Official Declarations

Though not really the point of his post, Hellmut of at Beyond Ourselves brought up an interesting note in his Sex and Salvation post.

One finds the following point made in the Official Declaration 2:

In early June of this year, the First Presidency announced that a revelation had been received by President Spencer W. Kimball extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church.

In contrast, Official Declaration 1 has this to say:

Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws, and to use my influence with the members of the Church over which I preside to have them do likewise.

There is nothing in my teachings to the Church or in those of my associates, during the time specified, which can be reasonably construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy; and when any Elder 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.

Can we say that both of these declarations, given their different natures (one based in revelation one in response to legal pressures), are equal in authority?

100 thoughts on “Official Declarations

  1. Since it seems unlikely you will be picking up Quinn’s essay, let me leave you a few excerpts to ponder:

    “By 17 September 1887, Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, and Church lawyer LeGrand Young privately expressed themselves as convinced that it was necessary for polygamists to promise the courts to refrain from unlawful cohabitation because they ‘seem to think it is necessary to do something of this kind in order to convince Congress of the sincerity of our efforts to gain Statehood.'”

    “[On] 20 December 1888, Wilford Woodruff . . . asked the apostles to consider a document ‘said to have come from Washington, but no name or names were given to it,’ which was addressed to the Latter-day Saints in Utah and throughout the United States, ‘asking them to conform their lives to the Laws of Congress,’ a document which was supposed to be signed by all the Church leaders when published.”

    “Wilford Woodruff had kept his own counsel about the prospects of ending plural marriages until the First Presidency was organized in April 1889 with George Q. Cannon as first counselor and Joseph F. Smith as second.”

    “[It] was on 2 October [1889] that Wilford Woodruff called a meeting of the First Presidency and apostles to announce this policy [of not issuing plural marriage recommends in Utah].”

    “I have refused to give any recommendations for the performance of plural marriages since I have been president. I know that President Taylor, my predecessor, also refused. “. . . I am confident,” said the president, “that there have been no more plural marriages since I have been in this position, and yet a case has recently occurred which I will say to you I do not understand at all. It is giving us a good deal of trouble. Perhaps you have heard of it?, The president referred to the Hans Jesperson case . ..”It seems incredible if it is true,” Woodruff said, “It is against all of my instructions. I do not understand it at all. We are looking into it and shall not rest until we get at all the facts. There is no intention on our part to do anything but to obey the law.”

    The excerpts certainly do not do the article justice.

  2. The reasopn that Wilford Woodruff stated the OD the way he did was that statehood was depending on the churches adherance to the Edmunds Tucker act. There was no specific law hinging on the revelation about the Preisthood from President Kimble.

  3. You’re still spinning a false dichotomy: Either politics or revelation. Your quotes from the Quinn essay do no more than show what I’ve already stated: That politics led to inquiry, which in turn led to revelation, which then led to the Manifesto.

    As to #50, if you can’t grasp the fact that President Woodruff is saying he based the Manifesto on revelation in the quotes that have already been given you twice (“I wrote what the Lord to told me to write”) then I’m afraid I can’t help you.

  4. Kudos to ltbugaf for using the LoF model to provide support for his position in #39.

    It’s a shame they took the “doctrine” out of the Doctrine & Covenants.

  5. Polly, I’m falling behind you. What’s the “LoF model”? And what’s the “doctrine” that has been excised from the Doctrine & Covenants?

  6. Oh wait… I know. Lectures on Faith. I get it. You’re congratulating me for using a question/answer approach. OK. I humbly accept your praise.

  7. “That politics led to inquiry, which in turn led to revelation, which then led to the Manifesto.”

    More like: politics led to practice and policy changes which several years later led to a revelation. Woodruff’s decision to end plural marriages came much sooner than the OD1.

    “I wrote what the Lord to told me to write”

    Oh, I get it now. You were assuming that what Woodruff wrote down was what is now the OD1. Unfortunately, given the facts that he neither explicitly stated such in the references notes accompanying the OD1 and that many others are reported to have written what is now the OD1, forgive me if I do not take the same position.

  8. So when President Woodruff said, “I should have let all the temples go out of our hands; I should have gone to prison myself, and let every other man go there, had not the God of heaven commanded me to do what I did do; and when the hour came that I was commanded to do that, it was all clear to me,” he was (a) exaggerating, (b) lying (c) forgetting the truth or (d) delusional? Or was he describing things accurately?

  9. “More like: politics led to practice and policy changes which several years later led to a revelation. Woodruff’s decision to end plural marriages came much sooner than the OD1.”

    And how does this lead to the conclusion that the Declaration has no foundation in revelation? When do you claim he revelation took place? On what do you base your claim?

  10. Actually, I did say that Mary. I believe revelation played a part, but I do not believe it was the basis for the declaration.

    “[President Woodruff] was (a) exaggerating, (b) lying (c) forgetting the truth or (d) delusional? Or was he describing things accurately?”

    Good question. I could ask you the same thing because there are a lot of quotes of him saying something other than that.

    “When do you claim he revelation took place?”

    Based on records, it took place the same week the declaration was written.

  11. “I believe revelation played a part, but I do not believe it was the basis for the declaration.”

    This is what I still don’t understand. If it “played a part” then how is it not part of the basis?

  12. Mayeb we define “basis” differently. Here is how the American Heritage Dictionary defines it:

    1. A foundation upon which something rests.
    2. The chief constituent; the fundamental ingredient: The basis for most liquids is water.
    3. The fundamental principle.

    I do not believe that OD1 rests upon revelation, that its chief constituent or fundamental ingredient is revelation, or that its fundamental principle is revelation.

  13. ok, you said revelation is involved obviously.

    it doesn’t matter anyway, whatever you say ltbugaf will disagree and pick it apart because he can’t help it.

  14. Sorry, can’t make sense of #64.

    As to #63: If President Woodruff is telling the truth when he says the decision would not have been made and the Manifesto would not have been issued without revelation, then that’s what I call a basis, a foundation, or whatever other synonym you prefer.

    If you don’t believe he is telling the truth, as you hint in #61, then we’ll just have to disagree about President Woodruff’s personal integrity.

  15. Ah.. #64 was appearing as a comment by Kim, and contained only the first sentence when I wrote the above. Now it appears in its proper incarnation as Mary’s comment and contains its second paragraph.

  16. can’t you? then read it again. you are ALWAYS twisting kim’s words and meanings but i am quite sure you wouldn’t have the courage to do it to his face because you can’t figure him out. you think you can, but he baffles you because you don’t know him in the least.

  17. “you are ALWAYS twisting kim’s words and meanings but i am quite sure you wouldn’t have the courage to do it to his face…”

    Looks like you have me all figured out. :(

  18. do i? i would hope not. i would hope you aren’t like that. it’s just like i said, you twist what he says and yes, that bothers me, because you don’t know him. debate is one thing and nothing wrong with that, but when little digs find their way in it sounds mean-spirited.

  19. By “little digs” do you mean phrases such as, “i am quite sure you wouldn’t have the courage to do it to his face”? Or are you talking about something entirely different?

  20. I was referring to this:

    “As to #50, if you can’t grasp the fact that President Woodruff is saying he based the Manifesto on revelation in the quotes that have already been given you twice (”I wrote what the Lord to told me to write”) then I’m afraid I can’t help you.”

    “The answer, which was staring you in the face from the beginning, is yes.”

    “I’m sure this opportunity to show smugness was much more rewarding than simply following what you already knew she meant and engaging in the real issue.”

    (side note: Kim is never smug)

    “Too bad you think the Prophet should be required to simultaneously disclose the details of the revelatory experience every time he announces something that’s based on revelation.”

    “You’re too smart not to see that, so why are you playing coy and pretending to miss the point?”

    “If you could be troubled to read the accompanying lengthy footnotes to Declaration 1, you would realize that it is just as based in revelation as Official Declaration 2.”

    And these are only comments in THIS thread.

    Also, I am not referring just to your digs at Kim, but at others who don’t exactly agree with your line of thinking.

    My “dig” was just a commentary on how I think that if you actually KNEW Kim in person, you wouldn’t make little snide comments about him, his character, his beliefs or his testimony. If I am wrong, well that’s sad. I hope not. I hope you are nicer to people to their face than you are online.

  21. Yes, I was crankier than I should have been. I made an awkward confession and apology on another thread.

    (I’m not sure I can fully agree with you on EVERYTHING you’ve said above, but let’s just let that slide. Who knows? Maybe the discussion will actually return to the topic of the thread. Or die a well-earned death.)

  22. You know what? I am done here. No offence intended but I really don’t like it here anymore.

    ltbugaf, you have strong opinions and do not like to be wrong. I did not nor have ever felt that you were making “digs” of any kind on any thread. I have never been truly offended by anything you have said. I am glad you stand up for your beliefs but I think you are kicking a dead horse in this venue.

    Mary, you seem like a really nice person…I would even venture to say that we would probably get along in real life…we aren’t really that different. I think that you are a little bit blinded to your husband’s opinions on some things because you obviously love him so much. I think less “stick up for Kim” via comments like “Kim is never smug” because I don’t believe that to be true and more of your OWN personal beliefs about the gospel, if this is really what this website is about. Good luck with your wiring issue in your house, I wish you safety in that regard.

    Rick, don’t know you but you sound like a fun guy.

    Sally, ditto to what I said to Mary. I would like to add that perhaps you might venture to stretch your comfort zone regarding the gospel and not be so black and white. Maybe stop pulling the older and wiser card too because older does not in all respects equate to being more wise.

    And Kim, similar to what I wrote about ltbugaf…you but these questions out there in blogland mostly regarding the Church and church policy and “want?” to see others’ points of view…but you already have an “answer” per say in your head and if people sway from that it is apparent you dislike it. You do not like to be challenged, you are vague in your opinions, and I personally do not feel that you have as strong a testimony as you or Mary or Sally thinks you do and deep down you know and they know it. Your line of questioning here could quickly and easily be taken as more than mere “questioning” if someone just popped in. I wish you well in your life.

    Me, well I have been branded many things during my short stay here, the best two “pissy” and “the wife of the most spiritual man”…there is a list of how I could describe myself but I haven’t and won’t bother. I really feel that I have nothing worthwhile to contribute here. Thanks for allowing me to be here.


  23. “ltbugaf, you have strong opinions and do not like to be wrong.”

    True. Isn’t it nice that I don’t have to experience that very often? :)

  24. Kris

    I am quite sure we could get along in real life. Maybe I am “blinded” by my love for my husband, but I also know him well, because I live with him and hear his comments. I don’t agree with everything he says, hooboy, I sure don’t, just ask him. And mum isn’t black and white in her beliefs either. But anyway.

    Kim often doesn’t have answers, sometimes he does, but he enjoys thought provoking conversation, however, unfortunately there are those who get all bent out of shape when their favourite traditions are jiggled.

    I also KNOW Kim’s testimony. I have seen his struggle with it, I have been with him through the dark times and the light. You can say what you want about him in any regard, but do not ever say his testimony isn’t as strong as I, or his mother says. His testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is more rock solid than you can possibly imagine. His faith and dedication to the Gospel and to Jesus Christ and to the Prophet of this church are solid. I am not just spouting my hopes here. I am stating reality. You think you know him based on a blog, and yet, you do not, you cannot, because you don’t see his real life actions, you don’t know his prayers or how he actually LIVES his religion, his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ or Latter day Saints, doesn’t just talk pretty. If you want to know someone who seeks to know God, than come to know Kim. If you want to know someone who doesn’t leave the teaching of the Gospel to his children up to Primary, than Kim is the one. He is close to the Spirit, he desires to know and do the will of the Lord and He is right with God. If he is not right with you, then oh well, that’s your look out, but it isn’t your opinion that will matter at the judgment, it’s the Lord’s.

  25. I’m deeply offended that Kris left me out of her farewell post. I’ve posted on this blog AT LEAST 5 or 10 times so far. Does that not warrant a mention in an emotional goodbye speech? Too bad she won’t be back to correct this tragic oversight.

    If she were to mention me, I’m sure the words handsome, intelligent, and brave would have been used (and maybe modest).

  26. It’s like the Oscars, Mike. She was trying to thank you but the theme music started playing as she typed, and they had to go to a commercial break.

  27. I appreciate the movie reference ltbugaf. And before anyone gets any ideas, Kim’s comment about Heath Ledger’s bum is in reference to a scene of Brokeback Mountain that I saw while checking for feet on the seats at the Movie Theatre where I work.

  28. Perhaps a bit of clarification here. Throughout history revelations have been the result of Pondering and seeking for guidence from the Lord.
    On The Mount of Transfiguration Moses and Elijah apeared after Jesus Apealed to God in Prayer.
    Joseph Smith had the first vision after praying in the Sacred grove. Section 138(I think) the Revelation on the Celestial Kingdom was given as a result of Joseph F Smith Pondering.

    Joseph Smith’s Visit From John the Baptist,came because he and Oliver Cowdry sought the Lord concerning the Book of Mormons teachings on baptism.
    The Lord is not, In most cases,going to give us answers until after we ask the questions. Remember the Scriptures say “Seek and Ye Shall Find, Knock and it shall be opened unto you” He is going to give us information as we are ready for it, and after we ask, Not Before!!

  29. Mike, in that case you really didn’t see Heath’s bum. You just saw some lights and shadows on a screen that imitate the appearance of Heath’s bum. Right?

    (Don’t try this excuse for pornography. “But Bishop, I was only looking at pixels, not at a nude woman!”)

  30. Whoa, Ray, your on-topic comment really sneaked up on me. I thought we’d all moved on to irrelevant kidding around. Hope you didn’t think I was making light of your remarks in #86 when I wrote #87.

    I generally agree with what you say in #87.

  31. I posted 86 seconds before you posted 87 You would not have even seen it yet.(Notice the 1 minute post time Difference)
    As far as changing the subject, it took me a while to post that. I am at work. (We are aloud to do this here)

  32. I mean I generally agree with what you say in #86, Ray.

    ltbugaf, I also generally agree with what YOU say in #87.

    Glad to get that straightened out! :)

  33. Rick, re: #85, wouldn’t you have to be at least two mushrooms? Otherwise you’d just be a “fun Gus” (which actually might be a cool nickname).

    Just to be safe, I think you should avoid Desenex or any other fun-guy-cidal substances.

  34. ltbugaf: Don’t quit your day job. Your future outlook as a comedian is not good. (Ok perhaps a little)

  35. Hey, now, be fair. The one who originated the “fun guy” joke was Rick, not me.

    However, I have no plans to quit my day job. It’s the best job I’ll probably ever have.

  36. So Mike, now that we know the story (a.k.a. excuse) about Heath Ledger’s nether parts, what’s the juicy tidbit about Jessica Alba?

  37. It’s 12:30 and I just got home from work. Ah, the Movie Theatre life.

    There is no Jessica Alba tidbit to share. I think Kim just has a thing for her.

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