BYU Management Society - Orange County Chapter

General Thomas L. Kane and Brigadier General Alexander W. Doniphan Defenders of Religious Freedom By Jeffrey Shields

June 20, 2018

   Although General Thomas L. Kane was a Presbyterian himself, he was nonetheless a powerful advocate for the religious freedom of the Latter-day Saints during their pioneer days. For example, Gen. Kane helped persuade Pres. Polk to form the Mormon Battalion, he helped obtain U.S. government permission for Mormon refugees to occupy lands along the Missouri River in Iowa when they had nowhere else to go, he gave an important speech and positive recommendations about the Utah Mormons to Pres. Fillmore and others in the East, including defending Brigham Young’s reputation, and he helped mediate resolution of the Utah War by traveling 3,000+ miles via Panama to Salt Lake City to help broker the end of the hostilities. Likewise, although Brigadier General Alexander W. Doniphan was not a Mormon, he literally risked his own life in the defense of the religious freedom of others. Notably, at the risk of being court martialed and potentially executed himself, Gen. Doniphan refused to obey an illegal direct order from his senior commander, Major General Lucas, to shoot both Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum Smith. In other circumstances as well, Gen. Doniphan, ever a supporter of religious freedom, used the legal and legislative system and his personal influence to stand up for the rights of persons of other faiths.


   Presented by:   Jeffrey Shields is the principal of Shields Law Offices, which was founded in 1997. He practices business litigation exclusively, resolving both international and domestic disputes, and is AV rated by MartindaleHubbell. He has represented a wide variety of commercial clients in federal, state and bankruptcy courts, and has been acting as the lead attorney in trials and arbitrations for over 30 years. He is a member of the State Bar of California, and currently serves as an Advisor Emeritus to its International Law Section. He currently serves on the International Board of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, and is also the former Chair of its Religious Freedom Subcommittee. Jeffrey speaks fluent Japanese, and previously worked from 1989-1990 in Tokyo, Japan, where he was a Foreign Certified Attorney (Gaikokuho-Jimu-Bengoshi). Among other memberships, he is currently a member of the International Bar Association, the Inter-Pacific Bar Association, and the Business Litigation and International Sections of the Orange County Bar Association.