-- 22 May 1962
Benson wrote that [Senator] McCarthy "rendered a service in emphasizing the insidious threat of the Communist influence in government." (1)
-- 6 June 1962
Because of [the] Brown-Benson dispute, BYU's president Wilkinson told President McKay in June 1962 that "President Brown is giving aid and comfort to the enemies of what should be sound basic Mormon philosophy." (2)
-- August 14, 1962
Tom Anderson sends letter to Robert Welch advising him that as a favor to Ezra Taft Benson he is going to speak under the auspices of All-American Society (founded by former FBI Special Agent and John Birch Society endorser W. Cleon Skousen) in Salt Lake City on September 6th. According to Anderson: "One of the main purposes of this meeting is to help Reed Benson's candidacy for the Congress." (3)
-- October, 1962
When the John Birch Society offered Reed a job as its Utah coordinator, FBI logs show that his father made a phone call wanting to know what the bureau felt about the group. It was the beginning of Benson's defense of the society.
An agent wrote, "I informed him off the record … that to my knowledge the FBI has not investigated the John Birch Society."
The agent added in summary of the conversation, "Benson has reached the conclusion the society is doing a lot of good in combating communism and feels that it is patriotic in its motives."
Benson also told the agent that he hoped to soon meet with Hoover in Washington "to confer with him about the menace of communism and the role of the Birch Society."
Because of that, officials at FBI headquarters wrote a briefing paper to prepare Hoover in case Benson called.
Calling the society "probably the most publicized right-wing extremist group in the country," they recommended keeping Benson away from Hoover — including lying, if necessary, to say that Hoover was unavailable to talk to Benson. (4)
Cuban Missle Crisis unfolds. (5)
-- 27 Oct 1962
Benson described the Birch Society as "the most effective non-church organization in our fight against creeping socialism and godless Communism." (6)
-- Oct 11, 1962
N. Eldon Tanner is ordained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. (7)
-- 22 & 26 Oct 1962
In response to Benson's conference statement that "No true Latter-day Saint can be a socialist or a communist," a University of Utah student from Norway countered that "more than half" of Norwegian Mormons vote for the socialist Labor Party. This student concluded: "I am glad the president of the Church has taken a stand against Communism. But I do not think it is the responsibility of any other speaker in the tabernacle to give his own political opinions regarding welfare states." In equally public responses, other LDS students attacked this Mormon undergraduate for criticizing Benson. (8)
-- Oct 26, 1962
Benson asks McKay to sanction his son Reeds appointment as the John Birch state coordinator for Utah, to which McKay responds: "I have heard about the John Birch Society, and everything so far has been negative, so it is up to you and Reed as to whether or not this position is accepted. ... "I said, 'I have nothing whatever to do with it.' Brother Benson said that Reed would not go into this if I told him not to, and I said that this is a matter that I shall leave entirely with him and Reed." (9)
-- 27 Oct 1962
In the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, Apostle Benson's son Reed became coordinator for the Birch Society in Utah. His announcement was coupled with his father's first public endorsement of the Birch Society. (10)
-- 29 Oct 1962
In October, first counselor Henry D. Moyle said that second counselor Brown spoke to a Democratic convention in Utah only "because Brother Benson had given a political tirade that needed answering." (11)
-- 4 Nov 1962
After giving a "political" talk to a multi-stake meeting of BYU students in November 1962, religion professor Glenn L. Pearson told one of his students that Benson's support of the Birch Society was a mission from God. Then, described by BYU's president as "the most untactful person I have heard," Pearson said that [Hugh B.] Brown was "a Judas in the First Presidency." The student concluded that a church court should excommunicate Counselor Brown. (12)
1 - Brown & Benson; Benson to H. Roland Tietjen, president of the Hawaiian LDS temple, 22 May 1962, archives, Lee Library. See Quinn, "Mormon Political Conflicts" for full cite and context.
2 - Brown & Benson; Wilkinson diary, 3 June 1962, described a memorandum of what he was going to say privately to McKay on 6 June. See Quinn, "Mormon Political Conflicts" for full cite and context.
3 - Ernie Lazar, Documentary History of the John Birch Society, https://sites.google.com/site/ernie1241b/home
4 - "Ike and the Birch Society," Lee Davidson, Salt Lake Tribune, November 16, 2010
5 - October, 1962
6 - ^N
7 - Wikipedia, 20th Century (Mormonism), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20th_century_(Mormonism)
8 - Kjell Nilsen, letters to the editor, Daily Utah Chronicle, 22 Oct. 1962, 2, and 26 Oct. 1962,2, to which Allen Mickelsen and Jim Wanek responded in Daily Utah Chronicle, 24 Oct. 1962, 2, and 25 Oct. 1962, 2. See Quinn, "Mormon Political Conflicts" for full cite and context.
9 - David O. McKay diary as referenced in Greg Prince, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism
10 - "Reed A. Benson Takes Post In Birch Society," Deseret News, 27 Oct. 1962, B-5. See Quinn, "Mormon Political Conflicts" for full cite and context.
11 - Wilkinson diary, 29 Oct. 1962, referred to a Democratic state convention "two years ago." However, in Buchanan diary, 27 Oct. 1961, Brown said that in response to Benson's conference address that month, "he'd be speaking to the States Democratic leaders in order to set them straight on the position of politics in the church." See Quinn, "Mormon Political Conflicts" for full cite and context.
12 - Brown & Benson; Wilkinson diary, 4 Nov. 1962; conversation reported to Michael Quinn by the student in November 1962, during which time Quinn was also enrolled in Pearson's missionary preparation course. See Quinn, "Mormon Political Conflicts" for full cite and context.
LDS History Chronology: Ezra Taft Benson
Mormon History Timeline: the life of Ezra Taft Benson