John W. Woolley as a Highly Trusted Mormon From September 1886 to December 1913

Most “Fundamentalist Mormons” have honored John W. Woolley (born in 1831) as the man who became senior “High Priest Apostle” following the death in 1918 of LDS Church president Joseph F. Smith. According to that belief, both were among the six men allegedly commissioned in 1886–87 by President John Taylor to preserve plural marriage if the Church officially abandoned it. After Woolley was excommunicated in 1914 for performing plural marriages in violation of the Church’s 1890 “Manifesto” and its 1904 “Second Manifesto,” LDS leaders and LDS historians have portrayed him negatively. As a counter-balance, this presentation examines his activities from 1886 to 1913 (as seen mainly in sources from the time period), when LDS General Authorities clearly regarded him as a trustworthy Latter-day Saint.

D. Michael Quinn, Johnny Stephenson