Episode 129: Apostle vs. Apostle, the 1900-1920 Transition

Written by Lindsay Hansen Park on . Posted in Uncategorized

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 1941–43. Right to left: President Rudger Clawson, George F. Richards, Joseph Fielding Smith, Stephen L Richards, Richard R. Lyman, John A. Widtsoe, Joseph F. Merrill, Charles A. Callis, Albert E. Bowen, Sylvester Q. Cannon, and Harold B. Lee

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 1941–43. Right to left: President Rudger Clawson, George F. Richards, Joseph Fielding Smith, Stephen L Richards, Richard R. Lyman, John A. Widtsoe, Joseph F. Merrill, Charles A. Callis, Albert E. Bowen, Sylvester Q. Cannon, and Harold B. Lee

Join Lindsay as she interviews Bryan Buchanan from Benchmark Books about the post-manifesto marriage period and the conflict it created among the LDS Quorum of the Twelve. Links mentioned in this podcast:

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Comments (42)

  • Gail

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    Lindsay I’m so glad you added this. I like the ice house location…gotta remember that one.

    Reply

  • Robert Rey Black

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    1. Wilford Woodruff et.al. expect Jesus to return suddenly to his Temple in 1890 by the prophecy of Joseph Smith one of which is in the D&C.
    2. The word “Sanction” is overused. Do you know what it means?
    sanction /sangk’shən/
    noun
    The act of ratifying, or giving permission or authority
    Support
    Official permission, authority
    Motive, rationale for obedience to any moral or religious law (ethics)
    A penalty or reward expressly attached to non-observance or observance of a law or treaty (law)
    A military or economic measure taken by one country against another as a means of coercion (politics)
    transitive verb
    To give validity to
    To authorize
    To countenance, permit
    To penalize, esp for failing to observe a law or treaty.
    3. Do you understand the importance of the Second Anointing, here? Consider also the Second Anointing and the calling of Stake Patriarch.
    4. Ask about Judson Tolman. My wife’s ggrandfather.
    5. Ask about the plural marriages of David O McKay, Joseph Fielding Smith, and J. Reuben Clark.

    Reply

  • Alan

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    Wow. This podcast was all kinds of fun. Thanks for recording this one! I’ll also definitely check out Benchmark Books.

    Reply

  • Benjamin Nephi Shaffer

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    Wonderful episode. I am looking forward to more detail on this point in history. One thing a lot of Anti-Fundamentalists will argue is that post manifesto, or post second manifesto that the issue was resolved, and plural marriage ended. But history is not that simple. So what date should we look to for the end of plural marriage? or what date should we look to for when the split occurred between fundamentalists and mainstream churches? I think it is more reasonable to look to 1922. Now your discussion didn’t get quite that far, but in 1922 there is a first presidency letter that goes out and denies the 1886 revelation, and instructs the church as a whole that polygamists who take new plural wives are no longer to be considered in good standing. Before 1922 there is a dispute developing with these debates and trials in the quorum of the 12, but in general the membership of the church is still in limbo about what is going on, and whether plural marriage is still going on. 1922 is a turning point in that Heber J. Grant becomes president of the church and starts taking opposition to plural marriage to the rest of the church. He also reorganizes the church legally, and places himself at the head of all the legal decisions. So the church will stop having this grey area of who is in charge, and who controls church property, and who can or cannot authorize anything, including plural marriages. It all gets centralized in Heber J. Grant. This reorganization of the church legally and doctrinally is the basis of the LDS church today. This gives rise to the leadership of the “council of Friends” among the fundamentalists, and the “follow the prophet” idea of the mainstream. Joseph Musser and Joseph Fielding Smith then exchange a lot of letters really hammering out the boundaries of orthodoxy as they see it. It all starts during a meeting they both attend, (I think it was a stake conference) and in that meeting they offered the sacrament. (I know that the sacrament is no longer offered in a stake conference setting, and this may be why!) So when the sacrament is blessed they offer it first to the man who is presiding at the meeting, and they walk right past Joseph F. Smith (much to his embarrassment) and offer the sacrament to Musser. This really offends Smith, who says: “Why do you think Musser has more authority than me? I’m the member of the 12 assigned to this conference, (the highest church authority that was there.) and Musser isn’t even a member of the church!” The response is that Musser is the head of the priesthood and the priesthood is higher than the church. This really infuriates Smith and the first presidency when they hear about it, so they write back and forth and in these letters Musser and Smith really define what will become the doctrine of the church and the fundamentalists and how it will differ. Smith and the church start teaching that the priesthood can only be in the church, and that the church and the priesthood are the same thing. This leads to LDS terminology such as “general authorities” and to fundamentalist terminology such as “The mother church” With Musser defining the priesthood as over the church, and the the church dependent on the priesthood, with both as distinct ideas and even organizations. This leads to the famous fundamentalist publication called “A Priesthood Issue” http://gospelfullness.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/a-priesthood-issue

    This comment is turning into a blog post! I’ll stop, but knowing this history really helps us understand the reasons and the reasoning behind many church policies and doctrines which are still in force in the church today!

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