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David O. McKay Diaries – “Healing”

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

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Wed., 8 Dec., 1948:

“4 p.m.–Mr. and Mrs. Lynn Layton called at the office relative to their son robert who is serving in the Argentina Mission.  Elder Layton, it seems, is suffering from a liver ailment, and Pres. Young, the Mission President is suggesting that the Elder take olive oil, which is aggravating his condition.  I told the parents to write to their son and tell him to follow the doctor’s orders.”

Sat., 12 Mar., 1949:

“At 6 p.m., in company with Lou Jean, left for Provo to attend the special program held in honor of the city’s 100th anniversary, in the Joseph Smith building of the Brigham Young University. . . .

Immediately after the meeting Sister Lester R. Taylor came up and wanted me to go to her home to administer to her husband.  I was very tired, and had promised to attend the B.Y.U. Prom, so I told Sister Taylor that I would put her husband’s name on the Prayer List for Thursday’s meeting in the Temple.  She looked very disappointed.

Lou Jean and I then went to the Prom–I was somewhat disgusted with the posture of the dancers, and spoke to Pres. Macdonald about it–told him I thought something should be done about it, and that I thought they should be taught the art of dancing by the M.I.A. Dance Instructor, and others.

Arrived home after midnight.  I worried about the fact that I had not been able to administer to Mrs. Taylor’s husband.”

Sun., 13 Mar., 1949:

“This morning decided to drive to Provo to administer to Brother Lester R. Taylor whose wife approached me last evening after the meeting in Provo.  Left here at 11 a.m., administered to Brother Taylor and immediately left for Salt Lake returning here at 1:30 p.m.

Brother and Sister Taylor were very grateful that I had returned to Provo to give Brother Taylor a blessing; in fact, they were overcome with emotion that I had come all the way down there to fulfill their desire.”

Wed., 17 May, 1950:

“At 7 a.m. Brother Wood of Auburn, Wyoming called at the house by telephone.  Said that his little daughter Martha was afflicted with leukemia, and that he and his wife would like me to administer to her.  I made arrangements with them to call at the office at 9:30 a.m.  Accordingly, at that hour they brought their little daughter in to the office, and I administered to her.  She is just 3 years old and is a lovely, bright little girl.

Later, I called Dr. Elmer Nielson, cancer specialist, who had previously examined the child, and he confirmed the report that the child has leukemia.  He also said that her case is hopeless.”

Fri., 9 Mar., 1951:

“Note: [Clare]

Brother Jesse W. Hoopes, accompanied by his daughter, came in to report that his operation for cataracts had been very successful and that he now has 95% vision.

Brother Hoopes related that the day before the operation President McKay had administered to him, and the promise was made that Bro. Hoopes would have no pain.

He said the morning he entered Dr. Palmer’s office (Dr. Palmer is not a member of the Church) he approached the doctor and said to him, ‘Now Dr. Palmer, I want the best you have; the Lord is with me, and I have every confidence in you.’  The doctor answered: ‘Thank you, Mr. Hoopes; it is seldom I am approached in such a manner.’

Brother Hoopes then related that he suffered not one minute’s pain; that the nurses had tried to administer sedatives because the doctor insisted that he would have pain and that he should be kept absolutely quiet, but Bro. Hoopes told them all that he did not have pain and furthermore did not expect to have any later.  When the doctor took the bandages off Bro. Hoopes’ eyes he said: ‘That is the most successful operation that I have performed.’  Bro. Hoopes is over 80 years of age.”

Wed., 18 Apr., 1951:

“Bishop Watson of the 25th Ward this city telephoned regarding Mrs. Annie Wilson Graham, 71, who is in the hospital for amputation of her leg.  The doctors have pronounced her condition cancer and advise amputation, and Mrs. Graham asked for President McKay’s advice in the matter.  The Bishop called because he knew that this decision must be left to the family and to the doctors.  Her son–Brother Harold Graham of Bountiful–called a day or so ago and left word with the secretary that Mrs. Graham would like to come to the office for administration and advice.  The secretary told Bishop Watson that President McKay has been under the necessity, due to the reorganization of the Presidency, of attending meetings from early morning until late at night, and therefore suggested that Mrs. Graham’s name be placed on the prayer list for the meeting of the First Presidency and the Twelve tomorrow morning at 11 a.m.  Bishop Watson expressed himself as feeling sure that this would satisfy Mrs. Graham, and that he thought under the circumstances it is all that can be done.”

Wed., 27 Jun., 1951:

“While home for lunch, received a telephone call that Rene B. Woolley has been sticken with polio, and was in the L.D.S. Hospital.  Asked that I administer to him.  Before returning to the office I drove up to the Hospital and administered to Brother Woolley–he is a very sick man–is afflicted with a rare disease resembling Polio.”

Thur., 28 Jun., 1951:

“Edwin G. Woolley telephoned and asked that President McKay be informed that his son–Rene B. Woolley–to whom President McKay gaven an administration, is greatly improved.  Said they noticed an improvement soon after the blessing, and that he (Brother Woolley) thinks it is a miracle as his son was stricken with a very rare disease that paralyzed his whole body.  He is now breathing naturally through his lungs and the incision they had to make in his throat in order that he might breathe is healing.  Bro. Woolley wishes Pres. McKay to know how grateful he and the family of Rene is for the service he has rendered to them in making a special trip to the hospital and giving such a wonderful blessing.”

Wed., 17 Oct., 1951:

“My son Robert called–said that he was going to be faced with some questions tonight that would be hard to answer without advice from me.  A young man in Robert’s Ward who has been suffering with cancer, and to whom I administered sometime ago, has just passed away, and the father and members of the family, converts to the Church, do not feel resigned to his having been taken after having been administered to.  Robert said a number of the young people will no doubt face him with the answer to this seeming tragedy.

I told Robert that it is our right to ask the Lord to bless the sick, for He has said that if there be any sick among us to call in the Elders.  However, the Lord does not always answer our prayers affirmatively; sometimes the answer comes negatively.  If we always had an affirmative answer, there would be no death at all.  Sometimes the power of faith is not sufficient to overcome the law of nature, but it is always our right to ask for a restoration to health, or to rebuke the disease, or whatever it is, and leave the rest for the operation of faith.”

Thur., 15 Nov., 1951:


[Note from Clare]  Mrs. George Heslop of South Weber Ward would like you to administer to her daughter Lou Jean Heslop, 18 years of age, who is mentally ill.  The doctors are advising that a female operation be performed upon her, yet her patriarchal blessing states that she will become a ‘mother in Israel,’ and if this operation is performed she will be unable to have children. Brother Tanner before he died advised Mrs. Heslop never to give up hope for this girl.  Harold B. Lee has given her a blessing, but the young girl feels that if you can give her a blessing she will get well.

Mrs. Heslop will call tomorrow morning to see if you will give her daughter a blessing.  She has been coming to the office off and on for several weeks.


2. Mrs. George Heslop who came in for an administration of her 18-year-old daughter, Lou Jean, was advised that Lou Jean’s name would be placed on the prayer roll of those to be prayed for at the meeting of the 1st Presidency & Council of the Twelve November 29. Also that her daughter should not be operated upon as advised by the doctor.  (Mental illness–operation to prevent her from having children.)”

Sun., 16 Dec., 1951:

“During the afternoon called at the Holy Cross Hospital to administer to little Julene Butler, who is afflicted with ‘polio.’ Dr. Beck is taking care of her.  She is a very sweet little girl.

As I entered the building I met Dr. Duane G. Hunt, Bishop of the Catholic Church.  He introduced me to the Sister Superior.  I am afraid I caused quite a ‘stir’ among the sisters.  one of them took me through the building.  I also met two of our own girls who are training at the hospital.  Two of the Catholic sisters were present while I administered to Julene.”

Mon., 17 Dec., 1951:

“W. Leigh Fullmer telephoned from Driggs, Idaho to tell me that Mrs. Irene Kausman is calling at the office tomorrow with her son Allan, 14 years old, who is suffering with cancer of the bone. They would like to see me before they enter the clinic where the boy will under[go] an examination by Dr. Ogelsberry.

Had my secretary tell Brother Fullmer that I should be pleased to meet Mrs. Kausman and her son if I am here; if not, one of the other brethren could meet them and possibly administer to the boy. (These people called December 18, and as President McKay was not here, they were taken to Brother Ezra Taft Benson’s office who administered to the boy.)”

Tues., 29 Apr., 1952:

“We then drove to the L.D.S. Hospital where we called on Dr. Vivian P. White who has been seriously ill.  After visiting with him a few moments, I gave him a blessing, and then we left his room.  As we stepped out to the hall, a Mrs. Rose walked up to me and sked me to administer to her sister-in-law, a Mrs. Juanita Rose, who seems to have a mental affliction.  I complied with her request, and as I stepped out of her room, another lady approached me and asked me to administer to a woman sick with arthritis.  We finally arrived home at 9 p.m.”

Thur., 21 Aug., 1952:

“Arrived at the office at 7:45 o’clock this morning.  A Mrs. Alonzo Welchman, who had been waiting for me since 6:20 a.m., was at the rear door.  She asked if she could see me, so I invited her into the office.  She said that her husband had been in an iron lung for several months; that he was suffering from polio, and she is discouraged because he does not get better.  She has had him administered to by several brethren, and wonders if she should give up hoping that he would get well.  He is in the Veteran’s Hospital.

I told Sister Welchman that I would include his name on the list of those to be prayed for in the prayer circle to be held at Council meeting this morning, and told her to continue with her faith and prayers.”

Fri., 19 Dec., 1952:

“At 8 a.m., Brother George Campbell who is employed as a carpenter for the Church, came in.  He said he had wanted to see me for a long time, and so this morning seeing my car parked in the back of the building, he thought he would come in to visit with me for a few moments.

Brother Campbell then related what a Dutch brother–Cornelius De Jong–said to him the other day:  ‘Brother Campbell I want to tell you something about President McKay.’  And then Brother De Jong (who is employed on the Church grounds) related the following:

‘When President McKay was in Berlin this last Summer word reached him through the Presidency of the East German Mission that one of the members of the Church–a Sister who had lost her husband and eldest son under Communist rule, who had been driven from her home and was subsequently exposed to the rigors of the weather and lack of nutrition until she became an infvalid and lost the use of her muscles–had heard of President McKay’s coming to Berlin.  Being unable to travel herself, she expressed the desire that her two little children–a boy and a girl about 10 or 12 years of age–be sent over to meet the President of the Church, saying that she had faith that if they would shake his hand and return to her and shake her hand, that she would be blessed.

‘Some of the Saints contributed to the clothing of the little children and in paying their fare to Berlin.  When President McKay heard of this incident, he requested that one of the members point the children out in the crowd who would be shaking his hand.

‘Anticipating meeting them, President McKay took a clean handkerchief, and besides shaking their hands, he asked them to take the handkerchief to their mother with his blessing.’

‘Then,’ continued Brother Campbell, ‘the Dutch brother has received word that the Mother has been restored to health.’

I said to Brother Campbell:  ‘That is correct, but the latest word has been received by Sister McKay through a letter from Sister Arthur Glaus (wife of the East German Mission President) who said: 

After the children returned to the mother and gave her the handkerchief, she felt for the first time since her stroke, life in her limbs and has got the use of her limbs to the extent that she can get out of bed herself and when Sister Glaus wrote that letter, the mother was in a chair in the kitchen washing the dishes which the little children brought to her.'”

Sun., 22 Mar., 1953:

“Returned home at 1 p.m. where I had dinner.  Later Sister McKay accompanied me to the home of Sister Walter M. Horn to whom I administered.  She lives at 110 ‘Q’ Street.

Sister Horn had previously called at our home and asked that I give her a blessing.  She is suffering from some nervous disorder.”

Thurs., 28 May, 1953:

“8:30 a.m.—Called on Brother Stayner Richards, Assistant to the Twelve, at the L.D.S. Hospital.  Found him to be seriously ill.  I administered to him and fervently prayed that his life would be preserved.  Brother Richards had been attending a Conference in the San Fernando Stake and was stricken on the train with a severe pain in his abdomen.  Felt worried and heavy at heart when I saw Brother Richards.

Fri., 19 June, 1953:

This evening, just as Ray and I were leaving the house, a Mr. Gardner Barlow with other members of the family, called.  They came to seek advice regarding Mrs. Barlow whose doctor in Ogden advises the amputation of her leg right up to the hip because of a cancerous growth.  So I spent the evening in consultation with them.  Called Dr. Leland Cowan the cancer specialist and asked his advice.  He said that he would go to Ogden Monday and give Mrs. Barlow and examination and let me know the results of that examination.

Ray and I gave up our plans for the evening.

Mon., 9 Nov., 1953:

Telephone Calls

3.  Elder John Longden called to say that he had received word from a friend that when President McKay was at the hospital a few days ago, Ardeth Greenow, Kanab, Utah, a 14-year-old polio patient, saw President McKay pass her room.  He said that Ardeth says that ever since she saw him she has felt better.  Brother Longden thought the President would like to step into see the girl when he again is at the hospital.  (cm)”

Thurs., 27 May, 1954:

Telephone Calls

“2.  President Ballif of the East Provo Stake called regarding the blessing I gave Tuesday to Edith Hedstrom (deaf girl).  She now wants me to repeat the blessing and have someone take it down.  I instructed my secretary to tell President Ballif that the blessing cannot be repeated; that the blessing as given would be recognized by an All-wise Father, even though the girl was unable to hear the words.”

June 3, 1954

Notes on First Presidency’s meeting

Wilford Woodruff Handkerchief

A letter from Joseph J. Daynes together with the silk handkerchief enclosed therewith was given attention.  The handkerchief is the one that was given by the Prophet Joseph Smith to Wilford Woodruff at the time of the founding of Nauvoo when there was much illness amng the people, which handkerchief the Prophet told President Woodruff to place upon the faces of two little children who were sick and they would be made well.  This handkerchief has been in President Woodruff’s family ever since that time.  The Brethren signed a letter of acknowledgment and thanks to Brother Daynes.

Sun., 13 June, 1954:

“Following the meeting I met at my office Brother and Sister Walter Stevenson, and their daughter and husband, Brother and Sister Dale Josephson.  Sister Josephson is suffering with eye trouble, having lost almost all her sight.  She is desirous of having children.  At her request I administered to her.”

Sun., 8 Aug., 1954:

“Sunday, August 8, 1954.  M.I.A. meeting under the direction of the First Presidency.

Delivered two major addresses today — the first was at the Hollywood Bowl where at 9 a.m. I presided and conducted the M.I.A. Conference meeting held under the direction of the First Presidency of the Church.

Following the meeting people by the hundreds came up to the pulpit to shake hands with me.  While engaged thusly, I learned that a young man was in one of the rooms waiting for me to come and administer to him.  He had been taken from an iron lung and given some smaller equipment with which to breathe.  I was advised that the battery would not hold out much longer and that I should come immediately.  They made a pathway through the crowds, and I made my way back to the young man whose name is Alonzo D. Welchman.  He has been in an iron lung for two years.  His wife, Catherine, and their two children were there by his side crying.  I administered to him, and was greatly moved by the faith and courage of this young couple.  Brother Welchman is confined to the Veteran’s Administration Center, Annex 115 Ward D, Los Angeles.

Following this meeting, I again spent an hour or two shaking hands with the people.  Also administered to one or two who were brought to me, one was a young boy who had been in a wheel chair for several years due to an accident at school.  He possessed great faith, and had asked to have me give him a blessing.  I also gave a blessing to Mrs.____, formerly Miss Woodruff, who is a daughter of Josie Booth who was in Scotland when I was there on my first mission.  This lady, whose name I do not have now is suffering with her nerves.  (Miss Woodruff’s stage name Edwina Booth)”

Sun., 14 Nov., 1954:

“Administration of Mrs. Lucille Worthen, 2808 East Fremont Street, Las Vegas

Following the afternoon meeting I administered to Mrs. Lucille Worthen who had previously written me a letter asking for the administration.  Sister Worthen has been suffering from Polio for sometime.  She has had the faith for a number of years that if I administered to her she would be completely healed.  Immediately following the administration, she said:  ‘I feel a tingling in my legs; I think I can stand.’  With that statement, she stood on her feet, but soon was so weak she had to sit down.

On Monday, when I returned to my desk, I sent this good sister a letter and told her that during the administration I felt impressed that daily massaging of her limbs and gradually standing on them would show her willingness to cooperate with divine aid that she needs, and that in so doing, the Lord would eventually grant unto her the desires of her heart.  I also told her that I would include her name on the list of those to be prayed for by the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve.”

Wed., 17 Nov., 1954:

“Note:  During President McKay’s absence from the office, Mr. and Mrs. Irvin Jensen of Ogden, Utah, accompanied by their son, Captain Merrell E. Jensen, pilot in the U.S. Air Force, called at the office.

Mrs. Irvin said she was particularly anxious for her son to shake hands with President McKay, because, she explained, ‘When he was about 4 1/2 years of age, he was crippled and had to use crutches to walk.  Pres. McKay gave him a blessing, and he was healed.  Look how well and strong he is today – the father of three children, and a member of the U.S. Air Force!’

The secretary told them of the appointment President McKay had at 4:30 to greet 60 Trekkers, and invited them to come back.  Captain Jensen said that he had to take a plane this afternoon, but if he could make it he would be back.  Evidently, they were unable to call again.  (cm)”

Sat., 1 Jan., 1955:

“During the forenoon was at the office attending to urgent matters there.  

In the afternoon went to the hospital to see my son Lawrence who is convalescing at the L.D.S. Hospital following an eye operation.  I found him in excellent condition.  Mildred and Katherine, his wife and daughter, were with him.  Lawrence wants to go home tomorrow, but I do not know whether he should go or not — we shall have to leave that up to the doctor.

After visiting Lawrence, I called on the following persons who are confined to the Hospital:

Max Carpenter, Manager of the Hotel Utah

Senator Wallce Bennett

Dr. Franklin Harris, formerly President of the B.Y.U. and U.S.A.C.

Vernon Romney.

As I concluded my visit with these people, a nurse approached me and said, ‘There is a woman who would like you to see her.’  Following my visit with her girl came out of one of the rooms, and asked me to see her mother.  I then called on two others — I do not have the names of any of the last persons visited.  All in all I visited with nine sick people this afternoon.”

Thurs., 20 Jan., 1955:

“At Aitutaki port we were met by President and Sister Stone, the President and 1st Counselor of the Aitutaki Branch.  Formal speech of welcome by the President.  I thanked him by a formal response.

Just as I got off the launch that carried us from the seaplane to the wharf, Ray, while waiting for delays incident to landing requirements, sat down in a chair.  It tipped back unexpectedly, and she falling helplessly struck her head on a bench, her left elbow and coccyx bone on the cement floor.

I was several feet from her startled cry.  Others rendered immediate help–and when I reached her side, she was in a sitting posture holding her head in both hands evidently in intense pain, tears rolling down her cheeks.

I examined her head to see if a fracture or broken skin had resulted — no evidence of fracture, but her intense pain gave me great concern.  I held her head and offered a silent prayer.*

I suggested that we go directly to a doctor, but Ray objected.  The pilot stewardess was very solicitous and assisted Ray to the auto.  The Captain also offered every assistance.

We were driven to Pesega where Ray was put to bed — gave her aspirin.

In the evening Samoans called to express their love and best wishes in gifts.

*(Note) It was reported by President McKay to his secretary later that he told the Lord that he could not finish the work he had been sent to do if Sister McKay were not healed.  As soon as he took his hands off her head, the intense pain left and she was able to continue her journey.”

17 Apr., 1955:

Trip to St. George, continued

“Administered to Ross Eager of Leeds, Utah

We then left the Reichman residence and proceded to Leeds, Utah to answer a request to administer to Brother Ross Eager.  The members of the Stake Presidency, the Bishoprics, and their wives, followed our car to the Eager home, 13 miles distant, where we paused long enough to go in and administer to Brother Eager who has been in an iron lung for two years.  He is now on a specially designed bed which moves constantly enabling him to breathe.  We had a very impressive administration.  The Bishopric of the Leeds Ward, many young people, and other interested persons, knowing that we were going to stop at this home, had gathered outside of the home, and also filled the living room where we had the preliminary prayer offered by Patriarch Miles, and then the leading brethren and I stepped into the room and administered to Ross (21 years of age).  He is a brilliant young man, and I felt that he would recover, and so blessed him to that end.” 

Wed., 25 Jan., 1956:

Telephone Calls

“1.  Mrs. E.G. Peterson of Logan, Utah called to inform President McKay that her husband, Dr. E.G. Peterson, former President of the U.S.A.C., is very ill in the LDS Hospital.  She asked that President McKay remember her husband in his prayers.  Mrs. Peterson was assured that President McKay would be pleased to do this, and that he would also place her husband’s name on the list of those to be prayed for at the meeting of the First Presidency and the Twelve tomorrow in the Salt Lake Temple.

Later, as indicated on the other side of this sheet, President McKay called on Brother Peterson and administered to him.

On January 26, Dr. Peterson’s daughter called by telephone and stated that Dr. Peterson had a very good night and is feeling much better.  He had a good breakfast.  She also said that President McKay’s visit last evening was certainly appreciated.  (cm)”

Sat., 28 Jan., 1956:

“Left Salt Lake City about 10 o’clock this morning and drove up to Corinne, Utah, and called on LaMont Maurice Larson, a young man nineteen years of age who is afflicted with carcinoma in his right leg.  This young man was brought on a stretcher to the dedicatory services of the seminary and church building for the Indian Members at Brigham City held Sunday, January 8, 1956.  At that time I think he was greatly disappointed that neither Elder Spencer Kimball nor I had the time to administer to him.  However, we did tell him that we would place his name on the list of those to be prayed for at the next meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve.  I could not help thinking about the look of disappointment on this young man’s face, so this morning I decided that I would drive up to his home and administer to him.

When I arrived at Corinne, I learned that LaMont is living away from his home where he is constantly under the care of a nurse, heroically meeting adverse conditions.  His mother – a widow with nine children, is gallantly trying to overcome great difficulties in running their farm with the help of her children.  The father – just a young man – passed away with a heart attack a year ago.

I was very glad that I had taken the time to come to his home.  The nurse and the patient were very much surprised when I went in.  The nurse immediately called the mother who came running over weeping and grateful that I was there to administer to her son.  Just as I was leaving the Bishop of the Ward came, he having heard that I was in town.

While I was in Corinne, I called on Mr. A. G. Adney, former member of the Utah State Agricultural College Board of Trustees at Logan.  Mr. Adney, a very high-principled gentleman whom I hold in the highest esteem, was much surprised when I called on him to pay my respects.  He is retired and remains at home — I do not know how old he is.

Sat., 28 Apr., 1956:

In the early afternoon drove to Huntsville to attend to some matters there.  On the way back to Salt Lake, I stopped at the flower shop in Farmington and picked up four dozen roses to my son Lawrence who has just recently undergone an operation for cataracts.  I then called on Mark Garff, Emily Bennett, and Rose Bennett, leaving a dozen roses for each.

As I was walking down the corridor in the Hospital, a nurse called me and asked me to visit with one of her patients — a young man by the name of Fullmer who has cancer of the spine.  I administered to him.  He is a fine young man who expressed himself as having faith in the Lord and of not being afraid to die.  I was very happy that I had an opportunity to bring him a little cheer and comfort.

Sun., 6 May, 1956:

“Upon our arrival at the house, we found a Mr. Charles Herbert (Tige) Alexander waiting for us.  He said that he had taken an airplane from Spokane, Washington, and that he would like me to administer to him for cancer.  Said he is a member of the 4th Ward, Spokane, Washington.

In accordance with his request, I administered to him.

The next morning (Monday) my secretary reported that this same man called at the office, and again asked to see me, stating that he wished to be administered to.  My secretary being informed of the fact that he had been to my home the day before, stated that one administration is all that is necessary.  Mr. Alexander told her that he had cancer, and she asked him who his doctor is, thinking that he had come to Salt Lake to see one of the cancer specialists in this city.  He answered that he did not have a doctor, the secretary said: ‘Not even in Spokane?’  He answered ‘No”.  She then said:  ‘How do you know that you have cancer?’  He very hesitatingly said that he had been told from the Other Side that he had cancer.  It was then suggested to this man that it might be well for him to return to Spokane immediately and see a doctor.  He agreed that he would do this.

In my conversation with this man I detected that there was something defective about the man, but gave him a blessing.  He has not been in the Church very long.

During the evening enjoyed visits from our children and grandchildren.”

Sun., 10 June, 1956:

“Trip to Napa, California, to dedicate the new Napa Ward and Santa Rosa Stake Center

As we were standing in the foyer of the building, part of which is the Relief Society room, the crowd surrounded us, and insisted upon shaking hands, so we had difficulty in getting through the crowd to our car.  We shook hands with several hundreds — little children and old folks were given preference whenever possible.  One man – Dr. Mark J. Brockbank of Petaluma, California – brought a photograph of me which he asked me to autograph for one of his patients, a young mother who, he said, is a ‘humble, faithful convert who joined the Church five years ago.’  Her name is Sister Anne Wormell of Ukiah, California.  In the last five year she has undergone serious surgery eight times.  She has just undergone another operation, and is more worried over having missed the dedicatory services than she is over her illness.  She expressed the faith that if she could have seen the President of the Church for once in her life, she knew the Lord would heal her, and that she would be able to raise her family and serve in the Church as she would like to do.  Dr. Brockbank said he had been impressed during the services that if I would autograph my picture, which he would present to his patient, that it would result in the same blessing to her that my physical presence would bring.  I did as Dr. Brockbank requested, and told him to present it with my blessing and prayerful wishes for his patient’s recovery.”

Wed., 27 June, 1956:

“8:30 a.m.  At this hour, I met by appointment Mr. and Mrs. Carl G. Ries of Houston, Texas, their little three-year-old daughter, and Mrs. Ries’ mother, Mrs. Roy A. Welker.

The appointment was made by letter by Mrs. Welker who explained that the child was born with a new disease called Cystic Fibrosis of the Pancreas.  She has not thrived as she should, and has been under the care of a Child Specialist since birth.  Little is known about the disease or the cause or just what the treatment should be.  It is the desire of the parents that I gave her a blessing.

Accordingly, I gave the child – Elizabeth Ann Ries — a blessing, stating that in accordance with His divine will He will restore this child to her normal health, and that He bless the parents that they may be wise in aiding in this restoration, and commended the child to the divine care of our Father in Heaven.

Fri., 19 Oct., 1956:

11:30 a.m.  Administered to little 4-year-old Gary John Kominsky, son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Kominsky, 713 Cedar Avenue, Kemmerer, Wyoming (Woodruff Stake – Kemmerer Ward).  The grandfather, George F. Horton, accompanied Mrs. Kominsky, who is a member of the Church – her husband did not accompany her – he is not a member of the Church.

Little Gary is afflicted with cancer and is not expected to live.'”

Sun., 20 Jan., 1957:

“Following the meeting I was busy administering to the sick.  President Christensen apparently was not aware of instructions that had been sent out that administrations should be taken care of by local authorities.  I was unable to attend to all of these requests, so I took the names of many of them, and told the people that they would be prayed for in Council Meeting when I returned to Salt Lake City.

Fri., 25 Jan., 1957:

“3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The First Presidency met representatives of the Polio Foundation, the State Director, Brother Bruce Hanks, a brother of President Marion D. Hanks of the First Council of Seventy; Brother Richard C. Andrew, vice president of the J.A. Hogle Company, who is contributing of his time in the interest of the Polio Organization in this County and surrounding states.  Had a very interesting and instructive conference with these men.  What they have done in helping our polio victims is most commendable, financially as well as emotionally and socially.  Thousands of dollars have been spent in helping Brother I. Daniel Stewart, and one of our young sisters who took polio in the New England Mission; also in assisting Ross Eagar in Leeds, Utah.

(Since this consultation I have learned that some of our stake presidents and bishops are advising members of the Church not to take the polio Vaccine injection, but to rely wholly upon faith.  I feel that they are wrong in taking this attitude because the Lord expects us to do everything we can to make use of all the improvements and inventions and discoveries that come through his inspiration, and when we have done all we can, then we can go to the Lord and rely upon His help.  So far the Vaccine seems to be helpful, and it should be administered under the direction of physicians who know something about it.)”

Thurs., 14 Feb., 1957:

“4:30 p.m.  Enroute home stopped at the home of Mrs. William Middlemiss.  I gave her a blessing, asking the Lord to relieve her from pain and suffering during this trying period of her life.  She has been seriously ill for the past two years.”

Tues., 19 Feb., 1957:

Mrs. Stringham’s husband has been completely bedridden for nearly two years.  He cannot talk or move, but must have his every need anticipated and cared for.  The family wonders if it is right to dedicate him to the Lord to take him.  He has been administered to many times without any change of his condition.  President McKay wrote the following letter to Sister Stringham in reply to her question:

February 19, 1957

Mrs. Genevieve A. Stringham

566 East 720 South Street

Midvale, Utah

Dear Sister Stringham:

It is evident from your letter of February 10, 1957, that you have been and are devouting yourself compassionately and most unselfishly to caring for every need of your stricken husband, Brother Benjamin B. Stringham.  It is evident, also, that the Lord has greatly blessed you with the mellowing influence of spirituality to perform these loving services.

A man dedicates his life to God by developing a noble character, by compliance to the principles and ideals of the Gospel, and by unselfish service to his fellow man.  There is no ‘ordinance’ in the church of ‘dedicating a man to the Lord.’  It is perfectly proper for Loved Ones to plead for the Lord to relieve pain and suffering, either by restoration to health or by relief through death.  The giving and dedicating of life belongs to the Lord.  It is the duty of the Priesthood to rebuke pain and suffering through faith and leave to the Lord the time of the end.

May the Lord continue to bless you and to bring peace and solace to the souls of all of you.

Sincerely yours,



Fri., 22 Mar., 1957:

“4 p.m.  Left the office to administer to Miss Gladys Baumgartner who lives with her mother at 756 Parkway Avenue, City.  Miss Baumgartner, who is 27 years of age, unmarried, is dying from cancer of the face and head.  She is in such a pitiful condition that I did not bless her to live.  A friend of the family – Mrs. Caroline Schindler – requested that I administer to her through a letter addressed to my home.  Later, Jack Reed, reporter for the S.L. Tribune, called in behalf of this young lady.”

Fri., 24 May, 1957:

“8:30 a.m.

Administered to little four-year-old Brad Ballif, afflicted son of Mr. and Mrs. Lyman Ballif of the Hooper First Ward, Hooper, Utah.

Brad has a brain tumor and was operated on by a Dr. Van Hook, a neuro-surgeon of Ogden, Utah, on May 31, 1956.  The doctors were unable to do anything for the boy, and since the operation he is unable to walk or use his right side very much.  He is able to crawl some days, and then sometimes he is almost completely helpless.  Before the operation he was a ‘very healthy, happy, normal child, able to walk, run, and play.’

Monday, May 27, 1957


May 27, 1957

Air Mail

Mrs. Frank Austin

Rancho las Amigos Hospital

Respiratory Center

Hondo, California

Dear Sister Austin:

Last Saturday I went to Huntsville, and, among other friends, met Henry Hansen who told me of your serious attack of polio.  I was deeply grieved to learn of your affliction, and sincerely hope and pray that your recovery will continue until you are completely restored.

I am writing this note to assure you that you have my faith and prayers.

I told Henry that I would write to you and tell you that we would ask the members of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve to offer a special prayer in your behalf.  This we shall do in the Salt Lake Temple Thursday, June 6, 1957, at about 11 a.m.  If you and your Loved Ones wish to join at that hour in a prayer, unitedly we shall all make a special appeal to our Heavenly Father to hasten the healing processes that will bring about your restoration to health.

With kind personal regards and best wishes, I remain

Sincerely yours,




Thurs., 18 July, 1957:

10:45 a.m.  Brother Spencer W. Kimball of the Council of the Twelve came in and explained to me the circumstances under which he had a throat operation by Dr. Hayes Martin, eminent cancer specialist in New York in January 1957.  (see following letter)

Now, since one cord of his throat is still raw after four months, Dr. Leland Cowan, cancer specialist of this city, is urging that Brother Kimball return to New York and let Dr. Martin, cancer specialist, look at his throat again.  If Dr. Martin is alarmed he may wish to operate again which would further extend Brother Kimball’s incapacity.

Brother Kimball then said that his work in the Church is more important to him than his life; that he does not fear death, but he dreads the loss of his voice permanently more than anything as it will make it impossible for him to carry on his church work.  Said that to lose permanently his voice seems to him to be death, or worse than death.

For these reasons Brother Kimball seeks my advice as to whether or not he should return to New York for further treatment with a possibility of losing his voice, or should he use his voice and expend it, making it last as long as it will.

I told Brother Kimball that if he feels that he has faith enough to be healed, that we shall join him in that faith, and ask the Lord to heal him, but he must ever keep in mind the fundamental principle that the Lord expects us to use the wisdom he gives us, and do all we can first.  Then, when we have done everything, and used every means at our command, we have a right to seek his help.

Now, the wisdom of the doctors suggest that he have another examination, and probably an operation.  I said that I think he should take their advice, go back to new York, and be examined by this specialist.  If he recommends an operation, and that operation deprives Brother Kimball of his voice, he has lost only one means of expression; he still has all his other faculties and can serve the Lord for many years.  I referred to Helen Keller who had no voice, no eyesight, and no hearing, yet she became one of the greatest women of the world, and is still rendering service to humanity at an advanced age.

So my advice to Brother Kimball is that he take the advice of his doctors.  (see copy of letter of appreciation from Brother Kimball sent following the consultation above recorded)

Sun., 25 Aug., 1957:

“During the early evening hours, Miralda (Mrs. William M. McKay) came to visit us.  She reminded me that six months ago she expressed a desire to entertain the family on my birthday.

I said we appreciated her thoughtfulness and kindness, but that she had better not do it this time, as she has had us on so many other occasions; that we would go to our son Edward’s this time.  She felt all right about it.

While Miralda was there the telephone rang, and she answered it.  It was somebody requesting that I administer to Maurine Schow, an 11-year-old girl who has been unconscious for 54 days when she was rescued from drowning.  They resusitated her, and her body has been performing in every way, but her brain is not functioning.  I believe that during the time she was drowned, her brain was deprived of oxygen and has probably deteriorated.  If she is restored to consciousness, she will probably be below normal.

However, Monday morning at 6:50 o’clock, I went up to the Children’s Hospital and administered to this young girl, asking the Lord to heal her if she can be healed normally, but if her mind is to be affected that He take her.

Thurs., 6 Feb., 1958:

“At 4 p.m. – I left the office and drove up to the L.D.S. Hospital to see Dr. Adam S. Bennion of the Council of the Twelve who was stricken last evening with a cerebral hemorrhage.  I was thankful that he knew me, could talk, and move both of his legs.  His left arm seems to be paralyzed.  I administered to Brother Bennion and left my blessing with him.

Following my visit with Brother Bennion, I called on Wendell Smoot who has recently been operated upon.

As I came out of his room, a man approached me and asked if I should call on his wife who is confined in the hospital.  She is a cousin to the Callister girls who are our neighbors.

I then walked down the hall and visited Preston Nibley who has been operated upon for hernia.

After my visit with him, I learned that David W. Evans, the advertising man, and a brother to Elder Richard L. Evans was in the hospital, so I visited with him for a few moments.

Just as I had completed all of the above visits, a nurse stopped me in the hall and asked me if I would call on her mother, Mrs. Ann Morris.  She said she was in her home just a half a block up the hill from the hospital.  She said her mother is facing an operation and needs encouragement.  So I responded to this request, and walked up the hill to their home.

Then the mother of a missionary asked me to go to the room of her son (Elder Cecil Briggs) who is dying of cancer, and administer to him.  I acquiesced to her request and administered to Elder Briggs, following which he asked his father and mother to leave the room while he talked to me.  He questioned me as to why he had to suffer such a dreadful affliction.  I talked to him for about an hour, explaining, among other things, that the sufferings of this world are a part of our mortal existence, that this life is so brief compared to the eternities to come.  I quoted the following lines to him:

‘The pains we have to suffer seem so broad

Set side by side with life’s narrow span.

We need no greater evidence

That God has a diviner destiny for man.

So small this life, so vast its agonies

A future life is needed to adjust

The ill-proportioned wide discrepancies

Between the spirit and its frame of dust.

So, when my heart writhes with some aching pain,

And all my heart strings tremble at the strain

My reason lends new courage to belief,

And all God’s hidden purposes seem plain.’

I commended Brother Briggs for his firm testimony of the Gospel, and told him to put his trust in the Lord and have faith and rest assured that He will adjust all things for his good.

(On Tuesday, February 11, 1958, I learned that this young man had gone to his eternal reward.)

I was very weary when I arrived home at 6:15 p.m., having been engaged every minute since 6:30 this morning in consultations, meetings, etc.

Fri., 11 July, 1958:


Today, through the kindness of Skip Christensen, I received a pair of gloves from Rudy Siebach, 37 Eagle Street, Gloversville, New York.  Brother Siebach sent them to Brother Christensen who lives in Salt Lake with the request that he deliver them to me.

Brother Siebach has lost both of his legs, one by accident, and the other from diabetes.  When I was attending dedicatory services of the Cambridge Branch church building, Brother Siebach asked me to administer to him.  This was in September, 1956.  He was suffering from a severe case of diabetes.  Now he reports that since this administration he has not had diabetes.

Brother Siebach makes gloves and gets as much as $25.00 a pair for them from Saks Fifth Avenue, and other stores.  The pair he sent me is made of the softest leather, fur lined, and finely stitched.

Sat., 20 June, 1959:

“At 9 o’clock this evening a knock came at our door, and when I answered it I found a Mr. and Mrs. Dallas L. Barrett, Jr. of 952 W. 9th So. Street, Salt lake City.  Mrs. Barrett who was crying, held a baby in her arms.  I asked them in, and then they told me the story of how their three-year-old son was drowned in Great Salt Lake while the father was teaching the boy to swim.  They said the child had been taken to the County Hospital where they were applying artificial respiration.  Then the father said, ‘I have confidence that if you come down to the hospital and bless him, he will come back to life.’

I got the impression that the father had drowned the boy –he was besides himself with distraction.

I hurried out and got in the car and accompanied them to the County Hospital.  When we arrived there, we could not find a soul around to help us — no receptionist.  Finally we found someone and learned that the little boy had been taken to the morgue.

The parents urged me to give the boy a blessing, so I said to them, ‘The boy has gone; we cannot bring him back.  He was born under the covenant and is yours for eternity; it is better the way it is.’  However, in order to comfort the parents I went down to the morgue with them and said a prayer over the child’s body.

Following this, the parents were confused as to what to do, so I said the first thing to do now is to get to a mortuary and make arrangements to have the body embalmed.  I don’t remember which one of them (either Mrs. or Mr. Barrett) said their Bishop (Bro. Julius A. Whitaker of the 26th Ward) had told the members of the Ward that if they needed a mortuary they were to call on the Deseret Mortuary.  However, I accompanied Brother and Sister Barrett up to the Larkin Mortuary from which place I called the Bishop (Brother Whitaker) and told him that I was there with members of his ward helping them to make arrangements for the burial of their little child.  He said that he had heard of the tragedy and had been trying to get in touch with the father.  I told him that the matter was now in his hands.

After making arrangments with the Larkin people, I left the parents and went directly home, it being 10:45 p.m..  I found Sister McKay very worried.  She feared something had happened to me, and had called our son, Llewellyn, who was trying to locate me.

Sunday morning Brother Barrett called at the house again.  He had written a letter which he handed to me.  He said that he would like me to attend the funeral services of his little boy if possible.  In his letter he said a few disturbing things.  For instance, ‘I realize more fully than ever that the waters are cursed and Lucifer reigns over them xxx amount of salt in Great Salt Lake xxx having never swum in it before xxx Little Ralph spoke to my wife in a dream and said all was well and he is being cared for and reared by his two grandfathers, with which he is very happy.  Heavenly Father and my earthly Father also spoke to me thru my mind and assured me all was well, so we both have assurance that all is and will be well in every way.’

This has been one of the most disturbing tragedies with which I have ever been associated.

Tues., 31 May 1960:

“11:15 a.m.

At her request, administered to Mrs. LaRue Campbell of Boise, Idaho, who as a young girl was afflicted with polio and was paralyzed, and has been for thirty-four years.  She married and reared a family.  She brought with her two of her boys – one 18 years of age who is a Priest, and the other, 14, a teacher.  Sister Campbell’s husband was killed, leaving her a widow with her family of children.  Her mother is about 80 years of age and she is also taking care of her.  After her husband was killed she met with an accident and broke her leg which was in a cast for several months.  She is still going ahead supporting her family.  She is a remarkable woman and I feel that she will be all right.”

Fri., 4 Nov. 1960:

Each day, many calls are received from members of the Church asking President McKay to administer to them, to pray for them etc.  Each request is considered and so far as possible their request satisfied.  Today, a woman called to say that Mary Ann Crockett of Pocatello, Idaho is in the County Hospital here in Salt Lake City dying with leukemia.  President McKay will take her name to the Council meeting next Thursday where she will be prayed for by the Brethren in their special prayer circle.  President McKay personally will pray for her also.  (cm)”

Mon., 12 Feb., 1962:

“Today I attended a funeral service and paid tribute to a former Huntsville man, Hyrum A. Jensen, who had moved to Idaho and was brought to Huntsville for burial. I paid my respects to Sister Jensen, wife of Hyrum Jensen, and it reminded me of an experience I had with Brother Jensen when he lived in Huntsville just two blocks from our old home.

At that time Brother Jensen had invited me to come and administer to his wife who had just given birth to triplets. I responded and on arriving at the home found Mrs. Jensen holding one of the triplets in her lap, another was in the cradle, and a third on the bed.

I administered to Mrs. Jensen and to the baby she was holding. It seemed to me that the baby was grasping for breath. As I was walking from the house I told Brother Jensen that the baby was very sick. Brother Jensen responded, “He will live. While you were administering to him I had an impression that he would live and fill a mission to the Indians.”

The baby did live and filled a mission to the Indians; the triplet boys all went together to one of the Indian Missions. They grew to be husky boys. They also went into the Army together, and one of them gave up his life in the military service. The others are still living, one of them a father of eight children.

I met the eldest girl of the Jensen family at the funeral service, and she introduced me to her nine children.

When I administered to Mrs. Jensen on the above occasion there were seven children in her family, the oldest of which was five years of age. Mrs. Jensen had given birth to a girl, then a boy, then twins, and then triplets.”

Wed., 14 Feb., 1962:

“Today I called on Sister Willa Mae Wansgard who is suffering from muscular dystrophy and cannot move from her chair.  She cannot move a limb except her left arm.

When I was up in Huntsville two years ago to dedicate a new meeting house, Sister Wangsgard sent word asking that I administer to her, but I did not receive this request, and she was greatly disappointed.

Accordingly, today, before leaving for Salt Lake City, I called on her and administered to her.”

Wed., 18 Apr. 1962:

“8:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Attended the meeting of the First Presidency.

Elder Allan Mark Leavitt meets President McKay

At the meeting this morning, President Brown explained to me that Elder Allan Mark Leavitt, who had been operated upon for lung cancer is now informed that the cancer has spread and the diagnosis is poor.  President Brown said that Brother Leavitt has asked if he might shake hands with me.  I agreed to meet him, and President Brown brought Brother Leavitt into the meeting.  I shook hands with him, and after reassuring him that he looked well and having Brother Leavitt’s response that he agreed that he looked well, but he hoped he could feel as well as he looks, I assured him of my faith and prayers.  Brother Leavitt also shook hands with President Moyle and President Brown.  He expressed his appreciation and then withdrew from the meeting.

Thurs., 26 Apr. 1962:

9:55 a.m.

Just as I was leaving for the Salt Lake Temple, I shook hands with Brother Orson G. Spencer, Temple worker, who is suffering from cancer.  He broke down and cried as I shook hands with him and said, ‘The desire of my life has now been answered.’

Wed., 15 Aug., 1962:

11:45 a. m.

Following the departure of the Hobbs Family, Mrs. Diana Malstrom of the Oakland-Berkeley Stake, came in. She has undergone surgery on her throat and is under the necessity of learning to speak again. This operation is similar to the one Elder Spencer W. Kimball of the Twelve had three or four years ago. I shook Sister Malstrom’s hand and asked the Lord’s blessings upon her. Tears welled up in her eyes, and without a word she left the office.”

Wed., 5 Sep., 1962:

12:05 p. m.

Returned to my private office. Just as I reached the onyx room, I found Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson waiting for me. He had with him Brother and Sister James Linwood Pouncey of Washington. Brother Pouncey, who is dying of cancer, had expressed a desire to shake hands with me. He and his wife had traveled all the way from the State of Washington to have their sealing ordinance performed in the Salt Lake Temple. They were disappointed to find that the Temple was closed for repairs and renovations. I was grateful, because of their disappointment, that I could greet them.

Note by c. m.

President McKay’s meeting with Brother Pouncey was very touching–a six-foot man–so weak and sick that he could hardly stand up, was willing to make the trip to Salt Lake so that he could have his Temple work done, and then the disappointment! As he shook the President’s hand, however, and heard words of comfort and blessing from him, all disappointment left. He said to Bishop Isaacson as he left the room, “Now, I am willing to go — I shall now die in peace!”

Tues., 16 Oct., 1962:

“1:10 p. m.

Left for home. As I was leaving the building, I shook hands with Byron Shaver, 13, of the St. George Sixth Ward. He is a polio victim, and will undergo an operation at the Primary Children’s Hospital tomorrow. His mother, who accompanied him, said that the boy had been fasting and praying that he would be able to shake hands with me before the operation.”

Sun., 16 June 1963:

“Following the meeting, after expressing again to Mr. Augustus and Mr. Brunton my appreciation for their presence and participation in the meeting, Sister McKay and I wended our way out of the Tabernacle, greeting and shaking hands with many of the brethren and sisters as we left.

At the rear door, we shook hands with a young man by the name of Robert Mitchell, a polio victim of eight years.  He had been brought in a wheel chair by truck from Buena Park, California.  He is totally helpless.  His parents, Brother and Sister William Mitchell, and a brother, accompanied him.  We also shook hands with a Sister Jack C. McCallister from Oklahoma, who was also in a wheel chair.

Hundreds of little children and young folks were gathered at the back door, and Sister McKay and I responded by waving and shaking hands with as many as we could.  My heart went out to them as tears welled up in their eyes.”

Wed., 19 Feb. 1964:

“8:45 to 9:55 a.m.

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

Administrations – Melchizedek Priesthood May Perform without Permission From Bishops

We read a letter from Bishop G. Murray Webb of St. George Sixth Ward inquiring about worthy members of the Priesthood administering to the sick and consecrating oil.  I said that he may be answered that it is not necessary for worthy holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood to obtain the permission of the Bishop to perform these ordinances.”

Mon., 6 Apr. 1964:

8:30 a.m.

(Note by CM)

Sister S. Tuia from Western Samoa, called at the office during President McKay’s absence.  She told me that ‘President McKay blessed me in the Leper Colony in Suva, Fiji in 1955.  I am here today for the first time, and wish to show President McKay how grateful I am, for he stopped the dreadful sickness in me.  I have a little token to give him.’  She then left for President McKay a beautiful lei made of small pure white shells.  Sister Tuia looked strong and healthy.  (See handwritten note following)

Mon., 15 June 1964:

“Note by CM

President McKay learned of the serious illness of little Shana Campbell, who was in the Primary Children’s Hospital, so with his usual concern and sympathy, he sent a letter of encouragement to her.  The mother, Mrs. Bonnie Campbell shed tears of gratitude and joy when she was handed the letter to take to her little daughter.  (See copy of letter following.)

Monday, June 15, 1964

June 15, 1964

Dear Shana:

Word has come to me that you have been ill, and that you are now in the Primary Children’s Hospital where you and many other children are being treated by the wonderful doctors and nurses who are watching over you and them.

I want you to know, Shana, that I shall pray for you that our Heavenly Father will bless you with a complete restoration to health and strength.  I have been informed that the Elders have administered to you, and now with their faith and administration, added to your own faith and that of your Loved Ones, we shall leave to the Lord whatever He feels is for your best good.

With my very best greetings to you, and to your mother and father, I remain

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


Miss Shana Campbell

c/o The Primary Children’s Hospital

Salt Lake City, Utah

cc:  President N. Eldon Tanner”

Fri., 29 Oct. 1965:

Presidents Smith and Isaacson then left the room, and President Tanner and I remained to take up some regular First Presidency matters.  Some of the items considered were:

Administration of Blind Sister

President Tanner mentioned that a Brother Fred A. Riggs of San Francisco, California has expressed the desire that I administer to his wife, who is blind.  I said that it was entirely unnecessary for him to bring his wife here for me to administer to her.  I said that arrangements should be made for someone in San Francisco to take care of it.  He is also to be informed that the Brethren will be pleased to have his wife’s name placed on the prayer roll to be remembered in the prayers of the First Presidency and the Twelve in the Temple.

Tues., 12 Nov., 1968:

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

Note by CM: 

Letter and Newspaper Account of President McKay’s Record of Service;

Blessing Given to Blind Boy in 1952

Today President McKay received a letter from Dr. Richard O. Cowan, Professor of Religion at the Brigham Young University, in which he tells of a blessing that President McKay gave him while visiting the Los Angeles Stake in 1952. He said that he was visually handicapped, discouraged, and did not know whether to continue with school or not, and that President McKay encouraged him to go on in the activities he was pursuing and to have courage.

In his letter written today, Dr. Cowan states: “I am that same young man, and I would like you to know how much that blessing meant as a source of encouragement. Since then it has been my opportunity to fill a Mission, receive a doctorate degree in history from Stanford University, and for the past year and a half serve in the Stake Presidency.” Dr. Cowan is now a professor of Church History at the BYU.”