← Back to David O. McKay Diary Excerpts Index

David O. McKay Diaries – “Building Program”

Below you will find diary entries on the topic of “Building Program.” You can view other subjects here.

Search the diary entries below for specific dates, names, and keywords using the keyboard shortcut Command + F on a Mac or Control + F on Windows.

Thur., 14 Aug., 1947:

“Arranged for a member of the twelve to set apart as special missionaries for the Church to Tahiti Bro. and Sister Leland Carver.  Brother Carver is to go to Tahiti not as a missionary, but as a builder, to work on the new buildings that are being erected.”

Thur., 8 Jun., 1950:

“Returned to the office and dictated letters which I have been trying to answer for three or four days but have met with constant interruption.  However, even this time I was not successful, as no more than one letter was dictated than Clarence Williams, reporter of the Telegram came in to discuss with me the story he had written and published in the Telegram regarding the Church’s decision to accept no applications for new chapels until 1951.  I told Clarence that this is a matter that he will have to take up with Bishop Richards and President Clark, that I have had nothing to do with the matter.

Later, I called Bishop Richards and learned that it is a question of Clarence’s not having informed Bishop Richards that he was going to run a study on this matter, and Bishop Richards said he had no idea that Clarence would quote him.”

Wed., 2 Aug., 1950:

“At 9:45 a.m.–Bishop Henry J. DeHaan, Mt. Ogden Ward, Mt. Ogden Stake, and Bishop S. Bertell Bunker, Highland Ward, Mt. Ogden Stake called at the office, and stated that many of the people in these wards had made contributions having in mind that the seats in the new chapel would be cushioned.  Now the Presiding Bishopric (Bishop LeGrand Richards) has told them that it is against the rules of the Expenditures Committee to have cushioned seats.  I called in Brothers Edward O. Anderson and Howard McKean, members of the Building Committee, and looked up the rule of the Committee on this matter, and found that the committee had ruled that the standard equipment for the seating capacity should be hardwood seats without cushions or upholstering, but there is no objection to a ward’s having cushions if members are willing to pay the expense themselves.

During the consultation, I stepped into President Clark’s office and asked him if he knew of any ruling against a ward’s taking care of the extra expense involved in equipping the seats with upholstering, and he said he did not know of any such ruling, so we all decided that the people of the Mt. Ogden and the Highland Ward may upholster their pews if they will pay the additional expense.”

Wed., 16 Dec., 1953:

11 a.m.  All the General Authorities met at the Larkin Mortuary where they paid their last respects to Elder Matthew Cowley.  The prayer at the Mortuary was offered by Elder Wendell Mendenhall, President of the San Joaquin Stake, a very dear friend of Elder Cowley’s.

3 Feb., 1954:

“Telephone call to President David O. McKay from President Wendell B. Mendenhall, San Joaquin Stake.

President Mendenhall:  There’s a proposition that has come up here that is very interesting and whether the Church or you are interested in it I don’t know, but I just had the feeling that I should not turn it down without letting you know about it.  At Bakersfield there’s a piece of property which was incorporated.  A group of men were going to buy it, and after they got ready to buy it two or three of them couldn’t come up with sufficient funds and so this man knew me and called me on the telephone and said he would like to go over this thing with me so he met me yesterday.  Unfortunately, Bishop Wirthlin was here just before the man came.  There are ten thousand acres of this property in one block.  It’s all virgin land, and the property is priced at $55.00 an acre.  They have had it on the market at $75.00.  That’s what they were going to try and resell it for, and I know the people very well, and I know the country, and I believe it can still be purchased for around $50.00, and it is property that would have to be developed.  It is under the Central Valley Water Project.  It would cost around $500,000.00 to buy, but it’s something that could be subdivided, and it’s sixteen miles square.  It’s something that hundreds of Latter-day Saints could go into, or it could be developed and farmed for all of Southern California or for the whole Church or anything else.  I was not interested at first in the man’s story, but after he told me about it and gave me the brochure on it I called two or three men in Kearn County, in Southern California, that are good friends of mine.  They said they couldn’t understand how it could possibly be done, so with that feeling President McKay I thought that I had better tell you because they have an option which expires on March 1st.  Otherwise, I would have written you this information.  Property is becoming so scarce for so many people, I thought that I had better take this up and let you have the knowledge of it any way.

President McKay:  I will present it to the brethren in our meeting at 9 this morning.

President Mendenhall:  Well, that will be fine.  And in the meantime I’m going to call one or two other men.  I was over to Honolulu with Bishop Wirthlin the last ten days and on our way back I met a fellow by the name of Crockett who is the biggest farmer in Kearn County, and knows this property and all about it very well, and in the meantime I am going to get a hold of him and one or two others to get details about it.  Now, there could be some time to go over this property after March 1st provided that there could be an escrow.  It could go into escrow and then we could have time to go over it for two or three weeks before the closing.  But it would have to be a decision before March 1st on that account.

President McKay:  We’ll let you know before March 1st whether we are interested.

President Mendenhall:  That’ll be fine.

President McKay:  I am inclined to think we are not interested.

President Mendenhall:  Well, I suppose the same thing, but I thought that I had better tell you because it just sounded something that I didn’t want to get back out without letting you know.

President McKay:  Thank you very much.

President Mendenhall:  Now, there’s one other thing and that is the New Zealand property that I was talking to you about.

President McKay:  Yes.

President Mendenhall:  That fellow has come back that is next to the college and he is taking it up with the government and the government has asked for four questions to be answered which I have answered and it looks like the government is going to recognize that and probably you can do some business there if you want to.

President McKay:  Well, I rather look with favor on that.  Don’t you.

President Mendenhall:  I do too, very much so.  This other I didn’t think you would be interested in, but I thought I had better let you know because it’s too big a thing for me just to back out and saying nothing to you about it.

President McKay:  Yes.  All right, we will wait to hear more about New Zealand then.

President Mendenhall:  Yes, well I am sure we will get an answer on that right away again.

President Mendenhall:  And thanks brother McKay.

President McKay:  And thank you very much for calling.

President Mendenhall:  Very glad to hear your voice and have you back.

President McKay:  Best kind regards to your associates and Sister Mendenhall.

President Mendenhall:  All right, good-bye.

President McKay:  Good-bye.”

4 Oct., 1954:

Telephone Conversations

Brother Ruel L. Jensen, a member of the Detroit Stake Presidency, called regarding a building problem they have in the Flint Ward, Detroit Stake.  Brother Jensen stated that the Flint Ward is building a new building in the amount of $100,000.00  They would like permission to sell an old Church building which the Church purchased for them some twelve years ago.  The Church paid $7,000.00 for this old building.  At the present time the Flint Ward is going to sell this old building for $13,000.00  They have spent probably $4,000.00 on repairs and changes in the old building.  The reason they can sell this building at this price is due to the changes and repairs they have made, and due to the inflationary period we are living in at this time.

The Flint Ward would like permission to sell this old building for $13,000.00.  They would then pay the Church the $7,000.00, the amount of money the Church spent for the old building in the beginning.  Then, they would like to use the additional $6,000.00 on their new building, and the Church would match this $6,000.00.

President McKay told Brother Jensen to dictate a memorandum on this information to his secretary, and then President McKay would present it to the Committee on Expenditures in their meeting, Tuesday morning, October 5, 1954.”

March 16, 1955

Telephone Call from Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall–March 16, 1955.

President McKay informed Brother Mendenhall that he had been appointed Director of the building of the school and the temple in New Zealand, however, that an official title could be given at the time he is introduced Saturday night.

Brother Mendenhall said that he had received a message that Brother Biesinger from New Zealand would call him that evening at 6 o’clock and he would like to ask President McKay one or two things before Brother Biesinger called.

Brother Mendenhall asked if Brother Ehlers had left.  President McKay told Brother Mendenhall that Brother Ehlers was in Honolulu last night.   So he should be there to-night.

Brother Mendenhall made reference to a caterpillar to do rock crushing work.  He wondered if he should tell Brother Biesinger to go ahead and purchase the caterpillar.  They have a caterpillar available that they can get.  It can be used to clear the land.  They have two caterpillars available that they will need later, but only one is needed at the moment.  They could get some of the rock crushed before the weather gets bad.

Brother Mendenhall stated that he was going to have no trouble getting men.  He wants to know how soon some of those men can get under way, which depends upon the houses that are to be built to take care of them.  He would like to know the exact location so he could go ahead on these houses.  President McKay had told Brother Mendenhall to sound out footings and so on to see if the location we talked about would be all right.  Brother Mendenhall asked if President McKay would like Brother Ehlers to see about this.  Brother Mendenhall stated that he knew we could get any kind of help, government men, etc. to get the footings on the ground, but he wondered if President McKay would want to send somebody in particular down to New Zealand.  President McKay said that he would send the man down who is going to draw the plans, or adapt the plans we already have.  Brother Mendenhall stated that if the footings or the soundings are all right in the area that is more or less about definite, referring to the Murray property.  They decided to go ahead and put the buildings up as planned because if it changed a little one way or another it would not matter–he could go ahead with those buildings even if we went back to the knoll further south 1/2 mile.  But as far as the foundation is concerned that property is all right.  Brother Mendenhall stated that there is a well already on top of the Murray property hill.

All things being equal, we could just about plan that the Temple would be on the Murray Property hill overlooking the college area.

Brother Mendenhall stated that he had already been to the University of California and he is getting a man for the farm work.  He has wonderful support from the State and University, and we shall have a man before long that will be capable of developing that entire work.  He is a U.S. Reclamation man who has had a lot to do with this entire area in the development of property throughout California.  He has also contributed his services as a U.S. Reclamation Engineer, and he can inform us now who the man is we shall have down there to do the farm work.  Do not know his name as yet, but he will be an excellent man.   (Down to three or four names.)  It is a very important thing to do right away President McKay stated.  Brother Mendenhall answered that he should have that in hand right now, building it up.  He should go ahead here first and get as much information as he can.  Brother Biesinger has already started to do what he suggested.  One caterpillar digs up the stumps and it is already working eighteen hours a day on the basis suggested while President McKay was there, pulling up the wooded area just as we thought it would do.  President McKay said, ‘How do you get that wood off?’   ‘By bulldozer.  If we can get the other caterpillar, we can put the machinery on it, and then the wood will be burned.  We shall burn that wood during the wet weather when it rains, when it won’t burn the soil.  Now is the time to get as much under way as possible.’   Then when Brother Mendenhall comes to Salt Lake he will receive further instructions from President McKay on just exactly how he is to proceed on other problems as they arise.  President McKay asked, ‘How are you getting these men!’  Brother Mendenhall answered, ‘I have talked to two or three stake presidents who will make a list out without saying a single word to anybody with instructions that they are not to speak to the man or to anybody excepting me.  The Stake Presidents are to give the background of the men, and then we shall sit down, and take out the recommendations, and we shall be able to interview the men who would be in a position to go.  We are preparing to interview them during conference time.  I shall talk to you about that when I get up there.’

President McKay stated that Sister McKay joins in wishing and sending love and best wishes to Sister Mendenhall and Brother Mendenhall.”

Thurs., 7 Apr., 1955:

“New Zealand Temple

8:30 a.m.  Came back to the office, and met Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall, and authorized him (1) to choose ten or twelve specialists in the mechanics of buildings to go down to New Zealand to direct the finishing of the school near Hamilton and the building of the Temple at Hamilton, New Zealand; (2) to set up a financial system that will keep the funds contributed to the Temple separate from the regular New Zealand missionary funds; (3) that he would be held responsible for the recommending of purchases of the necessary machinery to be used in connection with the erection of these buildings.

Following our discussion, I held a meeting with Brother Mendenhall and the Building Committee.  (Both President Clark and President Richards were absent, President Richards having left the city, and President Clark having phoned that he would not be down until time for the Council meeting at 10 o’clock).

I informed the Building Committee of the special responsibilities that had been given to Brother Mendenhall regarding the New Zealand structures.  Later, just prior to the meeting of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve, I explained to President Clark the details of the meeting as described above, and he approved of them, and in the meeting of the Council of the Twelve I reported to the brethren of the Twelve what Brother Mendenhall’s responsibilities will be.  They also approved.

Wed., 4 May, 1955:

“12:50 p.m.  Reuben D. Law and Harold W. Burton called in again to give final reports on the Hawaii Junior College building matters.

1:15 p.m.  Sister McKay and I entertained at lunch the following:  Wendell B. Mendenhall, Harold W. Burton, Reuben D. Law, and Edward O. Anderson — all of whom are in the city to discuss with me the new building projects for the Church’s great expansion program.”

July 27, 1955:

1.  Telephone Conversation with President Stephen L. Richards, Old Faithful, Wyoming.

I told President Richards that Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall had been appointed as Chairman of the Building Committee and that he had recommended three men to be associated with him.  He has selected John Henry Vandenberg, a very able man, in the presidency of the Denver Stake as Vice Chairman of the Committee; Harry E. McClure, President of Gridley Stake to interview bishops and stake presidents.  He has selected Brother Raymond H. Bradfield, an engineer from his own stake, a well trained man.  The fourth man he has selected is Brother Harold W. Burton to be in charge of the architects.  President Richards agreed that it was a good idea to have new personnel on this committee.  I told President Richards that at my request we were interviewing these men this morning.  President Richards asked whether Brother Burton’s connections with his own architectural firm complicates his acting in this position.  He may favor his own firm.  I told President Richards that we would have to keep that problem in mind.  President Richards stated that Brother Mendenhall seemed able to select excellent men, and he was confident that the selection would be satisfactory.

Thurs., 14 June, 1956:

“9 to 9:50  First Presidency’s meetings.  We considered, among other matters, a letter dated May 9, 1956 from the Church Building Committee, signed by Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall, about an estimate for the erection of a genealogical archives building.  With the letter was a graphic chart showing present capacity of the facilities and representing the increasing needs into the future for a period of five decades.  It was agreed that, for the present, the plan for providing facilities should be limited to the underground archives contemplated.

Thurs., 2 Aug., 1956:

11:30 a.m.  Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall came into my private office and presented matters pertaining to the purchase of 663 acres of land at Fullerton, California.  President Wilkinson of the B.Y.U. first contacted me relative to this matter, he having been approached by Brother LeRoy A. Thompson and A.R. Bishop, real estate brokers in Los Angeles regarding the purchase of this land, a portion of which could possibly be used as a future college building site.

I requested Brother Mendenhall to look into this matter who in a letter to the First Presidency reported that ‘in order to retain a portion of this property as a future college building site, it would be necessary to sell off at least 550 acres of the land which could readily be done.  This proposition poses a large financial deal of better than four million dollars but there appears that there should be considerable interest taken in this property to make a thorough and extensive investigation.’

I told Brother Mendenhall that I had taken the matter up with my counselors, and that we have decided that the Church is not interested in the purchase of the property in question.  It is undoubtedly good property, but if the Church acquired it, we would have to build dormitories.  Brother Mendenhall said that he had stated to President Wilkinson that he could not visualize the site as being suitable for the building of dormitories, and that from that point of view, the property is not what we want — that it would not be a good thing for the Church to sub-divide that property for sale and get into a speculative proposition.  I answered that he had better telephone the people in Fullerton and tell them that the Church is not interested in the purchase of this property.

Thurs., 3 Oct., 1957:

“2 to 2:25 p.m.  Edward L. Clissold, President of the Oahu Stake, and a member of the Pacific Board of Education, and Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall called at the office.  They came in to see me about the advisability of the establishment of an entertainment center at Laie for the many tourists who visit that place almost daily.

I told them to present their proposition to the Zion’s Securities Corporation and let this matter come as a recommendation from them to the First Presidency.”

Mon., 6 Oct., 1958:

‘Though members of the First Presidency are supposed to take a holiday on Mondays, I came to the office as usual.

I had a 40-minute consultation with Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall regarding:

1.  The decision that the Pacific Board of Education is to close the primary schools in Tonga as now operating at the close of this year and that we shall not operate primary schools in the Tongan Islands, but let the government provide the primary education for their own children.  I advised that we should take these steps to close the schools before the government takes steps to close them for us, that we shall capitalize on our school program at Liahona College.

I also stated that we shall continue to operate the primary schools now established in Samoa, but will not build the proposed school at McKay Village on Savaii, and gave instructions that the Pacific Board of Education should limit the primary schools to the now existing schools.

2.  Discussion was held in regard to the teacher salary adjustment for New Zealand, Tonga, and Samoa.  The schedule as now used plus a $400-dollar-increase was approved.  The teachers’ schedule as submitted to the First Presidency for the increase in the Church College of Hawaii was also granted.

3.  Brothers Howard Dunn and Dyke Walton were approved as members of the Building committee.

4.  Church College of Hawaii to be dedicated around December 15.  Preparations are now going forward to meet this dedication date.

5.  The writing of the history of the labor missionary program in the South Pacific.  A brother D.W. Cummings would like to write the story and publish it in a book.

6.  Bro. Mendenhall’s proposed trip to New Zealand, Australia, Tonga, and Samoa in the months of January and February.  To be considered.

7.  Building Program in South America was discussed.  Buildings have been approved for Uruguay, Argentine, and Brazil, and a labor missionary program is to go forward with not less than 25 buildings in these missions.  Two labor missionary supervisors are to be located for each mission.  Letter has been sent out over the signature of the First Presidency, dated August 29, 1958, initiating this program in South America.

Brother Mendenhall said that all of the preliminary plans are developed for the buildings and that three architects in South America are now in the process of developing the finished drawings, and that it would be four or five months before construction will actually start, at which time it would be necessary for him to visit the South American missions and establish the labor missionary program with the supervisors and the mission presidents.  He said further that following his trip to the South Pacific it would be about time for him to spend thirty days in South America establishing the building program with the supervisors.  I made no comment regarding this.

After a review of considerations to date of the building needs of the South American Missions with the First Presidency on October 7, it was agreed that the subject be considered in the meeting of the Building and Expenditures Committee October 7 with a view to having the survey made by someone other than Brother Mendenhall.

Left the office at 12 noon.  Stayed at home the rest of the day and studied on Conference addresses to be given next week.”

Tuesday, January 6, 1959

Notes By Bro. Wendell B. Mendenhall

on consultation with Pres. McKay

January 6, 1959

Following the Expenditures meeting today, I met with President McKay in the Board room and discussed the following subjects:

1.  The salary raise as proposed for Kenneth Frost of the Financial Department of the Building Committee, and William C. Olsen, Project Development.  The decision was that President McKay will meet with Elder Stapley and me to determine this subject.

2.  I discussed with President McKay Edward O. Anderson’s bill as submitted for services rendered on the Los Angeles Temple for which he has not been reimbursed.  After careful consideration and study, President McKay asked that this bill be paid and charged to the annual operating budget of the Church Building Committee.

I recommended to President McKay that this bill is just and in order and should be paid.

(a)  I also recommended to President McKay that Brother Anderson’s salary be reduced and that he do work for the Building Committee commensurate to the salary which we pay him in special services as may be requested, that his social security and retirement be kept in order and that he be allowed to go into private practice.  This was approved by President McKay, with the understanding that he be kept on the payroll of the Church to protect his retirement.

3.  I discussed the proposed agricultural program for New Zealand, and it was determined that this will be brought before the First Presidency next week.

4.  I discussed with him the enlargement of the Mapusaga school to supply the necessary arrangement for a full high school and to eliminate the primary school entirely.  This was wholeheartedly approved by President McKay.  I told him we would submit the necessary six or eight room addition and the cost of the same as soon as we were able to.  I also discussed with him adding on to the present Pesega primary school to provide a full high school, eventually using more of the Pesega school for high school and less for primary school.  This would be a six or eight room enlargement.  President McKay wholeheartedly approved this program.

5.  I presented to President McKay the fact that Home Factors was taking a cost of their temple court units in Hawaii and if there is anything over and above cost for the operation of the same as paid out in rentals by the labor missionaries, the Board had determined to return it to the construction fund.  President McKay said, ‘We don’t want you to do this.  This is an honorable charge and transaction and you owe nothing to the Church.’  But, I told President McKay we wanted to do this and would return any difference as soon as it could be figured.

**6.  I discussed with President McKay the primary school situation in Tonga.  (a) Ha’alaufuli – old school buildings had been removed and the only thing we could do is have school in the chapels.  President McKay said he definitely did not want to use the newly dedicated buildings for schools.  Therefore, this assures our closing the primary school in Ha’alaufuli once and for all.  I pointed out to him that we could not operate the schools in Neiafu without $10,000 oir $11,000 additional and it would be necessary there also to operate in the chapel.  He said we might just as well face it and close Neiafu as well.

7.  I talked with him concerning President Clissold and my conversation with him on the maintenance program of the school grounds, Zion Securities and temple properties in Laie.  It was President McKay’s feeling that we were right in the decision to have it under one head and he asked me to present this to the First Presidency next week.

8.  The item of school teachers income tax in New Zealand was discussed but will be presented to the First Presidency next week.

President McKay again reaffirmed his feeling toward the Building Committee and the way the entire program is being managed and said everything was going forward to his complete satisfaction.

**In a meeting of the Pacific Board of Education held January 11, 1959, it was determined that it may be necessary to operate these primary schools on some sort of make shift basis for this coming school year because of commitments we have with the government.  I will discuss this matter when I am in Tonga next month, and if it is not absolutely necessary to operate these schools next year, we will close them as of the close of this school year.”

Mon., 19 Jan., 1959:

“Monday, January 19, 1959.

Minutes of the Meeting

of the

    First Presidency

Held Monday, January 19, 1959 at 8:30 A.M.

Present:  President David O. McKay, President Stephen L. Richards,

  President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

Personnel Committee Problems:

A meeting with Elders Delbert L. Stapley, LeGrand Richards, Rulon Tingey, of the Personnel Committee, and Wendell B. Mendenhall, of the Building Committee.

Disparity of Salaries

Brother Stapley explained that certain salaries paid in the Building Department are higher than the scale authorized by the Personnel Committee, and this has created pressures for higher salaries to be paid in other departments.  He submitted the following questions:

1.  Is the Building Department to bring all personnel problems and all ‘hires’ to the Personnel Committee for approval?

President McKay said:  That is what should be done.

2.  Are salaries, overtime, and payments for extra services to be handled as payroll items?

Extra Time Payments to Architects

Brother Mendenhall explained payments for extra time to architects.  He said that some architects have done extra work on plans of their own.  These plans have been turned over to the Building Department.  In the main, men in the upper brackets have no overtime at all.  He stated that there are four who are approved on the salary basis, but who have not been put on salary because they are being used on a straight time hourly basis for the present.

Brother Stapley explained that when work accumulates excessively, it is cheaper to pay overtime to employees who are acquainted with the work than to hire untrained people, and that the more work is delayed, the more expensive it is to get it done.

Work Accumulation in Finance and Genealogical Departments

Elder LeGrand Richards explained that work accumulates heavily periodically in the Comptometer Department, and in the Genealogical Research Department.  Qualified workers in these departments cannot be hired easily, and it is more economical to have the trained workers work on Saturday, and to pay them overtime.  It has been recommended that regular workers be increased, rather than continue to use overtime to avoid the abuses from the use of overtime.

IBM Operators Work Two Shifts

Explanation was made that the IBM operators work in two shifts to handle the accumulation of work, and that by these means, the overtime is avoided.  The Finance Department is cutting down overtime to a minimum.  By working two shifts, the department gets better use from the machines which were originally installed on a rental basis.  The machines can now be purchased.

Architects Compensation

Brother Stapley asked whether or not architects are to be paid on an extra service basis, or on the payroll.

Brother Mendenhall explained that Church Architect Harold Burton is compensated on the basis of a private contract with the First Presidency, and that the Building Committee has nothing to do with that.  It was explained that he is doing special work for the theatre to be erected at the University of Utah, and the Church’s bearing the cost of his work is in the form of a contribution to this project.

Brother Mendenhall explained that two architects, befoe they joined the Building Department, prepared plans and before they came to the Department, two wards used these plans.  The architects are employees of the Church now, and the plans are suitable for repeated use.  The architects having turned the plans over to the Church do not receive the two per cent for repeated use of plans, but if modifications are made in the plans, they may be compensated for extra work making the modifications on their own time.  He stated that this has not been done yet, however.

President Richards pointed out that they would have to work on their own time rather than on Church time.  Otherwise they would be paid double.  

Brother Mendenhall stated that architectural time has been reduced and criticism of delay has been correspondingly reduced by the present arrangement.

President McKay summarized the plan as follows:  ‘We have a number of plans from different architects which may be adapted to certain buildings now.  If there are any changes or modifications in any one of these, the Building Committee has a right to make the modifications and the architect is paid for them.’

Brother Mendenhall said, ‘The architect is paid for the modifications and he is required to follow through and to give instructions on the project.’

Brother LeGrand Richards asked if architects on full-time salary for the Church are paid fees in addition to their salaries.

Brother Mendenhall replied that they are not, and that that will not be a problem.  Only two plans are involved at present.  He said that we have the possibility of use of one plan, and it was thought that the man who originated the plan should make the changes, and the Church could pay him extra for working on his own time or on Saturday.  It was a matter of honoring the man who originated the plan.

Brother Stapley explained that the reason for raising the question is to learn if it is the responsibility of the Personnel Department.  The Committee desires to know how it is to be handled.

Architectural Department Staff and Operation

Answering Brother Stapley’s question, Brother Mendenhall said that there are four architects in the Department now:  Brother Stephen Baird, Brother Leonard Harmon, Brother Edward A. Carlson, and Brother Arnold Ehlers.  The United States is divided into four divisions in which they work out the architectural problems.  In the Building Department is Brother Neff Taylor.  The Department makes money every year.  They do a lot of designing.  The Department has 57 plans now in operation which have been developed by the Department.  Twenty-six of these have been developed for South America where local materials will be used.  Local architects like the plan which has been set up.  The plans include site planning, kind and size of chapels, recreation halls and classrooms.  The foreign architects do not understand our program.  The architects of the Building Department design the building to fit the pattern and need of the Church, and the local architects are pleased to work out local plans for the use of local materials.  The plans have been prepared according to the building code of the country.

Brother Mendenhall explained that Brother Burton supervises the architectural work.  Plans which come in from various areas he examines, and the changes he recommends are made before the project finally comes to the Expenditures Committee.  Brother Burton does an excellent job in this field.

Brother Mendenhall said the annual report of the Department will be submitted tomorrow, January 20, 1959.

He explained that Brother Burton and his son have an architectural business, and when Brother Burton came to the Church Architect’s Office, he turned over three or four jobs to his son.  He is in fact on special assignment to work on the plan for this block under the direction of the First Presidency.  The four projects he turned over to his son were the Church College in Hawaii, the Inter-Stake Center in Oakland, a building in Chicago, and one in Detroit.

Brother Richards raised a question as to whether it was necessary for the entire Building Committee to review plans.  Brother Mendenhall explained that the combined judgment of the men in the Department has been found to be valuable, and that the members of the Department attend meetings of the Expenditures Committee to get valuable understanding of the policies of the committee in relation to their responsibilities.

Brother Stapley explained the part-time arrangement made for Architect Edward O. Anderson to preserve his retirement and hospitalization benefits.

The arrangement for Brother Biesinger was also reviewed.

President McKay said that the personnel matters of the Department including the Building, Purchasing and other Departments are in the hands of the Personnel Committee, and any questions can be brought to the First Presidency.

Secretarial Salaries – Specialists

The salaries paid secretaries Doris Taggert and Grace Richards were reviewed.  Brother Mendenhall explained that Sister Taggert receives a basic salary and $50.00 from the Pacific Board of Education.  For the personal work she does for him, he pays her himself.  Sister Grace Richards was obtained from the University of Utah to do a specialized work.  She receives a basic salary and is paid $35.00 by Brother Walton.  She is doing executive-type secretarial work.  The work she does is on contract work, and figures which take someone of executive ability.

Brother Stapley explained that the Committee has to hold the line on secretarial salaries, and the Building Department salaries being higher has created a constant pressure to increase salaries of other secretaries.  There are pressures from the Purchasing Department and other departments to increase secretarial salaries, he said.

Recommendations Requested

President McKay asked what the Personnel Committee recommends.  Brother Stapley said that in view of the higher rates, it will be necessary to make some increases.

Competition for Trained Workers

Brother Mendenhall said it is common knowledge in the city that after a secretary has been trained here, some office in the city will offer her more.

Salary for Landscape Architects

President McKay asked the Personnel Committee to go over the whole matter and to bring recommendations to the First Presidency.  Brother Stapley raised the question as to Brother Jeppson, the Landscape Architect, and Brother Irvin T. Nelson, and President McKay asked him to submit a recommendation.


Note:  Elders Stapley, LeGrand Richards and Rulon Tingey left the meeting, and Brother Mendenhall remained.

Pacific Board of Education Recommendations

Brother Mendenhall read the following memorandum to the First Presidency relating to the proposal to maintain the high school at Pesega and Mapusaga, and including other matters as follows:

High Schools at Pesega and Mapusaga

Subject:  High School needs as studied and recommended by the Pacific Board of Education for Pesega and Mapusaga.

It is proposed by the Pacific Board, after considerable study, that we add a high school addition to the present primary school at Pesega.

It is proposed that we then proceed to lean more to high school education at Pesega and less to primary education.  By this additional facility, we will then be able to offer a full high school operation without the added expenditure of at least $350,000.00 to develop a separate high school facility in Pesega.

We are not building the high school in Mapusaga which was designed to have both high school and primary school facilities.  After consultation with the American Samoan government, we find that there will be no need to operate a primary school.  Therefore, we are requesting to put an addition to the Mapusaga school which will offer full high school facilities.

The estimated cost of these additions is as follows:

Pesega – About $70,000.00 church participation for structural and about $30,000.00 in local labor participation, or approximately $100,000.00.  This will not include the furnishings, the architectural fee nor the landscaping.

Mapusaga – The cost of the addition at Mapusaga will be exactly the same and a re-use of the same plan.  It would seem with approximately $70,000.00 of Church money, and probably $25,000.000 for furnishings, architectural and landscaping, we will be able to construct and furnish these two complete units at the cost of $95,000.00 each with the labor missionary system furnishing all the labor over and above this cost.  This appears to be the cheapest and most economical, as well as the most practical way to operate these schools.

Elementary Schools at Tonga and Vava’u

It is proposed that we close the primary schools completely in Tonga.  It may be that we will have to operate the two primary schools on the Island of Vava’u during the year 1959 because of a present commitment to the government.  However, if these schools can be closed without injury, they will be closed upon my arrival in Tonga.

Landscaping Unified at Church College, Laie and Temple

The proposed landscaping program for the Church College of Hawaii, the Hawaiian Temple and the Zion Securities properties in the village of Laie.  It is proposed that this landscaping program be under one head directed by Zion Securities management in Laie.

School Teachers Double Tax Liability

The school teachers tax liability as imposed upon them by the New Zealand government.

1) They must pay U.S. taxes for 18 months after arrival in New Zealand before they are considered exempt.

2) It has been ruled by the New Zealand tax commission that the New Zealand teachers must immediately pay on their salaries upon being employed to teach in New Zealand.  This, of course, imposes a tremendous burden and a double tax.

3) In addition to the double tax, the New Zealand tax rate imposes an extra tax on the new Zealand teachers over and above the U.S. tax rate.

We feel consideration must be given for this difference and propose the following:

That we make up this difference by making no charge to the teachers for their housing.  The present cost of housing is $60.00 per month or $720.00 per year.  The average difference in tax costs is $800.00 to $1,000.00.

If the above proposal cannot be worked out satisfactorily, we will then have to propsoe an adjustment in salary upon the teachers return from New Zealand.  (End of memorandum read by Brother Mendenhall.)

Closing Schools in Tonga

The First Presidency approved the recommendation to close the primary school in Tonga, and to continue for the present the elementary school in Vava’u, and when this school is closed the Government will have to take over.

Brother Mendenhall said that he will see Prince Tungi and inform him of the plans.

School Teachers Double Tax Liability

Brother Mendenhall read the section of the memorandum relating to school teachers tax liability, and explained that the United States teachers are obliged to pay United States income taxes for the first eighteen months of their being in New Zealand, and that they are also at the same time assessed the income tax by the New Zealand Government on income earned there.  He proposed that housing be provided them without charge to make up to a degree this double burden.

Per Acre Cost of Improving Agricultural Land in New Zealand

Brother Mendenhall reviewed the investments made to date per acre in the agricultural land at New Zealand College and Temple which he reported to be $265.00 per acre, and recommended that the cost of reclaiming and making the land productive be continued up to $415.00 per acre.  (See attached chart.)  He explained that the New Zealand Government is reclaiming and developing contiguous land to the east of the College and Temple land, and as it is brought into production, the whole area will prove to be more valuable.  The agricultural research findings from experimental activities of California, Oregon and Canada are being given to the New Zealand Government.

Unification of Landscaping at Church College, Temple and Laie

Brother Mendenhall presented the proposal that the landscaping for the Hawaiian Temple, the Church College, and the Laie Village be maintained as a uniform program under one head, this being the economical way to carry out this work.  This recommendation was approved.

Building supervisor for Uruguayan Mission

Brother Mendenhall presented the request of President Arthur M. Jensen of the Uruguayan Mission that Clair Neves be called to assist him in that mission as building supervisor.  Brother Neves and President Jensen have worked together in President Jensen’s construction business.  President Jensen recommends him strongly.

Brother Mendenhall was asked to prepare an estimate of the cost of sending this man and his family for a two-to-three-year period.  Brother Mendenhall will leave Thursday for the South Pacific and expects to be away about four weeks.

London Chapel – Exhibition Road

Elder Edward O. Anderson came into the meeting and presented a letter from Mr. Winslade of T.P. Bennett and Sons, London Supervising Architects, and also revised sketches and quantity surveyors estimates of 220,000 pounds for the erection of the London Chapel on Exhibition Road.  He exhibited sketches for modification of the location of the pulpit, for increasing the seating capacity in the building, and also revised sketches and specifications of the baptismal font proposed.  President McKay authorized him to notify Sir Thomas Bennett to proceed to prepare the detailed plans for submission to contractors so they can make their tenders.

Hill Cumorah Landscaping

Appointment was made for President McKay to see Elder Irvin T. Nelson about landscaping on the Hill Cumorah, Tuesday, immediately after the meeting of the Expenditures Committee.


Thurs., 22 Jan., 1959:

“At 4:25 p.m.  Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall, Chairman of the Building Committee came in.  He talked about the schools in the Pacific Islands and the matter of making the Church College of Hawaii a four-year school.  I expressed the opinion that The Church is not ready to establish a four-year college at Hawaii, but that we might work toward that plan.

Brother Mendenhall then handed me a check for $100,000 from the Sacramento River Ranch project, and requested that two checks be made by the Church payable to the Ranch for $100,000, one to be payable now, and one in June.

Brother Mendenhall then discussed his business with the Intermountain Stone and Marble Company, and explained the limited work that they had done, and assured me that he would make every effort to prevent doing any business with them from this time forward.  Brother Mendenhall discussed the general feelings toward the building committee.  Said that everything is in first class shape, and I assured him of my confidence and blessing in the work that he is doing.

Brother Mendenhall is leaving this week for a month’s trip to New Zealand.

Wed., 28 Oct. 1959:

“8:30 a.m.

We returned to the office where we held a meeting with the Church Building Committee (Wendell B. Mendenhall, Harold W. Burton, and Howard Dunn).  They exhibited sketches of plans (1) of an auditorium, designed in a large oval with transcepts at right angles to the long access of the building, the transcepts forming into a quarter fan-shape.  The total area of the building to be 241,000 square feet; the transcepts having a seating capacity of 7,000, and the total seating capacity 30,000.  The transcepts can be enclosed and separate meetings held in two sections.  (2) Parking Facilities Adjacent to the Auditorium.  Howard Dunn exhibited a sketch map of the downtown area of Salt Lake City from North Temple Street to Fifth South and from 3rd West to 3rd East.  He suggested that rather than undertake to provide the parking for cars of 35,000 people in one place that arrangements be made to run free shuttle bus service during the times of the use of the auditorium through the area where the present parking spaces are available.  He stated that this would be much more economical than to undertake to purchase, supply, and maintain one large parking lot for a few major uses of the buildings when the area would be relatively idle for a large part of the year.  (3) Master Plan for Church Office Building Block.  Sketches were shown of the location of present and proposed new buildings to be included in the master plan of the Church Office Building Block, showing the location of new buildings, the new office building and the missionary building.  Brother Harold Burton explained the modification of the earlier master plan, which was made to provide more sunlight for the buildings since this is an important factor in this climate during the winter months of the year.  Plans for the missionary department administration offices were discussed, and President Moyle suggested that the master plan be modified to provide for the office building being located nearer the Bee Hive House which will close the concourse of North State Street and leave an interior area in the block.  The advantage of this to reduce the nuisance element of having public pedestrian concourse through the ‘vista’ area was pointed out.  (4) Archives Building.  Sketch plans prepared showing the general arrangement desired for the Archives Building to be located on the northeast corner of North Temple and Main Street were exhibited.  The area for the site of this building is to include the area now occupied by the Temple Square Garage, the Bowling Alley, the Drug Store and the adjoining apartment on North Main.  A nine story building is contemplated.

We decided that all the plans for the auditorium, the master plan for the Church Office Building Block including the office building and the missionary home, and the plan for the temple block, as well as the plan for the Archives Building, be presented to the Council of the Twelve for their information and that thereafter the authorization of the selection of architects be given.  The architectural work for the auditorium was described as a job for a very strong, adequate and large firm of architects.

I said ‘We have an important problem to decide this morning.  We have in a general way located these (buildings), and you (the members of the Building Committee) will report your recommendations for architects.'”

Thurs., 18 Feb. 1960:

“8:30 to 9:50 a.m.

Was convened in the meeting of the First Presidency.  First, we met by appointment the following Brethren representing the Church Building Committee:  Elder Wendell B. Mendenhall, John Vandenburg, Harold W. Burton, Howard Barker, Harry McClure, and Howard Dunn.

Brother Mendenhall read as the assignment to the Building Committee the following:

January 14, 1960 the First Presidency directed a latter to the chairman of the Building Committee of which the following paragraph was read:  ‘We shall be pleased if, following your return to this country, your committee will submit a program for consideration of the Executive Committee for holding Building Committee projects within the approved budget.’

Brother Mendenhall then submitted the attached statement consisting of 4 letter size pages and five legal size pages and two letter size pages of charts.  (These are attached to the minutes of the First Presidency)  The first section of the report was read and considered.  It was agreed that it would be better if the requests for new combined stake and ward meeting houses came into the Expenditures Committee with the recommendation of the Twelve.

Thereafter section by section the report was read and explanations and comments were made.

The summary report as of December 31, 1959 was next read.

At this point I expressed commendation on the showing in the part of the people.

Brother Mendenhall commented upon the report as showing the soundness of the program.

Next the graphs showing the Building Cost Index for Salt Lake City Area was presented and explained by Brother Howard Barker.

The charts showing the estimated loan needs during the next ten years in terms of the balances on unpaid advances at the end of the year was presented and explained.

I commented: ‘I am pleased with this report.  We commend this very highly.’

President Moyle suggested that copies of the report be given to members of the Council of the Twelve, the Expenditures Committee and to members of the Presiding Bishopric.

I agreed, and thanked the members of the Building Committee for what they are doing.

Tuesday, March 15, 1960

Report of interview with President McKay on Church College of Hawaii labor missionary program, and the success that has attended their efforts in the Pacific Island Missions.

11:00 a.m.  Held a conference with President McKay.

It was my pleasure to have a short visit with President McKay and describe to him the arrival of 31 Tongan labor missionaries and 24 Samoan labor missionaries for the Church College of Hawaii construction project.

They arrived well dressed, and came with limited baggage and properly prepared documents.  I was invited by the Immigration Department to help direct them through the Customs office.  Pan American captain and the crew were overwhelmed with the sincerity of these boys and learned to love them on the trip and cherish their ideals beyond description.  The boys sang farewell songs and other native songs in flight and had the entire crew in tears as they departed from the plane in Honolulu.

The head official of the Immigration Department said to me that he had never experienced such a fine clean looking group of young men, nor had he experienced taking such a group through customs so easily and with such well prepared documents.

The Customs and Agricultural agents were equally charitable with their remarks in stating they had never seen such a fine group of young men with such a fine spirit and decorum.

Hundreds of people at the airport were interested and thrilled at the arrival of these boys.

I described to President McKay the activities of the school and of the great Polynesian night of entertainment which was put on at Kaiser Village in which some two thousand people witnessed the performance including Hawaiians, Tongans, Maoris and Samoan native cultural songs and dances.

The Dean of Hawaiian entertainment, who was the Master of Ceremonies in the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, said he had never seen such entertainment in all of his life.  The writer for the Star Bulletin, the leading paper in Honolulu, was astounded at this performance and was so thrilled that he could hardly express himself.  The people were all so satisfied and pleased with the performance on such a high plane that many of them made the remark, ‘It is a relief to see such a show on a high cultural Polynesian plane.’

I explained to President McKay that the Hawaiian Islands have accepted the labor missionary program and both the Hawaiian Mission and the Oahu Stake are going to request this program to build buildings in their respective areas.  I described the activities at the Church College of Hawaii construction project, that it was a beehive of activity and all is going forward according to plan.

The Church College of Hawaii is becoming well known and well respected throughout the Islands.  It was my privilege and sincere pleasure to pay honor and tribute to our Prophet and President, David O. McKay, for a great vision in adopting this labor missionary program to build the islands of the sea and of his vision concerning the development of schools and of a Board to operate these schools.

President McKay’s vision is truly causing prophecies of earlier prophets of this Church to be realized and a great spiritual movement among a most faithful people is moving forward with complete satisfaction.

President McKay asked me several questions concerning the proposal of organizing a New Zealand mission on the South Island of New Zealand and the advantages that there would be if such a mission were to be created.  I expressed my sincere appreciation for the privilege of working under the direction of President McKay in going forward with this great work as Chairman of the Building Committee and as Chairman of the Pacific Board of Education.  I told him I was certain that the people throughout the Stakes of Zion and the Missions of the Church were pleased with the direction of the Building Committee in assisting them in building the buildings of their needs throughout the world.

/s/ W.B. Mendenhall”

Wed., 13 Apr. 1960:

“8:30 to 10:30 a.m. – Meeting of the First Presidency was held.  We again considered at length the proposal to establish a Polynesian Village at Laie.  The suggestion was made to President Edward L. Clissold and Wendell B. Mendenhall that the Bureau of Information building be moved to a place which would be an advantageous location with relation to the unloading of the bus passengers who arrive at Laie.  The area suggested for the Bureau of Information would be the first place the tourists would be met before they start on a tour of the grounds of the Temple, the College, and the Village.  The proposal was made that a suitable building be planned for the Bureau to permit two groups to be given a film and other presentation on the work of the Latter-day Saints in the Islands, and an account of the temple before the tour starts.  The proposal included provision for the commercial items such as films and curios to be completely removed from the Bureau of Information and to be sold elsewhere in the area.

I stated that the present purpose of visitors to Laie is to see the Temple, and if arrangement is made for them to be taken first to the Bureau of Information to hear the message of the Gospel and of the Church in the lecture and exhibit rooms and subsequently to visit the temple and other attractions, that my earlier concern about the proposal would be cleared up.

The proposal was considered and approved.”

Thurs., 14 Apr. 1960:

At the conclusion of our meeting with Elders Romney and Wilkinson, President Edward L. Clissold of the Oahu Stake and Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall came in and presented a sketch of the proposed Bureau of Information with two lecture rooms and explained a proposed location for the building with relation to the Hawaiian Temple and the proposed Polynesian Village.  Maps were exhibited and the proposed location explained with the view of arranging for the tourist busses to be met first at the Bureau of Information and by Guide Service to be taken over arranged routes directly to the Temple grounds where the proselyting message by the guides can be given and the visitors can thereafter be taken to the Polynesian Village.  After consideration in detail it was agreed the planning of the building to be oriented primarily to the purposes of missionary work and the visit to the temple grounds first and thereafter to the Polynesian Village, meets the desires of the First Presidency.

The importance of having the native culture and dances presented in the village on a high plane and to avoid indecent and pagan aspects featured in the night clubs of Honolulu was emphasized.”

Thurs., 28 July 1960:

“8:30 to 11:05 a.m.

In our First Presidency’s meeting this morning, we met by appointment with Elders Wendell B. Mendenhall and John Vandenberg of the Church Building Committee.

Brother Mendenhall stated that preliminary sketches of the proposed archives building and of the main office building will be ready to show to us next Wednesday.  He said that the Building Committee wishes to know if any changes should be made in the size of the archives building, and how much space should  be provided now that the Genealogical Society is to be shifted from the archives building to the buildings on Redwood Road.

I stated that information has been given to the Building Committee that the Genealogical Society will go permanently to the Redwood Road location.

After consideration it was agreed that the archives building should be as originally planned and that the moving the Genalogical Society from the building to the Redwood Road location will have no bearing upon the size of the building.  It is also agreed that provision should be made for adding to the archives building in the future by building on the space of the adjoining land rather than to add stories vertically to the building, the latter being more costly than building another building.

Other matters considered with these brethren were : 1) Kennecott Building, which has been assigned to the Building Committee rather than to Zion’s Securities Corporation for supervision of the construction; 2) Addition to the Hotel Utah, which will require the land area now occupied by the Bishop’s Building and the Deseret Gymnasium; 3) Report on 162 meeting house projects now being carried out by the Building Committee; 4) Separation of Building Committee from the Personnel Committee– the establishing of a separate bank account for the Church Building Committee — setting up a separate accounting system for the Building Committee.  The recommendation also included the proposal that the Church Building Committee’s professional personnel be approved by the First Presidency.  It explained that the plan intends that the budget of the Church Building Committee shall be submitted to the First Presidency for approval and that it can then be included in the general budget.

We decided that the Building Committee accounting be not withdrawn from the centralized accounting system of the Church, and that the Building Committee continue to work through the Financial Department.

It was also decided that the professional personnel of the Building Committee be presented separately to the First Presidency for approval as the professional, legal staff of the Church is now handled, and they not be submitted through the Personnel Committee, though the other staff of the Church Building Committee will be under the Personnel Committee.  (see minutes of First Presidency’s meeting for details of these and other items discussed)

Wed., 17 Aug. 1960:

“8:45 to 11:25

President Moyle and I (President Clark excused) met with the Chairman of the Building Committee (Wendell B. Mendenhall) and architect Harold Burton who presented to us plans and sketches showing proposed developments for 1) the Hawaiian Temple and Bureau of Information; 2) general arrangement for the General Office Building on the Church Office Block, with special arrangement for the missionary offices and dormitories proposed to be included.

(See minutes of this meeting in office of First Presidency for details)

Of special interest were the plot plan and sketch of the proposed Office Building to be built on the Church Office Block, showing contemplated underground garage with relation to the existing buildings which are to remain on the block.  It was explained that the two wings of the building to accommodate the Missionary Department administrative offices and library and the missionary lecture classrooms and dormitories, all comprising four floors will balance the general location of these buildings with relations to the central core of the office building.  It was also pointed out that the central core for the building will be thirty-five stories on a module plan which will permit private offices, large or small as desired, to accommodate the offices of the auxiliary organizations of the Church, the Building Committee, and other general offices.

I stated that the Church Office Building now standing will be mainly for the offices of the General Authorities and the offices of the Melchizedek Priesthood; the other office building for the Presiding Bishopric and the Aaronic Priesthood.  Provision for the financial department with the Presiding Bishopric was also mentioned.

Brother Burton, the architect, explained that the underground garage will provide parking for 2,220 cars on four floors, access to the floors being by ramps.

Seven rooms indicated in the Missionary Building for classrooms and for setting apart missionaries were considered.  It was agreed that the missionaries can be set apart in the Church Office Building.  Further inquiry in the intended use of these buildings was requested.

The dormitory floors planned for the Missionary Building were next considered.  The dormitory floors provide 140 beds per floor, or 420 beds for all floors.  It was agreed that the plan be altered to provide for the girls’ dormitory to be on a floor independent of the dormitory for the Elders.

The general plan for the 35 floors of the main building was next considered.  The architect said that with space for elevators, stairways, storage, and for office rooms, there will be 29,410 square feet on each floor, and for offices a net of 2600 feet.  This space can be divided by partitions in any desired way, or can be left open for general offices.  The toal space available in the building is to be 943,220 square feet with the underground garage, the total 1,323,910 square feet.  The general estimate of cost of this building – $40,000,000 — the underground garage, $14,000,000.

With the understanding that independent dormitories for Elders and Lady Missionaries would be provided in the missionary section of the building, the general concept for the office building was approved.

Tunnel in Wasatch Mountains

Brother Mendenhall reported that the tunnel in the granite of the Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains is 120 feet into the mountain with good results so far.  No evidence of faulty fissures has appeared yet.  He stated that an engineer from Sweden will be here next month.  He is a head engineer for the city of Stockholm.  He will give information about granite tunneling since he is familiar with the greatest granite tunneling project in the world.

After listening to the brethren present these plans, and considering and making suggestions concerning them until 11:45 a.m., I said to them, ‘All right, Brethren, you have a stupendous job, but you are equal to it.  I am pleased with the plans of remodeling the Hawaiian Temple.  I came to the meeting feeling that no change should be made in the temple itself, but the sketch you have shown me has persuaded me that the changes proposed will add to the beauty of the temple.’  (The cost of remodeling and developing the Hawaiian Temple will be $1,000,000.00)”

Wed., 7 Sept. 1960:

3:45 p.m.

Meeting with President McKay and W.B. Mendenhall.  The following items were discussed:

My trip to Europe as it relates to the initiation of this great labor missionary program in Europe of which President McKay gave me his fullest blessing and confidence as to the establishment of this program in the European missions.  President McKay said, ‘You have encountered every conceivable problem associated with the labor missionary program in the achievements of the same in the south Pacific areas and you are fully equipped with the experience to establish the same in Europe.’  He said, ‘We have every confidence that this work will go forward in Europe as approved by the First Presidency and the Lord will bless you in giving direction to it.’

I discussed the request on the part of the people in New Zealand to build a George R. Biesinger hall to be used by the labor missionaries in Temple View.  That this hall would be principally built by the donation of materials of members and non-members and the labor also would be donated in the same manner.  The people felt that they would like to build this as a tribute to Elder George R. Biesinger for the services he has rendered in New Zealand and have it dedicated in the month of December, just prior to his leaving New Zealand.  I told President McKay that the Committee had requested that I dedicate the building.  I told President McKay that I realized that this was not appropriate to make such a request but President McKay stated, ‘We will give you authorization to dedicate this building.  You should do it and authorization will be forthcoming from the First Presidency.’

I mentioned again the proposed salary schedule which has been presented to the First Presidency.  President McKay indicated that he would take care of this request and advise me prior to my leaving for Europe.

I also gave a brief report on the progress of the labor missionary program in the Spanish American Mission and the Mexican Missions, particularly emphasizing the new chapel which has just recently been finished in Monterrey, Mexico.  President McKay gave me complete reassurance in the administration of the building program of the Church with his confidence and blessings to go forward with the establishment of the labor missionary program in Europe.

(notes by Wendell B. Mendenhall)”

Thurs., 6 Oct. 1960:


By Harold Schindler

Tribune Staff Writer

Details of a long-range multi-million dollar master plan revamping the entire administration block of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were announced Thursday by President David O. McKay of the LDS Church.

The Project, described by church architects as the ‘greatest in the Intermountain Region,’ will include construction of a 38-story church office building and a 17-story addition to the Hotel Utah.

The land involved is the city block on which both the present LDS Church Office Building, 47 E. South Temple, and the Hotel Utah are situated bounded by State and Main Streets and South Temple and North Temple.

Ground-breaking for the project is dependent on completion of working plans now under development, according to church architects.

The plan, tremendous in scope, calls for removal of all buildings on the block with exception of the Church Office Building, the Hotel Utah, the new Relief Society Building, the Lion House and the Beehive House.

Buildings to be removed will include the Sherrill Apartments, 70 E. North Temple; the Deseret Gymnasium, 37 E. South Temple; the Genealogical Society Building, 80 N. Main; the building at 40 N. Main which houses the Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Assn., LDS Department of Education, and the LDS Primary Assn.

The building at 50 N. Main which houses the LDS Sunday School Union, the Young Men’s MIA and the LDS Welfare Committee; the LDS Business College and Barratt Hall, 70 N. Main, and the LDS Missionary Home, 31 N. State.

Nearly every office of the LDS Chuirch, not in the Church Office Building, now is located in one of the buildings to be removed.

Church officials explained a new gymnasium with better facilities will be constructed at a site not yet determined.

The new office building to be constructed will be located in the northeast corner of the block where the Sherrill Apts. and small businesses now are located.  All property involved is owned by the LDS Church.

Completely modern in design and exceptionally functional, the office building, one of the tallest such structures between Chicago and the West Coast, will house administrative offices of the church, the Missionary Department and branch departments of the church including Sunday School and Primary.

The Building will be in the shape of an inverted T with small wings extending at ground level from the main 38-story shaft.

George Cannon Young, Salt Lake architect, has designed the beautiful edifice in such a way that persons will be able to enter the building on the North Temple side, walk through the main lobby onto a paved mosaic plaza which allows access by concourse to the present Church Office Building and the Salt Lake LDS Temple.

The administration building will contain office space sufficient to accommodate church needs for many years to come.

Twenty elevators, 16 passenger and four service, will handle huge crowds with a minimum of delay.

The 17-story addition to the Hotel Utah would, according to Frederick M. Dean, hotel manager, result in approximately 300 more rooms.

At present the hotel stands 10 stories.  The addition on the north also will reach 10 stories including a tower which will reach to a height of 17 stories.

Harold W. Burton, supervising church architect is in charge of design and construction.

The addition was planned, according to church architects, because ‘the hotel is the best in Salt Lake City and the surrounding area and this will make it that much better.’

Leland B. Flint, president of the Utah Hotel Co., said the present renovations of the Starlite Gardens would ‘in no way be affected by the proposed additions to the hotel.’

He said the changes were ‘only in a planning stage and had not been approved by directors of the hotel.’

What we have here is the long-term plan of the LDS Church for the block,’ Mr. Flint said.

Parking problems which have in recent years become more and more of a headache to church officials have been solved by the master plan.

The solution lies beneath the new administration building and the plaza which separates it from the present office building and the Hotel Utah.

Plans call for a four-level underground ‘self-parking’ area which will accommodate 2,000 automobiles.

Access to the underground levels will be made through two circular ramps – one on Main, the other on State.

The Plaza above, on ground level, will be a landmark in itself.

Architects, under the supervision of W.B. Mendenhall, chairman of the entire master plan project, have designed the plaza to a fine degree of landscaping beauty.

Entrance to the plaza will be by way of small stairways – the plaza, because of a steep change in grade between South Temple and North Temple, will be ‘sunken,’ or below street level.

Passersby on street level will be able to look down into the plaza and have, at eye-level a complete view of the area.

Centered in the plaza, between the proposed administration building and the present church office building will be a huge fountain, complete with sculptured figures.  

A long, rectangular reflective pool is planned in the center of the plaza concourse on the west side.

The pool will allow for sidewalk traffic on either side.,

J.H. Vandenberg, vice chairman of the church building department, said the new administration block wil not be for use of the public, but for persons with business pertaining to church matters.

All sewer and water systems in the block will be relocated to allow construction of the subterranean parking area.

The administration building, completely fire-proof and one of the first of its design in the Intermountain Area, will be constructed in three sections, the east and west wings first, the main shaft last.

Material in the Genealogical Society Building will be moved to a new eight million dollar Archives Building, to be erected on the north side of North Temple, between State and Main.

The church announced plans for the Archives Building, several months ago.

The over-all, master plan for the block includes projected widening of State and North Temple.

The Salt Lake Tribune – Friday, October 7, 1960

Thursday, October 6, 1960



With all its industries, its location, climate, topography and other factors, the single most important resource of any city or any state is its character.

What kind of place is it?  Does it reflect planning?  Is there a basic stability together with evidence of progressiveness, or is there stagnation?  Are beauty and culture important to its people?  Are they alive and alert?  Do they care?

These are the questions officers of a business or industry will ask, along with questions about water, transportation, labor, taxes, etc., before deciding to locate a new plant in a given city.  They are questions a tourist will consider, often unconsciously, as he decides whether to push on to the next city or stop off a day or two.  They are the questions the answers to which will determine whether the young man growing up in a city will decide to build his life and career there or to seek opportunities elsewhere.

Answers to these questions, more than anything else, will determine a city’s and an area’s future.

That is why the announcement of the vast new building program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is of such tremendous importance, not only to the Church itself but also to Salt Lake City, the State of Utah, and the entire Mountain West.

The magnitude of the overall building program is almost impossible to comprehend.  But these comparisons may help:

The biggest building, the 38-story church office building, will be more than twice as high as any present structure in Salt Lake City, and one of the tallest buildings between Chicago and the West Coast.  Moreover, it will occupy frontage along almost three-fourths of one of Salt Lake City’s long blocks.

The four-level underground parking facility will accommodate 2,000 cars, nearly four times as many as the city’s largest present parking terrace will hold.

Hotel Utah, already the area’s largest hotel, will grow from 500 rooms to 800, and from 10 stories to 17.  This will enable the hotel to accept much larger conventions, that are now being turned down.

The Archives Building at Main Street and North Temple will itself be a tremendous structure, with almost half as much office space as the new skyscraper office building.

And there is much more – a new Temple Annex building, a new Bureau of Information Building on Temple Square, a new Desert Gymnasium, a new LDS Business College.

This is thinking big – very big.  It is looking a long way ahead.  But only such big, long-vista thinking is worthy of the heritage with which this city was founded, with 132-foot-wide streets in the days of the ox-cart.

The over-all building program as if finally develops will, of course, provide for all conceivable Church administration needs for years to come.  But it will produce a dramatic new center of beauty, strengthening the heart of the city and giving new dimension and expression to its soul.

The vision of the great paved plaza in the heart of the administration block, with its splashing fountain and pool reflecting a glorious view of the Temple, promises a breadth and beauty that have been sadly lacking in most American cities.

This center of beauty should stimulate the redevelopment and improvement of blocks to the north, northwest and northeast into the most desirable apartment house areas of the city.

One footnote should be added.  In this great building program, which includes the razing of nearly a dozen buildings, the two oldest, smallest buildings on the entire block will remain.  They are the beloved Lion House and Beehive House, the latter now undergoing an extensive restoration.

There is a fitting symbolism here.  No Church, no people, no city, no nation can progress without looking positively and imaginatively forward, and without the energy and strength to meet the future’s challenge with action.  But no Church, no people, no city, and no nation can keep its perspective in these confusing times without also keeping its foundation firmly rooted in the heritage and strength of the past.

With a 38-story, ultra-modern skyscraper coming at one end of the block and the 107-year-old, Victorian-style Beehive House at the other, and with the spiritual strength emanating from the Temple over all, the Church stands firmly rooted in its heritage but facing the future with optimism and energy.”

Thurs., 13 Oct. 1960:

“8 a.m.

President Henry D. Moyle and I met with President and Sister Alvin R. Dyer.  Brother Dyer gave a report on the following matters: 

1)  Labor Missionary Program in the European Missions.  He thinks the plan now, after certain misunderstandings have been cleared up, is completely workable.

Tues., 25 Oct. 1960:

“10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Was engaged in the meeting of the Committee on Expenditures.

Following this meeting, President Moyle and I had a serious consultation with Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall of the Building Committee.  At this time I cautioned Brother Mendenhall to move slowly on some of these important church buildings which is causing a vast expenditure of money; that these things had caused much concern in my mind.”

Fri., 18 Nov. 1960:

“6 a.m.

Arrived at the office.  Was busy with letters and other matters until 8 o’clock, at which time President Moyle and I met with Elders Wendell B. Mendenhall, Chairman of the Church Building Committee, John Vandenberg, Vice Chairman, Architect Harold Burton, and Howard Barker and Howard Dunn, engineers.  President Clark was not present, he being confined to his home.  These men exhibited sketches prepared showing plans for structures to be erected on the block north of the Temple block — there was a plan for underground parking for 5,000 cars.  Brother Dunn showed us the sketch of the auditorium, saying that it has been reworked.  He explained that the length is 450 feet from back to front.  The location proposed for the building is west of West Temple and north of North Temple.  I said that I had in mind having the auditorium and parking on the same lot.

Retirement Center, Salt Lake Stake (Old Folks Home)

We then talked about the proposed location for the old folks home.  In response to my question as to whether or not the plans could be used, Brother Dunn explained that $14,000 or $15,000 have already been paid to the architect for the plans.  Brother Mendenhall asked if it was agreeable that they talk with the 17th Ward people whose building would be affected by the Old Folks Home.  I said that I should like to talk to the 17th Ward brethren, and President Moyle said that he had turned President Umberger of the Salt Lake Stake over to Brother Mendenhall, and I said that this matter of the Old Folks Home should come from the Stake Presidency, and that I should like to see them, and that I would make an appointment with them.

The relocation of Auxiliary Offices and the demolishing of the Bishops’ Building was discussed.  The date proposed for the starting of the tearing down of that building was right after the annual conference of the Church in the Spring.

A location for the new Deseret Gymnasium and the remodeling of the Western Furniture Company building was considered.

New General Office Building

I inquired as to the height of the General Office Building.  Brother Mendenhall said that it had been approved for 39 stories.  I said ‘that is going to overshadow the Temple – that with the Kennecott Building, and the new Archives Building.’  Brother Dunn said, ‘all three have spires – they are not competing with it as massive buildings would.’  Brother Mendenhall said that it has been recommended that the Archives Building be 15 stories – the floor space has not been changed, and that ground space for the future has been saved.  I said that we cannot now change the Kennecott building, but that we can modify the buildings on the Church Office Block. 

Genealogical Building

Brother Dunn then exhibited a map of the area where the Genealogical Building is to be located on the triangular space bounded by Hempstead Road, Wasatch Boulevard, and Foothill Boulevard.  He explained that this will provide a single wing on the east and two stories and a semi basement on the west.  It will provide parking for 700 cars.  The building is planned to accommodate about 2,000 people including officers and staff and the people who will come to do research work.  The plans provide for a small auditorium for lectures.  He indicated that the film processing will be done in the Cottonwood Canyon building.  Brother Dunn said that the plans will be approved by President Joseph Fielding Smith and Brother Garrett Myers of the Genealogical Society.  They are both away at the present time and the Building Committee has been working with Architect Jackson who knows the requirements of the Genealogical Building.  I said that we would have to go over these plans again.

A discussion of our Church buildings erected and to be erected in Europe was held.  Brother Mendenhall presented a brochure of illustrations of the buildings, and said that they should be shown to governmental authorities so that they will know what is contemplated by way of religious and cultural centers which the Church plans to construct.  The cost of preparing the brochures was quoted as $35,000.  I told Brother Mendenhall and the other brethren that I thought the purpose was good, but that it is more extravagant than they need.”

Tues., 18 Apr. 1961:

“New Office Building

I reviewed briefly the proposal to erect the new office building which includes a plan to put in a foundation sufficient for a multi-story building, that construction will not at first go to full maximum height as proposed, and that the building which the missionaries will occupy would be one wing of the structure, extending from State Street west on North Temple.  I said that I favored an adequate foundation being put in, but that a skyscraper should not be built.  President Clark concurred in this view.”

Friday, April 28, 1961



Construction of the proposed 15-story Archives Building of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is expected to begin within one year, the LDS First Presidency announced Friday.

The Building will be four stories taller than originally planned.  It will be erected on the northeast corner of Main and North Temple.

The announcement came on the heels of a Thursday release from the First Presidency of plans for a multimillion-dollar Genealogical Research Center to be constructed on the northeast corner of 21st South and Redwood Rd. (1700 West).

Construction of the Archives Building will enable the church to transfer the church historian’s office and its voluminous library from the Church Office Building, 47 E. South Temple, to the North temple location.  The move also will provide needed space in the old office building for expansion of administrative offices of the First Presidency and other general authorities.

William F. Thomas, Salt Lake City architect, has begun working drawings of the mammoth Archives Building, and specifications of the structure should be completed by the spring of 1962 to enable construction to get under way.

Besides the 15 floors, the building will include a basement and penthouse.  The historian’s office and library will occupy the second, third and fourth floors.

Main floor space will be leased to commercial interests and the remainder of office space is yet to be assigned.

The Salt Lake Tribune – Saturday, April 29, 1961″

Wed., 14 June 1961:

“9 a.m.

The regular meeting of the First Presidency was held.  The following are some of the items we took up:

1.  Boys Camp at Church College in Hawaii

I reported having talked this morning with Wendell B. Mendenhall regarding the proposed boys camp in Hawaii.  President Clissold had stated in answer to our telegraphic inquiry that this was approved by the Pacific Board of Education.  The First Presidency ordered that it be not held.  Brother Mendenhall said that when he learned of it, he telephoned President Clissold and said it was never intended that boys outside of Hawaii should be invited.  We were very pronounced in our feelings that boys from the Mainland should not be permitted to go to Hawaii for this purpose.

Fri., 23 June 1961:

At this hour, we met by appointment, Elders Wendell B. Mendenhall, and J. Howard Dunn of the Building Committee who discussed the following matters with us:

1) London Temple Property — Brother Mendenhall reported that Sir Thomas Bennett is initiating with the Godstone County Council provisions for a lay-by at the London Temple and arranging for the water to go under the road.

2)  New Church Administration Building

Sketches of the proposed administration building to be erected on the northeast corner of the Church Office block, also sketches of the proposed underground parking arrangement, together with tunnels proposed to be constructed from the Church administration building to the Bureau of Information and the Tabernacle were exhibited.  The tunnel would make it possible for the General Authorities to go from the Church administration building to the temple or the tabernacle by electric car.

The sketches also presented a picture of the proposed extension of the Hotel Utah underground garage and the parking that would be made available for the hotel.  Parking space is to be provided on this block on the first level underground for 242 cars, and on the second level below the surface there is to be parking space for 341 cars.  On the third underground level of the new administration building provision is to be made for mechanical rooms including air conditioning equipment, etc.  Excavation is not to extend under the third floor but there would be parking accommodations on this level for 356 cars – in other words, there will be 939 parking stalls on this block.  In addition provision is being made for approximately 50 parking stalls for the Hotel Utah.

One of the sketches of the proposed new administration building as previously submitted provided for a tower of 35 stories.  Another sketch that was exhibted was for 18 stories, it being the thought that perhaps it would be well to build 18 stories first, with the understanding that later they could add additional heighth to the building.  Brother Mendenhall suggested that perhaps there should be a compromise as to the heighth of the building and complete it now instead of erecting only a portion of it with the understanding that additional stories might be built later.

In discussing this matter, we agreed that the building should be completed at this time, and that it should not exceed 30 stories, and as a matter of fact it might not go higher than 28 stories.  We agreed, also, that working drawings might now be prepared by architects along the lines indicated.

Sat., 24 June 1961:

Mission Presidents’ Seminar

President Moyle mentioned that Elders Marion G. Romney and Gordon B. Hinckley had discussed with him yesterday afternoon the program for the first session of the mission presidents seminar to be held Monday morning, that they said they had not in any way intended to usurp the prerogative of the First Presidency in this opening session, that it was to be conducted in every way as the First Presidency desire.  President Moyle mentioned that the committee had expressed a desire for him to speak on the question of the relationship to the mission of the Building Committee and the labor missionary program.  President Moyle read a statement that had been prepared which he had considered reading in his remarks at the first session.

I said that I felt that some changes should be made in the statement as submitted.  I said that it was my feeling that instead of taking out of the hands of the mission president the matter of selecting sites for buildings in the missions, the mission president should go with the Building Committee representative to select such sites.

I stated that it had been reported to me recently that members of the Building Committee have chosen these sites entirely, whereas it was my feeling that the Building Committee should work under the ecclesiastical department of the Church.  I said that I feel that we do not emphasize sufficiently the need of cooperation of the mission president with representatives of the Building Committee, and that the Building Committee occasionally assume an attitude which is not within their rights.

President Moyle called attention to a letter issued by the First Presidency under date of November 16, 1960 addressed to President Dyer of the European Mission explaining in some detail the duties of the Building Committee in connection with the securing of real estate, and the planning of construction of chapels in the British Isles and in Europe, and indicated that it was his understanding and belief that the Building Committee was operating in full accord with the instructions therein given.  He suggested that perhaps he should read that letter to the mission presidents.

I suggested that President Moyle make it clear to the Building Committee that we are sending them out to assist the Mission President in selecting these sites.  I said that I would read carefully the First Presidency’s letter of November 16, 1960 and indicate just what changes I felt should be made.

Tues., 25 July 1961:

“8:30 a.m.

Met with Presidents Henry D. Moyle and Hugh B. Brown, President Clark still confined to his home.

I reported that I had just had an interview with Brother Mendenhall of the Building Committee and that among other things Brother Mendenhall reminded me of a ruling made regarding labor missionaries to the effect that they need not pay tithing on their allowances, because they are devoting their time to the Church, receiving a very limited allowance therefor.  I explained, however, that the labor missionaries should pay tithing on any income they receive other than the allowances from the Church.

Wed., 2 Aug. 1961:

“10:30 a.m.

Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson came in and gave a report on the Polynesian Village project.  Said that several of the Brethren are concerned about it.  I called President Edward L. Clissold in Honolulu, and asked him to send a detailed account of the plans for this Village so that I can present it to the Brethren at the next meeting of the Council of the Twelve.  (see notes of telephone conversation following.)

Bishop Isaacson then brought up items concerning secretaries.  I told him that I should like him to be a member of the Personnel Committee, of which Elder Delbert L. Stapley is Chairman.  A little later I called Elder Stapley and informed him of this appointment, and he said, ‘We are happy to have Bishop Isaacson on this Committee.’  The committee will consist of the following brethren:  Elders Delbert L. Stapley, LeGrand Richards, William J. Critchlow, Bishop Isaacson, and Rulon Tingey.*

*Bishop Isaacson read me a letter from Mayor J. Bracken Lee wherein he (Mayor Lee) invited Bishop Isaacson to become a member of the Metropolitan Water Board.  This is a non-political appointment, with no remuneration.  As I feel Bishop Isaacson can render a service to the community, I advised him to accept the Mayor’s invitation.

Wednesday, August 2, 1961

Telephone conversation between President McKay and President Edward L. Clissold of Oahu Stake, speaking from Honolulu, Hawaii, Wednesday, August 2, 1961.  Re:  Polynesian Village

President Clissold: Hello.

President McKay: Hello, Brother Clissold?

President Clissold: Hello President McKay.  How are you?

President McKay: Just fine thank you.  How are you?

President Clissold: Very well thank you.

President McKay: How is the Polynesian Village?

President Clissold: Coming along.  We’ve made all of our clearances now with the building department and the planning department and we’re waiting now for the detailed plans from Brother Burton.  We had a letter from him yesterday saying that some of these plans had been sent under separate cover.  We’ve had some preliminary plans which have been passed by the building department and we are waiting now for the final plans.

President McKay: Nothing has been done and nothing can be done until you get those plans?

President Clissold: That’s right.  We’re preparing the grounds now.  We’ve got the lagoon in and the ground has all been filled.  The surveying has been done but we’re waiting now for the plans.

President McKay: Should that village be put in another place?

President Clissold: The village itself?

President McKay: Yes.

President Clissold: Well our main concern, President McKay, was to have a one-step operation so that people could make one stop and visit both the Temple and the Polynesian Village, because the tourist buses won’t make two stops in Laie and this seemed to be the best arrangement for a one-stop operation.

President McKay: I am surprised and I am sure you will be at the number of General authorities who are offering objections to this.

President Clissold: Is that so?

President McKay: They are very careful about it.  They want to know if it is done, and I hate to ask them to ratify a thing which they don’t seem to comprehend.  Now I believe I will take the matter up with the Brethren – the Presidency and the Twelve – the next time we meet.

President Clissold: Well, I don’t think they quite understand it.  I believe some of them are of the opinion it will be sort of a carnival affair and it won’t be that at all.  It will be in a beautiful location; it will be beautifully landscaped; it will be quiet, there won’t be any carnival or circus feeling about it at all.  It’s more along the idea of an exhibit and we have no other plans for that area between the Temple and the College.  We don’t want any houses in there and I think when all of the foliage is up, the trees and the lagoon, it will be a most peaceful and restful spot.  I think everybody will enjoy it.

President McKay: Could you write out your explanation?  I don’t know that I have it on file here now.  We have talked about it, you know, and approved it but the Brethren don’t know anything about it.

President Clissold: I would be very happy to do anything I can to explain it because I believe it will be an asset to Laie and I don’t see anything about it that is detrimental either to the spirit of the Temple or to the school.

President McKay: Will you please set forth your ideas in a way that I can present them to the Presidency and the Twelve at our next meeting?

President Clissold: I’ll be happy to do that, President McKay.

President McKay: It will be two weeks hence.

President Clissold: Yes.  I’ll do that.

President McKay: If you will please.

President Clissold: I will, yes.

President McKay: In the meantime, hold things in abeyance until you get the plans.

President Clissold: Fine.  Thank you.

President McKay: Is everything else all right?

President Clissold: Everything is fine, President McKay.  How are you feeling?

President McKay: Very well thank you.

President Clissold: Is Sister McKay well?

President McKay: No, she isn’t.  I took her to Huntsville this last weekend and she was feeling fine until yesterday afternoon when I was driving – I think she thinks I am too old to drive – anyhow she went all to pieces in the heat and she is not feeling well today.

President Clissold: Please give her our love, will you?

President McKay: Thank you and she sends hers to you.

President Clissold: Thank you very much.

President McKay: Thank you, it is good to hear from you.”

Thurs., 17 Aug. 1961:

“10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The regular meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve convened in the Salt Lake Temple at 10 a.m.  This was the first meeting since we adjourned on Thursday, June 22, 1961.

Following some regular business regarding Stakes and Wards, we discussed the following:

2) Polynesian Cultural Center

Among other matters we considered especially the proposed Polynesian Cultural Center at Laie, Hawaii.  I had two letters read dated August 10, 1961 on this subject–one from President Clissold of the Oahu Stake and the other from Kenneth T. Slack, Librarian of the Church College of Hawaii.  These letters set forth the purposes and aims of the Polynesian Cultural Center, namely, to preserve through research and expert guidance the entertainment, arts, and crafts of the Polynesian races; to exploit in a dignified manner the tourist’s desire to see the Polynesian entertainment, and buy curios, handicraft and the like, and to provide an opportunity for employment for people in the village and part-time work for students at the College.

After a long discussion as to whether or not we wish to perpetuate this Polynesian so-called culture; that much of it is paganistic, and not in harmony with the high standards of the gospel, and after various arguments for and against the project were discussed, I asked the question:  ‘If the Polynesian Village contained nothing objectionable by way of vulgar dancing, and by way of displays of culture, would there be any objection to having it between the school and the temple?’  There was some question in the minds of some of the Brethren as to what might be agreed upon as being objectionable.  After a full discussion, it was decided to take the matter under further consideration and to take no action at this time.  It was also decided to present to the Brethren for their inspection the outline of the entire project.”

Fri., 25 Aug. 1961:

9:10 a.m.

The Presiding Bishopric came in for their regular meeting with the First Presidency.

Pacific National Life Assurance Building

Some discussion was held in regard to providing space in the Pacific National Life Assurance Building so that both the LDS Business College and the Purchasing Department could be accommodated.  It was explained that the matter of most importance was making provision for the Purchasing Department so that they could vacate the fourth floor making room for the Missionary Department.  It was suggested that the thing to do was to act as expeditiously as possible in providing quarters for the Purchasing Department.

A question was raised regarding the Presiding Bishopric and their quarters on the fourth floor, and I told them that they are to remain where they are until the Zions First National Bank moves from the old Federal Reserve Bank Building and the Presiding Bishopric will go in there.  Bishop Wirthlin said that he would be pleased to do whatever the First Presidency wanted him to do.  I said:  ‘You are to remain where you are until we tell you otherwise.’

Sat., 26 Aug. 1961:

“7:30 a.m.

By appointment met with President Henry D. Moyle, President Ernest L. Wilkinson, Brother Joeph T. Bentley and Brother Crandall of the faculty of BYU regarding matters pertaining to usable space for the LDS Business College in the Pacific National Life Assurance Building.

President Wilkinson strongly opposed the Purchasing Department taking any of the space in that building.  I said that I thought there was no need of discussing the matter further, that I was convinced that the Purchasing Department ought not to go up there anyway and that we would let the LDS Business College take such space as necessary in the Pacific National Building.  (see First Presidency’s Minutes of this day for further details.)  (see letters of appreciation regarding this matter, following.)

Following our discussion on the above matter, President Wilkinson referred to the appointment of a committee, of which he was made chairman, to give consideration to the installation of electronic equipment.  A long discussion was held on this matter (see First Presidency’s minutes of this day for further details.)

Saturday, August 26, 1961

August 28, 1961

President David O. McKay

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear President McKay:

I want you to know that I appreciate very much the confidence which you have shown in me by appointing me as chairman of the Data Processing Steering Committee for the Church and by deciding that the L.D.S. Business College may have the use of the property purchased from Pacific National Life Insurance Company.  Without the full space provided in those two buildings, it would have been impossible for the L.D.S. Business College to have carried on its program.

We are grateful for your leadership.


Ernest L. Wilkinson


Fri., 22 Sept. 1961:

“8:10 – 8:35 a.m.

Elders Wendell B. Mendenhall, John H. Vandenberg, and J. Howard Dunn of the Building Committee met with the First Presidency and discussed with them building operations in Europe.  Elder Mendenhall reported that 168 projects had been started in Europe since January 1st, including purchases of real estate and buildings under construction.  He showed us a map of the mission and stake areas in Europe on which the building projects were marked.  Brother Mendenhall stated that at the close of the year there will be at least 80 buildings under construction in that area, and it is expected that next year there will be added to this number a minimum of an additional 80 buildings under construction, with a possibility of 100, that these are all being erected in accordance with the labor missionary program.

Building sites and buildings under construction in Norway, Denmark, Scotland, and Germany were discussed.

(see First Presidency minutes for details)

Elder Mendenhall said that if this program is to be carried out, the organization has to be geared to take care of it, and they have to have the assurance from the First Presidency as to how far they can go.  They are gearing themselves now to take care of this type of program which is a lot of buildings, say 160 to 170 or 180 at one time in Europe, and they do not want to be geared to this type of program and then have the First Presidency tell them they cannot do it.

I said that we should have to know that the Lord is back of it first, and then that we have to present this to the men who carry the responsibility here, the Twelve and the Expenditures Committee, and I said we should do that next Tuesday.  I asked then if this could be carried over until the week following conference, and Elder Mendenhall said that that would be all right.  Elder Mendenhall said that he thought it would be well for these three members of the Building Committee, together with President Dyer and President Tanner to meet with the First Presidency on the matter.

. . . .

We read a letter addressed to me, signed by the Presidency of the Honolulu Stake and the members of the High Council of that Stake regarding the proposed Polynesian Village.  These brethren were opposed to the project as now contemplated.  It was decided to take it to the Council of the Twelve for consideration.

Fri., 6 Oct. 1961:

Friday, October 6, 1961

Telephone Conversation between President McKay and President Edward L. Clissold of Oahu Stake, Friday, October 6, 1961, regarding the Polynesian Village.

President McKay: Hello, Brother Clissold?

President Clissold: Yes President McKay.

President McKay: How are you tonight?

President Clissold: Fine thank you.  How are you?

President McKay: Fine.

President Clissold: We just heard the news down here of President Clark’s passing.

President McKay: Oh, you have heard.  I wanted to let you know.

President Clissold: Thank you very much.

President McKay: The funeral will be next Tuesday at 12:30 in the Tabernacle.

President Clissold: Tuesday at 12:30 in the Tabernacle.

President McKay: Yes.  Now another thing – I just received word that Brother Mendenhall has given an order about having some service at the Polynesian Village next Monday.  Have you heard about it?

President Clissold: No I haven’t.

President McKay: Well hold things in abeyance please.

President Clissold: Yes, we’ll do that.

President McKay: Do not take any further steps because the Presidency and the Twelve have that under consideration and we shall let you know of the result.

President Clissold: I see.  You don’t want us to do anything further down here.

President McKay: Nothing further because next Thursday we are going to consider your letter and we should study your letter and all the reasons you set forth before anything is done down there.

President Clissold: I see.  Well we won’t do anything further until we hear from you.

President McKay: If you will please.

President Clissold: All right President McKay.

President McKay: Thank you very much.

President Clissold: How are you feeling?

President McKay: Pretty well, thank you.

President Clissold: Sister McKay, is she well?

President McKay: She is pretty well.

President Clissold: We heard you had a wonderful Conference.

President McKay: Yes.

President Clissold: I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be there.

President McKay: We were too, but our love and confidence are yours.

President Clissold: Thank you.

President McKay: And those associated with you.

President Clissold: Thank you very much President McKay.

President McKay: Love to Sister Clissold.

President Clissold: Thank you.

President McKay: Goodbye.

President Clissold: Goodbye.”

Fri., 13 Oct. 1961:

“9:30 – 11 a.m.

As President Moyle is in Europe and President Brown enroute to Vermont, I met alone with the new Presiding Bishop – Brother John H. Vandenberg.

We talked about several matters pertaining to his office, and then I told Bishop Vandenberg that I should like him to continue as Assistant Chairman of the Building Committee.  I asked Brother Vandenberg if it would be placing too much work upon him to ask him to do this.  The Bishop said that he would be glad to do this, but he wanted to do it in such a way that Brother Mendenhall would feel all right about it, that he would very much dislike to hurt his feelings.  He thought it might be wise for him, Bishop Vandenberg, to be on a sort of consultation basis in that field; he did not think that he should remain on the Building Committee.  He suggested that no decision on the matter be made at this time.  He thought it would be well for me to talk with Brother Mendenhall and approve the man whom he is recommending, Sherman Dotson.  Brother Vandenberg said he knew this man very well and had known him for many years, and Brother Dotson would have to do some of the leg work on this, he and Brother Engebretsen.  I said that I would like to see a relationship between the Building Committee and the Presiding Bishopric.  I said I did not want Brother Vandenberg to free himself entirely from it.  The Presiding Bishopric has to get the money and the Building Committee must in turn get the money from them.  I suggested that this man could be a sort of assistant to Brother Vandenberg in this work.  I stated emphatically that the Bishop should not lose sight of this responsibility.  Bishop Vandenberg said that we might have to say that the financing of these buildings will go through the Presiding Bishop and the construction of the meetinghouses and all of the details through the Building Committee.  I said that is just as it should be, that I think it is the right thing to do.  I asked Bishop Vandenberg to think about it and confer with me after he returns from Canada; that in the meantime he should keep his hand on the matter.  I said that I should like the Presiding Bishop to continue to take care of these advances.

Thurs., 26 Oct. 1961:

“Building Committee Financial Matters to be handled by Presiding Bishopric.

I called attention to the fact that Bishop John H. Vandenberg has been serving as Assistant to the Chairman of the Building Committee, and in that capacity has had charge of the finances of the Building Committee and advances made to wards in connection with their building programs.  I explained that in cases where the bishops need money to complete a project, instead of stopping the project, we have been advancing money so that the building construction could continue.  I said these advances go into millions of dollars, and Brother Vandenberg has handled this phase of the building program in a masterful way for the Building Committee.

I said the First Presidency has not felt that there has been the proper relationship between the Presiding Bishopric and the Building Committee regarding these funds, because the bishops have to pay the money back to the Presiding Bishopric at a later time.  Inasmuch as the Presiding Bishopric is also handling the tithing funds it would seem advisable that the Presiding Bishop handle that fund also, instead of placing it with the Building Committee.  It is therefore felt that Bishop Vandenberg should continue to handle the fund now that he is Presiding Bishop.

The Brethren approved of this recommendation.  They mentioned certain other matters in connection with the operation of the Building Committee that they felt might wisely be adjusted.”

Wed., 1 Nov. 1961:

“9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Following Brother Mendenhall’s departure we held the regular meeting of the First Presidency.

President Brown suggested that he thought that Brother Mendenhall should bring his problems to the First Presidency rather than going directly to me so that proper minutes could be made of the matters discussed, and the decisions made.  (For details of these matters discussed, see the First Presidency’s Minutes for this date.)

Tues., 14 Nov. 1961:

“8:35 – 10 a.m.

Meeting of the First Presidency was held.  At the beginning of the meeting, we met with Elders Wendell B. Mendenhall and J. Howard Dunn of the Building Committee.  Brother Mendenhall reported that he had arranged to lease the grocery store on the northwest corner of Main and North Temple at $18,000 a year for three years with an option for four years.  Heretofore they have paid $600 a month.  Brother Mendenhall was instructed to get in touch with Zion’s Securities Corporation and arrange for this property to be turned over to the Corporation, inasmuch as it will be income-producing property.

We also had a long discussion regarding the large amounts of money earmarked for the new Church Administration Building.  Genealogical Building, and the underground garage.  It was decided that it was unnecessary to tie up these moneys any more than needed for construction for any given period; for instance, the Genealogical Building will cost between $5,000,000 and $6,000,000, which has been approved, and there is no need of tying up that amount of money when we shall be using only approximately $3,000,000 in 1962, and the balance the following year.  I mentioned that the budget requirements for 1962 far exceed our projected income for that year, and that we must reduce our expenditures for building projects.

Fri., 24 Nov. 1961:

Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall, Chairman of the Building Committee remained and discussed 1) Property for the proposed Bavarian Mission.  He said they have looked around and have located something that looks very good.  Brother Biesinger has had Brother Dyer down to see it, and he has approved of its purchase.  It is located directly across the city from the airport.  There is a possibility that we can pick it up.  He described the property and the apartment building which stands upon it.  It is not easy to find property there.  The proposal to establish a Mission in Bavaria will be presented next Thursday, and this property seems to be just what we need, so we decided that we should try and obtain it.

Brother Mendenhall then discussed matters to the calling of labor missionaries, stating that in every case the Stake President has been consulted before they are called.  

Matters pertaining to the great need of the obtaining of property sites for new church buildings in Europe and England were discussed.

. . . .

We also discussed the matter of labor missionaries paying tithing on the sustenance they received.  After considering the matter from all phases, we decided that my former decision will stand for the present — that they will be classed with other missionaries — pay their tithing on their other income, and not on what we give them while they are labor missionaries.

Thurs., 30 Nov. 1961:

“8:45 – 10 a.m.

Polynesian Village at Laie, Hawaii

The First Presidency’s meeting was held.  Before we took up the regular matters we met with Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall, and Brother Harold W. Burton with regard to the Polynesian Village at Laie, Hawaii.

Brother Mendenhall reported that yesterday morning at about six o’clock, President Edward L. Clissold called him concerning the Polynesian Village, to convey a message of his feelings which he had already expressed to Elder Delbert L. Stapley; also that at about ten or ten thirty, Elder Stapley called Brother Mendenhall to his office and asked him to bring some pictures of parts of the Village, and Elder Stapley explained to him certain recommendations that they are making regarding proposed changes in the original plans.

President Clissold was very much shaken according to Brother Mendenhall, over the situation, but said he would go along with the proposal.  He was vitally interested in the matter of being able to live up to commitments that he has made.

I said that nothing should be done in the matter until the First Presidency and the Twelve had heard the report and recommendation of Elders Stapley and Gordon B. Hinckley, who had gone to Laie to investigate the situation.”

Fri., 1 Dec. 1961:

“8 a.m.

I met with my counselors, and the Church Budget Committee as follows:  Elders Spencer W. Kimball and Delbert L. Stapley; Bishop John H. Vandenberg; George Y. Jarvis and Wallace Hight.

Elder Kimball who was spokesman for the group, presented the budget for 1962 as itemized on their worksheet.  Elder Kimball said that they had brought in each of the departments and had told them, as they went over their budgets, that the requests this year were far in excess of the estimated income of the Church, although they had not given them any figures.  They have all cut as much as they think they can cut.  He said we may need further cuts.

The budget, as now presented, is $20,000,000 over the estimated income of the Church.  After a lengthy discussion (see minutes of the First Presidency of this day for details), I said that we should, as nearly as possible, cut our budget down to our estimated income, and if we have to make capital investments, that is a different thing.  It was decided that the capital investments such as Archives building, new office building, garage and foundation, retirement center, Deseret Gym, auditorium, Bureau of Information, etc., would all be eliminated from the budget; also the Oakland Temple, improvements in the Salt Lake Temple, and the Los Angeles apartments, that they are not budget items.

It was also agreed that a campaign should be started to increase the tithing income; this campaign to be a part of the Stake Conference programs for 1962, so that in every stake conference the payment of tithing would be considered.  It was also felt that some disciplinary action should be taken in our expenditures in order that the wards, stakes and missions may know that we need more tithing.  It was mentioned that notwithstanding there has been an increase in tithepaying, yet the percentage of tithe-payers is still not what it should be by any means. 

We shall take to the Council next Thursday the decision to carry on a tithing campaign as a part of the quarterly conference program.  I said that we should hope to increase the tithing by $15,000,000 in order to keep within our budget.  I said I have that confidence in the people, and I think that we can do it.  I indicated that I did not in any way want to retard the progress of the Church.  Following the Budget Committee Meeting, we met with the Presiding Bishopric who brought to our attention many matters that come under their supervision.

Thurs., 7 Dec. 1961:

“Building Construction Finances

We then discussed the matter of advances on the building-loan program.  The matter of adherence to the raising of the starting fund with which to begin buildings, that we do not loan over and above 40%, that we work from there to zero and encourage no loans, that we expand and increase the contributed labor, and that we teach the stake presidents and bishops and work with them on a program of financing for their buildings will be presented by the Building Committee to the General Authorities in their regular weekly meeting next Wednesday, December 13, 1961, at 1 p.m.

Polynesian Village

Brother Mendenhall then presented a matter pertaining to the Polynesian Village.  Said that he had a call from the Bishop of the Laie Third Ward who said that it is very important that a decision be made right away regarding the Polynesian Village.  Said that the urgency is that the men whom they have brought from the Islands are out of work, and all of them have to go home; that they have men there idle, doing nothing.  The addition to the Hawaii Temple is going forward, and they are not using these boys on that work because they dare not under the commitment that they have made.  Another location for the village has been suggested, but Brother Mendenhall said that when the young men came to Hawaii, they came under a commitment with the United States Government that they were to build the Polynesian Village, and it cannot be built according to the present recommendations.  We discussed this matter pro and con, but no decision was made.  Brother Mendenhall claims that the story of the Church that could be told in connection with the village would be phenomenal, and that there would be nothing objectionable because that which was objectionable in the minds of some has been removed.

Sat., 16 Dec. 1961:

“7:30 a.m.

Held a special meeting with my counselors, Presidents Moyle and Brown, and Elders Delbert L. Stapley and Gordon B. Hinckley of the Council of the Twelve, and Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall of the Building Committee, and Brother Harold W. Burton, Architect.

I explained to Brothers Stapley and Hinckley that further consideration is to be given to their report on the Polynesian Village at Laie, Hawaii, its relationship to the Bureau of Information and the Hawaiian Temple, and that Brother Mendenhall and Burton had been asked to bring in the information they have on the subject.

Elder Stapley briefly reviewed the recommendations of the Committee that the proposed colonnade to the present building in front of the Temple be eliminated, and the auditoriums and offices be put to the side, and that the view of the Temple be cleared so it will be open to a better view.

Architect Harold W. Burton explained a sketch of the proposed changes.  He pointed out each of the buildings proposed to be included in the changes of the plan.  The buildings include the Bureau of Information and the auditoriums, and also provision for restrooms and for parking.

Brother Burton said that the temple is a monumental building but a simple one, that the proposed extensions will make it appear to be much larger.  He exhibited a large map showing the general site of the village of Laie, and the location of the temple with relation to the highways and roads over which the visitors come by bus and private automobile to the Temple.  He also pointed out the road leading from the Temple to the sea, and traced the route which takes the visitors through the Bureau of Information, the auditoriums to the Temple.  He also pointed out the proposed location of the Polynesian Village.

I  asked Brother Stapley to point out on the map the locations and the changes the Committee recommends.

Elder Stapley indicated that the Committee recommended the moving to the side parts of the Polynesian Village.  He also reviewed the Committee’s proposal for the location of the village and the development of a shopping center for the convenience of the public and of visitors.

I asked that consideration be given to moving objectionable features from the proximity of the Temple.  The objectionable features were dancing and the attractions to which an admission should be charged.  I said the subject was taken to the Twelve because there was objection to the Polynesian Village having the dancing and the associated financial features, and the committee was sent down to see what would be advisable by way of eliminating the commercial features from the area of the Temple.

Architect Burton said that when the master plan was made he was sent to re-design a road arrangement for the village.  He indicated the area proposed to be a commercial section, and explained that one of the reasons for this was that it was right on the Kamehameha Highway where thousands of people pass, and that this would be a better position for the new shopping area because of the number of people who would pass.

I then asked Elder Stapley to review the buildings of the Polynesian Village which the committee recommends be moved from proximity to the Temple as follows:  The Samoan-Maori carved house, the building where curios are to be sold, and the Tongan house.  Elder Stapley said the committee, after it had spent time going over these matters, met with the presidents of both stakes and President Harry V. Brooks of the Hawaii Mission, and with them went over the recommendations.  The committee suggests that the display of the arts and crafts, and of Polynesian attractions and dancing, as well as the commercial facilities, be moved away from the Temple and that the Temple is and should be the main attraction to the visitors.

Brother Hinckley reviewed considerations which influenced him in supporting the recommendations of the committee as follows:  1) more people will be attracted to visit the Temple grounds if the Bureau of Information facilities are improved; 2) the Polynesian architecture can be preserved, and the buildings used in some other location in Laie; 3) that the arts and crafts of the Polynesians can be preserved by being taught in the college; 4) the commercial features can be provided without being included in the Village.  He expressed the opinion that the Polynesian Village on the site next to the Temple will destroy the very spirit sought for, and that the visitors will leave the Temple with other impressions than those desired.

After further consideration, it was the consensus that the Polynesian Village be erected on neither the yellow nor the green marked locations indicated on the map, but in another location down near the highway, and that the commercial aspects also be down there.

We felt that we had come to the right conclusion in this matter.  We approved of the plans for the Bureau of Information and the buildings associated with it.”

Tues., 13 Feb., 1962:

“[First Presidency Meeting] Church Archives Building 

President Moyle and President Brown, after having talked with Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall, recommended that we not build the proposed archives building, thus saving seven million dollars. President Moyle stated that inasmuch as the Genealogical Department is going into the Industrial Center, they will have no need for space in this proposed building. He also stated that they now find that Eastman Kodak Company and some other camera companies, primarily Eastman, have come up with a system by which they can put on a 35 mm film the equivalent of 3600 pages of manuscript and which there can be placed in three cabinet files what normally would require 500.

President Brown in looking into microfilming methods in connection with the genealogical process also thinks that we can do our genealogical microfilming much cheaper with this new process; also, that we can photograph all the records and destroy those we do not need, that we could place the positive of the film in the big vault and the negative could be retained here. The temperature in Cottonwood so far as the vault is concerned would be perfect, that those storage vaults will be maintained at an all around similar temperature, that the space there will take care of all the genealogical records.

I referred to the library of President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and it was suggested that perhaps these books should be sent to the Brigham Young University.

President Moyle further commented that under this new system of filming they have a card system by which almost instantly you can turn to any record and have it available, whereas now if you were to try to find a record in the basement it would be impossible.

I agreed that there was no reason for building a seven million dollar building to store something that is outmoded, and that this matter is worthy of consideration.

It was agreed that Brother Mendenhall should withhold further operations on the building until further notice.”

Wed., 28 Feb., 1962:

2:30 p. m.

Returned to the office, leaving immediately with President Moyle, President Joseph Fielding Smith, Brothers Howard Barker and J. Howard Dunn of the Building Committee, to inspect the Underground Storage Vault in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

This was indeed a revelation to me, and it is a great accomplishment. I feel that we have made no mistake in choosing that granite vault as a safety place for the storage of historical records.

I told the Brethren at Council Meeting the next day, that they should all take occasion to see this storage vault.”

Fri., 25 May 1962:

“7:30 a.m.

By appointment at my request, I received in my private office Brother Leland B. Flint.  Together we talked over a special plan for financing the vast building program for the Church.  I told Brother Flint that I should like him to meet with the First Presidency and certain members of the Twelve in the office of the First Presidency this afternoon and present this financial plan.  He agreed to be at the meeting at 2:30 p.m.

2:30 p.m.

Important Meeting Regarding Plan for Financing the Vast Building Program for the Church.  — At this hour, I called a special meeting of my counselors – Presidents Henry D. Moyle and Hugh B. Brown – President Joseph Fielding Smith, Elder Harold B. Lee, Elder Marion G. Romney; Leland B. Flint of Zion’s First National Bank, and Graham H. Doxey, Manager of Zion’s Securities Corporation, for the purpose of explaining to these Brethren a plan which was first presented to me by Leland B. Flint, relating to the financing of the buildings that are already contemplated by the Church — for example, the Kennecott Copper Building; the New York Building, which includes Mission headquarters, Stake Center, and Apartments; the Church Office Block buildings, and underground parking facilities, etc.  The plan presented will enable us to obtain the finances we need without interfering with the regular income and expenditures of the Church which will continue to be used for the erection of chapels, temples, etc.

I asked these Brethren to listen to this financial plan for the Church, so that they would be well acquainted with it pending any further changes in the leadership of the Church which may occur.

When Mr. Leland B. Flint reported that the First National Bank of New York would offer an open credit to the Zion’s Securities Corporation of twenty million dollars, to be handled through the Zion’s First National Bank, all those present at this meeting were delighted and unanimously accepted that plan in preference to the plan heretofore suggested of issuing bonds.

These presiding Brethren now share the responsibility as outlined for the financing of our present enormous building program.  This plan was later presented to all the Brethren at Council Meeting held May 31, 1962.”

Thurs., 19 July 1962:

“8:00 – 8:30 a.m.

Met by appointment Brother Graham H. Doxey of Zion’s Securities Corporation.  Items discussed with him were:

1)  Z.C.M.I. Lease — I said that it should be reconsidered.

2)  Brother Doxey said he would like to take his wife to Alaska — will return August 6.

3)  I suggested to him that we should like the expenditures now carried on by the Building Committee and other departments of the Church reduced to a minimum, and that the Church reserves should be increased — first, by the sale of non-producing properties, which may be sold at a great profit to the Church — these should be sold and the reserves of the Church replenished.  I suggested that he consult with Brother Mendenhall on some of these properties in California, after which he is to bring me a list of the properties that are now at a point where they may be sold at a profit to the Church.  (See July 17 for statement at First Presidency’s Meeting and Expenditure Meeting)  (see also report of Graham H. Doxey following)

Fri., 20 July 1962:

“9:05 a.m.

Brother George Jarvis of the Financial Department came into the meeting and read his report of July 19, 1962, on the status of the cash and other liquid reserves of the Church, of the non-budget income, and the non-budget assets, ‘the Church program assets,’ investment stocks and loans to Church businesses.  The latter item he amplified as relates to the Florida and Georgia ranches.  He also stated that the deposits in Canadian banks remain.  Deposits in South Africa may be increased, he said, to take care of building projects approved.  The buildings proposed for the South African Mission were briefly reviewed.  I said that there was no urgency so far as South Africa is concerned.

I said I had already reported that the expenditures of the Building Committee should be reduced to a minimum, and every effort should be put forth to increase our reserves.  I said I had told the chairman of Zions Securities Corporation to consult with Brother Mendenhall with a view to recommending disposing of all surplus properties and bringing any increase into the reserves.  That is the instruction for the next month or so.  That should be done before conference.  I also mentioned that we have several million dollars worth of property in Florida, and I think we should dispose of any wisely because the value is there.  I said that I think we should have under consideration the sale of some of that valuable property in Florida, that it is worth millions, and somebody should be looking intensely and intelligently upon the desire of Cape Canaveral to get some of our property there, that we should dispose of it if they want it.  That will add millions to our reserves.  I said that there is a feeling, unfounded but abroad, that the Mormon Church is holding property notwithstanding the desire of the government to obtain some of that at Cape Canaveral.  I said if they want it, we shall sell it; we have reached the point in that investment where we should stop expenditures and bring in some sales and that will make a change in this.

Brother Jarvis mentioned briefly and reviewed the selling of some government securities at an opportune time.  I said that was all right and that it was a good move.

Brother Jarvis also reviewed briefly bank deposits bearing interest.  He said at Walker Bank there is a quarter of a million dollars bearing no interest, and two or three hundred thousand dollars bearing 4% interest.  He said he had raised the question about the deposit bearing no interest, and has been told to leave it there.  He said that until two years ago, we had many bank accounts not drawing interest, but at the request of the First Presidency most of them had been changed.  Such a letter had not gone to Walker Bank asking them to change it, but we did start building up our savings account with them.  Brother Jarvis said he thought it was $400,000.00 we have.

Brother Jarvis explained that four and a half-million dollars are on deposit in the National City Bank of New York, and $500,000.00 is the working balance in the checking account.  It does not draw interest, but four million dollars does.  He said the National City Bank has been of great service to the Church in foreign countries, saying ‘I came across that in a number of places in Europe.  For example, in Switzerland, the National City Bank assured a large Swiss bank that they would stand behind us in any amount.’

Brother Jarvis explained how the computer runs off the balance sheets after the data has been put into it.

I commented that if it gets in it doesn’t take much time to get it out, but it takes time to put it in.

I expressed thanks for the presentation and stated that we would be governed accordingly.  President Brown asked if Brother Jarvis would bring such a report to the First Presidency each month, and Brother Jarvis said he would.  I said that I would also appreciate that.

Wed., 15 Aug., 1962:

(3) Church Buildings — Proposed Plan for on Block North of the Temple Block 

I referred to the sketch plan submitted some time ago proposing buildings for the block north of the Temple Block, including parking levels and a commerical shopping center and the gymnasium.  I said that the use of the block had been suggested when it was decided that the auditorium would not be built on that block but on the block west of the Temple Square Hotel.  President Moyle described the general plan proposed for the North Temple-First North-Main Street-West Temple block, and said that the proposal at the time it was presented was to be kept quiet until it was fully developed and approved. I said that announcement can be given to the Twelve that the auditorium will not be built on that block. I said that the matter of the location of the Genealogical Building can also be presented to the Twelve at the meet ing tomorrow.

Thur., 13 Sep., 1962:

(3)_Missionaries – Payment of Tithing by Labor Missionaries

We considered a letter from the Hamilton Stake Presidency relating to the question as to the payment of tithing by New Zealand members who receive compensation or allowance of labor missionaries on the American salary scale. The letter stated that 18 pounds a week paid to New Zealand workers is a good wage by standards there, and that men working at their trades would not usually earn more. The case of one who had been a labor missionary and received 18 pounds and became a worker at the college at the same salary was recited, and the question raised as to whether or not he should pay tithing on the same salary.

I said a man called from here is in a different catagory; his position is

different than a man serving from New Zealand. The rule applicable to American labor missionaries should not apply to a New Zealand man. The American usually leaves a position of several thousand dollars a year, and should not have to pay tithing on the subsistence wage he gets; but the man in New Zealand who is employed at an equivalent of a regular salary he would get in New Zealand from other employment, should pay his tithing. I instructed that a letter be written to that effect, with a copy to Brother Mendenhall of the Building Committee.

Fri., 29 Mar. 1963:

“9:00 a.m.

Went into the regular meeting of the First Presidency.  President Moyle was absent in London.

Building Assessments – Borrowing to Meet

I then said that I think this is a point that should be carefully considered, that we have again received a complaint where a bishop was assessing the members of the ward to meet a budget, and implied in this case that they borrow the money to pay the assessment.  That should not be done.  I said that I think it would be a good thing if we mention it again in ‘The Messenger’ that no bishop should ever imply let alone request, that the people borrow the money to pay these assessments.  Bishop Vandenberg said they are arranging to put something in the ‘Messenger’.  (see copy of ‘The Messenger’, May, 1963, following.)

I said in regard to this matter they are purchasing property which is purchased by the members of the Ward.  They will produce enough to pay the budget, and that I think if they produce a little more, and we not have to pay taxes on it, it seems to me the Bishops should produce enough to pay for the budget and be permitted to save a little at least to apply on the general budget.  Some of them are willing to go to any extent, but our wards should be self-supporting.

Bishop Vandenberg said some wards like to go into these projects to raise funds, and then we get into commercial aspects.  Bishop Vandenberg said commodities raised on the welfare projects should not be sold to the market, and that we must avoid going into the market.  I inquired as to whether the bishops have something to give to the members of the ward, and Bishop Vandenberg said they would give it some thought.

Thurs., 25 Apr. 1963:

“8:45 to 9:45 a.m.

Meeting of the First Presidency was held.  President Brown is convalescing at home.

Brussels – Property for Mission Headquarters

We first met with Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall of the Building Committee who took up the matter of purchasing a building in Brussels for the headquarters of a new mission.  President Mark E. Petersen came from London to see the property.  The price is $82,000 including furnishings and carpeting.  With a tax of $8.200, and $5,000 an estimated cost of remodeling, would bring the total cost to $95,200.  President Petersen recommends that it be purchased.

I commented that the mission homes are costing us a great deal of money to maintain according to the 1962 report.

However, I said that if Brother Petersen and Brother Biesinger approve, having gone over the property, and if they are united, there is nothing else to do but to take it.  I said we cannot sit here and make any other judgment, so we had better take it.  Brother Mendenhall will get the message to them so they can negotiate accordingly on this.

Brother Mendenhall read a letter from President Mark E. Petersen, of the West European Mission, sent to him by the Missionary Committee, in the contents of which that Committee concurred.  Enclosed with the letter was a list of furnishings ordered for the French Mission home.  President Petersen said he wished he could feel good about the expenditures, but that he could not.  He said he would not furnish his own home in such luxury, nor would the Mission Presidents furnish their own homes as such, because they could not afford it.  He said some of the mission homes on the continent, and in England, have taken his breath away.  He said that when the people look at these furnishings, they must think that their tithing supports such luxury.  He said the people receive only $30 a week, and the women come to the Church with holes in their stockings, and the children are poorly clad.  The letter included comments upon the dining room furniture and other costs.

Brother Mendenhall said that the Building Committee would like to be relieved of the responsibility for furnishing these mission homes, and that they had all the mission homes to do over in the whole European area.  Said that they take a list of furnishings made out to a similar list which has been approved for furnishings of mission homes; that they use the prices which have been approved for years in the furnishing of the mission homes in the United States, and that they thought these were the average type of furnishings for the living space for the mission presidents.  The mission presidents indicate what they want, and that is the only way they can satisfy them without conflict.  Said that the Building Committee has stayed within the standards.

I said that what President Petersen says must be true; that they are extravagant.

President Moyle then commented upon the people received by the mission presidents in the mission homes; the public officials, prominent people, governors, and mayors of cities.  He also mentioned the hard wear and tear upon mission property by missionaries, and many others who come into the home, and said the quality of the furnishings must be of good grade.  He said that cheap furniture was purchased for the Paris mission home, but it did not hold up and had to be replaced.

It was suggested that President and Sister Petersen be asked to take the responsibility for furnishing the Belgium-French mission home as they think it should be furnished.  I said I think this is a good idea, and that if he approves of the Belgium house he would want to furnish it.

Brother Mendenhall said that he told Brother Biesinger before he left Salt Lake that he felt that we ought not to have anything to do with these mission homes, even to the picking of them, unless the European and West European Mission Presidents directed them to locate something and that they ought to do nothing with it unless directed.” 

Wed., 1 May 1963:

“8:45 a.m.

Went into the meeting of the First Presidency.  President Hugh B. Brown was not present, he being ill at home.

By appointment, Wendell B. Mendenhall, Howard Dunn, Floyd M. Holdaway, and H. Dyke Walton of the Church Building Committee came into the meeting.

Brother Mendenhall at first called my attention to the special charts which had been prepared so the First Presidency can visualize the presentation the Building Committee desired to make on the requests for the Church Building Missionary Program.  He also explained and distributed small charts prepared on letter size paper being a reproduction of the larger charts.  I expressed satisfaction with the small charts provided for each member of the First Presidency.

Brother Mendenhall asked Brother Holdaway to present and explain the charts which had been prepared by the Building Committee showing the Church Labor Missionary Program.  Brother Mendenhall read the report and explanatory matter which accompanied the charts.

President Moyle commented that wherever the labor missionary plan is to be used the ratio of contribution would be 60-40 in stakes as well as in missions.

Brother Mendenhall reviewed the benefits of the labor missionary plan and said that to have the benefits of the plan the procedures must be adhered to.  The people who want this think they can adapt themselves to it and are willing to do it.  They don’t want to worry about plans and specifications and furnishings.  They just want it done and to be relieved of it.  This is what is being done.

I asked what is the difference between applying the labor system to the stakes and the missions.  Brother Mendenhall replied it is doing just exactly what we are presently doing.  I said that I do not see why we cannot do this, and President Moyle concurred.

Brother Mendenhall said one question should be brought up.  There are some areas where young men can be called into this program.  The stakes want to be in the mission program.  We have several letters in which the Stake Presidents recommend that young men be called into the labor missionary program rather than into the proselyting program.  They are furnishing young men into the program to go anywhere to work just as though they would be furnishing proselyting missionaries to go into the missions.  As more people come into this, there will be more benefits seen, just as sure as the world it will be developing the people so much faster and if we can use a 60-40 ratio to build the missions up this would mean putting the missions in the United States on a 60-40 basis and the stakes on a a 60-40 basis.

One thing we should point out which we have not mentioned:  that the ratio for maintenance should be changed anyway.  At the first of next year 1964 the maintenance should be 60-40 across the board for missions and for stakes rather than for 70-30.  Maintenance is costing around four million and the people are not cognizant of the necessity to take care of the property.  It will not be long before the maintenance and the building will be as much as the budget for building.  The people need to have a higher participation in this so they will be more diligent in participating in maintaining the buildings.  That will give them 10% more participation in maintaining the buildings.  This is what we recommend.

Tues., 23 July 1963:

“Building Committee – Report on Construction of Chapels in Europe

Report of Progress, etc.

Elder Wendell B. Mendenhall came into the meeting, and reported that 75 to 80 chapels are under construction in Europe.  In the next three months 142 will be completed in Europe, including those in Great Britain.  A survey has been made and the results are in the Building Committee’s office relating to all buildings approved by original Mission Presidents, and others.  The number will be cut considerably in 1964.  In Great Britain the need will be for 30 chapels and no more.  There will be a total of 70 all over Europe, and then the Building Committee will be caught up on its schedule and can be put on a regular basis thereafter.  The buildings will permit accommodations for two and three branches.  Next year this will be true in South America as it is now true in the South Pacific building area.  By 1965 Europe can go on a 70-30 ratio.  The development of local young men with building skills will be very helpful.  It is gratifying to see what happens when they see how the local people are responding.  Brother Davis, Church auditor, has audited the Building Committee accounts and Brother Mendenhall reports all accounts in balance, the money properly expended and accounted for.  Seventy-five per cent of project accounts and individual projects are broken down so there can be full project accounting by the end of the year.  This month all projects under construction will have a full breakdown of accounts in all ways.

The Church Building Missionary Conference in Great Britain was wonderful!  President Mark E. Petersen and Mission Presidents and Stake Presidents attended.  The meeting was most inspirational!  More than ninety young men bore their testimonies in the eight-hour meeting.  One young man, a member of nine months, said he was dismissed by his father and thrown out of the house.  He has since returned to his home and baptized six brothers and three sisters and his mother and father.

The Merthyr-Tydfil job will be finished on time — August 25.  The work is being done on two and a half shifts a day totalling twenty hours.  The women of the branch have supported the project very well in providing meals.  Reservation arrangements should be made for people attending the dedication.  I said arrangements have been completed.

In the United States the budget was $54,300,000 for the building committee.  This was cut $11,700.  The Building Committee report to the First Presidency and to the Committee on Expenditures now that there is a backlog of $13,500, $8,775 being the Church’s share.  Nine million seven hundred fifty thousand dollars are needed now to carry on the projects under construction, 23 in July, 29 in August, 18 in September, and 10 in October.  In addition, there are 29 projects not completed within the office, 73 more are in the office.  A hundred projects are not going into construction.  Nine million seven hundred fifty thousand dollars are needed to complete the projects promised.  Brother Mendenhall said they want to have enough money to see the maintenance jobs through.  Brother Mendenhall said if they can get out from under this backlog they will be in good shape because they will be completely caught up in all ways.  In another year the building program will level off.  In all the European areas it is already levelling off.  It will level off in the United States and Canada because if we can catch up with this backlog we will keep caught up with the costs.  Brother Mendenhall said he has a list of projects that need to go into construction this year and it is unpredictable when they will have their money ready.  He said if there would be some concerted effort whereby they could pick these up then there would be a real predictability on an annual basis as to where they are going.  Brother Mendenhall recommended budget control of purchases of real estate.  He said real estate purchases should be budgeted as the buildings are.

Brother Mendenhall said he thought they could get by with a $9,000,000 appropriation.  I said the only way to get it is to pay the money.

Brother Mendenhall explained how waiting for favorable weather conditions before starting to put in foundations delays the projects and raising funds brings delays and this creates a backlog which comes upon the Building Committee all at once.  If the backlog can be removed and a smooth predictable budget can be established and maintained, the program can be controlled.”

Thurs., 13 Feb. 1964:

10:00 to 12:00 Noon

Was engaged in the meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve in the Salt Lake Temple.  Some of the matters discussed were:

Labor Missionaries – Calling is not Equal to that of Regular Missionary — Name to be Changed to Church Volunteer Builders, Supervisors to pay Tithing on Allowance

Elder LeGrand Richards mentioned that while visiting the Granger North Stake Conference last Saturday and Sunday the question had been asked whether or not the calling of labor missionaries is equivalent in credit to the missionary and his family as the calling of a missionary to serve in the proselyting field.  It was indicated that there is in the stake a number of young men who could well have gone on proselyting missions, but who have been called to serve as labor missionaries; that these labor missionaries are being called at the age of 18, and there are two of them now serving at the age of 17.  Elder Richards inquired as to what the policy is so that the brethren would be prepared to instruct stake presidencies and others on this question.

I answered that if a young man goes on a labor mission, that means participating in the erection of a meetinghouse, and that that is not equal to a regular mission.  In this connection I also mentioned that labor missionaries are not to be set apart by the members of the General Authorities, although it is in order to set apart building supervisors.

Elder Hinckley thought that the matter needed further clarification in the minds of the Bishops; that there are cases where the young man, the family and the Bishop all feel satisfied that one who serves as a labor missionary is discharging the missionary responsibility.

Elder Lee mentioned another element in the matter, namely, that in cases where these building supervisors have been called to serve as stake presidents or Bishops in foreign lands, the records indicate that they have paid no tithing, and yet their allowance is sometimes greater than the income of other officers of the stake where they serve.  Elder Lee said when he had asked them what about their tithing record they had said that they were exempt, that they were not supposed to pay tithing, and yet they were getting more money for the same labor than a man in his own country would receive.

I said that these men should pay tithing on their income or allowance.

Another question raised in relation to the labor missionary program was that in some cases a farewell is being given to the labor missionary when he goes into this building service, which farewell is held in the sacrament meeting, and then again when he returns, he makes his report in the sacrament service just as the proselyting missionary does.

I said that a labor missionary is just making a contribution of his labor, and that where this program is carried out, the branch should have credit for what the labor missionary does.  I said that has nothing whatever to do with missionary work, where the missionary pays his own expenses, or his parents or someone else does.  Labor missionaries are not to suggest how the house should be built or where it should be built.  They build the house, and the local people themselves, Presidents of Stakes and Bishops of Wards, and the Brethren of the General Authorities, decide these things.  I said it is the duty of Brother Mendenhall and those serving under him to build the houses according to the determination of the brethren.

Referring to the matter of setting apart these labor missionaries, I said that this should be done by local people except in the case of building supervisors.

The suggestion was made that some other designation be given to these labor missionaries.  After some discussion of the matter, it became the sentiment of the Council that the designation be changed to Church Volunteer Builders, and that the supervisors be called Church Building Supervisors.  It was also the sentiment of the Council that any money paid to these Supervisors should be tithed and paid to the local Bishops.

Wed., 19 Feb. 1964:

“8:45 to 9:55 a.m.

Went into the office of the First Presidency where we held the regular meeting of the First Presidency.  President Brown was absent, being indisposed.

Among the many items we considered were the following:

Church Volunteer Building Program

I approved a letter prepared by President Tanner addressed to presidents of stakes and missions explaining the Church Volunteer Building Program.  (See Diary of March 12, 1964)

Wednesday, March 4, 1964



Present:  Presidents David O. McKay and N. Eldon Tanner.  President Hugh B. Brown absent, being indisposed.

Use Proposed for McCormack Property North Main Street Opposite New Deseret Gymnasium

President Tanner reviewed information he had obtained from Graham Doxey of  Zions Securities about the use proposed for the McCormack property on First North opposite the new Deseret Gymnasium building to the north as follows:  Mr. Williamson, architect of Wisconsin and his son-in-law Dr. Harrison of Pocatello had prepared a plan for a building on this property after obtaining from Zions Securities a lease for 55 years.  Brother Doxey explained that $525,000 had been paid for the property and negotiations were carried on with Mr. Williamson by Brother Doxey of Zions Securities to obtain a 4% return on $500,000 for the first period of the lease and six percent thereafter.  The lease is net.  Zions Securities board of directors approved the lease and the granting of the option which expired April 15th this year.   Mr. Williamson said he had opportunity to mention the project briefly to President McKay in the hotel.  Brother Doxey reviewed the proposal for President McKay and a subsequent meeting of the Board of Directors of Zions Securities approved negotiations, the option and the lease.  The proposal as to the building of the apartment houses on the property and the deal is firm.  President McKay said the it is finished. 

Calgary Stake Inquiry about Voice in Selection of Musical Instruments for New Building

President Tanner reviewed a letter of President Charles Ursenbach of Calgary Stake relating to some Church department other than the Building Committee having voice in the selection of musical instruments for new buildings.  President Tanner explained that the Expenditures Committee has assembled a book of policies which the Building Committee follows to establish its practices and procedures in such matters, and that some of these policies are not policies of the General Authorities of the Church.  He suggested an organization having representation of the First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve and the Presiding Bishopric which can establish policies for the Church and that policies of Building Committee be examined in the light of policies established by the General Authorities of the Church.  He said policies should not be made by the Expenditures Committee but by the General Authorities.  President McKay said you are absolutely right.  It is time the Building Committee conformed to that policy.  President McKay asked President Tanner to follow up a study of the policies to which he referred.

Thur., 5 Mar., 1964:

President Tanner referred to the suggestion that he had offered yesterday relating to setting up a council consisting of a representative or representatives of the First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve and the Presiding Bishopric, to establish policies of the Church relating to building, and that this council rather than the Expenditures Committee establish policies.  I said that I agree with this; that such a representative council be appointed, and I said the subject will be held for consideration and action until after Conference.

Tues., 10 Mar., 1964:

It was decided to send a letter to Presidents of Stakes notifying them of the discontinuance of the use of the term “missionary” in the designation of the Church building program, and those who participate in it.  The program is to be called the “Church Volunteer Building Program,” and those participating in the program, “Church Volunteer Builders.”

Thurs., 12 Mar. 1964:

“8:35 a.m.

Attended the meeting of the First Presidency.  We discussed the following matters:

Building Committee’s Letter Regarding Change of ‘Labor Missionary to Volunteer Builder’

President Brown presented a letter signed by Brother Biesinger, Brother Dyke Walton, Brother Holdaway of the Building Committee reviewing the use of the term ‘Labor Missionary’ and its being a ‘key’ word in the planning and programming of the building committee.  I asked that the letter be read, after which I directed that the statement of the Brethren be presented to the Council today.  I concurred in the suggestion of President Brown that the ‘missionary’ designation be retained and said, ‘stay with the ‘labor missionary’ term.’

Later today in Council Meeting I referred the Brethren to the decision of the Council in meeting of February 13, 1964, that brethren called to serve in the Church Building Program be designated as Church Volunteer Builders instead of Labor Missionaries.

The letter written by George R. Biesinger, H. Dyke Walton, and F.M. Holdaway of the Church Building Committee was read to the Council, wherein they state that the term ‘missionary’ has been the key word to create response to this program.  In their letter these brethren set forth in some detail the history of the missionary Building program in New Zealand and elsewhere, and state that in view of the background of the program and its basic involvement with the term ‘missionary’, they think it would be very adversely affected by dropping the identification term ‘missionary’.

A rather lengthy discussion ensued regarding this matter indicating a number of angles pertaining to the question.  Elder Lee mentioned that this is not the first era when we have had volunteer building workers who have served in the Church construction program, although it is the first time that its scope has been world-wide, and mentioned his own experience when he was a Stake President.

Elder Romney said that in the mission field there is a doubt in the minds of many people about the authority of the Mission President and that of the Building Supervisor.  He mentioned that in Church government, people do not respond very much except to the leadership that comes down through the ecclesiastical organization — the Presidency of the Church and the Presidents of the Missions — and if this were called a voluntary building program, there would not be any doubt as to who is in charge of the mission, the Mission President or the Building Supervisor.  He said he thought it would help in the understanding of Church government if this were not a missionary labor program.

Elder Hinckley mentioned that Colonel Clay, the State Selective Service Director, had talked with him a day or two ago and read a letter from Brother Biesinger of the Building Committee, in which Brother Biesinger had requested draft deferments for some of these labor missionaries.  The Colonel had said that he did not know what to do, that he wanted to work with the Church on its program, but that these young men are not eligible for ministerial classification, that in order for one to qualify for 4-D classification, he must be engaged exclusively in missionary service.  He said that the only way of taking care of such a deferment now would be to have the Secretary of Labor declare this program to be an apprenticeship training program and under those circumstances he could perhaps be given an occupational deferment for a time.  Elder Hinckley said that this emphasized in his mind the need to bring about a differentiation between these two classes of Church volunteers, the regular proselyting missionaries and these Church Builders.

Some discussion was had regarding the use of the word ‘volunteer’ in referring to these workers, the thought being expressed that in most cases they do not volunteer their services, but are called to the program.  The brethren expressed the thought that the word ‘volunteer’ seemed to offend the Building Committee people, that in most cases they do not volunteer services, but receive a call to the Building Program.  Elder Hunter commented that we have volunteer workers for the Heart Fund, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, and other organizations, that these people do not volunteer their services, but are appointed and their services given voluntarily.  Elder Lee concurred in Brother Hunter’s explanation of the meaning of the word ‘volunteer’, indicating that they are asked to serve and that they give their service voluntarily.

Elder Hinckley said that there was another element in the matter that was worthy of consideration; namely, that when he was in the San Jose Stake recently, he learned that the Labor Trades Council there had raised objection to these young men going in and taking over building jobs.  He said that he could see the wisdom of Brother Biesinger’s plea for something in the designation which indicates that these are called workers who serve the Church without compensation, on a basis where they would not be strictly in competition with union craftsmen.

Elder Hinckley said he was concerned about three things in the use of the word ‘missionary’:  1) That there are young men in the Church who are given to understand that they satisfy the responsibility of serving as missionaries when they serve in this capacity; 2) We have two sets of missionaries in the world who live under two sets of rules, that the proselyting missionaries are under strict discipline with reference to their social life, whereas the other group are permitted to go to dances and engage in other activities; 3) He said he was very much concerned about the effort on the part of the Building Committee to establish a deferment basis on the principle that these young men are missionaries.

Elder Evans said it would be interesting to know how many of these 1200 young men who are out serving as builders, if they had not had this alternative, might have gone out as full-time missionaries doing proselyting work in the world.

After discussing this matter from all angles, Elder Romney moved that we drop the word ‘volunteer’ and that these building people be designated as ‘Church Builders’, and be called into the Church Building Service.  Motion was seconded by President Smith and unanimously approved.

In this connection, Elder Hinckley said that he would like it to become the sense of this body that the Building Committee be advised not to request deferred Selective Service for these young men.  (See letter from Building Committee and copy of letter sent to all Stake Presidents advising them of this action following.)

Thursday, March 12, 1964

March 11, 1964

President David O. McKay

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear President McKay:

We appreciated the opportunity to meet with you and President Tanner yesterday and explain our views regarding the dropping of the term ‘Missionary’ from the Church Building Missionary Program and in response to your invitation, submit our observations.

From the very beginning of the Building Program, the term ‘Missionary’ has been the key word to create response from the membership.  At the inception of the present Building Missionary Program in New Zealand, it was almost impossible to hire labor because of the abundance of good-paying jobs.  People were not interested in ‘just working’ for the Church.  When it was proposed that missionaries be called from New Zealand to labor on the construction of their buildings, and that the local people support the missionaries, the proposal was enthusiastically received.  You observed at first hand the many thousands of young men and their supervisors who served in the program in New Zealand and the South Pacific.  All of these wonderful people felt that they were serving missions and helping to build the Kingdom.  We feel that few of these people would have served if they had felt they were just volunteers.  As missionaries, these boys received religious education every day; as missionaries they received training in the trades and as missionaries their testimonies were greatly strengthened and their knowledge of the Gospel increased.  This Program was known as the Labor Missionary Program and the key word was ‘Missionary’.

On May 1st and 2nd, 1963, the present Church Building Missionary Program for the United States and Canada was presented to and approved by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve.  The Committee on Expenditures has now approved 146 stakes and 13 missions in the United States and Canada for participation in the Church Building Missionary Program.  Already, in most of these stakes and missions, and in accordance with your instructions, the Church Building Committee has presented the full program, first to the leadership and then to the membership for their consideration, acceptance or rejection.  In these presentations, the missionary service aspects of the program have been stressed.  This phase of the program has been enthusiastically and thankfully received by the leaders and membership.  They have been told that the Church Building Missionary Program has been authorized by the Prophet of God and is the result of inspiration.  We feel that to downgrade the program by elimination of the ‘Missionary’ aspect, would create doubt in the minds of those who have already heard the program wherein the missionary values have been so strongly emphasized.

We now have over 350 men and their families in the field who have been called as Church Building Missionary Supervisors and who are now building the Kingdom feeling that they are missionaries.  These men have all been called by the First Presidency and have been set apart to this calling by a General Authority.  (See the attached letter.)  At the present time, we have approximately 1200 young Church Building Missionaries who have been called by their Stake and Mission Presidents to serve as missionaries in building the Kingdom.  All who are serving in the Church Building Missionary Program regard their call as a sacred mission.  We feel that those who are presently in the program will be deeply hurt and disillusioned if a public announcement is made that they are no longer to be considered as missionaries.

The Church’s indoctrination program for the Aaronic Priesthood is slanted at preparing young men to fill a mission.  Because of physical or financial handicaps, many young men do not have an opportunity or desire to serve a proselyting mission.  A call as a Church Building Missionary enables them and their families to feel that they are a vital part of the Lord’s work and, as demonstrated in New Zealand, off-times prepares them to later serve as proselyting missionaries.  Many stake presidents have said this is the finest aspect of the program and already, in the United States and Canada, the Church Building Missionary Program has provided a way to assist many young men who might otherwise fall away from the Church.

Some of our supervisory personnel require financial assistance in order to serve as missionaries.  The amount of assistance in addition to their housing varies with the individual; some serve without any sustenance; others serve with $100-200 per month; a few with large families have been given as much as $300 per month.  This is a small amount to assist a man who has had to close down his business or leave his job, sell or rent his home and to uproot his family from their familiar surroundings.  We feel that many would not perform this service just as a job or just as volunteers, but do respond when asked to serve as missionaries.  As with some Mission Presidents, the financial assistance provided makes it possible for many fine, faithful, devoted Latter-Day Saints to accept these missionary calls and perform this most needed service.  Within the next 90 days, we will need 60 building supervisors for the Church Building Missionary Projects.  The task of finding this number of qualified, competent men seems almost impossible if we must recruit their services on a non-missionary basis.  Similarly, the obtaining of young men will be much more difficult.

In view of the above background of the Program and its basic involvement with the term ‘Missionary’, we feel the program would be very adversely affected by dropping the identification term ‘Missionary’.  We feel that we can speak for the entire Church Building Committee and strongly recommend that in order for the program to maintain the prestige and stature necessary for success, that the image of a ‘Missionary’ building the Kingdom must be maintained in the minds and lives of the people who are associated with the program in any way.

If we can be of any further assistance in this matter, please contact us.

Sincerely your brethren,

The Church Building Committee

George R. Biesinger

H. Dyke Walton

F.M. Holdaway


cc: President Tanner

     G. Biesinger

     F. Holdaway

     D. Walton

Thursday, March 12, 1964

February 7, 1964

Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Gale

105 Banner View Drive

Grass Valley, California

Dear Brother and Sister Gale:

Elder Wendell B. Mendenhall, who, as chairman of the Church Building Committee acting under our appointment as advisor and consultant in an extensive Church building missionary program now in progress in the stakes and missions of the Church, has recommended you for special labors incident to this Church building missionary program to labor in Tonga.  We understand that you have expressed your willingness to accept a call for this service.  Your family will accompany you.

We therefore call you and your wife to this service and extend to you in advance our sincere appreciation for your willingness to serve.  You will labor under the direction of the area construction supervisor, who will give you specific assignments for your labors and make provision for your housing while you are so engaged.  The church will provide transportation for you and your family to and from your field of labor, and also arrange for a limited and stipulated expense allowance while you are engaged in these building activities.

It is contemplated that you may have some spare time outside this special mission to devote to missionary proselyting work and other Church activities.  In the event you do, please ask the building supervisor to notify the stake or mission president, and of course whatever missionary work you are able to do will be under the direction of the stake or mission president, it being understood, however, that your primary assignment is to render service under direction of the Church building missionary area supervisor.

If you will call on our secretary, Brother Joseph Anderson, at Church headquarters, arrangements will be made for you to be set apart by one of the General Authorities.

Please be assured that you have our confidence, our commendation, and blessing in this important undertaking for the advancement of our Father’s kingdom in the part of the world to which you are to go.  We promise you a great rewarding satisfaction for your faithful labors.

Sincerely yours,

The First Presidency


cc: Doris Taggart

Thursday, March 12, 1964

March 25, 1964



Dear Brethren:

The Church Building Program is now functioning in many stakes and missions in the United States and Canada where it is enjoying a rapid growth and is being well received.  There may be several young men in your stake or mission who could well be called to serve in the areas following this program.

This program is of great spiritual significance and will affect the lives of all those who are called into such service.  It requires the calling of young men to assist in building houses of worship.  The stake or mission president in the stakes or missions building under this program should encourage the local membership to join with the Church Builders in producing an all-out labor contribution.

The Church Building Supervisor and the skilled tradesmen who work with him are called under the direction of the First Presidency.  The young men called as Church Builders, plus the all-out effort of the local membership, combine their efforts to supply the labor to build the buildings.  It is expected that the local membership in the stakes and missions where buildings are being built will furnish the housing and sustenance for the young men who are called to labor.  In the stakes and missions where buildings are not under construction in the Church Building Program, young men may be called as Church Builders to assist the stakes and missions in their own country who are building.  The young men will be properly housed and fed by the stakes or missions in which they are called to labor.  There are great spiritual and temporal benefits derived from this program, and it will substantially reduce the need for cash on the part of the local membership who are building under this program.

There are many young men throughout the Church who can effectively serve in the Church Building Program.  The calling of these young men must not run counter to or affect the potential source of proselyting missionaries.  There are some whose educational and social background would suggest that they could better serve as Church Builders.  There are some who, for one reason or another, are not interested in being called as proselyting missionaries, who should be considered for the building program.  There are some young men whose spiritual training has been neglected who, following a two-year call as Church Builders, will qualify as fine productive and advanced members of the priesthood to assist in their respective wards and stakes.  These young men will learn a trade, have an opportunity to find themselves, have an increased interest in spirituality, and during their tenure as Church Builders will have strengthened their individual testimonies.  Many of these young men in the above mentioned group after serving will be prepared and qualified to serve as proselyting missionaries and will have the desire to do so.

It is expected that these young men will qualify themselves morally and spiritually and will be fit to live in the homes of the people where they are called to labor and to represent the Church properly.

After making a survey of the young men in your stake or mission who could well serve as Church Builders, kindly notify the Church Building Committee of the names of those who are available and who you feel should be called to this service.   Upon receipt of these names by the Church Building Committee, they will send you the prepared interview forms and other pertinent information incident to the call.  If after a careful interview you feel that they are worthy and should be called, you are hereby authorized to call young men 18 years of age and older as Church Builders.  Dropouts from high school should be given individual consideration.

The Church Building Program will be tapping a great reservoir of strength in young manhood otherwise not effectively used, which will build them mentally, spiritually, and temporally, and at the same time build the Kingdom of God.  Please be assured that you have our confidence, commendation, and blessings in this important undertaking, and assure the young men that they are being called into the service for the advancement of our Father’s Kingdom.

Sincerely yours brethren,

David O. McKay

Hugh B. Brown

N. Eldon Tanner

The First Presidency

Fri., 13 Mar. 1964:

“8:35 a.m.

Building Committee – The Term ‘Church Builder’ to be Used Instead of ‘Labor Missionary’

By appointment Elder George Biesinger, representing the Building Department, came into the meeting of the First Presidency to receive instructions of the First Presidency on the subject of the letter which he had signed with Brothers Walton and Holdaway about changing the use of the term ‘labor missionary.’

I reviewed briefly with him the consideration given the subject by the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve, and the decision to change the designation of the Building Department workers in the building programs in stakes and missions, dropping the term ‘labor missionary’ because of its effect upon the proselyting missionary work.

Brother Biesinger reviewed factors which have favored the Building Department’s program through the ‘labor missionary era’ and the effect upon the workers now in the department if they come to feel that they are not ‘missionaries’ rendering a special service to the Church.

I read the letter of Call and instructions to workers called who have heretofore been called ‘labor missionaries’ and are now to be called ‘Church Builders’, and pointed out the few changes which will need to be made.

Brother Biesinger said, ‘we shall follow right down the line in carrying out your instructions.’

Brother Biesinger reported the substance of a telephone conversation he had had with Brother Mendenhall this morning.  He said Brother Mendenhall is meeting with the building personnel.  Finished buildings bring excellent spiritual feeling among the people.  In response to my inquiry, Brother Biesinger said he had been in the Building Department ‘labor missionary’ program for eleven years and four years as an employee in the Building Department, a total of fifteen years.  (See Diary of March 12 for letter from Brothers Biesinger, Walton and Holdaway, also letter to be sent out from First Presidency regarding this matter.)  (See newspaper clipping following.)

Fri., 20 Mar., 1964:

President Tanner’s recommendation that a building policy committee be organized of representatives of the First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve and the Presiding Bishopric and that this committee establish building policies rather than the Building Committee or the Expenditures Committee, I asked be reserved for consideration after Conference.

Sat., 16 May 1964:

“10:00 a.m.

New York World’s Fair Trip Cancelled

Called my secretary, Clare, at her home, and told her that the doctors had advised that I do not attempt the trip to New York to dedicate the Church’s exhibit at the New York World’s Fair.

11:00 a.m.

Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson reported conference yesterday with President Hugh B. Brown regarding his (President Brown’s) attitude on conference held with Wendell B. Mendenhall at the apartment yesterday.”

Fri., 22 May 1964:

“New Church Office Building

I then asked for information regarding the new Church Office Building to be erected on North Temple between State and Main, and asked how high the building would be.  Architect Young said that it has been reduced from thirty stories to twenty-five stories.  Brother Cannon Young’s son, Richard, came into the room at this time and presented some pictures of the grounds as they will appear after the garage has been completed, the grounds landscaped, and the new building erected.

I expressed the feeling that it is not necessary to have such a large building.  Architect Cannon Young said that if it were considered advisable, it would not be necessary to complete the upper stories; in other words, the frame work would be completed, but the upper stories would not be finished for occupancy.  He said they would run into serious problems if they endeavored now to reduce the number of floors, and the expense involved would be considerable.  He said that in planning the building the Temple has been the center of the entire concept and that a smaller building would not fit too well into the entire concept.  He thought it would be much more economical to complete the shell of the building rather than to reduce the number of floors.  Under such an arrangement the other floors could be finished later.

In connection with this matter, the Presiding Bishopric’s staff is making a study of the offices we are now occupying, taking into consideration the anticipated growth, and they will be prepared to give us a report as to the outcome of their project in the near future.  President Tanner mentioned that people are saying that if we go ahead with this building of the size indicated, and place our offices in it, there will be a lot of vacant space in other buildings.  Architect Cannon Young said that from an engineering standpoint, re-designing the building would cost considerable, our footings are already in, and we cannot build higher than the twenty-five stories because the footings would not stand a higher rise.

Friday, June 5, 1964

Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidency

Held Friday, June 5, 1964, at 7:30 A.M.

In accordance with previous appointment the First Presidency (Presidents David O. McKay and N. Eldon Tanner, President Brown was out of the city) met with the following brethren and gave consideration to the restoration of the wall around the temple grounds:  Richard L. Evans, Marion D. Hanks, Robert McKay, Wendell B. Mendenhall, Edward O. Anderson, Irvin T. Nelson, Cannon Young, and Thorpe B. Isaacson.

President N. Eldon Tanner offered the opening prayer.

President McKay reported that on May 13th he had a meeting with Brother Irvin T. Nelson at which time the principle matter of discussion was the urgent need for a master plan for the development of Temple Square.  He said the building program is being held up because of lack of plans, that there are several matters which should be correlated and worked out in detail.  It had been suggested that a committee be appointed, headed by President N. Eldon Tanner, and the following were suggested as members of the committee in addition:  Richard L. Evans, Robert McKay, Edward O. Anderson, George Cannon Young, Victor L. Brown and Irvin Nelson.  Marion D. Hanks now being home will be added to the committee, Brother Evans and his counselors to represent Temple Square.

The President said that a few months ago Brother Nelson had come to the First Presidency reporting that the wall around the temple grounds was being taken down.  President McKay went over there and found this was true, and he said to the men ‘You understand that you are to put this back.’  The President said this meeting was to bring all into harmony on this matter.’

Elder Mendenhall said that the wall is going back according to President McKay’s letter and that they would ask for an appropriation at the meeting next Tuesday to replace it in its original state.  He said it is going back from the west side of Temple Square north to the corner which surrounds the new Bureau of Information and goes east to the gate, and the it goes beyond the gate to the east until it comes to the annex.  The annex is faced with granite.  And on the east side of the annex the wall goes to the corner and then returns south to the present wrought iron gate, which is in the center.  He said they would have to replace about three sections.

Elder Evans mentioned newspaper reports, the latest being dated May 31st, in which it is stated that it has not been decided what will be done to replace the Temple Square wall which was torn down on the north half of the block to facilitate construction.  Elder Evans said they wondered who had released it and if it was still indefinite.  He also said that if it is the intention to replace it in the manner suggested by Brother Mendenhall that would not be in its original state.  He thought it should be restored in its original state; that if the temple annex becomes the wall it is not as it originally was.

It was mentioned by President Tanner that the Building Committee had obtained from President McKay permission to face the annex with granite and to let that be the wall of the grounds.  At that time President McKay authorized President Tanner to tell Brother Mendenhall or Brother Anderson to go ahead that way.  He said if there is any error it is because of the meeting that was had when this was presented.  The proposal by the Building Committee was that there be a recess of about two feet.

Brother Nelson said it did not seem consistent to him to face the north wall with granite and then to have the stucco wall the rest of the way around the block.

Cannon Young, the architect, said he had always thought the wall should be left intact, that his own feeling is that the wall should be replaced in its natural state and not lose the continuity.  Elder Young read to the brethren an excerpt from the Salt Lake Temple dedicatory prayer by President Woodruff, in which it is stated that there should be four entrances to the grounds and that it should be a place of peace and contemplation.

President McKay said the whole question is whether we want to preserve the temple block as a park or whether we want to preserve it as a sanctuary.  If we want to preserve it as a sanctuary the old wall must be restored as it was.

President McKay asked what the comparative cost would be between putting the old wall back as it was and the new improvements.  Brother Mendenhall said they would have to have $60,000 to put the old wall back without putting it in front of the 128 foot frontage of the annex on the north side.

Brother Anderson said that they were cautious in their building so that they could either restore the wall as it was or do this other thing, that is put this granite facing there.  He said the contract states that the wall is to be replaced as it was without any additional cost; there would be no extra cost in restoring the wall as it was as the original drawings show.  He said that, however, there are five bays of the wall to the south of the middle gate in front of the temple where the adobe is falling down and these walls should come down now and be replaced.

President McKay said the Chair would entertain a motion that the old wall of the temple block be restored as it was originally.  Robert McKay so moved, seconded by Cannon Young, and unanimously approved.

Brother Mendenhall said there was one other question which he desired answered.  He said that when they were directed to put the new opening in the wall that goes into the addition to the temple, changing the gate house on the east side, the First Presidency authorized the removal of the gate house to the north, which would take it directly into the new addition to the temple.  He said he had since heard the old gate house is not to come down.

Mention was made of the need for a master plan landscape lay out of the Square, that we need to know where walks are going, where the gate house will be and other items, so that every item will be related to the others.  It was mentioned that Elders Richard L. Evans, Irvin T. Nelson and Robert McKay had been appointed a committee to submit such a plan and that the committee were asked to meet with Architect Cannon Young and furnish a plan of it as it will appear.  President McKay said that committee would stand as appointed.

President McKay concluded the interview by saying that we have decided to restore the wall.

Elder Richard L. Evans at the President’s request offered the benediction.

Minutes by Joseph Anderson”

Wed., 10 June 1964:

“Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidency

Held Wednesday, June 10, 1964, at 9:30 A.M.

Appointment to Consider Building Committee Matters

President McKay set Thursday morning at 8 a.m. to hear other Building Committee matters which Brother Mendenhall desires to present to the First Presidency.

Tues., 16 Jun., 1964:

President Tanner read a proposal for the organization of a committee to take responsibility concerning construction and operation of the new office building.  A statement entitled “Designation of Responsibility Concerning Construction and Operation of New Office Building” was read, and I expressed approval of the proposal and said to President Tanner, “I think you should go on that Committee.”  As to Bishop Victor L. Brown representing the Presiding Bishopric on the Committee, I said, “He knows as much about it as anyone.”  President Tanner said “Then we will go ahead, and President Brown and I will go over this and report to you.”  I said that will be all right.

Wed., 15 July 1964:

“Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidency

Held Wednesday, July 15, 1964, at President McKay’s Home in Huntsville, Utah at 8 a.m.

Present:  Presidents David O. McKay and N. Eldon Tanner.  President Hugh B. Brown in Europe.

President McKay and President Tanner met with Wendell B. Mendenhall and David Lawrence McKay from 9:15 a.m. until 10:45 and discussed with them certain matters as follows:

Polynesian Village

Brother Mendenhall reported that the board of directors of the Polynesian Village had met in Hawaii, and that the Village is now well and properly organized and functioning as it should.  He reported that Mr. Holyoak, premier of New Zealand, and other dignitaries had visited the Village and all of them spoke very highly of the Village and its performance.

Brother Mendenhall explained that the organization had been operating at a loss all this year and that it was necessary for them now to borrow $150,000 to pay off their obligations and to carry on until October.  He said the company would be able to pay the interest on the money and all expenses and would make a profit of $141,000 during this year.

President Tanner questioned seriously the possibility of their being able to make any profit, but expressed the hope that they would be able to show that the organization had made its expenses for the year.

After talking to Lawrence McKay and by telephone to Howard Anderson, president of the California Mission who is a director of the Polynesian Village, President McKay gave his approval for the board to borrow $150,000 from Zions’ First National Bank.  The President said he felt that the Polynesian Village was doing good missionary work and providing employment for some of the students and bringing people to the area who would not otherwise come, and that we should continue with the program of the Village for the balance of the year, at which time we would take a very serious look at it and determine how to proceed from then on.

Budget for Church Buildings

Brother Mendenhall explained to President McKay that the Building Committee had used all the money budgeted for their use in 1964, and that there were approximately fifteen buildings being requested by wards or stakes or missions where the authorities in these particular units had understood that they could go forward with their buildings as their share of the money was available.  Brother Mendenhall estimated that this would required $2,500,000.  He reminded President McKay that when they budgeted for the year 1964 the Budget Committee had reduced their budget by approximately this amount, and that he was advised that if more money was needed he would have to make application directly to the First Presidency.

President McKay said that where the people had raised their money we should not hold up the building program, and he instructed Brother Mendenhall to give us full information regarding each building on which he would recommend that construction begin in 1964.  President McKay said that each case would be dealt with on its merits.

Building Program Information to be Furnished

Brother Mendenhall mentioned that he had prepared a recap of all pertinent information pertaining to the Building Program, such as the number of buildings that were being built, the money that was spent, the cost of the different buildings, the program under which each was built and other pertinent information, which he felt should be made available to the General Authorities.  He said that he had shown this to Elders Spencer W. Kimball and Marion G. Romney of the Council of the Twelve and that they questioned the advisability of making this information available to the General Authorities.

President McKay asked Brother Mendenhall to supply the members of the First Presidency with this information so that they could study it and decide to what extent it should be made available.

President McKay commended Brother Mendenhall on the fine work that he is doing and on his accomplishments in the interests of the Church.”

Tues., 29 Sep., 1964:

Church Financial Report – Cost of Building Program

President Tanner presented me with a copy of the Church financial report for the period ending August 31, with comments by George Y. Jarvis.  President Tanner mentioned in this connection that he had been urging for some time that we have up-to-date accounting on our building program, that the program is costing us $50,000 per month more than we anticipated, and an effort is being made to bring it down where it properly belongs.  President Tanner informed me that when the budget for 1965 is prepared for presentation this fall, it will be in such shape that we shall know where the money is coming from and how it is going to be spent.  In considering the Financial Department, I said that I think we should get acquainted with the men who are working in that department.  I said that I seldom meet these men and that I should like to meet them face to face.

Tues., 13 Oct. 1964:

“8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting in my apartment with President Nathan Eldon Tanner.  Some of the items considered were:

Building Committee – Thanksgiving Services Before Buildings are Dedicated

President Tanner reported that he had notified Wendell B. Mendenhall of the decision of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve that in the future we should discontinue to hold Thanksgiving services in each instance where a building is completed under the Church Building Program.  President Tanner said that Brother Mendenhall was very much concerned and mentioned that three actions had been taken which had a serious effect upon the building program, that first we had said that these building workers should not be given a farewell testimonial; secondly, we have told them that they are not missionaries; and now when they finish a building they cannot have a Thanksgiving service.  Brother Mendenhall had explained that the reason for these Thanksgiving services is that appreciation might be expressed to the men who worked on the buildings before they move to another job, and also to the saints who helped take care of the builders and those who have participated on the job.  President Tanner said he had explained to Brother Mendenhall certain objections to the Thanksgiving program; namely, that after the building is completed and the Thanksgiving service is held, the people lose interest and it is difficult to raise the money that is owing; second, that the dedication becomes an anti-climax; and third, there is the expense of sending representatives sometimes great distances to preside over these services.  President Tanner said he still thought it wise to discontinue these Thanksgiving services.  I said that we have already decided that matter.

In answer to President Tanner’s question as to whether there is any reason why the builders should not be given a farewell testimonial, I said that I think we need not hold such farewells.

Building Committee – Extravagant Building Operations

I referred to the report given by President Mark E. Petersen of the West European Mission regarding the expensive building program in Europe.  President Tanner said he had seen the report and there was one item that he wanted to explain to me; namely, that Brother Petersen’s figures gave the wrong impression in that he reports that the buildings are costing $25 to $35 a square foot, whereas in this item he has included the cost of the land and the cost of the furnishings.  He stated that the buildings are costing much more than they were estimated to cost, that in some cases the cost has amounted to as much as $125,000 more than the original estimate, but he wanted to clarify the item mentioned.  President Tanner said he thought there are two things that are badly needed in the Building Committee.  One is to improve and tighten up our accounting.  He said he had instructed Brother George Jarvis about two months ago to check three or four of these areas and place them on the same basis as the missions so that we may have a check on them all the time.

He said the other matter is that we had approved two or three months ago the transferring of the administration of the Pacific Board of Education to the Church Board of Education at the first of the year.  President Tanner reminded the President also that a letter had been written to the Church Board of Education asking that they make preparations to work with Brother Mendenhall and his board so that the schools in the Pacific can be taken over without friction or misunderstanding at the first of the year.

I mentioned that I have some concern as to how the school program in the Pacific will function under the Church Board of Education when building operations are in charge of the Building Committee.  I said that it would be necessary to watch the situation carefully because there would be two departments operating in that area.

Church Offices – New Building

President Tanner mentioned an interview that he had had with Ted Jacobsen and his brother of Jacobsen Construction Company, who had stated that they expect to have the auto garage in the rear of the administration building completed sometime in January, and that they would like to have the contract to build the new office building.  They explained that  their company is the largest construction company who are members of the Church in Utah, and that second only to Morrison-Knudsen Company; also that they have served the Church wherever they could and that so far as they know there had been no occasion to criticize their work in the past.  President Tanner had told Ted that as far as we are concerned we would not pay anyone a percentage of the cost except on this basis; namely, that we reach an estimate as to the cost of the building, which, as an illustration might be $25,000,000, the construction company to take 2 percent of that amount as a fixed fee which becomes the maximum, that if the building cost $23,000,000, they would receive 2 percent of $23,000,000, and if it cost $27,000,000 or more than $25,000,000, they would still receive only 2 percent of $25,000,000.  Brother Jacobsen said that they wanted to do it on a fixed fee of the kind mentioned and that is what they had in mind suggesting.  President Tanner said that he then told them that he realized that in constructing a building of that size there would be certain modifications and changes and they would have to be paid for them.  Ted said that the changes that would be made on a building of that size would be very slight; in other words, that there would not be more than three or four percent changes in the whole building, and that if we would let them build the building, they would agree with the Building Committee as to the estimated cost to be approved by the First Presidency and they would take 2 percent of that amount.

I said that we would receive protests from other builders if we were to enter into an arrangement of this kind with the Jacobsens, and thought that we should let the building out for bid.  President Tanner explained that he was satisfied that if the building were put out to bidders that it would cost us considerable more than if handled in the other way.  He suggested that we might, however, consider asking two or three other large companies to indicate the fixed fee on which they would be willing to construct the building.  I said that I think we should do that.  President Tanner asked me if he should consult Brother Mendenhall as to the names of the companies whom he would suggest be chosen to submit their tenders, and I answered that we should take this matter under advisement for a while.

Wed., 21 Oct. 1964:

“7:45 a.m.

San Jose, California Building Problems

Met by appointment Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson.  He reported to me building problems that have arisen in the San Jose West Stake, and showed me several letters that have come to him from those associated with the building program in that area.  I told Elder Isaacson that I also had received a letter from Brother Louis W. Latimer, President of the San Jose West Stake, reporting the unsatisfactory conditions which are adversely affecting the Stake and Ward construction activity down there.

After considering this matter for sometime and other problems associated with the Building Program of the Church, I asked Elder Isaacson to go to San Francisco and look into this whole matter and then report back to me.

8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency in my office at the Hotel.  Among the matters we considered were:

San Jose West Stake Building Program

I read to President Tanner the letter that I had received from Louis W. Latimer, President of the San Jose West Stake, reporting an unsatisfactory condition in the building operations in that area which are adversely affecting the stake and ward construction activity.

I said that I had had an interview with Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson, who gave me a very clear and definite report of the unpleasant conditions pertaining to the project in San Jose, and had given Brother Isaacson the assignment to make a thorough investigation of the matter and then report to me.

President Tanner mentioned that Bishop Tiffany, who is involved in the situation, had been in touch with him two months ago and made a report of conditions in San Jose.  President Tanner reported the matter to Brother Mendenhall, and subsequently Brother Biesinger and Brother Bradley, representing Brother Mendenhall, went to San Jose and looked into the situation.  A month or so later, Brother Tiffany called President Tanner again and said that conditions had not improved and that he would like to talk to President Tanner.  Accordingly, President Tanner asked that he come to Salt Lake immediately so that he could ascertain the facts and see where the problem really lies.  This appointment did not materialize, and President Tanner said that he had heard nothing further about the matter until last night when Brother Mendenhall came in to see him, and reported that he had been over to San Jose and met with the Stake President and Brother Tiffany and perhaps others, and had gone into this whole problem.  Brother Mendenhall told Brother Tanner that there is a bad feeling there.

Brother Tanner then said that Brother Mendenhall said that Brother Isaacson had called him into his office the other day, and said that he had been asked to investigate the situation.  Brother Tanner then reported that Brother Mendenhall had told him that he was in a state of mind that he felt that he could not carry on any longer; that there was so much criticism and fault-finding, and that he received no support from anybody, and that something had happened that had greatly disturbed him.  President Tanner then told him to come over to this office and tell him his problem.  Brother Mendenhall called on him yesterday at 3:30 p.m. and had given him the information indicated above.  He said Brother Mendenhall had told him that he wanted a full investigation of the matter and did not want anything covered up.  President Tanner further said that in talking with Brother Mendenhall he mentioned the fact that he did not have the support of the Brethren as he should have, and Brother Mendenhall had answered that he knew this to be the case, and he felt brokenhearted about it, but he said he had done what the President of the Church had asked him to do in every instance; that when the Twelve had advised that certain things be done, he had on occasion done otherwise because he had been told to do differently.  (This being Brother Mendenhall’s version).  Brother Mendenhall mentioned one or two things, one of them being the Pacific Board of Education, which he said had made him most unpopular.  President Tanner further reported that about nine o’clock last night Brother Mendenhall called him, and said that he had just received a telephone call from Brother Isaacson in which Brother Isaacson had said, ‘So you went over and reported to Brother Tanner, did you?’ and Brother Mendenhall said, yes, that he had considered this matter important enough that the First Presidency should know about it, and that he did not want to bother ‘President McKay with it.’  President Tanner said that he did not understand how Brother Isaacson got the information that Brother Mendenhall had called on him at his office and discussed this matter; that he certainly did not get it from him.  Brother Mendenhall had also suggested that President Tanner call him and Brother Isaacson together today, as President Tanner suggested earlier, and get to the bottom of the entire matter.  President Tanner said he did not know who had asked Brother Isaacson to look into the situation, whether it was one of the Twelve or whether I had done so.  President Tanner said that he wanted me to know that he would never be in the position where he was taking sides with an individual, that the situation is all that he is interested in and it does not matter to him who is involved.  The problem at hand, he said, is the thing that should be handled on a straight up and up basis.  President Tanner said he did not know why those concerned in San Jose had taken the matter out of his hands; that he did feel, however, that a thorough investigation should be made.  He did not know whether Brother Isaacson is the one to do it or not.  He said that was entirely in my hands.  President Tanner said that it would seem to him that Brother Mendenhall and Brother Isaacson should be asked to meet with the First Presidency together before anything is done by Brother Isaacson or anyone else in the matter of investigating the situation, so that the Presidency could hear both sides of the matter.  

I stated that I had asked Brother Isaacson to go to San Jose and look into the situation and bring back his report, and I confirmed this request by telephone interview with Brother Isaacson during the meeting.

Thurs., 22 Oct. 1964:

“8:30 to 9:00 a.m.

Held a meeting with my counselors in the office at the Hotel.  Among the matters discussed were:

San Jose West Stake Building Program

President Tanner reported to me that he had told Brother Mendenhall that I had instructed Thorpe B. Isaacson to make an investigation of the building problem in San Jose and that therefore he, President Tanner, did not think that he should discuss the matter further with him at this time.  President Tanner said that Brother Isaacson had called on him with Brother Stapley, and that he had told Brother Isaacson that he had been instructed by me to make an investigation, and that he thought he (Bishop Isaacson) should go ahead and make it.  President Tanner said he had heard nothing further about the matter since that time.

Church Financial Matters – Report on

Following a discussion of the Church Financial Report for the past nine months, I indicated my approval of President Tanner’s suggestion pertaining to over-all planning whereby we could receive a monthly report regarding the financial condition of the Church.  I also authorized President Tanner to continue his work in looking after financial matters.

Fri., 23 Oct., 1964:

Building Department – West European Area Buildings

In discussing the mater of excessive expenditures on new Church buildings, a letter was read from President Mark E. Petersen of the West European Mission, giving a list of Church buildings erected in that mission, indicating in each instance the cost, the approved budget, and the cost in excess of the budget, the figures indicating that in most instances the overage is large and that the saints are unable to meet their proportion of the excessive cost.  President Tanner suggested that we require the local people to pay their proportion of the cost of the building up to ten percent over the estimated cost, that anything in excess of ten percent of the estimated cost should be borne by the Church.  He also suggested that where the local people owe a lot of money we might extend the payment period and arrange for monthly payments.  The land would not be involved in this arrangement because all that the local people are required to pay is their share of $50,000 of the cost, but this arrangement would apply to the furnishings and the building.  The brethren agreed that this was a fair arrangement.  President Tanner explained that the reason for suggesting the estimated cost plus ten percent is that it is practically impossible to do better than keep the cost within ten percent of the estimate. . . .

In discussing the foregoing matter, President Tanner mentioned that one of the difficulties had been that our accounting has been so far behind we have never known just what the costs were.  President Tanner had talked with Brother Jarvis in regard to the Building Committee accounting, and told him that we  would hold him responsible to take care of this phase of the situation.  President Tanner said that we are moving in that direction as expeditiously as possible.

Wed., 25 Nov., 1964:

Building Department – Committee Appointed to Study Expenditures for Church Buildings

President Tanner said that yesterday in the Expenditures Committee and also in meeting with the Budget Committee, all had come to the conclusion that we are spending money for chapels, stake centers, etc. that we need not spend; in other words, that the standards are higher than they need to be and our income is not going to be such that we can carry on with that program and increase the number of buildings.  He mentioned two things that we must do.  One is that we should avoid using a lot of extravagant materials and services, and also that we must reduce the size of the buildings.  He mentioned that the Building Committee has attempted to stay within the standards that have been set and that frequently the stake presidents and bishops have been critical of these standards and have come to the General Authorities endeavoring to obtain permission to have something different from the standards that have been decided upon.  President Tanner said that at the Expenditures Committee yesterday, all agreed that it would be well to set up a committee of three consisting of Bishop Vandenberg, some member of the Twelve, and a member of the Building Committee, and have them make a study as to the needs, how much space required, how many classrooms needed, whether air conditioning was necessary in that particular area involved, etc., to bring back a report as to what would give the best service under the circumstances, thereby making it possible for us to serve more wards and more stakes with satisfactory service.  He explained that under the present arrangement sometimes wards that are in better financial condition than others get permission to erect buildings and purchase furnishings of a rather extravagant nature and are in a position perhaps to pay their share of the cost; that, however, the Church in matching the ward or stake’s proportion is using tithing funds that have been paid by all the members of the Church and it is therefore not really fair to other wards who are unable to build in such proportions.

I gave my approval for the setting up of such a committee for the purpose indicated, and the First Presidency approved for membership on the committee Elder Marion G. Romney of the Twelve, Bishop Simpson of the Presiding Bishopric, and Brother Holdaway of the Building Committee.

Sat., 28 Nov., 1964:

During the morning hours I spent some time in going over a report on the expenditures of the Building Department.  I am concerned over the great amount of money that is being spent.

Mon., 30 Nov. 1964:

9:30 a.m.

Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson came in by appointment.  He discussed with me particularly the matters of the controversy in San Jose with the Church Building Committee, and the expansion program that is now in the planning stage for the Hotel Utah.

Elder Isaacson, who is a member of the Hotel Utah Board, said he thinks that the money the Hotel Utah will have to borrow may be obtained at less interest than has been suggested by Roy Simmons at the Zions First National Bank.  I asked Elder Isaacson to look into this matter and see what he can find out.  

11:00 a.m.

Following the departure of Elder Isaacson, I felt too tired to take care of any more problems, so did not have a meeting with my secretary as I had planned to do.

3:00 p.m.

Elder Isaacson returned to the apartment for a few moments to report that he had found that he can obtain the money for the Hotel Utah at an interest rate less than has been proposed.  I told him to get in touch with Roy Simmons, and let him know that he must not pay a higher rate of interest for the money than has been offered to him (Elder Isaacson).

Wed., 9 Dec., 1964:

Building Committee – Special Committee to Pass on Building Projects

President Tanner referred to the action heretofore taken that a committee be set up to pass upon building projects, and said that this committee would no doubt be prepared to submit their report regarding desirable policies in the near future.  He suggested that at that time all the General Authorities be called together that they might be informed regarding the policy to be established.  President Tanner said that under the present arrangement a Stake President may, and sometimes does, confer with one of the General Authorities and indicate to him that he does not want the kind of building that has been suggested, but desires something of a different nature regardless of the cost.  The Authority, upon being converted to the Stake President’s view, uses his influence in its favor, and when changes are made in building specifications there is considerable expense involved.  The Church is asked to pay its proportion of the additional cost and also its proportion of the increased maintenance that may be involved.

Thurs., 10 Dec. 1964:

“8:30 a.m.

Held the regular meeting of the First Presidency in my apartment in the Hotel.  President Brown was excused, not feeling well.

The following matters were discussed:

Church Budget

President Tanner reported that the committee is working on the budget for 1965.  He said that he had asked Brother George Jarvis to answer a number of questions regarding the Church’s financial condition and that he would be prepared to bring the whole picture to the President within a few days with a recommendation as to how we can curtain our expenditures.  He said that our income and reserves will not justify our continuing the program we have heretofore followed, that we must avoid dipping further into our reserves.  He mentioned that a tentative date for meeting the committee on the disposition of tithes had been set for Friday, December 11, that he thought, however, we should wait until after the first of the year until we have the picture clearly in mind and know just where we are going and what we are going to do.  He suggested that the committee on the disposition of tithes be given as clear a picture as possible without revealing to them any information that the President does not want them to have.

Church Offices – New Building

President Tanner reported meetings held by the special committee appointment to give consideration to matters pertaining to the new office building, and mentioned that John Wallace and other businessmen have said that they think we should not proceed with the building of our new building, that the Kennecott Building and the University Club building on South Temple will make available much office space, and if the Church completes this high rise building, it will mean that there will be many vacant offices in the city.  They indicate that it would perhaps take ten years to adjust to the situation.  President Tanner said in regard to the new office building that an effort is being made to make necessary adjustments to meet the requirements, that a committee has been appointed and is giving attention to these matters, which committee consists of Theodore Burton, Bishop Victor L. Brown, Wendell Mendenhall, Carvel Davis, Lewis Nielsen, Earl Olson, John Carr, and a Brother Eaton.  President Tanner said he had met with the committee on six different occasions and more meetings will be necessary in order that all questions pertaining thereto may have proper consideration.

I asked President Tanner if any statement has been made that we are not going ahead with the building, and he said that he had made no such statement, that on the contrary he had said right along that we were going ahead with it.  President Tanner thought the plans and specifications would be ready perhaps in July of 1965.

Fri., 11 Dec., 1964:

Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall of the Building Committee called on me at the office in the apartment, and talked about his duties and work as Chairman of the Committee.

Tues., 15 Dec. 1964:

8:00 a.m.

Building Committee – Reorganization of

Since Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson, at my request, has been looking into a serious condition of building matters, I talked with him this morning about his serving on a committee of the Brethren with the special assignment of bringing about some adjustments and reorganization of the Church Building Committee.  Elder Delbert L. Stapley named Chairman, with Elders LeGrand Richards, Howard W. Hunter, and Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson as members. 

Tuesday, December 15, 1964


CONFIDENTIAL Tuesday, December 15, 1964

TO: President Hugh B. Brown

President Nathan Eldon Tanner

FROM: President David O. McKay

After giving serious thought and study to reports that have come to me on the expenditures of the Church Building Committee, I have decided to appoint a committee consisting of Elders Delbert L. Stapley as Chairman, and LeGrand Richards, Howard W. Hunter, and Thorpe B. Isaacson as members, with the special assignment of bringing about some adjustments and reorganization of the Church Building Committee.  Since Elder Isaacson already has been looking into a serious condition of building matters in the San Jose Stake and elsewhere, I have asked him to work with the Brethren named above with a view of substantially curtailing the expenditures in the Church Building Department in light of conditions that have arisen in all parts of the world in regard to extravagance, waste, etc.

I have suggested to the committee that they consult with Elder Franklin D. Richards with regard to the reorganization of the Church Building Committee, and to make a written report to me of their findings.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


Fri., 18 Dec. 1964:

“8:30 a.m.

Met with President Brown, President Nathan Eldon Tanner is enroute to Hawaii for a Christmas vacation.

Several matters were considered, among them were:

Building Committee – Investigation to be Made Relative to Reorganization

I told President Brown that I had appointed a committee consisting of Elder Delbert L. Stapley, Chairman, and Elders LeGrand Richards, Howard W. Hunter, and Thorpe B. Isaacson as members, to investigate the matter of reorganizing the Building Committee; that the Building Committee has gone overboard in expenditures, and that we have now reached a point where we must curtail.”

Mon., 21 Dec. 1964:

“8:00 a.m.

According to appointment, I met with Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson, who brought up the following matters:

1.  Christmas turkeys for General Authorities

2.  Growers Market – Sale of 264 shares to E.O. Muir and Company

3.  Report of Committee appointed to investigate the reorganization of the Building


4.  WRUL Radio Station, New York City – Management of

(See following memorandum from Elder Isaacson on these matters.)

Monday, December 21, 1964


TO: President David O. McKay Date:  December 21, 1964

FROM: Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson

RE: Meeting Monday morning, December 21, at eight o’clock in President McKay’s Hotel Utah Apartment

This morning, as per appointment, I met President McKay in his apartment at eight o’clock.  President McKay requested that I make a memorandum regarding the topics which we discussed and to give them to his secretary, Clare Middlemiss, who will take the memorandum to him.

1.  We discussed turkeys for the General Authorities for Christmas.  He wanted me to make a memorandum of this and to talk to Bishop Vandenberg.  Bishop Vandenberg referred me to Gordon Affleck, who advised me that first they had decided to give turkeys to the General Authorities and then later it was revised.  So there was first a decision to send turkeys out as in the past (35 years), and the next decision was not to send them out.  Brother Affleck is waiting for word from President McKay as to whether or not these turkeys should go to General Authorities as per usual.

2.  We discussed the stock in Growers Market.  Brother E.O. (Ed) Muir had offered $250.00 per share, and I thought that was hardly enough.  I suggested that he consider $300.00 a share, and President McKay authorized me to have E. O. Muir buy the stock at $300.00 a share, if he so desires.

3.  I informed President McKay regarding the request he had made of me that a special committee be appointed with Elder Delbert L. Stapley, chairman, and the following committee members – Elders LeGrand Richards, Howard W. Hunter, Franklin D. Richards, and Thorpe B. Isaacson – for the purpose of studying and making recommendation for the reorganization of the Church Building Department.  I reported to President McKay that we had held two or three meetings and would hold another one today, but we could not go any further until he decided whether or not he wished the present Building Committee to be released and reorganized.  President McKay said that would be a rather difficult thing to bring about.  Brother Isaacson said they couldn’t go any further until that was decided and they would give him three or four names to consider.  President McKay asked for a memorandum so that he could give it further consideration.

4.  We discussed WRUL Radio Station, New York City.  I reported to President McKay my interview with Brother James Conklin of California, since last week President McKay requested that I talk to him about the future operation of WRUL.  I reported to President McKay that I had had two visits with James Conklin.  I had not met him before, and I was favorably impressed with him.  He was frank and honest and had a wonderful attitude.  He was willing and anxious to do whatever President McKay and the Church wanted him to do.  I reported to President McKay there was a great difference in opinion between Brother Arch Madsen and Brother Conklin.  They do not get along very well.  Brother Conklin did not blame Arch Madsen, but said it was just a difference of opinion.  It is my opinion that Brother Conklin has great ability and wants to do a good job for the Church.  He told Brother Isaacson that he could not do what he would like to do because of the friction that exists between him and Arch Madsen.  President McKay said he would like it to stay as it is at the present time but to give consideration to a new board for WRUL in New York City.  I reported that I felt Brother Conklin could do a better job than he is doing.  President McKay suggested that Brother Isaacson write a note to Brother Conklin to proceed as he is doing until he is notified.  Brother Isaacson reported to President McKay that he felt that Brother Conklin should not be released at this time, but due consideration should be given sometime in the immediate future so that we can get a man who can spend more time in New York; and at the same time that the present manager, who is a non-member of the Church, should be replaced.  That should be handled with great care.

This is the memorandum of the items that we discussed this morning.  President McKay felt well and alert, better than I have seen him for sometime.  It was a great joy, privilege and blessing to have been with him. 


Thur., 31 Dec., 1964:

I told President Tanner that the first thing that would need consideration is the reorganization of the Building Committee.  President Tanner said he would like to sit down and talk with me alone about this matter before any action is taken.

Tues., 5 Jan., 1965:

The counselors then discussed with me at some length administration problems which they felt needed clarification.  At this time, President Nathan Eldon Tanner expressed himself quite freely about the administrative duties of the Church.  Felt disturbed and greatly concerned after their departure.

Building Department  – Postponement of Building Projects – Committee Appointed to Study Projects

It was reported that President Reed Bullen of the Utah State University Stake is disappointed because of our decision to defer construction of the new stake center and ward building for the USU Campus.  President Tanner said he had also talked with President Arza Hinckley of the Ensign Stake informing him of the decision to postpone construction of the Ensign Stake Center, these actions being necessary in order that we might keep within our income and that it is felt that we should construct our buildings on a priority basis.  President Hinckley said that they had collected their money, but that he would present the matter to his people last Sunday.

President Tanner said that in the Expenditures Committee meeting yesterday the question was discussed of placing these buildings on a priority basis and the conclusion was reached that it would be wise to have a committee of three men make a study of the requirements, the applications, etc. to determine in order what order of priority they will be placed.  He said he did not think that there would be many buildings that we shall have to postpone more than six months or a year, but it was agreed by all in the Expenditures Committee that a committee, if appointed to study these matters, could make the necessary investigation and submit their recommendations before decisions were reached.  This would be a task committee in a sense and if a really urgent request were received, something that it was thought should be given prompt attention, it could be given attention by the First Presidency or be referred to the committee for decision before it was decided.

We decided to appoint as members of the committee Elders Delbert L. Stapley, Robert L. Simpson and Franklin D. Richards.

Wed., 20 Jan. 1965:

11:00 a.m.

Building Department – Suit against Labor Missionaries

Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson called at the apartment and reported that word had come from San Jose that the Building Supervisor down there had started suit against the three young labor missionaries who had reported irregular procedures in the Building Department in San Jose.

I instructed Elder Isaacson to get a hold of Wendell B. Mendenhall or the Supervisor in San Jose and have this suit stopped immediately.  Elder Isaacson reported later that Brother Mendenhall is in Hawaii, and that it is impossible to locate the Supervisor in San Jose.  Elder Isaacson will keep his hand on this matter.

Thurs., 21 Jan. 1965:

“8:00 a.m.

Building Committee – Reorganization of

Met by appointment Elders Delbert L. Stapley and Thorpe B. Isaacson, who reported that the special committee appointed to study Building Department matters with a view of reorganizing the Building Committee, are now ready to submit their recommendations.  I asked that they put these recommendations in writing.  Later, at 4:30 this afternoon, they returned to the apartment and handed me a letter containing their recommendations.  (See copy of letter following.)

Thursday, January 21, 1965

January 21, 1965

President David O. McKay


Re:  Church Building Committee

Dear President McKay:

Pursuant to our meeting with you this morning we are submitting herewith our recommendation pertaining to the reorganization of the Church Building Committee, releasing Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall, Chairman, with a vote of thanks.  We believe this release should be effective immediately.

This recommendation comes after receiving reports and complaints from many areas.  In the best interest of the church, we feel now is the proper time to make this change.

There has been great concern all over the Church regarding the extravagance, waste, high salaries, maintenance, costs for supervisors, travel, hotel, telephone, excessive building costs and other expenses, also domineering, in connection with the Church Building Committee until it has reached a point where many faithful members of the Church are deeply concerned, upset, and disillusioned; and ward, stake and mission leaders are questioning our laxity handling so serious a problem.

We feel the new chairman should be given a free hand to choose the personnel he wants to support him subject to approval of the Building Advisory Committee and the First Presidency.

President McKay, we sincerely believe that more responsibility and authority should be transferred back to bishops of wards, presidents of stakes, presidents of missions and mission supervisors for building construction and local buying, according to Purchasing Department standards and competitive prices.  We are sure buildings will be of better quality construction and costs much cheaper.

According to your wishes, we recommend for consideration one of the four following brethren, Carl W. Buehner, Mark B. Garff, Ted or Leo Jacobsen, as chairman of the Church Building Committee.

We feel that the salary of the individual appointed should not be excessive.  You have often counseled the Personnel Committee to keep devotion in the work.  We are also thinking of how high salaries affect the wants of other church employees.  The man who accepts this position should understand that he may be released any time.  It isn’t a life tenure position.  His salary should be $9,000 or $10,000 a year.

President McKay, we shall be very happy to assist you in any manner.  Please feel free to call upon us.  If you wish to meet with the new chairman, after he is selected, we shall be glad to do so.

We believe that time is the essence of our recommendation, because the problems are so far-reaching in the Church.

May the Lord bless you.  You have our love and our prayers and our loyalty without reservation.

Affectionately your brethren,

Delbert L. Stapley, Chairman

LeGrand Richards

Howard W. Hunter (Out of the city)

Franklin D. Richards

Thorpe B. Isaacson

Fri., 26 Feb. 1965:

“Building Department – Church Building Program

We read a letter of recommendation from the Cost Reduction Committee, of which Elder Marion G. Romney is Chairman, making recommendations with a view to reducing the cost of building and maintenance of chapels of the Church.  We approved of the recommendations with certain modifications, particularly relative to the facilities for multiple ward buildings in areas where the population is concentrated.

We also agreed that regimentation and arbitrary policies should be avoided.

Wed., 31 Mar. 1965:

“Building Committee Reorganization

I read to my Counselors a letter that had been prepared for the signatures of the First Presidency addressed to Wendell B. Mendenhall, extending to him an honorable release as Chairman of the Building Committee.  The letter expressed appreciation for the very fine services performed by Brother Mendenhall and his associates.  As to a successor to Brother Mendenhall, the name of Carl W. Buehner was mentioned, although I said that this was not definite; that Brother Mark B. Garff had also been mentioned by the committee who had considered this question.  Brother Ted Jacobsen’s name was also considered by us.

In discussing the matter of the proposed reorganization reference was made to information furnished by Elder Mark E. Petersen regarding building costs in Europe.  President Tanner commented that he did not consider a comparison between the building of schools and hospitals with the building of Churches as a fair comparison.  President Tanner said that were we to undertake to build these buildings under contract, it would not be possible to erect any buildings in Europe, that our people could not pay their share of the cost of the land and the buildings.  He thought many things should be considered before definitive action is taken.  It was his sentiment that he would rather pay ten percent more for a building and have the people contribute toward its cost than for the Church to pay the entire amount.  President Tanner suggested we not move too fast in this matter and that we have the right man before making a change.

The suggestion was also made that the entire matter should come before the Council of the Twelve for their consideration.  President Brown thought that a reorganization should be effected, but he agreed with President Tanner that time should be taken for thorough consideration, and particularly in the matter of a successor.  President Tanner expressed his personal opinion that Brother Mendenhall had done everything he had been asked to do conscientiously and efficiently as anybody could have done.  I said that we shall decide this morning to reorganize the Building Committee and that is as far as we shall go.  It was thought that the next step that should be taken in the matter would be to have Brother Mendenhall meet with the First Presidency and talk the matter over with them, this meeting to be held immediately following Conference.  It was also agreed that the First Presidency would meet with Elder Petersen to discuss with him the building situation in Europe and that the matter of the proposed reorganization and the appointment of a successor to Brother Mendenhall should also go before the Council of the First Presidency and the Twelve.  Referring to the criticisms that have been submitted by Brother Petersen regarding building operations in Europe, President Tanner said that these matters had been called to the attention of Brother Mendenhall with the request that he make explanation.  President Tanner said he would bring to me a copy of the memorandum that went to Brother Mendenhall.  (For copy of letter of release, see diary of April 15.)”

Thur., 8 Apr., 1965:

Building Committee Reorganization

In discussing the proposed release of Wendell B. Mendenhall as Chairman of the Building Committee, it was decided to take this matter to the Council of the First Presidency and the Twelve this morning for their information and consideration.  A letter has been prepared which President Brown and I have signed, extending an honorable release to Brother Mendenhall.  [Note that Tanner, a close friend of Mendenhall, did not sign.]  It was agreed that I should talk to Brother Mendenhall after the Council Meeting regarding his proposed release.

10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Was convened in the meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve in the Temple.  We discussed the serious problem of a reorganization of the Building Committee and the release of Wendell B. Mendenhall.

Thur., 15 Apr., 1965:

10:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Was convened in the meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve held in the Salt Lake Temple.

One item of importance which was discussed was the release of Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall as Chairman of the Building Committee.  After a lengthy discussion, the Brethren unanimously voted that Brother Mendenhall should be released as of May 1, 1965.

Fri., 16 Apr. 1965:

“10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Had a conference with my secretary, Clare, who took up many letters with me.  I instructed her to send the letter of release to Wendell B. Mendenhall as Chairman of the Building Committee.  This release was acted upon by the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve last Thursday, April 15, 1965.

2:30 p.m.

Sister McKay and I, accompanied by our daughter, Emma Rae, and our granddaughter, Emmy Lou, went to the Utah Theatre to see ‘Sound of Music’.  We enjoyed the show very much, but I was extremely tired upon our return to the apartment.

6:00 p.m.

Mrs. Sybil Beecher, my nurse, received a call from Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall asking that he be given permission to see me.  She asked Dr. Edward McKay, who was present, and he in turn told me that Brother Mendenhall wanted to see me, so permission was given for him to come over right away.

6:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall arrived at the apartment.  He had received this afternoon a letter of release as Chairman of the Building Committee (see copy following).  He was all broken up about it and cried and sobbed as he told what he had tried to do.

The decision to release Brother Mendenhall had been discussed and unanimously voted upon by the Brethren of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve yesterday (Thursday, April 15, 1965) in the Salt Lake Temple.

As Brother Mendenhall so overpoweringly begged for an extension of time from the May 1, 1965 date set by the Brethren, I thought it would be all right to let him remain until March, 1966, as he requested that he would need this time to culminate his work.

(This, however, did not meet with the approval of the majority of the Brethren, who discussed the matter again in the Council Meeting, Thursday, April 22, 1965.  See Diary of that day.)

(See Diary of Tuesday, April 27, 1965, for announcement of retirement of Brother Mendenhall as Chairman of the Building Committee.)

Friday, April 16, 1965

April 15, 1965

Elder Wendell B. Mendenhall

Church Building Committee

125 North Main Street

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear Brother Mendenhall:

After much consideration, and with sincere and earnest appreciation for your loyal and long-devoted service as Chairman of the Church Building Committee, we extend to you an honorable release effective May 1, 1965.

We deem it advisable to share with others, after an interval of time, Church positions to which brethren are called and which are more or less a temporary responsibility.

Your assignment has been difficult and trying, and the demands upon your energies exhausting, including extensive travel.  We are most grateful for your accomplishments and contributions to our world-wide Church Building operations.  You have given freely of your time and talents to this tremendous program.

Through your efforts and that of your associates, thousands of Church members the world over are well and comfortably housed, and you may rest assured that your contribution toward the development of the Church Building Program will long be remembered and appreciated in many places.

We earnestly pray that the Lord’s choicest blessings will abide with you and your beloved wife as you embark upon new activities and pursuits.  You have our best wishes for your success and happiness in all your future endeavors and service wherever your opportunities and interests may take you.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay

Hugh B. Brown

N. Eldon Tanner

The First Presidency”

Mon., 19 Apr., 1965:

8:00 a.m.

Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall came in for another conference regarding his release as Chairman of the Building Committee.

Wed., 21 Apr. 1965:

11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Had an appointment with my secretary, Clare.  Went over letters and other office matters with her.  Reported to her the discussions I have held with Wendell B. Mendenhall regarding his plea not to be released for at least another year.  I told her that he had been in to see me three times since he got his letter of release on Friday, and is calling for another appointment for tomorrow morning.  He is stressing the urgent need of his remaining until 1966 to finish projects now under his direction.  (See second decision of Council, Thursday, April 22.)

Thurs., 22 Apr. 1965:

“8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Presidents Brown and Tanner came over for a meeting of the First Presidency.  Some of the items we discussed were:

Building Committee – Release of Wendell B. Mendenhall as Chairman

We discussed the matter of the proposed release of Brother Mendenhall as Chairman of the Church Building Committee.  A five-page letter was read from Brother Mendenhall addressed to me giving a report of the work that has been done by the Building Committee during the ten years that Brother Mendenhall has served as Chairman of the committee.  The Brethren commented upon information that had come to them indirectly to the effect that Brother Mendenhall had stated that he had been reinstated.  The Brethren were agreed that time should be given to Brother Mendenhall to clear up in an orderly manner some of the unfinished work, and it was also agreed that a determination should be made as to someone to succeed him.

I said that I felt at that time that Brother Mendenhall should be given until the end of 1965 to take care of unfinished business.  I accordingly dictated a memorandum to the following effect, which I said that I would read to Brother Mendenhall over the telephone: ‘The First Presidency in their meeting this morning, sensing the necessity of all building business being brought to a close as soon as possible, decided that all unfinished business should be taken care of by the end of 1965.’  It was agreed that the action of the First Presidency on this matter should be reported to the Council of the Twelve in their regular weekly meeting in the Temple today.  (See later decision made today.)

10:00 a.m.

Later, after giving further serious consideration to other matters associated with Brother Mendenhall’s release, and in reading again the minutes of the meeting of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve held last Thursday, and noting the unanimous decision made at that time to release Brother Mendenhall, I decided right there and then to call the Brethren who were in meeting in the Temple who were also intending to discuss the matter again today, and told them that if in their judgment it would be better to release Brother Mendenhall on July 1, 1965, instead of December 31, 1965, I would abide by their decision.

I asked that I be notified immediately after they made their decision.

In about an hour I received a telephone call from the secretary stating that the Brethren again had unanimously voted that Brother Mendenhall be released as soon as possible, and therefore they chose July 1, 1965 as the date of his release.

I immediately telephoned to Brother Mendenhall and said to him, ‘I have been in touch with the Brethren who are in session in the Salt Lake Temple and it is the sentiment of that body of men in a unanimous vote that your release should come on July 1, 1965.’

Brother Mendenhall immediately brought up matters in New Zealand which need his attention; that he would have to go there personally, etc. etc.; that his wife has been assigned by the Relief Society Board to go there.  I said in that case it would be all right for him to go if it is necessary.”

Tues., 27 Apr. 1965:

Building Committee – Announcement of Wendell B. Mendenhall’s Retirement

We agreed that an announcement should be made in the press of the release of Wendell B. Mendenhall as Chairman of the Church Building Committee.  We then considered the matter of the appointment of a successor to Brother Mendenhall.  President Tanner recommended that we have the Building Committee separate from the actual operation, with one of the Twelve as the head, in which event he would be in a position to confer with the Twelve in regard to the various phases of the work, could listen to their criticism and be able to report regarding the operations.  He would, in fact, be familiar with the entire picture, and the actual operating head would be under his direction.  He thought in this manner things would run more smoothly.  The member of the Twelve would be the head as far as policy matters were concerned, and the man under him would direct the actual construction work.  He explained that under the present arrangement the Chairman of the Building Committee must be the buffer and the builder and this is difficult to do.  I stated that I think this is a very good suggestion.  (See following newspaper announcement of Mendenhall’s retirement.)  (See Diary April 16, 1965, for letter of release.)

President Tanner mentioned that a matter had been discussed at Conference time when one of the Stake Presidents from New Zealand was here, and also a Ward Bishop, pertaining to a building project which it was thought that Brother Mendenhall, if he goes to that area, might wisely give attention.  President Tanner mentioned also the Maori House that was built in New Zealand, which has been deteriorating and which it is thought might be taken down and sold to the government.  This, too, he thought was something that Brother Mendenhall should take care of.  I approved.

Tuesday, April 27, 1965

Building Chief Resigns Job with LDS Church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ first presidency Tuesday announced acceptance of the resignation of Wendell B. Mendenhall as chairman of the church building committee.

The resignation will become effective July 1.

In making the announcement the First Presidency made special reference to the ‘able, dedicated and untiring service’ rendered by Mr. Mendenhall over the past 10 years, and noted that during this period the building department has ‘accomplished a great work, particularly in the construction of temples, chapels and building accommodations for the benefit of the church and its members throughout the stakes and missions.’

They also expressed high appreciation for the ‘faithful service of those associated with him in the building department.’

A native of Mapleton, Utah County, Mr. Mendenhall left an active California business career to assume direction of the LDS Church’s worldwide construction program in July, 1955.

Under his direction, construction or major additions were completed on 1,923 chapels throughout the world, and 250 chapels under construction in 1955 were completed.

Also in this 10 years the Oakland and New Zealand temples were built and extensive renovations and additions were made on the others; 21 mission homes were built or remodeled and 42 elders’ quarters were constructed.

The Salt Lake Tribune – Wednesday, April 28, 1965″

Thurs., 29 Apr. 1965:

“Building Committee – Successor to Wendell B. Mendenhall

President Brown mentioned the need of selecting someone to succeed Wendell B. Mendenhall as Chairman of the Church Building Committee.  I thought this matter should be kept under advisement until a later date.

Tues., 4 May 1965:

“10:45 to 11:45 a.m.

Met with Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson.  We discussed Building Committee matters, including the receipt of a letter from Elder Mark E. Petersen which contains matters pertaining to the exorbitant spending of the Building Committee in Great Britain.  We also discussed matters pertaining to Florida Farms.

Brother Isaacson asked me if I thought he should go down to Florida and see what he could do with the situation there.  I told him that I think he should not go there at this time, but perhaps the men who are there will come to Salt Lake soon to give a report.  I asked him to contact Brothers Coleman Madsen and Leo Ellsworth by telephone and ask them not to release Van Moss, but to try to work with him and try to have a good feeling among themselves.

Brother Isaacson also brought up the matter of Clare’s hospitalization.  I asked him to contact Brother Brent Goates of the LDS Hospital and instruct him to bill Clare only for whatever price the insurance company will pay; that she could send the Church a bill for about $25,000 just for vacations which she has not taken during the past years.

Thurs., 6 May 1965:

“8:30 a.m.

Met with President Tanner in a First Presidency’s Meeting.  President Brown was absent, being enroute to Washington, D.C.   Among matters discussed were:

Building Committee – George R. Biesinger Resignation

There was presented a letter that had been prepared to George R. Biesinger in acknowledgment of his letter of resignation from the Building Department, which resignation he had submitted upon the announcement of Wendell B. Mendenhall’s release as Chairman of the Building Committee.  In this connection President Tanner reported that Brother Biesinger had talked with some of the key men in the Building Department telling them that their position is very insecure and that they should find other employment.  President Tanner had told these Brethren who had come to him about the matter that they were not working for any individual, but were working for the Church, and the fact that Brother Mendenhall was released did not contemplate that they were to be released also.

Building Department – Recommendation that a Committee be Appointed From General Authorities

President Tanner referring to a recommendation that he had made a few days ago pertaining to the Building Committee, now strongly recommended that a committee consisting of members of the General Authorities constitute the Building Committee.  He suggested that a member of the Twelve should be Chairman of the Committee and suggested for this position Elder Marion G. Romney of the Council of the Twelve, and that there be associated with him Franklin D. Richards, Assistant to the Twelve, and Bishop John H. Vandenberg.  President Tanner explained that under a plan of this kind the Chairman of the committee would sit with the Twelve and bring to them Building Committee problems and listen to criticisms that might be raised.  In this connection he mentioned that Elder Romney has had building experience and is also an attorney.  He suggested that this committee might select a general manager subject to the approval of the First Presidency to look after building operations, and mentioned two men who might be considered for a position of this kind when there is a competent staff who would assist him.  Under this arrangement he said that we would not need a priority committee, and the Building Committee consisting of these three General Authorities could sit in with the Expenditures Committee.  President Tanner thought that such an arrangement would help solve many of the problems that will be encountered.

I said that I shall take the matter under consideration.

Wed., 12 May 1965:

8:30 a.m.

After Brother Taylor’s departure, Presidents Brown, Tanner, and I met in a First Presidency’s Meeting.  Among the matters discussed were the following:

Church Building Committee – Appointment of Committee of General Authorities.

 Consideration was given to the advisability of reorganizing the Building Committee as soon as possible.  President Tanner’s earlier suggestion was reiterated, namely, that three brethren of the General Authorities be appointed a committee to serve as a liaison between the First Presidency and the Stakes and Wards, and also to give supervision to a department manager who may be chosen to carry forward building operations.  The suggestion was made that Elders Marion G. Romney, Franklin D. Richards, and John H. Vandenberg be appointed the committee to head this organization, they to submit their suggestions to the First Presidency as to whom they would recommend for manager.  In discussing the matter the counselors spoke highly of J. Howard Dunn, who they thought was the most likely man to take over the management.  The counselors also mentioned that in the event these brethren were appointed to supervise this work they could continue to serve on the Expenditures Committee and could take over the Priority Committee work and that Brother Romney being a member of the Twelve could report to the Twelve and have the benefit of their suggestions and criticisms.

It was decided to take this matter to the Council of the First Presidency and the Twelve tomorrow.  

(President McKay later said that he ‘does not now nor ever did approve of Brother Howard Dunn’.)  (See Diary of May 17, 1965, meeting with Bishop Isaacson)”

Thurs., 13 May 1965:

10:30 a.m.

Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson came over on some important matters.

11:00 a.m.

Called my secretary, Clare, and asked her to find Brother Mark B. Garff and have him come right up to my apartment.

11:10 a.m.

Clare called me back and said that Brother Garff would be right up.

11:25 a.m.

Brother Mark B. Garff came to the apartment.  Had a very good conference with him on matters pertaining to the chairmanship of the Building Committee.  Brother Garff said that he would do anything that I asked him to do.  He is on his way to Arizona and will be back Sunday, at which time he will see me.

This afternoon, Sister McKay and I, accompanied by our son, Edward, and his wife, Lottie, went for a ride in the car.

5:30 p.m.

Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson called and said that he had something very urgent to take up with me, and wondered if it might be all right for him to come up.  I told him to come at any time.

6:15 p.m.

Bishop Isaacson presented to me some information about the presentation in Council Meeting by my counselors of a committee consisting of Marion G. Romney, Franklin D. Richards, and John H. Vandenberg, to be in charge of the Building Committee, and to have Howard Dunn as Chairman of the Committee.  They presented it to the Brethren with the explanation that it had my approval, and the matter was passed unanimously by the Brethren.  I explained to Bishop Isaacson that that is not what I want at all.  (See Memorandum following)


May 17, 1965

Re:  Meeting with President McKay in his apartment Thursday (May 13) evening at 6:30 p.m.

President McKay’s son, Dr. Edward R. McKay, called me Thursday evening (May 13, 1965) at 5:30 p.m. and said that his father wanted to see me that evening at 6:30 p.m.  I suggested to Dr. McKay that he be present at the meeting.

I met with the President at 6:30 p.m. as arranged and Dr. Edward McKay was also present.

The President expressed to me that it was his choice that Mark B. Garff  be appointed as Chairman of the Church Building Committee.  He also informed me in confidence that he had talked with Brother Garff that forenoon, and that he would see Brother Garff again on Sunday morning for Brother Garff’s answer.

The President definitely stated that he had never approved the appointment of Howard Dunn as Chairman of the Building Committee, and that his name should never have been presented to the Twelve.

Thorpe B. Isaacson”

Fri., 14 May 1965:

 “7:45 a.m.

My secretary, Clare, called me on the telephone and reminded me of several matters.  I told her that I was going to discuss with my counselors this morning the matter of choosing a Chairman for the Building Committee, and that I should like to have Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson present at the meeting.  I asked her to get in touch with him on this matter.

8:00 a.m.

Held a meeting with Gus P. Backman and John Gallivan on civic matters.

8:30 a.m.

Meeting of the First Presidency.  Among matters discussed were:

Church Building Committee

Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson and Dr. Edward R. McKay were present during this discussion.  President Brown reported that at the meeting of the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve yesterday, the matter of the appointment of a supervisory committee for the Building Department was announced to the Council, this committee consisting of Marion G. Romney, Franklin D. Richards, and Bishop John H. Vandenberg, with Brother Romney as Chairman, this proposition having been approved by the First Presidency on Wednesday, May 12, 1965.  President Brown said that the Brethren unanimously approved the recommendation of the committee and that Howard Dunn be appointed acting manager for the time being at least.  They expressed a desire to notify him as soon as possible inasmuch as matters in the Building Department are in a somewhat confused condition.  Mention was made of the fact that Brother Mendenhall’s tenure does not expire until July 1.  It was thought that inasmuch as Brother Dunn knows the situation he could carry on until such time as he or someone else be appointed to take over this responsibility.

We then discussed the matter of Mark B. Garff as a prospective manager for the Building Department.  Some difference of opinion was expressed on this matter.

Elder Isaacson reminded the Brethren that about eight months ago President McKay had appointed a committee with Delbert L. Stapley as Chairman, the committee consisting of Brother Stapley, Legrand Richards, Howard Hunter, Franklin D. Richards, and himself.  He said the committee had been asked to make some recommendations which they have done, and prepared some charts regarding the Building set-up.  Brother Isaacson further reported that Brother Stapley and he had been asked by President McKay to submit three names and that they did recommend three brethren and had discussed these three brethren with me, one of whom was Brother Mark B. Garff, and the others were Carl W. Buehner and Ted Jacobsen.  Elder Isaacson further stated that in some way Elder Mark E. Petersen had learned that Brother Dunn was being considered for this appointment and he had written strongly opposing Brother Dunn for this position.  The thought was expressed that any opposition to Brother Dunn was undoubtedly because he was closely associated with Brother Mendenhall in the management of the Building Committee.  Presidents Brown and Tanner both indicated that they were greatly pleased with the attitude that Brother Dunn is manifesting and that they were satisfied that he would carry on the work the way we would wish it handled until a manager is appointed.  After a rather lengthy discussion, I said that the matter would be held over until next Monday so that more thought could be given to it.

Elder Isaacson and Dr. McKay were then excused from the meeting. . . .

Building Committee – Release of Priority Committee

My Counselors and I discussed with Elder Stapley the appointment of a committee to serve as an advisory committee to the Building Committee.  In this connection, President Tanner mentioned that Elder Stapley had served on a committee that had been appointed by me to make a report and recommendation to me regarding proposed changes in the Building Committee, which the committee had done, that Brother Stapley had also been on the Building Priority Committee whose services will be unnecessary on account of the appointment of the new committee.  Elder Stapley said that he felt all right about these matters.  He confirmed what President Tanner had said that the committee appointed by me had made their report regarding the proposed reorganization, and action had been taken and that he therefore assumed that the functions of that committee could continue or be dismissed.  He said that other committee, namely, the Priority Committee, was to determine the order in which chapels should be built, and he thought that under the circumstances this committee could also be disbanded.  (Elder Stapley was then excused from the meeting.)

11:15 a.m.

The secretary brought over letters and office matters for my attention.  While she was there Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson came.  He reported to me that President Joseph Fielding Smith and Elder Delbert L. Stapley had urged him to come over and to explain to me that they had only voted for the Committee presented, and voted that Howard Dunn be made Chairman of the Building Committee at the Council Meeting yesterday because they thought it was what I wanted.

I told Brother Isaacson that I do not want Brother Dunn in that position, not even on a temporary basis; that if we should call him to be the Acting Chairman and then release him in a short while there would only be feelings, and we do not want that.  I told Brother Isaacson that I do not feel right in my heart about appointing Brother Dunn to this position.

I then reported to Brother Isaacson that Brother Mark B. Garff will be back in Salt Lake on Sunday and that I have asked him to come and see me then.  I said that I feel that Brother Garff is a man that would do anything the Church might ask him to do; that he is a good man.

Brother Isaacson then extended to Sister McKay and me his love and desire to be of service wherever possible.  I told him that I sincerely appreciate his devotion and loyalty to me and to the Church.  He then departed.

Sun., 16 May, 1965:

This morning I had a confidential talk with Elder Mark B. Garff, formerly President of the Danish Mission and who is now a member of the Deseret News Board of Directors, regarding his taking over the Chairmanship of the Church Building Committee, to succeed Wendell B. Mendenhall.

Wed., 19 May 1965:

“8:30 a.m.

Met with President Hugh B. Brown in a First Presidency’s meeting, President Tanner being in Florida.  Among the matters discussed was the following:

Building Committee – Selection of Manager

I asked President Brown to express his opinion about Mark B. Garff for appointment to succeed Wendell B. Mendenhall as Manager of the Building Committee.  President Brown recited his close association with Brother Garff arising from Brother Garff’s being a member of the Granite Stake when President Brown was President, and Brother Garff’s having been called on a mission at that time.  He served also on the High Council in the Stake.  President Brown said he is a good builder, he is inclined to be impetuous, but he is nevertheless one-hundred percent loyal.  He is independent.  He also said he could highly recommend him.

President Brown mentioned, however, that President Tanner thinks Brother Garff may be too impetuous.

President Brown explained also that the Brethren seem to be divided on the subject as to whether or not Brother Garff should be selected.  Some feel that Brother Howard Dunn is the best man because he has knowledge of the workings of the committee.  Some feel that he is too much of a Mendenhall man.  He is, however, quite independent.  Others suggested Brother Dunn to carry on as manager until the first of July when Brother Mendenhall will be released.

I commented upon Brother Garff’s knowledge of the building program of the Church, his practical experience, his power to make decisions and his having a mind of his own and being loyal.  I asked President Brown to arrange to have Brother Garff come to the apartment for a confidential talk with me this morning.

President Brown then reviewed the first committee appointed to consider the subject:  Elders Stapley, LeGrand Richards, Howard W. Hunter, and Thorpe B. Isaacson; and the committee appointed last week:  Elders Marion G. Romney, Franklin D. Richards and Bishop John H. Vandenberg.  He mentioned Brother Garff’s preference to work directly with the First Presidency rather than through a committee.

I asked President Brown to meet me in the morning at 8:30 when the decision will be made and information given for the Council of the Twelve.

9:30 a.m.

Brother Mark B. Garff came to my apartment at my request.  I told him that I should like him to take over the management of the Building Department.

After talking over the whole problem with him, I told Brother Garff that he is to report to no one but me and the First Presidency; that he is free to come to me before he sees anyone else at any time.

Brother Garff mentioned the committee that has already been appointed and said, ‘President McKay, you cannot ask me to do this job and then dam the ditch with men with whom I cannot work.’

I told Brother Garff to study the matter and then to come back to me with his recommendations.  I said that the committees that have been appointed will be released, and that I would present the entire matter to the Council of the Twelve for their approval and action and get the whole thing settled tomorrow at our meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve.  (See following memorandum from Brother Garff.)

Wednesday, May 19, 1965

May 19, 1965

Re:  Conversation between President David O. McKay and Mark B. Garff

Today at 9:00 a.m. I was called by President Hugh B. Brown of the First Presidency and asked if I would see President McKay immediately.  I complied with President Brown’s request, calling at President David O. McKay’s apartment at 9:30 a.m.

I was greatly enlightened and impressed by being in the presence of President McKay.  Never before have I felt in any man the Christlike gentleness and spiritual strength that I found in this man.

We had some discussion about the many positions, directorships, etc. that I hold as an individual, centering mostly around Utah-Idaho Sugar Co. and the Deseret News.  I also advised President McKay that there were other organizations that I belong to that need some direction from me, including the Rebild National Park Society, a Danish-American Organization, and that I enjoyed my work immensely with this Society, as well as with the Utah-Idaho Sugar Co.

We then entered into a discussion of a matter that had been previously discussed on Thursday, May 13, at approximately 11:30 a.m. until about 12:05 p.m. and also the discussion that I had with him on Sunday, May 16th, at about 11:15 a.m. until 11:25 a.m.  These discussions all took place in President McKay’s apartment with President McKay.  On Sunday, May 16th, Dr. Edward R. McKay, President McKay’s son, also was present.

The discussion of today, May 19th, centered around the vacancy caused by the resignation of Wendell B. Mendenhall, Chairman of the Building Committee of the Church.  President McKay again asked me if I would take the Chairmanship of the Building Committee of the Church and bring into focus the affairs of this department so that moneys could be saved as well as bringing about an efficient, orderly organization to benefit the Church.

President McKay mentioned two separate committees that might be attached to the Building Committee and asked me my opinion.  After discussing this matter with President McKay, it was agreed that I would concur in President McKay’s wishes in becoming Chairman of the Building Committee, and that I would be entirely free to report directly to President McKay and the First Presidency, and that at the present time no other committees would be formed nor would I have any responsibility to any committee or any group except the First Presidency, and that I would discuss with the First Presidency changes and any program that would evolve from my appointment as Chairman of the Building Committee.

My inward desire was to resist and not accept the invitation of President McKay to fill this position, but I could not withstand his ever-present confidence in me and his desire for me to fill this position. I have never encountered such a man.  While I was with him, he made me feel that I was the most important man in this whole world, even though I was cognizant of my own frailties.

Before I left, President McKay said I will send the message to my counselors and the Quorum of the Twelve tomorrow, Thursday, May 20th, that I have appointed you Chairman of the Building Committee of the Church.

Also, before I left, President McKay expressed every confidence that one man could express to another.  He seemed pleased that I would help him in this matter.  I pledged to President McKay personally the support of my might, mind and strength.  As I left, there was a most pleasant smile on the face of the President – ‘He had won again.’

Mark B. Garff”    

Thurs., 20 May 1965:

“Building Committee – Appointment of Mark B. Garff as Chairman

I asked that the following memorandum which I had dictated be read:  ‘Matter to be taken up at Council Meeting Thursday, May 20, 1965:  Yesterday morning (May 19) I met by appointment in my apartment Brother Mark B. Garff, at which time I asked him to take over the management of the Church Building Department.  After talking over the whole problem with him, I told Brother Garff that he is to report to no one but me and to the First Presidency.  I told him that both committees that have already been appointed will be released.  I am presenting this matter to you for your approval and action.’

I then asked President Brown if he approved, and President Brown answered in the affirmative.  I said that we would present this memorandum to the Council at their meeting this morning.

I reviewed the committees appointed to give their recommendations on the Building Committee.  President Brown asked if the committees are to be released, and I replied that this should be decided now.

I said that the announcement of the appointment should be made after the Council had acted and approved.

I then told President Brown that I had asked the Brethren of the Twelve to come over to the apartment at ten o’clock this morning for their regular Council Meeting, and that I had so notified President Joseph Fielding Smith.  (See following Council Meeting of this day.)”

Building Committee—Release of Men in Great Britain

A letter from Mark E. Petersen was read relating to Brother Mendenhall’s releasing Building Committee men—Brothers Stirling, Bird, and Raymond.  President Brown explained that a cable had been sent canceling this action.

I said they should stay.  The work of the Building Committee is under our direction, and the new man will decide who is to stay there.  The Twelve will decide today.

I then asked President Brown again if he felt “clear” on the appointment of Brother Mark B. Garff, and President Brown responded in the affirmative and mentioned President Tanner’s doubts.  He said that President Tanner, however, will support me.

10:00 a.m.

After greeting and shaking hands with each of the Brethren, I had them sit around a circle in the living room.  We then took up regular matters.

Building Committee—Appointment of Mark B. Garff as Chairman

In this meeting the same memorandum which I presented to President Brown earlier this morning regarding the appointment of Elder Mark B. Garff as Chairman of the Church Building Committee and the release of the two committees that have already been appointed, was read to the Council.  (See above for memorandum.)

On motion of Elder Marion G. Romney, seconded by President Joseph Fielding Smith, and unanimously carried, the action was approved.

Fri., 21 May 1965:

“8:30 a.m.

Met with President Brown in First Presidency’s Meeting.  President Tanner still in Florida.

Thorpe B. Isaacson – Letter from

I asked that a letter from Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson addressed to me be read.  The letter mentioned speaking engagements Brother Isaacson is filling to address graduating students in two Idaho High Schools at one of which he served 45 years ago.  It also expressed his gratification at the appointment of Elder Mark B. Garff to be Manager of the Building Committee.

Wed., 26 May, 1965:

Building Department – Disposition of Building Department Surplus Property in South Pacific

President Tanner reviewed details and a letter was read addressed to the First Presidency by Harvey L. Taylor, administrator of the Unified Church School System, giving information about surplus properties and buildings in Samoa and other South Sea Islands which the Building Department proposes to dispose of my sale.  President Taylor indicated that the equipment and buildings can be used advantageously and economically by the schools in the Islands and asked that these be not sold.  President Tanner suggested that a cable be sent to Brother Mendenhall asking him not to dispose of any more of this property and equipment until the needs of the schools can be discovered.

I asked President Tanner to send such a cable over my signature.

Tues., 1 June 1965:

12:00 noon to 12:40 p.m.

Gave dictation to my secretary, Clare.  She reported that Elder Mark B. Garff, newly-appointed Chairman of the Church Building Committee, had called and reported that he is working on the re-organization of the Building Committee.  He said it will be necessary for him to have a clean slate, and that he has five men in mind whom he would like to suggest, and that he would report back to me as soon as he is ready.  Brother Garff also commented that he is astounded at the expenditures over in that department.

I commented that Brother Garff should have a free hand in reorganization matter, and that I will sustain him in that.

Clare also reported that Elder Delbert L. Stapley of the Council of the Twelve had reported that J. Howard Dunn had told the special committee appointed to investigate Building Committee matters that he had known that $250,000 per year could have been saved in overhead at headquarters of the Building Committee.”

Tues., 5 June 1965:

American Fork Training School

Inasmuch as ninety-five percent of the inmates of this school are LDS, and, furthermore, the Stake Presidency and High Council of the Alpine Stake feel that it would be a wonderful thing for these people if the Church would build a chapel for them, we decided to go forward at once with this project.”

Wed., 9 June 1965:

7:30 a.m.

Elder Mark B. Garff came to the office by appointment and discussed with me matters pertaining to the reorganization of the Building Committee—release of present committee, new committee members, process of doing work by contract, etc.

“Wednesday, June 9, 1965


June 10, 1965

On June 8, 1965, Miss Claire Middlemiss, President McKay’s secretary, called to advise me that the President would see me at 7:30 a.m., June 9th.  At that time I went to the President’s apartment for the purpose of discussing with him policies in regard to my new position as Chairman of the Building Committee.

As the first order of business, I reviewed with President McKay the present organization chart of the Church Building Committee.  This shows each man by name and the responsibilities that each has on the Building Committee.  I also reviewed the number of regions designated throughout the world, and discussed each region with him as shown on the chart, its supervisors, personnel and some of its ramifications.  I also showed the President the chart of the Polynesian Cultural Center on the island of Oahu with its Board of Directors, Officers, etc. that has been established to further the cause of this village.  President McKay was of the opinion that the Polynesian Cultural Center was administered under the Building Committee of the Church; however, we could not clarify this, but will do so at a later date.

After going through all the charts with the President very carefully so that he understood the trend and how business in the building department was conducted, it was agreed by both of us that a different method of approach should be used in the construction of buildings in the future.  It was agreed that all the Committeemen as outlined in the chart that I presented to the President should be released, Namely:  H. McClure; J.H. Dunn; F.M. Holdaway; D.H. Walton; G. Niemann; H. Burton; H. Barker; G. Biesinger, and J. Bradley.

President McKay stated that I was entirely free to form a committee of my own choice for the purpose of studying, revamping and re-organizing the building department, and I was free to put our new plan into operation.

I then presented to President McKay the following list of men to assist me in the new committee considering each one individually, namely:

1.  Fred Baker of Ogden, Utah, to be my first assistant at a salary of between $18,000.00 and $20,000.00 per year, whatever we could decide upon.  I told President McKay I had spoken with Mr. Fred Baker and he has agreed to stay with me as a member of the committee for a maximum period of 18 months, that Fred Baker holds a position with the Commercial  Security Bank of Ogden and the Hemingway brothers who control the bank had been kind enough to let me have the services of Elder Baker for the period of 18 months.  I explained to the president that I needed Fred Baker to help with reorganizational problems and that he would be replaced after his work was completed.  Fred Baker is to be the first man in authority under Mark B. Garff.

2.  Julian S. Cannon is to be the second man in line of authority, as engineer, at a salary of $12,500.00 per year.  I explained to President McKay that Julian S. Cannon is my brother-in-law, but that he was already working for the building department of the Church; that I wanted him because I could trust him as I trust myself and that he has a fine education, is a graduate of the School of Engineering at the USAC at Logan, Utah.

3.  Emil Fetzer, as architect, at a salary of $12,500.00 per year.

4.  Victor Laughlin, Certified Public Accountant, at a salary of $10,000.00 per year.

5.  Harold Christiansen, former president of the Western States Mission, at a salary of $12,000.00 per year.

I explained to the President that I have not yet spoken with Harold Christiansen, but President McKay gave me a free hand in this decision.  There will be one more man chosen, making a total of seven in all, including myself, to make up the new Building Committee, a reduction of three, holding the central committee to seven instead of ten.

It was further agreed that I would have to go into the several departments and make the changes necessary to cut down the expense of the entire building department.  For this I was given full power by the President to act at my own discretion.

I explained to President McKay that the men I had chosen had come to fill these positions on their own volition, at my invitation, and that they understood clearly that they had not been called by the President of the Church, that there is no guarantee of their positions, and if I should leave the department they would probably have to follow also.

There men are filling these positions because of their loyalties to me and because they want to help the Church.  They definitely understand that this is not a special calling from the President of the Church.  At this juncture President McKay stated that this is the way it should be and that none of the committee under Elder Mendenhall had any special calling from him as the President in the positions they hold.  He also stated that he was satisfied with my presentation, with all of the points which we had touched upon and discussed, and that now the organizational functions were left entirely in my hands.  He said that he approved the men I had tentatively selected.

Next, I discussed with President McKay the following items:

1.  The process of doing work by contract, and he agreed insofar as was possible that we should let work by contract and at the same time leave the door open in these contracts for donated labor that could be furnished by the stakes, wards and missions.

2.  The function of the Architect, the Owner, and the Contractor in the American System that is recognized as the finest system of doing contractual business found in the world today.  I stated to the President that we have some of the finest architects, contractors and engineers right here in Salt Lake and that we should make better use of them.  He concurred in this thought.

3.  Next, I asked him to permit me to declare a thirty to sixty day moratorium so that no new work could be started during that period, giving me an opportunity to bring into focus by the committee an understanding and agreement of how we should proceed.  He agreed wholeheartedly to this suggestion and told me to proceed.

4.  I then asked the President not to call any more work missionaries at this time, and he concurred in this request and said that none would be called.

This concluded my interview with the President.  He seemed pleased with my presentation and with the course of action that I was taking and would take in the future.  He expressed satisfaction at what I had tried to do, that he was pleased with my appointment, and that he has felt good about it from the beginning.  He told me I had a complete free hand to move forward.  I felt it a great privilege to have the opportunity of being in his presence and was doubly repaid for any effort I had put forth when he expressed his delight in the work that I have embarked upon.  The President assured me of his confidence in the future.

This interview consumed the greater part of one hour.  I left President McKay’s apartment at 8:23 a.m.

Mark B. Garff


Wed., 16 Jun., 1965:

Building Department

President Tanner raised the question as to when I would wish to talk to Brother Wendell Mendenhall.  I reported that Brother Mendenhall had called me by phone last night, but that I think it unnecessary for me to meet with Brother Mendenhall for discussions on Building Department matters again as previously suggested by President Tanner.

Tues., 22 June 1965:

“8:30 a.m.

Held regular meeting of the First Presidency.  Some of the matters discussed at this meeting were:

Building Department – Announcement of Reorganization; New High Rise Building

In discussing new quarters for the Deseret News, President Tanner stated that he thinks we should start at once to get things ready for the new Church Office Building; that we should order the steel, prepare final specifications, and commence the building right away.  He also mentioned the need for releasing Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall as a member of the committee having in charge preparations for the construction of the new building and the appointment of Brother Garff as Brother Mendenhall’s successor.

I stated that Brother Mendenhall should be taken off the committee for the construction of the new building at once, and asked Brother Tanner to make the change this morning.  President Tanner mentioned that Brother Garff does not want to do anything in connection with the Building Department until the first of July, and I said that I think this is a mistaken idea on his part.

I said also that the newspaper announcement of Brother Garff’s appointment should be made right away.  In this connection President Tanner said that there is gossip going around to the effect that Brother Mendenhall has been excommunicated, that he had misappropriated funds, etc.  President Tanner thought that perhaps we should make some statement to correct these rumors.  I said the announcement of Brother Garff’s appointment should be made at once, and that nothing should be said regarding the rumors referred to.

President Tanner then called attention to a memorandum addressed to the First Presidency, in care of his attention, from Brother Mendenhall, in which Brother Mendenhall lists a number of subjects which he suggests he should discuss with the First Presidency.  Among the items mentioned are the property owned by the Church in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, purchased for sub-division purposes of approximately 125 acres which it is proposed to be sold; the proposed sale of the Christchurch property in New Zealand; the 1600 acres of farm land in New Zealand which is under the direction of Brother Mendenhall, whose brother has been foreman for several years; the Maori carved hall in Nuhuka; Deseret Farms of California, etc.

I stated that I do not care to see Brother Mendenhall about these things; that Brother Garff will now take over the administration of these things.

Fri., 25 Jun., 1965:

8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency in the office in the apartment.  Among items discussed were:

Building Department

Brother Mark B. Garff reported that in accordance with his desire, and in carrying out my instructions, he will ask Brother Mendenhall to release ten of the top men in the Building Department organization, and in the event Brother Mendenhall does not wish to do this, he (Brother Garff) will release them.

High Rise Office Building

It was agreed that we should go forward at once with the plans for the construction of the new Church Office Building.

Sat., 26 June 1965:

“8:00 a.m.

Met by appointment Elder Mark B. Garff, newly-appointed Chairman of the Church Building Department.  He brought with him the following men whom he has selected as the new members of the Building Committee:

Fred Baker

Julian S. Cannon

Emil Fetzer

Harold Christiansen

Victor Laughlin

Allan Acomb

Ray Ingebretsen

After greeting and shaking hands with each one, I asked them to be seated in the living room.  Photographers from the newspapers came in and took pictures so that they may use them when they make the announcement of the re-organization of the Building Department.

I asked Brother Garff if any of the members of the old committee would be retained, and Brother Garff said that all of them would be released and that the men present this morning would make an entirely new committee.

I told the Brethren that they will be happy and effective only if they will lose themselves in their work, and in so doing, they will find themselves and be of great service.  I said that this is true of all Church work; that men had to be dedicated and lose themselves in the interests of others if they would be successful and happy.

Spent an hour or so with this group and felt that there was a very good spirit existing among them.  (See following minutes of meeting by Brother Garff, amd see diary of July 1, 1965 for announcement of new Committee.)

Saturday, June 26, 1965


On Friday afternoon, June 25th, Miss Claire Middlemiss, secretary to President David O. McKay, called to advise me that President McKay would like to meet with me and the committee that I had chosen to represent the Building Division of the Church.  The appointment was made for 8:00 a.m., Saturday, June 26, 1965, as I had already called a meeting of the Building Committee for 7:00 a.m. on that morning.

Upon meeting with my committee, I advised them that President McKay had invited us to his apartment.  After discussing matters pertaining to the future of the Building Committee and work assignments, we left my office and called upon the President promptly at 8:00 a.m., Saturday, June 26, 1965.

President McKay was in his study and, as usual, he greeted me with a most cordial and warm welcome.  In turn, I introduced each member of the Building Committee to the President.  He then asked that we retire to his living room where we could all be seated together.  After we were seated near the President, he asked me to present each member of the committee to him again; which I did, giving him a brief resume of the duties of each man.  The committee consisted of Fred Baker, Julian S. Cannon, Emil Fetzer, Harold Christiansen, Victor Laughlin, Allan Acomb and Ray Ingebretsen.

At this juncture, I advised the President that George Scott, a reporter from the Deseret News, and Don Grayston, a photographer, had come to take pictures of the group with the President, as well as to receive any statement that he, the President, might care to make.  The President was very obliging and permitted the newspapermen to take the pictures that they wanted — and talked to them.

The President again asked us to be seated to give us some instructions.  The question was asked whether any of the members of the preceding Building Committee would be retained in their positions.  I advised the President that all members of the old committee would be released and that the men he had just met would make up an entirely new group, and would function as the new Church Building Committee.  This he approved.  President McKay admonished us that we would be happy and effective in our work, provided that we lose ourselves in the task assigned, and in so doing, we would find ourselves and be of great service.  He stated that this is true of all Church work.  Men had to be dedicated and lose themselves in the interests of others if they would be happy and effective. 

I pledged the committee’s support to the President and to the Church and advised him that each man under me clearly understood that this is not a special calling, but that each one had come at my request, and each man was most happy to assume his responsibility and accept his assignment.

Then I read to the President and to the committee members the following:

‘I did not seek nor want this elevated position.  My desire was to shrink from it.  I have learned that fame, if you want to call it that, is fickle and transitory at the very best.  It is a waste of time to seek after it, for both fame and success have ruined many a man.  I seek neither fame nor fortune and hope only to fulfill the calling that has come to me by the man I regard as God’s mouthpiece on earth, and hope in turn that I may benefit the Church.  I desire to stand blameless before God for my stewardship and I plead with all my associates to do likewise.’

The President indicated that he was pleased with the committee.  At this juncture I asked him for permission to have a certified public accounting firm audit the books of the Building Committee.  I mentioned in this regard the name of Lybrand, Ross Brothers and Montgomery, Certified Public Accountants who are associated with the Lincoln G. Kelly Company of Salt Lake City.  The President voiced his approval to this and told me to proceed, that his feelings were the same as mine, and that an audit should be made as quickly as possible.

We spent the greater part of an hour with President McKay, for which we were most grateful, when we excused ourselves feeling that we had obtained great strength and great succor from the President.  It was most delightful and enlightening experience for the members of the Building Committee.  Once again I felt that he is greatest who carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own; and certainly we were carried up by the great heart, mind and spirit of President David O. McKay.

We retired from President McKay’s apartment at approximately 9:00 a.m., returned to our meeting at my office at 850 West 1500 North Street in Salt Lake City, continued the business at hand, and dismissed the meeting at 12:00 o’clock noon.

Mark B. Garff”

Wed., 30 Jun., 1965:

12:00 noon

Brother Mark Garff came in and reported that President Hugh B. Brown had called him and said that there seemed to be some doubt about having an outside firm audit the books of the Building Department.  Brother Garff said that the firm he has spoken to are to be trusted; that a number of members of the Church work for them; that their audit would be entirely confidential, and that he thinks we should have an independent audit.

I authorized Brother Garff to go ahead with the independent audit as he has planned.”

Thur., 1 Jul., 1965:

It was announced in today’s newspapers the appointment of the new Building Committee, with Mark B. Garff as Chairman.

Fri., 9 July 1965:

“8:00 a.m.

President Hugh B. Brown called and inquired if there would be a meeting this morning, and I told him that there would be no meeting.

10:00 a.m.

Building Committee – Severance Pay for Retiring Committee

Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson of the Personnel Committee came over and reported that the Personnel Committee had received a letter signed by the First Presidency instructing them to give three months severance pay to the retiring members of the Building Committee, where as previously they had been instructed by me that these committee members were not to get severance pay.

I emphatically told Elder Isaacson that I do not want them to have this severance pay; that most of the members resigned of their own free will when Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall was released.

I instructed Elder Isaacson to tell President Brown that I had decided at one of our meetings of the First Presidency that this severance pay should not be given as these men had all done very well while at the Building Committee, but that President Tanner had brought the matter up again and pleaded for these men to get the money.

Following the meeting, Elder LeGrand Richards, Chairman of the Personnel Committee, and Elder Isaacson called on President Brown and told him that I had instructed the Personnel Committee not to give three months severance pay to members of the Building Committee.  President Brown became very upset because of these instructions, and shocked Elders Richards and Isaacson with his attitude.”

Tues., 13 July 1965:

Building Department – Severance Pay of Committee Members

Elder Isaacson then made a report to me of the interview he had had with President Brown last Friday, July 9, 1965, regarding severance pay for Building Department committee members who are now retiring.  Reported President Brown’s attitude on this occasion, and I thanked him for telling me.

Wednesday, July 14, 1965

Notes of conference of President David O. McKay with Mark E. Garff, Chairman of the Church Building Committee, Wednesday, July 14, 1965, at 10:35 a.m.

The following items were discussed:

Landscaping of Temple Block and Church Office Block

Brother Garff explained that he had held a meeting with Irvin T. Nelson and George Cannon Young, Architect for the new Church Office Building, and it has been decided that Brother Nelson would have charge of the landscaping on both blocks.  Brother Young holds a contract for the landscaping of the grounds around the new building, but Brother Garff has cancelled this contract, and the landscaping of the two blocks is now in the hands of Brother Nelson under the direction of Mark Garff.

Wages for Members of New Building Committee

Brother Garff explained that when he talked to me recently about the wages for the members of the new committee, he applied to the Personnel Committee for their wages exactly as we had agreed upon them with one exception — that of Victor Laughlin for $800 per month; and that was a mistake, as Brother Laughlin’s salary should have been $950 per month.

Brother William J. Critchlow, Jr. of the Personnel Committee is now asking that I put his signature on the requests for wages that have now been prepared as follows:

Mark B. Garff, Chairman No salary for the present

Fred A. Baker $12,000 per year

Emil B. Getzer $12,500 per year

Julian Cannon $12,500 per year

Horace A. Christiansen $12,000 per year

Allan M. Acomb $  9,000 per year

Victor Laughlin $     950 per month

Ray Engebretsen $     800 per month

Brother Garff said that he would accept no salary for the present — that he wanted to be sure that he could do the job as I wanted him to.

Brother Garff explained that Brother Fred Baker is the man who received a leave-of-absence from the Commercial Bank of Ogden, where he was making a salary of $20,000 per year (or $22,500 with fringe benefits), and is willing to come to us for $18,000 per year until matters at the Building Department are straightened out.

I authorized these salaries as presented by Brother Garff.

Brother Garff said that he was amazed to find that there are 28 purchasing agents in the Building Department.  He said, ‘I cannot use them, and I am cleaning them out, and I am asking Brother Allan Acomb to help me.’  He reported that they have found forty pick-up trucks which are owned by the Building Department.

Audit of Building Department

Brother Garff reported that on two occasions he had talked to me about an independent audit, and had received my permission to proceed with an independent firm — Lybrand, Ross Brothers and Montgomery, Certified Public Accountants, who are associated with the Lincoln G. Kelly Company of Salt Lake City.  At a later date this matter was discussed with Presidents Brown and Tanner, who thought that the Church auditors should make the audit.

Brother Garff said that he did not want to upset me nor my Counselors, but he felt it best that an independent audit be made.

Brother Garff said the only difficulty he can see is that an outside firm might find some discrepancy that would reflect upon the Church, but that he felt the only way we can know the truth is to have someone absolutely independent of the Church make an audit and then give a confidential report to him so that he could in turn make a report to me.  This firm has representatives all over the world who can take care of the audit.  Brother Garff said we have offices of the Building Department all over the United States, all over Europe, and all over the South Pacific, and that no living man has a conception of what we have.

Brother George Jarvis of the Financial Department does not know, and Brother Garff said that he had to know and know accurately what we have, where our money has gone, and who is responsible.  He said further that his preference in the matter is that we have an independent audit and that we have our office here in the City, and in South America, in the South Pacific, in the Orient, and in Europe, audited.  He then asked me, ‘What do you want — do you want the Church to do this auditing, or do you want an independent audit?’

I asked Brother Garff what it will cost, and he said between $15,000 and $20,000.  I then asked Brother Garff if the members of this firm are Mormons, and he answered that the top men are not, but members of the firm for the most part are.  Brother Garff said that in the Church, of course, we have all LDS men, but he did not know what their abilities are.

I told Brother Garff that I think it will be better for him to take charge of everything as he sees fit, and as he sees the need, and that it would be better to have an independent audit.

Brother Garff answered, ‘That would be my wishes, and I have already arranged for that.’

At this point I decided to call President Hugh B. Brown over to the office in the apartment, and had Brother Garff tell President Brown what he had told me, and President Brown agreed with us that an independent audit should be made of the Church Building Department.”

Thurs., 15 July 1965:

“8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency with President Brown.  President Tanner excused as he was attending the MIA golf tournament.

Building Committee – Severance Pay for Released Committee Staff

We again discussed severance pay for Wendell B. Mendenhall, J. Howard Dunn, Dyke Walton, Harold W. Burton, Harry E. McClure, Floyd M. Holdaway, Neil Bradley, Howard Barker, George Biesinger, and Gilbert O. Nieman, who have been released from the Building Department of the Church.

President Brown and I were both agreed that Brothers Mendenhall, Burton, and Biesinger should receive no severance pay.  There was some question, however, in regard to the other brethren.  I raised the question in regard to the salaries of these former Building Committee members, and what the severance pay would amount to.  President Brown will obtain this information and present it to me.

Building Committee – Audit of

Although it was agreed yesterday when I called President Brown into a meeting with Brother Mark Garff, new chairman of the Building Committee, that there would be an independent audit, President Brown presented the question again this morning and said that President Tanner is strongly opposed to an outside audit on the grounds that it exposes to non-members what he calls our ‘dirty linen’, and he felt that our own auditors could make the audit just as well, and that they would keep our confidence.  President Brown said that there seems to be some feeling on Brother Garff’s part, and that of others, that there would be somewhat of a whitewash job done if it were left to our auditors.  However, we felt that there would be no inclination on the part of the Church auditors to whitewash any situation.

Before making any decision in this matter, I decided to call Brother Garff by telephone and ascertain from him just how far he had gone in his negotiations with outside auditors, and what obligation we are under to accept their services.  I asked Brother Garff what he recommended should be done, and Brother Garff said that he would give the matter consideration and call me later in the day.

Fri., 16 July 1965:

11:00 a.m.

Building Committee – Definite Decision to have Independent Audit

Called Mark B. Garff and asked him to come over to the office in the apartment.  At this time we discussed again the matter of whether or not a firm independent of the Church should make an audit of the Building Department.  Brother Garff said that on three different occasions he has received instructions from me to go ahead with an independent audit, but that my Counselors have instructed him to have the Church auditors make the audit.  He reminded me that just last Wednesday (July 14, 1965), President Brown was called into a meeting in my apartment, and after a discussion President Brown agreed that an independent audit should be made.  However,the following morning, he brought the matter up again in the First Presidency’s meeting, and the question was again raised as to whether there should be an independent audit.  I called Brother Garff while in that meeting regarding the Church’s making the audit, but a definite decision was not made, and he was to report to me later.  Brother Garff said that the Counselors called him into a meeting yesterday at 2:00 p.m. and emphatically told him to have the Church auditors make the audit.  Brother Garff said he talked to Harold Davis, one of the auditors, and asked him how the Church or any business could make an impartial audit of itself.  Brother Davis answered that that is why he is here; that he is the Church auditor, and that he thinks they can do a better audit than anybody else.  Brother Garff asked him how he can keep his seven or eight men, and others whom he will contact all around the world, from talking, and told him very frankly that he felt that he could not make an impartial audit.  Brother Garff told him that he would talk to him again after talking to the President of the Church about it.  Said that he intended calling me Monday morning for an appointment, if I had not called him this morning.

Brother Garff said that there is the problem of unfavorable matters showing up in the audit, and that if it is contrary to my wishes to have an outside firm audit the books, then he will abide by my decision.

I said, ‘Suppose we do have a Church audit and also an independent audit?  What does it matter?’  Brother Garff said that confidentially my Counselors told him he is to go in another direction, but that he had not acquiesced, and that he had told Harold Davis that he would not give him an answer until Monday.  He said that the Counselors have the understanding that I have changed my mind and that I want a Church audit, and that President Brown has told the Church auditors to proceed with the audit.

I then said to Brother Garff, ‘I want you to have a clear slate, and personally I do not know why anyone would hesitate for you to have that slate clean.  I say to you in the presence of Clare, my secretary, that we want that independent audit.’

Brother Garff said, ‘All right that is settled.  Do you want me to advise your Counselors to that effect?’  I said, ‘Why shouldn’t you?  I have an idea that some others are representing me.  I want you to come to me without being influenced by anyone else.  I should like to know who told you that I do not want an independent audit — they have misunderstood.’

Brother Garff answered, ‘This came out of your meeting yesterday when you called me and said that we should have a Church audit.  They have told me what the Church auditors can do and that we would be better off with our own auditors.’

I said, ‘I cannot understand why anybody should hesitate to have our Church books, or business, audited by anybody, and even looked at under a search light.’

Brother Garff said, ‘Your counselors, and Brother Tanner, feel that we should have the Church auditors, and I would not go along with them.  I am not going to let them cause you any more worry about this — you should not be concerned.  I think the Committee is perfectly capable of doing the job you assigned us, and you are perfectly capable of telling us what you want.  The whole Committee is in favor of having an independent audit.’

Later, Brother Garff called by telephone and asked that a memorandum giving him authority to go ahead with the independent audit, signed by me, be given to him.  I authorized my secretary, Clare, to prepare such a memorandum which I will sign and hand to Brother Garff.  

Friday, July 16, 1965

July 16, 1965


Elder Mark B. Garff, Chairman

Church Building Committee

125 North Main Street

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear Brother Garff:

This is your authority to proceed with an independent audit of the Church Building Department.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


Tues., 20 July 1965:

Building Department – Audit

President Brown raised the question as to whether any further decision had been made in the matter of the proposed audit of the books of the Building Department.  I said yes that I have suggested to Brother Garff that he secure an independent audit.  President Brown mentioned an earlier decision that the Church’s auditing department should carry forward this audit, and that acting upon this decision Brother Harold Davis had been instructed to go forward with the audit, and had engaged in some activity in connection therewith.

I stated that it is all right for him to go forward and make his audit in addition to this independent audit; that it would cost a little more money, but personally that I should like to have this audit from an independent source.

Wed., 21 July 1965:

Building Committee – Severance pay for Former Staff Members

We again gave consideration to the proposed granting of three months severance pay to the ten top Building Committee personnel who were recently released.  It was decided not to give such severance pay to Wendell B. Mendenhall, George R. Biesinger, and Harold W. Burton; that, however, the other seven should each be given three months severance pay as follows:  Howard Barker, $3,124.50; J. Neil Bradley, $3,249.96; J. Howard Dunn, $3,750; Floyd M. Holdaway, $3,750; Harry E. McClure, $2,500; Gilbert O. Nieman, $3,750; H. Dyke Walton, $3,123.

We felt that these men would feel aggrieved under the circumstances if we did not grant this allowance to them.  Accordingly, President Brown asked me if it were my desire that he instruct LeGrand Richards to make these severance allowances to the seven brethren mentioned, and I said yes.

Building Department – Audit of

Further consideration was given to the matter of the proposed Building Department audit, the question involved being whether the audit should be made by an outside firm or by the Church auditing department or both.  It was agreed that it was unnecessary to go to the expense and trouble of duplicating the work, that if the outside auditors are going to make the audit it would be unnecessary to have two different audits.

Building Department – Lawyer for

Referring to the Building Department, President Brown suggested that it seemed to him that experience would dictate that the Church be very cautious in the matter of authority that is given to Brother Garff as manager of the Building Department.  He spoke in the highest terms of Brother Garff but thought that in the interest of all concerned every proper precaution should be exercised.  President Brown mentioned that Wilford W. Kirton, our legal counsel, had called him last night at his home stating that a lawyer had phoned stating that Brother Garff had asked him to become the attorney for the Building Committee, that he proposed to refer everything pertaining to the Building Department to this lawyer.  Brother Kirton strongly recommended that if Brother Garff wants a special man to handle his work, this man should be attached to the Legal Department.  President Brown mentioned that Brother Kirton is doing a very excellent work as the Church’s legal counsel, and that certainly it would seem to him that the Building Department should not have a separate legal advisor.

I agreed with this and said that it would not be the thing to do.  President Brown reiterated that the information had come to him as hearsay, but he was satisfied in his own feelings that if Brother Garff was contemplating such an arrangement it should not be permitted.  Brother Kirton had said that he was prepared to give Brother Garff all the attention he needs pertaining to affairs of the Building Department, and that if thought advisable he would be pleased to assign one of his men to work on Building Department matters or to take into this organization some man whom Brother Garff might wish to have serve in that capacity, but that if he were to be the counsel for the Church, the Church Building Department should not be separated from the rest of the Church.

President Brown also stated that if it is the intention that Brother Garff should work directly under me, he did not want to interfere, but he thought this matter should be kept in mind.  I made no comment on this.

Thursday, July 29, 1965

Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidency

Held Thursday, July 29, 1965, at 8:00 A.M. in President McKay’s Apartment

Present:  Presidents David O. McKay, Hugh B. Brown and N. Eldon Tanner

Manhattan, New York Church

President Stanley McAllister of the New York Stake met with the First Presidency this morning and reported to them the status of negotiations pertaining to the erection of a building on our property in New York, in which building would be provided accommodations for two wards and a stake, also mission offices.  President McAllister mentioned that under authorization he had conferred with a developer who will either buy our property or let us retain ownership and build the necessary facilities for us.  He is willing to give us $2,100,000 in cash and building value.  President McAllister mentioned that we originally paid $1,570,000 for the property, that by taking the facility valued at $2,100,000 and giving an air rights lease, namely the right for the leasee to build back of us and above us, we would have the ground floor and the first, second and third floors of this new building on 58th Street, that by putting the mission office in the building, not the home, and selling the mission property on Fifth Avenue, also by selling our present Manhattan Ward building on 81st Street, by the combination of those and the combination of the building and the profit we would make on the Church’s investment, the way it appears now the enter transaction would cost the Church only $45,000.  He said that the stake and wards in New York would make their normal contributions as a normal stake and ward contribution, and that on that basis our financial picture for the Church would be very handsome.  We would have our identity on 58th Street where we would have our building with a character of our own, an entrance of our own, and a presentation of our own, and we would have our own facilities and furnishings.

President McAllister said that the colored people have taken over the entire area where our present ward headquarters are, that Puerto Ricans roam the streets and it is hazardous for our people to be on the streets in that area; also that the building is wholly unsuitable in that it has only six classrooms and we need 15 to 20, and there is no air conditioning.

President Tanner asked President McAllister how he knew without having plans more nearly completed that the building would cost $1,600,000.  President McAllister said that he had had sketches made, which sketches and plans he had presented to three firms of contractors and they had given him an estimate of cost, the lowest estimate being $1,300,000, and the highest $1,500,000.  President McAllister thought it wise to suggest the figure of $1,600,000.  The offer of $2,100,000 by the syndicate would give us $500,000 in cash to do anything we wanted to do with it.  The property that we own consists of 15,000 square feet of land.  In this deal President McAllister said the Church will continue to own the property excepting a piece on 57th Street which we would dispose of in the exchange, leaving us 15,000 square feet in one piece of land four stories high.  He also stated that we would have the right to approve the architect who would be used for the entire center, and that the Church architects could work with them in the development of our Church facilities.  In answer to an inquiry by President McKay President McAllister said that this property is about a mile from the Puerto Rican area and is completely isolated from them and will be surrounded by the General Motors, Time and other large buildings. 

President Tanner commented that Howard Stoddard had gone over this proposition with Brother McAllister and had stated that he could hardly believe it.  He says it is the finest arrangement for the Church that he had seen, and recommended that we go forward with it.

President Tanner said the only question in his mind was whether or not Solow, the name of the company that proposes to go forward with the building, and Brother McAllister, have worked out enough details and are positive enough in the determination to go forward with it.  President McAllister stated that he had talked with Gould and Wilkie, attorneys, who helped us with our legal work at the World’s Fair Pavillion and who are attorneys for his company, the Associated Dry Goods Company, and Mr. Lockhart, a partner in this thing, who say that we can put together the kind of deal here that will give the Church all the protection it needs.  He said that the Church legal Department can review it when the documents are ready.  He also said that the Church Building Department, in conjunction with the Solow architect, can make sure that this facility will not cost more than $1,600,000.  Brother McAllister thought we ought to do it for less than that but he wanted to make the figure sufficiently ample in case of strike or other conditions which might interfere.  He said that this had also been reviewed by his counselor, Gordon Crandall, who is a CPA who has analyzed the financial figures, and by others.

The original proposition was that this be a two ward and stake center.

 The suggestion was made by President Tanner that consideration be given to making it a three ward and stake center.  President McAllister said that this could be done without any additional expense.  He also mentioned that there would be provided three or four rooms for use by the General Authorities when they are visiting in New York, and that the building would amply accommodate the New York Stake and the Manhattan wards.  President McAllister further stated that he was satisfied that when it becomes known that we are going to go forward with this project he would be able to obtain some substantial contributions from Church members of means in the New York area, men who are not active in the Church but hold high positions in various industrial and business organizations.

President McKay expressed his thanks and appreciation to Brother McAllister and told him to go ahead with the negotiations.  He commended him heartily for what he had done and asked the Lord to bless him in what he was doing.

Brother McAllister suggested the advisability of having a letter from the First Presidency that he could show to Solow approving this transaction.  President McAllister was requested to dictate the letter that he would like the First Presidency to sign.

(President McAllister was excused from the meeting at this time.)

Sat., 31 July 1965:

“8:00 a.m.

Polynesian Village Board

President Hugh B. Brown called Clare, my secretary, and said, ‘Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall should be released from that Polynesian Board — have you done anything about it?’

Clare told President Brown that that is not her place, but that the minutes sometime ago said that Brother Mendenhall should be released, and that she thought President McKay had told him (President Brown) to attend to it.  She then suggested that he could see me this morning following my appointment with Brother Broman.  (President Brown did not take this matter up with me at this time.)”

Wed., 1 Sept. 1965:

“8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Met with Presidents Brown and Tanner in my office in the Hotel Utah.  Among the matters considered were the following:

American Fork Training School

President Brown reported that in accordance with authorization given by the First Presidency, plans are being prepared for a Chapel at the American Fork Training School.  Governor Rampton has agreed to give us a site on which to erect the building, the Church to make a small payment to make the transaction legal.  Mark Garff, Chairman of the Building Committee, is going to American Fork this morning with State Officials to decide on the general plan of the Chapel so that it will harmonize with the rest of the campus.  President Brown referred to a former suggestion that our people should help with the financing of it.  He stated that the membership of the school comes from all over the State and from other States and he thought perhaps the Church should go forward and build it without assessing the people, inasmuch as inmates are handicapped and a great majority of them are Latter-day Saints.  He suggested that a chapel should be built that would seat about 300 people, and a cultural hall be provided for entertainment of the people.  President Brown further suggested that a branch be organized under the jurisdiction of the Alpine Stake, and that the Stake people will be called upon to help in officering the Branch.  The present thought is that Chaplain Evans, who is at the school all the time, should be the Branch President.  This matter can be decided later.  President Brown explained that it will be necessary to build the chapel a little different from our usual chapels, that instead of stairs we should have ramps inasmuch as a number of the inmates are wheel chair patients.  The building should be erected to accommodate the needs of the people.

I said we are moving in the right direction.  I gave my approval for the program, and said that the Church should pay the cost.”

Thurs., 16 Sept. 1965:

‘8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency with Presidents Brown and Tanner.  Some of the items discussed were:

Building Department – Committee and Program

Presidents Brown and Tanner reported that they had a long interview yesterday with Brother Mark B. Garff and Brother Baker regarding the recent building program and the new building committee.  These brethren handed to Presidents Brown and Tanner a rather comprehensive statement and pointed out that we now have 403 projects under construction, and that we have a total of $95,900,000 involved in 670 projects, and that we have in addition 81 projects in foreign areas at a total cost of $5,525,000.  President Brown raised the question as to whether I should like to have a resume of the whole program.  He said that he and President Tanner were quite agreeable to all the propositions they made with respect to their future operations and the handling of these projects now under construction, and that he and President Tanner felt to concur in their recommendations.

President Brown raised the question as to how far I wanted them to go in this matter.  He stated that it was the feeling of President Tanner and himself that the Twelve should be advised of the new organization and program so that they will be prepared to answer questions that may come to them from Stake Presidents and Bishops as they travel about.  I said that I should first like to have another session with Brother Garff before taking this to the Twelve.

President Tanner raised the question as to the facilities that should be made available to Stakes and Wards, etc., and referred to the committee that had been heretofore set up consisting of Brother Romney, Franklin Richards, and Brother Holdaway, which committee had made a study and were continuing the study and had made reports on what they thought was necessary and how we could save money if we did certain things.  President Tanner said it seemed to him that it is the responsibility of the Expenditures Committee, which includes the First Presidency, to determine what should be done and not the responsibility of the Building Committee.  President Tanner said that he had mentioned this committee to Brother Garff and suggested that the Building Committee study this carefully with them and that Brother Garff was quite agreeable to this.  President Brown further stated that it was the thought of President Tanner and himself that it would be well to have a committee as a buffer between the First Presidency and the Church Building Committee and the Expenditures Committee to determine policies.

I stated that Brother Garff has in mind a reorganization of the Building Committee and the institution of the new program, and that we should meet with Brother Garff in regard to this matter.

Thurs., 23 Sept. 1965:

Building Department – Proposed Plans for Future Operations

Mark B. Garff and Fred Baker, Assistant to Brother Garff, of the Building Department met with us before we took up the regular matters, and presented to us in detail a report of conditions pertaining to the Building Department of the Church, and their proposals for carrying on the building activities in the future.

Brothers Garff and Baker were asked to present this same program to the General Authorities of the Church tomorrow morning, Friday, September 24, in the Church Administration Building.  (See following copy of minutes of the First Presidency for details of this report.)

Brothers Garff and Baker were then excused from the meeting.  I thought their report was excellent, and felt very satisfied that we have made the right move in choosing these men to take charge of our building affairs.

‘Thursday, September 23, 1965

Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidency

Held Thursday, September 23, 1965, at 8:00 A.M., in President McKay’s Apartment

Present: Presidents David O. McKay, Hugh B. Brown and N. Eldon Tanner

Building Committee Program

Mark B. Garff and Fred Baker, assistant to Brother Garff, met with the First Presidency and discussed with them the building situation and their proposed plans for future operations.  Brother Garff explained that under the former system men who were called to serve as building supervisors in various areas were given a limited allowance and when they returned home they often had difficulty getting employment.  He mentioned the case of one of these brethren who has been serving in South America, his family being with him, but it is now necessary for him to return home and it will cost $900 to pay his return expenses.  This brother will not have any work when he arrives here.  He has contracted a disease and it is a problem to know what to do with him.  Brother Garff said that in these cases we would have been better off if we had sent men on these assignments on a wage ratio so that we could hire them or fire them, that now we must assume the responsibility of this man’s hospitalization and give him some kind of severance pay.  Brother Garff said that is only one of about a hundred cases that they will have to handle within the next year.  He mentioned the case of another man in England who owes an indebtedness of over $125,000.  He stated this man was obligated to his creditors before he went, that these bills were not incurred in England.

Brother Garff said that in Europe and in South America a very small percentage of our Church population is making any donation to the chapels in labor or money, and in two instances in South America we have shut down two jobs because it has been impossible for them to get any local labor and we have been doing all the work.  He said that the problem is that we are building chapels too large for our people, far beyond what they can pay for, and the present proposal is to cut down the size of these chapels and build chapels at a cost that the people can pay their proportion.

Another thing he mentioned was that we have had too many area offices.  He stated that we have had five area offices in the United States and that we have such offices in London, Stuttgart and in the Polynesian countries.  Brother Garff said that they are closing some of these offices as quickly as they can and centralizing them into one office where they can control the spending.  In the past, areas have spent money without supervision and without record, that there have been no checks or balances that can be found as to what they spent money for and how much they are using for themselves.  He said that he was going to dispatch four men into Europe to see if we can get any information there.

President McKay asked who had charge of these expenditures and Brother Garff said that the Building Committee would bring their recommendation to the Committee on Expenditures but the Expenditures Committee do not have control over the spending of the money and the Building Committee supervised the expenditure of the money.  He said that it was the Building Committee’s job to see that this money was spent judiciously.  Brother Garff said that item number one is over-building, and many of our buildings, especially in Great Britain, the European continent and South America, are over-sized.  He stated that they now have a system devised so that they can tell on a moment’s notice how much money they should spend and how big the building should be.  He said that under the past arrangement chapels have been built that the people cannot maintain.

Another item mentioned by Brother Garff was over-staffing without regard to training and cost, that in some cases we have pipe fitters who have been used to supervise buildings, that we have painters in South America, that we have school teachers who have been sent into the world to build buildings without experience and without knowing costs and how to put the building together.  This he said has been very costly.  He stated that they were not there to condemn anybody of find fault, but they wanted to give the people what they need at the amount they can afford to pay.  He said that in some cases we have sent a man to Great Britain to build a building with Church builders to help him, that the local saints in many instances have sat back and let us build the building with our builders and our supervisor and they have not contributed as much as 5% to some of these buildings.

Brother Garff mentioned excessive travel and excessive costs.  Brother Garff said that they had gone over this matter with their budget committee and it is believed that they can cut this down considerably.  He said that they think they can cut the expense in the office and are hopeful that they can save the Church this year in the central office expenditures a minimum of a half a million dollars.

At Brother Garff’s request Brother Baker presented a survey to the brethren which Brother Garff said had been prepared after much study with Brother Laughlin and the committee, which survey he stated indicates the course they would like to follow.  Brother Baker made this presentation with charts.

Scope of Present Program

Brother Baker said that we now have 403 projects under consideration in the world, 237 of them in the United States and Canada and 166 overseas.  These are meetinghouses being built under the old program.  He also stated that there are 506 people employed in this program whom we are paying either a wage or a sustenance, that in addition there are 600 Church builders, boys who have been called to assist in this type of work.  These young men are kept by the local people.  He said that these 506 employees in the program are being paid over a million and a half dollars a year in salaries and sustenance.

In answer to President McKay’s inquiry as to how much the local people pay toward this, Brother Baker said that presumably 40% under the present program, but because of certain ways of accounting there is a question of whether or not they really do contribute the share they are supposed to.

1966 Needs Forecast

Brother Baker said that they now have in their offices requests for buildings for 1966:  670 from the United States and Canada, which would total about $96,000,000, and 81 requests from overseas in foreign areas which total about 5 1/2 million dollars, that the total requests are for 751 buildings which would cost a total of $101,431,000.

President Tanner asked if this 100 million dollars cost is based on the over-sized buildings or is the estimated fair cost on the proposed program.  Brother Baker said it is hoped that there will not be too many over-sized buildings, but that factor has not been evaluated and this figure is based on the requests from the local people.  Brother Baker said that the Building Committee would not like anything started from now on that is not critically needed, and that they have not yet analyzed every one of these projects to see in which category they fall.  He said that it was felt that in the past the analysis had not been sufficiently critical and it is proposed to be much tougher on the size of the building to make sure it is the right and proper size.  President McKay raised a question on this point and Brother Baker explained that the problem was that we had incompetent people building the buildings and that when you have an incompetent supervisor you put another man over him to try to help him, and then another man over him.  He said all this relates back to the problem of finding competent people to do the job.  He said the trouble is we were not prepared for the size of the job.

Building Department Overhead, 1964

A chart presented by Brother Baker indicated that the administrative and general expense, together with special services and area offices, total $3,659,636.  He also stated that we have on the books now in the area offices an additional three million dollars worth of charges which have yet to be allocated to expense.  He said much of this can be recovered by the sale of properties, inventories, and things we no longer need, but we do not know exactly how much we can recover yet.

Objective of Building Department

Brother Baker said that the objective of the Building Department is simply to provide the proper buildings at a price both the Church and the local units can afford, that they would propose first of all to get the proper size building for the local unit and then build it good, that under the present building plan we had a method that provided an opportunity to build many buildings at once and we did not have the competent people in the program to supervise it, that we had a method which allowed us to go all over the world and we allowed the local people to contribute labor and provided these young men some training which would give them some benefits.  He said they thought these things were the strength of the program, that there are, however, many weaknesses.

Present Church Building Service Program Weakness

He said there are some real weaknesses in the whole program which can be overcome.  First of all, under the program which had been going forward, we were the owner, the architect, the engineer and the contractor, and we were the tenant.  In other words, we tried to do everything.  He said that method has never been successful in industry, that one doesn’t try to do everything from the beginning to the end without fixing a great many checks and balances to see that the program works, and that it cannot be done with incompetent people.  He said, therefore, they propose a change to get away from trying to do everything from the owner down to the tenant, that they propose to break this up so that we would have outside help to assist us in the program.

Secondly, he said it was very difficult to supervise this particular type of work.  If you sent a man to England to build a chapel and then learned that he could not build it, we had him and his family there and had paid the expense of sending them there and it was felt that we couldn’t break his heart and bring him home, but he couldn’t build the building in the first place.  Brother Baker reiterated what Brother Garff had said, that these supervisors should be placed on a salary basis.

President McKay asked how many men we would have to dismiss.  Brother Baker said he would guess in the neighborhood of 400, that there were 500 supervisors in the program and it is proposed to get along with 75 to 100.  These men that are released would have the problem of coming back and re-locating their jobs.  It was explained that it is the intention of the present committee to handle these projects on a contract basis.  Brother Garff said that they cannot do everything by contract, that they will have to have three or four different methods of getting the work done, but they would try as far as possible to get the work done on a contract basis.  Brother Baker said the next real question was quality in the building, that under the program that has been carried on in the past with incompetent people it has not been possible to get the quality that we should have.  He said this would save the Church millions of dollars over the years.  He said under the proposed new method, when we pay our money we would know the standard we are getting in the building.

Cost of Donated Labor

It is also proposed to present a complete change in accounting methods so that the information reported to the brethren would be meaningful.  He said that this has been one of the great problems in the past.  It is very difficult when you are letting the local people donate labor to evaluate the real worth of that labor.  He said the system heretofore used has not been adequate to report what happened in the program, and in reality the Church here in Salt Lake City is paying more in proportion to the cost of these buildings than they should do, that we are paying for all of the materials and for all of the overhead, and in many instances the buildings are being built by the supervisors and the young men who assist them and the local people are contributing very little.  He said it was proposed to change this so that the local people could actually donate meaningful labor which could be accounted for properly.  Brother Baker said there are many people who think that there is no cost to the Church to donated labor.  He said that many people assume if the members of the ward come out and help that somehow all the labor is free.  He said that it is not necessarily the case where we are paying the overhead costs.  Many times the local people cannot donate their labor, which delays the completion of the building many months, and in many cases buildings that should be completed in a year have taken 18 months or two years, and all the time we were paying the overhead costs.  The value may have amounted to more than the amount of the donated labor.


Brother Baker said that the first proposal would be to build all of these buildings that we possible could under a general contract methods where the jobs were actually bid by competent contractors that could be bonded so that we could fix the cost to the Church.  Brother Baker said that we would have to finish these 403 jobs that we have started under the old method and that they are trying to get those jobs finished as rapidly as they can, but that anything that starts from now on would be under the new system.  He also said that on the jobs that we have heretofore started the building supervisors will continue on the job until it is finished.  Referring to the building supervisors he said that in most cases we have eliminated the incompetent ones and the others will come home.  Brother Garff explained that these building supervisors who have to be brought home feel that they came into the program because of a call to a mission and that to release them now when things are difficult for them is an imposition.  He said that in the future we will not call them as missionaries but employ them and give them a living wage and inform them of the job they are expected to do and place them on the payroll.  Brother Baker said that this would permit us to supervise these people who remain in the system better than heretofore because they are not missionaries but employees and we would have a right to expect a certain level of performance.  By contracting these jobs the amount of money to be expended would be fixed and we would know in advance how much the building would cost, because the contractor would bid and the low bidder would receive the job and the building would go forward under that contract.  Brother Baker said that they were working with the general contractors now and they say that there would be no problem at all with a provision whereby the local ward or branch members can assist with donated labor, and they would feel good about this.  They realize that this is an important psychological thing but the labor will be given in such a way that the value of the labor is fixed ahead of time by agreement between the contractor and the local members and it will have an actual dollar value, and at the same time, because we have a general contractor who schedules the work, the time of the completion of the building will not be delayed.  He said that what we would get out of it first is fixed cost and that we would get the right kind of supervision.

President Tanner mentioned that in discussing this matter with the committee the other day he raised the question of the contractor giving us a real breakdown of every particular part, the roofing, flooring, siding, etc., and then the local people could take whatever they could handle of these subcontracts.  He said it seemed to him that if this could be done that arrangements could be made for donated labor by the local people on the things that they have not contracted for.  Brother Garff said that that is right, the local people could do things they are capable of doing.  Brother Baker said that in their meeting with the Associated General Contractors Friday, they felt that this would be feasible and would enable them as the general contractor to know exactly what areas the local people are going to work in and they could schedule the skilled people as well as the local laborers.  He stated that under this program the contractor who is a skilled man and is familiar with this kind of business would give us the kind of building we want.  Brother Garff stated that the old building committee ignored the general contractors in the United States as far as our chapels were concerned, that the general contractors were never asked nor invited to help with the program, that the men who had experience in construction were never consulted.

Brother Baker further said regarding the general contractors that when he met with the General Contractors Association last Friday their attitude was that they do not want to appear too eager but would like to meet next week and get this thing started.  They are anxious to come in and help with the program.  He also stated that under the old system we have had of doing the purchasing for every one of these buildings that we have had to pay all the bills and have had to do all the accounting.  Under the contract method all of that is shifted to the contractor where it belongs, so that we can then reduce our overhead as we will not need all of these purchasing men nor so many men in the accounting work.

Accordingly, the next thing they would do would be to develop an accounting system which would tell the brethren exactly where they are in terms of dollars.  This would not be guess work but the system would be such that they would know exactly how many dollars of Church money would be involved.  He said the problem with the program at present is that we guess what the building will cost but whether it will actually cost that much or not depends upon many factors, most of which are beyond our control, that it depends upon the man who is building the building, his competence, and it depends upon the local people and on various other factors.

Independent Audit

Reference was made to the proposed independent audit of the Building Department.  He said that they have had repeated conferences with a very competent auditing firm which is international, that after talking with them their feeling is that the records of what has gone on in the building program in the foreign areas particularly are very incomplete and so sketchy that it is actually impossible to determine now all the money that was spent and the auditors do not feel that they could very well uncover all of the things that have gone on.  He said that the more recent records are better and they can determine where we are at the moment on the recent construction work, but an audit of everything that has gone on in the past is virtually impossible.  Brother Garff said that they have had these auditors go into our area offices and do some checking and they have made certain recommendations.  He said if we go back into these projects and try to follow them through it will cost us about 125 or 130 thousand dollars, and that after we have done it there is nothing that we can do about it.  He said for instance that we have no way of tracing whether lumber that we have purchased was ever received and which job it was used on.  He stated that there have been some cases where men have been dishonest and yet been honorable, and stated that they had to dip into the cash till to live.  He said there are some fine men in the program who have done some good work but the program is open and dishonesty cannot be determined and checked.  He stated that they find a number of things assigned from a job in our area to another area without any booking and nobody has accounted for these things.  Money has ben paid out and materials have been sold off in great quantities.  Sometimes materials have been sold without regard to price and it cannot be traced.  He mentioned that at the College of Hawaii some of our material was sold to men in the Building Committee yet we had an agreement that we would not sell it and now the federal government has made us take it back to be used on the job.  Brother Barker said the reason that they were bringing these things to the Presidency was that they wanted them to know the condition that they have found, that they did not want the problems that had been created by the old system to fall back into their laps as far as some of these projects and properties are concerned.  He said that what they propose to do is to ask this auditing department to go into the area offices and get for us a complete list of all the property that would be real estate housing, all the equipment inventories and everything currently in the building program, and that then they would begin to trace what has happened to it, and from that time on everything will be accounted for.  He said that is the only way they know of doing business, that we have to have a system where we know what happens to the property and equipment.  He said they would start with an inventory that would be complete enough so that they would know their responsibility and could keep the program going from that time on.

Referring to an inquiry by Presidents Brown and Tanner about accounting, Brother Garff said he felt that Fred Baker and Victor Laughlin have done more to bring this into accounting than has ever been done before, that they have conferred with Brother Jarvis and his group until they have come to see what the problem is.  He said he felt that this is the greatest accomplishment they have made as far as their group is concerned, and that they are now setting up an accounting system that can be understood and is not complicated.  He mentioned that much equipment has been bought and not put on the books and they are going to have the auditing firm attempt to track everything down if possible.  He said they would miss a few things, that they cannot get it all, but in this program it will be as complete as possible, and that they would propose to get rid of that equipment at the best possible price as soon as they could finish up the program, and in the future when they use the contract method they will not need to be bothered with that type of program again.

Referring to the contract method Brother Baker said that they would propose to do as much work as possible under this method but that there are areas in the world where this method could not be adopted and that in these areas they could reduce the size of the force and keep a group of our most competent men and utilize them in the supervising program in the areas where contracts won’t work.  He said this program would be devised in such a way that they would have their hands on it and watch it completely; in other words, it would not be a world-wide enterprise as it now is.  He said that they propose to use the young men who were called originally as building missionaries and now Church builders in the stakes and missions where they reside and would not send them throughout the world.  He said that these young men for the most part made a fine contribution for everything that they could do, that many of them had psychological problems and that is the reason they were not sent out as proselyting missionaries.  Under the proposed arrangement they would be used strictly for local purposes and the stake president would be responsible for them.

Realistic Criteria for Size of Building

The next proposal they submitted would be to have the size of the building conform to the size of the congregation so that we would not build a building too large for the particular group.  In answer to President McKay’s inquiry as to whether they would have in mind the expanding population, Brother Baker said that the chapels they are now building are expandable, that they start with a small unit and as the congregation grows the back wall can be taken out and the building enlarged into the next phase.  President McKay asked how many groups there are now whose buildings are too large and Brother Baker said that probably 50, most of which are overseas.  Brother Baker said that anything that the committee does would be subject to the First Presidency’s review.  Referring to the size of the building Brother Baker said that after the Building Committee has counseled with the local people and reached some conclusion as to the size, then the proposal would be submitted to the Committee on Expenditures and they would have the opportunity to say whether it was too small or too large.  This he said would mean a great savings to the Church.  Brother Baker said that they would propose to build a system that would give the brethren realistic cost estimates so that they would know where they are going all the time and could budget accordingly.

Realistic Ratios

Brother Baker said that lastly, and perhaps most important of all, is the matter of ratios of participation.  At the present time in the stakes in the United States 60% of the cost is borne by the Church and 40% by the local people.  He said that if this ratio is to be continued they would propose that it be continued as far as the stakes and wards in the United States and Canada are concerned, but that instead of allowing a building to start when the local people have collected 10% of the cost total they should increase the starting fund to 20%.  One of the problems he said is that we have allowed the local people to go ahead with the building before they were really financially ready to do the job and as a result many of the projects have resulted in deficits that cannot be raised, so the buildings have to wait for years before they are dedicated.  Brother Baker felt that the starting fund ought to be raised from 10% to 15% in the missions and that that should be a program which the people can meet and then with their donated labor they would be able  perhaps to meet their full share.

President Tanner raised a question in regard to missions in Canada and the United States stating that the members have real problems in raising 15%.  He said he personally would not like to make that a firm, positive decision at this time.  Brother Garff said that his thinking on that question is that we are not going to build any large buildings in mission branches; therefore, he thought we should tell them that the Church would pay 80%, the local people to furnish 20%.  They could then furnish 10% in cash to start with and 10% in labor, or that perhaps the better ratio would be 75% for the Church and 25% for the people.  Brother Garff did not feel that they could carry 30%.  Brother Baker said that overseas he thought we would have to fall back to the 90/10 ratio.  It was agreed that the ratio should be flexible.  It was mentioned that Brother Romney had said that we cannot get more than 10% from the people and give them buildings that they can maintain, that when we build them large edifices as we have done in the past they cannot pay the light bill or the heat.

President Tanner raised the question as to whether Brother Garff and his associates would like to have Brother Benson, Brother Petersen and Brother Tuttle, who have been area supervisors in Europe and South America, give them the benefit of their thinking on this matter.  It was agreed that this should be done.

Brother Garff asked what the attitude of the brethren was regarding the independent audit and it was agreed that we shouldn’t go to the expense of the thorough audit referred to but that we should go forward with the audit that would cost us around 30 or 35 thousand dollars.

It was agreed that this entire building situation should be brought before the General Authorities so that they would be informed.  It was therefore decided to call a meeting of all the General Authorities tomorrow morning at 8:00 in the Church office building to listen to the Church Building Committee program.

Temple Square Problem

Brother Garff said that he had spent some time on Temple Square going over certain proposals, among them the proposed arrangements for color television in the Tabernacle.  He said that if the brethren would like them to do so the Building Committee would take the matter over and see that the Tabernacle is preserved in proper condition.  He also mentioned the need for storage space in the Tabernacle, etc., and some proposals that had been made, which operations he said he had stopped when he saw them.  He mentioned that he could work with George Cannon Young, Irvin Nelson and the other brethren, and he was sure he could control the situation; also that he could work with Brother Richard L. Evans and Brother Victor Brown.  Brother Garff said that he would be glad to supervise the program if it were desired that he do so but he did not want to interfere otherwise.  Mention was made of the fact that there is a temple grounds committee consisting of Richard L. Evans, Thorpe B. Isaacson, Marion D. Hanks, Robert McKay and Irvin Nelson, and that before anything is done on the grounds their views should be ascertained.

President Tanner mentioned the proposed campanile to be placed on the temple grounds and stated that originally it was the thought that this would be placed between the tabernacle and the bureau of information.  President Tanner said the Relief Society has $40,000 in it and is prepared to put up the rest of the amount when it is decided where to place it.  Brother Garff said he thought it was necessary for those concerned to get together on these matters so that there would be no clash.  President McKay said he wanted Brother Garff to work with the Temple Square Committee on these matters.  Brother Garff assured the brethren that he would not proceed with any work there until the group has agreed as to what should be done, and also that nothing would be started without the First Presidency knowing about it in advance.”

Fri., 24 Sept. 1965:

“8:00 to 9:20 a.m.

Special General Authorities Meeting – Building Committee Present Plans for New Program

A special meeting of all the General Authorities was held in the Assembly Room on the third floor, at which Elder Mark B. Garff and his assistant, Fred Baker, of the Building Committee, made a report and presentation pertaining to the program heretofore followed in connection with building operations and proposing a new program which the new Building Committee is adopting.

I called on Elder Gordon B. Hinckley to open the meeting with prayer, and Elder A. Theodore Tuttle offered the closing prayer.

This presentation was practically the same as they gave at the First Presidency’s meeting yesterday, and at my request Brother Garff gave the report this morning as I wanted the General Authorities to know about this new program, and to hear about their findings on the old program.

At the conclusion of the meeting, and before the closing prayer was offered, I made the following statement:

‘Brethren, upon your shoulders rests one of the greatest responsibilities ever facing the Church.  It will be up to you to discharge it under the inspiration of the Lord, and make this building program one of the far-reaching accomplishments of the Church.  If Bishops of Wards, members of High Councils, and Presidencies of Stakes will make this building program applicable to local conditions, the program will be effective in forming character for the next fifty years.  ‘Our echoes roll from soul to soul, and go forever and ever.’

‘This building program touches the lives of many men, women, and children.  If it is favorably effected it can be conducive to faithful membership in the Church; if unfavorable, it will be conducive to lack of efficiency in the Wards particularly, and, incidentally, in the Stakes.  I believe we are going in the right direction, and that the effect on the membership will be favorable not only for the present but for years to come.  We have the best group of men in the world.  Your influence will be felt by the growing population.  By ‘growing’ I mean many young people who are just beginning in life, and particularly will be helpful to the Bishops of the Wards who have to deal with these things and who will conduct themselves in such a manner as to leave a favorable impression in the Stakes, Wards, and Branches.  The Lord bless you, I pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.’

It was a wonderful meeting, and an excellent spirit existed.

Several days later, I received an interesting letter from Elder Garff commenting upon my participation in the meeting of the General Authorities.  (See copy of letter following.)

Wed., 3 Nov. 1965:

Assembly Hall on Salt Lake Temple Grounds

Brother Garff stated that the Assembly Hall is in poor condition and it would require an expenditure of $125,000 to $150,000 to put it into proper shape.  He stated that the woodwork upstairs is in bad condition, that the rugs are worn out, the wiring creates a fire hazard, and there are many other items needing attention.

We decided that this should be taken care of at once.

Tabernacle, Salt Lake – Improvements and Restoration

Brother Garff stated that he had made a personal inspection of the underpinning of the Salt Lake Tabernacle and was concerned about it.  He recommended that we take progressive measures to improve the situation.  He thought that we should excavate under the Tabernacle and shore up the building and build a concrete ramp.  He mentioned that all we have is a bed of sandstone and then 6 x 6 joists that hold the beams and joists in shape.  He said that in some places it is hanging in the air.  Brother Garff said that they are now doing some electrical work there and it will be necessary to make a change in television lighting, preparing for color television, that we have no place to store musical instruments, that the heating units have been in use for seventy years.  He thought we should adopt a progressive work schedule of three, four, or five years to take care of these improvements.  He mentioned that there is only a crawl space under the Tabernacle where a tunnel was cut years ago and the concrete that was used then will not hold up now; that we have only a four-foot tunnel through which to take our conduits, steam pipes and passageways, and that if we ever had an explosion or fire it would be terrible.  He said that it will also be necessary to spend some money on the ground and the sidewalks.  He suggested an appropriation of one-million dollars next year and that we must appropriate perhaps another two-million dollars to complete the work.

We asked Brother Garff to furnish a clear statement of what he proposes to do; what he thinks needs to be done, including the Assembly Hall as well as the Tabernacle.  In listing what he thinks should be done, he should indicate what has to be done, what should be done and what work it would be well for us to do; that he should let the First Presidency know what is required, about the approximate cost would be, and then we shall know what we are talking about.  It was also suggested that in his presentation he should indicate what he felt should be done this year, next year and so on for the next five years.  Brother Garff said that he would do this.

Church Administration Building

Brother Garff stated that there are some serious problems on the parapet wall, that the water is coming through and doing much damage.  He said it would cost between $35,000 and $40,000 to take care of this job.  I told Brother Garff to go forward with this work.

Total Expenditures Required

Brother Garff said that the total expenditure required to take care of the Temples and other buildings would amount to $1,780,000, which would include the proposed new annex at the Salt Lake Temple; that without the annex it would cost $1,480,000.

Brother Garff then said that the Building Department had saved some money in various places, and could use some of this year’s budget to apply on this program.

Brother Garff was excused at 9:50 a.m., and we then took up other matters, some of which were:

Building Department – Temple View and Sacramento Farms

(Temple View Farm)

President Tanner reported that in response to my request (which suggestion he had made), he had consulted Wendell Mendenhall regarding the Temple View Farm in New Zealand and the farms in California.  President Tanner read to the Presidency Brother Mendenhall’s reports regarding these farms.  He explained that the total acreage in the Temple View Farm is 1,600, that the property has no connection with the school, the stake, or the Temple Bureau of Information, but is being operated as a separate unit, that it has been surveyed and set up for tax purposes.  Under permission of the First Presidency in 1955, this property was developed into the farm project from what was swamp land.  He stated that if it were sold at the present time, we would suffer a loss, that it will take about five years to properly develop it to its capacity.  He also states that it is paying its way in development and making a profit.

Brother Mendenhall states that he would be pleased to give the property his attention and direction if we desire him to do so, as he will be in New Zealand at least twice a year, and that his brother would continue to manage the property under his direction if we desire.  Otherwise, his brother would return home within the next six months to continue his business in California.  Brother Mendenhall further states that the New Zealand government has been very favorably impressed by the development that has been made there.

President Brown reported that he visited the property and had gone over it with Earl Mendenhall, who is operating it — Earl being a brother to Wendell Mendenhall.  He states that Earl Mendenhall is a very capable operator and would like to remain there and continue the work, but that he does not need Wendell’s help and does not want it.  President Brown said that Earl Mendenhall seemed to be a very fine man and he recommended that we continue the operation under his management without the direction of Wendell Mendenhall.  Brother Brown further said that Earl Mendenhall indicated that he is prepared to stay there as long as we need him to do so.

(Sacramento Ranch – Not to be Managed by Wendell B. Mendenhall)

In regard to the Sacramento Ranch property, Brother Mendenhall’s letter related the history of this project and stated that President McKay had directed him to be president of the Deseret Farms, Inc. of California, which company operated this property.  The property has been operated under Brother Mendenhall’s direction with Paul Warnick as Vice-President, and Albert B. Crandall as Manager and Secretary-Treasurer.  Additional properties have been purchased since the original purchase was made.  The total ranch consists of 5,214 acreas of highly cultivated farm land.  One thousand acres are in almond trees, 1,500 acres of walnut trees, and the balance is used for rice, tomatoes, sugar beets, safflower, beans, barley, etc.  It is stated that the water rights are among the best in California and the crop yields are the best in the state.  President Crandall has been operating manager since 1951 and is a very capable operator.  The Church has a total expenditure of about 3 million dollars in this property, and the property is now worth 5.5 to 6 million dollars, and it is yielding 2.5 to 3 percent income, but the improvements that have been added have greatly increased the value of the property.  Brother Mendenhall says if we desire to sell the property, the Board feels that they can be very helpful in placing it before some prospective buyers.

I said that we do not want Brother Mendenhall to continue in charge of the property.  Mention was made of the fact that Brother Crandall is a good man, is doing a good work, and it was thought that he could continue management of the property without Brother Mendenhall.

The Brethren left at 11:15 a.m.  By that time I was too tired to hold further meetings.  Called my secretary, Clare, and told her to postpone what she had to take up with me until tomorrow.”

Tues., 30 Nov. 1965:

10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Went to my private office, where my secretary, Clare, brought up a number of items which she had been holding for several days.  She read to me the report Clyde Sandgren prepared on the contract with Owen J. Cook, President of the Church College at Hawaii.  I was disturbed over the manner in which Wendell B. Mendenhall handled the hiring of Dr. Cook.  I said, ‘These are the things which cause me worry — it is not the amount of work.’

Thurs., 16 Dec. 1965:

“10:00 to 2:00 p.m.

Was engaged in the meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve in the Salt Lake Temple.

Church Office Building – Erection of High-Rise Building Delayed

At our meeting in the Temple this morning we presented the following memorandum from the First Presidency to the Brethren for their approval:

‘After giving careful consideration to the advisability of undertaking at an early date the construction of the proposed multi-story Church Office Building, we have concluded, in the best interest of the Church and the Community, that a delay in undertaking the construction would reflect advantageously both to the Church and the Community as a whole.  For the time being, at least, it is apparent that the various Auxiliary organizations of the Church are fairly adequately housed, and a delay, in our opinion, will in no way inconvenience to any great extent any of the Church functions.

The Brethren unanimously approved the delaying of the construction of the new Church Office Building.”

Wed., 26 Jan. 1966:

“8:30 a.m.

Met with Presidents Nathan Eldon Tanner and Joseph Fielding Smith.  Presidents Brown and Isaacson were absent because of illness.  A few of the items we discussed were:

Church Offices – New High Rise Administration Building

President Tanner reported that George Cannon Young, the architect for the new high-rise administration building, had done work on the plans and specifications for the new building to the value of just over $700,000; that it would cost approximately an additional $38,000 to complete the plan; that while it was voted not to go ahead with the building this year, it was understood the plans should be completed.

I said that the action taken by the Committee on the Disposition of Tithes was just a postponement of this project.”

Wed., 30 Mar. 1966:

“Building Projects

Brother Garff reported that we have deficits on our buildings in South America; that there are buildings there for which we have no need; that they were built by mis-representation to me.  He said that they had to get $90,000 from the Church to cover deficits on 20 jobs.

Hawaiian Village

Brother Garff reported that there is a $1,700,000 deficit on the Polynesian Village, and $1,200,000 needed to cover deficits in Canada and the United States.  He said that Brother Mendenhall did not tell me the truth; that he started the building jobs on a low figure, assuming that he could get donations to cover the real costs, and they have run one-hundred percent over estimated costs.  He said that in Europe there are five Stake houses and Church buildings with no congregations to fill them.

He said that they have closed up five area offices and dismissed all the employees in the United States and Canada, which were costing the Church $100,000 a month.  He stated further that they have cut down the office force by two-hundred persons in his office alone; that on wages alone they are saving $17,000 a month.

He said that his people have gone into the building matters thoroughly all over the world, and that he can turn back to the Church this year $10,000,000, and that he has already gathered up $6,000,000.  Brother Garff said, ‘I have tried with all my strength to do it.  Things are now out in the open.’

He said that our people will now start out with small chapels which can be converted into larger ones as space is needed, and that they will pay as they go.  Said they are saving between $75,000 to $105,000 dollars on each building.

He further said that the Church has spent thirty percent of the Church’s total income in foreign lands where we only have ten percent of the Church’s population, and that has hurt us.  We need 300 chapels in the United States.

Brother Garff said that the only place in all the world where we have had any strength financially, or even spiritually, is here in the United States; that if we depended on any area outside of the United States, we would ‘fall flat on our face,’ as the foreign members do not or cannot support us in what we do for them; that the only people we have any financial support from are the members in the United States.  He said that 85 percent of our members are in the United States, and 95 percent of our total income comes from the members in the United States of America, and the people here are the ones who are willing to give generously.  He said if it were not for the people in the United States, we would not have any of the buildings we now have in the foreign nations.

Brother Garff said, ‘We still have opposition, and we are bringing this thing into focus, and the people benefit by this.  I think with great diligence, humility, and the Lord’s blessings, we shall get this thing to where you want it, President McKay.  Every dollar we spend we shall get a dollar’s worth of building.  I feel better than I did a year ago.  I feel encouraged.  We can do the job, and we can house our people.  From now on, if anything goes wrong, it is my fault.’

Brother Garff then asked if there is anything further I wished to recommend, and I told him to go ahead as he is doing and make a full investigation of everything.  I expressed deep appreciation to Brother Garff for what he has done; that I know it has not been easy for him to do what he has done, but that the Lord will bless him for his devotion.”   

Thurs., 26 May 1966:

“Church Offices – New High-Rise Building

Discussed the matter of suitable housing for the Deseret News, and also the matter of the new Church Office Building.  I said that there is much opposition to the erection of the new building, and President Tanner said that since we had decided not to go ahead with the building, the University Club Building has been built, and that if we wait until there is no surplus space, we shall never build a building because smart businessmen will go forward in erecting buildings.

I said it would complicate the problem if it were announced to the businessmen that we are going ahead with this building notwithstanding the fact that there is a lot of empty office space, that there would be much opposition.  It was thought that the Deseret News could go ahead with the building behind the Montgomery Ward Building.  President Tanner said that he feels that the longer we wait to commence the new high-rise building, the more it will cost; that the price of materials has gone up this year very materially, and if we had ordered the steel last year as he had argued, we would have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars.  We are going ahead with the plans for the new building anyway, which I have agreed to.  President Tanner suggested that sometime when I am talking with Mark Garff that I discuss the matter of the proposed erection of the new high rise office building with him.  President Tanner said the study I had asked to be made will be completed by the first of July which will furnish us with information as to the office space that is available and what the requirements are.

I asked how high it is intended to make the new building, and President Tanner said twenty-five stories; that it will not all be used the first few years, but that he thinks it would be wrong to build it with less than twenty-five stories; that more space is not necessary.

Mon., 24 Oct. 1966:

Building Committee Matters

Soon after President Wilkinson’s departure, President Hugh B. Brown came to the cottage.  He had with him Elders Mark B. Garff and Fred Baker of the Church Building Committee.

Report was made of Mark Garff’s personal financial difficulties in his business — the Garff, Ryberg, and Garff Construction Company.  During Brother Garff’s absence from his business, his younger brother, Wayne, has been running the business, and has invested large sums of money in the stock market and has lost the money, and has also gone into construction business in California which has been a losing proposition.  Now their business is facing bankruptcy unless some financial assistance is forthcoming.

I told President Brown that he, Fred Baker, and Mark Garff are to work this thing out, and that no one else is to be brought into the matter.

Sun., 30 Oct. 1966:

“8:00 a.m.

Mark Garff came in by appointment with President and Sister Joseph Fielding Smith.  He reported that President Brown had called him last Friday, October 28, and told him to resign.  He said that he asked President Brown ‘Does President McKay want me to resign?’, and that President Brown replied, ‘I am sorry, we want a letter of resignation from you.’

Last Monday, October 24, when President Brown and Brothers Garff and Fred Baker came up to Huntsville to see me, I told President Brown to go ahead and give Brother Garff the help he needs to get him out of his financial difficulty, and that he was to keep President Tanner out of it.  Brother Garff needs two and one-half million dollars, which will be paid back to the Church.  Fred Baker was to work out the details. 

Then it was reported to me that President Brown went to President Tanner and the Church legal counsel, Wilford Kirton, about the matter, and then Lawrence McKay was brought into it.  Hence the decision above.

Brother Garff has saved the Church millions of dollars at the sacrifice of his own personal business, and his younger brother, Wayne Garff, in whose charge he left his business, has done some investing in the stock market which has proved to be disastrous to the company.  Now they need help or hundreds of people will go down with them.

Brother Garff was willing to give his all to the Church, and now the Church should help him, and he is of such calibre that he will pay every cent back.”

Sat., 5 Nov. 1966:

“8:00 a.m.

Mark B. Garff – Construction Business

President Joseph Fielding Smith, Mark B. Garff, and his attorney Harold Boyer came to the office in the apartment at the Hotel Utah and discussed matters pertaining to the Garff-Ryberg and Garff Construction Company, which has been left in the hands of Brother Garff’s young brother, Wayne, since Brother Garff took over the responsibility of the Church Building Committee.

The business is now in a precarious condition financially.  The Church attorney, Wilford Kirton, was called in, and the decision was reached that the Church cannot legally help the Garff Construction Company with Church funds, notwithstanding the fact that Mark B. Garff has saved the Church many millions of dollars since he took over the management of the Building Department.

Practically the whole morning was devoted to this matter.  It has given me a great deal of concern and worry as I realize that Brother Garff has neglected his own private business in the interest of the Church.”

Fri., 6 Jan. 1967:

“8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting with Presidents Tanner and Smith.  President Tanner reported that President Brown is leaving this morning for Southern California for a rest, to be gone for several days, in accordance with permission given to him the other day when he said he would like to take a rest.  He was planning to go to Hawaii, but Sister Brown could not stand the trip.

Some of the matters considered in our meeting were:

Church Offices – New High Rise Building

President Tanner said that some weeks ago he had raised the question regarding the building of the proposed new Church office building, at which time I said that the Church is not ready to undertake that work this year; that, however, in 1966, I had asked him to request the Building Committee to proceed with the plans for the new building so that we would be prepared to go forward at such time as it should be determined wise to do so.  President Tanner mentioned that it will take five years to erect the building, and that as a matter of fact, we are not running into considerable inconvenience in the matter of space for the different organizations.  He stated that he assumed it was my desire that he tell the building committee to complete plans for the building as expeditiously as possible.  I confirmed this.  In this connection, President Tanner mentioned that he had learned yesterday that another office building is being built in Salt Lake City at the present time.

Tues., 10 Jan. 1967:

“10:30 a.m.

Building Department – Decrease in Expenditures

Elder Mark B. Garff, Chairman of the Building Committee, came in and reported on financial conditions.  In discussing his experiences in the Building Department since I called him to take Wendell B. Mendenhall’s place, Brother Garff said that he has saved the Church millions of dollars.  He has cut down the number of employees in the Department proper from 800 to 200; has altered the plans for our Church buildings which will save the Church $50,000 on each building.  Telephone bills, travel expenses, etc. have been cut.  He mentioned many other ways in which the expenses have been curtailed.

I told Brother Garff that I am very appreciative of the service he has rendered, and feel satisfied that he is doing an excellent job for us.

Note by CM

At this point, Elder Garff, with tears in his eyes, said to President McKay:  ‘President McKay, I did not know you too well before you called me to be the Chairman of the Building Committee, but I want to tell you that you have had a great effect on my life.  I used to have quite a temper, and would let off a lot of steam, but since knowing you, I have hardly said an angry word to anyone.  I have known a few great men in my day — I knew Presidents Heber J. Grant and George Albert Smith, both of whom I admired, but they did not effect me like you have.  I have made quite a study of the lives of great men, and I have come to the conclusion that there are a very few men who have that indefinable something that attracts men and touches their hearts.  Winston Churchill was one of those men who could lift men up and encourage them to do better.  Dempsey, the fighter, has that quality to some extent.  It takes generations to produce a man like you, President McKay, and I cannot tell you what you have done for me.  The people of this Church love you — they will do anything for you, because you have that ‘something’ that lifts a man up and gives him a desire to do better.’

Big tears welled up into President McKay’s eyes, but he could not answer Brother Garff — he just took his hand and shook it.”

Tues., 28 Feb. 1967:

“8:30 a.m.

Met with the First Presidency.  Presidents Brown, Tanner, and Smith were present.  Some of the matters discussed were:

Mark B. Garff – Financial Problems

President Tanner suggested that inasmuch as Mark B. Garff, who is chairman of the Building Committee, finds himself in serious financial difficulties, and inasmuch as he has been drawing no compensation for his services as Chairman of the Building Committee, it would seem to him desirable that we pay him a salary from the time he became aware of his financial difficulties and perhaps place him on the payroll for future services with the Building Committee.  He also felt that under the circumstances Brother Garff should be paid for the time that he has been serving.  President Brown agreed with President Tanner’ suggestion, except he felt that there was a matter of timing involved, that the banks are still considering what they should do in this case, and his attorney, Harold Boyer, has recommended that we do not set up a salary schedule for Brother Garff at the present time, but hold it in abeyance until the question has been finally resolved as to whether or not he will be forced into bankruptcy.

In answer to my question as to what the situation is, President Tanner explained that Brother Garff’s condition is now in process of settlement and one of the most aggravating things is that his brother-in-law, Brother Ryberg, is threatening suit, in which event he (Brother Garff) would be forced into bankruptcy.  If Ryberg does not bring the action it is not known what the banks will do, but they have expressed a desire to make a settlement and allow Brother Garff to work out of the present situation.  President Tanner explained that Brother Ryberg claims that he is a partner with Garff and his brothers, but that much of the loan was taken out by the management group of which he was a member, and that he did not know about the indebtedness, and therefore refuses to accept any responsibility for it.  President Tanner stated that it was his feeling that if we paid Brother Garff his salary from the time he got into trouble until now, even if the banks tried to take this money, it would not amount to a great deal and our position would be defensible if it had to go into court.  He mentioned that Brother Garff had worked for us for a year and a half before he had this trouble and that he received no salary for his services.  He felt that after this trouble has been settled we could properly pay him for his services during that period of time.  He felt that we should at least offer it to Brother Garff and let him decide the matter.  I agreed to this arrangement.

Tues., 25 Apr. 1967:

“9:30 a.m.

Building Department – Report on Progress, Plans, Savings of Money, etc.

Met by appointment the following in the apartment at the Hotel Utah: Elders Mark B. Garff, Chairman of the Building Committee, Thomas S. Monson of the Council of the Twelve, and Alvin R. Dyer, Assistant to the Twelve.  Brother Garff’s secretary, Willo De Pew, was present to take the minutes of the meeting.

Elder Garff told of his trip to Hong Kong to look over land purchased by the Church Building Department when Wendell B. Mendenhall was Chairman of the Building Committee.  The proposal was to build a high-rise apartment house on this property, together with a chapel and facilities for the Church.  Because of his great concern regarding this commitment, Elder Garff met with Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, President Hugh B. Brown, President Keith E. Garner of the Southern Far East Mission, and Architect Emil Fetzer, and Allan Acomb of the Church Building Committee, on the property which is located on the Kowloon side of the bay and not in Hong Kong.

After investigation it was the unanimous opinion of all present that the Church should not proceed with the high rise building, and that we should use only part of the land and erect a building of minimum size to take care of the chapel and cultural hall, as well as missionary quarters.  We shall have to make a minimum expenditure as demanded by the Crown Government of approximately $275,000.  Elder Garff stated that he thinks because of the location of the land and its distance from any of the members that it is not a good investment, but that we should have to move forward or forfeit the money we have already put in the land which approximates $400,000, or a total expenditure at that place of $675,000.

Elder Garff then presented to the group a detailed chart showing the growth of the Church from its inception until the present time and what monies have been spent and what our problems would be in the next ten years.

Elder Garff stressed the fact that too much of our money appropriated for buildings had been spent in the geographical regions outside the United States, and membership in these areas only account for 10.7 percent of the total Church membership.  The buildings in these areas are oversized and have gone far beyond the ability of the local people to make a contribution in keeping with the size of the building, and in some cases the people in these areas are not even maintaining the buildings.

Elder Garff mentioned that if the Asiatic people were ever to accept the Gospel in numbers, because of the density of their population, there would be an in-balance and we would be dominated by a preponderance of Asiatic people.  Elder Dyer said that the revelations which came to the Prophet Joseph Smith were to the effect that people would gather from all nations to Zion here in America; that this is the place where the Saints should be gathered.

At this point Elder Monson stated that the fruitful filed for activity of missionaries is here in the United States; that the most fruitful field we have is up and down the West Coast in the Continental United States; that in these areas the people could make far greater financial contributions to the Church than those in foreign areas.  Elder Garff said that the fact of the matter is that the only place in the world we have any financial strength and great spiritual strength is in the Continental United States, also we could not continue to put approximately 30 percent of our budgeted money for chapels in foreign areas where we have only 10 percent of the Church population, because this has put us in a position where we are now lagging by 300 buildings in the United States.

After telling of the expenditures in the Building Department during the past few years, Elder Garff said that the present Committee has returned to the Church $32,000,000, and that through this savings there should be enough to construct the general Church Office Building whenever I wished to go forward with it.

Elder Monson made the statement that Elder Garff and his co-workers have done a wonderful job, and that this can definitely be seen by the program and changes which have taken place in the procedures of the Building Department, and he definitely felt the Lord had blessed Elder Garff and was restoring to him his health; that he had gone about his work quietly and at no time has belittled or spoken despairingly about his predecessors, and that Elder Garff had gotten the job on its way.

I expressed my gratitude and pleasure with the entire report, and told Elder Garff to continue with the policies he is now following.  I repeated to him that directions concerning his work will come directly from me; that he is to deal directly with me in all his affairs.

As Elder Garff said good-bye and shook my hand, we both had tears in our eyes, and I said:  ‘Our agreement still stands; you are working for me, and you take your orders from me and no one else.’

I told Brother Garff also that I was interested and satisfied with his entire report today, and that I had been greatly enlightened regarding the problems of the Building Department, and that I will support him in all his endeavors, and that I shall help him in any way possible.

Tuesday, April 25, 1967


April 25, 1967.  Minutes of the meeting held in President David O. McKay’s suite in the Hotel Utah at 9:30 a.m.  Those present were:  President David O. McKay, Elder Mark B. Garff (Chairman of the Church Building Committee), Elder Alvin R. Dyer (Assistant to the Council of the Twelve), Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Council of the Twelve and Elder Willo DePew (Mark B. Garff’s secretary) took the Minutes:  Elder Garff was graciously received by the President and after exchanging greetings, Elder Garff asked if the President could stand the strain of going through a lengthy report showing the position of the Church Building Department, its past expenditures and future prognostications.  The President stated he was more than willing and was ready to proceed.

Elder Garff in a short resume reported on his trip to Hong Kong stating that in past years the Church Building Department had purchased land from the Crown Government of Hong Kong with agreement that we would utilize the land within a certain period of time and that this agreement was entered into before Elder Garff became Chairman of the Building Committee.  The proposal was to build a high rise apartment house on this property, together with a chapel and facilities for the Church.  Because of the great concern regarding this commitment, Elder Garff met with Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, President Hugh B. Brown, President Keith E. Garner (of the Southern Far East Mission), and Elders Emil Fetzer and Allan Acomb of the Church Building Committee, on the property and it was the unanimous opinion of all that we should not proceed with the high rise building and that we should use only part of the land and build a building of minimum size to take care of the chapel and cultural hall as well as missionary quarters and there would be some vacant space and we could not determine at this point what we would do with it because we had to make the minimum expenditure as demanded by the Crown Government of approximately $275,000.  Elder Garff stated that he thought because of the location of the land and its distance from any of the members that it was not a good investment but we would have to move forward or forfeit the money we had already put in the land which approximates $400,000.  This piece of property is on the Kowloon side of the bay and not in Hong Kong.

Elder Monson made inquiry as to the legal difficulty we are having in the orient and Elder Garff stated that he could not pinpoint these difficulties but he was sure they would be worked upon.

We all then moved to President McKay’s living room where Elder Garff presented to all present a detailed chart showing the growth of the Church from its inception until the present time and what monies have been spent and what our problems would be in the next ten years.  Elder Garff stated to President McKay that when the President asked him to take over the Building Department he was like a man trying to make his way through a forest without an ax to chop his way and it took approximately 60 days for him to understand the program of the previous Building Committee and to trace where the money had been spent and in many cases no one could give an accurate accounting of the money expended.  The problem has now been resolved and all expenditures are channeled through the Financial Department to Elder George Jarvis and the Building Department does not sign checks or make expenditures on its own.  Elder Garff further stated that in many instances chapels and buildings which have been constructed throughout the world are far too large for the needs of the people and that the local members in many instances can only contribute labor.  Many of the buildings have been oversized, especially in Europe and South America, that in the past we tried to be all things to all the people; also, if the program had continued in that the locals were not participating in their share of money, we would soon find ourselves in extreme difficulties financially, that one of the major problems of the Building Department was to now size the buildings to fit the needs of the people also to find a way for the local Saints to pay their portion of the costs of the building.

Elder Garff traced the expenditures of the Church through the Building Department from the years 1918 to 1945 while President Heber J. Grant was President, wherein he spent $9,439,000 in 15 years; that President George Albert Smith, from the years 1946 to 1951, had expended $25,225,000, that President David O. McKay, from the years 1952 to 1965, has spent $200,094,000, making a grand total of $234,758,000 which has been spent on chapels since 1918 up to and including 1965.

President McKay asked the question what percentage the local paid on maintenance of Ward and Stake buildings and Elder Garff said it was expected that the local people would pay 40% and the Church pay 60%, but there were exceptions to this in Missions where the ratio was 75/25.  In making the presentation, Elder Garff stated we had developed an expandable plan wherein we could expand the facilities of Wars by adding to the original portion of the building and where possible we had discontinued building large buildings beyond the needs of the people.  In most cases there are two and sometimes three Wards meeting in one building.  Elder Monson stated this was being watched very carefully to see that more than one Ward uses the new buildings, which greatly reduces the expenditures of the people by bringing about their maximum with a minimum cost to the members and the Church itself.  Elder Garff further showed from his prepared chart that from 1963 to 1965 the expenditures for building projects in Wards, Stakes and Missions totaled $118,000,000; of this amount 27.5% had been spent in the last three year period in the geographical regions outside the United States and membership in these areas only accounted for 10.7% of the total Church membership.  Elder Monson explained to President McKay that Elder Garff, as Chairman of the Church Building Committee, had curbed the buildings in areas outside the United States; the buildings had been reduced in size so that the people could pay a share of the building and be able to maintain the same.  However, there had to be a forgiveness plan used, especially in foreign areas, to encourage the local to pay something on these buildings so they could be dedicated.  One of the realistic problems was the buildings, which in many cases were oversized and went far beyond the ability of the local people to make a contribution in keeping with the size of the building; in some cases the locals did not have enough money to maintain the building.  Elder Garff mentioned to the President that if the Asiatic people were ever to accept the gospel in numbers, because of the density of their population there would be an imbalance and we would be dominated by preponderance of Asiatic people.  Elder Dyer mentioned at this point that the revelations which came to the Prophet Joseph Smith were to the effect that people would gather from all nations to Zion here in America, that this was the place where the Saints should be gathered.  At this point Elder Monson stated the fruitful field for activity of missionaries was here in the United States, that the most fruitful field we have is up and down the West Coast in the Continental United States, that in these areas the people could make far greater financial contributions to the Church than those in foreign areas.  Elder Garff stated the fact of the matter was that the only place in the world we had any financial strength and great spiritual strength was in the Continental United States, also we could not continue to pour approximately 30% of our budgeted money for chapels in foreign areas where we have only 10% of the Church population because this had put us in a position where we now are lagging by 300 buildings in the United States.  This trend was now being revised that more money was being spent in the United States.  Elder Garff further stated that the projects, additions and remodelings which are taking place at present in the United States and Canada are 380 under development, 149 in the architectural phase and 100 in the construction phase; that in foreign and Indian areas there are 46 projects under development, 47 in the architectural phase and 54 in the construction phase, making a grant total of 776 buildings.

Looking ahead as to what our future needs and expenditures will be, it is our estimate that the Church will need to build approximately 837 Church units (including the 1965 backlog of 300 projects), new meetinghouses at a total cost of nearly $209,250,000 during the next three year period.  Projecting our total cumulative needs through five years, we will need to construct 1,245 meetinghouses at a total cost of $311,000,000; and for the next ten year period a total of 2,213 meetinghouses will be required at a cost of approximately $543,250,000.  The Church’s share of this amount, about 65%, represents considerably more than the Church expended ($234,758,000) during the last 35 year period of time covering the Presidencies of Heber J. Grant, George Albert Smith and David O. McKay.

Elder Garff reminded President McKay that when he asked him to take over the Chairmanship of the Building Committee there were two requests President McKay made of him; one was to charge the idea of us being a rich and extravagant Church and at the same time provide sufficient worshipping facilities for the membership of the Church, and to save the Church money.  Elder Garff’s report was given to the President showing that from July 1, 1965 to December 31, 1966 there had been a decrease of $2,762,000 (which is 69%) of what was apportioned in the total working funds for the Building Department; this was a considerable savings.  Total loans outstanding for meetinghouses and seminaries were decreased $3,686,000 (which is 48%); and meetinghouse and seminary projects which had been completed but not paid for had been reduced $6,865,266 (which is 90%) and there was a deficit on buildings under construction in the amount of $22,000,000 when he took over as Chairman of the Building Committee and he had to get appropriations from the general funds of the Church to take care of these deficits; personnel in the Building Department were decreased by 256, which is 49%; Ward meetinghouses which we, the new Committee, were responsible for, had saved approximately $50,000 on every building we had built compared with the costs of comparable buildings which were built under the supervisory plan; we had saved approximately between $70,000 and $80,000 on every Stakehouse we had built under our new program as compared with the old method; this should amount to a savings of approximately $9,000,000.  On the 1966 budget we returned $20,000,000 to the general funds of the Church; $16,250,000 representing budgeted money for chapels and the remainder for special projects was saved and when there are all totaled they amount to approximately $32,000,000 that the Building Committee has returned since Elder Garff became Chairman of the Building Committee.  Through this savings there should be probably enough to construct the general Church office building whenever President McKay wishes to go forward with it.  At this point Elder Monson made the statement that Elder Garff and his co-workers have done a wonderful job and that this can definitely be seen by the program and changes which have taken place in the procedures in the Building Department and he definitely felt the Lord had blessed Elder Garff and was restoring to him his health, which seemed to Elder Monson was a great blessing to Elder Garff; that Elder Garff had gone about his work quietly and at no time belittled or spoken despairingly about his predecessors; that Elder Garff had gotten the job on its way.  President McKay asked where Brother Wendell Mendenhall is now (Brother Mendenhall was formerly the Chairman of the Building Committee) and Elder Monson replied that he was involved in his own personal interests in cattle and ranching operations.  Elder Garff stated to the President that he had not openly spoken out against any of the former Building Committee, that he had selected his own Committee and they are willing to work early and late with him if necessary and each understood they would have to go beyond their ordinary selves in the work that had to be accomplished, otherwise he did not want them as a member of his team.  Elder Garff expressed to the President the hope that he, President McKay, was satisfied and happy with what the Building Department had accomplished and was now in the process of accomplishing and he explained that he was trying to take care of the building needs of the people; that the buildings we are building are not luxurious but are designed in size to meet the needs of the people and are functional in all aspects and come within the range of the people’s ability to pay for their share of the structures.

Elder Garff explained and discussed with the group the maintenance costs needed for the different Temples; he explained that the Salt Lake Temple Annex is now completed and as far as the Building Department is concerned, it is ready for dedication.  There we had expended approximately $6,500,000 on the Annex and remodeling of the Temple, which costs were exorbitant and completely out of line with what the costs should have been.  Elder Garff also mentioned to the President that it might be considered feasible to build some smaller Temples and not go to the expense of enlarging the now existing Temples, that because of the students at the Brigham Young University and their travel to the Manti Temple in great numbers, he might consider a small Temple in Provo and one in Ogden as we already have the land provided for such buildings; also there is a critical need for a Temple on the East Coast of the United States.  Elder Dyer at this point interjected the thought there should be no Temples built anywhere except those designated by revelation to the President of the Church and Elder Garff answered that his suggestion was based on what his own personal observations and thinking are and he thought it well to mention this matter to the President.

At this juncture President McKay expressed his gratitude and pleasure with the entire report and advised Elder Garff to continue the policies he was following, also again reiterating to Elder Garff that directions concerning his work would come direct from the President, that he was to deal directly in all his affairs with the President.  At this time Elder Garff told the President that he had dedicated himself to the work that the President had asked him to do.  Elder Garff stated he had tried to conform his life in every respect in accordance with the President’s teachings and he had served him with a full heart and with all his strength and he considered his affiliation with the President very personal and from the beginning he had agreed to work for him and him alone.  As Elder Garff parted, President McKay, with tears in his eyes and clasping Elder Garff’s hands, said to Elder Garff, ‘That agreement still stands.  You are working for me and you take your orders from me and no one else.’

President McKay seemed very happy and pleased with the entire report and said he had been greatly enlightened regarding the problems of the Building Department and he would support Elder Garff in all his endeavors and would help in any way possible.  This last conversation Elder Garff had privately with President McKay.  Elder Garff’s secretary (Willo DePew), Elder Thomas Monson and Elder Alvin Dyer, had left the room and he was alone with the President excepting for Sister Clare Middlemiss who was standing by Elder Garff as these remarks were passed between the President and Elder Garff.  Before Elder Monson and Elder Dyer left the room they expressed great gratitude of being invited to hear the report and commended the work that has been done and, along with President McKay, encouraged Elder Garff to continue diligently in his work.

Approved:  David O. McKay”

Wed., 26 Jul., 1967:

“8:30 a.m.

Met with President Hugh B. Brown, Nathan Eldon Tanner, and Joseph Fielding Smith in a meeting of the First Presidency in the office in the Hotel Utah apartment. We considered several matters, some of which were:

Church Offices – New High Rise Building

President Tanner mentioned my request made some time ago that Mark B. Garff be asked to have completed plans for the new Church office building as soon as he could conveniently do so. President Tanner asked if I wished him to push this matter along. I said it would be all right for him to do so.

President Tanner explained that in talking with two leading businessmen of the city yesterday (Maxwell Rich, Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, and Fred Auerbach of the Auerbach Company), he explained to them that when it was originally intended to build this building, the businessmen of the city had objected and that out of respect for their feelings and expressions I felt that the Church should not go ahead at that time; that after we discontinued plans for the construction of the building, the Universlty Club Building was built and it has also been reported that plans are being made to construct a building on Second or Third South. He explained to Messrs. Rich and Auerbach that it would take about five years to complete the building if we were to start now, and they both said that they had not figured on a five-year situation and indicated that there would be a good feeling if the Church were to go forward with the building.

Accordingly, with my approval, President Tanner will arrange with Brother Garff for plans and specifications to be completed so that the building can be started next year if it should be decided to go forward at that time.

Tues., 21 Nov., 1967:

“9:00 a.m.

Held a meeting with the First Presidency in my office in the apartment. The following were present: Presidents Brown, Tanner, and Smith, and Elder Alvin R. Dyer. President Tanner left shortly before 10:00 a.m., to attend the Expenditures Committee meeting.

In addition to a number of routine correspondence matters, the following items were discussed and decisions reached:

Church Office Building – Construction to go Forward 

We decided that due to the fact that Church departments are now scattered over the city in twelve different buildings, and the further fact that conditions are looking up in the business area of the city (the erection of the Office Building was previously delayed at the request of the business men in town), that we should go forward at once to erect the new Church Office Building. (See First Presidency’s minutes of this day for further detail.)

Thur., 30 Nov., 1967:

“Did not hold a meeting of the First Presidency, and though I was all prepared to go to the Council Meeting in the Temple at 9:40 a. m., at the last moment I decided that I could not make it.

11:00 a.m.

Elder Mark B. Garff, of the Building Committee, came over by appointment and reported on the following matters:

(1) Report on findings of Far East visit;

(2) Agricultural projects in New Zealand;

(3) Deseret Farms of California — report on killing frosts resulting in 55 percent crop failure;

(4) Building Department — savings of thousands of dollars. Less time spent in construction of chapels at a great savings in costs to Stakes and Wards; whereabouts and activities of Wendell B. Mendenhall, in business projects with others in New Zealand and other places;

(5) Statement by me “There are some people doing work for the Church for their own personal gain, having only a selfish interest and are not working for the cause of Zion;”

(6) Suggestion of Elder Garff regarding bringing Temple work to foreign lands;

(7) Deep gratitude and appreciation expressed to Elder Garff.

(See following minutes by Elder Garff.)”

“(Minutes of Meeting Held with President David O. McKay on Thursday, November 30, 1967, at 11:00 A.M. with Elder Mark B. Garff.)

Today at approximately 1l:00 o’clock Clare Middlemiss called and said the President would see me immediately if I would come to his office. I have been desirous of seeing President McKay and making a full report of my findings to the Far East, also the visit I had to the two agriculture projects we have in New Zealand. The first one being at the temple site in New Zealand. I advised the President that the old Maori Agriculture College, Hawks Bay, New Zealand, was still intact but we had rented it out and it was being operated by individuals other than The Church and that I had offered to the Stake President in that area the opportunity of buying the property when and if they were able to buy it and take care of it. At this time they are not strong enough nor do they have enough purchasing power to buy the farm. We are collecting rents on the property from our tenant, these rents exceed the expenses of the land but there is no great income from the property.

The President then made inquiry as to the farm in New Zealand at the Temple site and asked me how many animals we had on the property. I gave to President McKay the approximate number of animals, but the list shows there are 230 steers, 13 cows and 13 calves which can be considered as beef cattle; we have 3 bulls, 202 milking cows, 54 heifers and 83 calves. In the category of sheep we have 68 rams, 2,317 ewes, 863 hoggetts and 2,253 lambs. I advised the President that we have had an appropriation to buy most of the cattle and the sheep and some of the cows since I took over the operation of this farm. However, when I took over the operation, I had to get an appropriation from The Church to replenish the farm in animals and also for fertilizer so that we could move forward. I was hopeful that in the future we would not have to ask The Church for such a large outlay of money because of the fact that this project has been running in the red between $35,000 and $50,000 a year and I would hope that in the next three or four years I could put it on a paying basis so we would not have to continually ask the brethren for more money to pour into this farm.

President McKay was vitally interested in the operations in Sacramento, California, (this is Deseret Farms of California), and asked me for a report. I advised President McKay that we had lost half of our crop of almonds and walnuts through frost and that we would probably get 45% crop this year. I advised President McKay that we had sold a lot of machinery which was of no particular use and everything was organized and going forward under a Board of Directors. Even though we had a great deal of land which is not producing at this time due to the young trees we have planted, I felt that in the very near future we would be able to put the farm on the paying list of agriculture projects of The Church. However, this year was a disaster because of a killing frost, a very late Spring and excessive rain during the Fall. President McKay was of the opinion that we had some fruit trees on this ranch, but I advised him there are no fruit trees with the exception of probably a few peach and fig trees and so on, but that our prime crop was almonds, walnuts, tomatoes and beets. When the frost hit us, it really hurt us, but I am optimistic about this situation and hope we can move forward. It will take about five years to get our young walnut trees to produce and get this project in shape to make money.

The Building Department and its activities were discussed at length and I advised the President as to what we are doing; that we are now building Ward and Stake houses in about 9 to 12 months whereas under the old plan we were building them for most part not less than two or three and sometimes four years. The Church was standing all the overhead on the old projects, they were lengthened out until the costs were staggering. I told President McKay of the savings we were making and he asked me how I was making it and I simply told him we were not spending the money that had been spent before in construction of buildings; we are building them in shorter time and that the cost was less, that every Ward building we were building we are saving approximately $50,000 and on Stake houses we are saving at least $80,000. 

The President was greatly interested and at this point he asked me what Wendell Mendenhall was doing and I told him I was not aware of his activities but I knew that he had activity down in New Zealand in the cattle and sheep business with others but as far as I knew he was not in any way interfering with our operations. He seemed to be relieved of the fact that he was not faced with any problems with Wendell Mendenhall at this point, but I dismissed this discussion quickly as it was not my desire to in any way depreciate Wendell Mendenhall or anybody else, but to encourage the President on the progress we are making in the Building Department and on the agriculture projects he had assigned to me (the Deseret Farms of California, the Temple View Farm in New Zealand and the old Maori Agriculture College at Hawks Bay.)

The President seemed to be very happy of the fact that The Building Department was out of debt. I suggested to the President that he allocate at least one hundred million dollars in quick assets to savings so The Church could move along at a rapid pace regardless of booms or busts as we have them in business. We should pursue a steady course having sufficient money to carry on this work. Through the operations of The Building Department we have saved and returned into the coffers of The Church large sums of money and because we had put that much money back they had been able to reduce the ratio of the building projects so that Wards of the Stakes only had to put up 30% of the cost of the building. This has been brought about by the savings we had made. I advised the President again that when I came into The Building Department there were approximately 900 employees throughout the world and this has been cut back to approximately 220 people; this has been accomplished in a period of two years. We have saved alone on our overhead and office expense last year about two and a half million dollars. I said to the President that I did not think God nor man would demand more of us than what we have done for we have gone beyond our ordinary selves to get this thing on the move helping The Church in its financial position. I hoped that we would now protect that position and not let people go on a spending spree to spend the money that we have saved.

At this juncture the President laughed very heartily. He seemed to be extremely pleased that we could turn this whole thing around in two years and bring back into The Church sanity in The Building Program and protect The Church from the evils of overspending.

He then asked me who spent the money of The Church and I told him: “President, I am the one who presents the Agenda on Tuesday as far as the Building Program is concerned and I watch it very carefully. If there is anything out of line or out of order, I do not let it go to the Committee on Expenditures until it is thoroughly investigated and no monies are spent in our Department where we are responsible unless they are scrutinized very carefully.”

At this juncture President McKay interjected there were some people doing work for The Church for their own personal gain, having only a selfish interest at heart and were not working for the cause of Zion.

I replied to President McKay that is what the Book of Mormon calls Priestcraft, when men work for their own cause and set themselves up as a light to the world that they may get gain and praise of the world, but they seek not the welfare of Zion. He retorted quickly that what I had quoted was correct. Again he expressed gratitude for all I was doing to help him with the Building Department.

After this we got onto a subject peculiar in nature, but I asked the President to listen me out and see if I was foolish in what I was suggesting. He said he would be glad to listen and I told him I had just returned from the Far East; this is about the only time I have left my desk for the two and half years I have been working for for President McKay and in my mind I tried to conceive a plan whereby we could bring Temple work to our people. I said cautiously to President McKay: “If you think I am out of bounds I want you to tell me, but I am proposing to you now, that The Church obtain or build a ship sufficient in size to run the oceans and we equip this ship as a temple ship; that we take the ship and outfit it as a temple, then take the ship into the ports and harbors where our people live. We could do this around the entire continent of South America, Europe, along the coast of China, Japan, Australia and even Africa if we wanted to. I was sure the cost would not amount to any more than what the cost of some of our temples has been. I suggested to the President that we do not have the money to build temples all over the world and it would be an impossibility because our funds are limited and if we followed this procedure we could get at least those who want their endowments done while they are still alive, we could move to the ports where we would dock this ship; otherwise it would be impossible for them to have their own endowments and we might carry it even further than their own endowments and move on to doing work for the dead, making this a continuous tour of where there are people needing the blessing of the temple and the holy endowment.

After I explained to the President my thinking he said to me: “That is not foolish thinking and I want you to pursue this thought and pursue the feasibility of it and make a report to me.” He seemed to be greatly intrigued with the idea, he seemed to grasp it very quickly and thought it would be a good idea, so I am going to pursue it a little further as fast as my time will allow.

I got up to leave the President because I had been with him about 15 minutes and did not want to tire him, but he said: “Now wait a minute. You sit down here, I want to talk to you.” Then we went through the Building Program again and I advised him as to the monies that we were saving and how we are conducting the work. He made inquiry about my Mother and I had to advise the President that my Mother had passed away a few years ago. Then we talked about my commitments to the President, that I had committed myself to him and him alone, my responsibility was only to him and his wishes and I would cooperate with others but I made the statement to him that I am working for you and you alone and the rest can go to hell cross-lots if they want to. At this homely expression he simply burst out in laughter and almost tears, but he held me by the hand and would not let me go and then he made these remarks to me: “Now you are a very practical man. You have done a great job for us and I appreciate the fact that I can depend on you; I appreciate the fact that we are of one mind and you continue to make your reports to me.”

At this juncture I said good-bye to him. He seemed very reluctant to having me leave him but I had made my report in full and was sure that he had comprehended what I said. I have never left the President that he seemed to be more pleased and more satisfied with the report I had given him over my activities, including the Building Committee, the farm at Sacramento, California known as the Deseret Farms of California, the Temple View Farm in New Zealand and the old Maori College Farm at Hawks Bay in New Zealand. Those three projects he has given me to supervise and I am gradually bringing them out of a deficit but it is going to be a tremendous task.

I felt good about my report to the President and he radiated strength to me. He radiated a feeling of satisfaction of what had been accomplished and complimented me highly on the work I was endeavoring to do. This is the first time I had seen the President in months because I was afraid of his health not being up to standard but I found today that he was conversant, he seemed happy, his strength seemed to be about the same, he is probably having a little more trouble with speaking but I had no problem with understanding him and we had no trouble in conversing.

I am grateful again for this opportunity — the opportunity of making a contribution through The Church and especially giving my loyalty and support to President McKay. To see the smile on the face of the President and the apparent inward satisfaction of the President over what had been accomplished in the Building Department, was a compensation beyond price to me.

Mark B. Garff”

Fri., 5 Jul., 1968:

“Office Closed Today for Fourth of July Holiday

11:00 a. m. 

Church Building Department — Compensation for Elder Mark Garff

This morning I met at their request President Alvin R. Dyer and Wilford Kirton, Church Attorney, at which time the matter of preparing the contract for the compensation of Elder Mark Garff, Chairman of the Building Department, was discussed.

I said that Elder Garff’s salary could be set at $30,000 per year, in addition to that which he now receives from the Deseret Farms of California, making a total salary of $36,000 a year.

I stated that we should be consistent in setting up his back salary, (the three years for which he has not been paid), so that it will be the same as that which he is to receive in the future, which would reduce the initial back payment for which he is asking from $100,000 to $90,000. Later it was learned that he is receiving a salary from the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company and also the Deseret News, so this matter will be held in abeyance for further consideration.

NOTE: I feel that this matter must be given very careful consideration, as Elder Garff has served well, and has saved the Church millions of dollars since taking over the Chairmanship of the Building Department. He has devoted three years in straightening out a situation in that department which had been a great worry to me, as to most of the General Authorities who finally decided to release the former Chairman Wendell B. Mendenhall. Brother Garff has spent every moment of his time during these 3 years in solving the problems of the Building Department; and in doing so his own business failed and he lost, according to Brother Garff, a million dollars.

Wed., 17 Jul., 1968:

“(Minutes of Alvin R. Dyer of a meeting with President David O. McKay.)

The matters discussed were as follows:

(4) Report regarding Salaries being Paid to Mark B. Garff

I placed into President McKay’s hands a report provided for me by George Jarvis of the Church Finance Department covering the compensation which Mark B. Garff of the Church Building Committee is now receiving from various activities of Church-controlled operations. The report showed that he was receiving $6,000 per year from the Deseret Farms in California, $6,000 a year from serving on the Deseret News Board and Executive Committee, and $6,000 a year for his placement on the Board of the Utah Idaho Sugar Company. The President took the report and held onto it and read every word and asked that it be left with him. I then stated that I had just received it that morning and would appreciate it if I could have it for a few minutes to make a photostat copy. Then I would return the original to him immediately. With that thought in mind, he permitted me to take the report. I had two copies made of the same and had the original placed back into the hands of President McKay that same morning.

( Comment) The President seemed greatly surprised at this report and I pointed out to him that since Mark Garff had requested a salary, or a compensation, for being on the Building Committee of $30,000 a year, that with this $18,000 he would be receiving a salary to fulfill positions in the Church of $48,000 a year, or $4,000 a month. When there was added to this his request for a back compensation to be paid to him in five yearly installments of $20,000 a year, it simply meant that for the next five years we would be paying Mark B. Garff $68,000 per year.

I stated to the President that when the matter came up for the setting of the compensation of Brother Garff at $30,000 a year, that I had agreed with it because it did not seem out of line with other salaries that were being paid key department personnel in the Church, but at the time I did not know of these other sources of compensation. In view of this, I felt the whole matter should be re-evaluated and that undoubtedly it would come in for some discussion at a later time. The President stated that there was no question but what the matter should be gone over again and intimated that Brother Garff is entitled to a just compensation but that this whole development now would require some further discussion.

I do not know how long Brother Garff has been receiving the compensation from Deseret Farms, perhaps only a year. But the proposition is not so much what has been received in the past, it is what is now being set up for him to receive as a working compensation for his service in the Church. In the light of this, there are some phases of this matter that should be looked into and given further study and discussion.

Tues., 20 Aug., 1968:

“9:00 a.m.

Held a First Presidency’s meeting with Presidents Brown, Tanner, Smith and Dyer.

Church — New Office High Rise Building

Because of the surplus over the budget, the Budget Committee approved the proposal to go forward with the new office building, the plans and specifications for which will be completed by September, at which time they will be put out for bids and the steel will be ordered. He said it is felt that we may be able to build this building in three years, whereas it was formerly thought it would take four; in which event the building will be completed by 1971. A question was raised by Brother Lee in regard to the height of the building. He did not think that our building should be higher than any other building here. The proposed building would be 29 stories high, including three stories on the top for storage, maintenance, etc., which would be five stories higher than the University Club Building. He said the foundations are built to carry the building even higher than that. This would make it possible to bring all our offices except the Relief Society, which is in its own building, and the Distribution Center which is using the old Deseret News Building on Richards Street into this one building. The computer work would be in the basement of the Utah Hotel Motor Lodge. President Tanner said that it was his feeling in regard to the height of the building that if we did not have the Kennecott Building or the University Club Building it might be wise to reduce the height of our building, but that the increase in height will not be offensive aesthetically. He said he believed that it was the general sentiment of the brethren that we should go forward with the building as planned.

President Tanner mentioned that the building will have two wings, four stories high each, which will make the high rise building appear lower than otherwise. The building he said will certainly be serviceable and functional. Two years have been spent working with the architects and members of the committee, and it is thought that we should go forward with the building as planned.

President Dyer mentioned that there has been a feeling among some people in the city that it would be better to have a number of smaller buildings to house the Church offices at different locations. He commented that when we build a high rise building like this, the higher the stories the less the cost per square foot would be. President Dyer said that he had seen the picture of this proposed building and the plaza section, which will be called the mall, between the new building and the Church Office Building, and that there will be a clear view of the Temple from First Avenue, and in between the buildings will be a beautiful garden plaza. He felt to sustain the proposal that we go forward with the building along the lines specified. He mentioned that this would take care of our office requirements for the next ten years. President Tanner commented that the building will be 70-75% occupied as soon as built, and the floors not needed at this time will not be completed but will be shells until they are needed.

President Tanner asked me if we should go forward with the building and I indicated my approval of this project.

(4) President McKay reported that Wendell Mendenhall who was released about 3 years ago as Chairman of the Building Committee called on him the other day. He had no comment to make about him. President Tanner is on friendly terms with him and it is reported that he is also in some business dealings with him.”

Wed., 30 Oct., 1968:

“8:45 a. m. Meeting of the First Presidency held in the hotel apartment. Present were: Presidents Hugh B. Brown, N. Eldon Tanner, Joseph Fielding Smith and Alvin R. Dyer.

The following were among the matters discussed:

New Church Office Building – High Rise

It was reported that Mark B. Garff, Chairman of the Building Committee, feels that the new Church office building should be built on a cost fee basis. In connection therewith it would be his intention to pick a couple of contractors. One whom he has suggested is Brother Okland and the other Ted Jacobsen, to build the building under the direction of the Building Committee. President Tanner said that President Brown and he feel quite strongly that a building of that size should not be erected on a cost fee basis and in this manner. He mentioned two objections: (1) It would not give the other contractors an opportunity to bid on the building; and (2) That Mr. Okland was a partner with Mark Garff when they built the Kennecott Building, and if he were given this job with Brother Garff supervising, there would be criticism, and justifiably so. He said that he knew of no criticism against Brother Jacobsen. It was President Tanner’s feeling that the contract should be let out on bids. He mentioned that it is necessary to have a decision right away because we have a bid on steel now which if we do not purchase within the next two or three days the price will go up. He said it was the feeling of the counselors that we should direct the Building Committee which has the plans and specifications now to advertise for bids for the building of this building. President Dyer expressed his agreement with what President Tanner had said.

I then said: “It is in your hands.” President Tanner said that they would confer with Brother Garff and work out a way in which we can put it out on bids.

Fri., 28 Feb, 1969:

“8:30 a. m. Meeting of the First Presidency held in the President’s Hotel Apartment. Presidents Hugh B. Brown, N. Eldon Tanner, Joseph Fielding Smith and Alvin R. Dyer present.

The following matters were discussed:

New Zealand Temple – Wendell Mendenhall and wife as Ordinance Workers

President Tanner called attention to the recent action of the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve approving the recommendation that Wendell Mendenhall and his wife, Wealtha Mendenhall, be approved for temple ordinance workers in the New Zealand Temple, they having been recommended for this position by the president of the temple, Zachariah Brown. President Tanner said that it was felt by the Council, however, that the matter should be brought to me for my consideration. President Tanner mentioned his recent visit to New Zealand where he met Brother Mendenhall, at which conference Brother Mendenhall was present and spoke. He said that he never heard anyone bear a more humble testimony and speak more highly of me than Brother Mendenhall did, and he personally felt that he is fully qualified and in every way ready for such an appointment. President Dyer referred to his association with Brother Mendenhall’s two sons and said that they are two very fine young men and he thought that it would be helpful to them if their father and mother could be given these appointments. President Brown said that he felt that we would be justified in approving Brother and Sister Mendenhall.

I said I wanted to give the matter further thought.

Mon., 26 May, 1969:

“9:00 a. m. 

Meeting of the First Presidency in the President’s Hotel Apartment. Present were Presidents Hugh B. Brown and N. Eldon Tanner.

The following were among the matters discussed:

Church Buildings – Types of

It was reported that there has been some criticism about the types of buildings we are erecting in South America and other foreign countries, this criticism coming from the mission presidents and also the General Authorities when they visit these places. When this question was discussed the other day in the Expenditures Committee, Brother Garff said that they would build whatever we want them to but that they are trying to build a good standard building. However, some of the brethren do not think that we should try to build the same kind of chapel in South America that we build in North America, that the conditions are different and the people are not housed the same as they are here. They are not as affluent as we are. President Tanner said that at a meeting of the Council the other day it was suggested that a committee be set up to study this matter and come in with recommendations as to what modifications we should make.

I gave my approval.”

Tues., 27 May, 1969:

“(Minutes by President Alvin R. Dyer of the Meeting of Wendell B. Mendenhall with President McKay)

(Meeting with Wendell Mendenhall)

During the First Presidency meeting, I mentioned that Wendell and Weltha Mendenhall were here from New Zealand to see President McKay and that I would endeavor to arrange it as soon as I heard from them by telephone. Because of this, I did not attend Expenditures Committee meeting, for I talked to Brother Mendenhall just before 10 o’clock and, agreeable to President McKay, arranged a meeting with him at 10:30 a. m.

We arrived at the apartment and Nurse Noall came out of the north hall door and spoke of the upset condition of President McKay, saying that he had referred to his sister Annie, who had been dead for some time. Sister Noall had learned from Emma Rae, his daughtcr, that his reaction to this had come because of Emma Rae’s promise to take him to the graveside of his sister.

Under the circumstances, I thought I had better go in and talk to the President first concerning the appearance there of Brother and Sister Mendenhall, which I did. President McKay said that he would be most pleased to see them.

After we were seated in his office, President McKay said that they were called to be ordinance workers in the New Zealand Temple and that he was glad to see them. I referred to the fact that they had come a long way to see the President. Brother and Sister Mendenhall did not respond immediately to the call and asked the President if he was sure he wanted them to do this. His answer was, “yes.”

Brother Mendenllall stated that they wanted time to think it over–that they had business interests and lived two hours from the Temple. I told then that it probably was a matter of scheduling but that we would not send the letter to President Brown of the New Zealand Temple until they had accepted the call.

After leaving President McKay, in the Hotel foyer, Wendell said he would let me know. I told him that I thought that his acceptance would be a good thing for all concerned. I was thinking of Bob and Paul Mendenhall, whom I have known and regard very highly and have played handball with them, but had learned that they had become somewhhat inactive in the Church.

Wendell had stated, however, that these were fine boys and they were still morally clean. This condition that he had gone through by being released from his position in charge of the Church Building Department, though it had effected them, it hadn’t cllanged their sense of moral values.

I said, “Yes, but they have become inactive and are away from the Church in a sense and your getting back into activity might help the situation.”

(Comment: I was a little surprised and fallen back by the attitude which Brother and Sister Mendenhall had exhibited. It is plain to me that there is still some bitterness. I do not know why they did not respond at once to the call. It concerned me greatly, as normally, when individuals are called to do something by a Prophet of the Lord, they are anxious to accept regardless of conditions and work their problems out in order to fulfill the request made by a Prophet of the Lord, but this was not in evidence with Wendell and Sister Mendenhall. They seemed nice enough about the whole affair on the surface but, as I say, it took me back some to think that they would not readily accept and do and abide by the wishes of the President. Regardless of what feelings he may have had, his willingness to call them to this position was an evidence that he had a spirit of forgiveness and was magnanimous in his desire to extend this call to them.)

Wendell mentioned to me in the foyer of the hotel that they had made the trip and that they couldn’t afford to pay for it themselves and asked that I advise Ed Burgoyne that the Church would assume the responsibility. I told them there was no problem to this, since he had been invited by the President to come, that it would be only right that his expenses be paid. I advised Ed Burgoyne of this.”

Thur., Jul. 31, 1969:

9:00 a.m.  Meeting of the First Presidency in the President’s Hotel Apartment.  Present were Presidents Hugh B. Brown and Joseph Fielding Smith.

Among the matters discussed were the following:

New Office Building – High Rise

President Brown reported to me that the agreement with the contractors for the construction of the new Church high rise building has been signed by himself and President Tanner and that in accordance with permission given by me my signature had also been attached.”

Wed., 27 Aug, 1969:

“I held no meeting with the First Presidency today.  However my counselors took up the following matters of importance:

Buildings in Foreign Countries

President Tanner mentioned that at the Expenditures Committee meeting some weeks ago, with the understanding and approval of the Building Committee, a committee was set up to study the kinds of buildings that should be erected in South America and other overseas countries. The committee consists of Elders Marion G. Romney, Howard W. Hunter, Gordon B. Hinckley, Fred Baker and Emil Fetzer. This committee has written a letter to the First Presidency giving a report on this matter, suggesting there be some flexibility in design, size, and construction procedures, giving the local people greater voice in the matter in areas remote from Church headquarters.  President Tanner submitted a letter that he had prepared addressed to Mark B. Garff, chairman of the Building Committee, sending a copy of this special committee’s report for their consideration and guidance, stating that the First Presidency is in full agreement with the suggestions made in the report and will appreciate the implementtation of these suggestions by the Building Department.

Tues., Sept. 2, 1969:

“Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidency

Held Tuesday, September 2, 1969, at 9:00 A.M., in the First Presidency’s Office

Present:  Presidents Hugh B. Brown, N. Eldon Tanner, Joseph Fielding Smith and Alvin R. Dyer

Polynesian Cultural Center

It was reported that the Polynesian Cultural Center has cost the Church a large amount of money, that the Church had cancelled loans made to this organization and transferred them to capital investment, and that other amounts had been contributed for construction of homes, operation expenses, etc.  The center is now making money and has a considerable sum on hand and the question was raised as to what amount, if any, of this fund should be turned over to the Church as income.  It was agreed that President Brown and President Tanner should discuss this entire question with Elder Howard W. Hunter.