[George Q. Cannon]
[Regarding the Manifesto] The word "permission" which was changed in the committee's document, I felt ought to be changed, because if it were not it would make the parties whose marriages this referred to unhappy, as it would throw a doubt on the legality of their marriage. This whole matter has been at President Woodruff's own instance. He has felt strongly impelled to do what he has, and he has spoken with great plainness to the brethren in regard to the necessity of something of this kind being done. He has stated that the Lord has made it plain to him that this was his duty, and he felt perfectly clear in his mind that it was the right thing.
COPY OF ORIGINAL[Manifesto before modifications]
It is reported by the press of the nation that the Utah Commission in their recent report to Congress state that the Mormons are still carrying on the plural marriages in our temples or otherwise; and that ....., marriages have been attended to during the past month; and the press throughout the land is stirred up bitterly against us, and are making many false accusations against us for political effect, to take away our rights as citizens. We wish here to state to the government and people of the nation that these charges are false, and also to say that as soon as the Edmund-Tucker law was passed President John Taylor gave orders for all plural marriages to cease, that no plural marriages should be performed in our temples, and further, that he took steps to not only obey the law himself, but to have the people, and we have endeavored to carry out the same principle since his death. There has never been any plural marriages in our temples since the passage of that law, by our consent or to our knowledge. And inasmuch as the nation has passed a law forbidding plural marriages we feel to obey that law, and leave the event in the hands of God. We have not been teaching neither are we now teaching the principle to the Church or the world since the passage of that law, and wherever any member of the Church has taught it he has been reproved for the same.
Therefore we make this public declaration that we are neither teaching nor practicing the doctrine of polygamy. And while we have been accused of preaching it in our public sermons there is no sentence which we have uttered since the enactment of that law that can rightly be construed as teaching that doctrine. Our teachings to the members of the Church have been to obey the law. And in one instance where a man testified that he had married a plural wife in the endowment house, this marriage was not with our permission or knowledge, neither could we ever learn who performed the ceremony; but in consequence of this testimony we had the endowment house taken down.
As to man's religious belief, that is something with which we have nothing to do; we can deal only with their acts—a doctrine held by the highest court of the nation. Our religious faith is based 553 upon the Bible. We believe fully in all the principles taught by Jesus Christ and the apostles, and we teach no gospel or religion but that taught by them. And we now publicly declare that our advice to the Latter-day Saints is to obey the law of the land, leaving the nation responsible for their acts in this respect.
We are misrepresented by the press and those who are opposed to us. It is reported that the Utah Commission has reported that there have been some 80 cases of plural marriages in the last month. There is no truth in these charges.
[George Q. Cannon diary as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-1951, Privately Published, Salt Lake City, Utah 2010]