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David O. McKay Diaries – “International Church”

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Fri., 5 Sep., 1947:

“President and Mrs. Badwagon Piranian, former President of the Palestine-Syrian Mission called at the office.  Discussed the matter of Pres. Piranian’s returning to Palestine and again assuming the responsibility of President of that Mission.  He expressed his desire and willingness to do this.  Later, called Henry Smith of the News and asked him to interview these people with respect to their returning to take charge of the Palestine-Syrian Mission.”

Wed., 8 Oct., 1947:

“9 a.m.–Elder and Mrs. Badwagon Piranian were set apart this morning to preside over the Palestine-Syrian Mission.  After they were set apart, I spent about an hour with them giving them instructions pertaining to their duties, expenses, etc.  They will report to President Sonne in London for further instructions.”

Wed., 10 Mar., 1948:

“[Note from Clare]  Brother Joseph Jacobs called to say that he had some ‘rather startling news from Palestine-Syrian Mission,’ and that after telling Elder Widtsoe about it, he suggested that Brother Jacobs see Pres. McKay.”

Sat., 20 Mar., 1948:

“11:10 a.m.–Joseph Jacobs, former President of the Armenian Mission called at the Office; He left with the First Presidency a summary of the complaints that he has received from some members of the Palestine-Syrian Mission with whom he had been corresponding.  After consulting with him for a few moments, told him to leave his summary with the First Presidency and that we would forward it to President Sonne of the European Mission for his information and action.”

Thur., 27 Jan., 1949:

“Today at Council meeting I presented the recommendation that definite steps be taken toward the organization of a mission in China, further recommendation to come next week.  On motion this recommendation was approved.”

Thur., 3 Feb., 1949:

“At Council meeting this morning I referred to the action taken by the Council a week ago regarding the opening of the Chinese Mission, and presented the recommendation that steps be taken to open the mission, and that Brother Hilton A. Robertson be interviewed with respect to his taking charge of the mission. While Brother Robertson cannot speak the Chinese language, he can choose as counselors men who are familiar with the language.  On motion of Brother Bowen, seconded by Brother Lee, this recommendation was approved.”

Mon., 28 Feb., 1949:

“At 10:30–President Hilton A. Robertson, former President of the Japanese Mission met in my office by appointment.  I discussed with him the desire of the brethren that he be appointed to open up the Mission to China.  Brother Robertson is willing to accept the responsibility of presiding over this new Mission.

After discussing with Pres. Robertson the advisability of having Brother Henry Aki of Honolulu, Hawaii (A faithful Chinese member of the Church) act as a counselor in the Chinese Mission Presidency, and upon his approval, I put in a long distance call to Hawaii to talk personally to Brother Aki.  In a matter of a few moments Clare had Brother Aki on the wire, and after exchanging Alohas, I told Brother Aki that I had just talked to Brother Robertson about his being appointed to preside over the Chinese Mission, and had called to see if he would be willing to act as a counselor to Brother Robertson in that Mission.  He answered immediately: ‘Certainly I will.’  I repeated to him again (to make sure he understood) that the Church is considering opening up the Chinese Mission and sending Hilton A. Robertson as the Mission President and would he and Sister Aki be willing to go to that Mission.  He answered again ‘We are willing to serve wherever the Lord wants us to.’  I told him that no announcement had been made; that he could speak to Brother Matthew Cowley who is there about it, and to have Brother Cowley call me.  I then let Brother Robertson speak to Brother Aki for a few moments about the matter.

[Later the same day–Telephone call]  Matthew Cowley in Honolulu–Asked him if he had been in conversation with Brother Henry Aki about the Chinese Mission.  He said that he had.  I then told Brother Cowley that I had called to see what his itinerary is.  He said he is going to Australia where he has two missionaries to be set apart, then to New Zealand and back to Honolulu, and from there to Japan about the month of May.  I told Brother Cowley that we think it is necessary for him to go to China with Brother Robertson and Brother Aki to see that it is established properly.  Brother Cowley said he thought so too, and that he would make plans to accompany the brethren over there.”

Mon., 21 Mar., 1949:

“At 8 a.m. A. Hilton Robertson, newly appointed President of the Chinese Mission, called at the office.  He is desirous of information pertaining to–1.  Whether or not Hongkong is still under British Control, 2.  What special entrance papers, if any will be required.  3.  Whether there are restrictions regarding the taking of clothing, kitchen utensils, etc. into China–restrictions on automobiles, etc.  It was considered advisable to write to Ernest L. Wilkinson in Washington, D.C. and have him look up this information for us.  Accordingly, I prepared an air mail letter to Pres. Wilkinson, and had it sent this evening.

Wed., 5 Jul., 1950:

“Came to the office at 7:30 this morning and was busy with office affairs until 9 a.m., at which time Brother Murdock of the Missionary Department came in.  We discussed for a short time matters pertaining to the removal of our missionaries from Europe should war develop, and also the advisability of sending missionaries already assigned to the European Missions.  I shall consult with President George Albert Smith regarding these matters as soon as he arrives at the office this morning.”

Mon., 10 Jul., 1950:

“Came to the office this morning at the usual hour–7 a.m.–and was busy with office matters until 11:50 a.m.–From 9 a.m. to 11:50 I dictated letter to Clare.  Also called Brother Murdock of the Missionary Department in and instructed him to give me a list of the names of all missionaries now laboring in the East German and the West German Missions.  I told him that we must be prepared to evacuate those missionaries at the first suspicion of war in that area, and that the Mission Presidents must be furnished with enough funds to take care of an immediate evacuation should such step be necessary.”

Mon., 10 Jul., 1950:

“Mrs. Klineman telephoned.  She asked for advice as to whether or not her husband should again accept a job with the Arabian government.  She has a son–Charles–who will be 19 years of age next September, and I think Mrs. Klineman would like him to go on a mission.  I explained to her the present policy with respect to the age for young men to go into the mission field, and said that we had just turned down a young man in Arizona who is just the same age as her son and that we had advised him to continue his college work; that if we make one exception, then in fairness we have to make other exceptions for these young men to go into the mission field.  I then told her that my advice would be that Mr. Klineman accept his job with the Arabian government and that Mrs. Klineman stay home with her son until he has completed his college; that she should not leave him alone.  She then mentioned that he might be drafted, and I said that I thought he would not be drafted at the present time, that the government will accept volunteers first, and that her son will have a chance for another year of college before he is drafted.  I also explained that we have an understanding with the government that Elders who have entered the missionary home, and then receive notice of induction, the draft is not effective. So if her son completes another year of college and enters the mission home, the draft will not be effective for him, even though he be eliglible for the draft.”

Wed., 19 Jul., 1950:

“After Brother Bowman and Brother Anderson were excused, the First Presidency took up other matters, among which was the advisability of sending one of the General Authorities over to consult the Presidents of the West German, the East German, and the Finnish Missions with a view of laying plans to protect missionaries in case of sudden eventualities that might result from the present international crisis.  Our meeting lasted until 7:30 p.m.”

Tues., 25 Jul., 1950:

“President [George Albert] Smith telephoned and said that he would like to have a meeting with President Clark and me at 3:15 p.m. I answered that I should appreciate holding an earlier meeting with President Smith at 2:15, and would like to bring Dr. John A. Widtsoe with me to talk over the European situation–Dr. Widtsoe having just returned from Europe might be able to give us some information concerning conditions there.  Pres. Smith said that he would be pleased to have us come to his home as he was feeling a little tired and would not come to the office.

At 2 p.m. I called for Dr. Widtsoe at his home and we went to Pres. Smith’s, where we held a discussion regarding conditions in Europe as they will affect our missionaries.  Dr. Widtsoe could not give us much information concerning the political situation in Europe.”

Wed., 26 Jul., 1950:

“10 a.m. President Smith, Pres. Clark and I met to discuss missionary problems–especially the problem of being prepared to safely evacuate our missionaries in Europe should the necessity arise.”

Fri., 4 Aug., 1950:

“Brother Stephen L. Richards of the Council of the Twelve came in to discuss matters pertaining to his official visit to Europe.  I instructed him to go directly to Berlin and meet with Presidents Stover and Wunderlich and decide what is best to be done with missionaries there in Berlin and in Finland.  I told him to make his own arrangements with Pres. Matis of the Finnish Mission, either have him meet Brother Richards at a place designated by him, or arrange to meet him at the mission headquarters.

I also instructed Brother Richards that if conditions warrant it, he get in touch with President Badwagon Piranian of the Palestine-Syrian Mission and if convenient that he go over to Syria and study the conditions first hand, because our mission there is not fulfilling its destiny.

Brother Richards asked me to give him a blessing for the special mission that has been assigned to him.  I responded and set him apart for his assigned duty.  He seemed very appreciative of the blessing given.”

Mon., 14 Aug., 1950:

“At 10 a.m. Mrs. Hilton A. Robertson of the Chinese Mission called at the office. . . .

The question then arose as to whether President Robertson should go ahead in his search for a suitable place for a meeting house. I told Sister Robertson to tell President Robertson yes, that he should go right along, and do whatever he thinks best for the future of the Chinese Mission, and not be deterred because of fear of the Communists coming in to confiscate whatever property they might purchase.”

Thur., 11 Jan., 1951:

“4 p.m. to 6 p.m.–office duties–signed letters, and dictated answers to several letters that had accumulated on my desk.  Also tried to get a telephone message through to President Hilton A. Robertson of the Chinese [Mission] in Hong Kong–I have been trying for the last 48 hours to call him, but have been unsuccessful. According to press reports, Americans in Hong Kong have been advised on authorization of the U. S. State Department to send their families home as soon as possible because of Chinese aggression in the Far East, so I want to get first-hand information from Pres. Robertson regarding the situation.”

Fri., 12 Jan., 1951:

“Upon the invitation of President Joseph Fielding Smith, I attended the quarterly meeting of the Council of the Twelve held in the Salt Lake Temple at 9 o’clock this morning.

The nature of the meeting was in keeping with theoriginal thought when these meetings were first established–that of testimony bearing.

Commencing with Acting President of the Twelve–Joseph Fielding Smith–each of the brethren in turn expressed himself in regard to his appreciation of the Church, the Restoration of the Gospel, and of the privilege of being associated with other members of the Council.

I was the concluding speaker, and confirmed the general feeling that this was indeed a glorious occasion.  In my remarks I referred to a statement made by my father when I was a boy in my teens that the prophecy in the Book of Mormon that the Jews would return to the Holy Land would be fulfilled, and to a feeling that I had as a boy with regard to it.  I remember saying (knowing in a general way of the conditions of the Holy Land, and the seeming impossibility of the fulfillment of that prophecy) to myself ‘if I live to see the fulfillment of that prophecy, I shall know that Joseph Smith is a prophet.’

I then called attention to the fact that on November 22, 1921, Elder Hugh J. Cannon and I stood in the city of Serusalem, and witnessed the fulfillment of that prophecy, as on that day General Allenby’s proclamation that Jerusalem was to become a state for the return of the Jews under the protection of the British government, was issued, and the Arabs were protesting the proclamation and there was fighting in the streets.

The meeting concluded at 2:30 p.m., and all who attended were of the opinion that it had been a very inspirational meeting.”

Sat., 13 Jan., 1951:

“Returned to the office at 4:30 p.m. at which time I telephoned to President Hilton A. Robertson at Kowloon, Hong Kong.

First, President Robinson reported that the political situation is bad,–both Army and Civil authorities are advising that all Americans leave Hong Kong.  The last boat upon which they can leave is February 15.  While President Robertson dislikes very much to leave, he agrees that it is the wise thing to do.

Second, They have not purchased the land which they were authorized to buy.  Strangely enough, one thing after another has blocked the purchase of it; consequently there is no land for the enemy to confiscate.

Third, Pres. Robertson said that he will have sufficient funds to cover their emergency needs.

Fourth, I then said that the Mission will not be disorganized, but the headquarters of the Chinese Mission will be changed from Kowloon, Hong Kong to Hawaii.

I instructed Pres. Robertson to take steps at once to bring out all eight people–President and Sister Robinson, Brother and Sister Aki, two American missionaries, and two Chinese missionaries.  I promised to have a letter waiting for them upon their arrival in Hawaii, giving instructions.  I am going to recommend to the First Presidency and the Twelve that we have headquarters at Hawaii, but that Brother and Sister Aki and the two Chinces missionaries come to California to labor among the Chinese people.”

Mon., 19 Feb., 1951:

“9 a.m.–President Clark came in to the office–discussed with him, among other things, the matter of establishing headquarters for the Chinese Mission.  President Hilton A. Robertson has officially reported by letter the closing of the mission in China and is now enroute for Hawaii where he will await further instruction from us.”

Fri., 23 Feb., 1951:

“At 8 a.m. met by appointment James L. Barker, former President of the French Mission.  We discussed the best means of opening up a Mission in Italy.  Pres. Barker thought it would be well to have Elder Cummings who has been in Italy and who is now in Spain return to Italy and work from that end, but that idea did not appeal to me very much.  I do not know Brother Cummings, and we should be taking a long shot to have him deal with officials over there, so I advised that we work first with our senators in Washington, and through them get in touch with the Italian Embassy.”

Mon., 26 Mar., 1951:

“Advised Brother [Matthew] Cowley to send a cable to Brother Robertson, advising him that he may bring the missionaries of the Chinese Mission with him to San Francisco, and to call President McKay by telephone when they arrive, and it will then be determined whether Brother Robertson should come to conference.

President Gardner of the Northern California Mission has secured headquarters for the Chinese Mission in the Sunset Ward at $200 a month.”

Tues., 17 Apr., 1951:

“8:15 a.m.–President and Sister Badwagon Piranian, recently home from presiding over the Near East Mission which has been closed for the time being, called at the office.  After a discussion regarding Mission matters as they affect the Near East Mission, I told President Piranian that we will hold him responsible for the two Branches over in the Near East, and inasmuch as he will be responsible for them by correspondence and otherwise, we will transfer him to the Coast, not as President of the Near East Mission as that mission is now closed, but as President of a Mission that we shall set up on the Coast.  I instructed him to go to Fresno and secure a house–a modest place–and begin work from that center, and we will send him definite word later as to what extent he will organize the Mission.

I promised him no missionaries, but suggested that we will furnish him an automobile, and I will report to him at 4 p.m. this afternoon as to whether we have a car here for him.  So to all extents and appearances he is still President of the Near East Mission.”

Wed., 25 Apr., 1951:

“Mr. Jester of the Associated Press called and asked for a sttement regarding the Church’s views on Communism, missionary work, etc. (see notes attached):

Mr. Jester:  Would like a story on the L.D.S. Church for use in papers in England.

Is the Church expanding?

Pres. McKay:  By leaps and bounds.

Mr. Jester:  Is it expanding in interest?

Pres. McKay:  That is illustrated by the number of prominent men from the different parts of the United States and America in expressing their interest in the reorganization of the First Presidency.  Have had a great many comments from leading business men, leading statesmen, ministers of other religions; the interest seems to be general.

Mr. Jester:  Have you had comment from England and countries in Europe?

Pres. McKay:  Only from members and officers there; there has scarcely been time to receive comments from others.

Mr. Jester:  Regarding expansion of the church–are you continuing to expand?

Pres. McKay:  We have already organized a Branch in China, but due to the present emergency we have transferred headquarters back to San Francisco.  We have in mind entering India and establishing an Indian Mission–that is under consideration.  We have no missionaries there at present, but have had requests for them.

Mr. Jester:  How about Europe?

Pres. McKay:  There will be no more expansion under present conditions.  However, we have missions in three South American Countries, West Germany, East Germany, Holland, France, Great Britain–Czechoslovakian Mission has recently been closed.  Our missionaries are carrying on as usual, but we cannot increase the number at present because of the Draft Ssituation–we are not calling our young men at present.  There are about 5,000 missionaries returning within the next 18 months, and they will enter the draft immediately upon their return.  We shall replace them, but of course not in equal numbers.

Mr. Jester:  What effect do you think your missionaries will have in establishing peace and in counteracting Communism?

Pres. McKay:  Our missionaries are the real peacemakers.  They are abroad proclaiming peace, founded on the firm foundation of peace as established by our Lord and Savior.  We do not in any way affiliate with Communism.  Communism pretends to foster democratic principles, while in practice it is the most cruel of modern dictatorships.  Our missionaries are preaching individual freedom; Communism robs a person of his free agency, and makes the individual a mere puppet of the State.  In a true democracy the State exists for the protection and welfare of the individual.  In a Communistic State, the individual exists for the welfare of the State.

Mr. Jester:  Do you feel that your missionary program slows down the effects of Communism?

Pres. McKay:  Our missionaries are told not to enter into any politics, and to take no part whatever in national politics.  They are sent out to teach the principles of true Christianity, and to teach the people that these principles are fundamental in the establishing of peace.  As a matter of fact no [person can be a] member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and be a Communist at the same time,–the two are diametrically opposed.

Mr. Jester:  What do the missionaries emphasize in their work?

Pres. McKay:  They preach adherence to the first principles of the Gospel as preached by the Savior when he was on earth two thousand years ago.  You may say it this way:  We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost; We believe in the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ; in baptism, and in the living of a clean, righteous life.  They preach the universl brotherhood of man in the truest sense of the word.  Furthermore, each missionary pays his own expenses, or his parents.

Mr. Jester:  ‘Why do they do it?’

Pres. McKay:  They do it out of love for Truth, and that is one of the great secrets of their success, and they do it of their own free will.

Mr. Jester:  I believe you have given me just what I will need. Is the Church panning anything special for the Festival which is to be held in Great Britain in the near future?

Pres. McKay:  The President of the British Mission–President Stayner Richards–is planning a program, and will participate with the government in this celebration.

Mr. Jester:  Are any persons from this country attending the celebration?  How about you?

Pres. McKay:  I think I shall not attend.  I cannot say for sure about any one else.  A visit of a General Authority will be after the celebration, probably sometime the latter part of June.

Mr. Jester:  What is the present attitude toward polygamy?

Pres. McKay:  You know the attitude of the Church concerning this question; that it has not been practiced since 1890.  The less you say about this question the better.

Mr. Jester:  Does the church enforce the law regarding a violation with respect to polygamy?

Pres. McKay:  Any man who enters into it is excommunicated from the Church.”

Mon., 15 Oct., 1951:

“[Clare note]  Senator Arthur V. Watkins called from Washington, D.C. and said that in answer to the wire received regarding an appointment with the Argentina Ambassador, he had been successful in arranging for an interview for Tuesday, October 23 at 11:30 a.m. Senator Watkins said that he would be very pleased to accompany Pres. McKay to the Embassy; that he would have a car at his disposal; in fact, his whole office would be at Pres. McKay’s service.  Said to get in touch with him at the Senate Building (Room 442) as soon as he (President McKay) arrives.”

Sun., 21 Oct., 1951:

“[Washington, D.C.]  Through the kindness of Senator Arthur V. Watkins, an appointment with the Argentine Ambassador (Dr. Hipolito J. Paz) was put forward from Tuesday, Oct. 23, 11:30 a.m. to Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Our conversation with Dr. Paz was satisfactory in every respect. Brother Brady did excellent work in translating, although the Ambassador speaks veryi good English, so the important part of the interview was in English.  Later, at his request, we submitted our application in writing which was to secure three-year visas for each of our missionaries to Argentina.  Our written application was delivered in person by Brother Bardy on Monday, the following day. Senator Watkins also wrote a letter of endorsement and recommendation.”

Fri., 30 Nov., 1951:

“At 9 a.m. First Presidency’s meeting.  At this meeting there was read to the First Presidency a letter from Pres. Stayner Richards of the British Mission, recommending the purchase of a property consisting of 4 3/4 acres with home and barns in Carshalton, near Croydon, near London, on which to erect a Temple.  In discussing this matter Presidents Richards and Clark were unanimously in favor of erecting a temple in Europe, and felt that Great Britain should have the first temple in Europe.  Brother Howard McKaen called, at the First Presidency’s invitation, and gave information regarding the property, together with the pictures.”

Fri., 7 Dec., 1951:

“9 to 10:30–First Presidency’s meeting–Among important items considered were:  (1) Upon the invitation of the First Presidency, the bretureh of the First Council of Seventy–with the exception of Oscar A. Kirkham, who was out of the city–called, and President Richards, at my request, explained to them the First Presidency’s decision, which had been approved by the Council of the Twelve, to reorganize the missionary set-up in the Church.  The brethren of the Seventy individually and collectively approved the plan as presented.”

Wed., 12 Dec., 1951:

“9 to 10:30–First Presidency’s meeting, at which the following are a few of the most important items considered:

. . . .

3.  Discussed at some length duties of Gordon Hinckley and Franklin Murdock.  Brother Hinckley is to be made an assistant to President Richards, Brother Murdock to be transportation agent, to do mission auditing and try the experiment of revising our mission accounting system, whereby we could dispense with the services of one or two missionaries in each mission office.  The experiment to be made with a number of missions nearby, establishing a central disbursing system.”

Wed., 19 Dec., 1951:

“[First Presidency meeting]  J. Knight Allen called and reported regarding the property President Stayner Richards recommended for purchase in Carshalton, near London, and also another property President Stayner Richards had been investigating, but which it was decided is not the property Brother Richards is now recommending be purchased in Wimbledon.  It was decided to forego the option on the Carshalton property, and to ask Brother Richards to secure an option on the Wimbledon property.  A cable was sent to this effect.”

Thur., 3 Jan., 1952:

“Temple in Europe.  At the meeting of the First Presidency this morning, I said that I felt if we decide to build a Temple in Great Britain, we should build one at the same time in Switzerland, it being probably the safest country in Europe, and more accessible than England to most of the other European countries.  Pres. Clark agreed with this feeling.

Letter was read from President Stayner Richards with further reference to the proposed purchase of property in Wimbledon, England, which it is felt might serve as a property on which to erect a temple.  A 60-day option has been obtained.  It was decided to tell Stayner Richards we should like to postpone the consummation of the deal until after April Conference; if it is to be consummated we must be sure that the property can be used for religious purposes; we should wish to know what if any taxes we must pay pending its use and also thereafter; also what is the estimated cost of furnishing it.  The brethren felt that in case the option cannot be extended until after the April Conference, they would be willing to risk the purchase on President Stayner Richards’ judgment.”

Wed., 13 Feb., 1952:

“[First Presidency meeting]  I said if we build a temple in Great Britain we must build one in Switzerland, also.  I stated that I felt that these temples could be erected for the cost of a meeting house, and the new plan followed therein.”

Fri., 4 Apr., 1952:

“We then left for the Tabernacle to attend the Missionary Meeting at which General Authorities, Presidents of Stakes and their counselors, and Bishops of Wards and their counselors were in attendance.

At this meeting a standard missionary plan of the Church for teaching the gospel in the missions and stakes of the Church, was presented.

I was one of the speakers on this occasion–I stressed the great potential reservoir available in the Church for missionary work, and gave experiences of my own missionary service.”

Thur., 17 Apr., 1952:

“10 to 2 p.m.–Was convened in Council meeting.  At this meeting, I made the following report to members of the Council:

President McKay said that for years it has been recommended that the branches in Great Britain and Europe be strengthened, but that members of the Church in those lands when they get the spirit of the Gospel realize the importance of temple work and notwithstanding some of them held good positions, they have given those positions up and have come here in order to go through the temple.  While President Stayner Richards was in the City at the time of the death of his son last Fall, he consulted the Presidency and among other recommendations, asked if it would not be an opportune time to build a temple in Great Britain.  The Brethren of the First Presidency considered it carefully and prayerfully and have now come to the conclusion that if we build a temple in Great Britain we should at the same time build one in Switzerland; this latter temple would serve the people in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and possibly Holland.  President Richards has written about several sites.  It is not contemplated that an expensive edifice wouild be erected but that temples be built that would accommodate the people under a new plan whereby temple ceremonies can be presented in one room without moving from one room to another, utilizing modern inventions therefor.  It is thought that one room might be used and the scenery changed as needed and seats adjusted to accommodate the situation.  It is felt that such a building could be erected and adequately equipped for about the cost of one of our present meeting houses, namely, two hundred to two hundred fifty thousand dollars.

Elder Widtsow expressed his gratitude, as did several others of the Brethren, that the First Presidency have such a move in contemplation, stating that the people in Great Britain and foreign-speaking missions are dreaming of a time when a temple will be erected in Europe.

Elder Widtsoe moved that investigation be made, having in mind the erection of a temple in Great Britain and another on the Continent, preferably in Switzerland.  Motion was seconded by Brother Ezra T. Benson and unanimously approved.”

Mon., 26 May, 1952:

“[First Presidency meeting]  It was agreed that nothing shold be said at this time regarding the purpose of my trip to Europe; that nothing should be said until after the [Temple] sites have been secured.”

Tues., 27 May, 1952:

“From 9 until 10 a.m.–Was engaged in First Presidency’s meeting.

It was decided at this meeting that I should look into the matter of patriarchal blessings for the people of Europe and report upon my return.  Pres. Stayner Richards has recommended that permission be granted under certain specified conditions for the giving of patriarchal blessings to our Saints in Great Britain.”

Thur., 12 Jun., 1952:

“[Visit to Queen Juliana of the Netherlands]  I took occasion to express pleasure at her recent visit to America, and commended her for her excellent address before the United States Senate on ‘Peace.’  ‘Oh! she modestly replied, ‘Those were just old-fashioned thoughts.’  To which I answered, ‘So also was the statement of the Savior, when He said, “Love the Lord thy God with all thy might, mind, and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself.”  These, too, are old-fashioned, but they are eternally applicable.’  She responded to this comment with a smile, and a nod of her head in affirmation.

. . . .

During this conversation, of which this is merely a synopsis, Her Majesty had poured out three cups of tea and passed wafers.  We accepted the wafers and as we left the cups of tea untouched, we had occasion to explain the ‘Word of Wisdom’ which advises that it is best not to drink tea, coffee, use tobacco, or drink intoxicating liquors.  Her brow and eyes showed a little surprise, and then she asked, ‘Is that because of the stimulants?’  Receiving our affirmative answer, she said, ‘Do you think there is any stimulant in tea?’

As we were talking then about the Church and its mission and preaching the Gospel, I asked if she would accept an inscribed copy of ‘The Book of Mormon.’  I stated that I would have brought it with me, but I could find none suitably bound.  ‘Oh!’ she replied, ‘That would be all right.  You shouldn’t go to any extra expense.’ She said, ‘I should be pleased to receive one if you’re kind enough to send it.’

At the expiration of fully half an hour, I arose stating that I felt that we should not intrude upon her time, to which she replied, ‘Oh!  Are you going so soon?  I have all the afternoon free.’

We again thanked her for the interview and her gracious entertainment; bade her good-bye; she extended her hands again and expressed pleasure at our having called on her.

As Sister McKay and I re-entered the hallway, His Excellency, Baron von Heeckeren returned and spoke to Her Majesty, and then he joined us, accompanied us down the stairway to the open door, and instead of saying good-bye there at the entrance to the palace, he accompanied us down the steps in front of the palace and greeted each member of our party–a very gracious thing to do and we believe that that was at the suggestion of Her Majesty.

Thus ended a very memorable visit which will not be entirely completed until we shall have sent to her a Morocco bound volume, inscribed, of ‘The Book of Mormon.'”

“Baron van Heeckeren van Molecaten, private secretary to Her Majesty, the Queen of the Netherlands, wrote President McKay:

‘Her Majesty, the Queen of the Netherlands, wants me to convey to you her sincerest thanks for the beautifully bound, inscribed copy of the Book of Mormon, which you were so kind to present to her.

‘It is Her Majesty’s wish to express once more how much the discussions during your visit have interested her.’

The letter from Soestdijk was dated July 28, 1952.”

Fri., 13 Jun., 1952:

“[Excerpt from letter dated 13 Jun., to Stephen L. Richards, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and Members of the Quorum of the Twelve] Friday, June 6, and Monday, June 9, and part of Saturday, June 7, were spent in inspecting sites already inspected and set aside by President Richards as possible appropriate temple sites.  The details of these visits I’ll give you upon my return.  Our combined judgment settled upon ‘Newchapel,’–property on the road between London and Brighton, ideal in location and transportation, climate, beauty of surroundings, etc.  Indeed, as expressed by my son, David L., ‘This seems to have everything.’  Consequently, we asked President Richards to take steps to consummate the purchase.  No announcement has been made, and none will be made until the deal shall have been completed.  My feeling is that we may meet with opposition in securing possession.

I have just time to state that on Tuesday, June 10, we went to Basle, a diversion from the itinerary for the purpose of choosing a temple site in Switzerland, our experience in London having demonstrated the possibility of our needing more time for this purpose than we had previously set aside for it.

On the afternoon of that day the brethren met in prayer and council regarding the first important decision to make–the choosing of the city in which or near which a temple may most appropriately be built: President Stayner Richards, President Samuel E. Bringhurst, President Golden L. Woolf, David L., and I.  After three hours’ deliberation and consultation, we were unanimous in deciding that Berne, the capital city of Switzerland, should be the city thus honored.

Accordingly, Wednesday morning early, we drove to this city and spend the day in inspecting three sites which President Bringhurst had previously set aside.  We chose an ideal spot for elevation, acreage, convenience of transport.  Whether it can be secured is now being determined by President Bringhurst.  I cannot report definitely upon it until I return to Basle two weeks hence.”

Fri., 20 Jun., 1952:

“[Extract of a letter from Stephen L. Richards and J. Reuben Clark, Jr. to David O. McKay, dated 20 Jun.]  We have given out no publicity at all with reference to your plans, pursuant to our understanding when you left.  However, we regret to inform you that the following story was contained in an issue of the ‘Salt Lake Times’ under date of June 13, 1952:

LDS Church Head Touring Europe for Temple Site

It is learned from general authorities of the LDS Church that President David O. McKay is visiting Europe for the purpose of selecting a site for construction of a multimillion dollar temple.

Church officials at first thought of building the temple in London, a city in which Mormonism was introduced in the 1830s.

After investigation of London sites President McKay left for an inspection of continental European prospects.  While LDS officials refuse comment, it is believed the church leader has decided on Switzerland, which has maintained its neutrality for several centuries.

It is believed that Britain’s vulnerability to bombing from the east caused President McKay to recommend abandonment of a temple site in London.

The European temple will be the third to be constructed outside continental United States.  Others are located in the Hawaiian Islands and Canada.

Temples in the United States have been constructed in Salt Lake City, St. George, Manti, and Logan, Utah; Mesa, Ariz., and Idaho Falls, Ida.  Others are to be constructed in California and Florida.

We have not been able to trace the source of information on which the article was written.  If our chief Salt Lake papers have had any inkling of this information, they have been respectful enough not to request permission for its release.  We do not know that any particular harm will result from the publication in the ‘Times.’ It has a very limited circulation.”

Mon., 23 Jun., 1952:

“[Salt Lake Tribune article, 24 Jun.]  He told a reporter here that a principal aim of his visits to the larger cities in Europe is to provide church members with meeting places of their own instead of hired halls.

‘Secondly,’ he added, ‘we aim to keep our adherents here instead of encouraging them to immigrate to Utah and other places in the United States.'”

Wed., 2 Jul., 1952:

“[Deseret News article]  President David O. McKay of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Wednesday the future for his Church in Europe ‘looks prosperous and good.’

In an interview, the 78-year-old Church leader said he found on his European tour that ‘prejudice against us rampant 50 years ago in Europe is dying out.

‘There still are some who rehash the old lies and stories about us,’ the tall, white-haired president said.  ‘But they are uninformed.  Also, more people from Europe are going to Salt Lake City and seeing the Mormon Church for themselves.’

The biggest problem for the Latter-day Saints in Europe, he said, ‘is more places of worship.  This is the headache of almost every European mission.  There is a great need for chapels for groups of 50 to 500.  This is the one big item I am going to include in my report when I return to Salt Lake City.

‘It is gratifying, however, that while other churches in Europe are going empty, ours are pushing the walls out.'”

Sat., 5 Jul., 1952:

“President Stephen L. Richards

President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

Members of the Council of the Twelve

Dear Brethren:

With further reference to our efforts to secure temple sites in Great Britain and Switzerland, I may report as follows:

Thursday, the day before yesterday (July 3, 1952), we landed at Zurich from Frankfurt on Main, and were met by President and Sister Bringhurst and Elder Lowell J. Stratford, mission secretary; also by news reporters and photographers.  On our way from the Zurich airport to the hotel in Berne, we visited two proposed sites on the outskirts of Berne, but neither seemed worthy of consideration. After refreshments, President Bringhurst, David L., Elder Walter Neumann, who is laboring in Berne, and I visited the following sites previously chosen by President Bringhurst, Brother William Zimmer, and Elder Neumann:

1. Bumpliz–a fairly good site, beautiful gardens, an old chateau dating back to 1730; cost approximately $80,000.

2. Rieser–on the banks of the river, which is obscured from sight by foliage which cannot be cleared.  A beautiful site, too small, too secluded, too inaccessible.  $75,000.  48 Fr. per square meter.

3. Troechsel:  60 Fr. per sq. M.

Next morning we resumed our inspection by driving three miles out from the city to the Rutibuhl property, near the little town of Gummligen,–a beautiful site, ideal, sufficient land, but inaccessible, and the road on its western boundary platted, but not yet built.  The main railroad crosses its boundary.  Three trains passed while we were inspecting it, suggesting that the rumble and noise might be an objection.  This area could be purchased for 15 Fr. per sq. M., approximately $45,000.

We returned to the city and by appointment met Brother Zimmer (William, brother to Max, a very choice man, mayor of a town near Basle, a staunch, true Latter-day Saint, a prosperous architect, and a man of good judgment and good influence.)  With him were two business men interested in developing the area which includes the Troschsel site.  This is part of the area in which stands the site which Brother Stayner Richards, President Bringhurst, and I chose three weeks ago as the choicest place in Switzerland for the temple.  When we returned from this trip, however, we learned that the city had taken over that site for a hospital, school, and other city buildings.  Just opposite that, however, on ground not quite so high, but equally accessible, is a plot of five acres, bordering a well established highway just at the end of a city street car line, just a five-minute ride from the place where the branch members now meet and have met for the past thirty years–all in all an admirable setting for a temple, and also for a building site for the branch, an urgent necessity in this beautiful city of Berne. The cost, of course, is higher per square meter than the others, but not out of proportion to the price of similar property in this neighborhood.  The only question in our minds was whether to take the entire five acres and have it all under our control, and sell part of it if necessary, or limit the acreage to that needed for a chapel and a temple.  We finally decided to take three and one-half acres, and instructed President Bringhurst and Brother Zimmer to begin negotiations at once.  The cost for the land at 60 Fr. per square meter will be approximately $195,000, to which will be added some costs pertaining to the transfer.

When we talked about getting a reduction it was evident that the owners were not too eager to sell, even at 60 Fr. per sq. M., saying:

‘Switzerland is small, and there’s only one crop of land.  The prospects are that the prices will be higher next year than at present.’

President Bringhurst and Brother Zimmer agree that this is but a statement of fact.

Accordingly, unless some difficulty or opposition arise, we have secured a temple site in Berne, the capital city of Switzerland, within ten minutes’ drive of the center of the town, with the end of a street car line with a few rods from the northeast corner of our property, on a well-established highway, in a good neighborhood, just across the street from a large estate owned by a man who said, when he was approached on the sale of his property:

‘My conscience tells me not to sell to you people.’

Whether his influence or that of others like him will be manifested in the consummation of the sale remains to be seen.  The only doubt in my mind about the purchase was whether we should not buy the five acres, and thus have a voice in determining what other buildings should be placed on the site.  But the price seems to be exhorbitant, so much so that after consultation with the brethren we decided to limit the area to three and one-half acres.

This evening President Stayner Richards telephoned that the completion of the transaction for the site chosen in England would have to be postponed until February, 1953.  It seems to be a question of taxes, with which any announcement of the pending deal might complicate matters.

We are just leaving for a missionary conference.

With love and best wishes.

Affectionately yours,

David O.”

Thur., 18 Jul., 1952:

“[Extract from letter by DOM to maternal relatives in Wales]  Mrs. McKay and I, as well as David L. and Mildred were sorry that we had to make our visit at Merthyr so brief; but we had been informed that an invitation would probably be extended to us to attend a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, July 17, which would make it necessary for us to return from Wales to London on the train leaving Cardiff on the morning of July 17.

It is fortunate that we carried out our plans accordingly, for we found awaiting us the invitation from Buckingham Palace to attend a Garden Party of Queen Elizabeth II.

Accordingly, even as it was, we did not have too much time to dress and get to the palace on time.  We were surprized to find several thousand all ready assembled.

There was no formal reception as we had anticipated, but Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Princess Margaret, Prince Consort Phillip, and other members of the Royal Household were in attendance during the entire two hours.

Light refreshments were served and two Royal bands furnished music.

Intermittent showers compelled many of us who went without umbrellas to seek shelter in the palace, which was in itself an intensely interesting experience.

As an afternoon party in the Garden of Buckingham Palace, it proved to be both interesting and to us an extra-ordinary event, but as a visit to Royalty, it could not compare with our personal conference with Her Majesty, Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands, who, at the request of the Consul of the Netherlands of San Francisco, invited us to Her Majesty’s summer home at Soestdijk, near the Hague.  Our thirty minute conference with her Majesty was one of our most precious experiences of our entire trip through nine European countries.”

[From McKay’s handwritten diary of the trip:

“Elder Brown drove us to Buckingham Palace where we presented our special invitation and tickets and were soon in the Palace and Grounds with 5,000 other guests!  Drenching rain!  No formal reception by her Majesty, although she was on the grounds, but she was surrounded by such a dense crowd that it was difficult even to see her.  How different from our personal audience with her Majesty Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands!”

Mon., 22 Jul., 1952:

“[Salt Lake Tribune article, 23 Jul.]  The site for the first European temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been obtained at Bern, Switzerland, it was reported Tuesday by L.D.S. Pres. David O. McKay.

Pres. McKay made the statement as he concluded a seven-week tour of 10 Mormon missions in nine European countries.

. . . .

Making his announcement, Pres. McKay said:

‘Full details of the costs and plans for the building will be discussed later, but the site has been secured at Bern and further discussions are under way.'”

Sat., 26 Jul., 1952:

[Synopsis of McKay’s comments upon his return, in Improvement Era, Sep., 1952]

“MISSIONARIES:  In all missions the missionaries are doing work of which we can be proud; in all lands they are winning the respect and admiration of the people through their lives and their teachings.  Their conduct and devotion, their faith and integrity strengthened President McKay’s faith in the youth of the Church. There is a great need for more missionaries.  Every mission is calling for more missionaries to fill vacancies occurring now that releases are frequent among the first postwar missionaries.

SOCIALISM:  Compared with the England of twenty-nine years ago, this great country is suffering from the blight of Socialism.  He is more convinced that ever that ‘we want no socialism in the United States.’

THE IRON CURTAIN:  The Church has eight thousand five hundred members in the Russian zone of Germany, behind the Iron Curtain. American missionaries cannot enter this zone, so all missionary work is carried on by local full-time and part-time missionaries. Th Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants are permitted behind the Iron Curtain, as is the Bible, but no other Church literature is made available to missionaries or members of the Church in the Russian zone of Germany.  Copies of Der Stern, the Church publication in German, have been admitted to the Russian zone in Austria.  A single copy of the Book of Mormon costs the equivalent of three and one-half days of labor behind the Iron Curtain. Arrangements were made for furnishing eight hundred copies of the Book of Mormon for use by missionaries behind the Iron Curtain, a gift from the Church.

TEMPLES:  One of the steps which will contribute to the stability and growth of the Church in Europe is the decision to build temples to provide ordinances and blessings which have never before been made available in Europe.  The new temple in Berne will not be an expensive one.  It will, in reality, be the first of a new style of temple buildings.  It will, however, adequately serve the needs of the people in providing all the temple ordinances.

The announcement that a temple site has been obtained in Europe was not wholly unexpected.  For some time it has been felt that many of the recent emigrants from Europe, especially among the older age groups, would have been happier had they had a temple in Europe whereby they could perform the sacred ordinances for themselves and for their kindred dead, rather than to have to come to America for this privilege.  There has been some concern, too, to give these good people the endowment in their native tongue.”

Mon., 28 Jul., 1952:


MONDAY, JULY 28, 1952, 9 a.m.

Referring to his efforts in connection with securing a temple site in Switzerland and giving conditions in Europe.

On Tuesday, June 10, took plane to Basel, Switzerland, and in two or three hours was in consultation with Stayner Richards, President Samuel E. Bringhurst of the Swiss-Austrian Mission, President Golden L. Woolf of the French Mission, and President McKay’s son, Lawrence.  They had prayers and agreed that the first thing to decide was the city where the temple should be built.  After due consideration, they were unanimous in choosing Berne, the capital of Switzerland.

They went with the real estate man who had been selected, Mr. Schulthies, and a brother of Max Zimmer, (an architect and mayor of a city adjoining Berne) to look at sites.  President McKay said he was very much discouraged, until finally they visited a new subdivision at the end of a street car line which appealed to them very much.  Later while in Finland he learned, however, that this site had been taken for a school and hospital.

Returned to Basel July 4 and visited other properties which were not suitable.  Were shown a property near the property that they had formerly hoped to obtain which was to be used for a school and hospital.  President McKay said this particular site was given to them almost by inspiration.  When President Bringhurst consulted the real estate man he said, ‘That you cannot get.’

In the meantime President Bringhurst had learned that a Madame Elizabeth DeMeuron, a very wealthy widow, owned a lot of property near there.  The real estate man said, ‘You cannot do anything with her.’  President Bringhurst said he felt impressed to talk to her. When he did so, she became very much interested and said, ‘How did you happen to come to see me, did you have a dream or something?’ And he told her frankly what his mission was about, that the President was on the way to select a place and they had nothing to suggest.  She manifested surprise that the President was coming and that they had no site to show him.  She said she would like to sell them some of her property, but the law prevented her doing so, and her property must go to her heirs.  They told her that they sould like to get this certain property but that Mr. Schulthies, the real estate man, had said they could not get it.  She told them they could secure it if they saw the right parties, and suggested they see Mr. Jardi.

With Brother Zimmer, President Bringhurst and Mr. Schulthies met Mr. Jardi.  He knew what they wanted and why they wanted it and told them they might have any part of the five acres they wished. They finally told him they would take 3 1/2 acres.  He said if we were going to take that, he would take the balance and would purchase the entire five acres.  He is now consummating that deal personally.  It will cost 60c a square mmeter or about $190,000 for the 3 1/2 acres, and there will be some expense.

President Bringhurst signed the contract and put in it a clause that this deal is dependent upon the condition that the Church may build the kind of building it wants to build.  When the matter came before the City authorities they demanded to know what we had in mind.  We gave them the dimensions and President Bringhurst telephoned President McKay later and said the City authorities had approved of that kind of building.  The deal is consummated with the exception that they have not yet the signatures of two heirs, although we do have their assurance.  President McKay said the purchase had not been officially announced in Europe, and he thought we should send an announcement thereof to each of the mission presidents in Europe.

President McKay said he was clear in his mind regarding the site and that every day had confirmed it.  There is no manufacturing in the neighborhood and no place for it, it being in a residential district.

President Clark moved approval of the site, and of the erection of a temple thereon.  Seconded by President Richards, and unanimously approved.

Temple Site in England.  President McKay said he had investigated half a dozen sites in England, including the one owned by the man who is in Spain who had refused to sell to us.  Said he was thankful the man had said no.  They finally chose a site on the road to Brighton, about 25 miles out from London on a good highway. This would accommodate our people in London, Manchester and that area, and would also be easily accessible to Holland and the Scandinavian countries.  There is a tax question involved.  If the owner sells now she will have to pay back taxes for years, and it will amount to several hundred pounds, but if she keeps it until February 1, 1953, she will be exempt from that.  In the presence of witnesses she gave her word of honor that we could have the property at the price stated, and Stayner Richards gave his word of honor for the Church that we would consummate the deal.  It is called the Newcastle property and is an estate of several acres. The temple site would face a vista of flowers and gardens extending out two or three blocks, and across the street there is an area sufficiently large to build a house for a caretaker, or it may be used for parking space.  There is bus transportation every few minutes and a railway station not far away.  It is only a short distance from a city in which there are excellent hotels.  It is secluded and yet sufficiently public that there is every means of transportation.”

Tues., 29 Jul., 1952:

“Letter dictated by President David O. McKay to each of the following European Mission Presidents regarding the Temple to be built at Berne, Switzerland:

Pres. A. Hamer Reiser, British Mission

Pres. Junius M. Sorensen, Danish Mission

Pres. Arthur A. Glaus, East German Mission

Pres. Henry A. Matis, Finnish Mission

Pres. Golden L. Woolf, French Mission

Pres. Donovan H. Van Dam, Netherlands Mission

Pres. Axel J. Andresen, Norwegian Mission

Pres. Clarence F. Johnson, Swedish Mission

Pres. Samuel E. Bringhurst, Swiss-Austrian Mission

Pres. Edwin Q. Cannon, West German Mission

Dear Brother:

For some time past, prayerful consideration has been given by the First Presidency of the Church to the desirability of making available to the faithful members of the Church in the European Missions the blessings that are given in the House of the Lord.

In harmony with this consideration, it gives us great joy to announce to you that on April 17, 1952, in the regular weekly meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve, upon the recommendation of the First Presidency, it was unanimously decided to select a suitable site upon which to erect the first temple to be built in European lands.

In keeping with this action, President David O. McKay, during his recent presidential tour of ten European missions, after consultation with President Stayner Richards, Assistant to the Twelve; President Samuel E. Bringhurst and counselor, Elder Willie Zimmer of the Swiss-Austrian Mission; President Golden L. Woolf of the French Mission; and Elder David L. McKay, Secretary to the President on his official trip, chose a site at Berne, Switzerland, which seems to offer special advantages for a temple of the Most High.

It is earnestly hoped that the contracts already drawn, and negotiations now underway will be completely and successfully consummated and plans approved by municipal officials, so that erection of this important edifice may proceed without undue delay.

As you make this announcement to the members of the Church in your mission, will you please convey to them our blessings and prayerful wishes that they will so conduct their daily lives that the joy and peace that follow obedience to the Gospel will fill their souls, and that by so doing, ‘their light will shine before men that they may see their good works, and glorify our Father which is in Heaven.’

As ever,

Faithfully yours,

David O. McKay

Stephen L. Richards

J. Reuben Clark, Jr.”

Thur., 31 Jul., 1952:

“[First Presidency meeting]  Matter of patriarchal blessings for members of the Church in Europe was considered.  I reported that Brother Stayner Richards earnestly requests that we consider the advisability of granting the people in Great Britain the privilege of having patriarchal blessings, suggesting some safeguards which seem to be ample.  I told Brother Richards the First Presidency and Twelve had ruled on the matter once before, and it would have to go before them before any change could be made. I stated that I felt we should not treat the matter hurriedly.”

Wed., 6 Aug., 1952:

“9 to 10:30 a.m.–Attended First Presidency’s meeting at which I reported my conferences this morning with the Presiding Bishopric and also with Mark Petersen.  During the meeting Dr. Franklin S. Harris called and reported his service in Iran for the U.S. Government, and also his presidency of the branch or district there for the Church.  Said that the members of the Church from America who are working for the Government in Iran are very fine church workers.  A branch was organized in Iran (about 50 people attend our meetings there), and there is a Sunday School for the children. In Chiraz we have a nice group.  There is a branch on the Caspian, with six adults and the children.  In Tabriz, on the northern border, we have only two very good Latter-day Saints, and there is another man who it is thought will go there.  There are four branches, all a part of Teheran, in a sense.  The leaders of these branches come together once a month.  Our people cling together, and they love the Church work.  They pay their tithing in the wards at home.  There have been no baptisms.

Brother Harris said they had had some contact with the Bahai people; that they have attended our services and were very much impressed.  They say we have the great truth.  The Mohammedan students who have been to Utah are very much interested in us, and we are in very good repute among the people generally.  They say that Dr. Harris is the best-loved foreigner who has been in Persia in this generation.  They look upon him as their third father. Their own father is first, the wife’s father second, and Dr. Harris third, and this all comes because of maintaining the ideals of the Church.

Dr. Harris will give a written report regarding the Church work in Iran.

We expressed appreciation to Dr. Harris for the services he has rendered both to the Church and to the Government.”

11 Aug., 1952:

President Richards and Sister Colton had called as to what she was expected to do and President Richards said he presumed it would be all right for her to stay on until a successor is appointed.  [Her husband, Don, who had been director of the Mission Home, died.]

President McKay recommended President Francis A. Child, former President of the Western States Mission, as being a man who would likely fit in well as director of the Mission Home.

President Richards said Pres. Wilkinson had submitted a plan for missionary training but President Richards did not think it would be feasible, except with respect to language training.  President McKay said he son Llewelyn had some ideas with respect to language instruction that might be helpful, but didn’t think it would be possible to send missionaries to school when they are paying their own expenses.”

Thur., 28 Aug., 1952:

“[Meeting of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve] President McKay made the following report of his trip to Europe:

He said that the principal purpose of the trip was to choose a temple site, or possible two. . . .

On June 4 dedicated the Edinburgh chapel, and on the morning of June 5 arrived in London.  Spent June 5, 6 and 7 inspecting sites already chosen by President Stayner Richards on which to erect a temple.  Illustrative of the sites examined, said that the one which had been recommended by President Stayner Richards and which this Council had practically approved but which the owner refused to sell to the Mormons, had beautiful grounds but was not wholly suitable.  Another was the site of the palace occupied by the last wife of Henry the Eighth.  It had beautiful grounds, typical of royalty and within easy access of London and good transportation. There were two objections, however.  One was there was a church nearby which was really on a higher place than the temple would be, and, second, it was not thought that the connotation of Henry VIII and his wife would be desirable.

They examined the Stevenson Gardens, internationally famed for the rhododentrons.  The woman who is raising these flowers and shipping them off to other countries was very gracious and said she would be pleased to give them such part of the grounds as was needed. She insisted on knowing what the ground was wanted for and they told her for Church purposes.  She would wish to retain part of the grounds.  There were objections to that.  It is near Windsor palace.

Spent Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and the following Monday examining these properties and finally decided on one that is about twenty-five miles out from London on the way to Brighton.  The deal was not consummated and nothing will be said about it.  The plans that were drawn up have been cancelled until February 1, 1953.  He said he thought the Brethren would be delighted with the site.  The surroundings, the means of transportation, the old house dating back centuries is well preserved and can be used for the accomodation of those who attend the temple.

President McKay said that their experience during that week-end proved that unless they changed their plans they woulid be found helpless regarding possible sites in Switzerland if they postponed the visit to Switzerland until after their tour of the European countries had been completed.  Therefore they decided to make a special trip to Switzerland instead of going to the Netherlands at that time.  Tuesday morning left by plane for Switzerland and in 2 1/2 hours were in Basel where they held a special meeting with President Bringhurst, President Stayner Richards, David L. McKay and Brother William Zimmer, a brother to Max Zimmer.  President Stayner Richards had communicated with President Bringhurst, requesting him to select, through Brother Zimmer and a real estate man, some possible sites in Switzerland.  They held prayer and then decided that their first duty was to determine in which city the temple site should be located.  After due deliberation it was unanimously decided that it should be at Berne the capitol city of Switzerland.  The following morning they went to Berne and spent the entire day looking at available sites.  That was June 10.  They chose one within the city limits, but outside the residences in a new area that was just being plotted for building.  It is at the end of the street car line and within five minutes ride by street car to the place where the branch now meets.  They chose a knoll just a few rods from the street car line and thought that would be an ideal site.  They were all united that they couldn’t choose a better site and authorized Brother Zimmer and Mr. Schultess, the real estate man, to see if it could be procured.

. . . .

The party completed their itinerary at Finland and received word from President Bringhurst that the site they had chosen for a temple at Berne had been already selected before we chose it, by the City Council of Berne for a hospital and school, and was not purchaseable.  President Bringhurst was therefore told to continue his search for other sites to be suggested when they returned to Switzerland.

When the party arrived at Basel from Germany they began examining other sites, every one of which they rejected because of surroundings, or perhaps because of possible manufacturing establishments, etc.  They finally came back to the same area where there were five acres of land just opposite the knoll on which they had hoped to secure a site, just across a swale, not quite so high and facing the opposite direction from what the temple would be there.

President McKay said President Bringhurst had almost by what they felt was inspiration secured the possibility of purchasing this area.  A rich widow owns much of that property there and her home is just a short distance from it.  President Bringhurst felt impressed to call on her.  When she saw him and the Elder accompanying him walking around her estate she concluded that they were two Americans that had come to take pictures, and when they introduced themselves to her and told her the purpose of their visit she became very much interested, and among other things said, ‘How did you happen to come to me?  Did you have a dream or something?’  They said no, they just felt impressed to do so, that they had been told by a real estate man that there was no use approaching her, but that they had decided to speak to her with a view of securing some of her property if possible.  She said that unfortunately she could not sell her property, that her husband was dead and the law compelled her to let it go to her heirs, but she said she would be glad to help them.  She said, ‘You say your President is coming within a day or two to select this site, and you haven’t it yet and are still looking and not discouraged?’ They said to her that they would like to get a site just opposite from the one that they had already chosen but had been told that they could not purchase it.  She told them she thought they could if they would see the right person.  She gave them the name of a man who was handling her property and told them to go and see him. They accosted him and he made it possible to buy five acres just opposite the site they had previously selected.  This gentleman said that they could have all of this five acres, or any part of it.  They finally concluded that they would take 3 1/2 acres.  He said that if they would take 3 1/2 acres he would take the rest, that he would buy all of it and sell it to them.  They parted with that understanding and negotiations were carried on.  No announcement was made until just an hour or two before they took the plane from Glasgow to return home.  President McKay said that President Bringhurst in answer to President McKay’s telephone call, stated that one of the heirs had passed away and that her children, two of whom were of age, would have to sign the agreement.  One of them had been already contacted, but the other one had not, but he felt that the deal would be all right because Mr. Jardi was buying it in his own name.

It was then that announcement was made that it had been decided that a temple would be built in Switzerland in the city of Berne. President McKay said he did not know whether there were forces at work attempting to influence the one heir not to sign, but he has felt uneasy about it.  Yesterday a cable was sent to President Bringhurst saying: ‘If consummation of deal will be fostered you aree authorized to take the full five acres.  Hoping and praying.’ President McKay said definitely that there will be a temple built in Switzerland and one in Great Britain, in accordance with the action of this Council.

President McKay said that from June 1st when they were in New York, until they left Glasgow to return on July 22, he held 45 meetings, not counting consultation meetings with the Mission Presidents, nor the interviews with the reporters.  He said that he had never before experienced such a spiritual missionary experience as they had during those fifty days.

. . . .

President McKay mentioned the presence of 35 missionaries from behind the Iron Curtain, local brethren who were in attendance at the missionary meeting in the Dahlem chapel.  When President McKay’s party arrived in Berlin on June 27 he said it was evident from their features and their dress that they were not very successful.  The Elders had had a testimony meeting, indeed, were having a testimony meeting when President McKay’s party entered. The men’s eyes were red from weeping and much of that emotion had been aroused by what these missionaries from the Russian Zone had said.  No American missionaries can get into that area.  Their literature is scant and limited and they cannot afford to buy copies of the Book of Mormon.  It would cost three days wages to pay for one book, but they are carrying on the work and when the two years or 2 1/2 years’ period is ended they say they will continue missionary work.  They do their proselyting work after the day’s labors have ended.  They are holding meetings but they have to report to the Russian authorities what is going to be said at the meetings and who will be the speakers.  In answer to President McKay’s question as to how they arranged to be present at this meeting, they said they obtained permission from the Russian authorities to come, the condition being that they would all promise to return, and incidentally, one of them quoted a Russian officer as saying, ‘Now do not try to hide anything from us.  We know why you are going and whom you are going to meet, but we will have people there to know just what is being said.’  And they did, not in the missionary meeting, but in the meeting that was held that night, the dedicatory services.  As President McKay and his party were shaking hands with the poeple after the meeting they saw two or three skulking by to avoid shaking hands and the had been recognized as spies from the Russian zone.

Arrangements were made to give them six hundred Books of Mormon, which would be about two to each one who would be carrying on these meetings behind the Iron Curtain, and the Missionary Committee at home made arrangements to send them 500 more.  They can use the Book of Mormon behind the Iron Curtain, as they can use the Bible, and sometimes other literature is admitted.  The Improvement Era that carried a Christmas scene on the cover was confiscated and not permitted to be distributed.

The cities of Berlin, Hannover, Hamburg and Frankfurt on Main are being rebuilt.  The bridges that were destroyed are rebuilt, flower gardens are being replanted and those four cities as others in the American Zone, British Zone and French Zone show a life and vigor most commendable.  The Russian sector in Berlin is depressed.  It is being exploited rather than being built.  The British sector and the American sector show signs of improvement, but the Russian sector is greatly depressed.  President McKay said he could not see any possibility of a final settlement without a terrible conflict; that he did not like to see it, but those were his honest feelings. There is a possibility of avoiding it by an internal uprising but that seems to be an impossibility unless the soldiers themselves rebel.  For example, the Russians are going ahead to accomplish their scheme, which is world dominion and the supression of capitalism.  Our Brethren, the Presidency of the East German Mission, who had to drive from Berlin over to Hannover, had to drive for miles through the Russian Zone and only by permission of the Russian officials.  To make it more difficult, the Russian people now are creating a no-man’s land three miles wide, extending from the Baltic sea to the border of Czechoslovakia.  If a town is in that area it is razed.  The people themselves are given an opportunity to move into the Russian zone or move out before the town itself is demolished.  If forests are in that town they are dug up and destroyed.  They propose to have an area from the Baltic Sea down to the Czechoslovakian border that is absolutely no-man’s land, and they can put their guns there and control it as they wish, and that is not imagination; that they mean just what they say, President McKay said, may be inferred from what they do now up in the Baltic Sea.  They own part of that and they permit no vessels to come within their assigned part of that sea.  The Finnish people knowing what it means and how fatal it would be to any foreign vessel to come in there, put their own vessels up there to keep people who were going to attend the Olympics from trespassing upon it.  President McKay said we are facing Satan himself.  They are anti-Christ.  They want to destroy Christianity. They have to do so in order to establish their philosophy. President McKay said it looked to him as though there is only one way to meet them and that is by force, the only thing they understand.

When they passed through the British Zone one day the President saw soldiers wearing the Scottish kilts; he thought he saw the McKai plaid, so he became interested.  Brother Schreyer, who was driving the car, said, ‘There is one of them over there lying on the lawn. Let us go over and talk to him.’  So they approached this Scotch highlander, as they thought.  President McKay asked him in Scottish dialect, ‘How are you?’  To which he said, ‘I am all right,’ but with no Scotch accent.  President McKay then told him that he was interested in his uniform, explaining that his father came from the north of Scotland, and he asked him what part he came from.  He said that he came from Canada.  He was a member of the Canadian Black Watch, which came over years and years ago.  They got to talking and finally Brother Schreyer told him that they were members of the Mormon Church and asked if he had ever heard of Mormons.  He said, ‘My mother is one of them.’  In answer to questions, they found that he came from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and that while he was not a member himself, his mother was. Brother Schreyer said, ‘Do you know to whom you are speaking?’  He answered, ‘No.’

‘When you go home you tell your mother that you shook hands with the President of the Mormon Church.’  He answered, ‘Your damned right I will, boy.’

. . . .

Elder Widtsoe asked a question as to why announcement of the British temple site is being delayed.

President McKay said he purposely refrained from giving the reason because it is a financial and legal question affecting the owner. He did say, however, if the deal had been consummated when the agreement was drawn up the owner would have had to pay a large sum of money to the Government.  If the property is not sold and she holds it in her own name until February 1, 1953, the property can be transferred without paying this large sum of money.  We do not want to be a party to that in either way, so we have no written agreement.  The deal will be consummated as of the date she sets. No announcement should be made as we do not want the Government or any lawyer to know that any agreement was drawn up or any understanding had until February 1, 1953.  She has given her word of honor and Brother Stayner Richards has given his word of honor.”

Wed., 3 Sep., 1952:

“[First Presidency meeting]  We read a letter from Pres. Glaus of the East German Mission reporting conditions behind the Iron Curtain, as they affect our people there, the restrictions that are placed upon them so far as Church activities are concerned, and the fear of confiscation of our tithing funds consisting of over $5000 on hand.  It was agreed that Pres. Glaus should assure our people that the Church will underwrite their tithing funds, and that they should make every effort to get property and to build or buy suitable places in which to meet.”

Wed., 8 Oct., 1952:

“[First Presidency meeting]  A letter was read from President Bringhurst of the Swiss-Austrian Mission stating that they expect to have the deal for the temple site in Bern, Switzerland consummated within the next ten days.”

Tues., 18 Nov., 1952:

“Telephone conversation with President Samuel E. Bringhurst of the Swiss-Austrian Mission, Basel, Switzerland, 5 a.m. in Basel.

President Bringhurst:  In spite of all we have done we have not been able to get that property–they withdrew it from the market–it will be sold at some future time–it is owned by wealthy people.

There are two other tracts available that we can get.  Do you remember when you and Sister McKay, Sister Bringhurst and I stopped at that station and you pointed off to the left by the frest and beyond to some property, and wondered if it could be obtained? That property is now available–it was not at the time.  We can get six acres.  It is the land on top of that hill.  The property will be built up next to the road.  It is only a four-minute walk to the transportation lines–to both the train and the street car.

President McKay:  Could you build a Branch House on it?

President Bringhurst:  No, it is too far out.

President McKay:  Is there any chance to get a place for the Branch?

President Bringhurst:  Oh, yes; we can get a place for the Branch.

The other piece of property available is not quite so good–it is not so far out; it is further down toward town across the river going out north, up to the right.  There is only one question about it.  Part of the frontage–8 pieces–have been sold for family houses.  That, however, I learned this morning, has not been definitely settled.  In my opinion this property is not as valuable as the one mentioned to you first.

President McKay:  Let me ask you, President Bringhurst, is there a sinister force opposing us, or Church influence opposing us in the purchase of the first piece of property?

President Bringhurst:  I do not know; they merely told us they have changed their minds.

President McKay:  What is the attitude of the real estate man?

President Bringhurst:  He is still favorable, and extremely hurt over the change of those people; they had assured him that everything would be taken care of.

President McKay:  I liked him; he is a very fine gentleman.

Have you had access to that rich woman; is she still favorable?

President Bringhurst:  She is still favorable, and would help uss if she could; but being a widow her hands are tied.

President McKay:  What about that knoll three miles out?

President Bringhurst:  Part of it has been sold.

President McKay:  We should have followed our impression on that.

President Bringhurst:  You are right.

President McKay:  It is always best to follow the impression that comes to us.

President Bringhurst:  This property that I have described to you is better than that on the knoll; it is more accessible from the standpoint of transportation.  There are six acres.

President McKay:  How about the price?

President Bringhurst:  The price is less.

President McKay:  It would probably be well to make an option on it.

President Bringhurst:  We have an option for three weeks.

President McKay:  You think the property is better than the one over in the woods?

President Bringhurst:  It is considerably better–more accessible–morepublic.  They are putting in the sewer and water lines.  There will be no industry allowed–it is to be for churches and residences.

President McKay:  How far is it from the clock?

President Bringhurst:  It is 10 minutes on the street car; the street car is about a five-minute walk from it.

President McKay:  I shall report this morning and let you know our decision.

We are sorry that we have had to hold you there.

President Bringhurst:  Don’t worry about that for one minute; no matter how long it takes, we are glad to stay here until we finish the job.  Anything we can do for you is just a pleasure.

President McKay:  How is Sister Bringhurst?

President Bringhurst:  She is much improved.

President McKay:  Give her our love and blessing and to all the folks at headquarters.

President Bringhurst:  We should like to have word regarding this property within the next week; the property is going fast.

President McKay:  We shall let you know within a week.

At the First Presidency’s meeting this morning I reported the above long distance telephone conversation with Pres. Bringhurst. Explained to the Brethren that one of the heirs, a banker, who had had a difficult time in inducing other heirs to sign had himself refused and advised the others not to sign, and they withdrew all the property from the market, including the tract that had been promised to the International Red Cross, and the only reason given was that they had concluded it was best not to sell at this time. Further that there are two other tracts available that we can get, one a six acre property on top of a hill, only four minutes to the transportation lines, both train and street car.  It is rather far out to build a branch building there.  They have taken an option for three weeks and the price is less than the other property.  It is only ten minutes from town on the street car.  They would like to have word within a week as property there is going fast.  I said that I thought we should take this property.  The Brethren said they would accept my judgment and that of Pres. Bringhurst.  We decided to notify Pres. Bringhurst to take the property and also to secure a place for a branch building in the even this is too far away from the Saints; felt we shouild take the entire six acres.

(See attached letters with further reference to Temple site.)”

Wed., 19 Nov., 1952:

“President Samuel E. Bringhurst

Swiss-Austrian Mission

Dear President Bringhurst:

Your letter of November 14 came to hand Monday, November 17, stating that you had received an unfavorable answer to your request to purchase the acreage at Berne selected for a temple site.  The only reason given by one of the heirs was that he deemed it ‘inadvisable’ to sell the property at this time.

I was glad to note your optimistic spirit expressed in the words ‘I am confident that everything will yet turn out for the best.’

For several months–indeed, ever since leaving Glasgow last July–I have had a deep impression that opposing forces would prevent our obtaining that site.  As I read your letter stating that all effort had failed and a negative decision had been rendered, I was not surprised, but at first disappointed; however, strangely enough, my disappointment soon disappeared and was replaced by an assurance that the Lord will overrule all transactions for the best good of His Church, not only in Switzerland but throughout Europe.

This assurance was intensified during our telephone conversations yesterday, November 18.  My call to you the second time followed my meeting with President Clark (President Richards having been absent in Washington, D.C.) at which we both agreed to authorize you to consummate the purchase of the six-acre plot near the station at which you, Sister Bringhurst, Sister McKay and I stopped just as we were entering Berne on our way from Zurich July 3.

We hope and pray, if this site is suitable to the Lord, that you and your able associates will succeed in securing full and legal possession.

With kindest personal regards to you, Sister Bringhurst, Elders and Sisters at headquarters, to Elder William Zimmerman, and to the two real-estate gentlemen whom we met at Berne, I remain

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


Fri., 21 Nov., 1952:

“Dear President McKay:

It was so good to hear your voice on the telephone Tuesday.  We thank you kindly for your prompt action on our recommendation of the temple site in Bern and appreciate your confidence in authorizing us to complete the transaction.  We just returned from Bern and wired you as follows:  ‘Temple site purchase consummated. Send $185,950.00 by air mail.’

The records show that this property contains 6.72 acres.  It has several advantages over the previously considered site and the cost per square meter is only one half as much.  The sale price also includes hard surfaced streets, sewer and water.  The sewer and water lines are in and the streets will be finished next spring.

I am requiring that fifty-thousand franks or approximately twelve-thousand dollars be placed in excrow until the streets are finished.  The total price of the site including costs and sales tax is one-hundred and eighty-five thousand nine-hundred and fifty dollars.  They are asking that we complete the purchase by on before December 1, 1952 as a higher inheritance tax goes into effect after that date.  If the check is sent by returned air mail it will reach us in time.

Mr. Jordi through whom we are dealing is a competent architect and operates a large construction company, asks that we allow him to do the excavating, masonry and carpenter work at current competitive cost when the building is erected.  Brother Zimmer advises that this is a customary practice here.  You will remember Mr. Jordi, he is the gentleman who attempted to get the other property for us and with whom you were favorably impressed.  He enjoys a good reputation.

We are using the services of Mr. Abundi Schmid a competent friendly attorney whose parents are church members living in Logan, Utah.

We gratefullyi acknowledge the help of the Lord in this transaction.  We thank you, President McKay, and the others for your faith and prayers.  Our entire group of missionaries fasted and prayed and immediately after, this property became available. We are greatly relieved and so thankful.

We are enclosing a plat and pictures.  Larger pictures will be sent when they are finished.  Our hearts rejoice tonight.

Thanking you from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity you have given me to serve our church, with kindest regards, I beg to remain

Your humble friend and brother,

Samuel E. Bringhurst.”

Thur., 4 Dec., 1952:

“From 9 to 9:50–Convened in First Presidency’s meeting.  I reported that President Bringhurst of the Swiss-Austrian Mission reports that the money–$185,950–has now been paid for the Temple site in Switzerland and the Church owns the land consisting of 6.72 acres.  Monday the title documents will be recorded in the Government records of Berne.  I said we should act without delay in having sketches prepared for the Temple.  Thought that someone should go to England with Stayner Richards, perhaps on February 1, and that perhaps an architect should also go and look over the site.”

Wed., 14 Jan., 1953:

“President [Samuel H.] Bringhurst delivered to the [First] Presidency title papers in connection with the purchase of the temple site in Bern, Switzerland, which papers have been recorded. These were turned over to Brother Rulon Tingey of the Finance Office to have placed in the vault.  Pres. Bringhurst was very well pleased, and the Brethren were also, over the completion of this deal.  President Bringhurst related that after learning that the property that we originally tried to secure was taken off the market, the missionaries fasted and prayed that the Lord would open up the way that we would get the site that he desired we should obtain.  Within two or three days this property was placed on the market, which property President McKay had seen when he was there and had preferred it to the other one, but it was not then for sale.

The First Presidency gave President Bringhurst a receipt for the papers he turned over to them.

We now have seven acres in this site for the same price we woulid have had to pay for the other site, and it is a better site.  It is reported that it is as close to the present meeting place of the Bern Branch as the other site–ten minutes by the street car.  The real estate man who handled the deal has been very friendly and has purchased on his own account the adjoining property.”

Mon., 16 Feb., 1953:

“8:40 a.m.–At my request, Brother Marion G. Romney called at the office and I asked him what is being done in the matter of sending help to Holland on account of the flood disaster there.  Brother romney said that nothing had been done, that cables were sent by the First Presidency to the mission presidents asking as to their needs, and the report has come that our people in Holland had suffered no serious loss.

I asked Brother Romney to get in touch with Brother Cornelius Zappey, former Mission President to Holland, who has been in communication with President Van Dam of the Netherlands Mission. I said that it might be wise to send another message to President Van Dam after Brother Romney has consulted with Brother Zappey. I said I thought we should make an official offer to the Queen that we stand ready to render any assistance possible, and let it go through the Church there, from us.  Brother Romney said he would talk with Brother Zappey and then call me.”

Mon., 16 Feb., 1953:

“1 p.m.–Left for home.  While at home called Clare and asked her to locate Howard McKean by telephone.  Later, he was located at the Fife home in New Orleans.  In my confersation with Brother McKean I told him I should like to talk to him about the Temple plan in Berne, Switzerland.  Inquired if he would be returning by way of Los Angeles enroute home so that we could meet there, but Brother McKean said he is coming home through Mesa within the next ten days.  I said that I would wait until he gets home, but wondered if I should take some plans with me to Los Angeles and talk to Edward O. Anderson who is down there working on the Los Angeles Temple.  Brother McKean said Brother Anderson’s suggestions and criticisms would be good.  I mentioned the plan submitted by Arthur Price, but Bro. McKean said Brother Anderson did not like that plan at all–that it wouldn’t suit.

It was agreed that we should wait for Bro. McKean’s return before taking further action.”

Wed., 18 Feb., 1953:

“8:45 a.m.–Telephoned to President Stephen L. Richards at his apartment where he is still confined with a heart ailment.  He reported that he is feeling much better; however, said the doctors advise that he not put forth any strenuous effort as yet.  I warned Pres. Richards to make no effort to attend meetings, or to climb any stairs.

I then talked to him regarding the sending of a letter to Queen Juliana of Holland, expressing our sympathy for her subjects in the Netherlands who have been subjected to the terrible ravages of the North Sea.  With this letter it is proposed that we send a check for $10,560 (40,000 guilders) to aid in their rehabilitation with the statement to her also that we have placed at the disposal of the Queen’s Relief Committee who may appeal to our Mission President In Holland – Brother Van Dam – a supply of quilts and blankets, and he will be glad to cooperate with the committee in the distribution of these quilts and blankets for the immediate comfort of those who have suffered from this disaster.”

“10:15 a.m.–Elder Marion Romney of the Council of the Twelve called at the office in response to a request I made of him on the 16th; viz., that Brother Romney and Cornelius Zappey, former President to the Holland Mission, look over the correspondence sent by President Van Dam of the Netherlands Mission concerning relief for the disaster victims in Holland, and make their recommendations concerning the assistance we may extend to the flood victims.

Brother Romney reported that through President Van Dam the saints in Holland are making contributions to assist the destitute, though not many of our people are suffering or are in need.

He further reported that there are available from Church Welfare supplies here in Salt Lake 800 quilts valued at $6 each and 200 blankets valued at $6 each which could be sent to the Netherlands Mission.  Bro. Romney thinks these would be the most helpful assistance we can give at the present time.”

Fri., 20 Feb., 1953:

From 9 to 10:30 — I had a meeting with members of the Building Committee–Brother Frank Bowers, Arthur Price, Brother Silver– regarding plans for the Berne, Switzerland Temple.  Several sketches on a new plan for the temple were submitted by the committee.  It was found that it is difficult to draw the elevation for any one of these plans until we have not only pictures of the site but until we know whether or not the road that now goes through the seven acres we have purchased will be officially closed.  I learned that Brother Price is going over there on private business early in April.  After having an interview with former President Bringhurst of the Swiss-Austrian Mission, it was concluded that it would probably be well for him to go over and consummate the closing of this road and get approval of the local authorities to build a temple on that site and also a Church edifice for the local branch at Berne.  This, however, should be done before Conference.  Brother Price is going after Conference.  I thought it would be well to have Brother Price and Brother Bringhurst go over there and meet the local architect, William Zimmer, and a contractor, Mr. Yeager(?) on the site and authorize the drawing up of the detailed plans so that work may begin on the temple early in the Spring.  I said we contemplate building a temple there that will cost probably $300,000 or $400,000, that will take care of all the ordinances as we now have them.  Such plans will make it possible for us to build temples in Switzerland and Great Britain and probably in New Zealand, and give the people of those lands an opportunity to do their temple work, who will probably never get a chance to come here.

I also dictated the following letter to Her Majesty, Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands:

                                                ‘February 20, 1953

‘Her Majesty, Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands:

‘The enclosed draft for $10,560 (40,000 guilders) is very little compared with the tremendous damage caused recently by the disastrous storm which destroyed ancient dykes and inundated rich areas of farm land and villages in the Netherlands.  It is however, a slight expression of the sympathy and love of the many thousands of Hollanders in Western America, of the 3,500 Hollanders in the Netherlands, and other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

‘Please accept it with other funds contributed for the alleviation of your majesty’s subjects who are victims of the holocaust caused by the ravages of the North Sea.

‘The Welfare organization of the church has several hundred quilts and blankets that may be distributed by our Mr. Donovan H. Van Dam, President of the Netherlands Mission (Laan van Poot 292, The Hague, Holland) whom your Welfare Committee may contact if we can be of even further slight assistance.

Sincerely and sympathetically,

The First Presidency

                                                 By David O. McKay

                                                     (President, Church of Jesus Christ of

                                                       Latter-day Saints)'”

10 March, 1953:

            “Letter received from the secretary to Queen Julianna of the Netherlands.

Particulier Secretaris Van

  H.M. De Koningin                                 Soestdijk, 10th of March, 1953

C 284/53/V

To Mr. David O. McKay

President of the Church of Jesus Christ

                      of  Latter-day Saints



Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands has asked me to

convey to you her sincerest thanks for the message of sympathy, expressed

in your letter of February 20, 1953, and the enclosed contribution towards

the needs of the victims of the flood in the form of a draft for $10,560.-.

Her Majesty was greatly moved by this act of christian

charity by the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

and wishes to express her profound gratitude.

The Private Secretary to

H.M. the Queen of the Netherlands,

/s/Baron van Heeckeren van Molecaten

(Baron van Heecheren van Molecaten)

Mon., 2 Mar., 1953:

Telephone Calls

“1.  President Stephen L. Richards called by telephone from his apartment pertaining to a letter addressed to Pres. R. Scott Zimmerman of the Western-Canadian Mission, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, prepared by Pres. Clark under date of January 9, 1953, and said, ‘it is very difficult for me to harmonize my feelings with the stand taken’.  (The letter pertains to the acceptance by the people in Canada of gratuities of one sort and another granted by the Canadian government, and was sent to President Richards with the request that he read it and give us his opinion of the same.)

President Richards further said:  ‘I just feel that we do not have to do things like that when we can leave the people to act for themselves, and while we cannot individually approve of everything governments do, I think the policy as outlined in the letter would lead us to take objection to what governments all over the world are doing.  We, the Church, are world-wide, and it makes so many people feel that they are not in good standing because they are not fully following the counsel of our brethren.’

I answered:  ‘That is true, and they do not like to go against our counsel, and as you say, when they do, they feel they are out of harmony.’

Brother Richards then said:  ‘We cannot regulate the affairs of all governments, and I wonder if the time has not come when we can say that we express no official view; that we leave it to the people for determination themselves.’

I remarked at this point that ‘We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.’

President Richards stated that ‘there is nothing in the law (Canadian) that prevents us from teaching family solidarity, and from advocating those high principles in our Gospel, but when it comes to interfering with the policies of the government, I doubt that it is our function.’

I expressed appreciation to Pres. Richards for his views, and he answered that that is the way he honestly feels about the matter.

I then told Pres. Richards that he has our love and blessings, and that I hoped this interruption would not in any way disturb him.  He said that it had not; that he had been sitting up a little today, and feels that he is getting better.  Said the doctor had let his nurse go today, which is a good sign.  I warned him not to get too eager; that rest is the greatest specific at this time; that he must take it without any worry.  Pres. Richards then said that he thought he had followed the doctor’s orders to the letter, and that he had walked only half a block the other day when he had that slight heart attack, and couldn’t get back to the apartment without great distress.

Said he appreciates our patience with him, and I said, ‘it is good to have you this close, and we shall be glad to have you back when you can come without injury to yourself.'”

6.  President Samuel E. Bringhurst, formerly President of the Swiss-Austrian Mission, telephoned to see if he could do anything to help the Berne Temple plans along.  I told him that I had received some suggestive plans from Brother Price of the Architect’s office, and that I had taken the plans down to Los Angeles where I had a conference with Brother Eduward O. Anderson who also has drawn plans for the Temple.  Said that I spent several hours with Brother Anderson and Brother Jacobsen, and finally told Brother Anderson to send up his sketch at the earliest possible date – O that the plans had not arrived as yet but that they should be here today.

I told Brother Bringhurst that as soon as we decide upon the plans, we would arrange for him to go back with Brother Price who is going over on a personal visit.  Said that I had hoped this could be done before April Conference, but felt that it would be impossible to do that.  However, immediately following Conference we should like Brother Bringhurst to go to Switzerland, and we shall have plans to submit so that he can meet the City Council at Berne, show them the plans, including the exterior of the building, and then get the road closed – and then we should be ready to proceed.

Brother Bringhurst wondered if it would be advisable to have Brother Zimmer change or interpret the plans into the German Form, so that we might make a better impression with the people there in Berne.  I answered, ‘Yes, if necessary.’

I then said that Brother Price has sent in a suggestive plan for the exterior of the building, and that I shall present it at the Committee meeting tomorrow morning.”

Wed., 11 Mar., 1953:

9 to 10:15 a.m. – First Presidency’s meeting.

“We discussed Hilton A. Robertson and the Chinese Mission.  Were agreed that the group of Chinese in the San Francisco area should not be neglected.  I favor sending Brother and Sister Robertson to Japan to preside over the Japanese Mission, and to take care of the little Chinese Branch in Hong Kong, China.  Pres. Clark expressed willingness to go along with me in this decision.

At this point we discussed the matter of the illness of President Richards.  It was agreed that it would be perhaps six months or longer before President Richards should asume the responsibility of the chairmanship of the Missionary work.  It was agreed that President Joseph Fielding Smith should continue as Chairman and that President Richards should be entirely relieved of that responsibility during this period.”

Wed., 25 Mar., 1953:

“2.  Brother Stayner Richards called to say that he has had considerable correspondence with Pres. A. Hamer Reiser of the British Mission regarding Temple matters.  ‘Things are progressing, but unfortunately the solicitors of the lady in question are so English-like, so deliberate, and so slow they would not permit any proceedings until just recently.  Now operations are in effect, and I feel certain we shall not get anything definite until sometime next month,’ Brother Richards said.

Said he would be glad to elaborate further at some mutually convenient time.

1 April, 1953:

“First Presidency’s Meeting — Among items considered were:

(4) Considered a proposed elevation for the Swiss Temple and the new plan, which provides that instead of going from room to room, the creation room and the world room will be thrown on a screen, so that the people will remain in their seats, and then go through the veil into the Celestial room.  The brethren were enthusiastic about this new arrangement.  It is estimated it will cost roughly $350,000.  Brother Bringhurst will go to Switzerland to meet Brother Zimmer, the architect, put the plans into German, and use them to get approval from the local Commission in Switzerland, and at the same time petition to close the road that now runs through our seven acres.  Bro. Bringhurst said this morning that the leading real estate man, Brother Zimmer, and one other will purchase the property to the north, so that there will be no problem about closing the road.  Brother Arthur Price is going to Europe on private business and he could go from London to Switzerland with Brother Bringhurst and study the situation about the materials, etc.

(5) We have not yet received word regarding the Great Britain Temple property.”

Fri., 3 Apr., 1953:

“Announcement was made today of the plans for the Swiss Temple.  It was announced, also, that the Church would like to start construction on the building sometime this summer.  The plans will be forwarded immediately to Switzerland to secure approval of the Berne Building Commission.  The cost of this Temple will be approximately $350,000.(see Newspaper clipping attached)”

Fri., 10 Apr., 1943:   (1953?)

9:00 a.m.

“President Maughan of the New England Mission called at the office.  Said he is introducing the Great Lakes Missionary program in the New England Mission, and would like one of the missionaries from the Great Lakes Mission to introduce the plan.

Upon discussing this later at the meeting of the First Presidency, the brethren felt this would not be necessary.”

Tues., 14 Apr., 1953:

First Presidency:

“At 8:30 a.m. – Met by appointment Brother Samuel E. Bringhurst who leaves tomorrow by air for Bern, Switzerland to take care of matters pertaining to Temple matters.  I suggested to him the following: that he take the temple elevation and the proposed plans for the temple and present them to the Commission in Muenchenbuchsee, a suburb of Bern, for approval of the building and for the closing of the road; that he meet Brother Arthur Price in London, who is there on his own personal responsibility, and pay his fare from London to Bern; Brother Bringhurst and Brother Price to meet with Wm. Zimmer and Mr. Jordi, to get their help in this work.  They are to determine first, the site of the temple with the road closed, and if the road cannot be closed, then another site, also a site for the Bern branch chapel, and one for the temple president’s residence, also a site for cottages which may be used for the people who come in from surrounding missions; third, Brothers Bringhurst, Price, and Zimmer are to look around for building materials and come back with a recommendation; fourth, Brother Bringhurst will consult with Brother McKean before he leaves and speak to Brother Zimmer about drawing the specifications in the Swiss language.

15 May, 1953:

Telephone Calls

“Arthur Watkins called from Washington, D.C.  Said he is Chairman of  the Immigration Committee, and that the President has asked Congress to pass a special immigration bill to allow 240,000 people to come into this country over the course of two years — 110,000 Germans or people of German origin from behind the Iron curtain, or those who have escaped from the Iron curtain, – 20,000 Dutch people – 20,000 Greeks, and 75,000 Italians.  Said that he spent an hour with President Eisenhower on this matter.  The President thinks if we allow these people to come in to this country, it will be an example to the South American countries and will greatly aid in the war against communism.  The President promises that he will not repeat the request nor will he repeat the promise regarding this matter which was left him from the other administration.

Senator Watkins said that it is a pretty hard thing for him to do, but he is doing it because of his faith in the President.  I remarked that I thought he should go along with the President.

The Senator then said that he is going to fight this foreign spending, but he believes that 240,000 people brought here over a period of two years will not hurt us; that they will be screened very closely and only the best will be allowed to come in.  Said that some of the Italians are very fine people, but they will have to be especially careful in allowing only those who are worthy to enter this country — they will all be submitted to very close screening, and if they enter under false pretenses, they will be deported immediately.

I told Senator Watkins that I did not feel too well about the Italians, but that I did feel all right about the Dutch and the Germans.  All of them should, of course, be examined closely before entering.

London Temple site.  Our attention was called to a letter from President A. Hamer Reiser to Stayner Richards stating that the contract for the purchase of the property in New Hall (temple site) has just been signed, and that the possession of the property is to pass to us June 24.  The money must be paid to our solicitors immediately to be held in escrow.  The amount is $56,000.  The letter with this request was turned over to the Finance Department.

29 May, 1953:

President Ernest L. Wilkinson of the Brigham Young University called to say that Miss Tanner of the McCune School of Music has an invitation from the National Dance Festival Committee to take 25 of her students to New London, Connecticut.

It will take $5000 to take care of the expenses; parents are willing to raise one half of the cost, and the McCune School $2500.  This amount is not included in the budget as the Executive Committee did not foresee such an expense.  They recognize the value of the dancing Miss Tanner is teaching — the interpretive dance is preferable to the ballet, and Miss Tanner has received national recognition for her work.  If the students attend this festival it will be a boost to the McCune School of Music, and a credit to the Church.

The children, ranging from 6 to 16 years of age, will go by bus.  Many of the parents have volunteered to go with them.

President Wilkinson said that quite a number of people have urged that these students be allowed to go.

I told him that I would take the matter up this morning at our First Presidency’s meeting.

President Wilkinson then asked if he should have James L. Barker sign a contract for next year.  Said Brother Barker had intimated that he might be sent to Italy to open up an Italian Mission.  I told President Wilkinson that Brother Barker had better sign the contract with the B.Y.U. for next year as nothing has been decided about the Italian Mission.”

Wed., 17 June, 1953:

“Note:  Swiss Temple

Received word from President Bringhurst.  He wants to know if I will come over to Switzerland and give approval to what they have done and dedicate the Temple site and break ground.  The closing of the road, President Bringhurst thinks, will have the approval of the Commission.  A minister and some other people protested against the building of the temple, but they did not put their protestations in writing so the Commission paid no attention to them.

I think I shall fly over there leaving here the last of July or the first of August.”

Thur., 25 Jun., 1953:

Dedication of English and Swiss Temple Sites

At Council meeting I said that the question has arisen as to the advisability of dedicating the temple site in Bern, Switzerland, and also the temple site in England.  Brother Bringhurst reports that we now have the deeds, and that the Commission has agreed upon the closing of the street through the acreage near our site, and has given approval for the erection of a temple there.  Brother Bringhurst says that everything will be ready for the dedication of the site about the middle of July.  President Richards and President Clark both approve of my going over there to take care of this matter.  I felt that I could leave here about the end of July.  I raised the question as to whether or not an invitation should be sent to the Presidents of Missions in Europe to attend the dedication in Switzerland and also in England.  On motion of Brother Moyle, duly seconded, it was decided to extend these invitations.

Fri., 26 June, 1953:

“8:50 a.m. – Brother Howard McKean of the Church Building Committee called.  As it was nearly time for the First Presidency’s meeting, I took him into the meeting so that he could explain to my counselors matters pertaining to the Swiss Temple.

He took up the matter of the contract for the erection of the temple in Switzerland.  A letter from Brother Samuel Bringhurst, who is in Bern, explains that William Zimmer will donate part of his architectural fees.  The contract for the purchase of the site has been signed and we are tied to it.  It provides that Mr. Jordi, the real estate agent who assisted us in getting the property, should have the contract for erecting the temple, with the understanding that he will meet the competitive prices.  I signed the agreement with the architects, Bercher & Zimmer, in duplicate.

Brother Bringhurst has suggested that we have the oxen for the baptismal font cast here and sent over to Switzerland, thinking this would save us some money.  Brother McKean was asked to see what the cost of shipping would be.  It was also suggested that he get all the legal questions formulated and have them answered.  Brother McKean thought that any work we do here, such as casting the oxen, would be exempt from the architect’s fee of 7.81%.

Wed., 1 July, 1953:

First Presidency’s meeting

We read letters from Pres. A. Hamer Reiser of the British Mission regarding temporary care of the grounds, etc. of the New Chapel temple site.  It was decided to authorize him to get the necessary help to clean up the place, that, however, the repairs should wait until I arrive there.

I reported that my present plan is to go to Switzerland leaving here the end of the month.  Said I felt it would be better not to have the mission presidents attend the services in connection with the dedication of the ground, but let them attend the corner-stone laying ceremonies.  It is my present plan to land in London and go out and see the temple property, then go to Berne, and after returning from Berne, dedicate the land in New Chapel, England, about August 6, 1953.

Sat., 4 July, 1953:

“Immediately following the parade, and according to appointment, I met Brother Hilton A. Robertson, former President of the Japanese Mission.  I told him that I should like him to preside over the Japanese Mission for the next year or two, and for him to arrange his affairs accordingly.  He will succeed Brother Vinal G. Moss, and take charge of the Chinese Mission also.

Brother Robertson’s spirit is best expressed in his answer to Sister McKay who afterwards said to him: ‘What do you think about this new appointment?’  President Robertson said: ‘I don’t think; I just accept; when the President of the Church speaks, we say Yes.”

August 5, 1953

“(Dedication of the Berne Temple Site)

David O. McKay Dedicates Switzerland Temple Site

Reuters News Agency

Zollikofen, Switzerland, Aug. 5 – David O. McKay, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Wednesday dedicated the first European Temple of the church in a picturesque site on the outskirts of this little village near Bern.

More than 200 members of the church watched the president, who was accompanied by his wife, Emma, and son, Llewellyn, perform the ceremony in bright sunshine.

The visitors came from Switzerland, Germany, Austria and France to witness the beginning of a temple just a little more than 100 years after Mormon missionaries came to Bern.

At Forest Edge

The dedication took place on a specially erected platform at the edge of a pine wood overlooking the site where construction will begin in about three months.  It will cost about $465,000 and take 18 months to build.

The service began with prayers and hymns to the accompaniment of a piano on the platform.  The hymns included ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘The Spirit of God Like a Fire Is Burning.’

The LDS Church has about 2,640 members in Switzerland.  There are 56 missionaries in the Austro-Swiss mission.

After his dedicatory prayer, Pres. McKay dug the first spade of earth on the spot where construction of the temple will begin.

Pres. McKay told the onlookers of the three types of buildings used by the Latter-day Saints.

General Worship

‘We first have chapels for general worship and anyone can come into them,’ he said.  ‘Then we have tabernacles for conferences and larger gatherings and, lastly, there is the temple which is not a place for public worship.  Only the members of the church may enter.’

There are three distinguishing features of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he said in his dedicatory address.

‘One, there is the divine authority by direct revelation.

‘Two, the organization of the church with its apostles, prophets and evangelists.  Every member of the church has the opportunity to worship and serve in an organized way.

Eternal Nature

‘Three, there is the eternal nature of the ordinances and ceremonies – therein is the exercising of the blessing of the temple.  If the spirit persists so does love.

‘Each of you husbands will recognize your wife in the other world and love her,’ McKay added.  ‘Why should you let death separate you when love continues into eternity?’

‘He that believeth in the Lord shall not perish but have eternal life.  We believe that all men may be saved by adherence to the ordinances of the gospel.'”

The Salt Lake Tribune, Thursday, August 6, 1953

“First Presidency Meeting

Thursday, August 20, 1953,  9 a.m.

Present: President David O. McKay, President Stephen L. Richards and President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

1.  President McKay returned home from Europe last night and was at the office this morning and reported his trip to Europe.  He mentioned that when he left for Europe it was thought that the temple in Switzerland would cost $650,000, that it was felt that was too much as it would be a sort of precedent for other temples.  President McKay and his party arrived in England on August 3 and went out immediately to the New Chapel property to get an idea of what might be done.  Went to Basel, Switzerland on the 4th, and on Wednesday, August 5, dedicated the site near Bern.  President McKay then asked Brother Zimmer, the architect in Switzerland, Brother Edward O. Anderson and Brother McKay’s son Llewelyn to start at once to go over the plans, with the understanding they would have to cut down the cost.  They worked on it for three days (Brother Zimmer was very cooperative with Brother Anderson), and they brought forth tentative plans for a fine building at an estimated cost of $450,000, cutting the capacity to 84.  It is the same plan cut down a little and with a little less basement.  It will be a terra cotta building.  It is understood that they do not make good cast stone over there.  Brother Zimmer who will have charge of the work has not been through the temple so he would be handicapped.   Brother Anderson took with him the complete outlines of the Los Angeles Temple.  The price of $450,000 includes everything–the architect, the contractor, the supervisor and all.  President McKay said the site is ideal.  It faces a little southeast, with the Alps in the distance, and there seems to be a pretty good feeling about it in the neighborhood.  The officials there are favorable.  President McKay told Brother Zimmer to go ahead with the plans and that he would report to the Brethren when he got back to Salt Lake.  They would like to have some money and will start at once.  The Brethren thought the capacity would be ample and that we were fortunate in getting the price of the temple down to $450,000.

President Richards moved that full approval be given.  Motion seconded and unanimously approved.

The President reported that he was very well pleased with the New Chapel property near London.  The property will cost about $62,500 which includes the carpets and rugs which the former owner has left.  All the buildings can be used.  The old manor can be used as a chapel, and the saints are delighted.  We have the final permit for the building and an assurance that if we use it for Church purposes it will be tax free.  President McKay suggested to Brother Reiser that he put in some benches there and hold services at once.  He has already held a meeting there with the district presidents.  Brother Cunningham, a counselor in the mission presidency, has charge of the micro-filming and is a very capable young man.  He expressed the intention of moving his family near New Chapel and using one or two of the rooms for use in connection with his film work.  It was felt that inasmuch as this work is all for the Church and we are not doing it for gain, it would be ideal.  There were over 200 people at the dedication of the site in New Chapel and 300 in Switzerland.  No one was invited to the dedication in England but the local people.  The site for the temple was chosen near the house where the old tennis court was located.  It will be a very magnificent setting.  The landscaping can be changed to fit the location.  There is a natural pond at the left and the little stream can be diverted so that the pond can be immediately in front of the temple, and by transplanting some trees which now obscure the highway and would obscure the temple from the highway.  The temple can stand as the center of the entire area, because the grounds will be laid out with the temple as the center.  None of the land now producing grain or hay will be disturbed.  The ten acres across the street can be disposed of or used for cottages or parking or whatever we wish.  President McKay thought we have a bargain.  There is a very old oak tree there that will be undisturbed.  President Perschon of the Swiss-Austrian Mission, who attended the exercises, was delighted with the site.

President McKay said that when he left here it was thought that it would be better to finish the Swiss temple and try out the new plan because we might want to make some improvements.  It will have to be tried out here at home as to the way in which the modification may be accomplished.  It was thought it could be tried out in the Salt Lake Temple.  The Brethren had in mind that we have all the necessary equipment here with which to take the pictures.  That should be done on an experimental basis first before we attempt to put it in large dimensions.  President McKay felt that the Swiss Temple could be completed by May, 1955.  The Brethren thought that Brothers Gordon Hinckley and Frank Wise might take charge of preparing these pictures.  It was thought that Brother ElRay L. Christiansen might be made chairman of this committee.

President McKay, further referring to his trip to Europe, said that he held a good meeting in Belfast, Ireland, and the Dublin saints came there.

2.  It was also the feeling of the Brethren that ElRay L. Christiansen might be chosen to preside over the Salt Lake Temple, succeeding President Young.

3.  President Richards reported that Brother E. Bentley Mitchell says that he has the temple ordinances all translated into the Tahitian language, subject to review.

4.  The Brethren decided to hold the solemn assembly in the Logan Temple on Sunday, September 20, and to appoint a committee to make preliminary preparations, to notify the stake presidents in that district and inform them whom they should invite, find out the seating capacity of the upper room, and let the stake presidents do the inviting.

5.  The Brethren considered the Louis Franklin Pierce case.  This brother is from Rock Island, Illinois, is a divorcee and wants to go through the temple to marry again tomorrow.  The sealing cancellation papers indicate that he slapped his former wife, that he was angry when she became pregnant and did not want her to have any more babies, etc.  It was felt by the Brethren that we should tell Brother Pierce that perhaps he should get married civilly first and then apply later for a recommend to the temple after he has proved himself.”

“Report Given by President David O. McKay on Trip to Europe from July 30 to August 19, 1953 At Council Meeting August 27, 1953

President David O. McKay

President McKay reported his visit to Europe, where he dedicated two temple sites.

On July 30, President and Sister McKay left for New York, where they were joined later by their son Llewelyn.  President McKay said he had been advised not to make the trip alone, and inasmuch as his son Llewelyn has the German language, it was thought it would be well for him to accompany them.

Arrived in Chicago a little late, and it looked as though they might miss their train connections from Chicago to New York.  However, they were met by Union Pacific officials and arrangements were made to hold the New York Central train, which was then due to leave for New York, and it was fifteen minutes late in starting because of being held for their arrival.  President McKay said that was typical of the service they received from the time they left Salt lake City until they returned, and it was a service which was unexcelled on the train and also on the airplanes, in assignments to rooms, carrying luggage, etc.

August 1, met in New York their son, David Lawrence, his wife Mildred and family.  They had been back east with the Tanner dancing group.  Also met Sister Tanner and her husband and obtained from them a first-hand report of the unexcelled reception given to that group by the people in Boston and New York, and recently by Time and Life magazines.  President McKay said that these little girls carried with them something that impressed all these people as they have never been impressed before.  Sister Tanner was overwhelmed and grateful and also acknowledged the hand of the Lord in it all.  He said these youngsters had their regular prayers while they were away.

On August 2 attended a priesthood meeting in the Manhattan Ward, then a Sunday School session.  In the priesthood class heard a very excellent presentation by the teacher on the apostasy.  President McKay spoke three times in the ward.  Had to leave before the last meeting in order to make arrangements for the flight at 4 p.m. on the Pan-American clipper ‘Morning Star.’  Left promptly at 4 o’clock and flew non-stop to London in 11 hours and 15 minutes, passing by Shannon.

On the morning of August 3 were met by President A. Reisar and counselors and taken directly to the hotel where rooms had been reserved, and they then left for the New Chapel property.    President McKay said they wanted to visit this property before they went to Switzerland because they knew there could be difficulty probably in choosing the exact site on the 32 acres.  Brother Edward O. Anderson had been invited, in fact appointed to accompany them on the trip.  It was was a very wise selection to have him over there to look at the site and to study the plans. The entire day was taken up in walking around the grounds and considering the most suitable spot for the temple.  We have 32 acres half way between —- and Brighton.  There is a large manor and some other houses on the site.  This property was secured through the efforts of Brother Staynor

Richards, who had six other sites in mind when President McKay was there a year ago, and all good sites, one of which included a manor held by Henry VIII, where his sixth wife lived and died.  This was a very excellent property, but it was rejected on two conditions, first the temple would be below a Protestant church, which had a higher elevation, and secondly, they did not think they would like the connotation of Henry VIII and his wives.  President McKay said they did not know when they chose this site at New Chapel, that that center controls all other property around that vicinity; in other words, no improvements in any property adjoining can be made without permission of the —- of New Chapel.  He said the reason the purchase could not be reported a year ago was because the owner could save something by way of taxes if nothing were said about it until February 1, 1953.  All the papers that were drawn up were torn up and there was nothing but a gentleman’s agreement between this widow, the owner and the church.  When February 1 came it was thought inadvisable to make the announcement because she wanted to remain there until July 1, and permission was granted for her to do so.  President McKay said she lived up to her part of the bargain, and we lived up to ours.  The property was secured for $60,000.00; including furnishings,  rugs and some old antiques that were left there, it cost $62,500.00.  Brother Edward O. Anderson, Brother Bringhurst and Brother McKewn estimate the value of the manor alone at $250,000.00.

The following day President McKay and his party left for Bern, Switzerland, where they dedicated the site, approximately seven acres, for the Swiss Temple.  President McKay explained that we were times months trying to secure a site that had been chosen a year ago in Switzerland, and that it was withdrawn from the market, and that two days before the conclusion of that deal, this present site came on the market, that it was not on the market a year ago.  President McKay felt that this is a better site than the other one, and has better surroundings.  It was the thought regarding the former site that Mr. Jordi would buy five acres and let us choose what we wanted, and we thought that 21/2 acres would be all we could afford.  We have secured 6.8 acres for less than we would have had to pay for the 21/2 acres.

President McKay mentioned this as a significant thing:  He said that they were informed that they had had rain for a week there in Switzerland.  On the morning of the 5th the sun was shining and it was as beautiful at home in Salt Lake this morning.  They could see the Alps faintly in the distance for the first time for several weeks, they said.  There were present at the dedication services the Mayor of the town in which the site is located.  He said the town really that will be interested in the temple is Zollikofen, which is just across the street from the temple.  The Mayor, however, who was present was the Mayor of the town in which geographically the temple will be located.  There was also present the National Architect, who called and saw the plans, and said, ‘We are very grateful that we have something new here in Switzerland.’  There were also other non-members.  President McKay mentioned that, he said, to show that evidently we have the favorable attitude of the people around there.

The President said that the people over there are very grateful that they are going to have a temple and they are already making contributions.

On Sunday, April 18, at the Basel., Switzerland ——-  ——- a sister eighty years old gave to President Perschon an envelope which contained a hundred francs, with the following note, ‘Sister Teresa —– gives for the building of the temple in Switzerland a hundred francs to help with its cost, and it is my wish that the Almighty God may accept this temple just as sacred as he did the Kirtland Temple, although I will not live when this whole building will be dedicated.’

As they marched up to the dedicatory services in the morning a sister put something in President McKay’s hand, saying, ‘Here is a contribution to the temple.’  President McKay handed it to President Perschon and told him to take charge of it and see that she received her receipt.  This is the note that was with it: ‘For the temple saved all together 30 francs.  This was done with love and great joy.  —- —- —- No. 20, Biel, of the Bieler Branch.’   When the envelope was opened they found sixty half francs all the same size, and as many —- as possible, which they had saved month after month.

In Scotland the President met an old lady, the oldest member of the Aberdeen Branch, who had heard about the perspective building in Great Britain.  She too made a contribution.  It was afterwards learned that she had gathered the money in this way:  when friends called on her she called attention to a little box she had, saying, ‘Before you leave I want you to make a contribution to this temple.’   She gave us her contribution.  Everyone who went to pay respects to her had to put something in for the temple.

President McKay said that he visited the Belfast Conference and he was very much pleased to see the improvement that had been made during the past thirty years.  Belfast was a very small branch at that time, several hundred people have already emigrated to America,  but they have a thriving branch temple now, and a very small one in Dublin,  where a larger branch —– thirty years ago.  Members from Dublin are at the Belfast meetings.  President McKay held three meetings, a missionary meeting, a priesthood meeting, and a general meeting in the afternoon in a small theater, which was crowded by members of both branches.

They returned to England, Monday, August 10, had difficulty in landing because of fog at Shannon, had to fly back to Dublin.  Filled their appointments and drove to London in a drizzling rain.  He was glad that they had a good driver.

Monday, August 10 arrived in London, met President Bringhurst, Edward O. Anderson, President Perschon and others, and went over the plans for the Swiss Temple, which had been completed by Brother Anderson and Brother William ——, the architect who will have charge of the temple in Switzerland.  He was pleased to report that the estimate of $650,000.00, which was the estimate when President McKay left here, was reduced to $420,000.00, and he thought that we would have a better building.  While the building as originally planned would accommodate 100 people, this modified plan will accommodate 84, with room to place chairs in the hallway, if needed.  We thought this would be a good example for the chairs to follow.  They cut down the area, they eliminated some of the basement, they would necessitate using a cement floor and a cement roof, and cut down the area of some of the buildings, but nothing in its appearance.  He will not have to report again to the Commission, as we have held it within their requirements.  Went over the plans again this morning.  If we can build a temple for about $100,000.00 more than we pay for —- and —— buildings here, we should be able to take more of these temples to the people.

The President said the dedicatory services at New Chapel were successful.  They did not invite the Presidents of the European Missions to be present, although the Presidency had said that they —- —– to invite them.  President McKay said that he did not want to make so much of this dedicatory service by inviting the Presidents because he did not like to bring the mission presidents and leave the missionaries.  Therefore, only the local people in Switzerland and also in England were invited.  There were over 300 at the dedicatory services in Switzerland and about 200 in England.

President McKay said that he felt that the right thing has been done; that when we voted here to undertake this, we voted for something which is entirely new in church history, carrying temples to the people in Europe, with the understanding that they will build up strong branches, making it unnecessary for them to sell out and go to the expense of coming here, and depriving many who cannot come here of the privileges of the House of the Lord, and they are worthy people.

Reported that Brother James M. Cunningham has done an excellent work in microfilming records, to which he could have access in Great Britain, Holland, Germany, and other places.   In the last seven years he and five others have spent full time in microfilming records for purposes of geneology.  All government and parish records in Scotland are in the church library over here.  Twelve members’ work in Ireland will make all government records available.  ———- are now underway to film all records in Wales.  We have had no help from the Archbishop of York nor the Archbishop of Canterbury, and we have had opposition from missionaries who look with a great deal of —– upon the building of a temple in Great Britain.  Word regarding the Short Creek Incident, as repeated to President McKay by Brother Cyril Jenkins, can be summed up in a remark made by one of the gentlemen of the cloth, when Brother Jenkins was introducing the choir records, and Brother Jenkins told them that we were going to build a temple there, and that they had just dedicated the ground, the gentleman said, ‘A temple in Great Britain in face of this Short Creek mess!’  Brother Jenkins answered that there is nothing to it, that the Church has nothing to do with it.   The man said, ‘A minister reported to me the other day the leopard never changes its spots.’

The President said we have assurances of the guidance and inspiration of the Lord in everything that has been done, and he testified that he was convinced we are doing the right thing.  It is believed that the temple in Switzerland can be completed by May, 1955, probably be ready for dedication before the Los Angeles Temple.  He thought that nothing would be so helpful to the Church in Europe as the dedication of the temple, and probably the dedication in Great Britain.  It is surprising how eager the papers were to have something regarding the trip.  The President said they made no publicity about it, but the reporters would know when they were leaving by train, when they were arriving by train, where they would go to a hotel, and they were there to interview them.  In Aberdeen the Evening Express sent a representative to interview them.  She was a girl, and she said she would write the story and they would probably get it tomorrow evening.  President McKay said that they would hold her responsible for what she would say, and she said, ‘You will not be ashamed of it.’  President McKay said they were not, that it was a very good article.

He said when they approached a neighbor who lives near the old house in which President McKay’s father was born, he came out to meet them and said, ‘I just told my wife I thought you would be here this morning.  I saw by the paper where you were coming.  And I said he will come out here, and we are glad to meet you.’  President McKay said they met the very man who owns the property on which that building now stands.  He was just going out with his sheep to market.  Incidentally, he said, the last three market days in Thurso, way up there in the north of Scotland, they shipped forty thousand head of lambs from that one market, and we are sending over help to them.

President McKay said that the Manchester Guardian the day that he was there had an editorial the first sentence of which in substance was this:  ‘Nobody will contend that the Socialist Government has been a success.’  The President said that is the attitude over there.

The President related an incident that appeared in the press over there to show how unsatisfactory controlled medicine is.  He said we do not want that in America.

The President was very much impressed with the funeral services for Brother James McConkie.  Thought the Brethren who spoke had the Spirit of the Gospel and gave comfort such as seldom is given at a funeral service.  He felt sure that both families, and the widow, were very much conforted by what was said.”

Wed., 26 Aug., 1953:

“First Presidency’s Meeting   Among other things the following were given attention:

2.  In talking with Senator Bennett, I reported that I had received word that Senator Watkins was going to Europe in the interest of the new immigration program and he wondered if he could do anything to help immigrate our people from there.  I said I failed to contact Senator Watkins but that we should like our people to remain in Europe and build up strong branches, particularly now that we are taking temples to them.  Many of them have good positions there.  They can now remain there, build up the branches, receive their endowments and have their temple work taken care of there, both for themselves and their dead.  Senator Bennett said that so far as Germany is concerned and the countries the Nazis overran, many of them have a record which would make them ineligible for emigration, if they were in any way identified with the Nazis.

Thurs., 27 Aug., 1953:

“Spent considerable time discussing with Howard McKean, Edward O. Anderson, Samuel E. Bringhurst, and later President Clark, matters pertaining to plans for the Swiss Temple.

It was decided for the present at least not to build any living quarters for people who will come to the temple, on the temple property, that if others desired to build such apartments nearby as a private undertaking, it would be preferable even if the Church had to guarantee the owners against loss.  They agreed to build a home for the temple president on the temple property.  Referred the matter to Brother McKean and Brother Bringhurst to give it some thought – that is, the matter of quarters for people coming to the temple.

Mon., 31 Aug., 1953:

Following the conference with these brethren, I met Dr. U.R. Bryner, President of the American Academy of General Practice, who explained that Dr. Alexander Fleming, one of the great doctors of London, who has contributed much to the discovery of antibiotics, will be in Cleveland, Ohio next March to attend a medical convention.  At that time Dr. Bryner would like to have him come to Salt lake City and attend one of the sessions of the April General conference.  Dr. Fleming holds many degrees and Dr. Bryner thinks our Church school should bestow an honorary degree upon Dr. Fleming.  He thinks it would further our work in England, especially at this time when we are building a Temple, to recognize this prominent physician.

I told Dr. Bryner to take this matter up with Dr. Wilkinson, President of the B.Y.U.

At 8;15 a.m., I met by appointment Dr. Ernest L. Wilkinson.  I told him of Dr. Bryner’s suggestion regarding Dr. Fleming.  He will await to hear from Dr. Bryner.

President Wilkinson wanted to know what his attitude should be towards the State’s returning the Weber College, the Snow College, and Dixie College back to the Church.

I told him to see the Governor and ascertain under what conditions they would like to do this; however, that no publicity whatever should be given to this matter.

Tues., 1 Sept., 1953:

Notes from meeting of First Presidency

“1.  Pres. McKay mentioned that Jack Thomas had called on him yesterday and said that he had never been on a mission but there is one thing he would like to do which he felt would be a great missionary factor and that he would have to have a year and a half to work it out.  He said he would like to take the Tabernacle Choir to Switzerland when the temple there is dedicated and hold concerts in London and Paris and other centers.  He said it would cost $250,000 and that he would raise every cent of it and not call on the Church for one dollar.  He said he would reserve the Queen Elizabeth ship to carry them over.  President McKay said the Choir would fill the temple.  He answered that they would sing outside.  He further said that he felt they should not take any music books but must memorize the songs and sing from their hearts.  It would require a month or six weeks’ absence.  Pres. McKay thought that perhaps they could return by air.  He thought the temple would be completed by May, 1955.  The President said that the more he thought about it the more favorably he was impressed.”

Wed., 23 Sept., 1953:

Telephone Calls

3.  Dr. J. Frank Robinson, Vice-President of Westminster College called in the interest of the Greek people who are suffering because of the recent catastrophe by earthquake.  He would like us to join in sending clothing to the sufferers in Greece.  He said that the Greek pastor here and one other Greek had approached him regarding the matter, that they would like to join the Latter-day Saints in this movement, and that they would like to have our leadership in whatever might be done.  Elders Moyle, Lee, and Romney wre asked to look into this situation and see if there is anything we should do through the Welfare Committee.

Greek Earthquake Disaster Relief – October 1, 1953

Elder Harold B. Lee reported on assignment given to him and Brother Henry D. Moyle and Brother Marion G. Romney pertaining to relief of sufferers in the Greece earthquake disaster.  He said that they had talked with Dr. Robinson of Westminster College, Salt Lake City, that they had surveyed the stocks on hand in our Welfare storehouses, and had directed Dr. Robinson to inquire of the Greek relief organization what their needs were.  They now bring the recommendation, jointly agreed on by Dr. Robinson, Rabbi Fink and Christopher Athas of the local Greek organization, that we make a contribution in commoditions to the relief of the Greek people.  In discussing the matter with Dr. Robinson, it was his feeling that such help as might be rendered should be given in such a way as to make it a contribution from the religious organizations of the State, rather than on a community basis.  He suggested that inasmuch as our population in the State is about 65% of the total, that we consider making a commodity contribution in about that ratio, and the other religious organizations combined would contribute the other 35%; that we would seek publicity for a general program through the newspapers, but that in all this publicity we would make clear the fact that so far as we are concerned, we have made our drives, and that we would now withdraw from our Welfare supplies sufficient to meet our share of the contribution that is intended to be made, instead of making a new drive; whereas the other religious denominations would make their drive from November 1 to 8 among their own people, each one taking it up in his own church.  Further, that in some smaller communities, where we are greatly in a majority, if they had no facilities with which to collect, to bring to a focal point their supplies collected, that they might advise our Welfare office, and we in turn would see that the supplies are picked up and brought to a focal point.

Thurs., 29 Oct., 1953:

“Note:  At the First Presidency’s meeting this morning, I set apart Brother Kenneth Britt Dyer as President of the West German Mission, Pres. Clark was voice in setting Sister Dyer apart.

Sound Pictures of Temple Ceremonies

It was felt that a committee should be appointed to begin preparations for the sound and pictures of the temple ceremonies to be presented in the new Temples.  I suggested the following for membership on the committee: Joseph Fielding Smith, Richard L. Evans, Gordon B. Hinckley, Edward O. Anderson.  The brethren felt that we might tell Pres. Smith he could subdivide the work and that he would not have to meet with the committee in considering all the details.

Presentation of Endowment Ceremonies in European Temple

At Council Meeting, October 1, 1953, President McKay reported the following:

President McKay mentioned another matter which he said is one of great importance, and that is the new method of presenting the Endowment in our Temple that will be constructed in Europe.  There will be no change in the endowment ceremonies but instead of having the members move from one room to another, we will bring the rooms to the people.  He explained that that involves a great deal of study and preparation, and it will all have to be done here, undoubtedly in this temple before we introduce it there.  The First Presidency feel that a committee should be appointed, who will be recommended by the Temple Committee, and will meet later, and probably Brother Evans, assisted by Brother Gordon B. Hinckley, and some other specialists could be studying the modern use of the radio and television, and Brother Evans could render excellent service in that connection, and it would perhaps be well to have him here to partake of the spirit of this Council.”

Thurs., 5 Nov., 1953:

“9 to 9:50 a.m. – The regular meeting of the First Presidency was held.

The following committee was appointed to take charge of arranging for the sound and screen presentation of the ordinances in the new Temples:

Joseph  Fielding Smith, Chairman

Richard L. Evans

Gordon B. Hinckley

Edward O. Anderson

Thurs., 24 Dec., 1953:

New Zealand

“Brother Richards then reported his visit to New Zealand where he visited the Auckland Branch where they have a very creditable church edifice.  Secondly, he reported that the present Mission Home is unsuitable for the purpose for which it was purchased.  There is a question about using it as a girl’s home.

Third, he expressed the desire of the people that a Temple be built in New Zealand because of the practical impossibility of the Maoris coming to Hawaii.

December 28, 1953

Editorial from the Deseret News

“Bon Voyage

It will be an historic occasion when President David O. and sister McKay leave this week for London on the first leg of a tour which will take them to visit the missions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Central America.

It will be the first visit of a President of the Church to any of these missions, and when President McKay returns he will be the first President to have visited all of the missions of the Church – at least, since the mission system became so far-flung.

Perhaps nothing about the 32,000-mile tour is more remarkable than the tremendous spiritual vitality and physical vigor of the man making it.  The octogenarian Church leader has the sprightly step, the firm handclasp, the clear mind, and – above all – the infectious and compelling enthusiasm in the cause of right which one might expect of a man half his age.  Coupled with the wisdom built of long years of experience these qualities make of President McKay one of the most remarkable figures of our time.

The closing stages of President McKay’s journey will bring him back through Guatemala and other Central American countries which have recently been in the world news as soft spots of communism.  Nothing could be a better antidote to the insidious poison of the Red doctrines than the clean, wholesome principles of Christianity and brotherly love which President McKay expounds in his teachings, ably sets forth in his exhortations, and exemplifies in his own daily living.

We wish President and Sister McKay bon voyage in their historic journey, and know that the people of the many distant lands they will visit will be spiritually richer for the association.”

19 Jan., 1954

“Capetown, South Africa

January 19, 1954

Presidents Stephen L. Richards,

and J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

47 East South Temple Street,

Salt Lake City, Utah,

U.S. America.

My beloved associates:

Since our arrival in Johannesburg on the evening of January 9th to this moment (two hours before we leave Capetown for the Airport) Sister McKay and President Reiser and I have had a variety of memorable experiences.  One must take this long journey to realize what a vast continent Africa is and to sense the distances that the branches in the Union are from Salt Lake City, or to put it in the words of the South African, how far Salt Lake City is from Capetown!

However, though geographically we are far from home and loved ones, we sense our nearness to you and to them in spiritual communion.

It was a wise choice we made when we decided that President Reiser should accompany us to South Africa.  He has been not only a helpful, congenial companion, but a wise, practical instructor for the fifty missionaries assembled here in conference since last Wednesday night.  He now joins in sending to you appreciation and kindest personal regards.

Last Sunday afternoon we held a special meeting with the presidency of the mission and the missionaries and presented to them our impressions regarding the perplexing color questions and the problems involved therein.  After careful observation and sincere prayer, I felt impressed to modify the present policy of compelling every man to prove by tracing his genealogy that he has no trace in his blood of negro ancestry.  If the present policy were continued for another twenty five years, it is doubtful whether the Church would have sufficient men to carry on the work of the branches, and worthy, capable men, as worthy of the priesthood as any other members of the Church, would be deprived of the blessings of the priesthood.

I am sure that the modification of the plan as set forth in the enclosed manuscript will result in renewed impetus and encouragement to the branches here in the South African mission.  I will explain to you in detail when I meet you again in council.

Airway officials of Pan American Air Ways, and British Overseas Air Corporation, customs officials, United States ambassador, Counsul General at Pretoria, Johannesburg, and here in Capetown, and also the Minister of Labor and others have been most cordial.  People whom we have met on the street, fellow passengers everywhere have extended friendship and best wishes and ‘God bless you’s.’  The Church members have traveled hundreds and in some cases thousands of miles to be in attendance at our conferences.  All in all, I am sure that the efforts put forth to make this visit have not been in vain.

Sister McKay joins in sending love to you, and others in the office.




Copy of Statement by

President McKay on

Coloured question follows.”

“(Instructions given by President David O. McKay at special meeting with South African missionaries held at ‘Cumorah’, South Africa.)



17th January, 1954.  (12:30 p.m.)

As I stand before you this morning I feel that I am facing a great responsibility.

For several years the Coloured question in South Africa has been called to the attention of the First Presidency.  We have manuscripts, page after page, written on it.

I believe there is a misunderstanding regarding the attitude of the Presidency.  I felt it before I became President and since the responsibility of presiding has become heavier I have sensed it more keenly.  To observe conditions as they are was one of the reasons that I wished to take this trip.

‘Pharaoh signifies king by Royal blood.  Now this king of

Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham and was a

partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth.  From this

descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the

Canaanites was preserved in the land.  The land of Egypt

being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter

of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean

signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden.  When

this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward

settled her sons in it, and thus, from Ham, sprang that

race which preserved the curse in the land.  Now the first

government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the Eldest

son of Egyptus the daughter of Ham, and it was after the 

manner of the government of Ham which was patriarchal.

Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom

and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking

earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in

the first generations, in the days of the First Patriarchal

reign, even in the reign of Adam and also of Noah, his

father who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and

with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining

to the Priesthood.  Now Pharaoh, being of that lineage

by which he could not have the right of the Priesthood,

notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from

Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by

their idolatry.’  –Abraham, Chapter 1, Verses 20-27.

Now there’s a noble man, righteous, fair in his judgment, seeking earnestly to guide the people according to the Priesthood which was given to Adam, — man who seems to have been worthy in every respect not only in regard to nobility of character but also in regard to ability in leadership, but he could not receive the Priesthood.

Such is the order regarding his descendants of the Church today.  In Hawaii, in Brazil, in the Southern States, in other Missions and Stakes, there are worthy men, able men in the Church, who are deprived of the Priesthood because of their lineage.

Now I think there is an explanation for this racial discrimination, dating back to the pre-existent state, but modern sociologists will not accept it, and they are writing appealing to us to lift the ban upon the Negro race, and adopt racial equality in the Church.

I first met this problem in Hawaii in 1921.  A worthy man had married a Polynesian woman.  She was faithful in the Church.  They had a large family everyone of whom was active and worthy.  My sympathies were so aroused that I wrote home to President Grant asking if he would please make an exception so we could ordain that man to the Priesthood.  He worte back saying ‘David, I am as sympathetic as you are, but until the Lord gives us a revelation regarding that matter, we shall have to maintain the policy of the Church.’  I sat down and talked to the brother explaining frankly the reasons for such seeming discrimination and gave him the assurance that some day he will receive every blessing to which he is entitled; for the Lord is just, and no Respector of persons.

That man has remained true to the Church and so have his wife and children.

Well until the Lord gives us another revelation changing this practice established anciently and adopted in our day we will follow that policy.  It is true in the days of the Prophet Joseph one of Negro blood received the Priesthood.  Another in the days of President Brigham Young received it and went through the Temple.  These are authenticated facts but exceptions.

At present, I repeat, until a new revelation comes, the Church will observe the policy of withholding the Priesthood from men of Negro ancestry.  Therefore, wherever you find evidence of a Negro strain in an individual, please explain to him that the blessing of membership including the partaking of the sacrament and the renewing of His covenant weekly, is his.

Now I am impressed that there are worthy men in the South African Mission who are being deprived of the Priesthood simply because they are unable to trace their genealogy out of this country.  I am impressed that an injustice is being done to them.  Why should every man be required to prove that his lineage is free from Negro strain especially when there is no evidence of his having Negro blood in his veins?  I should rather, much rather, make a mistake in one case and if it be found out afterwards suspend his activity in the Priesthood than to deprive 10 worthy men of the Priesthood.

There is a misunderstanding regarding the application of your genealogical work, President Duncan.  You have page after page I notice of genealogical records in which men cannot trace their genealogy out of the country yet who show no trace whatever of the Negro blood.  Why should they be deprived of the Priesthood?  Nobody knows whether their ancestry goes back to a White slave or a Black slave.  And so, if a man is worthy, is faithful in the Church and lives up to the principles of the Gospel, who has no outward evidence of a Negro strain, even though he might not be able to trace his genealogy out of the country, the President of the Mission is hereby authorised to confer upon him the Priesthood.

Now this does not mean that you proclaim this ruling or give it  too much publicity because it might multiply your difficulties.  There are those in the Church here who I am sure are not entitled to receive the Priesthood.  But, I am, also sure, after talking with the President and observing other leaders — able leaders — that there are others who are unjustly deprived of the privilege of receiving the Priesthood.

We are assured that the time will come when the Negro will receive every blessing to which he is entitled, including the Priesthood.  I mention this merely to help you to explain to some who are probably discouraged and feel that you are showing favoritism.

From now on here in Africa you may treat people just the same as you treat them in South Carolina or in Washington or in New York or in Salt Lake City, or in the Hawaiian Islands.  Unless there is evidence of Negro blood you need not compel a man to prove that he has none in his veins.

However, as a precautionary measure all cases of ordinations to the Priesthood, Aaronic and Melchizedek, should be referred to the Mission President.”

Copy of hand-written diary by Robert R. McKay continued

(from 3 Feb., 1954 — Buenos Aires, Argentina)

“Early this morning, Mr. Gilbert Chase of the U.S. Embassy called by telephone to inform us that President Juan D. Peron had granted an interview with Father at 9:55, and that he could bring one other person with him.  Mother and I were quite disappointed that we couldn’t have the experience of seeing Peron, the general-president who has caused so much comment from the press.

Father went down to the lobby to meet Mr. Chase and President Valentine, while Mother and I prepared to go to the zoological gardens and Palermo Park.  Just as we were about to leave the room the telephone rang.  It was Father calling from the lobby to tell me to come down immediately.  I was to go to see Peron in place of President Valentine who had not been able to keep the appointment at the hotel.

Conference with President Juan D. Peron, President of Argentina:

We got into Mr. Chase’s automobile and were driven to the ‘Casada Rosada’ or the Pink House, the working offices of the president and his cabinet.  The click of heels and a snappy salute from two guards gave notice that we could enter the main hall.  We were then ushered to another room, a long hall, another room, around a corner, then were received and asked to have seats until the president finished his other conference.  It was then 9:55.  At 10:00 President Valentine walked in.  How he managed to get through the secretaries is a story he’ll have to tell, but when I saw him come in I thought to myself that I should have to wait in the outside room until the interview was over.  Forty minutes later, however, we were told it would be just a minute longer and that it would be all right for all four of us, including Mr. Chase and me, to go in.

I breathed a sigh of relief, and wished that Mother could have been there, too.  By this time we thought that Peron was enjoying keeping use waiting, and that we could expect an arrogant, pompous fellow who would sit back in his Henry the VIII style and honor us with a look at him.

Well, when the time came to go into his office, what a delightful surprise awaited us!  President Peron was right at his door to greet each of us with a charming smile and a sincere handshake.  Greetings were exchanged in Spanish and English as the line went through the office door, and as it came my turn Mr. Chase mentioned to President Peron that I was President McKay’s son.  Peron looked at me, then at father, as the latter made his way to the conference table, then said with a twinkle, ‘You mean he has a son as young as you?  Remarkable!’  I said, ‘Yes, but I’m the youngest,’ and he twinkled again.

Present at the interview besides the principals were:  Dr. Raul Margueirat, Chief of Protocol; Dr. Jeronimo Remorino, minister of foreign affairs; Mr. Gilbert Chase, attache, U.S. Embassy; President Lee B. Valentine, and I.

President Peron was a gracious host.  After the exchange of courtesies, he answered father’s expression of delight at being in this great country by saying that he was happy to have our people here.  He added that he has a great deal of respect and admiration for a people who have to work and fight for what they have.  He further mentioned the number of members we have in Argentina, and in several remarks made throughout the interview displayed a surprising interest in and knowledge of our Church.

President Peron is well informed, even to knowing our social habits.  He said that he would like to offer us something, but since we don’t drink, take tea or coffee or smoke he gestured and good-naturedly said that he would like to make us happy with something.  Father responded with a winning smile, acknowledged the kindness extended and said that the host had already made us happy with his gracious reception.

The conversation took a turn to the conference being held on Sunday, and when Peron heard that we were planning to hold the meeting in the building used by the ‘Consejo de Mujeres’ he shook his head and said that that place would be too small.  He would place any theater at our disposal for such an important event, even the Cervantes, a beautiful theater, second only to the Colon Opera House.

President Peron at this point made it clear that his praises of the Church and the considerations made were not overtures made just because we were in his presence, and none in the room could question his sincerity.

Father accepted this unexpected kind offer, and it was decided that the Cervantes Theater would be used on Sunday.  This spontaneous display of courtesy on the part of the Nation’s President shown to the President of the Church and to the Church itself carries a real significance.

President Peron is a gentleman and a progressive leader.  It is said that he mentioned to an important ecclesiastical group the work of the Relief Society of the L.D.S. Church and that it is worthy of imitation.  At the end of the conference Father and Peron parted most cordially.  Going toward the door, President Peron put his arm around my shoulder and said, ‘You have a wonderful father.  He is a great man.  And what a tall, handsome man, and how young he is at his age!’

I am almost forgetting the most important part of the meeting.  Father presented President Peron with beautifully leather-bound, gold lettered copies of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, all in Spanish.  President Valentine had seen to it that special volumes were prepared and when they were inscribed by Father they made an impressive gift.

Peron accepted the books graciously and said he would read them.  I believe he will, too.  The inscription is as follows: ‘TO HIS EXCELLENCY, PRESIDENT JUAN D. PERON, WITH APPRECIATION FROM DAVID O. MCKAY, PRESIDENT OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS.  FEBRUARY 3, 1954.’

The meeting of these two men was something to behold.  It was so different from anything we had hoped to have happen in a country thought to have no religious freedom outside of the dominant Church.  This is one of the good products of the present government that our home papers say little about.

Word of the interview between the ‘Mormon Leader’ and President Peron soon spread.  The radio here has been announcing it all day.  It is a red letter day in the history of the mission.  After hearing the radio bulletin one of the members called the mission home to give the good word.

All Latter-day Saints here are thrilled that their country’s president would recognize the Church and the president so openly and in complete disregard for the inevitable criticism which would be sure to follow.  He has been that bold in other matters.  His profound desire to help the masses has brought him great popularity.  Father told him that we want our people in Argentina to be loyal citizens of the country–to be true Argentines.

Theater Made Ready

Here is another chapter on the Cervantes Theater story:  When President Valentine went this evening to check on the theater, he found that there were no seats in it and that there was a general remodeling going on.

The workers had been notified that Peron had offered the theater for the Sunday meetings.  (Peron did not know the condition of the theater).  The workers explained to President Valentine that it would be impossible to put the house in order for Sunday.  President Valentine said that it would be perfectly all right — that the original hall could be used for the conference.

The five spokesmen then said to wait a minute while they went to another room.  Within a few minutes they returned and one of them announced that the Cervantes would be ready by Sunday, completely in order, that their President’s wishes would be carried out.  The next day 60 workers were on the job, and the next day the theater was ready for use.

Visit to U.S. Ambassador

Following the visit to the Government House, we went to pay our respects to the Ambassador of the U.S., Alfred F. Nuffer, a six-foot-four gentleman.  He received us in his comfortable, well-appointed office.  Mother and Sister Valentine were with us during this fifteen-minute session with the ambassador.  On the way out I noticed that one of the prominent pictures on the hall wall was one of Temple Square.

Tonight, we had dinner at the famous ‘La Cabana’ restaurant, and had delicious steaks, the finest in the world.  Father and Mother are becoming acquainted with the Argentine custom of the siesta in the afternoon and the late dinner hour and still later entertainment schedule of the people of Buenos Aires.  It is midsummer now and as we entered the hotel at 10:30 p.m. everybody else was just getting started.

United Press, Reuters, and local papers have called all day to get reports on the Peron interview.  Father is truly an international figure.  What a missionary and what an ambassador of good will!”

 17 Jan., 1954:

“At the special meeting I made an important ruling regarding the ordaining of men to the Priesthood.  (see copy of statement )”

Tues., 26 Jan., 1954:

“8:30 a.m. at the Mission Home, interviewing three newspaper men.  They talked Portuguese–rather unsatisfactory–photographers.

Robert addressed missionaries while I was in Conference with President Sorensen.

1.  Property in Curitiba exchanged for another lot–also given.  (See notes–sent to Clare.)

2.  Property at Campinos (See notes sent to office.)

3.  Porte Alegre (see notes)

4.  Negro problem–admit to membership, but do not ordain to Priesthood.

5.  Fast offering–surplus should not be credited to Welfare.

6.  Can use six missionaries who speak German.  German newspaper published in Sao Paulo.  Protestant Churches hold services in German.

7.  Reed Facer (22) Provo–not learning language–wants girl to come down marry.  I disapproved of course!

8.  Elder Jessie McCulley (29) Milford–Epileptic.

9.  Lima Branch–Elder Turley

10.  Welfare plan turned over to members – buying and selling–wheat on hand.

11.  Translations made by members – not missionaries can be printed for less money than in U.S.”

Wed., 3 Feb., 1954–Buenos Aires.

“9:35 a.m.  Mr. Gilbert Chase of U.S. Embassy, Robert and I were driven in Embassy auto to ‘Casa Rosada’ (pink house), the official office of President Juan D. Peron, president Argentine Republic.

President Valentine joined us in waiting room (Only ‘one’ and Invited to meet the President.  Brother Valentine late so Robert invited.)  (the three of us admitted.)

Soldiers on guard each side of entrance–long hall–met by Attache with title of ‘Ambassador’.  Waited.”

6 Feb., 1954:

“February 6, 1954

Buenos Aires, Argentina

February 6, 1954

Honorable Arthur V. Watkins

U.S. Senate

Washington, D.C.

My Dear Senator Watkins:

Once again I wish to drop you a line expressive of my gratitude for your kindness in having addressed your letter of December 28, 1953, ‘To The Ambassadors, American Consuls, and Others to Whom This May Concern.’

At every important city on this entire tour up to and including Buenos Aires we have been met not only with the presence of the officials of the Mission and large members of the Church but with a representative or representatives from the United States Embassy.  The latter have in each case been most helpful in rendering useful service to us through the customs and other difficulties incident to entering new countries.

If Honorable John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, sent a letter of introduction in accordance with your suggestion of December 23, 1953, I did not receive it.  It may be that he, in compliance with your request, sent word to the various embassies and we have been the beneficiaries of his official request to them.  However, I am inclined to think that the only information that was sent out was from your office; and, I thank you most heartily.  Your letter to the embassies, and, also, to the Secretary of State, will be made part of my official memoirs.

This is proving to be a most memorable tour.  It is strenuous, it is true, but the results, I believe, are well-worth the effort being put forth.

Mr. Gilbert Chase, attache, United States Embassy, has been most solicitous of our welfare; and we were cordially received by Mr. Albert F. Nufer, United States Ambassador to Argentina.  I am inclined to think that it is through their influence, and, possibly, through your suggestion or that of Mr. Dulles, that we were granted an interview with President Juan D. Peron, Wednesday, February 3, 1954; one of the most delightful interviews I have ever had with a leading official of any nation.  I’ll tell you about it personally when I see you.

With kind personal regards and every good wish, I remain,

Cordially and Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay, President

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”

14 Feb., 1954:

February 14, 1954

“(President McKay and Party land at the Los Angeles

International Airport, Sunday Evening, February 14, 1954)

Resume of 32,000-Mile Trip

Pres. McKay Finds All Missions Growing Rapidly

By Henry A. Smith

LOS ANGELES, CAL. – President David O. McKay ended a successful and historic 32,000-mile journey early this week when he arrived safely at the Los Angeles International Airport.

President McKay, with Mrs. McKay and their son, Robert R., arrived at the airport late last Sunday evening, unheralded and unexpected.  They had returned two days earlier than originally planned when airplane trouble and delays forced them to by-pass Mexico City.  Greatly fatigued from their journey the Church leader and his wife took shelter in a Los Angeles hotel.

The public and press did not learn of their arrival until Tuesday.  They spent most of this day holding press interviews and being photographed in their hotel room by TV and news reel cameramen.  They left late Tuesday afternoon for a rest at Laguna Beach.  It is expected President and Mrs. McKay will return to Salt Lake early next week.

The press interviews in Los Angeles reminded President McKay of the many hours he had spent in similar circumstances during the six weeks of travel into South Africa, and South and Central America.  In every city he held press conferences, many of the interviews lasting several hours.  ‘Our trip has had wonderful coverage,’ he said.  ‘Much has been published and not one antagonistic line has reached us.’

Purpose of Trip

President McKay’s journey was primarily for the purpose of ascertaining progress made by the Church and its opportunities for the future in lands visited.

He was delighted with Church conditions wherever he went.  ‘The greetings and farewells of members of the Church everywhere will never be forgotten,’  he added.  ‘Though strenuous, and I feel somewhat fatigued, the trip has been worth while and profitable to us, to the people and to the Church.’

Continuing, President McKay explained:

‘Our anticipations and desires before leaving have been more than realized regarding Church conditions and prospects for future of the work in South Africa, South America and Central America.

There was never a time in the history of the Church when opportunities for preaching the Gospel in the world are so favorable.’

President McKay first flew from New York to London on January 2, accompanied by Mrs. McKay.  It was their 53rd wedding anniversary.  After visiting in London with British and Swiss-Austrian mission officials relative to problems on erection of ‘temples in England and Switzerland, President and Mrs. McKay began their journey to South Africa.  This was made by way of Lisbon, Portugal and Dakar, on the African west coast.  Their traveling companion and secretary on this part of their journey was President A. Hamer Reiser of the British Mission.

President McKay was most impressed with the welcome of the Saints especially in Johannesburg and Capetown.  He considered the future of the Church bright in South Africa, where the color line is strictly drawn.  He felt that the white people would retain their supremacy, since the new premier is strictly in favor of the color line.  The Negro in South Africa, President McKay explained, is permitted intermingling and exchange economically, but politically and socially the line is sharply drawn.

The Color Line

The color line in the Church is not such a problem as was anticipated, President McKay explained.  The Church leader held important meetings with missionaries and gave instructions which will help to strengthen the Church and provide more local leadership.

One difficult situation in South Africa the president found was that Rhodesia, part of the mission, was 1,900 miles from headquarters.  ‘It is difficult to carry on systematic missionary work with these distances.  President Leroy H. Duncan of the South African Mission was instructed to throw responsibility of leadership and missionary work upon local members,’ he said.

‘The work is growing excellently in this mission.  The missionaries are encouraged,’ President McKay explained.

An unusual experience was a 10-hour missionary testimony meeting in Capetown in which 60 men and women bore testimonies and received instructions.

After visiting South Africa President and Mrs. McKay flew to South America and President Reiser returned to England.  At Rio de Janeiro, the couple was met by their son, Robert R., a former missionary to Argentina.  He served as his father’s secretary on the remainder of the journey.

President McKay was ‘surprised’ at the growth of the Church in South America.  This was particularly due, he explained, in Uruguay where the mission is but six years old and in Guatemala where the mission was established a year and a half ago.  There were 235 people in meeting Sunday morning in Guatemala.  A fine chapel is nearing completion in Guatemala City and will be ready for dedication in May.  The same is true in Montevideo, Uruguay, where President McKay laid the cornerstone for a new chapel.

‘Both of these chapels would be a credit to any ward or stake in the church,’ President McKay said.

He was particularly impressed with the future of the Church in Sao Paulo, Brazil, termed the ‘fastest growing city in the world.’  Here the Church leader authorized purchase of a site for erection of another chapel.

President McKay thought Brazil a ‘wonderful country in area and possibilities.’  He thought it the most favorable toward the United States of any South American country.

‘Argentina is a great country.  Buenos Aires is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  Its peaks, streets, building and stores are up-to-date.  I was delighted with that great city,’ he said.

President McKay sensed a need for better understanding between North and South American countries.  In Los Angeles last Tuesday he made a statement to TV and news reel cameramen which emphasized this.  He said:

‘Our primary purpose was to ascertain progress by the Church and opportunities for the future in these countries and the time at our disposal gave little opportunity to form definite opinions regarding political and economic conditions.’

More Understanding

‘There is one definite observation I should like to make and that is the need of more cordial relations between the United States and South American republics.

‘The North American attitude of superiority engenders ill-will throughout these southern republics and should be changed, if we are to bring about a better understanding and a more cordial spirit of co-operation.

‘With unity of purpose and action on the part of republics on the American continents, the future of international relations can pretty well be determined and such unity is essential to world peace.’

President McKay said his visit with President Peron of Argentina was one of the most pleasing and satisfactory he had ever had with a leading national figure on any of his tours.

‘He expressed special appreciation for the many courtesies and considerations extended in every city by U.S. embassy officials.  He attributed this unusual courtesy to the very considerate communications sent out by Utah’s Senator Arthur V. Watkins.

These U.S. officials were at every airport, helping the Church leader and his party through customs.  He said he could not express too appreciatively the courtesy extended by Pan-American Airways officials from the time they left New York Jan. 2 until they left Guatemala on Feb. 14.

President McKay told of his delightful visits to Santiago, Chili, and Lima, Peru.  in Lima he found four families of Latter-day Saints organized into a Sunday School with Eugene T. Turley as superintendent.  He encouraged them in their efforts and held a meeting with them.

He told of a delightful meeting in Panama City, where they stopped overnight on their way from Lima to Guatemala.  He expressed gratitude for courtesies extended by Rabbi and Mrs. Witkin in Panama for the use of a Jewish meeting place in which to assemble with members of the Church in that city.

Misses Mexico

President McKay was extremely sorry about missing his visit to Mexico City though he had been there before.  He considered the disabled engine as they waited to leave Guatemala as providential and they took an immediate plane out on non-stop flight to Los Angeles.

President McKay paid tribute to the accomplishments of missionaries and mission presidents in all the countries visited.  He said they were giving strong leadership and the Church is ‘in good hands’ in South Africa, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Central America.

Outstanding experiences of his trip included the visit to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.  Here he stood in an observatory and saw the meeting place of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.  It was most impressive.

At Capetown, while visiting the Kirstenbosch Park, President McKay enrolled in a society through which the Church may have rare flower seeds sent to its temple lots.  ‘This park is a beautiful botanical garden area,’ he said, ‘and the society will determine which flowers of Africa will grow on the various temple lots and ship the seeds to these places.’

President McKay expressed appreciation for the excellent services rendered by President Reiser and Robert McKay as his traveling secretaries.  ‘I could not have gotten along without their assistance and help.  They were most capable and efficient in their assistance,’ he said.

Robert McKay reported his pleasure at the privilege to return to his mission field of ten years ago.  He was surprised to see so little change in the years, but impressed with the growth of the mission and its present leaders who were only Primary children when he served as a missionary.

Mrs. McKay explained that she thoroughly enjoyed the extensive trip though it was strenuous.  In reference to her husband’s accomplishments she said, ‘He’s done an incalcuable amount of good, in studying conditions, seeing problems and needs of the people.  And everyone was so grateful for his visit.’

In return, President McKay ended his interview with a word of praise for Mrs. McKay.  ‘She’s been a real heroine,’ he said.

Deseret News – Church Section, Saturday, February 20, 1954″

25 Feb., 1954:

“February 25, 1954

Report of President David O. McKay’s

32,500-mile-journey to missions

of the Church

(This report was given to the Council of the Twelve, February 25, 1954.)

President McKay was very grateful to be home and to report that Brother Reiser’s companionship from London to the Union of South Africa and return to Dakar was most helpful, not only as a secretary, but he proved to be a wise counselor and very helpful in the missionary meetings that were held at Johannesburg and Capetown.  He thought it was a very wise choice to take Brother Reiser with him.  Said Brother Reiser grew in his estimation as he listened to his public addresses and his instructions in the meetings.  Sister McKay’s companionship, he said, of course is always glorious, and she enjoyed good health after they got rid of their colds in London.  She is suffering a little from the reaction of the trip now.

The President said that he would just touch the highlights on this which to him was the most inspirational and wonderful tour he had ever made.  It was all too brief, necessarily so, in the limits that were set, and he did not feel satisfied with the work done because instead of having ten days, for example, in South Africa, he should have had ten weeks or ten months.  He mentioned the great distances in the South African Mission and said the concepts we get from reality are entirely different than the concepts we have from reports received.  For example, he thought that when he arrived in Johannesburg they could do the work there in that area, the Transvaal, go to Capetown, hold a conference, and between meetings, from Tuesday to Saturday, would probably visit Port Elizabeth, run up to Durban, and possibly visit Rhodesia.  He explained that Capetown is 900 miles from Johannesburg, Durban is over 600 miles from the center, either Johannesburg or Capetown.  Rhodesia is 1900 miles away.  He said he was satisfied with the work that they were able to do in the short time they had.  From December 29, when they left here, until February 14, when they landed at Los Angeles, they held 33 meetings, 14 consultations with Presidents of Missions and others, exclusive of interviews, so they were kept busy.

President McKay expressed appreciation of the letter sent by Senator Watkins to the Embassies of the various countries.  This proved to be most helpful and advantageous to the work.  President McKay said he received a copy of a letter that the Senator sent to Secretary Dulles, but he heard nothing that would indicate that Secretary Dulles had sent any communication to the Ambassadors, although he might have done.

President McKay expressed appreciation of the help and cooperation of the United States Embassies in every country that he and his party visited.  Said that whenever they landed there was a representative of the Ambassador at the airport, saying that he was there representing the Ambassador and that anything they could do to help them through the customs they were willing to do, and next to their assistance was the assistance rendered by the Pan-American officials.  Without exception, those two men were there at the steps of the airplane when they reached their destinations, one representing the Embassy and the other representing the Pan-American Airways, and with Brother Reiser on the South African trip and President and sister McKay’s son, Robert, in South America, the President had absolutely nothing to do with the bags.  All he had to do was to present the passports and go through without any delay.

Later they called upon the Ambassadors personally and expressed appreciation and were received most cordially in every case.  President McKay said they also met the officials so far as they could, that in Johannesburg, they hoped to be able to meet the Primeminister but Parliament was about to meet in Capetown and the Premier was away taking a rest preparing for the Parliament–that was the excuse at any rate that was given–and they were directed to meet his representative, Benjamin Shoeman, minister of labor, at Pretoria.  President McKay said that Mr. Shoeman was a little suspicious at first but he warmed up, and they had a very pleasant interview.  That same day, they met Hon. W.J. Gallman, United States Ambassador to the Union of South Africa, at Pretoria, and that night they were entertained by the Consul General and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Parsons.  Other guests were invited, one of them a retired diamond man and his wife, and the wives of two other State officials.  It was a formal occasion.  Champagne was served but President McKay and his party took tomato juice.  All in all it proved to be a most pleasant evening.  Mr. Augustus C. Owen, United States Consul at Capetown, was there.  He said that he was representing the Embassy and would be pleased to render any service he could, and he was true to his word.

The Ambassador at Rio de Janeiro, Mr. Kempner, was also cordial, as were the others.  The Uruguayan government officials were most courteous, and President McKay said there we have absolute freedom between Church and State.  He explained that in Uruguay he did not meet the President, that they have no President, but they have four leading men and a secretary.  These four men are coordinate.  One is recognized as the presiding offier but has no more influence than the others.  The Secretary is really the influential man.  They met him and were received very cordially by him.  President and Sister McKay, the President of the Mission, Brother Shreeve, and his wife, local newspaper men and others all gathered there, and it was a social gathering, and a warm welcome was extended.

President McKay mentioned this to indicate that the State Department and State officials received him with open arms, and he expressed appreciation for their fine reception.  The only exception would be Alfred F. Nuffer, Ambassador of the United States at Buenos Aires.  He lit a cigaret just as they were entering his office and seemed to be nervous, smoked it for a while and then put it aside.  That followed a visit they had had with President Peron.  President McKay said he thought that Mr. Nuffer did not like President McKay’s praise of President Peron, and said, ‘O, he is a dictator.’  President McKay answered, ‘He is a gentleman.’  President McKay said he resented the Ambassador’s smoking a cigaret, that none of the others had done that.  He felt that he was the least courteous and intelligent of all the Ambassadors that he met.

The Pan-American officials reserved seats for the party on the planes, took care of their luggage, and in one case, at Lima, they appointed a woman who could speak several languages to meet the President’s party and to stay with them continually until they were through customs.

President McKay expressed appreciation to the press and radio, the U.P., Reuters, and the local people, some of whom could not speak English; said that not once did they have an unfavorable article, either local or otherwise, although in some instances they misinterpreted what was said.  In South Africa, for example, word came out that President McKay had said that we do no work among the negroes.  The color problem is a touchy one down there.  He said the question was, ‘Are you going to organize a mission among the colored people?’ and he said, ‘No, they are included in our mission in South Africa.’  President McKay said that he had heard a reaction to that on the Temple Block, that the negroes did not like it.  He cited that as a misinterpretation of what was said.

President McKay said that the radio people met them in several instances with glaring lights.  In the Union of South Africa the whole thing was put in the picture show,–the landing of the President of the Mormon Church.  President McKay said he did not get to see it but the members who did said it was a very good presentation and it went all over South Africa in the theaters.

The meeting with President Peron went on the radio, so that all in the Argentine knew that the President had entertained the President of the Mormon Church.  The audience was arranged either from Washington, D.C., or through the local Ambassador there.  The Ambassador himself had not met President Peron.  The gentleman who met the party at the station proved to be most helpful in every way in conducting them to the Ambassador and accompanied them to the office of President Peron, and that was the first time that he had been in his presence.

President McKay said that when finally they were ushered into President Peron’s presence, President McKay was leading and he recognized a man there in gilt uniform, just such a man as he had anticipated President Peron would be, a sort of Mussolini-type man, who introduced him to a gentleman, and he thought the man introducing him said, ‘President Peron.’  President McKay was so surprised to see this fine gentleman that he said, ‘President Peron?’  and President Peron recognized President McKay’s surprise and said, ‘Yes,’ smilingly and extended his hand.  From that moment, President McKay said they were congenial souls, and he spent the most delightful fifteen or twenty minutes interview he had ever had with a leading public official.  He said President Peron was courteous and sympathetic and it was not put on, that it came from his heart, and that what he, President McKay, said to him came from his heart also.

At the conclusion of the interview President McKay said, ‘Next Sunday we hold our conference here.’  President Peron said, ‘Oh, do you, where are you holding it?’  This was in English.  He understood English and could speak it but he preferred to speak through an interpreter.  President McKay told him the meeting would be held in a hall that would seat about 450 people.  President Peron said, ‘That won’t do at all.  It is not worthy of you.  You must have a better place.’  And he said to the man in uniform whose title was Ambassador, ‘See to it that one of the theaters is given to them.’  When President Valentine went to that theater, the Cervantes, the second largest and one of the best, every seat had been taken out, the rugs were all piled up and they were preparing to paint it.  It was being renovated, and they were told that they could not hold their meeting there.  President Valentine said they would be satisfied with the hall that they had.  He was told to come back the following morning.  Three men met him the following morning and they told him he would have to have a better hall, and they named, this, that and the other but none would do.  They then asked to be excused and the three men retired and discussed the matter, and came back and said, ‘If President Peron wants you to have this theater, this theater you will have, or whatever the President wishes.’  The next day there were sixty men at work in that theater completing the renovation and putting in the seats.  That was Thursday, and they worked Friday and Saturday, and Sunday morning the theater was in spic and span condition, and there were over 650 people present.  It was a very fine conference and a lot of non-members were present.  If the meetings had been held in the other place, they would have had to turn away perhaps 250 to 300 people, and it did not cost them a cent excepting that they paid for the ushers.  The union required that their ushers should be there, and we also had our own ushers.  All this was known through Argentina and went over the radio.

President McKay said that nothing was mentioned about the visas, that it would have been out of place, but if President Valentine will make the proper approach to the officials, who will know about the interview, he felt that we can have that changed so that the elders will be permitted to stay there the two years instead of going out every three months to have their visas renewed.

Indicative of President Peron’s attitude, as President McKay left the country, he sent Peron a letter saying, ‘I am just leaving your country, beautiful Buenos Aires, and I take this opportunity again of thanking you for your courteous acceptance and for your favorable comment regarding our Church and our people.’  Day before yesterday, President McKay received the following, written in Spanish, on Juan Peron’s letterhead dated February 11: ‘Reverend David O. McKay, Salt Lake City.  Esteemed Reverend:  I received your kind letter of the 8th advising me of your departure from our capital after a stay that although brief was a very pleasant one to us.  Also I am gratified to know that you take with you such a favorable impression of this country and of our Argentine hospitality, whose most valuable tradition is the sincerity with which it is proffered.  Your expressions of eulogy are deeply appreciated, and with a sincere reciprocation of your cordial greetings, I wish to convey to you my kindest wishes, together with an affectionate and warm embrace.  (signed) Juan Peron’

President McKay said that that ‘warm embrace’ is what President Peron gave him when he said goodbye.  He felt that the visit would do very much good.

President McKay said he wished to express appreciation particularly of the greetings of saints and members that he met, no matter what hour of the day or night, in large numbers.  They sang, ‘Come, Come, Ye Saints.’  ‘We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet,’ and ‘Praise to the Man Who Communed with Jehovah,’ and literally took charge of the airplanes for the other passengers would have to wait for the crowds to say goodbye.

President McKay reported three special meetings, one with the Germans at Sao Paulo following the morning session on Sunday, January 24.  He said we have not been doing much work with them because the children have been partaking of the language of the country.  A meeting was held for the German people, at which 150 members were present.  This was a special meeting following the morning session.  All present were not Germans, as there were elders and visitors present also.

The President held a Welsh meeting Sunday, January 31.  He said there are several thousand Welsh people in that country who still speak the Welsh language.  They were too far away, however, to visit.  They could not go by automobile and could not make arrangements to visit them by air.  President McKay said he recognized some in the group by their pronunciation and asked them if they were from Chubut, and told them to notify the Welsh people that a special meeting would be held the following Sunday after the morning session.  There were 50 people at that meeting, many of them non-members.  President McKay told them about the birthplace of his mother, his Welsh connection, and spoke as much Welsh as he could, and at the conclusion of that meeting, they arose and sang the Welsh National Anthem.

They had another special meeting at Lima, Peru, at which there were in attendance several families.  Brother Howells had organized a Sunday School there on his way home from Brazil.

President McKay said that all in all he thought it was the most satisfying trip from a spiritual standpoint that he had ever taken.  Said they held a ten-hour meeting with the Elders in Sao Paulo and that they also held meetings with the Elders in Uruguay and a missionary meeting in Argentina.

Laid the cornerstone of a church edifice in Montevideo, which edifice when completed would be a credit to any ward in the Church.  They will have it ready for dedication some time in May.

Reported that at Johannesburg he approved a site for a building.  Referring to the difference between reality and the concepts obtained by correspondence, said he had thought that one reason why we lost a good site at Johannesburg was through prejudice, that they would not give permission.  As a matter of fact the site they had was in a district that was zoned for private residences, and permission could not be given to use it for a church unless they modified the rule, and it would have been unwise for them to attempt to do that, but the spirit of the Commission was so favorable that they said, ‘You may have this land up here adjoining ours,’ and we got three acres, and while it is not quite so favorable a neighborhood, the city is planning on widening the street and removing some of the unsightly dwellings, and after they do that they will have a beautiful site for a building.  President Duncan was authorized to go right ahead with the building and he says they will have it finished within a year.

At Durban, they are completing a meeting house which President McKay did not see but it will be ready for dedication in a few months, and there is a spirit of growth in every mission, and of encouragement, except in probably Guatemala, where the Communists are in charge, but Brother Romney is going ahead and accomplishing wonders.  The prospects in Panama are excellent.  They are meeting in a Jewish meeting house.  President McKay suggested that they look around and get a good site.  Major Yeates, who is taking charge there, said that they will do so and proceed to build a building.

In Guatemala President Romney has a building which is nearly completed with recreation hall, classrooms, chapel, tile floors, etc., and it is costing only about one-half of what we would have to pay here.  That will be ready for dedication in a few months.

President McKay said the prospects in these missions are bright and the attitude of the people, excepting the Catholics, is most favorable and friendly.  He said that there is one discouraging note, however, and that is in Paraguay; the branch in Asuncion is not growing very much, although when they have conference there they have 100 or 150 people present, but the Catholics are in control 90 per cent.  The priest follows the work of the elders and tells his members that if they join our Church they will not only lost their position in the church but as workmen, and will be left without means of support.  The question arose as to whether they should close the work there, but President McKay told them, No, to go on, and keep their locale, and hold their meetings and try to win the people.

President McKay presented the following recommendation:  He said that he had already reported to the First Presidency that we should modify our attitude towards the colored people in the Union or South Africa, and that that would apply to Brazil also.  He said that he found that in the Union of South Africa no man can hold the priesthood who cannot trace his genealogy out of South Africa, and he felt sure that there are a dozen or more men who are fully worthy of the priesthood who are deprived of it.  In Rhodesia a brother who has the responsibility of the branch and organized the branch cannot hold the priesthood because he cannot trace his genealogy out of the country, and so they have to keep two elders there, 1900 miles away from headquarters, in a place where they cannot do missionary work except repeating, and they are out in the woods and in the mines, and yet that man is as worthy of the priesthood, President McKay thought, as anybody, and there are a score of others in the same condition.  He said there is a young man who is a professor in the university, who is working for his doctor’s degree, and is an instructor in the university of Capetown who cannot trace his genealogy out of the country, and so he does not have the priesthood.  There is another young man in Johannesburg the same way.

President McKay said he called the Elders together, with President Duncan, and after due consultation, suggested this:

‘That until the Lord gives us another revelation changing this practice established anciently and adopted in our day, we will follow the policy that any man who has negro blood in his veins cannot be given the priesthood, that until a new revelation comes the Church will observe the policy of withholding the priesthood from men of negro ancestry.  Therefore, when they find evidence of a negro strain in an individual, to please explain to him that the blessing of membership, including the partaking of the sacrament and the renewing of his covenants weekly, is his, but that he cannot receive the priesthood.

‘Now I am impressed that there are worthy men in the South African Mission who are being deprived of the priesthood simply because they are unable to trace their genealogy out of this country.  I am impressed that an injustice is being done to them.  Why should every man be required to prove that his lineage is free from negro strain, especially when there is no evidence of his having negro blood in his veins.  I should much rather make a mistake in one case, and if it be found afterwards, suspend his activity in the priesthood, than to deprive ten worthy men of this blessing.  There is a misunderstanding regarding the application of your genealogical work, President Duncan.  You have page after page, I notice, of genealogical records in which men cannot trace their genealogy out of this country, yet who show no trace whatever of negro blood.  We recommend that from now on in Africa you may treat people just the same as we treat them in South Carolina or in Washington or in New York or in Salt Lake City or in the Hawaiian Islands.  Unless there is evidence of negro blood, you need not compel a man to prove that he has none in his veins.  However, as a precautionary measure, all cases of ordinations to the priesthood, Aaronic and Melchizedek, should be referred to the Mission President.’

President McKay said that that was his recommendation.

President Richards said that he thought it was a marvelous, inspired statement, as it was reported to the First Presidency in writing before President McKay returned home.  He moved that the Council support the statement of President McKay with reference to this matter of tracing the ancestry of South Africans in order to be eligible for the priesthood.  LeGrand Richards seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved.

President McKay then recommended that we go ahead as indicated in his report with new church edifices, not expensive but convenient.   He said they are a great means of conversion, that in Uruguay six years ago we bought locales when we did not have more than two or three members, and now they have over 760 members, and that this would apply also in Guatemala in the Central American Mission.

The President recommended that a Welsh couple be sent to Chubut who can speak the language, also a German couple to Sao Paulo, Brazil, and a couple to Lima, Peru, not for the purpose of organizing a mission in Peru, but to complete the Sunday School organization there, make it a branch, and instead of attaching the Lima Branch to the Brazilian Mission that it be treated as an independent branch, reporting direct to the First Presidency.

The President said he learned that at the present there is a great project under way cutting a new railroad through the forests, right through the Indian territory, that they gave him the name of the company, but he learned when he was in Panama that the Utah Construction Company is part of it and we have members there.  He said he then understood the accusation of a Catholic priest who said, ‘This is not an economic project; it is just a scheme to go up there among the Indians and teach religion.’  The President felt that the time is not far distant when we can organize a mission in Peru.  He thought we should send a couple to Lima, the man to be made President of the Branch, and let Brother Turley continue his Sunday School work.

Elder Bennion moved that the Council commend the life and labors of President McKay, including approval of these recommendations.  Motion seconded by Brother Lee and approved.

President McKay explained that he by-passed Mexico and that was a great disappointment to the people.  The plan was to hold a meeting Sunday morning in Guatemala from 10 to 12, which they did, and then spent 30 minutes saying goodbye.  They were expected to take the airplane which was scheduled to put them in Mexico City in time for a meeting Sunday night.  They were arranging for their tickets when word came that the plane was grounded at Salvador by a defective engine.  They therefore could not get a plane out and could not get a satisfactory answer as to when they might be able to leave Guatemala, so that they could not possibly get to Mexico City that night.  There happened to be a plane warming up to go to Los Angeles, a non-stop flight to Los Angeles, and there were three vacant seats, so they decided to take that plane.  Instead of going to Mexico City on the plane, they were in Los Angeles at 9:30 that night, a distance of 2250 miles.’

Thurs., 25 Feb., 1954:

“First Presidency’s Meeting

1.  I reported to my counselors that I had been to the doctors for a check-up this morning, and they had reported that I am in good condition, that I was, as a matter of fact, better than when I left on my trip.

2.  Chapels through the missions:  I recommended to my counselors and will also recommend at Council meeting this morning, that  (a) We consider the building of reasonable chapels throughout the missions.  I feel they have proved to be the best means of proselyting and are investments rather than expenses.  (b) That we send a German couple to work in Brazil.  I feel we have lost a lot of Germans because we have been laboring under the impression that German should not be spoken.  That was the condition during the war, but is not now.  Our people are drifting into the other churches where German meetings are held.  (c)  That we send someone to Lima, Peru, to preside in the branch there.”

Fri., 12 Mar., 1954:

Telephone Calls

“1.  President Edward Q. Cannon, City, called and said that on June 29, 1953 he wrote a letter to the First Presidency asking for permission to allow the city of Hamburg to remove the old ruin on the grounds which the Church owns.  The West German Mission has not received any answer regarding this matter.

I told President Cannon that the old ruin could be removed from the grounds, and that they could start to build the new building.  

President Cannon then asked about a Temple for Hamburg.  Said that the Mission owns a beautiful place for this purpose.

15 Mar., 1954:

“March 15, 1954

Letter of Appreciation to Honorable

John Foster Dulles

March 15, 1954

Honorable John Foster Dulles

United States Secretary of State

Washington, D.C.

My dear Mr. Dulles:

Just as Mrs. McKay and I, with a secretary, took departure for a tour of our Missions in South Africa, South America, and Central America, I received a very kind letter from our Senior Senator in the United States Senate, the Honorable Arthur Watkins, with which he enclosed copies of letters that he had sent to United States Embassies in the countries named, stating that he would appreciate any service they might render that would make our trip pleasurable, or at least less fatiguing.  Among these copies was one written to you as Secretary of State.

Whether his letter ever came to your personal attention, I do not know; but of this I am sure, that Senator Watkins’ gracious letter, and perhaps something which went out from the State Department, influenced the foreign Embassies and Consulates to proffer appreciated, helpful service in every country and important city that we visited–Johannesburg, Pretoria, Capetown (Union of South Africa), Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, (Brazil), Montevideo, (Uruguay), Santiago, Lima, Panama, and Guatemala.

As opportunity afforded, we expressed personally to the representatives of the Consulates and Embassies, to the Ambassadors themselves, and to officials of the countries, our appreciation of the courtesies and service rendered.  We ever kept in mind President Eisenhower’s advice to traveling Americans — ‘Each of us, whether bearing a commission from the Government or traveling by himself for pleasure or for business, should remember that he is a representative of the United States of America.’

With deep gratitude in my heart for citizenship in this great Republic, I take the liberty to trespass upon your valuable time to thank you for courtesies and consideration extended to me and my party by Senator Watkins, representatives of the State Department, Embassies, and Consulates whom we met on our recent tour.

I am proud of your leadership and true statesmanship as disclosed in the able discharging of your duties as Secretary of State, including your accomplishments at the recent Conference of the Republics of North America and South America held at Caracas, Venezuela.

Hearty congratulations and God bless you!

Sincerely yours,




15 Mar., 1954:

“Hon. John Foster Dulles commends

Pres. and Mrs. McKay for notable service as 

‘unofficial ambassadors’

The Secretary of State


March 31, 1954

Dear Mr. McKay:

I want you to know how much I appreciated your complimentary letter of March 15 relating the assistance which you and Mrs. McKay received from our missions on your recent trip.

Such tribute to our representatives overseas is gratifying and heartening, as is your kindness in taking the time to write of your experiences.

I am sure that you and Mrs. McKay, in turn, did a notable service in your travels as unofficial ambassadors of good will.

Thank you for your expression of support, and please call upon us at any time if the Department can be of help in your future travels.

Sincerely yours,

/s/ John Foster Dulles

John Foster Dulles

Mr. David O. McKay, President

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,

47 East South Temple Street,

Salt Lake City, Utah.

(Original letter in Scrap Books

Covering South African, South American, 

and Mexican Trips)”

Mon., 5 Apr., 1954:



By Jack M. Reed

Tribune Church Writer

When the Lord said, ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel’ it must have seemed impossible to his disciples.  But look at the possibilities today because of modern inventions of transportation and communication.

That was the way President David O. McKay of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encouraged missionaries of the church to redouble their efforts.  He spoke Monday evening in the Tabernacle at a special meeting concerned with the church’s missionary program.

‘The Lord has given us the means of whispering through space; of annihilating distance,’ President McKay commented.

Then he told his audience that missionaries should have these qualities: sincerity, coupled with prayer; studiousness; self control (‘not only in speech, but in appetite and passion’): standard of conduct (‘be an example in your everyday life’), and a sense of service to others.

President McKay’s remarks were preceded by a motion picture in tribute to him, depicting his life-time of missionary service, from the time he first served on a mission in the British Isles through his 1921 around-the-world tour, his recent trips to Europe and the tour of the Southern Hemisphere in January and February of this year.

The Narrator referred to the church president as a ‘modern Apostle Paul.’

It was pointed out during the meeting by Stephen L. Richards, first counselor in the LDS First Presidency, that there were 15,676 convert baptisms to the church in foreign and stake missions during 1953.  He explained that there are about 4,000 members in the average LDS stake.

Because of a decrease in the number of foreign missionaries for the church, foreign mission baptisms declined, Mr. Richards said.

However, the ‘splendid work’ of stake missionaries in 1953 ‘more than offset’ the fewer foreign mission baptisms.

Another speaker was J. Reuben Clark Jr., second counselor in the First Presidency, who referred to the church’s missionaries as ‘ambassadors of the Lord’ who carry with them certain rights, power and immunities because God will be with them and protect them.

Mr. Clark reminded his audience that ‘we are all missionaries – to our associates, our acquaintances and in our own homes.’

Two recent converts to the church related how they were converted and a home missionary told a few personal experiences.

An outline of the church’s missionary plan was presented in a motion picture.

The combined Delta Phi choruses from Brigham Young University, University of Utah, Utah State Agricultural College and other Intermountain Area schools provided music for the meeting.  They were directed by Crawford Gates.  Delta Phi is a fraternity for returned LDS missionaries.

Invocation was offered by Raymond H. Linford, East Long Beach, Cal., Stake mission president.  Samuel E. Bringhurst, former president of the Swiss-Austrian mission, pronounced the benediction.

The Salt Lake Tribune, Tuesday, April 6, 1954

April 5, 1954

Missionary Meeting Held Monday evening in the Salt Lake Tabernacle

(From Church Section  – April 10, 1954)

The new uniform program was declared to be one of the prime contributing factors to the satisfactory results of the great world-wide missionary program of the Church at a great missionary conference held last Monday evening in the Tabernacle.

The meeting was a special session of the 124th Annual Conference.  It was presided over by the First Presidency, with President Stephen L. Richards conducting.

A highlight of the evening was the introduction of President David O. McKay as the Church’s outstanding missionary to the nations of the earth.  This was done by a film presentation showing his worldwide travels in a half century of missionary endeavor.

President McKay responded appreciatively to the salute, and assured the huge congregation that he would treasure this meeting in his heart, for he, with all present, had been touched.

The Church leader said he sensed tonight as never before, the possibilities as well as the responsibilities of following the teachings of the Master and carrying the Gospel to all the world.

‘Today it is a simple matter for us to teach all nations,’ President McKay asserted.  ‘The Lord has given us the means of whispering through space, of annihilating distance.  We have the means in our hands of reaching the millions in the world.’

President McKay urged members of the Church, everyone, to accept the responsibility of missionary service.  ‘Every member a missionary,’ he offered as a slogan, asking the members to bring the message of the Gospel to their neighbors.

As missionaries President McKay urged the members to study the qualifications of success which he listed as: treasuring sincerity with which would come prayer; studiousness, self-control in speech, in appetite and in passion; to have high standards of conduct and a sense of service.”

Wed., 7 Apr., 1954:

“9:30 to 10:15 a.m. – First Presidency’s meeting.  The following items were considered:

1.  Los Angeles Temple Paintings

Edward O. Anderson called with Brother Wiberg one of the artists who is making sketches for the paintings in the Los Angeles Temple.  They presented a sketch that Brother Wiberg had prepared for the Creation room.  The Brethren thought the conception of the earth was too distinct, and that the moon should be eliminated.  Brother Wiberg will make another sketch in accordance with the suggestions offered.

Temple in England

Brother Edward O. Anderson submitted a sketch of the proposed temple in England, also a birdseye view of the property with the buildings thereon.  Discussed the matter of the water level.  Brother Anderson said that engineers will drive five holes to determine the water level and whether one of the present buildings could be used for a heating plant, to determine the earth strata, etc.

Discussed the wisdom of employing an architect in London to assist in the work.  Brother Anderson mentioned an English architect, Louis Redgate, who is giving us some help on the Los Angeles Temple.  Brother Anderson also mentioned that Brother Reiser has engaged an architect to do the preliminary work, to make a survey.  The firm of Dannes & Moore will dig the holes.  They could handle it from the Los Angeles office and will give instructions to the agent in London.

Brother Anderson was requested to present these things to the Building Committee.

Materials to be Used in Temple Annex, etc.

Brother Anderson submitted a sample of oak wood to be used for the pulpit in the chapel in the annex to the temple, with some hand carving on it the design being a representation of the Stick of Judah and the Stick of Joseph.  The Brethren suggested that there be some indistinct writing or characters on the scrolls, just a few characters.  The sample of oak is such as is proposed for use throughout the rooms.  The Brethren approved the color and sample.

Brother Anderson also exhibited some samples of marble, which the Brethren discussed, to be used in the various rooms.

Endowment Presentation

I referred to the Committee that had been appointed, of which Brother Anderson is a member, to arrange the new form of presentation of the endowments.  The committee has made its recommendations, one of which was that Brother Zimmer was to come here.  It has been deemed advisable that he should not come.  Brother Anderson said that President Joseph Fielding Smith wanted to have a meeting this afternoon to go over the details so that they can present it to the First Presidency for final approval.  After that is approved, these instructions ought to go to Switzerland as soon as possible.

Supervisor of Work in England

Discussed the matter of sending someone from here to England to have supervision of the work there, to install the television and see that it is done properly.  It was decided to see what the Committee recommends.  They felt, however, that someone who could envision the whole new plan of temple work should see that the construction is feasible.

Thurs., 8 Apr., 1954:

“10 to 2 p.m.  Council meeting.  At this meeting I gave the charge to George Q. Morris, and also ordained him an Apostle of the Church, and set him apart as a member of the Council of the Twelve.

At the meeting I asked President Richards to give a report to the Council on the recent annual Conference of the Church.  President Richards said that he was never filled with more pride, which he hoped was a perfectly legitimate pride, for his membership in this great Church, and also his association with the Brethren, and in addition, the clarity, excellence, sincerity and effectiveness of the addresses which the Brethren gave at Conference.  Said it was a source of the deepest satisfaction to him, and he thought what a wise provision the Lord has made in choosing as he does men of more or less different backgrounds to be the preceptors of his people, teaching all aspects of life and living, and applying the principles of truth to their lives.  He thought that from the beginning, commencing with the wonderful address by President McKay, which gave an enlarged concept and vision of our great work, the obligation we have to carry it to the entire world, — from then until the closing remarks, it was a spiritual feast.  He felt that the Missionary program Monday evening was very effective in promoting additional emphasis upon the missionary work.  He felt that it was a great Conference and that the blessings of the Lord were poured out upon the people.

I then commented upon the responsiveness of the audience, and stated that I think the order was good and that the moving around was reduced to a minimum.”

Mon., 14 June, 1954:

“This morning at 8 o’clock, met with the Temple Committee, consisting of the Presidency, President Joseph Fielding Smith, Elders Harold B. Lee, and Spencer W. Kimball.  I asked Howard McKean to present the proposed plan of preparing the present Temple rooms in the Salt Lake Temple to experiment upon the new plan of presenting the ordinances by use of screen and visual aids.  It was decided that we can use the Assembly Room in the Temple to set up a stage to make the experiment without making important changes in the present rooms.

It was a very profitable meeting.”

Thurs., 1 July, 1954:

“From 10 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. was in Council Meeting — the last meeting prior to the summer vacation.

Note:  At this meeting, among other things, President McKay made the following statement:

‘Never before, I think, has the Church been in a more suitable attitude before the world to render effectively the message of the restoration of the Gospel.  The Christian sects sense their inadequacy to represent our Lord and Savior.  In fact they are not recognizing him as the Savior of the world.  The General Authorities of this Church have the responsibility of declaring to the world the divine Sonship of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  No other body in the world has the testimony, has the responsibility that we possess.  It is mighty, but the Lord is with us, and as long as he is with us, he will guide us.'”

Mon., 26 July, 1954:

“8:30 a.m. – At his request gave a blessing to Elder Harold B. Lee who is soon to depart for the Orient.  He will visit Korea, the Philippines, part of China and Islands adjacent thereto within the boundaries of the Japanese-Chinese Mission.  Also gave a blessing to Sister Lee who will accompany her husband. 

7 Sept., 1954:

Telephone Calls:

2.  Edward O. Anderson — Called him about the location of the corner stone to be installed in the Swiss Temple.  He said that if his letter stated that the corner stone is to be located on the northeast corner, it is in error because it should have stated the southeast corner.  Said he was very sorry for this mistake.

I told him that I am leaving for Chicago in the morning, and would talk to him later about the laying of the cornerstone for the Swiss Temple.  I then told Brother Anderson that we have printed in the paper his drawing of the London Temple.  Said we had had some reaction – that there are those who are wondering if we should not keep the London Temple structure in harmony with the Tudor design of the existing buildings on the New Castle Property.  He answered that the Tudor design is in the tower; that if we make it ‘too much Tudor’ it will cost a lot more money in placing the moldings, etc.  Brother Anderson then discussed matters pertaining to further plans for the London Temple, stating that they are waiting for word from the engineers in England before they can finish the drawings.

He then spoke about carpeting and wall covering for the Los Angeles Temple, and about the angel which is soon to be shipped from the East.  Also about the oxen for the Swiss Temple.  Said that Brother Malan is working on that in New York.”

Thurs., 23 Sept., 1954:

“At 7:30 a.m.  Had an appointment with Elder Richard L. Evans on matters concerning the Temple ceremony for the Swiss Temple.

Wed., 6 Oct., 1954:

“Printing Church Literature and Book of Mormon in Russian

President Gregory of the East German Mission reports that the only literature we have for distribution among the Russians is “Joseph Smith tells His Own Story.’  He thinks they need additional literature.  Wants to know if he should print something over there.  Thinks that the name of an American publishing house should not appear on literature for the Russians.  Decided to tell President Gregory to go right ahead.  In the meantime it was thought we might consider printing the Book of Mormon in Russian.

Fri., 8 Oct., 1954:

“8:15 to 9 a.m. – Conference with Elder Richard L. Evans regarding his assignment in the study of the presentation of the Temple ceremony for the new temples.”

Thurs., 4 Nov., 1954:

Note:  Switzerland Temple

President and Sister Stephen L. Richards left this morning via Union Pacific RR for New York on the first part of their Journey to Switzerland.  President Richards will officiate at ceremonies, Saturday, Nov. 13, incident to laying the cornerstone for the Temple at Bern, Switzerland.  Thus another important step toward the completion of the first European Temple of the Church will be taken.

Special services are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., and President Richards will give an address and a prayer incident to the laying of the cornerstone.

Samule E. Bringhurst, former President of the Swiss-Austrian Mission and Mrs. Bringhurst are also making the trip for the cornerstone ceremonies.

Members of the Church and missionaries in the Swiss-Austrian Mission, municipal officials and other friends have been invited by the First Presidency to attend the services.”

Tues., 9 Nov., 1954:

Telephone Calls

“Honor to be Bestowed by Greek Government

Mr. Chris Athas of Salt Lake City, a local man of Greek descent, telephoned to say that the Greek Government by congressional order signed by the King of Greece will pay honor to me as President of the Church in appreciation for the Church’s kindness in sending aid to that country.  They wish to present that honor at a Banquet to be held in the Hotel Utah to which prominent Church and Civic persons will be invited.  Mr. Athas asked me to set the date for the banquet.  Said a member of the Greek Embassy either from San Francisco or Washington will be flown here to bestow the honor.  I later asked my secretary to tell Mr. Athas the Banquet may be arranged for November 29.  (*Tele:  Success Pharmacy 3-6393; Home 5-5061)

Tues., 16 Nov., 1954:


Upon my return to the office this afternoon, found the following memorandum on my desk from my secretary:

‘President McKay:  At 10:10 this morning you received a call from the Honorable John Tzounis, Consul of Greece, At San Francisco.  (His name is pronounced Zoonis).

‘He said that somehow the papers had gotten hold of the news regarding the decoration that is to be given to you by the King of Greece.  (On November 9th, Christopher Athas, local Greek advised you of this honor by telephone).  Mr. Tzounis called personally to advise you of this decoration–he is also sending a letter to you today giving the details.

‘He said:  ‘President McKay has been awarded the decoration by the King of Greece of the Cross of Commander Royal of the Phoenix for his outstanding work in the educational field, and for his spirituality and humanitarianism.’

‘I thanked Mr. Tzounis, and told him that you would be very appreciative of his thoughtfulness in calling. – signed Clare.’

November 16, 1954



San Francisco, Calif., U.S.A.

November 16, 1954

Dr. David O. McKay,

President of the Church of Jesus Christ

of Latter-day Saints

47 East South Temple, 

Salt Lake City, Utah.

Dear Sir,

I am very happy to inform you that His Majesty King Paul of the Hellenes has graciously awarded you the Cross of Commander of the Royal Order of the Phoenix, in recognition of your outstanding achievements in the religious and educational fields and of your untiring and highly successful efforts in promoting democratic ideals, good-will and understanding among nations.

Allow me to avail myself of this opportunity to congratulate you most heartily for this timely and well deserved recognition.  It shall be my pleasure and privilege to come to Salt Lake City at any date you may care to indicate in order to deliver to you personally the insignia and official diploma of the decoration.

Yours very sincerely

/s/ J.A. Tzounis

John A. Tzounis

Acting Consul General of Greece

November 16, 1954


November 18, 1954

Dear Mr. Tzounis:

For your graciousness in having sent a telephone message November 16, 1954, and in having followed that by your kind letter of the same date, I am deeply grateful.

I express gratitude, also, to His Majesty King Paul of the Hellenes for his having graciously awarded me the Cross of Commander of the Royal Order of the Phoenix.

Though I am the recipient of this great honor, I realize that I receive it for the Church for its expressed sympathy and admiration for the Greek people in time of distress.  I am honored to represent the Church in receiving His Majesty’s award.

I am looking forward to your visit on November 29, the date set for its presentation.

Cordially and sincerely,



Honorable John A. Tzounis

Acting Consul General of Greece

690 Market Street

San Francisco, California”

29 Nov., 1994:

“November 29, 1954

(Royal Honor from King of Greece)

Conferring of the Cross of the Commander of Order of

Phoenix upon President David O. McKay of the Church

of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by King Paul of

the Hellenes, through his representative, Honorable

John A. Tzounis, Acting Consul General of Greece,

at a formal dinner and ceremonies held on the Starlite

Gardens, Hotel Utah, Monday, November 29, 1954,

7 p.m.

At 7 p.m. Sister Mckay and I arrived at the Starlite Gardens of the Hotel Utah to attend a formal dinner and ceremonies for the bestowal of Royal Honors from King Paul of the Hellenes.

Most of the guests had arrived and were seated at their tables when Sister McKay and I arrived.  The room looked beautiful!  The speakers table, as well as the individual tables, had been attractively decorated with white carnations intermingled with gold leaves, and candelabra with pale blue candles.

At the head table were seated, besides Sister McKay and me, the Honorable John A. Tzounis, Acting Consul General of Greece, representing King Paul of Greece, Mayor Earl J. Glade and Mrs. Glade, Dr. and Mrs. A Ray Olpin, Dr. and Mrs. L. David Hiner, Mr. and Mrs. Christopher E. Athas, and Elder and Mrs. Richard L. Evans.  At individual tables were seated my sons and their wives:  David L. and Mildred; Llewellyn R. and Alice, Edward R. and Lottie, Robert R. and Francis Ellen; and my daughter Emma Rae and her husband Conway Ashton — also my brothers and sisters – Dr. and Mrs. George R. Hill; Dr. and Mrs. Joel E. Ricks; Dr. and Mrs. Joseph R. Morrell, Mrs. Thomas B. Farr, Thomas E. and Fawn, and Mrs. William McKay.  President and Mrs. Stephen L. Richards, President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Elders Henry D. Moyle, Marion G. Romney, Bishop Thorpe Isaacson, Mrs. Belle Spafford were among the prominent guests.

Dr. L. David Hiner, Dean of the College of Pharmacy, University of Utah, acted as Master of Ceremonies.

Following a delicious dinner, Dean Hiner announced that the ceremonies would begin with the singing of the national anthem by Mrs. Dorothy Kimball Keddington.  This was followed by the singing of the Greek national anthem by a member of the Greek organization.  Mayor Glade was then called upon to speak.  He paid tribute to the Greek people who are residents of the State of Utah.

(The following Notes from Secretary Clare Middlemiss, who was in attendance at the Banquet:)

At this point Honorable John A. Tzounis, Acting Consul General of Greece, was called upon to speak.  He said: ‘The purpose of this gathering is to pay tribute, within our limited means, to a man, who having chosen as his field one of the greatest instrumentalities of public service, has devoted his whole life to the noble search for better education and moral standards for his fellow men.’  He then praised President McKay and members of the Church for fostering and improving international good will.  He noted that friendship and consideration for others and the preservation of freedom were matters that must cross over international boundaries if nations are to remain free.  Continuing, he said:  ‘More immediately, however, and more tangibly related to Greece, to mention only one of several cases, is the generous response of the Mormon Church under the leadership of President McKay to the unspeakable plight of the earthquake – stricken population of the Ionian Islands a year ago.

‘It is no secret, and I am thankful for this opportunity to stress the fact publicly, that the contribution of the Mormon Church was the greatest single contribution to the relief fund — not only in the United States but the world over.

‘For the material assistance we are grateful.  But we are even more appreciative of the thought behind the deed.  For, in the hour of disaster we felt the heart-warming breadth of friendship.  We saw humanity in action – prompted not by calculations of expediency – but practiced in the confidence of liberality.’

Mr. Tzounis explained that the Order of the Phoenix was ‘symbolic of things that would endure forever.  The Phoenix was a mythical bird that had the ability to rise from its own ashes with renewed life, and that the order is bestowed only on people whose ideals, such as President McKay’s ideals of spirituality, can never perish.’

Mr. Tzounis then placed the ribbon bearing the insignia of the Cross of Commander of the Royal Order of the Phoenix about President McKay’s neck, and handed him a diploma in Greek signed by King Paul.  The translation of the diploma is as follows:

‘P A U L

King of the Hellenes

‘We confer upon

Mr. David O. McKay

President of the Church of Jesus Christ

of the Latter-day Saints,



and in witness thereof We grant him this Diploma, signed by Us and

countersigned by Our Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Done at Athens this thirteenth day of the month of July, in the year of

our Lord, One Thousand Nine Hundred and Fifty-four.

(signed)  P A U L  R.

(signed)  S. Stephanopoulos’


(A photostat of this diploma is in the 1954 Scrapbook.  The original in Greek, with its translation, have been framed for preservation.)

President McKay in his usual dignified, intelligent manner, humbly and graciously accepted the decoration.  He said, ‘In behalf of the Church and especially the Welfare Department, I express deep gratitude for this honor.  I am but a representative of the members of the Church ….It is most significant that a nation pauses to express appreciation for an act of service rendered by the Mormon Church.’  President McKay then said that sometimes a calamity has compensating results.  The earthquake of 1953 in the Greek Islands ‘gave the Church the opportunity to express in a slight degree some of the principles and purposes of its organization.  It gave the Church an opportunity to render service to mankind, to build new friendships, and to foster better understanding between the people of Greece and the people of Utah.’

President McKay then asked Mr. Tzounis to convey to His Majesty King Paul of the Hellenes the Church’s deep gratitude.  ‘We send our blessings to him and to the Greek people,’ President McKay said.

Then followed ceremonies pertaining to the bestowal of an honor upon Mr. Christopher E. Athas, a prominent Utah citizen, a native of Greece, and a worker in behalf of better understanding between the people of this country and his native land.  Mr. Athas was awarded the Gold Cross of the Order of Phoenix by King Paul of Greece.  (end of notes by Clare Middlemiss)

Mr. Tzounis distinguished himself by the sincere, gracious, and efficient manner in which he presented the honors.

The affair was successful in every way — a feeling of congeniality and good will was marked throughout the ceremony.

One impressive feature on the evening was the fact that there was no smoking whatsoever, notwithstanding the fact that many in attendance were addicted to the habit.

Twenty-two congratulatory telegrams were sent to me from the Greek people both here in the State and throughout the United States, all containing warm congratulations and best wishes for the honor bestowed.  Many telegrams were also addressed to both Mr. Athas and me, and these were read by Dr. Hiner at the Banquet.

Following the ceremonies Sister McKay and I stood in the reception line with other honored guests and greeted and shook hands with each person who attended the ceremonies and dinner.  We were in line for an hour or more.

It was a joyous occasion and our hearts were made glad by the reception given to us!!

Further notes by Secretary:

The following day (November 30) Mrs. Christopher Athas, (wife of Mr. Athas upon whom an honor was bestowed) called to say that she had received so many messages from people who were in attendance at the banquet, and others who had read the daily newspapers, each of whom expressed great satisfaction over the honor that had been bestowed upon President McKay by the Greek people.  She said that Mr. Tzounis, the Acting Consul General, spoke to the students at the University of Utah the day following the banquet, and said, in speaking about the honor that had been given to the President of the Mormon Church:  ‘You should be very proud of your President.  I am grateful that I had an opportunity to meet and know him.  I have been enriched spiritually by meeting such a humble man with such a big heart, and am returning home with gratefulness in my heart that I have received a deeper spiritual experience.’

Mrs. Athas said that many had remarked:  ‘Utah has never had such an impressive affair take place.’

(See following copy of invitation received by President McKay to attend the Banquet – also copy of letter to President McKay from Jack B. Heinz who was unable to attend the banquet in which he says:  ‘Once again, you have brought favorable recognition to your Church, your State, and your Nation.  As a Utahn, and an American, may I offer ‘thanks’ along with these congratulations.  This is still another occasion attesting to your devotion to the service of humanity.’)

(Newspaper articles, editorials, etc. concerning the ceremonies follow.)

(See Nov. 16, 1954 for letter from Mr. Tzounis telling of the King’s decision to give the award, also newspaper announcements and editorial concerning the event on the same date.)

Later, President McKay obtained copies of photographs taken of Mr. Tzounis and him the night of the banquet and sent them to Mr. Tzounis.  They were inscribed as follows:  ‘To Honorable John A. Tzounis, Office of the Royal Consulate of Greece, San Francisco, California.  With Gratitude for Royal Honors bestowed, and for the privilege of having met you personally.  Cordially and sincerely.  /s/ David O. McKay.  Nov. 29, 1954.’

A copy of the letter which accompanied the photographs follows:

‘December 4, 1954

‘My dear Mr. Tzounis:

‘It gives me great satisfaction to enclose herewith two photographs

which I have taken the liberty to inscribe, and two others which I am hoping

you will return to me with your autograph so that I may place them among my treasured collections.

‘They will always connote one of the delightful experiences of my public

career, made so by the kind consideration of His Majesty, King Paul of

the Hellenes, and particularly by his representative, the Honorable John

A. Tzounis, Acting Consul General of Greece.

‘I sincerely hope that our paths may cross again soon and often.

‘With sentiments of high regard, I remain

‘Cordially yours,

/s/ David O. McKay


‘Honorable John A. Tzounis

Acting Consul General of Greece

Office of the Royal Consulate General of Greece

San Francisco, California

Later at Council meeting held December 2, 1954, President McKay reported the following with reference to the Greek Banquet:

‘Mr. Tzounis stated during his speech that the Church gave the largest single contribution, not only of anybody or any group here in the United States, but in the world.  The spirit of the occasion was very impressive.  There was not one cigarette lighted during the entire service.

The Master of Ceremonies – Dean Hiner – had a group of telegrams that he did not read.  President McKay learned yesterday that they were all complimentary telegrams from Greek people here in the city.  Pres. McKay said he learned through a secretary at the University of Utah that the Greek Orthodox Church wanted to share in the honors bestowed, but they were rejected.

President McKay said he had some interesting conversations with Mr. Tzounis.  During one of the conversations he commented on the Greek language, and in substance said that the modern Greek language today is more in keeping with the original than any other language that has come down from the ancient languages.  President McKay told him he was pleased to hear that because we are having the Book of Mormon translated into Greek; that, as a matter of fact, it is completed, but one criticism that has been raised is that it was not sufficiently modern; that it was too much in harmony with the ancient Greek.  Mr. Tzounis said that some words have changed, and some phrases have been dropped out, but that if the translation is in harmony with ancient Greek we have no cause to be worried.”

Fri., 3 Dec., 1954:

“From 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. – Went out to the Beuhner Block Company in company with Howard McKean.  There I inspected the oxen that are being sculptored for the Temple in Bern, Switzerland.  I was happy that I had taken the time to see these oxen as there were several changes that must be made.”

Thur., 30 Dec., 1954:

Note Regarding Edward O. Anderson’ visit to the General Electric Company in Switzerland regarding lighting for the Bern Temple

In giving his report this morning Brother Anderson related the following most interesting experience which he had while visiting in Zurich, Switzerland:

Brother Anderson called at the office of the General Electric Company in Zurich, a subsidiary of the United States General Electric Company, on December 8, 1954, at 9 a.m., for the purpose of obtaining from them advice and information concerning the latest developments of electrical lighting so that the most effective and up-to-date equipment could be installed in the Temple at Bern.

While conversing with the gentleman in charge, Brother Anderson was shown a picture of the inside of a building as a model for the most effective lighting.  Brother Anderson took the picture, studied it for a few moments, and then said to the gentleman:  ‘Do you know the name of the building in which this picture was taken?’  The gentleman said no, he did not; that it had probably been sent to them by their American office.  Brother Anderson then said: ‘Why that is a picture of the inside of one of the Mormon Temples — the Kirtland Temple, which was dedicated in March, 1836!’  He was so amazed to think that this picture containing a detailed view of the pulpits, the seating arrangements, the lighting system, etc., of the Kirtland Temple should be brought to him as an example of an effective, modern lighting system.  The gentleman in Zurich, of course, did not realize that a testimony had been given that day to the inspiration of the early leaders of the Church who supervised the building of the Kirtland Temple in 1836, which was built ‘with very little capital except brain, bone, and sinew, combined with unwavering trust in God, men, women, and even children worked with their might.  While the brethren labored in their departments, the sisters were actively engaged in boarding and clothing workmen not otherwise provided for — all living as absteminously as possible, so that every cent might be appropriated to the grand object, while their energies were stimulated by the prospect of participating in the blessing of a house built by the direction of the Most High, and accepted by Him.’

Fri., 31 Dec., 1954:

Elder Richard L. Evans

Held a consultation with Elder Richard L. Evans of the Council of the Twelve.  We considered the method of presenting the Temple ceremony, having in mind the audience sitting in the same room instead of going to three different rooms,”

Franklin J. Murdock Diary

January 2, 1955 to February, 1955

Daily Diary of South Pacific Island Trip

“No. 1 – Sunday Evening – January 2nd – 1955

Commencing a 45,000 mile Pacific Mission Tour, President David O. McKay, Sister Emma Riggs McKay, and Elder Franklin J. Murdock, entrained on the California Zephyr of the Western Pacific Railroad, Sunday, January 2nd at 10:40 p.m. amid the enthusiastic well wishes of a host of General Authorities, Family members, Mission Presidents and returned missionaries.  Ray Coulam, General Passenger Agent of the Western Pacific Railroad, was on hand to see that every facility of the railroad was available to President McKay and party.  The waiting room resounded with the strains of Samoan, Tahitian, Tongan and Moari folk songs so well rendered by the various missionary groups.

As President and Sister McKay stood in the doorway of the beautiful chrome-plated Zephyr car it was remarkable to hear how many Tongan, Samoan and Moari words, which he had learned thirty four years ago on his previous trip, he could still recall and answer back to the missionaries as they affectionately bade the party farewell.  As the train moved slowly out of the yards, the President remained at the doorway long enough to wave good-bye to those who had come late and who were standing on the fringe of the crowd, and also to those in the outer yards who knew he was on the train and who expressed their love for him with a wave of their hands.

More than three months of planning had gone into the trip and appreciation should go to Senator Arthur V. Watkins, who had contacted the State Department and had enlisted the assistance of the American Consulates in all the countries that would be visited.  Mr. Tull, the British Consul in Denver, had been most helpful in sending word to the respective British and French authorities asking for their cooperation.  Helpful suggestions and services were rendered by Pan American World Airways and the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand represented by the Jack Thomas World Wide Travel Service.”

Franklin J. Murdock

5 Jan., 1955:

“At 3:00 a.m. the Clipper stopped at Canton Island for refueling.  How the pilots can find this small speck of coral just about a mile wide and six miles long in all of that huge Pacific Ocean is a wonder to me!  We were delayed here three hours because of Hurricane Warnings that a Hurricane was coming North from Suva.  Pan American are very cautious and have an unmatched record of safe flying.  The Hurricane turned around in its path and started South toward Suva again, but by the time we arrived it had changed its course abruptly and was going eastward, making our landing at Nandi safe and without incident.  The black flags which are the final warnings were still flying, but the Hurricane was well on its way north and eastward from Suva.  Officials at Nandi and Suva were puzzled to see the Hurricane take such a course.  Even the official at the cable office showed President McKay just how it had suddenly reversed its course at the same time of his arrival at Suva and President McKay remarked that ‘something very unusual had happened.”’ 

Franklin J. Murdock

8 Jan., 1955:

“A telephone call came to the office for President McKay from the Leper Colony just about two miles out of the city.  It was a request for him to come and visit a member of the Church who had seen him when she was a little girl and he was visiting Samoa thirty-four years before on his first visit to the South Pacific Missions.  We took a taxi and went in search of this lady.  Her name was Mrs. Sally Skipps and she was the daughter of the Samoan Family by name of Tooya.  The taxi took us up the mountain side to a group of cottages, and we located the Sister in Charge.  She greeted us and said that she would send for Mrs. Skipps.  It was learned from this Sister in Charge that she had spent thirty years as a nurse in this colony.  She was of French extraction and spoke English very fluently.  Her assistant was there, and she went down to one of the cottages to find the lady who had made the request.  After a few moments the word came that she could not walk very far so the President suggested that we go to her cottage.  This was a beautiful tropical spot with all kinds of shrubbery in all the hues of the rainbow growing so profusely.  As we walked along a small corridor we came to an open door and there sat a middle-aged Samoan lady with tears in her eyes patiently waiting to see President and Sister McKay.  She spoke very good English and seemed overjoyed to greet her visitors.  She explained that she had been listening to her little radio set and yesterday morning it had announced that President McKay of the Mormon Church had landed at the airport.  Now he was standing at her door typical of a great kind heart to heed the request of this troubled heart.  Here was an answer to her prayer that she would get to see the Prophet.  Prayer is a great blessing to all and especially those who have faith and can find comfort and solace in the exercise of their faith.  She had a kind face and a humble heart and seemed so grateful for the visit, and for the blessing she received.  She was soon to go back to her family in New Zealand.  She waved good-bye and we climbed into the taxi and we discovered the Sister in Charge giving the taxi man the cost of the trip out from Suva which this good member was willing to pay just to have the Prophet come to her door.  She was willing to sacrifice her mite to help, but of course the cost of the taxi we paid for and accepted the good will for the deed, and the Sister took the funds back to her with our love and blessing.  It reminded us of the passage of scripture which reads in part as follows, ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’  It was a beautiful morning and we were well and happy.”

Franklin J. Murdock

Sun., 9 Jan., 1955:


The topical rain has many virtues among which are these:  It obeys the course of the Trade Winds.  It has an element of justice in that it falls equally on the weed as well as on the plant.  It quenches the thirst of the vegetation of the earth wherever it falls.  It has the air of delicacy and tenderness.  In fact the great playwright Shakespeare compared the ‘Quality of Mercy as not being strained.  It droppeth as a gentle rain from Heaven’.  It serves man as a means for quenching his thirst; washing his body and his clothing and is used extensively in the preparation of his food.  It is indispensable to man and his way of life.  It is a part of God’s creation and is intended for a blessing to man.

This is our first Sabbath in the topics, and we were awakened by the following sounds:  At 5:45 a.m. a rooster crowed which brought back a flood of memories.  At 6:00 a.m. the soft pealing of bells came, and at 7:30 a.m. the Grand Pacific Drum announced that food was ready.  In this trio of sound, first we are urged to arise and shine.  It is a great blessing to be able to get up and enjoy good health and strength.  The bells are sounded to turn our thoughts to God, the Giver of all blessings, and to thank Him for our very existence, and third, sound invites us to come and be nourished.

We had made an appointment with the missionaries to meet with them and the members of the Church at the home of Brother C.G. Smith located about three miles out of town.  We arrived at the Smith Home at exactly two minutes to ten.  There quietly sitting in a beautiful garden home were twenty-eight members of the Church.  They had placed mats under our chairs, and a canopy over our heads to make sure the rain would not stop the meeting.

Brother Smith stood up and welcomed President and Sister McKay and myself to his home.  He had kept this little flock together so many years all alone, and now the Prophet of the Lord with his wife were sitting in their circle.  It was too much for him, and he broke down and wept tears of joy and thanksgiving.  It was remarkable that our schedule had been delayed one day by reason of the Hurricane and we were not aware of the fact that there were members of the Church in Suva.  This humble man was so touched that he had some difficulty in leading the meeting.  Elder Murdock opened with prayer after the congregation had sung so sweetly, ‘We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet’.  I have never heard that hymn sung with such feeling and humility.  With tears of joy in their eyes they said every word as if it were a prayer.  The sacrament was administered by the missionaries and the first speaker was Sister McKay.  She pointed out that if we are to be true disciples of the Christ, we must do at least three things, namely, maintain our integrity, love our fellowmen and love God and keep his commandments.  Elder Murdock then spoke on the value of living clean lives so that God can inspire us to do His work.

President McKay pointed out that this was a very significant meeting.  We had not intended to remain in Suva over Sunday because our schedule called for us to be somewhere between Suva and Tonga, but because of Hurricane Warnings we were delayed a day.  We were not aware that there were members of the Church in Suva.  He read from the 16th chapter of Acts in the New Testament where Paul, Silas and Luke had met on a Sunday in Phillipi and had baptized Lydia who was the first European convert to the Church and that was the beginning of a Branch of the Church.  President McKay pointed out that thirty-four years ago he and Hugh J. Cannon had stopped at Suva on the S.S.Tofua, but had decided that the time was not ripe for the preaching of the Gospel to the people of Suva.  Because of the change in our schedule which came about by reason of the Hurricane Warnings, we are here today to preach the Gospel in Suva and commence the building up of the Kingdom of God.  Surely God has had a hand in changing our schedule so that we can be with you the members of the Church.  He urged them all to work unitedly for the acquiring of land on which to build a Church.

9 Jan, 1955:

“A Very Significant Meeting in Suva, Fiji.

President McKay stated that this was a very significant meeting, and he read from the 16th chapter of Acts in the New Testament.  He pointed out in this story that Paul and Silas and Luke had on a Sunday met in Phillipi a certain lady by the name of Lydia and had preached the Gospel to her, and she became the first European convert to the Church.  He cited the experiences which they had in being thrown into jail and their remarkable release.  But the point he wished to make was the fact that on that Sunday when they preached the Gospel they were the only authorized servants of God holding forth in His name.  He compared that incident to the time just thirty-four years ago when he and Elder Hugh J. Cannon came to Suva on the steamship S.S.Tofua, and they decided at that time that it was not the right time to open Suva to the preaching of the Gospel.  He stated that we did not expect to stop here on Sunday, our schedule was that we should be on the water somewhere between Suva and Tonga, but that a Hurricane came and delayed us one day, and today we are preaching the Gospel in Suva and that missionaries are here now to carry on the work and build up the Kingdom and this meeting this morning is of historical importance.”

Franklin J. Murdock

10 Jan., 1955:

“President McKay is at his best when he is telling some of his Scotch stories and especially his missionary experiences.  He is after all the great missionary of the Church.  No one person has had so much to do with the missionary work of the Church as President McKay.  He holds the record for having travelled the greatest number of miles and has visited the greatest number of missions of the Church.  He likewise has born his testimony in more foreign tongues than any other leader of the Church.  The members and missionaries listened so intently and were all eyes and ears to every word that the President uttered.  They were so grateful for the privilege of being with him and Sister McKay, and it was interesting to see the ladies come up to Sister McKay and after meeting her, she would make them feel so much at home, and they loved her and wanted to talk more with her.”

Franklin J. Murdock

11 Jan., 1955:


Today we shall be at the first mission headquarters, and it promises to be a very interesting day.  The S.S. Tofua sighted land about 5:30 a.m. and by 6:30 a.m. the ship had dropped anchor.  We soon cleared police and customs inspection and were ready to go ashore.  President and Sister Coombs came aboard and showed us the itinerary they had worked out for the day’s activities.  Near the gang plank stood four of our Tongan members who had come 140 miles in an open sail boat just to shake hands with the Prophet, and you should have seen their faces light up when they were introduced to President and Sister McKay.

Breakfast at the Mission Home and we were soon on our way over to the new Liahona College at Tongatapu, Tonga.

As we neared the gates we noticed at least a thousand people, some of them had been there all night waiting to see the visitors.  They had taken cocoanut leaves and woven over the gateway the word ‘welcome’ and on the inside ‘We Love You’.  They had given Queen Elizabeth the same welcome sign, when she was visiting the islands.  From the gateway some five hundred years to the entrance to the college assembly hall people had lined up five and six deep.  As the President stepped from the car, they all sang ‘We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet’ with such a feeling of thanksgiving.  We all walked slowly through the line and went over to a beautiful cocoanut grove, and there they had erected a bowery with chairs and pillows arranged for the visitors to sit on and then all these thousand to twelve hundred people sat down as one large family.

They had been preparing this feast for several days and now the ceremonies would start.  First a large group started to sing, and they pulled a large Kava root into the center of the circle.  This was gift number one.  Then they brought in a large roasted pig.  This was gift number two.  The pig is considered to be a very noble gift, and then gift number three was several sticks of sugar cane.  Then one of the nobles said it was time to make the Kava Drink, so one of the nobles split the Kava root, and another one crushed it into fine pieces between two rocks.  Then some water was added, and it was mixed in a large bowl.  The drink was first sampled by two of the nobles before they gave it to President McKay.  We all had a drink, and then President McKay responded to their custom and thanked them for their courtesy.

Then they carried in large tables covered with food, the like of which we had never seen.  There was a whole yearling pig on our table, with every kind of vegetable you could eat, with chicken, beef, ham, fruit salad, fresh cocoanuts, pineapple, and all kinds of bread, cake, and other desserts.  During this feast they came out and put on a great array of tribal and other types of dances.  Each group wore different costumes, hair braids, foot ornaments, with spears and sticks, and went through all kinds of rhythm.  There were actually ten different dances and each Branch and District in the Mission were represented.  How they threw themselves into the spirit of the dance!  You would have thought it was a contest.  Each of us had been presented with elaborate leis.

As they became exhausted, we excused ourselves, and went out to the cocoanut plantation at Mckekii where the Church has seventy-five acres of land with about the same number of cattle.  The cattle looked to be in good condition and likewise the land.  The operator thinking that the President might want to ask him some questions got on his bicycle and rode the five miles to be there to give the President some information and discuss matters with him.

Back to the assembly room in the college, and there we met with 1200 people for a regular meeting.  (For the proceedings of this meeting see the recordings).  At the close of the meeting the President shook hands with people for about thirty minutes, and it was time to go back to the ship.  The music for this meeting was led by a young Tongan without any piano or organ, but he gave them the correct pitch and then led the congregation.

It was a busy day, but an interesting one.

We shall never forget the spirit of the Tongan people and their hospitality and kindness to us!”

Franklin J. Murdock

12 Jan., 1955:


The sun comes up early in the tropics, and this morning was no exception.  It gives to all a bright new day.  Just outside the harbor of Nukualofa there is a small island by the name of Makahaa and as we passed by this spot, President McKay reminded us that thirty-four years ago he was quarantined on this island for two weeks because of an epidemic of Measles.  One of the young men members of the Church came out and assisted him and others during the two weeks.  At the end of this time the Government officials were so pleased with the manner in which this young man had served the visitors that they offered to pay him a handsome sum to continue on with the next ship load of passengers who also must wait there two weeks.  But the young man said he would prefer going with the missionaries to staying there.  They then offered him additional inducements if he would renounce the Church and go with them, but he answered that if they would give him those islands he would not renounce the Church.  A beautiful sentiment and a strong faith in the Church.  During the day when members came up and shook the Prophet’s hand, they remembered the incident.”

Franklin J. Murdock

13 Jan., 1954:

“Coming to Vavau this morning early we were delighted to see on the docks about fifty of our Branch choir members, and as soon as President and Sister McKay made their appearance, the members all gave them a hearty welcome and sang ‘We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet’.  As the members look at President and Sister McKay, they seem to electrify them.  Tears come to their eyes, and they see a Prophet of God.  These people are so friendly and have made such great preparations, not only for their feasts and welcomes, but in their own lives many of them have fasted and have prayed that they will be worthy to stand in the presence of a prophet of God.  Many of them travel miles and miles and put up with any kind of hardship.  Last night on the boat from Nukualofa to Vavau quite a number slept out on the deck and brought their own food with them just to hear him speak again today.  They say that it is the greatest blessing that has come into their lives.”

“Message dictated by President McKay for the members who live in Nieua.  Tongan Mission

January 13, 1955

To the Elders and members of the Church in Nieu:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Sister McKay, President Franklin J. Murdock, our travelling companion and secretary; President D’Monte Coombs, President of the Tongan Mission; Elder and Sister Patrick Dalton join me in sending to you by short note our heartfelt greetings and love.

One of our objectives when we left Salt Lake City on this special mission tour was to visit the church members and friends of the church in Niue; and until 6:00 o’clock this morning we cherished the hope to do so.  However, Captain Pearson, seeing the turbulency of the sea, advised us not to go ashore — indeed, forbade our doing so.

We are grateful that he permitted Elders Slade, Harris and Ahmu to board the Tofua to bring to us your greetings in person.  We thank them and you.

With our love, which we now give to you, we express also the greetings and prayers for your welfare of the First Presidency, the Twelve, and other General Authorities of the Church.  We would hope that our visit would make you feel closer to the General Authorities and make you aware that you are a part of the great membership of the Church.  Please be assured that the authorities are interested in your welfare and pray regularly that our Father in Heaven will protect you from the evils of the world and guide you daily in the paths of righteousness and peace.  Always remember that what you do and what you say will reflect either credit or discredit upon the Church of Christ.  You have turned your backs to the ways of the Evil One and now walk toward the Light.  Therefore, in love serve one another, attend to your prayers, cease to find fault with one another, be kind to all people, even to those who speak falsely against you.  If you do these things and attend to your duties in the Church, God will give you peace in your hearts and harmony in your homes.

Again we say you have turned from the works of the flesh as mentioned by Paul to the Galatians, such as adultery, fornification, uncleanness, hatred, anger, strife, envyings, drunkenness, revellings and such like, and you know that they who do such things ‘shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.’  It is your privilege and duty now to partake of the fruits of the spirit which are love, joy, peace, long suffering, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance — ‘and they who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts.’  Remember always if we would live in the spirit we must also walk in the spirit.

Goodbye and God bless you!

David O. McKay

President, Church of Jesus Christ of

Latter-day Saints”

Franklin J. Murdock

31 Jan., 1955:

“The trip from Sydney to Brisbane was made in a D-C 4 Australian Nation Airways plane.  They claim the best record of safety of any airline in the world.  The trip was smooth and without incident until we had been going for about an hour and a half.  We were traveling at about 250 miles per hour.  President Waters, a counselor in the Mission Presidency, had gone up into the cockpit with the pilot who had agreed to circle over Brisbane in order that we could get a look at the city lighted up at night.

Suddenly the pilot noticed a heavy rain and lightning storm in our pathway and seemed greatly concerned as to what the consequences might be.  As the plane neared the storm area the lights in the plane suddenly went out and then on, and the storm had disappeared.  The pilot could not understand what had happened nor where the storm had gone to, but it had vanished and the plane went on its course without further incident.”

William E. Waters

31 Jan., 1955:

“January 31, 1955


‘Peace, be still.  And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.’  (Mark 4:39)  Aboard the A.N.A. DC4 Skymaster, flight 10 the 7:25 p.m. service from Sydney to Brisbane on January 31, 1955 were President and Sister David O. McKay, Elder Franklin J. Murdock, President and Sister C.V. Liljenquist and President and Sister William E. Waters.  President and Sister David O. McKay and President Murdock had arrived a few hours earlier from New Zealand and were now en route to Brisbane to commence their tour of the Australian Mission.  During the flight, which to that stage had been very smooth, a hostess approached President Waters and stated that if he so wished the Captain of the plane (Capt. B. Jones) would be pleased to receive him in the cockpit.

Upon my arriving at the cockpit I noticed that the pilot and his first officer were learning right forward over the instrument panels with their faces pressed up against the windscreen, and without turning away Capt. Jones requested that I pull down the emergency chair and make myself comfortable.  Whilst I was so doing the First Officer remarked that it was strange that the TAA plane that had travelled ahead of us had not reported the situation to Coffs Harbour Radio Station.  I then asked what was the matter and was informed that there was a terrific electrical storm ahead and that they had been watching the lightning flashing through the clouds.  Being an Australian I am familiar with the whims of electrical storms and knew that ahead was trouble for the storms are accompanied by gusts of wind of great velocity, lightning, thunder and worst of all for the airplane interference with both compass and radio.  I had already experienced how a plane behaves on the outskirts of an electrical storm and my mind went immediately to President McKay sleeping so peacefully in his seat on the starboard side of the plane.  Whilst I was thus musing and growing concerned for his sake the pilot said ‘Look, the lightning’s stopped’ and to which the First Officer remarked ‘Yes.  That’s peculiar, isn’t it?’  The pilots then settled back in their chairs and entered into a conversation with me explaining the instruments and their uses.  Approximately fifteen minutes later we approached the spot where the lightning was observed and the pilots immediately strapped themselves in and flashed the warning to the passengers in the cabin of the plane.  When we neared the clouds I was astonished at the formation for usually electrical storms spread across the sky with great rapidity but this storm seemed as if it had struck an invisible wall which forced the movement of the clouds up vertically, for there on my starboard as far up as I could see was a sheer bank of cloud, whilst the plane continued on it’s course, directly on its radio beam, through clear sky.  We passed what seemed to me to be within forty or fifty yards of that cloud bank and as we passed the light in the plane flickered and the plane gave two slight lurches.  Shortly afterwards I excused myself and returned to the cabin to relate to President and Sister Liljenquist and my wife, the remarkable experience.  As I passed down the aisle to my seat I noticed President McKay was still asleep and as I passed I prayed as the emotion swelled up into my throat ‘God bless you, President,’ and ‘Father, I thank Thee for blessing They Prophet with his much needed rest.’

/s/ William E. Waters

Feby. 1st, 1955″

Franklin J. Murdock

10 Feb., 1955:

“That afternoon early we flew back to Maui, and we all journeyed by the Green Buick to the little village of Pulehu.  Here was the monument dedicated by President George Albert Smith designating the place where the first baptisms in the Hawaiian Mission were performed.  President McKay and Hugh J. Cannon visited this spot some thirty-four years ago.  Here is the story as President McKay dictated, word for word:

(Following are the minutes of informal meeting together with the remarks of President David O. McKay at Pulehu, Maui, Thursday, February 10, 1955, 3:30 to 4:30 P.M.  Forty-four persons were present among whom were President David O. McKay,

Sister Emma Ray McKay, Elder Clifford E. Young, President Franklin J. Murdock, Sister Miriam Young Farnsworth, President D. Arthur Haycock, Sister Maurine M. Haycock, President Lawrence Haneberg, President David I. Tew, President Reuben D. Law, President Benjamin L. Bowring, and Sister Leone R. Bowring.  President McKay was standing on the former location of a pepper tree (which tree was blown down in a windstorm some years ago.)  A few feet away was the monument erected by the Hawaii Mission commemorating the first baptism and first branch of the Church in the Hawaiian Islands which was organized at this village August 6, 1851.  President McKay related the following experience to those present:)

‘Brother Hugh J. Cannon had heard his father, President George Q. Cannon, tell about his experiences in Maui, one of which is printed so I may not tell that just as it should be, but you can find it recorded and get it right.  As I remember it, it was like this:  Brother George Q. Cannon landed at Lahaina, that is across the West Maui mountains, and he walked up through Iao Valley and came to Wailuku.  He was dressed in a white suit and was alone, his companion having gone back to Salt Lake City.  He was asked to return but felt impressed to remain and complete his mission.  He was entering Wailuku for the first time.  He knew nobody there, and as he approached the town and started across a stream he slipped and got his feet wet and splashed water on his white suit.  He decided to go right through town and get his stockings dry as well as his suit, but he saw a woman coming toward him on the sidewalk who, instead of continuing on toward him, suddenly stopped, turned around and hurried back, the distance I do not know.  She entered a nearby house and when George Q. Cannon asked him who he was, he said, ‘I am Chief Napel,’ and said the chief, ‘Last night I dreamed I saw you and I told my wife when I woke up that we would have a visitor here today, so that when she saw you coming she remembered at once what I had told her and hurried back and told me that here is the man you saw in your vision.’  There is a genuine case of pre-vision.

‘Chief Napela entertained George Q. Cannon as his guest and became a staunch supporter.  The opposition of the missionaries was very severe at first, but the chief stood up and defended them all the time, and at one time they came up here and held a meeting which might have been outside but there might have been a meeting house.  I am not clear on that.  There were about 100 people present, 90 of whom joined the Church after that meeting.  George Q. Cannon had told Hugh J. Cannon about that, and Hugh J. Cannon said, ‘I would like to go up there to Pulehu.’  I said, ‘So would I.’  That was exactly thirty-four years and two days ago.  So we came up here and this is where it was (pointing to a spot where the pepper tree had been), and as we looked at an old frame house that stood here then, he said, ‘That is probably the old chapel.’  It seemed to me it was over in the distance.  Nothing else was here.  We said, ‘Well probably that is the place.  We are probably standing on the spot upon which your father, George Q. Cannon, and Chief Napela addressed those people.’  And we became very much impressed with the surroundings and association and spiritual significance of everything, and also with the manifestations that we had had on our trip to the Orient and thus far in Hawaii, so I said, ‘I think we should have a word of prayer.’  It was a hot day and the sun shining and we retired to the shade of a pepper tree that stood right on this spot.  I would like to show you just how we stood.  (President McKay had lined up some of the brethren present as follows, reading from left to right:  President Franklin J. Murdock representing David Keola Kailimai, Elder Clifford E. Young as E. Wesley Smith, President McKay as himself, J. Pia Cockett as Hugh J. Cannon, and Dr. Reuben D. Law as Samuel Hurst.)

‘I offered the prayer.  We all had our eyes closed and it was a very inspirational gathering.  At the conclusion of the prayer and as we started to walk away, Brother Keola Kailimai took Brother E. Wesley Smith to the side and began talking in Hawaiian to him very earnestly.  As we walked along the rest of us dropped back.  They continued walking and very earnestly Brother Keola told in Hawaiian what he had seen during that prayer.  They stopped right over there (pointing a short distance away) and Brother E. Wesley Smith said, ‘Brother McKay, do you know what Brother Kailimai has told me?’  I said, ‘No.’  He said that while I was praying and we all had our eyes closed, he saw two men whom he thought were Hugh J. Cannon and E. Wesley Smith step out of line in front of us and shake hands and he wondered why Brother Cannon and Brother Smith were shaking hands while we were praying.  He opened his eyes and there stood those two men still in line and with their eyes closed just as they had been.  He quickly closed his eyes because he knew he had seen a vision.

‘Now Brother Hugh J. Cannon greatly resembled Brother George Q. Cannon, his father.  I spoke during our trip on the resemblance he had with his father, Brother George Q. Cannon, and, of course, E. Wesley Smith had the Smith attribute just as President Joseph Fielding Smith has it.  Naturally, Brother Keola Kailimai would think that these two men were there.’  President McKay said, ‘I think it was George Q. Cannon and Joseph Fielding Smith, two former missionaires to Hawaii, whom that spiritual minded man saw.

‘We walked a few steps farther and I said, ‘Brother Kailimai, I do not understand the significance of your vision, but I do know that the veil between us and those former missionaries was very thin.’  Brother Hugh J. Cannon by my side, with tears rolling down his cheeks, said, ‘Brother McKay, there was no veil.’

‘There you have it.  I am happy to be on this spot again.

‘The Lord is pleased with what the missionaires have done and I am grateful for the response of the Hawaiian people and others of these lovely islands.  I am glad to see this lovely group of Elders and members here assembled for this truly is a sacred spot.  May we who will now have increased responsibility from this moment on be true to the trust that the Lord has in us!’

17 Feb., 1955:

“Jan 2, 1955 to February 15, 1955.

Report and Recommendations by

President David O. McKay on Matters

in the South Pacific Missions

Report to Member of Parliament said:

First Presidency ‘Church has done more for

the Maori people than all

other churches put together!’

First Presidency Meeting, Thursday,

February 17, 1955, 9:00 a.m.

President McKay said he would make some recommendations to the Council this morning.

1.  Tonga is in good condition.  Brother Coombs is a fine man and is willing to stay as long as we want him to do so.  He has not started out in his profession yet.  President McKay thought we should look for someone to succeed Brother Coombs, although there is no hurry.

2.  Recommended that Ermel J. Morton continue.  He is a wonderful man (he is in Tonga), very able.  Speaks Tongan better than the natives.  They have 18 teachers there.  The school is visited by Tufua passengers every month — sight-seeing tourists.  It is a credit to us.

3.  Samoa is in good condition.  Brother Howard Stone has his feet on the ground.  He is keeping things up very well.

4.  Was very much disappointed at the plan suggested for our Mapasaga School in American Samoa.  Told them the plans would have to be re-drawn.

5.  We have 650 students enrolled in Samoa.  The young man in charge is not an executive but is a nice young man.  President McKay recommended that they close the sides of the classrooms.  They are around a patio and all the sides facing the patio are open.  It is all right from a ventilation standpoint but not from an educational standpoint.  They can see everybody that goes by.  He recommended that they make each individual classroom an entity and put in a door so that they can lock the door.  It will not cost very much.  They will still have plenty of ventilation.

6.  In Fiji we have not heretofore done any missionary work.  Brother  C. G. Smith, a local man, thinks the people have no negroid blood, but the Indians from India are crowding in there and they outnumber the Fijiians now.  Met 25 members of the Church there.  Sunday afternoon had 48 at Suva at the meeting.  Governor Garby advises if we are going to get any property there we should do it now in Suva.  Had a very interesting conversation with him.  He said there is no opposition there, that our elders wanted the privilege of securing property down on the Bay.  He said they could not do that; that that belongs to the Government, and that which they chose on the other side also belongs to the Government.  He advised that we get freehold property and get it right away.  Suva is booming, and President McKay recommended to President Stone that while he is there visiting he look around and make a recommendation.  Thought the race problem would be no worse than in South Africa or Brazil.

7.  New Zealand.  Said he was not prepared for the surprise that awaited him in the school there.  Doubted that there is another enterprise in the Church that will compare with it.  It is just two miles from Hamilton.  We have been concerned about the two million dollar or more expenditure on the school, but that is not where the expense has been.  The school has been built very economically.  All the classrooms are up and completed.  They have had to build homes, which will be used later for faculty members.  They have a beautiful rock fence extending all along the main highway.  It is a credit.  They have had to crush the rock, make their own bricks; they have had to dry their own lumber, season it and haul it from the mill.  They have had to hard-surface their own roads.  It is not open yet.  They have had as high as 80 Maoris contributing two years of their time, supporting themselves or their parents supporting them, sending them food, and they have had to build houses for the single men, and that is where the expense has been going.  These will all be used as dormitories and places for the faculty.  We disapproved of the central place, combining the executive offices with the cafeteria and the gymnasium or recreation hall, and recommended the executive building be built up by the street, with a recreation hall to be built down by the campus (there is a natural bowl for that), and that the cafeteria be built in another place.  Those buildings can be built for $8.00 a square foot or less, because they can build them with the material they are now making out of the crushed rock.  The building operations are under the direction of Brother Biesinger.  He said his own business has gone to pieces, but that is his mission there.  He is an architect in his own right.  Brother Mendenhall has been down there and he has had a hand in it.  We have 225 acres in the campus, including field.  We have 700 acres in addition that is already purchased.  The hill land is already producing, and they are bringing under cultivation what they call the swamp land.  Between those two or 200 acres, approximately, belonging to a man by the name of Bailey.  He would not sell it, but just before they started to Wellington the Bailey boys came down and said they would like to talk to President McKay when he returned.  All the improvements we are making are increasing the value of their land, and if ever we do buy it we will be paying the cost of the increased value caused by improving our own.  The President said it had been recommended that they try to secure that land, so that we will have one piece.  Received a message from Brother Mendenhall when he was in Australia saying that they have a definite offer which they think is reasonable.  We have sent $140,000 for it.  It is on that land that we recommend a temple be built.  It would be economy to prepare for erection now because they have their forces there, they have their rock crusher, and other equipment.  The President said he would build it within one mile of the College on a beautiful knoll, facing a lake, that it is an ideal spot.  Some of the teachers of the College could officiate in the temple without any further expense.  They will have more students at the College than they can accommodate– it will be a Junior College.  The people of New Zealand are very much interested in it, and it has become a tourist center.

President McKay said that the Tahitian Islanders will probably have some difficulty getting to a temple in New Zealand under the present means of transportation, but it will be much nearer than to Hawaii.  Eliminating Tahiti, there are Tonga, Samoa, Nieu, all of New Zealand and all of Australia.  He felt that in a few years there would be 50,000 of our people there.  Most all the Tongans and Samoans and the people in Nieu can take the Tofua for a very few pounds at most.  Found that many of the people are spending their life’s savings to go to Laie and some are selling their property.  Thought that such a temple would not cost more than $400,000.

Further Report on New Zealand Temple Property and Related Matters

President McKay, reporting further on the work in New Zealand, said that in order to run these rock crushers, trucks, etc. over the public highway we had to get permission from the Governor of the Province, and that has been granted.  In order to make purchase of this piece of land that we hope to get from the Baileys, we would have to get permission from the Cabinet Minister of Lands, and would have to show that we can use the land which we have.  Accordingly, went to Wellington and interviewed the Deputy Minister, the Prime Minister being in England.  Met the Deputy Minister, Mr. Holyoke, who is very favorable.  He referred the matter to Mr. Corbett, whom he invited into the conference.  Mr. Corbett has heretofore been rather cool, so it was reported, but during the conversation and while he listened to Brother Biesinger detail the matter, he became very much interested and said, ‘If that is what you are doing there, we will give permission; I am going up to see it.’  So he made an appointment.

President McKay said if the Brethren approve the building of a temple there, it may be announced and the people there can start preparing the bricks, etc.  He said they will no doubt finish the school in about 18 months, and this should be done before they start on the temple, but in the meantime, while they are finishing the classrooms in the various buildings, they can keep a force working on these bricks so that they will have the stockpile ready.  President McKay said our people have no reason for leaving New Zealand and Australia; our men are holding leading positions in Government and other places; that we can have an influence in those countries far beyond anything we have had before.  He mentioned that in a meeting held at the Bay of Plenty there were present a member of Parliament, the Superintendent of Schools, the Chairman of the County Commissioners, all speaking words of praise.  The member of Parliament said:  ‘You have done more for our Maori people here than all the other churches put together.'”

Report on Trip

Feb. 17

‘January 2 to February 15, 1955

Report Given by President David O. McKay on his

six weeks’ tour to the Missions of the South Pacific at 

Council Meeting held in the Salt Lake Temple, February 17,


President McKay said that he had made a six-weeks’ tour of the missions in the Pacific without a moment’s inconvenience physically, –without a cold, without a pain or an ache, –both he and Sister Mckay; but that yesterday he woke up with a cold, and what worried him more was that when his son, Dr. Edward McKay, took his blood pressure, he found that it was up, but that after a day’s rest yesterday he woke up this morning feeling fine, but somewhat groggy.  He noticed that while attending the First Presidency’s meeting that he was not up to par, and said he thought perhaps it was the medicine he took last night for his cold.  President Richards had suggested to President McKay that he return home, and he thought perhaps he should take another day’s rest.  He said that his blood pressure is down again.  He had brought his papers, intending to make a report this morning, and some recommendations; however, these matters, with one exception, will be held over.

New Zealand Mission and Construction of Temple There

He said that he found the New Zealand Mission was not in very good condition from a missionary standpoint (he met with the missionaries in every country that he visited).  President Ottley was not going to hold a meeting with the missionaries, and President McKay told him that he must have one, and in that missionary meeting some disclosures were made that were very disheartening.  President McKay felt that perhaps these matters would have come to light if the Brethren of the General Authorities had interviewed some of the missionaries when they came home, and he wondered whether we are not losing something by leaving that personal interview to the stake authorities.

President McKay said that some of the people down there are giving their life savings to pay their way to Laie or to Canada or to Salt Lake City in order to go to the temple.  Some are selling their property and everything that they have in order to get the blessings of the Temple.  The President felt that it will be but a short time before there are 50,000 members of the Church in Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, and Nuway, and with the present transportation all the Tongans and the Samoans can go to New Zealand with the expenditure of but a few shillings, and use their own money in taking passage on the Tufua.  They take their own food with them and sleep on the deck of the ship.  The Australians are also willing to go over to New Zealand.  Some are leaving Australia to go to Canada instead of building up the branches where they are.  Our people are building a school at Hamilton, New Zealand, where they have their own rock crusher, their own sawmill, etc.  They are seasoning their lumber.  They have workmen putting in the doors and window sashes.  They have their trucks, and they have permission from the Government to run their trucks.

We have a beautiful site available for a temple near Hamilton with plenty of acreage, and with a school established, the teachers, many of them, can be temple workers.  President Mckay recommended that we build a temple such as we contemplate in Bern, Switzerland, near Hamilton, within three quarters of a mile at most of the present school site.  The Government officials are all favorable to the school, and President Wendell B. Mendenhall is most interested in it.  President McKay had asked him to go down and give some help in regard to some property that we are buying there.

Hamilton is about 25 miles from Auckland, and Hamilton itself is a big city in a fertile area.  President Mckay felt that we should announce it now so that the present force working there making brick and crushing the rock may continue to build up a stockpile and build the temple, which he thought could be built for less than a half million dollars, and furnish to all those peoples the opportunity of temple work.

Elder Marion G. Romney moved approval of the President’s recommendation.  Motion seconded by Brother LeGrand Richards and unanimously approved.

President McKay further explained that we own the site in a rather remarkable way.  We have about 200 acres where the school is being built, and he said we haven’t a project like it in the entire Church.  The extra cost which we have been fearful about does not go into the school.  It is in the houses, hard surface roads, clearing the property, etc.  The school is being built very economically.  Then we own an additional 700 acres, and there are about 200 acres in between the two Church-owned properties, and all improvements being made in bringing this land under cultivation affects the 200 acres in between, and we have not been able to get this 200 acres in the past.

However, while in Australia President McKay received word from the owners of the 200 acres in question– the Bailey boys– that they were willing to sell at what Brother Mendenhall thought was a very reasonable price.  The President said they went to Wellington and met the Acting Premier and the Commissioners who have charge of it, and one of them, who had been rather opposed to us, became converted through Brother Beisinger’s presentation, and said he was going up to see what we are doing.  Word was received in Australia that he had approved of it, and we would get the land.  The President explained that it is on a knoll facing a lake, which will be perpetually taken care of by the Government, and is an ideal spot for the temple.

The prospects for missionary work in Australia, New Zealand, and in the Islands are very favorable.  The Governor-General, Superintendents of Schools, and leaders in Governmental affairs in these countries are all favorable.  The President said that had they been members of the Church they could not have been more cordial.  He held meetings all the way down to Wellington.  A large meeting was held at the place which Captain Cook called the Bay of Plenty.

Besides the Maori welcome, they had the Superintendency of Schools, the representatiave of the local Parliament, the Chairman of the County commission, and one other official, all of whom spoke, and bade President McKay and his party welcome.  This member of the local Parliament was not feeling very well and was in the hospital, but he left the hospital to be present.  Among other things, before the whole group–several hundred people–he was very complimentary in his remarks, and said:  ‘Your Church has done more for the Maori people than all the other churches put together.’  The President said that even the Governor of Suva, where we have not done any missionary work, was most cordial in his advice that we establish a Church there.

There were hundreds of people who desired a blessing at his hands, but the President did not feel it wise to undertake to do this, for if he were to administer to one he would have to administer to many others.  He did administer to a man who was dying from cancer, who said he wanted to live to see the President.  After one of the meetings President McKay went to the hospital at 11 o’clock at night.  The nurse said he was very low, but he revived and recognized them, and talked with them, and President McKay gave him a blessing.

A woman afflicted with leprosy heard that they had arrived at Suva, and a nurse called up and wanted to know if the President would come down and administer to her, she being a member of the Church who remembered President McKay from 34 years ago.    President McKay administered to her; and also to a woman who was brought in on a cot to the meeting, but otherwise he thought it would not be wise to administer to the sick.  He told them, however, that if they would give him a list of their names that on this day in the temple in the meeting of the Presidency and the Twelve they would be remembered in the prayers of the Brethren.  President Mckay asked the Brethren to fulfill that promise in their prayer at the altar this morning.  He said the people will no doubt be praying at the same time.” 

24 Feb., 1955:

‘January 2 to February 13, 1955

Report on Trip to Council Feb. 24

President McKay made the following summary of his recent tour to the South Pacific Missions at the meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve held in the Salt Lake Temple, Thursday, February 24, 1955:

President McKay said that he had made a brief summary of his recent tour of the South Pacific Missions with a view of curtailing time; that he would present merely some suggestions which he would call problems, rather than recommendations, so that they would be on record for consideration.  He said that it is marvelous how close these missions are to us under the present means of transportation; that the Lord has opened up the way for His interests in all the world to be looked after by those who are called to look after them.

As an illustration, he said that his party left San Francisco Tuesday morning, and in a little less than nine hours they had flown across 2400 miles of the Pacific Ocean; that after a two-hour stop at Honolulu, they flew in 7 1/2 hours 2000 miles to Canton Island, where they re-fueled, and in 5 hours more they flew 1269 miles to Nandi in the Fiji Islands; that if they had not been afraid of the hurricane, they could have taken a little plane, and in 45 minutes been down to Suva.  They took an automobile at Nandi which had been prepared for them and was waiting, and in 6 1/2 hours they were at Suva.  That plane continued from Tuesday morning until Wednesday morning, traveling 7000 miles over the Pacific Ocean to Auckland, New Zealand.

The President said that in a compartment of the plane called the President, they were riding in a plane that weighed 145,800 pounds, not counting the passengers; and it would be 15,000 to 17,000 feet in the air, looking over that broad expanse of ocean or clouds, depending upon the condition.  There was no sight of land between Honolulu and Auckland, –the New Hebrides and some of the other Islands in the distance, –but they do not amount to much.  President McKay said it was a source of wonderment to him how so much weight, plus passengers and crew, can fly through the air at 300 miles per hour with a feeling of perfect safety; that in invention and discovery, particularly in unleashing forces heretofore unseen and unknown, man has entered the realm of the Creator.  Unless such progress in science is accompanied by advancement in character, spirituality, and true brotherhood, the future safety of the human family is mighty precarious.  With all those mighty forces in hand, without a counterbalancing belief and confidence in a Creator, and more confidence in fellowmen, we can suffer greatly.


President McKay said that Fiji is now placed under the Samoan Mission.  The President’s party landed at Fiji thinking that we had no members of the Church there.  However, they found 25 members there, and held a meeting with them on Sunday morning.  Since returning home, the President said he had learned from President Stone that they had found some members out in Latoka, 130 miles from Suva.  Most of them are Indians from India, with quite a few Europeans.  That town has a population of over 5000 people, and is a main shipping center on the opposite side of the Islands, and they have a pineapple cannery there.


The problem is whether the Fijiians are negroid.  Brother Smith, who has been there for 25 years thinks not.


President McKay said that in Tonga, President and Sister Coombs are doing excellent work.  President Coombs was called there November 30, 1951.  He is a young man who has not started out yet in his profession.  Professor Ermel J. Morton is principal of the school, and the school is a credit to the Church and Tonga, and is visited by the passengers of the Tufua every month as a mark of interest.

Nieu has been placed under the Tongan Mission.  It is just a night’s ride by boat from Vavau.  The President said they were unable to land; that the Captain objected to their leaving the boat; said he would not be responsible, but he did let the elders come and meet them.  One of them hurt his leg slightly in jumping from the wharf onto the boat.  It was quite a tempestuous sea and a poor harbor.  They report excellent progress.  The mission has been open a year or two, and we have 200 members on that Island and the prospects are very bright.


The need of a successor to President Coombs, and possibly a successor to Brother Morton, who is principal of the school, and speaks the Tongan language perfectly.  Brother Morton accompanied President McKay and his parto to Vavau as interpreter.  He is receiving a little compensation, but not much.  President McKay presented the question as to whether or not, if he is willing, we should not pay him a regular salary for conducting that school, and let him stay there.  The President said he had a list of Faculty members, and the salaries paid them, and that the school is very economically conducted.

Professor Dalton is an agriculturist, and is doing excellent work with the student body.  His wife, Sister Dalton, is a stenographer.  Her health is not very good.  The President said they took Sister Dalton to Suva where she received medical treament, and he believed that she would like to come home.  Their mission is nearly completed.  It will be a difficult matter to replace Brother Dalton, who is willing to stay if we would give him a little increase in salary.  They are both excellent members of the Faculty.


President and Sister Howard Stone are doing very well.  There are 15 chapels under construction, four of which were dedicated by Brother LeGrand Richards, and four have been dedicated since that time.  President McKay dedicated one of these chapels in Sauniatu, which is one of the most beautiful towns in Samoa.  He also dedicated the school there.  He said that Sauniatu has a new birth.

Report on Trip to Council

Mapasaga is under American Samoa.  Plans have been drawn for the building of a chapel and a school.  The Governor met President McKay and his party at the wharf and furnished his car for them to go over to Mapasaga, and was very friendly.  He invited them to tea, but they took too much time in Mapasaga, so merely called at his Palace and met his wife and said goodbye.

The President said the plans for the school are not suitable, and a letter has now been received from President Stone notifying us that he has sent information to our architects here that new plans should be drawn.  We have already approved of the school, but the work must be pushed along in order that the school may be opened as soon as possible, and that we may have a new chapel in connection with the school for the two branches in that district.  Had a wonderful meeting there.


President McKay mentioned these problems in Samoa.  In addition to the new plans for the school at Mapasaga, Brother Adams’ translations are not being used.  President McKay said he was convinced after meeting with brother Stone and a young capable leader in Samoa that there is something wrong with these translations.

Brother going, who has been building all these chapels, should be continued there.   The President said he would like to stay probably two and a half or three years in order to complete the buildings already commenced, some of which are over in Savaii, and some in Upolu, and he must have an assistant.  Brother Stone has since written that he has called Brother Smith’s son from Suva, who is an engineer, who can probably supply the needs of Brother Going if we permit him to stay there.  Brother Going’s business here is run by his son and his son-in-law.  If he could come home and rearrange his business, and sister Going also, they would be willing to go back and finish the work.

The President said that another problem is the closing of the classrooms; that every room should be closed and made an individual classroom.  The President had spoken to Edward O. Anderson about it, and he thinks that is all right.

President McKay referred to a problem in Samoa in connection with the principal for the school there.  He said that President Weiser is now laboring under a salary of $50 a month.  From the standpoint of scholarship he commands respect.  He has been there 19 and one half months.  Brother Stone thinks he should be succeeded.  It was decided that he could probably do good work if he were kept there until the end of the school year, and that then we would probably have to have a new teacher to succeed him.



1.  French speaking missionary or missionaries.

a.  Possibility of establishing a school.

2.  Better understanding regarding disposition and management of Paraita.

New Zealand

The President said that missionary conditions in New Zealand are deplorable.  President Ottley has been released, and the First Presidency will have a consultation with Brother Ballif about matters before he goes there.  Brother Mendenhall, following the meeting with the missionaries, followed up some suggestions that were made.  President McKay said he thought things would carry on until President Ballif goes down there.  The missionaries, he said, are spending only four hours a day, according to their reports.


One problem is the completion of the College at Hamilton.  President McKay recommended a change of plans there so that the business building, cafeteria, and the gymnasium will be built separate instead of under one roof.  The gymnasium, he felt, should be built close to a natural bowl where they have their sports, and it would be in close proximity to the business administration building and the cafeteria, and they will build it for less than we are building similar buildings today.  Brother Beisinger is willing to stay to complete the school buildings and the temple, and that can be done now at less cost than at any other time.

Another problem, the President said, is the relief of the builders who are called for two years on missions, but who receive no credit.  They get no credit for contributions on their building, which amount to 25%; Brother Beisinger thinks it would be 33 1/3%.  Since they spend two years, and it is the best missionary work that has been done there, if we could make some recognition of the two years spent without confusing the reports, it would have a very good effect upon the several hundred native young men who are working there.  Now they will have 20 mature men taking their places for the completion of these buildings, which will be completed, if we push things along, in 18 months.  The President said the school is already a tourist center, necessitating a woman staying there all day answering questions, and selling Books of Mormon and other literature.


This country is about the same in area as the United States.  The population of Australia in 1954 was 9,000,000; the United States, 162,000,000.  The consumption of beer in Australia, 184,000,000 gallons, 21 gallons per head annually; the consumption of tobacco, 42,842 pounds annually, or 4.9 pounds per head.  The area of Australia is 2,974,000 square miles.  The area of the United States, 3,026,000.  The average rainfall in Sydney is 44.8 inches, and in Utah, about 17 inches.

President McKay presented the problem as to whether or not Australia should be divided into two missions.  He mentioned the main cities along the Coast, starting at Brisbane in the north, with 600,000 population; Sydney, with 2,000,000 in the city, and 3,000,000 in the area there.  Then you fly 1500 miles to Melbourne, which is a city of half a million people.  It is 615 miles from Melbourne to Adelaide, with 600,000 people; 1600 miles over to Perth, another city of 400,000; with Tasmania across the strait from Melbourne.  North of Brisbane, near which President McKay laid the cornerstone for a new meeting house, is Ipswich.  He said we have a list of 8 or 10 cities, with 50,000 to 200,000 population each.

President Liljenquist and Brother Waters and the other counselor are united in recommending a division of the mission.  They suggest that we have Queensland and New South Wales, including all those areas in one mission, with headquarters in Sydney; and the other with headquarters at Adelaide instead of Melbourne, and they say they can sell the present headquarters in Melbourne at a profit.  Adelaide is a better climate than Melbourne.


President McKay said they did not have in their itinerary a visit to the Hawaii Mission, but upon the presentation of the facts by President Haycock, and also the concurrence of President Clissold, decided to visit the mission on the way back, and then remained there and attended the quarterly conference of the Oahu Stake on Sunday, with Brother Clifford E. Young.

The President said they really received a great reception.  Were surprised at the number of people who met them at Molokai, where the manager of the plantation came with his employees, and the school children were there also.  The President said they did not have time to spend with them.  These people just met them at the plane, and they then went on to Lanai.  There again the manager of the plantation came over to meet them, and also the school children.  The President said that nearly all our members there are young people.  The president of the Relief Society is 21 years old.  There was a large group there consisting of the laborers from the plantation, students from the school and our members.

Held meetings with them in the open air in both places.  When they landed at Maui they were overwhelmed by the hundreds that were there, including the Mayor, the County Commissioners, and others who officially presented to President McKay the key to Maui County.  The President felt it was significant that they would recognize the Church in that dignified way.  He said there was no opposition whatever.

When they landed at the large Island of Hawaii in Hilo, more officials met them with the King dressed in his regalia, and the Queen; the chairman of the County Commissioners; the president and secretary of the Rotary Club; also members of the Chamber of Commerce, and others; and there the Mayor, James Kealoha, representing the County of Hawaii, presented a key to them on which was inscribed:  ‘President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’  They received wonderful receptions and were covered with leis.

The meetings held were overflowing.  They met the leaders of the various communities, who came and gave speeches of welcome.  Met all of the missionaries.  Held three different meetings with the missionaries so that they would not have to go to the expense of coming to Oahu.  President McKay said that President Haycock is doing his very best, and that the mission is in very good condition.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were spent in Oahu.  On Friday broke ground for the Church College of Hawaii at Laie.  Had a remarkable experience there in regard to the weather.  Had the official recognition of members and non-members alike.


President McKay said he had answered one problem, namely, whether or not Dr. Law should take charge of the College buildings in Hawaii and the choosing of sites, or whether the Board, consisting of President Clissold, President Woolley, President Haycock, President Bowring, and Brother Cannon, should do so.  He told them that the Committee should be held responsible, and all recommendations made should come from that Committee to the First Presidency.  The President said he thought that would be wise.

One recommendation that had been made was for the President’s Cottage which would cost $30,000, whereas nearby is a new building facing the ocean which can be purchased with the land for $15,000.  It has never been used and is a good building.  They can remodel an old building that is near there for a dormitory and erect a central building and a schoolhouse, and open the school next September.

President McKay conveyed to the Brethren the love and greetings of all the presidents of missions in the Pacific, including Brother Haycock and Sister Haycock, Brother and Sister Ralph E. Woolley, Brother and Sister Clissold, and an assurance of their love and cooperation in every way.

At the suggestion of Elder Richard L. Evans, Council expressed appreciation, amazement and gratitude at what the President was able to do in this significant journey.

President McKay, in answer, said that he recognized the overruling Providence, first in regard to their health; that it was significant that Sister McKay and he had made that trip, taking boats, seaplanes, airplanes, being entertained at various places, going without the necessary sleep, and had returned home without any illness or distress.  He said that the prayers of the Brethren were literally answered in their behalf.

He further siad that not once did any of their planned meetings or entertainments have to be dispensed with because of storm, though when they were in Suva at the hotel it rained 4 inches in one night, and it also rained in other places.  He said there was probably an exception in the open air reception at Laie when the Hawaiians, the Samoans, the Japanese, and a few Tahitians had an open air entertainment, it rained when they drove up there in the automobile.  They went through the entertainment, however, without a drop of rain, until the finale.  The Relief Society had made their presentations, and the little children came and made their presentation, and it started to rain.  As a finale, they sang:  ‘We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet’ in each of those languages, and then sang it in English.  It started to rain and the crowd of several thousand broke up, but they went through the program.  

At the conference the sister who conducted the program masterfully presented the whole thing over the radio.  The President said that the quarterly conference Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon, both sessions, were televised throughout the Island.  He believed that that was the first time a quarterly conference had ever been televised.  The following morning the Honolulu paper came out in large headlines, saying:  ‘Thousands listened to the President of the Mormon Church.’

Copy of Handwritten Diary Notes

Thurs., 6 Jan., 1955:

“Flying above the clouds in glorious Southern sunshine.  Arrived at Nandi Airport at 11:30 a.m.  Met by Inspector who brought a welcome from the Governor General, and assisted us through the Customs Office.

Driven to Suva, 135 miles, in an American made Plymouth.

Much apprehension over ‘Hurricane’ gathering in the Northwest.

Incident in Cable Office.  (see report following)”

Mon., 17 Jan., 1955:

“Had planned to retire to the Mission Home early in the evening for respite and dinner, but there is no ‘let up’ in the greetings and hand shaking.  Cannot start to give blessings!  Have suggested names be given to the Mission President, and I will have the First Presidency and the Twelve offer a special prayer in the Temple at the first meeting following my arrival home.”

Thurs., 20 Jan., 1955:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thurs., 17 Feb., 1955:

“Official Announcement made regarding Plans for a Temple in New Zealand.  (see newspaper clippings attached)”

Wed., 2 Mar., 1955:

“Temple in New Zealand

At the meeting of the First Presidency today, I recommended that we start as soon as possible to build the temple in New Zealand, using the same corps of workers as are building the school there.  The brethren were united in using the Swiss Temple plans, and this became their sentiment on motion, seconded and approved.

Decided to send Edward O. Anderson to New Zealand to look over the situation regarding the proposed Temple.  He would need to choose someone there to represent him.  It was felt that Brother Biesinger could do it.  Brother Anderson could also make tests regarding the water situation while there, the same as he did in New Chapel, England.”

March 3, 1955

Telephone Call from Senator Wallace Bennett from Washington, D.C., March 3, 1955.

Reported that Mr. John H. Stambaugh of President Eisenhower’s personal staff, who recently visited me at my office, had reported how much he enjoyed his visit, and expressed deep appreciation for the courteous treatment he received.  Senator Bennett said that he is sure that he has delivered my personal message to President Eisenhower.

Senator Bennett then said that they have the final report of the arrangement with the Department of State and Department of Army to the effect that they will transport the Choir at the expense of the government in and out of Berlin–from Hamberg to Berlin and to Frankfurt.  A special train will be furnished.  They have approval to transport 500 persons, and it is suggested we ‘lay low’ for a few weeks, and then tell the persons in charge that there will be 700, and they are sure no objections will be offered to transport the extra number.

I expressed appreciation to Senator Bennett and said that this news has come at the right time, because we had some rather discouraging news today.

Brother Bennett then asked if they should make a public announcement in Washington about this matter, or if it is preferred that nothing be said.  We agreed that it would do a lot of good to make the announcement back there.  Brother Bennett said the State Department is going to make maximum use of the Choir to propagandize American culture, etc., and then will give newspaper publicity and make arrangements for appearances of the choir during their visit to West Berlin.

I asked Brother Bennett to extend our appreciation to the committee, and he suggested that we write a letter of appreciation to the lady who had handled the matter for him.  Brother Bennett will send her name and address to us.

Brother Bennett further reported that President Richards had come to Washington, D.C. to talk about the missionary draft problem, and that he now wishes to report to me that they have a letter from the Assistant Secretary of Defense, saying that the Department of Defense would interpose no objection to the amendment it offered, which means that we have the approval of the Selective Service and that of the Department of Defense.  If we get both the Selective Service and the Department of Defense to amend the law there will be no question as to the status of our missionaries, and as soon as they are called, they will be recognized as minister of religion.

I congratulated Brother Bennett on the excellent service that had been rendered in this regard.  

Brother Bennett then said that Brother Richards has a copy of the language that will be offered in proposing the amendment.” 

8 Mar., 1955:

‘March 8, 1955

Ezra Taft Benson – called from San Antonio, Texas, is on his way back to Washington.  March 8, 1955.

Just returning from an official visit to ten countries in the Caribbean area.  Spent 2 and 1/2 weeks in Cuba, Porto Rico, Virgin Islands, Venezuela, Colombo, Panama, Costa Rico, Mexico, Guatemala.  Was on an official visit.

All along the way had opportunity to mention the church and his connection therewith to government officials with whom he came in contact.

At Venezuela Elder Benson met in his hotel rooms with some three or four families, J.E.Wilson, representing one of the companies there is highly recommended as one who could serve the Church.  His home is in Caracas.  Elder Benson thinks there is an opportunity to open a Mission, or at least extend the missionary work there.  Ambassador Warren told him that the Catholics are getting a hold on the people.  They have a group there running into thousands.  There is a Union Church there which is rather well attended by Protestants in that area, including Ambassador Warren.

In Panama he met with a group of 75 members at Major Yates’ home.

At Costa Rica – met with the missionaries and saints only briefly.  Was changing planes there.

At Nicaragua – met with a group of missionaries and members.  Four members of the Church on the Embassy staff.  The Ambassador at Nicaragua is well pleased with the work they are doing.

Had breakfast with a group Thursday morning in Guatemala.  Met Sister Romney – Brother Romney was in some of the districts.  Saw the Mission Home and chapel, and had a long visit with Ambassador Armour and his wife.  They know of our work, and are very cooperative.

Porto Rico.  Met with the servicemen and their wives.  No branch of the Church there.

One of the most important visits was in Mexico.  Elder Benson was there 2 and 1/2 days.  had a good visit yesterday with President Ruiz Cortinez of Mexico.  They were together a half an hour.  Ambassador White accompanied him on the visit.  Half of the time of the interview was spent in talking about the Church.  Pres. Cortinez knew of our work with the colonies – didn’t realize that the Church was so well represented in Mexico City.

The President of Mexico spoke very kindly of our people.  He is a farmer and rancher from Veracruz, and had come in contact with our people, but he didn’t realize we had branches in 62 areas in the Republic.  Was well pleased with the report about us.

Met with 500 in Mexico with President Bowman — had a wonderful meeting.

On the whole Brother Benson feels his trip was very fruitful and worthwhile.  In every country he was well received, and was able in every instance to speak about the Church, and his connection with it.

In Mexico stayed at the Embassy where President Clark stayed when he was Ambassador and had dinner with Ambassador White, and former Ambassador Mesersmit.  Both spoke very highly of President Clark and wished to be remembered to him.

Was with Fred Schluter in Cuba, Venezuela and Columbo.  Said that Brother Schluter was in good spirits and well.  That he wished to be remembered to President McKay.”

10 Mar., 1955:

“March 10, 1955

Report given by President David O. McKay

at Council Meeting,

Thursday, March 10, 1955.

Gave an account of Ezra Taft Benson’s activities in the Caribbean —

(See report on telephone conversation from Brother Ezra Taft Benson under March 8, 1955.)

President McKay said that he received a letter yesterday from Fred Schluter, who has been down in Central and South America, and went with Brother Benson on some of his appointments.  Brother Schluter in his letter praises Brother Benson very highly.  Said he was delighted with the way in which he met those audiences and gave the answers to their questions, and that there is no question in his mind, –he mentioned that he does not go overboard very easily, — that the intelligent people of the United States and of those countries that Brother Benson visited, will recognize Brother Benson as the strongest man in President Eisenhower’s Cabinet.

March 16, 1955

Telephone Call from Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall–March 16, 1955.

President McKay informed Brother Mendenhall that he had been appointed Director of the building of the school and the temple in New Zealand, however, that an official title could be given at the time he is introduced Saturday night.

Brother Mendenhall said that he had received a message that Brother Biesinger from New Zealand would call him that evening at 6 o’clock and he would like to ask President McKay one or two things before Brother Biesinger called.

Brother Mendenhall asked if Brother Ehlers had left.  President McKay told Brother Mendenhall that Brother Ehlers was in Honolulu last night.   So he should be there to-night.

Brother Mendenhall made reference to a caterpillar to do rock crushing work.  He wondered if he should tell Brother Biesinger to go ahead and purchase the caterpillar.  They have a caterpillar available that they can get.  It can be used to clear the land.  They have two caterpillars available that they will need later, but only one is needed at the moment.  They could get some of the rock crushed before the weather gets bad.

Brother Mendenhall stated that he was going to have no trouble getting men.  He wants to know how soon some of those men can get under way, which depends upon the houses that are to be built to take care of them.  He would like to know the exact location so he could go ahead on these houses.  President McKay had told Brother Mendenhall to sound out footings and so on to see if the location we talked about would be all right.  Brother Mendenhall asked if President McKay would like Brother Ehlers to see about this.  Brother Mendenhall stated that he knew we could get any kind of help, government men, etc. to get the footings on the ground, but he wondered if President McKay would want to send somebody in particular down to New Zealand.  President McKay said that he would send the man down who is going to draw the plans, or adapt the plans we already have.  Brother Mendenhall stated that if the footings or the soundings are all right in the area that is more or less about definite, referring to the Murray property.  They decided to go ahead and put the buildings up as planned because if it changed a little one way or another it would not matter–he could go ahead with those buildings even if we went back to the knoll further south 1/2 mile.  But as far as the foundation is concerned that property is all right.  Brother Mendenhall stated that there is a well already on top of the Murray property hill.

All things being equal, we could just about plan that the Temple would be on the Murray Property hill overlooking the college area.

Brother Mendenhall stated that he had already been to the University of California and he is getting a man for the farm work.  He has wonderful support from the State and University, and we shall have a man before long that will be capable of developing that entire work.  He is a U.S. Reclamation man who has had a lot to do with this entire area in the development of property throughout California.  He has also contributed his services as a U.S. Reclamation Engineer, and he can inform us now who the man is we shall have down there to do the farm work.  Do not know his name as yet, but he will be an excellent man.   (Down to three or four names.)  It is a very important thing to do right away President McKay stated.  Brother Mendenhall answered that he should have that in hand right now, building it up.  He should go ahead here first and get as much information as he can.  Brother Biesinger has already started to do what he suggested.  One caterpillar digs up the stumps and it is already working eighteen hours a day on the basis suggested while President McKay was there, pulling up the wooded area just as we thought it would do.  President McKay said, ‘How do you get that wood off?’   ‘By bulldozer.  If we can get the other caterpillar, we can put the machinery on it, and then the wood will be burned.  We shall burn that wood during the wet weather when it rains, when it won’t burn the soil.  Now is the time to get as much under way as possible.’   Then when Brother Mendenhall comes to Salt Lake he will receive further instructions from President McKay on just exactly how he is to proceed on other problems as they arise.  President McKay asked, ‘How are you getting these men!’  Brother Mendenhall answered, ‘I have talked to two or three stake presidents who will make a list out without saying a single word to anybody with instructions that they are not to speak to the man or to anybody excepting me.  The Stake Presidents are to give the background of the men, and then we shall sit down, and take out the recommendations, and we shall be able to interview the men who would be in a position to go.  We are preparing to interview them during conference time.  I shall talk to you about that when I get up there.’

President McKay stated that Sister McKay joins in wishing and sending love and best wishes to Sister Mendenhall and Brother Mendenhall.”

Thurs., 7 Apr., 1955:

“New Zealand Temple

8:30 a.m.  Came back to the office, and met Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall, and authorized him (1) to choose ten or twelve specialists in the mechanics of buildings to go down to New Zealand to direct the finishing of the school near Hamilton and the building of the Temple at Hamilton, New Zealand; (2) to set up a financial system that will keep the funds contributed to the Temple separate from the regular New Zealand missionary funds; (3) that he would be held responsible for the recommending of purchases of the necessary machinery to be used in connection with the erection of these buildings.

Following our discussion, I held a meeting with Brother Mendenhall and the Building Committee.  (Both President Clark and President Richards were absent, President Richards having left the city, and President Clark having phoned that he would not be down until time for the Council meeting at 10 o’clock).

I informed the Building Committee of the special responsibilities that had been given to Brother Mendenhall regarding the New Zealand structures.  Later, just prior to the meeting of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve, I explained to President Clark the details of the meeting as described above, and he approved of them, and in the meeting of the Council of the Twelve I reported to the brethren of the Twelve what Brother Mendenhall’s responsibilities will be.  They also approved.

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Was convened in Council meeting.  At this meeting I reported that the First Presidency had given consideration to the recommendation of the Twelve that the Australian Mission be divided;  that Queensland and New South Wales remain as the Australian Mission, and that a new mission be organized embracing West Australia, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania; that the headquarters of the Australian Mission be at Sydney, New South Wales; and that the headquarters of the new mission be at Melbourne, Victoria.

After considering the matter, the First Presidency felt to approve the recommendation, and on motion, duly seconded, it became the unanimous sentiment of the Council.

Later, Elder Marion G. Romney of the Council of the Twelve, and a former missionary to Australia, was appointed to go to Australia and direct the division of this mission.

Creation of Two Missions in the Far East

I also reported that the First Presidency had also given consideration to the recommendation of the Twelve that two missions be created in the Far East, the Northern Far East Mission to consist of Japan, Korea, and Okinawa; and the Southern Far East Mission to include Hong Kong and the surrounding cities of Kowloon and Macao, the Philippines, Formosa and Guam, with Kowloon as headquarters for the proposed new Southern Far East Mission; and recommended that the division be made as indicated.

On motion, Council signified its approval of a division along the lines indicated.”

Fri., 8 Apr., 1955:

“8 a.m.  Met with the Temple Ceremony committee in the projection room in the basement of the Church Offices where we viewed films that are to be used in the new Temples.”

Tues., 3 May, 1955:

“Meeting with Edward O. Anderson

Met him in regard to the temple in New Zealand, and members of the First Presidency recommend that we use the same plans as now proposed for the London Temple, with slight modifications perhaps, and save the expense of new plans.  The President said that the New Zealand Government is already testing the soil free of charge in preparation for the laying of the foundation of the temple.  President McKay felt that a temple in New Zealand will have a great missionary influence upon the entire New Zealand country.”

Fri., 6 May, 1955:

Friday, May 6, 1955.

Telephone Conversation with Elder Richard L. Evans:

Brother Evans stated that Brother Kaser Fetzer had called him the evening before and stated that someone had referred him to Brother Evans.  Brother Fetzer wanted to know how he should proceed on assembling a cast for the German presentation of the temple ceremony.  Brother Evans asked if any modifications should be made before Brother Fetzer assembled this cast.  Brother Evans mentioned one or two modifications he had in mind.  President McKay told Brother Evans that Brother Moyle had some comments on the German translation.  President McKay said that it was all right for Brother Evans to make these suggestions.  Brother Evans stated they would go ahead with Brother Fetzer having the temple film in mind.  Brother Evans also stated that he would confer with Brother Moyle and together they would come to some agreement in the President’s absence.

Mon., 16 May, 1955:

President Richards said that they had received a cable from Brother Perschon in answer to our cable regarding the registration of the Church in Austria.  Brother Perschon, President of the Swiss-Austrian Mission, feels that a certificate of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve, the controlling body of the Church, on this matter of polygamy, giving a statement from them on polygamy would be satisfactory and would meet the requirements.  So President Richards has asked Brother Snyder to attempt to prepare such a statement.  President McKay has made statements previously under his name, but they seem to want something which represents the governing or controlling body of the Church.  President Richards stated that when this statement is prepared, he will submit it to President McKay.

Sat., 21 May, 1955:

“Announcement of the Swiss Temple Dedication Ceremonies scheduled for September 11, 1955.”

Mon., 23 May, 1955:

“Telegram to His Excellency Juan D. Peron

Today sent the following cable:

‘His Excellency Juan D. Peron 

President Republic Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina


1 June, 1955:

‘June 1, 1955


June 1, 1955

12:15 p.m.

(Telephone conversation between Presidents David O. McKay and Stephen L. 

Richards in Salt Lake City, and Elder Mark E. Petersen and President Perschon in 


Elder Petersen:  Asked if the Presidency had received correspondence from President Perschon regarding taxation on the Temple property in Bern.  He said President Perschon had a deadline to meet regarding the matter, and it was suggested that a mortgage be placed against the Temple through the mission, which procedure would save about two thirds of the tax on the temple property.

President Richards:  The property is in the name of the Corporation of the President.  To whom would he make a mortgage?

President Perschon:  It would be made out to the Church by the mission here.  (He went on to explain that that would be the only way to avoid the taxation.  They want to levy a tax of $25,000 a year for two years.  After that the tax would no doubt continue, as the Church is not recognized there.)

President Richards:  We will read the proposal in your letter and then send you an immediate wire about it.

President McKay:  We have a letter from the architect stating that you are putting in steps in the exposition room, in order that those who sit in the rear of the room will be above those in front.  Are those steps in there now?

President Perschon:  Not yet.

President McKay:  We think it would be unwise to put them in.

President Perschon:  The steps have been recommended by Brother ______________

and the Committee.

President McKay:  We recommend that those steps be not put in.  What Committee recommended them?

President Perschon:  The Temple Committee–the Projection Committee.

President McKay:  Hold that off until you get further word from us.  Do not go ahead.

President Perschon:  We will have to know soon.

President McKay:  We will let you know.

President Richards:  How many can be seated in the room, when it is finished, in which we held the exercises for the Laying of the Cornerstone?

President Perschon:  500 to 600.

President Richards:  How many can be seated in the basement?

President Perschon:  About 300.

President Richards:  About 800 crowded in altogether.  Is there any ordinance against crowding there?

President Perschon:  There are no restrictions.

Elder Petersen:  Did you get my wire about flying the Choir into Berlin?

President McKay:  Yes.  We have answered it.

Elder Petersen:  I went to Bonn yesterday and conferred with officials there.  They think they can arrange for day time trains.

President Richards:  We thought it would be better to use the railroad rather than the air.

President McKay:  Yes.  We thought we could not get the trains, but we would rather use the railroad.

Elder Petersen:  It seemed like we would have to do that until yesterday, but I think now we can get the railroad.

President Richards:  Is there anything further?

Elder Petersen:  I think not.”

Thurs., 23 June, 1955:

“10 to 2 p.m. – Attended Council meeting — there will be one more meeting before the closing of the Temple for the Summer.

2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Immediately following council meeting went up to the 5th floor of the Temple where all the General authorities viewed the Swiss Temple Ceremony films.”

Thurs., 7 July, 1955:

“Senator Wallace Bennett called from Washington, D.C. regarding transportation of the Choir Group in and out of Berlin.  Stated that he had received another wire from our Ambassador in Germany, asking whether or not the Church would consider a program in which only the actual choir members would be transported in and out of Berlin; that it might make it acceptable to the German Government if they did not have to transport the travelling companions of the Choir group.

President McKay then turned to President Clark who was present in the First Presidency’s meeting and repeated what Senator Bennett had told him.  I reminded him that yesterday we had decided to cancel the trip into Berlin based on information that had been received by Elder Mark E. Petersen from Herold Gregory, President of the East German Mission.  However, now that Senator Bennett feels that there might be a chance to have the Choir members only transported by train into Berlin, we decided that Senator Bennett may proceed along the lines he now proposes.  I so informed Senator Bennett.

I then asked Senator Bennett if he had received any inkling as to who is responsible for the holding up of the original plans for the transportation of the Choir group into Berlin, and he answered that he had received a wire this morning indicating that apparently it is the Soviet Government who is interfering in this matter.

Fri., 8 July, 1955:

“Then followed a consultation with Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson who reported that he had had a long session with Jack Ware who has signed a confession prepared by Bishop Isaacson giving to what extent he had gone in his association with the ‘cultists’ in southern Utah and elsewhere.  Bishop Isaacson feels that Jack Ware has not gone too far and that he now sees the error of his having had anything whatever to do with them.

Telephone Conversation with Senator Wallace F. Bennett, Washington, D.C.

Senator Bennett stated that he had talked to the State Department again regarding the Tabernacle Choir’s giving a concert in Berlin.  Senator Bennett stated that they are still very favorable that the plan for choir members only can be worked out, and that there will be no question regarding our getting a day time train back.  But they say it will take about a week longer to work things out.

I told Senator Bennett that the Choir Committee looks with disfavor upon keeping the consorts back while the choir members go to Berlin, and they felt that they should cut Berlin out entirely.  I also told him that the leader of the choir feels that it would not be to the best interests of the choir; that there is danger of fatigue to the members of the choir having to have the recital the night they arrive.

Senator Bennett said that the arrangement now is that they arrive in Berlin one day and have the concert the next evening.

I stated to Senator Bennett that arrangement should probably be made to have the concert in Hamburg or Hannover.  The Committee felt that this would be better at the present.

Senator Bennett stated that he would be glad to pass this information on.  He stated that it is now 12 o’clock in Washington.

I asked Brother Bennett if he would be in his office for the next two hours.  Said that the Committee was meeting this morning, and we would let him know definitely whether or not they want to go into Berlin.

Senator Bennett stated that the State Department has really been burning up the wires and have put on the full pressure to get this through.

I asked him what effect it would have if the Choir decided not to go into Berlin, and told him that we want them to know that we appreciate their efforts more than we can express.  They have given every consideration.

Senator Bennett told me in confidence that the State Department has cleared the way with the German government, but now because the railroad train passes through the Soviet Zone, they think they will need a week to see whether or not they can get clearance.  They rather welcome the problem because it is another means of testing the Soviet Government before their meeting in July.  However, this should not affect the decision as to whether or or not the Choir should go into Berlin.

Brother Bennett wanted me to understand personally.  The German government now is cooperative, so far as choir members going into Berlin.

I told Senator Bennett that we shall call him back.  Brother Bennett stated that if he was out of reach his assistant Mr. Glendon Johnson would be there, and he will take the message.


Later Brother Mark E. Petersen called my office by telephone.  He stated that Brother Bennion and he both seemed to think alike on the visit of the Tabernacle Choir to Berlin.  They do not feel that they should wait for any more uncertainty or take any chance concerning it.  They feel that we should give our appreciation.  I told Brother Petersen that I would contact Brother Bennett.  Brother Petersen asked if he should notify the express company, but I told him to wait until I had talked to Brother Bennett again.


Telephone Conversation with Senator Wallace F. Bennett, Washington, D.C.

I asked Senator Bennett if anything had developed regarding the Tabernacle Choir’s going into Berlin for a concert.  Senator Bennett stated that nothing further had developed.

I told Senator Bennett that in view of the fact that it will be a week probably before we hear from East Germany, the Committee rather feels that we had better cancel the Berlin trip provided it will not embarrass Senator Bennett or the State Department.  I told Brother Bennett that the Committee had to know right now because they will be making other arrangements.

Senator Bennett stated that we should do what would add to the success of the trip.  I told him that there was just a question of his relationship with the State Department.  I told him that we shall take it definitely now that the Berlin trip is off.  Senator Bennett stated that he would pass that word along.  I told him that we thanked them most sincerely for their interest and their courtesy and consideration throughout this entire planning.

Senator Bennett suggested that The First Presidency write a letter of thanks to Miss Mary French, Leaders’ Division, Department of State, Washington, D.C.  He said to tell her in the letter why we felt it unwise under all the circumstances for the Choir to go to Berlin.  Brother Bennett stated that he would call her tomorrow morning as it was too late to do so to-night.

I thanked Senator Bennett for his efforts and told him that we appreciated his kindness.


Note:  Two or three days later Senator Bennett called Mark Petersen, President McKay being away, and told him that the State Department are insisting that the Choir go to Berlin, and therefore negotiations are underway for the original plan.

Telephone Conversation with President A. Hamer Reiser, President of the British Mission.

I told President Reiser that there would be a time set aside for the British Mission, missionaries and members, (members who are worthy of recommends) to attend the Switzerland Temple dedication on September 11th in the afternoon.

I asked Brother Reiser if he had time with his other duties to check up on the various halls that he and Brother Thomas secured for the Tabernacle Choir to give concerts in when Brother Thomas was in Europe, and also asked him to see if everything was all right, transportation, hotel reservations, etc.  Brother Reiser assured me that everything was in order and ‘going very well’.  I told Brother Reiser that we would let him know about the choir’s going into Berlin a little later.

Brother Reiser stated that Brother Spencer W. Kimball was in the room with him and asked if I would like to speak to him.  I told Brother Kimball I was glad to hear his voice and asked him if all was well.  I also extended greetings and kind regards to him.  Brother Kimball stated that he would join us in Scotland.  (President McKay and Brother Kimball talked about Brother Kimball’s going to Berlin and also the choir’s trip into Berlin, but the conversation was inaudible.  President McKay told Brother Kimball that he would send a letter regarding the Berlin trip, but it is doubtful that Brother Kimball heard.)


In a letter dated July 9, 1955 from President A. Hamer Reiser, he said:

‘We are grateful for your telephone call which was finally consummated at Bradford, Yorkshire, because I am on tour of the mission with Elder Spencer W. Kimball.

‘We can now proceed to complete bookings for the British missionaries to go to Berne for the Temple dedication service on September 11.  Earlier information to us had not set the day assigned for us, hence our cable for the information.

‘All arrangements for the coming of the Choir to Great Britain are proceeding well.  Reservations for hotels, transportation and other services, which are so limited here that people must queue up for them, are made.  So far as Britain is involved the Choir will be provided for.  Reservations for your party are made as well.  We shall let no detail be overlooked.  I shall meet you at Prestwick upon your arrival in Scotland.

‘I have Elder Mark Petersen’s letter asking for confirmation of details of arrangements for seating the Choir in the various concert halls here and of other arrangements.  This is proceeding and as soon as possible all this will be confirmed.  Sale of tickets is being provided for, to be handled by established local ticket selling agencies.  The government has already issued tax exemption on my application.  The advertising and publicity is in good hands with the J. Walter Thompson Company.

‘I think you may all be at ease as to all arrangements.’

‘Truly the missionaries and members, and the whole country of Britain are being greatly blessed in this memorable year of 1955, thanks to the generous planning of our beloved leader.’  Faithfully yours, (s) A. Hamer Reiser, Mission President”

27 Jul., 1955:

2.  Telephone Conversation with Senator Bennett, Washington, D.C.

Senator Bennett called from Washington, D.C.  He sated that they had received approval to transport the Tabernacle Choir in and out of Berlin, Germany on day trains.  The members of the choir and their partners and guests will also have permission to enter Berlin.  The State Department is doing this.

I told Senator Bennett that this was very good news.

Senator Bennett stated that they had had to get permission from the Russians, and the Russians have told them that this is the first consequence on President Eisenhower’s trip to Geneva.  He stated that we are to be favored as the first evidence of the increasing friendship by the Russians.  There is only one Russian Consul in the United Stated and that is in Washington, D.C.  It will therefore be necessary for the State Department to fly a special messenger to Salt Lake to pick up the passports and take them to Washington, D.C., have them visaed, and then fly them back to Salt Lake.  This problem is being worked on at the present time.

Senator Bennett stated that we should get some publicity out of this.

I told the Senator that the publicity should come from their Department.

Senator Bennett stated that he had called Brother Mark E. Petersen but had the report that he was out of town.

I told Senator Bennett that I would give this report to President Stephen L. Richards who at the present time is out of the state.

I told Senator Bennett that we would have the passports brought to one central place in order that they would be available when it was necessary to pick them up.

The Senator stated that he was sure the Choir will do a tremendous amount of good in Berlin.  I told him that we would report to the American Express in order that they may make necessary arrangements.

(see newspaper clippings regarding the Tabernacle Choir’s entrance into Berlin following)

3.  Telephone Conversation with Jack Thomas

I called Jack Thomas and told him that I had just received word from the State Department through Senator Wallace F. Bennett that it would be possible for the Tabernacle Choir to go into Berlin.  A day train will be furnished both ways, and the State Department will pay the fare of the choir members on the original basis.

I informed Brother Thomas that Senator Bennett reported that the Russians have said they approve and this comes as one of the first indications of good will, which comes as a result of President Eisenhower’s visit to Switzerland.

I explained also that there is only one Russian Consul in the United States, and that it will be necessary for the State Department to send a special messenger by air to Salt Lake City, and have him pick up the passports in order that they can be visaed in Washington and then returned. The State Department will let us know when the messenger will be coming.

I suggested that we have the passports in one central place so that we can get them when it is necessary.  Brother Thomas stated that the choir would meet together Tuesday evening and have their passports there when steamship tickets were to be issued to each member.  I told Brother Thomas that we would probably know by that time when the messenger would arrive.  I also told him that he was the first to receive this information.

Brother Thomas was very happy to receive the information that the Tabernacle Choir would be able to go into Berlin.

4.  Telephone Conversation with Elder LeGrand Richards

I called Brother Richards and told him that I had just received word from Brother Wallace Bennett that the State Department has received word that the Russians are willing to permit day-time trains to transport the choir into Berlin.  The State Department will pay the fare according to the original plans.  I told him that we would go ahead with this plan.

Brother Richards expressed his happiness that we had finally received permission to go to Berlin.  He said that he would relay this information to Brother child.  He also asked for my permission to wire President Gregory.  I gave him permission to do this.”

Sun., 31 July, 1955:

“Sunday, July 31, 1955

Instructions to Members of the Tabernacle Choir

8:00 a.m.

Attended the Tabernacle Choir Broadcast.  Following their broadcast I spoke to the members of the Choir preparatory to their leaving for their concert tour of European countries.

First, I asked their cooperation in setting an example to all others in the Church – organized stakes and missions and in conforming to the request of the Presidency that each one who enters the Temple must have an admission card obtained through the Presidencies of missions and officials here at home only by recommendation of the Bishops of Wards, signed by the President of the Stake.  I explained that if they would get their recommend, properly signed, the First Presidency would issue admission cards to them.  I assigned Brother Lester Hewlett and Sister Mary Jack to make the arrangements for distribution of these cards.

I explained further that these admission cards to the dedication may be issued to all members of the Choir who are members of the Church whether the member happens to be married to a non-member or not.  However, this recommend does not entitle any one to go through the Temple for his or her endowments.

I then read to them the following announcement made by the First Presidency concerning this matter:

The limited space available at the Temple in Berne, Switzerland,

and the necessity of making provision for the attendance of our missionaries

and Saints in the various European missions have required that admission to the 

dedicatory services be restricted only to those who bear non-transferable cards

issued by the European Mission Presidents.

In order to obtain one of these cards, it will be necessary for each visitor

from wards and stakes who desires to attend a dedicatory service to present a

recommend from his or her Bishop, endorsed by the Stake President.  If the

visitor is from a mission outside Europe, he must present a recommend signed by 

the President of his branch, endorsed by the President of the mission.

I cautioned the choir members not to expect too much with respect to travel conditions — that travel I have learned through experience is not always pleasant.  All can not have the best seats — all cannot have the best rooms – that there will be inconveniences on the boat – some will be sick — afraid you might die, and afterwards anxious that you won’t die.  On the continent there will be inconveniences, however, I admonished them that through it all, they should make the best of it, to look for the best in everything – to find no fault.”

Wed., 10 Aug., 1955:

“At 8 o’clock I went to the Union Pacific Station to bid farewell to members of the Tabernacle Choir as they depart on their historic tour of the European countries.  Never in the history of the Union Pacific has there been such a large crowd of people gather at this station–it is estimated that there were 5000 relatives and friends there to bid adieu to the Choir members.

In a letter from a member of the KSL Television Staff dated August 5, 1955, copy of which follows, I was asked to appear on television at the station to say a few words of blessing and farewell.  In my remarks I stated that the choir now numbers approximately 381 singers.  In its long history, in addition to its continuous schedule on nationwide radio networks, it has engaged in a number of concert tours including appearances at:  The Chicago World’s Fair in 1893; also St. Louis; West Coast tour in 1896; the Welsh Eisteddfods in Denver; the San Francisco World’s Fair in 1902; the Alaskan Yukon Exposition at Seattle in 1909; the American Land and Irrigation Exposition at New York in 1911; a personal appearance before President William Howard Taft at the White House in 1911; West Coast tour including Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles in 1926; the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago in 1934; the California Pacific Exposition in San Diego in 1936; Zion National Park in 1937; Sun Valley Idaho in 1940; the San Francisco Civic auditorium and Hollywood Bowl in 1941; the San Bernardino pageant of 1947; and Las Vegas 1953 – and now this momentous of all trips — a tour of the European countries!

I paid tribute to and commended all those who had willingly contributed to this historic trip – to the Committee of businessmen, headed by John M. Wallace, George M. Gadsby, William J. O’Connor, James J. Kelly who worked so diligently and successfully in obtaining funds from business firms throughout the city – to the Mutual Improvement Association who gave the proceeds from their Dance Festival amounting to $12,350.00 – and to many others who entered wholeheartedly into the project.  I mentioned especially Jack Thomas with whom the idea of the tour of the choir to Europe originated.

President Stephen L. Richards and President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. were also on hand to express their best wishes and farewells to the Choir members.

It was a stirring and heart-warming occasion, and our prayers and best wishes went with the Choir and their associates as they embark on this eventful, history-making tour.

(see newspaper clippings following)

Note:  announcement made today in local newspapers regarding our trip to Europe to Attend Tabernacle Choir’s concerts in Glasgow, Cardiff, Wales, and London – also to attend dedicatory services of the Swiss Temple at Berne.  (see European Trip account following)

August 10, 1955

Letter written to Mission Presidents in Europe concerning the first endowment sessions to be held in the Swiss Temple at Berne, Switzerland, from September 16 until September 20, 1955.

August 10, 1955

Presidents of the following missions:

Danish, East German, Finnish, French, Norwegian, Swedish, Netherlands, Swiss-Austrian and West German

Dear Brother

Replies to our letters of inquiry indicate that comparatively few worthy members of each mission can afford to attend Dedicatory Services of the Swiss Temple and remain for regular Temple work on the suggestive dates given for the week of September 18.

For the convenience, therefore, of those who travel from other missions than the Swiss-Austrian, arrangements are being made to hold regular sessions as follows:

September 16 – 7:30 a.m.

German-speaking members, with preference given to the East and West 

German Missions.

September 16 – 1 p.m.

German-speaking members

September 17 – 7:20 a.m.

Members of the Netherlands Mission

September 17 – 1 p.m.

Members of the Danish and Norwegian Missions

September 17 – 5 p.m.

Members of the French Mission

September 20 – 7:30 a.m.

Members of the Swedish and Finnish Missions

All of the above sessions are for personal endowments and will be attended only by local members of the Church.  Missionaries will please refrain from attending any of these sessions.

The permanent schedule for the missions to do regular temple work will be announced later by the President of the Temple.

Will you please send to President Samuel E. Bringhurst the names of leading missionaries who can be instructed as officiators for the session to which your mission is assigned.

Anticipating meeting you at the Dedicatory Services, and praying that the blessings of the Lord will attend you and those who accompany you on this important occasion, I remain

Sincerely yours,



Sun., 11 Sept., 1955:

“Dedication of Swiss Temple

Sunday, September 11, 1955.

September 11, 1955, at Bern, Switzerland



Full text of the dedicatory prayer for the Swiss Temple, offered by President David O. McKay, at dedicatory services, in Bern, Switzerland, Sunday, Sept. 11, 1955, at 10 a.m.

O God, our Eternal Father:

On this sacred occasion, the completion and dedication of the first Temple to be erected by the Church in Europe, we give our hearts and lift our voices to Thee in praise and gratitude.  Help us to free our minds from idle thoughts, and our souls from selfish and envious feelings, that in sincerity and truth we may assemble as one in singleness of purpose in love of Thee, of one another, and of all sincere people in the world.

We are grateful that in the spring of 1820, on the American continent, thou and thy Son Jesus Christ didst appear to the young man Joseph Smith; that thou didst introduce the Savior of mankind by saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, hear Him!’  We are grateful that under thy guidance and inspiration the Church of Jesus Christ was organized in completeness, with Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers, Evangelists, etc., for the ‘perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.’

Such is the Divine Message in these latter days to all thy children, living and dead!

Through hearing Thy Son, and by obedience to His word, we come to Thee; and ‘To Know Thee and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent is Eternal Life.’

We are grateful that following the glorious Revelation of Thee and Thy Beloved Son, thou didst in this dispensation restore by heavenly messengers the Aaronic and the Melchizedek Priesthood, and subsequently all the Keys of the Priesthood ever held by thy prophets from the days of Adam, through Abraham and Moses, to Malachi who held the power to ‘turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers’ down to the latest generation.

All these rights, powers, and privileges were restored and delivered authoritatively in this, the greatest Dispensation of all time.

We are grateful for the Constitution of the United States of America which permitted the Church of Jesus Christ to be established through Heavenly messengers,and which grants to every man the right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.

We are grateful for the freedom-loving government of Switzerland, which through the centuries has held inviolate man’s free agency and his inalienable right to worship Thee without dictation from any man or group of men whomsoever.

We are grateful that in the completeness of the organization of the Church every member has an opportunity to serve his fellow men having in mind the divine saying – ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’

We express gratitude to Thee for the leaders of thy Church from the Prophet Joseph Smith down through the years to the present General Authorities – The First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve Apostles, the Assistants to the Twelve, the Patriarch to the Church, the First Council of Seventy, the Presiding bishopric.

Continue to reveal to The First Presiency Thy mind and will as it pertains to the growth and advancement of Thy work among the children of men.

With humility and deep gratitude we acknowledge thy nearness, thy divine guidance and inspiration.  Make even more susceptible our spiritual response to Thee.

Bless the Presidencies of Stakes, High Councils, Presidencies of Missions, Bishoprics of Wards, Presidencies of Branches and of Quorums, Superintendencies and Presidencies of Auxiliaries throughout the world.  Make them keenly aware of the fact that they are trusted leaders and that they are to treasure that trust as they treasure their lives.

We are grateful that the members of the Church recognize that the payment of tithes and offerings bring blessings, makes possible the proclamation of the gospel to the ends of the world, and contributes to the carrying out of Thy purposes through the building of chapels, tabernacles, and eventually Temples wherever churches are organized in all lands and climes.

O Father, we sense that the crying need of the world today is acceptance of Jesus Christ and his Gospel to counteract false teachings that now disturb the peace of honest men and women, and which undermine the faith of millions whose belief in Thee has been faltering and unstable, because they have not yet had presented to them the eternal Plan of Salvation.

Guide us, O God, in our efforts to hasten the day when humanity will renounce contention and strife, when ‘nation shall not lift up sword against nation, either shall they learn war any more.’

To this end bless the leaders of nations that their hearts may be cleared of prejudices, suspicion and avarice, and filled with a desire for peace and righteousness.

As one means of uniting thy children in the bonds of peace and love, this Temple and other holy houses of the Lord are erected in thy name.

Help thy people to realize that only by obedience to the eternal principles and ordinances of the gospel may loved ones who died without baptism be permitted the glorious privilege of entrance into the Kingdom of God.  Increase our desire, O Father, to put forth even greater effort towards the consummation of thy purpose to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of all they children.  This edifice is one more means to aid in bringing about this divine consummation.

To this end, by the authority of the Holy Melchizedek priesthood, we dedicate the Swiss Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and consecrate it for the purpose for which it has been erected.

We dedicate to Thee, our Heavenly Father the ground, the building from foundation to turret, and everything pertaining thereto, including all fixtures and furnishings, and pray Thee to accept it in completeness; sanctify it, and keep it in thy providence until all for which it has been designed shall have been accomplished.

Enable those who will be appointed custodians to protect it in purity that no unclean person or thing shall ever enter herein.  Thou hast said that thy spirit will not dwell in a house where unwholesome or selfish thoughts abide.  Therefore may all who enter this Holy Temple come with clean hands and pure hearts that the Holy spirit may ever be present to inspire, to comfort, and to bless.

May this building ever be held sacred, that all who enter may feel a peaceful and hallowed influence, and may those who pass the grounds, whether members or non-members of the Church feel a hallowed influence and substitute for a doubt or possible sneer in their minds, a prayer in their hearts.

Now, O God, our Heavenly Eternal Father, the faithful membership of thy Church, through love for Thee and thy children, have erected to Thee by tithes and offerings this Holy House in which shall be performed ordinances and ceremonies pertaining to the happiness and salvation of thy children living in mortality and in the Spirit World.

Accept of our offering, hallow it by thy Holy Spirit, and protect it from destructive elements and the bitterness of ignorance and wickedness of bigoted hearts until its divine purposes shall have been consummated; and Thine Be the glory, honor, and praise forever, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, Amen and Amen!

Deseret News – Church Section, Saturday, September 17, 1955″

“Copy of handwritten diary notes written by President David O. McKay during his European Trip, August 16, 1955 to September 22, 1955.

Tuesday, August 16, 1955.


8:25 a.m. – Driven to airport by Lawrence.  Among the friends and relatives gathered to say farewell were the following:  Thos. E. and Fawn, Jeannette and Dr. Joe, Elizabeth and George, Katherine and Joel, all the children and grandchildren, excepting Llewelyn’s family — he being in California with army; Stephen L. and Irene, J. Reuben, second counselor; Brother and Sister John Longden, Bishop Joseph Wirthlin, Bishop Isaacson, Bishop Buehner, Brother and Sister S. Dilworth Young, Elder George Q. Morris, Elder Clifford Young, Elder Delbert L. Stapley (who accompanied us on plane to Denver), Sister William Middlemiss, Dr. and Mrs. Middlemiss, Clare’s sisters; Fern and Afton (Mrs. Wright and Powers), Clare’s nephew and niece from California; Mrs. Creer and daughter, Brother and sister Francis Lund, Louise Covey — news reporters and photographers, Deseret News and Tribune; Rulon Tingey, George Jarvis, and a host of others.  Also Allan Acomb, Bishop Affleck.  Compartment reserved for the five of us.  Officials and hostesses most considerate.

Friday, August 19, 1955.

President Reiser drove us by auto to Greenock to greet members of the Salt Lake (Mormon) Tabernacle Choir.

Rained all the way, and continued until we arrived at the pier.  The weather then cleared up, and the Reception led by the Lord Provost of Greenock was completed in sunshine.  The Provost’s formal welcome was broadcast over television, also the Policemen’s special Bag Pipe Band dressed in full regalia.  The Choir sang ‘Loch Lomond’ and “Come, Come Ye Saints’.  It was an impressive Welcome!

At 3 p.m. the Lord Provost of Glasgow and Lady provost gave a formal Welcome in the Municipal Building, St. George’s Square.  He gave a heart-warming speech, appreciation of which was shown by punctuated applause.  A very significant occasion!

Preceding this formal welcome, his honor the Lord Provost and Lady Provost received members of our party in his Reception Room.

As I met the Lord provost of Glasgow on this occasion by his invitation, I recalled my first visit to this Municipal Building fifty-seven years ago, an unknown missionary, looked upon with suspicion — every slanderous story about the ‘Mormons’ believed!

The Reception today seems almost unbelievable in contrast!

Friday, August 26, 1955.

At 7:30 a.m. Elder Spencer W. Kimball, now visiting officially the European Missions, telephoned for advice regarding what action to take against an Elder who has confessed to sexual immorality.  The missionary has his release to return home.  I recommended that excommunication is usual procedure in such cases.  However, as Elder Kimball seemed to think that the young man is truly repentant, we concluded that disfellowshipment would be the extent of punishment for the present.

Saturday, September 10, 1955.

Rained continuously all day.  Missionaries and saints fasting and praying for good weather tomorrow for the Dedicatory Services.  This evening in company with Sister McKay, Edward, Lottie and Clare attended Tabernacle Choir Concert held in ‘Fest’ Hall.  This great hall was filled to capacity; every seat sold.  Another wonderful concert!

A day of anxiety as to how the Dedicatory Services will impress the various groups who attend one after another throughout the week.

I conferred the sealing power upon President William F. Perschon to assist President Bringhurst in the Swiss Temple.  I also conferred the sealing power upon Emil Von Almen for work in the Bern Temple.  He had previously worked in the Logan and Idaho Falls Temples.

Sunday, September 11, 1955.

Berne, Switzerland.

At 9:15 a.m. Brother Edward O. Anderson called at the hotel, and drove us to the Temple.  He informed us that some of the workers on the Temple had been busy all night with last minute preparations.

At 9:45 a.m., General Authorities of the Church in attendance, the Salt Lake Tabernacle Choir, Swiss-Austrian Mission Presidency, and visitors who had been admitted upon recommendation and cards were all in their seats, only 585 of whom could see the speaker.  Others were in rooms listening by means of loud speakers.

The Choir rendered excellent service, and Miss Ewan Harbrecht sang most impressively and beautifully.

The spirit of this opening Dedicatory Service appealed to our spiritual nature so intensively that it seemed that an unseen audience had joined in this most historical and momentous occasion.  Indeed, I was deeply impressed that former Presidents of the Church and father and mother were with us ‘listening in’.

Many of the audience were moved to tears!

The order and reverent attitude of the audience was perfect.

Friday, September 16, 1955.

Left the Bellevue Hotel this morning at 7 o’clock for Zollikofen to attend first endowment session to be given in the Swiss Temple.  At 7:30 a.m. a large group of German Saints and missionaries met to go through the Temple for endowment work for the dead and the living.  A preliminary meeting was held in the assembly room where I gave a talk on the temple ceremony and its significance and importance.  Edward, Lottie, and Clare went through, taking the names of deceased German Saints.  Sister McKay and I did not go through the session.  I desired to watch and study the ceremony as it was being presented.  This being the first session ever held in this Temple, and the procedure being new to all the workers, the session moved rather slowly.  It was 3 p.m. before it conlcuded, so it was late before the French Mission saints got started on their session.  I also spoke in the assembly meeting before this group went through.  Following the French session, companies for the Swedish and Finnish, Netherlands, Danish and Norwegian Saints went through — making it necessary to hold sessions all night long — it was Saturday, 7:30 p.m. before they concluded!!

Friday, September 16, 1955.

Berne, Switzerland.

At 7:15 a.m. we were at the Temple to participate in the first presentation of the Method of the Creation part of the Endowment Ceremony.  It was very successfully given.  Experience will improve it, but all in all it was entirely satisfactory.  It was given in the German language, and ninety-nine members composed this first company.  I addressed them as a body prior to their taking upon themselves higher obligations and covenants. — ‘Symbolism vs. Realism’, ‘Spirituality vs. Mechanism’.

Friday and Saturday, September 16-17, 1955.

Special arrangements had been made for the members of the French Mission to enter at 5 p.m. and for the Swedish and Finnish Saints to come at 9 p.m.

Owing to unforeseen difficulties and unavoidable delays these two latter companies did not ‘get through’ until towards morning.  Indeed, it was 7:30 a.m. Saturday before the Swedish company departed.

At this hour (7:30 a.m., Saturday) the members of the Netherlands Mission presented themselves in a body to receive their Endowments.

These were followed at 1 p.m. (Saturday) by the Danish and the Norwegian Saints.

Continuous sessions from Friday 7:30 a.m. until Saturday 7:30 p.m.!!

August 16 to September 22, 1955.

Report given by President David O. McKay at Council Meeting, September 29, 1955 (Thursday) on his trip to Europe to attend the Dedicatory Services of the Swiss Temple.

Accompanied by Sister McKay and their son, Edward, and his wife, and his Secretary, Sister Clare Middlemiss, president McKay left here August 16 in order to be present at the landing in Greenock, Scotland of the Tabernacle Choir on August 19.  He mentioned that fifty years before that time it was his duty to meet all the emigrants from Europe and Great Britain, including missionaries, who left Europe to come to America; that they came to Glasgow and took the boat, a small boat, down Clyde River to the steamer waiting at Greenock, to take them across the ocean.  He mentioned that he was then an unmarried man, and met all the opposition that was characteristic of the Scotch people at that time.  He said tht the Brethren could therefore imagine his feelings when he stood on the dock at Greenock, and heard the official welcome extended by the Provost of that city, and his associates in the Council, and listened to the stirring martial music of the Scotch bagpipes.  He thought it was the police band of Greenock.

The Provost read his welcome.  The Choir sang to people of Greenock standing around, by the hundreds, really, counting the children.  President McKay said he thought he had never spent a more satisfying forenoon than was spent at Greenock; that while it was stormy to begin with, the sun came out and it was a wonderful occasion.

That same afternoon the Lord Provost of Glasgow and Lady Provost, in a special room in the Municipal Hall, a magnificent building, received the leaders of the Choir, Brother Evans, President McKay and his party, just prior to greeting all the members of the Choir in the Municipal Hall, and refreshments were served.  The Lord Provost laid aside his formal greeting and spoke extemporaneously.  Elder Evans stated that we have a copy of the Lord Provost’s remarks on that occasion.

President McKay said that among other things he said that this was the first time that he had officially greeted the members of the Mormon Church.  He referred to the rumors extant against the Mormons, and said he knew that they were false because he had made the acquaintance before he was Lord Provost of a member of the Mormon Church.  President McKay said he understood that a local member at Glasgow had given the Lord Provost the assurance that the falsehoods and rumors and accusations that had been made against our people were falsehoods because the life of this young local member belied these things.

The same night the Choir gave a concert.  President McKay said that Brother Evans’ introduction and all were sublime, and he, President McKay, made the comment at that time that if the Choir returned home the following day, all expenses incurred in sending them over there would be profitably invested.  The manager of the hall came to the box occupied by President and Sister McKay, and said, ‘Repeat this concert tomorrow, and for everyone present we will have ten.  Come back again and we will open the large hall and fill it for a week.’  President McKay said he understood that the hall referred to would accommodate 20,000 people.

President McKay autographed a leather-bound program and presented it to the Lord Mayor, who was in the adjoining box.  The Lord Mayor rose when he received it, and said, ‘Superb!  Excellent!  Excellent!’  and a lady who was sitting on the front seat arose and reached over her friend’s shoulder, and extended her greetings, and was equally emphatic in her praises of the concert.

President McKay said that the service rendered by Elder Richard L. Evans is beyond realization — that is, the extent of the good that he did.  It was quite a task to appear before strange audiences night after night, go with the Choir members, hear their troubles, and meet a strange audience every time, and stand before them.

Following the concert at Manchester, Mr. Mullen expressed the feeling that it would be better to have just the concert and not have any comments.  Arbitrarily or otherwise, that suggestion was overruled.  President McKay attended four of the Choir concerts, and wished that he could have attended more, and saw personally the effect of The Spoken Word upon those audiences.  It was a great contributing factor to the success of the Choir, and the Choir brought honors to themselves, to the Church, to the State, and to the Nation.  They represented the Nation in a way, he said, that it has never been represented abroad before because it is usually represented by a class of people who are bombastic, and take the attitude that we have better things in America than they have over there.  Here was culture at its best.  President McKay said he would never forget the picture of the Choir as they were arranged in the Royal Albert Hall in London, — the women dressed in white, and everyone sitting with their feet close together, a perfect picture and attitude.  It was uncomparable with any other group.  The sisters were on one side, and the gentlemen on the other, the gentlemen too, well dressed.

He said that Lady Bennett, by whose side Sister McKay was sittting, commented on the appearance and was evidently deeply impressed because when Sister Harbrecht came out in her modest dress, she said, ‘And does she belong to your Church also?  Why, they are singing without any music.’

President McKay said they would rise at the signal, uniformly, and sing from their hearts, as the commentor in Paris said, ‘in more ways than one.’  President McKay said that too much tribute cannot be paid to the service rendered by Brother Evans, by the Conductors and Leaders of the Choir, and those who arranged for transportation and accommodations; that, of course, they had some inconveniences and troubles,.  He felt that the Brethren who advised with Jack Thomas and Brother Evans — Elders Mark E. Petersen, LeGrand Richards, and Adam S. Bennion — before the Choir left here, rendered an invaluable service, and that Mr. Robert R. Mullen, who had been employed to take care of the publicity, did excellent service.  Mr. Mullen wanted to bring the Church into another problem — that of making television, and first said that $10,000 would cover it, but when he mentioned $40,000 President McKay thought we should not do that.  President McKay said, however, that Mr. Mullen rendered excellent service, as did also the men who worked with him.  They arranged for public receptions.  President McKay attended one at Claridge’s in London, where the ranking members of the London Press were present, with many officers of the British Empire, — their cultural relations officers, etc., as well as our own Charge d’ Affaires, — and they arranged similar contacts at every point, so that we had the top press audiences wherever we went.

President McKay mentioned one little incident that he thought would be interesting to the Brethren, a formal entertainment, which he said was formal in the extreme.  A man announced each one who came in, and when dinner was served, told them where their places were.  As they stood around, drinking tomato juice — others were drinking stronger drinks — the Ambassador apologized to President McKay because liquors were served.  At this place they met leading press men, among them the editor of The Mirror, which has the largest circulation in the world.  When President McKay met him, he started to talk about Scotland, and he saw a lcoud come over his face, and he wondered why.  Then when he started to talk about Wales, President McKay told him about his mother’s birth in Wales, and told where his mother lived, and the editor said, ‘That is within a half mile of where I was born.’  The cloud lifted, and he was radiant.

President McKay said that his son, Edward, sat by the side of this man, and when their host arose and proposed a toast to Her Majesty, the Queen, Edward heard this man say, ‘Her Majesty, the Queen!  God bless her!’  Then the host said, ‘To the President of the United States,’ and this man said, ‘To the President of the United States!  God help him!’

President McKay said that their visit in Europe, the trip of the Tabernacle Choir and the dedicatory services under the Lord’s overruling power and guidance, will contribute to the advancement of the Church for years to come.  He said there kept coming into his mind the words of the poet,

‘Our echoes roll from soul to soul

and go forever and forever.’

Said he, you cannot tell when these echoes will ever cease, if ever.

On Sunday, September 4, President McKay dedicated the chapel and headquarters of the French Mission in Paris.  Had a very inspiring day.

September 11, held the first service of the dedication of the Swiss Temple, and on succeeding days, with two sessions each from Sunday until Thursday night, with the exception of Tuesday morning, when they held a missionary meeting because the West German people could not get back over the border to hold their second session.

September 16, held the first service ever held in the church of the new presentation of the endowment ceremony.  Thanks are due, he said, to Elder Richard L. Evans and the Committee, of which Brother Joseph Fielding Smith is Chairman, and particularly to Brothers Gordon Hinckley, Paul Evans, and Richard Welch.  It went off very successfully.  President McKay said there were over 100 people who worked on that development, who devoted their lives for months to it.  It was very impressive, and all who saw that first presentation were delighted with it.

President McKay said that when it is improved and used in London and New Zealand it will be much better.  He felt that it is a step that will impress our young people as they should be impressed with the sacredness and the comprehensiveness of that ceremony.

One of the receptions held was before the London County Council, which was a very wonderful occasion.  When the Chairman arose and gave his welcome under the jurisdiction of the Council, they realized that it was a wonderful occasion.  He mentioned also that the Embassy served refreshments.  He thought the occasion was as complete and dignified as it could be.  

17 Sept., 1955:

September 17, 1955

Church may Now Send out More Missionaries

Selection Service Action


Effective immediately, bishops of wards are authorized to recommend for missions, without limitations as to numbers, young men of 20 years and over whom they consider worthy to represent the Church as missionaries.

This is the substance of a letter sent last week to presidents of stakes and bishops of wards over the signatures of the First Presidency of the Church.

The letter is printed in full herewith:


Dear Brethren:

With appreciation for the difficult problems with which Selective Service officials must deal, we have endeavored to work co-operatively with them on matters affecting our missionary program.  In this spirit we refrained from issuing missionary calls to any of our draft-liable young men during the period from February, 1951, until July, 1953, when draft boards were required to supply large numbers of men incident to the Korean conflict.  In July, 1953, we established a self-imposed quota system for the sending of missionaries which was designed to implement our seriously depleted missionary forces without cutting heavily into the draft pool of any particular board.

More recently the military services have reduced their draft requirements to a point where we have felt the calling of missionaries might be liberalized.  We have consulted with various national and state Selective Service officials who have expressed appreciation for our past co-operation and who have indicated a willingness to coperate in a liberalization of the program.  We have assured them that in the event an emergency situation should arise reversing the present trend, then we shall give consideration to the matter of returning to a quota system.

Effective immediately, bishops of wards and presidents of stakes are authorized to recommend for missions, without limitation as to numbers, such young men 20 years of age and over as they consider to be worthy to represent the Church as missionaries.  In making such recommendations it will not be necessary that the bishop or his representative get in touch with the local draft board to determine the status of the young man.  However, each young man recommended for a mission should be prepared to give to the interviewing General Authority his Selective Service number, his present draft classification, and the number and address of his local draft board.  In the event he shall have received notice of induction, he will be advised by the interviewing General authority that he is not eligible for a mission at the time.

When and if the young man is issued a call to a mission this office will advise the draft board that the young man has been called, and in a subsequent letter we shall advise the board of the date on which he was set apart for his mission and ordained a minister of religion, at which time we shall request for him and on his behalf a IV-D classification.

We hope that this program will afford some of our young men, who might otherwise have been denied, the opportunity of serving as missionaries before they undertake their military service.





Clarification of the legal draft status of missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came early this month in an official directive from Major General Lewis B. Hershey, National Director of the Selective Service System.

Senator Wallace F. Bennett (R-Utah), who paved the way for the decision, said it meant that LDS missionaries during their terms of service would be considered ministers and would be entitled to IV-D classification.  In the past, it has often been necessary for some missionaries in the field to appeal to presidential boards in order to delay their induction until completion of their missions.

General Hershey’s instructions were contained in his official newsletter to state directors based upon the legislative record of the Houses of Congress.  The part affecting LDS missionaries reads:

‘In addition to these amendments, the act clarified certain other matters in committee reports and in debate on the floor of both the House and Senate.

‘One such matter was the status of ordained ministers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), who are assigned to serve in missions of the Church.

‘Senator Bennett of Utah appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee and proposed an amendment to the Selective Service extension act to dispel any question as to ministers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), while assigned to serve in missions of the Church.

‘The director of Selective Service advised the committee that the Selective Service System had always considered that such persons, while so assigned, came within the definition of the provisions of the Universal Military Training and Service Act defining ministers of religion.

‘After giving the matter full consideration, the Senate committee, in its report on the extension of the Selective Service Act, Report No. 549, page 12, stated that under existing law ordained ministers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), and assigned to serve in the missions of the church, fall within the definition of ministers of religion, and that the amendment proposed by Senator Bennett was therefore not considered necessary.  The matter was pursued further on the floor of  both the Senate and the House during debate on the bill, and in both cases the managers of the bill on the floor of the respective houses took a position with respect to these persons identical to that taken by the Senate Armed Services Committee.’

Deseret News – Church Section, Saturday, September 17, 1955

Tues., 27 Sept., 1955:

“3.  Recognition of the Church in Austria

President McKay referred to a letter he had received while in Bern, Switzerland from Jeremiah J. O’Connor, Embassy Representative, American Consulate, Salzburg, Austria, in which Mr. O’Connor reports that he has been informed by Minister Drummel that the ministerial decree granting recognition of the Church in Austria is now being drafted, and it is expected that it will be issued before or at the time of the withdrawal of American troops from Austria, which date for such withdrawal is October 25, 1955.

Mr. O’Connor sent this information to Bern in order that it ‘may add a pleasant note to the ceremonies attending the dedication of the Temple.’  (see copy of letter following – original in scrap book under European Trip, 1955)


of the


Address Official Communications


American Consulate,

Salzburg, Austria,

September 12, 1955

Mr. David O. McKay, President

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Care of American Embassy,

Bern, Switzerland.

My dear President McKay:

Having in the meantime been transferred to Salzburg from the Embassy at Vienna, I do not have at hand the address of the Mission in Switzerland.  Hoping that we would have been able to inform you that the Church had been granted recognition in Austria prior to the time of dedication of the new temple in Switzerland, further inquiries were made last week of the Ministry of Education.

We have now been informed by Minister Drummel that the Ministerial Decree granting the requested recognition is now being drafted and that he expects to issue it before or at the time of withdrawal of the American troops from Austria.  As you may know, October 25, 1955 is the time by which all troops must depart Austria under the terms of the state Treaty.

I send you this welcome news in order that it may add a pleasant note to the ceremonies attending the dedication of the temple.  As earlier suggested, I recommend that this information be closely held until we are able to inform you of the issuance of the decree.

Sincerely yours,

/s/ Jeremiah J. O’Connor

Jeremiah J. O’Connor

Embassy Representative

London, England

September 19, 1955

Dear Mr. O’Connor:

Seldom, if ever, have I received a letter that pleased me more than your kind favor of September 12, written at Salzburg, Austria.  It brought the first information that I had received that the ministerial Decree granting recognition to the Church in Austria ‘is now being drafted’ and will probably be issued on or before October 25, 1955.

That is truly encouraging news.

But what pleased me most in your letter was your motive in writing it; viz., ‘that it may add a pleasant note to the ceremonies attending the dedication of the Temple.’

Thank you for your graciousness as expressed in that friendly note.

Please be assured that I will keep your information confidential.

Sincerely yours,



Honorable Jeremiah J. O’Connor

Embassy Representative

American Consulate,

Salzburg, Austria”

Wed., 28 Sept., 1955:

“3.  Property at British Temple Site

I reported that I had recommended to President Reiser that we lease to Sir Winston Churchill more property than had originally been contemplated.  The part of the field which Churchill would like for his horses lies near the rear of the temple.  Part of  that field will be used by the builders for their equipment.  I told President Reiser to tell Sir Winston he might have the property up to the point where the eastern area would be used for the housing of tools, cement, etc.

4.  Missionary Work in Peru and Chile.

President Richards said that Bro. and Sister Fotheringham in Santiago, Chile, strongly recommend that two or four missionaries be sent there at once, stating that a suitable location can be found for them, they to begin missionary work there under the Uruguayan or Argentine Mission.

I said that I felt that one of the General Authorities should go to Peru, meet with the leaders of the nation there and then organize a branch in Chile and perhaps a mission in Peru.  I stated that I was impressed that Chile is not prepared for a mission, but did think we should organize a mission in Peru, and that mission could direct the branch in Santiago.  It was agreed that nothing should be done regarding organizing a branch in Santiago until a mission is established in Peru.

24 Oct., 1955:

October 24, 1955



10 August 1955

My dear Mr. President,

After all this time we have at last unearthed the photographer who took our picture outside the front door of Government House.  And so, I send you a copy with my very good wishes.  I trust that you and your wife continue in your robust good health.

I was very pleased to meet the other day some of your colleagues, through whom I sent messages to you, which I trust reached you safely.

In affectionate remembrance.

(Dallas Brooks)

President David O. McKay

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, 


Picture framed and hanging in President McKay’s office.  Sir Dallas’ Brooks autograph is as follows:  ‘Another reminder of our meeting, with my warm regards and best wishes.’

October 24, 1955

October 24, 1955

Dear Sir Dallas Brooks:

It gives me great pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of your kind letter of August 10, 1955 which accompanied a picture of you and me taken outside the front door of the Government House at Melbourne.

The fact that you persisted in ‘unearthing the photographer who took our picture’ makes doubly precious the memory of one of the most delightful visits I ever made to a Government official.

Thank you for your graciousness in sending me an autographed copy of the photograph taken on that memorable occasion.

I appreciate, also, the kind message you sent to me through my colleague as one of the General Authorities of the Church, Elder Marion G. Romney.

A country’s greatness can be measured by the nobility of its leaders.  My high opinion of Australia was greatly enhanced by the privilege I had of meeting your lordship.

Most sincerely,



Sir Dallas Brooks

Governor General of Victoria

Government House

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia”

25 Oct., 1955:

Council of the Twelve Minutes, October 27, 1955

“Visit of Russians

President David O. McKay

On October 20 President McKay received a long distance telephone call from the office of United States Ambassador, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., who asked for an appointment with the President, and the President met him at his office on Sunday, October 23 at 4:45 p.m.  Ambassador Lodge was accompanied by Obert C. Tanner, and Dr. O. Preston Robinson.  After the usual introductions, the Ambassador said, ‘I have come at the personal request of President Eisenhower, who had heard I was coming to give a talk in Salt Lake City, and telephoned me in New York and said, ‘I wish you would call on President McKay and express personally my gratitude for the prayers offered for my recovery by the Church, and extend to him my personal greetings and appreciation.’  Then Ambassador Lodge said, ‘I am pleased to have this opportunity of meeting you for my own sake as well.’

The President said they had a very cordial and interesting conversation for 30 minutes.  President McKay attended the Ambassador Lodge lecture in the Tabernacle that evening, and was well pleased with his talk on the United States as an organization that can be used for the establishment of peace.

On October 21 the First Presidency received Meldon H. Marshall, Consul-General

from Australia, whose office is in San Francisco.

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

On October 25 President McKay attended a meeting of the Union Depot and Railroad Company Board, which Board meets once a year and controls the property of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Pacific Depot.  Neither one of those railroads, the President said, owns the building, but the property is held by this Board, and all they do is stamp the bills that have been paid by each company.  The President said it was interesting to attend their meetings and feel the difference between that atmosphere and the atmosphere in this Council.  However, the members of the Board are very cordial.  John Wallace is a member; Mr. Wheeler, the lawyer; Mr. Rosenblatt, a Jew, and others whose names he could not remember.

Following that meeting he was a speaker at the funeral services of Ralph W. Flygare, grandson of Neils C. Flygare, who was in the presidency of the old Weber Stake many years ago.  The funeral was held in the Larkin Mortuary.

The same day President and Sister Peter J. Ricks called and reported their missionary work in the Southern States Mission.

At 4:30 p.m. the same day the First Presidency received at their office a delegation of Soviet journalists, whose names and positions are as follows:  Boris Nikolaevich Kampov-Polevoy, writer and secretary of the governing board of the Union of Soviet writers; Boris Romanovich Izakov, spokesman for the group, and member of the editorial board of the magazine, ‘International Life;’  Mr. Sofrovo; Viktor Vasillievich Poltoratski, Iavestia Department Head Aleksei Invanovich Adzhubei, member of the editorial board of Komsomalskaya, Pravda; Velentin Mikhailovich Berechkov, deputy chief editor of New Time magazine; Nikolai Matvosvich Gribachav, member of the governing board of the Union of Soviet Writers.

President McKay said that as they sat there, and after formal introductions were over, he, President McKay, said, ‘Well, in behalf of the Presidency and General Authorities we bid you welcome, representatives of Russia, to the headquarters of the Mormon Church.  Mormon is a nickname.  The correct designation of the Church is Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It has a membership of over a million and a quarter in various parts of the world, but we have no branch in Russia.

The leader of the group spoke in Russian, saying, ‘We have religious freedom.  Churches are state supported.  You would have freedom to come into Russia.’

President McKay asked, ‘Why, then, in 1952 did you refuse to let us distribute tracts, even to send tracts, into East Germany which is under your direction?’

There was quite a buzz, and then they said, ‘Oh no, you have a right to go in.’  The President answered:  ‘No, at that time you permitted us to send in Bibles to those German branches in East Germany, and the Book of Mormon, but you would not let us send any ‘Joseph Smith Tells His Own Story,’ and other similar tracts.’

Through the interpreter they came back, saying, ‘Well, East Germany is under another governing board.’  They threw that responsibility upon the local government.

President McKay said, ‘In Czechoslovakia you do not permit us to do it either.  In fact, you compelled us to withdraw our missionaries from Czechoslovakia.’

‘Well, Czechoslovakia is also under another governing body,’ they said.  ‘They govern themselves.’

The Russian spokesman then asked, ‘What is the attitude of your Church towards peace?’

The Brethren answered, in substance, ‘The fundamental mission of the Church is to establish peace among all nations, and the means whereby that peace may be obtained is first, faith in God; second, the attaining of universal brotherhood by men, which may be obtained through obedience to the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, the fundamental principle of which is the free agency of man.’

The interpreter wrote those things down.  The delegation seemed to be quite interested.  From then on they discussed our interest in youth, and asked, ‘What does your Church do for youth?’

The Brethren explained the Primary for children 4 years up to 12; the Young Men and Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association, from 12 years up to 112, if they live that long, of which we have several hundred thousand members, and to these young people instruction is given in culture, drama, literature, religion, and physical activities.

At President Richards’ suggestion the Sunday School was included, with 400,000 members from the Primary up, and 50,000 officers and teachers, devoting their time to these classes every week without one cent of compensation.

President Clark called attention to the educational features, so then the Presidency brought in the seminaries for the public schools and high schools, and the institutes for the Universities, in addition to the regularly established colleges and universities.

They said, ‘You have a University?’

President McKay answered:  ‘Yes, we have a University, and last week 7300 of those people in the University gathered in devotional exercises of their own free will and choice.’  Then it was explained to them that in addition to all this we have our worthy young boys from 12 to 14 meeting in Priesthood in groups of 12, each group presided over by three of their own number; that we have groups of 24 young men teachers, 14 to 16 years of age, presided over by their own members, and directed by the bishop of the ward; groups of boys 16 to 18 years of age, 48 in each group, known as priests; etc.  And so the conversation was very interesting.

Finally, President Clark said, ‘You mentioned freedom of religion.  Could we go and establish churches in Russia and conduct our own religion?’

They answered, ‘Yes, we think you could.’

President McKay said, ‘Let us be specific.  Could one of these three men go to Russia today and in a city purchase five acres of land on which we could build our Church edifice and have our ministers conduct the services with the permission of the government, and be free of taxation?’

Again they talked among themselves, and then they said, ‘Well, our ministers, our priests, have to pay an income tax on their income.’

The Brethren said, ‘Our ministers do not receive a salary.  They are given at most just an allowance for their support.  Would you compel them to pay an income tax?’

They answered, ‘Well, no, only on whatever they earn.’

In answer to the question, ‘Would the property be taxable or not? they answered, ‘Well, all this is under the direction of a Board, and we suggest that you write to the Board and find out about that.’  The Brethren then asked them for the address of the Board, and they furnished that information.

Then they came back again to the subject of peace, and they were given copies of the book, ‘The Articles of Faith,’ and President McKay quoted to them the Thirteenth Article:  ‘We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men . . .If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.’

Finally, the leader of the group said, ‘We are representatives of the periodicals over there.  Have you any message to give to the Russian people?’

President McKay answered, ‘Yes, we have.  We say to all the Russian people that the Church of Jesus Christ is established for the preaching of peace to all men, nations, kindreds, and tongues, and their message is that this permanent peace may be obtained only through, first, belief in God; second, in the universal brotherhood of man; third, in obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and fourth, by acceptance of the free agency of man.’

President McKay said they did not refute our points or make an attempt to do so, and did not say what their belief was, but the leader seemed to be very sincere when he spoke in Russian and expressed appreciation first for the welcome they had received, and second, for the time the First Presidency had given to them in this interview.  When the interpreter interpreted it, the man who sat next to President McKay, who also could speak English, reiterated what one of the others had said–that this was one of the most interesting, pleasant interviews they had had.  They shook hands heartily, and it is believed they went away fairly impressed.  President Clark commented afterwards, ‘Well, that is well worthwhile.’

The following morning President McKay asked President Richards how he felt, and he answered, ‘Well, I am wondering.’  The President said, ‘We all wonder.  We do not know what will come of it, but only good can come to us as a Church.’

President McKay said that when the Brethren asked about buying five acres there, they said, ‘Oh no, you could not do that because the government owns all the land, but you could probably get a lease for 99 years.’

October 25, 1955

Visit of Russians


      Forty-Seven East South Temple

Salt Lake City 1, Utah

    October 27, 1955

Presiding Bishop

The Church of Jesus Christ of

Latter-day Saints

President David O. McKay


Dear President McKay:

I noted in the Deseret News of last evening the visit of the Russian newspapermen to you.  You gave a marvelous address.  I especially liked your point regarding the necessity of giving the Russian people the opportunity to know more of Jesus the Christ, and particularly the necessity for teaching them the Gospel as it has been revealed in these, the last days.  It was wonderful, and without a doubt, affected the attitude of the Russian visitors.  One can’t help but feel that the work of the Lord is being opened up all over the world, particularly with reference to your many visits in the last two or three years to practically every nation with the exception of Russia.  No doubt your address and visit with these Russian newspapermen may have some effect to open up the opportunity for the Russian people to hear the Gospel.

Again I express my heartfelt appreciation to you for your kindness, particularly the blessings that were bestowed upon me during my illness because of your faith and the power of the Priesthood.  It is my knowledge that you indeed represent Jesus the Christ as did Peter, James and John.

I sincerely pray the Lord will bless you with health and every blessing which will be for your good and benefit.

Sincerely your brother,

/s/ Joseph L. Wirthlin


Bishop Joseph L. Wirthlin


October 25, 1955

October 28, 1955

Dear Bishop Wirthlin:

It was gracious of you to write your kind letter of October 27th commenting upon the significance of our consultation with the Russian delegation composed largely of prominent newspaper men.  They arrived at 4:30 p.m. and remained until ten minutes to six o’clock.

While they are not associated directly with their ‘comrades’ who shape the laws, they are nevertheless in a position to mold public opinion in Russia.  Just what their attitude will be when they report their interview with the First Presidency of the Church, we do not know–they may be flippant, they may be sarcastic, they may be dishonest–but one thing is sure, they will never forget the spirit that animated that interview.  They left seemingly sincere in their expressions of appreciation of the one and one-half hours spent at the headquarters of the Church.

Thank you for your expressions of faith and loyalty.  I appreciate the privilege of working side by side with you in efforts to promote the advancement and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.

With prayerful wishes for your continued health and inspirational guidance in your responsible position as Presiding Bishop of the Church, I remain with kindest personal regards.

Sincerely and affectionately yours,



Bishop Joseph L. Wirthlin

47 East South Temple Street

Salt Lake City, Utah

Thur., 27 Oct., 1955:

First Presidency’s Meeting Notes

Property in Stockholm, Sweden – It was mentioned that an option the church has on 25 acres of property near Stockholm will expire Dec. 1.  This property was examined by Brother Moyle at President McKay’s request and Brother Moyle favors purchasing it with the thought of erecting a temple thereon at some time in the future.  The entire property would cost about $150,000 and there are no buildings on it.  Pres. McKay said that Bro. Wendell B. Mendenhall reported this morning that there is a five-year lease on it with an option to continue the lease, and there was a question whether we can get the option and renew the lease.  The brethren thought it would be well for us to secure the property if we can do so.  It was decided to try to get a commitment from the lessee as well as the holder of the title before making a purchase.  Bro. Mendenhall will bring the matter up at the Tuesday Expenditures Committee meeting.  

Property in Great Britain

Pres. Reiser states by letter that he has been unable to find any property other than the Princes Gate property – location ideal, and can be purchased for $150,000.  It was decided to send a cable to Pres. Reiser authorizing him to make negotiations for purchase of the Princes Gate property (No. 50) at the best available price.”

Sat., 31 Dec., 1955:

“Announcement is made of the recognition of the Church in Austria by the Austrian Government.

December 31, 1955

Copy of the letter received by President William F. Perschon of the Swiss-Austrian Mission from Mr. Walter Q. Loehr, of the Legal Division of the American Embassy in Vienna, Austria, concerning the official recognition of the Church in Austria.


Legal Division

American Embassy

16 Boltzmanngasse,

IX Vienna, Austria

December 13, 1955


William F. Perschon

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Swiss-Austrian Mission

Leimenstrasse 49

Basel, Switzerland

Dear President Perschon:

Receipt of your letter of December 5, 1955, is acknowledged.  Although the Austrian Federal Chancellery, Office of Foreign Affairs, transmitted a copy of the ordinance of the Federal Ministry of Education of September 27, 1955, with its Note Verbale of November 23, the ordinance did not become effective until publication in the official Bundesgesetzblatt which was only received yesterday by the Embassy.

The Embassy is pleased to forward a copy of the ordinance of the Austrian Ministry of Education concerning the recognition of the adherents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a religious group.  This ordinance was published in the Bundesgesetzblatt for the Republic of Austria on December 7, 1955 under number 229.  By this ordinance the official recognition of your Church in Austria is finally accomplished.

Sincerely yours,

Walter Q. Loehr



As stated above.”

Tues., 14 Feb., 1956:

Meeting of the First Presidency

Question of Opening Up Missionary Work in Chile

Consideration was given to a letter from President Valentine of the Argentine Mission regarding opening up missionary work in Chile.  President Valentine wrote suggesting that we send four missionaries to that country, and The First Presidency in answer, suggested that President Valentine and Brother Fotheringham should first contact the government officials there.  A telegram has been received from President Valentine stating that he has contacted Brother Fotheringham and he feels that it is unnecessary to make this contact now and recommends that missionaries be sent there at once.  Brother Fotheringham thinks we have made sufficient progress among the authorities in that land that the missionaries can now commence work.

President McKay felt that we should wait until a member of the Twelve can visit the Mission and contact the local authorities.  A letter will be sent to President Valentine to this effect.

Fri., 20 Apr., 1956:

“London Temple

At the meeting this morning I reported that I had discussed with Edward O. Anderson this morning matters pertaining to the London Temple.  The cost of the structure has been reduced to $700,000 in round numbers.  The corresponding cost of the Swiss Temple was $751,000.  Sir Thomas Bennett thinks it would be poor policy to use brick instead of stone on the outside.  There are a number of questions to take up regarding modifying the contract.

I stated that I thought it would be a good thing to let Edward O. Anderson go over there.  President Richards questioned the wisdom of sending Brother Reiser there at this time, feeling that President Kerr might think that we do not have confidence in him.  Brother Edward O. Anderson had said it would be very helpful to him if Brother Reiser could go to England with him.

It was decided to send a cable to President Kerr of the British Mission ascertaining his feelings in regard to this matter.”

Wed., 2 May, 1956:

“May 2, 1956

Telephone Conversation with President Samuel E. Bringhurst, Swiss Temple, Zollikofen, Switzerland, Wednesday, May 2, 1956.

I called President Samuel E. Bringhurst, Swiss Temple, by telephone in response to a letter I had received from him requesting that we appoint a competent counselor with a wife, who could relieve Sister Bringhurst and him of some of the work and responsibility.

I told President Bringhurst that Brother Badwagan Piranian and his wife are coming to Switzerland, and that they both speak the German language.  I also said that if it were agreeble with him, we shall confer the necessary authority on them before they leave.  I asked President Bringhurst if he thought this couple could take the place of the couple he recommended.  (President Bringhurst had recommended Brother and Sister Philip Tron of Salt Lake City in his letter.)

President Bringhurst stated that President Perschon had had considerable trouble with Brother Piranian, but that he did not know Brother Piranian personally.  Several others had also reported to President Bringhurst that they had had trouble with Brother Piranian.  A report had been received in Switzerland that Brother Piranian was going to be sent to Switzerland to be in charge of the Bureau of Information at the Swiss Temple.

I told President Bringhurst that it had been our thought that he would make a fine assistant for him in the Temple.  His wife is also a lovely person.  President Bringhurst stated that Sister Piranian had some relatives there who are fine people.

I then said that Brother Piranian had done a most commendable job as Mission President, and had also done commendable work in California.  However, I stated that we would not proceed with this action if he had any hesitancy about it.  President Perschon had stated that Brother Piranian had been officious and difficult to control.

It was decided that we should wait and let President Bringhurst become better acquainted with Brother Piranian, and that we would not take steps at present to appoint the Piranians, but will look into the couple that President Bringhurst suggested in his letter.

I told President Bringhurst that we had spoken to Brother Moyle about Brother and Sister Philip Tron, and that he approved of them.  (Brother Moyle knew these people and Brother Bringhurst had recommended in his letter that we contact Brother Moyle about them.)  Brother Bringhurst stated that he had heard that Brother Moyle had left for South America, and I said that is true.

President Bringhurst stated that he was glad to hear from me.  They are getting along splendidly at the Temple.  However, they do need some help.  President Bringhurst stated that he had had a nice visit with Brother Adam S. Bennion yesterday.  Brother Bennion had attended the Servicemen’s Conference in Germany recently.

I told Brother Bringhurst that the Presidency send their love to him, to Sister Bringhurst, and to the Temple workers, and others there.”

June 6, 1956


From:  President Ernest L. Wilkinson, Brigham Young University

‘President Richards about three weeks or so ago asked me to investigate the feasibility of our track team going to Europe this summer to compete in track events in Finland, the three Scandinavian countries, England, France, Switzerland and West Germany.

I have done so and find that the aggregate cost for the trip would be about $16,000.00.  All of the missions are in favor of the trip saying that it would greatly help their missionary work.  The missions have agreed tha they could contribute from six to eight thousand for the venture.  This would mean that the Church or the B.Y.U. would have to underwrite the trip to the extent of eight to ten thousand dollars.

I reported the same to President Richards last night, and he asked me to take the same up with the First Presidency and inform them that his inclination was altogether favorable to the trip.  He thought the cost of the trip would be much, much less than the Church would have to pay for advertising that would not have anywhere near the same value.

The track team has been held over at the B.Y.U. until a decision could be made by the First Presidency.  We hope, therefore, that a decision can be made today.  The members of the team are not, of course, asking any money for compensation and are willing to devote their time to it this summer.  The entire trip will take probably about six weeks.  Will you please telephone me about the same sometime today.’

In the First Presidency’s Meeting of June 6, 1956 is recorded the following:

‘A letter was read from President Wilkinson of the Brigham Young University relating to the proposal that the B.Y.U. track team go to Europe this summer to participate in competitions in track and field events in Great Britain, Finland and Scandinavia.  The possibility of the team’s making a creditable showing was raised.  It was decided that President McKay talk with President Wilkinson further about the proposal and, if prospects are favorable, the Presidency are agreeable, though with the provision that the expense be borne from funds here and not by funds of the European missions.'”

Wednesday, June 13, 1956

Telephone Conversation with Senator Arthur V. Watkins at Washington, D.C.

I called Senator Arthur V. Watkins, and told him that on July 9, 1956 Elder Henry D. Moyle of the Council of the Twelve will be at Lima, Peru, and that we are thinking of organizing a Branch at Lima with a view of eventually opening up a Mission there.

I further said that we think it would be well for Brother Moyle to meet the American Ambassador, and that I had called him to consult him (Brother Watkins) to see if it would be proper and advantageous to the Cause if the U.S. Secretary of State could ask that the American Ambassador receive Brother Moyle, and probably have him introduce Brother Moyle to the Foreign Minister while he is in Peru.

Brother Watkins said he could see no reason why that could not be done.  I said that I had found it very advantageous while on my travels in the different countries to meet the various ambassadors, and that the State Department had rendered a valuable service to us.  Now that we are going into a new country in South America, we thought it would be well to start right at the head.

Senator Watkins answered that he thinks there is no better way to start.  Said that Secretary Dulles and his department had been very gracious and willing to help us in the past, but that right now with President Eisenhower being ill he is a very busy man.  However, he will call the office of the State Department and then get in touch with their man in Peru who will push the matter on that end.

I told him that we would leave the matter in his hands, and that I would call Brother Moyle at Lima, Peru and ask him to be prepared to meet the Ambassador.

Wednesday, June 13, 1956.

Telephone Conversation with Elder Henry D. Moyle, Salto, Uruguay, (Brother Moyle touring Uruguayan Mission), Wednesday, June 13, 1956.

I first inquired from Brother Moyle how Brother Frank Parry is, and he said that Brother Parry will be home in Seattle, Wasington, today.  I asked him when we could expect Brother Parry in Salt Lake City.  Brother Moyle stated that he did not know, but that Brother Parry’s wife’s funeral will be held in Seattle next Saturday.  I asked him if the girls had come with Brother Parry, and he said that they had remained in Uruguay, and Brother Parry had come home alone.

I asked Brother Moyle when he would be in Peru, and he said around the 6th of July.  I told him that we had contacted Senator Watkins and asked him to have the United States Secretary of State send word to the American Ambassador in Lima, Peru to arrange to introduce Brother Moyle and Brother Frederick S. Williams, (now with the South American Research and Develpment Corporation, Plaza San Martin 986 Oficina 30, Lima, Peru), to the Foreign Minister in Lima, at which time Brother Moyle could present an official application for permission to carry out our missionary program.  I told Brother Moyle that we would leave this matter in his and Brother Williams’ hands.  I said that we are not to send missionaries to Peru until he (Brother Moyle) obtains permission from the Foreign Minister to organize the Branch.  I again said that we would leave this matter entirely in his hands and await his judgment.

I told Brother Moyle that the same holds true in Santiago, Chile and that he is to look over the situation and make such organizations and recommendations that he feels by inspiration should be made.  We shall await his judgment and recommendations.

I gave the love of the Brethren to Brother Moyle.  I also mentioned the fact that Brother Richards is better.  He and Sister Richards will go up to their lake at the end of this week to completely recuperate.

Fri., 22 June, 1956:

“Friday, June 22, 1956

General Relief Society Information

Presidents McKay and Clark met with the General Presidency of the Relief Society (Sisters Belle S. Spafford, Marianne C. Sharp and Velma N. Simonsen) in the First Presidency’s Office and the following matters were presented by the Relief Society Presidency and actions taken as indicated:

6.  The sisters called attention to orders they are receiving for garments to be sent to our missions in Europe, which garments it would be necessary to send with the missionaries who are going to foreign missions.  President McKay said they should not send any garments for people in Europe with the missionaries, that we do not wish to be a party in any such subterfuge.

In answer to Sister Spafford’s question as to what they should do with the orders they now have on hand, President McKay said that the Presidency are trying to work out a plan; that if individuals want to pay the duty on garments shipped to them by parcel post or otherwise, they might do so.  He explained further that we are hoping arrangements can be made for some manufacturer or manufacturers in Europe to make garments that will be suitable.

Sister Spafford mentioned that she had written to the presidents of two of the missions in Europe advising them that the Relief Society has patterns and, if they wish to make their own garments, these patterns are available.  She said also that she had given them advice in regard to the type of material that should be used.

7.  Regarding the matter of the making of temple clothing, Sister Spafford said the Relief Society had not been authorized to send to the European Mission Relief Society presidents instructions for making temple clothing; that the First Presidency, however, had written the presidents of missions advising them to make their own temple clothing.  It was thought that Sister Spafford and her associates might send the same instructions to the Mission Relief Society presidents in the United States in regard to making temple clothing.  The Brethren gave their approval to this.

Tues., 26 June, 1956:

“9 to 9:50 a.m. – Attended the regular meeting of the First Presidency.

Among other matters, the following were discussed:

1.  Proposed Missionary Work in Peru:  I presented a letter I had received from Senator Arthur V. Watkins in which he reported that the Secretary of State had notified the Embassy in Peru of Elder Moyle’s visit and had suggested that every courtesy be extended to him.  Senator Watkins explained that the Ambassador will not be in Lima in July, but that the Charge d’Affairs has been requested to make the introduction of Elder Moyle to the Foreign Minister.

10 to 11:50 – Expenditures Committee meeting.  Left this meeting to meet the following:

1.  Dr. and Mrs. S.Y. Wu made a courtesy call to my office.  They have been attending the Brigham Young University.  Mrs. Wu is a member of the Church, but her husband is not.

Mrs. Wu has translated by request Chapters 39 and 42 of the Book of Alma, Book of Mormon (request of President H. Grant Heaton, President of the Southern Far East Mission).  Mrs. Wu handed me the manuscript in Chinese which I shall have sent to Hong Kong for review there, and then we shall decide whether she should go on translating the Book of Mormon.  She expressed her desire to go on a Mission, but if she did go she could not re-enter the United States.  It would be necessary to have a bill introduced into Congress making her a citizen.

Wed., 27 Jun., 1956:

Telephone Calls:

2.  Bishop Wirthlin phoned to report that in response to your request, he has contacted President Walter Stover who is making a trip to Europe, and he will investigate the matter of garments while there.  Brother Stover said that in Switzerland they have some factories that can make garments, and he will check on this possibility and give you a report when he comes home.  (cm)”

Thurs., 5 July, 1956:

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

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

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

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

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

Fri., 6 July, 1956:

B.Y.U. Track Team

12 noon — I met by appointment previously arranged by letter from President Ernest L,. Wilkinson of the Brigham Young University, the following members of the Brigham Young University Track Team who leave by airplane early this afternoon for Europe where they will compete athletically in track meets with 15 colleges in five different countries:  Harry Anderson, Richard Heywood, Arlyn Finlinson, Jim Crittenden, Oscar Anderson, Paul Anderson, Sherald James, Bok Suk Shim, Willard Hirschi, Louis Chatterley, Ralph Bonham, Wedlon Jackson, Charles Higgins, Hal Werner, Marv Robertson, Coach – Clarence F. Robison, Trainer, Rodney C. Kimball.

I said to these young men:  with all my heart I express the hope that each one will do his best.  If you do this, you will be successful whether you win or not.  If your opponent’s best is better than your best, then you should acknowledge his superiority.  I hope that your best will win for you a championship in your respective field of sport.  However, as I say, you succeed when you do your best.

I am a believer in athletics not only for the physical development which is derived therefrom, but from the moral teachings that may be gained — true sportsmanship develops character.

It was my privilege to have been a member of the first football team of the University of Utah.  Twenty-five years ago, November 1921, the members of that team met and each man took his place on the football field as he had done when he played in the first team.  Today there are only two of us left — the Captain — Paul Kimball – and myself.  I met Brother Kimball day before yesterday in Z.C.M.I.  – he is an old man.  (laughter)  I was surprised!  (Laughter)  I suppose he thought the same thing about me.  (Laughter).  I still love to watch basketball, football, baseball, and whenever I can I go horseback riding, and attend to chores on my farm in Huntsville.

I then said — it is your responsibililty to maintain the standards of the Church — If you do that, your trip will be successsful.

May God bless you and protect you in your travels by land and by sea!”

Fri., 20 July, 1956:

“10:15 a.m. – Received a courtesy call from His Excellency, George V. Melas, Greek Ambassador to the United States.

This appointment was arranged through Mr. C.E. Athas, Chairman of the National Board of Trustees, Order of Ahepa, Salt Lake City, who reported that ‘in view of the fact that we have had considerable activity which involved our two countries, Mr. Melas is most anxious to pay his respects to you.  (Pres. McKay).

I extended a welcome to the Ambassador and told him that I regretted very much that I was unable to visit Greece a year ago when the Avard Fairbanks statue of Lycurgus was unveiled, Mr. Melas having sent me a letter of invitation to this event.

The Ambassador replied, ‘You will be greeted very warmly if you come to Greece.’

I told the ambassador that for many years I have had a desire to visit Greece, but had never been able to do so.

Ambassador Melas said that he thanked the Lord for the gift of liberty and how in peace men may work together for concepts that are worthwhile.  He thanked me for the Church’s past contributions to the Greek people, and then he said ‘You have a wonderful country (Utah) coming along in every way, not only from a physical point of view, but also for its radiation of high moral concepts, so important in our material world.’

Mr. Athas, Salt Lake City representative of the Greek Embassy, then noted that the unveiling of Mr. Fairbanks’ statue at Thermopylae ‘created much friendship between the two countries.’

President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. was also present at the meeting, and recalled that a relative of George Washington – John Washington – had fought in the war and had given his life for Greek Independence.

The Ambassador ended his visit by expressing his pleasure at the beauty and interesting things he had seen in his two-day visit to Utah.

It was a very pleasant and interesting interview!

Tues., 7 Aug., 1956:

“7:30 a.m. – Met by appointment Brother and Sister Quin McKay.  Quin is the son of James Gunn McKay (now deceased) who was my cousin.  Quin has just graduated from Harvard and has accepted a position at the University of Rangoon (Burma – Rangoon area).  He will be a consultant or ‘lecturer’ associated with the Management Program in the School of Economics.  This project is financed by the Ford Foundation.

As I had been in Rangoon during my World Tour, I turned to my diary of that trip, and read to Quin and his wife interesting experiences in that country.

Quin asked if there is something he can do for the Church while stationed in Rangoon.  I told him to come back later this morning, and that I would speak to my counselors with whom I am meeting at 8 a.m., regarding his being set apart to do special missionary work.

At 10:30 a.m. Brother and Sister McKay returned to my private office.  Having presented the matter to my counselors, and they concurring in my suggestion, I set Quin apart as a missionary to work specifically in the Rangoon area of Burma, with authority to bless children, to ordain in offices of the Aaronic Priesthood, organize a Branch if it happens to develop while he is in Rangoon, to work directly under the First Presidency to whom he will send all his reports and communications.  I then called Brother Gordon Hinckley of the Missionary Department, and instructed him to issue an Elder’s certificate to Quin.

Fri., 31 Aug., 1956:

“At 3:30 p.m.  Received a courtesy call from Lord Kinross, Editor of ‘Punch’ Weekly of London, England.  He was accompanied by Mr. Cash Rampton of Walker Bank.

I had a very interesting conversation with Lord Kinross.  I mentioned that I became acquainted with their paper ‘Punch’ when I was in England serving as President of our European Mission.  Lord Kinross said he did not know much about the Church.  To my question, ‘You did know about polygamy and Brigham Young?’, he smiled and admitted that he did, and we both knew that that paper had run many stories against the Church and about polygamy in days gone by.  However, Lord Kinross said, ‘Brigham Young was a great leader.’  He then referred to our city, stating that it has a beautiful setting, surrounded by majestic mountains – that the weather was glorious, etc.  I referred to our Pioneers who settled this valley and said that they were actuated by three fundamental principles — First, Reverence for God; Second, Preparation for any evntuality, and, Third, service to their fellow men.

Lord Kinross said that he is going to write a book about America.  I presented him with ‘What of the Mormons’, and a leather-bound copy of our Articles of Faith, from which he may obtain the facts concerning the Church and our people.  Lord Kinross’ calling card follows.”

Thurs., 18 Oct., 1956:

“10 to 1:30 p.m.  The meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve was held in the Salt Lake Temple.

At the meeting in the Temple today, I explained the advisability of having missionaries in Lima, Peru, this matter having recently been considered by the First Presidency.  The matter of the purchase of a house in Lima has been recommended and approved.

I stated that an industrial enterprise is being considered by a Mr. Curran of Bakersfield, Calif. for engaging in logging operations in the forests on the east slopes of the Andes.  Mr. Curran is seeking Latter-day Saint men to be associated with him in the enterprise because of his confidence in them as a safeguard against Communism.  The presence of other groups of Mormons already in Peru with the Utah Construction Company, and with mining interests, was mentioned, and the coincidence of this development with the consideration of doing missionary work in Peru was commented upon.”

Tues., 23 Oct., 1956:

“10 a.m.  Attended the Expenditures Committee meeting.

Came out of the meeting to meet His Excellency Manlio Brosio, Italian Ambassador to the United States who is a guest of the US Department of Commerce.  He was accompanied by the Honorable Fortunato Anselmo, Italian Consul in Salt Lake City, and William A. Lang, local man and President of the World Trade Association.  Also Mr. Jos. Jerry Jeremy, District Manager, US Department of Commerce, Salt Lake City, Utah.

At the conclusion of a very pleasant visit, Mr. Anselmo suggested that I autograph a Book of Mormon for Ambassador Brosio.  I told them that we do not have an Italian copy of the Book of Mormon, but that I should be very pleased to inscribe an English copy.

His Excellency, Ambassador Brosio, asked if the Church had any organizations in Italy, and I answered that we did not.  He then said, ‘While we are Catholic, there are other Protestants over there and we would be pleased to help you organize.’

I told him that we would be glad to take advantage of that suggestion.

The Ambassador extended to me an invitation to call on him whenever I am in Washington.

I think we should take steps to get the legal right to go into Italy before the Catholics know we are there.

I felt that my interview with the Ambassador resulted in much good.  (see newspaper clippings)

Thurs., 25 Oct., 1956:

“8:30 a.m.  Set apart Rowland Parry Corry as presiding elder of the Saudi Arabia area, with instructions to take charge of the Church activities among members of the Church living within a radius of 40 miles of the base at which he is employed and resides at Dhahran, Saudi, Arabia, and was given authority to administer the necessary ordinances of the Gospel among the members of the Church and to report to the First Presidency.  Elder Corry’s wife accompanied him to the office this morning.

Approximately forty civilian members of the Church are in this area, and in addition some military personnel.  There is an average attendance of ten to fifteen members at regular church services in the city where Elder Corry resides.  His address is ARAMCO (R.P.) Dhahran, Saudi, Arabia.

Brother Corry is in the employ of a large oil company; he seems to be a very fine young man, and has a good spirit.  It was not considered advisable to organize a branch at this place because it would be against the law, as the Mohammedans are opposed to other churches coming in there, and the Oil Company is very strict in their attitude that their employees should not antagonize the Mohammedans.  However, meetings will be held in Elder Corry’s home.  Elder Corry was authorized to attend to the blessing of babies and baptizing any children or new converts that might be made, although they cannot do any proselyting.

President Richards, who assisted in setting about Elder Corry, was very favorably impressed with Brother and Sister Corry.”

Wed., 14 Nov., 1956:

1:30 p.m.  Just before getting in my car to go home Dr. James L. Barker stopped me and asked for a few moments of my time.  I went back to the office where we discussed matters pertaining to missionary work in Italy.  Dr. Barker has several ideas and suggestions for this work.

Tues., 11 Dec., 1956:

“**At 9:00 a.m. a long distance telephone call came to President McKay from Elders Hugh B. Brown and Wendell B. Mendenhall from New Zealand.  The brethren reported having had a conference with the Governor General of the Fiji Islands in which the Governor manifested a very favorable attitude toward the Church and seemed inclined to raise the quota of missionaries to be admitted to the Fiji Islands.  The Governor emphasized the fact that, if the Church make the purchase of the only freehold property available for purchase in Suva, he could present this to the legislature as evidence of the intention of the Church to remain permanently in the Islands.  Brother Brown and Brother Mendenhall urged the purchase, but the First Presidency agreed that the decision not to purchase at present is sound and that, inasmuch as the brethren in New Zealand have to give their answer to the owner, they were advised that the answer be in the negative, that is, not to purchase the property at the present time.  It is felt that it will be too long before a school will be built there and that to get a quota of missionaries raised on the representation that a school will be built may appear to be false if the school is not built for a long time.

Furthermore, Suva’s proximity to the present school facilities in Tonga, with favorable transportation between Suva and Nukuolofa, will enable the Church with its present facilities to provide educational opportuniites for members in Suva.  The brethren were told to represent the present educational features and facilities of the Church as evidence of our interest in carrying on education for all members of the Church and for such non-members as may wish to affiliate themselves with us.”

Fri., 21 Dec., 1956:

“Jurisdiction for Missionary Work in Chile

A cable received from President Pace of the Argentine Mission requesting instructions about the proposed change of administration of missionary work in Chile was presented.  Letters from President Parry of the Uruguayan Mission, setting forth the status of proselyting in Peru and Chile, were also read.  President Parry reported visiting in Santiago and in Lima and stated that the purchase of property in Lima has been completed.  Four missionaries in Santiago have baptized nine people and have prospects of a like number within the next two months.  Missionaries are favorably received in most places in Santiago.

In Peru the missionaries have been getting into fifty per cent of the homes.  Prospects are better now that a building is available in Lima.

It was agreed that Presidents Pace and Parry be informed by cable that, for the present, jurisdiction of Santiago be retained by the Argentine Mission and that letters would follow.  The matter was referred to President Richards for drafting the replies.  (Taken from First Presidency’s Minutes).”

Mon. 25 Feb., 1957:

“Monday, February 25, 1957.

Telephone conversation with Elder Richard L. Evans, Monday, February 25, 1957.

Elder Richard L. Evans talked to me over the telephone.  He stated that he would like to congratulate me on last evening’s program.  I spoke at the missionary farewell of my grandson, Douglas, (Llewelyn’s son), who will leave soon for the Uruguay Mission.  Brother Evans said that he is proud of Llewelyn and his family; that Llewelyn has a sweet spirit and he is glad to be in his presence once in a while.  Llewelyn is a fraternity brother of Brother Evans.

Brother Evans then said that as a result of Brother Anderson’s approach to President Kerr of the British Mission, he had received a wire.  Brother Evans had thought the wire would come from Brother Anderson, but it came from President Kerr.  In the wire they had approved May 18th as a suitable date for the cornerstone laying of the London Temple.  They would also like advice as to the program desired.  Brother Evans stated that he may have to ask them to change the date of the cornerstone laying to May 11th if it is all right with me, and wondered if he should go ahead on the arrangements of this date with President Kerr, or if he should have me arrange these details with President Kerr.  I told Brother Evans that we were leaving this matter in his hands.

Brother Evans then asked me regarding the advisability of his laying the cornerstone.  He wondered if he would offend any of the other brethren if he laid a cornerstone to a temple.  Brother Evans is not far up the line in seniority.  I told Brother Evans that Brother Hugh B. Brown had been appointed to lay the cornerstone of the New Zealand Temple, and he is an Assistant to the Twelve.  I was also way down the line when I was appointed by President Joseph F. Smith to lay the cornerstone of the Canadian Temple.  Brother Lyman who was President of the Temple wondered why he was overlooked, but I was appointed by President Joseph F. Smith to lay the cornerstone of the Canadian Temple.  Brother Lyman who was President of the Temple wondered why he was overlooked, but I was appointed to lay the cornerstone.

Then Brother Evans said that they had requested ideas on the program to be given at the dedicatory service.  He said he would like to know what approach to use on the program.

He also wondered if he could check the program that was used by President Stephen L. Richards in Switzerland and suggest a similar procedure.  I told Brother Evans to look up the program which was used for the cornerstone laying ceremonies of the Idaho Falls Temple and indicated that Brother Joseph Anderson could check this Idaho Falls Temple Cornerstone program for him.

Brother Evans asked if he were rushing this cornerstone laying by having it held during May.  It would not be as convenient for Brother Evans later in the season.  To his question I answered ‘No’, that Sir Thomas Bennett had requested that we have it before that time.  

Brother Evans then stated that he would proceed to negotiate with President Kerr about the proper date on which this occasion should be held, May 11th or 18th.  He said further that he would go ahead with the program, but that he wanted it to be official before he went ahead.  I instructed Brother Evans that things were now in his hands pertaining to this cornerstone laying.  He said that they have two and one-half months to make arrangements for this program, and to notify the people involved so that should be sufficient time and not crowd them.  After a date is decided upon Brother Evans will report back to me.

I gave my thanks to Brother Evans for Sister Evans’ and his attendance at Douglas’ missionary farewell last evening.  Brother Evans said that he loved my family, and I told him that we reciprocated.  Brother Evans again mentioned that he had belonged to the same fraternity as some of my boys.  Although he was not proud of the fraternity, he was proud of my boys and had enjoyed associating with them and getting closer to them.”

Tues., 12 Mar., 1957:

“Temple Ceremony into Finnish Language

I then called by telephone Sister Saaralipatjas Werner about the possibility of her translating the Temple Ceremony into the Finnish language.  Inasmuch as Sister Werner is coming to Salt Lake City to attend the April Conference, I did not make any effort to see her personally.  She is busy at the present time translating lessons into the Finnish language.”

Thurs., 16 May, 1957:

“Translation of Temple Ceremony into Maori

At the regular meeting of the First Presidency this morning, the translation of the temple ceremonies into Maori to preserve them for the benefit of elderly people, who will understand them better in their own tongue than in English, was considered and agreed upon, and the recommendation was approved that President Ariel S. Ballif of the New Zealand Mission be asked to interview Stewart Meha and Tipi Kopua and learn if they are physically able to go to the Hawaiian Temple to do the translating.”

History of The Church College of Hawaii.

(Article obtained from the college general catalog, 1957-58).

(Catalog is in the general scrapbook, 1957.)

An assembly program held September 26, 1955, in the Laie Ward Chapel and attended by some four hundred students, board members, faculty members, parents, and friends, marked the official opening of The Church College of Hawaii.  This joyous occasion was the culmination of an idea envisioned some thirty-four years earlier by President David O. McKay, who had seen in the establishment of a school at Laie the means of making this dedicated land a learning center, as well as a spiritual center, for the peoples of the Pacific areas.

President of the college, Dr. Reuben D. Law, conducted the assembly.  His greeting revealed his great happiness to see brought to fruition the efforts that had officially commenced on July 21, 1954, when the First Presidency had announced his appointment and had assigned him to head a survey committee consisting of Dr. Clarence Cottam of the Brigham Young University and Director Kenneth Bennion of the L.D.S. Business College to survey the situation in relation to the bringing of higher education to the Saints of the islands.

Messages of congratulation from the First Presidency, from the members of the survey committee, from the U.S. Office of Education and others were read by President Law, undoubtedly bringing to his mind the awesome rsponsibility that was his charge.  In his meeting with the First Presidency prior to his departure from the Mainland, President David O. McKay had given this charge:  ‘Always bear in mind these two things as you proceed with this college:  (1) The students must be imbued with the fact and be led to feel that the most important thing in the world is the Gospel and that the observance of its principles in their lives brings happiness and joy in this life and further progress and exaltation in the life hereafter; and, (2) The college must be fully creditable in all its instruction and activities.’

Also speaking to the assembly were some of the men who had kept the vision of President McKay alive in the islands through the intervening years.  Former Stake President Ralph E. Woolley and member of the school’s Board of Trustees admonished the faculty to set the example of faith and devotion to the Church.  He charged the students to learn well their lessons and to progress in understanding and to apply the principles of the Gospel in all of their activities.  It had been at his initiative that the first definite steps had been taken toward the establishment of the school.  Following the encouragement of President McKay and the late Apostle Matthew Cowley, he had in June of 1947, appointed four members of the Oahu Stake High Council to study the problem.  This group, composed of Clinton Kanahele, J. Franklin Woolley, Lawrence Peterson and George Zabriskie, had recommended a high school be established at Laie where it might later expand into a junior college.  Later, in November of 1950, he had considered the recommendation of Hawaiian Mission President Edward L. Clissold to use the old Waialee Training School as a temporary location for the school.  A second group consisting of Fred E. Lunt, George Kekauoha, Elmer Jenkins and Ruby Enos had worked with the Mission Presidency to determine the suitability of the Waialee plant.  In June of 1951, Frank McGhie was sent to make a study of educational possibilities in the islands.

Edward L. Clissold, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the college and President of Oahu Stake, expressed his great appreciation in seeing the school established in Laie.  His remarks indicated that in part his happiness was based upon knowledge of the purposes of those who had come.  His conviction was that they had come to obtain higher education, to gain a better understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to acquire thought and work habits to better serve their fellow men.

He could recall strenuous efforts in bringing this occasion to pass.  Prior to and from his apointment as President of Oahu Stake in May 1952, there had been activities under his direction to bring to realization this cherished hope of our Prophet.  A study of educational possibilities for the island area had been made by Dr. Wesley Lloyd of the B.Y.U. and his recommendations presented to the First Presidency.  There had been the work of the survey committee and the presentation of their report to the First Presidency.  There had been the appointment of Dr. Reuben D. Law of the Brigham Young University as president of the college who, with the Board of Trustees and the faculty, had carried the work forward to this point.

Vivid in the memories of many of those present was the momentous and historic day of February 12, 1955, when President David O. McKay had broken ground and had recounted his earlier visions of the school, noting the long trail of events leading to its ultimate establishment.

Deep in the hearts of all was the vision of the future when the school would be housed not in the temporary army surplus buildings presently provided, but in labor missionary constructed, modern, well-equipped buildings through whose portals would go thousands of students to take positions of leadership in the world.



History Committee”

Tues., 18 Jun., 1957:

*Stuart Meha–

Sent word to President Ariel S. Ballif, President of the New Zealand Mission to permit Stuart Meha to go to the Hawaiin Temple and translate the temple ceremonies into the Maori language.  Brother Meha interpreted for Hugh J. Cannon and me during our world tour in 1921 when we were in New Zealand.  He is a very capable Maori, and has been through the Temple.  He is well educated and speaks good English.  It has been decided to have him take an airplane and go to the Temple in Hawaii to make the translation.

Fri., 6 Sept., 1957:

“8:30 – Sister Sarah Werner came in by appointment to discuss her assignment of translating the temple ceremony into the Finnish language.  I called President Christiansen to advise him to arrange for a place in the Temple where she will be able to work.  We agreed that the best place will be near the nursery so that her small baby can be cared for there while she works.

Friday, September 6, 1957

Telephone conversation with Elder Gordon Hinckley, of the Missionary Department, Friday, September 6, 1957:

President McKay:  Have you the Tahitian manuscript on the Temple ceremony, Brother Hinckley?

Gordon Hinckley:  I have it locked up in the Temple; I received it yesterday from Brother Mitchell.  I went to the Temple yesterday with him, and spent two or three hours going over some of the changes we made to fit the procedure to be used in New Zealand.  Now the question I have is whether the book which will be used in New Zealand Temple should be written according to the procedure to be used there or according to the master copy in English used in the Salt Lake Temple.  I have thought that it ought to conform to the procedure to be used in New Zealand with copies held here giving it both ways.

President McKay:  Leave it both ways.

Brother Hinckley:  Fine!  We have four copies, and we will adjust two to the situation as it will be in New Zealand.  One can go down there and the others will be kept here.  

President McKay:  All right.  Thank you.  We did not know where the translation was.  You say you have four copies – Brother Mitchell made four copies?  I don’t know why.

Brother Hinckley:  I don’t know why, but I have four copies over in the Temple.

President McKay:  Well, does that mean that there will have to be one made for the ceremony in the New Zealand Temple?

Brother Hinckley:  We will use one of those he has made and that will be left down in the New Zealand Temple.

President McKay:  All right.

Brother Hinckley:  May I ask you one other thing?  We have never had Brother Meha go to Hawaii to work on the Maori translation.

President McKay:  I understood that arrangements had been made.  Brother Mendenhall gave me that impression.  I authorized Brother Mendenhall to arrange for transportation.

Brother Hinckley:  President Ballif has not had a letter specifically telling him to come.  Evidently it has not gone.

President McKay:  He answered one letter.  I know because I saw the letter.

Brother Hinckley:  President Ballif answered our letter of inquiry and said Brother Hinckley:  Brother Meha was in condition to come.  Now if you wish I will prepare a letter to President Ballif for your signature and tell him to make immediate arrangements to have Brother Meha go to Hawaii.

President McKay:  If he has not had the definite order, let’s give it to him right away.

Brother Hinckley:  I shall prepare a letter today.

President McKay:  Thank you.”

Tues., 1 Oct., 1957:


Telephone conversation with Ezra Taft Benson from Washington, D.C. regarding world tour to include Hawaii, Japan, the Far East, and Near East, and finally Rome, Italy where about November 11 to 15, he will be the representative of the government of the United States at an international meeting.  He will be one of the scheduled speakers.

The American Ambassador has suggested to him that a meeting with the Pope be arranged.

Later, the Presidency decided that if he could avoid such a meeting without embarrassment,’ we would prefere that he do so.’

(see telephone conversation with Bro. Benson following)

Wednesday, October 2, 1957

Last evening, October 1, 1957, Elder Ezra Taft Benson called me by telephone at my home and asked whether or not he should accept a government appointment to go to Rome, Italy.  The American Ambassador to Italy there would like to arrange a conference for him with the Pope.  I told Brother Benson that I would talk with my counselors this morning and then let him know.


Telephone conversation with Elder Ezra Taft Benson, Wednesday, October 2, 1957.  (Brother Benson was contacted in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.)

President McKay:  Can you hear me, Brother Benson?

Brother Benson:  Yes.  I am in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

President McKay:  Regarding the matter we were discussing yesterday, we are all united in the feeling that if you can in honor, and without embarrassment, avoid that conference it would be well for you to do it.

Brother Benson:  All right.  I think I can.

President McKay:  Was it the Ambassador?

Brother Benson:  The American Ambassador to Italy.

President McKay:  Yes.  I see.

Brother Benson:  He is the one who has proposed it.  But I think I can avoid it, President McKay, because I am going to be in Rome for a very short time.  I have to make an important address for a World Agricultural Congress, and I think the shortness of my stay can probably be used as a reason for not doing so.

President McKay:  We have in mind particularly the effect upon our own people.

Brother Benson:  Yes.  That is the thing that concerned me too.

President McKay:  And the dignity that you would have to give to such a conference.

Brother Benson:  Yes, that is right.

President McKay:  And really they have everything to gain and nothing to lose, and we have everything to lose and nothing to gain.

Brother Benson:  I am in full harmony with that feeling.

President McKay:  Well that is good.  We are glad of that.  We all feel that it would be pretty embarrassing to you, and we are helping you out of what might prove to be a conference that will reflect upon our Church.

Brother Benson:  Well, I think it could be embarrassing both to me and to the Church.

President McKay:  All right.

Brother Benson:  I shall do my best, and I think I can work it out.

President McKay:  The brethren all send their love to you.

Brother Benson:  Thank you and my love to them, and thank you for calling.

President McKay:  Thank you, and good-bye.”

From Council Minutes October 17, 1957

Last Friday while President Clark was in Washington, President McKay and President Richards met at the First Presidency’s office a delegation of seven Chileans, members of the Parliament of Chile.  Members of the American Embassy were there also, and a man by the name of Donald F. Barnes from the United States State Department at Washington, and Mr. C.C. Michaelson, General Manager of the Kennecott Copper Company, Western Mining Divisions.  The list of the people who called is as follows:  Julio Antonio Duran Neumann, Angel Faivovich Hitscovich, Sergio Sepulveda, Julio von Muhlenbrock Lira, Rafael Augustin Gumucio Vives, Florencio Galleguillos Vera, Ernesto Goycoolea Cortes.  These members of the Chilean Parliamentary Delegation were accompanied by Mr. Hewson A. Ryan, member of the staff of the American Embassy at Santiago, Chile; Mr. Donald F. Barnes of the U.S. State Department at Washington; and Mr. C.C. Michaelson, General Manager of Kennecott’s Western Mining Divisions.

President McKay and President Richards had to speak to these people through an interpreter.  They seemed to be very much interested.  The President mentioned to them that he was in Chile in 1954 and met Brother Fotheringham who represented the Eastman Kodak Company.  They were appreciative of the reception that was given them here.

President Richards left the meeting at 11:00 a.m., and following that President McKay had a visit from Dr. Avril Ire Malan, a member of the Union of South Africa Parliament.  President McKay said he told Dr. Malan, who is a close relative to President Malan, who was chief governor of South Africa when President McKay visited that country, that he was impressed with the fact that President Malan did not want to meet him, President McKay.  He was not present when President McKay was at Capetown, but Dr. Malan said he did not think that; that President Malan had told him that they have many relatives in Utah, and said to him:  ‘Be careful, they are members of the Mormon Church.’  President Malan had been a minister of religion, and that is why President McKay felt he wanted to avoid him.  Had a delightful visit with Dr. Malan.  Both Dr. Malan and his wife were present, and the President had a 30-minute conversation with them.  Dr. Malan has met the Malan’s in Ogden.

The same day, at 11:30 a.m., received a visitor from Pakistan, India, — Mr. Sookamal Kanti Ghose, editor and director of three newspapers in Calcutta and Allahabad, India.  In addition to publishing newspapers, he directs an organization which distributes many foreign publications, including the New York Times.  He was accompanied by Mir Khalil-Ur-Rahman, managing director of Jang, Ltd., and managing editor of Daily Jang, Karachi, Pakistan, the largest newspaper in that country.  He has travelled widely throughout the world on journalistic and diplomatic assignments.  They were here attending journalistic seminaries under the auspices of the State Department, and were guests of the Deseret news, which paper had been selected by the Columbia University as one of the outstanding papers of the country for them to visit.

President McKay mentioned that the Hindu, Mr. Ghase, explained that they loved to have personalities when they worshipped God, and so they have an image to a God of business, an image to a God of education, and an image to a God of political interests; that they like to have a physical deity when they worship.  President McKay said to them that in that respect they believe in a personal God as we do, and that we have Christ who typifies personality; that when we pray to God we have in mind one who is as personalized as Jesus Christ who came to represent the Father; that when Philip asked Christ to show him the Father, Jesus answered and said, ‘Have I been so long with you, Philip, that you say show me the Father?’

The Mohammedan spoke up at this point and said, ‘We believe in all the prophets.  We revere Abraham, referring to the Jews, we revere Christ, your prophet, but we believe that Mohammed is the last great prophet, and as we entered your building I refrained from stepping on your mat because I saw the name of Jesus Christ.’   

President McKay said he was a little embarrassed; that a week or two ago we had suggested the removal of that mat because of the name on it.  President McKay answered that he appreciated his feelings; that President Hugh J. Cannon and he (President McKay) took off their shoes when they entered one of the mosques in Rangoon, and he was shocked to see chickens running around there.  President McKay said he felt all right about paying deference to the mosque, but he wondered why chickens were permitted to desecrate it.  The Mohammedan answered, ‘We did not know that.  We have pigeons, but they come from above.’  President McKay said that the mat referred to had now been removed.

Friday, October 17, 1957

Telephone conversation with Elder Ezra Taft Benson, Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., Thursday, October 17, 1957.

Brother Benson:  Good morning, President McKay, this is Brother Benson in Washington.

President McKay:  I am glad to hear your voice.

Brother Benson:  I have just received a copy of the latest volume written by your son, entitled, ‘Pathways to Happiness’.  I am going to take it with me on a trip around the world so that I can read every word of it.  I think the book came from the publisher.  I am glad to have it.  I am leaving on the 22nd, next Tuesday, for a trade trip that will take me around the world.  I am going first to Honolulu.

President McKay:  This is the same trip you had in mind?

Brother Benson:  Yes.  Then I go to Japan, China, India, Pakistan, Jordan, the Holy Land (that is Israel), Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, and France.

President McKay:  That is good.

Brother Benson:  I wondered if there is anything I can do while I am there to help the Cause.  I will be in Japan on the first Sunday after I leave.  The Sunday following I shall probably be in Turkey.  I understand that we have a small group who meet there.  Then the third Sunday I will be in Spain.  I do not imagine that we shall have anyone there.  There may be a few servicemen.  I am taking the liberty of writing to the various mission presidents to indicate to them when we shall be in their missions.

President McKay:  If you will do that, they will arrange for you to meet as many of our members as possible.

Brother Benson:  I already have a letter from Japan from the mission president there asking if I shall be willing to meet with the Saints in the morning, and in the afternoon with the servicemen.

President McKay:  Are you going to the Philippines?

Brother Benson:  No, we shall miss the Philippines on this trip.  Some of my men were there recently, and I felt that it would not be necessary this time.

President McKay:  Keep in touch with us and send us your itinerary.

Brother Benson:  I shall send my itinerary to you.  It should be completed this afternoon.

President McKay:  Thank you for calling.  The Lord bless you on your trip.  Is Sister Benson going with you?

Brother Benson:  Yes, and possibly one of our daughters who will help out with the social obligations.  Five of my staff are accompanying me.  It is a trip on foreign trade and American trade.  I shall meet officials of government in some of the countries.  In some cases I have been asked to be a State guest.  We are going in a government plane.  The men on my staff who are accompanying me are specialists in the field of marketing, particularly.  In India I shall be staying at the palace where Nehru is housed, and I have been asked to visit him personally.

President McKay:  That is very good.

Brother Benson:  I hope I can do some good both for the Cause we represent and for agriculture.

President McKay:  President Clark and I are now in the Presidency’s meeting, and he said, ‘My love and blessings go with Elder Benson.’

Brother Benson:  We were delighted to have President Clark visit with us.

President McKay:  Brother Anderson and Brother Reiser join in sending best wishes.  Thank you for calling.

Brother Benson:  Give my love to the brethren.

President McKay:  We shall report to them in a few minutes in Council meeting.  I shall tell them about your call.  Thank you.  Good-bye.”

Mon., 4 Nov., 1957:

“4:30 p.m.  Elder Gordon B. Hinckley of the Missionary Department called at the office and reported that President Dillman of the Hawaiian Temple called by telephone.  I was not in at the time so he talked to President Clark who referred the matter to Brother Hinckley.

Brother Stewart Meha came from New Zealand to the Hawaiian Temple to translate the ceremony into the Maori language.  President Dillman advised that Brother Meha has completed his work and he wants to know whether to come on to Salt Lake City or to go home.

A short time ago Bro. Hinckley received a note from Wendell Mendenhall who said that Brother Meha feels the need of consulting with someone on his translation.

I told Brother Hinckley to send a wire asking Brother Meha to come to Salt Lake City.  He can then go over his translation with a committee comprised of Brothers Reed Halverson, Gordon Young, and the son of Brother Wendell Mendenhall.”

Thurs., 7 Nov., 1957:

“8:30 a.m.  Met by appointment Brother Stewart Meha, elderly member of the Church from New Zealand to Hawaii to translate the Temple ceremony into the Maori language, and who is now in Salt Lake City at my direction to meet with three other former Maori missionaries and go over the translation with them.  Brother Meha was interpreter for Brother Hugh J. Cannon and me when we were in the New Zealand Mission, during our world tour of missions.”

Mon., 18 Nov., 1957:

Monday, November 18, 1957.

On October 16, 1957, I met Mrs. Christopher Athas (local member of the Greek organization) at the Knife and Fork Club Dinner in the Hotel Utah.  She reported to me that from June 29 to July 5, 1958 the Fourteenth Biennial Ecclesiastical Conference of the Greek Orthodox (Eastern Orthodox Church) North and South American will be held in Salt Lake City.

The presiding Church dignitary is Archbishop Michael, New York City, who expressed a desire to pay some appropriate tribute to the Latter-day Saint Church next year in appreciation of the very substantial relief given by the Church to the sufferers from the earthquake in the Ionian Islands of Greece.  Archbishop Michael is quite anxious to do something appropriate.  The suggestion was made to him by the local clergy that since he placed a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown soldier, he might do something like this at one of the pioneer monuments in Salt Lake City in honor of the pioneers.  The Brigham Young monument or ‘This is the Place’ monument have been suggested.  Archbishop Michael has asked Father Stephen Kataris of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Salt Lake City to make the arrangements.


On Monday, November 18, 1957, after conferring with my counselors, I telephoned to Mrs. Christoper Athas, and had the following conversation with her:

Mrs. Athas:  Greetings and good morning President McKay.

President McKay:  I have tried several times to get you on the telephone, but I have called at the wrong time.  It seems, therefore, that I have been dilatory in giving you the message that I promised you at the Knife and Fork Club Dinner.

Mrs. Athas:  Did you get a letter from Father Stephen?

President McKay:  No.  But as I suggested that evening I think it would be better to put the wreath at the Brigham Young monument on Main Street.

Mrs. Athas:  I think so too.

President McKay:  I feel that of all the leaders, he should be the one that is recognized.  It is very gracious of the Bishop to suggest this tribute.

Mrs. Athas:  They would like to recognize you and thought the plan suggested would be best.  Father Stephen wanted me to ask if it would be appropriate and if the Church would permit it.  He also asked me to see if you have any suggestions in how to go about it.  Do you think anything else would be more advisable.

President McKay:  I thought if it would meet with your approval, I shall call the mayor to have the necessary officers available so that there will be no confusion.

Mrs. Athas:  The date will be June 29th.  I am sure you will be in town at that time.

President McKay:  I believe that I shall be in town at that time.  I shall try to arrange it.

Mrs. Athas:  I know that His Eminence will want to meet with you at the Hotel or at the Church Offices.

President McKay:  Feel free to contact me at that time to see how my schedule is.

Mrs. Athas:  The Father has been ill.  He has had the Flu, and he has had a temperature of 104 degrees while he has been away.  I am sure that a letter is coming to you.  You plan to put a ring around the June 29th date.  And when the details are worked out the Police Department can be contacted and maybe KSL will televise it.  Thank you very much and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

President McKay:  Thank you.  We extend the same to you and your good husband.

Tuesday, November 19, 1957

Telephone conversation between President McKay and Elder Ezra Taft Benson, who called from Fort Worth, Texas

Bro. Benson:  Hello, President McKay.

Pres. McKay:  Hello, Brother Benson.

Bro. Benson:  President McKay, how are you?

Pres. McKay:  Very well, thank you.

Bro. Benson:  That is good.  It is good to hear your voice.

Pres. McKay:  Thank you.  I bid you welcome back. 

Bro. Benson:  Thank you, it is good to be back.  We arrived Saturday at noon.

Pres. McKay:  That is fine.

Bro. Benson:  We had an opportunity to see many of our people on our tour.

Pres. McKay:  That is good.

Bro. Benson:  We spent our first Sunday in Japan where we had the pleasure of meeting with some three or four hundred Japanese Saints, and then in the evening some four or five hundred Mormon servicemen.

Pres. McKay:  Good.

Bro. Benson:  We had a nice visit with President Andrus and his wife and his associates.  They are all well, and I think they are doing good work, as near as I can tell.

Pres. McKay:  I think you are right.  They are doing very good work.

Bro. Benson:  Then later that week we were in Hong Kong and had a nice visit with President and Sister Heaton.  We were at the Mission Home, and also had a meeting with the missionaries.  Then we had quite a large group of the Saints who came down to the airport the morning we left, and I had a half-hour meeting with them.

Pres. McKay:  Good.  By the way, did you meet in their new apartments there in Hong Kong?

Bro. Benson:  Yes, I did.

Pres. McKay:  What do you think of them?

Bro. Benson:  Well, as near as I could tell, they seemed quite satisfactory.  It is a nice, rather commodious room where they hold meetings.  They must have had sixty, or so, missionaries in the meeting, and it seemed to be all right.  I did not inspect the apartments particularly.

Pres. McKay:  I see.

Bro. Benson:  They are part of a cooperative housing arrangement there, and they told me something of their joint use of the elevator and other joint facilities they had.  But Hong Kong is very crowded at the present time.  There are a lot of refugees there from Red China, and of course, most of their missionary work is with the Chinese.  They are having pretty good success with them.  I met a number of them.  They seem to be fine people.  They have some of them doing local missionary work.  President Heaton feels very much alone way out there, and I tried to give him what encouragement I could.  He feels he would like to have a little more direction, and so I reviewed with him some of the work they are doing, and gave him what help I could in the short time we were there.  They were at the airport to meet us and then they were there again when we left.  We did not stay at the Mission Home because the Ambassador had insisted we stay at the Embassy.

Pres. McKay:  I see.  That is all right.

Bro. Benson:  I did go to the Mission Home, and had pictures taken there with the missionaries, and then met with them in their home.  There seems to be a good spirit, and I had a personal visit with President Heaton in which he opened his heart to me.  He has a fine spirit, but he sort of feels that the job is almost overwhelming for him.  So any encouragement we can give him, of course, will be all to the good.  They have printed a missionary plan which I have not had time yet to review.  It is bound, and I asked whether or not it has been approved by the Missionary Committee and apparently it has not; but I think a copy was submitted.  They feel they are making headway with their work.  Of course, they have a lot of refugee people in the city.  It is very congested and very crowded, and some of them are living under rather poor conditions, but they have a rather vigorous housing program on to try to meet the situation.  You know that Hong Kong is a free port.

Pres. McKay:  Yes.

Bro. Benson:  There are a lot of British there, and of course quite a number of Americans, also.

Pres. McKay:  I am glad that you called there and had a good visit with them.

Bro. Benson:  I enjoyed the visit very much.  President Heaton is a fine young man, he has a fine wife, and they have a lovely spirit.

The following Sunday we were in Amman, Jordan, the capital of the nation of Jordan, and we do not have Saints there except one man–a member of the Church–and his family.  But he was serving in the superintendency of the joint American Sunday School.  And so they invited me to take the time in the Sunday School and talk to them, which I was happy to do.

Pres. McKay:  Through an interpreter?

Bro. Benson:  Oh, no, these are all Americans of various faiths.

Pres. McKay:  I see.

Bro. Benson:  Only one Latter-day Saint is there.  That is, only one Latter-day Saint who holds the Priesthood.  We had a very nice meeting, and the Ambassador is very friendly to the Church.

Pres. McKay:  Is it Amman?

Bro. Benson:  Amman, Jordan.  And in Amman I also had a half-hour visit with the King, who is a very young man, just turned twenty-three.

Pres. McKay:  Well!

Bro. Benson:  But a noble character, I believe.  He has a tough job.  I talked to him about the Church, and I promised to send him a copy of the Book of Mormon and other literature.

Pres. McKay:  That is good!

Bro. Benson:  That is pretty much a Moslem country, as you know, but he seems to be a fine character.  Then the next Sunday, we were in Spain.  That is a week ago last Sunday.

Pres. McKay:  You did not find anybody there?

Bro. Benson:  Yes.  We have quite a group of Saints there that are working.  We have a big military installation there–some very sizeable military airports; and a number of our people are out there working with the Government projects.  So we had, I should judge, about forty people to Sunday School.

Pres. McKay:  Well!

Bro. Benson:  I took the time in the Sunday School and talked to them, and then they had a Fireside in one of the homes in the evening where Sister Benson and I also participated with them.  Brother and Sister Jacobs from the BYU faculty had just arrived there. 

Pres. McKay:  What city was that?

Bro. Benson:  This was in Madrid.  And they are a very fine faithful group, apparently, doing good work, meeting together in a regular Sunday School, and then they have a Fireside in the evening in one of the homes.

Pres. McKay:  What mission are they under?

Bro. Benson:  Well, they think they are under the French Mission.  They have had some little direction from Paris, but not very much.  Apparently one of the brethren has been appointed as sort of a group leader, and he is taking the leadership.  He selected two counselors to work with him, and I do not know that they make any reports, however, I suggested to him that maybe the Mission President from Paris would get in touch with him and arrange for them to make reports, and give them some supervision.

Pres. McKay:  Yes, he should do that, because we are getting no reports from them here.

Bro. Benson:  No.  Well, we have their addresses, and if you would like, I can drop a note to Brother Christensen in Paris and give him the address.

Pres. McKay:  I will make inquiry tomorrow and see whether we have any report.

Bro. Benson:  Fine.

We were in Paris last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and had a nice visit.  They invited us to stay at the Mission Home, so we saw a great deal of President Lee and his wife, and President Christensen and his wife, who had just arrived about a week ago; and they seem to be making the transition nicely.  On Wednesday night, we met with the Saints.  It was a regular Mutual night.  They had the hall filled to overflowing.  We had a nice meeting with them.

Pres. McKay:  That is good.

Bro. Benson:  Things seem to be moving along in that mission.

Now in Ankara, Turkey, there were about 24 members of the Church who came up to the Embassy to spend an hour with us.   It was not on Sunday, as I recall.  It was on a Monday.  They are meeting in one of the homes–just started meeting.  Brother Mark Allen of BYU is there on a Fullbright Fellowship for a year teaching at the University.  Then there are some other men there working on various sites of Government projects.

Pres. McKay:  Is this at Constantinople?

Bro. Benson:  No, this is in Ankara, Turkey.  A very fine group of people–one or two in the military service–and some on various Government projects.

Pres. McKay:  And are they holding weekly meetings?

Bro. Benson:  They just started meeting in one of the homes.

Pres. McKay:  I see.

Bro. Benson:  Two of the families had just arrived.  That swelled their numbers somewhat, so they started meeting in one of the homes.  Brother Mark Allen and I were schoolmates at BYU, so we had a very happy reunion.  The Ambassador is very friendly to all of them, and he is going to try and help to arrange a place for them to meet in a public hall if their numbers justify.

Pres. McKay:  That is fine.

Bro. Benson:  On the trip, I met with several of the leaders of nations including some of the heads of State in Israel where we spent a couple of days.  I had an hour-long visit with Mr. Ben Gurion, the President of Israel.

Pres. McKay:  He is a pretty fine man, is he not?

Bro. Benson:  He seems to be a noble soul, President McKay.  He was in the hospital.  You know that he met with an accident.  A fanatic threw a bomb into their Parliament and Ben Gurion had his left foot injured.  He was in the hospital, and I was the first nonmember of his family to visit him.  While I was there, he invited in the Press and photographers, and so our visit got a lot of publicity, because it is the first the outside world has heard about him since he went in.  But he seems to be a fine character.  I reviewed with him our interest in the Jewish people, the visit of Orson Hyde to Palestine, and the dedication of that land for the return of the Jews, and our faith in the prophecies of the Old Testament, and he was very much interested.  I am planning to send him a copy of the Book of Mormon.

Pres. McKay:  That will be a historic meeting.

Bro. Benson:  Yes.  I told him some day we would like to establish a mission there.  Later I had a luncheon at which the Minister of Finance was the Chairman, and the Minister of Agriculture was also there.  (There were four members of the Cabinet there.)  It was a luncheon given in my honor at the King David Hotel.  And later I talked with the Minister of Finance, and he has sent me material regarding Christians in Palestine.  I will send it on to you, President McKay.

Pres. McKay:  Thank you.

Bro. Benson:  I discussed with him the possibility of our some day having a mission there.  He said they did not look with too much favor on active proselyting among the Hebrew peoples, but he felt sure we would be welcome there as other Christian groups have been.  They are doing wonderful things in Palestine.  They are showing more progress there, I think, than any of the nations in the Near East or the Orient.  I flew over a good part of the country by plane and drove out into some of the rural areas, and they are making remarkable progress.  There is quite a contrast between Jordan and Israel, especially as you get up along the Sea of Galilee.  On one side is Jordan, and on the other side is Israel.

Pres. McKay:  Israel has the best part of the land.

Bro. Benson:  Well, they have the best part of the land to some extent, but they are also doing a better job with what they have.  There seems to be a dedication and devotion about their efforts that is really inspiring.  And they are digging deep wells and diverting the rivers.  They have drained their swamp lands and made fish ponds, until they are growing great quantities of fish as one of their principal sources of protein.  And the hills are now being covered again with citrus groves and olive groves.  It is a beautiful sight to fly over the country, and to see the old city of Nazareth, Joppa, and then to fly up over the Sea of Galilee.  It was a wonderful experience for us.  Also, the old city of Jerusalem, of course, is in Jordan.

Pres. McKay:  I know.

Bro. Benson:  And it is very drab and no evidence of progress whatever.  But a small part is in Israel, probably a fifth of the city.  And they are building some very nice buildings, including a new Parliament Building and a University.

Pres. McKay:  That is on the Israel side?

Bro. Benson:  That is on the Israel side.  And the city of Tel Aviv is now a thriving, bustling city of a third of a million people.  So they are making real headway.

Pres. McKay:  That is good.  How did you get along in Rome?

Bro. Benson:  Well, we were only there a day.  I had to speak at the FAO Conference, and then I gave a luncheon for all the Ministers of Agriculture from the 78 nations represented in the FAO.  I did go to Saint Peter’s so that my wife and daughters might see the Cathedral, and we looked around Rome just a little.  I did not have much time.  We were only there about a day and a half.  But we enjoyed our visit.

I had a long visit with Mr. Nehru, head of the Indian Government.  He invited my wife and daughter to accompany me, and then he invited his married daughter.  We had a nice visit together.  Of course, that is a strong Hindu nation, as you know.  And the refugee problem in India and in Pakistan is terrible–the worst poverty and distress I have ever seen anywhere in the world.  You see, all of the Moslems from India have gone into Pakistan as refugees, and the Hindus from Pakistan have gone into India as refugees, so both nations have refugee problems, and it is very, very serious.  Both countries are backward agriculturally and otherwise.  But there are a lot of wonderful people.  Cattle wander around everywhere unmolested, and are never slaughtered.

Pres. McKay:  They are sacred, you know.

Bro. Benson:  Yes.  And they just absolutely denude the country.  They eat everything and of course, bring in nothing.  That, coupled with low production, makes a real problem.

But all in all, the trip was very successful from the standpoint of our objectives as we set them forth when we left.  We visited twelve countries and Hong Kong in three and a half weeks, and met with the representatives of the trade and Government.

Pres. McKay:  Where is that?

Bro. Benson:  I say, we visited twelve countries and Hong Kong and met with representatives of the trade handling food products, with the leaders of nations, with farm leaders; and in practically every country, I got right out on the farms and went in some of the farm homes.

Pres. McKay:  Did it prove successful in helping you get rid of your surplus?

Bro. Benson:  Yes.  It has been very successful from that standpoint.  I had a chance to see our programs in operation in the various countries, and I think it will be the means of helping to expand our exports further.

Pres. McKay:  That is fine.

Bro. Benson:  At least, that is our hope.

Pres. McKay:  I received a letter today from Brother Smith.  I was surprised that he is going into his own business.

Bro. Benson:  Brother Milan Smith?

Pres. McKay:  Yes.

Bro. Benson:  Yes, he is leaving about December 1st, largely on account of illness in his family.  His brother has had to leave his post there in Utah, and they have had to take some of the men from up in Oregon down to operate that plant.

Pres. McKay:  I see.

Bro. Benson:  I felt that I could not ask him to stay when his father advised him to come home.

Pres. McKay:  No.

Bro. Benson:  So I am appointing Brother Miller F. Shurtleff, one of our Bishops in the Washington Stake, as his successor.  It will be announced within the next few days.

Pres. McKay:  I see.

Bro. Benson:  He has done good work for us, but Brother Shurtleff can pick up where he left off.

Pres. McKay:  Everything is going all right?

Bro. Benson:  Yes, pretty good, President McKay, in spite of what you read in the press.  There have been some rather bitter attacks made while I have been away, and much of it apparently is rumor which has been built up and fanned to quite a flame when I returned.  I talked with the President on the telephone.  I have talked to the people at the White House.  They are quite upset about the rumors that there has been an effort to get me to resign.  I have had no pressure whatever.  No one has suggested anything to me.  It is one of those things.  It is political, largely.  I know there is quite a group out in the Midwest, especially in Farmers Union territory, who have ben after my scalp ever since I came in.

Pres. McKay:  What is this report about the Vice President?

Bro. Benson:  Well, I do not know whether it is more than a rumor or not.  I have not talked to Mr. Nixon yet.  I will do so at the first opportunity.  But I an not sure.  I have never felt one hundred per cent secure with him, but I cannot quite believe this is more than a rumor.

Pres. McKay:  I see.

Bro. Benson:  It could be.  It is a rather crucial period in one sense, and I appreciate very much the faith and prayers of you and the Brethren.

Pres. McKay:  You have them.

Bro. Benson:  I know I do, and I am grateful for it.

Pres. McKay:  You stand by your original principles.

Bro. Benson:  Yes.  We are certainly going to do that.  And I think it will work out all right.  I am not too worried about it.

Pres. McKay:  I am very glad to hear you.

Bro. Benson:  I am concerned, but not worried.  There is one other thing I would like to get your judgment on, and I think I know what it will be.  About a month ago, Secretary Dulles and Cabot Lodge (Cabot Lodge is our Ambassador to United Nations, as you know) approached me and asked whether or not I would be interested in a long-time appointment as the United States Representative on the Economic and Social Council of United Nations.  I personally have no particular interest in it, President McKay, but I did not want to give them an answer until I had at least mentioned it to you.

Pres. McKay:  I think that you had better give them a negative answer.

Bro. Benson:  I think so, too.  When this job is over, I know where I would like to be.

Pres. McKay:  Yes.

Bro. Benson:  And I hope it is where you want me to be.

Pres. McKay:  I think you had better not accept that appointment.

Bro. Benson:  No.

Pres. McKay:  As Economic and (what)?

Bro. Benson:  As United States Representative on the Economic and Social Council of United Nations.

Pres. McKay:  I see–Economic and Social Council.

Bro. Benson:  There are various nations represented, and usually they are Ministers of Finance or Ministers of State who serve.

Pres. McKay:  I think you had better tell them ‘no.’

Bro. Benson:  I think so, too.  I am glad you feel that way.

Pres. McKay:  All right.

Bro. Benson:  How are all the Brethren?

Pres. Mckay:  They are all well–feeling fine.

Bro. Benson:  That is good.

Pres. McKay:  I will report to them tomorrow morning.

Bro. Benson:  Give them my love.

Pres. McKay:  Thank you.

Bro. Benson:  I appreciate very much this opportunity to visit with you.

Pres. McKay:  I enjoyed it very much.

Bro. Benson:  I am going on from here to Colorado Springs where I will be tomorrow at the National Grange Meeting, and then home tomorrow night.

Pres. McKay:  You mean, back in Washington?

Bro. Benson:  Yes.  I will be back in Washington tomorrow night.  I just stopped here between planes.

Pres. McKay:  Where are you?

Bro. Benson:  I am in Fort Worth, Texas.

Pres. McKay:  Oh, are you?

Bro. Benson:  Yes.  But I am going on to Colorado Springs where I have a meeting of the National Grange tomorrow, and I felt it would be so late that I did not want to call you from there and I have to leave to catch my plane right after my meeting tomorrow noon.

Pres. McKay:  I appreciate very much your calling.

Bro. Benson:  Well, I will write you about some of these matters in the missions as soon as I can get to it, President McKay.

Pres. McKay:  All right.

Bro. Benson:  Thank you very much.

Pres. McKay:  My brother, Thomas E., has been very sick for the last two weeks, but he is a little better.

Bro. Benson:  Oh, is he?

President McKay:  Yes.

Bro. Benson:  Well, give him my love, and tell him our faith and prayers are with him.

Pres. McKay:  Thank you very much, Brother Benson.

Bro. Benson:  All right, President McKay.

Pres. McKay:  Good Night.

Bro. Benson:  Good Night.”

Thursday, January 30, 1958

Announcement of Tabernacle Choir Eastern Tour

8:45 p.m.  Went to the Tabernacle where I met with the Tabernacle Choir who were gathered for their regular rehearsal.

During their intermission period, I announced to the members of the Choir that they will visit the following cities for a concert tour:  

Wichita and Kansas City, Kansas

Columbus, Ohio

Washington, D.C.

Baltimore, Maryland

Philadelphia, Pa.

New York City, N.Y.

Boston, Ma

Toronto, Canada 

Detroit and Chicago, Illinois

That they will give 15 or more concerts between October 20 and November 11, 1958.

I also announced that the tour will include two concerts in Philadelphia and one in New York with the Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the two or three greatest orchestras of the world.  Some recordings will also be made for Columbia records with the Philadelphia orchestra.

I remarked that these concerts and recordings with the Philadelphia Orchestra will be in places of great tradition, prestige, and significance–in the American Academy of Music in Philadelphia and in Carnegie Hall in New York.

I remarked that these concerts and recordings with the Philadelphia Orchestra will be in places of great tradition, prestige, and significance–in the American Academy of Music in Philadelphia and in Carnegie Hall in New York.

Mr. Eugene Ormandy, conductor of the Philadelphia orchestra, Mr. Don Engle, its Business Manager and Mr. Louchheim, President of the American Academy of Music, have been most gracious and most cooperative, and have gone so far as to say that they hope this is just the beginning of a continuing relationship of these two great cultural institutions.

I told the members that this will be a year of dedication for all of those who make the trip–for there will have to be many more than the usual number of rehearsals to learn the music and perfect the performance for the recordings and the concerts.

European Tour in 1955

I mentioned the great missionary work the Choir had done on their tour in Europe and reported to them the following statement given by Brother Harold W. Lee, recently released President of the French Mission, to the First Presidency a few days ago when he was making a report of his Mission–he said:

‘Before the choir came to Europe, the newspaper articles in France were very often, but not always, unfavorable to the Church.  However, as soon as the Choir had sung the first concert in Europe, the articles were more or less neutral, just quoting what otheres had said.

‘After the choir had sung in Paris, the newspaper articles became most favorable.  There were 125 newspaper write-ups on the concert itself, and these articles have been sent to the Historian’s Office in the Church Office Building.  Since that time nearly all the articles have been favorable, and none have been slanderous.

‘We think the Choir is one of the greatest things that ever ‘hit’ Europe.

I left my blessing with the Choir and then departed for home.

(see following newspaper clippings regarding the Choir’s Trip to the East)”

Mon., 30 June, 1958:

“Monday, June 30, 1958

Arthur V. Watkins


      Washington, D.C.

        June 21, 1958

Dear President McKay: 

I note with a great deal of pleasure that you have been released from the hospital, and that the operation on your eye was a success.  I wish you many more years of active service.

I also noted at the time, but I was so crowded with activities that I didn’t get to say anything about it, your return from a most successful mission in the South Pacific.

Judging from the reports I had of your previous mission to that area including Australia, and based on recent reports of the last mission, I am sure you had an enjoyable time and you accomplished a great deal of good not only for the Church but for the United States of America as well.

It has been said to me many times by members of our diplomatic corps who have represented us in the areas you have visited since I have been here in Washington, that you are one of the best good will ambassadors that has ever gone forth from this country to the areas visited in your journies.

It has been a pleasure to enjoy your confidence and your support.  I pray God’s choicest blessings upon you.


/s/ Arthur V. Watkins

President David O. McKay

47 E. South Temple

Salt Lake City 1, Utah

(Original in scrapbook)

*In a letter from John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, Washington, D.C. Mr. Dulles refers to Pres. and Mrs. McKay as ‘unofficial ambassadors of good will’ (March 31, 1954)

Monday, June 30, 1958

June 30, 1958

My dear Senator:

This will acknowledge with appreciation your very kind letter of June 21, 1958 expressing your pleasure upon hearing that the operation on my eye has been successful, and commenting favorably upon the recent trip to New Zealand.

Sister McKay joins in thanking you for your good wishes, not only for a complete recovery to continue in active service, but also for your reference to a ‘Good Will Ambassador.’  We prize this statement as one of the highest compliments.

I wish you every success in your coming campaign.

With kindest personal regards and best wishes,

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


The Honorable Arthur V. Watkins

Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C.”

September 2, 1958 to September 15, 1958

“Copy of handwritten diary by Elder A. Hamer Reiser, Assistant Secretary to the First Presidency, who accompanied President McKay to England for dedication services of the London Temple.

He had a few hours to relax and get ready for the Press Conference which Brother Richard L. Evans had arranged in the Westminster Suite at the Grosvenor House.

Enroute to London President McKay had not taken one of the berths but preferred to remain all night in the reclining seat with foot rest, pillow and blanket.  In this way we slept–a little–for about three hours, but remember we were all night traveling east and with our watches still on New York time, day began to dawn near 2 a.m., and thereafter until we first saw land south of Shannon we were in the ever-increasing beauty of another day.  Morning dawned first as a lovely blush of color in the northeast and this grew into a most beautiful rainbow of delicate pastel shades around the horizon until the sun burst in glory flooding the sky.  President McKay had slept, but not for long periods, and cheerfully he said it was not a pleasant way to spend the night.  However, not until after the Press Conference at 4 p.m. did he show weariness.

He handled the Press Conference very well.  About twenty newspaper people attended.  B.B.C. had its motion picture crew and recorders there for an after Press Conference ‘take’ of footage and recordings of their special interview.  This went well also.  The interview was skillful and considerate and helpful.  I am sure President McKay was pleased.  Brother Evans had arranged all things well in his usual, efficient way.  After the conference he announced that a slight traffic accident had prevented the arrival of the reporter from the ‘London Times’–a Mr. Page and with Pres. McKay’s consent, an after press conference interview was granted Mr. Page, a young man, who most politely and sincerely asked his questions.  President McKay with special interest gave the young man a most complete opportunity to get a good story and Mr. Page acknowledged the courtesy, kindness and cooperation of the President.  (Now the test will be what these news people do with the material they put into their notes.  I must go out as soon as the newspapers are out this morning and get all I can.)  (see letter from Richard L. Evans and list of those present at this press conference.)  (see newspaper clippings.)*

The following are some of the questions they asked the President.  (President Kerr arranged for a tape recording to be made.  I hope it is complete and makes a good transcript–this also I must follow up).  After Brother Evans made introductions of the party including President McKay, President Joseph Fielding Smith, Brother Edward O. Anderson, President Clifton G.M. Kerr and me and Mr. Caunts, representing T.P. Bennett & Sons, supervising architect, President McKay made an introductory statement (text coming if President Kerr’s recording got it) and the reporters asked:  (President McKay–McKi (as in high).  ‘How long will you be in Britain?’  Answer:  ‘About two weeks’.  ‘And will you be going to Scotland?’  (No, I shall not be able to go to Scotland this time.  I must return home for the General Conference of the Church’.)  Question:  ‘Mr. President, if I may first extend good wishes for our (newspaper fraternity) then may I ask you to say something briefly about the attitude of the Church toward the racial problem and tell me whether an African could be a member of the Church.’

President McKay replied saying ‘Yes, an African can be a member of the Church.’  Then later he explained that he could not however receive the Priesthood, but could be active in the auxiliaries, and participate in worship as other members do, attending meetings; partake of the sacrament.  He could be baptized as others are.

He also said the Church is tolerant of all races.  (Later he mentioned the Church’s work among the Polynesian races and in the Far East.)

Then President McKay volunteered a statement about the Church’s policy in the matter of birth control.  That the only restriction that should be imposed should be the health of the wife.

Question:  ‘Why do you say an African would not be eligible for the Mormon Priesthood?’

Answer:  ‘Of course you are entering into a more extended question there, but briefly in our ‘Pearl of Great Price’ there is a statement regarding the dealing of God with the African Race.  A righteous man claimed the right to the Priesthood.  He was a good leader and in other ways claimed by inheritance the right of leadership, but he was denied the Priesthood because he was a descendant of the African Race.  Now we claim that was a revelation from the Lord and until the Lord reveals to us that that race may be entitled to the Priesthood, we stand by that revelation.  The time will come when the Negro will have the right to the priesthood.  The Lord is the one who will say when that is.  Now that is the fundamental reason why the Mormons take that stand.’

Question:  (a woman reporter)  ‘Why are you so sure that the time will come, if the time has not come?  You feel the time will definitely come and that it has not definitely been revealed yet?  You believe that the time will come when the Negro will come–by revelation–why are you so confident that this is true?

Answer:  We believe absolutely in the justice of the Lord that every man will receive his merits–will receive blessings according to his merits.  We believe the Negro and no other race will be deprived of any blessing that he or others are entitled to.  We believe that is a fundamental principle in the justice of our Father in Heaven.  We also believe in pre-existence that what we were in the world before we came here determines our position in this life and what we do in this life will determine our position in the next and so on.  The Negro is very happy to receive the privilege of coming into this dispensation (this mortal existence) and receive the blessings which are his.  We believe, he by righteous living will attain the status, the stature, the character, faithfulness, that will entitle him to the blessings of the Holy Prieshood.  When that (time) comes we do not know.  Does that answer the question?’ –‘Yes.”

‘At the present he is not deprived of membership or any right or privilege to which he is entitled as a member of the Church.

‘Our women do not hold the Priesthood but that is another question.  They are entitled to all the blessings of the Priesthood.’

*At this Press Conference Pres. McKay met Thomas R. Curran, vice president and general European manager of United Press International.  (see newspaper clippings.)

Notes on Press Conference held at Grosvenor House, London, England–by A. Hamer Reiser, Assistant Secretary to the First Presidency, who accompanied President McKay to England for Dedication Services of the London Temple.

Thursday, September 4, 1958.

President McKay answered the question of the reporter as to whether there was conflict among the churches in New Zealand. saying:  ‘No, very little.  We dedicated the temple in New Zealand on April 20th, and five days later we dedicated the New Zealand College.  At that occasion, the Prime Minister spoke.  He came from Wellington, near Auckland, and represented New Zealand at that dedication.  I met his secretary.  He said:  ‘I have taken the remarks of the Prime Minister for ten years, and I have never heard him speak so eloquently as he spoke today.’

Part of what he said was this:  ‘As I came on the plane to Wellington, I held in my hands a pamphlet written against the Mormons.  One charge was that they are anti-Government, but I happen to believe that ‘the best religion makes the best men.’  One charge is that you are anti-Government’ – this is continuing the quotation -‘but I happened to be in Washington and served on a committee with a man on the labor question, a man by the name of Thomas — (Senator Elbert D. Thomas) — he was a Mormon, and I know that he was not anti-Government.

‘Another charge is that you are anti-racial, but I look at this audience and see all these Maoris.  Why, I cannot believe that that charge would be right.  You (the Mormons) have done more for the Maoris than any group that I know of!’

Then President McKay continued:

‘The Government, by the way, has done everything possible to make our temple and college a success, granting rights and privileges that no other groups have enjoyed.  No, there is no conflict.  We have opposition, of course; there are some people who talk about polygamy and other things.  Some say we are seeking to get possession of the land, and so on, but they do not understand us.  People who understand the purpose of the Church are most friendly and cooperative.

‘We have already organized a stake, and divided the mission into two missions.  We have sixteen chapels under construction in New Zealand, and the people are cooperating in building them.  The prejudice is rapidly waning because they understand the Church is for the benefit of the people and for the establishment of peace.

One of the reporters then asked the question:

‘In the dedicatory program, it mentions that you will lead the Hosanna Shout.  Will you explain what this is?’

President McKay answered:

‘That is a religious phase of the dedicatory service.  It is not made public.  The press is not invited.’

President McKay continued to explain:  ‘It is a ceremony which permits the members present to express their religious feeling and praise to God and His son, Jesus Christ; a religious ceremony which is not made public.  All present participate in it.’

Another reported asked:

‘Mr. McKay, the London President is an American.  Is there no Englishman or man in Great Britain who could become the London President?  Is there no English person who could become President in London of the Church?  Most executives in the Mormon Church are American.  Are there no Englishmen who could hold the post?’

President McKay answered:

‘Brigham Young was of English ancestry.  My father was born in Thurso, and he became a bishop and a partriarch in the Church.’

President Joseph Fielding Smith, who was present at the Press Conference, said:

‘We have had a number of Englishmen, born in England, preside over the mission.’

President Clifton G. M. Kerr, President of the British Mission, explained:

‘He wonders why he is imported rather than home-produced.’

President McKay continued:  ‘It is the custom of the Church to send Mission Presidents usually from the headquarters of the Church, but they might be natives of the country to which they are sent.’

‘The President of the Temple, Brother Boyer, is of English ancestry.  The President of the Swiss Temple is Swiss.  He is a native Swiss.’

A reporter than said:  

‘To continue along this line–the President of the Temple–I have seen photographs of his house, an extremely imposing residence.  Is that general for the executives of the Church?  Do they all have such imposing residences, or did that just happen to be available?’

Answer by President McKay:

‘It just happens that we got this at a good price.  It is a grand old house, and the building serves as home of the President.  In Idaho Falls, the President lives in a residence which was built by the Church because his home is in another town several miles away.  Down in New Zealand, the house was built for him because it was necessary for him to be near the Temple.  Hamilton is the nearest town.  The President of the Los Angeles Temple lives in one of the Church houses, and pays rent.  So it varies according to circumstances.’ 

The question was then asked:

‘How many people will live in this house?’

President McKay answered:

‘It is a large building, and there will be room for quite a few.  There will be the President and his staff (someone else said–the Swiss Temple has a staff of 15).  The President of the Temple will live in Newchapel, but many who come who cannot be accommodated elsewhere may have rooms while they are going to the Temple.’  (Someone else said – ‘The house at Newchapel where the Temple President lives is much more elaborate than the home of the President of the Church who lives in Salt Lake City.’)

Question by a reporter:

‘Do you anticipate ceremonies described in this brochure that most of the Latter-day Saints in Great Britain will make some effort to attend ?’

President McKay said:

‘We are hoping–President Kerr, what do you anticipate the attendance of the British people who will attend the dedication on these three days will be?’

President Kerr:

Approximately 5,000.  We have issued tickets to 2,500 for the first day, and near 3,000 for the other days.’

President McKay said:

‘They are admitted by ticket.  Only those who have tickets will attend the dedicatory service.  I was surprised at the number who made a pre-dedicatory visit.  I did not anticipate that there would be 25,000, but you have had more than 75,000.’

Brother Edward O. Anderson or Brother Gordon B. Hinckley said:

‘There were 112,000 in New Zealand, and 600,000 in Los Angeles.’

President McKay said:

‘And nearly all are nonmembers of the Church.’

At this point, the questions rather abruptly subsided.  It was near 5 p.m. and the reporters were apparently eager to get to their newspapers to get to work, or to join the commuters and get home.

President McKay said:

‘Any other questions?’  And then after a pause, said, ‘Thank you.’  And several of the reporters responded, ‘Thank you,’ Thank you.’

London Temple Dedication Trip.

Report given by President David O. McKay to the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve, on his trip to England to dedicate the London Temple.  This report was given Thursday, September 18, 1958.

President McKay reviewed the dedication services of the London Temple, beginning Sunday morning, September 7, 1958.  He commended the Committee who prepared for the dedication, the London Temple Dedication Committee, President Clifton G.M. Kerr and the Committees in Great Britain which had taken care of the thousands who came to the public viewing of the temple.  He described the tents provided for the accommodation of the large numbers of visitors–more than 76,000–who were conducted through the temple before the dedication.  Elder Irvin T. Nelson, the Church landscape gardener, he reported, has done an excellent service in landscaping and planning for the beautification of the temple grounds.  The temple dominates the whole area in a completely appropriate way.  Newchapel House has been well prepared as the residence of the temple president and his immediate staff.  The temple grounds will become one of the beauty spots of Great Britain.  The public attitude, as manifested by the expressions in letters which have been received from visitors, and in the newspapers, is most favorable.

The program, with exercises beginning Sunday, September 7, was carried out successfully according to plan, with the assistance and participation of the General Authorities of the Church:  President Joseph Fielding Smith; Elder Henry D. Moyle; Elder Richard L. Evans; Elder Hugh B. Brown; Elder ElRay L. Christensen; Elder Gordon B. Hinckley; and Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson.  These Brethren and their wives attended the dedicatory services of the temple.  All the Brethren took part in one or more sessions.

In the Sunday morning, the first session of the dedicatory service, Elder ElRay L. Christiansen offered the opening prayer.  The music was furnished by the combined choirs of the Sheffield and Manchester Districts of the British Mission.  Their numbers were:  ‘The Morning Breaks, The Shadows Flee,’  ‘Holiness Becometh The House of the Lord,’ and the concluding hymn, the ‘Hosanna Anthem,’ the congregation joining in ‘The Spirit of God,’ contributed most inspirationally to the services.  The speakers were Presidents Clifton G.M. Kerr, A. Hamer Reiser, Elder Edward O. Anderson, who related the account of obtaining the temple site, the building of the temple, and the welcoming of the people to the public viewing.  Following were addresses by Elders Richard L. Evans and President Joseph Fielding Smith.  The solo, ‘Bless This House,’ was sung by Sister Ardyth Twitchell, a British missionary.  President David O. McKay delivered the dedicatory address and the dedicatory prayer, and led the congregation in the Hosannah Shout.  President Selvoy J. Boyer offered the benediction.  The attendance at this session was 2100.  

The second session was opened with the invocation by President Rulon J. Sperry of the Netherlands Mission.  Speakers were:  Elders Gordon B. Hinckley, Hugh B. Brown, and Henry D. Moyle.  President Joseph Fielding Smith led the congregation in the Hosannah Shout.  The dedicatory address and prayer were offered by President McKay.  The benediction was by Elder James R. Cunningham of the British Mission.  The South London Branch Choir furnished the music.  The attendance was 2000. 

The third session, Monday morning, September 8, 1958, was for the Scandinavian Missions.  President Ray Engebretsen of the Norwegian Mission conducted.  A Norwegian Missionary Chorus furnished the music.  The invocation was offered by President Holger P. Petersen of the Danish Mission.  Speakers were Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson, Elder Preston Nibley, Elder Richard L. Evans, President Joseph Fielding Smith.  The dedicatory address and prayer were offered by President David O. McKay.  Elder Henry D. Moyle led the congregation in the Hosannah Shout.  President Harry T. Oscarson of the Swedish Mission offered the benediction.  Attendance, 750.

The fourth session, Monday afternoon, was for the German-speaking Missions.  President Theodore M. Burton conducted.  Speakers were Elders ElRay L. Christiansen, A. Hamer Reiser, Hugh B. Brown, Henry D. Moyle.  President McKay delivered the dedicatory address and offered the dedicatory prayer.  Elder Richard L. Evans led the congregation in the Hosannah Shout.  The benediction was offered by President Jesse R. Curtis of the Swiss-Austrian Mission.  The attendance was 650.

The fifth session was for the French and Finnish Missions.  President Milton L. Christensen conducted.  The invocation was offered by President Phileon B. Robinson, Jr. of the Finnish Mission.  Speakers were Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, President Walter Trauffer of the Swiss Temple, Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson, Elder Henry D. Moyle.  President McKay delivered the dedicatory address and the dedicatory prayer and Elder Hugh B. Brown led the congregation in the Hosannah Shout.  President James McMurrin, formerly of the Northwestern States Mission, offered the benediction.  Attendace, 650.

The sixth and concluding session, Tuesday afternoon, September 9 at 2:30 p.m. was conducted for the members of the British Mission who had come from distances, and who were remaining for the first endowment session the following day.  It was conducted by President Clifton G.M. Kerr.  The South London Choir furnished the music.  The invocation was offered by Elder Frederick W. Oates, first counselor in the British Mission presidency.  Speakers were President Selvoy J. Boyer of the London Temple, Elders Hugh B. Brown, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Henry D. Moyle.  Elder James Pike, a British missionary, sang the solo, ‘Bless This House.’  President McKay delivered the dedicatory address and offered the dedicatory prayer.  President Joseph Fielding Smith led the Hosannah Shout, and the benediction was offered by Elder Joseph Ditty of the Belfast Branch.  Attendance, 700.

The spirit of the sessions was highly inspirational, and the reverence was excellent.  President McKay reported that when he was in South Africa he had met a widow and her son who had driven 1800 miles from Rhodesia to attend the conference in Johannesburg, and that he met this woman and her son at the London Temple dedication, and she remained to receive her endowments.

President McKay reviewed briefly the action taken in London on the matter of the apostasy of the nine missionaries of the French Mission, and the interviewing of all the missionaries of that mission before the loyal ones were admitted to the temple.

He commented upon the report of the leak which had developed in the Swiss Temple, and of the measurements being taken to repair the condition.  The insurance taken on the building will make the condition good and the architects, Edward O. Anderson and Wilhelm Zimmer, and President Walter Trauffer of the Swiss Temple, give assurance that the condition will be completely corrected.

He expressed appreciation for the Birthday Greetings he had received from the General Authorities of the Church and his friends at home, as well as from the Saints in Europe, on the occasion of his 85th Birthday, September 8, 1958.  He expressed appreciation also for the Birthday Party at Claridges Hotel given by Elder Henry D. Moyle and Sister Moyle, and Elder Leo Ellsworth and Sister Ellsworth, attended by the General Authorities of the Church present at the dedication, the European mission presidents, and the wives of these brethren, and several other guests, which made the occasion memorable and very pleasant.

President McKay reported a meeting with Sir Thomas Bennett, President Kerr and Elder Edward O. Anderson regarding the site for a chapel in central London a half block from the present British Mission headquarters at Princes Gate on Exhibition Road.  Sir Thomas Bennett has assurance that the revised plan for the proposed chapel will receive the approval of the London County Council and construction can proceed.  He reported that the Pakistan Government had offered $25,000 more for the site than it had cost, as an inducement to the Church to sell the property, but the decision concurred in by all who have seen the property is that it should be retained and that the chapel should be built upon it.  The site is clearly the best to be had in the whole of the great city of London.

President McKay said that Wednesday and Thursday, September 10 and 11, he spent in Wales, with his sister, Mrs. Morrell, and her daughter, visiting the birthplace of his mother at Plas Helygen House, clwyd defagwr, Cefn Coed, near Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales.

The return home, he said, by air from London to Salt Lake City was made in 29 and one half flying hours.

He reported that the London Temple Committee had been organized, consisting of the president of the mission, the president of the temple, and Elder Joseph W. Darling, a British member.

President McKay expressed appreciation for the assistance given by the General Authorities who participated in the temple dedication.  He said: ‘We are very thankful to the Lord for all his blessings on this great occasion.'”

Wed., 19 Nov., 1958:

“Telephone Calls – Tabernacle Choir

1.  Elder Ezra Taft Benson called from Washington regarding the Choir and the possibility of their going to the Russian Fair as a part of the prospective trade and cultural exhibition program of the United States and Russia.  (see following conversation)

I feel that there is no objection to the Choir taking such a trip.  However, I made no mention of taking the Choir to the Scandinavian countries and Czechoslovakia, although that was mentioned by Brother Benson.

I feel that the Lord is opening up the way for a favorable introduction of the Church into Russia.

Wednesday, November 19, 1958.

Telephone conversation with Elder Ezra Taft Benson.

Brother Benson:  How are you, President McKay?

President McKay:  Very well, thank you.

Brother Benson:  How is that good eye coming?

President McKay:  In another week I think I shall have my glasses.

Brother Benson:  I hope you will be careful.  I do not know whether that kind of advice takes with you.

President McKay:  I think I am careful, but my wife and my counsellors think I am very careless.

Brother Benson:  I wanted to call you regarding the Choir and the Russian Fair.  I do not know whether you are familiar with the fact that our Government is negotiating now with the Government of Russia regarding a prospective trade and cultural exhibition.

President McKay:  I have heard something about it.

Brother Benson:  It is tentatively set for next summer in Moscow.  After the President had heard the Choir sing in the White House, I made the comment to him that in our planning with Russia it would be a lovely thing to have this Choir included.  He seemed enthused about it.  Now in the meantime we have had some contact with some of the people in the State Department.  They are just now trying to work out plans as to what groups they would send over if they are successful in working out their general arrangements with the Russians.  I have talked to Bob Mullen who, as you know, is doing some publicity work for the Church here in Washington.  It is my feeling, President, before we go any further on this, we should get an expression from you as to whether you would look with favor upon it.  We had thought that if it could be worked out, it may be that the Choir could take in the countries of Norway, Sweden, Finland on the way and Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Austria on the way back.  That is very tentative and very general.  I think that before we take the matter up more formally with the State Department it would be well to determine whether or not you feel it would be favorable from the standpoint of the Church.

President McKay:  What about the expense?

Brother Benson:  That is one of the questions which the State Department has raised with us.  They would not have any labor union problems with the Choir as they are voluntary workers.  They have indicated more recently that probably it would not be a serious problem.  They would have some funds for their work.  That is one of the problems that will have to be discussed.

President McKay:  If the expenses can be worked out certainly I look upon it with favor.

Brother Benson:  Would you care to consider it and maybe discuss it with some of your associates.

President McKay:  You let us know about how the expenses will be taken care of, and we shall let you know.  If that can be arranged, I think we can let them go.  I think it would be a good thing.

Brother Benson:  Can we say the Church would look upon it favorably if the expense can be worked out?

President McKay:  I think it would be wonderful if they could go.

Brother Benson:  It appears now that they will be framing up plans within the next month.

President McKay:  All right, you tell them we look with favor on it.

Brother Benson:  That will be fine.

President McKay:  Let us know how many?  We should like to have about the same number that went back East.

Brother Benson:  That is the full choir.  And would you think that you would look with favor on them going to these other countries?  When they went before did the countries pay part of the expense?

President McKay:  No, we paid all of it.  The Choir consented to help pay the expenses.  They paid all their expenses on this trip.

Brother Benson:  In Europe did they charge for the concerts?

President McKay:  Oh, yes.

Brother Benson:  I see.  That was the means of helping to finance the trip.  Maybe a similar arrangement could be made.  I think the appearance at the fair in Russia would be without charge.  We will discuss it further with the people in the State Department.

President McKay:  How will they finance other groups?

Brother Benson:  I think they pay the expenses in part.  They haven’t framed up any groups finally yet.  I do not think they have contacted any organizations formally until they work out the details with the Russians.

President McKay:  We shall look upon it with favor provided we can arrange the transportation.

Brother Benson:  Give my love to the Brethren when you meet tomorrow.

President McKay:  Thank you.  Is Sister Benson well?

Brother Benson:  We are all quite well.

President McKay:  Give my kind regards to them and to the President.

Brother Benson:  Thank you.  We have cabinet meeting at 8:30 in the morning.  I will convey your greetings to the President.”

Friday, March 6, 1959

Telephone conversation between President McKay and Honorable Ezra Taft Benson, United States Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

Brother Benson:  Good morning.  How are you?  This is Brother Benson in Washington.

President McKay:  Yes.

Brother Benson:  I just wanted to tell you of two developments in Israel that may be of some interest.  I would also like to get your counsel.

We are opening an office for the Department of Agriculture in Israel.  We are sending a young man to serve as our agricultural representative.  He will be closely associated with our Ambassador, and he is just leaving this week.

Secondly, Mr. Eban, who has been the Israeli Ambassador here in Washington from Israel, is just retiring and returning to his country — we understand to stand for election for parliament over there and possibly to become a cnadidate to succeed the present prime minister Mr. Ben Gurion.  Mr. Eban has been very friendly to me personally here.  when Brother Lee came through here, I arranged for Mr. Eban to arrange his travels.  He has invited me to luncheon with him the first of next week.  If there is anything I can do to be helpful to the Church, I shall do so.  He will probably raise the question regarding the Church, and I wanted to check with you.  I shall, of course, tell him of our plans, which he is familiar with, to open an office in israel.  He has encouraged us.  He may ask whether or not the Church is considering opening a mission in that country.

President McKay:  No.  If I were you, I should give no encouragement for the time being.  The Arabs are opposed to the State of Israel.

Brother Benson:  The situation has improved considerably.

President McKay:  I would not give him any encouragement on our establishing a mission there.

Brother Benson:  I shall not mention it then.  I shall stick to the agricultural work.  Of course, I do plan to keep in touch with him.  He has aksed that I do so.  If the time comes that he can be helpful to us, I think we have a friend in him.

President McKay:  How is Mr. Dulles?

Brother Benson:  I just came from Cabinet and the President made a report this morning that things are very encouraging.

Presidetn McKay:  That is good.

Brother Benson:  The President was pleased.  The treatments — gold treatment and X-ray treatment — have given good results.  The President was quite optimistic.

Secretary Dulles was very pleased to have your greeting and blessing extended to him.  I told him that you Brethren would be praying for him in the Temple.  It pleased him.  He could hardly hold his emotions.  I am sure it has helped a great deal.

I hope you are well.  Sister Benson joins in sending greetings to you and Sister McKay and all the Brethren.

President McKay:  Success to you and also to the man who will be representing the Agricultural Department in Israel.”

Fri., 29 May, 1959:

“Telephone conversation with President ElRay L. Christiansen, Salt Lake Temple.

President McKay:  This morning we have a letter from the Mesa Temple for a certificate of sealing in Spanish.  The point is this — they have Spanish-speaking people who have been married several years and then have come to the Temple for their sealings.  They cannot speak English.  They are sealed in English and given an English certificate which they cannot read.  Now, President Christiansen, do you see any objection to our having some of these certificates translated word for word in Spanish.  It could be handed to the Spanish-speaking people when they are sealed.

President Christiansen:  I think it would be a good thing, not only in Spanish but in other languages.  We have difficulty in getting these foreign-speaking people through the veil in some cases.  If the ceremony in their language was kept handy, we could show it to them at the veil and they would understand what we were talking about, and it would mean so much more to them.

President McKay:  Yes, I think it would be a good thing.  President Clark felt this morning that it would confuse our records.  There is a slip of paper which is made out at the time of sealing.  It could be used in making a permanent record in English.

President Christiansen:  Yes, and for that matter, we could make a duplicate certificate in English.  It would not confuse our records in the least.  I have been thinking about having the ceremony at the veil translated in the different languages as we do at the Swiss and London Temples.  These people cannot understand, and if we had that handy, we could point to it, and they could see it and understand what we are doing.” 

Thur., 18 Jun., 1959:

[Meeting of 1st Pres. and Twelve]

(4) Emigration of Saints

Since Elder Marion G. Romney is leaving soon to tour the European Missions, he inquired regarding the counsel he should give to the Saints in Europe regarding their emigrating to this country so I gave the following instructions to him:

There is no command regarding this matter, but we wish the people to build up the Branches where they live so that those who never can get away from those countires over there will be built up spiritually, and receive their temple endowments and all blessings they could obtain if they were to come here.  We want them to be loyal and true to every principle of the gospel in their own land and to know that the Lord will be with them.  I should like our good Saints in foreign lands to have favorable meeting places where they can partake of the sacrament, participate in the auxiliary activities, and build up the branches in those lands.  In many cases our members would never be able to come to Utah and obtain the blessings that we enjoy in Church work and Church services.  The same condition exists in South Africa where an entire generation of men and women had never even seen a member of the Council of the Twelve.  I think we should have a temple there some day.  It is a long way for these people to go to a temple and the distances are great in that country and under present conditions they are obliged to live and die without having the blessings of the Temple and realize the significance of them.”

Fri., 26 June 1959:

“11 a.m. to 12

Spent an hour with a Mr. Premysl Tvaroh, correspondent of Rude Pravo, leading newspaper in Prague, Czechoslovakia and also correspondent for the United Nations, 420 E. 64th Street, New York City.

He is a communist, but I think he will not report as the Russian visitors did last year – misinterpreting what I had said regarding the building of Church edifices and reporting that we are ‘capitalists’.    

Mr. Premysl asked me what we think about Peace, and what the attitude of the Church is toward the holding of the Summit Conference.  I said, ‘it should be held, but that it would be worthwhile only if the agreements made will be upheld by both parties — that it would amount to nothing if one of the parties to it will disavow what had been agreed upon.’

‘Oh, I see,’ said Mr. Premysl.

He asked questions about the Church — wanted to know why we had been persecuted.  I explained the revelation of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the warning by the Lord for him not to join any of the sects and that upon the proclaiming of this fact, the ministers and others naturally became antagonistic to him and other members of the Church.

I told him to read the literature which I had given him concerning the details of the persecution in the early days.  I presented him with an autographed copy of the Book of Mormon, of What of the Mormons and a copy of Articles of Faith.  Also with several tracts.”

Thur., 19 Nov., 1959:

10:00 – 3:45 p.m.

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

Decision to re-open European Mission

Today at Council Meeting I reported that during the past few days the First Presidency had been considering the problems in the European Missions, and that I now present to the Council, for the First Presidency, the advisability of reopening the European Mission, and instead of sending the Brethren of the General Authorities to visit the various missions over there, that we appoint one of the General Authorities to preside as President of the European Mission, to work with the various missions just as the European Mission President formerly did.  I continued that it is now felt that the headquarters of the European Mission should be on the continent rather than in London as formerly.

I then proposed that Elder Alvin R. Dyer, Assistant to the Twelve, be called to become the President of the European Mission with headquarters in Frankfort a/Main in Germany.  I stated here that I felt that we should first establish European Mission Headquarters and the other matters pertaining to getting publications and lesson helps to the German-speaking missions, etc., could be developed later in connection therewith.

The Brethren unanimously approved of the reopening of the European Mission and also of the appointment of Alvin R. Dyer as the President.  (see newspaper clipping regarding the reopening of the European Mission on November 25, 1959)”

Tues., 15 Mar. 1960:

“8:30 to 10 a.m.

Was engaged in the meeting of the First Presidency.  We had an interesting discussion regarding the interest of the Missionary Committee in providing supervision for the United States, Spanish-Speaking, and Pacific Island Missions, similar to the supervision now being given to the European Mission by President Alvin R. Dyer.  President Moyle reviewed evidences of the need for closer supervision in the Northern Far East Mission, the Southern Far East Mission and in Spanish-Speaking Missions, which will bring the missionaries into greater proselyting activity by stimulating their systematic teaching programs and eliminating missionary problems resulting from idleness and inactivity.  He recommended men for consideration to serve in these supervisory capacities and said that can be given Mission Presidents and missionaries when General Authorities of the Church tour the mission.

The need for additional Assistants to the Twelve to relieve the brethren of other calls upon their time and to assist in this work also considered.

Fri., 8 Apr. 1960:

“10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

The regular meeting of the First Presidency was held.

We were interrupted during this meeting to meet by appointment a group of extension service leaders from Iran, who, for the past seven weeks, have been on the campus of the Utah State University for the purpose of observing and studying the practical aspects of extension organization, especially in relation to extension agents, developing extension programs, and methods of making Iran-born people familiar with improved ideas.  Mr. Mohsen Sheikhol Eslami, leader of the group, spoke through their interpreter, Mr. Jalil Mahmoudi who is on the faculty of the Utah State University.  Six of the group are married men and have families at their homes in Iran.  (see file 1960 for names of others in party)

I think the way is opening up for us to do some missionary work in that land.  These men listened to the Sunday morning session of the General Conference, and expressed an interest in my reference to Franklin S. Harris and his work in Iran.  Lyman H. Rich, technical leader at the Utah State University, accompanied the group.

A few days later, Mr. Rich sent a letter to my secretary, a copy of which follows:

‘Miss Clare Middlemiss

Church Office Building Logan, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah April 9, 1960

Dear Miss Middlemiss:

In accordance with your suggestion, I am enclosing the names of the Iranian group of an official document indicating their positions.  The group was most appreciative of this visit with the First Presidency.

‘President McKay told the group the pioneers came across the plains under the inspiration of the Lord.  He said that in their camps each night in wagon circles they had their regular prayers.

‘President McKay also indicated that same spirit is guiding our people today, and that prayer to our Heavenly Father in thankfulness is important to all mankind.

‘He then wished the group well on their journey home.  He said that our two countries are very similar and have much in common.

‘President McKay concluded by telling them the two main principles that had helped our people would help them — prayer and service to others.  He told the group a man should be just as interested in his neighbors animals and property as in his own.

‘He referred also to President Franklin S. Harris, who began the work in Iran, and the great progress made since that beginning more than ten years ago.

‘Our chief interpreter, Mr. Jalil Mahmoudi, was with President Harris and knew him very well.  I felt that Mr. Sheikol Eslama made a very fine response to President McKay.  You probably should know that the group has been at Utah State University since February 15, and after a week in Southern Utah will be in the State of New Mexico until late in May before returning home.

‘The men were very grateful to President McKay for granting them an audience, and we do thank you very kindly.

Most sincerely yours,

/s/ Lyman H. Rich, Technical Leader.’

Thurs., 14 Apr. 1960:

“Advisory Committee for Elementary Schools In Mexico

At 8:30 a.m. Elder Marion G. Romney and President Ernest L. Wilkinson of the B.Y.U. by appointment came into our meeting of the First Presidency.  President Wilkinson explained that the Executive Committee had asked Brother Romney and him to present to the First Presidency the recommendation that an advisory committee be appointed to advise on matters of the elementary schools to be established in Mexico.  The following were recommended to serve as the Advisory Committee:  President Harvey H. Taylor, President of the Mexican Mission; Agricola Lozana, a lawyer, who now advises on legal matters; William Farnsworth, son of Wilford Farnsworth, one time member of the Juarez Stake Presidency; (Brother Wm. Farnsworth lives in Mexico City); Hector Travino and Bernabe Parra, each members of different missions.  Recommendation was approved and the appointment of the committee was authorized. 

Wed., 4 May, 1960:

Among many other important Church matters considered was the prospects of opening a Mission in Greece.  Elder Harold B. Lee’s letter brought the opinion of U.S. Ambassador Riddleburger that the people of Greece pride themselves on having religious freedom by which they seem to mean the freedom of churches to worship, but that if vigorous proselyting missions be undertaken by any denominations, which convert many from among the Greek Orthodox people, such denomination might have their visiting permits cancelled.  It was agreed that the matter be held in abeyance, and that when and if the opening of a mission be undertaken, it be by direct approach for permission from the proper authorities.”

Wed., 1 June 1960:

“8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Meeting of the First Presidency was held.

Invitation to Confer with President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Washington, D.C. on Chilean Relief.

At the meeting this morning, I read a telegram that I received last evening from President Eisenhower in which he asks for a representative to be sent to the White House Thursday morning to meet the President and General Gruenther, President of the Red Cross to discuss how best to coordinate voluntary assistance to the people of Chile.  (see copy of telegram following) – also copy of our reply thereto.

After a brief discussion, it was decided to ask Elder Marion G. Romney, to come into the meeting of the First Presidency.  Upon his arrival I informed him of the desire of the First Presidency that he represent the Church at the conference with President Eisenhower in Washington, D.C.

Brother Romney accepted the assignment and reported that antibiotics, blankets, clothing, rugs, and shoes to a wholesale value of $26,545 have already been sent to Chile.  He also reported that 690 pairs of light weight overalls, 15,000 mittens, 3,070 boys cord trousers, and 200 for girls are in the warehouse packed and ready to be sent and that these total a value of $14,000 at wholesale prices.

Brother Romney reported, also, that he had talked with President Vernon Sharp, of the Andes Mission in Chile, and Brother Sharp explained that the materials sent through the Red Cross clear customs and avoid difficulties.  President Sharp and the missionaries will take care of distribution and the agreement has been reached that members of the Church may receive the materials directly from President Sharp and his staff.  Brother Sharp is in touch with the government daily and will keep the government informed about the materials being sent and their distribution.”

Tues., 7 June 1960:

“8:30 to 10 a.m.

The regular meeting of the First Presidency was held.  At this meeting we considered a statement proposed to be made public explaining the precautions to be taken in the widening of North State Street to preserve the trees, the rock wall, and the Eagle Gate, and to mention the present work being done under the direction of Architect George Cannon Young and the special committee of the descendants of Brigham Young for the restoration of the Beehive House was read.  It was explained that the statement is intended to allay the concerns of people who are opposing the alterations of North State Street.  (see newspaper clipping following)

We also read Elder Marion G. Romney’s written report of the conference he attended at the White House in Washington, D.C. at the call of President Eisenhower in a telegram to me last week (see June 1) in which he asked me to send a representative to attend a special meeting with him and General Gruenther, President of the American Red Cross to consider matters pertaining to relief for Chilean earthquake victims.  Later, we invited Elder Romney to come into our meeting, and at our request he supplemented the report with additional explanations and information.  After discussion it was decided to have prepared a letter to Stake Presidents and Bishops, giving instructions about receiving contributions from our Church people for the aid of Chilean relief sufferers, the contribution to be made through regular church channels.  (see copy of letter following approved June 8 to be sent to Mission Presidents, Stake Presidents, and Bishops).  (also see newspaper clipping)

Brother Romney handed me a letter copy of which follows bringing greetings to me from President Eisenhower:

‘June 4, 1960

‘Dear President McKay:

At the meeting in Washington, I had just a moment to speak to President Eisenhower…After greeting him, I told him that I brought to him your best regards.  His reply was, ‘That’s fine.  Please give to President McKay my regards.  He is one of my very best friends!’

Sincerely yours

/s/ Marion G. Romney

Tuesday, June 7, 1960


        Office of the First Presidency

  Salt Lake City 11, Utah

      June 7, 1960

To Mission Presidents, Stake

Presidents, and Bishops: Re:  Chilean Relief

On Thursday, June 2, representatives of organizations voluntarily contributing relief to the people of Chile who are suffering so terribly as a result of the recent earthquakes met by invitation at the White House, briefly with President Eisenhower and at great length with General Gruenther, president of the American Red Cross.  (At the request of President Eisenhower, the Red Cross is undertaking to coordinate the efforts of the volunteer relief organizations.)  From the report of our representative who attended the meeting, we quote:

The purpose of the meeting seemed to be twofold:  1) To exchange information between organizations and agencies rendering voluntary relief to disaster victims in Chile, and 2) to appeal to these agencies to increase and continue such aid, particularly in the form of cash…

The various agencies represented at the meeting told of what they had done.  We had done as much as any of the others reported they had done except the Catholics and the Lutherans…

There is much uncertainty and confusion as to just what the situation is in Chile.  It has been estimated that 50,000 houses have been rendered uninhabitable … Administration of available relief is no doubt in a state of confusion.  The Chilean Government was of course unprepared…

Each of the organizations represented at the meeting is sending supplies to its own representatives in Chile and will continue to do so…

The big plea is for cash.  This was explained by both General Gruenther and President Eisenhower…

President Eisenhower said his purpose was to thank the people represented by those present at the meeting for their contributions; he also said that he was a ‘violent believer in voluntary giving,’ and that ‘the more we permit government to do, the more we are in danger of losing what we stand for.’  He closed by saying, ‘It is wonderful to see America rise up and voluntarily coordinate in giving.’

In accordance with the purposes of the meeting, the Red Cross has adopted the following as the statement for making general appeal: ‘Give to Chilean relief through Red Cross, your church, or CARE.’

In harmony with this suggested procedure, we shall appreciate your counseling Church members to make their contributions to this most worthy and laudable purpose through the Church, using the same Church channels as when contributing fast offerings and other church welfare donations.

Contributions by Church members will be sent to Chile from the headquarters of the Church.

Sincerely yours brethren,

David O. McKay

J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

Henry D. Moyle

The First Presidency”

Fri., 24 June 1960:

“8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

The First Presidency listened to a report from Brother and Sister Rulon J. Sperry on their missions to the Netherlands.  President Sperry, in answer to my question as to the greatest need of the Netherlands mission, said ‘The greatest problem is the emigration of the membership of the Church in the Netherlands.’  Then followed a lengthy discussion of this and other matters pertaining to that mission.  (see minutes of First Presidency’s meeting of this day)”

Wed., 13 July 1960:

“Temple Ceremonies

Elder Hinckley informed me that the work on the temple ceremony in the Spanish language will go forward during the next few weeks.  This will be the thirteenth language in which the temple ceremony has been produced.

I expressed satisfaction on the effort which has brought the temple ceremony to many of our people of the missions in their own language, and commended Brother Hinckley for the service he has rendered in this regard.  Brother Hinckley reported that while coming from the Far East recently he stopped in Honolulu one day and talked with President Tietjen at the Hawaiian Temple.  They discussed a suggestion made by President Bowring of the Los Angeles Temple out of his experience in the Hawaiian Temple that we have many Samoans who go to the Temple but who have only a very imperfect understanding of English.  They would be blessed and benefitted if they were to hear the ceremony in their own native language.  Brother Hinckley said that we can present the ceremony in sound only, without picture, with relatively little difficulty, and perhaps not more than a thousand dollars expense.  I advised Brother Hinckley to go forward and arrange for this.”

Wed., 24 Aug. 1960:

“India Should be Opened for Missionary Work

At the meeting we read a letter from a Mr. M. Dipty of Dehradun, India who recited his interest in the Book of Mormon, the Articles of Faith, and the Joseph Smith story, and briefly reviewed his career, experience, and qualifications, and asked for appointment to preach and to proselyte in India.

I stated that at some time in the future, India should be opened for missionary work, as should also Iran and Pakistan.

Elder Ezra Taft Benson reported after his visit to Israel and Egypt that he found relationships between these countries improving and recommended opening missionary work in both Israel and Egypt.

Thurs., 1 Sept. 1960:

“8:30 to 9:50 a.m.

After a two-day absence from the meetings of the First Presidency, I met with President Moyle this morning in our regular meeting.  President Clark was absent, this being his birthday.

Many official church matters, which had been held for my approval and decision, were presented by President Moyle.  Among these was the proposal that three missions be divided immediately: the Eastern States Mission, the Southern States Mission, and the French Mission.  The French Mission has 50,000,000 people, with 192 missionaries working there.  President Brossard has written saying the mission could use 300 to 400 missionaries.  Many cities of 150,000 population have not had missionaries.  Baptisms are increasing rapidly.

President Woodbury has suggested that the British Mission be divided again.

I expressed approval of the proposal to divide the Eastern States Mission and the Southern States Mission.  However, said that the matter of dividing the French Mission await President Alvin R. Dyer’s (President of the European Mission) coming to the October general conference, and that the organization of another stake in England await the visit of the General Authorities there in February when the London Chapel is to be dedicated.

It is also suggested that missionaries be assigned to proselyte in Iceland.  After reviewing

details regarding this, I said: ‘I believe Iceland is a good field.'”

Tues., 4 Oct. 1960:

“8:30 to 10 a.m.

Attended First Presidency’s meeting.  President Clark indisposed at home.

Preaching the Gospel to Those with Negro Blood

Among other matters, President Moyle and I considered two letters written by President William Grant Bangerter of the Brazilian Mission, which gave details of opportunities for proselyting in new areas in the Brazilian Mission, and with special relationship to the racial mixture of providing leadership for the branches where, because of racial mixture, there will not be men holding the priesthood, was also presented and considered.

I said to tell President Bangerter to preach the gospel, but for the present, until the Lord gives another revelation, those who have Negro blood are not to receive the priesthood.  I said that I spoke to them about that when I was in Buenos Aires.  A man asked about it.  he said he was going to marry a girl, and I told him he was at perfect liberty to marry her, and that she was entitled to be baptized and become a member of the Church and to be confirmed a member of the Church, and that their children may be so blessed, but that they will not be entitled to the priesthood.  That is definite, and he will have to conform to it until the Lord tells us otherwise.  If they who have negro blood in their veins do not want to accept the gospel, that is their privilege.  Even at that, the Church offers them more than any other church in existence, and they are entitled to it.  We should tell President Bangerter to go on preaching to these people and baptizing them, but they must be told before baptizing them what the limitations are.

Prospects for Missionary Work in Ecuador

We also read a letter from President Vernon Sharp of the Andes Mission wherein he described Ecuador and its cities, with a view to offering prospects for proselyting, especially in Quayquil and Quito.  President Moyle said that President Sharp’s purpose in writing was to inquire whether or not he should send missionaries into Ecuador.  I said that we should tell him not to until we know more about the situation; that the relationship between America and South America will have to be more definitely established, and favorably established before we do anything.”

Thurs., 13 Oct. 1960:

“8 a.m.

President Henry D. Moyle and I met with President and Sister Alvin R. Dyer.  Brother Dyer gave a report on the following matters: 

5)  Branches and Missionary Work Behind the Iron Curtain.  President Dyer described conditions prevailing in the Communist-controlled part of Germany where careful and very close watch is kept upon the activities of the members of the Church by the police of the Communist country.  The local, full-time missionaries are found to be unable to do regular proselyting because of the suspicion and distrust which they are kept under surveillance by the police.  We agreed that the full-time missionary work behind the Iron Curtain by local members be discontinued, and that the full-time missionaries be released, and that proselyting be done on a part-time missionary basis.  The work of the Church meetings are conducted under serious restraints because of the feelings on the part of the people that they may be spied upon by the Communist authorities through fellow members of the Church.

Tues., 18 Oct. 1960:

“9 a.m.

Meeting of the First Presidency held.  President Clark excused.  President Alvin R. Dyer came in and reported on 1) Missionary Courses and Theology at the Brigham Young University.  Brother Dyer visited the B.Y.U. and met with the teachers of the missionary classes and also the teachers of the theology classes.  It is recommended that the course in the missionary class be revised.  It is suggested, also, that the Brigham Young Univesity do something to develop a basic course in learning foreign languages which would be applicable to the training of missionaries.  2) We went over with Brother Dyer President Moyle’s itinerary for a proposed tour of the European missions.  I approved of the itinerary with the exception that I do not think it is necessary for Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall to go; that this is something separate from his work entirely.

Many other matters pertaining to Europe and our missionary work were discussed.”

Sat., 10 Dec. 1960:

“9 a.m.

By appointment met with Asael Palmer, formerly of Lethbridge Stake, regarding his suggestion that consideration be given to opening a mission in India before going into Pakistan.  Brother Palmer is of the opinion that missionary work will succeed in India where it may be disappointing in Pakistan where Christians are in inferior positions.  President Palmer served on an agricultural assignment in Pakistan as a representative of the Canadian Government.

The Pakistan Governor General is appointed by British Government.  At present Gov. General is a ‘modified dictator’.

Saturday, December 10, 1960

Saturday, December 10, at 9:00 a.m. met by invitation at the President’s request President Asael E. Palmer, former president of the Lethbridge Stake, regarding his suggestion that consideration be given to opening a mission in India before going into Pakistan.  Brother Palmer has spent some time in Pakistan representing the Canadian government, and it was felt that we should profit by his experience.  The President mentioned that the First Presidency had a visit about a year ago by a delegation from Pakistan, and the Presidency were favorably impressed by the visit.  These gentlemen invited us to open a mission there, but at the time it seemed that was just a courtesy because of their being entertained in the President’s office.  However, later the gentleman who has a title comparative to the Governor-General of Pakistan, met President A. Ray Olpin of the University of Utah when he was in the Far East, and mentioned his visit at the President’s office and his invitation for us to come there.

Having that in mind, the President wanted to get from Brother Palmer his personal experience about conditions as he saw them in Pakistan.  The Governor-General of Pakistan is appointed by the British government.  The Prime Minister at present is what we might call a modified dictator, using Brother Palmer’s terms.  They haven’t a constitutional government there.  They wanted one, patterned after the United States, but recently it has become what might be called a modified dictatorship, and this man is an Islam and speaks the language of what they call Islam-Moslems, which is a modified form of the Persian language.  They have control of the Government. 

When they were setting up their form of government they wanted to make this Islamic-Persian law the state religion and make it a capital crime for anyone to apostiatize from it.  That would, of course, prohibit us from doing any proselyting.  Brother Palmer further said that the Christians who are there — Catholics and the Church of England — are spending their time wholly in the schools and hospitals doing very little proselyting, and their adherents are the poorest people in Pakistan.  They are the street-sweepers and the poor people.  President McKay said he was convinced, and Brother Palmer approved, that our first move should be to re-introduce the gospel in India and go from there to Pakistan.  We have been invited for years past to re-enter India, and President McKay thought we might properly do it now under the present leader.

President McKay, again referring to conditions in Pakistan, said that those who were sponsoring the movement to make it capital punishment to leave Island were not successful in having the law passed.  He thought, however, that it shows how intense the feeling is.  All the leaders are strict in their allegiance to the Islam religion.  The fact that this man is now a dictator shows it would be a mistake for us to attempt to go there.”

Thur., 12 Jan., 1961:

Arab Development at Jericho, Jordan

Following Council meeting, I called President Henry D. Moyle regarding the setting apart of Brother and Sister Seymour Mikkelsen of the Brigham Young University Faculty to act as local missionaries in and around Jerusalem and Jericho, Jordan.  They are leaving tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock by plane for Holland to purchase Holstein cattle for the Arab Development Society at Jericho, and then will travel with the cattle by plane to Jericho where they will stay for two years to set up a dairy.  Their expenses will be paid by the Arab Development Society.

Originally it was contemplated that Louis B. Bigler would go to Jordan for a six-month period, however, President Wilkinson and his associates at the B.Y.U. did not think this was feasible.  Therefore, the Mikkelsens have been appointed to go to Jordan for two years.  However, the Arab Development Society has itself invited Brother Bigler to go for a period of three months at the expense of that Society, and he will therefore be traveling with Brother and Sister Mikkelsen.

I asked President Moyle to arrange to have these people set apart so that they could have the authority to do missionary work and to hold meetings of any Saints they may find in Jerusalem and Jordan.  President Wilkinson said that he knows there are some investigators there because he met with certain people who were interested when he visited that country in 1959.

Arrangements were accordingly made, and the above named persons were set apart on Friday morning, January 13, before their departure for Holland and Jericho.  (see June 27, 1960 – April 4, 1961)

Tues., 31 Jan. 1961:

“9 to 10 a.m.

Was engaged in the regular meeting of the First Presidency.

Among matters discussed this morning was the plan for the supervision of missions by the Council of the Twelve as worked out by the Missionary Committee and Brother Harold B. Lee of the Twelve.  The plan provides for assignments of the Twelve to visit mission regions, to be made by the First Presidency.  President Moyle said that the Committee agreed that the program they presented the other day would not work.  Application of the plan now proposed was considered in relation to persons to be given the direction of regions.  I said that the Church has grown to such a size that we have got to do something; that we cannot go along without doing something, and that everybody is committed to the necessity for greater supervision than we have had in the past.”

Thur., 2 Feb., 1961:

Plan of Supervision for Missions

The recommendation of the Missionary Committee relating to the supervision of missions, which are increasing in such number, and the work in such complexity as to make a plan for supervision necessary.

The plan of supervision is as follows:  That the missions in the world be grouped into divisions, each under the supervision of one of the General Authorities, similar to the organization now functioning in the European Mission; that the member of the General authorities visit the missions in the Regions, counsel with the Mission Presidents, meet the missionaries, and stimulate proselyting.  This member of the General Authorities would interview missionaries, inspect Church property, look after details of the work.  He would become intimately conversant with the problems of the missions, and be readily available to the Presidents of the Missions.  These General Authorities would be directly responsible to the First Presidency.  Under the assignment of the First Presidency, they would tour the missions, accompanied by the Supervisor of the Missions.  The member of the Twelve would speak in the conferences held in key locations.  He would be spared the burdensome responsibility of interviewing each missionary personally and of inspecting buildings, as well as of developing and promoting proselyting techniques and other time-consuming details, but would not be limited or restricted in anything he might wish to do.  In this way he could cover a mission in five days to a week, and could cover other missions in a period of a month.  This would afford the Twelve opportunity to oversee their assignment to this work.  They would be better able to see the strength and weaknesses of a Mission because they could visit several and would be in better position to make comparisons.  Strength and time would be conserved.  The missions of the world would be under the immediate supervision of the General Authorities of the Church, and the Twelve would be able to see the missions with greater frequency.

On motion of Elder Mark E. Petersen, seconded by Elder LeGrand Richards, we unanimously approved this recommendation.”

Thurs., 9 Feb. 1961:

“8:43 a.m.

Attended meeting of the First Presidency.  Before starting our regular business, met with President and Sister Melvin Ross Richards.  I set Brother Richards apart as President of the Gulf States Mission, and President Moyle set apart his wife, Sister Adahlia Marie Curtis Richards, as a missionary.

Following the departure of the Richards, we conducted the regular order of business — reading of letters addressed to the First Presidency, and discussing matters of general Church interest, etc.

President Moyle exhibited and reviewed a booklet containing areas of the missions mapped out to show the divisions into regions by which the supervision of missions is proposed to be carried out.  The plan includes nominations of the General Authorities of the Church to supervise the Regions.  President Moyle recommends that the European Missions be divided into two regions – one to include the German and Scandinavian Missions, which President Alvin R. Dyer will supervise, and the other the British, French and Netherlands Missions which Brother Nathan Tanner would supervise.  I told President Moyle that I shall take the plan with me for further study before giving my approval.

Assignment of the Twelve to Visit Missions

We then reviewed the plan for members of the Council of the Twelve to visit the missions under assignment of the First Presidency.  The proposal that Elder Harold B. Lee assist President Joseph Fielding Smith was considered, and I delayed action upon this proposal until I can talk to President Smith about it.

Supervision of Stakes by the Twelve

At this time I said that provision for members of the Council of the Twelve to supervise stakes by regions, added to the assignment to visit missions in regions will be in harmony with the Doctrine and Covenants as to the responsibility of the Twelve.  Announcement of these plans was deferred until I can talk to President Smith.”

“Trip to London, Scotland, and Wales Wednesday, February 22, 1961, to Saturday, March 4, 1961.

At 11:00 in the Relief Society Room of the new Hyde Park Chapel on Exhibition Road Friday, February 24, 1961, President McKay held a satisfactory news conference, attended by approximately 20 newspapermen and 8 to 10 photographers.  President Woodbury addressed the press conference and explained the reason for the delay in the late arrival of the President’s party and introduced to the newspapermen the following:  President David O. McKay, Elder Hugh B. Brown, Elder Alvin R. Dyer of the European Mission, Elder Nathan Eldon Tanner ‘from Canada and one of the assistants of the Quorum of Twelve,’ Dr. Edward McKay, ‘a surgeon and son of President McKay,’ Sir Thomas Bennett, ‘of T.P. Bennett and Sons, Architects, who have designed this beautiful building in which we sit.’ 

President Woodbury then said, ‘I introduce to you our wonderful 87-year-old President David Oman McKay, who has made the trip from Salt Lake City to be here for the dedicatory service of this building and the forming of the London Stake, President McKay.’

President McKay addressed the assembled newspaper people as follows:  ‘It is a distinct privilege to meet you here this morning after travelling all night across the Atlantic.  We were held up in New York for hours before they would let us start over the ‘pond’ between London and New York.  We arrived here at 4:00 o’clock, your time, this morning, happy once again to be on English soil.  This is my eighth or ninth visit here since 62 years ago, when I came here first as a young man, a missionary, to the land of my forefathers.  That was in 1897, 98, and 99.  My Father was here in 1881, but he came back to his town, Glasgow and Aberdeen, in the North.

It is a pleasure to meet the people of the press and we will be glad to answer some of your questions.  I hope they will not be too many.  We will be pleased to let you know what the Church is doing here and the success attending its efforts.  I have heard that a printed statement will be here in a few minutes.

Gentlemen and Ladies:  On the ship that left north of Australia in 1921, I looked at the register.  There were the names of two people from America.  Our names were also there.  Hugh J. Cannon, and David O. McKay, also from America.  They sought us out on the ship.  They were from America and thought ‘Here are two Americans.’  We were pleased to meet them, as they were to meet us.  After a few words of introduction, the lady said, ‘Will you pardon me if I ask you a question?’  Certainly, and I’ll answer it before you ask–I have only one wife.’  When she learned that plural marriage was a mere incident of our past history, she asked ‘What are your beliefs?’

I answered, ‘We are Christians.’

She said, ‘So are we.’  And then she said ‘What is the difference between your belief and ours?  My husband is a Methodist and I am a Presbyterian.’  And then we had a delightful opportunity to explain differences, the fundamental differences between Mormonism and other Christian religions.  Briefly, we named four.

Our principle fundamental difference:  first, we believe in divine authority by direct revelation.  That phrase is necessary, because other churches believe in divine authority; and if you say divine authority by direct revelation, you make a distinct difference.  Catholics, for example, have divine authority by descent from Peter, the chief apostle, and they quote the saying, ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’

The Greek Catholic Church believe in divine authority, not from Peter, but from the five apostles who survived Peter.  And so a distinctive feature between this church and other Christian churches, as I indicated, is ‘divine authority by direct revelation.’

The second distinguishing feature is the organization of the Church.  That is what I was looking for here.  We will pass out that paper which will be here, so you can see for yourselves.

The third distinguishing feature is the principle of tithes and offerings, which carry on the financial phases of the Church.

Another distinguishing feature is the eternity of covenants and ceremonies.  I believe that the essential principles of the Gospel are for every man, woman, and child in the world, and that when Christ said to Nicodemus, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of Heaven,’ Nicodemus wondered how a man could be born again.  He could not understand it.  And then the statement was made, ‘Except a man be born of the water and of the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’  Where it is necessary for one man, it is necessary for every man as an eternal principle; whether he lived in the days of Noah or at the present time.  Peter gives an account of Christ’s having preached to the spirits in prison.  This is a distinguishing feature of this Church, and associated with it the eternal nature of covenants and ceremonies.  Well, this we gave to our friends on that ship leaving the north part of Australia in 1921.

Some of you probably are wondering why the Church sends out 8,000 missionaries at the present time to all parts of the world, each one paying his or her own expenses or by accepting help from ther parents.  Eight thousand of them, and the young men save their own money.  Some of them, when they were in the war, for example, saved the mere pittance given them by the Government for the time when they would get out of the service of the Government and go out in the field to preach the Gospel.  Thus using their little savings for that purpose.  One incident comes to my mind now.  A widow’s son, and he said ‘Mother, I am sending my money to you.  Please put it aside for the time when I go out to preach the Gospel as a missionary.’  And then he added, ‘If I do not come back, use the money to send some other young man out.’  He did not come back.  He paid the supreme sacrifice.  But his Mother, true to his request, used that money to pay the expense of another missionary out in the field.  There is something impelling in an organization that will prompt young men to take their means and pay their expenses and preach what they believe to be the principles, the fundamental principles of peace on earth, good will to men.

All the male members of the Church — and this is the second distringuishing feature — belong to some particular group.  Men in the world believe in and belong to sacred orders, the Masons or some other social clubs or some civic club, like Rotary or Lions, or so forth.  In the Church every male man from twelve years up belongs to a certain group.  At twelve years of age, thirteen, and fourteen, they are deacons or teachers or priests, and after twenty-one years of age they are Elders.  Of deacons, teachers, and priests, there are 207,470.  Over 21 there are Elders, Seventies, and High Priests, 213,925.  And there is this difference, when that man on board that ship said, ‘If you believe in a divine organization, we can expect to find in your Church every need of the human soul.’  And that is right.  You name the need.  If fellowship and fraternity is that need, then he should find that in the Church.  I said, ‘If I want to join your order and somebody in it had a personal grudge against me, he could blackball me, and I would know nothing about it.  I could not join.  No one may blackball a member from joining one of these quorums we have named.’

I did not mean to take this up with you this morning.  Any question you would like to ask, I will be pleased to answer.  If I cannot answer, we shall pass it up.

Question:  Mr. President McKay, in one of the notices it says that the number of young men and women has been increased 600 in Great Britain, a four-fold increase.  Is the Church of the Latter-day Saints renewing its expansion?  We have heard more of your Church recently than we have in the past.  Is this a five-year plan?  Is there some special reason behind it?

President McKay:  No, the present missionary system has been carried on for over a hundred years.  My father came back here as a missionary in 1881.  I remember he left home on the 19th of April, 1881.  My sister, Annie, was born on the 29th of April, the days after he left.  He spent two years in Scotland as a missionary.  I came here in 1897 to 1899.  I came over again in 1921, 22, and 23.  Hundreds of thousands of men have so devoted their lives during the one hundred years and more, but there is more effective missionary work done today than ever before in the history of the Church.  In the first place, there are more young men and young women who answer the call.  In the second place, the mission presidents are more effective in their teaching of the Gospel.  They believe that only by obedience to the Gospel will peace be established on the earth, and the effective way they carry on this Gospel opens the doors of hundreds and thousands of people more effectively than ever before in the history of the Church.  How many last year?  (to President Woodbury.)

President Woodbury:  Five thousand converts.

President McKay:  Due to effective missionary work — and this is the same in Germany.  And in all countries in Europe there are increases.

Newspaperman:  We are constantly hearing about you people now.  Twenty to thirty years ago we did not hear much.

President McKay:  I was here 62 years ago.  We had to meet in halls, cleaned up on Saturday night for meeting on Sunday.  We had to meet in hired halls.  The Church is now building chapels and spending money.  Each branch is given its chapel.  This is one contributing factor to the growth of the Church in New Zealand, Australia, and Great Britain, Japan, and China.  The Church has sufficient funds to build its own chapels.  The people feel more at home in their own churches rather than hiring halls.  This is a contributing factor.

Newspaperman:  Mr. McKay, this is the point I want to make.  Yours is a small church, by comparison with other churches it is small; but this church cost a third of a million.  You are talking about spending ten million on churches in Great Britain.  There are only 20,000 members in Great Britain.  Where is all this money coming from? 

President McKay:  The money is coming from two sources.  I mentioned as a distinguishing feature of the Church tithes and offerings.  These funds are given by the entire membership of the Church on Fast Day each month.  They go without meals from Saturday evening meal until the evening meal on Sunday.  Each one gives the value of these meals to the Fast Offering Fund to take care of the poor.  The second is tithing.  Every faithful member of the Church pays one tenth of his income annually and this is used for building Temples, chapels, paying missionary fares home.  In the wards, the people pay one-half of the cost of the building themselves.  In the branches of the mission field they pay 30 per cent, and the Church pays 70 per cent.  Of that, 50 per cent is given by labor largely by men working in their own various vocations during the day and at night at carpentry or plastering or pouring cement until 11:00 or 12:00 at night on the chapel.

Newspaperman:  Do the people in Great Britain, was the money for their chapels mainly contributed by the Church in Britain?  The 20,000 people in Britain did not raise a third of a million to build this chapel.  That must have come from America.

President Woodbury:  We are on an 80-20 basis in Great Britain.

President McKay:  We have a Temple here, you know.  Nearly all of that came from the tithing funds.  The same with the Temple in Switzerland and the Temple in New Zealand and the Temple in Los Angeles.

Newspaperman:  President McKay, it says in one of the documents that members of the public are welcome to attend services in the chapels as against the Temple.  Are members of the public welcome to attend chapels, or are there any distinctions regarding races?

President McKay:  All people are welcome to attend services in the chapels.  Members of the Church are welcome to attend Temple service, but the Temple service requires observance of special ideals.  All members of the Church may attend the Temple, if they maintain these ideals.  But all people in the Church and out of the Church may attend the chapel service.

Newspaperwoman:  It has been said that you do not admit colored people to membership in the Church.  Is that right?

President McKay:  It is not.  Colored people join the Church.

Newspaperwoman:  Oh, they do.

President McKay:  But colored people do not receive the Priesthood.  They join the Church and worship in the chapel and have the privilege of participating in the auxiliary organizations and the Sacrament Service, but they are not given the Priesthood.

Newspaperman:  Is there any particular reason for that?

President McKay:  It is found in the Pearl of Great Price.  In the Church we accept the Bible as being the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.  We also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.  We have the Pearl of Great Price, a translation by Joseph Smith of an early account of the creation of the world.  In that is a passage which refers to a son of Egyptus, who claimed the right of Priesthood by descent.  But descendants could not have it because they were descendants of colored people.  That Pharaoh was a righteous man but was not given the priesthood because of his descent from Egyptus, who had colored blood in her veins.  That is the only reason.  It is founded upon that.

President McKay:  Any other questions?

Newspaperman:  Could we have some word from the architect on the kind of thoughts he had in mind when he designed this new chapel?

Sir Thomas:  Well, Sir, I had, of course, been associated with your American architect in designing the Temple and had, therefore, some substantial sense of the religion as preached by the Church of the Latter-day Saints, and I attempted to design this church, which I thought was intended to represent Mormonism, the Church of the Latter-day Saints, in London.  Therefore, it should be particularly distinctive as a mixture between the Church and a symbol in accord with the temporal side.  It stood for religion as well as to be the home of the religion.  It also had to embody the principal features which the Church of the Latter-day Saints embodies, and this, in the first case, worship — a religion associated with the cultural hall.  The development of the most secular side of the membership in such a way, as I understand the religion, it is not reserved for Sunday.  It is a universal part seven days of the week, and that is incorporated in the classrooms for instruction and for Priesthood members, Elders, and the people who join the Church.  Externally, I had to express a thing as modern in concept.  It had to be something which would not be regarded as a Church of England or a Roman Catholic Church, or any other kind of church, merely because everyone wants to have an individuality of their own.  I thought it should have a symbol, and that should rest on the tower, such as would show visibly from a distance and that we would take as a symbol on the top of the tower of this church, the staff by which the Church helps the people, a guiding staff by which it directs them to religion; and if you follow that, there are a number of principles in such a position.  Finally, it had to represent something which had the richness which is attended upon these people who regard religion as embodying the great efforts of man.  It had to have the symbolism which runs through the church’s action.  Externally, the building is an attempt to join these two things together.

I might add a word about the organ.  While the services are mainly congreagational services, the small organ here, this church which symbolizes the church in London, and the Church should have music of the finest kind the organ can produce.  The organ associated with religious service.  This organ, which we believe is the finest organ of its kind in London — it is not the largest because the Festival organ is largest.  It would be ridiculous to aim at the largest, but in tone and variety of pipes and possibility of affecting great music of the music masters, it should be able to be obtained in this organ.  This organ is the greatest effort of leading organ builders.  It is really perhaps the greatest effort of this size of organ.  It is hoped it will provide music of the highest kind for the enjoyment of those who are not members of the Church who come to listen.  These are the general principles.  President Woodbury accused me of being an organist.  It has been many years since I have played, and it is exaggerating my abilities.  I have not played on it.  The organ is just being tuned in the last two months, and no one has played on it until a few days ago.

President McKay:  Are there any other questions?  We shall have a few words from Elder Brown, who used to preside over the mission at Great Britain and served in your army.  He did not know he was to be called on.

Elder Hugh B. Brown:  This is one of the distinguishing features of the Church.  We do not know when we will be called upon to say something.

We have with us today a Canadian, Mr. Nathan Eldon Tanner, who has been introduced as one of the Assistants of the Twelve, but because of his being a Canadian, having been in the Government as Minister of Mines in Alberta, and because of the fact that he has been asked to come to the Church and to make his headquarters in Salt Lake City, and to give up his business connections, I think it is unique that Mr. Tanner here, a British subject, is now associated with the leadership of the Church.

As far as my own activities were, I lived in Canada for thirty years.  I had the honor of coming with the Canadian Forces in the First World War.  It is a joy and a pleasure to be here to see this fine chapel and to meet with you men of the press.  I certainly appreciate the attitude of the press.  More especially of later years when we have come to be better known than we were in the earlier times.  In answer to your question, as we become better known and more people find out what we are teaching, more of them are anxious to become members of the Church and to be part of this forward movement.  Mr. Alvin R. Dyer is one of the Assistants of the Twelve.  We are organized in such a way that every man has a responsibility.  Every man who is willing to dedicate his means to the Church.

I am wondering if a tour through the building is anticipated or have they been through?

President Woodbury:  We will conduct a tour immediately afterward as they wish.

President McKay:  President Tanner.

Elder Nathan Eldon Tanner:  All I can say is, I am very happy to be here accompanying our President and Elder Brown on this occasion.  We are very happy to have a Temple in your midst and that the work is moving forward.  I am very happy to be a part of it.  I am the newest member of the Assistants to the Twelve.  There were three called in October.  I might say President McKay called me into his office Saturday morning at 8:00 o’clock and said, ‘Could you come with us?’  At 10:00 o’clock that same morning my name was presented to the General Conference for the sustaining vote, and that was the notice I was given at the time the call came to me.  I consider it a high honor to be called to this position and a privilege to leave my regular work and dedicate my life to the service of our Church and fellowmen.

President McKay:  President Dyer, he is in charge of the work in Europe, Germany, and the other missions of Europe.  He is President of the European Mission.

President Alvin R. Dyer:  It is a great honor to be here with our President.  I have been here on the European Continent for some fourteen months and in England very frequently to associate with the mission presidents and the missionaries here.  I think it will be of interest to the press to know that we have 2,500 young men and women engaged in this missionary work which President McKay has spoken of in the Continent of Europe and the British Isles.  There are thirteen organized missions in Germany, France, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Austria, and all over is similar growth in these countries in the immediate past years.  Another thing that might be submitted is that in the past year, through the graciousness of the press, we have had more than 2500 feature articles in various newspapers of Europe telling the story of the Chruch and the manner in which our work is brought to the attention of the people.  We are finding everywhere that the press is responding and giving us this space in their newspapers and in some fifteen of the areas where we have not been able to get any information in the newspapers, now we are getting full pages, recently in some issues in Vienna and in Nice, France, and in Paris.  This has been most remarkable, indicating the acceptance of the Church among the people.  It is wonderful to be here, and I appreciate your presence here.

President Woodbury:  I want to apologize for missing some of the President’s party when I first introduced the brethren.  I would like to take the opportunity of introducing two of the brethren, one is a former British Mission President, Hamer Reiser, who served here from 1952 to 1955.  Following President Resier’s term of office came Clifton G.M. Kerr, who was here in 1956 to 1958.  Also, we have with us today Church Editor of the Church News of the Deseret News published in Salt Lake City, Henry Smith.

The President has dictated a news release, which will be given to Mr. Minderman.  We have laid on a buffet if you care to participate.  We want to thank you for coming, but more than that, we want to thank you for your honest and kind representation of all we stand for; it has been wonderful to read what you have written.

President McKay:  Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Newspaperman:  On behalf of the photographers here, we would like very much to have a photograph outside.  Would that be possible?

The news conference and a tour of the building took approximately two hours. 

Here also were many newspapermen and photographers who had waited for an interview with President McKay.   They were invited to attend the meeting, which was waiting to be convened.  After the opening song and prayer, President Brockbank conducted the meeting; and he proceeded with the program of the meeting.  The newspapermen politely broke in and asked if they might have their interview of President McKay first, since so many of them have newspaper schedules to meet for the evening newspapers.  President McKay accordingly obliged and offered to answer the questions of the reporters.  While the photographers took their pictures, President McKay answered the questions aksed by the reporters.  President McKay informed them that he was in Great Britain for the dedication of the Hyde Park Chapel in London and reported the organization of the London Stake.  He reviewed briefly the growth of the Church in Great Britain and the history of missionary work there.  He recalled his own missionary service, as he had at Prestwick, and stated the purpose of the Church to be to give everyone who is willing and interested an opportunity to hear the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  A question about the subject of current concern among the ministers of other churches in Scotland; namely, the increased activities of the Mormon missionaries in Scotland and the proselyting of young people through their interest in youth activities of the Church, was asked, and the matter of baptizing young people without the consent of parents was answered by President McKay in the same way he had met the problem in Prestwick.  President McKay continued the press interviews as long as the reporters had questions.  When the newspapermen and the photographers withdrew to be about preparing their stories for the newspapers, the program of the meeting was carried forward.

President McKay suggested to President Brockbank that Dr. Edward McKay, Elder Henry Smith, and Brother Reiser, address the missionaries, whereupon President McKay spoke for the remainder of the time.

He asked the missionaries if any had baptized young people without the consent of parents.  Four indicated they had.  President McKay asked each one to give the facts.  The first said he had had to be content with the consent of the foster father.  President McKay dismissed this case as having been handled properly.  The second said the young woman in question was twenty years of age, approaching 21.  President McKay dismissed this as a rather close case, but advised the missionary, nevertheless, to seek the concurrence of parents.  The other two cases were rather obscure, but President Brockbank assured President McKay that he knew the facts of each case, and that he considered that the missionaries had not gone contrary to instructions.  President McKay encouraged the missionaries to continue their work and to make special effort to teach families, particularly the parents, in an effort to keep the families together and to bring them into the Church as families.  He reviewed his interest in missionary work, the missionary labors which brought his father’s family into the Church in the north of Scotland, and his father’s missionary service in Scotland and his own in the years 1897 to 1899.  He talked to the missionaries about what it means to be a missionary and stressed the principle that missionaries are representatives of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and should be exemplars of His teachings.  He developed the principle that a missionary is a representative and amplified it with emphasis upon being exemplary and nobel representatives of parents, family, ward, stake, church, and ‘the greatest of all, you are representatives of the Lord, Jesus Christ.’

President McKay’s Address to the Missionaries of the North British Mission

President McKay then made the following remarks:

I am very happy for this moment.  I was happy to meet the elders and sisters up in Glasgow yesterday.  There are two groups of missionaries who were not down to the dedication.  Some of you were, probably, President, elders.  But I shall go home next Friday feeling satisfied now that I have looked into the faces of nearly all the missionaries in Great Britain.  And I thank you for this opportunity this morning.  I am glad that you had the opportunity to hear the Singing Mothers last night, and we are here without much expense or effort in attendance at this inspirational meeting.

I have been very happy indeed in the companionship of my fellow travelers.  We had quite an effort to get to Glasgow, went to the wrong airport, were somewhat delayed, were pounced upon by half a dozen or more reporters and photographers and they delayed us.  We drove for an hour up to Glasgow from Prestwick Airport.  There we met with a group of reporters who were there to ask questions and asked, ‘Why are you sending so many missionaries up to Scotland?’  I said, ‘Well, we know that they have in mind the prayer of the old Scotchman who said, ‘Oh, Lord, keep us richt for yae ken how hard it is for me to change when I’m wrang.’

But we had an inspirational meeting with the missionaries of the Scottish-Irish Mission yesterday.  This has worked out perfectly for us to come here to Manchester, and I am happy to meet with you this morning.  It will be only for a few minutes, but minutes that are worthwhile.  We can go home, meet your parents.  We cannot say individually that we met you, but partook of your spirit, the spirit of your president, the spirit of the missions.  And I am very thankful for this opportunity.

(What time do we have to be out of here?  Well, that will give us time to catch the plane?  That is the last time that I shall look at my watch.)

I am reminded of an instance that I had early in my call to the Council of the Twelve.  At that time I used to take one of my boys with me on the trip.  Robert was five years old — six years old.  I did not have to pay his fare …(laughter)  I believe it was Llewellyn, second boy, who was accompanying me down to Richfield.  I intended that he stay home, play with the children of the president of the stake.  In that day we had two-day conferences.  So he went with his daddy Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning to a special Sunday School meeting, Sunday morning to the Sunday School session of conference, Sunday afternoon to the regular conference, and we were going to the old tabernacle to the Sunday night meeting.  By that time I had become so thoroughly interested in the work of the conference that I paid little attention to him.  As we neared the old tabernacle, he touched my hand and said, ‘Daddy, are you going to speak tonight?’  I expected him to say, ‘Will you tell us a story as you did this morning?’  I said, ‘Yes, I think so.’

‘Oh, please don’t.’

‘Please don’t — Why?’

‘Because you talk too long.’

But I should like to say a word in confidence to you missionaries.  I shall not go into details about your work.  President Thorn will guide you in that, other than to say, I think this plan of referrals is one of the best plans ever instituted in missionary work.  It brings into activity every member of the Church, and every member should realize that he or she is a missionary.  Let your branch members understand that — every member is a missionary.  He or she has the responsibility of bringing somebody, a mother, a father, a neighbor, a fellow workman, an associate — somebody in touch with the messages of the Gospel.  If every member will carry that responsibility and make the arrangements to have that mother or that father or somebody meet the authorized representatives of the Church, no power on earth can stop this Church from growing.

And personal contact is what will influence those investigators.  That personal contact, the nature of it, its effect, depends upon you.  That is one thing I wish to emphasize.  There is one responsibility which no man can evade.  That is the responsibility of personal influence.  ‘What you are,’ says reputedly the wisest American — ‘What you are thunders so loud in my ears I cannot hear what you say.’  And what you are is the result of a silent subtle radiation of your personality.  The effect of your words and acts is tremendous in this world.  Every moment of life you are changing to a degree the life of the whole world.  Every man has an atmosphere or a radiation which is affecting every person in the world.  You cannot escape it.  Into the hands of every individual is given a marvelous power for good or for evil.  That power is the silent, unconscious, unseen influence of the life.  It is simply the constant radiation of what a man really is, not what he pretends to be.  Every man by his mere living is radiating sympathy or sorrow, or morbidness or cynicism or happiness, hope, or any of a hundred other qualities.  Life is a state of radiation.  It is also a life of absorption.  To exist is to radiate; to exist is to be the radiation of our feelings, natures, doubts, schemes, or to be the recipient of those things from somebody else.  You cannot escape it.

Man cannot escape for one moment, not for one moment, from this radiation, the radiation of his character, the constantly weakening or strengthening of character, as relates to others.  We try to evade the responsibility by saying it is unconscious influence.  You will select the qualities that you will permit to be radiated.  You can cultivate sweetness, calmness, trust, generosity, truth, loyalty, nobility; or you can radiate moroseness, cynicism, criticism, doubt, make anything vitally active in your character, and by radiating that quality or those qualities you may affect the whole world.  Now that is your responsibility — what you are.

In 1922, 24, there were five hundred missionaries in the European Mission.  During those two years, five went home in disgrace — one per cent.  Those five I mention because they did not enter into the spirit of the missionary work.  Even at that time we had every member a missionary, 1923 especially.  The books will show the result here in Great Britain.  But those five were tragedies.  One, I remember, blamed the circumstances of having met a young girl after the close of the book-shop; circumstances caused him to transgress the laws of purity.  He blamed the girl for having schemed the plan.  I blamed him wholly.  He had thought about it.  He had been flattered by the occasion of the young girl.  In his heart he desired to meet her.  What he was shown by that act, that appointment.  Circumstances were just consistent with his anticipated ideas.  He was wholly responsible.  Just because the girl happened to show him an attention, show an interest, that was her life; she could easily.  He had forgotten what he was, a man representing his people, his parents, his ward, his Church, a man holding the Priesthood, representing Christ, yielding to the infatuation which is natural for every man instead of standing up and defying the conditions, temptation, as a man, as a man of character should, not only a man of God.

(We can talk from the heart.  That is what we are going to do.)

That poor man did not amount to very much.  He radiated while he was here the thoughts which prompted his actions.  One other had achieved quite a leadership in the branch in Scotland, not in the branch but in the mission.  Women showed an interest in him, yes, just as they do in every missionary.  He became flattered, arranged the opportunity; actually that can be done very easily, to get away from his companion, to be in her presence alone.  That does not take much scheming.  Circumstances will permit themselves.  He fell from the high standards of morality.   He, too, was excommunicated, his life blighted.

I am talking to men and women this morning who have the responsibility of radiating faith, of radiating self-mastery, self-control under any condition, men and women who are radiating love, not pretended love, for the people among whom you are laboring, but an appreciation of their characters, true admiration.  And I will tell you you will find it among the ‘lowest’–so-called–among the humblest people in the world.

I think one of the greatest exhibitions of entertainment, of dignity, was experienced by Sister McKay and me in the near East among the refugees of the war that put the Armenians out of home, out of the land, out of the country.  When we met them in Aleppo they were living in caves, some of them.  We were invited one day to a humble home and partook of refreshments spread on a box — covered with rich carpets to us — but we sat on benches.  Our host and hostess had to sit at the head of the table and the foot of it on improvised seats.  But I said to Sister McKay after that, after we crept out of our crowded places, I said, ‘I think that was one of the most dignified dinners I think we have ever attended.’  Because it came from their hearts.  They radiated that love and loyalty and appreciation, that just transformed that cave — that is really all it was — that cave into a palace.  What they were came into our hearts.  They radiated a loyalty, an admiration, they gave of themselves in entertainment in a manner which just seemed to transform them into royal personages.  We have sat before with those who had surroundings of wealth, of culture, position, but I think I have never seen entertainment more royally given than by that humble couple of Armenians in the near East, in Aleppo.

So it is not the surroundings, it is not the positions.  The thing that will influence men, human people, human people in the world, are personalities.  No matter what you are, people will feel, recognize that.  You radiate it.  You cannot hide it.  You would pretend something else, but that will not affect people.  It is what you are, not what you pretend to be that will bring people in to investigate in the Gospel.  You young men now have desire, as Brother Smith has said, to accomplish anything in this world, you can accomplish it.  If you have in your heart a desire or an intent to meet a young woman who will show interest in you, you will do it.  The way will open up, but it depends on your attitude when that meeting comes, and what your success will be in this mission and in the world.  You may hide it from your mission president, or you may sneak away from your companion.  The opportunity will offer itself for you to do it.  That is nothing, nothing to be proud of; that is just scheming.  What you are in your heart, how you act in the presence of that young lady, will be known by you and by God.  There are two people in this world who will know it, and it will be marked for your credit in the future for the stabilization of your character or the tarnishing of your character.  A silent, unseen influence is working constantly.

I once read of a man, the conditions under which a prayer should be offered.  He was not a member of the Church, but he had a glimpse of what character means and how it should be expressed by the individual.  In this case he is telling how the individual should approach his God.  He said, Go into your room alone.  Close the doors, pull down the blinds.  Kneel in the center of the room, and do not say anything, but just study your heart, for God can study it just as you are.  Then ask Him sincerely, not what you need yourself, but first look and see what He has done for you, what you are, what intelligence he has given you, what your parents have given you, what they are giving you, what the people in your town mean to you.  And I thought as I read that, what the Church has done for you.  Just think a few moments, what are your blessings from somebody else, if you are in need of something great.  Pour out your heart to God.  It was quite an experience for me to read that from a non-member.

There came to me while I was reading it the picture of the old king in Hamlet.  Do you remember?  After he had murdered Hamlet’s father, married the queen, he, too, he knelt down.  But, said the words of Hamlet, ‘My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:  Words without thoughts never to heaven go.’  (Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III, Scene 2)  He was still thinking of the crimes, the scheme, the things which he had accomplished.  He had the throne, he had his brother’s wife and all; but Hamlet was right.  He knew what was in his heart is all that God would judge.  So it is with every man living, every woman living.  What you are within, that God counts.  And what you are this morning, what you are thinking about will contribute to your success or your failure as missionaries.

God grant that every one will go home sincerely like a true missionary, radiating a purity, virtue, radiating a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the greatest blessing that can come to one.  And do not worry about whether you have it or not.  If you keep your heart true and pure, it will come to you as surely as the sun rises in the morning after a dark night.  I do not know whether you have ever read it or heard it, but I have quoted my experience as a young man before I came to Scotland, my first mission 62 years ago.  I knew that there was something that was more precious than life itself, and that was a feeling, a knowledge, that our Father in Heaven does live, that this Gospel is the restored plan.  God would not have given it if he did not have something which the whole world required.  I remember I was riding on the hills east of Huntsville, hunting cattle.  I can even now see the very hillside.  I stopped my horse, threw the reins over his head, and I thought I would just like to talk to the Lord there.  I knelt down by a service berry bush.  I asked the Lord to give me a testimony.  I was looking for some transformation or the hearing of a voice or something that would make a testimony real.  I am sure I prayed earnestly.  I got up, threw the reins over the horse’s head, mounted him, started out on the foothill, and I remember saying — (I am giving you heart-petals this morning)  — I remember saying to myself, ‘Well, I am honest with myself; I am just the same old boy I was before I knelt down, no transformation.’  I had not heard a voice.  I am just the same boy as I was before, and I spent that day getting the cattle.

I remember another time kneeling down in prayer at Spring Creek, just about a block from the old home, praying the same– offering the same prayer — feeling that I want to know for sure that this is the Gospel, that God is alive, still living.  I went to college, graduated from the university.  While still in university, received the call to go on a mission.  I did not like it, because I had my hope after graduation of a teaching position.  William M. Stewart, head of the normal department, had offered me a school there in Salt Lake County, at what I thought was a good salary, and I could pay back my parents for what they had done, the sacrifices they had made to send me and my brother and sisters to college.  Now here I am to go on a mission and have to be supported again by my father.  I think he anticipated my feelings about that time, and wrote the letter accompanying the call from Box B at that time, because he said, ‘You decide what to do.  Do not be influenced by your surroundings.  We leave it to you to decide whether you will accept the call or not.’

Well, I did what was perhaps presumptuous on my part at that time.  I thought I would go to the president of the Church, tell him that I have a position to teach, about William Stewart, and if I accept this position I cannot do it for two years or more, and I shall not graudate until June, and that was January, 1897.  Brother George Reynolds made an opportunity to meet the president.  He listened.  ‘Well, you finish your school — (January) — and graduate in June, and when you are ready to accept the call, you let us know.  Goodbye.’

By the time graduation was over I said to him and to my father and all — my father was the bishop — I am ready to go, answer my call.  And in August, the 7th of August, 1897, I said goodbye to my folks, companions and all.

I had not heard a voice.  I had not — I still had that same desire that made me kneel on the hillside and out in the meadow across Spring Creek, same thing.  I still knew that we would have to live in such a way as to merit a call or guidance.  There came into my mind during that period, ‘Do my duty,’ and I learned this couplet, ‘Do your duty.  That is best.  Leave unto the Lord the rest.’

One day in Glasgow when the weight of the responsibilities of the presidency of the conference was upon my young shoulders, there was trouble in the branch.  Two of the brethren began to fight — not physically, but call each other names.  It began in the Sunday School class in the morning.  One brilliant man — I can give you his name, Brother Leggatt, I learned to love him.  He had been excommunicated then three times but he was still in the Church at that time.  The other was a converted minister, Brother Clark.

Brother Leggatt gave a wonderul explanation of a passage in the Old Testament.  I thought it was excellent.  ‘I AM THAT I AM’ and he analyzed it:  I am that Being — associated with the word be — am is be — Being that always existed.  ‘I AM THAT I AM’ that I am that always existed.

Brother Clark said, ‘Oh, yes, I knew that.’  Brother Leggatt with his Scotch, ‘No ya dinna.’  ‘Yes I did.’  ‘No ya did not — you didn’t.’  and they quarrelled right there in the class, upset the whole Sunday School.  Brother Clark picked up his hat and said, ‘I’ll leave the room, I’ll never come back here as long as that man is in the presidency of the branch.’  Dissension in the branch, that is a condition that is very easy to meet.

That was a test.  I heard the voice that I had prayed for on the hillside.  It was not so loud as I had anticipated.  The inspiration came what to do to settle those, to bring about those men, to bring about unity in the branch, and further the work of the Lord without such antagonisms.  There was a great deal more associated with it which I need not mention.  I heard the touch, got in touch with the spirit, as never before, the prayer on the hillside was answered, not the way I had anticipated, but the way the Lord intended it to be answered.  That was the beginning of the revelation of the spirit to my soul.  Part of that instance came the next day when I called to see Brother Leggatt down across the Clyde.  And it was completed when he said, ‘I’ll gae you a Scots convoy.’  He walked with me up to the bridge across the railroad track and there was going to say goodbye, but some of it I can give in these words.  I said, ‘Brother Leggatt, you were not to blame for that incident.  Brother Clark should ask your forgiveness, at least he should come half way.  I am going to ask you to go all the way and ask Brother Clark’s forgiveness and settle that dispute between you.  You are two leaders in this branch.’

I shall never forget that moment that followed.  I can even remember now his running his hand up through his hair, dropping his head.  ‘It’s gae hard but i’ll de it.’  (It’s gae hard — it’s very hard but I’ll de it) — and he did.  He went up to Springburn; he entered Brother Clark’s shop — he was a shoemaker.  Brother Clark opened the door.  (I heard this afterwards.)  He said, ‘Oh, it’s you, is it?’ turned his back on Brother Leggatt and sat down, hammering at his shoe.  Brother Leggatt was true to his promise.  He said, ‘I have come up to shake your hand, to ask your forgiveness for my part in that untoward incident before the entire Church.’

Brother Clark merely said, ‘Well, if you mean it.’  Brother Leggatt walked out.  Brother Clark had a change of heart.  He came down and asked Brother Leggatt’s forgiveness, and next Sunday they came arm in arm to their Sunday School meeting.  Rupture of an entire branch averted through the inspiration of the Lord on that Monday morning.  That is just one incident, and from that time on, by doing my duty, listening to the promptings of the spirit, the answer of the prayer on the hillside was answered.

And now I stand before you today bearing a testimony that the channel of communication is open, and the Lord is ready to guide and does guide His people.  Is that not worth resisting temptation, to seek an opportunity to gratify your appetite or your vanity as some elders do, and when they do, merit excommunication from the Church, just for the gratification of a whim or a passion?

So two ways are open, one leading to the spirit, testimony of the spirit that is in harmony with the spirit of creation, the Holy Ghost.  The spirit of the Lord animates and enlivens every spirit in the Church or out of it.  By Him we live and move and have our being, but the testimony of the Holy Ghost is a special privilege.  It is like tuning in the radio and hearing a voice on the other side of the world.  Men who are not within that radiation cannot hear it, but you hear it, you hear that voice, and you are entitled to that voice and the guidance of it.  It will come to you if you do your part; but if you yield to your own instincts, your own desires, your own passions, and you pride yourself that you are thinking and planning and scheming, you think you are getting away with it, things will become dark.  You will accomplish the gratification of your passion or your appetite, but you deny the spirit, cut off the communication between your spirit and the spirit of the Holy Ghost.

I have here a line:  ‘Young man, life is before you.  Two voices are calling, one coming out from the swamps of selfishness and force where success means death, and the other from the hill tops of justice, progress, where even failure brings glory.  Two lights are seeing your horizon, one the fast-fading light of power, (Think of Communism), and the other the slowly rising sun of human brotherhood.  Two ways lie open for you, one leading to an even lower and lower plane, where are heard the cries of despair and curses of the poor, where manhood shrivels and a possession rots down the possessor, and the other leading to the highlands of the morning where are heard the glad shouts of humanity and where honest effort is rewarded with immortality.’

You have chosen the road that leads to spirituality.  Do not turn aside, and do not pride yourself that you were clever by thinking you can turn into the byway and the pathway and not be detected.  Two people from whom you never can escape — one is yourself, the other is God.  You may turn aside and get your honorable release and go home, face the people in the ward, proud that you have received an honorable release, but if you have not merited it, your own heart will accuse you of it, and you know that God knows it.  Only one way to live, to gain that spirituality, and that is by obedience to your call as a missionary, your loyalty to the priesthood and your home, living each day as God would have you live; and being worthy, as worthy when you go to the temple if you have not been there, with your bride by your side, as she is when she puts here hand in yours.  You will know if you have been true, if you love her and she is worthy of your love, that she is just as pure as a snowflake, as spotless as a sunbeam, as worthy to become mother as the purest virgin, and she has a right to know that you, to whom she gives herself, are just as worthy as she.  I want to tell you that that is life; that is real.  Then you may stand and plight your love in honor and glory, and the life before you, why testimony after testimony will come from various different ways, and you can say as Peter, that rough, hard-headed fisherman who did not join the Church for quite a while, did not join any Church, but later said, gloriously, ‘Ye might be partakers of the divine nature.’  (2 Pet. 1:4)  Have you read that in his epistle.  ‘Ye might be partakers of the divine nature.’  (I do not know why I got on this line, but I know it is of value to you.)

I am going to close with an illustration.  In 1923, as I have named, there were five hundred missionaries in the European Mission.  I said to them, ‘You cannot control your heart.  You will fall in love with girls here who will show you preference, but you can control your speech, and you can control your acts.  You can control your writing.  Your duty now is to do what you are appointed to do by your president.  Let me suggest to you that if you do fall in love with any of these girls, and some of you will, that you control your voice, your words, and your acts, and receive an honorable release and go home and report your missionary labors in honesty.  If your heart still tells you that this young girl with whom you have fallen in love is the one for you, then you may be privileged to write to her, and to propose to her if you wish.  Then you will know that you are right, and that you are in love.  You have met your other girls at home and you still may love this girl.’

Well, I did not pay any attention to it until I was at home myself after the mission presidency, and was visiting the Pioneer Stake officially, and after the morning meeting people came up and shook hands, and among them a short, stubby man who I thought was going to shake hands and say he enjoyed the service, but he said, Brother McKay, why did you make it necessary for my boy to go to the expense of coming home all the way and then going back after his girl?’  I said, ‘Did your boy do that?’  and then I remembered that his son was on a mission to Holland.  “Ya, ya, he did.’  ‘He came home and then went back after his girl?’  ‘Ya, ya, he did.’  ‘And he got his girl?’  ‘Ya, ya.’  ‘And brought her here?’  ‘Ya, ya; he married her and he could have married her over there and brought her and saved all that expense.’  I said, ‘Is she not worth it?’  ‘Oh, ya, ya.’

That man became president of that stake.  Their children have been missionaries since that time.  He is a leading, active, faithful messenger and member laboring in one of the stakes there in the West today.  God bless you, men of the Priesthood.  May you hold it in dignity, to bear poise with it that comes from within, not from without.  ‘Nae pleasures nor treasures can make us happy lang; the heart-e is the part-e that makes us right or wrang.’

God bless you sisters.  The experience that you have will prepare you for the responsibilities ahead of you, and may you be worthy of some righteous man who has been equally true to his Priesthood, and see to it that the man is worthy of it, and then you many go on in happiness and joy, fulfilling the full measure of your creation.

Whether you believe it or not, whether the world believes it or not, the power of transforming this world and establishing peace rests with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They may attack you as they are attacking them up in Glasgow now.  They may sneer at you and look upon you as horrors or wisps of hopes unrealized.  But the fact remains that God’s authority is placed upon earth, the power is given directly from the Savior to those who now are presiding and He is guiding them by the Holy Spirit, and His voice is sweet.  The Spirit is uplifting, inspiring and ennobling.  You may know it and I want you to know it this morning, as you leave this room and go forth as representatives, as ambassadors of the Most High, to establish the kingdom of God on earth, which is not a mystical, but a real kingdom.  I leave my testimony with you in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

President McKay addressed the congregation as follows:

Sir Thomas, Alderman Webb, President and Sister Boyer, fellow travellers, members of the quorum, my fellow countrymen:  You know, I have a regret in my heart more pronounced today than I have had in years past, that as a child I did not learn Welsh from Mother.  I have heard it every time Uncle Morgan Powell came into the kitchen, and that was often because Mother cooked his bread.  Uncle Morgan never married — Morgan-Powell.  Uncle Morgan lived only half a block from where I lived in Huntsville.  Whenever he did enter, I would hear Mother say, ‘–(Welsh)–,’ and then she and Uncle Morgan would talk Welsh, and I paid no attention to it.  How foolish!  I might have learned Welsh as a child, and could speak to you now in your native language.  About all I remember is what Uncle Morgan called me, a ‘–(Welsh)–.’

My heart is full of gratitude.  The previous speakers have been speaking about the time they first came here.  I first came to Great Britain sixty-two years ago as a missionary, came to Wales in 1899–that was the last of the other century–and had difficulty in finding the spot on which a plaque was placed today.  I was permitted to come from Scotland down to England, Liverpool –42 Islington in Liverpool — and then made a trip over to Wales and first saw my Mother’s birthplace.  There is no difficulty today in finding it — (Then she knew) — thanks to Brother Reiser who first suggested several years ago when he was president of the European Mission that a plaque should be placed on Mother’s birthplace.  I feel indebted today to Sir Thomas for having been influential in having engraved such a beautiful plaque as I have had the honor and pleasure of unveiling today, and I am thankful for your presence.  I am thankful for the presence of the mayor, for his gracious welcome this morning, for the attendance of you men and women who have traveled this distance, for your presence there this morning.

It is a little difficult for me to control my feelings.  I am a cry-baby anyhow, but I do appreciate your presence here today, preceding this eventful occasion, the breaking of ground of the new chapel of South Wales, and I am glad to be here and share that with you.  I know the people of Merthyr Tydfil will appreciate the efforts of the Church in putting up such a temple, such a chapel for worshiping the true God and His Son, Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, Who founded the Church in the meridian of times, Who was persecuted, misunderstood, finally crucified on the cross by those who did not understand, finally crucified on the cross by those who did not understand, but who heard Him say, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,’ (Luke 23:34), and whose last thought was of His Mother, of whom He said, ‘Woman, behold thy son.’  Pointing to John, the disciples who stood by His side, ‘Behold thy mother.’  (John 19:26, 27)

I appreciate your gathering here this morning, your singing ‘Love at Home.’  It was significant because it is the love at home that has brought us here today, our son, my wife and daughter, who are in London, unable to make the trip, but my son is here.  We have had the privilege of meeting relatives, the Powells, the Evanses, Davises, and others who are many in this part, and I am glad that they will have the privilege of working, contributing, to a house of the Lord.

I am grateful for what Sir Thomas has done so ably and so willingly, for he denied himself other opportunities when he assumed the responsibiity of erecting a temple, the London Temple, which stands as a credit to him, and as I walked through the London Chapel, not the London Temple, but the London Chapel, yesterday, the Hyde Park Chapel, I admired even more than ever his workmanship, skill, his vision, and his willingness to deny himself for the good of the Church.  The Hyde Park Chapel is a monument to him.

And it is a monument to the progress of the Church in this country, for there are many of those who have spoken to you today, including the one who now stands before you, who have had to meet in halls, rented halls, as we do now, and my father who was here over eighty years ago as a missionary was up to Scotland, and they would not rent him a hall.  In the ‘Millennial Star,’ — I cannot give you just the date — but you will find there a letter which my father wrote on August 7 to the president of the European Mission, in which he said, they found it impossible even to rent a hall to bear message, my father used the words, to bear the ‘humble’ message of the restoration.  And he uses the word, ‘It was ‘Hobson’s choice’ — to preach out-of-doors or not preach in public.’  He chose ‘Hobson’s choice’ and held the open air meeting up in Scotland.

So I say that the Hyde Park Chapel is a monument to progress.  It stands there in the heart of London, an honor to the city, a credit to the city, an honor to the Church, a credit to Sir Thomas, the architect, and his staff of builders.  I am glad we have here today members of the building committee who will have charge of building this chapel and others throughout Great Britain.  And there will be opportunity for mission-workers, work-missionaries, to build these chapels so economically that many who have never had an opportunity to attend their own chapel will in the future, very soon in the future, have an opportunity to be worshipping in their own chapels.

I say I am grateful for all this; and thank you this afternoon, one and all, for your presence at the unveiling which I thought to be a simple affair, and so told President Reiser years ago, when — well, a few years ago — when he suggested that we have some organization.  I said, ‘No, we will get the plaque, and only two or three of us will go out and put it on Mother’s birthplace.’  There was a large appreciative crowd, which brought tears to my eyes, and it is difficult for me even to speak on this occasion, so impressed was I with that then.

President Woodbury, his wife, Sister Woodbury, and particularly the president of this branch, Brother Ralph Pulman — Brother Pulman, I think, is a relative of Dan Jones, first missionary to Wales.  You who are acquainted with Church history know that Dan Jones was in Carthage jail with the Prophet, when they were unjustly accused, and he was under sentence as was the Prophet.  The Prophet Joseph said to him, ‘They will not take your life.  You will yet go back to Wales and preach the Gospel to your people.’  And Dan Jones came here, the first missionary among the Welsh people.  And we have here a relative in this branch of that heroic, loyal man.

Now that I am referring to these, the spirit of opposition, the misunderstanding, not only of the Savior and His work, but of the local missionaries in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Great Britain, there comes to my mind a story that happened when the English demanded that the Japanese open up their doors to the world.  Before that time there was the story of a Japanese philosopher, the substance of which I think I shall repeat.  The Japanese are great people for choosing beautiful sites, just as we have been thrilled today by the site that was chosen by our representatives today; but in Japan, even now, if you follow the trail through a woods, you can be pretty sure that it will end at a beautiful view.  It may be a view of Fujiyama, the snow-capped peak, in a distance.  It may be a beautiful forest or a village.  Before the English demanded the opening of the Japanese gates, an old philosopher went outside of the gates at Tokyo, and studied the beauties of nature.  Then he would come in at night and meet the people who surrounded him to give them lessons.

One morning, as he was about to go on his daily studies, one of the townspeople met him and said, ‘When you come in tonight, will you please bring me a rose that I may study the lesson you gave us?’  He said, ‘I shall bring you a rose.’

A second met him.  He said, ‘Will you bring me a hawthorne twig, that I may continue the lesson you gave?’

‘I shall bring you a hawthorne twig.’

Just as he was leaving the gate, a third accosted him saying, ‘Will you bring me a a a lily that I may study the lesson you gave me?’  He promised the third.

When he returned in the evening, the three were at the gate to meet him.  To the first he gave the rose, to the second the hawthorne twig, and to the third, the lily.  Suddenly the man with the rose said, ‘Why, here is a thorn, clinging to the stem of my rose!’  And the second, prompted by the spirit of complaint, said, ‘And here is a dead leaf, clinging to my hawthorne twig!’  and the third said, ‘There is dirt clinging to the roots of my lily!’

‘Let me see,’ said the old philosopher, and he took the rose from the first, the hawthorne twig from the second, and the lily from the third, and he plucked the thorn from the stem of the rose and gave it to the first.  He plucked the leaf from the hawthorne twig, and handed it to the second.  He took the dirt from the lily and put it in the hands of the third; and then said, ‘I have given to each of you what attracted him first.  You looked for the thorn and it was there; you saw the dead leaf; I left it on purposely; and so I left the dirt which you saw first.  Each of you may keep what attracted him first.  I will keep the rose, the hawthorne twig, and the lily for the beauty I see in them.’

So it is in life.  Each of us may have a thorn.  Paul himself referred to the ‘thorn in the flesh.’  (2 Cor. 12:7)  Some may even have a dead leaf, reputation that might be a little soiled.  Some of our fellow people might even have a little dirt clinging to their path, but everyone also has the rose in his character, everyone also has the hawthorne twig, and there are many who have the lily.  And more than ever today it is well for us to look for that which is good and shut our eyes to that which is blind.

The Savior gave that lesson many years ago when He said, ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.’  (Matt. 7:1-2)

There is a fairly old song in one of our hymn books, and it cannot be sung too often in our branch meetings, in our ward meetings.  Part of it says, ‘Nay, speak no ill, but lenient be to others’ failings as your own.  If you are the first a fault to see, be not the first to make it known.  For life is but a passing day.  No lip can tell how brief its span.  And, oh, the little time we stay, let’s speak of all the best we can.  Give me the heart that fain would hide, would fain another’s faults efface.  How can it please the human mind to prove humanity but base?  No, let us reach a higher plane, a nobler estimate of man.  Be earnest in the search for good.  Speak of all the best we can.  Then speak no ill, but lenient be to others’ failings as your own.’  I give that song to you because as these branches grow, wards are organized, you will be annoyed, perhaps have difficulty because of what people say, and the fault-finding maybe occurs.  It often wounds the heart, and our hearts are very tender things — human hearts are tender.  It is always best to look for the best, in others, and look for the evil in our own selves.

God bless you, my brethren and sisters in Merthyr, in Wales, in Britain, England, in Scotland, in Ireland, in Germany, in the Scandinavian countries, in Holland; yes, in Japan, in China, the other countries, for only by obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ will come peace to the world.  The enemy of peace declaring falsehood for the ideal and saying that he is working for peace — the Communists — says there is no God, there is no Christ, only matter which we should break up, the _________ take care of that.  Nothing could be more false.  As already repeated today, Peter was the one who said to those who arrested him, demanding that he testify no more about that ‘drunk’ man who cured a lame man and by whose power he had been cured.  But they said, ‘You tell us by what power this man stands healed.  One of the greatest pictures in all the world is Peter who faced the very men who had crucified the Christ.  He said, ‘If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole.’  Then he said, ‘For there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.’  (Acts 4:9, 10, 12)  That is the mission, not only of you elders, members of branches, but all who are commissioned of the Lord to preach the Gospel to every creature.  ‘He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.’  (Mark 16:16)

Be kind to one another.  Let us establish brotherhood, the universal brotherhood for whom all Christians ____________.  Let us pray in the words of poor unfortuante Burns, ‘Let us pray that come it may, but come it will for all that, that man to man shall brothers be, for all that.  It is coming yet for all that.  Man to man the world over shall brothers be for all that.’

I shall never forget this day.  I shall never cease to appreciate what we have done.  I leave my blessing with you and all who have been associated with you, all who have participated, thank you with all my heart, and pray for God’s blessing to be with you as you complete the edifice, the ground of which is broken this day in the presence of such dignified people, in the presence of the Lord, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.”

Wed., 29 Mar. 1961:

“9:30 to 10:15 a.m.

Held the regular meeting of the First Presidency.  At this meeting I discussed with my counselor the matter of sending out members of the First Council of Seventy to set the Church in order without giving them authority to set apart Stake Presidents or to ordain Bishops, and commented on the fact that they are going out and doing the work of high priests and should be given that authority.

I explained that in the early days of the Church, the First Council of Seventy were high priests and when the question arose about this the Prophet took the high priests out and seventies took their places.  In response to President Clark’s inquiry as to whether or not when a president of seventy is chosen I would propose that there be conferred upon him a special authority and to make him a high priest or only confer a special authority, I said that when a vacancy in the Council of the Seventy is filled, special authority would be given to set in order the affairs of the Church and the individual should be ordained a High Priest.

The revelation (Doctrine & Covenants, Section 107, Verse 94), ‘And the seventh president of these presidents is to preside over the six;’ was also considered and the relation of this to the present need of the Church was discussed.  President Clark’s question, ‘Will you make it a general rule or apply it to specific persons?’ was answered by me by saying, ‘Under present conditions, I should apply it to specific cases.  Every man who is appointed to go out to a stake, every one of the First Council of Seventy appointed to visit a stake, should have authority of High Priests to set in order the needs in that stake.  I should not make it general; I should make it individual.  I should confer upon each one who goes out to set the Church in order.’

President Moyle said, ‘You have a precedent established by President Grant.  He conferred upon the Assistant the authority of the Apostleship.’

I said:  ‘They are Apostles with every right and power of the Apostles except only the choosing of patriarchs, and they are given the same charge.  They do not have the right to choose a patriarch, and they are not members of the Quorum, but they have the authority of the Apostle.’  I then said that only the members of the First Council who are sent out to do the duty of High Priests would be given authority.

President Clark said, ‘If it is a special ordination, my query is answered.’

I then said that we shall present the matter to the Twelve at our meeting in the Temple tomorrow.

Other important matters were taken up at this meeting.”

Thurs., 30 Mar. 1961:

“7:25 a.m.

Consultation with President Joseph Fielding Smith.  I explained that under the arrangements being made to divide mission fields into areas and placing them under the direction of one of the General Authorities of the Church, that the stakes within the areas can be taken care of by the General Authority assigned to the area.  I also informed President Smith that the Presidency will probably have a recommendation to make that the Seventies be given authority to set in order everything pertaining to the stakes.  I felt impressed to say to him, ‘We shall give them that authority.’  President Smith patted me on the back, and said, ‘I am with you.’

I said the President of the Seventy will be ordained High Priests and sent out to set the stake in order and everything pertaining thereto.  He has the same authority as a Seventy, and by virtue of the appointment of the First Presidency, he has authority to attend to every duty in the stake.  I am sure that is right!  I said nothing to President Smith about the seventh president of seventy presiding over the other six.  We shall take this matter up a little later.

Seventies – Ordination to High Priests

Presented to the Brethren in Council Meeting today the matter of ordination of Brethren of the First Council of Seventy to High Priests in order that they may attend to ordinations when they are assigned to go out into the Stakes.  

Thursday, March 30, 1961


President McKay, speaking to the Brethren, said that the Church is growing, stakes are increasing in number, and work of the General Authorities is becoming heavier and heavier all the time, and their presence is needed in the stake conferences.  He mentioned that the Twelve now have eleven associates called Assistants; also the First Council of Seventy who go out regularly, and the Presiding Bishopric.  He said that the Seventy, who labor under the direction of the Twelve in accordance with the revelations, are not authorized to complete all the work for which they are sent out; that at one time in the Church high priests and seventies both were called into the First Council of Seventy.  The question arose regarding the authority, etc., of these brethren, and the high priests were released, and since that time only those who were ordained to the office of seventy have occupied a position in the First Council.

President McKay said that the First Presidency now recommend that those members of the First Council of Seventy who are appointed to represent the Twelve at the quarterly conferences be ordained high priests so that they can attend to all the regular duties to which they are assigned.  They will not join the high priests’ quorum, he said, because they will hold to their present appointment, but as they go out they will be given authority, which they already have as holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood, to set in order everything necessary.

The President said that this authority would not be given to all of them, and it will not change the order and calling of the seventies into the First Council of Seventy.  They shall be chosen as heretofore, but when the First Council of Seventy are used to go out to represent the Twelve and to do that work just as the Assistants do, they should have the power and authority to do everything that will help in the work.

President McKay asked if the Brethren had any questions.

Elder Ezra Taft Benson said he assumed that this would not include the ordaining of patriarchs.

President McKay answered no, that even the Assistants cannot do that.  In answer to a further question by Brother Benson, President McKay said that, however, they will be able to ordain bishops and set apart presidents of stakes and high councilmen.  They cannot, however, choose patriarchs.  That responsibility rests with the Twelve.  Nor can they attend to the restoration of blessings.  They can merely attend to the local work.

President Joseph Fielding Smith moved approval of the decision of the First Presidency.  Motion seconded by Elder Ezra Taft Benson and unanimously approved.”

Tues., 4 Apr. 1961:

“Arab Development

Received a letter of appreciation from Mr. W. Hugh Walker, Representative, Ford Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon, telling of the successful Dairy project in Jericho, Jordan to which the church contributed cattle from Holland.  (See copy of letter following, and a copy of President McKay’s reply thereto)

(On June 27th, 1960 President McKay received a visit from Mr. Musa Bey Alami, an Arab of Jericho Jordan who was accompanied by his adopted son, Amer Salti Alami, who told of his efforts to assist the Arabs in developing the land, etc.  On January 12, 1961, President McKay gave his permission for Brother and Sister Seymour Mikkelsen of the B.Y.U. to act as missionaries in Jericho and Jerusalem where they will be stationed for two years to set up a dairy.)”

Sun., 9 Apr. 1961:


At this morning’s meeting, I announced that Elder Nathan Eldon Tanner had been appointed President of the newly created West European Mission which will include the British, Central British, Northern British Missions, the Scottish-Irish, Netherlands, French, and French East Missions.  Brother Alvin Dyer will now head the South, East, and West German Missions, and the Swiss and Austrian Missions.”

Wed., 19 Apr. 1961:

“8:30 to 9:10 a.m.

Was in the meeting of the First Presidency.  Among important matters considered were 1) I reported that Brother Nathan Eldon Tanner, who has been appointed President of the West European Mission, which mission includes Great Britain, France, and Holland, is to be made Editor of the Millennial Star, and that Brother T. Bowring Woodbury, now President of the British Mission, will be the assistant Editor.  2)  I said that heretofore the First Presidency has made appointments of members of the Twelve to visit foreign countries, and that now I feel that the responsibility of making these Stake appointments at home and abroad should be with the Twelve.  I further said that we need to appoint a Committee of the Twelve to assist President Joseph Fielding Smith in assigning Brethren to Stake conferences.  I shall talk with him, suggesting the need of such a Committee to study the conditions and needs of the Stakes, and to make assignments of General Authorities in accordance therewith.  I said that I would present the matter to the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve at their meeting in the Temple tomorrow.  3)  I expressed my feeling that special appointments to visit missions should be made by the First Presidency and approved by the Twelve.  4)  First Council of Seventy.  We agreed that members of the First Council of Seventy who are sent to Stakes and Missions to set in order the affairs of the Church be ordained high priests, and have authority to serve as such.  They will not, however, be members of the high priests’ quorums, but are given special authority to set in order the Stakes and Missions to which they are assigned.

Fri., 9 June 1961:

“Ordaining of Seventies to office of High Priest

11:30 a.m.

Went up to the office of the First Council of Seventy where, by appointment, I met with the members of that Council.  Brother Levi Edgar Young was present.

I explained to these brethren the proposition that they are sent out under the direction of the Twelve to set in order matters in the stakes and wards, and that under the arrangement that has heretofore prevailed they were unable to ordain High Priest to any position in the stake, or even assist in such ordinations; that, however, the Brethren of the First Presidency and the Twelve were now united in recommending that when members of the First Council of the Seventy go out to fill such appointments under the direction of the Twelve, they should be empowered with all authority necessary to set in order the stakes and wards.

The brethren of the First Council voted unanimously for this change and seemed to be pleased regarding it.  (See Sunday, June 11, 1961 for notes regarding the ordaining of some of these Brethren and for the public announcement of same)

While these Brethren will be ordained High Priests they will not belong to the High Priests Quorum, but will belong to the First Council of Seventy.

Sun., 11 June 1961:

“8 a.m.

Members of the First Council of Seventy Set Apart as High Priests ‘that they may have Power to set in order all things Pertaining to the Church.’

According to appointment at my request, I met with President Henry D. Moyle and the following Brethren of the First Council of Seventy:  Antoine R. Ivins – S. Dilworth Young – Milton R. Hunter – Bruce R. McConkie.

In keeping with the divine appointment of the members of the First Council of Seventy to ‘preach the Gospel, and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world,’ (D & C 107:25), and in harmony with the action of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twleve Apostles on March 30, 1961, the following members of the First Council of Seventy met in the office and were ordained High Priests:

Antoine R. Ivins – Ordained by President David O. McKay

S. Dilworth Young – Ordained by President Henry D. Moyle

Milton R. Hunter – Ordained by President David O. McKay

Bruce R. McConkie – Ordained by President Henry D. Moyle

It is understood that these Brethren, and others who are yet to be ordained, will, under their assignments by the Quorum of the Twelve, ordain High Priests, set apart Presidents of Stakes, members of High Councils, Presidents of High Priests Quorums, Bishops and their counselors, and perform such other official duties as may be necessary in Stakes and Missions to which they may be assigned.

This morning at the 9 a.m. Session of the MIA June Conference held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle I made a public announcement to all assembled of this historical move.  (see newspaper clippings following)  (Also see report to Council June 15, 1961)

Sunday, June 11, 1961



An announcement that members of the First Council of Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had been ordained high priests to give them ‘power to set in order all things pertaining to the Church’ as they visit among the stakes and missions was made Sunday morning in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

It was made by President David O. McKay at the close of his remarks at the session of the 62nd annual MIA conference held under the direction of the First Presidency.

President McKay’s statement on the occasion is as follows:

‘There is one message I should like to speak on this occasion to the Church.’

‘This morning four members of the First Council of Seventy were ordained high priests, and the other members of the First Council of Seventy will be so ordained.  Under the direction of the Twelve Apostles, the First Council of Seventy go out in all parts of the world to reorganize stakes and the missions, to set in order the affairs of the Church.  That means ordaining high priests as presidents of stakes, setting apart as presidents of stakes, setting apart high councilmen, setting apart presidents or ordaining presidents of high priests quorums and doing everything that is necessary for the advancement of the work.

‘The First Presidency and Twelve recently agreed that the First Seven Presidents of Seventy who have been appointed by the Twelve should have power to set in order all things pertaining to the Church and this is declaring that they are thus authorized to carry on the work.’

Members of the First Council of Seventy are Levi Edgar Young, Antoine R. Ivins, S. Dilworth Young, Milton R. Hunter, Bruce R. McConkie, Marion D. Hanks and A. Theodore Tuttle.

Deseret News – Monday, June 12, 1961

Sunday, June 11, 1961


The elevation of seven general authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to a higher position in the church’s priesthood was announced Sunday by President David O. McKay.

At the close of the morning session of the Mutual Improvement Assn. conference, Pres. McKay said ‘Members of the First Council of Seventy will be ordained to the office of a high priest so they will be enabled to set in order all things pertaining to the affairs of the church.’.

The ordinations will enable the seven members of the council to direct the organization and reorganization of stakes of the church; to set apart and ordain stake presidencies and other high priests, and to officiate in all other ordinances requiring the priesthood of a high priest.

The position of a high priest is one of three callings in the LDS Church Melchizedek Priesthood.  The others are that of an elder and a seventy.

In the past the organizing of stakes, setting apart of stake presidencies and performance of other functions of a high priest have been handled primarily by members of the Council of Twelve Apostles and the Assistants to the Council of the Twelve.

Pres. McKay said four of the seven presidents of Seventy were ordained Sunday morning and the other ordinations would be taken care of as soon as possible.

Members of the First Council of Seventy include Levi Edgar Young, Antoine R. Ivins, S. Dilworth Young, Milton R. Hunter, Bruce R. McConkie, Marion D. Hanks and A. Theodore Tuttle.

The Salt Lake Tribune – Monday, June 12, 1961″

Wed., 14 Jun., 1961:

[First Presidency Meeting]

7.  First Council of the Seventy

Reference was made to the announcement that I made Sunday morning in the MIA June Conference that four of the members of the First Council of the Seventy had been ordained high priests, which ordination took place Sunday morning at 8 o’clock.  Elder Levi Edgar Young had inquired both from my secretary and Brother Anderson, secretary in the office of the First Presidency, as to the reason why he had not been given this ordination.

I explained that the action did not include making all of the first Seven Presidents High Priests, but only those who are going out to set in order the affairs of the Church.  Those ordained were Antoine R. Ivins, S. Dilworth Young, Milton R. Hunter, and Bruce R. McConkie.

President Moyle mentioned that Elder Ivins seemed to have the understanding that in the future when selecting brethren for positions in the First Council of the Seventy, Presidents of Stakes and others who are High Priests could be chosen, and that perhaps the Assistants to the Twelve might now be made a part of the First Quorum of Seventies.

I explained that it was not the intention to call High Priests into positions in the First Council of Seventies, nor was there any thought of filling up the First Quorum of Seventies in the manner mentioned.  For the record, I said that some time ago (June 9) I met with the First Council of Seventy, Levi Edgar Young being present, and explained to them the proposition that they are sent out under the direction of the Twelve to set in order matters in the stakes and wards, and that under the arrangement that has heretofore prevailed, they were unable to ordain High Priests to any position in the stake or even assist in such ordinations; that, however, the Brethren of the First Presidency and the Twelve are now united in recommending that when members of the First Council of Seventy go out to fill such appointments under the direction of the Twelve, they should be empowered with all authority necessary to set in order the Stakes and Wards.

The Brethren of the First Council voted unanimously for this change, and seemed to be pleased regarding it.  I stated further that while these brethren will be ordained High Priests, they will not belong to the High Priests Quorum, but will belong to the First Council of Seventy.

President Moyle suggested that, if I felt inclined to do so, it would be perhaps wise to explain again the situation to Elder Ivins in order that he may have a correct understanding.

Referring to the First Quorum of the Seventy, I said that is has been generally understood that the First Quorum is made up of the first seven presidents of the first ten quorums, but that this is not authoritative and that the first quorum has never been organized.  I mentioned that is has also been stated that the First Quorum should include the senior president of the first 63 quorums.  I said that I did not feel right about ordaining Levi Edgar Young a High Priest inasmuch as he is not able to visit the Stakes and Wards at the present time due to his condition.

Thurs., 15 June 1961:

“Leadership in Missions of the Church

Elders Spencer W. Kimball and Mark E. Petersen called and discussed at length their recommendation, which was concurred in by the Twelve, regarding confining the activities of the mission presidents to a supervision of proselyting, and setting up in the districts of the missions ’embryo’ stake organizations.  President Moyle joined these brethren in urging that such a program be instituted for the reason that the membership in the missions, it is felt, are not receiving proper opportunities for development in the priesthood and other organizations, and as a result many are losing their interest in the Church.

I stated that I am opposed to the setting up of an administration of this kind.  I said that I feel that such a program would mean a dual leadership in the same area, which I think would be inadvisable.  I feel that the President of the Mission could carry the responsibility if he had the right kind of counselors, and suggested that consideration might appropriately be given to the advisability of calling from headquarters counselors to assist the Mission Presidents.  The Brethren were agreed that some conclusion should be reached in regard to this matter before the holding of the Mission Presidents’ Seminar in order that such program as may be decided upon could be explained to the Mission Presidents when they are in the city.  The question is to be given further consideration.

Seventies – Ordaining of High Priests

Today at Council Meeting, I reported to the Brethren that I had held a meeting with the members of the First Council of Seventy, and that on Sunday morning, June 11, 1961, I had invited four of them to come to my office and that President Henry D. Moyle and I had ordained the following High Priests – Brothers Antoine R. Ivins, S. Dilworth Young, Milton R. Hunter, and Bruce R. McConkie.

I said that in regard to the ordination of these Brethren, I know it is right,and that the Lord approved of it, but that I do not know that we are compelled to give it to all of the Brethren of the First Council of Seventy just because we give it to those whom we send out to represent us.  When they are appointed, they will go representing the Twelve, and they should be empowered with authority to do the work — that is clear to me.

In answer to a question as to whether these Brethren can ordain Bishops, I answered yes, that they could do virtually everything that the Assistants can do; that, however, they do not join the High Priests’ Quorum, but that the First Council of Seventy is their quorum.  Nor does it follow that we shall call High Priests into the First Council of Seventy.  We are not going to do that, as the Prophet has ruled on that matter.

To the question if the members of the First Council of Seventy who have been or may be ordained High Priests can perform marriages in the Temple, I answered No; nor can they select and ordain Patriarchs.

Thur., 22 June, 1961:

Missionary Work in Nigeria

I referred to the situation in Nigeria where many of the native people it is reported desire to join the Church.  We have been corresponding for years with them through LaMar Williams and others, and have sent them Church books and materials.  They have organized themselves into a church, which Church they have given the name of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I said that we cannot escape the obligation of permitting these people to be baptized and confirmed members of the Church if they are converted and worthy, but they should be given to understand that they cannot perform these ordinances nor can they hold the priesthood.  In discussing the matter, it was the sentiment of the Brethren that it would be well to have President Alldredge of the South African Mission call on these people and that LaMar Williams might join him there, the two of them going together.  It was felt that President Alldredge might properly assign one or two missionaries to serve among these people.  The thought was also expressed that perhaps Brother Williams might be left there for a time as one of the missionaries to work with these people.  (see later decision – Saturday, July 1, 1961)

Fri., 30 June 1961:

“7:30 to 8 a.m.

Elder Richard L. Evans came in for consultation:  re:  Missionary Work in India.  Brother Evans reported that he has received an invitation from the man in India next in authority to Nehru, and who, it is thought, might succeed Nehru, to represent the Boy Scout movement in India sometime in 1962.  I told Brother Evans that I thought he should accept the invitation.  I said that there are millions of people in India and they have been calling for missionaries for years, just as the call came to the Apostle Paul to go to Macedonia.  I said that I think we should commence work in India before we go into Pakistan.  I told Brother Evans that if he goes to India in the interest of the Boy Scout work it might be a good opportunity for us to make an entrance into that land as a Church.

Missionary Work in India

Attention was called to letters that are being received regarding doing missionary work in India.  I told the brethren of my conference with Elder Richard L. Evans this morning and of his invitation to go to India in 1962 to represent the Boy Scout Movement.  I said that I feel that Elder Evans should accept the appointment, and that it might be a good opportunity for us to make an entrance into India as a Church, and answer the call that has been coming to us for years for missionaries.

Nigerian Converts 

Missionary Work Among Negroes

President Brown referred to letters being received from people in Nigeria, who bear their testimony and ask if someone cannot come and help them.  I said that we are going to send to Nigeria to look into the situation President O. Layton Alldredge of the South African Mission and probably Brother La Mar Williams who has been correponding with these people.

I said that in this matter we are facing a problem greater than the Twelve of old faced when the church was shaken by the question of whether or not the Gentiles should have the gospel.  I said that the Lord would have to let us know, and when he is ready to open the door he will tell us.  But until he does, we shall have to tell these people in Nigeria that they can go so far and no farther.

In this connection President Brown referred to a conversation he had with Elder N. Eldon Tanner, Assistant to the Twelve.  He reported that Sir Arthur Savage, former Governor General of Nigeria, is in London, and that he is a friend of Elder Tanner; – also,  that a man by the name of Drew is the High Commissioner is a friend of Elder Tanner.  Brother Tanner reported that diplomatically speaking, it would be very well for us to make further inquiry through Messrs. Drew and Savage before we go to Nigeria, and Brother Tanner also thinks they would be willing to give us letters of introduction and letters of recommendation.  President Brown suggested the advisability of having Brother Tanner fly down to Nigeria and join Brothers Alldredge and Williams in Nigeria.  I said that I think this is an excellent suggestion, and that I shall talk with Elder Tanner before he returns to England.  (See report to Council of Twelve Saturday, July 1, 1961)  (Also conference with Elder Tanner on the same day)”

Sat., 1 July 1961:

“7:15 a.m.

By appointment at my call, met with members of the First Presidency and members of the Council of the Twelve in the office of the First Presidency.  (President Clark still being indisposed was absent).

Missionaries to the Negroes in Nigeria

Then I spoke to the Brethren about the importance of a problem that is almost as serious as the one faced by Peter, James, and John, and the Twelve in their day.  Paul left the synagogue, members of which had rejected him, and said he would go to the Gentiles, and historians give him credit for being the author of the decision to take the gospel from the Jews to the Gentiles, but that was done in the Lord’s own way and in the proper way.

Peter, as Head of the Twelve, received a revelation when he had the vision on the housetop, in which a sheet was let down and various kinds of meats were shown him, and he dreamed that the Lord said, ‘Arise Peter; stay and eat.’  Peter answered that he had never eaten anything that was unclean.  The Lord then said, ‘Callest thous not unclean that which I have cleansed.’

It seems that at the very same moment three men stood at the door and invited him to come and give the gospel to one Cornelius.  Peter accepted the call, and sat with other Gentiles.

That was a difficult thing for Peter to do, and there occurred the only exception that we have in sacred history where the Holy Ghost was poured out before baptism, and Peter said, ‘Can anyone refuse baptism since he (Cornelius) has received the Holy Ghost as well as we?’  Peter baptized Cornelius and his household.

Then a meeting of the Twelve was called at which James presided, as he was in charge of the branch in Jerusalem, and Peter testified on that occasion as to the case of Cornelius, that he had received the Holy Ghost, and that he was entitled to the gospel.  Paul also witnessed that the Gentiles had received it, and so the great decision was made that the gospel is for all the world, and James and the others of the Twelve ruled that the Gentiles could accept the gospel, and need not be circumcized as the Jews were.

I reported to the Brethren that there has been considerable correspondence with the Negroes in Nigeria on the part of Brother LaMar Williams, and even previous to the present correspondence, and that some of the Negroes in Nigeria have taken upon themselves the name of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They are asking for some one to come and give the gospel to them.

I stated that these people do not know as yet that they cannot have the Priesthood, although they have received literature from us — the Book of Mormon, and other books and tracts — and are teaching the gospel as they understand it.  The Lord has not revealed anything other than that they are entitled to baptism and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and can participate in all the Auxiliary work and in Sacrament meetings, but they cannot have the Priesthood.

I told the Brethren that in the past two attempts have been made to have the President of the South African Mission visit these people in Nigeria, but because of political conditions they have not had a good visit with them.  It is now learned that two of the British government officials who have had much to do with affairs in Nigeria are in Great Britain, and that President N. Eldon Tanner is well acquainted with them.

The thought has occurred that probably now would be a good time to let the President of the South African Mission on his return home from the Mission Presidents Seminar now being held in Salt Lake City go with President Tanner to Nigeria, have a conference with these people, and let Brother Tanner report back conditions to us.  I shall have a meeting with President Tanner this morning about this matter.

President Brown explained that Brother Tanner feels that it would be necessary to see Mr. Drew, who is the High Commissioner, and is now living in London, and still has some jurisdiction in Nigeria, and also Sir Arthur Savage, former Governor-General of Nigeria, who is now in London.  Brother Tanner has already talked with this gentleman, and it would probably be wise for him to see both of these men in London on his way to Nigeria, and perhaps obtain some credentials from them.  They have previously expressed a willingness to do anything they can for us.

Elder Mark E. Petersen raised a question as to whether or not the Government of South Africa might be offended were we to attempt to do proselyting among these Nigerian people.

Elder Harold B. Lee, speaking to the subject, also mentioned that when he was in South Africa, a little over two years ago, consideration was given to the matter of increasing our missionary quota, and that when he contacted the Ambassador in Washington, and later with President Glen G. Fisher of the South African Mission, and went to Pretoria, the capital, they asked one question – ‘Do you proselyte among the Bantu?’  When they closed down on missionaries coming into the country, they made an investigation of every Church that had been sending in foreign missionaries, and that was the question they asked, and if they had learned that we were proselyting among the negroes, there would have been a real question as to permitting us to do missionary work in South Africa.

President Brown stated that Nigeria is a long way from South Africa, and that there is no political connection between those countries, and that according to Mr. Savage, Nigeria is much further advanced in civilization than is South Africa; in fact, that Nigeria is the furthest advanced of any of the countries in Africa.

I concluded the discussion by saying that we should send to Nigeria the President of the South African Mission to ascertain what the situation is, and make his recommendation; that President Tanner accompany him, representing the General Authorities, and that nothing be done until a report has been received from these Brethren.  I said the question before us this morning is whether or not the Brethren would approve of sending these two brethren to Nigeria in answer to the calls that have come from the people of that country comparable to what Paul received when he received his vision to go to Macedonia.

Elder Ezra Taft Benson moved approval, and the motion was seconded by Mark E. Petersen, and unanimously approved.

Other general matters were taken up, after which the meeting concluded.

9 a.m.

Returned to my private office where I met by appointment Elder Nathan Eldon Tanner.

I asked him, first, as to how he is getting along with the establishing of the Book Store in London, and he reported that they (Elder A. Hamer Reiser) and he are getting along all right in this matter.

I also asked him how President J. Bowring Woodbury is doing as Assistant Editor of the Millennial Star, and he said that he is satisfactory in this position and that their relationship is good.  Brother Tanner is now Editor of the Star.

I then presented to President Tanner the question of Nigeria and missionary work among those people.  He told me that he is well acquainted with the former Governor General of Nigeria – Sir Arthur Savage, and also with Mr. Drew the High Commissioner of Nigeria.  He said they are personal friends and that they have offered to do anything they can to help him.  He believes they will give him letters of recommendation and introduction to the officials in Nigeria.  He said that he would be glad to go to Nigeria in company with the Presdient of the South African Mission and look into this matter and report back to us.”

Wed., 19 July 1961:

“Nigeria – Proselyting in

President Brown reported that he has a letter from President N. Eldon Tanner regarding the expressed desire of the people in Nigeria to received the Gospel in which he reports an interveiw he had with Sir Alfred Savage, former Governor General of Nigeria, and one of the top diplomats in London who is a close friend of President Tanner.  This gentleman pointed out that these people are not of a kind that we can place confidence in them – that they would join any organization that would offer them personal benefits.”

Tues., 25 Jul., 1961:

Proselyting by Correspondence

Elder Richards referred to the millions of people who live in the United States and various other countries who cannot possibly be reached by the missionaries, and presented a plan which he proposed be adopted for reaching many of these people by correspondence or by a proposed study plan.  This he suggested as one more way of reaching millions of people.  The plan he proposed is exactly the same as is being used in the mssions by the missionaries but would be put on paper.  He mentioned the hundreds of thousands of people who visit Temple Squre each year; that many of them, no doubt, would like to know more about the Church, but many are fearful for one reason or another to have the missionaries call on them.

He said we could develop lists; we could get names and addresses of these people; we could do the same regarding people who attend the pageant in Palmyra, and in other ways.  It would be the thought to start out by sending them a brief note asking them what they know about the Church, and if they would like to know more.  With the letter would be a card on whch they could indicate that they would like to have more information about the Church, or they may say, ‘Please do not send personal representatives.’ If they ask for personal representatives we would send the missionaries; if they say, ‘please send information,’ we would then send a letter with the study program.  In the letter it would be suggested that in order to get the most out of these discussions two things are necessary:  First, complete and return the discussion for checking; second, pray about the material presented in each discussion.  The lesson would be sent in duplicate so that the recipient could keep a copy.  The same discussions would be sent by mail as are given by the missionary.  Sufficient space is provided after each question for written answers.  Elder Richards said that in order to start this program, he would make a gift of $5,000.00 to the Church which he felt sure would start it off.  Elder Richards said it was thrilling to him to realize the possibilities that he thinks could be worked out in this plan.

In this connection, Elder Evans said that before Presdient Stephen L. Richards passed away, Brother Petersen and Brother Evans proposed a series of invitations for release in the public press along these lines; that they had selected the media and indicated what it would cost; that they still have this in the files.                                   (that we shall adopt it.  I said that this is just another step forward, and that it is wonderful.)   I then mentioned the use of the radio; that we could have a program here in Salt Lake with the Tabernacle Choir participating, and a statement by one of the General Authorities, the program lasting thirty or forty minutes; that this could be sent out to all the world if the dates were announced when it would be given.  The Brethren then mentioned that this might be placed on tape recording, and that it could be used anywhere at such time as might be convenient to have an audience, and that it might be publicized in missions and districts so that everyone who cared to do so could listen.

President Moyle mentioned that Brother Evans is going to the Palmyra Pageant celebration; that Brother Richards wants to start out with his mailing list, and have the names and addresses of everyone attending the pageant, and everyone who visits the Temple Square those who will give their names and addresses, and it will be interesting to see what the response is from these people; that statistics can be obtained to show what percentage of the people who go the pageant, for instance, are affected sufficiently to want to know more about the Church.  The same can be done with Temple Square, and it was felt that when this information is obtained we should as soon thereafter as possible communicate with these people.

I stated that I think we should go right ahead with this program.

Thurs., 27 July 1961:

“9 a.m.

Elders Marion D. Hanks, and A. Theodore Tuttle Ordained High Priests.

Elders Marion D. Hanks and A. Theodore Tuttle came in by appointment for the purpose of being ordained high priests.

I referred to the recent occasion when I met with the First Council of Seventy and mentioned to them the recent action of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve when it was unanimously decided that the brethren of the First Council of Seventy should have full powers under the Quorum of the Twelve to set in order matters pertaining to the Church in the stakes and missions.  I then asked Elders Hanks and Tuttle if they were in full accord with that action, and they answered in the affirmative.  Presidents Moyle and Brown and I then laid our hands upon the head of Elder Marion D. Hanks, and I was voice in ordaining him a high priest.  We then laid our hands upon the head of A. Theodore Tuttle, and President Moyle, at my request, was voice in ordaining Elder Tuttle a high priest.  

Wed., 16 Aug., 1961:

Nigeria — Appeals From

At our meeting this morning President Brown called attention to appeals from natives in Nigeria for baptism into the Church.  He sated that these natives bear testimony to their faith in the Gospel.  After discussing the matter it was decided to ask LaMar Williams, who has been corresponding with these people, to go to Nigeria accompanying some missionary who may be enroute to the South African Mission for the purpose of meeting with these people on his own responsibility and not under appointment by the Church or with authority to take any action that would involve the Church, the purpose of the visit being to ascertain the situation regarding these people, whether or not they are truly converted to the Gospel and are sincere in their desire to become members.  Brother Williams would be expected to tell these people that we have no paid ministry and that if they become members of the Church they could not hold the priesthood.  It as felt that before making this assignment we should obtain President N. Eldon Tanner’s approval in light of the contacts he has made in London.  The Brethren were agreed that neither President Tanner nor President Alldredge should be requested to make such a visit and that the visit of Brother Williams should be entirely unofficial.  Brother Williams in meeting with these people could tell them that he had come on his own reponsibility in answer to their correspondence to look into the situation there.”

Thurs., 7 Sept. 1961:

“Following the departure of this group, President Moyle reported that President T. Bowring Woodbury of the British Mission is sending to me a book for my birthday which will contain all the names of the missionaries in the British Mission.  It will be covered with a cloth which is the McKay tartan with the silver McKay chiefton badge on the cover, and each page headed by the coat of arms of the districts involved, and including also the McKay coat of arms, announcing that they had paid a tribute to me in the last week of August.  President Woodbury reports that they attempted to produce one baptism per team of 88 teams for my birthday and that they had actually produced 107 baptisms.”

Wed., 13 Sept. 1961:

“8:30 to 10 a.m.

Was engaged in the meeting of the First Presidency.

Czechoslovakian Mission

In a letter from Wallace F. Toronto, President of the Czechoslovakian Mission, he reports that his application for visa in order that he and Sister Toronto might visit Czechoslovakia has been denied, this being the fifth denial that he has received.  President Toronto recommends that Brother William T. Smith and his wife, Jane Brodel Smith, make a visit to Czechoslovakia in the interest of the Church for the purpose of looking the situation over pertaining to the Saints there.  It is reported that Brother Smith was on a mission there when President Toronto was there and that his wife is a native born Czechoslovakian.  We favored this recommendation as presented by President Toronto.

Scottish-Irish Mission

Latest reports from the Scottish-Irish Mission indicat that they are baptizing one hundred converts per week in that mission and are leading the Church in convert baptisms.”

Fri., 13 Oct., 1961:

11:45 a.m.

Brother LaMar Williams came in to say goodbye before leaving for his assignment in Nigeria where he is going to investigate matters pertaining to the natives of Nigeria who have asked for baptism and for someone to come to Nigeria to help them organize the Church there.  I told Brother Williams to investigate and report to us especially how we can best get white men who are entitled to hold the Priesthood into Nigeria to preside over a Branch of the Church if and when one is organized.  I told Brother Williams that my blessings and prayers for the success of his mission are with him.  

Sat., 28 Oct. 1961:

“Missionary Work

The missionary work in Great Britain is breaking a record.  California Mission is setting a new record.”

Thurs., 2 Nov. 1961:

“7 a.m.

Brother Richard L. Evans came in this morning and discussed with me the invitation that has come to him to go to India to represent Rotary International, and as a guest of the officials of the government of India, and to give six lectures in that country from January 6, to February 10, 1962.  Rotary International will pay all his expenses.  Brother Evans hesitated about going and says it is not a pleasure trip by any means.  I told Brother Evans that I feel he should accept this invitation; that this will be a good opportunity for him to get acquainted with the leaders in India, looking toward our perhaps later opening up a mission in that country.  Brother Evans said that he would probably be covering the entire country from one end to the other, and will be pretty well tied to a Rotary schedule.

7:30 a.m.

Following Brother Evans’ visit, Brother Franklin J. Murdock came in regarding:  A program under the direction of President Eisenhower and now under the encouragement of President Kennedy, which provides for ‘People to People’ contact among many of the nations of the world.  The Italian Airlines fly jets to the Holy Land and they have asked Brother Murdock to arrange a group of Church people, and for every nine people going they will give one free ticket.  They are particularly interested in having some influential citizen go along to be spokesman for the group.  They will arrange meetings interviews with all of the top officials in Israel.  They will arrange dinners and other means of contacting the leaders of nations so that a better understanding can be developed.  When Brother Murdock heard this offer he wondered if I would like to have someone like LeGrand Richards be the spokesman and go and meet the officials of Israel and the Jews in the Holy Land.  His background and interest in the Jews would qualify him well for this assignment.  If I should approve of his going, Brother Murdock would give to him the free ticket, and it would not cost the Church any funds for his travel to the Holy Land.  Brother Murdock feels sure that much good would come out of this contact and perhaps some ideas could be developed to more effectively reach the Jews.  Brother Murdock stated that his only thought was to be of help and not to embarrass the Church in any way.  Also, if he could get 20 people to go, then Sister Richards could go with her husband.

I merely told Brother Murdock that I look somewhat upon this invitation from Israel as propaganda, and that he should be careful not to neglect the Arabs who are as important as the Jews, and that he should give them the same attention and same consideration in all their air travel as they pay to the people of Israel.  So far as the Church is concerned, the Arabs are just as important as the Jews.

Tues., 21 Nov. 1961:


Received today a letter from Brother LaMar S. Williams who is in Nigeria at our request to investigate requests that have been coming to us for the past two or three years from people in that country for help in organizing a branch of the Church.  Brother Williams wrote from Lagos, Nigeria and said:

‘I only want to let you know that I am feeling fine and that my assignment has apparently met with success.  There are about 97 small groups consisting of about 5,000 members that now want to be admitted into the Church.  Of course only about 50% could qualify to be baptized.  Many are living clean lives, but are very poor.  I want to express my gratitude to you for this visit to Nigeria.  I pray that the Lord will bless you always.  I will be home about December 1st.  (signed LaMar S. Williams.)

Fri., 24 Nov. 1961:

“8 a.m.

Although most of the offices in the building were closed for the Thanksgiving holidays, the First Presidency held their regular meeting.  At 8 a.m., President Moyle and I (President Brown being in California) met by appointment with President Wallace Toronto, formerly President of the Czechoslovakian Mission, at which time we had a very interesting discussion with him regarding the sending of Brother William T. South, President of the South Salt Lake Stake, and his wife, June to Czechoslovakia for the purpose of contacting, if possible, members of the Church in that country which is now controlled by the Communists.  (see copy of verbatim conversation which was taken by Brother A. Hamer Reiser, Assistant Secretary to the First Presidency, who was present to take minutes.)

Friday, November 24, 1961

President McKay asked President Toronto to tell the First Presidency about the couple who are going to Czechoslovakia.

President Toronto:  They are President William T. South of South Salt Lake Stake, and his wife, June Brodl, daughter of the mother who importuned President Grant to have the mission opened.  The mother and the two daughters joined the Church in Vienna, then moved to Prague when the girls were little.  The mother wanted the blessings of the Gospel for the Czech people and wrote to the First Presidency who sent Dr. Widtsoe to investigate.  The mother and her daughters were the only members in Czechoslovakia.  Sister South is one of the daughters of that mother.

President South was mission secretary in 1936-37, for two years.  After he came home he sent for one of these Czech girls.  When the missionaries went to the Czechoslovakian Mission in 1929 when the mission was opened, this girl was secretary to one of the largest publishing houses in Czechoslovakia.  She took shorthand in Czech and German.  She was in Prague — a very efficient girl.  When the Book of Mormon was translated, she put it into excellent Czech.  She reviewed it, made changes, and put the final touches on the translation. 

In 1937 Brother South came home.  He asked her to come over, and they were married.  This is the couple we have to go over there.

Neither is known to the Communists.  They have no record in the Communist regime.  Brother South was there before the war; Sister South also.  She knows all but the new members.  Brother South is acquainted with the key people.  They seem to be an ideal couple.

President Moyle suggested that if President Toronto failed to get a visa and the Souths could get in, arrangements be made for them.  President Toronto said he applied in August and received the rejection — no reason was given — they said ‘Visa rejected.’

President Toronto said President Moyle suggested we try to get another couple.

President McKay: ‘They are going at your request?’

President Moyle: ‘You approved their going?’

President Toronto: ‘I recommend that we try to send someone, and you suggested that we look around, that we approach someone, which we did.’

President Toronto then explained that Brother and Sister South have five children whom they will not take with them.  They have received a visa for a two weeks stay in Czechoslovakia.  This can be extended for two weeks.  The visa is good until the 15th of January, 1962.  When the visa came, President Toronto said he informed the First Presidency.  The visas are tourist.  Sister South has relatives in Czechoslovakia, aunts, and some members of her mothers and her fathers family, not members of the Church, some of them are elderly people.  He said there are members in Karlsbad, the German name, where there are health-giving waters in the mountains of Bohemia.  There are one or two people.  The plan is for them to go in about two weeks.  They will have to ‘play it by ear’ when they get in.  ‘I am delighted with Brother South because he is a man of rare judgment.’

In response to President Moyle’s question as to what Brother South’s business is, Brother Toronto said he is executive director of the sanitary water and sewage district of Salt Lake County.  He speaks the Czech language fluently.

In response to President McKay’s question as to how many members of the Church are in Czechoslovakia, Brother Toronto said there have been some new members; there are estimated to be 400 members, mostly in Brno, a large branch in Prague.  They are holding no meetings, none since 1950.  They sent word that the Communist government had liquidated the work of our Church so the local Elders cannot bury the dead and pray in any way.

President Toronto: ‘We knew the missionaries would be expelled finally.  We made a plan whereby the members could go ahead under local leadership, if we were not given State recognition.  We applied for it and asked for it on a number of occasions.  It was finally denied because those churches which did receive State recognition had their plan of activity almost entirely changed from a religious body to a political body.  Those who received recognition had to take the Communist oath of allegiance.  They have to be paid now, not by the church, but by the State.  That is one or two of the main things that they have had to do.  We heard being preached from the pulpits more and more of the Communistic doctrine, and less and less of God and Christ.  Their clergy had to supply young men and young women for work on Sundays.  It is a diabolical scheme.  We would have been bound to do this under State recognition.’

President McKay: ‘State recognition, according to what you say, would have been recognition of Communism and the end of Mormonism.’

President Toronto: ‘It would have remained Mormonism in name just as Catholicism remains in name.  We have learned that the people ask our members why is not your Church active over here; we see other churches holding meetings,’ but they hold meetings and other religious services in this restricted narrow sense.  The young people are not permitted to go to Church.  It is the older folks being appeased, being permitted to attend church, but under the Communist spirit.  This is the Communist means of putting the Church out and taking the young people from the Church.’

Brother Toronto spelled the name of a man Bekanovsky, a faithful member, and said that he and his wife and daughter are faithful members of the Church.

President Toronto: ‘The plan left with the members of the Church in Czechoslovakia, if the church did not get State recognition, was that the local elders would still carry on underground secretly; two elders would go on Sundays through the week from house to house and visit the members of the Church during the week.  Study materials were left which would take care of them for six years.  We already knew this.  It was evident even when we were there that no group could hold a meeting with more than five people present without permission of the secret police.  Everytime we held a meeting we had to submit five copies of every lecture we gave.  We were under obligation to stay with the written word because secret police would be in the audience and check our lectures.  Our talks, our Gospel talks, would be submitted and everything about Lamanites or Israelites would be stricken out so far as they could tell, because they said this was race prejudice, and talk about the red men, or Indian, and the Jews.  This was one of their means of controlling what was said.  That was the beginning of it.  Our plan was that the elders would go from house to house on Sunday and spend an hour with the family, prepare the Sacrament, bless the Sacrament for the family, and teach them for 15 or 30 minutes, and move on to the next house.  This system of visiting is broken down in Prague.  They are not holding any meetings we learned at the present time, and have not for about a year.’

President McKay: ‘Was this group in Prague under this man?’

President Toronto: ‘Yes.  I think this is not due to him, but because the members of the Church fear repercussions that might come from time to time.  They take trips into the country.  They call them ‘velets.’  They send us pictures.  They are all dressed in white.  They say  ‘We had a fine outing.  It is a hot day.  We took a swim.’

President McKay: ‘How many representatives have we of such groups in Czechoslovakia outside of Prague?’

President Toronto: ‘In the city of Brno, the size of Salt Lake — Prague is a city of one million people — in the city of Brno we had a membership of 80.  This was presided over by a branch presidency.  Another branch in Berba, about 35.  One of them was an outstanding veterinarian in Czechoslovakia.  He had a position in the University of Bernoff faculty, an intelligent and wonderful man.  So far as I know he has not been troubled by the Communists.

President Moyle: ‘Did you ever meet Henry Burkhardt of Dresden?’

President Toronto: ‘No, not in Czechoslovakia.’

President Moyle: ‘He is counselor to the mission president and takes charge of everything in East Germany.  I just wondered if he had free access there.  He keeps in almost a weekly contact with us in Berlin.’

President Toronto: ‘I think that he must secure permission to go back and forth.  I think he could get in.’

President Moyle: ‘He does not speak the language, so it may not be any great help.’

President Toronto: ‘We have this problem in Czechoslovakia, speaking to your point here: A couple of German brethren went from Berlin into Czechoslovakia and were not well received at that time.  The Czechs and Germans have been political enemies.’

President Moyle: ‘That’s the trouble.  I wondered if being in East Germany would make any difference now.’

President Toronto: ‘Czechs speak German, but reluctantly.  They speak it only because they have to do it for business reasons.’

President Moyle: ‘Henry Burkhardt has a lot of money in East Germany.  If necessary, that could be used in Czechoslovakia.’

President Toronto: ‘No, Czechoslovakian money cannot be taken out of the country.  I suppose we know whether German money could be taken out of Germany?’

President Moyle: ‘Brother South might investigate that if he can.’

President McKay: ‘What is the understanding about this man and his wife?’

President Toronto: ‘We have prepared tickets for them, and they will leave Monday morning at 8:00.  Brother South is trying to redeem some bonds of the sewage company in Salt Lake County.  They will be in Prague on Wednesday morning.’

President McKay: ‘What are they taking with them.  We will pay the fare.’

President Toronto: ‘That was approved.  We have taken care of that.  They are planning to stay two weeks.  I have written no letters of their coming.  We did not want to endanger them or the members.  They have determined that the first two or three days they will visit their relatives and try to make a determination as to whether or not they are being followed.  I doubt that they will be, because we have had reports that tourists who have gone in are not encumbered and are not hindered.  They are anxious to get the dollars.’

President Moyle: ‘They won’t take in cameras?  They ought to be warned against it.

President Toronto: ‘Other tourists have done it.’

President Moyle: ‘They are going on a special mission here.  He should be warned not to.’

President Toronto: ‘We are going to send them in with prepaid coupons for their hotels and meals.  They have a weeks’ prepaid coupons.  I paid this out of a little fund I have.  They are intending to stay for two weeks, and if they find they can move around, they will stay for two weeks more, according to the situation.’

President McKay: ‘How many branches are there?’

President Toronto: ‘Five main branches: Plzen, Brno, Prague, and one in Brnuaslava.  Their instructions are to leave the list home, and they have the addresses in their minds, not on paper, of some good members of the Church in all of these places.  I have recommended that they hire an automobile, and if they find they can go around to some of the branches, they propose going by car.  They can visit some of the lone members from town to town.  These members are to make no mention of the Church, even to our members.  If the word gets out that they have opportunity of visiting in Czechoslovakia, I am afraid some of our sisters, if they were to receive word that they are going to make an official visit, this could get out and be damaging to them.  Brother and Sister South are both very wise individuals, and I am sure can handle this opportunity without any problem or difficulty.’

President McKay: ‘Someone said you are giving some presents.’

President Toronto: ‘Every year for the past two years we have been sending Tuzex gift certificates.  We have been sending to every member family from $5 to $15 as a remembrance from time to time.  These coupons have not gone in the name of the Church, but in the names of missionaries, or in my name as an individual contribution.  We have also sent in Christmas cards.  We have not been in a position to know which families are needy families, so we have sent these to all.  We have gone by the size of the family, and sent in $5, or it may be $10, or $15.00.  They can go into a store and buy the wonderful materials which they cannot purchase unless they purchase on the basis of dollar exchange.  They get a little rice or oranges that they cannot buy on the open market.  Most of them buy foodstuffs.  This has been one of the means of checking the addresses and the whereabouts of the people.  Everytime we send a Tuzex certificate it has to be signed by the recipient, and then we get a receipt back from the bank.  In our latest, we learned of the death of two or three members that we were not aware had occurred.  But the receipt came ‘so and so has passed away, on such and such a date; whom would you like to have these sent to?’

President McKay: ‘Did you answer that?’

President Toronto: ‘They were sent to another family whom we are sure would be in need.  Then as the members have received these gift certificates in almost every case they have acknowledged it and sent us word telling how happy they were to have the remembrance and the help they received by this means.  This is one of the ways of the Communists of dragging our dollars in from this side of the world to the other side.  The government is not in favor of this kind of thing.  It is the ‘flight of the dollar.’  This is one of the ways of encouraging it.  They are calling, ‘come back to Czechoslovakia.’  Hundreds and hundreds of tourists have gone in.  We have been working through a travel agency — Arthur Vonek.  He provides the necessary hotel certificates and the like.  He gives me advice from time to time as to the number of tourists and their reaction, and whether they are in trouble.  Chicago is the second largest Czechoslovakian city in the world.  There are more Czech people in Chicago than in any other American city.  In certain parts of Chicago you could walk through the streets and hear nothing but Czech.  From that point of view the people have gone back to see their relatives on the tourist arrangement.’

President McKay: ‘Are any of these in Chicago Communist?’

President Toronto: ‘I think they might be, but I do not know the answer to this really.  Mr. Vonek is in a position to know pretty much.’

President McKay: ‘Is he in Chicago?’

President Toronto: ‘Yes.’

Earlier we sent food packages and also clothing packages, and before we sent clothing packages from our own welfare department, so we have been in touch with these people every year.’

President McKay: ‘This year you are sending how much?’

Brother Toronto: ‘For Christmas we thought we would send some of these Tuzex coupons as we did the year before.  I would like Brother South to take in enough money — I do not know how much he will need — I put it at a maximum figure — if he sees want or need — to have funds enough to provide Tuzex coupons to families that would be in dire need.

President Moyle: ‘Does he have to buy these in this country?’

Brother Toronto: ‘Tourists may go in and purchase these at the national bank in Prague and assign them to whomever they will.  I think there will be no difficulty in having this amount.  I would like him to return and give us some information as to the families he has provided for, and then we would like to provide an amount from here for others, based on the amount of information he brings.  I do not think it would be wise for me to try to reach any member there.  This would be based only upon an eventuality.  If he finds no difficulty or if he thinks it might implicate the members to do this, we will not have him use it at all, but I think it would be well to have him be able to do it if he can.’

President McKay: ‘That is all right.  That is all right.’

Brother Toronto: ‘I have asked that we give him $300.00 for traveling expenses for himself, and this would give him room to move about for about four weeks.

President McKay: ‘What does the fare cost over there?’

Brother Toronto: ‘$835.00 per person, and that is the round trip fare.  We are deliberately having him go into another land.  For the identical amount, the round trip from Salt Lake to Prague, he can from Salt Lake City go to Frankfurt, and to Prague, and from Prague to Rome and then back to Zurich and Frankfurt, and home again.  We want him to take this tour inasmuch as he is a tourist.  He will pay his part of his trip after he gets out of Prague.  He has two sons on a mission in Vienna.  They have five children; three are at home.  We wondered about the advisability of his seeing President Dyer either going in or out.  I want him to see President Dyer on the way in or on the way out.’

President McKay: ‘That would be all right.  Call there at headquarters on his return; it would be better.’

Brother Toronto: ‘Then he would have something to report.’

President McKay: ‘It is just as well for him not to see him on the way in anyhow.’

President Moyle: ‘President Dyer is not in Frankfurt very often.  He should be given some idea as to when Brother South will be there.’

Brother Toronto: ‘Brother South is a very frugal man.  He will travel very economically.’

President McKay: ‘What position does he hold in the stake?’

Brother Toronto: ‘He is your stake president in South Salt Lake Stake.  He was formerly bishop of Southgate Ward.’

President McKay: ‘That is very good.  We appreciate your visit.  This is the only connection we have with Czechoslovakia.’

Brother Toronto: ‘I think it has been worthwhile.  I have requested him to make a  very strict account of this upon his return.’

President Moyle: ‘What Brother Toronto asks in this letter is $300.00 for traveling expenses, and $500.00 to distribute to the Saints, making a total of $800.00, or $2400.00.

President McKay: ‘All right.  Thank you.  Give them our best wishes.’

Brother Toronto: ‘I have another request.  They are coming in to see you, President Moyle, at 11:00.’

President Moyle: ‘I have no special instructions to give them.  President McKay, do you want to meet them?’

Brother Toronto: ‘I would be very happy; we are sending them into the Devils special territory.  Is it possible for one of the Presidency to give them a special blessing.  They will have to ‘play it by ear’ as they go in.  It has been ten years, and I do not know the exact instructions to give them.  I know the spirit of the Lord will have to give them His guidance as they go in.’

President McKay: ‘He merits that.  President Moyle can give them it, and in the blessing, for President South to carry our individual blessings to the members whom he meets there.’

Brother Toronto: ‘It breaks my heart.  We had the privilege of attending the Mission Presidents’ Seminar with President Moyle and the Brethren who were here reporting these tremendous successes around the world, the membership advancing and growing, and I rejoice in that, but then we have these parts of the world, Czechoslovakia and East Germany, where these blessings are shut out.  How long it will last, I wonder.

President McKay: ‘That’s what we all wonder.  We have wondered for forty years, hoping and praying that there would be a break.  It is in the Lord’s hands.  We hope he will bring it to a close.’

Brother Toronto: ‘I appreciate coming in this morning.’

President McKay: ‘The Lord bless you, and tell Brother South, and give him my confidence and love.’

At this point, Brother Toronto withdrew from the meeting.'”

Tues., 5 Dec. 1961:

“8 a.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“9 a.m.

Went in to the regular meeting of the First Presidency.  We considered many matters, among which were : 2) Convert Baptisms in Mission and Stakes.

President Moyle reported that up until November 30, 1961, the French Mission has exceeded 1000 baptisms, that is, the divided Mission, that includes baptisms in all of France up to the time of the division, and that they anticipate 257 baptisms in December.

It was further reported that up until the end of October our full-time foreign mission conversions totalled 61,000 as against a total of 46,000 for all convert baptisms last year, and in addition to that total we shall have over 10,000 baptisms in the stakes, which makes up until the end of October some 72,000 covert baptisms, and it looks as though before the end of the year it will reach 90,000 this year as against 46,000 last.

Progress in British Mission

A letter from President T. Bowring Woodbury was read in which he reports progress in the British Mission.  Said that articles are being prepared for Life Magazine and Time Magazine regarding the missionary work in Great Britain, and that pictures are being taken of our missionaries to appear in connection with the articles; that Queen magazine in Great Britain is doing an article on the doctrinal aspect of the Church; that Associated Television is doing a series on the four freedoms as represented by Roosevelt, and under the hour-long spectacular on religious freedom they chose our Church; that they are doing 15 minutes for the NBC Church of the Air on December 31st, using the International Singing Mothers tape; that the Duke of Edinburgh has invited representatives of our Church to go to St. James Palace in recognition of the work we have done on the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

I asked that I be furnished a copy of the report regarding the presentation of the Duke of Edinburgh Award of the Church through President Milan D. Smith of the Washington Stake.

Mon., 18 Dec., 1961:

10 a.m.

Nigeria – Report of visit to

Went to the third floor Assembly Room where Brother LaMar Williams reported his visit to Nigeria.  He introduced his presentation with a series of colored slides of groups with whom he met in towns of Nigeria in November, 1961, with the explanation that for many years in the missionary department he has answered letters of inquiry, and has sent Gospel tracts and literature desired by the writers.  He quoted a statement of the First Presidency of October 1840, before the martyrdom of the Prophet, about missionary work: ‘If the work rolls forth with the same rapidity it has heretofore done, we may soon expect to see flocking to this place, people from every land and from every nation; the polished European, the degraded Hottentot, and the shivering Laplander; persons of all languages, and of every tongue, and of every color; who shall with us worship the Lord of Hosts in His holy temple, and offer up their orisons in His sanctuary.’  (D.H.C. Iv, p.213).

Brother Williams said he had received many letters from leaders of groups requesting that the Church come to Nigeria.  Brother Williams exhibited several slides of groups in Nigeria.  He said that upwards of 4,000 people are members of the groups, about half of whom are observing the standards of the Church.  They have adopted the name ‘Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,’ and desire to be affiliated with the Church.  They have studied the literature of the Church which they have received, and by themselves have undertaken to live according to the standards they have discovered from their study alone.  One of the leaders, when the subject of authority for baptism was discussed, explained that the baptism they have practiced is sprinkling, but agreed that baptism should be by immersion, and said that he could not re-baptize his fellows because he had no authority to baptize.  (see written report following)

Monday, December 18, 1961


by LaMar S. Williams

After four weeks of proselyting with many groups of the African natives in Nigeria, I wish to report that there are many hundreds of persons desirous of being admitted into the Church.  I have specifically instructed the leaders and many of the members that they cannot have a paid ministry if they become affiliated with us, neither can they receive welfare assistance from Church headquarters.  They understand that they cannot receive the Priesthood until it is authorized from the Lord.  They do not object to the guidance and supervision of white persons or anyone holding the Priesthood as long as they are given an opportunity to participate in Church activities.

I found them to be loyal, trustworthy, and morally clean.  They are living the Word of Wisdom in many instances equal to our own members.  Although I was unable to meet personally with all the groups and their members, I was able to meet with their main leaders and receive assurance, without exception, that they are strongly desirous of becoming affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Udo-Ete is the leader of 14 groups and 400 members.  Honesty John Ekong directs 11 churches with 300 members.  An Evangelist by the name of Ekwere has one group of 12 members.  M.U. Okoro has one group with 16 members, and Charles Agu has one group with 25 members.  These last two groups are growing rapidly since they were only organized one week before I left for home.  A.D. Obot has 75 churches with 75 Elders, 70 Evangelists, 78 Deacons, 75 Teachers, 335 Sunday School Teachers, 30 Sunday School Superintendents, 75 Secretaries, 2 Recording Secretaries, 1 Bishop with two assistants, and 4,056 members.  These figures represent a total of 103 groups with 4,809 members.  The largest group has a membership of 300.  The weekly attendance is approximately 66 percent.  It may be interesting to note that at the rate of one baptism and one confirmation every four minutes, it would take approximately 32 days working 10 hours a day without interruption to bring this many souls into the Church.

Most of these people are extremely poor, and they are in great need of schools and church buildings.  I have taken many colored pictures and have recorded a few testimonies of their leaders.

I wish to recommend, due to the seriousness of this problem, that a member of the First Presidency or a General Authority be immediately assigned to visit these people, for I sincerely believe that the Lord has prepared the way for the Gospel to be given to them.

If you desire, I will be happy to discuss problems concerning the acquisition of land, building of schools, location of temporary missionary headquarters, living facilities, transportation, or to give any other information that I might have in resolving this problem.

Sincerely yours,

LaMar S. Williams”

Tues., 9 Jan., 1962:

“[First Presidency Meeting] The Self-Styled “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” in Nigeria. The following conversation ensued concerning the problem of taking the Gospel to those asking for baptism in Nigeria:

McKay: “A very important question we have to decide, and we will bring it up next Thursday — we have all heard the report of Brother Williams regarding Nigeria — we have several hundred people there who have taken upon themselves the name of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unauthoritatively, and they are asking that we come down. What shall be our attitude toward this invitation ? “

Brown: “It is probably a precedent establishing decision.”

McKay: “It is as great in the Church today as the question that nearly split the primitive Church when they preached only to the Jews.”

Moyle: “Sooner or later it will have to receive the same answer. “

McKay: “Before that time every Roman or Gentile had to become a Jew to become a member of the church.  Paul is given credit for having carried the gospel to the Gentiles, and I suppose he did, but he had made them Jews by circumcision and of abstaining from meats and so on, but really that revelation came to Peter.”

Brown: “He opened the door. “

McKay: “It took the Lord to do it, and he and Paul were witnesses before the Twelve when the Twelve had to decide whether to carry the gospel to the Gentiles. James presided at that meeting, James the brother of the Lord, because Peter was a witness and Paul was a witness, and Peter related the experience he had when he had the vision on the housetop, you remember, a sheet was lowered with several meats. In the dream, the Lord said: “Rise, Peter, kill and eat,” and he said: “Not so Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean. ” And the voice said: “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” When he went to Cornelius, the centurion, he sat down, contrary to his teaching and training, to the table with those Gentiles. It was against the rules. But he heard Cornelius — it was Cornelius, the centurion. The Holy Ghost came upon the centurion, and Peter said: “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we ?” The only exception in the holy scripture that the Holy Ghost came without baptism, and it took the experience of Cornelius, and that was even after the dream. “Can we forbid baptism to those who receive the Holy Ghost as well as we?” And he gave that testimony to the Twelve. James gave the decision that they can join the Church without circumcision. Even after that it was hard for some members of the Church to sit down to the table and eat with Gentiles. Peter sat down with them and Paul was offended with him when some members came from the Jerusalem church and Peter got up from the table and walked away. That prompted Paul’s saying: “I withstood him to his face,” because he did not conform to the ruling and he was recalcitrant. Contrast Peter ‘s remark when he referred to Paul saying: “Our beloved brother Paul …. hath written … things in which are some things hard to be understood which they that are. . . in unstable wrest as they do other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

McKay: “Well, that is the beginning of the Gentiles coming into the Church. They did not comprehend what Jesus said: ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel unto every creature, and he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.’

Now we are facing just such a crisis, and we had better be united on it either one way or the other. “

Moyle: “I have never been able to reconcile myself to the thought that we won’t baptize them. “

McKay: “We have baptized them.”

Moyle: “That has been my feeling.”

McKay: “We baptize them here in the Church, and they are entitled to it. “

Moyle: “After that is settled, the only question left is the procedure which we follow, not only in baptizing them, but in taking care of them after baptism.”

McKay: “There is no other conclusion so far as we are concerned, but every colored man, every negro and Indian are classed with the negroes in Africa, but they are not. An Indian can receive the priesthood, and the negro cannot receive the priesthood.”

Brown: “I am wondering, President McKay, if we are not in much the same position. Can we deny them having received the Holy Ghost, unless we can say that they have been converted by the holy spirit. If they have been converted and they are truly converted, if they are converted by the spirit, who are we to deny them?  It seems to me that there is a comparable situation there, and I agree with Brother Moyle, we can do nothing else.  It raises many problems — they are very poor people, they are pretty much illiterate. It will involve much over-seeing and guidance.

McKay: “We will have to furnish them that from here. We will have to send your son and my son, and my grandson and your grandson.”

Brown: “To labor with them. It is a tremendous 


McKay: To have this answered properly and to take care of them properly, there will be thousands come into the Church.”

Moyle: “And they will be spared from membership in the Catholic Church.”

McKay: “I think they should remain where they are; to urge marriage among their kind. The question of intermarriage bothers me more than anything.”

Moyle: “I have been sort of obsessed with the idea all the way along that in our organization it ought to be combined as far as possible to our auxiliary organizations. I don’t know whether that is sound or not, but where they are not going to hold the priesthood themselves, it seems to me that it would be consistent for them to be organized into auxiliary organizations that we are going to have, if Brother Williams’ report is right, and I am sure it is, we are going to have a concentration of them there as far as numbers are concerned to justify wards and stakes, and I have never been able to think that out in mind. I have dealt more with the idea that they will be organized on the Sabbath Day as Sunday Schools, and we would have to have someone there occasionally for any regular administration of the Sacrament to them, and week-day auxiliary activities could be carried on in many branches without the priesthood. It is auxiliary to the priesthood unless we were to look forward and have a large corps of missionaries there rather than a small corps to travel, just a few missionaries that would travel and take care of ordinations of the priesthood, that will be necessary such as baptism, confirmation, administration of the Sacrament, administration of the sick and blessing children. They could themselves in their own auxiliary organizations take care of the balance of their activities.”

Brown: “I wonder if the time is coming when we will give the Lesser Priesthood to them. Whether the prohibition or direction with respect to the priesthood upon which we rely applies to both the Melchizedek and the Aaronic priesthood I have never thought of it before, but I wonder if we give them the Aaronic Priesthood, and then they could administer the Sacrament and baptize under the direction of tile missionaries, but that is a matter I do not know about.”

McKay: “You do that and you give them the priesthood.”

Moyle: “There is no doubt about that.”

Brown: “That’s the opening of the door. I don’t think the time has come, but it may come when the Lord directs it, but we can go along the lines President Moyle indicates.”

McKay: “That means that there is no other line within the organization of the Church. You have the Sunday School as a part of the ward; Primary, the Mutual Improvement Association, is part of the ward, and you have the Relief Society.”

Moyle: “We have Sunday Schools in the Church today out in the mission field that are only related to the mission and not to a branch or ward.”

McKay: “It is always related to a branch, always.”

Moyle: “In the mission field today we are holding Sunday Schools not related to any branch.”

McKay: “That’s the beginning of a branch; it belongs to it. The authority is of the branch.”

Moyle: ”Mainly they function under the mission president.”

McKay: “It functions under the mission president, yes. “

Moyle: “If we have a mission president, we have a Sunday School and other auxiliaries in each of the places where we have a concentration of membership without having anyone between them and the mission president, such as a group or branch or district president. I am just asking the question — I am not saying — is that not possible?”

McKay: “Here is a problem that is real. Already in the Church we have colored people, members of the Church, they are faithful in attendance to their duties; they keep the Word of Wisdom, pay their tithing attend their meetings. The children participate in the Primary from four years and on; the young girls and young men participate in the auxiliary associations. They study the lessons and associate with the white people in every way in the Church; they are just as faithful as members of the Church — those with whom we have met. In Primary the little boys and girls answer the questions and study the lessons and when they are eight years of age, they are baptized and confirmed before the Church. When a boy becomes 12 years of age, in Sacrament meeting, he goes with his fellow Primary members and the custom now is to have these young men who are about to be ordained deacons set up on the stand and be presented by the Primary worker to the bishop as being worthy to be accepted as deacons. In that Sacrament meeting the colored boy has to sit down by the side of his mother and the other boys walk up. He has been received all the way along as a member of the Church and has participated in everything else, but now at that meeting he sits down, unworthy to be associated.”

Moyle: “It is a rude segregation.”

McKay: “Now if you give him the Lesser Priesthood, the time will come — “

Brown: “The problem will come up when he should be ordained a deacon and when he will be a priest and then an elder. The situation will not obtain in Africa for quite a long time.”

Moyle: “Suppose they migrate after baptism? We can’t compel them not to.”

McKay: “You can’t compel them not to.”

Moyle: “That’s one of the hazards. If the spirit of gathering gets on them, they will come, and you can’t stop them. It will be some time, however, before the economic condition will permit their migration.”

President McKay referred to a comedian (Sammy Davis) who appeared last Sunday on television (What’s My Line) and then President McKay commented on the great volume of applause which greeted the comedian. The present frequency of the appearance of negroes on television programs and the introduction of Catholic nuns and priests into the programs was also commented upon. The comment that if the B. Y. U. is to have a winning basketball team, it will have to get some negroes, was reported. Explanation was made that the comedian’s wife is a Scandinavian girl and they have a colored baby.

McKay: “I picture just such a difficult problem facing us because no doubt there are some leaders down there.”

Moyle: “When it becomes known that we are over there, of course, and have baptized this colony, it will become known to the negroes of this country, and they will take whatever advantage they can in their fight against us.”

McKay: “No question about it. There is a disposition on the part of the southern negroes to push themselves. If I lived in the south I would not want to be associated with that.”

Moyle: “The organization’s headquarters is in Chicago. That is the NAACP.”

McKay: “If they would stay with themselves and marry among themselves the question will be easy, but intermarriage would be an inevitable result, and I don’t believe in it.”

Moyle: “There seems to be less compunction in Europe. White girls marry negroes. They have no trouble in picking up a German or French or English white girl.”

McKay: “Now brethren, we have got to decide before next Tuesday. We will present it to the Twelve and make a decision.”

Moyle: “Should you present it to the Twelve until your mind is clear as to what we should do? That will inevitably lead to an expression of many views over there. It has just been my feeling, or maybe my hope, that you would satisfy yourself as to what should be done and advise us.”

McKay: “I want to hear from them just as we have heard from you this morning. “

Moyle: “That’s fine.”

McKay: ”We are facing a problem just as serious as that before the original Twelve.”

Brown: “The same problem. The color doesn’t matter. Shall we preach the gospel to every creature.”

McKay: “That’s clear, they are entitled to the gospel, but the priesthood is another thing.”

Brown: “You don’t intend to decide any change on that at this time.”

McKay: “You can’t deal with this in a proper way unless you do. God bless you, brethren.”

Fri., 12 Jan.:

“At 8:40 a. m. I went into the First Presidency’s Meeting where we discussed, among others, the following matters:

Inquiries about the Church from India 

Elder Richard L. Evans came into the meeting and asked for instructions from the First Presidency regarding his trip to India, and the possibility of his contacting those persons who have written to the Church asking for baptism and asking that a branch be established in India. Elder Evans will leave for India January 21, 1962.

After consideration, it was decided that Elder Evans should visit these people, talk to them, observe them, and make his report to the First Presidency upon his return home.

I said to Elder Evans: “I think you should call and see them and ascertain the possibility of establishing a branch in that vicinity, but not baptize them until you conle back and give us your impression. We will have to open a mission in India. They have been calling for years and years.”

I also advised Brother Evans that if possible, he should see Nehru.”

Tues., 16 Jan.:

“[First Presidency Meeting] Letters from Poland

Letters were read from a brother and sister in Poland living under conditions of spiritual as well as material need.  These letters showed the discouragement of the writers in being left alone without Church activity, and expressed the hope that the Lord will not forget them and that ‘the sun will soon shine on us again.’

President Moyle reported that President Erekson of the Swiss Mission is now working on the problem of getting help into Poland through Switzerland.

He will also discuss this matter with Brother Alvin R. Dyer when he returns from Europe.”

Thur., 18 Jan.:

“[First Presidency Meeting] Indonesian Members in Holland Desire to Immigrate

President Moyle explained that he and President Brown had read translated letters from Indonesian members of the Church in Holland who have visas expiring in June permitting them to come to the United States, and who desire to immigrate but who have been informaed that the Church is opposed to their immigrating, and that they therefore are unable to get sponsors.

I said that the Church does not object to their getting sponsors; that is up to them.  The Church does not sponsor, and the Church does not object, but it encourages members to remain in their native countries.”

Fri., 19 Jan., 1962:

7:50 – 8:00 a.m. Office consultation with Elder Richard L. Evans re: (1) Nomination of Carl P. Miller as President of Rotary International for 1963-64; (2) Contribution made by Mr. Lowell W. Berry of Oakland, California; (3) Arrangements which have been made for Allen Jensen to take care of Tabernacle Choir Broadcasts during the absence of Elder Evans; (4) The accepting of directorships on Boards of Directors of Zions First National and First Security banks. – These invitations by these two banks were not accepted at the present, though they may or may not renew the invitation at a later date; (5) a repeat performance of the Tabernacle Choir’s television production, “Let Freedom Ring.”

Before leaving my office, Elder Evans said that Alice, his wife, was interested in knowing if they have my blessing in going on their forthcoming trip to India and Libya. I said to Brother Evans: “You tell her she has my prayers and love and blessings, and that I wouldn’t want you to go without her. Have a joyful and rich and rewarding time; call on the officials of India and take extra days if you need to to make some of these official contacts, as well as visits to those interested in the Church, and you have our approval to go into Libya as Rotary has invited you to do.”

“[First Presidency Meeting] Tithing Fund Accumulated in Czechoslovakia

President Brown reported that the report of Brother and Sister William T. South of their visit with members of the Church in Czechoslovakia revealed that a brother in Prague has a fund of tithing paid by members and that this has accumulated and they are obliged to conceal it from civil authorities.  They want to know how they are to get it out of Czechoslovakia because to use it would reveal its presence.  It was decided that President Wallace Toronto be consulted and his views on the subject be given to the First Presidency.”

Tues., 6 Feb.:

Communism in Chile

A letter was read from President A. Theodore Tuttle regarding the situation in Chile. He reports that President Palmer of the Chilean Mission seems to feel that the Communists will take over Chile in a few months and that it is useless to do missionary work under a situation of this kind. President Tuttle suggests that the First Presidency write President Palmer setting forth their feelings on the subject, and feels that something should be done to encourage President Palmer to go forward with the work there.

We were in agreement that we are not by any means ready to close the mission, and that it should be going full speed ahead, that we will not close the mission in any event until we have to do so.”

8:15 – 8:45 a. m.

President Henry D. Moyle and I represented the First Presidency

(President Brown being en route to Pittsburgh) in a courtesy call from

Senator Kenneth B. Keating of New York. Accompanying Senator Keating

were Senator Wallace F. Bennett, Mr Vernon Romney, Mr. Fred

Finlayson, Mr. Mitchell Melich, Mr. Sherman B. Lowe, and Mrs. Helen

H. Brown.

The following conversation ensued:

. . . .

Keating: “Do you have missionaries in the undeveloped countries?”

Moyle: “No, we have so many missionaries needed that we are having a hard time covering other parts of the world. “

McKay: “We have a mission in South Africa. “

Bennett: “It is not a mission to the blacks. “

Keating: “Do you have missionaries in the Arab countries?”

Moyle: “We have no missionaries now in the Arab countries. “

McKay: “In Syria we had a mission years ago, and it is now carried on by the Swiss Mission. “

Moyle: “We have some members of the Church in Arab countries, and as President McKay says they are taken care of by our Swiss Mission, but we have no missionaries in the Arab countries. “

Bennett: “We are having a tremendous growth in the South Seas. That is one of the richest missions among the Polynesians. “

Moyle: “We had over 4,000 converts in Samoa. We are organizing a stake in Samoa next month. Our baptisms in the South Sea Islands have more than doubled over the year before. That includes New Zealand and Australia. “

Keating: “What about South America?”

Moyle: “We have missions in Chile, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and two missions in Brazil. And then we have missions in all 

the countries of Central America, three missions in Mexico. We have a mission in Japan and in China, at Hong Kong, Formosa and the Philippines. “

Mon., 26 Feb.:

“9:15-10:00 a.m.

Office consultation with Brother LaMar S. Williams regarding groups in Nigeria who are requesting baptism.  I told Brother Williams that he will hear more about this from the First Presidency in a short time.  We have received two more letters from members of this group asking that we give consideration to their plea that we organize the Church in Nigeria.

(See notes from Bro. Williams following.)

Organization of Nigerian Mission

Monday, February 26, 962

This morning at 9:10 A.M. I stepped into President David O. McKay’s Office to inform the secretary that he wanted me to see him before next Thursday’s Temple Meeting, concerning the situation in Nigeria. She said, “Just a minute, I think he wants to see you now.” (He was in the process of reading a letter from Udo-Ete of Nigeria, that he had just received. In a few minutes he asked me to come in.)

We discussed some of the problems of establishing the Church in Nigeria. We talked about schools, location of mission headquarters, living conditions, and etc. I suggested that Aba, due to its central location, would perhaps be the most convenient temporary headquarters. Lagos, the federal Capital, and Port Harcourt were also considered.

I was informed that the Gospel would be taken to the Nigerians or colored people, and that the auxiliary organizations of the Church would be established among the existing groups.

President McKay asked me if I would be willing to go over and help establish the mission. I answered that I would. The name of the mission was suggested as the Nigerian Mission and agreed upon. He asked me to select two couples without children and present their names to him.

It was decided that the Nigerian Mission would be placed under the direction of President Nathan Eldon Tanner of the West European Mission, since Great Britain has been protectorate of Nigeria for many years until it received its independence on October 1, 1960. The existing friendly relationship between Great Britain and Nigeria was the determininy factor in placing Nigeria under the West European Mission instead of the South African Mission.

(For part II see March 3,1962)”

Wed., 28 Feb.:

“[First Presidency Meeting] Letters from Nigeria 

A letter from Uda Eta of Nigeria was read. The writer expressed thanks for sending the missionaries, LaMar Williams and Elder Jones, to Nigeria in November 1961, and asked if other missionaries will be sent to organize the groups.

Another letter from Aska Apani also expressed interest in having the missionaries.

I reviewed my intention to present to the Council of the Twelve tomorrow the proposal that Nigeria be made a part of the West European Mission under President Tanner; that LaMar Williams be sent down to open the mission; that he go for six months; that he take with him two couples without children; that no announcement be made, but that they be sent down with President Tanner and let them baptize the people in accordance with the action of the Twelve; have them organized into branches and direct the finishing of the meeting houses which are now partly finished .

I said: “We can do with the Nigerian Mission what we are doing with the others — furnish enough money to finish these new branch houses and give them credit for their labor on an 80-20 basis, and then we will have President Tanner and LaMar and these two couples make recommendations to us. Brother LaMar Williams has been asked to recommend couples to accompany him. “

It was agreed that this suggestion be given to the Council at the meeting tomorrow .

Thur., 1 Mar.:

8:00 a.m.

Dictated notes for Council Meeting regarding missionary work in Nigeria .

Proselyting in Nigeria — The following conversation ensued regarding the Nigerian question:

President McKay: “We would like to present today our recommendation regarding letters and action taken by the Twelve regarding Nigeria. I have had a talk with Brother Williams. He is swamped with inquiries from the so-called branches in Nigeria as to what policy will be established regarding their request to join our Church. I have this to recommend:

First, that we organize a Nigerian Mission; that the organization be placed not under South Africa, but under the West Europen Mission, President Tanner; that Brother Tanner with his approval and our suggestion appoint Brother Williams temporarily as president of the Nigerian Mission; that Brother Williams go down without his family; that Brother Williams accompany President Tanner down there; that they take with them two couples without children and that the four attend to the baptizing of the people in the branches.”

President Brown: “Two pairs of elders ? “

President Moyle: “No, a man and wife. “

President McKay: “A man and his wife without children. It is no place to take children down there. These men will have to choose later. We have asked for some names. They are looking for them now. President Tanner, Brother Williams, and these two couples should go down and meet these so-called branches, and that they authoritatively baptize those who have been baptizing themselves into the Church. “

President Brown: “I don’t think they have baptized, have they?”

President McKay: “They have been doing baptizing, but they recognize that it is without authority.

They would then organize their branches under the direction of these elders. They have also in an unfinished state several chapels which they have built themselves but they have not finished them. Let Brother Tanner and Brother Williams report back to the First Presidency the unfinished chapels, and we shall present these to the Expenditures Committee on the same basis as we do in other places, 70-30, and let them build their own chapels, and we shall furnish enough cash on the same basis and let them have a place to worship, and these missionaries will continue to hold branch meetings weekly or monthly and administer the sacrament and organize the auxiliaries to be presided over by the local men and try not to make any publicity, not to give it any publicity, but it will have publicity over the Church as soon as we do it. “

That is as far as we can go today, if that is approved. “

President Brown: “We will not give it any publicity here. “

President McKay: “Try not to. “

We then discussed the choosing of the couples to accompany President Tanner and Brother Williams, and it was decided that we would wait until recommendations had been received before considering this further.”

“10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Attended Council Meeting held in the Salt Lake Temple. At this meeting, I again called attention to the situation in Nigeria where a large number of natives of the black race, about 4,000 in all, claim that they are converted to the truth of the gospel and are appealing for baptism and membership in the Church. I mentioned the fact that the matter had been before the Twelve, and each one of the Brethren, as well as the Brethren of the First Presidency, had expressed himself on the question. I also mentioned that Brother LaMar Williams has received literally dozens of letters from these people.

At the meeting of the Council when this matter was given consideration, the First Presidency had promised to bring to the Council some definite recommendation based upon the attitude of the Brethren at that time, and so I presented the following suggestions for consideration by the Presidency and the Twelve:

(1) That a mission be organized in Nigeria without any public announcement or fanfare, and that it be not attached to the South African Mission, but to the West European Mission. Nigeria has been under the direction of England, and they have had a Governor-General there who was an Englishman. Now they are independent. Most of them speak English, especially the young people. One group cannot understand the native language spoken by another group 50 or 100 miles away, so when they come together the universal language is English, a sort of pidgin English.

(2) That we appoint LaMar S. Williams to return to Nigeria without his family and spend such time as is necessary with President N. Eldon Tanner of the West European Mission in organizing these groups; also that he and President Tanner take with them two married couples, with no children, to labor there. The decision as to who these couples will be will rest with the Presidency and the Twelve. These four men can then do the official baptizing of the members of these groups numbering almost 4,000 people. It is also recommended that the two couples remain there and visit these groups once a week, once in two weeks, or once every month, as may be necessary, giving them the privilege of the Sacrament after they have been baptized properly, and organizing them into auxiliaries, and appointing local authorities who are worthy and capable of guiding these groups. They will probably land at Port Harcourt, which is the largest port. The accommodations there are good, but the headquarters will probably be at Aba, 40 miles northeast inland from the port. That is where the large group is located.

(3) That President Tanner and Elder Williams be authorized to inspect unfinished meeting houses which the people there are attempting to build by their own effort, and recommend to the First Presidency and the Twelve the amount of money to be appropriated to finish these meeting houses, the Church to assist them on the same basis as we help other missions — namely, 70-30, giving them credit for their local labor, and the Church furnishing the cash necessary.

President Joseph Fielding Smith moved approval of these recommendations. Motion seconded by Elder Spencer W. Kimball, and unanimously approved.

Elder Harold B. Lee asked if these brethren would set apart those who are called to preside over the various auxiliary organizations, and I answered that they would, and that they would do it authoritatively, but these local people would not serve by virtue of the Priesthood.

Elder Lee also inquired if the Brethren felt assured of the personal

safety of these white missionaries, and reminded of what had happened to the whites in northern Nigeria.

I called attention to Brother Williams’ report wherein it was stated that no woman had been molested there for several years. I said that we would, of course, have to wait to hear from President Tanner and Brother Williams and these elders, that we should feel our way in the matter; that, however, we cannot ignore their appeals for baptism. I said they will want schools, and the government will pay the teachers. I added that I have asked for a list of people who might be considered for appointment to this mission, and would submit the list of names at the next meeting of the Council.

It was thought that the first thing Brother Tanner and Brother Williams should do would be to consult the government officials. I stated that the Spirit will have to guide us, and that we are facing a very important epoch in the history of the Church.

Elder Lee expressed the thought that the Brethren of this group should have the understanding that any expressions on the subject should come from

the First Presidency and not from anyone else; that we should not become publicity agents for what is happening in Nigeria.

I concluded that this is just as important in our history as when James presided over the Council that gave consideration to the matter of carrying the gospel to the Gentiles, when Peter gave testimony, as also did Paul, and James gave the decision that was carried by the twelve.”

Sat., 3 Mar.:

“( See February 26th for part I)

Saturday, March 3, 1962 Organization of Nigerian Mission – part II

President David O. McKay called my home this morning and asked my wife to have me get in touch with him as soon as she could locate me. I returned President McKay’s phone call and made arrangements to see him at 

his apartment at the Hotel Utah. I arrived there at 12:50 P.M. and was invited into his office.

He first told me of a nose hemorrhage that he had had about three months ago while spending a weekend in Huntsville with his wife, Rae, and others of his family. He then proceeded to inform me that the First Presidency had discussed the matter of establishing the Church in Nigeria at their meeting Wednesday morning, February 28th, and that they and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles had made it a matter of business at their meeting in the Temple, Thursday, March 1st.

President McKay informed me that I was to go to Nigeria and that he wanted me to go alone without my wife and children for a period of not less than six months, to baptize those who wanted to come into the Church, and to organize them into branches.

He also informed me that two married couples without children were to be chosen to assist in the work. He asked me if I would submit to him the names of two couples to be called on a mission for this purpose.

At a later date in his office, I asked President McKay to whom I was responsible on this special assignment and to whom I should report. He informed me that I was to report directly to him in all things pertaining to this assignment .

I was informed that President Nathan Eldon Tanner, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve Apostles, who is presiding over the West European Mission, had been notified by wire to attend April Conference. At this time, he and I with President McKay are to discuss this whole matter.

By: LaMar S . Williams”

Wed., 7 Mar., 1962:

10:10 – 10:50 a.m.

Received a courtesy call from Dr. Garland E. Hopkins, Secretary General of the World Fellowship of Moslems and Christians. He is a good friend of Musa Bey Alami, who is director of the Arab Development Society outside of Jericho, and who paid a courtesy visit to me on June 27, 1961. Dr. Hopkins knows all about the Arab Development, and also knows Musa Bey Alami very well. He told me some things about Alami’s private life confidentiially, which I had not known before — the tragedy of his marriage, etc. He said the King of Jordan had offered Musa Bey Alami a prominent position in his court, which he refused to accept. He joined those who were banished from Jerusalem, and felt that they had been deprived of their rights. I said that I have always felt that this was the case, and had always felt that President Truman was responsible for this situation, and Mr. Hopkins confirmed this opinion. Musa Bey Alami now has 40,000 acres under cultivation, and wants to bring in 100,000. He takes the attitude that the Lord has overruled matters so that he has no children of his own, but that he has all these 250 fine boys whom he is helping. I said that I consider Musa Bey Alami to be a very great man, and that his accomplishments are remarkable. Dr. Hopkins said that Mr. Alami is grateful for what the Church has done in giving him dairy cows and also meat cattle.

The visit with Dr. Hopkins was one of the most interesting 45 minutes I have spent with a visitor for a long time.”

Thur., 8 Mar.:

“10:00 a. m. – 2:00 p. m.

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

At our meeting today we listened to a very interesting report from Elder Richard L. Evans who has been in 14 countries and had conferred with some 12 mission presidents, having made a complete circle of the world. He and Sister Evans met with missionaries, members, mission presidents, and servicemen in Tokyo; touched Okinawa; met with a branch in Manila in the Philippines where there are now already native members and the beginnings of a branch.

They touched in Singapore and Ceylon and spent nearly a month in India. Elder Evans said they go away from the usual tourist paths

in India and were entertained on many levels — by the governor of Pertained on many levels — by the governor of one state, public officials, industiral leaders, and others.  They also were in the villages and mud huts where life is often lived on a bare subsistence level in most primitive conditions. India, he said, has some 440 million people, and about 24% are now literate (literacy having increased since 1947 when they were given their independence.) They have some 18 official languages, with each of 16 states having its own official language, besides Hindi which fewer than half the people understand, and English which the better educated and informed understand. There are over 800 languages or dialects.

Elder Evans said he had a half hour with Dr. Radhakrishnan, the  Vice-President who sent his greetings to me, and who it is said is soon to become president of India. Elder Evans said they tried to reach Nehru, present president, and were assured that they could, but he was giving political speeches virtually every day, traveling throughout the nation in his airplane; that they did catch up with him once, but not under conditions where it seemed opportune to have an appointment with him, and they did not feel it wise to press the matter at this time. Elder Evans said they spent considerable time in government offices; visited Dr. Enzminger of the Ford Foundation to see what they are doing and how; that they were in the Departments of Health and Education; and that they had come away with some very definite impressions.

The average income in India is about $70 a year. The life expectancy which they are raising, is about 42, as against our 70 plus. Most of the people still live in villages, many of which are inaccessible. Approximately one out of every seven people in the world lives in India, and it is less than half the size of the United States. About 700, 000 people in Bombay are reported to be sidewalk sleepers. There is no Indian race as such. Aryans are in evidence in the north. Dravidians are largely in the south, and are shorter and darker. In the far north are Mongolians, and there are other races and many mixtures. They increase about 8 million annually as a nation. About 85% are Hindu, or about 350 million, with some 40 million Moslems, in addition to the 150 million Moslems who were partitioned off in Pakistan. There are six million Sikhs; two million Jains, and a relatively small number of Paris.

There are nearly 8 million Christians. Said there is a legend in India — more than a legend, an historical claim — that St. Thomas of the original Apostles went there and established Christianity, and was martyred there. There is mountain named for him where he was supposed to have been martyred. There is a church on that mount, and several other places, named for him. This is in the south, in Madras. Most of these Christians date their church back to St. Thomas, quite independent of the Roman Catholic Church.

There are also many Roman Catholics and Protestants. The Roman Catholic Church operates some of the best schools. They may maintain as many as 3,000 schools. The Protestants also have many schools. The government is aloof from any religious affiliation. The Catholic schools are supported by the Catholic Church.

He said the complexities of religion are amazing; that within the Hindu religion there are many different sects, as there are within Christianity, and every banquet or public bunction where there is food there would be at least two services and maybe three, for there is the vegetarian, the non-vegetarian, Hindu, plus the Moslems, and others, and they would have signs that would divide the dining room with vegetarians in one place, the non-vegetarians in another.

They took a 2,000 mile trip south to visit a group whose leader has been writing to our Church at least since 1956 – near Coimbatore, which is not too far north of the Equator. He said he did not know what to expect to find — that he and Sister Evans were both ill, and he had chills and fever; and he never remembered feeling worse in his life than he did there. But they found there a dark-skinned, but very personable, intelligent young man, who might have been 30 years of age, a little more or less, who approached them very discreetly.  He is an accountant in a large cement works that employs about 5,000 people. Out of his own resources, which would be limited, he has acquired an acre or two of land, has built two modest school buildings, and is building a third, in which about 200 underprivileged children are being educated. The government pays for the eight teachers, fine young, intelligent, Indian women. He and Sister Evans sat in the school and watched them teach. The young man, S. P. (Paul) Thiruthuvadoss, pays the incidental expenses and provides the building. On Sundays, Paul Thiruthuvadoss teaches them our Sunday School lessons from Deseret Sunday School publications. He has a good Church library, and he says all these eight teachers are converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brother and Sister Evans were in their home. He has a wife and two children, none of whom speaks English, although he speaks fluent English.

The following day, they went out to a mud hut village with this young

man and watched them making their huts. They met with the villagers (about 20 or 30) and talked with them through an interpreter, and prayed with them. Paul Thiruthuvadoss said they are all converted to our Church. He has all the Standard Works, and much other LDS literature and is teaching Church doctrine, but realizes he has no authority, but would like to receive baptism. Two Australian missionaries returning home by way of Europe spent a day or two with him some recent years ago.

Elder Evans said the young man thinks the Church should start its work in India, in the villages — that no one has paid any attention to them. They need it most. It would do the most for them. This, however, is something that would have to be seriously considered.

I asked Brother Evans how this young man first heard about us, and Elder Evans said that he read of us in a book on various religions, and wrote, he believed, to the Southern Far East Mission. Since then he has been writing to headquarters here.

In answer to my question as to how many followers this young man, Paul Thiruthuvadoss has, Elder Evans said they met with somewhere between 200 and 300, who the young man said are converted to the Church, many of whom are children, but there are other villages which they did not have the time, nor strength, nor physical wellbeing to visit.

Elder Evans said that the official attitude in India toward a new Church was cool to very reserved. Dr. Radhakrishnan, who knows us, has said he would speak to the Home Minister about us, if there were an official request for our admission. Even when they were asked what the official attitude would be if we should ask permission to open a school there, or open a hospital, they were immediately guarded, and wanted to know why. India seems to be one of the difficult places to get in for anyone other than tourists.

Elder Evans expressed the thought that if we were to open work in India, we would have to move in modestly, quietly, and discreetly, and that we would have to work largely through natives of the country

(one sees native priests and especially nuns), but he thinks we could get in. The Ford Foundation people said: “We have 24 people here. We can have anything we want because nobody suspects our motives. They know we do not want anything.” This was the equivalent of saying to us that our motives would be suspected, because any time we ask to open a hospital they would know we want to operate a hospital to make converts, and the same is true of schools.

Elder Evans also gave a report of other places he visited.

Elder Evans said the experience had been sobering, with some physical difficulties and an awareness of some overwhelming problems and possibilities.

I expressed thanks to the Brethren for their prayers in my behalf. I told them that I think I am now over the worst so far as my health problem is concerned, and that everything will be all right.”

Tues., 20 Mar.:

Drove down from Huntsville this morning. Arrived at the office at 8:00 a. m., and went immediately into a meeting with the Primary Presidency.

. . . .

I presented a list of names of men in Nigeria and said that a considerable group of people who have obtained information about the Church have adopted the name of the Church and want to become members. I said that they will not receive the priesthood, but that they will benefit by having the auxiliaries of the Church.  I asked if the Primary Association would be interested in sending the Children’s Friend to these men who are leaders in the communities and who can make the magazine available to the children. Sister Parmley said that they should be pleased to send the magazine, and asked if lesson materials should also be sent. I said that they will come later, that we will start with this magazine, and told Sister Parmley to send them with their compliments. Sister Parmley said, “We will send them with you compliments if you like.” I said, “No,” that we have some preliminary work to do with them yet.

Thurs., 5 Apr. 1962:

“3:00 – 3:30 p.m.

Elder N. Eldon Tanner, President of the West European Mission, came in and took up a number of matters pertaining to his mission.  I informed President Tanner that the decision had been made to do something about the Nigerian situation; that the Brethren will want President Tanner to go down to Nigeria the latter part of October or November, and that the administration of the work there will be placed under him.

Thursday, April 5, 1962

Thursday, April 5, 1962


. . . .

12. President McKay informed President Tanner that the decision had been made to do something about the Nigerian situation; that the Brethren will want President Tanner to go down the latter part of October or November and that the administration of the work in Nigeria would be placed under President Tanner.

Fri., 13 Apr., 1962:

10:30 a.m.

Received a courtesy call from the Honorable Braj Kumar Nehru, India’s Ambassador to the United States.  The Ambassador was accompanied by his wife; his personal secretary; Mr. Gus P. Backman, Executive Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce; Mr. Ned Winder, President of the Chamber of Commerce; and Elder Richard L. Evans of the Council of the Twelve.  The following conversation ensued:

Mr. Nehru: ‘I wanted to come to Salt Lake City for many years.  As a boy I was interested in the Mormons, not that I knew very much about the Mormon Church, nor have I studied about it.  It has been a sort of boyhood fascination, and after all these years, I have the opportunity and privilege to come.  Two or three years ago I was talking with Mrs. Warren, the Chief Justice’s wife, about my interest in the Church, and she spoke to Secretary Benson, then in Washington, and the Secretary got me some books including the Book of Mormon, some of which I have read, and some, I confess, I did not.  It has been a sort of fascination, and I am delighted to be here to meet you.’

President McKay: ‘Some of us have had fascination about India, particularly the Taj Mahal.’

Mr. Nehru: ‘Have you been to India, President?  When?

President McKay: ‘In 1921.’

Mr. Nehru: ‘A long time ago.’

President McKay: ‘For many years before the story of the Taj Mahal fascinated me.’

Mr. Nehru: ‘It is an extraordinarily beautiful building.’

President McKay: ‘When did you arrive?’

Mr. Nehru: ‘We got in last night.  We went to the hills and had a panoramic view at night.  It was very beautiful.’

Mr. Winder: ‘We took them up over 18th Avenue where they could look out over the whole valley.  It was clear and beautiful.’

Mr. Nehru: ‘I have been enjoying the sight of the Church from my hotel room.  It is most impressive.’

President McKay: ‘Did you come through Honolulu?’

Mr. Nehru: ‘No, we came from the east.’

President McKay: ‘We have a temple at Laie just out of Honolulu.  The sight of it is very much like the Taj Mahal, with a beautiful approach to the building mirrored in a lake in front of it.  You will enjoy seeing it.’

Mr. Nehru: ‘The next time I go to Honolulu I will.  My wife says she wants to attend a service at your Church.  Are mere heathens like us allowed to go in?’

Mr Backman:  ‘We are having an organ recital at 11:15 a.m. today.’

President Brown: ‘They would like to attend a regular service.’

Mr. Nehru’s Secretary:  ‘Sunday we leave at 10:25.’

Ted Cannon: ‘Sunday they could attend the broadcast, and Brother Evans is speaking at 9:30.’

Mr. Winder: ‘This is the Tabernacle Choir broadcast.’

President McKay: ‘You will have opportunity to see our famed Tabernacle and the famed organ; the Tabernacle Choir.  We will appoint Elder Richard L. Evans to give you an address and tell you about the Mormons if you will accept.’

‘Anticipating this visit we have this in pictures, a story for you, ‘The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’  (I presented a white book with the name of Ambassador Nehru stamped in gold upon the cover.)

Mr. Nehru: ‘Thank you very much, and with your name in it.  Thank you very much.  It is most kind of you.  I appreciate it very much.’

President McKay: ‘I am sorry we do not have in this book some pictures of our Church in India.  We have no Church in India.’

Mrs. Nehru: ‘Have you followers of your faith in India?’

President McKay: ‘We have a few, but not in organized branches.  They are individuals in the big cities.’

Elder Evans: ‘We have some in Bombay and some near New Delhi, and some in Calcutta, but they are scattered.’

President McKay: ‘Just individual members.’

Elder Evans: ‘We had missionaries over there a century ago, and we have not done anything since.’

Mrs. Nehru: ‘Are these of the Moslem faith.’

Elder Evans: ‘Most of them are people who have gone in for technical work.’

Mr. Nehru: ‘Not Indians.’

Elder Evans: ‘I think I met over there only one who had formerly been a Hindu.  He is now a member of the Church.  We have some in Coimbatore, who feel that we have a large group who feel themselves to be members of the Church and study our doctrine.– Outside of Matakuri, out near the cement works, they are not baptized members.’

Mrs. Nehru: ‘They must be Christians.’

Elder Evans:  ‘I brought back some pictures.  They are fine appearing people.  We made a circle of India, almost a complete circle.  We found most interesting views of life there — the complexities of it, the problems, and the progress.  We had the pleasure of a visit with Vice President Doctor Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, of whom we are very fond and have great respect for.  He was in the Tabernacle with President McKay some three or four years ago, and sent his personal greetings to you, President McKay.’

President McKay: ‘I remember with a great deal of satisfaction the pleasure of his visit.’

Mr. Nehru: ‘He is a wonderful man.  He is going to be elected president of India.’

Mrs. Nehru: ‘He is one of our greatest philosophers and literary men.’

Elder Evans: ‘Is it true that he held the Chair of Philosophy at Oxford?’

Mrs. Nehru: ‘For years.’

Mr. Nehru: ‘You send missionaries all over, Mr. President.  You send them to India too?’

President McKay: ‘We send no missionaries to India, but we intend to.’

Mr. Nehru: ‘Your missions are limited to Europe, are they?’

President McKay: ‘No, we have them in Japan, in China, Korea, and all throughout the world.’

Mr. Nehru: ‘Why have you excluded us?  We are sort of fond of many religions.  We like a lot of religions in our country.’

President McKay: ‘We do not feel that you have excluded us, but we have not yet reached you.’

Mr. Nehru: ‘I say you have excluded us.’

President McKay: ‘When I was president of the European Mission a number of years ago, we received letters from India asking us to come, but we have not been able within the last fifty years to organize a mission down there yet.  It is our inability to cover the world.’

Mr. Nehru: ‘I said we have origins without any limitations, and (to Elder Evans) you were there on a visit?’

Elder Evans: ‘We were there twice, primarily on Rotary International assignments and held a series of district conferences for Rotary in India where we have many wonderful friends.  I could count many intimate friends by the scores and hundreds in India.  I have a great fondness for them.  I have been in correspondence with about fifty or sixty in the last month.

President Brown: ‘We will have to make Brother Evans mission president for India.’

Mr. Nehru: ‘I hope at the moment he is resident ambassador for India at the court of the Mormon Church.’

President McKay: ‘Thank you, it is a great country.  I have met many Indians in Samoa and South Africa.  They are choice people.’

Mr. Nehru: ‘It is an old country, Mr. President.  It is a very old country of old traditions.  One of the basic traditions of our country which I personally like very much is the tradition of tolerance and free thought.  That is something very basic to humanity, a respect for the other man’s opinions and freedom to him to hold them.

President McKay: ‘That is a fundamental doctrine of the Church — free agency– every man has a right to think for himself and to worship as he pleases.  That is basic to the universal brotherhood to which we are striving.  We know that you have that.’

Mr. Nehru: ‘It is very basic to our way of life.  That is why we have continued to exist with all kinds of beliefs and religions for centuries.  Nobody has really interfered.  There have been political quarrels on the basis of religion, but the tradition of religious tolerance in India has been very strong and more continuous indeed in the history of the country.  The country has changed its religion insofar as I can use the term ‘religion,’ – faiths.  We change several times.  It has been voluntary.  Sometimes Hinduism, sometimes Brahmanism.  It has been the change in the minds of men and a change of their beliefs and these beliefs co-exist, never have we had religious wars.  With the Mohammedan invaders from the north perhaps — that was where the people invaded the country politically and not because their religion was different, but because they were external aggressors.  Otherwise, we find religions and sects and everybody living peaceably side by side.  We have not had complete freedom of action, but any man has been allowed to think and worship as he likes.  There is no restraint of the mind, but there has been restraint in external behavior insofar as it affects other people.  I suppose against the present concept of the morals of society you are free thinking in your approach.’

President McKay: ‘One of the basic principles of our Articles of Faith is ‘We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our conscience and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.’  That is basic in our belief.  Free agency is fundamental.  It is a precious gift of life itself.  We do not hold with the Communists that the human being is subject to the state; that he is to be coerced or dominated.  He has perfect freedom. ‘We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men.  If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy we seek after it.’  So we are in harmony with you and spread truth and freedom to all mankind.  We believe in the hope for universal peace, that it will come only through love of our neighbor and respect for other’s thoughts.’

Mr. Nehru: ‘Mrs. Nehru is frightened of you.  She wants me to ask questions on her behalf.’

Mrs. Nehru: ‘It is not you.  I wanted to know, Mr. President, can Catholic, Jew and Hindu be a Mormon.  You say anybody.  You believe in free thought and free worship as long as they are virtuous and good.  Can all of these different denominations or faiths be members of the Church?  Can they remain Catholics and Hindus and still be members of the Mormon Church?’

President McKay: ‘No, they can’t.  The Church requires fundamentally entrance by baptism and by confirmation.  We base the principle of baptism upon Christ’s remark to Nicodemus, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’  By that birth he means being born again.  He is then made to realize his relationship to God.  That is fundamental.  Then Christ exemplified that remark — Nicodemus could not understand that he must be born again, so Jesus explained:  ‘Except a man be born of the water and of the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’  That is, by baptism.  To enter the Church he must be baptized by immersion for the remission of sins and any faults he might have had, and come forth anew as Christ was resurrected from the dead, and then he is confirmed a member of the Church and he will not be a Catholic, or continue a Jew or a Mohammedan, but he is a member of the Church of God.  That applies universally to all men because it is looked upon — the kingdom of God — as a rule of universal brotherhood of men through obedience to the Church of Christ.  That is our firm belief.  Does that answer your question?’

Mrs. Nehru: ‘Yes, thank you.’

Gus Backman: ‘I am sorry to take them away.  We are going to have a special organ recital.’

Mr. Nehru: ‘It is a great honor, and I am delighted to have the privilege of coming here.’

President McKay: ‘We hope you may have that privilege renewed.  This door is always open to you and to your lady also.  I am going to take your best wishes to Mrs. McKay.

Mrs. Nehru: ‘Goodby, Mr. President.’

President McKay: ‘Is there anything we can do to make your visit more delightful or more interesting, give us that pleasure.’

Mrs. Nehru: ‘I am taking the book.’

President McKay: ‘Thank you.’

Mr. Backman: ‘Thank you.’

Both Ambassador Nehru and his wife are graduates of Oxford.  The Ambassador is related to the Prime Minister of India.  He has been very active in India’s economic, educational, and financial affairs.”

Tues., 17 Apr. 1962:

“8:30 a.m.

Went into the meeting of the First Presidency.  Many official Church matters were discussed, among them:

1) Foreign Language Missionaries Study at B.Y.U.

President Moyle explained that since missionaries awaiting visas to Mexico and the Argentine Mission are assigned to training in Spanish at the B.Y.U., others are interested in going to the B.Y.U. also for language training.

I said, ‘I am in favor of all missionaries to foreign speaking missions, not only Spanish, go to the B.Y.U. for training.  I think it is a very fine thing to do.’

President Moyle said that there are some drawbacks and some advantages, but that if I were in favor of it, it should be done.  President Brown said that by having them go, those having no aptitude for the learning of the language would be weeded out.  President Moyle agreed that that is no doubt one of the advantages.  He said, ‘I am sure of one thing, if it is good for the Spanish speaking missionaries, it would be good for any of them.’

I stated that ‘That is the way I feel, that I have no doubt about it at all, that it means, of course, that we should give courses in Finnish, German, Japanese, Chinese, French, etc.’

2) Translations for Foreign Language Missions

President Moyle said that he had asked Elder Gordon B. Hinckley to be prepared to give a report on the needs for translation in the missions to the Council of the Twelve next Thursday.  He said, ‘We have reached the point where we could expand our translations.  Elder Petersen reports that translations in Tongan are needed, and that there is very little in Fiji except ‘Joseph Smith Tells His Own Story.’

I recalled that missionaries in Fiji fell down because of inexperience in the language.  President Moyle explained that the Presiding Bishopric send out instructions and the ‘Messenger’ to bishops in English, and that since many of the bishops in Europe, especially Germany, do not understand English, the stake president must translate for them.  He said that sending the instructions in a foreign language from Salt Lake City would greatly simplify this problem.

In response to my inquiry as to the reason for discharging the translators who formerly worked from headquarters of the Church, President Moyle said that these translators were not using the language forms current in the countries, that they had been away too long.  The change occurred when President Dyer took Brother Mebius with him to set up the translations work in Frankfurt, Germany.  This change did not affect the Spanish translation, which remained as it was.

President Moyle said that Brother Marion G. Romney, Brother Gordon B. Hinckley, and Brother Theodore A. Tuttle are preparing a report to bring to the First Presidency and to the Twelve about the needs for translations, and I gave direction that the subject be presented to the Council of the Twelve on Thursday.”

Wed., 18 Apr. 1962:

“8:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Attended the meeting of the First Presidency.

Indonesia, Need for Missionaries in

A letter from Kenneth Jennings, M.D., addressed to me and written from Djakarta, Indonesia, was considered.  Dr. Jennings is an orthopedic surgeon from the Mayo Clinic assigned to Indonesia three months ago to serve under the auspices of Project Hope to set up a graduate orthopedic surgery training program at the University of Indonesia, a country of 96 million people.  He reported that he is unable to begin because the government does not cooperate, is impotent, corrupt, and there is no public insistence upon reform.  He expressed the opinion that the reason for the condition is the teachings of Islam under which ‘all catastrophes, including starvation and disease, are considered to be the will of God, and are not to be questioned.  The only organized group which protests are the communists.’  He expressed regret that there are no L.D.S. missionaries in Indonesia and no Church sponsored medical missionaries.  He said he knew the latter conflicts with Church policies relating to non-paid Church workers and that the program would be impossible without subsidy.  He asked that the policy relating to missionaries to Indonesia be considered, and stated ‘the souls to be won are legion and the opportunity to demonstrate the value of the teachings of the Church are unlimited.’

He explained that there is a great deal of tolerance for the preaching of new doctrine and many would soon be seriously considering our teachings.  ‘I have never seen a country which needs the Gospel so much as this,’ he wrote.  I said that we shall have to tell him to wait; that we shall have to take care of Nigeria first.

President Moyle suggested that Dr. Virginia Cutler of the Brigham Young University has spent many years in Indonesia and can give information about the country and the conditions.  I asked that President Ernest L. Wilkinson be asked to bring her when he comes on Friday, April 20, and that the First Presidency would like to meet her at 8:00 a.m.  (This appointment was later changed when it was learned that I had a previous appointment scheduled.)

Thurs., 26 Apr. 1962:

“9:00 a.m.

We interrupted our First Presidency’s meeting to receive a courtesy call from Ambassador William Marmon Quao Halm, Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States, and his wife, Mrs. Jocelyn Halm.  They were accompanied by their secretary, Miss Clair Akewei, Mr. G.F. Dov, press attache, Brother Evan Wright, former president of the South African Mission, and Theodore Cannon of the Church Information Service.

Ambassador Halm explained that Ghana was originally the name of the country, and that during the time it was a British Colony, it was known as the Gold Coast, but that when it gained its independence the old name of Ghana was restored.

In response to my inquiry as to the prosperity of the country, the Ambassador remarked, ‘We are doing our best.  We would like everything to be done over night.’  I stated, ‘That is youth.’

I then asked if this part of the country was under President Wright, to which President Wright replied that he assumed that the whole continent was under the South Africa Mission, and that he made weekend stops at Accra.  I recalled that I had been on a plane going to South Africa which made a night’s stop at Accra, one going and one returning from South Africa in 1954.

I asked the members of the party if they are enjoying their visit, and if they have a favorable impression of the ‘Yankees.’  Mr. Halm explained that he has been in Washington two and a half years, but that this is his first trip into the west.

In reply to President Brown’s question as to the Ambassador having served in Israel, Ambassador Halm said that he had, and it was a very interesting assignment.

President Brown also commented upon the report that the Ambassador and his wife have two sons and five daughters.  The Ambassador said ‘yes’ and in his country they rejoice because they have daughters since the commercial life of the country is in the hands of the women.

I said, ‘We have five sons and two daughters.  The boys are active, but the girls are super-active.’  The Ambassador said, ‘That’s always the case, especially in Ghana.’

In response to President Moyle’s question, the Ambassador said that he was educated in a Wesleyan (Methodist) school in Sierre Leone, a thousand miles distance from Ghana, though he is now an Episcopalian (The Church of England.)  I commented upon the growth of the Church, and the Ambassador said ‘I hope it will not be long before you will have representatives in Ghana.’  I said, ‘Thank you.  We have already received a very cordial invitation to go to Nigeria from about a thousand people there who have accepted our Church.’

President Brown asked about the location of Nigeria with relation to Ghana, and the Ambassador explained that is is about 400 miles distance to the west.

President Moyle said, ‘Ghana is near the equator?’

The Ambassador explained that it is about five degrees from the equator, that in the summer months it is hot and humid.  The temperature would be 85 degrees, and that the climate in Accra is pleasant because of the breezes from the ocean.  He said that it is not warmer than in Washington, and that in the evening it is very pleasant, ideal.

I said, ‘We can see that your heart is in Ghana and not in Washington.’

The Ambassador added that Accra is possibly 300 feet above sea level.

I said, ‘It must be a very pleasant climate.’

The Ambassador said, ‘When you have time, we wish you could come and have a day or two with us, and see the spirit of our young nation.’

I said, ‘You invite us to come to Ghana, and to whom would we reply?’

The Ambassador answered, ‘To the president — the president is a very affable man.  We have arrangements to accommodate visitors.  We have hotels.  Hotel accommodations would be arranged right in Accra, and if possible, we would have opportunity for you to stay at the State House.

Brother Theodore Cannon reported, ‘The Ambassador has expressed interest in seeing the Pioneer Musuem, and he is interested in the pioneers.  He has seen the steel industry at Geneva.  He will go to the temple grounds for a tour and then to the capitol building to meet the Governor.’

President Moyle inquired about the Ambassador’s going out of his country to school, and the Ambassador explained that Sierre Leone is the center of education of West Africa, that it has very good schools.  He attended an English school.

The Ambassador’s experience in the development of twenty-two industries in Ghana was referred to by President Moyle who inquired about his association with the Lever Company.  Explanation was made that the Lever Company has branches in many places in the world and that the parent company is British with affiliations in the United States.

President Moyle also inquired about the basis of the law of Ghana.  The Ambassador explained that it is the English common law though local customs of the country also apply, and that they are rather complicated.  He explained that he had served as a lay justice, and that his function was to advise the court of the various customs of the country, especially with relation to the inheritance of land.

In reply to my question, the Ambassador explained that the president is the head of the government of the country, and that it has a unicameral parliament.  The president is the head of the state.  He also explained that President Nkrumha was educated in the United States at Lincoln University.  The country has a population of seven million and covers an area of 93,000 square miles.  The Ambassador added that the best time to go to Ghana is in May, June, and July, when the weather is ideal.  ‘It will be just like your climate here.’  He also said that Nigeria is 400 miles from Ghana, about a hour and a half by air.

I said, ‘If we accept the invitation to Nigeria, we will be your neighbor,’ to which the Ambassador responded, ‘You must not forget to come to Ghana.’  I said, ‘We will keep that in mind.’

The Ambassador then added, ‘Ghana has industry, and it has a culture that is gaining quite a lot.  The Catholics have established hospitals.’

In reply to my inquiry as to whether or not the Ambassador’s party has been to the Tabernacle, Theodore Cannon said the party was going to the Tabernacle immediately following their visit with us, then to the Governor’s office, back to the Tabernacle for an organ recital, and then to Welfare Square, and they will be leaving the city at 2:30 p.m.

I offered the use of automobiles if they are needed.  At this time, the Ambassador and his party said their farewells and departed.  (see letter following)  I was very interested in talking with these South African people.

Tues., 8 May 1962:

“8:00 a.m.

According to previous arrangements made by me, Brother Arch L. Madsen, Manager of KSL, had set up in the First Presidency’s room a large map which showed by electrical in-pointed the 330 stations throughout the world that are carrying the Tabernacle Choir broadcasts, indicating the location and classification of the stations carrying our program.  The map shows the stations that carry the live Sunday program, and those which carry the program by tape at times during the week.  This coverage reaches into Tokyo, Australia, Malaya, Morocco, Spain, France, Europe, and South America, as well as the United States.

Audio Tape Recording of Sunday Morning General Conference Session

In the presence of Brother Madsen, we read a letter written by him, sending to me an audio tape recording of the Sunday morning session of the April 1962 General Conference.  The letter explained that the first forty-five minutes of the session is recorded on a portion of the broadcast picked up by short-wave from RUL, Boston stations.  It was carried by fifty-two TV stations from coast to coast, and was the first coast to coast TV radio broadcast of General Conference.  It was also released by five powerful short-wave stations to much of the world.

I expressed my thanks to Brother Madsen for this tape recording.  Brother Madsen said that he would try to send to me on Friday a list of all the cities and countries from which mail had been received mentioning that they had heard the broadcast.  Brother Madsen said that he was in New York on Friday last for a few moments, and the mail is still coming in, and they had had reports from our young men up in the Arctic Circle telling how much they enjoyed the conference.

I commented that Brother David M. Kennedy of the Chicago Stake presidency had written many members of the Church telling them to express appreciation to the radio stations, that, however, in addition they received direct word from radio stations expressing appreciation for the opportunity of carrying it.  Brother Madsen said that KSL was getting word back from the stations that they hope that we will call on them again.

Later in reporting this meeting to the Council of the Twelve in Council Meeting, I said, ‘The spirit of that Conference is still echoing around the world.’

Tel-Star Project

Brother Madsen told the First Presidency that he received word from the president of the CBS News — this gentleman had called Brother Madsen to his office Friday, and wanted him to know in advance of formal notice — that the Tel-Star project, which is the placing on orbit of air first place communication, will be within the next few weeks.  It is one of forty satellites that they will place around the earth, and with it they will furnish a world-wide telephone, television and radio station.  When that rocket is fired within the next few weeks it is planned to commemorate the establishment of inter-continental television by a special half hour program.  All three networks in America and all communications stations in America will join to broadcast this, which will also probably include the Canadian television stations.  This half hour program will go all over the United States by way of greeting to the people of Europe, and they will be able to pick it up and broadcast it in Europe over a station known as Eura-Vision, and for that half hour program they have asked for the music of our Tabernacle choir as part of it.  He explained that we will pick up the signal here, feed it to New York, and in Massachusetts they will put it on a special power amplifier and push it up to the satellite that swings across the sky by radar.  On the other side they will have another satellite pick it up and feed it through their network to all the stations.  It is the opening, he said, of the space age in communications.  The Choir will be in it, and it will be heard all over Europe as well as here.  It will be, he said, one of the great events in man’s step forward in communication.  Brother Madsen said that he would give us the time and the date and the hour when it is finally decided upon.  He then asked if he might be permitted to convey this word to the Choir members on Thursday night at their rehearsal, and I told him to do that with our congratulations and blessing.  Brother Madsen also said that he would like permission to ask Earl J. Glade to make that announcement to the Choir members since he started the choir in its original productions.  I agreed that that would be very appropriate.

KSL Television Equipment

Brother Madsen said that they have a problem with their equipment; that CBS, after the presentation of the ‘Let Freedom Ring’ program, suggested that we do not try to feed the network again with our worn-out equipment.  KSL has sent to the First Presidency a report of what is needed for compete installation, black and white, or color, submitting prices on each.  He said that it is thought the finest equipment should be used for our projects.  Brother Madsen said that if their request is approved, it is believed that they can make special arrangements to let CBS bring here at a nominal charge equipment installed in time for the April conference.  I said that we would give whatever financial help is needed.

Referring to the air space program, Brother Madsen said that one estimate puts the actual audience, not potential, as exceeding 50 million people on both sides of the Atlantic.  I asked if it would reach the Iron Curtain.  Brother Madsen said it would go to the Iron Curtain, but we do not know whether it will get across.  It will, however, go into East Berlin.  He said he would get more details later as to the actual stations.

Report on Short-wave Broadcasting

Brother Madsen said he had checked very thoroughly the matter of shortwave broadcasting, and he exhibited to the Brethren a map showing the short-wave coverage.  He said the following information had been given to him by top-flight engineers, also Brother Roswell Hyde of the Federal Communications Commission, who is a devoted member of the Church and has been on the Commission for several years.  We would need to place a transmitter in Puerto Rico which would permit us to reach Europe, South America and Mexico, with a signal equivalent to 2 1/2 million watts of power.  This would give us excellent coverage in most parts of that area.  We would broadcast at different hours of the day for these groups, and would need to have different antenna systems that would be focused.

For the area in New Zealand and Australia and the Pacific Islands, we would need to go to Guam and put a similar installation there which would give service to the Phillippines, Japan, China and Communist China, and the Pacific Islands, and we would need to send our programs by special short-wave channel.  That would mean two separate stations, one in Puerto Rico and one in Guam.

I asked how this would be related to KSL, and Brother Madsen said that KSL would supply most of the programming to them by tape and airplane, or that we would have short-wave circuits that would pick it up and send it right to them, and they would re-broadcast it.  That would be done through RCA.  He said we would hire a private telephone circuit for that purpose.  Brother Madsen further stated that Brother Hyde of the F.C.C. felt that we would have fine cooperation from the Secretary of Interior in that move.  Brother Madsen had contacted people who operate stations out there who would be glad to help us.  He explained that most stations would be located close to the equator, and that is for a special reasons — that is the best spot to send out short-wave broadcasting.

In answer to my question, Brother Madsen said that we could send out programs as often as we desired to do so, every day if wanted, that we would be unlimited in the use of these facilities.  I said that that would mean that we could have a program – say on a Thursday night – and before the program was on the air we could send out letters to each mission president within the area telling the mission president about the program, giving the date and the hour, and they could then hear the message from the headquarters of the Church when it was broadcast.  Brother Madsen said that that is correct, and explained that this could be done each week, in each of these countries at various times, or, as President Moyle suggested, we could send to these stations a program for a week’s or a month’s broadcasting.

Brother Madsen said that when we had a message of utmost importance, it could be sent out instantly from here.

I asked Brother Madsen to repeat the countries that we could reach, and he said we would cover all of Europe from Puerto Rico, and at different times of the day we could broadcast in different languages.  Later in the day, we could broadcast to South Africa and South America.  We could cover Portugal and Spain, and we could put a very powerful signal over all of Mexico and Central American countries.  We could also beam our programs to Alaska from that same station, and could cover all of North America from there, the focal point going out in all directions.  Then from the station in Guam we could reach Japan, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, and all the islands of the sea.

Brother Madsen said that Brother Roswell Hyde, in all confidence, asked him to relay to the First Presidency that it is very likely that the right of private citizens to own and operate short-wave stations under the United States Government will probably be closed within a matter of days.  He said he pled five years ago or more for us to get going, but no action was taken at that time, that in 1952 the climate became wide open for this kind of work, and many stations were open for us.  He stated that our application should be filed no later than a week from Friday for these stations, that we could then study the matter, get all the facts together and determine whether we really want to go ahead with it.  It is costly, but if we file before this deadline, we have the right to withdraw.  He said that each station — the installation in Guam and the one in Puerto Rico — to give the type of facility we will have, would cost one and a quarter million dollars.  This would give us 2 1/2 million watts of power, and that it would cost approximately $300,000.00 per station for a year to operate them.

I said, ‘It is worth it!’

Brother Madsen further said that articles of incorporation had been drawn up for a corporation to operate this to save time, and that the corporate name as suggested would be the International Educational Broadcasting Corporation.  He further stated that it will be possible to retrieve substantial amounts of the operating costs of these stations through cooperation with various agencies of our own federal government and through commercial interests.

In discussing the matter, it was thought that these stations should be controlled by a separate corporation, and that the officers and members of the board should be laymen.  President Moyle suggested that considering the commercial end of it, he would conceive of bringing in men from sources from which business might be acquired, and that there would be no need of limiting the number of members on the board, that it should be flexible.

I said that I do not hesitate for a minute; that it is one of the great things; that it is a dream of twenty years realized.  I said that we should decide this morning to take it.  Brother Madsen said he would get names to put on the application, that we would also need to file a corporate name.  President Moyle suggested that most international firms are organized under the laws of Delaware, and he thought that we should corporate under the Delaware laws if we are going to do business world-wide.

President Moyle said he thought it would pay in the first instance to have an international company such as the Commerce Clearing which we can register as our corporate agent in Delaware, a corporation which serves purely a perfunctory service, but an essential service, and which has nothing to do with management.  In that event, if someone wanted to bring a law suit against us they would serve the Commerce Clearing, and we would always be sure of expert serve, and the service would cost very little.  He said that he would not want to see us get into a world-side operation of this kind and be incorporated in Utah, and he would not want it to be incorporated in Delaware unless we did it on a strictly businesslike basis.  The moment we get set up, he said, and can cover the world with this, there is no limit to what we can do.

I inquired as to whom Brother Madsen should consult regarding these legal matters, and it was decided that Lawrence McKay could handle the situation.  I therefore asked Brother Madsen to consult Lawrence.

In regard to the names of directors President Moyle said that he did not think The First Presidency should be in on this at all, that we have certain men in the east that have been close to these projects, men like Willard Marriott, Stanley Mcallister, John Cannon of RCa, and men of that calibre; perhaps David Kennedy of Chicago, and Howard Stoddard of Michigan — all members of the Church.  He said that he thought it should be strictly a commercial operation owned exclusively and controlled by the Church, but that there would be no good purpose served by the First Presidency being on the board or being officers of the company.

It was agreed that the name that was suggested for the corporation was very good.

Brother Madsen explained that we have to give a general outline of our program and policy, and we could state that this would be the voice of free American citizens speaking the message of freedom to the world, that it would be a program of American citizens speaking to the world.

I expressed my thanks and congratulations to Brother Madsen on the first great step to reach the world.  Brother Madsen said, ‘If the Lord will bless us, we will have it, and we will work fast.’ “

Fri., 18 May, 1962:

8:45 a.m.

At my request, Brother Arch L. Madsen brought into the meeting Brother James Conkling, former president of Columbia Records, and now a member of the International

Educational Broadcasting Corporation of the Church.

Brother Madsen said that when he called Brother Conkling as I had suggested to him several days ago, Brother Conkling’s enthusiasm about the assignment was thrilling.  Brother Conkling said that in this age of communications it is a very important opportunity to serve the Church, and a great responsibility also.  He said the severe competition for the human mind in these times makes the opportunity all the more appealing.

I commented upon the importance of using the most attractive ways of appealing to the spiritual part of man rather than to the animal nature.

Brother Conkling expressed the hope not to mislead anyone into expectations of this undertaking and explained that some time will be needed to bring everything into order and to translate or communicate the messages we have with proper taste and in appropriate ways to make them appealing to the people.  He said there are dramatic ways of reaching the minds of people, and that these ways need not be dull, but must be according to good taste.

I said that it is our responsibility to do it in a pleasing way.

Brother Conkling commented upon the motion picture on temple marriage, which he considered presented the subject to young people in an attractive and satisfactory way.  He said the missionary methods are changing without changing the basic message of the Church.

By way of illustration, I contrasted missionary methods of today with methods of 64 years ago, when I tracted in Scotland.

President Brown commented upon the more favorable attitude of people who now receive the missionaries in their homes as guests under the influence of the present missionary methods, that the people are more receptive and affable under these circumstances.

I commented that there will be large number, if we present the truth in a pleasant way, who will accept it, because most people are honest.

Brother Madsen said that he had spent about four hours with Brother Conkling since he arrived considering the basic features of the plan.  He said he feels that there is perfect understanding and harmony as to how they shall proceed, and that Brother Conkling will be desirous of working on the project.  He gave a quick progress report saying that a site on Guam has been located; a man in Puerto Rico will take an option on land there; equipment needed is known; contracts, conditioned upon options, being taken will be ready to sign; the initial steps to be taken have been reviewed.  Brother Conkling is pleased with the proposed Board of Directors.

Brother Conkling said he knows two of the four men named.  He has no other suggestions yet, and suggested that the subject be left open.  The four men named have impressive name power in getting the licenses, and they will be very helpful advisors.

I said to Brother Conkling,  ‘We are placing you at the head of it.’  Brother Conkling replied, ‘I hope I will be worthy of that.’  He then said that he is not afraid to try.

I then said that the location of the headquarters will need to be decided, and the expenses associated with getting the project started will need to be estimated.

Brother Conkling said the headquarters will be where they have to be, and he said that he had no aversion to moving where the headquarters should be.  The corporate structure will take time to develop, and the obtaining of the licenses will take time.  He said, ‘I would not like to be misleading.  I would not want anyone to be disappointed if there is no overnight development.’

Brother Madsen said there will be a six months period while the licenses are being obtained.  He briefly outlined a starting plan for learning on a small inexpensive scale how the work can be done.  He explained that the corporation would like to buy some time on the short-wave station which carries the conference sessions for a half-hour weekly program to discover what techniques will be best to use, and the languages in which the program should be presented.  The plan includes asking the mission presidents who have receivers in the mission home to check reception and reactions.  He said this will be a helpful way of learning something while the programs are being started and to educate themselves in the various needs of the project.

I then said:  ‘Am I right in my vision concerning this great way to the attention of the world: first, there is a material aspect which will be international advertising, but principally, we shall have a message of the Gospel to give to the people.  The first is a practical thing for your members to go to Safeway, for example, or some other great commercial institution, and get them to advertise their product and provide means of subsistence.’

Brother Conkling said, ‘I am pleased that there is no aversion to making a profit, and that it be a self-supporting project.’

I said: ‘Yes, let it support itself, and then it would be the Church which would take care of its present organization.  I also said, ‘For example, we shall need a Sunday evening on your system.  Prior to that Sunday evening, letters will be sent to the presidents of missions to connect with you, stating the hour that the message will be sent out from Salt Lake City.  The Tabernacle Choir will offer a program.  A message will be given and the traveling missionaries will contact all in their district, so that every investigator and every member will be notified of that message from Salt Lake City.  The machinery of the Church is put into action.  That will take care of itself.  Is that right?’

Brother Conkling said there is one adjunct — the tremendous benefit of the missionaries in the field reporting back to us as to the acceptance and the results and suggestions, and as to different approaches, and which kind of program is best.  There is a wonderful agency, having these foreign agents reporting back to us.  If we start this earlier project, we may be able to eliminate some difficulties by knowing what to do before we go full-fledged ourselves.

Brother Madsen explained that there is much to learn about the project.  Short waves travel differently from waves used in the usual broadcasting.  At certain hours, they come in strong, and in others they fade away.  We must know the best hours.  In the beginning, experience can be gathered while we are waiting for the license to be granted.  From the station which sells time, we can learn also how they operate.  It will be a good investment.

I said:  ‘We should talk about salaries.’

Brother Conkling explained that he had studied the Church and religion for eighteen years before he joined the Church, and then he came to one conclusion.  He said being a rather compulsive worker, he did not know how to divide his time, but he decided that if he could find a way to finish his work and be able to retire, he would like to give his time to the Church.  He said that that time has arrived, that he does not need to be gainfully employed.  ‘I have a desire to devote my total time to something that will be useful from the standpoint of the Church.  If I had to move, I might need a little income.  I don’t feel an income is something that needs to be discussed at the moment.  I would rather not worry about that now, but if I need a little later, I would like to feel that I could come back later.’

Brother Madsen said Brother Conkling was president of Columbia Records Company, and that he did a wonderful job.  He also said that Brother Conkling was vice-president of CBS, that he has made a tremendous success of everything he has touched.  Brother Madsen also said that he had talked with Isaac Stewart, and that he said the Lord has prepared this man for this very job, that he has background, that he is a very successful executive; and he had added that he is pleased that Brother Conkling has opportunity to serve.

I said,  ‘Well, I am thrilled.’

Brother Conkling said, ‘I am thrilled!’  He explained that he had waited for some assignment after he became a member of the Church, and that he does not work well with young boys, though he feels that he can work well with older young people.  He said he was put in charge of fund raising, which he does not like.  He said, ‘I had a feeling that the age of communication is here, and there is something important to say to the people of the world, and if we can be useful to the Church, then this is the thing I believe in.’

I said, ‘The Lord has helped us.  It could not be better.  It is a new step forward.  It is not only a step, but it is really a bound into space in this space age.  Now is the chance to teach the world.  Watch your step carefully.  We do not want to blunder.

Brother Conkling said, ‘I can tell you I will.’

I said:  ‘Let us move forward, and with the inspiration of the Lord, and with wisdom and experience, and you have it, you will find that the Lord will reward us.’

President Brown added, ‘As expeditiously as the Lord will permit.’

Brother Conkling said:  ‘I will be careful between now and September.  I do not want anyone to feel that there will be tremendous results.’  He added, ‘There is a personal situation involved — I promised my children once that I would take them to Europe, and this summer is the time I should do it.  It is important that they go.’

Brother Madsen said that this will fit in perfectly, that it will give Brother Conkling an opportunity in Europe to meet the mission presidents and he can see the conditions under which we can broadcast to them.

Brother Conkling said he is taking his children behind the Iron Curtain, so they can observe what they can.  He repeated his hope that no one will expect great results at once.

I quoted to him what I call a ‘new Beatitude’:  ‘Blessed are they who expect nothing, for they shall not be disappointed.’

To this statement, Brother Conkling said, ‘But please expect something.’

I said that we would not be disappointed if he does not accomplish at once all he has in mind.

Brother Madsen said that Brother Conkling has set the star very high, and the goals he wants to reach are great.

Brother Conkling informed me that I had made a tremendous impression upon a man –  Mr. Lieberson, president of Columbia Records, who visited here a few months ago.  He had said that he was very greatly impressed by his visit here.

Brother Madsen then asked if they may proceed with the experiment in Boston, and I said ‘Yes!’

Brother Madsen reviewed the names of the men who are to form this group and reported that they have all accepted — James Conkling, president, formerly president of Columbia Records and vice president of the Columbia Broadcasting Company; Isaac Stewart, Union Carbide Company;  Lee Bickmore, National Biscuit Company; J. Willard Marriott; David Kennedy; and Howard J. Stoddard.

At this point, Brother Madsen and Brother Conkling withdrew from the meeting, and we then held our weekly meeting with the Presiding Bishopric of the Church.  Many important matters were discussed.  President Henry D. Moyle was not present at the meetings this morning as he is in the East.”

Tues., 22 May 1962:

“Memo of Conference Held With President David O. McKay

At 8:15 A.M. on May 22, 1962

I [Ernest Wilkinson] had a conference with President McKay on the above date and time, at which the following items of business were transacted:

. . . .

2.  President McKay agreed to a conference with the Honorable Musa Alami of Jericho, Jordan, and the First Presidency on Friday morning, May 25, at 8:00 a.m., and invited me to be present.

Fri., 25 May, 1962:

8:00 a.m.

My secretary, Clare Middlemiss, came in the office to tell me that Mr. Musa Bey Alami of Jericho, Jordan, and his party were waiting to meet me.

8:15 a.m.

Visit of Musa Bey Alami, President of the Arab Development Society, and his Party, of Jericho, Jordan.  — In the office of the First Presidency (Presidents Moyle and Brown being present), I was pleased to meet again Mr. Musa Bey Alami and his party, consisting of his secretary, Miss Reem Hamameh, who is also inspector for the Frontier Villages Project of the Arab Development Society;  Dr. Garland Evans Hopkins, General Secretary of the World Fellowship of Moslems and Christians, and also secretary of the American Sponsors of the Arab Development League; Dr. Rudger Walker, and Dr. Dale Clark of the Brigham Young University Faculty.  President Ernest L. Wilkinson, who was also present, introduced the party.

I welcomed Mr. Alami and congratulated him upon the success of his projects, and said that cooperative movements of this kind need leaders of faith and vision.

Mr. Alami expressed his feelings as being at home when he comes to Salt Lake City, because there is so much we have in common.  He said the world is shrinking physically, but that we have not come together spiritually.  He said that he would like to report upon the project which we have been helping them to carry on.  He said that there are three main projects: 1) The effort to reclaim the wasteland on which private enterprise has done work on the best part of 45,000 acres on both sides of the river.  These have been reclaimed by methods developed by the Society and by refugee employees who were trained by the Society.  Now between 10 and 15% of the refugees are at work.  

2)  The second project is a vocational training center for boys.  This has proved very satisfactory.  There are 160 boys.  Mr. Mickelson, who has been lent to the project by President Wilkinson, has done a fine job on the dairy farm.  The Holsteins sent from Holland are flourishing.  Mr. Alami acknowledged also receiving the gift of the Santa Gertruda cattle.  He said these had a rough sea voyage.  They have attracted much attention because there are few beef cattle in Jordan.  President Moyle said the second generation cattle will be even better.  Dr. Wilkinson said that twenty-seven Holsteins were sent from Holland, and twenty Santa Gertradas from Florida.  Mr. Alami reported that one died on the way and one was killed accidently.

Mr. Alami said that the third project is helping the villages on the frontier between Israel and Jordan.  There are 111 such villages with 200,000 inhabitants.  He explained that the boundary line places the people of Jordan just beyond the supplies of water and without sources of making a living.  No relief was given by the United Nations.  The Arab refugees were driven from their homes and their means of livelihood.  The United Nations would give help if the people lost both home and means of making a livelihood, but not if only one was lost.  The people are on the Jordan side, and their lands are on the Israeli side.  The people were cut off from access to water, and that is why the newspapers tell of cases before the Security Council brought by Israel and telling about Arab infiltration.  The women were crossing the border at night in order to get water from the springs which were still there.   There are instances of shooting and killing people.  The Security Council told the Arabs not to cross, and told the Jews not to shoot, but that did not provide a permanent solution.  Conditions are anything but normal.  They cannot remain so indefinitely.  Something must happen.  History, geography and wisdom will put things right finally.  Meanwhile, there is a lot of suffering and pain.

On a map, Mr. Alami indicated areas occupied by Israel and by Jordan and the portion of the country awarded to Israel at the suggestion of Dr. Ralph Bunche.  He said that 400,000 Arab refugees live in something near concentration camp conditions.  They are given a subsistance allowance which is just enough to keep body and soul together.  Many of them do not get any relief whatever.  He said ‘Our society does not claim to solve any problems, but it does claim that it points the way.  We are the pilot or demonstration scheme.’

Dr. Hopkins explained that the problem for the Arab Development League became much graver when Jordan lost large markets through political machinations, and that in that area which put the Arab Development Society in real jeopardy.  The friends of the Society believe that it will survive.  There is nothing else like it in all the middle east.  The question now is how it is going to survive.  A small committee in America has been organized.  Kermit Roosevelt, grandson of Theodore Roosevelt, and several other prominent Americans are associated with it.  The organization does not think it is right for a charitable organization to borrow money from a bank.  They are soliciting contributions all over America.  The group is called the American Sponsors of the Arab Development Society.

Mr. Alami explained that when Dr. Ralph Bunche, representing the United Nations, met delegations from Israel and from Jordan on the Isle of Roads, the Israelis said that they are prepared to make a truce but they thought that what they were given is not defensible; that its defense is very fragile, and that they want this land.  ‘If you will give us this land, we will take it, and we will make the truce.  If you don’t give it to us, we will take it anyway.’  Dr. Bunche said this is not a truce and not a peace conference, therefore, I recommend that you accept, then within a few months or weeks the United Nations will make a general settlement.  Fourteen years have passed, and another half million refugees have come to this area.  He said the Arabs, although they have had a long history, they have been in the background.  This was their first impact with the world outside and with world politics and national politics.  Basically they are naive people, emotional.  If they have confidence in someone they go to unlimited lengths.  At that time, the Arabs were 100% true to American or Western ideals.  Any advice given to them was accepted as having been given by the best of friends.  ‘We did not realize that friendship is one thing and international politics another, but we learned the hard way.  I do want to say this also that in spite of our disappointment, basically the Arab peoples are on the side of the West.  We feel disappointed that our brothers and cousins of the West have not seen their way to understand our difficulties.

In response to my question about the financial and economic condition of the Jordan people, Mr. Alami said it is hopeless.  I asked if it is dependent upon help from the outside, and Mr. Alami said the American government helps the government meet its budget.  The American government pays $40,000,000.00 to balance the budget because the Jordan government has no income to look after a million and a half people.  He said it is considered by the United States government and the British government and the Western powers that a continuance of the Jordan government helps in the stability of the area, and they keep the government going, but what about the people who do not have water to drink or facilities or schools?  ‘With all the money you have put in, less than half the children go to school.  Eighteen thousand boys and girls have finished school and received their diplomas and are doing nothing because there are no jobs.  Graduates are being added at 36,000 a year.  This is only 50% of the school population.’

‘We thought we should teach the children vocational training rather than just academic subjects.  We have started this in the last then years.  We teach children academic science until fourteen, and then we teach them vocational subjects.’

Explanation was made that Aramco, Standard Oil of New Jersey, Texas, and California, has made a big contribution to the Arab Development Society.  The Ford Foundation has helped with work in the frontier villages.  Dr. Hopkins said that the minimum amount must be collected to tide Alami over.  The lack of markets for the products of the school has made matters difficult.

President Moyle asked about the possibility of the cattle project.  Mr. Alami said that it can be expanded, and said they would likely be on the market for the beef locally.  Mr. Alami said wells can be dug for water.  Alfalfa yields nine crops a year.  He explained that the cattle cannot be put out on range, but must be kept in corrals or feed years and sheltered mainly as a means of keeping down disease.  Dr. Walker explained that they have taken precautions against hoof and mouth disease.  Explanation was also made that pasture lands are a problem because the grass lands do not provide sufficient subsistance.  There is really very little grass.  Dr. Walker said that the annual precipitation is from 0 to 5%.

Mr. Alami described the part of the young people graduates of the schools who have nothing to do but to languish in inactivity and idleness.  Some of the trained boys have migrated to other places, some as far away as South America.  Thirteen hundred girls are learning handicrafts.  The girls are trained in the workshops of the Society in some skills such as weaving, sewing, or map making.  They learn reading, writing and arithmetic, and after two or three years, it is hoped the girls can find a job or a husband.  Some of them go to Kuwait, where there are many Palestinian refugees, and there the girls marry.  The men choose them because they are trained.

Mr. Alami reviewed the needs of the people in the frontier villages for more lands and for sheep, cattle, rabbits, but that this does require money which is not to be had.  The Arab Development Society has been obliged to stop everything but the work in the training centers.  Efforts are made to market the products of the workshops to make them self-supporting.  The problem is doing work and getting no returns from it, because the markets have been shut off.

He described the part of the young people who have been taught to read, but have nothing to read but literature supplied by Communists from Israel where there is a strong Communist cell.

Dr. Hopkins explained that American tax exempt money is contributed to help political parties in Israel, one of which is the Communist party.  American money is subsidizing the Communist party in Israel.

Mr. Alami expressed regret that he had digressed, but said that he wanted to point out the challenges which had come to the friends of the Arab Development Society.  He said that they do not claim to have solved the problems, but they hope they have pointed the way.  I asked Mr. Alami, ‘What can we do?’

Mr. Hopkins said it is hoped that some means can be found to have the benefit of the wonderful Mormon interest channeled through the friends of the Brigham Young University.  He said there is a second thing.  You have in the church one of the great motel men of America, Mr. Marriott.  He said he hoped that in the future Mr. Marriott can be persuaded to put a motel in Jericho.

President Wilkinson said that the B.Y.U. officers are planning to meet with Mr. Alami tomorrow after the commencement exercises.  This would be the first opportunity to spend some time with them and to consider this problem.  If some specific recommendations can be prepared, they will be presented.

Miss Reem Hamameh presented to me for Sister McKay a package which she said is a gift for Sister McKay from Jordan.  I said, ‘I thank you for Sister McKay, and I am sure she will be delighted.’

At this time the party left the meeting.

Fri., 1 June 1962:

“Following the visit from the above named persons, I received a courtesy call from Judge Victor G. Heimstra of Pretoria, Union of South Africa.  He was introduced by Judge A. H. Ellett of the Third Judicial District Court of the State of Utah.

Judge Heimstra explained that the present policy and the practice in South Africa is to have the white and the non-white races living in separate residential areas.  Said that in the territories predominantly non-white, the government and the administration of laws are by local officers of the race, and under the jurisdiction of the general government.  Traditional tribal laws are administered.  The Indians are classified as non-white.  Their living conditions are much better than the African natives.  They are industrious and are tradesmen, and occupy a position advantageous for their well-being in the society.

Judge Heimstra said that the English and Afrikaans languages are taught in the schools, and the children are encouraged to have both languages.  Afrikaans is spoke as the official language.

Judge Heimstra expressed the opinion that it would be greatly to the advantage of the Church to have the missionaries speak Afrikaans.  It is fortunate that President and Sister Alldredge, having been born in South Africa, speak Afrikaans.

The principles of the Gospel were explained to the Judge by President Moyle.  The Judge said that he had come here ‘without an inkling about Mormonism.’  He knew about Salt Lake City and Brigham Young, but of the details of our religion he knew nothing.  The First Presidency autographed a copy of the Book of Mormon and presented it to Judge Heimstra.  A copy of the special brochure prepared under the direction of Elder Alvin R. Dyer was later sent to the Judge at the Hotel Utah.

This was the Judge’s first visit to America, and he said that he hopes to return and to bring his wife with him.  I told him of my visit to South Africa in 1954 with Sister McKay when we went to Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town.  I said that our doors are always open to him and expressed the hope that he would have a most favorable visit to this country, and especially that he would learn that the aims of the people of America are not as the Communists would have the world believe.  Judge Heimstra said:  ‘I am convinced that America is determined and able to be the leader of the people of the world.  They are certainly not shirking this great task.’

Tues., 12 Jun., 1962:

Arab Development Society

President Wilkinson then discussed with us the telephone call he had received from Dr. Garland Hopkins, secretary of the American Sponsors of the Arab Development Society of Jordan and of an organization for promoting Christian and Moslem friendship, who, with Musa Bey Alami, met with the First Presidency on May 25, 1962.  Dr. Hopkins says their basic need is for dollars, and Dr. Wilkinson does not recommend that they be given any money.  He said, ‘We have helped them with dairy and beef cattle and you have given them cattle from Florida, but we do not recommend that you send them any money.

President Wilkinson said, ‘The question is whether or not the time has arrived when you are going to do missionary work among the Arabs, and whether it would be helpful in that respect.  At the present time, proselyting by Christians is frowned upon.  I do not know if the time has yet arrived when you will want to send missionaries to these Arab countries.’

Then followed a discussion regarding Mr. Musa Bey Alami and his work among the Arabs, and the future assistance we should give to this society.

Tues., 26 Jun., 1962:

11:50 a.m.

Returned to my private office where I met by appointment Brother Henry Heilesen, Brigham Young University Student Body President, and ten other students.  They were a very choice group.  I had a pleasant thirty-minute visit with them.  Several of them left books for me to autograph.  These students presented me with a beautifully bound photo album containing pictures of the Brigham Young University campus and of student activities through the year.

Accompanying this group of students was Dr. Ariel S. Ballif of the B.Y.U. who introduced to me a young Pakistan student — Syed Iqbal Hussein.  This young

man, not a member of the Church, was very enthusiastic in his urging that we establish a mission in Pakistan.  He said that he wanted it established while he is here.  I asked him how long he is going to be in college here, and he said it would be possibly two years before he can get his Doctor’s Degree.  I told him we would consider the matter of establishing a mission in his country when he is ready to go home.  He said that the Catholic Church is just across from where he lives and he wanted our Church there too.” 

Tues., 10 July 1962:

“Nigeria, Africa Mission

President Brown asked whether or not, in planning the trip to Nigeria in Africa for the middle of November, Brother LaMar Williams should take his wife.  I said the party to Nigeria should include President Nathan E. Tanner, President of the West European Mission; Brother Williams and his wife; and two couples, man and wife without children, and that they should open up the Nigerian Mission.  The two couples will be left after opening the mission and baptizing the people, and organizing them into branches.  Thereafter, the couples will officiate.  The couples are to be chosen by the First Presidency.

Fri., 3 Aug.:

“[First Presidency Meeting] At this time, President Bott, Brother Williamson and the Presiding Bishopric withdrew from the meeting, and President Joseph Fielding Smith and Elder Harold B. Lee came into the room by appointment at my request.

We considered the necessity of members of the Quorum of the Twelve discharging their duty given them by revelation to set in order the affairs of the Church in all the world. I suggested that since it is physically impossible for the Twelve, their Assistants, and other General Authorities of the Church to visit stake conferences (now numbering 355) more than possibly once a year, it would be more essential than ever for each one of the General Authorities to be thoroughly acquainted with all policies, plans and programs approved by the First Presidency and theTwelve.

The present practice, therefore, of appointing area supervisors and expecting them to give out special instructions to presidents of stakes and mission presidents should not be encouraged, but every member of the General Authorities — the Twelve, their Assistants, the First Council of Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric — should be given all the information regarding details and new plans now given to the so-called area supervisors. In a word, each General Authority must be supplied with all information now given to the so-called area supervisors .

We also considered the advisability of the General Priesthood Committee and the general auxiliary boards presenting their respective matters at quarterly conferences not attended by the General Authorities.

At the departure of President Smith and Elder Lee, the Presiding Bishopric again came into the room, and we resumed our meeting.”

Thur., 9 Aug., 1962:

“9:30 – 10:15 a . m .

Went into the Office of the First Presidency where I greeted my counselor, President Henry D. Moyle, and welcomed him home from his tour of the missions of Europe. Among other items, President Moyle reported on the following:

Government Recognition in Germany

President Moyle reported his visit with Herr Myers in Dusseldorf. He said that Herr Myers had just been reselected as governor of the Nord-Rhein Province for another four years and was very much elated over the situation. Herr Myers entertained President Moyle and associates in his magnificent council room and served them refreshments. He said that the next time President Moyle visits that area he wants to hold a State dinner and take him to the theatre and show him the respect to which he is entitled.

Herr Myers stated that the first thing that he was going to do would be to discharge the present Minister of Religion as he would not do what Herr Myers told him to do. The reason he made this statement was that the present Minister of Religion had rejected the Church’s petition to become a corporation in his area. Herr Myers said that he was appointing a young man to this position who would do as he wanted him to do.

It was learned that there had been a council of all the provincial governors of Germany, some twelve of them, and they had all decided that what Westphalia did with reference to the Church they would follow.  There are eighteen million people in Westphalia, and it is the largest province in Germany .

President Moyle said that President Stephen Richards of the Central German Mission had done a fine work in Dusseldorf in developing the  friendship of Herr Myers. Herr Myers was most gracious to President Richards and family, and stated that he wanted them to be sure to keep in contact with him.

President Moyle said he was very happy to have had a short visit with Herr Myers.

Missionary Work Under the Twelve

President Moyle said he felt that the meetings he and Brother Gordon B. Hinckley held with the missionaries in Europe were of great value; that they had met all the missionaries in Europe with perhaps a half dozen exceptions. He said that he and Brother Hinckley have now presented this program to between five and six thousand of our missionaries, and that they have made appointments to meet with the missionaries in the Northwestern States Mission and the West Central States Mission, and that they had in mind planning for Brother Hinckley to meet with all the other missions.

I stated that we should not continue this program in the manner suggested, that I am very much concerned at the tendency which is growing to have the work of the General Authorities of the Church done by special committees. 

President Moyle said he did not think there was anyone in the Church who could do this work among the missionaries like Brother Hinckley is doing it, that he felt that Brother Hinckley should give his message to all the missionaries in the Church, and that he should be permitted to make his own timetable, that it would present tremendous results to the missionaries. He said it is a tremendous presentation, and mission presidents are very grateful for it. President Moyle mentioned that they had met only with the missionaries and not with the saints.

I indicated that the Brethren of the Twelve are subject to the President of the Twelve and shlould go out under the direction of the Twelve, and not under the direction of the First Presidency. I commended President Moyle on the success of the work they have done, and said that he and Brother Hinckley had done the right thing so far as their work in Europe is concerned, that they had accomplished a great work, but we should not lose sight of the fact that the Brethren of the Twelve are under the jurisdiction of that Quorum. I mentioned the fact that we now have 360 stakes and under present conditions, there are only about 25 of the General Authorities of the Church who can visit these stakes, and that the Twelve have now proposed that the General Authorities should visit the stakes only twice a year. I suggested that we call the Twelve together and tell them that the responsibility rests upon them to take the message to the people, and that includes visits to missions and that each one of the General Authorities must go prepared to give the message that Brother Moyle and Brother Hinckley have been giving. If the Twelve want to send Brother Hinckley out as a representative of the Twelve to do this work, it would be up to the Twelve to send him.

President Moyle reported that the new missionary program is not going over in any of the missions that he visited, that the mission presidents are fumbling with it, and that the conditions in some instances could be described as chaotic, but that when Brother Hinckley got through with this presentation, they all said that they could now go to work. Apparently, President Moyle added, they do not know how to do it until they have been told, and it takes a teacher like Brother Hinckley to tell them.

I said that I am going to ask for a report from the Twelve as to what their program now is, that I have been preparing a plan which I should like to present to the First Presidency some time next week, relative to the

responsibility and the work of the Twelve and the General Authorities, and let them know exactly what they will have to do.”

Wed., 15 Aug.:

8:10 a.m.

Elder Harold B. Lee of the Council of the Twelve called at my private office. We talked about general Church procedure as it pertains to assignment of the Twelve and missionary work.

9:30-1:00 a.m.

After the departure of Brother Robinson, we continued with the regular meeting of the First Presidency. Among many items considered were:

(2) General Authorities at Stake Conferences

I stated that with the Release of the new Stake Conference Schedule, dual Stake Conferences to he conducted by one General Authority will be discontinued. I said that 360 Stakes having quarterly conferences cannot be attended by 34 General Authorities of the Church, 7 of whom are not available for appointment. I stated that the duty of the General Authorities of the Church is to set in order the affairs of the Church in the world, and that this is fundamental. Auxiliary organizations hold annual conferences at which the stake president and bishops of the wards are generally expected to be in attendance. I suggested that Auxiliary Conventions, heretofore held independently of Stake conferences, hereafter be held under the direction of the stake presidencies at quarterly conferences not attended by the General Authorities of the Church. On these occasions the stake and ward auxiliary workers can receive instructions from the General Boards. I suggested that this proposal be presented to the Twelve, who will be responsible, with their associates for setting the Church in order in all the world, and that the Auxiliary programs for each conference which are not attended by one of the General Authorities of the Church will be prepared under the direction of the auxiliary advisors. I explained also that every member of the General Authorities of the Church will know the plans and instructions the Church offered at the quarterly conferences. I stated, “We should like to suggest that the Twelve prepare and outline the activity for the holding of these annual quarterly conferences to which certain Auxiliaries will be appointed throughout the year, and that this subject be presented to the Council of the Twelve tomorrow, and that we would like them to take under advisement this new plan and make it encumbent upon every member of the General Authorities to know what the plan is and what plans and instructions are given regarding the stake work, genealogical work, and missionary work, and each member of the General Authorities will have to prepare himself and be prepared to give instructions.”

In response to a question by President Brown, I said the programs presented at the Stake Conferences not attended by one of the General Authorities of the Church will be under the direction of the Stake President, and that provision may be made for holding some Auxiliary instruction meetings on Saturday before the Sunday of the Stake Conference so that stake board members can receive and give detailed instructions. The Sunday morning program and the Sunday afternoon program will be meetings held under the direction of the Stake President and attended by representatives of the General Boards who will have a chance to give an auxiliary program to the entire Church . In response to President Brown’s inquiry about Welfare, I said that Welfare and Missionary Work will be similarly emphasized at these conferences.

President Moyle reviewed figures on the number of stakes and the number of General Authorities and expressed the opinion that the General Authorities, who are the priesthood of the Church, can conduct at least two stake conferences year in each stake. He reviewed also the growth of the Church and the increase in the number of ordinations and interviews, and the interviewing of missionaries. He suggested that it would be well to have the Twelve work out a plan on the basis of two priesthood conferences a year when the General Authorities of the Church would be present. I said that would be all the better.

Thur., 16 Aug.:

8:30 a. m.

President Ernest L. Wilkinson and Arch L. Madsen, President of KSL, by appointment, met with the First Presidency regarding assignment of KSL on short-wave assignment.

Brother Madsen said that they are moving ahead in organizing for fulfillment of the short-wave assignment. He said exploratory work has led to the Brigham Young University where it is thought expenditures can be incorporated to get more for the dollars spent. A meeting was held with President Wilkinson and at that meeting several subjects were developed which demand immediate attention.

President Wilkinson said Brother Madsen told him of the decision about the short-wave stations and about invitations to participate in the Voice of America and the other broadcasts around the world. In response to my question, President Wilkinson said the short-wave stations will be in Puerto Rico and Guam, and the Voice of America will emanate from Salt Lake City and will be released by the Voice of America from hundreds of stations around the world, including government as well as local radio stations. President Brown asked if the Voice of America programs are under Edward R. Murrow. Brother Madsen said they are, and that KSL is one of twenty Stations in America which have been asked to collaborate with Voice of America. They want KSL to interpret to the world this western portion of the nation. It will be released on film, tape and recordings.

President Wilkinson explained that to prepare for these opportunities a letter has been prepared which is suggested be sent to bishops and stake presidents asking their cooperation in discovering the most competent talent in the Church, some of whom may be wanted to engage in the development and presentation of programs. With the letter is a proposed questionnaire. President Wilkinson read the proposed letter requesting the names, addresses, and other information about people having talent to assist in all phases of communication: magazine writers, publishers, professional writers, script writers, advertising and promotion experts, speech, drama, journalism, television performers, dancers, choreographers, motion picture production personnel, music composers and arrangers.

In response to my question, President Wilkinson said KSL and the Brigham

Young University will copy the material and transfer the information to IBM punch cards so it will be available readily.

Direction was given that the letter to be sent out be delivered to Secretary

Joseph Anderson.

College of Communications at Brigham Young University 

President Wilkinson said that for some time, and especially now since the university is to take part in this program, it has been thought that it would be the occasion to bring together all departments of communication of the Brigham Young University. The full proposal will be presented in due course to the regular meeting of the Board of Education. He said they are thinking about a very enlarged program for the Brigham Young University. He explained briefly that the college of communications would include radio, speech, motion picture, journalism, television, creative writing. It will be of greater service to the Church if it is so integrated .

Proposal to merge KSL and International Educational Broadcasting

President Wilkinson said that as a member of the KSL Executive Committee, he desired to comment upon the merging of KSL and the International Educational Broadcasting Company, since the latter will no doubt be operated at very heavy cost at first, and that these costs for tax purposes can be offset by a merger.

President Moyle commented that they are separate corporations, and that KSL has minority stockholders whose rights must be respected.

President Wilkinson said that the proposal contemplates buying out the minority stockholders. President Moyle said there are definite advantages to the Church in having minority stockholders and that without them the problems of business will become more complicated and vexatious than there would be advantages in the merger. KSL should be kept a profit making organization.

I asked if a close spirit of cooperation has not been felt. President Wilkinson said there is no doubt about that. He said he mentioned this for consideration, and that he was not making any final recommendation. He said that this was Brother Madsen’s field, but that there would be losses which could be set off against profits and have a tax benefit. Brother Madsen said they could give a documented study on the subject.

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

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

of The First Presidency and members of the Twelve who are in town. . . .

New Program for Stake Quarterly Conferences and Auxiliary Conventions.

I then made mention of the action of the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve on Thursday, June 28, on the recommendation

of the Twelve, that dual quarterly conferences be discontinued and a new system of quarterly conferences be developed.

I asked President Joseph Fielding Smith to speak on this question, and in response, President Smith said that these dual conferences are not successful in his judgment; that too much has to be left undone when one of the Brethren attends conferences in two stakes at the same time, and it is therefore felt that each stake should have its own conference separately. He mentioned that we have so many stakes now that the Brethren cannot visit all of them every quarter, and that when the schedule of visitors to stake conferences is made, at least one third of the stakes have to go without a visitor. It has therefore been agreed by the Twelve that beginning with the first of the year, dual Stake Conferences would be discontinued.  It is proposed, he said, that one or more of the General Authorities would visit every other conference in each specific stake, and that the other two stake conferences would be auxiliary conferences under the direction of the presidency of the stake.

In this connection, I suggested that the two quarterly conferences not visited by General Authorities be utilized as Auxiliary Conferences, namely, conferences of the Relief Society, Sunday School, the M. I. A., the Primary, Genealogical, and Welfare.

Elder Harold B. Lee offered the information that in the case of these auxiliary conferences, two full days would be made available at a Stake Conference where the whole program of the auxiliary could be taken care of; that two or more of the Auxiliaries could present their programs at each of the auxiliary conferences, the Sunday sessions of which would be under the direction of the Stake President, rather than the auxiliary executives.

Responsibility of the Brethren of the Twelve

I called attention to the revelation that places upon this body of men

responsibility of directing the affairs of the Church in all the world.  I said the Brethren should keep this in mind. I stated that the central power, the central authority, has the right to adopt whatever is found useable, applicable, productive of good, at any tinae. A plan may be adapted by the entire Church, provided the Brethren of the Council hold the guiding hand, but that authority, no matter how large the Church becomes, and this principle, are just the same and just as applicable.

Elder Mark E. Petersen asked if this would mean that these conferences would take the place of the regular annual conventions of the Auxiliary Organizations, and I said they would.

There was considerable discussion as to how the program would work, and I asked the Twelve to take this matter under advisement, give it prayerful consideration, and come back with a plan for 1963. I said that we have reached a point where we shall have to place more responsibility on the local people, and give them the understanding that the power and direction of all of it is in the hands of the Twelve. I said that we have had opportunity to test the various methods: that, however, we should be careful not to do as the Government is doing — that is, place too much power in the hands of the Committee.

Glasgow, Scotland – New Stake Organization

I reported that just before coming to the Council meeting this morning,

I had talked with President N. Eldon Tanner, President of the West

European Mission, by telephone; that I had asked President Tanner and

President Marion D. Hanks of the British Mission to consult with

President Bernard P. Brockbank of the Scottish Mission regarding the matter of organizing a Stake in Glasgow; and having been asked to submit the name of someone whom they would recommend for President of the proposed new Glasgow Stake, they now recommend Brother Archibald Richardson, who is now the first counselor to President Brockbank, and also a district president, as the President of the new Stake. Brother Richardson is 39 years of age, has been in the Church eleven and a half years. His wife is very active, and he has held many positions in the Church, and seems to be well thought of by the people. He and his wife have been to the temple a number of times.

President Moyle, Elder Stapley, and Elder Hinckley all reported that they knew Brother Richardson, and they spoke highly of his personality and qualifications. Elder Spencer W. Kimball moved that he be approved of this position. Motion seconded by Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, and unanimously approved.

“August 17, 1962

President Bernard P. Brockbank

Scottish Mission

“Glynhill” 169 Paisley Road

Renfrew, Renfrewshire


Dear President Brockbank:

Ever since you suggested that a stake could function successfully in Glasgow, I have cherished the hope that I might be present when such an organization was officially formed. With that hope, I cherished the desire that Sister McKay might accompany me.

Definitely, she has decided that it would be an unwise, if not an impossible undertaking. Sixty-five years ago this month, when I bade her and her mother goodbye on my way to the Rio Grande Train to begin my trip as a young missionary to Great Britain, I decided that she was just the girl whom I should like someday to be my life’s companion.

We have spent many a happy day in Great Britain and in the European Mission together.

After forty years (sixty for me), I wish we might witness together the things that have occurred — particularly in recent

Sorrowfully, she refuses to undertake the trip.

I shall be at Prestwich Airport, accompanied by my son, Robert, and his wife, Friday, August 24, 1962, at 10:00 a. m.

Undoubtedly, it will be wise to rest that day, and on Saturday consider the personnel of the proposed new stake. Saturday evening we shall hold a Priesthood or Missionary Meeting, and Sunday two general meetings.

I shall return home to Ray Monday.

With happy anticipation of being with you at this most memorable organization, I remain


David O. McKay


Wed., 22 Aug., 1962:

“In accordance with the request from President Robert S. Taylor of the Southern Far East Mission, I sent the following greeting to the missionaries and members in that mission:


Greetings and Blessings to all the Members of the Church and all friends in the Southern Far East Mission:

There are five steps, which, if followed, will bring joy and happiness to all of us in this Life and in the Life Hereafter:

1. Faith in God and in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

2. Honesty and Sincerity in all our dealings.

3. Loyalty

4. Chastity

5. Willingness to serve one’ s Fellowmen.

May inspiration from on High, and the constant Guidance of the Holy Spirit enable each of you to accentuate our belief in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by radiating in our daily lives the ideals and principles of the Gospel.’

I also sent to President Taylor an account of my visit to China in company with Elder Hugh J. Cannon when we were on a world tour of missions in 1921. Also sent to him a copy of the Prayer which I offered in dedicating the land of China for the preaching of the Gospel.”

Thur., 23 Aug. to Mon., 27 Aug.:


Thursday, August 23, 1962- Departure from Salt Lake City

8:00 a.m.

It was with great reluctance that I left Sister McKay at the Hotel this morning to commence the trip to Scotland; however, despite my pleadings for her to accompany me, my better judgment told me that she is right in declining to go because of her frail health. The trip would no doubt be too much for her.

My son Robert, and his wife, Francis Ellen, who are accompanying me on the trip, met us at the hotel. Lawrence, his wife, Mildred, and Llewellyn, who drove the car, and Emma Rae, went to the Airport with us. Elder and Sister Alvin R. Dyer, and my secretary, Clare Middlemiss, Brother and Sister Edward O. Anderson, and Robert and Francis Ellen’s children were also at the Airport to say goodbye to us.

At the Airport, just before entering the building, I met a blind boy, Roy Richard Hut, about 15 years of age, of the Lakewood First Ward, East Long Beach Stake. He was accompanied by his parents. Brother Franklin J. Murdock of the Transportation Department, who was on hand to see that our tickets and accommodations were in order, introduced the boy and his parents to me. I had a few minutes to shake hands and to say a few words of blessing and encouragement to this blind lad.

We were then driven around to the very entrance of the plane where Robert, Francis Ellen, and I, after saying farewell to the small party who had come to see us off, boarded the United Airlines Jet Plane (Flight 710), and at 9:05 we were off for our trip to New York.

We arrived in Denver at 10:15 a. m. After a short stop, we continued to Chicago where we changed planes at 11:15 a. m. We arrived in New York at 5:55 p. m. We had a five-hour wait there. I rested at the Airport while Robert and Francis Ellen did some sight-seeing. At 11:00 p. m. we boarded the Scandinavian Airlines for Prestwich, Scotland.

Friday, August 24, 1962 — Arrival in Scotland

After a very smooth flight during the night, we arrived at the airport in Prestwich, Scotland, at 10:15 a. m.  We were given a hearty welcome to bonny Scotland by President and Sister Nathan Eldon Tanner, President of the West European Mission; President and Sister Marion D. Hanks of the British Mission; President and Sister Bernard P. Brockbank of the Scottish Mission, and other Presidents of the various Missions in Great Britain.

After the welcome, we began our journey by automobile to Glasgow. Enroute I said to President Brockbank: “Can we pass Robert Burns’ birthplace?” and President Brockbank said that we could. I knew that Robert and Francis Ellen would not get another chance to see the birthplace.

President Brockbank trusted a total stranger and asked him the way to Bobby Burns’ birthplace, and he (the stranger) said, “Follow me, ” which we did.

It seemed to me that it was farther than it used to be because we had an appointment to interview men that day in Glasgow, and we were still many miles away. At Ayrshire we missed our guide, so we stopped at the side of the road, and soon our guide came up and said, “I stopped back there to show you Tam O’ Shanter’s Inn. That is where Souter Johnny ‘tauld his queerest stories.'” It was then evident to us that the guide was an admirer of the poet, so we went on past the old cemetery where the ‘ghosts were dancing, etc.’ and on to the birthplace. Then the guide said to us, ‘The Brig-o’ Doon is farther down, and when you get there you will hear him say. 

Ye banks and braes o’ Bonnie Doon

How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair?

How can ye chant, ye little birds,

And I sae weary fu’ o’ care.

This man really enjoyed quoting Burns. He said, ‘You come on down now, and when you get on the “brig” you’ll hear his voice.’ He was just bubbling over with enthusiasm. We did that very thing — stood on the ‘brig’ and quoted the lines from Burns’ ‘The Banks o’ Doon:’

Ye banks and braes o’ Bonnie Doon

How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair?

How can ye chant, ye little birds,

And I sae weary fu’ o’ care.

The next day, in talking to 2500 people at the conference in Glasgow, I mentioned that reception of a stranger, and what an excellent example of public relations; how any visitor would leave with a good impression because of the kind act of that stranger. I told them that this man was enthusiastic over the poet and was glad to show his knowledge of the poet’s poetry, and said, ‘You people are enthusiastic over the Gospel as this stranger felt about that poet; you feel the testimony of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; you have a testimony of the restoration of the Gospel. It is your responsibility as members of the Church to invite the “stranger” into your gates, and to ask your neighbor and your fellow workmen to come and sit in your cottage and hear the Elders give the message. An excellent example of our missionary system today.’

After a very interesting and enjoyable visit at the Burns’ cottage, we continued our journey to Glasgow, where we arrived in time to enjoy a delicious lunch at the Mission Home as guests of President and Sister Brockbank.

Saturday, August 25, 1962

Sixty-five years ago today, I landed in Liverpool to commence my mission to Scotland! This is my ninth trip to Scotland, but this time the visit has more significance than ever — an organization of a Stake in Scotland, where sixty- five years ago opposition to our work and message was very great. Now, after all these years of missionary work, the Church is firmly established in Scotland! It is like a dream come true!  I am glad to get back to the old sod!

This morning we visited the first chapel of the Church which is now under construction.  It is located at Drumchapel, and we had to cross the river Clyde to get to it. I met all the men who are working on this building, and it was a great pleasure to greet this enthusiastic group. I understand that five other chapels are under construction or in the planning for Scotland. 

We were then guests at lunch of President and Sister James A. Cullimore of the Central British Mission. We had a very enjoyable time together.

Press Conference

Prior to the Priesthood Meeting, we had a Press Conference with some reporters, one of whom I recognized as having met two years before at a press conference. There was one press representative there who had a ‘chip on his shoulder,’ and inquired why they were called there.  I told him that I did not call him. President Brockbank said that he did and thought perhaps he would like to hear a report from the President of the Church.

We sat down and discussed matters, and this gentleman modified his attitude, and we had a pleasant interview resulting in good.

President Nathan E. Tanner and President Marion D. Hanks, with the assistance of President Brockbank, did a masterful job in choosing the officers of the new stake. They carried all the responsibilities that I was not able to participate in–the interviews, etc.  They chose a very strong presidency for the new stake.  The president, Archibald R. Richardson, had been approved by the Council of the Twelve before I arrived.  The counselors are equally strong men.

7:00 p. m. — Priesthood Meeting held in St. Andrew’s Hall

Tonight, in the St. Andrew’s Hall there were seven hundred members of the Priesthood,. including the missionaries in Glasgow. I could hardly keep back the tears as I thought of the sixty-five years that had passed since I had been there on my mission. It seemed but a week or so ago, and I thought of the difficulties we had at that timc. At that time, there were thirty-three missionaries in the Glasgow Conference, whereas today we have three hundred and thirty-three missionaries in Scotland, and President Brockbank wants to divide the mission and have three hundred more missionaries. That illustrates the difference in the work today and what it was when I was there. At that time, the Elders just bore their testimonies and left the people. Today, the missionaries are teaching the people, and that is what it should be.

Sunday, August 26, 1962

11:00 a. m.

First Meeting of the Organization of the Glasgow Stake held in the St. Andrew’s Hall, Glasgow, Scotland. Twenty-five hundred members and

friends were crowded into the hall. President Nathan Eldon Tanner,

Assistant to the Twelve and President of the West European Mission, Elder Marion D. Hanks of the First Council of Seventy and President of the British Mission, and President Bernard P. Brockbank of the Scottish Mission, assisted me in the organization of the new Stake — the 356th in the Church.

Names of the new stake leaders, as follows, were presented for the sustaining vote of the congregation: 

Archibald R. Richardson, President 

David M. Porch, First Counselor 

William Proctor, Second Counselor 

James Coulter, Stake Clerk

Eight Wards and one Branch compose the Glasgow Stake, and the names of the Bishops were also presented for the sustaining vote of the people.

Ordaining of New Glasgow Stake Presidency

At the close of the meeting, we walked down a long hall which was crowded with people with whom I shook hands as we went, and then down a flight of stairs to a room where I ordained all three members of the new Stake Presidency to the office of High Priests and as members of the Stake’s High Priests Quorum Presidency. At the same time, I set them apart to the Stake Presidency. — President Archibald R. Richardson, Stake President; President David M. Porch, First Counselor; and President William Proctor, Second Counselor.

We had just ten minuses to get a bite to eat before the 3 o’clock session commenced.

Second Session of the 0rganization of the Glasgow Stake

The afternoon session was also held in the St. Andrew’s Hall, and there was an estimated crowd of twenty-five hundred at this meeting.

Mrs. Nada R. Brockbank, wife of President Bernard P. Brockbank, presented me with a Scotch robe, the McKay Tartan. Many tears were shed in expressing thanks for this token of love and respect. A similar Tartan was presented to Mrs. Robert R. McKay.

Sister Brockbank and Sister Richardson, wives of the Scottish Mission President and the new Stake President, sang a duet number — it was very touching!

Two thousand members of the Stake — eleven thousand in Scotland — I foresee even greater growth in Scotland. It is just the beginning. It will not be long before there are three or four more stakes the way the missionaries are bringing converts into the Church!

Following the meeting I spent as much time as I could in shaking hands with the people. It was so difficult to get away that we almost missed our plane to London.

A wish of long-standing fulfilled — many months ago, when the proposal of a Stake in Glasgow was made, I expressed the wish and hope that I might officiate because of my great love for the people of Scotland, the ancestral home of my grandfather and father, and the place of my early missionary labors!

7:00 p m. — Departure from Glasgow, Scotland

Boarded the airplane for London where we arrived at 8:20 p. m.

Monday, August 27, 1962 — In London, England

Departure from London — Spent the morning and early afternoon in London. Robert and Francis Ellen did what little sight-seeing they could before the departure of our Jet plane at 2:15 p. m. (London Time)

Our long jet flight over the Atlantic was glorious.  We passed over the ice caps of Greenland and Labrador, and no clouds obscured the view — it was a thrilling sight!

Arrival in Salt Lake City

At 8:40 p. m., following a 10,000-mile flight in five days, arrived at the Salt Lake City Air Terminal. We were surprised to find some seventy-five persons including family members and members of the General Authorities, on hand to welcome us home. President Henry D. Moyle, my sons, Llewellyn and Lawrence, and a number of my grandchildren were the first to greet me.

Thus ended a most satisfying and thrilling trip. I am most thankful and grateful to the Lord that I was able to attend this historic event in

the Church. Despite the heavy schedule which kept me busy every moment, my health was good, and I enjoyed every hour of what to me has been a ‘special event’ in my long years of Church service. I do not know whether anybody else has experienced returning to his missionary field with such joy and appreciation as I have had in going back to Scotland!

(See Diary of August 1, 1962 and August 17, 1962, for letters arranging for trip and organization of Glasgow Stake. See, also, following newspaper clippings giving account of trip.)

Note by c.m.

President McKay made the following comment regarding his trip to Glasgow, to the Brethren of the Twelve at Council Meeting, Thursday, August 30, 1962:

‘President Brockbank and his missionaries are united — they radiate love and unity, and their accomplishment is a little short of miraculous. President Brockbank is unassuming, giving his time, his health, and his means to the establishment of the Gospel in the great old country of Scotland. I cannot say too much in praise of the work and the accomplishment of President Brockbank, and also the work being done by President Tanner and President Hanks.

President Brockbank reported to me that thousands of people in Great

Britain seem never to have heard of the Gospel, and that there are a

number of cities where we have no missionaries. He advocates the division of the Scottish Mission, and also asks for 300 missionaries!'”

August 30, 1962

President David 0. McKay

47 East South Temple

“Note:  Organization of Mission in Nigeria–Correspondence with President N. Eldon Tanner of the West European Mission regarding his trip to Nigeria to organize mission there.  (See following correspondence.)

August 30, 1962

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear President McKay:

It was my privilege to breakfast with you, Robert and his wife, Saturday morning in Glasgow and at that time you mentioned my going to Nigeria. May I suggest for your consideration the following:

1. That Brother Williams and I leave for Nigeria the latter part of November, and that we spend a few days analyzing the whole situation there.

2. If it is your desire that we go forward and baptize worthy candidates we should organize Mutual Improvement Associations, Relief Societies, Primaries and Sunday Schools which they can conduct without the Priesthood.

3. That we have two or three couples called as missionaries to go and live in those areas so that they can travel from place to place, probably covering two or three congregations each Sunday administering the Sacrament, baptizing and confirming converts and blessing children, etc.

4. That a General Supervisor or District President be called and set apart to preside over the whole area. It seems to me also to be advisable for us to make a survey of the situation there, to see whether or not we should help them build cheap buildings where they could hold schools as well as Church services. If the conditions are such as to warrant it, school teachers who could conduct church activities and act as missionaries, should be provided.

It rnay be that I am stepping out too rapidly in my thinking without sufficient information or understanding of the conditions there. I am just outlining for your consideration what could be a long range program.

If you have the time and feel inclined to do so, I should be very happy to have you outline for me what you have in mind, if it differs materially from what I have outlined above.

In any case, I hope it will be possible for me to discuss this briefly with you when I am at Conference in October, which you so kindly invited us to attend.

Again may I say how happy we were to be able to be with you at the organization of the Glasgow Stake and to see you feeling as well as you were. It was a great tribute to the people there in Scotland and a blessing to all of us to have you there.

Sara joins with love and greetings to you and Sister McKay .

Affectionately yours,

N. Eldon Tanner, President

West European Mission”

“September 4, 1962

President N. Eldon Tanner

West European Mission

White Hayes, Garden Close

Givons Groves, Leatherhead

Surrey, England

Dear President Tanner:

This will acknowledge the receipt of your kind letter of August 30, 1962, in which you make reference to your prospective visit to Nigeria

The program, as you have outlined it, will be followed as nearly as possible when the time comes to send missionaries over to organize that mission. Nothing will be done about it until after the November election.

I have spoken to Brother LaMar Williams, who has already been told that he will be the one to assist in that organization. Whether his wife will accompany him is doubtful, because his children will be in school.

Further details on this subject will be given after the October Conference.

With love and best wishes to you and Sister Tanner, in which Sister McKay joins, I remain

Affectionately yours,

David O. McKay


Thur., 6 Sep.:

10:00 a. m. – 1:00 p. m.

Meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve held in the Office of the First Presidency. The Salt Lake Temple is unavailable because of renovations and repairs.

Church Acquisition of Short-wave Broadcasting Station – WRUL in Boston

Prior to our regular meeting, at my invitation, Brother Arch L. Madsen, President of KSL, came in and made a presentation regarding the Church’s acquiring a short-wave broadcasting station in Boston.

After the presentation and Brother Madsen’s departure from the meeting, I asked the Brethren if they had any suggestion to make as to the acquiring of a short-wave station; that I had asked for the presentation to the Brethren to ascertain whether or not they would feel to approve of entering that field in the interest of our missionary cause.

Elder Benson said that he thought our chances of obtaining approval from the Commission in Washington would be much greater if we were to purchase a growing concern. He said the complexion of the Commission in Washington is changing, and he thought that we should act quickly on the matter. He said he was thrilled with the proposition.

Elder Evans said he thought the purchase of WRUL in Boston, if it is possible, is a much better proposal than building new stations. He thought we could sink unnumbered millions into the creation, promotion and development of new stations. He said he was acquainted with the WRUL operation, he knew their personnel and their officers, and that they have a very effective and efficient organization. He thought that if we are going into this area, the purchase of a going concern would be far superior to trying to follow through the long process of establishing our own station.

Elder Romney expressed his feeling that it was imperative that we enter this field. He thought this was a good way to spread the Gospel.

Elder Petersen said he surely felt that way; that he would like to see us go into that field, and it was his feeling that it would be much better to buy a going station than to pioneer a new one.

Elder Stapley agreed with the other Brethren, that it would be much better to purchase a going station rather than to try to establish a new one.

Elder Hinckley said he thought that not only would this greatly assist our missionary work directly, but that it would have a tremendous influence

upon our membership, tying the Church closer together all over the world;

that many of our people in the missions feel they are out in the wilderness

walking by themselves, and if they could sit home and listen to what goes on over here, it would have a tremendous effect upon the people as well as assisting our missionary work.

I said the First Presidency would keep the Brethren informed of our procedure in this matter.”


TO : Clare Middlemiss

Dear Clare:

September 7, 1962

Sometimes in the past you have asked me for memoranda concerning the subjects of my visits with the President. I had a brief few moments with him following our Thursday meeting of the Presidency and the Council of Twelve at noon Thursday, September 6, concerning the possibility of Dr. Kenneth Castleton’s being named Dean of the medical school of the University of Utah which he expressed himself as being in favor of as a good interim choice.

I also talked with him about my continuing on the Tabernacle Broadcast, and indicated to him that the pressure of additional stake conference assignments was sometimes raised. He advised that as the coverage of our broadcast is spread more widely over the world it was more important than ever that I stay with the broadcast. His instructions on this were definite and, as I remember, he invited me to advise him if there were any move from any source to make it difficult to continue. I told him that with his confidence and support I could live with almost any problem. Without him it would be discouraging.


Richard L. Evans”

Wed., 12 Sep., 1962:

“Inaugural program over short wave radio . . . September 16, 1962:

One hundred and thirty-two years ago a group of men and women, in obedience to a conmandment of God, were assembled in the house of Mr. Peter Whitmer, Sen., for the purpose of organizing the Church.

Means of communication were primitive . . . seven years before the telegraph would be known. The only light in the house after dark would be furnished by candle, perhaps by kerosene lamp. The electric light globe would not be known for forty years. Sixty years . . . almost a lifetime . . . before the automobile would be used. And the airplane existed only in the realm of imagination. Yet one year before the organization of the Church, under the inspiration of the Lord, Joseph Smith had written: “. . . a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.” (D&C 4:1.)

I give you my testimony that this marvelous work is now going forth among the children of men.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints commences with this inaugural broadcast, a series of programs to be heard twice weekly over short wave radio 


The message of the Church is to proclaim the reality of the Christ as the real Son of God the Father. One important impact of the principles of his gospel is to establish peace in the hearts of men, peace in home life, peace in towns, in cities, in countries, peace throughout the world . . . that is the declaration of the Church.

I invite you to listen to this series of programs and to partake of the knowledge and spirit of this great latter-day work.”

Tues., 18 Sep., 1962:

Scotland – new mission recommended by President Bernard P. Brockbank 

I mentioned to my counselors, as we were talking about President

Brockbank’s visit recently to Salt Lake City for dental care, that

President Brockbank is ready to organize another mission in Scotland and that he wishes to have 300 more missionaries. I said I had never been so surprised in my life. President Moyle said that it is his considered judgment, and that he has been working on it for a year. I said that I hated to see him released, and President Moyle said that he was going to suggest tlhat we keep him over there another year; that he does not want to come home.

I said that when I was in Scotland recently, I took note of him — he is unpretentious; no flare, and he accomplishes so much, and that the Elders respect him very much. President Moyle said we have few men in the Church that are his equal.

I said that it has been sixty-five years since I was in Scotland; that I know the country, and it is the surprise of my life to see what is being done by way of missionary work — the Nation has certainly changed.

President Moyle said he thinks if we organize another mission in

Edinburgh it would have the same success. I said that I am willing to take President Brockbank’s judgment; that he knows the country; that he impressed me as being just one jump ahead of us. For example, when I was there I said I should like to make certain appointments, and President Brockbank said he had already made them; I said I wanted to send a cable to Sister McKay after the meeting at Prestwick, and President Brockbank said, “I have already done it.” I said again, I am willing to take his judgment on this Mission, although it is the last place I would ever say we should have another mission. This mission would include Aberdeen, Dundee and Fifeshire.

I asked my counselors if they wanted to decide about this organization this morning, and both Presidents Moyle and Brown agreed that we should go ahead. I said that we would take it up at the Council Meeting today. I said that I have never seen such a transformation in people in all my Church experience, and that the Scots are genuine, they are solid, and that I am willing to accept President Brockbank’s recommendation.

Thur., 20 Sep.:

“10:00 – 12:00 Noon

The regular meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve was held in the office of the First Presidency.  (Salt Lake Temple is still undergoing renovation and construction of Annex.)

Scottish Mission — Division of 

Today at Council Meeting, I told the Brethren that one of the great surprises that I met when I visited Glasgow, Scotland recently for the purpose of organizing a stake, was the large number of missionaries now active in what formerly was called the Scottish Conference. When I labored there as a young Elder sixty-five years ago, there were thirty-three traeling Elders whereas they now have three hundred and thirty-three, and a new stake organization there.

President Bernard P. Brockbank, President of the Scottish Mission, is now recommending a division of that Mission, and would like to have three hundred more missionaries in Scotland. President Brockbank said that there are a number of cities with tens of thousands of people residing in them who have not had the opportunity of hearing the Gospel yet. The proposed new mission would have headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland, and would include such cities as Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, and others.

President Moyle said that he had been to Scotland twice within the year, and that he recommends the division of the Mission. He said he understood that there is a movement in Scotland now by the Catholic Church to attempt to absorb the Scottish Church, and there is much unrest religiously in that land. Said he felt that this was an opportune time for us to do our utmost to bring the Gospel to the people.

Elder Gordon B. Hinckley commented that the Spirit of the Lord is 

I resting on that land, and that we should take advantage of it. President

Moyle moved approval of the recommendation, and motion was seconded by Elder Hinckley, and unanimously approved by all the Brethren present.

Wed., 10 Oct.:

“8:50 a m. 

Purchase of Short-Wave Radio Station WRUL, Boston. 

Following the departure of Colonel Brindle and his party, we received in the office of the First Presidency the following:

Elder Richard L. Evans

Arch L. Madsen, General Manager of KSL

Benjamin Hollingworth, Secretary-treasurer of KSL

James B. Conkling, President of the International Educational Broadcasting Corporation.

Mr. John A. Deluge, President and Chairman of the Board of Metromedia Corp., Owners and operators of WRUL Radio Station.

Mr. Mark Austed and Mr. Ralph Brent of the Short-Wave Radio Station, WRUL, Boston, Massachusetts.

Robert W. Barker of Washington, D C, Attorney for Metromedia Corporation.

We met for the purposle of signing the papers for the purchase by the Church of the short-wave Station WRUL of Boston. Attorney Barker submitted a document to be signed by me as President of the Church. He explained that the document is an application of Station WRUL to the Federal Communications Commission setting forth the Church’s interest in the short-wave station, its purpose, and requesting approval of the transfer of the World-wide Broadcasting Division of Metromedia, Inc., with its WRUL Station at Boston, to the International Educational Broadcasting Corporation organized by the Church and also requesting a license for the International Education Broadcasting Corporation to operate. The application also states reasons for wanting to operate the station and the type of organization the Church hopes to run. I signed three copies of the application.

Before signing the papers, I asked Mr. Kluge to review the advantages of having this station, and he said if his company had been a public company, and had a board of directors and were responsible to stockholders, station WRUL would not have been sold, nor would the station be sold to a world-wide organization whose purposes and aims would not do justice to the world-wide facilities which the station has. He explained that the sale of the station to the Church, however, brings the kind of world-wide organization which would utilize the facilities of the station which are in accord with their own desires. He said it is an international short-wave facility much different from national facilities because these facilities reach people in the jungles of South America, Africa, and Asia, and with such facilities the station reaches two-thirds of the world on any twenty-four-hour period.

I commented that we have the means of reaching people all over the world through our Church organization.

Mr. Kluge agreed that with the Church’s 12,000 missionaries, which may some day be 30,000, the Church has an excellent, practical means of increasing the scope of the short-wave station over the world. He said the company does not, and could not have a coordinating organization like that, and that the Church, therefore, is a natural organization to utilize to a maximum good the facilities which the station offers.

Mr. Ralph Brent said that by pre-arrangement over this station missionaries of the Church throughout the world in possession of transistor radios equipped to bring in short-wave stations, could be brought into communication with the Church anywhere in the world.

Mr. Kluge explained that the facilities of this station had been in existence for more than thirty years and that it is a national company. Mr. Brent said that the facilities of this station came into fame during World War II when ships of the Norwegian navy were at sea and the king of Norway used the station to advise the ships not to return to their home ports lest they be captured by the invading German army and navy.

I inquired about the use of the station for advertising, and Mr. Kluge said advertising goes out over the station to listeners overseas and that the potential overseas market is very large.

Mr. Brent explained that magazines of international circulation like Time, Life, the Reader’s Digest, Popular Mechanics, carry advertising of American products to overseas markets. The same advertisers are called on by this station to get their business since this is the only short-wave radio station which carries advertising world-wide. He said fifty per cent of the people of the world cannot read, but they can listen. They can receive the news and receive ethical, moral, spiritual information by listening.

Mr. Austed said he had returned from Africa two and one half years ago where he was in Gaboon with Dr. Schwitzer and he received this station in Gaboon [as] loudly as you can hear KSL here. He said that two thirds of the world is available through the facilities of this station.

I stated that a cable had been received from South Africa reporting that the conference program was well received.

In response to Mr. Kluge’s inquiry, Mr. Brent said that the station receives about 2,000 letters a month from people acknowledging receiving the programs of the station, and that with better programming these results can be improved.

In response to James Conkling’s question as to whether the station can confirm that it is the biggest advertising medium in the world, Mr. Brent said we suspect that this is true. The Reader’s Digest has nine million circulation outside the United States; there are 88 million listeners on short-wave receivers. This would mean that our potential is larger than the Reader’s Digest.

Mr. Kluge said that the fact which is making international short-wave radio broadcasting of such importance is the transistor radio, battery-powered, the batteries being renewable over a six-month period. The transistor radios with short-wave bands enable people to pick up short-wave signals all over the world. These radios are not dependent upon electrical outlets being available, but operate on power of the batteries. Many of them are pocket radios. Mr. Austed estimated that the transistor equipment with short-wave components can be purchased from $40.00 to $250.00. He said Zenith, RCA, Hallicrafters, Motorola, are producing transistor equipment of this type for prices ranging in the upper brackets, but that the Japanese manufacturers and Phillips offer sets for $40.00 and $50.00 and $60.00 and even lower.

Mr. Brent said some car radios have adapters for short-wave reception. He mentioned a letter received from a man who was driving along the Autobahn in Germany who reported picking up their signal and hearing their station’s program. More home radios are short-wave in Europe than in America. He explained that radio manufacturers, Zenith, Magnavox, Motorola, Hallicrafters, are specializing in production of short-wave transistor radios to extend their markets for theSe products in foreign lands as well as in America.

In reply to President Moyle’s question as to whether this station can broadcast to the United States or whether there may be any regulation or law preventing it, Mr. Brent explained that under the regulations of the Federal Communications Commission this station may broadcast to the United States as an incident of its broadcasting internationally, and that in actual performance the station’s signal is received well from Pittsburgh and Washington west on five frequencies, although they are not beamed to them but rather to overseas countries. He said that there is a rule in FCC requiring that the station must never broadcast solely to the United States; we should have to be broadcasting overseas as well as to the United States, such as to Tokyo, Australia or New Zealand. He explained that the station must have adequate antennae to broadcast its signals. He explained that the short-wave beams go around the world; KSL ends at a particular spot because its power, though high, is limited; short-wave radio waves go around the world many times. Many ships around the world listen to this station. They give us a log of their going around the world and send in a complete log of where they receive the signal.

He reported instances of refugees, an American pilot and a Cuban woman doctor, who, while in prison in Cuba, clandestinely listened on short-wave radio station and reported that it was the main means of their retaining their sanity because of the contact with the outside world. He explained that this morning at 7:00 o’clock, the station would be on the air with a three-hour program, repeating it at intervals telling the people in Cuba in Spanish what is happening to their country. An ex-president of Cuba broadcasts on this program as well as a man who was Castro’s lieutenant. The station has students who have left Cuba who can find in the United States the academic freedom which has been lost in Cuba. They are telling the Cuban people what is happening to their country. It is in their language and by their countrymen. Mr. Brent said it is our idea that things are building to a head in Cuba and we thought someone should review the facts for the people of Cuba.

James Conkling explained that if the short-wave is to go to Japan and Australia, it would more likely be from a transmitter not in the eastern United States but in the west on Guam or Hawaii for the reason that the signal would be clearer and stronger.

Mr. Brent said if the short-wave frequency is available and we have the antennae and the transmitter to deliver the signal to the target zone, FCC will probably authorize broadcasting to special places overseas.

Robert Barker explained that Arch Madsen made special arrangements for the conference to be broadcast over facilities of this station and the performance was regular. This required special arrangements for the broadcast power and facilities were normal facilities. This can be done every day.

Mr. Austed said “You could reach every missionary from here every day.” Mr. Kluge confirmed this and cited examples of the Northern Abrasives Company beaming a special message to people all over the world. Mr. Brent said that was done quite a while ago. They had a five-minute program on the subject of how to use abrasives in grinding wheels and in such equipment and they offered a screw driver to anyone who would write in. They received thousands and thousands of requests for the screw driver. He referred also to the broadcast program of the institute of radio engineers who offered a transistor radio for Europe, Africa, and South America, with surprising results.

The American Bible Society over short-wave offered free Bibles in the language of the countries throughout the world. Robert Barker said think what we can do with the Book of Mormon.

Mr. Brent said there is not a man in this room who can tell you how radio works and what it is. I defy anyone to tell how it works — that your voice and my voice can travel around the world and be in hundreds of thousands of homes at the same time we speak. This is truly a God-given instrument, and it has got to be used that way and particularly this radio station because if we do not broadcast messages of good will, ethics and morals, and the way we believe in things to the people of the world in other areas, there is something very, very wrong with how the communications media are being used today. They are not used enough and for this particular station with this kind of mission that is why I am delighted that your organization has decided to use it and to send its voice around the world.

Mr. Kluge said we have had all kinds of opportunity to sell this station to what I would consider to be wrong hands, and it is such a big job, the station is such an effort that a company can be run just on this station alone. He said the station could be devoted to many uses which would mean nothing to and would do no good to other people. “I feel very much relieved of the responsibility of this station in the sale of it and in its going into the right hands. Ralph and I have had a running conversation for over a year and actually I feel delighted that the Church will have this facility because it is a great responsibility and it is really someone like yourselves who can measure up to it.

While I was signing the documents, Brother Arch Madsen asked the group to line up behind me to enable the photographer to get a picture. He explained that it is desired that publicity be not released for a week and that it be released simultaneously then in Salt Lake City and New York.

I said this is the realization of a dream come true. We have hoped for short-wave for 25 years. That was just in the imagination.

Robert Barker said that Mark Austed said that that may be the reason he quit Columbia Broadcasting System and went with Mr. Kluge to help us get this station.

I remarked that some power has been working, that I am happv and thrilled with what they have explained and with the possibilities of this station. Brother Austed recalled when he was talking with me personally many years ago when I was at the railway station in Ogden saying good-bye to David Lawrence McKay, who was departing for his mission and that he was also departing for his mission at the same time, that several of his girl friends were kissing him good-bye and one of the girls kissed his white collar and that I “ribbed” him for it.

He then explained that most short-wave stations are government and that the people accept them with reservations and doubt because of their use for government propaganda, but that this station is not a government station. It is independent, and it is believed.

This has been an historic occasion and more far-reaching than any of us can realize!

(see newspaper clippings following)

Mr. Kluge and his party then left the office of the First Presidency.

Thur., 11 Oct.:

“Held our regular meeting of the First Presidency.

Nigeria, Africa — Opening up the Church in 

I said that the important matter before us this morning is what we are going to tell Brother Nathan Eldon Tanner, particularly regarding the Nigerian situation; that we have already decided to put Nigeria under the West European Mission, and have already decided that we shall send couples down there, married couples without children, so as not to subject children to the conditions there. Brother Tanner will go down accompanied by Brother LaMar Williams, and the two couples and receive the Nigerian people into the Church with a full knowledge that they will have every blessing of membership excepting the Priesthood. I stated that we have made no promise, and we shall state plainly to them that they are not to have the Priesthood. They will receive baptism and be entitled to the sacrament, and all the opportunities offered by the Auxiliaries; that the local people can preside in the Auxiliary associations, but the Elders who will be appointed there under the direction of the President of the West European Mission will take charge of sacrament meetings, administer the sacrament, and will exercise everything pertaining to the Priesthood.

I stated that one very important question is like the one which arose yesterday, when we had an application of a Mohammedan who is really a Coptic Christian and not a Mohammedan, who under the laws of Egypt is entitled to two wives. We have already considered that he could not visit his first wife personally but she has accepted his second wife whom he married according to the Egyptian law, but we think we had better not be connected with that in any way. I told Brother Tanner to leave his conversion and his baptism to the British Mission. Then followed the following conversation:

“I have not heard from President Tanner, have you?”

President Moyle said, “Not since we talked.”

President McKay: “I think our decision not to have him baptized here under President Woodbury was very wise, even though he himself, a very refined educated gentleman, will feel hurt to a degree. I do not know that he will but we shall leave that in the European Mission where it began and where it should continue.

“Now that same question of plural marriage will have to be faced within the month down in Nigeria.”

President Brown: “Are they polygamous?”

President McKay: “Some of them — those who can afford it. They are recognized by the government. “

President Moyle: “These leaders are polygamists.”

President Moyle: “One has been told that he cannot come into the Church and he reported to Brother Williams his willingness to put away one of his wives. Both are young. After a sleepless night he came to Brother Williams and said I have decided to put away one of my wives. Which one? The younger one. He will keep her three children and send her back to her father. Well now, I think that is not right.”

President Browns “That is the very thing our fathers refused to do; President Smith and the rest of them.”

President McKay:  “And the government approved. I think we will have to let them keep their wives and baptize them.”

President Moyle: I do not see any reason for anything else.

President Brown: That is the law of the land there.

President McKay: Now of course since they are negroes, they can never go through the temple, so that question will not come up. It will come out with this man, but I think we had better refuse to acknowledge his relationship in this life anyhow.

President Moyle: It will not come up as long as his first wife is living because she cannot go to the temple. And under the rule of the Church he cannot be sealed to his second wife until he is sealed to the first wife.

President McKay: In this question in Nigeria we will not ask this leader to turn that wife out and keep these children.

President Brown: It is morally wrong, wrong to the children. He is the father of these children.

President McKay: You know what effect this will have on these “Fundamentalists.” 

President Brown: They will make the most of it.

President McKay: We shall not give this Nigerian matter publicity. we shall help them and build their meeting houses, and we shall give them every consideration we give in other missions. They are building their houses now one hundred per cent. They will appreciate our assisting them so every branch will have a meetinghouse. Now we are all united on that attitude, are we not? We shall not take it up this morning, but Brother Tanner is going back and he will want to know just what to do.

President Moyle: There is one thing not clear in my mind about Dr. Sarofim. I do not believe that the second marriage took place under the laws of Egypt. I doubt very much that it is legal if it was performed under the laws of Switzerland.

President Brown: I think our record shows that we got a report, I do not know that it is correct.

President McKay: He cannot go back to Egypt. He has never taken his second wife back to Egypt. That makes his marriage under the English law illegal. I am so glad we did not approve of his being baptized here.

Statements were read from the correspondence as regards the legality of the second marriage to the effect that it was in Egypt and legal under the laws of Egypt. This was read from a letter of President Woodbury to President Tanner. President Moyle said there could not be a marriage take place in Switzerland under the law of Egypt. It would have to be in Egypt to have the marital status fixed under the Egyptian law. This marriage took place when he was banished from Egypt and after he escaped from Egypt and he had never been able to get back there since.

Dr. Sarofim is a lawyer by profession and he would naturally do things in a legal manner. From the letter was read the statement that a passport had been issued by the Egyptian government to the woman under her married name and Egypt was referred to as the land of the birth of the second wife. They have issued her a passport.

President Brown: We ought to check this and see if it is correct. I have some reservations. I do not know from what source we get that information. The letter of Devonshire and Company with relation to plural marriages and their status in England was read. President Moyle said the statement is made on the assumption that the marriages were performed in Egypt. President McKay said now we need to have confirmed the statement that he married his second wife in Egypt.

President Moyle: She has an Egyptian passport and that would be prima facie evidence of it at least, and it may be conclusive.

President McKay: We shall ask President Tanner to investigate that and find out because we have confirmed his suggestion that we do not baptize him here, that he go back and be baptized.

President Brown: Dr. Sarofim was at the theatre and he said he would be leaving for London. He left on the midnight plane.

President Moyle: Brother Woodbury took him to the airport during the performance. He did not see it all.

President McKay: That’s all right. So far we are cleared.

President Moyle: On this Nigerian matter, if these figures are right, if we are going to baptize 4, 000 people, the question I have in my mind is how long would it take for one couple to get around and administer the sacrament to them.

President McKay: We shall have two couples and President Tanner

and Brother Williams. Brother Williams will not take his wife or children.

President Brown: There will be Brother Williams and two couples besides Brother Williams.

President Moyle: Have we picked those couples ?

President McKay: No, not yet. We will instruct President Tanner and they will come down in November and we want to be clear on this question.

President Moyle: I don’t know anything else to do, but we have got to do it with our eyes open as to the risk we are running. Every man becomes to us a potential threat in the future. They will make a fuss that will be world-wide. I am not opposed to it. I see the potential danger that can arise in the future.

President McKay: Let us face it. Just as soon as these branches are organized the leaders will want to come here to Conference. They are entitled to a trip here just as the presidents from England are.

President Moyle: But they will have none of the local men appointed branch presidents. They will be only heads of auxiliary organizations. If you bring the Relief Society you will have to bring the Relief Society sisters here. We have not yet done that in any other than stakes. We have brought no Relief Society sisters from the missions to conference.

President McKay: I think we shall be well to guard against that possibility. Already there has been an expressed desire to have leaders come over.

President Brown: We could not pay their fare. There is no one qualified to receive the fare over and back. If there are some who can do it on their own, that is their business.

President Moyle: If you have a concentration there. I do not know how concentrated they are. You can have 4,000 members of the Church conceivably.

President McKay: We shall have double that number as soon as you baptize them. I think it will be well for Brother Tanner and Brother Williams to go to the heads of the Nigerian nation and tell them what we are doing.

President Moyle: I do too, and then you are going to be confronted sooner or later with the understanding of what you are going to do about giving them a stake.

President Brown: You cannot do that without importing all the officers. That is something we will have to meet when we get to it. It will be at least a year.

President Moyle: With 8,000 people concentrated, they will know what the organization of the Church is.

President McKay: And they have been using the name of the Church for over two years and asking for baptism to be made legal and to be properly baptized. They use the right term, but I do not see anything else to do. Make them heads of auxiliaries and throw the responsibility locally upon them and have these men who will be sent spend two and one-half years down there and administer the sacrament and conduct the sacrament meetings. Bless them and baptize their children.

President Moyle: I am wondering, I am just thinking out loud. Maybe they ought to be advised from the very beginning that it would not be possible for us to set up a regular Church organization now or in the foreseeable future, and if the question of organizing a stake were to arise, we could refer back to the initial instructions.

President Brown: If they are forewarned.

President Moyle: I don’t see how we could ever organize wards and stakes down there. When you have a concentration of 400 to 500 people in branches or 4000 to 8000 people within a stake area and they are going to learn very rapidly what our Church organization is and we have stakes all around them in Europe. I think they should be forewarned about this as well as about priesthood unless we see our way clear to have such an organization within a year or so. The organization is a problem as well as the priesthood.

It is almost inconceivable to carry on the work of a stake without the priesthood.

President McKay: Especially the Aaronic Priesthood. Deacons and teachers. If we could confer the Aaronic Priesthood on them, it would be no clearer. The question was asked as to what effect this will have on the missionary work in South Africa. They do not want it in Johannesburg.

President Moyle: We just could not do that in South Africa what we are doing in Nigeria.

President Brown: And that is not our fault. It is the government’s fault. The government in South Africa would not permit us to do it.

President McKay: We have taken one step and it will be announced to the world next Tuesday and this will be associated with if it is right for Brother Tanner of the West European Mission and Brother Williams and anyone else of our elders and their wives to carry the Church organization to the negroes. We have got to look forward and bring the mission organization to thousands of negroes. There will be opposition when they go to the government and it depends largely upon the attitude of the government officials and what the attitude of the negroes will be. Now we will have a man who is very wise and he is in touch with the English government officials when Nigeria was in the British government. Most of these negroes speak English. We shall have no difficulty in learning the language. We shall help them build their meetinghouses and these meetinghouses will soon be used as school houses in helping the children to read. When the children join the Church, the next thing will be to have them learn to read. One boy has been driven away from home and he was told that if he joined the Mormons, he will be driven away from home. The last we heard about him was he was sleeping out in the country and he was drawn to a group who called themselves Mormons. There will be hundreds of them. They will be meeting in Sunday School and the Mutual and Primary within a few months. They are going to read and we will have to have some elementary schools in the meetinghouses.

President Brown: It is a big movement. It is history making.

President McKay: If we could just give them the Aaronic Priesthood. I suppose there is no way to differentiate. The Lord will have to do it. The Lord did that after the priesthood was taken away from the ancient prophets. That law was added as a school master to bring them to Christ. And that is all they had for hundreds of years.

President Brown: It was the Aaronic Priesthood?

President McKay: The Aaronic Priesthood.

President Brown: There seems to be a differentiation somewhat. I am wondering whether this prohibition against their having the priesthood was intended to include both. We rely mostly on that paragraph in Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price. I secretly hoped that the time would come when we could give them the Aaronic Priesthood.

Here is one of the saddest things in the policy of the Church. In years past we have baptized the negro. They have been faithful and just as faithful as any human beings can be and their children have attended Sunday School and Primary and they have associated with our children in Primary. We saw one of them at our socials, a member of the Primary school, who came there before the First Presidency and the Twelve. Do you remember?

President Moyle: Yes.

President McKay: In a year or so that child will be associated with other members of the Primary Association. The male part, and the boys will be recommended to the bishop to receive the priesthood and on Friday that negro boy met with others in the Primary Association and Sunday evening the other boys went with the Primary class and were put on the stand and this boy sat down with his mother and he could not be there with the other boys to be recommended. Now that is a tragedy.

President Moyle: That’s where the rub comes. That is what pulls at the heart strings of fathers and mothers.

President McKay: I think the Lord is not pleased with it.

President Moyle: Being they are his children and he has opened the door for them to go into the Celestial Kingdom through baptism, that’s pretty hard treatment for the children.

President McKay: Only the Lord can change it, but that is what we are facing, Brethren, and we have gone so far now that we shall have to go down to Nigeria and baptize these people.

President Brown: But they ought to go first to the government officials.

President McKay: That is what I am presenting to you this morning. That is the right thing to do.

President Moyle: I think so.

President McKay: If they want to take the stand that they will not admit us, we shall thank the Lord and say that is all right. We shall receive that, and it will be their responsibility.

President Moyle: We will go as far as the Lord will let us.

9:50 – 2:25 p. m. 

We concluded our meeting of the First Presidency at 9:50 a. m., and then held the meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve in the office of the First Presidency. The Salt Lake Temple is still in a condition which prohibits us from meeting there.

At Council Meeting today, we discussed the case of Dr. Ebeid Sarofim, an Egyptian who has requested baptism. It was agreed by all present that this is a matter that should be handled in the British Mission, and that he should not be admitted into the Church by baptism here inasmuch as he has two wives, even though they were both married under Egyptian law (see Council Minutes of this day for details).

Also discussed the Nigerian situation and the plea of 4 000 negroes in that country who have taken upon themselves the title of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (see Council minutes of this day for details).”

Fri., 12 Oct.:

“Although the office is closed today for Columbus Day Holiday, I came to the office to keep scheduled appointments.

7:45 a. m.

Brother Nathan Eldon Tanner came in, and I talked with him about our opening up missionary work in Nigeria, Africa. Elder Tanner will leave in November for Nigeria, and I suggested that he take with him Brother LaMar Williams (his wife is not to accompany him, but stay home with their children), and two missionary couples who do not have children.

I told Elder Tanner that when he and Brother Williams arrive in Nigeria, they should call upon the government officials the first thing, and explain to them the purpose of the Church in Nigeria. After that, if they have government approval, they may proceed to meet with the people and have the missionaries baptize them.

We then talked about the Scottish Mission, and I agreed with Brother Tanner that there should be a re-application of some of the missions already organized.

I also brought up the matter of a successor to President Tanner for the West European Mission, and also a successor for President Bernard P. Brockbank of the Scottish Mission.

Mon., 15 Oct.:

“11:30 a. m. 

My secretary, Clare, called me and said that Elder A. Theodore Tuttle, President of the South American Mission, had requested that he be allowed to talk to me before he returns to the mission field. I told her to have him come right over to the apartment.

11:45 a. m. 

At his request, met Elder A. Theodore Tuttle, of the First Council of Seventy, and President of the South American Mission, in our apartment at the Hotel Utah.

He reported his work in the South American Mission — said that everything is moving along very well. I asked him particularly about the attitude of the members of the Church in Chili toward Communism. Brother Tuttle said there are members of the Church who are Communists, and I said to him, “How can they be Communists and still members of the Church?” He said that they joined the Communists before they became members of the Church; that Communism is the political party in Chili. He said that he is afraid to say anything to the members about their affiliation.

I said “No member of the Church can be a Communist.” Brother Tuttle said that they are not really Communists; that they are such in the way some of our people were twenty years ago. I said, “You mean Socialism?” He said, “Yes, Socialism.”

I made it very clear to Brother Tuttle that Communism and the Restored Gospel do not harmonize, and those who accept the Church must reject Communism.”

Thur., 18 Oct., 1962:

10:00 – 12: 30 p. m.

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

Negroes — Baptism of 

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

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

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

Wed., 31 Oct.:

“8:45 – 10:30 a. m. Was engaged in the meeting of the First Presidency. Among important official Church matters taken up were the following:

(1) Nigeria — Missionaries to 

I discussed the suggestion of Brother LaMar Williams to send a Brother and Sister Goodrich with him to Nigeria. I sent for Brother Williams to come into the meeting. I commented upon the fact that the Nigerians, according to their law, may marry in polygamy, and said that we shall leave that matter to their government, but these people, when they become members of the Church, may not enter into polygamy.

When Brother Williams came into the meeting, he said that President Tanner of the West European Mission wants him to leave Salt Lake City on November 27, and that President Tanner plans to go back to London by January 1. He will leave there about December 14 and go back to London. He in planning to spend two weeks in Nigeria. I asked Brother Williams what he knows about the missionary couples who have been recommended and he said he does not know Brother and Sister Goodrich personally, but that he and Brother Hinckley carefully went over recommendations of missionary couples regularly recommended and singled out Brother and Sister Goodrich for consideration. Other than this, Brother Williams said he had found no one.

President Moyle recalled a missionary couple who had been considered for a full-time missionary service — a Brother and Sister Erbin Beach. He is age 30. His wife is Norma Lavell Rigby Beach, age 26. Information from the missionary applications of this couple was reviewed.

I stated that I think it would be all right to call them for six months, and then let them come home or have the mission extended if they wish. I instructed Brother Williams to meet these couples (Brother and Sister Goodrich and Brother and Sister Beach) and ask them if they will go down to Nigeria for six months with him. I stated that the mission will be called the Nigerian Mission, and it will be conducted under direction of the West European Mission President. I asked Brother Williams to report back to me, and that thereafter consideration would be given to issuing the calls. I then said to Brother Williams, “You have been appointed bv the First Presidency to go down and to open up this mission with two missionary couples. Ask these couples if they will go with you for that purpose for six months, if thev are called by the First Presidency.”

Brother Williams repeating said, “I shall find out if they will accept a call there to the Nigerian Mission from the First Presidency.”

Brother Williams then said, “We run into the polygamy situation. There are many who want to come into the Church but they do not want to lose their families and their wives.” I said that we would give him instructions on that later.

(3) Poland – Missionary work in Communist-dominated countries.

We read a letter from President Theodore M. Burton who reported a visit made by President William S. Erekson after his release as President of the Swiss Mission to members living in Poland. President Erekson reported that he was received kindly and found the people to be very friendly. President Burton reported that he had talked with President Fetzer and President Erekson, who feel that missionary work can be done in East Germany and in Poland if missionaries are not from NATO countries since such missionaries would be regarded as spies. Missionaries from Scandanavian countries, Finland or Switzerland, however, would not be under that disadvantage. I decided with President Moyle concurring that missionary work in a Communist-dominated country, at present, is inadvisable. I stated that we should be dealing with governments which have no honor and who would use us as tools to further their own purposes at the very first opporltunity they could get.”

Thurs., 1 Nov. 1962:

First Presidency’s Meeting

3) Iran, Relief to Earthquake Victims

The letter of President Van Epps of the Tehran Branch was read.  It reported the destitute condition of natives of Iran who were victims of the recent devastating earthquake, and asked if Welfare commodities could be sent for distribution to some of them.

A letter from Elder Henry D. Taylor of the General Welfare Committee reported that a survey of available stock of clothing and other items had been made at the Deseret Industries and the Bishops Storehouse and that this shows that a surplus has accumulated there.  Twenty-two boxes prepared for shipment to Czechoslovakia, but not sent when restrictions to the Communists prevented their shipment, and also boxes of items assembled but not needed in Chile are available.

Elder Richard L. Evans informed Brother Taylor that members of the Church of Iran are people on assignment in government missions; there are no proselyting missionaries, there are very few native members, and that the people assisted would be non-members.  I commented upon the indefiniteness of the proposal and said let us send some clothing over to the president of the branch who will distribute it.  President Moyle suggested that Brother Uhrhan be given the assignment to follow up the matter and learn if the army will transport the articles.  I advised that President Van Epps be informed that the commodities are available, and that he see if arrangements can be made from there to have them shipped.  President Moyle suggested that Brother Van Epps be asked to arrange for transportation from that end and that the arrangements be worked from both ends.”

Fri., 2 Nov. 1962:

“8:40 a.m.

Went into the Office of the First Presidency for the regular meeting with my counselors (President Hugh B. Brown is in Europe).

Nigeria – Missionaries to

Elder LaMar Williams reported that he had talked with Brother and Sister Goodrich of Vernal, and Brother and Sister Bench of Salt Lake City, both of whom said they would be pleased to accept a call to serve a six-month mission in Nigeria.  They will be able to go with the missionary group in the home December 3.  Brother Goodrich is a mechanic of heavy duty tractors, and Brother Bench is a brick-layer and carpenter.  Both men and their wives have been reared on a farm, experienced in coping with the practical affairs of farm life.

Time will be required to obtain visas.  They will proceed to get passports.  It was decided that the missionary calls to these couples be sent out today.

I advised Brother Williams to have a companion assigned to him so that he will not be alone after President Tanner returns to London and before the missionary couples arrive.

Note:  Later in the day I signed calls of the first missionaries to Nigeria; namely, Elder and Sister Urban Gail Bench of Salt Lake City, and Brother and Sister Forrest Odra Goodrich of Tridell, Utah.

Friday, November 2, 1962

    November 2, 1962

First Missionaries to Nigeria

Elder Urban Gail Bench

2044 Lincoln Lane

Salt Lake City 17, Utah

Dear Elder Bench:

You are hereby called to be a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to labor under the direction of the President of the West European Mission.

Your presiding officers have recommended you as one worthy to represent the Church of our Lord as a Minister of the Gospel.  It will be your duty to live righteously, to keep the commandments of the Lord, to honor the holy Priesthood which you bear, to increase your testimony of the divinity of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, to be an exemplar in your life of all the Christian virtues, and so to conduct yourself as a devoted servant of the Lord that you may be an effective advocate and messenger of the Truth.  We repose in you our confidence and extend to you our prayers that the Lord will help you thus to meet your responsibilities.

The Lord will reward the goodness of your life, and greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you serve Him humbly and prayerfully in this labor of love among His children.

We ask that you please send your written acceptance promptly, endorsed by your presiding officer in the ward or branch where you live.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


Friday, November 2, 1962

(First Missionaries to Nigeria)

Mrs. Norma LaBell Rigby Bench

2044 Lincoln Lane

Salt Lake City 17, Utah

Dear Sister Bench:

You are hereby called to be a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to labor under the direction of the President of the West European Mission.

Your presiding officers have recommended you as one worthy to render assistance to the Priesthood in the proclamation of the holy Gospel.  As a missionary of the Church, it will be your duty to live righteously, to keep the commandments of the Lord, to increase your testimony of the divinity of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, to be an exemplar in your life of all the Christian virtues, and so to conduct yourself as a devoted handmaid of the Lord that you may be an effective advocate and messenger of the Truth.  We repose in you our confidence and extend to your our prayers that the Lord will help you thus to meet your responsibilities.

The Lord will reward the goodness of your life, and greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you serve Him humbly and prayerfully in this labor of love among His children.

We ask that you please send your written acceptance promptly, endorsed by your presiding officer in the ward or branch where you live.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


Fri., 9 Nov. 1962:

“8:00 a.m.

I met with the heads of all Auxiliaries — General Superintendent George R. Hill, his Assistants, David L. McKay and Lynn S. Richards, and General Secretary Richard E. Folland of the Sunday School; President Junius M. Jackson and his counselors, Lamont B. Gundersen, and George H. Fudge of the Genealogical Association; Brother Marvin J. Ashton, First Assistant General Superintendent of the YMMIA; President Belle S. Spafford and her counselors, Marianne C. Sharp and Louise W. Madsen of the Relief Society; President Florence S. Jacobsen and her counselors, Margaret R. Jackson, and Dorothy P. Holt of the YWMIA — at which time I presented to them:

2)  Next, I presented to them the organizing of the Nigerian Mission under the direction of the President of the West European Mission.  I informed them that Brother LaMar Williams, and two couples will go to Nigeria to organize Branches under the direction of Elder Nathan Eldon Tanner, President of the West European Mission who will accompany the party.

I said that undoubtedly the Auxiliaries will be called upon to furnish literature for the branches.  I stated that the organization will take place at the end of this year, and that I am giving this information to them merely for their information; that they are not to publicize it, and that the reason we have put the organization off until the end of the year is because of the question of President George Romney’s candidacy for the Governorship of Michigan State, and that now the election is over (Brother Romney having won the election) when these brethren and sisters go to Nigeria this month to baptize 4,000 negroes who applied some time ago for baptism, our motive in so doing will not be misconstrued.  (see also minutes by Joseph Anderson, which follow)

Friday, November 9, 1962

November 9, 1962

President McKay met this morning (November 9, 1962) at 8:00 with the executives of the various auxiliary organizations (the Relief Society, Sunday School, Y.M. and Y.W.M.I.A., Primary, and Genealogical Society) and discussed with them the new quarterly conference program to be inaugurated during the year 1963.  President Moyle came into the meeting during the discussion.  The President asked them if they were in accord with the new plan or if they had any reservations.

President McKay then announced to those present that we have in contemplation opening up missionary work in Nigeria, in response to requests for baptism that have come from about 4,000 people there, that Brother LaMar Williams had been handling the correspondence and he had also visited the people there who have inquired about the Gospel.  Arrangements have now been made to place this work under the direction of Elder Nathan Eldon Tanner of the West European Mission, and Brother Tanner and Brother LaMar Williams will go to Nigeria in the very near future, taking with them two married couples who have been selected to open the work there.  The President explained that there is no reason why these people cannot be baptized if they request baptism and are worthy, that, however, they cannot be given the priesthood, and this they understand.  Elders Tanner and Williams will contact the government officials in Nigeria when they first go there, explain what they propose to do, and if they obtain the government’s consent, will go forward with this work.  President McKay explained that this work had been postponed until after the election lest it might be considered by some that we were opening up the work with the negroes to influence the vote for George Romney.  The President said he mentioned this to these brethren and sisters for the reason that they might meet with questions on the subject and also they would no doubt receive requests for literature and lesson materials from these Nigerian people.  The President also reiterated the stand of the Church that we are opposed to intermarriage of the whites with the negroes.

Thurs., 15 Nov. 1962:

“Nigeria – Mission to

Following the departure of the brethren of the Genealogical Association, we met by appointment Elder LaMar Williams, who reported the difficulty that is being experienced in getting permanent visas to go to Nigeria.  He explained that the Nigerian Embassy requires on the application an indication of some permanent address in Nigeria.  Brother Williams proposed using the headquarters indicated on the letterhead of one of the groups, a copy of which he submitted, or that the Nigerian Palace Hotel be used.

Brother Williams also reported that passports have been obtained, but six weeks are usually required to obtain visas.  He suggested that Senator Wallace Bennett in Washington may be able to assist in giving the Nigerian Embassy in Washington the information needed.

I advised that when the brethren arrive in Nigeria they start out in the very best way, and make the most favorable impression on government officials, and the people, and that permission to use the address of the hotel for a permanent address be obtained; and that Senator Bennett be asked to assist.

Brother Williams then mentioned several items of equipment which will be needed:  a typewriter, water filter, a generator to provide lights for outdoor meetings; a loud-speaker system; some means of transportation; haircutting equipment, etc.  I directed Brother Williams to submit a list of the items needed.

Brother Williams said the plan is for him to meet President Nathan Eldon Tanner in London.  Brother and Sister Beach will depart December 10.  I admonished Brother Williams that much will depend upon the impression which he and Brother Tanner make on the Governor General and his associates.  Brother Williams said the plan is to be in Nigeria on November 29, and then to go to the government officials on November 30; to remain in Lagos four or five days and then leave for Western Nigeria to Port Harcourt by air.

Following Brother Williams’ withdrawal from the meeting, we continued with the regular business of the First Presidency.

Missionary Work – Baptism of children without consent of parents.

I commented upon the several verified reports which have been received concerning baptisms of children in the mission fields without consent of parents, and said that this is contrary to all established missionary policies and practices of the Church, and always has been; that such baptisms must be controlled absolutely, and that the practice must be stopped.  President Moyle said that the missionary who violates this principle should be sent home, and that appropriate disciplinary measures should be taken to stop these violations.  I said to him, ‘I am surely glad to hear you say that!’

The disposition of some Mission Presidents to tolerate the practice for the sake of a record was mentioned by President Brown, and President Moyle suggested that a letter be sent to Mission Presidents on the subject.  I asked President Moyle to present the matter to the Twelve at the next meeting so that they will understand our position.

10:00 – 12:40 p.m.

Was convened in the regular meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve held in the offices of the First Presidency.  Salt Lake Temple is still under repairs.

At this meeting we discussed the matter of reports that have been received from various missions in this country and in Europe concerning the baptizing of children without the parents being fully informed of the true situation.  President Moyle, in reporting this situation, said he personally felt that a missionary who performed baptisms in violation of the rules should be sent home, dishonorably released.  Elder Spencer W. Kimball said he would be opposed to any such drastic measure as suggested by President Moyle; that he felt that much of the problem is with the mission presidents, and that the mission president should be asked to watch these situations.  In the discussion which followed, mention was made of certain pressures that have been brought to bear in some missions, in Europe particularly, where missionaries are given a certain quota of baptisms by the mission presidents or district supervisors, and certain penalties have been attached to their failure to reach these quotas; that is, they have been deprived of certain privileges because of not being able to meet the quota.  President Brown mentioned that in some cases the missionaries have been told that they should not attend Sacrament meeting, but should spend the time proselyting.  I stated that the missionaries should attend Sacrament meeting; that if they are members of a stake, they should go to sacrament meeting in their stake; if they are in the mission field, they should hold their own sacrament meeting.

It was agreed that a letter should be sent to all presidents of missions giving instructions regarding the baptizing of children.  (see following copy of letter which was sent to the mission presidents)  (see also discussion held by the First Presidency on this matter on page 2 of this date)

Thursday, November 15, 1962

      November 30. 1962

To all Mission Presidents

Dear President:

We are gratified with the results of the great missionary work presently being carried on throughout the world and commend you on the service you are rendering in the mission field.

While we appreciate the effort being expended to bring members into the Church, several instances have been brought to our attention where individuals may have been baptized without having experienced proper conversion to Gospel principles.  These unfortunate incidents prompt us to repeat the recommendation that mission presidents extend to missionaries a caution against baptizing individuals who have little knowledge of or appreciation for the principles of the Gospel.

We are particularly concerned that children not be baptized as members of the Church without written permission of their parents.  When contact with the family develops through a younger member of the family, it is expected that every effort will be made to interest the entire family, particularly the parents, in the principles of the Gospel.  If parents should consent to the baptism of their children, elders performing the baptism should make certain that the parents fully understand the significance of the baptismal ordinance and where possible that they attend the baptismal services.  We are enclosing for your information a statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith with reference to this subject.

We suggest that the attention of missionaries be directed to the number of conversions rather than the number of baptisms.  It would be hoped that no missionary, motivated by his desire to increase his number of baptisms, would baptize individuals who have not experienced genuine conversion.

Where missionary work is carried on within the boundaries of organized wards and stakes, proper coordination should exist to insure that newly baptized converts will be fellowshipped into the Church program.  In areas outside of the boundaries of organized stakes, branch and district presidents should direct every effort to make certain that new converts are fellowshipped and activated in the branch and district organizations.

Again we express gratitude for your dedicated service and extend these precautionary suggestions in order that an unwise young missionary may not bring discredit to the excellent achievement of the missionary program.  We constantly pray for the blessings of the Lord to attend you in your labors.

Faithfully your brethren,

David O. McKay

Henry D. Moyle

Hugh B. Brown

The First Presidency

Thursday, November 15, 1962

First, it becomes an Elder when he is traveling through the world, warning the inhabitants of the earth to gather together, that they may be built up a holy city unto the Lord, instead of commencing with children, or those who look up to parents or guardians to influence their minds, thereby drawing them from their duties, which they rightfully owe these legal guardians, they should commence their labors with parents, or guardians; and their teachings should be such as are calculated to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers; and no influence should be used wit