[Apostle John W. Taylor]
I hereby tender to you my resignation as a member of the Council of Twelve Apostles, as it is clear to me that I have been out of harmony with you in some very important matters which have apparently brought reproach upon the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I wish to state in the first place that I have not violated the laws of the United States nor of the State of Utah in relation to Polygamous or plural marriages. Also that the authorities of the Church have not directed or authorized me to do so or to do anything contrary to the rules of the Church as adopted by that body. But I find that I have been out of harmony with the said authorities as to the scope and meaning of the Manifesto issued by President Wilford Woodruff and adopted by the General Conference on Oct[ober]. 6 1890 and also as to the meaning of the last clause of the petition for amnesty to President Benjamin Harrison in Dec[ember]. 1891. I have always believed that the government of the United States had jurisdiction only within its own boundaries and that the term 'laws of the land' in the manifesto meant merely the laws of the United States. I find now that this opinion is different to that expressed by the church authorities who have declared that the prohibition against plural marriages extended to every place and to every part of the Church. It is doubtless true that this view of the matter has been given by President Woodruff and others, but I have never taken that an binding upon me of the Church, because it was never presented for adoption by 'Common Consent' as was the Manifesto itself and I have disputed its authority as a law or rule of the Church. I acknowledge that I received a request from President Joseph F. Smith by letter, to appear as a witness in the Reed Smoot case before the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections, but I declined to do so because, while I recognized his right to direct me in church affairs, I did not think his authority extended to civil affairs to the extent that I should expose my family concerns and be questioned and held up to public ignominy as some of my brethern were before that body, and I still hold the same views upon that matter. In as much as I have not been in harmony with my brethren in these subjects and I have been called in question concerning them, I now submit myself to their discipline and to save further controversy tender this my resignation and hope for such clemency in my case as they may deem right and just and merciful. Met with council. Important matters. Conclusion arrived at on two of the brethren.
[John W. Taylor, Letter to the Council of Twelve Apostles, 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]