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Post-Manifesto Polygamy


Brackite

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charity:

Baeth_Ku, I am willing to move on.  I will note that you failed to respond to what I thought was an important point:  I generally comment on behavior. I do not comment on qualities of character.  I will continue to limit my comments about individual post-ers to that.  I hope you learn to refrain from denigrating character. It keeps the dialogue on a higher level.

I have moved on.

Good let's move on. I can cope with the fact that you didn't understand my joke and don't care to. I am free to believe that your criticisms of my joke and your unwillingness to address the distinction between humor against apologetics and humor against the church are intended as an implicit comment on me. But we don't have to agree on these things, and that is that.

And, I hope you learn to tone down your preaching, since the board really isn't a forum for you to call people to repentance. In my experience this is equally harmful to the "level of dialogue," as you put it.

Cheers!

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The evidence that Madam Lydia Mamreoff Von Finkelstein Mountford became a plural wife of Wilford Woodruff is "circumstantial", according to historian George Givens. Quite possibly it occurred, but is not proven.

Mike Quinn concluded the same thing in his first controversial article, "LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages, 1890-1904," published in Dialogue, vol. 18, pp. 9-105. Here is the part of the article (on pages 62-65) dealing with Wilford Woodruff and Madame Mountford:

No specific evidence of Wilford Woodruff's direct involvement in new

polygamous marriages emerges again until 1897. In June 1897, the First

Presidency authorized Juarez Stake President Anthony W. Ivins to perform

polygamous ceremonies in Mexico, and in the fall President Woodruff

authorized Anthon H. Lund to perform two plural marriages aboard ship, one

on the Pacific Ocean and one on the Great Lakes.(213) President

Woodruff met with Lund on 1 December 1897, apparently to authorize the

aboard-ship ceremony that Lund would perform exactly one month later en

route to Palestine, and Lund made the following observation: "President

Woodruff took me to one side and spoke to me concerning Mrs. Mountfert. I

was rather astonished." Born in Jerusalem and raised as a Christian,

Madame Lydia Mary von Finkelstein Mountford claimed descent from Ephraim

and Judah, and lectured throughout the United States about Palestine and

evidences for Christ's life. She was baptized in the LDS Church shortly

after her first lectures in Salt Lake City in February 1897.(214)

Circumstantial evidence indicates that Wilford Woodruff married

Madame Mountford as a plural wife in 1897. President Woodruff recorded

attending her lecture on 7 February 1897, the first of ninety references

to her in his diary during the next eighteen months. By April, he was

recording frequent "private" or "personal" talks with her in the First

Presidency's office, and she was a dinner guest at the Woodruff home. She

left Salt Lake City on 28 April to stay in San Francisco. By 8 May 1897,

President Woodruff indicated his increasing interest in the charismatic

forty-nine-year-old woman:

      Bro Nuttall came. I had some talk on private matters with him

    and in some writing I wished to send to San Francisco....

      I went to the office & attended to some personal writing with

    Bro Nuttall....

Nine days later, he recorded a further conversation with his trusted

secretary about "Madam Mountford who is now in California." President

Woodruff's letters to and from her were the only references to

correspondence in his diary for 1897-98. She returned to Salt Lake City

from July to August, when she was a frequent guest at the Woodruff home.

After her return to California, Wilford Woodruff began referring to her as

"M," and asked his secretary to go with him "on the quiet" to the Pacific

coast, waited until the day before his departure to inform his wife Emma

of the trip, and irritated her by declining her request to accompany him

because it was to be "a very quiet trip." On the train from Utah to

Portland, President Woodruff "talked with Bro Nuttall confidentially in

regard to some of my personal affairs," and once the two were on the coast

they not only avoided the usual visits with Mormon officials and

non-Mormon friends, but President Woodruff also noted that they made all

their hotel and travel arrangements under "assumed names." Nuttall

manifested uneasiness about the trip that seemed less and less than merely

"for a change of air and exercise," and while in their Portland hotel

room, he vocally prayed that he would do nothing on the trip to offend

God. In response, President Woodruff "then laid my hands on Bro

Nuttall's head and blessed him for any emergency that may arise and which

may be necessary now or in the future in mine or our behalf."

In view of the abundant references to Madame Mountford's residing in

San Francisco before this trip, there is a deafening silence concerning

her name during the trip, particularly during their stay in that city from

18 to 20 September 1897, when they boarded a steamship for the return trip

to Portland. Their train did not reach Ogden until 25 September 1897,

after which they corresponded several times a week, and she visited

President Woodruff twice before she traveled to Palestine from which she

did not return until after his death. Four years after L. John Nuttall

accompanied President Woodruff on this trip to the Pacific coast, Madame

Mountford wrote him a letter from New York City, to which Nuttall

responded, "I have not forgotten the Ogden & other days with our Mutual

friend."(215)

Although there is no presently available document that records the

sealing ceremony specifically, the evidence seems compelling that L. John

Nuttall performed a polygamous marriage for Wilford Woodruff and Madame

Lydia Mary Mountford aboard ship on the Pacific Ocean on 20 September

1897. That such a marriage has never been acknowledged in the Woodruff

family's published genealogies is no argument against its existence: those

genealogies also fail to mention that he married Eudora Young Dunford as a

plural wife in 1877, even though she bore him a child that died the day of

its birth. Their divorce less than two years after this pre-Manifesto

plural marriage was apparently the reason neither the Woodruff nor Young

family histories acknowledges the marriage, and President Woodruff's

manifesto was greater cause to ignore the polygamous wife the

ninety-year-old Church president married a year before his death. At any

rate, there is documentary evidence of the polygamous ceremony President

Woodruff authorized Apostle Anthon H. Lund to perform "on the Pacific

Ocean" a month later; and at the meeting in December 1897 where President

Woodruff apparently gave final authorization to Lund for the second

aboard-ship ceremony Lund would perform, President Woodruff confided the

"astonishing" news about Madame Mountford. President Woodruff's nephew,

Apostle Matthias F. Cowley, later told the Quorum of Twelve, "I believed

President Woodruff married a wife the year before he died, of course, I

don't know, I can't prove it," and still later, Mormon Fundamentalists

(who had no access to the Lund diary) stated that Madame Mountford

was the plural wife Wilford Woodruff married after 1890.(216)

(Emphasis mine). Here are the footnotes which correspond to the above quote:

213 Stanley S. Ivins, "Facts in regard to the post-Manifesto practice

of polygamy related by my father A. W. Ivins [on 16 September 1934, and

recorded 15 October 1934]," Ivins Papers, Utah State Historical Society,

Salt Lake City, Utah, hereafter USHS; Anthony W. Ivins, Marriage Record,

USHS; Temple Book B.

214 Anthon H. Lund, Diary, 1 Dec. 1897; Lydia Mamreoff Von

Finkelstein Mountford, The Life Sketch of Lydia Mamreoff Von Finkelstein

(Madame Mountford) (New York: By the author, 1908), pp. 13, 17, 21, 32-3;

"Madame Lydia Von F. Mountford," Relief Society Magazine 8 (Feb. 1921):

71-77.

215 Wilford Woodruff, Diary, 7-8, 14 Feb., 5 March, 3-5, 8-9, 13, 16,

22, 24, 26-28 April, 8, 17 May, 14-16, 23, 30 June, 5, 13, 21, 25, 29

July, 1, 3-7, 11-12, 26 Aug., 3-5, 8-25 Sept., 12, 18, 21, 27, 29 Oct., 1,

8, 17, 29 Nov., 6, 17, 29-31 Dec. 1897, 3, 6, 9-11, 13-14 17, 19-20, 26

Jan., 3, 8, 10, 16, 25 Feb., 8, 15, 21, 23 March., 13-14, 18, 25 April,

12, 17 May, 10, 13-14, 22 June, 7, 26 July, 1, 4, 13 Aug. 1898; L. John

Nuttal, Letterbook, 1895-1903, p. 328, to Madam Lydia M. F. Mountford.

There are no copies of President Woodruff's letters to Madame Mountford in

the First Presidency Letterbooks for 1897-98, in the First Presidency

Letterbooks of L. John Nuttall for 1896-1905, and only the one letter

cited in the personal Nuttall letterbook. Also, in 1984 the staff of the

LDS Church Archives, which is processing the Wilford Woodruff papers,

reported that there are no letters of Madame Mountford to him in the

collection. Nuttall's diary for this period is missing from his collection

at BYU, but after 1 April 1897, Nuttall recorded the entries in Woodruff's

diary.

216 For Wilford Woodruff's marriage to Eudora Young Dunford, see

transcriptions of shorthand entries for 10 and 21 March 1877, 25 Feb., 1

April, 25 Nov. 1878 in Wilford Woodruff's Journal: 1833-1898 Typescript,

and in Salt Lake Herald, 3 Feb. 1905. Temple Book B, Sealing Outside the

Temple, LDS Church Archives; Matthias F. Cowley statement in Minutes of

the Quorum of the Twelve, 30 May 1911, Jesse B. Stone Letter of 14 Feb.

1931 in The New Era, No. 1 (May 1931); Charles F. Zitting, A Discussion

Between President Anthony W. Ivins and Charles F. Zitting (Salt Lake City:

N.p., n.d.), p. 4.

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People are people, and this is evidence that some people were really grasping at straws and totally misunderstanding their own personal importance.

None of this proves anything about the truthfulness of the Gospel. It does prove that some men had such passion on this question that they acted passionately and made some errors in judgment in that passion.

I like the points you make.

People are people.

Some prominent men who acted passionately and made errors in judgement about the Manifesto sat in the same office as those whom the LDS currently sustain as prophets, seers and revelators. The current leaders are subject to preaching things that are their passion and they probably feel the Spirit testify to them they are right just as those from the 1890s felt the Spirit testified to them that they were right about polygamy.

Some people make the mistake of seeing things in the present as black and white.

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What seemed rather surprising was that it appears only the wives of those prophets who practiced polygamy are mentioned as significant events and, for all prophets before G. Albert Smith Jr., none of the polygamous wives are mentioned at all.

Um, maybe I'm not looking at the same webpage as you but I couldn't find any mention of wives at all under significant events.

Sorry, it is a bit cumbersome to cut & paste sites for me.

If you click on any of the prohets you'll get a page with a tab called "Significant Events". Let's see if this works for comparison between :

Heber Grant:

http://www.lds.org/churchhistory/president...=7&topic=events

and now, George Alber Smith Jr.:

http://www.lds.org/churchhistory/president...=8&topic=events

Beginning with G. A. Smith, the wives are included. I think HeberGrant was the last prophet to practice polygamy.

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Now that I have spun my wheels on this thread for so long, I would like to return to the first post. Something bothers me about the responses to it. I think Brackite makes an interesting point when he draws our attention to the inconsistencies in the way post-Manifesto polygamy is defended, and the historical actions of the leadership of the LDS Church. If we consider this as a problem without looking for the "gotcha" that some anti-Mormons might find in this, I think we could sharpen our responses to these problems.

It is problematic to treat the Manifesto as revelation in the sense of a revealed commandment because it is clear that the leadership of the Church did not recognize it as a commandment of the Lord binding upon them. The commitment to the Principle was adhered to as long as humanly possible because of their strong belief that the revelation which commanded polygamy was still binding upon them. I think it is fair to say that the results of this quagmire included some inconsistency in the behavior of the leaders of the Church, between what they said publicly, and what they did privately. I think that these inconsistencies, in the light of their strong convictions about the commandment to marry polygamously in order to attain a greater degree of exaltation, are understandable.

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If you click on any of the prohets you'll get a page with a tab called "Significant Events".

And if you click on "Additional Resources" you get a list of publications.

For instance with reference to Pres. John Taylor the website lists:

Roberts, B. H. "The Life of John Taylor, Third President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints".

Now I have this book, originally published in 1892, it was recently reprinted in 2002. My copy dates back to a 1963 reprint. It is also available via GospeLink.com (a Deseret Book website/product).

If you turn to p. 464 you'll find photographs of John Taylor's wives. On p. 465 to 468 you'll find family history information (ie. wives and children). And beginning on page 471 to the end of the book on page 499 you can read "Biographies of the Wives of John Taylor."

So the information is available, you just have to do a few additional clicks or walk up to your bookshelf to look it up. Is that too difficult for some folks here?

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anna wrote:

Certainly on a website there is enough bandwith to make mention of them.

Ya wanna derail a topic? How about this: Bandwidth has nothing to do with how much information can be included on a website. That is a function of the capacity of the website's server, i.e. the size of the hard drive. Bandwidth deals with how much data can be transmitted. :P

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The commitment to the Principle was adhered to as long as humanly possible because of their strong belief that the revelation which commanded polygamy was still binding upon them. . .I think that these inconsistencies, in the light of their strong convictions about the commandment to marry polygamously in order to attain a greater degree of exaltation, are understandable.

May I comment that Jeff Warren also has some strong convictions about the subject?

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Rollo wrote:

It was "unfortunate" because Brother Quinn was excommunicated despite his very strong testimony in Joseph Smith and the Restored Gospel. Should I be "happy" instead?

I take it the answer to my question is no, you were not present at the Disciplinary Council. So, you do not know what the grounds for excommunication were.

Is an excommunication something we should rejoice in? Of course not. But we should recognize it for what it is. A Disciplinary Council is a one of love, not hate, retribution, or revenge. When the person subject to discipline approaches it in the proper spirit, it becomes a blessing to them. They are released from covenants and obligations, and are able to concentrate on re-building their testimony from the ground up. It is always hoped that the offending party will repent and return to full fellowship in the Church.

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Is an excommunication something we should rejoice in? Of course not. But we should recognize it for what it is. A Disciplinary Council is a one of love, not hate, retribution, or revenge. When the person subject to discipline approaches it in the proper spirit, it becomes a blessing to them. They are released from covenants and obligations, and are able to concentrate on re-building their testimony from the ground up. It is always hoped that the offending party will repent and return to full fellowship in the Church.

There's the rub. Michael Quinn never lost his testimony, so it wasn't in need of rebuilding, per se. Do you know what he needed to repent of?

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I take it the answer to my question is no, you were not present at the Disciplinary Council. So, you do not know what the grounds for excommunication were.

I was not there, but Mike Quinn was, and he has written extensively about his disciplinary council and excommunication. He was ex'ed for his writings, specifically his article that appeared in Sunstone (in 1992 or 1993) about the treatment of Mormon historians, like himself. Of course, his other writings (like the one I quoted above) had a cumulative effect as well.

It is always hoped that the offending party will repent and return to full fellowship in the Church.

As Quinn has pointed out before, how can he repent for telling the truth?

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dimbulb wrote:

Do you know what he needed to repent of?

Nope.

dimbulb wrote:

Michael Quinn never lost his testimony, so it wasn't in need of rebuilding, per se.

Again, I was not there, so I do not know the status of Brother Quinn's testimony. But when I read the Bluffdale talk, I questioned whether he was really still a believer. He could be a wolf in sheep's clothing. Again, I don't know.

My point was that excommunication is not intended to be punishment. If the excommunicated member approaches it in the proper spirit, it is a blessing. If they don't, and they rail about it in public, that will only serve to show that the Council's finding that excommunication was appropriate was a correct decision.

Rollo wrote:

I was not there, but Mike Quinn was, and he has written extensively about his disciplinary council and excommunication.

Thank you for making my point. <_<

Rollo wrote:

As Quinn has pointed out before, how can he repent for telling the truth?

He can't. The basis for excommication must have been something he's not sharing with us. Fortunately, the brethren don't publish books to explain why someone was excommunicated. :P

(Say dimbulb, what does the H stand for in the new avatar?)

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It is true that when a person writes or speaks about his/her disciplinary council, we will only have their word for what happened. The Church will never make a statement about the causes. So we only have Mr. Quinn's word for what happened there.

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It is true that when a person writes or speaks about his/her disciplinary council, we will only have their word for what happened. The Church will never make a statement about the causes. So we only have Mr. Quinn's word for what happened there.

That's kind of nice for the church. Apparently, just because a disciplinary council was convened, the person is guilty of an excommunicable offense. And since they don't talk about the charges, they don't have to defend their actions.

Think about that for a moment. Suppose you were tried secretly and the result (say, you are convicted of a first-degree felony) is made public. But the charges are not ever made public. The transcript of the trial is secret, and the court only says that you were found guilty of an unnamed felony. How would you defend yourself? If you tried to explain what happened in the trial, people would say, "why should I take your word for it? I trust the court, so obviously you are guilty of a serious felony."

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There's the rub. Michael Quinn never lost his testimony, so it wasn't in need of rebuilding, per se. Do you know what he needed to repent of?

This whole MQ thing has been chewed and chewed and ...

After all I have heard, read, and soforth, my opinion is:

He has a testimony, but we should ask "of what?"

He was not entirely forthcoming in his discussions of his trial (and no, I was not there either)

His books and other articles speak clearly enough of his apostacy, both personally and doctrinally. :P

HiJolly

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If you click on any of the prohets you'll get a page with a tab called "Significant Events".

And if you click on "Additional Resources" you get a list of publications.

For instance with reference to Pres. John Taylor the website lists:

Roberts, B. H. "The Life of John Taylor, Third President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints".

Now I have this book, originally published in 1892, it was recently reprinted in 2002. My copy dates back to a 1963 reprint. It is also available via GospeLink.com (a Deseret Book website/product).

If you turn to p. 464 you'll find photographs of John Taylor's wives. On p. 465 to 468 you'll find family history information (ie. wives and children). And beginning on page 471 to the end of the book on page 499 you can read "Biographies of the Wives of John Taylor."

So the information is available, you just have to do a few additional clicks or walk up to your bookshelf to look it up. Is that too difficult for some folks here?

Thanks for the info.

Does it have any information as to the dates of marriage for his wives?

How about the wives of the other six prophets who practiced polygamy? Could you find any linkage from this site to that information?

I guess my point is: Why wouldn't the church just include them in their "official" website as they have for the prophets' wives from monagomous marriages? Given the doctrinal significance of these plural marriages, why would the church be embarrassed to disclose such information as they have for monagomous marriages.

Seems like it would be so much more convenient to have the information right there on the same page as they do for monagamous marriages. I just couldn't think of a logical reason for not including this information so I concluded in the absence of it, right or wrong, perhaps the church is still a little embarrassed or ashamed of this part of these prophets lives.

I am sure these polygamous wives made just a significant contribution to the lives of these prophets as the monagamous wives. Why not hold them in the same light?

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Think about that for a moment. Suppose you were tried secretly and the result (say, you are convicted of a first-degree felony) is made public. But the charges are not ever made public. The transcript of the trial is secret, and the court only says that you were found guilty of an unnamed felony. How would you defend yourself? If you tried to explain what happened in the trial, people would say, "why should I take your word for it? I trust the court, so obviously you are guilty of a serious felony."
(emphasis mine)

But don't you see? To whom are you thinking of defending yourself? WHY? I think you need to think for more than just a moment.

HiJolly

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Is an excommunication something we should rejoice in? Of course not. But we should recognize it for what it is. A Disciplinary Council is a one of love, not hate, retribution, or revenge. When the person subject to discipline approaches it in the proper spirit, it becomes a blessing to them. They are released from covenants and obligations, and are able to concentrate on re-building their testimony from the ground up. It is always hoped that the offending party will repent and return to full fellowship in the Church.

There's the rub. Michael Quinn never lost his testimony, so it wasn't in need of rebuilding, per se. Do you know what he needed to repent of?

Well now, there is the inconvenient little fact that he is (and was at the time) a very active, practicing homosexual.

And that, despite his best (or worst) efforts to prove the contrary, the Church has always regarded homosexual acts as grievous sexual sins.

Of course you may not think that is anything to repent of; certainly Quinn doesn't; but the Church does.

Regards,

Pahoran

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But don't you see? To whom are you thinking of defending yourself? WHY? I think you need to think for more than just a moment.

You're right. I don't need to defend myself, but I certainly would want to clear my name publicly if I were unjustly accused and convicted. Imagine the gossip, the shunning, the way your spouse and children would be treated in the community.

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Well now, there is the inconvenient little fact that he is (and was at the time) a very active, practicing homosexual.

I don't believe he was a practicing homosexual at that time. My understanding is that he "came out" later.

Either way, do not put words in my mouth about the nature of sin.

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dimbulb wrote:

Apparently, just because a disciplinary council was convened, the person is guilty of an excommunicable offense.

Nope. I have been the subject of three separate Disciplinary Councils and was excommunicated only once. So, just because the Council is convened means nothing.

dimbulb wrote:

Think about that for a moment. Suppose you were tried secretly and the result (say, you are convicted of a first-degree felony) is made public. But the charges are not ever made public. The transcript of the trial is secret, and the court only says that you were found guilty of an unnamed felony. How would you defend yourself? If you tried to explain what happened in the trial, people would say, "why should I take your word for it? I trust the court, so obviously you are guilty of a serious felony."

This analogy doesn't work. You are comparing apples and oranges. The primary goals of the criminal justice system are punishment and protection of society. The primary goal of a Disciplinary Council is to help the member.

In addiition, criminal defendants are guaranteed a public trial by the Constitution. Last time I looked, the Constitution was not the standard for conducting the Lord's affairs in His Church. :P

dimbulb wrote (and I'm repeating myself here);

How would you defend yourself?

You defend yourself before the Council where you are advised of the "charges" and evidence. We don't try cases in the press. <_<

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