Mormon Church v. United States
136 U.S. 1 (1890)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Mormon Church v. United States, 136 U.S. 1 (1890)

The Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ

of Latter-Day Saints v. United States

Nos. 1031, 1054

Argued January 16-18, 1889

Decided May 19, 1890

136 U.S. 1

Syllabus

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was incorporated February, 1851, by an act of assembly of the so-called State of Deseret, which was afterwards confirmed by act of the Territorial Legislature of Utah, the corporation being a religious one, and its property and fund, held for the religious and charitable objects of the society, a prominent object being the promotion and practice of polygamy, which was prohibited by the laws of the United States. Congress, in 1887, passed an act repealing the act of incorporation and abrogating the charter and directing legal proceedings for seizing its property and winding up its affairs.

Held that

(1) The power of Congress over the territories is general and plenary, arising from the right to acquire them, which right arises from the power of the government to declare war and make treaties of peace and also, in part, arising from the power to make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property of the United States.

(2) This plenary power extends to the acts of the legislatures of the territories, and is usually expressed in the organic act of each by an express reservation of the right to disapprove and annul the acts of the legislature thereof.

Page 136 U. S. 2

(3) Congress had the power to repeal the act of incorporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints not only by virtue of its general power over the territories, but by virtue of an express reservation in the organic act of the Territory of Utah of the power to disapprove and annul the acts of its legislature.

(4) The act of incorporation being repealed and the corporation dissolved, its property, in the absence of any other lawful owner, devolved to the United States, subject to be disposed of according to the principles applicable to property devoted to religious and charitable uses, the real estate, however, being also subject to a certain condition of forfeiture and escheat contained in the act of 1862.

(5) The general system of common law and equity, except as modified by legislation, prevails in the Territory of Utah, including therein the law of charitable uses.

(6) By the law of charitable uses, when the particular use designated is unlawful and contrary to public policy, the charity property is subject to be applied and directed to lawful objects most nearly corresponding to its original destination, and will not be returned to the donors or their heirs or representatives, especially where it is impossible to identify them.

(7) The court of chancery, in the exercise of its ordinary powers over trusts and charities, may appoint new trustees on the failure or discharge of former trustees, and may compel the application of charity funds to their appointed uses, if lawful, and, by authority of the sovereign power of the state, if not by its own inherent power, may reform the uses when illegal or against public policy by directing the property to be applied to legal uses, conformable as near as practicable to those originally declared.

(8) In this country, the legislature has the power of parens patriae in reference to infants, idiots, lunatics, charities, etc., which in England is exercised by the Crown, and may invest the court of chancery with all the powers necessary to the proper superintendence and direction of any gift to charitable uses.

(9) Congress, as the supreme legislature of Utah, had full power and authority to direct the winding up of the affairs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as a defunct corporation, with a view to the due appropriation of its property to legitimate religious and charitable uses conformable, as near as practicable, to those to which it was originally dedicated. This power is distinct from that which may arise from the forfeiture and escheat of the property under the act of 1862.

(10) The pretense of religious belief cannot deprive Congress of the power to prohibit polygamy and all other open offenses against the enlightened sentiment of mankind.

Page 136 U. S. 3

On behalf of the Court, MR. JUSTICE BRADLEY stated the case as follows: [Footnote 1]

The church of the Mormons, or, as they call themselves, the Church of Latter-Day Saints, was first organized as a corporation under an act of assembly of the provisional government which they set up in Utah under the name of the State of Deseret. The act was dated February 8, 1851, and was in the usual form of acts of incorporation. The title and first three §§ were as follows

"An ordinance incorporating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."

"SEC. 1. Be it ordained by the General Assembly of the State of Deseret that all that portion of the inhabitants of said state which now are or hereafter may become residents therein, and which are known and distinguished as 'the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,' are hereby incorporated, constituted, made and declared a body corporate, with perpetual succession, under the original name and style of 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,' as now organized, with full power and authority to sue and be sued, defend and be defended, in all courts of law or equity in this state; to establish, order, and regulate worship, and hold and occupy real and personal estate, and have and use a seal, which they may alter at pleasure."

"SEC. 2. And be it further ordained that said body or church, as a religious society, may at a general or special conference, elect one 'trustee in trust,' and not to exceed twelve assistant trustees, to receive, hold, buy, sell, manage, use and control the real and personal property of said church, which said property shall be free from taxation; . . . said trustee or assistant trustees may receive property, real or personal, by gift, donation, bequest, or in any manner not incompatible

Page 136 U. S. 4

"

with the principles of righteousness or the rules of justice, inasmuch as the same shall be used, managed or disposed of for the benefit, improvement, erection of houses for public worship and instruction, and the wellbeing of said church.

"SEC. 3. And be it further ordained that, as said church holds the constitutional and original right, in common with all civil and religious communities, 'to worship God according to the dictates of conscience,' to reverence communion agreeably to the principles of truth, and to solemnize marriage compatible with the revelations of Jesus Christ for the security and full enjoyment of all blessings and privileges embodied in the religion of Jesus Christ free to all, it is also declared that such church does and shall possess and enjoy continually the power and authority, in and of itself, to originate, make, pass and establish rules, regulations, ordinances, laws, customs and criterions for the good order, safety, government, conveniences, comfort and control of said church and for the punishment or forgiveness of all offenses relative to fellowship according to church covenants; that the pursuit of bliss and the enjoyment of life in every capacity of public association, domestic happiness, temporal expansion, or spiritual increase upon the earth may not legally be questioned, provided, however, that each and every act or practice so established or adopted for law or custom shall relate to solemnities, sacraments, ceremonies, consecrations, endowments, tithings, marriages, fellowship, or the religious duties of man to his Maker, inasmuch as the doctrines, principles, practices or performances support virtue and increase morality, and are not inconsistent with or repugnant to the Constitution of the United States or of this state and are founded in the revelations of the Lord."

Comp.Laws of Utah, 1876, p. 232.

Congress had passed an organic act for establishing a government in the Territory of Utah on the 9th of September, 1850, 9 Stat. 453, but the territorial government was not organized until after the passage of the church charter as above stated. After its organization, the territorial legislature, on two different occasions, passed confirmatory acts which had the effect of validating said charter. One was a

Page 136 U. S. 5

joint resolution, passed October 4, 1851, declaring

"That the laws heretofore passed by the provisional government of the State of Deseret, and which do not conflict with the organic act of said territory, be, and the same are hereby declared to be, legal and in full force and virtue, and shall so remain until suspended by the action of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah."

The other was an act approved January 19, 1855, entitled "An act in relation to the compilation and revision of the laws and resolutions in force in Utah Territory, their publication and distribution," which reenacted the said charter.

On the 1st of July, 1862, the following act of Congress was approved, to-wit:

"An act to punish and prevent the Practice of Polygamy in the Territories of the United States, and other Places, and disapproving and annulling Certain Acts of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah."

"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled that every person having a husband or wife living who shall marry any other person, whether married or single, in a territory of the United States or other place over which the United States have exclusive jurisdiction shall, except in the cases specified in the proviso to this section, be adjudged guilty of bigamy, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars and by imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, provided, nevertheless, that this section shall not extend to any person by reason of any former marriage whose husband or wife by such marriage shall have been absent for five successive years without being known to such person within that time to be living, nor to any person by reason of any former marriage which shall have been dissolved by the decree of a competent court, nor to any person by reason of any former marriage which shall have been annulled or pronounced void by the sentence or decree of a competent court on the ground of the nullity of the marriage contract."

"SEC. 2. And be it further enacted that the following ordinance

Page 136 U. S. 6

of the provisional government of the State of Deseret, so-called, namely 'An ordinance incorporating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,' passed February eight in the year eighteen hundred and fifty-one, and adopted, reenacted and made valid by the Governor and Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah by an act passed January nineteen, in the year eighteen hundred and fifty-five entitled 'An act in relation to the compilation and revision of the laws and resolutions in force in Utah Territory, their publication and distribution,' and all other acts and parts of acts heretofore passed by the said Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah, which establish, support, maintain, shield or countenance polygamy be, and the same hereby are, disapproved and annulled, provided that this act shall be so limited and construed as not to affect or interfere with the right of property legally acquired under the ordinance heretofore mentioned, nor with the right 'to worship God according to the dictates of conscience,' but only to annul all acts and laws which establish, maintain, protect, or countenance the practice of polygamy, evasively called spiritual marriage, however disguised by legal or ecclesiastical solemnities, sacraments, ceremonies, consecrations or other contrivances."

"SEC. 3. And be it further enacted that it shall not be lawful for any corporation or association for religious or charitable purposes to acquire or hold real estate in any territory of the United States during the existence of the territorial government of a greater value than fifty thousand dollars, and all real estate acquired or held by any such corporation or association contrary to the provisions of this act shall be forfeited and escheat to the United States, provided that existing vested rights in real estate shall not be impaired by the provisions of this section."

12 Stat. 501.

Another act, known as the Edmunds Act, was approved March 22, 1882, entitled "An act to amend section 5352 of the Revised Statutes of the United States in reference to bigamy and for other purposes." 22 Stat. 30, c. 47. This act contained stringent provisions against the crime of polygamy, and has frequently come under the consideration of this Court, and need not be recited in detail.

Page 136 U. S. 7

On the 19th of February, 1887, another act of Congress was passed, and became a law by not being returned by the President, 24 Stat. 635, c. 397, which made additional provisions as to the prosecution of polygamy, and in the 13th, 17th, and 26th sections enacted as follows:

"SEC. 13. That it shall be the duty of the Attorney General of the United States to institute and prosecute proceedings to forfeit and escheat to the United States the property of corporations obtained or held in violation of section three of the Act of Congress approved the first day of July, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, entitled"

"An act to punish and prevent the practice of polygamy in the Territories of the United States and other places and disapproving and annulling certain acts of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah, or in violation of section eighteen hundred and ninety of the Revised Statutes of the United States,"

"and all such property so forfeited and escheated to the United States shall be disposed of by the Secretary of the Interior, and the proceeds thereof applied to the use and benefit of the common schools in the Territory in which such property may be, provided that no building or the grounds appurtenant thereto which is held and occupied exclusively for purposes of the worship of God, or parsonage connected therewith, or burial ground, shall be forfeited."

"SEC. 17. That the acts of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah incorporating, continuing or providing for the corporation known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the ordinance of the so-called General Assembly of the State of Deseret incorporating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, so far as the same may now have legal force and validity, are hereby disapproved and annulled, and the said corporation, insofar as it may now have, or pretend to have, any legal existence, is hereby dissolved. That it shall be the duty of the Attorney General of the United States to cause such proceedings to be taken in the Supreme Court of the Territory of Utah as shall be proper to execute the foregoing provisions of this section and to wind up the affairs of said corporation conformably to law, and in such proceedings the court shall have power, and it shall be

Page 136 U. S. 8

its duty, to make such decree or decrees as shall be proper to effectuate the transfer of the title to real property now held and used by said corporation for places of worship, and parsonages connected therewith, and burial grounds, and of the description mentioned in the proviso to section thirteen of this act and in section twenty-six of this act, to the respective trustees mentioned in section twenty-six of this act, and for the purposes of this section said court shall have all the powers of a court of equity ."

"SEC. 26. That all religious societies, sects, and congregations shall have the right to have and to hold, through trustees appointed by any court exercising probate powers in a territory, only on the nomination of the authorities of such society, sect, or congregation, so much real property for the erection or use of houses of worship, and for such parsonages and burial grounds as shall be necessary for the convenience and use of the several congregations of such religious society, sect, or congregation."

24 Stat. 637, 638 and 641.

In pursuance of the 13th section above recited, proceedings were instituted by information on behalf of the United States in the Third District Court of the Territory of Utah for the purpose of having declared forfeited and escheated to the government the real estate of the corporation called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints except a certain block in Salt Lake City used exclusively for public worship.

On the 30th of September, 1887, the bill in the present case was filed in the supreme court of the territory under the 17th section of the act for the appointment of a receiver to collect the debts due to said corporation and the rents, issues, and profits of its real estate, and to take possession of and manage the same for the time being, and for a decree of dissolution and annulment of the charter of said corporation, and other incidental relief. The bill is in the name of the United States, and was brought by direction of the Attorney General, against "the late corporation known and claiming to exist as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints," and John Taylor, "late trustee in trust," and eleven other persons late assistant trustees of said corporation.

Page 136 U. S. 9

The bill sets forth the act of incorporation of the said church and its confirmation by the territorial legislature, as before expressed, and then states further that John Taylor (since deceased), on and prior to the 19th of February, 1887, was trustee in trust, and the other individual defendants were the assistant trustees of the corporation;

That the corporation acquired and held large amounts of real and personal property in the Territory of Utah after the 1st of July, 1862, the value of the real estate being about $2,000,000, and the value of the personal property about $1,000,000 as held and owned on the 19th of February, 1887, and which the defendants still claim to hold in violation of the laws of the United States;

That the corporation was a corporation for religious or charitable purposes;

That by the third section of the Act of July 1st, 1862, 12 Stat. 501, c. 126, § 3, reenacted as section 1890 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, any corporation for religious or charitable purposes was forbidden to acquire or hold real estate in any territory, during the existence of the territorial government, of greater value than $50,000, and that more than this value of the property of the said corporation has been acquired since July 1st, 1862, which is not held or occupied as a building or ground appurtenant thereto for the purpose of the worship of God, or a parsonage connected therewith, or burial ground;

That therefore the real estate referred to, owned by the corporation, is subject to escheat to the United States;

That on the 19th day of February, 1887, by the said act of that date, the charter and act of incorporation of the corporation aforesaid was disapproved, repealed, and annulled by Congress, and the corporation was dissolved, and all the real estate owned and occupied by it in excess of $50,000, not held or occupied for the worship of God, etc., was subject to escheat to the United States;

That the said corporation, and the successor of said John Taylor as trustee in trust, (whose name is unknown, and who is asked to be made a party to the bill), and the other defendants,

Page 136 U. S. 10

assistant trustees, wrongfully and in violation of the laws of the United States still claim to hold and exercise the powers which were held and exercised by said corporation, and are unlawfully possessing and using the said real estate, and claim the right to sell, use and dispose of the same;

That since the 19th of February, 1887, there is no person lawfully authorized to take charge of, manage, preserve, or control said property, and the same is subject to irreparable and irremediable loss and destruction.

The bill prays that a receiver may be appointed to receive and hold all the property of the corporation; that a decree be made declaring the dissolution and annulment of the charter of the said corporation; that the court appoint a commissioner to select and set apart out of the real estate which was held and occupied by the corporation such real estate as may be lawfully held for religious uses, make necessary orders, and take proceedings to wind up the affairs of the said corporation, and grant such other and further relief as the nature of the case may require.

On the 7th of November, 1887, the court appointed a receiver, and on the 8th William B. Preston, Robert T. Burton and John R. Winder, claiming to have an interest in a portion of the property, were made parties to the suit. Demurrers to the bill having been overruled, the defendants severally answered.

The corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in its answer, after stating the granting of its charter by an ordinance of the assembly of Deseret, and its confirmation by the Legislature of the Territory of Utah, contended that this charter was a contract between the government and the persons accepting the grant, and those becoming corporators, and that the corporation had the power to hold real and personal property, without limit as to value and amount, for the purposes of its charter; that it never acquired property in its own name, but under the powers granted by the ordinance it did acquire and hold certain real and personal property, in the name of a trustee, in trust for said corporation; that the Act of July 1st, 1862, expressly provided that existing vested

Page 136 U. S. 11

rights in real estate should not be impaired; that the defendant has ever been and still is a corporation or association for religious or charitable purposes; that so much of the Act of Congress which took effect March 3, 1887, (referring to the Act passed February 19, 1887) as attempts to dissolve the defendant corporation or to interfere with or limit its right to hold property or to escheat the same or to wind up its affairs is unconstitutional and void; that the United States has not the power to do this, by reason of said contract; that when the Act of March 3, 1887, took effect, the said corporation, through its trustees, held and owned only three parcels of real estate, namely, 1st, all of block 87, in plat "A," Salt Lake City survey; 2d, part of block 88, plat "A," of said survey, containing 2 157/160 acres; 3d, part of lot 6, in block 75, plat "A," of same survey; that the defendant corporation had acquired the first two of these lots before July 1, 1862; that the first piece, namely, all of block 87 in plat "A," was, ever since 1850, and still is, used and occupied exclusively for purposes of the worship of God; that the third of said tracts, which is the only tract of land owned by the corporation on the 3d of March, 1887, which had been acquired subsequent to July 1, 1862, was always, and still is, used as a parsonage, necessary for the convenience and use of the corporation; that said corporation had owned other lands, but had sold and disposed of the same prior to March 3, 1887; that after the said act took effect, and in pursuance of section 26 of said act, it applied to the proper probate court for Salt Lake County for the appointment of three trustees to take the title to the three tracts above described; that on May 19, 1887, said court appointed William IB. Preston, Robert T. Burton and John R. Winder such trustees; that afterwards said three tracts, except a part of lot 6, in block 75 (the third lot), were conveyed to said trustees; that the remaining part of said lot 6 is now held by Theodore McKean, in trust for the defendant corporation, having been omitted from the conveyance to the said trustees by mistake; that said corporation does not now hold any real estate whatsoever, and that no successor to said John Taylor has ever been appointed trustee in trust by said corporation.

Page 136 U. S. 12

The answer denies that the charter and act of incorporation of the defendant was annulled by the Act of 19th February, 1887, and alleges that even if said act is valid and binding, it did not go into effect until March 3, 1887. The answer further avers that prior to February 28, 1887, the defendant corporation from time to time acquired and held personal property for charitable and religious purposes, and on that day held certain personal property donated to it by the members of the church and friends thereof, solely for use and distribution for charitable and religious purposes, such property being always held by its trustee in trust, and that on the 28th of February, 1887, John Taylor, who then held all the personal property, moneys, stocks, and bonds belonging to said corporation as trustee in trust, with its consent and approval, donated, transferred, and conveyed the same (after reserving sufficient to pay its then existing indebtedness) to certain ecclesiastical corporations created and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the Territory of Utah, to be devoted by them solely to charitable and religious uses and purposes, and delivered the same to them. Wherefore the defendant avers that when the Act of March 3, 1887, went into effect, it did not own or hold any personal property, except mere furniture, fixtures, and implements pertaining to its houses of worship and parsonage.

The defendants Wilford, Woodruff, and others, charged as assistant trustees in the bill (except Moses Thatcher), deny that they ever were such assistant trustees, though they admit that they acted as counselors and advisors of John Taylor, the trustee in trust. Thatcher admits that he was once elected assistant trustee, but alleges that his term of office expired 9th of October, 1875, and he has never acted since. They all deny that they have ever owned or held any property belonging to the corporation. They all, however, adopt its answer.

Preston, Burton, and Winder, who were made defendants after the suit was commenced, admit the conveyance to them of the three tracts described in the answer of the corporation, which they declare that they hold in trust for the Church of

Page 136 U. S. 13

Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They also adopt the answer of the corporation.

Replications were duly filed.

One Angus M. Cannon intervened as a claimant of certain coal lands supposed to be affected by the proceedings, and was admitted as a defendant, and filed an answer explaining his claim.

Several petitions were filed in the cause, with leave of the court, for the purpose of asking that certain pieces of property therein described might be set apart for the use of the church. They were:

1. A petition by Francis Armstrong, Jesse W. Fox, Jr., and Theodore McKean, who alleged that they held divers pieces of real estate (described in their petition) in trust for the use and benefit of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. To this petition the plaintiff filed a general replication.

2. William B. Preston, Robert T. Burton, and John R. Winder filed a petition stating that they were duly appointed by the Probate Court of Salt Lake County trustees to hold title to real estate belonging to the said church, and as such trustees hold the legal title to certain pieces of land described, to-wit: first, a piece known as the "Guardo House" and lot, held for the use and benefit of the president of the said church as a parsonage, where he has made his home and residence since 1878; secondly, another piece adjoining the above, known as the "Historian's Office" and grounds, the building on which contains the church library and records, and the legal title to which is in Theodore McKean. The petitioners pray that the said premises be set apart to said church as a parsonage, and that the title be confirmed to the trustees.

To this petition the United States filed an answer, denying that said Preston, Burton, and Winder hold the title to said "Guardo House" and land or that they hold the same in trust for the said Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; that the pretended conveyance under which they claim to hold the same is void and of no effect, for want of power in the grantors; that said property has never been a parsonage, and that the property designated as the historian's office and

Page 136 U. S. 14

grounds has never been part of any parsonage. On the contrary, the plaintiff avers that McKean holds the legal title to said property in trust for the late corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as a part of its general property, and that the historian's office and grounds are entirely separate and apart from the Guardo House and lot, and in no manner connected therewith.

The said Preston, Burton, and Winder filed another petition stating their appointment as trustees as aforesaid and that they, as such, hold another property described in the petition (being a portion of block 88, plat A, of Salt Lake City survey) for the use and benefit of the said church, which was taken possession of by the agents of said church when Salt Lake City was first laid out in 1848, and ever since used and occupied by said church, and that prior to July 1, 1862, valuable buildings and improvements had been built thereon, still owned and possessed by the said church, and they pray that said property be set apart to said church, and the title and possession confirmed to the petitioners as trustees.

The United States filed an answer to this petition denying the truth of the same.

A similar petition was filed by the same parties, Preston, Burton, and Winder, claiming to hold the legal title to block 87, plat A, Salt Lake City survey, known as the "Temple Block," containing three large buildings constructed by said church exclusively for religious purposes, and been in its possession since 1848. They pray that this property may be set apart to the church, and the title and possession confirmed to the petitioners, as trustees. The plaintiff, by answer, alleges that the conveyance under which the petitioners claim this property is also void for want of power in the grantors to convey.

Another petition was filed by George Romney, Henry Dinwoody, James Watson, and John Clark in behalf of themselves and of other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, alleging that said members are more than 100,000 in number, and so numerous that they cannot, without inconvenience and oppressive delays, be brought before the court; that they all have an interest in

Page 136 U. S. 15

common in the subject of the petition and the questions involved in this suit; that on the 7th of November, 1887, this Court made an order appointing Frank H. Dyer receiver of the church aforesaid; that he, as such receiver, has seized, taken possession of, and now holds, subject to the order of the court the following described real and personal property, to-wit:

1. All of block 87, plat A, Salt Lake City survey, known as "Temple Block."

2. The east half of lot 6, block 75, plat A aforesaid, known as the "Guardo House" and grounds.

3. Part of lot 6, block 75, plat A aforesaid, known as the "Historian Office" and grounds.

4. A portion of block 88, plat A aforesaid, known as part of the "Tithing Office" property.

5. The south half of lots 6 and 7, in block 88, plat A aforesaid, known as part of the "Tithing Office" property.

6. Various tracts of land, designated, containing a large number of acres situated in township 1 south, range 1 west, United States survey of Utah, and known as the "Church Farm," excepting, however, a tract sold to the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railway Company by deed dated February 7, 1882.

7. The undivided half of the south half of the southeast quarter, the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter, and lot 4, section 18, and the north half of the northeast quarter of section 19, township 3 north, range 6 east, in Summit County, Utah Territory, known as coal lands.

Also a number of items of personal property, including 800 shares of stock in the Salt Lake Gas Company; 4,732 shares in the State of Deseret Telegraph Company; several promissory notes of different parties and amounts; 30,158 sheep; $237,666.15 of money.

That since said personal property came into possession of the receiver, he has collected rents on the real estate, and dividends on the gas stock, and that all the property in the possession of the receiver is of the aggregate value of about $750,000, exclusive of Temple Block. That all of said property, at the time so taken and long prior thereto, was the property of the Church of Jesus Christ of

Page 136 U. S. 16

Latter-Day Saints, and that the possession of the receiver is wrongful, and without authority or right.

That said church is a voluntary religious society, organized in the Territory of Utah for religious and charitable purposes.

That said petitioners and others, for whose benefit they file the petition, are members of said church, residing in said territory; that the church became possessed of all of said property in accordance with its established rules and customs, by the voluntary contributions, donations, and dedications of its members, to be held, managed, and applied to the use and benefit of the church, for the maintenance of its religion and charities, by trustees appointed by said members semiannually at the general conference.

That John Taylor, the late trustee so appointed, died on the 25th day of July, 1887, and no trustee has been appointed since.

That the property in the hands of the trustees is claimed adversely to the church, the petitioners, and the members thereof, and wholly without right, by the United States, and is wrongfully withheld by the receiver from the purposes to which it was dedicated and granted; that the petitioners and the members on whose behalf this petition is filed are equitably the owners of said property and beneficially interested therein, and, to prevent a diversion thereof from the religious and charitable purposes of the said church to which they donated and granted said property, the petitioners pray that in case said corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints should, upon the final hearing, be held and decreed to be dissolved, an order may be made decreeing:

1. That the said property belongs to the individual members of said church, and that they are authorized to appoint a trustee or trustees to hold, manage, and apply such property to the purposes for which it was originally given.

2. That said receiver deliver the possession thereof to such trustee or trustees as may be named and appointed at a general conference of the members of the church, in accordance with its rules and customs.

To this petition the United States filed an answer, denying

Page 136 U. S. 17

the claim of the petitioners; admitting the appointment of the receiver, and his taking possession of the property referred to; denying that at the time of such taking it was the property of the said Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, whether the petition is intended to apply to the late corporation or to the voluntary religious sect which has existed under that name since the dissolution of the said corporation. It admits that prior to the said dissolution, said property belonged to the corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but alleges that since then it has had no legal owner except the United States; denies that the said Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been for years past a voluntary religious society or association, but alleges that up to the 19th day of February, 1887, said church existed as a corporation for religious purposes, and since that time, when it became dissolved, there has existed a voluntary and unincorporated religious society or sect known by the name of the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." It denies that the corporation to which all of said property belonged acquired the same by voluntary contributions, donations, and dedications of the members thereof, and alleges that all of said realty was acquired by purchase, and that said personalty was acquired by said church largely by purchase and other means, as afterwards set out. It denies that the receiver is wrongfully withholding and diverting the property from the purposes to which it was donated, and denies that the petitioners or any other persons are equitably or otherwise the owners of said property or any portion thereof, or beneficially interested therein. The answer then sets forth the incorporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as a body for religious and charitable purposes, by the act of the Territorial Assembly of Utah in 1855, and avers that it continued to be a corporation up to the 19th of February, 1887; it then sets forth the Act of Congress of July 1, 1862, before referred to, and the Act of March 3, 1887, disapproving and annulling the act of incorporation aforesaid, and dissolving the said corporation, and alleges that it did become dissolved. The answer then states the previous proceedings

Page 136 U. S. 18

in the suit, and the appointment of a receiver, and alleges that the United States had filed in the District Court for the Third District of Utah a proceeding in the nature of an information against all the real property set out in the petition for the purpose of having the same declared forfeited and escheated to the United States, which proceedings are now pending. And the answer alleges that said real property has become forfeited to the United States, as shown in said information. The answer further states that the said corporation was a religious corporation for the purpose of promulgating, spreading, and upholding the principles, practices, teachings, and tenets of said church, and that it never had any other corporate objects, purposes, or authority; never had any capital stock or stockholders, nor persons pecuniarily interested in its property, nor any natural persons authorized to take or hold any personal property or estate for said corporation, except such trustees as were provided for by its statute of incorporation, and the power of appointing such trustees ceased and became extinct at the date of its dissolution; that up to that date, said personal property had been used for and devoted exclusively to the promulgation, spread, and maintenance of the principles, practices, teachings, and tenets of said Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, among which the doctrine and practice of polygamy, or plurality of wives, was a fundamental and essential doctrine, tenet, and principle of said church, and the same was opposed and contrary to good morals, public policy, and the laws of the United States, and that the use made of said personal property was largely for purposes of upholding and maintaining said doctrine and practice of polygamy, and violating the laws of the United States; that since said dissolution, there has existed a voluntary and unincorporated sect known as the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints," comprising the great body of individuals named in said intervention, who formerly formed the membership of the said corporation, and the organization and general government of said voluntary religious sect, and its principles, doctrines, teachings, and tenets include the practice of polygamy, and have been substantially the same as

Page 136 U. S. 19

those of the said corporation, and the said voluntary religious sect has upheld and maintained the unlawful and immoral practice and doctrine of polygamy as strongly as the said corporation did, and any uses, purposes, or trusts to which said personal property could be devoted, in accordance with the original purposes and trusts to which it was dedicated, would be opposed to good morals, public policy, and contrary to the laws of the United States. The answer further states that there are no natural persons or corporations entitled to any portion of the personal property thereof as successors in interest to said corporation; that all definite and legal trusts to which said property was dedicated have totally failed and become extinct, and that, by operation of law, the said property has become escheated to the United States, and the allegation that said property was acquired by voluntary contributions, donations, and dedications of the members of the corporation is not true, but the late corporation carried on business to a wide extent, and while a large amount of personalty in the shape of tithes was paid to the church each year by the members thereof, yet the personalty now in the hands of the said receiver is in no part made up of voluntary contributions or tithes paid in as aforesaid, but is all of it property which was acquired by said corporation in the course of trade, by purchase, and for a valuable consideration, and it held the same in its corporate capacity, absolutely and entirely independent of any individual members of said corporation, and upon the trust and for the uses and purposes set out, which, as has been alleged, were in whole or in part immoral and illegal.

A replication was filed to this answer.

The last-mentioned petition of intervention and the answer thereto are in the nature of an original bill and answer, but serve to present the whole controversy in all its aspects, and for that purpose may properly be retained, as no objection is made thereto.

The cause came on to be heard upon the pleadings, proofs, and an agreed statement of the facts. The court made a finding of facts, upon which a final decree was rendered. The facts found are as follows:

The Act of Congress of July 1, 1862, referred to in the pleadings, is entitled

"An act to punish and prevent the practice of polygamy in the territories of the United States and other places, and disapproving and annulling certain acts of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah,"

and provides as follows:

Page 136 U. S. 20

"1. That the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was, from the 19th day of January, 1855, to the 3d day of March, A.D. 1887, a corporation for religious and charitable purposes, duly organized and existing under and in pursuance of an ordinance enacted by the Legislature of the Territory of Utah, and approved by the governor thereof on the said 19th day of January, A.D. 1855, a copy of which ordinance is made a part of the complaint herein. "

"2. That on the 19th day of February, A.D. 1887, the Congress of the United States passed an act entitled 'An act to amend section 5352 of the Revised Statutes of the United States in reference to bigamy, and for other purposes,' approved March 22, 1882, which purported to disapprove, repeal, and annul the said charter and act of incorporation of the incorporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints aforesaid, and passed as aforesaid. "

"3. That immediately before the passage of said Act of Congress of February 19, 1887, the said John Taylor was, and for a long time prior thereto had been, the qualified and acting trustee in trust of said corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; that after the passage of said Act of Congress of February 19, 1887, the said John Taylor claimed to hold and continued to exercise the powers conferred upon said Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by said act of incorporation until his death, which occurred on the 25th day of July, A.D. 1887. "

"4. That at the date of the passage of said Act of Congress of February 19, A.D. 1887, and for a long time prior thereto, there were no assistant trustees of said corporation, none having been elected, appointed, or qualified since the year 1887; that said Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, Erastus Snow, Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young, Moses Thatcher, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Texasdale, Heber J. Grant, and John W. Taylor were at the commencement of this suit, counselors and advisors of the said John Taylor, and continued to his death counseling and advising him respecting the management, use, and control of the property hereinafter described. "

Page 136 U. S. 21

"5. That since the passage of said Act of Congress of February 19, 1887, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has existed as a voluntary religious sect, of which the said Wilford Woodruff is the acting president, and it has had duly designated and appointed by the Probate Court of Salt Lake County, in said territory, in pursuance of the act of Congress aforesaid, the following-named trustees, William B. Preston, Robert T. Burton, and John R. Winder, to take the title to and hold such real estate as shall be allowed said religious sect by law for the erection and use of houses of worship, parsonages, and burial grounds. "

"6. That at the time of the passage of said Act of Congress of February 19, 1887, there were no outstanding debts of or claims against said corporation, so far as appears to the court from the evidence herein. "

"7. That at the time of the passage of the Act of Congress of February 19, 1887, the said corporation owned, held, and possessed the following real estate in said territory, to-wit."

The items of real estate were then enumerated, being substantially the same as those specified in the petition of George Romney and others, before referred to, with the addition of the valuation of each item or piece of property, the Temple Block being valued at $500,000, the Guardo House and grounds at $50,000; the Historian's Office and grounds at $20,000; the Tithing Office and grounds, one portion at $50,000, and the other at $25,000; the Church farm at $110,000, and the seventh item, known as "coal lands in Summit County," valued at $30,000.

The court further found as follows:

"The legal title to the real estate, first above described, known as the 'Temple Block,' at the time said Act of February 19, 1887, went into effect, was in John Taylor, as trustee in trust for the said corporation, which said trustee in trust subsequently, and on the 30th day of June, 1887, attempted to convey the same to William B. Preston, Robert T. Burton, and John R. Winder, as trustees, by a certain instrument in writing, in the words and figures following, to-wit:"

" This indenture, made on this thirtieth day of June, in the

Page 136 U. S. 22

year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty-seven, by and between John Taylor, trustee in trust of that certain body of religious worshipers called and known as the 'Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,' party of the first part, and William B. Preston, presiding bishop of said church, and his two counselors, Robert T. Burton and John R. Winder, parties of the second part."

The indenture then recites the appointment of the parties of the second part, by Probate Court of Salt Lake County, as trustees to hold certain real property of the said church located in Salt Lake City, under and in pursuance of the twenty-sixth section of the Act of March 3, 1887, and purports on the part of Taylor, the party of the first part, in consideration of one dollar to convey to the parties of the second part, and their successors duly appointed, upon trust, the property referred to, being all of block 87, in plat A, Salt Lake City survey, for the use, benefit, and behoof of that body of religious worshipers known and called the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints," and for such use as said church or its authorities should dictate and appoint, with provision for the devolution of the property in case of failure of the trustees.

The court further found as follows:

"The said Temple Block was taken possession of by the agents of the said Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, then existing as a voluntary unincorporated religious sect, when Salt Lake City was first laid out and surveyed, in 1848, and since said date has been in possession of said church as a voluntary religious sect until it became incorporated as aforesaid, and then as a corporation; that at the time the same was taken possession of as aforesaid, it was a part of the public domain, and continued to be such until said land was entered by the mayor of said city, along with other lands, on the 21st day of November, 1871, under the townsite act of Congress entitled 'An act for the relief of cities and towns upon the public lands,' approved March 2, 1867; that on the 1st day of June, 1872, the same was conveyed by the Mayor of said Salt Lake City to the trustee in trust of said corporation, in whom the title remained until the Act of Congress of February 19, 1887, took effect. "

Page 136 U. S. 23

"The facts in regard to the possession and acquisition of the balance of said real estate above described, are as follows: the second property, above described and known as the 'Guardo House' and grounds, was owned by Brigham Young individually at the time of his death in 1877, and was thereafter transferred and conveyed by his executors to John Taylor, as trustee in trust for the corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, for a valuable consideration, pursuant to the powers in them vested by the will of the said Brigham Young; that subsequently, on the 24th day of April, 1878, the said John Taylor, as trustee in trust, transferred and conveyed the same to Theodore McKean on a secret trust for said corporation, who held the same upon said trust until the second day of July, 1887, when he attempted to convey the same to William B. Preston and Robert T. Burton and John R. Winder, trustees, by a certain instrument in writing, of which the following is a copy."

The deed is then set out in the findings, and is altogether similar to that executed by John Taylor to Preston, Burton, and Winder, before recited. The court further found a follows:

"That said Guardo House and grounds were used and occupied by said John Taylor, president of said church, from 1878 up to the time of his death as a residence. The third property above described, known as the 'Historian's Office' and grounds, was taken possession of by Albert T. Rockwood in 1848, and was a part of the public domain, and continued to be such up to the 21st day of November, 1871, when the townsite of Salt Lake City was entered as aforesaid; that on the 3d day of October, 1855, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, through its trustee in trust, Brigham Young, purchased the said Rockwood's claim to said premises, and at its own cost and expense erected thereon the building which has ever since been known as the 'Historian's Office' and residence; that said building was large enough to accommodate the historian's family, and furnish an office for the church historian; that from the year 1848 until the time of his death in 1875, George A. Smith was the historian of

Page 136 U. S. 24

said church, and lived in said building with his family, and had the custody of the books, papers, and records, of said church relating to its history or public acts of its officers and members; that the same have always been kept in said building from the time of its construction until the present time, at the cost of said church, and that such office is and has been necessary for the use of said historian in the discharge of his duties; that in 1872 the said George A. Smith obtained the title to said premises from the Mayor of Salt Lake City under the townsite act, and that after his death, the same was conveyed to his wife and one of his granddaughters, who afterwards transferred and conveyed the same to Theodore McKean for a valuable consideration; that the said Theodore McKean has ever since that date held, and now holds, the same on a secret trust for the use and benefit of said corporation; that said grounds are immediately west of and adjoining the Guardo House grounds."

"The fourth property above described, known as part of the 'Tithing Office' and grounds, was taken possession of by the agents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints when Salt Lake City was first laid out and surveyed in 1848, and ever since that time has been used and occupied by said church as a voluntary sect until it became incorporated as aforesaid, and then as a corporation, receiving and disbursing tithing and voluntary contributions of property, and that prior to July 1, 1862, buildings and other improvements of considerable value had been built thereon by said church; that at the time said property was taken possession of as aforesaid, it was a part of the public domain, and continued to be such until the 21st day of November, 1871, when said land was entered as aforesaid along with other lands under said townsite act by the Mayor of Salt Lake City; that Brigham Young, who was then president and trustee in trust of said corporation, claimed said land under said townsite law, and it was conveyed to him by Daniel H. Wells, Mayor of Salt Lake City; that in November, 1873, Brigham Young transferred and conveyed said property to George A. Smith, as the trustee in trust of the corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and his successor in office; that on the death of said George A. Smith,

Page 136 U. S. 25

the legal title in said premises vested in Brigham Young as such successor, and the executors of said Brigham Young transferred and conveyed said property to John Taylor, as the trustee in trust of said corporation, who, in April, 1878, transferred and conveyed the same to Edward Hunter upon a secret trust for the use and benefit of said corporation; that said Edward Hunter afterwards, to-wit, on the 24th day of April, 1878, transferred and conveyed the same to Robert T. Burton on a secret trust for said corporation, and on the second day of July, 1887, the said Robert T. Burton attempted to convey the same to William B. Preston, John R. Winder, and himself as trustees by a certain instrument in writing, in the words and figures following, to-wit."

The deed here copied is similar to the previous deeds before recited.

The court further found as follows:

"The fifth piece of property above described, known as a part of the 'Tithing Office' and grounds, was possessed, acquired, and owned as follows:"

"In the year 1848, Newell K. Whitney, then Presiding Bishop of said Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, took possession of lot five, block eighty-eight, plat A, Salt Lake City survey, and in the same year Horace K. Whitney took possession of lot six, in said block; that sometime in the year 1856, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by its agents, took possession of the south half of said lots, and placed thereon yards and corrals, and have continued to occupy the same, with said yards and corrals, down to this period; that in the year 1870, the Mayor of Salt Lake City entered the townsite of Salt Lake City, in trust for the inhabitants and occupants thereof, under the laws of 1867; that the foregoing lots are a portion of said entry."

"That said Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, by its trustee, Brigham Young, filed an application in the proper court for a title to the south half of said lots, and the heirs of Newell K. Whitney also filed an application in the proper court for the south half of lot five, and Horace K. Whitney filed an application in the same court for the south half of lot

Page 136 U. S. 26

six. The court awarded the title to the said premises to Brigham Young, as trustee as aforesaid."

"That afterwards, in the year 1872, Brigham Young, trustee, obtained a deed from the heirs of Newell K. Whitney to said south half of lot five, and in consideration thereof paid them seven thousand dollars, and at the same time the said Brigham Young, trustee, obtained a deed from Horace K. Whitney of lot six, and paid him therefor the sum of two thousand dollars."

"At the time the Act of Congress of February 19, 1887, took effect, the legal title thereto was held by Robert T. Burton on a secret trust for the use and benefit of said corporation; that on the second day of July, 1887, the said Robert T. Burton attempted to convey the same to William B. Preston, John R. Widner, and himself, as trustees, by that certain instrument of writing hereinbefore last set out."

"The remainder of said real estate held, owned, and possessed by said corporation as aforesaid was acquired by it after the 1st day of July, 1862, by purchase, but the legal title thereof was at all times held by persons in trust for said corporation upon secret trusts, and not by the corporation itself. That at the time the said Act of Congress of February 19, 1887, took effect, said corporation owned, held, and possessed the following described personal property, to-wit."

The items of personal property are then set out, being the same as in the petition of Romney and others, before referred to.

The court further found as follows:

"That the said corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was in its nature and by its statute of incorporation a religious and charitable corporation for the purpose of promulgating, spreading, and upholding the principles, practices, teachings, and tenets of said church, and for the purpose of dispensing charity, subject and according to said principles, practices, teachings, and tenets, and that from the time of the organization of said corporation up to the time of the passage of said act of February the 19, 1887, it never had any other corporate objects, purposes, and authority; never

Page 136 U. S. 27

had any capital stock or stockholders, nor have there ever been any natural persons who were authorized under its act and charter of incorporation to take or hold any personal property or estate of said corporation, except the trustees provided for by said statute of incorporation."

"That the said personal property hereinbefore set out had been accumulated by said late corporation prior to the passage of said Act of February 19, 1887, and that such accumulation extended over a period of twenty years or more. That prior to and at the time of the passage of said act, the said personal property had been used for and devoted to the promulgation, spread, and maintenance of the doctrines, teachings, tenets, and practices of the said Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the doctrine of polygamy or plurality of wives was one of the said doctrines, teachings, tenets, and practices of the said late church corporation, but only a portion of the members of said corporation, not exceeding twenty percent of the marriageable members, male and female, were engaged in the actual practice of polygamy. That since the passage of the said Act of Congress of February 19, 1887, the said voluntary religious sect known as the 'Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' has comprised the great body of individuals who formerly composed the membership of said corporation, and the organization, general government, doctrines, and tenets of said voluntary religious sect have been and now are substantially the same as those of the late corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."

"That certain of the officers of said religious sect, regularly ordained, and certain public preachers and teachers of said religious sect, who are in good standing and who are preachers and teachers concerning the doctrines and tenets of said sect, have, since the passage of said Act of Congress of February 19, 1887, promulgated, taught, spread, and upheld the same doctrines, tenets, and practices, including the doctrine of polygamy, as were formerly promulgated, taught, and upheld by the said late corporation, and the said teachings of the said officers, preachers, and teachers have not been repudiated or dissented from by said voluntary religious sect, nor have their

Page 136 U. S. 28

teachings and preachings or their actions created any division or schism in said voluntary religious sect."

"That any dedication or setting aside of any of the personal property hereinbefore set out as having belonged to the late corporation, to the uses and purposes of or in trust for the members of the late corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or any of them, would practically and in effect be a dedication and setting aside of said personal property to the uses and for the purposes of, and in trust for, the unincorporated religious sect known as the 'Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.'"

"That at the commencement of this suit, all of said personal property was in the possession of the said William B. Preston, who held it in trust and for the benefit of said corporation."

"That all of the above-described property, real and personal, is now in the possession of Frank H. Dyer, receiver of this court."

"That of the above-described real estate the following tract, including the buildings thereon, situated in said County of Salt Lake, Territory of Utah, and being all of block eighty-seven (87), in plat A, Salt Lake City survey at the time of the passage of the Act of Congress of February 19, 1887, was used exclusively for the worship of God according to the doctrines and tenets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."

"That several proceedings have been instituted by and with the consent and advice of this court by information, on behalf of the United States of America, in the Third District Court of said Territory of Utah, for the purpose of having declared and adjudged forfeited and escheated to the government of the United States all of the above-described real estate, excepting the said block eighty-seven of plat A, Salt Lake City survey, last above mentioned, by virtue of the said act of Congress entitled 'An act to amend section 5352 of the Revised Statutes of the United States in reference to bigamy, and for other purposes,' which proceedings are now pending in said court and undetermined."

Upon this finding of facts, the court adjudged and decreed as follows, to-wit:

Page 136 U. S. 29

"That on the 3d day of March, 1887, the corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints became, and the same was, dissolved, and that since said date it has had no legal corporate existence."

"2d. It is furthermore adjudged and decreed that the following alleged deeds, hereinbefore set out, were executed without authority, and that no estate in the property set out in said deeds passed by the same or any of them, to-wit: the deed dated June 30, 1887, from John Taylor, trustee in trust, to William B. Preston, Robert T. Burton, and John R. Winder, as trustees for the property described as the 'Temple Block.' The deed dated July 2, 1887, from Theodore McKean and wife to William B. Preston, Robert T. Burton, and John R. Winder, as trustees, for property known as the 'Guardo House' and grounds. The deed dated July 2, 1887, from Robert T. Burton and wife to William B. Preston, Robert T. Burton, and John R. Winder, as trustees, for the property described as the 'Tithing House' and grounds."

"And it is therefore ordered and decreed that said alleged deeds, and each of them, be, and the same are hereby, annulled, cancelled, and set aside."

"3d. It is further adjudged and decreed that the following-described real estate, to-wit, all of block eighty-seven, in plat A, Salt Lake City survey, in the City and County of Salt Lake, Territory of Utah, be, and the same is hereby, set apart to the voluntary religious worshipers and unincorporated sect and body known as the 'Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,' and that the said William B. Preston, Robert T. Burton, and John R. Winder, trustees appointed by the Probate Court of Salt Lake County, as hereinbefore set out, do hold, manage, and control said property so set aside for the benefit of said voluntary religious worshipers and unincorporated sect and body, and for the erection and use by them of houses of worship and for their use and convenience, in the lawful exercise of worship according to the tenets of said sect and body, and it is ordered that Frank H. Dyer, receiver of this court, heretofore appointed, do surrender and deliver possession and control of all of the property so set aside to the trustees,

Page 136 U. S. 30

William B. Preston, Robert T. Burton, and John R. Winder, aforesaid."

"4th. It is furthermore adjudged and decreed that except as to the Temple Block aforesaid, the petitions of William B. Preston, Robert T. Burton, and John R. Winder, trustees, filed the 6th day of October, 1888, in this court, for the setting aside of certain real estate for the uses and purposes of the religious sect known as the 'Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,' be, and the same are hereby, denied, and it is adjudged and decreed that the balance of the real estate over and above said Temple Block, which has been hereinbefore found as belonging to the said late corporation, has not, nor has any of it, ever been used, as buildings or ground appurtenant thereunto, for the purposes of the worship of God, or of parsonages connected therewith, or for burial grounds by the said late corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, nor is the said real estate, except as set aside, or any part thereof, necessary for such purposes for the unincorporated religious sect known as the 'Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.'"

"5th. It is furthermore adjudged and decreed that all of the real estate set out in the findings of fact hereinbefore was the property of and belonged to the late corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the same was held in trust for said corporation, and furthermore that the legal titles of and estates in said real estate, and every part and parcel thereof, were acquired by said late corporation and its trustees subsequently to July 1, 1862, and that prior to said date neither the said corporation nor its trustees had any legal title or estate in and to said real estate, or any part thereof."

"6th. And it is further adjudged and decreed that the petition of intervention by George Romney, Henry Dinwoody, James Watson, and John Clark, on behalf of themselves and other members of the late corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, filed this day in this court, which said petition alleges the claim on behalf of the petitioners, and those for whom it is filed, in and to the real and personal property formerly belonging to said late corporation, and now

Page 136 U. S. 31

in the hands of the receiver of this court, be, and the same is hereby, denied, and it is adjudged and decreed that neither said intervenors nor those in whose behalf they filed said petition have any legal claim or title in and to said property, or any part thereof."

"7th. And the court does further adjudge and decree that, the late corporation of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints having become by law dissolved as aforesaid, there did not exist at its dissolution, and do not now exist, any trusts or purposes within the objects and purposes for which said personal property was originally acquired, as hereinbefore set out, whether said acquisition was by purchase or donation, to or for which said personalty, or any part thereof, could be used, or to which it could be dedicated, that were and are not in whole or in part opposed to public policy, good morals, and contrary to the laws of the United States, and furthermore that there do not exist any natural persons or any body, association, or corporation who are legally entitled to any portion of said personalty as successors in interest to said Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, nor have there been nor are there now any trusts of a definite and legal character upon which this Court, sitting as a court of chancery, can administer the personal property hereinbefore set out, and it is furthermore adjudged that all and entire the personal property set out in this decree as having belonged to said late corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has, by reason of the dissolution of said corporation as aforesaid, on account of the failure or illegality of the trusts to which it was dedicated at its acquisition, and for which it had been used by said late corporation and by operation of law, become escheated to and the property of the United States of America, subject to the costs and expenses of this proceeding and of the receivership by this Court instituted and ordered."

"8th. It is furthermore ordered and adjudged that there is not now, and has not been since the 3d day of March, 1887, any person legally authorized to take charge of, manage, preserve, and control the personal and real property hereinbefore set out, except the receiver heretofore appointed by this court,

Page 136 U. S. 32

and it is therefore ordered that the receivership hereinbefore established by this court is continued in full force and effect, and that the said receiver shall continue to exercise all and entire the powers and authority conferred upon him by the decree appointing him, and it is further ordered that he do continue in his possession and keeping all of the property, real and personal, hereinbefore set out, except such reality as has been set apart by the provisions of this decree for the benefit of the unincorporated religious sect known as the 'Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,' and that he do safely keep, manage, and control the same in accordance with the provisions of the order of this court appointing him receiver, pending the determination of the proceeding upon information hereinbefore referred to, and until the further order of this court and final action upon and determination concerning the accounts, proceedings, and transactions of said receiver, and all matters connected with or incidental thereto, are ordered to be reserved for the future consideration and decision of this court."

From this decree the defendants appealed, and the intervenors, Romney and others, also took a separate appeal, and the case is now here for adjudication.

Page 136 U. S. 42

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