1886 Revelation of John Taylor and the FLDS timeline

A chart of few cousins among the mormon elite: Pratt-Romney-Eyring-Kimball-Woolley

Feminist Mormon Housewives podcast on John W. Woolley for more details.

Basics about the Woolley family:

Woolley was born to Edwin D. and Mary W. Woolley, the first of Edwin’s seven wives, in Newlin, Chester County,Pennsylvania. Edwin Woolley was originally a Quaker farmer, but converted to Mormonism in 1837. The Woolley family emigrated to Utah Territory with the Mormon pioneers in the late 1840s. Edwin would later become Brigham Young‘s business manager, as well as one of his closest friends, and a bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints(LDS Church) from 1853 to 1881.
Woolley held many civil positions in Utah Territory, such as constable, justice of the peace, deputy sheriff, deputy territorial marshal, and county commissioner. Within the Nauvoo Legion (in the State of Deseret), he served as aLieutenant, Captain, Sergeant and Major. He participated in the Black Hawk War, and was one of the ten who crossed the Little Mountain to meet Johnston’s Army in 1857.

Having been ordained a high priest of the LDS Church by Brigham Young, Woolley served in a bishopric, as a high councilor in the Davis Stake, and was later ordained a patriarch in the church. He also was an ordinance worker in theSalt Lake Temple and he opened meetings of the church’s general conference with prayer on more than one occasion. Woolley was among the first to meet the handcart companies in 1856, and in 1860 and 1863 he brought emigrants across the plains himself. On the last occasion, Joseph F. Smith acted as the chaplain in his “company”, and they became lifelong friends, with Smith having picnics with the Woolley family and speaking at his wife’s funeral.

George E. Woolley (Lorin’s uncle an John’s Brother) asked to approach some of the General Authorities on his behalf to see what he would have to do to be reinstated into the Church.

Cousin: Ernest R. Woolley shrewed businessman

Vinnie Woolley (Mary Lavina Bentley Woolley) funeral (sister) – John W. Woolley asked to dedicate the grave of his sister. George Woolley worries that John doesn’t have priesthood, but it is unclear, tells him not to, and John does it anyway but without the priesthood.

Lorin C. Wooley born SLC, October 23, 1856 and son of John W. Woolley.  Married Sarah Ann Roberts on Jan 5, 1883 in the endowment house 9 children “hard-working and generally respected by his peers.”


1851– John Taylor decries polygamy while having 6 wives (source: Doctrines of the Gospel, by Orson Pratt, 1851 ed., p. 8)

October 23, 1856Lorin Wolley born

April 7, 1866 – John Taylor calls non-polygamists apostates (source: Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, v. 11, p. 221, April 7, 1866)

March 20, 1870 – Lorin states he was made an apostle by Brigham Young when he was 8

March 10, 1873 – Lyman Woolley ordained an Elder at the age of sixteen by John Lyon

I got it wrong, it was $500 and $300, on the podcast I said $100

The wanted poster I mentioned on Feminist Mormon Housewives

1882 – the United States Congress enacted the Edmunds Act, which declared polygamy to be a felony

Taylor moved into the Gardo House alone with his sister Agnes to avoid prosecution and to avoid showing preference to any one of his families. However, by 1885, he and his counselors were forced to withdraw from public view to live in the “underground”; they were frequently on the move to avoid arrest.

In 1885, during his last public sermon, Taylor remarked,

“I would like to obey and place myself in subjection to every law of man. What then? Am I to disobey the law of God? Has any man a right to control my conscience, or your conscience? … No man has a right to do it”.

During this time period he also said:

“Now, treat your wives right, but do not subject yourselves to the infamous provisions of the Edmunds’ act more than you can help, avoid all harsh expressions and improper actions, act carefully and prudently in all your social relations. Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. A gentleman in Washington told another, who related it to me, in answer to the question, What will the ‘Mormons’ do with their wives and children when this bill passes? he was told: Turn them out in the streets as we do our harlots. I say in the name of God we will not do any such thing, and let all Israel say Amen. (The vast congregation, amounting to from 12,000 to 14,000 persons, responded Amen.) We will stand by our covenants, and the Constitution will bear us out in it. Among other things, that instrument says that Congress shall make no law impairing the validity of contracts. You have contracted to be united with your wives in time and in eternity, and it would not do for us to break a constitutional law, would it? (Laughter.) Others may do it, but we cannot. We cannot lay aside our honor, we cannot lay aside our principles; and if people cannot allow us freedom, we can allow freedom to them and to all men. We will be true to our wives and cherish them and maintain them, and stand by them in time, and we will reign with them in eternity, when thousands of others are weltering under the wrath of God. Any man that abuses his wife, or takes advantage of this law to oppress her, is not worthy of a standing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and let the congregation say Amen. (The immense congregation responded by a loud Amen.) – Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, v. 23, p. 68

“God has given us a revelation in regard to celestial marriage. I did not make it. He has told us certain things pertaining to this matter, and they would like us to tone that principle down and change it and make it applicable to the views of the day. This we cannot do; nor can we interfere with any of the commands of God to meet the persuasions or behests of men. I cannot do it, and will not do it.”- Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, v. 25, p. 309

13 October 1882 – Heber J. Grant called to be an apostle;  Joseph F. Smith said on this occasion that without polygamy the keys would be turned against them and higher law must preside over lower law

September 26, 1886 – The famous revelation itself, B. Harvey Allred and others testify to the event

Taylor told Woolley and about eleven others of his experience, wrote down the revelation and had his secretary L. John Nuttal, make five copies.  All present entered into a “Solemn covenant and promise that they would see to it that not a year should pass without plural marriages being performed and children born under the covenant.  5 individuals were set apart for this purpose John W. Woolley, Lorin C. Wooley, George Q. Cannon, Samuel Bateman, Charles H. Wikken.  They were ordained apostles at this time (Quorum of the seven apostles (Joseph F. Smith would be included later)

The Revelation hardcopy that we have

Text of the revelation

May 22, 1888 – Samuel Taylor – Eternal marriage is plural marriage

“You ask some other questions concerning how many living wives a man must have to fulfil the law. When a man, according to the revelation, marries a wife under the holy order which God has revealed and then marries another in the same way, he enters into the new and everlasting covenant,”Samuel W. Taylor, Rocky Mountain Empire, pp. 20-21, footnote #15

1891 – Heber J. Grant had violates his amnesty agreement by trying to marry Fanny Woolley.

1890’s – Testimony in the temple lot case states that John Taylor taught that exaltation required plural marriage

“Yes, sir, President Woodruff, President Young, and President John Taylor, taught me and all the rest of the ladies here in Salt Lake that a man in order to be exalted in the Celestial Kingdom must have more than one wife, that having more than one wife was a means of exaltation.”

– Temple Lot Case, p. 362


1895Wilford Woodruff Manifesto

1899 – Heber J. Grant found guilty of “Unlawful cohabitation” with Fanny Woolley (Salt Lake City Tribune, 9 Sept. 1899)

18-19 Nov. 1900 – Abraham Woodruff

Abraham Woodruff: “…no year will ever pass, whether it be in this country [Mexico], in India, or wherever, from now until the coming of the Saviour, when children will not be born in Plural Marriage. And I make this prophecy in the name of Jesus Christ.”(source: Journal and Notes, 61, 18-19 Nov. 1900, Church Archives) also in the book “ Solemn Covenant”)

1902 – Reed Smoot seated at the U.S Congress

1904Reed Smoot Hearings Joseph F. Smith testifies at the smoot case that he is still living in polygamy even though the church does not endorse polygamy any more

1904the Second Manifesto, was put forth by church president Joseph F. Smith, which stated that those who did not cease the continuation of the practice would be excommunicated from the church.

1911 – John W. Taylor excommunicated

At his trial in 1911, John W. Taylor explained:

“Brother Joseph Robinson came to me and asked for a copy of it [the 1886 revelation] upon the suggestion of Brother Cowley and he got it from Brother Badger. Brother Joseph F. Smith Jr., also got a copy, but I don’t know how many have got copies from these.” (Collier and Knutson, Trials of John W. Taylor and Matthias F. Cowley.) See also Abraham H. Cannon Journal 29 March 1892.

‘‘My Father received a revelation which however was never presented to the Church, and I refer to this not because it was a revelation to my Father; I don’t think a revelation because it came through him was any greater than one received through any other President of the Church…This revelation is either true or it is false.
Assuming that it is true, it seems to me that it would be better to offer leniency on the side of the Lord, if you are to offer any leniency, than on the side of politics…Brother Lyman, what do you think of the revelation to my Father?’’ Minutes of Council of Twelve Meeting concerning fellowship of John W. Taylor, son of John Taylor, and Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, held in the Salt Lake Temple, February 22, 1911, at 10 am, at which were present: President Francis M. Lyman, Heber J. Grant, Hyrum M. Smith, Charles W. Penrose, George F. Richards, Orson F. Whitney, David O. Mckay, Anthony W. Ivins, and Joseph F. Smith, Jr.

‘‘The date of this Revelation is Sept. 1886, four years before the Manifesto of President Woodruff and I remember at that time that President Taylor and all his brethren were very strongly entrenched in the principle of plural marriage. From 1880-1890 men were almost commanded to enter it, especially the officials of the Church…’’ Published Minutes of John W. Taylor’s Church Trial.

1911 – John Woolley called as Davis County Patriarch.

October 6, 1912, John W. Woolley wrote the first known account of the reception of the 1886 Revelation  Council of friends organized

March 30, 1914 – John W. Woolley excommunicated from the LDS church

Olive Woolley Coombs (daughter) told of a time after John was excommunicated, ad Bountiful stake conference (At the tabernacle) when Joseph F. Smith was present, he left via another door and bet John telling him they were ready (The twelve) to have him rebaptized but in secret.  John said it had to be done openly.

April 1921 – Heber J. Grant announces that no patriarchs have the right to perform plural marraiges.

October 1923 – Reuben Clark admitted that Joseph F. Smith had appointed them (Source: D. Michael Quin p 182 “J. Rueben Clark the Church Years. Sealings performed by Patriarchs were undone. Heber didn’t care for Clark’s legalisms on the matter)

January 1924 – John W. Woolley excommunicated over lying about Heber J. Grant and James Talmage taking other wives as a secret service member.

James Talmage on January 18 1924: “the Chief of the United States Government Secret Service, and he positively denies that Lorin C. Woolley was connected with that service in any capacity whatsoever; and, moreover, he further intimated that he may have to proceed against Woolley for making any such claim.”

December 13, 1928 – John W. Woolley dies

1929 – Joseph W. Musser compiles John W. Woolley’s stories into one narrative.  John signs off on the version.

April 1931 – Heber J. Grant publically denies allegations of John W. Woolley in general conference.

April 4th 1931 morning session of conference: One man by the name of Lorin C. Woolley said that Anthony W. Ivins and Heber J. Grant went to Los Angeles, that he followed them, that they went into a hotel and that Anthony W. Ivins married a plural wife to Heber J. Grant.

Anthony W. Ivins and Heber J. Grant were never in a hotel together in Los Angeles. Heber J. Grant has never suggested to any human being during his entire administration as President of the Church that anybody should ever enter into plural marriage. On the contrary, every man or woman who has ever opened his or her mouth to him on this subject he has taught to the contrary. (Conference Report, April, 1931, p. 10.)

October 1931 – George Q. Cannon states that Patriarch authority to seal ends when the Prophet dies (All of Joseph F. Smith’s and John Taylor’s patriarchs authorized to seal plural marriage are at this point officially ended)

January 26, 1933 – Woolley ordained six new members to the Council of Friends, designating them “apostles and patriarchs to all the world”: J. Leslie BroadbentJohn Y. BarlowJoseph W. MusserCharles F. Zitting, Dr. LeGrand Woolley, and Louis A. Kelsch, Jr. From at least December 1933, when Lorin Woolley was critically ill, Leslie Broadbent was designated his “Second Elder” and successor. (source: wikipedia entry for  Lorin C. Wooley)

September 19, 1934 – Lorin Wolley dies

July 26, 1937 – The SALT LAKE TRIBUNE publishes an interview with LDS President Heber J. Grant implies as soon as law changes polygamy will be followed again.

“We never believed polygamy was wrong and never will.  One of the cardinal rules of the Church is to obey the law. So long as polygamy is illegal we ourselves will strictly enforce the law.”

1953 – Arizona police and national guard raid polygamous commune at Short Creek, Arizona, arrest all its adults

As of 1980 – it was alleged that only one descendant of John Taylor had been involved in fundamentalist polygamy, and she had the marriage annulled as soon as she became aware that her husband was a polygamist. (Blog of the descendents of John Taylor)

May 6, 2002 – FBI puts Warren Jeffs on 10 most wanted list

July 2005 – eight FLDS men are charged with sexual misconduct in Arizona for relationships with underage plural wives

August 26, 2006 – Warren Jeffs was arrested.

December 9 2012 – Newspaper reports women leaving FLDS

January 9, 2014Judge orders forfeiture of Texas polygamist ranch under false pretense of child molestation by colorado woman known to have ill mental health.  Find evidence of marriages as young as 12 years old during search.

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Last edited by Mithryn on December 9, 2014 at 9:57 pm

1 Response to 1886 Revelation of John Taylor and the FLDS timeline

  1. Pingback: Year of Polygamy: The 1886 Revelation, Episode 68 | Feminist Mormon Housewives Podcast

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