Congressional Record
December 13, 1906
 

 

 

Julius Caesar Burrows (1837–1915) was a U.S. Representative and a U.S Senator from the state of Michigan. Lawyer, admitted to the bar at Jefferson, Ohio 1859

 

The following speech by Senator Burrows of the U.S. Senate was delivered to Congress and placed in the congressional record on December 13, 1906.  It relates the story of the two churches, Latter Day Saints (Mormon) and the Reorganized Latter Day Saints

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(RLDS Stone Church, Independence MO on right - click to enlarge)

Speech of Senator Burrows


"The regular and legitimate Mormon Church had its origin in and grew out of an alleged discovery of some metallic plates, said to have been found near Palmyra, New York, by one Joseph Smith, bearing certain inscriptions which were said to have been translated by him and embodied in what is known and accepted as the "Book of Mormon," belief in which formed, in 1830, the basis of an organization styling itself "The Church of Latter Day Saints," which for fifteen years increased in membership and extended its influence, until in 1844, Joseph Smith, the founder of this cult, while confined in jail at Carthage, Illinois, was set upon by a mob and killed.

With the details of the early history of this people, from 1830 to 1844, and their tenets we have nothing to do.  It is sufficient for the purpose of this discussion to state that previous to the death of the prophet there were no dissensions in the organization so far as known, all subscribing to a common creed and holding a common faith.  Judge Phillips, in the circuit Court of United States for the Western District of Missouri, in delivering the opinion of that court in 1894 in what is known as the "Temple Lot Case" involving the title to certain real estate, said:

'Beyond all civil, if human testimony is to place any matter at rest, this church was one in doctrine, government, and purpose form 1830 to June, 1844, when Joseph Smith, its founder, was killed.  it had the same federal head, governing bodies, and faith.  During this period there was no schism, no dissensions, no parting of the ways in any matter fundamental or affecting its oneness.'

The death of Joseph Smith in 1844, however, carried dismay anddemoralization throughout the entire membership of the Mormon Church, scattering its adherents in divers directions and for the time being seemed to presage the complete overthrow and dissolution of the organization.  Recovering, however, from the shock, the scattered bands soon reappeared in various parts of the country and promulgated their doctrines with increased zeal, and set to work to reassemble and reorganize their scattered forces, resulting finally in the formation of what is now known and recognized as the "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints," with headquarters at Lamoni, Iowa, and presided over by Joseph Smith, a son of the prophet.  The courts have repeatedly declared this organization to be the legitimate successor of the original Mormon church, and its adherents, numbering some fifty thousand peaceable, patriotic, and law abiding citizens scattered throughout the United States in small church societies, conforming to the laws of their country wherever they may be and adhering to the faith of their creed, repudiating and denouncing the doctrine of polygamy and its attendant crimes, without temple, endowment house, or secret order, worship in the open like other church organizations, unquestioned and unmolested.

 

During this period of disintegration, one Brigham Young  (photo above), who had identified  himself   with   the   Mormon organization as early as 1832, a man of indomitable will and undaunted courage,bold and unscrupulous, seized upon the occasion of the demoralization incident to the death of the prophet to place himself at the head of some five thousand Mormons, and marching over desert and mountain, established himself with his adherents in the valley of Salt Lake, July 24, 1847, then Mexican territory, where he undoubtedly indulged the hope that the new doctrine of polygamy, about to be publicly proclaimed by him, might be promulgated with impunity and practiced and maintained without interference by the United States. These hopes, however, were destined to be blasted, for by the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo of February 2, 1848, this territory passed form the jurisdiction of Mexico to the sovereignty of the United States, and its inhabitants thereupon became amenable to its laws.

 

Upon this transfer of sovereignty, and in 1849, Brigham Young and his followers, without authority from any source whatever, proceeded to set up a Government of their own, embracing a territory of imperial dimensions, christening it the "State of Deseret," electing Brigham Young, the head of the church, governor; Heber C. Kimball, an apostle, lieutenant-governor, and filling all other official positions in the proposed state with their trusted adherents.  At the same time a general assembly was chosen, which in 1849 petitioned Congress to admit the State of Deseret into the Union, and commissioned a delegate to the lower House of congress, who subsequently presented his credentials and the memorial praying for statehood.

 

Shortly previous to this time it began to be bruited that the leaders of this organization and founders of the new state were fugitives from justice and apostates from the true Mormon faith, and were living in polygamy; and it is an historic fact that when Brigham Young arrived in Salt Lake in 1847, he had seventeen wives, and all the so-called apostles, twelve in number, except possibly one, from two to twenty wives each.  This rumor gained credence and confirmation by a protest against the admission of the State of Deseret sent to the congress of the United States December 31, 1849, and now on file in its archives, from which I make the following extracts:

'Your petitioners respectfully represent that whereas efforts are now being made by the Salt Lake Mormons to obtain, by false representations and fallacious presentations, from the Government of the United States a state organization to be called the State of Deseret; and whereas we believe that it would be highly detrimental to the best interests of our country to comply with their request, we do therefore respectfully petition your honorable body to provide some other way for the government of the Salt Lake settlement. 

Your petitioners know most assuredly that Salt Lake Mormonism is diametric-cally in opposition to the pure principles of virtue, liberty, and equality, and that the rulers of the Salt Lake church are bitter and inveterate enemies of our Government.  They entertain treasonable designs against the liberties of American freeborn sons an daughters...They have elected Brigham Young, who is the president of their church, to be the governor of the proposed State of Deseret.  Their intention is to unite church and state...We have authentic information that more than fifteen hundred Salt Lake Mormons took the following oath in the Temple of God at Nauvoo.

'You do solemnly swear, in the presence of Almighty God, His holy angels, and these witnesses, that you will avenge the blood of Joseph Smith on this nation, and teach your children, and that you will from henceforth and forever begin and carry out hostilities against this nation, and to keep the same intent a profound secret now and forever.  So Help me God.'

Elder Benson, another polygamist, joined in the laudation by saying:

'I know that the principles that have been taught by the Prophet Joseph and Brothers, Brigham, Heber, and Willard...composing the First Presi-dency…and by every other good man in this church are correct principles, and that these men have been borne on triumphantly over every trial and difficulty they have been called to pass through.  The elders, therefore, can go to the nations with their consciences as clean as drifting snow, and with the satisfaction that all is right in Zion and we are led by the best men upon the face of the earth.  I am glad in my heart, and I say, God bless Brigham, Heber, and Willard.  They are the counsel of heaven to this people, and I mean to honor them in the earth wherever I go, and I would preach down in the bowels of hell the same as I do here and not be ashamed of it.'

Pandemonium would be a fit place for its promulgations. 

'My story all the time is, Hurray for Mormonism. . .I only throw out these few hits that you may be prepared to act when you receive the proper instructions from your president.'

Then came Orson Pratt, one of the oldest and most famous of the apostles and the husband of three wives, who publicly declared:

'It is quite unexpected to me to be called upon to address you on the subject of the plurality of wives.  it is rather new ground to the inhabitants of the United States, and not only to them, but a portion of the inhabitants of Europe.  A portion of them have been in the habit of preaching a doctrine of this description: consequently we will have to break up new background.  It is well known, however, to the congregation before me that the Latter Day Saints have embraced the doctrine of the plurality of wives as a part of their religious faith.'

In order to induce his followers more readily to accept this infamous doctrine, Brigham young himself invoked the name of Joseph Smith, the Martyr, whom many sincerely believed to be a true prophet, and ascribed to him the reception of a revelation from the Almighty in 1843, commanding the saints to take unto themselves a multiplicity of wives, limited in number only by the measures of their desires.  Why and how this revelation had been kept a secret for nine years Brigham Young explained as follows:

'The original copy of this revelation was burnt up; William Clayton was the man who wrote it from the mouth of the prophet.  In the meantime it was in Bishop Whitney's possession.  He wished the privilege to copy it, which Brother Joseph granted. Sister Emma burnt the original.

The revelation will be read to you.  The principle we believe in.  And I tell you—for I know it—it will sail over and ride triumphantly above all the prejudice and priestcraft of the day; it will be fostered and believed in by the more intelligent portions of the world as one of the best proclaimed to any people.  I am now ready to proclaim it.  This revelation has been in my possession many years and who had known it?  None by those who should know it.  I keep a patent lock on my desk, and there does not anything leak out that should not.'

 Such the mythical story palmed off on a deluded people.  Let me now quote the material part of the pretended revela-tion of polygamy as given out by authority of Brigham Young in 1852.

'Verily, thus saith the Lord unto his servant Joseph: . . .behold and lo, I am the Lord thy God . . .therefore prepared thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you, for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same, for behold, I reveal unto you a new and everlasting covenant, and if ye abide not  that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into My glory; . . .and as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fullness of My glory, and he that receiveth a fullness thereof must and shall abide the law or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.

And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood if any man espouse a virgin and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins and have bowed to no other man, then is he justified.  He can not commit adultery, for they are given unto him, for he can not commit adultery with that that belongs to him and to none else; and if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law he can not commit adultery, for they belong unto him and are given unto him; therefore is he justified.'

Thus did Brigham Young and his associates attempt to explain and justify a practice revolting to every sense of public decency, subversive of the home, and destructive of the very foundations of society.  Thus were  laid with unholy hands what Brigham Young was pleased to call the foundations of "Zion," upon which it was proposed to erect "the kingdom of God on earth."  But a doctrine so monstrous needed something more than the unsupported testimony of Brigham Young to insure its reception and give it credence, in view of the fact that it had no warrant in the Book of Mormon and was specially condemned in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, wherein it is declared "one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband." 

 

To give this creed the semblance of authority and insure its permanency as an article of this Utah Mormon faith the doctrine of monogamy was torn from the book of "Doctrines and Covenants," and the doctrine of polygamy inserted in its stead, where it is still retained as a cardinal principle of the Utah Mormon faith.  In this way was the practice of polygamy inaugurated in the Territory of Utah and fostered and encouraged by the leaders of this sect."

(Parson's Text Book, Pub. Herald Printing House, pp. 272-281)

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Brigham Young and His Wives

 Original Doctrine and Covenants Teaching on Marriage
(Revelation through Joseph Smith, Jr. March 8, 1831)

 “And again, I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry, is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man; wherefore it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation; and that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made.” (D.C. 49:3a-c)

 

Click photo to enlarge

 

 

 Book of Mormon
Teaching on Marriage

“For behold, thus saith the Lord, This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures: for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.

Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives, and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord, Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.

Wherefore, I, the Lord God, will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old. Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none: For I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me: thus saith the Lord of hosts.” (BM Jacob 2:32-37)

Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol Building, Washington D.C.  
Men who have made an impact on the growth of America (for good or ill) have a place here.
 Seated by Brigham Young is Alexander Hamilton, and standing is Lafayette.

Alexander Hamilton: 1755(57?) –1804: “One of the United States' most prominent and brilliant early constitutional lawyers, delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention, principal authors of the Federalist Papers, which expounded the U.S. Constitution…first Secretary of the Treasury for the new USA, establishing the First Bank of the U.S., pubic credit and the foundations for American capitalism.” (wikipedia)
 

Lafayette, a French soldier and statesman, became so moved by America's fight for independence that he sailed to America at his own expense and received the rank of major general at the age of nineteen. Wounded at the Battle of Brandywine, he spent the winter at Valley Forge with Gen. G. Washington, establishing a lifelong friendship. Lafayette cooperated closely with Benjamin Franklin in efforts to obtain financial support from France for the American cause. In 1781 he played a major role in the victory at the Battle of Yorktown. The names of his children, George Washington Lafayette and Virginie Lafayette, exemplified his love for America.  When Lafayette returned to France after his final visit to the United States, he took with him several tons of American soil, in which he ultimately was buried. (www.lafayettemanor.com)

 

 

 Joseph Smith III asked, "Did My Father Have Other Wives?

DNA Proving Polygamous Claims are False

For many years Joseph Smith III (above), eldest son of the martyr, searched for the truth about his father.  Utah leaders wanted Joseph III to join them.  After many years he had this to say about his search:

"To admit that my father (photo left: J. Smith, Jr.) was the author of such false theories as were being taught, or that he practiced them in any form, was not only repulsive in itself to my feelings and strongly condemned  by my judgment, but was contrary to my knowledge of and belief in him.  It [meaning, going to Utah and joining the Utah faction where polygamy was being practiced]  would serve to neutralize at once the intention I had formed to redeem his memory from false accusations and make honorable in the sight of men the religion for which he became a martyr, and would result in an utter failure on my part to accomplish that which I felt divinely urged to do.  I do not feel that it was necessary for me to make any such confession, openly or tacitly, as would be involved in an affiliation with the organization that had made those charges about him, his teachings, and his conduct; and I am grateful as I reflect that in over fifty years of active service dedicated to the objects I had in view, there has never been presented to me any evidence worthy to be called proof by which I have been compelled to reverse the convictions of my judgment on these important matters made at the time I took up my ministry.

Nor have I been called to suffer shame before God and man by having to receive and admit a belief that my father was guilty of such gross immorality as I deem that which was laid to his door, or such wanton forgetfulness of divine precepts and utter disregard for the clear direct commands of God given to him through revelations, as have been charged against him."  (Joseph Smith III and the Restoration, pgs. 153-154) 

Red Brick Store in Nauvoo, Ill. where 11-year-old Joseph III was ordained to follow in his father’s footsteps as the next prophet/president of the Lord’s restored New Testament Church.

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