-- Oct 6, 1890
[Apostle Marriner W. Merrill Diary] Monday. Conference convened at 10 a. m. Singing. Prayer by President A. O. Smoot. Singing, after which President George Q. Cannon presented the Authorities of the Church, who were unanimously sustained. Bishop Orson F. Whitney then read the Articles of Faith, when they were adopted by the Conference by vote. Then President Woodruff's late Manifesto regarding the cessation of plural marriages in the Church was read, and on motion of Apostle Lorenzo Snow President Woodruff was declared by the Conference as the only man in the Church holding the keys of the sealing power; hence has the right to issue or put forth such Manifesto to the people, and it was carried by a weak vote, but seemingly unanimous; after which President George Q. Cannon spoke on the plural relations for 30 minutes. Then President Woodruff spoke on the necessity of his issuing such Manifesto and said it was the impression of the Spirit of the Lord to him. Conference adjourned until 2 p. m. ... (1)
-- 1890, October 6
"Manifesto" accepted in General Conference. (2)
-- Oct 6, 1890
The Presidency in the office.
Before the morning s meeting the Presidency prepared the motion endorsing the President s Manifesto, for presentation to the Conference.
[An account of the presentation of the Manifesto follows.]
The vote to sustain the foregoing was unanimous.
Between the meetings the Presidency met with Elders A[lexander]. F. McDonald, Elders F[ranklin]. D. Richards, F[rancis]. M. Lyman and G[eorge]. Reynolds being also present, at which it was decided to stop, for the time being, the performance of plural marriages in Mexico.
It is indeed wonderful how the people are so unanimous on this great question of suspending the institution of plural or Patriarchal marriage.
It is a melting testimony to Pres[iden]t W[ilford]. W[oodruff]. of the implicit confidence the people have in him & his administration. The Holy spirit bears indubitable testimony.
There was a large attendance this morning at the Tabernacle, the Saints having been invited to come, as there might be important business presented.
The General Authorities were present and sustained.
We then called upon Bishop O[rson]. F. Whitney to read the Articles of Faith to the congregation.
Brother F[ranklin]. D. Richards moved that they be accepted by us as our Articles of Faith, which motion was carried unanimously.
Then Brother Whitney read the Manifesto, and Brother Lorenzo Snow presented the following motion, which had been prepared before hand for him. "I move that, recognizing Wilford Woodruff as the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the only man on the earth at the present time, who holds the keys of the sealing ordinances, we consider him fully authorized by virtue of the position to issue the manifesto which has been read in our hearing and which is dated September 24, 1890, and that as a Church in general Conference assembled, we accept his declaration concerning plural marriages as authoritative and binding."
This motion was also unanimously carried.
After this President Woodruff desired me to speak. He had spoken of this two or three times, and I had suggested that he should speak, but he did not seem to have the spirit of talking, and I felt to shrink very much from it. It was, in our minds, and exceedingly delicate subject, and I think I never was called upon to do a thing that seemed more difficult than this. There was nothing in my mind that seemed clear to me to say upon this subject, and I arose with my minds a blank. I felt that whatever was said must be dictated by the Spirit of the Lord. I did get great freedom and spoke with ease, and all fear was taken away, and I think that everyone felt free after the subject was fairly entered upon, and President Woodruff followed with great freedom. He told me afterwards that a great weight had been lifted from him by the acceptance by the conference of his manifesto. I had not entertained any doubts about this, but I felt timid concerning the remarks that would be made. This whole subject has been one about which we have all been greatly exercised. I am not able to tell my thoughts concerning our action. I know, however, that it is right. It is clear to me that this step taken by President Woodruff is a correct one. I have bee such an advocate of the doctrine, and have had to defend it so much, that I had hoped that we would be able to maintain it, despite the opposition of the whole nation to it. But I have a testimony from the Lord that our sacrifices in regard to this and our firmness up to the present time in resisting every attempt to extort from us the promise to stop the practice are accepted of the Lord, and He virtually says to us, "It is enough," and we leave the case in His hands.
We have had meetings respecting the best way to deal with this, and there has been quite a variety of views among the Twelve concerning the manner in which it should be treated. At our meeting last Thursday the question was up, and I said to President Woodruff when he pressed me for my views, that I had listened to all the brethren had said, and there were many things which they had presented that I could approve of, but my mind was not clear as to the best method for us to adopt in relation to it. Some were in favor of reading the Manifesto to the Conference; others were not, and there seemed to be quite a variety of views. We held a meeting on Saturday afternoon, after the afternoon meeting, and we seemed to be more united then. At my suggestion, the whole matter was left with President Woodruff, for him to decide what should be done. Today s proceedings are the result of his decision, after counseling with his Counselors upon the subject.
The Spirit of the Lord was powerfully poured out, and I think every faithful Latter-day Saint must have had a testimony from the Lord that He was in the movement, and that it was done with His approval.
Then Pres[iden]t. [Wilford] Woodruff late Manifesto regardeing the Ceaceation [cessation] of Plural Mariages in the Church was read and on Motion of Apostle Lorenzo Snow Prest. Woodruff was declared by the Conference as the Onely Man in the Church Hodleing the Keys of the Sealing Power hence has the right to Issue or put fourth Such Manifesto to the people and it was carried by a Weak Vote, but seemeingly unanimous. (3)
1 - Notes from the Miscellaneous Record Book, 1886-1906: Selected diary notes from the journal books of Marriner Wood Merrill, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies
2 - Ludlow, Daniel H. editor, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Macmillan Publishing, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 4, Appendix 2: A Chronology of Church History, http://amzn.to/eG0DIp
3 - First Presidency Office Journal; Franklin D. Richards, Diary; George Q. Cannon, Diary; Marriner Wood Merrill, Diary
LDS History Chronology: Lorenzo Snow
Mormon History Timeline: the life of Lorenzo Snow
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