January 1, 1924—Tuesday

Today was begun with the encouraging word over long distance phone that my brother George in Springville is greatly improved. I devoted the greater part of the day to work in the office, owing to pressure in proofreading the forthcoming book, the revised edition of the “Articles of Faith”. However, I spent a delightful two hours at home with the family at New Year’s dinner, and after this I returned to the office and worked until a late hour […]

January 10, 1924—Thursday

Today I was made the subject of a very unwelcome appointment, that of representing the Twelve in assisting stake presidencies and other officers in the Church in dealing with cases of alleged transgression, particularly with respect to the claims persistently made that plural marriage is still sanctioned by the Church.

ANNOUNCEMENT: At a meeting of the Council of the Twelve Apostles held Thursday, January 10, 1924, in the Salt Lake Temple, the following action was taken:— Elder Stephen L. Richards offered the following motion:—That it be the sense of the Council that Brother James E. Talmage be selected to act under the direction of President Rudger Clawson as the representative of the Council in giving aid to Stake Presidents and High Councils in the investigation and trial of alleged offenses and offenders against the marriage laws and the moral discipline of the Church and matters relating thereto, it being understood that it is the desire of the Council that the stakes and local jurisdictions shall assume responsibility for bringing offenders in such matters to trial and justice.

The motion was seconded by Brother Joseph Fielding Smith, and after a brief discussion was unanimously adopted.

[Signed Joseph Fielding Smith] Sec’y.

January 15, 1924

In the evening I went to Farmington and sat with the high council in an advisory capacity, in the case of Lorin C. Woolley. The man himself was not present, and according to statements made before the council his absence was premeditated and deliberate. This act of contempt would have warranted the imposition of a penalty of disfellowshipment or excommunication, according to the rule and custom of the Church; but it was deemed advisable to hear the witnesses. There were three called, and each gave strong testimony, agreeing in every particular of importance, though no one of them had known that either of the others would be a witness, nor had they been together in connection with this case. Lorin C. Woolley, according tot he evidence presented, has persistently given out and declared that President Heber J. Grant and others of the General Authorities (including myself, according to one witness) have violated the rule of the Church against plural marriage and have taken wives during the recent past. After a patient hearing, conducted in the form prescribed, Lorin C. Woolley was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I remained for some time after the meeting answering questions asked by members of the high council, and returned home by night train.

January 18, 1924—Friday 

Attended meeting of the Deseret Book Company Committee during the forenoon, was in consultation with the First Presidency and others, and put in a particularly busy day in correspondence. It has been deemed advisable that I go to Chicago and Hammond, Indiana, to expedite the work on the new issue of the “Articles of Faith”; and I am to leave tonight by the Continental Limited, accordingly […]

January 21, 1924—Monday

Visited the missionary company and rendered them some assistance. They left by early afternoon train. Was in early communication with the W.B. Conkey Company and attended some revised proof sheets […]

January 26, 1924—Saturday

Each day since last entry has been devoted to work on the book proofs. Spent this day at Mission headquarters, the occasion being a conference of the Chicago branches, or as we say, through a regrettable double use of the term, a conference of the Chicago Conference. Meeting with the missionaries covered in all four hours, at which the twenty-two present made their individual reports after which President Taylor and I addressed them at some length. From 3:30 until 8 p.m. the missionaries and I were engaged in checking up on the references following the chapters in the “Articles of Faith”. It was a pleasing experience to them and one of assistance to me. Only one error was found, and this made the effort worth while, affording opportunity for its correction […]

February 7, 1924—Thursday

Spent day in Hammond, Indiana, and made arrangements as to details in the matter of binding the book. Returned to Chicago at night […]

February 9, 1924—Saturday

The proofreading is finished. In the course of the work I have been impressed by the thought of bringing out a cheaper edition of the “Articles of Faith”, so as to place it within the reach of more people. Several letters from Mission Presidents have come to hand, answering my inquiry as to their wishes in the matter; and without exception they urge strongly that such an edition be published. On Thursday last I went into details as to cost of production, etc., with the W.B. Conkey Company, and telegraphed the First Presidency, asking their approval of the plan to bring out an edition of ten thousand copies, to be known as the Missionary Edition. In general style similar to the Missionary Edition of the Book of Mormon.

As no reply had arrived by this morning I sent a fast day message, requesting answer today. In a little over two hours I had the response, in the form of a message authorizing the publication as requested by me. I immediately closed the contract with the W.B. Conkey Company […]

March 3, 1924—Monday

Had a very busy day in office work and consultations. The first copies of the new issue of the ARTICLES OF FAITH arrived today, and appear to be very satisfactory […]

April 2, 1924

In the special work assigned to me I have many painful experiences. In spite of all that has been said and done, there is a clique still busily engaged in propagating the falsity that plural marriage is yet countenanced by the Church.

April 14, 1924—Monday

Office work and consultations occupied the day. The first copies of the Missionary Edition of the “Articles of Faith” arrived today. The books come up to the standard of expectation, and the First Presidency and others express full satisfaction […]

December 13, 1926—Monday

With a few exceptions the missionaries manifested a splendid spirit and reported good work done. But there were exceptions. I felt greatly depressed and oppressed while some of them were speaking, particularly so in the case of one. Try as I would I could not rid myself of this feeling, though I thought of the possibility of its being in part due to my sorrow over the bereavement that has befallen our family. The feeling grew upon me as I was addressing the missionaries, and toward the end I was led to speak of the seriousness of any one Elder lowering the standard of missionary achievement by unworthy actions. Up to that time I had not known who was so seriously at fault; but I had the conviction that there was one man there who had grievously sinned; and while I was speaking I looked into his face and knew the awful fact. Without indicating the individual I spoke plainly, saying that I knew there was one man there who had fallen into transgression, and that there were others who were not entirely free. After [we] had returned to the hotel, two brethren came and told of their sinful lives prior to their coming into the mission field, but stoutly protested that they had kept themselves clean from sexual sin while in the field. It was late when I retired, weary and sorrowful.

December 14, 1926—Tuesday

I spoke to the man concerning whom I had so strong an impression yesterday, drew him aside, and told him that he knew himself to be the man to whom I had made reference. He acknowledged that he had been living in sin. […] In answer to my questions he confessed to long continued transgression in his having been guilty of fornication before he came into the field, and during the greater part of his mission service, now amounting to about two years and a half.