associates met and corresponded with Badlam and Trumbo on other occasions. [62] The two supplied information such as details about conditions in the East. [63] During March and April, as Joseph F. Smith and other leaders worked with Democrats in the East for statehood, Badlam worked to influence a number of the leading Republican newspapers of the country on behalf of the statehood effort. [64]

After Church officials became convinced that the Democratic Party could not deliver statehood for Utah, Woodruff and Cannon took more direct measures to deal with the Republicans. In April 1889, after Harrison’s inauguration and less than a week after Woodruff’s call as president of the Church, Wilford and several prominent Mormons took a twelve day trip to California to visit Badlam, Trumbo, and other political and business leaders. They met twice with Senator Leland Stanford, whom Woodruff called “a true friend of ours,” [65] and once with others from the Southern Pacific crowd, including Collis P. Huntington, a director and later president of the line; A. N. Towne, general superintendent; and Stephen T. Gage, a Southern Pacific lobbyist. Stanford said he thought Harrison was bigoted, but the senator said he was willing “to do everything in his power for our good,” including writing Harrison on their behalf. They also met with Judge Morris M. Estee, who had presided at the Republican Convention which nominated Harrison. Woodruff said Estee felt “very kindly disposed, and desirous to do us good.” [66]

In addition to opening contacts with Democratic leaders through the lobbying efforts in the east and personal contact through Republican politicians in California, the Church leadership began to loosen its hold on politics in Salt Lake City, in part from necessity, in part from conviction. Several of the Twelve—particularly Heber J. Grant—believed that the Church had remained far too closed in its political relationships with others. As early as December 1887, Grant wrote that the Church ought to be more “liberal before we are forced to be for considerations of policy,” he wrote. “I am as much opposed to aiding and supporting our enemies as it is possible for a man to be, but I am willing to grant them representation in our City, County and Territorial government where they are good and substantial citizens.” [67] On December 29, the First Presidency, Heber J. Grant and John W. Taylor of the Twelve, and a number of local People’s Party leaders, including Mayor Francis Armstrong and members of the city council, met at Woodruff’s office. They discussed the advisability of inviting a number of Liberal Party members to run for the Salt Lake city council on a joint ticket. The group approved the proposal, some arguing that it was good policy under the circumstances, and others, like Grant, favoring it “because they thought it just.” [68] In the February 1888 election, however, the coalition slate, styled the Citizen’s Ticket, won quite handily. [69]

Following the victory of the Citizen’s Ticket in Salt Lake City in February 1888, a number of Latter-day Saints favored the breakup of the People’s Party and perhaps even its merger with the Utah Territorial Democratic Party. Woodruff and the Church leadership opposed the proposal. [70] Anthony W. Ivins, later a member of the First Presidency, and several others organized what they called “Sagebrush Democracy” in an abortive attempt to begin the organization of a national political party in Utah. Nevertheless, although Woodruff and the Church leadership opposed the merger and worked to open the Republican Party, they supported the National Democratic Party in the 1888 election. They provided money to help subvent the publication of newspapers, provided funds for Cleveland’s presidential campaign, supported Democratic candidates in other states, and sent Franklin S. Richards and Joseph F. Smith as observers to the Democratic convention in St. Louis. Alexander Badlam and Isaac Trumbo tried to keep Republican Party newspapers in line in an effort directed by the First Presidency rather than through the larger Church political apparatus, perhaps because the leadership recognized the hatred most Mormons bore against the Republican party. [71]

In a very real sense, events in 1889 marked the beginning of the end for Mormon political domination of the Utah political scene. The Edmunds Act in 1882 had disfranchised all practicing polygamists, and the 1887 Edmunds-Tucker Act added insult to injury by disfranchising all Utah women, an overwhelming majority of whom were Mormons. The general economic prosperity of the late l880s, coupled with a mining boom that affected Utah business in particular, swelled the ranks of Gentile voters. Judge Anderson’s ruling in the Moore case meant that no further Mormon immigrants would be admitted to citizenship, and the activities of the Utah Commission and its registration agents further reduced the ranks of Mormon voters.

Under the circumstances, the tentative efforts to begin to open the political process coupled with continued control over party machinery evidenced by the 1888 Citizen’s Ticket and the support for Cleveland in 1888 proved too little too late. A major crack in the dike that earlier Mormon leaders had built to separate themselves from Babylon came in the fall 1888 elections as several Liberal Party candidates won election to the territorial legislature. Hard on the heels of this loss, the Church suffered a larger defeat in the Ogden municipal election of February 1889 as the Liberal Party captured control of the city government.

In view of the previous events, the February 1890 municipal elections in Salt Lake City became a battleground on which Woodruff and the Church leadership staked their political future. [72] In anticipation of the election, LDS officials had the city accelerate its public works program to bring in more workmen who would vote the People’s Party ticket. Members of the Church leadership also worked with members to try to get them to take the Edmunds-Tucker oath in order to vote, though some refused to do so on the ground that such action would be immoral. Some authorities suggested a fusion ticket similar to that offered in 1888, but most doubted that Gentiles would agree since by late January the Liberal Party had two thousand more names on the voter registration lists than the People’s Party. In addition, the Liberal Party, which controlled the registration lists, had purged a large number of Mormon names.

The whole situation is difficult to sort out, but the Liberal Party majority resulted from a number of initiatives. The large number of Liberal voters resulted, in part, from agents registering nonresident voters along the Denver and Rio Grande railroad line between Salt Lake and Pleasant Valley Junction, in Carbon County. Registration officials began to strike the names of legitimate People’s Party voters on allegations of polygamy, nonresidence, and alien status. [73]

As the election returns began to come in, it became evident that the People’s Party had lost by a sizeable majority. Mayoral candidate and Salt Lake City businessman George M. Scott defeated Spencer Clawson by 808 votes. [74] On reflection, the Church officials recognized that they could do little because the grand jury, which would have to return indictments, was firmly controlled by the Gentiles. [75] Adding insult to injury, the mayor refused to seat three winning People’s Party candidates for the city council in spite of certification by Judge Zane. [76]

Both in public and in private, Wilford Woodruff proclaimed that the Liberals had stolen the city election. In an interview given to the Associated Press, he said that he considered “the election has been gained here by striking from the registration lists hundreds of legally qualified citizens and by the votes of hordes of new comers not lawful citizens.” [77] In private, he said in April 1890 that the “Liberals stole the city and they intend to steal the County & Territory.” Still, he wrote, “They are in the Hands of God as well as ourselves, and it seems as though the whole government were Determined to take away every right the Mormons possess but there they will ripen the Nation for the just judgments of God and if the wicked bring tribulation upon the Saints the wicked will not escape the just judgments of God in there turn.” [78]

The fusion of Gentile and Mormon political elements that took place in 1887 and 1890 had a counterpart in the economic arena. In April 1887, leading Mormons like Heber J. Grant, James Sharp, and Heber M. Wells joined together with Gentiles and apostates like Governor Caleb West, William S. McCornick, James R. Walker, and Henry W. Lawrence to organize the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade. Agreeing to leave religion and politics outside the Chamber’s doors, the members promoted trade and home industries, and worked to attract Mormon and Gentile capitalists to the city. [79]

Nevertheless, Woodruff recognized the opposition to the Latter-day Saints on the part of the people of the United States. At the end of 1889, he wrote that “the word of the Prophet Joseph Smith is beginning to be fulfilled that the whole Nation would turn against Zion & make war upon the Saints.” He said 1890 would be an important year both for the Mormons and for the Gentiles. [80]

As the federal government continued its efforts to confiscate Church property, Woodruff’s prediction seemed fulfilled, though certainly not in the way he had previously thought. Throughout 1888, in proceedings before an examiner, the Territorial Supreme Court attempted to define just what property the Church would have to relinquish. Almost immediately, Attorney General Peters moved to confiscate the property transferred to local stake organizations, and the examiner included such property on the list. [81]

As Peters and Dyer worked to ferret out all the Church’s property, Woodruff staked the kingdom’s survival on the hope that the government would stop at temporal property and leave the Church’s “sacred places of worship” alone. In mid-1888 it seemed as though the Church had won. The Utah Territorial Supreme Court’s final decree, issued October 8, 1888, required Dyer to return the Temple Block to the Church’s presiding bishopric, providing the property was used exclusively for religious purposes as stipulated in the Edmunds-Tucker Act. [82] By mid-summer 1888, however, the Church decided against this course of action. After all, they did stand an outside chance of victory on an appeal on the constitutional question of free exercise of religion. Moreover, even if the Church lost the case, the leadership calculated they would still keep the temples and other places of worship. [83] On this basis, the Church completed the local negotiations and took the suit to the United States Supreme Court in October 1888. [84]

The Supreme Court heard arguments in the suit early in 1889, but it did not render its decision until May 19, 1890. In that decision, written by justice Joseph Bradley, the court sustained the government’s allegation by a five-to-four margin. Ruling that the Church had engaged in illegal activities, it held the federal government was completely justified in escheating the property. [85] Significantly, and contrary to the expectations of Church leaders, the Supreme Court ruling left open the possibility of confiscation of religious property. In May 1890, however, this seemed unlikely, since the Church leadership had developed a good relationship with Frank Dyer and expected no problems on this score. Then, in July 1890, Dyer resigned under fire, charged with malfeasance in his management of the Church’s property, and the federal government began an investigation of his dealings. On July 16, 1890, the federal courts appointed in his place Henry W. Lawrence, “a bitter apostate.” [86]

Throughout the negotiations, between mid-1888 and July 1890, the Church had come under increasing pressure publicly to renounce the practice of polygamy. On October 5, 1888, shortly before the Church completed the settlement with Utah Territory and appealed the suit to the United States Supreme Court, Woodruff met with Church leadership and their attorneys. Dyer and Peters urged him to renounce polygamy as part of the settlement and save the Church’s property in the bargain. He told them he “would see the whole Nation D——d first.” Nevertheless, he worried about the situation of Church members, particularly those in Idaho, where hundreds of Saints had taken the loyalty oath and registered to vote. Some had even withdrawn from the Church in order to do so. Many were subjected to prosecution for perjury. [87]

As events moved toward Dyer’s removal, pressure continued to mount. On June 12, 1890, secretary of state James G. Blaine gave a paper to George Q. Cannon, who was then visiting in Washington, for the “leading authorities of the Church to sign in which they make a virtual renunciation of plural marriage.” Cannon’s son Abraham said that his “feelings revolt at signing such a document.” [88] The Cannons immediately left Washington for Utah, but on June 30, instead of signing the paper, the First Presidency issued a significant change in policy which they conveyed to Church officials. Under the new policy, Church leaders were told not to perform plural marriages in the United States, and although they could still perform such sealings in Mexico, they might not do so “unless the contracting parties, or at least the female, has resolved to remain in that country.” [89]

In August 1890, Woodruff and his counselors began a series of excursions on Church and political business. [90] On August 11, the First Presidency left for consultation with Church and political leaders in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. [91] On August 25, they went on to the Hawaiian colony in Skull Valley. There, they dedicated the land as a gathering place for the Hawaiians who, unable to enjoy the privilege of temple attendance in the islands, had decided to emigrate to the mainland. [92] By the time the First Presidency reached Skull Valley, Henry Lawrence, with the apparent approval of the Republican administration in Washington, had begun to overturn the agreement on the temples between the Church and the preceding Democratic administration. On August 30, 1890, John R. Winder of the Presiding Bishopric told Apostle Abraham H. Cannon that he had learned that Lawrence would soon attempt to confiscate the Logan, Manti, and St. George temples “on the ground that they were not used for public worship.” Moreover, Harrison had reappointed U. S. Attorney Varian, who had opened the prosecutions under the Edmunds Act in 1884 and 1885 and who supported Lawrence’s contentions. On September 2, the court issued a subpoena for Wilford Woodruff to testify on the proposed temple confiscation, but he evaded service. [93]

On the night of September 2–3, 1890, Woodruff stayed at Emma’s farm. The next day, he moved to the Gardo House, and at 2:00 a.m. on September 4 he and a “committee” left by Pullman car for Ogden, where they joined the Union Pacific train for San Francisco. Arriving in the middle of California’s admission day celebration, they had difficulty finding hotel accommodations. The ever-genial Trumbo found rooms for them at the Palace Hotel, and they proceeded to visit and negotiate with the California political leaders. It was upon returning home that Woodruff issued the Manifesto.

Far from being a radical departure from the Church’s policy at the time, the Manifesto conceded little more in public than the Church leadership had already implemented in private. Statements by Richards, Penrose, and others during the statehood constitutional hearings in 1888, prepared under the direction of Joseph F. Smith and other Church leaders, had begun to move the Church in the direction of describing plural marriage as a practice that was optional rather than necessary for salvation. As the Manifesto indicated, the Church leadership had already issued a directive prohibiting new plural marriages in the United States. If one interprets the Manifesto’s statement about forbidding marriages prohibited by “the law of the land” in the light of the historical context of the document, that Congress had enacted laws forbidding plural marriages, which the court of last resort had declared constitutional, it seems clear that Woodruff meant the document at first to apply only to the United States. Moreover, as the Manifesto indicated, the Church leadership reproved those who publicly encouraged plural marriages. Since 1882, the Church had urged its members to order their lives so they lived under the same roof with only one wife. Woodruff himself, although still spiritually committed to his other wives, practiced temporal monogamy by living only with Emma.

Subsequent events would cloud this understanding of the Manifesto. What particularly muddied the issue was the testimony of members of the First Presidency before a master-in-chancery hearing—a case for return of the Church’s property—and an interview in the Salt Lake Times in 1891, in which Woodruff said the Manifesto applied throughout the world. [94]

Had Henry Lawrence and Charles Varian not decided to proceed to confiscate the Church’s temples and other houses of worship, the pressure by the General Authorities to stop open plural marriage in the United States might have sufficed for a time, particularly as the Church began to share political power with non-Mormons. I emphasize for a time, however, since it seems probable that concerned gentiles—particularly Evangelical Protestants—would undoubtedly have ferreted out information on any new plural marriages.

However, the May 1890 decision of the Supreme Court, coupled with the Lawrence and Varian efforts, made the proclamation necessary, as Woodruff indicated, for the temporal salvation of the Church. The day after the general membership approved the Manifesto in conference, Third District Judge Charles S. Zane essentially freed the Church from any fear of further action aimed at confiscating the Church’s religious properties when he accepted the Manifesto and announced his belief in the honesty and sincerity of the Church’s “solemn declaration.” [95]

Thus the threat of religious sanctions, especially the loss of temples rather than pressure caused by the jailing of Church leaders or loss of temporal property, eventually forced the Church into the public announcement of a condition that already existed. In the absence of such religious pressure, the Church might well have continued to function even with the loss of temporal properties and with clandestine plural marriages performed in Mexico and elsewhere outside the jurisdiction of the United States. If Church members had adhered to the rules allowing plural marriages only among parties who agreed to remain in Mexico, the parade of priesthood holders throughout Utah and other territorial and state penitentiaries might have stopped. Thus Woodruff’s statement in the Cache Stake conference in 1891 was not an ex post facto rationalization for the act. Woodruff had every right to fear the potential loss of the Church’s temples and places of worship and with them the possibility of endowing members and performing other living and vicarious ordinances necessary for salvation. [96]

What of the strident apocalyptic characteristic of Woodruff’s 1880 revelation and of subsequent pronouncements? By late 1889, although Woodruff still anticipated the judgments of the Lord on the nation and upon those who warred against the Latter-day Saints, he no longer expected the imminent fulfillment of these prophecies. No matter how fervently he continued to believe that God would eventually judge the nation, he had come to think that such judgment lay at some indefinite time in the future. By September 1890, it had become clear to him that God’s wrath would certainly not fall on the United States soon enough to save the Church from catastrophic losses. At that point, he faced the immediate problem of saving the structures which held the sacred space in which members could enjoy the blessings of the ordinances necessary for their salvation and the salvation of their dead ancestors. In a period of grace following the salvation of the temples, the Church leadership could prepare for the future apocalypse by securing sovereign statehood for Utah.

In a more basic sense, however, Woodruff had begun to rethink and revise his conception of the apocalypse and second coming to see them as lying in the distant future. Certainly his understanding of these doctrines had undergone a considerable change between the wilderness revelation of 1880 and the Manifesto of 1890. No longer could the Saints expect God’s judgments upon the nation and Christ’s Second Coming to save them from unacceptable consequences. [97] Without this change in understanding, Woodruff would probably not have agreed to begin to cooperate with Gentiles in politics or to confine new plural marriage to the Mexican colonies. Most important, without such a revised perception, he could never have understood a revelation, like the Manifesto, which involved essentially capitulation to national pressure for reform.

At base, then, the Church leaders perceived not only the Manifesto but also the campaign for Utah statehood as religious. Both were tied to questions of ultimate concern—salvation for Church members and their ancestors and preparation for the coming apocalypse which they now expected at some indefinite time in the future.

In view of the events that had taken place before, the Manifesto became a way station rather than a beginning along the road to restricting new plural marriage and sharing political and economic power in Utah and the surrounding states. The oldest changes involved the sharing of economic power. After all, Brigham Young had cooperated in the construction of the Union Pacific, and the Bullion, Beck, and Champion Mining Company was a joint Mormon-Gentile undertaking in which John Taylor and George Q. Cannon were heavily involved. Moreover, Church leaders had developed close relationships with business leaders in enterprises as diverse as the Associated Press and the Southern Pacific and Denver and Rio Grande railroads.

Those among the Church leadership like Heber J. Grant, who believed in the basic justice of political and economic cooperation with non-Mormons, would win the war and bring about fusion of the political cultures of both groups. That process of active political and economic collaboration had begun as early as 1887 and the leadership essentially codified the future direction of political activities in the 1889 Manifesto of the Apostles. The learning process continues today, since some Church members still have not mastered the difference between giving advice on political matters and applying political pressure.

While inextricably tied to local political and economic life in the web of historical events, in the minds of Church leaders, the decision to issue the 1890 Manifesto was at base religious rather than political or economic. The document announced to the world conditions that had already begun to exist within the Latter-day Saint community. In the most profound sense, the revelation was the religious side of a process of change which would continue to the present time as the Church abandoned attitudes which had served well while it was persecuted, but which became irrelevant to a nationally and internationally prominent Church.

The Manifesto of the Apostles also constituted a way station along the road to religious respectability. In it, the Church leadership repudiated the bizarre doctrine of blood atonement, and proposed a new direction for Church courts by denying their power to exact civil damages. [98]

Thus, what began with the apocalyptic revelation of 1880 as Wilford Woodruff’s religious odyssey became the Church’s journey as well. Woodruff and the Church changed along parallel lines during the 1880s as both faced the same pressures and necessities. After 1887 as Woodruff became a leader and then the President of the Church, the lines increasingly converged. By late September 1890, Woodruff had reached the end of his odyssey and had prepared himself to receive the revelation that codified and publicly announced existing practice to the membership and the nation at large. In the process, he prepared the Church membership for a new challenge in dealing with the pitfalls of increased interaction with the public, a challenge that continues to the present time.


Previously published in Journal of Mormon History 17 (1991): 169–207.

[1] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 1833–1898, Typescript, ed. Scott G. Kenney, 9 vols. (Midvale, UT: Signature Books, 1983–85), 9:112–14.

[2] For general studies of the issuance of the Manifesto, see Henry J. Wolfinger, “A Reexamination of the Woodruff Manifesto in the Light of Utah Constitutional History,” Utah Historical Quarterly 39, no. 4 (Fall 1971): 328–49; Howard R. Lamar, “Statehood for Utah: A Different Path,” Utah Historical Quarterly 39, no. 4 (Fall 1971): 308–27; Kenneth W. Godfrey, “The Coming of the Manifesto,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 5, no. 3 (Autumn 1970): 11–25; S. George Ellsworth, “Utah’s Struggle for Statehood,” Utah Historical Quarterly 31, no. 1 (Winter 1963): 60–69; Gordon C. Thomason, “The Manifesto was a Victory!” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 6, no. 1 (Spring 1971): 37–45; and Jan Shipps, “The Principle Revoked: A Closer Look at the Demise of Plural Marriage,” Journal of Mormon History 11 (1984): 65–77.

[3] For general studies of plural marriage, see Kathryn Daynes, More Wives than One: The Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1830–1910 (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2001); Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy: A History (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1986); and Jessie L. Embry, Mormon Polygamous Families: Life Under the Principle (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1987).

[4] For a discussion of the Mormon Reformation, see Paul H. Peterson, “The Mormon Reformation” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1981).

[5] For a discussion of the Mormons as outsiders, see R. Laurence Moore, Religious Outsiders and the Making of America (New York: Oxford, 1986). For a discussion of the Mormons as a new religious tradition, see Jan Shipps, Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1985).

[6] For the case see Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1879). He remained until the decision in the John Miles case allowed polygamists relative freedom of movement. Woodruff knew of Miles’s conviction, sentence, and appeal, but his journal does not record the success of the appeal. Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 7:491. On the Miles case, see U.S. v. Miles, 103 U.S. 304 (1880).

[7] The events surrounding the revelation are given in Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 7:546–47. The text of the revelation and prayer are recorded in Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 7:615–25.

[8] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 7:546.

[9] Woodruff left the list from his journal, and I have not seen the completed list. Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 7:624. Returning to Salt Lake in time for April conference in 1880, he presented his revelation to the Twelve for their approval. On April 22, the Apostles received the revelation “as the word of the Lord,” and on January 19, 1881, those members of the Twelve, the First Presidency, and the Presiding Bishopric within reasonable traveling distance, together with the Patriarch to the Church, gathered in a prayer circle. Even Charles C. Rich, debilitated from a recent stroke, and Orson Pratt, enfeebled by an advanced case of diabetes, met with their brethren. Those conspicuously absent were George Q. Cannon, then representing Utah in Congress, and Brigham Young Jr., Moses Thatcher, Erastus Snow, and John W. Taylor of the Twelve, all away on assignments. Those present washed their feet “against Our Enemies and the Enemies of the Kingdom of God” as commanded. Kneeling at the altar, John Taylor presented Woodruff’s written prayer effecting the purposes of the revelation and containing a list of names of those who had “made war against Thee and thy kingdom and thine anointed ones.” The prayer called upon the Lord to “protect thy Church, thy Kingdom and thy people from the Power of the wicked,” and asked that he inhibit the nation from preventing “thy Saints from keeping thy Commandments, from building the Temples of our God and redeeming Our dead” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:6–7). The full text of the prayer is found in Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 7:621–25.

[10] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:92. The Edmunds Act defined the offense of unlawful cohabitation, disfranchised polygamists, and placed Utah Territory’s election machinery in the hands of the Utah Commission.

[11] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:133.

[12] For a discussion of Zane’s activities, see Thomas G. Alexander, “Charles S. Zane: Apostle of the New Era,” Utah Historical Quarterly 34, no. 4 (Fall 1966): 290–314.

[13] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:298–99.

[14] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:341.

[15] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:342. The two were Albert Carrington, who was excommunicated for adultery, and John W. Young, an Apostle though not a member of the Twelve who was tried for neglect of duty and given time to mend his ways.

[16] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:343.

[17] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:350.

[18] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:420–21.

[19] Woodruff argued that with the Church President’s death, the Apostles became the presiding authority of the Church; therefore the President of the Twelve effectively became Church president “by virtue of his Office as much while presiding over Twelve Apostles as while presiding over two as his Councillors.” Woodruff said that none of the Twelve had ever claimed to preside over Brigham Young or John Taylor. Furthermore, assuming the conservatism of the Church leadership, he thought that since a majority of the Twelve had to agree on the president of the Church, it seemed unreasonable to expect them to “depart from the path marked out by inspiration & followed by the Apostles in the death of Christ and also by the Twelve Apostles since the Death of Joseph Smith” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:431). Woodruff later wrote Grant a letter incorporating the substance of his views.

[20] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:448–49.

[21] At the August 3, l887, meeting, several members of the quorum raised the question of Cannon’s defense of his son John Q. and the apparent suppression of evidence of the younger Cannon’s misdeeds, which included adultery and misappropriation of funds. Succeeding “painful” meetings held shortly before the October 1887 and April 1888 conferences led to continued attacks and a division in the council between the older members who supported Cannon and the younger ones who opposed him (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:460). By October 6, 1887, Brigham Young Jr. thought that the quorum was unified, but subsequent events proved him mistaken (Brigham Young Jr. Journal, October 6, 1887, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City; hereafter cited as Young Journal). Even though Daniel H. Wells was a counselor to the Twelve rather than a member of the Quorum, he was included in the deliberations (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:489–92). The stock matter was particularly sticky because 60 percent of the stock had been given by John Beck, the founder of the mine, to John Taylor. Generally referred to as the dedicated stock, it was given by Taylor before his death to Cannon, his nephew. Woodruff seems not to have pressed the Twelve to consider reorganizing the Twelve at times other than those proximate to the General Conferences, apparently because the general Church membership would have to sustain any decision of the Twelve to make it binding.

[22] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:517; 9:15, 16; Young Journal, April 6, 1888; Heber J. Grant Journal, April 5, 1889, Church History Library; hereafter cited as Grant Journal.

[23] John W. Young to Daniel S. Lamont, June 25, 1887; and to George Jenks, July 14, 1887, John W. Young Letterbooks, 2:71, John W. Young Collection, Beinecke Library, Yale University, Hartford, Connecticut. Shortly after Taylor’s death, he again renewed the request in behalf of Woodruff, whom he characterized as an eighty-four-year-old man who had lived away from his home for a long time (John W. Young to My Dear Sir [probably George A. Jenks], July 29, 1887, John W. Young Collection). Woodruff was actually eighty at the time rather than eighty-four.

[24] This discussion is taken from “Report of a private interview held between President Woodruff and United States Marshal Dyer,” October 15, 1887, Emma Smith Woodruff Collection, Church History Library. In early October 1889, two deputies, apparently looking for Brigham Young Jr., stopped Wilford near his farm south of the city. When he identified himself, they begged his pardon and went on their way. Young Journal, October 8, l889. Woodruff told Young that he thought that they wanted him. See also Young Journal, October l2, 1889. It may be that Dyer was unaware of the earlier efforts under his predecessor to arrest Woodruff.

[25] Wilford Woodruff and George Q. Cannon to John W. Young, February 28, 1888, Church History Library. See also Woodruff to William Paxman, April 2, 1888, and Wilford Woodruff to David K. Udall, October 10, 1887, David K. Udall Collection, Church History Library. The intense efforts to apprehend cohabs outside Salt Lake City seems to have resulted from the method by which the federal government paid the deputy United States marshals. Instead of giving them a fixed salary, as it did Marshal Dyer, the treasury paid the deputies from a portion of the fees collected from the fines levied on those convicted. The anticipation of payment for capture and conviction led to “conspicuous . . . vigilance and zeal” on the part of the deputy marshals north and south of Salt Lake. The cohab hunts in St. George became so intense that Woodruff authorized President McAllister to close the temple if necessary to protect himself and other leading brethren from danger. Wilford Woodruff and George Q. Cannon to John W. Young, February 28, 1888; Young Journal, April 17, 1888; Wilford Woodruff to John D. T. McAllister, April 5, 1888, Church History Library; Wilford Woodruff to William Atkin, April 23, 1888, Wilford Woodruff-William Atkin Correspondence, 1885–1894, typescripts, Utah State Historical Society Library, Salt Lake City.

[26] Wilford Woodruff to George Teasdale, April 4, 1888, Church History Library. Brigham Young Jr. expressed the same sentiment. See Young Journal, April 16–17, 1888.

[27] Grant Journal, September 17, December 12, 1888; Young Journal, December 20, 1888; Franklin D. Richards Journal, November 21, 1888, Church History Library; Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith to John D. T. McAllister, May 11, 1889, Church History Library. See also Joseph F. Smith to President Parkinson, April 18, 1889, Church History Library.

[28] Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith to President Paxman, New Zealand Mission, May 23, 1889, Church History Library.

[29] 22 Statutes at Large, 635 (1887), sec. 13. On August 3, 1887, after discussing Cannon’s situation, Woodruff and the Twelve met with attorneys Franklin S. Richards and LeGrand Young about the suit that District Attorney George S. Peters had filed three days earlier to escheat the Church property. After some consideration of the matter, by October they agreed to retain James O. Broadhead of St. Louis and former Senator Joseph E. McDonald of Indiana to defend the Church in the suit. (F. S. Richards to Wilford Woodruff, August 28, October 7, 1887, Franklin S. Richards, Correspondence, Utah State Historical Society; Grant Journal, July 30, October 6, 1887; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:462).

[30] The Church attorneys entered a demurer, a legal proceeding in which the defendant does not dispute the allegations of the prosecution but denies that they are sufficient to justify legal action. The court declined to sustain the demurer. Wilford Woodruff to John Henry Smith, November 14, 1887, John Henry Smith Papers, George Albert Smith Family Papers, Western Americana, Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. On the appointment of the receiver, see Franklin S. Richards to Wilford Woodruff, November 9, 1887, Franklin S. Richards, Correspondence, Utah State Historical Society. In sum, the suit asked recovery of three million dollars in Church property. Woodruff rightly thought they would not get “that much” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:456). The Church rented the properties back, paying twelve dollars per year for the temple block, $2,400 for the tithing office, and $1,200 for the Gardo House (Lewis Allen [Woodruff] to William Atkin, November 24, 1887, Woodruff-Atkin Correspondence; John M. Whitaker Journal, typescript, Mormon File, Huntington Library, San Marino, California). For a comprehensive discussion of the escheated property and its value, see Leonard J. Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints,1890–1930 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1958), 360–73.

[31] For a brief discussion of each of these attempts, see E. Leo Lyman, Political Deliverance: The Mormon Quest for Utah Statehood (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1986), chapter l. For a more thorough discussion, see Jerome Bernstein, “A History of the Constitutional Conventions of the Territory of Utah from 1849–1895” (master’s thesis, Utah State University, 1961). The other conventions had been held in 1849, following settlement; 1856, during the Reformation; 1861, as the new Republican administration prepared to take power; 1872, during Judge James B. McKean’s judicial crusade; and 1882, following the passage of the Edmunds Act.

[32] Those sent included Apostle John W. Young (who led the group), Franklin S. Richards, Charles W. Penrose, William W. Riter, Brother Woolley (probably Samuel E. Woolley or Edwin G. Woolley), and Utah delegate John T. Caine.

[33] Wilford Woodruff to “Whom It May Concern,” February 10, 1888; Wilford Woodruff to Franklin S. Richards and Charles W. Penrose, April 11, l888; Wilford Woodruff to Joseph F. Smith, April 25, 1888; Wilford Woodruff and George Q. Cannon to Joseph F. Smith, April 5, 1888, Woodruff letterbooks, Church History Library; Grant Journal, May 19, 1888.

[34] See Lyman, Political Deliverance, 42; George Ticknor Curtis to George Q. Cannon, January 25, 1887: and John W. Young telegram to the First Presidency, February 2, 1887, in First Presidency Minutes, 1887, Church History Library.

[35] See Grant Journal, November 14, 1887; Franklin S. Richards to Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith, December 17, 1887, Franklin S. Richards Correspondence; Lyman, Political Deliverance, 57.

[36] Franklin S. Richards to Wilford Woodruff and George Q. Cannon, February 28, March 22, 1888, Richards Correspondence. In August 1887, Richards had made similar points in a letter to George Ticknor Curtis. He pointed out that when the revelation was first received many entered the practice because they believed the revelation made the practice mandatory. Many who did not enter did so on the plea that it was permissive, not mandatory. The difference of opinion as to the construction still exists. Still, he pointed out, the people are united in believing that the prohibitory clauses of the 1887 constitution ought to be enforced. Franklin S. Richards to George Ticknor Curtis, August 27, 1887, Richards Correspondence. At a later hearing, Richards attacked the harsh methods used in the arrest and conviction of polygamists in Utah.

[37] Wilford Woodruff to William M. Paxman, April 2, and to George Teasdale, April 4, 1888, Church History Library. In November 1888, the Presidency and Twelve agreed to send Penrose and Richards back to Washington for a renewed effort to secure statehood during the lame-duck session of Congress. Grant Journal, November 13, 1888. By then, however, political conditions had changed. Harrison had defeated Cleveland in the presidential election, and the public had returned a solidly Republican Congress. Recognizing the animosity against the Mormons, the Democratic Congress and president ignored Utah and voted to admit North and South Dakota, Montana, and Washington instead. Lyman, Political Deliverance, 107.

[38] Wilford Woodruff to George Teasdale, February 12, 1889, Church History Library.

[39] Lewis Allen (Woodruff) to William Atkin, January 30, 1889, Wilford Woodruff–Atkin Correspondence.

[40] In November 1887, the leadership came down rather hard on the publishers of the Salt Lake Herald, cautioning them to exercise caution in criticizing the federal government. Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith to Charles W. Penrose, November 22, 1887, Church History Library. In 1887 and 1888, criticism arose among Democratic supporters of the Church in Congress over the intense proselyting efforts of Mormon missionaries in the South. Complaints from Southern Evangelical ministers and other constituents of the congressmen and senators made the lawmakers wary of supporting the Mormon cause. As a result, Woodruff counseled Southern States Mission President William Spry to caution his missionaries about “raising excitement upon our question and stirring up feeling among their constituents.” The Church President urged missionaries to continue to preach but “to pursue a conciliatory policy and to do everything in our power to allay prejudice and to quiet down hostility” (Wilford Woodruff and George Q. Cannon to Joseph F. Smith, April 5, 1888; and Wilford Woodruff to William Spry, June 15, 1888, Church History Library). In the April 1888 general conference, Seymour B. Young and Rudger Clawson “branched off onto Polygamy,” and the lobbyists in the East telegraphed that their “remarks have done much damage to the cause of statehood.” Young Journal, April 7, 1888. In May 1888, Joseph F. Smith wrote that “the arrest and conviction of a single ‘polygamist’ would do more, towards nullifying all that has been done, and towards blocking the way for statehood, than anything, short of an open avowal of a continuance [of the practice of plural marriage] by the Authorities of the Church.” Smith said that he did not intend “to compromise with the Devil, or relinquish one iota of revealed truth, nor a wife or child, [but that] it seems wisdom to halt, and plan, and maneuver to defeat the full purpose of the foe, and to prevent suffering, persecutions, and the many horrors of legalized mobocracy.” Joseph F. Smith to John Henry Smith, May 9, 1888, John Henry Smith Papers, George A. Smith Family Papers, University of Utah. Moses Thatcher’s defiant attitude upon his arrest in September 1888 and a talk by John Nicholson in general conference in October 1888 also led to censure by the Church leadership in view “of the policy decided upon” by the First Presidency and Twelve. Wilford Woodruff to Charles O. Card, September 6, 1888, Church History Library; Grant Journal, October 7, 1888.

[41] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9:13; Franklin D. Richards, Journal, March 13, 1889; Grant Journal, March 13, 1889. Those present were Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith, Franklin D. Richards, John Henry Smith, Moses Thatcher, and Heber J. Grant.

[42] In at least one case in May 1888, Woodruff authorized A. F. MacDonald to perform a plural marriage for Ammon Tenney in Mexico (Wilford Woodruff to A. F. McDonald, May 3, 1888, Church History Library). The authorities urged those who had recently entered plural marriage to remain quiet about the practice. In October 1889, Abraham H. Cannon urged a Brother Jorgason of Sevier County to keep the date of a sealing to his plural wife secret because it had occurred during the past three years. Abraham H. Cannon Journal, October 21, l889, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; hereafter cited as Cannon Journal.

[43] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:227.

[44] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9:103.

[45] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:232. In 1885, he was hiding in Bunkerville, Nevada. Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:306.

[46] This generalization is based on a cursory examination of Woodruff’s diary entries for the period 1886 through 1890. He generally wrote in his diary the names of people with whom he carried on a private correspondence. He carried on a correspondence with one of his daughters named Phebe, but this seems to have been Phebe Amelia rather than Phebe Arabella.

[47] Wilford Woodruff to George Teasdale, February 12, 1889, Church History Library.

[48] Shortly after the inauguration, Jeremiah M. Wilson, on retainer as Church attorney in Washington, met with attorney general William H. H. Miller, while Franklin S. Richards visited with Harrison and with secretary of state James G. Blaine. Both Church representatives urged the appointment of conservative men of high character who would enforce the law evenhandedly. Both Miller and Harrison said they expected no appointments of vindictive or unfriendly officials, and Blaine told Richards that he thought the government should not try to stamp out individual belief through persecution and that the officers should enforce the laws justly. Franklin S. Richards to Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith, April 13, 1889, Richards Correspondence; Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith to Jeremiah M. Wilson, May 25, 1889, Church History Library.

[49] Grant Journal, July 31, 1890. Wyoming kept a similar prohibition out of its 1890 constitution largely because of lobbying with members of the Republican Party, which Church members agreed to support.

[50] For a summary of the events associated with the naturalization and endowment oath case, see James R. Clark, ed. Messages of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1833–1964 (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 3:171–74.

[51] Cannon Journal, November 14, 15, 1889.

[52] Cannon Journal, November 11, 12, 13, 1889; Grant Journal, November 12, 1889. Some of the Twelve misperceived the issue, thinking that “adultery and illicit intercourse” might bar those applying for citizenship. They thought the court inconsistent in admitting to citizenship without questioning Gentiles who engaged in such practices while proposing to deny the privilege to Mormons because of their belief in polygamy.

[53] Cannon Journal, November 16, 18, 1889; Young Journal, November 17, 1889; Grant Journal, November 17, 1889.

[54] Cannon Journal, November 20, 21, 1889, After the hearings, during a meeting held to determine a course of action to be taken, Cannon said, “In speaking of the recent examination before Judge Anderson . . . that he understood when he had his endowments in Nauvoo that he took an oath against the murderers of the Prophet Joseph as well as other prophets, and if he had ever met any of those who had taken a hand in that massacre he would undoubtedly have attempted to avenge the blood of the martyrs.” Cannon Journal, December 6, 1889. After appearing, Charles W. Penrose spent a day in prison for contempt for refusing to answer Dickson’s query about how many wives he had. George Q. Cannon also appeared under subpoena, but the questions asked him bore only on the attempts of the Church to defend its rights and not on the question of an endowment oath.

[55] Journal History, November 22, 23, 1889, Church History Library.

[56] Cannon Journal, November 30, 1889.

[57] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9:67–69. Apparently, the revelation was well received by members of the Twelve. Young Journal, November 24, 1889; Cannon Journal, December 19, 1889.

[58] Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 3:176–79. President Woodruff had given the interview to the Associated Press and had received the revelation of November 24 nearly a week before Judge Anderson had issued his ruling; and the circular letter of December 2 had been issued before the Presidency and Twelve had considered a proper response to the ruling. On December 6, however, Woodruff met with the First Presidency, the Twelve, and the People’s Party Central Committee to agree on a course of action to counter the bad publicity engendered by Anderson’s decision. Those present concurred in a three-fold set of tactics. First, the First Presidency and Apostles agreed to prepare and sign “a dignified paper, without even mentioning the actions of the Courts, setting forth our doctrines, and denying the . . . charges of our murderous character and disloyalty to the government.” Second, local Mormon businessmen planned to issue a paper “giving the lie to Anderson’s statements.” Following these two announcements, members were to hold mass meetings throughout the territory to protest the robbery of the franchise.

[59] Cannon Journal, December 6, 1889; Grant Journal, December 6, 1889. Cannon Journal, December 12, 1889; Grant Journal, December 28, l889. The First Presidency telegraphed those apostles who were available for permission to attach their signatures and Woodruff authorized the signatures of those whom they could not reach.

[60] Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 3:184–87. Early in 1890, the First Presidency and Twelve took other measures to deal with these problems. On January 1, Woodruff, Smith, and Grant set apart L. John Nuttall to go to Washington to work with delegate John T. Caine; and they called John Morgan and B. H. Roberts of the First Council of the Seventy to speak in the interest of the people against the prejudice “engendered by the late decision of Judge Anderson.” Grant Journal, January l, l890.

[61] See Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:385, 412, 421–22, 435–36, 477, 537–538.

[62] Isaac Trumbo was a former Utah resident, a second cousin of Hiram B. Clawson, and a major stockholder in the Bullion, Beck, and Champion Mining Company. Working through Clawson, also a stockholder, in July 1887 the two Californians had already offered Cannon and Smith their services and the connections with Leland Stanford and other Southern Pacific Railroad Company officials in Utah’s efforts to achieve statehood. On July 27, 1887, shortly after John Taylor’s death, Cannon and Smith had sent a letter of introduction to Leland Stanford in Clawson’s behalf, but until Woodruff opened the direct discussions with Badlam and Trumbo, the Church leaders had apparently worked through Clawson rather than dealing with the California group directly. George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith to Leland Stanford, July 27, 1887, Church History Library; see Lyman, Political Deliverance, 73–78, and notes for those pages, 93. The only contact with the California group seems to have been a letter of introduction given to Clawson and addressed to Leland Stanford by Cannon and Smith in July 1887. The extent of the contact with Cannon and Smith before this time will probably not be known until the George Q. Cannon diaries are made available. Trumbo was also interested in other affairs, such as the promotion of a railroad from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles. Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:459.

[63] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:470, 486, 493, 504, 505, 506, 516.

[64] Woodruff and Cannon to Joseph F. Smith, March 13, April 5, 1888, Church History Library. Heber J. Grant did not share the enthusiasm for Badlam that Woodruff, Cannon, and Smith did, saying that he did not “have any confidence in him or his company,” the Bankers and Merchants Mutual Life Insurance Company of California. Grant Journal, July 3, 1888.

[65] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9:20, April 17, 1889.

[66] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9:25–27, April 23–24, 1889. The man identified as Mr. Gay was probably Stephen T. Gage, since he worked as a lobbyist for the Southern Pacific group. Stuart Daggett, Chapters on the History of the Southern Pacific (New York: Ronald Press, l922), 209–10.

[67] Grant Journal, December 29, 1888.

[68] Grant Journal, December 29, 1887; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:473–74.

[69] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:482; B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Century I (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, l930), 6:201. A committee of William W. Riter, John Clark, and Samuel P. Teasdel left the meeting to contact a number of the Liberal Party leaders. After discussing the matter with governor Caleb West, marshal Frank H. Dyer, Joseph L. Rawlins, U.S. attorney William H. Dickson, J. R. McBride, and others, they agreed to nominate four prominent businessmen: W. S. McCornick, John E. Dooley, M. B. Sowles, and Boliver Roberts. The Church leadership also considered having the legislature redistrict the city so certain areas with a predominance of Gentiles, would elect Liberal representatives, but the 1888 legislature met too late to effect the change for that year.

[70] See Lyman, Political Deliverance, 100–103; Franklin D. Richards, Journal, May 7, 1888; Grant Journal, October 22, 1888. Three attorneys from Provo, Samuel R. Thurman, Warren Dusenberry, and William H. King, led a Mormon contingent to the Democratic Party convention in Ogden in April 1888. The convention expelled the Mormons but about a hundred of them held a competing Democratic Party convention, nominated Thurman for Congress, and sought recognition from the national party. In succeeding months, the national party rebuffed them. Woodruff and other Church leaders opposed their efforts, and John T. Caine, the People’s Party candidate, soundly defeated both Thurman and the Liberal Party candidate.

[71] Jason Mack (Joseph F. Smith) to James Jack, March 20, 1888, Jason Mack Papers, Church History Library; Wilford Woodruff and George Q. Cannon to John T. Caine, May 9, 1888, Church History Library; idem to Joseph F. Smith, May 11, 1888, Church History Library; James Jack to John T. Caine, May 12, 25, 1888, Church History Library; Wilford Woodruff to Joseph F. Smith, Charles W. Penrose, and Franklin S. Richards, May 22, 1888, Church History Library; Grant Journal, October 15, 16, 20, 24, 1888.

[72] The following information on the 1890 election in Salt Lake City is based on Cannon Journal, October 11, l7, l8, l9, November l2, December 28, 1889, January 8, l4, 20, 23, 27, 29, 31, February 3, 6, 7, 9, 1890; Wilford Woodruff to George Q. Cannon, February 3, 1890, Church History Library: Wilford Woodruff and Joseph F. Smith to George Q. Cannon, January 21, 1890, Church History Library; Wilford Woodruff (per James Jack) and Joseph F. Smith to Moses Thatcher, January 23, 1890, Church History Library; Wilford Woodruff and Joseph F. Smith to George Teasdale, January 27, 1890, Church History Library; First Presidency to George Q. Cannon, January 29, 1890, Church History Library; Wilford Woodruff to Abraham O. Smoot, January 30, 1890, Church History Library; Wilford Woodruff and Joseph F. Smith to George Q. Cannon, January 29, 1890, Church History Library; James Jack to John T. Caine, January 29, 1890, Church History Library; Wilford Woodruff to George Q. Cannon, February 3, 1890, Church History Library; Grant Journal, January 8, 9, 20, 21, 23, 25, 29, February 3, 5, 8, 10, 1890.

[73] To counter the fraudulent voting lists, the First Presidency sent Heber J. Grant and John Clark to Denver to meet with David C. Dodge of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. Dodge ordered the local railroad officials, particularly W. H. Bancroft, superintendent of the Utah Division in Salt Lake, not to meddle in politics. He opened the railroad’s payroll records so the Church officials could search for registered nonresidents employed by the railroad. For a history of the Denver and Rio Grande Western, see Robert G. Athearn, Rebel of the Rockies: A History of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1962.

[74] John M. Whitaker, Journal, Part 7, page 24, Huntington Library, San Marino, California. In a meeting on February 10, the Twelve agreed that if the margin of victory turned out to be less than five hundred, they could legitimately challenge the vote, since they had evidence to prove that “more than this number of People’s Party voters were prevented from balloting through various tricks.” If the number were over that, they agreed to leave the matter for later disposition. Cannon Journal, February 10, 1890.

[75] Cannon Journal, February 13, 1890.

[76] Cannon Journal, February 18, 1890. In the Salt Lake County elections the following summer, the People’s Party fused with a newly created Workingman’s Party, composed of Gentiles and Mormons, successfully preventing a recurrence of the previous defeats. Cannon Journal, July 24, 29, August 4, 1890.

[77] Journal History, February 11, 1890, 2.

[78] Wilford Woodruff to William Atkin, April 26, 1890, Woodruff-Atkin Correspondence.

[79] Thomas G. Alexander and James B. Allen, Mormons and Gentiles: A History of Salt Lake City (Boulder, CO: Pruett, 1984), 105.

[80] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9:74.

[81] Woodruff to F. S. Richards, April 19, 1888; Wilford Woodruff to Moses Thatcher, June 22, 1888; Wilford Woodroff to John T. Caine, July 6, 1888, Church History Library. Lewis Allen (Woodruff) to William Atkin, May 23, 1888, Woodruff-Atkin Correspondence; Wilford Woodruff to George Teasdale, May 23, 1888, Church History Library; First Presidency to John T. Caine, June 16, 1888, Woodruff Letterbooks, Church History Library; Wilford Woodruff to Daniel H. Wells, June 19, l888, Church History Library; Grant Journal, July 23, 1888;

[82] Lewis Allen (Woodruff) to William Atkin, July 26, 1888, Woodruff–Atkin Correspondence; Wilford Woodruff to John Henry Smith, August 9, 1888, Woodruff Letterbooks, Church History Library; Wilford Woodruff to W. B. Dougall, September 10, 1888, Church History Library; Young Journal, September 19, 1888; Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom, 372. In spite of the receiver’s efforts, attorneys Richards and Broadhead worked out an agreement with solicitor general Jenks to exempt temples, the tabernacle, and meetinghouses. The federal government would still confiscate temporal property, but leave temples and meetinghouses in Church hands. In view of the agreement exempting religious property from confiscation, Woodruff doubted that the Church ought to take an appeal to the United States Supreme Court at all. With decisions in the Reynolds and Clawson cases behind them, in the opinion of a number of its lawyers, the Church stood no chance of winning. That being the case, without the appeal, while they would undoubtedly lose temporal property, they might lose less than if they fought through the Supreme Court, particularly if they succeeded in gaining the sympathy of the examiner appointed by the courts to assess the value of Church property. In addition, they could conceivably gain sympathy with other unpopular religious organizations which might join in denouncing such legislation as subversive of the rights of the people under the Constitution.

[83] Wilford Woodruff to George L. Farrell, July 12, 1888, Church History Library; Wilford Woodruff to Ammon M. Tenney, July 19, 1888, typescript, A. M. Tenney Collection, Church History Library.

[84] Franklin D. Richards Journal, October 7, 1888; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:520; First Presidency to George Teasdale, October 11, 1888, Church History Library; Lewis Allen (Wilford Woodruff) to William Atkin, October 24, 1888, Woodruff-Atkin Correspondence. On behalf of the schools, Charles S. Zane tried to break the settlement that Peters and Dyer made with the Church leadership, but he failed to do so. Lewis Allen (Woodruff) to William Atkin, December 12, 1888, Woodruff-Atkin correspondence.

[85] See Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints v. U. S., 136 U.S. l (1890). Woodruff heard the decision read on June 9, l890. Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9:97.

[86] Cannon Journal, July l6, l890. Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:520.

[87] Lewis Allen (Woodruff) to William Atkin, November 2, 1888, Woodruff-Allen Correspondence; see also Young Journal, October 5, l888; Grant Journal, October 5, l888.

[88] Cannon Journal, June 12, 1890.

[89] Cannon Journal, July 10, 1890; see also Jan Shipps, “The Principle Revoked: A Closer Look at the Demise of Plural Marriage,” Journal of Mormon History 11 (1984): 71.

[90] On the political aspect of the journey, see Davis Bitton, George Q. Cannon: A Biography (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999), 308–11.

[91] Reaching Albuquerque by way of Denver they stopped at the San Felipe Hotel, where they gathered in meetings with the Arizona stake presidents. After consulting with these officials, they traveled on to Santa Fe to meet with governor Samuel B. Axtel, a friendly non-Mormon, who had previously served as territorial secretary in Utah. From there, they journeyed north to visit the Saints in the San Luis Valley at Manassa, Colorado, traveling on to Alamosa where they boarded a train for Denver. On Sunday, August 24, they arrived in Salt Lake City. Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9:105.

[92] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9:108.

[93] Cannon Journal, September 1, 1890: Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9:109; Lyman, Political Deliverance, 135.

[94] Roberts, Comprehensive History, 6:223–26; Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 6: 211–17.

[95] Alexander, “Charles S. Zane, Apostle of the New Era,” 312.

[96] Doctrine and Covenants, Official Declaration l; “Excerpts from Three Addresses by President Wilford Woodruff Regarding the Manifesto,” 292–93; see also comment of Marriner W. Merrill quoted in Lyman, Political Deliverance, 136.

[97] In a somewhat similar situation, see Leon Festinger, Henry W. Riecken, and Stanley Schachter, When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group that Predicted the Destruction of the World (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1964; orig. ed., University of Minnesota, 1956). In both instances, there were increasingly intense proselyting efforts following the failure of the expectations of an apocalypse.

[98] On the degree to which this was implemented in practice, see Edwin Brown Firmage and Richard Collin Mangrum, Zion in the Courts: A Legal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830–1900 (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1988), part 3; and Thomas G. Alexander, Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-day Saints, 1890–1930 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986), 102–4.