Source:Gospel Topics:The Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage:Joseph F. Smith broke the law

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Gospel Topics: "Church President Joseph F. Smith took the stand in the Senate chamber in March 1904. When asked, he defended his family relationships"

"The Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage," Gospel Topics on LDS.org:

The Senate called on many witnesses to testify. Church President Joseph F. Smith took the stand in the Senate chamber in March 1904. When asked, he defended his family relationships, telling the committee that he had cohabited with his wives and fathered children with them since 1890. He said it would be dishonorable of him to break the sacred covenants he had made with his wives and with God. When questioned about new plural marriages performed since 1890, President Smith carefully distinguished between actions sanctioned by the Church and ratified in Church councils and conferences, and the actions undertaken by individual members of the Church. “There never has been a plural marriage by the consent or sanction or knowledge or approval of the church since the manifesto,” he testified.43

In this legal setting, President Smith sought to protect the Church while stating the truth. His testimony conveyed a distinction Church leaders had long understood: the Manifesto removed the divine command for the Church collectively to sustain and defend plural marriage; it had not, up to this time, prohibited individuals from continuing to practice or perform plural marriage as a matter of religious conscience.[1]—(Click here to continue)

Notes

  1. "The Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage," Gospel Topics on LDS.org