Excerpt from an address given by George Q. Cannon, November 1, 1891, reported by Author Winter. Published in the Deseret Weekly News, November 21, 1891: 1
“I myself have testified before presidents of the United States before cabinet officers before judges of the Supreme Court before members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives and before committees of Congress, that I knew that doctrine was from God. I told them I felt that if I had not obeyed it I would have been damned because the Lord gave to me a direct command to obey that principle. He was kind enough to reveal this doctrine to me before I ever heard that brother Joseph had received a revelation of that kind he manifested to me that that principle would be revealed to this Church and be practiced by the Church. I have testified to this and have endeavored with my brethren who also have labored in this direction, to convince the nation that we were not overstepping the bounds of the constitution by believing and obeying a doctrine that had been revealed to us.
Over a thousand have gone to prison to show our sincerity. A prominent official of this Territory said to a gentleman the other day: “They say to me that these people are not sincere.” “Why,” says he, “I know that they are sincere. I went myself to the penitentiary and I labored with all the power I had to convince Lorenzo Snow that he should express his willingness to obey the law; but notwithstanding all my persuasions, and notwithstanding he had a year and a half sentence upon him, I could not move him. I believe he would have gone out and been shot rather than to have said he would get out of prison on such terms. And here is Lorenzo snow going on the stand gland now before the Master in Chancery and testifying as he does; and I know that man is sincere in giving that testimony, for if he had said one-tenth to me what he said to the Master in Chancery, he could have been a free man.”
We have done everything that we could to persuade the nation that they were doing us injustice in prosecuting us for this, and that the law was an unconstitutional one. Now some say, “Why, look at these Mormon people, how quickly they will do the thing that the President of the Church tells them to do;” and they bring that up as an argument against us, as though we would continue to defy the law until the President said, stop.
The reason for this a very simple one. We have been acting in this in the fear of God. We believed that it was right to carry this principle out; and if we had been sentenced to be killed, I suppose some would have felt that it was right for us to submit to that rather than yield the principle. God gave the command and it required the command of God to cause us to change our attitude. President Woodruff holds the same authority that the man did through whom the revelation came to the Church. it required that same authority to say to us “it is enough. God has accepted your sacrifice. He has looked down upon you and seen what you have passed through, and how determined you have been to keep his commandments, and now he says it is enough.” It is the same authority that gave us the principle. it is not the word of man.”
Edmunds Tucker Act, Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmunds–Tucker_Act
Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah, LDS.org – https://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marriage-and-families-in-early-utah?lang=eng
|Deseret Weekly News, November 21, 1891, pg. 3 – http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/desnews9/id/26309/rec/1