During the summer of 1898 a number of Elder [B. H.] Roberts' friends urged him to become a candidate for Congress. Complying with the rule of the Church, that before accepting any nomination for political office or engaging in other business that would interfere with their work in the ministry, the brethren should obtain the consent of the authorities of the Church, the matter of Elder Roberts being released from his duties in the ministry in order to accept the aforesaid nomination, was presented to the Presidency and to the Council of the Apostles, and they unanimously approved of his being released for this purpose, whereupon Elder Roberts became a candidate before the Democratic Convention, and was nominated on the first ballot. The convention was a stormy one, and much opposition developed against Elder Roberts on the part of a number of Gentiles, who were in the convention. Indeed, it had been intimated before the convention convened that open war would be made upon him on account of his plural family relations. At the time Elder Roberts heard of this threat, he called at the office of the Presidency of the Church, with the view of presenting the matter to the brethren and ascertaining if such a controversy should be risked. At the time Presidents [Wilford] Woodruff and [George Q.] Cannon were in California, but the matter was presented to President Joseph F. Smith, who, in substance, said that he did not think we were under the necessity of paying any attention to the threats of our enemies with relation to that subject; and stated that the same matter had been brought up in the office the day previous, when several of the Apostles were present, and they also were of that mind; and, hence, Elder Roberts continued his efforts among his political friends, and secured the nomination, as above stated.
[Excerpt from the Minutes of the First Council of the Seventy, February 7, 1900]