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maupayman

Did John Taylor Have Revelation To Continue Polygamy?

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In trying to better understand fundamentalist interpretations of mormon doctrine and history, I recently watched John Dehlin's interview with a fundamentalist mormon woman found here:

She makes an alarming claim, which was new to me, that John Taylor recieved a revelation in 1886 that polygamy should be practiced despite the Governments objections etc. She said that the church has this document in their vault or archives. Is anyone familiar with this revelation? Has it been published at any time? I would be interested to read it. Apparently, this is where the fundamentalists base their claims to following God. Was John Taylor the acting prophet of the church at this time?

I thought this was an interesting topic.

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Beats me. The practice was ended in 1904 by the current prophet. Good enough for me :P

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Is anyone familiar with this revelation? Has it been published at any time? I would be interested to read it.

See here.

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I've been researching the FLDS for a year for a law-related project, and I'll say this: John Taylor's son, who was an Apostle and was excommunicated for continuing to perform polygamous marriages, believed it was real. He was later posthumously rebaptized, but was very bitter toward the church for its doublespeak.

However, I've concluded that if it is authentic, the commandment to the rank and file of the Church is monogamy, and those who were allegedly ordained to continue the practice should be the ones to carry it forth (however, there have been so many schisms in the fundamentalist mormon community that I doubt the revelation and the ordination of the "Council of Friends" was actually inspired or real).

Somewhat interestingly, the "father" of the fundamentalist movement, Lorin C. Wooley, was J. Reuben Clark's first cousin...I guess it really is a small world when you're Mormon (or a fundamentalist).

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Here's what I think about it.

1. It's clearly in Pres. Taylor's handwriting.

2. He wouldn't just fabricate something like that.

3. The historical context would clearly indicate polygamy as the subject matter. (Hello!! -- the Edmunds-Tucker Act was about to be passed!)

4. Although the revelation was not canonized, that doesn't mean it's not true.

5. The Lord knew in September 1886 that John Taylor would stop approving plural marriages in March 1887.

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Here's what I think about it.

1. It's clearly in Pres. Taylor's handwriting.

CFR, I thought they only had a copy.

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CFR, I thought they only had a copy.

Actually, I believe that the Church now has an original copy, given to them by John Taylor's grandson. It is mentioned in David Van Wagoner's book Mormon Polygamy (Signature Books, 2nd ed.) somewhere in the mid to late 200s.

John Taylors own son believed it was written in his father's hand, and there is a reason it isn't on display at the Church's history museum. Lorin C. Wooley's habit of accentuating and exaggerating called it's authenticity into question, but I also believe it was written by John Taylor.

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The Church has the original. It's in John Taylor's handwriting. LDS leaders such as Heber J. Grant and Melvin J. Ballard have admitted that it's certainly in President Taylor's handwriting.

See?

1886rev2ul8.jpg

Here's a transcription:

September 27, 1886

My son John: You have asked me concerning the New and Everlasting Covenant and how far it is binding upon my people.

Thus saith the Lord All commandments that I give must be obeyed by those calling themselves by my name unless they are revoked by me or by my authority and how can I revoke an everlasting covenant.

For I the Lord am everlasting and my covenants cannot be abrogated nor done away with; but they stand forever.

Have I not given my word in great plainness on this subject?

Yet have not great numbers of my people been negligent in the observance of my law and the keeping of my commandment, and yet have I borne with them these many years and this because of their weakness because of the perilous times. And furthermore it is more pleasing to me that men should use their free agency in regard to these matters.

Nevertheless I the Lord do not change and my word and my covenants and my law do not.

And as I have heretofore said by my servant Joseph all those who would enter into my glory must and shall obey my law.

And have I not commanded men that if they were Abraham's seed and would enter into my glory they must do the works of Abraham.

I have not revoked this law nor will I for it is everlasting and those who will enter into my glory must obey the conditions thereof, even so Amen.

From a meeting of the Twelve on February 22, 1911:

President [Francis M.] Lyman: ...In 1900 President Snow said there was no more authority to perform plural marriages. You were present when President Snow was sustained as President of the Church, and he made the statement that there should be no more plural marriages performed with the permission of the President of this Church, and a short time later published to the world through the Deseret News this statement. Have you been authorized since President Snow's presidency to perform or authorize any plural marriages?

John W. Taylor: That I would prefer not to answer, as it would lead to something else. My view is that the Lord was anxious to put everybody upon his own responsibility and take the responsibility from the Church.

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My understanding is that John Taylor's son reported overhearing his father speak with Jesus Christ in receipt of the revelation he penned.

Therefore when Wilford Woodruff was given the manifesto several months later after John Taylor died, the son decided that Pres. Woodruff was the one who had apostatized.

Of course even if he did overhear what he said he did, that would not stop Jesus Christ from making another decision a few months later. (Whether it would have been a Martin Harris permission moment or not.)

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Of course even if he did overhear what he said he did, that would not stop Jesus Christ from making another decision a few months later.

It would be quite something for Jesus to just totally reverse himself after using the language attributed him in Taylor's alleged revelation, imo.

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I see no conflict. The concept of the Everlasting Covenant is still alive and well. The plural marriage part has changed in application for the time being (one spouse has to die first) but the Lord never revoked his word. The manifesto simply put a stop to polygamy where both wives are alive.

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Fascinating- the first link on this 1886 letter states that John Taylor presumably was talking about Celestial Marriage, NOT plural marriage.

I can agree with that interpretation- the letter is completely open to it anyways.

I see no conflict. The concept of the Everlasting Covenant is still alive and well. The plural marriage part has changed in application for the time being (one spouse has to die first) but the Lord never revoked his word. The manifesto simply put a stop to polygamy where both wives are alive.

That too.

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...John Taylor presumably was talking about Celestial Marriage, NOT plural marriage.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't the two terms synonomous during Taylor's time?

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My understanding is that John Taylor's son reported overhearing his father speak with Jesus Christ in receipt of the revelation he penned.

Therefore when Wilford Woodruff was given the manifesto several months later after John Taylor died, the son decided that Pres. Woodruff was the one who had apostatized.

Of course even if he did overhear what he said he did, that would not stop Jesus Christ from making another decision a few months later. (Whether it would have been a Martin Harris permission moment or not.)

I don't believe that John Taylor, Jr. was excommunicated until post-1904 (while serving in the Twelve). Until that point in time, even Joseph F. Smith only half-heartedly enforced any anti-polygamy policy.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't the two terms synonomous during Taylor's time?

I believe so. The distinction was not one that was made until post-1904.

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Ala Lachoneus's link, it seems like he did have such a revelation; which might explain hesitancy to really give up the practice until 1903.

But it wasnt that 8 hour meeting, with a levitating John Taylor setting up a parrallel structure for the continuance of plural marriage. Read The Polygamy Story; it pretty much thrashes that story.

http://www.mormonfundamentalism.com/download.htm

The way I see it, we in the modern day follow the same principles our forefathers did.

The principles dont change, they are eternal; but our modern application of these principles do change. Thats the rub.

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I have had questions as to whether it really is John Taylor's handwriting partially because of the following information. Here is the first page of a letter written by John Taylor, which actually is written in John Taylor's handwriting:

post-7377-1202965803_thumb.jpg

Here is an example showing the two forms of the letter M John Taylor writes:

post-7377-1202966000_thumb.jpg

Notice that his initial Ms differ from the kind that follows in the line. Here is an example of his Ys, how he writes an N and another example of his initial letter M:

post-7377-1202966020_thumb.jpg

Notice the differences. In the example provided by Kamenraider the writer does not use John Taylor's initial M. In addition, John Taylor's secondary M also does not match the sample given above by Kamenraider. In addition, the initial letter M in the above purported revelation does not even match either of John Taylor's forms of the letter M. Also look at the other letters. Notice that both samples are from the same month and year and only days apart.

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The Church has the original. It's in John Taylor's handwriting. LDS leaders such as Heber J. Grant and Melvin J. Ballard have admitted that it's certainly in President Taylor's handwriting.

Do you know if it been analyzed by an handwriting expert (not debating here, just curious). Forgery didn't start with Mark Hofmann after all, :P.

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So there is no doubt about where I stand, I am a Joseph Smith critic. I do not believe he was who he claimed to be, but I'm open to any reasonable explanations for what I see as clear evidence against the validity of Joseph Smith's claims. It would appear this topic is yet another that backs up my point of view. I was not aware of this revelation until reading about it here. I have some observations...

My understanding is that John Taylor's son reported overhearing his father speak with Jesus Christ in receipt of the revelation he penned.

Therefore when Wilford Woodruff was given the manifesto several months later after John Taylor died, the son decided that Pres. Woodruff was the one who had apostatized.

Of course even if he did overhear what he said he did, that would not stop Jesus Christ from making another decision a few months later. (Whether it would have been a Martin Harris permission moment or not.)

Am I understanding this correctly? Are you suggesting that Jesus Christ changed his mind about the practice of polygamy among the LDS between 1886 and 1890?

Fascinating- the first link on this 1886 letter states that John Taylor presumably was talking about Celestial Marriage, NOT plural marriage.

I can agree with that interpretation- the letter is completely open to it anyways.

Then why didn't the church authorities who excommunicated John W. Taylor agree with you? Why did they reject the revelation?

...John Taylor presumably was talking about Celestial Marriage, NOT plural marriage.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't the two terms synonomous during Taylor's time?

I certainly think so. From my POV it wasn't until Utah statehood forced the issue that a separation of the two concepts was even contemplated.

I don't believe that John Taylor, Jr. was excommunicated until post-1904 (while serving in the Twelve). Until that point in time, even Joseph F. Smith only half-heartedly enforced any anti-polygamy policy.

All the more reason to sympathize with Taylor Jr's bitterness at his treatment.

The principles dont change, they are eternal; but our modern application of these principles do change. Thats the rub.

No doubt that flies in TBM circles, but it sounds very much like doublespeak to a critic.

I have had questions as to whether it really is John Taylor's handwriting partially because of the following information. Here is the first page of a letter written by John Taylor, which actually is written in John Taylor's handwriting:

Why question the authenticity? His son was excommunicated over this. He obviously believed it was authentic. Or are you suggesting Taylor Jr. fabricated it? What motive would he have?

From the skeptic's point of view this supports the notion that there never was a revelation either way. God never commanded JS to practice polygamy, therefore God never affirmed its everlasting nature to Taylor, nor did Jesus Christ change his mind when Utah statehood was on the line. It would appear that the evidence being considered here meshes better with that point of view than with the idea that polygamy was indeed commanded by God at a time when it was expedient to deny it publically--throughout the prophet's life; then openly practiced and stressed as a necessary part of exaltation--while D&C 101 (1835-1876) continued to denounce and deny it; and then done away with--notwithstanding the protests of many who understood it to be everlasting in practice; to the point where today the "plural marriage part has changed in application for the time being."

And for what reason was it commanded by God in the first place?

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reading the "revelation" it doesnt mention polygamy, i see no reason to read it in. The Everlasting covenant is still being lived.

Whether it was actually from John Taylor or not does matter, but it's still pretty obvious that it doesnt mention polygamy.

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...

Why question the authenticity? His son was excommunicated over this. He obviously believed it was authentic. Or are you suggesting Taylor Jr. fabricated it? What motive would he have?

...

I dispute it's authenticity because the handwriting does not match in major particulars. Go back up and look carefully at the handwriting of the purported revelation and compare it to the known sample of John Taylor's handwriting I posted. I have given a few examples of differences between the documents. There are a number of other differences in a number of the letters, whereas there are similarities in others. But the usages of his letter m in all forms do not match the document posted above by Kamenraider, and his letter y is quite different, and they are consistent in the known writing samples but do not match the purported revelation.

Then there is the problem of provenance and document format. There are too many problems with it to lend total creedance to it. And, I am not necessarily saying that John Taylor, Jr., forged it, although it is a possibility in order to support his desire and agenda. It is possible that Wolley forged it or someone else. We would have to collect a number of handwriting samples to make proper comparisons.

This notwithstanding, we have a document that does not match the letter style of John Taylor's known handwriting samples in the use of initial letters. The purported revelation is the only one out of a number of known revelations that seems to start with the words "My son John" and it singularly lacks other characteristics of John Taylor's known revelations I have seen to date. As I said, there are numerous problems with it, not just handwriting.

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Celestial plural marriage is the highest state of the New and everlasting covenant. D&C 132 came as result of a sincere question; you find the question in 132:1-4. The Lord didn't reveal the new and everlasting until the right question were asked... So Taylor must refer to the Celestial Plural Marriage.

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Gee whiz, MormonMason -- it seems like you can't tell a genuine revelation from a phony one, except by trying to analyze the handwriting that it was written in.

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