Official declarations issued by the Church

"The October 1890 General Conference of the Church was a history-making one," wrote John A. Widtsoe in Evidences and Reconciliations.

"On Monday, October 6, 1890, Wilford Woodruff, President of the Church, presented for the action of the people an Official Declaration' discontinuing the practice of plural marriage. Upon the motion of Lorenzo Snow, then the president of the Twelve Apostles, and by vote of the conference the official declarationconcerning plural marriage' became authoritative and binding' and therefore the law and order of the Church. This official declaration has since been known, in common speech, as theManifesto.'"The practice of plural marriage had subjected the Church, from the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith to continuous opposition and severe persecution. Nevertheless, the Saints - only about two percent of whom had practiced plural marriage, as reported by the Utah Commission - continued to teach and defend the principle which had come to them through revelation. At length, acts of the Congress of the United States (1862, 1882, and 1887) made plural marriage an unlawful and punishable offense. The Church, believing these laws to be unconstitutional because they abrogated the right of religious freedom, sought protection from the courts of the land. During this period furious persecution followed those who had entered into this order of marriage. Under . . . enforcement of the laws in question, many were fitted and given penitentiary sentences, the property of the Church was confiscated, and the cessation of many of the activities of the Church was threatened. At length, in May 1890, the Supreme Court of the land, with three members dissenting, ruled that the acts prohibiting plural marriage and confiscating Church property were constitutional.

"Now the Lord had expressly declared that His people should be obedient to any constitutional government under which they might live. (D&C 98:5-6.) Further, the revelations of the Lord declare that if such a government should prevent the practice of any command given to the Church, the people and the Church would be held guiltless. (See D&C 124:49.)

"After the Supreme Court had spoken, there was no further opportunity for appeal. All lawful means had been used. The action proposed by President Woodruff was therefore wholly in keeping with authoritative Church procedure.

"Nevertheless, it must be kept in mind that this Church, founded by revelation, is ever guided by revelation. It may be held with certainty that when the President of the Church presents a momentous matter, such as the Manifesto,' to the people it is by the spirit of revelation from God. It is not the product of man's thinking or desire. It must also be remembered that the power which has the right to command, also has the right and power to revoke. The principle of plural marriage was revealed through Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and theManifesto' came through Wilford Woodruff, who held the same keys of authority as were possessed by Joseph Smith.

"With this in view, Yes, is the unhesitating answer to the question as to whether the `Manifesto' was based upon revelation.

"Fortunately, however, there is direct evidence that the `Manifesto' was the product of revelation.

"President Woodruff himself declared at the said conference that `to have taken a stand in anything which is not pleasing in the sight of God, or before the heavens, I would rather have gone out and been shot."

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