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David O. McKay Diaries – “Temples – 1936-62”

Below you will find diary entries on the topic of “Temples – 1936-62.” You can view other subjects here.

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Mon., 23 Mar., 1936:

“At 8:15 a.m. held a brief consultation with Joseph Fielding Smith regarding our imperative duty to attach more reverence for Temple apparel by withdrawing the garment from commercial institutions. Gave him my views and suggestions in writing on Reverence for the Garment.

. . . .

Answered letter of Temple committee inquiring for clarification of my views regarding the garment.”

Mon., 27 Apr., 1936:

“President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. and I left Salt Lake City for Omaha at 6:45 a.m.  In consultation, considered the following problems:

II. Temple matters

1. Separate company for young folks

2. Instruction regarding:

a. Inheritance and significances

b. Symbolism and sullionily of covenants (purpose of life)

c. Marks

d. Sacredness of garment

Thur., 30 Apr., 1936:

“Council meeting at 10:00 a.m.  Decided to build a temple in Idaho.”

Fri., 8 May, 1936:

“Attended to current duties including writing a reply to a committee of the Church of Christ, Independence, Missouri, inviting our church to join in building a temple in Jackson County.

We courteously refused, unless all could unite in recognition of the proper authority.”

Sat., 2 Jan., 1937:

“Met a few minutes with President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. and Bishop David R. Howell in consultation about a proposed site for the Temple to be built in Los Angeles.”

Fri., 8 Jan., 1937:

“Only one of the Presidency at the office.  Heavy mail, and important decisions to render:

1. Question of advisability of urging a Bishop to reconsider refusal to give a recommendation, since the happiness and even the faith of a young girl seemed at stake.  Found a satisfactory solution without sacrificing principle.”

Thur., 11 Jul., 1940:

“Memorandum for Council today regarding garments:

I. Send letters to following manufacturers:

1. Salt Lake Knitting Company

2. Ogden-Utah Knitting Company (Thorstensen Brothers)

3. Lady Gay Manufacturing Company

4. Fonnesbeck Manufacturing Company, Logan

5. Security Knitting Company (not applicable to mail orders)

1. The withdrawal of the label from special orders.

2. Informing them that there is no authorized sleeping garment.

3. The ‘wide leg’ is permissible, but is not designated a sleeping garment.

4. That a replica of the label may be displayed on counters or in windows of the merchants who are authorized to sell garments upon which the authorized label is placed.

5. Garments should not be marked before being placed in boxes for general sale.

II. Letter to Presidents of Stakes informing them of these changes and instructions.”

Wed., 8 Jan., 1941:

“Consultation with Brother Merrill.  He asked for advice regarding:

1. Should he get his endowments before he goes into the Army.  I told him that this was a personal matter, and one that he would have to decide for himself.

2. Under what circumstances would he be justified in laying aside the garment.  I told him that whenever they were to be exposed to the curious, he would be justified in reverently laying them aside.”

Tues., 6 Apr., 1943:


President Eugene Hilton of the Oakland Stake and his first counselor, W. Glenn Harmon, presented to the First Presidency the deeds to the property in Oakland, the site of New Temple to be constructed as soon as the exigencies of war are over.”

Mon., 28 Feb., 1944:

“I went over to the Temple and instructed the Presidency to take steps to have more reverence in the Temple.  To that end suggested: first, the removal of the desk in the Celestial Room; second, not to have witnesses to marriages enter Celestial Room in street clothing; third, it will be well to consider the advisability of the General Authorities who perform marriages to be dressed in white. . . .

Telephone Message to President Payne [Arizona Temple President]: Instructed him as follows:  (1) Not to permit outside visitors to enter the annex or any other part of the Temple (2) That the salary of the President should be $175.00, each Counselor’s salary not to exceed $150.00, and the Recorder, from $150.00 to $175.00, Brother LeSueur as Genealogical and Library Advisor $50.00 to $75.00.”

Wed., 14 Jun., 1944:

“9 a.m.–Mrs. R. M. Snyder of 244 27th Street, Ogden, called this morning at 9 a.m. to seek advice regarding the advisability of her being sealed to her present husband.

Mrs. Snyder claims that several years ago I advised her to be sealed to her deceased husband who had committed suicide.  I think she must have misunderstood me because it is so contrary to my feelings and knowledge of Church procedure that I cannot imagine that I would ever give such advice.

However, it seems that Mrs. Snyder sent in his name to the Temple, had the work done for him, and later was sealed to him, and had two of her three children sealed to him.  Later, after the passing of about 12 years, she married another man in the Logan Temple for time.  He is a true Latter-day Saint with whom she is very happy. She now desires to have the former sealing cancelled and then be sealed to the man to whom she is married at the present time.

I advised her to consult her children and report to me later.”

Fri., 1 Sep., 1944:

“8 a.m.–Had a meeting this morning with the Salt Lake Temple presidency:

1. Question arose as to the advisability of carting all the oil over to the Temple to have it consecrated, and then carting it back to the gate where it is sold.

Question:  Why cannot the Presidency of the Temple go over to the Temple-gate building, and consecrate it?  The man at the gate could remove the corks and then replace them.

2. Is it worth while considering the modifications of the rule in the Temple that no jewelry or ornaments should be worn by the women?

3. Recommends:  Present form of the recommend very inconvenient.  They suggest that the recommend be made current for a year instead of six months.”

Tues., 6 Nov., 1945:

[Arizona Temple Dedication]  “8:30 a.m.–Sister McKay and I attended the first of the five scheduled Spanish-speaking sessions–the first temple sessions in this dispensation of the Gospel conducted in any but the English language.

There were assembled some two hundred Lamanites, gathered actually from Mexico City to Salt Lake City, and from Coast to Coast.”

Mon., 21 Jul., 1947:

“ElRay Christiansen, President of the Logan Temple called regarding the validity of the recommend to the Logan Temple for Mrs. Cassity. I told Pres. Christiansen to let her go right in without further questioning–that there should be no more wounded feelings in this case.  (See attached notes from President Reichman)–also concerning Bishop Seth W. Pixton.”

“Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Bonneville Stake Presidency

Summary of interview between Bishop Seth W. Pixton, President Owen G. Reichman and George L. Nelson on Tuesday, July 15th–5:00 to 7:00 P.M. in President Reichman’s office.

Bishop Seth W. Pixton had previously been approached by a Mrs. Cassity and her daughter for temple recommends to the Logan Temple.  The daughter planned to be married in the temple on July 21st and desired to obtain her own endowments.  The mother wished to witness the marriage.  Some question had arisen as to the issuance of the recommend to the daughter until the serological examination had been completed.  Bishop Pixton brought the recommend in duplicate to the meeting duly signed by him and President Owen G. Reichman signed both copies and returned them to the Bishop.  A recommend for Mrs. Cassity to the Salt Lake Temple had been signed by Bishop Pixton a few days previously and brought to President Reighman by Mrs. Cassity for his signature.  It then appeared that the recommend should have been made to the Logan Temple and President Reichman informed Mrs. Cassity that she should return the recommend to Bishop Pixton who would correct it and he would then sign it.  Upon her inquiry President Reichman advised that she could make arrangements accordingly.  It now appeared that Bishop Pixton had decided to decline the issuance of a recommend to the Logan Temple to Mrs. Cassity.

During the course of the conference the following facts were established.  Bishop Pixton stated that he had come to the conclusion that he should not have issued the recommend to Mrs. Cassity in the first instance and the issuance of the recommend was not only erroneous in that it was a recommend to the Salt Lake Temple but also in the fact that it never should have been issued.  President Reichman inquired as to whether any new facts or evidence had been established by Bishop Pixton since the issuance of the first recommend and he replied that no additional information had come to light, but that he had now concluded that she should not have the recommend and that his conclusions came not from any human knowledge or information but solely and entirely from the promptings of the spirit which promptings had been strengthened by the developments of the last few days during which time pressure from various sources had been brought to bear upon him to issue the recommend.  President Reichman pointed out that inasmuch as the Bishop had issued and signed the first recommend, and that during the interview with Mrs. Cassity he was only advised that an error was made in issuing the recommend to the Salt Lake Temple instead of the Logan Temple, and he had assumed that in all other respects the recommend was properly issued and that if she would return it to the Bishop for correction there should be no question about the issuance of the recommend, consequently there was involved in the matter the problem of keeping the promise which was made in good faith to Mrs. Cassity.  He stated further that in view of all the circumstnaces he would strongly urge the Bishop to issue the recommend unless there were some substantial and new reasons for declining to do so.  President Nelson made the comment that the failure to issue a recommend under the circumstances might not only reflect upon the Bishop but upon the Stake President as well, and that the consequences of not issuing it might be considerable and that these facts should be borne in mind by the Bishop in making his decision; and that while it would not be advisable in any case to issue a recommend to one who is not wholly worthy, nevertheless the facts mentioned should be considered by the Bishop.  Bishop Pixton stated that he was well aware of these things but that he frankly admitted that he had made the mistake in the first instance in issuing the first recommend, that as advised him through the office of the President of the Church, the issuance of the recommend was his responsibility and his only, and that he could not and would not shift that responsibility to anyone else.  He again emphasized the need for following the promptings of the spirit which were the sole basis for his decision and stated that he knew from these promptings that his decision was right.  He further stated that he would not change his decision unless President Smith advised him to do so after hearing the case, and that he did not believe that would ever occur because his decision was based upon the spirit of revelation and it would be the same spirit that would move President Smith to make his decision. President Reichman asked the Bishop if he thought that his decision in this case, in view of all the facts and circumstances, might weaken his position as Bishop of his ward.  He stated that he did not think so, that the faithful members of the ward would support him in his decision and that those who would criticize the Bishop under such circumstances would do so because they were moved by the spirit of the adversary.  President Reichman asked the Bishop whether a further interview with Mrs. Cassity might cause him to change his mind and whether any promise or act that she might do or make as to her further conduct might form the basis for a reconsideration of his decision.  He stated nothing that Mrs. Cassity could now do or say would change his decision. President Reichman stated that while he recognized the correctness of the principle that the Bishop had the power of decision in matters of this kind, nevertheless in view of the facts and circumstances he believed that the recommend should be issued and that if he were in the Bishop’s place he would issue the recommend.  The Bishop stated again that the responsibility was his and that he would have to rely upon the promptings that came to him.”

Wed., 13 Aug., 1947:

“Pres. George F. Richards called at the office.  Discussed the following:

1. Young people’s going through the veil one day, and intending to be married the next. Young man not permitted to take bride through the veil.

2. Unmarried woman, though she has previously had her endowments, not permitted to do work for her dead.

3. Old style garment required to attend to sealing.”

Fri., 10 Oct., 1947:

“3:20 p.m.–negro lady, Mrs. Frank (Cora) Turner of 549 Cooper Street, Ogden, Utah called at the office to discuss the question of having her deceased husband baptized by proxy.  It seems that he was studying the Gospel before he died, and now Mrs. turner wants to have this work done for him.  I explained our belief in this regard to her, and she stated that her church–the Methodists–held no such hope for their members.”

Wed., 17 Dec., 1947:

“Mrs. Frank Turner, negro lady who visited my office two or three weeks ago regarding the baptism by proxy for her deceased husband, called by telephone to say that Bishop Larson of the 29th Ward, Ogden, Utah, has advised her to wait a little while before having this work done.  In the meantime, Mrs. Turner said she would study and become active in the Ward.  (Mrs. Turner is not yet a member of the Church).”

Mon., 17 May, 1948:

“President Tempest of the East Jordan Stake called–said that a young man had come to his office for information relative to marriage.  He is marrying a young lady from the Los Angeles area. Both young people are worthy and they plan to come to the Temple. The father and mother of the young lady cannot come to Salt Lake, and they are requesting that the couple be married by the Bishop or Stake President at home, and then come immediately to Salt Lake to go to the Temple.  The young man has been informed that it would be necessary for him to wait a year before he can go to the Temple. Pres. Tempest said he had called George F. Richards who referred him to me.  I told President Tempest that if this young couple is worthy to go to the Temple, the Bishop of their ward should issue a Temple recommend.  Further, that it will be all right for them to be married there at home by the Bishop, or Stake President, that in some cases where the couples have been sufficiently strong, they have waited until after their temple ceremony before they have lived as man and wife; however that there will be no sin if they do not do that.”

Sat., 2 Oct., 1948:

“Note:  President Harry L. Payne of the Arizona Temple stopped in at the office to see me; since I was occupied at the time, he dictated the following to my secretary:

Pres. McKay:  Lorin F. Jones of the Spanish American Mission wrote to his wife here in Salt Lake City twice, and then telephoned her regarding a family by the name of Castillo who are living in Douglas.  The wife and mother of the family has been a member of the Church for five years, and is a very devoted Latter-day Saint.  She and all of her children have been very active in the Church.  The husband has been converted for two or three years, but he had a habit of smoking, and therefore was not baptized until a few months ago, less than a year.  The Mission has maintained missionaries in Douglas for five years largely to help this one family become well established in the Church.

The question is:  These people are moving from Douglas, going to California at a point where it will be difficult for them to come to the Temple when they become settled in California. They are poor people, and it would be difficult for them to come back to the Temple.

I explained to Sister Jones that this is not a problem for me, but for the First Presidency, but in view of the fact that Pres. Jones is not here in Salt Lake, and because of the urgency of the matter, that I would ask the First Presidency about the matter, and that they in turn could notify Pres. Jones.

In a letter to Pres. Jones, dated Oct. 7, I said to Pres. Jones: If it is a fact that this brother has been converted for two or three years, but was not baptized because he could not refrain from smoking, and if he has been baptized, and you and the Elders think that he is entirely worthy to go through the Temple to have his wife and children sealed to him, then you may take the responsibility to issue the recommend.  However, experience has demonstrated the fact that it is not wise to permit newly baptized converts to go to the Temple before they are thoroughly seasonsed in the principles of the Gospel.  This rule is made for their good entirely.”

Mon., 17 Jan., 1949:

“[Los Angeles] Met Edward O. Anderson at the Temple site at 11:30 a.m., and later met President Smith and Preston Richards, and together we visited the Temple site, considering the propositions already made for purchase of part of the land by the Catholic Church and by the Los Angeles Board of Education.

We were unanimous in the thought that we can ill afford to sell to the Catholic Church as requested by them as it will be needed in the near future by our own people.  Although we have committed ourselves to sell about five acres to the Public School System we are of the opinion that if they will forego that we would prefer not to sell to them, but undoubtedly the Public School System will not release us from the consent we have already given.

A meeting was also held with members of the First Presidency, Presidencies of Stakes and Bishopric of Wards in the Los Angeles area, where the following matters were presented and considered:

1. The announcement of the enlargements of the plans of the Temple to include–a.  A large assembly room, b. Accommodations for a company of 300.

2. To make arrangements for voluntary contributions from those who wish to assist.”

Wed., 16 Feb., 1949:

“Elder Harry L. Payne, Pres. of the Arizona Temple called–said there is an elder lady–83 years of age at the Arizona Temple this morning.  She wishes to do the Temple work for her deceased husband who has not been dead a year.  He was an active member of the Church, having joined two years ago.  He held a recommend to the Temple and was to have taken his wife to the S. L. Temple this April to be sealed to her.  Pres. Payne wondered, in view of this lady’s advance age, if she should not be permitted to do this work. I told Pres. Payne that I could see no reason why the work should not be done.”

Fri., 3 Jun., 1949:

“Met by appointment at their request, Elders Edward O. Anderson, and Howard McKean–they presented plans for the Los Angeles Temple. I asked them if they had presented these plans to Presidents Smith and Clark and they said, ‘No, they asked us to present them to you.’  The plans these brethren presented I think are excellent. I gave my approval and said that they shold go ahead and make preliminary sketches as planned, with the exception that they make the entire building four feel narrower.”

Sun., 17 Jul., 1949:

“I received a telephone message from President Morris of the Deseret Stake, Delta, Utah.  He took up the following with me:

. . . .

2. ‘Is a President of the Stake justified in issuing a recommend to a couple who are first cousins to go to the Temple provided they are married in a state that legalizes the marriage of first cousins?’

In answer to that, I said: ‘Yes.’

3. ‘May a divorced woman be recommended for Temple work?’

I said ‘Yes, if she is otherwise worthy.'”

Thur., 10 Nov., 1949:

“[Note by Clare] Pres. Shirley Palmer of the Oneida Stake telephoned re: permitting member of Church, who has taken his garments off, to be buried in his temple robes.  Read letter from 1st Presidency’s file wherein it says ‘The Church has no power to control the manner of clothing in which people shall be buried. Therefore, if these people wish to bury their father in Temple robes, there is no legal way to prevent it.  The family can do as they wish, and of course assume the responsibility for their action.”

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., 20 Feb., 1950:

“At 9:30 a.m., met by appointment at the request of Archie Johnson, President of the Uintah Stake, who phoned the residence yesterday, Bishop Phil Watkins of the Vernal 2nd Ward, and Bishop Heber M. Rasband of the Heber 1st Ward.  Accompanying these Bishops were–Robert Turner of the Heber 1st Ward, and Miss Eloise M. Nielsen of the Vernal 2nd Ward, about whom Pres. Johnson had previously written.  The young couple are seeking a recommend to the Temple, but have made a certain confession, and the purpose of the visit this morning was to see what could be done in their case.  I explained to the Bishops and the young couple the steps that must be taken before a recommend can be issued.”

Wed., 1 Mar., 1950:

“President Harry L. Payne of the Arizona Temple called me from Mesa.  He said that about two weeks ago a young lady with her sweetheart and the parents of the young man and some other members of the family came to the Temple and they all went through.  The young lady’s recommend was regular in every respect excepting the date of her baptism was not written clearly, or was blurred by the signature which ran into it.  The matter was later called to Pres. Payne’s attention and upon investigation he found the young lady had been a member of the Church for only five days, and yet the Stake President–Brother Wright–had recommended her for the Temple ceremony.  Pres. Payne contacted the Bishop and also talked to the Stake President because he thought this was such a flagrant violation of the rules, but they justified themselves saying that she was a good girl and that she was thoroughly converted and had been active in the church for ten months.

Pres. Payne has talked with the young couple and they are planning to come back to the temple in two or three weeks to consummate their marriage–announcements of their coming marriage in the Temple have already been made.

I said that there is only one thing they can do now that she has had her endowments and that is to let them get married; that you cannot blame the young girl as she is not responsible.  I further said that the record should have been checked more thoroughly when presented at the Temple.  Pres. Payne said again that it was because the date was ‘blurred’ that they had not noticed the error. I then asked Pres. Payne who the Bishop is–he said it is the Bishop of the 8th Wd., Mesa.  He also mentioned the Almo Ward (did not understand whether that is the Ward where the young girl lives or the young man).  I said that the Bishop and Stake President should know that the Hand Book of Instructions states that a person has to be in the church a year before being recommended for the Temple.”

Mon., 22 May, 1950:

“[Telephone call]  Called Marion Romney of the Church Welfare and told him that we had received an inquiry regarding the selling of garments by the Church Welfare–the question having been asked–‘Why is the Church Welfare manufacturing temple garments for commercial use?’  I asked Brother Romney to prepare an answer in writing and send it over to us.”

Mon., 29 May, 1950:

“Harry L. Payne of Mesa, Arizona called regarding the case of a 16-year-old girl who has been married for less than a month to a man who is not a member of the Church, and who has accompanied her parents and other members of the family to the Arizona Temple for the purpose of being sealed to her parents.  The question is whether or not she should be given a recommend to have her sealed to her parents.  I told Pres. Payne that President Clark and I had given the matter consideration, and that inasmuch as these people had come all the way from California for this purpose, and that the girl is under 18 years of age, and further that in all probability will not be coming to the Temple again, we feel that an exception should be made in this case and that the girl be allowed to have the sealing ordinance only performed.  This procedure of course would not be in line with the regular policy, and Pres. Payne should understand that it is an exception, and should be sure that the parents of this girl come properly recommended.  President Payne then said that he has another case just exactly like the above case; that the President of the Stake in New Mexico had telephone in, stating that the girl is 16 and is married to an outsider.  I told President Payne to let her go through, but that she could not go through with her husband, but merely be sealed to her parents.”

Mon., 10 Jul., 1950:

“[Telephone call]  President ElRay L. Christiansen–Logan Temple. Pres. Christiansen called with reference to the following case which is now before him:  A husband and wife are divorced; they were not married in the Temple.  The mother of the son resulting from that marital relationship was given the custory of their son. Both are now married again.  The father of the son and his present wife came to the temple with his son and with a notorized permission from the mother of the son for the father to get the son sealed for eternity, but not for time.  I answered that the sealing of the boy for time and eternity would not affect the legal relationship between the mother and the son, and that the father must get the consent of the mother to have the sealing for time as well as for eternity.”

Wed., 2 Aug., 1950:

“Brother Spencer Kimball came to ascertain what the decision should be with reference to an exception being made in the case of Robert Beall of the 12th Ward Emigration Stake, who has been in the Church since Feb 1950.  It seems that he and his fiancee were given the understanding that Brother Beall would be allowed to get married in the temple though he had not been in the church one year, consequently the young couple went ahead and made all arrangements for their marriage in the Temple, had an announcement in the paper that Ezra T. Benson of the Council of the Twelve would perform their ceremony, etc. and Brother Kimball recommends that an exception be made so that these young people may be married in the Temple.  Brother Kimball said that he had inquired into the life of the young man and received assurance from him that his life has been clean as to chastity, the Word of Wisdom, that hehas paid a full tithing, that he respects the Authorities, that he loves the work and has a considerable testimony as to the divinity of the whole work.  He is 20 years of age, she is 19.

Under the circumstances, I said that an exception may be made int his case.”

Mon., 21 Aug., 1950:

“[Telephone call]  Pres. [Frank H.] Brown [Big Horn Stake] then mentioned the Elder Fillerup case–the missionary who got into trouble while on a mission to Germany, and asked if it would be all right for him (Pres. Brown) to write to the Bishop where Elder Fillerup is now living, attending school, and ask the Bishop to ‘put his arm around him and encourage him to keep to the path of repentance.’  Said Brother Fillerup was excommunicated, but has very humble admitted his guilt, and has a repentant spirit.  I said that by all means he should write to the Bishop and seek his assistance.  Pres. Brown then said that Brother Fillerup wants to keep his garments on, and I told him that that is an individual matter; that if he feels that he would like to do that it would probably be a point in his favor when he applies for reinstatement, but that he cannot wear them authoritatively until he has his former blessings restored.”

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!”

Fri., 8 Dec., 1950:

“Edward Anderson came in regarding the announcing in local newspapers the building of the Los Angeles Temple.  I told him to give it to the Deseret News first, and that the Tribune could have the story the next morning.”

Sun., 10 Dec., 1950:

“At 11 p.m.–Some man called me at home at the request of President Robert D. Young.  It seems that this man’s son-in-law joined the church last February, and is in the Reserves.  He would like to go through the Temple, and have his wife and children sealed to him. The Bishop of the University Ward gave him a recommend, but the President of the Stake said he had no right to endorse the recommend since he had not been in the Church a year, and that he would have to get one of the Presidency of the Church to give him permission to endorse it.  Inasmuch as this young man had paid tithing for over a year before he joined the Church, and is now active, I told the young man to have the President of the Stake to call me and I would authorize him to endorse the recommend.  The Stake President called me and I so authorized him.”

Mon., 11 Dec., 1950:

“I called Clare in and dictated to her until 11 a.m., at which time Brother Edward O. Anderson and Jack Reed, reporter for the Tribune came in to the office to discuss with me the releasing to the local papers the story of the building of the Los Angeles Temple. Several weeks ago I gave Jack permission to run a story in the Tribune but Edward O. Anderson would not release a sketch of the Temple, so Jack did not publish anything.  NOw, the Deseret News feels that they should be the first to make the announcement regarding the Temple, and feels that no other paper should ‘scoop’ them.  However, as I had made the promise to Jack several weeks ago, I said Jack could run it the same day that it comes out in the News.  Later, however, Brother Barker of the Deseret News called my attention to minutes of a First Presidency’s meeting which states that the promise had been given to the News sometime before my promise was given to Jack Reed.  It then had my secretary call Jack Reed, and give him the following message:

President McKay tried to reach you, but could not locate you. He says to tell you that he is outvoted on the release of the Los Angeles Temple; that there is a record of minutes here in the office of the First Presidency showing that the promise for the release of the story was given to the Deseret News on October 7, which promise precedes that given to you by Pres. McKay.

However, you may print the story on Wednesday in the Telegram, or Thursday in the Tribune.

To this message Jack answered ‘O.K.'”

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:

“[Telephone call]  Sister Allen–Said her boy goes into the service Saturday or Sunday and wishes to go to the temple to be married. His sweetheart, whom he baptized in the mission field, has been in the church for only 8 months, and Sister Allen asked if an exception could be made in this case.  I told her to have the Bishop get in touch with me about this case.”

Thur., 4 Jan., 1951:

“Mr. Connell of the Kimball Elevator Company telephoned at the request of President El Ray L. Christiansen of the Logan Temple, to obtain permission from the First Presidency for a state inspector from the Industrial Commission to enter the Logan Temple to inspect the elevator recently installed by the Kimball Elevator Company.  Mr. Connell said that at the same time his men will have to accompany the State Inspector.  Mr. Connell will call later for an answer–President McKay was in meeting at the time he called.”

Wed., 10 Jan., 1951:

“Mr. Connell of the Kimball Elevator called to say that the State Inspector had received clearance to inspect the elevator which has recently been installed in the Logan Temple.”

Fri., 19 Jan., 1951:

“I interviewed the following: . . .

Mary Louise Cummings Swenson who wanted to know regarding the status of her Sister’s child with respect to sealing her to her stepfather.  The sister divorced her first husband and had the sealing cancelled, and now wants to seal her child to the second husband.  I told Sister Swenson to tell her sister not to do anything about this matter at present; that if the father is not worthy, the child will go with the mother.”

Wed., 28 Mar., 1951:

“After my consultation with Brother Backman I went up home to get Ray.  We left immediately for the Salt Lake Temple where Sister McKay and I went through with the first session.

I spoke to the 239 persons who were assembled there in the annex at the devotional meeting.

My principal purpose in going through that day was to observe the details of the ceremony and to study the mechanics of the presentation of the endowments.  It was a regular session; no special preparation had been maed, but I was very much pleased with the presentation of those who went through the ceremony.  The enunciation was good; the delineations of the parts were given with interest and with spirit; the reverence was commendable.”

Tues., 10 Apr., 1951:

“President Graff of Hurricane, Utah called regarding one of his members who is having marital difficulties–he has just returned from Japan, his wife has been untrue to him, and he would like to get a temple divorce from her.  I told Pres. Graff to have him send in his application for a cancellation, but that the civil divorce must be final before doing that.  Also that the local authorities down there will have to decide whether the girl, who admits to illicit relations with the men with whom she has been associating, is to be disfellowshipped or excommunicated from the church.”

Tues., 17 Apr., 1951:

“3:30 p.m.  Returned to the office.  In making adjustments among the officer personnel in the office of the First Presidency, I spoke to the following:

1. Geraldine Bearnson–Asked her to assist Clare in the office of the President.  Sister Bearnson seemed willing to accept the position, but later reported that sometime in the Fall she may leave the city to live in California.

2. Arthur Haycock–Told him that we would like him to be an assistant to Brother Joseph Anderson for the present, but that later I will feel free to call on him if I need someone to drive a car for me.  I hinted to him that the matter of salary will have to be adjusted by the committee under whose jurisdiction this comes.

3. Pearl Bridge–Advised her that President Stephen L. Richards has expressed the wish that he might have her for his private secretary.  Pearl said she would prefer to stay where she is; that she enjoys her work with Brother Anderson.

4. Elder Albert E. Bowen of the Council of the Twelve–Spoke to him about having him help me in the applications for cancellation of sealings, taking it out of the hands of Brother Joseph Anderson, and putting it in the hands of one of the Twelve.  Brother Bowen agreed that this is a wise thing to do, and said he would accept ‘not reluctantly, but freely.'”

Tues., 7 Aug., 1951:

“12:30–Brother Albert John Elggren was given a blessing under my hands giving him authority to perform sealing ordinances in the Salt Lake Temple, with the exception of second sealings.”

Fri., 14 Sep., 1951:

“5:20 p.m.–Returned to the office.  When I arrived there, I found Preston Richards and Edward O. Anderson waiting for me.  They had just returned from their important mission to Washington, D.C., having made the trip by airplane.  They reported remarkable accomplishments during their short stay in Washington, D.C., where, under instructions of the First Presidency, they went to get government officials’ permission to buy steel to begin the erection of the Temple in Los Angeles, California.  (See attached report signed by Edward O. Anderson giving a detail account of their visit with government officials, and the result thereof.)

The following is a copy of a letter which they handed to me:

Department of Commerce

National Production Authority

Washington 25

Facilities and Construction Bureau

September 13, 1951

Ref:  CMP-4C Application

Date of Application:  8-31-51

Dear Sir:

A review of the referenced form CMP-4C application filed by you, and your transmittal letter of August 31, 1951, indicates that you do have substantial quantities of controlled materials which are now in your inventory that are required for the construction of certain Church Facilities to be located between Santa Monica Boulevard and Ohio Street, and between Selby Avenue and Manning Avenue, Los Angeles, California.

It has been administratively determined that your over-all facilities construction project is an entity.  Therefore, since construction was actually started in January, 1951, on an integral part of the over-all facilities, it is concluded that your Church project is now under consideration and no further NPA authorization is necessary to commence said construction work.

Your subject CMP-4C application will be considered for 1st quarter of 1952 materials allotment.

Sincerely yours,



Construction Controls Division.

So overcome with thankfulness that their mission had been successfully completed, Preston Richards and Edward O. Anderson retired to their hotel room, got down on their knees, and thanked their Heavenly Father for His guiding hand in this matter.

The report of these brethren brought tears of joy and thankfulness to my eyes.


Preston D. Richards was authorized by the Committee on Expenditures on September 4th to contact the National Production Authority in Los Angeles and find out their attitude about filing papers here in the Salt Lake City office.  In case this office could not give an answer on the project then Brother Richards was authorized to make a trip to Washington.

As soon as the writer learned that the papers could not be acted on here in Salt Lake City he made a trip to the home of President McKay to notify him of this decision and at that meeting with President McKay he authorized the writer and Preston Richards to make the above trip.

We secured reservations on the 2:30 United Airlines plane to Washington on September 10th.  We left on time and arrived in Washington at 4:00 a.m. the next morning.  We were fortunate in obtaining a place to stay at the Statler Hotel, where we stayed during our entire stop in Washington.

On the morning of the 11th of September Brother Richards and the writer called on Senator Watkins in the Senate Office Building where we introduced our problems to him.  Senator Watkins was very helpful in making the proper introductions to the other government officials in the National Production Authority and also introduced us to United States Senators who would be of help.

Brother Richards is personally acquainted with Senator Nixon and Senator Knoland of California and also Congressman McDonague of California.

Senator Watkins called the office of Rufe D. Newman, Jr. at 312 Old Accounting Building in Washington to acquaint him with our request for the continuing of work on the Los Angeles Temple and he made an appointment for 10:00 on the following morning, September 12, 1951.

To show how much interest Senator Watkins had in our mission, he personally accompanied us to the office of the National Production Authority and there explained our problem.  We were given every kind consideration, and in the presence of Senator Watkins, Mr. Newman ruled that this project, the above project, had been started in January 1951, before restrictions were placed on churches, therefore the project could continue with other buildings, such as the Temple, Bureau of Information, Boiler Room, Mission Home and other improvements on the project.  He stated to Senator Watkins that he would give us a letter the following morning to carry back with us confirming this decision, which he did, copy of which is attached to this report.

At this time we make the observation that Senators Watkins and Bennett are held in high esteem by other Senators there in Washington.  Senator Watkins was kind enough to make us acquainted with the Senators that were most friendly to him, who were the two Senators, Schopel and Carlson of Kansas, and Senator Hendrickson of New Jersey, Senator Robert Taft of Ohio and Senator McCarthy of Wisconsin.  All these Senators had high praise for our Senators and they said they would do all they could to help us if we needed help.

It gave us a great deal of pleasure to have things work out so well and we wish to state that the Lord surely blessed us in opening the way to such a successful conclusion.

Edward O. Anderson.”


In the evening of September 12, 1951 Brother Preston D. Richards and I, upon our return to the Statler Hotel, called President McKay on the telephone.  We were informed that he was not at home but later our call was completed.

In this conversation we advised President McKay that Mr. Rufe B. Newman, Jr., Director, Construction Controls Division, National Production Authority, assured us that we could continue our building program on the Temple site in Los Angeles and that he would confirm his verbal statements by letter on the following morning.

We advised President McKay that if we did not receive the letter we would let him know.  We did receive the letter in the morning of September 13th.

During the conversation we advised President McKay that we had talked to Mr. James O. Rasband, Assistant to Gilbert Stanley Underwood, Supervising Architect for the Government, just before we talked to President McKay.

We told Brother Rasband that we had been successful in our mission and he told us that he couldn’t realize that we had received word so soon, as the Supervising Architect of the Government was required to wait many weeks for a decision on the Government buildings.  He said that we were very fortunate to have received the word to continue with the project.

At this point we wish to point out that President McKay had advised us before going to Washington, to get word back to him before the Council Meeting on Thursday, September 13th, and things worked out so well that we were able to give him the good word the night before this Thursday meeting.

After our day’s work Brother Richards turned to me and said, ‘Brother Anderson, we have been greatly blessed in our mission and we ought to kneel down on our knees and thank the Lord for these many blessings’ which we did, and afterward we felt that the day had ended just right for us.

Edward O. Anderson

September 19, 1951″

Sat., 22 Sep., 1951:

“12 noon

In company with my counselors, Stephen L. Richards and J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith of the Council of the Twelve attended ground-breaking ceremonies of the Los Angeles Temple.  The exercises held were in every way appropriate and satisfactory.  I was pleased with the arrangements that had been made by the Committee on arrangements–was gratified, also, with what the Deacons and girls of the same ages of the Beverly Hills Ward did in assisting with those arrangements.”  [See Improvement Era, November, 1951.]

Thur., 1 Nov., 1951:

The second point he brought up was the marriage of High School girls–16 years of age.  About sixty were married last year.  I expressed surprise, but said that my own mother was married at the age of 16.  However, the question is this:  They are married in the Temple and some of the were not able to go back to school.  Then, too, fo those who do return to school, the question of physical education came up; that when they take gymnasium they expose their garments.  I said that I thought they would be justified for twice a week to lay aside their garments and then put them back on again when they can do so without exposing them to the eyes of the curious.”

Wed., 28 Nov., 1951:

“Preston Richards . . . reported that he received the approval of the Building Department in L.A. to the Dames and More soil report which authorizes the Church, whenever they are ready, to proceed with the foundations of the Los Angeles Temple.”

Fri., 30 Nov., 1951:

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.”

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.”

Wed., 2 Jan., 1952:

“President Noble Waite of the South Los Angeles Stake called by long distance January 2, 1951 in behalf of the California Temple Committee to obtain permission of the First Presidency to hold a mass meeting of the Stake Presidencies, High Councilmen, Bishoprics, and their wives of the Southern California Region for the purpose of getting started their campaign for Temple funds. President Waite said that it is the desire of the Committee that members of the First Presidency be in attendance at that meeting–that their presence would give the impetus they need in starting out.

February 3 is the date suggested for the meeting.  The South Los Angeles Stake is the only Stake in the region that is scheduled for a Quarterly Conference.  There will be no afternoon meeting of the Conference, so the mass meeting could be held in the afternoon.

President Waite said that some of the brethren think it would be well to enlarge the attendance at the meeting by inviting the Auxiliary, Priesthood Quorum, and Genealogical Society leaders of each Ward to attend.  If these were invited, it would be necessary to rent the Municipal Auditorium.  I suggested to President Waite that they need not invite these groups.

President Waite then referred to a ‘guide’ for collecting funds. Said the Committee felt that the people would like something to go by in making their donations.  They have a card that is so worded that no pressure is involved.  It will have columnss for recording the amount to be given, when it is to be given, etc.,–upon completion of payments the card will be returned to the donor. Asked President Waite to submit the card to the First Presidency for approval.

President Waite would like an answer as to the date for the meeting as soon as possible.”

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.”

Thur., 24 Jan., 1952:

“Telephoned to President El Ray L. Christiansen of the Logan Temple to tell him that I had set apart Brother Raymond as President of the Logan Temple, that I had instructed Brother Raymond to get in touch with him (Pres. Christiansen) to counsel with him regarding his duties, counselors., etc.  I said that we had considered and prayed about Brother Raymond as President of the Logan Temple, and that we feel we have done the right thing.  President Christiansen said that he was sure that we should know for certain as time goes by–that he highly favored the choice, and was sure that his wife will make a good matron, that she had already been engaged in the work in the Temple and is familiar with it.”

Sun., 3 Feb., 1952:

“At 2:30 p.m. we met with the leadership of the 14 stakes of the Southern California area.  Stake Presidencies, High councilmen, Bishoprics, the President of the California Mission, and their wives were in attendance at the meeting.  The purpose of the meeting was to launch a campaign to raise a million dollars among the people of the stakes and the part of the California Mission which lies in the Los Angeles Temple district.  This fund is for the Los Angeles Temple and is estimated will be about one fourth of the total cost of constructing the edifice.  I heard each of the 14 stake presidents speak briefly on this occasion and each gave assurance that the people within his stake would meet the quota assigned to them and would respond willingly to this commitment.

It was a very successful meeting; the spirit of unity and willingness to carry on such a campaign was very manifest!”

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.”

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.”

Mon., 18 Feb., 1952:

“While attending my First Presidency’s meeting, I received a telephone call from President William Noble Waite of the South Los Angeles Stake who reported the progress being made in the campaign for funds for the Los Angeles Temple.  He said:  ‘President McKay we seem to be on fire here the way people are responding to the call for funds for the Los Angeles Temple–President John M. Russon of the Los Angeles Stake reports that they have gone over the top with their quota of $67,000, with $163,000 contributed.’  I answered that we had a telegram this morning to that effect.  It is as follows:

President David O. McKay, Salt Lake City, Utah, February 18, 1952.

Delighted to report Los Angeles Stake first to complete its canvass of Stake Membership for Los Angeles Temple–Contributions with subscriptions amounting to $163,450 or 238 per cent of quota.  Every good wish.

John M. Russon, President Los Angeles Stake.

President Waite then said that they started a week late in their $97,000 campaign; however, it will be finished next week. Regardless of this delay, they have already collected $105,000, and only 10% of their people have reported.  ‘If the reports from the other stakes indicate the same success that these two stakes have had,’ said President Waite, ‘we shall have enough to complete nine temples.’

President Waite also stated that when the little cards containing a suggestive schedule of payments were handed to the individuals, not a word was said to them about the amount to be donated, and in each case the individual classified himself, and in many cases gave more than their share.

President Waite said that he has had a number of inquiries from members asking if they might have the opportunity to work on the Temple–they feel that they want to become a part of it.  I stated that we should act upon this and let him know.

President Waite then said:  ‘President McKay, the meeting we held on February 3 with the Temple Committee, and the wonderful discourse that you gave to our workers was the capstone to the proceedings and campaign that followed.  Our people were inspired and thrilled by your message.’

I told President Waite that we appreciated their loyalty and efforts put forth in this campaign, and asked him to extend to the people my blessings and congratulations for the success that had attended them.”

Mon., 25 Feb., 1952:

“President Harry L. Payne called regarding a young man who has come to the Arizona Temple holding an Idaho Falls Temple recommend. This young man whose name is Brother Eldon said he was unable to get in touch with the President of his Branch.  I told President Payne that if the recommend to the Idaho Falls Temple was ‘in proper shape’ we would authorize him to write on the recommend ‘approved for the Arizona Temple.'”

Thur., 6 Mar., 1952:

“From 9 to 9:50–Attended the regular First Presidency’s meeting. We considered a letter from Elder John A. Widtsoe regarding the work of translating the temple ceremonies into foreign languages. The Brethren felt that the Translating Committee, together with the Temple Committee, should meet with the First Presidency when consideration might be given to all questions where there is any doubt as to the adequacy of the translation.  The Committee will meet with the Presidency on Monday, March 10, at 10:30 a.m.”

Fri., 14 Mar., 1952:

“2 p.m.–Left for home, returning to the office at 3:30 p.m., at which time I attended a meeting of the First Presidency and members of the Translation Committee appointed to translate the Temple ceremony into Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian.  The committee members reported their work practically finished–all that is needed to be done is to have the manuscripts typewritten in the various languages.

This was a very important meeting!”

Fri., 28 Mar., 1952:

“Mr. Wakefield of the Lady Gay Manufacturing Company called relative to putting ‘lace’ on garments.  Said he did not want to do anything that was not in accord with Church policy, but he understands that one other garment manufacturer is putting a lace binding on temple garments.  I told Mr. Wakefield that I would check with the Garment Committee, and let him know.”

Mon., 31 Mar., 1952:

“President Verl Payne of the Mt. Graham Stake called regarding a couple’s going through the Temple though they have been married civilly for just six months.

I advised Pres. Payne that the matter is in his hands–that if the couple is worthy and he can properly recommend them, they may go through the Temple.”

Fri., 11 Apr., 1952:

“[First Presidency meeting]  I reported that specialists of the City Commission in Los Angeles have approved certain features of our plans for the construction of the Los Angeles Temple.  The Brethren felt that inasmuch as there seems to be a likelihood of prices of building materials declining, we should not move too quickly in the construction of the Temple.

The brethren felt and agreed that we should utilize the voluntary help of skilled artisans who want to work on the temple.

Many other matters–too many to mention here–were considered.”

Mon., 14 Apr., 1952:

“11:45 a.m.–I telephoned President Sylvester Broadbent of the West Central States Mission, with respect to a request from a Mr. and Mrs. E. Russell Crandall who would like to have the marriage ceremony of their son and his fiancee performed in the chapel at Great Falls.  President Broadbent had sent them a letter giving the rule of the Church with regard to the use of chapels for wedding ceremonies.  He had stated to them that any modification of this rule would have to be made by the First Presidency.  I told President Broadbent over the telephone that, in view of all conditions–the son’s being home from service in the army for only a short time–his fiancee’s parents (members of the Congregational Church) insisting upon a Church wedding, etc., etc.,–that the First Presidency will make an exception in this case and permit Brother and Sister Crandall’s son Hal and his fiancee Nancy to be married in the Church at Great Falls.  I urged, however, that it be a simple wedding ceremony, unattended by candles and other ostentatious showings that characterize the ceremonies of an outside church.

(This matter was taken up at First Presidency’s meeting held to-day–no objection made to making this exception.)”

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.”

Fri., 18 Apr., 1952:

“Note:  In response to a request as presented by Franklin J. Murdock of the Missionary Department which reads as follows: ‘Frank McKean of the Union Pacific RR who is a brother to Howard J. McKean, has had a request come to him by Sister Ann Wallace of Rock Springs, Wyoming to be married in the Chapel at Rock Springs. She is a good member, but is marrying a non-member of the Church, and they are anxious to be married in the Ward Chapel.  I told Brother McKean that I would give you this note.  It means a great deal to the family.’

After a consideration of this matter, I made an exception to the rule now existing that marriages be not performed in our chapels, and gave permission for this particular marriage to be held in the chapel at Rock Springs, with instructions that lighted candles and all ‘overdoing’ in decorations be omitted; that the wedding be kept simple.

Brother Murdock to relay the message to Frank McKean.”

Tues., 22 Apr., 1952:

“[Los Angeles]  Visited the Temple lot, and was deeply impressed with the fact that we cannot delay action there any longer.  They have built the fence and there are fifteen acres of good hay land.”

Tues., 22 Apr., 1952:

“[Clare note]  Mrs. R. A. Lacy called regarding her daughter who has not had her endowments, but who desires to be given permission to witness her daughter’s marriage in the Temple.  Said that she had sent a letter, but has never received an answer.  This letter was shown to Presidents Richards and Clark who said no exception could be made.  Mrs. Lacy was so advised.”

Tues., 22 Apr., 1952:

“[Clare note]  By direction of President McKay, called Mr. Wakefield of the Lady Gay Manufacturing Company, and told him that President McKay could see no objection to Mr. Wakefield’s placing a ‘net’ binding around the neck of the garment.  Said other companies are already doing this.”

Mon., 28 Apr., 1952:

“At 8:30 a.m., being somewhat disturbed over the condition of the Los Angeles Temple site when I visited there last week, I called members of the Building Committee to my office in order to discuss the matter with them.

Brothers McKean, Bowers, Anderson, Barker, and Silvers were present.  I told them that I was very much humiliated at the condition of the Los Angeles Temple lot.  True, a fence has been put up, but nothing else has been done.

I then instructed the brethren to see, first, that the hay is cut, and second, to decide immediately on the excavation.”

Mon., 28 Apr., 1952:

“[First Presidency meeting]  A letter from President Toone of the Canadian Mission asks if permission may be given to hold marriage ceremonies in chapels in missions.  I said that I felt there should be some modification made in the ruling, particularly with reference to missions.  Decided to take up the matter at the Council meeting a week from next Thursday.  Attentnion was also called to an inquiry from the Bishop of the Southgate Ward, South Los Angeles Stake, asking if there would be objection to holding a wedding in their church building auditorium, which is used for chapel and recreation purposes both.  The brethren agreed that an exception should be made in this case.”

Tues., 29 Apr., 1952:

“5 p.m.  Brother Soren Jacobsen called at the office at my request. told him that we (the brethren of the First Presidency) had decided after serious consideration, to ask him to take over the construction of the Los Angeles Temple, that is to be the contractor for the building.

He answered:  ‘Does this mean that you wish me to give an estimate?’  I answered: ‘No, we are putting it in your hands; you can get bids as you wish.’  He then asked if he were obligated to the Jacksons, and I said that the Jacksons will do some excavating, however that he could get this information from Howard McKean of the Building Committee.

Brother Jacobsen seemed very grateful that we had called him in on this work.

He is to work with a fixed fee.  He will use the local men–artisans, plasterers, electricians, plumbers, etc. who are ready and willing to contribute their labor.

. . . .

I called President Stephen L. Richards and told him that I had spoken to Brother Soren Jacobson about taking charge of the building of the Temple at Los Angeles as contractor.  Reported that Brother Jacobsen seemed very grateful; that he had asked if he should give an estimate, and was informed that he could get bids as he wished.  Regarding the Jacksons, he was referred to Howard McKean for information concerning them.  Said that Brother Barker, Brother McKean, and Brother Silvers–all practical men–were united that Brother Jacobsen has the ‘edge on any other contractor around here.’  I said that I had told these men I was leaving the matter in their hands, and was holding them responsible.  They are to see Brother Jacobsen, show him the plans, and harmonize the whole procedure.  Brother Jacobsen is arranging to see Brother McKean at 5 o’clock in the morning.

Brother Richards expressed his approval, and said he did not know how far the Jackson matter had gone, but that they could be used to some eexcavating; that they should be handled carefully as they are a little ‘touchy.’  Said further that we want everybody to be satisfied.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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]  We discussed the matter of having one of the brethren take Elder A. E. Bowen’s place in making preliminary investigation of petitions for cancellation of temple sealings.  I told the brethren that I would give this further thought before making a decision.”

Mon., 11 Aug., 1952:

“10:55 a.m.  President David O. McKay telephoned President Richards from Los Angeles to advise him that they had been holding a meeting with all the people, including Brother Iverson, relative to the Los Angeles Temple construction, and that theyu have now received notice of cancellation of the rider for casualty insurance on the temple construction for the usual coverage for the workmen because they will not take the policy with the provision for contributed labor.  It is suggested that there is a possibility that Lloyds might take it, but they would only take it with a $5,000 deductible clause, which would make them responsible in any aggravated case like the Hunter case.  Said they did not know what the premium would be on such a policy but it could be referred to Brother Iversen for a detailed report.  Pres. McKay also reported that Brother Jacobsen had said that 99% of the accidents would be under the $5,000 figure.

President Richards asked if people are contributing their labor to pay their subscription to the temple, they would still call it contributed labor.  Pres. McKay said a committee would wait uopn the labor union and try to clear up that point with them.  He said that this difficulty had arisen largely because of the objection of the labor unions.  President McKay then talked with someone there and said, ‘I am right.  They will not insure if there is any contributed labor.  They look upon them as unskilled people, and so it is really a question as to whether the Church itself wants to carry that insurance.’

President McKay said he was 100% for contributed labor, that there is a good prospect for it; in fact they were getting the names to submit to Brother Jacobsen for a month ahead.

President Richards said of course we would not want to have contributed labor contribute to accidents, and that it might be that the high work or difficult work would better be done by experienced help.

President McKay asked President Richards if he and President Clark would meet with the Presiding Bishopric and consider the proposition as to whether we will carry our own insurance rather than to forego the use of contributed labor.

President McKay said it was his feeling absolutely that we should use contributed labor, and he thought if we yielded on that point it would be most disastrous.

Pres. Richards said under those circumstances it would devolve upon Brother Jacobsen to use every possible precaution to prevent accidents.

President McKay said he understood there was some kind of a policy on Bishop Wirthlin’s desk, and asked President Richards to ascertain what it was.  He thought it would probably help in coming to a decision.

President Richards agreed to call President McKay later in the day and let him know what their recommendation would be.

11 a.m.

President Richards telephoned Bishop Wirthlin relative to the casualty insurance concerning which President McKay had called. Bishop Wirthlin said he had a letter from Eastman Hatch containing the same information and indicating they would have to cancel the insurance because of the contributed labor angle.  Advised Bishop Wirthlin that President McKay is of the opinion that we ought not to forego the contributed labor but should undertake to underwrite our own insurance, but he wanted the judgment of the brethren here.

President Richards arranged to have the Bishopric meet with him and President Clark at 11:45 this morning.

2:45 p.m.

President Richards telephoned President McKay to say he and President Clark had conferred with the Presiding Bishopric and they all felt that we should make an investigation to see whether or not the rate that Lloyds might make for even a $10,000 deductible policy would be out of line.  Brother Isaacson said that he thought a $10,000 deductible policy would bring a cheaper rate and yet would protect us against any of these excessive cases such as we have had, and so we said they might go ahead and make a little investigation here through Heber J. Grant & Co. who are in just as good a position as anybody to get information on both the $5,000 and the $10,000 deductible from Lloyds.

And then Brother Buehner said that he understood that in building they have had insurance covering paid workers when they could not get it on the volunteer labor.

President McKay said as they reported it this morning, if they are going to have any volunteer labor, it would cancel all insurance, but said he would call Brother Iversen on that specifically.

President Richards said Brother Clark mentioned that maybe the unions interposed some objections to carrying insurance on the paid workers working with unskilled workers.

President Richards said the brethren felt to concur with President McKay in making provision for the unpaid labor, but they thought that we could get protection against other excessive judgments such as we have ahead of us in this Hunter case, and that it might be good to pay a premium to Lloyds to cover those big items.

President McKay said that in the opinion of the brethren down there that would mean that we would be practically paying everything.

President Richards said if the 5 or 10 thousand deductible did not cost too much, it would be well to get protection against $150,000 cases.  President McKay said he would ask Brother Iversen to continue his study on that.

President McKay asked if Bishop Wirthlin had received anything further on the insurance matter.  Pres. Richards said it was merely a notification from Eastman Hatch Insurance Agency that they would not be able to write the insurance if we attempted to cover the volunteer labor.

President McKay said they would check down there on two points: 1.  Whether or not they could get insurance on paid labor and not on the unpaid, and that would mean that the Church woiuld carry it on the unpaid.  2.  We will have Paul Iversen ascertain definitely what the Lloyds premium would be on a $5,000 and a $10,000 deductible.

Mon., 11 Aug., 1952:

“[California Intermountain News article, 12 Aug.]  Bulldozers, pipe-line excavators, graders and other heavy machinery moved onto the Los Angeles Temple site yesterday and actual work began on the proposed $4,000,000.00 Church edifice.”

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.”

Tues., 2 Sep., 1952:

“In accordance with appointment made with President William L. Killpack when he phoned late last evening, I met him at the office at 7:30 this morning.  The following matters were discussed:

. . . .

2. Aaronic Priesthood and Primary children doing baptismal work for the dead.  President Killpack asked if they might entertain these children while they are waiting in an adjoining room, with some of the pictures that we are sending out to the Church on Church history and Church doctrines.  I answered there is no objection.

I said I was not in favor of having children, as a general rule, do baptism work for the dead.  I feel that the children do not as a rule have a proper realization of what they are doing.  It would be a proper Priesthood function.  I questioned the wisdom of making it a Primary project.  (This matter taken up at the First Presidency’s meeting today.)

Thur., 11 Sep., 1952:

“Returned to the office at 2 o’clock at which time I met in my private office Elder Matthew Cowley of the Council of the Twelve. I asked him if he would assist me with matters associated with requests petitioning for a cancellation of sealings performed in the Temple.  Brother Cowley said he would.”  [Apostle Bowen had done this previously.]

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.”

Thur., 30 Oct., 1952:

“After a good night’s rest at the Alexandria Hotel in Los Angeles, Ray and I left at 6 a.m. for the Temple Block.

On the Temple Block at 8 a.m., all the workmen, including a half dozen colored people, assembled for prayer.  One of the truck drivers was voice.  I was informed that one of the colored men, who had never before taken his hat off during the prayer, took it off this morning.  Brother Jackson, the contractor, introduced me to the workmen, to whom I said a few words of greeting and admonition.

All the excavation has been accomplished, and the Jacobsen Brothers are building a roadway from the southeast corner, north to the Westwood Chapel.

The cement work is progressing most favorably, and it is reported that the best kind of cement is being placed in all the footings and foundation.

Brother Jacobsen has his work well organized, particularly in the making and delivering of cement from the central mixing apparatus.

I could detect no lost motion in the hauling of the cement and the depositing of it at the proper place by the huge crane, and all associated with that phase of the work, was so synchronized that it seemed to work perfectly.

My admiration of Brother Jacobsen as a contractor and organizer of men was greatly heightened during the three hours that I spent on the property.”

Mon., 10 Nov., 1952:

“5 p.m.  Sister McKay and I attended the 5 o’clock Temple session. In keeping with a proimse made many years ago to Mrs. Mabel Moody Mills (a friend whom I met in 1897 at the University of Utah) to do the Temple work for her father–Dr. Henry L. Moody whom I also met at the University, and for whom I had the highest regard, I did the endowment work for Dr. Moody.  Although an agnostic when I knew him at the University, I always admired Dr. Moody as an outstanding, cultured gentleman.”

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., 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.”

Thur., 4 Dec., 1952:

“From 10 to 2:30 p.m.–Was in Council meeting [1st Presidency and 12] at the temple.

With reference to Temple District meetings I stated that the strength that comes from prayer and the consciousness of having the united support of one another enrich the soul and give us encouragement to carry on; that it is a great blessing to meet and renew our covenants by partaking of the sacrament and getting a clear insight into the spirit of each other’s soul.  What a blessing it would be if this soul enrichment, with its uplifting influence could be felt by all the Priesthood throughout the Church.  To a degree we can accomplish it,–it is within our power to meet a large majority of the leaders of the Church in quorums, in wards, and in stakes.

With that end in view, a few years ago the presidents of our Temples were authorized to prepare the upper room, the assembly room in each temple.  Now those rooms are in pretty good shape, physically, seats are supplied, and it is deemed advisable that we hold temple district meetings, inviting the leaders in the district–wards, stakes and quorums–to meet to the full capacity of the room in the Temple and hold such services, adapted to the occasion, as we have held in the temple here.  It is proposed that we hold such a meeting first in the St. George Temple, the time to be determined later, as soon after the first of the year as might be deemed advisable.  That will be followed, occasionally, bu similar meetings in other districts.  At these meetings, matter can be discussed, matters which cannot appropriately be taken up in public.  The brethren all signified their approval of this proposal.”

Mon., 5 Jan., 1953:

“Ray and I drove to Los Angeles.  In the afternoon we spent an hour inspecting the construction of the Los Angeles Temple.  I was delighted with the progress–the construction is ahead of schedule, the workmanship has been excellent, and the supervision has been of the highest quality.  The entire project is being handled in a masterful way, and words alone cannot express how happy I am about this progress.  According to the Supt. of Construction the foundation walls will be completed and the first floor all laid within the next 50 or 60 days.

I signed the contract for the automatic sprinkling system at the temple; also suggested to Brother Soren Jacobsen, Construction Superintendent, that he take out security for the men working on the temple under his name and we shall pay him.  Brother Jacobsen thinks this will work out all right.

Following the inspection of the Temple building and grounds, we attended ground-breaking and dedication services for the new California Mission home to be built on the Los Angeles Temple Block.

Although the property had been dedicated at the initial dedication rites held in September, 1951, I explained that it was fitting that a dedication should be made in this instance because this will be the first mission home built by the Church in California.  All others have either been purchased or rented.”

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 this 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 would 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:

“7:45 a.m.—Telephoned to Brother E. Bentley Mitchell at Logan, Utah, and assigned him the duty of translating the Temple ordinance in to the Tahitian language.  He accepted the assignment.  I told him to consult President Raymond who would give him access to the ceremonies which should not be taken out of the Logan Temple.

Later, I called President George Raymond on the Logan Temple and informed him of Brother Mitchell’s assignment, and requested that Brother Raymond furnish Brother Mitchell with the ceremony and provide a room and such other facilities that would be necessary for Brother Mitchell to make translation.  This President Raymond promised to do.”

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 conversation with Brother McKean I told him I should like to talk to him about the Temple plan in Bern, 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:

Telephone Calls

“Mr. Wakefield of the Lady Gay Manufacturing Co. called regarding sample L.D.S. garments sent in by him a few days ago—one a lace-trimmed regular styled nylon garment, and the other, an ‘anticipation’ garment for women who are going to have babies.  I told Mr. Wakefield that both of my counselors are away and would therefore have to get in touch with him later.”

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 Bern, 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 of 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 in early 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 Bern.  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 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.

Mon., 23 Feb., 1953:

“In Los Angeles, California.

I spent Monday (February 23) at the Los Angeles Temple grounds with Edward O. Anderson and Soren Jacobsen.

The temple construction is going forward ahead of schedule and the work is very good; no men are idling.  The cement work thus far is reported by the Los Angeles City Commission as the best cement work that has been done in Los Angeles.

No plans have been drawn as yet for the heating plant and the Bureau of Information.  On Brother Jacobsen’s recommendation, I approved of their securing help form a man living in Los Angeles who is skilled in the heating business, at a cost of $3.25 per hour—his name is Mr. Harry R. Kemm.  And one other man—Mr. Kent of Salt Lake City—for $2.50 and hour (this was later reported at the First Presidency’s meeting and approved by President Clark)—see First Presidency’s meeting, Feb. 25, 1953.

In addition to consulting Brothers Anderson and Jacobsen, I consulted President Hugh C. Smith of the San Fernando Stake, telephoned President Russon of the Los Angeles Stake, and telephoned Brother Paul Iverson regarding some legal matters.  These consultations were held in the Alexandria Hotel, the management of the hotel has refused to take one cent for my accommodations, and each time they have furnished me with a sitting room where I can meet with my brethren in California.”

Sat., 28 Feb., 1953:

“Meeting held Saturday, February 28, 1953, at 1:00 p.m., at the Ogden Third Ward.

Present:  President David O. McKay and Weber County stake presidencies, as follows:

Ben Lomond Pres. Heber J. Heiner and two counselors

East Ogden Pres. Scott B. Price and two counselors

Farr West Pres. W.J. Maw and two counselors

Lake View No representatives

Lorin Farr Pres. Elton W. Wardle and two counselors

Mt. Ogden Pres. Albert L. Bott (counselors excused)

North Weber Pres. Thomas O. Smith and one counselor

Ogden Pres. Laurence S. Burton and two counselors

Riverdale Pres. Rudy L. Van Kampen and two counselors

South Ogden Pres. Wm. J. Critchlow, Jr., two counselors

Weber Pres. N. Russell Tanner and two counselors

Invocation—President Burton

President Critchlow introduced the subject of the meeting, consideration of plans to build a new Ogden Tabernacle.  A tabernacle, he stated, was needed for cultural, as well as ecclesiastical, activities.  The Catholic Church had acquired a place for a convent, were already building a high school to be ready for occupancy in the fall, on upper 25th Street.  They had tried to acquire the Central Building of Weber College.  The State also desired the building for housing various state agencies.  The Reclamation Service was interested in acquiring the Industrial Arts Building.  Weber College, if it should receive the appropriation desired, would be on its new campus very soon.

The meeting was then turned over to President McKay.  He expressed thanks to meet with these brethren, and also for their offer to meet with President McKay in Salt Lake City.  He then continued, substantially as follows:

Fifty-eight years ago my brother, my father, Jeanetter, Annie and I rolled over the sand ridge with horse and wagon, a cow in the trailer, with a sack of flour milled form wheat we had grown, with jars of fruit which Mother had put up, going down to start our schooling at the University.  We got as far as Farmington and had a chance to sell the cow, so we did this and took another one later.  We were assured of bread, milk, and fruit.  We rented a house and thus began our first year.  The second year, we rented a house from Mrs. Riggs, the mother of my wife.  I tell Sister McKay I found it easier to marry than to pay rent.

How the years pass!  George F. Richards and I came up to divide the stakes into four; now we have eleven!  That is typical of the growth throughout the Church.  It is just thrilling to see how the Church is moving on.  I was deeply impressed with it last Sunday.  Palo Alto is one of our new stakes.  Before going there, I anticipated a new stake needing new halls, and so on.  San Mateo, fifteen miles from Palo Alto, is the first to be dedicated.  It is a magnificent meeting house, costing $200,000.  After two sessions, we drove over to Burlingame, where another chapel was ready for dedication within two weeks.  To my astonishment, a group there in the city had volunteered to do all the landscaping and keep it up.  They had already transplanted two trees worth at least $300 each, had placed flowers in the entranceway where there was a garden box, and they agreed to keep flowers there all through the year!

Three other wards have their buildings under construction.  That will mean that all those five wards will have their own buildings within eighteen months.  Two of those wards already are ready to be divided, so at least two buildings will be used by two ward each.  This is indicative of the growth of the Church.

When we came home, there was a contribution from one man of over a million dollars.  He had turned over his land and cattle and then offered to take care of them!  They can’t tell me that there isn’t as much faith in the Church as there ever was!

We are short of missionaries, of course, but it is surprising how many are sending in contributions to help pay the local people.  We do not support any local man entirely, but if he can pay his way half time, our missionary fund will help him the other half.  This will supplant the fast-dwindling corps of missionaries.

One man and his wife sent in their first check for $50, saying they had knelt down in prayer and decided they could keep a missionary in the field for two years.

However, we must not shut our eyes to the fact that we have our enemies in our midst.  Any amount Catholicism needs to counteract one Church they fear will be at hand.  It is all right—we know them and they know us.  We challenge their authority, and they know that of all the dissenting sects of Christendom, the only one they need to fear is not one dissenting, but one established by direct revelation.  That challenges their authority; the others do not.

Regarding this building, the Central High School:  Confidentially—we do not want to advertise this ( we have no reporters here, have we?)—steps were taken to establish a Catholic high school on the old Weber College property.  This is what is meant to me:  My grandfather settled down there on 28th Street and Lincoln.  You young boys do not remember the orchard there.  My grandfather said to me, ‘I ken what ye did last night.’

‘I did nothing last nigh,’ I answered.

‘Yes, you did.’

‘I did not!’

‘Ye slept with your hair on your head and you tongue in you mouth!’

Uncle Isaac sold it to the Catholics, and there is an elementary Catholic school there now.

The choice spot in the Ogden Valley is owned by the Catholics.

I shall always respect Bishop Hunt and what he did the other day.  Before I went to California, he asked for an appointment, came to the office, and said, ‘Frankly, we are contemplating building a high school up in Ogden.  You know where our church is over there on 24th Street.’  He pulled out a plan of the academy block and said, ‘It is the Central High School.  I understand that if Weber College vacates the buildings on that block, some of them come back to you, but I think that this one is not included.  I am here for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not you want that building.  If you do, we will withdraw.  If you do not, we would like to purchase that and also the interior of this block for recreation.’

Without hesitation, I said, ‘We want it.’

He said, ‘Then we will withdraw.  May I ask what you want it for?’

‘Well, I think we will use it for educational purposes.’

He wanted to know which grades, specifically, but I told him we would have to consider that.

These things are given to you confidentially, as well as reminiscently.

For years we have had here in mind a tabernacle on the tabernacle square, and some of you remember the old foundation that was put in and finally left crumble.  It was put there in the center of the square, and I suppose there is not a rock left there.

The desire for a tabernacle dates way back in time.  It was my privilege to be associated with the Presidency when they investigated the title and carried it right to Congress, which decided that nothing short of an act of Congress could improve the title.

Now, as to the advisability of building a tabernacle.  We need it, and we need a good one.  I am glad President Critchlow could hear you say, and I was glad to receive your letter with ten signatures to the effect that you would like to go ahead.  I am surprised that the plans are not completed.  We submitted them to the Brethren.  The first plan was rejected because it was decided that there should be stake centers for recreation, and I still think that is right.

In Palo Alto, every ward has a recreation hall, but not one where they can play basketball.  They are planning to have a stake center for this.

The plans, if I remember right, will seat about two thousand people; do you feel this is adequate?  I called Thomas E. this morning, who sends his love to you, and he said, ‘Don’t let them build it too small!’

President Critchlow:  There was an anteroom to be built on the side, which would take care of another five hundred to one thousand people.

President McKay:  That is all right.  I believe it is ample, and we so decided.

The Expenditures Committee has approved of it; there is no question down there.  Brother Anderson, the architect, approved of it.  The Building Committee, the Presiding Bishopric wonder why you are not going ahead with it, and I have wondered.  Somewhere along the road, it is stymied.

President Critchlow:  They told us they would not proceed until they had the signatures of all the presidencies.  We lacked one, as you know.

President McKay:  I am sorry President Peterson is not here, but he did come to the office several weeks ago and presented the question then of whether they should hold their stake meetings in their new meeting house.  He reported that the Riverdale Stake would be satisfied to hold meetings there.  But that  would be inadvisable.  If you start holding two stake conferences in one ward meeting house, you will have trouble.

President Van Kampen:  We decided to go along with the rest.

President McKay:  You present, in your letter, a solid front.  I thought, if it meets with your approval, we will say to President Peterson and his counselors, ‘Present this question to your people.  If they wish to carry on as an independent stake and not join in the building of the tabernacle, let the people so express themselves.  If they express themselves that they would like to remain, we will have eleven stakes instead of ten.  If they wish to go independently, that is their right.’  Is that satisfactory?

(General agreement was expressed)

President ________:  I am anxious to have a stake building as anyone, but I believe I speak the mind of many people when I say this:  Realizing the cost, these thoughts run through my mind:  If the Church comes back into possession of the Moench Building, would it be possible for the Church to purchase that whole half block?  We have the Institute of Religion on that block.  If the Moench Building were razed, and the other buildings removed, it would make a beautiful location for the tabernacle, away from noise and other disturbing factors.  The old block would be purchased by business such as Sears, who would build a store like that one in Salt Lade.  Many people feel that way.  If it could be done, they would like to see it.  If a beautiful tabernacle were where the Moench Building now, many would like it.  Sears had no desire to remove the old tabernacle.  I am merely expressing the opinion of many people, but I will support the motion to build on the old ground when it is presented.

President McKay:  I am glad you brought that up.  We have had several from time to time, call and give that suggestion, so it has been under advisement, and, as you say, it has merit; but there are so many elements which deserve consideration.

When that block comes back to us, besides the Moench Building, there will be the gymnasium, the addition which we have built in 1905, the two Ricks Buildings, the Institute Building, the Harvest (?) Building.  All of those will come back to us and will be used for educational purposes.  If you attempt to put in this tabernacle, you first problem is that of parking, which is one of the most serious problems of this modern day.  The parking problem could be overcome.

This could not be overcome:  Getting through legislative action so that you could get a title to sell.  You have ample space in the old tabernacle block.  You brethren can arrange for helping the City with parking.  You could get quite an income on week days.  There may be a tax problem, but if it were necessary to pay taxes, you could give it to the city.

For these and other reasons, we are prompted to go ahead and build a beautiful building of the tabernacle square and arrange parking for those who come into the city.

You will be delighted with some additional plans for the other block, of which you are not now aware.

President _______:  Many have wondered whether or not a temple will be needed in Ogden sometime.

President McKay:  Several years ago a committee came from Ogden, giving figures showing the financial saving to the people of Ogden if we had a temple.  They even went so far as to give a plan where the ordinances could be presented completely, saving time and all.  It appealed to me at that time.  To my surprise, the Building Committee and the Presidency already had a similar plan, and that plan will be used in Bern, Switzerland, I hope, beginning this spring, and it will not cost more that $350,000.  As far as Ogden is concerned, blessed are they who expect nothing, for they shall not be disappointed.  If it should ever come to Ogden, however, wouldn’t that up there be a wonderful place?  Let us say nothing about this to the public.

Moved by President Maw that President Peterson and his counselors of Lakeview Stake be asked to present the question to their people of their remaining as an independent unit outside the ten stakes in the matter of building a new Ogden tabernacle; that they abide by whatever their decision might be with the understanding that if they should come in, they should share equally the expense; if they should stay out, the other ten stakes should assume the responsibility of financing the project.

Motion seconded by President Tanner.  Motion carried unanimously.

It was felt that Lakeview Stake should be encouraged to remain with the other ten stakes, that its support might not be lost, since so much more could be done cooperatively.

Question:  If we get more stakes, this might be a problem.

President McKay:  Perhaps one conference a year could be held in the high school.  If the Weaver College buildings come back, we will have additional room.

Question:  I hope the outside would be beautified—not just as a parking area.

President McKay:  That will be left to the vote of you brethren.  It will be done to you satisfaction.

Question:  We would still have the old tabernacle, would we not?

President McKay:  Coming up here today, this verse came to my mind:

Woodsman, spare that tree

Touch not a single bough.

In youth it sheltered me,

And I will protect it now.

With a little expense I think it can be preserved and used as a music hall, for special meetings of your Priesthood, welfare meetings and other purposes.  My advice would be to keep it.  We are tearing down too many of our landmarks.

Another thing—and this must be in confidence:  Somebody here in Weber said we haven’t anybody here to take the contract.

President Critchlow:  We had bids from several L.D.S. contractors.

President McKay:  This is coming up next Tuesday before the Expenditures Committee.  We should start building this spring.

President Tanner:  We have at least two contractors here who could be bonded.

President Critchlow:  The lowest bidder was not an Ogden contractor.

President McKay:  What do you think about choosing someone and putting it on a cost-plus basis?

President Tanner:  I think it would be better to put the responsibility on the contractor.

President Critchlow:  We would like to have Ogden architects draw up the plans.

President McKay:  I shall report this meeting, too, and if they have already begun to itemize specifications, we shall have to let it go as it is.  We shall notify you after next Tuesday.

Just this in conclusion:  Never before were the lines drawn so definitely between the Roman Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as they are drawn today.  Thus far there is no enmity in the hearts of the Catholics—at least it is not shown outwardly.  There is no enmity in our hearts.  One priest said to President Clark:  ‘I m you enemy,’ but he said it with a good nature.  He also said, ‘We are going to win as many of your folks as we can, but up to date you are winning more from us than we are from you.’

May the Lord help us to continue that.  With unity, wisdom, and, above all, with inspiration, the Lord’s work will progress; and I pray that you and all of us may be so guided that the work may be increased and continue to grow as it is.  I ask it in the name øƒ Jesus Christ.  Amen.”

Mon., 2 Mar., 1953:

6. President Samuel E. Bringhurst, formerly President of the Swiss-Austrian Mission, telephoned to see if he could do anything to help the Bern 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 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 Bern, 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 Bern.  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., 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.

Fri., 27 Mar., 1953

“At 7:35 a.m., in company with Howard J. McKean, Bishops Wirthlin, Isaacson, and Beuhner, went to the Beuhner Auto & Concrete Products Company at 640 Wilmington Avenue (between 21st and 22nd E) to choose the color for the 1,750 blocks that will make up the outside wall of the Los Angeles Temple.

I returned to the office at 9 a.m. where I attended Executive Committee meeting of the Department of Education.  We tacitly approved of reorganizing the governing boards of the Church Educational system, the suggestion having been made that we place the Brigham Young University and Colleges, Institutes and Seminaries under one head.

Following the aforementioned meeting, the Bishopric and the Presidency viewed suggestive elevation and internal plans of a proposed temple for Bern, Switzerland.

President Clark and I then drove out to the Beuhner Concrete Establishment, and examined more carefully and critically the proposed material for the outside of the Los Angeles Temple wall.

We returned to the office and at 11:05 a.m. attended a meeting of the Church Board of education.  We considered recommendations of Commissioner Franklin West on retirement and employment of teachers, and heard his annual report.

Following the meeting I had a confidential talk with Commissioner West on the proposed reorganization of the Church School educational system.  He thought is was a wise thing to do; however, it was evident that he believes that the controlling body under the Board of Education should be the Commissioner and his associates rather than under the Brigham Young University.  However, he expressed a willingness to cooperate in whatever the authorities deemed best.”

Tues., 31 Mar., 1953:

“In the late afternoon, President Clark and I made another trip to the Beuhner Cement Company where we definitely decided upon the color of the blocks to be used on the front of the Los Angeles Temple.  We chose the gold color rather than the pink which we had previously considered.”

1 April, 1953:

“First Presidency’s Meeting—Among items considered were:  (1) It was felt that President Richards should not attempt to attend any of the meetings in the temple of the Brethren of the sessions of the conference.  He said that his doctor had suggested that he do not make any public appearances at this time.

(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 in the summer.  The plans will be forwarded immediately to Switzerland to secure approval of the Bern Building Commission.  The cost of this Temple will be approximately $350,000.  (see Newspaper clipping attached)”

Mon., 13 Apr., 1953:

“8:00 a.m.—Walter A. Herr came in about the desire of Florence Parry of Ogden, Utah to be sealed to his brother, Andrew Affleck Kerr (deceased) with whom she had been in love many years ago.  Later, I wrote to Miss Parry and told her I could see no reason why this could not be done.”

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 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.

Mon., 11 May, 1953:

“8 a.m.—Edward O. Anderson, architect for the Los Angeles Temple, called at the office.  He brought with him a drawing of the front doors of the temple showing the sculptured panels in the bronze door and also the sculptured side panels.  I suggested that we eliminate the sculptured panels in the door and that the panels at the side be made of cast stone the same as the rest of the building and in the same color; that it be not made of marble as originally planned.

Tues., 19 May, 1953:

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 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.

Mon., 25 May, 1953:

10:30 received call from Charles Thorstensen, and Thorstensen of the Ogden Utah Knitting Company regarding the manufacture of temple garments.  I told them that it is our ultimate plan that we should make our own garments, and that when we are ready to take that step, they would receive justice.  Complained about what they considered unfair competition on the part of the Deseret Clothing Co.  In the meantime, they ordered their materials, and I told them to go ahead and make garments as heretofore, that we would give them due notice if we should decide to make a change.  The Thostensens suggested that we call a meeting of all the manufacturers to discuss garment problems.”

Mon., 15 June, 1953

Telephone Calls

1.  Bishop George W. Taylor of the Laurelhearst Columbia River Stake called re:  Temple recommend of a member of his Ward who wishes to go to Idaho Falls to attend Temple sessions there and to be married for time and eternity.  Her former temple marriage to Arthur M. Clark canceled.  The Bishop and the Stake President have approved of the Temple recommend.  The couple would like to have the child by the former marriage sealed to them.  I told the Bishop that that could not be done as the child was born under the covenant, and the sealing would have to remain as it is.

2.  Called the Idaho Falls Temple and told the clerk there to notify Pres. Killpack to let the couple go through, but that the child cannot be sealed to them.”

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.”

Fri., 19 June, 1953:

“8:30 a.m.  Mr. E.O. Wakefield, Manager of the Lady Gay Manufacturing Co., this city, called at the office.  He reported what allegedly has been announced by some Relief Society Presidents that ‘the Lady Gay garments are not authorized, that the company is run by a Jew, and that he should not be permitted to sell them.”

I answered:  ‘That is an outrage, and those statements should be corrected and condemned.’

Mr. Wakefield favors the garment for pregnant women.  I told him that we are not ready to act upon  that matter just now.  Would let him know later about it.”

Telephone Calls

1.  President Young of the Salt Lake Temple called to say that they have been urged to hold a Saturday session at the Temple.  The Temple Presidency would like to hold two sessions on Saturday and use Monday for cleaning.

I said that I could see no objection to this plan and could see some advantages as there are some people who otherwise could not get to the Temple because of working conditions.  Pres. Young said that at the Manti Temple they held Saturday sessions for the benefit of the miners.

I told Pres. Young that if the Temple Presidency is united that he could go ahead with his plan.

Thurs., 25 June, 1953:

“9:40 a.m.–Returned to the office and again met with the First Presidency.  The following matters were among some of the items considered:

Reported that President Clissold of the Oahu Stake had presented the following:

a.  The matter of the natives wearing their garments, first, when around the warehouses and doing work that soils their garments.  I mentioned that this matter was ruled upon years ago in a matter somewhat similar at which time it was decided that the individual might lay aside the garments reverently, thus avoiding their becoming soiled, and after his work placing them back on his body after he had refreshed himself.

Now the question comes regarding native dances.  Some of the men who have been through the temple participate in these dances and there they strip off or else expose their garments to the audience.  I suggested that they be instructed to lay aside their garments when they go into that, and put them on again after the dance.  The Brethren agreed with this position.

The question was brought up about me and women who have been through the temple going around in their shorts while cutting their lawns, etc. and I told Brother Clissold I could see no justification for doing this.  The Brethren agreed on this point.

b.  Brother Clissold asked about sending Dean Lloyd of the B.Y.U. to Hawaii to look after our educational interests there.  The Brethren did not think this was advisable.

Bro. Clissold inquired about sending Duff Hanks to take charge of seminary work in Hawaii, and mentioned that Brother Hanks’ wife was born in Hawaii.  Decided to ask Frank West to report on Brother Hanks’ qualifications.

c.  Full-time Temple President.  President Clissold thinks this is greatly needed.  I said that while they were talking it occurred to me that Brother Benjamin L. Bowring, present President of the Texas-Louisiana Mission, would be a good man for that position.  The brethren favored Brother Bowring and decided to take the matter to the Council today.

d.  Brother Clissold recommends Brother George C. Knapp, about 57 years old, head of the Honolulu Savings & Loan Co. for Mission presidential timber.  However, both he and his wife are divorcees.

It was then mentioned during this meeting the need of choosing a successor to Robert D. Young as President of the Salt Lake Temple.  It was decided to obtain a list of workers in the Salt Lake, Manti, Logan and Idaho Falls Temples.

(At the meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve, I presented the rulings regarding wearing the garment as suggested by the First Presidency, and upon motion of the Council indicated its approval of this attitude).

Dedication of the 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 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 sit, and has given approval for the erection of a temple there.  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 bother approve of my going over there to take care of this matter.  I felt that I could leave here about the end 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.  I 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 architects 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 Bern, and after returning from Bern, dedicate the land in New Chapel, England, about August 6, 1953.

Tues., 28 July, 1953:

“Los Angeles Temple.  I reported my visit to the Los Angeles Temple site.  Everything is progressing as per schedule.  The Los Angeles Stakes are willing to go forward at once in taking care of the landscaping of the temple property, but they have not yet received word that they could proceed.

The Los Angeles Temple will accommodate 300 people (seated) in a session and the assembly room will seat 2600.  I think the temple will probably cost $4,000,000.  The workmanship is of the finest.  The supervisor who represents the City or County said it is the best cement job he had ever seen, that it is absolutely uniform workmanship, of the very best, and the morale of the men is high.  Brother Jacobsen is working hard, but he is nervous.  There are no labor troubles. the men have their prayers every morning before starting the work.  The mission house is practically finished.”

August 5, 1953

“(Dedication of the Bern 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 the 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 chapel 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 characteristics 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 is 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 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 cur 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 a 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 that the site is ideal.  If 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 change 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 not obscure 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 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 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 of whom they should invite, find out the seating capacity of the upper room, and let the stake presidents do the inviting.

“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 thought 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 of the 32 acres.  Brother Edward O. Anderson had been invited, in fact appointed to accompany them on the trip.  It 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 the vicinity; in other words, no improvements in any of the 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 the 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 antiquities 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 2 1/2 acres would be all that we could afford.  We have secured 6.8 acres for less that we would have had to pay for the 2 1/2 acres.

President McKay mentioned this as a significant thing:  He said that they were informed that they had had rain for 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 their 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 held with the 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:

4.  Discussed the matter of reorganization of the Temple Committee. It is recommended that the committee consist of the First Presidency, Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, and Spencer W. Kimball.  Pres. Clark agreed with this suggestion.  It was thought that the committee should take up matters pertaining to the special solemn assembly; that we should also take up with them matters pertaining to the significance of the temple ordinances.”

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:

11:45 a.m. – Elder Richard L. Evans came in.  He reported the increasing demand for more adequate provisions to take care of the tourists who visit Temple Square.  Those working as guides, missionaries, etc. are on the Square from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. at night.  It is imperative that additional room be provided to preach the gospel.

Brother Evans said that he had made an application for appropriation of funds for the needed improvements sometime ago, and the application had been turned down.  I suggested that he repeat the request for funds.

I then expressed appreciation to Brother Evans for the work that he, Marba Josephson, and others have done on the book of my sermons which is to come off the press next week.

I inquired about the financing of the book, the compensation given to people who are compiling, editing, etc.  He answered that the Improvement Era has undertaken this project just as they had for the other books containing the writings and sermons of the Presidents of the Church, and that they are going to make allowances for their expenses.  Some of those who have worked on the project have been paid, but others have given their services as a ‘work of love’ and they want it to be that way.

Brother Evans then brought up the case of Dr. W.S. Horne, Branch President of the Palmetto, Florida Branch, who is here to get his endowments in the temple.  As he has membership in a certain organization, there is a question as to whether he should withdraw, and give full allegiance to his duties in the Church.  Later, I called by long distance Pres. Peter J. Ricks of the Southern States Mission, and talked to him about the matter.  (see notes of telephone conversation following)

Telephone Calls

Called President Peter J. Ricks, Southern States Mission, Atlanta, Georgia (Atwood 4-221) and consulted him regarding a case that has come before us this morning; viz., a recommend for Dr. W. S. Horne of Palmetto, Florida, to go through the Temple.

Pres. Ricks said that he is acquainted with Dr. Horne, and had met him a short time ago when he called at the office.  He is the Branch President at Palmetto.  Said he questioned him about his going through the Temple, and felt that he was perfectly worthy.  Had also questioned him regarding his affiliation with a certain group, but Dr. Horne said he was going to withdraw.

I then said that we feel in consideration of his membership in this organization and the fact that he has recently been promoted, he need not be in a hurry to withdraw from said organization.  That we, of course, would like to know where his first allegiance is, and there seems to be no doubt as to where that allegiance is.

I said further ‘If you feel all right, we shall tell Bro. Horne to take his time in withdrawing.’  It was decided that Dr. Horne would have to work out this matter as best he could.

Pres. Ricks said, ‘That is all right with me; we want to uphold you.  It is wonderful how you uphold and show respect to everyone.'”

Fri., 11 Sept., 1953:

“Returned to the office at 3:30 p.m. – Met Brother Howard J. McKean and accompanied him to the sculptor’s studios to see the work being done on the angel to be placed on the Los Angeles Temple.  I liked the work being done with the exception of the face of the angel, which to me has been depicted entirely too feminine.”

Tues., 15 Sept., 1953:

“At 3:30 p.m. left with Brother McKean, Brother Silver, and Brother Bringhurst of the Church Building Committee for the Buehner Block Company, to inspect model of the Angel Moroni, from which model, statue will be carved to be placed on the Los Angeles Temple.  This model is just one-fourth of what it will be in the original size.  The other day when I inspected the model, I disapproved of the effeminate characterization of Angel Moroni.  However, the artist has modified the expression, making the eyes a little larger and farther apart, etc.  We all agreed that it is now a good model for the statue that is to be made, and told the artist to go ahead with his plans.”

Sun., 20 Sept., 1953:

“President Richards, President Clark and I, with Joseph Anderson at the wheel, left by auto for Logan, Utah where at 9:00 a.m., we attended the Solemn Assembly and Fast meeting held in the Logan Temple.  A six-hour session was held, and the following program was carried out:  (Stake Presidencies, High Councilmen, High Priests, Bishoprics, and others in the Logan Temple district were invited besides the General Authorities)

1.  Singing ‘O Say What is Truth’ (all verses)

2.  Invocation – Elder Harold B. Lee

3.  ‘How Great the Wisdom and the Love’

4.  Administration of the Sacrament

5.  ‘Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me’

6.  Address – Presiding Bishop Joseph L. Wirthlin – Priesthood Home – Tithing – Prayer – Example – Senior Members

7.  Address – Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith – Sacrament Meeting

8.  ‘I Know That My Redeemer Lives’

9.  Address – President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. – Bishops

          10.  Address – President Stephen L. Richards – Missionary work

          11.  ‘I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go’ (all verses)

          12.  Address – President David O. McKay – The Church – a World-wide Institution population of the Globe – world membership of churches – modern agencies to be utilized – enemies to the restored Church – Responsibility of Church to preach Christ and His Gospel – Every member a missionary – significance of the endowment ceremony

           13.  ‘We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet’

            14.  Benediction – Eldred G. Smith

Following the meeting the brethren were served dinner.  Shortly thereafter we returned to Salt Lake City.  I was very tired, but satisfied with the inspirational meeting that had been held.  I feel that the brethren went away satisfied and inspired to carry on with more zeal and determination, and to magnify their callings more than ever before.” 

Tues., 22 Sept., 1953:

“8:30 a.m. – Brother Alma Burton called regarding his fulfilling the request of the First Presidency to proof read the Tahitian translation of the Temple ceremonies prepared by Brother Bentley Mitchell, former President of the Tahitian Mission.”

Wed., 23 Sept., 1953:

First Presidency’s Meeting

The Presidency of the Relief Society (Sisters Spafford, Sharp, and Simonson) called on the First Presidency and discussed certain matters pertaining to their work —

a.  The matter of temple burial clothes.  They stated our people are largely served through morticians, that 45 of the morticians buy from the General Board, 21 of them hire Latter-day Saints to make temple clothing for them.  Some of the morticians buy from other morticians, three buy from Stake Relief Societies, and in practically every stake they buy from individuals.  Some of the Stake Relief Societies buy from the General Board.  The number of stakes now operating temple clothing departments is 33.

Tues., 13 Oct., 1953:

“Drove into Los Angeles and out to the Temple site at Westwood.  Had a conference with Edward O. Anderson, the architect and Soren Jacobsen, the contractor.  They recommended that the following artists be chosen to paint scenes for rooms as indicated:

Room #1 – Harris Weber

Room #2 – Robert L. Shepherd

Room #3 – Edward Grickware, Cody, Wyo.

Baptismal Font – Lecont Stewart, Joe Gibby, a student of Lecont Stewart

It had been suggested that the corner stone should be laid about January 20, 1954.  However, while we were inspecting the corner stone, we found they have already chiseled in the stone ‘erected 1953’, so we shall have to hold these services in December.  The oxen and the figure on the tower should be completed right away.

We also inspected the Mission Home, headquarters of the California Mission — a beautiful structure, complete in every way.”

Tues., 27 Oct., 1953:

“1.  Los Angeles Temple — donated labor.  Evidently the Twelve have received communications – written and oral – from Stake Presidencies in Los Angeles saying that they have hundreds of people who would like to donate labor, but they cannot donate labor, because Brother Soren Jacobsen, the contractor, is favoring Unions, and if those desiring to donate their labor do not join a Union, they cannot render this service.  This is a most unfortunate condition.

Telephone Calls

1.  Called Robert I. Burton of the Salt Lake Temple, and told him to let Brother Alma Burton have a reading room and a copy of the Temple ceremony at the Temple so that he could proof-read the Tahitian translation of the temple ceremony just completed by E. Bentley Mitchell.”

Wed., 28 Oct., 1953:

First Presidency Note

1.  At the meeting of the First Presidency this morning President McKay asked Pres. Stephen L. Richards to lay the cornerstone of the Los Angeles Temple, the services to take place on Friday, December 11, at 1:30 p.m.  Those going from here could leave here Thursday night.  President Richards could go from there to dedicate a new chapel in the Palo Alto Stake on Sunday following.

Thurs., 29 Oct., 1953:

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.”

Fri., 30 Oct., 1953:

“8 to 10:30 – First Presidency’s meeting   At 8 a.m., the Presidency met with Soren Jacobsen, contractor for the Los Angeles Temple, and Edward O. Anderson, architect for the Los Angeles Temple.  Long discussion held concerning Union men working on Temple, appointment of artists for the different rooms in the Temple, etc. – see First Presidency’s minutes.”

Thurs., 5 Nov., 1953:

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

Wed., 9 Dec., 1953:

First Presidency Meeting

“The following items were among many that were discussed:

2.  Discussed the cornerstone laying ceremonies of the Los Angeles Temple.  It was felt that they should be carried out as they were in connection with the laying the cornerstone of the Idaho Falls Temple.

Fri., 11 Dec., 1953:

“Ceremonies for the laying of the cornerstone of the Los Angeles Temple

Arrived in Los Angeles this morning.  We were greeted by a motorcade manned by stake presidents of the Los Angeles area and others.  Under police escort we were taken over the Hollywood Freeway and Santa Monica Boulevard to the Temple lot in Westwood.  The transportation was most excellent!

Arriving at the Temple block, the visitors were entertained at luncheon by the Relief Society of the Westwood Ward and the President of the California Mission and his wife, tables for this purpose having been arranged surrounding the patio in the mission headquarters.

Cornerstone Ceremonies

Following a short rest at the Mission Home, all the General Authorities assembled at 1:30 p.m. on the temple grounds for the services in connection with the laying of the cornerstone.

Twenty-five hundred seats were arranged for the visitors.  It is estimated that fully 10,000 people, possible 12,000, assembled for the services.

Greetings were sent by the Governor of the State, the City Council in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Commissioners, the two representatives of the two districts in Westwood, and others, each of which contained complimentary statements to the Church.  It was stated that the Mayor of Los Angeles was unable to attend, but he sent his personal representative and also a letter.  The former Mayor of Los Angeles was present, who was also present at the groundbreaking ceremonies a year ago.

The program was carried out most impressively.  The singing was excellent, furnished by the Mormon Choir of Southern California, under the direction of Elder H. Frederick Davis.

The remarks were most impressively made by President Waite of the South Los Angeles Stake, who represented the presidencies of stakes in Los Angeles Temple District, President Clark who represented the First Presidency, and the laying of the cornerstone and the prayer of placement were most inspiringly rendered by President Stephen L. Richards.

There was a feeling of spirituality and reverence which was marked and I feel that members and non-members alike were deeply impressed.  I felt that the Brethren of the Presidency who participated arose to the heights.

(President McKay presided and conducted the services and the Brethren commented that he spoke in an inspiring manner.)  (note by cm)

President Joseph Fielding Smith offered the invocation impressively and the Patriarch of the Church, Eldred G. Smith offered the benediction.

All in all, it was an outstanding experience in the history of the Church.

KSL made arrangements to have the entire proceedings broadcast here at home, and the Los Angeles people arranged for the broadcast in the Los Angeles area.

It was surprising to me how many people, judging from the reports received, participated in the exercises, and they were re-broadcast Sunday night from 10 to 11:30 p.m. over KSL.  The program was finished within a minute or a minute and a half of the allotted time for the broadcast.

Much credit should be given to the local committees in southern California for furnishing the seats, marking places for parking, and attending to other details which contributed to the comfort of the visitors and added to the impressiveness of the services.

I asked the committee here who had charge of arrangements for the trip to Los Angeles, to prepare letters of appreciation to go to all those who participated in the arrangements.

This evening, in response to an invitation extended by Warner Brothers theater in Hollywood, all the General Authorities and their wives who wished to participate in the showing of Cinerama attended that presentation as guests of Warner Brothers.

An outstanding event occurred during the showing in that an intermission was called during which announcement was made of the presence of the General Authorities of the Church, and that the Mormon Choir of Southern California would render several songs.  That Choir, which had participated in the laying of the cornerstone, came in full dress and sang four selections in the Warner Brothers Theater in Hollywood, California.

The applause showed that a goodly portion of those present appreciated the singing of our choir.

I felt that it was an outstanding event in the history of Hollywood and I appreciated the courtesy extended by Warner Brothers.

The Cinerama itself is an outstanding creation in moving pictures.”

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.

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.

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.

Wed., 14 Apr., 1954:

3:30 p.m. – Elder Hugh B. Brown, Assistant to the Twelve, called at the office at my request.  I asked him to take charge of the requests that are coming in for cancellation of Temple sealings.  Explained to him that I should like him to make the necessary investigations from all parties concerned, and then make his recommendations to me.  Brother Brown said that he would do his best to discharge this new assignment with wisdom and dispatch.”

Wed., 21 Apr., 1954:

“7:45 a.m. – Elder Hugh B. Brown came in to discuss with me general rules to follow in making investigations of Temple sealing cancellations.

Thurs., 22 Apr., 1954:

“Immediately after this consultation, I accompanied Brother Howard McKean out to the Beuhner Block Company where I inspected the oxen that have been sculptored for the baptismal font of the Los Angeles Temple.  They are now ready to ship them away to have them cast in bronze.  I was very favorably impressed with them, and think the sculptors have done an excellent piece of work!”

Tues., 18 May, 1954:

“First Presidency’s meeting

Los Angeles Temple Entrance:  I called attention to a suggestion made by Edward O. Anderson that instead of having a statue of the ‘Woman at the Well’ at the entrance to the temple in Los Angeles as provided in the original plans, that we make a granite fountain on each side of the entrance, which can be done for much less money and which will look just as well without having a statue.  This was to be taken to the Expenditures Committee today.”

Fri., 21 May, 1954:

President Wilkinson left the meeting at 10:15 a.m., and we continued our regular First Presidency’s meeting.

Further mention was made of paintings of the Savior.  The Brethren felt that all pictures of the Savior that we use should be pictures of him in connection with his ministry and not any representation of him after his resurrection.

May 21, 1954

At a meeting of the Salt Lake Temple Presidency with President McKay the following matters were discussed:


Seal children of divorced couple (children not born under covenant) to the parent having legal custody & to companion of that parent without formality of legal adoption to the parents companion.

It was suggested by President Christiansen that adoption ceremony seems incomplete and unsatisfactory.  Matter taken under advisement by President McKay.


If marriage is to be deferred more than a week after couple goes to temple, the groom should not take the bride through the veil until they come for marriage.

Going from Room to Room:

Approval given by President McKay for men and women in passing from room to room to go together in double file.


Approval given by President McKay for men representing Lucifer and preacher to retire from room while representatives of Peter,  James, and John are receiving instructions.

Temple Recorder:

A recommendation was made by President Christiansen that Robert I. Burton be released as Recorder of the Salt Lake Temple and that Dan K. Hansen be made the Recorder.  This recommendation to be put in writing by Temple Presidency and forwarded to President McKay.

Paintings in Temple:

Took up the matter of the glossing and preserving of the paintings in the temple, and that the work could be done in the annex excepting possibly the large painting at the head of the stairway.  They (The Temple Presidency) recommend Brother John Pogzeba to do this work.  He is an art restorer and lives at 600 S. Emerson St. Denver, Colorado.  It was decided to have Brother LeConte Steward of the University of Utah investigate the ability and background of this man.

Tues., 8 June, 1954:

Telephone Calls

“1.  President Arwell L. Pierce of the Arizona Temple called and reported that the editors of the Arizona magazine would like to publish an article on the Arizona Temple, with which article they would like to use pictures of the interior and exterior of the Temple.  President Pierce asked for permission to let editors take pictures of the interior of this temple.  Explained that pictures of the interior of this temple had already been published in the Genealogical Magazine.

As I was in the First Presidency’s meeting when President Pierce called, I asked my counselors if they had any objections to pictures being taken of the rooms, excluding the ordinance rooms.  They agreed that it would be all right.  I then told President Pierce to send us copies of the pictures that will be used.  He assured us that the pictures would be taken by one of our members, and that the article itself will be written by a member of the Church.”

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.”

Fri., 9 July, 1954:

First Presidency’s meeting

Among items considered were the following:

(1) Requirements for Temple Recommends

Considered a letter from President Haven Barlow of the North Davis Stake in which he asks about issuing temple recommends to non-tithe payers.  I explained that people

who go to the temple should be full tithe payers and should observe the Word of Wisdom; that as a matter of fact, it is a question of their faith.  Men who have a testimony of the Gospel and believe in it should contribute to it and if they fail to keep their promise to observe these commandments the Bishop has a right to withhold the recommend, not wholly on the failure to pay tithing but because of their lack of faith in the Gospel.  Their failure to pay tithing would indicate their lack of faith in the Gospel.”

Wed., 14 July, 1954:

“8:30 a.m. – Conference with Elder Hugh B. Brown, Assistant to the Twelve.  Matters pertaining to investigation of requests for temple sealing cancellations were discussed.  Brother Brown is rendering invaluable service in this regard, and I expressed my deep appreciation to him.

Sun., 15 Aug., 1954:

“Spent most of the day in the Salt Lake Temple considering and studying the Temple Ceremony.  Will make recommendations covering several items in the presentation of the Temple Ceremony.”

7 Sept., 1954:

“September 7, 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.”

Tues., 14 Sept., 1954:

Telephone Calls

“1.  Mrs. Ruth Brewer Shupe, Ogden 2-4735, called stating that she desires to go to the temple tomorrow morning to witness the marriage ceremony of her nephew, Pvt. Joseph W. Brewer, Jr.  Sister Schupe desires to take her mother, Mrs. A.L. Brewer, with her to the temple to witness this marriage.  If Sister Schupe is not able to go to the temple, her mother would be unable to go because of her extreme old age.

Inasmuch as Sister Schupe was divorced from her former husband, it is necessary for her to obtain special permission to go to the Temple to witness this marriage as there is not time for her papers to be processed normally for the regular temple recommend.

President McKay talked to President Scott B. Price of the East Ogden Stake by telephone.  President Price was instructed to mark on Sister Schupe’s recommend that it is to witness a marriage only.  President Price stated that the clearance letters for Sister Shupe had been sent to the First Presidency and would be received within the next day or two.”

Wed., 15 Sept., 1954:

“8:25 a.m. – Officiated at the wedding in the Salt Lake Temple of Joseph West Brewer, Jr., Ogden, Utah and Carol Jean Shaum, Ogden, Utah

At this wedding met my old friend Dr. Rich, Mrs. Brewer, grandmother of the groom, and several others who are members of the two families who were represented at today’s ceremony.  They were in tears, and expressed deep appreciation for my presence today and for all the other members of their family whose ceremonies I have performed.”

Sun., 19 Sept., 1954:

“Spent practically the whole day at the office — considered and decided upon 25 or 30 applications for cancellation of Temple sealings.  It always gives me a feeling of depression to go through these cases.

Wed., 22 Sept., 1954:

“At 8 a.m.  The members of the First Presidency met with the Temple Committee to discuss matters pertaining to the Temple ceremony.  Meeting held in the Salt Lake Temple.”

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.

Tues. 5 Oct., 1954:

At 8:50 this morning, President ElRay L. Christiansen met with the First Presidency and presented the matter about which he phoned to me yesterday; viz., microfilm record of a book published in 1931 in New York revealing almost word for word the Temple ceremony.”

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.”

Fri., 15 Oct., 1954:

5:15 p.m.  Appointment with Dean Henry Eyring, of the University of Utah.  Brother Barton J. Howell who operates a business in this city of microfilming manuscripts had received an order for five copies of a manuscript that it is understood is in the Harvard University, which manuscript gives almost word for word, corrected in some places, our temple ceremonies complete.  Professor William Cagle of the University of Utah had given the order.  Brother Howell’s attention was called to it by one of his employees who is a  member of the Church, and when Brother Howell learned the nature of this manuscript, he brought the five copies to President ElRay L. Christiansen, who brought them to the First Presidency.  Professor Cagle works in Dean Eyring’s department at the University of Utah.

At the suggestion of the Brethren I got in touch with Dr. Eyring on this matter.  Dr. Eyring said that he felt sure that Professor Cagle would be glad to do anything we wished him to do in regard to this matter; that he is well read on Mormon literature, has made a study of all of Orson Pratt’s works; and at Dr. Eyring’s suggestion, I promised to meet Professor Cagle.

Sat., 16 Oct., 1954:

“8:30 a.m.  I met with Dr. Henry Eyring and Professor William Cagle of the University of Utah.  (Refer to complete explanation of this matter, October 15, 1954.)  Professor Cagle said he would do whatever we asked.  He mentioned that he had found the manuscript, and that he had had a microfilm made of it.

I explained to him that it was a sacred matter to us, and we would rather not have it publicized and distributed, particularly in this area.  Professor Cagle readily agreed to give us the film, from which these copies were taken, and we have the five copies in our possession.

I was very favorably impressed with Dr. Cagle; he claims to be a great admirer or Orson Pratt, and knows our Church history very well.  Dr. Eyring thinks he is about converted to the Church.  His attitude and that of Dr. Eyring were very cooperative.

Tues., 19 Oct., 1954:

“I met this morning with the presidents of stakes in Los Angeles, including President Noble Waite, President John Russon, and others.

I witnessed the placing on top of the 245-foot tower of the Los Angeles Temple the Angel Moroni statue, which is gilded with gold leaf.  It took ten men two and a half hours to move it up inch by inch and place it on the pole, an iron rod coming down and fitting into a socket, and it is anchored into the ground.  The monument is fourteen feet, nine inches high from heel to top of head; fifteen feet, five and a half inches from toe to top of head.  It is aluminum and weighs 2100 pounds.  It was first moded in clay, then cast in plaster, and that plaster cast was shipped east and cast in aluminum.  It was then shipped to Los Angeles from New York by truck.  It could not be sent by train.  It cost a little over one thousand dollars to cover it with gold leaf.  It now stands on a base 245 feet from the ground, and so to the top of the monument it is 260 feet high.

Sister McKay and I left for Salt Lake City by train this afternoon.”

Wed., 20 Oct., 1954:

“8:50 a.m.  Appointment with Barton J. Howell.  (Refer to complete explanation of this matter, October 15, 1954.)  Brother Howell operates a business in this city of microfilming manuscripts.  He brought to our attention the manuscript which Professor William Cagle wanted published.  This manuscript gives almost word for word, corrected in some places, our temple ceremonies complete.  During my discussion with Brother Howell I learned that several universities have copies of these ceremonies in their libraries and that there is also such a copy in the University of Utah Library.  (see long report in First Presidency’s minutes of this day)

Wed., 3 Nov., 1954:

Note:  At the First Presidency’s meeting today, I recommended that a Solemn Assembly be held in the St. George Temple Sunday, December 5, 1954 at 8:30 a.m.  It was thought that the brethren might go down Saturday, remain over night, and perhaps return to Salt Lake Sunday following the meeting.  Suggested that the same committee be appointed to make arrangements as took charge of the arrangements for the Logan Temple Solemn Assembly.  The matter will be taken to the Council tomorrow.”

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.”

Mon., 8 Nov., 1954:

“Note:  Microfilm of Temple Ceremonies

Sent letter of Dr. Fredric William Cagle, Jr. of the University of Utah, acknowledging the receipt of his letter of October 29, 1954, and also of the microfilm on Temple ceremonies.

This matter was first called to our attention by Pres. ElRay L. Christiansen who reported that Barton Howell of the North 18th Ward told him that he is in the microfilming business and that Prof. Cagle had brought to him a microfilm entitled ‘Mormon Templery’ with a request that he make 5 copies in printed material.

This resulted in a conference with Dr. Cagle and he promised to turn the film over to the Church, which he did this day.

The microfilm is now in the files of the First Presidency.”

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.”

Thurs., 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,”

Thurs., 17 Feb., 1955:

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

Mon., 21 Feb., 1955:

“Edward O. Anderson met with the First Presidency and presented a number of matters.

A.  The London Temple.  Brother Anderson feels that the temple exterior should be of white or light appearance, and this can be done by making the exterior surface out of cast stone, using white Portland cement and quartz chips.  He says that the terra cotta and cast stone used in buildings in England has not proven satisfactory, but that the terra cotta made in Germany has proven satisfactory.  Sir Thomas Bennett has recommended Portland stone and to build the temple in a manner prevalent in England for many years.  It was decided to go along with the English, which will be the Portland stone.  It will be light for awhile, but will get darker as it ages.

B.  The Los Angeles Temple.  Regarding portraits.  Brother Anderson recommends that portraits of the Presidents of the Church and the present First Presidency be hung in the entrance foyer and the connecting corridors.  The Presidency approved.  The following artists were mentioned who might be contacted regarding doing this work:  Griegware, Arnold Friberg, Lynn Fawcett, Kilburn (who works for David Evans).  Edward O. Anderson will contact them in a preliminary way, see their work, what they can do, and what their price will be.

Brother Anderson recommended that we provide a statuary group of a family to be placed in front of the temple, made of English veined Carrara marble.  The Brethren approved.  Favored using Malan for this work.

The City requires on-site parking for 140 cars on the temple property.  They want to know to what use the property will be placed.  Brother Anderson told them there would be a ball field and possibly a youth center and that we would expect to have 2000 seats in connection therewith.  He suggested we build a fence between our property and the Catholic property, and that we also plant shrubs there.  This was approved.

C.  Paintings in the Swiss Temple.  While in Switzerland Brother Anderson had discussed the question of paintings for the Bern Temple.  Brothers Perschon and Zimmer expressed a desire to have a painting in the inner foyer.  Brother Anderson had taken it up with President Richards, and he said to forget it.  President Perschon said that he and Brother Zimmer would donate the money for a good painting in the baptistry of the baptism of the Savior.  That would be the only mural painting in the temple.  Brother Anderson had talked with Sister Teichert and asked her how much it would cost for a painting 18′ long and 18′ high, and she said $750 or less.  He said he had made no commitment to her.  It was decided to duplicate the painting by Joseph Gibby in the Los Angeles Temple, which is a picture of the Savior and John the Baptist.

A lengthy discussion was held in the First Presidency’s meeting regarding President Sidney J. Ottley’s activities in the New Zealand Mission.  (See First Presidency’s minutes for details.)”

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.”

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.

Sun., 15 May, 1955:

“Spent the hours between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the office, with the exception of the dinner period, going over requests for cancellation of Temple sealings.  Labored through more than 25 such requests with all the papers pertaining thereto — a very depressing experience.”

Sat., 21 May, 1955:

“Announcement of the Swiss Temple Dedication Ceremonies scheduled for September 11, 1955.”

Sun. 29 May, 1955:

“Spent the morning hours at the office going over twenty or more petitions for cancellation of temple marriages.

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.”

Mon., 27 June, 1955:

“At 7:30 this morning Sister McKay and I were at the Salt Lake Temple ready to go through the first session for the day.  Our purpose in going through the Temple today was to do the endowment and sealing ordinance work for Jesse Monroe Wilbur and his wife Minnie Lavina Farrell.

For many years Brother Wilbur attended to the shoeing of my horses — his blacksmith’s shop was located in Eden, and I took the horses to him, and he always rendered the best of service.  It was their wish that I do this work for them.  We also attended to the sealing of the following children to them:

Daisy May Wilbur

Ellen M. Wilbur

Lindsay Worden Wilbur

Irma Ruth Wilbur

Loran Wilbur, Glenn Monroe Wilbur, and Earl Burton Wilbur are living children, but have not yet received their endowments.  In a letter addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Glen Monroe Wilbur of this date, I said: ‘Sister McKay and I have just come from the Salt Lake Temple where we have taken out endowments for your father and mother.  They have received not only their endowments, but have been sealed in marriage for time and eternity, and the following children sealed to them, (the above names given).  Now, my dear friends, is there anything we can do to help you complete the family circle in the Church?’

We were through the Temple by 10:30 a.m.; however, it was 11:30 a.m. before we could get away as there were so many persons who wanted to shake hands.”

11 to 16 July, 1955:

“July 11 to July 16, 1955

Trip to Los Angeles, California and Laguna Beach, California

Tuesday morning, July 12, 1955

Unfortunate Accident

Left early this morning for Laguna Beach, California.  We arrived there in the early afternoon after an enjoyable drive.

Just before retiring I took a hot bath.  In getting out of the tub I reached for the towel rack.  As I took a firm hold, it suddenly pulled away from the wall, and I was thrown back on the edge of the tub.  I received quite a blow on my side, and it was difficult for me to get up.  Later, I had difficulty in breathing and I discovered that my side was quite badly bruised.

Wednesday morning, July 13, 1955

Inspection of Temple

This morning the pain was still with me.  However, I got dressed, had breakfast, and then Sister McKay and I drove out to the Los Angeles Temple to fulfill an appointment I had previously made with Edward O. Anderson, Joseph Gibby, and others.  We inspected and discussed matters pertaining to decorations and treatment of the Celestial Room of the Los Angeles Temple.

It had been recommended that in each end of the Celestial room between the windows, a painted panel be applied to the wall, consisting of a subject such as Joseph Smith receiving the plates done in a very light key.  Edward O. Anderson had discussed the treatment of the room with Brother Alfred Leppold, decorator and painter and one of his men who is helping him, and also Brother Edward Gregware who painted a picture of Joseph Smith receiving the plates for the foyer of the chapel in Cody, Wyoming.  It was suggested that this painting be used as a foundation for the one picture, and the other be similar to the last picture in the Cody Chapel.  Brother Gregware has offered to help Brother Leppold in preparing the drawings of the figures in order that they would be presented properly.  Joseph Gibby will also hlep.

After making a first-hand investigation of this, we decided not to adopt the suggestions that had been made as a decoration in the Celestial room, – Moroni presenting the plates to Joseph Smith, – but decided instead that something more in keeping with the entrance into the Heavenly Presence should be on the walls, and all agreed that it would be better.

We went through the other rooms and made suggestions which we hope will prove helpful in the decoration and furnishings of that magnificent edifice.

Thursday, July 14, 1955

This morning had a meeting with Brother Joseph Gibby, artist, who has painted and decorated scenes in the baptismal font of the Los Angeles Temple, one of which will be sent to the Switzerland Temple.  I did not approve of the sketch of the Savior which he submitted, and later, when I returned home, I had a copy made of the painting of the Savior done by Mrs. Lane and sent that to him, requesting him to use it in place of the one he submitted.”

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.”

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″

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.  

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.

Thurs., 6 Oct., 1955:

At Council meeting today, I reported that the Los Angeles Temple cannot be dedicated in December of this year; that the presidencies of stakes in Southern California had thought probably it might be done in the middle of January; that, however, after consultation and taking into consideration all the unfinished matters and the tens of thousands of people who would like to go through the Temple before the dedication, the Presidency feel that it would be advisable to postpone the dedication until after January.  It looks as though the Temple will be completed some time in November, and that consideration is being given to the recommendation of the brethren in Southern California that we extend to those who are sincere in their desire to go through the Temple — not only in Southern California, but throughout the Church — the opportunity of doing so before the dedication.  It is intended that ample time shall be given for a thorough organization of these pre-visits in groups of not to exceed 30 in each group; and the presidents of stakes in Southern California will arrange to have those groups go through, probably 5 or 10 minutes apart.  It is thought that this will be a great missionary work.

(Trip to Arizona)

October 14 to Wednesday, October 19, 1955

Report given by President David O. McKay at Council Meeting, Thursday, October 20, 1955.

President McKay expressed a word of appreciation for the wonderful service that the stake presidents in mesa and Phoenix are performing in the matter of entertaining these Spanish-speaking people who come there once a year to go through the temple.”

Thurs., 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.”

Sun., 13 Nov., 1955:

“Worked at the office all day considering petitions for temple sealing cancellations – these matters are very depressing and tiring.”

Thurs., 17 Nov., 1955:

“Pres. A. George Raymond Visit

1.  Tourists

2.  Prayer circles – Logan Stake – monthly.   Shall room continue to be available?  Yes for the present.

3.  Should a High Priest be chosen from a group going through Temple to assist in ordaining and officiating in other regular Temple ceremonies?  No.

4.  Second Anointings.


Telephone Conversations

Thursday, November 17, 1955

Telephone Conversation with William Noble Waite, Pres. So. Los Angeles Stake

I talked with President William Noble Waite of South Los Angeles Stake by telephone and answered the following questions regarding the Los Angeles Temple which have come up in their regional council meetings.

1.  When the temple is opened for pre-dedication viewing should it be open on Sundays?

President McKay:  No.

2.  Is it the desire of the First Presidency that all people going through the temple should remove their shoes?

(After some conversation regarding this question, it was decided to make a decision on the matter later.)

3.  They have had some concern about recommends to the dedication services.  They would like to know if the Aaronic Priesthood under 21 and the Aaronic Priesthood over 21 may be given recommends.

President McKay:  Yes.

Also, if the girls of Bee Hive age and up may be given recommends.

President McKay:  Yes.

What about worthy women whose husbands are not members?

President McKay:  Yes.

4.  They have understood that it is the desire of the First Presidency to write the script for the guides.  There are ten stations where they will stop as they go through.  They should have the script as soon as possible so that the guides can prepare their parts.

Brother Williams, Brother Anderson and soren Jacobsen took a group of Rotarians through.  Brother Williams wrote the script for each one of the guides at the ten stations.

It was understood by the Brethren in Los Angeles that I (President McKay) was anxious that the story of Solomon’s temple be told at the baptismal font, and at that time I said the Brethren in Salt Lake would write the script.  It will not be long now before they will start the pre-dedication viewing.

President McKay:  I told Brother Waite with regards to the above matter that the instructions already written by Brother Williams should be sent to the First Presidency, and they will check them over.  The First Presidency will have the script prepared.

5.  An outline of the plan for pre-viewing the temple will be submitted by the Committee in California to the First Presidency for approval by the end of this week.  They will meet with all the presidents on the 25th of this month.

President McKay:  I told President Waite it would be good for the Presidents to meet on the 25th of this month and form an outline, etc.

I also stated to Brother Waite that we appreciate very much the work they have done and that the dedication has been set early in March.  The pre-viewing of the temple is to be done prior to the dedication.

Brother Waite mentioned that the pre-viewing of the temple would be held during the rainy season.  He wondered whether or not they should go ahead with it or postpone it.  Everything seems to be set for the dedication.  If the pre-viewing goes on in the rainy season, the stake presidents are objecting to an entrance through the tunnel.  I told Brother Waite that I thought they should not enter through the tunnel during the rainy season.  Brother Waite felt that the rain would not interfere too much.  The viewers could start down in the basement, and by the time they got up to the delicate carpets everything would be all right.  I told Brother Waite that we would cooperate with them on that point.

Telephone Conversation with Pres. ElRay L. Christiansen of the Salt Lake Temple.

Later in the day I called President ElRay L. Christiansen, President of the Salt Lake Temple.  I inquired regarding the number of engineers and cleaning women he had employed at the Temple.  He gave me the following information:  They have too full time engineers, one in the day time, and one in the afternoon and evening.

They have two women who come full time to do cleaning.  Besides the two full time cleaners, they have ten part time women who clean for thre hours a day.  They work from 4 a.m. until 7 a.m.  Therefore, they have the cleaning done before the first temple session starts.

Telephone Conversation with Brother Edward O. Anderson.

I called Brother Edward O. Anderson at the Los Angeles Temple.  I told him that it had been brought to my attention today that there was a misunderstanding regarding matters on entrance to the temple during the viewing of the temple.  I informed Brother Anderson that I had had a telephone conversation earlier in the day with President Waite.  Some conversation was had between Brother Anderson and me regarding the question of howt he people would enter the temple.  It was decided that Brother Waite would have in charge arranging for those who will be going through and for those who are going to direct them.  Brother anderson would be responsible for the working out of a plan as to how they will enter the building.

I told Brother Anderson that the Presidency do not think it wise to have the people remove their shoes, but this question will be decided later.  Brother Anderson said that he had taken the United States senior Senator Knowland through the temple.  The Senator had been asked to remove his shoes at the baptismal font.  He had questioned Brother Anderson and asked if this was done because of reverence for this church edifice.  Brother Anderson had told him that he would probably agree with him that it was a good idea when he saw the delicate carpets throughout the building.  Later the Senator remarked that Brother Anderson had been right.  He also stated that other groups had been taken through the temple the same way.

Brother Anderson brought up the matter of the danger of crowds in California.  He mentioned our experiences in Bern, Switzerland.  Some people who are not invited have a chance to get in.  Brother Anderson mentioned the incident in Switzerland where four Nuns came up and demanded to go into the Temple.  A crowd collects so quickly in California, and there is no control over them.

We discussed various ways of entrance to the temple:  the tunnel, front door and side entrance.  The plan Brother Anderson had of starting a group of twenty-five or thirty with a guide at the Bureau of  Information was considered.  The group could then enter the temple from a side entrance.  Brother Anderson mentioned the fact of the rainy season coming up at this time.  I told Brother Anderson that there were problems yet to be worked out.

I asked Brother Anderson about the problem of engineers to take care of the building.  Brother Anderson stated that they are needed.  I asked him if he had suggested any names, and he said, ‘No.’  I gave him the names that had been suggested by Brother Derbyshire.  I told him we would like his and Brother Jacobsen’s approval on them before taking them up with the Building Department.  The First Presidency would like to consider the names before anything is said to the individuals.  The names are as follows:  Harlow Edward Jelte, Maintenance Manager;  Robert Taylor Guthrie, Plumbing and Heating; Read, foreman of landscape or head gardener; Kresser, Sr., Maintenance Department; Guuy Leland Goodmanson, plumbing maintenance; Elliot Morris, handy man around the mechanics.  Brother Anderson stated that he would have to give consideration to how many engineers he would need.  He stated also that he would talk to Brother Jacobsen about the matter.  I told Brother Anderson that Brother Steed has been appointed to succeed Brother Williams at the bureau of Information and also to take charge of landscaping.  In Brother Steed’s appointment, we are combining two offices in one.  I told Brother Anderson to consult Brother Steed in connection with the position of the foreman of landscape or head gardener.

Brother Anderson stated that he would talk to Brother Jacobsen as soon as possible.  I told him to call me regarding these matters tomorrow about 2:30 p.m. by telephone.

Telephone Conversation with President William Noble Waite.

I also called President William Noble Waite in Huntington Park, California by telephone.  I informed Brother Waite that it seems that some of the Brethren down there have the wrong idea of our conversation this morning.  Brother Waite stated that he had only mentioned the conversation to Brother Steed.  I mentioned the one question we had discussed regarding entrance to the temple while pre-viewing it.  The statement has been made that we discussed entering through the front door.  The front door entrance had not been mentioned in our previous conversation today.  I told President Waite that Brother Anderson, Brother Jacobsen and Brother Williams are working out the best plan of going through the building, and they thought it best, and I agreed with them tentatively to go through the baptismal font room.  The whole thing is in arranging at the present time.  Brother Waite said that whatever the Brethren decide will be satisfactory with them.  I told Brother Waite that he had charge of the arranging for those who will be going through and for those who are going to direct them.  The dedication will be in the hands of the First Presidency.  The First Presidency will also decide whether or not the people viewing the temple will wear shoes.  I told Brother Waite that I personally did not like the idea of removing shoes.  I realize that there will probably be strong pressure, but this problem will be worked out later.

We discussed further the problem of the crowds gathering and trying to get in without a recommendation.  An arrangement will be worked out so that the people can be screened and the viewing carried on in an orderly manner.

(President McKay made a special trip to California on November 28th, 1955 and will meet with the Brethren in California regarding these matters.)”

Mon., 28 Nov., 1955:

“Arrived in Los Angeles this forenoon where we were met at the Railroad Station by Brother Edward O. Anderson who drove us immediately to the Los Angeles Temple grounds where at the Bureau of Information I met with him and Brother Soren Jacobsen.  I learned with satisfaction from them that two of the men who had given trouble had left.  This cleared the way for choosing other men to take their place.

The brethren reported that they thought the Temple would be completely finished, including the baptismal font room, so that we could arrange for visitors to be taken through the Temple prior to the dedication, the dates to be from December 19, 1955 to February 18, 1956.  The Temple will then be closed for cleaning and preparations for the dedication, from February 18th to March 10th.  The dedicatory service will be held March 11 at 10 a.m. with sessions continuing until Tuesday or Wednesday.

Following my conference with Brothers Edward O. Anderson and Soren Jacobson, I met Brother A. Merlin Steed, and set him apart as the President of the Los Angeles Temple Mission, director of the Temple grounds Bureau of Information, and general supervisor of the grounds including the Mission Home.  At this time Brother Steed reported that he had chosen for one of his counselors, Elder Raymond Summers of the Pasadena Ward, Pasadena Stake.  I approved of this choice, and also approved of Brother Reed to take charge of the grounds under Brother Steed.

I spent the balance of the day considering details connected with the viewing of the temple by the thousands of persons who will wish to see the Temple.  And at 5:30 p.m. I had a conference with President Noble Waite on these matters.

The day was full to the limit and many important items were considered and decided upon.”

Mon., 5 Dec., 1955:

“Telephone Conversation

          Monday, December 5, 1955

Brother A. Merlin Steed, President of the Los Angeles Temple Mission, called me by telephone.  He asked whether or not anything had been done about a tract or pamphlet the Committee desires to hand to each person after they have viewed the Los Angeles Temple.  I told Brother Steed that this had not been taken care of as yet.  He suggested that they print in tract form my editorial that was published in the November 1955 issue of the Improvement Era, entitled, ‘The Purpose of the Temple’.  Brother Steed said that the Committee had approved this suggestion.  Inasmuch as there is only two more weeks before they need these tracts, they are under pressure of time.  I told Brother Steed that I would look this editorial over and let him know whether or not to use it.

Brother Steed stated that the Committee had had a five hour meeting, and the Brethren are now in agreement on everything.

Brother Steed asked me also if someone had been appointed to write an article to be given to groups of about 150 people just before they enter the temple.  I told Brother Steed that we were meeting with Brother Benjamin L. Bowring in the morning and would let him know about this.  Brother Steed stated that Brother Bowring had just spent a few minutes at the Los Angeles Temple.  Brother Bowring had had a few minutes lay-over in Los Angeles between planes.

Brother Steed said the Committee has planned to have tracts on the altar in each room.  There will be no spoken word after they start going through the temple.  At the conclusion of the viewing of the temple, those desiring to ask questions may go into the big room upstairs, and there will be people there to answer the questions.  The people will then leave the temple from the north-east door and will not meet the incoming people.  Brother Steed also stated that everything was running very smoothly, and they are all agreed that this is the only way to handle the crowd.

Brother Steed then asked whether or not they could close the Bureau of Information on Sundays during this viewing of the temple period.  This would give them an opportunity to rest.  I told Brother Steed that I thought they should close the Bureau of Information during this time on Sundays.

I told Brother Steed that I had talked to Brother Edward O. Anderson about stopping the traffic.  Brother Steed said that they locked the gates every night.

Brother Steed asked if they should do the printing of the pamphlet in California if they use my editorial.  I told him that we would let him know.”

Sat., 17 Dec., 1955:

“Spent the morning hours at the office — Went over a manuscript giving a synopsis of my remarks at the Bern Temple dedication and an Editorial on the Purpose of the Temple which appeared in the November Improvement Era, and then sent it to the printers.  They will send me a proof Monday morning.  One hundred thousand copies of this are to be made and used at the Los Angeles Temple during the period of the pre-dedicatory visits by friends and members of the Church.

Sunday I telephoned President William Noble Waite of the South Los Angeles Stake in Los Angeles, and advised him that we would print the pamphlet on the subject matter referred to above and send them to him next week.  In the meantime, the pre-visitors to the Temple may go through the Temple without this pamphlet.”

Mon., 19 Dec., 1955:

“4 p.m. – Returned to the office — read proof of the manuscript on ‘The Purpose of the Temple’ which is to be published in pamphlet form and distributed to pre-dedicatory visitors at the Los Angeles Temple.  Also read and signed scores of letters — had a few moments visit with my sisters, Elizabeth and Kitts — after which I saw Brother Hugh B. Brown concerning Temple cancellations, after which I left for home.

Wed., 28 Dec., 1955:

“At 9 a.m. Glenn E. Nielson, President of the Big Horn Stake, Cody, Wyoming came in, and reported that there is a special fund of almost $100,000 in the Big Horn Stake, most of which is invested in Husky Preferred Stock.  The money was invested, after consultation and approval of his counselors.  The stock pays 6% dividends.  It was the plan to leave this money in a trust fund so that the dividends could be used for foreign and stake missionary work and other stake purposes.  However, there has been so much interest in temple work that for sometime now they have wondered if it might be possible for the Big Horn Stake to have one of the new small-type temples.  Among the older members there is a memory that one of the General Authorities either promised or prophesied that at some future time there would be a temple built in the Big Horn Basin.  A temple in this area would serve not only the more than 6000 members in the Big Horn Basin, but would be closer than the Canadian or Idaho Falls Temples for members.  President Nielson feels sure that within the next two or three years this fund could be doubled so that they would have something between $200,000 and $250,000 which could be used for the building of a temple.  (See letter in 1955 file, dated October 29, 1955)

Telephone Conversations, December 28, 1955, Wednesday.

Elder Henry D. Moyle called the office regarding the matter of having public liability insurance at the Los Angeles Temple in California.  After a short discussion, it was decided that inasmuch as all types of people are viewing the temple, it would be safer for the Church to have this insurance as a protection in case an accident did happen in the Temple as the various groups were going through, or in the event someone deliberately went into the temple with intentions of suing the Church, etc.  Brother Moyle said that he would follow through on this matter.

Wednesday, December 28, 1955 to January 2, 1956

Report of Trip to California

Sat., 31 Dec., 1955:

“Met Mr. Arnold Friberg, artist, and gave him a two-hour sitting for the painting he is doing of my likeness.

In the afternoon called at the Los Angeles Temple where at the Bureau of Information I interviewed Brother A. Merlin Steed.  He would like to have an allowance of $300 to cover his rent and automobile expense.  His counselors would like to have an amount to cover their automobile expense.  I made no promise on the latter, but promised Brother Steed $300 a month for being President of the Los Angeles Temple Mission, Director of the L.A. Temple Bureau of Information, and Superintendent of the grounds surrounding the Temple.

I also permitted four hundred persons to go through the Temple in two groups.  The Temple was closed to tourists at 12 o’clock today, but when I learned that all these people were milling around the grounds, disappointed, some of whom were from New York and Texas, and that they would never have another chance to see the Temple, I gave permission for them to go through.  Brother Steed and Brother Bowring concurred in this decision.”

Wed., 4 Jan., 1956:

“January 4, 1956

Telephone Conversations, Wednesday, January 4, 1956.

Telephone Conversation with President Benjamin L. Bowring, Los Angeles Temple.

I called President Benjamin L. Bowring by telephone, and asked him if there is a sign in the ‘washing and anointing’ room which reads ‘washing and anointing.’  President Bowring said, ‘Yes.’

I asked President Bowring what effect this sign had on nonmembers who visited the Temple.  President Bowring said that he hadn’t heard any reaction.  He also stated that he had questioned the matter, but the sign has been there ever since they started taking people through.

I asked President Bowring if this sign could be taken down.  I felt that it might arouse curiosity which would not be satisfied and let imaginations run wide.  President Bowring stated that he thought it was a good idea to remove the sign and that he would have it taken down immediately.  I told him that they could look at the room as they do the other rooms.

President Bowring then said there were people waiting to go through the temple at 7 o’clock this morning.  A crowd is scheduled to go through the temple about every seven minutes.  There were a few less people yesterday which was possibly due to the holiday and the return of children to school.

I asked President Bowring if they were allowing small children to go through the temple.  He stated that the age limit is twelve years of age.  I asked him to watch this carefully.

He stated that everything is going forward in an orderly manner.

I told President Bowring that I understood they are not giving the crowd an opportunity to ask questions in a room designated for this purpose.  I asked him why they had discontinued it.  President Bowring said that it seems they are losing a missionary opportunity, but the Stake Presidents felt that it could not be done.  They have now provided some booths on the grounds where people can go and ask questions.  Of course, this will not be possible when it rains.  The people are invited to go to these points to inquire about anything they question.

I asked him if they had put some chairs in the waiting room of the Bureau of Information.  He said there is just a bench down the middle of the room.  He said that groups are readily moved out of the Bureau.  I instructed President Bowring to have Brother Steed put more chairs in this room.

Telephone Conversation with President ElRay L. Christiansen of the Salt Lake Temple.

I called President ElRay L. Christiansen of the Salt Lake Temple with regards to a letter we had received from Elder Lewis R. Anderson, Manti, Utah, President of the Manti Temple.

President Anderson had written stating that in accordance with the new recording system adopted for the Los Angeles Temple, he would like permission to discontinue indexing for the dead at the Manti Temple.  I asked President Christiansen what was meant by the new recording system.  It was President Christiansen’s belief that President Bowring had meant the discontinuing of indexing with reference to the dead.  However, the Salt Lake Temple has not changed their system in any way even since Brother Bowring had made mention of this fact.  Brother Bowring felt that it was not necessary to index for the dead.

I asked President Christiansen who handled the indexing of these names in the Salt Lake Temple.  He said that their Recorder, Brother Dan K. Hansen, was directly in charge of this work.  A Brother Alcin M. Jacobsen also works in this capacity.

President Christiansen stated that he had not made a study of this phase of the work, and that he would like to give it some study before he could say whether or not it was unnecessary to make these recordings.

President Christiansen stated that he had told Brother Bowring that he may have a greater understanding of this phase of the work than he did, but President Christiansen said that he would continue with this indexing for the dead until he received notice to do otherwise.

President Christiansen had understood that Brother Bowring had received permission to discontinue this part of the work from the First Presidency.  I told him that he had not obtained permission from the First Presidency as we did not know anything about the matter until the letter from President Anderson had drawn it to our attention.

I asked President Christiansen if the other temples were indexing for the dead.  He said that he was sure that they were.  They had done it at the Logan Temple when President Christiansen was there.

President Christiansen called me by telephone a little later.  He stated that he had discussed the matter we had previously talked about over the telephone with regards to the indexing of names for the dead with the Recorder, Brother Dan K. Hansen, who confirmed President Christiansen’s understanding received from Brother Bowring.

President Christiansen stated the brethren at the Salt Lake Temple felt they would like to continue indexing names for the dead as they feel it is a safeguard.  He said they are recorded in the Archives at the Genealogical Office which gives a double check.  This information at the temple is available to the public.  Brother Bowring probably feels that it is unnecessary to index the name in the temple as well as the Genealogical Office.  President Christiansen said they would prefer to continue indexing the names as this record is then at their fingertips at all times.

Later, I again called President Christiansen on this same matter.  I also talked to Brother Dan K. Hansen, Recorder of the Salt Lake Temple.

Brother Hansen said they index names of work done for the dead, and that in a very few moments they can determine the name, the date, etc. regarding the work that has been done.  The family group sheet is returned to the Genealogical Society.  This original family group sheet is returned from the Genealogical Society to the patron, and the Genealogical society keeps a copy of it.  The Genealogical office also makes a microfilm of these sheets.  They send one copy of the microfilm to the temple, and they are filing these films in the Archives in the basement of the Temple Annex.  The other microfilm is kept at the Genealogical Society Office.  Brother Hansen stated that they keep the indexing records, etc. in the Archives in the basement in the Temple Annex.  The Temple does not keep the information as to who did the work for the deceased person, but this information can be obtained at the Genealogical Office.  Brother Hansen felt that in years to come it would take some time to find a name on the microfilm, whereas it could be found in just a few moments in the index book.  The index refers them to the volume and page, etc. giving information needed.  In finding a name on the microfilm, a person would have to know the approximate date in order to find the name.

President Christiansen and Brother Hansen both feel that they would like to continue the method of indexing the names of work done for the dead.”

Thurs., 5 Jan., 1956:

“Also called Brother Edward O. Anderson, architect at the Los Angeles Temple, regarding employees for garden work at the Temple, and also regarding appointment for Cecil B. deMille to visit the Temple.

Thurs., 5 Jan., 1956:

Telephone Conversation with Brother Edward O. Anderson, Los Angeles Temple.

I called Brother Edward O. Anderson at the Los Angeles Temple.  I told Brother Anderson to get together with Brother Jacobsen and Brother Steed and decide on some men who could help on the garden work.  After their conference together, I asked that they send their recommendations to me and some suggestive names of men to do the landscaping, and to suggest a fair salary to pay each of them.  I told Brother Anderson that we should rather them decide on this as they are handling some of the union men on the temple and could probably help us out more in this regard.  I said that they would know when to dismiss some of the men and employ others.  I also told Brother Anderson that we should await his recommendations and then tell Brother Steed what to do.

I also discussed with Brother Anderson the fact that as yet we had not taken Mr. Cecil B. deMille through the Los Angeles Temple.  I told Brother Anderson that I should like him to accompany us through the temple with Mr. deMille and his party because he could give explanations that I could not give.  I told him that we should not go through the regular tour with other people.  Then said I would meet him and Mr. deMille and party at the Los Angeles Temple on Friday, January 13, 1956 at 1:30 p.m. at which time we would take Mr. deMille and his party through the temple.  I told Brother Anderson that I would write to Mr. deMille regarding this appointment.  If Brother Anderson does not hear anything further from me, we shall have the appointment at that time.

Brother Anderson asked if he should say anything to Arnold Friberg, and I told him that I thought not.

Brother Anderson told me that the font will be finished this week, the tile will be set, and all details will be completed.

Brother Anderson also stated that he would like to make a recommendation for a few men to help clean up during the nights.  Some of the men are working fourteen hours a day.  Brother Anderson thought that two more men would be sufficient, and he would like them on Brother Jacobsen’s payroll.  Brother Anderson also stated that they are keeping the temple in excellent shape even though there are crowds going through it each day.

I told Brother Anderson that I had suggested they take the sign down in the Washing and Anointing Room.  Brother Anderson said that he took this sign down yesterday.”

Fri., 6 Jan., 1956:

“Also wrote a letter to Mr. Cecil B. deMille of the Paramount Pictures Corporation, Hollywood California, and made arrangements to meet him and his party at the Bureau of Information, Los Angeles Temple site January 16, at 1:30 p.m.  In accordance with a personal request of Mr. deMille, we shall escort him and his party through the Los Angeles Temple.”

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


Sat., 14 Jan., 1956:

“At 4 p.m. went to the Salt Lake Temple where I went over the temple ceremony in the master book and also the various parts used by those taking part.  Gordon Hinckley who is getting a book ready for the Los Angeles Temple called my attention to minor discrepancies between the master book and the parts used by the various participants.  Found that a few errors have been made in re-typing the parts.”

Trip to California

January 15 to January 19, 1956

January 15, 1956 (Monday)

Left this evening via Union Pacific for California, Sister McKay accompanying me.  Brother Murdock, as usual, was at the train to assist with baggage and to check on reservations.  Members of the family drove us to the station.

January 16, 1956

The train was 45 minutes late arriving in Riverside, California where we were met by Bishop Ferrin C. Christensen, who drove us immediately to Emerald Bay.  Without even taking our suitcases out of the car, Sister McKay and I left for the Los Angeles Temple.

We arrived at the Los Angeles Temple at 1 o’clock.  Soon thereafter I held a meeting with Brother A. Merlin Steed and his counselors, at which time they reported that last Saturday over 16,000 people went through the Temple, and that to date (including this morning) a total of 190,770 persons had gone through the Temple, and there are 29 days yet to go!

At 1:30 p.m., according to an appointment previously made by letter, I met Mr. Cecil B. deMille and his party, whom I had promised to take through the Temple personally.  The following constituted the group who went through:

Cecil B. deMille

Joseph W. Harper – Mr. deMille’s son-in-law

Mr. deMille’s staff at the studio:

Donald Hayne

Donald MacLean

Henry Noerdlinger

Berenice Mosk

Brother Edward O. Anderson and I took this special group between two other regular groups.  The group coming back of us was held up ten minutes, but they overtook us, and waited again for us, because we took our time.  Brother Edward O. Anderson explained features regarding dimensions, building materials, and costs, which added to the interest of the tour.

Following the tour, the group expressed themselves as being very much interested.  Mr. deMille said, among other things, ‘Well, President McKay, in building this great Temple, you have made the motion picture ‘The Ten Commandments’ seem insignificant.’  He was impressed with every feature.  When we said goodbye, he said, ‘I shall never forget this experience; to have the privilege of going through with you personally was a great favor.’  In reply, I said to the group:  ‘I esteem it a privilege to take Mr. deMille and his companions through this Temple, and I want you to know that I esteem Mr. deMille as a true nobleman; a great soul.’  Sister McKay afterwards said that when I said that, Mr. deMille dropped his head and tears came to his eyes.

I was very much thrilled with this tour of the Temple, and I think much good was accomplished by this visit.”

Trip to California

January 15, 1956 to January 19, 1956

(Report given by President McKay at Council Meeting – January 19, 1956)

“Sunday evening, January 15, he and Sister McKay left for Los Angeles.  Was at the Los Angeles Temple Tuesday afternoon, where he met with members of the executive committee of the stake presidencies and discussed temple matters.  There were present Presidents Noble Waite, John M. Russon, Howard W. Hunter, Hugh C. Smith; President Benjamin L. Bowring of the temple, Brother A. Bent Peterson, recorder at the temple, and Brother Edward O. Anderson.  Considered many important matters pertaining to the present pre-visits that are being made, and matters pertaining to the dedicatory services.  The President said that those brethren have accomplished and are accomplishing a great work.

Among other things, Brother Waite announced that all commitments made regarding contributions to the temple, which began with one million dollars, will have been completed before March 11, and will amount to $1,648,613.87, and they feel very well about it and are proud of it.

The President said that on the day that he was there they had had 21 days of pre-visits.  There had been through the temple up to that day 190,770 people.  On Wednesday morning when the President went out there again they had had over 200,000, and were just half through.  A number of applications for baptisms have been made.  Prominent groups are going through.  The Wednesday morning the President was there, the Security Trust Company bank officials and clerks came early in the morning so that they would be through in time to go back and open the bank for work.  They seemed to be very much pleased, and esteemed it a great privilege to go through.

A company of Jewish people especially expressed their gratitude, and said, ‘To whom are we indebted to let us go through this temple and enjoy this experience?’  The President said of course there are some unpleasant things arising in connection with it.  He said that when 10,000 people are handled in a day, there is bound to be more or less of confusion.  All in all, they are doing a wonderful work.

The President said he asked them in their conference on Tuesday to tell him confidentially how things were going.  Some misunderstandings had arisen that have been ironed out, and the marvel is that they are doing such excellent work.  One individual, who had gone through with a company, asked Brother Paul Iverson, after he came out, ‘How much do you pay all those workers who are guiding those thousands of people?’  Brother Iverson told him, ‘Not a cent.’  He said he had never heard of such a thing.  The President said he was thrilled with the crowds that are still continuing, and with the marvelously efficient manner in which they are going through the temple, and the reverence shown the building.  He thought that by February 18, when it will be closed to visitors, we will have had over a half million people visit it.

On Wednesday morning when the President returned to the temple he said he had another conference with Brother Steed regarding the publicity committee.  The telephone messages and correspondence coming from various parts of the United States to the Bureau of Information there will be directed to Brother Hugh C. Smith, who is chairman of that committee, and he will consult our Committee here.

The President said it was recommended that we have the same official photograph taken of the exterior and other places sent up here to Brother Gordon Hinckley so that the photographs that are given out will be worthy of the temple.  Other than that, details of the publicity will be in the hands of the committee.

January 15 to January 19, 1956

Los Angeles Temple Committee


Called by President David O. McKay

January 17, 1956

Purpose of Meeting:

Complete plans for the Dedicatory Services of the Temple and establish policies for the conducting of these services and for the present and future operation of the temple.

Presiding:  President David O. McKay

Opening Prayer:  President Hugh Smith

Those Present:

President David O. McKay President Howard W. Hunter

President Noble Waite President Benjamin L. Bowring

President Hugh Smith Elder Edward O. Anderson

President John Russon Elder A. Bent Peterson

President McKay highly complimented the Brethren of the Temple Committee for their excellent service in the erection of the temple and the planning and execution of the previewing of the building now going on.

President Noble Waite, Chairman of the Los Angeles Temple Committee, presented to President McKay some recommendations from the Temple Committee for his consideration.  The following was approved by President McKay and the members of the Temple Committee:

Dedicatory Services:

A survey shows 9371 seats including the basement, or 6000 seats without the basement, available; thus eight dedicatory services are to be held for the Los Angeles Temple District, beginning Sunday, March 11, and continuing through Wednesday, March 14.  Basement seating is to be used for the Sunday services only.  One service is to be held Thursday, March 15, for the Church generally.

Priority of invitations are to be given to the members of the Los Angeles Temple District.

Third Floor Seating for March 11, to be reserved to accommodate:

The General Authorities of the Church and their wives

Stake Presidencies, Clerks, High Councils, Bishoprics and their wives of the Los

Angeles Temple District

California Mission Presidency and California Mission Branch Presidencies and their wives

District Presidencies and their wives

General Presidencies and General Superintendencies and their wives or husbands.

The services are to be televised in the building.

Services:  Conducted at: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

  2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

To avoid congestion, no one is to enter the temple area for the second service each day before 1:00 p.m.

All baptized members who can qualify for a temple recommend are eligible to receive an invitation to attend a dedicatory service.

After Sunday, each service is to be assigned to designated stakes.

A souvenir program is to be issued.  A committee in Salt Lake will work out the details.


The Mormon Choir will furnish the music for the Sunday services.  Only choir members who can qualify for temple recommends will be eligible to participate.  After Sunday, the music will be furnished by the stakes assembled for the service.  The songs to be sung will be designated by President McKay.  The same songs are to be sung in each service.  President McKay will notify the Temple Committee of the songs selected.


A committee is to be appointed by The First Presidency to correlate with the Invitation Committee of the Temple Committee in the distribution of dedicatory invitations, so allocation of seats may be made available to outside visitors.  If extra tickets are available for services appointed to stakes of the Los Angeles Temple District, properly recommended members may apply for such.

Public Relations:

A committee consisting of President Hugh Smith, Chairman, and President Howard W. Hunter, President John Russon, and Elder Ned Redding were appointed to act under the Los Angeles Temple Committee in public relations.  All requests for information, public relations, and press releases concerning the temple are to be referred to this group.  Brother Ned Redding is to act as contact man with the public press.


The opening date of the Temple for Endowment work is indefinite.  It will be announced later.

For the present, the boundaries of the Los Angeles Temple District are to remain as originally defined.

All General Authorities and their wives attending the dedicatory services are to make their own arrangements for accommodations with the exception of Sunday, March 11, at noon.  A luncheon will then be served to them under the direction of the Temple Committee.

First consideration is to be given the members of the Los Angeles Temple District in attending the opening endowment sessions of the Temple.

Church standards in issuing temple recommends are to be strictly adhered to.

President Noble Waite stated that pledges amounting to $1,648,613.87 will be fully paid by the time of the dedication.

Benediction:  President Noble Waite

Approved:  _______________________

President David O. McKay


President Noble Waite

A. Bent Peterson, Secretary”

Mon., 30 Jan., 1956:

‘Telephone Conversation with Elder Henry D. Moyle – Re: Los Angeles Temple.

I called Brother Henry D. Moyle by telephone at 1 p.m.  I asked him if he and Brother Kimball had given any instructions to Brother Noble Waite, Chairman of the Los Angeles Temple Committee, regarding the printing of a card of admittance to the Temple dedicatory services.

Brother Moyle said that neither Brother Kimball nor he had given any such instructions; that the Committee down there had assumed that responsibility from previous meetings that I had held with them.  I answered that I had not given them authority to do this; that these tickets will have to be prepared here; that the two sessions Sunday would be under our jurisdiction.

Brother Moyle explained that the tickets were mailed to Brother Kimball by President Waite, and that he knew Brother Kimball had not discussed the matter with the Committee at all.  He said further that they want a souvenir program for distribution, but that matter has not been decided.

I said that at least 50,000 of these tickets will have to be printed, and that we should have to appoint a committee to take care of this matter.  I told Brother Moyle that I thought they had performed their assignment very well, and that if we give this additional assignment to them, we shall have to appoint someone to assist them.  Brother Moyle said that he knew of no one that would be better than Brother Gordon Hinckley; that he had had experience in Bern at the Swiss Temple dedication.  Elder Richard L. Evans was mentioned as one who could assist, but Brother Evans has a heavy assignment at the present time.

It was decided that the printing of the tickets will be left with the Committee.  Brother Moyle said that Brother Kimball seemed to be very anxious that the tickets designate the door and the room to which the holder would be admitted, thus avoiding a lot of confusion.  I answered that this would be left in the Committee’s hands.”

Tues. 31 Jan., 1956:

“At the meeting this morning I reported that I had spent yesterday afternoon considering the Los Angeles Temple Dedication, and that I had worked out a program which I submitted for approval at this meeting.

The brethren approved the program as submitted, with the suggestion, however, that consideration might be given to the matter of making substitutions for counselors in the Presiding Bishopric.

Card of Admission, Los Angeles Temple dedication

I mentioned that Pres. Noble Waite had submitted a card of admission, which is really a card of invitation.  It was decided that The First Presidency will arrange for the preparation of this card.

Consideration was given to publicity on the Los Angeles Temple – Elders Mark E. Petersen, Richard L. Evans and Gordon Hinckley were called in to the meeting to discuss these matters.  Inasmuch as there are twenty-one radio stations and eight television stations in Los Angeles, the Committee feel the need for some expert help and wondered if they might ask Brother Ivor Sharp to help with the radio and television matter and perhaps call on other men for assistance from KSL.  This request was granted.”

Thurs., 2 Feb., 1956:

“Los Angeles Temple dedication

At the First Presidency’s meeting this morning I read, for the information and suggestions of the Brethren, a draft of a letter I have prepared to go to President Bowring of the Los Angeles Temple giving information regarding the Los Angeles Temple dedication as follows:

1.  Dedicatory services to consist of eight sessions

2.  Preference to be given to officials and members within the Temple district

3.  Tickets of admission required for admittance

4.  Provisions to be made for many people outside the Temple District to attend the service if they desire

5.  All members outside of the Temple District should have their admission tickets before going to the Temple, the surest day for their obtaining admission to be Wednesday, Mar. 15

6.  Members outside to write to the office of The First Presidency and ascertain whether or not seats would be available

7.  All members in California, including northern California, should communicate with their respective stake or mission presidents who will have the responsibility of distributing tickets to their constituent members.  People coming from distances must make their own arrangements for tickets and accommodations

8.  Members outside of California recommended by their bishops as being worthy to attend should communicate with The Office of the First Presidency and will be assigned seats as far as available.

(Notice to appear in newspaper regarding item 8)

Thursday, February 2, 1956

      Items taken up at Council Meeting

President McKay Discusses Matters Pertaining to the Los Angeles Temple at Council Meeting, February 2, 1956.

President McKay, referring to the Los Angeles Temple dedication, said that Brother Frederick Davis, manager of the Mormon Choir in Los Angeles, had accepted the invitation for the Choir to furnish the music Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon, and he reports that nearly the entire membership of the Choir can get recommends to go to the temple.  Sister Ewan Harbrecht will sing a solo, ‘Bless This House,’ at the morning session, and also at the afternoon session.  Brother Davis reports that a personal invitation has been sent to her and she will be delighted to do this.

President McKay stated that the Brethren of the Council would be notified as to the sessions when they would be expected to speak; that each member of the Twelve will speak at one of the sessions between Sunday afternoon and Wednesday night.  He mentioned that he felt the Wednesday afternoon session would conclude the services; that, however, that matter will be finally determined when further word is received from the Committee on seating.

Elder Henry D. Moyle said that there seems to be some question as to whether or not the original figure of 6077 will have to be reduced by 400; that, in other words, they had received word that fire regulations will only permit the seating of 2600 in the main assembly room instead of 3000, as had been originally expected.  He will look further into this situation.

The First Presidency will await Brother Moyle’s report on this matter.

Elder Harold B. Lee raised a question for the benefit of the Committee on Transportation and Arrangements as to whether the Brethren of the Authorities who are not to be assigned to speak or take part in the services will be at liberty, and whether it would be the wish of the First Presidency, that they plan to return home on Monday.

President McKay answered that these Brethren may use their own judgment as to when they return home; that it is not necessary for the Brethren and their wives to attend all the sessions, excepting that the people in the Temple District who will be attending sessions Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, will of course be very happy to see the Brethren of the Authorities there; that, however, if they felt it necessary to return home they will be at liberty to do so.

In answer to a question from Elder LeGrand Richards as to whether provision will be made for Saints in this area to attend the dedicatory services on one of the days, President McKay said that it is the intention to send a letter to the president of the Los Angeles Temple informing him of the program, and sending to him the names of the stakes who will constitute the audience in each session.  In this letter will be a statement to the effect that all members of the Church outside of the temple area should have their tickets before they go to the temple, and that the surest way for them to obtain a seat will be to attend the sessions on Wednesday, March 14.  Members outside of California desiring to attend, who can be recommended by their bishops, may obtain tickets by communicating with the Office of the First Presidency, or writing directly to the Committee on Seating Arrangements — Elder Spencer W. Kimball, Chairman; Elder Henry D. Moyle, Associate Chairman; Elder Alma Sonne, Committee Member; and Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, Secretary.

Elder Richard L. Evans reported that with the approval of the First Presidency Brother William Walsh had been asked to serve as public information officer in Los Angeles, working with Brother Mark E. Petersen’s committee and the committee in Los Angeles, headed by President Hugh C. Smith, so that all radio, magazine, newspaper, and wire services will be directed to Brother Walsh.  He also stated that there is a staff of ten or twelve people here preparing material to be sent to Brother Walsh.

President McKay mentioned that he telephoned to President Noble Waite, telling him that the Brethren here would print all tickets of admission, and forms are now being made up for that purpose.  These tickets will be sent by the Committee to the presidents of the stakes, and each president will have the responsibility of distributing the tickets for the particular sessions.

Tues., 7 Feb., 1956:

Telephone Calls

“1.  Brother A. Merlin Steed called from the Bureau of Information of the Los Angeles Temple and asked that another supply of the pamphlets ‘The Purpose of the Temple’ by President McKay be sent to them.  He thinks 100,000 should be printed.  Said that he cannot keep a supply on hand; that there is a great demand for them.  To date 100,000 have been distributed and they have not yet found one thrown down – that the people really appreciate having this pamphlet.  Said that yesterday they expected 10,000 people, but 14,000 were shown through the Temple.

Later, President McKay said that he wanted to re-write parts of the pamphlet – that he was not entirely satisfied.  He therefore instructed that only 25,000 be printed at this time, though Brother Steed asked for 100,000.  (cm)

Thurs., 9 Feb., 1956:

Following this meeting looked over the pamphlet ‘The Purpose of the Temple’, and made a few changes in it.  We then called Tom Monson of the Deseret News and gave him permission to print 125,000 more of these to be sent to the Los Angeles Temple as soon as possible.”

February 9, 1956

(200,000 of these passed out to visitors at the Los Angeles Temple)


of the



President David O. McKay

From remarks made at the dedication of the Swiss Temple,

and other sources

Published by

The Church of Jesus Christ

of Latter-day Saints



      President David O. McKay

From remarks made at the dedication of the Swiss Temple, and other sources

One of the principal questions asked by reporters, newsmen and by people generally is, ‘What is the difference between your Temple and your other church edifices?’  As all members of the Church know, the answer is that Temples are built for the performance of sacred ordinances – not secret, but sacred.  A Temple is not a public house of worship.  It is erected for special purposes.  Indeed after a Temple is dedicated only members of the Church in good standing may enter.

One of the distinguishing features of the restored Church of Jesus Christ is the eternal nature of its ordinances and ceremonies.  For example, generally in civil as well as in church ceremonies, couples are married ‘for time’ only, or ‘until death dost thee part.’  But love is as eternal as the spirit of man; and if man continues after death, which he does, so will love.

This interests nearly every intelligent inquirer and investigator, especially when he or she realizes the truth, that love – the divinest attribute of the human soul – will be just as eternal as the spirit itself.  So whenever any person dies, the virtue of love will persist, and if any inquirer believes in the immortality of the soul, or in the persistence of personality after death, he must admit that love will also persist.

Logically, there follows another question:  Whom shall we love in the next world?  In response to this question, an American woman whom, with her husband, I met many years ago on a journey in the South Seas, replied, ‘We should love everybody.’  ‘Yes’ I replied, ‘we should also love everybody here.’  That is the injunction of the Savior, to love our neighbor as ourselves.  But if earthly things are typical of heavenly things, in the spirit world we shall recognize our loved ones There and know them as we loved them Here.  I love my wife more than I can love other people.  I love my children.  I can have sympathy; I can have a desire to help all mankind, but I love her by whose side I have sat and watched a loved one in illness, or, perhaps, pass away.  Those experiences bind heart to heart, and it is a glorious thought to cherish that death cannot separate hearts that are thus bound together; for each of you husbands will recognize your wife in the other world, and you will love her There as you love her Here, and will come forth to a newness of everlasting life in the resurrection.  Why should death separate you when love will continue after death?

It should not, and it need not, for when Jesus was upon the earth he told his Apostles: ‘And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven:  and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven:  and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’  (Matthew 16:19)  And with the restoration to earth of the Holy Priesthood, the Church asserts that this power was again given to chosen men, and that in the house of the Lord where the marriage ceremony is performed by those who are properly authorized to represent our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the union between husband and wife, and between parents and children, is effected for time and all eternity, and that for those thus married the family will continue into the eternities.

That is one purpose of Temples.

There is another purpose – not so easily understood by inquirers until they get a glimpse of the justice of God or until we ask them:  Do you think that a just God would require me to conform to certain principles and ordinances in order for me to enter into the kingdom of God, and that he would permit you to enter the kingdom of God without complying with those principles and ordinances?’

Those who accept Jesus Christ, our Lord, as the author of salvation:  those who accept his statements – unqualified statements – regarding the necessity of obedience to certain principles, are bound to admit that everybody must comply with certain fundamental ordinances or else nobody need comply with them.  Now that is the plain fact.

We have, as you know, in holy writ, ample evidence that the Savior referred to one Eternal Plan.  For instance, when Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin – a man who had evidently listened to the Savior speak, and who had probably followed him – called on Jesus, impelled by the desire to know what Jesus had which the Sadducees and the Pharisees did not have, and bore his testimony, saying, ‘Master, we know that thou art a teacher come from God:  for no man can do the miracles thou doest except God be with him.’  And then ensured the conversation, in which Nicodemus undoubtedly asked, ‘What must I do?’  And one of the most remarkable statements we have in scripture was given as an answer:  ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.’  And ‘Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old?’  All Christians believe or should believe in the words that Jesus answered:  ‘…Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’  (John 3:2-5)  And that is true.

The words of the Savior to Nicodemus are accepted in their literal sense by faithful members of the Church.  The scriptures make no distinction between the living and the dead.  This law is of universal application, exemption being granted only to children who die in infancy, having no sin to expiate.  To provide a means of salvation for all, facilities are made available in the Temples whereby the living may be baptized in behalf of the deceased.

Evidence that such vicarious work was performed in the early Christian church is found in the words of Paul to the Corinthians:  ‘Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?  Why are they then baptized for the dead?’  (I Corinthians 15:29)  The pseudo-Christian world has stumbled over the meaning of this simple text, and not a few commentators have tried to explain away its true applicability to all mankind of the Savior’s teachings.

To repeat, if baptism is essential for one man, it is essential for all.  Then the question may be asked as was asked by a Chinese student, a graduate of one of our leading colleges, who in conversation with a Protestant minister, said, ‘What about my ancestors who never heard of the name of Jesus Christ?’

‘Oh,’ was the reply, ‘they are all lost.’

The Chinese student’s sense of justice was offended, for he immediately said, ‘I’ll have nothing to do with a religion so unjust!’  Had that Chinese professor, or doctor asked a ‘Mormon’ elder that question, the latter would have answered, ‘They will have an opportunity to hear the gospel, and to be baptized, to be born of the water and of the spirit, that they might also enter into the kingdom of God.’

What about your great, great ancestors who never have heard of the name of Jesus Christ?  What about the millions who died without having heard his name?  They are all our Father’s children as much as you and I.  Is it the act of a loving Father to condemn them forever outside of the kingdom of God because they have had no opportunity to hear the name of Jesus Christ?

No, it is not.  ‘We believe that. . . all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.’  And we also believe that those who have died without having heard the gospel here in mortality will have an opportunity to hear it in the other world.

Where did Christ’s spirit go while his body lay in the tomb?  The apostle Peter tells us that he went to preach to the spirits who were in prison, who were once disobedient in the days of Noah when the ark was being prepared.  (See I Peter 3:19-20.)  Those who died thousands of years ago were still living in the spirit world, and the gospel was taken to them as it will be taken to all of our Father’s children.

This, then, is another purpose of the Temple.  You may have the opportunity of gathering the names of your ancestors, who, being baptized by proxy, may become members of the kingdom of God in the other world as we are members here.

Since the restoration of this principle and practice, Church members have zealously searched the records of the world for the history of their ancestors that their forefathers might receive vicariously the blessings of the gospel of Christ.  In connection with this work the Church maintains an extensive genealogical organization.

These two great purposes – eternal marriage (binding the family for time and eternity), and opening the door of the kingdom for those who have died without an adequate opportunity to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its essential ordinances – when preached properly, earnestly, and sincerely to the honest-in-heart, will appeal to the justice of those who love the truth.

In addition there is the Temple ‘endowment,’ which is also an ordinance pertaining to man’s eternal journey and limitless possibilities and progress which a just and loving Father has provided for the children whom he made in his own image – for the whole human family.

That is why Temples are built.

God help us to appreciate the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in all-embracing justice and mercy and glorious eternal plan.  The whole purpose and meaning of life is contained in it, with its great saving and ennobling ordinances that will take the individual to his highest possibilities Here and Hereafter with an everlasting association with his loved ones in the presence of God.

I pray with all my soul, that all the members of the Church, their children, and their children’s children – and all men everywhere – may at least glimpse the glory of the House of the Lord, and have wisdom to understand and the strength to apply the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which are eternal and applicable to every person living, in developing that spirituality which will bring peace on earth and good will toward men.”

Tuesday, February 14, 1956.

Telephone Conversation with Brother Edward O. Anderson, Los Angeles, California.

I called Brother Edward O. Anderson pertaining to a letter he had written stating that he was coming to Salt Lake on February 20, 1956.  I told Brother Anderson that I would not be in town on February 20th and asked him if he could come earlier than he had planned.  Brother Anderson said he would come if he could get reservations; he stated that traveling was difficult.  I asked him to arrange to be here at 8:30 a.m., Friday morning, February 17, 1956.

I asked Brother Anderson how matters are at the Temple.  He stated that everything was moving along satisfactorily.  27,000 people viewed the temple yesterday.  I asked him if it had rained yesterday, and he said that they had had good weather.

I then talked to him regarding the seating at the dedicatory services.  I asked him if they had planned to seat people in the celestial room during the dedicatory services.  He stated that they had not planned on seating anyone in any of the sealing rooms during the dedicatory services.  I inquired if 6,000 persons per session could be seated without anyone sitting in the celestial room.  The report had come to us that if this room was not used, the number to be seated at the dedicatory services would be 400 short of the 6,000.  Brother Anderson assured me that they could seat 6,000 without using the sealing rooms.  It had not been planned originally to use these rooms as the people would soil the furniture and soil the carpets.  Under the present arrangement 6,000 can be seated per session.

Brother Anderson stated that they were in urgent need of three engineers, and should have approval for them immediately.  They are leaving the plant at night during the present arrangement and no one cares for it during this period of time.  This is taking a great chance.  He referred me to a letter from President Bowring on personnel.  Three engineers will have to be selected from this area and sent to Los Angeles, as these engineers are not available in the Los Angeles area.  I told Brother Anderson that we would consult him regarding this problem when he comes on Friday morning.”

Wed., 15 Feb., 1956:

“Wednesday, February 15, 1956

Matters pertaining to the Los Angeles Temple Dedication.

Elders Henry D. Moyle and Gordon Hinckley called and discussed matters pertaining to the Los Angeles Temple Dedication.  Brother Hinckley had just returned from Los Angeles where he had met with the stake presidents there and had also gone over the situation with Edward O. Anderson.  He stated that it was entirely feasible to seat 200 people in the Baptistry and the room in the rear.  Brother Hinckley also explained arrangements for admission through the various doors of the Temple to certain sections thereof in connection with the dedicatory services.

He mentioned that provisions could be made for the seating in the opening session Sunday morning of the General Authorities and their families, the general auxiliary executives and their spouses, two hundred special guests, a group of two hundred construction workers (this would include their wives), one hundred and fifty choir members, stake presidencies and clerks, high councilmen and alternate high councilmen, bishoprics, ward clerks, high priests presidencies, presidents of seventies, elders presidencies, stake mission presidents, stake mission secretaries, California Mission presidency, Northern California Mission presidency, mission district presidencies, clerks, branch presidents and elders presidencies, from all thirty stakes.  This would include wives also.  An estimated total of 5,287.

Brother Hinckley said that, if desirable, we could bring into the Sunday morning session stake Aaronic Priesthood committees and auxiliary executives, making a total of 631, or a grand total of 5,908; that, in addition, we could, if considered advisable, accommodate the missionaries of the Northern California Mission and the missionaries of the California Mission.

Brother Kimball mentioned that Brother Edward O. Anderson had given some assurance to the construction workers, and that as a matter of fact had written them a letter telling them that that letter would entitle them to a seat in the Main Assembly Room.

Brother Hinckley said he told the stake presidents in California that, after The First Presidency have decided who should be seated on the Third Floor, we could allocate on a stake basis the tickets which each stake would receive in proportion to the number of applications they may receive.  He said that 50% of the seats are on the Third Floor, 20% on the Second Floor, and 30% on the First Floor.

As to the tickets, they will be marked as to the date, the floor, and the door of entrance, and a floor plan will be printed on the back of the ticket.  Brother Hinckley had mentioned to the stake presidents that, subject to the approval of The First Presidency, a circular letter would be issued to each stake president in the area confirming these items.

The First Presidency suggested that the doors be opened one hour before the services commence.

Brother Hinckley suggested that 200 to 300 chairs could be placed in the Celestial Room if that were considered advisable.  Brother Anderson opposed the use of the Celestial Room for this purpose, perhaps because of the carpet.  It was agreed by the Brethren that, if the Celestial Room were used, a canvas could be placed over the carpet.

President McKay told the Brethren it had been decided to let the grandchildren of the General Authorities, that is, baptized members, attend these services.

In answer to Brother Moyle’s inquiry about permitting the presidency of the Idaho Falls Temple, university presidents, and our Washington congressional delegation to attend the first session, President McKay said that these brethren might be accommodated in that session.  It was also agreed that former presidents of the California Mission should be invited to attend this session.

Brother Hinckley said that the stake presidents in Southern California have suggested that the choir be seated in the seats on the Aaronic Priesthood stand; that the Presiding Bishopric would be seated there also.  This was satisfactory to the Brethren.

Brother Hinckley presented several matters pertaining to television broadcasts.

The Inglewood Cemetery program on KTVT on Sunday, March 4, calls for a full hour program.  Brother Hinckley told them that we had set up restrictions under which they would not be permitted to take their cameras into the Temple; that however photographs of the interior would be made available to them, with no personalities, however, but just the rooms.  The following format was suggested to them:

1.  Choir singing a number.

2.  That they go to the Westwood Ward Chapel for a pick-up of the opening

exercises of the Sunday School with congregational singing, 2 1/2 minute talks and a 15-minute sermonette by one of our people, who can give the story of the 

Church without any restrictions.

3.  Then cut back to the choir just to introduce the Temple setting.

4.  Then have a tour of the Temple as one of the visitors would see it, this to be on 

film, black and white, just showing the various rooms with an explanation given on 

script which we are to prepare.

5.  And then they would conclude with a picture of the choir singing out in front

of the Temple.  In case it rains (this would be prior to the dedication) the choir

could go up into the big room of the Temple where they could be televised.  The 

television would be choir shots only.

The Brethren indicated their approval of this arrangement.

The Arlene Francis Show of NBC wish to present a program about the Temple.  They have agreed to all the restrictions mentioned with the understanding that we would provide someone in New York to appear with Arlene Francis to give a running story.  They want to devote five minutes to the Temple.  Brother Richard L. Evans has suggested Stanley McAllister as the one to appear in New York with Arlene Francis.  It is the understanding that we will take the pictures and we will own the films they make and that they are to use no duplicates.

The Hearst News people telephoned and wanted permission to put on their television news, to go to television stations all over the country as well as their theater news, about two minutes regarding the Mormon Temple in Los Angeles, with about one minute of interior shots.  Brother Hinckley explained to them that we would furnish the film but would not permit their camera man to go into the Temple to take shots further, that we would not want the film floating around the country where someone could later use it indiscriminately.  They said that they thought they could assure us that they could get all the copies back and turn them over to us as far as the interior pictures were concerned.  Brother Hinckley told them that we would want the privilege of approving the accompanying script.  The script is sent out mimeographed to be read by the local announcers.

Brother Hinckley raised the question as to whether the interior pictures of the Temple should be made available to them for television.  They issue their release to perhaps 150 television stations throughout the United States.  The Brethren thought this would be all right.

The Associated Press inquired if they could bring a photographer into the Temple to make pictures of the interior which they would syndicate on their Associated Press wire release picture service.  Brother Hinckley explained to them the same that he had explained to the others, that we have photographs which we have taken that they might use.  These pictures have been given to the Los Angeles Times, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News, the Los Angeles Examiner and the Los Angeles Mirror.

The Brethren could see no objection to making these pictures available for syndicate use by the Associated Press.  They will be copyrighted by the Corporation of the President.

The Brethren discussed somewhat the issuing of tickets to members of the Church outside of the Los Angeles Temple District.  Brother Moyle mentioned that many requests are being received for such tickets and letters with recommends signed by bishops and stake presidents have come into the office.  The Brethren felt that, inasmuch as the signatures of the stake presidents and bishops are on the recommends, that the tickets might be stamped ‘Recommend on file’.

Letter re Those Who Might Attend Dedication

The Presidency suggested that a letter be prepared to go to presidents of stakes in Los Angeles Temple District notifying them that divorced persons need not be cleared by The First Presidency in order to receive admission cards to the Temple Dedication, also that they should be informed that worthy sisters whose husbands are non-members might also be permitted to go to the services.

Invitations to Los Angeles Temple Dedication Services

The Brethren decided that the following key people and secretaries in the Church Offices might be invited to go to the dedicatory services of the Los Angeles Temple as guests of the Church:  Joseph Anderson, Clare Middlemiss, LaRue Sneff, Rowena Miller, Gordon B. Hinckley, George Y. Jarvis, Rulon H. Tingey, Franklin J. Murdock, Fenno B. Casto, Claude Petersen, A. William Lund and Preston Nibley.

Request from Weis Manufacturing Company to Take Pictures in Temple

Letter was read from Royden G. Derrick of the Western Steel Company enclosing a letter from the Henry Weis Manufacturing Company of Elkhart, Indiana, asking if permission might be given for them to take pictures of the installation of materials they have provided at the Los Angeles Temple, which photographs they would wish to use for advertising and promotional purposes.  The Brethren decided that this should not be done.

Suggestion to Extend Time of Pre-Dedication Viewing of Temple

Letter was read from Grant Taggart of Cowley, Wyoming, suggesting that, because of the very fine publicity derived from the pre-dedication visits to the Los Angeles Temple, the dedication of the Temple be postponed several months so that these visits could be continued over a longer period of time.  It was decided to write Brother Taggart expressing appreciation for his suggestion but telling him that we will have to carry out the program as now arranged.”

Fri., 17 Feb., 1956:

“7:30 p.m.  In company with Sister McKay left for Laguna Beach California where I shall try, under doctors orders, to get a little rest before the strenuous days of the Los Angeles Temple dedicatory services.  Took with me several folders of letters, conference papers, and L.A. Temple outlines of programs, etc.”

Sat., Feb. 18, 1956:

“Trip to California – February 17 to February 25, 1956

In company with Sister McKay left for Laguna Beach, California where I shall try, under doctors orders, to get a little rest before the strenuous days of the Los Angeles Temple dedicatory services.  Took with me several folders of letters, conference papers, and Los Angeles Temple outlines of programs, etc., which I shall work on during my stay at Laguna Beach.

Saturday, February 18, 1956

Arrived at Riverside, California at 8:15 o’clock this morning.  We were met by Bishop Ferrin L. Christensen who drove us to Laguna Beach.  Later I had Bishop Christensen drive us out to the Los Angeles Temple where I held a conference with Brother Benjamin L. Bowring, President of the Los Angeles Temple, and Brother Edward O. Anderson, Architect, regarding matters pertaining to the dedicatory services of the Temple.  Bishop Christensen then drove Sister McKay and me back to Emerald Bay where we rested until Friday, February 24.

I had one of the best rests that I have ever had at Laguna — very few telephone messages; no appointments.

I spent some time writing out tentative dedicatory prayer for the Los Angeles Temple, and attended to a little correspondence.

Feb. 19, 20, 21, 23, 1956 – At Laguna Beach

February 24, 1956 (Friday)

Bishop Christensen drove Sister McKay and me to Riverside, California where we caught the train for Salt Lake City at 5:40 p.m.

February 25, 1956 (Saturday)

Arrived in Salt Lake City at 8:15 this morning.  We were met at the station by my son Llewellyn and Brother Franklin J. Murdock of the Church Transportation Department of the Church.

I think my brief respite in California did me some good, as I am feeling much better.

NOTE:  A new book — ‘HOME MEMORIES of President David O. McKay’ just came  off the press.  Llewellyn R. McKay compiled this book from material collected by Clare in some 80-odd scrap books, with some added writings of his own.

(see newspaper clippings concerning this book following)

February 18, 1956

Announcement made of how persons may secure admission tickets to the Los Angeles Temple Dedicatory Services


Means by which members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints not residing in the Los Angeles temple district may be permitted to attend the dedicatory services of that Temple have been announced by the First Presidency.

All such persons are requested to go to their own bishops and obtain from them temple recommends made out for admission to the Los Angeles Temple.  Their recommends are to be signed also by the stake president in the usual way.

The individuals then are to send their recommends to the Church Offices at 47 East South Temple in Salt Lake City, addressed to the Seating Committee in care of Elder Henry D. Moyle of the Council of the Twelve or Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, secretary of the committee.

The recommends must be received at the Church Offices not later than Thursday, March 1, the committee has ruled.  It is requested also that the recommends have written plainly in the upper left-hand corner the address to which the ticket is to be mailed.

On receipt of the recommends, the committee then will mail to the individuals tickets of admission to the dedicatory services indicating the day and the session to which they will be admitted.

Dedicatory services of the Los Angeles Temple are scheduled twice daily, starting at 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., on March 11, 12, 13 and 14.  Doors will be open an hour prior to the commencement of each session.

The announcement appeared also in the Saturday issue of the Deseret News, February 11, 1956.

Deseret news – Church Section, Saturday, February 18, 1956″

February 25, 1956

President David O. McKay of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints arrived home Saturday morning from Los Angeles where he has been for the past week supervising arrangements for the dedication of the Church’s new Los Angeles Temple.  He was accompanied by Mrs. McKay.

Dedicatory services for the new $6 million structure will be held twice daily on March 11, 12, 13 and 14, with an estimated total attendance for the four days of approximately 50,000 people.

A total of 662,401 persons visited the temple during the nine weeks of public tours which ended on Feb. 19.”

Sun., 26 Feb., 1956:

“According to appointment, I met at my office at 9 o’clock this morning Elder Delbert L. Stapley and Brother Benjamin L. Bowring, President of the Los Angeles Temple.  I approved of several matters pertaining in the most part to the personnel of the Los Angeles Temple.

The opening dates of the Temple are set for– Baptisms, March 24–Endowments, April 16.”

Wed., 29 Feb., 1956:

“First Presidency’s Meeting

It was stated that Brother Edward O. Anderson had reported that the cost of the London Temple is running high and it is now estimated that it will cost a million dollars, which is twice as much as was originally anticipated.

February 29, 1956

      Telephone Conversations

  Wednesday, February 29, 1956

Telephone Conversation with Brother Edward O. Anderson, Los Angeles Temple.

I called Brother Edward O. Anderson at the Los Angeles Temple, and asked him if he knew anything about a ‘use tax’ in California.  He stated that he did not know anything about such a tax.  I stated that it was a tax on all property that is imported into California.  I asked Brother Anderson if he knew whether the Buehner Brothers had paid any such tax, or if it is in the contract of those products.  Brother Anderson said that he had not heard anything about it.  He asked me if this question had come up now.  I asked him if he knew if the city had such a tax.  And he stated, ‘No sir’.  I told him that he need not say anything about it until he heard from us again.  He stated that he knew nothing about it either from the city or from the state, nor from any of the contractors.

I asked him if he would make a general inquiry of some of the contractors to see what taxes they have paid without giving any reference to our conversation.  Brother Anderson said that he would call Tom Hodge as he could trust him.  I asked him if Brother Walsh had anything to do with this.  Brother Anderson stated that if he was Purchasing Agent at that time he would.  I told him to check with Brother Walsh to see what he has paid.  Brother Anderson is to let us know confidentially.

Brother Anderson then asked me about a question that has come up on the London Temple.  When Brother Anderson was over in England, he instructed the quantity surveyors to give an estimate of the cost of the temple before we started to build.  Brother Anderson said that this estimate is running very high.  I told him that we had anticipated that it would run high.  Brother Anderson stated that he could make some recommendations which would cut the price considerably.  Brother Anderson stated that he would make his recommendations to the London architects and send them to us in letter form.  If we approve, we can send them on to the architects in London.  He mentioned three specific items where savings could be made:  aluminum roof, cut stone, expensive heating system.  Brother Anderson stated that if they substituted brick for the cut stone, they could save around $100,000.00.  The brick could then be painted a light color.  He stated that we could take the marble out and use wood.  Brother Anderson will send his recommendations, and we will check them over before they are forwarded to the London architects.”

Mon., 5 Mar., 1956:

“At 8 o’clock this morning went over to the KSL TV Station where a television film was made and a recording taken of a minute-and-a-half statement by me regarding the dedication of the Los Angeles Temple.  This television film and recording will be used for a half-hour program to be presented on KSL and other TV stations across the country during the dedicatory services.  – March 11-14, 1956.  (see L.A. Temple dedication March 11-14, 1956)   also see statement on next page.

March 5, 1956

A minute-and-a-half statement for President McKay, to be used for a half-hour television program to be presented on KSL and other TV stations across the country during the Los Angeles Temple dedication, March 11-14, 1956.

In keeping with the inspiration of the Lord to His Servants to erect temples as contributing factors in the consummation of His divine purposes, we wish to express gratitude for the favorable economic and social conditions that have made possible the building, the public viewings, and the dedication of this magnificent edifice in Los Angeles.  It invites all who see it to lift their souls heavenward, adds to the beauty and to the spirituality of the city in which it is built, and stands a credit to the entire Church.

To those who have contributed to the success of this great achievement we express our heartfelt thanks.  To the General Authorities; to stake presidencies and bishoprics, and all members of the Church in the temple area who have so generously contributed both time and money; to the architects, the contractors, the builders, the workmen, to city officials; to the press; to radio and television stations; and to our friends who visited with us reverently during the public showings–to each and all we express sincere appreciation.

This temple of God has been, and will continue to be, increasingly, a blessing to all mankind, for which we again express our gratitude to our Father in Heaven.

Monday, March 5, 1956

Telephone Conversation with Paul Iverson, Los Angeles:

Mr. Paul Iverson of Los Angeles called and stated that Mr. Wright, of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce had called him regarding the luncheon to be held by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce for some of the General Authorities of the Church, Friday, March 9, 1956.

Mr. Iverson stated that it had been reported to him that there would be about a 25-minute program, with speeches, etc. after the luncheon.  The Chamber of Commerce would like to know whether to have an introduction by Mr. Beckman, President of the Chamber of Commerce, and the General Authorities take up the balance of the time, or whether to have Mr. Beckman give an introduction, and two members of the Chamber of Commerce give a little information about the Church.  The members of the Chamber of Commerce might give information that the General Authorities might not care to tell.  I told Mr. Iverson that this is the Chamber of Commerce’s meeting and that we have nothing to do with the program.  They may make the remarks and say whatever they wish.  All we shall do is express appreciation.  Mr. Iverson told me that the Chamber of Commerce would like to have me give a few remarks about the Temple and a little about the Church in California.  I told Mr. Iverson that I was writing a letter today to Mr. Wright giving a little item on each General Authority who would be in attendance at this luncheon.  In addition to listing the General Authorities who would attend this luncheon, I am giving the names and addresses of the Executive Committee in California in the event the Chamber of Commerce would like to invite them.

Mr. Iverson stated that he would send cars to the hotel to pick us up and deliver the group to the California Club.  We will also be escorted to the luncheon, which is scheduled to commence at 12:15 p.m.  Mr. Iverson is also arranging to escort the other six gentlemen to the Rotary luncheon.  This luncheon is scheduled to commence a little earlier than the Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

I told Mr. Iverson that I would know tonight whether or not Brother Benson would be able to attend.  I told him also that I would include this information in the letter to Mr. Wright, and that letter will be mailed this evening.

Mr. Iverson also asked me if I desired any members of my family to attend the dinner Friday evening at the Country Club.  He stated that Brother Jacobsen and Brother Anderson, architect and builder of the Temple, were going to be in attendance at this dinner.  I told him that I thought probably we had better not invite any members of my family to this dinner, that just Sister McKay and I would attend.

Mr. Iverson stated that they would be looking forward to seeing us.

Tuesday, March 6, 1956.

Telephone Conversation with Elder Richard L. Evans:

Elder Richard L. Evans called by telephone.  He stated that the dedicatory television film on the Los Angeles Temple which was prepared by KSL under our direction is planned to be released Sunday, March 11, 1956 at 1 p.m. and at 9:30 in the evening.  The newspapers are going to press with that information.  This film has nothing to do with the dedication of the Los Angeles Temple.  It consists of pre-dedication activities in Los Angeles, etc.  Brother Evans wanted my approval before the newspaper went to press with this information.  I told him that it was all right for them to announce this information.

I also told him that I had learned that somebody had in mind televising the Dedicatory Services and that they were going to give that out.  Brother Evans stated that this was incorrect information; that it was a misunderstanding.  They had not planned to televise the service, but they had hoped to release by radio only from tape the dedicatory prayer and my remarks or address.  This same thing was done in connection with the dedicatory services of the Swiss Temple.  I told him that the dedicatory prayer should not be released until after Wednesday, March 14, 1956.  Brother Evans stated that in Switzerland it came a week later.  I told Brother Evans that the Dedicatory Service is not over until Wednesday night, March 14th.  Brother Evans asked if it would be all right for them to release this radio tape after Wednesday.  I told him that it would be satisfactory for them to do so after Wednesday, March 14, 1956.”

Wed., 7 Mar., 1956:

‘Telephone Conversation, Wednesday, March 7, 1956

Telephone Conversation with President William Noble Waite, South Los Angeles Stake, 8:15 a.m.

2.  President Waite then gave the wonderful news that they are ‘over the top’ on donations to the Los Angeles Temple.  He said that last night they were $6,000.00 over the total amount pledged and that the money is still rolling in and will continue to roll in after the dedication.  I said to President Waite, ‘What an achievement!  You and all the people down there have done a mighty job and have done it well.’  President Waite then remarked that a lot of people thought it could not be done but now our Presidents and Bishops are very happy.  I said, ‘Congratulations, and the Lord bless you all.'”

Thurs., 8 Mar., 1956:

“7:40 p.m. – In company with Sister McKay and members of the family left for California to attend dedicatory services of the Los Angeles Temple.”

March 11 – 14, 1956:

“‘This Temple of God has been, and will

continue to be, increasingly, a blessing

to all mankind, for which we again express

our gratitude to our Father in Heaven.’

      David O. McKay

      Report of Dedicatory Services

            of the

              Los Angeles Temple

                March 11 – 14

            also of



      General Authorities

          and others

            March 8.

March 8 to March 14, 1956

Los Angeles Temple Dedication

Thursday, March 8, 1956

The day was crowded with important consultations and meetings from early morning until 5:30 p.m.  Even following Council meeting in the Temple it was necessary to read and sign dozens of letters, make last-minute preparations for Los Angeles Temple dedication, and hold conferences with some of the brethren.  When I left the office at 5:30 p.m. my suitcases were still unpacked.  My secretary Clare had placed in my brief case all the necessary papers for the dedication – the programs, notes for speeches, and dedicatory prayer.

Finally, we were ready for our departure to attend one of the most significant events in the entire history of the Church — the dedication of the Los Angeles Temple, the twelfth Temple of the Church, and the second to be dedicated by me during my Presidency of the Church.

My counselors – President Stephen L. Richards, and President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. – Sister Richards, 11 members of the Council of the Twelve and their wives, and other specially invited guests were at the Union Pacific Station when Sister McKay and I arrived.  Our train was one hour late, so it was 8:55 p.m. before we were aboard and ready to leave on the Streamliner City of Los Angeles.  All of our children and their husbands and wives and some of the grandchildren who were old enough to attend the dedication were enroute to Los Angeles either by train or automobile.

Many others, including widows of former General Authorities, my secretary, Clare Middlemiss, Joseph Anderson and A. Hamer Reiser, secretaries to the First Presidency; and other secretaries in that office will leave tomorrow evening to attend the dedicatory services.

Friday, March 9, 1956

Arrived in Los Angeles at 9:30 a.m.

We were met at the station by Benjamin L. Bowring, President Los Angeles Temple; A. Merlin Steed, President of the Los Angeles Temple Bureau of Information; Henry D. Taylor, President California Mission; President William Noble Wait, President of the South Los Angeles Stake, and other members of the Los Angeles Temple Committee.

The First Presidency and members of the Quorum of the Twelve divided into two groups to attend two special functions at which Los Angeles civic leaders recognized the contributions of the Church to the Los Angeles area.  The following accompanied me to the California Club where 50 local ranking leaders in business, industry and education gathered as guests of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce to pay their tribute of respect:

President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

President Joseph Fielding Smith

Harold B. Lee

Ezra Taft Benson

Henry D. Moyle

Delbert L. Stapley

Marion G. Romney

LeGrand Richards

President Stephen L. Richards, Elder Spencer W. Kimball, Elder Mark E. Petersen, Elder Adam S. Bennion, Elder Richard L. Evans, and Elder George Q. Morris were likewise entertained by the Rotary Club at the Statler Hotel.

The wives of the General Authorities and more than 600 Latter-day Saint women were entertained by the wives of community leaders at the new Beverly-Hilton Hotel.  Sister McKay gave an address of welcome at this affair.  Sister Belle S. Spafford of the Relief Society was the speaker at this women’s luncheon.

Mr. Arnold O. Beckman, President of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and Mayor Morris Poulson of Los Angeles were speakers at the luncheon given by the Chamber of Commerce.  Mayor Poulson gave a brief welcome.

I responded briefly and stated that more than a million members of the Church were grateful for the way Los Angeles has accepted and cooperated with the building of the Temple.  I said that to appreciate and approve great works in sincerity can be said to be taking part in them, and that in this respect we felt that the people in the Los Angeles area had become a part of the building of the Temple in their community.

Mr. W. Ballentine Henley, President of the Los Angeles Rotary Club paid tribute to the Church and its members at the Rotary Club, and President Stephen L. Richards responded.  I was introduced to Mr. Henley later.

Following the luncheon meeting, I met Sister McKay and we were driven to the Alexandria Hotel where we relaxed and made preparations for the important events ahead.

Saturday, March 10, 1956

Sister McKay and I left the Alexandria Hotel by automobile for the Los Angeles Temple.  At 12 noon we met in the Bureau of Information with all the General Authorities, their wives and families and especially invited guests from Los Angeles and Salt Lake where a buffet luncheon was served.

At the luncheon Mrs. Rosalind Wyman, Los Angeles Councilwoman, presented me with a resolution from the City Council, which read in part:  ‘Whereas the LDS Church has built in the city of Los Angeles a magnificent 90-room temple which is outstanding for its architectural excellence and beauty….

‘Be it resolved that the City Council……….extends welcome to the visiting church dignitaries and congratulates them and the Latter-day Saints of this area who have contributed so much to the cultural and ecclesiastical betterment of this community, upon the dedication of their magnificent temple.’  (see newspaper notes for further detail).

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors referred to the Temple as ‘one of the most outstanding buildings of its kind in the world.’

Following the luncheon all the General Authorities, their wives, and the especially invited guests proceeded to the Temple where we were conducted on a guided tour of the building.

Thus ended the guided tours of the temple ending a two-month period which gave opportunity for nearly 700,000 persons to see the Temple prior to its dedication.  Now the building is closed to all except Church members who received recommends from their ward bishops and stake presidents.

At 4 p.m. we returned to the Alexandria Hotel.  Had dinner at the hotel at 6 p.m., after which I went over the program for the opening session of the Los Angeles Temple dedication.

Sunday, March 11, 1956 (First Day of Dedication)

At 8 o’clock this morning Sister McKay and I left by car for the Los Angeles Temple.  It was a beautiful day, and as we drove into the driveway of the Temple lot we saw throngs of members of the Church waiting in long lines at entrances to the temple.  As we passed through the crowds I shook hands with as many members as time would permit.  We were escorted into the building and up the elevator to the great assembly room where President Stephen L. Richards and President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. joined me at the highest of the three pulpits at the east, or Melchizedek Priesthood end of the room.  At the other end, 264 feet away in the terraced seats on either side of the Aaronic Priesthood pulpits, sat the Mormon Choir of Southern California who furnished the music for the morning and afternoon sessions.

It was a glorious sight to see this great room filled with faithful and reverent Latter-day Saints, all eagerly looking forward to the dedication of the twelfth Temple of the Church.

In attendance at this first session are Members of the General Authorities of the Church and their wives, widows of General Authorities, Secretaries in the office of the First Presidency, Secretary to the President, and other specially invited guests from Salt Lake.  Also Los Angeles Stake Presidencies, clerks, high councilmen and alternates, Bishoprics of wards, ward clerks, presidencies of California and Northern California Missions, Mission district presidencies, presidencies of Melchizedek Priesthood quorums, stake genealogical chairmen and counselors, stake mission presidencies and secretaries, patriarchs, and wives.

It was with a feeling of gratitude to the Lord and a deep sense of the magnitude of the responsibility that was now resting upon my shoulders that I stood up before this vast audience of 6500 Church members.

The Opening Song by the Choir was ‘The Morning Breaks; the Shadows Flee.’  Their singing was inspirational and excellent.  It touched and thrilled the heart of everyone who listened.  The invocation was offered by Elder Eldred G. Smith, Patriarch to the Church, following which the Choir rendered ‘Joseph Smith’s First Prayer.’

I then gave an address of welcome, after which I called upon President William Noble Waite of the South Los Angeles Stake to give a short talk on the interest and united efforts of members of the Church in the Temple District.  His talk was followed by addresses from President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. and President Stephen L. Richards.

Miss Ewan Harbrecht who was present at the Swiss Temple Dedication last fall then rendered the solo ‘Bless This House’.  Her beautiful voice and sincerity thrilled the audience.

In my address I read to the audience three messages – one from the Los Angeles City Council, one from J. Goodwin Knight, Governor of California; and one from Mayor Norris Poulson of Los Angeles.  (See newspaper clipping for messages).  I then delivered the dedicatory address and prayer.

Following the dedicatory prayer I led the audience in the Hosanna Shout.

The closing song was “The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning’ and ‘Hosanna’ — The audience joined the Choir in spirit and enthusiasm in the singing of this anthem.

Benediction was offered by President John M. Russon, President of the Los Angeles Stake.  (See newspaper clippings following for further detail concerning this meeting.)

Thus ended one of the most significant and impressive dedications ever held in the Church.

President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. returned to Salt Lake this afternoon.  President Richards remained with me throughout the remaining sessions of the dedicatory services.

(There were many tears shed and lumps in throats as President McKay came to the end of his moving dedicatory prayer.)  (note by C.M.)

As we left the magnificent assembly room, we shook hands with the members who formed a pathway for us.  Finally, we reached the tunnel which took us to the Bureau of Information where members of the General Authorities were served a buffet lunch.

Sister McKay and I then retired to a private room where we were able to rest before the 2:30 p.m. session.

2:30 p.m. Session (Sunday, March 11, 1956)

At 2:20 p.m. Sister McKay and I returned to the Los Angeles Temple Assembly Room on the third floor where about 2700 persons were assembled.  The balance of the 6000 persons in attendance at this second session of the dedicatory services as at the morning session were seated in the ordinance and sealing rooms, in the chapel, the cafeteria and in many of the broad, carpeted corridors.  Fifty television sets operating on a closed circuit set carried the proceedings to them.

As was the case at the morning session, a beautiful, reverential spirit pervaded the room as I arose to conduct the second session.  The people’s hearts were full as they participated in the dedicating of their Temple of the Lord.

The opening song by the Mormon Choir of Southern California was ‘An Angel From on High’, with Elder Frederick Davis as the Director, and Karleton Driggs accompanist.

The invocation was offered by Elder Henry D. Taylor, President of the California Mission.

The Choir then sang ‘I Know That My Redeemer Lives’.

The following brethren addressed the audience:  President Joseph Fielding Smith, Elder Ezra Taft Benson, and Elder Harold B. Lee.

Ewan Harbrecht, soprano soloist, spoke the prayer that was in the thoughts of those present in her rendition of “Bless This House.’

I then offered the dedicatory address and Prayer.

The Hosanna Shout was led by President Stephen L. Richards.

The Choir and the congregation ended this session with the anthem ‘The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning’ and the Choir ended with the anthem ‘Hosanna’.

Elder Benjamin L. Bowring, President of the Los Angeles Temple offered the benediction.

Twelve thousand persons or more have been in attendance at these solemn services today, and it is with thankful hearts that we acknowledge the Lord’s goodness to us for the rich out-pouring of the Spirit of the Lord at today’s sessions.  We are grateful for the faithfulness of the members of the Church in this area.

Note by secretary:

(One of the reporters had this to say about the meetings:  ‘As President McKay stood again to offer his welcome and his gratitude for the tremendous efforts represented in the building, faint sunlight broke through the haze and etched more sharply the geometric patterns of the six ceiling-high windows at each end of the hall.  Never in his five years at the head of the Church had President McKay seemed stronger or more exalted and inspired in his office.  His addresses both at the beginning and end of the services and his offering of the dedicatory prayer had a vigor and depth that belied his years.)

Following the afternoon session, Sister McKay and I were dinner guests of Brother and Sister Paul E. Iverson of Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Country Club.

It was with a feeling of gratitude and deep satisfaction for the blessings of the Lord that Sister McKay and I returned to the Alexandria Hotel where we remained for the evening.  Before retiring, I devoted some study to the program and address for the third session of the dedicatory service.

Monday, March 12, 1956 (Third Session)

At 8 o’clock this morning we left the Alexandria Hotel for the Los Angeles Temple, arriving there at 8:45 a.m.  As we reached the drive-way again we saw long lines of church members from Southern California, as well as many parts of the nation, move to the various entrances to the Temple.  Each held an admission ticket issued by the Bishop of the Ward specifying the entrance to which he or she would be admitted, thus avoiding congestion and confusion.  Every detail had been worked out to perfection by the committees in charge.

When we entered the main assembly room, we found again that every available seat was taken, and the same reverential silence permeated the room.

Members of the Mt. Rubidoux, San Bernardino, and San Fernando Stakes were in attendance at this session.

The singing was furnished by the Mt. Rubidoux Choir.

The opening song – ‘The Morning Breaks; the Shadows Flee’ by Mt. Rubidoux Male Chorus

The invocation was offered by President Hugh C. Smith of the San Fernando Stake.

The choir then sang — ‘Joseph Smith’s First Prayer’

The following were the speakers for this session:

Bishop Joseph L. Wirthlin

Elder Alma Sonne

Elder Spencer W. Kimball

Solo – ‘Bless This House’ was rendered by Sister Adelaide Marsden.

I again delivered the dedicatory address and prayer, after which President Joseph Fielding Smith led the Hosanna Shout.

The Choir with the congregation joining in, sang ‘The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning’ and ‘Hosanna’.

Benediction was offered by President Vern R. Peel, President of the Mt. Rubidoux Stake.

At the conclusion of the meeting, as Sister McKay and I slowly made our way through the long line of people, we stopped to shake hands and exchange words of greeting to as many as possible.

Luncheon was served to the General Authorities and their wives in the Bureau of Information.  We then retired to a room that had been provided for Sister McKay and me so that we could take a short rest before the next meeting.

March 12, 1956 (continued)

2:30 p.m. Session

The stakes in attendance at this session were:  Santa Barbara, Bakersfield, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange County.

The music was furnished by the combined choirs from Los Angeles and San Fernando Stakes, Director, Elder Thomas Giles, accompanist, Elder Karleton Driggs.

Invocation was offered by President Barry P. Knudson, President of the San Diego Stake.

Singing – ‘I Know That My Redeemer Lives’ by the Choir.

Remarks – Elder Clifford E. Young

Remarks – Elder George Q. Morris

Remarks – Elder Mark E. Petersen

Solo – ‘Bless This House’ by Reviss Call, Crafton Call accompanist.

The dedicatory address and prayer – by President David O. McKay.

Hosanna Shout was led by Elder Harold B. Lee.

The choir and congregation then sang ‘The spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning’ – ‘Hosanna’, and the benediction was offered by President Edwin Alan Pettit, of the Bakersfield Stake.

Following the usual greetings and shaking hands with faithful members of the Church who gathered around – little children, mothers, fathers, widows – Sister McKay and I were ushered into the car and driven back to the Alexandria Hotel.

After resting a short time we had dinner and then retired to our room for the evening.

I devoted part of the evening in preparation for tomorrow’s services.  Had my secretary, Clare Middlemiss, type up notes for me.

Tuesday, March 13, 1956

9:30 a.m. session

Left the Alexandria Hotel by car at 8 o’clock a.m.

The services this morning were attended by members from the Inglewood, Redondo, and Santa Monica Stakes.

The combined choirs from these stakes furnished the music.

Opening song – ‘The Morning Breaks; the Shadows Flee’

Invocation – President E. Garrett Barlow, of the Santa Monica Stake

Singing – ‘Joseph Smith’s First Prayer’ – combined choirs

The following Brethren then spoke:

President Stephen L. Richards

Elder Antoine R. Ivins

Elder Adam S. Bennion

Elder Henry D. Moyle

Dedicatory Address and Prayer – President David O. McKay

Hosanna Shout was led by Elder Spencer W. Kimball

Singing – ‘The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning’, ‘Hosanna’, combined choirs and congregation.

Benediction offered by President Austin Gudmundsen, President of the Inglewood Stake.

Following the meeting we were again served a buffet lunch in the Bureau of Information.

March 13, 1956 (continued)

2:30 p.m. session

At 2:30 p.m. we were again in the Assembly Room where every available seat was taken.  Six thousand persons were in various parts of the temple.  President Richards is seated by my side at the head pulpit and several of the General Authorities still remain.  President Clark left Los Angeles immediately following the first session Sunday morning, and several of the brethren of the Twelve have left for Salt Lake City.

The East Long Beach, Long Beach, and Glendale Stakes are in attendance at this Sixth Session.

Singing – ‘An Angel From on High’ was rendered by the combined choirs from the stakes named above, with Elder Wendell Noble director.

Invocation – President Francis M. Zimmerman of the Long Beach Stake.

Singing – ‘I Know That My Redeemer Lives’ – combined choirs.

The following brethren then spoke –

President Joseph Fielding Smith

Elder ElRay L. Christiansen

Elder LeGrand Richards

Elder Delbert L. Stapley

Solo: ‘Bless This House’ by Wendell Noble.

Dedicatory Prayer and address – President David O. McKay.

(Note: by reporter:  ‘President McKay has continued his impressive feat of giving a fresh, different sermon at each session before offering the dedicatory prayer.  He has hardly repeated a word or a thought in the five sermons given through Tuesday morning.’) (cm)

The Hosanna Shout was led by Elder Delbert L. Stapley.

Singing by congregation and choir – ‘The spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning’ – ‘Hosanna’.

Closing Prayer – by President Edwin S. Dibble, Glendale Stake

After spending some time shaking hands with the members, and posing for pictures, we returned to the Alexandria Hotel.

Had my secretary type several pages of notes for the meeting tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 14, 1956

At 8:15 a.m. Sister McKay and I met Sister Clare Middlemiss, my secretary, in the lobby of the Alexandria Hotel, and had Allan Acomb, drive us in the Cadillac to the Los Angeles Temple to attend the closing sessions of the dedicatory services.

Six thousand persons were in attendance, and this seventh session was marked with the same deep spirituality and solemnity that have characterized each previous session.  As the meeting proceeded, men as well as women were unashamed as tears ran down their cheeks so moved were they with the spirit of the occasion, and with the culmination of their efforts in erecting a House of the Lord.

The music for this session was furnished by the combined choirs from Pasadena and East Los Angeles Stakes, with Roland Roskelley, as Director, and Sister Carol Harrison, accompanist.  Six thousand members from the Pasadena, Covina, and East Los Angeles Stakes were in attendance.

The opening song by the choirs was -‘The Morning Breaks; the Shadows Flee.’

Invocation was offered by President Fauntleroy Hunsaker, President of the East Los Angeles Stake.

Singing – ‘Joseph Smith’s First Prayer’ by the combined choirs

Remarks – Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson of the Presiding Bishopric of the Church.

Remarks – Elder Levi Edgar Young

Remarks – Elder Richard L. Evans

Solo:  ‘Bless This House’ – by Brother Ray Wood

Remarks – Elder Spencer W. Kimball

Dedicatory Address and Prayer …….President David O. McKay

Hosanna shout was led by Elder Delbert L. Stapley of the Council of the Twelve.

Singing -‘The Spirit of God Like A Fire is Burning’ by combined choirs and congregation.

Benediction – by President Elden L. Ord, President of Covina Stake.

At the conclusion of the meeting, followed by greeting and shaking hands with hundreds as we left the assembly room, Sister McKay and I, accompanied by Sister Clare Middlemiss, walked through the tunnel leading from the Temple over to the Bureau of Information where a buffet luncheon was served to the General authorities, their wives, and special guests.

Wednesday, March 14, 1956 (continued)

2:30 p.m. Session

At 2:30 p.m. we were again assembled in the Temple for the final and eighth session of the dedicatory services of the Los Angeles Temple.

Six thousand members from the South Los Angeles and Fresno Stakes were in attendance.

The opening song by the Choir was ‘The Morning Breaks; the Shadows Flee’, by the Los Angeles Stake Choir, with Russell V. Peterson, director, and Sister Sabra McLaughlin, accompanist.

The invocation was offered by Elder Lloyd Prestwich, President of the Redondo Stake.

Singing -‘I Know That My Redeemer Lives’ by the choir – beautifully and impressively sung.

Remarks – Bishop Carl W. Buehner, of the Presiding Bishopric.

Remarks – Elder Hugh B. Brown, Assistant to the Twelve.

Remarks – Elder Marion G. Romney

Solo: ‘Bless This House’ by Russell Peterson.

Dedicatory address and prayer – President David O. McKay

Hosanna Shout – led by President Stephen L. Richards

Singing – ‘The Spirit of God Like A Fire is Burning’, ‘Hosanna’, by the choir and congregation.

Benediction – President Howard W. Hunter of the Pasadena Stake.

Notes by Secretary:

The Temple is now completed and dedicated.  The services have been most significant, completely thrilling, and satisfactory in every detail.

President and Sister Mckay remained after the session and as they had done following every session, took the time to shake hands with the hundreds of persons who pressed around them.  Many were satisfied with just a nod from the President if they could not get near enough to shake his hand.  Little children and old people were sought out first by the President.  He noticed one crippled sister who tried to come up the stairs to where he was standing.  He hurried down to where she stood and shook hands with her.

At 5 p.m. President and Sister Mckay, Clare Middlemiss, with Allan Acomb at the wheel drove slowly out of the Temple lot and proceeded to the downtown area and to the Alexandria Hotel where the President and Sister McKay retired to their room for a much-needed rest.

In speaking of the four days and eight sessions of the Los Angeles Temple dedication, the Deseret News reporter had this to say:

‘Now can be told the story of inspiration and grandeur that unfolded during its four days.

‘It was the story of a great Church leader whose strength at 82, was equal to a schedule of speaking and praying that would have exhausted a man half his age.

‘It was the story of 50,000 faithful, sacrificing Church members in attendance whose joy at this culmination of their efforts showed on every face.

‘It was the story of a concentrated course in the meaning and responsibilities of temple work seldom if ever before given on such a scale.’

Upon President McKay’s return to Salt Lake, he gave the following report to the General authorities at their meeting in the Salt lake Temple on Thursday, March 22nd:

He said that he was ‘thankful for the opportunity of attending the Temple dedicatory services.’  ‘I feel’, said the President, ‘that the Lord was with us and was close to us throughout.  I have never been more thankful for the fellowship of the General Authorities generally.  I believe they all appreciated the services.

They have expressed their appreciation by letter and telephone message, and personally in conversation.’  He then expressed his joy that it was decided to take the widows of the General Authorities; that they were exceptionally appreciative, and others as well who had the opportunity of going.

The President concluded his report by saying: ‘The Lord is at the helm.  The Savior is at the head of His Church.  Our great responsibility is to be worthy of his inspiration, and to carry out our duties as He would have us perform them.’

Closeness of Man to Heavenly Beings

At the Monday afternoon (March 12) session of the dedicatory service, President McKay said: ‘It is easy for me to feel that there are others we cannot see who are joining with us in this temple dedication.  On several occasions during dedicatory services, references have been made to the veil between us and our departed ones.

‘It is appropriate to refer to that in the House of the Lord.  Where we have come with singleness of purpose, with clean hands and pure hearts, we think and feel in unity with our Father in Heaven.  It is very easy for me to believe that we are very close to the Other Side.

‘It has always been easy for me to believe the teachings of my home.  And as I read of the Savior speaking to His Father I was impressed that He was speaking to His Father just as I would speak to mine.  To the Savior, His Father was just as close to Him as my father is to me, or your father to you.

‘I feel that there are others who could not be seen that are attending the Temple dedication.

‘Fifty years ago this would be more difficult for us to understand, but, now, with television showing the actions of people thousands of miles away and our hearing a whisper from the other side of the earth, it is easy for me to understand and believe.

‘You who have lost your loved ones, be comforted; they are not far away from you.  The Temple is built so that many who have gone on before and have not entered the Kingdom of God may have the opportunity to do so.’

Because of the above thoughts by President McKay, I am including herewith copies of letters that have been received by President McKay since the dedicatory services of the Los Angeles Temple.  They speak for themselves.

(see copies following — originals in scrapbook, Los Angeles Temple dedication book.)

Note:  Of great interest also is the following copy of the California Legislature Assembly Concurrent Resolution relative to the Los Angeles Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was received at the office April 24, 1956.

March 11-14, 1956


March 14, 1956

Dear President Mckay,

It is very difficult to start out by writing to such a person as you.  The Prophet, Seer and Revelator of our Savior Jesus Christ.  I feel very small in this position, and yet humble, and know that you will understand.

I had the wonderful privilege of attending the second session of the Temple dedication in the Los Angeles Temple, and so I feel that I had to let you know of the wonderful experience that I had while I was there.

Upon hearing the talks of the three wonderful apostles that spoke, I was very impressed and inspired and full of the Holy Ghost, and then this wonderful thing happened to me.  As you were talking just before you gave the Dedicatory Prayer, I was much impressed with a ridge of light that outlined your whole body, and as I watched this light, it gradually left and moved, until it stood on the right hand side of your body.  For the moments that passed, not knowing how many, I watched and studied this figure and you, and then I could see that it was in your exact image, as the tears rolled down my face I continued to watch, not hearing what you were saying, but so impressed at what I saw.  And as the form moved toward you it gradually grew dimmer and dimmer until it completely entered your body, and there again, I could see only you, and another time during your talk, I could actually see people moving in the background, for the vail was very thin, and I knew that the spirits in heaven were rejoicing with us.

This is my testimony president McKay, because it was an answer to many of my prayers, and I will treasure it forever and ever.

May God continue to bless you in his beautiful work is my humble prayer, in the name of his beloved son, Jesus Christ, Amen.



Mrs. Ramona Carlsen

639 Santa Clara Avenue

Alameda, California

March 11-14, 1956

Los Angeles Temple Dedication


March 16, 1956

President David O. McKay

Church Office Buildings

Salt Lake City, Utah

Our Beloved Leader:

I don’t know whether I should be writing this letter to you or not, but because of what happened to me in the Los Angeles Temple I felt I would like to ask someone.  Perhaps if you are too busy to answer you would refer my letter to someone who could.  I guess if all the people who went to the dedication wrote you couldn’t possibly answer all your mail.  I think we all felt so close to you at that time.

We were in the Creation Room.  I think feeling a little lonely away from the main Auditorium when my friend whispered, “Do you feel the presence of Angels?’

I said, ‘No, I guess I am not that spiritual.’

As we were asked not to talk we never said more.  But later she said she felt them come from the right before the services began.  It took away the feeling of not being in the main Auditorium.

As Brother Richards came to the stand to preside over the ‘Hosannahs’ I noticed a man back of where you and Brother Richards sat.  I thought to myself it was reflections or something from the Television, but my attention went back to him.  As you and Brother Richards turned to start the ceremony the person stepped out away from you and I saw him more clearly.  I was startled and my heart pounded furiously as it came to me as I saw him then that it was the Prophet Joseph Smith!

After the ‘Hosannas’ he walked away from you until he was in the center of the screen.  I quickly asked my friend if she could see the man.  She said, ‘Yes, but what is it?’  By then he couldn’t be seen.  As you and Brother Richards were again together at the end of the services, he was there again standing between you as I had first seen him.  Then the cameras were turned on the congregation.

My heart was pounding so heavy I could hardly breathe, and my whole body shaking, inside and out.  I had ‘goose pimples’ and I felt like I wanted to sob or cry.  For about an hour I was shaky, my hands colorless and icy cold.

I’ve prayed since that if it was imagination I would forget or if it was true I had been permitted to see the Prophet I would know.  The picture stays clear and vivid in my mind and I have the burning in my chest I have felt before when I have known something in our Gospel was really true.  I still have such a spiritual feeling with me.

Did I really see him?  If so, should I tell my family or not?  It seems so sacred to me.  My friend told two ladies on the bus who had just been in the session with us which was the last one Wednesday.  I told my daughter, but just don’t know who to tell or if I shouldn’t.

It was such a glorious and wonderful event to me and I feel so humble that I was permitted to see him and it was such an emotional upheavel in me I know it couldn’t have been imagination.

I do hope I can receive an answer to this letter.

May God continue to pour his greatest blessing on you as you are a Great Prophet and leader.

(signed)  Sister Catherine Farey

  637 American Beauty Drive

  Salt Lake City, Utah

March 11-14, 1956

March 19, 1956

President David O. McKay and Counselors

The First Presidency

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear Brethren:

I wish to thank you for making it possible for us to attend the dedication.  Sitting in the Assembly Room Sunday morning and hearing you give such an inspired prayer was a wonderful experience.

Monday afternoon I took my daughter and crippled brother to that session and we were seated in the Creation Room–I wish to relate what transpired there.  As you were giving your opening remarks, to your right six or eight feet, sat President Brigham Young and he remained there some time.  The man next to me did not see him though a boy of nine or ten years in front of me asked his father who the man (Brigham Young) was, but the father saw nothing; however, my daughter and brother saw him.

As you arose to announce Elder Petersen, on the same floor level as the pulpit, sat President George Albert Smith.  When Elder Petersen walked up, he passed in front of President Smith who remained for some time.  When President Smith left, there seemed to be a glow about Elder Petersen’s shoulders.

When you gave the closing remarks, a person whom I have never seen a picture of, stood behind you during your remarks.  This person appeared in full stature, had short white wavy hair and was about fifty years of age, quite tall, slightly round shouldered.  He left just before the Dedicatory Prayer and reappeared when you announced President Pettit would give the closing prayer; he seemed to overshadow President Pettit as he began to close the dedication.  I have never heard President Pettit give such a prayer nor recognized the depth of humility before.

This is the first time anything like this has happened to me and I wonder, should it be discussed with anyone other than our Bishop and President Pettit?  To me, it is a great and glorious event and I know the veil is very thin as you stated that day.

I know the Gospel is true and that God directs you and the Brethren in this great work.  I sincerely enjoy my work in the High Council and pray that I may be a credit to the Stake and the Church.

May God be with you always,


Elden Young

Post Office Box 1563

Bakersfield, Califor.

March 11-14, 1956


March 29, 1956

Dear President McKay:

I know you are a very busy man with the burdens of this great Church upon your shoulders, but I felt you would like to take a few moments to read a beautiful testimony, which seems to me to be one of the most outstanding and significant expressions of faith I have ever encountered.

This morning, I received a letter from a beloved friend in San Diego who attended the dedication of the Los Angeles Temple.  What she describes there so thrilled me that I felt compelled to send it to you for your consideration and enjoyment.

Since it is a personal letter, I am not enclosing the original but have copied for your benefit those paragraphs which pertain directly to the spiritual experience she describes in the Temple.

Perhaps, I should preface these extracts from her letter with a brief introduction of my friend so that you can understand and judge her testimony better by a knowledge of her background.

She is a pure Samoan woman of noble blood.  Her father, Chief Soliai was a High Chief in American Samoa who has been a staunch defender of the gospel in those Islands.  I understand you have been in his home at some time and may recall the family.

Through a sad chain of circumstances, resulting from a tragic marriage to an American Naval officer, Lorraine (her name in Samoan is Noa-Noa) and her eight children were brought to the United States during the war.  Her children during previous years had all been born in Honolulu.  Her story, of course, is too involved to relate here, but this much I do feel you should know.  Through a faith, which I can only describe as superlative, she has triumphed over some of the most bitter and heart-rending trials a woman can experience in this life.  She has been both father and mother to her children, teaching them to meet the problems of life with fasting and prayer and unquestioning acceptance of every experience as part of the plan by which the Heavenly Father schools his children for Eternal Life.  Today, she goes regularly to the Temple and has done considerable research and sealing work for her family that had not been done before.  She is filling her third consecutive call to Stake Missionary work and she and her companion together have brought many entire families into the church.

My acquaintance with Lorraine Cravens dates back many years.  (It was only last summer we left San Diego to stay in Alberta awhile).  I came to know Lorraine as intimately as I know my own sisters, having shared the Spirit of the Lord with her on many occasions, in the Temple, at Conferences, in Stake and Ward meetings or in mutual prayer as we counselled together over a vexing problem.

Knowing the many things which Lorraine has overcome in her life, her intense desire to serve God and atone for past mistakes, and the magnificent, child-like faith which she has developed and sought to instill within her children, it is not hard for me to believe that her spiritual eyes were opened the day of Dedication in the Temple of God.

The following are extracts from her letter, just as she wrote it:

‘. . . Well, my dear, I didn’t expect to attend the Dedication, but it was something like my going to the Temple for the first time.  Two days before the dedication, after fasting and much praying because as usual there were no finances and our little Chevy was about to give up the ghost, the children and I were invited to go with Louise and Dick.  We went up Monday and luckily got in the Assembly Hall where the authorities were presiding.

‘Mildred, there were times I have much desired to see the Savior or some indication of glorious vision, but on this day it seemed just like any other day.  We separated when we got to the Temple.  After shaking hands with elder Sonne, Mark E. Petersen, and elder Kimball, my thoughts turned to you and I wondered if Russell were present among those thousands.  I thought too of some of our converts who were there.

‘Then followed wonderful talks by Clifford Young, Mark E. Petersen and then by President McKay, and the most divine, wonderful music was rendered.  Then President McKay commenced the Dedicatory Prayer, and over his head in the background of that great building it seemed like it was opening up all of a sudden, and Mildred, the Hosts of Heaven came to my view in such arrays and whiteness beyond your whole imagination and in the midst of it all was God the Father and Jesus the Christ sitting on a throne of the whitest of white and surrounding golden materials and more white of its purity, and Jesus on the right hand side.  I saw among the Holy Hosts of Heaven Moses, Abraham, Adam and all the righteous of old and modern times and a glimpse of the Prophet Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and many, many others, and the light and from where they came was Eternity itself.

‘Even as I am writing this I am crying and my very being is trembling from the wonders of it all — that a mere nobody and a sinner like me should behold such a thing!  Even though President McKay said in the beginning of his talk that there were Heavenly Hosts present then and in all sessions Sunday, still it took me completely by surprise and the full impact of the whole vision hit me after we were on our way home.  In the Temple I was just weak and sobbed, and I wasn’t alone in tears.  To be able to gaze into that realm and to see them both!  I vaguely made out Jesus’ countenance but the Father, no.  Yet they were both in that Temple and the most wonderful thing was the appearance of approval for President McKay.  It was so real, Mildred.  His white hair was such a different white from the scene above his head, and he stood there with bowed head, so small, so human in comparison with the Heavenly Beings above him and smiles of approval on their countenances.  I shall carry the memory to my grave.  Why did it happen to me?  I am a weak woman and the things I have done and still do aren’t always in tune with Him …………….. Looking around on all the congregation of saints, there came the full realization of how we are threatened with evil and how small and puny men are and that without His strength we haven’t a chance to survive under the power of the Adversary.  How wonderful if we could always be strong to keep His commandments!

‘Bill couldn’t talk for the longest time outside (her 14-year-old-son).  He went and stood by President McKay’s car and shook hands with him.  When he met me, he said, ‘Oh, Mom!  I just shook hands with the Prophet and I’m shaking all over.  There was such power from him that I feel so weak and trembling.’

‘I know others may have seen what I saw, if not I know not why …………After the choir sang during the services, many in the audience and I heard the Heavenly Hosts pick it up.

‘I know God is merciful and forgiving of so many wrongdoings.  So far I haven’t told anyone of my experience except you, Jack (her son at Brigham Young University) and Georgia (her missionary companion).  She, of course, cried with me and knew in her heart that I indeed was given that manifestation for a reason.  Whatever reason He allowed me to behold such a thing, I do not know, save it is for my own good.  But it scares me to death almost at the thought of the penalty I will have to pay if I ever deny my testimony of His divinity.  It leaves me with awe and a desire to be alone that I might not be subject to the outside world for fear of breaking a law, even to the tiniest one.

‘I do not know how much He will bless me with in the future, for after what I saw I think I have had my share.  I even feel like I shouldn’t ask for anymore for He has blessed me far too much according to my standards and faithfulness.  I’m just a pebble in His Kingdom and never in my wildest dreams hoped for such a blessing.

‘I know you both rejoice at things in this letter for the spirit of the Gospel is in you, and I thrill at sharing it with you.  I just can’t bring myself to talk about it to anyone else.  It’s too sacred a thing to me.  I still can’t get over it.  I tremble and yet am at ease with everything.  Great peace has come to me and all sorrow, trouble and heartache has melted away.’

President McKay, I know that your soul rejoices at evidence and expressions of faith within the membership of the Church today and that is why I felt you would particularly appreciate the testimony of this beautiful, humble Samoan sister.  Particularly, also, since it concerns an act which you consumated in the Temple of the Lord.  You will never know how much of an inspiration you are to the membership of the Church, both adults and little children alike, and how much we all love you and pray constantly for God to sustain and strengthen you in the great and glorious mission which rests upon your shoulders today.

With grateful respect for the service you are rendering the Church, I am sincerely, your sister in the Gospel.

(signed)  Mrs. Mildred T. Handy

233 25th Avenue N.W.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada”

March 11-14, 1956



It has been 36 years since President Heber J. Grant and other prominent Church leaders looked over a prospective southern California temple site in Ocean Heights in Culver City.  The location was later turned down, but the fire that had been kindled even at the long-ago date has continued to burn ever brighter to build a temple within convenient reach of the growing Latter-day Saint colony in the Los Angeles Temple District.

Sunday morning the dreams of these faithful Californians will come true when President David O. McKay dedicates their Los Angeles Temple, the 12th temple of the Church and the second to be dedicated by President McKay.

The erection and now the dedication of this beautiful House of the Lord only a few miles from the blue Pacific Ocean and in the nation’s fastest growing area signifies many things.  The total investment of approximately $6 million means that every Latter-day Saint around the world who has been faithful in his tithes and offerings has contributed to the building.  It means that members of the Los Angeles Temple District have also made additional sacrifices in giving special contributions.

Dedication of the Los Angeles Temple signifies a new era in California missionary opportunities.  Since breaking ground three years ago thousands of persons have watched with keen interest the temple construction; they have vistied both on the grounds and in the finished building.

Certainly one of the significant factors is the impetus that will be accorded to genealogical research and temple service.  Since the first southern California genealogical conference was held on May 1, 1925, at the Adams Ward under the direction of the late Elder Orson F. Whitney of the Council of the Twelve and Elder Richard B. Summerhays, through the hundreds of ward and stake conventions conducted by A. Merlin Steed and many others, through the dozens upon dozens of excursions to the Mesa Temple, southern Californians have constantly increased their enthusiasm for temple work.

Another significant fact of the dedication is that the work of the Lord has continued at an ever-increasing tempo since the restoration of the prietshood and the organization of the Church in 1830 and the dedication of the first temple, 120 years ago on March 27, 1836, at Kirtland, Ohio.

That the Los Angeles Temple will open the door for the salvation of thousands more, both those living and those who have died without a knowledge of the Gospel, is worth every effort and every sacrifice that has been made toward its erection.  In this Holy House during the several dedicatory sessions, thousands of Church members will have an opportunity to rededicate their lives to the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth for the peace of the world and ‘to go on to perfection.’

March 11-14, 1956

DEDICATORY PRAYER – Los Angeles Temple

This Prayer was delivered at all sessions of the Dedicatory Services

by President David O. McKay

God, our Eternal Father, Creator of the earth and of the teeming manifestations of life thereon, we, thy children, assembled in dedicatory services in this house built to thy most Holy Name – plead that we may be accepted by thee.

May we feel thy presence and the presence of thy Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, by whom all things were made and only through whom will the consummation of thy divine purposes pertaining to the inhabitants of this earth be wrought.  That we may thus sense thy presence and have assurance that our prayers are heard by thee, may every heart in this edifice this day be clean and pure before thee, and every mind be willing to do thy will and to work for the accomplishment of thy purposes.

When our first parents chose to take upon themselves mortality, they knew that they would be driven from thy divine presence and that their only hope of ever regaining it would be dependent upon thy revealing thyself to them through thy Beloved Son, who would give to them the plan of salvation.  Today, we express heartfelt gratitude to thee for having given in the beginning the gospel plan, the power of God unto salvation, and with it man’s free agency, a part of thy divinity wherein man may choose the right and merit salvation, or choose the wrong and merit condemnation.

Down through the ages men have been free to accept or to reject thy righteous plan.  Thou knowest, and history records, how many in wickedness yield to the enticements of the flesh, and how few, comparatively, follow the path of light and truth that leads to happiness and eternal life.

But thy mercy, thy love, thy wisdom are infinite!  And in dispensations past thou hast pleaded, as thou dost now plead, through chosen servants for thy erring children to repent and come unto thee.

We thank thee that thou, O Great Elohim, and Jehovah, thy Beloved Son, didst appear to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and through the subsequent administrations of angels didst enable him to organize the Church of Jesus Christ in its completeness with apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists, as it was established in the days of the Savior and his apostles in the Meridian of Time.

In keeping with the unwavering truth that thy Church must be established by divine authority, thou didst send heavenly messengers to bestow upon the Prophet Joseph Smith and others the Aaronic and Melchizedek priethoods, and subsequently all the keys of the prieshood ever held by thy prophets from Adam through Abraham and Moses, to Malachi who testifies of the authority of Elijah to ‘turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers,’ down to the latest generation.  For this completeness and consistency of restoration of authority, we express gratitude today and praise thy holy name.

We are grateful for this land of America, ‘choice above all other lands.’  The freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees to every man the right to worship thee in accorance with the dictates of his own conscience, made possible the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  O Father, may the American people not forget thee!  Help us to see the greatness of this country and to minimize its weaknesses.  We express gratitude for the right of the people to resort to the ballot, and for freedom to meet in legislative halls to settle problems and disputes without fear or coercion of dictators, secret police, or slave camps.  Help people everywhere to sense more clearly that government exists for the protection of the individual – not the individual for the government.

Bless, we beseech thee, the President of the United States, his Cabinet, the houses of Congress, and the judiciary.  Give the President Health and wisdom needful for the leadership now placed upon him.

We express gratitude to thee for the men whom thou hast chosen to lead the Church from the Prophet Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum, and other associates, their successors through the years down to the present General Authorities – the First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve, the Assistants to the Twelve, the Patriarch to the Church, the First Council of the Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric.

Continue to reveal to the President and his cousnelors, the First Presidency, thy mind and will concerning the growth and advancement of thy work among the children of men.

We have felt thy presence and in times of doubt and perplexity have hearkened unto thy voice.  Here in thy holy house, in humility and deep gratitude we acknowledge thy divine guidance, thy protection and inspiration.  This is truly thy work – help us to be able representatives, faithful and true!

Bless the presidencies of stakes, the high councils, the presidencies of missions, the bishoprics of wards, presidencies of branches, presidencies of quorums – Melchizedek and Aaronic; presidencies and superintendencies of auxiliary associations throughout the world – make them keenly conscious of the fact that they are trusted leaders, and that they are to keep that trust as sacredly as they guard their lives. 

This edifice, as eleven other temples dedicated to thy holy name, is a magnificent monument testifying to the faith and loyalty of the members of thy Church in the payment of their tithes and offerings.  Not only the building of temples is thus made possible in different parts of the world, but also the proclaiming of the restored gospel, and the carrying out of thy purposes by the building of chapels, tabernacles, and recreation halls wherever needed by churches organized in many lands and climes.

In this respect, we invoke thy blessing particularly upon thy people and their friends in this temple district who have so willingly and generously contributed their means, time, and effort to the completion of this imposing, impressive house of the Lord.  May each contributor be conforted in spirit and prospered a hundredfold!  May all be assured that they have the gratitude of thousands, perhaps millions, on the other side for whom the prison doors may now be opened and deliverance proclaimed to those who will accept the truth and be set free.

For this purpose thou hast revealed that the gospel is to be preached to those who have passed beyond the veil, as well as to the millions now living whose faith in thee and in thy gospel is faltering and unstable, who are now being influenced by false ideologies, which are disturbing the peace of mind and distorting the thinking of honest men and women.  May the temples, tabernacles, churches, wherever a branch or ward of the Church is organized, declare even in silence that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the light, and that ‘…there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’

Guide us, O Lord, in our efforts to hasten the day when men will renounce contention and strife, when ‘…nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.’  To this end, we beseech thee to influence the leaders of nations that their minds may be averse to war, their hearts cleansed from prejudices, suspicion, and avarice, and filled with a desire for peace and righteousness.

Temples are built to thy Holy Name as a means of uniting thy people in bonds of faith, of peace, and of love.

Today, therefore, we come before thee with joy and thanksgiving, with spirits jubilant and hearts filled with praise that we are permitted to participate in the dedicatory service of this, the twelfth temple to be dedicated to thee since the organization of thy Church.  Millions have had their attention drawn to it – many through curiosity, some because of its beauty in structure, others because of it lofty purposes.  Help all, O Father, to realize more keenly and sincerely than ever before that only by obedience to eternal principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ may loved ones who died without baptism be pemitted the glorious privilege of entrance into the kingdom of God.  Increase our desire, therefore, to put forth even greater effort towards the consummation of thy purpose to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of all thy children.

To this end, by authority of the Holy Priesthood, we dedicate this, the Los Angeles Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and consecrate it for the sacred purposes for which it has been erected.  We ask thee to accept this edifice and to guard it from foundation to statue.  Protect it from eathquakes, hurricanes, tempestuous storms, or other devastating holocausts.  We dedicate the ground on which it stands and by which it is surrounded.  May the baptismal font, the ordinance rooms, and especially the sealing rooms be kept holy that thy spirit may be ever present to comfort and to inspire.  Protect all mechanical parts pertaining to lighting, heating, ventilating system, elevators.  Bless the persons who are charged to look after all such installations and fixtures that they may do so faithfully, skillfully, and reverently.

Bless the president of the temple, and his wife as matron.  Let humility temper their feelings; wisdom and consideration guide their actions.  May they, and others, who will be appointed as assistants and custodians, maintain an atmosphere of cleaniness and holiness in every room.  Let no unclean person or thing ever enter herein, for ‘my spirit,’ saith the Lord, ‘will not dwell in unclean tabernacles’; neither will it remain in a house where selfish, arrogant, or unwholesome thoughts abide.  Therefore, may all who seek this holy temple come with clean hands and pure hearts that thy holy spirit may ever be present to comfort, to inspire, and to bless.  If any with gloomy forebodings or heavy hearts enter, may they depart with their burdens lightened and their faith increased; if any have envy or bitterness in their hearts, may such feelings be replaced by self-searching and forgiveness.  May all who come within these sacred walls feel a peaceful, hallowed influence.  Cause, O Lord, that even people who pass the grounds or view the temple from afar, may lift their eyes from the groveling things of sordid life and look up to thee and thy providence.

Now, dear Lord, our Eternal Father, through love for thee and their fellow men, faithful members of thy Church, and others who believe in thee, by tithes and other generous contributions, have made possible the erection and completion of this thy holy house, in which will be performed ordinances and ceremonies essential to the happiness, salvation, and exaltation of thy children living in mortality and in the spirit world.  Accept of our offering, hallow it by thy presence, protect it by thy power.  With this prayer we dedicate our lives to the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth for the peace of the world and to the glory forever, in the name of thy Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thurs., 22 Mar., 1956:

“First Presidency’s meeting

Appointment of Committee to preside over Los Angeles Temple Presidency, etc.

I presented to my counselors at the meeting this morning a recommendation of President Richards and me (we have conferred on the matter while in Los Angeles,) that a committee of three be appointed as supervisors to preside over the Los Angeles Temple Presidency, the Presidency of the Temple Mission, and the Presidency of the Bureau of Information.  These brethren find it necessary to choose missionaries and to set them apart, also to choose workers for the Temple.

President Clark concurred in the recommendation and suggested that he thought one of the Brethren of the General Authorities should be given over-all supervision of the various temples.

I reported that I had consutled with President John M. Russon of the Los Angeles Stake and President E. Garrett Barlow of the Santa Monica Stake regarding this matter, suggesting that they be members of the committee, with Henry D. Taylor, President of the California Mission associated with them.

The matter will be taken to the Council today, and I suggested that a letter of appointment be prepared to each of these brethren, President Russon to be the chairman, and a copy of the letter be sent to Brother Steed and his counselors, and also a copy to President Bowring.  President Richards will prepare the letter.”

Sun., 25 Mar., 1956:

“Spent most of the day considering 25 or 30 petitions for cancellation of temple sealings.  It always gives me a depressing feeling to delve into these letters giving the reasons for the breaking up of homes and the requests for cancellations of their temple sealings.  I feel that some of our brethren ought never to have been permitted to go through the temple.  Many of these cases considered today are old and date back to Brother Cowley’s day.”

Fri., 6 Apr., 1956:

“At 4:30 p.m. following the General Conference session in the Tabernacle presided and conducted a special meeting of all Temple Presidents on the Fourth Floor of the Salt Lake Temple.  Spoke to the brethren on the Temple ceremony and the presentation of it in the new Temples, part of which may be used in the old-style temples.

Friday, April 6, 1956

Telephone Conversation with President ElRay L. Christiansen, Salt Lake Temple, Friday, April 6, 1956.

I asked President Christiansen if he remembered that question that had been brought up sometime ago regarding a duplicate record in the temple of indexing.  He said, ‘Yes, he remembered it being brought up.’

I answered that, as I remembered it, we favored continuing this practice.

President Christiansen stated that they favor a continuation of this indexing at the Salt Lake Temple.  He also stated that he didn’t know whether or not it was absolutely necessary, but they do have a number of people who ask questions, and it helps considerably.  However, the people could obtain the same information at the Genealogical Society across the street.

I asked President Christiansen how mnay more employees this work involved, and he stated that in the Salt Lake Temple it takes two employees – Bessie Richards and Alvin Jacobsen are handling this work.  He also stated that if this system were discontinued, these employees could be shifted to other positions.

I asked President Christiansen if he felt that this system was worthwhile.  He said, ‘Yes, I do.’  Then I asked him if another temple president thinks it should be discontinued, if that should be his responsibility.  In other words, I asked him if it was a serious thing to discontinue.

President Christiansen stated that if we felt it an unnecessary practice, that they would go along with us.  However, their personal feeling at the Salt Lake Temple is that they would like to retain their system.

I asked President Christiansen if he knew how many other temples kept this system.  He stated that he did not have this information.  He also said that it would seem this system would be more convenient for the Hawaii Temple and some of the other distant temples inasmuch as they would have to write or phone for information when needed.

I  told President Christinasen that Brother Bowring was in favor of discontinuing this practice.  I also told him that we have our Temple Presidents meeting this afternoon and this might come up.

President Christiansen said that if I desired he would be glad to study it and go into it.

I told him that he would know the value of it, and we would be pleased to get his judgment.”

9 Apr., 1956:

‘Telephone conversation with Elder Richard L. Evans, Monday, April 9, 1956.

Elder Richard L. Evans called me by telephone regarding the presentation of the Temple ceremony in the Los Angeles Temple, and reported that he had checked with Joe Shaw at KSL.  Brother Edward O. Anderson has already arranged for Brother Shaw to go down to Los Angeles.  He will leave tomorrow.  Brother Evans said that all the equipment we need will be in the Temple.  One piece of equipment, however, is needed, request for which will be placed with the Expenditures Committee Tuesday.  This equipment is the tape-play-back machine; this is in stock and available.  All is in readiness, and Joe Shaw will be in Los Angeles by Wednesday morning with everything we need.

Brother Evans statd that he wanted to secure from me permission to make another copy of the tape.  We only have one copy.  Brother Evans also asked for authorization for Brother Shaw to take one copy of the revised script so that he would have it down there.  I asked Brother Evans if he referred merely to the tape, not to the picture.  He said that he referred to the sound only.  I told Brother Evans it would be better not to use the picture at the Los Angeles Temple.

Brother Evans stated that we have only one file copy, and he would rather not let it go.  Therefore, he desired authorization to make a copy for the Los Angeles Temple.  I told him this would be all right.  Brother Evans stated that he would meet me Wednesday.  Brother Shaw will be able to instruct anyone at the Temple who is mechanically alert how to operate the equipment.  He will operate it himself the first time, Saturday, April 14th.  So it is now mechanically possible without any major alterations.”

Tues., 10 Apr., 1956:

“8:30 a.m. – Elder Ray Dillman, President of the Hawaiian Temple called at the office and discussed matters pertaining to the Temple.  He suggested a correction in the mode of baptisms in the Temple.  The practice has been, when baptizing one for the dead, the individual would stand in the water probably up to his waist and the officiator would then pronounce the baptismal prayer and the candidate for baptism would duck forward into the water and that would be the baptism.  I told President Dillman that this practice was wrong, that the person should be immersed in the usual manner.  I asked President Dillman to correct this at once.

I also requested that President Dillman bring the historical record of the Hawaiian Temple up to date.  It seems that the record makes very brief mention about the dedication of the Temple and does not give the names of the various Presidents of the Temple.

President Dillman reported that in March, 1956, 11,952 people visited the Temple, 3,500 of whom were taken care of by the guides and the others came in buses and did not have time to be shown around.  Seven thousand tracts were distributed that month and 138 Books of Mormon were sold.  President Dillman would like to have some more missionaries.

He also recommends that the men who have acted as counselors to President Bowring be sustained as his own counselors.  One of them is a native.  He was asked to submit their names in writing.

I also asked him to send us some names of prospective missionaries and that we would consider them, and if approved, they would be called and he would be authorized to set them apart.

Telephone Conversation with Elder Richard L. Evans, April 10, 1956.

Elder Richard L. Evans called from Denver, Colorado.  He stated that he had an appointment at 7:30 a.m. with President McKay in the morning.  He desires at that time to go over some of the things with reference to the Los Angeles Temple, and it just occurred to him that he didn’t have a copy of the temple materials, the ceremony, etc.  He just wanted to be sure that these materials would be available when they meet.

Brother Evans stated that he had reservations on a plane this evening and should be back in Salt Lake in time for this appointment.  However, if he misses this plane, he would be a little late for his appointment.  If this is the case, he will wire or call President McKay.

The question then came up as to whether or not President McKay would meet Brother Evans at his office or at the temple.  It was decided that Clare would check with President McKay and then give this information to Brother Evans’ office, and they would pass it on to Brother Evans’ wife.

Brother Evans requested that we notify President Joseph Fielding Smith that he may be a little late for the 8 a.m. quarterly meeting of the Council of the Twelve in the morning.

Brother Evans stated that he had met with Joe Shaw of KSL and Brother Bowring.  Brother Bowring was going to take the tape recording with him to Los Angeles and in this way it would be in safe hands.  When Joe Shaw gets in Los Angeles, he and Brother Bowring will go over the various possibilities and have various recommendations to make to President McKay when he arrives.

Brother Evans stated that he would be at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Room 707, Main 3-2181 if it is necessary for us to contact him.

(We later called Brother Joseph Fielding Smith and gave Brother Evans’ message to him.  We also called Brother Evans’ office and told his secretary that President McKay would meet Brother Evans at the temple at 7:30 a.m. in the morning.  They were to pass this information on to Br. Evans’ wife.)”

Wed., 11 Apr. 1956:

“7:30 a.m. – Went over to the Salt Lake Temple where I met with Elder Richard L. Evans and Brother Gordon Hinckley regarding matters pertaining to the Temple Ceremony and its presentation at the first endowment session at the Los Angeles Temple on Saturday, April 14.

Telephone Conversation with President Benjamin L. Bowring, Los Angeles Temple, April 11, 1956.

I told Presiding Bowring that he had probably already received a letter from my office stating that Sister McKay and I would bring our own temple clothing with us for the first endowment session in the Los Angeles Temple, April 14, 1956.  I said that the clothing I had would not be very clean inasmuch as I had to wear them several times recently.  President Bowring stated that he would be glad to have a set of clothing on hand so that I would not have to carry them back and forth.  He said that is why they had desired my measurements.

I told President Bowring that I would bring my slippers, white stockings, trousers, shirt and tie; that I should like to have him furnish a robe, a sash, and apron, and that I should need a robe for a man 6 feet tall.  President Bowring asked about Sister McKay, and I told him that Sister McKay would bring her own clothing.”

12 to 18 Apr., 1956:

“April 12, 1956 to April 18, 1956

Report on Trip to California to attend

initial endowment ceremony in the Los

Angeles Temple

Thursday, April 12, 1956

At 7:50 this evening, following a day full of important decisions and problems, Sister McKay and I left via the Union Pacific for Los Angeles.

Friday, April 13, 1956

Arrived at Riverside, California this morning.  We were driven to Emerald Bay, Laguna Beach where we rested during the balance of the day.

Saturday, April 14, 1956

This morning Bishop and Sister Ferren L. Christensen drove us to the Los Angeles Temple where at 11 a.m. we met President Benjamin L. Bowring, President of the Los Angeles Temple, Elder Henry D. Taylor, President of the California Mission, all the Temple Area Stake Presidents, their counselors, Stake Clerks, and their wives, Elders Delbert L. Stapley, and Richard L. Evans of the Council of the Twelve, and Elder Gordon B. Hinckley of the Missionary Committee.  This special group gathered at the Los Angeles Temple to attend the first endowment ceremony ever to be held in this new Temple.  (Monday morning (April 16) at 8 o’clock the first session for living endowments and marriages will be held)

Sister McKay accompanied me through this initial ceremony.  The session was very well conducted, and for the first time in the history of the church the old-style presentation of the endowment ceremony was given by tape-recording rather than by persons enacting the different parts.  It proved conclusively to us that the ceremony can be done very impressively, and that this manner of presentation will probably be used in all the Temples.  (see newspaper clippings regarding the first sessions in the L.A. Temple)

Following the endowment ceremony I conferred the sealing power upon Brother George F. Richards, Jr. to be exercised in the Los Angeles Temple, and set apart Brother A. Bent Peterson as Recorder of the Los Angeles Temple, and conferred upon him the sealing power to be exercised in the Los Angeles Temple.

I then had a conference with Brother William Noble Waite of the South Los Angeles Stake about his accepting the invitation from Dr. Ernest L. Wilkinson of the Brigham Young University to become an official of the B.Y.U. Faculty, with the special assignment of raising money.  President Waite would prefer not to accept this assignment, and I told him that it is entirely up to him; that he is not Called to this position, and that he would not be shirking his duty if he did not accept.  I think he has decided not to accept this position with the Brigham Young University.  Following these consultations Sister McKay and I drove back to Emerald Bay.

Sunday, Monday, April 15, and 16, 1956

At Laguna Beach, California taking a short period of relaxation and rest.

Tuesday, April 17, 1956

At 6 o’clock this morning Sister McKay and I left Emerald Bay for Salt Lake City.  We had a very pleasant drive to Cedar City where we spent the night.

Wednesday, April 18, 1956

Left Cedar City at 6 o’clock this morning.  I drove to Provo, Utah without stopping, arriving there at 11 a.m.  Called on President Ernest L. Wilkinson at the Brigham Young University, and after a short consultation with him we decided to send a letter to Mr. Cecil B. deMille, motion picture producer for Paramount Studios in Hollywood, extending to him an invitation to be the commencement speaker at the Brigham Young University June 1, at which time the school would bestow upon him an honorary doctoral degree.

Upon my arrival at the office I found a letter from Mr. deMille in which he stated:

‘I am not given to extravagant expressions of sentiment, but it is really with a heavy heart that I have to tell you that I cannot accept your kind invitation.  My work on ‘The Ten Commandments’ is at a stage, with the deadlines for preview and opening drawing closer every minute, which has made it necessary for me to decline all out of town engagements between now and the end of July at the earliest, but I have declined none wtih more regret than I do this one – because it comes from you, whom I respect so much; because the University represents your Church, to which I would like to pay another public tribute; and because a commencement address is a wonderful opportunity to speak to Youth on one of the greatest days of their lives.  Only the sheer physical impossibility of being away from Hollywood at the time could cause me to lose that opportunity.  Will you please express to the Board of Trustees of Brigham Young University my deep appreciation of the honor they did me in thinking of me and my very great regret that I cannot accept their generous invitation?’

We arrived in Salt Lake City at 2 o’clock at which time I met by appointment previously made by telephone with Brother and Sister Henry D. Moyle who are leaving tomorrow for their tour of the South American Missions.  At their request, I gave each a blessing.

At 3 p.m. – I attended the annual stockholders’ meeting of the Z.C.M.I. held in the company’s offices.

Note Regarding Ground sinking At the Los Angeles Temple

Brother Merlin Steed reported to President Clark that the ground is sinking on the south side of the Los Angeles Temple, making the drainage towards the Temple instead of away from it.  While I was at the Temple, I looked into this matter just before the initial endowment session, Saturday, April 14.

I asked Brother Merlin Steed to show me where this ‘sinking’ which he reported to President Clark is taking place.  He pointed out the place to me — it is in the landscaping on the south side of the Temple, facing Santa Monica Blvd.

Brother Steed went so far with this matter that he reported that he was going to submit an estimate on the cost of the repair.  He said that Brother Bowring did not know about it.  I told Brother Steed that this is a matter that is out of his jurisdiction and that it should be reported to the engineers and architect.  I was a little provoked at Brother Steed’s interference — another illustration of his tendency to direct things.  Later, I learned that he had not said a word to the Temple Advisory Committee.  That afternoon I told President John M. Russon, Chairman of the Advisory Committee, to take the matter up with the proper persons.  I later said to Brother Steed: ‘This is nothing but a matter of controlling the sprinkling system — the lawn and shrubbery should take care of the seepage if not watered too much.  Later, he called me by telephone and said that Brother Reed, the Superintendent of Grounds had offered his resignation under the pretext that his health was breaking.  I surmised that Brother Steed had told him that he should not put so much water on the lawn and flowers at that point.  I told Brother Steed that these matters should be left in the hands of the Advisory Committee.

*Report given by President McKay at Council meeting April 19, 1956 on first endowment session.

‘Last Thursday night, President McKay, accompanied by Sister McKay, took the train for Los Angeles in order to be in attendance at the first session of the Los Angeles Temple ceremonies.  The company consisted of the stake presidencies, the stake clerks, and their wives, in that area.  There were one or two other couples present, and a large number of workers, all dressed in white, were present at the preliminary meeting held in the chapel.  Elders Delbert L. Stapley and Richard L. Evans and President McKay spoke to the company at that preliminary meeting.  Arrangements had been made, since many of the workers would be new, and there having been but a short time to train the workers, for the installation and presentation of a tape recording which was used in the Creation Room instead of the personal appearance of individual representatives.  President McKay said he did not think there was a hitch, and that it was very effective.  The company moved from room to room, just the same as they do in the Salt Lake Temple.  The people generally were very much pleased.’

Trip to California

April 14, 1956

Pres. and Sister McKay attends first endowment session held in the new Los Angeles Temple

Temple Opening


LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Temple opened its doors early Monday morning to Latter-day Saints who were entering to receive their own endowments or to do work for their kindred dead.  President Benjamin L. Bowring greeted the first company Monday.

At 11 a.m. Saturday, April 14, an initial ceremony for temple area stake presidents, counselors, clerks and their wives was scheduled, preliminary to the beginning of regular ordinance work Monday morning, in fulfillment of a promise made some months ago.  Heading this group were President and Mrs. David O. McKay.  Other Utahns were Elders Delbert L. Stapley and Richard L. Evans of the Council of the Twelve and Gordon B. Hinckley.  Also in attendance were the temple mission presidency and the California Mission president.

Monday morning at 8 o’clock the first session for living endowments and marriages began and at 1 p.m. the first regular session for endowments for the dead commenced.  There were four sessions opening day.

A. Bent Peterson disclosed that on opening day 12 couples were married in the temple, with President Bowring officiating.

Marriages Performed

Marriages were performed for Don Raymond Harker and Mary Diane Acord of Los Angeles Stake and Floyd Neal Bolton of Santa Monica Stake and Ruby Levina Adams of Mesa, Ariz.  Couples who had been previously married in civil ceremonies and were sealed in the temple ceremony were:

Leo Keith Tovey and Gladys Esther Stewart Tovey of Santa Monica Stake; Raymond Vincent Owens and Anna Eda Matinson Owens, Los Angeles Stake; Edward W. Flanagan and Don Lee Larson, Los Angeles Stake; James Oscar Billingsley and Vera Texanna Edmondson Billingsley, Long Beach Stake; Lenard Clark Alcorn and Edith Vera Hutchinson Alcorn, Pasadena Stake.

Lawrence Leon Downs and Lillian Ruth Fawcett Downs, San Diego Stake; Jesse LeRoy Given and Patricia Elisa Waters Given, Mt. Rubidoux Stake; Ivan L. McWhorter and Norma Irene Anderson McWhorter, Long Beach Stake; Kaarman Elmo McBride and Mildren Earleen Wilson McBride of South Los Angeles Stake; James Albert Sharp and Terrisa Rosalee Murrell Sharp, Orange County Stake.

Schedule Approved

Under the schedule approved by the First Presidency, the temple will be open regularly Monday through Friday with four sessions each day.  Chapel service will be held daily at 8:30 a.m.

The complete schedule follows:

ENDOWMENTS – Daily, Monday through Friday.

BAPTISMS: By appointment.

CHAPEL SERVICE:  Each morning, 8:30 a.m.

RECORDING OF NAMES:  8:00 to 9:00 a.m. – Living endowments and marriages.

1:00 to 2:00 p.m. – Endowments for dead only.

1:00 to 5:00 p.m. – Living endowments and marriages.

6:00 to 7:00 p.m. – Endowments for dead only.

Those going for their own endowments should be at the temple by 8 a.m. or by 

4 p.m.

SEALINGS: Sealings for the dead performed daily Monday through Friday by 



Closes for Conference Oct. 3-6.

Closes for year Dec. 22.

Re-opens Jan. 2, 1957.

Holidays: May 30, July 4, Nov. 22-24.

Deseret News – Church Section, Saturday, April 21, 1956″

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.”

Sun., 22 Apr., 1956:

“Spent most of the day going over petitions for cancellation of temple sealings.  Considered and granted cancellations for twenty sealings.  A gloomy day reading the actions of some of our men toward their wives.  Most of the cases are adultery cases.”

Sat., 28 Apr., 1956:

Returned home about 5 p.m.  Sister McKay reported that Ida May Harmon from Nephi had called by telephone asking for an appointment with me.  Sister McKay told her that I was out of the city, and that she could probably talk to one of the other brethren.  However, later when I returned home I was sitting at the table having a bite to eat, when some one knocked on the back porch door.  Sister McKay answered it, and there stood the woman who had telephoned a short time before.  Sister McKay invited her in.  She had come from Nephi and wanted to know what to do about the wearing of her temple garments.  She said her husband, who is a member of the Church, but who has not been through the Temple with her, objected to her wearing the garments and has asked her to take them off.  As I suspected, this woman had gone through the Temple without her husband’s consent.  I told her that she should tell her husband that she will take them off if he so demands, but that he will have to bear the consequences of such action.”

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.”

Wed., 9 May, 1956:

“11:30 a.m.  Brother and Sister Octave W. Ursenbch and their son Gerald Redd Ursenbach, called at the office.  Brother and Sister Ursenbach had come at my request by telephone on May 4 for a personal interview regarding Brother Ursenbach’s accepting the position of President of the Alberta Temple.

After consultation, and Brother Ursenbach’s acceptance of the appointment, I set him apart as President of the Alberta Temple and conferred upon him the sealing power.  I also set apart Sister Ursenbach as the Matron of the Alberta Temple.

May 9, 1956

Telephone Conversation with Heber Matkin, Alberta Temple, Cardston, Albert, Canada, Wednesday, May 9, 1956.

I called Brother Heber Matkin of the Alberta Temple who has been carrying on the responsibilities of the Alberta Temple since the death of President Smith.  I told Brother Matkin that I had hoped to see him about ten days ago when Brother Wood passed away, as I had desired to attend Brother Wood’s funeral, but it had been impossible for me to get away from my duties here.  Brother Matkin stated that Brother Mark E. Petersen had attended the funeral and had done a fine job at the service.

I told Brother Matkin that I wanted to express to him and his associates our appreciation and love for the work they had done since President Smith passed away.  I said that they had had the confidence of the First Presidency.  I told him also that after consideration, the First Presidency had selected Brother Ursenbach to succeed Brother Smith.  I told him that he was a wonderful man and that he probably knew of his worth more than we did.  I asked Brother Matkin if he would carry on until President Ursenbach is able to take over the duties at the Temple, and said that we had left the selection of counselors with President Ursenbach.

I then asked Brother Matkin how his health is.  He said that it was fair, and that he could carry on and help in the work there at the Temple.  I said that his health condition had been reported to us, and that we did not want him to over do it.

I also told Brother Matkin that he was the first to know of President Ursenbach’s appointment, and that I called him as the news might get out here, and he might think we were very unthoughtful in not letting him know first.

Brother Matkin expressed his loyalty and said he appreciated my leadership.  I stated that we in turn appreciated his loyalty.  I also said that he would be at liberty to tell the others about President Ursenbach’s appointment if he wished.  I told him that President Ursenbach thought he could probably arrange to commence his Presidency at the Temple around June 1st, however, President Ursenbach would probably see Brother Matkin before that time.

Brother Matkin thanked me for the information.”

Tues., 12 June, 1956:

“2.  Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith telephoned about second annointings for some of the brethren.  I told him to send the forms and we would take care of this at the next meeting of the Council.”

Wednesday, June 13, 1956.

Telephone Conversation with President Lawrence D. Olpin, Lorin Farr Stake, Wednesday, June 13, 1956.

I called President Lawrence D. Olpin, Lorin Farr Stake, in reply to a letter he had written me, dated April 2, 1956.  He had explained in the letter that the daughter of Brother John Van Alfen, a member of the Lorin Farr Stake High Council, had married Brother Keith Barker who had asked to be released from his mission when he heard that his girl friend was to become a mother as the result of an illicit affair.  Regardless of this act, the missionary forgave her and married her.  The baby has now been born, and the couple would like to be sealed in the Temple.

I told President Olpin that if everything else was in order, he need not wait until the year’s time is up for this couple to go to the temple to be sealed.

President Olpin stated that the couple had been in Provo this past year.  Brother Barker has been a student of the B.Y.U.  Inasmuch as President Olpin has not had too much contact with them this past winter, he said he would interview the couple, and if everything is in order, he will issue recommends for them to go to the temple.  The couple would like to have the child sealed to them as soon as possible, and I feel that more good would result from this if they are permitted to do so than harm.”

Thurs., 14 June, 1956:

I reported a decision I made earlier this morning in the case of a woman who had married out of the Church, and who had given birth to three children.  Her first husband died.  For the benefit of the children, she gave consent to their adoption by a bishop and his wife, a childless couple.  The Bishop avers that the children were given to them, not only for legal adoption but also to be sealed to them for eternity.  The mother of the children later married a member of the Church in the temple and bore the second husband children.  She now wants the children by the first husband sealed to her and the second husband.

I stated that the sealing of the children to the bishop will not be annulled, and that the choice be left to the children to be made when they reach their majority.

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.

8.  Sister Spafford reported regarding the Los Angeles Temple clothing department, that the sales from January 1 to June 15 have averaged about a thousand dollars per week for Los Angeles alone.  The Temple opened March 11, 1956, and the average sales from March 1 to June 15, were $1,136.00 per week.

She said they had had many problems in Los Angeles relative to non-member morticians making temple clothing; that, however, they are now without exception buying the clothing from the Relief Society.

9.  Sister Spafford raised the question as to whether or not it would be well to consider opening a store near the Temple in Los Angeles where people from Northern California and other places who go to the Temple might buy their temple clothing.  President McKay suggested that they correspond with the Los Angeles Temple Advisory Committee, of which President John M. Russon is chairman, asking if there is property available near the Temple which might be used for this purpose.

10.  The Relief Society Presidency also mentioned problems that they are having in connection with the supplying of temple clothing in the Idaho Falls Temple area; that many individuals in that area are asking for the privilege of making temple clothing and there are some irregularities in connection therewith.  They wondered whether or not it would be advisable to consider opening a store near the Idaho Falls Temple for providing temple clothing to the people.  No answer was given to this question.

11.  Sister Spafford said they did not know how extensive the making of temple clothing by non-member morticians is, but she understood that there is some of this being done; that they had made a survey a while ago — the survey is in their files  — and they have the names of morticians who are engaging people to make temple clothing for them.  She mentioned that the Deseret Mortuary here in this city has a sewing room in their own establishment where temple clothing is made and sold to those who wish to make purchase thereof.  She thought the same was true of Lindquist’s in Ogden, and also in other places.

Sister Spafford explained that temple clothing can be sent from here by air express to Idaho Falls and the Northwest, as well as elsewhere throughout the States.

Wed., 27 June, 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)”

Sun., 1 July, 1956:

“Spent many hours at the office considering petitions for cancellation of Temple sealings.  As I have said before, this is the most depressing duty there is!”

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)

Wed., 18 July, 1956:

“8:30 a.m. – Met by appointment at his request President Ernest L. Wilkinson of the Brigham Young University.

1.  I asked President Wilkinson to check on the report that I had received that one of the Professors at the Brigham Young University (Brother Bassett or Brother Berrett) had told the students all about the temple ceremonies in one of his classes.  (President Clark mentioned that one of his nieces had told him this).

President Wilkinson will investigate and report.

President Wilkinson then took up the following matters with me:

1.  Asked permission for the Brigham Young University and the Corporation of the President to join as parties plaintiff in a suit brought by P.L. Larsen and Company against Ray and Chester Davis for breach of warranty on insulating materials purchased in connection with Heritage Halls.

I asked Pres. Wilkinson to confer with the defendants to see if there is any possibility for settlement.  Also that he confer with President Wendell Mendenhall of the Church Building Committee to see if his (Pres. Wilkinson) proposal meets with this favor.

2.  It was agreed that we should not pursue further the matter of engaging Pete Couch of the University of Utah on the Physical Education Staff of the Brigham Young University.  He is obtaining a salary of $7200 for 9 month’s work at the University of Utah which is a salary the B.Y.U. cannot meet.

3.  The Music Department of the B.Y.U. would like the consent of the First Presidency to send the BYU Choir to England in the Fall of 1957 to sing at the dedication of the new temple there.

I told President Wilkinson that I felt impressed that we should not send this choir to Europe for the purpose stated above.

4.  Discussed the matter of a new Library for the B.Y.U., to accommodate 3,000 students.  At the present rates the building would probably cost about $4 million.  We agreed that this is very high, and Pres. Wilkinson will meet further with the architects and try and get them to cut down on the costs as much as will be consistent for the building they must have.  Pres. Wilkinson will report in the Fall to the full Board of Trustees on this matter.

5.  I authorized President Wilkinson to proceed with the following institute and seminary matters:  a) Instead of building a new building or an enlargement of the present institute building at Cedar City, which is authorized in the present budget, to proceed to remodel the present building which will cost approximately $7100 and will satisfy the needs for probably many, many years.  b)  I authorized a new appropriation for the purchase of land for a new seminary adjacent to a new high school in Mesa, Arizona, not to exceed $2,000.  This will not require a new appropriation of church funds.  c)  I authorized the completion of the institute project at Weber College which will cost approximately another $12,000.  This also can be taken out of funds authorized for other institutes and seminaries, the projects of which will not occur this year.

6.  I asked President Wilkinson to present to the full Board of Trustees this Fall, the question of whether Ricks College should remain at Rexburg, Idaho.

7.  President McClure of the Church Building Committee will examine certain land in Fullerton, California, which we may want to purchase for a Junior College.

8.  I took President Wilkinson in to the meeting of the First Presidency and there we authorized him to proceed again next year with an extension of the program for recruiting Indian students, that had been agreed upon the previous year.

Fri., 20 July, 1956:

July 20, 1956

2.  President Beckstrand of San Jose Stake called.  President Benjamin L. Bowring of the Los Angeles Temple had previously called him to say that there is a young couple (Byron John S. Norwood and Barbara Ann Brown) from San Jose Stake waiting to go through the Los Angeles Temple for their endowments and to be sealed whose case is somewhat irregular.

The young woman has been a member for one year, the man for two years.  Both are worthy and have their recommends, having been interviewed by their Bishop and Stake President.  They were married civilly in January, but have been given recommends to be married in the Temple today, less than a year after their civil marriage.

Pres. Beckstrand asked that we call President Bowring and give him information as to whether or not this couple may go through.

Later, President McKay instructed his secretary to call President Bowring at the Los Angeles Temple and tell him that he may admit this couple to the Temple, provided their recommends are in order.”

Tues., 31 July, 1956:

“Tuesday, July 31, 1956

Painting of the Exterior of the Hawaiian Temple

President Ray E. Dillman, President of the Hawaiian Temple, called by overseas telephone this morning to inform me that the painter is ready to paint the exterior of the Temple, and say he has orders from Salt Lake City to paint it light green.  This has upset the saints and Temple authorities in Hawaii, and President Dillman wanted to know if those were the orders from the General Authorities.

I told President Dillman that I did not know of any such orders, particularly for painting the building green.  President Dillman said the authorities there feel that white would be a more suitable color and would lend more to the lighting and surroundings.

I asked him who ordered the light green, and President Dillman said he had no idea, except that Brother Burton of the Church Building Committee has had a great deal to do with the building, since he designed the Temple.  He has made many of the suggestions since it was built.  I told President Dillman that I was meeting with the Presiding Bishopric today and that I would look into the matter fully.  I further told him to hold up the painting job until he gets further instructions.

Later, August 2, 1956 I had a conference with Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall of the Church Building Committee regarding this matter.  I advised him of the telephone call from President Dillman, and told him that I had taken the matter up with the Presiding Bishopric who in turn had contacted Brother Mendenhall.

Brother Mendenhall therefore reported his findings to me, and brought with him samples of the color which is to be used on the Temple.  The color is a very pale green which after it has been on for awhile will really be an off-white color with a pale green cast, and will be very beautiful.  The paint that is now on the Temple is an off-yellow color, and Brother Burton, who has handled the matter, has worked out a very beautiful color with a painting firm.

I told Brother Mendenhall I would show the samples he presented to the Brethren of the First Presidency, and let him know our decision.

Later, in telephone conversation with Brother Mendenhall, I asked him if I had ever told him the story about the Welch Bishop up in Malad, Idaho (a true story) who in speaking to the people of his ward said: ‘There will be no Sabbath next Sunday — we are going to paint the meeting house; we have decided to paint it yellowochre — Now what color will ye have it?’  (Laughter).

I then said, now, regarding the painting of the exterior of the Hawaiian Temple, the brethren of the First Presidency are in agreement that the pale green color that has been selected will be entirely acceptable.  I then gave Brother Mendenhall authority to go ahead with their plans for this painting job.

Brother Dillman said that all is well in Hawaii, except that more help is needed at the Temple.  There have been 18,000 visitors to the Temple grounds this month, and it has been a big job for the small staff there.  I told him that a couple has been called to serve at the Bureau.  He was relieved to know that there would be someone sent too to help him.”

Sun., 5 Aug., 1956:

‘Dedication of the Salt Lake Temple Nursery

Salt Lake Temple Grounds, Sunday, August

5, 1956, 8 a.m.

Sister McKay and I went to the Salt Lake Temple Grounds, where, in accordance with my promise to President ElRay L. Christiansen, President of the Salt Lake Temple, we met in the newly constructed nursery building near the annex of the Temple.

When we arrived there at 8 o’clock a.m., the house was filled.  Several hundred persons were listening in from the Annex of the Temple.  A one-hour service was given.  President Christiansen conducted the service, and also made brief remarks.  I directed my remarks to the purpose of the nursery, and the need for children coming to it to realize it is a part of the temple, and that it, too, is a holy place and therefore those entering it should act more reverently than in any place in the world – if children learn this, they should feel more inclined to observe with a similar reverence each separate ward and stake chapel.  (see newspaper clipping for brief account of remarks)  I then dedicated the building as a part of the Salt Lake Temple.”

Tuesday, August 7 to Wednesday, August 15, 1956

“Trip to California – Tuesday, August 7 to Wednesday, Aug. 15, 1956

Thursday, August 9

This morning I drove to the Los Angeles Temple lot; had a conference with Brother Benjamin Bowring and interviewed the following who had been previously recommended by letter to the First Presidency as temple officiators:

Brothers LeRoy A. Thomsen,

Lewis W. Moore,

Arthur McGregor

Following the interview, I conferred upon these three men authority to perform sealings in the Los Angeles Temple for the dead only.

Friday, August 10

Drove out to the Los Angeles Temple lot where I held another meeting in the Los Angeles Temple and conferred the sealing power to be exercised in the Los Angeles Temple for the living and dead upon Brother Morgan Hyde White, and Brother H. Harold Jackson, and set them apart as first and second counselors respectively to Brother Benjamin L. Bowring, President of the Los Angeles Temple.

(see clipping attached)

At 10 a.m., I met the Advisory Committee of the Los Angeles Temple consisting of John M. Russon, President of the Los Angeles Stake, President E. Garrett Barlow, Santa Monica Stake, and President Henry D. Taylor, President of the California Mission, together with the Temple Ground’s Supervisor, Elder Merlin Steed, and his counselor, Brother Ray Summers.  Brother Edward O. Anderson, architect, was also present.

We concluded:  First:  to change the laundry from where it is to the basement of the Temple.  I authorized Brother Edward O. Anderson to draw the plans and to go ahead with the change suggested.

Second, I authorized the utilization of a screen in the basement of the Bureau Information to be used for illustrative lectures.

Third, requested Brother Steed to send to me instances in which he found it necessary to pay bills that had been put in the hands of a collector.

Fri., 24 Aug., 1956:

“Telephone Conversation with Harold W. Burton

1.  I called Brother Harold W. Burton of the Church Building Department and checked with him on the improvements that are being made in the Alberta Temple building with particular reference to the exits from the Celestial Room.  Brother Burton stated that they are using the same plan for an exit from the Celestial Room in the Hawaiian Temple.  I told Brother Burton that I feel this plan would encroach upon the symbolism.  Brother Burton stated that he had in mind increasing the veils.  I told him that if that is going to interfere in any way with the symbolism we should not want to do it.

Tues., 18 Sept., 1956:

“Telephone Conversation with President E. Francis Winters, Star Valley Stake.  Re:  Temple Recommend for Ira Davis.

I called President E. Francis Winters of Star Valley Stake regarding a special delivery letter I had received this morning from C.H. Davis, Afton, Wyoming.  Brother C.H. Davis wrote in behalf of his brother, Ira Davis, of Bedford, Wyoming.  I asked President Winters if he was familiar with this case.  He stated that he had had correspondence with our office regarding Brother Ira Davis’ clearance of his recommend for a divorced person.

I told President Winters that Brother Davis’ daughter is being married today, September 18th, in the Logan Temple, and that I had called him by telephone in order that he may grant permission for Brother Davis to witness the marriage of his daughter.  I told President Winters that we would then settle the other matters involved in the case later.  I asked President Winters if he would reach Brother Davis in order that he and the girl’s mother might witness the daughter’s wedding.  I also stated that I hoped we were not too late.  President Winters stated that he would call Brother Davis, and that he thought that arrangements could be made.”

Sun., 21 Oct., 1956:

“Considered and passed upon about forty petitions for cancellation of Temple sealings — a gloomy day!”

Tues., 30 Oct., 1956:

“2.  Sisters Sophia Roundy and Joanna Roundy called by telephone this morning.  On December 11, 1955 they wrote a letter to me asking if they could be sealed as wives to Brother Francis Tracy Bailey who passed away 13 years ago last October in his 79th year.  They stated in their letter that Brother Bailey had asked them if they would have this sealing done if he should pass away first.  Brother Bailey was a married man, but he had no children.  Sisters Roundy said that neither one of them had ever married.

I told these sisters that I could see no objection to their going ahead with this sealing.  They asked if it would be necessary for them to give President ElRay L. Christiansen a letter giving them permission to go ahead with this sealing, and I told them that if President Christiansen had any questions, he could call me for approval.”

Fri., 2 Nov., 1956:

“4:15 p.m.  Met by appointment at her request, Sister Frank Evans.  She presented a problem of one of her ‘missionary girls’.  She married a choice young man – a returned missionary in the Temple.  Within a few hours after leaving the Temple the young man was killed in an automobile accident.  Later, the young girl married a young man and has had four lovely children — the 5th on the way.

This young woman would like a cancellation of her first sealing inasmuch as she loves this man dearly and wants her children sealed to their own father.

I said that in this Church the woman has her choice, and that this girl may make her application and her case will be given attention.”

Fri., 9 Nov., 1956:

1:30 p.m.  I called Brother Hugh B. Brown to my office and assigned him to go to New Zealand to lay the corner stone of the New Zealand Temple the last week in December, 1956.

Brother Brown who has been working very hard here at the office in investigating and following through on petitions for cancellations of Temple sealings, was very pleased to accept the assignment.

Following Brother Brown’s departure, I called Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, President of the Quorum of the Twelve, only to learn that he had left for Mesa, Arizona to attend the Lamanite Conference.  I left word with his secretary to tell Brother Smith to please cancel Brother Brown’s appointments for the next two months.

Mon., 10 Dec., 1956:

“From 8:00 to 10:30 a.m.  I recorded on sound and television a message concerning the Purpose of Temples — this message will be used at the Temple Bureau of Information (at Los Angeles Temple, and also at other temples) in conjunction with the presentation on film of paintings that hand in the Temple.  (see copy of statement following)



In response to the instructions of the Lord this temple has been erected by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It invites all who see it to lift their souls heavenward.  It adds to the beauty and to the spirituality of the area in which it is built, and stands a credit  to the Church.

To the men and women who contributed to the completion of this beautiful edifice, we express sincere appreciation — to the General Authorities; to Stake Presidencies, Bishoprics, and all other members of the Church in the Temple District who have so generously contributed both time and money to the architect and his assistants; to contractors; to workers; to city, county and state officials; to the press; to radio and television stations; and to our friends who visited with us during the time when the doors were open to the public.  To each and all, we express deep appreciation.

To our Heavenly Father, for His inspiration and protection, we express true gratitude.

This holy edifice has been and will continue to be impressive to all who glimpse its spiritual significance.

One of the questions most frequently asked by those who visit the Temple Grounds is this:  ‘What’s the difference between your temples and your other places of worship?’

To chapels of the Church throughout the world all sincere men and women are welcome, but temples are not places of public worship.  They are reserved for certain sacred and essential ordinances — not secret but sacred.

One purpose of temples is for the performance of marriages, not only for time, but for all Eternity.

Love, the divinest attribute of the human soul, is as eternal as the spirit of man; and as man continues to live after death, so will his love for his family.  Therefore, a true union of husband and wife should not end at death but continue throughout all Eternity.  To his chief Apostle, Peter, our Savior said, ‘Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.’ — and the authority to perform such marriages has been restored to earth in this day and dispensation.  This is one purpose of temples.

Another purpose is to administer ordinances essential to man’s salvation and exaltation in the Kingdom of God.

All men who wish to attain to their highest possibilities, and obtain happiness and blessings must conform to certain essential ordinances.  ‘There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated — And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.’  To Nicodemus our Savior said, ‘Except a man be born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.’  We accept these words of our Savior in their literal sense.

But what of those who have died without knowing this?  What about our great, great ancestors who never heard the name of Jesus Christ?  What about those who die even today without an opportunity to do what the Lord has commanded them to do?  They are all our Father’s children.  And He is a just and loving Father whose purpose it is to save and exalt all His children.

The work that is done in these temples is performed for this purpose — for those now living and for all who have ever lived.

Paul in his First Epistle to the Corinthians refers to a work that must have been well known in the early Christian Church, as witness his words:  ‘Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?  Why are they then baptized for the dead?’

These then are two purposes of temples — for marriages that unite families in a sweetness of association throughout eternity; and for other ordinances essential for the salvation, exaltation, happiness and eternal progress of the whole human family.

I pray that all men everywhere may glimpse the glory of the House of the Lord, and learn of the great eternal purposes of a just Father who has said:  ‘This is my work and my glory — to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.’

Wed., 12 Dec., 1956:

“At 9:00 a.m. attended the regular meeting of the First Presidency.  The following were among items discussed at the meeting:

Proposed Purchase of Land Near Swiss Temple

At the request of President McKay, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley explained the proposal of President Bringhurst that additional land near the Temple in Switzerland be purchased in order to control its future use and to protect the area from encroachment by commercial and industrial uses.  Brother Hinckley said that a part of the forest land, privately owned, a lot 150 x 305 feet, across the street west from the Temple President’s home, and a vacant lot 130 x 202 feet, across the street south from the Temple President’s home, together totalling 1.65 acres, can be purchased for $42,500.  It is estimated that the timber on the forest land can be sold off and a part of the investment recovered.

After consideration, it was agreed that President Bringhurst be authorized to negotiate for the purchase of the two pieces and that, if they are obtained, restrictions upon their use be imposed by covenant, and that they may then be sold subject to the restrictive covenants, which will protect the Temple property from adverse development of these pieces of land.  (Taken from First Presidency’s Minutes.)

Problem re Burial in Temple Clothes in Switzerland

President McKay explained that in Switzerland the law requires that, if a person dies before noon, the body must be delivered to the appropriate officers of the government for burial before night; that all burials are under the auspices of the government of the canton, and that others are not permitted to handle the body.  Under these circumstances, it is difficult to arrange for burial in their temple clothes of members who have had their endowments.  It was agreed that burial clothes be made available in each branch where members live who have had their endowments, and that someone be assigned at once to dress the deceased person in the burial clothes before the body is delivered to the government.  It was suggested that, since their presence of the apron might be misunderstood, it be placed with the body and covered from view with a shield over the clothing.  (Taken from First Presidency’s Minutes).”

Thurs., 21 Feb., 1957:

“3:15 p.m.  Elder Richard L. Evans came in and reported that he is very much in favor of putting in all the Temples the new presentation of the endowment ceremony as now given in the Swiss Temple, and as will be given in the New Zealand Temple and the London Temple.

Sunday, March 10 to Sunday, March 17, 1957

 Trip to California, Tuesday, March 12, 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., 4 Apr., 1957:

4:50 p.m.  Elder Richard L. Evans came in regarding the showing of the Temple ceremony film to Brother Benjamin Bowring of the Los Angeles Temple.  It is also to be shown to all the General Authorities before being used in the Los Angeles Temple.”

Sun., 7 Apr., 1957:


(From Council Minutes of January 10, 1957)

Blood Line of Adopted Children After Temple Sealing

Letter read from Sister Yvonna Mortensen of Sandy, Utah, stating that she and her husband adopted a baby through the Relief Society social Service Agency; that the child was sealed to her and her husband in the temple in November, 1956; that they have had the impression that the child is theirs as though it had been born to them; that it was adopted into their family line and had all the privileges of a natural child; that they have now been told by people engaged in genealogical work who have quoted various General Authorities to substantiate their statements that the blood line has jurisdiction over the sealing, and no sealing ceremony could change the fact that she had not given birth to the child, and that he would never belong to their family line; that therefore it was his duty to do the genealogical work for his natural parents; and that in the hereafter he would have a choice as to which family he wished to belong — that of his natural parents, or that of his adopted parents.

President McKay announced for the information of the Brethren that the First Presidency has ruled that the child belongs to its adopted parents, having been sealed to them, and that the blood line has no jurisdiction over the sealing.

It was agreed that this information should be conveyed to the temple presidents for their information when they meet together at General Conference time.

Presentation of Admittance Cards at Arizona Temple, and Use of Shields

Elder Spencer W. Kimball reported that when in Arizona recently he went through the temple with his father-in-law and his wife, and that he learned from them that instead of carrying their temple recommends with them, they are given cards to show that they are properly recommended, which cards they present at the temple.  Elder Kimball further reported that they are not using the shields in the temple in Arizona.

President McKay said that instructions will be issued to the temple president that these cards must not be used, as it is entirely wrong to do so; and they should also be corrected in the other matter.

Delay in Starting Temple Sessions at Arizona Temple

Elder Delbert L. Stapley reported, referring to the Arizona Temple, that frequently the sessions in the temple are greatly delayed in starting, and that some of the people have made serious complaint about this.  A letter was written to the stake presidents of the Valley Area by the Chairman of all the stake genealogical committees, making a complaint at the delay in starting the sessions, but that this had not been corrected.  He mentioned that it came to his notice that on one occasion while he was there, a long delay ensured because they were waiting for a couple to arrive who were coming to attend the session from San Francisco.  Elder Stapley told President Pierce that he should not do that; that the company should move as quickly as possible around the appointed time.

The President said that these matters will be called to the attention of the temple presidents at the time of the April Conference.”

Thurs., 18 Apr., 1957:

“From 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.  Consultation with Elder Richard L. Evans of the Council of the Twelve who called at the office this morning and discussed the following matters:

1.  The Laying of the cornerstone of the London Temple May 11, 1957.  The program for the ceremonies was considered, and it was briefly decided that the opening prayer should be by one of the missionaries, and the speakers to be President Clifton G.M. Kerr, representing the European Mission Presidents – a local Elder representing the local people, and dedicatory address and prayer by Elder Evans.

2.  We then took up the matter of the installation in the Los Angeles Temple of the new presentation of the Temple ordinance.

April 27, 1957


The Council of  The Twelve

  47 E. South Temple Street

    Salt Lake City, Utah

April 27, 1957

President David O. McKay


Dear President:

As a memorandum of some items discussed at our brief Saturday morning meeting before leaving for London:

1.  New tapes, with somewhat modified timing, have been sent to Los Angeles Temple in the custody of Brother Joe shaw of KSL, who is also doing some other work while he is there.

2.  I have sent a memorandum to various brethren who are concerned with the problem, about the possibility of setting up improvised screens and projection facilities in room 1 and room 3 of the Los Angeles Temple so that the project we have discussed could possibly be shown before the solemn assembly.  I talked to Brother Anderson about this shortly before leaving, and he has it in mind.

3.  The general scheme for the new Bureau of Information on Temple Square has been approved by the Temple Square Mission presidency, in consultation with Brother Mendenhall and Brother Barker of the Building Committee, and is now in the hands of the architect.

4.  Brother Edward O. Anderson and Brother Mendenhall and Brother Hinckley and I have had several sessions on the entrance to the New Zealand Temple.  I am sure that Brother Mendenhall and Brother Anderson and Brother Beisinger are convinced that the basement entrance will work out well.  Brother Hinckley and I still have some reservations concerning it, psychologically.  We shall feel good about whatever conclusion is reached but we wanted you to know that we had had some discussions concerning it — and the reasons therefore.

5.  I shall be in Switzerland on the day of the farewell testimonial for Brother Bringhurst, and expect to attend one or more sessions of the Temple, for further observations.  I shall take your love and blessings.

6.  I shall look over the site of the proposed London Chapel.  Brother Anderson has shown and discussed with me some of the preliminary plans and problems, and I shall be eager to see it.

Thank you for your blessings, for your understanding heart, for your confidence and for the great joy of working with you.

Please preserve your health and take care of yourself, and the Lord bless you and keep you and Sister McKay until we see you again.


Richard L. Evans


To:  Edward O. Anderson

       Joe Shaw

       Gordon Hinckley

        Paul Evans

From: Date:  April 27, 1957

Re:  Dear Pres:  Have sent this out marked confidential.  Have not advised Brother Bowering. – Richard

In a brief meeting with President McKay before leaving for Europe, he inquired concerning the possibility of showing the Temple film in the Los Angeles Temple, prior to the solemn assembly June 9.

We discussed the possibility of showing in each of the rooms, that part which is pertinent to each other, so that the company would move through from room to room in regular order; and I suppose it would mean tape only in room number two, with tape and film in one and three.

The President understands, of course, that this, in part at least, would have to be accomplished at this time by an improvised installation — and would depend upon our ability to arrange satisfactory temporary facilities.

I suggest that you keep this in confidence, and do not discuss it beyong the small circle that needs to know — and let the President tell us whom he wants to include, provided such a showing is feasible under the indicated conditions.

Success to you.


Richard L. Evans


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.”

Sun., 19 May, 1957:

“Spent several hours in the Temple this morning in meditation, study, and planning for the Church.

Following this, I went home for dinner.

Later, I returned to the office and spent the balance of the day going over thirty or more petitions for cancellation of Temple sealings.  The cases considered were some of the worst yet, and it was a very gloomy experience.

6:30 p.m.  Went home.  The problems and decisions of the day were very tiring, and caused a very restless night.”

Tuesday, May 21, 1957


    Wednesday, May 22, 1957

  9:45 a.m.

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

Oakland Temple Property

President Richards reported that there is movement in Oakland to condemn the temple property for the building of a public high school, and that he had talked with Senator Watkins, who said he knows Senator Knowland and at the first opportunity would talk it over with him and see if Senator Knowland could legitimately approach his father, publisher of the Oakland Tribune, and see if he could quietly advise the school board and the citizens committee to forego this action.  The temple property is the first preference of four properties.

Sat., 25 May, 1957:

Saturday, May 25, 1957

On Saturday, 9 a.m., President McKay interviewed Brother Paul P. Forster, artist of Rosemead, California, who had prepared a colored sketch of the proposed mural painting for the London and New Zealand baptismal font rooms.  President McKay had authorized Brother Forster to make this sketch without obligation to the Church.  In the course of the conversation several points were brought out by President McKay which would benefit the subject and the composition of the painting.  The President stated that he would present the painting to the First Presidency for their consideration.

Later, on Tuesday, May 28, 1957, the First Presidency commented on the proposed painting by Brother Paul P. Forster for the two new temples, one in London and one in New Zealand.  They liked the spirit of the painting with the following suggestions.

(1)  that probably the picture should be composed to show a baptism at the point of having been completed with the candidate, a woman, who has just recently been baptized, leaving the water and walking toward the shore, and John in conversation with the Savior.  President Richards suggested showing the Savior about to enter the water and John assisting Him with an outstretched hand.  The Savior’s robe could even be falling down.  John is surprised in meeting the Savior and expresses surprise in seeing the Savior on the bank.

(2)  The speed of the current in the stream could be slowed down.  The stream could be a trifle wider.

(3)  The presence of the other characters in the stream is an aggression and possibly not true to the character of the event.

(4)  President Clark wondered about the perspective of the characters in the foreground.  He thought they looked too small in the picture.

(5)  The Brethren liked the general layout of the picture.  They liked the coloring very much, the coloring of the sand particularly.  President Richards and President McKay have both been to this spot.  They thought the spot was a little more verdant, but in general they liked it.

(6)  The Brethren suggested that the artist make a black and white sketch.

(7)  Inasmuch as this is a baptism, most of the characters should be in white.”

Friday, June 7, 1957.

I called Brother Soren Jacobsen by telephone and told him that I felt that I had made an oversight in not asking him to attend the Solemn Assembly which is to be held in the Los Angeles Temple, Sunday, June 9.  I stated further that of all the men who should be invited, he should be.

Brother Jacobsen stated that he is having difficulties at home; that his wife has been ill for six months.  I told him that I was not aware of this situation.

I gave Brother Jacobsen further information regarding the solemn Assembly, and said that the brethren will leave by three special train cars Saturday evening which will arrive in Los Angeles Sunday morning just in time for the Solemn Assembly.  The brethren in California will meet us at the train and drive us to the Temple.  I also said that the meeting will last about four hours.  Immediately after the meeting, we shall leave to go back to the Railroad Station where dinner will be served on a specially reserved diner.  I also mentioned the fact that we shall be fasting until dinner is served on the train after the Solemn Assembly.  We shall return to Salt Lake City Monday morning.

Brother Jacobsen asked if I intended that he go with the brethren on the train, and I said, ‘Yes’, and that he could get in touch with Brother Franklin J. Murdock later to see about the transportation.  Brother Jacobsen stated that he thinks he can get someone to relieve him at home, and thanked me for the invitation.

Later, on June 18, 1957, Brother Soren N. Jacobsen, contractor for the Los Angeles Temple, wrote a letter a copy of which follows:

‘President David O. McKay

47 East South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear President McKay:

One of the highlights of my entire life was your personal invitation to accompany you and the General Authorities of the Church on the recent excursion to the Solemn Assembly in the Los Angeles Temple.  This sacred edifice is endeared to me for reasons you know of, and I love this place more than any other place on earth.

The opportunity of partaking of your hospitality and wonderful spirit on this occasion will never be forgotten.  I do not have words to express my sincere and deep appreciation for your kindness in extending me the privilege of joining you in this wonderful event.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart.


/s/ Soren N. Jacobsen.”

Sun., 9 June, 1957:

“Saturday, June 8, 1957

This evening Sister McKay and I were driven to the Union Pacific Station where we boarded the train for Los Angeles.  Special cars had been reserved for my two counselors, President Stephen L. Richards and President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., members of the Council of the Twelve, the Assistants to the Twelve, members of the Council of Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric.  We were all enroute to Los Angeles to attend the Solemn Assembly in the Los Angeles Temple.

Sister McKay, who was the only woman in the group, got off the train at Riverside, where she was met by Mrs. Ferrin L. Christensen, the housekeeper at the Laguna Beach home, who drove Sister McKay to our home at that place.  Bishop Christensen boarded the train and accompanied us to Los Angeles.

We arrived in Los Angeles just in time to be driven to the Los Angeles Temple to attend the Solemn Assembly.  The Brethren in the Los Angeles area had arranged for a police escort of our cars so that we could get through the heavy traffic.  We arrived just a few moments before the meeting commenced.  I took the time, however, to go back to the highway patrolmen and thanked each one for the service they had rendered in getting us to our meeting on time.

As we arrived at the door of the Temple we were greeted by President Benjamin L. Bowring of the Los Angeles Temple.  Some 2,600 Melchizedek Priesthood members were gathered in the assembly room of the Temple.  Thirty-three stakes and two missions of the Church in the Southern California area were represented.

I presided at the meeting, and addressed the audience during the middle of the meeting on Quorum Potential and then gave the concluding remarks.  The following program was carried out:

Opening Hymn:  ‘O My Father’

Invocation:  Elder LeGrand Richards

Singing:  ‘How Great the Wisdom and the Love’ verses 1,2,3,4,6

Speaker:  President Joseph Fielding Smith

Administration of the Sacrament:  By the Twelve, the Assistants to the Twelve, the Patriarch, the First Council of Seventies, the Presiding Bishopric.  ____________________ and ______________________

were voice in offering the prayers.

Singing:  ‘I Know That My Redeemer Lives’

Speaker:  President David O. McKay

Speaker:  Bishop Joseph L. Wirthlin

Speaker:  Elder Bruce R. McConkie

Singing:  ‘Jesus, Savior Pilot Me’

Speaker:  President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

Speaker:  Elder Hugh B. Brown

Singing:  ‘I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go’

Speaker:  Elder Mark E. Petersen

Speaker:  President Stephen L. Richards

Speaker:  President David O. McKay

Singing:  ‘Lord We Ask Thee Ere We Part’

Benediction:  Elder Eldred G. Smith, Patriarch to the Church

The meeting concluded at 3 p.m. and everything went off successfully.  After saying goodbye to the brethren, Bishop Christensen drove me to Laguna Beach.

I was most thankful for the spirit of the Lord on this occasion, and I feel that all in attendance were greatly benefited.

One incident that brought sorrow to our hearts later was the sad news that four of the brethren on returning to their homes in Chico, California, were killed in an airplane crash.  They were traveling in a private plane.  Their names are as follows:  Terrence P. Lockhart, Robert F. Peterson, Owen S. Wallis and Harry H. Smith.  All four of them had attended one session in the Temple Saturday, and then attended the Solemn Assembly the next day.  Later, I sent Elder Marion G. Romney of the Council of the Twelve, to attend the funeral of these brethren, and to bring comfort to the widows of these brethren.  (see letter and clippings following)  (see June 12 for telephone conversations with Bishops arranging for funerals of crash victims)  (also see June 20, 1957 for report to Council of Twelve on this matter)

Sunday, June 9, 1957


Office of the First Presidency

    Salt Lake City 1, Utah

May 7, 1957

President Milton P. Ream and Counselors

Hayward Stake

20401 Boston Road

Hayward, California

Dear Brethren:

We are pleased to advise you that on Sunday, June 9, 1957, at 10 A.M.* 

a Solemn Assembly will be held in the Assembly Room of the Los Angeles Temple of specially invited stake, ward, and priesthood quorum leaders in the stakes comprising the Temple district, as well as the mission presidencies of the two California Missions, together with their district presidencies.

We request that you extend an invitation to the following leaders of your stake to attend that Solemn Assembly where all the General Authorities will be in attendance, it being understood, of course, that none of these listed is to be invited unless he has previously had his temple endowments.

Stake president and counselors

Members of the High Council and Alternates

Stake Clerks


President and counselors of High Priests quorums

All presidents of Seventies Quorums

All presidencies of Elders Quorums

Bishops and counselors

Branch presidents and counselors

Stake Mission President

Stake Superintendent of Sunday School

Stake Superintendent of the YMMIA
Full-time Institute and Seminary teachers residing in your stake.

Due to the limited seating capacity it will be necessary to limit the attendance to those named above.  If the person invited cannot accept, there is to be no substitute provided, but we are desirous that all of those invited will be in attendance and every effort should be made to see that they are present.

All of your leaders invited are requested to meet on the grounds of the Los Angeles Temple at 9:00 A.M.** promptly on Sunday, June 9, at a place on the grounds which will be designated by a placard naming your stake.  When your leaders are all assembled and accounted for, we request you to proceed with your group to the entrance of the temple nearest your gathering place and there be prepared to identify each of your group to representatives of the General Authorities who will be stationed at the entrance, and then proceed at once to the Assembly Room on the third floor where the meeting will be assembled.  To avoid congestion, those who are not physically able to climb the stairs should be taken to the elevator reached by the doors to the north of the Temple proper.  Upon arriving in the Assembly Room on the third floor, the stake presidency will take their places on the east stands as designated by placards.  Members of bishoprics should take their places on the west stands as designated.  All others will be seated without regard to Church designation.

In order to reduce the hazards and difficulties in parking around the temple grounds, we request that you group your brethren for travel in as few cars as possible.  There will be ushers as you arrive at the grounds to direct you to a parking space.  To avoid delay and confusion upon entering the temple, we suggest that so far as it is advisable to do so, the brethren be requested to leave their hats and top coats in their locked cars before entering the temple grounds.

Having in mind the factor of safety in transportation, we urgently request that all traveling to and from the temple, especially from long distances, use the utmost caution to avoid traffic accidents, and that all cars carrying the brethren be adequately insured against the casualty of accident to passengers in the cars as well as to others who might be injured.  Wherever large groups come from distant points it may be feasible to charter or ride in insured public carriers.  We urge that attention and the utmost caution be given to these items.

As a contributing factor to the spirituality of this important meeting, we suggest that all come fasting and in the spirit of prayer.

Your full and thoughtful cooperation in carrying out the instructions of this letter will be appreciated, and those invited by you will be fully instructed regarding their participation in this Solemn Assembly.

Sincerely your brethren,

/s/ David O. McKay

/s/ Stephen L. Richards

/s/ J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

The First Presidency

P.S.  Will you please fill out the attached sheet and return to us promptly as soon as you have ascertained the exact number of those who are to attend the Solemn Assembly.

*10 A.M. Standard Time (11:00 A.M. Daylight Saving Time)

**9 A.M. Standard Time (10:00 A.M. Daylight Saving Time)

Sunday, June 9, 1957


    Office of the First Presidency

Salt Lake City 1, Utah

      May 6, 1957

Elder Henry D. Moyle


Dear Brother Moyle:

We are pleased to advise you that on Sunday, June 9, 1957, a Solemn Assembly will be held in the Assembly Room of the Los Angeles Temple of specially invited stake, ward, and priesthood quorum officers of the stakes comprising the Los Angeles Temple District and the mission presidencies of the two California Missions.  We are extending an invitation to all of the General Authorities whom we will expect to be in attendance.  It is not contemplated that the wives will go on the trip.

According to our present plans, all the General Authorities will go by train.  Reservations on the City of Los Angeles which will leave Salt Lake City, Saturday evening at 7:15 are being made by Elder Franklin J. Murdock who will confer with each General Authority as to the space which has been reserved.  The Brethren from the Los Angeles area will meet the train as it arrives in Los Angeles at 9:30 A.M. or at the East Los Angeles Station as it may be arranged, and will return Sunday evening on the same train at 4:30 P.M.  We are planning to make arrangements so that all baggage can be left on the car for the return trip.

It is expected that all of the General Authorities excepting those who may be excused for health reasons will participate in the breaking of the bread for the Sacrament and the passing of the Sacrament to all who are in attendance.

As a contributing factor to the spirituality of this important meeting, we suggest that all come fasting and in the spirit of prayer.  Plans have been made with the Union Pacific Railroad officials to serve the General Authorities in an early seating in the railroad dining car prior to the departure of the train from Los Angeles.  It is hoped that all the General Authorities can return to their cars by 4:45 P.M. Daylight Saving Time or 3:45 P.M. Standards time in order to make possible this accommodation.

We have named as our committee to look after the details of this special meeting, the following brethren:

President Joseph Fielding Smith

Elder Harold B. Lee

Elder Mark E. Petersen

Should you desire to discuss any of the details, these brethren will have the necessary information.

Your full and thoughtful cooperation in carrying out these instructions will be appreciated and we are desirous that all of those invited will be in attendance unless, of course, health would make travel inadvisable.

Sincerely yours brethren,

/s/ David O. McKay

/s/ Stephen L. Richards

/s/ J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

The First Presidency”

Tues., 11 June, 1957:

“Spent the morning hours at the Los Angeles Temple.  Viewed the film that is to be presented for the endowment ceremonies, and also discussed other matters pertaining to the management of the Temple.”

Wed., 12 June, 1957:

“First Presidency’s Meeting

Oakland Temple Site

President Richards reported that he has confirmation in writing that the temple property in Oakland will not be sought as a site for a high school; and that he has asked Senator Watkins to convey to Senator Knowland an expression of appreciation for the assistance he seems to have rendered.  This action was ratified.

Later President Richards reported that in a telephone conversation wtih President Stone of Oakland-Berkeley Stake (who had called him) he gained the information that announcement had been made that the school board would no longer consider the temple property as a site for a school.

Thurs., 13 June, 1957:

Brother Clifford E. Young, inquired through my secretary Clare, if an exception could be made to permit him to officiate at the civil marriage of the granddaughter of Ludy Grant Cannon.  Her daughter Rachel’s child.  Rachel has not been very active in the Church, and Brother Young thinks it might do a lot of good if he is permitted to perform this marriage.  Said he knows that it is the rule that a General Authority is not to marry outside of the Temple.  I instructed my secretary to call Brother Young and tell him that in this case we shall make an exception and permit him to perform the marriage.

The secretary so informed Brother Young at his home in American Fork.  (Telephone 21)

Tues., 18 June, 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.

Thurs., 20 June, 1957:

“1:10 p.m.  Returned to the office.  Met President George E. Grover of Shelley Stake and Bishop Kelly, former Bishop, who called regarding the civil marriage of Patsy Joann Thomas and David Emerson Krogue preceding their Temple marriage in the Idaho Falls Temple June 28.  

Letter of authorization for the couple to get married civilly June 27 and then married in the Idaho Falls Temple the next morning was given in a letter to President Cecil E. Hart under date of May 15, 1957.

I told Pres. Grover to have a talk with Mrs. D.K. Thomas (the bride’s mother) and if he feels she is appreciative of the favor that has been granted to her daughter to go to the Temple the day following her civil marriage, then they may go forward with their plans.

Sun., 23 June, 1957:

“Sister McKay’s 80th Birthday

(see newspaper clippings following)

Spent a few hours this morning at the office going over petitions for cancellation of temple sealings.  I waded through 25 of them, and was heartsick at some of the conditions related between husband and wife!

At 12:30 p.m. — All the children and grandchildren living in the city visited us at our home and extended loving birthday greetings to Sister McKay.  They showered her with gifts.

Following their visit, we left for our son Robert’s home where Francis Ellen and Robert entertained us at dinner.

Had a very delightful and satisfying day, with, or course, the exception of  the requests for temple sealing cancellations.”

Sun., 7 July, 1957:

“Spent the morning in considering and deciding upon fifteen petitions for cancellation of temple sealings — a very disheartening task!”

Thur., 11 Jul., 1957:

Announcement made of the date of the dedication of the New Zealand Temple.

On this day I also made the announcement that the dedicatory services of the New Zealand Temple will be held April 20, 1958.

Thurs., 18 July, 1957:

“8:45 a.m. – Brothers Edward O. Anderson and Wendell B. Mendenhall called at the office and gave a detailed report of their investigation, in company with Earl V. Gritton, Heating Engineer, of the heating and cooling system of the St. George Temple.

They also discussed matters pertaining to alterations, additions, and repairs to the Temple proper.

Brother Edward O. Anderson said that after a careful study of the plans of the St. George Temple and making an examination of the building itself, it would appear that this Temple would lend itself more readily to the two-room system of Temple presentation than any other of the existing temples, and gave some suggestions for changes that could be made.  He said that this change in the Temple would be less expensive than that scheme which is now being considered.

Telephone calls

2.  Miss Barnett called and would like to know if it is all right for a returned missionary who is now serving as a stake missionary (she has been through the Temple and wears garments) to appear on a float in the ‘Days of 47’ parade in a bathing suit.  The float will feature ‘Fashions for Tall Girls’.  She had called Elder Stapley and he had referred her to President McKay’s office.  Miss Barnett would like to know the stand or opinion of the church in this case.

President McKay instructed his secretary to tell Miss Barnett that it would be better and more appropriate if she would let somebody else appear in the bathing suit, and she appear in one of the other costumes or fashions for tall girls.  Miss Barnett was appreciative of the advice, and said she could easily comply with the suggestions and appear in another costume.

Sun., 28 July, 1957:

“Spent part of the morning at the office, attending to special duties.  While there had a brief meeting with Richard L. Evans regarding the latest findings at the Los Angeles Temple pertaining to the necessary conversion for the use of the film presentation in the Creation and Terrestial rooms – see letter on this matter following.

Spent part of the morning hours and some of the afternoon hours in the Temple studying the Temple ceremony, and contemplating and considering church problems.

Sunday, July 28, 1957.



47 E. South Temple

Salt Lake City, Utah

July 31, 1957

President David O. McKay


Dear President:

To report briefly what we reported orally Sunday concerning our latest findings at the Los Angeles Temple:  Brother Edward O. Anderson and I met with Brothers Gordon Hinckley and Paul Evans and President Bowring and spent most of the day there Saturday — July 27.

We conclude, after convincing tests, that the necessary conversion for the use of the film presentation in the Creation and Terrestrial rooms could be made for a bare minimum of expense, without disturbing a single foot of plaster or making any consequential alterations.

This would contemplate the movement of each company through four rooms, as at present.  If, however, increased patronage of the Temple should at any time suggest converting to a one-room type of presentation, this could be done almost overnight, on authorization by you, without any major modification and without undoing anything which we have now done–and would give, in effect, the working capacity of two or more temples.

We also determined in consultation with Brother Edward O. Anderson and President Bowering, that some fifteen additional veils could be provided, in the same room and general area where the present veils are, which would increase this facility by 75%, and which could save a company of 300 as much as twenty minutes each session.

There are also some possible time savings in the wash room, with added personnel, but without any added facilities.

With appreciation for the privilege of working with you.


Richard L. Evans


Wednesday, July 31, 1957

8:30 a.m.

Items Taken Up With Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall, Chairman of the Building Committee, and of the Pacific Board of Education:  

(1).  It is the decision of the First Presidency that there will be no change in the ordinance operation of the St. George Temple.  The Building Committee was, therefore, given instructions to make the approved changes so that the present ordinance operation will be maintained.

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.”

September 15th to September 23, 1957

Trip to California

“Following our meeting, we all listened to a special presentation of the Temple ceremony as given by the disc transmission.

I made some suggestions regarding the creation of man and presentation at the veil.

Sister McKay suggested some corrections in regard to pronunciation of words.

It was 4 o’clock before we left the Temple to drive to Emerald Bay.

Sun., 6 Oct., 1957:

“This morning at 10 o’clock, I met with Elder Richard L. Evans and Brother Gordon B. Hinckley in the Salt Lake Temple where we spent two and a half hours studying the presentation of the temple ceremonies as now given in the temple at Switzerland, and as it will be given in New Zealand and in London.  I feel that it was a two-hour period very well spent, and that some development in connection therewith will be presented to the Temple Committee before it is installed.

I have spent several Sunday mornings in the Temple studying the ceremonies, the magnificence and the significance of which (referring to the endowment) are seldom, if ever, really comprehended by our young folks when they first go through the Temple.  I think the ceremony can be presented more effectively, but before any changes are made they will be presented to the members of the Temple Committee.”

Mon., 14 Oct., 1957:

“Note from Richard L. Evans

‘Dear President, In accordance with your suggestions of Sunday, October 6, we have advised President Benjamin Bowring that the introductory remarks in the Creation Room are to be given, in person, by one of the Temple Presidency, or one of the officiators.

This change, however, if you agree, we feel could well wait until such time, toward the end of the year, or near the beginning of next year, when two of the rooms will be converted to the new procedure, the date to be designated by you.

We shall keep working on this project so long as you wish us to do so.  Thanks for this privilege — and for much else.  Sincerely /s/ Richard L. Evans.’

Sun., 20 Oct., 1957:

“Spent the morning in the Temple studying the endowment ceremony, and many other problems that are confronting me at this time.*  (see note below)

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.”

Sun., 10 Nov., 1957:

“Spent most of the day going over 60 petitions for cancellations of Temple sealings.”

Tuesday, November 19, 1957, 8:40 a.m.

Telephone conversation between President David O. McKay and President David B. Haight of Palo Alto Stake

President Haight:  President McKay, I am calling about a request I recently made for permission for a young couple, Brother Loren Grover Keenan and Sister Margo Lynne Romney, to be married in the temple.  The young man is a recent convert to the Church.  Brother Brown had a conversation with you regarding it and he called me back and told me that after his conversation with you that you thought perhaps it could be approved if we sent the request in writing.  And I sent the request in with a letter from the Bishop.  An answer came back yesterday in which you suggested that Brother Keenan wait the full year’s time before his marriage.

President McKay:  Probably I signed that.  Did I?

President Haight:  I think so, President McKay.

President McKay:  It passed my notice.

President Haight:  It might have.  The Bishop has spoken to the Romney family and he told them that as a result of Brother Brown’s conversation with you that you had approved it in principle and they have sent out wedding announcements.  This young man was recently baptized–this July.

President McKay:  But he has been active?

President Haight:  He has been very active.  And he is going out on a Carrier in the Pacific.

President McKay:  And later he is going to be joined by his wife?  Which temple do they want to go to?

President Haight:  Salt Lake Temple–the first week in December, and he goes out to sea soon after that.  He is leaving the end of February.

President McKay:  And the Bishop recommends him, and you can endorse his recommendation?

President Haight:  We have both done that.  He is an outstanding young man.

President McKay:  They will come here on Dec. (what)?

President Haight:  December 3rd.  To be married in the Salt Lake Temple.

President McKay:  All right.  I will endorse it.

President Haight:  Do you wnat us to make another request?

President McKay:  Yes, send it to me, personally, and I will take it up.

President Haight:  Thank you kindly.

President McKay:  Thank you, President Haight.

Note:  Letter was sent to President Haight giving permission for Brother Keenan to receive a Temple recommend on November 20, 1957.

Fri., 13 Dec., 1957:

“3 p.m. – Brother Edward O. Anderson came in and reported that new veils have been installed in the Los Angeles Temple and that a company of 300 went through the Temple in 20 minutes and a few seconds.”

Sun., 15 Dec., 1957:

“Spent several hours in the Salt Lake Temple this morning.  Studied the Temple ceremonies and other matters pertaining to the Church.”

Sun., 8 Dec., 1957:

“Considered about 30 petitions for cancellation of Temple sealings.”

Fri., 27 Dec., 1957:


December 26 to December 31, 1957

Sunday, December 29, 1957

Los Angeles Temple Matters

Left at 8:30 a.m. to attend a special meeting in the Los Angeles Temple of all the Temple workers and some of the leaders of the Stakes in the Temple area.  Two hundred persons were present.

Brother Benjamin Bowring, Los Angeles Temple President, gave instructions regarding the mechanics of Temple work.

Following this, I addressed the group.  I spoke on the need of subordinating the mechanics to the important mission of the Temple, the impressing of each member with the fact that he is an important factor in God’s Plan of Salvation for the human family.

There came to me two quotations by which I introduced my remarks–First, from the book – Eugene Aram – in which man is indeed ‘the mere puppet of an all-pervading and resistless destiny.’

The other quotation from the Pearl of Great Price — ‘This is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man,’ the first quotation showing that the individual is a mere puppet, and the other that he is a factor in bringing about the glory of God.

Wed., 22 Jan., 1958:

“Telephone conversation with Brother LeGrand Richards, Wednesday, January 22, 1958.

Brother Richards:  We have here in my office the Relief Society Presidency, Brother Gordon Hinckley, Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall and Brother Richard L. Evans.  We are discussing the moccasin for use in the Temple at New Zealand.  I shall let Brother Hinckley talk to you.

Brother Hinckley:  The women have found that the material we have will not stretch when the stitching is put in.  President McKay, the question is whether a good white sock rolled down to form a rib at the top could be used, or whether it will be necessary tha the people wear hose and then some separate item of clothing as a moccasin or shoe.  They cannot make the moccasin without having stitching in it.  The material will stretch, but the stitch will not stretch, so nothing is gained by using the material.  Now we have a nice white sock available.  Could it be used?  Could they just walk in their stocking feet?  Would that be acceptable?  That would take care of all of these problems, and the manufacturer Brother Mendenhall has been dealing with is a hosiery manufacturer, and he could take care of it.  The women could wear hose and this sock over them, and the men could just wear a white sock.

President McKay:  I am not so sure about that.  Are they sure that the moccasin that stretches can not be made?

Brother Hinckley:  The question has not been explored with the manufacturer in New Zealand.  It may be well to have a letter sent to President Ballif and have that explored before a decision is made.  If anyone can do it, he can do it.  We could send a pattern of the sort of thing that could be used.

President McKay:  Send me a note tonight so that it is here tomorrow morning.  I have some other matters to take up with the Temple Committee before we go to California Friday night.  I do not like that idea of making a separation.  It is a touchy matter in the temple clause.  If you make an exception in one place, it will mean another exception.  I think we had better look into that.

Brother Hinckley:  We can give you a note.

President McKay:  And then we will let you know.

(President McKay took the matter of foot wear to be used at the New Zealand Temple up with the First Presidency, January 23, 1958, and it was decided that the moccasin made of terry cloth will be used (a sample having been presented to the Presidency).

Mon., 27 Jan., 1958:

“Trip to California

Bishop Christensen drove us out to the Los Angeles Temple this afternoon.  We arrived there at 4 o’clock and were met by President Joseph Fielding Smith, Elders Richards L. Evans and Gordon B. Hinckley.  These brethren had been at the Temple all day arranging for two sessions–one, a session of Temple workers at 4:30 p.m., and a session following of all Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics.

I concluded that I would go through with the first session.  Sister McKay didn’t go as she was not feeling very well.  However, I carried out my plans and went through.  We took the tape presentation of the endowment and applied it to the five rooms.  It was very impressively done.  Nothing was gained in time, and I noted one or two places where it could be improved.”

Sun., 2 Feb., 1958:

“From 10 o’clock until 2 p.m. I was in the Salt Lake Temple, studying the ceremony for endowments.

2 p.m.  Spent the rest of the day at home.”

Wed., 5 Feb., 1958:

Items discussed with President McKay on February 5, 1958

1.  The question of duty for temple clothing to enter New Zealand.  The matter of the marks on the garments was discussed as to whether they should be put on by the factory or otherwise.  It was determined that we would try and have the manufacturer select a few individuals and place these marks on within the factory if possible.

2.  President McKay approved the Pan American type slip over moccasin to be used for the New Zealand temple.  This was cleared with President Spafford and we were authorized to go forward and have the same manufactured in New York.

3.  The order of the dedicatory services was approved designating the various groups who would attend each day.  It was approved that the New Zealand school would be dedicated on Thursday, April 24th at 2:30 PM.

4.  It was approved to show the film strip in the New Zealand temple as is being provided by the Temple Committee, to those making pre-dedication tours.  This trip will be about 20 minutes long.

5.  It was approved that an Engineer from K.S.L. go to New Zealand to install all of the electrical and film equipment for temple ceremonies.

6.  The matter of someone to operate the Bureau of Information New Zealand Temple was discussed.”

Thurs., 6 Feb., 1958:

Marking Garments in New Zealand

President McKay reported that Brother Mendenhall was deeply concerned about having the manufacturer of the garments in New Zealand mark them.  After discussion it was decided that President McKay will talk with President Ballif by telephone and ask that arrangements be made with the manufacturer to have a trustworthy person, a member of the Church, in charge of marking the garments.”

Sat., 15 Feb., 1958:

“At 8 o’clock this morning I met with Brother Reed Halverson and asked him to give me some names of Maori missionaries among whom I might choose a man to be President of the Temple.

I called Brother Halverson to see how he felt about serving as President of the New Zealand Temple but after learning from him by casual inquiry that his company in Ogden – the California Packing Company – had been very loyal to him when the Church called him to be President of the New Zealand Mission; that they had given him a leave-of-absence for two years, and later extended it to four years; that upon his return home they had given him a good position, and that since that time they have promoted him with increased salary, and that furthermore in nine years he will retire with a good pension, I could not ask that this company again give Brother Halverson a leave-of-absence.  I therefore did not mention to Brother Halverson that we were considering him for the position.  However, I did ask him to submit some names of men who could probably serve as President of the New Zealand Temple.

Since my meeting with Brother Halversen I have been studying and inquiring from others for the name of a good man to be President of the New Zealand Temple.

At present I am trying to get in touch with Albert Rosenvall of Hamilton, New Zealand.  He and his wife have been there for three years working on the building program.

I believe that Brother Rosenvall is just the one we need if he can accept.  He has done very well in New Zealand and understands the Maori people.  He has been a Bishop; his wife seems to be pleasant and full of faith; he has a good personality, and according to Brother Mendenhall and Elder Harold B. Lee who knows him (Bro. Rosenvall having been a neighbor to Brother Lee) he is an excellent man for the position.  (see February 18, 1958 for further information)

Following my appointment with Brother Halverson I left the office, went home to change my clothes, and then left for Huntsville.

Was busy on the farm until late afternoon, and then left for Salt Lake.  Stopped at the office on my way home and attended to a few matters there, and then continued on my way home.”

Tues., 18 Feb., 1958:

“New Zealand Temple President

This evening I talked by long distance to Brother E. Albert Rosenvall of Hamilton, New Zealand.  Brother and Sister Rosenvall have been in New Zealand for about three years working on the Temple and the school.

I questioned Brother Rosenvall as to how he and Sister Rosenvall would feel if he were called to preside at the New Zealand Temple.  I think he was very surprised.  He said there were some family matters that needed attention and that he should probably come home before he took over the Presidency of the Temple.  However, Brother Rosenvall said that he would send his answer as soon as he had talked to his wife.

The following day, I received a cable from Brother and Sister Rosenvall, copy of which follows:

‘Hamilton, New Zealand – February 19, 1958,

President David O. McKay

47 East South Temple Street

Salt Lake City, Utah


/s/ Elder and Sister Rosenvall.’

Also see letter of acceptance which arrived Feb. 26, 1958.

(see newspaper clipping following about their appointment)

Brother Rosenvall was appointed and sustained President of the New Zealand Temple at Council meeting held Thursday, February 20, 1958.

    Construction Office


The New Zealand Mission


Private Bag. Frankton Junc., New Zealand

Cables and Telegrams



Phone 75-149 Feb. 21, 1958

President David O. McKay

47 East South Temple St.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear President McKay:  

I have cabled you our acceptance of the call that you made to me by telephone day before yesterday.  May I say further that we, my wife and I, feel very highly honored that you have considered us worthy, even in a measure, of this very great responsibility.

At this moment we feel very humble and very incapable of filling this very important assignment.  But on the other hand we have been trained to obey the calls that come to us from the leaders of the church.  So in keeping with the covenants we have made in holy places, we are willing to give of our best.  With a prayer in our hearts that the Lord will be kind to us in our weaknesses, and give us the strength and wisdom and courage necessary.

In keeping with your request I am enclosing pictures of my wife and I.

We have been in New Zealand nearly three years now supervising the construction of the temple under the direction of Elder Beisinger.  We have enjoyed our work very, very much.

We had anticipated returning home after the dedication of the temple.  And had our affairs at home set up to that end.  This new call will make it necessary of course to change our plans regarding family and business arrangements.  Which we are willing to do.  But in order to take care of these changes it will be very helpful to us if we could return home for a short period soon after things are organized and going here.  Some of our affairs can be taken care of by letter.  But some will require our presence, we feel.

If this can be arranged it will be of great help to us.

We are at your disposal and awaiting whatever instructions you have for us.

All the saints here are praying that the Lord will continue to bless you with every needful thing.  And we are looking forward to your visit here at dedication time.

Your brother in the Gospel,

L.D.S. College

Frankton, New Zealand

Sun., 23 Feb., 1958:

“Thirty-three Petitions for Cancellation of Temple Sealings

Spent the day going over thirty-three petitions for cancellation of Temple sealings!  Two or three petitions I rejected their appeals for cancellation.

As I have said before, going over and studying these cases is a gloomy task. 

*Cancellations of Temple Sealings – Report to the Brethren, Feb. 27

‘Spent February 22 and 23 going over thirty-three petitions for cancellation of temple sealings.  The President said that is the gloomiest work that the President has to do–to think that some of our brethren who go through the Temple will violate their covenants as they do.  In this particular batch there were more men pleading for cancellations than we have had before, and the divorces all resulted from early marriages, all but one during the war.  Evidently the girls married the boys in order to get their allowance and while the boys were away the girls proved unfaithful.  Two of them were cases where the girls were unfaithful to their missionary husbands while their husbands were on missions.’

Sun., 2 Mar., 1958:

“Spent the day in going over petitions for cancellation of temple sealings.  Also studied on addresses to be given in the near future.”

Fri., 21 Mar., 1958:


To:  President David O. McKay

From: Date:     March 21, 1958


Dear President:

President Bowring of the Los Angeles Temple recently reported in a conversation I had with him that a week ago last Saturday they had 1169 people go through the Temple in five sessions, the first one beginning at 7:30 in the morning, with all five sessions beginning before 12:00 noon, and all of those who came were free to drive the long distances home by 2:30 in the afternoon.

This was done by utilizing a combination of both the arrangements that you recently authorized–and he reports that the comment of all who come with respect to all phases of the present procedure is most gratifying.

It is encouraging, and I thought you would like to know of it.


Richard L. Evans


April 11 to May 10, 1958.

New Zealand Trip.

Report given by President David O. McKay to the First Presidency on his trip to New Zealand, Tuesday, May 13, 1958, 9:00 A.M. (1)

Douglas A. Morton Received Sealing Power.

President McKay reported that he had given the sealing power to Douglas A. Morton and had set him apart as counselor to President E. Albert Rosenvall of the New Zealand Temple on April 27, 1958.  He stated that Brother Morton is also a prospective recorder.  Brother Bent Peterson from the Los Angeles Temple arrived at the New Zealand Temple and has already performed an excellent service.

Temple Session for Tongan Saints

President McKay reported that after the New Zealand Temple dedication, a session for the Tongan saints was conducted in the evening of Thursday so they could make arrangements for return to their homes by sea.

Appointment of James Dennis to Bureau of Information – New Zealand

President McKay reported that James Dennis, who had served as a labor missionary, was appointed director of the Bureau of Information and had accepted the appointment.

President E. Albert Rosenvall Given Sealing Power

President McKay reported that on April 9, 1958, he conferred the sealing power upon E. Albert Rosenvall and set him apart as president of the temple.  The question as to whether or not allowance will be made to President Rosenvall out of which to pay rent on the home in which they will live was reserved for later decision after the prevailing practice for the temples is fully reviewed.

Reception on Arrival in New Zealand

President McKay reported that on arrival in New Zealand on Saturday, April 19, 1958 a great welcome was given the party by Maoris, Hawaiians, Tongans, Samoans and Pakahas (white people) numbering between five and six thousand.  A general assembly of 3 1/2 hours was held, beginning at 7:30, with 3,500 people attending.

Temple Dedicatory Sessions

The first session of the dedicatory service was on Sunday April 20, 1958 beginning at 10:00 a.m.  Altogether 3,100 people attended the eight sessions.  The choruses had learned to sing ‘The Morning Breaks the Shadows Flee,’ and ‘Holiness Becomes the House of the Lord.’  These were the hymns sung at all sessions. 

President Ballif’s Service and Sister Ballif’s Health – New Zealand Mission

President McKay reported that President Ariel S. Ballif has done an excellent service and has been very energetic and that Sister Ballif, also very energetic, has applied herself to the degree that she is broken in health and they should now be released.  President Ballif asks if he can be released by August 15.  There are 16,000 members of the Church in New Zealand.

Speakers at Dedicatory Services

Speakers at dedicatory services were President Ariel S. Ballif, Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall and Elder Marion G. Romney.

Temple Session to be Held in Maori

President McKay stated that former President Gordon C. Young attended the service and that recognition was given him on Saturday night.  He has done a good work.  He is of the opinion that the temple service in Maori should be continued for the benefit of the older members who understand the Maori language better than English.  President Ariel S. Ballif thinks the people understand the session in English well, but decision was made to continue a session in Maori for the benefit of the older people.

Tour of South Australian Mission

Brother Stapley and President John Otis Simonsen will tour the South Australian Mission with President Thomas S. Bingham and the transfer to President Simonsen will be thoughtfully made.

Maori Brethren Assisted in Temple Dedication Program

Brother James Elkington, Sidney Crawford, Brother Meha and Brother Hopari, the latter 91 years of age, assisted in various ways.

Dedication of the Church College

Dedication of the Church College in New Zealand was immediately after the temple dedication on April 24, 1958, Thursday, Friday being a national holiday.  It was attended by 2,700 people.  Ambassador Francis H. Russell came from Wellington to attend and George Fennimore, United States Consul at Auckland was present.  The Prime Minister was present and gave an excellent talk.  He recited several instances from his personal knowledge as evidence of the high quality of Latter-day Saint men, whom he knew in government service in America, citing them in refutation of the charge that Mormons are antagonistic to government.  Dame Hilda Ross was also present.

Labor Missionaries Commended

President McKay expressed great appreciation for the labor missionaries and the service they have rendered and also for the generosity of the people who have paid their tithes and offerings, contributions in cash to the building of the temple and the college and have also fed the labor missionaries with remarkable generosity, cheerfulness and devotion.

Tamaki Chapel

On April 26, 1958 the chapel at Tamaki was dedicated and at Auckland on Sunday, April 27 another chapel was dedicated.  Geoffrey Garlick, a young man, is president of the branch at Tamaki.  This branch has grown from 70 members to more than 200.

Meeting with Governor General

On the evening of the 27th, President McKay and others met with the Governor General.

President McKay’s Visit to the School

On April 28th, President McKay visited the classes in the school and met the students in an assembly.  The school has grades up to the eighth and one year of high school.  There are 350 students enrolled and a waiting list of 100.  The school is built for 750.  It is situated with the temple on 1400 acres of fertile land, which at first were considered to be unproductive, but since the tract has been drained it is found to be rich and fertile.  The government is reclaiming a large tract just east of the Church property and is developing it for the veterans.  The whole project can be considered highly successful and the credit is due to the work of Brother Mendenhall.

Dedication of Chapel in Suva

Five hours by air brought the President and his party to Nandi on the Fiji Islands and 135 miles by car over winding, hilly, dusty roads, to Suva where a most beautiful chapel in a lovely landscaped setting was dedicated.  East Indians comprise 60% of the population, Fijians 40%.  The Suva chapel is regarded as one of the finest in the Church.  It is beautifully situated and landscaped.  The branch had fewer than 100 members and now has between 300 and 400.

Fijian Racial Relationships

President McKay explained that the Fiji Islanders seem to be closely related to the Tongans.  Brother Mendenhall and Brother Clissold think they are related to Malayans.  There is evidence that they are not of the negroid races.

Location of Fiji to New Zealand

A Brother Smith, a member of the Church who has held the Fiji Branch together for many years, is a landscape gardener who is responsible for the beautiful landscaping around the chapel.  He is also landscape gardener for the government buildings and the government officials recognize him as a member of the Church.  Flowers for the dedication of the chapel were furnished by the government and also by the Great Pacific Hotel.  Suva is 1,700 miles near to Auckland and five hours by air.  President McKay explained that for this reason the Fiji Islands are more accessible from New Zealand than from either Tonga or Samoa, where the transportation by sea is relatively infrequent and requires days running into weeks waiting for returning vessels.

Meeting with Governor General of Fiji

The Governor General and his wife attended the dedicatory service at Suva on may 4th.   The Governor General arranged to meet President McKay and his party the next day at 10:00 o’clock.  On this occasion the Governor asked if the proselyting missionaries go from house to house.  The President answered that they do and that they aim to go without discrimination.  The Governor also asked if the missionaries might at any time become public charges and President McKay explained how they are sustained and stated that the Church would guarantee that they would never become public charges.  The Governor also asked if there may be any prospect that the Church would establish a school.  President McKay asked him to consider the application for the admission of more missionaries without the expectation that there would be a school.  The next night President Mckay and his party left Nandi for Honolulu and a telephone call came from the Governor that the Council had not been able to get to the item of their business.  Later, however, a telegram was received from President Fred W. Stone that five additional missionaries had been granted admission and Brother Mendenhall said seven.  One missionary is now admitted and he works mainly alone, a condition which must be corrected.

Organization of Proposed Stake at Auckland

President McKay presented the recommendation that a stake be organized at Auckland where there are nearly 4,000 people and ample leadership within a radius of 87 miles.  There are four branches at present in the Auckland area, at Auckland, Tamaki, Huntley and at Hamilton where the temple and college community will have its own branch.

The possibility of a stake being organized in Australia was also mentioned.

April 11 to May 10, 1958

  (New Zealand Trip)

Report given by President David O. McKay to the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve, on his 18,000 mile trip to New Zealand, Thursday, May 15, 1958.

President McKay reported that last evening he attended the meeting held in the Tabernacle Baptistry by the workers and missionaries on Temple Square.  He was delighted with the dignity and apparent intelligence of that group of men who devote their spare time as assigned to missionary work, meeting the thousands who come there to visit the grounds and hear the message of the Gospel–doctors, lawyers and merchantmen.  The President felt that there was a spirit of unity in the meeting.  He was pleased with the instruction given by President Richard L. Evans and his two counselors.  The presidency of the mission are holding weekly meetings with the missionaries at the present time.  The President said it was his first opportunity to see the changes in the baptistry; that the improvements are excellent and worthy of the highest commendation, and it is an excellent place now in which to preach the Gospel to visitors.  President McKay offered the dedicatory prayer.  The old baptistry is gone and this is entirely new.

The President reported that he conferred the sealing power on Brother E. Albert Rosenvall and set him apart as president of the New Zealand Temple April 9, 1958.

Referring to his trip to New Zealand and the Islands, President McKay reported that Douglas A. Morton,  president of the Hamilton Branch, was given the sealing power to assist President E. Albert Rosenvall of the New Zealand Temple.  This was on April 27.  He is also a prospective recorder for the temple.  Brother Bent Peterson went down there from California and has done excellent work, as they had to go into sealing work at the conclusion of the dedication on Wednesday night.  The Australian people had to return home, as did also the Tongan Saints, and therefore Brother and Sister Rosenvall, Brother Clissold and Brother Gordon B. Hinckley, all of whom had the sealing power, worked with them.  Over 200 people received blessings on Wednesday night and all day Thursday and Friday.

Set apart James Dennis, a former labor missionary, who was ready to go home but will remain as Director of the Bureau of Information.  They anticipate that hundreds of visitors will continue to visit the temple grounds.

Saturday, April 19, 1958 a wonderful welcome was given by the Maoris, the Tongans, the Samoans, and the whites.  It was estimated that between 5000 and 6000 people were present.  Nine hundred Maoris, Samoans and Tongans and whites participated in the dancing and native songs.  It was probably the greatest demonstration that had ever been staged in New Zealand.  President McKay said he was present when the Maori entertainment started.   It consisted of two warriors coming forth and yelling, with spears in their hands, first to find out whether you come as an enemy or a friend.  The one who came to meet them was James Elkington, who 37 years ago had picked up a man (a member of the Reorganized Church) who had made some disturbance at the Hui Tau and threw him over the fence and then was fearful that he had done wrong and came back to apologize.  He and Brother Hitchcock came and led President McKay and his party to their seats.  He and his grandchildren were all participating in the activites of the branch and mission.

That night at the General Assembly 3500 people were present and the celebration was continued.  This was held in the chapel and the assembly hall of the college.  Then followed eight dedicatory services in the temple, at which 3100 people were in attendance.  It was very spiritual.  The meetings were well attended.  President E. Albert Rosenvall of the temple opened the first session with prayer.  President Ariel S. Ballif gave the welcoming remarks.  Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall and Elder Marion G. Romney spoke.  President McKay was the principal speaker and offered the dedicatory prayer.  These same brethren participated in the succeeding sessions.  The ‘Hosannah Shout’ was given by each group.  Many tears were shed, the President said, by the natives who had the opportunity of attending these services.

It is a beautiful temple.  One hundred and two thousand people went through it before the dedication.  The dedication was really a spiritual feast.  More people were there from the United States than the President had anticipated.  They came by boat and by air, and all of them who had recommends were admitted to the temple grounds and to the temple services.

President McKay and his party were met by United States Ambassador Francis H. Russell, who came up from Wellington.  He said he had received word that the party were to be properly taken care of and granted every privilege they desired.  They were also met by U.S. Consul George Fennimore, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Walter Nash.

The Prime Minister’s speech at the dedication of the college, to quote the reporter who made the report of it, ‘was inspired.’  The reporter said, ‘I have reported His Excellency’s speeches for twelve years.  Never before has he spoken as he spoke tonight.’  He favors the Mormons and what they are doing down there and the paper gave a verbatim report of His Excellency’s remarks.  President McKay had thought that when it was published in the press it would be but a short notice.  However, every word appeared in the press and it will undoubtedly do us a lot of good; so also will the remarks of Dame Hilda Ross.  The title of Dame in British countries is given to one who has been knighted.  She is a member of Parliament from the Hamilton District.  She spoke very favorably also.  It was an inspirational dedication (the dedication of the College) given on Thursday night following the eight sessions of the dedication of the temple.

Dedicated the Tamaki chapel one week later.  There were fewer than 100 people in the branch when they commenced their building and they contributed 30% of the cost, as well as contributing their share towards the support of the labor missionaries who are working on the temple.

President McKay said that when we talk about these labor missionaries and their services we must keep in mind their fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters who were behind them, not only with food but with small amounts of cash, so that they could go to a picture show or some entertainment once in a while.  It was a very small amount, but it meant a lot to the members of the branch to raise that help.  The President said that too much praise cannot be given to our own members out in the branches who furnished the food for these labor missionaries; that we cannot minimize what that meant to them.  If it had not been for those voluntary laborers we would not have a school there today, nor would we have a temple because the government refused to grant permission because of the lack of labor.  Brother Biesinger and Brother Mendenhall guaranteed that they would have the labor.  It was on that condition that they were given permission to build.

On April 28th President and Sister McKay and Brother Tingey returned to Templeton, New Zealand and visited the school.  They went into the classes.  He said the equipment is equal to anything we have in the United States.  The teachers are capable.  They are recognized by the education authorities in New Zealand.  They went into the cafeteria with them, which is conducted most creditably.  The students were courteous.  They take care of their own plates and the food is good.  At the conclusion of the meal they go out in a dignified way.  The President said that on every hand they saw discipline which was most commendable.  They need more dormitories for girls and for boys.  Three hundred and fifty students are now enrolled and 100 students are on the waiting list, so it looks as if the school will be operated at full capacity as soon as we have dormitories to accommodate them.  All in all, he said, there are bright prospects in the antipodes for the preaching of the Gospel.  It was a very successful trip.

On May 4th went by air from New Zealand to Fiji, a five-hour-flight to Nandi, and then had to take an automobile from Nandi to Suva and drive 137 miles over a rough road, which drive takes ordinarily six hours.  Arrangements had been made to dedicate the Suva chapel built on the choicest site in Suva overlooking the government buildings.  The President said he had never seen any landscaping around any chapel or temple more beautiful than that landscaping around that chapel in Suva.  It was done by Brother Smith, a half-caste Tongan who is in charge of all the landscaping for the government and who is known by all government officials as a Mormon.  President McKay thought Brother Smith may have been hurt because he ws not consulted enough in the building of the chapel, but he thought Brother Mendenhall did excellent work in making him feel all right.  Brother Smith took charge of the landscaping of the chapel and received, by contribution from the government and the Grand Pacific Hotel management, the choicest shrubs which could be found there, and also transplanted coconut trees.  The labor missionaries built the chapel.  They cut the coral rock from nearby (it is built of coral rock and of native wood) and it is a most beautiful chapel.  His Excellency, the Governor General, Sir Ronald Garvey, and his wife were in attendance at the dedicatory services in Suva, at the conclusion of which Sir Garvey said he hoped to meet President McKay the following morning at 10:00 a.m. in his office, and President McKay told him that he and his party would be there.

Appeal for More Missionaries for Fiji.

At 10 o’clock the following day, President Fred W. Stone, Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall, Brother Rulon H. Tingey and President McKay met His Excellency and his secretary and a lawyer for the Church, and considered the question of whether or not the government would admit more missionaries, proselyting missionaries they call them.  We have had only one elder laboring there for months.  He was laboring alone under the assumption that he would take out a local man whenever he went proselyting, but the President learned upon inquiry that that was seldom done.  We have the president of the branch and his wife, but they would not be counted as doing missionary work, and they did not do any missionary work.  His Excellency said, ‘There are two or three questions I would like to ask.  First, I understand that you send your missionaries from house to house.  Do you select those houses, or in other words would they come to my house–I am a Presbyterian–as well as to all other houses?’  We said, ‘Yes, we make no discrimination.  They are instructed to preach the Restored Gospel.’

‘Secondly, is there any possibility that at any time your missionaries would become public charges on the government?’  We assured him that we would guarantee that at no time would any missionary of the Mormon Church become a public charge.  We then explained to him how the missionaries are maintained on their mission.

‘The third question, is there a possibility of your establishing a school as you have done in New Zealand?’  We said no, that if the government would grant us the right to have more missionaries in the Fiji Islands it must be granted on the grounds of Church work and not on school work.  We did not want him to grant us further proselyting privileges on the assurance we would establish a school.  They want and need a school but we gave no assurances for a school.

The President said the meeting was very satisfactory and was adjourned with the understanding that on the following evening the Council would meet to decide whether or not the Church would be permitted to send any more missionaries, and they agreed to notify Brother Mendenhall at Nandi, as President McKay and his party were scheduled to leave Nandi at midnight on the night that the Council would meet.  At 10 o’clock that night word was received that the Council had met, but had not reached the question concering the Mormon missionaries but that they would meet the following night and decide that matter.  When President McKay got home there were two cables on his desk, one from Brother Fred Stone of the Tongan Mission from Suva, Fiji saying the Council had met and had granted ‘five more missionaries.’  The other cable was from Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall from Perth, West Australia saying, ‘Seven more missionaries granted.’

The President said he thought the result was due entirely to Brother Mendenhall’s influence and the assistance of the lawyer.  We are, therefore, under obligation to send down, at once, one or two missionaries so that the other missionary will not be laboring there alone.

The President’s party arrived at Hawaii six hours before they left Nandi on a 2500 mile trip because of picking up a day enroute.  They went to Laie and visited the Church College there.  The buildings are uncompleted but the site is excellent.  He was delighted with what the workers are doing.  The new school will be finished by next November.  They are now meeting in temporary quarters–over 200 students enrolled.  Two thousand people assembled in the opening exercises on Wednesday morning last.  It was a very inspirational gathering.  The spirit was excellent.  The meeting lasted for two hours.  The President and his party then visited the temple, which was in good condition, and saw the improvements.  They were entertained by Brother Reuben D. Law, who feels very bad because he will not be employed next year.  He will be given a leave of absence.  An assistant director will be appointed and the school will go on without Brother Law, who should be permitted to go back to the Brigham Young University.  President McKay asked the Brethren who were on the Brigham Young University Executive Committee to see to it that he is permitted to return to the faculty.

Arrived home safely after an 18,000-mile-trip without a day’s sickness.  He received wonderful welcomes by the airline officials at every point, also by our own United States officials, Consuls, Ambassadors and others, and every courtesy was shown by the New Zealand officials.

President McKay said that our landscape gardener, Brother Irvin T. Nelson, who went to New Zealand, felt to modify his statement in the letter that he wrote to President McKay, which letter was read to the Council.  He said that he did not consider that these men who go down there from here, having their passage paid and $200 a month expenses, and their passageway home, together with their rent, are contributing their time to the building of those houses.  He did not consider that volunteer labor.  President McKay said these men are retired.  When Brother E. Albert Rosenvall was called to be president of the temple he said that he had to draw pretty heavily upon his savings account while he had been in New Zealand and he did not know whether he could continue many years.  Two hundred dollars had not been sufficient to pay his expenses.  He had two sons, one of whom was on a  mission and the other going to school.  Another man has given seven years of his time there and was willing to continue but he now comes home to take up his farming interest, starting where he was seven years ago.  The President mentioned another man who is in Australia, a former student of President McKay’s, a contractor, who is using his savings.

Brother Nelson made the further statement that it is said that they are all members of the Church, but they are not for he saw non-members there and knew that they were non-members because they were smoking.  They were electricians and plumbers that were brought in to help complete the building before its dedication.  They were not ready for the dedication on April 20th and they had to call in extra help and have them work, not only during the day, but during the night, and as a result probably some shoddy work was done.  President McKay said those were the unpleasant things.  He hoped that the workmanship will not cost us extra expense later.  Brother Nelson thinks it will, and so does Brother Edward O. Anderson, the architect.

We have 1400 acres there, much of which was peat land, considered worthless heretofore, now drained and brought under cultivation, and it is the richest land in New Zealand.  As a consequence of what we have done the government has secured 100 acres nearby and they have drained it the same way and are now setting it apart as farm land for their soldiers.  The government officials were very grateful for what the Church has done and so expressed themselves.  One point that the Prime Minister made was this:  he said, ‘on my way from Wellington up here I read articles on Mormonism, most of them antagonistic to your Church.  One article said that you are anti-racial.  When I see what you have done here with the Maoris, you have done more for them than all the others, that does not look anti-racial to me.  Another is that you are anti-government.  I sat in Washington with one of your men who I learned was a Mormon–Senator Thomas.  It didn’t seem to me that he was anti-government.  I have read of your man in the President’s Cabinet, whom I consider to be the most loyal patriot in America–Mr. Benson.  He is a member of one of your leading Councils.  That doesn’t sound like anti-government to me.’

The President said that the officials recognized what has been accomplished by the Mormons during the last four or five years, and particularly during the last two years.  There is bright prospect ahead for the Church, and if we should have jet planes, the Brethren can go down there once a year in a few hours and visit the stakes and missions which will be established, which the President said will be organized unless something which we cannot foresee, or which we do not feel, transpires to prevent it.

Brother Delbert L. Stapley is visiting the two missions in Australia, and Brother Marion G. Romney is visiting the mission in New Zealand and will visit Tonga, Nukualofa, Papeete, Niue, back again to Samoa, and if they can they will take a plane there and fly to Tahiti and settle the difficulty we have there with a doctor who claims an interest in our ship, the Paraita.  Brother Romney met with President Ellis V. Christensen of the Tahitian Mission and Brother Mendenhall.  They understand the situation.

Organization of Stake at Auckland, New Zealand

President McKay reported that at a meeting held in the Tamaki chapel in Auckland, New Zealand, Sunday, April 27, 1958 at which President McKay, Elders Marion G. Romney, Wendell B. Mendenhall and President Ariel S. Ballif were present, consideration was given to the advisability of organizing a stake in Auckland.  The President said that we have two branches in Auckland now meeting in the Auckland chapel, which is used also for headquarters of the New Zealand Mission, together with the Tamaki Branch, which has nearly 300 members, and another branch across the bay, which would make four wards in that area with a population of nearly 2500 people, and that each branch has good church accommodations.  In addition there is the Huntley Branch which is about 70 miles away with a good paved road.  Then there is the Templeton Branch with all the faculty members and their wives and children and all the temple workers (they have had two branches up to the present time but there will be but one branch when the labor missionaries leave), and the branch near Templeton, making seven units within a radius of not more than 87 miles, and with a total stake membership of 3500 people, with sufficient leadership and sufficient housing accommodations.  They were called together and asked if they would be willing to add their strength in contributing to a stake organization and they all voted unanimously to do so.  President McKay said that he thought of  bringing Brother Delbert L. Stapley back to assist Brother Marion G. Romney in the organization of a stake provided we approve of it today, although that is not necessary.

It was also decided to ask Brother George R. Biesinger, who has had high council experience, to head the stake organization for probably two years.  They named two local brethren who are very capable, and who could be used as counselors.  Brother Tamaki Crawford is one of these brethren and would make a good counselor, and undoubtedly would be prepared in two years to take over the leadership of the stake.

President McKay presented the recommendation to the Council that we organize a stake in the Auckland District, New Zealand.  Headquarters would be either at Templeton or at Auckland.  It was thought that the headquarters of the mission would remain in Auckland, not at the chapel, however, but we would keep the mission president’s house for headquarters of the mission and leave the present chapel for stake headquarters and two wards.

On motion, duly seconded, Council approved President McKay’s recommendation that a new stake be created in Auckland, New Zealand.  (see copy of letter written to President McKay from Elder Marion G. Romney, May 18, 1958, regarding organization of Auckland Stake, name of district around temple, and division of New Zealand Mission.)

Two Stakes in the Offing.

The President said there are two other stakes in the offing; one is in Wellington, with a membership, in a smaller area, of 3000, and one north of Auckland; but before anything is done in this matter we will await Brother Marion G. Romney’s return and recommendation.  He is now visiting the mission.  The new stake will be organized this coming Sunday.

President McKay explained that the area where the temple and college are located is now designated as Frankton Junction; that it is merely a junction on a roadway bearing a long Maori name; that it was not thought wise to call it by the Maori name because of the difficulty that would be encountered in pronouncing the name; that President Ariel S. Ballif had suggested Temple City, and from that suggestion it was decided to name the area Templeton, which seemed to meet with universal approval.  Brother Marion G. Romney was to consult the New Zealand officials to see whether or not we could have that name adopted and a post office established there; that at any rate we would call the branch the Templeton Branch.  It is just a few miles from the Hamilton Branch.  (see letter from Bro. Marion G. Romney on next page)

President McKay said that Sister Stapley is not very well.”

Sun., 8 June, 1958

“Spent many hours going through forty-five petitions for cancellation of Temple Sealings.  Granted cancellations for all but two or three cases.  Since April, 1954, have cancelled 620 sealings.  (see report over)

Number of petitions for cancellations of temple sealings considered by President McKay since April 1954:

Dates   Cases Referred   Cases   Cases        Cases Not   Cases Given

            to Pres. McKay  Denied  Cancelled  Acted on or  Permission

        held in     To Be 

        Abeyance     Sealed





1955   244   35          205           3                   1





1956   175                      2          172            1





1957   190       4       185   1




June 7,

1958 59           58     1


Totals 668       41         620       6                 1″

Sun., 20 July, 1958:

In Huntsville

“I had planned to drive down to Salt Lake so that I could go the Salt Lake Temple in order to study and make corrections on the master copy of the endowment ceremony, but Sister McKay had a bad coughing spell just before I was ready to leave.  For the first time since she has been ill she completely broke down.  I administered to her.  I remained in Huntsville with her, deciding that I would not come to Salt Lake until tomorrow morning if all goes well.”

Tuesday, September 1, 1958.

The plane took off promptly at 8:40 a.m.

Missed my sweetheart’s pressure on my arm, which indicated the tension that she always experienced when the plane began its flight.  (United Air Flight Number 608).

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.'”

Sun., 11 Jan., 1959:

“Spent several hours at the office going over petitions for cancellation of sealings.  As I have said before, this is a very depressing experience!”

Sun., 1 Feb., 1959:

“Spent about two hours at the Salt Lake Temple, studying the Temple ordinances, and meditating on Church problems.  Sister McKay was at Fast Meeting.  Later, when we broke our fast, we went to the Temple Square Hotel for dinner.”

Mon., 2 Mar., 1959:

“Meeting of President David O. McKay with Presidents of Stakes of Weber County, in the Ogden Stake Tabernacle, Ogden, Utah, on Monday, March 2, 1959, at 8:00 a.m.

The following Stake Presidents, and also one Second Counselor, were present:  Lawrence S. Burton, Ogden Stake; Dale T. Browning, Weber Stake;  Keith W. Wilcox, Weber Heights Stake; Rudy Van Kampen, Riverdale Stake; Raymond J. Pace, Farr West Stake; Scott B. Price, East Ogden Stake; Lawrence D. Olpin, Lorin Farr Stake; G. Stanley Brewer, Mt. Ogden Stake; Karl S. Storey, Second Counselor, Ben Lomond Stake; H.J. Heiner, Jr., President of Ben Lomond Stake; Glenn L. Massey, South Ogden Stake; Henry A. Matis, Lake View Stake; Thomas O. Smith, North Weber Stake.


President Thomas O. Smith, spokesman for the Stake Presidents, expressed appreciation to President mcKay for his willingness to save the Stake Presidents traveling to Salt Lake City, and for President McKay’s coming to Ogden to meet with them.  He said:  ‘We look upon these brief and few occasions to meet with you personally as the highlights of our experience in the Church.’

He said that for quite a long time, they have had a great desire to have a temple in Ogden; that this has been mentioned to visiting General Authorities from time to time.  He said that they have heard indications that the Church is not ready to consider a temple in Ogden, but that they thought it would be wise to present the idea sometime to learn what President McKay’s reaction might be.  He said that the basis of the interest in a temple in Ogden is the convenience to the greatly increasing population, and the desire to encourage a larger number of people to participate in temple work.  He metnioned also the fact that the Logan and Salt Lake Temples are very busy, and are usually crowded.  He said some of the people have been obliged to wait three hours for an opportunity to go through the Temple when they go to Logan or to Salt Lake.

He said the second matter they desire to consider with President McKay is the hospital, the work upon which has come to a standstill.  He said the stake presidents are very much committed to the hospital, and the need for the work to be done upon it.  He said:  ‘We are wondering if there is anything we should be doing about the hospital, and if it is the desire of the Church that it remain dormant for a while yet.’  He explained that the latest information they have upon the subject is from Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson, who informed them that it should rest awhile.  The stake presidents realize that when it is revived they will have to take some initiative and responsibility for starting it.   He said:  ‘We want to do what the Church wants done and we want to be doing our duty in the matter.’  he said that it is not the desire of the stake presidents ‘to put you on the spot,’ but rather that we want President McKay’s counsel and advice and any encouragement he can give.

In response to his question as to whether or not ‘I have stated our case satisfactorily,’ there were several responses:  ‘Yes, very nicely.’

President McKay said there are many places in greater need of a temple than Ogden, and that no doubt the crowded conditions reported in the Logan and Salt Lake Temples can probably be overcome by introducing the new procedures.  He explained that the new presentation is used in new temples in Switzerland, New Zealand, and London, and in part in the Los Angeles Temple.  He said that a wekk ago last Saturday in the Los Angeles Temple, 1,300 people had been doncuted through the sessions, and were on their way home by 4:00 p.m.  He expressed the opinion that the crowded condition in the Salt Lake and Logan Temples can be overcome in part by introducing the more efficient way of conducting the sessions.

He also explained that in Oakland overlooking the Bay, a temple site has been waiting for a temple there.  He also explained that another temple site has been obtained in Europe.

President Thomas O. Smith siad that a few years ago, a study was made of the matter of mileage involved in going to the Salt Lake and the Logan Temples, and it was indicated that the cost would go a long way to pay for a temple.

President McKay said he had seen the figures.  He remarked that the suggestion of a smaller temple came from the Ogden area.

President McKay said, ‘I believe we will have to wait.  There are really two more to consider before we consider Ogden, and the best thing to do will be to make more efficient use of the Logan Temple and the Salt Lake Temple.  They are still continuing the old form.’  President McKay then briefly explained the new procedure as helping to overcome the consciousness of the people of the mechanics of the temple service, and is helping young people especially to understand the symbolism and the significance of the service.  He briefly reviewed the purpose of the services to show the progress of men from the level of animal interests to spiritual forces which mold eternal life.

This subject was concluded, and President McKay said:  ‘So let us wait for a few years.’

Sun., 8 Mar., 1959:

“Spent several hours at the office going over petitions for cancellation of sealings.  This is a very depressing experience.*

I also worked on preparations for the 129th Annual Conference to be held April 4, 5, 6, 1959.

*This is the gloomiest duty I have in the Church.  I appreciate the assistance rendered by Brother Hugh B. Brown.  I handled 39 cases, and there were more women in the group who had gone wrong than usual.  I am convinced that more care should be taken on the part of our bishops in recommending people to be married in the temple.  Many men particularly violate their covenants by committing adultery and forfeiting their blessings.  More thought should be given on the part of bishops in letting the people understand what it means to go to the temple and enter into eternal covenants and then go out and violate them.  It is a great thing to be sealed in the House of the Lord for time and all eternity — a wonderful blessing – and some of our men do not realize it.”

Sun., 3 May, 1959:

“Spent the morning alone in the Salt Lake Temple in study and contemplation.”

Fri., 8 May, 1959:

“8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Was convened in meetings of the First Presidency.

Sealing Matter considered

At our First Presidency’s meeting this morning President Stephen L. Richards stated that Margaret Cornwall Richards, widow of Robert Richards, son of Stayner Richards, was a widow when she married Robert Richards.  Her first husband was killed in the war.  There were no children.  The first marriage was a temple marriage.  She is the mother of two children by Robert Richards, who died of polio while Stayner Richards was president of the British Mission.  She asks whether or not she may be sealed to Robert Richards and have the children sealed to them.  President Clark stated that a nephew of his is in the same situation, having married a woman who had been selaed to her first husband, the husband having passed away.

I reviewed the case of Axel Olson, who married a young girl, 16 years of age.  He was killed in Ogden Canyon shortly thereafter.  She was a mother and a widow by the time she was seventeen years old.  Later a man married her.  He was not a member of the Church at the time.  They had 12 or 13 children, all of whom were baptized in the Church and finally he, the husband, was baptized.  The case was presented to President Joseph F. Smith when the mother desired to be sealed to her husband who was the father of the 12 or 13 children.  I said that President Smith informed me that in this Church a woman has her choice; if she wants him (the father of the 12 or 13 children) she may have him, but she cannot take Axel’s child from him, but she may be sealed to the second husband, and may have the children of the second husband sealed to them.  They went to the Temple and had the 12 or 13 children sealed to them.

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.” 

Thurs., 18 June, 1959:

(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.”

Sun., 28 June 1959:

“Spent several hours at the office going over petitions for cancellation of sealings, a very depressing duty.  This is the most disheartening work I have to do.”

Sun., 13 Sept. 1959:

“Sister McKay not being so well today, I spent the day at home.  It was a good thing that I was there, because many people called — little children wanting to shake my hand, and other members calling to ask for advice, etc.

During this time I studied 28 requests for cancellation of their temple sealings.  Elder Hugh B. Brown of the Council of the Twelve having made preliminary investigation of each case for me.  This meant the signing of my signature 168 times on the various letters to the parties concerned, and to the Temple Presidents notifying them of the cancellations.  This in addition to writing ‘Approved’ and date on each report given by Elder Brown.”

Wed., 21 Oct. 1959:

“8 a.m.

By appointment The First Presidency met with representatives of the Salt Lake Knitting Company; viz., Willard Smith, Richard Smith, Arnold H. Petersen, Areva M. Petersen, Bryant Smith, and Burton S. Miller regarding the Church’s intention to extend its manufacture of garments within the two year period to be sufficient to meet the needs of the Church, and that the marketing will be through the Relief Society.

A long discussion was held, and Richard Smith spoke for the representatives of the Salt Lake Knitting Works, reviewing the history of the company, and telling of its investments, its assets, number of people employed, etc. etc.  (see The First Presidency’s minutes of this date for detail account)

After the discussion, I said: ‘We shall leave things just as they are now and have nothing said about them; that this matter is wholly confidential this morning.’

Fri., 23 Oct. 1959:

“8 a.m. – My counselors (Presidents Clark and Moyle) and I met by appointment at our request representatives of the Ogden Knitting Works – Mr. Charles Thorstenson and Mr. Ira B. Huggins – re: the Church’s proposal to undertake to provide the total production and distribution of the garments.

Mr. Huggins gave a detail account of the business activities of the Ogden Knitting Works, their finances, investments, number of employees, and also reviewed the economic benefit to Ogden and to the State from the company’s payroll and to the State in taxes paid by such operations as they have, etc.  (see The First Presidency’s minutes of this day for detail report.)

The question of absorbing employees of the Ogden Knitting Company now engaged in the manufacturing of garments was raised and left for the study of the Ogden Company.”

Thurs., 19 Nov. 1959:

“9 a.m.

The Church to manufacture Garments

Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson and Elder Lynn Fairbanks of the committee supervising the Deseret Clothing Factory for the General Welfare Committee came at the request of the First Presidency into the meeting and received an assignment to study, report, and submit recommendations for the advantageous absorbing of the equipment, stock, and employees of the Salt Lake Knitting Company and Lady Gay Manufacturing Company in furtherance of the decision we made for the withdrawal of these companies for the manufacturing of garments for the Church – the Deseret Clothing Factory to undertake the manufacturing of all garments for the Church.

I explained that we desire to make the transfer to the Church of all garment manufacturing without harm, if possible, to the present manufacturers, and that we should like the judgment of Bishop Isaacson and Brother Fairbanks first as to whether or not the Deseret Clothing Factory is prepared to manufacture all the garments for the Church at a reduced price, and, second, how best to absorb the two or three present manufacturers.

Tues., 8 Dec. 1959:

“5:15 – 7:00 p.m.

Met with Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson, Lawrence Harmon, and Walter Stover (the latter two representing the Salt Lake Knitting Works), and Brother Vernon Snyder, Church attorney.

The Salt Lake Knitting works presented an offer to the Church to buy the capital stock of Salt Lake Knitting Works for $950,000 with the understanding that the Deseret Clothing Factory Committee agree to this offer and that Zion’s Securities Corporation take the Main Street Store for $350,000, leaving $600,000 for the Deseret Clothing Factory.  The Salt Lake Knitting Works will continue in the non-garment division of their business and the Church will take over on December 31 what is left of the garment business and will continue to order supplies for the garment manufacturing.  It was agreed, also, that this transaction is subject to a complete audit and an inventory.  The matter of preparing the necessary papers for the transfer was referred to Brother Snyder of the Church Legal Department.”

Wed., 3 Feb. 1960:

“8:35 to 11 a.m.

The First Presidency held their regular meeting.

Many important matters were discussed at this meeting.  Among them were (1) Proposals for Temple Square Development.  Architects Harold W. Burton, Cannon Young, and Arthur Price, came into our meeting by appointment and exhibited plans and sketches showing proposals for providing temporary accommodations for temple patrons while the remodeling is going forward in the Salt Lake Temple.  Sketches of buildings proposed at the north were also exhibited and explained.  Provision for elevators to be installed and other conveniences were pointed out.  The Proposal for locating the Bureau of Information in the northwest corner of Temple Square with entrance to the building at the corner and into the block at the present locations was exhibited.  The earlier suggestion that an underground theatre or exhibiting rooms in connection with the Bureau of Information be provided was mentioned and preference was expressed for a plan for these buildings above ground.  Many other features of this development were discussed.

Tues., 3 May 1960:

“At 12:15 p.m., I met by appointment Sister Sara Minson of Boise Idaho (50 years of age) who was stricken with polio when she was two years of age, and was completely paralyzed for a few years.  Eventually she gained sufficient strength in her arms and upper body so that she moves around with help of braces, and also with crutches, on her still paralyzed legs.  She makes her own living.  Recently she wrote to me about receiving her endowments, which letter I took into the meeting of the First Presidency.  We had a serious question in our minds as to whether she could wear the garments next to her body (because of the necessary braces) in the event she obtained her endowments, or whether that would be an impossibility.  So I decided to invite her in to have a talk with me.

This morning, in discussing the problem with her, I advised her to wait until she might be given a husband, and then have her endowments.  She said that, of course, that could not happen in this life as she is totally paralyzed from the waist down.  I said that she would lose nothing by waiting until the time comes when she can receive the blessings of the endowments.

She was accompanied by her sister, a widow, with whom she lives in Boise.  They went away feeling all right about the decision that was made.

Tuesday, May 3, 1960

1302 North 21st

    Boise, Idaho

  May 17, 1960


Office of President David O. McKay

L.D.S. Church Headquarters

47 E. South Temple Street

Salt Lake City 11, Utah

Dear Sister:

I want to take this opportunity to express my thanks for the kind, understanding consideration you gave me and my sister when I had the privilege of talking with President McKay on May 3.  My heart was so full and I was so consumed with awe at being in the presence of the Prophet of God, that I was unable to control my emotions sufficiently to express my gratitude to you as I left your office.

You are truly a wonderful helpmate to the President – a most efficient secretary – and I am sure you appreciate the opportunity which is yours to be so closely associated with a man of President McKay’s calibre.

My Patriarchal Blessing told me that my handicap would prove to be a blessing in disguise, and because of it I would receive special blessings from the Lord which would bring me joys beyond measure, even such joys as others know not of.   My visit with you and our dear President was a fulfillment of that promise.

President McKay’s assuring words of encouragement were most helpful and comforting to me.  It was a real inspiration to witness his humble desire to serve and administer to my needs.  It was indeed a privilege to partake of the love and spirituality which radiated from his kind, understanding eyes.  Here was a man who was willing to consider my personal problem despite his anxiety over his wife’s health and the terrific responsibility which is his in these troubled times when it is often necessary for him to make momentous decisions which affect the lives of many.

We sincerely pray that Sister McKay’s health is improving and that both she and the President will be blessed with health to continue their wonderful mission here.  May you also be blessed in your special calling of lightening the President’s load; and helping others, as you did me, with your warm, understanding personality.  Thanks again.

Sincerely yours,

Sara Minson

P.S.  I am sorry I neglected to get your name when I was there.”

Sun., 22 May 1960:

“Spent the afternoon at the office – studied 17 petitions for cancellation of temple sealings — a most discouraging and gloomy task.  Nearly every case I went over, it was the man’s fault for the breaking up of the marriage.”

Fri., 27 May 1960:

“Baptism for the Dead — Aaronic Priesthood Assignment

At our meeting with the Presiding Bishopric this morning I informed them that by unanimous action of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve, the recommendation was adopted that baptisms for the dead be performed by the Aaronic Priesthood and girls of corresponding ages and not by children who are younger, and by this action the assignment was given to the Aaronic Priesthood.  Bishop Wirthlin and his counselors, expressed great satisfaction in the assignment.  It was decided that the General Presidency of the Primary Association be advised of this action before publicity is given to it by the Presiding Bishopric.

I then talked by telephone to President ElRay L. Christiansen of the Salt Lake Temple and informed him of the present arrangements for the carrying on baptisms for the dead under the direction of the Temple Staff and for the scheduling of these occasions by Sister Savage.”

Sun., 29 May 1960:

“Spent the hours this morning in studying petitions for cancellation of temple sealings.  I went over thirty-three cases, and I again report that it is the most depressing work I have to do.  In most cases the men are to blame, perhaps in 90 percent of the cases the men have failed in their covenants.

I am grateful for the assistance Brother Hugh B. Brown of the Council of the Twelve has given to me in this work!”

Tues., 14 June 1960:

“8:30 a.m.

At our First Presidency’s meeting this morning, we met with President ElRay L. Christiansen and Recorder Dan Hansen of the Salt Lake Temple.  President Christiansen reviewed details of plans being made at the Salt Lake Temple for administering the initiatory temple ordinances of washing, anointing and clothing with the garments to proxies in preparation for the endowments to be administered to other proxies.  He read an introductory statement and other sections of the procedures and asked for instructions of the First Presidency as to changes, if any, to be made.

It was decided that there need be no changes in the present instructions and that the general principle should be followed that the plan for the initiatory ordinances to be administered separate from the endowments should go forward without change.  Other matters pertaining to Temple ordinance work were discussed.

I informed President Christiansen of the decision to assign baptisms for the dead to the Aaronic Priesthood and girls of corresponding age, and stated that the Presidency of the Primary Association has been informed that hereafter children under twelve years of age will not participate in baptisms for the dead.  The baptisms for the dead is to be the function of the priesthood and not of small children.

I also said that the new arrangements for the initiatory ordinances and for baptisms for the dead will be effective when the temple opens in August and President Christiansen reviewed preparations and a period of training necessary for the temple staff before the effective date.”

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., 10 Aug. 1960:

“Effect Upon Child Born During Interim between Excommunication and Restoration

A memorandum from Elder Spencer W. Kimball recited his having been authorized, and his having restored blessings to a woman, who, in the interim during excommunication and restoration, gave birth to a child.  The question asked of me today is whether or not the restoration had effect of placing the child as though it had ben born in the covenant.  After consideration, I stated that the child should be sealed to the parents, and the child was not born in the covenant since it was born before the restoration of the mother’s blessings.

Child born During Father’s Excommunication

I also ruled that in the case of a child born to a faithful mother in the interim during the excommunication of the father and the restoration of his blessings, it would be born in the covenant since the children go with the mother.”

Wed., 24 Aug. 1960:

Telephone Call

Miss Walker (Miss Utah) of the Holladay lst Ward, Holladay Stake telephoned, and asked for an appointment.  She said that she is going East soon to compete for the Miss America title, and since she has been on a mission and wears the garment, she would like to know what she should do about the garment when she participates in the activities which will not permit of her wearing the garment.  President McKay advised Miss Walker, through his secretary, that she should follow the advice of her Stake President.”

Wed., 9 Nov. 1960:

Divorce Clearances

Consideration was given to amending instructions and procedure for the clearance of divorces to assure the submission of complete information in cases coming to our attention.  It was decided to assign the reviewing and preparation of divorce clearances for the First Presidency to Elder Howard W. Hunter of the Council of the Twelve instead of Elder A. Hamer Reiser, assistant secretary to the First Presidency, attending to this matter as he is now doing.

Excommunications – Record to be added to Temple Endowment Record

I reviewed a case in which restoration of blessings is requested, and in which there is a temple record of endowment, but no record of excommunication.  I directed that arrangements be made at once for the Temple records of endowments to be made complete by the addition of the record of excommunication of persons endowed, and that the restoration of blessings when this action is taken be also entered upon the record of the endowments.

Tues., 22 Nov. 1960:

10 to 11:30 a.m.

Was engaged in the meeting of the Church Committee on Expenditures.

Announcement of Beginning of Plans to Build the Oakland Temple

At this meeting, I announced that the time has come to start building the Oakland Temple!  I said that the impression had come to me that now is the time.  I reported that when I dedicated the new Tri-Stake Center at Oakland on September 25, 1960, I also had been impressed that the people — 90,000 of them — were ready for the Temple.

11:30 a.m.

Returned to my private office where I telephoned to President O. Leslie of the Oakland-Berkeley Stake regarding beginning plans for the erection of the Oakland Temple — see notes of conversation following.

Tuesday, November 22, 1960

(President McKay telephoned President O. Leslie Stone, President of the Oakland-Berkeley Stake regarding the beginning of plans for the erection of the Oakland Temple.)

Pres. Stone: Hello, President McKay?  This is Leslie Stone in Oakland.

Pres. McKay: President Stone, I have called you because of the seeming delay in answering your kind letter of November 4, in which you give the figures of the Stakes in the temple area of the Oakland-Berkeley area.  It is very kind of you to send it.

Pres. Stone: I wanted to make sure that my figure was correct, and, actually, the population is a little higher than I gave you.

Pres. McKay: I have not yet recovered from that tardy visit at the dedication of the Inter-Stake Center in Oakland when my plane was late.  One sure thing that has grown out of my visit to Oakland on September 25, 1960 is the realization of the need for a temple in the Oakland Bay area.

Pres. Stone: That is wonderful!

Pres. McKay: I have called you this morning to say that we are going to start to build the temple!

Pres. Stone: Oh, wonderful!

Pres. McKay: Now, I think we should not make an announcement just yet, but I wanted you to know that we have taken steps to have the architect draw suitable drawings, and we shall make an announcement the way you think would produce the greatest results.

Pres. Stone: How about the other Stake Presidents in this area — the announcement will come from the First Presidency, I assume, as far as telling them anything about it.

Pres. McKay: Now, I wanted to talk to you about that.  I remember when we started the Los Angeles Temple that we called the Presidents of Stakes together and presented the matter to them.  I notice what you say in your letter that you are sure that the Presidents of the Stakes will be pleased to make a contribution.

Pres. Stone: I am sure that all of us would.  I have not discussed it with these other brethren, but I know they would all favor the temple here, and I feel sure they could all be counted upon.  I think it would be advisable to call them together in a meeting and have someone from Salt Lake representing you here to present it to them.

Pres. McKay: Now you have given in your letter all the Stakes in that area, have you?

Pres. Stone: Yes.  Those are all the stakes which includes the Klamath Stake, and the Reno Stake which would be in this Temple District.  I do not believe you would want to take it up any further into the Northwest.  There is a possibility that the Eugene Stake might be closer to Oakland than it would be to Salt Lake City.

Pres. McKay: Where do you think would be a good center to call these Presidents together?

Pres. Stone: I think it should be here in Oakland, in the Inter-Stake Center.  This is the central location for all this area.

Pres. McKay: Should we call just the Presidents or should we call the counselors also to the meeting?

Pres. Stone: In think it might be well to have the entire Stake Presidency.

Pres. McKay: When will be a good time to meet them?

Pres. Stone: Well, for a meeting of that kind I think that we could arrange it anytime at your convenience.  We have been holding our Regional meetings on Monday nights in this area, and that seems to be a night the brethren sort of set aside when they can come to special meetings — or, we could make it on a Sunday.

Pres. McKay: Not very well without interfering with their regular work.

Pres. Stone: Yes, it would interfer with some of their regular work, if it were on a Sunday.

Pres. McKay: I think it would be better if it were on a Monday, December 5, 1960.

Pres. Stone: I think a Monday night would be just fine.

Pres. McKay: Could they come in the evening — or in the daytime?

Pres. Stone: I think perhaps it would be more convenient for most of them to come in the evening.  They could drive in from almost any place, and those who had to come from Klamath Stake and Reno Stake could stay all night — whereas most of these brethren would be able to go back after the meeting.  So, I would think that a meeting in the evening at 7:30 would be probably the best time.

Pres. McKay: Now the days are getting very short, we ought to act upon this before Christmas.

Pres. Stone: We could call it just as soon as you could have someone here.  We could call it for next Monday night if you desire. 

Pres. McKay: We have appointments for that Monday.

Pres. Stone: Well, how about the following week — the following Monday — that would be December 5?

Pres. McKay: I shall let you know — I think we had better move right at once.  I told the Brethren today that I thought the time has come now for us to take steps for the building of the temple.

Pres. Stone: Well, that is just wonderful news, President McKay.  Now, whoever comes to the meeting, we will be most happy to meet them and take care of them while they are here, with all transportation.  Sister Stone and I will be happy to have them in our home.

Pres. McKay: I am letting you know about this first, but I think we had better not say anything about it until we have that meeting.

Pres. Stone: I appreciate the call — and I think you are right.  If the other brethren come in and hear it directly from the First Presidency, I think it will be better.

Pres. McKay: All right — we are going ahead with it.

Pres. Stone: Well– that is wonderful news, I am most happy to hear it and thank you for calling.  I do hope you and Sister McKay have a pleasant Holiday Season.

Pres. McKay: Thank you.  Kind regards to Sister Stone.

Pres. Stone: We have a new granddaughter born in our home Sunday.

Pres. McKay: Oh, congratulations!

Pres. Stone: It was during conference.  My son and his wife, Patricia Judd, the daughter of President Judd, had their fourth child.  I announced it in Sunday morning session of conference and then right after, we had a rest song and I said, ‘Now we will sing, ‘Now Let us Rejoice.’  So it worked out fine.

Pres. McKay:  (laughter)

Pres. Stone: Elder Stapley was our visitor and he accused me of pre- arrangements.  But we are most happy with the new granddaughter.

Pres. McKay:  Sister McKay joins me in sending congratulations and our blessings.

Pres. Stone: Thank you very much, President McKay.

Pres. McKay:  Goodbye.”

Tues., 20 Dec. 1960:

“9 to 10 a.m.

Was engaged in the meeting of the First Presidency.  Many matters pertaining to the appointing and releasing of Mission Presidents were discussed.

I also informed President Moyle (President Clark not in attendance, still being confined to his home), that I had telephoned President Stone of the Oakland-Berkeley Stake, and informed him that the building of the temple on the site in Oakland is contemplated.  I said that I would arrange to meet with the Stake Presidents in the Oakland Bay Area and make the announcement of the building of the Temple at that time.”

Wed., 18 Jan. 1961:

“Wednesday, January 18, 1961

Telephone Conversation between President David O. McKay and President O. Leslie Stone, Piedmont, California, Wednesday morning, January 18, 1961.

President Stone: Good morning, President McKay.

President McKay: Good morning, President Stone.  How are you?

President Stone: I am just fine.  Thank you.  I am glad to hear that you are coming our way.

President McKay: Well, it is about time, I think.  My son Lawrence was in this morning.  I thought we would make no publicity about what the purpose of our visit is until after the meeting.

President Stone: Fine.

President McKay: We shall meet you, as you indicated in your note, at 12:00 noon on Monday, January 23rd.

President Stone: Fine.

President McKay: We shall not have a luncheon.

President Stone: Okay.

President McKay: We shall present the matter and if I can possibly bring a copy of the proposed temple, they will be pleased to see it.

President Stone: That would be wonderful.

President McKay: We should like you to call them together if you will, please.

President Stone: I will be happy to do so.

President McKay: We shall see if they are willing to have a temple in that area, and if they are willing to contribute to it.

President Stone: Fine.

President McKay: So I shall meet you at that time and hold a meeting with you Brethren.

President Stone: All right.  Now, one question — shall we just invite the presidents or shall we invite the counselors?

President McKay: I note in your letter that you think the counselors would be pleased to come.

President Stone: Well, they would be.  I am sure they would be honored to come.

President McKay: All right.  Let them come; but I think I would not include the Willamette, Oregon stake — just those stakes in the temple area.

President Stone: All right.  How about President Pugh?  Shall we include President Pugh of the Northern California Mission?

President McKay: Well, I think so.

President Stone: All right.

President McKay: I shall bring somebody with me, and then the Deseret News and other papers can give such publicity as they wish after we hold the meeting.

President Stone: Fine.  We will not have a photographer there then?

President McKay: Yes, that is all right.

President Stone: To have a photographer?  We could have one of our Latter-day Saint photographers.

President McKay: That will be all right, then we shall make some publicity after the meeting.  I have already presented it to the Brethren, but I should like to meet them tomorrow before I make the trip Monday.

President Stone:  All right.  Fine.  I will get out the notice, President McKay, and then I will meet your plane at 11:50 a.m. on Monday.

President McKay: All right.

President Stone: Thank you very much for calling.

President McKay: Thank you.  Good-by.

President Stone: Good-by.”

Mon., 23 Jan. 1961:

“10:30 a.m.

Left Salt Lake City by United Air Lines for San Francisco.  We arrived at the San Francisco International Airport at 11:50 a.m.  Elder Henry Smith of the Deseret News accompanied me.

We were immediately escorted to the Hilton Inn, adjacent to the airport, where approximately sixty leaders awaited us.  The President and his counselors from each of the 19 stakes and the Northern California Mission were present.  It was nearly a 100% attendance as only two counselors were absent.

At my request, Elder O. Leslie, President of the Oakland-Berkeley Stake conducted the meeting.

Following the opening prayer I spoke briefly on the purpose of the meeting, and related some of the historical background on the selection and purchase of the site.  (see detail account following)

I read, among other things, the following:

‘On August 7, 1847, President Brigham Young made a prophecy contained in an epistle which he and Dr. Willard Richards had written to the Saints in California who had come around the Horn under the Presidency of Samuel Brannan.  This prediction was given at the end of the letter:

‘And in the process of time, the shores of the Pacific may yet be overlooked from the Temple of the Lord.’

I then explained that it was for the purpose of fulfilling that prophecy that we had met on this occasion.

I made explanation that the Presidency and the Twelve were united in their decision that a Temple should now be built in this area on the site which had been purchased for that purpose in 1942.

At this point, I presented to them the architect’s perspective of the proposed temple prepared by Brother Harold W. Burton, supervising Church architect, and asked them this question:  ‘How do you think this will look on ‘Temple Hill’?’

Their interest was immediate and pronounced.  The drawing was passed among them, and after a brief discussion they voted unanimously to accept the proposal that such a temple be erected on the Oakland site.

This vote came on a motion from President Albert B. Crandall of the Sacramento Stake and seconded by President Dallas A. Tueller of the Fresno Stake.

After a few more remarks, I invited the brethren to consider helping with the finances of the temple.  The architect’s estimate of cost for erection of the Oakland Temple is approximately two million dollars.

The stake presidents expressed a willingness on behalf of themselves and the members of their stakes to make any contribution we requested of them.  I explained that we would not set the figure, but would rather leave it up to them.  After considerable discussion, which revealed enthusiastic interest, they voted unanimously to raise a minimum of $500,000 by local contributions, which would be one-fourth of the estimated cost of the building.  This would represent about $5.00 per capita.  Several stake presidents indicated their stakes would raise in excess of this amount.

It was decided that this local portion of the construction cost would be raised fully within the next two years, with the hope that construction of the temple would be well along by that time.  With my approval, the group of stake presidents proceeded to organize themselves into the Oakland Temple District.

By unanimous decision, the group selected President O. Leslie Stone of the Oakland-Berkeley Stake as chairman, and President David B. Haight of the Palo alto Stake as vice-chairman.

President Carroll William Smith of the Klamath Stake and President Dallas A.Tueller of Fresno Stake were named to the executive committee.  These new officers of the Oakland Temple District were empowered to select others to serve with them as needed in the collection of local contributions and otherwise aiding in construction of the temple.

The assembled stake presidencies and mission presidency were introduced by name.  After the meeting closed, each came forward to shake hands.’  

Monday, January 23, 1961


By Eugene Hilton, Patriarch


After the great lull in Mormon activity, roughly from 1848 to 1892, the number of Church members steadily increased in northern California.  Permanent organizations were set up, buildings erected, and far reaching plans formulated to make available to the Saints everything necessary to enable them to enjoy the benefits of the restored gospel to the full.  At the very apex of all such plans was the hope for a holy temple.

This hope became a definite part of all such planning after the famous prophecy of George Albert Smith, an apostle of the Lord.  In 1924, while looking eastward from his hotel in San Francisco, he predicted that a temple would one day surmount the East Bay hills — one that would be visible as a beacon to ships as they entered the Golden Gate from the far flung nations of the earth.  From that time forward a few among us became ardent ‘hill watchers,’ hoping to find the particular spot where the gleaming House of the Lord should stand.

Definite steps were taken in 1934 to specifically locate the temple site.  A committee was appointed for this purpose.  Members of this committee were Delbert F. Wright and A.B. Graham, with the writer as chairman.  In their searches they benefited by the enthusiastic cooperation of the local Chamber of Commerce and city officials.

Several possible sites were considered, but as their relative merits were examined one particular spot always seemed to impress us as ‘the one.’  This continued to be true despite the fact that two sites were offered free, and the further disturbing fact that the site most preferred was definitely not for sale.  At the same time, we faced additional resistance in the announced purchase of the site for the Los Angeles temple, and the conclusion of the Church authorities that they should not undertake to build two temples at the same time in California.

As the committee discontinued its work, the chairman said:  ‘Let us patiently wait our time and keep silent regarding this preferred site.  Let us also watch and pray that we may yet obtain it.’

Seven years passed.  Then within two weeks after Pearl Harbor and the war with Japan in 1941, Brother Graham, the realtor, came to the writer who was then Stake President, and said: ‘It looks like our chance has come.  The owner of the hill tells me that his plans for developing it as a subdivision are blocked.  He cannot get the necessary materials for his buildings and has offered the entire 14 1/2 acres to me for $18,000.’

The President said:  ‘That is wonderful news indeed.  Do you plan to buy it for your own use?’  Faithful Brother Graham replied ‘I want the Church to have the first chance — but we will have to act fast.’  The Stake President said:  ‘This is the most important.  It is an answer to our prayers.  We won’t wait for the mails.  I will go directly to Salt Lake tonight.’

While there he obtained the promise that the First Presidency would send someone to look at the proposed site.  Between then and nearly two months later when President David O. McKay finally came, the ‘hill watchers’ passed many anxious hours.  One delay after another hindered his coming and the owner was on the verge of selling the tract to other buyers who had heard of it and offered him more money.

His friendship for Brother Graham and the latter’s diplomacy were finally rewarded.  President McKay came at last and was enraptured at what he saw.  He said many fine things about the site, concluding with the welcome pronouncement:  ‘I will return and recommend its purchase.’  From that time on we have publicly called it ‘Temple Hill.’

The transaction was speedily concluded, and the temple site was ours!  Then began what proved to be the almost heart-breaking effort to obtain an additional two acres which were absolutely necessary to provide the proper entrance to the tract itself.  The owners of this property were then unwilling to even consider its sale.  ‘It was,’ they said, ‘their country home and the place where they kept their precious horses.’  After several years and many carefully planned and complicated efforts and delays the key two-acre tract was finally offered to us at $6,000 more than the Authorities had authorized us to expend for its purchase.

Fearing that further delay would result in its final loss to us, the local stake authorities counseled together, and concluded to buy the two acres on their own responsibility, knowing that time would justify their action.  They proposed to raise the extra $6,000 among themselves, if necessary, rather than risk losing the natural ‘key’ to the entire project.  Once the purchase was completed and full explanation made to the First Presidency, the welcome news came back:  ‘We have concluded that you acted wisely and will accordingly advance the entire purchase price.’

Since then other fringe areas have been acquired, some of them at considerable expense and difficulty, so that the Oakland Temple Site, consisting finally of 18.3 acres, now stands complete in every respect.  It stands apart from the noise of the city and yet is ideally located among the millions it will serve.  The view from afar as the predicted ‘ensign’ on the hills to the east of San Francisco can never be obstructed.

With the preparations that have now been made, and the completion of the Interstake Center, the incomparable place stands ready to receive the destined holy house that will be its final and crowning glory.  As it eventually takes its place among the far flung and increasing number of temples dedicated to the Lord in this last and greatest dispensation, the site upon which it stands will increasingly be known throughout the world as the most impressive and inspiring location of them all.

‘Triumph’ — East Bay Inter Stake Center brochure, January 1959

January 23, 1961

Minutes of the meeting held Monday, January 23, 1961, in the Hilton Inn, adjacent to the San Francisco International airport, for the purpose of introducing plans for erection of the Oakland Temple to stake presidencies in the Northern California area.

The meeting was held under the direction of President David O. McKay, who made the journey by air from Salt Lake City, to meet with the Stake presidencies.  President McKay’s plane landed at the San Francisco Airport at 11:50 a.m. and he left again at 3 p.m. for the return journey to Salt Lake City.

Conducting the meeting was President O. Leslie Stone of the Oakland-Berkeley Stake, who had been in charge of local arrangements for the meeting.

The following were present at the meeting:


American River Austin G. Hunt

George E. Leavitt

R. Ray Hutchings

Fresno Dallas A. Tueller

Arden B. Hutchings

Charles B. Bingham

Gridley Julius B. Papa

Leslie H. Nims

Eugene Barrow

Hayward Milton P. Ream

A. Gifford Jackson

Orval L. Ostler

Klamath Carroll W. Smith

Ronald E. Phair

Dennis Ray Hassell

Monterey Bay James N. Wallace, Jr.

George Wilbur Wheatley

Lynn R. Hanson

Napa Harry S. Cragun

Bryant S. Knowlton

Philip S. Ferrin

North Sacramento Lester B. Call

John Newey

Ralph Greenwell

Northern California Warren E. Pugh

Mission W. Glenn Harmon*

Gary V. Smith

Oakland-Berkeley O. Leslie Stone

Elmo R. Smith

W. Paul Summerhays

Palo Alto David B. Haight

Richard B. Sonne

Lund A. Johnson

Redding Albert C. Petersen

J. Irvin Wiseman

Lynn F. Olsen

Reno James P. Ronnow

Doyle C. Robison

Vern H. Waldo

Sacramento Albert B. Crandall

John H. Huber

Maurice J. Graham

San Francisco Irven G. Derrick

Willard B. Barton

Milton D. Ensign

San Jose Horace J. Ritchie

William R. Siddoway

B. Floyd Farr

San Joaquin Clifton A. Rooker

Clyde F. Boyle

Charles R. Seymour

San Mateo William L. Stoker

James B. Jacobson

Edward Lorenzo Howard, Jr.*

Santa Rosa Weston L. Roe

Carl Coombs

Sidney B. Henderson

Walnut Creek Norman B. Creer

Kenneth D. Jensen

Joseph R. Hilton

*Indicates that these Brethren were unable to attend the meeting due to the fact that they were out of the area.

Also present were:

Henry A. Smith, Editor of the Church News, who had accompanied President McKay from Salt Lake City; Sister Winnie Bates Irving, Secretary to President Stone, and Sister Nell Smith, local representative of the Church News and ‘The Messenger.’

The minutes were recorded:

President Stone:  My brethren and sisters — we have two of our sisters present — it is certainly a glorious occasion to meet here with our President, our prophet, President David O. McKay.  He has asked me to call on someone to offer the invocation.  At this time I would like to call on President David B. Haight of the Palo Alto Stake for that purpose, President Haight.

President Haight:  Oh God, our Eternal Father, we pause at this time to acknowledge Thee, and to honor Thee, and to give thanks for all the blessings that have come to each of us individually in this room, and for the blessings that have come to Thy people here upon the earth, and particularly to the people who live in this Northern California area.  We are grateful this day, our Heavenly Father, for the presence here and for the safe arrival of President David O. McKay of Thy Church.

We pray that Thy spirit will rest here in abundance in this meeting room that we might be receptive of the message that he brings us and of the plans for the further building of Thy kingdom here upon the earth.  We are grateful that he was able to fly through the sky this day and to arrive here without accident or incident.  We pray that we might all be blessed as a result of this day, that we might listen intently and received of his message with the proper spirit.  These blessings we pray for, as we dedicate this meeting into Thy hands, into Thy keeping, in the name of Thy son, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

President Stone:  Brethren, can I just tell President McKay that we have the stake presidencies from nineteen stakes here, 100 per cent from all the stakes that were invited and President Warren Pugh of the Northern California Mission and his counselors, so we have — I think there were only two counselors missing who were unable to be here this morning; otherwise this represents 100 per cent.  We are surely happy to have you with us.

President McKay:  Thank you, Brother Stone.  And thank all you brethren for a ready response to this unexpected call.  As I said before, I am very pleased to be here this morning, more than delighted.  I have here a copy of your invitation to be present at a special meeting.  I note here that we have a statement that is in reference to our brief meeting at the three-stake center a few months ago.  As I recall, we rode from San Francisco over to Oakland, and Brother Stone and Sister Stone met me.  The plane was late, but all I heard between San Francisco and Oakland was ‘Temple,’ the fact that a temple site had been chosen twenty or twenty-five years before.

This morning I was handed a note:

‘As the committee of that time convened and as it continued its work its worthy chairman said, ‘Let us thus patiently wait our time and keep silent regarding this preferred site.  Let us also watch and pray that we may yet obtain it — referring to the temple site.

‘Seven years passed.  Then within about two weeks after Pearl Harbor and the war with Japan in 1941, Brother Graham, the realtor, came to the writer (President Eugene Hilton, who was then president of the Oakland Stake) and said,

‘It looks like our chance has come.  The owner of the hill tells me that his plans for developing it as a subdivision are dropped.  He cannot get the necessary materials for his buildings, and has offered the entire fourteen and a half acres to me for $18,000.00’  The President said, ‘That is wonderful news indeed.  Do you plan to buy it for your own use?’  Faithful Brother Graham replied, ‘I want the Church to have the first chance, but we will have to act fast.’

‘The stake president said, ‘This is most important.  It is an answer to our prayers.  We won’t wait for the mail.  I will go directly to Salt Lake City tonight.’

‘While there he obtained the promise that the First Presidency would send someone to look at the proposed site.  Between then and nearly two months later, when President McKay finally came – finally came (LAUGHTER)–the hill-watchers passed many anxious hours.  One delay after another hindered his coming.  The owner was on the verge of selling the tract to buyers who had heard of it and offered him more money.  His friendship for Brother Graham and the latter’s diplomacy were finally rewarded.  President McKay came at last, and was enraptured at what he saw.  He said many fine things about the site, concluding with the welcomed pronouncement, ‘I will return and recommend its purchase.’

‘From that time on we have openly called it ‘Temple Hill.”

It is regarding the use of that Temple Hill that we are summoned today.

I have in my pocket some interesting documents.  On August 7th, 1847, just a few weeks after the Pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley, President Brigham Young made a prophecy contained in an epistle which he and Doctor Willard Richards had written to the Saints in California, who had come around the Horn under the presidency of Samuel Brannan.  My wife’s grandparents were on that ship.  This prediction was given toward the end of the letter.  It is in writing.

‘And in the process of time the shores of the Pacific may yet be overlooked from the Temple of the Lord.’

I think that is a wonderful prophecy, made in the midst of deserts.

You have read also that Brother George Albert Smith made a prophecy that a temple would be built on one of these hills overlooking the Pacific.

I was reminded as I came over this morning of the visit I made to the California Mission in 1910.  The mission then covered the entire state of California from St. David in Arizona to Reno, Nevada.  There was a chapel at St. David, owned by the Church, a branch at that time.  Between St. David in Arizona and Gridley the Church did not own a single chapel.  We met in halls.  Joseph P. Robinson was the president of this mission.

I have some minutes of interesting items regarding this.  Here is a paragraph from a diary of January 4, 1953, in which I refer to that visit.  ‘We started at St. David in Arizona.  Then we came through Southern California on through Northern California, and over in Reno.  But there was not a branch at Laguna.  There was no house in California that was owned by the Church.  A little later there was one owned at Long Beach.  Today there are twenty-three organized stakes, 200 wards and branches, not counting the branches in the California Mission nor the Northern California Mission — in the organized stakes there are 200 wards and branches, twenty-seven in the California Mission besides those in the Northern California Mission.’  That was on January 4, 1953.

Today we have forty-seven stakes in all of California.  We have nineteen stakes in this area and the population or membership of nearly 100,000 people.  So we feel that the time has come when these prophecies should be fulfilled.

We have had a hard time in completing the budget for the next year, 1961.  The Church has grown, so many chapels already planned to build, but there was presented to the Brethren a week ago the thought that we would call the brethren of the Northern California district together and present to them the proposition that we are now ready to take steps toward utilizing ‘Temple Hill’ which was chosen so many years ago, still standing, waiting to be occupied.

(At this point President McKay held before the brethren the architect’s plan of the Oakland Temple, which he had brought with him for that purpose.)

I think it is one of the best plans drawn for a temple.

As I say, that is merely suggestive, but I think it will look appropriate.  We shall pass it around so you can all get a good look at it.

As I have learned from the latest trip here, groups of members of this area would have to leave Friday and travel all night in order to attend a Saturday session, and then in order to be back Monday, they would have to travel back Saturday night, attend the meetings Sunday, and be ready for work Monday.

That is as it was presented.

I shall confess to you that up to that time other sites had taken precedence to this because you were so close to the Los Angeles Temple.  When we learned that 75,000 members of the Church, as it was reported then, were thus inconvenienced in such proportions in attending the temple to travel Friday night, attend the temple, and travel back Saturday night, the decision was made to let the Oakland Temple take precedence over the others.

We are here to present to you this morning the proposition that the Brethren are united, the Presidency and the Council of the Twelve, in taking steps to erect at once on Temple Hill, near Oakland, the Temple of the Most High.  If you are willing to accept, you may so indicate by a motion.

(The motion was made by President Crandall of the Sacramento Stake, seconded by President Tueller of the Fresno Stake.)

President McKay:  All who are willing may manifest it by raising your right hand.  (The vote was unanimous in the affirmative.) 

The Oakland Temple will be the next one built.

Now, the next question is whether or not you will be willing to help us.  A temple costs money, and we are creating so many stakes in all parts of the world, stakes in Australia, stakes in New Zealand, Manchester Stake in Great Britain.  Next month there will be a London Stake, also a Leicester Stake, and the president of the Scottish-Irish Mission says we shall soon have a stake in Scotland.  The stakes are increasing — there will be a stake in Holland and another stake in Germany before this year passes.

I am not authorized to suggest any amount.  You have just built a tri-stake center.  We know what effort you have put forth.  I think we will leave that to you, Brother Stone.

President Stone:  It is a three-stake center, President McKay, and the three stakes involved in the center — and speaking for one of those stakes — we commit ourselves to do whatever the Church would like us to do in respect to helping to defray the cost of this temple.  We feel it is a great blessing to our people here, and we shall be blessed by the sacrifices that we would make in helping to build this fine temple in Oakland.  So we stand committed in the Oakland-Berkeley Stake to do whatever the Church would like us to do in helping to build this temple and pay for it.

President McKay:  Well, I think the Church ought not to say.  I think that you should do just what you would like to do.

President Stone:  Would that be up to each stake that is involved to do what we feel that we should do, what we would like to do?

President McKay:  I think so.

President Stone:  It would seem that we should have some pattern so that one of us would not be doing less than our share.  I am sure everyone here would want to do their share.  How would we know what is our share unless we have some pattern?

President McKay:  We held a similar meeting to this in Southern California before the Los Angeles Temple was built.  They pledged themselves for a million dollars.  And they exceeded that sum.  But that is an expensive building.  This building you are looking at now will probably cost two million dollars.  The other was estimated $5,000,000.00.  Now, one fifth of $2,000,000.00 probably would be all right.

President Stone:  That would be $400,000.00.

President Haight:  President McKay, if that would be the figure, I would suggest that we pledge ourselves for half a million dollars.  It is easier to handle round numbers.  (Laughter)  If it is going to be a two million dollar building, then we would raise $500,000.00 as a group of Saints.

President McKay:  Well, we brought that merely as an estimate.  When I spoke to the architect last evening, I said, now, about what will that cost?  And it is one of the most commodious temples ever drawn.  I think that would be fair.

President Stone:  That would be five dollars per capita.  Certainly I do not think there is any stake that would want to pay less than that.  Some of us may go over that.  But I think we ought to pledge to President McKay as President Haight has mentioned that we go on record that this group of stakes will contribute $500,000.00 towards the erection of this temple.

President Rooker:  President Stone, when do you need the money?

President McKay:  When the building is being built.

President Stone:  That will be probably a year from now?

President McKay:  Well, we shall have to draw the plans.  It takes a long while to draw the plans and get the bids.

President Stone:  We shall probably have two years to raise the money?  It would not present any problem to any of us to have the money raised in two years’ time.

President Ronnow:  I would like to so move that we go on record as favoring this and assess all of us, or contribute, at least $5.00 per capita in the stake.  The Reno Stake so do that.

President Derrick:  Well, on the $5.00 it will make a little short of the $500,000.00.  Why don’t we take the $500,000.00 as the figure?

President Stone:  Prorate the $500,000.00 based on membership.

President Elmo Smith:  We stakes who are located closer to the temple ought to do a little better than that.

President Stone:  I think we will.  I think we will do a little better than that to help with over $500,000.00.  President McKay does not want to limit it at that.  But I do not think anybody here would want to contribute less than that.

President ______:  Can this temple be built in two years for the same amount of money?

President Stone:  It will be built as soon as the plans are completed.

President Papa:  The increased population will take care of some of the increased building cost.

President Stone:  Could we ask the stake presidents for a rising vote in favor of that proposition as has been moved and seconded?  All the stake presidents and the mission president.

President Pugh:  I was just going to say, you have not included the mission in this.

President Stone:  We have included you in the population.  So you are included.  There is no one excluded from this club.  Well, that is 100 per cent, President McKay.  The commitment then is for $500,000.00 minimum.

President McKay:  Thank you.

President Stone:  President Tueller.

President Tueller:  President McKay and President Stone, is there any possibility that this could be pushed up?  We have to go all the way to Southern California.  We love San Francisco Bay area.  We would love to be up there next year, President McKay.  We will try to raise the money and be here next year if you can get the plans out of the architect’s hands.

President McKay:  Well, I will pledge the Brethren and the Building committee to go right ahead without delay.

President __________:  So will we.

President Derrick:  What is the membership of the Church in Northern California?

President Stone:  Right now it is in excess of 90,000.  We do not have the final figure as of the end of the year, but represented in this group the population is over 90,000, somewhere between 90 and 100 thousand.

President McKay:  And still increasing.

President Stone:  Right.

President Rooker:  Right now it is costing us for a temple trip for thirty-nine people, $429.00 from our stake.  That is plus their meals.  That is just for transportation for one temple trip.  We can do thirty-nine times three endowments.  That makes three endowments a day.  We could drive down here for the same amount for twenty-nine dollars.  That is a 400 dollar savings for every trip.  We suggest that this be pushed ahead faster.  If we could use that 400 dollars to be applied on a temple instead of paying the bus company, we would appreciate it very much.

President McKay:  Well, I am sure that is why this meeting has been called.

President Ronnow:  You people all live closer than we.  We have three choices:  We can go to Salt Lake City; we can go to St. George; we can go to Los Angeles, all within about a ten mile difference.  They are all over 500 miles from Reno.

President ________:  We will hit you for fifteen dollars then, because you have a choice.  (Laughter)

President Ronnow:  We will do our best to do any commitment that you give us from this headquarters.

President C.W. Smith:  President McKay, I am from the Klamath Stake.  We are about 700 miles from Los Angeles.  We estimate it costs us each year $10,000,000 from our stake to do our quote from that area.

President McKay:  Well, this is your contribution.  I shall be pleased to report it.  Temples are very important.  By the number built, in Los Angeles, Switzerland, New Zealand, London.  The original idea of the Brethren when they started to take the temples to people was that there were hundreds, perhaps thousands of faithful Latter-day Saints who are unable to go to temples.  They are just as much entitled to the blessings of the Temples, as any other members of the Church, but they lived and died in foreign countries.  They were unable to come to any center where there was a temple.

Over sixty-two years ago, as a missionary in Scotland, I was the companion of Elder Peter G. Johnston of Blackfoot, Idaho, one of the finest men that ever lived.

President Stone:  That is where I come from, and I know him very well.

President McKay:  Well, I was his companion at Lanark, Scotland.  His father was up in the Orkney Islands.  He joined the Church even in that early day.  I noticed every month a postal order for a certain amount of tithing.  Brother Johnston always sent this.  I noticed his subscription to the ‘Star.’  Peter G. joined the Church, of course, early, and came to Utah.  While he was there, he went up to visit his father, but his father did not get off the island.  He lived and died there.  He was but typical of hundreds, thousands, faithful Latter-day Saints, unable to get to the temples of the Lord.  Well, now the Church would like to take the temple to the people.  Those in the South Seas are grateful, and they are taking advantage of it.  Those in Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Scandinavia, are taking advantage of the opportunity offered in Switzerland.  In London, the same way.  But we thought at the time that perhaps a temple could be built for $500,000.00.  That would enable many temples to be placed around the world; but you cannot build a temple for $500,000.00.  Every temple has cost more than a million.  And this one, as we say, would cost us about two million dollars.  This, however, will take care of as many as the Los Angeles Temple with the increased endowment ceremony which has not changed any in the principle itself, no changes whatever; but take advantage of the new discoveries, new inventions.  You know how this presentation can be reduced and time saved, and made more effecitve.

They are calling for temples in all parts of the world.  Last Sunday we were down at Palmyra and dedicated the meeting house in Palmyra, the first in a hundred years.  It is a credit to the community, a credit to the Church, one of the finest of all the churches there at Palmyra.  It was gratifying to note how different the sentiment is, how different it was last Sunday, as compared to what it was five years or ten years before, when we were there.  At that time they were aloof and suspicious, and some antagonistic.  There was no such feeling last Sunday.  There was a feeling that this is sacred ground, and we ought to make it even more sacred, and let the people be proud that that is the birthplace of the Church.

This morning before we left I received a letter from one of the senators of New York state (Honorable Dutton S. Peterson of Albany, New York), congratulating us on dedicating a chapel in Palmyra after a hundred years.  I do not know who he is; whether he was present at the service, I do not know.  That shows us the attitude and what the temples will do, what these chapels will do we are erecting all over the world.  I believe it is the right policy, and that the Lord is pleased with us.

People of the world wonder why.  Because we believe that those who died not having heard the Gospel must have a chance to hear it.  That is a fundamental principle.  Peter referred to it when he said that Jesus went, when His body lay in the tomb, and preached to the spirits that were in prison, which at one time were disobedient ‘in the days of Noah while the ark was a preparing.’  Think of what principles are emphasized in that statement.  In the first place, the immortality of the soul.  The spirits that lived while the ark was a preparing were living when the Savior lost His life on the cross, and His spirit went to preach to those who were in prison.  There is a wonderful principle, revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith, or restored through the Prophet Joseph, as taught by the chief Apostle, Peter.

Then there is another thing.  You say, well, the Lord will ‘take care of them.’  If he ‘took care’ of anyone without baptism then he becomes a respector of persons, and Jesus Himself taught that to Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin.  Nicodemus wondered about these principles, about Jesus, an itinerant preacher; that is all he was to Nicodemus.  They say he came by night because he was ashamed.  I do not believe it.  I think he was busy.  He chose to call on Jesus at night because of his convenience.  And he asked Him, ‘We know that Thou art a teacher sent from God, else you could not do the works, perform the miracles, which you perform.’  We do not know what he asked Him.  But we do know that he began talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And then Jesus made this wonderful statement, philosophically true, as well as ecclesiastically, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’  — Spiritually, the spirit within — ‘Except a man be born again he cannot see.’  Nicodemus wondered.  He thought at once of a physical birth.  Art thou a ruler of the Jews and canst see that?  Then Jesus said plainly, ‘Except a man be born of the water and of the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’

What a beautiful sentiment?  A doorway to enter into the kingdom of God.  ‘Except ye be born of the water…’  buried in the water.  There are only three elements in which that symbol could be carried out:  air, which is our natural element; the earth, which is our final resting place; but the water typifies the burial of the old man, that like as Christ was buried and came forth in the newness of life, so we may bury the old man with its jealousies, its antipathies, its hates; bury the old man, and come forth anew, walking in the newness of life.  Why, if we could carry out just that one principle we should hasten the day when we have universal peace.  And that applied to every mortal.  ‘Except a man be born of the water and of the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’  Now, where can you find any other church outside of our Church where that great principle, that great blessing, from God, our Eternal Father, can be experienced not only by those who live, but by those who have gone before.  That is what the temple is.  It is just that broad and comprehensive.

That is the principle as applied generally.  And now that principle as applied to marriage — another principle given by the Prophet Joseph, the eternity of  the marriage covenant.  As the spirit lives after death, so will love.  Nobody can object to that.  Love is as eternal as the spirit.  And whom will you love in the next world?  I asked that of a woman when we were leaving Australia on a trip in 1921.  She said, ‘Oh, we should love everybody.  Jesus said, ‘ Love everybody.’  That is an eternal principle of the Gospel.  But I think I should love my wife in the next world, with whom I have been associated, with whom I have sat nursing a child through sickness, with whom I have mourned side by side over a loved one’s passing.  Nobody can gainsay that.

If we live the Gospel as it should be lived, as we should teach it, and live it, every couple would be married for time and eternity.  Well, I need not enlarge on this.  It is a glorious opportunity and it is our duty to teach the glories to an unbelieving world.  Now, Satan is getting more active at present than he has ever been before.  But I did not come to preach to you.

We will get the plans drawn.  Brother Harold Burton, who drew the plans for the Canadian Temple, says these are the best he has drawn.  There will be two rooms where the ordinances can be administered, and they can take care of nearly as many as in the Los Angeles Temple.  I pledge this:  that we will start at once to complete the plans, if this is satisfactory, and I am sure it is.  It is a beautiful temple, and will save you the expense of driving down to Los Angeles just as quickly as possible.

Thank you, Brethren, for your response this morning.  God bless you for your magnanimity, and I pray God’s blessings upon this meeting, a memorable one; and may we all be united when the happy time comes for its dedication, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

President David B. Haight:  President McKay, it seems to me that before this meeting of stake presidents and presidencies breaks up that we should form some organization of our stake presidents to carry this work forward and in working with the building committee, and with the architects and in the arranging for the finances and all the myriads of details that go into a building of this size.  I would like to suggest to the stake presidents that we form a nucleus of at least the top strata of an organization at this time while we are all together.  And I would like to propose that we would ask President Leslie Stone to act as chairman of our Northern California Stake Presidents Organization, or whatever terminology that we might want to use.  He carried the brunt of the responsibility on the tri-stake center–which was a great responsibility–and I have some hesitancy in my own mind to want to also place this upon his shoulders, but it seems to me that his relationship with architect and with the Church Building Committee and inasmuch as this will be built in his stake, that it would be the reasonable thing to do.  But to also add cohesiveness to this large organization, that we would have, that to assist President Stone that we should have as vice chairmen, President Smith from the Klamath Stake, and President Tueller from Fresno, which covers the extremes of this geographical area; and that these brethren could put together the necessary organization, as will have the matter of finances, as well as some people to work with the building committee and so on.  There would be quite an organization necessary; and that we could all pledge our own time and efforts to these brethren that we would respond to any call that might be ours in helping facilitate and speed up the day of the accomplishment of this great structure that we are talking about.  And I would like to place that in the form of a motion before this group.

President Creer:  I am not trying to put a burden on President Stone, but if you brethren have ever worked with him before, you know he does a marvelous job, and I think that the organization that has been presented here by President Haight is sound.  I know that we will pledge them our support, and I second the motion, that these three brethren be the central committee.

President Haight:  Are there any further questions or discussion?  Brother Crandall.

President Crandall:  I would suggest this, that inasmuch as these other two brethren are so far away that there be a local man here, another man from one of the local stakes, to be vice chairman; to form an executive committee so to speak.  I think it would help facilitate a great deal …

President Haight:  I was thinking that as I sat contemplating this, President Crandall, and wondering if we should not let these brethren have an opportunity to sit down and put together the framework of what would be necessary.  President Creer.

President Creer:  Along this line I would like to suggest that Brother Haight work with this committee as the local helper, and also one more addition.  Why not call it the Oakland Temple Region Committee, as we will undoubtedly be in this region, and this will not exclude Oregon and Reno and some of those that are not in California.

President ______:  The terminology that we use is the Temple District, is it not?

President McKay:  The Oakland Temple District.

President Creer:  The Oakland Temple District.

Knowing President Stone real well, I make a motion that President Stone be chairman of the Oakland Temple District, and that he select his own counselors to work with him.

President Haight:  We have a motion.

President Stone:  May I say a word?  I am honored by this suggestion.  I assure you that it was not prearranged by inviting President Haight and President Creer to sit up here on the stand.  If you brethren desire me to serve, I will be very happy to do everything I can in this capacity, but I would like very much to have President Haight working closely with me in this assignment, and then President Tueller and President Smith would be fine, and then from there I am sure that we could organize the committees that would be necessary to carry forward.  If you vote, I would like to make that statement, that I would like President Haight by my side in this.

President Derrick:  It is proper then to move that we amend this original motion and to have President Stone and these two presidents before mentioned, to include the vice chairman in the person of President Haight.

President Creer:  I did not know I was going to get this job.  Well, then, the proposition would be, brethren, that we would appoint President Stone as chairman of the Oakland Temple District with President Haight as vice chairman and with President Smith of the Klamath Stake and President Tueller from Fresno Stake as members of the executive committee.  Any further question?  All those in favor would you please…

President ________:  I have a question.

President Creer:  Question.

President _________:  Is this in concurrence with the policy of the Church to appoint, not to elect?

President Creer:  Well, we are electing here.

President McKay:  This is just what they did down in Southern California when they appointed Brother Noble Waite.

President _______:  I think we should have the approval of the president.

President Creer:  President McKay, does this action meet with your approval?

President McKay:  This is just what we did down there when we appointed Brother Waite.

President Creer:  All right, Brethren, all those in favor of the proposition as presented to you, would you please indicate with your uplifted hand?  Are there any opposed?  President Stone, it is in your hands.

President Stone:  Thank you very much.  The first thing I would like to do would be to correct an omission at the beginning of this meeting.  We are very happy to have President Smith with us.  And I am sure the brethren would like to hear a word from you, President Smith, on this occasion.

President Henry A. Smith:  I would much rather be seen than heard, brethren.  I am grateful to be a part of this historic meeting.  I think I sensed as I left from here last September with President McKay on the plane and heard him discuss — as he sort of mulled over in his own mind, this matter of a temple proposition, and then as I came down here with him today I could sense his personal interest in having this temple built in the Oakland area.  He has had  lot to do with it.  As you recall, the statement at the beginning, it was his official approval and recommendation to the Presiding Brethren that preceeded the purchase of this site.  I think President McKay has had a personal interest in the decision that this temple be built, and I am delighted that the Lord has given him sufficient strength and opened the opportunity for him to come here and have this meeting with you today.

Again I say I am happy to be a part of it, and I pray the Lord will bless you in your efforts.  We will look forward very soon to running some pictures in the Church Section of the temple as it is being erected, and then the final completed building, and the story of its dedication, and I hope the Lord spares President McKay to do that.

President Stone:  Thank you very much, President Smith.  Now I think it would be well to let President McKay get acquainted with our different stakes, so I am going right down and call on the stake president of the stake.  Then if he will stand and introduce his counselors and have them stand.  (Introduction of Stake Presidents and Their Counselors)”

Sun., 29 Jan. 1961:

“No special appointment.  Spent several hours at the office in going over 30 or more requests for cancellations of Temple sealings.”

Sat., 11 Feb. 1961:

“This morning, at the office, attended to the gloomy task of studying over the requests for cancellation of temple sealings — 29 in all!”

Thurs., 4 May 1961:

Thursday, May 4, 1961

Minutes of the Meeting of the First Presidency

Held Thursday, May 4, 1961 at 8:30 A.M.

Present:  President David O. McKay, President Henry D. Moyle

Excused:  President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

Elder David L. McKay, Dr. LeRoy Kimball by appointment came into the meeting.

Endowment for Woman Member Married to Non-Member Irreparably Insane

A letter of President Gledhill of the Great Lakes Mission, with reference to issuing a temple recommend to a worthy woman who is married to a non-member whose doctor’s judgment is that he is irreparably insane and will never leave the institution in which he is now an inmate, was considered.

President McKay said that under such circumstances, where the doctor’s judgment is that the husband will be in the institution for life and the woman is otherwise worthy, an exception should be made.

President Moyle said he felt very definitely that this should be done.

The letter to President Gledhill was taken to be prepared with the statement according to this decision.

Wed., 14 June 1961:

“9 a.m.

The regular meeting of the First Presidency was held.  The following are some of the items we took up:

3.  Garments for New Zealand

Report by Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall on the manufacture of garments for members of the Church in New Zealand.  The garments that have been manufactured in New Zealand are wholly unsatisfactory.  An effort is being put forth to have the garments manufactured in Utah and shipped in to New Zealand.  (see First Presidency’s minutes for details)

5.  Young couples going Through The Veil

I reported to the Brethren that I had conferred with President ElRay L. Christiansen of the Salt Lake Temple regarding young couples going through the veil before the wedding ceremony, and that I had recommended that in all cases the bridegroom should take the bride through the veil.  President Christiansen said that this instruction would be followed in the future.

Sun., 18 June 1961:

“Father’s Day

The hours between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. were spent at the office going over thirty or more cases of persons seeking cancellations of their Temple sealings.  As I have said many times before, this is one of the gloomiest tasks I have to perform.”

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.”

Thurs., 29 June 1961:

Loraine Day

A letter addressed to me from Loraine Day (moving picture and television actress) was read.  She mentions a rumor that the garments are to be re-designed.  She appeals for elimination of the sleeve.  She also mentions the book ‘The Twenty-Seventh Wife’, by Irving Wallace, and said that she was incensed by it, and that there is talk in the motion picture industry of making it into a moving picture.  It was decided to send the letter to Elder Richard L. Evans for his report and suggestions.”

Fri., 30 June 1961:

Temple Recommend Clearance for Divorced Persons

We gave consideration to the question as to whether or not people who have been divorced before joining the Church should be cleared by the First Presidency before they can go to the Temple.

I expressed the feeling that people are supposed to repent before their baptism and that by undergoing the ordinance of baptism and confirmation, they are fulfilling the statement of Jesus to Nicodemus — they are born again that when one is baptized of the water and the spirit, the old man is buried, and he comes forth anew as Christ came forth from the grave.  I said, ‘I think we shall stand on that.’  The Brethren agreed in the decision that such members need not be cleared on their divorces.

Sealings — The Status of Children when Sealings are Cancelled

President Hugh B. Brown raised a question regarding the status of children who though not born under the covenant were sealed to their parents, and the parents later secure a divorce.  I answered that children, under such circumstances, are not born under the covenant.  The thought was expressed that normally these children should have the privilege of making their own choice as to parentage when they become of age.

Wed., 5 July 1961:

“7:15 a.m.

Went to the Temple where I attended a Solemn Assembly of the General Authorities with the Mission Presidents and their Wives, as the concluding Session of the World-wide Mission Presidents’ Seminar.

I greeted counselors in the First Presidency, the President and members of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, other General Authorities of the Church, Presidents of Missions in all the world and their wives.  I said that there have been other Solemn Assemblies held in the recent past, and in the history of the Church, but that as I contemplate the significance of this gathering, I believe that this is one of the most solemn assembly ever held in the House of the Lord.

I said that I felt that we had had a wonderful ten-days’ association and instruction, and that that wonderful gathering is climaxed by the opportunity which is now theirs to go through the House of the Lord to renew their solemn covenants.  I said that they would long remember this day, and would long cherish the privilege that has been theirs to meet three times a day all during the Seminar.

I then said that I was impressed to say a word about the significance of the temple ceremony.  I stated that too many of our young men and young women look at the mechanics of the ordinance, and fail to glimpse the spiritual significance.  They fail to even glimpse that the ceremony is the story of man’s progress in the world, right from the animal kingdom up to the sacred entrance into the presence of our Heavenly Father, and that that is what it really is.  I talked further about the ceremony and what it means.

In conclusion I said that I was very happy to be associated with them in this Solemn Assembly – the first of its kind ever held in the Church!  I asked God’s blessings upon the Mission Presidents and their loyal and true wives; that as they return now to their fields of labor, more enthusiastic, more thrilled, better prepared than ever before to preach the word of the Lord, they may have with them the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit, and quoted ‘Go, ye messengers of Glory; Run, ye legates of the skies; Go and tell the pleasing story that a glorious angel flies!’

Sun., 16 July 1961:

“I spent several hours going over 25 petitions for cancellation of Temple Sealings.  Following this gloomy experience, I left for home where I remained the rest of the day.”

Sun., 13 Aug. 1961:

“Went over 17 petitions for cancellation of Temple sealings.  In each case, the man was to blame for the break-up in the home.”

Sun., 20 Aug. 1961:

“Went over twenty-two petitions for cancellation of Temple sealings.  This necessitated the signing of my name 110 times.”

Wed., 13 Sept. 1961:

“8:30 to 10 a.m.

Was engaged in the meeting of the First Presidency.

Garments – the wearing of in Atomic Energy Plants

We considered a letter from President Frank H. Brown of the East Central States Mission presenting a question as to the wearing of garments by employees in the Atomic Energy Plants at Oak Ridge.  He explains that there are certain government regulations regarding the use of clothing in and out of the plant, and also that the employees must change their clothing daily in the plant.  It was decided to answer President Brown that authorization has been given in the past under similar conditions for the removal of the garment while working in the plant, with the understanding that the garment would be reverently replaced by the wearer at the conclusion of the day’s work.

Fri., 22 Sept. 1961:

Supervisor of Temples:  I said that I would like to appoint President ElRay L. Christiansen as Supervisor of all the temples, and release him from the presidency of the Salt Lake Temple.”

Tues., 26 Sept. 1961:

“8:30 a.m.

Attended the meeting of the First Presidency.  Among many matters we considered the following:

1)  New Temple authorities — I recommended, in which my counselors concurred, that Elder ElRay L. Christiansen be released as President of the Salt Lake Temple and be called to serve as temple supervisor in order to bring about uniformity in all the temples.  A suggestion was made that Howard S. Mcdonald be called to preside over the Salt Lake Temple; however, no action was taken.

Fri., 6 Oct. 1961:

Telephone Calls

President Raymond of the Logan Temple called and said that they have a family at the Temple this morning from the State of Washington, for sealing purposes.  One child, 11 years of age, is a mental case, and has not been baptized, the Stake President having informed them that in her case this ordinance does not need to be performed.  They now want to have the child sealed to them.  My counselor, President Brown, who was present when the call came, agreed with me that this child could be sealed to its parents.  I gave President Raymond permission to have this ordinance performed.

Wed., 1 Nov. 1961:

Temple in Washington, D.C. Area – President Brown reported that while he was recently in the New England Mission, President Carr said that Brother Franklin D. Richards had called a meeting of all mission presidents in that group of missions and that they were going to select a site for the temple.  President Brown said that President Milan D. Smith of the Washington Stake has made certain recommendations regarding securing a temple site, and had sent some information regarding the territory there.  He said that the stake and mission presidents in that area have agreed that when we do select a site it should be in Washington, D.C., rather than in Florida, New York, or elsewhere.  It was the sentiment of the Brethren that the stake presidents and mission presidents have no jurisdiction in a matter of this kind.”

Wed., 8 Nov. 1961:

“8:10 a.m.

By appointment, President Brown and I met with President ElRay L. Christiansen, newly appointed Coordinator of the Temples of the Church.  He discussed matters pertaining to this appointment and also regarding his proposed visits to the various Temples in order to bring about a uniformity in performing Temple ordinances.  President Christiansen inquired as to his duties and as to whether he could make decisions regarding these temple matters.  I said to him:   ‘You were chosen by the First Presidency to go out and coordinate the ordinances and see that there is uniformity in the performance of them and that no one is striking off on a tangent.  You are our representatives.

We then had a long discussion in regard to the various matters pertaining to the mechanics of the ordinances, wording of some of the sentences in the ordinances, matters of policy in performing some of the ordinances, procedures to be followed, etc.

Beauty of Temple Ceremonies

In conclusion of our discussion on these sacred matters, I referred to the beauty of the temple endowment, and said that our people should get a view of the comprehensiveness of the endowment; that it is one of the most beautiful things ever given to man, and that there are very few people in the Church who comprehend it.”

Tues., 14 Nov. 1961:


Letters to all Temple Presidents

Today I signed letters to Presidents of the Alberta, Arizona, Hawaiian, Idaho Falls, Logan, London, Manti, New Zealand, Los Angeles, Salt Lake, St. George, and Swiss Temples, advising them that President ElRay L. Christiansen, formerly President of the Salt Lake Temple, has been appointed co-ordinator for the Temples of the Church, and that, pursuant to this calling, he will visit each of the temples, and confer with them on all matters pertaining to Temple work.  The letter explained that one object of the appointment of President Christiansen is that there might be more uniformity in handling the affairs of the various temples, and that there may be available to each of them further information on matters which they discussed at their recent Temple Presidents’ Seminar held at the time of the October Conference in Salt Lake City.  The First Presidency have considered with President Christiansen all the questions there were submitted at this Seminar, and have given to him answers to the unanswered questions, and instructions on procedures and policies for the Temples of the Church.  Sister Christiansen will accompany her husband as he visits the temples, and she will be helpful to the sisters in their very important calling.”

Thurs., 16 Nov. 1961:

Tithe-Paying and Issuance of Temple Recommends, and Other Ordinances.

We considered a question in regard to the payment of tithing.  The question was asked: if a man is worthy to go to the temple in every other way, but has not been a full tithe-payer, should he be refused a recommend to the temple?  Or is a Bishop justified in giving him a temple recommend on his promise to pay his tithing from then on?

I said that I understand that that is the ruling that has generally been followed.

Elder Petersen asked if the same rule would apply to ordinations in the Priesthood.  If a man is proposed to be ordained an elder, seventy, or high priest, might the ordination be performed if he promised to pay his tithing in the future?  I said the same rule should apply.”

Sat., 25 Nov. 1961:

“Temple in the East

We considered a letter from Franklin D. Richards, Assistant to the Twelve, signed also by Presidents of Missions on the Eastern Coast, suggesting that we should purchase a temple site somewhere in that area, stating that at the present time there are approximately 95,000 members of the Church in those missions and stakes, and that in another ten years the membership should approximate 60,000.”

Sun., 17 Dec. 1961:

“No special appointment.  Spent some time at the office going over 20 or more petitions for cancellation of temple sealings.”

Thurs., 4 Jan., 1962:

“8 a.m. First Presidency’s Meeting. By appointment Mr. Harold P. Fabian came into the meeting to report findings and recommendations on he restoration of Nauvoo, Illinois. . . .

The First Presidency then considered the advisability of this restoration. I said that the first decision to make before this project is undertaken is the location of a temple in the east, whether or not there should be a temple in Nauvoo and also one in Washington.

President Moyle stated the only justification for spending the money necessary to restore any part of Nauvoo would be to restore the temple there .

I said the restoration of the temple is the whole question before us, and transportation to the temple is another.

President Moyle expressed the view that more Church membership will be found near Nauvoo than would with Washington as the center. It was decided that facts about Church membership to which Nauvoo would be accessible be obtained, and also the facts about Church membership on the eastern seaboard.

President Moyle said we are going to be in difficulty if we let this citizens committee go to work and bring us this package the way they have asked for it, and then not go through with it.

I said that we must be prepared to make a center, but from Mr. Fabian’s information at present, it does not seem to be an accessible and advisable center for a temple for our people.

President Moyle gave information about the missionary conference in the Northern States Mission which he had attended in Nauvoo when 220 missionaries assembled. He said the accommodations were provided for missionaries in the high school. In the little hotel he had a room which was not very satisfactory.

I then asked: “From your knowledge then can we go ahead with the restoration and ignore the Reorganized people?”

President Moyle: “If we get this one lot, we own the temple block. “

“Well, we would have nothing to do with the mansion house,” I said.

President Moyle: “No, this work that Roy Kimball proposes can all be done and justified if we restore the temple. “

President Brown: “They have gone quite a long ways, Dr. Kimball and Harold. We will have to call them off or give them the green light. “

“What is the relationship of this temple to Jackson County?” I asked.

President Moyle: Where is no relationship between this and the temple to be built in Jackson County. “

President Brown: “Independence is where that will have to be. “

“It does mean something to build a temple in Jackson County and Nauvoo” I added.

President Moyle: “It is far enough away. Near Nauvoo would be St. Louis with a big airport, and Indianapolis with a big airport.  My thought is to restore this temple as far as the outside is concerned.  It will, therefore, be a small temple.

I said that I thought it should be restored as near to what it was as can be.

President Moyle responded: “That’s my feeling. This temple would not be a big temple. It would not be the size of the temple that I envision in Independence when the whole Church headquarters moves back there.

President Brown suggested that the restoration would be a great tourist attraction, and I agreed that Mr. Fabian has the right vision, but added that before we start we must know where we are going.

Thur., 1 Feb., 1962:

Adoption by Grandparents of Illegitimate Child Born to Their Daughter — President Moyle presented to me for my approval a letter that he had prepared in answer to a question from a stake president pertaining to the adoption by the grandparents of a child born to their daughter illegitimately, the grandparents desiring to have this child who is now six years of age sealed to them. The mother is married now but does not wish to have the child sealed to her and her present husband. The information given indicates that the grandparents took custody of the child when he was five days old, that the names of the grandparents were placed on the birth certificate as the parents of the baby, that the boy has been raised as their son, and they do not wish to take any action that would reveal to the boy now or later that these people are not his natural parents. The grandparents wish to have the boy sealed to them as child to parents without a legal adoption. President Moyle raised the question as to whether it would be advisable for the Church to be a party to recognizing a falsified document and basing the sealing on that document, the document referred to being the birth certificate on which the names of the grandparents appear as the parents of the child.

I said that I feel the request of the grandparents should be granted, namely, that permission be given for them to have the child sealed to them as child to parents without a legal adoption, that I favor the proposition that the child look upon these people who have reared him from early infancy and supported him, as his father and mother.

Sun., 25 Feb., 1962:

“Came to the office.  Went over fifteen applications for cancellation of Temple sealings.

Spent the rest of the day with Sister McKay in our apartment at the Hotel.”

Wed., 4 Apr. 1962:

“Oakland Temple

I asked my counselors if they favored the proposed design for the Oakland Temple.  President Moyle said, ‘I do not know that it is anything I would rave about.’  President Brown said that he has not been a bit enthusiastic about it.  The excellence of the site was commented upon.  It was recalled that there is no provision in the present plan for a room which will be large enough for a solemn assembly.

I said, ‘When there is the least doubt, I feel that we should all be together.’  President Moyle said that any decision to change the temple would postpone the groundbreaking.  I said, ‘Let us give it another look.’

Modification of Garment for Amputee

We read a letter from Bishop Kenneth J. Lewis of the Tooele Third Ward reciting conditions with which Brother David Jensen is obliged to cope since he received his endowments in the Salt Lake Temple because of the amputation of his right leg above the knee and his wearing an artificial limb attached above the knee.  He explained that he cannot cope with the leg of the garment over the artificial limb.  His wife proposes that the knee mark be placed in the left leg of the garment and that the right leg be modified to overcome the present difficulty which Brother Jensen experiences.

I said, ‘Since that right leg is gone, I think he meets the requirement of ‘every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ.’ — the purpose of the mark, by the suggestion.  I think in this case, — and this is the only time we could permit a change of the garment — this fulfills the purpose of the garment.  I think we should make no publicity whatever.  We give special permission to place the mark in the left leg.’

Direction was given to send the word to President Smith of the Salt Lake Temple.

Wed., 18 Apr. 1962:

Temple Site, Washington Stake Telegram Regarding

President Brown read President Milan D. Smith’s telegram urging consideration of the purchase of a temple site in and near Washington, D.C. since suitable sites are decreasing in costs or increasing.

I reviewed recently received appeals for temples as follows:  Ogden, Washington, Nauvoo, Palmyra, Sweden, Atlanta, and Georgia.”

Sat., 26 May 1962:


President Stone, in answer to an inquiry regarding the Temple site, said that it was necessary to remove twenty-seven feet from the top of the hill at a cost of over $100,000 in order to place the site in its present condition.  He also mentioned that the first purchase of land for the site was fifteen acres in 1943 for $18,000, and there have been six different purchases made altogether.  The last of these purchases was one-quarter of an acre for which they paid $25,000.

Sister McKay accompanied me to Oakland in 1934, when I went there at the request of President Heber J. Grant, and inspected the site.  I was thrilled to come back and recommend its purchase at that time.  President Stone and his associate Stake Presidents — twenty-two of them — are to be commended for the wonderful manner in which everything pertaining to the dedication and groundbreaking service was taken care of.  The proceedings were in every way properly organized, and there was no unpleasantness of any kind.  It was a very happy and enjoyable occasion!”

Thurs., 28 June 1962:

2:20 p.m.

Elder Howard W. Hunter came into my private office at my request.  I told Brother Hunter that I should like him to take over the responsibility of investigating requests from the people of the Church for cancellation of Temple marriage sealings.  Heretofore, President Hugh B. Brown has been carrying this load, but now that his duties as Second Counselor in the First Presidency are increasing, it will be impossible for him to continue with this work.  Brother Hunter willingly accepted this assignment.

Tuesday, July 10, 1962

Telephone call from David Lawrence McKay in London, England, to President David O. McKay, Tuesday, July 10, 1962, at 9:00 a.m.

President McKay: Hello.

Lawrence McKay: Hello, Father, How are you?

President McKay: Fine, thank you.

Lawrence McKay: And how is Mother?

President McKay: She is feeling a little better.  She is up in Huntsville.

Lawrence McKay: Isn’t anybody there with her today?

President McKay: Yes, Mrs. Aldous is there with her.  She is all right.  Everything is fine.

Lawrence McKay: That is good.

President McKay: How are you?

Lawrence McKay: I am just fine.

President McKay: How did you get along yesterday?

Lawrence McKay: The judges gave a decision today against us.  We lost the case!

President McKay: We lost the case?

Lawrence McKay: Yes!

President McKay: That means what?

Lawrence McKay: It means we pay taxes or else appeal to the House of Lords.

President McKay: Well, we will appeal to the House of Lords!

Lawrence McKay: They gave us permission to do so, so all we need is your permission.

President McKay: Well, I say yes.  What do you say?  We have lost the case, now what do you recommend?

Lawrence McKay: I think the facts are against us, but I think there is enough there to justify reasonably an appeal.

President McKay: You think the facts are against us?

Lawrence McKay: Yes!

President McKay: Well, then, let us take it right up to the House of Lord and appeal.

Lawrence McKay: I think so.  I certainly recommend it.

President McKay: All right.  Is Brother Moyle there with you?

Lawrence McKay: Yes, he is downstairs.  I am in the Temple now with Mildred and Joyce.  Joyce has just gone down to get President Moyle.  He wants to talk with you.

President McKay: All right.  On what ground did they go against you?

Lawrence McKay: On the ground that in fact, rather than in law, this is not a public place of worship.  They said that in our own interpretation and in our own fact, we have excluded people — we admit only a certain class even of our own members, and that is Mormons of good standing.

President McKay: Well, if we have to pay taxes, that will cost too much.  We will tear it down, and leave them without a Temple!  The taxes are too high, and we shall let the House of Lords know it.  We will not pay such high taxes year after year for the next hundred years.  We will not do it!

Lawrence McKay: Here is President Moyle now.

President Henry D. Moyle: I am sorry for the sad news, President.

President McKay: Well, I am too.

President Moyle: But I did want you to confirm the action we took today of telling them to take the case on up to the House of Lords.

President McKay: That is good.  We are both in accord with that.

President Moyle: You approve of that, do you?

President McKay: Yes, we shall take it to the House of Lords, and if they go against us, we can tear the Temple down, and leave them without a Temple.  

President Moyle: That is right!

President McKay: We will not pay the taxes they call for!

President Moyle: No.  I did want to say this to you, President.  I have been impressed since Brother Gordon B. Hinckley came, and he is with us today.  We have six hundred missionaries downstairs here from South England, and if you feel I should come home before the end of the month, Gordon can carry this program on.  I do not want to stay any longer than you would have me do it.

President McKay: When is Lawrence coming home?

President Moyle: Just a moment.  I will let you talk with him.

President McKay: All right.  In the meantime, you stay there until we let you know.

Lawrence McKay: Hello.

President McKay: Lawrence, when are you coming home?

Lawrence McKay: Well, that depends on you and President Moyle.  He suggested that I see some attorneys up in the Norwegian countries.  It will be between the 21st and the 24th that I should be home.

President McKay: Well, there is a law suit here which was placed in your hands this morning ….

Lawrence McKay: Is that so?

President McKay: …involving Harold Newey, but that can wait.  We have until the 20th to answer it.  We have put it in the hands of Burton.

Lawrence McKay: Well, they will take care of that.

President McKay: Yes, they will take care of it, so you need not hurry home.

Lawrence McKay: Fine.

President McKay: You go up there and take care of this Sweden matter.

Lawrence McKay: All right.

President McKay: Then you will be home about the 23rd?

Lawrence McKay: Yes, I think we can do that and still be home by the 23rd.

President McKay: That will be all right.  May I speak to Brother Moyle?

Lawrence McKay: Yes.

President Moyle: Yes, President.

President McKay: You had better stay and go along on that missionary work.  We shall carry on here.

President Moyle: I will be very happy to do it, but I wanted you to know that with Gordon here I could come home any time you wanted me.

President McKay: All right, we will let you know when you are needed.

President Moyle: And it may be after we have made this entire trip that I might take a day or two off and just rest before I come home.

President McKay: Yes, I think you will need it.

President Moyle: Will that be all right if I did that?

President McKay: Yes, that will be all right.

President Moyle: Well, you are feeling well?

President McKay: Feeling fine, and so is Sister McKay.  We are all well here.

President Moyle: Fine.  Please give her my regards.

President McKay: Just a minute, here is Brother Brown.

President Brown: Brother Moyle!

Brother Moyle: Yes.

President Hugh B. Brown: There is a case in Denmark having to do with the Genealogical work with which President Burton is somewhat familiar that I am mailing today to you and to him further information on.  I thought that while you are there, you could handle it much better than we can from here.

President Moyle: That is in Copenhagen?

President Brown: Yes, Copenhagen?

President Moyle: All right, we will do it, Hugh.  And say, Hugh?

President Brown: Yes?

President Moyle: It may take too long to do it, but Brother Snyder wants to talk to the legal office over there.  Their extension is 2401.

President Brown: Do you want to try and get it on this line now?

President Moyle: Well, inasmuch as we are paying for overseas, I think it would be cheaper to put the call through again.

President Brown: Just a moment, we will see if we can put it through right from here.

President Moyle: All right.  But generally it costs more than its worth.

President Brown: Just a moment.

President Moyle: While we are waiting, how are you feeling?

President Brown: Fine.

President Moyle: That is good.  I hope you will let me know if I should come home.

President Brown: Yes, I certainly will.  Things are going fine, though.  The President is in good health.  They are trying now to switch that.

President Moyle: Hugh?

President Brown: Yes?

President Moyle: I think we had better hang up and put in a new call.  It may take five minutes to make this change.

President Brown: Okay.

President Moyle: All right, good-bye.

President Brown: Good-bye.

Tuesday, July 10, 1962


The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was advised Wednesday of the ruling of three British appeal court judges that the Church’s temple near London is ‘not a place of public worship’ and not exempt from local taxes.

President Henry D. Moyle, First Counselor in the First Presidency, who is in London in connection with the temple tax appeal case phoned information of the decision to Salt Lake City.

The three appeal court judges were hearing an appeal by the government against a decision by a lands tribunal that the temple was exempt from local taxes as a place of public worship.

The government lawyer held that only a limited class of people known as ‘Mormons in good standing,’ were privileged to enter the temple.

The counsel for the Church explained that those allowed into the temple were not selected, that any person wishing to take part in temple ceremonies had to satisfy Church authorities that he governed his life on Church principles before being permitted to enter.

A press dispatch from London quoted the judge presiding over the hearing as saying ‘that the temple seemed to be a sanctuary, a holy place where only Mormons of good standing were admissible.’  He concluded that the temple was not a place of public religious worship but instead was a ‘private sanctuary.’

No comment was made on the ruling at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City.  The Church, the news reports indicated, was granted permission to appeal against the decision to the House of Lords, Britain’s highest court.

Sat., 14 July 1962:

Temple Work – May daughter of white mother and negro father go to the Temple?  The question of whether or not a daughter whose mother is white and father negro may go to the temple was raised.  I answered the question in the negative.”

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:

London Temple Suit

Referring to the appellate court decision regarding the London Temple tax case, President Moyle said that he did not want to go to the House of Lords with the case and lose it. He mentioned that authorization had been given for the building of an annex to the temple, and he thought it might be wise to open up the first floor of the temple and make it accessible to the public. He suggested that instead of making the annex a chapel in which we could perform marriages in conformity with the English law, the chapel that we already have there would more than satisfy any needs that we would have, and we would take all of the facilities we now have on the first floor of the temple and put them in the annex so that people coming to the temple for temple work would come in through the front door of the annex or the back door of the temple and would get their temple clothing there and then go to the washing and anointing rooms. The balance of that area on the ground floor could be opened up and the public permitted to come into that area, and then without going to the House of Lords we could make another case and simply say that we have opened up this temple to the public and are declaring our right to be exempt from taxation. He said the only weakness in that argument would be that it is possible that they would say they would exempt us from taxation of the flrst floor, but not the balance of the temple.

President Moyle said that our barrister told them in the very first meeting he had with them that he was not very anxious to win this case in the lower court because when he got to the appellate court he would like to make the opening argument, and he feared that if the revenue made the opening argument we would lose. He said that after they make their statement putting their interpretation on the facts, it would be very difficult for us to overcome that in the minds of the appellate court. He said that lawyers generally do not go into a law suit to lose, but that it would not hurt his feelings if they did lose (in the Lower court), so that he would have the opening statement in the appellate court.

President Moyle said as a matter of fact, the opposition made the opening statement (in the appellate court), and we were never able to overcome it, that the Queen’s counsel who presented his statement planted in the minds of the court the thought that the only people who were permitted in the temple was a select group selected by the bishop and approved by the stake president. We said the Chief Justice said to the Oueen’s counsel for the revenue, “Suppose it was open to all the members of the Church excluding everybody but members, would it be a public place of worship? ” The Internal Revenue man thought for a while and said, “Yes, it would, ” and the Chief Justice said, “I think so too, ” or something to that effect.

President Moyle said that the moment the arguments were over the court took 30 minutes recessx for lunch and came back and rendered their opinions orally, and each one of them emphasized the fact that here was a small select group hand-picked by the bishop and the bishop then had to have the approval of the stake president, who might eliminate some of them, and, therefore, it was not a place of public worship.

President Moyle said that from the beginning in the appellate court they took advantage of a statement made by me at the time of the dedication of the Berne Temple, that the temple was a place of private worship, and not a place of public worship, President Moyle said that our attorney held that it was a place of public worship if there was anybody present other than those who lived under the roof of the house; in other words, if you held a meeting in your own home and invited someone else there, that would be a public meeting, and English courts hold very strongly if you go outside of the family and bring in some other family to worship with you, it becomes a public worship. The court, however, disposed of that by saying that had no application to revenue cases.

President Moyle said that unfortunately there was one judge, and he was the strong judge of the three, who had been the attorney for Internal Revenue before he was on the bench, and this judge had quite an influence on the other two.

President Moyle further said that he had every reason to believe that if they were to finally win this case in the courts, they would up our rate of tax from 3,000 pounds to conceivably 25,000. He said because of the bitterness that has been engendered there on account of our winning in the lower court, and the newspaper publicity in that area, there was no doubt in his mind that they would raise the rate if they won the law suit.

President Moyle said that the minute the opinion was rendered, our barrister turned to him (President Moyle) and said, “Shall we make application to go to the House of Lords?” and President Moyle told him that we should do so by all means, that we want the right to go there if they will give it to use and then we can determine whether or not we shall continue. He said that our barrister made his statement, and then asked for permission to file with the Supreme Court, and they immediately granted his petition without consultation. The Chief Justice said the petition will be granted and that the case might be appealed to the House of Lords. President Moyle said we would have to wait first until we get the report of our Queen’s counsel, but in the meantime, we might give consideration to the advisability of opening up the temple on the first floor to the public.

President Moyle said that he felt the case was decided on such a narrow

margin, that if there were the slightest excuse given to the courts to overrule the decision, they would, and he thought they would do this if we open the first floor of the temple to the public.

President Moyle then suggested that we pay the taxes on the temple which have been levied at the rate fixed pending this decision, and then we could make this change and file a new claim for exemption. If they wanted to take this to court on that, we could go to court again and take it to the House of Lords if necessary, that if the facts are changed, we have the right to another hearing on the changed facts, and it would be an entirely different case. |

President Moyle thought that there was some hosility manifested in the court, not by the judges, but by the court attendants who, he said, sneered at everything that was said in our favor. He said he had not noticed any such attitude in the Land Court.

President Moyle further stated that in the event we take the case to the House of Lords, our barrister would have the advantage of making the opening statement, which our lawyers indicated should make quite a difference .

I said that I feel we should go to the House of Lords and take our chances.  If we are turned down by them, we can then follow the plan President Moyle suggested regarding opening the first floor to the public.

President Moyle said that he was very grateful to have my son, Lawrence, and Brother Vernon Snyder of the Legal Department there. He was happy also that Lawrence’s wife, Mildred, was there, as was their daughter Joyce; that it gave them on insight into the English Courts that they otherwise could not get.   Brother N. Eldon Tanner and Brother Marion D. Hanks were also in attendance at the court hearing.

Thur., 16 Aug., 1962:

Following Brother Hinckley’s departure, we continued with the regular meeting of the First Presidency. Among other things we discussed:

(1) General Authorities Admitted to the Temples

President Brown asked if members of the General Authorities, exclusive of the First Presidency, are to be admitted to the temples to perform marriage ceremonies without a recommend. I said General Authorities have never had recommends to go to the temple for this purpose or for other temple work. Their wives should have recommends when they are not accompanied by their husbands. (This as a means of identifying them when they may go to a temple where they may not be known to be the wives of General Authorities of the Church.)

(2) Correcting Temple Recommends

President Brown asked if the initialing of recommends to correct them when they are incomplete or must be altered should be done only by the General Authorities of the Church. Presidents of the temples want to know whether or not they should accept recommends initialed by anyone but the First Presidency. I said that only the First Presidency and the General Authorities may initial the recommends.

Fri., 17 Aug., 1962:


Among other matters we considered the question submitted by Temple Presidents as to whether or not there is any policy or instruction that a Bishop may issue a recommend admitting the individual to more than one Temple. I said the recommend should be issued to one temple, and if the individual wants the recommend changed for another Temple, he should make application to the First Presidency to have it changed.

President Brown mentioned the practice of a man and wife going on a tour of Temples, and I said we have tried to discourage that; that it was becoming a general practice.  Temples are not centers of curiosity or tourist attraction.  When people go to the Temple they should go for a religious purpose.”

Wed., 22 Aug., 1962:

8:40 a.m.

The First Presidency met with Elder Harold B. Lee and Brother Thorpe B . Isaacson.

President Moyle reported that Charles Thorstensen of the Ogden Knitting Works had come to him last evening with relation to the plight of his business since he has returned from the service to which he went as a brigadier general when the National Guard was called up. Brother Thorstensen said that he had been informed that an offer of $250,000.00 had been made for his building and that later the offer was withdrawn. The present income from the rental of the building indicated that it would be worth $250,000. 00. Brother Thorstensen has received notice from the Small Business Administration in Washington, from whom he obtained a loan of $17,000.00, that he has two weeks to pay the loan. He hopes to be able to salvage something and to avoid foreclosure by the sale of the building.

Brother Lee explained that the business of the company was purchased and paid for at an original figure which was regarded as amply fair. Brother Isaacson said that a letter had been received from the owners saying that the settlement was quite satisfactory with them. Brother Lee explained that the money paid for the garment business was reinvested in the company, which continued to manufacture other articles of clothing; that the owner, Brother Thorstensen, while he was in the army, left the management to a Brother Weiss. When he returned in December for a short furlough he did not go into the detail of the business and its condition but accepted the assurance that the business was going on all right. The expected sales and profits, however, did not materialize and the business is in poor condition. The collection of accounts receivable has not been followed up.  Management attention has not been adequate .

Brother Isaacson explained that he and Brother Stover considered the company’s building to be worth $250,000.00, but decided that they should not make an offer to obtain it personally lest the transaction be criticized, and hence they drew away from it.

Brother Lee reviewed my instructions given to the committee under

which the properties of the Salt Lake Knitting, Lady Gay, and Ogden Knitting, were obtained, and that in every instance the values received were liberally paid for and the Church in this present problem has no obligation. He said in the decision to reinvest the proceeds, Ogden Knitting Works decided to continue the manufacture of ladies’ clothing and the Church was not in any way involved, and the Church now is under no obligation in the matter.

The suggestion was offered that Orin Woodbury is interested in purchasing the building of the Ogden Knitting Company, and that he be encouraged to purchase it and relieve the present owner. It was also suggested that Leland Flint of Zion’s First National Bank be asked to consider loaning Brother Woodbury the money to make the purchase and that other appropriate means be used to keep the Church from becoming involved.

I said that Brother Wloodbury should buy it if he can and save the foreclosure.

Tour of Garment Factory by Relief Society Stake Presidents at Conference Time — Elder Lee reviewed plans to prepare the Beehive Garment Factory for a tour to be conducted at October conference time when stake presidents of Relief Society will be given a demonstration of garment fittings and fabrics available and will be given other information to help them in the distribution of garments. He asked if the day before this tour the General Authorities of the Church will come to the factory to see the development there.

I said that this is an excellent plan. Brother Lee said if the Brethren look upon it with favor, they would proceed with the plans, and I told him to go forward.

Thur., 13 Sep., 1962:

(4) Tatooing the Body – Samoan Custom of

We read a letter from President Hanks of the Samoan Mission, which referred to the native custom in Samoa of tatooing the body. He asked whether men who recently have applied tatooing to their bodies should be disfellowshipped. I said that this practice among our people should be discouraged, but that they are not to be disfellowshipped. President Brown suggested that going to the temple with tatoo on the body could be offensive to some people, and we stated that the ruling is that persons may not go to the temple if the tatooing is offensive or immodest.

Tues., 18 Sep., 1962:

Temples — Site suggested for Temple in the East 

President Brown explained that President Milan Smith of Washington had called. He had been unsuccessful in getting in touch with either President Moyle or me. He said they have found an excellent site for purchase with the view to the building of a temple. Brother Willard Marriott and the stake presidency and the high council and bishops have all agreed that this is a very choice site. It consists of 57 acres overlooking Rock Creek Park. The site suggested in the Kenwood area is regarded as unattractive and not as desirable as this. A portion of the 57 acres is a heavily wooded area of magnificent hardwood trees. It is in a general area of very substantial high priced homes. A freeway will be located almost adjacent to the Rock Creek Park making the area accessible to the city.  The owners of the tract are disposed to sell if it is to be purchased, action must be taken at once. It is offered from $12,500 to $15,000 an acre. The Brethren suggested the portion not used for a temple could be readily developed for other purposes. The offer is definitely $12,500 an acre and it would have to be purchased within the week if it is to be obtained at all.

President Moyle said that $10,000 an acre was paid for a Church site in Holladay and that the prices quoted would seem not to be excessive.

President Brown explained that President Smith said he must have a reply if they are going to do anything; otherwise the property will be gone. It has been agreed by the presidents of the stakes of the Atlantic Seaboard and the mission presidents that if there is to be a temple, it should be in Washington rather than in New York.

I mentioned Chicago, and President Brown said that is not considered to be on the Atlantic Seaboard. President Moyle said New York is not agreeable because if it is to be in New York State, they would want it at Cumorah.

President Brown said, according to President Smith, Washington would be a wonderful place.

President Moyle said in the Southern States they want it in Atlanta. President Brown said in Washington it would serve from Florida on the south to Boston on the north. When it is to be built is another question, but if we are going to build one in Washington, it would seem we should take advantage of this opportunity and purchase this site.

President Brown said that Brother Marriott is very much enthusiastic over this site.

President Moyle said, “I am in favor of it. I am not arguing against it.”

I asked what they will have to pay down.

President Brown said,  “We can give them anything that will hold it. President Milan Smith needs only his word to take it. The total selling price is $825,000. He thinks he can get it for less than $15,000. He is likely to be able to get it for something less, something between $12,500 and $15,000.”

President Moyle said that he would like to encourage that we purchase the future site, and that he does not believe that the price of $15,000 an acre would be wrong. He said, “I think the part we would sell would pay for it. We cannot go wrong by getting property if it is properly located.”

I said that I had been through the Park, and should not want the Temple to be built on a low level.

President Brown said the land does not go down in the creek bottom; that it is up on the hill. It joins Connecticut Avenue.

President Moyle said that it would have to be out some distance to get 57 acres. It would be beyond Chevy Chase.

President Brown said it is the only tract of this size that is available. President Moyle asked in which state it is situated. President Brown said, “I think it is in Maryland. “

President Moyle said it would be nearly out to the University of Maryland. Brother Barker, counselor in the stake presidency, is very enthusiastic about it. I said that Brother Marriott and President Milan Smith and the whole high council think it is a very good buy at that price, even if we have to go to $15,000 and we could make some money on it if we decide five years hence to build a temple there. We would have to go a long ways out.

I said that we do not need 57 acres, and President Brown said that we do want a fairly good-sized site.

President Moyle said tthey have figured 20 acres would be needed.

I said that the only relson for taking this land is to sell enough to pay for the 20 acres we need.

President Brown said he thinks we could, the way property is going in Washington .

I said, “If you Brethren think we should hold it, we had better do so.”

President Moyle said he would like to ask me if I feel that there is some probability of building a temple there in the future, that that ought to govern the decision about holding this property.

President Brown said that the Nation’s capitol seems to be an ideal site for a temple — a wonderful building comparable to something we have done in the West.

President Moyle said it would be near the greatest genealogical library in the United States outside of our own.

I stated that I have no objection to having a temple in that area, and President Brown said that he would think so now that we are building a big building in New York.

I then said that I think probably we had better secure it, and President Moyle said that he was in favor of it.

President Brown said that President Milan Smith wanted him to phone him, and I said “Tell him to secure it, and to make no commitment, and not to call it a temple site.”

President Moyle said, “We would not want it advertised as the purchase of a future temple site.”

President Brown said that he would warn President Smith on that.

President Moyle said that this is just an investment.

I told President Brown to tell President Smith to secure the site as an investment for some future time when we may use it; that this is as far as we should go.

President Moyle asked if this should go to the Expenditures Committee this morning, and I said “No, I think we had better not. ” President Moyle said that that is his feeling.”

Fri., 28 Sep., 1962:

“Following the departure of Brother and Sister Allen, we held the regular meeting of they First Presidency.

Among the matters taken up were:

(3) Appeal of London Tax Case to House of Lords 

President Moyle read a letter from President Tanner of the West European Mission which reported that President Hanks and he had considered with Mr. Godfrey Lawrence, queen’s counselor, Mr. Forbes, barrister, and Mr. Sharman and Mr. Reynolds, queen’s counselor; (Mr. Forbes, Mr. Sharman and Mr. Reynolds are London solicitors) about the advisability of proceeding with the appeal to the House of Lords on the matter of the taxing of the London Temple. Mr. Lawrence prefaced his opinion with the idea that he assumed the Church is more concerned about the principle than the financial burden placed upon the Church by the tax.

I said that that is not wholly true; that if the tax is applied it may be much more than $25,000. President Moyle said that the spirit of the applicable statute differs from similar statutes in other British countries; that the spirit of the statute is to exempt places of worship but the agreed statement of facts left the court the impression that it was a case of selecting those who were to go to the temple rather than its being a place of public worship and that inasmuch as there is no parallel in the church of England the wording of the statute was such as to permit the Courts to rule that the temple was taxable.

President Tanner said that he and President Hanks explained that it is not the intention of the Church to keep people out of the temple but rather to encourage people to go and that it was a matter of the individuals wish to avail himself of that opportunity.

Mr. Lawrence expressed the opinion that we have a good arguable case and it is right to appeal. The court recognized this when they granted permission to go to the House of Lords; and that the appeal offers opportunity to present the case to the House of Lords, the highest court in the land. The holding of the court of appeals would not prejudice the minds of the judicial committee of the House of Lords. President Moyle and President Brown concurred in this view. They said that the House of Lords would not be influenced by the opinion of a court of appeals. President Tanner said that Mr. Godfrey Lawrence did not adopt an attitude of optimism and he did not encourage us, but recommended that we proceed with the appeal. President Tanner said he and President Hanks would be happy to discuss the matter with the First Presidency further when they come to Salt Lake City for October Conference and meanwhile Devonshire and Company have been instructed to go forward with the appeal.

President Moyle said that he thinks we should decide to go forward with it, and I said that I am not entirely free from the thought that the House of Lords should understand that we can build another temple in that area and that our investment would be less than the tax we should have to pay on the London Temple, and that if necessary, we shall let the Temple stand.

President Moyle said, “That was your first impression.”

I then asked Brother Reiser to recite what he said in our presence when President Moyle was absent about houses standing unoccupied without paying taxes.

Brother Reiser explained that vacant properties of the Church in Great Britain while he was there were not taxed; that while Newchapel House was unoccupied no tax was assessed; that Devonshire and Company on all such properties made formal report and application to the taxing authority for abatement of the rates upon Church properties which were not used.

I said that we can make it a place of worship, and that we can do that even though it has been dedicated as a temple.

President Brown said that would bring it within the law.

President Moyle said that that portion of the temple used for the performance of ordinances would not be disturbed.

In response to my staement that we shall have to pay taxes on it, President Moyle said, “We would not if we do that. I am satisfied that this opinion of Godfrey Lawrence is such that we are right on the border line. I anı satisfied that we had two judges in our favor at lunchtime and this man was one who changed their minds in a half hour. If we want to open it up and have marriages performed in the present chapel and open a little bit of the first floor of the temple for public weddings and put our reception rooms and so forth in the annex where we are building in place of a new chapel and have not one but two chapels, we would be so far over the line that if they tax us and take us to Court we would win the case hands down.”

I stated that in my mind there is only the thought that we are not going

to pay taxes on that temple, and rather than do so, we shall open it

as a Public house of worship.

President Moyle said that he believes if we do that, we should still

not affect in the slighest any of the area used for ordinance work.

I said that be that as it may, rather than have to do so, we shall build another temple in Sweden and when they know that, it will affect our decision.

President Moyle said that we shall not have to cross that bridge until we win the case in the House of Lords; if we win it we will not have any problem, and I said that that is right; that I am just presenting it now, that rather than lay ourselves liable for increased taxes each year we will use our land already chosen in Sweden and build a modest temple. So let us decide to go to the House of Lords and you answer President Tanner accordingly.

Mon., 1 Oct., 1962:

“10:00 – 12:00 noon 

Garment Factory, Inspection of

In company with Presidents Moyle and Brown, with Elder Harold B. Lee, Chairman of the Garment Committee, and Elder Delbert L. Stapley, member of the Committee conducting the tour, inspected the Church Garment Factory. 

I have never been so favorably impressed with our garment situation since my association with the General Authorities on committees, meetings, etc. concerning the garment. This has been a problem for many years, and to realize that it is now under the absolute control of the Church, and to see those hundreds of workers, faithful and true, doing such excellent work, and to hear the reports of the Committee

guiding it, partaking of the spirit of the management, was indeed a thrill to me. I think it is just what it should be, and the possibilities are unlimited, and also the spirit of the manufacturing and distribution of garments is as it should be, associated with our temple work.

I feel to commend the work that is being done by the brethren and sisters of the garment factory. What an undertaking to supplv all the people of the Church with their garments!”

Thur., 18 Oct., 1962:

“8:30 – 10:00 a.m.

London Temple 

Meeting of the First Presidency. President Moyle reported that he had been called by President Nathan Eldon Tanner from London who reported that Mr. Lawrence, Queen’s Counselor, who had been employed recently to represent the Church in the tax appeal question before the House of Lords had received appointment yesterday from the Queen to serve as president of a revenue and income commission which took him out of the practice of law entirely. President Tanner had a conference yesterday with Mr. Forbes, barrister, and with Devonshire and Company, solicitors, and they united in recommending Gerald Gardner, Queen’s counselor, who evidently out-ranks Mr. Lawrence, and who will be much more expensive. President Tanner says Mr. Gardner will undoubtedly be the very best man we can get, but it would cost a thousand pounds a day, and that the cost of the appeal, if it is handled by Gardner, may be as much as $20,000 if the case is won, and as much as $40,000 to $60,000 if the case is lost, since in that eventuality the cost of the other side will be thrown on us. It is President Tanner’s recommendation that Mr Gerald Gardner be retained. President Tanner also explained that he is very busy and very much in demand and that if he is to be retained an answer this morning is necessary. President Moyle said that he told President Tanner to retain Mr. Gardner and if there is any different course to pursue President Tanner would be informed by cable today.

I said there is nothing else to do if we are going ahead with it.

In reply to my inquiry as to what was to be paid to Mr. Lawrence, President Moyle said he did not know but that he thought it was nothing like the amount suggested for Mr. Gardner, but that the fee quoted above would be more than double and possibly three or four times more. It is customary for Queen’s Counselor to receive very much more than barristers.

I said we should leave it stand that way, that I felt it would save another telephone call.