← Back to David O. McKay Diary Excerpts Index

David O. McKay Diaries – “David O. McKay Health”

Below you will find diary entries on the topic of “David O. McKay Health.” You can view other subjects here.

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

Wed., 8 Sep., 1948:

“This evening I was entertained at a birthday dinner given by the family and my sisters.  We had a wonderful time together–all members of my immediate family were home this year–the first time that we have had that opportunity in several years.

Old Age at seventy-five is not nearly so decrepit as years ago I had anticipated he would be.  I used to think that at three score and fifteen a man is pretty close to the evening of life; but this birthday has convinced me that life at seventy-five is just as bright and joyous as ever when surrounded by Loved Ones and loyal friends.”

Wed., 20 Jul., 1949:

“6:10 p.m.–Left for home–I have decided that it is the labors of the afternoon added to long morning hours of work, that wearies me, for at this hour, I am completely fatigued.  I suppose I should follow my doctor’s orders and stop at noon; however, the continual stream of letters, interviews, speaking appointments, in addition to all my other duties associated with this office, make it practically impossible for me to heed this advice.”

Fri., 4 Nov., 1949:

“Although I was under doctor’s orders to stay in bed to day as a result of an examination I had yesterday, I disobeyed orders and came to the office in order to attend the Executive Committee meeting of the Utah First National Bank at which I had some special matters to present.

After this meeting, I dictated two or three letters to Clare, and then left for home.  I returned to the office at 2:45 p.m. in order to attend Directors meeting of the Zion’s Savings Bank, and at 3:30, directors meeting of the Utah First National Bank.

Thur., 3 May, 1951:

At 3 o’clock this morning became ill–called Dr. Edward [McKay] who called Dr. Richard P. Middleton.  They were at the house at 3:30 a.m., relieved me of the pain and distress I was in and took me to the hospital where we arrived at 4 a.m.

At 7 a.m. called my secretary at her home and asked her to come directly to the hospital in order that I might give her notes for Emma Lucy Gates Bowen’s funeral services.  I thought it best to have the notes ready, so that if the doctor would not give me permission to attend the funeral, someone else could read my message.  Dictated to Clare until 8:20 a.m. at which time she returned to the office, reported to President Stephen L. Richards that there was a possibility of my not being able to [go to] the funeral, and had me excused from the First Presidency’s meeting this morning.

Immediately upon receipt of word from Clare, President Richards called me at the hospital and persuaded me not to try to come to the funeral.  So, after consultation with my doctors, I decided not to attempt to attend.

At 10:30 a.m. my tribute to Emma Lucy was placed in Brother A. E. Bowen’s hands, and it was later decided that President Richards should represent me at the funeral, reading the message that I had prepared.

This evening President Richards called at the hospital and administered to me.”

Fri., 4 May, 1951:

“L.D.S. Hospital.  Underwent operation this morning at 9 o’clock. Dr. Middleton performed a prostatectomy.  The operation was successful.  Was under opiates all day and night.  Mama Ray sat at my bedside.  Edward, Lottie, Bob, Emma Rae, and other members of the family were also present.

This evening President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. called and he and my son Llewellyn administered to me.”

Mon., 16 Feb., 1953:

“I had made an appointment to speak to about three hundred young boys and girls in the Primary department (Ensign and Emigration Stakes) for 4 o’clock today, and was also invited to speak at the funeral of Elbert D. Thomas, but was advised by my physician that I should not assume these responsibilities because of suffering from a cold.  I will speak to the children at a later time.”

Mon., 15 June, 1953:

“Dr. Edward R. McKay called–came in to see how I am feeling.  Pleaded with me to cur down on my strenuous activity.  He said, ‘Father, the least you can do is to take Mondays away from the office–after you have been under the stress of speaking appointments on Sundays, to take a rest on Monday will do you more good than anything  you can do.’  He then turned to my secretary, Clare, who was present during the conversation and said:  ‘Will you please see that Father does not make appointments for Mondays.’  I promised Edward that I would try and do better.

Mon., 22 June, 1953:

“In adherence to Dr. Edward’s advice given several days ago, I decided to stay home today for a short rest.  Duties for the past several months have been unusually strenuous, and Edward has repeatedly warned that I must take it easier.”

Fri., 3 July, 1953:

Following the funeral services I drove out to 4950 South 13th East to Robert’s rented farm to answer the boys’ cries for help in getting their high-spirited horses (thorough-breds) on to the trailer so that they could take them to Huntsville.  One of the horses stubbornly refused to go up the plank and into the trailer, and it took me until 6:30 p.m. to finally convince her that I did not give up easily.  I was out in the hot sun all this time.  Lawrence who was watching became very ill because of the heat and had to find a place in the shade.  Robert had to leave to keep an appointment.  Finally, after much struggling, I succeeded in getting the horse into the trailer and Lawrence and Mildred then drove her to Huntsville and I returned home.”

Thurs., 9 July, 1953:

“Following this I dictated letter to Clare to Stake Presidents regarding advisability of devising some plan under Church influence which will be contributive to the peace and comfort of the aging persons of the Church.  (see attached letter and questionnaire)

I have long felt that we should do something to alleviate the condition that exists with many of our older members of the Church, and hope that we are now moving toward the solution of the problem.

Mon., 20 July, 1953:

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Office of the First Presidency

Salt Lake City 1, Utah

July 20, 1953

Dear Brethren:

Elderly people become attached to their home surroundings and community environment.  When infirmities incident to the passing years make them dependent upon their children or others, consideration of their comfort, family convenience, increasing helplessness or financial stringency not infrequently make it advisable for children and others responsible for their care to take a father or mother, or both, to an ‘Old Folks Home’ established not infrequently in another town, away from friends and familiar scenes, perhaps out of the ward and stake.

For some time past, there has been under consideration the advisability, if not the necessity, of devising some plan under Church influence which will be more contributive to the peace and comfort of aging persons who face the sunset of life.

We seek your help and any suggestions you may have on this important matter.

For our information, therefore, will you please answer the questions on the enclosed sheet, and add such comments as you may think pertinent and helpful.

A reply a your earliest convenience will be appreciated.

Sincerely yours,







The First Presidency


1.  Are there any persons in your stake who would find it more convenient and perhaps more comfortable than they are under present conditions to live in a home in their own environment or under Church influence if such were provided?

No. of men____ No. of women____ No. of couples____

(Widowers) (Widows)

2.  Indicate the number of each who can pay in full for this care.

No. of men____ No. of women____ No. of couples____

3.  Indicate number whose relatives can pay for such care.

No. of men____ No. of women____ No. of couples____

4.  Indicate number who can pay part of expenses.

No. of men____ No. of women____ No. of couples____

5.  Indicate number who would be wholly dependent upon welfare.

No. of men____ No. of women____ No. of couples____




Stake Presidency


Tues., 8 Sept., 1953:

(80th Birthday)

“Arose early this morning.  It is a beautiful autumn day!  It is hard for me to realize that today is my 80th birthday.  In childhood and even throughout the gay realm of youth the ’70’s’ and ’80’s’ seemed far in the future, and weary and feeble those who had reached such an advanced old age.  Today, however, I know that what seemed in youth to be a long journey is very short indeed; and what in anticipation was considered to be a joyless existence is one of the most wholesome contributive periods of life.

It’s loved ones, loyal friends, and precious memories that make it so.

It’s faith in a loving Father and in one’s fellowmen that makes life worth living.  I am grateful that I have been blessed with loyal friends, and devoted, true Loved Ones.

As I drove my car into the driveway in back of the Church Office Building, I found several persons there waiting to extend birthday greetings.  The first to greet me at the office was my secretary, Clare Middlemiss and her assistant Mary Hillier.  These greetings were followed by greetings from Howard J. McKean of the Building Committee, Allan Acomb of the Purchasing Department, Brother Wuthrich of the janitorial department, and several others whose names I do not know.

From 7:45 to 8:30 a.m. I dictated to Clare notes for talk I am scheduled to give today at the joint Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce luncheon held in my honor.

At 8:30 a.m. I received the editors and staff of the Improvement Era who presented to me a leather-bound copy of the new book, ‘Gospel Ideals.’  This book, published by the Improvement Era, is a compilation of excerpts from my discourses during the half century that I have served as one of the General Authorities.

Sister McKay was present to receive these brethren and sisters.  Numbered in the group were:  Gen. Supt. Elbert R. Curtis, Y.M.M.I.A.; Gen. Pres. Bertha S. Reeder, Y.W.M.I.A.; John D. Giles, Marba C. Josephson, Doyle L. Green, Dr. G. Homer Durham, Elder Richard L. Evans of the First Council of the Seventy.

They also presented me with a colored portrait of my likeness in a beautiful, blond wood frame.

Then followed the group of Church Office Employees of the first floor.  They gathered in my private office, sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to me and presented me with an expensive, choice fan for our home.

During the day, the following made personal visits to the office to extend birthday congratulations:

1.  Mr. and Mrs. Preston Nibley

2.  Pres. and Sister Golden Woolf who just returned from the French Mission

3.  Elder S. Dilworth Young

4.  Robert I. Burton, Salt lake Temple

5.  Brother Stratford of Ogden

6.  Dr. Franklin L. West

7.  Mr. and Mrs. Peter Geertson, formerly of Huntsville

8.  Bishop LeGrand Richards

9.  Howard J. McKean

          10.  Elder Antoine R. Ivins

          11.  Elder Levi Edgar Young

Mr. Irving W. Danielson of the Bank of America, San Francisco, California, called during the morning to pay his respects.

At 11:20 a.m. Sister McKay and I left for the Hotel Utah where on the Mezzanine Floor from 11:30 to 12 noon, we stood in line to greet the 500 or more of the area’s leading businessmen and civic leaders, members of the Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce who had assembled in my honor.

12 noon – Luncheon held in the Lafayette Ballroom in my honor.

The following program was carried out:

Sid H. Eliason…….presiding

Wayne W. Hush, Master of Ceremonies


Invocation…….Richard L. Evans

Greetings and Presentation…….John M. Wallace

Remarks…….President David O. McKay

The General Committee–John F. Fitzpatrick….Chairman

Orval W. Adams

Gus P. Backman

R. Knox Bradford

Marion C. Nelson

John M. Wallace

Sponsors:  Chamber of Commerce – Sid H. Eliason, President

                  Rotary Club – Wayne W. Huish, President

Sister McKay and I were presented with a sterling silver service set, composed of a large try upon which was engraved–

‘Presented to President David O. McKay on his 80th birthday by the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club of Salt Lake City in recognition of his outstanding humanitarian service and distinguished leadership September 8, 1953.’

The proceedings of this affair were televised over KSL Radio Station.

It was a very impressive testimonial, and I was deeply grateful for the honor that was bestowed upon me.  (see newspaper notes for further detail)

Immediately following the Luncheon Sister McKay and I took time to pay a visit to the patients of the Primary Children Hospital.  We listened to the youngsters sing ‘Happy Birthday’.  They presented Sister McKay with a pair of earrings, and gave me a pair of book ends with a sego lily design made by the children in the workshop.  We remained for about 30 minutes visiting with the children.

We then went to our home at 1037 East South Temple Street where all during the afternoon we were kept busy receiving gifts, scores of messages, by way of telephone, letters, telegrams, etc.  The people have overwhelmed us with their heartfelt congratulations, love, and affection.

We spent the evening as guests of the children at the home of our son, Robert R. and his wife Francis Ellen.

Thus came to a close a wonderful day.  I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for the many blessings that have come to me this day.  (see newspaper clippings for further detail)


The following is a report made by President McKay to members of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve on the observance of his 80th birthday at a meeting held in the Salt Lake Temple, Sept. 10, 1953.

The President expressed appreciation for the birthday greetings that he had received, also the publicity given the occasion by the Tribune and the Deseret News and other publications.  He said that he was particularly grateful for some of the comments and the many telegrams that came from all parts of the world.  He read to the Brethren some of these telegrams.  Mr. Bill O’Connor in his telegram referred to him as a religious leader whose teachings are an inspiration not only to his own Church members but to all, that he considered it an honor to sit on the Hotel Utah Board and visit with the members of that Board.  He closed his wire by saying, ‘May God bless you and spare you to us for many years to come.’  The President of the Westminister College was present at the banquet and when he returned home he sent a special delivery letter to the President.  Colonel William C. McHaddon of the headquarters of the local Military District expressed his appreciation of what the Church is doing.  The Western Air Lines in their wire referred to the influence of the Church the world over.  Mr. Terrell C. Drinkwater signed this telegram.  Mr. Whitman, President of the Western Pacific in San Francisco, as also the heads of the other railroads, sent their greetings.  Bishop Hunt of the Catholic Church asked to be excused because of an appointment that took him out of the city.  J.C. Penney in his telegram said, ‘May God continue to bless your efforts.’  The Greek Priest here in the city sent his greetings.  President Marshall of the Western Union Telegraph Co. in New York, and also the General Manager in San Francisco, each sent a telegram.  In his telegram President Marshall said, ‘History reveals that on October 13, 1861, about a dozen years before your first birthday, President Lincoln received the first telegram ever sent from Salt Lake City, which said that Utah had not seceded but was firm for the Union, and it was signed by one of your famed predecessors, the great Brigham Young.  Today I salute you and other great leaders.  May your leadership continue to be an inspiration to your people for many years.’  Mr. Fowler, the General Manager of Western Union in San Francisco, after paying tribute to President and Sister McKay said, ‘Throughout the world your people have earned respect for their amazing diligence in remaining faithful to the Utah States motto, the single word ‘Industry,’ industry in agriculture, industry in dairy products, industry in steel and minerals, industry in junior colleges and universities, to mold citizens of character, intellect, self-reliance and genius.  Such a pattern can only point to a future of greater prominence in your continued faithful leadership.’  President McKay thought this to be a very fine tribute to the Church, and he felt that we could read between the lines of all of these telegrams the friendly attitude toward the Church.  

President McKay then made the following remarks:  ‘I feel very grateful and humble for your support and your greetings.  I promise you that with the help of the Lord I will do my very best possible to maintain your confidence.  I wish to express gratitude at this time for the love and support of two of the finest men in the world, my counselors in the First Presidency.  I pray that you (referring to President Richards) will have your physical strength to continue your wisdom and leadership over this great organization.  President Clark in his loyal support in wielding an influence for good throughout the world.  I am grateful for the influence you Brethren are exerting throughout the stakes and missions of the Church.  Reports come frequently commending you for your remarks, the influence and instructions that you wield in going out.  With all my heart I say, God bless you!  Keep us united!  As long as we are one, and we have the Lord with us, nothing else need worry us or give us concern.  No matter how many enemies attack us, no matter how subversive the influence of Catholics, Communism or other isms, we are all right as long as we are united in supporting one another.  Thank you, Brethren, for your graciousness, for your unity, for your ability to carry on the work.  With all my heart this day I say, God bless you and your loved ones, and our other associates of the General Authorities.  May we so live that we may merit constantly the inspiration of the Lord.  You have it.  You know it comes to us, and as long as we do our best, he is not going to forsake us.  That we may continue to have his guiding influence, I humbly pray, in the names of Jesus Christ, Amen.'” 

Fri., 13 Nov., 1953:

“7:45 a.m. – Brother Delbert Stapley of the Council of the Twelve called at the office.

I told him that for the present he should not go forward with his assignment to make an investigation of the amount we have invested in the Welfare and the number of people we are taking care of as compared to that investment.

Instead he is to make a summary of the replies we have received from the Stake Presidencies regarding the Old Folks Home for each Stake and report that summary to the First Presidency.”

Tues., 8 Dec., 1953:

Following this conference, I went to the office of Dr. L.E. Viko, heart specialist, who gave me a thorough physical examination.  He found my heart to be in good condition, however, discovered that my blood pressure is now high rather than low as it usually is.

Dr. Viko and my son, Dr. Edward McKay, both agree that I should cancel all evening socials during the month of December.”

Wed., 9 Dec., 1953:

First Presidency Meeting

“The following items were among many that were discussed:

4.  I told the brethren that I had decided that it is wise for me to cancel all social engagements at this time because my health is not the best, in order that I might be in good condition to take the trip to Great Britain, South Africa, and South America.  My counselors urged me to remain in Southern California for a week following the cornerstone laying services.

It was 11 o’clock before our meeting was dismissed, and then, in accordance with doctors’ orders, I returned home to take care of a cold and sore throat.

Fri., 25 Dec., 1953 (Christmas Day):

“I called at the LDS Hospital during the day to visit my old missionary companion of 56 years ago — Elder John T. Edwards.  However, I found that he had been taken to his son’s home for recuperation.  So I drove over to their home and visited with him.  I found Brother Edwards weak and frail.  I administered to him and left my blessing with him.  Of the group of forty missionaries who were in Scotland during my first mission, only three of us are remaining.  Truly, the ‘silent, inaudible foot of Time’ is overtaking them whose steps are becoming shorter and slower!!

This evening:

Ray and I are now alone looking at baskets full of cards and letters bearing kind, gracious messages of love, loyalty, and good will.  We are overwhelmed!  But, shall we be honest and say, gratefully so!!”

Fri., 11 June, 1954:

“First Presidency’s meeting

Homes for Old Folks

Discussed the matter of homes for our old folks.  I expressed myself as favoring having homes for our old people in their own environment.  I feel that the expense would be nominal, that there are widows who could take care of such houses and that would be their living.  Some of the old folks would have their expenses paid by their own folks, and where they had to be paid for by the Church, it would be cases that the Church has to take care of anyway.  The charge would be sufficient only to take care of the operating costs.”

Mon., 26 July, 1954:

Notes:  Admonition to guard health

I received a letter today from my dear friend and brother, Dr. Edward I. Rich of Ogden, Utah.  It contained an admonition that has impressed me more than any ‘warning’ that I have yet received from any other friend or physician.  He said: ‘I know of your many responsibilities, calls, etc.  We just want you to know we all honor and love you, and hope you will conserve your strength by resting at your summer home in Huntsville rather than wearing yourself out on public functions this hot weather as you have been doing.  AVOID GETTING UP TOO MUCH STEAM AND BLOWING A GASKET.  We need you every hour.’  (signed Edward I. Rich, M.D.)

Tues. 5 Oct., 1954:

“At 7:30 a.m. – At my son Dr. Edward R. McKay’s request, I had a physical check-up this morning by Dr. L.E. Viko.  Following his examination Dr. Viko said:  ‘Notwithstanding your disobedience these past months, and not withstanding the strenuous efforts you have put forth during these days of the General Conference, I am happy to report that I think you are in pretty good condition — your blood pressure is normal, and your heart is good.’

Sat., 26 Feb., 1955:

“This morning my son Dr. Edward R. McKay and Dr. L.E. Viko gave me an examination, after which Dr. Viko turned to my son Dr. McKay and said:  ‘Shall we tell him his condition; if we do, he might take advantage of us and work too hard.’  They agreed to tell me if I would promise to curtail my activity a little bit, and then said that I am in ‘very good condition.’  This is surprising in view of the strenuous activity of the past several months.

Wed., 13 Apr., 1955:

**Home Care of the Aged – Discussed at the meeting of the First Presidency.

I referred to the questionnaire letters sent out about a year ago to stakes, inquiring as to their attitude toward the establishment of places where aged people could be given a home and care.  Many replies have been received, but nothing further has been done about it.  I stated that I felt favorably toward establishing some convenient home, under our own influence, where the aged and infirm who are alone may go and receive proper treatment and care and still remain in their home environment where their children can pay for their care and call on them and take them to their meetings as long as they are able to attend.  I feel that the children should contribute for their keep where that is possible; and where they are under the necessity of receiving Church aid, they could receive that through their local organizations.  I stated that I felt we could start out here in the city and let it expand.

It was decided to appoint a committee to look into the situation.  Brother Stapley was named to represent the Twelve; Brother Antoine R. Ivins to represent the Seventies; Brother Buehner to represent the Presiding Bishopric; and Brother Wonnacott to represent the hospital, as some of these people have to be hospitalized.  It was agreed that these Brethren might suggest three stake presidents to be on the committee.”

Thurs., 19, May 1955:

“7 a.m. – In the LDS Hospital — underwent minor surgery for the removal of a tumor on the side of my face.  Dr. Leland R. Cowan performed the operation.  It took over an hour as they had to do much more ‘cutting’ than anticipated.

Telephone Calls

1.  Sister David O. McKay called secretary Clare Middlemiss and reported that the operation upon Pres. McKay so far as they could now tell was successful.

2.  Dr. Llewellyn McKay called secretary Clare Middlemiss and informed her that he had just returned to his office at the U of U and that the operation for the removal of a tumor from President McKay’s face was successful, but that it had required much more ‘cutting’ than they had at first anticipated.  Said that his whole head was bandaged with the exception of the front part of his face, and that the doctors think he will have to be there for three or four days.

3.  Sister McKay called to say that President McKay is worrying about the appointment he has to dedicate the East Ensign Ward building next Sunday.  Would like Brother Lyle Nichols who is on the dedication committee to come up to the hospital at noon so that President McKay can talk to him.  (cm)

4.  Brother Lyle Nichols called to say that he had seen President McKay at the hospital — Was thrilled to be in his presence – that he was so sweet and gracious – had taken hold of his hand and told him how sorry he is that he cannot be with them Sunday, but that he would be glad to do it later if they would like to postpone it.  This will be decided next Tuesday when it is better known how President McKay is getting along.

LDS Hospital

May 19 to May 25, 1955.

Further Report on President McKay’s hospitalization as dictated by President McKay.

May 19, 1955….Dr. Leland R. Cowan and Dr. J. Elmer Nielsen, upon the advice of Dr. Edward R. McKay, performed an hour and a half long operation to remove a tumor on the left side of my face.  It was necessary to cut much deeper than they first anticipated in order to remove the tumor.  Therefore, instead of resuming my duties at the office, as I contemplated doing, they kept me in the hospital all that day and the remaining days until May 25, at 1:30 p.m.  At that hour Dr. L.E. Viko called.  Once again he has been very attentive throughout all my hospitalized period, making frequent examinations of my heart, etc.  When he came in he said, ‘Oh, don’t do that.’  Dr. Viko smiled and said:  ‘Well it would be good for you.’

While in the hospital I received many letters, cards, roses, gloxinia plants, scotch heather — all sweet messages which gladdened my heart.

Superintendent Clarence Wonnacott, doctors, interns, nurses, and fellow patients, besides Sister McKay and other Loved Ones, were most gracious and attentive.  I also enjoyed visits from Bishop Joseph L. Wirthlin, Dr. Adam S. Bennion, Bishop and Sister Thorpe B. Isaacson, my sisters, Anne (Mrs. Thos. B. Farr), Elizabeth (Mrs. George R. Hill).

I left a 5-lb. box of Cummings candy for the nurses and attached a card addressed as follows:  ‘To Miss Barber and Associate Nurses on the 7th Floor:  Whose kind, solicitous attention and efficient service I greatly appreciate.  Cordially and sincerely yours.’

At 1:30 p.m. on the 25th, my son Llewellyn called for me at the hospital.  Sister McKay was filling an appointment at the Relief Society.

It is worth the trouble and trials of going to the hospital just to have the joy of coming home!

(Also, for return home – See May 25th)

Newspaper clippings follow”

Fri., 20 May, 1955:

“Received a telephone call from Clare Middlemiss, (secretary).  I told her that we had just received the reports from the laboratory and everything is all right — there is no malignancy, for which we are thankful.*  Said that I feel so well that I should like to leave the hospital but the doctors will not listen to it.  Inquired about the dedication, and my secretary reported that the Bishopric will wait until next Tuesday and then decide when it will be.

*President McKay reported to the secretary upon his return to the office, that he learned that he had given the doctors a scare – that Dr. Cowan, Dr. Nielsen, and his son, Dr. Edward McKay – had not slept for two nights worrying about the seriousness of the operation.”

Fri., 11 Nov., 1955:

“7:30 a.m. – by appointment called at Dr. L.E. Viko’s office.  He gave me a thorough examination, including a cardiogram and x-ray tests.  He showed marked concern and told me that I had been ‘slipping’ so far as my heart is concerned; that I have been doing too much.  He gave me some definite advice — first, that I must ‘slow down’–I am to cut out night work and reduce to a minimum the strenuous handshaking after meetings.  And then he said: ‘Now I know it is hard for you to say No, and that you will not consider your own welfare, but I am giving this advice in order that you might prolong your usefulness to your Church.’

I appreciated this advice coming from a Catholic doctor who has proved himself to be a loyal friend.”

Fri., 23 Dec., 1955:

“7 a.m. – Went to Dr. L.E. Viko’s office where x-rays and cardiograms were taken of my heart.  Dr. Viko says that my condition is better, but insists that I cut down the long hours that I have been spending at the office.

Just a little later, I received a call from Mr. William R. Kilmer of the Maico Hearing Service, 604 Judge Building, this city, who came to give me instructions regarding the wearing of a hearing aid.  This I shall use at Council meetings, and other church meetings where it is a little difficult to hear.  I find of late that some of the brethren speak a little too softly for me, so I have resorted to this hearing aid as I do not wish to miss any of the discussions that are held.”

Sat., 4 Feb., 1956:

“In accordance with previous arrangements, went to the LDS hospital for a physical check-up.  I have been having trouble with excessive amounts of gas, and the doctors decided that they would ascertain the cause of it, so they had me come to the hospital for examinations.

I remained at the hospital all day.  The doctors were unable to find anything organically wrong, but they think some of my trouble is due to eating too hurriedly in order to get to meetings and appointments, too much worry and pressure, and from not resting enough.”

Tues., 1 May, 1956:

“Proposal to Establish Old Folks’ Homes

Reference was made by President McKay to a question that the Brethren had considered at times in the past pertaining to the establishment of homes for old people in their home stakes.

President McKay did not approve, nor did his counselors, of building such a home in some central place, but thought it would be well to keep our old people in their home environment where they could be taken to Sunday School and meetings by their Loved Ones who would pay for their parents’ keep.

This would be a self-supporting institution and it would have to be determined whether or not the Church would buy the house and own it.  It would be under the supervision of the stake president, or in the city perhaps two or three stake presidents.  The people who controlled the place would have to pay the interest on the investment.

President McKay suggested that a test case be made on an experimental basis.  He thought such a test should be made here in the City.  The Brethren approved of this suggestion. (see also May 9, 1956)”

May 9, 1956

Notes on Meeting of the First Presidency

1.  Proposed Old Folks’ Home in San Diego Stake

The Brethren gave consideration to correspondence from the presidency of the San Diego Stake in which they ask the Church to advance the money necessary to establish an old folks’ home in the Stake.  They say it would cost $116,000 to construct a 32-unit rest home; the money, if advanced by the Church, they say would be repaid over a period of years as the home would be self-supporting.

The Brethren felt that this affords an opportunity to make a test of the plan they have had in mind for some time of establishing rest homes for old folks in various stakes.  They agreed to assist the San Diego Stake in the manner suggested, with the understanding that the Stake Presidency would submit the plans to the Building Committee to be reviewed by them.

June 14, 1956

First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Meeting, S.L. Temple

Homes For Our Aged People

‘President McKay reported for the information of the Brethren that for several years past the First Presidency has had under consideration the advisability of having in each stake a home for our aged people, conducted under the direction of the Presidency of the Stake, in which home old people who are dependent because of illness or some ailment upon the members of their families, might be taken and receive proper attention, the members of the family to pay for the care of those individuals, making the home self-supporting so far as possible.  The reason for suggesting that it be a Stake matter is that it is felt that these aged people will be in their home environment and members of their families can visit them and take them to Church services where they are able to attend such services.  He stated that in some cases it may be considered advisable for two or three stakes to unite in such a project, but the Presidency think it would be unwise to bring the old people from distant places to one central place.

The First Presidency some time ago communicated with the Presidents of Stakes, asking their views regarding this matter, and the President said that he believed that 100 percent of those who answered favored it.  Furthermore, he said, the First Presidency have already approved of the establishment of one such home in San Diego, where a test will be made.

Elder Delbert L. Stapley raised the question if there would be any objection to taking the sacrament, following the sacrament meeting to those who are homebound.  President McKay answered that that is a question that will have to be considered very carefully, and should be held in abeyance until we have some of these rest homes under our own jurisdiction.

Mon., 2 July, 1956:

“Homes for Old Folks

At 7:30 a.m., met by appointment at my request, the Presidents of the following Stakes:  Ensign, Salt Lake, Pioneer, University, Bonneville, Park, Riverside, Sugar House, Cottonwood, Liberty, Emigration, and Temple View.

The purpose of the meeting was to consider the establishment of homes in Stakes for our elderly people who are in need of care, some of whom are alone, and others whose families are unable to take care of them.

This is the first step toward the fulfillment of a great desire I have had for many years that our old folks receive adequate care and proper attention within their own environment, and not in rest homes and institutions.

The Stake Presidents who met with us this morning will make preliminary investigation within their own stakes and report the needs of the old folks.

The following minutes give a detail report of the matters discussed and the reaction of our Stake Presidents to this plan.  (See further report by President McKay following)

July 2, 1956

Homes for Old Folks

Minutes of meeting called by President David O. McKay, Monday July 2, 1956 at 7:30 a.m. in the Board Room, Church Office Building, with the following stake presidents of the Salt Lake City stakes:

President D. Edward Judd – Ensign Stake

President Lincoln F. Hanks – Salt Lake Stake

President Grant M. Burbidge – Pioneer Stake

President Wilford W. Kirton, Jr. – University Stake

President Frank B. Bowers – Bonneville Stake

President George B. Glade – Park Stake

President Robert L. Bridge – Riverside Stake

President A. Hamer Reiser – Sugar House Stake

President James E. Faust – Cottonwood Stake

President Walter W. Hunter – Liberty Stake

President Rex W. Williams – Emigration Stake

(representing President Thomas W. Muir)

President Percy K. Fetzer – Temple View Stake

The opening prayer was offered by President McKay.

President McKay related instances of elderly people, the circumstances of whose families and whose personal conditions and needs of care made impracticable their being cared for in the homes of their children.

He related other cases of worthy and deserving people who had spent their last years and died in rest or nursing homes in loneliness and without adequate care.

He reported the results of a partial survey of several representative wards which showed 222 men and 562 women and 116 couples who need help.  Of this number 62 men, 172 women and 41 couples – 82% – would be wholly dependent upon the Church.  297 persons could pay part of the cost of their care; and 185 could be sustained by relatives and 246 could pay for their own care.

The foregoing was a sampling of the Church, including a few wards in Salt Lake Valley.

President McKay described a high class rest home for elderly people in Altadena, California, at which a wealthy friend of college days was living, where accommodations were excellent, but the residents were not happy, because the place was institutionalized.

He outlined briefly a general plan for exploring the feasibility of establishing a rest home in a stake or two or three on an exploratory basis and suggested that the following points be included in the planning:

1.  A home for from ten to twelve people.

2.  Operated by a salaried couple, man and wife.

3.  On a self-sustaining basis.

4.  Residents admitted to the home to be on recommend of their bishop

who understands their situation.

5.  Costs to be paid by:

a.  the resident himself, or

b.  his relatives, or

c.  by the Church

d.  or any right combination of these.

6.  Standards of care, comfort, convenience, environment to be the


7.  Opportunities for residents to participate in or to attend or be taken to religious

services in their wards to be provided.

President Bowers described three rest homes at present operating in or available to Bonneville Stake.  He inquired as to the relative size of the homes proposed with a view to overhead and operating costs.

President McKay explained that the hope is that the overhead costs can be kept low and the home also kept moderate in management to keep the residents from becoming institutionalized.  It is desirable that the Latter-day Saint home atmosphere and standards of care and consideration be maintained.

The general terms upon which such homes as the Sarah Daft Home is maintained and residence can be gained were stated by President Judd and President Hanks.

President Hanks explained that 583 persons over 70 years of age are resident in Salt Lake Stake.  Many of them migrate from distant communities into Salt Lake City and Stake to live out their days where they can see the Temple.  Salt Lake Stake now needs many homes like the one described, since the elderly people occupying housekeeping apartments such as they have heretofore had within Salt Lake Stake in such buildings as the Sharon, Taylor and Constitution Buildings, are now obliged to vacate them.  The problem is Salt Lake Stake is a major one and a solution will be heartily welcomed.

President Hanks inquired as to the advisability of converting the Lund home property into a convalescent home.  President McKay replied that for the present it is not intended to include convalescent home needs in the present project or inquiry.

President Hanks commented upon the interests of elderly people in having something useful to do such as gardening.  He also inquired if it may be advisable to operate such homes under a corporation like Zion’s Securities, so the Church directly would not be involved.

President McKay explained that admission to residency would be on recommendation of bishops and stake presidencies and that the homes would be operated under their supervision and direction.

President Fetzer referred to the type of housekeeping units available to temporary residents attending the sessions of the St. George Temple.

President Glade described a project which had been tentatively considered in Park Stake and inquired if the Church would assist in financing the project on a basis which would ultimately return the money advanced.  President McKay siad the Church would help and emphasized the requirement that the project be set up so it will be self-supporting.

Other factors suggested by stake presidents and President McKay as being desirable in such a home were the following:

1.  That there be few or no stairs to climb.

2.  That privacy be provided.

3.  That personal convenience and comfort be served.

4.  That companionship be promoted and loneliness prevented.

5.  That operation be economical.

6.  That regard be had for zoning regulations applicable to rest homes.

President Judd described briefly a large residence in his stake which might serve more than one stake.

President McKay asked the presidents to study the matter quietly during the week and return next Monday morning at the same hour, 7:30 a.m., for further consideration of the proposal as it might relate to the individual stakes.

Benediction:  President Grant M. Burbidge.

July 2, 1956

Report By President McKay on Homes for Old Folks   Given July 5, 1956

By special call met 12 presidents of stakes here in this city:  the presidents of the Salt Lake, Pioneer, University, Bonneville, Monument Park, Riverside, Sugar House, Cottonwood, Liberty, Emigration, Ensign, and Temple View Stakes, the purpose of the meeting being to consider the feasibility of establishing in each stake a rest home for the aged.  The President mentioned that about three years ago the First Presidency sent out a Questionnaire to all the stakes, asking regarding the need of such a place; that in many stakes they do not need them, whereas others do.  He said the First Presidency are united in the idea that preferable to establishing at a central place a home for all the aged in all the Church, would be to have a less pretentious home — just a comfortable home — in each stake where those who are in need of a rest home may go and be visited by their relatives and taken to their own houses of worship on Sunday – those who are capable of going – and to be near enough to be visited by their friends.  The First Presidency are convinced that that would be advisable.  The presidents of stakes are of the same feeling, and they have in mind the Sarah Daft Home and other rest homes here in Salt Lake City, some of which are succeeding.

The question was considered as to how Church rest homes would affect professional rest homes.  The President said an hour was spent in discussion, and the presidents of stakes were asked to go back to their respective stakes and consider the question and meet again next Monday morning, July 9, at the same hour, when they will go into further phases of it — how it will be supported, etc.; whether it would be advisable for two or three stakes to go together.  It was also thought that at the next meeting other presidents of stakes in the valley will be invited to attend.

President McKay further said that these homes will be under the direction of the Church, and the people will be made to feel that they are not in a poorhouse, but in their own environment.  Those who are able to pay would pay full compensation.  Those who can pay part will pay all that they can.  Those who are on the ward, will of course be taken care of by the Church.

Elder Petersen commented that there are quite a number of Latter-day Saints who are in these rest homes now who receive full payment from the County, the County paying to the rest home a stipulated amount, and they take complete care of the person all his life; that in some of these private rest homes a patient will be taken care of, and the County gives to the rest home a check each month for $100 or $125, or whatever the amount may be.  He wondered how many of those people would transfer to the Church rest home, thus making an added burden upon the Church.  The President said this condition would have consideration.

(See July 9, 1956 for next meeting of Stake Presidents)”

Fri., 6 July, 1956:

“At 7:30 a.m. — By appointment met Dr. L.E. Viko at his office on South Temple.  Following a thorough examination, Dr. Viko said:  ‘It is amazing — for your age and for a man who works as hard as you do, you are in wonderful condition — your heart, your blood pressure are good.  However, do not take this as permission to forego my former orders to take more rest, cutting down on the number of working hours, curtailing the number of speaking appointments, especially those in the evening.’

Mon., 9 July, 1956:

“Homes for Old Folks

Minutes of the meeting of the Stake Presidents named below with President David O. McKay, held Monday, July 9, 1956 at 7:30 a.m. in the Assembly Room of the Third Floor of the Church Office Building, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

President Mckay called the meeting to order.

Prayer: President George B. Glade.

Minutes of the meeting held Monday, July 2, 1956 were read.

President McKay stated the purpose of the meeting to be to consider with the augmented group of stake presidents the advisability of taking better care of our aged people.  He restated the purpose to be to provide elederly people who need homes with modest, comfortable, economical homes:

1.  Preferably in their own locality and home environment

2.  Where they can spend their days in comfort

3.  Under conditions in which they will not be lonely

4.  Where they can participate in the activities of the Church.

Presidents who had made a preliminary inquiry into the matter since the meeting of last week were invited to report.

Homes for Old Folks

President Judd, Ensign Stake, reported that the W.H. McIntyre home on Seventh Avenue and ‘B’ Street is available.  It is a well built house on a lot 165 by 165 feet.  It has an elevator.  With some moderate remodelling it could accommodate 20 to 25 people.  It can be purchased for something near $61,000.  He also submitted a general estimate from an architect, who quoted from $13 to $15 per square foot for new construction.

President Bowers, Bonneville Stake, reported that bishops of the stake are interested in the project, though no members of the stake at present need homes.  Bishop John Boyden had surveyed the stake during the week and discovered that only in a three block area could such a home be maintained within present zoning regulations.  President Bowers suggested that Bonneville Stake could combine and cooperate with some other stake which needs a home.

President Rex Williams, representing President Thomas Muir, Emigration Stake, reported that a suitable house was found in the geographical center of the Stake — the Lafayette Hanchett home — on Third Avenue and ‘Q” Street.  It has three floors and basement, served by an elevator; five individual bedrooms, 41/2 individual bath rooms, beautiful grounds, well landscaped.  It is a well built home.  It has recently been sold for $30,000.  The present owner might be induced to sell, but he would want a profit.  It has hot water heat.  Some remodelling of the kitchen would make it suitable.

President Burbidge, Pioneer Stake, described property owned by the Deseret Book Company at 1400 Indiana Avenue, recently vacated by its motion picture department.  This is the only large building in the stake which might be suitable for the purpose.

President Fetzer reported that a general survey of the area of Temple View Stake had brought to light houses which might be considered, but are now in process of being demolished or remodelled for other uses.  The area is being converted to industrial uses and land values are high.  One building, near 1360 South State, and another property on West Temple, the latter consisting of three buildings, are considered suitable.  About 90% of the stake is commercial.  There are many rooming houses and some convalescent homes where old people can live out their lives, but in rather poor conditions.  Five cases in the stake would be hospital cases.  There are instances of other stakes sending their old people into Temple View Stake.  Some come from Idaho and hope they will be able to be by their relatives.  These seem to come down to go to the Temple.  Some of them are questionable Latter-day Saints.  Down near the viaduct are some living in poor neighborhoods, surrounded by Mexicans and colored people.  The members of the Mexican Branch of the Stake are high standard people, however.  Commercial and industrial developments in the stake have caused several old people to move to poorer quarters.  The stake would appreciate some assistance with this problem.

President McKay inquired about the number who are receiving a dole.

President Fetzer said that many of the aged people are physically unable to be active and must be given complete help.  Very few would be on dole.  There are several who are dying of terminal diseases, and many who are unable to work.

President Kirton, University Stake, reported that the idea had been received in the stake with enthusiasm.  The most promising prospect is for the use of the center of a block, which is not now being occupied.  The area is 175 feet square with a home fronting on Eighth East.  The demolishing of this building would give access into the center of the block.  A member of the high council who is a builder estimated that for the type of facilities desired, the average cost of 3,000 to 3,500 square feet would be between $30,000 and $40,000.  The lot could be purchased for $22,000.  Zoning now is favorable.  He also described three residences in the area, now occupied and in excellent condition.  One in particular has two levels and a basement.  There is adequate space for a very fine rest home.

President McKay introduced Dr. William Edwards, economist, who, under the direction of the First Presidency, has been studying various phases of the financial and economic operations of the Church.  He is now studying welfare and has given some attention to the matter of rest homes.

Dr. Edwards said that he and his associates have spent several weeks studying the old age problem.  Some of the findings show that in this local region one-half (1/2) of the welfare and fast offering assistance is rendered to old people.  Of 500 welfare families, 44% were old age families.  Two-thirds could be classified as permanent welfare cases and two-thirds of the families were receiving part welfare assistance.  Almost all own their own homes.  The remaining one-third receive full assistance.  Some of them are renters.  Throughout the Church relatively few get full assistance.  Most receive partial assistance.  Most own their own homes.

He commented upon the willingness of the people to free themselves of responsibility for providing themselves, and also upon the ease with which children withdraw from responsibility for taking care of their own people.  In the study of welfare cases the staff has had the cooperation of Commissioner Shoemaker and Commissioner Holbrook.  Almost all states which have lien law legislation, which make the people help themselves and makes the children responsible, one-half of the people do not receive state assistance.  In Utah the passing of the lien law reduced 90% of the nuimber of old age people leaning upon the state and yet these went to the Church.  The number of old people is increasing rapidly.  65% are on social security.  By 1965 10 out of 12 will be receiving social security.  The number in need of full assistnace should decrease substantially.  The future problem will be helping people of meager incomes to be self-supporting.  A great change will occur in the next few years.  The experience through the nation has shown that the best solution of the shortage of hospital beds is to keep the elderly people active and at work, feeling independent and important and keeping them away from institutional homes.  He expressed the opinion that most of what has been talked about here resembles the institutional home.

He stated that a survey of a few thousand people 65 years of age and over shows that of those who are lonely, the smallest percent is among the people who live all alone.  The highest percent is among people who live in groups.  The older people want to be alone and to eat alone.  The persons who said they were lonely were convenient to other people, so when they wanted to associate with them, they could, and when they wanted to withdraw for their own complete private life – when they did did not want to be with other people – they could withdraw.  Most of them were women and not men.  They expressed themselves as being lonely.

He said it is most urgent to guard against making Salt Lake City attractive to elderly people to come here to be cared for.  In this area 23% of the Church population receive 40% of direct fast offering and welfare.  In Utah alone 48% of the 65 year old people shifted over to State old age assistance, primarily because of the change in the law.  It would be most dangerous to lead out to make Salt Lake City attractive for older people to come to.  ‘If you develop facilities here which may be attractive to the poor, you will make it a serious problem.’

New York State has had more experience with old, poor people, because they have them in abundance.  If they are poor, they stay in New York, and they have more old aged people in need than any other state.  In New York State, they keep the old people out of institutional homes.  They find foster homes for them.  They find some family which is willing to take in a person or a couple.  The state gives them compensation adequate for their services.  They have reduced the cost and they have reduced loneliness.  They are avoiding the institutional environment.  The people are better cared for.  They are moving toward using foster homes for those who can take care of themselves.

Dr. Edwards described a four-room unit, which gives maximum economy and with which the occupants seem to be well satisfied.  Such a unit can be constructed for $5,000 or $6,000 per apartment.  This estimate would be less, if the value of contributed labor is deducted.  Residents in these units are assigned to keep up the grounds.  Each has responsibility to keep him at work.  He explained that such units can be located in the natural, familiar environment of the residents.  It is important that they remain in their natural environment.  If they move away after 65, people forget them and the local people feel no responsibility for them.  If they have lived near their children and then lean upon the Church or the State, the children feel no responsibility for them.  These units are modest, economical, attractive and should be well maintained.  They have a full basement for heating and storage, and two work rooms, for wood working, painting.  There is need for rag rugs.  Maximum physical labor should be encouraged.  It is a challenge to them to keep physically vigorous.  It is when people cease to be active that they become in need of full attention.  The period of being confined is reduced, if they are kept active.  Where land is available, there could be two or three units.  The priesthood, and the Relief Society could help with the building and thereafter help the people who occupy these units.  Experience has shown that people come and will bring their own furniture.  That makes them feel that they would like to live there.  They feel more independent.  This type of unit is adaptable to ward and stake welfare projects.  ‘That is the way we appraise the problem, when we look over it.’

President McKay raised the question as to the suitability of these units for the elderly individual who is unable to take care of himself.

Dr. Edwards, after stating that over the area as a whole, of the old people receiving assistance, most of them in Salt Lake City are able to take care of themselves, and then said that for others, he personally leaned very much to consider the foster home concept.  He said that in the Salt Lake area there are a few hundred elderly people, who are not working during the day and who yet are able to help others and take care of themselves.  Such people could take care of those who cannot help themselves and release nurses, when nurses are needed for something else.

President McKay expressed the opinion that people who need help, becuase they cannot help themselves, will not go into a home like the one described.

Dr. Edwards repeated the caution that if attractive homes for elderly people are started in Salt Lake City, people will gravitate to Salt Lake City.

President McKay explained that the attractive, comfortable homes for elderly people should be provided in the various distant communities so the people will be encouraged to stay in their familiar environments and localities.

Dr. Edwards summarized by saying (1) that elderly people who are able to be active be encouraged to continue active and that they be encouraged to help otheres who cannot help themselves, (2) that the great problem is finding activity for people receiving assistance, (3) that elderly people want to be alone, and are less lonely when they are alone and independent, (4) that the institutionalized home should be avoided, (5) that the foster home is the best solution.

President Barben, West Jordan Stake, commented upn and illustrated the ‘psychological’ problem present in the care of elderly people.  He described a case of an elderly couple who owned a dry farm, whose children had never taken care of their parents.  When it was suggested to the parents and the children that the farm be applied (sale price, rental, or income from operation) to pay the cost of the care of the elderly people, the parents themselves were indignant and the children were unwilling.  The parents wanted an inheritance to go to the children and the children were willing that the parents be cared for at the expense of the Church.  An elderly unmarried woman had taken care of the couple until they died, and when she became in need of help, the children wanted the Church to take care of her also.

President Hanks, Salt Lake Stake, described a case of an elderly woman, who had become helpless and in need of greater care at greater expense than her family could meet.  He also commented upon the difficult problems the bishops have to deal with.  He described the center of a block in the 24th Ward, which would be suitable for building a home.  In the center of the block there is greater safety, less noise and less frontage expense.

President Bridge, Riverside Stake, reported that the stake of 7,000 members has only six people reported to be in need of care.  The bishops reported that most of the people are taken care of  in their own homes.  Relief Society sisters visit them and the people are happy.  The Relief Society takes care of them until they pass away.

President McKay said we would start by taking care of the six or eight or ten.  Their children could help.  Some of these the Church is ready to help.  These six should get the help they need in their own home environment.  Where the people can be taken care of by their children, that is right.  We must not lift the responsibility from the children to take care of their parents.  That is fundamental.

President McKay said we now have a pretty good insight into the condition.  Will you brethren who have reported — on the Hanchett House, and the others, and the center of the block lots, and on new construction, at $10 to $12 or $15 a square foot, please write to the First Presidency stating specifically what you would have in the stake which will serve the needs of the old people, whom I have described, who are not in the care of their children and whose care will continue.  The children will contribute in full amount, if possible, or partial amounts, where necessary, and we will supplement the balance by the Church, which you are doing now, and then the presidency will consider making an experiment.

President Hanks said ‘The only thing we feel to worry about is finances in our stake.  Our finances are a problem.  We would have to come to you for assistance.’  President McKay said, ‘We expect that.’  To which President Hanks replied:  ‘We’ll know how to write the letter now,’ and President McKay’s rejoinder was:  ‘We would like to make it self-supporting.’

President Nelson of Monument Park Stake said there would be very few people, elderly people in the stake who would need help of this kind.  He asked if the stake could consider it a welfare project and lend assistance to some stake having a greater need and thus equalize the burden.

President Parker of Hillside Stake inquired about the feasibility of several stakes combining where the need of any one would not be sufficient to maintain a home.

President McKay suggested that the presidents in the letter to the First Presidency indicate what they consider their need to be and how the need can be met, and the Presidency will choose one or two and make an experiment.

President Murdock Highland Stake, said the needs of the people of that stake would be few, but there are many people who whould contribute services professionally and otherwise toward a project for stakes needing help.

President Aposhian, Wilford Stake, asked what the attitude would be toward children providing a home in which their parents can be cared for.

President McKay replied by describing a case of children who are caring for a very elderly father, who is blind and in need of constant care.  Even in their own comfortable home, they cannot provide adequately for the father.  He is well cared for in a home where the children pay for his entire care.

President S. Ross Fox, Sr., South Salt Lake Stake, described a case of an elderly mother, who had been moved around from one family to another of her children and who had become so unhappy and absorbed in the cares and problems of each family.  She is now in an L.D.S. rest home, maintained on Church standards, where she is spared the involvement in the cares and problems of the families.  She is not subjected to influences or conditions at variance with her life-long Church standards and she seems to be comfortable and content.

Benediction:  President Robert L. Bridge.

Meeting closed at 9:15 a.m.”

Tues., 17 July, 1956:

“Old Folks Home

2.  Brother Donald L. Brown, 867 So. 9th East (EL 5-8647) called.  Said that it had been announced at a Priesthood meeting in the LeGrand Ward (Emigration Stake) that the Stake would start a welfare project in regard to rest homes and convalescent homes.  Also that recommends would be issued to those who are worthy members.  Said that President McKay had met with 10 Stake Presidents, and then with 33 of them to discuss this matter.

Brother Brown met you when you were touring South America.  He also knows Robert.

He and his wife are in the rest home business and they are contemplating building a large rest home — have gone so far as to raise money for it.

If the Church goes into the ‘motel business, bakery business, etc., a lot of people are hurt, and now they are in the Rest Home Business.’

Would like some solid advice as to whether they should go ahead on their project.

Told him you might wish to refer the matter to a committee, and he said he could not see how they could help him.  He would like to know what the Church’s plan is on this matter.

Later, President McKay instructed his secretary to call Brother Brown and tell him that he has nothing to say on this matter at present; that if he wishes to talk to Bro. A. Hamer Reiser, President of the Sugarhouse Stake and secretary of the meeting of Stake Presidents who met to discuss Old Folks Homes, he may do so. (cm)”

Fri., 17 Aug., 1956:

“Had a physical check-up by Dr. L.E. Viko, Dr. Edward R. McKay, and Dr. Alan P. Macfarlane, stomach specialist.  They found nothing organically wrong.  However, Dr. Viko admonished me, as he has done on several occasions, by saying:  ‘Give yourself a break – promise me that you will not take any more night appointments – tell those who invite you to these appointments that it is the advice of your doctors that you do not accept these night appointments.’

I promised the doctors that I would give more heed to their advice than I have previously done.”

Mon., 20 Aug., 1956:

“Received a telephone call from President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. who was at home nursing an injured side.

Pres. J. Reuben Clark, Jr. called me by telephone and stated that he was having diffucluty with his side.  The doctor has advised him to stay at home for a few days in order that this condition may clear up.  President Clark asked me if it was all right with me if he remained at home for the next few days.  He also asked how I was getting along.  I told him I was in first rate condition.  Pres. Clark then said that he was asking for truth.  I told him that I was giving him the truth.  I told him that I had had an upset stomach which had left me a little weak.  I told him that I had seen the doctors Friday.  They went over me.  They could find nothing wrong, but they gave me a good lecture.

Went to Huntsville this afternoon to get some fresh air, thinking that it would hasten my recovery from the illness of the past few days.

However, as I was leaving the farm, I witnessed an automobile accident which upset me.  The driver of the car, a man, was thrown clear of the car, but the woman was pinned underneath the upturned car.  I helped to lift the car from off the woman and stayed until the police were notified.  The woman was injured acrss the lower part of her body; her head and shoulders being in the hollow of the ditch escaped the full force of the accident.”

Fri., 19 Oct., 1956:

“7:30 a.m. – Went to the office of Dr. L.E. Viko, heart specialist, where I had a physical examination.  Dr. Viko, in view of my strenuous activities the past several weeks, was amazed at the good condition of my heart.  He however warned me again to ‘take it easy’ and to accept ‘no more night appointments.’

Tues., 23 Oct., 1956:

12 p.m.  The Old Folks’ Homes Committee met in my office for further reports on progress of the establishing of Homes for the old folks of the Church.

Sat., 18 May, 1957:

Following a morning of consultations, and work at the office, I returned home where I had lunch and then left for Huntsville.

Had quite a time all afternoon working on the farm — ran the mowing machine, cutting the grass which had grown very high during the rains of the past few days.  One thing, I found that I am not as young as I used to be — work on the farm is more tiring to me than it formerly was, so I suppose I shall have to admit that ‘old age’ is taking over.

It was 7 p.m. before I returned to Salt Lake.

Sun., 25 Aug., 1957:

About 6 o’clock this evening, the doorbell rang, and when I answered it there stood a dark-complexioned woman about 35 years of age.

Standing beside her was an elderly lady who I learned later was over 90 years of age.  The woman said to me:  ‘Would you please see what can be done for this lady; I am a stranger from out of town?’  With that, she turned and walked away, leaving the elderly lady in my care.

I then turned to the aged lady who said that her name was Mrs. Normand and that she was looking for her daughter who lives in the neighborhood.  She said to me:  ‘Who are you?’  I answered:  ‘David O. McKay,’ and she said, ‘Oh, I have heard of that name before.’

I spent a half-hour on the telephone trying to get her son or her daughter.  It was impossible to raise her son who lives on 8th West.  I asked the operator to help me in getting the son’s neighbor on the telephone, but we were unsuccessful in reaching him.

By this time Mrs. Normand was becoming impatient.  She got up to go, and I insisted that she stay until we could find someone to help her.  As she started down the stairs I took hold of her arm to help her down and she said:  ‘Don’t touch me; you are not getting anywhere; I am going.’

She got out to the sidewalk and I still tried to help her.  She said that she was going next door and I told her that there was no one home there.  She said: ‘Don’t touch me; I am a good woman.  I haven’t seen a woman here.’

I answered that Sister McKay was lying down, but that I would call her.  Mrs. Normand, however, was insistent by this time that she go next door for help.

Just then Mr. and Mrs. Axel Madsen, Jr., drove up and, seeing that I was having difficulty, got out of their car and came over to us to see if they could render any help.  They took Mrs. Normand in their car and finally learned that she had walked out of a Nursing Home just a block east of us.  When they took her to the home she did not want to go in.  This worried me and I was overwhelmed with the necessity of the Church’s acting soon in establishing homes for our aged people.”

Friday, September 13, 1957

Telephone conversation with Dr. L.E. Viko, Friday, September 13, 1957: 

Dr. Viko:  I wanted to report to you that the other tests were all right, but nevertheless you have been on my conscience since yesterday morning.  While there was nothing particularly unusual in the tests, nevertheless, the old adage about the ‘ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ should be applied.  You are doing more than you should be doing, and that is the reason you are on my conscience.  We should take some prevention — some way you might find a way to lighten your load.  Probably you can shorten your hours, delegate your responsibility with this idea of prevention in mind.

President McKay:  Well, Doctor, I think you are absolutely right on that, and I wish I could.

Dr. Viko:  I realize, of course, that it must be extremely difficult to do anything about it.

President McKay:  I wish you had been here for the last two hours, one thing after another…things that were not planned today, and there is a man from Los Angeles waiting.  They are things I cannot delegate.  A lady from Idaho came in, a former student, and these things come on and I cannot avoid them.  I believe I shall have less responsibility in the financial world as soon as we have this merger of the banks completed; and I am sure I am going to be relieved of some matters, and it will not be necessary for me to attend so many meetings.  Two of the three meetings will be cut out, and I think I can delegate some of these other meetings and appointments.  However, there are some things which I cannot delegate.  If I go on a trip they withhold matters for my judgment until I return.

Dr. Viko:  I can imagine that.

President McKay:  I will promise you that I will do all I can because I know you are right.  Now I leave tomorrow morning for Los Angeles.

Dr. Viko:  Are you going to be able to take a vacation?

President McKay:  That is what I intended to do.  But confidentially only this afternoon matters have come up which require my being in Salt Lake next Thursday night to meet with the Tabernacle Choir.  (Later this date was changed to Sunday).  If I could put this matter off a week I would, but I am afraid that there will be such a buzzing around that we may have to return Wednesday night or at latest Thursday.

Dr. Viko:  Now, that breaks into Tuesday and Wednesday.  We had hoped you could take a rest then.  Would it be better to fly on these trips?  I know you enjoy the driving, but these long trips are tiring.  

President McKay:  The trouble is I need a car, and it hurts my Scotch nature to hire one.  I have looked into that and Dr. Edwards thought he had a good new thought when he suggested that I fly and then hire a car.  Well, I looked into that expense.

Dr. Viko:  But you are worth so much more to your people and the people who are looking up to you, and your health continuing over a longer period of time is worth more than that.

President McKay:  Well, all right.  If I have to come back either Tuesday or Wednesday, I will fly or come by train and then I will have the car down there after this.

Dr. Viko:  You will have more time to relax and rest.  I know that driving gives you a rest from the phone, but if you could stay away from the people in some hiding place it would be better.

President McKay:  I have a full day Monday.

Dr. Viko:  Yes I know.  I just wanted to point out that you can really be useful if you conserve your strength and energy a bit.

President McKay:  I do appreciate your concern.

Dr. Viko:  You have been on my conscience ever since yesterday morning.

President McKay:  It is kind of you, and it is gracious of you, and I appreciate it.  I have full confidence in you.  I am going to keep close to you.

Dr. Viko:  Instead of waiting for something to go wrong, let’s delay it.

President McKay:  Thank you very much.  I appreciate it!”

Mon., 6 Jan., 1958:

“Note:  (by secretary)  President McKay was somewhat depressed today, having learned from Dr. Richard Sonntag, eye specialist, that a cataract is forming on his good eye.  This will probably mean an eye operation sometime during this year.  President McKay told Dr. Sonntag of his coming appointments – temple dedications in New Zealand and London, and he told President McKay that he could fit him up with eyeglasses for a year.”

Tuesday, February 18, 1958

Memo To:  Clare Middlemiss Date:  February 20, 1958

From:          Sister S. Spafford

Re:       Interview with President David O. McKay regarding a request from

      Dr. G.E. Burney, Surgeon General of the United States Department

      of Health, for a representative of Relief Society to attend the National

      Conference on Nursing Homes and Homes for the Aged, Washington,

        D.C., February 25-28, 1958.

On February 18, 1958 Sister Belle S. Spafford discussed wtih President David O. McKay a request received from Dr. G.E. Burney, Surgeon General of the United States Health Service, for a representative of Relief Society to attend the National Conference on Nursing Homes and Homes for the Aged to be held in Washington, D.C. February 25-28, 1958.  The Conference is being called by the Public Health Service in the belief that definite recommendations can be developed which will assist the nation in developing positive programs for the care of the chronically ill and the aged.

Sister Spafford explained to President McKay that inasmuch as nursing home care of the aged has not been assigned to Relief Society, it had been her first impression that Relief Society would not send a representative to the Conference.  However, upon further consideration she felt a responsibility to refer the request to President McKay in the event he would wish someone, either a Relief Society representative or someone else, to attend the Conference.

Sister Spafford further explained to President McKay that Dr. Robert Hansen, Program Consultant for Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Region 8, Headquarters at Denver, had called at the office following receipt of the request from Dr. Burney.  Dr. Hansen is familiar with the welfare activities of the Church.  He has given to Relief Society extensive and excellent help in the health examinations and health care of the Indian children in the Indian Placement Program.  Dr. Hansen explained to Sister Spafford that the invitation to attend the Washington Conference had been extended to Relief Society upon his solicitation.  He said this Conference was the first national planning conference ever to be held in the interest of the aged.  He felt it was important that the Latter-day Saint Church should be represented inasmuch as they had such a sound approach to the care of the aged.  He felt that the concern of the Latter-day Saint Church for the well-being of people, including the aged, was so deeply rooted in the philosophy of the Church that it was important on the national level.  He urged that a representative be sent.

President McKay authorized Sister Spafford to attend the Conference and suggested that she take someone with her, either Mrs. Margaret M. Keller, Director of the Relief Society Social Service and Child Welfare Department, or someone else whom she and her counselors would wish to designate.  He said he would leave decision as to who should accompany Sister Spafford with the Relief Society presidency.  He requested that a report of the Conference be submitted to the First Presidency.

Later, Sister Spafford reported that she had called those in charge of the Conference, and learned that she could not bring another person with her, so she will have to go alone to the Conference.”

Fri., 28 Feb., 1958:

Friday, February 28, 1958


          699 East South Temple Street

    Salt Lake City, Utah

      February 27, 1958

Mr. Ariel S. Ballif, President

New Zealand Mission

P.O. Box 72

Auckland C. 1, New Zealand Re:  Trip of Pres. David O. McKay 

to New Zealand

Dear President Ballif:

I have been checking on the health of President McKay for a number of years.  As you know, he has been and still is unusually vigorous for a man of his age.  Nevertheless, it is necessary for him to conserve his energy with the extremely busy life that he leads.

Since this trip to the dedication of the temple in New Zealand comes so soon after the Spring Conference and since he will have another trip and dedication in London in the fall before the Fall Conference, his son, Dr. Edward McKay, and I have pursuaded him to permit us to make some suggestions for restrictions on the New Zealand trip.

With this in mind, President McKay sent us the itinery and schedule for that trip.  In going over it, we found that you have been very kind in providing free periods for him.  However, knowing how anxious a great many people will be to meet him, talk with him, and shake his hand, and knowing very well how much President McKay loves people, being with them, and how difficult it is for him to refuse anyone, we feel that it will be necessary to ‘spell out’ those free periods lest no matter how good your intentions are his kindness of heart will permit him to do more than he should do.

President McKay has agreed to the following suggestions insofar as they are practicable:  As we see it, the periods of greatest fatigue for him will be, first, the long flight from Honolulu to Auckland and, still more, the long series of two meetings a day during the dedication ceremonies.  We feel that at least half of each of Thursday, April 17 and Friday, April 18 should be completely free for him.  We are inclined to believe that it would be better if he could stay at a hotel those two days rather than at the Mission Home.  It would probably be nearly impossible with him at the Mission Home not to be constantly meeting people and we feel that he should be secluded to obtain proper rest.

During the period of Saturday, April 19, including Friday, April 25, he will be extremely busy with the Temple and school dedications with most days, two long meetings a day.  We feel that on those days his evenings should be completely free and in seclusion.  It also would seem highly desirable that at the end of each meeting (as was done in Switzerland last year) the audience be asked to remain seated until President McKay has left the place of meeting.  This would avoid the probably otherwise inevitable series of meetings and handshakings that would be too tiring for him.

We note that in Hamilton, you have provided an option for him to stay at the Temple President’s home or at a hotel and, for the reasons mentioned above, we would consider the latter preferable.

We raised the question of whether, if reservations could be changed, it might be better if he flew to Nandi and stayed at Suva in the hotel a day or two earlier than was planned.  This would give him a longer period there at Suva to recover from the fatigue of the meetings in Hamilton.  No doubt, too, at Suva there would be fewer people seeking meetings with him than at either Hamilton or Auckland.

We are taking the liberty, also, of suggesting to President Clissold of the Oahu Stake in Honolulu, that there, too, he might stay at a hotel and that meetings, receptions, and entertainments be kept to a minimum.  We have also suggested that perhaps he might leave Honolulu earlier than the 10th – perhaps on the 7th or 8th, if reservations could be changed to that effect.  This would permit him a couple of extra days for rest before returning to his duties in Salt Lake.

We know that these restrictions will be a disappointment to a great many people who would like to have personal contact with the President, but feel that they are necessary to conserve his energies for the great many duties and responsibilities ahead of him in this very busy year.  We are sure that you will do everything possible to spare him and now feel that the President himself will help you in these restrictions.

Sincerely yours,

(signed) L.E. Viko


(This same letter went to Brother Edward L. Clissold, President of the Oahu Stake)

February 28, 1958


  Office of the New Zealand Mission

Box 72

    Auckland, C.L., New Zealand

March 18, 1958

Re:  President McKay’s schedule in New Zealand

Dr. L.E. Viko

Inter-Mountain Clinic

699 East South Temple Street

Salt Lake City 2, Utah


Dear Dr. Viko:

I greatly appreciate your letter of February 27th and was very happy to receive your information relative to the welfare of President McKay.  We too are very anxious and very much concerned about him.  You can rest assured that we will do everything in our power to protect and preserve his strength while he is in New Zealand.

Your suggestion for his rest periods will be strictly observed.  However, we feel that in the mission home and the temple president’s home, where we can absolutely regulate the comings and goings of people, he will be much better protected than in a hotel where the crowds will gather.

We will do our very best to see that his strength is preserved and that he returns as well as he arrives.  Again I am grateful for the information that you have forwarded to us.

Sincerely yours,

/signed/ Ariel S. Ballif

  Mission President


Tues., 25 Mar., 1958:

From my home where I am recuperating from a virus infection, I called President Stephen L. Richards at the Church Office during the regular meeting of the First Presidency.  In answer to his question as to how my health is today, I told him that I am feeling all right, but that I do not seem to be getting well enough to come to the office.  President Richards said that he thought it would take time to get my strength back following the virus infection that has attacked me.  I said that it seemed unusual for me – that I have no fever, but the illness just hangs on.  I then asked President Richards to excuse me from the meeting of the First Presidency this morning, and President Richards answered:  ‘We shall not only excuse you, but we shall pray that you will save your strength, so that you will be able to build up for the responsibilities ahead.’  I thanked President Richards and said that I should try to come down tomorrow morning.

Fri., 28 Mar., 1958:

March 28, 1958

Telephone conversation with President Stephen L. Richards, Friday, March 28, 1958.

President Richards:  Good morning, President McKay.  President Clark and I were wondering how you are coming.

President McKay:  Well, I am moving along at a snail’s pace.

President Richards:  Well, take the snail’s pace if it is necessary.  Would you like us to go forward with the Educational Meeting of the B.Y.U. at 11 a.m. today?

President McKay:  Yes, as I think I had better not come down today.

President Richards:  Did you take any bad results from coming down yesterday?

President McKay:  No, I am pretty sure I did not.  I called the doctor and reported to him exactly what happened.  Everything is all right I think.  He wants to see me Monday morning.

President Richards:  Well, take the snail’s pace if necessary.  President Clark says to cut it in half.  We hope you do feel better soon, but I do not believe you can rush it; you have to let nature undertake the healing process and give strength to you.

President McKay:  I have been lying down all morning; I feel about the same as I did yesterday.

President Richards:  You just simply have to take it as easy as you can and get your strength back.  Things ahead are more important.

President McKay:  I shall just have to get things in hand next week.  So I shall take it easy today and throw things to the wind and go at it.

President Richards:  Be careful and do not over do it.  If you do, it will set you back.

President McKay:  I think things are moving along all right, but so slowly that it is provoking.  Are you folks feeling all right?

President Richards:  Yes, our prayers are with you.

President McKay:  Well, thank you for calling.”

Friday, July 11, 1958

Dear President Richards:

Your note of July 9, 1958, dictated to Irene, has just been read to me, and I have taken it in to read to Brother Clark.

. . . .

You inquire about my eyesight.  I am pleased to report that yesterday the doctor gave me my first lens, with the remark:  ‘Your favorable condition puts you at the head of the class.’  I am just now adjusting myself to a new world.  Everything is different–the grass is greener, the sky bluer, associates more outstanding, but sometimes the world itself is rocking.  It is now a matter of adjustment.

Thursday, November 13, 1958

President McKay made the following report:

‘Four weeks ago on Friday morning I went to the hospital preparatory to having an operation on my left eye.  It was performed and proved to be successful.  It takes about a month to recuperate and to get back to normal.  During this time I have been encouraged and blessed by your personal assurances, by letters and by calls.  I thank you for your love and faith and prayers.  I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to you, my brethren, for your sustaining prayers of this period.

‘During this operation, as you know, the great caution the doctors give is that there shall be no jar, no stooping over, to give nature opportunity to recuperate.  It is quite a serious operation.  They used to hold the head of the patient in sandbags for several days, and weeks in some instances, so there would be no movement.  Fortunately now this is not necessary after the first week.  The first week you have to be very careful, but during that time I had the attendance of nurses 24 hours a day.  They would not trust me because I threw my hands up.  Every one in a while I would be awakened by a gentle hand taking my hand down and putting it by my side.

‘When I got home and could move around I suppose I was obstreperous, but nothing happened.  Tonight I believe I will get the necessary lenses put in for this eye, so for the first time in a year I will be able to focus and use two eyes.  I hope so.  But I do appreciate your faith and prayers as expressed in person and letter, and acknowledge in your presence the blessings of the Lord, and his guidance and protection.

Sun., 23 Nov., 1958:

“This morning I rested, trying to regain my physical health.  The two operations for cataract this year, the dedication of two temples in foreign lands, the presiding at and conducting two General conferences of the Church, in addition to the myriads of Church problems which have arisen during this year, have taken a toll of my health, and I am having a difficult time regaining my strength.”

Fri., 5 Dec., 1958:


Although I felt fine when I returned from California last Tuesday, three or four days of pressing problems and meetings have put me back where I was before leaving for California.  The Church is growing, and duties are becoming heavier and more pressing!

Thurs., 11 Dec., 1958:

“8:15 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

The Committee on Homes for Elderly People (Elders Delbert L. Stapley, LeGrand Richards, Carl Buehner, with Architect Harold Burton) met with the First Presidency and exhibited sketch plans for a building to be used as a home for elderly people.  Explanation was made that the proposal is to erect such a building in the Salt Lake Stake, across the street from the Seventeenth Ward meeting house, the building to be used by Salt Lake and possibly Ensign Stakes.

Approval was given to the proceeding with the preparation of plans which can be submitted to contractors for bidding.”

Sat., 31 Jan., 1959:

“I decided to call on Brother John T. Edwards, missionary companion of long ago.  However, when I knocked on the door of his old home on Center Street, I found no one at home, so I went next door to the neighbors and found that Brother Edwards had gone to a rest home located at 963 South Temple.  I drove up there, and found Brother Edwards on the second floor.  He was sitting up, feeling pretty well.  He is now 92 years of age.  When I inquired about his welfare, he said that he is quite comfortable.  Personally, I am worried about his being on the second floor in this home as there is only one stairway leading upstairs, and if a fire should break out, it would be hard to get the patients out.  I shall speak to Elder John Longden, a friend of Brother Edwards and have him look into this matter.”

Mon., 2 Feb., 1959:

On the way down to the projection room, Mervin Fairbanks of the Deseret News came and asked me two questions: 1) Is the London Chapel story ready to be released, and 2) Do you want to announce anything about the old folks home the Church is going to build?  I answered ‘No, not at the present time,’ to both questions.”

Mon., 18 May, 1959:

“I realized yesterday in speaking at Logan that I can no longer keep up the pace I have been going the past few months, and that I must take a little more rest and gain reserve strength if I am to carry on with the heavy responsibilities of this office.”

Fri., 12 June, 1959:

“At 7:30 a.m. – Met by appointment, at his request, Governor George Dewey Clyde.  He was right on time, and said that he appreciated the opportunity to meet with me this morning.

Co-ordinating Council for Higher Education

Governor Clyde presented, first, the question of a Coordinator’s Council for Higher Education – a State appointment.  He wanted to know if he could use Dr. William F. Edwards, Financial Secretary to the First Presidency, as Chairman of this Council.  I remarked that I knew that he was instrumental in organizing that Council, and the Governor said, ‘Yes that is true.’  I called attention to the fact that we are putting a lot of work on Dr. Edwards, and asked Governor Clyde how much time this appointment would require.  He said he didn’t know whether it would be the Governor’s prerogative to appoint the Chairman or whether the Committee will choose the Chairman.  In either case, he said he thinks it is likely that Dr. Edwards will be made Chairman, and that they will probably meet once a month.  I told the Governor that I would have a meeting with Dr. Edwards next Monday and let the Governor know.  (Later, Dr. Edwards reported it would be to our advantage for him to serve on this important committee.)

Committee on Aging

The second matter he presented related to the State Committee on the Care of the old people of the State.  The Governor said:  ‘Here again I should like to come to the Church — we should like to have Sister S. Spafford to help on this Committee.’

I read to the Governor the telegram that had come from Arthur S. Flemming, Secretary of the Deparment of Health Education and Welfare in Washington, D.C. appointing Sister Spafford a member of the National Advisory Committe for the White House Conference on Aging to be held in Washington, D.C., January, 1961.

I then remarked: ‘Governor Clyde when Sister Spafford told me of this appointment, I cautioned her not to be placed in a position where she would become overburdened because of her great responsibilities in the Relief Society.’

I gave the Governor permission to call Sister Spafford and talk the matter over with her.  (Later, Elder Delbert Stapley was asked to confer with the Governor on this matter, and it was decided for the time being that Brother Stapley will act as Chairman of the Committee on the Care of the Aged so long as it is not too burdensome.)

Prison Conditions

The third item the Governor brought up to me was Conditions at the Prison.  He has in mind the appointment of a chaplain.  I told him that I am not informed as to just what our relation is at the prison.  I am told that we have a Mormon Chaplain out there who is not satisfactory.  The Governor said the State is paying this chaplain $100 a month.  The Governor said he would make further inquiry as to what relation the Church has to the Chaplaincy at the Prison, and let me know, at which time we shall discuss this matter again.

Fri., 21 Aug. 1959:

“Note by cm  5:30 p.m.

When I asked President McKay how he felt as he left the office this evening – and if he felt better than he did yesterday after the long meetings, he answered ‘Not much — I am very tired; but,’ he said, looking upward, ‘everything is all right.’   He never complains, and keeps going no matter how he feels, nor how worried he is over Sister McKay’s physical condition.”

Fri., 11 Mar. 1960:

Suitable Quarters for President and Sister McKay

Today at our meeting with the First Presidency I discussed the need of installing an elevator in our home, or of moving into some quarters where Sister McKay would not be required to climb stairs when she returns from the hospital.  President Clark explained the blessing that had come to him through having an elevator installed in his home.  The Brethren discussed with me the possibility or the wisdom of my having an apartment in the Hotel Utah.”

Thurs., 4 Aug. 1960:

“Left Laguna Beach this afternoon.  Bishop Ferrin L. Christiansen drove Sister McKay, our daughter Emma Rae and her two children, and me to the Los Angeles Airport.

We arrived in Salt Lake City at 7:45 p.m.

We were driven to our new abode — the Hotel Utah.  Lawrence and Mildred had moved our things from 1037 East South Temple to the Hotel.

As we entered the lobby of the Hotel the manager wanted to get a wheelchair for Sister McKay, but she insisted upon walking.  So Lawrence and I helped her to the elevator.  We were taken up to the eighth floor and to our suite of rooms.  When we reached the door to our apartment, I picked Ray up and carried her over the threshold.  She seemed delighted with the apartment!”

Fri., 5 Aug. 1960:

“3:30 a.m.

Awoke at this early hour this morning in new and strange environments — could not go back to sleep so got up and dressed.  Our first night in the Hotel Utah – I am not sure that I shall like being away from our home at 1037 East South Temple, but shall give it a try.

8:30 a.m.

Attended the regular meeting of the First Presidency until 11:30 a.m. and then left for the Hotel.  Later went up to the old home to see to the moving of some of our belongings to the Hotel.”

Fri., 18 Nov. 1960:

Retirement Center, Salt Lake Stake (Old Folks Home)

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

Thurs., 8 Dec. 1960:

“Activity and Recreation of Elderly People

At our meeting of the Council we read a letter from Elder Mark E. Petersen, dated Sept. 26, 1960, calling attention to the increasing tendency toward the organization of sectarian and civic groups in the interest of furnishing activities and recreation for men and women over 65 years of age.  In his letter Elder Petersen calls attention to the large number of widows in particular in the various stakes where he had made inquiry, and makes special mention of the need for companionship of these elderly people.

We also read a letter from Sister Belle S. Spafford and counselors of the General Presidency of the Relief Society, to whom Brother Petersen’s letter had been referred, suggesting that the Church might appropriately open an activity center as a pilot operation in an area where there is special need for such assistance to aging Latter-day Saints who are not homebound.  The Relief Society Presidency refer to centers conducted by civic groups, churches, voluntary organizations, industrial units and others in this country, and also to the Woman’s Voluntary Service of Great Britain under the leadership of Lady Reading, which orgaization is conducting over 1500 such centers for aging people.  Sister Spafford and her counselors emphasize the need of establishing some such centers as indicated for the activity and recreation of our older people.

I mentioned an experience that I had had many years ago when I was Principal of the Weber Academy.  A very prominent man, a noted author, visited the school upon invitation.  The morning following the giving of his lecture, I drove him out to see the Weber-Davis County Canal, and on the way out we engaged in conversation about the organization of the Church.  In passing the Second Ward in Ogden, I used that Ward for an example, and explained to the visitor the various quorums and other groups in the Ward organization.  I pointed out on our left the Ninth Ward and made a similar explanation regarding the groups in that Ward, including the quorums of the priesthood and the various auxiliaries in each case.  This gentleman said he was very much interested in the Church organization, and asked how that plan could be introduced in every city in the United States.  I answered that he would have to have a central organization, and then organize units such as the Church has.

I mentioned the incident that happened yesterday when officials of the Air Force in the United States called,among them being Major General A.F. Kalberer, representing Lt. Gen. Hall, U.S. Air Force Commander of the Continental Air Command.  I was surprised at the comment made by General Kalberer to the effect that if all the people in the world understood the value of the individual as the Church and the people of Utah do, we could resolve this problem pertaining to the Communists.  He got a glimpse also of the efficiency of the Church.

I said that recently, D.L.E. Viko, who is a Catholic, made this remark on the subject of employing the time of the old people:  ‘I do not know anything about your doctrines, but I do know this is one of the best activities for the employment of people who can attend the temple in this area.’

I said that I believed that the Church, and its organization can satisfactorily answer all these questions regarding the activities and recreation for the aging people.  I suggested that the matter be left to the stakes, and that each stake be held responsible for the elderly people in that stake, keeping them in their own environment.  I said that I do not favor an interstake set-up.  I mentioned that the High Priests have their quorums; that the Relief Society sisters have the Relief Society, and arrangements can be made for further entertainment where necessary.  I said that in thinking of the matter, I have come to the conclusion that it would be well to refer the question to a Committee with the request that they give the problem some study, not going outside and patterning after the civic groups, but keeping in mind our own organizations, and keeping it within our groups, quorums, and organizations, just as the Lord has established them.

With these thoughts in mind, I suggested that Elder Mark E. Petersen, be chairman of a committee, consisting of Brother Petersen, Brother N. Eldon Tanner, and Sister Belle S. Spafford, to go over the situation and bring back their recommendations.”

Mon., 19 Dec. 1960:

“8:25 a.m.

Henry Smith, reporter for the news called at the office.  I gave him the story of the Church’s decision to erect an old folks home here in Salt Lake City.”

Wed., 21 Dec. 1960:


Announcement of the erection of a home for the elderly people of the Church was made in the newspaper this evening.  This has been a dream of mine for many years, and I am happy that we have now launched out on this project.  It is my desire that the old folks of the Church can retire in a dignified manner in their own environment where Church affiliation may be carried out under the direction of their Loved Ones.

Wednesday, December 21, 1960


By Henry A. Smith

Deseret News Church Edition

Erection of a retirement center in Salt Lake City where worthy old people may be ‘properly cared for’ was announced Wednesday by the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In making the announcement President David O. McKay explained that the retirement center would begin a fulfillment of the Church’s desire to provide a place for retired old folk ‘where their home environment and Church affiliation could be continued under direction of their loved ones.  We want to aid and not in any way take away the responsibility of their loved ones.’

He explained that the new retirement center would likely be the forerunner of others to be operated by single stakes or groups of stakes.  ‘It is vitally important that we take care of our old people properly,’ he said.

The new center will be located at the northeast corner of 1st North and Quince Street.  It will be designed to accommodate 60 persons in 30 comfortable apartments all on a first floor level.  Included in the new facility will be ……………(not legible)……………..

for a resident nurse, and laundry facilities.

Plans for the building and its operation have been directed by a special committee under the direction of the First Presidency.  The committee includes:  Elder Delbert L. Stapley, chairman, and Elder LeGrand Richards, both of the Council of the Twelve, and Bishop Carl W. Buehrer of the Presiding Bishopric.

The committee announced that the operation of the new retirement center will be on the level of one or more stakes.  It is planned also to bring the Relief Society into the program of operation.

First consideration will be given to those old people who are unattached and who cannot be adequately taken care of by their own relatives.  ‘We will provide for those of our people for whom we have responsibility,’ the committee reported.

The building, to be of masonry construction in attractive style, is the design of William F. Thomas, Salt Lake architect.  Construction will begin soon.

Deseret News – Wednesday, December 21, 1960

Wednesday, December 21, 1960



Only within the past decade has America given much thought to the living requirements of able-bodied old people with limited financial resources.  The needs of the infirm and the destitute have been met, to a degree at least, by public authorities or charitable organizations, but measures for improving the living conditions of other elderly persons have been given comparatively little consideration.

Social security benefits, plus retirement allowances from former employers, are enabling more and more men and women, with insurance or modest savings, to take advantage of the opportunity for a more satisfying life than has been available to older people of the past.

A facility designed to improve comfort and security, a retirement center in which worthy old people may be ‘properly cared for,’ will be constructed in downtown Salt Lake City, it was announced Wednesday by the First Presidency.  In making the announcement, President McKay explained that this retirement center reflected ‘the Church’s desire to provide a place for retired old folk where their home environment and Church affiliation can be continued under the direction of their loved ones.  We want to aid, and not in any way take away from the responsibility of their families.

Announcement of the intent to help care for these older people where they can be visited often by nearby kinfolk, indicates that the new retirement center will be the forerunner of others to be operated perhaps by stakes or groups of stakes.  The new center will be operated on the level of one or more stakes.  This means also that the activities of the Church will be brought to the residents of the center whenever it is deemed advisable or necessary.  First consideration for residence in the center will be given those who have no relatives to take care of them or whose relatives are not able to provide any assistance.

The problems of old age — too generally ignored — are among the most urgent and heart-rending of our time.  They are as old as human society itself, and so are the attempts to solve them.  But these problems have never been so vast as they are today.

The increasing proportion of old people in the population has been a prime factor in spurring interest in housing these senior citizens.  As of September 1, 1960, there were 15.2 million men and women in the country aged 65 or over.  The number is expected to reach 25 million by 1980.

This group has proved itself large enough to command political attention.  One evidence of this is the amendment to the National Housing Act to encourage provision of improved rental conditions for elderly persons, and to ease sale terms on houses suitable for persons of advanced years.  Another is the congressional interest in health aid for the aged.

The perplexity of old age comes almost overnight – when a man dies, leaving a dependent widow, or when he is retired from his life’s work.  Most of these elderly people reside in their lifelong homes, scrimping to the bone, fearing the loss of their precious independence, the loneliness of a furnished room, or the illness that can leave them in a nursing home, or even a state hospital.

In providing this new retirement center, the Church launches what doubtless will provide a practical program to reduce greatly the anxieties of its older members.

Deseret News – Thursday, December 22, 1960″

Tues., 29 Aug. 1961:

“7:30 to 8:30 a.m.

Dictation to Clare.

This period was interrupted by Henry Smith of the Deseret News who came in and asked me for a statement regarding my 88th birthday.  He asked me what I thought had contributed to my long life and I replied, ‘For one thing — do not worry!  Do something about your problems and then do not worry about them.  If you cannot do anything about your problems then what good does it do to worry?’  I told him that I loved life as much as ever and I loved people.”

Fri., 8 Sept. 1961:

This evening all the family gathered together to watch television.  We had been informed that at 8 p.m. KSL Television would have a program concerning my 88th Birthday.  However, something went wrong with the picture tube, and we could only listen to what was being said.

This has been one of the happiest birthdays of my life.  The celebrations began Wednesday, when the General superintendency of the YMMIA and the General Presidency of the YWMIA called at the office and presented me with a beautifully framed and colored picture of the Sea of Galilee.  (see Diary of September 6, 1961)  Celebrations continued on Thursday at the meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve meeting at 10 a.m. and then followed by the most memorable gathering of the heads of departments and secretaries from the Church Office Building.  And now the family gathering in the dear old Huntsville home.  It was a joy to be surrounded by Loved Ones!

I have never been so overwhelmed with flowers, gifts, telegrams, and letters from Loved Ones, Loyal Associates, and choice friends both here at home and abroad, and facing the reality that I am an old man does not seem so bad.

For the past several years I have been prone to consider Old Age as a disagreeable unwelcome trespasser, skulking along to claim any faculty that might show the strain and usage of the passing years; this year at eight-eight I look upon him with a degree of compassion akin to appreciation.  Indeed, if it were not for ‘Old Age’ I should not have seen seventy-five, or eighty, or eighty-five, and most assuredly not Eighty-eight.

Now I am content to let him walk by my side, but shall continue as long as possible to deny the demands of Old Age to take from me the good health Kind Providence still gives me!

This has been a memorable 88th Birthday, and I am thankful and grateful for the Lord’s goodness to me!”

Tues., 17 Oct. 1961:

“At about two o’clock this morning I awakened with my nose bleeding and had been doing so for some time.  I got out of bed, went to my daughter’s room for help.  She was nearly frightened to death when she saw me all covered with blood.  She called my son, Dr. Edward R. McKay, in Salt Lake City, and asked him what should be done to stop the bleeding.  He got in touch right away with doctors in Ogden, and in the meantime Lou Jean and I did what we could to stop the bleeding.  At about 4:30 a.m. I had lost so much blood that I was in a state of shock and the bleeding stopped.  Just at this time the doctor, a non-member of the Church, (Dr. Harold V. DeMars) arrived.  He had called the sheriff, and he and a state patrol officer, and their wives came up the canyon at 80 miles an hour.

Sister McKay had been sleeping and we did not wish to disturb her.  It was suggested by the first doctor who was contacted, a member of the Church, that I come to Ogden to the hospital, but we told him that we could not do that because I could not drive the car under the circumstances, and that my daughter would have to do the driving, which would leave Sister McKay alone, and if she awakened and found both of us gone and found blood all over the house, she would be greatly upset.  So Dr. Demurs was contacted and he came up immediately as stated above.  He cauterized the wound in my left nostril, and told me to lie down the rest of the morning and all the next day, and to call him if anything happened.

I followed the doctor’s orders and rested all day, and felt much better though terribly weak from loss of blood.

The following Thursday, Lou Jean drove me to Ogden to the doctor’s office.  Dr. Demurs explained that I have a crooked septum in my left nostril; that the cartilage had worn away, and the blood had broken through while I was sleeping.  I told the doctor that I had a similar experience some years ago, but had paid little attention to it at that time, and that this is the first reoccurrence of that trouble.  I lost so much blood on this occasion that I feel very weak.  The doctor said that I must be very careful in order not to have a reoccurrence.

Later, when I returned to Salt Lake City (Tuesday, October 24) Dr. L. E. Viko examined me with the thought of giving me a blood transfusion, however, he found that Nature had taken care of the situation and that it was not necessary for me to go to the hospital in order to have a transfusion.  He said that my blood count was normal, and that everything was fine.  He prescribed, however, that I take a rest until next Tuesday, and that if I would do that my body would take care of the situation.

Note by cm

Later, when President McKay could not get Dr. Demurs to send him a bill for the service he had rendered to him in time of critical need, he made a present of a watch to the doctor.  A copy of a letter President McKay sent with the watch follows.”

Tues., 31 Oct. 1961:

“8:30 – 10 a.m.

Attended meeting of the First Presidency.  We took up many problems pertaining to the general administration of the Church.

We gave consideration to a letter from Senator Frank Church of Idaho, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, stating that he is holding ‘field hearings’ in Pocatello, Idaho, November 13, and in Boise, Idaho, November 15, regarding Federal State activities in the field of aging.  He refers to the interest the Church has taken in the matter of looking after its older people and says that he would be happy to schedule brief presentations by representatives of the Church at these meetings.

It was decided to ask Elder LeGrand Richards to attend the meeting in Pocatello, November 13, representing the Church.

In discussing this matter I said that I am opposed to the government entering into the matter of care for the aging.  I explained that we have many old people who can be properly helped within the local area.  When they are incapacitated they have to go to the hospital, but before such care is needed, many of them can be taken care of by their children in their homes.

I feel that the proper arrangement is to have homes for the aged in local stakes where the people can live and have favorable environment, and where they can be taken to their Church meetings by their relatives on Sunday, also if they are under the charge of the Church, what the Bishop gives them can go to the support of the old folks home.  I mentioned the home that is being erected in the 17th Ward, and said that the architects have drawn a motel sort of thing where the people do their own cooking.  I do not feel that that is the proper idea, nor do I feel that we should have ‘poor houses’ such as heretofore has been the case.”

Fri., 10 Nov. 1961:

“Retirement Home for Aged Persons

We then met with Elders Delbert L. Stapley, LeGrand Richards, and J. Howard Dunn, and discussed the matter of the proposed erection of a retirement home in the Seventeenth Ward area, north of the Seventeenth Ward meeting house.  I explained that what I had in mind is a place where our old folks or our aged people can find the proper environment and receive the proper attention, the expense in many cases to be paid by the children of these old folks, and in some cases, as now, paid by the Church, but that in all cases they would have companionship of members of the Church.  They would be entitled to the blessings of the priesthood and Church surroundings, and not be influenced by tobacco and other objectionable surroundings to which many of our aged people are now subjected; that there be privacy where privacy is necessary, and every convenience to which they are entitled, but that it should not be a motel.

Architect Dunn presented blueprints of the proposed center, which he said is designed as a sort of community center.  A description of the building which is planned was given.  I asked about a person who might have a prolonged illness, and it was indicated that such a person perhaps should be transferred to the hospital.  In the building planned there would be twelve apartment units, each of which would be a room that would house two people, either husband and wife, or two men or women as the case might be.  The men would have one wing and the women another.  Each apartment would have a shower bath and twin beds or double beds as the case might be.  The bedroom would be small, and there would be a patio for leisure or activity.  There would also be an open court which would add to the attractiveness and perhaps the homey influence.  The cost would be about $430,000 equipped.  Some modifications in the drawings were suggested.

It was also suggested that there should be constant nursing service; that, however, patrons would be somewhat dependent upon other patrons for service; that it was intended that all these people should do as much for themselves as they can and help one another.  Elder Stapley said that they had talked with the Relief Society about the service that organization might render in connection with a retirement center of this kind, and the General Board are happy to cooperate.

We then talked about the question of taxes, the heating of the building, etc.

I asked Brother Dunn how long it would take to build this center, and he said possibly ten months to a year.  I asked that they start on the work at once.  Brother Dunn will bring this matter to the Expenditures Committee next Tuesday for the appropriation.”

Fri., 1 Dec. 1961:

Aged – Housing for

The Presiding Bishopric had received an inquiry regarding the attitude of the Church toward housing units for the aged, this inquiry having come from the Bishop of the Montebello Second Ward, East Los Angeles Stake.  The letter indicates that there are in East Los Angeles Stake between 150 and 175 widows, and that by bringing them together costs could be reduced and environment improved.

I explained to the Brethren a tentative plan of the Church that homes should be built in the stakes, each home to provide care for the aged in one or two stakes rather than having them in a centralized home, so that the aged would not be required to leave their home environment and go to another Stake or State.  Then the children of the aged could take care of their parents, and on Sundays take them to their meetings in the wards or stake, and contribute for the care of their parents where they are able to do so.  The first duty is that of the children to take care of them, next the Church, and the Church contributes to some of these cases through the fast offerings.  It was agreed that the Bishop should confer with the Stake President with regard to this.

Referring to the building for the old folks that is being established in the Salt Lake Stake, I said that the plan is to provide nursing, that in that home provision will be made for sixty inmates; that they have some rooms for those who may be bedfast, and there will be a good dining room there where they can eat their meals.  In these cases the Stake will have to raise funds, but the Church will assist.  The Church assistance will be on a loan basis.

Fri., 23 Mar., 1962:

[First Presidency Meeting] We took up many official Church matters, among them were the following:

(2) Location of Home for Elderly People

I inquired as to the objection of the location of the old folks home. Brother Simpson said that he had conferred with Elder LeGrand Richards relative to the location of the old folks home. He also talked with Gus Backman and Mr. Jorgensen of the Planning Commission. Prior approvals were obtained. A letter from Governor Clyde expressing his consent on the present location was on file. If the state may consider alternative possibilities some conflict may be created. This report was made to Brother LeGrand Richards.

Sat., 7 Apr. 1962:

“7 p.m.

General Priesthood meeting held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.  This great meeting, with an estimated 66,000 holders of the Priesthood attending, was relayed by closed circuit to 320 Church Buildings, besides the Barratt Hall and Assembly Hall, across the Nation and in Canada.

I asked my Second Counselor, President Hugh B. Brown, to conduct this meeting.  This was the first time in eleven years since becoming President that I have turned this responsibility over to someone else.

Sat., 30 June 1962:

“At 7:30 this morning I went over to the Deseret Gymnasium for a massage.  Since I am unable to get the exercise I need, I feel that having these massages will keep my muscles flexible, and I feel that they are already helping me.

From the gymnasium, I went over to the office where I spent the morning taking care of Church duties.”

Sat., 8 Sep., 1962:

“Family Birthday Party in Huntsville

Following the funeral services, Sister McKay and I joined other members of the family who drove us up to Huntsville where we arrived fifty minutes later.

The children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and my four sisters were gathered at the old family home for a family birthday dinner. My, how I enjoyed being with all of them in this dearly beloved home! We had a delicious dinner, with all the trimmings, and a beautiful birthday cake!

The children enjoyed themselves with sports and games, while Sister McKay and other members of the family sat around and talked.

It was really cold, as the temperatures had dropped suddenly.

One of the things which pleased me very much today was the visit of Dr. Edward I. Rich, who is now 95 years of age. He came up to Huntsville from Ogden to convey his birthday congratulations personally. I thought this was a wonderful thing for him to do, and I sincerely appreciated it.

While we were enjoying this family party, a car drove up, and a woman got out and came to the door.  She said she was a Sunday School teacher from the Bountiful Second Ward, and wondered if I would just wave at her Sunday School children.  She was accompanied by a Brother Raymond Pace who is a Stake Mission Supervisor. I, of course, invited the children in and greeted and shook hands with each one.

A little later, another Sunday School class from Salt Lake City came up, so I stopped to greet and shake hands with them.

We also entertained newspaper reporters and photographers from Salt Lake City and Ogden. Pictures were taken of the family group, and of Sister McKay and men with the birthday cake. (See newspaper clippings following)

Thus ended one of then most gratifying, most appreciated birthdays I have

ever had! I was truly happy that Sister McKay was well enough to be by my side (and very thankful for this blessing).

When I was in my twenties, I thought anyone over eighty would be wellweighted with years, and his happy days gone. But I was mistaken, for now at eighty-nine, though each passing day comes laden with responsibilities, it also brings much pleasure, good health and happiness, and, best of all, the companionship of Loved Ones and Loyal Friends. With these, Old Age is truly an endurable companion.

I am thankful and grateful for my Loved Ones, my Associates of the General Authorities, those closely associated with me at the office, and all my Loyal Friends!

Tues., 25 Sep., 1962:

“Note:  Newspaper announcement of the nearing of completion of the LDS Retirement Center at First North, near Quince Street.  This project commenced under President McKay’s direction, has been a dream of his for many years.  (See newspaper clipping following.)

[Salt Lake Tribune, Tues., 25 Sep., 1962:]


Just who will be among the first 60 persons to occupy the Salt Lake Retirement Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not been decided definitely although a policy will be reached soon, it was announced Monday by Glen P. Umberger, Salt Lake LDS Stake President.

The $100,000 structure composed of 30 units is nearing completion on 1st North between West Temple and Quince St. (150 West).

Mr. Umberger said some applications have been received but no one has been accepted.

He said applicants will be screened by a committee composed of the Salt Lake Stake Relief Society presidency, a physician, an educator and himself.

“We hope that the policy of the center will be made soon so that an announcement can be made at our quarterly conference to be held during the middle of October,” Mr. Umberger said.

It is expected the building will be ready for occupancy in the latter part of October.”

Fri., 11 Jan. 1963:

“7:15 a.m.

My son, Lawrence, called for me at the apartment and drove me up to Dr. L.E. Viko’s office where Dr. Viko gave me a physical examination.  Following the examination, Dr. Viko said:  ‘You are physically sound; I can find nothing wrong, excepting you are working too hard, and should put on some weight.’  I now weigh only 165 pounds!

Sun., 7 Apr. 1963:

“President Hugh B. Brown later reported to President McKay’s secretary that during one of the sessions of the Annual Conference he leaned over to President McKay, during an address by one of the General Authorities, and mentioned what dynamic men we now have in the Church.  He said to President McKay, ‘With men like that, we do not have to worry about what will happen to the Church after we are gone.’

To that, President McKay responded, ‘I do not know about you, President Brown, but I am not going anywhere.'”

Fri., 3 May 1963:

Note by CM

Mrs. Royal Eccles (Cleon Rich, daughter of Dr. Edward I. Rich), of Ogden, Utah, called at the office and left a walking cane for President McKay.  She said it is a present from her father to President McKay.  She explained that her father had had an operation for removal of cataracts on his eyes as had President McKay, and that her father now never leaves the house without taking his cane with him.  He thinks it will help to steady President McKay when he is walking alone on the streets.  The cane is very lightweight, yet sturdy, and is of ‘Malacca’ wood.  Dr. Rich, a longtime friend, is now in his 94th year.

President McKay consented to ‘try it out’.  He used it for the first time Friday when he walked down Main Street to his son Robert’s Jewelry Shop.  He admitted that walking down there and back was a little too much for him.  He said an elderly German woman stopped him just as he reached Robert’s shop and cried:  ‘Oh, President McKay!  You shouldn’t be out on the streets alone; you will fall; Oh, President McKay, have someone help you!’  President McKay had to smile, because he was stronger on his feet than the woman herself.  Nevertheless, Robert walked with his father back to the Hotel Utah.

President McKay used the cane for the next few days, and then gave it up.”

Tues., 7 May 1963:

“Went to Huntsville today.  After taking care of some chores, decided to take a ride on ‘Sonny Boy’.  He has been out in the fields all winter and has fattened up.  He looks wonderful, however, is very nervous.  My son Llewelyn was putting the saddle on him, and I was holding the rope which was around his neck, when the saddle blanket slid off his back.  This scared ‘Sonny Boy’, and as he bolted from fright, I was knocked down and pulled along on the ground for about a block.  However, he stopped and I was not hurt.  We finally saddled him, and he was his usual self, and I had a very good ride on his, which I enjoyed thoroughly.

When I returned home in the later afternoon, I said nothing about this incident to Sister McKay as she would have worried a great deal about it.”

Wed., 15 May 1963:

Note by CM

Experience Indicating How President McKay Fills Appointments No Matter How Tired He Is

President McKay reported to his secretary the following morning that he was so tired when he reached home following the Banquet (having had an extremely busy day at the office), he decided to take a hot bath in order that he could relax before going to bed.  However, somehow, he got drowsy while bathing and fell asleep in the tub.  He said that he awoke at 3:00 a.m. and found himself still in the tub in cold water.  Said that he didn’t say anything to Sister McKay because he thought it would worry her.  Despite this experience, President McKay appeared at the office the next morning in a cheerful spirit and feeling very well.

Thurs., 13 June 1963:

8:00 to 8:30 a.m.

Dictation to Clare.  Before we started on the day’s work, I told her that it is absolutely folly for me to attempt to do what I did yesterday — working under pressure for long hours without rest; that this morning I felt so nervous that I could not sign my name.  I said that I know I should slow up and take some rest, but that important matters keep crowding in every day, and that I do not feel free to leave.

3:15 to 5:00 p.m.

Meeting with my secretary, Clare.  We discussed the increasing amount of work in the office, and the mounting responsibilities, etc.  I said that I do not feel free to leave the office.  As I reported this morning, I was tired yesterday, but have repeated the long hours today.  I said that it is the decisions that have to be made that take the virtue out of a man.

Wed., 3 July 1963:

“2:00 p.m.

The long meetings this morning, filled with perplexing problems, had really taken its toll, because as I left the office for home I was trembling so hard that I could hardly walk.  My secretary, who was greatly alarmed, called Brother Wright in the outer hall and told him to see that I got home immediately.  I am more sure than ever that I should get away for a few days.”

Tues., 13 Aug. 1963:

“4:35 p.m.

Greeted and shook hands with Mrs. Robert Petty of Provo, Utah, and her son, Douglas, eleven years of age.  Douglas is a grandson of Dr. William H. Petty (dentist) of Ogden, Utah, who years ago attended me following the accident when most of my teeth were knocked out when I ran into the rope stretched across the bridge of the Ogden River.”

Thurs., 19 Sept. 1963:

“President McKay Reports on Health

I mentioned to the Brethren this morning that I have been under the weather somewhat this past week, but that the doctors can find nothing wrong with me but age.  I said that I do not mind being ninety years of age; that I am looking forward to more years.  I said that I supposed I would have to be here until the Lord says that I am ready to go, and that I would work as long as I can.  I said that my legs are lazy, but otherwise I feel fine.”

Thurs., 2 Jan. 1964:

“10:35 a.m.

Called my secretary, Clare, and told her to leave whatever mail there is until tomorrow; that I did not feel up to doing any more today.  I told her that I do not feel very well; that after all I am Ninety years of age! She answered me by saying, ‘President McKay, this is the first time I remember your admitting your age, or even indicating that you do not feel very well; rather, you always say, no matter how you feel, ‘I am fine!’

She was quite dismayed over my seeming downheartedness today.”

Fri., 3 Jan. 1964:

“10:30 to 12:00 Noon

Conference with my secretary, Clare.  She brought many letters for me to sign — others handed to me were letters of appreciation for Christmas remembrances, and congratulatory letters and telegrams for our sixty-third wedding anniversary.  I dictated notes and letters in answer to a number of these.

Note by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary

When I walked into President McKay’s office at the apartment, I could see that a remarkable change physically had come over him.  He said:  ‘You know for the first time since my illness I feel more like myself — I am better!’  He certainly looked and acted like his old self — eager to be about his Church duties, and the same, hopeful spirit!'”

Thurs., 9 Jan. 1963:

“8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting with my counselors in my office in the apartment

At the conclusion of our meeting, I told the Brethren that I shall attend the Council Meeting in the Temple this morning.  This will be the first meeting outside of the apartment that I have attended since my illness November 9, 1963.  (see newspaper clipping following.)

10:00 to 12:00 Noon

Attended Council meeting in the Salt Lake Temple for the first time in over two months!  I told the Brethren that sometime ago, about the first of November, I was feeling fine and attending to duties, never missing a meeting, when something came over me, and that I have not been so well since, and unable to meet with them in Council Meetings.  I said I think this condition is only temporary; that the doctors say I am getting along fine.  I remarked that I am inclined to accept their word, but do not believe all that they say.  However, I said that I am getting well, but I still find myself weak on my right side.  The doctor does not like the word ‘stroke’, and I do not like to use it, and do not feel that it was a real stroke, but something is wrong, and the doctors have advised that I take things easy, but that is hard for me to do.  I said that I can use my right hand now, even in signing my name–it does not look like the same old signature, but it passes on checks all right.

I told the Brethren that I am thankful that I could meet with them this morning, and participate with them in prayer.  I said that is is a joy to look into their faces.

I told them that every time the doctor comes, I watch his expressions and sayings, and notice that he is beginning to give me weeks before I can join my Brethren again in regular meetings.  However, I have been holding regular meetings with my counselors and my secretary just about every day, so I am in touch with all important matters concerning the Church.  

Thurs., 16 Jan. 1964:

“10:00 to 12:05 p.m.

Was very pleased to meet again with the Brethren in Council in the Salt Lake Temple.

After listening to the reports of the Brethren, I stated that several weeks ago I had a weakness come over me when at work in the office, to which I finally had to yield.  The doctors have told me that it is a good warning — that I have been working too hard.  I said they probably know what they are talking about, but that I think it is a ‘bad’ warning.  However, I said that I am improving very slowly, and the doctors say that I am improving remarkably well!

I told the Brethren that I hope to be around soon so that I can take care of matters as usual.  I have met with my counselors almost every morning in the apartment and have discussed with them the various matters pertaining to the work of the Church.  I expressed appreciation for the visits of these counselors, and for what they are doing.  I also expressed gratitude for the faith and prayers of the brethren of the Council.

I reported to the Brethren that Sister McKay is better than she has been for weeks.”

Wed., 22 Jan. 1964:

“Note by CM

President McKay’s face was beaming and full of animation when he arrived at the office.  He was pleased with the heartfelt welcome given to him by all who were fortunate enough to see him.  As he sat in his chair at his desk in his private office, he said: ‘Well, this is something like it!’  Just before leaving the office he said to me:  ‘Don’t fret, I’ll be here another five years!’  Of course, we all hope it will be for many years longer than that!’

Thurs., 13 Feb. 1964:

10:00 to 12:00 Noon

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

After other reports were given by the Brethren I addressed the group, expressing my disappointment that I am not able to do more than I am doing, and that my recovery is so slow.” 

Thurs., 20 Feb. 1964:

“Report on Health Condition

I then reported that I did not know what to do to get more strength in my vocal chords; that the doctor is prescribing medicine, but that I do not seem to be making very much headway.  I said that I am not gaining very much in health; that it makes me angry that I have to drag my feet; that they will not perform as I should like them to.  Otherwise, I said that I feel all right.”

Fri., 20 Mar. 1964:

“3:00 to 5:30 p.m.

Dr. Jack Trunnell called at the apartment and gave me a thorough physical examination.  Said that I had been having muscle spasms in my legs; that I need a high protein diet.  Dr. Parley Madsen, a specialist in rehabilitation, also called at this time, and recommended that I have some special massages on my arms and legs.  Said that the cane I am using is giving me no support whatsoever.  Later, he sent to me a much stronger cane.  There was also sent to me an ‘Exercycle’, which I can use to strengthen the muscles in my legs.”

Thurs., 26 Mar. 1964:

“10:00 a.m.

Meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve in the Salt Lake Temple.

Blessing Given

I spoke briefly to the Brethren assembled in meeting, and then told them that I should like them to give me a blessing for my health.  The brethren then surrounded me and placed their hands upon my head, and President Hugh B. Brown was voice in giving me a blessing as follows:

‘Our Father who art in heaven, in the name of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, and in the authority of the Holy Priesthood that we bear, we humbly place our hands upon the head of our Prophet, our President, even David O. McKay, to give him a blessing; and we pray Thee, Heavenly Father, that Thy Spirit may inspire what is said, that what we may say may be Thy word and Thy will unto him, that we may be directed by the Holy Spirit to bring to him our love, our blessing, our desire to help; and grant, Heavenly Father, that Thy Spirit may rest mightily upon him.

‘Now, President McKay, we, your brethren of the Twelve and of the Presidency, lay our hands upon your head, and by virtue of the Holy Priesthood that we bear, we give you a blessing for your health, for your restoration.  We bless you that there may flow into your system through the power of the Holy Spirit strength, vitality and life to strengthen your leg, your arm, your voice, and inasmuch as you are approaching and we are approaching a great Conference, that the Spirit of the Lord may rest mightily upon you.

We bless you, dear President, that you may feel the influence of the Holy Spirit and be inspired thereby in every decision you make, and we, your brethren, assure you of our united faith and of our confidence and of our desire to assist and to bless and to help.  We bless you that you may, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, be made equal to every occasion that may arise in the coming weeks and in the coming months.

We bless you that your life may be spared, according to the will of our Father in Heaven, so that you may continue the great leadership that you have provided for us these many years.

Heavenly Father, again we appeal to Thee on behalf of President McKay, who, because of age and the vicissitudes of life, feels somewhat weaker than he was.  O Lord, bless and strengthen him, we humbly pray, and grant that he may know of our love and our affection and our consideration and kindness, and may the Holy Spirit rest upon him and lift him up

and bless him in his mind as well as his body, that he may have the spirit of gladness, of rejoicing, for we confess before Thee, Heavenly Father, that he has given to us a great leadership these many years; and we thank Thee for the great work he has done in the mission field, having traveled more perhaps than any other man in that great cause.

We thank Thee for his life, for his service.  We do not feel that it is drawing to an end.  We pray that Thy Spirit may so integrate and revitalize him as to enable him to carry on effectively so long as it is in Thy wisdom the thing to do.

Now, dear President, we leave this blessing upon you, and with the blessing we assure you of our love and our confidence, and humbly pray that God will bless you as we appeal to Him in your behalf, that His Holy Spirit may give you strength, and that we may each of us do that which you ask us to do, and be inspired in so doing.

To this end now we bless you and seal these blessings upon you by virtue of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood, and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.’

After the blessing, I excused myself from the meeting, and returned to the apartment, where I tried to get a little rest.

Note by CM

It was reported to President McKay’s secretary later, that President McKay was very moved and touched by the blessing that was given to him, and that tears flowed down his cheeks.

Fri., 3 Apr. 1964:

“Rested until 3:45 p.m., at which time I called Brother Darcey U. Wright, and asked him to walk over with me to the Temple, my legs being too unsteady and weak to walk over there myself.’

Sat., 4 Apr. 1964:

2:00 p.m.

For the first time since becoming President of the Church, I asked my counselors to assist me in conducting some of the sessions of Conference.  This afternoon I asked President Hugh B. Brown to conduct the session.”

Thurs., 21 May 1964:

8:30 a.m.

Was engaged in the regular meeting of the First Presidency.  Among matters discussed were the following:

Following my usual report to the Brethren, I told them, referring to the slight stroke which I suffered last November, that I still have a defiant leg and a partially defiant right arm, just enough to make me angry, but that I am getting along pretty well with the help of a cane and an aluminum ‘walker’ which I use at home.  I said that I am better than I was one week ago when I had to leave before the meeting was out.  I said that I am very happy to be able to meet with the Brethren this morning.”

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.’

Tues., 4 Aug. 1964:

“National Citizens Committee for Community Relations

Clare handed me a telegram which had come from Mr. Luther H. Hodges, Secretary of Commerce, regarding a meeting to be held in Washington, D.C. Monday, August.  I previously accepted President Johnson’s invitation to serve on this Committee.  (See diary of July 6, 1964.)

I dictated a telegram to Clare stating that because of illness my doctors advise against my attending this meeting to be held in The White House.  (See copies of telegrams following.)

Note by CM

A later telegram was received stating that the meeting had been changed from Monday, August 17, to Tuesday, August 18.  However, on this day President McKay was confined to the hospital.  (See copies of telegrams following.)”

Tues., 11 Aug. 1964:

“In LDS Hospital

3:00 p.m.

Note by CM

Secretary Clare called Lou Jean (President McKay’s daughter) to see how President McKay is.  No phone calls are allowed to President McKay.

Lou Jean said, ‘Father is much improved!  He wants to come home, but we are coaxing him to stay the rest of this week.  I have been really worried about him, but today he is more like his old self.  However, we do not feel that he is up to meeting Mr. and Mrs. Leonard LeSourd or Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson, unless Mrs. Johnson meets him at the hospital.’

Flaming Gorge Dam Dedication – Invitation to Dedicate August 17.

President McKay received a telegram from Stewart L. Udall, Secretary of the Interior, inviting him to deliver the dedicatory prayer on August 17.  The First Lady, Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson, to be speaker on that occasion.

Clare called Lawrence McKay who delivered the message to President McKay and President McKay sent word back that President Hugh B. Brown is to represent him at the dedication.”

Wed., 12 Aug. 1964:

“Released from LDS Hospital

Note by Secretary Clare Middlemiss

10:00 a.m.

Lawrence came in the office and reported that his father is coming home from the Hospital this afternoon.  The doctors have given permission for this with the understanding that no one see him, not even his Counselors until Monday.  Lawrence said further, ‘We nearly lost him; he had a temperature of 103 degrees when he went into the hospital; in fact he was delirious, and he had difficulty in walking.  The doctors are certain now that he had been infected with a virus.’

I said that President McKay probably caught the virus from one of the employees who was in his office the day before he left for Oakland.  He had a bad cold, and had a coughing spell while he was in President McKay’s office, and President McKay poured a glass of water for him.  The next day President McKay was in Oakland and got chilled when they wheeled him in a wheelchair around the Temple in the night air, at which time he felt a cold coming on.

Lawrence said further that the only person President McKay can see is the First Lady, Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson, who will be here next Saturday.

I said that Milton Weilenmann of the Democratic Party had been in touch with me this morning about Mrs. Johnson’s appointment, and said that Mrs. Johnson is still desirous of meeting President McKay for a few moments wherever he is — in the hospital or at his apartment, Saturday at 10:15 a.m.

Lawrence said ‘Only Mrs. Johnson and one other may come, as father is not up to a crowd – photographers, reporters, etc.  (See newspaper clippings regarding release from Hospital following.)”

Sat., 15 Aug. 1964:

“9:00 a.m.

Called Clare at her home and asked her what date I visited with President Lyndon B. Johnson in The White House, and she answered that it was on January 31.  Clare said that events associated with the visit are recorded in my diary of that date, so I asked her if she would be kind enough to get the diary and bring it over to the apartment so that I could refresh my mind on the details of that visit.

9:25 a.m.

Clare was at the apartment with the diary.  I spent the next twenty-five minutes reading the report of my visit to The White House.

10:10 a.m.

Visit of Lady Bird Johnson (Wife of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson)

Sister McKay and I welcomed at our suite in the Hotel Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson.  She was accompanied only by Senator Frank E. Moss.  No photographers or press reporters were allowed in the apartment.  This was previously arranged according to doctors’ orders as I was released from the hospital just two days ago.  I later learned that all those accompanying Mrs. Johnson were waiting at the end of the hallway, and that when the photographers learned that they could not enter the apartment, they asked to have a picture of Mrs. Johnson with my secretary Clare, showing Mrs. Johnson autographing the diary of January 31, 1964, when I visited President Johnson.  As this picture was being taken, Mrs. Johnson autographed the diary, signing her name ‘Lady Bird Johnson’.

Upon learning that Mrs. Moss was out in the hallway, I asked that she be invited in.  Our daughter Lou Jean (Mrs. Russell H. Blood) was also present during the interview.

Mrs. Johnson was very gracious.  She conveyed the greetings and best wishes of President Johnson, and inquired about my health.  We then talked about the visit I made to The White House last January.  I told her how much I appreciated and enjoyed my visit, and that I was very pleased to meet her again.

Mrs. Johnson presented to me a photostat copy of a letter signed by Brigham Young, President of the Church, and Willard Richards, Clerk, written to President James K. Polk of the United States dated ‘Down on the West Bank of the Missouri River near Council Bluffs, Omaha, August 9, 1846.’  The letter explains the position of the members after the 500 men left to march in the ‘Mormon’ Battalion, and also their feelings toward the Government placing Governor Boggs in charge of the western country.  (See copy of letter following.) 

The First Lady also presented to me a book which bears the following inscription on the flyleaf:  ‘This is the property of Wilford Woodruff, Great Salt Lake City, March 1, 1865.’  ‘The property of Wilford Woodruff, writings from the Western Standard published in San Francisco, California, published by Elder George Quayle Cannon, 1864.’  At my suggestion Mrs. Johnson placed her signature in this book, and she wrote therein:  ‘For President McKay, with the admiration and respect of Lady Bird Johnson, August 15, 1964.’

Mrs. Johnson also presented me with a book written by President Johnson entitled, ‘A Time For Action’, on the flyleaf of which President Johnson had inscribed the following:  ‘With great appreciation for the unique role that those of your religion have played in the development of our country.’  (Signed Lyndon B. Johnson)

Another memento presented to me by Mrs. Johnson was a colored photograph of President Johnson speaking to the members of the Tabernacle Choir in the White House on July 23, 1964, when they gave a concert for him.  The inscription on this picture is as follows:  ‘To Mr. and Mrs. David McKay, with grateful appreciation for the inspiring songs with which your great Choir filled The White House — an occasion we will long remember.  (signed) Lyndon B. Johnson’

I asked Mrs. Johnson to convey my thanks and appreciation to President Johnson for these significant mementoes and to extend to him my heartfelt greetings and best wishes.

After a very cordial visit, Mrs. Johnson arose, and said she must leave for her scheduled appointments, and Sister McKay and I wished her well on her sight-seeing trip around Salt Lake City and throughout Utah and Arizona.  We accompanied her to the door and thanked her for her gracious visit.  (See newspaper clippings following.)”

Tues., 18 Aug. 1964:

“8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Although not feeling very well, I met with my counselors at the regular hour this morning.

Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson’s Visit

I reported to the Brethren the visit to our apartment on Saturday morning (August 14) and mentioned the presentations made to me by Mrs. Johnson.

President Johnson’s Tribute to President McKay

President Brown said that he had visited President Johnson at The White House with the Tabernacle Choir; that, as a matter of fact, he called on President Johnson a short time in advance of the Choir’s visit, and that President Johnson said to him, ‘Take my love and blessing to President McKay.  He is a great American and I love him.’

President Brown further said that President Johnson was very gracious on this occasion and that Lady Bird Johnson remained with the Choir during the presentation of their numbers, and that she stood at the door and shook hands with every member of the Choir when they left.


I reported that I went to the hospital on August in the interest, I thought, of one of our members, and when I got to the hospital the doctors reported that I had a temperature of 103 degrees, so I had to remain and they put me to bed.  This was a surprise to me.

President Tanner mentioned that the doctors had asked the counselors not to bother me at all during the past week, and that is the reason I have not heard from them.

I commented to the Brethren that I am feeling better, but that I am weak.

Wed., 19 Aug. 1964:

“8:30 a.m.

Although not feeling very well, I held a meeting with my counselors at 8:30 a.m.  At 9:45 a.m. President Brown left to attend a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Hotel Utah, and President Tanner remained to take up some pressing items.

President McKay Taken to LDS Hospital

Note by CM

At 4:45 p.m., the secretary, Clare Middlemiss, received a message from Lawrence McKay who telephoned from the LDS Hospital, saying that his father had asked him to let me know that he had been taken to the hospital.  Lawrence said that his father had suffered a small coronary thrombosis, and a mild temperature.

Later, Clare talked to Llewelyn McKay who was at the McKay home, and told him that she was greatly upset over President McKay’s condition, and he said, ‘Don’t feel too bad; Father feels pretty good, and was walking around before he left.  His condition is not serious.’

At 6:30 p.m. Dr. Alan P. Macfarlane telephoned Clare at her home, and said, ‘President McKay asked me to call you, and to give you a report on his condition.  It appears that he has had a mild coronary attack.  President McKay reported that early this morning he had felt very weak and perspired profusely, which undoubtedly was the time he suffered the coronary attack.  We decided to get him into the hospital this afternoon for tests.  There is a marked improvement in him this evening, and he is having no real pain.  He held a meeting with his counselors this morning, and it is a good thing that the meeting with that man from Logan whom President Brown wanted him to meet, was called off.’

Clare thanked the doctor for his kindness in calling her.

Thurs., 20 Aug. 1964:

“In LDS Hospital

Tests were taken throughout the day.

1:15 p.m.

Sister McKay and Lou Jean (Mrs. Russell H. Blood) came up and visited with me.  Sister McKay is very worried — I told her not to worry; that I shall probably live twenty years longer!

Note by CM

5:30 p.m.

Not having heard all day regarding President McKay’s condition, I called the McKay residence, and Lou Jean answered, saying, ‘I’ll let Lawrence tell you all about it.’  Lawrence then said that the cardiogram which the doctors took definitely shows that President McKay has a coronary occlusion – it is small and is on the side of his heart which will not do too much damage.  This means several days in the hospital and a long rest following.  The doctors think if he will take a rest after he gets out of the hospital he could be much better than before.

I thanked Lawrence for this information and said that I am thankful it is not any worse than it is.  (See newspaper clippings regarding hospitalization following.)”

Fri., 21 Aug. 1964:

“In LDS Hospital

President McKay’s condition not too good – is having a little difficulty in breathing.  Doctors ordered an oxygen tent!”

Tues., 25 Aug. 1964:

“In LDS Hospital

Note by CM

7:30 a.m.

The doctor reported that President McKay had had a ‘fairly good night’s rest’, and that although he had not taken tests this morning, ‘he feels that President McKay is improving each day.’

The doctor further said that the oxygen tent has been necessary because President McKay would show signs of lack of oxygen when it was taken from him.  Now he stays under the tent for an hour or two at a time, and then is allowed to be out of it.

President McKay’s Concern for Sister McKay

While lying in bed, I had the impression that Sister McKay was not feeling well, so I called Lou Jean, and asked her what was wrong with her.  Lou Jean said she was all right.  After she hung up, I still felt worried and uneasy, so I called again and said, ‘Lou Jean, what is really wrong with your mother?’, and then Lou Jean admitted that Sister McKay had had some pain which alarmed her and that she had called Dr. Viko who had come to the apartment and examined her, but could find nothing seriously wrong, and that she is all right now.

After hearing this, I could rest easy, but I knew that something had been wrong.”

Wed., 26 Aug. 1964:

“In LDS Hospital

Note by CM

9:00 a.m.

Lawrence McKay came in to report that his father is much better, but that the doctors and family members cannot show too much hope to him because he will then want to come home.

Just as Lawrence was reporting this, President Brown walked into the office, so Lawrence reported directly to President Brown. President Brown then said that President Tanner and he would like to call on President McKay.  Lawrence said the doctors had said it would be all right for one of them to go, provided whoever goes does not stay longer than ten minutes, and does not bring up any Church business with him.  President Brown said he thought that both he and President Tanner should go, and just give President McKay their greetings, and then leave.

9:30 a.m.

Presidents Brown and Tanner called on President McKay at the hospital.  They stayed just a few moments, assuring President McKay that everything is all right at the office, and urging him not to worry.

10:00 a.m.

President Tanner reported to Clare that President McKay looked well, and that he was glad to see them, and talked about coming home.

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.

10:10 a.m.

When I arrived at Room 702, I found President McKay sleeping, so I told the nurse not to wake him; that I would wait until 10:30, at which time he had asked me to call.  I sat in the outer reception room and waited until 10:35 a.m., and then the nurse went in and told him that his secretary was waiting.  President McKay brightened up and said, ‘Oh, Clare!  Tell her to come right in.’  He smiled, and cordially greeted me.  I told him how well he looked, and that it was good to see him.

At his bedside with notebook in hand, I reported to President McKay the number of letters and cards that had come from members from all over the Church; that many had written that their whole family were praying for his recovery.  I said that many have telephoned to inquire about his condition, and to say ‘Tell President McKay that we love him and are praying for him to get well.’

With tears in his eyes, President McKay said, ‘You know, I should like to have a public statement made, telling the people how much I appreciate their faith and prayers in my behalf.’  (See public acknowledgment under date of September 8.)

Desire for Special Prayers of the Brethren

After talking about this matter, President McKay said, ‘Now this is very important:  I feel the need of the united prayers and faith of the Brethren.  I should like to ask my counselors and the Twelve to have a special meeting next Monday morning.  I was going to have this blessing following one of my sacred visits to the Holy of Holies in the Temple, but I cannot leave this hospital room.  It is going to be a problem to arrange this so that the greatest good can come out of the blessing.  Personalities are involved here.  I think I shall ask President Brown to represent the First Presidency in anointing me, and then have Brother Joseph Fielding Smith seal the anointing as President of the Council of the Twelve.  Members of the First Presidency and Brother Joseph can come here to my room in the hospital and the Twelve, the Assistants to the Twelve, the Seventies, and the Presiding Bishopric can hold a special prayer meeting in the First Presidency’s room at the same hour that the Presidency are giving the blessing.  Brother Harold B. Lee will preside at that meeting — that will be Monday at 11:30 a.m.

I reminded President McKay that many of the Brethren will be out of town on Monday, and asked him if Tuesday or Thursday would be better, and he said, ‘No, I do not want to wait that long.’

He then said, ‘You handle all the details of this — it is very important!’

I said, ‘President McKay, I shall go right home and start calling the Brethren.’

President McKay said, ‘I want the members of the family to join in this.  I shall ask Lawrence to get in touch with them, and let them know about the special meeting.’

President McKay seemed worried and very anxious about this matter, and he said, ‘Things are not just right.’

Tues., 29 Sept. 1964:

October Conference – General Authorities’ Pre-Conference Meeting

The question was raised as to whether or not I would attend the General Authorities’ meeting to be held in the Temple on Thursday, October 1, at 9:00 a.m., and I said that Dr. Viko had pled with me not to attend either the meeting of the General Authorities in the Temple or the Conference meetings.  President Brown asked me if in the event I did not attend the Thursday meeting, I would wish to designate those who should represent the various groups of Authorities in speaking at this meeting.  I said I would leave this to President Brown, and that I shall give to President Brown, to be read at the Thursday meeting, a list of the speakers at the Conference, giving the time when each will participate. 

October Conference Proceedings

The Brethren asked me if in the event I attended Conference I would speak to the people, and I said no; that the doctor had said that I should not attend or participate.  The Brethren then inquired if I would wish to prepare a message to be read by someone for me in Conference in the event I did not speak in person.  I made no definite reply to this inquiry.  I told them that I had notified the Brethren who were to speak at the Saturday morning and Sunday morning broadcast sessions.

11:00 to 12:50 p.m.

Had a Conference with my secretary, Clare.  At my request, she read to me my opening message for Conference.  I approved of it, and decided that I would ask my son Robert, who has a good, sound voice, to read it for me at the morning session on Friday.”

Fri., 2 Oct. 1964:

“Opening Day – 134th Semi-Annual Conference of the Church

I heeded the pleas of the doctors and members of the family, and did not go to the Tabernacle to attend the Opening Session of the 134th Semi-Annual Conference of the Church.

This is the first time I have missed attending a General Conference since becoming President in 1951, and one of the few Conferences I have failed to attend since becoming a member of the Council of the Twelve.  Only the world tour of missions in 1921 and the presidency of the European Mission in 1923 prevented my attending Conferences since 1906.

Sister McKay and I sat on the couch in the living room and watched the Conference by television.  Our son, Robert R., read my opening message, and he did an excellent job of it — his voice was clear and strong as he delivered the message with some emotion.  We were very proud of him!”

Sun., 4 Oct. 1964:

“Third and Closing Day of 134th Semi-Annual Conference

Sister McKay and I again watched the sessions of the conference by television in our apartment at the Hotel.  (See newspaper clippings following.)

Later, I reported to Presidents Brown and Tanner that I was very well pleased with the proceedings of the Conference; that all of the Brethren had spoken very well, and that I enjoyed it fully, and that the Spirit of the Lord was with the Brethren who participated.  I said that it was the first time that I had enjoyed the privilege of watching the Brethren’s faces as they spoke.”

Tues., 13 Oct. 1964:

Note on President McKay’s Health Condition – by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary

Although President McKay says he has no aches nor pains, he is still weak, and is unsteady when he stands.  With the help of his ‘walker’, he is able to get around fairly well.  He expressed the desire two or three times this morning to get over to the office, and Sister McKay, thinking of the doctors’ orders, insisted that he not try to go over, saying ‘The Brethren can come over here — it is just a short distance from their offices.’

It has been several weeks now since President McKay has been out in the sunshine and fresh air, and one could see that he is very nervous after having been confined to the apartment for so long.”

Fri., 6 Nov. 1964:

“Oakland Temple

I told the Brethren that in all probability I shall go to the dedication of the Oakland Temple; that, however, my doctors are advising against my going.

Tues., 1 Dec. 1964:

Note by CM

After another half hour, President McKay put on his coat, hat, and rubbers and started to leave.  As he slowly walked across the room with his secretary on one side, and Brother Darcey Wright on the other, he stopped in the doorway and said:

‘You know, I am still thinking about the dedicatory services of the Oakland Temple.  Just before rising to the pulpit there in the Temple, I wondered if I would be able to go through with standing there for over an hour to give the address and prayer, and then there came to my soul the assurance that I could go through with it; I had no doubt, and I was able to give an address at each session and to read the dedicatory prayer so that everyone could hear them!’  The President seemed lost to his surroundings as he talked of this event.  It was a thrill to see and hear him!

He then proceeded on his way out the back door to get into his car.  He stopped on the landing just before descending the stairway, and was very interested in looking at the great expansion of run-ways leading to the new mammoth underground garage which is nearing completion.  It was raining steadily, but he stood there exclaiming at the work that had been done.  As the President was walking on the slippery sidewalk to get to his car, he slipped and almost had a bad fall, but the men caught him just before he went all the way down.  As he got up, he was smiling, and jokingly said, ‘That leg would not obey me, and that is what it gets!’  Tears were in our eyes as we watched him and admired his determination, courage and cheerfulness.  We never cease to wonder at him!”

Fri., 19 Feb. 1965:

“3:00 p.m.

President Joseph Fielding Smith and Elder Spencer W. Kimball came up to the Hospital and gave me a blessing, President Smith being voice.”

Sat., 20 Feb. 1965:

“In the LDS Hospital

I had given the doctors my bond that I would stay in the hospital until today, but Dr. Viko and others convinced me that it would be better for me to stay until Tuesday.  Dr. Viko said that Monday, being a holiday, it would probably be difficult to arrange for the delivery of an oxygen tank to the Hotel apartment, so I relented and promised that I would stay until then.  To say the least, I was greatly disappointed about this.

Was surprised and very much pleased to received a beautiful bouquet of two and one-half dozen carnations from President Lyndon B. Johnson.   This cheered my whole day, and I think it was very thoughtful of President Johnson to remember me.  (See copies of note, letter, and newspaper clippings following.)”

Thurs., 25 Feb. 1965

“Note by CM

At 11:30 a.m. Lawrence McKay and Dr. Edward R. McKay came over to the office.  After reporting that they had just brought their father home from the hospital, they said to me:  ‘Now father’s condition is such that any matters brought up to him which will worry him will have an effect upon his heart, so please do not take up any matters that will cause him any concern.’  I answered that I should surely follow their wishes in this respect; that, in fact, I had tried for several months now not to bring anything to President McKay which would bother him.  Lawrence said that I should take everything to President Tanner, and I answered that it has always been the practice to refer anything of an official nature to the First Presidency and that it was then taken to the First Presidency’s meeting for attention.  Other matters directly concerning President McKay or that needed his personal attention were held until convenient for the President to give his attention to them.

Wed., 24 Mar. 1965:

“8:00 to 8:30 a.m.

Held a short meeting with my counselors in the apartment.  I was very tired and discouraged because I do not feel that I am getting better.”

Wednesday, May 5, 1965

Meeting with President David O. McKay

Wednesday, May 5, 1965, 8:00 a.m.

Held in President McKay’s apartment in the Hotel Utah

Those present:  President McKay, Supt. G. Carlos Smith, Jr., Asst. Supt. Marvin J. Ashton, Asst. Supt. Carl W. Buehner, Pres. Florence S. Jacobsen, Couns. Margaret R. Jackson, Couns. Dorothy P. Holt.

. . . .

Pres. McKay: ‘You have more opportunities in Mutual to see practical religion than in any other group we have.  That is what we have meetings for on Sunday to show us how to act on Monday.

‘Try to teach the boys to be gentlemen and the girls to be ladies.’

‘The Lord bless you.’

‘I have just one more thing to say to you.  Don’t ever grow old.  Don’t let my stuttering worry you in any way.'”

Thurs., 6 May 1965:

9:45 a.m.

President Tanner and I left for the Salt Lake Temple to attend Council Meeting.

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

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

As I left the Council Meeting, I said to the Brethren, ‘I deem it a pleasure and an honor to be with you in this meeting.  Although my old frame is a little wobbly and a little crickety, and I have to rely on this wheelchair, much to my sorrow, but it does save my legs, I want you to know that I love you all.’

Wed., 2 June 1965:

“8:30 a.m.

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

There were several important matters discussed this morning, which I told my Counselors should be delayed until I am in better health, because these matters are so important that they will affect later decisions of the Church and affect the Priesthood of the Church for years to come, and that we must face these problems.”

Sat., 19 June 1965:

“Resting at home.  It is still necessary for me to have oxygen most of the time.”

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.”

Mon., 19 July 1965:

“9:30 a.m.

Sister McKay and I had a most delightful visit with President and Sister Joseph Fielding Smith.  It was President Smith’s eighty-ninth birthday.

As President Smith and I affectionately greeted each other, I conveyed my congratulations and birthday greetings to President Smith saying to him, ‘Always stay young; never grow old!’

Photographers from the newspapers were present, so we let them take several pictures, and after they had departed, we reminisced about the old days when we attended Stake Conferences, traveling by horse and buggy in the cold of winter and heat of summer — of the inconvenience and conditions of some of the homes where we stayed — of the bed bugs — sleeping on cots in hallways.  President Smith said that he stayed in a shanty once where there were sides of beef hanging near the bed, and President McKay told of sitting up all one night with his feet on the table and warding off the bed bugs coming toward him and his white shirt.

We also talked about the good times we had, of the wonderful spirit that existed among the people, etc.  We had a lovely half hour together.

Later that morning, sent a bouquet of pink carnations to President Smith.”

Thurs., 19 Aug. 1965:

“9:15 a.m.

Arrived at the underground parking plaza at the Church Administration Building.  Presidents Brown and Tanner were just leaving for the Temple through the newly-constructed tunnel which leads directly into the Temple.  I joined them, and was thrilled with this new convenience — what a wonderful thing it is to be able to leave our offices in the Church Administration Building and go by tunnel right under Main Street to the Temple.

10:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Met with the Brethren in the first meeting of the Council in the Salt Lake Temple since our adjournment on Thursday, June 24, 1965.  Following the singing and opening prayer, I expressed my appreciation and thanks to the Lord for the opportunity of meeting with the Brethren in the House of the Lord.  I extended my greetings and blessings and then told them to proceed with their regular order of business; that I am unable to do much talking but that I would listen and participate as much as possible.

Other interesting general matters were reported by the Brethren, after which I made the following comments:

Unfortunately, the last three months I have been under the weather, I suppose because of a slight stroke.  I have been blessed in that I have not had any pain.  Dr. Viko was surprised.  He said, ‘You have had a heart attack, but you have not had any pain in the first attack nor the second.’

I have been absolutely free from any pain whatever, for which I am very grateful.  The most embarrassing part of it is my tendency to stutter when I am talking.

I think I told you once before the story of the darky who said to his mammy, ‘I feel all right, I can eat all right, and I can sleep all right, but I cannot work.’  The mammy answered, ‘Sam, you say you feel all right?’  ‘Yes.’  “You sleep all right?’  ‘Yes.’  ‘Sam, that is no disease which you have; that is a gift!’  That is my position.  I feel grateful for the gift.

I am very thankful indeed to be able to come here this morning and be in this meeting.  My wife Ray protested against my coming to this meeting, but I would not have missed the meeting and the reports for anything.

It is good to hear the great things ahead for the Church.  The matter you reported, Brother Hinckley, is of great significance.  It is a satisfaction to know that the Lord is at the helm and there are great things ahead for the Church, and there is a great responsibility resting upon the Presidency and the Twelve to take care of the things the Lord has in hand for us.  We pray sincerely not only as the Presidency but as members of the Twelve that we might be equal to the added responsibility which comes to us because of the favorable attitude of men of importance who are willing to contribute their means to the building up of the Church.  I hope that we as the Presidency and the Twelve will be equal to the added responsibilities which the Lord has for us in the future.  I am glad to meet with you this morning.'”

Thurs., 30 Seat. 1965:

“9:00 a.m.

October Conference – Opening Address Recorded

My son, Dr. Edward McKay, called at the apartment and checked on my physical condition.  We discussed the matter of whether or not I should attempt to stand at the pulpit and deliver the opening address of the Conference or have my son, Robert, read it for me as he did last Conference.

I decided that I would record the talk, and then if I am unable to give the talk, it will be given by tape recording rather than have anyone read it.

Called Arch Madsen of KSL, and asked him to arrange for the recording immediately.  I then called my secretary, Clare, and asked her to bring the manuscript of the talk to the apartment immediately.  Within a few moments Clare was over to the apartment with the manuscript, and I read it over before the people from KSL arrived.

10:00 a.m.

Brother Arch Madsen, and a recording technician from KSL arrived.  I then recorded my talk, which took thirty minutes.  The technician then took the recording to the studio where he played it back and checked the parts where my voice had faded out a little, after which he returned and re-recorded a few sentences that were not too clear.  They said that the recording was exceptionally good, and that it could be played back at Conference, and my voice would be distinct and clear.  So it was decided that if I did not feel well enough to deliver the talk myself, the tape recording would be played so that the people could hear my voice.”

Fri., 1 Oct. 1965:

“Awakened early this morning.  Was happy to note the delightful weather.  It is a beautiful day — the sun shining in a blue sky.

8:00 a.m.

My son Robert came to the apartment to assist me in getting ready to go over to the Tabernacle.  My secretary, Clare, came a few moments later to make some additions to the program for this morning, also to see that I had the manuscript of my talk, and that everything was lined up for the opening session.

After prayer, I made the decision this morning that I would deliver my talk, and not have it broadcast by recording.  I decided that I would ask President Brown to conduct the session.

9:30 a.m.

Presidents Brown and Tanner arrived at the apartment to accompany me over to the Tabernacle.

9:35 a.m.

Sister McKay, our daughter Emma Rae, and son Edward, and the Counselors left the apartment.  We had decided a day or two ago that we would go to the Tabernacle by way of the underground passageway that has just recently been opened.  We left from the rear of the Hotel Utah and were driven to the underground garage where we were taken by a small electric car from the garage through the newly constructed tunnel to the Temple, and then walked through the old tunnel built by the pioneers from the Temple directly underneath the Tabernacle, and up the steps to the Tabernacle proper.  It took just a few moments to make the trip through the tunnel, and we arrived at the meeting fifteen minutes ahead of time.

10:00 a.m.

As we entered the Tabernacle and proceeded to our seats on the rostrum, the people arose from their seats and stood until we were seated.  The building was filled to capacity, and people were standing in the doorways.

Following the opening exercises, I arose and walked over to the pulpit.  Someone had thoughtfully placed a high stool at the pulpit, but I moved it aside.  I was remarkably blessed of the Lord in giving the opening address, for I stood the entire forty minutes which it took to complete my talk.  My voice was strong, and the people seemed to have no trouble in hearing me.

Note by CM

As President McKay slowly made his way to the pulpit, a tense hush fell over the people.  The tears glistened in the eyes of the great body of men — Stake Presidents, Bishops, and other leaders — as they heard President McKay’s voice coming clear and strong.  He stood there, as he has done for so many years, and brought a glorious, timely message to many thousands, a message which is much needed by the world at this time.  There never was a time when President McKay was more loved by the members, and never before was the power and inspiration of his leadership more moving and inspirational than it was this morning.  The people, and all the General Authorities, knew that they were witnessing a near-miracle in seeing President McKay stand at the pulpit, unaided for that length of time.  He inspired and uplifted the whole Church!

Following his address, the people stood and sang with great fervor, ‘We Thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet’.

Excellent addresses were delivered by Elders Delbert L. Stapley, Alvin R. Dyer, and Marion G. Romney.

The Relief Society Singing Mothers furnished the music.

It was truly an inspirational opening session, and I was thankful to the Lord for His blessings.

After greeting and shaking hands with several of the Brethren gathered around to congratulate me on my talk, Sister McKay and I left by way of the tunnel for our apartment.”

Thurs., 2 Dec. 1965:

Note by CM

President Thorpe B. Isaacson came into the secretary’s office following Council meeting and reported ‘President McKay was wonderful at the meeting today.  He conducted the meeting with such dignity, awareness, and efficiency!  It amazes me — the keenness of his mind, and his grasp and understanding.  The Lord is surely with him!’

He then added, ‘At our First Presidency’s meeting this morning, he remembered items that he had asked the secretary to get for him two or three days before, and he was the only one in the meeting who remembered what the items were.  It is wonderful!'”

Sun., 19 Dec. 1965:

“Spent the day at home.

Note by CM

Dr. L.E. Viko called secretary, Clare Middlemiss, at her home and said that he had examined President McKay this morning and that he found that President McKay is not so well; that his leg is a little more involved, and his heart is not quite so good as usual.  He said that they have persuaded President McKay to cancel all appointments, and that that is why he called.  He then asked the secretary to see that President McKay does not accept any appointments for the next week or ten days.

The secretary told Dr. Viko that she knew last week President McKay was not feeling so well; that he breathed heavily and seemed more tired than usual; that she had even made a note of it in his diary.

Dr. Viko said that he had tried to get President McKay to use oxygen again, but that he had turned it aside.

Dr. Viko further said that after he had given advice to President McKay, the President looked up at him and smiled and said:  ‘What if I break your rules?’  Dr. Viko said that there was no answer to that.

The secretary inquired if it would be all right if she took letters and other matters that had no problems connected with them to the President, and he said that that would be perfectly all right, as he needed something to keep him occupied.”

Fri., 7 Jan. 1966:

Note by CM

As I presented letters to President McKay, I noticed that he looked tired and wan.  I asked him how he felt, and he said, ‘I am tired of being confined to these four walls!’

This is the first time that I have ever heard a complaint from President McKay.”

Fri., 8 Apr. 1966:

“4:00 p.m.

My secretary, Clare, came over.  She had the corrected copy of the broadcast talk I shall deliver tomorrow morning at the General Conference.  She said that it had been reported to her that the recording is all set up and if at the last moment I feel that I am unable to give the talk, the recording could be used to broadcast the talk; or if that is not what I want, Robert could read the talk for me.  I stated ‘I am going to give my talk no matter what anyone says.’

Note by CM

Although President McKay’s voice had been weak and he had been taking oxygen at intervals the past few days, his faith that he would be able to give his major address was undaunted.  One just knew that he would be able to give the talk himself.  I was very moved and touched by his absolute faith and his determination.”

Sat., 9 Apr. 1966:

“10:00 a.m.

Third Session of Conference

The Third Session of the Conference got under way.  The Tabernacle was packed, and many persons were standing in the doorways and gathered on the grounds.

I asked President Hugh B. Brown to conduct this broadcast session.  The Tabernacle Choir were seated and ready to furnish the music.  This Third Session, which was reconvened from last Wednesday, will have the largest television and radio audience in the history of the Church.  It will be recorded and rebroadcast over 185 television stations in the Eastern part of the United States tomorrow morning, Easter Sunday, and will also be broadcast to many parts of the world.

Brother Robert L. Simpson of the Presiding Bishopric was the first speaker, being assigned just sixteen minutes, and then I was the next speaker, occupying about twenty-two minutes.  I spoke on Christ and the Resurrection.

Note by CM

There was a mighty feeling of awe and reverence as President McKay was helped to the stand by his counselor and his son, Dr. Edward, who unnoticeably slipped a high stool at the pulpit so that President McKay could sit down as he gave his talk.  This was the first time President McKay had ever relented and given in to the appeals of the doctors and others not to try to stand, and to conserve his energy while talking.  It was a miracle to hear President McKay deliver such a masterful address on the Resurrection and the Reality of Christ.  Although his voice was not so powerful as in days gone by, every word was clearly and distinctly spoken with an appeal of sincerity and honesty that touched everyone’s heart.  He was mightily blessed of the Lord in delivering this address, and the audience was reverent and attentive to every word he spoke.  It was a great spiritual experience to see this ninety-two-year-old man, a Prophet of God, deliver such a powerful message; in fact, it was a miracle considering how ill the President has been.  Tears of joy and happiness filled everyone’s eyes as President McKay finished his discourse and was helped back to his seat.

Elders Thomas S. Monson and Harold B. Lee were the other speakers on this broadcast session.  The music rendered by the Tabernacle Choir was beautiful!

Hundreds of persons were crowded around our car at the rear door as Sister McKay and other members of the family left for the Hotel.  As we rode away, I expressed my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the Lord for the blessings of this morning.  It was truly a great meeting.

Wed., 6 July 1966:

Note by CM

As I was leaving the apartment, President McKay’s daughter, Lou Jean, called me into her room, and we had a long talk about her father.  She is very worried about the long meetings and the number of people who are coming in to see him.  I told Lou Jean that I had made none of the meetings this morning; that they had been scheduled by the Counselors.  She said, ‘Well, something has to be done as Father cannot take all this much longer.’  She indicated that she is planning to take her mother and father to Laguna Beach.  I said I thought it would be a good thing to get him away as he has hardly left the apartment in weeks and needs a change of scenery.  She said that she will not let anyone call him or get to him while he is in Laguna as she is very worried about him.

I told Lou Jean that I had not been away one day; that I had been nearby excepting when I have been hiding out at home to get some special work done that is impossible to do in the office, and that even then I have been available by telephone.  I stated that her father keeps telling me not to go away; that he feels satisfied when he knows I am around to look after things for him.”

Sat., 13 Aug. 1966:

“Note by CM

At 11:00 a.m., President McKay called Clare Middlemiss, secretary, at her home.  He seemed to be greatly disturbed.  He said to her:  ‘Where is everybody — where is President Brown and President Tanner?  I have been calling the office and cannot reach anyone~’

Clare answered, ‘It is Saturday.  President Brown is in Alaska, and President Tanner is no doubt at home today.’

President McKay seemed agitated and distraught, as though he had been worried about Church matters.  He said, ‘Can you come right over?’  Clare said, ‘I am at home, President McKay, but if you will give me a few moments to get ready, I shall be done in a short time.’  Then President McKay said, ‘What is going on?  Aren’t there a lot of letters for me to sign — how are things going?’

Clare answered, ‘Well, all right, but of course not so good as when you are there, but things are moving along.’

President McKay never seemed so upset and worried; he seemed very worried about the office and his work.  Clare then said, ‘I shall come down this afternoon or in the morning, President McKay — any time you wish me to come.’  He answered, ‘I shall call you later.’

In a few moments Lou Jean, President McKay’s daughter, telephoned to me and said, ‘Clare, did Daddy call you and ask you to come down? –you know the doctors do not want him to see anyone this week.’  I said, ‘Yes, he telephoned and wanted me to come right down, but when he learned that I was at home and busy, he did not insist that I come; and said that he would call me later.  I am well aware that he should not get into his work yet, so I did not act too anxious to come.’  Lou Jean said, ‘He has been so sick.’  Clare said, ‘I know, Lou Jean, but he is very worried about his work.  Dr. Viko, knowing how worried he becomes, used to have me come over to see him for a few moments just to set his mind at rest.  President McKay never seemed so upset and worried as he was this morning.  He is concerned about his work, and wants to know what is going on.  But don’t you worry, I shall not come until the doctors and the family feel it is right for me to come.’

About forty-five minutes later, Sherry, the nurse, telephoned to me and said, ‘Did I get the dickens from Lou Jean because President McKay called you; but Clare, I went into his office, and he was trying to get you on the telephone.  He had called the office and couldn’t get anyone to answer there, and when I came in, he took hold of my wrist, and said, ‘Call my secretary; I want to talk to her!’

The nurse said that Lou Jean had said to her, ‘You know he is not supposed to call Clare.’

The nurse answered, ‘I cannot help it if he is dialing her, and instructs me to get her.’  The nurse then said to Clare, ‘I think they are doing a lot of harm to him, keeping you away from him; you are everything to his work, and it would make him feel better if you could be with him a few moments; you handle him better than anyone, and you make him feel good about his work.  I know what you mean to him, and what you have done for him — the family does not understand.  I am going to talk to Dr. MacFarlane because I think it is doing him more harm to let him sit here and fret and worry about what is going on — he wants to know.’

Clare said, ‘He has stated over and over again that he wants to be kept informed of what is going on.  Of course, I can understand the concern of the children — they are so worried about him.’

That afternoon, Lou Jean and Lawrence took President and Sister McKay for a drive up to Huntsville, and there was no further call from President McKay to the secretary.

Later, Dr. MacFarlane gave orders that it would be better for Clare to see President McKay and bring him up to date on his work, but that nothing of an upsetting nature is to be brought to him.  (See diary of August 17, 1966 for instructions from President McKay.)”

Thurs., 20 Oct. 1966:

Note by CM

President McKay Had Fall This Morning

Though President McKay had suffered a severe fall in the bathroom during the night, having tried to get there without bothering the night nurse, or disturbing anyone, he had insisted upon attending Council Meeting.  He said nothing about the fall only to the chauffeur on the way down to Salt Lake.  He had a large bump on his head and was quite stiff from the fall.

Sun., 1 Jan. 1967:

“New Year’s Day

Spent a quiet day at home.  Some of the children called during the afternoon.

The beginning of a New Year!  It doesn’t seem possible that I am approaching my ninety-fourth year on earth — what a long time, and yet how quickly it has passed.  It has been a happy, interesting life!

However, as we contemplate conditions, we know that the old world is fraught with troubles — war and chaos everywhere, even the elements have been on a rampage with unheard of floods and other disasters in diverse places of the world.  The United States has lost many of our soldiers in the Vietnam war, and economic and political uncertainties and crime are prevailing in the United States.

But the New Year always brings hope with it, and my fervent prayer is that our people will be aware of their blessings and that they will be more diligent than ever in serving the Lord and in keeping His commandments.

The following editorial appeared in the newspaper today giving a glimpse of world conditions.  (See newspaper clipping following.)”

Mon., 2 Jan., 1967:

Note by CM

President McKay’s son, Llewelyn, made the following statement regarding his parents to a newspaper reporter:

‘Both are better in health now than they have been for several years.  Father is very alert and full of humor.  They enjoyed Christmas dinner with the family very much.  Both are devoted to each other, and it just seems to grow as the years pass by.  Father even goes in to hold mother’s hand while she watches TV.  He is up as early as 5:00 a.m. to start his work in the mornings before the brethren come to meet with him in his study.  His improved health also enables him to get around with the aid of his walker instead of depending on a wheelchair.  Our faith in his ability goes on with the years.  We are looking toward his One hundredth birthday anniversary.  His vigor and ability to get around surely points in that direction.'”

Thurs., 26 Jan. 1967:

“10:00 – 12:30 p.m.

Presided and conducted the weekly meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve, held in the Salt Lake Temple.

Just following the opening song and prayer, I expressed appreciation for the privilege that I have of coming into the presence of this body of men.  I said, You brethren do not know how noble you are, and the worth of your judgment in matters pertaining to the Church.  My heart is overflowing with appreciation from the knowledge of who you are and what you are.  May the Lord continue to bless you with the radiation of His Spirit — you are His chosen Twelve.  With all my heart I say, God bless you!

I then asked each of the Brethren to make their reports.

President Thorpe B. Isaacson, Report on

Elder LeGrand Richards reported having visited President Thorpe B. Isaacson and his wife yesterday, and said that President Isaacson still cannot talk so that you can understand him; that it will be a year next week since he had the stroke, and he has not come very far with his speaking.  Elder Richards said he asked President Isaacson if he would like to bring his love and greetings to the Brethren, and he nodded that he would.  Elder Richards said that President Isaacson can use his legs better now, and can get along, but has practically no control of his right hand.

Note by CM

Later, Elder Ezra Taft Benson of the Council reported that President McKay ‘inspired us all again today; he conducted the Council Meeting in his usual efficient way, and seemed stronger than ever, his voice was strong, and the words came out readily and distinctly.

When the names for new Mission Presidents were being read to the Council, he asked why he had not seen any of these men, and said, ‘I want to meet them and look them in the eye.’

Elder Benson reported further, ‘President Tanner spoke up and said that he had an appointment for this afternoon to interview Brother Howard Badger for the presidency of a South African mission, and said, ‘Do you wish me to interview him first, or shall I send him to you first?’, and President McKay said, ‘You send him to me first; I want to see how he feels before anyone else has any influence on him.’

1:00 p.m.

Returned to the apartment.

3:00 p.m.

Interview with Howard Badger Regarding Presiding over South African Mission

Brother Howard Badger came over to the apartment by appointment and I interviewed him regarding his going to the South African Mission.

I had a very satisfying and interesting visit with him.  Brother Badger is willing and eager to accept the appointment to preside over the South African Mission.  I told him of my visit there; of the interesting country; of the meetings held with the members, etc.  I then inquired about his wife and family, financial conditions, etc.  There seems to be nothing to interfere with his accepting this call.”

Wed., 12 Jul., 1967:

“Note by CM

President McKay’s Illness 

The nurse reported that President McKay had become ill during the night, and had become nauseated. Early this morning he was very nauseated and vomiting blood. The nurse called Dr. MacFarland, who told her to arrange to have President McKay brought back to Salt Lake immediately. Brother Darcey U. Wright was called, and he arrived in Huntsville at 8:00 a.m. By that time President McKay was feeling better, and Brother Wright and the nurse reported to the secretary that President McKay was cheerful all the way back to Salt Lake.

11:00 a.m. 

Dr. MacFarland arrived at the apartment, and against President McKay’s protestations, had him taken to the hospital for examinations and observation.

(See a newspaper clippings following.)

12:30 p.m. 

Robert McKay called the secretary and reported that he had just returned from the hospital, and that his father is feeling much better; that the measures they are taking in the hospital are precautionary. Said his father was in good spirits and was joking and laughing with the doctors and nurses, and that he is already talking about coming home.”

Thur., 13 Jul., 1967:

“In LDS Hospital

Note by CM

Brother Brent Goates, Administrator at the LDS Hospital, called the secretary and informed her that a series of GI tests had been given to President McKay; that the doctors had found nothing of a serious nature wrong with him. The blood that had caused the nausea was probably from small veins that had broken in his stomach sometime ago.

Brother Goates said that President McKay wants to come home, so the doctors may release him tomorrow after one or two additional tests in the morning.”

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:

“Note by CM

The nurse said that she felt that President McKay was too tired to go to Council Meeting this morning, so she had insisted that he lie down. She said he had not slept very well during the night. She had him in a darkened room, and Sister McKay was just getting up, and it was 11:30 a.m.

Later, the secretary called Dr. L. E. Viko, President McKay’s former doctor, who has now retired, and talked to him. He was very happy to talk to her, and said how much he had missed President McKay and the secretary. He seemed pleased to talk to her and in answer to her inquiry regarding his health (he is suffering from a serious heart condition), he said, “I am feeling pretty well, but I go to the office only on a few occasions, and then I spend my time at home reading.”

The secretary then told him of the situation with President McKay; that the nurse seems to want him to sleep all the time, and that the more she does this, he more he will require at his advanced age. Dr. Viko agreed with her, and said that he thinks it would be better for President McKay to have contact with his secretary, and to hold meetings within reason. He said that he would talk to Dr. McFarlane, the present physician who consults with Dr. Viko about President McKay, and he also asked that she talk to him and explain to him how she feels about President McKay. He said to the secretary, “You know how he feels better than anybody.”

Fri., 1 Dec., 1967:

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

Appointments – Difficulty in Securing Appointments Through One of the Nurses, Mrs. June Noyes 

Elder Dyer mentioned embarrassment in coming over because of the attitude of one of the nurses, Mrs. June Noyes. I told Elder Dyer to stay close to me, and to come over whenever he feels the need to report to me, and that he is to make his appointments through my secretary, and that he not pay any attention to the nurses.

In discussing this matter with Elder Dyer, I said, “They think I am a sick man (They meaning some of the Brethren who have so stated in meetings). Tell them all I am not a sick man.”

(See following minutes by Elder Dyer.)”

Problem With Nurse In Scheduling Appointments With President McKay

As I left the President he expressed that he was pleased that I had come and that I was to see him as needed. I expressed my dislike of coming to him without having made an appointment; that it was embarrassing as the nurse seemed reluctant to let me come in. I asked how would be the best way to arrange our meetings; that I wanted to do what he had asked — that I stay close to him. He answered that I should see his secretary (Clare Middlemiss) and she would arrange it.

Upon opening the door of the President’s Office to leave, I was accosted by Mrs. Noyce, the nurse, who seemed perturbed that I had closed the door. She said her instructions were that she should be able to have President McKay in view at all times.* I told her that the matters I had discussed with the President were very confidential, and this is the reason I had closed the door.

She also referred to my coming unannounced to see the President, which I had done only twice — once last Sunday and again yesterday — and both of these times at the suggestion of his secretary. I will not do this again, not only because it was too embarrassing to me, but because the President had now instructed me to have Clare Middlemiss arrange all of my appointments to see him in the future.

The nurse, still somewhat perturbed, said she was trying to do her job, and that if I wanted to talk to Dr. Edward McKay for any other arrangement I could do it. I said that I thought it would work out all right this way. I could have quarreled with the nurse, but I saw and felt no reason to do so, although she is quite provocative at times.

*This the nurse does not do, for many times the President is left sitting in the office alone while she is either tending to Sister McKay or looking at television. A person may ring the doorbell and stand for sometime before the nurse comes to the door, and then she states that she has been busy with Sister McKay, etc., and the President has been alone in the office.

Statement by President McKay . . . Not A Sick Man!

There is another thing that the President said which I must include in this record. This he said after I had quite jokingly said to him, knowing of his much sleep: “You know President, the D&C states we should not sleep longer than necessary.” He smilingly answered, “Yes, I know, but they think I am a sick man. Tell them I am not a sick man.” He repeated this two more times before I left — “Tell them I am not a sick man!””

Thur., 7 Dec., 1967:

“9:15 a. m. 

When it came time to leave for the Temple, I felt so tired that it seemed physically impossible for me to attend the Council Meeting in the Temple.

However, at 10:50 a.m., I had a firm conviction that I could go, so I arranged to be driven to the Temple where at 11:00 a.m. I joined the Brethren of the First Presidency and the Twelve in their Council Meeting. I remained with the Brethren until 2:00 p.m., and felt stronger when I came out than I did when I went in. I had not been out of my wheelchair to move about for sometime, but with holding on to one of the Brethren’s arm, I was able to walk in the Temple. I went around and shook hands with each of the Brethren.

Tues., 2 Jan., 1968:

“Did not hold a meeting with my Counselors today.

Note by CM 

It was wonderful to see President and Sister McKay sitting on the couch together, holding hands, and looking so well. They looked radiantly happy, despite their advanced years and aches and pains they have no doubt endured the past year. They reported that they feel unusually well, and that they had no complaints. They are happy and thankful they still have each other, and can enjoy life. President McKay still is eager to carry on with his work, and is unhappy when he is not busy and is not kept informed of Church matters that need his attention. He meets with his Counselors at every opportunity, and has his secretary keep in touch with him almost every day.”

Tues., 16 Jan., 1968:

“8:30 a. m. 

Held a meeting with Presidents Tanner, Smith and Elder Dyer. President Brown has left for Palm Springs, California for a rest. President Smith is just back from a siege of the “flu”, and he seems to be better.

I felt well, but had difficulty with my hearing until I called the nurse to put a new battery in my hearing aid, after which I could hear perfectly and was able to participate in the discussions.

Tues., 20 Feb., 1968:

Note by CM

President McKay was worried before I came to his office. I had not seen him for two weeks because of his illness. The Nurse, Mrs. Noall, told me when I arrived that “President McKay is worried — he has told all the nurses from time to time that he is worried, but that she cannot get it out of him what he is worried about.”

I answered, “Of course not, he has many worries, but cannot talk about them to the nurses or anyone else.”

Later, in conference, I asked President McKay if he was worried about April Conference, and he said, “No, it is not that!” I asked him if I could help him, and he said, “No, let it pass.” He said this about three times, but he seemed more worried than usual about things, but he remained silent about it.

I could see that the President was tired, and went for the nurse. I said that I would take up no more work other than the few letters. She came in and took him to his bedroom. Later, she hurriedly came into the office to turn on the oxygen in the bedroom. She said the President was exhausted.

When I returned to my office, I called Dr. MacFarlane, and told him that I had just taken a few matters up with the President, but he seemed unusually tired. I asked if the nurse had called, and, as I suspected, she had. I stated that I hoped the Doctor did not think I had tired the President, and he said, “No, his pulse and blood pressure were normal. He was just tired, not because of you.”

This relieved me, as I knew that the nurse felt that way.

When I telephoned later, the President was feeling better.”

Thur., 18 Apr., 1968:

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

9:40 a. m. 

Left the Hotel for the Salt Lake Temple.

10 to 1:30 p.m. 

I was very happy to be present this morning, and commenced the meeting promptly at 10:00 a.m. I presided and conducted and directed the reports and discussion on the various matters discussed by the brethren. Although I did not intend to do so, I remained the full 3-1/2 hours of the meeting. Many important matters were discussed during that time, and I wanted to consider them carefully.

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., 24 May, 1968:

Note by CM: 

When I entered the President’s office, he was sitting in his chair at the table. He was alone. I could not rouse him; indeed, he seemed to be in a deep sleep, but it worried me how he looked. I shook his hand a little, and he firmly pressed it in appreciation to let me know he knew that I was there. He looked up, with his eyes half open, and seemed unusually tired. I tried to cheer him up and told him how wonderful he looked in his new blue suit, and told him that everyone at the office sent their love and best wishes to him. He faintly smiled, and said, “Thank you, and thank them.” I stayed for about ten minutes, but could not get much response from him.

I left the room and found the nurse who was busy with Sister McKay, and she came in and looked at him. She was concerned, and called Dr. Edward McKay. Edward said that he would come in at noon to see his father.”

Mon., 27 May, 1968:

“Note by President Alvin R. Dyer Re: President McKay’s Health

President McKay continues in ill health, seeming to lack vitality and strength. It was determined to give him certain blood tests to see if this was the cause of his problem, but the test revealed his blood is in good condition. I have personally felt that since the siege of pneumonia that descended upon him some time ago, he has not felt the same, and even though he has recuperated from that, he seems not to have returned to the health and vitality which he had before it. It may be that the medication which he received to offset the siege of pneumonia has had its effect upon him.”

Tues., 28 May, 1968:

“No meetings today — President McKay not well.

Note by CM: 

10:00 a. m. 

Dr. Edward R. McKay called at the office and reported that he is heartsick over his father’s condition. Tears were in his eyes as he told me that it is hard for him to see his father so weak. I sympathized with him and told him that I also have been heartsick about his father; that it had been very difficult for me the past five years to watch his father gradually become weaker and weaker in body. Dr. Edward said that Dr. Macfarlane and he had decided that for the time being no appointments with anyone other than members of the General Authorities should be made.

I then told Dr. Edward of his father’s concern when he does not have a report from his office; that he worries and wonders what is going on. I said that of course I would do anything the doctors thought best, but I wondered if it is a good thing to let his father sit there alone in his office without anyone coming in to see him; that he had told me the other day, “Clare, I am lonely; what is going on over there?” (meaning the Church Administration Building). I asked Dr. Edward if it would not be better for me to go over occasionally for a few moments to say hello, and let him know that this office affairs are being taken care of the way he wishes. I said, “President McKay always seems so relieved if I do come, and if I stay away too long he will ask me where I have been, and will very often say: ‘I thought you had quit me.'” He seems to worry if I am not on the job.

Dr. Edward answered, “Well, you go over and let him know you are taking care of matters, but do not stay too long for the present; it probably will relieve father if you do go over.”

Dr. Edward then left the office.

At 11:00 a. m. I went over to the apartment to see President McKay, and found him sleeping in his chair in the office. As I walked in, he aroused, and I said, “Good morning President McKay, how are you?” He answered with a wan smile, “I am pretty well; but what is the matter? All is not right!” He seemed so exhausted and depressed, which is not like President McKay at all, and I said, “May I help you?” He said, “Yes, right now. I need help.” He then said he wanted President Alvin Dyer to come over. I talked a little to him, and reported that everything was taken care of, that there is nothing needing his attention at the present. Thinking that he might be worried about the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, and the suggestion that had been made a few days ago by Douglas Love, the Manager, President Tanner, and others, that the Company be sold to Borden’s Milk Company, I told him that that matter had been taken care of. I said, “They have decided not to sell to that Company, because they have found out that there are things about Borden Company that are not too good.” That seemed to relieve him, and he said, “That is good; they must not sell the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company.”

I had just been with President McKay a few moments when I looked up and saw the nurse, Mrs. Noel, standing at the door with a frown on her face, but I paid no attention to her. As I left a few moments later, she started to tell me the doctors had said there are to be no appointments, and I told her that I was there with the Doctor’s permission. Theresa, of the office, was with me to pick up some scrapbooks which needed to be attended to, and I told her that I would help her carry the books back to the office. She saw the attitude of the nurse, and I told her that I was glad that she was there to witness her attitude, which is something I have to put up with every time I come to see the President.

While we were with President McKay, men were coming in and out of the apartment, carrying in a hospital bed for President McKay so that the nurses will have an easier time in assisting the President when he gets in and out of the bed. This bothered President McKay a good deal, and I tried to draw his attention away from what the men were doing. (See note on next day regarding the nurse.)”

Thur., 25 Jul., 1968:

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

Note by Clare Middlemiss:

As I had not seen the President for several days, decided to take some letters and other matters to him that need his attention.

Nurse Noyes answered the door. She very reluctantly let me in stating, “He isn’t feeling very well; he is sleeping.” I said, “Oh, I just talked to his son Lawrence who said that his father is feeling pretty well, and had been asking to go to Huntsville.”

However, I paid no more attention to the nurse as it is a usual thing for her to tell me that he is dozing and not well. I walked passed her into the President’s office where I found him lightly dozing. As I walked in, he opened his eyes, and gave me a broad smile, and held his hand out to welcome me.

I told the President how glad I was to see him looking so well, and said that Lawrence had called at the office and said that he (his father) had stated that he wanted to return to Huntsville. President McKay said he thought he would not go today, but probably would go tomorrow. I then asked him if the altitude in Huntsville bothered him at all — it being 600 feet higher than Salt Lake City. He admitted that sometimes he noticed a difference in his breathing.

I then mentioned the 24th of July Parade, and said that I was very happy that Sister McKay and he had decided to come down from Huntsville to participate in that Parade, because I had been told by the reporter at the Deseret News, and by Mr. Oscar Drake, Chairman of the Days of ’47 Parade, that the telephone had rung constantly with people inquiring as to whether President McKay would be riding in the Parade.

President McKay answered: “Well, it was a very fine Parade”, and I said, “You have missed only one or two that I can remember during all the time I have worked for you.”

I then presented letters that had been received at the office during his absence, whlch President McKay read with interest.

I told President McKay that Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey will be in Salt Lake City this evening, and that President Brown is meeting him in the Administration Building tomorrow morning. President McKay said: “What have they told Mr. Humphrey about me, and why am I not meeting him?” I said, “I do not know as President Brown is handling the whole affair since his grandson is one of Humphrey’s campaign managers.” President McKay seemed somewhat disturbed that the news of Humphrey’s arrival had been kept away from him.

I mentioned that President Tanner is with the Tabernacle Choir on the concert tour at the HemisFair ’68, where he will meet officially for the Church the Governor of Texas; and that he will also accompany the Choir to Mexico and will officially meet the President of Mexico in behalf of the Church.

President McKay at this point frowned, and showed his worry regarding some matters that are going on.

I then presented to President McKay three petitions for cancellations of temple sealings, which President McKay considered and gave consent for the sealings to be cancelled because of infidelity and non-support on the part of the husbands.

About this time, Nurse Noyes came in and gave President McKay a drink of water, standing by his side all the time he was drinking the water. She said to him, “Aren’t you tired?” He said, “No, I am not tired.” After the nurse left the room, I said to President McKay, “Well, I suppose I had better go; I have just been told to leave; however, on second thought, I think I shall stay here a little longer and talk to you because it is better for you to talk to me than to just sit at your desk all alone and worry.” He answered, “Good for you!”

However, I stayed just a few moments longer and then got up to go, I will admit just a little dejected over the feeling created by the nurse. As I got to the door and turned to wave goodbye to President McKay, he waved and smiled, and told me to hurry back and to keep in close touch with him.”

Thur., 26 Sep., 1968:

“At 8:35 a. m. I left for the Temple. I had promised the doctors I would remain just an hour at this meeting, but stayed the full time which was 3 hours and 25 minutes.

I called on a representative of each group — Presiding Bishopric, Seventies, Assistants to the Twelve, the Patriarch, the Twelve and the First Presidency to speak. When I called on President Brown, President Tanner spoke up and said, “But his doctor says he is not to talk”, and I answered, “But his President is asking him to do so”. So President Brown spoke for a few moments and did very well. I also spoke to the Brethren.

After hearing from the Brethren, they were given their speaking assignments for the Conference. It was a wonderful meeting. A spirit of brotherly love and consideration prevailed.

Note by CM:

Mrs. Noyes “raked me over the coals” because President McKay was attending the Council Meeting saying that Dr. MacFarlane did not want him to go. I said, “You had better call Dr. McKay because he made the arrangements. “

I called Lottie, his wife, who said Dr. McKay knows what he is doing and he thought it would be better for him to go.”

Fri., 27 Sep., 1968:

“Note by CM:

Dr. MacFarlane called me this afternoon. He asked how I felt and I said, “Tired”, as I had been working night and day on Conference. The Doctor said that President McKay should have no meetings longer than an hour; that he stayed too long at Council Meeting yesterday — 3 1/2 hours. President McKay said he was exhausted when he came home, although he had enjoyed meeting with the Brethren. Dr. MacFarlane said he has an ulcerated sore on the end of his spine from sitting too much. The Doctor feels he should remain off it as much as possible, hold only hour meetings from now on, and then perhaps he would feel well enough to go to Conference. I said that I could see no reason this week for a meeting with President McKay; that I had seen him in Huntsville last week–the first time in a month — had arranged with him for all Conference matters, and that the Brethren were busy preparing their speeches. He said, “Good, I hope he does not have to see anyone.” I said that Vice-President Humphrey will be here Monday, but that President Brown is handling all of his appointments and meetings. Dr. MacFarlane said, “Vice-President Humphrey shouldn’t see President McKay as the President hasn’t seen any of the others including Richard Nixon.”

Fri., 4 Oct., 1968:

“This is the opening day of the semi-annual Conference of the Church. Beautiful Fall weather existing throughout the Valley.


10 a m. Session

Sister McKay and I left the Hotel Utah Apartment at 9:30 a. m., accompanied by our sons Lawrence, Edward and Robert, and daughters Emma Rae and LouJean. We used the new tunnel entrance to the Tabernacle. I was very sorry to learn later that many many people had gathered at the rear entrance of the Tabernacle in order to welcome us as we arrived, and were extremely disappointed when we did not appear. However, it was thought to be more convenient and quicker to take us to jthe Tabernacle by way of the tunnel.

President McKay listened intently to his son Robert as he read the President’s opening address on “A Citizen Who Loves Justice And Hates Evil Is Better And Stronger Than A Battleship”, as he also did to Elders LeGrand Richards, John Longden, and Ezra Taft Benson while they gave their talks.

President McKay was wonderful through the whole session — the same smile of welcome; the shaking of the hands of all who came up to him; his patience in suffering, and an intense interest in all the proceedings of the session. The brethren who took him home said that when he arrived at the apartment, he stated that he felt well, and that he would like to attend the afternoon session. However, the doctors stated emphatically that he should stay home and listen to the proceedings by television.

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.”

Mon., 2 Dec., 1968:

“Decided not to hold a meeting of the First Presidency today.

11:30 a. m.

Clare came over at this hour. She inquired as to how I had spent the Thanksgiving holidays, and I told her that Sister McKay and I had enjoyed them very much and were especially happy to be with members of the family.

Clare asked me how I felt, and I replied, “Do you know, I will soon overcome all my little ailments.”

I went over letters and petitions for cancellation of seatings, and gave instructions to Clare as to what I wanted done regarding them.

Note by CM:

President McKay seemed very worried, and I asked him if something was bothering him. He leaned forward in his chair and said, “Yes, there is something bothering me very much”. He said, however, that he did not wish to record the matter.”

Thur., 5 Dec., 1968:

“8:30 to 9:45 a. m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency in my office in the Hotel Utah Apartment. Presidents Tanner and Dyer were present. Presidents Brown and Smith were absent; President Brown because of illness, and President Smith because of being in attendance at the Quorum of the Twelve meeting in the Temple.

Comment by President Alvin R. Dyer: “President McKay was very determinate in his decisions and expressions, and seemed vitally interested in and took part in all that transpired at this meeting.”

Fri., 20 Dec., 1968:

“Note by CM: 

SPECIAL MEETING of Members of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve

At 9 a. m. in accordance with previous arrangements made with President McKay, the Counselors in the First Presidency and all members of the Quorum of the Twelve (with the exception of LeGrand Richards who was in California) held a meeting with President McKay in his apartment at the Hotel Utah. Joseph Anderson, secretary to the brethren, was present to take minutes.

President McKay greeted the brethren and invited them to be seated in the living room where chairs had been provided. Following prayer and opening preliminaries, each of the Brethren stood and bore testimony of the Gospel, expressing their love and appreciation for President McKay and for his life of service, the great work that he had accomplished, and the example which he had set before them and the world.

This was a most memorable occasion for all of the Brethren, and one that shall never be forgotten.

President McKay was visibly affected, and deeply appreciative of the expressions of each one of the brethren. He stated that never before in the history of the Church was there a greater need for unity and common understanding among the brethren. He was speaking very legibly, so that Elder Harold B. Lee who sat next to President McKay leaned over to President Dyer and said, “The President is speaking very well this morning. ” President Dyer said, “Yes, this was the case also on the previous day when I met with him on some Church matters. Henry Smith was present also and had read the Christmas Greeting of the First Presidency to him, and the President listened carefully, made some corrections, and then approved the message. “

President McKay told of his great love for the Brethren, and stated that those who were there that day upon that occasion were participating in an event that perhaps had not been held before. He encouraged all of the Brethren to go forth and carry on the great responsibilities that devolve upon them.

The President shed many tears as did all who were present on that occasion. As the brethren prepared to leave, after each had spoken and the President had spoken to them, and had given his blessings and best wishes to them, each one of the Brethren filed by President McKay, shook his hand, and wished him the Season’s Greetings and the blessings of good health.”

“Minutes by President Alvin R. Dyer

(First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve Visit with President McKay)

At 9 a. m. the Counselors in the First Presidency with Joseph Anderson and all members of the Quorum of the Twelve, (with the exception of LeGrand Richards, who was in California) visited President McKay in his apartment at the Hotel Utah.

I had on the previous day mentioned to the President that this visit would be made and suggested to Clare Middlemiss that she remind him of it also when she went over so that the President would not be taken by surprise. President McKay is very emotional at such events and I did not want him to be completely surprised as this could have an effect upon his heart. I know this because this is precisely what happened to my own father and brought about a stroke which caused him great difficulty for the last five or six years of his life.

We were all seated in the living room and each one of the brethren stood and bore testimony of the Gospel, expressing their love and appreciation for President McKay and his life and the great world that he had accomplished and the example which he had set before them and the world. This was a most memorable occasion and one that shall not be forgotten.

President McKay was visibly affected and deeply appreciative of the expressions of each of us. He stated that never before in the history of the Church was there a greater need for unity and common understanding among the brethren. He was speaking very legibly, so much so that Elder Harold B. Lee, who sat next to me, leaned over and said, “The President is speaking well this morning.” I mentioned to Brother Lee that this was the case on the previous day when I had met with him.

President McKay told of his great love of the brethren and stated that those who were there that day upon that occasion were participating in an event that perhaps had not been held before. He encouraged all of us to go forth and carry on the great responsibilities that devolve upon us.

The President shed many tears, as did all who were there upon that occasion. As we prepared to leave, after each had spoken and the President had spoken and given his.blessings and best wishes to us, each of us filed by him to shake his hand and to wish him the Seasons’ Greetings and good health. When it came my turn to shake his hand, he held my hand for quite some time. Even though I started to pull away at once, he still held and then said to me, looking into my face, “I love you, Brother Dyer.” I am sure that what he said was heard by all who were present.

It is difficult to describe or to give illustration of how one would feel upon such an occasion. The President had made the same expression the day before when I met with him and Henry Smith. He also spoke of his love for Henry Smith. Visibly, the President is greatly affected by such conditions as this, but it was truly an inspiration to be there and to feel the spirit and the warmth and to have the blessings come from one such as President David O. McKay.”

Wed., 19 Feb, 1969:

“9:00 a. m. First Presidency Meeting held in the President’s Apartment. Present were President Hugh B. Brown, President N. Eldon Tanner, President Joseph Fielding Smith, and President Alvin R. Dyer.

Note by CM:

As I started to present the work to President McKay he said, “I do not hear you.” His hearing aid was ineffective, and Clare called the nurse and reported that the battery in the hearing aid must not be working and asked her to get a fresh one which she did.

The President was worried about the previous meeting, and the secretary said, “You did not hear much of what was said” and he answered, “No, I did not and I am concerned about it.” At the previous meeting Lawrence asked his father about appointing Rowland Cannon as President of the Utah Idaho Sugar Company, and the release of Douglas Love as President of the Company, but retaining him as Chairman of the Executive Committee.

I told President McKay that he had previously met with Mark Garff and President Dyer and that the above suggestion is absolutely opposite to what he had previously decided upon. President McKay said, “Why were not the counselors present at this meeting?” I said, “I do not know; because Lawrence arranged for the appointment with the nurse.

(See Wednesday, February 26, for information of appointments at Utah Idaho Sugar Company Board Meeting held on this date.)

President McKay seemed very disturbed because he felt he had not heard sufficiently well to make decisions.”

Tues., 25 Mar, 1969:

Note by CM:

10:30 a. m. Clare went over to see the President. He was breathing heavily, was a gray color, and would lapse off closing his eyes. Clare went over the speakers list for Conference and President McKay nodded his head in the affirmative. She read a gracious letter from Elder Marion D. Hanks, and assured the President that his Opening and Closing talks were complete which relieved him and brought a big smile.

All of a sudden the inspiration came to ask President McKay if he wanted to be administered to, and gratefully he said, “Oh yes, yes, that is what I want.” President Alvin R. Dyer came over and gave both President and Sister McKay a blessing. Sister McKay was crying at the condition of her husband.

(See President Dyer’s Minutes for his account of the administration)

Then Clare and Brother Dyer went over the speakers again with the President. To appease President Brown it was decided to have Elder Benson follow the President instead of speaking on the Saturday morning broadcast, but to have President Joseph Fielding Smith on broadcast as previously decided.

At 2:00 Clare called the nurse to see how President McKay’s 12:30 appointment with Dr. MacFarlane had gone. His blood pressure was normal. He had too much fluid and was given pills for that. He needed more oxygen and was given a mask to cover his mouth and nose.”

“(Minutes by President Alvin R. Dyer of his meeting with President McKay to give President and Sister McKay a Blessing.)

(Expenditures Meeting – 10 a. m.)

I attended this meeting but at 11:50 a,m. my secretary came to the meeting with a note as follows:

“Clare wants you to come to the phone — sounds upset.”

I left the meeting and called Clare at the apartment of President McKay. She advised me that the President was ill and had asked that I come over at once and administer to him.

As I left the Church Office Building for the short walk to the Hotel, I felt a deep sense of concern with the full realization coming upon me that I had been asked to come and administer to the President of the Church, the Prophet of the Lord. It made me very humble with a little quivering on the inside.

As I reached the apartment, I met Clare and went directly to President McKay’s side and took hold of his hand. He had a light ashen color on his face. I don’t ever remember seeing the President look as ill as he did at this time. I told him who I was and that I had come at his request to administer to him and that if he desired that I do this that I would go forward with it. He clung to my hand rather weakly. Most usually his grasp is strong and firm, but nevertheless he clung to my hand for quite some time. He then said yes, that he wanted me to administer to him.

I anointed his head with oil and then by the authority and power of the Priesthood vested in me, confirmed the annointing and then proceeded to give him a blessing, before which I prayed fervently to the Lord to direct my words that I would say those things that He would want me to have said upon the head of His servant. I pronounced the blessing that President McKay would feel stronger and better and that he would complete his work here upon the earth in accordance with the will of our Heavenly Father and that he would rise up from this illness to continue his responsibilities before the people. There were other things said, but this is essentially what I conferred upon the head of our beloved Prophet.

I felt a sense of great love and respect for him and my whole being prayed that the Lord would grant the fulfilment of the blessing that I had placed upon his head.

After the blessing was over the nurse, Mrs. Noall, came into the room and said that Sister McKay also wanted to be administered to and shortly thereafter she was brought into the room in a wheelchair. As she saw President McKay she expressed how sorrowed she was by his appearance and said, “I don’t like to see him look like that.” She had a very serious cold. Her nose was running, her eyes were all blurred, partially from the cold and partially from her tears. I then took her hand and asked her if she wanted me to give her a blessing and she said yes. I therefore annointed her head with oil and confirmed it and gave her a blessing by the power of the Priesthood, after having suplicated the Lord for direction as to His will in the matter of conferring the blessing upon the companion and wife of our beloved Prophet and President.

I promised her that she would be made well, that shewould be strengthened and would continue to stand by the side of her husband and be in his presence to fulfill their work here upon the earth.

There was a most beautiful feeling in the room. All of us were in tears and felt the nearness of the Spirit as it ministered unto these two wonderful individuals, chosen servants of our Heavenly Father.

I then sat down by the side of the President again and took hold of his hand and spoke of the coming Conference — of the great blessing to the people he would be to be able to see his presence — and he, I believe, sensing the great importance of this event in the life of the members of the Church, leaned his head back against the chair and then uttered these words, “Oh Lord, help us.”

As Sister Middlemiss and I stood there in the presence of President McKay, and after feeling the sweet influence of the Spirit, there was a strong feeling that came over me which manifested the great love and respect that Sister Middlemiss had for President McKay and of her long, long association with him and of her deep concern for him and his wellbeing and that of Sister McKay. I appreciated upon that occasion, as I perhaps have never done before, the great service that Sister Middlemiss has rendered to President McKay.

While there I learned from President McKay that it was his desire that President Joseph Fielding Smith speak on one of the broadcast sessions.

I then left the presence of President McKay and returned to the Office Building. As I came in the front door I noticed President Brown coming out of the Expenditure Committee meeting. We met in the front foyer and he said, “Oh, you came out of the meeting too.” He knew, of course, I assumed, since I came in the front door, that I had been over to see President McKay. I told him then what had transpired. By the look on his face I do not know what he thought inside. I would assume that he wondered why, perhaps, he had not been called over to give the blessing to President McKay. This, of course, did not affect me. I don’t even know for sure that he was thinking this, but by his mannerisms I seemed to sense it. I told him that the President had stated that he wanted President Joseph Fielding Smith to speak on one of the broadcast sessions and that it had been decided to move Brother Benson to the Friday session and Brother Hinckley to the Saturday morning broadcast session. President Brown readily agreed with this.”

Wed., 2 Apr, 1969:

“Note by CM:

7:20 a. m.   Clare called the nurse Mrs. Larson who reported President McKay had a fairly good night but still is very weak.

11:10 a. m. President McKay had an appointment with Dr. MacFarlane. He talked to the President and advised him not to attempt to attend any sessions of Conference. “Your condition is such that you might not hold up for an entire meeting, and you would dislike to have to be taken out of the meeting before a large Conference audience. President McKay reluctantly agreed with him, but said if he felt better he would change his mind.

Dr. MacFarlane then left the office and visited with secretary Clare a few moments. Talked about President McKay and the inadvisability of his attending Conference sessions. Clare agreed saying she had never seen the President so tired and weak.

Dr. MacFarlane then asked Clare to tell President Brown that President McKay will not attend any of the meetings.

After Dr. MacFarlane left the apartment, Clare visited with President McKay for 15 or 20 Minutes. He had his eyes closed. Clare took his hand and said, “Good Morning, President McKay, do you know who this is?” He opened his eyes and said, “Of course I do, it is Clare–Good Morning”. Clare asked him how he felt and he said, “I feel very weak inside. ” She told him that “this darn cold that has been

prevalent this past month has really made those who have contracted it very ill and weak. ” President McKay with his usual humor said, “Can you give it a better name than that ‘darn cold'”. Clare answered, “I shouldn’t have said ‘darn’, and I could have called it the ‘flu'”. President McKay laughed and Clare said, “I know you don’t like that word ‘darn’ as I have never heard you use slang or say a swear word in all the years I have worked for you, so I know I was wrong in saying ‘darn'”. He smiled and it was good to see him smile.

Wed., 6 Aug, 1969:

“9:30 a.m.

I met with President Dyer for an hour this morning on matters pertaining to Missouri.

(See President Dyer’s Minutes of the Meeting which follow)

By appointment at 10:45 Elder Richard L. Evans came in to see

me. As I took his hand I held it tightly and said it had been too

long since I had seen him. Elder Evans said that it was just before

Christmas when all of the Twelve and Presidency were at the

apartment together since he last saw me and that he had felt “a void in not seeing me and was grateful to see me looking better without the help of oxygen.” He continued, “Your color is good; your speech is good.” As I continued to hold his hand I said, “I know whose hand I am holding, and I bless you and encourage you in your work;” also I said many other things of a personal and encouraging nature to him.

Elder Evans said, “The people ask about you as one of the first questions worldwide.

Elder Evans then mentioned how much he appreciated Clare Middlemiss, my secretary, who had made the appointment for him; that she has given such wonderful service, and I told him how much I appreciated her long, faithful service and expressed gratitude for her successful heart surgery and progress toward recovery.

(For matters regarding his speaking appointments etc., see following

Minutes by Elder Evans.)

“(Memo of a Visit with President David O. McKay with Elder Richard L. Evans)

It was a satisfying visit–the President was sitting in his office and looking well, with no oxygen attachments, and I was grateful for the visit-the first in several months.”

Wed., Sept. 17, 1969:

“I held no meeting of the First Presidency this morning.

11:00 a.m.  Meeting with Clare.

Note by CM:

After two or three telephone calls I was able to arrange through the President’s daughter LouJean an appointment to see the President.  However she had told me he was sleeping in his chair in his office and was not feeling up to par.  I explained to her that the nurses had not allowed me to see him for some time.  LouJean said, ‘Well you come over now and see him.’

As I walked into the office I noticed that his breathing was quite labored and his head was down and he was dozing.  I took his hand and said, ‘This is Clare.’  He immediately opened his eyes and gave me a bright smile.

I said I was there to ask him a few questions about Conference.  He held out his hand and said, ‘I am glad of that.’  He held my hand tightly and said, ‘My dear girl, my dear girl, I am glad to see you.’  He asked how I was and I told him that I am slowly recovering from my operation.

I again referred to Conference and said that Richard L. Evans had brought in the music for his approval which I had with me.  The President glanced it over and said he would leave it up to Richard L. Evans and Mark E. Petersen to see that appropriate music is supplied for the Conference.

I then told President McKay that President Tanner had made a change in the Priesthood Meeting; they have decided that Elder Marion D. Hanks will also give a talk together with Thomas S. Monson.  The President approved of this.  He said to me, ‘I am trusting you to see that everything is done as I want it for Conference.’

I handed the President a letter from Dr. Jean Mayer, Special Consultant to President Nixon, asking for an eminent representative of the Church to be present at the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health.  Since Bishop Vandenberg is in charge of the temporal affairs of the Church and is over the Welfare Program, the decision was made to send him as the representative of the Church and President McKay dictated a letter to me informing Dr. Mayer to this effect.

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.”

Mon., Sept. 29, 1969:

“No meeting of the First Presidency held today.

Note by CM:

10:00 a.m.  As I walked in President McKay was sleeping at his desk, immaculately dressed.  When he heard my voice he opened his eyes and smiled.

I reported to him on the ‘David O. McKay Day’–what a wonderful meeting it was; that Llewelyn was one of the speakers.  Several members of the family were present–Lawrence, Emma Rae and Mrs. Joseph Morrell.

We went over Conference items including the President’s major addresses and the program.

President McKay directed me to send flowers to Elder Harold B. Lee who has just come home from the hospital following an operation.

(During the last month or so President McKay has been getting slowly weaker in body.  The nurse reported he had developed a sore on his side caused by the hydraulic lift.)”

Mon., 13 Oct., 1969:

“Note by CM:

5:15 p.m.  President Joseph Fielding Smith and Sister Smith and President Alvin R. Dyer went over to see the President.  He was in his office.  President Smith took his hand and President McKay said, ‘Oh Joseph.’

President Smith told President McKay that he had told President Dyer that President Dyer should not take his appointment in Germany.  President McKay turned to President Dyer and said, ‘You listen to that man.’

At this point Sister Smith left the room and went to talk to Sister McKay.

President Joseph Fielding Smith then proceeded to give President McKay a blessing, assisted by President Dyer.

Fri., 24 Oct., 1969:

“Note by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary

I called the nurse, Mrs. Noall, at 9:00 a.m. and asked if I might see President McKay for a few moments this morning.  She said, ‘President McKay is sitting right here; let me ask him.’  She turned to President McKay, ‘Your secretary Clare wants to come over.’

He answered, ‘Have her come right over.’

I arrived twenty minutes later at the office in his apartment.  President McKay seemed to be in an extremely tired condition, and it was hard for him to keep his eyes open.  I took hold of his hand and said, ‘Good morning, President McKay, this is your secretary Clare.’  HIs handshake was quite weak, and I said, ‘President McKay, that isn’t like your handshake.  Your handshake is usually firm and strong.’  He turned his face and smiled and tried to grasp my hand a little harder.  I said, ‘That is more like it, President McKay.’  He gave me a wan smile, and his eyes were soon closed.  I was unable to take up any letters with him.

Theresia Mayr, who accompanied me over there, was taking some notes on some scrapbooks that were on the shelves in his office.  During the time that we were there, which was about 45 minutes, President McKay seemed to be aware of our presence.  He kept opening his eyes and looking over toward me and seemed to want to tell me something, but was unable to get enough energy to express himself.

He looked very wonderful, and there was a spiritual feeling in the whole room, so much so that I was in tears most of the time that I was there (although President McKay was unaware of this).

The nurse who had been tending to Sister McKay had asked us to wait until she had returned.  Later I asked her what the doctor’s report was on President McKay after he had examined the President yesterday.  The doctor said that the President’s blood pressure was normal for him and that his lungs were clear, but his blood test showed that the poison in his body is not being thrown off thus causing these extreme tired spells which he is having more frequently.

Just before I left, I went into the living room to greet Sister McKay.  She seemed pretty well and happy to see me, although the nurse tol dme that she is having trouble with angina heart attacks.

I left the apartment feeling very dejected.”

Wed., 29 Oct., 1969:

“Note by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary

9:00-9:30 a.m.  I telephoned the nurse to ascertain if I could see President McKay.  She said, ‘Yes, if you come right now, it will be a good time.’  I left immediately; but when I arrived at the apartment, I found President McKay sitting in his chair in his office with his eyes closed.

I went up to him and took his hand and said, ‘Good Morning, President McKay.’  He opened his eyes and smiled and said, ‘I am glad to see you.’  I talked to him briefly about the long years I had worked for him, stating that they had been most enjoyable years and that I had learned much from him and that most of all it had been a great privilege to be associated with him in his work.

He gripped my hand and said, ‘They have been wonderful years, and you have been a great help to me!’

His eyes closed again; and, after sitting quietly by his side for several minutes I said, ‘President McKay, I will return now to your office and take care of matters there.’

He looked up and smiled, saying, ‘Yes, do that; I am glad you are there.'”

Mon., Nov. 3, 1969:

“Note by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary — 8:45 a.m.

I called the nurse over at the President’s apartment and asked about the President.  She said he was quite well and alert this morning and had just finished his breakfast and that he would like to see me if I could come right away.

When I arrived the President greeted me with a smile.  I said to him jokingly, ‘You know your secretary don’t you,’ and he said with a broad smile on his face ‘Of course I do.’

He looked fine and was immaculately groomed.  I took a few moments to read to him his editorial for the February 1970 Instructor.*  thinking that this was enough work for him I decided to not take up any further business with him, so I just sat there and chatted with him for awhile until I left his office at 10:30 and went directly back to the Church Administration building to take up matters there.

*The Title of the Editorial was ‘The Sacredness of Independence and Freedom.’  Later Lawrence McKay decided not to print the article in the Instructor.  (See copy of Editorial which follows.)

Fri., Nov. 7, 1969:

“Note by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary:

The President’s sister ‘Kits’ (Mrs. Joel Ricks) and her husband came to visit President McKay for a few minutes this morning.  The President was delighted and told them how happy he was to see them.  they read to him a quotation from Edmund Burke in 1791 which is applicable to our day as well.  (See quotation following.)

I came in just as they were leaving about 9:45.  I said, ‘President McKay, you have always had such love for your sisters haven’t you?’

He put back his head and said, ‘O yes, O yes.’

I said, ‘Do you know you are the most beloved leader this Church has ever had.  The letters that pour into your office testify to this.  Joel and ‘Kits’ said how marvelous your opening Conference address was.  You still are doing a lot of good President McKay.’

‘Remember what you told Henry Smith that you have a date for your 100th Birthday.  You still love life don’t you President McKay?’

‘I do love life, I do love life.’

I told President McKay that I could never leave him.  President McKay responded ‘I have wanted you to be right here.’

I read to him a letter from Brother Murdock regarding Murdock travel.  The President was pleased with the progress.”

Mon., Nov. 10, 1969:

“Note by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary:

At 8:30 this morning I called on President McKay who was at his desk in his office.  The nurse reported that he had just eaten a good breakfast and was feeling fairly well this morning.

He greeted me with a broad smile on his face and said, ‘I am feeling fine.’

I told him that I had just met Elder Henry D. Taylor as I was coming over to the Hotel.  Elder Taylor would like to take President McKay’s blessings to the people in England and the President’s beloved Scotland.  President McKay answered, ‘O yes, I should like him to do that.  Tell him to give my love, blessings and appreciation to them.’  (Elder Taylor may call later and if possible come over to see President McKay before his departure for Europe.)  (Elder Taylor did see President McKay for a few minutes in the afternoon.) 

I reported to President McKay that Sister Joseph Fielding Smith had called and said that she told the Choir members yesterday morning that President McKay had listened to the Choir last Sunday and that he sent his love and blessings to each of them.

I read to him from the Church Section items appearing as the ‘President’s Diary’ beginning with November 7, 1921, and including the following item under date of November 9, 1965:

At the first official meeting of the First Presidency with all four counselors present, President McKay said, ‘I welcome you as the counselors in the First Presidency as I acknowledge with hesitancy that I am not so well as I used to be, and have called you brethren as counselors in the First Presidency to help carry on the work.  I pray the Lord’s blessings to attend us in this Quorum of the Presidency.  It is nothing new in the Church–the Prophet Joseph had several counselors; Brigham Young had seven at one time, and this will constitute the Quorum of the First Presidency now.’

President McKay said, ‘Yes, I remember that well and I still feel that way.’

By this time it was about 10:15 and I told President McKay I had an appointment in his office to meet 30 girls from the Provo Institute conducted under the auspices of the Brigham Young University.  These girls are attending Beauty Colleges in the Provo area and are members of the Beta Chi Chapter, Lamba Delta Sigma.  They were accompanied by Clyde Davis who is in the Mineral Development Department of BYU and who is in charge of the Provo Institute.

I asked the President if he wished me to extend his greetings and best wishes to these young girls and he said, ‘By all means.’

I told him that I would see him Wednesday morning because of the holiday tomorrow.  He smiled and said, ‘Hurry back.'”

Wed., Nov. 12, 1969:

“(Minutes by President Alvin R. Dyer of Meeting of First Presidency)

President McKay Absent

(President McKay’s Condition of Competency)

President Tanner spoke at great length on the issue of President McKay’s competency to give approval and pass decisions on various matters.  He mentioned that Lawrence McKay, representing the McKay family, had raised the objection to monthly editorial articles appearing in the Improvement Era and the Instructor which, while including many of the things that President McKay had said upon previous occasions, had been updated to give the appearance as though it had been approved or written by the President.  The family objected to this, feeling that if such articles were placed in the Era or Instructor that they should be articles completely in context and mention made of when the remarks were made on such and such an occasion and so forth.

President Tanner reported also that Lawrence McKay had stated that he did not want to read any more of his father’s talks at Conference since he felt that his father was not in a condition to give approval to what had been prepared to be read as representing the remarks of the President.

Associated with these problems there arose also the discussion with regard to the use of the facsimile signature of President McKay.  President Tanner stated that the family also objected to the use of this signature since he was not competent to give approval for the use of the signature.

President Tanner further stated that he had asked Lawrence McKay if this was his own feeling or was it unanimous with the family and that thereafter all the members of the family had been approached and all were in agreement that their father was not competent to serve as the President of the Church.

I expressed the thought that the use of President McKay’s facsimile signature had nothing to do with the family since it was strictly a Church matter.

Considerable discussion ensued about the competency of the President.  I refused to yield on the point of mental incompetence.  President Tanner stated that the reference would be made only to the President’s incompetence.

(Authorized Agents of President McKay)

A question arose about the Corporation of the President Sole and the agency given unto Presidents Brown and Tanner to act in behalf of this Corporation.  i raised the question as to what the intent was in granting this agency unto Presidents Brown and Tanner and asked what the verbal direction was, given by President McKay at the time that he authorized the extending of this power of attorney to both President Brown and President Tanner.  I stated that it was my understanding that it was to be exercised when he was unable to perform a duty and that permission would be given to the Counselors in each case.  (Comment:  This is a matter which will need to have legal clarification.)

The discussion concerning this entire matter continued wherein President Tanner read verse 28 of Section 107 of the Doctrine and Covenants which refers to the right of the majority of the Quorum to act in representation of the Quorum.  I pointed out that I did not feel that this referred to the Presidency with specific regard to ecclesiastical matters.  I could see the need for having such an authority given to the Counselors for legal purposes, but that it did not refer to ecclesiastical matters since there were items in which  only the President of the Church, so appointed, could act upon and that authority could not be delegated to any.

Comment:  In justification to this, reference is made to Section 28 of the Doctrine and Covenants and also to verses 64-67 of Section 107 of the Doctrine and Covenants.  Both of these sections clearly identify the fact that the President of the High Priesthood, who is the President of the Church, is the presiding high priest and from him only can come answers and decisions with regard to ecclesiastical matters.

In the course of the discussion, President Tanner and I disagreed as to the extent of the President’s incompetence, but the matter was not belabored.

(Suggests that Elder Harold B. Lee Be Invited to Attend the Presidency’s Meetings)

In view of the fact that President McKay was unable to meet and make decisions on various matters, it was suggested by President Tanner that Elder Harold B. Lee be invited to attend the meetings of the First Presidency representing the Quorum of the Twelve.  He hastened to explain that since Joseph Fielding Smith, the rightful representative of the Quorum of the Twelve, who is the President of that Quorum, is serving as a member of the First Presidency, that then that responsibility should fall to the next one in line in the Quorum, who would be Elder Harold B. Lee.

President Smith raised the question as to why it should be Elder Lee rather than any other member.  What he was discussing was that it shouldn’t be a matter for us to decide this.  It was a matter for the Quorum to determine it.  However, all agreed that Brother Lee, as a representative of the Quorum, should be invited to attend.  President Smith was a little reluctant on this decision.

(Signatures on Letters)

I then raised the question of the signatures on correspondence, that if President McKay’s name did not appear on them, then President Smith’s and my signature shold be on all letters since it would make a better appearance and indicate the united feeling of all members of the First Presidency.  President Tanner objected to this.  I said that it did not matter before to me when it came up, since the President’s signature would be on the letter, but that now it did matter and I felt that our signatures should be on the letters.  There was nothing decided.  However, the inference was that this matter would be discussed at a later time, presumably in a meeting of the First Presidency.

I stated that it would be better to bring this whole matter up before the Twelve first, rather than all of the General Authorities together, as President Tanner wanted to.  Presidents Brown and Smith agreed with me and thus it will be taken to the temple on the morrow for the regular weekly meeting of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.”

Thur., Nov. 13, 1969:

“Note by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary

I received a call from President Alvin R. Dyer stating that a letter had been read to the Temple Council Meeting, written and signed by Dr. Alan Macfarlane allegedly at the request of the McKay family, more specifically Dr. Edward McKay after a McKay Family meeting at which time Lawrence McKay had declared that he would not read a conference talk of his father’s again, and that Robert McKay had seconded a motion put to the family.  Furthermore, the letter from the Dr. was read to the entire Council in which the Dr. stated that President McKay is now mentally deficient and could not sign letters or documents of policy.  Furthermore, personal letters were to be taken from President McKay’s secretary of 35 years (Clare Middlemiss) and given to Joseph Anderson to go over and answer–the last thing President McKay would have ever wanted.

Elder Harold B. Lee stated at the Temple Meeting, ‘Where the President is not there is no First Presidency; that President McKay cannot be written off; that the President recognized him a week ago and seemed all right although he is getting weaker.’

Henceforth, no letters were given to secretary Clare Middlemiss and no word was said to her about it–just taken away and no explanation as to why.”

Thur., Nov. 13, 1969:

“(Alvin R. Dyer Journal)  THURSDAY, November 13, 1969

(Meeting of the Counselors in the First Presidency – 8:30 a.m.)

President Joseph Fielding Smith was not present, he being in attendance at the meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve in the Temple.

(Regarding President McKay’s Incompetence)

In this meeting I commented on the fact that there were two matters of concern in considering the present incompetency of President McKay to become involved in the decision matters of the Church.

1. This concerned the delegated authority to act in legal matters as authorized agents for the Corporation of President Sole of the Church.  This would have to be determined upon its legal merits.

2. However, the second phase that pertained to ecclesiastical matters, wherein the President would act on matters that remained solely with him, which could not be delegated, such as the approval of the setting apart of the sealer in the Temple or any matter that the President would normally give approval for–that these matters should be held in suspension and could not be acted upon by the Counselors on the basis of the power of attorney which had been given to the Counselors to act in legal matters.  There was apparently an understanding on this and all seemed to feel that this was the way to proceed in the routine matters of the Church and other matters which the President, because of his absence, could not function in, would not be cared for.

(Minutes of the Temple Council Meeting by President Alvin R. Dyer)

(President Tanner Presents Matter of President McKay’s Competence)

President Tanner, as directed by President Brown, next presented the matter of the competence of President McKay to carry on his responsibilities as the President of the Church and went through all of the details that we had discussed on the previous day.

The Quorum voted unanimously to have Elder Harold B. Lee represent them in attending the meetings of the Counselors in the First Presidency who are to be President Hugh B. Brown, President N. Eldon Tanner, President Joseph Fielding Smith, President Thorpe B. Isaacson, and President Alvin R. Dyer.  The understanding was that Brother Lee would be called into such meetings as the brethren would feel necessary so that the voice of the Quorum in representation of the Quorum of the Twelve could be heard.

In the course of the discussion with regard to the right and authority of the Counselors to act in behalf of the President, there were three things which developed.  These are principally the same as I had raised in the questions of the previous day.  they are the following: (1), the Corporation of the President Sole; (2), the Trustee in Trust; and (3), the ecclesiastical authority.

Elder Harold B. Lee spoke to this matter at some length and read a letter that David Yarn had prepared some time ago when the question of President Heber J. Grant’s competence to carry on responsibilities came up.  this letter will be made a part of the Journal Record.

Brother Lee stressed the fact that in ecclesiastical matters the Counselors in the First Presidency had no right to act since these are held by the President and Prophet of the Church.

I spoke up and suggested that Brother Lee read from Section 107, verses 64-67, which he did, which points out the individual authority of the President of the High Priesthood, or the President of the High Priesthood of the Church.

Comment:  These are truly crucial times, but it is inspirational to note how the affairs of the Church can be carried on.  Even though the Prophet and leader of the Church cannot function at present, nevertheless the affairs and routine matters of the Church can go forward–the ordaining of Stake Presidents, Patriarchs, Bishops, and so forth–since that authority had already been delegated by the Prophet of the Lord, who still lives.  But in the order of things, there is a suspension now of certain specific rights which only the President can act upon either until he becomes more competent to handle such matters, or until such conditions would warrant his being called back home by the Lord and the appointing of a new President of the Church.

I felt a great heaviness of heart during the entire discussion of this matter, knowing of the greatness of this man, President David O. McKay, and of the work which he had accomplished and then to witness conditions that make it necessary for the good of the work to go forward as we have today.  This truly has been a history-making meeting and one to indicate the ways of the Lord as provisions have been made for virtually all emergencies in the administration of his work here upon the earth.  Who knows what the condition of President McKay will be next month or next year.  He has been known to be seriously ill before, but has rallied.  his life and his work is in the hands of the Lord and what is best for him and for the people and for the work of the Lord will be so ordered.  I have complete confidence that all is in proper order in accordance with the will of our Heavenly Father and no man in these times should usurp any authority that he cannot rightfully take unto himself by the laws and the order of the Priesthood.  It is plainly written and any who do would be commiting a very serious act against the order of the Kingdom.

Following the Temple meeting I walked to the Church office with Elder Harold B. Lee and expressed my appreciation that he had made the remarks that he had in the Temple.  I told him that I had spoken of the same thing that morning and the previous morning in the meeting of the First Presidency.

(Temple Council Minutes of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve)


The President of the Church

President Brown mentioned that we find ourselves in rather a delicate position in matters pertaining to the President of the Church, that President McKay’s son Lawrence had come to President Tanner some time ago with a recommendation which President Tanner had been following up.  He said it has now come to the point where we need to take action.  President Brown said that so far as he and Brother Tanner were concerned, they approach the matter with trepidation and humility, that it could easily result in someone being charged with attempting to usurp authority to which he is not entitled.  President Brown asked President Tanner to make a statement on the matter.

President Tanner referred to statements he had made two weeks ago on the subject to the effect that Lawrence McKay had gotten in touch with him on October 31 and referred to two matters, namely, editorials appearing in the Improvement Era and in the Instructor, and also the question of conference talks by the President.  Lawrence had said that his father until this conference has been able to review and go over the talks that were prepared for him and approve them, but he said that he is not able to do it now, and he did not think that they should be preparing talks for him or giving them in conference.  Then he said regarding the editorials he thought they should be discontinued; that, however, we could use materials from his previous talks or editorials or written material, and editorials be prepared on that basis, and let the public know what it is.

President Tanner said that when Lawrence talked to him that that raises another question in his mind about which we have been concerned for some time; that he did not want to say anything because he did not want in any sense to do anything that would offend the family or the President of the Church.  He said the President’s signature is appearing on letters, correspondence and documents as approved, and all this has been done while he could not sign his name; that now he is not able to approve these things.  President Tanner said he asked Lawrence what he thought about that, and he said he thought it came under the same category.  President Tanner then asked Lawrence how the family felt about these things, that this was a sensitive and delicate matter.  He thought that Lawrence should confer with the family and see how they felt.  Lawrence called President Tanner on Monday and said that he had spoken to all the family except one who was out of the country, and that they were all of one mind that these things should not be.

President Tanner said that he then discussed this matter with Presidents Joseph Fielding Smith and Alvin R. Dyer in a meeting when President Brown was away, and it was decided that it would be well to confer with Brother Evans who is in charge of the Era editorial department and Lawrence McKay together relative to this matter.  He stated that brother Evans was out of the city and the meeting was not held.  President Tanner did report to Brother Evans what Lawrence had said, that Brother Evans had raised a question and said that his concern was whether we would be telling the people that the President cannot speak to them any more.

President Tanner then called President Brown who was in Germany on the telephone and went through this situation with him and asked his feelings, and he said he felt the same as Lawrence did and the way the others had expressed themselves.

President Tanner said that before calling President Brown he spoke to Brother Lee about the matter and told him he thought it was serious enough that it should be brought to the Twelve, and he felt that that was what should be done.  Accordingly he did take it to the Council two weeks ago, and in that meeting after some discussion it was agreed to continue the three or four editorials in the Era that were approved by President McKay prior to October Conference, and that we would refer to Lawrence the question of the editorials in the Instructor and tell him of our discussion.  President Tanner said he did that and Lawrence said that the editorial for the Instructor for December had been prepared by Sister Clare Middlemiss who has been preparing these editorials, and that this one for December had some current matters in it.  He thought it should be run but after that they would take care of the matter.

President Tanner stated that at the previous meeting when this matter was discussed the question of legality came up, and Elders Romney and Hunter were assigned to meet with Wilford Kirton, our legal advisor, to discuss these matters, that they did meet and there was a discussion of some length.  President Tanner was present, also Brother Anderson was there to take notes.  President Tanner said he asked Brother Kirton to make a study of the matter and do what research he could in order to save time, and to bring to these other brethren his findings.  Brother Kirton read a statement which had been approved by Brother Romney and Brother Hunter.

President Tanner stated that in the discussion Brother Romney had raised a question regarding the authorized agents when they were appointed, and that Brother Kirton had answered the question that President Brown and President Tanner were appointed authorized agents some years ago, and that appointment is registered with the Secretary of State.

President Tanner said that because President Brown had not returned he felt it was not wise to take this up with the Council, but said he would olike to have done it Wednesday at the General Authorities meeting.  He stated, however, that when they attended the Wednesday meeting they were not ready to present the matter at that time because they thought that the additional information that had been received should be discussed with the Presidency and the Twelve and a full and complete understanding reached here.

President Tanner said that after President Brown returned they were talking with Brother Kirton about another matter, and that he, President Tanner, said he thought this should be dealt with, that Brother Kirton then went over this and explained the position that he set forth in writing in the memorandum.

President Tanner said that in order to be more positive and assured regarding the feelings of the family he thought it might be deesirable to call Dr. Edward McKay and talk to him about this.  Accordingly President Brown called Dr. McKay by telephone and President Tanner and he talked to him over a conference phone, that President Brown was on one phone and he was on the other, and President Brown told Edward what Lawrence’s position was, and he said that he had supported Lawrence in this, and he felt that the situation was as explained by him.

President Tanner said, ‘Edward, is this the thing you would like us to do?’  And he said, ‘No, but I think it is the thing that has to be done.’

President Tanner said that in order to do more than depend on the family, and put the family in that awkward position it was decided to phone Dr. Alan P. MacFarlane, President McKay’s physician.  This was done and Dr. MacFarlane said that he would give us a letter stating his position.

President Tanner then said he would like Brother Romney and Brother Hunter to say anything they wished to about the matter.  President Tanner said that to sum it up the position is this, that the majority of the First Presidency has to carry on as far as the presidency of the Church is concerned as the administration, and as far as the Corporation of the President is concerned President Brown or himself, President Tanner, may act as authorized agents.

Elder Romney said that he understood it the same way, that as far as the Corporation of the President is concerned, President Brown and President Tanner can serve as agents.  He had read the appointment that was issued by President McKay appointing these two brethren agents of the Corporation.  He said that he was in harmony with Brother Kirton’s and President Tanner’s statement as well as Brother Hunter’s, as he understood it, that that is legally sound.

Elder Hunter said that their discussion on this was from the standpoint of the Corporation, not the religious aspects of it.  He said that the general rule of agency is if the principal becomes mentally incompetent, then the power of attorney for the agent to act terminates, but the rule seems to be different with respect to a corporation sole under the law of Utah.  He said they read the statute on it, and all of the concluded from reading the statute and examining it that the authority given to the agent to act for the Corporation of the President does not terminate upon incompetency; only upon revocation, and therefore he thought they were all in harmony as to legal consequences.

Elder Romney stated that an amendment went into the law in 1947 that the agency persists until it is terminated, and that was at the time when President Clark was first counselor to President Grant and President Smith, during which time President Clark had to act.

Elder Lee mentioned the fact that the President is sustained as Trustee-in-trust.  Elder Hunter stated that as Trustee-in-Trust there are many things that might be in his name as trustee for the Church and that constitutes a trust, but the Corporation of the President is a separate entity, and it is an entity within itself.

Elder Lee asked if as Trustee-in-Trust he holds legal title to the properties of the Church.

Elder Hunter said there may be some things that he would hold as trustee.  Elder Lee then asked how much of that has been dissipated by this other entity which delegates to someone else.

Elder Hunter said that everything in the Corporation is not in the trust.  The President is the Corporation and upon his death his successor has become the Corporation.

Elder Lee then referred to the instrument where President Brown and President Tanner are agents.  Elder Romney said that President McKay issued it and appointed these brethren to represent him; that anything you put into that Corporation is in it, and what you have not put in is not in it.

Elder Lee said that apparently they were talking of three different matters, two of them are legal points; that we have the Trustee-in-Trust and the Corporation of the President, and this new holding corporation in which the President has delegated agents to act in his stead.

He said these are legal matters, but now there is another matter that pertains to the ecclesiastical relationship of counselors, and he thought the President is a very important issue.  He called attention to the 107th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants wherein the Lord says:

Of necessity there are presidents, or presiding officers growing out of, or appointed of or from among those who are ordained to the several offices in these two priesthoods.  Of the Melchizedek Priesthood, three Presiding High Priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church.  (Verses 21 and 22)

He then read the 23rd and 24th verses:

The Twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world–thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.  And they form a quorum, equal in authority and power to the three presidents previously mentioned.

Elder Lee said that does not mean equal while the First Presidency are intact but only at the demise of the President of the Church do they exercise this equal authority.  Elder Lee continued quoting:

The Seventy are also called to preach the gospel, and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world–thus differing from other officers in the duties of their calling.  And they form a quorum, equal in authority to that of the Twelve special witnesses or Apostles just named.  And every decision made by either of these quorums must be by the unanimous voice of the same; that is, every member in each quorum must be agreed to its decisions, in order to make their decsions of the same power or validity one with the other–A majority may form a quorum when circumstances render it impossible to be otherwise–Unless this is the case, their decisions are not entitled to the same blessings which the decisions of a quorum of three presidents were anciently, who were ordained after the order of Melchizedek.  (Verses 25 to 29)

Elder Lee said that when this question came up back in the days when Brother McKay apparently had some concern, he requested that David Yarn research this very question, which he did, and prepared this article which appeared in the Improvement Era in January, 1964.  That article reads as follows:

The Function of Counselors

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints there are many offices and callings.  Some are general offices, having jurisdiction over some or all aspects of the entire Church, and others are local offices, having jurisdiction over some or all aspects of a given geographical area of the Church.

In both the general and the local types of offices there are two fundamental kinds of offices, some are priesthood offices and others are auxiliary offices in the great majority of instances, the specific organizations are presided over by a presidency (or its counterpart) consisting of three persons.  (Seventies presidencies and a literal descendant of Aaron as the Presiding bishop, should there be such, are striking exceptions.)

When a presiding quorum is to be organized, be it the presidency of the Church, the presidency of a stake, a bishopric, the presidency of a quorum, or the head of an auxiliary, it is the president (or bishop, or superintendent) is given the prerogative of choosing his counselors (or assistants), with the approval of the authorizing body.

The keys of authority of the particular jurisdiction center in the president.  He is the one who is called and made responsible for a particular work.  Therefore, the counselors are counselors to the president.

Illustrative of this point is a statement of the Prophet Joseph Smith concerning the relation  of the Twelve to the First Presidency.  He said: ‘. . .  the Twelve are not subject to any other than the First Presidency, viz., myself . . . Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams, who are now my Counselors; and where I am not, there is no First Presidency over the Twelve.’  (Emphasis added.)  Though in this instance the Prophet was speaking specifically regarding the relation of the Twelve to the First Presidency, he spoke generically regarding the nature of presidencies.  In effect he said, where there is no president there is no presidency, or, where there is no bishop there is no bishopric, etc.  Counselors receive both their authority and responsibility because of their calling as counselors to the president, and both their authority and responsibility cease when the president is replaced.

Inasmuch as the president holds the keys and bears the ultimate responsibility for a given work, after matters have been considered it is his prerogative and obligation to make the decisions.  Similarly the counselors are obligated to sustain and support the president’s decisions.  Therefore, when decisions are made, they are the decisions of the presidency, and there should be complete unity of feeling and action on a given matter irrespective of views expressed prior to the rendering of the decision.  In other words, the counselors should be fully loyal to the president.

Illustrative of the foregoing, on one occasion President Joseph F. Smith said:

A bishop is the presiding officer of his ward, and where the bishop is in the ward, his counselors and those who are members of his ward are subject to his presidency.  He cannot yield it up.  He cannot give it to another; or, if he does, he violates one of the sacred principles of the government of the priesthood.  He may direct his counselors, the first or the second, to do his will, to carry out his wishes, to execute his desires, or his commands; but in so doing the counselor does not act as the bishop, but he acts under the direction of the presiding authority.  He does not act independently of the bishop, but subordinate to the bishop, and is subject entirrely to the bishop’s direction. . . . We can commission and appoint; that is those who preside can call upon their aids for assistance, they can direct them to accomplish labors, but in every instance when they do, it is by and with and under the consent of the presiding authority, and by his advice, but not independently.

. . . In all these things the presiding officer is the head, should be regarded in his place, and his place should be held sacred in the mind of his associates.  And no man possessing a correct understanding of the spirit of the gospel and of the authority and law of the Holy Priesthood will attempt for a moment to run before his file leader or to do anything that is not strictly in harmony with his wish and the authority that belongs to himj.  The moment a man in a subordinate position begins to usurp the authority of his file leader, that moment he is out of his place, and proves by his conduct that he does not comprehend his duty, that he is not acting in the line of his calling, and is a dangerous character.  He will set bad examples, he will mislead, he will lead others into error . . . the moment he acts contrary to and independent of the direction of his presiding officer; and if he continues in that course he will go astray entirely, and those who follow him will follow him astray.

Elder Lee said the situation is not different from what it was in the last months of

President Grant’s life, or different from the experience of President George Albert Smith, that we had exactly the same condition with them that we have with President McKay.  He said that when this situation developed President Clark held to this very fine delicate principle, that he would never sit in the place where the President had sat.

He mentioned the case of Brother Edward Wood, the president of the Alberta Temple who was getting old and losing his mental powers.  He said that the brethren would come back talking about the situation, and that finally President Clark had said to the Twelve, ‘Brethren, the President is here by the Lord’s appointment, not by our appointment.  I do not understand that in his absence his first counselor or his second counselor, or both counselors acting in concert can assume the responsibility that belongs solely to the President of the Church.  Until the Lord releases the President we cannot do anything about things he has never delegated to us, and one of the things he has never delegated is the conferring of the sealing power upon the president of a temple.  Until he does, or the Lord acts to remove the President and has someone installed in his place, we will have to continue to carry on.’  He said, ‘We can take care of the routine matters where policy has been determined but where it requires a new definition of policy, we will have to rest until the Lord makes a move and at that time we can install a new president, and with the authority of the president who has passed away, and the organization can go on.’

President Tanner then reported that at the latest meeting of the Presidency the conclusion was reached that the President is the only one who has the power to delegate the sealing power; therefore, during this time it was felt that nothing can be done about giving or taking away the sealing power.

Elder Lee further stated that in routine matters before the determination of a new policy, until the President acts, he thought thtat none of us, not the first counselor or the second or both counselors, or any of us can determine a new policy or new changes without the President of the Church until the Lord releases him.  He said we have a very sacred responsibility to preserve the place of the President of the Church, that the Lord appointed him, and the Lord has to release him, as he understood.  He said that we must have these things in mind, but as far as the legality of doing business under this corporate set-up, this is a separate matter from the ecclesiastical situation.

President Dyer said that the distinction mentioned by Elder Lee is clearly spoken of in the 107th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants beginning with verse 64, and it tells why the sealing power cannot be given only by him who is the President of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

In connection with the bestowal of the sealing power, President Tanner mentioned that two brethren who had been recommended by the president of the Oakland Temple to have the sealing power were approved sometime ago, and that President McKay had authorized President Smith to confer it upon these brethren; therefore, they will be coming here next week and President Smith will take care of this matter.

Concerning President McKay’s signature on correspondence, Elder Hinckley asked if it was the intention to continue to place his signature on correspondence.  President Tanner said definitely not, that from now on all correspondence will be signed by President Brown and President Tanner, or by one of them; that all legal documents will be signed by one of them as an agent.  He thought that correspondence should not have his name placed upon it nor should his name be placed on documents when he does not know what is being done.

Elder Hinckley then raised the question about missionary calls.  It was mentioned that all these calls go out with President McKay’s signature on them.  President Tanner said that in discussing this matter it was felt that nobody could be hurt by that being done; the same with the payroll, etc.  It was the feeling that those should be permitted; that when it comes to the other question of signing for missionaries, he did not know that had been discussed.

Elder Hinckley said that all missionary calls carry only one signature and that is the signature of the President of the Church.  It is supposed that the President authorized that when he had his full competence, and we have acted under that authorization and instruction, but more and more people are beginning to ask questions.

Elder Lee said that from what Elder Hinckley had said, he did not suppose that there was any question on that matter; that also the President had authorized President Smith to confer the sealing power upon these brethren mentioned, and the President is still alive.  Elder Hunter said there is no legal consequence to this.

Referring to the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood, Elder Lee mentioned the fact that when the brethren of the Twelve were blessed and ordained and set apart as members of the Twelve by this ordination they were given the authority to hold every office in the Church, and that means up as well as down, that potentially these brethren all hold in suspension as apostles the authority to preside over the Church, if they are chosen by the Presidency and the Twelve and sustained by the vote of the membership.

President Tanner then asked the question, ‘Are we agreed on these two signatures?’  Elder Lee said that that has already been authorized and there is no question.  He thought it would be proper to use the President’s name on the checks and on the missionary calls.

President Brown stated that in order to get action on a number of these things the Presidency are meeting regularly as the counselors in the First Presidency in the absence of the President; that President Smith is there as a member of the First Presidency, and that it was thought well to have someone representing the Twelve to be with the counselors in these meetings in order that the Twelve might be represented.  It has been suggested that Elder Lee be asked to do this.  Elder Romney moved that Elder Lee as the senior member of the Twelve who is not in the Presidency sit with the counselors in their meetings.  Motion seconded by several of the brethren and unanimously approved.

President Tanner mentioned that two weeks ago it was decided that the minutes of the discussion of this subject at that time should not be made a part of the record, but he thought that a minute of this discussion should be made and fully recorded.  He stated that from now on the correspondence coming to the President or the Presidency will come to Joseph Anderson’s office instead of President McKay’s office, and that minutes of the meeting will not go to the President’s office either.

Elder Petersen said he agreed with what President Tanner was saying but that secretaries have access to the minutes, and he wondered if anyone should have access to what has been done here today.  The brethren agreed that the members of this Council should have copies but no one else; that, however, the secretary who types the minutes would necessarily have access to them.”

Mon., Nov. 17, 1969:

“Note by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary

From November on no First Presidency Minutes have been given to President McKay or his secretary Clare Middlemiss.

When President Alvin R. Dyer was made an Apostle, President McKay asked that he also keep a set of minutes of the meetings held by the First Presidency.

We therefore, unable to obtain the minutes written by Joseph Anderson, are putting a copy of President Dyer’s minutes for the record.

(See Copy of Minutes by President Alvin R. Dyer which follows.)

(Also see Note by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary which follows.)”

“(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.”

Fri., Nov. 21, 1969:

“Note by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary

9:30 a.m.

As I walked into the President’s office, the barber was just finishing giving President McKay a haircut.  Following the departure of the barber, I asked the President how he felt and he said, ‘Find,’ and I said, ‘Well you look wonderful President McKay and I am so happy to see you looking so well.’

I then told President McKaya that it seemed from reports I had received from Robert McKay and Lottie McKay (Edward’s wife) that the family denies having met to decide that I should not have the mail.  Lottie said, ‘We are all sick over what they have done to you Clare.’

I also told President McKay that his minutes of the Thursday Temple Meeting and the First Presidency’s Minutes have been withheld from his office by his counselors.  President McKay said, ‘Oh it makes me so angry I can hardly sit here!’  He also said, ‘I want to be informed of everything that is going on and I want to know what is in those minutes.’

I said, ‘President McKay you know we discussed this two or three years ago that the counselors would try to get me out of the office if they had a chance.’

President McKay instructed me to keep in touch with President Smith, President Dyer, and Elders Lee and Benson.

Just before leaving I said to President McKay, ‘The Lord would have taken you if he did not want you to be the President of this Church.’  And the President answered, ‘The Lord knows what to do with me when I can no longer be President of the Church.’

Later in the day, at the request of President Alvin R. Dyer, I arranged for an appointment for President Joseph Fielding Smith and President Dyer tomorrow morning (Saturday) at which time they wished to take up a very important matter with the President.”

Thur., Nov. 25, 1969:

Note by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary

9:30 a.m.

When I arrived at the apartment I found the President sitting in his chair in the living room.  He was immaculately groomed.  We greeted each other and I said, ‘President McKay, you look wonderful.’

Sister McKay joined President McKay a few moments after I arrived.  Since I knew that members of the family and photographers from the newspapers were desirous of taking a picture of President and Sister McKay for the Thanksgiving Section, I suggested that this might be a good time to call the Deseret News photographer to come over to take pictures.

While waiting for the photographers we talked about preparations for Christmas, and President McKay showed his usual enthusiasm for his favorite time of the year.  While reminiscing about Christmases of years ago in Huntsville, and of the bobsleigh parties, skating and dancing parties at which President McKay played the piano in the town dance orchestra, Brother J. M. Heslop and Brother O. Wallace Kasteller, photographers from the Deseret News arrived.

President and Sister McKay were in a very happy mood, and some excellent photographs were taken of them.

(See Thursday, November 27 for pictures that were published in the paper regarding the McKay Thanksgiving Day.)

President McKay has enjoyed much better health this past week.”

Tues., Dec. 2, 1969:

“Note by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary

9:30 a.m.

When I arrived at the President’s office in the Hotel, he was dozing in his chair at his desk.

I decided to stay awhile to see if he would arouse long enough for me to take up a few office matters with him.  I waited for quite sometime, and suddenly I felt such a heavenly feeling in his presence that I felt I should remain very quiet.  I moved to the other side of the desk where I did some study on office work.

Finally the nurse came in, and decided that the President should lie down.  He was immaculately dressed and was wearing a black velvet jacket.  I helped the nurse remove his jacket.  As we were doing this he awakened, and when he saw me he gave me such a beautiful smile of welcome.  I said to him, ‘Do you know your secretary?’  And he answered, ‘Of course I do.  You are a beautiful girl!,’ to which I said ‘Thank you.’

The President was delighted to hear of Christmas plans and preparations I am making for him, including his gifts to important Church and civic leaders, widows of former General Authorities, etc.

After taking these matters up I commented that I had better leave, and he said, ‘Where are you going?’  I answered, ‘Back to the office to take care of the work there.’  The President then said, ‘There never seems to be a time when you are not working!  You are a great girl!’

I thanked him and took my leave.  At the door I turned and said, ‘Goodbye President McKay; I’ll see you soon,’ and he said, ‘Goodbye Clare; I am glad you came; it always makes me feel better to see you.'”

Thur., Dec. 4, 1969:

“NOTE by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary

Contrary to the minutes of the Council Meeting attached herewith, which declared President McKay to be mentally incompetent, President McKay during the last few months has been perfectly alert and lucid except for the times his toxic condition has brought on temporary spells of drowsiness.”

“(Minutes of the Temple Meeting by President Alvin R. Dyer)

1. Approval of Minutee Re: President McKay’s Competence)

Upon reassembly of the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, the first order of business concerned the matter of approving the minutes of the Temple meeting of the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve two weeks previous.  Elder Benson stated that he felt that these minutes should be delected that pertain to the President’s incompetence.  I made comments pertaining to this matter in the main as follows:

A. That I endorsed the feeling that the minutes pertaining to the competence of the President be deleted, that if permitted to remain on the record books, could be a stigma on the life of this great man and the great accomplishments which he had made in the furthering of the work of the Lord.

B. I pointed out that the apparent action had stemmed from an alleged movement among the members of the McKay family to change the format status of the editorials appearing in the Instructor and the Improvement Era purportedly to have been written by President McKay and that the family felt that these should not be written in a contemporary sense.  It was also reported that Lawrence McKay had stated that the family were united in their feelings concerning this and also that the President should not have his signature placed upon documents which he could not correctly peruse and give approval at the time on, necessitating the use of one of the agents appointed for this purpose.  I stated that out of this had developed the whole idea of the President’s incompetence and that the letter from Dr. Macfarlane stating that he was mentally and physically incompetent should not have place in the records of the Church.

C. I stated that Dr. McKay had come to me and asked concerning the letter and said he had called Dr. MacFarlane attempting to get a copy of the same, but that Dr. MacFarlane informed him that the letter had been written in longhand and he therefore could not give a copy of it.  Dr. McKay reported that he had not associated with Dr. MacFarlane in this letter and knew nothing of it and that he could not and would not subscribe to it.  I reported that he stated to me that his father had his bad times and good times and was not able to communicate at his bad times, but would not regard him as mentally incompetent.

D. I called attention to the statement issued by the family to the press, as covered in the newspapers, that their father was ‘happy, hearty, and healthy.’  They had said on another occasion that both of their parents were, ‘Doing well for their age.  Father has his good days and his bad days and mother feels remarkably well.’  These statements were made to the press and carried in the Church News and the regular Deseret News at Thanksgiving time.

E. I stated that if President McKay was to be declared physically and mentally incompetent, then we ought not to go to him for counsel and instruction and I called attention to the fact that on the Monday following the Thursday meeting in the Temple in question, that he had met with President McKay and he was perfectly lucid and gave approval for the giving of the sealing blessings to the President of the Oakland Temple and a number of other nominated sealers and had since, upon occasion, appeared well and lucid.

Elder Hinckley stated that he had read the minutes and that if Elder Hunter would remove the word ‘mentally incompetent’ from his statements made at the meeting in question, that the whole matter could be resolved simply on a basis of incompetence.

I made the further statement that when this matter had come up in the meeting of the First Presidency and the question of mental and physical incompetence was discussed which had been so stated from the report which Elder Hinckley had referred to, that I objected to this and simply stated that such references to the President’s incompetence and inability to communicate upon occasion should be so stated rather than to put the definite statement of mental and physical incompetence.  It was my feeling at that meeting that this is the way it was to be handled, but the letter from Dr. MacFarlane stating this mental and physical incompetence has become a part of the minutes of that particular meeting.

Elder Romney made the motion, after stating that he had read over carefully the minutes, that they be approved as written.  This was seconded by Elder Delbert Stapley and the motion was carried.  I noted that some of them were a little hesitant in raising their hand.  I did not vote on the issue, either one way or the other.

Elder Hunter explained the mental incompetence in this case did not mean mental illness.  It merely meant that he was not able to give proper consideration to various matters that would come before him and that such instances as this were well known in legal cases.

Elder Hunter continued to explain that in the cases he referred to, individuals had been declared mentally incompetent and yet in subsequent periods of lucidity had prepared a codicil to the will of that particular person and that that will was binding and upheld in the courts.

President Tanner stated that we should continue to meet with President McKay and take advantage of those times when he was able to give counsel and direction and acknowledged that there were periods when the President could do this.

President Brown then stated, despite the objections which I had raised, that the motion to approve the minutes had now carried and the minutes would stand approved as they had been prepared.”

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.”

Thur., Dec. 11, 1969:

“Note by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary:

9:15 a.m.

When I first entered the room President McKay had just finished his breakfast and was in his office.  He looked wonderful in his dark blue velvet lounging jacket; his hair, slightly wavey, was neatly combed back from his broad handsome forehead.

I approached him and told him how glad I was to see him, and he raised his hand to shake my hand.  I said, ‘President McKay you look wonderful.’  He said, ‘I am glad to see you.’

I told him I had a few office matters to take up with him and presented the following:

1. Seven petitions for the cancellation of Temple Sealings.  The President listened intensely to the serious reasons for cancellation of the sealings and granted the requests.

2. I explained to him that 2 or 3 days ago the Utah Idaho Sugar Company called his office and stated that both Presidents Brown and Tanner would be out of the city for the Christmas Season and they would not be able to attend the Utah Idaho Sugar Party on December 18.  They said it would be wonderful if they could have a Christmas greeting from President McKay.  Therefore, at President McKay’s instructions I had prepared a greeting and read it to the President this morning.  He approved of its being given at the party as a greeting from him and Sister McKay.

I had the distinct impression that President McKay is getting weaker and I asked the nurse what the doctor’s findings were, and she said, ‘Well the toxic condition is getting steadily worse.'”

Mon., Dec. 15, 1969:

“Note by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary

I arrived at the President’s office with an armload of Christmas packages which he was delighted to receive.  Among the gifts was a delft blue china dish from Jack O’Keefe, and a Christmas wreath with unique straw handiwork from Sister Betty Olsen of the Danish Mission.

I then called Brother Mark Garff, and he came right over to give President McKay a report on the Building Committee.  Brother Garff presented President McKay with a box of choice walnuts and almonds produced on the Deseret Farms of California in the Sacramento Valley.

After Brother Garff left, I took up several sealing cancellations with the President, which he considered and approved.

The President turned to me and said, ‘You are one of the most wonderful girls I know.  I do not know what I would have done without you.  They can’t keep you away from me.’  I said, ‘Well your counselors (Brown and Tanner) have tried to close your office and kick me out.’  The President then said, ‘There will never be a time as long as I am living that you will not be doing my work, taking care of the mail, and running my office.’

It always lifts my spirit to be around President McKay, and I was grateful for his expressions on this day.”

Mon., Jan. 5, 1970:

“9:00 a.m.

President McKay held a short meeting with the brethren of the First Presidency.

10:00 a.m.

Secretary Clare Middlemiss read about 15 thank you letters to the President expressing thanks to him for his Christmas remembrances.  President McKay was thrilled with the expressions of love and loyalty.

Clare informed the President that Brother Clyde D. Sandgren’s father had passed away, and President McKay said he would like to send a telegram of sympathy.

President McKay was very alert and listened intently.  He was pleased that Clare had brought up office matters with him.

Note by Clare Middlemiss

Following the short meeting with President McKay this morning, the First Presidency continued their meeting in the First Presidency’s Board Room of the Church Administration Building.  During the meeting President Smith slumped over in his chair.  He had an attack later identified by the doctor as an artery stoppage to the brain.  President Tanner and President Dyer stood up, each taking a hold of a hand of President Smith and endeavoring to feel his pulse.  There was no pulse.  President Dyer then attempted to feel the artery in his neck and massaged his neck slightly and he immediately started moving.  Dr. Silace Smith came and attended him.  President Smith then went home with Dr. Smith and President Dyer accompanying him.”

Fri., Jan. 9, 1970:

“Note by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary

9:30 a.m.  Elder Marion D. Hanks accompanied Clare to the President’s office in the Hotel.

(See letter from Brother Hanks and Certificate)

After Brother Hanks left Clare stayed to take up some matters of business.  She read a thank you letter from the Eden Ward Bishopric thanking President McKay for the Azalea Plant he sent at Christmas; also a letter of thank you from Mrs. Graham Doxey both for the Azalea plant and the telegram the President sent to the Doxey family at the passing of Brother Graham H. Doxey.

Clare handed President McKay two petitions for the cancellation of sealings which he went over and approved.

She also brough to the President quotes on prayer from his writing which he had asked her to prepare to be used at the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast to be held Friday, January 23, 1970.  He approved of two statements to be sent to Mr. Paul Wiser for his selection.

The President did not seem as well today.  The hydralic lift gives him much pain and discomfort.”

Fri., Jan. 16, 1970:

“Note by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary

Last Visit of Clare to See President McKay at Apartment

President McKay was sitting up in his chair dressed immaculately as usual.  As I came down the hall I could hear him coughing heavily in order to remove accumulated water that had gathered in his lungs.  My heart sank as I heard him and went on into his office and saw how gray his face was.  When I said good morning to him, he stretched out his hand to me and clutched my hand without opening his eyes.  I said, ‘President McKay, I just came to see how you are; I have no work to bring up.’  He responded by saying, ‘You come over here anytime.  I want you to be here.’  I turned to the nurse and said, ‘Did you hear that?’  To think that even in his suffering he would want me to come over with his work was very touching to me!

Then the nurse wheeled him to his bedroom, and I had a strange feeling that it was the last time that I would officially be in his office.  I stood alone in his office, extremely downcast, and looked at his books that he had loved and read so much throughout his life of study.

When I returned to the office in the Administration Building, I said to my secretarys: ‘Well President McKay is not good; and I think he was saying farewell to me.’

I called the nurse later on in the day to find out how he was.  She reported the doctor had been there to see the President, and he said there was nothing to be done to relieve the condition regarding the water which was accumulating in his lungs.”

“Excerpt from the Minutes of President Alvin R. Dyer

I dreamed that President McKay died.  I saw him lying in a condition of death, not in a casket, but more like a bed with a light colored bed covering.  I then saw a wreath of mourning placed on a door which seemed very high, the white streamers hung down over a long footage of white doors.”

Sat., Jan. 17, 1970:

“Note by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary

Morning:  President McKay was up and dressed in his red velvet jacket.  He ate a pretty good breakfast but did not stay up long.

Afternoon:  At 4 p.m. I called the nurse and she reported his breathing was getting lighter and she told the relief nurse to call the doctor if it got worse.  At 10:30 that night the nurse noticed that President McKay was struggling for breath and called Dr. MacFarlane.

Lawrence McKay reported the following to Clare

Evening:  President McKay’s breathing became so light around 10:30 p.m. that the nurse became worried and called Dr. Alan MacFarlane.  After his examination of President McKay, Dr. MacFarlane called Dr. Edward McKay and members of the family.  Dr. Edward McKay reported that ‘he never saw anyone fight from that time on so hard as his father did not to go into a coma.’  He was lying on his side struggling for his breath.  Then finally his physical body took over, he turned onto his back, and he lapsed into a coma, after which there was no struggle and his breathing became slower and slower until 6 a.m. at which time he finally stopped breathing.  His countenance became relaxed and peaceful.  Lawrence McKay said, ‘He died in peace and dignity.’*

*Dr. Alan P. MacFarlane said President McKay died of acute congestion of the heart.  Although in failing health for several months, the Church leader had become somewhat worse the past few days from heart and kidney failure complications.

All members of the family were present except his daughter LouJean (Mrs. Russell H. Blood) who was delayed in Chicago by a snowstorm unable to get passage on any plane.  (She arrived Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.)

Sister McKay, who had become quite hysterical when she learned of her husband’s condition, had been sedated by the doctor.  She did not awaken until after his death.”

Sun., Jan. 18, 1970:


6:00 a.m.

David Lawrence McKay, Dr. Edward McKay, and other members of the family got on the telephone and notified President and Sister Joseph Fielding Smith, President Hugh B. Brown, President Thorpe B. Isaacson, President Alvin R. Dyer, (President N. Eldon Tanner in Canada was notified later), other members of the General Authorities and Clare Middlemiss, secretary.  All were shocked and deeply grieved.

President and Sister Smith, President Alvin R. Dyer, and Elder and Sister Harold B. Lee came over personally and were present with the family until the brethren of the Larkin Mortuary came to remove President McKay’s body.  Sister Smith put her hand on the President’s forehead as he was lying on his bed, and she said he had a glorious peaceful look on his face.

Sister McKay who was overcome at the death of her husband was administered to by President Joseph Fielding Smith, assisted by her three sons and President Alvin R. Dyer.  Llewelyn McKay, the other son, having just returned from the hospital was too ill to be present.

At 7:35 a.m. representatives of the Larkin Mortuary arrived at the apartment.  They covered President McKay’s body with a red velvet robe and he was wheeled out of his apartment.

Shortly thereafter preliminary discussions were held concerning the funeral services.

(For further information see Minutes kept by President Alvin R. Dyer who was present during this sad time.)

Thoughts by Clare Middlemiss, Secretary

From the moment I received a call from Dr. Edward McKay at 6:10 a.m. regarding the passing of President McKay, I was so shocked and grieved that my voice left me.  I could not believe it had happened and was in tears all day.  My thoughts kept wandering over the 35 years I have been secretary to this great and noble man.  It has been a rare privilege and an honor to work for him.

My secretary Linda arrived at 8:00 o’clock and my sister Afton and nephew Robert Wright arrived at 9:30 to offer their sympathy and condolence and to be with me during this sad and trying day.  The phone rang constantly all during the day and they assisted me in taking care of the phone calls.  I also was interviewed by KSL television on questions pertaining to the life of President McKay.

News Coverage Tributes Paid to President McKay

There was large coverage on the death of President McKay.  All day long programs of tribute were given on the life and work of President McKay by various Radio and Television Stations.

At 6:30 p.m. KSL had a special hour long film paying tribute to President McKay.

The Tabernacle Choir continued following their regular Sunday Choir Broadcast to give a special concert in memorial to President McKay.”

“(Minutes on the Death of President McKay by President Alvin R. Dyer)

SUNDAY, January 18, 1970

(6:10 a.m.)

I was awakened from my sleep by Sister Dyer, who was in tears, saying that President McKay was dead and that his son Lawrence was on the phone.  I hurried to the phone to hear Lawrence’s voice say that his father had just passed away, at 6 a.m., having been in a coma for several hours.

I asked May to call Jessie.  I talked to her and she and President Smith were just leaving to go to the McKay apartment at the Hotel Utah.

I dressed and drove to the Church office, going directly to the McKay apartment.  I was let in by Lawrence, who said he was glad that I came.  Edward and Robert were there with their wives, also Mildred, wife of Lawrence, and Emma Rae and her husband, Conway Ashton.

I reached the apartment at 6:45 a.m.  President McKay’s body was still there.  The family wanted their mother to see him before the mortuary came.  We walked into the bedroom and there was President McKay just as I had seen him in my dream.  I noticed it immediately.  His body was still warm.

Sister McKay was distraught and moaning and crying.  At the request of the family, President Smith gave her a special blessing with myself and the three sons associating.  Lywellen, the other son, is ill, and just left the hospital a day or so ago.

As we sat talking, Lawrence thought that Wednesday might be satisfactory for the day of the funeral.  I suggested that perhaps Thursday would be better so as not to rush it.  He agreed.

(7:15 a.m.)

Brother and Sister Lee came and shortly after, at 7:35 a.m., representatives of the Larkin Mortuary came and took the body of President McKay away.  We all stood as he was wheeled out with a red velvet covering over the body.

(Preliminary Discussion Concerning the Funeral Service)

It was agreed that it should be held Thursday, at 12 noon, and that the body would be placed in the rotunda of the Church Office Building on part of Tuesday and all day Wednesday for viewing.

A special meeting of the First Presidency Counselors and Quorum of Twelve will be held Monday at 10 a.m. with a committee to be appointed to work with the family on the funeral service particulars.

(In the meantime, Joseph Anderson, Secretary to the First Presidency, and also Arthur Haycock, Secretary of the Quorum of Twelve, arrived.)

In the discussion, it was intimated that one of the Counselors, probably President Tanner, would conduct, and President Joseph Fielding Smith will speak–others to be determined later.  Four songs were mentioned which were President McKay’s favorites:  ‘O Say What Is Truth,’ ‘I Need Thee Every Hour,’ ‘O My Father,’ and ‘I Know That My Redeemer Lives.’

Final details of the funeral are to be worked out with the Committee and family.

(8:25 a.m.)

Those of us who had come to be with the family at this time of sorrow left the apartment to return to our homes.


The friendship and love that I have always felt from President McKay is a guiding light in my life.  May and I have felt a nearness to him and Sister McKay from the time many years ago that he paid us the honor of his unannounced presence and goodwill at a Monument Park Ward Sacrament Meeting, when I was the Bishop.  Our association increased as the years went by, while presiding over the Central States Mission, and later, the European Mission.

I shall never forget his voice over the telephone when first called as a General Authority, of the closeness of our love and associations prior to my direct call to the Apostleship, and later to the First Presidency.

The memory of his hands upon my head upon receiving the calling and blessings of these two appointments will never die.  My high respect, love, and admiration for him will never dwindle.

President McKay has made a lasting effect for good upon his fellowman and has led the Church in a period of progress that has led to its greatness.”

Mon., Jan. 19, 1970:

“10:00 a.m.  Meeting of the Twelve and Bishop Vandenberg

This meeting was presided over by President Smith.  The invocation was given by Alvin R. Dyer.  A committee was appointed to meet with the family to finalize funeral arrangements for President David O. McKay.  This committee included Elders Lee, Kimball, Benson, and Tanner.”

Tues., Jan. 20, 1970:

“9:30 a.m.

Radio Station KSXX replayed a recorded interview with Sister Clare Middlemiss which was taken yesterday.  Following the interview many callers called in expressing their thanks and wanting copies of the recording.  There were so many requests for the interview that it was replayed on Saturday.

11:00 a.m.

Secretary Clare went to the mortuary at the invitation of Max and Robert Larkin who asked her opinion of how President McKay looked.  They left her alone with him for a short time to pay her last respects to her ‘boss’ of 35 years.  She told the Larkin people that she thought they had done very well in preparing President McKay for viewing; that he looked natural and like he was sleeping peacefully.

3:00 p.m.

At the invitation of the McKay Family, all family members, General Authorities, and close friends gathered at the Mortuary to pay their loving respects to the Prophet.

4:00 p.m.

Arrangements for Funeral Completed

The Committee, Elders Lee, Kimball, Benson and Tanner, reported on arrangements for the funeral service of President David O. McKay.  Gordon Affleck and Lewis Nielson were present to discuss the details of the funeral procession to and from the Tabernacle.

President McKay’s Body to Lie in State

It had been determined to place President McKay’s body in state in the Rotunda of the Church Administration Building on the following schedule:

Tuesday, January 20 6-8 P.M. (extended)

Wednesday, January 21 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. (extended to 10 P.M.)

Thursday, January 22 8 A.M. to 11 A.M.

(Approximately 45,000 persons passed by the open casket during the three days.  A light rain fell during the first two days but the people kept coming, standing in line for hours to see the President’s body.)

5:00 p.m.

In a beautiful pearl-finished casket, President McKay’s body was brought to the Church Administration Building for viewing.  Scores of beautiful floral pieces of every description had arrived and were placed around the casket.  At 6:00 o’clock the doors were opened to the public, and members of the Church who filed past his casket.  Children were carried in the arms of their parents as people from all walks of life passed by.  The weather was mild for this time of year, but a gentle rain fell as though the heavens were also shedding tears as were all who passed by the Prophet’s last remains.  One child was heard to say as her mother held her up to see President McKay, ‘Mama, he is sleeping,’ and he did look as though he were just restfully sleeping.

Long lines of people four and five abreast stood in the rain for hours to see him, and were waiting clear around the block from South Temple and State Street to Main Street.  The doors remained open long after the announced closing time of 8 p.m.  Many were turned away, and many were unable to stand the long hours necessary to get to see the President.”

Wed., Jan. 21, 1970:

“8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

People passed by the casket all day paying their last respects to President McKay.

3:00 p.m.

Doors were closed long enough for Sister McKay and members of the family to pay their last respects.  It was the first time Sister McKay had seen her beloved husband since his death on Sunday.  They remained about 20 minutes and then the doors were opened again.”

Thur., Jan. 22, 1970:

“7:40 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

The public came by the casket in a double line to try and accomodate all the people who wanted to pay their last respects to President McKay.

11:00 a.m.

The doors closed at 11:00 a.m. and members of the McKay family gathered to have the family prayer prior to the closing of the casket.  Most of the General Authorities and their wives and Sister Clare Middlemiss, the President’s secretary, were also present.  Brother George R. Hill, Jr., a nephew of President McKay and member of the General Superintendency of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association, offered the prayer.

11:30 a.m.

The funeral cortege then formed in front of the Church Administration Building with grandsons and a great grandson of President McKay acting as pallbearers.  Following the pallbearers were members of the Council of the Twelve who acted as honorary pallbearers.  Family members followed the Council of the Twelve.

12:00 N.


The casket was brought into the Tabernacle where it was placed in front of a flower bedecked background arranged by the Relief Society General Board.  The Council of the Twelve and other General Authorities filed in according to seniority.  The family then were escorted in.  Sister McKay sat in her wheelchair beside her son Dr. Edward R. McKay who held her hand during the service.

The service was opened by President Alvin R. Dyer, a counselor to President McKay, who offered the Invocation.  President Hugh B. Brown, a first counselor to President McKay, conducted the service and also spoke to the vast audience both in the Tabernacle and on Radio and Television.

President Joseph Fielding Smith, President of the Quorum of the Twelve and a counselor to President McKay, paid tribute to the Church Leader and his associate in the General Authorities for over 60 years.  He said: ‘If ever a man of modern history left his world better for having lived in it, that man was David Oman McKay.  Wherever he passed, men lifted their heads with more hope and courage.  Wherever his voice was heard there followed greater tolerance, greater love.  Wherever his influence was felt, man and God became closer in purpose and in action.’  President Smith also said: ‘He was a true servant of our Lord–one who walked uprightly before his Maker; one who loved his fellowmen; one who enjoyed life and rejoiced in the privilege of service that was his; one who served with an eye single to the glory of God.’

In his remarks President Brown called President McKay a ‘measuring standard for manhood.’  He said, ‘President McKay has lived as nearly as it is humanly possible for a man to live a Christ-like life.  He found that the answer to the yearning of the human heart for fullness lies in living outside oneself by love.  He proved the truth of Christ’s paradoxical saying, “he that will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”  He was a true servant of the Lord.  He lived as he taught.’

President Tanner said, ‘He believed, followed and understood the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He knew and taught that death was just passing from mortal to immortal existence, to life eternal.’  He said further, ‘He was determined and valiant to the very end.  He was an inspiration and strength to all of us.’  President Tanner also noted the Church program’s growth during President McKay’s years as leader.

Elder Lee said President McKay ‘was and is a prophet of the living God.  He was chosen before he was born.’  Elder Lee traced President McKay’s pioneer heritage and noted his concern for such Church programs as the welfare program and the family home evening program.  ‘He lighted the lamps of faith of many by the intensity of the fire in his own soul.  If I were an artist who had been retained to paint a picture of a prophet, I could think of no one better suited than David Oman McKay,’ Elder Lee said.

Prior to the eulogies, the Tabernacle Choir sang ‘We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet,’ and President McKay’s favorite hymn ‘I Need Thee Every Hour.’  Later numbers by the Choir were ‘Crossing the Bar’ and ‘I Know That My Redeemer Lives.’  Richard P. Condie directed the Choir with Dr. Alexander Schreiner at the organ.

The Benediction was pronounced by Elder Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve.

Procession to the cemetary led by hearse containing President McKay’s casket left Temple Square as crowds lined the walks.  As the procession proceeded up South Temple, crowds lined the streets in reverent respect for their Prophet, Leader, and Friend, and bells tolled from the Cathedral of the Madeleine.


Following the impressive services in the Tabernacle, the President was laid to rest by a simple yet beautiful tribute given by Elder Richard L. Evans as he dedicated the grave and the double mixed quartet of members of the Tabernacle Choir who sang ‘Abide With Me.’  In his prayer Elder Evans said: ‘We gather here with our spirits subdued and with intermingled emotions of sorrow and gratitude.  this was a man–a man who loved life.  As we submit his earthly body to the elements we can be comforted by the blessed assurance that he himself is elsewhere,’ he said.

For more than an hour after Elder Richard L. Evans concluded his dedicatory prayer, mourners walked past President McKay’s casket at the Salt Lake Cemetery to pay their last final tribute.  The Church President was buried in the family plot.”

“(Minutes by President Alvin R. Dyer)

THURSDAY, January 22, 1970

Sister Dyer and I left home to be at the Office about 8:30 a.m.  The crowds were still coming to see the President’s body.

As the morning continued, the General Authorities and their wives began to gather.  All were finally present.

I took my car to the Tabernacle grounds where it could be placed properly for the funeral procession.

At 11 a.m. the General Authorities and their wives gathered in the Conference Room on the first floor.

(Brief Prayer Service Before Closing the Casket–11:15 a.m.)

We all attended with the family.  George R. Hill, Jr., offered prayer.  Thereafter, the wives of the General Authorities left to take their seats in the Tabernacle.

Soon thereafter, the General Authorities left for the Tabernacle by car, as it was raining slightly.  All were in proper seniority order.  They stood at the North Entrance of the Tabernacle before entering to take their places on the stand.

I was permitted to sit on the top level as at General Conference time.

The building was enhanced with numerous floral decorations.  All flowers could not be placed.  Many were sent to the sick.

Sister McKay attended the Service and sat by her son Edward, who held her hand most of the time.  She had said that she wanted to live to attend the funeral service of her husband.

(The Program)

President Brown conducted the service at the request of President Smith, President of the Council of Twelve Apostles, who presided, and members of the McKay family.

The invocation was offered by President Alvin R. Dyer, a Counselor to President McKay.  The opening song was offered by the Tabernacle Choir, as was all of the music for the service.  It was ‘We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet.’  The first speaker was President Joseph Fielding Smith.  The Choir then sang ‘I Need Thee Every Hour.’  the next speaker was President Brown.  The musical number ‘Crossing the Bar’ then followed.  President Tanner then spoke, followed by Elder Harold B. Lee.  The closing number by the Choir was ‘I Know That My Redeemer Lives.’  The benediction was offered by Elder Ezra Taft Benson, a member of the Council of the Twelve.

(The Cortege to Cemetery)

People lined the streets all the way to the Cemetery.  The song, ‘Abide with Me’ was sung by a double mixed quartet of members of the Tabernacle Choir, and Elder Richard L. Evans dedicated the grave.

(Fitting Tribute)

The services both in the Tabernacle and at the City Cemetery, were inspirational and most fitting in honor of the passing of David Oman McKay, truly a most worthy individual, Prophet of God, and servant of mankind.”