The fresh new Chapel chosen then to ignore legislation


By Samyr Ahmad

The fresh new Chapel chosen then to ignore legislation

The brand new Legal performed give consideration regarding no matter if Reynolds might use their religious beliefs since a shelter, as the Reynolds had contended one to, as the a good Mormon, it absolutely was his religious responsibility to rehearse polygamy

While it y is a type of routine throughout the Mormon religion, which the Mormon religion have supported polyandry while in the history, the simple truth is that the Mormon people today don’t habit polygamy, however, contemplate it to get a serious crime against the rules of one’s homes, and contrary to the rules of gospel.

Polyandry Analogy that Set Legal Precedent

George Reynolds belonged with the Chapel regarding Goodness Christ off Second-Big date Saints (brand new “Mormon” Church) when he try faced with bigamy within the 1874. The fresh new LDS Chapel noticed at that time your Morrill Anti-Bigamy Work from 1862 is unconstitutional, since it declined brand new Church’s participants the legal right to habit its religion easily by permitting these to have several spouses, that has been element of their faith. The brand new Morrill Anti-Bigamy Operate try a rules, finalized by the President Abraham Lincoln, one to prohibited polygamy, and you may minimal the amount of church- and you will low-profit-had territories so you’re able to an optimum property value $fifty,100.

Since Utah is actually a far-flung nest, and Lincoln had their hand full on the strong Civil War, what the law states was not implemented. The reason behind brand new fees up against Reynolds try he elia Jane Schofield as he was still .

Reynolds try working as a receptionist on president of your own LDS Chapel during the time. At the same time, new Church’s ruling system agreed to help the U.S. Finest Legal with a test situation who does help dictate the newest constitutionality of your anti-bigamy law by providing the Legal that have a beneficial offender. Reynolds accessible to serve as you to definitely offender, to check on whether or not the rules violated the latest man’s Very first Amendment liberties. Then wanted to the You.S. Attorney multiple witnesses exactly who you’ll testify that Reynolds did in reality possess several wives, hence he had been indicted getting bigamy from the a huge Jury for the October out-of 1874.

Reynolds made an effort to feel the demonstration court illustrate brand new jury you to when they considered he previously enough time bigamy with the just mission out-of following their faith, then must be receive not guilty. However, new legal rejected their consult and you will as an alternative educated the fresh jury you to whenever they unearthed that Reynolds, intoxicated by their faith:

“… on purpose married the second time, that have a first spouse life, brand new wanted regarding consciousness off evil intention-the new want regarding wisdom into his part he is actually committing crime-failed to excuse him, but the legislation inexorably, in such instances, means unlawful intention.”

  • That it was their duty, depending on their faith, to help you endment protected their religious practices
  • That his grand jury had not been lawfully constituted (valid beneath the law)
  • That pressures which were lifted of the specific jurors had been poorly overruled by the courtroom
  • That any testimony offered is actually inadmissible because it absolutely was given upwards under various other indictment

The Utah Territorial Ultimate Court disagreed, however, and you can kept Reynolds’ sentence in 1876. Throughout the Court’s unanimous decision, it absolutely was reported that:

“Everybody that have a husband or wife way of life, whom marries some other, if hitched otherwise solitary, for the a territory, and other set over that your United states possess exclusive legislation, was accountable for bigamy, and you will would be punished of the an excellent from only $500, and by imprisonment to own a phrase of not more than four age.”

The brand new Court performed keep in mind that Congress try not to pass a law one to forbids someone out of easily doing its religion. However, this new it stored that rules one to forbids bigamy will not satisfy one fundamental, and this the theory that somebody have to have only 1 companion could well be traced completely back again to English law less than King James I away from England, where You.S. rules was dependent.


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