A large majority of today’s Fundamentalist Mormons believe authority to perform plural marriages outside the Church originated in1886 when LDS Church President John Taylor received a revelation regarding plural marriage as well as a personal visitation from Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ. They believe President Taylor ordained a few trusted men with apostolic authority and appointed them to perpetuate “the principle” whether “in” or “out” of the Church. By 1916, John W. and his son Lorin C. Woolley were the only ones still living of the men reportedly ordained and appointed by President Taylor. This paper presents an overview of experiences, based on first-hand diary accounts, of three men who believed John W. and Lorin C. Woolley’s claims that legitimate priesthood authority still existed to perform plural marriages.
Marianne T. Watson