-- Oct 8, 1953
[Quorum of the Twelve] Richard L. Evans ordained. (1)
-- Nov 4, 1953
Mark E. Peterson wrote Benson: "Do not become discouraged, Remember that you are just like a missionary back there.You are doing more good than one hundred missionaries in the field. It is just marvelous the splendid reports we hear about you." (2)
-- Nov 9, 1953
"Except for the President," Benson lamented to concerned Mormons toward the end of his first year in office, I am assured that no man in public life has a heavier responsibility at the present time [than I]. I feel the weight of it very keenly. The cross fires, pressures and political maneuvering associated with the office make the burden almost unbearable at times. I know that I have the faith and prayers of millions of people who are hoping and praying that the philosophies and principles which I am trying to advocate will prevail.
Of course, the Church is on trial. ... I hope you will not become unduly depressed when you read items deeply critical of me and my activities. (3)
-- Nov. 20, 1953
FBI memo says that an undersecretary of state (whose name was censored from released files) informed the FBI that "the president is a little 'teed off' with Secretary of Agriculture Benson" because he "has not been successful in quieting the farmers, cattlemen, dairymen and Capitol Hill."
The FBI memo said "the matter has now been passed to the White House and … the president is unhappy about the whole thing." It added that the State Department source said, "It looks like Benson will be the 'fall guy.'" (4)
-- During 1953
(Hugh B. Brown) Called to be an assistant to the Twelve. (5)
-- Jan 11, 1954
Benson's farm policy, which Eisenhower presented to Congress on January 11, 1954, was a "carefully constructed compromise" balancing a hard-line drive for lower price supports with the administration's politically nuanced advocacy of "gradualism."
Immediately, Benson embarked on a countrywide speaking tour to drum up support, often addressing audiences he remembered as being latently hostile. (7)
-- Apr 08, 1954
George Q. Morris is ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at eighty years of age (making him the oldest man ordained an Apostle in this dispensation), replacing Matthew Cowley, who had passed away.
Ezra Taft Benson gives his famous exhortation to farmers to "get big or get out." (8)
1 - 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)
2 - Mark E. Petersen, Letter to Ezra Taft Benson, November 4, 1953, in Ezra Taft Benson Scrapbooks, microfilm, LDS Church Archives. For context and full cite, see Gary James Bergera, '"Rising above Principle": Ezra Taft Benson as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, 1953-61, Part 1', Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (Fall 2008, v 41)
3 - Benson, Open letter to "My Brothers and Sisters," November 9, 1953, in Benson Scrapbooks. For context and full cite, see Gary James Bergera, '"Rising above Principle": Ezra Taft Benson as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, 1953-61, Part 1', Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (Fall 2008, v 41)
4 - "Ike and the Birch Society," Lee Davidson, Salt Lake Tribune, November 16, 2010
5 - Van Wagoner, Richard and Walker, Steven C., A Book of Mormons, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies
6 - Madsen, Truman G., The Presidents of the Church
7 - Gary James Bergera, '"Rising above Principle": Ezra Taft Benson as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, 1953-61, Part 1', Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (Fall 2008, v 41)
8 - The Grasslands of the United States: An Environmental History By James Earl Sherow, 353
LDS History Chronology: Ezra Taft Benson
Mormon History Timeline: the life of Ezra Taft Benson