Joseph F. Smith and others dealings with Mormon Polygamy
Inevitably, word of these marriages and of the resulting children among Latter-day Saints was published by anti-Mormons. If quoted correctly, George Q. Cannon responded to these allegations with a mixture of understandable diplomacy and remarkable candor when interviewed by Brigham Young�s grandson for the New York Herald in February 1899:
“I can assure you on my word�if that is of any value,” he replied, “that there have been no marriages of that kind in Utah since the manifesto.”
“Have there been any outside of Utah?” I asked.
“I do not know,” he replied.
“There probably have been sporadic cases,” he said after a pause, “but they have not had the sanction of the First Presidency.”
I asked further about the so-called sporadic cases, and he said:
“Suppose a man has one wife and she is barren. He might have the love of offspring strong within him. If I were in such a position, with my strong love for offspring, I do not know what I would do. I might be strongly tempted and I do not know what I would do. A man might go to Canada and marry another wife. He would not be violating our laws, and would not be in danger of prosecution unless the first wife should follow him there from Utah and prefer a charge of bigamy against him. He might go to Mexico and have a religious ceremony uniting him to another. That would not violate our law.”284
Despite his own strong advocacy of continued cohabitation, Counselor Cannon advised the apostles not to assert publicly their right to cohabitation in defiance of the law285 and seconded every pronouncement of Lorenzo Snow against new polygamy. When President Snow told the apostles on 11 January 1900 that it was impossible for a man to marry a plural wife now that he was president, “President Cannon moved that this be accepted as the mind and will of the Lord.”286 Nevertheless, even after such a dramatic statement of loyalty, after a few months, George Q. Cannon “called” his son Hugh J. to marry a plural wife and sent both Hugh and a nephew, John M. Cannon, to Apostle Matthias F. Cowley for these plural ceremonies.
Until his death, Cannon continued sending prominent Church leaders to Cowley for polygamous marriages.287 The seventy-four-year-old counselor also brooded about the fact that his youngest child was already nine years old. During the temple meeting of 16 August 1900 he addressed Lorenzo Snow in the presence of the apostles: “President, I ask that I not be excommunicated if I fall in love without your approval, if I have no children and take a woman and have one by her.” There is no present evidence that George Q. Cannon married a woman of childbearing age in 1900-01. According to his son Sylvester Q., however, George Q. Cannon entered into a relationship about this time with sixty-two-year old “Mrs. Emelia [Amelia] Madsen who made a contract with Father for eternity, which upon the death of either of them, would be attended to properly in the Temple.”288 On 12 April 1901, George Q. Cannon died in California, leaving the First Presidency with only Joseph F. Smith as counselor for the next six months.
Joseph F. Smith (Apostle, 1866-1918, Counselor, 1866-67, 1880-87, 1889-98, 1898-1901, Church President, 1901-18)
Son of the martyred Hyrum Smith, Joseph F. Smith was twenty years old when he married his first wife and twenty-seven years old when he married the first of five plural wives, for which his legal wife divorced him in California on grounds of “adulterous intercourse” with his “concubines” Julina Lambson and Sarah Ellen Richards.289 Joseph F. Smith was capable of intense anger, particularly when he confronted opposition to the practice of polygamy. “If they call on you, my darling, to go before the Grand inquisition or court,” he wrote his wife Sarah in 1885, “I want you, and I mean it too, to tell the God damned fiends that you are my wife now and for ever, and they may help themselves.”290 When the apostles rejected the proposed manifesto in 1888, Joseph F. said that he never expected that God would require him to “acknowledge to the world that the laws of the land were superior to the laws of God,” and added that the apostles should on that occasion vow either never to yield another concession regarding plural marriage or they should publish a commitment that they “will not in the future carry out the commands of God because we are prevented by our enemies.”291 Following the drafting of the final version of the Manifesto, Counselor Smith had dinner with Joseph H. Dean and told him that “there is a tacit understanding between the church and the Mexican government, that we may practice plural marriage but must outwardly appear to have but one wife.”292 Responding to Heber J. Grant�s question in August 1891, if he regarded the Manifesto as a revelation, “President Smith answered emphatically no.” After explaining that he regarded the document as inspired under the circumstances in which the U.S. government placed the Church, Joseph F. Smith added: “But he did not believe it to be an emphatic revelation from God abolishing plural marriage.”293
Joseph F. Smith�s conduct was in harmony with these private statements. In August 1891, his plural wife Sarah bore a child. In September 1891, he told a friend that he realized the federal courts regarded the Manifesto as prohibiting polygamous cohabitation, but he received a presidential pardon that same month on the basis of his promise to comply with federal law and the Manifesto.294 In a special meeting of the General Authorities with the stake presidencies and ward bishoprics at October conference in 1891, Counselor Smith instructed them to tell polygamists to maintain their covenants with their wives: “What, cohabit with them? I would advise them not to do it in the United States,” but he added that if they did it in the United States they must be individually responsible for the consequences.295 Two weeks later, when asked on the witness stand if the Manifesto applied to cohabitation for polygamists married before 1890, he testified that “I don�t see how the effect of it can be otherwise.”296 In December 1891, Joseph F. Smith defined the dilemma precisely in a letter to a polygamist: “The whole thing in a nut shell is this, you should keep your covenants with your family and you should also not violate the law. Now if you can comprehend it�you will grasp the situation.” He could not do both in the United States; and after 1890, President Smith�s wives bore him eleven children in Salt Lake City and two in Idaho.297
Abraham H. Cannon�s post-Manifesto plural marriage is the first specific evidence that Joseph F. Smith encouraged new polygamous ceremonies, although George Q. Cannon had implied the second counselor�s assent (“satisfactory to all of us”) in his 1892 letter on presidency stationery authorizing a polygamous marriage in Mexico for a U.S. resident. On 24 October 1894, Abraham H. Cannon recorded, “Presidents Woodruff and Smith both said they were willing for such a ceremony to occur, if done in Mexico.”298 All family accounts agree that Abraham H. Cannon�s plural marriage occurred in June 1896, but the family and public tradition is that Joseph F. Smith performed the ceremony on a steamer between San Pedro, California, and Catahna Island, a story that President Smith and the plural wife, Lillian Hamlin Cannon, consistently denied.299 Apostle Cannon�s 1896 diary is the only volume missing of his many diaries, but Church records and personal diaries from the Mexican colonies confirm that he was not in Mexico in June. Joseph F. Smith�s letter from Catalina Island in June 1896 and his later testimony verify that it was impossible for him to perform the plural marriage aboard ship, because the Cannons and Smiths took deck passage, which eliminated any privacy for such a ceremony.300
Joseph F. Smith�s wife Edna, who accompanied her husband and the Cannon honeymooners on that trip, provided the cryptic key to the marriage when she told Apostle Reed Smoot that “Orson Smith performed the ceremony.”301 Orson Smith, a member of the Cache (Utah) Stake presidency and no relation, did not accompany the Cannons and Smiths on this trip, but reference to him as officiator would indicate that the ceremony occurred in Utah, rather than in California or on the Pacific. However, Orson Smith did not perform temple marriages even in Logan, and Lillian Hamlin did not enter the Logan Temple in 1896.302 Significantly, Orson Smith had been second counselor in the Cache Stake presidency and later became stake president. His name was a code for Joseph F. Smith who was second counselor in the First Presidency in 1896 and became Church President in 1901.
Wilford Woodruff had approved Abraham H. Cannon�s entry into a proxy polygamous marriage on behalf of his brother. When Lillian Hamlin was endowed in the Salt Lake Temple on 17 June 1896, she was sealed by proxy to the deceased David H. Cannon. Abraham H. Cannon was the proxy, and Joseph F. Smith performed the sealing. The next day, the Smiths and Cannons left Salt Lake City for California. Therefore, Joseph F. Smith actually performed his only post-Manifesto polygamous marriage as a proxy ceremony in the Salt Lake Temple for Abraham H. Cannon but could legally claim that he simply officiated in a sealing on behalf of the deceased brother.303
The only other activity of Joseph F. Smith in new polygamous marriages during the Woodruff administration was to give specific permission for men to enter into polygamy. The family of Bishop Loren Harmer of Springville claims that Joseph F. Smith encouraged him in entering plural marriage in 1897.304 While they both were at New York City in February 1898, Joseph W. Summerhays “talked some private business over with Pres Smith…. I told him some of the brethren were getting wives and I asked him if it would be alright if I took one. He said it would under certain conditions.”305 Joseph H. Dean talked with Counselor Smith, a close friend, in April 1898 about the arrangements for marrying a plural wife, but it was George Q. Cannon who gave final approval and prepared the necessary paperwork for the Mexico ceremony.306 Counselor Smith also knew that Counselor Cannon had authorized Apostle Cowley to perform plural marriages in the United States beginning that same month: “Brother Joseph F. Smith told me on two occasions that Brother Cannon had the authority and Brother Woodruff didn�t want to be known in it.”307 At the end of the summer of 1898, James Hood married a plural wife in Mexico and told his brother that Joseph F. Smith gave him verbal permission for the marriage that Ivins performed on the basis of a recommendation probably signed by George Q. Cannon. President Smith later denied this and told the brother�s bishop, “The man is not living, or the man is not dead that ever could say I ever gave my consent for any one to take a plural wife since the manifesto.”308
Joseph F. Smith seemed to acquiesce in Lorenzo Snow�s restrictions on polygamy until 1900. Then President Snow�s efforts to stop unlawful cohabitation with pre-Manifesto plural wives apparently were unacceptable. When President Snow proposed an end to all polygamous cohabitation in a temple meeting on 30 December 1899, Counselor Smith objected. Two of his plural wives were then pregnant. Apostle Young recorded that the decision of the meeting was “Brethren must not have children born to them by their wives in this state.” Nevertheless, Joseph F. Smith�s wives bore him three polygamous children in Salt Lake City after this decision.309
Although his reasons are not presently clear, in 1900 Joseph F. Smith arranged for new plural marriages to be performed without President Snow�s knowledge and in direct opposition to his total prohibition of new plural marriages at the time. In the fall of 1899, Benjamin Cluff unsuccessfully tried to have Anthony W. Ivins perform his plural marriage in Mexico. Ivins had reported this attempt to Apostle Lyman during general conference in Salt Lake City. Joseph F. Smith strongly criticized Ivins in person for that action and more calmly explained in a letter of 6 February 1900 that Ivins should have reported the matter to President Snow rather than to an apostle, then indicated his dissatisfaction with the current polygamy restriction that had embarrassed Cluff:
I know nothing about his domestic arrangements nor do I want to, the less I know about some things the better for me at least and perhaps for others concerned…. my motto is and always has been to protect to the uttermost in my power the rights and the secrets, if secrets there may be, of my friends and the friends of the kingdom of God. I have no sympathy whatever with the prevailing feeling which seems to be leading some to the setting of stakes and fixing of meets and bounds to the purposes and policies of Providence in such a way as to establish almost insurmountable difficulties which may rise up to vex them and others in the future.
He then added that he believed in “all the revelations” of the Prophet Joseph Smith, a phrase that became a code for polygamy after the Manifesto.310
New plural marriages had not only stopped in Mexico since Ivins complained about the Cluff matter in October 1899, but Apostle Matthias F. Cowley shortly thereafter stopped performing plural marriages in the United States. Counselor George Q. Cannon was hesitant to send more men to him due to President Snow�s adamant refusal to allow plural marriages even in Mexico. Counselor Cannon, however, was anxious to allow his son Hugh the privilege of marrying plurally six years after the unsuccessful effort to make him a proxy husband for his dead half-brother David. At the same time, Counselor Smith became involved with the polygamous courtship of Margaret Peart (Cardall) and the first counselor�s nephew, John M. Cannon. President Smith had authorized Joseph W. Summerhays to marry her early in 1898, but she had second thoughts about the marriage. John M. Cannon courted her during the last months of the Woodruff administration when permission for new polygamy was available. Now she wanted to marry John and appealed to Counselor Smith for assistance because she was a divorcee who had to work to support her children. According to family tradition, Joseph F. Smith “forced” John M. Cannon to marry her because of the previous courtship and her present economic circumstances. As a result of the cooperation between Counselors Cannon and Smith, Apostle Matthias F. Cowley performed the ceremonies for Hugh J. Cannon and John M. Cannon on 18 July 1900. These were the first plural marriages Cowley had performed in seven months, but now that he had the blessing of the two Presidency counselors Cowley performed several almost every month thereafter.311
Two weeks later, Joseph F. Smith was in the Mexican colonies with Seymour B. Young, senior president of the Council of Seventy, and decided to grant Benjamin Cluff the polygamous marriage in Mexico that President Snow had refused to authorize. Cluff later told his daughter, “Brother Joseph F. Smith told me that I could marry Aunt Florence,” and that the marriage was performed in her home.312 On 8 August 1900, Joseph F. Smith and Seymour B. Young spoke at Colonia Diaz, where Florence Reynolds had been living under the name of Cluff for nearly a year hoping to be allowed to marry Benjamin Cluff. Young recorded in his diary:
“Last evening after meeting I was called to administer to and bless Sr Florence Reynolds Cluff in connection with her husband I gave her such a blessing as she will never forget. Neither will Bro Cluff forget.” She gave birth to their first child less than ten months later.313 The next day at Colonia Dublan, Joseph I. Clawson (whose first wife was childless) asked Counselor Smith to make an exception to the ban on new plural marriages in Mexico, and Seymour B. Young recorded: “During this eve Pres Smith asked me if I would like to go with Bro Pratt [Juarez Stake Counselor Helaman Pratt, a post-Manifesto polygamist] and minister to a couple who needed my administration. I went & attend[ed] to this duty they were Jos. I [Clawson] & Celestia Durfee,” and then he recorded the words of the sealing ceremony for time and eternity.314
Joseph F. Smith distanced himself from these post-Manifesto polygamous ceremonies by instructing Seymour B. Young to perform them, but he did so against the absolute prohibition of President Snow. While Smith and Young were in Mexico, the Church president reminded the apostles on 9 August 1900 of his earlier refusal to grant Cluff�s request and told Alexander F. Macdonald on the 13th that he could not perform a plural marriage for Bishop John T. Whetten in Mexico because plural marriages were “forbidden” there as well as in the United States. When Joseph F. Smith returned to the Presidency�s office on 17 August, one can imagine the irony with which he listened to Lorenzo Snow say that because of Cluff�s persistent attempts to marry polygamously “he was not the proper kind of man” to lead Brigham Young Academy�s expedition to South America.315 But President Snow�s continued refusal to allow the performance of polygamous marriages in Mexico impelled his second counselor to establish a permanent avenue for those ordinances in the colonies independent of Juarez Stake President Anthony W. Ivins and without the knowledge or authorization of the Church president. After Alexander F. Macdonald failed in August to get permission to perform the Whetten marriage, Macdonald conferred with Joseph F. Smith during October 1900 conference and apparently obtained verbal permission. At any rate, Macdonald performed Whetten�s plural marriage later that month in Colonia Garcia. Also in October 1900, Counselor Smith returned Whetten�s written request in a letter advising Macdonald that he wanted to meet with him privately to discuss the matter when he and Apostle Owen Woodruff visited the Mexican colonies in November 1900. In that month, Macdonald began performing polygamous marriages for scores of Juarez Stake residents who requested that privilege. When Macdonald�s son-in-law presented the records of these ceremonies to President Joseph F. Smith twelve years later, the Church president said, “Brother Brown, all of this work that Brother Macdonald performed was duly authorized by me”; and on the manila envelope in which he placed these polygamous marriage records, he wrote, “Rec�d Dec. 3d 1912. J.F.S. Records of Marriages. From O.P. Brown Records of A F Macdonald.”316
Joseph F. Smith took Apostle Owen Woodruff into his confidence about these arrangements. The younger General Authority not only referred Mormon colonists to Macdonald for plural marriages during this visit, but also prophesied in the name of Jesus Christ in the Juarez Stake conference that no year would ever pass without children being born into polygamy. After making that prophecy, Woodruff turned toward Counselor Smith and said, “Now if I�m wrong, there sits the man that can set me right.” Joseph F. Smith did not correct him.317
However, the second counselor acted without the Church president�s knowledge or permission in authorizing Macdonald to perform plural marriages for residents of Juarez Stake. In a temple meeting in April 1901 at which Counselor Smith presided in the absence of Presidents Snow and Cannon, an apostle asked whether it was possible for men to marry plural wives outside the United States: “Press. Snow says no. Joseph F. Smith said he could not say otherwise.”318 When a counselor in the Juarez Stake presidency complained that Macdonald was performing plural marriages in Mexico, Lorenzo Snow told Apostle John Henry Smith later in April, “No man in this earth today is authorized to exercise the keys but myself, and if A.F. McDonald or any other man is doing it and you find out that fact, you are authorized to deal with him or have the church dignitaries of that section deal with him in his fellowship.”319 Apostle Smith communicated that warning to Macdonald who stopped performing the ceremonies.
It is uncertain whether Lorenzo Snow or Joseph F. Smith authorized the plural marriages of several apostles in 1901 (most of whom married after Counselor Cannon died). If Joseph F. Smith did not authorize Apostle Owen Woodruff�s plural marriage in January 1901, he gave it after-the-fact sanction as Church president. John W. Taylor�s plural wife claimed that when Taylor married two plural wives in August 1901 (while Joseph F. Smith was the only counselor in the First Presidency), he had requested permission in the Salt Lake Temple: “Smith replied in parables, gave consent, but patted him on the shoulder and said, �Be careful, John.�”320 The next month, Counselor Smith apparently sent word through a visiting apostle to Alexander F. Macdonald not to worry about Lorenzo Snow�s threat of excommunication and to continue performing plural marriages, which he did. Joseph F. Smith had read William Clayton�s Nauvoo diary and undoubtedly remembered the Prophet�s similar counsel in 1843 when official Church denials also concealed private Church practice of polygamy.321 The difference in September 1901 was that it was a First Presidency counselor apparently telling a local patriarch not to worry about the intention of the Church president to have him excommunicated if he performed plural marriages the president had forbidden.
What is certain is that Counselor Smith had a strong disagreement with President Snow and Counselor Cannon in February 1901 over providing civil protection for those who were violating the cohabitation provisions of the law, of the First Presidency�s 1891 court testimony and of Lorenzo Snow�s 1900 official statement. The Church attorney had drafted what was known as the Evans Bill that would prohibit anyone from filing adultery or unlawful cohabitation charges against a married man except the legal wife or her close relatives: “The design of this measure is to curtail the power of our enemies who seek to bring trouble upon the Latter-day Saints by prosecuting polygamists for unlawful co-habitation,” commented Apostle Rudger Clawson. When the First Presidency and Twelve met to discuss the merits of this bill and whether to lobby for its passage in the Utah legislature, only George Q. Cannon voted against it because he regarded it as unwise and Lorenzo Snow then expressed uncertainty about the measure.322 At this point, Joseph F. Smith burst out with what apostles discreetly described as “some very warm words,” “some warmth,” “unpleasantness,” and “feelings of an improper character.” President Snow said Counselor Smith “was at fault” and had him apologize to the Quorum and to Counselor Cannon, who then asked the second counselor�s forgiveness.323 Like other events, this incident demonstrated that the three members of the First Presidency during Lorenzo Snow�s administration were not unified either in suppressing plural marriage or encouraging it, but instead were divided into shifting coalitions of two to one.
After George Q. Cannon�s death in April 1901, Joseph F. Smith, as sole counselor, was one who sent prominent Mormons to Matthias F. Cowley for polygamous ceremonies; and upon Lorenzo Snow�s death in October 1901, his successor Joseph F. Smith promoted and protected new polygamous marriages more actively than the two previous Church presidents. Cowley had performed a plural marriage during April 1901 conference for California Mission President Joseph E. Robinson in accordance with arrangements made by Cannon, and during October 1901 conference Cowley performed another ceremony for Robinson in Salt Lake City according to arrangements made by Joseph F. Smith.
From then until 1918, President Smith provided Robinson with an additional allowance of $1800 yearly for the support of his post-Manifesto plural wives.324 President Smith�s first cousin once removed, John F. Burton, appealed to him for permission to marry a plural wife due to his first wife�s childlessness; the president agreed and sent him to Apostle Cowley who performed the ceremony in Salt Lake City in November 1901.325 The assistant recorder in the Salt Lake Temple informed the Church president that the idea was becoming common that “when a man receives one wife, under the Covenant, he thereby complies with the Celestial Order of marriage and that his exaltation and eternal progression are just as certain as if he had received a plurality of wives.” President Smith, at the next testimony meeting in the Salt Lake Temple on 5 January 1902, preached that “a man can not obtain a fullness, only through obedience to that law. He emphasized the fact, that it means must not can or may, etc.”326
Kanab�s Patriarch Thomas Chamberlain married a plural wife in Salt Lake City in 1900 who established her residence there and gave birth to her first child in 1902. A few weeks later she had an operation due to birth complications and was nursed by “Aunt Julina” Smith, a wife of Joseph F. Smith, who also housed the woman and child in strict seclusion until 1904 in the back rooms of her own home on First North. Julina had already moved into the Beehive House with her husband.
Another wife, Alice, knew that a widowed friend had become the plural wife in 1902 of Stake President William H. Smart; and for several years, Sister Smith hosted them both at a variety of social events, including evenings in President Smith�s box at the Salt Lake Theatre. In February 1904, the entire Joseph F. Smith family celebrated Hyrum Smith�s birthday at the Beehive House with a program that included a comic lament of the evils of the Manifesto and a musical rendition of one of the central arguments for post-1890 polygamy: “The Spinster�s convention was a laughable fare 15 of the Smith sisters acted. �Oh that manifesto� was sung with much gusto.” This joke was particularly at the expense of one of the guests: Cousin Frederick M. Smith who would later become president of the anti-polygamous RLDS Church.327
Within six months after becoming Church president, Joseph F. Smith considered expanding the polygamous opportunities in Mexico. In March 1902 his counselor overheard President Smith in the First Presidency office tell a man who was unhappily married, “You can go to Mexico and marry a bride there.”328 Nevertheless, the Church president was not yet ready to reestablish the recommend system for U.S. residents to visit Mexico for these ordinances; he knew Matthias F. Cowley was already taking care of those requests.
But he instructed Anthony W. Ivins to resume performing polygamous marriages for Juarez Stake residents, the first of which occurred on 9 March 1902 after the two-and-a-half year suspension originally imposed upon Ivins by Lorenzo Snow.329
President Smith obviously worried about newspaper rumors of new polygamy, charges by Protestant ministers in Utah about Mormon violations of the Manifesto, and the judicial call for a grand jury in March 1903 to investigate new polygamy in Salt Lake County (the first grand jury since 1896). At the meeting with ward and stake leaders on 7 April 1903, President Smith said they ought to prefer death to betraying the Church, and he affirmed that he would sacrifice his own life “to protect your liberty.” Three days later he reported to Apostle Reed Smoot that “my nerves have been sorely tried,” especially about “questions affecting Mexico.” And well he might, because the grand jury was scheduled to investigate the marital relations of Joseph A. Silver and Elizabeth Farnes whom Ivins had married in Mexico in 1898 on a recommend signed by George Q. Cannon.
They returned to Salt Lake City where she had several polygamous children. President Smith was understandably cautious about sending U.S. residents to Mexico for polygamous ceremonies, but (for reasons that are presently unclear) he did not stop Cowley from performing polygamous marriages. He simply had him temporarily go to Idaho to perform them.330
Within two days after the grand jury was empaneled in late May, however, the anti-Mormon Salt Lake Tribune lamented that the grand jury seemed to be unable to uncover proof of new polygamous marriages and soon moved the story from page one to the back pages. The grand jury of four gentiles and three Mormons dismissed the charges of post-Manifesto polygamy as groundless rumors.331 President Smith apparently now felt secure in reestablishing a system of sending U.S. citizens to Mexico for plural marriage ceremonies, and Ivins performed the first such marriage on 13 June 1903 for William A. Morton.332 Before this, Byron H. Allred of Wyoming had written and later requested similar permission in an interview with President Smith, who sent him to see Apostle Matthias F. Cowley for arrangements to have the ceremony performed in Mexico on a written recommend. It is obvious that if Allred had simply gone to Cowley directly, Cowley would have performed the ceremony at his home in Idaho, as he did for several other couples in the April-June period, but because Allred had involved the Church president, he had to move to Mexico where the ordinance was performed by Ivins on 15 June 1903 for him and a brother-in-law who had joined Allred.333 At the end of July, President Smith met with his first cousin once removed, Central States Mission President James G. Duffin, whose post-Manifesto plural wife had just given birth, and authorized him “to use $10.00 per month out of the tithes of the mission for a special purpose [supporting the polygamous child].”334
By the fall of 1903, Joseph F. Smith had decided to expand new polygamous marriages even further. During early September 1903, he was in the Mormon settlements of Canada to reorganize the Alberta Stake and organize the Taylor Stake. Up until this time, no polygamous marriages had been performed in Canada for local Mormons; but within a week Patriarch John A. Woolf performed the first such marriage for Franklin D. Leavitt. Later John W. Taylor, resident apostle in Canada, said he acted as intermediary in commissioning Woolf: “I simply delivered a message to him from some in authority.” Matthias F. Cowley, who was Woolf�s brother-in-law, answered a question about Woolf�s authority by saying: “All I know, I think a Brother Le[a]vitt went to President Smith and asked him if it would be alright and he referred him to Brother Taylor who had charge of all things in Canada.” Supporting evidence for President Smith�s authorization of these Canadian plural marriages from 1903 onward is found in the fact that the records of these ordinances have been kept under First Presidency control.335