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David O. McKay Diaries – “Missouri”

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Fri., 8 May, 1936:

“Attended to current duties including writing a reply to a committee of the Church of Christ, Independence, Missouri, inviting our church to join in building a temple in Jackson County.

We courteously refused, unless all could unite in recognition of the proper authority.”

Thur., 20 Jul., 1950:

“At 11 a.m. The First Presidency met with the following persons from Independence, Mo.:

Mayor Robert P. Weatherford, Jr.

Dr. Floyd Yale, President of the Board of Education

Mrs. F. L. Snyder

At this time a discussion was held regarding property owned by the Church in Independence, Missouri, which the Board of Education would like to secure for the purpose of building a school.  The following newspaper account (Deseret News, July 25, 1950) of this meeting will give the conclusions reached:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has agreed to contribute a generous sum to the City of Independence, Mo., to aid in acquiring a site for a new high school, the Church First Presidency announced Tuesday.

The contribution is being made in lieu of relinquishing a portion of the Temple lot owned by the Church and sought by the City of Independence as a high school site.

Of an original 63 acres purchased by the Church more than 100 years ago as a Temple site, approximately 23 acres now are owned by the Church, having been re-purchased in recent years.

. . . .

Mayor Robert P. Weatherford Jr., of Independence, Dr. Floyd Yale, president of the board of education, and Mrs. F. L. Snyder, a member of the advisory committee, came to Salt Lake City recently and discussed with the First Presidency the possibility of acquiring the property.

The statement released by the First Presidency follows:

The City of Independence, Missouri, is facing a grave problem in the matter of adequate high school facilities because of the recent rapid growth of the city and the practical certainty of its continued growth.  Its authorities had felt that the easiest solution of the problem could be reached by using the old Swope property located on the temple lot, which now belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The mayor of the city, Robert P. Weatherford Jr., the president of the board of education, Dr. Floyd Yale, and Mrs. F. L. Snyder, member of the advisory committee to the board of education, came to Salt Lake City to explore with the First Presidency the possibility of acquiring the Swope property owned by the Church, on which they would then build another high school building, and in connection therewith also provide athletic and other facilities desirable for the school.

The First Presidency affirmed that on on historical grounds they had a vital interest in the welfare of Independence, particularly along educational and cultural lines, and stated their desire to be of help to the city.

However, the Church plans to build a temple on the temple lot, and because of the latter purpose, the First Presidency did not wish to dispose of the Church’s property on temple lot.

After a completely friendly discussion between the First Presidency and the visiting authorities from Independence, the First Presidency offered, in lieu of relinquishing the temple lot property to the city, to contribute a generous sum to the city to aid it in acquiring other property suitable to meet the expanding school needs of the city.  This proposal was acceptable to the visiting authorities, and the matter will be so adjusted.”

Tues., 3 Apr., 1951:

“After a very busy morning, I left for home where I had lunch and rested for a few moments, and then left for President Smith’s residence where I found President Smith to be somewhat better, at least I thought he seemed so.  As we left, he smiled at us and said goodbye.

Mayor Weatherford of Independence, Missouri telephoned to say that he had just received word that President Smith is critically ill. He said: ‘I was very much disturbed to see this news in the press; I think so much of him and respect him highly.  Has he been ill for sometime?’  I answered that Pres. Smith has been in the hospital for a while, but has been home for two weeks or so, and has been absent from the office for six weeks.  Said that yesterday morning we became very much worried–we were at his home all morning.  At about 12:30 p.m. he rallied and was better.  Last evening at 6 p.m. he was the same, and at 8:30 p.m. when his only son arrived home, Pres. Smith recognized him, smiled, and said: ‘I am very glad that you have come.’

Mayor Weatherford then said: “We are very sorry that he is ill–will you please let his daughters know that we have called, and tell them that we think a lot of their father and of them.’

Mayor Weatherford expressed himself as being very much impressed with our Mission President in the Central States Mission–Brother J. Orval Ellsworth.  He said that Pres. Ellsworth is a member of their Kiwanis Club, and is doing a ‘swell’ job in that Mission.

I thanked Mayor Weatherford for calling and assured him that I would immediately call the Smith family.

Called Emily Smith Stuart and conveyed the foregoing message to her.”

May 21, 1954

Telephone Calls

Harry Truman Memorial Library

1.  President Alvin Dyer of the Central States Mission telephoned from Independence, Missouri.  He reported that Mayor Weatherford of Independence came to his office yesterday and stated that there is a project underway to build a Harry Truman Memorial Library on the location of the Swope Mansion property, which is located immediately south of the Church property on the high level hill.  The Mayor is requesting permission to build a roadway through our property from Pendleton Avenue, through Walnut Street to Pacific, which would bisect the Temple property.

I asked President Dyer as to the possibility of their condemning our property.  He answered that Mayor Weatherford said he had made a statement to the brethren of the Church that he would never take such a step with the Church property here, and that he will keep his word.  He explained that there is quite a sentiment in Independence that this Library will bring a million people to their city each year, and they base that figure on the number of people who visit the Roosevelt Memorial Library each year, and they assume it would be similar with the Harry Truman Memorial.  The project will be a two and a half million dollar one.  It will be built by a Foundation, and Mayor Weatherford said the money is available, and that when it is built it will be turned over to the Federal Government.

I then asked President Dyer if the Library can be built on some other spot, and he said that Harry Truman said if it cannot be built on this particular spot he will take it to another city.  Three cities are after it.

I then said:  ‘Suppose we do not grant that roadway?’  President Dyer answered that that subject had not been discussed by the Mayor.  He says he does not want to condemn it.  They feel that it is important to the City of Independence, but they want our permission to build it.  I then stated:  ‘If we do not grant permission, and the Library is taken to another town, the Church will be blamed.’  President Dyer said:  ‘Yes, that is my understanding.’  The property on which they wish to build belongs to the Reorganized Church, and they have agreed to turn the property over for this library.

President Dyer stated that Mayor Weatherford will fly out to Salt Lake City for a conference with me if I feel that it is necessary to get a better picture of the whole matter.  I answered that he need not fly out here, and if we deem it necessary for him to come, we shall get in touch with him without delay.  (matter was followed through by correspondence of the First Presidency)

Fri., 28 May, 1954:

“(3)  Harry Truman Library

Consideration was given to the proposition submitted by President Dyer of the Central States Mission pertaining to the erection of a Harry Truman Library on the Swope property in Independence, Missouri.  It is proposed that Pendleton Street be extended from Walnut Street to Pacific Street, which would cover part of the Church’s property in Independence.  The Brethren could see no objection to our permitting this to be done inasmuch as it would affect our property very little.  However, it was decided to wait until we receive a map from President Dyer giving more details regarding the proposed roadway.

June 3, 1954

Notes on First Presidency’s meeting

Truman Memorial Library

We discussed the question which had been presented by Mayor Weatherford of Independence, Missouri, through President Dyer of the Central States Mission pertaining to our giving permission for the extension of Pendleton Street through our property from Walnut Avenue to Pacific Avenue, it being the intention to erect a Truman Library Memorial on the Swope Mansion property.  The Brethren decided to answer the Mayor that we have asked President Dyer to call on him and explain the situation to him and get his reply and recommendation.  Correspondence followed.

Later it was decided to send a wire to the mayor asking him to come to Salt Lake City to consider this matter.  In answer to the wire sent to him, he replied that the purpose for which he would come to Salt Lake City no longer exist.”

Wed., 4 Apr., 1956:

“8:20 a.m. – Met by appointment Brother Alvin Dyer, President of the Central States Mission.

Pres. Dyer recommended that a Church be built at Liberty Jail right over the old Jail, retaining what remains of the original Jail, and then in the Church above put a Memorial Room giving the story of the incarceration of the Prophet and his companions, and the originals of the revelations received while at this Jail.  Last year 2,000 persons visited that place – 1700 of the 2000 were our own people, and the others non-members.

The second point Brother Dyer brought up related to the property listed by the Gleaner Harvester Corporation.  They would like to have a longer lease, and I think they should have it so that they can expand into the Wagner estate which joins the Church’s property leased by the Gleaner Harvester Corporation.

Brother Dyer then referred to the servicemen who are coming in government planes from the Scott Air Force, Belleville, Illinois, and another group from the Vance Air Force at Enid, Oklahoma.  Arrangements will be made for a reserved section for these young men.

President Dyer left with me a map of the Temple Lot at Independence, also a picture of Alva Boggs, the great-grandson of Governor Boggs who promised to give the Prophet Joseph Smith protection when incarcerated in Liberty Jail, but who failed in his promise.  His great-grandson has now joined the Church.  Brother Dyer also left a copy of the testimony of this young man.  (See copy of testimony following)

Tues., 24 Mar., 1959:

Pattonsburg Reservoir and Adam-ondi-Ahmen

After this conference the First Presidency returned to the north Board Room and met with Brother alvin R. Dyer.

President McKay read a draft of a proposed letter addressed to Congressman David King, which expressed to him the view of the First Presidency that rather than make a public protest in the matter of the proposed Pattonsburg Reservoir with relation to its inundating the site of Adam-ondi-Ahman, that no action be taken.

Brother Dyer exhibited detailed maps of the area to be effected by the reservoir and indicated where a dam could be constructed without inundating Adam-ondi-Ahman.

He explained that the Federal Engineers at Kansas City had prepared a survey and report upon the project and their findings had been submitted to the Omaho Office and thence sent on to their Washington D.C. office where they are now in the office of the Chief Engineer.  This office has shown willingness to consider the interests of the Church in the matter, and invited further suggestions.  Brother Dyer reviewed earlier developments and settlements in the area.  He stated that at one time there were 300 homes and that the area at one time was known as Cravensville.  He recalled portions of earlier reports from the Journals of Joseph Smith and some from diaries of Heber C. Kimball about conditions prevailing in the area.

President Richards commented upon the added historial interest which Brother Dyer’s explanation had brought out.

Brother Dyer explained the Historical Sites Committee (Brother Morris, Brother Isaacson, and Brother Wilford Wood) had asked him to talk with Congressman King and Senator Moss and that Congressman King had conferred with the Engineer’s Department about this project.

President McKay asked Brother Dyer with Brother King to meet quietly with the Engineer’s Office in Washington and without making any issue of the amtter to learn if another site for the dam might be selected which would avoid inundation of this historic area.

*(the design rendered in color)

Thurs., 22 Mar., 1962:

“8:30 a.m.

The First Presidency met with Dr. LeRoy Kimball regarding the exchange of property at Independence, Missouri for property in Nauvoo, Illinois.

Dr. Kimball explained that Mr. Harold Fabian had asked him to meet with the First Presidency today and report on meetings with the officers of the Reorganized Church in Independence about the Church’s acquiring the property owned by the Reorganized Church on the temple block in Nauvoo. Mr. Fabian, Dr. Kimball, Preston Kimball, the attorney, who had driven from Nauvoo, met Presiding Bishop Leslie DeLapp of the Reorganized Church in Independence at 9:00 a.m. on March 15, 1962. Bishop DeLapp warmed up to the matter quickly and said forthrightly that our Church has property in Independence which they need, and that the Reorganized Church has property in Nauvoo which our Church wants. He agreed to an exchange of properties and also suggested that an independent appraiser set the values involved.  Bishop DeLapp’s counselors, Livingston and Johnson, were also present.

Dr. Kimball explained that the Reorganized Church needs three lots in Independence, indicated on the plat, to carry out plans for the beautification and landscaping of their adjoining property. He described the properties owned by the Church as being scattered and isolated by themselves, serving no permanent interest to the Church so far as he could see; that they are evidently of no planning value to the Church, but they are a “thorn,” in the side of the Reorganized Church, and are needed for their long range planning and beautification of other properties and that they will be valuable to them.

Dr. Kimball said that though the Bishop at first said he had only a few minutes before a conference, he spent three hours with Mr. Fabian,

Dr. Kimball, and Preston Kimball, showing them the improved beautified auditorium of the Reorganized Church which has been decorated and improved and made attractive, and which they are landscaping. Bishop DeLapp introduced the group to President Wallace Smith of the Reorganized Church who said that Bishop DeLapp has authority so far as the president is concerned to deal with the group and to arrive at some agreeable arrangement. President Smith said “I can’t see why we can’t get along better than we do.”

I stated: “They know why. We don’t know they exist. It is all on their side.”

Dr. Kimball said they put it the other way. Bishop DeLapp spoke to Mr. Fabian and Preston and said not being members of the Church, you can understand the emotion that underlies this. He said, “We are not asking for that big acreage. We know we won’t get it anyway, but we know what you want in Nauvoo. We tried to get some of the temple lot,” (they wanted to erect; a monument of the Prophet Joseph Smith on it) “but you kind of upset us in Nauvoo. ” He further said: “We have use for these three lots (in Independence). We need them for our beautification. We would deal on the simple basis of having an appraiser come

in, whomever you want, to appraise the property here and in Nauvoo. I said, that that is fair and would be all right.

Dr. Kimball said that he felt that Bishop DeLapp is an honest man, that Mr. Fabian had said that if he were to pick out a man in Salt Lake to compare with Bishop DeLapp, it would be Ernest L. Wilkinson. Dr. Kimball said that they had felt that the representatives of the Reorganized Church with whom they met were friendly and that they were honest; that Mr. Fabian had also said that he thought if we were to offer Bishop DeLapp the presidency of the Zions First National Bank in Salt Lake City he would come to Salt Lake.

Dr. Kimball said he talked with President Carlos Smith of the Central States Mission. He asked if Bishop DeLapp told us that we own some land there. Dr. Kimball said that he told President Smith that Bishop DeLapp had told him that. Dr. Kimball also said that if he owned the land in Independence which they wish, he would give it to them (in trade) as he cannot see where we would lose. If there were a chance of our gaining four, five or six lots around the present lots, it would be different, but the Reorganized Church already owns the contiguous property around the lots in which they are interested.

Bishop DeLapp had said that some day the Church may want to build a temple in Independence; that the Hedrikites have the temple lot in Independence, and they are friendly to the Reorganized Church.

Dr. Kimball indicated on the plat of the property in Independence where the desired lobs are situated and explained that they are single lots and scattered in three places; that the Reorganized Church owns the contiguous lots. They are anxious to obtain these lots as a part of their plan for landscaping and beautification and for parking near the old church. They own the land surrounding the individual lots.

I said that in consideration of everything Dr. Kimball had presented to us that there would be no hesitancy, but we would do as he suggests, and let the lots in Independence be appraised and exchanged on a fair basis for the Nauvoo lot.

Dr. Kimball compared our owning of the individual lots surrounded by the Reorganized Church’s property to the situation of Sears Roebuck Company when the big parking lot surrounded the small dwelling, the owner of which held out against the company when it was trying to develop the property on South Main Street. Our property is a similar thorn to the development of the property owned by the Reorganized Church.

Dr. Kimball asked in whose name certain of the lots was held, and Bishop DeLapp had pointed to one and said it was held in the name of Heber J. Grant. It was suggested that the Legal Department will be able to identify the lots and verify the titles and the names in which they are held.

I said: “All right, you consummate this. We shall give you the responsibility for making that trade.”

Dr. Kimball said that they had specified that we should get a neutral appraiser.

I said that we should leave it in Dr. Kimball’s hands to consummate the trade, and said to him: “You are the man to do it. It is in your hands. We shall make a record of it.”

Nauvoo Appointment 

Dr. Kimball then referred to Mr. Ed Kendrew’s letter written to Mr. Fabian relating to the appointment to meet the committee and the First Presidency in Nauvoo on the 4th or 5th of May. He said that April 29th would be better for him, that he would leave Williamsburg on Friday, May 4th. Dr. Kimball said that they would like some assurance that the First Presidency can be there. Brother Marriott said that he would be there, and he asked if Mr. Conrad Wirth of the National Parks Service will be present. Dr. Kimball explained that Mr. Wirth is head of the United States National Park System. Mr. Kendrew’s letter expressed his interest in the Nauvoo project, and said that it reminded him of the beginning of the Willlamsburg project 25 years ago.

I said: “I think we had better set it to get there on Friday and spend Saturday, May 4th and 5th. One or two of us will be there. “

Dr. Kimball then withdrew from the meeting.”

Fri., 13 Apr. 1962:

“8:35 a.m.

Went into the meeting of the First Presidency.  Among many items discussed were the following:

1) Independence, Missouri – Exchange of Lots for Lot in Nauvoo

Maps, sketches and papers in the file on Independence, Missouri, were briefly reviewed to show the extent of the original temple lot acquired by Edward Partridge, Presiding Bishop of the Church, and later acquired by others for delinquent taxes after the Mormons were driven out of Missouri and into Illinois.  The area is at present built up with the exception of 23 acres now owned by the Church.  This is also indicated on the sketch maps in the file.  A memorandum of a meeting of officials of the city of Independence with the First Presidency, July 1950, on the subject of the need of the city for a site for a high school and their desire to obtain property owned by the Church was also briefly reviewed.  The memorandum included a statement of the decision of the First Presidency not to sell the property to the city, but to make a contribution to the city toward the building of a high school in another location.

The three separate isolated lots surrounded by property owned by the Reorganized Church, which they desire now to trade for the lot owned by them on the temple lot in Nauvoo, were indicated.

I said that the question is whether we want to dispose of these lots at an independently appraised value for exchange for the lot in Nauvoo.  We have given our word for it.  The tabernacle of the Reorganized Church is built upon dedicated land, as is also the Church of Christ Chapel (Hendrikites).  I stated that I hope we can get their land when they make a change, but I do not see any purpose in keeping these three lots.  Presidents Moyle and Brown were in agreement, and said that they were in favor of acting on the proposal, that it is the right thing to do.

I asked, ‘Is there anything else to do in honor?’

President Brown said, ‘I think it’s the right thing to do.’

I stated:  ‘I am glad this came up because I now have a better view of it.  I think our possessing the old temple lot in Nauvoo will be more pleasing to the Lord than our keeping these three lots.  By getting that we have clear title to the lot on which the temple was in reality.

President Moyle agreed and said:  ‘Especially since these Reorganized lots include part of the foundation of the temple.

I said: ‘I think we are all united on that.’

Fri., 25 Sept. 1964:

“Jackson County Temple – Donation to

President McKay received memorandum from Elder Alvin R. Dyer reporting the desire of Sister Karl Hardy Cutler of Preston, Idaho, to donate $2,000 towards the building of the Temple in Jackson County, Missouri.

By letter, President McKay told Elder Dyer that the Church will be pleased to receive this donation and will hold it in trust for the specific purpose for which the contribution is made.  (See correspondence following regarding this matter.)

Donation to Temple In Jackson County


To: President David O. McKay and Counselors Date: September 14, 1964

From: Elder Alvin R. Dyer

Re: Proferred bequest of a cash sum to be held in trust for the building of the Temple in Jackson, Missouri

While attending the Franklin Stake Conference at Preston, Idaho, this past weekend, Bishop J. LeGrand Burton of the Preston 1st Ward informed me that Sister Cutler who is 75 years old and has been a school teacher most of her life and a widow of a former member of the Stake Presidency who died sometime ago as a result of an accident, has come into some money as a result of the insurance that she held on her husband.  Both she and Brother Cutler had often discussed the future temple to be built in Jackson County, Missouri and realized that they would, no doubt, be dead when this great time of the future should come, but they were sincere and united in their feeling that they wanted to make a contribution in the way of money from their savings and insurance toward this cause.  Sister Cutler, therefore, is willing to give to the Church, the sum of $2,000.00 in cash which she and her husband would like to have set aside for use on this sacred project at some future date.

Sister Cutler, whom I met and spoke with concerning this, feels that it is a very sacred and confidential matter and only she, her bishop, and her stake president know of her offer and will ever know of it, so far as she is concerned.  Because of the prophetic condition which concerns this temple and of the extreme sacredness of it when the time comes for it to be built, I did not presume to have an answer for Sister Cutler as to whether or not the First Presidency would be agreeable to the acceptance of such a sum for this purpose, and so I gave her no answer in either direction on it, but to keep faith with her I promised that I would send this memorandum to you concerning it.  She is a very sincere, wonderful member of the Church.

Friday, September 25, 1964

To Whom It May Concern:

We have in our ward a widow who has sufficient for her needs, and probably a little extra.  She is about 80 years old, and has expressed a desire to make a contribution toward the building of the Temple in Jackson County Missouri.

If there be such a fund, or if such a contribution would be accepted, she would like to contribute $2000.00.  She is very desirous that the matter be very confidential, and that no one except myself and whoever is authorized to accept it know anything about.

J. LeGrand Burton

Bishop Preston First Ward

Friday, September 25, 1964

September 16, 1964

Elder Alvin R. Dyer

Assistant to the Twelve


Dear Brother Dyer:

In answer to your memorandum of September 14, 1964, regarding a two-thousand-dollar cash contribution by Sister Cutler, a member of the Preston First Ward, Franklin Stake toward the building of the Temple in Jackson County, Missouri, you may advise Bishop J. LeGrand Burton of the Preston First Ward that we shall accept this contribution.  It, however, may be years before the Temple in Jackson County is built.

In the meantime, Sister Cutler’s two-thousand dollars will be held in trust for the specific purpose for which the contribution is made.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


Wed., 26 May 1965:

11:30 a.m.

Leasing of Church Property at Independence, Missouri

In the meantime, Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson telephoned and asked if he could come over to see me, and I told my daughter, who had answered the telephone, to tell him to come right over.  

Brother Isaacson mentioned to me a visit that Elder Alvin R. Dyer, Brother Wilford Kirton, Church Attorney, and he had with a representative of Alex Chalmers of Independence to discuss this proposition.

I suggested that these three men go and find out the details, and report back to me; that if a lease is given it should not be for too long a period.  Elder Isaacson will see me when he returns.

After Brother Isaacson’s departure, I took a rest.

Wed., 16 Feb., 1966:

“8:00 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency.  Presidents Hugh B. Brown, Nathan Eldon Tanner, and Joseph Fielding Smith were present.  President Isaacson absent in the hospital.

Pattonsburg Dam, Near Adam-Ondi-Ahman in Missouri – Report by Alvin R. Dyer

Elder Alvin R. Dyer met by appointment with us and discussed the matter of the Pattonsburg Dam project which will be located about one mile north of Adam-Ondi-Ahman in Missouri.  He explained that a few years ago when he was presiding over the Central States Mission, he learned of the proposal to construct this dam in a location that would have meant the flooding of Adam-Ondi-Ahman and the Church’s property in that area, that he contacted the engineer in charge and took him over the property and explained to him the Church’s attitude regarding that area and what it would mean to the Church if this area were flooded by the reservoir.  In answer to the engineer’s question as to where he thought it should be located, Brother Dyer suggested to him that it should be about a mile north of the location they had in mind.  This is the site where they have now decided to place this dam, on the Grand River which empties into the Missouri River.  Elder Dyer said that the dam is now in the engineer’s drawings.  This re-location has been confirmed as evidenced by preliminary sketches and design sheets of the U.S. Engineer’s Office.

Elder Dyer felt that the matter had now developed to the point where it seemed important that the Church take cognizance of the situation.  He, therefore, felt that he should make a report to the First Presidency relative thereto.  He presented to the Brethren a brochure with attached documents, maps and details pertaining to the project showing the location of our property, the location of the dam and the extent of the dam.  Elder Dyer stated that this Pattonsburg Dam is only one of seven reservoirs that will be erected in that area, and that the over-all cost of the entire complex will approximate 700 million dollars.  The main dam will be the Pattonsburg Dam where the power plant will be installed.  He explained that this is really the Mississippi River flood control and the determination is to control all the water coming down through Missouri, and the hydro-electric power at the dam will bring about great benefits to the entire area.  The Church owns about 38 acres of land at Tower Hill, and the dam will be located in a place where the Church’s land will not be flooded.

Elder Dyer said this would also mean the development of a large recreational area which will attract millions of tourists to that area.

According to the survey that has been made, it is believed that many more tourists will visit that area than all of the other bureaus of information that the Church owns, including the Salt Lake Temple Bureau, Hill Cumorah pageant, World’s Fair, etc.  The figures which have been prepared to which Brother Dyer called attention were based on attendance at similar projects.  He said it is estimated that potentially there would be from 8 to 10 million people who would visit the area.  Elder Dyer thought we needed some additional acreage.  He said that our Legal Department has made a study of the land that we own in that area and indicates that there is no question that our title to the land is clear.  He mentioned that the location of our property is such that we do not have clearance to the roadway that goes in there.  Elder Dyer mentioned also that in the Ozark region, which is just south of this area where two dams were built, 23 million tourists went through that area last year.

Elder Dyer further stated that agents have made preliminary investigations and have informed us that we can obtain some additional property in that area.  He did not know what we would have to pay for it, that the property varies in price.  He recommended that we obtain parts or all of sections 2 and 3.  He indicated that the acreage we own is not sufficient on which to have a bureau of information together with parking space and private facilities for people who need to be taken care of there.  He thought we should have at least another hundred acres.  He stated that some of the acreage is selling for $400 an acre and some may be even more expensive; also that some is selling for as low as $150 per acre.  He reported that they will not begin construction of the dam until 1968, and it is expected it will take two and one-half to three years to complete it.  Elder Dyer recommended that a study be made of the project and someone be authorized to investigate the properties and obtain firm bids. 

I said that Brother Dyer has a better understanding of the area than anyone else, and asked that he take the responsibility of following up the situation, making a study thereof, an investigation as to land that might be secured and cost thereof, and submit his report and recommendations to the First Presidency.

Elder Dyer asked if he were authorized to contact a real estate firm, and I said the matter was in his hands.

As Brother Dyer left the meeting, I turned to the Brethren and stated that we had made no mistake in choosing Brother Dyer to handle this matter.

Fri., 15 Apr. 1966:

“7:55 a.m.

Adam-ondi-Ahman – Maps of Land Surrounding the Area Shown

I met by appointment Elder Alvin R. Dyer, Assistant to the Twelve, formerly President of the Central States Mission.  He was accompanied by his son Brent who carried for his father charts of Adam-ondi-Ahman which were mounted on plywood, and various maps showing the surrounding area.

Brother Dyer told the history of the whole area.  (See minutes following giving a detailed account of what he showed me and explained to me.)

After Brother Dyer had finished his report to me, I said the whole thing is a miracle; first, the relocation of the dam-site, preserving this sacred area from inundation, and secondly, the feeling and attitude of the United States Engineers at Kansas City and Omaha in cooperating with the Church, and also the farmers who are willing to part with their farm land for they seem to sense the importance of this area.

I asked Brother Dyer how the people of the area felt about Adam-ondi-Ahman, and Brother Dyer said that one of the largest land owners in the area had named his place the ‘Old Di-ahman Farm,’ and that the Missouri Historical Society has erected a large and substantial marker of steel and bronze with the wording ‘Adam’s Consecrated Land’, and that the marker is highly respected.  One resident, Clay Barlow, has expressed the wish to live until Adam returns.

I told Brother Dyer that we should proceed at once to obtain needed property, and that I hold him responsible to see that this is done, and that he is to look after the project as a whole, keeping me advised of developments.  (See diary of June 1 and 2nd, for trip to Adam-ondi-Ahman.)

Tues., 24 May 1966:

“10:30 a.m.

Adam Ondi-Ahman – Purchase of Property — Visit of President McKay to

Alvin R. Dyer came in by appointment and presented two options to purchase real estate from Frederick W. and Joyce J. Dustman at Adam Ondi-Ahman.

Brother Dyer said that this property is important to the Church as it contains areas of vital Church history, and that it is needed for the establishing of a bureau with facilities to engage the millions of tourists who will be visiting this area annually now that the Pattonsburg and other dams are to be erected creating a lake of considerable size.  He said that wealthy men are already purchasing property for the establishing of Hotels and resorts in this area.  He said that it is his recommendation that the Church exercise these options at once; that they concern approximately 140 acres, more or less, at a cost of $234 per acre, or $60,000.  These options expire June 1 and 2nd, 1966.

Brother Dyer then said that it would be a good thing if I could go to this area and inspect the property and see for myself the necessity of acquiring the property in question in order to protect the property we already own at Adam-Ondi-Ahman.  He said that these wealthy men are willing to pay much more to obtain the land than it has been offered to us.

I told Brother Dyer that since I had never visited Missouri and these historic sites, I should like to go and see these places.  I said that I think I shall take President Joseph Fielding Smith with me; that we could leave Wednesday, June 1, and return the next morning in time for Council Meeting.

I then called President Smith and asked him to come right over to the apartment.  When he arrived, I told him that I should like him to accompany Brother Alvin R. Dyer and me to make a plane trip to Missouri and look over the land at Adam Ondi-Ahman, and at the same time visit the other Church historic places there.  President Smith said that he would be delighted and pleased to accompany me.

I then told Brother Dyer to make the plane reservations for June 1, at 10:00 a.m.

Tuesday, May 24, 1966

May 24, 1966

President David O. McKay


Re:  Purchase of Property at Adam-ondi-Ahman

Dear President:

Attached to this letter will be found two options to purchase real estate from Frederick W. and Joyce J. Dustman at Adam-ondi-Ahman.

This property is important for the purposes of the Church at this place; containing areas of vital Church history.  It is needed for the establishing of a bureau with facilities to engage the millions of tourists who will visit this area annually.  The Pattonsburg and other dams are to be erected as a flood control and water conservation project, and will principally concern the Grand River.

The Omnibus Rivers and Harbors Bill (S-2300) which authorized the project, became Public Law 89-298 on October 27, 1965.

It is my recommendation, acting upon your request, that the Church excercize these options at once.  They concern approximately 140 acres, more or less at a cost of $234.00 per acre, or sixty thousand dollars.

It is to be noted that the options expire June 1st and 2nd, 1966, respectively, and therefore should be acted upon.

Sincerely yours brother,

Alvin R. Dyer


Tuesday, May 13, 1966


To: President David O. McKay Date:  May 24, 1966

From: Alvin R. Dyer

Re: Option No. 3 to purchase Property at Adam-ondi-Ahman

This option, which is being mailed to us, is for an additional 58 acres of land to the north of options 1 and 2, referred to in a letter sent to you today.  This land will also be needed to complete the projection of facilities for the future bureau at Adam-ondi-Ahman.

According to our understanding, this section of land contains the place where the altar of Adam was found and is near the temple site.  It belongs to land promoters and developers from St. Joseph, Missouri, who have purchased two thousand or more acres, extending from the north and joining optioned Church property; to beyond Jameson and will border the shores of the lake to be created by the Pattonsburg Dam.  They intend a mammoth development there of motels, boat harbors, swimming, fishing, etc., that will serve the millions who will visit this place.  The owners, Robert Madget and Walter Andrews, of St. Joseph, Missouri, are wealthy investors and seem reluctant to dispose of any of their property; however, they have now given us an option on some 58 acres which we will need to request a purchase on later, as the option has not been received, although it is being mailed and the price will need final determination.”

Thurs., 26 May 1966:

10:30 a.m.

Outline for Priesthood Home Teaching, and Plans for Visit to Adam-ondi-Ahman

Brother Alvin R. Dyer came in and presented an outline of a course of study he is preparing for the Priesthood Home Teaching Committee, which points out the revelations concerning the governing of the Church; viz., the Presiding High Priest of the Priesthood of the Church, or President of the Church, or, as the revelation says, the Standing High Priest; 2) the President of the Stake; 3) the Bishop of the Ward; 4) the father in the home.  He explained that the revelation points out that this Church is self-governing, and that there is no need for the President of the Church to be ‘high pressured’ into making any decision; that he should be left to seek for inspiration on any principle or subject affecting the Church and have time to study the matter out.  It is he and he alone who can make decisions affecting the government of the Church.  He may have as many counselors and assistants as he deems necessary.

Brother Dyer then read from the Doctrine and Covenants several passages to prove what he had told me.

We then talked about our contemplated trip to Missouri next Wednesday.  I said that I am still planning to go, and left the arrangements in the hands of Brother Dyer.”

Tues., 31 May 1966:

“10:30 a.m.

Trip to Adam-Ondi-Ahman

Brother Alvin R. Dyer came in to confirm appointment for President Joseph Fielding Smith, him, and me to go to Kansas City and Independence, Missouri to visit Adam-Ondi-Ahman property.  Brother Dyer said he will now call the Travel Bureau and confirm the plane reservations.

It was decided that Robert McKay, who is on the General Church Information Committee, would accompany, but later this was changed, and it was decided that Lawrence McKay would go in his stead.

After Brother Dyer left, my secretary, Clare, who accompanied him, took up some office matters with me.  She told me of the difficulty she is having in getting appointments to bring important matters to me; that the housekeeper makes it very difficult.  Clare said that she comes over only when she has something that needs my personal attention.  I told Clare that she is to come over any time; that she needs no appointment, to just come over when she has anything to take up with me.

Wed., 1 June 1966:

“Historic Trip To Missouri To Visit Adam-ondi-Ahman And Other Church Historic

Places In Missouri

7:15 a.m.

President Joseph Fielding Smith and Elder Alvin R. Dyer, Assistant to the Twelve, according to previous arrangements, met me at the apartment in the Hotel Utah.  I was ready and waiting for them when they arrived.  My son, Lawrence, who accompanied us on the trip, was there also.  We left the Hotel by way of the back entrance, and were driven to the Airport by Brother Darcey U. Wright.

8:00 a.m.

At the Airport we were met by Brother Franklin J. Murdock who had made all the arrangements with the airline officials for our reservations.  Our car was driven right to the plane and we were taken aboard for Kansas City, Missouri at 8:00 a.m.  (A complete journal of this historic trip by Brother Alvin R. Dyer follows.)  (See also following copy of letter received from President Keysor of Central States Mission.)

Wednesday and Thursday, June 1 and 2, 1966

Journal of Visit to Historic Places in Missouri

June 8, 1966

President David O. McKay


Re:  Recent Visit to Adam-ondi-Ahman

Dear President McKay:

Attached you will find a journal record of your recent visit to Adam-ondi-Ahman and other historic places in Missouri.  This was prepared from notes which I took during our visit there.

This is an experience that I shall never forget and I thought that perhaps you would like to read the account of our visit and the things that we talked about while we were there.

With affectionate regards,

Alvin R. Dyer

Wednesday and Thursday, June 1 and 2, 1966

Journal Record of the Visit of President David O. McKay to Adam-ondi-Ahman

Pertinent Facts of the Visit

With President McKay were the following:

President Joseph Fielding Smith of the Council of the Twelve

Elder Alvin R. Dyer, Assistant to the Twelve

David Lawrence McKay, the son of the President

Historic Places Visited

Independence, Missouri

Liberty, Missouri

Far West, Missouri

Adam-ondi-Ahman, Missouri

Those who Assisted in the Arrangements

and Comforts of the Tour

Clare Middlemiss, personal secretary of President McKay whose real interest and suggestions helped in many ways.

Franklin J. Murdock for plane and hotel reservations, and for assistance at interim plane stops and changes.

Darcey Wright who drove the President’s car to and from the Salt Lake airport.

Dick Penner, Customer Service U.A.L. at Denver, Colorado.

George H. Stuart, Customer Service, U.A.L., at Kansas City, Missouri.

Truman Laudie, member of Kansas City Stake High Council, who provided his Cadillac, and as driver, drove the party to and from the historic places in Missouri referred to.

Others Who Accompanied the Laudie Car

with the President and his Party

Second Car:

The Kansas City Stake Presidency

Jewel Pope, President

Wayne Reeve, First Counselor

Christian Sanders, Second Counselor

James Pope, the stake president’s father

Third Car:

President and Sister Robert Keysor of the Central States Mission

Fourth Car:

Mr. and Mrs. Larry Nicholsen, the official photographers

Dates of the Historic Tour

June 1st and 2nd, 1966

Place of Lodging, Evening of June 1, 1966

Hotel Muelbach, Kansas City, Missouri

Distance traveled by automobile from Kansas City Airport to the four historic places and return to Kansas City, Missouri, was 200 miles.

History of the Visit

On the morning of May 24, 1966, I accompanied Clare Middlemiss, the personal secretary of President David O. McKay, to his apartment in the Hotel Utah, where a letter, addressed to the President was read to him concerning certain options that had been obtained from Frederick W. and Joyce J. Dustman, to purchase a total of approximately 140 acres of historic land at Adam-ondi-Ahman.  (Note:  Letter and options made a part of this journal record.)

President McKay thoughtfully announced upon this occasion that he wanted to go to Adam-ondi-Ahman, and would arrangements be made for such a trip.  It was determined that President Joseph Fielding Smith of the Council of the Twelve would be asked to go.  He was called out of the Committee on Expenditures meeting then in session, and upon arrival at the President’s apartment signified his willingness to accompany the President, and expressed delight that President McKay had decided to visit the historic places in Missouri, having never been there before.

The dates of the visit agreeable to President McKay were chosen and arrangements were made.  It was thought at first that Robert McKay would accompany the party, but it was later determined that Lawrence would go.

The purchase of needed property at Adam-ondi-Ahman, and the fact that a great deal of Church funds would no doubt eventually be expended at this place for a bureau and other facilities, influenced the President to want to set feet on the ground in this area, and see for himself and get the feeling for decisions to be reached.

President McKay and his party left Salt Lake City on a U.A.L. jet flight at 8:55 a.m. Wednesday, June 1st, 1966, and arrived at Kansas City, Missouri, at 1:10 p.m., having made an intermediate stop, and a change of plane, (U.A.L.) at Denver, Colorado.

Conveniences for President McKay

The President was placed in a wheel chair and lifted by hoist to the platform of the portable stairs at Salt Lake City and was taken from the plane at Denver the same way.  However, the plane from Denver was entered by the jetway on the wheel chair. The first class seats on all planes were blocked out and President McKay and party were permitted entrance considerably in advance of the other passengers.

At Kansas City the wheel chair was taken down the jet-way stairs to ground level by U.A.L. Customer Service attendants.

President McKay’s car at Salt Lake City went direct to the plane on the runway.  At Kansas City, the terminus, Truman Laudie’s car was just outside of the landing.

Welcoming at Kansas City, Missouri

The party was met at Kansas City by the Presidency of the Kansas City Stake and President and Sister Keysor of the Central States Mission.  Perhaps a hundred and fifty members had heard of the coming of the President, hovering about, just to get a glimpse of the Prophet, some came forward to be nearby but mostly all stayed at a distance so as not to tire the President with personal greetings.

The party, soon after arrival, were in the Laudie car; the President sitting in the front seat by the driver, and President Smith, Elder Dyer, and Lawrence McKay in the rear seat.

It was a beautiful day though slightly overcast.  It was not too hot and the humidity was not extreme, nevertheless the air-conditioning in the car was appreciated.

At Independence, Missouri

Leaving the airport the party drove directly to Independence, Missouri, a distance of 12 or 13 miles.

Elder Dyer, for the most part commented to President McKay, in particular, on the historic significance of the various places visited.

In Independence, the hospital and old folks home of the R.L.D.S. Church were passed and pointed out, as also the School of the Restoration Building and the ‘Old Stone Church.’

The party stopped in front of the small frame Church of Christ Chapel (Hedreckite), on River Blvd., where in plain view to the left, about one half block away, stood the Auditorium of the R.L.D.S.  Across the street to the east of the auditorium is the twenty-three plus acres of temple land which belongs to our Church.

While in front of the Hedreckite Church, Elder Dyer pointed out that this particular spot was the high point of the some 63 acres of the original ‘inheritance’ or ‘Temple Lane’ property and where the Prophet Joseph Smith dedicated a temple site, which is destined to become the Temple of the New Jerusalem.  The Prophet’s journal was cited:

‘On the third day of August, (1831), I proceeded

to dedicate the spot for the temple, a little west

of Independence, and there were also present, 

Sydney Rigdon, Edward Partridge, William W.

Phelps, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris and

Joseph Coe.’  (DHC Vol. 1, p. 199)

President McKay evidenced real interest in what was said and seemed very pleased to be present, there on this consecrated land, and in viewing the high point where the Prophet Joseph had stood.  He expressed his pleasure in the fact that the Church owned some of this inheritance land, and asked how we had obtained it.  This was explained to him.

The party drove around the R.L.D.S. Auditorium, and then passed by our Church property on Pacific Street, which together with some acreage to the south, totaling approximately six acres, is now leased to Allis-Chalmers, who have a huge operation there, manufacturing farm equipment.  The party, turned north on Pleasant Street, passing the old Swope mansion property now used by the R.L.D.S. as a playground and youth center.  At Walnut and Pleasant the party turned west, passing the Independence Ward Chapel, Central States Mission office, and the new mission president’s residence. From here the party drove by the home of former President Harry Truman, and thence on Highway 24, passed the Truman Memorial Library, a commanding structure well set on rolling lawns and appropriate landscaping.  As we left the library, President McKay remarked that ‘he was not a very good man.”

At Liberty, Missouri

Crossing over the Missouri River the party arrived shortly thereafter at Liberty, Missouri.  Driving through the town they passed the city square where stands the courthouse of Clay County.  Elder Dyer noted that on June 16, 1834, a mass meeting was called on this square where consideration was given to the settling of the matter of ‘Jackson lands’, which the Saints had been dispossessed of.  About one thousand people attended the meeting.  It was here that the ‘Buy or Sell’, proposition was made, but there was no just treatment of the Saints.  Many rabble rousers from Jackson County kept the meeting aflame with such statements as, ‘The Mormons have lived long enough in Clay County; and they must either clear out or be cleared out.’  This statement was made by a Baptist minister.  But Mr. Turnham, the Chairman of the meeting, made this statement:

‘Let us be republicans, let us honor our country, and not disgrace

it like Jackson County.  For God’s sake don’t disfranchise or drive

away the Mormons.  They are better citizens than many of the older


General Doniphan, who attended the meeting and observing the mounting injustices heaped upon the Mormons and knowing of their calibre, declared:

‘That’s a fact, and as the Mormons have armed themselves,

if they don’t fight, they are cowards.’  (Refiner’s Fire, pp. 42-43)

Reaching the Liberty Jail Bureau, the party got out of the car.  President McKay with President Smith near his side, walked up the steps and into the Bureau at Liberty Jail assisted by Elder Dyer and Lawrence McKay.  A number of missionaries (4) were in the reception room to greet the President.  Elder Dyer explained how the bureau was handled with missionaries first delivering a lecture and answering questions before proceeding to the jail rotunda.  In the rotunda which encloses the restored Liberty Jail, the historic events that led to the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum, and four others being placed in this crude and barren enclosure 14 feet square with a dungeon and upper room for approximately four months in the winter of 1838-39 without just cause.  Here in the depths of sorrow and abject persecution, the prophet sought God the Father for guidance and assurance.  He was answered by the reassuring influence and voice of God the Father who, some 18 years before had spoken to him in the Sacred Grove near Palmyra, New York, when he introduced His Beloved Son to the Prophet.

The inspiration of this deep religious experience was meditated upon as President Chris Sanders of the Kansas City Stake Presidency read the inscriptions carved on granite pylons extending 20 feet high surrounding the jail and are excerpts from the revelations given unto the Prophet at this place.  The placement of these inscriptions, carved in granite, were approved by President McKay when the planning of the bureau was underway and are given here.




‘O God, where art thou?  And where is the pavilion that covereth thy

hiding place?

‘How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, 

behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy 

servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries?’

D & C 121:1,2


‘My son,  peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions

shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall

exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.  Thy friends do

stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and 

friendly hands.’

D & C 121:7-9


‘Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men,

and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish

thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence

wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine

of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from


‘Thy Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and 

thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and 

truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion,.

and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee 

forever and ever.’

D & C 121: 45-46



‘Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen.  And why

are they not chosen?

‘Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this

world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not

learn this one lesson–

‘That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected

with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven

cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles

of righteousness.’

D & C 121: 34-36


‘No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue

of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by 

gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

‘By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly

enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile;

Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon 

by the Holy Ghost and then showing forth afterwards an

increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, 

lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

‘That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than

the cords of death.’

D & C 121: 41-44


‘That they may be conferred upon us, it is true, but when we

undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain

ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion

upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteous-

ness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the spirit of the 

Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, amen to the priesthood

or the authority of that man.’

D & C 121:37




‘Here is a principle also, which we are bound to be exercised with,

that is, in common with all men, such as governments, and laws,

and regulations in the civil concerns of life.  This principle guarantees

to all parties, sects, and denominations, and classes of religion,

equal, coherent, and indefeasible rights; they are things that pertain to

this life; therefore all are alike interested; they make our responsibilities

one toward another in matters of corruptible things, while the former

principles do not destroy the latter, but bind us stronger and make our

responsibilities not only one to another, but unto God also …Hence we

say, that the Constitution of the United States is a glorious standard; it

is founded in the wisdom of God.  It is a heavenly banner; it is to all 

those who are privileged with the sweets of its liberty, like the cooling

shades and refreshing waters of a great rock in the thirsty and weary land.

It is like a great tree under whose branches men from every clime can be

shielded from the burning rays of the Sun.’

DHC Vol. III, p. 232

President Sanders voice was clear, distinct, and compelling.  The contemplation

of these revelations clearly affected the President as his eyes became moist with tears.  ‘The great revelation from God given unto man for man’, said President McKay.

President Joseph Fielding Smith told of his having dedicated this building including the jail, and so far as he knew the only time a jail was ever dedicated.  He also referred to the fact that his father, Joseph F. Smith who became President of the Church, born near Far West, Missouri, was brought to the jail where his grandfather Hyrum Smith saw him for the first time.

Elder Dyer told of the room to be added on the north of the jail and of other changes inside with the addition of a statue of Joseph Smith that will more effectively tell the message of the Church at that place.

From this hallowed place the entourage went directly to Adam-ondi-Ahman.  The rolling hills, the many trees, hedges and completely green country side was beautiful to behold.  The Missouri River which flows from the vast northwest on its relentless flow to the Mississippi River was crossed several times during the day with the reminder, as exclaimed by the Prophet Joseph Smith, ‘that well might man put forth his puny arm to stop the flow of the mighty Missouri than to stop God from pouring down blessings upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.’  (A statement made in Liberty Prison)

A part of the journey northward was accomplished on the new interstate freeway No. 35 which eventually will cross over the Pattonsburg Reservoir at Adam-ondi-Ahman and will have convenient exists at the north and south of Adam-ondi-Ahman.

The valleys and hills of Adam-ondi-Ahman on this beautiful, but overcast day, late spring day, June 1, 1966, was never more beautiful, the early growth of the farmers crops, mostly corn was in evidence and the trees and shrubs on uncleared land were dense and seemingly impenetrable.  The party passed the farm homes of Henry and Joyce Dustman, (Old Di-Ahman Farms) of Elmore and Estes – having driven through the Daviess County Seat of Gallatin, a place significant in Church history.

At Adam-ondi Ahman

Leaving Gallatin, we traveled north on Highway 13 to the highway marker pointing the direction to Adam-ondi-Ahman, a turn-off I had taken many times before.  Crossing over the railroad tracks we were on the gravel road leading west.  (This is the road that the Church assisted with the cost of grading and graveling during the time that President Dyer presided over the Central States Mission).  Passing Dustman’s Di-Ahman Farms we crossed over a creekbed bridge and ascended the hill on a narrow road to Tower Hill.  The party stopped here and President McKay, President Smith, and the rest of us got out of the cars and stood close to the spot of the ruins of the old Nephite and Adamic Altar of prayer.

Elder Dyer narrated some of the events of historic significance that transpired at this place which concerned the many visits of the Prophet Joseph Smith and of his designating the altars and how they were used by the ancients.

Elder Dyer identified the two pieces of property totaling 140 acres that options to buy had been obtained from Dustman by the Church, the one piece contained the bluff area of Spring Hill where once many of the homes at Adam-ondi-Ahman were erected including also the ruins of the Storehouse located in the center block in this old city, together with the temple site and the altar site where sacrifice was officered by Adam.

President McKay returned to sit in the car where a U.S. Engineers’ map was shown to him which identified there on the spot the location of the Pattonsburg Dam and the conservation pool or reservoir it would create.

Elder Dyer pointed to the site to the east of Tower Hill where the dam was originally planned for erected in relation to the changed location about one mile up the Grand River to the west and north to show the distance actually effected in the relocation of the dam.

To get a better feel of the area the car with President McKay and President Smith was driven down the narrow cobble strewn road from Tower Hill, and passing the remains of Lyman Wight’s home, into the large valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman.  The car was stopped at the base of the bluff where the north end of the dam axis will anchor.  It was clearly seen at this point how the historic area of Spring Hill of Adam-ondi-Ahman had been preserved from inundation by the relocating of the damsite.

The ‘high point’ of Spring Hill was pointed out to the President.  It is upon this high part of the bluff where the temple site was dedicated and near to this is the site of the Altar of Adam.

President McKay remarked that all this was most important land, and a very sacred place.

At Far West, Missouri

The day was drawing on toward early evening as we left Tower Hill at Adam-ondi-Ahman.  Driving through Gallatin, the county seat, significant events in Church history there was called to mind.  It was here that the right of the ‘Mormons’ to vote was contested.  The mob bully ‘Dick Welding’, indicated the bitterness against the Saints by saying:  ‘The Mormons were not allowed to vote in Clay County no more than the negroes.’  While none were killed there, this incident led to much bitterness and the eventual death of many saints at Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Driving south on Highway 13, we soon reached Hamilton, where J.C. Penny owned and operated one of his first stores.  The high school there is named after him, and a J.C. Penny store continues in the same location.  Leaving Hamilton we drove west on Highway 36 to the country road ‘D’ and thence south to the Far West Temple site.  At the site our car turned east so that the temple excavation baring the four corner stones was to our immediate right.  The President stayed in the car but let the window down so that some historical happenings there could be related to him.  Four of the brethren stood one each on the four cornerstones of the temple excavation.  This enabled President McKay to judge the outline of the temple.

Concerning this sacred place, the Lord revealed unto Joseph Smith on April 26, 1838, the following:

‘Let the city, Far West, be a holy and consecrated land

unto me; and it shall be called most holy, for the ground

upon which thou standest is holy.’

D & C 115:7

Continuing the Lord proclaimed: 

‘Therefore, I command you to build a house unto me, for

the gathering together of my saints that they may worship me.’

D & C 115:8

The cornerstones were laid on July 4, 1838, with the southeast stone representing the First Presidency, rolled into place on April 26, 1839, when the apostles met there prior to their departure for the isles of the sea to preach the Gospel.  (See the Refiner’s Fire, pp. 86-87)

Elder Dyer related to President McKay that the two counties, Caldwell, of which Far West was the center of gathering for the saints, and Daviess, of which Adam-ondi-Ahman was the center, had been created largely for the ‘Mormon settles’ through the efforts of the Honorable Alexander W. Doniphan of the Missouri legislature.  These two counties were named after two army associates of his father Joseph Doniphan, a soldier of the revolution.  These were Captain Mathew Caldwell and Colonel Joseph H. Daviess.  This caused the Saints to move out of Clay County and together with these coming from Kirtland and other places the saints moved into Far West and Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Caldwell County in 1836 was a wilderness.  By the spring of 1838, it had a population of 5000, 4900 of whom were Mormons.  The city of Far West at one time had one hundred and fifty houses, four dry goods stores, three family groceries, half a dozen blacksmith shops, a printing establishment and two hotels.  A large and comfortable school served as a church and courthouse.

Daviess County, like Caldwell, was new land, but the Saints poured into the area of Adam-ondi-Ahman hoping to be left alone, and to live in peace.  A company of 200 wagons from Canada settled there and also a company of 500 from Kirtland.  At one time log dwellings were erected at the rate of two and three a day.

As President McKay gazed out at the temple site with thoughtful contemplation, President Smith got out of the car and walked the short distance to the temple site.  Elder Dyer told of the persecution of the saints at that time which reached a climax at Far West.  To the right of the car once the city square, is where the exterminating order of Governor Boggs was read.  It having been previously issued from Militia Headquarters in Jefferson City.  It conveyed the authority that, ‘The Mormons must be treated as enemies and must be exterminated, or driven from the state if necessary for the public peace.’

The speech made by General John B. Clark on the city square was referred to.  This transpired in early days not more than 25 feet from where the President was sitting in Truman Laudie’s car.  With a command of 2100, General Clark, who commanded the expedition against the Mormons, on the 5th day of November, 1838, placed 56 prominent leaders of the Church under arrest.  His speech indicates the bitter persecution against the Saints telling of the requirements of their subjection.

‘The first requires that your leading men be given up to be

tried according to law; this you have already complied with.

‘The second is, that you deliver up your arms; this has

been attended to.

‘The third stipulation is, that you sign over your properties

to defray the expenses of the war; this you have also done.

‘Another article yet remains for you to comply with, that is 

that you leave the state forthwith; and whatever may be your 

feelings concerning this, or thatever your innocence, it is nothing 

to me; General Lucas, who is equal in authority with me, has made

this treaty here — I am therefore determined to see it fulfilled.  The 

character of this state has suffered almost beyond redemption,

from the character, conduct and influence that you have exerted, 

and we deem it an act of justice to restore her character to its former 

standing among the states, to every proper means.

‘The orders of the governor to me were, that you should be 

exterminated, and not allowed to remain in the state, and had 

your leaders not have been given up, and the terms of the treaty 

complied with, before this, you and your families would have been

destroyed and your houses in ashes. 

‘There is a discretionary power vested in my hands which

I shall exercise in your favor for a season; for this lenity

you are indebted to my clemency.  I do not say that you

shall go now, but you must not think of staying here another

season, or of putting in crops, for the moment you do this

the citizens will be upon you.  If I am called here again, in

case of a non-compliance of a treaty made, do not think that 

I shall act any more as I have done — you need not expect

mercy, but extermination, for I am determined the governor’s

order shall be executed.  As for your leaders, do not once think–

do not imagine for a moment — do not let it enter your mind that

they will be delivered, or that you will see their faces again, for 

their fate is fixed — their die is cast — their doom is sealed.

‘I am sorry, gentlemen, to see so great a number of apparently 

intelligent men found in the situation that you are; and oh! that I

could invoke the Great Spirit, the unknown God, to rest upon you,

and make you sufficiently intelligent to break that chain of superstition

and liberate you from those fetters of fanaticism with which you are 

bound — that you no longer worship a man.

‘I would advise you to scatter abroad, and never again organize 

yourselves with bishops, presidents, etc., lest you excite the

jealousies of the people, and subject yourselves to the same

calamities that have come upon you.

‘You have always been the aggressors — you have brought upon

yourselves these difficulties by being disaffected and not being 

subject to rule — and my advise is, that you become as other 

citizens, lest by a recurrence of these events you bring upon

yourselves irretrievable ruin.’

Brigham Young, who was present when the speech was made, says that in addition to the above General Clark said that Mormons must not be seen as many as five together:  ‘If you are,’ said he, ‘the citizens will be upon you and destroy you…’  There is no alternative for them but to flee; that they need not expect any redress, for there was none for them.  The Saints were also compelled to sign away their property by executing a deed of trust at the point of the bayonet which they did, amid the frantic joy of the mob.

Elder Dyer referred to President McKay many other events of historical significance at Far West, including the heroism of General Doniphan, who refused to carry out a military order that Joseph Smith and his companions then in the custody of General Lucas.  At midnight on November 1, 1838, he issued this order to Brigadier General Doniphan:

‘Sir, you will take Joseph Smith and the other prisoners into the public

square at Far West and shoot them at 9 o’clock tomorrow morning.’

Samuel D. Lucas

Major General – Commanding

General Doniphan’s heroic action forestalled the death of the Prophet for nearly six years.  His reply was:

‘It is cold blooded murder.  I will not obey your order.  My brigade shall

march for Liberty tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock; and if you execute these

men, I will hold you responsible before an earthly tribunal, so help me God.’

(See Refiner’s Fire, pp. 78-81)

The great courage and faith of Heber C. Kimball at this time near the very spot where the President’s car stood, was cited:

‘William E. McLellin wanted to know where Heber C. Kimball was.

Someone pointed me out to him as I was sitting on the ground.  He

came up to me and said:  ‘Brother Heber, what do you think of the

fallen prophet now?  Has he not led you blindfolded long enough?  Look

and see yourself poor, your family stripped and robbed, and your brethren

in the same fix; are you satisfied with Joseph?’  I replied, ‘Yes, I am more

satisfied with him a hundred-fold than ever I was before, for I see you in the

very position that he foretold you would be in; a Judas to betray your

brethren, if you did not forsake your adultery, fornication, lying and 

abominations.   Where are you?  What are you about?  You and Hinkle,

and scores of others; have you not betrayed Joseph and the brethren into

the hands of the mobs, as Judas did Jesus?  Yes, verily you have; I tell

you Mormonism is true, and Joseph is a true prophet of the living God; 

and you with all others that turn there from will be damned and go to hell

and Judas will rule over you.’

Another event of historical and spiritual significance concerned the southeast corner stone of the temple, which President McKay could see not more than 50 feet away, and the fulfillment of a prophecy.

Perhaps no prophecy uttered by the Prophet Joseph Smith, nor revelation given, brought more widespread comment and interest among the enemies of the Church, than did the revelation given on July 8, 1838.  It came in answer to a supplication, to reveal the will of the Lord concerning the Twelve.  In it the Prophet was instructed to organize the Twelve replacing such who had fallen with others, and then they were instructed as follows:

‘And next spring let them depart to go over the great waters, and there

promulgate my gospel, the fulness thereof, and bear record of my name.

‘Let them take leave of my saints in the city of Far West, on the twenty-

sixth day of April, on the building spot of my house, said the Lord.’

With the invoking of the Exterminating Order and the general exodus of the Saints in process as the closing months of that eventful year approached, the enemies of the Church who knew of the prophetic revelation, began to chide and taunt the members and leaders of the Church, ‘This is one of old Joe Smith’s revelations that won’t be fulfilled’ could be heard over and over again.  Thus the truth of a revelation was questioned.

From the Prophet’s own record, we catch something of the feelings of the oppressors as to this particular prophecy.

‘April 5, 1839

Eight men — Captain Bogart, who was the country Judge, Dr. Laffity, John

Whitmer and five others — came into the committee’s room, (i.e., the room

or office for the committee on removal) and presented to Theodore Turley

the paper containing the revelation of July 8, 1838, to Joseph Smith directing

the Twelve to take their leave of the Saints in Far West on the building site

of the Lord’s House on the 26th of April 1839, to go to the isles of the sea,

and then asked him to read it.  Turley said, ‘Gentlemen I am well acquainted

with it.’  They said, ‘Then you, as a rational man, will give up Joseph Smith’s 

being a prophet and an inspired man?  He and the Twelve are now scattered 

all over creation; let them come here if they dare; if they do, they will be 

murdered.  As the revelation cannot be fulfilled, you will not give up your faith.’

Turley jumped up and said, ‘In the name of God that revelation will be 

fulfilled.’  They laughed him to scorn.  John Whitmer hung his head.  They

said, ‘If they (the twelve) come, they will get murdered; they dare not

come to take their leave here; that is like all the rest of Joe Smith’s d–n



The word of the Lord has been spoken to the Twelve, as to a conference that was to be held on the building spot of his house at Far West, on the 26th of April, 1839, whence they were to leave to go over the great waters to proclaim the gospel.

‘Let them take leave of my saints in the city of Far West, on the twenty-

sixth day of April next, on the building spot of my house, saith the Lord.’

Because the Saints had been driven from Missouri and the apostles scattered, the apostates and mobbers rejoiced at what they thought would be the failure of one of the revelations given to Joseph Smith.  From the Historical Record we read the following concerning this incident:

‘But this was not the feeling of President Young and those of

the Twelve Apostles who were with him.  He asked them 

individually what their feelings were on the subject.  Their 

desires were, they said, to fulfil the revelation.  He said the Lord 

had spoken, and it was their duty to obey, and leave the event in His 

hands, and He would protect them.  Consequently, Brigham Young, 

Orson Pratt, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, George Albert Smith, 

and Alpheus Cutler left Quincy, for Far West to fulfill the revelation.  

They met John E. Page, who was an apostle at that time, on the road

and told him they wanted him to go to Far West with them, which he did.

‘Just before reaching Far West they met three brethren who had been

            left at that place as a committee to attend to the removal of the poor 

Saints, but had been driven from the town.  They informed the Apostles

that the mob had come into Far West and tantalized them on the subject

of the revelation, saying that it was one of Joseph Smith’s revelations which 

could not be fulfilled, as the Twelve apostles were scattered to the four winds; 

and they threatened them severely if they were found in Far West the next 

day.  They, however, turned around and accompanied the Apostles and the 

other brethren to the house of Father Timothy Clark, near Far West.

‘Early on the morning of the 26th of April — the day mentioned in the

revelation — a conference was held, 31 persons were cut off from the

Church, and the Apostles and Saints proceeded to the building spot of the

Lord’s House.  Elder Cutler, the master workman of the house, then 

recommended laying the foundation, agreeable to revelation, by rolling up 

a large stone near the southeast corner.  The following of the Twelve were

present:  Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, John E. Page and

John Taylor, who proceeded to ordain Wilford Woodruff and George A. 

Smith, Apostles to fill the places of those who had fallen.  Darwin Chase and Norman Shearer, who had just been liberated from Richmond prison, and 

arriving the evening previous, were each ordained to the office of Seventy.

‘The Twelve then offered up vocal prayer in the following order:  Brigham

Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, John E. Page, John Taylor, Wilford

Woodruff and George A. Smith.  They sang, ‘Adam-ondi-Ahman’; after which

they took their leave of eighteen Saints, agreeable to the revelation.  The

conference was adjourned.’

Elder Dyer also mentioned to President McKay the revelations received at Far

West now in our Doctrine and Covenants.

Section 114

Concerns direction from the Lord that positions occupied by the unfaithful are to be given to others.

Section 115

Confirms the name of the Church and the building of the Far West Temple.

Section 116

Tells of the coming of Adam, the ‘Ancient of Days’ as spoken of by Daniel to


Section 117

Concerns that which is property unto the Lord.

Section 118

The will of the Lord concerning the Twelve – commandment to fill the places 

of those who had fallen.

Section 119

Concerns the law of tithing.

Section 120

Disposition of properties tithed.

President Smith told of his father being born somewhere just west of the temple site. He lived to become the sixth president of the Church.

At Far West we all stood amazed at the fact that there remained nothing of Far West except the four stones of the temple excavation which at one time was dug and cleared by 500 brethren in preparation for a house of the Lord.

President McKay seemed pleased and elated at the fact that the Church owns 80 acres at Far West, including the dedicated temple site.

President McKay seemed visibly affected in the reflections of that which transpired at this hallowed and sacred place designated by the Lord as most holy.

The following morning at the Hotel Muelbach where we stayed overnight in Kansas City, he spoke of his feelings for what had transpired there and again referred to it as we waited between planes at Denver, Colorado.

Back at Kansas City, Missouri

The party returned to Kansas City on Highway 69 watching the vivid and inspiring red sunset.  The evening was spent there at the Hotel Muelbach where the comfort of good accommodations were appreciated; all were tired and in need of rest.

Return Home – June 2, 1966

The party left Kansas City by U.A.L. jet at 9:15 a.m. about 25 minutes late, but had more than sufficient time to change to another U.A.L. jet flight out of Denver for Salt Lake City, arriving at 11:35 a.m.

It was a momentous and historically important trip.  All marvelled at that which had been accomplished in just a little over one day.  President McKay was in fine spirit and had been all during the trip and when he was bid farewell at the Hotel Utah, he expressed his great delight in having made the trip.

President Smith too was feeling fine and enjoyed the visit, speaking of his happiness that President McKay had visited these historically sacred places in Missouri.

Many Families Crowd Airport and Plane

Many families came to the airport to see the President if only from a distance.  Some families were late arriving and the President had already been placed in the plane, a 727 Jetliner.  The children appealed so strongly to a supervisor in the airport to let them come aboard to see the Prophet that the Customer Service agent arranged it and perhaps 50 mothers and children came on the plane to touch the hand of the Prophet; many of them kissed him upon the cheek.

Later in the morning as we were awaiting to take off from Denver, I asked the President if the trip was worthwhile.  His answer was, ‘O yes, O yes!’  I also asked what place or part of the tour impressed him the most.  His answer was, ‘It is difficult to say for it is all linked together.’  He spoke of the sacredness and beauty of Adam-ondi-Ahman and was greatly moved by the important future of Far West and of what transpired there.  He said that the recounting of the historical events at Far West where the persecution of the saints centered and where the extermination order of Governor Boggs was imposed causing the expulsion of the saints from Missouri.

This journal record was typed from the notes kept by Elder Alvin R. Dyer 

Date – June 7, 1966

Wednesday and Thursday, June 1 and 2, 1966



Far West:

In connection with President McKay’s visit at Far West, on the date given, it is to be noted that while there the president appeared somewhat overwhelmed.  The place made a deep impression upon him; so much so that he referred to Far West a number of times in the ensuring days as a place of deep impression.

The feeling that President McKay had at Far West registered upon me once again, but now with greater impact.

The events that transpired there are significant.

a)  The Lord proclaimed Far West a holy and consecrated land unto Him, declaring to Joseph Smith that the very ground he stood on there was holy.

b)  The Prophet Joseph Smith contended with the devil face to face for some time, upon the occasion of the power of evil menacing one of his children in the Prophet’s home just west of the temple-site.  Lucifer declared that Joseph had no right to be there, that this was his place.  Whereupon the Prophet rebuked Satan in the name of the Lord, and he departed and did not touch the child again.

c)  The overwhelming feeling that President McKay had when he visited this sacred place.

The Answer:

I have often pondered the Holy significance of Far West, and even more so since President McKay’s visit.

The sacredness of Far West, Missouri, is no doubt due to the understanding that the Prophet Joseph Smith conveyed to the brethren, at these early times, that Adam-ondi-Ahman, the place to which Adam and Eve fled when cast out of the Garden of Eden, is where Adam erected an altar unto God, and offered sacrifices, and that Far West was the spot where Cain killed Abel.

This, information, tends to explain why the Lord declared Far West to be a holy consecrated place; and no doubt explains why Satan claimed that place as his own, as it was here that he entered into a covenant with Cain, resulting in the death of Abel the first of mortal existence upon this earth.

It would appear that President McKay while there felt the spirit and significance of this Holy Place.

Ref: D & C 115

        The Meaning of Truth, Dyer, pp. 76, 77

        Manuscript, Jerrald Tanner, op. cit. – Reed Peck”

Mon., 6 June 1966:

“Adam-ondi-Ahman – Decision to Purchase Additional Property

Brother Alvin R. Dyer came in by appointment and presented the two options to purchase real estate from Frederick W. and Joyce J. Dustman at Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Brother Dyer recommends, in which recommendation I concur, having visited and inspected the property in question, that the Church should exercise these options at once.  I, therefore, prepared a directive to the Expenditures Committee asking that they appropriate $60,000 for the purchase of these 140 acres.

I asked Brother Dyer to have Mark B. Garff of the Building Committee submit the directive and request for the appropriation at the meeting of the Expenditures Committee tomorrow morning.  (See copy of directive and options following; See also June 7 and 8 for further discussion)”

Tues., 7 June 1966:

Adam-ondi-Ahman – Purchase of Land

President Brown mentioned that Brother Mark B. Garff, Chairman of the Building Committee, had said that there would come before the Expenditures Committee a proposition that we purchase some land in Adam-ondi-Ahman.  President Brown inquired if that would come before the committee as a settled matter or for consideration, or what I should like.  President Brown said he knew nothing about the matter.  He understood that it involved a $60,000 investment and that Brother Garff had wanted to know whether he is to present it as a request from me for the approval of the Expenditures Committee, or whether I want them to look into the details.  I said it is my desire that they look into the details of the situation.  I mentioned that I had visited Adam-ondi-Ahman a week ago with President Smith and others.  (See June 6 for letters and options; see also June 8 for further discussion.)

Wed., 8 June 1966:

“7:40 a.m.

Adam-ondi-Ahman – Appropriation by Expenditures Committee for Money to Purchase Property

Elder Alvin R. Dyer came in by appointment regarding the purchase of the 140 acres of land at Adam-ondi-Ahman, which I had inspected, and had later sent a letter to the Expenditures Committee asking them to appropriate the money for the purchase of this property.  Brother Dyer said that the Expenditures Committee had refused to endorse the purchase when the matter was presented by Elder Mark B. Garff under my instructions.  I told Brother Dyer that the Counselors had reported to me and that I shall now ask them to go forward with the purchase of this land.  Brother Dyer said that from an investment standpoint alone it would be good, because the Church could turn around tomorrow, and sell it for twice as much as we are paying for it.

8:00 a.m.

Met my counselors, Presidents Brown, Tanner, and Smith, and held a meeting of the First Presidency.  Some of the matters we discussed were:

Adam-ondi-Ahman – Purchase of Property

Elder Alvin R. Dyer, Assistant to the Twelve, met with us and a discussion was held regarding the proposed purchase of additional lands at Adam-ondi-Ahman near the site where the Pattonsburg Reservoir is to be built.  This matter had been taken to the Expenditures Committee yesterday with a recommendation that the committee authorize the expenditure of $60,000 for land in the Spring Hill and Tower Hill areas.  Elder Dyer reported that aerial photographs have been made and some money expended to make proper identification of these places.

It was reported that when this matter was discussed in the Expenditures Committee meeting yesterday, some question as raised as to the need for the amount of land suggested, namely, 140 acres, and also as to the cost of the land.  It was Brother Dyer’s understanding that the price we would have to pay for the land is $234 per acre, whereas if there are only 140 acres and we pay $60,000 for the land, it would mean that we are paying over $400 per acre.  It was understood by the brethren that the question involved is whether we want to build a Bureau of Information there and a place to receive and instruct tourists, and in connection therewith the amount of land that would be required to take care of the project.  Elder Dyer explained somewhat the history of the area and the Church’s need as he understood it for owning this property.  In answer to an inquiry as to how many people would visit the area after the dam is completed he stated that estimates indicate that there will probably be four or five million people visit it each year.

President Tanner reported that in discussing the matter in the Expenditures Committee yesterday, the brethren indicated that if it was my desire that this land be purchased, they would of course have no objection.  The land which it is proposed to buy consists of two properties on which we have options, one of which would cost us $35,000 and the other $25,000.

Elder Dyer thought this would be a wonderful opportunity for us to tell the story of the Church to the people who will come to that area for recreation purposes.  Elder Dyer said that if we want the property, we should go ahead and exercise our options on it.  He stated that he would check the acreage as he was not sure on that point.

Following the discussion, I authorized Brother Dyer to prepare the papers for the acquisition of the property, and then go forward with the project.

Tues., 14 June 1966:

10:15 a.m.

Adam-ondi-Ahman – Request for Purchase of Land

Brother Alvin R. Dyer came in and reported that the request for purchase of property at Adam-ondi-Ahman is being presented again today to the Committee on Expenditures.  (See following copy of request.)”

Tues., 6 Sept. 1966:

“10:30 a.m.

Brother and Sister Alvin R. Dyer, who came in to extend their greetings and best wishes for my Ninety-third Birthday, were also present during the visit of the Peach Days delegation.

Following the departure of the group, Brother Dyer mentioned the film that had been taken during our historic trip to Missouri when we inspected property at Adam-ondi-Ahman.  I asked him if it were possible to see the film this morning, and he said that he would call and have the film brought over immediately.

Within a few moments, Brother Lamar S. Williams came over with the film and a screen, and showed Sister McKay and me the pictures that had been taken of our visit to Adam-ondi-Ahman, Far West, Liberty Jail, and other points of interest.  There were some excellent pictures and I was happy to have Sister McKay and the others all see the places we visited.

I thanked Brother Dyer for his kindness, and told him how much I appreciate what he had done to make that trip comfortable and interesting in every way.  Just before their departure, Sister Dyer said that she had learned that I like coconut cake, and that she was going right home to bake the cake and would bring it to us this afternoon.  At 1:00 p.m., she delivered a beautiful cake to us as a birthday present to me.

Fri., 2 Dec. 1966:

Clare also presented letters and reported office matters to me.  Said that Elder Alvin R. Dyer would like to see me about the property the Church owns just across the road from the Reorganized Church’s auditorium in Independence.  I told Clare to make an appointment for him immediately.

Mon., 5 Dec. 1966:

“8:00 a.m.

Report on Property at Independence, Missouri

Elder Alvin R. Dyer came in by appointment and discussed with me the desire of Mr. Alan Slayton, President of the Boys’ Club of Independence, Missouri, to lease a piece of the Church’s property on South Pleasant Street, upon which to erect a building for the Boys’ Club, and also that the Church make a substantial contribution toward the construction of the building.  Elder Dyer read to me excerpts from a letter addressed to President Keysor from Mr. Slayton.

I asked Elder Dyer many questions about matters in Missouri and asked him to pursue this matter of a building on our property in Independence working with the Building Department, and report to me later the developments.

I agreed with Elder Dyer that the Church, in order to protect its heritage, its temple land properties, and our destined future there, should now move to make evident to those in and out of the Church that we stand firm on the revelations concerning the future of this place.  Brother Dyer mentioned that there are some in the Church who feel that we shall not return to the center stake of Zion, and I commented that revelations confirm the return to the center place as a reality.  We also spoke of the fact that every President of the Church, at one time or another, had confirmed the return to the center place in their own expressions.  (For details of conversation, see report by Elder Dyer which follows.)


Brother Dyer reported that the Church Legal Department has processed the purchasing of the property at Adam-Ondi-Ahman, including Spring Hill, and that the money was sent to the land agent, and that the Church would soon hold title to the property.  I expressed satisfaction that this matter has been attended to.

Monday, December 5, 1966

Report of Visit with President David O. McKay

Re:  Independence, Mo.

Property December 5, 1966

By – Elder Alvin R. Dyer

I arrived at the President’s apartment at 8:00 a.m. and was admitted by his nurse.  I was with the President for one hour leaving the apartment at 9:02 a.m.

President McKay was in his study when I arrived and upon seeing me beckoned to me to come into his study.  He said he was glad to see me and was happy that I came.  He asked me to pull up a chair, which I did very close to him so that he could hear of the purpose of my visit.

The President looked wonderful, better than I remembered him on my last visit.  His eyes were clear and he spoke distinctly.  He recalled our visit to Adam-ondi-Ahman and Far West, Missouri, some five months ago stating that he would never forget that visit and how impressed he was.

I first mentioned the property at Adam-ondi-Ahman that the Church was purchasing including Spring Hill, and reported to him that the Church Legal Department has processed the matter and that the money was sent to the land agent about two weeks ago, and that the Church would soon hold title to the property.  The President expressed his gratification that this had been done.

I next read excerpts from a letter sent to President Keysor of the Central States Mission, from Alan Slayton, the President of the Boys’ Club of Independence, Missouri, which letter had been forwarded to me.

In the letter the Church is asked to lease a segment of Church property on South Pleasant Street, roughly 330 feet by 330 feet, for a substantial period of time to the Boy’s Club on the basis of a token rental payment.  Suggesting also that the Church might be willing to make a contribution to the building program of the club.

I explained to the President that the property was not part of the ‘temple land’, but that the request posed a serious problem to the Church, not so much for the particular piece of property requested, but that the entire vacant property holdings of the Church in Independence, and particularly the ‘temple land’, consisting of about 25 acres, was vulnerable to such requests as the one made by the officers of the Boys Club.

I recalled to the President the situation that faced the Church some 12 or 13 years ago when a substantial part of our land there, all ‘temple land’ property, was asked for on a long lease type arrangement, to build a senior high school.  The Church got off the hook on this one, pending a possible condemnation of the property, by contributing $50,000 toward the construction of the Van Horn High School on Truman Avenue.  Mayor Weatherford of Independence told me that because of the generosity of the Church that so long as he was mayor, no effort would be made to gain the use of any of the vacant Church property.  But, I explained to the President that Weatherford is no longer mayor.

Upon the request of President McKay, as to what we should do in the matter, I suggested the erection of a Church building on our segment of the ‘temple land’, at Walnut and River Streets, to serve a three-fold purpose:

1.  The erection of our own building would tend to forestall any condemnation

of needed property for community purposes.

2.  It would establish the concern of the Church with regard to our sacred belief,

that this is the center place of Zion, and that our solemn conviction is that in the time of the Lord this will be the principle place of gathering in accordance with the revelations.  Such action would counter the declarations of the R.L.D.S., that the so-called ‘Utah Church’, as they refer to us, are no longer interested in the ‘center place’.  They have placed particular stress upon this since we traded them four lots on the ‘temple land’ properties for a small lot in Nauvoo.

3.  That such a building used as a Bureau of Information could reaffirm to the R.L.D.S. and the world that we are vitally interested in the center place of Zion, and also the areas round about Liberty,  Far West, and Adam-ondi-Ahman.  That sites for three temples have already been dedicated.  That the destiny of the Church, the return of the lost tribes, etc., will center in that area, as the Lord has declared.  The building and purpose of  temples could be highlighted in the bureau and other essential elements of the restoration.

We discussed the fact that the Church, to protect its heritage, its temple land properties, and our destined future, should now move to make this evident to those in and out of the Church, in preparation for the day, in accordance with the will of the Father and the Son, the law of the Kingdom of God at a future time concerning the revelations that will go forth from that place.

I mentioned to President McKay that there were some in the Church who felt that we would not return there.  His comment about this was that the revelations confirmed the return to the center place as a reality.  We spoke of the fact that every President of the Church, at one time or another, had confirmed this in their own expressions.

I read to President McKay a part of a letter from J.L. Verhei, once a prominent leader of the R.L.D.S. in the northwest, now a member of our Church who made the statement:

‘What I’d like to know is why doesn’t the Church do something

with the property at Independence, Missouri?  Is it still the place

of Zion, and will the saints gather there again …All the books and

pamphlets in the world wouldn’t do one mite in comparison with 

improvements at Independence.’

(Letter to Alvin R. Dyer, October 21, 1966)

In the course of the conversation, President McKay asked me if I were still a member of the Missouri Historical Society.  I told him that I was not now a member.  He then instructed me to renew my place with this society.

In response to the suggestion I made to President McKay regarding our temple land property, he gave me the direct assignment to pursue this matter working with our Building Department to prepare concept plans with elevation schematics to show just how a building could be placed on our temple land property at River and Walnut Streets.  The President stated that I was to report directly to him on this assignment, and that he would await the report.

In answer to his question, I told him I was reasonably certain that such a project, building, landscaping, parking, bureau displays, furnishings, etc., could be achieved for not more than a million dollars.

The President was most receptive to the whole idea, and expressed himself several times as to his appreciation to me for bringing the matter to his attention, and asked, as I left him, that I pursue the matter at once and report.

I mentioned to the President that a Mr. Cole of Hillsdale, Illinois, had made request of the Building Committee offering to purchase 12 walnut trees at Adam-ondi-Ahman for $500.  He felt that nothing should be done with anything on the property at this time.

I expressed to the President how well he looked and that he was the most amazing man I had ever known.  I told him that his influence on my own life was most predominate.  I assured him that each day my prayers were that he would live to consummate his great work here upon the earth.  Both of our eyes became moist as there seemed to be a feeling of common understanding.  It was an inspiring spiritual experience.

Alvin R. Dyer

December 6, 1966″

Tues., 20 Dec. 1966:

“8:00 a.m.

Kansas City – Purchase of Radio Station

President Tanner came into the office in the apartment.  He brought with him Arch Madsen, President of the Bonneville International Corporation and President of KSL.  He said he had come to give a report regarding the KMBC-AM radio station and KMBR-FM radio station in Kansas City, which are available for purchase.  Inasmuch as the location is in the Jackson County area, it is thought the Church would be interested in this purchase.

President Tanner said that he had taken this matter up some time ago with the BIC Board for their consideration, and the board said they would be prepared to recommend it only if I, as President of the Church, felt that its location was of real value to the Church from a historic point of view.

President Tanner said that at the time, I had felt we should not purchase the station, and then Arch Madsen reported to him that he, Brother Benson, and Clare Middlemiss had discussed the matter with me and I had advised Brother Madsen to go ahead with the purchase.  (See minutes of December 16, 1966.)

President Tanner said that he had told Arch Madsen that he thought I should have all the facts before any final decision is made, and that it is his duty to see that I have all the facts before any final decision is made.

President Tanner then said that a broker who deals with radio stations and is well informed on the subject reported that the asking price of $2,300,000 is on target; in other words, he would consider it not a bargain but an average price.  With this information the board, in its discussion, felt not to recommend the purchase nor to recommend against it, but felt that the deciding factor should be left with me as the Prophet to determine the value of the location of the station.

President Tanner then asked Arch Madsen if that is his understanding, and he said yes.

President Tanner said he opposed strenuously the purchase of WRUL in New York, but was overruled, but that he does not feel the same about the Kansas City station, that he has no strong feeling either way.  He said that at the meeting in Los Angeles last Wednesday, the board approved the expenditure of $2,500,000 for new building equipment and other expenditures to be made in Seattle by KIRO.  He said we have facing us an expenditure of approximately $5,000,000 for station development with new transmitters and other equipment at the WNYW station in New York.  We suffered a loss of nearly $600,000 in operations this year, which is even greater than the loss last year, and during the seven months we have had WRFM in New York we have lost forty some odd thousand dollars.  They have the money and real estate which will make it possible for the corporation to finance in Seattle, but the Corporation of the President would have to provide the money for New York and also for the purchase of the Kansas City station if we go forward with it.  So all together, this could mean a capital expenditure of some $10,000,000 for the three stations.  Said it would not be wise to make this expenditure in New York, and hopes that we shall not be called upon to do it.  However, a study is being made, and the board will make its recommendation after considering the report.

President Tanner then asked Brother Madsen if he had presented the facts as he understood them, and Arch said he felt he had presented the case fairly and that he felt WRFM would be in a paying position next year.

President Tanner said that we had not been able to get satisfactory management for the New York operation and questioned our ability to properly manage the Kansas City station satisfactorily.  I asked Arch if he thought this were a good sound investment and if he would recommend it, and he said yes.

President Tanner stated that it was his opinion that we ought to make a good survey as to what our policy should be in the acquisition of stations and not just pick up one when it is available even though it is profitable, that we ought to have these stations where they will serve us best.  He said he was not opposing the purchase of the Kansas City station, but that he would support it only if I felt we should have a station in that area, but he was pointing out our present expenditures.

Brother Madsen stated that the reason for bringing the situation in Kansas City to me was that it was his understanding from the Doctrine and Covenants and the scriptures that the central stake of Zion is to be in Independence Missouri, and that securing a radio and television station there at the present time seemed mighty important.  He said that Alvin R. Dyer, when he heard that this station was available, thought it would be a tremendous asset to the Church.  Brother Madsen felt that the question of whether or not the Church should purchase it depends on how the Church is going to use the facilities.  He said that he felt the need of more organized help from mission presidents and others in the area so that we can build a favorable image.  President Tanner said that the question boils down to one point, namely, is the location one that I, as the Prophet, feel we should have.  Brother Madsen commented that he could see no loss whatever to the Church financially in the acquisition of the station if it will serve the need in speaking in the Jackson County and other areas where the Church has such a tremendous history and where we will be involved again.  I asked how much we would have to invest.  Brother Madsen said it would cost us $2,500,000 to acquire it and make the necessary modifications.  He said that he felt confident that the favorable market in Kansas City will make this a sound business investment.  Brother Madsen said that we felt a little skittish about Seattle, and some people thought we were making a serious mistake to pay $7,500,000 for that station plus $2,000,000 for physical assets, that that was three years ago, and today it could be sold for $18,000,000.  He stated that properties are going up because there are no more frequencies and that causes an escalation of values.  I responded that I feel we are safe in Jackson County.  President Tanner then asked me if I feel we should go forward with this proposed purchase, and I said yes.

WRFM Radio Station in New York, Management of

President Tanner reminded me of the release of James Conkling as President and manager of the New York radio stations, that Arch Madsen had taken over the management of the institution temporarily and subsequently Art Mortensen had been given this responsibility under Arch as President.  In his management of the station, Brother Mortensen has remained in Salt Lake, but gone back to New York weekly to look after matters.  President Tanner said that he had suggested to Brother Madsen last week that he, President Tanner, approach Brother Mortensen to see if he would be prepared to move to New York for two or three years in order to try to put these stations into profitable operation.  He stated that Howard Stoddard had said that we must have a man looking after this business who has his residence in New York.  Brother Madsen had indicated that he felt this would be a good thing and President Tanner said that if I agreed with this feeling and felt it wise for him to talk with Brother Mortensen, he would be glad to confer with him and ascertain his feelings in regard to the matter.  President Tanner felt that Brother Mortensen could make the FM station in New York pay if he were there.  I gave my approval to this suggestion.

Tues., 31 Jan. 1967:

“8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting with Presidents Tanner and Smith.  President Brown was now present because he was involved in an automobile accident; President Isaacson still absent on account of illness.

Some of the items we considered were:

Jackson County – Temple Fund

A letter was read from Alvin R. Dyer enclosing a letter and check in the amount of $200 from J. Harvey Hall of Hurricane, Utah, which amount Brother Hall wishes placed in a trust fund for the Jackson County Temple project.  Brother Anderson was requested to make inquiry as to the manner in which these funds are held by the Church and report back.  We agreed that we do not favor the soliciting of funds at this time for the Jackson County Temple.”

Wed., 1 Feb. 1967:

“Did not hold a meeting of the First Presidency.  I have a sore shoulder, having bruised it in a fall.  I have considerable pain when I try to move my arm.

10:25 a.m.

Met by appointment Elder Alvin R. Dyer, who presented matters pertaining to the building of a Bureau of Information at Independence, and other matters.  (See following minutes by Elder Dyer written at my request.)

Brother Dyer then left for the Church Administration Building.

11:30 – 12:30 p.m.

My secretary, Clare, came in by appointment to take up matters pertaining to correspondence and other office matters.

I reported to her for the diary that I had had a very satisfactory interview with Elder Dyer, and said that I am going to call Brother Dyer to be one of my Counselors, to take up the duties performed by President Thorpe B. Isaacson before he was stricken with a stroke a year ago.  I said that the more I consult with Brother Dyer and talk to him about various Church matters, the more convinced I am and the more my impressions are confirmed that I should call him as one of my Counselors.  I stated that I have every confidence in him.

My secretary answered, ‘You startled me several days ago when, out of the clear blue sky, you said that you were going to call Brother Dyer as a Counselor.  You really have given this a lot of thought and prayer, haven’t you?’, and I answered, ‘Oh, yes, I have given it a great deal of thought for sometime now, and have made it a matter of prayer.’

Wednesday, February 1, 1967


Date: February 1, 1967

Time: 10:50 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Place: Apartment Office of President McKay (Hotel Utah)

Present: President David O. McKay

Elder Alvin R. Dyer

Clare Middlemiss

Items Discussed

1.  Property at Adam-ondi-Ahman – Elder Dyer reported to President McKay that the Church was now in possession of the deed of ownership of Spring Hill and the small valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman and other land connected with these (some 140 acres) at Adam-ondi-Ahman, in Daviess County, Missouri.  Elder Dyer stated that the Church now owns 38 other acres including Tower Hill, bringing to a total approximately 180 acres now owned by the Church at this sacred place which is important to the future of the Church.

Elder Dyer reported that a letter had been received from Dudley Brandom, of the Missouri Land Title Company of Gallatin, Missouri, the company who handled the purchase of property reported in the foregoing, which stated that the Andrews-Madgett Land Company, who have purchased 3000 acres of land just north of the property now owned by the Church at Adam-ondi-Ahman, have manifested an interest in meeting with Church representatives pertaining to land developments in this area.  This land company have preliminary plans for a vast development of a recreational facilities (motels, playgrounds, boat harbors, etc.) along the shore line of the lake created by the erection of the Pattonsburg Dam at Adam-ondi-Ahman.  President McKay asked Brother Dyer to keep in touch with this.

2.  Independence, Missouri – In light of a direct assignment given by President McKay to Elder Dyer, a report was made by him pertaining to the progress being made on the progress in the preparation of schematic drawings for a proposed Bureau of Information to be erected on that part of the Temple Land at Independence, Missouri, owned by the Church.  Elder Dyer stated that a topographical survey had been made of the land, and now received.  In consequence of this the Church Building Committee, in consultation with Elder Dyer, were preparing schematic plans for the building.  Emil Fetzer has been assigned by the Building Committee to work with the project.  It was reported to the President that in the preparation of the schematics that consideration was being given to the information on the plat plan of the City of Zion, prepared by the Prophet Joseph Smith.  This plan includes a complex of 24 buildings in addition to the temple of the New Jerusalem.  With the idea, that as precisely as possible, conforming to the prophet’s plan and the revelations, as to size and possible location, that the building which we are now proposing for erection as a bureau, could later fit the need of one of the buildings of the temple complex.

President McKay asked how soon these initial plans would be ready.  He seemed very intent about the matter, inquiring if Brother Fetzer was the right man to work on this.  Elder Dyer assured him that he was and that an effort would be made to have the schematic drawings ready to show the President by the end of February.  The President was very pleased with this hoped for early preparation, and asked that this project be pursued with all possible haste, but with care.  He then said that he held Elder Dyer responsible to following through on it.

3.  Matters of business of the Church should not circumvent the President of the Church – The conversation at this point concerned incidents in Church history when certain leaders in the Church close to the Prophet attempted to circumvent him or to usurp his right as the ‘one’ appointed to preside.  Specific reference was made to Section 28 of the Doctrine and Covenants concerning Oliver Cowdery who sought to elevate himself resulting in the following words from the Lord to him:

‘But, behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses.

‘And thou shalt be obedient unto the things which I shall give unto him, even as Aaron, to declare faithfully the commandments and the revelations, with power and authority unto the church.

‘And if thou art led at any time by the Comforter to speak or teach, or at all times by the way of commandment unto the church thou mayest do it.

‘But thou shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom;

‘And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church;

‘For I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead.’

(D & C 28:2-7)

Reference was also made to Section 85 regarding Bishop Edward Partridge who placed himself above the Prophet in certain matters in Zion, wherein the Lord gave unto him these warning words:

‘While that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, lie as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning.’

(D & C 85:8)

Elder Dyer also commented on the statements of the Prophet in Liberty Jail regarding the failure of many of the leaders of the Church to support him, the reasons for which given by revelation to the Prophet.

‘Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen.  And why are they not chosen?

‘Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson —

‘That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.’

(D & C 121:34-36)

‘We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

(D & C 121:39)

President McKay nodded his head in assent to these things that had happened.

Elder Dyer pointed out that whenever the President and Prophet had not been given the full support of those close to him, that the work had suffered, that all matters pertaining to Church business, spiritual or temporal, should have the understanding approval of the President, for he is God’s Priesthood representative.  This one thing alone, if there were no other, distinguishes us from other churches of men, that if in our own day these things were happening, it would prove to the detriment of the Church.

Elder Dyer expressed his love for him to President McKay, wanting to help him in any way he could.  The President asked the Lord to bless Elder Dyer in his work and tears came to his eyes as the interview came to a close.”

Tues., 14 Feb. 1967:

“8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting with the First Presidency — Presidents Tanner and Smith being the only Counselors present.  Presidents Brown and Isaacson were excused.

Some of the matters we considered and gave attention to were:

Jackson County Temple – Contribution to

Attention was called to a letter from J. Harvey Hall addressed to Alvin R. Dyer enclosing a check for $200 as a contribution to the Jackson County, Missouri Temple project.  Elder Dyer sends this to the First Presidency in his letter of January 13, 1967.  Upon inquiry of the Financial Department, it is learned that a contribution of $2,000 to the Jackson County Temple is on the Church books as a bequest earmarked for the Temple in Jackson County.

We decided that this contribution should be handled in the same manner.

10:15 a.m.

By appointment at my request, Elder Alvin R. Dyer came in and had a discussion with me.  At my request, he recorded our conversation and I have included it herewith after having read and approved its contents.  (See memorandum following.)

I was very much interested in and gratified with my conversation with Elder Dyer.  He is a man in whom I have great confidence, and I feel that I can trust him, and that he is loyal in every respect.

Following Elder Dyer’s departure, I had my secretary, Clare, come over to the office in the Hotel.  For the next hour I took up office matters with her.

Tuesday, February 14, 1967

Report of Visit with President David O. McKay on Tuesday, February 14, 1967, by Elder Alvin R. Dyer.

President McKay’s nurse called me in my Church office at about 10:10 a.m. and said that President McKay wanted to see me right away.  I arrived at his hotel apartment at about 10:15 a.m. to find the President seated in his study.  He was about to take some liquid nourishment and pills.  The nurse brought me a glass of fresh orange juice so that I might drink with the President.

He was reading a letter from Richard L. Evans, which enclosed a number of newspaper clippings concerning his travels as President of Rotary International.  The President asked me if I was a member of Rotary, and I informed him that I was not, but that for many years I had served with the Exchange Club, and that other than two Engineering Societies, I had never belonged to any other group outside of the church.

The President again talked about the trip we took together to Missouri last year with President Smith.  He indicated how much more important the consecrated places in Missouri seemed to him now.  I ventured that if it were possible, all of the General Authorities should go to Missouri, to Independence, Liberty, Far West, and Adam-ondi-Ahman, and then perhaps their concept of what transpired there in the early days of the Church in laying the foundation of Zion would be broadened.  But I said, ‘If all the Brethren were to go at one time, the members of the Church, hearing of it, would think that the Millennium was here for sure.’  The President enjoyed this and had a good humored laugh.

We talked of the revelations which the Lord had given to the Prophet concerning Zion, and the New Jerusalem, and that a great many were given after Section 28 which concerned Zion and the law of Consecration.  We talked of Missouri, as a period of test for many of the leading brethren and the members.  We discussed the confinement of Joseph Smith in Liberty Prison, of how he must have pondered about the many hindrances to the growth of the Church, of how the Lord pin-pointed, in a revelation contained in Section 121, the reasons why so many of the leading Brethren fell by the way side, caused by their unwillingness to follow the Prophet Joseph Smith, and to recognize him as the Lord’s anointed to stand at the head.

I read to the President from Section 121, verses 34 and 39, and the President began to quote them word for word, so I stopped reading.  These verses are as follows:

‘Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen.  And why are they not chosen?

‘Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson —

That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the power of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.

We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.’

I then read the Lord’s admonition to the Twelve at Kirtland, Ohio at a time when a member of the First Presidency, some of the Twelve and First Council of Seventy, sought to cast Him aside and organize their own church.  The Prophet seemed deeply interested as I read these words:

‘Exalt not yourselves; rebel not against my servant Joseph; for verily I say unto you, I am with him, and my hand shall be over him; and the keys which I have given unto him, and also to you ward, shall not be taken from him till I come.’

I commented, if the final decisions in this Church were not made by the President, then we were just another church without a divine head who is appointed to represent the Lord in all things.

I mentioned that whenever leaders in the Church in high places sought to circumvent the President of the High Priesthood, then the Church and those who sought this were out of harmony.  ‘Yes’, said President McKay, ‘we have that condition in the Church today.’  I commented that this should not be so!

We talked at considerable length about Missouri and the center place of Zion, and of the great things the Lord had in store for the faithful.  President McKay then commented that he felt that I knew more about the future of the Church as it would center in the days of the final gathering of the Lord’s chosen than any other man in the Church.  He then said that he held me responsible for any purchases of land in Jackson County and in that area needful to the purposes of the Church.

I reported to the President that by the end of February we would have ready for his consideration the Schematic drawings for the building proposed for our Temple land property in Independence, Missouri.  He seemed pleased with this report and said he is anxious to see them.

The President asked if I had any outside interest, and I told him that I had sold the last of my business interests ten years ago, and that since that time I had devoted all my time to the Church.  I mentioned that there were times when Sister Dyer and I needed more money than we had, but this only for our children, and that so far as we were concerned personally, we were getting along all right financially.

The conversation led to the stroke that President Isaacson had experienced.  The President said that he was making a heroic effort to get well, but it seemed doubtful.  I mentioned that Sister Ida Romney had suffered a stroke recently, and President McKay said he knew of this, and also that Brother Marion G. Romney had been operated on for his eye.  I then told President McKay that my father had a stroke when he was seventy-seven, and for six years was virtually an invalid before he died.

I related to President McKay of once attending a Father’s and Son’s Priesthood meeting in the old Salt Lake Stake, where Apostle James E. Talmadge spoke very realistically about the test of faith in the last days.  I was greatly impressed.  I think it was President Nephi L. Morris, brother of George Q. Morris, who asked openly in the meeting what the best safeguard would be in these troubled times.  I told the President that I would always remember Brother Talmadge’s answer, which was:  ‘Brethren, follow the Prophet of God.’

President McKay then asked me what position I held in the Church, and I answered that I was an Assistant to the Twelve.  He then asked me how many Assistants there were, and I replied twelve.

The President then looked directly into my eyes and hesitated, then said, ‘Have you been sustained as an Assistant?’  My answer was yes, that I had been an Assistant to the Twelve for eight years, being called to that position while I was serving as a Counselor to Joseph T. Bentley in the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association.  He answered, ‘Yes, I remember the occasion.’

The President again looked into my face, and my eyes caught his; it seemed that several moments passed before he spoke again, and then he said, ‘Brother Dyer, you are to be sustained as an Assistant to the Twelve.’  I was a little perplexed at this statement, and again mentioned that I had been an Assistant for eight years.  What he meant was a higher position.

More than an hour had passed, and we had spent a most profitable time together.  The President said that he was very pleased with our conversation, and was so happy that I had come to sit down with him.  I told him how grateful I was to have been invited by him to come, that to be in his presence was a real joy.  I told him how happy I was that we now had the deed to Spring Hill at Adam-ondi-Ahman, but that we never would have obtained it if it hadn’t been for him, for some of the brethren opposed the purchase.  His answer was, ‘Yes, I know, but I am pleased that we now have the dead.’

In parting he blessed me and grasped my hand and held to it for quite some time, saying again that he had enjoyed my visit.”

Fri., 10 Mar. 1967:

“9:40 a.m.

Independence, Missouri – Bureau of Information at

By appointment I met with Brother Mark B. Garff and Emil Fetzer of the Church Building Committee and Brother Alvin R. Dyer, Assistant to the Twelve.

Elder Dyer reported that, in accordance with the assignment I had given him, Emil Fetzer, architect, and he had made a trip to Independence to study the lay of the land.  They reported that the Church owns about 18 acres of the original 63 plus acres of ‘temple land’ property which had been dedicated by the Prophet Joseph Smith.

They showed me a plat plan of the Temple property, and we spent some time discussing the fact that the erection of a building on our Temple land would eliminate any possibility of condemnation procedures that may otherwise develop.  Also that it would probably establish the Church in a better image to the world and the Reorganized Church membership in an area most vital to the restoration of the Gospel, and, further, that a Bureau of Information there, together with our newly-acquired radio broadcasting facilities in Kansas City, could be developed into a great center of tourist attraction.

After some discussion I stated that we definitely should not lose control of any of that land, and asked that the brethren again go over the whole proposal that I could have the whole plan clearly in mind.  The brethren then went over the entire proposition, and after much thought, I said, ‘All right, let us go ahead with the Bureau.’  Brother Garff said, ‘All right, we shall go ahead, but we shall now have to get an appropriation for the architectural fees and the building, and said, ‘This is true, but go ahead.’

For the full hour we had much joy and satisfaction in discussing this matter, and a very good feeling existed about the decision that had been made.

Brother Garff told me not to be concerned about the cost of the Bureau on the Temple land in Independence, because the Building Committee had now turned back to the Church sixteen million dollars, and he showed me an auditor’s statement to that effect.  Brother Garff also said that the Carthage Bureau in Illinois is costing the Church more than the one that has been proposed for Independence, Missouri.  (For details see following minutes as written by Brother Dyer at my request.)

Brother Dyer later reported that in pursuing the matter of obtaining funds for the proposed Bureau of Information on our Temple land property at Independence, Missouri, Elder Mark E. Petersen felt that if the matter were brought up before the Quorum of the Twelve first, it would get more rapid approval before the Committee on Expenditures.

This matter was, therefore, brought up at the Council Meeting held March 23, 1967, in the Salt Lake Temple.  Brother Petersen, in presenting the matter to the Twelve, said that the Church Information Committee feels that the amount of money it would cost to establish such a bureau and operate it could probably be spent with greater profit somewhere else.  The question then came up about ‘some threat that our property in Independence on the Temple lot might be condemned.’  The decision was made to confer with the Legal Department to see if there is any threat to our property in Independence.  See April 14, 1967, for report on this, and for my letter of authorization to go ahead with the building of the Bureau.  Also see former minutes regarding letter from Boy’s Club in Independence asking for permission to erect a building on our Temple property for a Boys Club.

Friday, March 10, 1967

Report of Meeting with President David O. McKay on March 10, 1967, at his Hotel Utah Apartment Office

Prepared by Alvin R. Dyer

On this day, at 9:40 a.m., in company with Mark B. Garff and Emil Fetzer of the Church Building Committee, I met with President David O. McKay.

Purpose of Meeting

The purpose of the meeting was to report to the President on an assignment given to me, to give consideration to the erecting of a Bureau of Information on the temple land property owned by the Church at Independence, Missouri.

I reported that Emil Fetzer and I had made a trip to Independence to study the lay of the land, and had made arrangements while there for a topographical or contour map to be made that could be used for architectural reasons.

Emil Fetzer Presents Schematic Drawings

I mentioned to the President that at the present time the Church owned about 18 acres of the original 63 plus acres of ‘temple land’ property which had been dedicated by the Prophet Joseph Smith.   A plat plan of the temple property was shown the President, with that segment belonging to the Church indicated.  An overlay sheet was placed in position representing a study of the temple complex which in the time of the Lord will be built upon the whole of this sacred piece of land.  This overlay gives evidence of the size of the ‘temple complex, and how it might possibly set upon the temple land.

I explained to the President that the Prophet Joseph Smith, in the early days sent a plat plan of the city of Zion (New Jerusalem) which included the temple complex, from Kirtland, Ohio, to the brethren in Jackson County, Missouri.  This plan was prepared in the Prophet’s own hand, and that the original was in the Church Historian’s Office.

Conjointly with Brother Fetzer, we reported to the President that our study in this direction was to undertake, if we could, to ascertain which of the temple buildings designated would presumably be located on that part of the temple land that the Church owned.  This we had arrived at, and had determined which of these locations would be concentrated upon, for the erection of a building for the purpose intended.  The temple buildings, except the temple where the Lord will officially appear as spoken of in the revelations are represented on the Prophet’s plan as houses, buildings, or temples of certain orders of the Priesthood.  There will be 25 buildings in all occupying about 35 acres.

The hope of all this is to be as realistic as possible in the erection of a building, the basic structure of which could be used at a future date as part of the temple complex, but to be designed and erected now as a Bureau of Information.

Brother Fetzer identified on the overlay sheet the particular building location which we proposed to use which someday perchance could be a part of the over-all complex.

Brother Garff stated to the President that as he understood it our proposal now was for one building properly situated on our temple land which would be used for a Bureau of Information.  That no other structure or any part of the temple complex is presumed.

President McKay was very intent as he listened to the presentation, asking a number of questions concerning the size and facility of the structure being discussed.  In answer to these questions, Brother Fetzer presented to the president several schematic drawings of floor plans, elevation perspective, access roads, parking areas, etc.  These drawings indicated that the proposed structure would be two stories high with a floor area dimension of 61’0″ x 87’0″, which dimension is the same as revealed to the Prophet Joseph as the size of the complex buildings.  Entrance to the Bureau would be from Walnut Street, and it would set back 171’0″ from the street.

The President inquired further as to the basic use of the building.  I told him that it would be used exclusively as a Bureau of Information and that within the walls of this structure the concentrated message could deal with the laying of the foundation of God’s work here in the latter days, at the very place where the Church became involved in the early commandments of the Lord in this purpose, that it would stand as place of testimony and record unto the world, including those of the R.L.D.S.  (D & C 58:7)

Urgent Need to Erect Building on Property

I called to the President’s attention that because our property on the ‘temple land’ had nothing on it, it was almost constantly being sought after by educational and other civic agencies for building purposes.  It has therefore upon occasion been threatened with condemnation procedures to acquire it.  I mentioned the experience with the Van Brunt Senior High School which might have been built upon our temple land property through condemnation procedures had not the Church made rather a sizable contribution ($50,000.00) which enabled the School Board to erect the building on Truman Avenue.  But the condition of possible condemnation still exists.  A recent inquiry was made regarding land for a civic Boys’ Club.  I mentioned to the President that the land in the past had been used as a circus ground, a football practice field, or for any civic requirement, it being regarded as open land, and that the Church had constantly lost stature in the area, for not doing something with it.  In other words, they keep saying, ‘If you don’t intend to use it, then let us have it’.  The R.L.D.S. have particularly used these ideas to their own advantage.

I mentioned to the President that it had been reported to us that in 1965 two thousand Mormons became members of the R.L.D.S. – over 100 of these in Salt Lake City where they recently dedicated a chapel and are now building another.  (Mention also had been made to the President of their activity at the Utah State Fair in 1966.)

The President seemed very surprised of these things, saying ‘I had no idea of this’.

Three Reasons For the Need of The Proposed Building

I expressed the feeling to the President that I thought there were three good

reasons why we should undertake to erect the proposed structures:

1.  The erection of a building on our temple land there would eliminate any possibility of condemnation procedures that may otherwise develop.

2.  It would establish the Church in better image to the world and the R.L.D.S. membership in an area most vital to the restoration of the Gospel.

3.  That a Bureau of Information there, together with our newly acquired Radio Broadcasting facilities in Kansas City, could be developed into a great center of tourist attraction.

The President at this point rather firmly expressed himself that we ought not lose control of any of that land, and asked that we again go over our proposal to him.  This we did step by step.  As mentioned before, the President was very intent about the whole matter and wanted to have it all clear in his mind.

Brother Garff stated that it looked to him that the decision that must be made at this time was whether the Church intended to go forward or to give up and relinquish our place.

I commented that as the true Church it would be unthinkable to give up our place, and the President gave affirmation to this.

Approximate Costs

In reply to the President’s question, Brother Garff stated that some quick figures had been arrived at and that for the building proper, roadway, parking, and landscaping, it would cost in the neighborhood of one-half million dollars, but that a further detailed check would be needed.

A Building To Put the Church In Good Light

Brother Getzer made the comment that he felt that any building we erected at this particular place, while it would not compete in size with the R.L.D.S. Auditorium, about one-half block to the west, it ought to be commensurate for the purpose, and be such as to put the Church in a good light.  The President concurred in this.

President McKay Recalls Visit to Independence

The President very thoughtfully spoke of his visit to Missouri last June, accompanied by President Joseph Fielding Smith, and of our stop by the very land at Independence which we had been discussing.  He recalled how I had explained to him the lay of the land, and of his impression of the beauty of that part of the ‘temple land’ owned by our Church, and how much he appreciated and enjoyed our visit there, and at Liberty, Far West, and Adam-ondi-Ahman.

The President Gives Approval

Finally, with a thoughtful concern, the President made his decision, and said ‘alright, let’s go ahead with it’.

Brother Garff said, ‘Alright President, we’ll go ahead, but we will need to get the money to do it.  Perhaps all that will be needed for now will be the appropriation for the architectural fees, and the appropriation for the building could be included in the next budget year beginning September 1, 1967.’  The President said this was fine, but to go ahead.

A Joyous Time

It is not always possible to evaluate at the time the significance of an occasion, this may be one of those times.  At any rate, for the full hour of discussion of this important matter with President McKay there was an unmistakable feeling of joy and satisfaction.  A jovial and happy, yet deeply concerned atmosphere prevailed.

The President was very bright and alert, asking many questions.  I felt, as did Brothers Garff and Fetzer the process of his clear thinking as he reached his decision, not hurriedly, but slowly and with deep concern.  It was truly an inspiration to witness this.

We all felt good about the decision he had made.  To me it was another step in fulfilling of the Lord’s work in the consecrated and dedicated land of Jackson County, Missouri, with many great developments to follow.

Brother Fetzer told of President McKay passing his home recently in an automobile and how this alone had brought happiness to their home and family.  This brought a pleasing smile to the face of the President.

Brother Garff told the President not to be concerned about the cost of the Bureau on the temple land for the Building Committee had now turned back to the Church 16 million dollars and he showed the President an auditors statement to this effect.  The President was very pleased with this report saying ‘This is wonderful’.  Brother Garff also said that the Carthage Bureau was costing the Church more than the one I had proposed for Independence, Missouri.

As the President said good-bye, he was very happy and seemed lifted-up.  He said to me as I shook hands expressing my own happiness of this occasion, ‘I appreciate the great work you are doing and of the interest you are taking in these matters.'”

Wed., 15 Mar. 1967:

“10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Independence, Missouri – Bureau of Information

Brother Alvin R. Dyer came in at my request, and presented a report of the meeting we held with Mark B. Garff and Emil Fetzer on the erecting of a Bureau of Information at Independence, Missouri.

Elder Dyer said that he had talked with Mark E. Petersen, Chairman of the Bureaus Committee, who said that he would take the matter of appropriations for the building to the Expenditures Committee.  I told Brother Dyer that I am in favor of going ahead with the Bureau of Independence.

Deseret Management Corporation

Brother Dyer presented a type-written report on his evaluation of the new Deseret Management Corporation.  This was also done at my request.  (See following report which was carefully prepared by Elder Dyer, and which I have read with interest and deep concern.) 

Wed., 29 Mar. 1967:

“In Huntsville

11:40 a.m.

Brother and Sister Alvin R. Dyer, and my secretary Clare, came up to Huntsville at my request.

Brother Dyer made a brief report on Independence, and the proposed new building at that place.

Clare brought up the matter of the proposal of the Nauvoo Corporation to purchase a 14-unit motel in Nauvoo for $60,000, and Brother Reiser’s desire to see me about it.  This matter was presented by President Brown at a meeting of the First Presidency held March 24, 1967.  In the presence of Elder Dyer, I very strongly expressed my feelings that we should not spend any more money in Nauvoo, saying, ‘We are not going to do it, and I shall tell Brother Reiser next week when I come to Salt Lake.’

Later, President Brown presented the matter of the purchase of the motel again, stating that liquor interests are after the property, and that Willard Marriott, David Kennedy, and other members of the Nauvoo Corporation are very much in favor of the purchase, and persuaded me that it would be wrong for the Church not to acquire this property.

Brother Dyer then left the office there in Huntsville, and Clare presented the list of speakers for the Pre-Conference meeting of all the General Authorities to be held tomorrow in the Salt Lake Temple, and also a list of the Brethren to be called on to speak at the Temple meeting.  She left these lists with me in a folder, and asked the nurse to see that they were given to me as I left for the meeting tomorrow morning.

I then joined Brother and Sister Dyer who were in the living room talking to Sister McKay.  Brother Dyer said that his was the first time he had been to Huntsville, and that the drive through Ogden Canyon was beautiful, although they had traveled up there in a blinding snowstorm.  The roads were very slick, and in certain places the visibility was poor.  Clare said that in all the years she had worked for me she had never been in the old home, and in fact had been to Huntsville only once before in all that time.  While there she walked around the old home with Brother and Sister Dyer, and went out to the field to see if they could get Sonny Boy to come to the fence so that they could feed him some sugar.  However, he didn’t answer their call, although some of the other horses did come up to the fence.  They enjoyed the cold, invigorating air of Huntsville.”

Thurs., 30 Mar. 1967:

“April 1, 1967

Report by Alvin R. Dyer, Assistant to the Twelve

My recollection of the things spoken of by President McKay in the pre-conference temple meeting of the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, and all other General Authorities, except Thorpe B. Isaacson, Harold B. Lee, and S. Dilworth Young; held on Thursday, March 30, 1967, at 9:00 a.m. continuing until 1:30 p.m.

President McKay presided and conducted the meeting.  In his opening remarks, he seemed troubled and kept putting his head back on his seat as though he was searching for what to say.  He spoke for the most part in a subdued voice, but when his speaking was over as he directed the rest of the meeting his voice was stronger.  In his remarks it was easy to observe that he was speaking with great concern, and though I could not distinguish every word, I feel that I heard sufficient to get the trend of his thoughts.  The following to the best of my knowledge, represents the vital matters he spoke of:

1.  That Jesus Christ, the Son of God and our Redeemer, is at the head of the Church.  ‘He is our Head’, said the President.  He pointed out further that He (that is, the Lord) watched over and was concerned about the Church.

2.  He spoke of the General Authorities there present who formed a great group that the Lord was over this group, and looked to it to further His work.

3.  He spoke of the authority and power of the Priesthood that was vested in this group and in the Church, and that this priesthood was to be magnified to accomplish God’s work.

4.  The President then spoke of the authority vested in the First Presidency of the Church and raising his voice, he then said what sounded like to me, to emphasize, his place as the President and presiding authority, and that by virtue and power of his office and calling should be respected in that position.  He then again spoke of his office and calling, by virtue of which he encouraged the General Authorities to go forward in magnifying the Priesthood in pursuing their callings that the work of the Lord could go forward as never before.

5.  President McKay spoke of the conference of the Church at hand, and called upon the brethren, whom he called a great group, as never before to represent the Lord in what they would say at the conference.

The above notes, written by request of Clare Middlemiss, secretary, was read and approved by President McKay April 4, 1967.

Approved    David O. McKay” 

Fri., 14 Apr. 1967:

“11:00 – 11:45 a.m.

By appointment met Brother Alvin R. Dyer, and discussed the following matters with him:

1)  Bureau of Information at Independence, Missouri – question of whether or not our land at that place will come under condemnation.  I read the letters and memos involved in this situation, and stated that I completely approve the project, and authorized that the letter be written (for my signature) authorizing the erection of a Bureau of Information at Independence on the ‘Temple Land’.

Fri., 14 Apr. 1967:

Friday, April 14, 1967

Minutes of Meeting with President David O. McKay, Friday, April 14, 1967, by Elder Alvin R. Dyer, Assistant to the Twelve.

At about 10:45 a.m. on April 14, 1967, I met with President David O. McKay by appointment.  Clare Middlemiss, his personal secretary, was present.

Several matters were discussed with him as follows:

1)  On March 23, 1967, in the meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve with the First Presidency, the proposed project of the erection of a Bureau of Information on Church ‘Temple Land’ property at Independence, Missouri, which had previously been approved by President McKay on March 10, 1967, in the presence of Alvin R. Dyer, Mark B. Garff, and Emil Fetzer, at which time three reasons were discussed as for the need of such bureau:

a)  To lessen the chance of possible condemnation of the property

b)  To establish a better image of the Church to the RLDS and the world by signifying Church interest in this, the revealed, consecrated, and inheritance land.

c)  To be in a position, with radio facilities having been obtained in Kansas City, to tell of the message of the Church from that point, the center place of Zion.

Following the meeting, I was advised by Elder Mark E. Petersen that the Quorum and the First Presidency were concerned about condemnation procedures and had therefore authorized Wilford W. Kirton, Jr., legal counsel for the Church, to pursue the matter.  This he did in collaboration with Kenneth L. Midgley, a Kansas City attorney who is on the High Council of the Kansas City Stake.

Their report, sent by letter and memo to Mark E. Petersen, copies of which Elder Petersen sent to me with his letter dated April 10, 1967, confirmed the fact that the property could be condemned under certain circumstances, which if such were to be invoked at all by those in position to do so, would more likely happen if the property was not improved.  (See second paragraph, Kirton memo, and second paragraph of Midgley letter.)

Upon receiving copies of this report, and the signification in Elder Petersen’s letter that ‘we will have to wait further instructions from the First Presidency’, I prepared an analysis of the attorney’s report, and took the same to Elder Petersen and discussed the matter with him (a copy of that analysis is attached to these minutes), this was on April 11, 1967.  I stated to Elder Petersen that I knew that improvements placed upon vacant property would not always prevent condemnation of the same, but that under normal circumstances would tend to prevent it.  That, in the case of our ‘Temple Land’ property, only a confined project such as a school or civic building would ever be considered as a cause to condemn and that a half-million dollar bureau, together with the land value, would be a determining factor to those who would condemn since such parties would have to absorb costs.  I also referred to the two other reasons for the bureau, which seemed to escape the discussions of the brethren.  

I then pointed out to Brother Petersen that by appointment of the President, it was my obligation to pursue the matter and, therefore, what was the next step to be taken.  He then said that if a letter could be obtained from President McKay, he would include the costs of the project in his budget request, which he would have to prepare before April 28, 1967, since thereafter he would be gone for six weeks, which extended beyond the deadline of May 31, 1967, for budget submittal for 1967-68.

I asked Brother Petersen how he personally felt about a bureau at Independence.  He said he felt all right about it, but felt that for now he was more concerned about getting needed funds for the Temple bureaus at Hawaii and Mesa.  I said why could not the funds be obtained for all three.  His answer was that it was a matter of money, and he didn’t know whether money would be available for all three bureaus.  I mentioned that if funds could be diverted from Nauvoo, it could be done.  His answer was quite emphatic, ‘I would unquestionably rather see the money spent at Independence, than at Nauvoo.’

I then asked Elder Petersen if he thought I ought to talk to Brother Tanner about the matter of the bureau at Independence.  He said perhaps so, with President McKay present.  My answer to this was, as we thought about the matter together, that President McKay had asked me personally to pursue the matter and that to keep faith with the President I should go directly to him and report the matter and ask for the letter which Elder Petersen stated he would need to ask for the funds.  Elder Petersen then said perhaps that would be best.

This background of the visit with President McKay is given so as to make these minutes coherent.

President McKay listened to my report, read the letters and memos involved, and stated that it would not be necessary to discuss the matter with President Tanner, that he completely approved the project and authorized that the letter requested by Brother Petersen be prepared for his signature.  (This was done and placed into his hands the following Monday, April 17, 1967.)

2)  Clare Middlemiss, Retirement of.  President McKay some time ago requested that I have prepared by legal counsel a statement to the Church Retirement Committee in behalf of Clare Middlemiss, his long-time secretary, that upon the occasion of his death that the option of retirement be granted her and that her retirement pay to be in the full amount of her present salary with certain other medical and drug benefits.

This document was prepared in triplicate by Robert Dyer, attorney, and was given to the President upon this occasion.  He stated that this was the way he wanted it, and signed all three copies in my presence.

3)  Nauvoo Restoration, Purchase of Motel

While I was with the President and with his permission, remained to discuss with him a letter which had been prepared for the purchase of a motel at Nauvoo, Illinois, for $60,000, which letter to LeRoy Kimball had already been signed by Presidents Tanner and Smith.

The President seemed reticent about signing the letter.  He said to me, ‘What are we doing in Nauvoo anyway?’  I told him that I did not see why the Church should be obligated to finance and maintain the Nauvoo Restoration project, that according to my understanding the costs were mounting higher and higher and the Church was footing the bill.  I remarked to the President that the restoration of certain homes at Nauvoo by family descendants of the early owners was understandable, providing they would arrange for the bulk of the money, but that the project was getting too big and costing too much for the possible advantage that would accrue to the Church, that I objected to it for several reasons.

a)  That the project of a mammoth bureau of information at Nauvoo and the money involved could not be compared with bureaus at other places, where funds were needed now, such as Independence, Hawaii, Mesa, Far West, Anadarko, and later Adam-ondi-Ahman.

b)  That the restoration of Nauvoo will help the RLDS Church more than ours.  They own the Mansion House, the burial ground of Joseph, Hyrum, and Emma Smith, and much of what we might say at this place would be off-set by the facts stated above.

c)  The revelations and statements of the Prophets Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and others signify no future of the church at that place, such as at Independence, Far West, Adam-ondi-Ahman, and even Kirtland.

d)  That the time had come to finalize what is being done there and stop the outflow of Church funds to further expand it.

At this point I asked the President if he would excuse me as I had an appointment to fill at our Institute of Religion on the Weber College campus to meet with 800 Institute students.  The President asked me to convey his love and best wishes to these young people.  Sister Dyer was with me when 45 minutes later we met with this inspiring congregation of Weber College youth during the noon hour.  They were very pleased and happy to receive the President’s greetings.

Minutes prepared by Alvin R. Dyer

Assistant to the Twelve.

Friday, April 14, 1967

Re:  Independence, Missouri Bureau of Information

April 11, 1967

Elder Mark E. Petersen


Dear Brother Petersen:

I have your letter of April 10, 1967, together with copies of letters and memos from Wilford W. Kirton, Jr.. and Kenneth L. Midgley concerning condemnation phases of our ‘temple land’ property in Independence, Missouri.

It has always been my understanding, according to law, that private property, whether improved or not improved, is subject to condemnation procedures by the State and Federal Government under certain conditions.  However, it has also been my understanding, that follows customary practices, that well established improved property would much less likely be considered for condemnation than completely under-improved property; such as for confined structures (schools, boys’ clubs, and so forth).  The last paragraph of the memo from Wilford W. Kirton, Jr., which states the following, seems to indicate this point:

‘Perhaps the value of improvements would not discourage

condemnation, but local authorities might still feel it

inappropriate to condemn our property if we were

making use of it.  As to the latter aspect of the case, 

I believe, that either Elder Alvin R. Dyer or others

acquainted with local attitudes in Independence would

be better able to judge.’

In the light of what has been stated by the attorneys, I desire to make the following list of comments with a recommendation that these be given serious consideration:

a.  The fact that a building would be placed on the property would inadvertently

preclude an effort to condemn, much less considerably if no building were placed

upon it.

b.  The fact that we are holding the property, legally, for no apparent purpose

in itself could more legally bring condemnation procedures.

c.  The fact that we are doing nothing with the property is distasteful to the

people in the area and does not help the image of or the work of the church

in that area.

d.  If the Church built upon the property and would still be legally vulnerable to

condemnation which would be considerably less likely, then the cost of 

condemnation would recompense to a degree, perhaps fully, for any improvement

expenditure.  This point is indicated in the letter from Kenneth E. Midgley to

Wilford W. Kirton, Jr., wherein he states:

‘A review of our condemnation statutes and court decisions does not indicate

that any legal protection against condemnation will result on improving the 

property except to increase the prospective amount of damages which must

be paid to condemn.’

Further in the same letter, this statement is made:

‘Improvements could discourage condemnation only if their fair market value

was so high that the potential condemnation award would be more than the

condemning authority would be willing to pay for the public use intended.’

The type of Bureau of Information proposed for our ‘temple land’ property at Independence would seem to me to be of sufficient value to discourage the authority who might be otherwise influenced to condemn.

In my letter to you pertaining to this matter, I mentioned two other reasons that I felt were important to the purpose of erecting a Bureau of Information upon the ‘temple land’ property at Independence.  I would again recommend that these be given full attention.

I trust that I am not out of order in submitting this secondary recommendation to you on this project.  President McKay, in the company of Mark E. Garff and Emil Fetzer, seemed quite definite that he favored the erection of the bureau.  Therefore, this second appeal is made in the spirit of being subservient to whatever is decided, but to also evidence my deep interest and concern about the overall purpose of such a project.

Sincerely yours,

Alvin R. Dyer

Friday, April 14, 1967

April 13, 1967

Elder Mark E. Petersen, Chairman

Church Information Committee


Dear Brother Petersen:

This letter is to signify my desire that we proceed at once with the necessary preparations and plans for the erection of a Bureau of Information Building on the Church Temple Land property at Independence, Missouri, in accordance with the preliminary study for such Bureau, which I requested, as presented to me by Elder Alvin R. Dyer, in company with Mark B. Garff and Emil Fetzer of the Church Building Committee, on March 10, 1967.

To secure the funds needed for this project, you are authorized to include in your budget request for 1967-68 the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000), which represents the estimate of cost provided by the Building Committee.  This is exclusive of furnishings, landscaping, and display media, the cost of which is to be arranged for later when the actual amount is known.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


Sat., 22 Apr. 1967:

“8:30 a.m.

At my request Elder Alvin R. Dyer came in to see me at the apartment.

I talked mainly to Elder Dyer about his personal life, asking him several questions regarding his immediate family, his missionary service, both as President of the Central States Mission where he became so interested in the history of the Church in Missouri and other places in the beginning of the Church.  He said that he toured the Mission with Adam S. Bennion about three months before Brother Bennion’s death, and told of his part in getting the first issuance of ‘The Refiner’s Fire’, a small volume of the historical highlights of Missouri, which he (Brother Dyer) had published.

Elder Dyer spoke of his continuing interest in Missouri, and I told him that I want him to be vitally interested in it, and to bring to my attention things of importance that are transpiring there.  We discussed the significance of the revelations and the prophecies concerning this consecrated land.

I then asked Elder Dyer about his parents and grandparents, and he gave me a brief history of their lives, and of their interesting part in the early days of the Church.

Elder Dyer said that he has been appointed by the First Presidency to go to Mesa, Arizona to attend the Maricopa Stake.  I told him that that brought memories to me of my many visits to Arizona; that Maricopa was the first Stake, and that the father of Harold Wright (who now presides) was its first President.

We had a very interesting and pleasant visit for an hour and a half, and then Elder Dyer left.  (For further details of the conversation, see following minutes prepared at my request by Elder Dyer.)

Saturday, April 22, 1967

Meeting of Alvin R. Dyer with President David O. McKay, Saturday, April 22, 1967, at the President’s Hotel Utah Office from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m.

President McKay had asked the previous morning that I return to meet with him on this morning.  In accordance with his wish I was there at the appointed time to find the President alert, and seemingly anxious to talk to me about my personal life.

The following are things which I spoke of in response to his various questions:

1.  Of my immediate family, my dear wife May, our two children, Gloria and Brent and their companions.  Both were married in the temple and are active in the Church.  Gloria married a returned missionary, Reed Klein, the son of a German convert who for years played in the Salt Lake Symphony.  To them has been born three sons, Mark, David (named after President McKay), and Steven.  Brent married Carolynne Smith, a descendant of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.  They have one daughter, Allyson.

2.  Concerning my missionary service.  At the age of 18 I was called to the Eastern States serving under B.H. Roberts.  That my mother died while in the field, but that I remained to fill my mission serving 26 months.  I was supervising Elder over the New York District.

3.  I recalled the experience while Bishop of the Monument Park Ward of being called to serve as the President of a full-time mission.  I was then 50 years old.  Stephen L. Richards, first counselor to President McKay, whom I loved and respected, (The President broke in here and said that Stephen L. Richards was a very dear friend) said that the Western and Central States Missions were in need of presidents.  Sister Dyer and I prayed that if it was the will of the Lord, we be called to go to the Central States Mission, because of passing through Independence, Missouri in 1951, and feeling then that we would someday return.  President Richards a day or so later informed me that he felt impressed to call us to preside over the Central States Mission which we did for 4 1/2 years beginning in March of 1954.

I told the President of our developing love and interest in Missouri, and of its destiny and importance to the Church.  I related the experience which I had with Adam S. Bennion who toured the Central States Mission about three months before his death and of his part in getting the first issuance of the Refiner’s Fire, a small volume of the historical highlights of Missouri which I had written, published.  (This is the book which President McKay has now authorized to be revised and enlarged.)

I spoke of our continuing interest in Missouri.  The President then referred to the fact that he wanted me to be vitally interested in it and to bring to his attention things of importance that were transpiring there, and of things of the significance of the revelations and prophecies concerning this consecrated land.  (Note:  The President had spoken of this assignment to me regarding Missouri on a number of previous occasions and reaffirmed it this day.)

4.  The President asked about my parents and grandparents.  In response to which I recalled the experiences of the conversion of my Grandfather and Grandmother Dyer, and of their successful efforts in converting members of their own families; of their emigration to America.  My Great Grandfather Dyer offered the prayer of thanksgiving as they left the ship that had brought them safely to America.  Of their trek across the plains, first having had their wagon plains outfit stolen, which required all of the rest of their money to reoutfit.  Two of my aunts, Clementina and Valentian, died enroute to Utah and were buried on the plains.  My father, then a small boy, was stolen by Indians who attempted to pay for him by leaving six ponies, but the scouts of the train found the Indian Camp and then waited for the braves to go hunting and then rescued him, leaving the ponies and a blanket on each so that the Indians would not follow.  My father, Alfred Dyer, lived to be a great friend of the Indians.  As a boy had the job of lighting all the gas lamps on main street.  My grandfather William Dyer was made Assistant Superintendent of a Copper refinery and left there to the great disappointment of his employers who offered him a big increase in salary to remain.  He understood the process of tempering copper, but promised his employers he would not divulge the secret.

Not long after Grandfather Dyer and his family arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, word came from his former employers in Wales to come back, guaranteeing passage costs, but they had realized their great hope and were now with the Saints here in the Rockies, and here they would remain.  Grandfather at one time was asked to explain the details of tempering copper by certain interests here, but this he would not do in accordance with the promise he had made.  He was a close friend of Apostle Mathias Cowley, the father of Mathew Cowley.

5.  The President seemed to want to know all about my family.  I told him of our Dyer Family organization which had accomplished a great deal in genealogical research, having now completed 1200 family group sheets, baptisms, endowments and sealings by proxy and that the work was still going on with my brother Gus acting as heir and doing a great deal of the work.  Out of 13 children born to my father and mother, both of whom are dead, only Gus and I remain, but that all had been sealed in the temples.

6.  In speaking to the President of my going to Mesa, Arizona, that day to attend the Maricopa Stake, it brought memories to him of his many visits to Arizona.  That Maricopa was the first stake and that the father of Harold Wright, who now presides, was its first president.  The President was in a reminisary mood and talked of the days when he was traveling to the stake conferences.  I mentioned that programs were now being considered to give greater flexibility to the General Authorities attending stake conferences, that perhaps the conference schedule was now being over programmed with auxiliary and priesthood committee schedules; that some other time, other than stake conference should be provided for training and motivation in these special programs.  The President agreed that something should be done to keep the stake conferences in the image of the revelations pertaining to them.

7.  We had a most pleasant visit together and nearly all that is written here was spoken of as a direct result of questions that the President asked.

He asked that I take his love and best wishes to the Saints of the Maricopa Stake, which I did much to their delight.

The President said he was most appreciative of my visit with him, and hoped that we could meet again soon.”

Tues., 20 Jun., 1967:

Alvin R. Dyer’s Book ‘The Refiner’s Fire’ – Report by Harold B. Lee

President Brown presented Elder Harold B. Lee’s report on his reading of ‘The Refiner’s Fire’ and revisions proposed.  Brother Lee’s report is not favorable of its being published.  A revision and improvement are needed.  Brother Lee’s report was read.  President Brown was asked to read the manuscript upon which Brother Lee reports and to bring to the First Presidency his recommendation.”

Wed., 11 Oct., 1967:

“Did not hold a meeting with my Counselors this morning.

9:45 a.m.

Clare called for an appointment. The nurse told her not to come until 10:15 a.m.

10:15 a.m. 

Elder Alvin R. Dyer came in and took up a number of items with me pertaining to the general jurisdiction of the Church.

Elder Dyer then read the letter which had come to me from Keith Wilson, Jr., Acting City Manager of the city of Independence, Missouri, regarding our Temple lot property, and their desire to develop a park on the ground if the Church is not going to erect a building and beautify the unimproved section of our property. This involves eighteen acres of the original “Temple Land”.

I had given approval a year ago, when the matter was brought up due to the fact that a Boys Club wanted the land upon which to erect a building, to go ahead with a Bureau of Information. For some reason, however, this project was “tabled” by one of the Counselors. Now, with the City wanting to make a park out of our Temple land, we must take steps to go forward to erect a suitable building, landscaping as heretofore planned.

I told Brother Dyer that I would hold a meeting with my Counselors tomorrow and tell them what we should do. Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Church Information Service is very much in favor of a Bureau of Information being built in Independence.

(See copy of letter from City of Independence, and our answer thereto following.)


WEDNESDAY, October 11, 1967

I met with President McKay. His personal. Secretary Clare Middllemiss was present. A report was made to the President concerning the inquiry he had requested be made into the hiring of a Personnel Director; to what extent it was needed and what expansion there would potentially be of this new department.  (See attached memo and report.)

Independence–Improvement of “Temple Lot”

A letter directed to President McKay from the City of Independence, Missour, concerning the Church’s intention to place a building and beautify an unimproved section of ground owned by the Church there was read.  This involves 18 acres of the original “Temple Land”.  The letter indicated (See copy attached) that we as a Church had made such a commitment in 1952, at the time of the Van Horn High School incident, and that if we did not intend to do anything about it they would like to use it as a park and recretional area.  This would of course mean that we would lease our temple land to the City of Independence.

It is well to note here that a check with former Presiding Bishop LeGrand Richards, and the present Bishop John H. Vandenberg, failed to reveal any knowledge of a commitment made by the Church to erect a building there.  But regardless of this, with the approval of President McKay, a study has been made and approval give to erect a suitable building–favorably located with extended landscaping–so as to beautify a good portion of the land.  A schematic elevation and plot was submitted to President McKay and approved by him. However this needed project with which I was deeply concerned was never budgeted and there appeared mixed feelings among the brethren about it.  President Tanner appeared to be principally opposed to it.

This recent letter has now brought the matter forward, and the President directed that we go through with it.

President McKay said he wanted to hold a meeting with the Counselors the following morning, Thursday, October 12, 1967, and asked me to attend and present these two matters.

(Elder Mark E. Petersen’s Concern)

On this same morning, Brother Petersen came to my office and said he felt we should move forward with a Bureau of Information at Independence, but suggested that a smaller one might be built upon land closer to the Central States Mission Office.  I showed him the letter from Independence.  He immediately said, “This changes things,” and asked that I arrange a meeting with Emil Fetzer, from the Building Department, who had been assigned to work with me on the project from the beginning.  This was done and a journal account will be given of that meeting later.

In my meeting with President McKay, this day, I presented him with a carved wood statue of a Brazilian Gaucho upon a horse, which Sister Dyer and I had obtained in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was expertly done by a member of the Church and the President was very pleased with it.

(Suggested Clarification of my Status in Attending First Presidency Meetings)

I suggested to the President — with which he was heartily in accord –that even though he had announced in the Temple that I was, by assignment, to attend all meetings of the First Presidency, that it would be well to advise the First Presidency directly that I was to thus attend such meetings, both when he was present and when he was not present.

Minutes Approved by President McKay”

Thur., 12 Oct., 1967:

“Held a meeting with Presidents Hugh B. Brown, Nathan Eldon Tanner, Joseph Fielding Smith, and Elder Alvin R. Dyer, newly-sustained Apostle. This was Elder Dyer’s first meeting with the First Presidency, and he had come at my invitation. A number of matters were presented by the Brethren, among them were:

Independence – Property Matter 

Elder Dyer mentioned that he had a matter that should have the attention of the First Presidency. President Tanner asked if it was something that should come to the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve as a whole . Elder Dyer said that it had already been before the Twelve and approved by the First Presidency; that, however, it was set aside for some future time. He said that Elder Mark E. Petersen has now presented the idea of erecting a small bureau in Independence, Missouri; that it will not, however, satisfy the situation so far as the city of Independence is concerned, that they are requesting the use of the whole Temple property that belongs to us. He said we have to decide whether or not we are going to put something on that property and if we are not, the city of Independence is requesting that they be permitted to do so. Elder Dyer said that I had suggested that perhaps Elder Petersen and he should go there because of an official letter (see diary of October 11, 1967) that had come to me from the city officials under date of October 3. The letter states that they are beginning a detailed study of open space available for their forthcoming park development program and consequently would like to inquire whether or not the Church still intends to develop the property due to the fact that the land in question is unimproved, and they would like to develop it as a park and recreation area inasmuch as the Church has discarded the program of 1952. Elder Dyer said that in 1952 when they started proceedings to condemn this land we gave them a promise that in ten years we would put a building on this property and would improve it.

President Tanner suggested that rather than try to rush this through at this time, the Presidency meet on Tuesday next to discuss it then in the regular meeting of the Presidency, and give it the time it deserves. He thought this would be better than to make a hurried decision.

Elder Dyer explained that this matter had been approved by the President sometime go. President Tanner said that if I feel that Brother Petersen and Brother Dyer should go there, he would be in favor of that, but he thought that a matter of this importance should not be rushed. I said that the matter may be discussed again next Tuesday.

“(Minutes of Meeting Held by President McKay in his Office at the Hotel Utah with Presidents Brown, Tanner, Smith and Elder Alvin R. Dyer, New Apostle)

(Temple Land Property at Independence, Missouri)

I then referred to the letter from Independence concerning the use of our Temple Land property by that City if we did not intend to put a building on it and beautify the area. I stated that Elder Mark Petersen had come to my office and expressed the feeling that we should go forward with the Independence Bureau and since President McKay had approved it there should be no delay. President Tanner said we ought to meet and discuss the whole matter; then it could be determined whether Brother Petersen and I should go back there to meet with the City officials. I said it seemed strange to me that when the President gave his personal approval to something that there should be any question about it. President Brown said that my analysis of some other things at Independence had been visionary, and so perhaps might this be. He did not seem to realize that what someone had said that I had said about the visit of President McKay to Adam-ondi-Ahman — and which was erroneously stated — had absolutely no bearing on the Independence situation. This expression of President Brown was no doubt made as a reaction to my calling to meet with The First Presidency and the inclination to discredit anything I might say.

Fri., 13 Oct., 1967:

“In Huntsville.

Independence, Missouri – Sketches of Bureau of Information Reviewed 

At President McKay’s request, the following meeting was held by Elder Alvin R. Dyer vith Elders Mark E. Petersen and Emil Fetzer, Church Architect:

This consultation was held in Mark E. Petersen’s office at 2:00 p.m. Sketches of the Bureau of Information on the Temple Land at Independence, Missouri, previously prepared when the matter was being considered before, were viewed and discussed. It was decided to go forward with further preliminary sketches using the same building design; but to also add an outdoor amphitheatre to the south of the structure, and to plan for a softball field and playground to the east of the land near the mission home on Walnut Street. Elder Petersen commented that since the President had approved it, we should go forward with the project.

A letter is to be prepared to the Independence City officials advising them of our plans to build and to beautify the area, and that a representative would soon meet with them. President McKay had previously authorized that this be done and that I was to go back there to represent the Church in this matter.

(See diary of October 11, 1967, for copies of letters.)”

Fri., 27 Oct., 1967:

“Independence, Missouri – Report of Visit of Elder Alvin R. Dyer and Emil Fetzer, Architect 

At President McKay’s request, Elder Alvin R. Dyer, in company with Emil Fetzer, Church Architect, went to Independence, Missouri to check with the Independence City officials to ascertain just what their intentions are regarding our “Temple Lot” property if we do not undertake to erect a building and improve the land. 

(See follow minutes by Elder Dyer for detail.) 

(See also following newspaper clipping from the Kansas City Star in which the correspondence between President McKay and Mr. Wilson are reported.)”


THURSDAY, October 26, 1967

I had hoped on this day that I might have the privilege of seeing President McKay who was still at Huntsville. Upon calling his cottage there the nurse told me he was resting having concluded his breakfast; that he would be roused for lunch between 12 and 1 P. M., and then after another rest he was scheduled to see President Brown at 3:30.

Because of this I did not press to see him, although the nurse said if I would call at 4:30, and President Brown did not stay too long, I could perhaps come up then. But I concluded that this would be too tiring for the President, so I would endeavor to see him the first part of next week.

Lawrence McKay called later in the morning to say that he had heard that I was planning to see his father. (I had talked to Robert the day before concerning my going up; he had talked to LouJean who was leaving for home the next morning. They thought it would be all right although the President was still weak, but was somewhat better. This is why I called as I did to ascertain conditions. ) Lawrence said he hoped I would not go up to see his father; evidently Robert had mentioned it to him. I told him I had concluded that I would not attempt to see President McKay because of the visit of President Brown. He seemed disappointed that President Brown was going, even though he had discouraged it. He thanked me for being considerate of his father.

I spoke to the missionaries at 2:00 P. M., and met with Mark Petersen and Emil Fetzer at 3:15 P. M. to view and discuss the preliminary sketches for the project at Independence. Elder Petersen was well pleased with the sketches and wished us success in meeting with the Independence City Officials the following day.

FRIDAY, October 27, 1967

Emil Fetzer called for me at 6:30 A. M., and we departed from the Salt Lake Airport on United Airlines flight 164 at 7:20 A. M. for Denver where we changed to Continental flight 164 for Kansas City, Missouri.

Elder Kimball was on the plane to Denver and was going to El Paso to hold Conference. We had a pleasant visit with him between planes, showing him the sketches we carried with us. He seemed highly pleased with the whole thing. He related some experiences he had as a missionary many years ago in the Central States Mission, which mission I presided over from March 1954 to August 1958.

(Preparations for Meeting with Independence City Officials)

The letter of October 3, 1967, received from the City of Independence, and President McKay’s reply of October 18, 1967, thereto is made part of this Journal Record.

Several days ago I called Jewel Pope, President of the Kansas City Stake, advising him of the letters and asked that he arrange the appointment for Friday, October 27, and also accompany us. This he agreed to do.

Our plane arrived on time at Kansas City, and we were met at the airport by President Pope. Our appointment with Keith Wilson, the Independence City Manager, was not until 1:30 P.M., so we had ample time to visit for a short while with George Reuland, the manager of Allis -Chalmers, at Independence, who we fortunately were able to make contact with at the plant office. This visit was most pleasant. Mr. Reuland is a very good friend of the Church and a personal one to me. I explained in a brief way our reason for being in Independence, and he seemed very pleased with the prospectus.

He told of the growth of Allis-Chalmers at Independence, and even though the Church has leased them additional land there to expand, that it had already been absorbed and that they were thinking now more than ever of a greatly enlarged production run type of plant in an outskirt area.

(Meeting with Independence City Manager)

At 1:30 P. M. in the Independence Municipal Building we met with Keith Wilson the City Manager who had written the letter to President McKay, and who had in return received correspondence from the President (See letters, which are part of this Journal) concerning the use of certain of our property in Independence involving a segment of the “Temple-Land” belonging to our Church.

After greetings, during which time I learned that Mr. Wilson is a member of the Missouri Historical Society, of which I hold membership by specific request of President McKay, the City Manager explained just what the planning of the city was, which stemmed from the fact that Independence, a city of 115,000, (which is double the population when I last presided over the Central States Mission–1954-1958), actually had no civic parks. Their intention is to obtain land for this purpose and also to pursue a policy of encouraging other “open land” property owners to beautify and make green such open land; or for them to lease or buy that the city may do so.

Mr. Wilson spoke of two rather large projects they were at present undertaking; (1) involved the purchase of the Waggoner Estate of about 22 acres, which is about two blocks from our “Temple -Land” property, which they will obtain with 50% Federal funds through the National Parks Agency for the preservation and beautifying of “open land”, (within Metropolitan city areas. ) The house on the estate will be used as a museum. (2) He told also of the beautifying of the little Blue River banks beginning at Rock Canyon.

Because of this general planning, they were interested in the “open land” which our Church owned.


It is to be noted here by way of comment; that when the Independence civic group approached President Kaiser of the Central States Mission with a proposition to lease certain of our land in Independence for a Boy’s Club or Home for one dollar a year, the letter of inquiry was sent to me. I promptly called it to President McKay’s attention. This is what led to the President’s determination and approval to proceed with the erecting of a Visitor’s Center on our “Temple-Land” in Independence. (See minutes of meetings with President McKay December 5, 1966, February 1, 1967, March 15, 1967.)

The matter was called to Elder Mark Petersen’s attention by letter from President McKay, wherein he was to request funds for the project. (See President McKay’s letter to Mark Petersen April 13, 1967.) The proposition met some opposition and it was thought advisable by Brother Petersen to present it to the Twelve before going to the Committee on Expenditures.

I believe it was President Tanner who suggested that the Church Attorney look into the matter of Church involvement re: condemnation of our property there — since it appeared from his and several other opinions that such would be the only reason for erecting a building there at this time. This of course became reason to them but to President McKay and myself it was not the prime reason, as stated in the minutes of various meetings already referred to. Also, and here is the mistake that was made by those seeking the legal status of our position there, I had said, (December 5, 1966, page 2, Item 1.) “The erection of our own building would tend to forestall any condemnation of the property.” I did not say it would prevent it. All that the attorney’s report pointed out was that the property could be condemned whether a building was placed on it or not. So the ones who did not seem favorable to the project — even though President McKay had given it his full endorsement -then said, if the property can still be condemned even if a building is placed upon it, then why do it. Actually they did not need to hire an attorney to find this out. I knew it before and that is why, as stated above, that a building on the land would tend to forestall condemnation procedures. And of course this is true, as the cost of whatever structure would be placed upon the land would have to be compensated for — and this would make it much less desirable for such purpose than would an “open land” area. (See my letter to Elder Petersen on this dated April 11, 1967.)

Now we have precisely the situation before us that I attempted to avoid in the beginning; that of the seeking by the City of Independence for the use of the “open land” area owned by the Church.

(Independence a Great Historic Center)

Our discussion concerning Independence in general led to the historic aspects of this center, which to us as a people, as declared by revelation, is the “center place of Zion”.

Mr. Wilson said that the Mormon Church had done little or nothing to preserve the historic importance of Independence; that we of all people had more to preserve and more of a story to tell than any other people. He then referred to a small highway sign directing visitors in that area to the R. L. D. S. Auditorium; but when the visitors go there they learn very little of what happened there .

I referred to the Colsville School Monument in Jroost Park, Kansas City, and to the many highway signs directing people to our Liberty Jail Bureau of Information. His reply was that he knew of these and they were commendable, but nothing for Independence, which center, if he had read the history right, was of greater importance for us as a people, not only for that which has transpired but for that which is predicted.

(Preliminary Drawings Shown)

We agreed with Mr. Wilson, and advised him that a “Visitor’s Center”, with beautified surrounding grounds, has been under consideration for some time, and we had President McKay’s approval to go ahead with the project. We then showed the preliminary sketches that had been prepared under the direction of Emil Fetzer of the Church Building Committee. These of course, as we advised him, were in the study stage but that we would soon be working on the actual drawings to be used in the construction of the center.

Mr. Wilson, it appeared to us, was very pleased with what he saw. He mentioned that this would be a great asset to our Church and to the City of Independence as well, and would in his judgement attract a great many tourists who now visit the Truman Memorial Library just a few miles away, which attracts 200,000 visitors annually. He of course was highly pleased with the beautification of the area surrounding the center and the outdoor amphitheater plan for telling our story.

Mr. Wilson intimated that a letter would be sent to us evidencing their support of this program and assured us that they, as a city, would cooperate with us in every way.

He requested a plot and elevation drawing of the project that could be shown to the planning committee, which we promised as soon as they were completed and approved.

Before leaving Independence for the airport in Kansas City, we stopped at the Central States Mission Office for a brief visit with President West. We also had the privilege of meeting Sister West at the Mission Home. I did not feel to divulge to President West to any extent what was being considered for the “Temple-Land” property. Although I did tell him that some planning was being undertaken for some of our property there.”

Thur., 2 Nov., 1967:

“8:30 a.m. 

Held a meeting of the First Presidency in the office in the Hotel Utah apartment. Those present were: Presidents Brown and Tanner, and Elder Alvin R. Dyer. Some of the matters discussed were:

Independence, Missouri – Report to First Presidency by Elder Alvin Dyer of Visit to 

Elder Dyer reported that last Friday, with Emil Fetzer of the Building Committee, he went to Independence, Missouri in response to a letter that I had sent to the Independence City officials in answer to a letter I had received from them indicating their desire to build a playground on the property the Church owns. Elder Dyer said they met Keith Wilson, the city manager who wrote the letter to me. He stated that the city officials are undertaking a program to improve and beautify all the open area in Independence. They have already purchased the Wagner estate, a 22-acre piece of land, which they have done with fifty percent government funds under the National Parks law. They are beautifying the property and building a museum on it. Elder Dyer said that he and Brother Fetzer presented to them some preliminary ideas of what we might have in mind, and they were very pleased to learn that we are contemplating going forward with a building project there.

President Brown asked Brother Dyer what he had in mind, and Brother Dyer said the building of a Visitors Center on the Temple property that we own and beautifying the area. He mentioned that some years ago the city had wanted to build a senior high school on this property and that the Church had given them $60,000 to avoid it, and at that time, according to their statement, some agreement was made to the effect that did not want to relinquish the property, but wanted to place something on it ourselves. Brother Dyer said that we have had two requests for the use of this land in the past two years, and the city manager had said that it is an amazing thing to him as a member of the Missouri Historical Society, of which Society Brother Dyer is also member, why the Church has never done anything in Independence because of the Church history in that area. Elder Dyer said that when he was President of the Central States Mission, Independence had a population of 58,000 people and that now, in less than ten years, they have nearly 120,000; that this past year nearly a

quarter of a million tourists visited Independence. The Church has about 5, 000 members in the Kansas City Stake, which includes all of Jackson County, Missouri. He said there is no question that we have to do something with the land, otherwise they will want to take it out of our hands. Elder Dyer mentioned that I had authorized him and Brother Fetzer to prepare something in the way of a schematic plan, that this was done, but it has never been budgeted, that when the letter came

from the Independence City officials, Elder Mark E. Petersen felt that because I had authorized it, they ought to go ahead and work up the plans. Elder Dyer said that the city officials were very highly pleased when they were told that we were intending to place a bureau of information on this property, and they said they would take no further steps as long as we were in the process of planning something to go on this

eighteen acres of land that we have, which is part of the original property of 63 acres.

President Brown suggested that inasmuch as Elder Mark E. Petersen is in charge of the Visitors Centers, it would be well to have him work with Brother Dyer; they to submit their recommendation. I agreed to this.

President Tanner asks Dyer if he had any idea as to the amount of the proposed expenditure, and he said that Mark B. Garff had made up the schematic drawing and presented it to me and Brother Petersen, an it was thought it would cost about $500,000. He explained that it would be a Visitors Center where we could present the story of the Church. President Brown questioned the wisdom of spending $500,000 for a purpose of this kind. He wondered if it could not be done in a more moderate way.

Elder Dyer said that the greatest tourist center in the world is in this area, that the Ozarks are not far from there and that last year over 22 million tourists visited the Ozarks. He thought there should be a concentrated effort to direct people to our proposed Visitors Center in Independence and then to Nauvoo. Elder Dyer mentioned also the Far West Temple site which he thought should be beautified and that other places of historic interest in that area should be considered as of tremendous historic value. He said he realized that the time for the building of Zion has not yet come, at least he knew of no new revelation from the Lord on the subject, but that we had done nothing to preserve the places of Church interest in that area.

Elder Dyer further stated that President McKay had sent a letter to Elder Mark E. Petersen requesting that the project go forward and that it be included in the budget for 1967-68, and that Brother Petersen had said that he would wish to present it at one of the early Expenditures Committee meetings. He himself has authorized the architect on the strength of my instructions to him to go ahead with the plans and get them ready at an appropriate time. Brother Petersen has said, according to Brother Dyer, that he wanted to point toward having a festivity in Independence on August 3 of next year when they would break ground or lay a cornerstone or something to commemorate the date the Prophet Joseph dedicated that land as a Temple site for the ciy of New Jerusalem. This was August 3, 1831.

Elder Dyer also mentoned that Wallace Smith, President of the Reorganized Church, claimed to have received a revelation from the Lord, to be known in their Doctrine and Covenants as Section 148. Among other things, this purported revelation refers to “the hastening time” and that the time is at hand “when the principles of stewardship accounting and Zionic procedures must be applied.” This, of course, in Brother Dyer’s opinion is a Satanic deception, but he said he thought the Brethren should be informed of this development.

(This last paragraph was reported by Elder Dyer, but not included in the minutes by Joseph Anderson.)

(See also diary of October 27, 1967, for Brother Dyer’s full report.)

The counselors then left the apartment to attend the meeting in the Temple with the Quorum of the Twelve.

Private Consultation With Elder Alvin R. Dyer

As the Counselors left the office, I motioned to Elder to remain.

Brother Dyer talked further to me of the importance of the Independence project, and I heartily agreed, stating that this project was of first importance, and that I want Elder Dyer to come back tomorrow morning and bring me up to date on everything pertaining to it.

Fri., 3 Nov., 1967:

“9:30 a.m.

Independence, Missouri – Improvement of Temple Lot Property

Met by appointment Elders Mark E. Petersen and Alvin R. Dyer. They showed me the preliminary sketches that Emil Fetzer, architect, and Elder Dyer had shown to Keith Wilson, City Manager of Independence, Missouri. They explained the details of the sketches to me, as it had been eight months since we first looked at them.

I asked them several questions about the significance of Independence as the “Center Place,” the cost of erecting the Visitors Center, etc. I was very interested in the lay-out of the Center, and asked a number of questions as to the Location of the Central States Mission headquarters, how many members of the Church in that area; and where the Kansas City Stake Center is located. Elder Dyer explained that Independence is without doubt the greatest center of our historic past coupled with a revealed future; that there are 56 revelations which bear record of this.

After serious consideration, I reaffirmed my former feelings that we should go forward with the project at once, and said: “Let’s put the building up, and complete the work needed.”

Elder Petersen spoke of having a ceremony there on the land, either to “break ground” or “lay a cornerstone”, depending upon the progress of the work on August 3, 1968, which is the anniversary of the dedication and consecration of the “Temple Land” by the Prophet Joseph Smith, August 3, 1831. I gave my approval to this plan. 

Elder Petersen stated that certain of the Brethren do not approve of the project; that even though I had directed a letter to him under date of April 13, 1967, the Project had run into a snag and was never budgeted. I asked who had opposed it, and Elder Petersen said, “principally, your Counselors”. Elder Petersen then said that he thinks a letter to them signifying my desires in the matter would settle the matter once and for all.

Letter to Counselors, asking them to get the Project Underway

I asked the Brethren to dictate a letter to my secretary, Clare, indicating what I wanted said, and have her bring it over to me in draft form so that I could go over it. This was done later, the letter finally approved and signed by me, and sent to Presidents Brown and Tanner, and Smith.

(See copy of letter following; also see copy of Elder Dyer’s minutes; also copy of letter of April 13, 1967.)

12:00 noon

Clare came over. She presented two draft letters for my correction and approval:

(1) Letter to my counselors, Presidents Brown, Tanner, and Smith, telling them to see that the Independence, Missouri project is completed as soon as possible, taking the necessary steps with the Building Committee to have the drawings prepared, and then pass the project through the Expenditures Committee.

(2) Letter to President Ernest L. Wilkinson and the members of the Board of Trustees of the Brigham Young University to appoint Alvin R. Dyer as a member of the Board.

I went over both letters carefully, made corrections, and told Clare to have them written in final form and bring them back to me for signature .

(See copies of letters following. )

“(Report of a meeting held by President David O. McKay with Elders Mark E. Petersen and Alvin R. Dyer)

FRIDAY, November 3, 1967

Independence – Preliminary Sketches of Building

Elder Mark E. Petersen and I met with President McKay at 9:30 A. M. As we arrived the President said, “I’ve been waiting for you.” He was in good spirit, and seemed alert and anxious to again discuss the Independence project with us.

We showed him the preliminary sketches that Emil Fetzer and I had shown to Keith Wilson the Independence City Manager. The details of the sketches were explained. It had been eight months since the details of the project had been explained to the President, so we went over them again to refresh his understanding. He asked two questions in particular. These pertained to the significance of Independence as the “Center place” and how much the Visitors Center would cost. These were answered, and it appeared plainly that the President just wanted to get the facts in his mind again.

He asked a number of minor questions as to the location of the Central States Mission Office in relation to the proposed Visitors Center; how many members of the Church in that area; and where the Kansas City Stake Center was located. These questions were of course all answered.

The important thing to note in his questions was the alertness of his mind, and the scrutiny he again gave to the whole proposed project. He seemed to again satisfy his own mind about the whole matter.

At length, he again reaffirmed his previous feelings that we should go forward with the project at once. He said, “Let’s put the building up and complete the work needed.”

We spoke of having a ceremony there on the land, either to “break ground” or “lay a cornerstone” depending upon the progress of the work on August 3, 1968, the anniversary of the dedication and consecration of the “Temple Land” by the Prophet Joseph Smith–(August 3, 1831. )

The President gave approval to this plan.

Elder Petersen then said, “You know President certain of the brethren do not approve of this project.” He suggested that the President send a letter to his counselors requesting that they do everything possible to see that the architectual and other work go forward immediately since he had given complete approval to it.

I reported that even though he had directed the letter of April 13, to Elder Petersen, that the project had run into a snag and was never budgeted. The President asked who had opposed it. We told him it was principally his counselors, and this is the reason we thought a letter to them signifying his desires in the matter would settle the matter once and for all.

The President authorized us to prepare the letter, which we later did in Elder Petersen’s office. It was thereafter placed into the hands of Clare Middlemiss for typing and mailing to the counselors. 

Note: The letter was typed, signed by the President, and sent to the counselors this day. A copy is made a part of this Journal Record.

Before leaving the President, I reported to him that upon his advice, I would go to Nauvoo alone on Wednesday and Thursday, November 8-9, 1967.  He approved of this, and he was pleased that I am going and would await a further report.

The President seemed pleased with our presence.  He said it was good to see us together.  We left after long and fervent handshakes.”

“November 3, l967

Presidents Hugh B. Brown,

Nathan Eldon Tanner, and

Joseph Fielding Smith

Counselors in the First Presidency

Church Administration Building

Dear Brethren:

On April 13, 1967, I addressed a letter to Elder Mark E. Petersen, Chairman of the Church Information Committee, a copy of which is attached hereto.

As you will note from that letter, I authorized the Church Information Committee to begin planning for a Visitors Center to be erected on the Temple land at Independence, Missouri. The building will cost approximately $500, 000, with furnishings to be added, which is in accordance with the preliminary study for such a Center presented to me by Elder Alvin R. Dyer, in company with Elders Mark B. Garff and Emil Fetzer of the Church Building Committee on March 10, 1967.

The plans as submitted were approved by me at that time.

It is my sincere desire that this project be completed as soon as possible. Will you please take the necessary steps with the Building Committee to have the drawings prepared, and then pass the project through the Expenditures Committee.

It is my desire that we break ground for this new structure on August 3, 1968, which is the anniversary of the dedication of this ground by the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


“April 13, 1967

Elder Mark E. Petersen, Chairman

Church Information Committee


Dear Brother Petersen:

This letter is to signify my desire that we proceed at once with the necessary preparations and plans for the erection of a Bureau of Information Building on the Church Temple Land property at Independence, Missouri, in accordance with the preliminary study for such Bureau, which I requested, as presented to me by Elder Alvin R. Dyer, in company with Mark B. Garff and Emil Fetzer of the Church Building Committee, on March 10, 1967.

To secure the funds needed for this project, you are authorized to include in your budget request for 1967-1968 the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000), which represents the estimate of cost provided by the Building Committee. This is exclusive of furnishings, landscaping, and display media, the cost of which is to be arranged for later when the actual amount is known.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


Tues., 7 Nov., 1967:

“8:00 a.m.

Sat in the chair at the East window in the living room, where the autumn sunlight brightened the room, waiting for my meeting with the Counselors.

As they came in a little before 8:30, I greeted the Brethren and told them how pleased I was to see them.

8:30 a.m. 

Held our meeting in the living room. Presidents Brown, Tanner, and Smith, and Elder Alvin R. Dyer were present. Some of the items discussed, other than the routine ones, were:

Far West, Missouri Property 

Elder Dyer brought up the matter, which had been discussed before with the Presiding Bishopric; namely, the placing of a fence around the Temple site at Far West, Missouri. He said it was decided to leave this matter with the Presiding Bishopric, Elders Mark E. Petersen and Dyer.

He mentioned that the cornerstones are fast disappearing because of the weather, and they are very important to Church history. President Tanner reported that in a meeting of the Presidency and the Presiding Bishopric, it had been decided to place a fence around this property and arrange for a proper entrance thereto.

Commenting upon this property Elder Dyer said that there should be a marker placed there to signify that sacred spot, indicating that there was a city there of nearly 5,000 members of the Church at one time, and that reference might properly be made on the marker to the revelations of the Lord that were received there; that the inscription on the marker should tell the story so that people who go there would know that we have not forgotten it.

The following sacred events occurred at Far West.

(1) South East Cornerstone is where Wilford Woodruff was ordained an Apostle and also George Albert Smith.

(2) The first great missionary journey to the Islands of the Sea left from this site.

(3) Many revelations given here — name of Church, tithing, etc.

(4) Father of President Joseph Fielding Smith (President Joseph F. Smith, son of Hyrum) was born here.

Thur., 16 Nov., 1967:

“8:30 a.m. 

Held a meeting of the Presidency held in my office in the Hotel Utah. Presidents Brown, Tanner, and Elder Dyer were present. President Smith was attending the meeting of the Twelve in the Temple.

Far West Historical Site – Preservation of 

Elder Dyer later reported that at my request he held a meeting on this day at 2:15 p. m. with Emil Fetzer, Carvel Davis, and Robert Dyer in connection with the planning of the Far West Historical Temple Site. It was agreed that someone from the Building Department of the Church should visit Far West before the preparation of drawings.

This matter was earlier discussed with Elder Mark E. Petersen, and Carvel Davis of the Presiding Bishopric, at which time it was agreed that we should go forward with the above meeting.

See copy of the Far West Prospectus following which covers the plan for the preserving of the site, and the placing of a marker on the Temple site, etc. Suggestions for wording to be placed on the marker given. This covers the important events that happened at this place and the revelations which were received by the Prophet in Far West. It also covers items on the preparations which were begun on the building of a Temple in 1837, telling of the excavation and placing of the cornerstones. The home once lived in by Joseph Smith and his family at Far West was torn down in 1886 and the logs used in building a stable. It was a one and one-half story building with a large stone chimney. (See notes following.)

“Far West Prospectus

1. Revise the lease of our Far West property so as to preserve the Far West Temple site as a Church historic place. Place a chain link fence on the north, east, and west of the temple site about four feet wider each way than the cornerstones. On the south place a chain link fence with stone columns on each side of a double gate in a six foot opening. The gate so built that it can be anchored at the center and be provided with a simple “U” drop catch (no lock). Place over the gate way anchored to raised columns, across the front the words:


Cornerstone Laid

By Commandment of the Lord

July 4, 1838

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Note: Adequate highway signs to be set up directing tourist and others to Far West Temple site. (Direct people to Kingston, Missouri, from there to Far West.)

2. Encase the crumbling cornerstones in cement with sheet plastic over them or an adequate preservative on the stone.

3. Install a marker to the north on the Temple Site. See wording suggestions. Plant field grass with some minor landscaping. (Responsibility of care, which would not be too great with Kansas City Stake, perhaps through Priesthood of Liberty Ward.)”

Tues., 12 Dec., 1967:

“8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting with the Counselors. Some of the matters discussed were:

Visit of Elder Dyer to the First Presidency of the Reorganized Church

Elder Dyer reported his visit to the First Presidency of the Reorganized Church at Independence, Missouri.

(See copy of report following.)

Far West, Missouri

Elder Dyer made reference to the need of setting up a new lease for the farmer on our Far West, Missouri land, excluding that area which will be needed for the work to be done at the Temple site. We agreed that the lease is to be for five years with optional privileges to the Church.

Elder Dver – Commendation for his work 

After listening to Elder Dyer’s report on his visit to Independence, Far West, etc., and recommendations pertaining thereto, I said to Elder Dyer as he was leaving, “You are doing a wonderful work — keep going.” Elder Dyer said that he is trying to keep the goodwill of the leaders of the Reorganized Church, thinking that in the long run it will end in good for all concerned.

Held no more meetings today.”

“WEDNESDAY, December 6, 1967


This was a most memorable day during which I again visited Independence, Liberty, and Far West, Missouri.

Emil Fetzer and I left the Salt Lake Airport at 8:20 A.M. on the new UAL non-stop flight to Kansas City, arriving there at 11:15 A.M. Jewel Pope, the President of the Kansas City Stake, met us and was with us until our departure in the late evening. Keith Wilson, the Independence City Manager, also met us and we stopped for lunch at the Airport.

This time spent together was most profitable, as we discussed the development of Church plans for the Visitors Center on the Temple Land property in Independence. Mr. Wilson continues most enthused about this project, and as before offered such help as we may need from the city. He stressed what I believe to be an important point; that the center include a museum room. This would create much interest for a different type of visitor. The Missouri Historical Society would surely get behind such an attraction. Keith Wilson said that he and the city would help us with collections for the room.

(Meeting with The First Presidency of The R.L.D.S.)

Following lunch, and leaving Keith Wilson in Kansas City, we went directly to the R.L.D.S. Auditorium in Independence where by appointment we met for about 45 minutes with President W. Wallace Smith and his counselors, Presidents ____ and _____.

President Srnith seemed less outgoing than upon my previous meetings with him. I was soon to learn the reason for this however. The placement of the Sewage Disposal plant at Nauvoo, immediately next to their historic holdings there, without, as he claimed, in its initial determinations their representations, appeared to be one thing that disturbed him, since Brother Ravsten, our man there, was in on the original discussions and had approved the location. President Srnith claimed that when they did get in on it it was almost too late to properly represent themselves. However theirs and other later efforts succeeded in getting it moved a distance of some 1500 feet from the Joseph, Emma, and Hyrum Srnith Memorial Cemetery, and also the installing of a pump as part of the planning. President Smith said that they were fearful of pump failure upon occasion as well as the odors that naturally come from such an installation, and this would be detrimental to their historic sites there, while such location would not so hamper the historic places that we have.

I asked what I might do, if anything, but he seemed reluctant to ask, saying that they were trying to solve their problem and were working with a Mr. Myers, an engineer, but it was largely a matter of making the best of a bad situation.  It appeared to him that we had come off best on the deal, and he hinted that we saw to it.

These of course were his contentions, but there are always two sides to an issue. I determined to look into it.

The other thing that seemingly irked President Smith was the handling of the Papyrus pertaining to the Pearl of Great Price which we received from the Metropolitan Museum; that the R. L. D. S. and particularly himself should have been included in the transaction. He did not mean that they should have received the papyrus, but the least we could have done would have been to inform him, and make known his identity as the grandson and son respectively.

Sensing this feeling I presented President Smith with a set of pictures of the papyrus and a copy of the original letter signed by Emma Bidamon former wife of Joseph Smith, and Joseph the Third his son.

Other than these two things our visit was most congenial. President Smith congratulated me on my call to the Apostleship, and said that they had had some discussion about it, asking how my call fitted in. I explained it and he said that this is truly a great honor.

I advised them of our intentions to beautify the Far West Temple site with appropriate markers; that we were going there for dimensional data that day. He asked if I had seen the marker they put on their property there. I told him I had and thought that it was well done.

I mentioned to President Smith that we were interested in obtaining a copy of the “Book of Abraham” which contained the original printing of the Prophet’s translation of the Egyptian papyrus. He asked that I write to their Church Historian about this.

As we left the Presidency with warm handshakes, President Smith asked that I carry his greetings to President McKay. I mentioned that it was my understanding that their Presiding Patriarch Cheville was meeting with President McKay in Salt Lake City this day. He said that he knew; that the Patriarch got around quite a bit.

Before leaving the Auditorium we met with Don Benton of their legal department who briefed us on the sewage disposal problem at Nauvoo, and somewhat of their feelings in the matter. He gave Brother Fetzer a folder with much detailed information concerning it.

(Liberty Jail)

On our way to Far West we stopped at the Jail Visitors Center at Liberty. There were four missionaries there. I was very pleased with our display. The mural was in place and looked acceptable. Improved lighting on the stone revelation carving is a great improvement. The new north room is a real asset to this very fine center.

(Far West)

At Far West we took many measurements of the Temple site to determine just which section of land will be fenced, and also determined the probable location of the markers. We also layed out the parking and picnic area to the west of the Temple site, which will be entered from County Highway “D” on the west.

As upon my previous visits to this sacred place, I again got a strong feeling of its sacredness and vital importance. I mentioned this to Jewel Pope.

(Return Home)

It was getting dark as we left Far West. We returned to Kansas City, and at 8:35 P. M. boarded a UAL flight, having said goodbye to President Pope. The weather at 54° with very slight precipitation enabled us to accomplish our purpose for going to Far West. We arrived home at 9:50 P.M. The temperature was 19°.”

Mon., 15 Jan., 1968:

“8:30 a.m. 

Held a meeting with Presidents Brown and Tanner and Elder Dyer.

Alvin R. Dyer’s Book “The Refiner’s Fire” 

Elder Dyer then referred to the proposed re-publication of his book “The Refiner’s Fire”, which he has brought up to date. This manuscript had been submitted to Elder Harold B. Lee, who had made a number of suggestions and changes, all of which changes Elder Dyer said he has made. The Deseret Book Company is now awaiting approval of the First Presidency for authorization to publish the book.  I gave permission for Elder Dyer to go ahead with the publication.  (See Elder Dyer’s minutes following.)

Mon., 15 Jan., 1968:

“(Minutes of Meeting with The First Presidency Held in Hotel Apartment)


 (Approval To Publish The Revised Version Of “The Refiners Fire” Given)

As we were about to leave the President, I whispered to President Brown that now might be a good time to ask the President for permission to go ahead with the publishing of “The Refiners Fire” Revised version; his answer was “Yes, it would be.” I asked if he would like to remain while I took the matter up with the President. He said, “Yes, if you would like me to, or why don’t you present the matter before all of us.” (This meant President McKay, President Brown, President Tanner and myself.) So we sat down again; I next to President McKay. I told him that I had been given the letter which Elder Harold B. Lee, Chairman of the Reading Committee, had submitted when the manuscript was returned to the Presidency. The letter contained the suggested changes and deletions. I have now conformed to the suggestions with the exception of the statement that it was God the Father who spoke to the Prophet Joseph in Liberty Prison, which I firmly believe. But the Reading Committee felt that it was Christ the Lord. I have five reasons why I believe as I do. These are as follows — although I did not bring them up at the time simply because of the controversial nature of the subject. (President Brown suggested that I change the wording just enough so that the reader could interpret it the way he liked.)

1. The Deity answering Joseph Smith called him “My Son”. (121: 7 )

2. The prayer which Joseph uttered was directed to, “O Lord God Almighty”. (121:4)

3. And in another verse “The Eternal God of all other Gods”. (121: 32)

4. The term “our Heavenly Father” is also used. (123: )

5. The Deity answering Joseph Smith refers to the Son of Man in the second person. “My Son all these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than He ?” (122: 7-8)”


MONDAY, February 26, 1968

(Meeting of The First Presidency)

There was no First Presidency meeting held upon this day. Clare Middlemiss was with the President during the morning and reported that he was much better. The Counselors were out of the city for the day.

 (News Release On Far West Temple Site Improvements)

I gave to Henry Smith, Church Press representative, a set of schematic drawings on the monuments, markers, and beautification of the Far West Temple Site. I also gave him the projection data for this project which has now been completely approved, with final drawings in process.

Brother Smith will prepare an appropriate news release with pictures on the project, with the approval of President McKay.

(Final Preparations For The Publishing Of “The Refiners Fire”)

Consultations with Alva Parry and Jim Mortimer of the Deseret Book Company, indicated that the manuscript, now having been edited for printers style, will go to the press, (Church News), this week. The publishing date of the book has been scheduled for early June of this year.

Tues., 27 Feb.:

[Alvin R. Dyer Journal]

(News Release On Far West Protect Approved)

Before leaving the President, I showed him the two drawings on the Far West Temple Site monuments and improvements, requesting permission for a news release, since the project was all approved and the final drawings in preparation. He gave his complete approval, and said that he would never forget the day that we visited the site. I replied that it was also one of the highlights of my life.

I shook hands with the President, and while gripping his hand, he said: “It is so wonderful to be in the presence of the Brethren who are with us.”

Wed., 27 Mar., 1968:

“8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting with Presidents Brown, Tanner, Smith, and Elder Alvin R. Dyer.

Many matters were discussed; among them were:

Independence Visitors Center — Delay In Building Project 

Elder Dyer mentioned that on two different occasions — one before he was called to be an Apostle, and once since — the matter of the proposed Visitors Center in Independence had been presented to the First Presidency; that on both occasions I had approved it, and that letters had been sent out signed by me to that effect. Elder Dyer said that there seemed to be some question as to the amount of money that it is proposed to expend on the Center in Independence, and that there also seems to be some question as to whether the project should be approved. President Tanner mentioned that this matter had been discussed in the meeting of the Expenditures Committee, and that he would explain to the Presidency later what took place at that time.

Definite Decision Made Regarding Building of Independence Visitors Center 

Later, following the departure of the Brethren, Elder Dyer had a conference with me giving me the facts regarding the delay of the building project which I had approved in a letter addressed to Elder Mark E. Petersen on April 13, 1967, followed by a letter to my Counselors on November 3, 1967. Brother Dyer handed me copies of the letters to read, and I said, “What is the matter with these men?” I then said that the Expenditures Committee members should be advised of my desires in the matter

I authorized Elder Dyer to send letters to Elders Spencer W. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, Marion G. Romney, and the Presiding Bishopric. (See copies following)


WEDNESDAY, March 27, 1968

(Meeting of The First Presidency)

A meeting of the First Presidency was held with President McKay. I attended. All were present.

(Independence Visitor ‘s Center Project)

While awaiting their arrival, I brought up the matter of the failure of the Independence Visitor’s Center project to be budgeted in the Expenditures Committee Meeting of the previous day. This, as I stated, despite the approval given to it by President McKay in writing on two previous occasions when a question was raised.

President Tanner, said that he felt the President should learn of the reactions of the Committee before they proceed. At this point, the Servicemen’s Committee arrived, and President Tanner said we could continue the discussion on this after they left.


As a matter of record for this journal, President McKay, as far back as March of 1967, sent a letter to Elder Mark E. Petersen, requesting that he include in his budget, as Chairman of the Church Information and Bureau Committees, the amount of $500,000 for the erection of this Center which he approved. Later, when President Brown and Tanner did not lend support to the project, under date of November 3, 1967, the President sent a personal letter to his three Counselors expressing his desire that the project, as per the schematics, had his complete approval and requested them to see to it that it passed through the Expenditure Committee.

In the meantime, more work had been done on the drawings enabling the Building Committee to confirm their original estimate, and the matter was presented again to the Expenditures Committee on Tuesday, March 26, 1968.

(Discussion with President Tanner Beforehand)

When I learned that the Building Committee was ready to present the project for budget approval, I asked President Tanner if he thought it was needful to bring the matter up again before President McKay. His answer was that he did not feel it was necessary. Since the President had already approved it, it should go directly to the Expenditure Committee.

(Project Did Not Clear Expenditure Committee)

I learned from Mark B. Garff, on the afternoon of the meeting, that it had not cleared, that Marion G. Romney raised the question as to whether it actually had the approval of the President. It is also my understanding, from what Mark told me, that President Smith said that he did not favor the project.

The simple fact of the matter is that had any one of the Counselors stated that President McKay approved the project, as they had been asked to do, in seeing to it that it would pass the Expenditure Committee, the whole matter would have been settled right then. But this word of President McKay’s desires in the matter was not given.

(Discussion with Marion Romney)

I later talked to Marion Romney, who stated that had he known of the President’s desire in the matter, he would never have raised any question, for, said he, “I would cut off my arm rather than oppose the Prophet on anything.” I simply said, it is unfortunate that the word needed at the meeting, of the President’s wishes, was not spoken. But I assured him that it was the President’s desire that the project go forward without delay.

(Mark Petersen Talks to Marion Romney)

Later Elder Mark E. Petersen, as reported by him, while walking to the Temple meeting on March 28, 1968, asked Brother Romney if he knew that the President had sent him a letter some time ago, giving approval to the project. Brother Romney’s answer was the same to him, as to me.

After the Servicemen’s Committee left, the matter was not pursued further, since both Presidents Brown and Tanner said they had to leave for other appointments. (See below for conference on Independence matter.)

(Personal Visit with The President) 

Further Discussion on Independence

After the others had left, I was the last to shake hands with the President and he asked me to stay longer.

I reported to the President, the conversation I had had with Mark Garff concerning the fact that the Independence Visitor’s Center project had not cleared the Expenditure Committee.

I opened my briefcase file and gave to the President copies of the two letters that he authorized be sent giving assurance that it was his desire that the project be passed through the Expenditure Committee:

A. Letter to Elder Mark E. Petersen, April 13, 1967; 

B. Letter to the Counselors in the First Presidency, Nov. 3, 1967. 

He read them both and then said to me, “What is the matter with these men?” I stated that neither of his Counselors spoke up to advise the Expenditures Committee that it was his desire that the matter be approved, as he had requested them to do, and that had they done this, there would have been no opposition. His answer was that the Committee members should be advised of his desires in the matter.

(Letters Sent to Committee Members) 

Independence Project to go Forward

In consequence of the above, letters were sent, with the President’s complete approval, to Spencer W. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, Marion G. Romney, and the Presiding Bishopric. (A copy of these letters is made part of this journal.) 

(See following letters)

(Robert McKay Visits Father and Joins in Discussion)

During my visit with President McKay, right while he was reading the two letters which the President authorized be sent, (referred to above) his son Robert McKay came into his father’s office to inquire as to how he felt, saying that he did not want to interrupt anything. His father said that he felt fine, and indicated that his son should stay, which he did.

(Robert McKay Remains to Hear His Father s Statement) 

Project Must Go Forward

Robert remained for 10 or 15 minutes participating to some extent in the discussion. His father handed him the letter he had sent to his Counselors, expressing his desires concerning the Independence Visitor’s Center. He read it over and said, “Well, that should be sufficient,” but as stated it seemed not to be. President McKay then, very distinctly, said that the project must go forward, and that I was to inform Mark Garff go ahead with the plans and that the money would be obtained. Robert heard this, and he heard me say, if I say this to Brother Garff he will think it is me saying it. Whereupon the President said if he doubted my report to him that he was to call him for confirmation.

Robert and I left the President shortly thereafter, and as we stood in the hall waiting for the elevator, Robert said to me, that by his staying I at least had a witness to what his Father had said.

I later called Mark Garff and relayed the President’s wishes stating that if he wanted confirmation he could contact the President. He answered that this would not be necessary and that he would go to work on it.

Fri., 29 Mar., 1968:

“8:00 a. m. 

At my desk. I feel fairly well this morning, after a good night’s rest.

9:00 a.m. 

Held a meeting of the First Presidency. Presidents Brown, Tanner, and Smith, and Elder Alvin R. Dyer were present.

Some of the Matters Discussed:

Independence Visitors Center

President Tanner brought up the matter of the Independence Visitors Center project, which did not clear the Budget Committee on March 26, 1968. He stated that his feeling is that I should know of the opposition to it, but that if it is my desire that it should go forward that would settle the matter.

Elder Dyer spoke up and said that the desires of the President of the Church approving the project had been given twice in writing, and that members of the Expenditures Committee had also now received a letter from the President of the Church again stating his wishes for immediate approval of the project.

We held quite a discussion about this matter. President Brown and Tanner claimed that approval had been obtained from me without a full discussion to inform me of the facts, although I had been fully informed of all the facts, and had even gone over the plans for the new Center with Emil Fetzer and Mark Garff, and had approved of them, and had sent letters to the Counselors that the project should go forward. It seems that the Counselors are now objecting to the project, and stating that Elder Dyer is the only one in favor of it.

President Tanner said that Elder Mark E. Petersen was against the project, as was Mark Garff of the Building Committee. Elder Dyer said that he is certain that Elder Petersen is not opposed to it, as he knew of my letter to the Counselors — having a copy himself — and if they (the Counselors) had spoken just one word in the Expenditures Committee meeting to signify that I had approved of the project, there would not be all this agitation; but they (Presidents Brown and Tanner) had said nothing, and this was difficult for him (Elder Dyer) to understand.

Elder Dyer then turned to me and asked me if it is still my desire to have the Visitor’s Center at Independence built, and I answered, “Yes, it is”.

President Brown then said to me, “Wouldn’t you like to have the matter brought before the Quorum of the Twelve?” I said that this would be all right.

Elder Dyer said that inasmuch as the President of the Church had already given approval in writing for the project, and that it had gone too far to be interferred with, he objected. He said, “All that you brethren are attempting to do is to change the mind of the President.”

President Smith said: “Why do we want to put up a building there?” Elder Dyer said that this had all been discussed before in a First Presidency’s meeting when the letter came from the Manager of the City of Independence stating that they would like to use our vacant Temple property for a Boy’s Club if we did not use the property ourselves. Fearing condemnation of our Temple land there, it was decided that we should build a Visitors Center on the land. Elder Dyer then said that he would not question the matter being brought before the Twelve if they were told all the facts pertaining to the condemnation procedures of our Temple land. President Brown answered, “Oh, so you claim to know more than the Quorum?”, and Elder Dyer said, “President Brown, you know I do not mean that. I am saying that they will have to know all the facts before they can decide.”

However, after all the discussion, the fact still remains that I feel that we should do something with our property in Independence, and if I remember correctly the matter was brought before the Twelve sometime ago by Elder Mark E. Petersen when he received a copy of my letter approving of the project. 

(See copies of letters of approval of this project under date of March 27, 1968.)

Later, Elder Mark E. Petersen gave Elder Dyer complete assurance of his support of this project. (For further detail see copy of First Presidency minutes which follow.)

[First Presidency Meeting Minutes:]

Independence, Missouri Visitors Center

Elder Dyer brought before the Presidency for consideration the proposed construction of the Visitors Center in Independence, Missouri. President Tanner mentioned that this matter was brought to the consideration of the Expenditures Committee in their recent meeting and the brethren of the committee said that if it is the direction of President McKay that the center be built, that is all there is to the matter and they were prepared to support it; that, however, otherwise they would like to question it because they did not feel that we could justify an expenditure of $600,000 in that area for the purpose mentioned and they did not see why we should have a visitors center there where there are so few people, that they are trying to have these visitors centers in areas where large numbers of people come. He said it was not a question of opposing President McKay’s direction but they wanted to know for certain this was his direction and his desire that this should be built, that if that was the President’s direction it was his responsibility and there was no further question.

Elder Dyer said that President McKay sent a letter to Mark E. Petersen who is chairman of the Church Information Committee nearly a year ago expressing his desire that the center be built and asking Brother Petersen to include it in his budget for last year, that at that time it ran into some problem and the President then, as he understood it, sent a letter to Presidents Brown, Tanner and Smith asking that it be passed through the Expenditures Committee at the earliest possible date so that arrangements could be made for the ground breaking ceremony on August 3rd of this year. He said that this was before he was called to be an apostle, that it was presented to President McKay at that time and he approved it as to the amount and that the amount still remains the same as originally estimated. President Tanner said that President Brown, President Smith and he do not know anything about this other than the letter that came to them. He said they felt that if this were President McKay’s direction they were behind it and would say nothing about it; that, however, it would seem a little out of the ordinary for Brother Dyer to get President McKay to write a letter to has counselors asking that this be done.

Elder Dyer said that the letter was not sent at his request but at the request of Mark E. Petersen. President Tanner said that Brother Petersen had said he was doing it simply because the President asked him to do it. He reiterated that if these were the President’s instruction we would go forward with it. President Tanner also said that Mark Garff said that if that is President McKay’s instructions he was behind it, but otherwise both of them questioned it.

President Smith said that he was not in favor of it, that he did not favor building a building like that in Independence. Elder Dyer said he wanted to say something that was perhaps not generally known. He stated that this had been going on for over a year and there are many ramifications connected with it, that in the first place, when he came back from the Central States Mission, President McKay called him in and said that he wanted him to proceed with the erection of the Liberty Bureau of Information which had been held in abeyance all the time Brother Dyer was in Europe. This has since been completed at a cost of much more than the proposed cost of the bureau in Independence. He said the President then gave him a specific charge that he was to be sort of a watchman on the tower back there to watch development of conditions in Missouri and the things that needed to be done, and that he, Brother Dyer, was to report to President McKay personally on the matter, and this he had done. In the meantime he said two communications have been received, one from a civic organization in Independence requesting that the Church lease to them certain lands for the building of a boys home which was turned down. Later a letter was received from Keith Wilson, the acting city manager, wanting to know what we intended to do about this 18 acres of land we have in Independence since they themselves were interested in obtaining it for civic use. They had already obtained the Wagoner estate of 22 acres knowing that this property had been condemned for the Chrisman High School, which situation the Church got out of by giving them a donation. Now he said they have come back and mentioned a new act by the government whereby the government would pay 50% of the cost of any open land the city wants to obtain for the preservation of historic sites. This land Elder Dyer said is temple land, 18 acres of the total 63 acres of the temple site. He said the Church never sold this land but lost it by tax deed and they were instructed not to sell it even at the risk of their lives. He said that while we lost it by tax deed we got some of it back by purchase when President Duffin and President Bennion were presidents of the mission, and that the 18 acres we own is just an open field next to the Reorganized Church auditorium, and the city wanted that property. He said that when President McKay received the letter from Keith Wilson the President asked him to go back there and discuss with them the whole proposition, which he did, and this he had reported in a meeting of the First Presidency. They had said that if we would do something with the property and improve it they would in the meantime put a chain link fence around it if something were put there and the city would not be concerned with any proceedings to condemn the land.

The second phase of the project he said is that we have spent unlimited amounts of money in many places throughout the Church but in this place that is perhaps the most destined place in the Church we have spent practically nothing to keep in the minds of the people of this country and our Church the responsibilities we have with regard to that consecrated land. He said that we would be doing an injustice to the Lord and everyone else if we lost this property wilfully, and that is what we would do. 

The third phase he said is to get the tourists there. He mentioned at the Truman Memorial Library, which is only a few miles from this property, over a quarter of a million visitors call each year. Independence is between Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri. Kansas City is a city of a million people and we have just purchased two radio stations there. He said we are only 150 miles from the Ozarks, which last year had 11 million tourists. He said that if anyone thinks we are not going to get visitors there, that is just poor reasoning, that it will be one of the most prominent bureaus we have in the Church and then we will be fulfilling our obligations spiritually and will satisfy the city, and he thought there was no justifiable reason for holding it up inasmuch as the President had approved it personally on two different occasions.

President Tanner said that there is no one of the General Authorities who would not back the President all the way but that they do feel that in a matter of this importance the President should know their feeling about it. He said that if this were brought before the Twelve without any direction by the President he doubted very much if the building would be approved. Elder Dyer did not feel that because there may have been some improper procedure in the way the matter was handled that the proposition should be held up. President Tanner said that all that the Committee on Expenditures last Tuesday decided was to find out whether or not the letter that President McKay had written is to be implemented and if it is there is nothing further to do about it and they will support it because President McKay directed it, but if left to their personal judgment they would have voted against it. President Brown, speaking of the Expenditures Committee meeting, said that when this matter was mentioned the committee members did not want President McKay to assume the total responsibility for it, that it was thought that others should be consulted and given the opportunity to express their opinion and give the President the benefit of their judgment, and then abide by his decision. He suggested that the question be taken to the Twelve to see how they feel about it. He said he believed that all of them will feel like President Smith does, that it should not be done; that is, that we should not spend at least $600,000 in Independence on a project where we have so few people and that even though there may be millions visiting the Ozarks and the Truman set-up they would not come to our visitors center unless we have something to show and we would not have something to show unless we imported it. However, he said if in spite of all this the President wished personally to take the responsibility for building the structure the brethren would abide by his feelings and support him. He said that it came to them in a round about way ratter than in the usual channels and it was thought it would be the part of wisdom if their opinion were asked before a decision is reached. It was the final decision of the President that the matter should be taken to the Twelve for their consideration and recommendation.”

Mon., 8 Apr., 1968:

“At 9 a.m.

Held a meeting with the First Presidency in the office at the apartment. Presidents Brown, Tanner, Smith and Dyer were present. President Isaacson still confined to his home with a stroke .

Among the items discussed were:

Reorganized Church – – Alleged Revelation Received to Build a Temple 

Elder Dyer reported that at the General Conference of the Reorganized Church which is now in session in Independence, on the first day of the Conference last Friday President Wallace Smith announced he had received a revelation that they were to build a temple in Independence, Missouri.

Elder Dyer said that in discussing the matter with him some time ago Wallace had told him that he felt they needed one; their people were constantly asking about it, and that this had been on his mind. He said that at 3:00 a.m. Thursday morning last, he received a revelation to the effect that they were to build a temple. Elder Dyer said that the Reorganized Church owns 35 acres of the temple site and they have a copy of the temple ordinances; that one of the Salt Lake Temple workers left the Church and went to the Reorganized Church several years ago and gave them a complete copy of the temple endowment ceremony. He said that Israel Smith, former president of the Reorganized Church, has showed this to him; that Israel said there are one or two mistakes in it which they would correct and use when they had a revelation to build a temple. Elder Dyer felt it was urgent that we go forward on the program to build a visitors center in Independence so that we can tell the truth about the matter to the people.

I was very interested in what Elder Dyer told us about this.

J O U R N A L  R E C O R D  A L V I N  R.  D Y E R

THURSDAY, April 11, 1968

(Temple Meeting of First Presidency with the Quorum of the Twelve)

(Independence Visitors’ Center)

President Brown next brought up the proposed Visitors’ Center at Independence, Missouri. He mentioned the matter coming up before the expenditures committee, almost unsupported as to reason, and he felt that before $600,000.00 was spent in this out-of-the-way place, where there are only 9,000 members of the Church, he had recommended to President McKay that the matter be brought here for discussion.


President Brown’s statement indicated a further effort to strike back at me, saying it was another “end run” and also because President McKay had made certain decisions regarding the project on his own, and had so notified Presidents Brown, Tanner, and Smith by letter. This project is simply the President’s desire, and the Counselors had not lined up on it.

(EIder Mark E. Petersen Defends Project)

I spoke up and said that Elder Mark E. Petersen, the Chairman of the Visitors’ Centers Committee, would speak for the project.

Elder Petersen did a very effective job in presenting happenings pertaining to the project, stating at first that he felt the money could be spent to better advantage elsewhere, but that when he received a personal letter from President McKay which conveyed the desire of the President, that the Center be built, he lined up with the President and had since been working with me on the project.

He referred to, and read parts of various letters, including the letter of Keith Wilson, City Manager of Independence, and the President ‘s reply, wherein the President committed the Church to the erection of a building on our temple land property to prevent its condemnation and that a news release on this went out from the Mayor’s office.

Elder Petersen also referred to letters sent by the President to his Counselors and members of the Expenditures Committee signifying his desire that the project be budgeted, that it could go forward.

Elder Benson, a member of the Committee, said he had received a personal letter from the President on it and so far as he was concerned, that was it.

Elder Romney, who had raised the question in the Expenditure Committee meeting, stated that he did so because he knew nothing of the background and no one in the meeting seemed to, but that now he had also received a letter from the President, and his desire is to follow the President’s wishes. He said he was glad to get the background of the project.

(Comment 🙂

In the meeting referred to by Elder Romney, there were individuals who knew that it was the President’s desire for the project to pass favorably through that Committee. These individuals, all three of whom had heard directly from President McKay, President Brown and Tanner by letter and Mark B. Garff by word of mouth, did not raise their voice to signify President McKay’s desire in the matter.

Elder Petersen summed up the whole thing by saying simply, “There is nothing else to do but to go forward with it. We are beyond the point of no return. It is the President’s desire, the Church is committed to it, and we must go forward.”

President Brown kept interfering with Mark Petersen’s presentation, but he held his own, and the project gained the approval of the Quorum.

President Brown asked Brother Lee if he would like to propose a resolution as coming from the Twelve, to President McKay, signifying approval. His reply was, “I would be reluctant to propose any more resolutions from the Twelve to President McKay, seeing what happened to the other one I proposed.” (This is as near as I can remember it.)

I made one final statement, that the location of the Independence Visitors’ Center was in the heart of perhaps the greatest tourist area in America, that in 1967 approximately thirty million tourists visited the Greater Kansas City Area and the Ozarks.

Brother Lee said, we needn’t listen to any more, that he had a doctor’s appointment and felt the meeting should end.

President Tanner, noting the sting of Elder Lee’s remarks, said to me, “Well, you got your approval, that’s all that counts.” — meaning it was not needful to say any more.

(The Aftermath)

After the joint meeting, which started at 10:00 a. m. and concluded about 2:25 p. m., a nourishing lunch was served.

As I left the meeting room, I stopped by Joseph Anderson’s desk to say that I hoped I had not put him on the spot. He answered that he was glad I had said what I did. He said I told them, meaning the Counselors, that if they did not present the added Counselors’ names as the President instructed him to advise them on, that they would put him on the spot.

President Joseph Fielding Smith seemed pleased at what I had said in the meeting, Elder Petersen also, as I thanked him for his able presentation.

Elder Benson congratulated me on standing for what I did, and he honored me for it. He said others of the brethren may not say so, but he felt that they were proud of the stand I had made.

All seemed quite friendly after the meeting. Presidents Brown and Tanner and Elder Lee said nothing.

Later in the day I discussed the Independence Center with Elder Petersen, congratulating and thanking him for what he did. He said, “You are the one to be congratulated for staying with it all these months. Now we have approval.”

Upon my inquiry, he said he had spoken to Fred Baker and Emil Fetzer to make sure that the project was placed on the Agenda for the meeting of next Tuesday. They informed him that they had been informed that the project had been referred to President Brown and could be released only by him to come before the Expenditure Committee meeting. Whereupon he had called President Brown, who promised he would advise the Building Committee to bring it to the meeting.

The following day I talked to Emil Fetzer about the approval, and asked that he make sure the project was taken to the next Expenditures Meeting. He said he would follow it, but we will check on Monday.”

Tues., 16 Apr., 1968:

Just before leaving, Elder Dyer mentioned to me that he had not as yet been set apart as a Counselor in the First Presidency. I said that this should be done and told him to come back at 3 o’clock for this purpose.

11:00 a. m. 

My son Lawrence brought in to see me Mr. and Mrs. Barborakos. (No notes were made on this visit.)

3:00 p.m.

Elder Alvin R. Dyer set Apart as Counselor In the First Presidency 

According to appointment, Elder Alvin R. Dyer called at the office in the Hotel Utah apartment. He was accompanied by Brother Joseph Anderson, secretary to the First Presidency. Just after their arrival my secretary Clare Middlemiss arrived and gave to me a sheet of paper which contained the wording of the setting apart and blessing I had asked her to prepare from a previous setting apart of the Counselors in the First Presidency. Sister Middlemiss said to me as she handed me the sheet, “This is the corrected statement you went over yesterday. ” With that explanation she left the office.

I took some time going over the wording of the blessing, and suggested further changes.

I then asked Brother Dyer to read the wording of the setting apart and after he had finished reading it, I asked Joseph Anderson to read it aloud to me. I then said it was all right, and that the more I read it, the better I liked it.

I then said to Brother Dyer, “Are you sure that you have not previously received the blessing of being a ‘watchman’ over the Consecrated land of Missouri, because I think you should have that blessing.” Elder Dyer answered by saying, “You assigned me this work, but I have never received the blessing to perform this labor.” I said, “Then, you should receive the blessing to do it.”

I then placed my hands upon Elder Dyer’s head and set him apart as follows:

“Brother Alvin R. Dyer, I lay my hands upon your head and set you apart as a Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“I confer upon you the right to be a watchman over the Consecrated lands of Missouri, and that your influence in missionary work will continue.

“I bless you with health in your body, and that your mind will be quickened to adjust to the calling now placed upon you; and that you may fulfill the duties of this call to your own satisfaction, and that of your associates, and to the glory of God for the building up of His Kingdom here on earth. I do this by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.”

After I set him apart, and while he was still sitting on the leather ottoman before me, I grasped Elder Dyer’s hand and said that I am happy that he is now in the First Presidency, and that I have had a high regard for him for a long time.

President Dyer expressed his gratitude for my feelings and confidence in him, and said that he would do his best. He told me of the many times in life that I had pointed the way for him, mentioning the phone calls and letters, and also personal visits we had had together. He referred to my telephone call to him when he was European Mission President and was in Norway. The call came at 2 o’clock in the morning at the time of his visit to Warsaw, Poland to lay the groundwork for the microfilming of the Polish records for genealogical purposes, which work is now going on; and that my call was in answer to his prayers for he needed my reassurance at that time.

There was a spiritual atmosphere present and tears filled both our eyes as we clasped hands in friendship and brotherhood.

Independence — Approval Finally Given for Construction of Visitors Center

President Dyer reported that at the Expenditures Committee meeting held today, the Independence Visitors Center was given budgetary approval — to cost an estimated $555, 000 including furnishings, landscaping, architectural fees, etc., but not display and visual media.

Brother Dyer said that the action was a great relief to him as it has been a long up-hill battle, and that only my desires in support of the efforts he had made, and of late those of Elder Mark E. Petersen, made the project possible, and that it should now go forward without interruption.

President Dyer said that for some unknown reasons to him which he could not fully understand, that in the meeting held today, President Hugh B. Brown said he was “opposed to the center, but since the President wanted it, there was nothing else to do but to budget it.”

So concluded a very busy day, with many problems and decisions to make!”

Wed., 17 Apr., 1968:

“8:45 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency. Presidents Brown, Tanner and Dyer present.

Independence Visitors Center — Pictures Taken for News Release 

By appointment we first met with Elders Mark B. Garff and Emil Fetzer of the Building Committee, and Henry Smith of the Church Information Committee.

Pictures of the First Presidency were taken looking at the colored architectural drawing of the proposed new Visitors Center to be erected in Independence, Missouri.

I was thrilled with the drawing of this new Center, and Brother Dyer, who had had much to do with the getting of this project underway, was elated.

As the photographers finished taking the pictures, President Brown said to President Dyer, “Now that you have the building, what are you going to do with it.” Elder Dyer said, “We shall use it, and I predict it will become one of the foremost and most frequently visited Visitors Centers in the Church. “

(See newspaper clipping following)

Brother Dyer then left the meeting, with my permission, to go to the hospital so that he could give a blessing to his daughter who is to give birth to her baby — her fourth child.

Thur., 9 May, 1968:

“Did not hold a meeting of the First Presidency this morning; nor did I attend Council Meeting. Had a sleepless night. It was 4 a.m. before I closed my eyes. Sister McKay had a slight heart attack during the night which kept us awake, and I was greatly concerned.

Far West – Temple Site to be Marked and Beautified

Later, I read in the minutes of Council Meeting held today that plans for the beautification of the Temple site at Far West, Missouri, had been completed which will contain granite markers upon which will be engraved certain significant revelations from the Lord received at Far West such as: (1) The law of tithing; (2) The name of the Church; (3) A special revelation to the Twelve; (4) The designation of the Temple site and of the consecration of that area as a holy place and of consecrated land. He also stated that, according to present plans, it would be ready for dedication on August 3, 1968. This will be an unattended Visitors Point where people may visit, and by virtue of the markers and the monuments get something of the story that transpired in this important area of Church history.

Fri., 17 May, 1968:

“Did not hold a meeting of the First Presidency today, nor meet with my secretary Clare. 

At 4:30 p. m. Visit of Brother and Sister Neil Monahan of Covina, California

(See telephone conversations held with Brother Monahan and report of meeting with President McKay which follow.)”

“[Alvin R. Dyer notes]

(Telephone conversations from Neil Monahan and Report of Meeting with President McKay)

(Neil Monahan – Comment)

On May 4, 1968, I received a telephone call at 7:00 a m. in the morning at my home from Neil Monahan, a very active member of the Church, who lives in West Covlna, California, is married in the Temple, and has nine children. Up until March of this year, he has been a member of the High Council of the West Covina Stake.

Brother Monahan, in his telephone conversation with me, stated that I did not know him but he knew of me and of my great interest in the development of the Center Place of Zion and that he recently had come in possession by claim of a considerable amount of mining property which, from all appearances, was developing into a big thing and it would be a great producer. He stated that both he and his wife had a desire to give all of their excess money to the development of this cause in Jackson County and that the project was so big that it could run into millions of dollars. He referred to his Patriarchal Blessing which indicated the support that he would give to this and that because of it he would become very prosperous and that continued sources of prosperity would be made known unto him. He said that he wanted to keep in contact with me concerning it and that I could expect to hear from him. This was rather a thrilling telephone conversation like something out of the night that, if it develops as Brother Monahan has indicated, would be a great benefit to the work of the Lord in this dispensation of the Gospel.

Check-up on Neil Monahan

I learned from President Smith of the West Covina Stake that he had been released from the High Council of that Stake to follow his mining interests and that he, previous to his endeavors in this field, had served with the F.B.I. for eight years. President Smith stated that he had performed a very effective work as a High Councilor and was very faithful in the Church. He indicated that he had considerable holdings about 40 miles from Blythe, California, where he was working a number of claims which apparently indicate a big production. President Smith then advised me that President Perkes of the East Los Angeles Stake, a geologist of the Ghetty Oil Company, knew a great deal about the project and that if I wanted further information I could receive it from him. He confirmed again, however, that Brother and Sister Monahan are very devoted to the Gospel and have a great desire to assist in building up the work of our Heavenly Father.

I then talked to President Perkes of the East Los Angeles Stake who is, as stated, a geologist for the Ghetty Oil Company. He said that the core samples and assays of the Monahall claims looked very interesting for the development of commercial gold. He said that core drillings have been made to depth of 1800 feet with tests made at approximately every 50 feet and that the gold content if spread over that entire area could prove to be a great producer for open pit mining. He also stated that the areas were heavily impregnated with copper oxide. He also stated that Ghetty Oil were interested on making further tests to see if the assays would prove to be consistent over the entire area to justify a mammoth type of development for the production of gold and other minerals. He also stated that Neil Monahan had made a proposition to the Ghetty Oil for the operation of the project and that this was now under consideration. He stated himself that he felt quite confident about the project and, upon my request, said that he would keep me informed as to developments.

Neil Monahan Calls from California

On Tuesday, May 15, 1968, after an initial call from Neil Monahan from Covina, we revere finally able to make connections at 2:18 p.m. where he informed me of the proposition which he had submitted to the Ghetty Oil Company and that he was awaiting the tests that they were going to make at the site of the claims which he held. He advised me on the telephone that he had staked 63 claims and had taken ore samples in a wide cross-section of these claims which constituted 1100 acres of land.

I asked him if any other companies were interested in the project and he said yes, there were several others. I then referred to the Phillips Petroleum Company because of the fact that I know a number of the officials of this Company, and wondered if he would be willing that an overture be made to them for investigation into the potentialities of the site of his claims. He said that this probably would be alright but that we should hold off for the time being until the Ghetty Oil Company had a chance to make their initial tests.


It so happened that Veigh Nielson of the Phillips Petroleum Company and also a member of the Tulsa Stake Presidency, (he also is the son-in-law of President Henry D. Moyle), called me on the telephone with regard to providing some host service for a Mr. and Mrs. Durand of Tahiti and also an official of the Phillips Petroleum Company who will be coming to Salt Lake City at a later date. This has all been arranged for, but I talked to Veigh about this proposition in a general way and he said this type of thing is exactly what Phillips Petroleum were now pursuing and developing and he was certain that they would be interested in it. I told him that it might be that I would be contacting Bill Keeler to see if they would be interested at a later time.

Neil Monahan indicated that he felt he ought to come to Salt Lake City and lay before me the assay tests and to discuss the entire project. This was his suggestion and of course, since he desired to do it, I told him that I would be most happy to meet with him and consequently he came to Salt Lake City on May 16 and I had the opportunity on May 17 of having him meet President and Sister McKay and of briefly discussing with them some of the things that he had in mind with regard to the wealth that might possibly develop from the working of these ciaims and that it was his desire to make this big contribution to the work of the Lord in Jackson County, Missouri.

Assays and Report

When Neil Monahan met with me in Salt Lake during this trip, he gave me duplicate copies of the assays that have been made by the various assay companies, all reliable and reputable, which indicate, at least from the core drillings and the surface test, of the great mineral find that he has in the claims which he owns. It is somewhat fantastic, but he mentioned to me that with the density of gold deposit in the land, that only four of the claims, taking the mass of the ore laden dirt down to a depth of 1700 feet, that four of the claims could produce in gold alone more than two billion dollars. He also showed me a copy of a proposition which he had made to the Ghetty Oil Company for one-half interest in the mining claims which were recorded in the name of Neil Monahan. This proposed contract called for the payment of $750,000 to Neil Monahan for one-half interest and that the money which he had spent to date of $62,500 would be reimbursed to him. The contract also called that Ghetty Oil would pay him a 6-1/4% overriding royalty; that Ghetty Oil would be the operator and carry his share of the capital expense for development and that out of the 200% rate out of 25% of his 50% working interest share of the profits he would pay his share of capital expense for development. It also indicated that mining operations would start within a reasonable time; that core drilling and assaying but at no time later than one year from the signing of the agreement. This is necessary, as I understand it, in order to maintain the life of the claim. The contract also suggested that he be paid $36,000 a year, beginning one year after signing of the agreement, as advance royalty until actual royalty exceeds this sum, at which time this payment terminates. Advance payments payable out of 25% of the royalty when received.


Of course there is much yet to be proven with regard to this project, but if the assays and reports are correct and that it covers a wide distribution of the claims which he has, then there can be no question but what this is a big discovery and could develop into perhaps the greatest gold ore milling project in the United States at the present time.

(Neil Monahan Meets with President and Sister McKay)

At 4.30 p.m. on Friday, May 17, we were privileged to meet with President and Sister McKay and it was a most pleasant visit. Brother Monahan told the President and his Wife of his wonderful family of nine children and of how he had sent a picture of the family to President McKay and President McKay had responded with a wonderful letter encouraging him in the holding of the Family Home Evening and this had been a cherished possession of Brother Monahan’s. I said to the President that it was quite refreshing to have here before us a man who wanted to give something to the Church rather than to ask the Church for something and the President quite happily and agreeably said this was something. I told President McKay of Brother and Sister Monahan’s desire that they would contribute their excess profits and receipts from these claims to the Church for the building up of Jackson County, Missouri. It was a most pleasant visit and one long to be remembered by Brother Monahan especially, and I am sure by President and Sister McKay.”

Tues., 11 Jun., 1968:

“Did not hold a meeting of the First Presidency today.

10: 40 a. m.

Held a meeting with President Alvin R. Dyer who took up with me the following items: 

(1) Temple at Laredo, Texas for Spanish-speaking peoples.

(2) First Presidency – and the signing of letters by all members.

(3) Independence – Ground Breaking Ceremonies for Visitors Center.

(4) Far West – Improvements and Dedication of Markers and

Monument on Temple Site.

(5) The matter of making an exception to the rule of being in the

Church for a year before a sealing in the Temple.

(See Minutes following by President Dyer for details discussed.)

As President Dyer got up to go, he asked if I had any special instructions for him, and I said: “Only to remind you Brother Dyer that you are a member of the First Presidency. ” In saying this I was reminding him that he is to carry forward with all the duties associated with his office without fear of criticism by anyone.

Far West Temple Site — Expenditures Committee Approved of Appropriation for Improvements — the placing of Monument and Markers etc.

At long last the brethren of the Committee on Expenditures approved an appropriation for improvements and the placing of a monument and markers on the Far West Temple Site. This sacred spot is very important in Church History. I shall never forget my visit there in the summer of 1966 at which time, in the company of President Joseph Fielding Smith and Elder Alvin R. Dyer, relived the tragic events that happened at that place. I am happy now that this place is preserved in memory of those stalwart leaders.

(Minutes by President Alvin R. Dyer)

INDEPENDENCE — Ground Breaking for Visitors Center

3. I discussed with President McKay the gound breaking ceremonies for the Visitors’ Center at Independence and the improvements of the property with dedication at the Far West Temple site. President McKay was pleased to know that we were going forward with this and his eyes seemed to light up as we discussed Far West, Independence, and Adam-ondi-Ahman and said that he truly wanted to go back there again and said that if he felt well enough he would like to be in attendance at the ground breaking and the other activities at Far West. I told him that this would be a wonderful thing and I truly hoped that he would be well enough to make the short trip.

Wed., 19 Jun., 1968:

“8:45 a. m.

Held a meeting with my Counselors in the office at the apartment in the Hotel Utah. Presidents Tanner, Smith and Dyer were present. President Brown is at home, indisposed, and President Isaacson is absent on account of illness.

Some of the matters  considered were:

Far West, Missouri Dedication — And Ground Breaking of Independence, Missouri Visitors Center

President Dyer mentioned permission heretofore given to hold the dedication services of the improvements on the Far West, Missouri temple site property Saturday, August 3, 1968 in the morning; and the ground breaking services for the Visitors Center in Independence, Missouri in the afternoon. He said that in order to make plans and arrange the program it was necessary to decide who should go. He mentioned that this is the area over which Elder Harold B. Lee has been appointed supervisor and he thought that he should attend. In addition to President Dyer, it was also decided that President Joseph Fielding Smith, Elder Mark E. Petersen, Bishop John H. Vandenberg, and also Joseph Anderson secretary to the First Presidency should be invited to go and that these brethren should be invited to take their wives with them. The question was raised as to whether any of the missionaries should be permitted to go. It was felt that only the missionaries who are in the immediate area should be invited. The Kansas City Stake will have a chorus to provide the music for both events.

I agreed to the inviting of the brethren named, and stated that I would never forget my visit to these sacred places. President Dyer expressed the hope that I would be able to attend the dedication and ground breaking ceremonies, and I said that I planned to go with them if my health permits.

(See following copy of letter to the Brethren Invited)

Later, in discussing these events with my secretary, I told her that she should plan to be present.”

“June 20, 1968

President Joseph Fielding Smith

Elder Harold B. Lee

Elder Mark E. Petersen

Bishop John H. Vandenberg

Elder Joseph Anderson

Dear Brethren:

Arrangements are being made to dedicate improvements and monuments at the Far West Temple site on Saturday, August 3rd, and also to hold ground breaking services for the proposed new visitors center in Independence, Missouri the same afternoon. You brethren are invited to attend and participate in these services, and your wives are invited to accompany you should they wish to do so. The programming will be under the direction of President Alvin R. Dyer and he will confer with you later relative to the details of the proposed trip and services.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay

(President Brown ill at home)

N. Eldon Tanner

The First Presidency”

Thur., 20 Jun., 1968:

“Decided to follow doctors’ orders and not go to Council Meeting today — I really felt too tired and weak to attempt to go.

2:15 p. m.  Meeting with President Alvin R. Dver — The Presentation of his New Book:

Following Council Meeting, President Alvin R. Dyer called at the apartment and presented to me the revised edition of his book “The Refiner’s Fire” which has just come off the press.

He read to me the inscription he had placed on the fly leaf wherein he expresses gratitude for the permission I gave for him to revise this book. He also showed me some of the colored pictures of me which appear in the front part of the book and then referred to the visit that he, President Smith and I made to Missouri in the summer of 1966. I told President Dyer that I should never forget my visit to those sacred places back there; that my feelings and emotion had been deeply touched in being on the ground where those Pioneers had trod, and in hearing about the suffering of the Saints in the early days of the Church.

Brother Dyer then read to me statements by the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery regarding Missouri and their deep feelings of emotion for that place.

I was very interested and deeply moved over the things President Dyer told me, and I expressed my love to him for his faithfulness and devotion.

(See President Dyer’s Minutes for Details of This Meeting)”

“(Minutes by President Alvin R. Dyer of Personal Meeting with President McKay. )

At 2:15 p. m., following the regular meeting of the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve in the Temple, I went to President McKay’s apartment, as I had arranged for earlier this morning with June Noyes, the nurse on duty. The President had just finished his lunch and Sister Noyes brought him into the study. The President seemed well and said how happy he was to see me. I showed him a copy of the revised edition of “The Refiner’s Fire” and read to him what I had placed on the front page, in making a presentation to him of this, one of the first copies of the book. This is what was placed in the book:

June 20, 1968

Dear President McKay, 

Will you please accept this, one of the three first copies of the revised edition of “The Refiner’s Fire” with heartfelt gratitude

Had it not been for you, the enlargement and revision would not have been attempted, and again, had it not been for you, it would never have been published.

In sincere appreciation.

The presenting of this book seemed somehow to touch his heart and he showed the emotional effect of it. I expressed to him how deeply appreciative I was for the concerned interest he had had in its writing and publishing. I showed him a few of the pictures in the book, mostly of him, which appear in the front part of the book, and referred to the fact that the account of his visit to Missouri in 1966 was covered in the book.

He said to me, “I will never forget my visit to these sacred places. ” I read to him from the chapter in the book titled. “Conclusion” the following words:

“I now pronounce this land consecrated and dedicated unto the Lord for the possession and inheritance for the Saints, and for all the faithful servants of the Lord to the remotest ages of time, in the name of Jesus Christ, having authority from him. ” (Statement of Joseph Smith)

“I can say in truth, that my affections, my heart, and my all are in Zion–I love her springs–I love her rivers–I love her pleasing streams. I love her beautiful and soul charming landscapes, and rolling prairies. I love her inhabitants, and nothing but their salvation, and to do the will of our Lord, will persuade me to take my life in my hand, and travel amid death and destruction alone a long and lonesome journey. And O, my everlasting Father, grant in the name of Jesus, that I may meet you again on that holy mountain, O that he would deliver her from her enemies. O that the day of her salvation was now come.

And that I with you may yet see her wastes exalted, her ruined places built up, her towers reach to heaven, her streets paved with gold, and finally she purified and sanctified, and bourne triumphant to the bosom of the Father through Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.” (Oliver Cowdery)

The reading of these statements seemed to touch the President’s heart all the more and he actually began to weep. There was a feeling between us at this moment that is difficult to describe. I suppose I would have to say that we both were shedding tears of joy and happiness at what the Lord had in store for his people and of the great blessings that will come to the faithful within the Church. The President clasped my hand and drew me to him and I put my arm around him and placed my cheek against his, whereupon he kissed my left cheek and said to me, “Brother Dyer, I dearly love you.” I expressed my love for him and of my great appreciation and gratitude for being privileged to be close to him. Shaking hands with him again, I left, but I saw a smile on his face as I left his room.”

Wed., 26 Jun., 1968:

“No meeting of the First Presidency held this morning.

11:35 a. m. 

Proposed Program for Far West Temple Site Improvement Dedication and Program for the Independence, Missouri Visitors Center Ground Breaking Ceremonies Approved

President Alvin R. Dyer called at the office in the apartment and discussed with me proposed programs for the Far West Temple Site Improvement Dedication and the Independence, Missouri Visitors Center Ground Breaking Ceremony to be held August 3, 1968. President Jewel Pope and counselors of the Kansas City Stake will take care of the plans and preparations for these two events. I approved the programs as submitted by Elder Dyer.

(See August 3, 1968 for programs of Dedication and Ground-Breaking)

After President Dyer had presented the programs, he then said, “President McKay, whom do you wish to take charge and preside at these sacred events?”

President McKay learned back in his chair (as is usual for him when he is thinking) and answered with his face lighting up, “I have a surprise back in my head.” President Dyer, who with all his heart wanted President McKay to be present at these events, said, “What is it, President McKay?” The President then said, “I have in mind taking charge myself!” President Dyer and the secretary both leaned forward and said, “Wonderful — Oh, President McKay,

that would be wonderful if you could!” President McKay stated, “Well, that is what I want to do.” We knew that with his whole soul he wanted to participate in these events, and that the spirit within him is eager and ready to be out among the people serving and doing the Lord’s work which he has done now for eighty-two years, as his Church duties began when he was appointed vice-president of the Huntsville Ward Deacon’s Quorum when he was thirteen years of age.

Clare Middlemiss, Secretary to Attend Services in Far West and Independence After presenting the programs as above mentioned, President Dyer then said, “President McKay, since your secretary has had a lot to do in making appointments and recording minutes concerning the arrangements for the ceremonies to be held at Far West and Independence, I think she should be one of the special party to attend these services.” With emotion, I quickly answered, “By all means, Clare is to go.” President Dyer said, “All right then, I shall make arrangements for her to go with the official party.”

Tues., 16 Jul., 1968:

“Held a meeting of the First Presidency shortly after 9 o’clock this morning.

Some of the items discussed:

MISSOURI – Independence and Far West Ceremonies 

President Dyer said that the Church Architect Emil Fetzer had asked him to go with him to Independence and Far West on Thursday, July 18, to do some checking regarding the proposed erection of the Visitors Center in Independence and the placing of monuments in Far West, in order to make preparations for the proposed dedication of the markers that are being placed on the temple property in Far West, and the breaking of ground for the construction of the Visitors Center in Independence.

I indicated my approval.

President Dyer expressed the hope that I could arrange to take the trip to Missouri on August 2 and 3 to attend these services, and said that a reservation is being held for me on the plane should I decide to go. I said that all I can say now is that maybe I will go.

Wed., 17 Jul., 1968:

“(Minutes of Alvin R. Dyer of a meeting with President David O. McKay.)

The matters discussed were as follows:

(3) Should Representative from Church Building Department Go To Ceremonies in Independence and Far West

I asked the President if he felt it appropriate to invite a representative of the Church Building Committee to the Ground Breaking Ceremonies at Independence for the Visitors Center on August 3. He felt that it was not needful, that there were sufficient of the brethren now assigned to attend this event and it was not necessary to have a representative of the Building Committee.

(5) Independence and Far West Ceremonies – Attendance of President McKay

I had received a letter from the Murdock Travel stating that they needed to have names and specific information on those who were intending to go to Independence for the Ground Breaking Service on August 3. President McKay and one other to go with him had been placed on this list. So, on this morning, as I met with President McKay, I told him that we had now come to the point where we had to either take his name off the list with his traveling companion, or to firmly establish it as one who would make the trip. His answer was spontaneous. He said, “Leave it on the list”. This intimated that the President has in mind, at least of this day, to make the trip back to Independence when the Ground Breaking Ceremony is to be held.”

Thur., 1 Aug., 1968:

“Missouri — Dedication and Ground-Breaking Ceremonies at Far West and Independence — To be held August 3.

President Dyer asked me if I had any message that I wanted to convey to the people in Missouri who will attend the groundbreaking services for the Visitors Center in Independence and the dedication of the monuments at Far West.

I told President Dyer to tell them that this is a sacred hour of assembly there, and to convey my blessings to them on a very memorable occasion as they gather in worship. President Dyer said he would be glad to convey that message to them. He said that a full report would be given me of the services when the brethren return, and expressed the hope that I could attend the dedicatory services in Independence next year.

President Dyer said that letters had been received from many civic officials, historical societies, educators, city councilmen, etc., responding to the invitation for them to attend the services. He said he was surprised at the number of people who have responded stating that they would be most pleased to be present.

In conclusion I told President Dyer to tell the people that my personal blessing goes with the brethren in this service. I said that I would be with them in spirit every minute, and that I am glad to be associated with the events that are happening in Missouri.

(Account of the Above Taken from President Dyer’s Minutes)

I remained a short while after the meeting with President McKay and asked if he desired me to convey a message to the people in Missouri since, unfortunately, he would not be able to make the trip. I said to the President, “We will greatly miss you and had hoped that you could go and direct the activities of these two important events.” His reply was that he would be with us in spirit and then he designated four important things as a message that should be conveyed to the people. These are as follows:

a. These would be two very memorable occasions.

b. That they were being held at very sacred and important places.

c. That while he could not attend in person, he would be with us in spirit.

d. He expressed to me his great delight in being associated with what is happening in Missouri.”

Fri., 2 Aug., 1968:

“I was disappointed today that I could not accompany the party who left at 8 o’clock this morning by United Airlines for Kansas City to attend dedicatory services of the Far West Temple Site, and ground-breaking ceremonies for the new Visitors Center at Independence to be held August 3, 1968.

At my request, President Alvin R. Dyer later submitted the following detailed report of events associated with the ceremonies that were held in Missouri.

I had previously told President Dyer to take my blessings to the people, and to assure them that I would be with them in spirit every moment of the time these events were taking place.

(See following copy of President Dyer’s Minutes.)”


(Minutes by President Alvin R. Dyer)

(Departure for Kansas City, Missouri)

The following group took Flight 394, United Airlines, for Kansas City, departing from Salt Lake City at 8:15 a. m., 1968: President and Sister Alvin R. Dyer, Elder Harold B. Lee, Elder James Cullimore, Bishop Victor Brown and wife, Joseph Anderson and wife, and Clare Middlemiss, Secretary to President McKay.

Henry Smith and a Deseret News photographer, and also a KSL T.V. photographer, and Emil Fetzer and Ray Engebretsen of the Building Committee. In addition to the above, the following Mission Presidents and their wives who served with Sister Dyer and me in Europe were also on the plane: President and Sister Brossard, French Mission; President and Sister Howard Maycock, North German Mission; President and Sister Vivian Omer, Swedish Mission; President and Sister Gunderson, Norwegian Mission; President and Sister Percy Fetzer, North German and Berlin Missions; President and Sister Stephen Richards, Central German Mission; and President Henry Volker, Netherlands Mission.

We arrived over the Kansas City airport on time, but because of ground fog occasioned by some intense rain that had taken place that morning and the evening before, it was 30 minutes before the plane could land.

We were met at the airport by President Jewel Pope and his Counselors and shortly thereafter took a bus which we had engaged for this and the following day to the Muelbach Hotel, where accommodations had been arranged.

(Other General Authorities Present for These Occasions)

President and Sister Joseph Fielding Smith had arrived in Kansas City the evening before, having come from the Cumorah Pageant with Elder and Sister Mark E. Petersen.

(Other Notable Leaders Present) 

President and Sister Levi Thorup, former President of the Danish Mission, had flown from Los Angeles directly to Kansas City; as also Robert and Peggy Sears from New York City. Colonel Lavoi B. Davis of the U. S. Air Force Intelligence Service flew from Hawaii to be present upon this occasion. We learned later also that in addition to these the following Stake Presidents were in attendance: President Roy Oscarson of the St. Lewis Stake; President William Waldrop of the Oklahoma Stake; and President Price of the Tulsa Stake.

(Bus Leaves for Adam-ondi-Ahman)

After check-in at the Hotel and lunch, the entire party left for Adam-ondi-Ahman in the chartered bus. There were 46 in all. This included the General Autllorities, the Mission Presidents, and other leaders and also the children of President and Sister Stephen Richards, President and Sister Howard Maycock, and President and Sister Percy Fetzer. President and Sister Smith and Elder Mark E. Petersen and Sister Petersen travelled out of the bus with Truman Lottie.

The bus left at 2 p. m. and went directly to Adam-ondi-Ahman. Here, about one hour’s time was spent in discussing the historic significance of this important, consecrated, and holy place. I had the privilege of pointing out to all who were there, the locations of the various sites which included the altar site on Tower Hill where the bus was brought to a stop, the valleys of Adam-ondi-Ahman, Spring Hill, the approximate location of the Temple site on Spring Hill, the altars of sacrifice on Spring Hill, and the center of the city of Adam-ondi-Ahman with the location also of many of the residences that had been erected there.

Most all of the group walked down the farm road to the large valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman where I pointed out the place where the Pattonsburg Dam will be erected in relation to the place where it was to be built initially, indicating how the sacredness of this area was saved from inundation by the relocation of the dam.

Many questions were asked and, while we were not able at this time to go over on Spring Hill, we were able to see the panorama of the geographical area and to have the feeling of what and where these events are to transpire.

I pointed out that it will be on Spring Hill where Adam, or the Ancient of Days, will come to visit the earth again and there receive of the keys which he, himself, had directed be given to the various prophets of each dispensation and then that he in turn will surrender these powers and keys to the Holy One of Israel and this will signalize the beginning of the final preparations for the building of the City of the New Jerusalem.

I had Brother Percy Fetzer read several items from my book, “The Refiner’s Fire” on these important events of the future.

(Visit to Richmond, Missouri)

Leaving Adam-ondi-Ahman, we traveled directly to Richmond, Missouri,

stopping at the pioneer cemetery leased by the Church just on the outskirts of the

City of Richmond, where is buried Oliver Cowdery, one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon and also Jacob Whitmer, one of the Eight Witnesses, together with a number of the early-day members of the Church. The cemetery is well kept and is in good condition. We remained at this site for some 30 minutes and thereafter left for the town square of Richmond, travelling around the County Court House, where I had opportunity to point out the believed-to-be location of the jail where the Prophet Joseph Smith and Hyrum and others were kept during the time that they were submitted to trial at Richmond under Judge Austin King and were from there sentenced to be placed in Liberty prison. We also viewed the monument of General Doniphan, who had been a great friend of the Latter-day Saints, which is on the square of the Court House.

SATURDAY, August 3, 1968

The entire party left the Hotel Muelbach at 8:45 a. m., arriving at Far West, Missouri, at 10 a. m. We found the County road highway “D” was lined with parked automobiles almost one mile from the Temple site. Much work had been done and progress made toward the completion of the improvements and the erection of the monuments and markers at Far West, sufficiently so that we were able to go forward with the services and dedicate these markers and monuments and improvernents.

Because of the much rain, the sod that had been placed on the Temple site was quite soggy, making it difficult to walk without muddying shoes and this, of course, was a little inconvenient, but all appreciated what was being done there and the purpose of the preservation of the monuments which told of the sacredness and the importance of this great place. There were approximately 1,000 present at these services. Originally we had planned to hold the services from a speaking pulpit on the platform immediately in front of the monuments, but because of the softened condition of the turf, felt not to do this and it was moved back toward the parking lot which had been blacktopped and there the chairs were placed.

The program here was carried out in accordance with that which has been printed. (See accompanying copy of the Program.)

Before leaving Far West, box lunches were served by the Kansas City Stake Relief Society to the entire party of 50 or more who were travelling with the General Authorities.

(Liberty Visitors’ Center)

Leaving Far West, Missouri, we travelled to Liberty, Missouri, and there stopped at the Liberty Visitors’ Center spending one hour or more there in having the missionaries take the entire party through a regular visitors’ tour. Everyone seemed to enjoy what they were hearing and of the marvelous facilities of the restored Jail and this entire Visitors’ Center.

At 4:30 p.m. we assembled at the Temple land property at Independence in a specially built platform stand with loud speaker and all other needed facilities, where the program was carried out for the Ground Breaking Ceremonies of the Visitors’ Center to be erected on this land. A line of demarcation in white had been placed on the field grass of our Temple land indicating the size and the location of the Visitors’ Center. There were at least 2,000 present upon this occasion. (See accompanying copy of the Program.)

(Reflections of Things which Transpired at Far West and Independence, Missouri)

I conveyed in both meetings the wishes and love of President David O. McKay to those who were assembled. I was particularly appreciative of the remarks of Elder Harold B. Lee at Far West wherein he built his short talk around the idea of “staying with the ship” meaning to be faithful and true to the end to the accomplishment of the Lord’s work in that area. At Independence, he made a statement which basically is the underlying purpose and intent of the book, “The Refiner’s Fire”, which I have recently had published, wherein he said, “What we are witnessing in Missouri is the beginning of the preparations to fulfill the revelation from the Lord and the commandments concerning the Center Place of Zion.”

I desire to express an appreciation in the Journal for President Jewel A. Pope of the Kansas City Stake. He is a great servant of the Lord and will yet fill higher and important callings in the Church.

After seeing the film at Liberty Jail, which was generally good, I felt there were several questions which could be asked with regard to some of its sequences. These concerned the statements with regard to Professor Anthon and also the wrong placement of the sequence with regard to the Prophet Joseph Smith’s being led like a lamb to the slaughter when he entered Carthage Jail. The reality of the fact is that he made this statement when he had crossed the Mississippi River and intended to go West and was called back by his wife, Emma, and by other leaders who had conveyed to Emma that the Prophet was deserting them. It was then that he made the statement that if his life meant nothing to them, then it meant nothing to him, and he was returning like a lamb to the slaughter. This is not the way it is pictured in the film.

The Dedication Services at Far West and the Ground Breaking Services at Independence were most satisfying. Ever since I presided over the Central States Mission I have looked forward to a greater emphasis being placed upon that which transpired in Missouri and of its future and destined in fulfilling the work of the Lord in this dispensation. I have been able, under the direction of the First Presidency, to pursue the construction of and the placing into operation of the Liberty Jail Visitors’ Center. Now, with the beautification and dignifying of the Temple Site at Far West and the erection of a Visitors’ Center at Independence on the Temple land, I feel that the image of these things will be lifted in the minds of the leaders and the members of the Church and I feel that this is important to whatever is needed in the preliminary way for the beginning of the preparations of our people for the return to Jackson County.

Surely the Lord has blessed us and, under the kind and understanding approval and direction of President McKay, truly a Prophet of God, these things are beginning to unfold. The Lord knows the future as to time and place. It is our responsibility to prepare ourselves that we may be ready when the time comes when the revelation is given for the step to be taken that will place into realistic nature the building of the waste places and the preparing of things incident to the second coming of the Lord who will live and reign upon the earth with the administrative headquarters centering in the Temple Complex in the City of the New Jerusalem in the Center Place of Independence, Missouri. Surely these past days have been most glorious. Already I see the turning of the tide in the minds of the brethren. There has never been any question in my mind, and surely President McKay has supported and sustained and understands better than all of us why these things must transpire.

I feel that appropriate remarks were made by the brethren in all of the meetings. I deeply appreciated personally the presence of these men. President Smith’s remarks with regard to the second coming of the Lord who will come to that very place; Brother Petersen’s remarks concerning what was hoped to be done with the Visitors’ Center in teaching all who come there of the second coming of the Lord; all of the brethren seemed to measure up to the occasion and spoke under the Inspiration of the Lord. The singing by the Kansas City Chorus was most excellent and appreciated perhaps above all, so far as the music was concerned, was the song rendered by Sister Jesse Evans Smith titled, “The Heavens Were Opened”.

We were honored, of course, by the presence of civic and local Church leaders among whom were the following: Apostles Anderson, Wheaton, and Sheldon of the Church of Christ Temple Lot; the President of the Center Stake of the R.L.D.S. was also present, (the Presidency of the R.L.D.S. were all out of the City and unable to attend, but they sent a letter of appreciation to the invitation which we had sent to them); President Bryan West of the Central States Mission of the Church was in attendance, and the following civic leaders from the City of Independence: Donald M. Thresher, Mayor; William R. More, Acting City Manager; and Councilmen Morris McQuinn, Paul L. Roberts, Doctor E. W. Theiss, and Arthur W. Lamb. In attendance also was Ted R. Cauger, Vice President of the City National Bank and Trust Company of Kansas City, Missouri, and the Treasurer of the Jackson County Historical Society.

I was told that Mayor Parmley of Liberty was also present and that at the services at Far West the Mayor of Kingston and other civic leaders from Hamilton and Galatin were present.

The Mayor of the City of Independence, the acting City Manager, and Apostle Wheaton of the Church of Christ Temple Lot participated with the General Authorities present in the actual turning of the soil in the concluding part of the program at Independence to mark the Ground Breaking for the erection of the Visitors’ Center.

SUNDAY, August 4, 1968

The General Authorities who were present who remained over for Sunday, with the exception of Elder Harold B. Lee and James A. Cullimore, who were occupied with President West of the Central States Mission, attended several of the Sunday Schools and Fast Meetings of the Wards in the Kansas City Stake. With Sister Dyer and Clare Middlemiss I attended the Sunday School and Fast Service of  the Independence Ward in Independence.

(Testimony of Clare Middlemiss)

At the Fast Meeting Service the six deacons who had passed the Sacrament each one in turn got up and bore their testimony. This seemed to trigger in the mind of Sister Middlemiss a story about President McKay when he was a deacon, which she told as she bore her testimony and also testified to other events in the life of President David O. McKay, much to the delight of both young and old.

I also bore my testimony at this meeting.

Following dinner at the home of President and Sister Jewel Pope, we participated with the other brethren who were still there in a special Stake meeting held in the Stake Center at 5:30 p. m. Elder and Sister Mark E. Petersen had left to be with their daughter. Elders Lee and Cullimore were still occupied with Mission matters. Bishop and Sister Victor L. Brown had returned to Salt Lake City, as had also Joseph and Sister Anderson, but President and Sister Smith were also in attendance at this special Stake meeting, as also Clare Middlemiss. There were about 1,500 in attendance. The speakers were Clare Middlemiss, who told more of the life of President McKay, May Dyer, who bore her testimony and of the great joy of returning to the Center Place and of participating in the events of the past day or two, Alvin R. Dyer, concerning the future of the Center Place of Zion and of the preparations that will be needful to undertake such a great event, Sister Jesse Evans Smith then spoke and sang a song. Concluding remarks were given by President Joseph Fielding Smith, who spoke on Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. Since Jackson County was where the Garden of Eden was located, this seemed appropriate.

MONDAY, August 5, 1968

By pre-arrangement, with Kenneth Midgely of the Kansas City Stake High Council as our chauffeur, we were driven back to Independence, Missouri, where we had a delightful visit with some of the leadership of the Church of Christ Temple Lot in their little white Chapel at the high point of the Temple land. There was a very friendly atmosphere. Apostle Anderson, who will be 98 years of age in December of this year, asked that his love and best wishes be conveyed to President McKay and to encourage him to hold on and they would both yet reach 100 years. We also saw the new monument that had been placed by this Church honoring the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Apostle Wheaton spoke of reading my book, “The Refiner’s Fire” which had visibly affected him and that he had thought that perhaps there would be only one Temple built, but now he could see that there would be more than one, but he still felt that the main one would be built upon the land which they held.

Following our visit with these church members, we went to the R.L.D.S. Auditorium where I met Don Benton and then, later, President Draper of the First Presidency. President Wallace Smith was out of the City. We had a brief, enjoyable time together during which time we sat in the Auditorium, which has been beautifully completed with 7,500 opera seats. They give a daily organ recital, but today the organ was undergoing a tuning process.

(Jesse Evans Smith Sings in the Auditorium)

Yielding to the request made by members of our group, Jesse Evans Smith mounted the rostrum and asked for an accompaniment while she sang “Abide with Me”. It was much appreciated by all who listened.

Leaving the Auditorium, we went to the Kansas City Club where we enjoyed a delightful dinner with Kenneth Midgely as host and thereafter spent the afternoon in rest, pending the time of departure from Kansas City that evening at 3:30 p. m. for our return trip to Salt Lake City. The schedule was on time and we arrived back here at 9:30 p. m.”

Tues., 6 Aug., 1968:

“9:00 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency this morning. Presidents N. Eldon Tanner, Joseph Fielding Smith and Alvin R. Dyer were present. President Hugh B. Brown was out of the city, and President Thorpe B. Isaacson was absent on account of illness.

The following pertinent matters were discussed:

“(First Presidency’s Minutes of President Alvin R. Dyer’s Account of the Services Held in Missouri on August 3, 1968.)

Monument Dedication and Visitors Center Ground Breaking in Missouri

President Dyer reported to President McKay the visit of himself and others of the brethren of the General Authorities and others to Missouri on Friday morning, August 2nd. President and Sister Joseph Fielding Smith and Elder Mark E. Petersen and Sister Petersen had gone on ahead of the group and visited the Hill Cumorah pageant and returned and joined the group in Kansas City on Friday. Of the General Authorities there were present at the services in Missouri President Dyer, President Joseph Fielding Smith, Elders Harold B. Lee, Mark E. Petersen, James A. Cullimore, and Bishop Victor L. Brown. With the exception of Elders Lee and Cullimore, these brethren had their wives with them. There was in addition, Sister Middlemiss, Joseph Anderson, a number of stake presidents, and several former missionaries who had served in Europe under President Dyer’s presidency, also many others. Friday, August 2nd, the group drove by bus to Adam-ondi-Ahman, where they viewed the valley and saw Spring Hill where the temple site is and where the altars are located as described by the various brethren. He said they had a wonderful experience and everyone was surprised to see how beautiful the area is. After spending about three quarters of an hour at Adam-ondi-Ahman they went to Richmond, Missouri, visited the old Richmond cemetery known as the Richmond Pioneer Cemetery which is leased and maintained by the Church, where Oliver Cowdery is buried and also Jacob Whitmer, one of the eight witnesses; also many of the early settlers of Richmond. Upon leaving Richmond they returned to the hotel and in the evening enjoyed a dinner at the hotel that had been provided by the Kansas City stake presidency. 

The following morning, August 3rd, the company left the hotel at 8:45 and took the bus to Far West, Missouri. President Dyer said the countryside was beautiful, more beautiful than he had seen it before at this time of the year. President Dyer said that President Pope of the Kansas City Stake said that in the last few years it has not been so warm in Missouri as it used to be.

At Far West dedicatory services were held at which the monuments that had been erected there were dedicated. The service was held at 10:30 a.m. The monuments were 14 feet high and the words of the revelations given at that place are carved on them, namely, the revelation on the law of tithing, the revelation stating that Far West is a consecrated land where a temple is to be built, also a revelation concerning the Quorum of the Twelve who were to leave that spot and go to the islands of the sea. These are placed so that people who come there can read them. In regard to the cornerstones President Dyer said that we have not changed the stones nor disturbed them but have sort of lifted them up out of the ground so that they can be seen better. They have been encased in cement and there is a marker by each cornerstone. The southeast cornerstone he said was laid in remembrance of the First Presidency of the Church and it was also upon this cornerstone that Wilford Woodruff, George Albert Smith, grandfather of President George Albert Smith, and five other apostles were ordained. It was on this stone that they knelt and prayed for the progress of the work of the Lord and that he would sustain the Prophet Joseph Smith. President Smith conducted the service at which there were probably 1,000 people. The little country road was jammed for a mile or so with automobiles. He said a marvelous work had been done in preparing the site, that it is not finished but when it is finished it will be a garden spot where people can go and read these markers and know what transpired there. One of the markers he said tells that President Smith’s father, President Joseph F. Smith, was born in Far West and became one of the presidents of the Church. The markers are bronze tablets with raised letters on them stating that Far West had at that time 5,000 people, 137 horses, 6 blacksmith shops and 2 hotels. Today there is nothing there. He said the temple site is enclosed by a nice fence which has to be painted yet and that there is a large sign on the main country road which reads: “Far West Temple Site, You are Welcome. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” The speakers at the services in Far West were Bishop Victor L. Brown, Elder Mark E. Petersen and Elder Harold B. Lee. President Dyer spoke and offered the prayer dedicating the monuments for the purpose for which they had been erected.

Following this service a lunch was provided by the Relief Society sisters. The company then went by bus to Liberty Jail and spent about an hour there where the missionaries presented the program which they give to tourists.

The company then went to Independence, Missouri and held the ground breaking services on the temple land at 4:30 p.m., at which there were about 2,000 people present. A number of civic officials, the mayor, assistant city manager, and four councilmen of Independence were present, also the man who is the official in charge of the Jackson County Historical Society. There were also present three of the apostles of the Church of Christ. These were all invited to sit on the stand, their wives accompanying them. President Dyer conducted this service. The speakers were James A. Cullimore, Mark E. Petersen and Harold B. Lee. President Smith gave the closing remarks, speaking on the second coming of Christ, which remarks were very appropriate, and then offered the ground breaking prayer. The brethren, also civil and Church officials, participated in the breaking of the ground.

President Dyer said the following day, Sunday, President and Sister Smith and he and his wife and Sister Middlemiss visited the wards. President Smith went to the Second Ward Sunday School and fast meeting. Sister Dyer, Sister Middlemiss and President Dyer went to the Independence Ward where they attended the Sunday School and sacrament meeting. He said there were a number of other visitors there from the west. He stated that in the fast meeting in the Independence chapel there were six deacons present who passed the sacrament, and each of them bore testimony. Sister Middlemiss told them about President McKay when he was in the deacons quorum, also related experiences regarding the President’s life which were much appreciated by the people. In every meeting President Dyer gave the people President McKay’s greetings and love and blessing and told them of his great interest in Missouri and what is to happen in that sacred place. He said Sunday evening the presidency of the stake had called a special meeting of all the stake members in the stake center which they attended, and at which there were 1500 people present. Sister Dyer spoke as did Sister Middlemiss, who told them more about President McKay and stated that in all her years of experience with President McKay she had never heard him use a cross word. He said that she said that at one time President McKay felt like doing so but put his tongue in the back of his mouth.

He said the people loved that story. President Dyer and President Smith both spoke and Sister Smith sang.

Referring to the remarks of Elder Lee at the ground breaking services he mentioned that he thought Brother Lee’s remarks were very good, that he said that the building of the visitors center was the beginning of the preparation of the people and that they who were there needed to live the gospel and prepare themselves, as should the whole Church, for what is to transpire in that area. He said all the brethren spoke very well. Elder Petersen told what would be in the visitors center and how we would try to tell about the second coming of the Lord and the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith, that John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ in the meridian of time, and that Joseph Smith was his forerunner in this dispensation. President Dyer said that the civic leaders and the people of the other churches there felt fine and he thought it was a very successful affair. He said that he thought all of this was directly attributable to President McKay’s interest in the matter, that this is what had made it possible, and all were grateful for the visit. Both President Smith and Brother Anderson made comments regarding the success of the trip.

Visit with Hedrikite Church Authorities:

President Dyer reported that yesterday morning President Joseph Fielding Smith and he visited the little Hedrikite Church on the temple lot and met with three of the apostles of that church, namely, Apostle Anderson, Apostle Wheatley and Apostle Weldon. Brother Anderson is the senior apostle of the church and will be 98 years old in November. President Dyer said that Brother Anderson sent his greetings to President McKay and told him not to give up, that he knew that the President would be 95 years old this year and he will be 98 in November. He sent his love and best wishes to the President. President Dyer said that President Smith and he spent a wonderful time with these people and they were very friendly. He mentioned that they had put a new monument on their property on the spot where the Prophet Joseph stood when dedicating the temple land.

President Dyer said they then went to the Reorganized Church Auditorium and met with President Draper, the first counselor to President Wallace Smith. President Smith was out of the city. They entered the auditorium and Sister Jesse Evans Smith sang a selection there accompanied by their organist entitled “Abide With Me”. President Dyer said that these people expressed their love and best wishes for President McKay and explained that President Wallace Smith was sorry he was unable to be at the ground-breaking services inasmuch as he was out of the city.”

Thur., 17 Oct., 1968:

“(Minutes of a Meeting Held in the Salt Lake Temple Thursday, October 17, 1968.)

Report by Alvin R. Dyer on Neil Monahan Offer

President Alvin R. Dyer

President Dyer said that for some time he had been considering making a preliminary report to the brethren on a matter of considerable importance just for information. He said that several months ago he received a telephone call from a man named Neil Monahan who wanted to visit with him in the Church Offices which he did the following morning. He said that first this man showed him his patriarchal blessing which said among other things that he would assist in building up Zion and in the redemption of Zion; that he then told him that he possessed some 1200 acres of leased mineral land in the Blythe, California area near the Arizona border, and that they had successfully put down a core drilling some 1800 feet. At first they thought it would produce copper but as they got down they began to produce platinum, silver and gold.

President Dyer said he had met with him several times but mostly to keep his good will. Brother Monahan said that he had no need of money, and that he wanted to give to the Church all of the production to fulfill his patriarchal blessing. Last Monday this man came to President Dyer’s office from California, and brought with him a man by the name of Ray Wolters who owns 20,000 acres of this same area; and he has already sold 60 acres for two and a half million dollars and is receiving money back at the rate of $3.00 a ton under a production of some 10,000 tons a month which is now in operation on this land. Ray Wolters said he wanted to get in on this same arrangement with the Church. He said that Henry F. Nicholes, a counselor in the presidency of the West Covina Stake, was also with him. Clyde Davis who is a geologist from the Brigham Young University has been in the area and confirms the fact of the mineral deposits in these areas. He said there was another man with them also who is a relative of Neil Monahan. They reported that they had now formed a corporation and that they had turned down an offer from the Geo-Thermal International Company for a million and a half dollars for some interest in Neil Monahan’s property. They decided to build a pilot plant on the property and to develop it rather than sell any interest to anyone else so that they can control it. He said they had built the pilot plant and have already produced platinum and gold in such quantities as to make this look fabulous. They are now going to put up six more pilot plants and in the processing will put up the main plant. He said that the determination is that this money will come to the Church.

President Dyer said that he had asked our legal counsel, Brother Kirton, to come over and talk with them so that he could consider the legal phase of it, and how it might be transferred to the Church in the event it was decided to do this. President Dyer said that Ray Wolters says there are billions of dollars of mineral deposits in this 20,000 acre area, and the company that bought the first segment of it made an offer to purchase the rest along the same line, which would run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

President Dyer said it is almost so fantastic it seems unreal. He said they haven’t asked the Church for any money and they do not want any money. They merely want to give to the Church their overage. Their plan is that the family of Neil Monahan will take a million dollars; the family of the counselor in the presidency of the West Covina Stake a million dollars; and the other two men would take a like amount — the rest to be given to the Church.

President Dyer said he had seen the assays on the gold content taken from the 1500 foot level, which runs as high as $13.00 a ton just by scooping up dirt, and this assay has come from three of the leading assayers in the United States, so that there cannot be any question but what there is mineral wealth there, but there is a question as to how they can develop it along the line they have talked about.”

Thur., 21 Nov., 1968:

“Held a meeting of the First Presidency this morning.  Presidents Brown, Tanner and Dyer were present.

2:30 p.m.

In accordance with appointment made this morning, I met President Alvin R. Dyer, at which time he gave me a report on the work he has been doing. I remarked that it looked like he had been pretty busy.

Independence — The Building Up Of

I asked President Dyer how many of the Brethren were with him on the building up of Zion in Independence, and he indicated that only he and I are interested at the present time; that he thinks the Brethren think the time for this work is a long way off. I shook my head and said, “No, it is not a long way off. “

President Dyer said that he thinks President Smith, Elder Lee, who spoke at the Independence Groundbreaking, and Elder Petersen sense the importance of this, and that many of the Brethren are in harmony with it.

President Dyer then read some verses from Section 101 of the D&C concerning the request of the Lord which has been made many times regarding the purchase of lands in Jackson County and surrounding counties. He then said, “Are we to go forward President?”, and I said, “Yes, we are to go forward. “

(See President Dyer’s Minutes for Details of this Meeting which follow.)

(Minutes of President Alvin R. Dyer on Meeting with President McKay

(Personal Meeting with President McKay)

Obedient to the wishes of President McKay, I sought for and obtained an appointment with him on this same day at 2:30 p.m. and was with him until 3:25 p.m. Because of his interest in what I was doing, I reported on the following assignments:

A. The study that is being made on the Youth Guidance and Indian Placement Programs, stating that these evaluations had now been received from the

two committees concerning the way that they thought the programs could be better integrated with Wards, Stakes, and the Priesthood. In conformity to the direction he had given, these reports had been placed in the hands of Elder Harold B. Lee, the Chairman of the Priesthood Correlation Committee for their study and recommendation.

B. I reported also on the assignment given to me to work through Brother Alma Burton and such aides as he may need for a thorough study of the

sex education idea that seems to be gaining much credence in many parts of the country and had made inroads into the schools of the State of Utah. I told him that I had had frequent meetings with Brother Burton and soon hoped to have a resume of that analysis for him.

C. I spoke to the President of the developments with regard to the Monahan and Wolters mine leases, the production and money from which, if this develops, to come to the Church for the purpose of purchasing lands in Jackson County and other counties in Missouri. I reported to the President that we still had great hopes for this development which could accomplish, I am sure, under his direction, the things that the Lord wanted done in that area.

I also reported to the President that I had received an invitation to speak at a special Testimonial to be held for President Raymond of the Logan Temple and on the following day to deliver the Joseph Smith Memorial Sermon in Logan. He was pleased that this invitation and assignment had come and told me that I should go forward and fill them.

Following this report to the President, he said, “It looks to me like you have been quite busy.” We then discussed on a sort of heart-to-heart basis the things that had happened during the past year. I told him of my continuing interest in the redemption of Zion and we again reflected upon the visit we both had had to these sacred lands in June of 1966. I then asked the President if I should continue with this, that if he felt any opposition towards it that I did not want to be going in a wrong direction. He shook his head and said, “No. No. No,” three times and said I was to go forward in the matter.

We discussed the incidents connected with my calling to the First Presidency in April of this year, of the misunderstanding and some feeling of resentment that existed among some of the brethren when I was called to this position. I told him that one of the hardest things that I had ever done in my life was to go into the first Temple meeting after I had been called to this position, that I could feel the spirit of resentment. But I was happy to report to him now that this feeling had entirely disappeared, that many of the brethren had come forward, (such as Brother Lee, Brother Petersen, Brother Romney, Brother Evans, Brother Hinckley, and Brother Richards,) and indicated that they felt that the President was inspired when he called me to that position. This brought tears to President McKay’s eyes and he nodded his head in approval.

He then asked me the question as to how many of the brethren were with me on the matter of the redemption of Zion and the things that must transpire there. I said to him, “If you speak in a positive way, President, I think that only you and I at this particular moment are dedicated to that particular world to be done there. But, ” I said, “I believe that all of the brethren believe that it should be done and will be done, but they feel that it is a long way off in the distant future.” At this the President kind of shook his head and said, “No, it is not a long way off.”

I told him that I felt that President Smith seemed to sense the importance of this, as did Brother Lee, who spoke at the Independence Ground Breaking, when he said that it might well be that the time of preparation has come for that which the Lord expects us to do in His own time. I told him of my frequent discussions with Elder Mark E. Petersen on the subject, who sensed that this would be one of the great developments. All in all, many of the brethren are in harmony with this, but do not seem to be moved on it in the same way, or as completely, as President McKay and I are at this time. I asked him again then if it was his will that I continue with this and continue to pursue it and keep the idea alive. I said to him, “I want to do only what you want” and that if he felt any opposition to my efforts in pursuing this work, that I would drop it.

I read to him then some verses from Section 101 concerning the request of the Lord which has been made many times that lands be purchased in Jackson County and the surrounding Counties and then to leave the rest in the hands of the Lord. As we read this together there were tears in our eyes and I said, “Are we to go forward, President?” And he forcibly said, “Yes, we are to go forward.”

I told the President how much he meant to me and how I hoped for the preservation of his life to see the acquiring of the land in Missouri. I told him of my Journal which I was keeping daily that kept a record of things that were transpiring, associated with and surrounding the assignments that he had given me and of the things we were trying to do. It was a very wonderful time to spend with the President. We were very close–our spirits seemed melted–we understood clearly and I bear my testimony that I know it is the will of the Prophet of the Lord upon the earth today, President David O. McKay, that we continue with our efforts to establish more effectively the image of what must be done in the sacred, consecrated land of Missouri in accordance with the commandments of the Lord. This is fully agreed to and I was encouraged again this day to go forward in this work.

As we departed, the President clasped my hand and said, “I am so glad that you came.””

Thur., 23 Jan, 1969:

“9:00-9: 30 a. m. Short Meeting of the First Presidency in the President’s Hotel Apartment.

Among the matters discussed were:

Visitors Center – Independence

President Dyer reported that ever since the proposed Visitors Center in Independence, Missouri has been on the drawing board and the plans completed, there have been changes proposed by the Evans Advertising people in order that proper displays may be placed in the center. He said that two weeks ago the plans were sent out for bid and that now the Evans people have come in again wanting to revise the whole plan the third time. Brother Mark Garff of the Building Committee has asked what they can do. President Dyer had told Brother Garff that it is our desire that they go forward with the building and not hold it up any longer. He reported that the bids on the construction of the building will be opened this week. The Presidency indicated their approval.”

Tues., 6 May, 1969:

“(Minutes of Meeting of President Alvin R. Dyer with President McKay.)

There was no meeting of the First Presidency held today.

(Meeting with President McKay in his Apartment – 9:30 a.m.)

The President was relaxing in his study when I arrived. He was taking no oxygen and stated that he was very glad to see me. I discussed the following matters with him:

5. I placed into the hands of President McKay an article entitled, “If By Purchase, Behold Ye Are Blessed” which concerns the purchase of lands in the sacred areas of Missouri. The President very feelingly spoke of his trip back there in 1966 and said that he would never forget it. He stated that he would read the article and that he wanted to talk to me about it tomorrow.

6. We discussed freely the great spiritual destiny and objective of the Church. The President stated, “This was all that was of real value.” I expressed my feeling about Missouri and of my special calling there and that whether or not this was the time to make additional preparations in the purchase of land or not, but this needed his inspiration and direction.

We discussed the revelation of the Lord that stated that the time would come when the army of the Lord would become great and then the revelations would be incumbant upon them. I referred to the prophecy of Joseph Smith in Nauvoo wherein he stated that the Latter-day Saints would be driven to the Rocky Mountains, there to become a great people and that now that we were great it may be the time of the Lord to go forth in accordance with the revelations.

The president spoke very definitely that the time is now that we should go ahead and endeavor to purchase the land in accordance with the revelations of the Lord. I told the President that this is why I had brought this to his attention as I had felt myself that it was the time but it would not be my prerogative to state the time, that it would have to come from him.

He asked if I felt that the revelations included the purchasing of lands in Far West and Adam-ondi-Ahman in addition to Independence. I said “yes” and read again to him from the article which I had prepared.

(Comment: I tried to leave at two different intervals, feeling that I had been there too long, but the President wanted me to stay. I feared after a full hour that I had tired him but he said, “No, not at all. I feel fine and I will see you again tomorrow.”)”

Wed., 7 May, 1969:

“9:30 a. m. Meeting with President McKay

Present were Joseph Fielding Smith, Alvin R. Dyer, and Joseph Anderson who kept the minutes. President McKay felt quite well and met with these brethren for one hour.

After discussing the need for additional members for the Committee on Sex Education and Sensitivity Training with which President McKay indicated his approval, the discussion turned to the Missouri Lands.

Note by President Dyer

President Dyer made the following comment:

“There was no pressure on President McKay. The things that are covered in the minutes of the meeting were informerly discussed. He carefully listened and asked many questions about that which we were concerned. There seemed to be no question in his mind in the decisions which he reached.

“At the end of the meeting he turned to Joseph Anderson and said to him, ‘See that a record is made of what transpired here today.’ As we left the President we discussed the fact that that which had transpired there had developed naturally and we all felt that something of great consequence had transpired.

“I feel sincerely that the Spirit of the Lord was present in rich abundance upon this occasion. The Prophet of the Lord had announced a very important step to be taken toward the destiny and the fulfillment of the revelations of our people. The President was very lucid and very clear in his statements. There is no question in my mind but what the Lord has spoken through him in this regard. “

(See Confidential Minutes on Missouri Lands which follow; also copy of the talk “If By Purchase Behold You Are Blessed.”)

“(Minutes of a Meeting with President McKay concerning Missouri Lands)

Wednesday, May 7, 1969

Presidents Joseph Fielding Smith and Alvin R. Dyer met with President McKay this morning in his apartment at the Hotel Utah at 10:00 a.m. and President Dyer presented a number of matters to the President for his consideration and decision.

Missouri Lands

President Dyer presented an article pertaining to the purchase of lands in Jackson and surrounding counties in Missouri as a necessary preparation leading to the redemption of Zion. The article as presented is attached hereto and contains quotations from a number of revelations on this subject, both prior to the expulsion and subsequent to it. He explained that we have very little property in Missouri at the present time and in order to fulfill these revelations it would seem that when the time is right, honorable and wise men should be appointed to look into the matter of purchasing additional property there.

President McKay said: “Strong men.”

President Dyer referred to the visit of President McKay, President Smith, and Lawrence McKay to Missouri about three years ago when they visited Adam-ondi-Ahman and other places in Missouri, and at which time the President gave approval for the purchase of 140 acres which we have now purchased at Adam-ondi-Ahman, known as “Spring Hill.” He explained that we now own the place where the revelation says Adam will come as predicted by Daniel, to which reference is made in the 1l6th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants. President Dyer said that in the time of the Lord there is much more land in 

that area, as well as in and about Far West that we should have. He stated that we now own only 79 acres at Far West and that there is much open land there that could be purchased at a very low price. The 79 acres he said contains the temple site. The rest of the land is used by a farmer by the name of Barnes, a member of the Reorganized Church. We have leased it to him. 

He stated that in Independence, Missouri where the temple and the City of Zion are to be built, we own 18 acres of the temple land and some other small acreage. The Church leases six acres to a harvester company and there are a few other lots here and there, but all in all we do not own very much property there.

President Dyer mentioned that Wilford Wood some years ago purchased 39 acres of land in the Adam-ondi-Ahman area which we call “Tower Hill,” but this is not a part of “Spring Hill.” Our total acreage in the Adam-ondi-Ahman area is about 180 acres.

President Dyer said that the Lord has stated in the revelations referred to that we are to purchase the lands which can be purchased in Jackson County and the counties around about, and leave the rest in his hands, and that this revelation was given after the saints were driven out of Missouri. The Lord further says that these things will take place when his army has become great; that meant then when the Church became greater in numbers and faith.

He said that the Latter-day Saints have become a great people here in the Rocky Mountains as Joseph Smith prophesied they would, but much of their money is not being used to fulfill this commandment regarding the purchase of lands in Missouri. The whole question of course, is whether or not we shall begin to do this now. He suggested that if now was the time, we should appoint a committee of wise and honorable men according to the revelation, who could handle such purchases for and in behalf of the Church. They could first investigate and make inquiry about the lands in Missouri, and how acreage could be obtained to the best financial interest of the Church.

Farmers throughout the Church, a number of whom have already made inquiry, could be called to go there to cultivate and hold the land until the Lord wants it. He felt that the revelations of the Lord have given us a commandment about this, that we are to obtain the land by purchase, and then, as the Lord has said, “leave the residue in my hands.”

President Dyer said that in addition to the area at Adam-ondi-Ahman being consecrated, which includes a temple site, that there is another area nearby which, he said, is half-way between Adam-ondi-Ahman and Far West where the Prophet Joseph Smith proclaimed that a city would be built called the City of the Zion of God.  He explained that when the Prophet Joseph lived in Far West, Missouri, he made many trips to Adam-ondi-Ahman and often would rest at the half-way mark which is about on the boundary of Daviess and

Caldwell counties. President Dyer said that he felt we should purchase this property which is now open farm land. He said that he felt sure much property in those areas could be purchased. He said that there are farms in these various areas on which the owners have heavy mortgage obligations, or who are threatened with property loss because of taxes, that we should be able to purchase at reasonable prices. He thought we should buy up these lands slowly and quietly over an extended period of time so that the people will not get the understanding that the Church is buying up property in that area.

He referred to the word of the Lord where it states that the waste places will be built up and will come back into their own(Section 101). The revelation was given after the saints were driven out of Missouri when the Lord said to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “Be still and know that I am God, that Zion has not been moved out of her place, and they and their children will return to rebuild the waste places.”

He stated that according to the revelations given the cities of Zion will be units consisting of 20, 000 people and the area will need to be large enough for farms, schools, temples, etc.

President McKay asked if the purchase of lands would include Far West. President Dyer said that it did and that there is land that could be obtained surrounding the temple lot in Far West, and the same in Adam-ondi-Ahman and there is much open land in Jackson County. There is farm land close to Independence, which area is rapidly being filled up by the penetration of industrial places and homes and schools.

President Dyer said he merely wanted to bring to the President’s attention that the commandments of the Lord and the revelations seem quite attend clear that the time will come when we would be under obligation to purchase these lands. He said whether that time is now or is to be at a later date, he did not know, but he did know that we are requested to purchase the land in those areas according to what the Lord has said.

Referring to the appointment of such a committee to make an investigation of lands in Missouri, President Dyer said that a number of men could be called to this service if we devoted our attention to it, men who would be responsible and who are informed regarding the purchase of lands, meeting with farmers, etc.

Referring to the appointment of a committee of men to look into this land situation President McKay designated that three men ought to be appointed. President Dyer then asked the President if he, President Dyer, could think about the matter and submit some names to the President. President McKay said that he wished that he would do this right away.

President Dyer said that we perhaps ought not use our Church Real Estate Department for this purpose, that the three men working under our direction, very deliberately and cautiously, should be men who are skilled in property taxation, mortgages, and property values. These men would be asked to first make an investigation along the lines mentioned, before proceeding any further.

President McKay said “That is what we ought to do right away.”

The President reiterated that these men should be wise men and strong men. President McKay asked President Smith to work with President Dyer on this project.

Minutes by Joseph Anderson”


By Alvin R. Dyer

[An undated copy of the manuscript is also in Clare Middlemiss’s notebook entitled “Notes”]

This article pertains to the purchase of lands in Jackson and surrounding counties in Missouri, as a necessary preparation leading to the “redemption of Zion.”

In response to their yearnings and supplications following the expulsion of the Saints from Jackson County in November of 1833, with regard to the redemption of Zion, the Lord gave this message to the Prophet Joseph Smith.

“Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.

Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered.

They that remain, and are pure in heart, shall return, and come to their inheritances, they and their children, with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the waste places of Zion.”  (D&C 101:16-18)

“To build up the waste places of Zion” at a future time from then would require the acquisition of land.  Concerning this the Lord gave this vital instruction in the same revelation referred to.

“And in order that all things be prepared before you, observe the commandments which I have given concerning these things–

Which saith, or teacheth, to purchase all the lands with money, which can be purchased for money, in the region round about the land which I have appointed to be the land of Zion, for the beginning of the gathering of my saints;

All the land which can be purchased in Jackson county, and the counties round about, and leave the residue in mine hand.

No, verily I say unto you, let all churches gather together all their moneys; let these things be done in their time, but not in hast; and observe to have all things prepared before you.

And let honorable men be appointed, even wise men, and send them to purchase these lands.”  (D&C 101:69-73)

From this instruction from the Lord there are several things of vital importance which apparently must be adhered to in order to fulfill the will of God to prepare for the redemption of Zion.  These are listed here:

1. That commandments had already been given concerning this great event, which are to be observed.

2. That these commandments thus given, taught that all the lands in Jackson and surrounding counties that could be purchased should be purchased.

3. That moneys to accomplish this should come from the membership at large.

4. This revelation was given one month after the expulsion, and at that time the Lord cautioned about undue haste, but that the purchasing of the lands be done at the proper time, which meant at a time when preparations were to be undertaken.

5. The Lord designates that wise men are to be selected and sent to accomplish the purchasing.

6. After having done all this then the Lord says, “leave the residue in my hands.”

Concerning the commandments and revelations which the Lord alludes to as having already been given, and which are re-instituted and made binding upon the Saints, even though they had been expelled from the “Center Place of Zion,” for a then future fulfillment that pertains to the purchasing of lands in Jackson and surrounding counties in Missouri, reference is made of the following:

Revelations Given Prior to the Expulsion

“And for the purpose of purchasing lands for the public benefit of the Church, and building houses of worship, and building up of the New Jerusalem which is hereafter to be revealed–

That my covenant people may be gathered in one in that day when I shall come to my temple.  And this I do fo rthe salvation of my people.”  (D&C 42:35, 36.  February, 1831)

“Wherefore, I, the Lord, have said, gather ye out from the eastern lands, assemble ye yourselves together ye elders of my church; go ye forth into the western countries, call upon the inhabitants to repent, and inasmuch as they do repent, build up churches unto me.

And with one heart and with one mind, gather up your riches that ye may purchase an inheritance which shall hereafter be appointed unto you.

And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God.”  (D&C 45:64-66.  March, 1831)

“Hearken, O ye elders of my church, saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land, which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the saints.

Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion.

And thus saith the Lord your God, if you will receive wisdom here is wisdom.  Behold, the place which is now called Independence is the center place; and a spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the court-house.

Wherefore, it is wisdom that the land should be purchased by the saints, and also every tract lying westward, even unto the line running directly between Jew and Gentile;

And also every tract bordering by the prairies, inasmuch as my disciples are enabled to buy lands.  Behold, this is wisdom, that they may obtain it for an everlasting inheritance.

And let my servant Sidney Gilbert stand in the office to which I have appointed him, to receive moneys, to be an agent unto the church, to buy land in all the regions round about, inasmuch as can be done in righteousness, and as wisdom shall direct.”  (D&C 57:1-6.  July, 1831)

“And now, behold, this is the will of the Lord your God concerning his saints, that they should assemble themselves together unto the land of Zion, not in haste, lest there should be confusion, which bringeth pestilence.

Behold, the land of Zion–I, the Lord, hold it in mine own hands;

Nevertheless, I, the Lord, render unto Caesae the things which are Caesar’s.

Wherefore, I the Lord will that you should purchase the lands, that you may have advantage of the world, that you may have claim on the world, that they may not be stirred up unto anger.

For Satan putteth it into their hearts to anger against you, and to the shedding of blood.

Wherefore, the land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase or by blood, otherwise there is none inheritance for you.

And if by purchase, behold you are blessed;

And if by blood, as you are forbidden to shed blood, lo, your enemies are upon you, and ye shall be scourged from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue, and but few shall stand to receive an inheritance.”  (D&C 63:24-31.  August, 1831)

Revelations Given After the Expulsion

After the expulsion of the Saints from Jackson County, the Lord continued to give revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith pertaining to the purchase of lands in Jackson and surrounding counties.  These, no doubt, looked to a time of future fulfillment, and were to augment those given prior to the expulsion.  One has already been referred to at the beginning of this article.  Others are as follows:

“I speak not concerning those who are appointed to lead my people, who are the first elcers of my church, for they are not all under this condemnation;

But I speak concerning my churches abroad–there are many who will say: Where is their God?  Behold, he will deliver them in time of trouble, otherwise we will not go up unto Zion, and will keep our moneys.

Therefore, in consequence of the transgressions of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion–

That they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning their duty, and the things which I require at their hands.

And this cannot be brought to pass until mine elders are endowed with power from on high.

For behold, I have prepared a great endowment and blessing to be poured out upon them, inasmuch as they are faithful and continue in humility before me.

Therefore it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season, for the redemption of Zion.

For behold, I do not require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion; for, as I said in a former commandment, even so will I fulfill–I will fight your battles.”  (D&C 105:7-14.  June, 1834)

“Now, behold, I say unto you, my friends, in this way you may find favor in the eyes of the people, until the army of Israel becomes very great.

And I will soften the hearts of the people, as I did the heart of Pharaoh, from time to time, until my servant Baurak Ale (Joseph Smith, Jr.) and Baneemy (mine elders), whom I have appointed, shall have time to gather up the strength of my house.

And to have sent wise men, to fulfill that which I have commanded concerning the purchasing of all the lands in Jackson county that can be purchased, and in the adjoining counties round about.

For it is my will that these lands should be purchased; and after they are purchased that my saints should possess them according to the laws of consecration which I have given.

And after these lands are purchased, I will hold the armies of Israel guiltless in taking possession of their own lands, which they have previously purchased with their moneys, and of throwing down the towers of mine enemies that my come upon them, and scattering their watchmen, and avenging me of mine enemies unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

Bur first let my army become very great, and let it be sanctified before me, that it may become fair as the sun, and clear as the moon, and that her banners may be terrible unto all nations;

That the kingdoms of this world may be constrained to acknowledge that the kingdom of Zion is in very deed the kingdom of our God and his Christ; therefore, let us become subject unto all her laws.

Verily I say unto you, it is expedient in me that the first elders of my church should receive their endowment from on high in my house, which I have commanded to be built unto my name in the land of Kirtland.

And let those commandments which I have given concerning Zion and her law be executed and fulfilled, after her redemption.

That there has been a day of calling, but the time has come for a day of choosing; and let those be chosen that are worthy.

And it shall be manifest unto my servant, by the voice of the Spirit, those that are chosen; and they shall be sanctified;

And inasmuch as they follow the counsel which they receive, they shall have power after many days to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion.”  (D&C 105:26-37.  June, 1834)

Here are three statements given by the Prophet Joseph Smith, President Lorenzo Snow, and Elder Orson Pratt, concerning the purchase of and redemption of Zion in the “Center Place.”

A Letter From the Prophet Joseph Smith

After the expulsion of the Saints from Jackson County, Missouri, the Prophet Joseph makes the following statements concerning Jackson County and the redemption of Zion.

This information contained in a letter, published in the Times and Seasons, Volume Six, tells of the sacredness of the inheritance land in Missouri, and although it later became necessary to sell these lands, except the “temple land,” to help with the poor, it nevertheless manifests the true feelings the Prophet had concerning this sacred area and what the Saints must do to return.

“I would inform you that it is not the will of the Lord for you to sell your lands in Zion, if means can possibly be procured for their sustenance without.  Every exertion should be made to maintain the cause you have espoused, and to contribute to the necessities of one another, as much as possible, in this your great calamity, and remember not to murmur at the dealings of God with his creatures.  YOu are not as yet brought into as trying circumstances, as were the ancient prophets and apostles.  Call to mind Daniel, the three Hebrew children, Jeremiah, Paul, Stephen, and many more, too numerous to mention; who were stoned, sawn asunder, tempted, slain with the sword, and wandered about in sheep skins and goat skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, of whom the world was not worthy.  They wandered in deserts and in mountains, and in dens, and in caves of the earth; yet they all obtained a good report through faith; and amidst all their afflictions they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to receive persecution for Christ’s sake.

We know not what we shall be called to pass through before Zion is delivered and established; therefore, we have great need to live near to God, and always be in strict obedience to all his commandments, that we may have a conscience void of offence towards God and man.  It is your privilege to use every lawful means in your power to seek redress for your grievances of your enemies, and prosecute them to the extent of the law; but it will be impossible for us to render you any assistance in a temporal point of view, as our means are already exhausted, and we are deeply in debt and know of no means whereby we shall be able to extricate ourselves.

You will recollect that the Lord has said that Zion should not be removed out of her place; therefore, the land should not be sold, but be held by the saints, until the Lord in his wisdom, opens a way for your return; and until that time, if you can purchase a tract of land in Clay county, for present emergencies, it is right you should do so, if you can do it, and not sell your land in Jackson County.  It is not safe for us to send you a written revelation on the subject, but what is written above is according to wisdom.  I haste to a close to give room for Brother Oliver, and remain yours in the bonds of the everlasting covenant.

Joseph Smith, Jr.”

Statement of Lorenzo Snow

During the October General Conference of 1899, President Lorenzo Snow made reference to the “will of God,” concerning the purchase of lands in Zion.  The following is taken from his remarks.

“I will read a few verses in the 63rd Section of the Doctrine and Covenants, commencing with the 25th verse.

‘Behold the land of Zion, I, the Lord, holdeth it in mine own hands;

Nevertheless, I the Lord, rendereth unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s;

Wherefore, I the Lord, willeth that you should purchase the lands that you may have the advantage of the world, that you may have claim on the world, that they may not be stirred up unto anger;

For Satan putteth it into their hearts to anger against you, and to the shedding of blood;

Wherefore, the land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase or by blood, otherwise there is none inheritance for you.

And if by blood, as you are forbidden to shed blood, lo, your enemies are upon you, and ye shall be scourged from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue, and but few shall stand to receive an inheritance.’

We learn from these verses that the Lord determined that the Latter-day Saints could secure the land of Zion only by two ways: One by purchase, and the other by the shedding of blood.  The Lord also determined that possession of the country should not be gained except by the purchase of the land.  It should be bought and paid for by the means furnished by the Latter-day Saints, whether rich or poor.  It should be bought as other people buy land.  The Lord would not permit them to take possession of the land by force, or antagonizing the people’s interests.  The Lord expressly stated that He had no other object in view than that the Latter-day Saints should obtain it upon the principle of purchase.  Even if it took every cent they possessed, they should not secure it by the shedding of men’s blood.  And if you and I ever get any possession upon the land of Zion, it will be by purchase, not by force.  This has been the will of the Lord from the beginning.”

Lorenzo Snow

Orson Pratt, speaking in the Tabernacle on May 20, 1855, tells of the effect upon the minds of the members, caused by the expulson from Jackson County.  He points out that many thought at that time that Zion would yet be redeemed within a space of a few years.  He tells also, of how the Saints by 1855 had seemingly gotten away from the idea of Zion’s redemption, but proclaims that it will yet come, and that the time was nearer than many supposed.  Here are some excerpts from that discourse.

“In order to explain my feelings I will bring up one little example; for instance, it was expected that when the Saints gathered to Jackson County, there would be a perfect paradise, and that there would be an end to trouble and to opposition.  And when the Saints were driven out from Jackson County, almost all in the Church expected that they would speedily be restored; and a person was considered almost an apostate that would say they would not come back in five years, or ten at the furthest; but the prevailing opinion seemed to be that it would take place immediately.

When Zion’s Camp went up, and found the Saints all scattered abroad what did we hear?  Why, all in the camp were on the tiptoe to have Zion redeemed immediately; perhaps some would stretch their faith and put it off for five years; but those were considered weak in the faith.  This was their extreme enthusiasm.

I was appointed to visit all the Saints in Clay County, to strengthen them, and I proved to them from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants that it would be very many years before Zion should be redeemed; and some would believe it, and some others would think that Brother Pratt was rather weak in the faith; but I endeavored to show them that such and such things had got to be fulfilled before the redemption of Zion; and time has pfoved the truth of what I advanced.

Now let us see if they have not got to the other extreme; twenty-two years have passed since that time, and if we look around now, is it not the other way, the very opposite?  The people think of almost everything else but the redemption of Zion, and speak to individuals about it, and they put it off a great distance ahead.  But I do not feel to go to this extreme.  I will give you my opinion; so far as the revelations go, in speaking of this subject, I think that this even is nearer than this people are aware of.”

Orson Pratt.”

Wed., 14 May, 1969:

“(Minutes of a Meeting of President Dyer with President McKay in the Hotel)

(Meeting with President McKay)

I discussed the following matters with President McKay:

2. Purchase of Missouri Lands

I discussed some problems with President McKay with regard to the purchase of Missouri lands.  I reported that I had made arrangements to go back to Independence, Jackson County, Far West and Adam-ondi-Ahman on the 23rd of May.  Upon my return I would be in a position to recommend to President McKay the three men that he had said should be appointed to make the study and investigation in a preliminary way for the obtaining of lands in Missouri.

It is to be noted that upon bringing this matter up, the President recalled very vividly the discussions of a few days ago with regard to this and indicated that the three men to work at this problem under my direction should be appointed right away, that there should be no delay in doing this.

In connection with the above, the following matters were discussed:

A. That in channeling the purchase of lands through the regular procedures, meaning the Real Estate Committee and Expenditures Committee, for each piece of land to be obtained, would give this information to a considerable number of people, many of whom would not be of the General Authorities and therefore it would have

a greater possibility of being broadcast unto others. President McKay felt very strongly that this should not be done, that when the time came for the actual purchase of the land, that it should be handled as a completely separate item than through the usual

channels, although exercising the same precautions and the same type of procedure

B. The other matter which was discussed referred to the possible ways

of financing the purchase of the lands. This could be accomplished, as I reported to the President, through a definite portion being set up in the yearly budget of the Church, or secondly, that money could be raised from throughout the Church with those who were wealthy enough and desire to make such contributions. This would no doubt be in harmony with the revelation from the Lord which states that the money should come from all of the Churches throughout the Church, meaning from the people who live in the Wards and the Stakes of the Church.

President McKay expressed himself with regard to the latter problem that this should be left for the time being and that we should proceed with the appointment of the men and make the survey and the search for land and study the entire situation and then make a report to him. The decision would then be reached as to how the money was to be provided for the actual purchase of the lands.

President McKay asked me to stay very close to him with regard to this matter. It is apparent to me that this is upon his mind and he desires that it shall go forward, but that I am to keep in close contact with him concerning it.”

Wed., 6 Aug, 1969:

“9:30 a.m.

I met with President Dyer for an hour this morning on matters pertaining to Missouri.

(See President Dyer’s Minutes of the Meeting which follow)

(Minutes by President Alvin R. Dyer of Meeting with President David O. McKay)

9:30 a.m.

“At this hour, with the approval of President McKay, I visited with the President at his apartment. He seemed well and judging from his handgrip which was stronger than I have felt for many months he seemed to have a measure of strength.

“My purpose in meeting with the President was to discuss a number of very important items in accordance with my assignment in watching over matters in the State of Missouri. These included the following:

1. I had had a telephone conversation with Joyce Dustman at Adam-ondi-Ahman wherein she advised me that a real estate firm from Iowa had made inquiry into the purchase of other farm properties which they had at Adam-ondi-Ahman which borders the property which we purchased from them in 1966. She said that while the real estate company did not reveal the fact, that she felt certain the proposals were being made in behalf of the Reorganized Church. She advised me that she had told them that if they sold the property that it would be sold to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Salt Lake City.

I advised her that I would soon be back in that area and would get in touch with her and her husband.

2. I reviewed with President McKay the visit which President Smith and I, with our wives, had had with the leaders of the Hedrekite Church at Independence wherein we had met with them following the ground breaking ceremonies of the Independence Visitors Center in their little white frame church and had had a very pleasant time together. They were very friendly and very favorable with us in the discussions on matters of Church history. I also referred to the greetings that Apostle Anderson of that Church, who is 98 years of age, sent to President McKay encouraging him to hold on and they would both reach a hundred. The President had said that he felt that Apostle Anderson would have more difficulty in doing that than he would.

I said to the President that I felt that the leaders of that Church, who are getting old, were concerned about the two and a half acre plot of land which is part of the Temple land which the Hedrikites had been awarded in a Temple Lot suit with the Reorganized Church, that they were concerned as to what was to become of the land after they were gone. I expressed a feeling to the President that we should make an effort to increase our relationships with them in the hope that we might be able to obtain this property and suggested that President Smith and I return there again and take with us, if the President was willing, an invitation from him for Apostles Anderson and Wheaton and others, if they desired to respond, to attend the October Conference of the Church as the guests of the Church.

President McKay was very enthusiastic about this and said that this should be done and that he would be happy to extend the personal invitation to them to corne. He said that we should make this trip by all means and to make every effort to obtain that property.

3. The next item I discussed with the President concerns the alleged revelation which Wallace Smith, the President of the R. L. D. S., received at the last Conference of their Church in April of 1968, wherein he had stated that the Lord had said that the time had come for the building of the Temple on His consecrated land there in Independence and that it would be revealed where it should be.

I reported to President McKay that Wallace Smith had now stated where the Temple was to be erected and that it would be on the parking lot just across Walnut Street from our Visitors Center. The President seemed a little amused at this and could see what their effort was and asked the question, “What will they do with the Temple if they have it? “

I then mentioned to the President that they actually had the Temple ceremony, that one of our apostate members had given it to Israel Smith, and they could use it if they desired. However, Wallace Smith had said in a previous statement that the Temples were no place for secret ordinances, that they were to be places of education and of meetings to be held to further the work of the Lord.

4. The next item I mentioned was the fact that since the President had given direction for a committee to be set up for the acquisition of property in Missouri, that perhaps as a matter of record it should be brought before all of the Presidency so that the work could officially go forth and they would know of it. President McKay agreed that this should be done.

“As I left President McKay, he encouraged me to go forward and said he was very pleased that I was watching these things and to stay close to him.”

Thur., 7 Aug, 1969:

9:00 a.m.

Meeting of the First Presidency held in the President’s Hotel Apartment. Present were Presidents Hugh B. Brown, Joseph Fielding Smith and Alvin R. Dyer.

Among the matters discussed were the following:

Missouri Matters

President Dyer reported to the First Presidency the Missouri matters he had discussed with me in our meeting of August 6, including my consent that he and President Smith would go to Missouri the second week in September.

Tues., 12 Aug, 1969:

“[First Presidency Meeting–McKay, Tanner, Smith, Dyer] “Missouri Matters 

President Dyer made reference to a meeting held with me on May 7, 1969, attended by Joseph Fielding Smith, Alvin R. Dyer, with Joseph Anderson taking the minutes. (Both Presidents Brown and Tanner were out of the city). This meeting concerned approval given by myself for the appointment of three men to serve under President Dyer, assisted by President Smith, to pursue the matter of the purchases of land in Jackson, Caldwell and Daviess Counties, Missouri, in accordance with revelations from the Lord given subsequent to the expulsion of the Saints from Jackson County, Missouri.

President Dyer said he was bringing this up at this meeting at the request of myself and that it had been partially discussed in a recent meeting attended by President Brown, so that all would know of the pursuit of this important work.

President Dyer asked President Tanner if he knew of any reason why we should not go forward. He answered no, that this was President Dyer’s special assignment, and that the purchase of land had been authorized by me, and he could see no reason why it should not go forward, but that it should be pursued cautiously.

President Dyer then reiterated matters discussed at the meeting of May 7, 1969.”

Fri., Sept. 5, 1969:

“Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidency

Held Friday, September 5, 1969, at 9:20 A.M., in the First Presidency’s Office

Present:  Presidents N. Eldon Tanner, Joseph Fielding Smith and Alvin R. Dyer

Purchase of Properties in Missouri

President Dyer submitted names of brethren whom he would like to use to assist him in the purchase of properties in Missouri.  The brethren he named were Joseph Bentley, Junius Driggs, Lavoi Davis and Harvey Evans, who is topographical engineer in the Kansas City Stake and lives in that area; also Kenneth Midgley, an attorney in Kansas City who would work under the direction of our own Legal Department.  He is a devoted Latter-day Saint and highly respected.  He said there would be no salaries involved and these men are all full tithe payers and devoted to the Church.  The brethren had no objection.

Wed., Sept. 17, 1969:

Meeting of the First Presidency

The President was interested in reading the following items from the Minutes of the First Presidency’s Meeting, which meeting he was unable to attend:

Missouri–Visit by President Smith and President Dyer

President Dyer reported that President Smith and he were going to Missouri tomorrow, Thursday, and while there would extend an invitation to the apostles of the Hedrikite Church to be our guests at the October Conference.  President Dyer explained that the Hedrikites own the Temple Lot in Independence where the Jackson county temple grounds dedication by the Prophet Joseph took place, that the senior apostle, Apostle Anderson, is 98 years old, that the leaders of the Hedrikite Church are friendly to our Church and they have a particular liking and friendship for President Smith.  He said that Apostle Anderson some time ago talked to Howard W. Hunter and said he was fearful that when he and Apostle Wheaton pass away the land would go into the hands of the Reorganized Church.  President Dyer said that incidentally Apostle Anderson mentioned to Brother Hunter that he would feel good about receiving an invitation to attend our Conference.  President Dyer mentioned that I had authorized President Smith and him to go to Jackson County to take care of some of these matters.  President Dyer mentioned also that he has an appointment at Gallatin in Missouri to meet with the owners of the Adam-ondi-Ahman farms, that we had three options on these lands and had only exercised one of them.  He said the Reorganized Church is now trying to obtain these pieces of land and he thought we should have them.

Mon., Sept. 22, 1969:

10:00 a.m.  Presidents Joseph Fielding Smith and Alvin R. Dyer reported to me their recent trip to Missouri.

Tues., Sept. 23, 1969:

I held no meetings today.

The following items were of interest in a meeting of my counselors in the First Presidency:

Hedrikite Church Apostles

President Dyer reported to the brethren the visit of himself and President Joseph Fielding Smith to Missouri where they met with the apostles of the Hedrikite Church and extended to them an invitation to attend the October Conference, which invitation they accepted, and the Church will pay for their accommodations in the Hotel Utah and their transportation.  Arrangements were made for the First Presidency and other General Authorities to meet these gentlemen at 8:30 Friday morning, October 34d.  It was also agreed that an announcement should be made in the session of the Conference of their presence when mentioning other people of distinction.  President Dyer said that I had given authorization to invite these Hedrikite people to come to Conference at the Church’s expense.

Thurs., Sept. 25, 1969:

“(Minutes by President Alvin R. Dyer at the Council Meeting in the Temple on Missouri)

President Dyer reported that a week ago today President Smith and he met with the council of apostles of the Hedrikite Church in Independence, Missouri.  He said that with the approval of President McKay they extended an invitation to these men and their wives to attend the October General Conference.  They own a part of the temple lot in Independence where the Prophet stood when he dedicated that area; that these men who now head this small group are getting old; that Brother Anderson will be 99 years old this December, and the others are also advancing in years and there is some fear that this property might get into the hands of the Reorganized Church.  He said it was felt that it was a step in the right direction to intensify the good feelings we have had with these people for many years.  There are eight of them who will come to conference.  He said that a a time had been set for the brethren to meet these people next Friday morning before the General Conference session; this would be a brief impromptu reception.

President Dyer said that he spent some time while in Independence with the contractor on the visitors center and that they have the foundations finished, and all the steel is on the job and the stone work is ready to be shipped from Denver.  President Dyer said they went to Adam-ondi-Ahman and met with a number of farmers there for the purpose of reinstating three options on land, which property is next to the temple property at Adam-ondi-Ahman right across the road.  He said the Reorganized Church has been trying to buy this property.  He said we could get an option on it and make a decision as to whether we want to buy it or not.

President Dyer said they visited Far West to check upon the improvements there that are now finished.  He said it is a very beautiful spot and everything is green at present.  He mentioned to Carvel Davis some things that should be done there.”

Sun., Sept. 28, 1969:

“[Alvin R. Dyer’s address at the Fifth Annual David O. McKay Honor Day at the Ogden LDS Tabernacle]

It’s a great honor, my Brothers and Sisters, to be in your presence tonight, to be in the presence of members of the McKay family.

President [Joseph Fielding] Smith and I, in driving to Ogden this evening shortly after 6:30 p.m., had the privilege of a short visit with President McKay in his apartment, and it was a very pleasant one, I can assure you.  I said to him that we were driving to Ogden to attend a service of honor for a man by the name of David O. McKay, and he rather whimsically said, ‘Yes, this is a great day.’  He asked that we bring to you his love and blessings.  He has such a great heartfelt feeling for all of the members of the Church, and he deeply appreciates the effort I am sure, as has already been mentioned, of those who perpetuate this Honor Day.  It’s rather fitting that it should be perpetuated, for I dougt that one service could contain all of the things that this great man has accomplished in this life.  And it’s fitting, I suppose, that there can be different approaches to what he has accomplished and what he is now accomplishing.

Concerning the Prophet Joseph Smith, and those who have succeeded him as the president of the High Priesthood of the Church, the Lord had this to say–and I read from section 90 of the Doctrine and Covenants.  ‘Verily I say unto you, the keys of this kingdom shall never ben taken from you while Thou art in the world–neither in the world to come; nevertheless through you shall the oracles be given to another; yea, even unto the Church.’  In the sequence of time David O. McKay became the ninth President of the Church to hold these oracles, and the Lord has spoken of the great responsibility that is placed upon the one who is given these keys and responsibility–and that is contained, also, in this same revelation: ‘And all those who receive the oracles of God let them beware how they hold them lest they are counted as a light thing and are brought under condemnation thereby and stumble and fall when the storms descend and the winds blow and the rain descend and beat upon their house.’

President McKay’s life is the living testimony of active and successful stewardship of his calling, during which time the work of the Church and the Kingdom of God have gone forward, and are going forward throughout the world, to the fulfillment in the preparation for the divine destiny of God’s people.  It’s concerning this, in particular, that I desire to speak tonight, based upon my own experience and association with President McKay, and which he himself has encouraged me to speak about as often as he can.

My personal contact and association with President David O. McKay goes back many years, and I must speak of him as I have come to know him.

While serving as a bishop of the Monument Park Ward we were all surprised at our sacrament service to see President McKay come walking in unannounced.  All were overjoyed at his presence.  As to why he had come he simply said, ‘I have heard of the success of this ward with their youth, and I wanted you to know that it has not gone unnoticed.’

During the time, for further example, that I presided over the European Mission I had a good number of personal telephone calls from President McKay, always at a time when I needed bolstering and in the things that I was attempting to accomplish.  One of the most serious crises of my missionary experience there came to a climax in Norway, and as I wrestled with the problems of this crisis at 2:00 a.m. in the morning the telephone rang, and the voice on the other end was President McKay.  The inspiration and the timeliness of that call I shall never forget, and the direction that he gave me at that time.

President McKay is the most unaffected person that it has ever been my privilege to know.  He is the personification of sincerity and meekness.  He shuns and turns away from pomp and ceremony and superficiality, seeking only righteous, sincere and genuine things.

Something is gained of his likes and dislikes as expressed in this poem by Robert Burns which he often found delight in quoting:


Gently scan your brother man, still gentler sister woman,

Though they may [?], to step aside is human.

One point must still be greatly dark, the moving why they do it

And just as lamely can ye mark, how far perhaps they rue it.

Who made the hearts tis He alone decidedly can try us

He knows each chord, its various tone, each srping its various bias

Then at the balance let’s be mute, we never can adjust it.

What’s done we partly may compute, but know not what’s resisted.

No good man can look into his face without recognizing and feeling the true nature of his character.  I recall an experience in introducing Dr. Hans Vokker of Bavaria, Germany–a very noted person–to the President.  After the interview (during which time President McKay had Dr. Vokker sit close to him as was his custom) and later, as we stood in the foyer outside his office, Dr. Vokker said to me, ‘I’ll soon be going back to my beloved Bavaria where I shall meet my family and my friends and I’ll tell them that this day I looked into the face of a Prophet of God, for truly he is a prophet.’

As I recall this experience I am reminded of this verse which is so typically true of so many who have come in contact with President McKay:

I saw him once, he stood a moment there,

He spoke a word that laid his spirit bare.

He grasped my hand and then passed beyond my ken

But what I was I shall not be again.

From the time of my return in presiding over the Central States Mission with my dear wife, where for nearly five years we were privileged to reside at that location called by the Lord, ‘The Center Place of Zion,’ I have been deeply conscious of President McKay’s interest in the consecrated areas of Missouri.  Our mission there, for all known reasons, was thought to be over, but President McKay reinstituted our real mission there when he said that he wanted me to keep in touch with things in that area.  I gained further evidence of this when Sister Dyer and I were called to reopen the European Mission in the latter part of 1959, by the suspending of developments toward the erection of a visitor’s center and the restoration of the old Liberty Jail at Liberty, Missouri.  Then, upon our return from Europe, he directed now that I should give attention again to this project.  The purchase of needed property needed to make the project possible was given his personal approval.  The project was completed some few years ago, and is serving a worthwhile purpose as a visitor’s center of the Church at this historically significant place.

The President has always been interested and concerned about the destiny of our people and the part that Missouri will play in that destiny.  We have discussed upon many occasions the return of the Latter-day Saints to Missouri to build up the places that were wasted in the expulsion of the saints from that land.  Such statements as this one made by the Prophet Joseph Smith about eighteen months after the expulsion have ever found confirmation in President McKay’s feelings, for God’s people shall again be led to the Center Place of Zion which has not been moved out of its place.  Here is the statement of the Prophet that we have often read together:  ‘We’ve nothing to fear if we are faithful.  God will strike through Kings in the day of his wrath but what he will deliver his people.  Where ere long in Jackson County he will set his feet when earth and Heaven will tremble.’  An unmistakenly kindred feeling concerning the fact that at these places where the foundation of God’s latter day work has been laid there hovers a spiritual fragrance left by the experience encountered and the hardships endured by the saints, but the greatest of these significant locations await the coming and the passing of future years yet to unfold their true importance, for God’s work cannot be frustrated–only that of man.  The redemption of Zion is sure.

While discussing these matters with President McKay about a year ago, I said to the President ‘You know, President McKay, there are those among us who feel that the work of the Lord is finished in Missouri and the saints will not return there.  His answer was simple and concise.  I remember his words well when he said, ‘All I can say aboutthat is–if that is their feeling they do not understand the revelations.’

President McKay’s interest in the sacred areas of Missouri was further manifested when on a certain morning of May in 1966, when we were discussing the proposed purchase of some 140 acres of land at Adam-ondi-Ahman, he thoughtfully announced on that occasion that he wanted to go to Adam-ondi-Ahman and asked that arrangements be made for such a trip.  The President requested that Joseph Fielding Smith and I accompany him.  He also asked his son, Lawrence McKay who is here with us tonight, to also go with the party.  We all felt that it was a great privilege to visit the historically sacred places in Missouri with President McKay.  The entire trip was accomplished in two days on June 1st and June 2nd of 1966.  Every convenience was arranged for the President both coming and going, and the trip was highly successful.  Our plane arrived there in the morning, and although we had been careful not to publicize the visit of the President other than to the stake and mission presidencies, there was quite a number of members who somehow had learned of President McKay’s coming and were on hand at the airport, if only to catch a glimpse and to wave at him.  Because of the urgency of time our traveling party, now joined by President and Sister Kaiser of the Central States Mission and President Jewel Pope and his counselors of the Kansas City Stake, photographers and news men, we left directly from the airport by car to visit the historical sites.  Our first stop was at Independence, designated by the Lord as the ‘Center Place of Zion.’  We visited the site where the Prophet Joseph Smith stood one hundred thirty eight years ago and dedicated that spot of land for the building of the temples of the new Jerusalem.  We drove by that segment of the temple land owned by the Church where we were presently erecting a visitor’s center.  This site is west of the mission home and just across River Street to the east of the RLDS Auditorium.  We passed the mission home and office and Independence Ward Chapel on Walnut Street and continued our journey to Liberty.  The President was very impressed and spoke of this area as being consecrated for a divine purpose.  Arriving at the Liberty Jail Visitor’s Center the President elected to get out of the car and go into the center.  There is much that could be said about this historical site; of the important events that transpired there, in the unfolding of necessary things to meet the needs of the dispensation of the Fullness of Times.  A number of important revelations were received by the Prophet Joseph Smith as he and his jail companions were confined for about four months in a fourteen by fourteen foot enclosure that had only four small barred openings for light and air, in the winter months of 1838 and 1839.  The old jail has been partially restored in its exact location with the floor and wall stones being original.  The jail structure is enclosed in a rotunda type structure on the inner walls of which, carved on granite pylons twenty feet high are the words of the revelations received by the Prophet in the crude jail structure which stands in the center of the words of the Lord which surround it.  As President McKay, almost unassisted, walked slowly in front of the pylons, stopping here and there, President Christian Sanders, with penetrating voice, read the words of the revelations as tears of both joy and sorrow found their way down the intense face of President McKay.  None of us escaped the flowing of tears as we reflected on the importance of this very occasion when the Prophet of the Lord was revisiting the very site where his predecessor had received revelation from our Heavenly Father.  Such things were manifest there as this, when the Prophet in despair called out to God, ‘O God, where art Thou? and where is the pavilion that covereth Thy hiding place?  How long shall Thy hand be stayed and Thine eye, yea Thy pure eye, behold from the eternal Heavens the wrongs of Thy people and of Thy servants, and Thine ear be penetrated with their cries’–the answer from our Heavenly Father to this great Prophet.

There also [were] related the revelations that were received on Priesthood, following which President McKay remarked that this undoubtedly is the greatest revelation ever given to man on the Holy Priesthood–given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in Liberty prison.  The principles of righteous dominion, as opposed to those of unrighteous dominion, were made known unto the Prophet in this holy place, and here President McKay reaffirmed his firm conviction as we talked of these principles in the things that God had revealed.

Leaving Liberty our party traveled directly to Adam-ondi-Ahman, about seventy-five miles northward.  We stopped by the courthouse in Gallatin to call to mind the difficulties of the saints in the early days at that spot.  Continuing northward our party was soon atop Tower Hill, at Adam-ondi-Ahman.  The valleys and the hills of Adam-ondi-Ahman, on that mild but overcase late spring day, were never more beautiful.  The growth of the farmer’s crops, mostly corn, were in evidence in the valley, and the trees and the shrubs on uncleared land were very dense, making passage through them very difficult.  We discussed here the events that had transpired at this most sacred place and spoke of the many visits to Adam-ondi-Ahman that the Prophet Joseph Smith had made from Far West where his home was.  To get a better view of the area, and to obtain a better panoramic view of the more sacred spots, such as Spring Hill and the Altars of Adam, and the Temple site, it was necessary to move by car first down a narrow rocky road into the large valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman and then back to Tower Hill, the site of the Nephite Altar, and thence northward along the road to Jamison where the designated temple and altar sites are in plain view.  During our stay at Adam-ondi-Ahman President McKay commented several times that this was a most sacred place and will yet fulfill a great destiny.  It is important to mention the fact that during our visit there President McKay gave final approval for the purchase of the consecrated section of land known as Spring Hill, which the Church now owns.  That which will yet transpire at this particular spot will be important to the founding of the millennial reigh of Christ upon the earth.  Section 116 of the Doctrine and Covenants refers directly to this future happening.  Here are the words of the Lord contained in that revelation in regard to that sacred place wherein he says, ‘It is Adam-ondi-Ahman because it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people or the Ancient of Days shall sit as spoken of by Daniel the prophet.’  This great event is given further explanation in the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith in his own writings when he said, ‘Not many years hence there shall be another gathering of high priests and righteous souls in the same valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman.  At this gathering Adam, the Ancient of Days, will again be present.  At this time the vision which Daniel saw will be enacted.  The Ancient of Days will sit.  There will stand before him those who have held the keys of all dispensations, who shall render up their stewardships to the first patriarch of the race who holds the keys of salvation.  This shall be a day of judgment and preparation.  Daniel, in his 7th chapter, speaks of the Ancient of Days–he means the oldest man, our father Adam, Michael.  He will call his children together and hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of man.  He, Adam, is the father of the human family and presides over the spirits of all men and all that have had keys must stand before him in this grand council.  This may take place before some of us leave this scene of action.  The Son of man stands before him, Adam, and there is given him glory and dominion and Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ and that which is delivered to him as holding the keys of the universe but retains his standing as the head of the human family.  In this council Christ will take over the reigns of the government officially on this earth, and the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole Heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the most high whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him, even Jesus Christ.’

Leaving Adam-ondi-Ahman on that early June day of 1966 we drove back through Gallatin and on south through Hamilton where one of the early J. C. Penny stores can still be found, and there is a high school there that has been named the Penny High School.  At the site our car turned east so that the temple excavation, as we reached Far West, Missouri, could be seen exposing the four corner stones of the temple site.  This was to our immediate left and the site of the City square, now cornfield, was to our immediate right.  The President stayed in the car but left the window down so that some of the historical happenings there could be discussed with him.  The brethren stood–one on each of the four cornerstones of the temple excavation.  This enabled President McKay to judge the outline of the size of the temple.  Concerning this sacred place, that of Far West, the Lord revealed unto Joseph Smith on April 26, 1838 the following: ‘Let the city, Far West, be a holy and consecrated land unto me and it shall be called most holy, for the ground upon which thou standeth is holy.’  Continuing the Lord proclaimed, ‘Therefore, I command you to build a house unto me for the gathering together of my saints that they may worship me.’  This will transpire at a future time.  The corner stones were laid on July 4, 1838 with the southeast stone, representing the First Presidency, rolled into place on April 26, 1838, when the apostles met there prior to their departure for the isles of the sea to preach the gospel.  And as we mediated there with President McKay that it was upon the southeast cornerstone that Wilford Woodruff was ordained to the apostleship, and George Albert Smith, the grandfather of President George Albert Smith who became the President of the Church, was also ordained an apostle on that stone.

As President McKay gazed out at the temple site with thoughtful contemplating President Smith got out of the car and walked the short distance to the temple site, told of the persecution of the saints at that time which had reached a climax at Far West.  To the right of the car, once the City Square, was where the exterminating order from Governor Boggs was read to the saints.  Many of the events of historical significance were discussed with President McKay upon this occasion.

The revelations received at Far West, now contained in our Doctrine and Covenants, were reviewed.  These are: Section 114 which concerns direction from the Lord that positions occupied by the unfaithful are to be given to others; Section 115 confirms the name of the Church and the building of the Far West temple; Section 116 tells of Adam, the Ancient of Days, as spoken of by Daniel, the prophet, to Adam-ondi-Ahman; Section 117 concerns that which is proper unto the Lord; Section 118 the will of the Lord concerning the Twelve and the commandment to fill the places of those who had fallen; Section 119 concerns the law of tithing and Section 120 the disposition of properties tithed.

President Smith again recalled his father’s birth just west of the temple site, and his father lived to become also one who held the oracles in line of succession of the Prophet Joseph Smith–and we all remarked with amazement that nothing remains at Far West, once a thriving metropolis with many residences, schools, places of business and churches.  The four stones of the temple excavation dug and cleared by five hundred brethren in preparation for a house of the Lord alone remain as a reminder of the past.

President McKay seemed pleased and elated at the fact that the Church owns eighty acres at Far West, including the dedicated temple site.  He was visibly affected in the reflections of that which had transpired at this hallowed and sacred place, designated by the Lord as consecrated and most holy.  President McKay visibly felt the impact of the sacredness of this spot and so expressed himself upon that occasion, and has since expressed himself concerning it.

It will perhaps be of interest to you, my brethren and sisters, to learn that Far West became a city three fourths the size of Nauvoo when the saints were driven from that city.  This will give you some idea of the concentration of the members of the Church in that sacred place from which they were driven.

Because of President McKay’s interest the temple site at this holy place has been beautified and landscaped; a number of monuments and markings have been placed to tell the world what happened at this sacred place.

And thus, in giving account of this phase of President McKay’s life and of his great interest in the things that are contained in the revelations pertaining to the sacred land of Missouri, I bear testimony to you, my brethren and sisters, that President McKay is truly a Prophet of God; his knowledge and understanding of Church problems and needs is beyond compare; his vision of the future of God’s work and the culmination of his purposes in connection with the mortality of man places upon him the mark of a seer.  I shall be eternally grateful to him for the influence which he has had in my life and honor him for his true unaffected greatness.  There is a bond of love between us which I humbly acknowledge.

As of today he continues his onward journey.  Recently his secretary, Clare Middlemiss, said to him, ‘You certainly love life.’  His reply was, ‘I never think of death.  I only think of life, don’t you?’

He meets with his counselors as often as possible and is glad for their presence.  His mind of late has been on October Conference matters, and even as late as this evening while President Smith and I visited with him and said, ‘You know President the conference is this week end,’ and he nodded his head and said, ‘Yes, I know’–so he is concerned.

I bear testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and of the important part that President McKay’s life is taking in this the last dispensation of times.  May his life continue to the full measure of his desire and purpose I humbly pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

Thur., Oct. 2, 1969:

“Meeting of the First Presidency

The President was interested in reading the following items from the minutes of the First Presidency, which meeting was held by his counselors and which he did not attend:

“(Minutes by President Alvin R. Dyer Concerning the Visit of the Church of Christ Temple Lot Apostles and Wives to the General Conference of the Church.)

On Thursday, at 12:25 p.m., I met the plane from Kansas City which brought to Salt Lake City seven members of the Council of Apostles of the Church of Christ Temple Lot and their wives: Apostle and Mrs. William F. Anderson, Apostle and Mrs. Clarence L. Wheaton, Apostle and Mrs. Archie F. Bell, Apostle and Mrs. E. L. Yates, Apostle Don W. Housknecht, Apostle and Mrs. William A. Sheldon, and Apostle Joseph W. Kidd.

Later in the day arrangements were made to meet the plane from Grand Junction, Colorado, which brought Apostle Marvin E. Ely to the Conference.

These brethren and sisters had been invited at the request of President McKay, and came to the Conference as his guests.

Friday, October 3, 1969  Reception for Church of Christ Temple Lot Apostles

At 8:30 a.m. in the First Presidency Council Room, an informal reception was held for the visiting Hedrekite brethren and sisters.  Practically all of the General Authorities attended the reception, extending a warm hand of greeting and friendship to our visiting brethren and sisters.  The atmosphere of friendship prevailed and our visitors were made to feel welcome to the General Conference.

I had made arrangements for reserve seats for them and an entire row under the north balcony about 12 rows from the front was reserved for them which they used at all sessions of the Conference excepting the Sunday afternoon session.”

Mon., Oct. 6, 1969:

“Missouri Lands–First Meeting of Committee On

See President Dyer’s Minutes which follow on the first meeting of the Missouri Lands Committee.

(First Meeting of the Missouri Lands Committee–2:30 p.m.)

This was a most important meeting attended by the following:  Junius E. Driggs of Arizona; Kenneth E. Midgley of Kansas City, Missouri; Harvey G. Evans of Liberty, Missouri; Joseph Bentley of Provo, Utah; and Lavoi Davis of Salt Lake City.  This Committee was previously approved by the First Presidency to serve under my direction in pursuing the matter of obtaining land in Missouri pursuant to the revelations.

All were present and at the meeting I placed into their hands a digest of a number of revelations, with certain comments, which was titled, ‘If By Purcahse, Behold Ye Are Blessed.’  I read to these brethren segments of the minutes of the meetings of the First Presidency, particularly the meetings held with President McKay wherein he had given direction that such a committee be formed for the purpose intended.  I explained to the brethren present that this work would need to go forward slowly, but yet methodically, to accomplish the purppose of obtaining properties in the Missouri area centered around the four particular areas where land had been consecrated and dedicated for the building of Temples and a City of Zion.  This included the following locations: Independence, Missouri, Jackson County; Far West, Missouri, Caldwell County; Adam-ondi-Ahman, Daviess County; and the fourth location being approximately on the border of Caldwell and Daviess Counties in a direct line between Adam-ondi-Ahman and Far West where the Prophet had dedicated the land to be a City of the Zion of God.

The results of a careful engineering study of the situation, correlated with the plat plans and instructions received from the Prophet Joseph Smith, were discussed.  A map was given to each of the Committee members showing the estimated size of the cities required for the purposes intended.

I asked each of the brethren how they felt about such arrangements, that all callings in the Church were voluntary and asked them for their personal reaction to this appointment.  Each of them expressed themselves freely as being willing to give of their time and their talents in the pursuit of this work and were emotionally excited about the call and determined to go forward with it in accordance with the instruction given.

I gave assignments to each one of the brethren to follow through preparatory to our next meeting, which has been set for November 3, 1969, in my office.


Kenneth Midgley:

Assignment was given to Kenneth Midgley to pursue the matter of how the best possible legal structure could be set up to handle the obtaining and holding of properties in the area referred to with the least possible direct identification with the Church.  This would involve the matter of a proper type of contract to be used in connection with the obtaining of properties.

Joseph Bentley:

The assignment given to Joseph Bentley was to give consideration in his own mind to methods of procedure in going about the obtaining of the lands.  This concerns the general overall steps that ought to be taken in the manner spoken of by the Lord, not in haste, but in preparation for the gathering of the Saints as is spoken of in the revelations.

Junius Driggs:

The assignment given to Junius Driggs was to survey the best possible means of obtaining the money needed for the purchase of the lands.

Lavoi Davis and Harvey Evans:

They were instructed to go back to Missouri and to visit the County Court House in the Counties affecting the areas for the cities concerned, to determine who owns the land and the status of their ownership and to make necessary maps to chart out the exact location of the various pieces of land in the areas referred to so that we then could next determine how we would proceed with the acquisition of properties.

(Security Stressed)

I discussed with the brethren the necessity of absolute security in our procedures, that we were not to discuss these matters with anyone, even including members of our own family.  We were to use all possible tact, wisdom, and care in preserving that which we were undertaking so that it would not get out of hand and members of the Church would take their own direct steps to move into the Missouri lands.

It was agreed by all that absolute security would be maintained.

It was decided, and I gave instruction concerning the matter, that no decisions were to be made with regard to any phase of the assignments unless made under my direction in a regularly appointed meeting.  This was in keeping with the instruction given from President McKay to me with regard to this matter that it should go forward under my direct supervision.

The letters of confirmation were sent to the brethren concerning their responsibilities and of the nature of their call so that they would know that they had a specific calling wherein to perform their labors in this vital and important procedure pertaining to the redemption of Zion to come in its own proper time.

(Acquisition of Dustman and Whitt properties at Adam-ondi-Ahman)

I mentioned to the Committee that we had had an agreement-to-purchase constract sent to the farmer Whitt who owns some 40 acres of land directly across the street east from the temple site in Adam-ondi-Ahman and that the Dustman family had submitted an offer to sell on some 618 acres of land constituting primarily the large valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman and adjacent properties.  Kenneth Midgley is to go over the Dustman offer and suggest the type of contract that could be entered into for the acquisition of this property.

Brother Junius Driggs said that we should go forward with the obtaining of this property and he would personally see that the funds would be made available for this purchase.  Subsequently we received back from the Whitt family the agreement to sell their land at a cost of $15,500.  The Dustman property price has been set at $250,000.

All the brethren were somewhat overwhelmed with their calling.  All were pledged to complete security and determined to go forward in the assignments given.  Junius Driggs was called upon to close the meeting with prayer, giving thanks unto the Lord for this opportunity to serve in this most important cause.”

Thurs., 9 Oct., 1969:

“I held no meetings today.

I was interested in the reports of Elder Harold B. Lee and President Alvin R. Dyer given at the Temple Meeting on this day:

Report of President Alvin R. Dyer

‘President Dyer reported that the week before conference he had the privilege of speaking at the meeting in honor of President David O. McKay in Ogden.  He said there were two thousand people present, among them a great many8 members of the McKay family.  He said it was a delightful experience.

‘President Dyer was pleased with the conference.  He felt that great emphasis was placed upon the youth and their place in the Church, and the call upon the saints to keep the commandments of God, and that this seemed to be the theme.

‘President Dyer reported that we had as visitors to the conference eight of the apostles of the Church of Christ Temple Lot, and five of their wives.  He said the reaction that came from them was quite interesting.  While he did not know yet how to evaluate it as to how effective it was, he felt that a great deal of good was accomplished.  Apostle Yates, he said, expressed the feeling that this was a great step forward, and that it cemented to a greater degree the friendships of the two churches.  Apostles Housknecht of Wisconsin said he had never been treated so well anywhere or at any time, and this seemed to be the general reaction of these people.  Apostle Wheaton who is senior apostle said that he felt that any time the Church wanted to come back to Independence and build a temple upon their property, there would be no questions or problems.

‘President Dyer said that Sister Spafford of the Relief Society was very nice to the women.  Two of them had said to Brother Dyer that they had never met such a woman in all their lives.  These people attended five of the meetings.  The men attended the priesthood meeting, and the women were taken to a luncheon that evening.'”

Thur., 23 Oct., 1969:

Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidency

Held Thursday, October 23, 1969, at 9:00 A.M., in the First Presidency’s Office

Presidents N. Eldon Tanner and Alvin R. Dyer, together with Secretary Joseph Anderson, called on President McKay at his apartment.  The President was sitting up in his chair sleeping soundly and it was decided not to waken him.  The brethren then returned to the First Presidency’s Office in the Church Administration Building and held a meeting, at which the following matters were discussed.

Jackson County Lands

President Dyer called attention to a letter that he had received from President Bryan F. West of the Central States Mission relatived to our contract with Allis Chalmers Company, which company is occupying a part of our property in Independence on a contract given them in recent years.  The manager of the company is requesting an opportunity to meet with President Dyer or others for the purpose of reviewing the lease with the Church in order to correct some of their manufacturing problems, and relative to additional plant space.  President Dyer said he thought there was no reason for them to come here, that it would be necessary for him to go back to Independence in the near future, that he is familiar with the situation and could discuss the matter with them.  President Dyer mentioned that we own about seven acres of land, six of which acres are leased to this company, and they pay us $300 a month plus the taxes.  They want to buy this land and lease some additional property.  President Dyer explained that this is a vital organization for Independence and employs about 1200 people.  President Dyer said that he could meet with them and bring back their proposal for consideration and decision here.  President Tanner said he thought that was the thing that should be done.  He did not think, however, that we should sell any of our land to them.

President Dyer discussed with President Tanner an agreement to purchase 48 acres of land at Adam-ondi-Ahman.  This property he explained is just across the road from the temple site and the purchase price is $15,500.  President Dyer mentioned that there have been many contributions to the Church of means for use in building up Jackson County, Missouri, although there has been no solicitation of funds for this purpose; tha, hoever, there is only about $5,000 in the fund now being held in trust and he did not know what had been done with the other money that had been contributed.  He thought this was a matter that we should pursue.  He mentioned that we have a contributor who is willing to pay a quarter of a million dollars to buy other land in that area and it is being looked into by Ken Midgley who is on President Dyer’s committee.  In regard to the property across from the temple site in Adam-ondi-Ahman he stated that this land has on it a house, a farm and a small silo.  In answer to President Tanner’s question as to what we would do with the land if we had it, he said we would arrange for farmers to go back and live on the land and work on it.

President Dyer will make investigation to see what wa done with the other money that was contributed for Jackson County lands.

It was decided to hold any action on the proposed purchase until President Brown returns.

Visit of Church of Christ Apostles

President Dyer reported that he had received a letter from the secretary of the apostles of the Church of Christ expressing appreciation for the invitation that was extended them to come to the October conference and for the courtesies that were shown them.  They express the hope that the spirit of peace and kindness may continue between our two organizations.”

Mon., Nov. 24, 1969:

“Short meeting of the First Presidency held on this day.

(See President Dyer’s Minutes for Details)”

“(Minutes of President Alvin R. Dyer of Meeting with President McKay)

During the course of the meeting, a telephone call was received from President Tanner indicating that President McKay had given approval for a meeting of the First Presidency.  Consequently I left the meeting for about twenty minutes and went with the brethren, excepting President Brown, who is out of the city, to meet with President McKay and to wish him well.

We found him smiling and in good spirits and enjoyed a very pleasant visit with him.

I reported that I had left the meeting in process of the Missouri Lands Committee and that we were proceeding with the assignment which President McKay had given to President Smith and me in taking the necessary steps for the purchase of land in the State of Missouri.

At this brief visit with President McKay, he spoke of his high respect for President Smith as being one of the finest men he had ever known.

As I shook hands with President McKay, being the last one to do so as we departed from him, he told me how much he appreciated me.”

Wed., Nov. 26, 1969:

“9:00 a.m.  Meeting of the First Presidency in the President’s Hotel Apartment.  Present were Presidents N. Eldon Tanner, Joseph Fielding Smith and Alvin R. Dyer.

(For details of this meeting see President Dyer’s Minutes which follow.)”

“(Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidency by President Dyer)

(Meeting with President McKay – 9 a.m.)

At this hour the Counselors in the First Presidency, excepting President Brown who was out of the city, met with President McKay.  President Tanner read a letter from the Governor of Tennessee wherein the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is invited to sing at Nashville sometime in 1970.

(Choir to Sing at Independence Visitor Center Dedication)

I brought up the matter that last year, when the ground was broken for the Independence Visitors Center, and we had tried to get the Choir to attend that occasion, it was decided that because of other commitments they could not, but that they would be in attendance when the building was dedicated.  I suggested that in light of this, perhaps the trip to Nashville could be included in their schedule during the summer of 1970.

President Tanner referred to a letter which had been prepared by a special committee from the Quorum of the Twelve to be sent to each of the Patriarchs of the Church.

(Comment:  At a later meeting held with the Counselors of the First Presidency only, we went over this letter and made some minor corrections in its wording.)

It was reported that Sister Stephen L. Richards had passed away and that her funeral would be held on Friday, November 28, at noontime.