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David O. McKay Diaries – “Clare Middlemiss”

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

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Thur., 28 May, 1953:

Telephone Calls

Sidney L. Billingsly of Missoula, Montana (546 Woodworth Ave) ex-Branch President – served 11 years – called regarding his performing the marriage ceremony for his son this evening.  Sent letter – signed by President Broadbent three weeks ago – they have received no word.  I told him that I was sure you would give him permission to go ahead and that letter of authorization would go forward to him.  (Clare Middlemiss, Secretary)

Mon., 28 Sept., 1953:

Telephone Calls

“Asked Ralph Richards by telephone to bring in to the office, letters, transcribing machine, keys which he now holds, since he is no longer employed in my office.”

Fri., 5 Feb. 1960:

“12 noon

Mr. Andrew Hamilton, representing the Reader’s Digest, and also of the University of California at Los Angeles, called at the office.  He was accompanied by Ted Cannon of the Church Information Service.  Mr. Hamilton is in the city for the purpose of writing two articles for the Reader’s Digest magazine — one on the Church’s work with the Indians, and the other on a ‘character study’ of the President of the Church.

I introduced Mr. Hamilton to my secretary, Sister Middlemiss, who took him down to the room where she keeps my scrap books – 125 of them – pointed out the books she thought Mr. Hamilton would be interested in, gave him a chair and a table, and let him help himself to the material she has collected on my life.  He later remarked that he had never seen such a collection in his life, and that he was going back to the University of California and tell those in charge of the Library that they ‘could come up here and take a lesson on keeping records.'”

Wed., 5 July 1961:

9:30 a.m.

Arrived at my private office.  Had consultation with my secretary, Clare, regarding my personal diaries and other records she has been keeping for me for twenty-six years.  Read a few pages of my diary for the past several busy days, and told her that I approved of them.  Said that I would like to take my diaries to the Hotel for the present; that a place is being prepared for them in the new home in Huntsville.  However, this matter will be given further thought.”

Mon., 14 Jan. 1963:

“10:00 – 12:00 noon

Was in conference with Clare.  There has been a great increase in the amount of work in my office.  The correspondence has become voluminous — letters pour into the office daily from all over the world.  I expressed my concern at the amount of work she is doing — that Elder Richard L. Evans had reported to me that the light in my office is on when he goes home, sometimes after 7 o’clock at night.  In addition to this, she has the responsibility of keeping a large home.  I advised her to sell it; also that she should look into the matter of getting additional hospital insurance.

Clare reported that it is necessary for her to work long hours in her office at home in order to keep up the daily diary, and in taking care of many other duties she has.”

Fri., 22 Mar. 1963:

“Later in the day, my secretary, Clare, called me by telephone and related to me an incident which happened today in the office, wherein she was refused copies of The First Presidency’s minutes.  (see incident following.) 

Friday, March 22, 1963

(Incident of Joseph Anderson’s going to President Brown about Clare Middlemiss’s taking minutes home to work on President McKay’s Diary, as related by Sister Middlemiss.)

I asked Joseph Anderson if I could have the minutes so that I could work on President McKay’s Diary at home over the weekend.  He said, ‘You will have to get them from Brother Reiser.  He writes them up.’  I went to his office only to learn from Marjory Golder, the secretary to Joseph Anderson, that Brother Reiser had gone home at noon as he has been doing for several weeks because of ill health.  I said to Marjory, ‘I should certainly like to have them to work on them over the weekend so that I can devote my time next week solely to the Conference program and speeches to be delivered by President McKay.’  I then went back to my office.

Evidently, Marjory went right into Brother Anderson and told him that I intended taking the minutes home.

After a little time, Brother Anderson appeared in my office and said to me:  ‘Say, Clare, I talked to President Brown about your taking the minutes home, and he feels the way I do — that you should not take them away from the office.  Why I would not think of taking minutes home — I never have!  You might have an automobile accident and the minutes might fall into the hands of strangers.’

I answered him:  ‘Why did you go to President Brown?  This is a matter between you, President McKay, and me — why didn’t you call President McKay by telephone if you thought the matter was so serious that you had to get permission from one of the counselors?’

He said, ‘Oh, I didn’t want to bother President McKay.’

I said: ‘So far as the automobile accident is concerned, President McKay may have an accident when he drives up to Huntsville — he takes the minutes to his home in the Hotel also to Huntsville.  Besides, we could have an earthquake, or fire, or anything else.  I think it is a little different with me, besides I am alone at home; there is no one there to see them — they are more private there than they are in the office where persons are coming in and out all through the day.’

Brother Anderson said nothing and left the office, but I did not get the minutes!

A little later, I called President McKay in Huntsville and told him what had happened.  He was silent for some few moments, and then said:  ‘Don’t you worry one bit; you leave it to me; I’ll attend to it.  I am glad you phoned to me.’

I am trying to write the President’s diary for him, and I am willing to spend my holidays, weekends, etc. to carry on this work.  I cannot do it here in the office; there are too many interruptions — I cannot think here.  The President knows that I do this work at home.

On Tuesday, March 26, 1963, President McKay called Joseph Anderson into his private office and said to him:  ‘Clare, may take the First Presidency’s minutes home.  I trust her implicitly — I have never had to worry.’

Tues., 26 Mar. 1963:

“11:15 a.m.

Returned to my private office.  Called Joseph Anderson in and told him to give my secretary, Clare, the First Presidency’s minutes so that she could record in my personal diary my activities during each day.  I said: ‘I trust her implicitly; I have never had to worry during the twenty-eight years she has been with me.’  (see also Diary of March 22, 1963.)”

Fri., 7 June 1963:

12:00 to 12:30 p.m.

Conference with my secretary Clare.  I told her that I was thinking last night that I did not know what I would do without her service, that I had come to depend upon her a great deal.  Clare answered that it was her whole goal in life now to serve the Church and its President, and that if she could in any way lighten my burden, then she was happy.

Mon., 13 Apr. 1964:

“8:15 to 11:00 a.m.

At my request, Clare came over to the office in the apartment with a brief case full of letters for me to approve and sign.  She also presented many that had been received regarding the recently-held conference.  I believe I have never had such an outpouring of good will and affection from the people of the Church — my heart is filled with gratitude and thanksgiving for their faith and loyal support.

Clare also brought up requests that had come to her for appointments.

After nearly three hours of giving attention to these matters, I said to Clare as she was leaving, ‘Well, that is more like it; we were able to get a lot done without interruption’, which is seldom the case!

I expressed again to Clare my deep appreciation to her for the work she is doing, and the responsibility she is carrying.

This afternoon, I had Brother Darcey U. Wright drive me to Huntsville.  It was a beautiful spring day — all the snow had gone, and the garden around the home needs immediate attention.

Note by CM

Following Brother Wright’s return to the office, he reported to secretary, Clare, that President McKay seemed like his old self — that he got out of the car easily, and was relaxed and happy while he was up there.”

Tues., 12 May 1964:

10:30 a.m.

Clare Middlemiss – Tribute to

After the Brethren had left, I called my secretary Clare to come over.  She brought with her an accumulation of mail, legal documents, etc.  I spent the next two hours going over these matters with her.

I told Clare that I never have a moment’s worry when she has her hands on the work of the office — that I have the best secretary in the United States, and now it goes out from the boundaries of the United States to the world.  No words can express my appreciation for what she has done for me and the Church.”

Tues., 16 June 1964:

“Note by Clare – Expression of Appreciation

President McKay made this statement to me this morning, when I asked him how he was feeling:  ‘I am going to be around longer than you think.’  I said:  ‘That is good — the longer the more happy all of us will be!’

In presenting letters to him, I asked him if he had seen the letter to Brother Willard Marriott of Washington, D.C. and one to a little girl who lies seriously ill in the Primary Children’s Hospital, and he said, ‘I have just been over them and others this morning, and I have been thinking how thankful I am for you; I have never had a moment’s worry about what you do.’  I responded, ‘If I take some of your burdens away from you, then I am happy.’

Wed., 29 July 1964:

“9:30 to 11:00 a.m.

Conference with my secretary, Clare, on the responsibility she is carrying, especially since my illness.  I called in Brother Darcey U. Wright, Manager of the Building, and told him that inasmuch as Clare is spending almost night and day on her work, he should see that she should get some help in clearing up the repair and cleaning out at her house; that it is entirely too much for her to bear, and that the work that has been going on for weeks and weeks now should be cleared up, and that the man who was found lying on the floor of her basement when he was supposed to be working (a Brother McLaughlin) should be dismissed if he does not change his attitude.

Just at that moment Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson came in, and I asked him to follow through with this matter, and to call in Brother Marble’s men if necessary in order to get this work cleared up; that Clare is carrying a great responsibility and that she is willing to work all hours of the day and night in helping me, and that she should be given a hand in that work out at her house so that she can continue her work at the office.”

Sat., 29 Aug. 1964:

“In LDS Hospital

Notes by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary

At 9:00 a.m., Lawrence McKay called.  He said that his father would like me to come up to the hospital at 10:30 this morning.  I said, ‘What shall I take up with him?’, and Lawrence said, ‘This would be a good time to tell him about the music for Conference.’  He said, ‘Don’t stay longer than half an hour’, and I answered that I probably wouldn’t stay that long.

. . . .

At this same time, President McKay asked me to go ahead with the regular preparations for Conference.

President McKay then asked me how things are going at the office and wanted to know if the counselors are reporting to me.  I said that President Tanner had come in last Wednesday and had told me of his visit with him, but other than that there had been no reports, and President McKay said, ‘I was afraid of that.’

He then said, ‘Matters in the office are in your hands; when they are, I do not worry.’  I thanked him for his confidence and trust, and said that that was all I wanted to know.  He smiled, and said, ‘I have full confidence!’

Wed., 13 Jan. 1965:

“4:00 a.m.


8:30 a.m.

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

Personal Journals – Excellent Work done by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary — Journals to go to Family

I talked with my counselors about the excellent work my secretary, Clare Middlemiss, has done during the nearly thirty years she has been my secretary, and especially mentioned

the journals she has kept of my activities during these busy years.  I said that no secretary in the world has done what she has done in keeping records of my speeches, appointments, etc., and in tending to the business of my office.

In referring to the journals, the question was raised as to what would ultimately be done with them, and I said that my personal journals should go to my family, and that the journals containing a record of my Church activities as written in minutes of the First Presidency’s meetings and Council meetings, should be placed in the Church Library.*  (See end of day.)

Fri., 15 Jan. 1965:

“10:00 to 11:45 a.m.

My secretary, Clare, brought over letters for me to approve and sign.  She noted that I did not feel so well, and I admitted that I was downhearted on matters.  She tried to cheer me up, stating that she would do anything to lighten my burdens.

I told Clare that there is no girl in the world who has rendered the service as a secretary that she has; that I respected her judgment.  I said that I had told my counselors the other morning about her efficiency in preparing my journals and other records.  I then told her that I never have a worry when I know things are in her hands; that I can relax and know that matters will be handled just right.  I said, ‘Although you may have a few enemies, because of jealousy of the position you hold, most people who count, and the Brethren of the General Authorities, hold you in high esteem.’  Clare expressed her appreciation, and said that she has no desire but to help ease my responsibilities and to do the best she can for the Brethren and the Church.

Thurs., 4 Mar. 1965:

10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Called my secretary, Clare, and asked her to come over.  It is the first opportunity that I have had to see her since coming home from the Hospital.  She brought many letters of thanks written to those who had remembered me while in the Hospital with flowers, cards, and messages.

Clare stated that she had hesitated bringing any matters to me as she had been told by members of the family to take up everything with President Tanner, even personal letters such as those coming from President Johnson and others which are entirely personal.  Clare said that President Tanner would only have to take them up with me as he would not know what to do.

I told Clare that it is her duty to bring ALL matters that come to my office to me for my attention as she has done heretofore.  I said that I shall instruct her when I want matters referred to the counselors.  Clare explained that she has always referred anything of an official nature or matters that would involve Church policy to the First Presidency to be taken up at their regular meetings; that the files are full of such referrals.  I said, ‘Well, you keep on as you have been doing.’  I said that the counselors have brought over a good number of problems to me since my illness.  Clare answered that she has tried to attend to all matters that would upset me, holding others that she could to handle until my health is better.

April Conference

At this time, I instructed Clare to start preparing for April Conference — to prepare the prayer list and letters, the program, material for speeches, etc.

As Clare presented her work to me in such a manner as it was of no worry to me, I said to her, ‘I am grateful to you for the great assistance you have always been to me.’

Wed., 10 Mar. 1965:

Appreciation to Clare

Following a meeting with Clare, after taking up many office matters and letters with her, I said to her, ‘Clare, nothing will ever sever our relationship after your thirty years of service to me.’  Then I said, ‘You have been a great help to me and have brought me much relief and satisfaction.’

Thurs., 17 June 1965:

“10:30 to 11:15 a.m.

At my request my secretary, Clare, came over.  After she had been with me a short time, knowing that I did not feel too well, she said, ‘I had better go.’  I asked her what her hurry is, and she answered, ‘I feel nervous if I stay too long.’  I told her she must not feel that way; that I know what she had done and that she has only followed my instructions, and that I felt that the Lord had inspired her to do what she has done.

Clare stated that she feels all right when she knows that I am satisfied with what she is doing.  I told her not to worry, nor to care what others say; that she is to keep right on doing what she is doing; that I need her help more than ever.”

Tues., 29 June 1965:

“10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

My secretary Clare came over to the office at my request.

Journals – Disposition of Personal

Clare showed me the minutes of the First Presidency’s meeting of January 13, 1965, written by Elder Joseph Anderson regarding the disposition of my personal journals which she has prepared.  At that time I told my counselors that Clare had done an excellent work in preparing these journals and that it is my desire that they go to the family and that the minutes of the First Presidency prepared by Brother Anderson will be the official record of my Church activities and that they will be placed in the Church library.  Brother Anderson had recorded this as follows in the minutes of January 13:

President McKay’s Journals

Reference was made to the fine work that has been done in the preparation of President McKay’s journals, and the question was raised as to what would ultimately be done with these journals.  President McKay said that his personal journals should go to his family and that the journals containing a record of his Church activities should be placed in the Church library.

When I read the minutes a day or so later, I had Clare change them to read as follows:

Reference was made to the excellent work that has been done in the preparation of President McKay’s journals by his secretary, Clare Middlemiss, and the question was raised as to what would ultimately be done with these journals.  President McKay said that his personal journals should go to his family, and that the minutes of the First Presidency’s meetings containing a record of his Church activities written by Joseph Anderson should be placed in the Church library.

Evidently this change has not been given to Brother Anderson so that the minutes of January 13, would read as I intended them to read in the first place.  I shall take this matter up with Brother Anderson tomorrow and tell him to make the change as written above.  (See Diary of June 30, 1965.)

I said to Clare that if it had not been for her, there would be no journals, no scrapbooks, and few if any records; that she is really the one who should decide where my records should go.”

Wed., 30 June 1965:

“10:30 a.m.

Journals – Personal

I telephoned to Joseph Anderson and told him that there seemed to be a misunderstanding about the disposition of my personal journals as he has recorded it and that he is to change the minutes of January 13, 1965, referring to the disposition of my personal journals to read that the journals prepared by my secretary, Clare Middlemiss, are to go to the family, and that the minutes of the First Presidency will be a record of my Church activities and that they are to go to the Church Library.  (See also diary of June 29, 1965.)

Brother Anderson made the following entry in the minutes of the First Presidency’s meeting today:

‘President McKay phoned Brother Joseph Anderson shortly after the meeting and referred to an item in the minutes of the First Presidency some months ago pertaining to his journals, and the question as to what should ultimately be done with them.  The President asked that a statement be made in the First Presidency’s minutes as of this date that it was his thought that his personal journals as prepared by Sister Middlemiss should go to the family, and that the minutes of the First Presidency by Brother Anderson which contain a record of his Church activities should be placed in the Church archives.’

10:35 to 12:00 noon

Clare came over to the office at my request.  Lou Jean was with me when she arrived, so in her presence we talked about what to do with my personal journals.

Lou Jean mentioned that they contained personal letters belonging to the family, and Clare explained that the journals do not contain any personal letters from the family; that they are a record of my official Church duties.  She said further that every President’s diaries or journals have gone into the archives of the Church; but that in this case, President McKay’s record of official Church activities are contained in the minutes of the First Presidency.  She stated that she really would like to see a special room set aside in the Bureau of Information or in one of the new Church buildings for the 250 or more scrapbooks, 60 volumes of journals, etc., where they would be safe from fire, theft, or other hazards; that they are not safe in the Hotel, nor would they be safe in Huntsville.

Lou Jean said she did not think anyone would take them, and Clare said that they are valuable and will become more so as time goes on, and that anyone would like to have access to them.

Lou Jean then left the room.

Tues., 6 July 1965:

“Was so tired this morning that my voice was very weak, so decided that it would be the part of wisdom not to hold a meeting of the First Presidency today.  I suppose the events of yesterday were too much for me.

10:00 a.m.

Asked my secretary, Clare, to come over with urgent matters.  When she noticed how weak my voice was, she insisted upon not staying.  She presented only one or two letters to me.  She got up to go, but I told her to sit down a minute, that I wanted to talk to her, and that she should not worry about being there when I had asked her to come.

I then expressed to her my appreciation for the responsibility she is carrying.  I said that some others know of her superior intelligence and judgment and resent the fact that I recognize this in her.  I told her that I value these very qualities in her and that they have been immeasurable help to me.  I asked Clare to pay no attention to what others might say, and that she is not to worry and is to go on as she is doing.

Clare expressed her feelings, saying she wanted only to help me and do what I expected her to do.”

Tues., 13 July 1965:

11:30 to 12:30 p.m.

Conference with my secretary, Clare.  Presented letters and other office matters.  Just before she left she mentioned the hurt she had received over certain people’s attitude.  I said that I understood, but that she is to ignore what they say.”

Mon., 13 Sept. 1965:

10:10 to 11:30 a.m.

Following Brother Madsen’s departure, I took up office matters with Clare.  I first asked her if she is feeling better, and she said she had not had a recurrence of the pain which she had experienced last Friday morning.  I told her that she is to take care of herself; that I could not get along without her.  She said, ‘Oh, there are others’, and I answered, ‘Yes, but they cannot or would not do what you do, and do it the way you do.’

Clare said she is trying to get started on Conference matters, which is just two weeks away, and also to line up the answering of birthday letters.  I again expressed my appreciation, but warned her to watch her health.”

Fri., 15 Oct. 1965:

“After Clare had presented numerous letters and other important matters, I expressed appreciation to her for her devotion and steadfastness.  I told her that I cannot remember when she took a vacation or any time off for herself; that she must not break her health.

Choosing of Another Counselor

I then told Clare that I think I shall choose Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson as a Counselor in the First Presidency; that I need more help.  I told her to say nothing about it; that I have been giving it serious thought for some time.”

Fri., 5 Nov. 1965:

As Clare prepared to leave the office, I thanked her for helping me with the vast amount of work which is coming over my desk, and told her that she should take better care of herself; that she is too precious to the work to get sick, which I am afraid if she continues as she is doing.  She passed my worries off by saying that she feels very well and will be all right.”

Wed., 17 Nov. 1965:

“From 10:00 to 12:00 noon, went over an accumulation of letters and other office matters with my secretary, Clare.

I told Clare that she is really carrying a heavy responsibility, and that I am deeply appreciative of what she is doing.  She said she feels relieved that I now have the additional help of two counselors.  I admitted that I feel relieved, and said, and I also have good help in you.”

Fri., 19 Nov. 1965:

11:00 to12:00 noon

Conference with Clare who took up a number of letters and other office matters with me.

I expressed appreciation to her and told her that I am well aware of the responsibilities and the ‘load’ that she is carrying.”

Wed., 1 Dec. 1965:

“11:20 to 12:00 noon

Following their departure, continued with the work of the office.  Went over proof of Christmas card to be sent to associates and friends this year.  Was very pleased with the lay-out of this card, and approved the printing of 2,500 of them.  I thanked Clare for the attention and care she had given this matter.

I expressed to Clare my appreciation for her work and said, ‘No secretary would have done what you have done — you have given your life to this work.  I have not wanted you to work so hard.’  She said, ‘Maybe I am too fussy about everything — maybe I try to do too much and keep too many records.’  I answered, ‘That’s why your work has been so excellent, and has been so helpful; everything you do is just right.  I would not have it any other way!’

Clare said, ‘Well, if it pleases you, and I have done what you want me to do, and the way you want it done, then I am happy.  I sometimes wish I could do better than I do.'”

Tues., 4 Jan. 1966:

“8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency with Presidents Brown, Tanner, and Smith, and Isaacson.

Among the matters we discussed were the following:

Middlemiss, Clare – Expression of Appreciation to her

As Clare got ready to leave, and noting the amount of work that she is handling, I said to her, ‘You are precious; you must not get sick; please take care of yourself.  I cannot get along without you.  You help me so much, and I depend upon you a great deal because you know me and know what needs to be done.’

Clare smiled and said, ‘All I want to do is help you, because I know the responsibility that rests upon your shoulders!'”

Mon., 14 Feb. 1966:

“10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Conference with my secretary, Clare — the first for several days.  She had many letters and regular office matters needing my attention.

Clare reported that President Isaacson is still in serious condition; that his right side is paralyzed, and that he is unable to speak.

I said to Clare, ‘We are in a bad way, aren’t we?  Stay close to me during this crisis — I need you.’  She said, ‘That’s all I want to do is to be able to help you — it is my whole aim.’

Tues., 26 Apr. 1966:

Clare’s Status or Retirement at the Office in Case of My Death

Clare mentioned that she is worried regarding her status should anything happen to me.  She said she noticed that requests are coming from all General Authorities for an increase in their allowance because of the rise in the cost of living.  She said that employees are now allowed to accumulate so many days of sick leave; that she rarely takes even a holiday because every available moment she works at home on office work; also that now three weeks vacation are allowed for employees who have been with the Church fifteen years or more.  She said that she has not had even one week of vacation in ten years, and has worked overtime nearly as many hours as regular time without compensation.

I told Clare that she is entitled to be retired at full salary for her years of overtime work and lack of vacations which I know go back many more than ten years, and that I would see to it that she is retired at full salary.

I asked Clare to have Brother LeGrand Richards, Chairman of the Personnel Committee, give me a list of salaries of all Church employees; that I should like to see what has been going on in the matter of salaries to employees.

I further stated to Clare that I am well aware of the service she has rendered without thought of self, and with very little remuneration during most of the years she has worked for me.  I stated that she has been of inestimable help to me, and that she had never failed me in anything I have ever asked her for which I needed in carrying on my work.”

Tues., 7 June 1966:

11:00 – 1:15 p.m.

Called my secretary, Clare, and asked her to come over.  She presented many office matters — letters, memoranda of requests for appointments, etc.

Following this, a discussion arose over serious problems that are arising each day, and I said to Clare:  ‘How many years have you been with me?’  She smiled and said, ‘I shouldn’t tell you, but it is thirty-one years — it doesn’t seem that long, though.’

I said, ‘And you are taking care of more work, and carrying more responsibility than ever.  You know that I deeply appreciate what you have done for me when I was Counselor in the First Presidency and since I have been President.  Especially do I appreciate your work and loyalty during the past years of my illness.’  Clare indicated that her whole aim was to carry on with the work and to help me all she could.

Tues., 23 Aug. 1966:

Instructions to Clare

As Clare started to leave the office, I said to her:  ‘Clare, please stay close to me regarding the work; don’t leave me; stay right by my side where I can get you at anytime.’  She answered, ‘Don’t worry, President McKay, I shall be right where you can reach me anytime.’

Wed., 31 Aug. 1966:

About this time, Clare noticed that I was in considerable pain with the bursitis in my shoulder, and was very worried to think it was persisting so long.  She started to gather her papers up, and I asked her what her hurry was, and she said that she felt she had stayed too long, and I said, ‘You do not have to leave — you always help me, and I feel better when you take these matters up with me; otherwise, I just sit here and worry.’

Clare insisted that she had taken up enough troubles with me, and that she had better let me get some rest.  I inquired about Sister Brown, and Clare said she has received the report that she is a little improved.  I stated that with President Isaacson’s illness and President Brown’s worry over Sister, and that President Brown himself has not been up to much work, in addition to my own illness, we need more help in the First Presidency.

Clare then departed for her office in the Administration Building.

Fri., 7 Oct. 1966:

“10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

At my request, my secretary Clare came over with matters needing my attention.  I told Clare to stay close on matters pertaining to the work, and to come over to the apartment office any time she feels it necessary.”

Wed., 26 Oct. 1966:

“10:30 – 12:30 p.m.

Had a conference with my secretary Clare, the first time for three weeks.  She had quite an accumulation of correspondence to take up.  Had a long talk with her regarding office affairs.  I told Clare just before she left that I want her to know how much I appreciate what she is doing; that everything is done just as I want it done when she is handling it.

Clare said that she appreciates my confidence, and will try never to do anything that would be contrary to my wishes.

She then stated that she is feeling a little tired and would like to take a few days of vacation before winter sets in, and additional work is added which usually comes at this time of the year.  I told her to feel free to take any time that she can get away, and she said she is working now to get some accumulated work caught up, and then she will take some time off.”

Fri., 28 Oct. 1966:

“11:45 – 12:30 p.m.

Clare came over with many letters, request for appointments, etc.  She mentioned to me that she feels we do not need the services of one of the secretaries in the office, and I said that this is in her hands.  She said that Sister Mayr is asking for an increase in her salary.  I told Clare that she (Clare) is also entitled to an increase, and asked her to present this matter to Elder LeGrand Richards of the Personnel Committee, and that he could see me if he has any question.  I also said that she could talk to Brother Richards about a raise for Sister Mayr, and to be guided by what he thinks in this matter.  I told Clare again that I appreciate her loyalty and faithfulness to the work.

Regarding the requests for appointments, I told Clare to arrange them as she considers best.  She then read a number of letters to me and said she had for my consideration a number of petitions for cancellation of sealings, but would leave them as she felt that I had had too much this morning.  She asked why my voice is so weak this morning, and I said that I had never felt weaker than I do this morning.”

Mon., 31 Oct. 1966:

Following the departure of the Marine representatives, I met with my secretary, Clare.  Had a serious talk with her regarding general office matters.  I told Clare that I value her advice and counsel; that she is wise and fair in her judgment.  I also told Clare that I had been praying for the Lord’s help in matters pertaining to the First Presidency.  Clare said that she prayed constantly for me, for she realized that I have great burdens at my advanced age.

Fri., 2 Dec. 1966:

Llewelyn McKay’s New Book – ‘True to the Faith’

Discussed with Clare matters pertaining to the latest book (the fourth) which Llewelyn is compiling from the scrapbooks, using poems, quotations, and excerpts from speeches gathered by Clare during the years she has worked for me.  Llewelyn used the volumes from 1906 to 1957 which are now on the shelves in my office in the apartment.  Was surprised that no credit has been given in his book to the source of this material which has been used.

Thurs., 15 Dec. 1966:

“10:45 – 12:30 p.m.

My secretary presented to me several petitions for cancellation of Temple sealings, all of which I granted.  She also read to me letters which have been prepared for my signature.

I told Clare that I trusted her completely; that in all her years with me she had never done anything of which I disapproved; that I had absolute confidence in here, and depended upon her to carry out my wishes at the office.  Said that she had handled the work and the persons who had called at the office in an entirely satisfactory manner.

Talked about her association with me in her work, and assured her that she had never done nor said anything that would influence me against anyone, regardless of what some have assumed.

Fri., 16 Dec. 1966:

“12:00 – 12:30 p.m.

After all the foregoing appointments, Clare, who had been waiting all morning to see me, came in.  I said to her:  ‘Clare, you haven’t been over here very much for the last three months; you do not see me often enough; you let other people interfere.’  She answered, ‘Others crowd in, and make the appointments without my knowledge, and I have to wait until they are all satisfied and have been to see you, then I can take up your work with you.’  I told her that she must not do that; that that puts too much strain and anxiety on her.

Clare reported for my information that one of the girls in her office, Sylvia Johnstone, had to be dismissed because of polygamous activities with Melvin H. Dunn, who was employed by the Presiding Bishopric as one of the Tabernacle organ tuners.  I told Clare to let her go right away, and that it will be all right to give her two weeks’ severance pay as she suggests.”

Tues., 24 Jan. 1967:

“11:45 a.m.

Clare came over.  She presented eight petitions for cancellation of sealings, and read to me a number of letters prepared for my signature.  She also read the telegram of sympathy I instructed her to send to the family of Henry Aldous Dixon, a long-time friend, who just passed away.  (See following copy of telegram, copy of newspaper items, and note by Elder Benson.)

Among other letters Clare read was one from a soldier who is in Vietnam.  He wrote to congratulate Sister McKay and me on our Sixty-sixth Wedding Anniversary, expressing his appreciation to us, etc.  I could not hold the tears back as she read this letter from a soldier away from his family and friends.  (See copy of letter under January 2, 1967.)

As Clare presented all this work to me, I was overcome with gratitude to her for what she is doing for me, and the attention she is giving my work, and I could hardly express my feelings to her.  I said that it is a great satisfaction to know that I never have a moment’s worry when I know she is looking after my office affairs.

Tears coursed down my cheeks as I expressed this appreciation to Clare who herself was shedding tears.  She said her whole desire is to help me and to ease my heavy burdens.”

Tues., 28 Feb. 1967:

Commendation to Secretary

As I went through the work that Clare had prepared for my approval, I said to her, ‘Clare I hold you in deep affection and appreciation for all you have done and are doing for me.’ 

Wed., 1 Mar. 1967:

11:30 to 12:15 p.m.

My secretary, who was present during the above interview, remained and presented a number of letters for my signature.  Many members from all over the Church write to me telling me of their testimonies, troubles, sicknesses, etc.  Each letter is answered and taken care of under Clare’s direction and supervision, and then brought to me for my approval.

I told Clare that so long as she had her hands on the work I could relax and know that things are done the way I want them to be done.

After discussing her responsibilities, and preparations for the coming General Conference, I told her that I do not want her to worry about what will happen to her if and when I am not here.  She admitted that it has been a worry to her, and I said that she will and should be provided for after her long years of service.

Sat., 8 Apr. 1967:

“8:00 a.m.

My secretary Clare arrived at the apartment.  I was sitting at my desk when she arrived going over the Conference programs for the day.  When I saw her, I said, ‘Good, I am glad you are here!  What is the program for this morning?  She reminded me that this will be the broadcast session, which will be heard throughout the East on Sunday morning, and will have the largest radio and television audience of any of the sessions of Conference.

Clare also handed me my talks for the Priesthood meeting this evening, and the closing address for tomorrow afternoon.

We went over the programs for today’s sessions, and briefly reviewed the addresses which perhaps I shall have Robert read for me.  I told Clare that everything is in good shape, and that I feel now that I can relax.  I told her how much I appreciate her, and that she must never think of leaving or quitting her work, because I cannot get along without her.  She just smiled and said, ‘Oh, so you wouldn’t want me to quit?’  I answered, ‘No, of course, I would not — don’t you ever say that to me again!'”

Tues., 11 Apr. 1967:

“11:00 a.m.

Conference with Clare.  I told her how pleased I was with the way everything went at Conference; that I am more than satisfied with the way she is carrying on, and the way she has always carried on with my work — and I said further ‘I do not know what I would do without you.'”

Fri., 14 Apr. 1967:

“11:00 – 11:45 a.m.

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

2)  Clare Middlemiss – Discussion regarding her retirement

Letter authorized and signed by me.  However, before I signed the document and letter, Clare explained that prior to Conference (March 1, 1967), I had instructed her to get some legal statement which I could sign securing her financial status in case of my death.  I said, ‘I told you to do that and that is what I wanted you to do.’  She said she had talked to Elder Alvin R. Dyer, as I had advised her to do, and now he is submitting for my approval a document for my signature which I read and signed in the presence of Alvin R. Dyer and Clare.  This gives assurance and peace of mind to Clare regarding her security after I am gone.  The document was notarized by Robert Dyer, Church attorney.

Wed., 19 Apr. 1967:

“12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

Had a conference with my secretary, Clare.  She presented letters and Church matters which had come to my office.  She read some of the letters pertaining to the recently-concluded General Conference which told of the satisfaction and spiritual uplift the persons who had sent the messages had received.

Note by CM

These people expressed their deep appreciation for President McKay’s presence on the stand, and for his three messages.

After Clare had finished reading the letters to me, I expressed my gratitude to her and commended her for help to me.  She said that she wished that I had more help so that I would not have to worry as I do, and I said, ‘Well, I have someone in mind, and shall call him to help me along the lines I need.'”

Wed., 3 May 1967:

“10:45 – 1:00 p.m.

My secretary, Clare, came over.  She took up a folder full of letters, including seven or eight petitions for cancellation of Temple sealings.

Clare inquired as to how I am feeling, and I told her ‘pretty well’.  She said, ‘You never call me anymore to come over, and I am wondering if you need a secretary anymore.

I answered her that I am always at my desk waiting for her to come; that she is to come over any time when she has work that needs my attention.  Furthermore, I said to her, ‘I have every confidence in you and feel good when you come, and know that you are taking care of my work — I can relax and know that you will handle my work as I would have it done.’

Clare answered that her only desire is to be of service to me and to take some of the burden off my shoulders.

We cleared up a good deal of work before she left at 1:00 p.m., and I was thankful and relieved to have it taken care of.

Fri., 5 May 1967:

10:30 – 12:30 p.m.

Spent sometime with my secretary, Clare, who presented a number of letters needing my attention, and also several petitions for cancellation of Temple sealings as investigated and prepared for my approval by Elder Howard W. Hunter of the Twelve.  I went over each letter and each petition for cancellation of Temple sealing.

After taking care of these matters, I told Clare that I appreciate more and more the care she is giving my work — that it gives me great comfort to know that she is taking care of things.  I told her she must not get discouraged, but that she is to keep on just as she is; that the office is in her charge, and that I trust her to see that it is run properly.

I urged her to take several weeks vacation this year, which is now due her each year — that I ordered her to do it.  She said she has not taken a vacation for several years.  I told her that it is not fair or right for her to work like that; that she should take it easy and give as much of the work to the other girls as she can.”

Tues., 23 May 1967:

10:30 – 12:30 p.m.

Clare took up many letters and other office matters with me.

After she had finished, I complimented her on how well she did her work, and the attention she gives to details.  I said, ‘You stand supreme above them all!  Do you hear what I am saying to you?’

She answered, ‘Yes, I heard every word you said to me, and I am especially appreciative of what you just said to me.’

Clare said that she had had a very nice visit with Elder Howard W. Hunter of the Council of the Twelve the other day, and was very pleased when he told her that all the members of the Twelve, so far as he knew, held her in high regard and were grateful for what she is doing for the Prophet of the Church.

I said, ‘They all like you — they know what you have done.'”

Fri., 9 June 1967:

“11:05 a.m.

My secretary, Clare, who had been present during the visit of the above-mentioned people, remained to take up some important correspondence and office matters.

Sister McKay, who was sitting by my side, having been present during both interviews, noticed that Clare did not look very well.  When Clare admitted that she had not been feeling up to par, Sister McKay said to her:  ‘Now you must take care of yourself — you owe that to yourself; besides my husband needs you, and you have to be there for him.  I’ll make a pact with you — if you will stay here, I’ll stay too.  You are too wonderful a girl not to be happy and well.’  Clare answered, ‘Well, I’ll join you in that pact — I’ll weather this thing through as I have many other illnesses in the past.’

I also warned Clare that she must not work too long at a time; that she should take time off.  She said, ‘All right, but I wonder how I can, and keep up with everything that has to be done.’

Clare then left for her office in the Administration Building.

Mon., 10 Jul., 1967:

“In Huntsville.

1:30 p.m.

My secretary, Clare Middlemiss, came up to Huntsville.  She presented a few important items to me, and read one or two letters which needed my attention.  After Clare had presented these matters to me, I said to her, ‘You must come up here frequently while I am here; you are to keep me informed about the office and what is going on there.'”

Fri., 21 Jul., 1967:

“Was up at the usual early hour, and at my desk by 7:00 a.m. attending to letters and memorandums.

Book – New Book to be Published on Editorials in Instructor

My secretary, Clare, came over and inquired as to the title I wished to be used on the new book the Deseret Book Company is publishing which will contain editorials which have appeared in the Instructor magazine. The Book Company has chosen the title “The Greatest Possession”. The suggestion was made by Clare that one of the editorials is entitled “Man May Know for Himself”, that possibly I should prefer this title. After giving it some little thought I said, “Yes, I do like ‘Man Way Know for Himself’ better than the other title”, and gave Clare instructions so to notify Brother Alva Parry of the Deseret Book Company.

Clare reported that during the last month that she has been gathering material from my writings for four editorials, and that they are now prepared up until December and that she is working on material for the the January editorial — all this has been done during evening hours.

I told Clare that I am glad I have her assistance; that it gives me great comfort and satisfaction. She said, as she has said many times before, “I only want to lighten your burdens.” I told her, also, to pay no attention to anyone; that she is to come over to the office in the apartment “at anytime, under any circumstances when she needs to see me about the work.””

Wed., 27 Sep., 1967:

3:45 p.m.

Presentation of new Book “Man May Know For Himself” Compiled by Secretary

Met by appointment, at their request, Brothers Alva A. Parry and Brother James Mortimer, representing the Deseret Book Store, and also Henry Smith, reporter, and Claude L. Johnson, photographer for the Deseret News. My secretary, Clare Middlemiss, was also present.

I greeted each one of them and remarked that they all seemed pleased, and Brother Parry said, “Yes, we are, and we have reason to be.” And then, holding up a beautifully bound book, he said, “President McKay, it gives us great pleasure, and it is a great honor to present to you this volume of your writings which just came off the press an hour ago. We have taken special care in binding this book (“Man May Know For Himself”), containing your writings, as compiled by your secretary, and we think it is a wonderful volume, and the best yet!”

I took the book, glanced through its pages, and then congratulated Brother Parry and Brother Mortimer for the excellent work they have done in printing and binding the book. I said, “I am very pleased with it.”

I then turned to my secretary and commended her for the many hours of work she has devoted to compiling my writings as contained in this book, and said to her, “If it were not for you, none of this would be!”

I stated to the men present at this gathering in my office, “Did you know I have the best secretary in the United States?” Brother Henry Smith, who worked with Brother Parry in the publication of the book, said, “Why just in the United States, why not in the world?” I said, “Well that is true; I do not know of another secretary that has been so devoted — she is the best secretary in the world!”

Clare said, “Thank you, President McKay, but, of course, I don’t think that.” I answered, “Well I know.”

Brother Johnson, the photographer, took several pictures of the presentation of the book so that a picture and an article may be run in the Church Section this week. (See following newspaper clipping, copy of preface of the book by Elder Mark E. Petersen, copy of comments about the book, and letter from Lawrence McKay to Alva Parry commending him on “this excellent edition”.

The brethren then left the office, and Clare remained at my request to take up Conference matters.

Fri., 6 Oc.t, 1967:

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. 

Following the departure of the above Brethren, Clare remained at my request, and I told her how much I appreciated the care and attention she is giving my work. I said that I am getting around to thanking “you for what you did for me at the October Conference”, and wanted her to know that I realized the long hours of preparation she had put into the Conference. I then said, “I trust you — you do everything just right. I am glad I have a person named Clare Middlemiss as my secretary!”

Clare said, “If I am relieving you of some of your burdens, then I am happy.”

Thur., 2 Nov., 1967:

11:15 – l2:30 p. m. 

Following the departure of the Brethren, at my request, my secretary, Clare, came over. She said that it had been a month or more since she had seen me, and that there were a number of letters and other matters that needed my personal attention.

She also had the Council minutes from the meeting held last Thursday which I asked her to read to me so that I would know what is going on.

Having taken up the important matters, Clare decided to leave, stating that I had had such a busy morning that she would not stay longer. I gave her strict instructions to keep in touch with me “at any time, under any conditions.” I said that I feel relieved when she is in touch with me about the affairs of my office.”

Wed., 8 Nov., 1967:

“8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting with my Counselors–Presidents Brown, Tanner, and Smith.  Elder Alvin R. Dyer who now meets with us in these meetings, is on his way to visit Nauvoo at my request.

Council Minutes – Deletion of Paragraph

I then picked up the Council minutes from my desk which had be given to me, and went over them again, and I instructed Clare to tell Brother Joseph Anderson that I wanted the following statement by President Brown stricken out:

“President McKay is in a weakened condition. His bodily strength is waning. He is not as alert as he was.”

I said, “I am alert; and I know what I am doing.”

Later, Clare reporter that Brother Anderson said he could not take the statement out unless he obtained President Brown’s approval, and she answered that after all, the President of the Church had asked him to take it out; that probably he had better telephone him and get the instructions directly from him.

A little later, President Brown called Clare into his office and asked her if she had called my attention to his remarks at the Council Meeting, and she said, “No, the President reads all of the minutes of the Council meeting — he read that statement himself, and when he read it, he looked up and said, ‘I am alert; I know what I am doing and I want that paragraph stricken out.'”

Clare said that she had written up an account of her conversation with President Brown for her own records, but would not include them in this diary. At any rate, the phrase “he is not as alert as he used to be”, was finally taken out by Joseph Anderson after he had received permission from President Brown to do so.

Clare then left, and I joined Sister McKay for lunch.”

Thur., 9 Nov., 1967:

9:00 a.m. 

Note by CM 

Received a call from President Hugh B. Brown. He asked me to come into his office. He apologized for the way he talked to me yesterday. He said, “How do you feel?” I answered, “Well, I didn’t sleep very much last night.” I told him how I felt about some of the things he said to me, and then he said, “Well, I was upset and nervous; I want you to know that I have no ill feelings toward you — you have done a wonderful job for the President.” I told President Brown that the President does what he wants to do; that no one tells him what to do. At this we parted with good spirits and feelings.”

Thur., 16 Nov., 1967:

10:30 to 11:45 a.m.

Consultation with Clare. She said she is having a difficult time getting to see me; that the nurse tells her almost every time she calls that I am too tired to see her. I instructed Clare to pay no attention whatever to what any of them say; that she is to see me under any conditions, at any time, unless I am confined to my bed and too sick to see her. I told her that I worry if she does not come over to see me and report the matters that are coming to my office.

Clare said that the nurses make her very nervous, because she does not want to intrude nor do any harm to me. She said she told the nurse that she could tell the minute that I was tired, and stopped even though I had protested and asked her why she was leaving. I said, “Well, you keep coming; it does me good to see you, rather than sit here and worry about what is going on.”

Clare then read letters for my approval and signature. At my request she also read the minutes of the Council meeting held last week as I wanted up-to-date information on what the Brethren are doing.

Mon., 11 Dec., 1967:

“Did not hold a meeting of the First Presidency today.

11:10 a.m. 

At my request, my secretary, Clare, came over and took up some important office matters with me. I went over a number of letters which I instructed Clare to answer and to bring back for my approval.

In expressing apprecation to Clare for her work, I brought up the matter of her place and work at the office if anything should happen to me. She reminded me that I had written two letters which I had signed personally, and said that she hoped they would be honored by the next President. I said, “I think you do not need to worry — both of the men who are in line to become President are loyal and true.” I then said, “Is there anything else I can do to insure this much for your retirirg years?” Clare said, “No, if you feel the way you do, I am confident it will be that way, but I do hope that the few years I shall have left after you go (and I feel they will be but a few years) will be free from financial worries, which I have had all my life.”

I then told Clare that I have been aware of the grief and the trials that she and her family have had through sickness, accident and death. Clare said that last Sunday she visited her sister, Vivian, who is in a nursing home where she has been for twenty years, having suffered since childhood from an attack of meningitis. Clare expressed gratitude to me for my understanding and sympathy during these trials. She said that her mother was always so grateful for the blessings I had given to her for so many years during her illness and confinement to the hospital of two of her daughters.”

Thur., 11 Jan., 1968:

“9:25 a.m. 

Note by CM 

Called President McKay’s apartment. Mrs. Noyes, the nurse, answered. I asked to talk to President McKay, and she said, “He is sleeping in his chair in his office; I do not want to wake him.” I said, “He did not feel up to going to Council Meeting?”, and she said, “No”. I then told her that I would be over at 10:30 a.m., which would give him another hour to rest.

10:30 a.m. 

Note by CM 

Went over to the apartment. When I walked into President McKay’s office, he was sitting in his chair dozing. The lights were off, the curtains were drawn, and it was dark, warm, and close in his office. As I quietly took my coat off, he woke up and smiled brightly. I opened the curtains and showed him the blue skies and bright sunshine, what little of it he can see from his office window. I said that it was a beautiful day — a day really for a trip to Huntsville. He said, “It is always a day for a trip to Huntsville — rain, snow, or sunshine!”

President McKay them went over several petitions for cancellation of Temple seatings, which always depresses him. He commented that it is hard for him to understand the actions of men holding the Priesthood flagrantly break the commandments of the Lord and the vows they have taken in the Temple that it becomes necessary for their wives to divorce them and to seek cancellation of their Temple seatings.

President McKay took joy in reading letters from members and friends who had written to express their love and appreciation to him for his remembrance of them during the holidays.

As I gathered up the letters and papers to take back to the office, the President said to me, as he so frequently does these past months: “I appreciate you. When your hands are on my work, and you are directing the affairs of my office, I can sit back and relax; I have utmost confidence in you!” I replied, “When you say that, I feel a greater responsibility and I want to work harder than ever–it is all the pay I need.” He smiled and waved at me as I left from the hall doorway.”

Mon., 15 Jan., 1968:

“NOTE by CM:

10:30 a. m.

Went over to President McKay’s office in the apartment. Mrs. Noyce, the nurse, answered the door; I said goodmorning to her and walked on into the President’s office where he was sitting at his desk. He had the oxygen apparatus on, but looked very alert and well. He commented upon my happy smiles, and I said: “I am always happy to see you and to see you looking so well.” He then asked me if I knew of the meeting which was held earlier this morning at which time the Presidency met with the Brigham Young University Seminary personnel and viewed the film “After School, What?” I said, “No, Secretary Anderson never informs me of any meeting that is scheduled; although I should know so that there will be no conflict of appointments.” President McKay said, “Well, he should.” Then I told the President that yesterday I had placed on my desk by Anderson’s secretary, First Presidency’s Minutes dated as far back as December 8, 1967–over a month’s minutes which I shall now have to go through all at once. This makes it so that I have to work in the dark so to speak regarding appointments the President has had and his decisions and wishes regarding Church matters which should be entered in his diary. The President was not pleased over this.

I then took up with President McKay letters and other office matters. I read a number of letters of “thank you” for Christmas remembrances from friends and associates, and also letters congratulating Sister McKay and him on their 68th Wedding Anniversary. Tears glistened in the President’s eyes as I read of the love, respect, and admiration the people have for him.

President McKay then discussed with me office matters; one of which was the occupation of President Isaacson’s office which has been unoccupied ever since his illness two years ago. He said that President Tanner had suggested in a recent meeting of The First Presidency that Patriarch Eldred Smith occupy the office, but that he (President McKay) after giving the matter much thought, felt that this would be unwise because it would mean the bringing into the office of The First Presidency mothers with their babies, and many members of the Church seeking Patriarchal Blessings, and they would have to wait around and pass right through the offices of The First Presidency.

President McKay then said that he had had a conference with Elder Alvin R. Dyer regarding the office, and inasmuch as Elder Dyer needs another office because of the undesirability of the one he now occupies, he feels that Brother Dyer should move into President Isaacson’s office. President McKay said he wanted Elder Dyer to have an office nearer to The First Presidency.

President McKay then told me to tell Elder Dyer to move into the office immediately. I asked the President if he wanted to call him, and he said, “No, that is not necessary; we have already talked the matter over and Elder Dyer is the one who should occupy this office; you call him and tell him that I want him to move in that office immediately.” Clare said that Dick Isaacson reported to her that Mrs. Tanner had told his mother a year ago that President Tanner would like to move in that office. President McKay looked surprised at that. (See January 19, 1968, for further word on this from Dick Isaacson.)

Clare also said that Brother Dyer had reported that when he went in to talk to President Tanner and told him that President McKay for sometime had wanted him to occupy President Isaacson’s office, that President Tanner said he had no business going to President McKay and changing his mind about Eldred Smith’s occupying the office. He also said, “You and Clare see him more than I do; you two are running the Church.” At that President McKay smiled broadly and said to me: “Well, I think you are a pretty good “runner” of the Church. I have wished many times that you were a man (Not always, because no man would have done what vou have done for me) so that I could appoint you as my counselor. You have been and are a great girl–you have been dependable, wise, and have had good judgment.” Brother Dyer also reported that President Tanner said that President McKay had appointed Elder Dyer in the wrong way — that he should not have presented his name before all the General Authorities (i.e., the PBO, Seventies, Assistants, the Twelve at the pre-Conference meeting) but just to the members of the Twelve; and that furthermore, Elder Dyer has interpreted the Doctrine and Covenants all wrong when he claims that President McKay may have up to twelve counselors. Elder Dyer told him that he (President Tanner) did not understand the scriptures; that President Joseph Fielding Smith interprets them to mean just as President McKay does. President Tanner also said that it is a known fact that Clare had a lot to do with putting him (Elder Dyer) in that office. Elder Dver reported that he told President Tanner that that is not true; that his relationship with President McKay had been very close ever since their trip to Missouri a year or so ago; and that President McKay had called him to be a counselor before he left for South America, and that they (President Tanner and President Brown) had done everything in their power to prevent President McKay from having him sustained as a counselor. President McKay remarked at that point, “Did he tell President Tanner that?” I said, “Yes, so he reported. ” President McKay answered, “Good for Alvin; I am glad he told him that. ” President Tanner further said, “President McKay will no doubt have you sustained at the April Conference as a counselor in The First Presidency .” Elder Dyer answered, “That is up to President McKay.” President Tanner also was told bv Elder Dyer that so far as Clare and he running the Church is concerned, that that is just what people are saying about him — that he, “President Tanner, is running the Church.”

After this discussion I told the President that I had been to see Dr. Okelberry on Saturday regarding my feet which have been giving me trouble ever since Dr. Okelberry had operated on them about 5 or 6 years ago. Dr. Okelberry was very concerned about the color and circulation of my legs. He had advised me I should see Dr. Ernest Wilkinson for a physical check up to see just what is wrong. Dr. Okelberry said he would not touch my feet until he knew more about my physical condition. President McKay said, “You should have told me you have been having trouble,” and I said that there was no need to bother him; that somehow I feel just fine and that things will be all right. He repeated again, “You are a great girl!”

I then told President McKay that inasmuch as it is now 12:30 p.m. I had better go, and he said, “I hate to see you go — I never want you to leave me.” I said, “Do you know, President McKay, I was just saying the other day that in all the years I have worked for you, whenever I have been in your presence to attend to the office business, I have never wanted to leave your presence; that I have always received an ‘uplift’ from being around you.” President McKay smiled, and as I walked from the room and reached the door, I smiled at him and waved, and said that I would keep in touch with him. He thanked me and said goodbye.

These Minutes Read and Approved by President McKay for inclusion here.”

Wed., 17 Jan., 1968:

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

10:30 a.m. 

Secretary Instructed to Keep in Touch about the Work 

My secretary, Clare Middlemiss, who had accompanied Brother Madsen, remained a few moments to take up some letters and other office matters. She told me of her concern over some matters at the office, but felt that they would work out somehow. I told her not to worry; that these things are in her hands, and that I trust her implicitly. She said that she would not trouble me with the details this morning.

Clare then reported that she has an appointment at 1:30 tomorrow afternoon with Dr. Ernest L. Wilkinson, Jr. at the Salt Lake Clinic, and that he will give her a thorough examination because she is contemplating having another foot operation. I told her that I am glad she is attending to this matter; that she should follow the doctor’s advice on this.

Clare then got up and started to put her coat on, and I said, “What are you putting your coat on for? I have not given you permission to leave. ” She said, “Well, I think you have had enough today. ” I looked at her and said, ”You know, it seems as though you should be here attending to things all the time, for I know when your hands are on my work it will be all right, and I can relax. I hate to see you go.” She answered, President McKay, I am so used to taking care of your work now, that I feel lost or out of place when I am not doing something for you. I wish I could see you more often, but your health has to be taken into consideration.” I said, “Don’t pay any attention to anybody; you come over to the office anytime; I want you here to do my work, then I do not worry, but I do worry if you do not report to me.”

Later I asked Clare what Dr. Wilkinson had reported after his examination, and she said that he had confirmed Dr. Viko’s diagnosis of long ago that she has a rheumatic heart, and an added condition of an irregular heart beat, but that with care he thinks it is safe for her to go ahead with the foot operation.”

Tues., 23 Jan., 1968:

11:00 a. m 

My secretary, Clare, came over to the office in the Hotel apartment, but when she learned I had had such a long meeting this morning, she said she would not stay. She commented that she could detect just looking at me that I had had enough for today. I asked her who was “boss”, and told her to sit down. She smiled and said, “Well, if you insist, there are a few letters for you to read and approve before they are sent out.” She presented these to me, after which she arose to put her coat on, and I said, “I hate to see you go; you always make me feel so good; I feel better when I know you are seeing to my work. Clare, you have done much for me, and I appreciate it more every day, every week, and every year!”

Tues., 20 Feb., 1968:

I then read a letter addressed to me by Mark Anderson, formerly President of the Finnish Mission, wherein he reported a conference with President Brown, who said that the statement made by me at April 1966 Conference was not my statement, although it was read by my son, Robert, and that “Clare Middlemiss is sending letters out from President McKay’s Office on her own about the John Birch Society”. He said that President Tanner claims that Clare had a lot to do with Alvin Dyer’s appointment to the Apostleship.

Clare then asked me if she “has to take these accusations”, and I said “Yes, the Lord will take care of it.”

Mon., 26 Feb., 1968:

“8:30 a.m. 

Clare came over and presented letters and several petitions for cancellation of Temple seatings. All of these cases were women who had divorced husbands who had been untrue to them and to the Church, and who were asking to be sealed to men whom they had married since their divorces.

Clare also presented a memorandum she had written for the journal concerning reports regarding occupation of President Isaacson’s office, also Elder Dyer’s interview with President Tanner regarding this matter and also his attitude regarding Elder Dyer’s appointment as an Apostle, which he said “was not done in the right way.” She said she did not want to include this in my journal unless I approved it.

After reading it carefully, I gave my permission for it to be included in my journal.

(See January 15, 1968.)

Clare then said that she feels hurt and disturbed over these attitudes and misunderstandings, and I said, “The Lord will take care of it — it does not worry me and you should go on as you are and pay no attention to what any of them say; that I know her and her motives. She said she does worry, but that lately she is beginning to “throw it off”. She then said that she is staying home tomorrow to gather some material for the talks I shall give at April Conference.

I said, “All right, but stay close to me.””

Wed., 6 Mar., 1968:

“11:30 a.m.

Clare came over with office matters. She presented several letters for my signature. She also presented matters pertaining to the forthcoming Annual Conference of the Church. She reminded me of the three new appointments I shall have to make at this conference — a new Seventy to replace Elder Antoine R. Ivins; a new Assistant to the Twelve; and the appointment of Elder Dyer as my Counselor.

I stated that I have given the matter a great deal of thought and prayer; that I need someone like President Isaacson to be close to me. Clare said that she understood, and that she realizes that I have a great decision to make; that her desire is to see me satisfied and that some of the burdens I am now carrying be lifted from me. She said it made absolutely no difference to her what is done, that she cared only about seeing me relieved and that Church matters are carried on as I should like them to be. I said “I know that comes from your heart.” I could not help the tears that rolled down my cheeks as I expressed appreciation to Clare and asked her to stay close to me. She said that she had talked to Dr. MacFarlane and he agreed that she should come over to the office every day for a short time to relieve me of any worries I might have on my mind and to take care of any office matters that I might have to turn over to her.”

Wed., 10 Apr., 1968:

Note by CM — Lawrence McKay Paid Tribute to Clare

Today Lawrence McKay came into the office and said to Clare Middlemiss, secretary, “Clare, the more I read Father’s talks, the more admiration and appreciation I have for you and your assistance to Father.” He said that Joseph Rosenblatt, a non-member business man here in Salt Lake City, had called him and said that he thought “Father’s closing address at Conference a masterpiece, and that he had listened intently to every word.”

The secretary stated: “You know, Lawrence, as I have said to you before, every word of those talks is your father’s; no one can write like he does; but it did take a lot of work to search out the material he wanted and to arrange it according to his wishes. He chose his subjects for the talks, went over the material, made corrections on the manuscripts, etc. It makes me feel very good to have you tell me how you feel, as I do want the family’s approval. Thank you very much!”

I reported to President McKay how pleased I was with the compliment from Lawrence.”

Wed., 24 Apr., 1968:

“Did not hold a meeting of the First Presidency this morning.

Note by Clare Middlemiss – Secretary:

Saw Lawrence McKay in the hall and asked him if it would be all right for me to see his father, to which he answered: “He isn’t so well — why don’t you call Dr. MacFarlane?” I said, “I haven’t seen President McKay for about ten days. Couldn’t I just say hello to him; because he worries when I don’t see him, and wonders what is wrong.” Lawrence answered, “Oh, I think it would be all right.”

I called the nurse and told her that Lawrence had said I could come over, and she said, “Well, he isn’t well”. I said, “I am just coming over to bring some gifts that have been left at the office for him.”

When I rang the door bell at the apartment, the nurse, Mrs. Noyce, said, “Don’t you stay.” I just smiled and went on into President McKay’s office where he was dozing in his chair. I spoke to him, and when he heard my voice he brightened up, and I told him that I had not seen him for so long I thought I had better report to him. He said, “Where have you been?; I thought you had quit me.” I said, “I have been taking care of your work every day; I am busy every minute, and the nurses have not wanted me to come over while you are recuperating.” “Well, I want you to stay close to me, and keep in touch with me.”

I then presented to him the jar of cookies given to him by two little children, and also a hand-tooled wallet made by a returned missionary. A broad smile came on his face, as he said, “Well, isn’t that thoughtful of them?” He examined the wallet and said, “It is beautifully made.” Then I opened the cookie jar, and he ate one of them. His first statement after that was, “You prepare letters of ‘thank you’ for my signature; and I assured him that I would do that.

I then stood up to go, and President McKay protested and asked me why I was leaving, that he had not dismissed me. I said, “I do not have anything else that is important; I’ll come to see you tomorrow. Then you will not get too tired.” President McKay smiled and said, “All right, you may go.””

Fri., 19 Jul., 1968:

“9:30 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency with President Hugh B. Brown, President Joseph Fielding Smith, and President Alvin R. Dyer. President Tanner was absent, still being on his vacation in Canada.

I choked up with emotion in trying to tell Clare how much I appreciated her loyalty and devotion. I said, “I cannot express my deep gratitude for you and for what you have done for me without showing this emotion.” She answered, “Don’t let me see your tears; I cannot stand it; whatever I have done for you I have wanted to do to help you, our Prophet, and the Church. I have been privileged. I cannot read or go over your writings and speeches (even though I have worked on them over thirty-three years) without receiving inspiration and the desire to do better; and also the encouragement to go on and to do better!”

Clare tried to make me smile, and said, “I’ll be in touch with you; this is Friday, but I’ll be on the job Monday, and then next Wednesday it will be the twenty-fourth of July, and every one is looking forward to seeing you ride at the head of the great Pioneer Day Parade, as you and Sister McKay have done for so many years.”

Clare then arose to go; she gathered all her papers and put them in her brief case, which is usually filled to the brim when she travels back and forth from the office, put on her jacket, and then came over to me and shook hands with me. She said, “It is a real privilege to serve you, and I will stay with you to the end no matter what — whether I am ill, tired, or told to stay away by the nurses and doctors — I still will be near where I can carry out your wishes.”

She waved to me as she opened the door to leave the apartment, and I told her to “hurry back”.

Note by CM 

Before I took up any business with President McKay this morning, I noted he looked worried, and I asked him what was bothering him. He admitted that there were matters pertaining to his office and duties which were worrying him.

Tues., 8 Oct., 1968:

“I later learned that my secretary Clare was kept from coming to see me today by the nurses, which was a cause of great concern to me.”

Fri., 15 Nov., 1968:

11:40 a. m. 

Had a conference with my secretary Clare on various office matters. She handed me minutes of Council Meeting, and also presented a number of letters that had come to me at the office. I gave her instructions regarding these matters.

As Clare finished her work, she got up to go and I asked her why she was hurrying to leave, and she said that she did not want to tire me too much as she knew that I had held two previous meetings. I expressed appreciation to Clare for what she is doing and said: “Stay close by and keep me informed of everything I should know about”, and then smilingly added, “Now that is an order!” She laughed and said she would do her best.”

Wed., 20 Nov., 1968:

“There was no meeting of the First Presidency today. President Brown called and stated that he had nothing to take up with me.

11:45 to 12:40 p. m.

Met with my secretary Clare. She gave me a report of her work. Said that she is trying to catch up on my daily journal, getting ready for the Christmas business – preparing Christmas Card, address list, gift lists etc. I expressed appreciation to her, and said I am glad the work is going forward.

It was difficult to carry on with our work with the nurses hovering around, and coming in to see if I was too tired to carry on with the work.

I expressed my feelings regarding attending Council Meetings, stating that I should like to go to the meetings. Clare suggested that I could probably go for an hour, or have the brethren meet with me in the apartment before they go to the Temple. I said that I should like that very much. I said I do not like the way things are going; that I am worried and disappointed about matters. Clare said that she would talk to me about this later. She left when the nurse came in with a wheelchair to take me to the other room.”

Wed., 27 Nov., 1968:

“Held no meeting of the First Presidency today.

12:35 p. m.

Following President Dyer’s departure, my secretary Clare presented

to me three petitions for cancellation of Temple seatings which I considered and passed upon.

I also went over several letters addressed to me at the Church Offices. They were letters from members of the Church. Their expressions of faith, love, and loyalty to the Church overwhelmed me; and I could not keep the tears back. Clare was greatly moved and it was hard for her to continue reading the letters. She said she never ceases to be emotionally moved over the contents of these letters that come to me from members of the Church. She then extended her best wishes to me that I would have a happy Thanksgiving with members of the family, and said: “I want you to know President McKay how thankful I am that the Lord has preserved you; I know he has kept you here for a purpose ! You have been wonderful and considerate on all occasions. I am thankful I have had the privilege of being your secretary.”

We then talked about the many experiences we have shared during the thirty-four years she has been my secretary — many of them happy, and many of them sad. I said: “You are a great girl — a great girl!” The tears began to flow again as there flashed before my memory the faithfulness of this girl, who, I believe, during all these years has never missed a day except when she has been in the hospital. Considering less devotion and faithfulness on the part of others, combined with the attitude of some, I said with firmness: “As surely as I sit here, the Lord will show His hand when men misuse their authority. “

Mon., 31 Mar, 1969:

“My secretary Clare came over for 15 minutes this morning. (She had been preceded by Counselors Brown and Tanner whom the nurse said had stayed 5 minutes.)

She told me about my talks and I informed her I wanted my son Robert for the Opening and Closing, and Lawrence for the Priesthood.

She read me the telex I had sent to Mrs. Eisenhower, and I showed her the one I had received Saturday inviting me to the funeral services.

(See Friday, March 28, for Telegrams)

When Clare was about to leave I said, “I never want you to leave.””

Wed., 2 Apr, 1969:

“Note by CM:

Clare also reported that the legal papers of the contract on her insurance papers at the Beneficial Life Insurance Company are now being processed by Dick Isaacson with officials at the Beneficial Life Insurance Company, and asked President McKay if this was agreeable to him and would he sign the contract. He said “Yes, have this done right away.”

(See Note following)

MEMORANDUM: April 2, 1969


I have approved the settlement option for Sister Clare Middlemiss so that the contract could be fully paid up when she retires and she could then have her choice of the regular settlement options under the contract issued by the Beneficial Life Insurance Company. All credits since the beginning of this program with the Beneficial Life Insurance Company are to accrue under her contract.

I have authorized this on this date.

David O. McKay


Fri., 11 Apr, 1969:

“Held no meeting of the First Presidency today.

Note by CM:

Clare was with the President an hour today. He was very grateful to see her and told hear three times what a “wonderful” girl she is. She read the Conference letters from Korea and from Elder Franklin J. Murdock. (See April 6, 1969. )

Mon., 5 May, 1969:

Clare then told the President that she is going into the hospital Wednesday, May 7 for heart catheterization under Dr. Russell M. Nelson. The President told her that his fervent prayers would be with her and she said she knew that she had his faith and prayers and that this is sufficient for her; that she knows the Lord will bless her.”

Wed., 14 May, 1969:

“10:15 a. m. President Thorpe B. Isaacson and his son Richard Isaacson visited with me and turned back to the Church two checks in the amount of $142,412. 00 from the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company.

(See copy of letter detailing visit and photostat copy of checks which follow; also copy of letter from Richard Isaacson and my reply.)”

“Clare stayed and took up various office matters with me including several letters, 7 petitions for the cancellations of sealings, and the upcoming groundbreaking at Nauvoo for the new Information Center. She read me the statement made by the First Presidency to go in the brochure for that occasion.

Note by CM:  President McKay said, ‘I do not like this business about Nauvoo’. He has been worried when matters have come up concerning Nauvoo.”

“Minutes from Discussion


President David O. McKay

His Apartment

Wednesday 10:00 A.M.

May 14, 1969

My father and I [Richard and Thorpe Isaacson] were admitted to the apartment of President Mckay at l0:00 on Wednesday morning. While we were expected it was a pleasure to see the President looking so well.

I told him I had made all the plans necessary for the admission of Sister Middlemiss to the hospital, and also told him I would have the doctor’s forms referred to me and have so notified the hospital as per his request. He told me he appreciated this and was grateful I had taken the time to do it because she had served him well and faithfully for many, many years.

He then raised his hand and pointed his finger at me and said I was to be very certain she had the best treatment in the hospital, and that she would suffer no financial loss through her illness, the same as it would be if it were any one of the brethren, and that she was to have one of the finest rooms in the hospital where her chances for complete recovery would he greater. I told him we had already arranged this and he seemed very pleased. After pausing for a moment he said he was greatly relieved about this as he would have liked to take care of these arrangements himself since she had taken care of his affairs for so many years, and he appreciated my giving it my personal attention. I told him he did not need to thank me for things like that because I considered it an honor to help him in any way I could and also to help Claire Middlemiss.

After that I presented to him the checks for $46,555.00 and for $95,857.00 and explained to him the refund on the Church Group insurance. He was very pleased and I told him how much I always appreciated the opportunity to work with him on this and then he said how grateful he was for the years of service from President Isaacson, and if he recommended the insurance it would be a good thing for the Church and this plan had worked out marvelously well.

I also told President McKay that we were prepared to handle the Church custodians in the manner he and I had discussed with Brother Critchlow shortly before his death, and which plan was later authorized by President McKay in November of 1968.

I explained to him we wanted the custodians included for premium discount but not according to their experience because we did not know how that group would fare and we did not want to endanger in any way the Church refund.

Sister Middlemiss was present during this discussion and I asked President McKay if this was the way he wanted it done and he said this was the way he wanted it to go, and it was to be handled in the same way as he had authorized in November 1968 and we were to proceed immediately.

I told him I needed an authorization letter to this effect and again he told me he would see that we received it, and that we were to proceed to take care of this in the same manner as we had done previously and were to let nothing stand in our way of getting this completed. I told him we would do so.

President McKay was very glad to see my father, President Isaacson, and was delighted with the refund checks and pleased with our arrangements for Sister Middlemiss. He again authorized our going forward on the insurance coverage for the Custodians in this manner and even though others of the General authorities would want to delay this matter of the insurance coverage for the Janitors, President McKay instructed us to complete this without delay. He made it very clear we were to get this finished with no further delay.

[Signed at the bottom, in a very shaky hand, “OK D O McKay”.  Beneath that, in Clare’s hand, “These minutes signed and approved by Pres. McKay May 19, 1969.”]”

“(Minutes of a Meeting of President Dyer with President McKay in the Hotel)

(Meeting with President McKay)

At 10:30 a.m. I went to President McKay’s apartment to fulfill an appointed consultation time with him.  Upon arriving, however, I found that Thorpe Isaacson, his son Richard, and Clare Middlemiss were there presenting to the President the insurance refund checks.  Clare Middlemiss came to the door as I rang the bell and asked that I come in, but I felt that I should not since I had not been asked and I did not want to interfere with anything that was in process and for another reason, which was more important than this.  I did not want to discuss what I had to discuss with the President in the presence of others, so I returned to my office.

No sooner had I arrived there than a telephone call was awaiting me from President McKay’s apartment asking that I return.  I immediately returned to the President’s Hotel apartment and found that Thorpe B. Isaacson and his son had left.  Clare Middlemiss then showed me the checks which had been turned over to the President as a refund on the profits of the insurance handled by the Lincoln National Insurance Company and also the experience refund check.  Both of them were quite substantial and represented a genuine return to the Church financial-wise.

Thurs., 14 Aug, 1969:

10:50 a.m. Meeting with my secretary Clare.

Clare presented to me the following letters, answers to which she had prepared for my approval and signature:

As Clare put the letters down and was looking in her briefcase for other matters to present to me, I said: “Clare you are a wonderful person”. She looked up and said, “Oh do you think so?” I said “You are really wonderful. It was as though I had dictated those letters myself.”

Clare then said to me, ‘Well I know I do not want to be working here when you are gone.  I should like to know for sure about my retirement because I do not know what they will do with me.’  I said: ‘You do not have to worry, and you may have whatever you want.  You have earned it and are deserving of it.  I have already written one letter, but in order to make it binding, you get whatever you think you need and I will go over and sign it.'”

Thur., 28 Aug, 1969:

“I held no First Presidency Meeting this morning.

Upon reading the Temple minutes for this day I instructed my secretary Clare to include the following matters that were presented in my Diary:

1:40 p.m.

I met with President Isaacson who extended birthday greetings to me. Many tears were shed as we greeted each other. President Isaacson, who is still unable to express himself, nodded his head with tears running down his face to let me know how glad he was to see me. I have keenly missed President Isaacson since our last visit on May 14, 1969.

l – – 

His son Dick, who had brought his father in the wheelchair, was 

present and also my Secretary Clare Middlemiss.

President Isaacson and I discussed the status of Clare’s work when I am no longer here to run affairs. We agreed to certain conditions.

Clare left with me a number of letters and copies of editorials from the Newsweek and other magazines regarding the great work that has been done by President Ernest L. Wilkinson at the Brigham Young University. Both President Isaacson and I vehemently shook our heads when the subject came up about his being released as president of the BYU.”

Wed., Sept. 24, 1969:

9:20 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 matters were discussed:

Meeting with Clare

Note by CM:  I went to see President McKay this morning.  He was very lucid and complimentary and kept saying, ‘My dear girl.’  I gave him the speakers list for Conference which he went over and approved.”

“(Minutes of Meeting of the First Presidency Written by President Dyer)

Meeting with President McKay in his Apartment – 9 a.m.

All of the Counselors were present.

The President looked fine and obviously felt better.  He spoke to each of us as we shook hands with him.  President Tanner sought for and obtained vocal approval from the President to have President Smith give the sealing power to the new Oakland Temple President and also to four more sealers for the Salt Lake Temple.

The President was smiling and was quite lucid, far from being ‘mentally and physically’ incompetent, which both Presidents Brown and Tanner said he was and had brought such matter before the Quorum of the Twelve in an obvious attempt to have him declared thusly.

Comment:  I cannot help but feel that the action taken in the Temple last Thursday concerning President McKay’s incompetence was premature.”

“(Minutes by President Alvin R. Dyer of a Visit with Sister Clare Middlemiss)

Clare Middlemiss came to my office deeply concerned about the turn of events that had diverted all of the mail that had previously come to her addressed to President David O. McKay.  This is tantamount, she contended, to her office being closed and she felt that no one had the right to divert the President’s mail.

I agreed with her completely and stated that it would be just as wrong for her to have mail put on her desk addressed to the First Presidency, which was obviously Church mail, as it would be for President McKay’s personal mail to be sent to any other than his agency, which is the office of his private secretary.  There seems to be a very clear distinction in this regard.  I promised Sister Middlemiss that I would look into the matter further.

Comment:  In the happenings of the past few days, nothing had been brought up in the meetings of the First Presidency regarding the handling of the mail.  It must follow, therefore, that instruction must have been given by either President Brown or President Tanner for the diversion of the mail.”


The secretary Clare Middlemiss having received no letters began to wonder what had happened.  Then she received a telephone call from a woman who had sent a telegram to President McKay but had received no answer.  Clare inquired over at the First Presidency’s office only to learn that it had been placed on Joseph Anderson’s desk. Later, she saw, when returning the telegram, a pile of President McKay’s personal mail already opened on Anderson’s desk; also one letter with the stamp of the First Presidency, purely personal, with a gift of a leather cutting of a portrait of President McKay was put on my desk to answer.

I took it to President Dyer and told him I could not stand this kind of treatment anymore; that I would not answer letters to President McKay opened by Joseph Anderson; that if he opened them he would answer them.  President Dyer answered, ‘How can we find out if they are personal or not?’  I said, ‘The same way we have done for 35 years–I know when they are official or personal, and official letters have always been referred to the First Presidency, and you know with your whole soul that President McKay would want me to continue with his work as I have been doing all along.’  There was no sympathy or offer of help from him–the person whom I had gone all the way to help to get where he is thinking he would defend and do what he knew President McKay would want.  Very distressing day.

I went up to visit Elder Ezra Taft Benson.  Sister Benson was also present.  Brother Benson advised that I talk to Lawrence McKay and also to Elder Harold B. Lee.  I went to Brother Lee’s office and talked to his secretary.  She thought I should talk to Brother Lee when he returns from New York next Friday.

I returned to my office and called Lawrence.  I asked him if the family had met and requested that personal mail addressed to President McKay be turned over to Joseph Anderson–and did he know about the letter from Dr. MacFarlane declaring his father ‘mentally incompetent.’  I told him that the editorials by President Grant and President Smith were taken from their writings, and that I cannot understand why such an issue is being made on editorials now.  I further said it would break his father’s heart if he should learn what was done in Council Meeting, and also about the letter President Brown asked Dr. MacFarlane to send regarding President McKay’s ‘mental deficiency.’  When sometime ago President Brown made up the statement was ‘not as alert,’ President McKay had it stricken from the record, saying, ‘I am as alert as I used to be!’

Lawrence said he knew nothing about this latest report to the Council and that he knew nothing about the letters.  He also said that the family had not met regarding these matters and especially about Joseph Anderson taking over his father’s letters.

I said, ‘If he does take over the letters, I might as well close the office, including all the Christmas business that is now coming soon; that Joseph Anderson would never nor could not take care of all the letters and business coming to President McKay’s office.

This evening I received a call from Elder Benson saying that he and Sister Benson had gotten on their knees following my visit to his office, and asked Father in Heaven to bless me, and that all matters pertaining to the President’s office would be conducted as he knew the President would wish it.”

Tues., Nov. 18, 1969:

“(President Alvin R. Dyer’s Discussion with Joseph Anderson Re: Mail)

I talked with Joseph Anderson on the mail situation for President McKay’s personal mail, which I felt should be sent to Clare’s desk the same as it had always been.  I had also learned that the McKay family wanted the President’s mail to be handled by Clare and no one else.

Brother Anderson said that he had received instructions that he was to open the mail and turn over to Clare only the specific personal matters after the mail had been checked.  I said this was wrong and should not be, that if, in the opening of President McKay’s personal mail there was a matter that was Church business, the letter could easily be given to Brother Anderson.

Brother Anderson said that he wished that the brethren would straighten this matter out because he, himself, did not feel to take on the additional burden of opening all of the mail as he had a considerable amount to open now as it had always been.  I insisted that this did not make sense and it appeared to me to be contrary to the wishes of President McKay.

I also talked to President Smith and he concurred that the mail should be handled as it had always been.”

Wed., Nov. 19, 1969:

“(Notes of Meeting with President McKay by his Secretary Clare Middlemiss)

This morning I called at the apartment to ask the nurse if I could see the President, and she said, ‘Yes, he is very good this morning, very lucid, and has been asking the blessing on the food for the last few days.’  She said she will call after the President has had his breakfast and let me know when I can come.

At 9:15 a.m.–The nurse, Mrs. Noall, called and said the President wants to see you right away.  When I reached the President’s office in the apartment, he was sitting at his desk, well groomed as usual and looking very well.  He gave me a bright smile as I entered the room, and I told him I had a few office matters to take up with him, and he said, ‘Good.’

The following matters were taken up with him:

FIRST:  I said to him: ‘President McKay, have you given orders that all your mail should be delivered to Joseph Anderson for his attention and answering?’

He looked at me with surprise and answered emphatically, ‘No!  I do not want Joseph Anderson to have my mail–you are to have it, and my office is to be carried on as usual until I am gone.’

I said, ‘Does this include the sending to your office of minutes of the meetings held by the First Presidency; also minutes of the Council Meeting held in the Temple each Thursday?’

He said, ‘Yes,’ and repeated, ‘everything is to go on as usual.’

He then asked me to get President Joseph Fielding Smith on the telephone.  The President said to President Smith, ‘I want all my mail addressed to me to be given to my secretary, Clare Middlemiss, as has been done all these years.  I do not want Joseph Anderson to have my mail.  Also all minutes of the meetings of the First Presidency and Thursday Council Meetings are to come to my office as per usual.  Will you please give these instructions to the Counselors.’

President Smith answered, ‘Yes, Sir, I will do that today.’  After this conversation, President McKay said to me: ‘Before you said anything to me, I knew you were going to bring this problem to me.’

He then said, ‘I am glad you are still with me to take care of my work for me.  You know just how I want it done.’

SECOND:  Following this I told him that Elder Howard W. Hunter had been in the office, stating that petitions for cancellation of Temple Sealings should be taken care of as soon as possible.  There are 15 of them which he asked me to take to President McKay for his action.

President McKay considered each one of these this morning.  He then asked me to get Elder Hunter on the telephone.  The Secretary first told Elder Hunter that President McKay had gone over the cancellations, and that he wanted to say hello to him.

President McKay then took the receive and said, ‘Good Morning, Elder Hunter, how are you?’  He thanked him for the good work he had done in gathering together the facts for the petitions for cancellation of Temple Sealings.

After these matters, thinking that President McKay had had enough for the morning, I excused myself and said I would leave and come back tomorrow with other business.  He thanked me and said, ‘All right, hurry back!'”

“Wednesday afternoon I learned that Lawrence McKay had called President Tanner and told him that the mail addressed to his father should not be taken away from father’s secretary Clare, and that it is to be delivered to her.

Cannon Lund, who delivers mail, was also instructed by President Smith that the President had instructed him to ‘tell the counselors that the mail is to be delivered to Clare.’

President Dyer, to whom President McKay also gave the same instructions, told Brother Cannon that the mail should go to Clare.

That afternoon when I came back from lunch, I found a pile of mail on my desk, many letters of which had been opened by Brother Anderson.”

Mon., Dec. 8, 1969:

“Note by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary

I called the nurse to see if it were possible to see President McKay.  She said, ‘Yes if you’ll come over in fifteen minutes.’  The President was just finishing his breakfast.

10:00 a.m.

I arrived at the Hotel and held a brief meeting with President McKay.  He was quite drowsy at first.  When I started talking to him about office matters he became very alert.

I asked President McKay if he wanted his office to go on as usual, and he answered, ‘By all means.’  I then said, ‘President McKay as you know a week ago I told you that President Tanner had ordered all your mail to be given to Joseph Anderson for handling, and you immediately called President Joseph Fielding Smith and requested that he tell the counselors that all your mail is to go directly to your office as per usual.’

I then said, ‘I am receiving your mail, but President McKay the Minutes of the First Presidency Meetings and the Temple Council Meeting are not being sent to you any longer.  Also all First Presidency letters are leaving the building with only the signature of Presidents Brown and Tanner.’  President McKay exclaimed ‘What are they trying to do?  I have not given them authority to do that.’

For several months now when President McKay has looked worried, I have asked him what he is worried about, and without explaining everything he has said, ‘Something is wrong; all is not right.’

I changed the subject by picking up the Church Section and saying, ‘Do you know President McKay you have been active in the Church for 81 years.’  I read the following item from ‘The President’s Diary’ in the Church News:

December 6, 1888

At age 15 President McKay was chosen as second counselor in the presidency of the Deacon’s Quorum of the Huntsville Ward.

The minutes of that quorum, covering a three-year period, indicate that Deacon David O. McKay honored his priesthood. His short talks given before the members indicate that he studied the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the life of Joseph Smith.  They also indicate that he tried to encourage quorum members to do better.

President Laurence S. Burton of the Ogden Stake who instituted a search for old ward records, and found the records of the Deacon’s Quorum said, ‘Implicit in these minutes are some of the sterling qualities of character which have made President David O. McKay the great religious leader that he is–humility, a sincere desire to honor his priesthood, an eagerness to learn, a desire to teach, and a thoughtfulness of others.’

I then showed President McKay a report by Elders Ezra Taft Benson and Bruce R. McConkie telling of the dedication of the land of Indonesia for the preaching of the gospel.

As I felt the President had had enough for this morning, I told him I felt I should return to the office and attend to his mail and Christmas matters.  He smiled brightly and said, ‘You can do it better than anyone else.’  I answered, ‘I would be pretty dull if I couldn’t attend to your work as you wanted it done.’  At this point he said, ‘You know just what I want done.  You know you get younger every day.’  I said, ‘You are looking wonderful President McKay,’ and the nurse added, ‘And alert too.’

I said goodbye and told him I would see him soon, and he kept smiling warmly at me as I left.”