-- Friday, Aug 17, 1900
[Apostle John Henry Smith Diary] Salt Lake City
A couple of Protestant Ministers called upon President Lorenzo Snow and talked over the situation at Saltair, as to the selling of Liquor and chance games. Presidents Joseph F. Smith and Seymour B. Young having returned from Mexico, made a report as to the Cluff Expedition. Part of them will return home and part will continue the journey. (1)
-- Aug 17, 1900
Presidents [Lorenzo] Snow and [George Q.] Cannon were at the office. At 2:30 the Rev[erend]. Paden and the Rev[erend]. Mr. Irish, representing a committee appointed by the ministers' association, kept an appointment for the purpose of conferring with the Presidency in regard to closing the bar at Saltair. Mr. Paden remarked that after the newspaper reports of the scene at Saltair on its opening day (Decoration day) the ministers' association discussed the subject, and it was there learned that the Saltair pavilion belonged to the Trustee-in-Trust of the "Mormon" Church. Mr. Paden said that he remarked on that occasion that if that were the case it would not be for them as ministers to make trouble about it, as he was satisfied that President Snow would do all he could to correct the thing when it was brought to his attention. The speaker said the saloon was run illegally, and besides, the pavilion sold privileges for the purpose of running gambling machines; and the ministers' association would want to know if the "Mormon" Church could afford to let the statement go into print and be published abroad that President Snow, as its trustee-in-Trust, was responsible for a saloon being carried on at the Saltair pavilion? President Cannon explained to these gentlemen that our Church in one sense owned Saltair, but in another it does not. It belonged to a company, and originally it was a private property. When the place was first built the intention was to have no saloon, neither to have trains running on a Sunday; but it was found afterwards that the resort could not be run--so the management claimed-- without a saloon. This was humiliating, but the company had to succumb. Speaking personally from an experience of some weeks at the resort, President Cannons aid he saw no drinking while he was there, but at the same time he was utterly opposed to the liquor trade being carried on at Saltair. He also spoke at length of the motives that prompted the building of the place. Mr. Henry, one of the Ministers, remarked that he fully appreciated the fact also that this was now a hard problem to solve, for the reason that the place had to earn a certain amount in order to meet its bond interest, etc. This gentleman complained of not only the bar, but of the way it was run in that women and young boys were allowed to become intoxicated; and it was thought that the gambling machines should not be allowed at the resort. The gentleman assured the Presidency that they had not indulged in public criticism, or private, so far as that was concerned, and that they had come in good faith, believing that the Presidency would do all they could to correct and stamp out what they regarded as evils. President Cannon, answering, said that anything that can be done to make the resort what it was first intended to be would be welcome. The interview now became more formal, and President Snow intimated to these gentlemen that perhaps by next year they would be free from contracts, and he hoped, with them, to make the place all that could be desired, and in this kind of feeling and spirit the interview closed. A canvasser, named Graves, called and presented a portrait of distinguished Americans which were being published in a monthly periodical with their autobiographies, and has solicited the pictures of the Presidency. It was ascertained that an etching would cost $600. and President Cannon stated that he thought President Snow should have his picture in it and the Church should pay the amount $500. President Snow therefore consented and the order was given for an etching. President Joseph F. Smith came to the office this afternoon, having just arrived from Mexico, where he went accompanied by Elder Seymour B. Young to interview Brother Benjamin Cluff and the expedition. President Smith in reporting said in reference to the disbanding of the expedition, that Brother Cluff felt very bad about it, saying that it would be his ruin, and that he would rather fail in South American than stop now. It was proposed then that he make his selection of those who really wanted to go, and that the rest should be released. To this he was very agreeable. President Smith gave the following names of those who will now compose the party: Elders Cluff, Fairbanks, Henning, Woolf, Tolton, Kienke and Adams. The rest were then given to understand that they were free to dispose of their animals and effects and either report themselves for missions or return home. Brother Cluff thought that President Smith should go to the camp and make this known to the boys, as he felt that they would feel very much disappointed. He (Pres[ident]. Smith) concluded to do this, and in the meantime visit the settlements and hold meeting with the Saints. President Smith was at this time at Nogales, where he met Brother Cluff and found President Snow's telegram awaiting him. This was on the 11th; on the 12th he visited the camp, and gave the substance of the letter of instructions he had received before leaving home and also read the telegram to the members of the expedition. Brother Cluff asked if he and such others as he should designate to join him and were willing to do so were at liberty to proceed without incurring the displeasure of the First Presidency. President Smith answered that if Brother Cluff and those who went with him were willing to assume all the responsibility themselves, so far as the presidency were concerned they might go. Pres[ident]. Smith also reminded them that the First Presidency had nothing to do with the organization of the expedition only as Brother Cluff had brought it before them, and that Brother Cluff was the originator of the plan, and had received the assent of the Presidency to his views with the understanding that it was purely an academy affair. Brother Cluff acknowledged this; but said that from expressions dropped by brethren--especially by Brother Lyman and President Cannon, while addressing the students at the Academy and in the setting of the brethren apart, eh had come to look upon it as a mission, and this idea had grown upon him and that was the light in which he had hoped that it would be considered, but what President Smith had said was true and he felt sorry that the expedition could not be led to regard the movement in the light of a mission. President Smith reported that all of the brethren had the understanding that the expedition was a church mission, and that he learned from them that they would not have taken a step in it if they had thought otherwise; in fact, they understood it was a special mission, and rather than that they would go back they would stand out and be shot, believing as they did in the call. President Smith stated that so far as he could judge the expedition was composed of a very fine lot of young men, bright and al graduates and teachers, young men of integrity. President [Anthony W.] Ivins of the Juarez [Mexico] Stake also accompanied him to the camp of the expedition at Nogales and that Brother Ivins had remained there to assist those who were released to come back to the American side. The young men appeared to be much grieved and disappointed and wanted him to say what they could do, whether they should return home, continue with Brother Cluff, or go on missions. His answer was that they must choose for themselves; that if they proceeded the Presidency hoped for their success and would sustain them in their prayers inasmuch as they did right, but they must themselves be responsible as the Church could not be provided they accompanied the expedition. All the members would have come home, said President Smith, if he had advised them to, but he felt in his heart, after hearing from some of the brethren, especially Brothers Cluff, Fairbanks and Wolfe, that they would lay it at the door of the Presidency hereafter for blocking the way of their success; and he felt, too, that this was an opportunity for Brother Cluff to either make or break, as far as his own reputation was concerned. President Cannon remarked that he believed that Pres[ident]. Smith did just right in advising these brethren, but leaving them to choose for
themselves. President Snow acceded to this also, and further remarked that he would not want to say a word against the expedition now that some of them had chosen to proceed; but, referring to the last council meeting of the First Presidency and Apostles, he told President Smith what he did about Brother Cluff, and he felt that he was not the proper kind of a man to lead an expedition of that kind. Brother Heber J. Grant expressed himself as being thankful that all church responsibility had been eliminated from this expedition, and he was perfectly satisfied that those who wanted to go on their own responsibility, might proceed. (2)
1 - Jean Bickmore White (editor), Church, State, and Politics: The Diaries of John Henry Smith, Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, 1990, http://bit.ly/johnhenrysmith
2 - Journal History
LDS History Chronology: Lorenzo Snow
Mormon History Timeline: the life of Lorenzo Snow
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