History of the Word of Wisdom, Jan 4, 1898

-- Jan 4, 1898
[Apostle Heber J. Grant Diary] President Lorenzo Snow . . . There are two things required of us as apostles, a perfect union among ourselves, and a perfect union with the First Presidency. If this [is brought about, may not need to die but be translated] He referred to the advanced age of Pres[iden]t Wilford Woodruff, and the fact that his first counselor Bro[ther] Geo[rge] Q. Cannon was doing some things that we could not approve of. This makes no difference as it is our duty to sustain him. The loss of $100,000 more or less is as nothing in comparison with our failing to sustain the First Presidency. Disunion in our midst would be sweet morsel for our enemies. It is the right of the twelve apostles to make known to the Presidency their suggestions on any matter of importance where the interest of the Church is at stake and in some cases it is our duty to express our feelings. After we have expressed our feelings it is then our duty to sustain the Presidency in their plans a
lthough they may be in opposition to our own feelings. After a free expression of our feelings we should sustain them, hit or miss, live or die. The Lord does not always select religious men to do His work, but he selects men of strong will and determination. I feel it in my bones that all will be well if we will be true to one other and sustain the First Presidency. Heber J. Grant . . . Expressed himself freely on the question of asking the Presidency to share their financial burdens with the apostles. Did not feel that it was right for men like Frank J. Cannon to be selected to represent the Church. Felt it was an outrage that Frank was used as he was and also that the Church's official paper should be edited by John Q. Cannon I expressed it as my opinion that we should ask the Presidency in a respectful manner for a knowledge of the affairs of the Church, and protest against such men as Frank Cannon being employed, and then if the Presidency did not wish to make any chang
es or to trust us with the business of the Church I was in for sustaining the Presidency. I explained that there was no malice in my heart and that I did not want to injure any man, but neither did I want any man to have the honor of the Church intrusted to him that was not worthy. I felt to say with reference to the Presidency. "Even though they slay me, yet will I trust in them." . . . George Teasdale stated that he had no desire to interfere with anything which did not concern him, and he would just as soon not know anything of the financial affairs of the Church unless it was his duty to know, and unless he was asked for advice he had no desire to try to give any. . . . John Henry Smith . . . We have all kinds of men in the presiding priesthood in the Church. We have the extremely spiritual and the extremely temporal. Some frank and open and some who are not frank. I desire in all of my conversations with my brethren to be perfectly free and frank. The Lord has been very
good indeed to Pres[iden]t Woodruff and I look upon him as a marvel and I feel to acknowledge the blessings of the Lord in preserving his life to such a good old age. As his first counselor we have one of the most gifted of men, perhaps no man among us who is as gifted as he is. He is a writer, a diplomat, and an author. The other counselor is a plain blunt man and is lacking in cunning and the ability to shape things to suit his opinions. I feel that there is one man in the Presidency and he is not the man at the lead who is at present dominating the affairs of the Church. If left to himself the question is would Prest. Woodruff have consented to have borrowed a million and a half for the Ogden Power Plant. Would he of his own accord have borrowed the money with which to build Saltair, and would he have spent several hundreds thousand dollars in a mine in Nevada. We all know that he would not have done these things. I fear that the great burdens which are now on Prest. Can
non are such that he has become desperate and he is plunging, so to speak It is my belief that the life of Prest. Woodruff can be prolonged if a part of the financial load that he is now carrying can be shifted to the shoulders of the apostles. He loved all of the members of the First Presidency and while he did not approve of all of the transactions of Pres[iden]t Cannon he would not do a thing to humiliate him, but he would like to see more confidence exhibited in the apostles by Prest. Cannon. He felt that as the lead would fall on the shoulders of the apostles in the event of the death of Pres[iden]t Woodruff that is no more than right that we should be consulted in all of the business affairs of the Church where they were of importance. Brigham Young . . . Felt outraged in his feeling to have a drunkard representing the Church as its agent in the east. I believe that it is the duty of the twelve apostles to ask the Presidency to correct these mistakes. Pres[iden]t Woodr
uff in his feeble condition and advanced age is depending entirely on Pres[iden]t Cannon to direct in all of these matters, and if the Pres[iden]t were to pass away we would humiliate Pres[iden]t Cannon into the dust by demanding that things be changed and he felt that the proper thing was to have the Presidency change the present men, and not put a change off until the death of Pres[iden]t Woodruff. . . . The mining business in Nevada, Saltair, Ogden Power Co. were all private enterprises to start with as I understand the matter, and when they did not prove successful I understand the Church's credit has been used to carry them, if the Church has not made a purchase of these properties. Never in my life have I felt to pray more earnestly for the Presidency of the Church than I do today. I am inclined to think that the best thing would be for Pres[iden]t Woodruff to appoint some one to act as Trustee in Trust and thus relieve himself entirely from all business matters. Frank
lin D. Richards appreciated the opportunities we have of meeting together once a quarter. I feel that we are near to the Lord here. There is a condition confronting us, and it is here, and while it is unpleasant to talk on such matters I feel that it is our duty to do so. The brethren who have spoken have clearly stated the condition of our affairs. You will all recall, brethren, that the contract with Mr. Clarkson to build a railroad to the Coast was brought before us, and we did not feel to approve of the Church going into debt to such a large amount, and Pres[iden]t Cannon was annoyed at our not being willing to approve of his scheme, and this may be one reason he does not care to bring matters to our attention, as he fears we will not approve of them. There is today a wonderful lack among the people in the faith which they should have in the financial wisdom of the Church at the present time, and we should not lose sight of this fact. I feel that nearly every step that i
s being taken in a financial way is impairing the faith of the people and that is placing us in a false light, as we stand between the Presidency and the people, and the people expect us to know a put these things. There is a feeling of apprehension and the leading financial men in the church are beginning to lose confidence. I have no faith that it will assist matters to relieve Pres[iden]t Woodruff as Trustee in Trust, I feel that we must be united and stand by the Presidency and uphold Pres[iden]t Woodruff in his position as Trustee as it is his right to occupy that position, and I fear that it would weaken us if any change were to be made in the direction of making a new Trustee in Trust for the Church. Regarding Frank J. Cannon I wish to say that as he is a United States Senator that he is looked upon by men in the world as a wonderful man, and that it may be in the providences of the Lord that he can do more for the Church financially than any one of us can do. I feel
like being one with you my brethren in all things, and I could like to see our business matters changed around so that we could make a report of our affairs to the people, and not have everything in the card as it now is, that is so far as the saints knowing anything of our aff
airs. In days gone by there were reports made to the saints and these were appreciated and it was calculated to inspire confidence. Today many men will not pay their tithings because they feel that the money is not used in the proper way. I have prayed that Pres[iden]t Woodruff might live to see the debts of the Church all paid. Grant I am confident that there is not one man in the quorum of the apostles, but what would do anything on earth that was in his power for Pres[iden]t Cannon, and yet there is a lack of confidence in our hearts because of his failure to be perfectly free and frank in talking with us. He seems to lack confidence in us, and I suppose that is one of the main reasons that we have not the most perfect confidence in him. I well remember the time we had at the death of Pres[iden]t Taylor and the part I took in the troubles with Pres[iden]t Cannon and with all my heart I hope and pray that I may not be guilty of accusing my brother again as I did at that tim
e, but that in all of the talks about or with Pres[iden]t Cannon that I may have the spirit of the Lord to direct me, and I want to be in perfect union and harmony with the Pres[iden]t of the apostles and all of hy quorum and then I feel that I will be perfectly safe . . . and that there will be no danger of my getting into the dark as there was when we had so much trouble after the death of Pres[iden]t Taylor. John W. Taylor wanted to be directed by the Spirit of the Lord in my talk today or I do not want to talk. Felt that we should find out just what was our duty in reference to the financial affairs of the Church, and then do it. (1)

-- Thursday, May 5, 1898
[Apostle John Henry Smith Diary] Salt Lake City

It is quite pleasant today. I went out to Beck's hot springs and took a bath.

All of the Presidency and Lorenzo Snow, Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, myself, Geo. Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, Matthias F. Cowley, and Abraham O. Woodruff met in Council at Temple.

We talked over the question of admitting people who do drink tea and Coffee to the Temple.... (2)

1 - Diary Excerpts of Heber J. Grant, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies
2 - Jean Bickmore White (editor), Church, State, and Politics: The Diaries of John Henry Smith, Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, 1990, http://bit.ly/johnhenrysmith

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