Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why the Devious Way?

The following item, the third installment of our 'Newspaper Wars Over the Manifesto' series, appeared originally as "Why the Devious Way? The Mormon President's Artfully Promulgated 'Manifesto'", Salt Lake Tribune 39/249 (25 September 1890): 1.  From the looks of things, the Tribune's commentary here is chiefly to be found in the four-layered title.

The Mormon President's Artfully Promulgated "Manifesto."

And His "Advice" to the People, by Way of Chicago, Is to Obey the Law - Will It Be Read at the Tabernacle?
The following was received in this city as an Associated Press dispatch sent out from the Chicago headquarters:

SALT LAKE, Sept. 24. - President Woodruff of the Mormon Church to-day issued a manifesto in which, referring to the statement in the report of the Utah Commission that plural marriages have been solemnized during the past year, and that the leaders of the church have encouraged the continuance of polygamy, he enters a sweeping denial that such things have occurred.

President Woodruff further says that inasmuch as the law forbidding polygamy has been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort he hereby declares his intention to submit to those laws and use his influence with the members of the church to have them do likewise.  There is nothing in his teaching to the church or in the teaching of his associates during the time specified which can reasonably be construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy, and when any elder has used language which appeared to convey such teachings, he has been promptly reproved.

He concludes: "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."
Already the Tribune has chosen to zero in on the word "advice", a trope that will recur throughout their subsequent discussion of the Manifesto.

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