1: Mr. Blair, have you been sworn in this case?
2: I mean have you been sworn in it here-to-fore, and have you testified?
3: Your name is W.W. Blair?
4: Are you acquainted with Jason Briggs?
Jason W. Briggs you mean, I assume?
5: Yes sir? Are you acquainted with Jason W. Briggs?
6: His deposition was taken on the eighth day of June last at Denver, Colorado, and I would ask you whether you have read his testimony as given on that occasion?
I have read a small part of this morning as it was presented to me.
7: From what did you read that testimony?
From what purported to be his deposition presented to me by Mr. Orr.
8: You mean Mr. Orr here, the NOtary who is taking your testimony now, and who took Mr. Briggs’ testimony?
9: It was presented to you by Mr. Orr?
Yes sir, it was presented to me in the presence of Mr. Orr.
10: What portion of his testimony did you read?
That portion that referred to a purported lodge meeting, – priesthood meeting, – in which he says there was a purported revelation read by William Smith, and that was present. Read I say by William Smith, perhaps I should say it was read in the presence of William Smith, and he was present at the time, and that I was also present.
11: Where was that read?
Well it would be as, – from what I understood from reading the testimony it would be in October 1851 at a place called Palestine in the vicinity of what is not called Amboy in Lee County, Illinois. 12 (Question is missing)
13: What was the subject of that revelation?
Well from his testimony it is something that related to a plurality of wives, I should judge.
14: Plurality of wives?
Yes sir, – polygamy, or plurality of wives. That is what I should judge it be be judging purely from the testimony which I read.
15: Now you may state whether or not you were present a at the time and place and meeting to which he refers in his testimony?
There was no special date given there, only that it was in October 1851, that I can find.
16: I think he said it was October 18th?
I did not discover any date on it.
17: Well I think that was the date?
Yes sir, I think he said it was in October 1851. I never attended any meeting of that kind or anything that bore any relation or resemblance to it that I can recollect anything of, and I think I would remember,
18: You did not attend a meeting of that kind?
No sir, nothing of the kind that I am aware of. Now in the winter afterwards there were meetings held and they dubbed them lodge meetings, – that is some of them called them lodge meetings. The purport or intention of the meeting was to be educative, and it was by some called a lodge.
19: What was the object of the meeting?
It was to be educative, -that is, it was for the purpose of discussing matters in regard to theology and church government and such as that, and those meeting while they were confined chiefly to the ministry, nevertheless there were others permitted to become members, and I do not now recollect that there was anything secretive about it so that it could be called secret meetings or anything of that kind, and in that sense it was mis-named, for it was not a lodge.
20: What kind of meetings did you say they were?
They were meetings of the ministry, but they permitted the membership to be present, ant lest to some degree, I know.
21: What did you say the object of these meetings were?
I said they were educative in there character, that is for the purpose of discussing doctrinal questions and theological matters, for the purpose of better understanding these matters, and eliciting light by discussion of theological questions and matters of church government.
22: When did you attend these meetings?
Well I was never present at any of these meetings that I remember anything of not until November or December, possibly later than that.
23: November or December you say?
Yes sir, possibly it was later than that.
24: November of what year, -November or December of what year?
25: When did you join that body?
I united with that body of people I think on the eight of October. If my memory serves me right it was the last day of their conference-and at that time of course everything was comparatively new to me, -their doctrines, teachings and church government and matters of that kind at that time were all new to me.
26: That is the time you joined the church?
Yes sir, that is the time I formally joined the church.
27: You say that is the time you joined the church?
28: Had you had nothing to do with the church before that time?
No sir, -that is the time I united with that body, and before that time I had simply been an investigator, and had been for some little time.
29: For how long had you been an investigator?
A few weeks or months perhaps.
30: You said that body of people, -what body of people did you refer to?
31: I will ask you what body of people you referred to?
Those people that were at that point.
32: Well what body of people were they?
Those that were under the Presidency of William Smith, -they were Latter Day Saints under the Presidency of William Smith.
33: How many of them were there there? A there was only a small congregation of them there.
34: Now what have you to say with reference to the revelation spoken of by Briggs at the meeting to which he refers in his testimony?
35: Yes sir, the revelation that he says read to the meeting to which he referred in his testimony?
He says that there was what he calls a revelation read to a meeting at which I was present. I say that there never was a revelation read to any meeting in my presence at any time or place while I was associated with William Smith. There was never such a thing read or presented at any meeting at which I was present either publicly or privately or in any other way, and I never saw any such a document or heard it read, nor did I ever hear of one, and so far as my memory now serves me I never heard of one having connection with that body of people or with William Smith until some time afterwards.
36: When was it?
Perhaps in 1852 as near as I can recollect now that was the time, – some time in 1852.
37: What time in 1852 was it?
Possibly sometime in June or July or 1852.
38: Then what did you hear or understand?
Well I just heard at that time, for there was a rumor abroad that Joseph Wood and William Smith had something to say in favor of sealing or a plurality of wives in that sense of the term.
39: You hear that?
Yes sir, I heard of it, but I never saw the revelation or a revelation purporting to come from William Smith or Wood either, I never saw one and I don’t think I ever saw one, – I mean I don’t think I ever heard of one until 1852, and that was pretty near a year after this time that Briggs speaks of.
40: Now did you ever see a revelation?
I never heard of a revelation.
41: The question is did you ever see a revelation?
No sir, and I don’t think I ever heard of a revelation prior to that time coming from that source or through one of them.
42: That is prior to the time you speak of?
Yes sir, but I heard that secretly there was something being said in favor of polygamy or plurality of wives, but I never heard it from Mr. Smith at any time.
43: Now do I understand you to say you heard it as a rumor?
Yes sir, I heard it first as a rumor simply.
44: From whom did you first hear it?
I think I heard it first of all from Alva Smith that is residing in Dickson, Illinois. That is the county seat of Lee County, and I heard it I think from Mr. Edwin Cadman.
45: From Edwin Cadman?
46: Well I will let that pass, for I don’t know that I care about telling you or, – I should say about your detailing or telling from whom you heard it, – that is from whom you heard these rumors, but I would like to know if these rumors were a general character, or whether it was a mere idle report?
I can’t say that it was general but I know that it was communicated to me as a piece of news.
47: Now I will ask you if you investigated the rumor?
Yes sir, to some extent.
48: To what extent did you investigate it?
Well I investigated it some.
49: Well now I will ask you if you had the means of properly investigating a rumor of that kind?
Well I can’t say that I did only in the sense of talking to some of the membership in regard to it.
50: Then you did not see it?
No sir, I saw no written document.
51: You simply heard the rumor?
52: Did you investigate the matter to ascertain or find out the truth or falsity of the matter?
Yes sir, I did to some degree.
53: Well with what result?
Well I found nothing confirmatory of it, – nothing whatever.
54: You did not find out anything that confirmed it?
No sir, that is so far as documents were concerned.
55: What do you mean by that?
Well I mean that I did not find anything mandatory, so to speak, that would touch it, coming from Smith. I did however in regard to Wood.
56: Now when was that?
I would not say whether it was in the spring or summer of 1852. Possibly it was in the summer sometime or a little later than that perhaps. Now that is all there was of that.
57: Well what about Wood’s connection with it?
So far as Wood’s relation to it is concerned there was have been written by Wood that fell into the hands of this man Alva Smith, who at one time had been a member of the church, and he showed me the letter.
58: He showed it to you?
59: Well do you recollect what its contents were?
Well there were things in the letter that smacked of advocating or defending the doctrine of plurality of wives.
60: Well now what relation, if any, did he hold at that time to Mr. Smith?
To William Smith?
61: Yes sir?
We understood that he was Counselor.
62: A Counselor?
Yes sir, or an adviser.
63: Did you know that to be the fact, – that is that he occupied that position to William Smith?
Well sir that is what I understood to be the fact. I know that soon after that time William Smith repudiated Wood.
64: How is that?
I say that I understood soon after that time he repudiated Wood.
65: Who repudiated him?
Smith. William Smith. I know that when I withdrew from William Smith’s organization I had several reasons for so doing and among these reasons was the one of this letter, – I may say that the letter was one of the principal reasons that moved me to withdraw from his association.
66: Well now you say you withdrew from that association?
Yes sir, I did, and that letter was one of the principal reason that moved me to do so.
67: Well now who was at the head of that association at the time that you withdrew?
William Smith was understood to be the presiding officer at that time.
68: Was this William Smith a brother to Joseph the prophet?
Yes sir. It was so understood, – commonly understood.
69: And the William B. Smith who has heretofore given his testimony in this case, as you understand it?
70: Now when did you first connect yourself with the organization of which William B. Smith was the head?
It was in October, – I believe it was the eighth, but it might have been the seventh. That is my impression.
71: Of what year?
I am rather positive it was October 8th in 1851.
72: You joined or connected yourself with his organization on October 8th 1851?
Well it was in 1851 and it was in the month of October, and I am pretty positive it was the eight of the month.
73: How long did that connection continue?
Well if my memory serves me correctly it was until about the next August.
74: Something over a year?
Yes sir. No that is not correct, it was not quite a year, it would not be a year until October, and I left it in August.
75: You did not belong to that organization for quite a year then?
No sir, but it run over into another year.
76: Then it was something less than a year that you belonged to the organization of which William Smith was the head?
77: How I will ask you if during that time you were an officer in that church organization?
I became an elder in it.
78: At what time did you become an elder?
I Can’t say the exact time.
79: Well I would say with reference to your joining it?
Well I should judge it would be the winter afterwards. My best recollection is that it was in the winter afterwards. Possibly it might have been in the spring following, but my recollection is that it was in the winter after I joined it.
80: Did you have any special or official relations with William Smith during that time?
During what time?
81: During the time of your connection with his church organization?
Yes sir, that is to say I did some transcribing for him.
82: What kind of transcribing?
Writing for him, preparing matter for the press.
83: How much?
Not a great deal however.
84: Did the position which you held as elder in his church bring you into frequent communication with him?
Yes sir. I loved about two miles away from where he resided at the time that he made that his home, and I attended the usual weekly services, and we usually had services during the week.
85: You had services of Sundays?
Yes sir, and a service in addition during the week.
86: Would he be present on these occasions?
Yes sir. Many times he was.
87: Would he be there always?
I could not say that he always was there, but he would be there many times.
88: If he had taught the doctrine of polygamy during the time that you were with him would you have had an opportunity to have known it?
If he had taught it publicly during any of the services that were held I certainly should have observed it.
89: Well then did he teach it at that time?
Not that I know of sir.
90: Not that you know of you say?
No sir. If he did I don’t know anything about it.
91: Did he at any time teach it either publicly or privately to your knowledge?
No sir, not that I know of. I thought my former answer covered that question pretty thoroughly.
92: Now you have spoken of the ordinance of sealing?
93: In the church?
94: I will ask you to explain, if you can, of what that ordinance consisted?
Well so far as I, -so far as matters of marriage were concerned I never heard it advocated in those times, and I never saw any administrations of it, but there was a rumor afloat passing from one to another that such a thing as sealing might be had, and that it related from instance to a person having a dead wife and a living one, that he might in that case be sealed to both by this ordinance, but I never heard it advocated in any way either privately or otherwise, but simply as a rumor that such a thing had been advocated by some, and I would not now undertake to say.
95: You would not undertake to say what?
I was going to add I would not now undertake to say that William Smith was in any sense the author of it either. I would not say as to that.
96: At the time of your connection with the church as organized and presided over by William Smith was this ordinance of sealing practiced in the church?
97: It was not?
No sir, it was not to my knowledge. I repeat it that I never heard it advocated publicly or privately by any official in the church, and I never saw any administration in that direction. To explain myself further in regard to this question of sealing I may state that it was taught from the first that there was sealing testimonies of God’s spirit which are equivalent to confirmation to the individual, and that is simply given the individual under the general administration of the doctrine of the church and the ordinances of the church. That is all I then knew or that I then heard advocated in regard to matters of sealing aside from the rumor that I now speak of. Now that which I speak of was occasionally heard of but it was not commonly heard of. It was also occasionally heard of in relation to the sealing of wives, the dead and the living to an individual for the world to come.
98: Mr. Blair have you conversed with William Smith with reference to the testimony of Mr. Briggs which you have been responding to here this morning?
Yes sir, to some extent.
99: Well to what extent?
To a limited extent, to a limited degree.
100: You have had some conversation with him about it?
Yes sir, I talked to him about it to a limited extent.
101: Where was that conversation had?
It was here in the city.
Yesterday. There was but very little said on that point however.
103: Well how much was there said on the question?
A very few words only.
104: Did you and Mr. Smith remember these things in the same way?
Well I cannot say.
105: I mean in so far as the facts were elicited in this conversation?
I could not say, but I remember distinctly that I became associated with the church the seventh or eighth of October 1851, and never having been associated with any religious body before, it was all a comparatively new business to me, and I remember furthermore quite distinctly of attending what they called the priesthood lodge meetings along in the winter afterwards, and perhaps in the sprint following. I likewise remember that Jason W. Briggs shortly after that conference, I could not say how long, but I should judge it was not more than a month, possibly less, wrote a communication down to his relatives, which I learned about, stating that he had abandoned, or that he had rejected William Smith’s claims.
106: That he had rejected the claims of William to be the head of the church?
Yes sir, and that he had abandoned that organization.
107: Now when did that occur?
I think that that occurred along in the first day of November.
108: Now that is hardly responsive to my question I think.
Well what is the question?
109: My question is whether in conversation with William Smith yesterday your view and recollections are the same or were the same with reference to his statement of Mr. Briggs about reading of a revelation on a given occasion?
Well as far as I am concerned I simple remember that I never heard it,-never saw it or heard of it, and he denies ever having having seen or ever having heard such a thing at that time, and he denies ever having presented at any time any such a revelation.
110: Is it not a fact tha at some time there was one presented by his counselor Woods?
I don’t know that there ever was. I know this,-if there was I know nothing about it.
111: You referred to a letter a while ago in your direct examination that was written. You referred to this letter a while ago and I desire to ask you now if this letter contained,-I refer to the letter from Jason Briggs,-whether that letter contained any information?
Well I don’t know what you mean exactly, but if you want to know what the contents of the letter were, I cannot tell you the exact purport of it only,
112: Well wait a moment. I was going to ask you as to whether or not that letter contained any information in regard to a revelation which Briggs claimed to have received concerning the now organization the church?
The new reorganization did you say?
113: Yes sir, the new organization?
The letter contained,-well now I would not say that it was the same one, but we learned I think perhaps as early as received some special testimony in the way of revelation, and whether I read it at that time or not I can’t say, but that is my impression in regard to it.
114: He received a revelation?
Well it was what purported to be a revelation, and what purported to be that revelation I will not undertake to say at this time, but it was not long after that before he, as I understood it, published this letter in which he repudiated William Smith and his organization,-that is he repudiated the claims of William Smith to the Presidency of the church.
115: Did he do that on any other grounds,-was there any thing said about the new organization?
116: At that time there was nothing said about the new reorganization?
No sir, there was not anything said about it that I remember of.
117: Were you a member of William Smith’s church at the time that Jason w. Briggs claimed to have received a revelation with reference to the new reorganization?
Yes sir, I am a member of it at that time.
118: Yes sir. You were?
119: When did this action of Briggs’ take place?
It came within a month of my uniting with the church.
120: Now I will ask you how you account for the difference in the recollection of yourself and Mr. Briggs about those priest’s lodge
conferences, and what occurred there?
Well sir, I was only a new member of the church at that time.
121: You did not hold any office in the church then?
No sir, I was only a new member in the church and was not an officer, and that was prior to the time that Jason W. Briggs renounced William Smith and his church. If my memory serves me right I was not yet an officer in the church in any sense of the term, but I was simply a new member of the church, and I don’t remember now of ever having at any time met with Jason W. Briggs, except simply in conference meetings. I don’t remember of meeting with him at all, -that is in that kind of a way.
122: I believe you stated that he was mistaken in saying that you met with him on any such an occasion?
123: Well now I want to enquire as to how you account for that kind of a mistake?
Well I really don’t know. That is something I would not attempt to account for unless it be on account of Mr. Briggs’ lapse of memory.
124: Are you confident that Mr. Briggs is mistaken and you are correct?
I am confident that if anything of the kind had occurred there, such as the presentation there, or the teaching there by a written revelation, or in any other way, of polygamy or plurality, or anything of that kind, I should have observed it at once and In know should and would have kicked against it.
125: You say at that time you were a new member of the church?
Yes sir, comparatively speaking I was.
126: And you say that if anything teaching polygamy or plurality of wives had been presented you would have “kicked” against it?
I most assuredly would have done so.
127: Could you have done so or would you have done so, -would you have been likely to do so, I will put it, being only a private member of the church, and a new one at that, ad the others presenting it being public officers of the church and high in authority?
Yes sir, on the ground that polygamy was a mooted question in those times and it was reputed, or rather imputed to the latter Day Saints as a body, or its practice was, and I learned from the book of Mormon and the book of Doctrine and Covenants and their other standard works at that time, before I associated myself with them, that these standard books discountenanced polygamy or anything of that kind, and I furthermore learned at that time that this body which I joined disclaimed the practice and doctrine, -I mean that my attention would have been drawn to it for the reason that at that time it was a question that was being discussed more or less publicly.
128: In the church?
No sir, not particularly in the church, but abroad in the world, -it was something that was imputed to the Latter Day Saints, and before I joined them I examined and carefully studied their standard works and I saw that the doctrine and its practice was expressly discountenanced, and deprecated, therefore if ant any time that had been presented in any way while I was a member of William Smith’s organization, or at the time that Briggs refers to I am positive that I would remember it, and I know if it had been I should forthwith have withdrawn from the church.
129: Well doubtless it is a fact that it was practiced by some members of the church?
At that time?
130: Yes sir?
I could not say.
131: If it was discussed it was practiced was it not? It would not be discussed unless it was practiced?
I don’t know sir really I could not say as to that.
132: Well I should think not, -?
No sir, I don’t know anything about it if it was.
133: State as accurately as you can when you became a member of the church?
I think it was in the winter prior to the April conference of 1852.
134: Then when did you ever attain any higher position in this church than that?
I think it was in the April conference of 1852.
135: Well what position did you attain to then?
I would not be certain of it.
136: Well what was it?
137: You became one of the Twelve?
138: In April 1852 you became one of the twelve in the church as organized under William Smith?
139: Was Jason W. Briggs also one of the Twelve?
Well he had been, – he was understood to be at the time that I came into the church, but he repudiated the church before this time.
140: Before the time you became one of the Twelve?
141: When did he repudiate the church?
Well it was in November 1851. That is the best of my recollection, for it was about a month after I joined it.
142: Might you not have become one of the Twelve Apostles prior to the time of the April conference of 1852?
Well I don’t know. I rather think not, for my memory is that it was in the spring and I believe at the April conference 1852 that I was ordained as one of the Twelve.
143: That is your recollection of it?
Yes sir, I think that was the time, and possibly I have records at home that would fix the time definitely.
144: Will you look at the paper I now hand you, and see if you see anything on it that refreshes your memory on that question?
No sir, – well now I do remember that there was something of that kind that was written.
145: At what time was that?
Well the date of this is January 1852. That would be following the October in which I became a member of the church.
146: You recognize that?
147: And it is dated January 1852?
148: What is the signature to that?
I see it is signed “Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.” That may be true or it may not be. I would not undertake to say whether or not it is true or false.
149: Well do you remember it?
Yes sir, I remember the general purport of it, and this I find is dated January 6th 1852, and is dated at Palestine.
150: What do you say as to the contents of that?
Well that is about the ground that we took with reference to Jason W. Briggs at that time.
151: Well is it a fact or is it not a fact that at that time you were an apostle?
I would not undertake to say.
152: So then you would not undertake to say now that you were made one of the Twelve in April 1852?
Well as I say my recollection is that I became an Apostle after I joined the church in April. I joined it in October 1851 and my recollection is that I became an apostle or one of the Twelve in April following.
153: But this,
This says, – it is signed, – the signature is William Blair and Edwin Cadwell. No that claims to be a copy, for of course it is not the original, – it claims to be a copy, and the claim is a false one from the fact that the middle letter is left out of my name. I never signed it “William Blair” in my life to my knowledge, – I am positive that I never did and I never signed it that way from my boyhood up, for it has always been my custom to write out the full name, – that is I don’t mean the full, for my name is William Wallace Blair and to write out the full name “William Wallace” would be rather Cumbersome, so it has always been my custom from time immemorial, for me to write my name “W.W. Blair”, and I see there it is written “William Blair”, and if this is a copy it is not a correct one in that respect. It says it is a “true copy of the original” William Smith, William Blair. Now I don’t sign my name that way and never did.
154: Well all I care to know in connection with this document is whether after reading it you are not uncertain as to the April date that you have sworn to be the date?
No sir, I would not be certain about that.
155: You would not be certain about the April date?
No sir. I could not say the real date or the true date. The real date might have been prior to that time, – to the date of that letter.
156: Well if it was done prior to the conference that would be contrary to the usages of the church would it not?
What is that?
157: The idea of calling and ordaining apostles outside of the general conference or the general council, – if that was done would it not be flatly in conflict with the law and the usages of the church?
Yes sir, that is what I say, and that is the reason I say that it must have been at the April conference, for that is my recollection and it would be the laws of the church.
158: And it is from that fact is it not that you are inclined to place the date of your ordination in April?
Yes sir. The fact is I have no distinct recollection of the date. I want to say in regard to another matter in here (referring to a pamphlet that witness holds in his hand) for that possibly might refresh my recollection.
159: Well look at it and state what it is?
I find this was published, as the imprint shows, at Springfield in 1854 instead of being published in 1852.
160: Well that might be the fact and yet the facts set forth in it be correct?
Yes sir, they might be approximately correct.
161: Do you know whether or not one of the Briggs assigned reasons for leaving William Smith’s church at the time he left?
162: And was not this very change of the advocacy of polygamy by William Smith the reason?
Yes sir, I know that from that revelation, – or I should say that purported revelation that is embodied in there. There is in there some rather indirect, – perhaps I should say, direct allegations that he repudiated it on some accounts by reason of this plurality doctrine.
163: And is it not a fact that Jason Briggs repudiated William Smith on that account?
Yes sir, that is what we understood at the time, but we also understood at the same time that he was mistaken about it. That was the ground taken by Elder Cadwell and myself and others that he had charged him unfairly and unrighteous in that respect.
164: You did not think he had made a true charge against him?
165: And is it not a fact that you yourself, and others left the church after that, assigning that as one of the charges for leaving the church?
Yes sir, ib directly it was. In that connection I will say that this letter of which you have been speaking was written by his counselor – and I read that letter, and whilst it was not an open advocacy of the doctrine it nevertheless smacked very strongly of an approval of it.
166: Who was that letter addressed to?
It was not written to the church but to a member of the church residing at Waukeshaw, and it passed into my hands by way of this man Alva Smith.
167: And that was the reason you left the church?
Yes sir, that was one of the reasons but it was not the only reason, for there were some other little irregularities that have no bearing on this case as I understand it, that moved me to the action I took.
168: Well have you not conversed with Mr. Briggs upon this very question?
With Jason W. Briggs?
169: Yes sir?
Upon that question?
170: The question upon which he testified and regarding which you have also testified here in your examination in chief today?
About this revelation?
171: Yes sir?
172: Well more particularly about this charge made against William Smith?
Well I think it is likely we may have talked about that.
173: Well did you not do so?
I say I think it is likely we may have talked about that.
174: You think it is likely you have talked about it?
Yes sir, it is very likely we did.
175: Well did you?
Well sir, I can only say what I have stated that it is probable that we did, but I will say however that I can’t remember of an occasion upon which we have done so.
176: Well did your veiws agree with his or disagree at the time you conversed with him?
I could not say sir. I would not undertake to say as to that, for he held as I did that there was something in this polygamy idea that had obtained with this man Woods, but as I stated all the knowledge that I had about it or could obtain was based upon rumor and the circumstantial evidence found in this letter.
177: You refer to the letter from his counselor?
178: Was there not at that time that you made this investigation and conversed with Mr. Briggs about it, other testimonies with reference to William Smith’s connection with this matter?
Well I cannot say. I will say this however that I never could have had any conversations wit him about this matter unless it was after 1857 for I did not meet Mr. Briggs again after the first of October 1851 until the winter of 1856 and 1857 when I met him again.
179: Where did you meet him at that time?
I then met him at Blanchardville, and that was the first time I met him after 1851.
180: You met him then at Blanchardville, Wisconsin?
181: Well I will ask you this quetion, did you at that time discuss with him the evidence?
I don’t thin that I did. I could not say as to that.
182: Do you know anything about a letter to Briggs by one Abbot in which he said in reference to William Smith,
,—I mean a letter written by William Smith to this man wherein he set forth his views in regard to a plurality of wives?
—Did I have a conversation with Briggs?
188: —Yes sir?
—I simply heard of that.
184: —You never saw a letter of that kind?
—No sir, —what letter is that?
185: —I see I was mistaken in my notation here, —It was a letter written by William Smith to one Albert White, in which Smith set forth his views in regard to plurality of wives?
—I don’t think I ever saw a letter of Albert White’s.
186: —I said a letter from William Smith to Albert White?
—I do not think I ever saw one of that kind.
187: —Did you know Albert White?
—Yes sir, I knew him. I knew he lived at Waukeshaw in Wisconsin. I was not at that time living there for I resided at, Amboy, Illinois, perhaps one hundred and twenty miles away, and I never met Albert White or knew anything about him only by hearsay.
188: —Did you not say that you were acquainted with him?
—I was acquainted with him in that way, —by hearsay merely, —that is I heard there was such a man.
189: —Is it, or is it not a fact, Mr.Blair, that you have what purports to be a history of your church published by one Tullige?
—Yes sir. We have a history of what purports to be an outline of the church. It is what is called or known as “Tullage’s History” but it is not an authority in the church, and never was endorsed by the church.
190: —Well I will now ask you if it is not stated in that history that William Smith confessed to a belief in and practice of polygamy at a conference held in 1851?
191: —Answer the question?
—I am not aware that there is any such a passage in there.
192: —Is there, or is there not a passage that you are acquainted with that accuses William Smith of the practice of polygamy?
—I think not.
193: —Do you say there is not?
—I say I think not. I don’t now remember of any such passage as that.
194: —Do you know whether the church or any of its elders have ever advocated the claims, —I should say have ever defended the claims, —have ever defended William Smith against the charge publicly?
No sir, I don’t know that they ever did, and I don’t know that they ever had occasion to do so.
195: —Was Alva Smith a member of William Smith’s church, or Edwin Cadwell?
—I cannot say that Alva Smith was ever a member of his church but Cadwell was.
196: —You don’t know whether Alva Smith was a member of his church organization or not?
—No sir. It is likely that he was though, but I don’t know positively.
197: Do you know what official position Cadwell occupied in William Smith’s church?
He was an elder, and I don’t know but that he was a member of the Twelve.
198: In William Smith’s church?
199: He never believed in or talked polygamy?
No sir he was dead set against anything of that kind, and always was so far as I knew.
200: Mr. Blair in your cross examination you have spoken about the question of the practice of polygamy?
201: Wait a moment, – you have spoken about it being a mooted question at the time you joined the church. Now where and in what way was it a mooted question?
In this way, – it was generally charged by the world at large as understood it that the Latter Day Saints taught and practiced polygamy. I investigated the matter as best I could taking the standard books and the statements of the ministry at that time connected with the church. I took these and in connection with all that I could learn I decided in my own mind that it was a mistake, – that is to say it was a false charge.
202: Well was that mooted question confined to the church do I understand you to say, where you were, and to the Latter Day Saints in your immediate vicinity, or was it confined and did it relate generally to the church in your vicinity and to the church in Utah?
What is that?
203: Did it relate to the church in your vicinity or did it relate to the church in Utah?
It related to the church at every place and in every place where it existed. It was charged against all the Latter Day Saints in those time that polygamy was their doctrine wherever they were, and on the part of the Latter Day Saints where I lived they denied it and the body of the people where I lived denied it, and the ministry, so far as I was able to judge denied it also, and they presented the book of Mormon and the book of Covenants and the writings of the church as evidence that it was be part of the doctrine of the church, and could not be. They claimed by all the authorities in the church that it was barred out and formed no part of the doctrine of the church whatever.
204: That was the claim of the church that you joined?
205: Now while that is true, is it not also true that at the time polygamy was being practiced in Utah under Brigham Young?
Well of course as to that I cannot say of my own knowledge, but it was understood.
206: Now I will ask you whether or not the rumor you speak about did not apply as well to the Utah branch of the church as it did to any other branch of the church?
Yes sir. It was a public rumor at that time and was applicable to all Latter Day Saints wherever found.
207: Well now is it true, or is it not true, that it was on account of the practice of polygamy in Utah that this question or rumor as to the practice of polygamy generally in the church originated?
Well I could not say about that. We looked upon it in those days, – at least I did after I had thoroughly investigated the matter, and satisfied myself as to it, that it was a slander upon the doctrine of the church, and upon the Latter Day Saints as a body, but of course at the same time it was quite well understood generally that the people in Utah advocated it and practiced it, but we considered that taking the people who styled themselves “Latter Day Saints”, that to charge it to them as a whole was a slander and had no foundation in justice nor in fact.
208: It was understood that the people in Utah advocated it?
Yes sir. I regarded it however from the examination I made of the authorized works of the church on the question of doctrine and practice, and the statements made by the membership and the ministry with whom I came in contact, I regarded the imputation as slanderous in so far as it related to the church proper, and a slander upon the doctrine of the church.
209: What do you mean by the “church proper”?
Well I understand that to refer to the church as it was originally founded and organized up to the time of the death of Joseph Smith, and the body of the people that I was associated with, I believed that they represented the true doctrine of the church.
210: Of the original church?
Yes sir, and the question was scarcely raised in those days, for it was not a question about which I cared particularly in those times.
211: In what light was the Utah, in what light were the Utah people regarded in those days, so far as the right of succession to the church was concerned?
Well from what little I can remember in regard to my own views about that,
212: I am asking about it generally?
Do you mean by the world at large?
213: Yes sir, and by your church?
By the body of the people that I had united with?
214: Yes sir?
It was held that they had usurped authority and that their doctrines were corrupt. I learned more from this man Edwin Cadwell in regard to that than I did from any other source. I should say I learned more from him than I did from any other man, for I was an intimate associate of his.
215: You have spoken with reference to the charge of polygamy existing at the time to your knowledge against the Utah church?
Yes sir. I recollect that they were charged with the practice and teaching of polygamy.
216: Is it not a fact that the same charge was made against the church with which you had affiliated yourself at the same time?
The common sentiment and common talk I should judge with those that were outside of that association which I united with, was that the Latter Day Saints everywhere believed in and taught the doctrine of polygamy. That seemed to be the common sentiment and belief, and the fact is that I believed it myself at one time, but when I came to investigate their standard works, and became more intimately acquainted with their membership, especially with Edwin Cadwell, I changed my mind about it.
217: Well that don’t answer my question, which was, was not the charge made against William Smith’s church, that is was not the same charge made against William Smith’s church that was made against the Salt Lake church?
Yes sir. It was by the outside world, for the outside world all looked upon the Latter Day Saints as one common body. I know I did.
218: Is it not a fact that you left William Smith’s church chiefly on account of your investigation in regard to the truth of that charge of polygamy?
Well it was partially so.
219: That is all.
220: Go ahead and explain if you have any explanation to make?
He never taught it to me and Joseph Wood never taught it to either, and I never heard it taught in public or in private by wither of them, but I saw that letter I speak of that was written to a party in Waukeshaw, Wisconsin by Joseph Wood, in which there was something, – well if it was not defensive of it, it was at any rate palliative at least. I know that I did not like the application of it, and I was so sensitive over the matter that I withdrew from the church. You see Colonel, I was a young man there and I simply quit that organization, for I thought that if William Smith sustained such a man as his counselor, I would not want to have anything to do with the organization.
221: That was not all you found then I understood you to say?
222: But from what you did find you considered it sufficient to warrant you in severing your connection with William Smith’s church?
Yes sir, I simply withdrew from it.