A momentous court battle raged in Missouri of the temple lot between the RLDS Church and the Church of Christ. Both claimed to be the rightful successor to Joseph Smith’s church. While the LDS Church in Salt Lake City also claimed to be the true successor to Joseph Smith’s legacy, they didn’t want the RLDS Church to win the court battle, and thus made an alliance with the Church of Christ. Jean Addams tells more about this battle. It turns out this court battle had big implications on our knowledge of LDS polygamy, even though the other two churches rejected polygamy.
GT: When was that lawsuit that was first launched where the RLDS Church tried to take over the lot? What year was that?
Jean: [It was] 1891-92.
GT: So the interesting thing for me is the Temple Lot case, where the LDS Church got involved in this dispute with two other churches. Can you tell about that?
Jean: Wealthy members of the LDS church loaned the money, rather than the LDS Church. It got funneled, then, through Cannon’s nephew, John Cannon, who would become a friend with Charles Hall. So the loan was made directly that way.
GT: Is John Cannon related to George Q. Cannon?
Jean: Yes. He is a nephew, he’s an attorney.
GT: So John is a member of the…
Jean: LDS Church.
GT: So the big thing for me, historically, is we always–I spoke with Brian Hales about polygamy, and so there’s a lot of polygamy documents that came out with this Temple Lot case.
GT: Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Jean: Well, the temple lot case, got a lot of coverage. There were a lot of interviews, depositions, both in Salt Lake City, there were some taken in Denver, there were some, obviously, taken back in Missouri. It got a lot of coverage. When people would come in for their deposition, then the attorneys would ask a lot of the mundane kind of questions. When did you first do this, when did you first do that? When did you move to Missouri? What did your family do? Did you know Edward Partridge? Did you live near the temple lot? From all that information, a wealth of information came out in terms of historical material that wasn’t available elsewhere.
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