-- Aug 9, 1897
At 10 A.M., High Council Salt Lake Stake re-convened, as per adjournment, the Presidency and High Council all present. Prayer was offered by Councilor Edward Snelgrove.
Brother Moses Thatcher again appeared as a witness in his own behalf. He asked, "Why am I condemned for arguing against the union of Church and State, when such are the views of our leading brethren on that subject? And if I should differ from them is not this State and Nation guaranteeing freedom of speech and of the press?" Bro[ther]. Thatcher went on to argue that he ought not to be condemned by prejudice and rumor.
Councillor Elias A. Smith made the objection that this was argument and was out of order at this stage of the proceedings, and was sustained by Pres[ident]. A[ngus]. M. Cannon.
Bro[ther]. Thatcher then stated that of all the documentary evidences as to his public utterances to show the spirit of apostasy, only one was published before April 6th, 1896, when he was dropped from his quorum, and was that his letter to Elders Lorenzo Snow and B[righam]. Young [Jr.], giving reasons why he could not sign the Declaration of Principles. He went on to dilate on the action taken in presenting his name at Conference. He stated that he did not give that letter to the press. It was given by one of his sons to a reporter, believing it was the right thing to do. He presented a document containing a reply to what the brethren had charged him with. It was very voluminous and Bro[ther]. Thatcher being in feeble health, Elder C[harles]. W. Penrose offered to read for him. What was read consisted chiefly of the letters to President Lorenzo Snow, the latter's reply to the request of five young men for an explanation of the Thatcher case, also the chapter entitled "A Masterly Vindication", published in a pamphlet entitled "The Late Manifesto in Politics", by Calvin Reasoner. The tenor of the whole document was to show that Bro[ther]. Thatcher had labored long for the Church, used his means in various ways for its enterprises, and that his utterances about Church and State were in accord with the sentiments of the First Presidency, expressed in the interview with the Salt Lake Times, and on that he asked if he was to be condemned. He argued "But it may be said, are you so dense that you cannot see that another policy is now adopted? I do see it and for a long time past have seen it and have been sorely tried because I have not been able to see that wisdom which it may contain, but that has not been the chief trouble, for I could have gotten along with that as with some other things when willingly following the judgment of those wiser than I, but unfortunately for me, I had aligned myself with a political party, thinking it a proper thing to do, and that party claimed its dues. And paying those dues produced a conflict; covenants, agreements and pledges had also been entered into, the violation of which on my part seemed improper, dishonorable and dangerous. Statehood was desirable and it, as it appeared to me, could not be had unless our promises and pledges were redeemed. I contended for that and in doing so, aroused the opposition and antagonism of my superiors in the Church, whom I revered and loved and with whom I oft broke bread". Bro[ther]. Thatcher then dilated upon his sickness and the probability that he had used harsh words when irritable, but he could not see how these denoted apostasy or treachery. He solemnly declared that the thought of betraying his brethren had never entered his heart. He quoted from a letter written by Pres[ident]. John Taylor, which said: "I was not born a slave! I cannot, will not be a slave. I would not be a slave to God. I would be his servant, friend, his son; I'd go at his behest, but would not be his slave. I'd rather be extinct than be his slave". Bro[ther]. Thatcher went on to explain that after his suspension from exercising the functions of the Priesthood, and his deposition on Nov[ember]. 19, 1896, led to the publication of the correspondence between him and Pres[ident]. Snow. He related the circumstances attending his nomination for public office, and deprecated the idea that he was an apostate or an ambitious man. The judgment of the Council would be to him and his family of vast moment.
The speakers for the accused not having any questions to ask, Bro[ther]. Thatcher was cross- examined, and denied that he had any connection whatever with the Argus Publishing company. No article in it was ever submitted to him. As to the question of "Higher allegiance", he said "No person should hold a higher allegiance than to the Church". As to the declaration of Principles, he said he held the same views as he had done all the time. Some parts he could endorse, and others he could not endorse. His objection was there seemed to be in it a conflict with agreements and pledges made by us and the authorities of the Church, but it would be in conflict with the agreement passed at the Conference of 1891. The Declaration made at the Reconvened Convention of the Democratic Party protested against the union of Church and State, and proclaimed that we must be absolutely free in all political matters.
Elder F[rancis]. M. Lyman asked that Bro[ther]. Moses Thatcher should take the Declaration of Principles and underscore the sentences which he could not subscribe to.
The Document was read in full. Brother Thatcher replied that in view of the published declaration that there should be no union of Church and State, he could not see his way clear to sign that document. had it applied to certain leading officers and been made definite, he could have signed it.
Elder C[harles]. W. Penrose asked "what is there in that document that you object to?" Bro[ther]. Thatcher said: "The place I have marked reads: `We declare that there has never been any attempt to curtail individual liberty—the personal liberty of any of the officers of the Church. The First Presidency and other leading officers did make certain suggestions to the people when the division on party liens took place. That movement was an entirely new departure and it was necessary, in order that a full benefit should not be lost which was hoped to result from the new political division, that people who were inexperienced should be warned against hasty and ill-advised action'". Bro[ther]. Thatcher said reference was made to political matters. Asked for other objections, he said he would have to read it over in order to name them all.
Bro[ther]. Lyman asked: "In your speech to the Legislature did you meant hat your first and higher allegiance was to the State? Did you not mean that it was greater than to be a high official in the Church"? Bro[ther]. Thatcher: "No, I did not." Bro[ther]. Lyman: "What did you mean then?" Bro[ther]. Thatcher: "I meant that anyone taking the oath to support the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of this State and the laws thereof, and as a legislator, and believing that certain laws might be enacted through the influence of someone not a member of the Legislature through ecclesiastical influence, and would vote against his own conviction, thus acknowledging a higher allegiance. That is what I meant, nothing else".
Elder C[harles]. W. Penrose asked: "Do you meant that, as I think has been stated in this evidence, the time will come when any person who holds a higher allegiance than that which he holds to the State, shall not be allowed to sit in the Legislature"? "I had no such thought in my mind as that".
Pres[ident]. A[ngus]. M. Cannon: "Explain to us what you did mean." Brother Thatcher said: "A legislator had to take an oath to be obedient to the constitutional laws of the nation and State, he would thus be absolutely free to act according to his judgment, and if he wanted to vote for a man for Senator, and some one wanted him to vote for another against his wish, and he did that, he should not be a member of the Legislature.["] It was ecclesiastical influence in State matters, as he had explained, that he objected to. A number of questions were asked on this line, but no further explanations were elicited. Bro[ther]. Thatcher said, however, that he did consider that he would stultify himself if he signed the Declaration of Principles, on the ground explained in his testimony.
Elder Heber J. Grant: "Did Calvin reasoner publish his pamphlet at your request"? Bro[ther]. Thatcher: "I think not. He got no information from me. I did not furnish him money to print it". In answer to further questions, Bro[ther]. Thatcher said: "I am not aware that I have taken any political obligations upon me that the people are not acquainted with. I have strictly held to the pledge made by the people of the nation by the people of this State. I did not see the new policy. If I did it was too late to turn around. I may be all wrong, and I may be a fanatic, but I am sincere in the stand I took".
Brother Grant asked if Bro[ther]. Thatcher would be willing to publish a card expressing disapproval of the statements made in Reasoner's pamphlet and of the impression they had created. Bro[ther]. Thatcher answered, that if an injustice had been done to any of his brethren by anything he had said or done, and it was pointed out to him, he would do anything in his power to make it right. If he had not been under political obligations, it would have been quite different with him.
Bro[ther]. Lyman asked: "Don't you think you made a mistake in not signing the Declaration of Principles"? Bro[ther]. Thatcher: "I have not felt that I made any mistake under the circumstances". He made an extended reply, speaking of the suffering he had endured. He thought the Latter-day Saints would have been a great deal better if none of the Apostles had accepted offers to speak on political matters.
Bro[ther]. Lyman asked Bro[ther]. Thatcher whether he thought that in the trouble between him and his brethren that he had been right in everything he had done. Bro[ther]. Thatcher answered: "I think I have been wrong in a great many things, but I did not think the brethren were justified in proceeding against me so suddenly when I was on the verge of the grave; and I so feel now."
Bro[ther]. Grant read from Bro[ther]. Thatcher's remarks when Warren Foster visited Logan, and asked if he did not then reflect on those who signed the Declaration of Principles. Bro[ther]. Thatcher replied he did not.
Bro[ther]. Penrose asked Bro[ther]. Thatcher: "What was the change of policy he had referred to on the part of the Church". To this Bro[ther]. Thatcher made a lengthy statement about the Interview with the Times, the card published by the First Presidency and the Declaration of Principles, which he thought conflicted one with the other.
Bro[ther]. Penrose asked Bro[ther]. Thatcher to define the difference between the Declaration of Principles and the interview in the Times. Bro[ther]. Thatcher replied: "In the Interview it states that persons were left free to vote for the party they pleased". Bro[ther]. Penrose: "What is the change you speak about"? Bro[ther]. Thatcher related a number of things which had no bearing on the question, and was pressed by Bro[ther]. Penrose to show wherein the change of policy of the Church which he claimed had been made. Bro[ther]. Thatcher replied that he could not explain any better than he had done, but he thought if he had more time he could show that there was a difference of policy in the Declaration of Principles to that declared in the Times interview.
Pres[ident]. A[ngus]. M. Cannon announced that the Council would adjourn until next morning at 10 A.M., to give Bro[ther]. Thatcher time to underscore the portions of the Declaration of Principles he could not sustain, and also prepare himself to answer Bro[ther]. Penrose's question. The High Council then adjourned. Meeting in B[righam]. Y[oung]. Schoolhouse Trial of M[oses]. Thatcher resumed. Moses seems determined to fight every inch of ground he takes notes & is as technicle as a man can well be. Much of the ground is gone over time and again. (1)
-- Aug 10, 1897
The High Council reassembled on the [Moses] Thatcher case at 10 A.M. The Stake Presidency and all members were present. Prayer was offered by Councillor Elias A. Smith.
Brother Moses Thatcher was ready to reply to the questions by Elders F[rancis]. M. Lyman and C[harles]. W. Penrose. In response to Elder Lyman's request that he mark such portions of the Declaration of Principles as he could not endorse, he presented the "Rule Adopted at the April Conference in 1896," with the objectionable parts underscored, as follows:
First. We unanimously agree to and promulgate as a rule that should always be
observed in the Church by every leading official thereof, that before accepting any position,
political or otherwise, which would interfere with the proper and complete discharge of his
ecclesiastical duties, and before accepting a nomination or entering into any engagements to
perform new duties, said official should apply to the proper authorities and learn from them
whether he can consistently with the obligations already entered into with the Church upon
assuming his office, take upon himself the added duties and labors and responsibilities of the
new position. To maintain proper discipline and order in the Church, we deem it absolutely
necessary, and in asserting this rule, we do no consider that we are infringing in the least
degree upon the individual rights of the citizen.
Brother Thatcher stated that he understood that to be in direct conflict with the authoritative declarations contained in the celebrated [Salt Lake] Times interview, made by Pres[iden]ts. [Wilford] Woodruff and [George Q.] Cannon. These were read once more by Bro[ther]. Penrose in behalf of Brother Thatcher. An objection was raised by Councillor John Clark to the repetitions of these readings, and Bro[ther]. Penrose also stated that he could see no good purpose in them, but still was willing to read to relieve Bro[ther]. Thatcher from the strain, if the Council so desired. He also asked Bro[ther]. Thatcher to point out in the Declaration of Principles wherein there was any new policy or any change of policy from that announced in the Times interview. Bro[ther]. Thatcher said that if the whole of his document was read it would give the answer in question so far as he could make reply.
Pres[ident]. A[ngus]. M. Cannon then explained to Bro[ther]. Thatcher that argument was not proper at this stage of the proceedings. All that was wanted was an answer to the questions that had been propounded, but on motion from Councillor Nicholson, seconded by Councillor Richards, the whole of the statement and argument of Bro[ther]. Thatcher was read to the Council by Bro[ther]. Penrose. It consisted of extracts from letters, documents and pamphlets already introduced, also parts of an open letter addressed by Bro[ther]. Thatcher to Pres[ident]. Jos[eph]. F. Smith and Elder John Henry Smith, Resolutions passed by Democratic Conventions, etc., and repetitions of Bro[ther]. Thatcher's definition of the term "higher allegiance." At the conclusion of the reading, Bro[ther]. Penrose again put his question: "Wherein is there a change of policy announced in the Declaration of Principles from that contained in the Times interview"? Bro[ther]. Thatcher: "In the document that has just been read I think that question has been entirely covered. I take the position that there is a difference". Bro[ther]. Penrose: "Just point out the words in the Declaration of Principles where the change of policy is made". Brother Thatcher: "The difference is, as I have explained and has placed me where I am". Bro[ther]. Penrose asked further questions with the view of getting Bro[ther]. Thatcher to point out where the Declaration of Principles interfered with the political liberties of members of the Church in the exercise of the voting power. Also wherein the leading authorities of the Church whereby that Declaration under any restrictions, except that they should, when desiring to enter into obligations which would interfere with the performance of their duties, consult with their presiding officers before assuming those added obligations. Bro[ther]. Thatcher replied: "That portion which has been read here today does not seem to". "Is not that the portion you object to"? Bro[ther]. Thatcher answered: "That is the portion that I object to". Bro[ther]. Thatcher admitted that it was proper for such officials before taking such steps, to seek counsel from the proper authorities, but claimed that he was under obligations to his party which he could not consistently break, and he did not think a citizen had any right to refuse to accept a nomination if his party demanded it of him. He admitted, however, that a man in business, holding a position under an employer or a Directory, would have no right to engage in political affairs which would take him away from his duties, without the consent of his employers or the resignation of his position.
After much time had been consumed on this point, Bro[ther]. Lyman asked: "Bro[ther]. Moses, why could you not do as Bro[ther]. Roberts did"?
Br[other]. Thatcher: "Do as he did, and not have a full conviction that the Lord required it? Not for ten thousand worlds, unless I had a revelation that God required it, and I do not believe there is any necessity for requiring that".
Bro[ther]. Lyman: "Bro[ther]. Moses, why not submit to the authorities and the rule of Church discipline"?
Bro[ther]. Thatcher: "For the reason that I would break my pledges with my party and also with the nation".
Adjourned till 5 P.M.
Council reconvened at 5 P.M., all parties being present. Bro[ther]. Heber J. Grant asked Bro[ther]. Thatcher some questions in relation to the solemn obligations which were entered into by Apostles before being ordained, and whether they were not required above all things to devote themselves and their entire time if required, if their entire lives in the interest of the Church. Bro[ther]. Thatcher replied that these promises were made, but he considered there was a general understanding that there should be an entire separation between political and ecclesiastical matters. Some further questions were put in relations to matters immediately preceding his being dropped from the Apostleship and Priesthood, but no further [light] was shed on the matter. At the request of Councillor Davis, Bro[ther]. Penrose read the Declaration of Principles in full, and on further questioning as to his reasons for not accepting it, Bro[ther]. Thatcher stated that he thought he had fully explained that before the Council.
Bro[ther]. Aaron F. Farr, Jun[ior]., witness for the accused, stated that before the cartoon was published in the Argus, he heard of it and in company with Mr. Noble Warrum he waited upon Mr. Bloor the editor, and asked if he might see it. Mr. Bloor would not permit him to do so. Bro[ther]. Farr urged that if it was like what had been described it would injure Mr. Thatcher a great deal, and asked that it might be suppressed. Mr. Bloor asked whether Mr. Thatcher had requested him to make that request. He replied no, that Mr. Thatcher did not know anything about it. Mr. Bloor then said that it was none of Mr. Farr's business and they would publish it. On still urging that it would injure Mr. Thatcher, Bloor answered: "We are doing things our own way. It is the Church we are fighting".
Bro[ther]. Isaac D. Haines for the accused, testified, that he had been associated with Bro[ther]. Thatcher for 12 years, in sickness as well as in health, and found him always one of the most careful, prayerful and conscientious brethren he had ever met. Even when under the most excruciating pain, he had spoken kindly and respectfully of his file leaders. In answer to questions from Bro[ther]. Thatcher, Bro[ther]. Haines stated that in his prayers with the family, Bro[ther]. Thatcher had prayed for light and also that he might accept the decision of this Council. Bro[ther]. Thatcher had manifested a very humble spirit and a desire to obtain light, especially since this investigation had commenced. In cross-examination, Bro[ther]. Haines admitted that it would have been reasonable for Bro[ther]. Thatcher to have gone to Pres[ident]. Woodruff for light, and that the decision of the President of the Church was final.
In answer to Elder Brigham Young [Jr.], Elder Haines said he was present at Bro[ther]. Thatcher's house when he, Bro[ther]. Young, presented to Bro[ther]. Thatcher Pres[ident]. Woodruff's request for him to resign his position as one of the Trustees of the B[righam]. Y[oung]. College, and Bro[ther]. Thatcher refused to resign. Bro[ther]. Haines said that Bro[ther]. Thatcher refused to resign, in his presence. Bro[ther]. Haines expressed his friendship for Bro[ther]. Thatcher and his belief that his long sickness had impaired his powers so much that he was not able to see it in a proper light. Bro[ther]. Haines denied emphatically ever saying in relation to Pres[ident]. Geo[rge]. Q. Cannon that he ought to go off and die.
Bro[ther]. Moses Thatcher, Jun[ior]., questioned by his father, stated that he had been reprimanded by his father for speaking lightly of the General Authorities of the Church. Also that he and Severin Jeppesen waited upon Pres[ident]. Lorenzo Snow and asked him to come and administer to his father, when Bro[ther] Snow promised to bring Pres[ident]. Woodruff with him and some other brethren. He did not come, and the family did not know why.
In answer to questions from Elder Brigham Young, Bro[ther]. Thatcher, Jun[ior]., said the brethren referred to whom he had spoken against were Bro[ther]. Brigham Young, Bro[ther]. Snow, Bro[ther]. [Franklin D.] Richards and he thought Bro[ther]. Lyman. He felt that the brethren had not kept their word with him, in promising that nothing would be done with his father until he got well. The impression he received from the brethren was that nothing would be done in his father's case until he was fully recovered. He told that to his father, and he thought they had not kept their word.
Bro[ther]. Severin Jeppeson, in answer to Bro[ther]. Moses Thatcher, said, Pres[ident]. Woodruff gave to witness his consent for Bro[ther]. Thatcher to go away while he was sick and said he would relieve him from all responsibility, and nothing would be done in his case until he was well enough. That was in 1896. Witness also saw Pres[ident]. L[orenzo]. Snow, when the word was out that Bro[ther]. Thatcher's case was to [be] called up, and explained to Bro[ther]. Snow Bro[ther]. Thatcher's condition. Bro[ther]. Snow advised him to explain this to Brother Woodruff. Pres[ident]. Woodruff said "Tell Brother Moses to go off and take a rest. Take good care of him and nurse him well, and I hope he will soon recover from his sickness". That was in the latter part of July, 1896. Witness was with Moses Thatcher Jun[ior]. when Bro[ther]. Snow promised to visit Bro[ther]. Thatcher. In answer to questions from Bro[ther]. Penrose, Bro[ther]. Jeppeson said he had not seen Bro[ther]. Snow since to ask him why he did not come, but other authorities of the Church came and administered to Bro[ther]. Thatcher during his sickness. He remembered that Bishop Kessler, Bro[ther]. Roberts, John Henry Smith, Bro[ther]. Penrose, Bro[ther]. Patterson, Bishop Beatie and others administered to him.
Bro[ther]. Moses Thatcher here said he would withdraw the expression that he had made in his reply to Pres[ident]. Snow that engagements to administer to him were for reasons unknown to him unkept.
Bro[ther]. Geo[rge]. T. Thatcher, witness for the accused, testified that his father had nothing to do with the publication of the copy of the letter sent to Pres[iden]t. Lorenzo Snow and Elder Brigham Young, giving his reason why he could not sign the rules of Church discipline. The facts were these: Bro[ther]. Geo[rge]. E. Hyde who had been to Conference came in and reported that Bro[ther]. Moses Thatcher's name had not been presented, and they two were responsible for the publication of a copy of the letter. They thought the public ought to know Bro[ther]. Thatcher's reasons for not signing the Declaration, and it was given to the papers after 12 o'clock at night. Reporters had previously been to interview Bro[ther]. Thatcher, but did not see him. The witness said he did not act under instructions from his father nor do it by his permission. In answer to Bro[ther]. Jos[eph]. E. Taylor, the witness said he did not inform the papers that he furnished the copy of the letter without consulting his father.
Bro[ther]. Moses Thatcher said he had no more testimony to offer at that time.
Elder F[rancis]. M. Lyman testified in rebuttal that it was contemplated to bring Bro[ther]. Moses Thatcher to trial when his son applied to have the matter postponed. But the Presidency and Apostles all agreed that Bro[ther]. Thatcher should not be brought to trial until he was in better health. He could have come at any time, however, and made matters right without a trial. When the October Conference came and nothing having been done by Bro[ther]. Thatcher, it was necessary that some explanation be given. That was the reason why Pres[ident]. Woodruff and others made the remarks which were published. As to the Declaration of Principles, it was submitted to the whole Council between the meetings of Conference. It was read over and some few corrections made, but the whole Council did not have it as long as Bro[ther]. Thatcher did. It was not true that Bro[ther]. Roberts was urged to sign it. He was perfectly reconciled with his brethren before a scratch of the pen was made on that document. All the authorities signed it without any argument. Bro[ther]. Lyman further testified that when he and Br[other]. John W. Taylor visited Bro[ther]. Thatcher it was not with any reference whatever to politics.
Bro[ther]. Penrose asked Bro[ther]. Lyman whether he understood that there was any breach of agreement between the brethren and Bro[ther]. Thatcher in the remarks made concerning him by the brethren at the Conference. Br[other]. Lyman replied: "No". In consequence of Bro[ther]. Moses' attitude and writing, it was necessary that some explanations should be made. Bro[ther]. Thatcher was not brought to trial, as was promised, until he was able to appear. Pres[ident]. Woodruff frequently urged the Apostles to take up Bro[ther]. Thatcher's case. The explanations at Conference originated with Pres[ident]. Woodruff.
Bro[ther]. Thatcher asked Bro[ther]. Lyman whether it was not known for a long time he was sick so that he was not able to stand on his feet. Bro[ther]. Lyman replied that he knew Bro[ther]. Thatcher had been in poor health and was very weakly. Bro[ther]. Thatcher said: "I did not think that Pres[ident]. Woodruff or any of the brethren would think to put me on trial at the Conference." Bro[ther]. Lyman replied: "That six months had elapsed from April. Bro[ther]. Thatcher was not put on trial, but some explanations of [the] case were made. You were in error, Bro[ther]. Thatcher, and would not be reconciled; the trouble could have been settled very easily, but as you would do nothing something had to be said by way of explanation".
The testimony now being closed, the Council was adjourned till 9 o'clock Wednesday morning. Benediction by Councillor John Nicholson.
10 a.m. continued to push the case. Bro[ther] M[oses]. [Thatcher] will die hard but there is but one chance for him through humiliation put himself in the hands of his brethren nothing else will save his membership in the church and I am inclined to believe that he will not sacrifice that. 3.30 p.m. Resumed investigation Moses obdurate. Bro[ther]. [Heber J.] Grant is finding out Moses is weak I am not much better prolonged effort and strain is telling on others of the Council. (1)
1 - 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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