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David O. McKay Diaries – “Marriage”

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

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Sat., 2 Jan., 1932:

“Thirty-one years ago today, Ray and I were married in the Salt Lake Temple by Apostle John Henry Smith.  During that time I cannot recall that she has spoken a cross word to me.  She has been an ideal sweetheart, a charming companion, and a loving wife.”

Sun., 2 Jan., 1944:

“Forty-three years ago to-day Ray and I knelt at the marriage altar!  Forty-three yeras of happy married life!  No companion could be more loyal and considerate, more unselfish, or more self-sacrificing than Ray has been–no mother more devoted!

We were the first couple to be married in the Salt Lake Temple in the century.  Elder John Henry Smith officiated.”

Wed., 8 Oct., 1947:

“[Telephone call]  Antoine R. Ivins called regarding Mexican sister–Merguerito Bautista–Brother Ivins said Sister Bautista is wondering how the brethren feel about her divorcing her husband. I told Brother Ivins that I think she has suffered long enough the indignities that her husband has heaped upon her; that we had hoped he would see the error of his ways and come back, but that there seems to be no hope of that.  Brother Ivins agreed with me that Sister Bautista is perfectly justified in withdrawing herself, that she has been a wonderful mother to her family, and that she can be very proud of her children.”

Wed., 2 Mar., 1949:

“At 9:40 this morning Brother Harry Clarke called me by telephone and said he had been disturbed over the Editorial appearing in the Tribune paper Monday morning—Feb. 28.  This editorial pertains to the high rate of divorce in Utah.  Brother Clarke said he felt that the editorial was prejudiced and that inasmuch as the Tribune is the 13th largest newspaper in the U.S. and that ‘their editorials are potent’, we should do something about learning the real facts.  I said we have no objection to the paper publishing the facts, and that they have the right to comment on anything that is News.  Brother Clarke then said that he had spoken to Bishop Hunt of the Catholic Church about the editorial and that he (Bishop Hunt) would like to talk to me, and Brother Clarke wondered if I had any objection to talking to the Bishop.  I said no, that I would be glad to talk to him.

At 10:20 Bishop Hunt of the Catholic Church called me.  Said Harry Clarke called him last night and made him feel ‘upset over the editorial that had appeared in the Tribune Monday, February 28’ pertaining to divorce rate and family life in Utah.

Bishop Hunt said that ‘Harry indicated that some of you think I had something to do with the writing of the Editorial.’  I assured Bishop Hunt that there is no such thought at all.  Bishop Hunt said: ‘You know very well I do not direct the editorials of the Tribune and they do not consult me about them–I gave very little attention to the editorial in question–I read it but thought no more about it.’  He said further, ‘I just wanted to clear that up.’

I then told Bishop Hunt that I did not know about the editorial until this morning; that I had not even seen Brother Clarke, that my secretary had called my attention to the editorial only this morning.

Bishop Hunt then said he thought when anything like this comes up that it is better to get in touch directly; that he did not want any misunderstanding–said he had enough to do in running the Church and that he tries to keep close to that channel althogh other things do creep in occasionally.

I said that the editorial seems to imply that we have been boasting of our high birth rate and low divorce rate and the writer is trying to prove that we have nothing to boast about.  I said further that it is a regrettable thing that divorce is increasing. As President Taft once said, ‘We must stop this breaking up of homes or go out of the business of government entirely’–divorce is a threatening evil.

Bishop Hunt said the current is against us, and taht there is no use of our trying to close our eyes–the solidity of the Pioneers, etc., is not with us.

I told Bishop Hunt that I questioned the statement in the editorial that the divorce rate is almost 1 to 4; that in 1945 and 1946 the ratio was in excess of one divorce to every 3 marriages, and that I was interested to know our Church rate; that we have all classes of people in Utah that contribute to these statistics.  I said that I had asked a church statistician to check our church figures on divorce–Bishop Hunt said he would like to have them at hand, because he meets the question throughout his travels.”

Wed., 16 Mar., 1949:

“At 9:30–Roy West of the Department of Education called at the office–he brought with him facts and figures pertaining to the divorce rate here in Utah–There has been an appalling increase in divorces in Utah since 1890 according to the figures submitted by Brother West.  I asked Brother West to make a study of divorces among members of The Church, using Cache County as a basis for his study.”

Wed., 25 Jan., 1950:

“11:45 a.m.–I met Mrs. Margaret Larson who spoke to me about marrying a non-member of the Church.  She was married in the Temple, and her husband died leaving her with a small baby.  She is now in love with this non-member, a dentist who lives in Los Angeles, and she wonders if she will be doing wrong to marry him. I told Mrs. Larson that ‘there is no sin in honorable marriage,’ and that she would not be doing wrong to marry this man.  She thinks that he will come into the Church as he seems very interested.  I told her to explain to him our belief that she will belong to her first husband in the eternities.  She said that she had already done that and that he says he will take his chances.”

Mon., 18 Sep., 1950:

“Pres. Robert D. Young of the Salt Lake Temple telephoned–said a young man has approached him and asked for advice regarding the wearing of his garments.  He is engaged to a catholic girl who does not want him to wear his garments.  I told Pres. Young that he should tell the young man to tell this girl that he has made his covenants and he is therefore obligated to wear his garments–if she does not like it, then the young man should get another girl. Said that I could not understand why our Mormon boys would want to marry girls outside of their own faith, especially when we have such lovely Mormon girls–the best in the world!”

Sun., 10 Dec., 1950:

“At 4 p.m.–Met the family at home, where we discussed the matter of having a reception in the Hotel Utah on our 50th Wedding anniversary.  The children concurred in the recommendation of the parents that we do away with the general reception for our golden wedding, but insisted that we have a dinner for the immediate family.”

Thur., 14 Dec., 1950:

“[Telephone call–Clare]  Roy West–asked if it would be wise to release figures concerning temple divorces to Mary Marker of the Deseret News–Advised that it would be better not to.”

Tues., 2 Jan., 1951:

“To-day marks 50 years of happily married life–our Golden Wedding anniversary!

Came to the office at 6:45 a.m.  Dictated letters to the dictaphone and read congratulatory letters from 6:45 to 7:30 a.m. at which time I met with the Missionary Appointment Committee.  Asked to be excused from attending the Expenditures Committee in order to prepare for the Golden Wedding Celebration our children have planned for us.

When I arrived home, I found Lou Jean (who is visiting with us from California) alone busily receiving telegrams, flowers, answering telephone messages.  As an illustration there came to the home that day 365 roses–two baskets of 50 roses each–beautiful beyond compare!–several gorgeous bouquest artistically arranged in beautiful vases, azalea plants, chrysanthemums, yellow roses intermingled with heather, gold tea set, golden delicious apples, Cummings chocolates, gold frame picture taken on our wedding anniversary, etc. etc.  (List of persons presenting these gifts is in my scrap book.)

At 7 o’clock this evening, members of our immediate family, including Ray’s immediate family and my immediate family, met at the Hotel Utah Roof Garden, guests of our four sons and two daughters and their spouses, and partook of a most delicious banquet, prepared by the Hotel management–Messrs. Carpenter and Aloia.  Mr. Aloia had prepared a magnificent wedding cake–a golden cake decorated with golden bells.  The meal itself was especially delicious, and the dessert–served in the form of love birds–was wheeled in ceremoniously by Mr. Aloia.

Everybody was delighted with the program that was carried out.  All the children gave toasts in rhyme, and Ray made a response at the last of the program, giving her feelings at the first wedding.  She mentioned the fact that we went to the Salt Lake Temple in a ‘hak,’ and her pride in this conveyance.  She then told of our trip after the wedding up through Ogden Canyon to Huntsville in a surrey, and mentioned how proud she was of the handsome young man who held the reins.  She said how pleased she was with the welcome that Mother gave her in the old home–the warm, cheering grate fire, the delicious dinner, how sweet my sisters were to her, etc. etc.

I then responded, saying that there are three great blessings in my life–

1. My parentage.

2. My companion.

3. The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I emphasized the fact that none of those present this night would be here if it were not for the Gospel, that this wedding celebration began one hundred years ago when our grandparents joined the Church, and strange to say, it is just 152 years ago tonight.”

Sun., 11 Feb., 1951:

“At his request, met Dr. A. L. Lundgreen of Richfield, Utah who is having marital difficulties.  He married Miss Dorothy Ridd of Monroe, Utah eight years ago.  They have two children, a boy and a girl.

I told Dr. Lundgreen when he first called for the appointment to bring his wife with him, but she did not come.

Even from his side of the story, I feel the doctor is to blame. I advised him to go back and ask his wife’s forgiveness; to stop his flirting with girls, so that her suspicions of infidelity may be allayed.

Dr. Lundgreen said: ‘I came here thinking you would sypathize with me, but I am going away hoping that you will not think I am too bad.'”

Wed., 2 Jan., 1952:

“When I awoke this morning at 5 o’clock, I remembered that it was our 51st wedding anniversary.  Ray was sleeping, so I did not disturb her.  I fell asleep again and did not awaken until 6:45 a.m., and in my hurry to get to the office, I didn’t mention our wedding anniversary.  I called Ray from the office later in the morning, but she had not remembered it, so I was saved from embarrassment.”

Wed., 13 Feb., 1952:

“[First Presidency meeting]  I reported a ruling I have made regarding a sealing cancellation.  A young girl had married a man in the temple and bore him two children.  He was selfish, cruel, neglectful, and she divorced him.  He contributed nothing to the support of the children nor her.  She later married another man and asked for cancellation of the sealing to the first husband.  The father of the children has given consent to the cancellation and gives a notarized statement of his willingness to have the children sealed to the other man.  I ruled that under the circumstances they may be sealed to her present husband.”

Mon., 17 Nov., 1952:

“At 11:30 a.m., called President Lawrence S. Burton of the Ogden Stake regarding a letter I received this morning from Mrs. Don Carlos Van Dyke (formerly Marie Jensen, a teacher in Weber Colege) who is seeking help in stopping the pending divorce action between her and her husband, Don Carlos Van Dyke, the trial for which is set for Nov. 20, 1952.

This couple was married a year ago in the Logan Temple, two years after the death of Mr. Van Dyke’s first wife.  Mrs. Van Dyke was married to a Dr. McCune who passed away sometime ago.  Mrs. Van Dyke claims that she and Don Van Dyke were childhood sweethearts, and (as admitted by Bro. Van Dyke after 40 years), it is a ‘lifelong love.’

President Burton said that he was very familiar with the case and had done everything humanly possible to persuade Brother Van Dyke from going forward with the divorce proceedings, reminding him of the seriousness of the step he is taking.  The Bishop also has done what he could, and Pres. Burton has called in the children of Bro. Van Dyke’s first marriage–had a three or four hours’ conference last Sunday with a daughter living in Salt Lake, and she says there is nothing she can do; that her father is very unhappy and seems to be a different man since he left Mrs. Van Dyke. Has also talked to a daughter living in Hooper who feels the same way.

Mr. Van Dyke claims that Mrs. Van Dyke has her ‘heart set on money; that she is quite wealthy; that she will not leave him alone for a moment; that ‘he cannot take it any longer.’

I said that I hoped Brother Van Dyke understands that this civil divorce will apply only for this life, and unless there is some other reason than has been presented, no Temple divorce will be granted.

Pres. Burton said that he had told him that there are insufficient grounds for a temple divorce, and that he had better think carefully before he goes through with the civil divorce.  Has tried everyway to bring them together, but Bro. Van Dyke refuses to make a reconciliation.

I asked Bro. Burton if the children of the first marriage are urging the divorce, and he said that Bro. Van Dyke denies that they are.

I then wrote a letter to Mrs. Van Dyke, and told her that the civil divorce, as she probably understands, does not cancel her temple sealing, and that she still had the right to protest to the court’s granting a civil divorce.”

Tues., 10 Mar., 1953:

“One of the most depressing days that I have experienced for many years!

1. Chinese Mission problems

2. Decisions in Expenditures Committee meeting

3. Trouble among secretaries

4. Finally and most depressing—Ray had to go to the doctor again!!”

Telephone Calls

“2.  Called Dr. Edward regarding Ray’s condition.  She has been in his office for examination.  Edward stated that so far they have found nothing to worry about.  When I asked him if he was keeping something from me, he answered, “No, father, I am not.”

Thurs., 12 Mar., 1953:

9:50—left for Council meeting.—Only seven of us present!

11:30 a.m.—Excused myself from Council meeting in order to go to the doctor’s office to get Ray who had been undergoing treatment.  She was upset to think I would leave the meeting for her, but under the circumstances, I felt it wise for me to be with her.”

Mon., 25 May, 1953:

“9 a.m.  Consulted Miss Shirley Nielsen who sought advice regarding her marriage to Sid Nebeker, a returned missionary, and a splendid young man.  I talked with Miss Nielsen regarding her past life, and the obligation she will have to be true to Brother Nebeker.  She then asked the question, ‘Should I marry him?’  I answered that only she and Brother Nebeker could decide that question.

Tues., 23 June, 1953:

This evening all the children, excepting Lou Jean and her husband who are in New York, met at Dr. Edward R. McKay and Lottie’s home where they (Dr. Edward and Lottie) were host and hostess at a birthday dinner given in honor of Sister McKay.

I was a delightful affair.  Lottie’s father and mother–(Bro. and Sister Francis L. Lund) were there in addition to all the children and grandchildren.

They showered Sister McKay with gifts and loving good wishes.  The children had written a poem–To the Sweetest Mother in the World–which they asked me to read.  However, I became choked with tears and could not finish reading it.

The party lasted until midnight, and everyone had a good time.

Sister McKay at 76 years is still young and beautiful!”

Wed., 6 Mar., 1957:

Wednesday, March 6, 1957.

Telephone conversation with Ward C. Holbrook, Member, Public Welfare Commission, State of Utah, Wednesday, March 6, 1957.  Mr. Holbrook is also the Stake President of South Davis Stake.

I called President Ward C. Holbrook by telephone in response to a letter he had addressed to the First Presidency, March 4, 1957, regarding the passage of Senate Bill 18, which is known as the Divorce and Marriage Counseling Bill.  I mentioned to President Holbrook that I should have called him before this time regarding this matter, and I asked him what we could do to help this bill pass.

President Holbrook stated that the bill had passed the Senate unanimously.  They had been worried about the bill passing inasmuch as the Senate had held it up for so long.  He also said that they had amended the bill some, but he felt that they had not hurt it too much.

I mentioned the fact to President Holbrook that I felt that the waiting period before obtaining a divorce would be helpful in giving the couples time to think things over before obtaining divorces, and the second factor will depend upon the people who counsel the couples.

Brother Holbrook said that the bill has gone now to the House.  There are only a few days left before the Legislature closes.  They rather anticipate that things will not be so favorable there, and it is materially lawyers that will fight the bill.  He stated further that the bill had been discussed with the Governor before it was introduced, and he indicated that he was very much in favor of it.

I made the statement to President Holbrook that we favor anything that can stop divorces.  President Holbrook said that Illinois had passed such a law two years ago, and there is a statement by one of the chief attorneys in that State in the December American Bar Journal that the waiting period, plus counseling, has dropped the divorces one-third in that state.  Good results will come from the bill.

I assured President Holbrook that we favor the bill and wished him success in his endeavors to get this bill passed.

President Holbrook thanked me for my call and said that they appreciated our interest greatly.”

Fri., 17 May, 1957:

“8:30 a.m.  This morning my counselors – Presidents Richards and Clark  M.I.A. film ‘How Near to the Angels’ which was shown in the Church Office Projection Room.

We decided that the film is very excellent, but it was my judgment that it would be better not to use it for showing in the Missions of the Church as it will only intensify the problem that our young girls are now facing with relation to meeting young men who are worthy to take them to the temple.  There is a question in our minds whether it is best for them to go through life unmarried rather than marry outside of the Church as we feel there are many good men in the world that they could marry with the possibility that they may bring them into the Church later.

Fri., 26 July, 1957:

“8:25 a.m.  Brother Hugh B. Brown called at the office and reported that he had had an interview with the parents of a prospective missionary.  It has been disclosed that the young man in question has had an affair with a girl from the Northwest; she is now pregnant.  The parents of the girl and parents of the boy have made a settlement – they do not want to marry; the father of the boy has agreed to pay all the hospital expenses and let it go at that.

It was later learned that the girl has made arrangements to adopt the baby out — she does not want to keep it.

My first reaction to this case was that the boy and girl owe the unborn child something, and that is a legitimate birth and name.  Whether the boy and the girl want to marry and whether or not the parents want it, this couple should marry and give the child a name.

In consultation with the young man’s father I learned that the girl, the young man, nor the parents of the girl and the young man, want such an arrangement as I suggested.  It was therefore decided that the girl should go ahead with her adoption plans.”

Fri., 30 Jan., 1959:

“8 a.m. – Marital Advice for Church Members

Elder Hugh B. Brown of the Council of the Twelve came in at 8 o’clock.  He conversed with me about the work he is doing with persons who are coming to him relative to cancellation of Temple sealings.  In addition, many persons are being referred to him who want to discuss their marital troubles, many of whom are on the verge of divorce.  Brother Brown feels that it would be a good thing to have some one appointed to work with these people to see if they can give them good advice and probably save their marriages.

I suggested this morning that Brother Brown make a list of young men in the Church to whom he could refer some of the persons — such as Lowell Bennion of the University of Utah Institute, and that he also name a competent psychiatrist who could work with these people.  A group of these men could be called to render this service to Church members.  This would greatly relieve the heavy load that Brother Brown is now carrying.

Brother Brown suggested, also, that a pamphlet could be prepared to give to some of these young couples and persons who are having difficulty, so I asked him to collect the material and prepare such a pamphlet and then submit it to the First Presidency for approval.”

Mon., 6 Apr., 1959:

“Note by cm – Before adjourning the conference for another six months, President McKay urged that every one of the million and a half church members must become a missionary in spreading the message of the restored gospel.   Tears came to his eyes as he admonished church members everywhere to learn their duties and to walk in the performance of them in all diligence – ‘that is the responsibility of every man and woman and child who has listened to this great and wonderful conference,’ he said.  As he closed his remarks he said:  ‘O Father, bless those who hold the priesthood, who have been married in accordance with thy instruction, and help all to take advantage of this eternal blessing that we may be united together and be with thee forever.'”

Sat., 2 Jan. 1960:

“Fifty-Ninth Wedding Anniversary

Spent the morning hours at home.  At 11 o’clock Sister McKay and I met by appointment a photographer from the Deseret News.  He took pictures of us to be used in connection with a story about our 59th wedding anniversary.  (see newspaper clipping following)

At 12 o’clock, I decided to go to Huntsville to check on farm matters.  Sister McKay, not feeling well, decided not to go with me, so she stayed at home and rested.

Huntsville was beautiful — the air was crisp and fresh, and there was a lot of snow on the ground.  It was an ideal day for a sleigh-riding party.  As I have been very busy during the holiday season, and not feeling quite up to par, I did not arrange for the regular McKay Family bob-sleigh party.  So, today, I missed very much not having the children and grandchildren with me.

I returned home about 5:30 p.m.  The children and grandchildren called during the day in family groups to greet us on our 59th wedding anniversary, but there was no planned family celebration.  On New Year’s Eve a party was held at our daughter Emma Rae’s at which time this event was celebrated.

It does not seem possible that Sister McKay and I have been married for 59 years — 59 years of a ‘little bit of heaven on earth.’  We are truly thankful for the happiness that has been ours.”

Sun., 3 Jan. 1960:

‘Sunday, January 3, 1960

Speech Delivered by President McKay to

      225,000 youths of the Church

Courtship and Marriage

By President David O. McKay

(Address delivered by President David O. McKay to the youth of the Church assembled in the Salt Lake Tabernacle and by closed-wire circuit to approximately 170 groups in 290 stakes of the Church, Jan. 3, 1960, 8 p.m.)

Courtship and Marriage

President Clark, President Moyle, President Joseph Fielding Smith, and other General Authorities of the Church and their wives, General Superintendency of the YMMIA, General Presidency of the YWMIA, and members of the Youth of the Church:

I greet you on this important occasion, and congratulate you upon your opportunity of having heard the excellent messages rendered by those who have participated on this program.

My responsibility comes under the heading ‘We Live Our Religion.’  I know of no activity in which we can demonstrate that fact more impressively than in the subject assigned to me as a topic for tonight: ‘Courtship and Marriage.’

While listening to the messages tonight from the young people, these lines came to me:

‘You ought to be true for the sake of the folks who think you are true.

‘You never should stoop to a deed that your folks think you would not do.

‘If you are false to yourself, be the blemish but small, you have injured your folks; you have been false to them all.’  (Edgar A. Guest)

Perhaps there are few, if any, subjects of more interest or of more importance than courtship and marriage.

Eternal Pronouncement

When in the processes of creation it was opportune for man to assume mortality, he heard the eternal pronouncement ‘Thou Mayest Choose For Thyself.’

Thus man, among all other created things, became a recipient of the divine gift of FREE AGENCY, and with it the accompanying RESPONSIBILITY.

As a principle ever to be kept in mind, to the tens of thousands assembled tonight I repeat to each one:

‘You are the person who has to decide 

Whether you’ll lead or will linger behind –

Whether you’ll try for the goal that’s afar

Or just be contented to stay where you are.’

Edgar A. Guest, Selections for Public Speaking, 

Scribner’s, 1930.)

In the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord clearly sets forth the significance of marriage: ‘And again, verily I say unto you … marriage is ordained of God unto man.’  It is, therefore, not a ceremony to be entered into lightly, to be terminated at pleasure, or a union to be dissolved at the first difficulty that might arise.

To members of the Restored Church, marriage is a divine ordinance, and when directed by intelligent parenthood, the surest and safest means for the improvement of mankind.

‘To build a happy fireside clime

for weans and for wife,

That’s the true pathos and sublime

O’ human life.’  (Robert Burns)

When Jesus referred to marriage, He associated with it the lofty command:

‘What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.’

Universal Desire

With few exceptions, marriage is a universal desire.  Every young person at some time or another looks forward to the consummation of that event.  Professor Henry C. Link, psychologist, corroborates this as follows:

‘Within the past three years I have, in connection with certain nationwide studies among college students, asked the young women such questions as:

‘What career in life is most important to you?  Do you consider marriage and helping a husband in his career more important, less important, or equally as important than a career of your own?’

‘From 90 to 95 per cent of the college women have answered that a career as a wife and mother is their primary aim, and that helping a husband in his career is more important than a career of their own.  The growing belief among college women that the making of a home, the raising of a family and furthering the career of a husband are in themselves a career of major importance, indicates a wholesome return to fundamentals.’

I believe that condition prevails generally among our young people of the Church, notwithstanding prevailing economic changes that are threatening the permanence of the home, necessitating wives to work and mothers to leave their children with babysitters.

Let us never lose sight of the fundamental fact that home is the basis of civilization and that members of the Church have the obligation to build ideal homes and to rear exemplary families.  With this obligation in mind, I now name five conditions contributing to a successful marriage:

1.  An Unsullied Reputation

A successful marriage begins before you even approach the marriage altar.  It begins when you are accepting invitations in your teen-age years to attend social parties.  It begins with the manner in which you say goodnight to your companion.  Maintaining an unsullied reputation during courtship contributes to a solid foundation upon which to build a happy home.  This is illustrated by the experiences of two girls as follows:

Temptations, Problems

‘Being a teenager is quite confusing to me because there are so many temptations and problems which seem to come all at once.  One of these problems which has bothered me a great deal concerns dating.  I have heard so many different ideas and explanations on this subject that I am quite confused.

‘But I have gone out with boys for a good year and a half, and I have learned many things.  I have felt that I would like to save my affection until I meet the man that I am to marry.  However, several of my friends seriously disagree with me and feel that I am being an extremist.  They have made me very unhappy because of many things they have said, and I have begun to wonder if some of my ideas might be wrong.

‘Nearly all of us agree that it is wrong to sit and kiss and spoon for long periods of time.  I am completely against that, but they tell me that after a boy has taken me out several times and shown me a good time, I should show my appreciation by a good-night kiss.  I have never felt this to be true.  Several boys that I have dated have been quite offended, and feeling that I did not like them, have quit asking me out.  When I do finally meet the man I should marry, I shall want to give him all my love and affection, and I believe that the kiss will mean more if it has not been thrown to all the other boys too.’

Incident Number Two

Incident Number Two is a story of a girl who did not believe in being true to her future husband.  She thought she would win the favor of young men by yielding to their advances:

‘She is a pretty girl, and she dresses well.  She rarely lacks for a date in the middle of the week.  She is never free on weekends.  But her dates come and go with the regularity of the ocean tides, and for the most part they are just as impersonal.  Fellows date Sally for the single reason that she is well known as an easy mark.

‘To be seen with her several times bolsters a man’s reputation as a Casanova who knows his way around.  But few fellows date her any longer than it takes to find congenial replacements all their own.  The new girl may not be so attractive or stylish or all the things that Sally ironically owns up to, but her date will feel that she is his alone, not inclined to neck with Tom tomorrow as she did with Frank the day before.

‘A good reputation may sound stuffy, but it is something to cherish.  The decision is up to you.  The average fellow never takes advantage of a girl he really likes.’

II.  Group Companionship and Sociability

      Important Factors in Teen-age Years.

A second important factor is choosing a congenial companion.

Choosing a Mate

The problem of choosing a proper, congenial mate is very vital.  During the period of courtship young people should mingle with one another and become acquainted with one another’s dispositions.  The young girl inclined to music who learned to play an instrument, or who sings, is more likely to find a good mate than one who sits at home refusing to go out in society.

The boy who participates in athletics is more likely to find a congenial mate than one who sits by the television or radio.  In other words, associations are conducive to happy marriages because young folks become acquainted with one another and have more opportunity for choice.

Here, young people, let me sound a note of warning against ‘going steady’ too young.  It is true that a young girl finds in it a sense of present security so far as dates to public functions and social parties are concerned, and it may be the determining of a final union, but ‘going steady’ too early in life is fraught with handicaps with which hopeful, fiery youth should not be subjected.

In the first place, young people are very susceptible – quick to ‘fall in love,’ and being immature in jugment, may not distinguish between fascination or passion and true admiration or genuine love.

Limits of Going Steady

In the second place, ‘going steady’ limits, if not excludes, girls and boys from having the opportunity of becoming acquainted with one another.  For example, dancing with the same partner during an entire evening proscribes the social spirit of the ballroom.

But the worst of early choosing to ‘go steady’ is that it gives to the young man a sense of familiarity or ownership, and to the young girl, a feeling of belonging, a rapturous state to be consummated rightly only by marriage vows.  But when experienced by unbridled, daring youth, becomes like fruit plucked before it is ripe, something unsavory, uncontributive to connubial joy.

Some day you may discover that your choice of your ‘steady’ was premature.

Ever be mindful that following childhood, youth has other obligations besides choosing a mate or having a ‘good time.’  He must determine first of all what kind of character he will develop.  He must decide what his trade or profession will be, and if and when he chooses a wife, how he will support her and the children.

‘Going steady’ may so enchant the couple that these other associated obligations may be given too little consideration.

III. Sacredness of a Promise

The third ideal I name as contributive to the happy marriage begins when you kneel at the altar, each convenanting to be true to the other.  A man who gives his word, if he be honorable, is bound more than when he signs a contract, because his word is his bond, and so is that contract of marriage, and particularly when the couple kneels in the House of the Lord, signifying that each is worthy of the other.

The young girl knows that he to whom she gives herself is just as worthy of fatherhood as she of motherhood, and she is justified in thinking so.  Each is free from any memory of the boy who ‘had his fling.’  It is a glorious feeling to know that each is only for the other.

Share in Love

Marriage offers an opportunity to share in the love and care of children, the paramount purpose of marriage.  ‘Without children – or without believing that children are important – marriage is incomplete and unfulfilled.’

True, children take time, give trouble, and require more patience than we sometimes have.  They interfere with freedom, good times, and luxury.  But the children are the real purpose behind marriage.  If  we do not put the proper value on parenthood, we are not emotionally or socially ready for marriage.

Young people, marriage is a relationship that cannot survive selfishness, impatience, domineering, inequality, and lack of respect.  Marriage is a relationship that thrives on acceptance, equality, sharing, giving, helping, doing one’s part, learning and laughing together.

Violation of the marriage vows proves the violator to be one who cannot be trusted, and ‘to be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.’

Always keep in mind the fact that the covenant you make is a fundamental factor to your happiness in marriage.

Factors in Marriage

So, thus far we have as contributing factors in marriage, (1) A Good Reputation, (2) A Congenial mate, (3) Honor at the Marriage Altar.

IV.  Self-Control

A fourth factor is self-control in the home.  During courtship, keep your eyes wide open, but after marriage, keep them half shut.  What I mean by this may be illustrated by the remark of a young woman who said to her husband, ‘I know my cooking isn’t good.  I hate it as much as you do; but do you find me sitting around griping about it?’  This ‘griping’ after marriage is what makes for unhappiness.  A wise mate learns to control the tongue.

‘Boys flying kites haul in their white-winged birds –

You can’t do that when you are flying words.

Thoughts unexpressed sometimes fall back dead,

But God himself can’t kill them once they are said.’  (Will Carlton)

Do not speak the complaining word; just walk outdoors.  I once heard of a couple who never had a quarrel, for they decided that whenever one lost his or her temper he or she would go out and take a walk.  He spent most of his time walking.


Under this heading of self-control, indulgence in tobacco, failure to master appetites for alcoholic stimulants, have been a source of unhappiness in otherwise happy homes, and changed into tragedy many an otherwise useful life.  In courtship and marriage neither taste tobacco nor tipple in strong drink.

V. Courtesy

A fifth contributing factor I name is courtesy.  During courtship each is pleased to anticipate the wishes of the other, and, within the bounds of propriety, to take joy in granting those wishes.  Too many couples look upon the covenant at the marriage altar as the end of courtship.

It should be the beginning of an eternal courtship, and that means the same consideration in the home for the wife that was given to her as a sweetheart in courtship; the same consideration for the husband, even though he sits behind the paper in the morning and doesn’t say a word.  Life become hum-drum, but that ‘hum-drum’ is broken if we remember that ‘if you please,’ ‘thank you,’ and ‘pardon me,’ are just as approrpiate and as much appreciated after marriage as before.

In the home blessed with children, children seeing father courteous to mother, and mother to father, partake themselves of that attribute, just as they breathe the air of the home, and thus become refined and cultured children, for the essence of true culture is consideration for others.

Do not forget, when difficulties arise, when debts begin to pile up and taxes have to be paid, when babies require coddling and perhaps feeding at night – that courtesy after marriage is a contributing factor toward harmony and peace in the home.

Courtesy, Punctuality

Nothing is more becoming in a great man than courtesy and forbearance.  Be punctual with your wife and with your children.  If duties detain you, do not hesitate to apologize and explain.  Punctuality and consideration after marriage are important factors of a congenial home.


I conclude by giving you a glimpse of the significance of an ideal marriage ceremony.  The bridegroom kneeling at the altar has in his heart the dearest possession that a husband can cherish – the assurance that she who places her hand in his in confidence is as pure as a sunbeam, as spotless as the newly fallen snow.  He has the assurance that in her purity and sweetness she typifies divine motherhood.  Now, young man, you tell me, will you, whether that assurance, that complete faith and confidence, is not worth everything else in the world.

And equally sublime is the assurance the young girl has that the man whom she loves, to whom she gives herself in marriage, comes to her with that same purity and strength of character which she brings to him.  Such a union will indeed be a marriage ordained of God for the glory of his creation.

This is your heritage, Youth, as you contemplate an eternal partnership, and I pray that you may realize it, and find the true joy and happiness of such a cherished ideal, in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.”

Mon., 4 Jan. 1960:

“7:45 a.m.

Elder Mark E. Petersen came in and reported regarding the great youth conference of the Church which was held last evening.  Said that it had been a great success – it is believed that 225,000 youths participated and listened to the program.  Brother Peterson asked for permission to have the talk I gave on Courtship and Marriage published in pamphlet form.  This was done later (See January 3 for a copy), and distributed by the block teachers to every home in the Church.

Mon., 8 Feb. 1960:

“Telephone Calls

2.  I called Elder Hugh B. Brown of the Council of the Twelve this morning, and told him that I had read the chapters he has written on courtship and marriage, to be included in his new book.  I congratulated him on the excellence of these articles, and said that the matters discussed are approached honestly, beautifully, and impressively.  I told him that I enjoyed especially the message to the young married people, and that if the young people would heed his advice they would gain much happiness.  I also stated that nobody can take offense to what he has written.

Thurs., 25 Feb. 1960:

“Sister McKay is not well.  She wanted to get up early this morning and fix my breakfast, but I insisted that she stay in bed.  I called our daughter Emma Rae and asked her to come and stay with her mother while I went down to the office and then over to the meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve at the Salt Lake Temple.

At quarter to ten I met Presidents Clark and Moyle at the rear of the Church Offices where we were driven over to the Temple.

10 to 3 p.m.

Was convened in Council meeting.  I then returned to the office and took care of some important matters and left for home to meet the doctors who had been giving Sister McKay some tests.

Sister McKay Suffers Slight Stroke

When I arrived home I found Emma Rae and my daughter Francis Ellen (Mrs. Robert R. McKay) in tears, and very much upset over Sister McKay’s condition.  I found her unable to speak, and partially paralyzed on her right side.  Dr. J. Louis Schricker, Jr., who previously had been in consultation with Dr. Leslie White, Dr. L.E. Viko, and my son, Dr. Edward R. McKay, soon arrived, and they decided that Sister McKay should be taken in an ambulance to the hospital.  Later, after a spinal test, the doctors reported that they were encouraged because there had been no hemorrhaging.

Our four sons – Lawrence, Llewellyn, Edward, and Robert were with me at the hospital.  I stayed until 9 p.m., and then left for home.  Our son, Dr. Edward McKay, stayed at the hospital all night with his mother.

A rather miraculous thing happened a short time after I arrived home from the hospital.  About 9:30 o’clock I was sitting alone at home, lonely and dejected, the telephone rang.  I answered, and there was Ray on the telephone saying, ‘Hello, sweetheart; this is Ray; I can talk!’  Well, it was just like a voice from heaven — never did words sound sweeter to my ears.  We both cried with joy.  I was so relieved that I was able to go to bed, and I had a pretty good night’s rest.”

Fri., 26 Feb. 1960:

“Went to the hospital early this morning to see Ray only to find that she was worse and unable to speak.  I stayed with her until 8 a.m., and then went to the office.  Soon after I arrived President Clark came in to inquire about Sister McKay.  A little later President Moyle came in, and I told them to go ahead with the meeting, and that I would return to the hospital to be with Sister McKay.

9:30 a.m.

Signed letters and went over other papers on my desk.  Received a letter from the University of Utah Medical Center Fund Committee expressing appreciation for the Church’s generous support of the medical center.  (see copy of letter following)

9:45 a.m.  Left for the hospital.

1:30 p.m.

Came to the office with my son Lawrence.  Attended to a few important matters, and then left for the hospital.  Sister McKay is not much improved — is unable to speak and to use her left arm.  I am extremely worried about her.”

Sat., 27 Feb. 1960:

“Sister McKay not much improved — has not regained her speech.

At the insistance of the superintendent of the hospital, I took a room next to Sister McKay’s during the critical part of her illness.  She is in room 725 and I am in room 724.”

Sun., 20 Mar. 1960:

“8:00 a.m.

Left the hospital for the office.  I found on my desk two important letters – the first one I looked at was from the President of the United States (President Dwight D. Eisenhower) expressing his and Mrs. Eisenhower’s sorrow over the illness of Sister McKay, and sending their best wishes for a ‘rapid recovery.’  The second was from Elder T. Bowring Woodbury, President of the British Mission, stating that all members and missionaries of the British Mission were holding a special Fast Day in Sister McKay’s behalf on Sunday, March 20.  (copies of these letters follow; originals are in the scrap book)

After attending to a few other matters, I drove up home and read the letters to my daughter, Lou Jean who said that she would like to join with these members and missionaries in fasting.  So we decided that all members of the family – children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren (35 in all) would join in this special fast day.  The grandchildren and great-grandchildren were notified by long distance from San Diego to New York, who were thankful to be able to join with us in the special fast day.  I also sent the following cable to President Woodbury:

‘Quickmere, London, England, President Woodbury:  Appreciate lovely letter.  Family uniting with British Mission, Twentieth, Love.  Gratefully, David O. McKay’

We then drove up to the hospital, and read the letters to Sister McKay who said: ‘O, that is lovely!’  The nurse who heard the letters read started to cry.  I told Sister McKay that all the children and grandchildren were joining in the fast, which touched her deeply.  I instructed the nurse that no food should be brought to the room until after the fast.  Dr. Louis J. Schricker, Jr., who had just come into the room, said, ‘Oh, that is wonderful — you go ahead with your plans.’

At 1:30 p.m., I administered to and gave a special blessing to Sister McKay, and all our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren from San Diego to New York, and especially all here at Salt Lake City, joined in fasting, and praying for Sister McKay.

Following this, I sat by Sister McKay, who was a little drowsy, until 3 p.m., and then left for home where I rested until 5:15 p.m.  At that hour Lou Jean drove me up to the hospital, and then she went to her sister-in-law’s home for dinner where they were celebrating her (the sister-in-law’s) birthday.

I visited with Sister McKay until 7 o’clock p.m., at which time my son Lawrence came up and drove me back home.  This was a very spiritual day for the McKay Family, and I think each member has never been more greatly impressed.  I thank the Lord for the prayers and blessings of this day, and for sister McKay’s continued improvement.  I am grateful, also, for the faith and loyalty of my family, the members of the Church, and friends.  At 8 p.m., I took a hot bath and went to bed.  I was very tired — this has been a very hard day emotionally for me!

Note by CM

The next morning (at 6:45 when President McKay visited Sister McKay at the hospital)

the nurse reported that she had had a very good night’s rest, and that she had awakened that morning (March 21) with a smile on her face and deep gratitude in her heart for the blessing experienced on Sunday, the 20th.

Wed., 21 June 1961:

Status of Divorced Persons

A letter addressed to the First Presidency was read from President Norman B. Creer of the Walnut Creek Stake referring to President Joseph Fielding Smith’s discourse at the April, 1961 General Conference regarding divorce, and stating that some of the Bishops in the Stake are asking ‘should individuals who were married in the temple for time and eternity, later obtained a civil divorce but not a cancellation of sealing, then remarried in a civil marriage be considered as living in adultery?’

It was the united sentiment of the Brethren that President Creer should be told that the President of the Church, Joseph F. Smith, declared, and every President of the Church since his time has declared, that there is no sin in honorable marriage.”