Lorenzo Snow, Aug 6, 1897

-- Aug 6, 1897
[Apostle Brigham Young Jr. Diary] [[Met with the High Council a-- B. Y. stated that when M. T. published his correspondence with President Snow in the "Tribune" he had betrayed his brethren. Meetings on the Thatcher case continued on the 9, 10 and 11 Aug., with B. Y. continuing to give a generally pessimistic prognosis regarding Moses.]] (1)

The High Council of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion met today at 10 A.M., to hear the case of Moses Thatcher, on trial for unchristianlike conduct and apostasy. The Council met in the office of the Presidency of the Stake, but subsequently adjourned to President [Brigham] Young's schoolhouse, inside the Eagle Gate, for better accommodations and more privacy. There were present the Presidency of the Stake, Angus M. Cannon, Jos[eph]. E. Taylor and Cha[rle]s. W. Penrose. The Council was organized as follows: One, William Eddington; 3, Orson A. Woolley (Alternate); 5, John T. Caine; 7, Edward Snelgrove (Alternate); 9, Elias A. Smith; 11, John Clark; 2, Geo[rge]. J. Taylor; 4, Anders W. Winberg; 6, Ja[me]s. P. Freeze; 8, Henry P. Richards; 10, John Nicholson; 12, David L. Davis. Prayer was offered by Councilor Orson A. Woolley. The accusers, namely, Brigham Young [Jr.], Francis M. Lyman and Heber J. Grant, and the accused, namely Moses Thatcher, were present and declared themselves ready for trial. Councillors Elias A. Smith and John Clark were the speakers for the accusers, Councillors John Nicholson and David L. Davis speakers for the accused. The charge was then read as follows:

Salt Lake City, Utah, July 30, 1897.

To the Presidency and High Council, Of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion.

Dear Brethren:–

We hereby prefer a charge against Brother Moses Thatcher of apostasy and un-

Christianlike conduct, exhibited in public speeches, private conversations, interviews through

newspapers and in other ways, showing a departure from the spirit of the Gospel and the

doctrine and discipline of the Church of Jesus Christ, such as to forfeit his right to fellowship

and standing in the Church.

Your brethren, Signed,

Brigham Young [Jr.],

Francis M. Lyman,

Heber J. Grant.

The High Council notice was read as follows:

Office of the Presidency of the Salt Lake Stake

of Zion, Salt Lake City, July 31, 1897.

Brother Moses Thatcher,

You are hereby notified to appear before the High Council of this Stake of Zion on

Friday, August 6th, 1897, at 10 A.M., at the Office of the Presidency of the Stake, Tithing

Buildings, to answer the following charges, viz: Apostasy and un-Christianlike conduct,

exhibited in public speeches, private conversations, in interviews through newspapers, and in

other ways, showing a departure from the spirit of the Gospel and the doctrines and discipline

of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Please have all the evidence (witnesses and papers) you may require to proceed with

the hearing of your case.

WITNESS hand and seal of the High Council the day and year first above written.

Your Brother,

James D. Stirling,

Clerk of Council.

The response of Brother Thatcher was also read, viz:

Red Banks, Logan Canyon [Utah], Aug[ust]. 2, 1897.

James D. Stirling, Clerk of Council,

Salt Lake City.

Dear Brother:–

Your communication of July 31st, was handed me within the hour by Brother J. Z.

Stewart, of Logan, who was accompanied by Brother J. E. Carlisle of the same place.

Noting what you say, I am summoned to appear before the High Council of the Salt

Lake Stake of Zion, at the Tithing Office Buildings, at 10 A.M. on the 6th inst., to answer to

the charges of apostasy and unChristianlike conduct, exhibited in public speeches, private

conversations, and in interviews in newspapers, and in other ways showing a departure from

the spirit of the Gospel and the doctrine and discipline of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-

day Saints.

I shall make my arrangements accordingly, and unless something unforeseen occurs

making it impossible, I will meet the brethren of the High Council on the date named,

prepared to answer the charges as far as I an be prepared, without further detailed

specifications; which may appear in the hearing of the case. I send this to Logan by the hands

that conveyed your communication to me, addressing same to President Orson Smith, yours

having reached me in an open enclosure addressed to him, presumably by Pres[iden]t. Angus

M. Cannon.

Your brother in the Gospel,

Moses Thatcher.

Elder Brigham Young made the opening statement. After expressing his regrets that these proceedings had to be taken, he stated that from the death of president John Taylor, Brother Thatcher's course had been out of harmony with the spirit and teachings of the authorities of the Church. Brother Young related a number of things which took place previous to Bro[ther]. Thatcher's being excluded from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and from the Priesthood, including the incorrect charges he made against Pres[ident]. Geo[rge]. Q. Cannon, which he had never apologized for or sought to make right. Since the action of the Apostles in Brother Thatcher's case, he had given to the public press private letters, by which the speaker considered he had betrayed his brethren, and by his public and private utterances he had held them up to ridicule and disgrace.

Elder Francis M. Lyman corroborated the statement of Elder Young, spoke of the affection which had been entertained for Brother Thatcher by the Twelve and First Presidency, and their tenderness and patience in dealing with him in consideration of the serious condition of his health and his feeble state of body, but, the speaker said, Bro[ther]. Thatcher had taken a course to put bitterness into the hearts of many of the Latter-day Saints against the First Presidency and Twelve. He had been the standard bearer of apostates and those who felt ugly and wrathy towards the First Presidency and the Church. Bro[ther]. Thatcher had made it appear as though the leading authorities of the Church were going wrong, while he himself was in the right. Bro[ther]. Lyman read from the history of the Prophet Joseph Smith, in which the Prophet gave a key to the spirit of apostasy, and showed that this had been exemplified in Bro[ther]. Thatcher's course.

Elder Heber J. Grant endorsed the remarks of the previous speakers, and said they expected to prove from Bro[ther]. Thatcher's utterances, as published in the newspapers, that he had said things to bring the authorities of the Church into disrepute and which were calculated to destroy harmony and unity in the Church.

Brother Moses Thatcher said if he was able to see himself in the light and attitude which the brethren who had spoken viewed him, there would be only two things for him to do; either to put himself at once in the hands of this Council that they might determine what he should do, or to declare himself desirous of leaving the Church in which he had labored for so many years. Ever since he was fourteen and a half years of age, he had labored for the Gospel, and to be a member (to say nothing about official position) was worth far more to him than everything else on earth. He claimed that many things imputed to him was the work of busy-bodies. If he had done anything to betray his brethren, he was not conscious of it. If it was proven that he had done anything of that kind, God being his helper, he would make it right as soon as he could. He said "I have come here to get light, and I pray for the light to guide me aright". He spoke of the quarterly meetings of the Twelve that had been held and his understanding that they then held each other in fellowship. He thought he would be able to prove that he had not made some of the statements to which the brethren had alluded as coming from him.

Elder Brigham Young said he had some letters to introduce which had been published in the [Salt Lake] Tribune, and was told by the President of the Council that they would be admitted in evidence. An adjournment was taken till 2 P.M. At 2 o'clock the High Council reconvened, all members responding to the roll call.

Elder Brigham Young introduced the Salt Lake Tribune of Nov[ember]. 15th, 1896, containing an interview with Moses Thatcher, in which, speaking of the Declaration of Principles which he had refused to sign, he said, "I could not consent to the adoption of a rule that would affect the political liberty of so many people and give so great power to the Church authorities. I felt that it practically annulled the former declaration that there should be perfect freedom in political matters, and held that we were in honor bound to stand by the declaration". Also speaking of his nomination for the office of Senator of the United States, he said, "But if Utah, if Young Utah, feels that my election would be a vindication of that for which I have contended and would aid in preventing the forging of chains upon the people of this State, I should accept the office of Senator, should it be tendered me". Further he said: "Because of the stand I then took, I have been placed in the position of defending the cause imperilled by the address I refused to sign".

The Salt Lake Herald of Nov[ember]. 17th was put in evidence, which contained an interview with Moses Thatcher, Nov[ember]. 16th, in which he said, "I expressed my views in an interview which appeared in the Tribune recently, and in which I avowed myself a candidate".

As evidence that Bro[ther]. Thatcher had given private correspondence to the public newspapers, and used expressions in his letters conveying a false impression, prejudicial to the General Church Authorities, and which Bro[ther]. Young said was un-Christianlike conduct, the Salt Lake Tribune and Herald of Nov[ember]. 22nd were introduced. Also the letter of President Lorenzo Snow and he response of Moses Thatcher in the Salt Lake Tribune and Herald of December 13th, in which he attacked President Snow, and called his letter "a bitter and acrimonious communication". He also endeavored to place the Presiding Authorities in a false light concerning their attitude as to political affairs, making it appear that they were endeavoring to effect a union between Church and State and to dominate in political affairs. Brother Thatcher's remarks in the State Legislature as a defeated candidate in the Senatorial contest, were presented, also his remarks about Bro[ther]. Joseph Robinson in the same body, which had the same tendency and spirit. An address delivered by Moses Thatcher at a reception in Logan, Feb[ruary]. 12th was presented; also an article from the Logan Journal of Feb[ruary]. 11th, copied from the Salt Lake papers of Feb[ruary]. 8th, which was signed by Moses Thatcher; a speech at the Opera House Logan Feb[ruary]. 17th, and another speech at the reception given by Moses Thatcher at his residence in Salt Lake City, Feb[ruary]. 21st, and another on the 11th of March, all of which tended in the same direction, and showed hi antagonism to the policy of the leaders of the Church and were in the spirit of apostasy.

Elder Francis M. Lyman gave particulars of visits made by himself and others of the Twelve to Moses Thatcher, when he manifested a bitter and apostate spirit, and his conduct was unChristianlike. Brother Thatcher, he said, put a wrong construction on the Declaration of Principles. Brother Lyman stated that Elder B. H. Roberts had entertained some views corresponding with those of Brother Thatcher, but had seen his error and made amends and had signed the Declaration of Principles. Brother Thatcher's course and statements virtually charged the First Presidency, the Twelve, the Seven Presidents of Seventies, the Presiding Bishopric, and all who signed that Declaration of Principles with "stultifying" themselves. Elder Lyman spoke in reference to cartoons in the paper called the "Argus", in one of which Moses Thatcher was depicted as being crucified, and which held Pres[iden]t. Geo[rge]. Q. Cannon and others up to ridicule and contempt. Elder Lyman held Bro[ther]. Thatcher responsible for things contained in the Argus, because he had not repudiated them in any shape or form.

The Salt Lake Argus of Feb[ruary]. 6th, 1897, was introduced as evidence. This was objected to by Councilor John Nicholson, as there was no proof that Bro[ther]. Thatcher was connected with that paper.

Elder F[rancis]. M. Lyman cross-examined, went over the ground again of his visit to Logan in company with Bro[ther]. John W. Taylor, to try and bring Bro[ther]. Thatcher into harmony with the First Presidency and Twelve.

In answer to Bro[ther]. Thatcher, Elder Lyman said, "yes, I considered that by your conduct at that time you exhibited the spirit of apostasy". "Also that by not repudiating those things in the Argus, which reflected on Pres[ident]. Geo[rge]. Q. Cannon and exalted Moses Thatcher, you exhibited the spirit of apostasy". In answer to Bro[ther]. Thatcher, Elder Lyman explained that the reason why Bro[ther]. Thatcher was fellowshipped at the Quarterly meetings of the Twelve, was they hoped all the time he would come into harmony with them, but even when they met with Bro[ther]. Thatcher before going into the Temple at its dedication, and he had promised to reform, he merely submitted, but his reformation had not been genuine.

Bro[ther]. Thatcher asked whether it was not customary before partaking of the sacrament in the meetings of the Twelve, to say, "I have the utmost confidence in you and for you"? Elder Lyman answered, "Yes, sir, it is a fact, and you did not keep that good."

In answer to Bro[ther]. Thatcher's question, "Was not your mission to Logan a political one"? Brother Lyman replied, "It was not political at all; your being out of harmony with the brethren was the cause of all the trouble, and you could have made that right at any time, if you had so desired".

Elder Heber J. Grant presented the Salt Lake Argus, of Nov[ember]. 21st, 28, Dec[ember]. 19th and Feb[ruary]. 6th stating he did not care who was responsible for their publication, but the fact that Bro[ther]. Thatcher did not repudiate them was sufficient. Those cartoons aimed to belittle the Church Authorities. The paper was an enemy of the Church. Brother Thatcher's financial connection with the Argus, whether it existed or not, cut no figure in the matter. Elder Grant further introduced in evidence a letter written by Elder B. H. Roberts to Moses Thatcher, from Cincinnati, Ohio, dated Nov[ember]. 6th, 1896. Council adjourned till Saturday afternoon at 3 o'clock. Benediction by Councilor A[nders]. W. Winberg.

Met with High Council at T[ithing]. O[ffice]. at 10 a.m. Bro[ther] [Francis M.] Lyman H[eber]. J. Grant Bro[ther]. M[oses]. Thatcher and several of his friends present. I made opening statement recounting labors of Twelve & presidency with Bro[ther]. M[oses]. from the death of pres[ident]. [John] Taylor. My statement was well received tho[ugh] I read at the last from Cour. Stating in words of profet Jos[eph]. [Smith] that the one who betrays his brethren is a traitor and Bro[ther]. M[oses]. did it when he published correspondence between him and Pres[ident]. L[orenzo]. Snow in the "[Salt Lake] Tribune" Gave in long sc[r]eed of testimony culled from news papers etc. Bro[thers] Lyman & Grant testified. At the afternoon meeting 2 p.m. oclock held in fathers schoolhouse. I think the eyes of Bro[ther] M[oses's]. friends were opened and certainly Bro[ther] Thatcher must show signs of repentance or he will continue [to] be handled without gloves. Our inclination is to be more than merciful but if he thoroughly understands his condition he may be shocked to recuperation; certainly he must yield, we cannot for principle is at stake and the discipline of the church must be maintained. (2)

1 - Diary of Apostle Brigham Young Jr., http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies
2 - Salt Lake Stake High Council, Minutes; Brigham Young Jr., Diary

LDS History Chronology: Lorenzo Snow

Mormon History Timeline: the life of Lorenzo Snow


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