Letter to the Honorable A. Saxey, Provo, Utah from Joseph F. Smith; d1325/Bk4/fd 1; Jan. 9th, 1897. Jan. 9th 1897 Hon. A. Saxey---- Provo. Dear Brother:---your esteemed favor of Dec. 31st came to hand safely. Sickness in my family and consequent increased pressure upon my time have prevented an earlier reply. And even now I cannot attempt more than a cursory reply to your enquiries. I may say I submitted your letter to President Woodruff, and he partially outlined what I should say in answer to your questions. To know this might be more satisfactory to you than to suppose my statements were simply my own. I am happy to know that he and I are in accord on the subject. With reference to Prest. B. Youngs remarks, in a discourse delivered in 1852. with reference to "Adam being the only God with whom we have to do" &c. I will say:---Prest. Young no doubt expressed his personal opinion or views upon the subject. What he said was not given as a revelation or commandment from the Lord. The Doctrine was never submitted to the Councils of the Priesthood nor to the Church for approval or ratification [p.2] and was never formally or otherwise accepted by the Church. It is therefore in no sense binding upon the Church nor upon the consciences of any of the members thereof, except perhaps only so far as some may have confidence in President Young, believing that he had light on the subject which was not given in connection with his public mention thereof. It is thought, even if there is truth in it, that the bare mention made my Prest. Young, with out indubitable evidence and authority being given of its truth, was unfortunate to say the least. But the sure test is to be found in "the law and the Testimony" and revealed truth. Whatsoever is not in accordance with these must fall. No scripture being of any private interpretation &c. but open to the understanding of every man who possesses the Holy Ghost, anyone thus endowed may apply the tests by the light of the good spirit. While I am not authorized to sit in judgment upon Prest. Young, I am at liberty to test the truth of his words or utterances by the Revealed and accepted word of God. Anything uttered by man which is contrary to the Divine law must fall, while that only [p.3] which is in harmony with it can remain, or stand. Generally--when the Lord speaks through his approved channel, he speaks with no uncertain sound. Yet many there be who cannot see the truth no matter how plain to the mind of the Spirit. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned, (1 Cor. 2:9-11-16.) but carnal things by the natural senses. When the inspired head, speaks by the power of the spirit & he is backed up by "thus saith the Lord"--, it becomes a serious matter to reject, or lightly pass it by. There is no such responsibility attached to this statement, made by Prest. Young. With reference to the "Manifesto" prohibiting plural marriages, I scarcely need to say more than that you expressed yourself on that matter Strictly in accord with my own views, and in harmony with the views of President Woodruff-and the facts. The doctrine is not repealed, the truth is not annulled, the law is right and just now as ever, but the observance of it is stopped. And as to the future--no man knows, only as it may be revealed to him, and no one is authorized to foretell. We may have opinions, but it may not be wise to express them for by doing so antagonism might be engendered [p.4] Altho our belief would necessarily come within the realm of conjecture only. I am willing to let the matter rest with God for I feel I have done my whole duty, as an individual, in regard to that matter. Of course this is not germane to your question, but I trust you will pardon the digression. I certainly believe fully in the Revelation and I know the principle is sound and right. I believe those who entered into it, are as sacredly obligated today to fulfill their covenants as they ever were. The Manifesto stopped further pl. marriages in time, but it did not divorce a single wife--nor relieve a man who had entered into the Covenant, or a single responsibility. The operation of the law--as to further pl. marriages was suspended--or stopped: but the obligations already incurred were not touched. I hope you will excuse the hasty and crude form of this letter. and that you will digest it, together with what is not said in it at your leisure. I have not had a nights sleep since last Sunday on account of sickness in my family. With very Kind regards, I am &c. /s/ Jos. F. Smith