Matthias F. Cowley
|Matthias F. Cowley|
|Quorum of the Twelve Apostles|
|October 7, 1896– October 28, 1905|
|Called by||Wilford Woodruff|
|End reason||Removed from Quorum because of Cowley's opposition to church's stance on plural marriage|
|LDS Church Apostle|
|October 7, 1896– May 11, 1911|
|Called by||Wilford Woodruff|
|Reason||Removal of Moses Thatcher from Quorum of the Twelve; death of Abraham H. Cannon|
|End reason||Priesthood suspended because of Cowley's opposition to church's stance on plural marriage|
at end of term
|No apostles ordained|
|Born||Matthias Foss Cowley
August 25, 1858
Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, United States
|Died||June 16, 1940
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Matthias Foss Cowley (August 25, 1858 – June 16, 1940), born in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1897 until 1905. The town of Cowley in Wyoming is named after him. He was the father of Apostle Matthew Cowley by Abbie Hyde. His son Samuel P. Cowley, by his wife Luella Parkinson Cowley, was an FBI agent best known for his death at the hands of Lester "Baby Face Nelson" Gillis in 1934.
Calling to the Twelve
Matthias Cowley was ordained an Apostle on October 7, 1897. He replaced Moses Thatcher who was removed from the Quorum at the April 1896 General Conference. Cowley was widely noted in the church for his talks on doctrine.
Cowley resigned from the Quorum, at the request of church president Joseph F. Smith, on October 28, 1905 because his presence in the hierarchy undermined the church's position in the Reed Smoot hearings. Cowley was notorious for having widely performed marriages contravening the church's manifesto prohibiting new plural marriage. Apostle John W. Taylor had resigned for the same reason at the same time. In addition, with the death of Apostle Marriner W. Merrill in early February of the next year, there were three vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve. In the April General Conference of 1906, three new apostles were called to replace them: George F. Richards, Orson F. Whitney, and David O. McKay.
After the Quorum
Reports of Cowley's continuing involvement in new plural marriages led to his priesthood being suspended by the church on May 11, 1911. (This rare and virtually unique disciplinary procedure was used for Cowley because his former fellow apostles in the Quorum of Twelve disagreed over whether to leave him undisciplined or to disfellowship or even excommunicate him.)
However, Cowley's name continued to be linked with plural marriage over the next several years. As late as the early 1920s, Cowley was meeting with excommunicated polygamists, the early Mormon fundamentalists beginning to coalesce at the Baldwin Radio Plant in Salt Lake City. But in the mid-1920s, Cowley broke all ties with the polygamous dissenters. His priesthood standing in the LDS Church was restored nearly twenty-five years after it had been taken - on April 3, 1936.
Cowley was never restored to his position in the Quorum of Twelve. On June 16, 1940, he died in his home in Salt Lake City, Utah from uremia resulting from kidney failure. He was buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery.
On October 11, 1945, his son Matthew Cowley was called to serve as an Apostle for the church.
- --- (1902). The Blood of the Prophets: Biographical sketches.
- --- (1902). Prophets and Patriarchs of the Church of Jesus of Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
- --- (1904). Cowley's talks on doctrine.
- --- (1909). Wilford Woodruff, Fourth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, History of His Life and Labors, as Recorded in His Daily Journals.
- --- (1963). Cowley & Whitney on Doctrine. Bookcraft. ASIN B0007HSATO.
- Abraham O. Woodruff and Cowley were ordained at the same time to fill two vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve.
- Cowley resigned from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on 1905-10-28; however, he remained an ordained apostle of the church until his priesthood was suspended in 1911.
- Since Cowley had been removed from the Quorum of the Twelve in 1905, the suspension of his priesthood occasioned no vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve.
- State of Utah Death Certificate
|The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles|
Abraham H. Cannon
|Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 7, 1897–October 28, 1905
Abraham O. Woodruff