The 1890 Manifesto was issued saying the LDS Church no longer practiced polygamy. However, it was practiced secretly. LDS Apostle Reed Smoot was named a US Senator from Utah in 1902, causing Congress to investigate whether the LDS Church had continued to practice polygamy. Lindsay Hansen Park, host of the Year of Polygamy podcast, will give us more details into early 20th century practices and we will talk more about the apostle/senator Reed Smoot.
Lindsay: Reed Smoot was a Mormon senator, of course, because he was the representative from Utah.
GT: He was an apostle also.
Lindsay: He was an apostle, and he was basically the scapegoat. He took a lot of heat for Mormon polygamy, because he’s over in Washington D.C., just trying to do what he does.
GT: Reed Smoot was elected as Utah senator. Even though Reed was an apostle, he was also a monogamist. But Congress refused to seat him. So we have these Reed Smoot hearings that lasted for like two years.
Lindsay: Yeah, In the Reed Smoot hearings–so basically, he is brought in front of the government. They ask him all kinds of questions. They ask him all kinds of questions about Mormonism, Mormon theology. Actually, if you read the transcripts, it’s fascinating look at Mormon theology.
GT: They go through the temple ceremony as well. It’s in the Congressional Record.
Lindsay: They do and they asked him all kinds of questions about polygamy. He is forced to answer. I think he answers dishonestly, sometimes, but again, you’re looking at this idea of, we have…
GT: But it’s not just Reed because they pulled in the prophet who by then I’m not sure. Was that…
Lindsay: So Joseph F. Smith was forced to [testify.]
Lindsay: This is still at the time when we’re not sure if Mormons are allowed to vote, or if they are even considered citizens of the United States, or if they have the rights of United States citizens. So when Reed Smoot is elected, it’s about a four year struggle where people are saying, “Does he even get to do this? Is he even legitimate? Does he need to be here?”
One of the things that they focused on in his hearings were Mormon oaths. We talked about the temple ceremony earlier, but there were oaths in the temple, [such as] the oath of vengeance that fundamentalists still adhere to. Basically [they] have to promise that they would avenge the murder of Joseph Smith, until the third and fourth generation. After Joseph Smith was killed, this was added into the temple, where there was this oath that you would take where you would avenge the deaths of the Prophet from those who had murdered him. [This] is you know why Mountain Meadows Massacre and all these other things are justified under these oaths that ends justify the means and we can do anything outsiders. So the federal government was like, “Why are we going to let Mormons in when we’ve heard for years about these oaths. You want to kill us.” What should we do? Polygamy becomes the battering ram for that. So they’re in this conflict.
Joseph F. Smith is the prophet now at the time. He encourages Reed Smoot in these hearings. This is why I brought up Joseph F. Smith because the important thing that you have to understand is Joseph Smith, III is Joseph Smith, Jr.’s son. Emma Smith rejects polygamy. Her church stays in Nauvoo, the RLDS [Church]. She believes her son, Joseph, III, has the most credentials to take on the church. There’s a good argument for that case. So she backs him. All the saints come West who are practicing polygamy in the Brighamite tradition. You have Joseph F. Smith and his cousin, Joseph Smith, III. Hyrum’s son [leads the LDS Church], Joseph’s son [leads the RLDS Church.] They have about a 20-year battle and I have an episode where we talk about this because I think it’s fascinating. We call it Dueling Cousins, where Joseph III is really trying to understand why people would call his father a polygamist. His mother is denying it. He doesn’t understand. He just wants to know the truth. By most accounts, all accounts, he’s a good guy. He’s an honest guy. He’s just trying to understand.
Since the 1890 Manifesto didn’t totally end polygamy, the LDS Church issued a 2nd Manifesto. It turns out that still didn’t end the secret practice either. Lindsay Hansen Park, host of Year of Polygamy podcast, will tell us more about things that happened between 1904-1925 and beyond.
Lindsay: Joseph F. Smith issued marriages after the Manifesto. So we know it’s not a doctrine.
GT: After the 1904 Manifesto? Is that what you’re talking about? Or after the 1890 Manifesto?
Lindsay: As far as I can tell, Joseph F. Smith turned a blind eye. I don’t know, and maybe Mike Quinn’s book will talk about if Joseph F. Smith actually solemnized marriages himself, but certainly after 1890 these guys were doing it, and definitely up until 1925 the apostles were doing it.
GT: Up until 1925, because I know that it was 1904, following the Reed Smoot hearings where Matthias Cowley and John W. Taylor, one of them, I think, got disfellowshipped, the other one got excommunicated, right?
GT: I know that David O. McKay was called in 1904 as a replacement for one of those two.
Lindsay: This is what I’m talking about. Yeah, so you have a lot of modern LDS leaders who are now replacements as a reaction to this. This is why I’m saying polygamy is everywhere because even the guys that shaped the modern Mormon church are there filling the spot of a polygamist that got booted.
Lindsay: That’s an important thing, too. Even up into the 1940s, you have Amy Brown Lyman, she was the Relief Society president, Amy Brown Lyman, she’s amazing. Her husband was an apostle for the church, Richard Lyman. One morning. It’s a sad, sad day in Kimball’s diary. He writes about this.
GT: This is the 1940s, right?
GT: We’ve jumped up to the 1940s.
Lindsay: Yeah, we’ll go back, but the apostles burst into Lyman’s bedroom, and they’re he’s lying in bed with someone that’s not Amy Brown Lyman. It’s a spiritual plural wife that he was fellowshipping 20 years earlier, and had kept her as a plural wife for 20 years. Some would call her a mistress. That’s how Amy Brown Lyman saw it.
Were you aware of the Reed Smoot Hearings? Did you know the temple ceremonies are in the Congressional Record? Were you familiar with the 2nd and 3rd manifestos?
Well, she got the oath of vengeance wrong or she was talking about how some people chose to understand it, rather than the oath itself which was: “You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will pray and never cease to pray to Almighty God to avenge the blood of the prophets upon this nation, and that you will teach the same to your children and to your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.”
Promising to pray that God [not you] would take vengeance on the nation [not individual citizens] and to teach descendants to pray for the same is a far cry from promising to “avenge the murder of Joseph Smith, until the third and fourth generation” or that “you would avenge the deaths [sic] of the Prophet from those who had murdered him.”
I understand the oath of vengeance came out of the endowment ritual in the 1930s. I’m glad my grandparents didn’t bother to take that teaching to pray for vengeance stuff seriously.
I am familiar with the Second Manifesto. I had not heard until now of any Third Manifesto. Maybe I’m being dense, but I read Rick B’s post rather carefully, and did not see a reference to anything that I could construe as a Third Manifesto. Could someone please elaborate?
JR, your grandparents probably WERE the 3rd and 4th generation from the martyrdom of Joseph.
I’m familiar with the 2nd Manifesto, but not the 3rd, or that JFS sealed plural marriages after 1904. I believe that if Reed Smoot had not run for Senate, the Brighamites would still accept polygamists.
We talk about the 3rd Manifesto in the video above (Just click on the video in the post and you can watch the 20 min video.) It was in 1925, and is what really precipitated the split with Fundamentalists. In our next episodes, we will talk more about the FLDS Church, which became the largest polygamist group. It really traces its roots to the 3rd Manifesto.
Other Clark, yes, they were, but they also went to the temple when their covenants included that oath. 3rd and 4th generation from the martyrdom is irrelevant to the covenant.
The best, book-length account of post-manifesto polygamy and the Smoot hearings is Kathleen Flake’s “The Politics of American Religious Identity.” It belongs on the bookshelf of every student of Mormon history. Joseph F. Smith, in my opinion, was the most transformative church president of the 20th century.
Eric, thanks for the recommendation! –although my current backlog of reading material already stretches way beyond the available time…
Well, I just finished listening to the entire interview with Lindsay Hansen Park, and the phrase “Third Manifesto” was not once mentioned in it. Why? And why say that this Third Manifesto is covered in the podcast? And why refer to the existence of a so-called Third Manifesto and not provide any supporting data? There were a couple of references to 1925 as being a sort of watershed moment in the history of post-Manifesto polygamy when people who supported polygamy took the road to fundamentalism,, but absolutely nothing specific was provided to support the assertion, and no amplifying information was given. There was an assertion that attempts are being made to gather information about the evolution of post-Manifesto polygamy, but I didn’t hear much beyond that.
I do appreciate the point about the Q12 as becoming gradually more hostile to polygamy, as more monogamists entered the quorum.
I am not particularly expert about post-1890 polygamy, but do have some knowledge about it, and this interview strikes me as being “pretty thin gruel,” both on the part of Rick B and Park. I am aware of Kathleen Flake’s outstanding academic reputation, and of Michael Quinn’s remarkable abilities to unearth inconvenient facts; I look forward to reading what they have contributed.
JR: thank you for pointing out the difference between what the oath actually said, and what was claimed about it in the post. Far cry, indeed!
I think some pretty sloppy wording has taken place In this post, and that makes me leery of accepting at face value the claims made in the podcast. There was considerable difficulty in getting dates straight.
Wish I could remember the who, where, and when, but when I was a graduate student at BYU, some kind soul warned me that when reading anything about the Mormon Church, whether pro or con, to always check the footnotes thoroughly, because there was not only a lot of biased writing (some of the worst from pro-Church authors), but a lot of poor academic work, and one needed to see the source being cited. Not all that is written or said is valid, and there are an awful lot of axes to grind, whether on behalf of the Church or against it.
Good advice that has served me well, and to survive many a Priesthood hour in Church.
These interviews are informal in nature. It is impossible to footnote while speaking. You are welcome to read anything you would like to prove or disprove Lindsay’s statements. I don’t guarantee dates are always correct. This isn’t a peer reviewed presentation and she did it without any notes. But the major themes are correct.
I suggest you start with Brian Hales 3 volumes on polygamy, but in sure you won’t digest that in 20 minutes. But knock yourself out. Then you are welcome to refute anything Lindsay said or Brian wrote.
Thank you, Rick B, for the suggestion about Brian Hales’ writings on polygamy. I will see if Benchmark Books has them, once it again opens up.
I did not attempt to “refute” what was written by you or what was said by Lindsay Hansen Park. I was merely pointing out what made me leery of accepting at face value what had been presented. Reluctance to accept something on another’s say so alone does not constitute a refutation, for goodness’ sake. Of all the MANY controversial topics in Mormonism, polygamy is by far the most controversial, and the numerous books and articles and speeches on it very in quality from outstanding and well-reasoned to salacious and dismal. Caution is always in order, as illustrated by JR’s valuable comment about the actual wording of the oath.
Perhaps the themes that Lindsay Hansen Park was putting forth would have been better served, HAD she relied on notes and given more data. To equate asking for more supporting data in a presentation to a demand for peer review makes me think that I struck a nerve. I’ll be a bit pompous here and refer to Joseph Smith’s famous quote that by proving contraries, truth is made manifest. I really believe that statement.
I will again repeat the benefits I reaped from Park’s presentation: the idea of a gradual movement from unity in the Q12 favoring polygamy, to disunity in the Quorum, and increasing hostility against “The Principle,” being motivated in part by the increasingly monogamist nature of the Q12, and a general sense in Mormonism that polygamy had become passé. The podcast was worthwhile, and I am glad I listened to it.
I still would genuinely like to know about this Third Manifesto. I was hoping that you would share. Was it a statement, or a decision made by the Q12, or a speech that someone in authority gave? My computer skills are admittedly poor, but my search of Third Manifesto did not turn up anything Church-related.
I follow Wheat and Tares because of the different ideas that are presented, even when I don’t always agree with what is written. I love discussion of these topics.
One last word: For the last 45 years, I have been a Defense Department analyst. Everything I do is subjected to peer review, except we call it quality check, or QC. I am just about the most senior analyst in my field, but my work is always improved by the oversight of others. I spend most of my time reviewing the work of others and subjecting it to the same process. I have occasionally met people who objected to the process, and their work has almost always had the most error.
I don’t think I have had a single guest that someone didn’t agree with at least 1 thing they said. Some ask nicely for proof. Some demand answers. If I am defensive, it is likely due to me constantly having to defend my guests (even guests with whom I may disagree.) I will add that Lindsay has been a much greater lightning rod than I anticipated. I was quite surprised at some of the mean attacks on her character mostly by orthodox, but even by critics of the church. I know she has shared with me (most not on this podcast, although she did share a little) some of the vitriol she has experienced. It’s not nice and not fair, and I will always be defensive of my guests (whether they are right or wrong about certain issues). It’s tough being in the middle because you get attacked by both sides. (Note, I get attacked more on Facebook and YouTube than W&T.) I wish I could always react perfectly, but I am not perfect, and not sure if it is even possible to respond to all the attacks perfectly. I could do better though.
This will likely not hold up to your scrutiny, but Anne Wilde mentioned the 3rd Manifesto as well. I don’t have time to look up other sources, and next week Lindsay & I will cover that the FLDS and AUB basically came about in the 1930s as a response to the church coming down hard on polygamists. Here’s the “unsourced” interview from Anne Wilde: https://gospeltangents.com/2017/10/31/third-manifesto-causes-schism-apostolic-united-brethren/
Anne shares more about the AUB, while Lindsay focuses more on FLDS.
By the way, benchmark will ship to any address. If the total is over a certain dollar amount, they might ship for free. Hales 3 volumes are available for free shipping if you are an Amazon prime member. See https://www.amazon.com/s?k=brian+hales+polygamy&sprefix=Brian+Hales&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_11
Thank you, Rick B. I will check the url you provided for Anne Wilde and her interview. I appreciate it. As I said, I am genuinely interested. The Church thankfully seems to have moved beyond both defending polygamy to the bitter end and Short Creek-type persecutions, but it has been …. a ….. painfully …… slow ….. process.
As to your being attacked on both FB and YouTube: I am very sorry for that. In addition to the general decline in civility that plagues us generally, there is something about the Mormon Church that causes some defenders and critics to foam at the mouth. I have walked into Priesthood meetings where the slightest uncorrelated comment will unleash the orthodox piranhas who think they are helping the Church. Conversely, 44 years later, I still remember an Evangelical “Christian” who started screaming at me in a crowded bowling alley on an Air Force Base, when he learned that I was Mormon.
Up with intellectual and spiritual inquiry! They intersect more often than we imagine, and I am grateful for your contributions.
Well, just listened to Anne Wilde, and even though she was perhaps a bit “unsourced,” as you called it, I subjectively felt her comments had the ring of plausibility. She stated that this Third Manifesto took place in 1933, and also stated that 1933 was the year that the mainstream Church under HJG really started cracking down on public contracting of polygamous marriages . So I COULD infer that the term Third Manifesto is used by some people to refer to this tougher line—whether it was a written statement, a letter sent to local Church leaders, or a verbal directive that was not officially recorded. After all, the term Second Manifesto, while commonly used, was not actually labeled as such.
But then. as I listened, I also thought that what Anne Wilde said, COULD perhaps be construed as a Third Manifesto being issued by Musser and his fellow believers, in defense of continuing polygamy, in face of the crackdown, and leading to the formal startup of the AUB and FLDS
But I think that my first reaction about HJG is more likely, although I know so little about this subject that I will welcome any correction. Hopefully more information will become available.
Thanks for your help.
I asked Brian Hales about this 3rd Manifesto. He quoted from his book, but I don’t know what page. Apparently this 3rd Manfesto was June 1933.
“Church leaders battled the efforts of the budding fundamentalists throughout the 1920s. President Heber J. Grant issued stern warnings denouncing their teachings and practices in 1925, 1926, and 1931. Finally in June 1933, the First Presidency comprised of Heber J. Grant, Anthony W. Ivins and J. Reuben Clark, Jr., issued an “Official Statement,” which was published in the The Deseret News, Church Section. It has been called the “Final Manifesto” and was penned by Second Counselor Clark. It warned “that polygamous or plural marriages are not and cannot now be performed” and was written “in order that there may be no excuse for any Church member to be misled by the false representations or the corrupt, adulterous practices of the members of this secret, and (by reputation) oath-bound organization.”