1: You testified that you were the bishop of a church Mr. Kelley I believe?
2: What church?
I am the bishop of the reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, that is the name of the church of which I am a bishop.
3: Now are you the bishop of a cooperation entitled the reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?
I am the bishop of the church of that name, and the church has been incorporated under the laws of the state of Iowa.
4: Are you a bishop of a cooperation, yes or no will answer that question?
I am a bishop of the church.
5: Well I would like you to answer the question as to whether you are the bishop of a cooperation?
I have stated the facts. I have told you what office I occupy, and you asking me for a conclusion. I simply state the facts to you and you can draw your own conclusion.
6: So you want the notary there to note that you refuse to answer yes or no to that question I have asked you. Is that the way you want your answer to be recorded?
I want my answer to be recorded that I state the facts but I am not here to give my conclusion as I understand it.
7: Well I must request you to answer the question as to whether or not you are the bishop of a corporation entitled “The Re-organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”. Now you either are or are not, and I ask for an answer to that question? What is your answer to that question?
I am willing to answer just what I am. I have no objection to stating the facts, and that is what I am doing, and I have done in this instance. I am willing to answer any question you may put to me by giving you the facts in connection with the question if it is my duty to do so.
8: Well I have asked you that question, and I want you to answer it.
My position is that of the Presiding Bishop of the “Re-organized church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”, and the church as a society was incorporated after I became its presiding Bishop in this manner under the operation of the laws of the state of Iowa.
9: Now then I will ask you the question again, – I repeat the question to you, – Are you the Bishop of a corporation?
I am bishop of the church, and the church is duly incorporated under the laws of the state of Iowa? And if that makes me the bishop of a corporation, then I am the bishop of a corporation.
10: And if it does not make you the bishop of a corporation, then you are not the bishop of a corporation?
No sir, if it does not then I am not the bishop of a co-operation.
11: Are you an agent of that co-operation any way?
I do the business for the church and the church is incorporated, and as such you might call me the agent of the inco-operation.
12: Has the co-operation the necessary officers as is provided for in its articles of incor-operation?
Yes sir, the church officers are its officers.
13: The church officers?
Yes sir, and no others.
14: Are all the church officers the officers of that incorporation?
Just those that are mentioned in the articles of inco-operation, and provided for by the laws and regulations of the church which is inco-operated.
15: Has that inco-operation a President and Secretary and directors?
16: Has that corporation directors and officers?
Not outside of the church officers.
17: Has it any of the directors and officers specified in the articles of incorporation and the law regulating such incorporations?
it has those that are specified in the articles of incorporation.
18: Are those that are specified in the articles of incorporation, the officers who are entitled to do the business of the incorporation?
It has so far as is stated in the articles of incorporation.
19: When did that copy purporting to be a copy of a deed come into your possession, if it ever came into your possession?
It came into my possession I think it was the same days it was made. here in Independence, and that was on the 11th day of June 1887, and it had been in my possession ever since. I was then acting agent for the church in a different capacity how ever, but I came into possession of the paper at that time, and have retained its custody ever since.
20: You were not the Bishop of the church at that time then?
No sir, at that time I was not Bishop of the church.
21: What do you call in your church techniology or phraseology, for instance, the congreation of Independence, – I might make the question generally by saying at any other particular spot or point?
They are usually called, –
22: What do you call these local congreations in church techniology?
Sometimes they are called local church, and sometimes they are called branches of the church.
23: Sometimes branches of the church?
24: And there are how many branches of the church?
Of such churches, –
25: Of such churches how many branches are there?
I could not state how many there is of my own knowledge without referring to the records.
26: Well about how many is there?
I know about how many there is generally.
27: Well about how many is there?
There is about four-hundred in the United States.
28: Well can you give an approximate idea about how many there is in the world?
I could state approximately about how many there are. I think in the Canadas I could tell about how many there are about I don’t know with reference to Australia or the Society of the Sandwich Islands or Europe either.
29: Well in Canada is there about?
I think in the Canadas there is about twenty or twenty five branches. That is my impression but personally I am not in a position to tell you the number Colonel with any great degree of accuracy.
30: How does the title of the property of the local branches of the church in Canada, vest in you as the Bishop of the church?
It is held there in part by local trustees, and my instructions has been to the officers there in deeding property to have it deeded directly to the church in its corporate name. We claim we could and can hold it by the law of comity between the two countries in its corporate name.
31: Is the property of the local congregation here, which is said in your bill to have seven hundred members, – seven-hundred or more communicants I believe, but I don’t know that that is the exact phraseology that you use, – Is the church property here in your name?
The local church here?
32: Yes sir?
The church building etc?
33: Yes sir?
I would not say for certain. I know it is not in my name, but it may be in the name of the former Bishop of the church, for it was deeded at the time that E.A. Blakeslee of Galien, Michigan was the Bishop of the church, and it is possible that it is in his name but I think it is in the name of the corporation, – the Re-organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Now that is my best recollection of it but if you wish to know definately you can assertain the fact by examining the records.
34: Is the title of the four-hunderd, – of all the four hundred branches in the United States in the name of who is or who was the
bishop of the church, – who is the bishop of the church at the present time I will say?
Well the titles to as number of the local churches run to Israel L. Rogers, as the trustee a and bishop, when he was the bishop of the church. That was for some of them before the society was ever incorporated, and after the appointment of Bishop Blakeslee, some some of the deeds run to him as bishop and trustee, and some were directed to the church in its corporate name, and so it has been since my appointment.
35: And some in other ways?
There is none legally held in any other way at all.
36: There is not?
Not that I know of.
37: Now when you held the title of the property of any of these branches, – there is four-hundred of them you say?
Yes sir, some thing like that.
38: For whose benefit do you hold it?
Say what way –
39: Do you hold it for the benefit of that particular branch, or for the benefit of the whole church?
There is special regulations of the church with reference to that. It is held for the use and benefit of the society, so long as the society holds together, I mean by that the local society, and so long as it is in harmony with the laws of the church, and acts in harmony with the church as a whole. If it should happen that the local society for any reason or from any cause, should depart from the church, or should become dis-organized from any cause or reason, the general society would not lose its interest in the property. All this property is brought to gether, and obtained by the use of the money of the church and there is where the interest of the general church comes in.
40: Does the general church have any interest in the property of a local branch, except for the benefit of that local branch?
Oh yes sir.
41: In what manner?
Often the local church, I mean to say that often the general church aids these societies in building, – loans them money or aids them in various ways.
42: When the general church loans them money does it loan them the money in trust to be repaid by the local branch to which it is loaned?
Well it is owing in a great measure to the circumstances surrounding the case.
43: It is owing to the circumstances surroundings as to whether or not that money shall be repaid?
44: Well does the power given to the trustee that holds the title to the property used by any branch, aurhoize him to sell or convert that property contrary to the wishes of the branch?
He might sell it so far as that is concerned, if he did so without authority from the general church and contrary to the wishes of the branch, he would be liable to forfeit his office for so doing.
45: Can he dispose of the property of a branch at all, without the consent of that branch?
I think it is possible he might.
46: Possible he might?
Yes sir. There never been such a thing done I will say, and I do not think it is at all likely that it will ever be done.
47: Is there any law authorizing him to dispose of the property of a branch the title of which is held by him in trust for the use and benefit of that branch?
It is held in trust for the use and benefit of the general church
48: Well is there any authority authorizing, him to sell property so held?
Nothing more than the law of the
49: Is there any law of the church particularly or generally giving him such power as that?
Yes sir, there is simply what you find in the articles of incorporation already introduced in evidence in this case.
50: Only the powers you say that are found in the articles of incorporation already introduced in evidence in this case?
51: Can the authority of that incorporation, the articles which have been introduced in this case, be invoked to transfer the property of a local branch without the consent of that branch?
That has never been done.
52: What is that you say?
It never has been done.
53: Can it be done?
I think it would be doubtful.
54: You think it would be doubtful as to whether it could be done or not?
It might be done, but whether it would be, well possibly in some of the states it would be declared legal under the law, but whether it would be helf to be legal and just by the society is another question.
55: Is the corporation of which you speak, authorized to hold any property other than that which holds for the use and benefit of the various branches of which it is as a whole composed?
The articles of incorporation show just what property it is authorized to hold. Now you are asking as for conclusions based upon facts and I do not think it is proper for me to state any conclusions. I state the facts and you can draw your own conclusions, and this last conclusion of mine that it is proper for me to state only the fact I think you will find upon the trial, that it is a conclusion in which the court will sustain me.
56: Well that may be. Now I will ask you if the general conference of the church as such, hold any property in cotra-distinction to the property of the local branches?
Yes sir. Speaking of the general conference of the church generally it does.
57: As the church generally it does?
Yes sir. That is in the sense of holding property other than the church buildings. If I understand your question that is what you refer to?
58: I mean any property, real estate or personal property?
Yes sir other than the church buildings?
59: I mean other than the buildings used for the church purposes by the various branches?
60: Does the general conference or any authority authorized by it hold property unconnected with the local branches?
61: That is the fact is it?
62: Real property?
Real and personal both.
63: What does the general conference or any authority authorized by it, hold any real property for, for what purpose does it hold any real property?
For the use and benefit of the church.
64: For the use and benefit of the church, in what manner?
65: For the use and benefit of the general church?
66: Then it don’t hold it for a church building?
68: Does the general church as you term it, represented by its general conference or any other authorized authority, have any church buildings?
68: It does?
Yes sir. 69 (Question and answer missing)
The building at Kirtland Ohio, – the temple building there at Kirtland which is held by the general church, and it is the best and the most costly building held by the society in any way.
71: Has it any other property or real estate so held?
72: It has?
It holds one-hundred and sixty acres of land in Missouri up here.
74: Where else does it held any real estate?
It holds the temple lot in question in this case, and it holds several other lots here, – I do not remember the number, but it holds one lot just north of the temple lot in question here in Independence, and in a good many other places it holds property. It holds a block in the center of San Bernardino California, and it holds two lots in Pomona California.
75: For what use does it hold the property so held?
What is that?
76: For what use does it hold, or assume to hold the property of which you have spoken?
It holds it for the use and the benefit of the Re-organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and it is so stated in the deeds.
77: For church edifices, – does it hold it for church edifices?
It hold it for any and every purpose or use the society may see fit to put it to.
78: For speculation or anything else?
Yes sir, for what ever it chooses to use it for, – for the use and benefit of the society generally.
79: And the society is the church?
80: Then it holds them for any purpose to which it desires or sees fit to devote them?
Yes sir. Yes sir that is the fact but it is not expected that the church would go into speculation, and if the Bishop would go into that kind of business he would be dismissed for he is not permitted to go into the speculative business.
81: Now is whatever you do in reference, or with any of these properties approved by the corporation at Lomoni, the articles of which you introduce in in testimony in this case, – is what you do as Bishop of this church approved always by that incorporation?
82: How is that done?
The way that corporation approves is by or through the church which is incorporated.
83: And is your action in any of these matters, as a matter of course approved by that incorporation?
84: Were they, – are they submitted to that incorporation?
They are liable to be inquired into at any time, for the commitees are appointed to examine my books and accounts and papers and reports, and I report all the real estate and personal property at each annual conference of the society.
85: Do you report your work to this incorporation?
I report it to the church.
86: You report it to the church?
87: Do you report it to this incorporation at Lamoni?
Yes sir, for it is the church at Lamoni. The church at Lomoni is the incorporation, and it was duly incorporated in pursuance of the laws of the state of Iowa, and as such an incorporation I report to it by reporting to the church.
88: You report it to the church at Lomoni?
Yes sir. ters of the church and of the society into which the church was incorporated.
90: You report it to the church at Lamoni, and it is approved by it?
91: It is from the church at Lamoni that you received your authority is it not?
No sir, the church at Lamoni is the principle church in this incorporation, but this incorporation is not the church at Lamoni alone, for it includes in the society of her branches of the church at other places, and as the officer having charge of these things I report to the general association for the church. I so reported this present month at the general conference which was held here in the city of Independence Missouri.
92: Now as a matter of fact you are acting here in this case a a representative of the incorporation, the article of which you have placed in evidence in this case or as the representative of something else?
I am the representative of the church which is incorporated, – both the church and the incorporation which are one and the same things, – if you want to make a distinction you can do so, but I state to you the fact, but the laws of Iowa as I understand them make no distinction.
93: That is the way that is done?
Yes sir, that is just the way.
94: Well now I have another question to ask you and it is this, in your proceedings here at this conference in the capacity in which you appeared did you represent the incorporation or the church?
95: You did, that?
I represented the incorporated church.
96: Does the possession of the muniments of title that you have in your possession in here in the incorporation?
What is your question?
97: I will frame it this way, – is the possession of the muniments of title by you, the possession of the incorporation at Lamoni?
They are in my possession as an office of the incorporation.
98: And is your possession the possession of the incorporation?
99: Then you are an officer of the incorporation?
I have answered that question by saying I am the Bishop of the Re-organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints which is incorporated under and by virtue of the laws of the state of Iowa, and if that makes me an officer of the incorporation I am one.
100: Do you observe the laws under which your church or society is incorporated?
I believe we do. I have told you what we do, and it is for the court to decide that question.
101: Well you say your possession of these muniments of title is the possession of the corporation?
102: That is the way you regard it?
Yes sir, that is the way I regard it.
103: Was the incorporation at Lamoni affected at the time you came in to the possession of this copy, or this paper purporting to be a copy of a deed?
104: It was not?
No sir, not in the state of Iowa, but at the time I came into the possession of this copy of the deed, it, – the society was incorporated under and by the virtue of the laws of the state of Illinois.
105: Have you by any act of yours since the incorporation at Lamoni transferred the possession of this deed to that incorporation?, – the possession of this purported copy of the deed to its possession?
To the possession of what?
106: To the possession of this incorporation?
No sir for the reason that the incorporation was transferred to Iowa,-The re-incorporation transferred me from the incorporation in Illinois to the corporation in Iowa, and I took this deed with me as a matter of course.
107: Have you by any instrument of writing, or any formal set in the transfer of any of papers that were in your hands at the time of the incorporation?
To which corporation?
108: The corporation at Lamoni, or rather the incorporation there?
I do not understand your question,-there seems to be something wrong with it Colonel?
109: I ask you if you had by instrument of writing or by any formal act of yours, transferred any of the papers that were in your hands at the time of the incorporation of the society at Lamoni, to that incorporation?
Well I understand the question now,-
110: Well I hope you do?
I do not think,-well I was one of the parties incorporating at Lamoni, and we re-incorporated the society, and the effects belonging to the original incorporation, by that act of re-incorporation were duly made the effects of the incorporation at Lamoni.
111: Was there ever any act of yours transferring to the incorporation any of the papers or muniments of title to real estate or other wise to that incorporation at Lamoni,-that is the question to which I am trying to get an answer?
No sir, and it was not necessary to do so under the laws of the state under which we incorporated. So far as the taking of the property out of the one hand and putting it into the other, so to speak, is concerned, that never was done.
112: Has that incorporation any Secretary or Treasurer?
The Bishop is the Treasurer of it. He is the Treasurer of the church and as such he is the Treasurer of the incorporation.
113: Has it any Secretary?
No sir, only the secretary of the church. The church has secretary and as the church is the society incorporated, he is of necessity the secretary of the incorporation.
114: So there has never been any formal transfer by you of the property as Bishop to the incorporation?
115: Mr. Kelly, is there any body, or is there any person connected with the corporation which you have spoken of and with the church aside from yourself who would be entitled to the custody of the deed offered in evidence marked Exhibit 20?