Thursday, April 26, 2012

President Woodruff's Declaration

In the 26 September 1890 issue, the Salt Lake Herald reprinted the "Official Declaration" that had initially appeared the day before in the Deseret Evening News.  Immediately thereafter, they also posted another article, "President Woodruff's Declaration".  What follows, the latest installment in our 'Newspaper Wars Over the Manifesto' series, appeared originally as "President Woodruff's Declaration", Salt Lake Herald 21/98 (26 September 1890): 4.
President Woodruff's Declaration
The official declaration of President WOODRUFF of the Mormon church, which was referred to in the Associated Press dispatches of Thursday morning, and which appears in full in this issue of THE HERALD, ought not to have been necessary, because everybody hereabouts, Mormon and Gentile, have long known that the facts were precisely as stated by President WOODRUFF.  The court records for years past have furnished fairly conclusive proof that polygamous marriages were discontinued in this community.  Vigilant and eager officers, with greater powers than are enjoyed by officials in any other part of the republic, have failed to learn of such marriages and will testify that if any have taken place, not even the neighbors and associates of the offending parties know of them.  Grand juries specially charged to indict in these cases and jealously eager to obey the instructions, can find nobody to punish.  In hundreds of churches and meeting houses scattered all over the territory there is public preaching by Mormon elders more or less prominent in the church, and at none of these places does one ever hear the practice of polygamy advocated or advised.  If the subject is referred to at all it is mentioned in a way to discourage the practice.  We say that in light of the known facts it ought not to have been necessary for President WOODRUFF to say more than he has said in the pulpit and through the press.  The lying report of the Utah Commission - and we use the word advisedly and with full knowledge of its scope and meaning - has induced the president of the church to make the declaration which we print.  He does this officially as the head of the organization, hence what he says must be accepted as authoritative.  The declaration, which is plain, frank and unequivocal, should end discussion as to whether or not polygamous marriages are now authorized or permitted.  It should also put to shame the members of the Utah commission who have been guilty of prostituting their office and lending themselves and their official influence to further the schemes of a disreputable band of plunderers who are waging wicked and relentless war against helpless Mormons, the latter by showing by their acts and utterances that they are doing their utmost to keep in harmony with the laws of this country.  When the commission said that forty or any other number of polygamous marriages had taken place within the year, it knew that it was stating an untruth, and that it was falsifying for no other purpose than to injure the Mormon people.  It knew that if there were a vague suspicion that forty men had broken the law there would have been forty arrests before the commission had received an intimation of the suspicion.

President WOODRUFF's declaration will have little or no effect here, for the reason that the facts as he states them were known by everybody to exist.  Let us hope that what the venerable chief official of the church says will convince the press and people elsewhere that what has been asserted so many times, namely, that polygamy has practically ceased, is true.

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