In 1905, the agitation of hireling priests and many misguided people was strong against the seating of Apostle Reed Smoot in the United States Senate. The hue and cry was that many individuals had entered Plural Marriage since the Manifesto, among others, Brother John W. Taylor and myself [i.e., Matthias F. Cowley]. It was therefore thought advisable for us to to [sic] resign our places in the Council of the Twelve. Before doing so, President B. H. Roberts had made a speech, I understand by the request of the Presidency, in which he said that unless individuals would shoulder the responsibility of these marriages, the Church had not a "foot of ground to stand on, and that they were guilty of duplicity and double dealing." We had meetings with the Twelve for about six days which the Presidency did not attend except a part of the first one. No minutes of the meetings were kept. In one of these meetings Elder [Charles W.] Penrose said, referring to Elder [John W.] Taylor and myself--these are very nearly his words, but I do not say verbatim--"These brethren are not on trial--they are not charged with disobedience and transgression, but we've all got in a box with the Government and something must be done to meet this fight, and if these brethren are willing to be humiliated they can be re-installed," whereupon Brother John Henry Smith threw up his hands and said, "yes, I'll vote for them with both hands." This was the spirit of the occasion--we had no arguments against our brethren. After the last meeting, which meetings were held in the Temple, Brother Penrose brought our resignations to us in the Temple all written, with no suggestion from us (although Brother Taylor desired to write his own). We signed them, and after doing so Brother Penrose said he had no idea that they would go into effect, and would not, unless matters came to the last ditch of necessity. This was in the fall of 1905, and at the April Conference of 1906, they were made public and became of effect. After this action, I have done very little preaching but have been faithful in the payment of my tithing and offereings [sic]. Have
spent about $7,000.00 supporting my sons and others in the mission field. Have been regular in attendance at my Sunday Schools, Sacrament Meetings, Priesthood meetings, etc. In temporal affairs I have been engaged in different lines. Have sold Church books, life insurance, and real estate. At present I am working for the County Assossor's office in collecting personal taxes. Have done some assessing, and acted under Sheriff Clifford Patten as Bailiff in the Courts of Judges Ephraim Hanson and Oscar W. McConkie. After resigning from the Council of the Twelve, President Jos[eph]. F. Smith, recognizing that Brother Taylor and myself had not been wilfully wrong, continued my allowance of $150.00 a month from the Church. This was a great help to me, and was kept up until President Smith passed into the Spirit World. His kindness and element of justice I shall never forget. God bless his memory! In saying this I do not with to cast any reflections upon President [Heber J.] Grant for stopping the allowance.7 I think it was the right thing for President Smith to keep it up. For aught I know it may have been just as right for President Grant to stop it. At any rate, I shall sustain and uphold President Grant in his administration as I did his predecessors, and I hope and pray that my wives and children will do the same. This is my counsel to them, now and forever, even so, Amen.
7Heber J. Grant recorded in his diary on January 20, 1919: "Ev[enin]g chat P[residen]t [Anthon H.] Lund & [Arthur] Winter. stop--[$]150 [Matthias F.] Cowley's wives."
["Family History Sketch of the History of Matthais Foss Cowley," ca. 1930, LDS Archives]