Ezra Taft Benson, Apr 22, 2015

-- Apr 22, 2015
This ends the chronology of the life of Ezra Taft Benson.



Growing up in a 100% LDS farming community in South Eastern Idaho, Ezra Taft Benson learned to work hard, and was immersed in the religious ideals of his family, church and community. He proved to be a successful missionary in England under the leadership of two apostles (Orson Whitney followed by David O McKay). He took on leadership roles including one equivalent to that of a Stake President & zone leader. After his mission he continued his relationship with Flora Smith Amussen, and after she served a mission, they married and had six children. Her goal of having twelve children was cut short when she experienced serious health issues while her husband was away on a second mission in Europe.

Benson faithfully served in church callings and he was eventually called into the Quorum of the Twelve. In his lengthy journal entry for that day, he describes the "shock" he had the day he was called when visiting the Heber J. Grant home. To him, that day had the "greatest significance," as he describes staring into his eyes while holding Heber J. Grant's hands. He said it "seem[ed] like a dream."

When two other apostles expressed reservations about going on a mission to post-WWII Europe to aid members of the church -- Benson (who had the largest and youngest family of the quorum) was called to leave his family and go to Europe. There, he and his assistant/translator spent a frenzied nine months travelling from country to country, coordinating relief shipments and providing encouragement to saints who had been devastated by the war. This left him profoundly changed, as he heard horrific stories and saw the effects of war, mistreatment and starvation. Here, he became an avid enemy of socialism, fascism and communism - after seeing the results Hitler and Stalin's attempts to impose socialism and communism.

After his mission, Benson became an anti-communism crusader and eventually an advocate of the right-wing John Birch society. He adopted and taught their philosophies, seeing communism as an encroachment on freeagency and the gospel. He saw it infiltrating the U.S. in many forms, including the civil rights movement, professors at BYU, and even U.S. President Eisenhower. Benson's rhetoric about freedom in church settings disturbed other moderate church leaders and Latter-day Saints. First Counselor Hugh B. Brown in particular took measures try to control Benson and counter his harsh rhetoric. Eventually Benson was called on another mission to Europe to try to stop his conspiratorial rhetoric. However Benson continued his Birch-related activities after his mission.

Early in life, Benson was a county agricultural agent and then became involved in various farming enterprises which gave him the experience that lead to his invitation to be the secretary of agriculture in the Eisenhower administration. After consulting with David O McKay, Benson accepted the role where he worked towards a free market economy for agricultural goods without government price controlling measures. Benson's pure ideology and non-compromising approach made him unpopular among farmers, who sometimes threw eggs at him. He had limited success in his efforts and eventually the gains he had made were overturned by a democratically controlled congress. Eisenhower appointed Benson as the leader of the secret "Eisenhower Ten" - a group that would run the country in the event of a national catastrophe, but Eisenhower eventually distanced himself from Benson for political reasons. Benson was considered by some to be the most controversial member of Eisenhower's cabinet.

After the Eisenhower presidency, Benson returned to his standard duties as a member of the Quorum of Twelve. When Spencer W. Kimball ascended to the presidency, Benson became the president of his Quorum and eventually the president of the church. He emphasized the traditional role of women, the Book of Mormon and more. As he entered his 90s, he became frail and suffered from age-related mental issues, disappearing from the public sphere during the last years of his presidency.



Thanks for tuning in. (1)

Endnotes:
1 - editorial note

LDS History Chronology: Ezra Taft Benson

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

Ezra Taft Benson, 07 Apr 1994

-- 07 Apr 1994
Robert D. Hales is ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, replacing recently deceased Marvin J. Ashton.


-- 13 May 1994
President Ezra Taft Benson is inducted into the University of Idaho alumni of fame.


-- 30 May 1994
Ezra Taft Benson, born in a quiet Idaho farm community, spent much of his life working with the power brokers of the world. Outspoken, courageous, and committed, he, like the founder of the Latter-day Saint church, Joseph Smith, had gone from "plowboy to prophet." He died 30 May 1994. (1)


President Ezra Taft Benson dies. Howard W. Hunter becomes president. (2)


-- December 1994
When the state of Idaho flew flags at half mast at Ezra Taft Benson's death, angry complaints flooded in from people who believed that the gesture honored his Church position rather than his service as an Idaho native in the Eisenhower cabinet. (3)


-- 21 May 1996
[Paul H. Dunn] Early in my career I found that there was not a whole lot of support or appreciation for Benson constantly harping on the communist issue. Although, every time President McKay was present or in a meeting, he would be the endorser, or thanking President Benson for doing what he was doing. That kept the other elements sort of quiet. Hugh B. Brown really thought President Benson had gone overboard. And yet President Benson —I talked with him several times, not on this subject but just in conversation—would remind me that he was doing what the prophet had asked him to do. (4)


-- 3 May 1998
The First Presidency asked Democrat General Authority Marlin K. Jensen, to give an interview to the Salt Lake Tribune assuring readers that one may, indeed, simultaneously be a Democrat and a Mormon in good standing. He explained that church leaders "regret … that there would become a church party and a non-church party. That would be the last thing that we would want to have happen. (5)


-- March 21, 2001
Harold B. Lee stated "the brethren would never permit another member of the Twelve to serve in the Cabinet or in a high political position because, as he put it, 'Elder Benson had lost his spiritual tone and would no longer accept counsel.'" (6)


-- 2003
Published Volume - Sermons and Writings of President Ezra Taft Benson. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (7)


-- 2014
Published Volume - Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (7)

Endnotes:
1 - Utah History Encyclopedia: Ezra Taft Benson, http://www.uen.org/utah_history_encyclopedia/
2 - Wikipedia, 20th Century (Mormonism), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20th_century_(Mormonism)
3 - "Anti-Mormon Sentiment Shocks Idaho Lt. Governor" Sunstone 17, no. 3 (December 1994): 81 -- as referenced in Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball (Working Draft)
4 - Paul H. Dunn 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)
5 - Dan Harrie, "LDS Official Calls for More Political Diversity, Salt Lake Tribune 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 - L. Ralph Mecham to Greg Prince 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 - 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, Spring 1993

-- Spring 1993
To liberal intellectuals beginning to feel besieged by church leaders, President Benson's mental incapacity meant one thing: greater freedom for the acting president of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, Boyd K. Packer, widely rumored to be behind the recent actions against liberals and feminists. As Quinn himself had noted in another controversial session at the 1992 Sunstone Symposium, LDS president David O. McKay's mental incapacity in the late 1960s had afforded then-apostle Ezra Taft Benson greater freedom to wage personal wars in the church hierarchy over his conservative politics. This situation, many believed, was paralleled in the early 1990s, when Benson's own incapacity allowed Packer latitude to punish those he would later brand "so-called scholars and intellectuals." (1)


-- 27 Jun 1993
President Gordon B. Hinckley of the first Presidency rededicates the refurbished and remodeled Hotel Utah, renaming it the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Used primarily for Church offices and meeting facilities, it also contains a five-hundred-seat theater for the presentation of full-length Church films, the first of which was the 1993 drama Legacy (directed by Academy Award-winning film director Kieth Merrill, with the musical score by Merrill Jenson).


-- July 10, 1993
Vern Anderson, "Benson's Not Competent, Grandson Says," (2)


Steve Benson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist for the Arizona Republic, asserted that his grandfather's "physical and mental infirmities were preventing him from participating in meaningful Church leadership and decision-making . . . [and] ultimately he grew so weak and infirm that he spent his waking hours silently wrapped in a blanket in his reclining chair."

He criticized use of news photographs showing the president looking at birthday cards, with his foot on a shovel at a ground breaking, and with his hand raised as if greeting people, saying those images misled the viewer. He said there should be emeritus status or an executive committee to substitute for an incapacitated president. At the least, he said, there should be candid acknowledgment of the president's incapacity. A spokesman for the Church called the proposals "impossible. The Lord's in charge."

President Hinckley, speaking in 1994 of President Benson's similar incapacity, described the practice for managing such situations:

"When the President is ill or not able to function fully in all of the duties of his office, his two Counselors together comprise a Quorum of the First Presidency. They carry on with the day-to-day work of the Presidency. In exceptional circumstances, when only one may be able to function, he may act in the authority of the office of the Presidency. . . . But any major questions of policy, procedures, programs, or doctrine are considered deliberately and prayerfully by the First Presidency and the Twelve together. These two quorums . . . consider every major question . . . [and] . . . no decision emanates . . . without total unanimity. . . ." (3)


-- 13 Jul 1993
ARIZONA REPUBLIC reports that First Presidency Spokesman Don LeFevre claims "the typical faithful Mormon" already knows that Ezra Taft Benson's mental condition prevents his participation in decision-making. This is in response to continued publicity of Steve Benson's statements during past week that his grandfather is mentally incompetent, and that LDS leaders are exploiting him by giving impression in photographs and official statements that church president is mentally active. Steve Benson withdraws from membership in LDS church in Oct, after excommunication of several scholars and feminists. (4)


-- During 1993-09
The September Six face church discipline for their feminist and intellectual work

Six prominent LDS intellectuals, several of whom were feminists, faced church discipline for their writings. The six include Paul Toscano, Maxine Hanks, Lavina Fielding Anderson, Lynne Kanavel Whitesides, Avraham Gileadi, and D. Michael Quinn; Whitesides was disfellowshipped while the other five were excommunicated. Although the churchdoes not disclose its reasons for pursuing disciplinary action, it is commonly understood that these six individuals faced that action due to their writings about Mormon history, scripture, and doctrine. This action followed Boyd K. Packer identifying homosexuals, feminists, and intellectuals as key enemies of the church in the spring of 1993. (5)


-- 17 Oct 1993
The First Presidency issues a statement reaffirming the Church's right to discipline members of the Church.


-- 23 Nov 1993
The First Presidency issues a statement that emphasizes keeping the Sabbath day holy.


-- 1994
The Church joined with others in 1994 to defeat a legalized lottery proposal in Oklahoma. (6)


-- 1 Jan 1994
End of congregational hymn-singing and general meeting prior to individual Sunday School classes, as per First Presidency announcement on 25 Sept. 1993.


-- 1 Feb 1994
First Presidency endorses appointment of 1994 as -International Year of the Family,- by United Nations, organization which currently disabled Ezra Taft Benson has repeatedly denounced as illegal infringement on U.S. sovereignty. This reinforces his grandson's claim that counselors are making decisions without church president's coherent consultation or approval.


-- 14 Feb 1994
The First Presidency issued a statement declaring opposition to same-sex marriage in response to Hawaii's attempt to legalize same-sex marriage. The Church urged members to support efforts to outlaw marriage equality. (7)

Endnotes:
1 - Bryan Waterman & Brian Kagel, "The Lord's University: Freedom and Authority at Byu" Signature Books (1998)
2 - Salt Lake Tribune, 10 July 1993
3 - Stephen Benson, "Ezra Taft Benson," Sunstone 17, no. 3 (December 1994): 35; "Reaction to Benson's Statement 'Very Emotional,'" Provo Daily Herald, July 13, 1993, B3; Vern Anderson, "Church Leader Retired in All but Name, Grandson Says," Provo Daily Herald, July 10, 1993, A6; Gordon B. Hinckley, "God Is at the Helm," Ensign 24 (May 1994): 54, 59; Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Church Is on Course," Ensign 22 (November 1992): 53 -- as referenced in Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball (Working Draft)
4 - On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com
5 - Mormon Women's History Timeline, http://www1.chapman.edu/~remy/MoFem/mormonwomen.html
6 - Quinn, Extensions of Power, 401 -- as referenced in Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball (Working Draft)
7 - Timeline of Mormon Thinking About Homosexuality, http://rationalfaiths.com/timeline-of-mormon-thinking-about-homosexuality/

LDS History Chronology: Ezra Taft Benson

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

Ezra Taft Benson, Nov 19, 1992.

-- Nov 19, 1992.
Timothy B. Wilson of Nephi, Utah, who is preparing Mormon's Book: A Modern English Rendering for publication in 1993, is called in by his stake president (Pioneer Stake in Provo) and asked about his project and whether he knows Avraham Gileadi. Tim does not, although Gileadi's wife is editing his book. His stake president also asks whether he would drop the project if he were so instructed. Tim has already received verbal confirmation from Church Copyrights and Permissions that his project does not infringe on the church's copyright and is awaiting written confirmation at the time of the interview. According to a Salt Lake Tribune article, Tim's bishop (Pioneer Third Ward of Provo) told him that the First Presidency "objected to the format of his book," which arranged the standard and modernized rendering verse by verse in parallel columns. Tim revised his rendering to a paragraph, rather than verse, format in an effort to resolve the problem. Inspired by President Benson's challenge to "flood the earth with the Book of Mormon," he has spent two years and $20,000 on this project, which he hopes will makes the Book of Mormon more accessible to millions of readers.

29 November 1992. (1)


-- 29 Nov 1992
Mormon advocates of Ezra Taft Benson's ultra-conservativism found themselves in a religious quandary. LDS church officers were suspicious of "those obsessed with the early speeches of LDS Church President Ezra Taft Benson and who believe the ailing, 93-year-old leader has been silenced because his opinions no longer are politically popular." Such ultra- conservative Mormons were being excommunicated or disciplined in Utah and surrounding states. One of them protested, "We support President Benson 100%," but "there are some brethren who speak 180 degrees against him." (2)


As the ultra-conservative presidential candidate in the national election of 1992, most of the support for [James "Bo" Gritz, a Mormon] was in the "Mormon Culture Region" centering on the state of Utah which alone gave him 28,000 votes. (3)


-- Dec 2, 1992.
Church spokesman Don LeFevre issues a statement announcing that "disciplinary matters are . . . strictly between the individual and . . . local ecclesiastical leaders," stating that Elder Jeppsen "said he had never provided any such list," denying that high church officials are "sedating" Ezra Taft Benson, and denying that there has been "any increase in the number of people excommunicated from the Church." (1)


-- 6 Dec 1992
The total number of wards and branches worldwide reaches exactly twenty thousand on this day. (4)


-- 7 Dec 1992
Concerning recent pressures against Mormon ultra-conservatives, [James 'Bo' Gritz, a Mormon] observes: "The critics I'm talking about are not little people but church authorities [who] have said what Ezra Taft Benson says before he was a prophet doesn't count." (5)


-- 8 Dec 1992
Benson was ... circumspect about expressing his personal views of Brown. One close associate affirms: "I doubt you could find anybody who ever heard Brother Benson speak negatively about Hugh B. Brown." (6)


-- 15 Dec 1992
The First Presidency announces an effort sponsored by the Relief Society to raise literacy rates in the Church worldwide.


-- 21 Dec 1992
Mormon political extremists begin to be expelled from the church (7)


-- During 1992
The Church publishes Understanding and Helping Those Who Have Homosexual Problems, a handbook for bishops and stake presidents. The handbook teaches that "such thoughts and feelings, regardless of their causes, can and should be overcome ... change is possible", that leaders should "be careful not to label the person as 'homosexual' or 'gay'", and that "there is no conclusive evidence that anyone is born with a homosexual orientation". It does emphasize the position that "marriage should not be viewed as a way to resolve homosexual problems", which differs from earlier policy. This publication is still in use by the Church, and is the most current material available that is directed specifically at ecclesiastical leaders. (8)


-- January 1993
News stories began to surface about the apparent mental instability of church president Ezra Taft Benson. While it had been clear through his silent public appearances from the late 1980s that his mind was failing, church leaders had continued to insist that he was aware of what was happening around him. Precipitated by Benson's hospitalization, news reports started to focus more closely on his mental capacity. ... Lavina Fielding Anderson commented as well: "News photos of [Benson's] counselors helping him to wave or hold a shovel are deeply distressing," Anderson said. (9)


-- 4 Mar 1993
First Presidency letter absolutely excludes following persons from possibility of serving full-time missions: "Individuals who have become HIV positive . . . Persons 19 to 26 who have been divorced . . . Young men who have encouraged, paid for, or arranged for an abortion resulting from their immoral conduct . . . Sisters who submit to abortions growing out of their immoral conduct . . . [anyone who] has fathered or given birth to a child out of wedlock." Persons with "homosexual activity" would be eligible only on these conditions: "if there is no current indication of homosexual tendencies" or if "there is strong evidence of complete repentance and reformation, with at least one year free of transgression."

Endnotes:
1 - Anderson, Lavina Fielding, "The LDS Intellectual Community and Church Leadership: A Contemporary Chronology," Dialogue, Vol.26, No.1
2 - "It's Judgment Day for Far Right: LDS Church Purges Survivalists," Salt Lake Tribune, 29 Nov. 1992, A-l, A-2. In "LDS Deny Mass Ouster of Radicals," Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Dec. 1992, 1, an official LDS spokesman denied only the estimate of "hundreds" of excommunications. See also "LDS Church Downplays Reports On Discipline," Deseret News, 4 Dec. 1992, 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
3 - "Hero-Turned Heretic? Gritz May Be Leading LDS Flock Into Wilderness," Salt Lake Tribune, 29 Nov. 1992, A-2 -- 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 - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, United Kingdom, "On This Day," https://www.lds.org.uk/show_oda.php
5 - "Ultraconservative Gritz Remains as Bold as Ever," Salt Lake Tribune, 7 Dec. 1992, B-2; also "LDS Zealots Muzzling Outspoken to Protect Tax Status, Gritz Says," Salt Lake Tribune, 22 Jan. 1993, B-l. 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 - Quinn's telephone interview on 8 December 1992 with Karl D. Butler who served as a special assistant to Ezra Taft Benson as Secretary of Agriculture. The two remained friends thereafter -- 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 - "Mormon Church Has Begun To Expel Many Extremists," New York Times, 21 Dec. 1992,10 -- 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 - LDS Gay History Timeline [Unabridged], http://mormoninthecloset.blogspot.com/2008/11/lds-gay-history-timeline-unabridged.html
9 - Bryan Waterman & Brian Kagel, "The Lord's University: Freedom and Authority at Byu" Signature Books (1998)

LDS History Chronology: Ezra Taft Benson

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

Ezra Taft Benson, Aug 8, 1992.

-- Aug 8, 1992.
An Associated Press story by Vern Anderson quotes church spokesman Don LeFevre's acknowledgement that the "Strengthening Church Members Committee" "provides local church leadership with information designed to help them counsel with members who may hinder the progress of the church through public criticism." It also reports the experience of Omar Kader of Washington, D.C., formerly of BYU's political science department. Kader says a BYU administrator told him that Nelson, then Kader's stake president, kept a file on his political activities as a Democrat in Provo in the late 1970s. Nelson "categorically denied keeping a file on Kader" and also denied "knowing Omar and Nancy Kader."

Nelson is director of the Evaluation Division, Church Correlation Department, which reports to Elder Boyd K. Packer, and was executive assistant to Ezra Taft Benson while Benson was president of the Quorum of the Twelve (1974-85). (1)


-- 8 Aug 1992
President Benson's administration encouraged a special church committee to monitor and maintain surveillance files on academics, intellectuals, and others assumed to be critics of the church. William O. Nelson, a veteran of Benson's abortive 1977 BYU spy ring, became the executive secretary of this "Strengthening the Members Committee."

Previously, maintaining such files on church members were usually ad hoc activities of the First Presidency's office, Presiding Bishopric Office, Mark E. Petersen's special committee, Correlation Committee, the Special Affairs Committee, and Ezra Taft Benson's office. Only the Church Security Department has had an on-going responsibility to maintain information files on "disloyal" or "potentially dangerous" Mormons and to conduct physical and photographic surveillance. Such intelligence gathering is conducted through what Church Security calls its "Confidential Services."

A man who served as assistant secretary in the First Presidency's office from 1974 to 1981 had never heard of this committee's existence during the Kimball presidency. (2)


-- Aug 13,1992
Due to publicity [regarding the Strengthening the Members Committee] including New York Times, Presidency issues statement on 13 Aug. defending organization of this apostle-directed committee as consistent with God's commandment to Joseph Smith to gather documentation about non-Mormons who mob and persecute LDS Church. Presidency lists Apostles James E. Faust and Russell M. Nelson as leading the committee. (3)


-- August 14, 1992
Mourns the death of his wife, Flora. (4)


-- Aug 14, 1992.
Peggy Fletcher Stack's Salt Lake Tribune article reporting the First Presidency statement [regard the Strengthening the Members Committee:] ... [Ross Peterson] described his own "grill[ing]" by his area presidency who "continually drew photocopied items out of a file and asked him about things he had written decades ago. The file was sitting on the churchmen's desk, but Mr. Peterson was not allowed to see its contents." "Files are a strange carryover from a paranoia that resembles McCarthyism," says Peterson. The article also cites unnamed "LDS Church employees" who tell the Tribune that William O. Nelson "shares President Benson's John Birch Society politics" and that "the church has kept files on outspoken members for decades. (1)


-- 26 Sep 1992
The First Presidency authorized the use of humanitarian relief funds to be sent to Somalia and other African nations in the grip of the drought of the century. In an initial response, one million pounds of food was shipped. (5)


-- 3-Oct 4, 1992.
Although not identifying specific issues, several general conference talks seem targeted at specific audiences. Possibly in response to right-wing survivalists, Elder M. Russell Ballard warns, "We must be careful not to . . . be caught up in extreme preparations" for the end of the world. President Gordon B. Hinckley, perhaps responding to right-wing beliefs of a "silenced" prophet, explains the "unique and tremendous system of redundancy and backup which the Lord has structured into His kingdom so that without interruption it may go forward, meeting any emergency that might arise and handling every contingency. . . . We have moved without hesitation when there is well-established policy. Where there is not . . . we have talked with the President and received his approval before taking action. Let it never be said that there has been any disposition to assume authority or to do anything or say anything which might be at variance with the wishes of him who has been put in his place by the Lord." Elder Boyd K. Packer adds: "There are some among us now who have not been regularly ordained by the heads of the Church who tell of impending political and economic chaos, the end of the world . . . . They are misleading members to gather to colonies or cults. Those deceivers say that the Brethren do not know what is going on in the world or that the Brethren approve of their teaching but do not wish to speak of it over the pulpit. Neither is true." ... (1)


-- 25 Oct 1992
Based on the instructions of a general authority in October 1992, stake presidents prepared a list of twenty warning signs of apostasy. Third on this list was "John Birch membership or leanings." (6)


-- Early November 1992 or earlier.
Three separate lists begin to circulate in the Utah South Region. Apparently at least one, "Profile of the Splinter Group Members or Others with Troublesome Ideologies," was reportedly created by a stake president who had taken notes during a speech by Elder Jeppsen, added additional specifics to the list, and then circulated it among additional stake presidents, some of whom also added items. Harold Nicholl, one of six Sanpete County stake presidents, uses the first list "as a guide for excommunications." This list consists of twenty unnumbered points, including: "They follow the practice of home school. There is a preoccupation with the end of the world. . . . Many have John Birch membership or leanings. Many do not work and have no jobs. They study the mysteries, feeling that what is provided in our meetings today is superficial. They meet in study groups. They listen to . . . `Bo Gritz' tapes and others about such topics as Armageddon. They are inordinately preoccupied with food storage. They . . . teach that . . . the government is corrupt. . . . They feel that President Benson's counselors have muzzled the prophet. . . . They staunchly profess that they sustain the prophet and local leaders, but when asked to stop doing certain things . . . they tell you straight out they will have to take the matter to the Lord. . . . They read the books of Avraham Gileadi. . . . Many of these folks are on state welfare and others try to obtain Church welfare. . . . Plural marriage . . . continues to surface as a part of the belief structure of many. . . . Some have held prayer circles in full temple clothing outside the temple. . . . Some of these folks would linger in the celestial room of the Manti Temple for hours to teach one another." (1)

Endnotes:
1 - Anderson, Lavina Fielding, "The LDS Intellectual Community and Church Leadership: A Contemporary Chronology," Dialogue, Vol.26, No.1
2 - "LDS Official Acknowledges Church Monitors Critics," Salt Lake Tribune (8 Aug. 1992): D-l; "LDS Leaders Say Scripture Supports Secret Files on Members," Salt Lake Tribune (14 Aug. 1992): B-l; "Secret Files," New York Times (22 Aug. 1992): 9. ; Michael Quinn interview on 5-6 September 1992 with Rodney P. Foster, assistant secretary in the First Presidency's office from 1974 to 1981, and member of the Temple Department at LDS headquarters from 1981 to 1989. 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
3 - 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
4 - Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc. (2014)
5 - 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
6 - "Profile of the Splinter Group Members or Others with Troublesome Ideologies." This list was based on instructions to stake presidents by Second Quorum of Seventy member Malcolm S. Jeppsen in his "We Shall Not Be Led Astray," especially on page 8 of his computer print-out, 25 Oct. 1992 -- 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, 10 Apr 1990

-- 10 Apr 1990
Changes in temple ceremony promote gender equality, de-emphasize symbolic violence, and eliminate Protestant minister from endowment drama. This becomes nation-wide news in special reports by NEW YORK TIMES, LOS ANGELES TIMES, TIME MAGAZINE, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, and in Associated Press report published in local newspapers. (1)


-- 13 Nov 1990
In 1991 Utah membership of the John Birch Society mushroomed as a result of U.S. president George Bush's proclaiming U.S. participation in a "New World Order." As part of the United Nations successful Gulf War, President Bush adopted a phrase used by ultra-conservatives for decades to identify the "collectivist" goal of the international conspiracy. By May 1991, Utah had 1,000 members of the Birch Society, an increase of nearly 50 percent from two years earlier. (2)


-- 1991
Church membership exceeded 8 million members. (3)


-- 15 Feb 1991
Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan speaks at Brigham Young University and pays a courtesy call to Church headquarters.


-- March 6, 1991
Efforts to fellowship and integrate new members into the Church community received emphasis during President Benson's administration. (4)


-- 24 Jun 1991
Russia granted formal recognition to the Church. (5)


-- 23 Aug 1991
First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve Apostles, by infrequently used format of joint declaration, issue statement which refers to the Sunstone Symposium's annual meetings on 7-10 Aug. It condemns "recent symposia" for presentations which are "offensive . . . in bad taste . . . and publicized in such a way as to injure the Church or its members or to jeopardize the effectiveness or safety of our missionaries." In following weeks church authorities instruct local leaders to meet with Mormons, particularly BYU faculty, who participated in Sunstone to persuade them to cease such activities. (1)


-- November, 1991
A mass excommunication of several ultra-right-wing survivalists in southern Utah occurs. Some of them believed that their political hero, President Ezra Taft Benson, was being "silenced" and possibly drugged and held hostage by his more moderate counselors. (6)


-- 1992
Published Volume - Elect Women of God. Bookcraft (7)


-- 02 May 1992
President Ezra Taft Benson breaks ground for the Bountiful Utah Temple.


-- 22 May 1992
First Presidency statement that King James Version of Bible is only English language Bible to be used in LDS church meetings. This codifies position maintained for decades by former First Presidency counselor J. Reuben Clark.


-- Jun 27, 1992.
A Salt Lake Tribune article by Peggy Fletcher Stack reports "ongoing intimidation of Mormon intellectuals," including hate mail received by Martha Sonntag Bradley, BYU faculty member and new coeditor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. (8)

Endnotes:
1 - On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com
2 - John F. McManus, "'A New World Order' Means World Government," The John Birch Society Bulletin (Nov. 1990): 3-14; "Birch Society Lauds 'Fertile Soil' In Utah," Deseret News, 13 May 1991, B-2; "Utah's Birchers Organizing To Fight Bush 'Conspiracy,'" Salt Lake Tribune, 27 May 1991, B-l; "John Birch Society Skeptical of Communist Party Demise," Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Sept. 1991, B-l; '"John Bircher' Recruits Join Fight Against New World Order," Salt Lake Tribune, 21 June 1992, B-l. 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
3 - Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Daniel H. Ludlow (editor), New York: Macmillan, 1992, Appendix 2: A Chronology of Church History
4 - First Presidency and Twelve, "Fundamental Considerations in Proclaiming the Gospel," March 6, 1991, Kimball Papers -- as referenced in Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball (Working Draft)
5 - Hemidakaota, "Church Chronology from 1800-2000," http://lds.net/forums/topic/10668-church-chronology-from-1800-2000-part-1/
6 - Bryan Waterman & Brian Kagel, "The Lord's University: Freedom and Authority at Byu" Signature Books (1998)
7 - Wikipedia: "Ezra Taft Benson"
8 - Anderson, Lavina Fielding, "The LDS Intellectual Community and Church Leadership: A Contemporary Chronology," Dialogue, Vol.26, No.1

LDS History Chronology: Ezra Taft Benson

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

Ezra Taft Benson, April 1, 1989

-- April 1, 1989
Many national and international citations and awards, including a number of honorary doctorate degrees, were bestowed on him. From the Boy Scouts of America he received the Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope, and Silver Buffalo; he served on their National Executive Board. On April 1, 1989, he was presented world Scouting's highest award, the Bronze Wolf. (1)


-- Aug 1989
Republican U.S. president George Bush awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal to Benson. This was another personal vindication of Benson's decades of political activism. This information was omitted from the 1993-1994 Church Almanac, 370. (2)


-- Sep 1, 1989.
Elder George P. Lee of the First Quorum of the Seventy is excommunicated "for apostasy" and "conduct unbecoming a member." Letters Lee releases to the press include criticisms of the church's neglect of Lamanites and incidents of personal discrimination against him by other general authorities. (3)


-- 30 Sep 1989
Elder Paul H. Dunn, age 65, of the Presidency of the First Quorum of Seventy is given emeritus status "in consideration of factors of age and health." [He had exaggerated many of his stories in books and sermons]. He continues, however, to participate in money-making ventures including tours of major-league baseball parks throughout the United States. (4)


The first General Authorities called to serve for five years are released.


-- 9 Nov 1989
The Berlin Wall came down, paving the way for eventual unification of East and West Germany. (5)


-- 25 Nov 1989
A major change in policy for financing local Church units in the United States and Canada was announced by the First Presidency. Ward members would no longer have stake and ward budget assessments. (5)


-- 02 Dec 1989
Church membership reaches seven million.


-- 1990
Published Volume - Come, Listen to a Prophet's Voice. Deseret Book (6)


Published Volume - Missionaries to Match Our Message. Bookcraft (6)


-- 31 Mar 1990
Conference sustains first general authority of black African descent, Second Quorum of Seventy-s Helvecio Martins of Brazil (who is released in 1995). Chieko Nishimura Okazaki is sustained as first counselor in general presidency of Relief Society, first non-Caucasian member of auxiliary presidency in Mormon history. (4)


-- Apr 1990
[A]pocalyptic-minded Mormon members of the Birch Society had also organized "the American Study Group" which grew to 1,400 members within two months.

This revitalization of Mormon Birchers occurred while their presidential advocate was slipping deeper into the decay of old age. President Benson was physically unable to speak at general conference from April 1990 on. At his last public appearances in 1992 he was a frail shell of the strident partisan whom Mormons had known for decades. (7)

Endnotes:
1 - Encyclopedia of Mormonism, "Ezra Taft Benson," Reed Benson and Sheri Dew, Daniel H. Ludlow (editor), New York: Macmillan, 1992
2 - Deseret News 1991-1992 Church Almanac (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1990), 315 -- 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 - Anderson, Lavina Fielding, "The LDS Intellectual Community and Church Leadership: A Contemporary Chronology," Dialogue, Vol.26, No.1
4 - On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com
5 - 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
6 - Wikipedia: "Ezra Taft Benson"
7 - "Longtime Doomsayer Seeks 'Safety' Back in LDS Fold," Salt Lake Tribune, 24 Jan. 1993, B-6; also reference to the American Study Group in Malcolm S. Jeppsen, "We Shall Not Be Led Astray," 8, computer print-out, 25 Oct. 1992; Ensign 20 (May 1990): 1, 20 (Nov. 1990): 1, 21 (May 1991): 1, 21 (Nov. 1991): 1, 22 (May 1992): 1,22 (Nov. 1992): 1; photographs in "LDS Historian Says Benson's Right-Wing Beliefs Caused Infighting, Church To Censure Speeches," Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Aug. 1992, A-7, and in "Age Taking Its Toll On President Benson," Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Jan. 1993, C-l. 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/