Question: Are the original Temple Lot Case transcripts available online?

Table of Contents

Question: Are the original Temple Lot Case transcripts available online?

The original 1650-page transcripts were not available online until recently. Only a 507-page abstract was available online prior to this

The original 1650-page Temple Lot Case transcripts were not available anywhere online until recently. They are now available online at the Church History Library at the following link: MS 1160: United States testimony 1892, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

All that was previously available online, which was commonly cited, were abstract summary transcripts (507 pages) which have been heavily edited by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (now the Community of Christ). The edited transcripts that were available online were published by the RLDS Church and contain information that is not present in the original transcript. (see The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Complainant, Vs. the Church of Christ at Independence, Missouri [1])

A quote from the 507 page abstract is used by critics of the Church to prove that Lorenzo Snow claimed adultery

Here is the quote used by one critic of the Church, which is taken from the 507-page Abstract of Evidence Temple Lot Case:

[Question] A man that violated this law in the Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 edition, until the acceptance of that revelation by the church, violated the law of the church if he practiced plural marriage.
[Answer by Lorenzo Snow] Yes sir, he would have been cut off from the church, I think I should have been if I had. Before the giving of that revelation in 1843 if a man married more wives than one who were living at the same time, he would have been cut off from the church. It would have been adultery under the laws of the church and under the laws of the state, too. [2]

A scan of the relevant portion of page 320 of the Abstract of Evidence Temple Lot Case

The source of the edited quote in the original transcript is quite different from that in the abstract, and does not contain the statement about adultery

Here is the source of the heavily edited quote as it exists in the original 1650-page Temple Lot case transcript:

Page 128

321 Q. Could he [Joseph Smith] receive a revelation and act upon it, that was contrary in its teachings and provisions to the laws of the church to govern the church, without a violation of those laws?

A. Yes sir, I see that distinctly and understand it and I want you to understand it too.

323 Q. Could Joseph Smith receive a revelation and act upon it that was contrary in its teachings and provisions to the laws of the church as accepted by the church at that time, without being at the same time in violation of the laws of the church?

A. Why he might do so. Joseph Smith did, but I don’t consider he was a violator of any of the laws of the church, for he was the law of the church. I never knew of the church rejecting a revelation he gave to them. [3]

A scan of the relevant portion of page 128 of the original Temple Lot case transcript

A more complete explanation, with full page scans, may be viewed on Brian Hales' website Joseph Smith's Polygamy.

Notes

  1. The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Complainant, Vs. the Church of Christ at Independence, Missouri: Richard Hill, Trustee; Richard Hill, Mrs. E. Hill, C.A. Hall [and Others] ... as Members of and Doing Business Under the Name of the Church of Christ, at Independence, Missouri, Respondents. In Equity. Complainant's Abstract of Pleading and Evidence off-site
  2. A digital abstract of the Temple Lot court proceedings containing this quote may be viewed here: Abstract of Evidence Temple Lot Case U.S.C.C.
  3. Brian Hales, "Lorenzo Snow’s Temple Lot Testimony," Joseph Smith's Polygamy (website) off-site