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David O. McKay Diaries – “Honesty”

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

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Fri., 18 Nov., 1949:

“At 12 noon–Brother Don Colton of the Mission Home came in to report an investigation he had made with regards to Robert Stanley McClelland at the request of President George Albert Smith.  This investigation came as a result of a conference Brother Colton had with Pres. Smith, Pres. Clark, Antoine R. Ivins last Saturday.

It was about 1 o’clock before I left for home.

This afternoon I called Brother Mallory–father-in-law of Robert McClelland–and asked him to come to my office Sunday morning at 8:30 o’clock–Told him to bring Brother McClelland with him.”

Sun., 20 Nov., 1949:

“At 8:30 a.m. this morning, met by appointment Brother Leroy Mallory and his son-in-law Robert McClelland.

I asked Brother McClelland if he had told his father-in-law anything about the trouble he had got himself into, and he said ‘No.’  I said ‘Then you had better do it right now in my presence.’

It was evident throughout the conversation that young McClelland was not telling the whole truth, admitting only that which he had to admit.

Brother Mallory was very much wounded in his feelings, and said: ‘Bob, why didn’t you tell us this a week ago.’ (meaning, of course, before you married our daughter).

I telephoned to Bishop Joseph Rees Beard of the Olympus South Ward, Big Cottonwood Stake, and told the Bishop to postpone Brother McClelland’s missionary farewell for November 27, and to merely state that financial matters will necessitate the postponement of his departure to the Tahitian Mission with Brother and Sister LeRoy Mallory, newly appointed to preside over that Mission.

BIshop Beard then asked if Pres. Mallory, Brother McClelland and his young wife, Carol Mallory McClelland, McClelland’s mother and sister, could come up to have a conference with me.  I said that I could not today, but that I would meet them tomorrow morning at my office.

I was at the office most of the day taking care of this McClelland matter, and other duties that crowded in.”

Mon., 21 Nov., 1949:

“At 8:30 a.m. met by appointment Captain Burbidge of the Police Force on the Robert McClelland case.  Captain Burbidge disclosed the fact that McClelland admitted that he had taken from the Sigma Chi fraternity house, in addition to the articles of clothing and money, three fraternity pins and some phonograph records which he had not admitted to me yesterday, showing that he is still hedging.

I told Capt. Burbidge that I think he had acted wisely inasmuch as McClelland had made restoration of everything that the fraternity boys had accused him of stealing.

. . . . 

At 10:30 a.m., met by appointment President Leroy Mallory, Bishop Beard and young McClelland.  I especially requested that the two Bishops be present when I quizzed Brother McClelland on the following points:

(1) in our meeting Sunday morning, in answer to my question when he registered in the University of Utah, Brother McClelland answered ‘last January in the Department of Education.’  Now this morning I said, ‘Brother McClelland, you have not registered in the University at all.’  Brothe McClelland admitted that he had not.  I said, ‘Then you deliberately falsified in the presence of Brother Mallory, Bishop Beard, and a member of the First Presidency.’  Brother McClelland said that he had registered in a class of physical education and the teacher’s name is Anthony Simone.

(2) ‘You said you had contacted a man by the name of Franklin at the Culver City Airport, Culver City, California,’ I said to Brother McClelland.  ‘But I called that airport this morning and learned that Mr. Franklin had not been associated with that company for over a year, how do you explain that?’ ‘Well,’ said Brother McClelland, ‘I met him at a restaurant down there and asked him if there was an airplane for sale.’ (Brother McClelland had approached several Sigma Chi frternity brothers and interested them in purchasing an airplane.  He took $80 each from these boys on pretence that he would purchase the plane.)

(3) I then said to Brother McClelland: ‘Yesterday morning you gave me the impression that you had named all the articles that you had stolen from the Sigma Chi.  I have learned since that in addition to the articles of clothing you named and the money that you stole, that you also stole three fraternity pins and some phonograph records.’  He said ‘Yes, I did.’

We then excused Brother McClelland with a sound lecture that honesty is the foundation of character; that if that is missing the whole structure falls, and taht he stands at the crossroads with the penitentiary facing him down one road, and a noble life at the other.  I gave him a very straight talk in the presence of his Bishop.

Bishop Beard then stepped out, and Brother Mallory (whose daughter Brother McClelland has just married in the Temple) said, ‘I should like to take him with me when I sail.’  (Brother Mallory is the newly appointed President of the Tahitian Mission, and Robert McClelland and Miss Mallory were to go as missionaries with Brother Mallory.)  I said: ‘That cannot be done; he cannot go at the present time.  You make take his wife with the understanding that if Brother McClelland is repentant and proves worthy, he can go later, or his wife can remain here, and the two of them go down later under the same conditions.’

Bishop Beard came back into the office and inquired about the Farewell.  I told him that the farewell is off, and that he could tell the people that it had been postponed because of financial conditions.

After this conference, I dictated to Clare until 1 p.m., at which time I left for home.  I was thoroughly worn out after the problems that had been presented to me this morning.

Drove up to Huntsville for a breath of fresh air and attended to farm matters.

Telephone Calls:

1. Mr. Paul Franklin of Culver City Airport, Culver City, Calif.  Report given that Mr. Franlkin has not been with this company for over a year.

2. Mr. Norton, Registrar of the U of U–asked him if Robert McClelland had ever been registered at the University.  He said they did not have a Robert McClelland registered; they did have a Kenneth R. McClelland registered, but the records do not show what the ‘R’ stands for; that he was in the service but has been at the University for two years, including summer; that he is doing satisfactory work up there now.  I told Mr. Norton that this is not the man in whom we are interested.  Mr. Norton said that evidently Robert McClelland had never registered at the University.

3. I then put in a call for Mr. Anthony Simone, Professor in the Physical Education Department at the University–see report Nov. 22.”

Tues., 22 Nov., 1949:

“Bishop Beard came in regarding the McClelland case.  Pres. McKay was in meeting at the time, so Bishop Beard was asked to call later in the day by telephone.

At about 4 p.m. Bishop Beard called by telephone.  Said that Robert McClelland has an opportunity to go to San Francisco to work for his brother who is a general contractor.  Robert says he can make much more money there than he can here.  I told Bishop Beard that he had better put in a call for this brother and verify this.

Bishop Beard further said that he thinks Robert’s wife in her heart would prefer to stay here with her husband rather than go to Tahiti with her parents, but Brother and Sister Mallory are of the opinion that their daughter should go with them.  I said: ‘Oh, well, we cannot decide that for them–that is a family matter and will ahve to be decided by them.’  Bp. Beard says the parents’ attitude is affecting Robert as he things they are siding against him.  I said ‘Well he hasn’t much to say about it; that if he continues to blame others for his predicament, he will not go at all to the mission field.’  Bp. Beard said that he wanted to be sure what his position is in the matter.  I said that Robert has to prove himself before we allow him to go into the Mission Field.  The Bishop then said: ‘Suppose Carol remains with her husband and becomes pregnant, would that present any situation?’  I said, ‘No, we will let things take their course, and in that case Mrs. McClelland can give us her confidence, and if considered wise, she will be allowed to go to Tahiti.’  ‘However,’ I said, ‘we shall make no commitments at this time.’

. . . .

Telephone Call:

Mr. Simone of the University of Utah called in answer to an inquiry of a day or two ago–he said that ‘he was confused about this Robert McClelland, that he was not a student now, the had checked with the registrar’s office; that Robert McClelland had assisted him in a gymnastics class last winter, and incidentally, Robert is a very good boy.'”

Fri., 9 Dec., 1949:

“Bishop Beard of the Mt. Olympus Ward telephoned regarding the case of Robert McClelland whose call to the Tahitian Mission has been postponed.  Bishop Beard reported that Bro. McClelland is going to live in the Ward instead of taking the job in San Francisco, and that his wife, the former Miss Mallory, is going to stay with him.”

Tues., 27 Dec., 1949:

“Bishop Beard telephoned regarding Robert McClelland.  Said that Robert’s position with the Z.C.M.I. has terminated and he now wants to go to San Francisco to work for his brother.  I told Bishop Beard to keep Robert’s recommends in his ward, and that if he so desires to let him go to San Francisco.  He can then later report to Bishop Beard, and if all goes well, he may be permitted to go to Tahiti in accordance with his missionary call that was postponed because of Robert’s actions.”