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David O. McKay Diaries – “History”

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Sat., 31 Mar., 1951:

“After this meeting, I dictated my diary notes to Clare in addition to two or three letters, and then left for home.”

Wed., 11 Apr. 1951:

“11 a.m.–Mr. Jules Dreyfous and Mr. L. O. Campbell, representing the Paris Company, called at the office, and presented in memory of President George Albert Smith, a gift of money for the Society of the Sightless.  In accepting the gift, I said: ‘In behalf of President George Albert Smith, who according to our belief is still living, I thank you for this contribution.'”

Tues., 17 Jul., 1951:

“5:30 p.m. Arthur Haycock, former Secretary to President George Albert Smith, came in to ask me, in behalf of the Smith family, if it would be all right for him to let the Smith Family have the two scrap books that had been compiled by the Assistant secretary during the past two and a half years, which contain President Smith’s printed speeches and newspaper clippings.

Brother Haycock also asked about the disposition of President Smith’s diary.

I told Brother Haycock that so far as the Scrap Books are concerned, they may be kept in custody by the family, as most of the material contained therein have been published and are public information, but so far as the diary is concerned, that should be placed in the custody of the Church.”

Fri., 17 Aug., 1951:

“President Stephen L. Richards called and reported that Preston Nibley had reported to him that the diaries of George A. Smith are still locked up so far as he knows and that he has no access to them.  He further says that Pres. George Albert Smith advised him that there were letters of George A. Smith that President Smith would like to have had Brother Nibley see.”

Wed., 7 Nov., 1951:

“Report on proposed making of a picture on the story by Juanita Brooks on the ‘Mountain Meadow Massacre.’

I took occasion to look into the matter of the report that Warner Brothers were going to make a moving picture of Juanita Brooks’ story of the ‘Mountain Meadow Massacre.’

I contacted Mrs. Mildred Gagon, former secretary of the California Mission, who is now a lawyer and has an official position with the film world.  She felt that the best approach would be through the director to who this particular work had been assigned, and the following day she reported that she had met this young man who is now writing the script, and whose parents were members of the Church.  He agreed with Sister Gagon that the script should not be completed after she told him that the First Presidency of the Church were opposed to its production.  Mrs. Brooks talked with President Richards about the matter and she has also said that it will not be filmed.  (See letters pertaining to this matter attached hereto.)

November 7, 1951

Dear President McKay:

To the best of my ability I have tried to outline the enclosed report.  Hope it is clear.

It is always so good to see your lovely daughter at our ward. President Blood loved her so dearly, and Sister Blood waited so sweetly for her telephone calls and visits.  I guess I could not help absorbing a good portion myself along the way.

I often think of the wonderful days spent at the California Mission, and very often wish I could now go back to the work I felt was unfinished, especially now that my children are both married and I am alone with no particular responsibilities.  Some day you may find a corner for me and call me on a real mission; I was never officially ‘called’ you know.

Kind regards to you and Sister McKay.

Mildred Gagon.

Brief Report on Film in Treatment Form at Warner Brothers Studio.

‘Mountain Meadow Massacre.’

November 7, 1951

By:  Mildred Gagon

My meeting was with FINDLEY McDERMITT, the Story Editor who now controls the Screen Treatment, and who informed me he was a former Salt Lake man–attended East High School and lived many years in the Federal Heights District.  His grandparents were members of the Church.

Mr. McDermitt was very courteous with me, even assuring me he has felt dubious about this story from the beginning.  We have an appointment for next week to further discuss the story, and at which time he will give me a copy of the Treatment and a full report as to the progression of the film plans, so far as is possible at this point.

The Producer, Mr. Brian Foy, is out of the city this week end. He is a typical Hollywood producer who has gained his fame and position through determination and the courage to produce films others feared to try.  This makes our position a little more difficult.  Another personal observation which we should consider is that he has replaced a man named Jerry Wald at Warner Brothers Studio in many respects.  (Wald left the studio several months ago, and it is reported he was also interested in doing this story).  Foy will be more ambitious to do the unusual due to this professional desire to supersede his predecessor.  When he returns I will see him.

Juanita Brooks, the school teacher at St. George, was offered the position of technical advisor on the film.  This she refused.  She was also consulted regarding the position the church might take in regard to the film, and she assured them she had discussed it with ‘high authorities’ and was assured by two important ‘Elders’ the church would not oppose it. They could not name the ‘Elders.’  She does not own the film rights, so had no power to stop the purchase nor enter into it, although she was contacted by Warners for discussion.

Film Rights were reserved by STANFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, the publishers of her book.  The book has been accepted among University circles as excellent material.

THE GENERAL TREATMENT (as at present) tells of a young farmer (LDS) who is fighting the evil of Lee and his followers in an attempt to live in this Valley.  When it is known Lee might cause the Indians to attack the village, the young man tries to get the message to President Brigham Young, but the messenger is killed.  All of his struggle unto death is treated sympathetically and heroically, according to my information, and the character role of Lee is to be portrayed in all of its ugliness, with his sin and depravation contrasting the goodness of the young man who valiantly tries to save the colony and to save Lee.

McDermitt assured me Warner Brothers was not unmindful of the fact there are far too many Latter-day Saint members who would protest anything unbecoming to the church or its noble history.  I think that is a good one for us to remember, since what they really are concerned about is their box office receipts.

He furthermore said he would appreciate my personal assistance in helping him find the most dependable technical advisor for the film.  My answer to that was it would be impossible at this point for me to make such a suggestion because our best advice was not to make the film at all.

I definitely stated we wished to register the protest of the church authorities and that we are very unhappy about the prospect of this sad and tragic episode being prepared for filming.

His reply was sympathetic, and he remarked it was ‘fortunate the story had not progressed beyond treatment in case it is dropped.’  He also offered to allow me to view all presently owned preparations and discuss it further.  This I will forward to you of course.

Any suggestions or instructions you wish to forward will be more than welcome, and meantime I will continue the discussion as outlined.

Mildred Gagon.

NOTE:  Since the above reports were received, word has been received at the office of the First Presidency that Warner Brothers will not film this story of the ‘Mountain Meadow Massacre.'”

Fri., 23 May, 1952:

“7:15 a.m.–While I was dictating letters to the dictaphone Milton Hunter of the First Council of Seventies knocked on the door of my private office.  He wished to see me about his publishing another book.  He would like to publish a book containing excerpts from speeches of the First Presidency.  I told Brother Hunter to send a letter explaining just what he has in mind and that I should be pleased to present the matter at the next meeting of the First Presidency.

Later, Brother Hunter was advised by letter that it was the opinion of the First Presidency that the book should not be published. (See notes of mtg. held May 26)”

Mon., 26 May, 1952:

“[First Presidency meeting]  Milton R. Hunter is compiling messages of the First Presidencies of the Church, and wishes to publish them in book form.  The Presidency decided against this, they feeling that the messages were given at the time to fit a special condition perhaps, and that it would not be proper to publish them apart from their settings, or an understanding of why the messages were given.”

Mon., 26 July, 1954:

At 9:30 a.m.  Received a courtesy call from a Mr. Wallace Harrison, of 4615 Northeast Shaver Street, Portland, Oregon who reported the following to me:

Said his grandfather was Henry Holston who befriended Joseph Standing and Rudger Clawson on the occasion of the martyrdom of Joseph Standing near Varnell Station, Whitfield County, Georgia, Sunday, July 21, 1879 while serving as a missionary in the Southern States.  When the mob was after the two Elders the few members of the Church were so frightened they would not offer shelter to the two missionaries.  When night came they had no place to stay, and they were told to go to Henry Holston (not a member of the Church) and that he would take care of them for the night.

They went to Mr. Holston who put them up for the night and guarded them during their stay in his home.  The next morning the missionaries had to return to the place where they had stayed the day before, and while on their way they were accosted by the mob, and after a very trying ordeal Joseph Standing was shot to death.

Rudger Clawson appealed to Mr. Holston for assistance again — he had been freed  temporarily by the mob.  No one wanted to touch the body of Joseph Standing or to have any part of the terrible tragedy that had befallen this Elder, and Mr. Holston was the only one who, during the tragic hours, offered any assistance or showed any act of friendship to Brother Clawson.

Mr. Holston later supported the missionaries at the trial, and when the body was shipped back to Utah, he underwent very trying circumstances in which his life was threatened many times by his own friends.  Against great odds, he went to the Court to support Rudger Clawson upon his second return to Georgia.

Thursday, May 9, 1957.

Telephone conversation with Mrs. Frank Evans.

Re:  Publishing of book regarding Colonel Thomas L. Kane.

Called Mrs. Frank Evans, and held a conversation with her regarding the Thomas L. Kane material which she and her late husband, Elder Frank Evans, collected during Brother Evans’s presidency of the Eastern States Mission.

Sister Evans said that she has a drawer full of material which they have gathered, which Brother Evans intended to have published.  I said that I knew that Brother Evans had a very cherished and fond idea that he could publish a book concerning the life of Col. Thomas L. Kane who in the early days of the Church had befriended the Mormons whenever and wherever possible.  Sister Evans said that Brother Evans thought the church was under obligation to let the world know what Colonel Kane had done for us, not only in one incident, but throughout the years as he stood as a sentinel for us.

Sister Evans then said that Kent Kane, a grandson to Colonel Kane, had given the material to Brother Evans.  The Church was to have the original correspondence between Brigham Young and Colonel Kane, letters that Colonel Kane had written to government officials in Washington in behalf of the Mormons, etc. photostated.  Kent Kane had found a lot of letters and documents among his grandfather’s effects, and rather miraculously turned them over to Brother Evans.  The Church Historian’s Office had photostated a few of the letters, but had done a very poor job on them.  The originals are now in the hands of the Kane family — the material Sister Evans has are copies of the originals.

I then asked Sister Evans if she would like someone to help her with getting the book out.  She answered that she had never done anything like that before, except writing some lessons for the Relief Society when she was on the General Board, but that she ‘guessed she could do it’ if her health would permit.  Said that her arm is giving her a lot of pain; that the doctor thinks the x-rays that have been given to her on her arm and chest have injured the nerves, thus causing a lot of pain.

I told Sister Evans that we should be pleased to send her help — someone to whom she could dictate.  She said she would like to write the book as she knows just how her husband wanted to start it.  It was his idea to start the book with the scene set on the occasion of the 10th anniversary celebration of the arrival of the Pioneers to the Valley when Colonel Kane arrived on the scene at the time when the Johnston’s Army was sent to Utah.

Sister Evans said that Bryant S. Hinckley had come to her home and asked to see her collection – that she had shown it to him, but did not let him take anything away.  He wanted it for the Sons of the Utah Pioneers.

I said that these documents and letters are pretty precious, and that she should guard them until she knows what she wants to do with them – for her to think about it seriously and then let us know.  She promised that she would see what could be done.”

Mon., 7 Apr., 1958:

“5:35 p.m.  Left for home

Film on Nauvoo

6:30 p.m. – In company with sister McKay attended the General Authorities semi-annual banquet and social held in the Relief Society Building.

At this social a film of Nauvoo which has been prepared under the auspices of KSl Radio Station, Dr. LeRoy Kimball, and others was shown to the General Authorities.  It is reported that President Richard C. Stratford of the Northern States Mission, Pres. Junius M. Jackson of the New England Mission, and others are interested in having the film shown in Nauvoo and the missions.

I have some reservations as to the value of the picture from a propaganda or missionary standpoint.  In the picture emphasis is given to the liberality of the Nauvoo Charter, favorable mention is made of the Nauvoo Legion, but not much is said as to why the Legion was required to lay down it arms, and the inference to any stranger might be that they were guilty of something serious; that the impression is given that Nauvoo is a ghost town, the houses are still there, the saints were driven out, but not enough emphasis is given to the fact that the Prophet and Patriarch were martyrs.  I feel that the history of Nauvoo and our banishment therefrom is given in a way that does not reflect as favorably as it should upon the Church or our Prophets who were martyrs.

Thurs., 5 Feb., 1959:

“8:30 a.m.  At the request of the First Presidency Elder Nicholas G. Morgan, Sr. came to the meeting of the First Presidency where the projected book on the life of Colonel Thomas L. Kane was considered with him.

Explanation was made that Frank Evans and his wife, Priscilla, had left to the Church by will a manuscript which they had prepared for a book on the life of Colonel Thomas L. Kane.  Frank Evans had received from the family of Colonel Kane in Kane, Pennsylvania some of the personal papers of Colonel Kane, which were included in the research materials used by the Evans’ in the preparation of the manuscript.  The work is unfinished, however, and the Kane family materials and the manuscript have been delivered to Brother Robert G. Larson, a close friend of the Evans, who is interested in completing the manuscript for publication.  He is now employed by the Shell Oil Company, and is representing that Company in Liverpool, England.  He reports that he is finding it difficult to go forward with the work on the manuscript because of his duties there and especially because of increased duties which have been given him in the Church in Liverpool.

Brother Morgan said that he has been working toward the publication of a book about Colonel Kane.  Albert J. Zobell has been doing the research work and preparing the manuscript.  The whereabouts of the Kane paper has been unknown to them but a considerable volume of other material has been gathered and the manuscript for a book with between 250 and 300 papers has been prepared and nearing readiness for publication.

Brother Morgan expressed interest in collaborating in a joint publication of a book so that the work which has been done by Brother and Sister Evans can be appropriately recognized and given credit.  He expressed the opinion that it would be better to have one book, and that he is interested in having something done now to get the book out rather than to delay it.

It was decided that the First Presidency would write to Brother Larsen and ask him to send the papers he has with the view of working out a collaboration to get the book out and to accomplish the purpose of Brother Morgan and also to get appropriate credit for the work which Brother and Sister Evans have done on the project.

Mon., 9 Feb., 1959:

‘Monday, February 9, 1959.

Telephone conversation with D. Arthur Haycock.

Brother Haycock:  President McKay, good morning, Brother Haycock.

President McKay:  How are you getting along with the microfilming of the material for the George Albert Smith book?

Brother Haycock:  I think it is going along very well.  They are ready to start on the George A. Smith journals.  There is a matter of getting clearance from your office and then Brother Myers will take care of that.  The John Henry Smith and the President George Albert Smith journals have been completed.  We have had wonderful help from the folks at the Genealogical Office.

President McKay:  How many books are there of George A’s?

Brother Haycock:  Probably six or eight.  They are in the vault by Joseph Anderson’s office.  All the other is done.

President McKay:  And you are ready to go ahead with this?

Brother Haycock:  Yes sir, whenever it is cleared.  So far as we have been able to determine there is nothing in the journals of George A. Smith that would be of a controversial nature.

President McKay:  Did you find anything in the others?

Brother Haycock:  George Albert Smith, Jr. has a copy and he is going over it very carefully and Emily has a copy and if they should find anything that would be questionable at all either from the family’s or Church’s standpoint, they are going to clear that.

President McKay:  Then they are reading from the copy itself?

Brother Haycock:  It has been microfilmed–those two journals they are reading.  The writer of the book has a copy of the microfilm which he is reading, but the microfilm itself is still resting in the Genealogical Office, but the writer does have a copy–Mr. Merlo Pussey.  George Albert, Jr. also has a copy.  They are reading it before it is printed to make sure there is nothing objectionable.

President McKay:  And they are just waiting–Brother Myers wants to be authorized from this office. 

Brother Haycock:  I would have to pick up the George A. Smith journals from the First Presidency’s Office and take them to Brother Myers, but until we get authorization we are just waiting.

President McKay:  There are just a few volumes?  You are the one to deliver them, and take them from this office over there?

Brother Haycock:  I have done so on the others at the request of the family and with clearance from your office.  I would be pleased to do that again if that meets with your wishes.

President McKay:  All right, you are so authorized.

Brother Haycock:  Thank you very much.

Hope you are feeling well.

President McKay:  Yes, thank you.

Bother Haycock:  Give our ‘Aloha’ to Sister McKay.”

Mon., 1 June, 1959:

“At 9 o’clock this morning, Brother Merlo Pusey, Editor of a Washington, D.C. paper, came in by appointment at his request.  He is writing a book on the life of President George Albert Smith, and asked that I give some intimate incidents in my relationship with President Smith when I was his counselor in the First Presidency.

We talked for an hour about President Smith, and, among other things, I said: ‘George Albert Smith was the first member of the Twelve with whom I attended a Quarterly Conference.  At the time, I was Principal of the Weber Stake Academy, and Brother Smith as a member of the Council of the Twelve called me to accompany him to the Woodruff Stake Conference.  He asked that I meet him the next Saturday morning at the Union Pacific Station in Ogden and go with him to Evanston, Wyoming where the Conference was to be held.  That was the first time I had attended a Quarterly Conference as a representative.  This was before my appointment to the Council of the Twelve, in 1906.

I enjoyed very much my association with Brother Smith at this conference, and since that time I have been well-acquainted with him, and enjoyed his company always.

Our association was very agreeable when I was his counselor, and I appreciated his calling me in to meet the dignitaries who came to see him.  For example, when the Archibishop of Canterbury (England) came to Salt Lake City at the request of the local Bishop of the Catholic Church, he called on President Smith at the Church Office.  Brother Smith was a good conversationalist, and he conducted that interview very intelligently.  At this time he gave the Archbishop permission to hold a meeting in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.  Although I did not tell Brother Pusey this, the Archibishop did not have the right attitude in the Tabernacle.  The Salt Lake Bishop thanked President Smith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the use of the Tabernacle, but not once, during his entire talk, did the Archbishop ever use the phrase ‘Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’  The only tribute he paid to us was ‘the LDS Church’.  Then the Archbishop went back to England and spoke against the Church.

Brother Pusey and I then took up the conditions that caused the misunderstanding between May Anderson as General President of the Primary Association, and Emily Stewart (President Smith’s daughter) at the time the latter was honorably released from the General Board of Primary.

I mentioned the fact that my secretary is unable to find some minutes regarding the meetings of the committee appointed by President Grant to investigate the matter, and that Miss Middlemiss was very much surprised that this particular folder is missing from her files.  She will still search to see if she can find it.”

Thurs., 30 July 1959:

“At 8 o’clock this morning I met Mr. Myran L. Boardman, Executive Vice President of Prentice Hall, Inc., New York City (one of the largest and oldest printing houses in the United States).  Mr. Boardman had previously talked by long distance telephone with Elder Richard L. Evans and told him of his company’s desire to publish a book on my life.

Mr. Boardman said that he would like to publish an autobiography, but I told him that I did not like that, and if they do publish a book, it would have to be biography, or a book of memoirs.

Prentice Hall will send me some proof sheets on Mr. deMille’s book, so that I can see what they are doing.  After I have looked these over, I shall let Mr. Boardman know what our decision is.

I then told Mr. Boardman that my secretary had innumerable scrap books and records on my life that would be available.  I called her in and introduced her to him, and asked her to show him what she had collected.

After seeing these records, Mr. Boardman said he had ‘never seen anthing like them – that they would be invaluable in getting the book out.'”

Sat., 19 Sept. 1959:

We discussed also briefly the matter of a biography on the life of President McKay.  Recently, he received a request from Prentice-Hall Inc. that this publishing firm be allowed, through one of it’s professional writers, to do an autobiography.  President McKay felt that he did not want an autobiography.  I recommended to him that he persue the idea of having a biography done either by an expert outside biographer, such as Milo Pusey, or by some of our local people who know him well.  In the event he decides to have a biography done, I suggested that possible writers from our staff, who could collaborate with members of the family, might be Henry Smith, Harold Lundstrom, or William Smart.  President McKay said he would take this suggestion under consideration.

Sat., 26 Sept. 1959:

“8:30 a.m.

Mr. Myron L. Boardman, Vice President of Prentice Hall, Inc. of New York City, and my son Dr. Llewellyn R. McKay, called at the office.  Mr. Boardman presented his views regarding the writing of my biography.  He suggested an autobiography, but I told him that I did not care to have an autobiography.  He then suggested that it could be ‘Philosophy of Living’ by David O. McKay, or some such title.  I told him that I would leave this up to him and to Llewelyn to work out a plan that might be suitable.  I also told him that my sister Jeanette (Mrs. Joseph R. Morrell) has already nearly completed a biography, and that I think they should know that she has that ready to be printed before they start on this book.  Mr. Boardman said that would be all right with him.

Later, I telephone to Jeanette at her home in Ogden, and told her that Prentice Hall, Inc. wants to publish a 200-to-250-word-book on my philosophy of living, and I suggested that she complete her book before this other book is published.  It will take Prentice Hall about a year to complete their book.  Dr. Morrell, who was also on the phone, said:  ‘We shall get right at it, and I shall help Jeanette finish it.’

Saturday, September 26, 1959


By Harold Schindler

Tribune Church Editor

‘I care not whether anyone knows it or not – He knows it – the man who takes advantage of a brother is weakening in his spirituality.  He cannot enjoy the growth in this church so long as he has this dishonest sentiment…’

These words were spoken on Oct. 6, 1907, by Elder David O. McKay, now president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at a semi-annual LDS conference.

‘This is only a portion of the address presented by the church leader that day, and the entire text is only one item among thousands contained in more than 125 large volumes of clippings, photographs, speeches, letters and notes pertaining to the president.

The volumes are the fruits of a self-appointed task begun 24 years ago by President McKay’s secretary, Miss Clare Middlemiss.

It was in 1935 that Miss Middlemiss first made the decision to compile a ‘scrapbook’ on the president’s activities.

Then second counselor in the First Presidency, President McKay was in New York City on a trip.  In between her normal workload, the secretary sandwiched time to start the first of the volumes which since have been described as ‘priceless.’

‘I had tucked the book away in a rolltop desk that he seldom looked into.  Then, about a month later, President McKay found the book and expressed his appeciation for it.  That gave me the incentive to go ahead on it,’ she said.

The work became a personal effort until four and a half years ago when Miss Teresa Mayr, Miss Middlemiss’ assistant, joined her in the project.

Each of the volumes, measuring 11 by 18 inches and some four inches thick, is encased in a plastic snap cover, designed by Miss Middlemiss.

The books begin with material dating as far back as 1907, including unpublished addresses and notes jotted by the church leader.

Aside from personal volumes, others are compiled on subjects including special letters and interviews with prominent persons (President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Prince Olav and Princess Martha of Norway, Douglas McKay, late secretary of interior; Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., and the late Cecil B. deMille), volumes on the 1947 Centennial, the president’s dedications, his trip to Europe, his trip to South America, volumes on LDS temples, President McKay’s degrees, special honors, tributes, volumes on his appointment as a member of the Council of Twelve Apostles, his appointment to the LDS First Presidency and appointment as president, volumes on the president’s birthdays, his personal ancestry biographies, a volume on the president’s birthplace, Huntsville, and other topics.

Each volume has President McKay’s signature in gold imprinted on the cover and each is indexed.

In addition to this tremendous collection, Miss Middlemiss catalogued advice and sayings from the president’s speeches.

She also has indexed each address and speech made by the president.

The secretary also has kept personal daily diaries for President McKay since 1938, with two to four volumes for each year since the church leader was sustained president.

The Salt Lake Tribune – Saturday, September 26, 1959″ 

Sun., 18 Oct. 1959:

“Having made up my mind to look over some of my personal diaries, took home several volumes written during the time I was second counselor in the First Presidency.  I also took a volume of several hundred pages of my world tour in 1921.

Today Sister McKay and I started to read the world tour diary — many tears were shed as we read the accounts I had written of that memorable visit to the missions of the Church throughout the world!”

Fri., 5 Feb. 1960:

“12 noon

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

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

Fri., 10 Feb. 1961:

“Friday, February 10, 1961

Telephone conversation between Senator Frank Browning of the Senate Chambers and President David O. McKay who called him Friday morning, February 10, 1961.

President McKay: Brother Browning, it is good to hear your voice.

Senator Browning: It is good to hear you, President.

President McKay: I am calling in regard to a matter which is dear to my heart, that is before the Legislature.

Senator Browning: Fine.

President McKay: It is an old building down here, the old City Hall, in which the State Legislature met years ago, and which we would like to preserve.  The best place to preserve it is up near the Capitol.

The Church is willing to go to quite an expense in removing it, but it needs a foundation.  Somebody, during the investigation, has proposed that there be a basement and a foundation put in on which the old building will be placed, and the State Capitol can use the basement for the purpose of storage and other uses.  It will require a few thousand dollars to accomplish this, and the Church and other private individuals will pay the full expense of moving and restoring the building.  I wonder if we could get you to help us with it.

Senator Browning: Well, I am up here bleeding with everybody landing on me that they can not afford this for education, they can not afford that for school buildings — what would be the State’s contribution under this plan, President?

President McKay: Well, I shall send a man up and give you the full facts.  May I do that?

Senator Browning: Yes.  Well, I am going down into a committee meeting in a minute, over at the University.  Monday would be all right.  But have you an idea what it would be — what would the State’s contribution be?

President McKay: It would not be very much.  I suppose $60,000.00 or $70,000.00.

Senator Browning: Yes.  Of course, Governor Clyde has given us a budget that is unrealistic, and now everybody comes in on top and we can find now over two or three million dollars that are not in the budget.

President McKay: The private persons who move it will have to pay over $150,000.00 or $200,000.00.  The foundation, you can judge, will not cost very much, and the State will have the use of it.

Senator Browning: The thing that worries some members of the Senate is that the State would then have to assume responsibility for keeping it.  Would they not?

President McKay: They would take care of it.  Yes.

Senator Browning: They figured around $40,000.00 or $50,000.00 a year.

President McKay: Oh, no.  No, it would not be that much.

Senator Browning: Well, when your representative comes up Monday, have him call in, and I will be just as kind as can be.

President McKay: Well, Monday is a holiday, is it not?

Senator Browning: Yes, but we are in session Monday.  Tuesday would be better anyway.

President McKay: Well, then, I shall ask Mr. Nicholas G. Morgan to see you next Tuesday morning.

Senator Browning: That is right.  I will see him anytime he comes up.

President McKay: That will be fine.

Senator Browning: Bless your heart.  You tell them to get outside agency — that is what the Senators all suggested to raise it all, and then the State could look at it.  In other words, the Church is most generous, but tell them to raise the $90,000.00, and then we would take it over.  Offer them that thought.  We are worried about our money up here.  We get hell if we raise taxes (laughingly), so we are in a bad spot.  You suggest for them to go to the Chamber of Commerce and all and get the $90,000.00, but in any event I will be happy to talk with him.

President McKay: You say you are getting…’hell’….

Senator Browning: They say if we raise taxes, we are going to be in trouble.

President McKay: Yes, and I am in trouble in paying so much out for the Church!  (Senator Browning and President McKay both laugh heartily.)

Senator Browning:  I will come down, and we will weep on each other’s shoulders!

President McKay: All right.  (laughingly)

Senator Browning: I am coming to see you before I get through.

President McKay: Good.  You do that.  I will have Brother Morgan call on you next Tuesday morning.

Senator Browning: That is right, and tell him to find the $90,000.00.  Just kid him along — and then the State would take care of it may be.

President McKay: All right.

Senator Browning: Thanks, President.

President McKay: Thank you.”

Wed., 5 July 1961:

9:30 a.m.

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

Thur., 1 Feb., 1962:

“[First Presidency Meeting]  ‘Joseph Smith’s Own Story’

It was reported that the Missionary Committee recommended that the title of the ‘Joseph Smith Tells His Own Story’ pamphlet be changed to ‘Joseph Smith’s Testimony,’ the reason being that some have felt that the use of the word ‘story’ connotes fiction.

I said that this change is all right with me, though I think the objection raised is rather farfetched.  This matter was considered in Council meeting last week, and met with the approval of the Brethren.

Fri., 30 Mar., 1962:

Microfilming of President McKay’s Diary and Library

Mr. [Gus] Backman reported to us that he and Mr. Gallivan had been shown the volumes in the library of my office which constitute the day to day diary and scrapbooks compiled by my secretary, Clare Middlemiss, covering my activities since I first came into the First Presidency.  Mr. Backman said that these books should be microfilmed.”

Tues., 15 May 1962:

12:40 – 2:30 p.m.

I had a conference again with Brother Joseph Anderson and Brother A. Hamer Reiser regarding problems existing in the office of the First Presidency with reference to secretaries.  At this time, I told them that the new girl must not be working on the minutes of the First Presidency — that there are too many already involved in giving attention to the minutes of the First Presidency, that this is very confidential work, and should be given to an employee who has more experience and can keep confidences.”

Fri., 1 June 1962:

3:00 p.m.

My secretary, Clare, brought over to the apartment 65 of the 165 or more, scrapbooks she has prepared, and has had prepared under her direction, during the twenty-seven years she has been my secretary.  These books cover published addresses, letters, dedications, including temples, and other Church buildings, etc.  They are now placed in my Library at the Hotel.  It is my intention, as soon as they are ready, to bring the rest of the volumes, as well as fifty-five personal diaries she has kept over to the Hotel.”

Wed., 6 June 1962:

2)  Pleas ‘John Doyle Lee’ — About Restoration of His Blessings

The concluding three paragraphs in the book, ‘John Doyle Lee’ by Juanita Brooks, concerning the Mountain Meadow Massacre, as follows were read:

‘Through all the 84 years which have elapsed since the execution of John D. Lee, the dearest hope of his many descendants has been that his name should some day be cleared.  An action taken on Thursday, April 20, 1961, has made that hope a reality for them.

‘On that day the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve of the Mormon Church met in a joint session and ‘it was the action of the Council after considering all the facts available that authorization be given for the reinstatement to membership and former blessings to John D. Lee.

“On May 8 and 9 following, the necessary ordinances were performed in the Salt Lake Temple.’

I said the author had no right to include that in any book.  She was told not to do it, and that if she did the action might be rescinded.  It was agreed that no publicity be given to rescinding the action if this is done; that it would be ‘fanning the flame.’  We decided that the matter be left without further action, and I said that we will leave it just as it is.”

Thurs., 19 July 1962:

Coalville – Plea for the Old Stake Tabernacle

We read a letter from Mayor Robert A. Williams of Coalville, Utah.  It presented an appeal for the preservation of the old Stake Tabernacle in Coalville, and expressed concern about the prospects for increasing the obligations upon the people to pay increased taxes for seriously needed local civic improvements, sewer, an improved water supply, and also the cost of providing a larger new Church building than attendance at stake meetings requires.

I expressed myself as opposed to tearing down the old tabernacle, and gave direction that a memorandum be given to me to present the matter at the meeting of the Expenditures Committee to be held July 31, 1962.  I also directed that the letter be acknowledged, and that Mayor Williams be informed that the subject is taken under advisement.”

Thur., 6 Sep., 1962:

(1) National Award for Restoration Of Beehive House

We read a letter addressed to me from Dr. A. Russell Mortensen, Award

Chairman of the American Association of State and Local History, saying that the Association has given an award of merit to the Church for the restoration of the Beehive House.

(See copy of letter and my answer thereto following)

(Also see September 27, 1962)

Mon., 14 Jan. 1963:

“10:00 – 12:00 noon

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

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

Wed., 13 Feb. 1963:

“6:00 a.m.

Elder Richard L. Evans came in.  Reported that Doubleday Publishers are desirous of publishing my biography.  I told Brother Evans that I would have to talk to my sister, Jeanette (Mrs. Joseph R. Morrell) who is already writing my biography, before making a decision in this matter.  (See notes following by Richard L. Evans on his meeting with President McKay.)

2.  Reported to the President that Crown Publishers, Inc. of 419 Park Avenue South, New York 16, New York, had invited me to write the text for a large deluxe picture book for the Church, which I knew I wouldn’t be able to do in the time allotted — and suggested to him that we invite Dr. Leonard Arrington to do it.  Dr. Arrington is a member of the Utah State University Stake Presidency, and has written an excellent book on the Church that was published by the Harvard Press.  Also mentioned were Robert Howard, a non-member of the Church in the midwest who has written many friendly things on us, or Nelson Wadsworth, an able young man who writes locally, and who is associated with my brother, David Evans.  President McKay indicated that Brother Arrington might be best, but that if he could not do it, we might consider either of the others.

3.  Reported to the President that Doubleday Publishing Company wanted to publish a biography on President McKay, and are willing to receive suggestions from us as to a writer, and that it is to our advantage to select a sympathetic and understanding writer.  After looking over many possibilities, proposed the name of Andrew Hamilton, a professionally competent writer who is employed by the University of California at Los Angeles, who married a faithful member of the Church, who has been here and met Clare Middlemiss, and who has written some fine and friendly things concerning us.  The President said that while this is a matter that is up to Doubleday, if Andrew Hamilton is acceptable to them, and if, after interview, he should prove to be available and acceptable to us, that we might proceed along these lines.

The day following, on Thursday, February 14, having learned from Clare Middlemiss that President McKay’s sister was working on a biography of him, after the meeting of the council of the First Presidency and the Twelve, I reported to President McKay that we had not previously been aware of this, and would not proceed further with the Doubleday request until cleared further with the President.  In the meantime, other competent writers have since been suggested, but this matter rests where it was, with no commitment made, and such will not be done until further word from President McKay.

Fri., 22 Mar. 1963:

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

Friday, March 22, 1963

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tues., 26 Mar. 1963:

“11:15 a.m.

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

Tues., 16 Apr. 1963:

We then continued our meeting of the First Presidency, and considered a number of official matters, among which were:

Provo Tabernacle – Demolishing of Old Building

President Brown reported that three presidents of stakes in the Provo area raised the question as to whether or not the old Provo Tabernacle should be taken down for the building of the new Stake center to serve several stakes.  The presidents of the stakes in Provo representing the older portions of the city do not want the old tabernacle demolished, but the presidents of the newer stakes in the outer areas do not have the same interest in preserving the old building.  I said that I am opposed to tearing down every old building just because it is old.  President Brown reported that the old Provo tabernacle holds a place of importance in the minds of the older people and that the building is still well suited to Church uses.  It will serve the Provo Stakes and by retaining it and building a new tabernacle they would be following the example of the Ogden Stakes.

I said they should follow the example of Ogden, where they built an entirely new Tabernacle, but the old Tabernacle still stands; that it would be sacrilegious to tear down that old Tabernacle as they tore down the wall around the Salt Lake Temple.

President Brown said it was brought to the Expenditures Committee.  I directed that it be brought back to the Expenditures Committee.  President Moyle commented upon the need for more land upon which to build if the new building is to be near the old building; and I suggested that another site may have to be found for the new building, and that there will be no need to tear down the old building to build a new Tabernacle.”

Fri., 2 Aug. 1963:

“7:30 a.m.

Lion House – Proposal to Tear it Down and Decision Regarding

At a special meeting of the Twelve, which I arranged yesterday, I reported that the meeting had been called principally to give attention to a matter of importance that had arisen pertaining to the Lion House.  I said that the Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association Presidency had submitted a recommendation for the remodeling and redecorating of the Lion House, which project would involve a rather large expense.

In considering this proposition, a suggestion has been made as to the advisability of having an entrance from South Temple Street to the new Church underground garage which is now under construction.  The question came before the First Presidency as to the advisability of removing the Lion House and making an entrance and exit where that building now stands, instead of going to the expense of remodeling and reconditioning the Lion House.

I said that I am now bringing the question to the Twelve for their consideration.

There was a rather lengthy discussion of the traffic problems that will be involved in the matter of entrance to and exit from the garage.  Sentiments were expressed both for and against having the Lion House torn down.  Advantages and disadvantages were mentioned, but no one felt to urge the removal of the building.

President Joseph Fielding Smith presented the motion that we preserve the Lion House, which motion was seconded by Elder Richard L. Evans, and was approved by a majority.

Fri., 31 July 1964:

“Wasatch Stake Tabernacle

Bishop Vandenberg reported that a group of citizens, mostly headed by women, would like the destruction of the Wasatch Stake Tabernacle deferred for an additional thirty days in the hopes that they can work out a program locally to retain the old Tabernacle.  The Bishopric said that they felt to recommend that we allow them this additional time.  Bishop Vandenberg reported that he had told representatives of these groups who had called on him that the Church does not feel that the building is adequate for Church needs, and that is the reason we are contemplating building a new one.  A number of petitions have been received to the effect that the building be not torn down.  It seems that they would like to take the block on which the building stands and use it as a civic park, and retain it as a historical property.

It was agreed that if the local people can work this out on a civic basis, we should be pleased to have them do so.  Bishop Vandenberg will so inform them, and the Building Committee.”

Tues., 18 Aug. 1964:

“8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

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

Historian’s Office

President Tanner said that he had an idea regarding the Historian’s Office that he thought would put it in A-One shape at very little cost.  He said that if I so desired he would present his suggestions to me at a convenient time, however, that he feared that it might offend the feelings of certain individuals.  I said that the good of the Church should be considered first even though feelings of individuals might be hurt.

Wed., 16 Sept. 1964:

“8:30 to 10:00 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency in my apartment at the Hotel.  Some of the items discussed were:

Historic Sites Committee

President Brown mentioned the need of reorganizing the committee on historic sites and mentioned in connection therewith the Peter Whitmer home and also the Cumorah farm.  President Brown stated that if the committee were reorganized it would look into these matters and bring us reliable information relative thereto.  It was mentioned that Leo Ellsworth had visited these farms and reported that some of the land should be fenced and made available to the stake for a welfare farm rather than going to weeds.  The Presiding Bishopric had also visited these properties and arranged with the Cumorah Stake to take them over as a welfare project.  President Brown also mentioned that it becomes necessary to do some repair work on the old Peter Whitmer home, that the joists are worm-eaten and it will require considerable expense to put the home in proper repair.  In discussing the matter there was serious question in the minds of the brethren as to whether this home is the original Peter Whitmer home.  It was stated that it has been more or less modernized by using up-to-date materials, and that missionaries have been living in the home.  It was decided to send architect Harold Burton to visit this home and bring back his report and recommendation as to whether the home should be restored or what should be done to place it in proper condition, the matter of the proposed reorganization of the Historic Sites Committee to have consideration at that time.

Thurs., 17 Sept. 1964:

Historic Sites Committee

President Brown asked me if I had given any thought to the matter of a proposed reorganization of the Historic Sites Committee, and I said that I had not had opportunity to since the meeting held yesterday when we considered this matter, and that I had not had opportunity to obtain all the facts and to give the matter the necessary thought.

Wed., 28 Oct. 1964:

“Following Brother Faust’s departure, we held the regular meeting of the First Presidency, taking up the following matters:

Mountain Meadow Massacre Property

Attention was called to a letter from Alden O. Hayward, director of the Utah State Parks and Recreation Commission, stating that certain individuals are pressuring him to recommend the Mountain Meadows Massacre site as a potential State park.  Mr. Hayward says that in his visit with Ezra Little, the owner of the property, Mr. Little had said he had certain reservations with respect to turning it over to anyone except the Church, that President George Albert Smith had asked his father not to let anyone other than the Church acquire the property.  Mr. Hayward says that the forest service is evidencing considerable interest in acquiring this site.  I said that I think it would be well for the Church to own the property, and President Brown was asked to ascertain the size of the area, the amount required to make purchase, etc.

Wed., 13 Jan. 1965:

“4:00 a.m.


8:30 a.m.

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

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

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

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

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

Tues., 2 Feb. 1965:

“Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidency

Held Tuesday, February 2, 1965, in the winter home of President David O. McKay at Laguna Beach, California.

Present:  President David O. McKay and President Hugh B. Brown.  President N. Eldon Tanner was in Salt Lake City.  The following matters were discussed:

Purchase of property at Mountain Meadows:

The matter of the purchase of some land in the Mountain Meadows was referred to.  Brother Brown outlined what President Atkin, of the St. George Temple, and formerly of the St. George Stake, had written regarding same.  It was agreed that if possible we should buy the five acres referred to in said letter, and President Atkin was authorized to conclude the negotiation.

Thurs., 4 Mar. 1965:

Note by CM

A man by the name of Terry from Arizona came into the office regarding a biography he is writing on President McKay.  This man has no permission from President McKay or any member of the family to write this book, but he insists that he has a right to go forward with his writings.  He had talked to Llewelyn McKay, who informed Brother Terry that President McKay’s sister, Jeannette McKay Morrell, is writing a biography, and that he felt he should not continue with his work.  Brother Terry says that he wishes to write President McKay’s biography from a layman’s point of view.

In presenting this matter later to President McKay, he said, ‘We cannot stop him from writing a book; that is his privilege.’  I told President McKay that as his secretary I had given the man no encouragement, nor had I given him any information.”

Tues., 20 Apr. 1965:

“Preston Nibley – Life of as Student Master’s Thesis

President Brown reported to me that he had read the life of Preston Nibley manuscript which a young student is preparing as a thesis, and to which thesis President Joseph Fielding Smith had taken exception.  This is being written by the young man as his Master’s thesis and gives a history of Brother Nibley’s life, some stories about his father, Brother Preston’s service in the Northwest as President of the Northwestern States Mission, and makes reference to articles and books that Brother Preston has written.  President Brown said he could see nothing in the manuscript that is out of order.

I said that the young man should go ahead with his manuscript, and that I shall talk to President Joseph Fielding Smith about it.

Tues., 29 June 1965:

“10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

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

Journals – Disposition of Personal

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

President McKay’s Journals

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

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

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

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

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

Wed., 30 June 1965:

“10:30 a.m.

Journals – Personal

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

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

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

10:35 to 12:00 noon

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

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

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

Lou Jean then left the room.

Wed., 7 July 1965:

“8:30 to 10:45 a.m.

Held a meeting with my Counselors.  Among matters discussed during this time were:

Wasatch Stake Tabernacle – Preserving of

President Brown reported that on Sunday last he met with the High Council and later with the Priesthood of the Wasatch Stake, which meeting of the Priesthood was the largest that they had ever held in Heber City.  President Brown discussed with them the proposition of turning the Stake Tabernacle over to the City, they to maintain at least for the time being; further, that the Church would build a Stake and two-Ward building on another site, which site is diagonally across from the rear end of the present site.  President Brown said that the Priesthood voted almost unanimously in favor of the proposition of turning the old Tabernacle over to the City and building a new one on the site mentioned, that there were only three men who voted against the proposition, but according to the President of the Stake, they are inclined to vote against almost any proposition.  President Brown said that he had turned the matter over to Wilford W. Kirton, our legal counsel, and President Call of the Wasatch Stake to work out the details and prepare the necessary documents.  President Brown said that he had spoken to Mark Garff regarding the proposed construction of the new building and he said they could commence construction work right away, that they have the plans already prepared.

In answer to my inquiry as to retaining the old Tabernacle, President Brown explained that there has been a number of inside changes made in the building, but that it is the intention to retain that building as it now is and to put it in a condition that it will not deteriorate, that they will make use of it for theatrical performances and other entertainment.  He stated that the local council had undertaken to maintain the building in good repair.

Thurs., 28 Oct. 1965:

Church Records – Confidential Records to be Microfilmed

It as suggested that the minutes of the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve which are in the First Presidency’s office vault, be microfilmed; that these older records are written with pen and ink, and in some cases the writing is becoming faint, and that we should have a copy made in case of fire or other injury.  The Genealogical Society has the equipment to have these records microfilmed under the direction of Brother Anderson.

I asked that the microfilming of these records be done.

Wed., 8 Dec. 1965:

“8:30 a.m.

Met with Presidents Tanner, Joseph Fielding Smith, and Thorpe B. Isaacson, President Brown absent, being in the hospital.  Some of the matters considered by us were:

California Gold Rush Centennial – Mormon Battalion’s Participation in When at Sutter’s Fort in 1848

I called attention to a letter I have received from Robert Combellack, President of the ElDorado County Historical Society of Placerville, inviting a member of the First Presidency or one of the other General Authorities to attend the annual Gold Discovery Celebration to be held at Coloma, California, January 22, 1966, on the spot where the first gold was discovered in California in 1848.  The writer of the letter refers to the part played by the Mormon Battalion at Sutter’s Fort (1848) and the Mormon Pioneers in the early history of California, and states that the pageant which will be held at that time has been written, directed, and produced by the Mormon people in Northern California.

The Brethren were agreed that someone of the General Authorities should attend this celebration.  I will make the appointment later.

Later, I appointed President Thorpe B. Isaacson, however, he became ill and was confined to the hospital on Wednesday, January 19, 1966, so Elder Ezra Taft Benson was asked to take the appointment.

Wed., 9 Feb. 1966:

8:45 to 10:30 a.m.

Held a meeting with the First Presidency.  Presidents Brown, Tanner, and Smith were present.

We considered a number of general Church matters, among them being:

Fourteenth Ward Building, Preservation of

President Brown reported the conversation he had had with Mark B. Garff, Chairman of the Building Committee, regarding Nicholas G. Morgan’s desire to join with the Church in preserving the old Fourteenth Ward meeting house and moving it to Pioneer Square at a cost of approximately $25,000.

As this building has been repaired and changed so much, it is not in any way in its original state, and further as it is made of adobe, which is crumbling and will be very difficult to move, it was the sentiment of the First Presidency that the Church not favor preserving the building.  The old Fourteenth Ward will have to be torn down to make room for the new Civic Auditorium.

Fri., 10 June 1966:

“8:30 – 9:45 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency in the apartment.  Presidents Brown, Tanner, and Smith were present.  We discussed many general matters, one of which was:

Church History – Writing of History of Church Institutions

President Tanner called attention to the authorization heretofore given for a committee acting under Lyman Tyler’s supervision to do historic research work and writing on Church institutions during the Twentieth Century.  President Tanner explained that Brother Tyler, who is on sabbatical leave from the BYU and to whom we are paying his half salary allowance, has left the BYU and has taken over a project with the University of Utah.  It is proposed to use the services of Leonard Arrington in this project to write the history of our Church institutions.  President Tanner reported that Elders Mark E. Petersen, Richard L. Evans, and Gordon B. Hinckley are enthusiastic about the proposal, that they have met with Brother Arrington, who has expressed a willingness to be the general editor of this project.  Those who will be associated with him in carrying out the program at present will be John Sorensen, Dean Mann, and Davis Bitton.  These brethren are asking if this assignment could be accepted by them as their major Church assignment; in other words, that they would not be asked to perform other major Church responsibilities while on this assignment inasmuch as this would be unpaid service.

I authorized President Tanner to write letters of commendation to these people granting the permission suggested, President Tanner to sign the letter for the First Presidency.”

Tues., 21 June 1966:

11:30 to 12:30 p.m.

Clare came over at my request.  She reported to me that Merlo Pusey of Washington, D.C. and Lawrence McKay had been to her office during her absence, and had asked her secretary to see the journals she is keeping.  They had also discussed the matter of having microfilm copies of the diaries and scrapbooks made for Brother Pusey that he might take them back to Washington so that we could go over them with a view of writing my biography.

I said that I do not think it would be wise to give these confidential records to Brother Pusey, and that no microfilm copies are to be given to him.”

Fri., 24 June 1966:

“Minutes by Elder Ezra Taft Benson of meeting with President David O. McKay held in his apartment on Friday, June 24, 1966, at 3:00 p.m.

Biography – Proposed by Merlo Pusey

Second, I also reported to him a conversation I had with his secretary, Miss Clare Middlemiss, in which she reported that Brother Merlo Pusey had visited her office and had asked permission to see some of President McKay’s papers such as his journal or scrapbooks and that President McKay’s son, David Lawrence McKay, was with him.  I reported that I had known him for some years; that he was a member of the Washington Stake, although somewhat inactive when I had been Stake President, and that he was an editor for the very liberal Washington Post.  I told President McKay I had expressed my feelings to Clare that while he is no doubt an excellent writer, he has not been close enough to the President to properly reflect his philosophy, spirit or feelings, and that I thought it would be a mistake to invite him to this sacred assignment.  I indicated that I felt it would be much better to get someone who had been very close to the President and who had a real spirit of the Gospel, and I mentioned to President McKay that Sister Middlemiss had mentioned the possibility of Henry Smith and that I felt good about this suggestion.  Henry Smith has known the President for decades, has traveled with him, and is a former Mission President.  President McKay in response to my report spoke very highly of Brother Smith and felt that he was in a position because of his background and experience to reflect the President’s philosophy and spirit.

Although the President seemed somewhat weaker than the last time I saw him, his spirit was good and he insisted on standing alone without help at the time of my leaving.  It was a most pleasant and truly enjoyable visit.

Ezra Taft Benson”

Mon., 11 July 1966:

Note by CM

Journals – Regarding Storage of

At 4:00 this afternoon, Lou Jean (Mrs. Russell H. Blood) called me by telephone and said, ‘Clare, what do you think about putting Father’s diaries in strong boxes and storing them in Redman’s Storage Company where Lawrence keeps all his law papers?’

I said, ‘Then they would never be available to anyone.’

She answered, ‘Well, you wanted us to have them.’  And I said, ‘Yes, but I do think they should be accessible should we need them for any information.’

Then Lou Jean said that she wanted to take two or three volumes with her to Laguna so that she could read them to her father, so that he could review what is in them.  Clare said that she would get them ready for her and bring them over.

The next morning Clare took two volumes over to President McKay — one from 1962, and one volume from 1964.  He seemed too tired to want to be bothered with them at this time.

Later, when President and Sister McKay returned from Laguna (August 4) the two volumes of diaries were returned to Clare by Lou Jean who said, ‘Father was too ill to go over them; and I promised you that I would guard them with my life, and I am now returning them to you unopened and unread by Father.’

Fri., 2 Dec. 1966:

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

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

Tues., 13 Dec. 1966:

‘8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency.  Presidents Brown and Smith were present; President Tanner is in Los Angeles, and President Isaacson is absent on account of illness.

Deseret Book – Proposed Book of Era Editorials

Consideration was given to a letter addressed to Joseph Anderson from Alva H. Parry, Manager of the Deseret Book Company, asking for permission to publish a book of my editorials which have appeared in the Improvement Era.  I said that Manager Parry should submit his proposed manuscript to me for approval.

Later, in talking to my secretary, Clare, it was decided that much of the material used in the Era editorials is already published in the books ‘Gospel Ideals’ and ‘Treasures of Life’.  The Era has used much of the material in the Instructor editorials, especially since they were told not to re-print ‘Gospel Ideals’ material.  I instructed my secretary to get in touch with Brother Parry and ask him to look over the material carefully, and that I should then decide about the publishing of the book they suggest.

Tues., 17 Jan. 1967:

“Church – Writing of the History of

President Tanner called attention to a letter he had received from Leonard Arrington of Logan reporting that he has been asked by a publishing company to write a history of Utah and the Mormons.  He states that this is the first time of which he knows where a publishing company has asked a Mormon, especially an active Mormon, to write a history of this kind.  He states that he would be glad to do it, but would not wish to attempt it unless he is permitted to get information from primary sources such as the Historian’s Office, and that he would need copies of correspondence, diaries, minutes of certain meetings, etc.  President Brown and President Tanner both felt that it was an opportunity for us to have a professional writer who is a devoted Church member prepare such a history.

We agreed that authorization might be given to use the materials in the Historian’s Office, with the understanding that he could not take any of these materials out of the office, and that if he wanted anything from the First Presidency’s Office, it would have to be cleared first by the First Presidency.”

Fri., 21 Apr. 1967:

“10:15 a.m.

Conference with Mark E. Petersen

Met with Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Council of the Twelve.  I discussed the following with him:

2)  Historic Sites Committee

Elder Petersen brought up the letters prepared to go to the Historic Sites Committee releasing the members thereof and giving the Presiding Bishopric jurisdiction over the maintenance of all Church Buildings and Historic Sites.  I asked Brother Petersen to prepare a letter to the Presiding Bishopric, asking them to use the Building Committee members in inspecting and repairing the buildings, and Historic Sites.

Tues., 21 Nov., 1967:

“9:00 a.m.

Held a meeting with the First Presidency in my office in the apartment. The following were present: Presidents Brown, Tanner, and Smith, and Elder Alvin R. Dyer. President Tanner left shortly before 10:00 a.m., to attend the Expenditures Committee meeting.

In addition to a number of routine correspondence matters, the following items were discussed and decisions reached:

Utah Historical Society – Bibliography of Mormon Literature 

We decided that the Church is not to support the proposed bibliography which is being sponsored by the Utah Historical Society. This bibliography will be published in two volumes and will cover a listing of Mormon literature from 1830 to 1930, covering both pro and anti, fiction and fact. The BYU has asked the Church to subsidize them in paying $6,000 to theUtah Historical Society to help defray the cost of $12,000 to publish the two volumes.

We recommended that the Church should not enter into this; that if the BYU desires to support this venture, they should do so out of their own funds.

“(Minutes of Meeting with The First Presidency in the Hotel Apartment)


WEDNESDAY, December 13, 1967

At 8:30 A. M. I met with The First Presidency. President McKay attended and seemed well and was alert, participating in the discussion that ensued.

(Records of Early Church History)

I mentioned that the Historians Office of the R. L. D. S. has never been kept in good order, but that a new Historian has been appointed who is endeavoring to see what records they do have. This was stated to me by President Wallace Smith when I visited him on December 6, 1967, at Independence.

I reported briefly to President McKay that the R. L. D. S. no doubt have some records of early Church history that we do not have; mentioning specifically the following:

l. The manuscripts of Philander Page given to him by his father John E. Page — no doubt the same manuscripts which John Whitmer refused to turn over to

Joseph Smith.

2. Records that Emma Smith had in her possession.

3. Book of Abraham – initial publishing. (Manuscript?)

4. Bible used by Joseph Smith in his revision.

5. Hand written copy of the Book of Mormon.

I mentioned that I still had hopes of getting a copy of the Book of Abraham.

President Joseph Fielding Smith said that the records which the Prophet Joseph Smith had — his journal etc. — came down to our Church, and that except for the records which Emma Smith had in her own possession and the few that John Whitmer withheld, (that I referred to earlier), which the Church never got possession of, we possess the major part of the historical records.

I said that this is one of the reasons I had tried to keep my foot in the door of the R.L.D.S. so as to possibly have access to any records which they may find in the work they are doing in the Historians Office. President McKay very alertly listened to all that was said, commenting that I should get more than my foot in the door of the R.L.D.S. I stated that I was trying to keep their goodwill and that the letter from President Wallace Smith to me was evidence of his good feeling toward me. President McKay then said that all of this was very important and that he wanted a listing of the historical documents that we did have in our archives. President Joseph Fielding Smith was asked to prepare this listing.

Presidents Brown and Tanner both expressed themselves that this would be a good thing — that they too wished to be informed on this.

I also called attention to the fact that the “Inspired Version” of the Holy Bible, representing a translation and revision made by Joseph Smith, was authentic only if the publishing was the 1867 or prior editions; that all later editions had been altered to some degree by the Editors of the R.L.D.S. Herald Press; that since we were selling the “Inspired Version” in our book stores, we should determine to what extent the current editions differ from the l867 and prior editions.

It was agreed that this should be done, but where to get a copy of the 1867 edition. I reported obtaining a copy for Elder Stapley when I was it presiding over the Central States Mission; that I obtained it from President Israel Smith. President McKay asked that I obtain the copy from Brother Stapley for the comparison study.

All agreed that this had been a momentous meeting; both for the report of Professor Aziz S. Atiya, and for the discussion we had concerning historical records and the revised Inspired Version” of the Holy Bible.

It was nearly 10:00 A.M. when we left the President’s side. It was inspirational to partake of his direction and great spirit.

Fri., 15 Dec., 1967:

“8:30 a.m. 

Held a meeting with my counselors and Elder Alvin R. Dyer in the office in the Hotel Utah apartment. President Tanner was not present, and President Isaacson was excused because of his illness.

Holy Bible – Inspired Version 

Elder Dyer, responding to the assignment given him by me, reported further on the publication of the Holy Scriptures — Inspired Version. He stated that as is known, the first edition, published by the Reorganized Church, came out in 1867. It was followed by subsequent printings. In 1944, a new “corrected version” was published, in which a number of textual changes were made from earlier editions.

He mentioned that the Inspired Version or revision is being used quite extensively by our people. Of latest report, 2,500 copies have been sold this year. And also from reports the sales are increasing. It is doubtful that our members know of the changes that have been made.

He stated that it appears that we have three possibilities:

(1) To say nothing about the matter — to leave it as it is.

(2) Investigate the copyrights of the Reorganized Church’s publishings — with the thought of publishing an Inspired Version of our own after researching to determine authenticity. (This would be difficult since we do not have the Prophet’s original writings.)

(3) To stop all handling by any Church bookstores of the mutated editions of the so-called Inspired Version as published by the Reorganized Church.

I asked Elder Dyer to the investigation and report back to us.”

Tues., 19 Dec., 1967:

“8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting with Presidents Brown, Tanner and Smith, and Elder Dyer.

Reorganized Church Historical Items 

Elder Dyer mentioned that he had received a letter from the historian of the Reorganized Church regarding items that they had in their historian’s office archives that might be of value to us. He felt that we are approaching a time when the Reorganized Church people will let us have access to read these documents and ascertain what they have. Their historian in his letter, expresses the hope that the feeling to let us have access to their documents will be reciprocated by us. President Smth said that we have shown them many documents that we have in the Historian’s Office. Elder Dyer said that the thing that seemed to influence this attitude on the part of these Reorganized Church people was my presentation to them of pictures of the papyri that had been turned over to the Church by the Museum of Art in New York. They feel that this was a very generous gesture on the part of our Church, and they appreciate it very much. Brother Dyer thought that this thing is opening the way for us in the manner referred to.”

Mon., 15 Jan., 1968:

10:30 a.m.

Had a meeting with my secretary, Clare. I asked her if she knew about the showing of the film this morning, and she answered, “No, I am never informed of meetings that are scheduled for you, and it would be better if I knew because sometimes there are conflicts of appointments.”

I said, “Well, you should know about the meetings, and should be informed so that you can keep the record straight.”

Clare said that it made it difficult for her; that only this morning she had over a month’s supply of minutes of the daily meetings of the First Presidency placed on her desk which she will now have to read and include all my decisions and directions in my personal diary. This delays her in keeping my journal up-to-date, and also prevents her from notifying me of meetings, etc.

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

Tues., 16 Jan., 1968:

“8:30 a. m. 

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

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

Historian’s Office – Reciprocation of Early Historical Records with Reorganized Church 

Reference was made to a discussion in a recent meeting of the First Presidency at which time President Joseph Fielding Smith was asked to furnish a list of early Church documents held by the Historian’s Office.

This matter was discussed in connection with a report by Brother Dyer that the Reorganized Church historian had indicated a willingness to reciprocate in the matter of allowing us to view some of the early historical recods that they have if we would be willing to do the same for them. President Joseph Fielding Smith had raised the question as to the nature of the records or documents the Brethren would wish to have listed. It was suggested that Elder Dyer furnish President Smith a list of items that he has in mind and when the First Presidency have considered the list they will then be prepared to answer the question raised by the Reorganized Church. This became the sentiment of the meeting.

Fri., 8 Mar., 1968:

“8:30 a.m.

First Presidency’s Meeting.  (See Minutes of First Presidency Meeting by Elder Alvin R. Dyer)

(A New History Being Written)

President Tanner brought up a matter which excited my interest. It concerned a request by Leonard Arrington, whom it was reported was writing a history of the Church for the past 100 years, that the financial statement read for many years at General Conferences of the Church by a representative of the Auditing Committee, regarding disbursement of Church funds received, (but never amount received), which report has been discontinued, be included in the history for each year.

The question I asked was why we are writing another history prior to 1930, since this has been written in comprehensive form by B.H. Roberts. President Smith commented that we had a good written history to that year and no need for another.

I commented that contemporary histories could only prove confusing to members and non-members alike. President Brown said it would not be detrimental if only a summary was given up to 1930, and then it could be comprehensive after that year. My answer to this was that any summary would have to be stated in the virtual words of the Comprehensive compiler of the 1930 and prior history. Otherwise, we would have variant historical records and that I opposed the matter of it being attempted.


(Visit with Joseph Fielding Smith)

After the meeting I went to President Smith’s office, as Church Historian, to discuss the matter with him further. He said he knew nothing about it; and when I restated what President Tanner has said about Arrington working with Earl Olsen, Assistant Church Historian, on the research, he stated that he knew nothing about that either, and that Arrington, anyway, should not be writing it.

I suggested that the whole matter be looked into. President Smith said yes and that I was the one to do it. I told him I would check on a few things and report back to him; then we could take the matter to President McKay if need be. He said that this would be fine and said, “You go ahead.”

(Minutes of Meeting Pertaining to Approval to Go Ahead with This Project)

As a matter of proper relationship of the assignment given in June of 1966 to proceed with this project, that segment of the minutes is included herewith:

Fri., 10 Jun., 1966

8:30 – 9:45 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency in the apartment. Presidents Brown, Tanner and Smith were present. We discussed many general matters , one of which was:

Church History – Writing of History of Church Institutions

President Tanner called attention to the authorization heretofore given for a committe acting under Lyman Tyler’s supervision to do historic research work and writing on Church institutions during the Twentieth Century. President Tanner explained that Brother Tyler, who is on sabbatical leave from the BYU and to whom we are paying his half salary allowance, has left the BYU and has taken over a project with the University of Utah. It is proposed to use the services of Leonard Arrington in this project to write the history of our Church institutions. President Tanner reported that Elders Mark E. Petersen, Richard L. Evans, and Gordon B. Hinckley are enthusiastic about the proposal, that they have met with Brother Arrington, who has expressed a willingness to be the general editor of this project. Those who will be associated with him in carrying out the program at present will be John Sorensen, Dean Mann, and Davis Bitton. These brethren are asking if this assianment could be accepted by them as their major Church assignment; in other words, that they would not be asked to perform other major Church responsibilities while on this assignment inasmuch as this would be unpaid service.

I authorized President Tanner to write letters of commendation to these people granting the permission suggested, President Tanner to sign the letter for the First Presidency.

Our meeting concluded at 9:40 a.m.”

Fri., 24 May, 1968:

“9 a.m. 

Held a brief meeting with my counselors this morning — Presidents Brown, Tanner, Smith, and Dyer.

Items Discussed

Research Regarding Mormon Origins in New York 

President Brown referred to a request that had been received from Truman Madsen of the BYU for an appropriation to assist in doing some research in New York and other eastern states on early Mormon history and activities. He mentioned that when this request first came to the First Presidency it was denied. He asked for $7,000 at that time to assist in making this research. Brother Madsen is now renewing his request stating that it is thought that they can get along with $5,000. He says that those who would do this research work are Larry Porter, a Ph.D. instructor in Church History; Kenneth Godfrey, an Institute Director at Palo Alto, California; and several professors at the BYU.

President Dyer inquired if this pertains to the Prophet’s first vision. He said if so he thought we have in the Historian’s Office considerable information on the subject that these brethren might properly review. President Brown said that the research pertained to other topics. He felt we would be justified in encouraging Brother Madsen and his associates to go forward in this research, which he now states can be done if the Church will give him a grant of $5,000. President Dyer stated that any records or information these people might find should become the property of the Church Historian’s Office, and that the BYU could have a copy of it if they desired.

With this understanding, we agreed to grant Brother Madsen’s request.

Wed., 11 Dec., 1968:

“9:00 a.m.

Held a meeting with Presidents Tanner, Smith, and Dyer. President Brown was absent.

Woodruff, Wilford – Permission to Purchase Microfilm Copy of Journal

A letter was read from Wilford E. Woodruff, president of the Wilford Woodruff Family Association, asking for permission to purchase a microfilm copy of the journals of Wilford Woodruff for the purpose of preparing it for publication in either a typed or printed form. He mentions that it is his understanding that there are 15 books constituting this journal and that they have been completely microfilmed. He asks that if there is some reason why permission would not be given to publication of this work whether they might have a microfilm copy for the use of the family.

The brethren felt that there are undoubtedly items in this journal that are not of a personal nature and should not be made available to the family or the public; that in reality these are Church journals.

The brethren then departed from the meeting.”

Mon., 13 Jan., 1969:

“Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidency

Held Monday, January 13, 1969, at 9:30 A.M., in President McKay’s Apartment

Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association

President Dyer mentioned a matter that had been referred to him by the brethren at a previous meeting, namely, a letter from A. Hamer Reiser in which he called attention to a bank account in the amount of $1400 in the name of the Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association, and asked if the First Presidency had any suggestion as to what should be done with the money. He named three organizations that should like to get it, namely, the Utah State Historical Society, the Sons of the Utah Pioneers, and the Mormon Trails Association. President Dyer said that he and Brother Reiser would like to recommend that the bank book be turned over to Brother Rulon H. Tingey in the Finance Office, he to see that the interest is added to the account whenever it becomes due, and hold the matter in abeyance until such time as the First Presidency may want to stipulate how the funds should be used. President McKay indicated his approval.

Tues., 8 Apr, 1969:

“[First Presidency Meeting]


Following the meeting this morning with President McKay the counselors in the First Presidency, including Brother Dyer who was not present at the earlier meeting, met in the First Presidency’s office in the Administration Building to discuss a few further matters.

Among the matters they discussed were the following:

Recordings of the Voices of Former Church Presidents

President Tanner mentioned that the other day Earl Olson, Church Librarian, had played for him small parts of recordings of the voices of former Church presidents from Wilford Woodruff down, excepting Lorenzo Snow. President Tanner said that someone wants to make these available for sale to the public. President Tanner said the question in his mind is whether we should make these available on a commercial basis. It was decided to ask Brother Olson to bring the tapes down and play them for the brethren to hear them.

Thur., 12 Jun, 1969:

“9:30 a. m. Meeting of the First Presidency in the President’s Hotel Apartment. Present were Presidents Hugh B. B rown and Alvin R. Dyer.

Among the matters discussed were the following:

Pioneer Artifacts

President Dyer mentioned a letter that had been received from Sister Jacobsen suggesting that a committee be appointed and sufficient funds made available for the committee to purchase pioneer artifacts that may be available in different places, with the thought of some day placing them in a museum or some building for that purpose. He mentioned in this connection that some of the brethren had met with the First Presidency some time ago and suggested among other things that the old Bureau of Information on Temple Square be remodeled and a museum provided whereby such items could be placed. President Dyer mentioned that he had been asked to discuss this matter with Elder Mark E. Petersen and ascertain his views as to what might be done. Elder Petersen suggests that a committee be appointed consisting of Florence S. Jacobsen, George Cannon Young and Georgius Young Cannon, with Brother Petersen as chairman of the committee; and Brother Burnside of the Brigham Young University, who is curator of the American Art collection at the BYU, Thomas J. Moore of the Weber State College, and Glen Wilcox to serve as consultants. Brother Petersen states that it would be necessary from time to time to engage the services of professional appraisers from some of the art galleries and museums to assist in determining the authenticity and value of certain items as they are collected. Elder Petersen suggests that an initial fund of $150,000 be set up for the purpose of making these purchases and that the committee be allowed to use $50,000 per year.

In discussing the matter the brethren felt that it would be proper to set up the committee as suggested and that the committee could inform us of available items and submit their recommendation of items that should be bought, together with the cost involved and the First Presidency would furnish the money for the purchases that were considered desirable.”

Fri., Sept. 5, 1969:

“Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidency

Held Friday, September 5, 1969, at 9:20 A.M., in the First Presidency’s Office

Present:  Presidents N. Eldon Tanner, Joseph Fielding Smith and Alvin R. Dyer

George Q. Cannon’s Journals]

Mention was made of a letter from Davis Bitton, Graduate Advisor and Associate Professor, University of Utah, Department of History, addressed to President Tanner suggesting that the George Q. Cannon journals be placed in the Church Historian’s Office.  It was decided to answer this man that this is a personal and confidential record and contains information which it is felt should not be made available to the public.

Proposed Purchase of Properties in Cumorah Area

Reference was made to a letter from Elder Mark E. Petersen reporting that two of our mission presidents are recommending that the Church buy two pieces of property to protect our property at Cumorah, one piece along the road a short distance from the Hill Cumorah in the direction of Palmyra, and the other about ten acres fronting on the Whitmer farm.  Elder Petersen further states that Boyd K. Packer and Paul Dunn both urge the purchase of property leading from the highway to the memorial in Vermont.  It was decided to ask Brother Stirling of the Real Estate Department to check into these properties, ascertain how badly they are needed by us, and submit a report.

Publication of Papers of Brigham Young

President Tanner reported that a letter had been received from Oliver Holmes, Executive Director, National Historical Publications Commission, addressed to the First Presidency.  The letter explains that for several years this commission in Washington has approved projects involving the publication of papers of outstanding Americans.  The pattern has been for the commission to make grants of funds to universities and noted scholars and match these funds in the various projects.  Under this arrangement they have published the papers of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and others.  It is now the feeling of the director of the commission that they should give first priority to the publication of the papers of President Brigham Young.  Under this arrangement the Utah State University and other Utah universities might cooperate and the National Archives would make available without charge any Brigham Young papers that are now in the National Archives.  The work would possibly not be completed for another four years.  They are asking that the Church make available to them materials from the Church Historian’s Office.  It is proposed that Brother Leonard Arrington and Dr. George Ellsworth be the editors in chief.  It is stated that the project would be undertaken in the most scholarly manner so that it would be well received by the scholars of the nation and would be published at no cost to the Church.  That state that the papers should not include any unfavorable sermons of Brigham Young and that we could edit the materials that would be used.  In discussing the matter the brethren felt that there could be some things written that would be in the files that ought not to be published and would be misconstrued.  It was decided to give the matter further thought.

Wed., Nov. 26, 1969:

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

(For details of this meeting see President Dyer’s Minutes which follow.)”

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

(John D. Lee Monument)

I reported to President McKay that we had finally reached something substantial with regard to the placing of the monument honoring John D. Lee and the Lee family at the precise location area of Lee’s Ferry and that sufficient land was to be granted for this purpose by the Glen Canyon National Recreational Park and that it is their intention to build a walkway from the road to the monument which the Church will erect.”

Fri., Dec. 12, 1969:

“The following note of importance was read from the minutes of President Alvin R. Dyer taken from a meeting of the counselors in the First Presidency:

The diary or journal of President McKay was brought up.  I was asked to pursue the matter to see that this journal and diary was kept intact here in the Church Office, that it may become a part of the record of the Church.

Comment:  I learned later that all of this diary was now under lock and key in the vault on the floor between the basement and the first floor here in the Church building.  It numbers some 90 volumes, but there are some 300 volumes of scrapbook and other information, much of which was now held by the McKay family, four volumes of which are in President McKay’s apartment office.”

Tues., Dec. 16, 1969:

“Note:  The following note of importance was read from the minutes of President Alvin R. Dyer taken from a meeting of the counselors in the First Presidency:

I reported on the diary and journal of President McKay, which is contained in some 90 volumes, which are all intact and are in the Church Office Building and are being held under the supervision of Sister Clare Middlemiss, his secretary.  These will be kept intact for the purpose intended.  It was suggested that I approach the family as to what and how they might feel about the collection of the scrapbooks for President David O. McKay, since it is our determination when an art or cultural museum is erected, to have in that building a room for each of the Presidents of the Church.  When this becomes a reality, then these records, the Journal record and the scrapbooks, could be placed in the David O. McKay room.”

Thur., Dec. 18, 1969:

“Note:  The following note of importance was read from the minutes of President Alvin R. Dyer taken from a meeting of the counselors in the First Presidency:

I reported also on a conversation which I held with Lawrence McKay with regard to the David O. McKay scrapbooks.  He was of the opinion that these should be kept together for ultimate placement in a location where they could be seen by those who were interested and father favored the idea of their being placed in a David O. McKay room when the building, which has been referred to, becomes a reality.”