01 – E.L. Kelley

1: Please state your name to the reporter?
My name is E.L. Kelley.

2: Where do you live Mr Kelley?
At present at Lamoni, Iowa.

3: What is your business?
I am a Minister in the Church.

4: What official position do you hold in the church at the present time Mr Kelley?
Presiding Bishop in the Church.

5: In what church?
The re-organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

6: The plaintiff in this suit?
Yes sir.

7: Were you one of the Incorporators of the plaintiff in this cause in Iowa in the year 1891?
I was.

8: Look at that paper Mr Kelley, marked “exhibit “B” and state what it is?
It is the original of the Articles of Incorporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, before named.

9: Mr Kelley do you state that you are the Bishop of the plaintiff in this action?
I do.

10: And the plaintiff or complaintant in this action is a corporation?
Yes sir.

11: Now Mr Kelley will you please explain how any one can be a bishop of a Corporation?
Shall I answer the question if he insists upon it?

12: Yes sir, you have got to answer it?

13: I would like to have an answer to that question?
Well sir you may be a Bishop of a society, – or rather of an incorporation by a society, which provides for the office of a Bishop incorporating under the statue of a state providing for such officer as trustee.

14: Then I understand you to distinctly, – or am I right when I say I understand you to state distinctly that you are a Bishop of the plaintiff corporation.?
I am the Bishop of the Church, – the Church known as the Re-organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which ing to the laws of the state of Iowa.

15: In your bill in this cause it is stated that the reorganized church contains, I should say the reorganized church of Latter Day Saints, contains about seven hundred (700) at, and about the City of Independence, Missouri. Now will you state whether that membership, or rather what part of that membership took part in the incorporation that you speak of in the State of Iowa?
It is recited in the Articles of Incorporation themselves what part the church at Independence took with references to this in connection with the other churches of the body, by resolution of all the churches made in its general conference. The Independence Church being duly represented there.

16: What conference do you refer to?
The annual general conference of the church.

17: For what year?
The one that was held April 6th 1891.

18: At what place?
Kirtland, Ohio.

19: Is it in pursuance of the authority of that conference that this incorporation was effected?
The church may be incorporated by vote of large branches in any state, and this conference recognized the right of any branch to so incorporate, and the branch at Lamoni, Iowa, incorporated by virtue of this recognized right in the church, but expressed in the resolutions of that Conference.

20: Did that Conference authorize this incorporation?
It provided that such an incorporation might take place, and also authorized any church of a like nature, and especially authorized the incorporation of at Lamoni.

21: Do you recognize the pamphlet which I now hand you?
Yes sir.

22: Is it an authorized publication?
The Saints Herald is.

23: Of the church, is it an authorized publication of the reorganized church?
The Herald is, but not the pamphlet.

24: Was not this all the authority, was not the following the only resolution passed at the Conference mentioned on the subject of the property at Independence, Missouri, to wit, “Resolved, Bishopric be authorized to take such steps to remove the cloud on the title of the real estate in Independence, Missouri, as may be deemed wise and proper for them”?

25: You understand the question?
Yes sir.

26: Well, was that not all the action that was taken?
I could not state from memory without reference to the record, but I remember that a resolution similar to that was passed, but whether there was any other or not I could not state, without I could see the records ad examines them. I could not state from my own memory Colonel, that is it.

27: Will you just state how this alleged corporation in Iowa was originated, and constituted?

28: Just state how it was originated and constituted?
The Association at Lamoni, Iowa, adopted articles as set forth in the originals to which I have testified, and were signed by the parties whose names appear in the articles, and were duly acknowledged, and they are filed, – in the Recorders office of the County of Decatur, Iowa, as provided for under the statute of the state of Iowa. Now there might have been other things done with reference to it, but that is as near as I remember.

29: What do you mean by Association?
The Church.

30: What do you mean by “Church”, – by the Church?
The church located at Lamoni, Iowa, as is fully set forth in the Articles of Incorporation.

31: Was that done in pursuance of a resolution, or by other proper proceedings of that church at Lamoni, Iowa?
It was done in harmony with such resolutions, and at the instance of the church at Lamoni, Iowa.

32: Did all the members of the church at Lamoni, participate in this incorporation?
No by signing, but by vote they did, – not by signature, – but by vote.

33: How many of the members at Lamoni participated in signing and executing the Articles of Incorporation?
If I know just the membership there, I would be able to state it, but I can’t do so as I do not know just what the membership is there.

34: Well, that is all I want?
Well there is between seven hundred and fifty and eight hundred (750 & 800) according to my best recollection.

35: Well, about how many participated in signing the articles of incorporation?
I couldn’t state, because I have not counted the names. The Articles of Incorporation state that fact for themselves, and I fancy they would be the best evidence.

36: The Articles of Incorporation state that fact, you say?
Yes sir.

37: This church at Lamoni, is one of the churches, – is one of the local churches or branches I believe you stated, – I believe that is what you would term it, of the Re-organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which you claim to number about twenty five thousand (25,000)?
The church at Lamoni effected the Article of Incorporation, because that is the central church, and all others are simply branches of that church. That is the way we understand it Colonel. It is the headquarters, – it is the incorporated body, – it is made the headquarters and principles place

38: By what authority was it so made the principle place of business
By the authority of the common consent of the body, which is a rule of action of the body.

39: Now, what body do you refer to? Do you refer to the local church at Lamoni, or not?
I refer to the incorporated church at Lamoni, and all the branches of the church, in its representative capacity.

40: Is that Church at Lamoni, Iowa, the older church of the organization?
No sir, not so far as the time of organization is concerned.

41: Then how do you know, – are there older local churches than that in the denominations at other places, and in other states?
There are branches of the church that have an older organization than the present head quarters of the Church, – so far as time is concerned.

42: How do you designate that which is older as a branch, from that which is younger?
By virtue of the rules of the body governing the church.

43: Will you state when those rules may be found?
They may be found in the recognized books of the Church, – in the actions of the general conferences of the body, –

44: now then Mr Kelley, will you explain, how it is that one local church may incorporate itself, and thereby exercise jurisdiction or authority over the property within the jurisdiction of other churches in other states?

45: Do you understand the question?
Please repeat the question.

46: How asked you to explain how one local church may incorporate itself, and thereby exercise authority over property within the jurisdiction of other churches in other states?
Under the laws of the state of Iowa, provision is made for the incorporation of local societies, and providing in such corporation supervision in the manner of a presbytery, synod or general convention of churches, of all other churches, and so the incorporation of this church is made. We hold property in other states by virtue of the law of comity existing between the states.

47: Now Mr Kelley you state that you were the Bishop of the Re-organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?
Yes sir.

48: And you are at the present time?
Yes sir.

49: How many Bishops are there?
There is but one at the present time, – that is there is but one at the present time that is acting in the office of Bishop, – But the Bishop has counselors to assist and advise him.

49: You may state whether or not the bishop of that Church is the highest officer in it?
No sir.

50: You are not the highest officer, – or rather the Bishop is not the highest officer?
No sir.

51: Who is the highest officer?
The highest officer in the church is, the, –
The highest officer in the church is the President, or presiding elder in the Church.

52: Now you spoke about the incorporation of the local church at Lamoni, and you stated if I recollect correctly your testimony, – that it was authorized by the general Conference? If I recollect correctly that is what you testified to?
Yes sir.

53: Now did the general Conference authorize an incorporation of the church or branch at Lamoni, Iowa., in contra-distinction between the incorporation of any other branch or church of the denomination?
The resolution is general, and any branch of the church in any state, where such corporations are permitted under the laws of the state might act in harmony with the resolution and incorporate; but my recollection is that there was a special resolution with reference to the incorporation of the church at Lamoni in the state of Iowa. Now that is my best recollection of the facts in connection with that matter.

54: Will you state why an incorporation of the church was not made at Independence, Missouri., instead of the church at Lamoni, Iowa?

55: I ask you if you know, – if you can state why it was not had at Independence, Missouri., rather than at Lamoni, Iowa?
Yes sir I know. It was because we preferred to incorporate under the laws of the state of Iowa.

56: You allege, or it is alleged in the Bill in this cause, that the Re-organized Church of Latter Day Saints, was, – I believe it is at a blank date, – incorporated in the State of Illinois? Now is that true?
I could not state from my personally knowledge Colonel in reference to that. I only know that I did not take part in the original corporation.

57: Well then is it incorporated at any other place to your knowledge only at Lamoni and at this point in Illinois?
The incorporation at the present time is at Lamoni.

58: And it is not incorporated at, – or rather in Illinois?
The Lamoni incorporation is a re-incorporation of the church in Illinois, -the Lamoni incorporation is a re-incorporation of that.

59: Now is there any other incorporation in any other state of which you are aware?
Not that I am aware of. Could I look at that paper just a moment Colonel (witness refers to Exhibit A)