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David O. McKay Diaries – “RLDS”

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Thur., 9 Jun., 1949:

“Just before leaving the office, I autographed one of my photographs for President Israel A. Smith of the Reorganized Church to be delivered in person to Pres. Smith by Wilford C. Wood on his way east.  Last week President Israel A. Smith presented me with one of his autographed photographs, delivered in person by Mr. and Mrs. Harry Clark of Salt Lake City.”

Mon., 27 Mar., 1950:

“Clifford E. Young called at my office next.  He presented the following–Oscar Russell stated to Clifford E. Young in a conversation back in Ohio that Frederick M. Smith requested Oscar Russell to do the Temple work for Frederick M. Smith after the latter’s death.”

Thurs., 12 Jan., 1956:

Received the following interesting letter today from A. Merlin Steed, Director of the Bureau of Information, Los Angeles Temple, Los Angeles, California:

‘President David O. McKay

47 East South Temple Street

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear President McKay:

I received your letter regarding President Israel A. Smith of the Reorganized Church, and about five hours after your letter arrived President Smith arrived.  It seems that Wilford Wood found him in Salt Lake and drove him down in his car.

We did everything in our power to make his visit enjoyable.  When he left he was very happy and asked the privilege of having both of his counselors and the President of the Quorum of The Twelve come out and be shown through the Temple.  He stated it was impossible for all of them to leave at once.  I told him I had already received a letter stating that his brother would be here on January 23, and he said he would arrange for his first counselor to come either before or afterward.

I think you will be happy to know that last Saturday, January 7, visitors purchased 2,550 copies of the Improvement Era, and that 13,216 people went through the Temple that day.  Truly this is a great missionary movement.  We are very happy in our work.  May the Lord continue to bless you, and with kindest regards I remain

Sincerely yours,

(signed) A. Merlin Steed


Fri., 5 Apr., 1957:

“7 a.m.  At the office  – Went over manuscript of my opening address to be delivered this morning, and also over the official program for the opening session of the 127th annual Conference of the Church.

While in a meeting, Mr. F. Henry Edwards, second counselor in the First Presidency of the Reorganized Church, called at the office.  As I was unable to leave the meeting at the time, Mr. Edwards was taken by Bishop John L. Herrick up to Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson who will accompany Mr. Edwards to the Tabernacle and see that he is comfortable.  (see copy of letter of appreciation following)

Friday, April 5, 1957


Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

World Headquarters

          Independence, Missouri

Office of

The First Presidency April 12, 1957

President David O. McKay,

47 E. So. Temple St.,

Salt Lake City, Utah.

Dear President McKay:

I very much enjoyed the two days that I was able to spend in attendance at your conference, and would like to thank you very much for the courtesies extended me.  It was my original intention to stay throughout the conference, but some matters came up which advised that I should get back to Independence.  This prevented my coming in to see you after the conference was over.  However, I am promising myself that pleasure when I am next in Salt Lake City.

Thank you, again, for your kindness.  I thought that you presided over the conference with great dignity and that it is quite evident that you have a very warm place in the hearts of your people.

Very sincerely yours,

/s/ F. Henry Edwards”

Mon., 16 June, 1958:

Monday, June 16, 1958

President McKay sent the following telegrams regarding the death of President Israel A. Smith of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

June 16, 1958

‘Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 

Independence, Missouri

‘To the bereaved loved ones and members of the Reorganized

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

‘Greatly shocked and deeply grieved by announcement of tragic death of President Israel A. Smith.

‘Mrs. McKay joins in sympathy and condolence at the passing of your leader whom we esteemed as a friend.


David O. McKay, President

Church of Jesus Christ of

Latter-day Saints’


June 16, 1958

‘Mr. Wilford Wood

c/o Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Auditorium

Independence, Missouri

‘Please express in person to the family of President Smith and official associates our sincere condolence in the tragic death of President Smith with whom I was only recently in friendly correpondence.  I esteemed him highly.


David O. McKay’

Monday, June 16, 1958.




  World Headquarters

Independence, Missouri

Office of

The First Presidency

June 24, 1958

Church of Jesus Christ of

Latter Day Saints

Salt Lake City, Utah

Attention:  David O. McKay, President

Dear Brother McKay:

Writing for the family of Donald C. Smith, the First Presidency and myself personally, I want to express my appreciation to you for your thoughtfulness in sending the message of condolence at the incident of the untimely passing of President Israel A. Smith.

He will be missed greatly by his family as a father, by the Church as a leader, and by myself as a kind and wise counsellor.

We trust that your recent cataract surgery has been completely successful and that you are well on the road to recovery.  Our best personal regards to Mrs. McKay and yourself.

Very sincerely,


By /s/ W. Wallace Smith

(Original letter is in the scrapbook.)”

Fri., 11 Mar. 1960:

“11:30 a.m.

Visit of the Patriarch of the Reorganized Church

Mr. Roy A. Cheville, Patriarch of the Reorganized Church, Independence, Missouri, made a courtesy call to the office.

He had sent a letter asking for the interview.

Mr. Cheville said that he had previously called on President George Albert Smith.

In course of conversation he said, ‘We may not agree theologically and ecclesiastically, but there is no reason why we cannot be Christian brothers.’

I told him that I appreciated his call, and invited him to call at any time when he is passing through Salt Lake City so that I might become better acquainted with him.  I also told him that I had appreciated my acquaintance with President Israel Smith, and that I valued my friendship with him, and was saddened at his death.  I stated that I had not had the privilege of meeting the new President – W. Wallace Smith.

After a pleasant interview Mr. Cheville departed saying that he would call again when next he visited Salt Lake.

Tues., 26 June 1962:

Reorganized Church Asks Purchase of Fifty Copies of the Book of Mormon in Tahitian – President Moyle explained that the request of the Reorganized Church to purchase fifty copies of the Book of Mormon in Tahitian had been sent to the Deseret Book Company, which has no copies, though the Missionary Committee has.  He said Brother Dyer explained that the Reorganized Church on occasion in the past had changed the imprint of the Book of Mormon purchased from the mission.  After consideration, the Missionary Committee agreed that the books may be sold to the Reorganized Church with the understanding that changes will not be made.  The First Presidency concurred in this action, and approved the sale of the books under these conditions.

‘Joseph Smith Story’ – to become ‘Joseph Smith’s Testimony.’

President Moyle presented a dummy of a proposed reprint of the missionary tract ‘Joseph Smith Tells His Own Story,’ which the Missionary Committee now proposes be published under the title, ‘Joseph Smith’s Testimony,’ and explained that the plan is to publish an edition of 100,000 copies for use in the missions.  The text will be the same, but pictures will be added, and a reproduction of the Gittins portrait of the Prophet Joseph Smith in color will appear on the outside.

I expressed approval of the project, and President Moyle said that with this approval it will be turned back to the Committee for printing.

Tues., 9 Oct., 1962:


October 9, 1962 – 7:00 a.m.

The following business was transacted:

3. Wallace Smith

I told President McKay of the suggestion made by Dr. Homer Durham that we invite President Wallace Smith of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a speaker at one of our forum or devotional assemblies. I asked whether this would meet with his approval. He said that he was favorably inclined toward it but said he would like to know more about the lineage of President Smith and his attitude before I went forward. I am to supply him with this information.

Ernest L. Wilkinson”

Thurs., 19 Aug. 1965:

“9:15 a.m.

Arrived at the underground parking plaza at the Church Administration Building.  Presidents Brown and Tanner were just leaving for the Temple through the newly-constructed tunnel which leads directly into the Temple.  I joined them, and was thrilled with this new convenience — what a wonderful thing it is to be able to leave our offices in the Church Administration Building and go by tunnel right under Main Street to the Temple.

10:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Met with the Brethren in the first meeting of the Council in the Salt Lake Temple since our adjournment on Thursday, June 24, 1965.  Following the singing and opening prayer, I expressed my appreciation and thanks to the Lord for the opportunity of meeting with the Brethren in the House of the Lord.  I extended my greetings and blessings and then told them to proceed with their regular order of business; that I am unable to do much talking but that I would listen and participate as much as possible.

We then listened to the following interesting reports from the Brethren:

Reorganized Church – Wallace Smith, President of Reorganized Church, present at Rotary meetings in Independence 

Elder Evans mentioned as a significant feature of his activities during the past few weeks a speech that he delivered upon invitation before the Rotarians in Independence.  He said that people were present from fifteen surrounding cities and that among those present were Wallace Smith, President of the Reorganized Church, two of the Apostles of that organization, the Mayor of the City, and the Manager of the Reorganized Church Publishing House.  He said that President Wallace Smith was most gracious, and that he thought it was a very significant and interesting evening.

Fri., 6 Dec., 1967:

3:30 p.m.

Visit of Roy A. Cheville, Presiding Patriarch of the Reorganized Church 

At his request made in a letter addressed to my secretary, Sister McKay and I met by appointment Mr. Roy A. Cheville, Presiding Patriarch of the Reorganized Church. He was accompanied by Mr. Wayne Zion of Independence, and Gene Chaney, a local missionary of the Reorganized Church assigned to Salt Lake City. Elder Mark E. Petersen, at my invitation, was also present.

Mr. Cheville, whom I have met on two or three other occasions when he was passing through Salt Lake City, stated that he was pleased to meet me again. I told him that he is always welcome, and that it was a pleasure for me to meet him again. He introduced two associates, Mr. Zion and Mr. Chaney, members of the Reorganized Church, Mr. Chaney being a local missionary for their Church.

After a very pleasant interview, Patriarch Cheville asked if he could say a word of prayer while he was there with us, and I said yes, and for him to proceed. Mr. Cheville then offered a very lovely prayer, in which he asked the Lord’s blessings upon us.

Mr. Cheville and party then took their leave, and I extended a hearty invitation to the Patriarch to return again.

Later, my secretary reported that Mr. Cheville and the others called at her office and reported that they had had a very interesting and congenial meeting.

(See following copies of letters from Mr. Cheville; also Elder Petersen’s report of the meeting.)”

“M E M O R A N D U M

December 8, 1967

In response to arrangements made between himself and Sister Clare Middlemiss, secretary to President McKay, Mr. Roy Cheville, the Presiding Patriarch of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from Independence, Missouri, came to the Church Office at 2:30 this afternoon with the intention of visiting President McKay.

I accompanied him and two other men he had with him over to the President’s appartment. The other two men with Mr. Cheville were Wayne Zion, of Independence, and Gene Chaney, a local missionary of the Reorganized Church assigned to Salt Lake City.

We went to the President’s apartment and were warmly greeted by President McKay and Sister McKay.

Patriarch Cheville is a very buoyant personality and he joked and talked with President and Sister McKay and spoke to them in a very complementary manner, making them both feel very happy with the visit. The visit indeed was a very wholesome one.

At the close of the visit, Patriarch Cheville asked if he could say a prayer while he was there. President McKay told him to proceed. He remained seated in the chair next to President and Sister McKay and offered a very lovely prayer, praying the Lord’s blessings upon the President and his wife.

President McKay warmly invited him to return again for a subsequent visit whenever he came to Salt Lake City. We thereupon returned to the Church Office and reported to Sister Middlemiss at the conclusion of the visit.

Mark E. Petersen.”

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


WEDNESDAY, December 13, 1967

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

(Letter from Wallace Smith)

I read a portion of a letter received yesterday from Wallace Smith, president of the R.L.D.S. (copy made a part of this Journal) The letter expressed appreciation an receiving pictures of the Papyri, and the letter of Emma and his father Joseph Smith the Third.

(Records of Early Church History)

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

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

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

Joseph Smith.

2. Records that Emma Smith had in her possession.

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

4. Bible used by Joseph Smith in his revision.

5. Hand written copy of the Book of Mormon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fri., 15 Dec., 1967:

“8:30 a.m. 

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

Holy Bible – Inspired Version 

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

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

He stated that it appears that we have three possibilities:

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

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

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

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

Tues., 19 Dec., 1967:

“8:30 a.m.

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

Reorganized Church Historical Items 

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

Tues., 16 Jan., 1968:

“8:30 a. m. 

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

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

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

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

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

Mon., 8 Apr., 1968:

“At 9 a.m.

Held a meeting with the First Presidency in the office at the apartment. Presidents Brown, Tanner, Smith and Dyer were present. President Isaacson still confined to his home with a stroke .

Among the items discussed were:

Reorganized Church – – Alleged Revelation Received to Build a Temple 

Elder Dyer reported that at the General Conference of the Reorganized Church which is now in session in Independence, on the first day of the Conference last Friday President Wallace Smith announced he had received a revelation that they were to build a temple in Independence, Missouri.

Elder Dyer said that in discussing the matter with him some time ago Wallace had told him that he felt they needed one; their people were constantly asking about it, and that this had been on his mind. He said that at 3:00 a.m. Thursday morning last, he received a revelation to the effect that they were to build a temple. Elder Dyer said that the Reorganized Church owns 35 acres of the temple site and they have a copy of the temple ordinances; that one of the Salt Lake Temple workers left the Church and went to the Reorganized Church several years ago and gave them a complete copy of the temple endowment ceremony. He said that Israel Smith, former president of the Reorganized Church, has showed this to him; that Israel said there are one or two mistakes in it which they would correct and use when they had a revelation to build a temple. Elder Dyer felt it was urgent that we go forward on the program to build a visitors center in Independence so that we can tell the truth about the matter to the people.

I was very interested in what Elder Dyer told us about this.

Thur., 21 Nov., 1968:

“Held a meeting of the First Presidency this morning.  Presidents Brown, Tanner and Dyer were present.

Reorganized Church – Photostat Copy of Book of Abraham Obtained

President Dyer reported that we have now succeeded in getting from the Reorganized Church a photostat copy of the Book of Abraham, which will be placed in the Historian’s Office.

Fri., 22 Nov., 1968:

“At 9 a. m. met with my counselors Presidents Hugh B. Brown, N. Eldon Tanner, Joseph Fielding Smith, and Alvin R. Dyer.

Among matters discussed were:

Reorganized Church – Exchange of Manuscripts and Documents With

There was read to the brethren a memorandum to the First Presidency by Joseph Fielding Smith relative to a proposed exchange of documents by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Reorganized Church. The memorandum states that Earl E. Olson, Assistant Church Historian, had been sent to Denver to meet with Richard Howard, historian of the Reorganized Church, relative to an exchange of manuscripts between the two churches, and that as a result of this meeting the Reorganized Church is desirous of obtaining copies of the following manuscripts which we have in the Historian’s Office:

1. Photographic prints of each page or parts thereof of the Book of Mormon manuscript.

2. 35 mm positive microfilm of the following items:

a. The Book of Kirtland Revelations

b. Other revelations of the early church through the Nauvoo period, including those not published in the Doctrine and Covenants

c The Far West Record

d. The Book of Elders Licenses, Kirtland and Far West

e. Egyptian Grammar and Alphabet and related pages

f. Documentary History of the Church through 1844

g. Nauvoo List of Church Members, 1842-1845

In exchange for these papers the Reorganized Church offers the following:

1. 35 mm positive microfilm of the following items:

a. The Book of Mormon manuscript

b. The original manuscript to the Inspired Version of the Bible

c. The 1867 R. L. D. S. Committee manuscript of the Inspired Version

d. The Joseph Smith Bible (1828 H & E Phinney Ed. ) in which marginal notations were made to correct the verses in the Bible

e. The Book Of John Whitmer

2. Photographic prints of each page of the following:

a. Sheets from the Book of Commandments manuscript (4 sheets)

b. Letters of Joseph Smith, written and/or signed by him

c. The Scott letters of the Nauvoo period (approximately 3)

The memorandum sets forth suggestions and agreements as to the use to be made of these materials. President Smith, who is the Church Historian, felt that we could agree to this exchange without any question.

President Dyer said that this is really a sort of break-through in our relationship with the Reorganized Church and he felt to favor the proposal.

The First Presidency were unanimous in indicating their approval. I personally was very happy over this exchange.

Tues., 24 Dec., 1968:

“There was no meeting of the First Presidency today.

Reorganized Church – Documents Desired From Our Historian’s Office

Before leaving Brother Dyer handed me a memorandum covering the proposed exchange of documents between our Church and the Reorganized Church. The copies of manuscripts, which are now in the Historian’s Office, and desired by the Reorganized Church are listed on the memo.

( See following memo )

“December 24, 1968

Memo to The First Presidency:

RE: Report on the Proposed Exchange of Documents between Our Church and the Reorganized Church

The Reorganized Church is desirous of obtaining copies of the following manuscripts which we have in the Historian’s Office:

1. Photographic prints of each page or parts thereof of the Book of Mormon Manuscript.

Comment: I would have no objection to this exchange.

2. 35 mm positive microfilm of the following items:

a. The Book of Kirtland Revelations

Comment: These revelations are mostly printed; others, if any, will be carefully screened before any exchange is made.

b. Other revelations of the early Church through the Nauvoo period, including those not published in the Doctrine and Covenants

Comment: These will be carefully screened before any exchange is made.

c. The Far West Record

Comment: This should be carefully checked and perhaps deleted from the list.

d. The Book of Elder’s Licenses, Kirtland and Far West

Comment: This is essentially a record of members so there should be no problem with this item.

e. Egyptian Grammar and Alphabet and Related Pages

Comment: This has already been published bv Jerald Tanner. How he succeeded in getting it from our Church Historian’s Office is a mystery. Earl Olson suggests that some kind of smuggling was done and a copy made and then the microfilm returned to the Church Office. Since it has already been published, there may be no harm in letting the R.L.D.S. have these pages in accordance with the restrictions of the con tract suggested with regard to exchange of manuscripts.

f. Documentary History of the Church through 1844

Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Comment: It is suggested that a spot check of these volumes be made to ascertain a difference as compared with publIished volumes. Then, if justified, a complete check be made before any exchange, if such is to be allowed after the check is made.

g. Nauvoo List of Church Members, 1842-1845

Comment: There should be no problem in the exchange of this information

The list of documents given to our Church in exchange for the above is listed on the original letter sent to the First Presidency by President Joseph Fielding Smith.

I have read the proposed agreements for the exchange of manuscripts and feel them to be in keeping with good and standard principles in the making available of such documents of historical value.

Alvin R. Dyer”

Fri., 27 Dec., 1968:

“At 8:40 this morning held a meeting with my counselors, Presidents Brown, Smith, and Dyer. President Tanner is out of the city vacationing in Arizona.

Some of the items considered were:

Reorganized Church– Exchange of Documents

President Dyer called attention to an earlier discussion by the First Presidency regarding a proposed exchange of historical documents between our Church and the Reorganized Church. President Dyer mentioned that he had been asked to check into this matter before granting the proposed exchange, and he now reported on the question. He said he felt that we were being asked to furnish the Reorganized Church much more than we were getting from them. He mentioned items which he thought we could well afford to exchange, namely, (1) Photographic print of manuscript pages that we have in our possession of the first copy of the Book of Mormon in exchange for which they would give us a photographic print of their complete copy of the Book of Mormon manuscript, which he understood to be the second copy made which was done by Oliver Cowdery; (2) They would like a copy of a Book of Elders Licenses at Kirtland and Far West. This is just a record of ordinations. He felt there would be no problem here; (3) Nauvoo list of Church members. He felt there would be no harm in giving them this. They would give us in exchange for these items as indicated a copy of the complete second Book of Mormon manuscript, the original manuscript of the Inspired Version of the Bible, and the 1867 manuscript of the Inspired Version of the Bible. We would also want to obtain a copy of the book of John Whitmer which they have in their possession. President Dyer felt if we could get copies of these items from them it would be very beneficial and he could see no objection to our granting permission for them to have copies of the three items he mentioned. They have, however, he explained, asked for a number of other items which he thought should be carefully screened before our permission is given.

I asked the counselors to give the matter further consideration and to bring back their recommendation.

Tues., 18 Feb, 1969:

“President McKay did not attend a First Presidency’s Meeting this morning.  The following matters were taken up by his counselors–Presidents Hugh B. Brown, N. Eldon Tanner, Joseph Fielding Smith and Alvin R. Dyer:

Reorganized Church — Exchange of Manuscripts

President Dyer called attention to former discussions by the First Presidency regarding a proposed exchange of manuscripts between the Reorganized Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that to date no definite decision has been made in the matter. He explained that the Reorganized Church is desirous of obtaining copies of manuscripts which we have in the Historian’s Office, in exchange for which they would give us photographic prints of the Book of Mormon manuscript which they have in their possession, prepared by Oliver Cowdery, and also of the book of John Whitmer who was the Church Historian. President Dyer thought that we might well exchange some items that they are requesting which are inconsequential, but there are others that he thought we should not give them. President Smith said he was opposed to making any exchange of documents with these people. It was decided to leave this matter to President Smith and President Dyer to work out.”

Thur., 14 Aug., 1969:

Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidecay

Held Thursday, August 14, 1969, at 9:30 A.M., in President McKay’s Apartment

Present: Presidents David 0. McKay, N. Eldon Tanner and Joseph Fielding Smith .

President McKay seemed to be feeling better this morning. President Tanner reported that President Brown was in Alaska and President Dyer was not in his office, and Joseph Anderson was on his vacation. In their absence President Tanner and President Smith met with President McKay.

President David 0. McKay 

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 

Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

Attention, the Secretary.

I do not know whether the same secretary is taking care of President McKay’s office. I am presuming so. I think it wise that I refer this matter to you for your reply and recommendation. You will tell me what is best to do.

I am planning to travel from Kansas City to San Francisco by train. I have in mind going by way of Salt Lake City with a major intent of calling on President McKay, if this is possible.

You will remember me, if the same secretary is serving, visiting him in his apartment in Hotel Utah in December 1967. I shall never forget the picture of him and his wife sitting together, side by side on the divan as I visited them. When I came to the closing of this visit I wondered how to round it out. I concluded that a benedictory prayer was the thing to do. For me it was a benediction.

I expect to arrive in Salt Lake City by Union Pacific train Wednesday morning, September 10. I could call on President McKay in the morning or in the afternoon, in accordance wnth what would be more convenient for him. I would like for you to indicate what would be best.

I shall confirm arrangements after I hear from you.

I wrote to him after I had been to the ground-breaking ceremony in Nauvoo, in expression of appreciation of the message by and the meeting with David Kennedy and George Romney. A friendly message came back with invitation to call.


Roy A. Cheville

Presiding Evangelist


“Dr. Roy A. Cheville 

Office of the Presiding Evangelist 

Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 

The Auditorium 

Independence, Missouri 64051

Dear Dr. Cheville:

I am very pleased to learn from your letter of August 6, 1969, that you are making a trip to San Francisco by train and will pass through Salt Lake on September 10.

Be assured, Brother Cheville, that it would give me great pleasure to have you call on me, at which time we could renew our most valued friendship,

On September 8, 1969, I shall be observing my ninety-sixth birthday. Whether I shall be in Salt Lake on the 10th, I do not know at this time. Usually, on my birthday I am in Huntsville, Utah, my hometown and birthplace, where family members join with Mrs. McKay and me in a birthday celebration. Mrs. McKay and I usually stay for two weeks or more.

Of course, these plans can be carried out only if Mrs. McKay’s and my health permit. I, therefore, cannot tell at this writing whether we shall be in the city when you call, and we probably will not know until a day or two before September 8.

It would grieve me deeply if you planned to stop off in Salt Lake only to find me out of the city. With this uncertainty before us, please let me know what you plan to do.

Most cordially,

David O. McKay”

Wed., Sept. 10, 1969:

“10:15 a.m.:  Roy A. Cheville, Presiding Patriarch of the Reorganized Church, accompanied by President Alvin R. Dyer of the First Presidency, came over for a few minutes.  (See President Dyer’s Minutes for Details.)

Lawrence and Llewelyn McKay came over and discussed with their father the Negro question.  President Alvin R. Dyer was also present.  (See President Dyer’s Minutes for Details.)”

“(Minutes by President Alvin R. Dyer on the visit of Roy A. Cheville, and the Negro Question.)

During the morning of this day, Roy A. Cheville, the Patriarch of the R.L.D.S. Church visited the office and had previously been in contact with Clare Middlemiss concerning an appointment with President McKay.

Clare Middlemiss called me to say that the appointment had been set up for Patriarch Cheville to visit with President McKay and suggested that I go with him, which I did.

As we reached the eighth floor of the Hotel Utah, leaving the elevator to walk toward President McKay’s apartment, we came in contact with Lawrence and Llewelyn McKay coming from the President’s apartment.  They said that the President was sleeping and that they had not disturbed him.

Patriarch Cheville said that he had to leave the City and that if he could just shake the hand of President McKay then the nurse or others could advise him that he had been there.

As we were admitted to the President’s apartment and went toward the President in his office, as he sat in the chair, Patriarch Cheville took hold of his hand and this seemed to rouse the President almost immediately.  We had a very brief visit and as I turned to go the President asked that I stay.  I stayed with him for a few minutes holding his hand most of the time.  As I turned to go, I noted that Lawrence and Llewelyn McKay, the sons of the President, had returned.  Lawrence pulled me aside and asked if he could speak with me.  He said they were going to talk to their father about the Negro question and would I stay and join with them.  I agreed.

Wed., Sept. 17, 1969:

Meeting of the First Presidency

The President was interested in reading the following items from the Minutes of the First Presidency’s Meeting, which meeting he was unable to attend:

Reorganized Church–Visit of Roy Cheville

President Dyer explained tha tthe patriarch of the Reorganized Church had called to see President McKay and arrangements were made for him to see the President, and he went with him.  He stated that as they were going into the apartment he met Lawrence and Llewelyn McKay going out and they said that their father was asleep.  The patriarch of the RLDS asked if he might go in and just touch the President’s hand and let the nurse tell him that he was there.  This he did and put his hand on the President’s shoulder.  President McKay woke up and started to talk with him and he seemed very clear in his conversation.  President Dyer said that he, President Dyer, stood there and watched and that when the Patriarch was ready to leave he shook hands with the President.