Breaking the Laws of the Land

Articles of Faith #12; “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”





D&C 134:8; “We believe that the commission of crime should be punished according to the nature of the offense; that murder, treason, robbery, theft, and the breach of the general peace, in all respects, should be punished according to their criminality and their tendency to evil among men, by the laws of that government in which the offense is committed.”

Transcripts from Reed Smoot Case:

“Mr. Tayler. You say there is a state law forbidding unlawful cohabitation?
Mr. [Joseph F.] Smith. That is my understanding.
Mr. Tayler. And ever since that law was passed you have been violating it?
Mr. Smith. I think likely I have been practicing the same thing even before the law was passed.”

– Reed Smoot Case, v. 1, p. 130

“The Chairman: Do you obey the law in having five wives at this time, and having them bear to you eleven children since the manifesto of 1890?
Mr. Joseph F. Smith: Mr. Chairman, I have not claimed that in that case I have obeyed the law of the land.
The Chairman: That is all.
Mr. Smith: I do not claim so, and I have said before that I prefer to stand my chances against the law.”

– Reed Smoot Case, v. 1, p. 197

“The Chairman. … you are violating the law?
Mr. [Joseph F.] Smith. The law of my state?
The Chairman. Yes.
Mr. Smith. Yes, sir.
Senator Overman. Is there not a revelation published in the Book of Covenants here that you shall abide by the law of the state?
Mr. Smith. Yes, sir.
Senator Overman. If that is a revelation, are you not violating the laws of God?
Mr. Smith. I have admitted that, Mr. Senator, a great many times here.”

– Reed Smoot Case, v. 1, pp. 334-335

“Mr. Tayler. And the next marriage took place in 1891?
Mr. [Charles E. Merrill]. Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler. Who married you in 1891?
Mr. Merrill. My father.
Mr. Tayler. Was your father then an apostle?
Mr. Merrill. Yes, sir.”

– Reed Smoot Case, v. 1, p. 409

“Senator Hoar. … You have said more than once that in living in polygamous relations with your wives, which you do and intend to do, you knew that you were disobeying this revelation?
Mr. Francis M. Lyman. Yes, sir.
Senator Hoar. … And that in disobeying this revelation you were disobeying the law of God?
Mr. Lyman. Yes, sir.
Senator Hoar. … Very well. So that you say that you, an apostle of your church, expecting to succeed, if you survive Mr. Smith, to the office in which you will be the person to be the medium of Divine revelations, are living and are known to your people to live in disobedience of the law of the land and the law of God?
Mr. Lyman. Yes, sir.”

– Reed Smoot Case, v. 1, p. 430

Well what can we say except it’s obvious the Church had absolutely no respect for the law of the land. Or God for that matter…

My own family should’ve been summoned to the hearings as well. My great-great grandfather went to England in March 1904 and married two sisters to incorporate them into his family of three other wives.  One of those sisters was my great-great grandmothers. Their son, Samuel, told me many stories when I was a child of what it was like growing up in polygamy.