George Albert Smith, May 21, 1948

-- May 21, 1948
All Church building operations postponed-- Salt Lake City, Utah.

May 21, 1948 To Presidents of Stakes and Presidents of Missions

Dear Brethren:

The high cost of building materials and building construction has led the brethren immediately in charge of Church building operations and ourselves carefully to consider the matter of Church building operations in general, and particularly in the wards, branches and stakes where the people must furnish their proportionate share of construction costs.

As a result of our study we have reached the conclusion, because of the present excessive costs, that it would be wise to postpone all building operations, either of construction or repair, subject to the exceptions noted below.

Building costs have practically trebled in the last few years. The present building burden upon the people is almost backbreaking where construction work is now in progress. Furthermore, there is here and there a spirit of extravagance that often greatly adds to the increased cost of normal building.

In view of these considerations we urgently recommend that no further building or extensive repairs be undertaken at this time, except (1) where the repairs or construction have already begun (and then it should be carried forward as economically as possible, and the completion delayed where practicable, consistent with use), or (2) where there is a positive need, either as to repair or construction, as for example where (a) the repair is necessary to save the building, or (b) the ward or branch is actually without a meeting place.

Where halls or other buildings are now in use and are still available, the wiser course would be to continue to use them until the situation changes.

We urgently request your cooperation in carrying forward this program, not only to the immediate relief of our people from great burdens, but also to the helping to stay the rising tide of inflation which can hardly progress much further without a serious hazard of economic disaster.

Sincerely yours, GEO. ALBERT SMITH, J. REUBEN CLARK, JR., DAVID O. MCKAY, First Presidency. {1948-May-21 Original circular letter, L.D.S. Church Archives,} (1)

Stake patriarchs and high priest quorum presidencies are not stake administrative officers-- Salt Lake City, Utah.

Stake patriarchs and presidencies of high priests quorums are not stake administrative officers and should meet with the Stake Presidency and high council only to receive special assignments or instructions. (1)

-- Jun 14, 1948
All missions to send surplus fast offerings to Church headquarters-- Salt Lake City, Utah.

All missions of the Church to send their surplus fast offerings into Church headquarters in Salt Lake City. (1)

-- Jun 26, 1948
General Mark Clark, commander of the ninth army, attends a memorial service in Garland, Utah, honoring Clyde, LeRoy, and twins Rolon and Rulon Borgston, four brothers killed during a six-month period in World War II. President George Albert Smith is the principal speaker. (2)

-- Jul 4, 1948
CHURCH NEWS refers to three significant developments in LDS missionary work. First, report of success of two missionaries "tracting without purse or scrip" in Texas-Louisiana Mission. This practice is newsworthy because it has become so rare and is later prohibited by LDS headquarters. Second, E. Hyde Dunn, age nineteen, has left for special mission in which he volunteers to be construction missionary in Tonga. His voluntarism inspires headquarters to adopt this as regular program for South Pacific. Third, report that missionary Richard L. Anderson's teaching "plan" is now in use by all missionaries of Northwestern States Mission. Fourteen-lesson "Anderson Plan" is soon adopted by many LDS missions as non-memorized outline for teaching investigators. Anderson later becomes distinguished professor of religion at BYU. (3)

-- Jul 8, 1948
Influence of Church-owned newspapers-- Salt Lake City, Utah.

Historically and from the standpoint of an official statement of the position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the issues of freedom of conscience and the role of the Church in influencing "prevailing conditions in our communities" through the use of a Church-owned newspaper, this is an important document.

July 8, 1948

To Stake Presidents and Bishops:

You already know that The Deseret News has launched an expansion program of large proportions. What you probably do not know is that a policy of enlargement and extended circulation was decided upon and just getting well under way when interrupted by the coming of the war and accompanying rationing of newsprint. Circulation had to be curtailed instead of solicited.

From its earliest inception the Church has relied upon the published word as a means of conveying its message and defending its principles. To that end it has from the beginning engaged in the issuance of newspapers, magazines and other periodicals. It has never limited itself to publications devoted only to what might be called strictly ecclesiastical matters.

Individual freedom of conscience and the right to choose one's own beliefs and course of action (limited only by the overarching principle that in the pursuit of one's own chosen course he must not trespass upon the equivalent right in all others) are basic tenets of the Church. Out of a painful and tragic experience it learned the value of freedom under a rule of just laws and the degradation which flows from a ruthless violation of them. It knows that its own security and the very right to pursue the practice of Christian teachings and to be protected in an observance of the Code of decency depend upon the preservation in civil governments of the guaranty to every individual of his God-given right to be free. These cherished rights are under challenge today.

Moreover, the gospel as believed and taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not consist in a mere passive assent to the validity of the principles it proclaims. These require deeds, active translation into terms of daily life. It is not an academic thing; it is a body of living principles which reach out into and permeate and give color and character to the daily course of individual conduct. But no one can escape entirely the effect of the predominating influence of the community or society in which he daily dwells. The Church, therefore, as part of its mission, has a vital concern with the atmosphere in which its people live and by which they are inevitably affected.

It conceives it to be its duty to throw the whole weight of its influence and marshal to the purpose all proper resources within its grasp to the end that prevailing conditions in our communities (including civic influences) shall be such as are conducive to the fostering of the high standards of honor and morality its teachings enjoin.

There has yet been discovered no medium so good for keeping alive the public conscience, rousing it against degrading evils, exposing to its censure violations of trust and breaches of the beneficent laws of the land as a well-ordered newspaper of high quality and sound integrity. Its voice should be a steadying influence against surrender to ill-considered fallacies born of hysteria in times of crisis and calling men's minds back to the importance of adherence to sound, basic, fundamental principles upon which the true progress of the world has always depended.

In full recognition of the foregoing general principles and in keeping with a policy it had followed from the very beginning, the Church as soon as it had settled itself in these Western valleys established and began the issuance of The Deseret News. That paper has now a record of 98 years of uninterrupted publication. Its championship of the rights of the people, its courageous defense of justice and liberty, its encouragement to industry, thrift and integrity are attested by history.

There has perhaps never been a time in the history of our nation when the principles upon which it is founded were less honored than now. Belief in God, the very cornerstone of religious devotion, was never more under assault. The very principles by which men have lived and gauged their course of action have all been called in question with the result that there is a general confusion of the public mind, breaking away from old moorings. Many people do not know what is right, nor if there be such a thing as right or wrong apart from the caprice of the individual will. There has accordingly never been a time when it was more important for the Church to exert a steadying influence and steadfastly to use all the influence at its command for the maintenance of the principles of liberty, justice and conformance to the ideals of a high Christian society.

In order that its influence may be felt, the Church must have a medium through which it speaks, of a quality and standing compatible with the importance and dignity of the great organization which owns and publishes it.

Responding to the growing demands of the times, after careful consideration by them, the Council of the First Presidency and the Twelve unanimously adopted the following decisions: First, that The Deseret News must forthwith take steps to protect its supply of raw materials, particularly newsprint, the life-blood of a newspaper. With the end of rationing at the close of the war, the paper mills themselves effectively limited the supply of newsprint so that newspapers generally, including The Deseret News, were compelled to secure the necessary newsprint in what was equivalent to a black market, at exorbitant prices. The Deseret News, therefore, in association with The Los Angeles Times and two Oregon companies acquired a paper mill located at Oregon City, Oregon. This insures the future supply of paper and allows for future expansion of The News.

A second thing which was considered essential to the continued growth and expanded circulation of the paper was a continuity of publication so that readers and advertisers would be served every day without any lapse over week ends. Modern trends in reading, public demands, the national newspaper practice and, above all, adequately caring for the requirements of its readers made daily publication imperative.

Only a strong, vigorous newspaper can command the respect and high public esteem worthy of the Church and of its great membership. The publication which it represents cannot be anything other than the best.

The Deseret News under the management of Mark E. Petersen has our full concurrence in the presentation to you of a plan which it recommends for expanding the circulation of the paper. We feel the News will bring great benefit and blessing into every Latter-day Saint home into which it comes. We have full confidence in the management and solicit your closest and most wholehearted cooperation in the consideration of the program Brother Petersen will have to offer and the carrying of it into effect.

Sincerely your brethren, GEO. ALBERT SMITH, J. REUBEN CLARK, JR., DAVID O. MCKAY, First Presidency. {1948-July 8-Original circular letter, L.D.S. Church Archives,} (1)

1 - Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes)
2 - The Woodland Institute 'On This Day Historical Database,'
3 - On This Day in Mormon History,

LDS History Chronology: George Albert Smith

Mormon History Timeline: The life of George Albert Smith