Complaint Against Ogden Kraut





On January of this year I was called by my stake president concerning some of my personal views on Church doctrine. This was the beginning of a lengthy series of letters which are now compiled in this volume.

Although my doctrinal faith has not completely harmonized with that of some of the present leaders of the Church, I had no intention of causing the leaders or the Church any trouble. I highly prized my membership in the Church–and thoroughly enjoyed teaching and speaking in various wards and stakes.

I still know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church on the earth–no matter how little or how far some claim the Church has fallen. At worst, God has promised that the day would come when He would set it in order. Apostles from the days of Joseph Smith to the present have erred–they are mortal just as other Church members; therefore, the standard of men’s faith should be in the eternal, unchanging and everlasting principles of the Gospel. As long as there are even a few men who will believe in them, God shall guide and carry the Church over all the opposition and cunning of the devil.

May the messages in these letters in some way help those who read them to understand and stand firm for the true and glorious principles of the Restored Gospel.


September 1972


Blessed are ye, when men shalt hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

Luke 6:22-23

* * * * *

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified…. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

I Peter 4:12-17



The first letter in this collection is from my stake president in 1967, in which he expressed his interest and appraisal of my efforts in the stake. He also wrote other letters of a similar nature–one of which said:

We appreciate the blessings you bring to our stake through the positions you hold, the printing press you operate, and we consider you one of our great teachers and hope that we can continue to be blessed with your talents.

On January 3, 1972, he called me on the phone for another private interview, and the second letter is my answer to him. He phoned again and we then had the interview.

The third letter explains the nature of that interview, and I was asked to write statements for three propositions at the request of Elder Mark E. Petersen.





August 3, 1967

Ogden Kraut

163 E. 4th St.

Dugway, Utah 84022

Dear Brother Kraut:

I appreciate very much the pamphlet “Seerstones” that you sent to me July 21. I haven’t been able to complete reading it as yet, but I am deeply impressed with the information and the great amount of research that is required to produce such an extensive work. I always appreciate your sending me this material along with the Seventies pen.

You stated that you are disappointed in your printing of the Stake Calendar and that it was your first attempt, but I was thrilled with the production and can also see in the future many blessings to this stake because of you, your abilities, and your willingness to do this work and at such a reasonable cost. I know that the Lord will bless you because of your services in this field.

May I again say thanks, Brother Kraut, for your faithfulness in living the gospel. The example you set motivates others to good works and I am sure, that because of you and your works, many lives will be touched in this stake.

May the Lord’s choice blessings continue to be with you.

Most sincerely yours,

Your Brother in the Gospel

President Kenneth C. Johnson

Grantsville Stake President

[6]                                                                                                                          January 5, 1972

Dear President Johnson,

Since you called the other night and made an appointment for another interview I have become a little aggravated. This makes the fourth time over the same things, and it is not only an inconvenience, but an embarrassment for both of us, and nearly a hundred mile drive for me.

There has been no trouble in my ward, nor in our stake that has caused these interviews, so it must be Elder Mark Petersen. I want you both to know that I have never shed man’s blood, committed adultery, robbed or done violence to anyone. I’ve never been arrested, I don’t profane the Lord’s name, nor do I smoke, drink or gamble. I have not attended any Fundamentalist group meetings since our last interview, although I have been to some movies and lectures in some Protestant churches.

Some time ago I wrote and spoke out against an apostate who had written some very critical materials against the Church. Since that time he wrote me a letter saying that he was going to get me and that he would cause me a lot of trouble because I killed the sale of a lot of his publications. He has written numerous letters, some of them anonymous, and also telephone calls, trying to get me into trouble with the Church. All of this commotion can probably be tracked back to him.

You know that I have probably spent about as much time in teaching, lecturing, and writing on the gospel in the past few years as any man in our stake. During this time I have held up to seven positions on ward and stake levels and was always glad to do the tasks or duties that have been required of me. I still am. However, if you or the Church feels that it would be better for me to be inactive–if my personal opinions are objectionable, then I am willing to do that, too. My personal opinions belong to me and I can truthfully say that I do not always agree with the Church in everything. For instance, I think that building a temple of God in Washington, D.C. is almost the same as building a new chapel in the middle of the City Dump. However, if that is where the Lord wants a temple, then I go along with it even if I don’t think it should be so. My personal opinions I try to keep to myself.

I hope that you will be satisfied with this, because I know of no trouble except from the above mentioned individual, and that is not worth the trouble to drive one mile for.

Thank you for your patience. I don’t mean to be any trouble to you and hope this is the end of the matter for both of us.


Ogden Kraut


The Office of the Stake President

January 26, 1972

Brother Ogden Kraut

  1. O. Box 222

Dugway, Utah 84022

Dear Brother Kraut:

I received your letter last Tuesday, stating that you had to work late on overtime and so you hadn’t had a chance to get in touch with those people, but that you hoped to see them this weekend and that you would then send the information that you get.

When I read your letter I was sure that you had misunderstood the information that I desired in order to answer the letter from Elder Mark E. Peterson of the Council of the Twelve. This is the information that I required from you as discussed in our interview: (1) a written denial that you are practicing polygamy, (2) a repudiation in your belief in the principle, and (3) a statement that you sustain the practice of the church as understood in the present day concerning this subject.

Would you please be so kind as to send me this information as requested. I know that you will be truthful and straight-forward in your answer so that this matter can be handled properly once and for all.

I express my appreciation to you for the service you have rendered in the past in printing such an outstanding stake directory for us.

I would like to hear from you very soon if I may.

Most sincerely yours,

O/S Kenneth C. Johnson


Grantsville Stake President

[8]                        MARK E. PETERSEN LETTER

The stake president called me in for an interview more than a year prior to this, because he was instructed by Elder Mark E. Petersen to ask me why I had written a book like Jesus Was Married, when it was not an approved doctrine of the Church. I informed the stake president that before that book ever went to the bookstores, I took a copy to Joseph Fielding Smith and asked him if he believed the doctrine. “Absolutely,” he said and then continued, “the account of his marriage is right in the New Testament.” Therefore, I mentioned to the stake president that the issue was really between Brother Petersen and President Smith.

Since these interviews had been instituted by Brother Petersen, I felt that I should write directly to him on this issue. The following 24-page letter was my opinion and belief in the doctrine of plural marriage. I wanted him to correct me where I might be in error. However, his only reply was a form for me to sign, showing my allegiance to the present authorities. This form is also included, along with the revised form which I wrote, signed, and returned.

[9]                                                                                                                                           P.O. Box 222

Dugway, Utah

February 1, 1972

President Kenneth C. Johnson

74 East Clark Street

Grantsville, Utah

Dear President Johnson:

Enclosed you will find a letter to Elder Mark E. Petersen, in response to his request. At first, I thought that perhaps a few short sentences would suffice. However, I realized that these had not been sufficient on previous occasions; so it undoubtedly would not answer for the present either.

You may forward the letter to him with your own comments, if you have any. I am also enclosing a copy of his letter for your own files.

I found that the Church Historian was in error on what he heard, and he will admit it. The other rumors are of the same calibre. I think it is rather strange that such insignificant things are made to seem so important and have caused so much trouble for all of us.

Thank you for your considerations and patience in the whole matter. I hope that we can spend more of our time in promoting the work of the Church, rather than being involved with such trivia.


Ogden Kraut


[10]                                                                                                                                                         P.O. Box 222

Dugway, Utah

January 31, 1972

Elder Mark E. Petersen

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear Brother Petersen,

I am taking the liberty of writing this letter directly to you, through my stake president, because I not only am answering your request, but would appreciate your answering some questions for me.

We are somewhat acquainted, for you ordained me a Seventy in Grantsville in 1966. I have enjoyed and responded to that call ever since by actively teaching, lecturing and writing about the gospel.

You and I and others are hearing all sorts of rumors concerning me. I have heard reports that I was a general authority writing under an assumed name; also, that I had been excommunicated from the Church for years. Another interesting rumor went all through the Provo area that I was in prison for selling secret documents of Geneva Steel to the Communists. I also heard that I had a second wife in Pleasant Grove–but I’m sure I have never yet met her. As for the rumor you heard that I had claimed to be a high councilman, of course this is not true. I have said that I traveled with a high councilman, speaking in different wards when I lived in Colorado; that may be how that assumption and rumor was initiated. As for the story about Anne Wilde’s being introduced as my wife–I didn’t hear it, or I would have corrected the introduction. I would have done so only if I were making a joke, and I certainly wouldn’t be joking like that with strangers, or at least not with people such as Mr. Anderson, who would run with it to the General Authorities, as though he were trying to get some little “duty to God” award. I contacted others who were supposedly there at the time of the introduction, and they said they never heard that kind of introduction on that occasion–nor any other time. If there were such an introduction, I apologize that it was not corrected at the time, so that all of this inconvenience could have been avoided.

You have requested me to put into writing a confirmation of three statements. I believe they are

  1. A denial that I am practicing polygamy.
  2. A repudiation of a belief in that principle.
  3. A complete statement sustaining the practice of the Church in the present day concerning the subject.

[11]         As for the first statement–the reason for this request may have arisen from the previously mentioned introduction, or possibly some other rumor. I will admit that I have had some prior contacts with Fundamentalists, as you may know from previous interviews I have had with my stake president. I had been treated for a back injury several times by Dr. Allred. I have visited his Fundamentalist meetings, sold books to them, and have done real estate business with his associates. But they have not performed any marriage ceremony between Anne Wilde and me–nor with any other woman and myself.

As for the next two statements, I am having some difficulty in answering them, and feel that I must explain them in considerable detail so that my views are correctly understood.

I have always thought that plural marriage was still a doctrine believed in by the Church. You have asked me to repudiate a belief in it which causes me to assume that the Church does not believe that plural marriage is any longer a true principle. I have always defended plural marriage as a true doctrine and principle; but my defending it should not be construed to mean that I advocated or taught people to practice it.

Plural marriage is a realm in Church history and Church doctrine that I have purposely tried to avoid. Because of its sensitive nature, I never wanted to say or write much about it. Plural marriage has always been a “hot potato,” and I have no interest in being a waiter in serving it to others.

I know of no other part of our religion that has caused so much confusion, trouble, and danger as that one. And now I am asked to put into writing my views on this subject without much latitude to by-pass it. In fact, it appears that I am being directed as to what I should think and say about it.

Because you have asked that I deny the principle of polygamy, it seems that I am placed in jeopardy regardless of which stand I may choose to take. If I believe in it as a true principle, then it appears that I may stand to lose Church positions or even be disfellowshipped or excommunicated. On the other hand, if I repudiate it, according to the teachings of former presidents and apostles of the Church, I stand to be guilty of opposing a revelation which will affect my eternal welfare. The presidency of the Church formerly warned the members:

Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned; and I will go still further and say, take this revelation, or any other revelation that the Lord has given, and deny it in your feelings, and I promise that you will be damned. (Brigham Young, J.D. 3:266)

[12]                         I want to prophesy that all men and women who oppose the revelation which God has given in relation to polygamy will find themselves in darkness, the spirit of God will withdraw from them the very moment of their opposition to that principle, until they will finally go down to hell and be damned, if they do not repent. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 17:224)

You might as well deny `Mormonism’, and turn away from it, as to oppose the plurality of wives. Let the Presidency of this Church, and the Twelve Apostles, and all the authorities unite and say with one voice that they will oppose that doctrine, and the whole of them would be damned. What are you opposing it for? It is a principle that God has revealed for the salvation of the human family. (H.C. Kimball, J.D. 5:203)

The pertinent question in this issue should be whether or not it is a true principle. The validity of the plural marriage doctrine was formerly taught to be a test of all the other revelations given to Joseph Smith–one was as true as the rest. Their language left little uncertainty in their views of the matter.

If the doctrine of polygamy, as revealed to the Latter-day Saints is not true, I would not give a fig for all your other revelations that came through Joseph Smith the Prophet…. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 17:224)

I bear my solemn testimony that plural marriage is as true as any principle that has been revealed from the heavens. I hear my testimony that it is a necessity, and that the Church of Christ in its fulness, never existed without it. (George Teasdale, J.D. 25:21)

We have been taught and conscientiously believe that plural marriage is as much a part of our religion as faith, repentance and baptism. (Life of John Taylor, p. 357)

If the `Mormons’ were ever so unwilling to become polygamists, they have no choice in the matter. God has commanded and they must obey. If there were not a word or example to be found in the Bible in its favor, still they must observe its practice. It is in no sense optional with them. It is as much an integral part of their faith as baptism for the remission of sins, or the laying on of hands for the bestowal of the Holy Ghost It holds precisely the same relations to the Gospel plan of salvation, redemption and exaltation,… as the arms and legs sustain to the human body; and with us it is absolutely as necessary to the eternal happiness and behoof of the Latter-day Saints, as the union of the head and trunk of the body is necessary to the perpetuity of mortal life. (Church Historian A. M. Musser, Mill. Star 39:407)

[13]                         The doctrine of polygamy with the `Mormons’ is not one of the kind that in the religious world is classed with `non-essentials.’ It is not an item of doctrine that can be yielded, and faith in the system remain…. The whole question, therefore, narrows itself to this in the `Mormon’ mind. Polygamy was revealed by God, or the entire fabric of their faith is false. To ask them to give up such an item of belief is to ask them to relinquish the whole, to acknowledge their Priesthood a lie, their ordinances a deception, and all they have toiled for, lived for, bled for, prayed for, or hoped for, a miserable failure and a waste of life. (Brigham Young, Mill. Star 27:673)

The fervent manner in which early leaders of the Church taught plural marriage is astounding. No other principle seems to carry the vehemency as did this doctrine.

Apostle Orson Pratt arose before the Saints in 1852, when the Church had just accepted this doctrine, and said:

The Latter-day Saints have embraced the doctrine of the plurality of wives as part of their religious faith. We will show you that it is incorporated as a part of our religion, and necessary for our exaltation to the fullness of the Lord’s glory in the eternal world. (J.D. 1:54)

Nearly 20 years later that doctrine was still advocated just as strongly as it had been when it was first accepted by the Church. Joseph F. Smith said

Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or non-essential to the salvation or exaltation of mankind. In other words, some of the Saints have said, and believe that a man with one wife, sealed to him by the authority of the Priesthood for time and eternity, will receive an exaltation as great and glorious, if he is faithful, as he possibly could with more than one. I want here to enter my solemn protest against this idea, for I know it is false…. The marriage of one woman to a man for time and eternity by the sealing power, according to the law of God is a fulfillment of the celestial law of marriage in part…. But this is only the beginning of the law, not the whole of it. Therefore, whoever has imagined that he could obtain the fullness of the blessings pertaining to this celestial law, by complying with only a portion of its conditions, has deceived himself. He cannot do it… it is useless to tell me that there is no blessing attached to obedience to the law (polygamy) or that a man with only one wife can obtain as great reward, glory or kingdom as he can with more than [14] one, being equally faithful. Patriarchal marriage involves conditions, responsibilities and obligations…. Man…cannot receive the fullness of the blessings unless he fulfills the law, any more than he can claim the gift of the Holy Ghost after he is baptized without the laying on of hands by the proper authority, or the remission of sins without baptism. I understand the law of Celestial Marriage to mean that every man in this Church, who has the ability to obey and practice it in righteousness, and will not, shall be damned. I say I understand it to mean this and nothing less, and l testify in the name of Jesus that it does mean that. (Joseph F. Smith, J.D. 20:23-31)

Plural marriage was taught, not only as a principle, a doctrine, and an ordinance of the Gospel, but it was said to be a law of the Gospel and a commandment of God. In Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord refers to this “law” 31 times.

So stringent became this “law” in the Church that all those who were presiding in the Church had to obey it. The Presidency, the Apostles, stake presidents and others were compelled to live plural marriage or resign. Wilford Woodruff’s instructions were given in this way:

The reason why the Church and Kingdom of God cannot advance without the Patriarchal Order of Marriage is that it belongs to this dispensation, just as baptism for the dead does, or any law or ordinance that belongs to a dispensation. Without it the Church cannot progress. The leading men of Israel who are presiding over stakes will have to obey the law of Abraham or they will have to resign. (Life of Wilford Woodruff, p. 542)

This procedure, strong as it may seem, was confirmed in a revelation which John Taylor had received. It is quoted as saying:

Thus saith the Lord… You may appoint Seymour B. Young to fill up the vacancy…if he will conform to my law; for it is not meet that men who will not abide my law shall preside over my priesthood. (Life of John Taylor, p. 349)

John Taylor commented on this by adding:

We have been told that, `it is not meet that men who will not abide my law shall preside over my priesthood,’ and yet some people would like very much to do it. Well, they cannot do it. If God has introduced something for our glory and exaltation, we are not going to have that kicked over by improper influences, either inside or outside of the Church of the living God. I see sometimes a disposition to try to ignore some of the laws which God has introduced, and this is one of them. (John Taylor, J.D. 25:309)

[15]         The importance of this law upon those who presided seems best described in the instance of Joseph Smith, who did not want to live it. An angel of the Lord enforced that law upon him with dire consequences if he failed to obey it.

An angel with a flaming sword descended from the courts of glory, and confronting the Prophet, commanded him in the name of the Lord, to establish the principle so long concealed from the knowledge of the Saints and of the world. That principle was the law of celestial or plural marriage. Well knew the youthful Prophet the danger of his tasks. Well knew he the peril and penalty of disobedience. (Biography of Heber C. Kimball, see pp. 333-9)

An interesting addition to this account was given in 1905 at BYU by Mary Elizabeth Rollins, who claimed to have been sealed to the Prophet Joseph. She said Joseph had testified to her that the angel appeared to him not once, but three times, between 1834 and 1842, admonishing the fulfillment of this command. (found in N.B. Lundwall’s manuscript collection)

To verify the demands of this law upon the Saints, the Prophet Joseph confirmed it by saying:

They accuse me of polygamy, and of being a false Prophet, and many other things which I do not now remember; but I am no false Prophet; I am no impostor; I have had no dark revelations; I have had no revelations from the devil; I made no revelations; I have got nothing up of myself. The same God that has thus far dictated me and directed me and strengthened me in this work, gave me this revelation and commandment on celestial and plural marriage and the same God commanded me to obey it. He said to me that unless I accepted it and introduced it, and practiced it, I, together with my people, would be damned and cut off from this time hence forth. And they say if I do so, they will kill me. O, what shall I do? If I do not practice it, I shall be damned with my people. If I do teach it, and practice it, and urge it, they say they will kill me, and I know they will. But we have got to observe it. It is an eternal principle and was given by way of commandment and not by way of instruction. (Contributor, Vol. 5:259)

The history of the Church’s acceptance and rejection of plural marriage is a strange story. It may be said to be an ironic paradox. Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, and many others lived plural marriage in the Church, BEFORE the Church had accepted it as a tenet of their faith. The only explanation that can justify their living it is that they were obeying a law of God that had not had the majority vote nor voice of the Church. The Lord in this instance was dictating to certain individuals to obey that law, independent of the voice of the Church.

[16]         The law or commandment was given to those holding the Priesthood not only as being important for having large families and increasing Church membership, but also as an essential doctrine for the eternal welfare of man. This is the way it was introduced and advocated:

From him (Joseph Smith) I learned that the doctrine of plural and celestial marriage is the most holy and important doctrine ever revealed to man on the earth, and that without obedience to that principle, no man can ever attain to the fulness of exaltation in celestial glory. (William Clayton, Historical Record, 6:226)

. . . the great question is this–will we unite with the plurality Order of the Ancient Patriarchs, or will we consent voluntarily to be doomed to eternal celibacy? This is the true division of the question. One or the other we must choose. We cannot be married to our husbands for eternity, without subscribing to the law that admits a plurality of wives. (Samuel Richards, Mill. Star 15:226)

He showed that the revelation that had been the subject of attention (Section 132) was only one published on Celestial Marriage, and if the doctrine of plural marriage was repudiated, so must be the glorious principle of marriage for eternity, the two being indissolubly interwoven with each other. (C. W. Penrose, Mill. Star 45:454)

The only men who become Gods, even the sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. (Brigham Young, J.D. 11:268)

If we do not embrace that principle (of plural marriage) soon, the keys will be turned against us. If we do not keep the same law that our Heavenly Father has kept, we cannot go with Him. (Life of Wilford Woodruff, p. 542)

Plural marriage was once taught as a principle, a doctrine, a law of the gospel, and a commandment of God. Now it is looked upon with disdain or repugnance from most of the members of the Church. Years passed and succeeding generations soon forgot what had been taught, and they looked upon the subject in a much different light. Apostle Talmage taught that it was “an incidental” in Church history, and Apostle Widtsoe stated that “We do not understand why the Lord commanded the practice of plural marriage. . . .” (Imp. Era, March 1943)

Our main issue at this point is to determine whether plural marriage is a doctrine that can be denied. If it is a true doctrine or principle of the Gospel, then it is eternal in its nature. The Prophet Joseph gave us a key by which we can measure those things that are of God:

A key: Every principle proceeding from God is eternal and any principle which is not eternal is of the devil. (T.P.J.S., p. 181)

[17]         If plural marriage is not eternal, then all of those covenants made in that marriage relationship are of no efficacy after death. All those men and women who believed plural marriage to be eternal must later learn that they had been falsely taught and that they are not bound by an eternal principle in their marriage. If those covenants, however, are eternal, then the doctrine of plural marriage is also eternal. It must be one or the other, and not a variable ideology.

If plural marriage is not an eternal principle, then it will have been the most atrocious fallacy ever pawned upon our Church. It would then become the means of the greatest disappointment to many of the Church leaders as well as many lay members. If it is a true and eternal principle which God has not revoked, then it also will become a great means of disappointment to many other members of the Church. In some instances, it was taught to be a law and principle of the Gospel, belonging to the Priesthood and to this dispensation, and in another instance it is taught as a crime, a sin, and men are required to sign oaths that repudiate a belief in it. All this certainly proves that men had better know the issue, and understand the laws of God in the matter.

While you were editor of the Deseret News, there was an editorial in the Church News which is somewhat applicable to this problem. I consider the article a classic in its field. A member of the Church News staff just informed me that you undoubtedly were the author of that article and they said that I would be safe in assuming so. Anyway, I have reproduced it in full and have included a copy on the following page.

The significant part of the article which seems to apply to this particular case is the paragraph which says:

The heaven we hope to achieve is eternal and unchangeable. Therefore to bring the same human nature to the same goal, regardless of the time in which a person lives, requires the same steps and procedures. For that reason the saving principles must ever be the same. They can never change.

I can only say that after gathering the quotes for this letter, I feel that the issue of plural marriage has become the weakest position of our Church. We have so enthusiastically proclaimed plural marriage as the highest and most exalting principle of the Gospel, and then have turned around to proclaim it to be so heinous that it is about the only crime that requires a test oath of repudiation. Such a condition is fuel for the fire of those who would try to break down the position of our Church. The Reorganized Church writes:

Today large numbers of the Mormons cannot believe in the plurality of wives either in theory or in practice. Many fine people are confused. Mormons have been taught that every word of their prophets is the word of the Lord, and now, when they learn the varied, confusing and unfulfilled pronouncements of their prophets and leaders, they [19] find continued faith in them and the principles of Section 132, impossible. (Mimeographed brochures of the Reorganized Church, p. 16)


CHURCH NEWS    Week Ending  June 5, 1965    EDITORIAL PAGE

Our Unchangeable Deity

ONE OF THE most important things we may learn about our religion is that God is unchangeable, the same yesterday, today and forever.

By this we may know that the principles of salvation will always remain the same, and that we need not be disturbed by “new ideas” or “modern innovations” in the Gospel which may come our way.

The great mistake made down through the ages by teachers of Christianity, is that they have supposed they could place their own private interpretation upon scriptures, allow their own personal convenience to become a controlling factor, and change the basics of Christian law and practice to suit themselves. This is apostacy.

The Gospel can not possibly be changed. Mankind is the same, with similar tendencies, hopes, desires, temptations, and inclinations. Human nature was no different in the days of Cain and Abel from what it is today, nor in the time of Christ.

The heaven we hope to achieve is eternal and unchangeable. Therefore to bring the same human nature to the same goal, regardless of the time in which a person lives, requires the same steps and procedures. For that reason the saving principles must ever be the same. They can never change.

WHEN THE LORD commands us to become like Him He really intends that we shall do so. But since He never changes, and since human nature is always the same, identical conditions are required to bring that human nature into harmony with the unchangeable God.

For that reason, the Gospel must always be the same in all its parts.

To say that the Gospel may be changed is to say that either God has changed, or that human nature is no longer human nature.

It is obvious therefore that no one can change the Gospel, and that if they attempt to do so, they only set up a man-made system which is not the Gospel but is merely a reflection of their own views. And since only God can save, only His Gospel can save, and if we substitute “any other Gospel,” there is no “salvation in it.

It is no wonder that Paul in his day wrote to the Galatians saying:

“Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:8)

But even that was not enough. He repeated:

“AS WE SAID before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (v 9)

Neither is it any wonder that the Savior Himself said that there is no salvation in man-made religion.

Said He: “In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15:9)

Paul also taught the Ephesians that there is but one Lord, one faith (or religion) and one baptism, (Eph. 4:5) and certainly Jesus made it clear that the way to salvation is both straight and narrow, and that there is only one way.

If anyone attempts to enter the fold in any other way “the same is a thief and a robber.” (John 10:1)

Knowing an we do that man-made religion has no power to save, and realizing that we all have souls which require salvation, we should selfishly, and in our own best interests, make certain that we accept the right religion, God’s religion, and not try to work our way into His kingdom by some man-made theory.

EACH PERSON might well read the history of his own church and ask himself some direct questions about its origins.

How did it originate?

Did it break away from some other church?

Did its leaders receive a commission–by a current revelation–from the Almighty? Are they truly called of God?

Are the doctrines and rituals of the Church in harmony with the Bible, or are they creations of men who–though well meaning–have gone off on a tangent?

Is its program in strict harmony with the Bible?

If the principles by which any of us attempt to save ourselves are contrary to the Bible, we may know they are man’s teachings, not God’s, for the Lord and His Gospel remain the same–always.

[19 continued] It is rather interesting that Isaiah and Bruce R. McConkie advocate that plural marriage will be a principle of marriage that would usher in the Millennium. What a strange series of events that perhaps will have occurred within a span of 200 years. It may be some day written how our Church proclaimed plural marriage as a means of exaltation, then reversed their views to make it become a sin and a sure means of excommunication, then later reversed it back and again accepted it as a doctrine that would begin the triumphant reign of Christ upon the earth!

* * * * *

It appears that the political wheels of America have been effective in directing the ecclesiastical thinking of many Mormons. Politics and religion were almost always in conflict, and sometimes there had to be a choice between the two. One of these conflicts occurred at the time of Brigham Young. Statehood was presented to him with the offer that plural marriage must first be done away. He voiced his opinion that the principle of polygamy was worth more than the political advantages and achievements of statehood.

Now then, it is said that this (polygamy) must be done away before we are permitted to receive our place as a state in the Union….Do you think that we shall ever be admitted as a State into the Union without denying the principle of polygamy? If we are not admitted until then, we shall never be admitted. (Brigham Young, J.D. 11:269)

Brigham Young was determined to keep that principle alive at all costs. Some people claim that plural marriage was discontinued because the laws of the land forbid it. This is not true. The law of the land, signed by Abraham Lincoln, prohibited polygamy in 1862, but Brigham Young did not and would not submit to it, at the expense of plural marriage. In 1882 another law, the Edmunds Act, was passed; but President John Taylor in his administration refused to relinquish plural marriage to honor that law. In 1887 the Edmunds-Tucker Act was added, including more severe punishments of those who lived plural marriage. So the laws of the land were against this doctrine of the Church during the administrations of Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff.

Dr. Henry J. Wolfinger recently wrote an article in the last issue of the Utah Historical Magazine entitled “A Re-examination of the Woodruff Manifesto in the Light of Utah Constitutional History.” His thesis contends that plural marriage was a gradual surrender to government pressures and not the result of any one thing or at one time. After discussing the above mentioned laws in his article, he continued with the following statement:

[20]                         This paper seeks to offer a new approach to the Manifesto, one which argues that the Church’s surrender was a slow process of yielding up the practice of polygamy rather than a sudden moment of capitulation. (Dr. Henry J. Wolfinger, Utah Historical Quarterly, Fall 1971, p. 329-30)

It is generally agreed by most Americans that the Constitution was mainly designed for protecting the right of freedom of worship. The Prophet Joseph Smith knew that many anti-constitutional laws had been and would be enacted. These views were expanded in an editorial of the Deseret News in 1886.

The Prophet did not say that any law passed by Congress is the supreme law of the land. He knew better. He knew Congress would pass laws that would be invalid. What he said was this… `When a people or a church have received a Divine command and a law is enacted against it, do they not know whether the law is constitutional or not, seeing that Congress is prohibited by that sacred instrument from passing any law respecting an establishment of religion? And if the Supreme Court, yielding to popular clamor against an unorthodox body rules that the unconstitutional law is constitutional, does that alter the stubborn, patient, invincible fact that the law is in violation of the great guarantee of religious freedom? Any man who says that he really and firmly believes a certain law of God binding on him, and who will not obey it in preference to a conflicting law of man or a decision of a court, has either an unsound mind or a cowardly soul, or is a most contemptible hypocrite.

A law has been specially framed against an establishment of their religion. The issue is obedience to God or submission to man; choice between a divine decree about which they have no doubt, and a human enactment that they firmly believe to be unconstitutional and void. It is a matter of conscience…. (Deseret News, July 6, 1886)

John Taylor had previously voiced his sentiments on these same matters by saying:

…when they enact tyrannical laws, forbidding us the free exercise of our religion, we cannot submit. God is greater than the United States. And when the Government conflicts with Heaven, we will be ranged under the banner of heaven and against the Government. The United States says we cannot marry more than one wife. God says different….when adulterers and libertines pass a law forbidding polygamy, the Saints cannot obey it. Polygamy is a divine institution. It has been handed down direct from God. The United States cannot abolish it. No nation on earth can prevent it, nor all the nations of the earth combined. I defy the United States. I will obey God. These are my sentiments, and all of you who sympathize with me in this position raise your right hands. (All hands went up sustaining his position.) (John Taylor, Salt Lake Tribune, Jan. 6, 1880)

[21]         B. H. Roberts was also aware of the discrepancy between God’s laws and man’s laws, but that only the laws of God are eternal.

…so far, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has received as divine law the revelations and doctrines proposed to her by the prophets of God. But suppose a law is promulgated before the Latter-day Saints, and the Church, in the exercise of the liberty which God has conferred upon them, rejects it, the question is then asked, what remains?

The truth remains. The action of the Church has not affected it in the least. The truth remains just as true as if the Church had accepted it. Its action simply determines the relationship of the members to that truth; and if they reject it, the truth still remains; and it is my opinion that they would not make further progress until they accepted the rejected truth…. (B. H. Roberts, Imp. Era, 8:363)

To show further that the laws of men have often come in conflict with the laws of God, many ancient prophets were imprisoned and put to death by the laws of the land. Perhaps the same conditions existed at the time of Christ, for we read that “. . . Peter and the other Apostles answered and said, `We ought to obey God rather than men.'” (Acts 5:29) Thus the decision between man’s laws and God’s laws sometimes must be made. However, it can be a choice which will affect their eternal salvation. Occasionally the disciples of God must place their temporal salvation on the altar of eternal salvation.

Concessions to the Government, such as the Manifesto, had occurred during the presidency of John Taylor. One was known as the Scott Amendment. This anti-polygamy constitution would become a minor compromise, somewhat beneficial to the demands of Mormon and non-Mormon alike.

Charles W. Penrose, editor of the Deseret News, and Franklin S. Richards, the Church attorney, submitted a lengthy letter arguing that the adoption of an anti-polygamy constitution would be a purely political matter in which Mormons would be acting in their capacity of citizens….

In addition, Penrose and Richards emphasized that under statehood the anti-polygamy clauses of the constitution would afford a measure of protection for plural marriage, since the Mormons, rather than the federal officials, would be implementing and enforcing the prohibition of polygamy…. Under such a statute more than one celestial marriage would not expose a Mormon to charges of polygamy, for his marriages would not be legally recognized. (Utah Historical Quarterly, Fall 1971, p. 341)

[22]         John Taylor did make some slight concessions to the Government in this Scott Amendment, as Wolfinger points out, but not at the expense of plural marriage.

Likewise, John Taylor’s acceptance of the amendment, in his own words, `as a political necessity,’ implicitly acknowledged the argument that circumstances were forcing the Church to give way to the Government. (Henry Wolfinger, Utah Historical Quarterly, 1971, p. 348)

Minor concessions may have been a “political necessity,” but a total surrender of the principle of plural marriage never had been anticipated by the Church. Brigham Young said:

There is no half-way house. The childish babble about another revelation is only evidence of how half-informed men can talk. The `Mormons’ have either to spurn their religion and their God, and sink self-damned in the eyes of all civilization at a moment when most blessed in the practice of their faith, or go calmly on to the same issue which they have always had,… (Brigham Young, Mill. Star 27:673)

John Taylor received a revelation during these anti-polygamy crusades, but it directed the Church to continue the practice of that principle rather than prepare to abandon it. Pres. Taylor explained the tenor of that revelation:

God has given me a revelation in regard to celestial marriage, I did not make it,…yet they would like us to tone that principle down and change it, and make it applicable to the views of the day. This we cannot do, nor can we interfere with any of the commandments of God to meet the persuasions and behests of men. I cannot do it and will not do it. I find some men trying to twist round the principle in any way and every way they can. They want to sneak out of it in some way. Now, God don’t (sic) want any kind of sychophancy like that. He expects us to be true to Him and to the principles He has delivered and to feel as Job did, `Though He slay me yet will I trust Him.’ Though other folks would slay us, yet we will trust in the living God, and be true to our covenants and our God. (John Taylor, J.D. 25:309)

Wilford Woodruff also received a revelation in 1880, which states:

And I say again, woe unto that nation or house or people who seek to hinder my people from obeying the Patriarchal law of Abraham, which leadeth to Celestial Glory, which has been revealed unto my Saints through the mouth of my servant Joseph, for whosoever doeth these things shall be damned, saith the Lord of Hosts, and shall be broken up and wasted away from under heaven by the judgments which [23] I have sent forth, and which shall not return unto me void. (The Journal of Wilford Woodruff, Jan. 25, 1880)

The Lord shows His contempt at this point for the laws of the land that were in opposition to the law of plural marriage. President Woodruff received another similar revelation in 1889. This was given during the most severe crusades against the Mormons for their practice of plural marriage. In it the Lord said:

Let not my servants who are called to the Presidency of my Church deny my word or my law, which concerns the salvation of the children of men….

Place not yourselves in jeopardy to your enemies by promise. If the Saints will hearken unto my voice, and the counsel of my servants, the wicked shall not prevail.

Let my servants who officiate as your counselors before the courts make their pleadings as they are moved upon by the Holy Spirit, without any further pledges from the priesthood.

I, the Lord, will hold the courts, with the officers of government and the nation responsible for their acts towards the inhabitants of Zion.

Fear not the wicked and ungodly.

I cannot deny my Word, neither in blessings nor judgments. Therefore, let mine anointed gird up their loins, watch and be sober, and keep my commandments. (L. John Nuttall Journal, Nov. 27, 1889)

It seems so strange that the Lord was giving the Church instructions not to “deny my word or my law” nor to get into a position of “jeopardy to your enemies by promise.” They were warned not to make “any further pledges from the priesthood,” because the Lord says, “I cannot deny my word.” There is no evidence in this revelation that indicates that they were to compromise with the law of the land, or to abandon plural marriage. This revelation was read, accepted, and understood to mean that no compromises should, or would, be made with the government. This revelation was given less than one year from the time that President Woodruff signed the Manifesto.

Thursday, Dec. 19th:. . .During our meeting a revelation was read which Pres. Woodruff received Sunday evening, Nov. 24th. Propositions had been made for the Church to make some concessions to the Courts in regard to its principles. Both of Pres. Woodruff’s counselors refused to advise him as to the course he should pursue, and he therefore laid the matter before the Lord. The answer came quick and strong. The word of the Lord was for us not to yield one particle of that which He had revealed and established. He had done and would continue to care for His work and those of the Saints who were faithful and we need have no fear of our enemies when we were in [24] the line of our duty. We are promised redemption and deliverance if we will trust in God and not in the arm of flesh. We were admonished to read and study the Word of God, and to pray often. The whole revelation was filled with words of the greatest encouragement and comfort, and my heart was filled with joy and peace during the entire reading. It sets all doubts at rest concerning the course to pursue. (Abraham Cannon Journal, Dec. 19, 1889)

The controversy over the Manifesto has lasted for 80 years. There have been two contentions–one that it was a political maneuver to avoid persecution; the other that it was a revelation revoking the law of plural marriage.

This document does not carry the usual phraseology of a revelation, and it opens with “To Whom It May Concern,” rather than “A Revelation of Jesus Christ” or “Verity, thus saith the Lord.” as recorded in Sections 83, 84, 88, etc. Within the document are the words “my intention,” “my teachings,” and “my advice.” which are the words of Wilford Woodruff himself, and it is signed by him. Since it did not even carry the signatures of his counselors, it has been questioned as even being an official statement from the First Presidency of the Church.

The question of whether or not the Manifesto was a revelation from God was discussed in the Millennial Star, in June 1939:

Question:               Was the Manifesto, which discontinued the practice of plural marriage, a revelation from God?

Answer: The Manifesto, issued in 1890 and adopted by the Church in conference assembled, was not a revelation but was a statement drawn up by the leaders of the Church, based upon a revelation from God given to President Wilford Woodruff. The Church has not repudiated the principle of plural marriage but, in obedience to a divine commandment, has suspended its operation. (Mill. Star, 101:413)

I believe that you, Brother Petersen, are the author of an answer similar to this, also printed in the Millennial Star in about 1968.

However, regardless of whether the Manifesto was or was not a revelation, it did not stop the leaders of the Church from practicing or sanctioning plural marriage. Mexico and Canada were busy with old time polygamists and new converts who were just entering into it. The Church authorities said that since the laws of the United States prohibited the practice of plural marriage, then they were still at liberty to practice it in other countries–and they did. I am familiar with early Mormon journals that record marriages being performed by Apostles in those countries for over [25] ten years after the Manifesto was issued. This means that the Church had not surrendered the principle of plural marriage–only the practice of it in the United States. It is evident then that the Manifesto did not stop plural marriage–it only restricted it geographically.

In December 1891 the leaders of the Church petitioned the Pres dent of the United States for amnesty by writing:

The President of the United States:

We, the first presidency and apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, beg to respectfully represent Your Excellency the following facts:

We formerly taught to our people that polygamy or celestial marriage as commanded by God through Joseph Smith was right; that it was a necessity to man’s highest exaltation in the life to come.

That doctrine was publicly promulgated by our president, the late Brigham Young, forty years ago, and was steadily taught and impressed upon the Latter-day Saints up to September 1890…. The Government added disfranchisement to its other punishment for those who clung to their faith and fulfilled its covenants….

To be at peace with the Government and in harmony with their fellow-citizens who are not of their faith… our people have voluntarily put aside something which all their lives they have believed to be a sacred principle. (Smoot Case Proceedings, Vol. 1:18)

This statement concedes the issue of the Manifesto as a political act “to be at peace with the government.” It carries little evidence that the Manifesto was a revelation to abolish plural marriage, because they admit that “our people had voluntarily put aside” the practice of plural marriage in America.

Now then, if the practice of plural marriage was stopped at a later date, in all the world, where is the revelation that revoked it?

There were hundreds, if not thousands, of polygamists all over the continent for many years after the Manifesto. It was no secret, for the Salt Lake Tribune of Oct. 8, 1910, gave the names of Apostles Abraham Cannon, Mathias F. Cowley, John W. Taylor, George Teasdale, and Brigham Young, Jr., who were still living that principle. The names of more than two hundred others were also published.

In the year 1899 Heber J. Grant was also convicted and pled guilty to living plural marriage. His arrest was declared on the front page of the Salt Lake Tribune, and the following is an excerpt from that article:

Grant quickly left the courtroom, walked to the clerk’s office, wrote his check on the State Bank of Utah for $100, and handed it over to Deputy Clerk Little in liquidation of the fine.

[26]                         The charge to which the apostle pleaded guilty, as stated in the information was that he committed the crime of unlawful cohabitation on January 1, 1899, and on divers other days, and continually between January 1, 1899, and July 15, 1899, by unlawfully cohabiting with more than one woman. (Sept. 9, 1899)

The day before this, Sept. 8, Brother Grant was quoted in the same paper as saying:

I am a law breaker; so is Bishop Whitney; so is B. H. Roberts; my wives have brought me only daughters. I purpose to marry until I get wives who will bring me sons.

In spite of these accounts, however, Heber J. Grant and the masses of other Mormon polygamists were not excommunicated from the Church. If the Church was not sanctioning this law, why were they not excommunicated, the same as they are today?

Another interesting sidelight came about in 1901 when a state statute was proposed to allow plural marriage in Utah. Hence the efforts of Mormon people were still trying to continue the right to live that principle. If the Lord had revoked that law, why were the Mormon people still trying to obtain states rights to live plural marriage after 1890?

However, even after considering all the above evidence, I am firmly convinced that the will of the Lord was expressed with the issuance of the Manifesto. In fact, the Lord told Wilford Woodruff to put the issue to a vote and the people would answer the way that it should go. The Lord, many times, had said he would “fight their battles” and that they “need have no fears of their enemies” if they would keep His laws. So I believe that if 95% of the people had voted to continue the practice of plural marriage, the Mormon people would have been victorious, much the same as they were with Johnson’s Army in 1857. I cannot for a moment believe that the Lord would allow wicked gentiles to come in and destroy all of the Mormon people and abolish the priesthood from off the face of the earth. I have no more reason to believe that faithful men who magnified their calling in the priesthood should bow down to gentile threats, any more than I believe that David should have surrendered his sling to Goliath. God has said that He held “the destiny of this nation” in His hands. That I believe! The only fear that anyone should have is that he might dishonor His laws or forsake His commandments.

It seems that the leading authorities of the Church always had difficulties persuading members of the Church to sanction and practice plural marriage. We are told that only 2% to 5% of the members lived that law. Out of 200,000 members of the Church in 1890, 190,000 were monogamists. When the vote for the Manifesto came about, most of the polygamists were out of the country, in prison, or hiding in the underground. The vast majority of the members of the Church voted against the principle of plural marriage–but then they weren’t living it anyway.

[27]         Some people blame the Lord for revoking plural marriage in 1890; others blame Wilford Woodruff for signing it away; but it was the vote of the majority of the members who were responsible for discontinuing it in the Church. It was their right, and the Lord wanted them to use it, because He would not force them to suffer for a principle that they neither lived nor believed. It would not be fair for 95% of the members of the Church to suffer for what 5% were responsible for, any more than it would be fair for the Lord to give blessings to 95% of the people for what 5% of the people had earned. The people voted to avoid the perils that the government was preparing for them. They were willing to concede a principle which they were not even living.

But there were a few members who never had compromised, and they never intended to. They meant to continue it all through time and eternity.

While hiding from the Government officers in order to avoid arrest for plural marriage, the First Presidency sent an epistle to the Saints on this issue.

`Well-meaning friends of ours have said that our refusal to renounce the principle of celestial marriage invites destruction. They warn us and implore us to yield. But they perceive not the hand of the Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth, who has made promises to us and who has never failed to fulfill all His words.

We cannot withdraw or renounce it. God has revealed it, and He has promised to maintain it, and to bless those who obey it…. Whether it be life or death, we must trust in God.’ (Oct. 6. 1885. Mill. Star, 47:707)

No matter what restrictions we may be placed under by men, our only consistent course is to keep the commandments for God. We should in this regard, place ourselves in the same position as that of the three Hebrews who were cast into the fiery furnace…. we have but one choice, that is to abide in the law of God, no matter as to the consequence. (Heber J. Grant, Deseret News, Apr. 6, 1885)

The Prophet Joseph Smith knew that opposition would come to his people–mobs or legalized laws. He declared:

It is thought by some that our enemies would be satisfied with my destruction; but I tell you that as soon as they have shed my blood, they will thirst for the blood of every man in whose heart dwells a single spark of the spirit of the fulness of the gospel…. It is not only to destroy me but every man and woman who dares believe the doctrines that God hath inspired me to teach to this generation. (Fate of the Persecutors, by N. B. Lundwall, p. 144)

[28]         The men who were to live plural marriage had to be strong and unyielding to any types of opposition. Most of these men who were defending this doctrine said that it would never be revoked. Some indicated that the practice would continue as well as the doctrine. When Brigham Young announced that principle to the Church in 1852, he prophesied that it would “ride triumphantly” in spite of the enemies who would oppose them for it. Others also voiced the same feelings.

. . . I can deliver a prophecy upon it… and I tell you–for I know it–it will sail over, and ride triumphantly above all the prejudice and priestcraft of the day. (Brigham Young, Mill. Star 15:31 Supplement)

At the funeral of Elder William Clayton in 1879, Joseph F. Smith said:

This doctrine of plural marriage is one of the most important doctrines ever revealed to man. Without it man would come to a full stop; without it we never could be exalted to associate with and become Gods, neither could we attain to the power of eternal increase. There are, however, enough witnesses to these principles to establish them upon the earth in such a manner that they never can be forgotten or stamped out. For they will live; they are destined to live, and also to grow and spread abroad upon the face of the earth, to be received and accepted and adopted by all the virtuous, by all the pure in heart, by all who love the truth, and seek to serve Him and keep His commandments, they are bound to prevail, because they are true principles. (J.D. 21:10)

* * *

The principle of plurality of wives never will be done away…. (Heber C. Kimball, J.D. 3:125)

* * *

The severest prosecutions have never been followed by revelations changing a Divine law, obedience to which brought imprisonment or martyrdom.

Though I go to prison, God will not change His law of celestial marriage, but the man, the people, the nation, that oppose and fight this doctrine and the Church of God, will be overthrown. (Lorenzo Snow, Whitney’s History of the Church, 3:471)

* * *

Plurality is a law which God established for his elect before the world was formed, for a continuation of seeds forever. It would be as easy for the United States to build a tower to remove the sun, as to remove polygamy…. (Heber C. Kimball, Mill. Star, 28:190)

[29]                         If you were out in a storm, pull up the collar of your coat and button yourself up, and keep the cold out until the storm blows past. This storm will blow past as others have done; and you will see the miserable sneaks who are active in these measures. . . will be glad to crawl in their holes by and by. (John Taylor, J.D. 26:155)

* * *

Many of this people have broken their covenants…by finding fault with the plurality of wives and trying to sink it out of existence. But you cannot do that, for God will cut you off and raise up another people that will carry out His purposes in righteousness, unless you walk up to the line in your duty. (H.C. Kimball, J.D. 4:108)

* * *

None of the revelations of the prophets either past or present have been repealed. . . . These revelations received by our prophets and seers are all of God, and we can not repeal or disannul them without making God out a liar, and God cannot lie. . . . I wish to remind you of a certain revelation given through President Taylor. The command was given to set our quorums and houses in order, and the promise was that if we should obey the command God would fight our battles for us; but we did not obey the command, so God did not fight our battles for us. If we had obeyed that command and revelation given through President Taylor, there would have been no Manifesto. (Apostle Mathias F. Cowley, Smoot Investigations 1:8, Jan. 28, 1901)

* * *

To conclude with what formerly was taught by presidents and apostles of the Church, the following views about plural marriage are again re-iterated:

  1. “Deny it in your feelings and you will be damned”.
  2. “The spirit of God will withdraw the very moment of opposition to that principle”.
  3. “It is a principle that God has revealed for the salvation of the human family”.
  4. “Plural Marriage is as true as any principle that has been revealed from the heavens”.
  5. “It is not an item of doctrine that can be yielded”.
  6. “Plural Marriage is as much a part of our religion as faith, repentance and baptism”.
  7. “Necessary for our exaltation into the fullness of the Lord’s glory”.
  8. “It is in no sense optional”.
  9. “It belongs to this dispensation”.
  10. “The most holy and important doctrine ever revealed to man on earth”.

[30]         11. “We cannot be married to our husbands for eternity without subscribing to the law that admits a plurality of wives”.

  1. “We cannot withdraw or renounce it. God has revealed it, and He has promised to maintain it, and to bless those who obey it”.
  2. “The principle of plurality of wives never will be done away”.
  3. “It is a sacred principle”.
  4. “Abide in the law of God, no matter what the consequences”.
  5. “Without it, we never could be exalted to associate with and become Gods”.
  6. “Bound to prevail, because they are true principles”.
  7. “Many of this people have broken their covenants by finding fault with the plurality of wives and trying to sink it out of existence”.
  8. “For these principles are destined to live, and also to grow and spread abroad upon the face of the earth”.
  9. “Plurality is a law which God established for his elect before the world was formed”.

* * *

The question now arises as to whether they were inspired to make such positive statements. Shall we conclude that these prophets and apostles were wrong, and take our chances at suffering the penalties they pronounced upon all who would renounce that principle? And if they were wrong, right from the beginning of this dispensation by believing as they did, who can we trust then? If they were right and inspired, what other course can we dare to take?

The Lord had promised them that

. . . whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation. Behold, this is the promise of the Lord unto you, O ye my servants. (D. & C. 68:4-5)

The Lord blessed them with revelations, gifts of the spirit, powers and protection in miraculous manners. If plural marriage was wrong, it is almost inconceivable then that God would allow them to fall into error on their doctrine and principles without correcting them. But all evidence points to the fact that the Lord was always encouraging them in that practice.

I have delved further into this subject than I intended to, and the more I research this subject, the more upsetting it is to me. The numerous inconsistencies, contradictions and reversals in the history of plural marriage is enough to upset any lay member, not to mention someone who is compelled to sign a declaration of belief in the matter. There is a great deal of history on this subject that could be explored, and I am aware of a great deal of it, but there is no need to pursue it any further. Nevertheless, I feel that I have shown enough evidence to prove that plural marriage is a true doctrine!

[31]         There are others who are somewhat confused and have noticed the seeming contradictions regarding the history of plural marriage. For example, in a recent priesthood class I was teaching in our ward, some of these conflicting queries came up for discussion. So I wrote to Apostle Benson for some answers. He failed to acknowledge my letter, and now I have been asked to make a written comment on these issues, so I have had to research the subject for myself.

I find that it is difficult to point out a definite time when the Church completely gave up the practice of plural marriage, and it is equally difficult to determine the exact time when it repudiated a belief in it. If the Church has made an official statement or received a revelation to denounce that belief, where and when was it given? If there has been no official announcement to that effect, then why am I and others required to sign a statement of repudiation of that principle?

If plural marriage is a true doctrine, how can anyone dare to deny it? Yet if I do not deny it, what are the consequences? If there are no consequences for not denying it, then why was I asked to deny it? If it is a true principle, why do you ask me to deny it?

Even if my beliefs in this, or any other doctrine, were in error, I feel that they should be open to correction rather than questioning my membership. When Elder Pelatiah Brown was found to be in error on doctrine, and called up before the High Council, the Prophet Joseph Smith came to his defense, rather than his condemnation. Said he:

I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It looks too much like the Methodists, and not like the Latter-day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammelled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrines (D.H.C. 5:340)

I am wondering if we are not endeavoring too enthusiastically in our efforts to weed out or condemn people for their beliefs in these matters. For me and others to sign test oaths, loyalty oaths, or penal oaths seems to create a wedge or a gap in ties, rather than strengthening them. The Prophet said that “Pure friendship becomes weakened the very moment you undertake to make it stronger by penal oaths and secrecy.” (T.P.J.S., p. 146) Catholicism resorted to this manner of preserving loyalty among their members during the dark ages, and I hope our Church does not adopt similar methods. New members just coming into the Church are not required to sign a loyalty oath, and neither are those who have been guilty of murder, adultery, robbery, embezzlement, etc. I am acquainted with Mormons who have joined other churches, but they are not questioned, nor provided with statements to sign, and their names are still on the Church records. It appears that only those who might believe in the principle of plural marriage are required to write a pledge of allegiance to the Church and its leaders.

[32]         As a Latter-day Saint, and an American, I desire and rightfully claim the privilege of freedom of thought. I do not endorse any methods of channeling people’s conscience. Joseph Smith said:

. . . all have the privilege of thinking for themselves upon all matters relative to conscience. Consequently then, we are not disposed, had we the power, to deprive any one of exercising that free independence of mind which heaven has so graciously bestowed upon the human family as one of its choicest gifts. (T.P.J.S., p. 49)

When Martin Luther was arraigned before the Council of the Catholic Church, he was asked to retract his opinions which he had expressed concerning some of the church’s doctrine. He replied:

Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of scripture or by the clearest reasoning, unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the word of God, I cannot and I will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand; I can do no other. (D’Aubigne, Bk. 7, Chap. 8)

To reiterate my views in this inquiry, I will state that to my knowledge the Church has never disputed a belief in the principle of plural marriage; therefore, I profess to believe it as a true principle and doctrine revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

I believe that this principle has always been generally disdained by the majority of the Church membership and so it–like the United Order–was gradually abandoned in practice, and apparently to a great extent in belief.

I recognize that the Manifesto is not a revelation but was adopted because of a revelation which portrayed the great sacrifice that would be required of the members if they chose to maintain that principle. The majority of the Church membership chose by vote to accept the Manifesto and refrain from the practice of plural marriage.

I have not claimed nor desired the right to preach and advocate the living of plural marriage. I respect and honor that principle enough to believe that only the Lord should direct the Church and individuals in its practice.

I do not believe that the Lord nor the presidency of the Church would condone some of the nefarious practices of members who sneak around gathering license plate numbers, calling members of a family to gather confidential information that might be used against other members of that family, or following members around by night and day to “hatch up” some supposed evil against them. It was the Prophet who warned members of the Church to “beware of false brethren, who will creep in among you to spy out your liberties.” (T.P.J.S., p.43)

[33]         I do not approve of the measures used in committing members to prove their loyalty by directing them to sign a test oath or loyalty pledge to other members.

I believe that members of the Church have the right to question the opinions, statements, and teachings of every man in the Church; but not the revelations of God.

I respect and honor the office and calling of the Presidency of this Church, and also all of the other offices, knowing that this is the only Church in existence of which the Lord has ever approved.

I am struggling in the hope and prayer that I may some day be able to “live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.”

Here I stand.


Ogden Kraut

[34]                       BRUCE R. McCONKIE LETTER

Another opponent of the doctrine of plural marriage is Brother Bruce R. McConkie. He has written a great deal on it, and many members of the Church quote him as a foremost authority on the subject.

The following letter of inquiry was written to him, including a copy of a letter to Apostle Ezra T. Benson and another to Herbert W. Armstrong of the Plain Truth magazine. All three scriptorians failed to answer my letters.


The Office of the Stake President

February 24, 1972

Brother Ogden Kraut


Utah 84022

Dear Brother Kraut:

I received your letter to Elder Mark E. Peterson, along with a copy for my files, and forwarded the same to Elder Peterson. I received an answer from Elder Peterson and I admit that I must agree with him that you are just not meeting the issue at all. The 24-page letter covers much information concerning polygamy, but that is not what I want from you nor do the Brethren.

I am sending you a form that is to whom it may concern, stating at the beginning: “This is to certify as follows….”, and seven definite statements are made pertaining to the subjects of polygamy, plural marriage, and your loyalty to the Church; and there is a place for your signature at the bottom of the form (that is if you will comply with the seven statements of commitment).

I would appreciate your studying these commitments carefully and to honestly sign it and return it to me by return mail. If you have any questions concerning this matter, please let me know, but I again express myself sincerely, that you are evading honestly answering those things concerning polygamy that I requested in our interview before. If you are unable to commit yourself to these seven statements then I feel that further investigation in this case will be necessary and following the investigation some kind of action will have to be taken. I feel that it is entirely unnecessary to prolong these procedures by lengthy letters and discourses when just a simple statement of commitment is needed.

May I hear from you immediately.

Most sincerely yours,


Grantsville Stake President

1 Encl.


This is to certify as follows:

  1. That I am a loyal member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, living the gospel to the best of my knowledge, and sustaining the present day program of the Church.
  2. That I accept fully and endorse and endeavor to make a part of my life, the present day teachings of the General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with headquarters at 47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah. I am sincerely in harmony with these teachings, including both the prohibitions embraced in them as well as their positive phases.
  3. That I sustain the present day leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with headquarters at 47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City, as the authorized servants of God upon the earth. In doing so I sustain and accept their teachings as coming from the Lord, and I do so without any reservation upon my part. I regard President Joseph Fielding Smith as the prophet, seer and revelator of the Lord, and I accept his policies and doctrines upon all subjects.
  4. With respect to the subject of plural marriage, may I say truthfully, wholeheartedly and of my own free will, that I do accept and endorse the present policies and teachings of the General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with headquarters at 47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City. I do not believe in, nor teach, nor in any way advocate the present day practice of plural marriage. I accept the Manifesto as published in the Doctrine & Covenants as the word of the Lord. I believe that it was published in harmony with a divine revelation instructing practice of plural marriage in the earth to be stopped, and that it was stopped upon the instruction of the Lord himself. Therefore, I believe that any person who teaches the present day practice of that manner of life is preaching that which is opposed to the wishes and teachings of God himself, and that he is to that extent in rebellion against God.
  5. I sustain the laws of the State of Utah and the United States of America with respect to the practice of so-called plural marriage, recognizing that the laws of both the state and the nation make such marriage illegal and therefore adulterous.
  6. In view of the fact that both the laws of the land and the laws of God are opposed to the present day practice of so-called plural marriage, I consider those persons entering into such marriage as being adulterous in their practices.
  7. It is my intention to live my life in harmony with the present day policies and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with headquarters at 47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City.

[37]                                                                                                                                         P.O. Box 222

Dugway, Utah 84022

President Kenneth C. Johnson

74 East Clark Street

Grantsville, Utah

Dear President Johnson:

Enclosed you will find a signed “To Whom It May Concern” form, as requested by Elder Mark E. Petersen. At first I didn’t feel disposed to answer this commitment, because after I had written extensive letters of inquiry to Elders Benson ant Petersen, they just refused to answer my requests and failed to meet the issue at all; so I thought that I would follow their example by taking a silent and neutral stand on their requests. However, I know that neutrality in spiritual matters is not favorable in the sight of the Lord. (Rev. 3:16)

I have made some minor alterations in the original draft which are only differences in semantics, word definition, or opinions. The only major change is that I have not ascribed all of my faith and trust in the councils of men–so I have included the Deity.

In all of these interviews and correspondences, there is one frightening uncertainty that keeps recurring in my mind–it is that I don’t feel Brother Petersen fully sanctions all of the revelations which the Lord has given to this Church. For instance, in his required ecclesiastical pledge, he has failed to mention God, Christ, revelations, the scriptures, or inspiration as a basis for a man’s trust. I would be very happy to obliterate my uncertainties; therefore, I have enclosed my signed pledge for his consideration. If there is anything in it to which he cannot agree, I would very much appreciate knowing what it is and why.


Ogden Kraut



This is to certify as follows:

  1. That I am a loyal member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, living the gospel to the best of my knowledge, and sustaining the present day program of the Church.
  2. That I accept fully and endorse and endeavor to make a part of my life, all of the inspired teachings of the General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with headquarters at 47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah. I am sincerely in harmony with these teachings, including both the prohibitions embraced in them as well as their positive phases.
  3. That I sustain the present-day leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with headquarters at 47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City, as authorized servants of God upon the earth. In doing so I sustain and accept their inspired teachings as coming from the Lord, and I do so without any reservation upon my part. I regard President Joseph Fielding Smith as the prophet, seer and revelator of the Lord and I accept the Lord’s revelations and doctrines revealed through him on all subjects. (However, I acknowledge that Pres. Smith is human and can err, such as saying that man would never reach the moon.)
  4. With respect to the subject of plural marriage, may I say truthfully, wholeheartedly and of my own free will, that I do accept and endorse every scripture, revelation and inspired teaching of every prophet–living or dead–that pertains to that subject. I have not been teaching nor advocating that others live plural marriage, and believe that the Lord should direct the living or restraint of such matters–both to the Church and to individuals. I recognize the Manifesto as binding upon the Church, instructing members of the Church to stop the practice of plural marriage. I believe that any person who teaches the practice or prohibition of plural marriage against the will of God is to that extent in rebellion against God.
  5. I sustain the laws of the State of Utah and the United States of America “which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, which belong to all mankind” and that the Lord raised up wise men for this very purpose; but that the laws of both the state and nation have now made plural marriages illegal.
  6. In view of the fact that both the laws of the State and the laws of the Nation are opposed to the present-day practice of so-called plural marriage, I consider those persons entering into such marriage as acting in violation of those laws.
  7. It is my intention to live my life in harmony with every revelation that God has given, all that He does now reveal, and all that He will yet reveal for the benefit and salvation of men; and I believe in honoring and obeying every commandment of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and in following the dictates of the Holy Spirit. I also believe that the Lord raised up the Prophet Joseph Smith and again restored to the earth the only true church (with headquarters at 47 East South Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah).

[39]                                                                                                                                         April 27, 1972

P.O. Box 222

Dugway, Utah 84022

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

Church Office Building

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear Brother McConkie:

As a member of the Seventies Quorum, I am appealing to you–a president of the Seventy–for your assistance, if possible. I served as a missionary, traveling without purse or scrip for two years under your father, Oscar W. McConkie, who was my mission president. I never knew him to turn a deaf ear to any Elder or Saint, and I assume that you, too, will be as considerate.

I should like your help in clearing up some questions I have concerning a somewhat controversial subject in the Church today. I value your opinion and consider your capabilities well qualified to properly explain or clarify this issue which has arisen involving Mormon doctrine.

Until recently I have not had occasion to be much concerned with Church views on the doctrine of plural marriage. However, I have before me a Church form (copy of which I am enclosing) that is being used to exemplify Church doctrine, but to me it does not appear to be entirely correct. Therefore, I am trying to acquire the proper answers to this touchy subject.

To begin with, in the first edition of your book, “Mormon Doctrine,” you said that plural marriage was:

. . . practiced until the year 1890. At that time the conditions were such that the Lord by revelation withdrew the command to continue the practice, and President Wilford Woodruff issued the Manifesto directing that it cease. . . . Any who pretend or assume to engage in plural marriage in this day, when the one holding the keys has withdrawn the power by which they are performed, are guilty of gross wickedness. They are living in adultery, have sold their souls to Satan, and, (whether their acts are based on ignorance or lust or both) they will be damned in eternity. (“Mormon Doctrine,” p. 522-523)

This concluding sentence has been dropped from your latter editions of this book; therefore, I presume that you no longer believe that statement. However, Elder Mark E. Petersen still maintains this view and is requiring members of the Church to believe and affirm it with their signature. I consider this not only an error in doctrine, but an unfair means of compulsion upon the personal beliefs of others. He indicates that the Manifesto was a revelation and that anyone who [40] practiced plural marriage since that time is guilty of adultery. If the Manifesto really was a revelation, and a commandment to stop all plural marriages, then it would be correct to condemn all those who refused to stop living that principle. But this presents an embarrassing fact in Church history. Such an acknowledgment would brand at least four presidents of the Church, over half a quorum of Apostles, and thousands of lay members with adultery, raising illegitimate children, and having sold their souls to Satan.

However, if the Manifesto is not a revelation, then those men must have accepted it only as political necessity, so that the Church as a body would discontinue it–thus avoiding further persecutions. It appears then that as individuals they chose to live God’s law, and took their chances against the law of the land. Why else would they have done it?

Many ecclesiastics have become so enthusiastic in their denunciation of the principle of plural marriage that they have unfairly cast down many good men with the worst of sinners. Enclosed you will find a copy of a letter that I wrote ten years ago to Herbert W. Armstrong, author of the “Plain Truth” magazine, because of his tirade against those who had lived plural marriage. However, he was branding the ancient prophets with adultery, while many now are directly, or unwittingly, accusing some of the latter-day prophets with the same crime. It seems to me that there has been some misjudgment, and I would like to express a little defense for those good men. At least I believe that such condemnation is not “Bible Doctrine” nor should it be “Mormon Doctrine.”

You wrote that:

President Wilford Woodruff issued an official declaration on October 6, 1890, known as the Manifesto which withdrew from the saints the privilege of `contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.’ (“Mormon Doctrine,” p. 466)

This presents a problem concerning the keys or the right to practice plural marriage. If they had been taken away at the issuance of the Manifesto, why did so many of the leading men in the Church continue living with plural wives, and also taking new ones? If those keys were turned against the practice of plural marriage, what keys were they using in the Mexican and Canadian colonies? In fact, members of the First Presidency and a few of the Apostles were performing sealings. According to some accuser, they were all guilty of sin; but would the First Presidency of the Church sanction, and even enter into that principle, if it was considered a gross wickedness? Presidents of the Church, Wilford Woodruff, Joseph F. Smith, Lorenzo Snow, and Heber J. Grant, all lived plural marriage after the Manifesto. Did they commit sin, or are they justified–and if so, how?

[41]         In 1910 President Joseph F. Smith confessed that he did not hold the keys of sealing plural marriages. (See 1972 Priesthood Manual, p. 14) However, we have technically still been performing plural marriages since that time, as the following examples illustrate. (1) Many men have had their first wife die–so they took another wife and also had her sealed to them for eternity. (2) Others have had one or more dead women sealed to them for eternity. (3) Also there are men who have a wife sealed to them for eternity–she later takes out a civil divorce. He then remarries another woman and has her sealed to him for eternity, when a temple divorce was never given to the first wife. So, he has two living wives sealed to him for eternity.

In considering this last instance–here is a man who has two wives sealed to him–both are alive and both are promised to him in the resurrection. Is this not plural marriage? Has he or she committed adultery then? The Church apparently sanctions this circumstance because a woman with a civil divorce is not permitted a temple divorce unless she marries again. A civil divorce then is the only bar between this man and his two wives for eternity.

Accordingly then I can see a loophole in civil law, whereby a man could still practice the law of plural marriage today, and do so without “contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.” For instance, a man could have a wife sealed to him for time and eternity. After the woman had given birth to a couple of children, she could obtain a civil divorce and he could have another wife sealed to him for time and eternity. After she, too, had borne a couple of children, she could take out a civil divorce, and he would be free to re-marry the first wife, and continue to raise more children by her. This could be repeated until both wives had reared as large a family as they desired–all according to ecclesiastical doctrine and in obedience to civil law. Is there any reason why this is not acceptable to the Church?

In spite of the various opinions and views concerning this principle, there is too much historical and doctrinal evidence to prove that the Church has practiced, and is technically practicing plural marriage, since the time of the Manifesto. Too many Church records, private journals, and public records, declare numerous plural marriages that have transpired since 1890. If the Manifesto was a revelation from God–and the keys of plurality were turned against that practice–and God revoked that law–then many leaders in the Church failed miserably in obeying it, regardless of what they might have said, or what others may have assumed were their reasons for living that law.

On the following page I have enclosed a photo copy of the September 9th, 1899, Salt Lake Tribune. It is voluntary public admission of Heber J. Grant, that he was living plural marriage contrary to the laws of the land. This incident occurred nine years after the Manifesto.

[42]               The Daily Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah

September 9, 1899

Confession by Grant

Heber J. Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Cohabitation.

His Punishment, $100 Fine

He came into court unexpectedly, accompanied by his attorney, F. S. Richards–No unnecessary talk, the entire proceedings occupying only about three minutes–Apostle’s practical dump guided him to the clerk’s office, where he wrote a check and paid the fine.

Apostle Heber J. Grant yesterday admitted that he was a lawbreaker. Accompanied by his attorney. F. S. Richards, the “business apostle” walked into the criminal division of the Third District court a few minutes after 2 o’clock in the afternoon, pleaded guilty to the charge of unlawful cohabitation which has been pending against him since July 25th, and waived time for sentence. He was fined $100 by Judge Norrell.

It was pretty well understood that the apostle would pled guilty to the charge and his coming in at this particular time was unexpected. County Attorney Putnam’s intention being to let the case take its turn on the calendar at the October term.


About noon yesterday, however, Attorney F. S. Richards telephoned to County Attorney that Grant was desirous of coming in to plead guilty and take his sentence. County Attorney Putnam was willing, and at the appointed hour Grant and his attorney appeared. The court had just settled down after luncheon to the trial of another criminal case, but when County Attorney Putnam informed the court that Apostle Grant had come to plead and that the matter would occupy only a very few minutes, Judge Norrell consented to the interruption.


  1. S. Richards, on behalf of his client, waived the reading of the information and entered a plea of guilty.

“Let the plea be so entered,” said Judge Norrell, “and the defendant may be brought in for sentence on Monday.”

“We desire to waive time, and my client is ready for sentence now if the court please.” Mr. Richards suggested.

“Very well,” said Judge Norrell, and addressing the apostle the court ordered him to stand up.

The tall, gaunt form of the apostle went up with a jerk, and he cast an uneasy, but defiant glance at the half-hundred spectators, as Judge Norrell said: “The sentence of the court is that you pay a fine of $100, and in default of payment that you be imprisoned in the county jail for 100 days, that is one day for each dollar of the fine.”

That ended the proceedings, which occupied about three minutes.


Grant quickly left the courtroom, walked to the clerk’s office, wrote his check on the State Bank of Utah for $100 and handed it over to Deputy Clerk Little in liquidation of the fine.

The charge to which the apostle pleaded guilty, as stated in the information, was that he committed the crime of unlawful cohabitation on January 1, 1893, and on divers others days, and continually between January 1, 1898 and July 15, 1899, by unlawfully cohabiting with more than one woman, towit., Augusta W. Grant and Emily Wells Grant.

* * * * *

[43]         Now then, I recognize how close you are to your father-in-law, President Joseph Fielding Smith. I am sure that you know that his father was married to several wives, and that he apparently did not give them up, nor did he cease to live with them after the issuance of the Manifesto.

On the following page is a photo-copy of the genealogical record of his family history, which was published in a book entitled, “The Life Story of Joseph F. Smith.” I have circled the names of five of his wives who bore him children after the Manifesto. I have underlined the names of 14 children born to him after the Manifesto. Nearly all of these children were born in Salt Lake City after 1890.

It seems so unreasonable, and not consistent with true principle, that the law of God would say that there should be no new plural marriages after 1890, but that it is all right for those who have wives to keep on living plural marriage. In fact, some leaders gave up their plural wives, while others refused to do so. God either commands to obey a law, or else He commands forbiddance. There are no grey areas over an eternal principle!

If conditions really existed, as many say they did at the issuance of the Manifesto, then the keys were turned against further practice of this principle; all who disobeyed the Manifesto were guilty of adultery, fostering illegitimate children, and committing gross wickedness–and they were for a fact in rebellion against God. If such was the case, then this man, Joseph F. Smith, just about heads the list of disobedient sinners in the Church–and all that without excommunication!

But I will not charge this man with adultery, nor with fostering illegitimate children. And I think that it is wrong for “Church forms” to unwittingly declare such a belief.

Joseph F. Smith was not alone in raising a large family in the principle of plural marriage after the issuance of the Manifesto. Hundreds of other Saints did likewise. Twenty years after the Manifesto, the names of polygamists were still being made known to the public through the press. On October 8th, 1910, the Salt Lake Tribune ran an article which listed the names of two hundred of these “new polygamists. The list contains the name of six members of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. I have enclosed a copy of this article. (page 7)

Please note, also, the article next to the list of names, entitled “Smith’s Dishonor.” President Smith said the “Church has obeyed the law of the land, and that it has kept its pledges with this Government, but I have not as an individual, and I have taken that chance myself.”

[44]                       Life of Joseph F. Smith

Chapter 41 p. 487-490


Joseph F. Smith, son of Hyrum and Mary Fielding Smith, born Far West, Missouri, November 13, 1838; died Salt Lake City, November 19, 1918.

Levira Annett Clark Smith, daughter of Samuel Harrison and Levira Clark Smith, born April 29, 1842, Nauvoo, Illinois; married April 5, 1859 died December 18, 1888.

Julina Lambson, daughter of Alfred B. and Melissa Jane Bigler Lambson, born June 18, 1849, Salt Lake City; married May 5, 1866; died January 10, 1936.


Mercy Josephine, born August 14, 1867, Salt Lake City; died June 6, 1870.

Mary Sophronia, born October 7, 1869, Salt Lake City; married Alfred William Peterson, December 17, 1901.

Donette, born September 17, 1872, Salt Lake City; married Alonzo Pratt Kesler, December 26, 1900.

Joseph Fielding, born July 19, 1876, Salt Lake City; married (1) Louis Emyla Shurtliff, April 26, 1898; she died March 30, 1908; married (2) Ethel Georgina Reynolds, November 2, 1908; she died August 26, 1937; married (3) Jessie Ella Evans, April 12, 1938.

David Assel, born May 24, 1879, Salt Lake City; married Emily Jenkins, January 24, 1901.

George Carlos, born October 14, 1881, Salt Lake City; married Lillian Emery, October 29, 1902; died February 24, 1931.

Julina Clarissa, born February 10, 1884, Salt Lake City; married Joseph Strass Peery, December 23, 1909; she died August 1, 1923, Ogden, Utah.

Elias Wesley, born April 21, 1886, Laie, Oahu, Hawaii; married Mary Huskinson Smith, December 15, 1910.

Emily, born September 11, 1888, Salt Lake City, married John William Walker, May 5, 1918.

Rachel, born December 11, 1890, Salt Lake City; married Albert LeRoy Taylor, June 2, 1914.

Edith Eleanor, born January 4, 1894, Salt Lake City; married William T. Patrick, January 1, 1918.

Marjorie Virginia,* born December 7, 1906, Denver, Colorado; married Campbell McLeod Brown, May 15, 1929.

Edward Arthur,* born November 1, 1858, Brampton, Derbyshire, England; married Cynthia Ellen Smith.

Sarah Ellen Richards, born August 25, 1850, Salt Lake City; married March 1, 1868; died March 22, 1915, Salt Lake City.


Sarah Ella, born February 5, 1869, Salt Lake City; died February 11, 1869.

Leonora, born January 30, 1871, Salt Lake City; married Joseph Nelson, June 14, 1893; she died December 23, 1907.

Joseph Richards, born February 22, 1873, Salt Lake City; married Florence Spencer Horn, May 20, 1922, Salt Lake City. Heber John, born July 3, 1876, Salt Lake City; died March 3, 1877.

Rhoda Ann, born July 20, 1878, Salt Lake City; died July 6, 1879.

Minerva, born April 30, 1880, Salt Lake City; married Matthew Alexander Miller, April 25, 1903.

Alice, born July 27, 1882, Salt Lake City; died April 29, 1901.

Willard Richards, born November 20, 1884, Salt Lake City; married Florence Grant, February 3, 1910.

Franklin Richards, born May 12, 1888, Salt Lake City; married (1) Ella E. Olson, August 18, 1913; (2) Naomi Hollingsworth, April 17, 1929.

Jeanette, born August 25, 1891, Salt Lake City; married Blanchard Pettit Ashton, June 9, 1921; he died July 31, 1922; she died January 27, 1932.

Asenath, born December 28, 1896, Salt Lake City; married Clifford Earl Conklin, June 27, 1936.

Edna Lambson, born March 3, 1851, Salt Lake City; married January 1, 1871; died February 28, 1926.


Hyrum Mack, born March 21, 1872, Salt Lake City; married Ida Elizabeth Bowman, November 15, 1895; he died January 23, 1918; she died September 24, 1918.

Alvin Fielding, born August 7, 1874, Salt Lake City; married Amelia Atkins, June 30, 1903.

Alfred Jason, born December 13, 1876; died April 6, 1878.

Edna Melissa, born October 6, 1879, Salt Lake City; married John Fife Bowman, January 27, 1903.

Albert Jesse, born September 16, 1881, Salt Lake City; died August 25, 1883.

Robert, born November 12, 1883, Salt Lake City; died February 4, 1886.

Emma, born August 21, 1888, Salt Lake City.

Zina, born October 11, 1890, Salt Lake City; married Ambros John Greenwell, December 12, 1910; she died October 25, 1915.

Ruth, born December 21, 1893, Salt Lake City; died March 17, 1898.

Martha, born May 12, 1897, Salt Lake City; married Harold Howell Jenson, September 1, 1914.

Alice Ann Kimball, born September 6, 1888, Salt Lake City; married December 6, 1883.


Alice May, born October 11, 1877, Salt Lake City; married Robert Roscoe Sant, June 14, 1900; she died October 20, 1920.

Heber Chase,* born November 18, 1881, Salt Lake City; married Leileth Nelson, September 2, 1902.

Charles Coulson,* born November 19, 1881, Salt Lake City; married Manon Lyman, April 16, 1909; he died April 21, 1933.

Lucy Mack, born April 14, 1890, Salt Lake City; married Ralph Charles Carter, March 18, 1915; she died November 24, 1933.

Andrew Kimball, born January 6, 1893, Salt Lake City; married Gladys Nielson, June 1, 1921; she died February 13, 1938.

Jesse Kimball, born May 21, 1896, Salt Lake City; married Louie May Anderson, September 25, 1915.

Fielding Kimball, born April 9, 1900, Salt Lake City; married Norma Hughes, December 20, 1933; she died December 17, 1934.

Mary Taylor Schwartz, born April 30, 1865, Holliday, Salt Lake County; married January 13, 1884.


John Schwartz, born August 20, 1888, Salt Lake City; died August 3, 1889.

Calvin Schwartz, born May 29, 1890, Salt Lake City; married Lucille Diamond, September 28, 1917.

Samuel Schwartz, born October 26, 1892, Franklin, Oneida County, Idaho; married Jeanette Taylor Whitaker, December 8, 1920.

James Schwartz, born November 13, 1894, Franklin, Onedia County, Idaho; married Valois Bennion, October 4, 1917.

Agnes, born November 3, 1897, Salt Lake City; married Horace John Knowlton, January 1, 1926.

Silas Schwartz, born January 3, 1900, Salt Lake City; married Ceneita Ruth Haslam, September 5, 1923.

Royal Grant, born May 2, 1906, Salt Lake City; married Gaynel Orthella Melk, July 7, 1933.


* Adopted.



We have again been requested to publish in full the list of new polygamists, otherwise and familiarly know as “Sporadics.” The Tribune this morning complies with these numerous requests, and presents the list in alphabetical order, so that if any reader should happen to have a friend in the lot, he will be able to find his name without much inconvenience. The list, as so far known, comprises the following two hundred names:

Aldridge, Isaac                         McClellan, George

Allred, Calvard                         McGregor, D. A.

Anderson, Alfred                     Memmott, J. W.

Badger, Rodney C.                                  Merrill, Albert

Barlow, Israel, Jr.                     Merrill, Chas. G.

Brown, Ezriah                                          Morrell, Joseph

Becraft, John                                            Morris, Robert

Beesley, Fred                                            Michelson, Maurice

Bench, Ephraim                                       Muir, Daniel

Bennion, Heber                                        Musser, Joseph W.

Bennion, Israel                         Nagle, Bishop

Bennion, S. R.                                          Nagely, George

Bentley, Joseph C.                                   Nagely, James

Black, David                                            Nagely, John

Black, Morley                                          Newton, Samuel

Bloomfield, John                     Nielsen, Carl

Bowman, Henry C.                                 Ockey, William

Brainholt, Chris.                       Payne, Edward

Brandley, Theodore                                Peterson, Franz

Brown, Orson P.                       Pierce, Brigham

Brown, Richard D.                                   Pratt, Helaman

Buckholt, William                                   Pratt, Rey L.

Butler, Elder                                              Parkinson, Geo. C.

Call, Anson B.                                          Raymer, W. H.

Call, Willard                                              Rich, Ben E.

Cannon, A. H.                                          Richardson, Edmund

Cannon, Angus J.                                    Richens, Parley

Cannon, George M.                                 Robinson, John (1)

Cannon, Hugh J.                      Robinson, John (2)

Cannon, John M.                     Robison, Joseph E.

Cannon, Lewis M.                                   Romney, George S.

Carroll, James                                          Romney, Miles A.

Carroll, Thomas                       Romney, Miles P.

Carroll, Willard                         Romney, Thomas

Chamberlain, Thos.                                Richens, Orson

Cheney, Frank                                         Regis, Wm. G.

Clark, Arthur                                            Rintch, James

Clayson, Nathan                     Sessions, Byron

Cluff, Benjamin                      Silver, John

Cluff, Hyrum                                           Silver, Joseph

Cordon, Joseph                                        Skousen, Daniel

Cordon, Louis P.                      Skousen, James

Cowley, Mathias F.                                 Steed, Walter

Cox, Amos                                                                Skousen, Peter

Dean, Joseph H.                       Smaley, John

Dennis, Israel F.                       Smith, Isaac

Done, Abraham                                       Smith, Jesse M.

Done, Elder                                               Smith, Jesse M., Jr.

Driggs, Appollos                       Snarr, Daniel

Drochet, Peter                                           Spencer, Elder

Durfey, M.                                                Spilsbury, Alma P.

Eager, John                                               Spilsbury, David

Eager, Joseph                                           Steele, M. M.

Eccles, David                                            Stevens, Alma

Eccles, Elder                                             Stevens, John

Ellison, E. P.                                              Stevens, Joshua

Emmett, James                                        Stohl, John

Eyring, Ed                                                 Stowell, Brigham

Farr, Winslow                                           Stringham, Bryant

Goslin, Peter                                              Summerhays, J. W.

Grant, Joseph H.                      Tanner, Joseph M.

Grace, Isaac H.                        Tanner, Henry S.

Hague, Elder                                             Taylor, Alonzo

Hurst, Walter                                            Taylor, E. L.

Hardy, John                                              Taylor, Frank Y.

Hardy, Abel                                              Taylor, Guy

Harmer, Lorin                                          Taylor, John W.

Hart, Arthur W.                        Teasdale, George

Haws, George M.                     Tenny, Levi

Haymore, F. D.                                        Thurber, Albert

Hickman, Francis                                    Thomas, Elder (1)

Hickman, Josiah E.                                 Thomas, Elder (2)

Higgs, Alpha J.                         Thurber, Allen D.

Hilton, Thomas                                        Todd, Donald M.

Hyde, Ezra T.                                           Thurber, Joseph

Humphrey, John A.                                 Turley, Ed

James, Joseph                                          Turley, Ernest

Jameson, Alex.                                         Turley, Joseph

Jarman, Charles                       Wall, Frank W.

Jarvis, Samuel                                          Wilson, David

Johansen, Jens                                         Walser, J. J.

Johnson, Benjamin                                 Walser, J. J., Jr.

Johnson, David                                        Whetten, John T.

Johnson, Heber                                        Whipple, Chas

Johnson, J. Francis                                  Wilson, David

Johnson, Obiah                                        Wilson, Guy C.

Johnson, William D.                                Wilson, Lycurgus F.

Jolly, Haskell S.                        Woods, Jonathan

Jones, Daniel B.                       Woolfenden, Chas.

Jorgensen, J. S.                         Wood, Edward J.

Kelsch, Louis B.                       Willey, D. O.

LeBaron, Don                                          Woodruff, A. O.

Lemmon, Peter                                        Wrathall, James

Lewis, Walter                                            Watson, Hugh

Lillywhite, Chas. W.                Young, Newell K.

Longhurst, Warren                                  Young, Brigham, Jr.

Lyman, Walter C.                                    Young, Don Carlos

Miller, Reuben                                          Young, Royal B.

McCall, Robert                                        Young, William

McClellan, Chas. E.                                Zundell, Abraham

Speaking particularly of one request of the church has used language which appeared to convey any such teaching he has been promptly reproved. And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.


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

The above manifesto was read on October 6, 1890, to the Mormon conference then in session, and Lorenzo Snow thereupon offered the following, which was sustained unanimously:

“I move that, recognizing Wilford Woodruff as the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the only man on the earth at the present time who holds the keys of the sealing ordinances, we consider him fully authorized by virtue of his position to issue the manifesto which has been read in our hearing and which is dated September 24, 1890, and that as a church in general conference assembled we accept his declaration concerning plural marriage as authoritative and binding.”



Apostle Joseph F. Smith, Jr., in his address in the tabernacle yesterday “challenged any one to show where and when the leading authorities of the church have taught the people anything that would not make them better men and women and better citizens.” (We quote from the church organ.) And he proceeded on the assumption that this could not be shown. But to show it is easy.

It was not calculated to make men and women better or better citizens to teach the pestiferous doctrine of polygamy; nor to teach them that it is their duty to pay ten percent of their earnings to the priesthood without getting an accounting as to what is done with their money; nor that it is their duty to obey their ecclesiastical leaders in temporal as well as spiritual matters, thus making these leaders their political and temporal overlords; nor that it is the people’s duty to lie in order to conceal the transgressions of their priests. All these things, and many others, (as blood atonement.) have been taught by “the leading authorities of the church,” to the detriment of good citizenship, and to the damage of the moral character of their people.



It will be recalled that President Joseph F. Smith, in the tabernacle at the opening of the Mormon conference on Thursday, most earnestly declared that he has never broken any pledge which he had made with his God, the Mormon people, or the world. We now present the following as taken from the official record in the Smoot case, volume 1, page 197;

I wish to assert that the church has obeyed the law of the land, and that it has kept its pledges with this Government but I have not, as an individual and I have taken the chance myself.

This was Joseph F. Smith’s statement to the United States Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections, under affirmation, March 4, 1904. Mr. Smith acknowledges therein that he is a pledge-breaker, and that he is such by personal and deliberate choice. He was a party to the issuance of the Woodruff manifesto in 1890, which declared against polygamy and polygamous living, as he himself has officially interpreted it. The manifesto was in the nature of a pledge to the Nation that forever after its emission there would be submission to the laws of the land on the part of all the Mormon people, including their leaders. In having assisted in promulgating that document, Joseph F. distinctly pledged himself to promote faithful observance of the promise therein made. At the same time he pledged himself to his people to advocate, by precept and example, honorable discharge of the obligation imposed upon them in the manifesto. He was bound by pledge to both the Government of the United States and the Mormon people. But he confesses that he has dishonored himself and disgraced his people through repudiating his pledges to them and to the Nation. As affecting this matter of pledge-breaking there is also the following, contained in the Smoot testimony, volume 1, page 197:

The Chairman–Do you obey that law in having five wives at this time and having them bear to you eleven children since the manifesto of 1890?

Joseph F. Smith–Mr. Chairman, I have not claimed that in that case I have obeyed the law of the land.

The Chairman–That is all.

Joseph F. Smith–I do not claim so, and I have said before that I prefer to stand my chances against the law.

What is a lawbreaker–and especially one who will say “I prefer to stand my chances against the law.” as indicating his vicious determination–but a pledge-breaker of the most knavish variety? As a citizen of the United States Smith is pledge to uphold the law and to live in conformity with it; but he declares that he “prefers” to take his chances against it, is violation of his solemn pledge of citizenship.

It is doubtful, if one should search the world over, if there could be found a case of wanton depravity and utter disregard of the truth such as is presented in this man, Joseph F. Smith. There is so obliquity of which he has not been guilty; so debased improbity and malevolence that has not characterized his life at one period or another; but this final falsehood would seem to set the capstone of knavery upon a long career of brutal profligacy that has seen few equals in the annals of the whole world.

[46]           There is an interesting parallel in Church history regarding the practice of plural marriage. It occurred when the Church did not accept that law, and yet some of its members were living it. We don’t even know when Joseph Smith first lived plural marriage–but we know he did, and we know that it was nearly ten years before the Church accepted that principle. In fact, most of the leaders of the Church lived the plurality law before the Church officially accepted it. After 1890, the Church had discontinued to uphold that doctrine, but again there were a few individuals who continued to practice it. Hence, members of the Church practiced plural marriage before the Church accepted it, and again many practiced it after the Church abandoned it. If Church law forbids plural marriage, are we to charge adultery to those who practiced it before Church acceptance, as well as those who practiced it after the Church discontinued it? Reason would certainly make us feel that those who practiced plural marriage before the Church accepted it are guilty of a more gross wickedness than those who practiced it after the Church discontinued it.

In both of these instances, a few of the Saints considered plural marriage a revelation from God, binding upon qualified priesthood members, regardless of the law of the land, or the Church’s acceptance of it as a doctrine. To my knowledge, it is still a doctrinal belief of the Church, even though I have been told that it was not.

Some day I expect to meet those men (such as Joseph F. Smith, John W. Taylor, George Teasdale, and others on that list), and I am sure that I will be glad to know that I never accused them of adultery. Although they may have been accused of a crime by men, I am sure they are innocent before God. I approve of their actions, and I recognize their faith and doctrinal beliefs and I feel to say that their God is my God.

It is because of these apparent inconsistencies in Church history that I would like to know your present views as they pertain to Mormon doctrine. I don’t want to say or write anything that is not a doctrinal truth–nor do I wish to deny any truths–neither do I want to jeopardize my position in the Church. For these reasons I want to become fully aware of correct principles in these matters.

I would greatly appreciate any consideration you may offer me concerning these issues.


Ogden Kraut


[47]                                                                                                                                                          P. O. Box 222

Dugway, Utah 84022

October 27, 1971

Elder Ezra Taft Benson

Church Office Building

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear Elder Benson,

In a recent Priesthood class considerable discussion came up regarding a statement made by Joseph F. Smith, as recorded in the 1971-72 Priesthood manual. He is quoted as saying:

“There isn’t a man today in this Church or anywhere else, outside of it, who has authority to solemnize a plural marriage–not one! There is no man or woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who is authorized to contract a plural marriage.” (J.F. Smith Sermons and Writings, Vol. 2, p. 14)

Since plural marriage had once been a doctrinal principle solemnized in and out of the temple for nearly fifty years, the question arises, when did those keys and authorities vanish from the earth? I have always held the opinion that that authority was contained within the Apostleship and wherever the laws of the Melchizedek Priesthood were administered. Brigham Young made the following references to the authority of the Apostleship:

“Joseph was ordained an Apostle–that you can read and understand. After he was ordained to this office, then he had the right to organize and build up the kingdom of God, for he had committed unto him the keys of the Priesthood, which is after the order of Melchisedec–the High Priesthood, which is after the order of the Son of God. And this, remember, by being ordained an Apostle.” (Contributor 10:361)

The Apostleship seems to contain all of the authority needed to organize and build up everything that pertains to the Kingdom of God. Apparently Joseph Smith, as an Apostle, possessed all of the necessary keys to organize and administer every law and ordinance of that kingdom. Brigham Young held to this idea. The full text of this sermon is quoted in the first volume of the Journal of Discourses. He continues:

“Could he (Joseph Smith) have built up the Kingdom of God without first being an Apostle? No, he never could. The keys of the eternal Priesthood, which is after the order of the Son [48] of God, are comprehended by being an Apostle. All the Priesthood, ALL THE KEYS, all the gifts, all the endowments, and everything preparatory to entering into the presence of the Father and of the Son, are in, composed of, circumscribed by, or I might say incorporated within the circumference of, the Apostleship.” (J.D. 1:135)

Others, such as Orson Pratt, took a similar stand. Pratt said:

“In those days, some persons, ignorant of the authority of an Apostle, questioned the right of the Twelve to preside, but I would ask, what authority ever existed in the Church that the Twelve do not hold? I would further inquire, had the First Presidency any office that the Twelve had not? If they have, where did they get it?” (J.D. 19:114)

Paul the Apostle placed the Apostleship first in the order of offices when he said that “God hath set some in the Church, FIRST APOSTLES, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers,” etc. (I Cor. 12:28)

Brigham Young added:

“What ordination should a man receive to possess all the keys and powers of the Holy Priesthood that were delivered to the sons of Adam? He should be ordained an Apostle of Jesus Christ! That office puts him in possession of every keys, every power, every authority, communication, benefit, blessing, glory and kingdom that was ever revealed to men!” (J.D. 9:87)

The Lord confirmed these ideas in a revelation to Wilford Woodruff in 1880:

“And while my servant John Taylor is your President, I wish to ask the rest of my servants of the Apostles the question, although you have one to preside over your Quorum, which is the order of God in all generations, do you not, all of you, hold the apostleship, which is the highest authority ever given to men on earth? You do. Therefore you hold in common the Keys of the Kingdom of God in all the world.” (Journal of Wilford Woodruff)

Are we to believe that Joseph F. Smith, who said that “there isn’t a man today in this Church or anywhere else outside of it, who has authority to solemnize a plural marriage” was saying that the Apostleship after 1911 was different from the Apostleship previous to that time? Was his opinion expressed because he was just old or senile and errored in that last sermon; or does the Church today hold the same consensus of opinion? If the present Church authorities or the Apostleship does not hold these same keys, why were they revoked? If Priesthood keys are only revoked because of unrighteousness, should we conclude that the Church is under a condemnation, and does not possess, therefore, the same authority that it once possessed?

[49]           If the Lord revoked the authority to seal in plurality, where and when was that revelation given? If the Manifesto is supposed to be that revelation, why did hundreds of lay members, and general authorities, participate in that practice after the Manifesto? Church records and private journals abundantly prove that plural marriages were “contracted” in the United States, Canada, and Mexico after 1890. If the Manifesto revoked the law of plural marriages, and the authority connected therewith, why were all of those involved in plural marriage not excommunicated? If those who contracted plural marriages were only disobeying a secular law, but not an ecclesiastical law, then those men were justified and that explains why they were not excommunicated from the Church. However, if it is still an ecclesiastical law, as we claim, then why are they now excommunicated instead of just being dealt with according to the laws of the land, as they were shortly after the Manifesto?

I have a copy of an 1899 Tribune with the names of over 200 members of the Church who were living plural marriage–some of whom were general authorities. The paper was crying for the Church to excommunicate them, but the Church refused. Heber J. Grant and B. H. Roberts continued that practice for years after the turn of the century. They both lived and preached plural marriage in defiance of civil law, and apparently in contradiction to Joseph F. Smith’s statement; yet both remained in the Church. Why?

The law of plural marriage was established by a written revelation given in 1841. The Lord re-affirms this doctrine in other written revelations during the 1880’s. Surely if the Lord intended to revoke this law and authority, He would be under the necessity of doing so by at least the same principle of revelation that established it and re-affirmed it. But where is that revelation?

The doctrine and principle of plural marriage has been the most controversial subject in the Church for the past century. Why has there not been a recent revelation given to the Church to clear up the whole matter?

Apparently, we still believe in the principle of plural marriage–having faith but not the works. Technically speaking, however, there are still plural marriages being performed in the temples. We both know that some men have had more than one dead woman sealed to him. We also know that after a first wife dies, men have had a second wife sealed to them. Is this not plural marriage in the eyes of the Lord? However, if there is no authorization to contract a plural marriage as Joseph F. Smith has said, why do they seal these second women for eternity instead of for time only?

In a few instances, a woman gets a civil divorce from a man to whom she has been sealed for eternity. He remarries another woman and has her sealed to him for time and eternity. Now if “there is no one authorized to contract a plural marriage”, then which woman is sealed to that man?

[50]           I have a friend who works for the Kennecott Corporation and who has a large family of children by his first wife. Unfortunately, she was committed to a mental institution. After an interview with one of the general authorities, this man received permission to have a second wife sealed to him. That man has two living wives, both having been sealed to him in the temple. Now has he been led into a deception by not knowing that “there is no man in the Church authorized to contract a plural marriage,” or did Joseph F. Smith voice the deception?

The history of the Church has not always harmonized with the rules and policy of the Church today. The dichotomy of principle and doctrine over the years leaves one in a state of confusion. Some things that were once taught as absolute are now reversed. Beliefs once defended to the death are now considered heinous sins. In the midst of so many conflicting inconsistencies, I would appreciate knowing the truth. Any information or answers to these questions would be gratefully appreciated.


Ogden Kraut

[51]                                                                                                                             November 8, 1963

P.O. Box 222

Dugway, Utah

The Plain Truth

Box 111

Pasadena, California


Having just read your October issue of “Plain Truth”, I have found some things which were not very “plain” and certainly not the “truth”. The article I refer to is entitled “Old Testament Polygamy”, and how “God’s legal statutes made polygamy illegal in ancient Israel”.

First: your article stated that Abraham had an “illegitimate son”, and that he was also guilty of “adultery”. This is a vicious attack upon the character of a faithful prophet of God. Abraham’s son, Ishmael, could not have been an illegitimate son, as you claim, for we read where Hagar was taken by Abraham “to be his wife”! Thus the relationship of Abraham with Hagar could not have been an adulterous one. Where in the Holy Writ do you find any such statement that Abraham was guilty of adultery and of having an illegitimate son? There is none! And further it refers to Abraham as the “Father of the Faithful”–a man to whom all men are to follow, and we are even instructed “to do the works” of Abraham! Had he been guilty of adultery and raising a bastard, I’m sure that God would never have pointed him out as an exemplary and faithful man to follow after.

Let’s look to the scriptures and see how God dealt with Abraham and his family. Note that the Lord had “appeared unto Abraham” both before and after he took Hagar “to be his wife”. This is a good indication that God knew and perhaps commanded Abraham to do what he did. If his relationship with Hagar was adulterous, then surely God would not have made a personal appearance to Abraham afterwards. Certainly Abraham was not guilty of so heinous a sin as adultery, for Jesus said that he would be found in the Kingdom of God with all the other faithful men of God (Luke 13:28), while those who were guilty of adultery would not share so great a reward (I Cor. 6:9).

If Abraham’s second wife, Hagar, had shared the “sin of adultery”, as you say, then why should an angel “of the Lord” appear unto her, giving her comfort and counsel? Why, too would this angel give her a promise of multiplying “her seed”….and then give her a command to go back into the household of Abraham? Would an “angel of the Lord” send a woman back into the house of an adulterer to continue such a “sinful” relationship as you say he is guilty of? Such a supposition is ridiculous and not according to the law of the prophets. The angel tells Hagar she will have the promise of bearing a son and his name would be Ishmael. Hardly a way for an angel of the Lord to act… appearing to an adulterous woman with a [52] promise that she will bear an illegitimate son! What kind of consistency is that? The angel continues to give blessings to Abraham’s second wife, as great as the first, because the Lord had heard her prayers. (Gen. 16:7-11)

Jacob, too, took legal wives, and the Bible calls them “wives”. None of them were called adulterers, whores, prostitutes, lewd or wicked women. Nowhere does God rebuke him for his taking them as wives. To the contrary, He even blesses them and their children for all generations to come! Now strange that even the Holy City of heaven will have the “names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel” upon its gates! (Rev. 21:10-12) Why would God have the names of illegitimate sons born of adultery upon the gates of heaven? It only proves that God sanctioned polygamy!

David is the next man attacked by your writers. His polygamy was as great or even worse than the others, for you call his “plural wives a tremendous, super sin.” Here then the blame must be placed upon God and not David, for it was He, through Nathan the Prophet, that gave David his wives. God also tells him, “if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee”…(II Sam. 12:8). David did not take those wives unto himself; they were given to him of God….and he had to take them. God promoted polygamy in this case, and therefore must sanction it!

When David did commit adultery, it was with Uriah’s wife. At this we see the instant rebuke and punishment and can see that God did not sanction what David had done. Thus the difference between adultery and polygamy. He blessed and led David and permitted him the companionship of Nathan the Prophet, up until he committed adultery. At this juncture, he became a fallen man, and even the curse was upon him and his people. God then said that He would take the polygamous wives of David and give them to “another”. If polygamy was a sin, then God would have given those wives to many other men, not just to one man who was a “neighbor”. (II Sam. 12:11) David was rebuked and chastised for his adultery with Bathsheba, but never for his wives in polygamy. Yet, Nathan was always with David and had many occasions to rebuke him for polygamy, but never did…. only in the case of adultery. Thus God sanctioned polygamy, but rebuked and cursed those involved for adultery.

The children born in polygamy have always had great blessings. The fathers of those children have been of the greatest stock, and a law among the prophets believed and lived by them. The child born of David as the result of adultery was not so blessed. God showed His displeasure and allowed the child to die, despite all the pleadings of David. This was not the fate of the children born of polygamy.

Your writers have accused David of adultery through the law of polygamy, and even termed it as a “super sin”. Now let’s see what the Bible says about David’s life, and if he was guilty of such sin in his plural marriages. “David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, save ONLY in the matter of Uriah the Hittie”. (I Kings 15:5) If David was doing that which was right all the days of his life, then his living in polygamy was right before God and was so sanctioned by Him! If [53] polygamy would have been a “super sin” as you seem to think it was, then surely it would have been mentioned along with Uriah’s wife.

Through the loins of David, came the Savior. (Acts 13:22-23) Other polygamous men lived before and after David, all abiding that law down through the lineage of Christ. If polygamy was such a super sin and the seed of such marriages spurious, then Jesus could not be the Savior, and we must look for another. God would never have chosen such a polluted lineage for His most Holy Son to have been born into. Since so many in that genealogical lineage were polygamists, it must confirm the fact that it was a law unto those faithful men.

Consider the law of illegitimate children and how God speaks of them: “a bastard shall not enter into the congregations of the Lord; even to his tenth generation!” (Deut. 23:2) David’s child by adultery died, but the second son, after Bathsheba legally became his wife, was Solomon, who certainly was not kept from the congregation of the Lord, but even became the King of Israel. Thus the distinction between adultery and a legal wife and child of a polygamist. This is verified all through the Old Testament.

The law of God in punishment for adultery was to be stoned to death. This law, if polygamy were considered adultery, would have had to take the kings of Israel, the prophets of the Lord, and indeed a great portion of the House of Israel–all to be stoned to death!

Jacob’s children by his second wife were blessed as much as his first. His children were all to have been blessed to extend even unto the everlasting hills. Joseph’s second wife, Rachel, was barren and so gave Joseph another wife. Instead of God being displeased by this act, He blessed her and opened her womb so that she could bear children. God then, sanctioned polygamy, and blessed those who were faithful in their obedience to that law.

Now then, concerning these laws of matrimony which God gave to Israel, through the polygamous lawgiver, Moses–in Exodus 20 the commandments begin, and in continuing we find in Chapter 21 this law pertaining to polygamists: “If he take him another wife, her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish”. (Exodus 21:10) In other words God wasn’t discrediting plurality in wives, but He was even giving certain duties and responsibilities of the husband towards the second wife!

Another law: if a man should die, it became the duty of a brother to take his widow to marriage. Even if a man was married, still this law was in force, and he must “take her to him to wife”. (Deut. 25:5) This law forced many men into polygamy. Would God force men into adultery? Certainly not! Thus we see that polygamy was not adultery. It was sanctioned of God and He was giving laws to regulate it. For instance, the Lord–being mindful of a second wife who may not be as well favored by a husband–set forth this law that the son of such a household would receive a “double portion” of goods, etc. (Deut. 21:17)

Many, many prophets and leaders in Israel were polygamists. There was no law against it, and therefore they did not sin. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel were explicit denouncers of the sins in Israel. Yet, in no place [54] did they speak against the plurality of wives. They mention nearly every type and kind of sin, yet nowhere do they call the polygamists “adulterers” or guilty of “super sins”.

These laws regulating plural marriage wore continued all through Old Testament times and even through the ministry of Christ. When Jesus came to rebuke sinful people for the transgressions that were in existence, He condemned adultery, fornication, divorce and many other lusts, but He never said one ward against plural marriage! Yet, many Jews were living polygamy at this time–but nothing is to be found condemning those living it, nor those in the Old Testament times who had lived it. In fast, Jesus said that He came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it! Continuing, He said that there would not be one jot nor tittle that would pass from the law until all would be fulfilled. Thus He left many of those laws just as He found them and never condemned them. He consoled many of the persecuted among His followers with the promise that any of those, who for the sake of the gospel, would lose his house or wife, would receive a hundred fold! (Mark 10:29-30)

How about the prophecies of the future in regard to plural marriage? Isaiah says that as the glorious Millennial reign of Christ upon the earth begins, “seven women will take hold of one man” and ask to be taken in marriage and receive his name. What would be the result? “In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious”. (Isaiah 4:1-2) How could the earth be beautiful and glorious if they were all a pack of adulterers! What a strange way to usher in the Millennial thousand years of peace and beauty in which Christ Himself will come and reign, if we are to accept your definition of polygamy. Apparently, He chooses to have polygamists populate the earth for the Millennium–thus further evidence that God does sanction polygamy.

Let’s look now, to the source of monogamy. Where did it come from–from the old Roman Empire. The old Pagan idol worshippers, who had a shortage of women, made the law of monogamy for their own particular time and environment. We have adopted many of the old Roman laws and traditions into our society and system of life, including this law of monogamy. God has, all through the ages, denounced divorce, but under these Romanish laws which we have chosen to obey, we are legally allowed to make dozens of divorces if we wish. God (in most cases) forbids divorce; but we sanction it. God has always sanctioned polygamy, but our laws forbid it. we practice what God forbids and forbid what God sanctions. It is quite evident that God’s ways are not man’s ways, nor are man’s ways God’s ways.

We have so long existed under these traditional old customs of men (idol worshippers at that), that too many are prone to think these customs have always existed and were the laws of God. Such men persuaded by these traditions are too prone to justify them in preference to the laws of God which run counter to them. Such men write articles like the one which your magazine published.

The article went on to speak about Christ’s coming to His ONE true Church; and said that all the other churches will be on the outside looking in. By this you acknowledge one true Church, one authority, and the one [55] that performs the ordinances acceptable to God. Therefore, all marriages, except those performed by God’s true Church and authority, would not be truly sanctioned. Since the true Church is acknowledged by Christ and He will come to it, then all those who reject revelation from Him would certainly not be the ones looking for His appearance to them. If they reject His words to them, they will certainly reject His person! Since the true Church will be led by Him, and He will reveal His will to them, then we know one of its qualifications for being the ONE true Church. Another would be that it would bear His name–it would be called “The Church of Jesus Christ”. It will acknowledge ALL of His laws to man, and will have a Church built upon prophets, apostles, bishops, elders, etc. His people will not become so engrossed in the wisdom of the wise and the learning of man that they will so “err” within the scriptures as to call the Holy Prophets of God guilty of “super sins”, “adultery”, and the fathering of “illegitimate” children; when the “plain truth” is that they are NOT guilty!


Ogden Kraut

[55a]                     CONCLUDING CORRESPONDENCE

Following are the concluding correspondences, and my final word from the Church. I was accused of teaching plural marriage–which they consider a sin–but they failed to prove to me that it is. The issue apparently is not whether the doctrine be true, but whether it is approved by the present leadership of the Church.

I recognize that it is against the law and order of the Church to teach the practice of plural marriage today. But I maintain that it is not a sin to defend that principle as a doctrinal belief.

It is the nature of many men to concede and sacrifice truth or principle for the approbation of others. Nevertheless, I believe that a man should stand upon his testimony of the truth at all hazards.



May 7, 1972

Brother Ogden Kraut

  1. O. Box 222

Dugway, Utah 84022

Dear Brother Kraut:

I appreciated your letter of May 4th and your signing of the commitments as requested by Elder Mark E. Peterson. Of course the important thing about signing the statements is that the answers be completely honest.

Would you please write to me and simply state whether you are now teaching or practicing plural marriage or whether you attend the meetings of the plural marriage people. I feel that it is very important that you answer those questions direct and not change the statements in any manner whatsoever … Just honestly answer the questions I have asked here.

I just recently received word that you are associated with the polygamist who are now making their homes in the area of Hamilton, Montana. I would appreciate it if you would simply answer the above three parts to the question and that you do not make it a lengthy explanation and that you do not write a lengthy letter to the General Authorities concerning it. This is my request and I would appreciate your keeping it as such. It is important to me and to you and your affiliation in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

May our Heavenly Father help you be willing to comply with this request in the right spirit — the spirit of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Most sincerely yours,


Grantsville Stake President

[57]                                                                                                                             May 27, 1972

President Kenneth C. Johnson

74 East Clark Street

Grantsville, Utah

Dear President Johnson:

Your letter of May 7th has been received.

You mentioned that in signing the statements for Elder Petersen, I should be sure that the answers are completely honest. It was because of this that I had to make some changes in them; otherwise, I could not have honestly signed them. In his original statements? Brother Petersen purported that all who lived plural marriage since the Manifesto were guilty of sin and adultery. I have been trying to find out where that statement could be substantiated. I thought that Bruce R. McConkie would perhaps have something definite on the subject; so I wrote to him concerning it. (A copy of this letter is enclosed.) He did not provide any documentation, nor answer my questions.

I was surprised at the “word” that you received about my associating with the Hamilton, Montana, polygamists. I was born and raised in Montana and have been in Hamilton many times, but I can honestly say that I have never been in the home of any polygamists there–nor do I even know where they are located. About two years ago on a business trip to St. George, I went sight-seeing in Colorado City, but I hope that will not jeopardize my position in the Church.

I have not attended any Fundamentalist meetings since our first meeting or interview. Neither have I been teaching nor advocating that anyone live plural marriage.

As for the question about my practicing plural marriage–I will say that I was recently informed that two apostles of the Church branded me as a “Fundamentalist,” and without any such evidence proceeded to remove all of my books from the Deseret Book Store. Perhaps in court that could be considered libel. It made me very angry–to realize that they have judged and condemned me to that extent, then continue to wonder if I am affiliated with Fundamentalists. If that is the spirit and manner in which they act, then I am satisfied to let them wonder.

I have written several letters to the Brethren asking for information about the belief or practice of plural marriage as being an ecclesiastical sin–and they have refused to answer my questions. I feel that if you or they were really concerned about my salvation, or fear that I might be interested in the Fundamentalists, there would be answers to my questions–documents, references, and perhaps some revelation to clarify this whole matter. It is difficult for me to concede, or accept, [58] a doctrine for which there is an unstable foundation, and on this premise I feel I have the right to inquire and receive answers concerning doctrines of the Church.

The only correspondence I receive are attempts to discover something said or done which may jeopardize my “affiliation in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” If there is some purge in the Church against iniquity, I am wondering why this doctrine seems to be about the only one that receives much attention. When I think of all the people in my own ward that have committed adultery and whoredom, turned agnostic, joined other Churches, asked to be taken off the Church records, become involved in dope, liquor, crime, etc., etc., yet no Church action has been taken against them, I am wondering if too much emphasis and eagerness is being perpetrated against this former doctrine of the Church. If you are looking for transgressing members, I hope that you are aware of the evil and atrocious deeds completed by some of the children belonging to many high-ranking members of the wards in our stake. If you are really concerned about transgressions and iniquity in our stake, I could help you by providing facts, giving witnesses, names and dates of a great deal of sordid and varied crimes. But this may, of course, prove to be very embarrassing.

The iniquitous deeds of others are of little concern to my office and position in the Church, but doctrines of the Priesthood are of vital concern.

Inasmuch as we are corresponding about these matters, would you return the favor and answer three questions for me? For a considerable time I have wanted to know:

  1. The day, month and year when the principle of plural marriage was changed from being a divine law of the Melchizedek Priesthood into a heinous sin or adultery worthy of excommunication from the Church.
  2. Since that law was revealed by God, on several occasions, in written revelations, it surely must require a written revelation to cause a complete reversal of that law. Where is a copy of that revelation?
  3. Why do some of the church leaders so diligently pursue gossip, rumors, and suspicions to seek out members who might believe or advocate that doctrine and excommunicate them–yet they do so little or nothing about other Mormons whose criminal acts make headlines in the daily papers?

If you don’t wish to attempt answering these questions, it is all right–no one else in the Church seems to want to answer them either.


Ogden Kraut


[59]                                                                                                                                          P.O. Box 222

Dugway, Utah

August 11, 1972

President Kenneth C. Johnson

74 East Clark Street

Grantsville, Utah

Dear President Johnson:

A week ago two documents fell into my hands. They have caused me considerable concern because one was a purported 5-page revelation given to the President of the Church, Joseph Fielding Smith. This document referred to me in a flattering way–therefore, I assume that it was a practical joke, especially since it was written by an anonymous writer.

The other letter was written to the General Authorities passing a compliment to Elder Benson and myself, but spoke rather disrespectfully of the other Authorities. After locating the author of this letter, I learned to my dismay that he has written the manuscript for a book containing over 300 pages, including the same kind of material as contained in his letter. I have discouraged the publication of this book.

I respect the views of other people, but I do not condone printed material which condemns the Church or its Authorities. I have been approached by many apostates–some of whom did not even believe in the atonement of Christ–and others who claimed to be some kind of “One Mighty and Strong” like Moses. There have been so many of these that if they would all get together, they could fill a quorum. Each in his own way has wanted me to support his beliefs criticizing the Church–which I have not done, nor cannot do.

There have been many notable authors and respected historians who have appreciated my efforts, and I have appreciated theirs. My interests are with the Church and its destiny, and I desire to have this conveyed to the Authorities. Whatever differences of opinion I have had with the Authorities on items of history or on particular points of doctrine, it is not a basis of any enmity nor is it a reason for assuming that I do not support the Church.

As far as I know, I had never met the authors of the two written documents mentioned above. They were printed without my knowledge or approval, for I feel they are both in error. At the present time I am endeavoring to find out the author of this purported revelation, because it has caused me considerable embarrassment.


Ogden Kraut




August 9, 1972

Mr. Ogden Kraut

Dugway, Utah

Dear Brother Kraut:

Complaint having been duly made against you for conduct in violation of the law and order of the Church, you are hereby requested to appear before the High Council Court of the Grantsville Stake at 115 East Cherry Street, at 7:30 O’clock on the 31st. day of August, 1972, with your witnesses, it desired, to make answer to this complaint.

In the event of your absence, unless you furnish good reason therefore, action must necessarily be taken in accordance with the evidence and established procedure of the Church in such matters.

Kenneth C. Johnson

Grantsville Stake President

[61]                                                                                                          August 28, 1972

Grantsville Stake Presidency and High Council:

A letter from the Stake Presidency has been given to me requesting me to answer a complaint before the High Council. The High Councilmen who delivered the letter said he did not know what the complaint was. The letter states that I may bring witnesses, but since I am unaware of what the complaint is, I do not know what kind of witnesses are necessary.

After considerable investigation into this matter, I am informed that Brother Mark E. Petersen has–for many months–been making long distance telephone calls, writing letters, and conducting interviews in an effort to obtain some kind of complaint, statement or a witness against me. If he feels that I am in error, or have broken some rule of the Church, it appears that he has had a more earnest desire to incriminate me than to help me; for he has never answered my letter, nor telephoned me, nor asked for a private interview.

To my knowledge I have never been guilty of teaching any false doctrines, nor have I contorted Church history. When any disputable question on points of doctrine have arisen, I have written to the First Council of Seventy or to the Apostles to have the issue clarified. In each case, however, they have failed to respond; so I had to assume that I was correct in my views and therefore it was not necessary for them to answer; or else they were unable to answer my questions. Now suddenly a court is being held in my honor; so I am wondering if this is the only answer they have to my inquiries.

A few months ago Brother Petersen said that a man would stand as a witness to testify that I had introduced a particular lady in Salt Lake City as my wife. After considerable inquiry, I learned the “witness” had heard no such thing, neither was there any such meeting as was claimed.

I was also charged with another erroneous rumor that came from a man working in the Church Offices–stating that I had claimed to be a high councilman. After I confronted the man, he checked his sources and found them to be false.

Once I was called to act as a witness for a man who had been called to a High Council trial. The man was never allowed to use the witnesses in his favor; and after the trial, one of the high councilmen told him that the majority of the Council voted in his favor, but the Stake President had received orders from Brother Mark E. Petersen to excommunicate the man.

This is not an isolated case, for I just talked to a High Councilman who has served on excommunication trials. He told me the verdict had already been given from a General Authority before the trials began.

[62]           Last week I was on a tour that visited the State Penetentiary at the Point of the Mountain, and was astonished to find that approximately 300 Latter-day Saints are incarcerated there. Prison came to these members of the Church because of their criminal acts against society; they were also guilty of breaking the laws of the Ten Commandments. The deeds of these men ought to be considered as “conduct against the law and order of the Church”–but they are still members of the Church–while I am being brought to trial.

Within our own stake we have tolerated members who have committed murder, adultery, whoredom, the use of dope, and a host of other atrocities; but I am the only one in several years that has been brought in for trial of his membership. It is regrettable that Brother Petersen has so consistently tolerated such flagrant crimes, but so diligently excommunicated people for their doctrinal beliefs.

For these reasons I feel that it would be of little avail for me to make either an appeal or an appearance at this trial.

Although I am losing respect for a man who would use the office and calling of an Apostle of Jesus Christ in such a manner, I do respect that office. Therefore, I implore you to do as he asks. I honor and love my Stake Presidency and the High Councilmen, and cherish the years that I have labored with and for them. I regret that they must become involved in such an affair.

To clarify my position against any attack or complaint, I will state that I believe in every revelation and teaching uttered by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Nor have I ever found anything in the teachings of President Brigham Young that I would dispute. Therefore, if anyone casts any aspersions upon my doctrinal standing, I believe they will first have to answer to those prophets of God, rather than to me.

There is one consideration which I would ask. . . I plead with you to be careful in judging doctrines or principles which may be considered erroneous or evil. Do not betray the revelations of God, regardless of what indictment may be brought against me. If my doctrinal stand is correct, God shall hear my prayers and He shall make the final judgment.


Ogden Kraut




September 1, 1972

Mr. Ogden Wedlund Kraut

  1. O. Box 222

Dugway, Utah 84022

Dear Brother Kraut:

On August 31, 1972 at 7:30 p.m. in the Grantsville Stake Center, a High Council Court convened in your absence, although you were summoned on August 18, to be in attendance if you so desired, with your witnesses; However, you did send a letter stating that you would not be in attendance. The summons also informed you that in event of your absence and unless you furnished good reason thereby, action must necessarily be taken in accordance with the evidence and established procedure of the Church in such matters.

The High Council Court was in session for four hours at which time all of the evidence that had been accumulated over the years from many sources was presented and the decision of the court was that you be excommunicated for teaching and promoting the living of plural marriage in our day, and associating with polygamist and polygamies groups which creates suspicion that you are living in plural marriage, which is causing troubles and problems in relation to the Church.

Excommunication means complete severance from the Church thereby denying you the privilege of participating in the full program of the Church, including attending to Priesthood Meetings or any assembly of Church officers. You may no longer partake of the Sacrament or speak or pray in public meetings. Your tithes and offerings will not be accepted and you should not wear the temple garments. These conditions will apply until such time as you prepare to again be baptized and be reinstated into the Church.

We encourage you to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to attend your Sacrament Meetings, Sunday School, etc., and prepare yourself in all ways to become worthy to come back into the Church. Confer with your Bishop often. He will assist you to become worthy in preparing to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints again.


Mr. Ogden Wedlund Kraut                                                                September 1, 1972

We love you and desire to be helpful through the steps of repenting and forgiveness, in preparation to again becoming a member of the Church. Our desire is for your best welfare.

Don’t hold malice or feelings because of the action that was necessary, but go forward with a determination to live the commandments of God, because if you take the necessary steps to prepare for membership into the Church of Jesus Christ again, you will receive the restoration, of all the blessings and it will be a day of happiness and rejoicing for you.

May our Heavenly Father bless you to work diligently and long to accomplish these blessings.

Most sincerely yours,


Kenneth C. Johnson President


encl. 2




August 31, 1972

After hearing the case of Ogden Kraut and making it a matter of prayer, the decision of the Stake President and his two counselors: That we excommunicate him from the church.

This decision was sustained by the Stake High Council.


Kenneth C. Johnson President

Grantsville Stake

Max L. Shirts, First Counselor

Grantsville Stake

Ferris R. Williams, Second Counselor

Grantsville Stake

[66]                                                                                                             September 18, 1972

Grantsville Stake Presidency and High Council:

Your letter and final verdict has arrived, and I want to assure you that I have no grudge or malice because of your decision. You all have been well trained and directed in your beliefs, and you have had to act upon them just as I also must follow my convictions.

I was born a gentile in a little cowboy town in Montana. When I became old enough to study religion, it was easy for me to change my beliefs to the principles of the Gospel. However, once I became converted to those eternal principles, it is not easy to believe that they could be changed. Herein lies our differences.

Since I joined the Church, I have been thankful for the testimony and knowledge of the gospel that the Lord has given me. I treasure it above all else–and I always shall, as long as I do not forsake Him or His everlasting principles.

This has been a time of deep reflection–I have experienced so many thoughts and feelings that I decided to write some of them down, and am enclosing a copy. Also enclosed is a letter I am sending to the General Authorities.

I shall miss the Church very much. I loved every moment of speaking and teaching in various wards–and do not believe I ever shirked any responsibility given to me in a Church capacity. Thank you again–all of you–for the opportunities and pleasure of serving in the Church while I could.


Ogden Kraut


[67]                                                                                                                             September 18, 1972

General Authorities of the LDS Church

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear . . . . .

It should still be my privilege to address the General Authorities of the Church, one final time, to convey my thoughts and feelings over the recent Church complaint and action against me.

Although I must associate with atheists, agnostics, Mormon haters, and gentiles of every assorted creed and diabolical belief, it is not for this that I have been condemned. My sin has been associating with polygamists and teaching former Church doctrine! How strange that a century ago only polygamists were allowed into leadership positions in the Church–but now a member can be excommunicated for associating with them.

Hatred for the principle of plural marriage has increased to such severity that Church authors take special efforts to hide or cover up those facts of history. How can the Church promote books which give no report of those early leaders having lived plural marriage? Preston Nibley’s book on Brigham Young, the Man and His Work, is one of several good examples of hiding the issue. Most gentiles on the street could tell more about the home life of Brigham Young than some of these recent books.(And Nibley was Asst. Church Historian!)

Why are seminary instructors told not to mention plural marriage or polygamy in classes? Why has the Church imposed such a fear of that principle, that Gospel Doctrine teachers and Priesthood leaders nearly tremble when the subject is brought up in their classes? They are failing to defend the ancient prophets, and those in this dispensation, who have suffered persecution, poverty, and death for that principle. They are becoming cowards, contorting historians, and wresting scriptorians. The Prophet Joseph Smith warned members of the Church that if they did not defend that doctrine, those keys would be turned against them.

It sorrows me to think that if Joseph Smith or Brigham Young were in the Church today–living under alias names–they, too, would be cast out simply because of these changes made in the “unchangeable” Gospel. I do not fret much about being cut off of the Church–the Lord said we must accept persecution, opposition and perhaps even death if we would defend ALL of the Gospel truths. But, I do feel sorrow to know that my brethren were so willing to lead the forces of the opposition.

[68]           I had heard rumors, but now have received confirmation, that Mark E. Petersen has, with his own money, hired private detectives to gather information and evidence against members who might attend a Fundamentalist meeting, associate with a polygamist, or harbor any Fundamentalist ideology so that he could have them excommunicated from the Church. Moroni said, “Woe be unto those who call good, evil;” and we are now doing this in the Church to the doctrine of plural marriage.

So many things are occurring in the Church which ought to demand excommunication, but these seem to go unnoticed. In our stake–and Church wide–the youth are caught up in seductions; others in prostitution or adultery; and men and women have operations for sterility, use birth control measures, or resort to abortions. I know of a town in Idaho where members of the Church were caught having housekey parties, where wife swapping was the week-end sport. The stake presidency and high council were talking about excommunications, but the matter soon died down and none were cut off.

I am acquainted with the case of an architect who received a special appointment in the construction of one of the Church temples. He was given a special recommend to go through all of the Church temples to help him in preparing for this assignment. About this time, however, it became known that he had been paying for the services of three prostitutes. Some of the townspeople objected to such an extent, that his tour of the temples was canceled. Nevertheless, he retained his appointment as architect for the temple, completed his work on it, and even gave one of the prayers at the dedication ceremonies. Elder Mark E. Petersen knows the temple mentioned–he knows the truth of this story–and he also knows the name of the man involved. You are probably also aware of it. That architect is still in the Church, but I am out–so is my sin considered more serious?

Newspaper headlines told of Roland Kimball Vance and his threat upon the life of a youngster in a kidnapping plot. This man once held a prominent Church position during which time he participated in the excommunication of someone for their plural marriage beliefs. He is still a member of the Church!

The above are just a few of many such cases I could relate.

Since the people of the Church voted away the principle of plural marriage in 1890, they have continually grown in opposition to it in word and deed. It is very singular that all of the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants were given during the first 60 years of the Church. Then when the Manifesto was accepted, which opposed plural marriage, the next 80 years passed without one more sentence being added to that book. Apparently the Lord has not approved of the Manifesto even if the Church did.

[69]           Brigham Young once warned all of the leaders in the Church to be careful how they handled the members, lest some Elder use his priesthood against them. Now then, if my faith in these principles is correct, and since I wear the garment of the Priesthood while you wear some other modern innovation, and you have used your priesthood to oppose priesthood laws, then God shall bring to pass his judgments, if not His vengeance, upon such actions. I speak for all those members since the days of Apostle John W. Taylor, who have had to suffer similar indignities. God shall not be mocked by those who fight against His laws and principles, and He shall hear the prayers of those who have been unjustly cast out.

I shall stand firmly for those principles which the Church once acknowledged as eternal and unalterable. Therefore, I defend not only the principle of plural marriage as being a true doctrine, but also–as mentioned in previous correspondence–EVERY principle revealed to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (such as re-baptism, missionaries going without purse and scrip, the gathering of the Saints, the Seventies as the missionaries, United Order, etc.)

It is not an easy price to pay for defending these doctrines. I must now face life without the Church–my name and writings considered apostate–the loss of my wife and five children–and more sacrifices may yet be added. But I hold no ill feelings, just as the Lord has required, and freely forgive all who have been involved in my case. But I have also done as the Lord directed by shaking the dust off my feet against all who oppose His laws, and I have washed my feet as a testimony against them.

With all my faults and failings, I thank the Lord that I am not guilty of wilfully opposing eternal laws–among which is plural marriage–in principle or in practice. But this you have done.

That truth, like a two-edged sword, is now in God’s hands, and He is free to do His will in the matter.


Ogden Kraut


Delivered by Ogden Kraut

Salt Lake City, Utah

August 27, 1972

It seems as though it was just a few years ago that I was a convert to this Church. The restored gospel has opened my eyes to the condition of the world and the plan of salvation. Since joining the Church, I have had an insatiable thirst for a knowledge and testimony of the Gospel. This search has led me to “skeletons in the closet” or “hidden mysteries,” whichever you prefer to call them. This week I am to appear before the High Council because of my faith in some of these things. This has caused me to reflect even more seriously upon the results of my past researches.

* * *

It wasn’t raining when Noah began building his ark. Whenever the majority of the people in a nation or the Church turn from the Gospel, the Lord will bring about judgments upon them. Wickedness is a sign that God will bring about a cleansing process. Jesus foresaw our day and said that “as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” and that “so likewise when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.”

The Prophet Joseph Smith was the fore-runner to the coming of Christ in the last days, just as John the Baptist was in the meridian of time. The Lord has warned us of wars, pestilences, plagues, famine, etc. We must prepare for them–or be lost in them.

The Gospel in its purity was restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith–and any man, any set of men, or the nation that rejects any part of that gospel will be judged by that law to their everlasting regret. For this is their condemnation–“that light came into the world and they perceive it not.”

What are the “signs” that terrible destructions are about to come again upon the earth?

  1. War, rebellions, revolutions and violence are increasing by leaps and bounds.
  2. There is a major breakdown of morality. Old time standards and ideals about purity, chastity, and virtue are mocked and ridiculed. Here in Salt Lake City, for example, there is a Christian Church which is organized for homosexuals, with membership of nearly 100. Their leader estimates that there are nearly 30,000 homosexuals in Utah.
  3. The wrongful use of drugs, chemicals, and alcohol are increasing at a staggering rate. Laws are coming into being that will sanction them and their users.


  1. The apathy toward patriotism and the principles of freedom is disgusting. Voices that oppose tyranny are like the fading songs of birds at the approach of a storm.
  2. Communism, the worst secret combination ever to sap the earth of dignity and respect, has now taken over the greater portion of this world. In 1906 there were only 23 Communists in Russia-now they have acquired more than half of the earth’s population-and they are gaining more land and people at breakneck speed.
  3. American politics stink. Congress assumes authority not given to them by the Constitution. They make oppressive laws that sap the little man’s pockets. They give billions of our dollars to unfriendly aliens. The Supreme Court reverses old and trusted laws and makes a mockery of their authority. From Yalta and Potsdam our presidents have assumed more power than any king or potentate and have caused the enslavement of millions upon millions of freedom loving people. If Thomas Jefferson hasn’t turned over in his grave by now, he has probably abandoned it altogether.
  4. Film makers, clergymen, commentators, and politicians have undermined nearly every true principle. They contend against the doctrines and laws of God. Apostasy is the altering, changing, or the rejection of the revelations of God. Where are men in responsible positions who will stand up for all of God’s revelations? If there are any, I’ll wager that they will soon either barter their honor, or they will be replaced.
  5. Pornography, whoredom, and illicit sex are the results of our “X” rated movies, dirty art, Playboy-type magazines, and sex orientation in schools. Nudism in advertising, television and books is so commonplace that to find decent literature or movies is a major project. Respectability and integrity is mocked while wifeswapping parties are becoming popular.
  6. The underworld criminal syndicate is a $30 billion business. Crime is the largest organized business in America. We continually hear about the population explosion–that amounts to a 13% increase each year; by the same figures, the crime rate is increasing at 132%.
  7. Disrespect for Deity is a paramount feature of our society. We outlaw prayer in school and teach evolution and other theories contrary to the scriptures. Christians are attending church less and believing less–the churches are giving way to International Councils of Churches who hardly have any doctrinal standards left in them. The only time Christians seem to voice anything about God and Christ is when they are profaning. Sunday is a holiday now–not a holy day; and if it isn’t a holiday, then it’s a day to go work at the office.
  8. Life has acquired a new twist in the minds of America. They are legalizing abortions–then pass laws forbidding capital punishment for murderers. They kill the innocent and save the guilty!


  1. Our prisons are overcrowded with criminals; our mental institutions are packed; our hospitals and doctors are flooded with business. It all simply means that we are a sick society.

It is the devil’s world–his laws are the rules of society–his will controls the conduct of the people–and his principles are the common religion of mankind. Moroni said, woe be unto the children of men when they call good evil and evil good. We are on the royal road to destruction, and these are the neon signposts.

The Prophet Joseph Smith said that this generation is as corrupt as the generation that crucified Christ, and if he were here today and preached the same doctrines he did then, they would put him to death. I may add that this generation is getting worse instead of better; so we cannot expect to see the doctrines of Christ accepted–nor will we, until the next big cleansing of the earth as it was in Noah’s time.

Living in such a degenerate society can be a blessing. The more you overcome, the greater your strength and your reward. What reward in heaven could you expect if you were born and raised in a society like the City of Enoch–everything like a paradise all your life–hardly ever a trial or opposition? But to follow in the footsteps of Christ where you are met with opposition at nearly every turn–descending below all things, suffering all things, and enduring all things–that proves a man! The Lord says He will try us in all things:

For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith. And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal. Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy. For if ye will not abide in my covenant, ye are not worthy of me. (D. & C. 98:12-15)

The Lord will find out if we are willing to defend His principles at all hazards. When we do that, then we have a crown waiting for us.

Jesus died for us–He asks only that we live for Him. His will should be the paramount object of our life. If he wishes us to walk in white in his temple or suffer filth and depredation in dungeons, we should be willing to do it. The Prophet Joseph at one time stood before the Father and the Son; then later he spent nearly half a year in a dark stinking dungeon. Once he visited the Celestial Kingdom and was taught the mysteries of eternal life; then later he faced a mob bent on his death and destruction. He set the example for this dispensation–all we have to do is maintain those principles which he had revealed to him. Brigham Young said;

You may say Joseph was a devil, if you like, but he is at home, and still holds the keys of the kingdom, which were committed to him by heavenly messengers, and always will. [73] Do you ask who Brother Brigham is? He is a humble instrument in the hands of God, to keep His people in the path He has marked out through the instrumentality of His servant Joseph; and to travel in which is all I ask of them. I wish to see this people fulfill in every particular what Joseph told them to do, and build up the kingdom of God. (Contributor 10:2)

There never has been any new doctrine or principle in this Church since the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Everything was given to him. Brigham Young knew this, and that is why he said that all he asked was that we follow the path that was already marked out for us. Our difficulty as a people is not in being unable to accept anything new from the Lord–our trouble has been in keeping that which has already been revealed!

The Lord said, “Whosoever is not willing to lay down his life for my sake is not worthy of me”–and He certainly will try us to see if we are willing. Many are called but few are chosen–because man will usually justify, excuse, concede, compromise, or barter away the principles of the Gospel for a mess of worldly pottage. I remember the words of a song that go something like this: “I’d risk anything for you–I’d do anything for you.” That ought to be the frontispiece for each year’s priesthood manual as a reminder of the priesthood holder’s duty to Christ.

Soon after I was ordained a Seventy in this Church, I researched the subject quite thoroughly. I recall the Prophet making an oration to the Seventies after their organization and he said:

He (God) could not organize His kingdom with twelve men to open the Gospel door to the nations of the earth, and with seventy men under their direction to follow in their tracks, unless He took them from a body of men who had offered their lives, and who had made as great a sacrifice as did Abraham. Now the Lord has got His Twelve and His Seventy, and there will be other quorums of Seventies called, who will make the sacrifice, and those who have not made their sacrifices and their offerings now, will make them hereafter. (D.H.C. 2:182)

No man can make the sacrifice of Abraham unless he has gained sufficient testimony to know that what he does is the will of God. When a man has gained a sufficient faith that will make him lay down his life to maintain these principles of the gospel, then he will make the sacrifice of Abraham. But too often men immediately protect their temporal possessions, their name in society, or their life, by excusing away their obligation to defend these principles. One of the shrewdest manipulations and mental contortions I have ever heard is from men who say, “Oh, we believe those principles, but we do not advocate, defend, or practice them.” Now I’ll tell you that any man who does not advocate, defend or practice a principle is the man who does not believe in it! When the Prophet Joseph saw the Celestial Kingdom, he saw that the only men who got there were those who were [74] “valiant” in their testimony of Christ. Now I ask you how a man can be “valiant” for Christ’s principles if he does not advocate, defend, or practice them?

Many men will arise in a testimony meeting and say that their two years in the mission field were the best and most spiritual years of their lives. The reason they say that is because when they were released from their missions, they began to take upon them the spirit of the world. It should not be that way. The last two years of a man’s life should be his best–his most spiritual–his most abundant in the Spirit of God. Each year of a man’s life should improve–spiritually if nothing else. The Spirit of God should develop and increase with the man–through all eternity. His testimony should grow, and it should be his greatest possession. The only men who apostatize–the only ones who forsake the principles of the Gospel–are those who lose the Spirit of God. The only way they can do this is to deny, by word or deed, those sacred principles which they knew to be true.

The devil works hardest upon those who have a testimony or knowledge of the truth. The major trials of this Church have been from those within it rather than from those outside. It is from those who forsake the Gospel doctrines that cause the spiritual saints their deepest sorrows. The Prophet Joseph said:

Where is one like Christ? He cannot be found on earth. Then why should His followers complain, if from those whom they once called brethren, and considered as standing in the nearest relation in the everlasting covenant, they should receive persecution? (T.P.J.S., p. 68)

The witnesses of the Book of Mormon, some of the apostles, and many of the leading members of the Church, once met in the Kirtland Temple to seek a way to get rid of Joseph Smith and put in David Whitmer as president of the Church. It was also Joseph’s counselors and leaders who helped or led in his martyrdom: This shows how powerful and how high the devil can reach to bring about opposition to those who maintain these principles.

There is another danger in transgressing the laws, changing the ordinances, or breaking the everlasting covenant–and that is the loss of the priesthood. The Prophet Joseph said that if the ancient church would have maintained Christ’s doctrines and ordinances, they would still possess the priesthood to this day. Hence, the danger to the priesthood is not so much the worldly opposition against it, but rather in the compromises, the bartering of those eternal and everlasting doctrines and ordinances which belong to the priesthood. It doesn’t matter how much priesthood a man, or set of men, claim to have if they vote or sanction away the laws of the priesthood–for it cannot be done. The moment any man–and I mean ANY man–uses the priesthood to oppose a law of the priesthood, he will dwindle in power and spiritual gifts, and incur the displeasure of the Almighty. It doesn’t matter if Mao Tse Tung, the Pope, or some Elder or presi-[75]dent of the Church or even an angel of light comes to tell you that eternal principles are no longer eternal, you may know that they are mistaken. The Prophet Joseph gave a key to detect the devil, and we all remembered that it was by the color of his hair–but the other part of that detection was “by his contradicting a former revelation.” Hence, anyone who teaches anything contrary to the revelations given through Joseph Smith is marked–should I say with the mark of the beast. For this reason we have been exhorted in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants never to trust in the arm of flesh, but rather in the revelations of the Lord. They are the yardstick of truth. The Prophet said that he would maintain a true principle even if he had to stand alone in it. We should do the same, for all those who reject eternal principles “walk in darkness at noonday”–in other words they don’t even know they are in darkness.

The early Christian Church is an example of substituting man-made theories for the doctrines of Christ. Some people in our Church today wonder if we, too, have not been making some alterations and our religion is beginning to evolve. I refer to an article in the Church News concerning man’s evolution of religion. (see article on following page.)

Men who defend true principles will certainly not be left alone by the devil. Opposition will surely come to the advocates of truth. But it is often very surprising from whence the opposition comes.

One hundred years ago they taught that we should gather the “elect” out of the nations and bring them here to these valleys for the Lord had said:

…ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts; wherefore the decree hath gone forth from the Father that they shall be gathered in unto one place upon the face of this land, to prepare their hearts and be prepared in all things against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked. (D. & C. 29:7-8)

The missionaries who went to do this were the Seventies, not the Elders, for the Lord said:

The Seventy are also called to preach the gospel, and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world–thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling. (D.& C.107:25)

Then they were directed to travel without purse or scrip. They depended upon the Lord, not their parents, for their support. They didn’t have cars, tape recorders, cameras, checking accounts and apartments. The Lord wanted them to travel without purse or scrip–He sent them that way in the meridian of time, and He did the same with the beginning of this dispensation. For he revealed that

[76]                                                           16-CHURCH WEEK ENDING APRIL 29, 1972


Does Religion Evolve?

A recent newspaper headline read: “Science Evolves, So Does Religious Thought.”

It is true enough that many ideas pertaining to religion have evolved, some of which are even based upon superstitions.

The reason we have so many denominations in Christendom is that religious taught certainly has evolved, been changed, added upon, variously called heresy or orthodoxy, dubbed superstition or otherwise forced through further mutations of one kind or another.

Of course, the religions of today have evolved. They have changed with almost every new reformer and every persuasive personality who enters the ministry.

ALL THIS CHANGE may be a great tribute to freedom of speech and worship, but it is hardly in keeping with basic Christian doctrine.

We, too, believe that all should be permitted to worship as they please; let them worship what, where or how they may. This is part of free agency. It is likewise true that we are at liberty to reject religion altogether if we so desire, denounce it, spurn it, or ignore it. That too is part of free agency.

But God gave us more than free agency. He gave us an UNCHANGEABLE gospel plan, which is the same yesterday, today and forever. That gospel is Christ’s. It is not subject to evolution or alteration according to the changing views of the preachers or congregation.

HE GAVE US one straight and narrow way. Paul said there is only “one Lord, one faith (or true religion), one baptism, one God and Father of all.” (Eph 4).

When he wrote to the Galatians who had changed or departed from some of Christ’s doctrines he said:

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you? . . . I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel, WHICH IS NOT ANOTHER.” (Gal. 1:6).

Of course, it was not another gospel, for there is only one. It might have been another religion, but it could not be another gospel of Christ, for there is only one. No one can make substitutions or alterations in it. It is eternal and unchangeable.

THE EVOLUTION of religion thought is what brought about the great apostasy from the truth. When truth is altered, it is no longer truth. When the gospel plan is changed to suit men’s notions, it ceases to be the gospel.

To use Paul’s argument: “It is not another gospel but there be some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ.”

Denominationalism is irrefutable evidence that there has been a widespread departure from Christ. It is the result of a religious evolution, or revolution, which eventually made necessary the restoration of the truth through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

[77]           …it is expedient that I give unto you this commandment that ye become even as my friends in days when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power; for I suffered them not to have purse or script, neither two coats. Behold I send you out to prove the world, and the laborer is worthy of his hire.

Therefore, let no man among you, for this commandment is unto all the faithful who are called of God in the church unto the ministry, from this hour take purse or scrip, that goeth forth to proclaim this gospel of the kingdom. (D. C. 84:77,78,79,86)

The purpose of the restoration was for gathering the “elect,” not to convert the world. It was to gather them into one place where they could be taught higher laws such as the United Order. This Order was not a temporal institution, nor was it an experiment. The Lord declared:

Verily I say unto you, my friends, I give unto you counsel, and a commandment, concerning all the properties which belong to the order which I commanded to be organized and established, to be a united order, and an everlasting order for the benefit of my church, and for the salvation of men until I come…. (D. & C. 104:1)

There were other doctrines taught and practiced like re-baptism, blood atonement, plural marriage, that God became Adam or the first man, one-style garment, and a literal organized body of men who were the Kingdom of God on the earth.

President J. Reuben Clark noticed changes coming into the Church, and he warned us of them:

Foes from without were not the church’s undoing; it was those who were within. I want to say to you brethren, and I am not professing any spirit of seership or prophecy, I am only going on the lessons which history has taught me, but I tell you we are beginning to follow along the course of the early Christian Church. So long as that Church was persecuted from without, it prospered, but when it began to be polluted from within, the church began to wither.

There is creeping into our midst, and I warn you brethren about it, and I urge you to meet it, a great host of sectarian doctrines that have no place amongst us. The gospel in its simplicity, is to be found in the revelations, the teachings of the prophet and the early Leaders of the Church. We shall make no mistake if we follow them. We shall make mistakes, and we shall lead our youth, or some of them, to apostasy if we try to harmonize our simple beliefs with the philosophy and the speculations of sectarian doctrines.

[78]                         We must not “liberalize” (and I put that term in quotes) our teachings; we must accept them as God gave them to us…. (J. Reuben Clark, Melchizedek Priesthood Lesson Manual, 1968-9 from “Immortality & Eternal Life,” p. 156)

Although J. Reuben Clark meant well in saying that we should follow the early leaders of the Church, and we would make no mistake if we follow them, it would now mean certain excommunication for the man who would. These doctrines may have been popular once upon a time, but they are taboo in the Church today.

Recently I have had to defend some of the more unpopular principles of our religion, and it has caused no little stir. Because of my stand, I have apparently developed a few enemies. Since some complaint has just been made against me, I am to appear before the Stake High Council for trial.

Martin Luther once said, “God does not lead me–He pushes me.” I have felt this same way, because I have never wanted any more in this Church than to teach a little Priesthood or Sunday School class. Yet I have been called to be counselor to a branch president; priesthood instructor to the elders, seventies, high priests; on the Stake Sunday School Board; Stake Mutual Improvement Instructor, Stake Speech Director, home teacher, and Gospel Doctrine teacher–the latter for nearly 20 years.

I can never remember being without a Church position. I love the Church and always have. It is a trust for which I have been willing to lay down my life–but now it appears that they may throw me out. I hope that such a thing shall not occur; but if my enemies bring this about, I shall endeavor, more than ever before, to keep the Spirit of the Lord. There is one consolation–they have tossed out better men than me. Apostles John W. Taylor and Mathias Cowley went out because their conduct was not according to the law and order of the Church–yet they were very good men. John W. Taylor was a witness of Christ and perhaps one of the most spiritual men this Church ever had. Why some of these things take place, I do not understand; but the Lord has reasons–tests, trials, or a purpose known only to Him.

This is a moment of sadness for me–a moment that may cause a great change in my life. Perhaps I could avoid these apparent consequences, but I would have to compromise my beliefs. I have weighed the matter many times and dare not pledge myself against my own convictions. Whether I am right or wrong, it would be unsafe for me to deny my faith. But through dreams, the Lord has manifest certain dangers to my life, which proved to be true. By the same Spirit and power, He has manifest the truth and the untruth of many principles; therefore, I must continue to defend and trust in those things which I know to be true. There is always a price to pay in maintaining the doctrines and commandments of the Gospel–and to each man it may come in a different way. But whatever the Lord brings upon us, we should humbly accept and acknowledge that we are willing to follow Him and do His will. This reminds me of one of my favorite stories. The basis of this allegory came from the Christians in China, but I have taken the liberty of making some applicable alterations.

[79]                                BAMBOO

Once upon a time there grew a beautiful garden of many kinds of vegetation, and in the midst of this garden grew a bamboo tree. Year after year the Master of the garden would walk about taking the most tender care of all his plants. Then one day the Master came to the bamboo tree and said, “Bamboo, I now have another use for you.” Bamboo was thrilled–it was a special mission for his Master! Bamboo’s voice was joyous and gay as he said, “Master, I am ready. Use me as you wish.” It was a noble gesture, for his life was dedicated to the service of his Master.

But the Master’s voice was very solemn when he said, “Bamboo, I must cut you down.”

“Cut me down?” cried Bamboo. “Oh, no, Master–do not cut me down. You, who have so carefully and tenderly cared for me–you have faithfully helped me to grow–now you will cut me down?”

“Beloved Bamboo,” replied the Master, “If I do not cut you down, I cannot use you.”

Silence fell upon the garden. The wind held its breath; the sun fell behind a cloud. Bamboo’s head dropped. With difficulty and with a quivering voice, Bamboo said, “Master, if you cannot use me unless you cut me down, then do your will and cut me down.”

“Dear Bamboo, I must also cut away your leaves and your branches.”

“Oh, my Master! Spare me; lay not my honor and glory to the dust! Why would you take away from me my leaves and branches also?”

“Bamboo, unless I take them away, I cannot use you,” came the reply.

With deep sadness Bamboo softly said, “Master, If you would use me, then take away my leaves and my branches.”

Then with a firm and serious voice the Master continued, “Bamboo, I must also cut you in two–and cut out your heart; for if I do not, I cannot use you.”

Never before had the world of Bamboo been so dark. Tears welled up as he tried to control his feelings. It seemed that everything worthy in life was to be taken away. Finally Bamboo looked up and faced his Master. Then he said, “Master, I love you more than myself, and I will do your will. If you must tear out my heart and cut me in two, then I am willing that you do your will with me.”

So the Master of the garden cut Bamboo down. He hacked off the branches; he stripped away the leaves; he divided him in two; and he cut out his hearts. Then the Master carried Bamboo to a spring of fresh water near his dry and parched fields. He placed one end of Bamboo into the stream and the other into a furrow of the field. Then the clear water rushed through Bamboo’s broken body and over the dry land. Soon new seeds began to sprout, and after many days came a grand and beautiful harvest.

[80]           In the day that Bamboo appeared so glorious, he was only partially used by the Master, but he was fully in the service of his Master when he became broken and stripped of his glory. For in the days of his comeliness he had life abundant for himself; but in his broken condition he became a channel of life for his Master’s work.

* * * * *

Whatever may happen to us, whatever may come into our lives, we must learn to accept it at the hand of our Master. When we suffer indignities or unpopularity because of our faith in His Gospel, then we have the experience that He once had. We must trust the Lord, live the Gospel, and labor for the Church. Our destiny is with God. His eternal principles are a blessing to those who honor them–and a curse upon those who oppose then. Eternity is a long time. Let’s stand by the principles that will place us in the Celestial Kingdom–no matter what the price. May God bless us always.

[81]                   THE PROGRESS OF GOD’S WORK. . .

One morning, nearly a year ago, while preparing a Priesthood lesson, I read the following quotation by Joseph F. Smith. Before finishing it, I had tears in my eyes, and a premonition that I would be cast out by my brethren in the Church. This quotation is just as precious to me now as it was then:

Now, we are thankful to the Lord that we are counted worthy to be taken notice of by the devil. I would fear very much for our safety if we had fallen into a condition where the devil ceased to he concerned about us. So long as the Spirit of the Lord is enjoyed by you, so long as you are living your religion and keeping the commandments of the Lord, walking uprightly before him, I assure you that the adversary of souls will not rest easy; he will be discontented with you, will find fault with you, and he will arraign you before his bar; but that will not hurt you very much if you will just keep on doing right. You do not need to worry in the least. The Lord will take care of you and bless you, he will also take care of his servants, and will bless them and help them to accomplish his purposes, and all the powers of darkness combined on earth and in hell cannot prevent it. They may take men’s lives; they may slay and destroy, if they will; but they cannot destroy the purposes of God nor stop the progress of his work. He has stretched forth his hand to accomplish his purposes, and the arm of flesh cannot stay it. He will cut his work short in righteousness and will hasten his purposes in his own time. It is only necessary to try with our might to keep pace with the onward progress of the work of the Lord; then God will preserve and protect us and will prepare the way before us that we shall live and multiply and replenish the earth and always do his will; which may God grant. (CR, Oct. 1905, pp. 5-6.)


Leave a Reply