Brother [Heber J.] Grant questioned the advisability of our taking the ground that the manifesto was intended to cover the ground of our recognizing the validity of the law as far as unlawful cohabitation was concerned, as well as polygamous marriages. He thought if we went before the court stating that the manifesto was intended only to stop plural marriages, but that we recognized it to be our duty to live with our plural wives, at our own risk, it would be a better position to take. This led to Brother F[ranklin]. S. Richard explaining to Brother [John W.] Taylor that our going into court was not an original suit on our part, but that we were required to go, and explain the meaning and the scope of the manifesto, as it was on the ground that our Church funds were used for the purpose of propagating unlawful marriages that our property was escheated, and our showing the court that we were sincere in the issuing and adopting of the manifesto would be fundamental ground for the recovery of our property, besides the political standing it would give us before the nation. ... Brother Grant, having had a previous conversation with President [Joseph F.] Smith, asked him if he was now satisfied with regard to the manifesto being a revelation from God. President Smith answered emphatically no. He then went on to explain how he did regard the manifesto. He believed that President [Wilford] Woodruff was inspired to write the manifesto in consequence of the situation in which we were placed, and that because of the circumstances in which we were placed before the government, the Lord sanctioned it. But he did not believe it to be an emphatic revelation from God abolishing plural marriage. President Cannon, referring the remarks of President Smith, said he regarded President Smith's understanding upon this matter to be his [i.e., Cannon's]; that he himself did not regard the manifesto as a revelation abolishing polygamy, for the reason that that was an eternal principle, and could not be abolished by anybody; but in believing that President Woodruff was inspired to write the manifesto, he also believed it to be a revelation from God, for the reason that a revelation, as he conceived it to be, was a communication of God's will to man, irrespective of the form in which it may be written.
President Cannon's view was fully endorsed by Brother L[orenzo]. Snow and the Council generally. President Woodruff, expressing himself in this connection, said he foresaw what was coming upon us; that our temples were in danger, and the work for the dead liable to be stopped, and he believed he would have lived to have witnessed the hand of the government extended to crush us; but the Lord did not intend that Zion should be crushed, and He averted the blow by inspiring me to write and issue the manifesto, and it certainly has had the effect of doing it so far. How long it may remain in force it is not for me to say, that is for God alone to say. As for the principle, it is eternal and will stand forever. Brethren, you may call it inspiration or revelation, or what you please; as for me, I am satisfied it is from God. A general expression of endorsement was made.
[First Presidency Office Journal, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1835-1951, Electronic Edition, 2015]