-- Jan 4, 1899; Wednesday
Presidents [Lorenzo] Snow, [George Q.] Cannon and [Joseph F.] Smith were all at the office.
Word came from Mr. L. S. Hills, President of the Deseret National Bank, in relation to the matter of delivering the Church bonds, mention of which was made yesterday by President Snow to Brother David Eccles, the latter was requested to see Mr. Hills and ascertain if any change would be made. Mr. Hills' message was to the effect that the business would be done free of charge. This being satisfactory to the President, a letter was written to Mr. Hills upon the subject.
At 2 P.M. the First Presidency met with the Apostles, pursuant to the appointment made on Monday last, to consider the advisability of the Church advancing the sum of $40,000 due the Banigan estate from the Union Light and Power Company. Present: President Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith; and Apostles Franklin D. Richards, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, Anthon H. Lund, Matthias F. Cowley and Rudger Clawson. The same ground was gone over that formed the subject of Monday's discussion by the Presidency and Attorney [LeGrand] Young, and the result was a decision that the present payment of interest ($40,000) be met out of the proceeds of the sale of Church bonds. It was also decided that another issue of bonds for another $500,000 be made, this issue to be marked "Series `B'["]. (1)
-- Jan 5, 1899; Thursday
Presidents [Lorenzo] Snow, [George Q.] Cannon and [Jospeh F.] Smith at the office.
President Cannon made an appointment to meet the committee having in hand the investigation of the Sterling mining business at 2 o'clock this afternoon.
Brother Reed Smoot called and made anotehr proposition for the purchase of the forty shares of stock owned by the Church in the First National Bank of Provo [Utah], offering to pay $71 a share. It was decided to let him have the stock, with the understanding that the protect the other shareholders alike, provided they should want to sell.
The First Presidency and the Apostles met in the Salt Lake Temple at 11 A.M. Present: Presidents Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith; Apostles Franklin D. Richards, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor, Anthon H. Lund, Matthias F. Cowley, Abraham O[wen]. Woodruff and Rudger Clawson.
Brother Lyman reported on the Ramah [Colorado] question, previously referred to a committee consisting of Brigham Young [Jr.], F[rancis]. M. Lyman, John Henry Smith and A[braham]. O[wen]. Woodruff. He stated that the committee had met and reached a conclusion, but as a letter had been received since from Ramah and as Brother Young was now sick at home, nothing further would be said about it until he could be heard from. Brother Lyman also reported that the committee consisting of himself, A[nthon]. H. Lund, Karl G. Maeser, John Nicholson and George Reynolds, appointed for the purpose of passing upon Brother James E. Talmage's new work, "The Articles of Faith", had heard the manuscript read, and they decided that it would be a good book to publish as a text book.
In the matter of the Federal building site, Brother John Henry Smith on behalf of the committee appointed to consider the same and select names to act as a committee in relation thereto, reported that they had selected the names of Thomas G. Webber, William S. McCornick and John C. Cutler. This choice being satisfactory to the Council, on motion of President Cannon, Brother John Henry Smith as chairman of said committee was requested to see the other gentlemen named and learn if they were willing to take hold of the matter.
Brother Lund brought up the matter of a proposed purchase of a meeting hall for the Saints in Copenhagen, Denmark. He stated that the hall in which they met for religious purposes was in a bad location, and that they were not able to pay a higher rent for a better place of meeting; that a building in a good location could be bought for 80,000 kroner--a fine hall, with a good
entrance and private rooms. It was proposed to purchase this property, which could be done by paying down 5,000 knoner and the residue in subsequent payments. It was believed that if the Church gave its sanction to the purchase, the Scandinavian people through out Zion would contribute a sufficient sum for this purpose. The Council authorized Brother Lund to solicit and receive subscriptions for the purchase of the building in question.
Brother John Henry Smith, referring to yesterday's meeting on the Union Light and Power Company's business, suggested the appointment of an auditing committee to audit the accounts of the Church and ascertain its exact condition financially. He thought that a common understanding regarding its present situation in this respect would be a satisfaction to every member of the Council. He therefore moved that such a committee be appointed, and the motion was seconded by President Joseph F. Smith.
President Franklin D. Richards spoke in favor of the motion. He thought the affairs of the Church should be put into proper shape and presented before the General Conference, thereby correcting false reports and bringing the people to share in the responsibility of the Church's business. President [Brigham] Young and President [John] Taylor had both made it a practice to keep the people pretty well informed as to the general condition of the Church. This had been done up to the time of the raid, when it was considered unwise to make public our affairs. He believed that there was now a general feeling on the part of the people to hear from the Presidency on this subject, and if such desires were gratified it would have a good effect and would go a long way towards restoring confidence.
President Snow remarked that he was glad this matter had been brought up. He thought it of the highest importance that an auditing committee should be appointed, not only in justice to himself, but in justice to the Church. He held that at the close of every administration of this Church the financial affairs thereof from the beginning to the end of that administration should be audited. He would most assuredly expect this to be done at the end of his administration, and if mistakes were made he would expect the committee and this Council to judge of them righteously and generously. He thought, too, that the Lord required that such a committee be appointed. But as to presenting the affairs of the Church before the general public, that was another question entirely. The committee might go before the people and speak in general terms of the Church's condition. The President went on to say in further justification of the appointment of an auditing committee, that things which could be satisfactorily explained while men were living, might be very difficult to explain after their death. He himself was to a certain extent in the dark regarding the Church's financial condition, and he thought no body could be hurt, but great benefit derived from the appointment of such a committee. He asked the brethren of the Twelve to express themselves in relation to the matter.
There was a unanimous response in favor of the proposition, Presidents Cannon and Smith and all the Apostles present expressing themselves to that effect.
The question of the recent reduction in salaries of Church officials and employes was also discussed, and the reasons given why such a step had been deemed necessary. The present limits had been set for the sake of retrenchment and to assist in getting the Church out of debt. Speaking upon this subject, President Snow said that while he understood the Apostles' salaries were to be reduced, he also understood that they were not to be reduced below what was actually necessary for their support; and now, he added, "whenever any one of the Twelve Apostles come to the Presidency and tell them that what they are receiving is not enough their wants will be supplied at once". He believed that where brethren gave their time to the Church, their needs should be supplied. Retrenchment should be made in the building of Churches, etc., and not in what men needed to eat.
President Smith favored the auditing committee and a good thorough audit for reasons already given, and especially the one mentioned by Brother Teasdale, namely the protection of President Snow. He also wanted it for the protection of the ex-First Presidency. No doubt mistakes had been made--the building of Saltair for instance; but he would say that the object in building that resort was that the Latter-day Saints might have a place of recreation under their own control.
Brother John Henry Smith gave as his reason for suggesting the auditing committee that he did not want to see another man's name suffer as President Young's name had suffered. He quoted a saying of his father, the late President George A. Smith, who on his death-bed said that the name of President Young would be dishonored in consequence of the way the accounts in the President's Office had been kept. He compared the business administration of the Church to that of Z.C.M.I., and thought that it was just as proper to take stock and audit the accounts of the one as of the other.
President Joseph F. Smith also referred to the defective manner in which the books of the Trustee-in-trust were kept, and gave an instance of it in his own experience. He was in the employ of the Church eight years in President Young's day, and received as compensation for his services $1,000 a year. Some years after he had left the Historian's Office, the place where he was employed, he learned that there stood against him on the Trustee-in-trust books the sum of $8,000. The explanation was that while he had drawn that amount, which was his due, he had received no credit for his services. He did not think that the office of Apostle should call for a certain salary, but he did think that the Apostles should be compensated by the Church and that each one should know what he could expect to receive, and govern himself accordingly.
President Snow now called for a vote upon the motion that an auditing committee, say of five, be appointed to audit the accounts of the Church, and the motion was carried unanimously. The President named as said committee Franklin D. Richards, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, Heber J. Grant and Rudger Clawson; and on motion of President Smith this committee was unanimously sustained. (1)
1 - 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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