Quote Category: ‘Marriage’
The legislation against polygamy by Congress, and the endeavors of the church to resist those enactments on the ground of their conflict with the first Amendment to the Constitution, are pretty well known to the American public. It is not so generally known that the final decision of the Supreme Court of the United States that the anti-polygamy laws were not in contravention of the Constitution was the chief reason for the change of attitude on the part of the church leaders.
Completely enveloping it [the question of polygamy], has been the design to destroy our rights as citizens, to take away from us our liberties under the Constitution and the laws, and to obtain the political control of our country.
When this infamous Edmunds law was passed, I saw that there were features in that which were contrary to law, violative of the Constitution, contrary to justice and the rights and the freedom of men.
Many persons suppose that there is some provision in the United States Constitution touching this subject. This is an error. The Constitution leaves all matters relating to marriage to be regulated by the people of the various States; and hence it is that so many diversified marriage and divorce codes exist throughout the country.
Concerning the course taken by the United States, they have a right to reject this law [law of Celestial Marriage] themselves, as they have a right to reject the Gospel; but it is contrary to the provisions of the constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, for them to prohibit you from obeying it.
Therefore, abide in my law which I have revealed unto you, saith the Lord God, and contend for your rights by every legal and constitutional method and in accordance with the institutions, laws, and Constitution of the United States.
Upon passage of the Edmunds’ law, President Taylor declared: “When the Constitution of the United States was framed and adopted, those high contracting parties did positively agree that they would not interfere with religious affairs. Now, if our marital relations are not religious, what is? This ordinance of marriage was a direct revelation to us, through Joseph Smith, the prophet. . . . This is a revelation from God and a command to his people, and therefore it is my religion. I do not believe that the Supreme Court of the United States has any right to interfere with my religious views, and in doing it they are violating their most sacred obligations.”