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David O. McKay Diaries – “George Romney”

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

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Tues., 29 Jan., 1957:

“12:45 to 1:00 p.m.  – Met by appointment at his request, President George W. Romney, Detroit Stake.  This was a courtesy call.  President Romney left with me the manuscript of the address that he delivered before the Annual Convention of the National Automobile Dealers Association in San Francisco, January 28, 1957.  This address was on the subject:  ‘A Still Greater Struggle Is Necessary.’  (Talk is in the file.)  President Romney said that perhaps he had put his neck out in this address.  In his remarks he referred to the increasing power of labor and unionism, and the neglect of the manufacturers.  President Romney is occupying a very important position now in the industrial world.  I thought maybe President Romney was going to tell me that he thought he should be released from the presidency of the Detroit Stake because of his great responsibility in the industrial world.  I mentioned this to him, and President Romney said ‘No’.  He said that he never will ask for such a release; that the Church comes first with him.  He said this with such emphasis that I am sure it came from his heart.”

Wed., 23 Mar. 1960:

8:30 to 10 a.m.

Was engaged in the meeting of the First Presidency.

At the first part of our meeting we met by appointment Brother George Romney, President of the Detroit Stake, and Sister Romney.  We had quite a long discussion with President Romney.  He explained the economic and political plight of the State of Michigan which has resulted from the corporations of the state and the labor unions economically and politically having arrived at a point of deadlock causing paralysis of political and economic effort affecting them and the citizens at large.  He stated that this situation brought about the organization of the ‘Citizens for Michigan’ group as a means of bridging the gap.  He also said that he had for some time conferred with Walter Reuther to discover his fundamental purposes and interests in the hope that some basis for cooperation could be discovered.  In the ‘Citizens for Michigan’ organization people from all walks of life and all political parties are brought together to realize the superior obligation of citizens in the hope that they can influence both political parties.  Both Republican and Democratic parties have endorsed the movement.  He said that Vice President Nixon and others have come to him and urged him to seek election as Governor of Michigan.  This he has declined and also the urging that he run for United States Senator from Michigan which he has also declined.  He declined, he explained, because he felt that he had the primary obligation to the citizens group, and, second, he had an obligation to the American Motors of an exceptional nature, and, third, that he would rather not have public office, if it required that he become obligated to the corporations or the unions.

He then explained the continuing and growing concentration of power in the unions and the corporations has intensified economic and political conflict in the country and both economically and politically is preventing the people of the United States from having the benefit of the teamwork and political understanding which he thinks is the basis of American fundamentals and necessary for our strength.  The ‘Citizens for Michigan’ group organized a panel consisting of ministers, three Catholic priests, Protestant ministers and Jewish Rabii.  These men are close to Walter Reuther and they say that Reuther is not sure of himself.

President Romney has had several conferences with Mr. Reuther and finds that he is concerned about the same things as concern President Romney.  Reuther indicates that his growing concern is that the conflict mentioned above could so weaken America to the point where the Russians would succeed in their objective to defeat us around the world economically.  It is his view that Kruschev has decided that it is not necessary to defeat us in a military way because they can out perform us economically around the world.  He expressed himself as concerned about the increasing tendency to concentrate domestic activity into the hands of the Government.

Then followed a lengthy discussion about President Romney’s part in the ‘Citizens for Michigan’ organization.  I told President Romney that his influence should be held for the good of the United States, not as a Republican to head that committee or to head his industrial empire.  President Romney said that Vice-President Nixon has talked to him and wants to see him after he gets back from April Conference.  I said:  ‘Now, undoubtedly you are a leader and have great influence over this association for Michigan and particularly in Detroit.  It has been non-political including Democrats and Republicans and they are supporting it.  Nixon sees that you exert that influence.  He would like to use that influence for the purpose of perpetuating the Republican ideals in the next election.’  President Romney answered, ‘That is right.’

I told Brother Romney that we appreciate very much what he has done, and the inspiration he has received and that we pray that it will continue.  (for further details of this conversation — see minutes of the First Presidency for this day)”

Fri., 5 Dec. 1961:

“8 a.m.

Brother George W. Romney, President of the Detroit Stake, came in to the meeting by appointment previously arranged.  He expressed appreciation for the opportunity to have the counsel of the First Presidency.  He reviewed a meeting he had some time ago with us, and the encouragement he was given to continue his interest and participation in the ‘Citizens for Michigan’ movement.  He said that this organization had succeeded in bringing about a constitutional convention in Michigan with the purpose of enlarging the powers of the state to cope with the problems that are now carried to Washington.  He stated that the Michigan purpose could be a pattern of national importance.

He said that he is a delegate to the State Constitutional Convention and an officer, and now the pressures are building up for him to run for Governor of Michigan.  He said the situation is now developing where he must make some clarifying statement, and he must make some reasoned decision.  He will make a decision by February 10th whether or not he will become a candidate for Governor in Michigan.  He said his primary concern is that there are problems which are being ignored in the country ‘that are going to wreck us.’  He stated that his real concern is the decline of the rule of the state and local government, and the concentration of power which will bring about government control.  He said we are approaching a point where the Federal Government will step in and exercise control over wages and prices, and that the minute the Federal Government goes that far, then our present economic system which is premised upon the people exercising ultimate power, will be ‘out of the window,’ and we shall have some form of statism.

Brother Romney said that he must make a decision that would completely set the future of his life for some time to come.  He said he knows how to settle that; he has fasted and prayed at intervals when he has had a decision to make, but there is a Church aspect that the First Presidency only can resolve.

He said that if he goes into the political situation in Michigan, and campaigns for Governor, the Church will be involved because the Democratic party and the union groups in the Democratic Party will use anything they can in the campaign.  He said the Church has always been an asset to him, and that it will continue to be in this situation, but he said that he is sure critical things will be said about the Church.

I said to Brother Romney:  ‘They know your relationship to the Church.  You are well known in the United States as a member of the Church, and as President of the Detroit Stake.

Brother Romney said ‘That is well known, and it is an asset to me.  One aspect is our position on the negro holding the Priesthood.’  He said that Detroit has a very large negro population, and so had the state of Michigan, and that he is sure that the charge will be made against him that he has a race bias.  He said he has no race bias; that he has worked with the negroes in these programs as much as he has worked with others; that some of the people with whom he has been closely associated in the ‘Citizens for Michigan’ effort have been negroes; that some of the negroes in Michigan are some of the finest people in the state, and are very able people.  But he feels that there is no question but that this particular point will receive a great deal of publicity and public discussion, not only in Michigan, but more broadly.  However, members of his High Council to whom he had talked, think the negro issue will figure in the campaign, but that they think that should not stop him from running; they think he should run; they think that it will do the Church a great deal of good; they think the situation is different from the situation two years ago, and in this President Romney expressed agreement.

I said that there is no question but that the negro question will come up.  I asked Brother Romney if the prominent negroes are well informed as to the Church’s attitude toward the negro, and Brother Romney said that he could not say that they are.  I said that the negroes are admitted into the Church by baptism; they are welcome to become members of the Church, and members of a ward, and to partake of the Sacrament and have full fellowship in everything but not to be ordained to the Priesthood.  President Romney said he thought it would be correct to say that the negroes do not have a complete picture, but they do have a picture that has been widely distributed among the negroes in this country that we do not permit them to have the Priesthood, and they build upon that, and say we have a race bias.  I said that ‘we can offer them all that any other Church can offer, and we do advocate care in marriage; we advocate that Mexicans marry Mexicans; Japanese marry Japanese; Catholics marry Catholics; and Mormons marry Mormons; for the good of family harmony and peace.  We look with hesitancy, and, one might say, suspicion on our Church allowing negroes, Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiians, to mingle with each other.  That, of course, would encourage marriage.

President Romney said he thinks there is no question that most people would agree in this position, and that people of other religious faiths, who have given serious thought to the question, favor intrafaith rather than inter-faith marriages.

I said that so far as the colored question is concerned, we offer the negroes, and the Indians from India, and the Mexicans, the Japanese, and the Chinese every privilege of the Gospel that any other Church can offer excepting only that the negro is not permitted to hold the Priesthood.  I said, ‘Now, I think we can stand on that.’

President Romney said that it becomes a point you have to deal with and that so far as he is concerned, he is going to stand on it as long as that is the position of the Church.  He said he wanted to be sure from the Church’s standpoint, the First Presidency is not reluctant to have him determine what he should do as best he can, knowing that if he should decide to take a whirl at the political situation, it is going to focus public attention upon this particular part of the Church’s point of view.

I then asked Brother Romney if he did enter this political campaign, if it would necessitate his being released as President of the Detroit Stake.  President Romney said that he would have difficulty discharging both responsibilities, but that he would do what we wanted him to do when the time comes.

He said that if he enters the campaign that he would like to go into it with the blessing of the Brethren; that he would not want to go into it if it does not meet with our accord.  We then went into a long discussion regarding the wisdom of his running for Governor at this time, the feeling of his Board of Directors regarding his seeking political office, etc.  We talked about his efforts in Michigan with the ‘Citizens for Michigan,’ and the Constitutional convention.  I asked Brother Romney if it would not be better for him to run for Governor two years from now, and President Moyle asked him if he would not be in a better political position if he said he would not make any decision until the Constitutional Convention had completed its work; that now he is leaving the job in the middle, unfinished, and seeking public office for himself — that he would not be the same George Romney the minute he announces himself for public office.

We had quite a discussion regarding the pros and cons of his running for governor.  President Moyle asked him if he is not willing to agree that he is a greater man than any governor of Michigan, and that he has greater prestige and a greater following, greater respect today than any governor of Michigan has ever had.  He said further, ‘Are you not stepping down from a high pedestal to a lower one?’  I said that I think there is no doubt about it.

President Romney said there are people who say that from his present platform he can have influence; that our argument is the argument of the Democratic National Committee; that he has to weigh this argument because they have done everything to keep him out of the political picture for two years.

We talked about his success in labor negotiations and felt that this success probably was due to the fact that he has been non-partisan in Michigan, to which Brother Romney

agreed, but added that with Reuther, and his top associates there has been a spirit of respect; that has been an important factor.  He said that he had just started a series of discussions with Reuther on the premise that neither of them had had a chance to discuss a philosophy; that he started and said to Reuther, ‘Do you believe in a Creator, the Declaration of Independence, and the constitution?’ and that Reuther agreed with him.

We then discussed the Negro question again, and we told Brother Romney about Brother LaMar Williams’ visit to Nigeria and of the 4,000 Nigerians who want to be baptized into the Church.  We told him that these people had been told that they cannot hold the Priesthood, yet they still want to be baptized.

After a brief discussion on this matter, our interview came to a conclusion, and I told Brother Romney that we were very much interested in the presentation he had made; that we were glad to get the picture clearly in mind.  Brother Romney said he would keep everything which had been said in mind in undertaking to arrive at a decision, and I said that the Lord would guide him; that he is to retain his presidency of the Detroit Stake, and realize that he has an obligation to the Church.  Brother Romney said he had no question about complying with our desires in that respect.  He said that he left with the definite feeling that the counsel of the Brethren would be for him not to go into this campaign at the present time, and I said that we felt that his present influence, great as we recognize it, would be maintained by having him remain just as he is as President of the Stake, and head of his organization and bring about this Constitutional Convention.  I said that I think as a Republican governor he would have less influence than George Romney, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Detroit, and head of this Citizens movement; that he should see that to a successful conclusion, and President Moyle added, ‘And head of American Motors.’  I said that he would have Democrats and Republicans honoring George Romney and doing what he says.

Brother Romney said that in connection with his company – that they had reached a point where he has the undivided top responsibility.  Said that they are doing a billion dollars worth of business, and that he is still running the whole thing.  Said that he must have an operating head, and that he has to do that and make a decision indicated by our discussion; that then he would probably get himself in a position to devote himself to policy.

Brother Romney then said that the American Motors was happy to have the opportunity to be associated with the Choir presentation on television; and said, ‘We are going to keep what we say institutional, and not commercial, not as I do when I talk ‘product.’  He said they were happy to do what they are doing as a public service and I said that if it were not for George Romney there would be no connection with the Choir on this occasion; that it is through him that the American Motors is sponsoring this program.

Wed., 3 Jan., 1962:

“8:30 – 10:30 a. m. Was engaged in the meeting of the First Presidency.

Among other matters, we considered a letter from President George Romney of the Detroit Stake. President Romney expressed his appreciation for the interest, advice and counsel given him by the First Presidency on the occasion of his visit. He reviewed recent developments in Michigan; the meeting last week of the Board of Directors of “Citizens for Michigan” at which the consensus was that he had fully discharged his obligations and should feel free to enter his candidacy for governor of Michigan; that several Democratic members and independents have urged him to run; that “Citizens for Michigan” is hopeful of receiving a grant from the Ford Foundation. which will enable them to carry out some of its broader objectives; that the state ‘s leading negro Democrats strongly advises that Brother Romney be a candidate, and that it would help rather than to hurt in the writing of the state constitution if he is a candidate; his prospective candidacy is being sought by conservative Republicans. The constitutional convention is starting its decisive period and this will be completed by January 31st. Brother Romney’s maximum influence will be given in that period. He expects that by the time the committee reports the situation will be cleared

He reported that American Motors is working out an interim management plan and his company responsibilities will not be an obstacle to his running.

He expressed the desire that his candidacy would not be hurtful to the Church by reason of the negro question.

He reported that his counselors in the stake presidency and members of the high council are unanimous in their advice to him to be a candidate for governor. The letter from his counselor, President Jensen, addressed to him was read. It expressed the advice of himself and high council that President Romney be a candidate, and promised their support and their willingness to take on more responsibility in tile stake so the stake work will not be adversely affected.

A newspaper clipping from the “Letter Box” signed by Gerald L. Morron supporting his candidacy was also read.

After careful consideration, I said that we do not want to take the responsibility of telling him not to run, and it is not right for him to give us that responsibility. President Moyle said we should say that we want him to remain as stake president, and that he should make his own decision without any feeling that if he decides to run it will be detrimental to the Church.

I said that it will not be detrimental in any way, but it will be detrimental to his candidacy if he is released before. We should let him run as president of the Detroit Stake and win as president of the stake. If he fails in nomination or election, he is still president of the stake.”

Fri., 2 Feb., 1962:

“[Meeting of First Presidency and Presiding Bishopric] Question as to Whether Membership Cards Should Indicate Color and Race of Members — Bishop Vandenberg mentioned that at the present time the membership records do not indicate race or color of the individual, that however at times the question is raised as to how many members we have of a certain race, particularly in regard to negroes.

President Moyle mentioned that President George Romney of the Detroit Stake called him regarding a meeting he was going to have with the negro national organization in Detroit, and he said that if the figures were available he would like very much to know how many members of the Church there are with negro blood. President Moyle said he had already sent to President Romney information he had been able to obtain from the Historians Office regarding the three negroes that came to these valleys with the pioneers in July 1847. As to the number of negroes in the Church he had referred this matter to the Presiding Bishopric.  He felt it might be advantageous to know how many negroes, how many Chinese, Japanese, and other races there are. I said that to do this would result in emphasizing the number of negroes and the distinction between the Caucasian and the negro races, and would perhaps raise some knotty problems.  I suggested that we think further about this matter before taking any action.

Lady Missionaries with Negro Blood in Brazil

The question was again raised in regard to permitting two young ladies who it is suspected may have a mixture of negro blood to serve as local missionaries in Brazil. Neither of these girls is dark, nor can it be readily recognized that they have negro blood, but one is a daughter of a man who, while a member of the Church, shows signs of having negro blood.

I said that for the present we will draw the line where it is known definitely that they have negro blood, but where they are merely suspected of having negro blood they should be given the benefit of the doubt.

Wed., 7 Feb., 1962:

8:00 a. m.

Received a courtesy call in my private office from Lawrence L. Winship,

editor of the Boston Globe. He was accompanied by Mrs. Winship and 

Mr. Nicholas G. Morgan.

I mentioned to Mr. Winship that next Saturday George Romney will make his decision as to whether he will attempt to secure the nomination for Governor of Michigan, and asked him what he thought about this. Mr. Winship said that he was hoping that Mr. Romney would accept the nomination for candidate for the Presidency of the United States. I said that I was very glad to learn that President Romney would have the hearty support of one of our leading newspapers in the East, and Mr. Winship said, “He certainly will have!” He also said he would report that to President Romney when he met him. I told Mr. Winship that I hope that President Romney will be nominated and win the election.

I later learned from President Moyle that a letter had been received from Kathleen G. Keller in Boston, a neighbor of Mr. Winship, saying that Mr. Winship was sent out here by the Globe to get all the background he could on George Romney, so that their paper would have it on file, and for that purpose he is spending a week or ten days here, learning what he can about President Romney.

(See report by Ted Cannon following)

“The following is a report made by Mr. Ted Cannon of the Church Information Service regarding the visit of Mr. Lawrence L. Winship, editor of the Boston Globe.

On Wednesday, February 7, 1962, President McKay received in his office Mr. Lawrence L. Winship, editor of the Boston Globe, and Mrs. Winship. The visitors were accompanied by Brother Nicholas G. Morgan, Sr. to whom they had been referred by a mutual friend.

Mr. Winship is in Salt Lake City doing some research on Elder George Romney in connection with the latter’s expected announcement to run for the governorship of Michigan. He had visited earlier in the week with Mr. Romney in Detroit. The conversation was concerned largely with Mr. Romney whom Mr. Winship seemed to hold in high esteem.

Later in the day Elder Ted Cannon of the Church Information Service took the visitors to lunch, and they made a tour of Temple Square and attended an organ recital. Mrs. Winship was taken on a tour of the Beehive House while her husband interviewed members of Elder Romney’s family living here.

The visitors seemed very much interested in the Church, asked many questions and were given a number of tracts, booklets and pictures which they requested. After returning to Boston Mr. Winship called Elder Cannon on the telephone requesting additional information and pictures which he plans to use in an article he is writing for his newspaper.”

“Telephone Conversation between President David O. McKay of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Mr. Jack Goodman, regional correspondent for the “Newsweek Magazine”, February 7, 1962, at 12:30 p.m.

McKay: Hello

Goodman: President McKay, I would like to ask you a few questions about Mr. George Romney, if I may.

McKay: Of course.

Goodman: May I ask if you are a very close friend of Mr. Romney?

McKay: Yes, I have known him for several years–since he became President of the Detroit Stake of the Church.

Goodman: Another thing, do you think he would make a good governor?

McKay: Yes I do, in every sense of the word.

Goodman: In every sense of the word?

McKay: Yes, in every sense of the word.

Goodman: Thank you for the opportunity of speaking with you.

McKay: You’re welcome.

Goodman: Good-bye.

McKay: Good-bye.”

Fri., 23 Feb., 1962:

[First Presidency Meeting] Right-to-Work Law

A letter was received from a Ronald W. Inkley asking for clarification of the position of the First Presidency on the Right-to-Work Law. He mentions a statement made by George Romney to the editor of the Boston Globe to the effect that the statement of the First Presidency on the subject was merely the personal opinion of the members of the First Presidency.

I said that so far as we are concerned we will be united. President Moyle said we are united in that as we are in everything else.

President Moyle explained that the Chamber of Commerce was given permission to use the statement provided the full text was left. The statement said that I was the spiritual leader of 1,600,000 Mormons. President Moyle said that he had written that so that is his sentiments, and I agreed that we will all stand on that. **(See Over)

(For details, see Minutes of the First Presidency for this day.)

**President Moyle dictated the letter regarding the statement on the Right-to-Work Law, at President McKay’s request.  See Diary dated September 18, 1961 for copies of letters.”

10:45-10:50 a.m.

Office call of William Smart of the Deseret News.  Gave him permission to print the syndicated article by Victor Riesel regarding President George Romney and the Right-to-Work Law, as it was presented to me.  (See diary dated September 18, 1961 for copies of letters, and for statement made by President McKay.  See also diary dated September 19, 1961, regarding visit of Victor Riesel.)

Thur., 18 Oct., 1962:

10:00 – 12: 30 p. m.

Meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve was held in the office of the First Presidency.

Negroes — Baptism of 

At this meeting, Elder Howard W. Hunter reported that recently a negro was baptized in the Great Lakes Mission, he being the husband of an Hawaiian woman who accepted the gospel when presented by the missionaries. This man was informed prior to baptism that he could not hold the priesthood, and had a full understanding of what the situation would be. Now it appears that this man’s father, who is a Pentecostal minister and has a congregation, has become interested in the gospel. The missionaries have not been to see him, although they have been asked to do so, and the mission president wants direction. The negro’s son, who is now a member of the Church, says his father wants to join the Church and bring in his whole congregation of colored folks.

I said that Elder N. Eldon Tanner, President of the European Mission, is arranging to go to Nigeria following the November election, and that he will be accompanied by LaMar Williams; that Brother Williams’ wife will not go with them; that, however, two other good brethren will be selected to go, taking their wives to assist in opening the work there; that four thousand of those negro people in Nigeria are asking for baptism. Elder Tanner has been requested to go to the rulers of Nigeria when he arrives there, and tell them exactly what we intend to do, and if the rulers look upon the project with favor we may have a whole nation in that country joining the Church. However, they have a right to be baptized if they are thoroughly converted, and want to come into the Church, although they do not have the right to the Priesthood and they understand that this is the case. I said the same thing applies to these negro people in the Great Lakes Mission.

We felt that it was best that nothing be done about the matter until after the November election for the reason that if we were to baptize a considerable number of negro people at this time, certain politicians might take the view that it was done to influence the negro vote in favor of George Romney in his candidacy for Governor of Michigan.”

Wednesday, February 13, 1963

Notes by Elder Richard L. Evans on meeting with President McKay, Wednesday, February 13, 1963, at 6:00 a.m.

4.  Reported to the President that George Romney had been invited by President Howard Anderson of the California Mission, and Michel Grilikhes, Laraine Day’s husband, to present a half-hour telecast on the principles of the Church on the NBC TV station in Los Angeles.  The President thought Brother Romney would be too busy, and if he declined, we would have to look for someone else.

Thurs., 13 June 1963:

2:00 p.m.

Left my private office to talk to Brother T. Bowring Woodbury, who wanted to know if there would be any objection to inviting Governor George Romney of Michigan out here to talk at the Brigham Young University Student Assembly, and at the same time have him speak at a Republican Rally dinner.

I told Brother Woodbury that I think it would be very unwise to do this.

Wed., 11 Sept. 1963:

“Syndicated Newspaper Article by Clare Boothe Luce regarding Political Future of George Romney and the stand of the Church on the Negro.

President Moyle read a clipping from the Arizona Republican dated September 1, 1963, being a syndicated article by Clare Boothe Luce, about George Romney’s ’64 deadlock choice, the article being based upon the writer’s erroneous understanding of the position of the Church upon the Negro question.  (see September 13, 1963, Diary for President Moyle’s letter to Mrs. Luce.)”

Fri., 13 Sept. 1963:

“Regular Meeting of the First Presidency held.

Luce, Clare Boothe – Letter to her regarding her article on Church Position on the Negro.

President Moyle read a draft of a letter he had prepared, addressed to Clare Boothe Luce about her syndicated article written for the North American Newspaper Agency on George Romney’s chances, and this with reference to the position of the Church on the Negro question.

I suggested a minor revision, and approved the sending of the letter.  (see following copies of the letter and article written by Mrs. Luce.)

Friday, September 13, 1963

September 13, 1963

Mrs. Clare Boothe Luce

Ridgefield, Connecticut

Dear Mrs. Luce:

Your article on George Romney, syndicated by the North American Newspaper Alliance and appearing in the Arizona Republic on Sunday, September 1st, 1963, was sent to me by a friend who commended your article to me.  Your article so pleased me that I immediately took the opportunity to read it to President David O. McKay and President Hugh B. Brown.  We were all equally pleased with your commendation of the membership of the Church and your somewhat detailed knowledge concerning us and our peculiarities.

It is our belief that the Mormon doctrine certainly does not contradict the spirit or the letter of the Constitution, and is not at variance with the teachings on the quality of souls of all other Christian denominations.  This we do not believe to be one of our peculiarities.

For the article in its entirety we are deeply grateful to you and wanted to extend to you our appreciation.  It is our sincere desire that you might know more about that phase of your article which caused you to feel that our doctrines ‘contradict the spirit if not the letter of the Constitution.’  We did not feel to presume upon your time unless you so desire us to do.  If you would kindly indicate a desire to know more about our doctrine on negroes, it would be my very great privilege to send you somewhat in detail our position on this matter.

I hope it will not be presumptuous for me to say at this time that we baptize any worthy negro into the Church on the same basis of worthiness which we do all other people.  It is a tenet of our faith that baptism when performed by one having the authority opens the door to the Celestial or highest kingdom of God.  We, therefore, integrate ourselves to our negro brethren and sisters not only for time but for all eternity.  We, therefore, may be pardoned when we say that we have more to offer the negro than any other church.

From the beginning of time the conferring of the priesthood of God upon others has been a selective process.  We, therefore, believe that our position on the priesthood is rather one of selection than of discrimination.  The Lord gave to Adam the priesthood but did not confer it upon Eve.  We look upon the priesthood as a sacred trust given to us by the Lord to be conferred upon those whom the Lord designates.

You will recall in biblical history that as among the sons of Jacob it was Levi and the tribe of Levi to whom the Lord gave the Lesser Priesthood.  That is to say, the Aaronic Priesthood.  There would be no hesitancy upon the part of the priesthood of the Church today to confer the priesthood upon the negro were we so authorized.

There is not the slightest possibility of our announcing any revelation upon this subject or changing the direction which the Lord has already given, until the Lord actually so directs.  Until a revelation upon this subject is actually received no change can be made.  When or if such a revelation is to be received, obviously we do not know.

Thanking you once again for the consideration that you have already given us, I am,

Very sincerely yours,

Henry D. Moyle


Friday, September 13, 1963


Phoenix, Sunday, Sept. 1, 1963

The Arizona Republic 

Clare Booth Luce is one of America’s most brilliant women, a former congresswoman, ambassador, authoress, and playwright.  In the following article she sizes up the pros and cons of George Romney as the GOP presidential nominee in ’64.


North American Newspaper Alliance

New York – In the event of a Goldwater-Rockefeller deadlock for the 1964 GOP presidential nomination, Gov. George Romney of Michigan looms as the most likely compromise candidate.

Successive Gallup Polls in recent months show that while he is still running a poor third, he is steadily gaining support not only from Republicans but from independents.

The governor has much to recommend him.  He has proved himself a solid vote-getter in an important industrial state that has had a Democratic governor since 1948.  It is reasonable to suppose that in 1964 Romney could swing Michigan’s 20 electoral votes into the Republican column.

His ideas on domestic and foreign issues are, at this point, necessarily a trifle vague.  But it is getting about that politically he is a solid middle-of-the-roader, ready, if necessary, to make a pragmatic swerve a little to the left or right to pass his opponent on the campaign stretch.

American Motors is a great industrial complex.  Running it has always required statesmanlike qualities.  There can be no question that the former chairman of the board is a man of great executive ability whose experience gives him a wide understanding of the national and international economic situation, and what is most important, of the role of the labor unions in the American Power Structure.  Romney has considerable charm, abundant vigor, and looks more like a president than any man since Warren G. Harding.  His devoted and handsome wife, four fine looking children and five grandchildren are all gilt-edged assets in a presidential campaign.

The governor is also a member in high standing of the Mormon faith, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  As religionists, the Mormons are a people of sterling, even extraordinary virtues.  Their courage, moral and physical, their self reliance, honesty, sobriety, their rectitude in their dealings with non-Mormons, their sense of civic and community responsibility, their unfailing charity and support of their own (represented by voluntary tithings) are proverbial.  If Romney should become the Republican Party’s standard bearer, one teaching of his church, unhappily, is bound to open a religious issue:  The Mormon doctrine on the Negro which teachers that Negroes have souls inferior to souls of men of all other races.

It may be said that the letter of the U.S. Constitution derives from the spirit of the Declaration of Independence which holds that ‘all men are created equal,’ and consequently are ‘endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…’  The Mormon doctrine certainly contradicts the spirit if not the letter of the Constitution, and is at variance with the teachings on the equality of souls of all other Christian denominations.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith.   Mormons derive their doctrines from the King James version of the Old and New Testaments plus Smith’s revelations and writings.  According to the Mormon belief, the Book of Mormon and certain writings of Abraham and Moses not found in the Christian Bible were revealed to Prophet Smith by God.  Thus, Smith’s Book of Mormon, ‘Doctrines and Covenants’ and ‘Pearl of Great Price,’ together with the Christian Bible compose Mormon scripture.

Joseph Smith derived his Mormon doctrine on Negroes from Genesis, Chapter 9, in which Noah cursed Ham, one of his three sons, saying, ‘Cursed by Canaan (the son of Ham); a slave of slaves shall he be to his brothers.’  In ‘Pearl of Great Price,’ the Negroes are identified as the cursed descendants of Noah’s son Ham, bearing forever the ‘Curse of Cain’ on their brows: A black skin.

The Mormons have no professional priesthood.  A Mormon male is baptized at age 8, ordained at 12 to an office in the Mormon priesthood.  At age 15, he is qualified to become a teacher: at 18, a priest, and at 20, an elder.  This priesthood and church office is both the prerogative and duty of all Mormon males, except Negroes, who, consequent to prophet Smith’s doctrine on Negroes, are barred from the priesthood as a race accursed.  The Mormons have absolutely no other racial prejudice, although certain inferiorities also attach to women.

The Mormon heaven consists of three circles or states of glory.  Only Mormons are believed to be able to enter heaven.  A Negro male Mormon may enter the first, or outer circle.  But the inner two are reserved for non-Negro Mormons.  Consequently, regardless of his merits, as the Negro is not eligible for the priesthood, he must therefore remain in the outer circle, segregated even in the sight of the Almighty.

The Mormons, vigorous proselytizers, have missions all over the world, but none to any Negro nation.  As of today, their only mission to the ‘dark continent’ is in apartheid South Africa.

It is not surprising, in view of this, that of the almost two million members of the Mormon church in the United States, only a few hundred are Negroes.  And these may neither marry one another in the Mormon temple, nor marry anyone of another race, without losing their Mormon membership.

Negroes represent nearly 9 per cent of the population of Michigan.  Romney’s personal record in American Motors, and later in his gubernatorial campaign, has been one of scrupulous fairness to Negroes.  Indeed he has made great efforts in their economic behalf.  In his campaign he repeatedly stressed the legal equality of the Negro as a citizen.  His success can be judged by the average percentage of Negro votes cast for Democratic candidates in the previous 14 years, as against those cast for Romney in the 1962.  Eighty-six per cent voted Democratic in the Romney election.

A hopeful sign for Gov. Romney’s candidacy is that his co-religionists seem to be having second thoughts on the subject, and there are indications that the Mormon doctrine on Negroes may soon be repealed.

The elected president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is considered the infallible voice or prophet of the church in matters of doctrine.

Hugh B. Brown, one of two counselors to President David McKay, said recently, ‘We are in the midst of a survey looking towards the possibility of admitting Negroes (to the priesthood)…believing as we do in Divine Revelation through the president of the church, we will await his decision…It would be a doctrinal revision of Mormonism of a magnitude matching the abandonment of polygamy.’  (The Mormons abandoned polygamy in 1890, as a result of the Supreme Court decision in a hard-fought Mormon case of multiple marriage.  The decision made polygamy illegal in America.)

In recent years many Mormons have vigorously protested the Negro doctrine of their church.  It is not at all unlikely that in the months to come President McKay may have a Divine Revelation on the subject which will assure the Negroes equality of soul with that of men of other races.  And those who know Romney personally believe that he is devoutly praying that such will be the case.

Meanwhile, until Romney has made his own view on this controversial Mormon doctrine as unmistakably clear to the nation as Sen. Kennedy made clear his view on the separation of church and state, the Romney candidate will be handicapped.  And in the absence of clarification, it should not come as an unpleasant surprise to Romney and his backers that Negroes and most non-Negroes will be bound to feel that Romney, as well as his church, consents to hold the human dignity of the Negroes in low esteem.  Consequently they will be somewhat less than enthusiastic about the prospects of his becoming president of the United States.

The most serious aspect of this question is the propaganda which the Communists could make of it around the world.  If Romney were to be nominated, and this Mormon doctrine retained, Moscow and Peking could announce that the Republican Party candidate was a ‘white supremist,’ submitting indisputable proof from the teachings of his own church.

This would be manifestly unfair to Romney whose own views on the Negro issue, if one judges by his record in private life and his public actions, are really contrary to those of his Mormon faith.”

Thurs., 5 Nov. 1964:

“Thursday, November 5, 1964

November 9, 1964

My dear President McKay:

I have thought a great deal about you in the past months as I have been in the midst of a vigorous campaign.  I’ve kept posted on your progress and improvement and am naturally delighted that you have made so much progress.

The election results this year certainly bear out the counsel you gave me to stay out of the national picture in 1964, unless I was drafted.  It is almost unbelievable that the results should have focused as much attention on the Michigan election.  Hopefully, I can measure up to the tremendous opportunity we have here in Michigan to point the road to sound state and local government and at the same time take some hand in rebuilding, broadening and unifying the Republican Party nationally.

I just wanted you to know how grateful I am to be able to have the benefit from your inspired counsel and advice.  Lenore joins me in our prayerful good wishes expressed daily for you and your lovely wife.  You are a great inspiration.


George Romney

President David O. McKay

47 East South Temple Street

Salt Lake City, Utah”

Mon. 20 Feb. 1967:

“9:30 a.m.

My secretary, Clare, came in to make preliminary arrangements for the visit of Governor and Sister George Romney and their party this morning.  Her nephew, Robert William Wright, a young local attorney, had come by appointment to greet me.  I invited him to stay and meet Governor Romney and his party.  I told Robert, whom I have known since his childhood, that I am always happy to see him, and chided him for not coming to see me more often.

10:00 a.m.

Visit of Governor and Mrs. George Romney of Michigan

According to appointment previously arranged, received in our apartment in the Hotel Utah Governor and Mrs. George Romney of Michigan.  They were accompanied by Governor Romney’s brother, G. Maurice Romney of Salt Lake City, Mrs. Connie Scowcroft of Ogden and Mrs. Ruth Hayward of Logan, sisters of Mrs. Romney, Miss Anne Davies, fiancee of Mitt Romney, youngest son of Governor and Mrs. Romney, who is serving a mission for the Church in France, and a bevy of national and local television, radio, and newspaper photographers and reporters.  Others present during the interview were:  President and Sister Joseph Fielding Smith, our son David Lawrence and his wife Mildred, local Republic representatives, Gerald G. Smith, Ted Jacobsen, Ken Garff, Carl Hilbert, and Robert Wright, local attorney, and my secretary, Clare Middlemiss.

Governor and Sister Romney and party were ushered into the living room where Sister McKay and I were waiting to receive them.  Governor Romney and his wife Lenore came over to us, and I told them that I felt honored that they would come to see me; that we are always glad to have them call on us.  Governor Romney spoke up and said, ‘It is Lenore and I who are honored by being invited.’  Sister Romney kissed both Sister McKay and me on the cheek, declaring, ‘You have blessed us personally in our home more than you could ever know.’  Then Governor Romney recalled our visit to Michigan in June 1959 when we went to Michigan to dedicate the beautiful new Detroit Stake House.  We stayed at the Romney home at that time.  Brother Romney said that one of their young sons was scared to death, and said that he didn’t know that I could smile until I told some stories and he heard me laugh, and then he said, ‘He knows more funny stories than anyone!’  ‘After that’, Governor Romney said, ‘he felt very comfortable about being around you.’

Brother Romney then said that they had arrived by airplane last night from Anchorage, Alaska, where they attended a Quarterly Conference yesterday (Sunday).  They attended the morning service and Governor Romney said he had a chance to speak to 1500 to 1600 people.  Said that the new building there in Anchorage is beautiful, and that the people are wonderful.

At this point, Sister Romney said, ‘My sisters want to meet you, President McKay.’  She then introduced them to Sister McKay and me, and Governor Romney introduced his brother, Maurice, who is one of the workers in the Salt Lake Temple.

Governor Romney then looked up at the press representatives who filled half the room, and said, ‘I want you people and everyone to know that President and Sister McKay are a great example of what the ideal sweethearts, parents, and homebuilders should be like in America — we need more of their kind of living in America.  President McKay is a great example of what we need.  He is one of the most eloquent speakers on family life — the strengthening of the family life has been one of his special callings — he shows the way and frequently speaks out on the great need for solidarity in family life — it is a subject of timeliness.’

I then asked where ‘Joseph’ (President Joseph Fielding Smith) was, and told him to come over near us where he could be seen.  Governor Romney then introduced President and Sister Smith to the press, telling them that President Smith is the senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve; that he is a direct descendant of Hyrum Smith who was martyred with his brother, the Prophet Joseph Smith; that President Joseph F. Smith, the son of Hyrum Smith, was the father of Joseph Fielding Smith.  He then referred to Sister Smith, and asked her how long she had sung with the Tabernacle Choir, and she said she wouldn’t mention the number of years, but that she had been with them since 1918.

Brother Romney then conversed quietly with me for a few moments.  I thanked him again for coming, and told him that my prayers are with him in the responsibilities that are his.

At this point, Governor Romney said that reluctantly they must leave; that they have an appointment at the State Capitol where he will speak to the Legislature now in session.  Governor and Sister Romney then took our hands and with tears in their eyes took their leave of us.  Others in the party came up and shook hands and said good-bye to us.

It was a very pleasant visit, and Sister McKay and I were very pleased and honored that they had taken the time out of their busy schedule to call on us.  

A brother Ted Galovan of Ogden, who was present during the interview (with no one knowing how he got in or who invited him to come), stayed until after the Romney delegation had gone.  He had told Sister Joseph Fielding Smith about his conversion to the Church, and then asked if he might tell it to me.  There was nothing else to do, but to let him tell his story.  He said that his father and mother got out of Russia some sixty years ago, and went to Poland.  Brother Galovan (whose real name is Russian) was born in Cascade, Winnepeg, Canada.  He said he was brought up a Roman Catholic.  He later was a member of the Jehovah Witness Church.  He related a dream or vision he had when he saw Jesus at His Second Coming to the earth.  Soon after that he met the missionaries of our Church and was converted.

I listened to his story, but made no comment other than to thank him for telling me about it.