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David O. McKay Diaries – “Genealogy”

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

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Wed., 4 Mar., 1953:

1st National Exec.  9 to 10:30—Engaged in the regular First Presidency’s meeting.

“We decided today to send a $5000 contribution for the Polio Fund to the National organization, and not to the local organization.

We also discussed buying from Z.C.M.I. the Standard Furniture Company property and perhaps the bank property to house the bank and give the additional space to Z.C.M.I.  We also favored starting the brethren to work on a plan to put in a vault up on the northeast hillside as a place for securities for the bank and to house our valuable records.  I said that I would talk to Brother Silver and others about this and report back.”

Fri., 15 Oct., 1954:

First Presidency’s Meeting

Among items discussed were:

(2)  Access to Parish Registers in England:  Read a letter from President Reiser of the British Mission enclosing a letter from one of his counselors, Bro. Cunningham, in which letter Brother Cunningham enclosed two letters from rectors in England indicating that they cannot give permission to obtain information from the parish registers unless a certificate is given to the effect that the records will not be used for Church ceremonies such as work for the dead.  The Brethren felt that it might be necessary to consult those higher in authority.”

25 Oct., 1955:

The same day received Mr. Reino H. Oittinen, Director-General of the Central Board of Schools of Finland.  He was former minister of education and director of church affairs.  It was to this man that the church presented the microfilm records taken by the Genealogical Society, which records were taken with his permission.  He expressed apprecation of them.  Our former mission president, Henry A. Matis, accompanied this gentleman on his visit to the First Presidency.  Had a very interesting conversation with them.

Thurs., 14 June, 1956:

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

Thurs., 5 July, 1956:

“9 a.m. – Meeting of the First Presidency.  Met alone with secretaries Anderson and Reiser.  Both President Richards and President Clark were absent because of illness.

While in meeting met by appointment at my request Brother William A. Cole whom I called for consultation regarding his assistance in developing genealogical research resources among the Polynesians in preparation for the Temple.

Regarding Maori Genealogy, Brother Cole suggested that a ‘clearing house’ be established in New Zealand to operate under the direction of the Temple Recorder.  The arrangement would need to be permanent.  It could be under the direction of the temple recorder better than under the Mission, whose officers change.  The distance between New Zealand and Salt Lake City makes impossible Maoris doing research here.  A ‘clearing house’ and some one in New Zealand could help the Maori people to prepare their genealogies in the form required for the Temple. 

I then discussed ways and means of establishing this work with a view of Brother Cole’s taking charge.

(See First Presidency’ minutes of this day for detail conversation that ensued regarding this matter)

Friday, December 12, 1958.

Telephone conversation with Elder Wendell B. Mendenhall.

Regarding:  Film Storage Vault Property – Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Brother Mendenhall:  Brother Barker will take the matter to the Committee of Expenditures meeting next Tuesday, (December 16, 1958).  I wanted to check with you first because we have to close the deal by Wednesday or Thursday because the option expires.  By Tuesday we will want to give approval for it.

I am leaving for Hawaii tonight, and we will meet you Monday.

President McKay:  Are you leaving on the train?

Brother Mendenhall:  No, I am flying.

President McKay:  What time do you leave for Hawaii?

Brother Mendenhall:  Tonight at mid-night.  I get there in the morning at 7 o’clock.

President McKay:  Don’t your nerves jump sitting up all night?

Brother Mendenhall:  I sleep good.

President McKay:  Do you take a berth?

Brother Mendenhall:  No, I just put my chair back.  The last time I went over I only woke up once all the way across.

President McKay:  My goodness.  My nerves begin to jump and carry on, one muscle and then another.  That is the most miserable thing.

Brother Mendenhall:  I have been through the same thing.  I am tired enough tonight that I don’t think I will move.  I change planes in San Francisco.  I have a meeting tonight for an hour at the airport before I go and then we are going to go over.  Sister Mendenhall was not going to go, but she has not been feeling too well and I talked to the doctor and he felt she should to; that I should not leave her alone.  After talking it over I felt the thing to do is to let her have that rest over there.  It will be much better for her than if she tries to stay.

We will see you there,  Good-bye.”

Mon., 23 Mar., 1959:

“7 a.m.  Came to the office – dictated a letter to the dictaphone to a woman in Logan who inquried about genealogical work in the Church.  See following copy.

Monday, March 23, 1959.

Note to Miss Middlemiss:

I have been told by a friend who has worked in the Church offices as a secretary, that this letter doesn’t have a chance to reach President McKay.  Nevertheless, I feel prompted strongly, after fasting and prayer to send it anyway.  I do not ask you that you please give it to him, but only that you pray about it before you decide, as I know you probably do all the letters which come for him.  I realize the great demands that are made upon him, and you are the best judge of whether this would be asking too much.  If you decide you should not give it to President McKay, but feel prompted to give it instead to Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, it is alright with me, or to one of the other Brethren.

May God bless you and guide you in your decision.


Mrs. Onas Mays

Monday, March 23, 1959.

Logan, Utah

March 13, 1959

President David O. McKay

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear President McKay,

There is a problem in my mind which has bothered me for so long that it is beginning to canker and undermine my faith.  I have talked with my Bishop and my Stake President about it, and also briefly with Elder Hugh B. Brown.  But none of them have been able to give me an answer which gives me any satisfaction.  Therefore, after fasting and prayer, I turn to you, because with all my heart I believe you are a true Prophet of God, and if you, in your infinite wisdom and your great kindness and understanding, will express your opinion, I know it will truly be the mind and will of our Heavenly Father.

The problem has come about because of a statement made by the Prophet Joseph Smith, which I believe from all the evidence I see, must not be true.  And if it is not true, how can I know if the others he has made are true?

The statement is this:  ‘The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead.’  (Teachings of The Prophet Joseph Smith’ by Joseph Fielding Smith p. 356.)  I don’t believe this statement could be true for several reasons:

1.  A very small percentage of the membership of the church are engaged in seeking after their dead, especially in the field of genealogical research, — and temple work can’t be done without it.  But in spite of the fact that so few are actually engaged in it, when I listen to the General conferences, and go to Stake Conferences, I do not hear the General Authorities (whom I sincerely believe are prompted in what they say by the Holy Ghost), exhort the people to get busy and do more of it.  If itwere truly our greatest responsibility, and our Heavenly Father were concerned that about 90% of the members are not doing it, would not the Brethren be prompted to remind us of it occasionally?  In the ten years I have been listening to, and going to Conferences, I can’t remember a single address in which Genealogical work was the main theme.  But I remember many in which the main theme was missionary work, or welfare work, or tithing, etc.  In fact a special representative is usually sent out to each Stake Conference to speak on Welfare work.  Therefore, the only logical conclusion seems to me that these other things must be more important, and Joseph Smith was wrong.

2.  The Church has a very wonderful program worked out for the recreation and development of the youth of the Church, in the form of Drama, Dancing, Baseball, Basketball, to help them prepare and trian for missions.  But there is no program to get them interested, trained and started in seeking after their dead.  This too should start in their youth, if they are ever to become active in it.

3.  The Church has a very wonderful organization to reach every family in the Church once a month, both by Ward Teachers and Relief Society Teachers.  And if these visits are not made, note is made of it, and those who failed in their duty are taken to task about it.  According to the Genealogical Hand Book, every family in the church should also be visited by a pair of Home Teachers, to help them with their Genealogical work.  And yet, there are people who have lived in our ward for years who have never had a visit by Home Teachers.  And I don’t think our North Logan Ward is much different than most others in the Church.  Yet no one seems to know, or care that this is not done.

4.  All the officers of the Priesthood and other Auxilliaries except the Genealogical Committees, are called to Salt Lake once a year to a very wonderful conference, where they are taught the importance of their work, and inspired by wonderful addresses by the General Authorities.  Emphasis is added to the importance of the work they are doing …………………………………..(illegible).  While the officer of …………………………………..

(illegible) sustaining vote of the church.  Therefore, it must not be as important as the Church Board of Education, the Choir, etc.

5.  When a person is interviewed before being asked to accept a responsible position in the church, they are asked if they pay their tithing, keep the word of wisdom, etc.  But to my knowledge they are not asked if they have discharged their duty in seeking after their dead.  And yet Joseph Smith says this is our greatest responsibility.

6.  One of the most discouraging things that comes to a person who has just become interested in seeking their ancestors comes from the Genealogical Society itself, when they receive a letter from them saying: ‘Due to the great number of orders we have on hand, it is impossible for us to start work on you line for at least two years.  Your name will be put on our waiting list, and you will be notified when we can begin.’  Yet many people are receiving such letters.  If they decide to do the research themselves, they make an effort to leave their affairs and go down to the Library in Salt Lake, only to find it so crowded they have to spend about one third of their time waiting in line to get the books they need.  You probably know it takes about 6 months after sheets are sent in for clearing before they reach the temple, and another 6 months or more after the temple work is done before they are returned to the patron.  If the church really considered this our greatest responsibility would no adequate buildings and personnel for the Genealogical Society be given priority over say the Relief Society, or a new Baseball Park?  I understand the temples are beginning to run short of names, but if all the backlog of sheets that are waiting to be processed were caught up they would probably have more than they could handle for a long time.

Well, I could go on, but I must not.  President McKay, believe me when I say I do not write this letter in a spirit of criticism, but in a spirit of truth seeking.  I am sure there must be a logical explanation why the Prophet made this statement.  One reason I did not write to Elder Joseph Fielding Smith was because I was afraid he would think I was criticizing him, because of his position with the Genealogical society.  And too, I already know from his books that he, himself feels this work the most important, but he is only one, –what about the other Brethren?  As I said, my Bishop and my Stake President could not help me.  My Bishop merely said he could not answer me, and recommended that I go to the Stake President.  The Stake President seemed to agree with me that perhaps Joseph Smith was wrong, because he said he would hesitate to say that the work of one organization in the Church is more important than another, and he quoted St. Paul when he said ‘One member’ of the body cannot say to the other I have not need of thee.’  Yet if the work of any one of the organizations is being treated as if it were not as important as the rest, it is the work of the Genealogical Committees.  They have no regular time to work, no minute books, and one ward and Stake are doing one thing, another Ward and Stake something quite different.

Brother Brown said that the Genealogical Work of the Church is so organized tht it should function well without the General Authorities needing to call special attention to it, –that they have other more important things to speak of.  So apparently he feels also that there are other things more important, and Joseph Smith was wrong.

This question is very important to me, becuae I am the Mother of six small Children, and must not spend time doing things that are not important.  Also, my husband, who is a convert and quite active, has been reluctant to see me spend time searching for my ancestros (I have already found about 2,000 of his) because he doesn’t see others doing it, therefore it must not be important, — or he would hear it preached more often by our leaders.  But continually I have a dream from which I wake up in a cold sweat because I had promised someone I would help them, but neglected to do so until it was too late.  I have prayed about it sincerely, but can’t seem to find the answer.  If my thinking has been wrong I want to get it straightened out and get busy doing what I should be doing.  Would you please give me your advice?  And if you feel so impressed, would you add your prayer to mine that I will be given wisdom to know the truth, and my husband also?

God bless you for your love and kindness and patience.

Sincerely, a humble sister,

Mrs. Onas Mays

Monday, March 23, 1959.

March 24, 1959

Mrs. Onas Mays

1887 North 16th East

Logan, Utah

Dear Sister Mays:

Enclosed herewith is a copy of a letter to President Kenner which I have told him I am sending to you as an answer to your inquiry of March 13th.  Attached to that letter is a note to Miss Middlemiss in which you say that you have been ‘told by a friend who has worked in the Church Offices as a secretary that this letter doesn’t have a chnace to reach President McKay.’  Whoever that ‘secretary’ is told you an untruth, for Miss Middlemiss calls my attention to every important letter.  Owing to the pressure of appointments, consultations, and so forth, every letter cannot receive personal acknowledgement; but none escapes the attention it deserves.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay



Monday, March 23, 1959.

March 24, 1959

President Cecil Bryant Kenner

East Cache Stake

369 Blvd.

Logan, Utah

Dear President Kenner:

Recently I received a very significant letter from a member of your Stake written, so she avers, after she had consulted with ‘my bishop and my stake president *** and also briefly with Elder Hugh B. Brown, but none of them have been able to give me an answer which gives me any satisfaction.’

The writer of the letter states that her ‘problem has come about because of a statement made by the Prophet Joseph Smith, which, I believe, from all the evidence I see, must not be true.  And if it is not true, how can I know if the others he has made are true?’

The follows six ‘reasons’ why the writer does not ‘believe this statement could be true’:

1.  A very small percentage of the members of the Church are seeking after their dead.

2.  No program to get youth interested in seeking after dead/

3.  No ward teaching done each month.

4.  Officers of Priesthood and Auxiliary leaders, except genealogical, invited to Salt Lake once a year to Conference.

5.  When persons interviewed before call for responsible positions, they are asked if they pay their tithing, keep the Word of Wisdom, sustain the Priesthood and so forth, but they are never asked if they have discharged their duties in seeking after their dead.

6.  While they make their genealogical search from the Genealogical Soceity itself, people trying to complete their records are delayed for at least two years.

The writer then says she could ‘go on’ and mention many more.

I am sure she could; for those she mentions refer not to the truth of the Prophet’s statement regarding the importance of the responsibility of seeking after the dead, but to the neglect, indifference on the part of individuals, or inefficiency on the part of the Church in discharging this great responsibility.

Just what phase of this ‘greatest responsibility’ that God has laid upon his Church, the Prophet had in mind when he made that statement, we may never know; but any one of several will justify the truthfulness of what he said.

Take for example, the Essentiality of Baptism, not for redemption, but for salvation and exaltation.  Said Jesus to Nicodemus, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of god.’  Answering Nicodemus’ wonderment as to how a man might be born again, Jesus continued:  ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’  The three-fold purpose of baptism is therein explained and is a law of the gospel laid down by the Savior himself.  Christ himself obeyed it in order ‘to fulfill all righteousness.’  Following his resurrection, in his final charge to his disciples, he told them to go and ‘teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:  and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’

During the time Jesus’ body lay in the tomb, Peter tells us He went and preached to the spirits in prison who were once disobedient in the days of noah when the ark was preparing.

Hundreds of years had passed away since those people had died, yet there were certain laws which they had to obey before they could enter into the kingdom of God and progress eternally.  Undoubtedly baptism was one of those laws to which they must subscribe.

If Joseph Smith had in mind only this one principle — baptism for the dead — he would be justified in saying the greatest responsibility resting upon the Church was tht of getting the names of those who are waiting to hear this principle of the gospel.  If individuals or the Church fail in the performance of their duty regarding this mightly responsibility, they will be held responsible for it as they would be if they violated the Word of Wisdom, neglected tithing, or failed to render any service in the Church.  However, the failure of the people to do their duty affects in no way the truthfulness of the statement made by the Prophet Joseph Smith.

However, it is not fair to say that the Church is neglecting this mightly duty.  Twelve temples have been erected in which this work can be performed.  For years people had to come to America where these temples were built.  Recently the Lord revealed the fact tht temples should be taken to foreign countries, so people unable to come to the temple might have opportunity of doing the work in their own land.  As you know, in the past few years, temples have been dedicated in Switzerland, London, Los Angeles, New Zealand, and sites purchased for the erection of others.  Individuals by the thousands during the last few years are taking advantage of the opportunity thus afforded them.  Often they have to sacrifice all they possess of worldly possessions in order to perform this duty.  At the dedication of the New Zealand Temple, one man, for example, had to travel from Perth to Melbourne, then take plane from there to Auckland, New Zealand, and bus from Auckland to Temple View, and return, a distance as far as from San Francisco to New York, from New York and Ipswich to New Zealand and back.  To do this they had to sell their automobiles, mortgage their land, even their furniture in their house, but they said it was worth it.  People are continuing travel to the temple by sailing vessels, and by air.

About a month ago, one Saturday morning, I was in the Los Angeles Temple at 11 o’clock.  Over a thousand people were in the temple at that hour, and 350 more were waiting for the afternoon session.  Between 1300 and 1400 people went through the temple that day, and all were through in time to return home by 5:30 p.m.

Within the last two weeks I have had a conference with twelve stake presidents who pleaded on that occasion that another temple be erected for the convenience of the people who now find it difficult to get through the Salt Lake or Logan Temple.

As I say, it is not true that the people are indifferent regarding this great responsibility.  Anyone who can even just get a glimpse of this one phase of salvation for the dead can readily understand how this ‘greatest responsiblity’ will require not only our present activity, but how it will extend even through the Millenium.

The writer of the letter to which I referred glimpses the magnitude of this work, but she is wrong in doubting the truthfulness of the Prophet in his statement regarding the responsibility of the Church towards the discharging of the duties pertaining to salvation for the dead.  She writes not in a spirit of criticism ‘but in a spirit of truth seeking.’  she is right in saying that too few people take interest in this very important work, but she is wrong in saying that others are not taking interest.  The fact is that the Church is putting forth more effort at the present time for the salvation of the dead than at any other time in tis history.  In fact, the temples are so crowded, as I said above, that presidents of stakes and presidents of missions are pleading for more temples to be built immediately.

I am sending a copy of this letter to Sister Mays.  I am enclosing herewith a copy of her letter to me and my reply thereto for your information.

With kind regards and best wishes,

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


Wed., 26 Oct. 1960:

“8:30 to 11 a.m.

Attended the regular meeting of the First Presidency.  President Clark is still confined to his home.

We first met with Elder George Jarvis and Elder Alfonso Pia of the Finance Department of the Church regarding the purchase of electronic computers to be used by the Genealogical Department and other departments of the Church.  (see minutes of the First Presidency’s meeting for details)

Fri., 27 July 1961:

“8:30 a.m.

We met by appointment at their request Elders Joseph Fielding Smith, Mark E. Petersen, Howard Hunter of the Genealogical Society Board of Directors who submitted a memorandum relating to Genealogical research in foreign lands, particularly Europe.

The Society desires to work out closer relationships between genealogical representatives in the missions and the mission presidents.

I said that I think this is a step in the right direction, and we were agreed that genealogical work has reached a point where we must set up some division of authority.  President Smith stated that department heads are being so trained to take the responsibility.

We next considered the need for more space and for the new building.  We considered several suggested sites for the new building, and agreed that the site on Redwood Road where we have acquired 800 acres would be the most suitable.  I told the brethren that we should now go ahead to make our plans for the new building.”

Fri., 12 May 1961:

“After the Presiding Bishopric had departed, Elders Mark E. Petersen and Howard Hunter came into the meeting at the request of the First Presidency to report on financial records of the Genealogical Society.

After a long discussion, which is recorded in detail in the minutes of the First Presidency, I said that it is our first duty to reorganize the Genealogical Society.  Brother Petersen raised the question as to the advisability of reorganizing the Board of Directors and selecting men, not General Authorities, Stake Presidents or others, as the Hospital Boards are now organized.

The subject was looked upon with favor, and I said that I thought the suggestions made this morning were good; that we release the present personnel and appoint a new general manager, not the General Authorities, and let the manager go ahead with the affairs of the Society.

I asked the Committee making the report this morning – Elders Mark E. Petersen and Howard W. Hunter — to come with a complete report signed by them and that the First Presidency would do the rest.  I expressed appreciation to the Brethren for what they had done — the time and careful attention they have put on the present investigation of conditions at the Society.

After the committee had withdrawn, we summarized the subject discussed, and decided that the Board should be reorganized; second, that we choose the new manager; three, make sure that it will be advisable to eliminate the General Authorities.

I asked that the names proposed for the new manager be repeated, and the following were named: Leon Halverson, Bryan L. Bunker, Wilburn West, T. Bowring Woodbury, Ambrose Merrill, Samuel R. Carpenter, David Haight, and Isaac Stewart.” 

Tues., 13 June 1961:

Genealogical Society Reorganization

I mentioned the urgent need of reorganizing the Board and Management of the Genealogical Society.  I mentioned in this connection as a possible manager, President David B. Haight of Palo Alto Stake.  The Brethren were agreed that he would be an excellent man for the position, but there is a question as to his present business and civic connections.  President Moyle mentioned Irvin Fox, who held a position in the Internal Revenue Department in the Eisenhower administration.  No action was taken on this matter.

Thurs., 22 June 1961:

Genealogical Society – Reorganization of

I reported to the Council that the First Presidency held a meeting this morning with the Board of the Genealogical Society.  All members of the Board were present, and it was felt wise by all present to relieve all the General Authorities on the Board.  Those General Authorities on the Board were glad to be relieved of the responsibility and so expressed themselves.  They were released with appreciation for the work they have done, having spent many years in the interest of the Genealogical Society.

Fri., 23 June 1961:

Reorganization of the Genealogical Board

I mentioned that approval had heretofore been given for Brother Junius Jackson to be made Chairman of the Genealogical Board; that the present Board has now been released, and that the members seem to feel well about it, but that action must be taken at once to organize a new board to carry forward the work.  We decided to invite Brother Jackson to meet with the First Presidency tomorrow morning, June 24, at 8:00, for the purpose of considering this matter.

Sat., 24 June 1961:

“Reorganization of Genealogical Society

At 8 a.m., according to appointment, President Henry D. Moyle, President Hugh B. Brown, and I (President Clark being indisposed at home) met with Elder Junius M. Jackson.

I explained to Brother Jackson that the Board of Directors of the Genealogical Society had been notified of their release, and that it is therefore necessary for a reorganization of the Board.  I mentioned that heretofore there has been a president, a vice president and manager, and members of the Board, all of whom have now been released.  The question was discussed as to what the future organization should be.  Mention was made of the fact that the Genealogical Society is a corporate organization and that in the future set-up there should be a president and two counselors, Brother Jackson to be the president and is to choose two men to assist him.  The present organization is a corporation sole and is a non-profit organization.  It was suggested to Brother Jackson that he discuss with our Legal Department the question of whether the Society should be continued as a corporate entity or whether it should operate as the other church auxiliary organizations.

We turned over to Brother Jackson for his perusal the Haskin and Sells Auditors’ report regarding L. Garrett Myers’ transactions at the Society.  I mentioned that Brother Myers seems to be a very good genealogist and also seems to be about the only man who has had anything to do with the gathering of records in foreign countries, microfilming, etc.  Mention was made that Brother Fudge, who has recently been made an assistant to Brother Myers, is very well informed regarding genealogical matters, and it was suggested 

that Brother Jackson confer with him this morning in regard to matters at the Society.

When asked if he had thought of brethren whom he might use as counselors, Brother Jackson said that he had not as yet given the matter much consideration, feeling that he should know more about the organization and the feelings of the brethren regarding the future set-up.  He asked if he were free to recommend for counselors any one with the exception of General Authorities, and I told him he was free to do this.

We told Brother Jackson that we have under contemplation the building of a new Genealogical building at 21st South and Redwood Road, and it was suggested that he might wish to call on the Building Committee and look over the plans that they are preparing for the construction of this building.

We explained to Brother Jackson that he is succeeding Joseph Fielding Smith as president of the Genealogical Committee, and that we are now recommending, instead of having a vice president as heretofore, that he (Brother Jackson) choose two counselors, a secretary and manager and members of the Board, but that all of the old Board are now released.  In answer to Brother Jackson’s inquiry as to whether he should have a conference with President Joseph Fielding Smith, I suggested that that perhaps would be advisable.

Brother Jackson was then excused from the meeting.

Sat., 2 Dec. 1961:

“8 a.m.

Electronic Computers

Presidents Moyle and Brown and I held a meeting with the following brethren to consider matters pertaining to the electronics computer program:  Bruce S. Smith, John T. Pettit, Gary Carlson, Gerald L. Davey, Kendall R. Wright, and George Y. Jarvis.

I expressed appreciation for the response of the committee to the invitation of the First Presidency to meet today, and for their kindness in rendering such able service in this electronics program.

Brother Bruce Smith was spokesman for the group.  He made a brief review of what has gone forward thus far, stating that in July, 1958, this group was organized in Los Angeles to assist in studying at that time the genealogical requirements of the Church, and to see if there was not a feasible possibility of using advances in computing equipment to help not only in the processing of genealogical records, but also in research, that more names might be available to the temple for temple work.  The committee engaged in a study that covered a two-year period, making a presentation to the Genealogical Board in January 1960.

We held a long consultation with these brethren regarding their investigations, the letters that had been written regarding the matter, their consultations with President Ernest L. Wilkinson, Alfonzo Pia, George Y. Jarvis, etc.

A plan for a complete organization of the electronics business as it pertains to the entire Church, involving the Brigham Young University, the Genealogical Society, the Hospitals, and the Presiding Bishop’s Office was presented.  The organization which they propose is to have a committee with a General Authority as Chairman, and the organizations would be as set forth on the following chart they submitted.

The director of Advanced Planning is a man yet to be selected from someone in the Church, and one who has had some years of experience in such work.  There will be a Steering Committee, which has been appointed with President Ernest L. Wilkinson as Chairman, on which Brother Pia, Brother Jarvis, and some others are members.  The Sterring Committee would report to the President of the church, and be a consultant-advisor to the Director of Advanced Planning.  The Analyst Team would be composed of men whose experience has been pretty much strictly planning, and the size of this committee would depend upon the Director of Advanced Planning.  It was decided to meet Brother Alfonzo Pia next Monday morning, and present this entire matter to him so that he would have the correct understanding.”

Mon., 4 Dec. 1961:

“7:30 a.m.

According to appointment, Brothers Alfonzo G. Pia, George Y. Jarvis, and Gerald L. Davey met with the First Presidency and discussed matters pertaining to the electronic computer program of the Church.

We explained to Brother Pia that while he was away in the East, the five electronics men had met with us and presented a plan for a complete organization of the electronics business as it pertains to the Church.

We explained to Brother Pia that his position would be Director of the Data Processing Operations.  It was also explained that the Director of Advanced Planning would be in charge of the over-all planning for all of the departments of the Church, and that he would function directly under him.  This Director is a man yet to be chosen.  (See minutes of First Presidency for details of discussion held.)

Following the conclusion of the meeting regarding Electronics Computer, we considered other general Church matters until 8:30 a.m., at which time I returned to my private office.”

Tues., 2 Jan., 1962:

“At 10:45 a.m., I was called out of the meeting of the First Presidency to take an overseas telephone call frond Elder Alvin R. Dyer, President of the European Mission, who called from Frankfurt, Germany, to say that he has been invited to go to Warsaw, Poland, to explore the possibility of microfilming the archives of the Polish State where some 45 million names have been gathered. (See following notes of conversation.)”

“Telephone conversation between President Alvin R. Dyer of the European Mission in Frankfurt, Germany, and President David O. McKay, 10:45 a.m.:

McKay: Hello .

Dyer: Hello, President McKay, this is President Dyer.

McKay: Yes, I am glad to hear from you.

Dyer: I have been invited, President McKay, to go to Warsaw, Poland with our Genealogical representative, to explore the possibility of microfilming the archives of the Polish State. There are some 45 million names that have been gathered into an archive, and they have manifested an interest in having us microfilm these. There has been some correspondence with the Genealogical Society, and they asked me to pursue the matter in correspondence, and now we have been invited to come there. And I wonder if we should go.

McKay: By we, whom do you mean ?

Dyer: I mean, Brother Syler, who is here, you know, representing the Genealogical Society.

McKay: Brother Syler ?

Dyer: Yes, Brother Arnold Syler, and myself.

McKay: How long will it take you?

Dyer: It would take us one or two days. It would be to explore the possibilities, and we would have to make a complete report on it, and I wondered whether you thought I should go with him.

McKay: Yes, I do. I think you should go with him.

Dyer: Well, that is what I wanted to be sure of. Now, Mr. Altman, who is the director of the Society, has made arrangements with the Polish Military Embassy for us to come there, and we will have no restrictions.

McKay: What is his name ?

Dyer: Mr. Altman.  He is the director of the Polish Archives.

McKay: I see.

Dyer: And he has made all arrangements through the Polish Military Embassy for the visas and made hotel reservations and everything is clear for us to go if you will tell us to go.

McKay: You may go without commission. Yes, in fact, we urge you to go.

Dyer: Wonderful .

McKay: I think it is a wonderful opportunity.

Dyer: Yes, they have gathered these records from all over Poland and placed them in one archive. There are 45 million names.

McKay: I see.

Dyer: Well, then we will go, President, and make a full report to you on it.

McKay: And the Lord bless you.

Dyer: Thank you. How are you feeling ?

McKay: I am feeling very well, thank you.

Dyer: And your wife ?

McKay: She is getting along pretty well.

Dyer: Sister Dyer and Brent left this afternoon. They will probably be home there tonight.

McKay: We will welcome them.

Dyer: Wonderful .

McKay: You know, I am glad you are going to take this trip. The Lord bless you.

Dyer: Thank you President.

McKay: All right.

Dyer: Good bye.

McKay: Good bye.”

Fri., 9 Mar., 1962:

“7:50 a.m.

Brother Ezra Taft Benson called at the office to thank me for having listened to the tape recording of a 55-minute talk by his son Reed.”

Recording of Genealogical Message

At the request of the officers of the Genealogical Society, I recorded the following message to be used in connection with a genealogical research film regarding genealogical work. This film will be shown throughout the Church at annual genealogical conferences to be held in the various stakes in the United States and foreign countries during 1962.

“‘One of the most important phases of gospel activity is associated with the Temples. Upon intelligent, constant genealogical research, vicarious temple work is wholly dependent. Genealogical research is not only a function of the Priesthood, but also a responsibility of every family. When conscientiously performed, it contributes to unity

in the home and permits us to catch the vision of the divine nature .

Therefore, let us as a Church and a people labor with all our might to qualify as Saviours on Mount Zion.'”

Tues., 13 Mar., 1962:

“Records Microfilmed — Destruction of Originals Authorized

President Brown reported that 97 boxes of Church census records from 1914 to 1940 in the basement of the genealogical building, and 300,000 personal records have all been microfilmed, and the Genealogical Society officers now ask if the originals may be destroyed. President Brown explained that the purpose of the microfilming is to reduce the space needed for storing of the old records.

I authorized the destruction of the old records which had been microfilmed, and mentioned that some records were found to be needing correction and were incomplete; that these had been returned for correction and completion. I said that none of these records should be destroyed until they are completed and have been microfilmed.

Temple Index Cards to be Converted into “Machine Language. “

President Brown said that twenty-three million index cards of temple

work done since the Church was organized, and increasing at the rate of 1,500,000 a year, must be converted into “machine language” to be put through the new machine. He said that he had cited this to show how tremendous the job is.”

Thurs., 22 Mar., 1962:

10:00 a. m. – 1:25 p. m.

Was engaged in the meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve in the Salt Lake Temple

Storage Space for Church Records

At our meeting today I told the Brethren that in view of the new methods of microfilming and storing records, the question has arisen as to whether it is really advisable to erect the proposed Archives Building on the northeast corner of Main and North Temple Streets, that the First Presidency now feel to recommend that we do not erect such an expensive building, inasmuch as it is believed that we can take care of all the records in less space.

Elder Ezra Taft Benson asked if it were intended that the microfilms would be stored in the vault in Little Cottonwood Canyon. President Brown said that the positive films would go into that vault, and the negatives would be kept here.

Elder Benson then inquired where the Historian’s Office Library would be housed. He said that he had not seen a more congested place than the Library as it now is. President Brown said it is thought that in connection with the other buildings to be erected on the block, there would be ample space to take care of that.

President Joseph Fielding Smith commented that we must have some place to put these records because so far as the Historian’s Office and Library are concerned, we have broken out at all the seams, and there are a lot of records that must be stored that are not on films .

I expressed the thought that there would be ample space to accommodate the situation.

(See newspaper clippings regarding new plans for storage of vital Church records and proposed new building changes. )

Thur., 16 Aug., 1962:

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Following the meeting of the First Presidency, I called a special meeting

of The First Presidency and members of the Twelve who are in town.  All were present but Elder Richard L. Evans and Elder Howard W. Hunter.  We took up regular duties first, and then I asked President Hugh B. Brown to read a memorandum regarding the proposed site on Redwood Road for the Genealogical Center, which memorandum was signed by the following members of the Presidency of the Genealogical Association: Junius M. Jackson, President; Lamont B. Gundersen, First Counselor; and George H. Fudge, Second Counselor. This memorandum gave reasons why the Genealogical Building should not be built on the site which is located on Redwood Road in an area which is in an industrial complex, with a very high water table, approximately three feet below the surface, which would necessitate hauling in 200,000 cubic yards of fill dirt at an approximate cost of $286,000, with other necessities for proper drainage which would bring the cost to a total of $655,350 just for preparing the site for the new building. Public opinion is against this location. It is felt that the Genealogical Building should be located close to the other Church Offices as the employees constantly use records in the offices of the Historian and also the Membership Department. Other reasons for not building on this site were given.

The reasons for building the new center on the site close to theChurch Offices are namely, because the Church Office Building is located in a down-town area where people within this area may use public facilities. Much satisfaction has been expressed at the present temporary location in the Montgomery Ward Building on Main and First South. People who wish to drive their own automobiles have access to public and private parking facilities. Communication between the various offices would be much easier at this site. It would be advantageous for daily contact with the Presiding Brethren. It would be a tremendous loss of time going back and forth by car on Redwood Road to the Church Administration Building. If the Genealogical Building were erected on a site close to the main Church Offices, it would be feasible to incorporate in the building other departments such as the Historian’s Office, Membership Department, and the Data Processing Center.

President Brown then presented a memorandum by Kendall R. Wright, Director of Advance Planning, Data Processing Department of the Church, stating that where we have computer service for a number of departments, the trend is to have these facilities in a centralized location where they are readily accessible to the various departments to be served. Gerald L. Davey of the Data Processing Committee called this morning from Los Angeles and stated that whereas Kendall R. Wright had suggested that 160,000 square feet would suffice for the work of the Genealogical Society, Brother Davey’s opinion is that it would require considerable less when we have our electronic computers installed .

President Brown (whom I have appointed to oversee Genealogical and Temple work) said that the site for the building that the Genealogical people had in mind is the corner of Main and North Temple; that we own property there running north along Main Street 300 feet, which includes the Jensen Apartments; that if we do not include the Jensen Apartments it would be 220 feet. The distance going east from the corner to the Lafayette School is 375 feet, with a little corner of 45 feet in length in the rear taken out. This, he said, would give us a very good-sized corner, which could be used for this building or such other buildings as may be needed. President Brown then presented a sketch showing the area and where the building could be erected. He stated that if such a building were erected there, there could be incorporated in it a number of other departments, such as the Historian’s Office, the Electronic Computers Department, the Data Processing Committee, etc. Said he felt the height of the building would depend on how many groups wish to occupy it.

Mention was made of the fact that the Historian’s Office is greatly in need of additional storage space; however, it was indicated that this problem will be solved by the microfilming of records in the Historian’s Office, which microfilms would be placed in the mountain vault in Cottonwood.

President Moyle moved that in light of the report that had been received from the Genealogical people, and the Data Processing people, we eliminate the Redwood Road site from further consideration.  The motion was seconded by several of the Brethren and unanimously approved.

Elder Harold B. Lee thereupon made a motion to the effect that the Montgomery Ward Building, which the Genealogical people indicated is proving to be a very satisfactory quarter for them, be used solely for genealogical purposes, and thus save the necessity of spending several million dollars in order to erect another building for that purpose.

It was mentioned that should the Montgomery Ward building be used by the Genealogical people for the next ten years, at that time if the building is not satisfactory, something else could be considered, and perhaps in the meantime the picture would change as to our requirements for genealogy.

Elder Lee’s motion was seconded by Elder Marion G. Romney, which motion upon being placed by me, was unanimously approved.

Tues., 4 Sep., 1962:

Genealogical Society — Reorganization of Administration

President Brown asked for my instruction in the matter of reorganizing

the administration of Ithe Genealogical Society. President Brown said that the proposal of the Coordinating Council with relation to conventions of organization of the Church is acceptable to the Genealogical Society. He presented the recommendation of the Advanced Planning Committee that the presidency of three be replaced by a manager; that the committee feels that the work can be handled by a manager as a business concern especially in view of the international ramifications, and that this would

be more efficient.  He said a man to be proposed to act as manager has not been selected. He said, “I would like to recommend that we pursue it as proposed by the Advanced Planning Committee.”

I said, “You would have a chairman of the board and a manager. “

President Brown said, “The manager could be the chairman of the board; one man could do both.”

I said, “Reorganization is necessary.  We will take it under advisement; you come up with some man.”

Sun., 6 Jan. 1963:

“Sunday, January 6, 1963

January 6, 1963


President David O. McKay


Dear President McKay:

You asked that I dictate a memorandum or minute of the meeting you and I held together at your home in Huntsville today, January 6.

. . . .

We discussed the Genealogical Society and my proposed meeting with Nathan Eldon Tanner in New York, where I will turn over to him the important letters and documents with relation thereto.  He will then come on to Salt Lake, meet with you and others, and arrange to take over as president and general manager of the corporation.

You asked about the present Board of Directors of that corporation.  I am taking the Articles Incorporation with me to New York and shall point out to President Tanner the essential features thereof.  Among them, and of this I was not sure when I talked with you, I find that the corporation was given the name of the Genealogical Society of Utah, further that the president of the society shall be appointed by the President of the Church.  All other officers and directors are to be elected by the Board of Directors.  The president of the Board has not changed since the incorporation, at which time, and continuing until now, the Board was made up of the following:  The First Presidency, the Council of The Twelve, the Bishopric, members of the First Council of The Seventy, The Patriarch, The Historian, the president and recorder of all of our temples.  I shall leave these articles with Brother Tanner, and he can discuss it in more detail as to how we should proceed after he takes over.

I think the above incorporates in brief form the matters we discussed and the action taken.

May I again express my deep appreciation for the privilege of working for you and hope I may be able to carry out the various assignments made in a manner that will be pleasing and satisfactory.  You have my complete loyalty, my love, and my constant prayers for your health, vigor, vitality, and inspiration.


Hugh B. Brown

Wed., 6 Nov. 1963:

“Baptismal Data – Incomplete

President Tanner read a memorandum addressed to him by Brother Henry Christiansen of the Genealogical Department asking for guidance as to what should be done in cases where an individual who claims membership in the Church cannot provide his baptismal date.  It was reported that the Presiding Bishopric have set up a procedure for the bishops to the effect that in cases where no record of the baptism can be found, if affidavits can be obtained signed by witnesses, such procedure would suffice; that, however, where affidavits cannot be secured and no record can be found, the person should be baptized again.

I instructed that we be careful not to make an ironclad ruling on this subject; that there are many cases where the records have been destroyed by fire or otherwise.  I mentioned in that connection that all the records in Huntsville, including the record of my baptism, were destroyed by fire.  I think, however, that the rule should remain the way it has been set forth by the Presiding Bishopric with this precaution.”

Wed., 4 Mar. 1964:

South American Missions – Request for Negotiations for Microfilming

The proposal that microfilm projects in the mission of South America be undertaken, or that a survey of feasibility be made was considered.  I commented that the field is very great, and that so many of the people are unable to read or write that education to give these skills is of first necessity.  I advised that the subject be held for further consideration and that the survey be not undertaken for the present.

Wednesday, March 4, 1964



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

Request of Presidents of South American Missions for Negotiations for Microfilming

The letter of Theodore M. Burton was read reciting the recent requests of presidents of South American missions for the negotiation for microfilming to be done in the areas of these missions.  The possibility of the Genealogical Society undertaking microfilming programs in Brazil, Argentine and Chile was considered to be favorable.  There is also some interest in Guatemala.  The letter recited that President Tuttle has written to President Tanner suggesting starting microfilming projects on a small scale since the people in these missions do not have the technical background or equipment to carry on efficient operations yet.  Records back to 1500 have been kept mostly by the Catholic Church.  These are thought to contain valuable genealogical information.  An estimate of cost is difficult to make.  The suggestion was made that a survey would need to be made as to the kinds of records available, where they are now located and the cost of making the records.  The Genealogical Society would be prepared to make such a survey if the Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve desire.  The Genealogical Society does not have money in its present budget to undertake microfilming in the South American Missions for 1964 though it does have an appropriation for one new project.

President McKay commented that the field is very great and that so many of the people are unable to read or write that education to give these skills is necessary first.  He advised that the subject be held for further consideration and that the survey be not undertaken now.

Tues., 23 Nov., 1965:

Genealogical Society Matters

Following the departure of Brothers Nelson and Hawkes, Elder Howard W. Hunter of the Council of the Twelve, called and discussed with the First Presidency certain matters pertaining to the work of the Genealogical Society.  He explained that in order to secure names for baptisms and endowments for the Temple, they had been taking from some of the parish records names of the persons christened, and processing them for baptisms and endowments in the Temple to furnish the Temple with names.  He said that the experience of the Society during the past three years has raised some questions in their minds.

We approved of the following recommendations made by Elder Hunter:

1)  That permission be given in doing work for the dead, to seal children to their parents, later to seal the parents to each other when they are properly identified, and to perform baptisms later.  In other words, these ordinances would be performed as a sort of ‘blood bank’ for the credit of the individuals for whom performed until definite information is received regarding relationships, etc.

I said that I could see no objection to this proposal because we do everything for the individual to be accepted when he is ready to accept it, and if he does not accept it, no harm is done.  President Isaacson raised the question as to whether there is any chance for a slip-up whereby the work would not be finished; that if all the other work were done for the individual and the baptism work were not done, it would be of no value.  Elder Hunter said that by means of the computer that is now in use, this situation would be taken care of.  He said as a matter of fact, we have this same situation to contend with now whereby a man and his wife were baptized but they have not finished all the sealings.

We were agreed that this would greatly expedite matters and save a great deal of expense.  President Tanner said that if we did not have the computers this program would not help us, but with the computers to keep them operating, it is almost essential.

2)  It was agreed also that we discontinue taking names from the burial section of parish registers where no relationship can be identified between the individual and his parents.  (For further detail of this discussion, see First Presidency’s minutes of this date.)

Excommunications – Rebaptisms and Restoration of Blessings

President Tanner referred to the work that has been assigned to a special committee appointed to pass upon rebaptisms of excommunicated persons and restoration of blessings.  Elder Stapley, who is chairman of the committee, has raised two questions for the consideration of the First Presidency.

1)  He feels, and the committee supports him in this, that normally if a person is ready to be baptized, he is also ready to have his blessings restored.  In other words, that it would save much time and work if when a person who has been excommunicated and is considered worthy of reinstatement to the Church if he could have his blessings restored when he is confirmed a member.  It was mentioned that this was the procedure in earlier days in the Church.

I said that I do not favor this.

2)  If it is decided to follow the present procedure of re-baptizing the person first and then requiring additional time to prove his worthiness, the question is, should the committee have authority to arrange for the rebaptism on their own judgment, or should their recommendation be brought to the Twelve or to the First Presidency.

I said that they should make their recommendations for rebaptism to the Twelve, and for restoration of blessings to the First Presidency.

Tues., 5 July 1966:

Genealogical Department – Records in Berlin Document Center

We read a letter from Gordon C. Mortensen, written from Berlin, reporting that the Berlin Document Center contains numerous files captured at the end of World War II containing family tree sheets listing genealogy of couples going back to the eighteenth century, which files contain many millions of names.  It was agreed that Brother Theodore Burton should be asked to take the necessary steps to secure this information if possible.

Sat. 5 Oct., 1968:

Genealogical Announcement of New Giant System

President Dyer also made, in behalf of the First Presidency, an important announcement regarding an important new development in submitting names for vicarious ordinance work, which program is called The Giant System – a shortened version of the name Genealogical Information and Name Tabulation.

(See President Dyer’s Minutes following for details)”

Genealogical Announcement – New Giant System

In this meeting I also read an important genealogical announcement as follows:

“The Genealogical Society, with the approval of the First Presidency, announces an important new development in submitting names for vicarious ordinance world.

“The improved genealogical program is called the GIANT System, which is a shortened version of the name GENEALOGICAL lNFORMATION AND NAME TABULATION SYSTEM.

“The GIANT System will begin January 1, 1970, but the announcement is being made now so that members of the Church will be prepared for this simplified program of submitting individual names for temple ordinance world

“Those who have been holding individual names, but have not submitted them because they lacked the full family group may submit them individually under the proposed new system. A special new record form has been developed for this purpose. The family group sheet now in use will continue to be used for sealing of wives to husbands and for completed family groups which meet the requirements of the new system. The cut-off date for the present system will be July 1, 1969. Names submitted under the present system will have to be submitted before July 1, 1969. Names can be submitted under the GIANT System beginning October 1, 1969.

“This new approach to genealogy and temple work will open great areas which have heretofore been untouched in the work of salvation for the dead. The GIANT System will provide increased accuracy, elimination of duplication, simplified recording, speedier processing, unlimited expansion possibilities, easier patron input and faster information retrieval of names already in the system. All this will be possible at a lesser processing cost to the Church and with greater ease to the patron.

“Detailed information will be announced later, but we wish to give this announcement now to encourage our Saints to greater activity in genealogical and temple work.” 

Thurs., Jul. 10, 1969:

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

Among the matters discussed were the following:

World Conference on Records Convention

President Tanner handed me a brochure that has been prepared by the Genealogical Society regarding the new World Records Convention that will be held in Salt Lake City August 5th, 6th, and 7th.  President Tanner explained that this brochure was sent to an organization that inspects advertising brochures and that out of 3,000 such publications this one won first place and the Society received an award on that account.

Tues., 5 Aug, 1969:

“(President Dyer’s Report on the Opening Session of the World Conference on Records)

(World Conference of Records – 10:15 a.m.)

I attended the opening session of the World Conference on Records. People were gathered here from all over the world. The session was held in the Salt Palace. I would judge there were between 4,500 and 5,000 in attendance. It is my understanding that over 3,000 have officially registered for this Conference. The music was furnished by the L. D. S Youth Choir and Symphony under the direction of Jay Welch, who is also the assistant Tabernacle Choir director.

The meeting was held under the auspices of the Genealogical Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with Paul Royall conducting. I sat with President and Sister Joseph Fielding Snlith. There were several other General Authorities in attendance, including Marion G Romney, who offered the opening prayer, and President Hugh B. Brown, who attended part of the meetings.

Welcoming messages were given by Gunn McKay for and in behalf of Governor Calvin L. Rampton, who was out of the City. Mayor J. Bracken Lee extended his greetings, as did Elder Howard W. Hunter in behalf of the Genealogical Society. The guest speaker for this session was Senator Wallace Bennett, who spoke upon the subject of the keeping of records in an uncertain world and of how this could have a leveling effect upon the people where it was done.

Comment: Apparently, under the instruction of N. Eldon Tanner, this Conference was to be held without emphasizing the place of the Church, inasmuch as they were appealing to many nations throughout the world and were seeking to open the door for the microfilming of records and the encouraging of record keeping. As a result of this, there was no message from President McKay; there was no picture of President McKay or the Presidency in the brochures that had been prepared. Notwithstanding this fact, the convocation that was held upon Sunday morning was all Latter-day Saint and the concepts which the Church represented and no Conference visitor could help but sense that the Church was greatly associated with this movement. While every effort was made to suppress the dominance of the Church in it, I believe that it did show through and people recognized the fact that the Church was the moving force behind it.”

Thur., 7 Aug, 1969:

9:00 a.m.

Meeting of the First Presidency held in the President’s Hotel Apartment. Present were Presidents Hugh B. Brown, Joseph Fielding Smith and Alvin R. Dyer.

Among the matters discussed were the following:

World Conference on Records – President Brown’s Report

President Brown reported to me that one of the visitors to the World Records Conference is Lord Thompson of Fleet Street, London, who has accumulated an empire worth three hundred million dollars. He owns 300 newspapers and magazines, 25 printing companies, 17 TV stations, 12 radio stations, 7 book publishing companies, 2 airlines, etc. President Brown said that Lord Thompson met with the First Presidency, some members of the Twelve, Sister Spafford and some others in the office of the First Presidency, and that he is quite impressed with what he has learned here about the Church. He was taken out to see the canyon records vault, went to the Brigham Young University and was very much impressed with what he saw there.  President Brown said that Lord Thompson extended an invitation to him to visit him in his office in the House of Lords. President Brown thought that perhaps he would be able to do this on his way back from Berchtesgaden, Germany, where he is to meet with the servicemen. He said if it met with my approval he could go to London from Berchtesgaden about the end of October and meet with them there. Lord Thompson said that he wanted President Brown to tell his friends in the House of Lords about our Church. He stated that he had come here without very much knowledge about us, and does not have very much knowledge about the Church now, but he would like his friends to know what he knows. President Brown said he thought that would be a good opening. I said that this was all right. President Brown said that Lord Thompkson had inscribed for him a book that has been written about him.

Referring to the Recards Convention President Brown said it is being held in the Salt Palace and seems to be very successful. He mentioned that this morning he is going over to the convention to listen to the Russian representative who is here from Moscow. He told me that the theme of the Conference is “Records Production in an Uncertain World”, and it is in commemoration of the diamond jubilee of the organization of the Genealogical Society of the Church. He mentioned in this connection also that a letter of congratulations had been received from President Nixon and that President Nixon had a special representative at the convention day before yesterday.