The Temple Lot legal case transcript covers more than 1,650 pages and has been made available online by the LDS Church History LIbrary at:
The originals are housed at the Eighth District Court in Kansas City, Missouri, with a carbon copy at the Community of Christ Archives. The LDS Church History Library offers both microfilm and digital photographs of the microfilm (unrestricted). A 507-page version has been published and distributed by several booksellers including Herald House and Price Publishing Company; however, heavy editing makes this version of little or no use to polygamy researchers. Apparently parts of the original transcript have been digitally transcribed by Richard D. Ouellette.
The statement quoted by Runnells is from one of the edited versions and I’m not surprised that the RLDS editor added some commentary that has been mistaken as in the original.
Here’s the transcript:
189 Q. And the man that violated this law in this book [Doctrine and Covenants 1835 edition] until the acceptance of that revelation by the church violated the law of the church if he practiced plural marriage? A. Yes Sir. He was cut off from the church. I think I should have been if I had.
190 Q. What would be the condition of the man that would marry more than one person prior to the giving of that revelation in 1843? A. What would be the condition of a man that would do that?
191 Q. Yes sir? A. Why he would be cut off from the Church.
192 Q. Would not it have been adultery under those revelations I have just read? A. Yes sir. I expect it would be.
193 Q. You are one of the apostles in the church at the present time are you not . . .
Here’s a copy of the actual Temple Lot transcript, respondent’s testimony (part 3), page 121.. I’ve left it as higher resolution because it can be hard to read:
On page 128 Lorenzo Snow was asked the question Runnells alleges:
323 Q. Could he [Joseph Smith] receive a revelation and act upon it, that was contrary in its teachings and provisions to the laws of the church to govern the church, without a violation of those laws? A. Yes sir, I see that distinctly and understand it and I want you to understand it too.
Reading the entire transcript leaves no doubt that Runnells has misrepresented Lorenzo Snow’s testimony. I admit Runnells probably doesn’t realize it. Hopefully we are all dedicated to accuracy here.
Here’s a few more pertinent statements from Lorenzo Snow regarding Joseph Smith:
297 Joseph had a perfect authority to give revelations and the people were under obligations to receive them. . .
A. . . .I state that as my understanding of Joseph’s privilege and the people’s duty.
321 Q. Could he [Joseph Smith] receive a revelation and act upon it, that was contrary in its teachings and provisions to the laws of the church to govern the church, without a violation of those laws?
A. Yes sir, I see that distinctly and understand it and I want you to understand it too.
323 Q. Could Joseph Smith receive a revelation and act upon it that was contrary in its teachings and provisions to the laws of the church as accepted by the church at that time, without being at the same time in violation of the laws of the church?
A. Why he might do so. Joseph Smith did, but I don’t consider he was a violator of any of the laws of the church, for he was the law of the church. I never knew of the church rejecting a revelation he gave to them.
479 Q. Now suppose that a revelation should be accepted by a few people before it is made known to the church, and that revelation is contrary to the doctrines of the church, if it is true that it is obligatory on the few people to whom it is made know, and it is contrary to the law of the church as accepted by the church, what position would these few people be in?
A. Well in rather an unpleasant position.
480 Q. They would be in a position of violating the law of the church wouldn’t they?
A. No sir, no sir, not necessarily.