-- Oct 1, 1896
Meeting of the Presidency and Apostles at the Temple at 11 A.M. Present: Presidents W[ilford]. Woodruff, G[eorge]. Q. Cannon, J[oseph]. F. Smith, and L[orenzo]. Snow; Elders F[ranklin]. D. Richards, B[righam]. Young [Jr.], F[rancis]. M. Lyman, J[ohn]. H[enry]. Smith, G[eorge]. Teasdale, H[eber]. J. Grant, J[ohn]. W. Taylor, M[arriner]. W[ood]. Merrill and A[nthon]. H. Lund. Elder F[ranklin]. D. Richards, by request of President Snow, reported that the Apostles had been considering the labors of the missionaries, about 1200 Elders being in the field. They were expected to purchase out of their own funds tracts for distribution among the people. It was the opinion of the Apostles that the Church should supply printed matter for distribution.
Elder A[nthon]. H. Lund said the custom among the missionaries in Europe was for them to buy their own tracts; this being quite a hardship, he had told those who were not financially able to buy them, that they might use church funds for the purpose. As a rule, however, they did not avail themselves of the privilege. There were about 600,000 tracts distributed in England every year alone.
In Norway and Sweden the Elders sold their tracts; in Denmark they were prohibited from doing this without a bookseller's license; therefore they had to give them away. In Germany the Elders were forbidden by law to give tracts, and therefore they sought conversations with the people. Brother Lund thought the Church should provide suitable tracts for distribution by the missionaries. Concerning the Elders laboring without purse or scrip, he said it was practicable in some places but not in others. In the British mission the Elders had to sustain themselves, and it was a common thing for them to help the people, instead of receiving sustenance from them. In this respect times had changed very much. Some experienced Elders who had performed previous missions to Scandinavia without purse or scrip, and endeavored to do so on their new missions, had found it impossible to accomplish it. In Denmark the law forbids the citizens to lodge strangers without a license. In Holland and Belgium the Elders got along fairly well with but little expenditures of means. In Germany in places where there were but few Elders they could get along without purse or scrip, but as a general thing it was found they could not do so. Of course they might if their faith was strong enough, but to accomplish it they would no doubt suffer a great deal. Some of the Elders in Europe who had means had been in the habit of leaving a shilling under the plate after eating a meal in the houses of poor Saints. The result was that those Elders who could afford to do this were welcomed, while others not able to do so, were not as welcome. Brother Lund therefore had counseled the brethren to cease this practice.
President Geo[rge]. Q. Cannon expressed his pleasure that the Apostles were considering the subject of missionary work. He regretted that there was not sufficient care taken to provide labor and shelter for the Saints who were brought here from abroad. The cost of sending out 1200 missionaries was very great, and he feared that in consequence of neglect and lack of employment, many of the people brought here by their labors became disaffected and some apostatized. He felt that this ought to be corrected; an organization ought to be effected to look after the welfare of the emigrants. This was one thing that should occupy the time and attention of the Presiding Bishopric.
President Woodruff expressed his feeling in regards to the burden of indebtedness which he was carrying as Trustee-in-trust for the Church, and which had borne very heavily upon him of late.
President Cannon referring to the financial condition of the Church, remarked that if the "dedicated stock" of the Bullion-Beck Company had been held according to agreement, the Church would have been in a financial position it never occupied before. Three-fifths of the Bullion-Beck stock was in his hands at the death of President [John] Taylor as a result of a solemn covenant entered into between President Taylor, John Beck and himself, to hold it for sacred purposes, and if this had been kept, the Church today would have been financially strong, and able to do anything it wanted to do. President Cannon went on to explain that when he was in the penitentiary, he was informed by Brother F[ranklin]. S. Richards that it was the intention to sue him if he did not surrender the "dedicated stock." He replied that they might sue, and thereby let the Church and the world know who the covenant breakers were. He perceived however, that it was a matter he could not allow to go into court, and he told Brother Moses Thatcher that his self respect would not permit him to hold this stock after what had occurred. President Cannon said that if Brothers Moses Thatcher and John W. Taylor had united with him in preserving intact that solemn covenant which had been entered into, the Church would be in possession of ample means. But in consequence of their receiving back that dedicated stock, John Beck on his return from Germany, demanded his stock also, which President Cannon returned, the amount being $50,000.
Elder John W. Taylor stated that so far as he was concerned he had never authorized Brother F[ranklin]. S. Richards to say anything to President Cannon in regard to a suit at law, nor did he know anything about "dedicated stock." It had always been represented as pooled stock. He and his brother Geo[rge]. J. Taylor had handled the stock for his father's family, and it would not have been sold by him to John Beck, if the Taylor family had been accorded representation on the Board of Directors. Up to the time of the sale to John Beck, the stock had always been represented to him as pooled stock, and he had never heard there was such a thing as revelation in regard to it.
President Cannon said Brother John W. Taylor must have known of the document signed by his father. It was not a revelation. President Taylor felt deeply impressed to enter into an agreement to buy the property of John Beck, if he would dedicate three-fifths of it to the Lord. This was done, and three-fifths of the stock was placed in President Taylor's hands and was held by him until his death. When Brother John Beck came home and demanded his stock, President Cannon reminded him of the covenant which he had been entered into. His reply was that President Taylor's family and Brother Moses Thatcher had got theirs and he wanted his, and Brother Cannon surrendered the Taylor's family, Thatcher's and Beck's stock, and had kept a strict account with his own.
Elder John W. Taylor said a document was shown to him signed by his father in June, a month before his father's death, and at the time his father was not in a condition to do business.
President Geo[rge]. Q. Cannon said though President Taylor was failing then he did not look upon him as incapable of doing business, and if Moses Thatcher and John W. Taylor had not broken up the dedicated stock, and had been disposed to carry out President Taylor's wishes in regard to it, the stock would now have been in possession of the Church. He had spoken with great freedom to Brother John W. Taylor, because he was the son of the dearest friend he ever had. Brother Cannon did not believe that Brother John W. Taylor had intentionally done wrong, he believed that he had been misguided, and that if he could have discerned the influences that were operating at the time he would have acted differently in regard to this matter. If he had hurt Brother Taylor's feelings he would willingly ask his forgiveness.
Brother John W. Taylor said it would be a humiliation for himself to have to Brother Cannon ask his pardon, but he nevertheless felt to ask President Cannon's pardon, and said further Brother Thatcher had informed him that the stock was "pooled stock," but that after President Taylor's death it was called dedicated stock. Brother Taylor said his brother George at one time came to him with a letter from Brother Thatcher, the tenor of which went to show Moses Thatcher in the light of a hero fighting for the interest of the Taylor family, and he John W. was asked to attest the truth of it by appending his signature. This he refused to do, remarking at the time, that Moses Thatcher had never done anything in the matter excepting in his own interest. He told his brother George to tell Moses what he had said, and he never heard any more of the document.
President Cannon and Brother Taylor were both pleased that they had arrived at a mutual understanding on this matter, and united with the very best of feelings.
During the consideration of this matter, President Woodruff stated that Brother Moses Thatcher came to him while Pres[iden]t. G[eorge]. Q. Cannon was in prison, and told him that he was going to sue President Cannon because he held stock and means which belonged to him. President Woodruff said he told Bro[ther]. Thatcher if he did this it would be the worst move he had ever made.
Articles of incorporation of the Grass Creek Coal Co[mpany]. were filed today with the County Clerk, with a capital stock of $200,000; Geo[rge]. Q. Cannon President and Director, Jos[eph]. F. Smith Vice-President and Director, Arthur Winter Sec[retary]. and Treas[urer]., Wilford Woodruff, W[illiam]. W. Cluff, James Jack, Nephi Clayton and Frank J. Cannon, Directors. The capital stock fully paid, up at par, is held as follows:
Wilford Woodruff, 510 shares $51,000
Geo[rge]. Q. Cannon, 510 " 51,000
Jos[eph]. F. Smith, 510 " 51,000
Ja[me]s. Jack, Trustee 410 " 41,000
Arthur Winter, 10 " 1,000
John M. Cannon, 10 " 1,000
W[illiam]. W. Cluff, 10 " 1,000
James Jack, 10 " 1,000
N[ephi]. W. Clayton, 10 " 1,000
F[rank]. J. Cannon, 10 " 1,000. Met fasting had sacrament at 3 p.m. The time was occupied by discussing the financial affairs of the Church. Pres[iden]t [George Q.] Cannon said the C[hurch]. was solvent. I am sure he is mistaken in this or else most of the 12 are. However there were explanations made which threw much light upon money matters of which the 12 have been wo[e]fully ignorant. (1)
-- Oct 22, 1896; Thursday
... President L[orenzo]. Snow informed the Council that a letter from Brother Moses Thatcher was handed to him last Monday by Moses Thatcher, Jun[ior]., three days after the date of which it was written. The following is the letter:
No. 101 West, North Temple St.,
Salt Lake City, Oct[ober]. 16, 1896.
Elder Lorenzo Snow, President of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: --
Having in mind the utterances of my file leaders and others at the late Semi-annual conference respecting myself and the attitude in which I was placed towards the Church of Christ, and those in authority over me in the Holy Priesthood; and desiring to be, if possible, in harmony with the quorum over which you preside and with the First Presidency of the Church, I indeavored to meet with you and the brethren at their weekly gathering on Thursday, the 15th, but on appearing at the door of the Temple was denied admittance.
Later in the day I was furnished by the Secretary, George F. Gibbs, with a copy of the general "Notice" to the Latter Day Saints as published in the Deseret News of October 15th. This was the first notification received of the intended suspension of the functions of the Priesthood held by me. I was aware that my name had not been presented and sustained by the vote of the Saints assembled in Conference on April and October last, but no intimation had been given that such action deprived me of my priesthood or in any suspended its functions. Had I received an authoritative information that such was the intention or was in any sense thought to be desirable I would have, if possible, avoided occasion for complaint on that point. Now since I am denied the privilege of meeting your quorum for the purpose of explaining everything I humbly and respectfully ask you to furnish me in writing, conveying in specific detail the items of all charges of wrong-doing which my brethren may think proper or feel constrained to bring against me as objections to my longer continuance as an Apostle and fellow laborer with them in the cause and Church of the master, our Savior, to whom I also have dedicated all I have or may hereafter be. Until the remarks of the brethren delivered at the last General Conference, as they appeared published in the daily press of this city, apprised me of it, I did not know that the had held ought against or premeditated the planting of charges against me on any matter whatever other than that of my failure to endorse the "Declaration" issued last April, relating to political affairs past and present and future; and possibly complaining also respecting my political methods, words and works since the division of the people in Utah on national party lines. I had understood that my failure to see eye to eye with my brethren on those civil matters, and for not, on short notice, endorsing the declaration, causing the withholding of my name from the list of Apostles as presented to the Saints at the April Conference. The sacred and I believe holy bond of fellowship openly confessed and candidly proclaimed many times each to the other, during all the years of your Presidency over the twelve Apostles, and the sacred places and loving manner in which that bond of fellowship was, as I thought, cemented together, at least for all past and present times, if not for eternity, banished from my heart distress of every kind and naturally precluded apprehension, fear and thought of such darkness and ambition as that publicly proclaimed as having been the condition in which I had continued for a number of years. Under the newly revealed conditions, as stated at Conference, it may be seen how naturally and easily harmony might fail of its fullest fruition of confidence, hope and trustful love; for how could those in the light unite with one in the dark? Or how could one in the dark go to the light when not informed respecting his darkness. During all the years of later membership in the Church I have not been ignorant of the divine admonition that Lucifer would if possible deceive even the very elect of God; and I have also
endeavored to keep ever before my eyes, that other admonition: "Let him who thinks he standeth take heed lest he falleth". From that I thought I had learned how helpless I would be without the merciful aid of my brethren and the compassionate and loving kindness of the Holy One, while passing an existence filled with temptations and danger which ever seems to beset those attempting to walk in that straight and narrow way which so few find. It appears useless at this point, and is a waste to even allude to the love and labor of the past of valuable time, for those whose confidence and esteem I have tried hard to merit may be well trusted to remember that all that is necessary. For the light and for truth, and for justice as defined in the laws of God I have sacrificed some things and may be willing, when necessary, to sacrifice all things. While greatly improved in health I am not yet in a physical condition to endure a prolonged or severe strain of body or mind, and therefore trust that I shall be given a sufficient time in which to answer all charges which may be brought against me. As to anything I have said or done contrary to the commandments of God I hold myself bound under this law to answer or plead guilty whenever the charges are made specific and have sufficient time so that the exertion shall not again force me towards the grave, on the verge of which, as you know, I have so long lingered. My desire is to do right and to be united with my brethren and those who preside over me in all that will promote the glory of God and the salvation of men; for as I comprehend the lessons of history he who cannot be governed is utterly unfit to attempt government even in the family relation. Praying the Lord God of Israel to bless you, and expressing heartfelt gratitude to you for the considerate, humble and loving manner in which you have presided over your brethren of the Apostles, and trusting that you are not unwilling that I should still subscribe myself as your "Brother in the Gospel", I remain, as heretofore, devoted to the cause of righteousness, the cause of God.
Pres[iden]t. L. Snow expressed the opinion that the letter was written for publication, providing Brother Thatcher failed to obtain the fellowship of his brethren. Still Brother Snow felt that Brother Thatcher's bodily condition should be favorably considered, and that if he manifested the spirit of repentance to the satisfaction of his brethren, his case might be easily settled. He referred to the labors of Apostles with Brother Thatcher the night before the dedication of the Temple, who worked with him till about 2 o'clock in the morning. Brother Snow expressed astonishment that a man claiming to be an Apostle, giving as a reason why he should be admitted to the Temple, that he had paid about $3,000 towards its erection. On that kind of reasoning Mr. A[lfred]. W. McCune, who though a non-member, had paid $5000 towards its completion, might consistently ask that the doors of the Temple be opened to him. Brother Snow could not see how the Apostles could fellowship Brother Thatcher except through his humility and repentance, and that Brother Thatcher should be
required to meet with his quorum as soon as his physical condition would warrant, and also that he make personal satisfaction with Presidents Geo[rge]. Q. Cannon and Jos[eph]. F. Smith....
It was decided that the following letter should be sent, and that any appointment of the quorum with Brother Thatcher should be made at his own request:
Salt Lake City, Oct[ober]. 23, 1896.
Elder Moses Thatcher, City.
Dear Brother: --
Your communication of the 16th inst., was received by me on the 19th, and its contents carefully noted. Since the writing of your letter the full stenographic report of the remarks of the brethren made at our late general conference has been published in the Deseret News, in which their feelings concerning you are quite freely expressed; and you not having read these published remarks prior to the writing of your communication, I take it for granted that it will not be necessary for me to explain or answer further. With kindest regards, Your Brother,
By request of Pres[iden]t. Jos[eph]. F. Smith, Bro[ther]. Nephi L. Morris was added to the list of Aids to the General
Before the Council separated, President Woodruff exhorted the brethren not to slacken their endeavors both in faith and works in behalf of Brother Moses Thatcher, for notwithstanding what he had expressed of his personal feelings as to the prospects, he hoped the Apostles would do all they could consistently to help Brother Thatcher. (2)
1 - Journal History; Brigham Young Jr., Diary
2 - First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve minutes
LDS History Chronology: Lorenzo Snow
Mormon History Timeline: the life of Lorenzo Snow
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