Ezra Taft Benson, 2 Dec 1971

-- 2 Dec 1971
Marvin J. Ashton is ordained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. (1)


-- April 1972
Elder Benson preached 'This most correct book on earth states that the downfall of two great American civilizations came as a result of secret conspiracies whose desire was to overthrow the freedom of the people." "And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking," says Moroni, "and also the destruction of the people of Nephi." (Eth. 8:21.) Now undoubtedly Moroni could have pointed out many factors undoubtedly Moroni could have pointed out many factors that led to the destruction of the people, but notice how he singled out the secret combinations, just as the Church today could point out many threats to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God's work, but it has singled out the greatest threat as the great conspiracy. There is no conspiracy theory in the Book of Mormon –it is a conspiracy fact. And along this line I would highly recommend to you the book None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen."'

Note: Book recommendation added during talk upon discovering a Russian delegation in attendance. Allen was a member of the Birch Society. (2)


-- 14 Apr 1972
Benson's [conference advice to purchase 'None Dare Call It Conspiracy'] appeared in the report of his conference address by the Mormon-Birch Utah Independent, but the First Presidency deleted that recommendation from the official report of Benson's sermon. (3)


-- May 13,1972
May Presidency letter that "fluoridation of public water supplies to prevent tooth decay" is one of the "non-moral issues" that Mormons should vote on "according to their honest convictions." John Birch Society, which Apostle Ezra Taft Benson and many other Mormons support, is condemning fluoridation as a Communist "plot." (4)


-- 30 Jun 1972
The Mormon-Birch Utah Independent announced Benson's addresses at Boston ... where all the other speakers were either staff members of the Birch Society's American Opinion or long-time authors of its articles. (5)


-- 2 Jul 1972
Joseph Fielding Smith dies. (6)


-- 7 Jul 1972
The First Presidency is reorganized, with Harold B. Lee President, N. Eldon Tanner First Counselor, and Marion G. Romney Second Counselor. Spencer W. Kimball becomes President of the Quorum. (6)


-- August 1, 1972
Benson promotes Skousen's "The Naked Capitalist," "The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil" by Verlan Anderson and "None Dare Call it Conspiracy." [Ezra Taft Benson to Elder Bremer, August 1, 1972, Council of Twelve letterhead (7)


-- 12 Oct 1972
Bruce R. McConkie ordained. (6)


-- November 14, 1972
Benson notes "There have always been shades-of-gray members, down to the blackest Judas." He also promotes the book "None Dare Call it Conspiracy," and says the book "Prophets Principles and National Survial" shows "where the Prophets stand regarding freedom." (8)


-- 01 May 1973
Elder Ezra Taft Benson, Brigham Young University President Dallin H. Oaks, and newly appointed dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Rex E. Lee, participate in the groundbreaking ceremonies for the law school.


-- Between July 1972 and Dec 1973
While Harold B. Lee was in the presidency, he evidently even gave an embarrassing rebuke to Apostle Benson during a meeting of general authorities in the Salt Lake Temple. As reported by Henry D. Taylor, an Assistant to the Twelve, individual apostles were delivering formal presentations on various subjects to the assistants. Benson's assigned topic was the church's youth program, but he began presenting charts and quotes to show Communist influence in America and the need to teach anti- Communism to Mormon youth. Lee walked out while Benson was speaking, soon followed by the other apostles. Taylor and the other Assistants to the Twelve were the only ones who remained seated during Benson's presentation. (9)

Endnotes:
1 - Wikipedia, 20th Century (Mormonism), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20th_century_(Mormonism)
2 - Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, April 1972
3 - Benson, "Civic Standards for the Faithful Saints," Utah Independent, 14 Apr. 1972, 4; compare with censored version in Deseret News "Church News," 8 Apr. 1972, 12, and Ensign 2 (July 1972): 59-61. These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
4 - Quinn, D. Michael, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, Appendix 5, Selected Chronology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1848-1996, http://amzn.to/extensions-power
5 - "Benson Is Guest of Honor," Utah Independent, 30 June 1972, 8 -- as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
6 - Wikipedia, Chronology of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (LDS Church), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_the_Quorum_of_the_Twelve_Apostles_(LDS_Church)
7 - Ezra Taft Benson (provided by Joe Geisner)
8 - Ezra Taft Benson to Brother Anderberg, November 14, 1972, Council of Twelve letterhead (provided by Joe Geisner)
9 - Statement of Henry D. Taylor to his friend Mark K. Allen as reported in Allen interview, 3 May 1984, by Alison Bethke Gayek -- as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3

LDS History Chronology: Ezra Taft Benson

Mormon History Timeline: the life of Ezra Taft Benson
http://lds-church-history.blogspot.com/

Ezra Taft Benson, 9 Apr 1970

-- 9 Apr 1970
The newspaper published by Mormon members of the Birch Society was significant for what lay between the lines of its report of April 1970 conference. The Utah Independent began with the comment that church members will remember this general conference "for decades to come" and noted: "Despite persistent rumors to the contrary, no violence took place at the conference. No opposition was manifest by Church members when the names of general authorities were presented for sustaining." Of Lee's talk two days before this vote, the Utah Independent observed: "Special interest has centered around the talk given by President Harold B. Lee at the Saturday evening general priesthood session," and quoted excerpts. However, this Mormon-Birch newspaper made no reference to the part of Lee's talk which referred to the ultra-conservative proposal to vote against "the First Presidency with its social-democrat thinking," and to substitute Benson as new church president.

Not long afterward, the author of this article lost his job in the LDS Publications Department. His supervisor had told him that it was "inappropriate" for him to be a member of the John Birch Society and an editor of the ultra-conservative Utah Independent. When informed of this incident by the state coordinator of the Birch Society, Apostle Benson said he could do nothing to remedy it. (1)


-- 09 Apr 1970
Boyd K. Packer is ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, replacing John A. Widtsoe, who had passed away.


-- 9 Jul 1970
The Mormon-Birch Utah Independent announced Benson's addresses at Boston ... where all the other speakers were either staff members of the Birch Society's American Opinion or long-time authors of its articles. (2)


-- October 1970
Benson states members should avoid false theories from men like Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, Karl Marx, John Keynes, and others. (3)


-- 10 Dec. 1970
Benson referred to the John Birch Society founder Robert H. Welch affectionately as "Dear Bob." (4)


-- 1971
Church membership reached 3 million. (5)


Skousen ... organized the Freemen Institute which initially attracted Mormon members of the Birch Society. Skousen named the organization after the Book of Mormon's "freemen." (6)


-- 1971, January
New Church magazines, Ensign, New Era, and Friend commenced publication. (5)


-- 13 Apr 1971
BYU's president complained to Benson in April 1971 about not being able to establish "a chapter of the John Birch Society on our campus." (7)


-- 4 May 1971
Wilkinson lamented to Benson that McKay's earlier instructions had blocked any attempts to establish a chapter of the John Birch Society at BYU: "I would personally like to have one at BYU, and I am seeing what I can do, but my lieutenants insist I would be violating the letter that President McKay sent us [during the Midgley/John Birch episode] sometime ago if I did." (8)


-- 26 Aug 1971
During church's first area conference in Manchester, England, there is formal meeting of joint council of First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve Apostles. This is first such council meeting outside United States in Mormon history. (9)


-- 1 Nov 1971
Richard L. Evans dies. (10)

Endnotes:
1 - Byron Cannon Anderson, "LDS General Conference Sustains Pres. Smith," Utah Independent, 9 Apr. 1970, 1, 4. Mormon Birchers had edited this newspaper since its founding in 1970; Byron Cannon Anderson interview, 18 Jan. 1993. These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
2 - "Benson, Skousen Speak at New England Rally," Utah Independent, 9 July 1970,1 -- as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
3 - Wikipedia: "Ezra Taft Benson"
4 - "Dear Bob" letter, 10 Dec. 1970, Welch papers, archives, Birch Society -- as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
5 - Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Daniel H. Ludlow (editor), New York: Macmillan, 1992, Appendix 2: A Chronology of Church History
6 - D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
7 - Wilkinson to Benson, 13 Apr. 1971, also follow-up letter of 4 May 1971, Wilkinson Papers -- as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
8 - Ernest L. Wilkinson to Ezra Taft Benson as referenced in Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Write, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press (2005)
9 - On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com
10 - Wikipedia, Chronology of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (LDS Church), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_the_Quorum_of_the_Twelve_Apostles_(LDS_Church)

LDS History Chronology: Ezra Taft Benson

Mormon History Timeline: the life of Ezra Taft Benson
http://lds-church-history.blogspot.com/

Ezra Taft Benson, circa 1962-1970

-- circa 1962-1970
[Hugh B.] Brown's grandson and biographer notes:

As President McKay became increasingly impaired by age, some church functionaries, with allegiances to the radical political right, tried to influence the president in ways that Grandfather [Hugh B. Brown], President [N. Eldon] Tanner, and Elder Harold B. Lee thought unwise and improper. These three men--Grandfather in particular--were often but not always successful in blocking those efforts to influence church policy. (1)


-- 18 Jan 1970
[Quorum of the Twelve] David O. McKay dies. (2)


-- January 1970
Ezra Taft Benson's political activism went into decline in the years following McKay's death in January 1970. His successors as church president were two apostles who had privately and publicly expressed their criticism of Benson. Presidents Joseph Fielding Smith and Harold B. Lee severely restricted Apostle Benson's political activism from 1970 through 1973. (3)


-- 23 Jan 1970
[Quorum of the Twelve] The First Presidency is reorganized, with Joseph Fielding Smith President, Harold B. Lee First Counselor, and N. Eldon Tanner Second Counselor. Harold B. Lee becomes President of the Quorum, with Spencer W. Kimball Acting President of the Quorum. (2)


-- 4 Mar 1970
[Some] ultra- conservative Mormons ... were outraged by the First Presidency's official condemnation of Mormons who had formed "Neighborhood Emergency Teams" in Utah. Apostle Benson announced that he had "no comment" about this March 1970 Presidency statement. (4)


-- 13 Mar 1970
President Hugh B. Brown of the First Presidency and Elders Ezra Taft Benson and Gordon B. Hinckley conduct the dedication of the Mormon Pavilion at the World's Fair in Osaka, Japan. Some 6.65 million people attend the pavilion in the first six months of the fair.


-- 4 Apr 1970
Shortly after the presidency's statement against the ultra- conservative NET organizations, all local LDS leaders received an announcement which began: "There are dangerous sinister trends developing within the church due to the liberal factions gaining control." The announcement urged all "those of the conservative mind" to "cast a dissenting vote against the liberal factions" of "the First Presidency with its social-democrat thinking" on 6 April 1970. This would remove from office the new presidency of Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, and N. Eldon Tanner, all of whom were known as opponents of Benson's ultra-conservative activism. In their place, this proposal claimed that "Brother Benson will sound the trumpet and thousands, yes tens of thousands, will heed his call and stand forth ready to sustain and support the fight for truth, right and liberty." Thus a general conference vote of Mormon ultra-conservatives would propel Benson into the office of LDS church president in place of the current president and ahead of other senior apostles.

Rather than dismissing this document as the work of a lone crank and giving it no further attention, Counselor Harold B. Lee publicly denounced it two days before the sustaining vote of April 1970 conference. He told the general priesthood meeting that "there is one vicious story to the effect that one of our General Authorities is allegedly being urged to present himself to lead the Church contrary to the Lord's revelation and to make people think there is some division among the authorities of the Church." Lee indicated that this petition and its supporting documents "are finding their way into our Relief Society meetings, into priesthood quorums, firesides, institutes, and seminaries." That was an extraordinary acknowledgement by Lee of the threat to the LDS church he perceived from ultra-conservative Mormons. (5)


-- 6 Apr 1970
Rank-and-file Mormons noted that for the first time "in many years," Benson gave "his first non-political sermon" ... They regarded this non-partisan talk as a result of specific instructions the apostle had received from the First Presidency. (6)


"Despite continued threats of demonstrations," Harold B. Lee's biography observes, "not a single hand was raised in opposition" to the First Presidency on 6 April 1970. After the vote, Lee spoke against "the possibility of using political devices or revolutionary methods that could cause much confusion and frustration in the work of the Lord." The official photograph showing the Twelve's vote for the current First Presidency showed only three apostles, and the photograph centered on Ezra Taft Benson. (7)

Endnotes:
1 - Firmage, An Abundant Life: The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown, 142 -- as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
2 - Wikipedia, Chronology of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (LDS Church), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_the_Quorum_of_the_Twelve_Apostles_(LDS_Church)
3 - However, it did not cease altogether. The Mormon-Birch Utah Independent announced Benson's addresses at Boston rallies in 1970 and 1972, where all the other speakers were either staff members of the Birch Society's American Opinion or long-time authors of its articles. See "Benson, Skousen Speak at New England Rally," Utah Independent, 9 July 1970,1, and "Benson Is Guest of Honor," Utah Independent, 30 June 1972, 8, and compare to table of contents pages of previous issues of American Opinion, also the list of the Birch Society's national council in "The John Birch Society: A Report," Advertising Supplement to Los Angeles Times, 27 Sept. 1964, 7 -- as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
4 - "Shun Vigilante Groups, LDS Urges Members," Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Mar. 1970, B-l -- as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
5 - "TO ALL STAKE PRESIDENTS INTERESTED IN TRUTH AND LIBERTY THIS CALL IS MADE," photocopy of typed document, undated, in folder 22, box 5, Buerger Papers, with signed copies by J. Wilson Bartlett in MS 2461, LDS archives, and in folder 3, box 124, Hinckley Papers; Lee, "To the Defenders of the Faith," 4 Apr. 1970, Improvement Era 73 (June 1970): 64. These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
6 - Buchanan diary, 21 July 1970; Ezra Taft Benson, "A World Message," Improvement Era 73 (June 1970): 95-97, whose only political reference was prophetic: "The time must surely come when the Iron Curtain will be melted down and the Bamboo Curtain shattered." From D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) also in Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
7 - Goates, Harold B. Lee, 414; Lee, "The Day in Which We Live," and photograph of "Council of the Twelve" vote in "The Solemn Assembly," Improvement Era 73 (June 1970): 28,20. These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3

LDS History Chronology: Ezra Taft Benson

Mormon History Timeline: the life of Ezra Taft Benson
http://lds-church-history.blogspot.com/

Ezra Taft Benson, February 1969

-- February 1969
In February 1969, W. Cleon Skousen instructed his niece to recruit BYU students as spies. As a student herself, she claimed that her uncle "had discovered there was an active communist cell on campus whose goal it was to destroy this university by 1970." She asked one student to infiltrate BYU's Young Democrats on Skousen's behalf. Anti-Birch professor Louis Midgley was also among the BYU faculty who "were `high on the list' of suspects as being communist sympathizers on this campus and her words were that I was to `talk with them and to try to get them to commit themselves.'" Cleon Skousen gave the information "to his `superior' in Salt Lake City." (1)


-- February 12, 1969
[David O. McKay] I asked what conclusion the brethren had reached regarding the matter. President Tanner said the same conclusion that was arrived at about two years ago, that Elder Benson should discontinue this kind of thing [political extremism], and particularly in stake conferences, and should limit himself to talking about the gospel and its applications. President Tanner said that he thought I made as clear a statement on the subject as he had heard made in the meeting of the Council of the First Presidency and the Twelve at that time. I said that there is no reason why we should not continue that understanding. (2)


-- 11 Mar 1969
David Ben-Gurion, Israel's former prime minister, tells Apostle Ezra Taft Benson: "There are no people in the world who understand Jews like Mormons." Benson replies: "Mr. Ben-Gurion, there are no people in this world who understand the WORLD like the Mormons."


-- April 14, 1969
Dedicates Singapore for the preaching of the gospel. (3)


-- 1 May 1969
Apostle Ezra Taft Benson writes to LDS Hotel-magnate J. Willard Marriott, "The kindest thing that could be said about Martin Luther King is that he was an effective Communist tool. Personally, I think he was more than that."


-- 12 May 1969
Regarding an inflammatory speech at BYU by Benson in which he criticized U.S. Government officials and the United Nations, McKay authorized Hugh B. Brown to go to BYU and give a strong rebuttal, stating, "I did not think that any government officials should be accused of these things." (2)


-- 13 May 1969
Ernest Wilkinson: "If President McKay was vigorous enough to do it, I am sure he would call both of them in [Benson & Brown] and talk to them about this, and especially President Brown for his critical personal [a]llusions." (4)


-- 27 May 1969
Skousen's efforts at campus espionage in 1969 collapsed after a faculty member wrote a memo urging him "to give the lie to this rumor . . . that you have organized a `spy' ring to check on the alleged pro-Communist sympathies of professors."

Only one of these agent provocateurs, a political science major, confessed the espionage. This student stopped spying because he found no Communist sympathizers at BYU, and "I decided that I was involved in a questionable activity and that I should withdraw and cease to function as an agent in any way." (5)


-- 29 May 1969
[David O. McKay] N. Eldon Tanner inquired in May 1969 "if a man were an avowed communist, would our position be to excommunicate him or disqualify him for any position in the Church," McKay responded that he should not hold any church position, but allowed that he might remain a member of the church." (2)


-- October 26, 1969
Dedicates Indonesia for the preaching of the gospel. (3)


-- Dec 1969
Benson's October 1969 sermon warned the LDS general conference against "Communist conspiracy, fellow travelers, and dupes." Those remarks appeared in the official report of the conference. (6)


-- During 1969
President Hugh B. Brown proposes that the Church-s policy be reversed and that Blacks be given the Priesthood. This policy was approved by the Quorum of Twelve and the First Presidency with President McKay and Harold B. Lee absent. (President McKay was disabled due to age and President Lee was traveling on Church business.) When President Lee returned, he called for another vote and the measure was defeated this time. President Brown wrote about the issue: - "A serious problem that has confronted us, especially during the past few decades has been our denying the priesthood to the Negro. Personally, I doubt if we can maintain or sustain ourselves in the position we have adopted but which has no justification in the scriptures, as far as I know. The president says it can only come by revelation. If that is true, then change will come in due course. It seems to me that if we had admitted the Negro to the church as a full member, at the time of Joseph Smith, we would have had more trouble with the government than we then had. Holding ourselves aloof from that until after the Civil war gave us the opportunity to establish the church without that question coming to the front. It was, in other words, a policy, not necessarily a doctrine" (7)

Endnotes:
1 - Phares Woods statement, 27 May 1969,1-2, folder 16, Hillam Papers, and box 34, Buerger Papers. Daughter of Cleon Skousen's brother Ervin M., Cynthia Skousen was a first cousin of the 1966 student-spy, Mark A. Skousen. See Skousens In America, 86 -- as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
2 - David O. McKay diary as referenced in Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Write, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press (2005)
3 - Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc. (2014)
4 - Wilkinson diary, 13 May 1969 -- as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
5 - Undated, handwritten memo from "M. G. F." (poss. Merwin G. Fairbanks, director of student publications) to "Cleon Skousen," with copies to ELW (Ernest L. Wilkinson), RKT (Robert K. Thomas), BEL (Ben E. Lewis), RJS (Robert J. Smith), and "Dan Ludlow," folder 16, Hillam Papers; emphasis in original; Woods statement, 27 May 1969, 4; BYU Directory, 1968-69, s.v. "Phares Quincy Woods." From D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) also in Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
6 - Improvement Era 72 (Dec. 1969): 69 -- as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
7 - Crapo, Richley, Chronology Pertaining to Blacks and the LDS Priesthood; 1988. Edwin B. Firmate, editor. The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown. Salt Lake City: Signature Books. P. 129

LDS History Chronology: Ezra Taft Benson

Mormon History Timeline: the life of Ezra Taft Benson
http://lds-church-history.blogspot.com/

Ezra Taft Benson, June 24, 1968

-- June 24, 1968
[Ezra Taft Benson letter] ... "You will be interested to know that President McKay encouraged my son, Reed, to stay with the John Birch Society indicating it would be vindicated and become a powerful organization in the preservation of our freedom. ... (1)


-- 18 Oct 1968
After Benson described U.S. government "welfare-state programs" as a "Communist-planned program of deception" in his October 1968 conference talk, the Mormon director of a government welfare program complained to the First Presidency. Brown replied: "Others of us feel much the same as you do but the President has not seen fit to check or refute the statements by the person involved and our hands are therefore tied. Be assured, however, of this, that what this man said does not represent the position of the Church with respect to the subject of government aid, etc."

Counselor Brown concluded that Apostle Benson's "statements do not represent the position of the Church, but I am handicapped in that I cannot refute them because the President feels that each one should be free to express his own opinions. This seems to be unfortunate because, speaking from that pulpit and as one of the general authorities, each of us is supposed to represent the Church. There will be a change in this whole situation, we hope, before too long." (2)


-- October 24, 1968
[Minutes, First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve] Reference was made to questions that have been raised by presidents of stakes and mission presidents in Germany, the British Isles, etc., and also by the [Improvement] Era, regarding talks that have been given in conference by the brethren of the Authorities such as the one given by Brother Benson at the recent General Conference regarding the responsibilities we have to oppose socialism, etc. ... He explains that over half of the members of his stake in England vote socialist and that members of the stake presidency, high council and bishoprics support that cause, that there is therefore some confusion in regard to how they should accept these statements.

... President Tanner mentioned that during the past three years we have had questions and complaints about talks given in General Conference that seem to be offensive to the German people or the British people, or whoever it may be, by just building up the United States of America and referring to things that are going on here…. Elder [Harold B.] Lee mentioned that the overall problem we have constantly had in mind is to make our hearers conscious of the fact that we are a universal church, and that those things that go into our lessons must be applicable to the world; that when we set forth gospel principles this is very simple, but when we begin to relate it to governmental programs of this country and other countries we become involved in controversy…. Elder [Spencer W.] Kimball felt that in the General Authorities meeting, which is held in the temple two weeks before conference, the brethren might be reminded that their talks should be geared to the world. President Tanner said that he did not know that we could do any more this morning, but we should have in mind that it is a world church, and that when speaking in General Conference he thought we should be careful to tell people what we are trying to tell them regarding the gospel in a way that will not be offensive to other parts of the world. (3)


-- 24 Oct 1968
Apostle Ezra Taft Benson replies to a letter asking child rearing advice: "I wish my good wife, who has had major responsibility for the training of our children, could talk to you personally. You see, I have been away from home approximately half of our married life, occasioned by my Church service and employment." (4)


-- circa December 1968
[Hugh B. Brown] "There are some [General Authorities]—I won't put it in the plural even—who sustain the John Birch Society. Others of us do not. I don't think that that should be an issue, should not be a question involving one's standing in the Church whether they approve of that or not. I do think that in this case all members of the General Authorities should keep out of that discussion. I think the John Birch Society will run its course and finally be rejected. That's my own opinion." (5)


-- December 7, 1968
[Phone call, Benson to Clare Middlemiss] "Clare, President McKay has told me on various occasions that there are two things he regretted in his presidency: (1) the untimely decision, which was later changed, to move the college at Rexburg to Idaho Falls; and (2) the issuing of the statement in the public press against the John Birch Society. Now, in order to alleviate that feeling about the John Birch Society, I wonder, since they are celebrating their 10th Anniversary tonight at a meeting and banquet in Indianapolis, Indiana, if President McKay would send a telegram similar to the following: "John Birch Society, c/o Mr. Robert Welch, Stauffer Inn, Indianapolis, Indiana—Congratulations upon reaching ten years of courageous and effective service in defense of our freedom and acquainting the American people with the insidious dangers of the atheistic communistic conspiracy. Best wishes for future success in the fight to preserve our God-given liberties." McKay was in a meeting, and counselor Alvin R. Dyer vetoed the request. (6)


-- During 1968
Conservative third parties have enjoyed some success in Utah in the post-World War II period. In 1968 the American party was organized nationally to support the presidential candidacy of George Wallace. The former Alabama governor, whose request to have Apostle Ezra Taft Benson as his running mate was refused by LDS Church leaders, polled 26,980 votes in Utah. The American party remained a minor but vocal presence in the state's politics for another decade, frequently fielding candidates for congressional, state, and local offices. The party was sufficiently strong enough in Utah to attract the location of the national office for a time, but eventually was thwarted by the growing conservatism of Utah's Republican party. (7)


-- During 1969
Published Volume - An Enemy Hath Done This. BookcraftISBN 0-88494-184-1. (8)


Published Volume - Civil Rights, Tool of Communist Deception. Deseret Book (8)

Endnotes:
1 - Ezra Taft Benson to Mr. & Mrs. Gene Curtis, June 24, 1968 (provided by Joe Geisner)
2 - Brown to Philip D. Thorpe, director of the Community Action Program in Provo, Utah, 18 Oct. 1968, carbon copy in Campbell papers, with attached copy of Benson's October 1968 conference address, "The Proper Role of Government," Improvement Era 71 (Dec. 1968): 51-53, with underlined passage on page 53 -- as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
3 - Summarized in David O. McKay Papers; verbatim report in Clare Middlemiss, Minutes of a Meeting of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, "Notes" as referenced in Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Write, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press (2005)
4 - On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com
5 - Hugh B. Brown interview as referenced in Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Write, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press (2005)
6 - "Note by C.M. (Clare Middlemiss)", David O. McKay diary as referenced in Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Write, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press (2005)
7 - Utah History Encyclopedia: Third Parties in Utah, http://www.uen.org/utah_history_encyclopedia/
8 - Wikipedia: "Ezra Taft Benson"

LDS History Chronology: Ezra Taft Benson

Mormon History Timeline: the life of Ezra Taft Benson
http://lds-church-history.blogspot.com/

Ezra Taft Benson, February 15, 1968

-- February 15, 1968
Not until President McKay specifically instructed him to do so in February 1968 did Benson report to the Twelve about the behind-the-scenes efforts on behalf of his presidential candidacy. This was more than two years after he began exploring this possibility with McKay and with the national leaders of the Birch Society who headed "The 1976 Committee."

... He attended their weekly meetings without once mentioning the efforts being made to propel him out of quorum activity and into the White House. What the apostles learned about Benson's candidacy, they read in the newspapers. When he finally informed a quorum meeting of those efforts in February 1968, Benson made it clear he did so only upon McKay's insistence. That was the day after the church president had privately ended Benson's political hopes by confidentially reaffirming to George Wallace that the apostle was unavailable as his vice-presidential candidate. (1)


-- April 1968
"Our priceless heritage is threatened today as never before in our lifetime: from without by the forces of Godless Communism, and at home by our complacency and by the insidious forces of the Socialist-Communist conspiracy, with the help of those who would abandon the ancient landmarks set by our fathers and take us down the road to destruction. It was Alexander Hamilton who warned that 'nothing is more common than for a free people, in times of heat and violence, to gratify momentary passions, by letting into the government, principles and precedents which afterwards prove fatal to themselves.' (Alexander Hamilton and the Founding of the Nation, p. 462.)" (2)


-- 7 Apr 1968
[A] white man assassinated America's most famous black civil rights leader, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. In response to U.S. president Lyndon Johnson's designation of 7 April as a national day of mourning for Reverend King, Apostle Benson immediately prepared a statement for distribution which complained that "the Communists will use Mr. King's death for as much yardage as possible." Benson's hand-out continued that "Martin Luther King had been affiliated with at least the following officially recognized Communist fronts," and listed three organizations. Benson was simply repeating the Birch view of King.

Asked about this hand- out, Counselor Brown replied that Benson's "views do not coincide with the opinion of the majority of the General Authorities and we regret that they are sent out." The first counselor added: "However in President McKay's state of health we cannot get a retraction and must, I suppose, await a change in leadership before definite instructions can be given regulating such items of interest." (3)


-- 12 Apr 1968
Apostle Benson ... tried to make Cleon Skousen dean of the College of Social Sciences. (4)


-- 1 May 1968
[I]n his talk to BYU's devotional in May 1968 Benson accused the U.S. Supreme Court of treason. He added that "a prerequisite for appointment to high government office today is one's past affiliations with communist fronts or one's ability to follow the communist line." Benson's address to BYU students also quoted three times from the Birch Society's official magazine, including references to "black Marxists" and "the Communists and their Black Power fanatics."

In response, the father of one BYU student complained to the First Presidency that Benson had turned BYU's devotionals "into a sounding board for vicious, political interests."

First counselor Brown [wrote regarding Benson's 1 May BYU Devotional talk] "We have had many such letters protesting the speech made at the B.Y.U. recently and we are trying to offset and curtail such expressions." (5)


-- 11 May 1968
[Hugh B.] Brown ... delivered a BYU commencement address which was a direct attack on Benson's sermon there only ten days earlier. "Beware of those who feel obliged to prove their own patriotism by calling into question the loyalty of others," Brown began. Brown clearly indicated that he did not think Benson had "maturity of mind and emotion and a depth of spirit . . . to differ with others on matters of politics without calling into question the integrity of those with whom you differ". As clear response to Benson's quotes to BYU students about African- Americans from the Birch Society magazine, Brown concluded: "At a time when radicals of right or left would inflame race against race, avoid those who preach evil doctrines of racism." (6)


-- 29 May 1968
[Brown hoped] "a change in leadership" would end Benson's ultra-conservative crusade. (7)


-- 15 Jun 1968
Benson gains national respect as an "elder statesman." One of his 1968 talks on government was published by the influential periodical Vital Speeches of the Day. It was republished in an academic journal. (8)

Endnotes:
1 - Dew, Ezra Taft Benson, 397-98; The 1976 Committee, Vie Team You Can Trust To Guide America; Epstein and Forster, The Radical Right, 53-55, 142. These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
2 - Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, April 1968
3 - Ezra Taft Benson, "Re: Martin Luther King," 6 Apr. 1968; Hugh B. Brown to John W. Bennion, LDS bishop of the Elgin Ward, Chicago Stake, 29 May 1968. These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
4 - Ernest L. Wilkinson diary, 12 Apr. 1968; also Bergera and Priddis, Brigham Young University, 215. These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
5 - Benson, "The Book of Mormon Warns America," address at Brigham Young University devotional, 21 May 1968, transcript, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, Vertical File, Special Collections, Marriott Library, and transcript in Moss Papers also "Road to Anarchy: Benson Blisters Supreme Court," Ogden Standard-Examiner, 22 May 1968, A-ll; "Benson Warns on Commies in Talk at BYU Assembly," Provo Daily Herald, 22 May 1968, 24.; Robert O. Trottier to David O. McKay, 22 May 1968, with copies to Hugh B. Brown, N. Eldon Tanner, and Ezra Taft Benson, photocopy in Vertical File for Ezra Taft Benson, Special Collections, Marriott Library. ; Brown to Trottier, 24 May 1968, photocopy in Vertical File for Ezra Taft Benson, Special Collections, Marriott Library. These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
6 - Campbell and Poll, Hugh B. Brown, 259-60 -- as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
7 - Brown to Bennion, 29 May 1968 -- as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
8 - Benson, "The Proper Role of Government," Vital Speeches 24 (15 June 1968): 514-20, also reprinted in Agricultural Engineering 49 (Aug. 1968): 469-71 -- as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3

LDS History Chronology: Ezra Taft Benson

Mormon History Timeline: the life of Ezra Taft Benson
http://lds-church-history.blogspot.com/

Ezra Taft Benson, 11 May 1967

-- 11 May 1967
Counselor Brown informed a church member in May 1967 that "numerous others" had complained about Benson's continued association with [Billy James] Hargis and the apostle's implied endorsement of his segregationist views. The First Presidency "are taking it to the Twelve as soon as Brother Benson returns from Europe as we prefer to have him present when the matter is discussed." Brown gave the reassurance that Benson's "activities in this connection will be curtained [curtailed]." (1)


[Hugh B. Brown] "We did discuss your letter and numerous others like it on the same subject with the First Presidency and are taking it to the Twelve as soon as Brother Benson returns [from an assignment out of town] … and we prefer to have him present when the matter is discussed. I think you can be assured that something definite will be decided upon and activities in this connection will be curtailed." (2)


-- Sept 22, 1967
David O. McKay: after being asked by Benson for McKay's permission to address the subject of civil rights and communism, McKay recorded: "He briefly talked about the plight of the Negroes in this Civil Rights Issue, and how the Communists are using the Negroes to further their own schemes to foment trouble in the United States. He said that he would talk on this subject from the viewpoint of bringing peace in our country instead of uprisings of the Negroes in riots, etc. I told Brother Benson that under these circumstances, he may go ahead with his subject." (3)


-- 29 Sep 1967
The new administrative position of regional representative of the Twelve was announced, and the first 69 regional representatives were called and given their initial training. (4)


-- 1967, September 29
First Regional Representatives called, to begin January 1, 1968. (5)


-- 29 Sep 1967
At a meeting in the Salt Lake Tabernacle in September 1967 [Benson] said that "the so-called civil rights movement as it exists today is a Communist program for revolution in America." He repeated that assessment in his general conference talk the next month. (6)


-- 05 Oct 1967
Alvin R. Dyer is ordained an Apostle but is not placed in the Quorum of the Twelve. He acts as an additional Counselor in the First Presidency.


-- 1 Nov 1967
Benson's supporters began circulating petitions to place his name on the ballot for the upcoming national election. (7)


-- 1968
A survey of more than 700 Mormons showed that 58 percent regarded the Birch Society as "not supporting Declaration of Independence principles. (8)


-- 8 Feb 1968
Lacking sufficient support from the Republican leadership, Benson had negotiated to become the vice-presidential candidate in George C. Wallace's third-party challenge. Wallace formally announced his third party candidacy on 8 February, but as early as November a vice- president of the John Birch Society's "publishing and distribution arm" had resigned that position "to actively campaign for George Wallace." The Christian Science Monitor reported that Apostle Benson also supported Wallace. (9)


-- George C. Wallace to David O. McKay, 12 Feb. 1968, and David O. McKay to George C. Wallace, 14 Feb. 1968 -- as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
George Wallace formally writes LDS President David O. McKay for his "permission and blessings" and "a leave of absence" for Apostle Ezra Taft Benson to be Wallace's vice-presidential candidate. Benson had negotiated with Wallace to be his running mate on Wallace's third-party ticket. Two days later McKay sends a "confidential" letter to Wallace denying Benson's request and pointedly tells Wallace that "you no doubt have received word from Ezra Taft Benson as to my decision . . ." (10)


-- February 13, 1968
McKay to George Wallace: "Please be assured that my decision is not political in essence, but one that involves Mr. Benson's calling as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church." (3)

Endnotes:
1 - Brown to Burns S. Hanson, 11 May 1967, carbon copy cross-referenced to "Hargis, Billy James," in "Hugh B. Brown File on the John Birch Society." From D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) also in Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
2 - Hugh B. Brown to Burns S. Hanson, Firmage Papers, Box 48, fd. 21 as referenced in Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Write, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press (2005)
3 - David O. McKay diary as referenced in Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Write, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press (2005)
4 - Church News: Historical Chronology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, http://www.ldschurchnewsarchive.com/articles/58765/Historical-chronology-of-The-Church-of-Jesus-Christ-of-Latter-day-Saints.html
5 - Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Daniel H. Ludlow (editor), New York: Macmillan, 1992, Appendix 2: A Chronology of Church History
6 - Benson address, 29 Sept. 1967, in his Civil Rights: Tool of Communist Deception 3; "Mormon Leaders Heard By 25,000," New York Times, 2 Oct. 1967, 52; Improvement Era 70 (Dec. 1967): 35, softened Benson's restatement of his position about the civil rights movement. However that censored 1967 statement was almost identical to the Deseret News, 14 Dec. 1963, B-5, report of Benson's assessment of civil rights. These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
7 - "Group Acts to Draft Benson in '68 Race," Ogden Standard-Examiner, 1 Nov. 1967 -- as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
8 - in 1968; Afton Olson Miles, "Mormon Voting Behavior and Political Attitudes," Ph.D. diss., New York University, 1978, 164-65. Broken down by political affiliation, this anti-Birch view was shared by 86 percent of Mormon Democrats, 64 percent of Mormon independents, and 43 percent of Mormon Republicans. These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
9 - Willard S. Voit announcement, 17 Nov. 1967, in The John Birch Society Bulletin (Dec. 1967): 26-28; "Wallace In Race; Will 'Run To Win,'" New York Times, 9 Feb. 1968,1; "Benson Backs Wallace Stand," Christian Science Monitor, 13 Feb. 1968, 3, based on an undated interview with Benson by a reporter with Reuters news service. These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
10 - 12 Feb 1968

LDS History Chronology: Ezra Taft Benson

Mormon History Timeline: the life of Ezra Taft Benson
http://lds-church-history.blogspot.com/