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David O. McKay Diaries – “Thorpe B. Isaacson”

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Fri., 7 Feb., 1947:

“Bishop [Thorpe] Isaacson called by telephone.  He reported the sentiment of some of the officials of the U.S.A.C. with respect to Mormon Bishops holding County Agents’ jobs.  ‘They can’t be Mormon Bishops and hold the County Agent’s job.’  Prof. Jonas is communistic in his thinking, and takes a lot of time in classes to get over his own ideas.  Says he can prove that the Constitution was not inspired, and that the Welfare Plan of the Church is doomed to failure.”

Mon., 22 May, 1950:

“Bishop Thorpe Isaacson telephoned, and discussed matters pertaining to the choosing of a president for the U.S.A.C.  Said the Board of Trustees had held a meeting and wanted to call in Dixon from Ogden for interview.  Bishop Isaacson said that he discouraged the idea, and asked them to wait awhile on that, and to go ahead with what they are already doing.  Said that after commencement exercises at Cedar City, they held another meeting. Said they were very much impressed with Wayne Driggs; that he (Bp. Isaacson) had checked his tithing record and found that he had paid a full tithing for the past three years; further, that he seems to have that warmth that they would like in a President.  Bishop Isaacson then spoke of Dr. Louis L. Madsen–said he has not had any administrative experience; his wife would not be able to help him much–they have seven children.  Said they took a tentative vote at their last meeting; and Dixon got a few votes, and Madsen and Wayne Driggs got more than any one.

I said that with relation to the Brigham Young University matter, it looks as though the recommendation of the Executive Committee will go, so that will exclude my choice of man for President (Aldous Dixon).  I said confidentially that I believe Dixon would rather stay where he is, but that Bishop Isaacson should see him; that he is a mighty fine man, that he has experience, training, personality, spirituality.  Bishop Isaacson said that his age might go against him, but commented that Dr. Harris’ five years with the college had certainly enhanced the school, and that if Dixon could spend that length of time with the school, he certainly would be an asset in every way.

Bishop Isaacson also reported that in checking on the tithing record of Dr. Daryl Chase he was greatly disappointed to find that it was not as it should have been.”

Fri., 4 Jan., 1952:

“12:00 noon–Bishop Thorpe Isaacson called–explained matters pertaining to the recent robbery committed at his home during his absence.  Said the money that had been stolen belonged to his wife–that she had been saving it for a home for her daughter.  Of course, they have come under criticism for having so much money in their house, some accusing them of tax evasion, etc.  Bp. Isaacson said there is nothing to the stories that are going around.”

Wed., 12 Mar., 1952:

“I returned to the office and was just starting to attend to the reading and signing of letters, when my secretary informed me that Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson wanted to see me.  So I gave attention to Bishop Isaacson for the next 45 minutes.

Bishop Isaacson said that he heard something today that grieved him very much, and that is that a brother told him today that he is using his position in the Presiding Bishopric to further his insurance business.  ‘President McKay,’ said Bishop Isaacson, ‘I haven’t turned a finger over to get business through the Church–some has come through our insurance of employees, but I didn’t ask for it, and I shall give it all up rather than embarrass you brethren.

I told Bishop Isaacson to pay no attention to the matter; to go along and do his duty as he sees it.”

Wed., 6 Aug., 1952:

“8 a.m. Elder Henry D. Moyle, Bishop Jos. L. Wirthlin, Bishop Thorpe Isaacson, and Bishop Beuhner were received at my office by appointment at their request.  The following were considered:

1. Authorization given for the Presiding Bishopric to hold a meeting in connection with the October Conference, with bishoprics and others.

2. Approved the Presiding Bishopric’s recommendation that Bishops of Wards be permitted to conduct a meeting once each month with the Aaronic Priesthood separate from the Melchizedek Priesthood; the Melchizedek Priesthood would go to their respective meetings.

3. The Presiding Bishopric recommend that all young men who are worthy be ordained Elders before leaving for military duty.  Decided to give this further consideration.

4. Told the Presiding Bishopric to prepare a letter for the Presidency to sign, to go to the Melchizedek Priesthood quorum presidencies and bishoprics, indicating that bishoprics should spend Priesthood meeting time with the Aaronic Priesthood. Once a month, however, they should meet with the High Priests quorum, and that quorum meeting should be held at a time not to conflict with their duties.

5. Agreed with the Bishopric that the Ward bishoprics should ordain boys to the Priesthood–not the advisers.  [What about the fathers?]

6. Approved the recommendation of the Presiding Bishopric that four lessons on the Constitution be included in the course of study for the Priests in 1952.

7. I told the Presiding Bishopric that negroes should not be invited to speak in sacrament meetings and at Firesides. 

(The above were presented to my counselors at the 9 a.m. First Presidency meeting–their approval was given to decisions made.)”

Tues., 2 Dec., 1952:

“5:10 p.m.  Telephone Conversation with Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson.

Bishop Isaacson stated that he had talked to Governor Lee, who asked him if he thought it was all right to appoint Ward Holbrook to a position.  He told the Governor he would talk to President McKay.

Some time ago Bishop Isaacson had told the Governor that it was felt that he was filling too many positions with Masons.  The Governor had said he was glad to hear this, that he had heard it from other sources, and he had not filled the positions with Masons intentionally.

I stated that I had known Ward Holbrook for many years.  He is a very able man.  I worked with him for years on the Centennial Commission.  He was always clear-headed and loyal, and I felt that the Governor could not do better.

Bishop Isaacson said he would call the Governor back.  The Governor’s attitude today was just fine.  He had asked if we had any other suggestions.”

Thurs., 19 Feb., 1953

Telephone Calls

“Bishop Thorpe B. Issacson.  Called to say that he is leaning this evening for Hawaii.  I told him to take a good rest and that our greatest concern for him now is that he get will.  I then said:  ‘May the Lord’s blessings go with you.’”

Mon., 2 Mar., 1953

“Discussed matters pertaining to the U.S.A.C. Board—the assignment of new members to the Board, and the retirement for the Board of Bishop Isaacson.  I said confidentially that is the Governor will reappoint the Board and let the Board and the President work out the difficulties for the present, that nobody will be hurt and the school will be benefited.  Further, that Brother Isaacson’s health is not good, and that he will have to resign after he has straightened out things at the College.

Brother Johnson mentioned the stories that have come out about Bishop Isaacson, and I stated that there is absolutely no truth in them; that I had received letters making apologies for what has been said.  I stated that Bishop Isaacson is fine executive, and that for the present I have in mind the good of the school—it is a good school and must not be permitted to deteriorate.

Bro. Johnson said he would hate to have anything happen to President Madsen this year.  I said that sometime during the year they could probably work things out.  Brother Johnson said that just now it would be tragic for Pres. Madsen to leave—felt that if he had a different Board it would be better for him.  Mentioned that Bishop Isaacson has two more years on the Board if he cares to remain.

(3) Bro. Johnson then brought up the Appropriation’s Bill now before the Legislature.  I said that I think everything should be done to maintain our schools.  Bro. Johnson wondered if I should call Orval Adams and ask him to get in touch with the Governor regarding the allotment to our schools.  I said that I had refrained from entering into this—that it is a matter for the State to decide.  Bro. Johnson said that his judgement is that if we had a temporary Board, and studied the bill for the next two years, then we should be in a position to know what we should do about higher education.

I said I had not given any thought to the matter, and would hare to express myself offhand.

I said I had received a call this morning from Ogden regarding the elementary schools in that district, and that I had told the person calling to contact Senator Woolley who is chairman of the Appropriations’ Committee and get his side of the question.

I told Brother Johnson that it does not strike me as a wise thing to have a Board who can tell institutions what to do; that if I were President of the U of U or Agricultural College, and the State Legislature would say to me:  ‘We are going to have a Board who will tell you how to direct your school,’ I think I should hand in my resignation.

Bro. Johnson answered:  ‘Well if you were there, we would not have to have a Board.’

Brother Johnson then asked that I think about putting both schools—U of U and U.S.A.C.—under a joint Board.

I said that I had been a member of the Board of Regents of the U of U and a member of the Board U.S.A.C., and think eventually the joint board will be a good thing; that I have always favored it, but to do it now would be critical; that I believe it could be done more effectively when the difficulties are ironed out.

Bro. Johnson then went into the appropriation for the TV Educational channel—said that three of our professors had shown the Governor some programs on this modern are business, and that the Governor was perturbed at what they had shown him, and since they are seeking $100,000 for their TV educational program, it was very unwise to bring that sort of thing before the Governor when the money can be used to much better advantage.

Bro. Johnson then said he is sure the Governor would enjoy a visit form me to talk over some of these problems.

2. Governor J. Bracken Lee called—said that he  had a ‘little brain storm’ and wanted my advice regarding the situation at the Utah Agricultural College—‘I am wondering if it would be beneficial to do something like this:  Put Thorpe Isaacson on the University of Utah Board, and Dr. Adam S. Bennion on the Utah Agricultural College Board.’

I stated that I had suggested to Bishop Isaacson that he had better ask to be released from the Board at the USAC because of his health; and that I thought it would be a good move for him; that when he gets back and can get matters moving along smoothly at the College, he could resign.  His health is not good and he should get off that Board.

The Governor then said that he thought that could be done without injuring him at all.

I further stated: ‘Now, I believe that if you appointed him at the U of U you would have to release him from that Board because of his health; otherwise it would be good move.

The Governor then said that he wished to smooth things our without injuring or hurting any one.

I told him that we appreciate his consideration.

It was agreed that I should think about the Governor’s proposal and then call him later giving him my advice on the matter.

Tues., 3 Mar., 1953:

First Presidency.

“At 8 a.m. I telephoned to Governor J. Bracken Lee in response to his request that I give thought to the advisability of appointing Bishop Thorpe Isaacson a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Utah, and Dr. Adam S. Bennion as a member of the Board of Trustees of the U.S.A.C.

I said that inasmuch as Brother Isaacson is one of the four oldest on the Board of Trustees of the College that I think it would be better for him to remain there and with the new appointees on the Board help to settle the difficulties that are now rampant between the Board, the President, and the faculty of the U.S.A.C.

I remarked further that as Brother Isaacson’s health is not very good, it may be necessary in a few months for Brother Isaacson to request a release from the Board of Trustees.

The Governor stated that he had no desire whatever to get rid of Bishop Isaacson because, he, the Governor, considers the Bishop on of the ablest men interested in the welfare of the College.

Mon., 11 May, 1953

2. Bishop Isaacson called for advice regarding the Board of the Dee Hospital.  Said the Board has not been using Welfare coal—they have always used the coal from the Dee family, the price of which has been below cost.  The Board feels that the Dee family should not be hurt by our refusing to use their coal, but the request has come that Church Welfare coal be used.

I said in this instance it would be better to say that we feel inadvisable to make any change for the present.

Bishop Isaacson, referring to the U.S.A.C. trouble, that he had had a fine meeting with Brother Adam S. Bennion who is conducting the investigation, and who is under terrific pressure because of this investigation.  Bishop Isaacson said Pres. Madsen has caused a lot of trouble, and is afraid that Pres. Madsen will suffer because of it.  Bishop Isaacson said he fought for hours at Board meetings for Pres. Madsen, and that he pleaded with him not to have any bitterness.  Said he is of the opinion that if Pres. Madsen had followed counsel all the trouble would have been avoided.

Wed., 20 May, 1953:

“9 to 10:30 a.m.—First Presidency’s meeting.

While in this meeting was called to the telephone in my private office.  Governor J. Bracken Lee was of the line.  Said he called to express to me his great confidence in Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson, Chr. of the Board of Trustees of the U.S.A.C.  Said he had associated with him for years of the Board, and that there is no man for who he has greater respect, and in whom he has greater confidence.  Said he would like to see him go through with his assignment on the Board—at any rate until July.  The Governor then said ‘There is only one man who can get him to do that, and that is you, President McKay.  I wish you would express to him my confidence in him and get him not to resign as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and to take charge of the Commencement Exercises at the College.’

I thanked the Governor and told him that I would do what I could with Bishop Isaacson.

Later I had a talk with Bishop Isaacson, and he read me his letter of resignation as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the U.S.A.C.  He has fully decided to go through with his resignation and will present it to the Board next Saturday—is convinced this is the best thing for him to do.

I then said:  ‘I think so, too, first, because I promised Sister Isaacson that I would urge you to do so; and secondly, I think you should resign because of your health.  Immediately following your resignation you should take a rest, go on a vacation, and be absolutely free from any worry or anxiety due either to the college or to the Church.’

Bishop Isaacson answered that he would do that provided the report of the Committee would give no implication that he is doing it under duress.

Later in the day (5 p.m.) at his request, I met Dr. Adam S. Bennion who let me read the report of the U.S.A.C. Investigating Committee.  I think it is much better than the one he submitted  yesterday.”

Mon., 19 Oct., 1953:

Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson called in – discussed matters pertaining to the U.S.A.C., and particularly about the Inauguration of President Aldous Dixon and their desire to have me give the main address on that occasion.

Fri., 26 Feb., 1954:

“4 p.m.  Had a consultation in my office with Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson.  We discussed three matters:

1.  The appointment by the Governor of the State of Elder LeGrand Richards, as a member of the Utah State Agricultural College Board of Trustees.

2.  The Inaugural Ceremonies of Dr. H. Aldous Dixon will be televised as well as broadcast over radios.

3.  Weber College affair.”

17 Mar., 1954:

“Telephone Call from President Stephen L. Richards to President McKay who is at Laguna Beach.

While at Laguna Beach, President Stephen L. Richards called me from Salt Lake City.  He called attention to two matters:

(1)  Joseph Smith Farm at Palmyra:  Said the First Presidency has a letter indicating that the farm can be rented at once if a tenant can be secured.  The Singleys are leaving, and they would like to have an answer as to whether or not they should rent the farm.  Said that Bishop Isaacson brought the matter to the attention of the First Presidency yesterday.  Since the Season is getting late, the brethren think a reply should be sent to President Taylor as to whether or not to rent the place.

I told President Richards that I think Brother Isaacson should handle those matters.  President Richards answered that Bishop Isaacson is favorable to the action.  President Richards also reported that Brother Singley would like us to purchase from him some of the furniture and equipment he desires to leave at the Farm.  The Singleys are in a bad financial condition and need the money.  I answered that Bishop Isaacson could handle those matters.  President Richards said that Bishop Isaacson favors the purchase if the prices are reasonable.

President Richards stated that he knew that I had been interested in the farm matters, and felt they should have my authorization for leasing the farm and the purchase of the furniture and equipment.  Said he understands that Brother Taylor of the Eastern States Mission has a suitable couple-or that two of the missionaries could be placed at the farm immediately.

I stated that I think we should have a voice as to who is going there.  That it would be all right to put two missionaries there until we could find a suitable couple to go there.

President Richards said that we often find couples who would be glad to go there.

May 21, 1954

Telephone Calls

4.  Received a telephone call from Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson from Ephraim.  Said that he had gone to President Dixon about his appointment from the government to visit foreign countries, and asked him to present the matter to the Board of Trustees of the U.S.A.C. and obtain their approval.  This President Dixon did, and reported to Brother Isaacson that all the Board members were in accord with the appointment.  Now Dr. Dixon informs Bishop Isaacson that two of the Board members – George Preston and Dr. Potter are voicing disapproval; in fact, George Preston is causing quite a stir about it.  The papers got the information about his appointment from the agenda for the next meeting, and they have published it.  Bishop Isaacson said he had talked to President Harris, and he advised that he go right ahead regardless of what they say.

Bishop Isaacson said that he disliked going away with a divided feeling among the Board Members, but this is a government assignment, paid for from federal funds.

I told Bishop Isaacson that the attitude of these men is childish, and selfish; that the whole matter is now in the hands of Dr. Dixon who reported to Bishop Isaacson that the appointment had been cleared and they accepted it.

25 Oct., 1955:

President McKay reported that last evening, with six in the party, he went to the testimonial given in Ephraim in honor of Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson by his own home town people.  President and Sister Ernest L. Wilkinson of the Brigham Young University were present; President Chase of the Agricultural College; President Miller of the Weber College; the president of the Snow College; and the president of the Dixie College.  President Olpin of the University of Utah was not present, but sent an excuse, having just returned from a long trip and the doctor advised him not to come because he was suffering from the flu.

President McKay said that Elder LeGrand Richards paid an excellent tribute to his former fellow laborer.  Dr. Chase of the Agricultural College did very well, and paid an excellent tribute; that all in all he thought the tributes given were merited by a truly great man.  Bishop Isaacson, he said, has exerted a very good influence on this state.  The Secretary of State represented the Governor and read a message from the Governor.

Elder LeGrand Richards, who accompanied President McKay to Ephraim to attend the testimonial for Bishop Isaacson, said that the entire community was united in giving the testimonial; that, however, President McKay was a drawing card in bringing all the people out; that an estimate of those present would be about 400 people at the banquet, and that perhaps 1000 people attended the regular program in the evening in the auditorium of the Snow College.  Everyone who spoke paid lovely tribute to Bishop Isaacson, Ephraim being his home town where he was born.  Brother Richards felt that the wonderful tribute that President McKay paid to Bishop Isaacson will do a wonderful amount of good.  They arrived home at about 2 o’clock this morning.”

Wed., 16 May, 1956:

(Report on Clyde-Powell case)

President David O. McKay

May 16, 1956

President McKay reported an experience that he had yesterday, which he said was the culmination of a feud that has been going on between two of our brethren for several months, to his knowledge, and perhaps longer.  This feud was between a man by the name of Powell and a man by the name of Clyde.  Brother Powell lost his property through the foreclosure of a mortgage which he could not redeem.  Brother Clyde, a wealthy man, purchased the mortgage, and took possession of Brother Powells’ holdings.  Brother Powell was so reduced economically that he was about to lose his home.  He blamed Brother Clyde for his financial ruination, and threatened to kill Brother Clyde, and it seems made some attempt to do so.  The matter came before the First Presidency several months ago, and it had entered into a sort of legal question.  At that time President McKay made the remark that these brethren should be brought together, but the statement was made that it had gone too far and would have to be settled legally; that Brother Clyde was wholly in the right.

Notwithstanding this, President McKay asked that they be brought together; that each should see his bishop, and in the presence of the two bishops the two men should meet and present their difficulties and become reconciled.  This Brother Clyde refused to do, saying that he had been advised by his lawyer not to see Brother Powell; that his life was in danger.  President McKay asked Bishop Isaacson to see what he could to to bring them together.  Bishop Isaacson tried, but they refused to meet, and they also refused to see President McKay, although President McKay told them that he did not think that he should enter into the matter, that it should be settled by their bishops.

Bishop Isaacson persisted, and he learned that each one was carrying a gun, and that Brother Clyde had also hired a bodyguard who accompanied him during the day and remained with him during the night.  A few days ago Bishop Isaacson was successful in bringing them together.  Brother and Sister Powell had agreed to get their bishop and meet at an appointed place.  Brother Clyde had refused again, saying that he was advised not to do so because Brother Powell would kill him.  Bishop Isaacson persisted, and finally Brother Clyde said that if Bishop Isaacson would assume all responsibility to see that he was properly guarded he would do so.  Bishop Isaacson agreed.  Two officers were invited to search these men when they came together.  Sister Powell accompanied her husband, as did several other persons.  There were 12 or 14 in the group.  The officers, who were members of the Church, remained in the meeting.

At the beginning Bishop Isaacson said words to this effect:  ‘We all know why we have met here.  We are all members of the Church.  I am going to ask Bishop so and so to offer prayer.’  The bishop invoked the blessings of the Lord in a very feeling manner.  Following the prayer, Bishop Isaacson said, ‘Now, Brother Powell, in your estimation you have been wronged, and you think Brother Clyde is responsible for your financial condition.  You have lost everything you had, and you are about to lose your home, and you will be penniless.  Brother Clyde is justified in what he did.  Anyone would have done the same thing.  If the Church had been asked to take it they would have taken it, and it would not have helped you in any way because you could not meet your mortgage payments.  Now you have held hard feelings, bitter feelings, against the man who rightfully purchased the mortgage.  I am going to ask if you can in your heart ask Brother Clyde’s forgiveness for the harsh things you have said against him and for what you have threatened to do to him.  I am going to ask you to ask his forgiveness if you have it in your heart to do it.  If you have not, do not, but if you can now, after understanding all conditions, ask his forgiveness, I wish you would do it.  And Brother Clyde, if you can find it in your heart to accept that forgiveness and to forgive him, I wish you would do it.  Do not do it unless you can do it from your heart.’

Brother Powell arose, walked over and extended his hand to Brother Clyde, and asked to be forgiven for what he had said and the threats he had made against his life.  Brother Clyde accepted that forgiveness, and they not only shook hands but embraced each other.  Sister Powell arose afterwards and said that they had gone to the temple the day before in the hope that they would be humbled and would do the right thing.  She broke down and cried, and in fact, they were all in tears.

Bishop Isaacson then said to Brother Clyde, ‘You do not owe him anything legally, and probably not morally.  But here is a man who is losing his home.  You are wealthy.  If you can see a way to do anything to help him save his home, the Lord will bless you for it.  One of you will pass away, and when one goes, there will be one man sitting in that audience who will feel more sympathetic, more sorrowful at the passing of the other than any one else in the room.’  Then Brother Isaacson told the officers and the others that there was nothing further they could do, and that they would leave Brother and Sister Powell and Brother Clyde and their lawyers and others to settle the matter.

The upshot of it was that Brother Clyde wrote out a check for $8750 and some odd cents to clear the mortgage on Brother Powells’ home and gave it to him, and a check to pay a widow whom Brother Powell owed a certain amount, and they have settled their problems with good feelings, and Brother and Sister Powell went back to their home without fear of losing their equity in their home.

President McKay said he cited this experience as one of the most impressive examples that he knew of as to the value of the Savior’s injunction:  ‘Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.’  (Matthew 5:23-24)”

Fri., 7 Sept., 1956:

Telephone Conversations

1.  Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson – Called regarding the Benson telegram giving a recommendation of George Dewey Clyde — see following notes.

September 7, 1956

Telephone Conversation with Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson, Friday, September 7, 1956.

Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson called me by telephone and stated that Governor Lee was terribly upset because he had heard that Brother Ezra Taft Benson had sent at Senator Arthur V. Watkins’ request a telegram concerning his knowledge of the experience and background of George D. Clyde, Republican gubernatorial nominee for Governor.  He had heard also that they are going to use the telegram in their political campaign.  Bishop Isaacson stated that he hated to see Brother Benson get mixed up in this thing.  Bishop Isaacson and Bishop Wirthlin had been asked to go on television, but they had refused.  Bishop Isaacson said that he had not seen the telegram which Brother Benson had sent, but the Governor’s office told him what they heard of its contents.  He also stated that the Governor’s office had wanted to talk to me, but they had called Bishop Isaacson when they could not get in touch with me.  Bishop Isaacson felt that Senator Watkins should not bring Brother Benson in on this deal.  Bishop Isaacson said that they are going to try and get Brother Benson to send a telegram endorsing the character of Governor J. Bracken Lee.  I asked Bishop Isaacson where I could get in touch with Senator Watkins.  He stated that he did not know where he was staying.  I told him that I would get my secretary to get in touch with Senator Watkins for me.  Bishop Isaacson stated that the Govenor’s Office wanted to talk to me.  He feels that if this telegram is used it will hurt Brother Benson and hurt the Church.

Bishop Isaacson stated that D.A. Skeen is one of the master minds of this Clyde campaign.  I asked him what he is the master mind of.  Bishop Isaacson said that he is the man that made that deal with Bishop Richards, and that he has caused a lot of trouble.  Bishop Isaacson also stated that the letter Brother Richards sent out to delegates has caused a lot of trouble.  I told him that I could see how it would in view of the stationery he used.  Bishop Isaacson said that they had wanted him to see Brother Richards about this letter, but he had refused to enter into it.  Bishop Isaacson feels that when a Church Authority signs his name to something, it is used, and that is what they are going to do with the Benson telegram.  He feels that the telegram is going to be broadcast over the state.  I told Bishop Isaacson that Brother Benson has a right to send a telegram giving the facts concerning an individual.  Bishop Isaacson said that he feels that it is going to do Benson a grave injustice.  It will do Watkins and Clyde good.  He stated again that the Governor is disturbed about it.

I told Bishop Isaacson that I would get in touch with Senator Watkins before calling the Governor’s Office.

Fri., 9 Nov., 1956:

“11 a.m.  Bishop Thorpe Isaacson of the Presiding bishopric reported to me a remark that had been made concerning his political support of a certain candidate.  Bishop Isaacson said there is not a ‘word of truth in the statement that has been made.’

Wed., 13 Feb., 1957:

“11:45 to 12:25 p.m.  Consultation with Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson regarding Senators who have come to him relative to the bill that is to be presented in the Senate for an appropriation for the building of the replica of the Salt Lake Theatre.”

Thurs., 11 Apr., 1957:

“2:15 p.m.  Met by appointment at request Mrs. Thorpe B. Isaacson.  She came to seek my advice regarding whether or not she should take a trip to Europe with a lady friend.  I told her that this is a decision for her and her husband to decide; however, that if Bishop Isaacson approves, I could see no reason why she should not go.”

Telephone conversation with President Stephen L. Richards, Wednesday, September 18, 1957.  (President McKay was in Laguna Beach, California.)

President Richards:  Good morning, President McKay; how are you?

President McKay:  Very well, thank you.

President Richards:  President Clark and I are here at the desk, and I have just reported a conversation with Brother Isaacson, and we thought we ought to call you about it.

Yesterday Brother Condie came to Brother Isaacson.  He said he came to him for his counsel not only because he is a General Authority, but because of the University, and he said that the head of the Music Department at the Unversity of Utah (Dr. LeRoy Robertson) had said to Brother Condie, ‘Now that you have taken a full-time job as the Director of the Choir, we shall have to replace you here at the University.’  Brother Condie said he was very much disturbed by that because at sixty-seven he gets a retirement that has been built up.  I believe his is fifty-nine now, and that would mean a great deal to him financially, and then he told Brother Isaacson what we have kept quiet that you had told him his appointment was on a temporary basis and it would not last too long; now he said if he only takes a temporary appointment for two years and loses his position at the University, then he would be in a financial fix.

President McKay:  Brother Evans and I talked about that coming to California the other day.  Brother Evans was authorized to telephone Brother Condie and tell him to go on with his work at the University.

President Richards:  Apparently that will not be sufficient to satisfy Dr. Robertson.  Robertson says that there are some illustrations at the University of the doctrine that where a man takes a major position outside, he cannot hold down his position at the ‘U’.  It looks very much like Dr. Robertson is using this against Dr. Condie.  Brother Isaacson called up Brother Robertson and asked him to please not take any positive position or action in this matter, and Dr. Robertson argued with him stating that Dr. Condie is taking a major position and under the regulations of the University he would have to decide between his positions.  Brother Isaacson tried to reason with him and stated that this is a different case than the other examples.  But Dr. Robertson said, ‘Well, Dr. Olpin, the President of the University, would have the final decision.’

In talking this matter over with Brother Isaacson and President Clark this morning we wondered if it would not safeguard Brother Condie’s postion for you to call Dr. Olpin and confidentially tell him.  I know we agreed to keep the temporary engagement on a confidential basis.  You would have to tell him that there are limitations to time and that under the circumstances it would be very greatly appreciated.

President McKay:  I will be glad to call him this morning.  Now, we thought perhaps that would safeguard any action, even if Brother Robertson would want to use to get rid of Brother Condie at the University.  We shall have to tell Dr. Olpin about the temporary appointment, for the good of Brother Condie to keep that retirement.  Brother Condie should be told to go right ahead with his work.

President Richards:  Brother Condie thought he could give up some lessons.  He thinks he can give full time at the University as in the past and that the University won’t suffer.  It is our understanding that Brother Condie only works part time at the University now.  It could also be pointed out that this new position of Brother Condie’s would enhance him in stature and information by the fact that he is Director of this Choir.  We do not want Brother Condie to lose his retirement.  We would be in a very difficult position when we make the next change of a Director of the Choir if Brother Condie lost his retirement now.  Brother Isaacson is a Regent of the University.  I believe you might do something at least to save Condie’s position.  If you were to tell Brother Olpin the facts he will see that Brother Condie’s position at the University is maintained.

President McKay:  I shall call him right away.

Wednesday, September 25, 1957.

Telephone conversation with Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson, Wednesday, September 25, 1957.

President McKay:  Good morning, Bishop.

Bishop Isaacson:  Good morning, President.

President McKay:  When did Brother Cornwall speak to you about the piano, on what day?   

Bishop Isaacson:  I think it was last Friday, the 20th.

President McKay:  What word did he use in view of the treatment he had received?

Bishop Isaacson:  I cannot remember whether he said ‘harsh’ or not.  I do not recall the word.  I know what he meant and that was that he had not been treated right, and that is when I talked to him as I did.

President McKay:  You do not remember the word.

Bishop Isaacson:  I do not remember, President, I wish I could.

President McKay:  It wasn’t inconsiderate.

Bishop Isaacson:  No, I don’t think so.

President McKay:  At any rate, in view of the treatment he feels he has received, he felt that he merits that piano.

Bishop Isaacson:  Yes.  When he finished talking with me, he said, ‘maybe I had better forget it.’  I do not think he will say anything more about it.  That is the way I thought I left him.  He said in the beginning, ‘In view of the treatment I have received,’ or something like that.  That was his intentions at first, but then I told him of what I had read in the paper about what you had said about him, and I said ‘you will never have anything finer said at your funeral.’  ‘You should be very happy.’  I thought I left him feeling differently.  I may have underestimated him.  I thought he felt a little shamed about asking about it when he left.

Friday night following your talk and dedication of the monument we have everything arranged so you will not be detained if it is agreeable.  Your car will be facing north so you will not have any delay.

President McKay:  All right, thank you very much.”

Wed., 19 Feb., 1958:

“1:10 p.m. – Called President Joseph Fielding Smith into my private office and asked him to become a member of the Board of the Heber J. Grant & Company.

Immediately following his visit I called Brother Thorpe B. Isaacson of the Presiding Bishopric and also asked him to become a member of the Board of the Heber J. Grant & Co.

From 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. attended Board meeting and stockholders’ meeting of the Heber J. Grant & Co.  At these meetings it was decided to sustain George J. Cannon as President of the Company instead of acting as Chairman of the Board as was decided a few days ago.  (see newspaper clipping following regarding the stockholders’ meeting)”

Mon., 24 Mar., 1958:

“March 24, 1958


Forty-seven East South Temple

    Salt Lake City 1, Utah

March 24, 1958

President and Sister David O. McKay

1037 East South Temple Street

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear President and Sister McKay:

With all of my admiration, respect, affection and love, I am sending you these red roses full of meaning of that which is in my heart for you.

Needless to say, President McKay, I have missed you greatly these last ten days.  I sincerely hope and pray constantly that you will soon regain your strength and be restored to your same vigorous, alert, and enthusiastic self.  Whenever you are absent or away from this building, it hardly seems the same.  Certainly, I feel more comfortable when you are here.

I wish there was something I could do for you but, as I have said on occasions before, I believe honestly that I could say to you as Willard Richards said to the Prophet Joseph, ‘I would gladly take any problem or any sickness or any burden from you.  I would glady assume it myself if I could.’

Sister McKay, somehow I feel that you would let me be of assistance in any way, for either of you, at any time if I could be of that assistance.  I trust that you will never hesitate to call on me if you feel I can serve or assist in any manner.

May God our Eternal Heavenly Father bless you and preserve you and restore you to your complete health and strength soon.

Affectionately yours,

(signed) Thorpe B. Isaacson

Bishop and Sister Thorpe B. Isaacson


(Original letter in scrapbook)

March 24, 1958

March 25, 1958

My dear friend and brother:

Your lovely letter and bouquet of beautiful red roses which you delivered in person yesterday, proved to be a true panacea for my health.

No truer spirit of brotherhood could be expressed than that contained in your message, and I know that every word comes from your heart.

Thank you, my dear brother, and God bless you and yours!

Sister McKay joins me in reciprocation of your loyalty and friendship.

Affectionately yours,

David O. McKay


Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson

Office of the Presiding Bishopric

Church Office Building

Salt Lake City, Utah”

Fri., 11 Apr., 1958:

“7:50 a.m.  Short conference with Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson regarding the Z.C.M.I. Board.  Told him that it had been reported to me that he had put up for sale his Z.C.M.I. stock, and had given the understanding that it was a poor investment.

Bishop Isaacson emphatically denied this charge, and said that just the other day, in the presence of Bishop John L. Herrick, a party had telephoned to him and asked to buy some of his Z.C.M.I. stock and that he had told this man that he did not want to sell even a share of his stock.  I reported this to President Richards.

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 McKay:  Now, about the hospital.  Things are not going just right, and I do not know why.  Will you tell me?

President Thomas O. Smith said he thought the project to go forward with building a new hospital was clear after what was learned about the old building, and what would be involved to bring it up to standard to meet the requirements for accreditation.  Though there developed what he thought was a small minority of oppoisition, it nevertheless led to a cessation of effort to move it along, and they were advised that ‘a stalemate’ had been reached, and they were advised to let it rest.

President McKay said, first there came a report that the old building was about to be condemned; that it was inefficient; that it was not serving the purpose; that it was out-of-date; and that the cost would be so excessive to renovate and improve it that it would be better to build on a new site.  When that report came, it was decided to build a new hospital.  later, some company, a responsible investigator, reported that the building is satisfactory; that it is not out-of-date; that it can serve the people, and with very little expense it will continue to serve the people’s need.

President Smith said he had not had that report, but that the report they had was that only after very substantial expenditure would the building be in tip-top shape.  The old part of the building is in bad condition, and nothing short of very substantial remodeling would meet reasonable conditions.  He said, ‘I have heard of no report short of substantial remodeling.’

Reference was made to another element:  some sort of assessment was given of a certain amount to be raised by this area in building a new hospital out at the southeast of Ogden.  Some opposition was aroused, particularly among the professional men with respect to the proposed construction.  President Smith said that they were in the process of trying to determine how to raise the funds when the project ended.

President McKay asked about the report that neither hospital is operating at full capacity.

President Smith siad he thought that that was essentially correct; that both hospitals could handle heavier loads, but that the problem before the Dee Hospital is that the building, as it now exists — is to bring the present building to the safety standards which would continue it to receive full accreditation.  The other alternative would be to start over again and build a new building.

President Burton remarked that there are certain things connected with the hospital.  When Dr. LeTourneau was in Ogden, he took members of the Board through the hospital and called attention to the dangerous condition of the shafts, and said that in case of fire, which might start in the basement, it would be impossible to evacuate the people because the fire escapes are inadequate, and the whole buidling would be ablaze from the air currents through the shafts.  This is a dangerous condition which the people must not know lest they avoid taking their loved ones there.  The Fire Department asked the hospital to put in a sprinkling system; that would be a necessity.  To do this, it would be necessary to tear up the floors and to replace the wiring, which is of the old peg type, and to use conduit-type wiring.  The wiring is in very dangerous condition.  They gave estimates of three million dollars to do this remodeling.

President McKay said that since that time, some authoritative estimate has been reported that the hospital is perfectly safe and can function properly and safely, and so the entire project has been held in abeyance.  ‘That is the latest report we have received.  We are surprised, too, because Brother Barker, who made the examination, is a very competent and very conservative man.  He was the one who recommended that it would be better to build a new hospital than to spend two million remodeling the old one.’

President Mckay said the matter will be taken up with the Board, of which Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson is Chairman.  It is not being overlooked.  Confidentially, he said, in the midst of this reporting there has been instilled into the discussion the idea that the management is not wholly satisfactory.  President McKay asked if there is any lack of harmony between the manager and the physicians.

President Smith said he thought most of the stake presidents have a pretty high regard for the administrator.  It is known that the administrator is trying to make a good hospital of it.  At the time the hospital was evaluated by the American Medical Association, it did not receive accreditation, not because of the building or the administrator, but because of the practice of the medical profession.  The administrator has vigorously tried to insist on the kind of standards required by the American Medical Association.  ‘We think it is possible there are a few toes being stepped on.  I rather commend the operator rather than condemn him.’  (This is a quotation from President Smith.)  The comment was made about the way the doctors cover up for each other.

President Heiner said,  ‘I feel exactly the same as President Smith.  I can commend the administrator for what he has done.’  President Burton said, ‘I sit on the Board, and I can say the same thing, President McKay.’  President Pace commented upon the thought that the doctors favor a hospital administered by a physician.  The same opposition may arise from the fact that the administrator of the Dee Hospital is not a doctor.

President McKay asked if it is true that many of the doctors at the Dee Hospital are taking their patients to the Catholic Hospital.  He said, ‘If there are any reasons why our medical men take members of our Church over to the Catholic Hospital, we should remedy it.’

President Smith explained that basically the problem is we do not have a closed staff.  The doctors are members of the staffs of both hospitals.

President Olpin recounted a recent experience with one of the bishops of the stake who complained about the Dee Hospital; the ground for the complaint being that the hospital sells its accounts to an outside finance company.  He also reported a complaint about the discord among the employees.  One of the dietetics employees reported to him that she is looking for other employment.  She said that there is no chance for any feeling of contentment or good will among the people.  She reported that the situation among the employees is poor.  This employee has been at the hospital for ten years.  The finance company was reported to be a Texas company.

President Smith said that the present administrator has made a great effort to collect accounts in fairness to all the people who use the hospital because those accounts which are not collected everyone else has to pay in the form of higher rates.  The patients are given opportunity to sign a note, and the note is turned over to the First Security Bank.  The hospital does not turn over its accounts to the Finance Company at first, but usually gives the patient sixty days before attempting to turn it over to the Finance Company.  The hospital used to turn its account over to the bank, but now to the Finance Company.  It is a separate company, but has an office in the hospital, and takes the accounts.  The patient has opportunity to pay the note to the hospital directly, or if he chooses, he may have it turned over to the Finance Company and pay that company.

President McKay said anything we can do to make our hospital more attractive and more serviceable to our people, we should do.  It is not good for our members to go over to the Catholic Hospital.  They run a hospital more economically than we can, of course, and they are courteous and give good service.  But we must make our hospital just as attractive and serviceable as we possibly can.  Here in Ogden, in particular, you are in competition with St. Benedict’s.  We will have to make our hospital courteous and efficient and then we can say to our brethren and to our people, and our Mormon physicians, we would like you to take your patients to our hospital.  There has been mingled with this movement to have a new hospital these rumors that the management is not entirely satisfactory.  Now this among us has been heard in confidence.  I do not know Brother Knapp personally.  I am glad to hear your recommendation of him, but I have received some reports that reflect upon his management, and this is one.

President Olpin said that this was entirely new to him.  ‘I would not recommend anyone to the Dee Hospital under these conditions.’

In response to President McKay’s inquiry, President Olpin said that the bishop who had made a complaint was in the finance business himself.  He was not going to send his wife to the Dee Hospital but was intending to send her to St. Benedict’s Hospital.

President McKay said this is a serious situation.  It would be well to take it up with the Board.

President Smith said that the Board of Directors will meet again in March.

President McKay said, ‘I would take it up with the Board, and with your permission I will report to Bishop Isaacson,’

President Wilkcox said that the only report they have had on this came out of the report of Dr. LeTourneau indicating that the old wing, the old part, had to be replaced.  He said that evidently there has been a report that we do not know anything about.

President McKay said, ‘We will refer this to Brother Isaacson and the Board, and you brethren will received through President Smith and other members of the Board a report upon the condition and the status of the project.  Let us put it in shape so that we can support it unitedly.  The new hospital has been held in abeyance.’

President Wilcox said that the local press is trying to get a story about the status of the hospital, and he asked what could be said to the press.

President McKay advised that it is best to say nothing to the press.

President Smith said:  ‘We have been trying to say nothing in as many ways as we can.  We have wondered if we were derelict in our duty.’

President McKay said that the first step would be to consider building a new hospital, and to consider the use of the present building.

President Smith said that the Board has repeatedly expressed the hope that  there would be some attractive use made of it so it could be disposed of with some reasonable satisfaction to the Church and the hospital.  There has been some talk of turning it into a Rest Home, and to some other purposes.

President Van Kampen said people go to Salt Lake City and return saying that our looks just as good as theirs.  President Matis asked if the discontent of the employees should not be given some consideration by the Board.

President Smith said:  ‘I am sure that if this is the case, it is of great concern to us.’

President Pace remarked that he had a nurse come to him and ask if something can be done to improve the discontent.  She confidentially poured out her soul and asked what can be done to get better feeling at the hospital.

President Scott B. Price said that the bishop who is in charge of personnel is a good personnel man.  He has been there about a year.  I think he would help it.  I have not had as much reaction recently as a year ago.

President Brewer said that at the time he was bishop, Dr. Morrell expressed to him his sentiments about the hospital.  He has the feeling of the doctor’s group and would no doubt express now the attitude of the medical group as well as the nursing personnel in relation to the management.

President smith said he had talked with Dr. Morrell who raised the basic question as to whether or not a lay person should manage a hospital.  He is a firm believer that the administrator should be a trained medical director, and much of his feeling stems from that basic approach to hospital administration.

President Brewer remarked that that possibly accounts for his feeling toward the present management.

President Massey said he wondered if the whole problem is the administration or the medical treatment.  He said that when he was a bishop, many of the families, the mothers of which had been there, having had babies born in the Dee Hospital, seemed to be pleased.  he said, ‘I cannot recall any actual report of discontent or dissatisfaction.  All of these young mothers were pleased with the treatment they got at the hospital.  The Maternity Division is high class and is so well handled our people are satisfied with it.

President Heiner expressed the opnion, we need someone who is not a member of the medical staff.  We need a check and balance.  I never realized that the doctors can cover up for each other as they do; that they make such serious errors as they do.  If we had a doctor in charge of the Dee Hospital, I would not like to have my people go there.  in our hospital meetings, we have been told of cases where the doctors have made serious errors, and they will not check each other.  We have a wonderful administrator there.  He is pretty hard to beat.  He is traveling in the right direction.  We had better realize that.’

President McKay said, ‘We had better leave this to the Board.’

President Price said,’ Brother Knapp is the first one who has brought the hospital out of the red consistently.  Up to the time of his administration, we were in the red.  Doctors are not the best businessmen.  We need someone who will take care of the business properly.  I do not think a doctor will manage that hospital as well as a man who has had business experience.’

President McKay said, ‘This is a matter which should be left entirely to the Board.’  The he asked, ‘How does the Dee family stand on this?’

President Smith expressed the opinion that both Maud and Dee Lawrence have been firmly back of the new hospital proposal, though Dee Lawrence has found it a little difficult to accept a modification of the name.  Sister Porter has been very good about it.  Dee Lawrence has been reluctant about the name bringing the Church in more and the Dee family in less.  ‘With relation to the management, I think they feel quite a bit confidence in Brother Knapp, and they feel to support his administration.  They have high regard for him.’

President McKay said, ‘This is a matter we will leave to the Board, and I will be pleased to talk with Brother Isaacson, and report to him in confidence.  We want the Dee Hospital to render service which will win the support of the members of the Church.  That is very important, brethren, because you have in Ogden close competition with the Catholic Hospital, which is run very efficiently as the hospital in Salt Lake is.  They are considerate and courteous.  The hospital in Salt Lake is a closed hospital, and here you have an open staff.  I think the Board will have to consider more seriously having a closed staff.’

President McKay asked how many of the stake presidents are members of the Board of Directors, and six indicated that they are.

President Price said, ‘Some doctors take their patients to both hospitals.  I have taken occasion to talk with the doctors.  Some take their people to the Dee Hospital.  Some have reacted and have changed their methods of operation.  Others have resented our interference.  They say that they have good reception over at St. Benedict’s.  The patients are treated better, and some of the facilities are better.  They feel that they should take part of their patients over there.  One or two have been very fine and have worked very well, and have changed their entire attitude toward the hospital for their patients.  some of them say, ‘Shall I make arrangements at the St. Benedict’s for you?’  They would ask their patients that way, and others would say, ‘The operating room is more convenient at St. Benedict’s, so let us go there.’

President McKay said, ‘I commend you for doing that.  I think it is your duty to the Church and the doctors should show loyalty to the Church, but it is our duty to make the service in the Thomas D. Dee memorial Hospital equal to St. Benedict’s as far as we can.  We want to give our people the very best possible care, and the spirit of contention should not be manifest in our hospital at all.  There should be unity and support, and if our nurses and specialists cannot give it, we should know why, no matter what it costs to remove the cause.  I will speak to Brother Isaacson and then he will take it up with the Board.  I think that is about all we can do.’

President McKay said, ‘As a group of stake presidents, you can pledge your loyalty to the Dee Hospital, and if it needs improvement let us make the improvement.’

‘At the present the new hospital is in abeyance.  The report to which I have referred has come before the board.  Certainly we want to have it safe, no matter what it costs.  I did not get the reference to the Salt Lake City Hospital.  What was that reference?’

President Wilcox said, ‘Some of our people who have visited down there feel that our hospital is as good as anything down there.’

President McKay said, ‘That is good.  I hope we will not have to spend as much money.’

President McKay then recalled when Weber County was one stake and when the first division was made in which he assisted Elder George F. Richards.  He also recalled taking Professor S.H. Clark of Chicago University (who had been in Ogden lecturing in the old Tabernacle on the Book of Job) up Ogden Canyon with Presidents Middleton and Shurtliff.  President Mckay proudly called Dr. Clark’s attention to the improvements which the County Commissioners had made in the old road.  President Middleton asked him to have the driver stop at a particular place which he said was a part of a contract he had on the old road, and then he explained that he had himself stood in the water up to his knees assisting and laying the foundations of the old road, and that the foundations are still used.  President Shurtliff then said that his part of the contract was further up the canyon.  President McKay said that was a lesson to him that he had never forgotten.  ‘I was busy showing Professor Clark the surface, the hard surfacing of the road, and the putting up of the safety devices along the highway, but I never mentioned those who had laid the foundation.  At the next quarterly conference in the old tabernacle, I apologized to these brethren for overlooking the pioneer contribution to the progress of this country.’

He commanded the stake presidents upon the maintenance of the high standards in the administration of the stakes and the wards.  He reviewed briefly the extensive building program of the Church, and expressed deep appreciation for the fact that in spite of the size of the building budget, the revenues of the Church exceed the expenditures.

He also related instances of prominent people who have discovered the spirituality of the church and who acknowledge it as its great distinguishing feature.  He mentioned the recent recognition which has come to Sister Spafford, President of the Relief Society, in being invited to spend several weeks in England at the request of Lady Reading to study British social work, and to give the women in Great Britain information about the Relief Society projects of the Church.

President Smith expressed great appreciation of the stake presidents to President McKay for his willingness to respond to come to Ogden rather than to have the stake presidents go to Salt Lake City.  He said, ‘We are deeply appreciative and we want to assure you of our vigorous and undivided loyalty, and to say that you are personally an inspiration to all of us.’

The benediction was offered by President Dale T. Browning.

Minutes by A. Hamer Reiser


Monday, March 2, 1959.


Office of the Presiding Bishopric

47 East South Temple Street

Salt Lake City 1, Utah

March 9, 1959

President David O. McKay

Building Re:  Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital

      Ogden, Utah

Dear President McKay:

I have read very carefully the minutes of the meeting that you held with the presidents of the stakes of Weber County in the Ogden Stake Tabernacle on Monday, March 2, 1959 at 8 a.m.  President McKay, I appreciate very much the opportunity of reading the proceedings of this special meeting.

After reading the results of this meeting that was held in Ogden, I concur in the main with all statements and reports that were given at the meeting, and I believe the stake presidents gave a rather detailed and accurate report regarding particularly the condition, reports, and problems of the Dee Hospital there in Ogden.

I believe the stake presidents who are members of the Board of Trustees of the Dee Hospital gave a very favorable report in the main.  I sincerely believe that all of us should support and sustain and back up the efforts of our present administrator.  He has a difficult appointment.  He is laboring under very trying circumstances.  He has the St. Benedict’s Hospital there to compete with, and the doctors are not making his work any easier.  Personally, I am convinced that Brother Knapp is doing good work there.

I was astounded and sorry to learn regarding the discontent and the dissatisfaction among the employees.  I do not believe that is general, however, because I have talked to many of them who would give a very favorable report as to the morale and the satisfaction at the hospital.

I am very grateful to you for your comments to these stake presidents, and everyone of them should pledge their loyalty to the hospital.  We have made considerable improvements there which were requested, and we have tried to make it as safe as we possibly can, considering it is not a fireproof building.  We may be required to make further improvements which we should do.

Our accreditation is in question, not because of the administrator nor because of the facilities, but wholly because of the conduct and the operation of the medical staff.  There was some question about the accreditation, but not because of the buildings or the administrator, but wholly because of the practice of the medical profession and the medical staff.  When you try to change the practice of some doctors and it may be necessary to curtail some of their work and some of their work may need to be reviewed and supervised, that always presents some very difficult situations.

I think your suggestions regarding a closed staff is the only answer to our problem.  I am sure the board and the administration can bring this about if we have the support of the First Presidency.  I am confident the doctors themselves will never initiate nor support nor vote for a closed staff.  They have it too favorable the way it is now, and both hospitals operate about 60% full, and many doctors really choose the hospital the patient should go to as was reported in your meeting.  We will continue to consider this very vexing problem.

I was happy to know that President Raymond J. Pace, Farr West Stake; President Scott B. Price, East Ogden Stake; President Lawrence S. Burton, Ogden Stake; President H.J. Heiner, Jr., Ben Lomond Stake; and President Thomas O. smith of the North Weber Stake who are all members of that hospital board spoke very favorably about the adminsitrator and the conditions of the hospital.

With reference to the financing of notes for the payment of the hospital bill, I must say that the present situation is working more favorably than anyone we have ever tried.

Now, regarding  a new hospital and the expenditures of millions of dollars at this time, I feel this is not a necessity.  There are so many other places that need it worse, and there are so many other places that need the large expenditure of money worse than they do at the Dee Hospital in Ogden.  To spend three million dollars to remodel this hospital or five million dollars to build a new hospital at this time seems so unnnecessary.

Again, I thank you for the privilege of reading the proceedings of the meeting, and I concur nearly 100% with everything that was said and done.  In the main, I think it is a true picture of the situation.  With reference to the dissatisfaction of some of the employees, we will work hard to change that situation.

I am sorry we have had so much opposition, but it seems as though when we aksed them for a contribution to the new hospital, there was some rebellious reaction to that arrangement, and yet they voted for it, and some of the doctors have not supported the administrator.  Many of them conscientiously feel that the administrator should be a doctor.  This I do not concur in, and I do not believe any member of our board concurs in this philosophy.

I am a little fearful that Brother Barker’s report and recommendation and description of the situation of the old hospital was rather alarming.  Certainly his estimate to spend three million dollars to repair it I think was far out of line.  Those from the American Medical Association who came to review our accreditation had no complaint at all with reference to our facilities nor was there any complaint registered verbally or written about the administrator.  We have complied with the requirements of the Fire Department as near as we can do so, considering part of the building is not fireproof.

I feel very confident that the wisdom and the judgment of the First Presidency, the Presiding Bishopric, and the Committee on Expenditures to hold in abeyance the entire project of building a new hospital in Ogden was certainly correct in every respect, and I am very sure that we would have been unwise to discard this building at this time.  I think we would have been very unwise had we gone in there and spent two or three million dollars to remodel it, and to spend five million dollars for a new hospital at this time, in my opinion, could not have been done in good conscience.

I assure you, President McKay, that the board will discuss this in detail, and we trust it can be handled in such a way that it will not cause you anymore concern nor will it demand further attention on your part.  I am sorry that any of our problems must be added to your already heavy load.  We try so hard to handle these things so that it will be satisfactory and pleasing to the First Presidency, and we certainly never want to do anything that will cause a relfection to the First Presidency or the Church.  My honest and humble opinion is you have no need for concern regarding the Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital in Ogden.  The Board of Trustees are a very capable and willing board.  They are devoted fine businessmen, many of them, and fine stake presidents, and I am sure they will give this every needed attention now and continuously.

Thanking you again for your expressions that you made to the stake presidents regarding this proposition.  If I can be of further service or assistance, I shall only be too happy to follow the wishes of the brethren.

Sincerely your brother,

Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson


Sat., 7 Mar., 1959:

“8 a.m. — Appointment with Governor George D. Clyde.

We discussed the following matters:

1.  Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson’s earnest desire to be reappointed to the Board of Regents of the University of Utah.  I suggested that the Governor have another conference with Bishop Isaacson and explain to the Bishop why he is not to be reappointed.

2.  The vetoing of the Sunday Closing bill.*

3.  The biennial budget now before the legislature.

Note:  We did not mention the Civil Rights Law.

*I was interested in Governor Clyde’s defense of his veto on the Sunday Closing Bill.”

Mon., 6 June 1960:

“11 a.m.

Received a courtesy call from United States Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona.  He was accompanied by Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson.  He impressed me as a good man, and one who is favorable to the Mormons.  Senator Goldwater thought it would be a wise thing to have Brother Benson come home as he fears he is going to be embarrassed by both the Republicans and the Democrats.  I told the Senator that some time ago the Church had a good place for Brother Benson if he felt to come home at that time.  This information was conveyed to President Eisenhower so that he might have an excuse to release Brother Benson if he deisred to do so, but President Eisenhower felt that he needed Brother Benson’s services, and did not feel to release him at that time.’

Monday, June 6, 1960

Letter received from Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson:  (For original correspondence, see Scrapbook  – Visits with important people.)

      June 8, 1960

President David O. McKay

Building Re:  Senator Barry

      U.S. Senator – Arizona

Dear President McKay:

I know it has been your privilege to meet many wonderful people from the highest to the least, the rich and the poor, presidents, rulers, and probably many of the most prominent individuals.

Monday, when you were kind enough to meet Senator Goldwater, of Arizona, he was very greatly impressed.  After we left your office, he stated he had looked forward to meeting you for many years, and he could not remember ever having met a man with whom he was more deeply and reverently impressed and of whom he thought more.  He was very humble and grateful, and truly appreciative, for the few moments he spent with you.

He like many others all over the world have been very friendly and very favorable toward the Church because of you.  Your willingness to meet men from different parts of the land has done much for the Church, more than we will ever realize, and at the same time, it has been a great blessing to these folks.

Monday when you met Adeshir Zahedi, Ambassador from Iran, he came to my office because he was very thoughtful of me in Iran when I was sick.  He recently sent me a very personal letter and an invitation and sent me a beautiful Persian rug.  While he was at the college, I took a keen interest in him because he was a brilliant young man and a very humble and clean young man.  He neither smokes or drinks, and he, too, was so greatly impressed in meeting you.

We are all so thankful to you for all you that do for us.

Senator Goldwater, in my opinion, is a very capable Senator.  We have developed a very fine friendship.  He has invited me to Washington many times.  We keep a constant correspondence, and I am sure he is a highly regarded Senator among his colleagues.

Personally, I shall feel indebted to you as long as I live, and all my efforts, my work, and my accomplishments, be they small, are largely due to the encouragement, the loyalty, and the friendship and love I have received from you.  I haven’t the words to express to you how that has made me feel and what it has done for me.

Truly, the example you set for us is a stimulation and an inspiration, and may our Heavenly Father preserve you and bless you for many, many years to come, because under your great leadership, the Church is experiencing a truly golden era.

With kindest personal regards and love to you now and always.

Affectionately your brother,

/s/ Thorpe B. Isaacson

Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson


Wed., 2 Aug. 1961:

“10:30 a.m.

Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson came in and gave a report on the Polynesian Village project.  Said that several of the Brethren are concerned about it.  I called President Edward L. Clissold in Honolulu, and asked him to send a detailed account of the plans for this Village so that I can present it to the Brethren at the next meeting of the Council of the Twelve.  (see notes of telephone conversation following.)

Bishop Isaacson then brought up items concerning secretaries.  I told him that I should like him to be a member of the Personnel Committee, of which Elder Delbert L. Stapley is Chairman.  A little later I called Elder Stapley and informed him of this appointment, and he said, ‘We are happy to have Bishop Isaacson on this Committee.’  The committee will consist of the following brethren:  Elders Delbert L. Stapley, LeGrand Richards, William J. Critchlow, Bishop Isaacson, and Rulon Tingey.*

*Bishop Isaacson read me a letter from Mayor J. Bracken Lee wherein he (Mayor Lee) invited Bishop Isaacson to become a member of the Metropolitan Water Board.  This is a non-political appointment, with no remuneration.  As I feel Bishop Isaacson can render a service to the community, I advised him to accept the Mayor’s invitation.

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.

Fri., 7 Sep., 1962:

“8:30 a.m.

Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson called at the office and presented me with a top coat, beautifully tailored in England, for my birthday.  I registered my disapproval of his going to this expense, but he said he especially wanted to remember me this year with a gift; that he had not done so before, for fear it would be taken as ‘apple-polishing.’  He expressed his deep feeling with tears in his eyes.  I appreciate his love and spirit of brotherhood, which I reciprocate with all my heart.  He has been a true, loyal friend through the years!  I tried the coat on, and it fits perfectly.  I asked him how he could do that without my knowing it, and he said that he went to Z.C.M.I. and got my measurements from them.”

Sat., 4 May 1963:

“7:00 a.m.

Stopped at the office to attend to accumulated matters on my desk.  Soon after I arrived, Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson came in.  He said that he has been invited by the U.S. Office of Education to be a special consultant to Francis Keppel, U.S. Commissioner of Education to serve without compensation.  He has been asked to be an advisor on policy problems for the Commission.

Elder Isaacson asked me what he should do, and I told him to accept the position.

Saturday, May 4, 1963


TO: Clare Middlemiss DATE: May 6, 1963

FROM: Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson

RE: U.S. Department of Education

Dear Sister Middlemiss:

On Friday, May 3, at 2:05 p.m., a long distance telephone call came to my office in the Church Office Building from Commissioner Keppel of the U.S. Office of Education – United States Cabinet.  I was not in the office at the time the call came in, but came in five minutes after and returned the call and had a long conversation with Commissioner Keppel.

Commissioner Keppel asked me whether I would serve as a consultant to the commission on problems of the U.S. Department of Education.  I thanked him for his cordial invitation.  We talked about a number of things.  I have never met the man, but I told him I would like to clear this with the President of the Church.

Friday afternoon I tried to see President McKay, but he had gone and I didn’t wish to disturb him at the Hotel.  I, therefore, met him in the Church Office Building Saturday morning, May 4 about 7:00 a.m.  I told him of the telephone call and showed him the telegram that I received Friday afternoon following my telephone conversation with Commissioner Keppel.  President McKay quickly and strongly urged me to accept it.  He assured me of his complete approval and cooperation and support in this calling.  As a result of his approval and encouragement, I accepted the invitation of Commissioner Keppel.  He told me I would be called to Washington periodically to discuss problems of education.

I deeply appreciated the visit with President McKay on May 4 at such an early hour.  He gave me every encouragement and he made me feel as though I could be of some service in this connection.  The appointment, of course, is to serve without compensation.  I so notified President McKay that there would be no compensation whatsoever.  If I can render some possible service, I shall be grateful.  He felt I could render some service because of my experience in higher education, serving on Boards of Trustees and Boards of Regents, etc., and he felt this appointment was an honor to me and to the Church.  He told me to accept it with his approval.  President McKay’s kindness, thoughtfulness, graciousness, and encouragement make one wish to rise higher and to do better.  His greatness is exceeded only by his sweetness of soul and spirit.  Had he have discouraged me, I would have turned down the invitation, but he strongly advised me to accept it.

Affectionately your brother,

Thorpe B. Isaacson, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve


Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson to Occupy Office on Main Floor, Northwest Corner

Telephoned to Elder Isaacson, Assistant to the Twelve, and told him that I should like him to occupy the office on the northwest corner of the main floor — the office formerly used by President Clark.

Tuesday, March 17, 1964

March 17, 1964

Dear Elder Isaacson:

As you know, Elder Marion D. Hanks will be home from Great Britain about April first.  It is very difficult, as you know, to find office space for the Brethren.

With your permission, I should like you to take the office in the northwest corner of the building, which office was previously occupied by President Clark.  I have already invited Brother Leo Ellsworth, who is now in Florida taking care of the Church’s ranches there, to stay in this same office during his visits to Salt Lake City.  If he could share this office with you when he is in town, I shall appreciate it.

With kind personal regards, I remain


/s/ David O. McKay


Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson

Church Administration Building

Salt Lake City, Utah”

Wed., 8 Apr. 1964:

“8:30 a.m.

Met with Presidents Brown and Tanner and Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson in the apartment at the Hotel.

Brother Isaacson presented a verbal and written report regarding the Utah alcoholism program.  He explained that he had taken charge of this program since the death of Matthew Cowley.  He referred to the generous assistance given by the Church in the nature of a loan of $160,000, which made possible the securing of suitable quarters for these people in Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Provo, one of which properties is located on East South Temple, west of the Intermountain Clinic, which property has probably doubled in value since its purchase.  The loan that was made to these people was endorsed by 160 men and bears 5 percent interest, and called for a payment of $1,697 per month, principal and interest.  Elder Isaacson said that since the loan was made in 1959, they have paid the Church $42,952 in interest and $63,712 on the principal, bringing the balance of the loan to $84,182.  He said that 7,500 men have gone through these centers, a big percentage of whom are members of the Church, perhaps 70 percent.  He said that many of them are cured, that sometimes they have to come back three of four times before they can entirely overcome the habit.

Elder Isaacson left with me two communications — one containing the report, and the other asking for a contribution from the Church of $6,880 for a total of 128 scholarships at the University of Utah.  He said that the school on alcoholism at the University is probably the most noted school for the study of alcoholism in the Nation; that they have the finest doctors and the finest trained welfare workers, and that this school would not have been possible without the aid of the Church.

He said that in the past the matter of furnishing scholarships to the University of Utah study course have been handled through the Presiding Bishop’s Office.

We were unanimous in our feeling that we should continue our contribution toward this alcoholic scholarship fund.  We shall talk to the Presiding Bishopric about it.

Elder Isaacson then departed, and Presidents Brown and Tanner remained for our regular meeting of the First Presidency.  We took up a number of general matters, one of which was:

Fri., 22 May 1964:

11:00 to 11:15 a.m.

Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson came over by appointment.  When he learned of the meetings and problems that had occupied my attention all morning, and that I had had no breakfast, he refused to stay longer than fifteen minutes.  He told me that it was foolish for me to attempt to hold so many meetings in one day.  I will admit I feel pretty tired and drained of energy, so I tried to take a rest following Brother Isaacson’s departure.”

Thurs., 23 July 1964:

“11:15 to 11:35 a.m.

Conference with Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson.  Told him that I should like to have him serve on the Nauvoo Restoration Committee.

Among other items, Elder Isaacson took up the matter of the Church’s employing married women.  He said that since I relented and gave permission to let those who married stay for a few months so long as they did not procrastinate motherhood, the number of married women working for the Church has grown far beyond what had been intended.

He left the report for my study.”

Tues., 28 July 1964:

“7:30 to 8:30 a.m.

Conference with Clare on office matters.

United States Postmaster General – Invitation to a Ceremony Dedicating the Register and Vote United States Commemorative Postage Stamp

Received a telegram from the Honorable John A. Gronouski, United States Postmaster General, in which he extended an invitation for me to attend a ceremony dedicating the ‘Register and Vote’ United States Commemorative Postage Stamp, to be held in the Postmaster General’s Reception Room, Post Office Department, Washington, D.C. on Friday, July 31, 1964, at 11:00 a.m.

He asked that if I could not be present I send a representative.

I asked Clare to get Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson on the line for me, and I asked him if he would represent me at this affair.  Although he had been trying to get away for a few days’ rest in California, he willingly accepted this appointment.  I told him to take Sister Isaacson with him.

I then dictated a telegram to Mr. Gronouski and told him that Thorpe B. Isaacson would represent me, and that his wife would accompany him.  (See copies of telegrams, and also newspaper clippings; also a copy of Elder Isaacson’s report which follow.)

Tuesday, July 28, 1964

August 5, 1964

(Original in President Johnson Scrapbook)

President David O. McKay


Re:  Ceremony Dedication of the ‘Register – Vote’

       United States Commemorative Postage Stamp

Dear President McKay:

May I give you a report regarding the very dignified Dedication Ceremony of the ‘Register – Vote’ United States Commemorative Postage Stamp held in Washington, D.C., Friday, July 31, 1964, at the Postmaster General’s Reception.

I deeply appreciate personally this privilege to represent you at this very dignified and appropriate occasion.

John A. Gronouski, the United States Postmaster General was very courteous and he informs me that President Johnson had asked him especially to invite you or your representative to this occasion.  Truly you are held in great esteem by the President of the United States and those of his close associates.

Attached is the official dedication announcement of the ‘Register – Vote’ United States Commemorative Postage Stamp Ceremony.  You will note on the attached folder an original stamp; first day of issue, August 1st, and a very appropriate statement by President Lyndon B. Johnson and likewise a very appropriate statement from Postmaster General, John A. Gronouski.

President McKay, this occasion was well attended.  A large crowd attended and I think it was a very worth-while occasion.

The purpose of the program was to encourage the citizens of the United States to ‘Register – Vote’.  This very beautiful dedication ceremony was non-political and attempted to stress the importance to the American Public of registering and voting which has somewhat been neglected in the past.

We were informed that two million of the ‘Register -Vote’ stamps would be available first day of issuance – August 1st, and will be used until November 1st.  The sole purpose of this very dignified and appropriate dedication ceremony was for the purpose of trying to preserve this privilege so that the world will recognize that the American people appreciate this right and register and vote.  It was completely non-partisan and the campaign will be stressed during the next ninety days.

We were informed that during the 1960 National Election in the United States only 60% of the American people eligible to vote, voted.  And so this ‘Register – Vote’ campaign is to change that situation if possible.

We were also informed that approximately 15 million eligible American voters did not vote in the 1960 National Election and there were some states who had as low as 20% of their eligible people vote.

A very stimulating address was given urging that every effort be taken; every segment of this people be encouraged and stimulated and bring to the conscience of the American Voting Public the privilege they have of exercising their feelings by the ballot.  Too many American Citizens have taken this great privilege for granted and it was felt that this dedicatory ceremony and these ‘Register – Vote’ stamps would bring to the attention of the people to vote so that we can preserve this great privilege.

They are encouraging schools, churches, business institutions, and everyone to do everything they can to encourage the people of America to register and vote and when one stops to think that only 60% of the people voted in the last election, it does become somewhat alarming.  So I believe it might be well, if I may make the suggestion, that the First Presidency in due time issue a statement to the newspapers strongly urging and encouraging the eligible citizens to register and vote.

Again, I appreciate the privilege of representing you, President McKay, on this very dignified and appropriate occasion.  I shall discuss it with you further at some future time.

Appreciatively your brother,

Thorpe B. Isaacson

Assistant to the Council of the Twelve



Wed., 29 July 1964:

“9:30 to 11:00 a.m.

Conference with my secretary, Clare, on the responsibility she is carrying, especially since my illness.  I called in Brother Darcey U. Wright, Manager of the Building, and told him that inasmuch as Clare is spending almost night and day on her work, he should see that she should get some help in clearing up the repair and cleaning out at her house; that it is entirely too much for her to bear, and that the work that has been going on for weeks and weeks now should be cleared up, and that the man who was found lying on the floor of her basement when he was supposed to be working (a Brother McLaughlin) should be dismissed if he does not change his attitude.

Just at that moment Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson came in, and I asked him to follow through with this matter, and to call in Brother Marble’s men if necessary in order to get this work cleared up; that Clare is carrying a great responsibility and that she is willing to work all hours of the day and night in helping me, and that she should be given a hand in that work out at her house so that she can continue her work at the office.”

Tues., 18 Aug. 1964:

“8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Although not feeling very well, I met with my counselors at the regular hour this morning.

Thorpe B. Isaacson’s Office and Secretarial Arrangement

President Tanner mentioned that Brother Thorpe B. Isaacson had moved into the office formerly occupied by President Clark and that arrangements have been made for his secretary to occupy a desk in the room with the other secretaries in the First Presidency’s office.  President Tanner said that Brother Isaacson does not required the full-time services of his secretary, and it has been suggested that when she is not working for Brother Isaacson she could be of help to Brother Anderson.  Brother Isaacson said that he would be happy with that arrangement.  This would give Brother Anderson the help that is needed at the present time, making unnecessary the employment of another girl.  I indicated my approval of this arrangement.”

Wed., 19 Aug. 1964:

“8:30 a.m.

Although not feeling very well, I held a meeting with my counselors at 8:30 a.m.  At 9:45 a.m. President Brown left to attend a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Hotel Utah, and President Tanner remained to take up some pressing items.

Clare thanked the doctor for his kindness in calling her.

Clare then called Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson who had talked on the phone earlier today with President McKay and was worried because he did not sound like his normal self.  She told Elder Isaacson what the doctor had told her.

Later, Clare called President Joseph Fielding Smith and notified him that President McKay had been taken to the hospital.”

Wed., 26 Aug. 1964:

Isaacson, Elder Thorpe B.

Elder Isaacson reported to Clare Middlemiss a conference he had had with President Brown, and of the unfavorable remarks that were made at that time.”

Mon., 31 Aug. 1964:

“In LDS Hospital

11:10 a.m.

President Joseph Fielding Smith and Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson came in to my hospital room to see me.  I was very glad to see them, and greeted them affectionately.

President Smith remained, awaiting the coming of Presidents Brown and Tanner, and Elder Isaacson left to attend the special fast and prayer meeting to be held in the office of the First Presidency.

Mon., 21 Sept. 1964:

9:50 to 10:50 a.m.

Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson came over to the office, and for the next hour I discussed important Church matters with him.”

Thurs., 1 Oct. 1964:

“Note by CM

Meeting of General Authorities Held in the Temple – President McKay Greatly Missed

Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson sent to President McKay at his apartment a letter telling of the meeting of the General Authorities held in the Temple this morning.  He said, ‘As I sat there looking toward your chair, I could see you as you have been each year for a number of years.  Your leadership, your counsel, and your example have been so impressive — I sincerely trust that you will not feel too badly about not being able to attend the Conference Sessions.  Your direction, your leadership, and your teachings will make it possible to continue.  Your spirit was there, even your countenance and your voice.’

Thursday, October 1, 1964

Thursday, October 1, 1964

My Dear President McKay:

We had a wonderful meeting in the Temple today, but I confess we missed you greatly.  As I sat there, looking toward your chair, I could see you as you have been each year for a number of years.  Your leadership, your counsel, and your example have been so impressive.  You have taught us all well, both by word and by example.  Your patience, your understanding, your personality, and above all your spirit have been catching.  Yes, you have taught us well, and we should have learned from your leadership and from your example, as well as from your teachings.

Needless to tell you of my great love, admiration, and affection for you.  I really believe that we will feel your influence at the General Conference because I know that we will have your blessings and your prayers.  For this, I personally want to thank you.

Now, I sincerely trust that you will not feel too badly about not being able to attend the Conference sessions.  Your direction, your leadership, and your teachings will make it possible to continue.

I trust that the Conference sessions will be acceptable.  I am greatly worried about my own address that is scheduled for Saturday morning, but I know I will have your prayers and your blessings.  That is the strength I will need, along with the blessings from the Lord, which I have received abundantly, and for which I am truly grateful.

Yes, we missed you; but your spirit was there, even your countenance and your voice.  May the Lord give you strength.

With great love, affection, admiration, and prayers in your behalf now and always, I am

Affectionately your brother,

Thorpe B. Isaacson

Wed., 14 Oct. 1964:

11:00 to 12:00 Noon

Conference with Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson on important Church matters.”

Wed., 21 Oct. 1964:

“7:45 a.m.

San Jose, California Building Problems

Met by appointment Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson.  He reported to me building problems that have arisen in the San Jose West Stake, and showed me several letters that have come to him from those associated with the building program in that area.  I told Elder Isaacson that I also had received a letter from Brother Louis W. Latimer, President of the San Jose West Stake, reporting the unsatisfactory conditions which are adversely affecting the Stake and Ward construction activity down there.

After considering this matter for sometime and other problems associated with the Building Program of the Church, I asked Elder Isaacson to go to San Francisco and look into this whole matter and then report back to me.

8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency in my office at the Hotel.  Among the matters we considered were:

San Jose West Stake Building Program

I read to President Tanner the letter that I had received from Louis W. Latimer, President of the San Jose West Stake, reporting an unsatisfactory condition in the building operations in that area which are adversely affecting the stake and ward construction activity.

I said that I had had an interview with Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson, who gave me a very clear and definite report of the unpleasant conditions pertaining to the project in San Jose, and had given Brother Isaacson the assignment to make a thorough investigation of the matter and then report to me.

President Tanner mentioned that Bishop Tiffany, who is involved in the situation, had been in touch with him two months ago and made a report of conditions in San Jose.  President Tanner reported the matter to Brother Mendenhall, and subsequently Brother Biesinger and Brother Bradley, representing Brother Mendenhall, went to San Jose and looked into the situation.  A month or so later, Brother Tiffany called President Tanner again and said that conditions had not improved and that he would like to talk to President Tanner.  Accordingly, President Tanner asked that he come to Salt Lake immediately so that he could ascertain the facts and see where the problem really lies.  This appointment did not materialize, and President Tanner said that he had heard nothing further about the matter until last night when Brother Mendenhall came in to see him, and reported that he had been over to San Jose and met with the Stake President and Brother Tiffany and perhaps others, and had gone into this whole problem.  Brother Mendenhall told Brother Tanner that there is a bad feeling there.

Brother Tanner then said that Brother Mendenhall said that Brother Isaacson had called him into his office the other day, and said that he had been asked to investigate the situation.  Brother Tanner then reported that Brother Mendenhall had told him that he was in a state of mind that he felt that he could not carry on any longer; that there was so much criticism and fault-finding, and that he received no support from anybody, and that something had happened that had greatly disturbed him.  President Tanner then told him to come over to this office and tell him his problem.  Brother Mendenhall called on him yesterday at 3:30 p.m. and had given him the information indicated above.  He said Brother Mendenhall had told him that he wanted a full investigation of the matter and did not want anything covered up.  President Tanner further said that in talking with Brother Mendenhall he mentioned the fact that he did not have the support of the Brethren as he should have, and Brother Mendenhall had answered that he knew this to be the case, and he felt brokenhearted about it, but he said he had done what the President of the Church had asked him to do in every instance; that when the Twelve had advised that certain things be done, he had on occasion done otherwise because he had been told to do differently.  (This being Brother Mendenhall’s version).  Brother Mendenhall mentioned one or two things, one of them being the Pacific Board of Education, which he said had made him most unpopular.  President Tanner further reported that about nine o’clock last night Brother Mendenhall called him, and said that he had just received a telephone call from Brother Isaacson in which Brother Isaacson had said, ‘So you went over and reported to Brother Tanner, did you?’ and Brother Mendenhall said, yes, that he had considered this matter important enough that the First Presidency should know about it, and that he did not want to bother ‘President McKay with it.’  President Tanner said that he did not understand how Brother Isaacson got the information that Brother Mendenhall had called on him at his office and discussed this matter; that he certainly did not get it from him.  Brother Mendenhall had also suggested that President Tanner call him and Brother Isaacson together today, as President Tanner suggested earlier, and get to the bottom of the entire matter.  President Tanner said he did not know who had asked Brother Isaacson to look into the situation, whether it was one of the Twelve or whether I had done so.  President Tanner said that he wanted me to know that he would never be in the position where he was taking sides with an individual, that the situation is all that he is interested in and it does not matter to him who is involved.  The problem at hand, he said, is the thing that should be handled on a straight up and up basis.  President Tanner said he did not know why those concerned in San Jose had taken the matter out of his hands; that he did feel, however, that a thorough investigation should be made.  He did not know whether Brother Isaacson is the one to do it or not.  He said that was entirely in my hands.  President Tanner said that it would seem to him that Brother Mendenhall and Brother Isaacson should be asked to meet with the First Presidency together before anything is done by Brother Isaacson or anyone else in the matter of investigating the situation, so that the Presidency could hear both sides of the matter.  

I stated that I had asked Brother Isaacson to go to San Jose and look into the situation and bring back his report, and I confirmed this request by telephone interview with Brother Isaacson during the meeting.

Fri., 13 Nov. 1964:

“10:00 a.m.

Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson gave a brief report on Nauvoo Restoration Incorporated and their annual meeting held in Nauvoo recently, and also gave a report on the San Jose Stake Building matter.  Will give a more detailed report to me when I return from Oakland.”

Mon., 30 Nov. 1964:

9:30 a.m.

Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson came in by appointment.  He discussed with me particularly the matters of the controversy in San Jose with the Church Building Committee, and the expansion program that is now in the planning stage for the Hotel Utah.

Elder Isaacson, who is a member of the Hotel Utah Board, said he thinks that the money the Hotel Utah will have to borrow may be obtained at less interest than has been suggested by Roy Simmons at the Zions First National Bank.  I asked Elder Isaacson to look into this matter and see what he can find out.  

11:00 a.m.

Following the departure of Elder Isaacson, I felt too tired to take care of any more problems, so did not have a meeting with my secretary as I had planned to do.

3:00 p.m.

Elder Isaacson returned to the apartment for a few moments to report that he had found that he can obtain the money for the Hotel Utah at an interest rate less than has been proposed.  I told him to get in touch with Roy Simmons, and let him know that he must not pay a higher rate of interest for the money than has been offered to him (Elder Isaacson).

Tues., 15 Dec. 1964:

“7:30 a.m.

Bonneville International Corporation – Situation at WRUL

Held a meeting with Brother Thorpe B. Isaacson and Brother Arch L. Madsen.  Matters pertaining to the Church-owned short-wave station were discussed.  Since reports have come that conditions are not just right at WRUL, I asked Brother Madsen to serve as President of WRUL, and to make such investigations and changes as may be necessary so that this Station can be operated as was originally intended when it was purchased.  Brother Isaacson is to contact James Conkling and arrange to have a meeting with him in regard to WRUL.  I also instructed Brother Madsen, who is President of the Bonneville International Corporation, to arrange to have Brother Isaacson appointed to the Board of Directors of that Corporation.  (See following memorandums concerning this meeting.)

Tuesday, December 15, 1964


To: Date: December 15, 1964

From: Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson

Re: Meeting with President David O. McKay, Tuesday morning, December 15, 1964, 7:45, in his office in the Church Office Building.  Arch Madsen was also in attendance.

President McKay instructed Bishop Isaacson to call Brother Conklin in California and arrange to have a meeting with him in regard to WRUL Radio Station in New York City.

It is President McKay’s wishes that Brother Arch Madsen serve as president of WRUL in the hopes that this station can be operated as intended when it was purchased.  Since Arch Madsen is available and qualified, he wants him to serve as president of this radio station and bring about such changes as may be necessary.

President McKay instructed Brother Madsen to put Brother Thorpe B. Isaacson on the board and is to assist in every way possible, particularly with WRUL Radio Station.

Tuesday, December 15, 1964


CONFIDENTIAL Tuesday, December 15, 1964

TO: President Hugh B. Brown

President Nathan Eldon Tanner

FROM: President David O. McKay

After giving serious thought and study to reports that have come to me on the expenditures of the Church Building Committee, I have decided to appoint a committee consisting of Elders Delbert L. Stapley as Chairman, and LeGrand Richards, Howard W. Hunter, and Thorpe B. Isaacson as members, with the special assignment of bringing about some adjustments and reorganization of the Church Building Committee.  Since Elder Isaacson already has been looking into a serious condition of building matters in the San Jose Stake and elsewhere, I have asked him to work with the Brethren named above with a view of substantially curtailing the expenditures in the Church Building Department in light of conditions that have arisen in all parts of the world in regard to extravagance, waste, etc.

I have suggested to the committee that they consult with Elder Franklin D. Richards with regard to the reorganization of the Church Building Committee, and to make a written report to me of their findings.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


Fri., 18 Dec. 1964:

“8:30 a.m.

Met with President Brown, President Nathan Eldon Tanner is enroute to Hawaii for a Christmas vacation.

Several matters were considered, among them were:

Building Committee – Investigation to be Made Relative to Reorganization

I told President Brown that I had appointed a committee consisting of Elder Delbert L. Stapley, Chairman, and Elders LeGrand Richards, Howard W. Hunter, and Thorpe B. Isaacson as members, to investigate the matter of reorganizing the Building Committee; that the Building Committee has gone overboard in expenditures, and that we have now reached a point where we must curtail.”

Mon., 21 Dec. 1964:

“8:00 a.m.

According to appointment, I met with Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson, who brought up the following matters:

1.  Christmas turkeys for General Authorities

2.  Growers Market – Sale of 264 shares to E.O. Muir and Company

3.  Report of Committee appointed to investigate the reorganization of the Building


4.  WRUL Radio Station, New York City – Management of

(See following memorandum from Elder Isaacson on these matters.)

Monday, December 21, 1964


TO: President David O. McKay Date:  December 21, 1964

FROM: Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson

RE: Meeting Monday morning, December 21, at eight o’clock in President McKay’s Hotel Utah Apartment

This morning, as per appointment, I met President McKay in his apartment at eight o’clock.  President McKay requested that I make a memorandum regarding the topics which we discussed and to give them to his secretary, Clare Middlemiss, who will take the memorandum to him.

1.  We discussed turkeys for the General Authorities for Christmas.  He wanted me to make a memorandum of this and to talk to Bishop Vandenberg.  Bishop Vandenberg referred me to Gordon Affleck, who advised me that first they had decided to give turkeys to the General Authorities and then later it was revised.  So there was first a decision to send turkeys out as in the past (35 years), and the next decision was not to send them out.  Brother Affleck is waiting for word from President McKay as to whether or not these turkeys should go to General Authorities as per usual.

2.  We discussed the stock in Growers Market.  Brother E.O. (Ed) Muir had offered $250.00 per share, and I thought that was hardly enough.  I suggested that he consider $300.00 a share, and President McKay authorized me to have E. O. Muir buy the stock at $300.00 a share, if he so desires.

3.  I informed President McKay regarding the request he had made of me that a special committee be appointed with Elder Delbert L. Stapley, chairman, and the following committee members – Elders LeGrand Richards, Howard W. Hunter, Franklin D. Richards, and Thorpe B. Isaacson – for the purpose of studying and making recommendation for the reorganization of the Church Building Department.  I reported to President McKay that we had held two or three meetings and would hold another one today, but we could not go any further until he decided whether or not he wished the present Building Committee to be released and reorganized.  President McKay said that would be a rather difficult thing to bring about.  Brother Isaacson said they couldn’t go any further until that was decided and they would give him three or four names to consider.  President McKay asked for a memorandum so that he could give it further consideration.

4.  We discussed WRUL Radio Station, New York City.  I reported to President McKay my interview with Brother James Conklin of California, since last week President McKay requested that I talk to him about the future operation of WRUL.  I reported to President McKay that I had had two visits with James Conklin.  I had not met him before, and I was favorably impressed with him.  He was frank and honest and had a wonderful attitude.  He was willing and anxious to do whatever President McKay and the Church wanted him to do.  I reported to President McKay there was a great difference in opinion between Brother Arch Madsen and Brother Conklin.  They do not get along very well.  Brother Conklin did not blame Arch Madsen, but said it was just a difference of opinion.  It is my opinion that Brother Conklin has great ability and wants to do a good job for the Church.  He told Brother Isaacson that he could not do what he would like to do because of the friction that exists between him and Arch Madsen.  President McKay said he would like it to stay as it is at the present time but to give consideration to a new board for WRUL in New York City.  I reported that I felt Brother Conklin could do a better job than he is doing.  President McKay suggested that Brother Isaacson write a note to Brother Conklin to proceed as he is doing until he is notified.  Brother Isaacson reported to President McKay that he felt that Brother Conklin should not be released at this time, but due consideration should be given sometime in the immediate future so that we can get a man who can spend more time in New York; and at the same time that the present manager, who is a non-member of the Church, should be replaced.  That should be handled with great care.

This is the memorandum of the items that we discussed this morning.  President McKay felt well and alert, better than I have seen him for sometime.  It was a great joy, privilege and blessing to have been with him. 


Tues., 5 Jan. 1965:

“8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting with my counselors at which time we went over a number of letters and regular items.  These are recorded in the minutes of the First Presidency.

Church Administration

The counselors then discussed with me at some length administration problems which they felt needed clarification.  At this time, President Nathan Eldon Tanner expressed himself quite freely about the administrative duties of the Church.  Felt disturbed and greatly concerned after their departure.

Tuesday, January 5, 1965


First Presidency Meeting January 5, 1965

There were present at the meeting President David O. McKay and his counselors Hugh B. Brown and N. Eldon Tanner.

President Tanner mentioned a letter from Roy Simmons of the Zions First National Bank, attached to which letter was one from the senior vice-president and chairman of the Finance Committee of the Lincoln National Life Ins. Co.  He mentioned that some time ago Roy Simmons and Gus Backman and someone else (he did not remember his name) had talked to the First Presidency about borrowing money to re-do the Hotel Utah, and approval was given to go ahead and arrange to borrow the money up to $2,000,000.  Roy Simmons had said then that he felt for that kind of loan it would possibly run about 5 1/2%.  President Tanner said he thought we should be able to get the money at a rate lower than 5 1/2.  This question was raised in the Executive Committee and authorization was given for them to go forward.  But Brother Isaacson said he could get the money for 5%.  He thought that with the Church behind it we should be able to get it for less.   President Tanner said at that time that the Church is not behind this that we do not sign guarantees of that nature, that the Hotel would have to stand on its own feet.  It resulted in the matter being referred to Brother Isaacson and Brother Simmons.  President Tanner said he had not heard a report from Brother Isaacson, that perhaps the President had as he comes to see the President alone all the time.

President McKay:  He doesn’t come alone all the time.

President Tanner:  He had never faced us here with you, and I know he is bringing you a lot of things about which he does not know very much.  It would help you in many of your decisions if you could hear the other side of the question while he is here.  It makes it very difficult, in fact I feel I cannot serve you nearly as well with the conditions as they are as I could if I knew what was going on.  He comes and talks to you, tells you this and criticizes that, and so on, and we do not know a word about it until a decision is made.

President McKay:  You know everything that is discussed.

President Tanner:  I hadn’t heard a thing about this committee that was set up, that was talked about being set up for the building.  You did not ask President Brown or me; you might have asked President Brown but you did not ask me what I thought about it.  I would like to take time to sit down with you, as I said the other day, and just calmly tell you what I know and how I feel, and I want you to know that you are precluding my giving you the service and advice that I could give you.  If you want it that way that is fine but I want to be sure that is what you want.  I cannot understand why when Isaacson comes and talks to you he cannot talk to the three of us.

President McKay:  You are making quite a charge.

President Tanner:  I am and I am doing it intentionally.

President McKay:  I think you haven’t a clear understanding about any of our conversations with Brother Isaacson or anyone else.  This is the place where we discuss those things.

President Tanner:  President McKay, we do not, we never have Isaacson here.  You asked him to look into that San Jose thing without us knowing anything about it.  I raised the question.  I said I had started to investigate that.  That doesn’t offend me but I want you to know what is going on.  I would give my life for you, President McKay, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart, and I think you need to be protected about some things that are going on.  In fact, I am going to be as plain and frank as I can possibly be with you.  I will support you with my life if necessary but I do not think a man should come here — if you want it that way it is fine, but I do not see why you have counselors and you have him come in and talk to you and you make decisions without us knowing anything about it.

President McKay:  What do you mean?

President Tanner:  Setting up this committee for the building and the investigation in San Jose.  Those are two things.  I am not on a fight, I have no desire but your interests and the interests of the Church, and I know there are things that you do not know.  We should know them with him here.  You see, President McKay, this is not fair, it is not fair to anybody for you to have him come in and talk to you about these matters and we know nothing about it.  That isn’t fair.  I think you are getting advice that could be checked and double-checked, and not somebody talking to you an hour or two and telling you these things and getting you upset about it.  I am not offended but I do not see how you can expect me to give you much help if you do not take me into your confidence.  If you do not want to take me into your confidence I cannot help that.

President McKay:  You are entirely wrong with that.

President Tanner:  President McKay, I am not wrong.  I am not accusing you of anything; all I am saying is the way it is being administered we cannot help you.  That is all I am saying.  I am not offended, I am not upset only as I know what is going on.  That is the only interest I have.  As I have said before, and I say it again, I mean it, no matter how I disagreed my thought is your thought after I know what it is, but I think you are entitled to have all the information, which you are not getting.

President McKay:  I do not know of a thing that affects the Church without bringing it to you two men.

President Tanner:  I do not think we have time this morning, President McKay, but I am going to write out a number of things so that you can sit down and discuss them.  I do not object to Isaacson being your confidential advisor, economically and otherwise, but I say if he is going to do it without us knowing what is going on we cannot give you the help we could and we cannot give you all the facts without knowing what is going on.

President McKay:  This is new to me.

President Tanner:  I don’t know why you say that, because I know that Isaacson has been in here talking with you about several matters, but I do not object to that, but they are matters pertaining to the Church, they are matters we should be consulted about.  If you want it to go on this way you will not hear another word from me — I am just saying you make it very difficult for me — I am not talking about Brother Brown — to administer the affairs of the Church.  I came in here twice last year and recommended to you that we set up a committee to work with the building committee.  Nothing was done about it.  Isaacson comes in and recommends we set up a committee and you set it up immediately and the wrong kind of a committee in my opinion; they are men who are prejudiced against the building committee and their idea is to replace the leader without a study.  I have nothing for Mendenhall, all I am interested in is straightforward administration of this Church, but when I made those recommendations last year no consideration was taken; Isaacson comes in here and says we should set up a committee and get rid of Mendenhall, without saying a word to us.  I am working my head off with the building committee to get this thing shaped up.  If you want to talk to Brother Romney, Brother Kimball, Bishop Simpson or Bishop Brown who are on the Expenditures Committee I am sure they will tell you we have made much progress this year.  That does upset me.  I make a recommendation and nothing is done; he comes in and makes a recommendation and tells you who should be on the committee and he goes ahead and sets up that committee.

President McKay:  What committee do you refer to?

President Tanner:  I refer to Isaacson, Stapley, LeGrand Richards and Howard Hunter.

President McKay:  They came in and made a recommendation?

President Tanner:  Why were they asked to make a recommendation?  I maintain they shouldn’t have been set without consultation with your counselors.  I have worked my crazy head off trying to clear this building committee, and I have asked you to set up a committee to work with us and you have ignored us, and he comes in and you set it up like that.  All I want to say to you is I cannot give you the help I could give you if I were taken into your confidence, if we knew what was going on, that these decisions were made with one man sitting with you and your counselors knowing nothing about it.  The only way I can work is to be straightforward, nothing less than the truth, and I want you to know exactly how I stand, and regardless of the position you take, regardless if you use Isaacson or whomever you choose as your personal advisor, I am going to have to wait until you tell me what to do instead of giving you recommendations.  I am giving you a straightforward, clear example.  When I sit in that Expenditures Committee, and Isaacson doesn’t know about it, I talk with Brother Romney and we discuss how we can cut out certain expenses, and then have this come on, it really shakes a person — it does me, I don’t know how it would affect anybody else.  When I work with you you can rest assured — I probably shouldn’t have to say this — you can have my full confidence and support without any reservation, I will support you as a prophet, I will support you in anything you decide, but I think your decisions are being made without all the facts being given to you, and I am saying this without any feeling against you, President McKay, it is against the influence that is being brought to bear on you.

President McKay:  You have a misconception of my confidence in any one man or any several men.   

President Tanner:  I am not complaining about that, I am pointing this out to you, that you are, there is no question about it, listening to complaints and suggestions from this particular man which you are putting into effect.  I can give you more of them if you want them.  I am not going to give them to you this morning but I will have my case prepared, but I am giving you one today which I wish you would explain to me.

Another thing, when you said you had asked Isaacson to make a study of that San Jose thing I said at the time that I questioned the advisability of that man making a study.  Have you received a report from him?

President McKay:  No.

President Tanner:  Why?  I would like to see his report.  Now he is taking another approach.  I am not supporting Mendenhall; I will support whoever is right, I will support him in everything he is doing that is right.  I want to tell you Isaacson is out to get Mendenhall, Mendenhall in whom you have had the finest confidence, whom you have given your support.  The last time you and I were together you congratulated him on the thing he had done, the progress he had made, the service he had given to the Church, and this man comes in and it looks like you are ready to kick him out.  I can only talk frankly to you President McKay; I cannot leave things misunderstood or a question in your mind.  I will be that straightforward with you and once you make your decision you will never hear another word from me.

President McKay:  I am glad you mention this case; you have had confidential conversations with men independent of us on some matters.

President Tanner:  I would like to know what you are referring to.  If I have not been honorable and straightforward with you I would like to see the man who has.  I do not know whom you mention.  I do not know what thing you refer to, you cannot point to one place where I have not been as loyal to President McKay as it is possible for a man to be.

President McKay:  I do not question your loyalty.

President Tanner:  What kind of conference are we talking about?  I love you and would give my life for you but I hate to see you being abused; you are being misinformed and you do not have all the facts and I think that is terrible.

President McKay:  I do not act on anything, I leave it to you.

President Tanner:  Oh yes you do.  That San Jose thing and the setting up of this committee, and I know how that committee was set up.

President McKay:  Didn’t we bring that here?

President Tanner:  Not a word except what I read in the minutes, you were setting up this committee.  You said this committee was set up to reorganize the building committee, and I said, “President McKay, I question the advisability of that; I would like to sit down and talk to you about it.’  I wanted to talk to you alone but it has come up this way and I want to express it here.

President McKay:  I think you should take it up with the three of us.  What are you referring to?

President Tanner:  I have given it to you as plainly as I could.  These two things you have taken on his advice, and set it up without referring it to us, and twice during the year I recommended that we do certain things and you ignored both of them and when he comes to you you set him up a committee.  I do not object to that if that is the way you want to carry on.

President McKay:  I certainly haven’t set up anything in San Jose.

President Tanner:  Yes it is right in the minutes where you asked him to go and make a study and report to you.  There are a lot of things in connection with that that I gave you before and you did not pay any attention to them.  He tries to do all his work entirely secret.  I have enough information I can show you if you will listen beyond prejudice without any question of doubt.  I have nothing against Isaacson.  I heard many criticisms from general authorities and others when I came here but I determined I would pay no attention to anybody else.  It hit me and it certainly has hit me.

President McKay:  Not intentional, I am sure of that.

President Tanner:  I did not think it was done intentionally to hit me but in my administration where I am trying to serve you and this church there is nothing you would ask me to do that I would not do, but I tell you you are being misinformed.

Here is another thing, he knows what is going on in some of these discussions.  Why did he have a copy of a letter we wrote Mendenhall the other day?  Why would Isaacson have a copy of that letter?

President McKay:  I do not know. 

President Tanner:  I know he had it.

President Brown:  I think he has access to all our minutes.

President Tanner:  I am only going to accuse where I am able to back up what I am saying.  I haven’t time this morning but I think it is very serious, President McKay.

President McKay:  I will say it is serious.

President Tanner:  I can tell you several things.  The other day in a group Isaacson said ‘Why Tanner and Mendenhall are just like that’ (two fingers together).

President McKay:  What did you answer?

President Tanner:  He didn’t say it to me, he said it in a group.  The one who told me said ‘This is the only criticism I have heard of you in this administration.’

President McKay:  Somebody is talking and he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

President Tanner:  Isaacson is one of them — I can prove that to you.  I will tell you two things that happened shortly after I came here.  Do you remember Isaacson coming here and criticizing the First Presidency for the deal they made on the bank and the Kennecott Building, and I said ‘I am going to get Isaacson and Flint together, because I do not think this kind of thing should be going on, we should have complete harmony among our general authorities and when one of the General Authorities is out telling the people the Presidency made a bad deal I think it is terrible.’  I said ‘I am going to get Flint and Isaacson together,’ and you said ‘fine.’  I told Isaacson I wanted them to get together and he agreed.  I told Flint and he said he would love to do that, that there was some misinformation going out.  They agreed to get together with me.  Two or three days later Isaacson called me over the phone from Flint’s office and said ‘I am here with Flint today.  We have gone into this thing and I was mistaken, I did not have the facts.’  That was not significant with me at the time but he would not come to my office and go into this with me.  I said at the time that I was pleased with the bigness of the man to say that he was wrong.  He called me from the office where Flint was.  And just last month he was criticizing this thing again.  Now why does a man do that?

President McKay:  I do not know.

President Tanner:  Neither do I.  President McKay, I have no fight with you whatever but if I am to serve you I am going to be honest with you, I am going to give you all the information, I am going to give you all the criticisms I know and everything, but I would like to have the same in return.  If you want the best out of me it is the only way you can get it.

President McKay:  I am glad you unburdened yourself and pointed out my weakness.

President Tanner:  No, not your weakness; it is a weakness in administration in my humble judgment.  I do not want to be misunderstood — if I haven’t had as much experience in economics, in business administration, of things pertaining to this as Isaacson has had I would like to see.  If he is any more loyal to you than I am — he is not; there isn’t a man more loyal to you than I am, I do not care who he is.  If I weren’t loyal to you I would not be talking to you.  I think you are being hurt, because I want to tell you that there is nobody who has the confidence of the General Authorities less than the man you are listening to.

President McKay:  I am not listening to him.

President Tanner:  I don’t know why you say that because I know you are; I know you are listening to Isaacson when you are setting up a committee like that.  I do not want to argue any more.  I was gong to make my case, but if that is the position you are going to take, I will say, President McKay, I will do anything you ask me to do from now on.

President McKay:  You do as you are doing now.

President Tanner:  I cannot.  I do not want any appreciation or anything of the kind, but I put my nights and my days into getting this thing organized and getting things done that need to be done, but to have this man come and upset things is very discouraging.  The setting up of this committee to go into this thing the way it was set up is really disturbing to me, President McKay.  Why doesn’t he come here and listen to what I have to say?

President McKay:  He has no right.

President Tanner:  He comes to you and knows what I have said.  Imagine him having that letter that we wrote to Mendenhall.  That is offensive to me.

President McKay:  What letter?

President Tanner:  That last letter about the way he should handle the situation.  Should we just let it go the way it is?

President McKay:  Did I sign it?

President Tanner:  We three of us signed it, but why did he have a copy?  There is no reason in the world why he should have it.  I do not know whether you gave it to him or Clare gave it to him, but he had it.  You asked me to carry on the best I could but I want you to know I cannot serve you as well with this kind of operation as I could otherwise, but I will do my level best, and that is the end of it.  You will never hear another word from me about this, President McKay.  That is what introduced it this letter from the Lincoln National Life Insurance Co.  They said we discussed a five percent interest rate on a twenty year amortized schedule.  However, no terms were agreed up since we have not seen the financial statement nor have we inspected the property, nor do we have a clear idea of remodeling, refurbishing,’ etc.

President McKay:  I think we will consider this at another time; we will consider it again tomorrow morning.

President Brown:  I think it is a very good thing this matter has been brought out to the front.  I have sweat under it for two or three years and it has been very difficult.  I wish I had come out with it in the beginning and told you where I stood on it, but I thought I wouldn’t do it.

President McKay:  What are you saying is that I have a third counselor in Brother Isaacson.

President Brown:  I think you have.

President Tanner:  In some ways when you think of these two things I have mentioned, and I can mention others, I would not call him a third counselor.  I say his advice is taken in preference to mine.

President Brown:  You say ours.

President McKay:  It isn’t true.

President Tanner:  President McKay, I have definitely this morning contradicted you and I do it with love in my heart, but I do not want any misunderstandings — if I know something I want you to know that I know it, and I say you have taken his advice on this committee business after I have recommended twice and you paid no attention to me and when he comes along you set up another kind of committee and it is not the kind of committee that will do the job, it is only set up to get rid of Mendenhall and reorganize the Building Committee.

President McKay:  Mendenhall was not in mind at all.

President Tanner:  He certainly was in mind, there is no question about that.  He is the one who was in mind, no question about it.  It might not have been in your mind but when you said reorganization to me the other day that isn’t all it could mean to these men.  I am too well acquainted with what is going on.  It is a dead issue as far as I am concerned unless and until you want to raise it, because I will serve you to the best of my ability but I cannot do it as well as I could otherwise.

President McKay:  All right, you had better go to your meeting now and we will meet tomorrow morning.

President Tanner:  I want you to know I love you, I pray for you; there is nothing I would not do for you, and I feel I am not doing it unless I tell you these things.

President McKay:  You give me quite a shock, quite an insight into my own weaknesses, but they have been unintentional.  I have not taken Brother Isaacson into this.

President Tanner:  I have just given you two definite cases where you have.  There is no doubt about it, where you have taken his advice and have done what he suggested which was contrary to what I recommended; and the other, in spite of what I recommended.  those are two and I can give you others.  I cannot be anything less than honest with you.

President McKay:  You must never be.

President Tanner:  I would not do anything to offend you but I must tell you what I know and then I say it is entirely up to you what you possibly do.  You have a right to ask counsel from anybody, all I am saying is that as a counselor I cannot serve you nearly as well unless I know what is going on, and I think we should know before instead of after.

President McKay:  I thought I was giving you everything.”

Wed., 6 Jan. 1965:


TO: President David O. McKay DATE: January 11, 1965

FROM: Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson

RE: Salary Schedules and Increases – Hiring of New Employees

Dear President McKay:

When I met with you Wednesday, January 6, at 10:30 a.m., at Bishop Richards’ suggestion, I discussed with you some salary increases, salary schedule, hiring of new employees, etc.  From time to time you have expressed the desire to be informed of the hiring of new employees who receive substantial salaries.  You have also requested occasionally to have brought to your attention salary increases.  I did this at the suggestion of the chairman of the Personnel Committee, Elder LeGrand Richards.

You asked me to discuss this with your two counselors, and today I met with President Brown and President Tanner in regard to the procedure of hiring new employees and the increasing of salaries before it comes to the attention of the Personnel Committee.  When that practice is followed the Personnel Committee is helpless.

Salaries are constantly rising.  We feel that the individuals who are to be employed as new employees and that the increasing of salaries should come to the Personnel Committee before commitments are made because we have before us a salary schedule, and we know when the individual had his last raise.  When an increase is approved by a member of the First Presidency before going through the right channel, it makes it difficult for us to control salary schedules.  Many substantial raises have been given the last year without the approval of the Personnel Committee.  They came to us approved by one of the First Presidency so we could not hold it up or even discuss it.  For that reason, it would be better for the hiring of new employees and salary increases to go through the regular channel of the Personnel Committee who have before them a salary schedule and a record of when the individual received his last increase.  When it is approved before coming to us, it makes it very difficult, and salaries get out of line.

I presented this to President Brown and President Tanner as per your request.  I have every reason to believe that it was well-received and hereafter the applications for the hiring of new employees will go to the Personnel Committee and also the requests for salary increases.  Then, if the Personnel Committee does not act in accordance with the First Presidency, of course, the decision of the Personnel Committee can be reversed by the First Presidency.  I hope I carried this message to your counselors as you would have had me do.

I trust that you are feeling well.

Affectionately your brother,

Thorpe B. Isaacson, Assistant to 

the Council of the Twelve Apostles”

Mon., 11 Jan. 1965:

“3:00 p.m.

Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson called at the apartment by appointment and reported his conference with Presidents Brown and Tanner regarding personnel matters.  Counselors are to submit requests for increases of salaries of employees to the Personnel Committee first for their investigation and recommendation.  (See Elder Isaacson’s written report of this under date of January 6, 1965.)

Thurs., 14 Jan. 1965:

Personnel Committee – Salary questions

I also read a memorandum addressed to me and signed by Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson, indicating that at the suggestion of Brother LeGrand Richards, Chairman of the Personnel Committee, he (Elder Isaacson) had discussed with me some salary increases.  In his letter, Elder Isaacson reported that he had subsequently met with Presidents Brown and Tanner and told them of the proposal to draw up a list of all employees and the amounts they are receiving and try to equalize the salary situation.

President Brown commented that Elder Isaacson had met with them in regard to this matter, and that they had suggested that Elder Isaacson go ahead with the project as mentioned.  (See Diary of January 6, 1965, for Elder Isaacson’s letter.)”

Wed., 20 Jan. 1965:

11:00 a.m.

Building Department – Suit against Labor Missionaries

Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson called at the apartment and reported that word had come from San Jose that the Building Supervisor down there had started suit against the three young labor missionaries who had reported irregular procedures in the Building Department in San Jose.

I instructed Elder Isaacson to get a hold of Wendell B. Mendenhall or the Supervisor in San Jose and have this suit stopped immediately.  Elder Isaacson reported later that Brother Mendenhall is in Hawaii, and that it is impossible to locate the Supervisor in San Jose.  Elder Isaacson will keep his hand on this matter.

Thurs., 21 Jan. 1965:

“8:00 a.m.

Building Committee – Reorganization of

Met by appointment Elders Delbert L. Stapley and Thorpe B. Isaacson, who reported that the special committee appointed to study Building Department matters with a view of reorganizing the Building Committee, are now ready to submit their recommendations.  I asked that they put these recommendations in writing.  Later, at 4:30 this afternoon, they returned to the apartment and handed me a letter containing their recommendations.  (See copy of letter following.)

3:30 p.m.

Bonneville International Corporation – Thorpe B. Isaacson’s Appointment to the Board

Signed letter addressed to Presidents Hugh B. Brown and Nathan Eldon Tanner, informing them that I have this day instructed Brother Arch L. Madsen, President, to arrange to have Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson appointed to the Board of Directors of the Bonneville International Corporation.  (See copy of letter following.)

Thursday, January 21, 1965

January 21, 1965

President David O. McKay


Re:  Church Building Committee

Dear President McKay:

Pursuant to our meeting with you this morning we are submitting herewith our recommendation pertaining to the reorganization of the Church Building Committee, releasing Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall, Chairman, with a vote of thanks.  We believe this release should be effective immediately.

This recommendation comes after receiving reports and complaints from many areas.  In the best interest of the church, we feel now is the proper time to make this change.

There has been great concern all over the Church regarding the extravagance, waste, high salaries, maintenance, costs for supervisors, travel, hotel, telephone, excessive building costs and other expenses, also domineering, in connection with the Church Building Committee until it has reached a point where many faithful members of the Church are deeply concerned, upset, and disillusioned; and ward, stake and mission leaders are questioning our laxity handling so serious a problem.

We feel the new chairman should be given a free hand to choose the personnel he wants to support him subject to approval of the Building Advisory Committee and the First Presidency.

President McKay, we sincerely believe that more responsibility and authority should be transferred back to bishops of wards, presidents of stakes, presidents of missions and mission supervisors for building construction and local buying, according to Purchasing Department standards and competitive prices.  We are sure buildings will be of better quality construction and costs much cheaper.

According to your wishes, we recommend for consideration one of the four following brethren, Carl W. Buehner, Mark B. Garff, Ted or Leo Jacobsen, as chairman of the Church Building Committee.

We feel that the salary of the individual appointed should not be excessive.  You have often counseled the Personnel Committee to keep devotion in the work.  We are also thinking of how high salaries affect the wants of other church employees.  The man who accepts this position should understand that he may be released any time.  It isn’t a life tenure position.  His salary should be $9,000 or $10,000 a year.

President McKay, we shall be very happy to assist you in any manner.  Please feel free to call upon us.  If you wish to meet with the new chairman, after he is selected, we shall be glad to do so.

We believe that time is the essence of our recommendation, because the problems are so far-reaching in the Church.

May the Lord bless you.  You have our love and our prayers and our loyalty without reservation.

Affectionately your brethren,

Delbert L. Stapley, Chairman

LeGrand Richards

Howard W. Hunter (Out of the city)

Franklin D. Richards

Thorpe B. Isaacson

Thursday, January 21, 1965

January 21, 1965

President Hugh B. Brown, and

President Nathan Eldon Tanner

Counselors in the First Presidency


Dear Brethren:

As Chairman of the Board of Bonneville International Corporation, I have instructed Brother Arch L. Madsen, President, to arrange to have Brother Thorpe

B. Isaacson appointed to the Board of Directors of the Bonneville International Corporation.  This is to be done at the meeting to be held Saturday, January 23, 1965.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


cc:  Arch L. Madsen, President

       Robert W. Barker, Secretary”

Tues., 23 Feb. 1965:

Deseret Farms, Inc.

I showed Clare a letter from Leo Ellsworth of the Deseret Farms, Inc. in which he requested that Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson be put on the Board of Directors so that he could assist him in his plans to sell the Georgia and Florida Farms.  Clare said that Coleman Madsen had called from Florida to see if I had received the letter as Brother Ellsworth was very anxious to have Brother Isaacson’s help in this matter.  I instructed Clare to write a note to Lawrence on the letter asking him to see that Brother Isaacson is put on the Board.

Tues., 9 Mar. 1965:

“Did not hold a meeting with my Counselors today.

10:30 to 11:00 a.m.

Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson came over.  He came at my invitation.  We talked about general matters.  Brother Isaacson said that Governor Calvin L. Rampton had asked him to serve on what he called his ‘Little Hoover Commission’ to study the finances of the State.  Brother Isaacson said that he did not relish being on this commission as it may mean that he would have to step on some people’s toes.  I said that I think he should serve on this commission.

Wednesday, March 10, 1965

March 9, 1965

Mr. Leo Ellsworth

Deseret Farms of Florida

Star Route

Melbourne, Florida 

Dear Brother Ellsworth:

Please be advised that in response to your letter requesting the assistance of Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson in disposing of the properties located in Georgia and Florida, I have appointed Brother Isaacson to assist you in any way that you deem necessary.

It would be expected that upon receipt of any information, he would immediately discuss the same with me and receive my approval before any action is taken.

I have discussed this personally with Brother Isaacson, and he has agreed to accept this assignment.  Therefore, I am forwarding a copy of this letter to him for his information.

With kind personal regards, I remain

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


cc: Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson”

Wed., 7 Apr. 1965:

“8:00 a.m.

Deseret Farms

Held a meeting in my apartment in the Hotel Utah with Leo Ellsworth, Coleman Madsen, Lawrence McKay, Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson, and Dave Hawkins, regarding the sale of Florida and Georgia Farms.”

Wed., 21 Apr. 1965:

“8:00 a.m.

Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson called at the office in the apartment at my request.  Conferred with him on several important matters.

Tues., 4 May 1965:

“10:45 to 11:45 a.m.

Met with Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson.  We discussed Building Committee matters, including the receipt of a letter from Elder Mark E. Petersen which contains matters pertaining to the exorbitant spending of the Building Committee in Great Britain.  We also discussed matters pertaining to Florida Farms.

Brother Isaacson asked me if I thought he should go down to Florida and see what he could do with the situation there.  I told him that I think he should not go there at this time, but perhaps the men who are there will come to Salt Lake soon to give a report.  I asked him to contact Brothers Coleman Madsen and Leo Ellsworth by telephone and ask them not to release Van Moss, but to try to work with him and try to have a good feeling among themselves.

Brother Isaacson also brought up the matter of Clare’s hospitalization.  I asked him to contact Brother Brent Goates of the LDS Hospital and instruct him to bill Clare only for whatever price the insurance company will pay; that she could send the Church a bill for about $25,000 just for vacations which she has not taken during the past years.

Wed., 5 May 1965:

4:00 p.m.

Met with Mr. Gus P. Backman, President of the Hotel Utah.  He presented to me for my approval the report to be given at the Annual Stockholders Meeting to be held Monday, May 10, 1965.  He also submitted to me for my approval the layout of the lobby of the Hotel Utah, which is to be renovated.

Brother Backman also said that he would like to put Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson on the Executive Committee of the Hotel Utah.  I spoke up and said, ‘We were going to do that before — what happened?’  Brother Backman said that we had decided to wait for a while temporarily so that we could have Roy Simmons on that committee in order that he could negotiate for the loan for the Hotel Utah; but since Bishop Isaacson had gotten the loan for the Hotel from the First Security Bank, we have now decided to ask Bishop Isaacson to become a member of the Executive Committee.

I gave my whole-hearted approval.

Wed., 12 May 1965:

8:30 a.m.

After Brother Taylor’s departure, Presidents Brown, Tanner, and I met in a First Presidency’s Meeting.  Among the matters discussed were the following:

Hotel Utah Board – to Meet Quarterly

President Tanner reported that meetings of the Utah Hotel Board and stockholders were held yesterday, that William F. Edwards was elected a member of the Board and Thorpe B. Isaacson was made a member of the Executive Committee.  President Tanner stated that there are 17 members of the Board and suggested that instead of meeting monthly the board meet quarterly, the Executive Committee to carry on between meetings, and then if it was considered advisable at any time to call a special meeting of the board this could be done.  He thought this would be quite a savings in directors fees.  I approved this suggestion.  (See following newspaper announcement of appointment of Brother Isaacson and Brother Edwards)

Thurs., 13 May 1965:

10:30 a.m.

Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson came over on some important matters.

11:00 a.m.

Called my secretary, Clare, and asked her to find Brother Mark B. Garff and have him come right up to my apartment.

11:10 a.m.

Clare called me back and said that Brother Garff would be right up.

11:25 a.m.

Brother Mark B. Garff came to the apartment.  Had a very good conference with him on matters pertaining to the chairmanship of the Building Committee.  Brother Garff said that he would do anything that I asked him to do.  He is on his way to Arizona and will be back Sunday, at which time he will see me.

This afternoon, Sister McKay and I, accompanied by our son, Edward, and his wife, Lottie, went for a ride in the car.

5:30 p.m.

Bishop Thorpe B. Isaacson called and said that he had something very urgent to take up with me, and wondered if it might be all right for him to come up.  I told him to come at any time.

6:15 p.m.

Bishop Isaacson presented to me some information about the presentation in Council Meeting by my counselors of a committee consisting of Marion G. Romney, Franklin D. Richards, and John H. Vandenberg, to be in charge of the Building Committee, and to have Howard Dunn as Chairman of the Committee.  They presented it to the Brethren with the explanation that it had my approval, and the matter was passed unanimously by the Brethren.  I explained to Bishop Isaacson that that is not what I want at all.  (See Memorandum following)


May 17, 1965

Re:  Meeting with President McKay in his apartment Thursday (May 13) evening at 6:30 p.m.

President McKay’s son, Dr. Edward R. McKay, called me Thursday evening (May 13, 1965) at 5:30 p.m. and said that his father wanted to see me that evening at 6:30 p.m.  I suggested to Dr. McKay that he be present at the meeting.

I met with the President at 6:30 p.m. as arranged and Dr. Edward McKay was also present.

The President expressed to me that it was his choice that Mark B. Garff  be appointed as Chairman of the Church Building Committee.  He also informed me in confidence that he had talked with Brother Garff that forenoon, and that he would see Brother Garff again on Sunday morning for Brother Garff’s answer.

The President definitely stated that he had never approved the appointment of Howard Dunn as Chairman of the Building Committee, and that his name should never have been presented to the Twelve.

Thorpe B. Isaacson”

Fri., 14 May 1965:

 “7:45 a.m.

My secretary, Clare, called me on the telephone and reminded me of several matters.  I told her that I was going to discuss with my counselors this morning the matter of choosing a Chairman for the Building Committee, and that I should like to have Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson present at the meeting.  I asked her to get in touch with him on this matter.

8:00 a.m.

Held a meeting with Gus P. Backman and John Gallivan on civic matters.

8:30 a.m.

Meeting of the First Presidency.  Among matters discussed were:

Church Building Committee

Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson and Dr. Edward R. McKay were present during this discussion.  President Brown reported that at the meeting of the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve yesterday, the matter of the appointment of a supervisory committee for the Building Department was announced to the Council, this committee consisting of Marion G. Romney, Franklin D. Richards, and Bishop John H. Vandenberg, with Brother Romney as Chairman, this proposition having been approved by the First Presidency on Wednesday, May 12, 1965.  President Brown said that the Brethren unanimously approved the recommendation of the committee and that Howard Dunn be appointed acting manager for the time being at least.  They expressed a desire to notify him as soon as possible inasmuch as matters in the Building Department are in a somewhat confused condition.  Mention was made of the fact that Brother Mendenhall’s tenure does not expire until July 1.  It was thought that inasmuch as Brother Dunn knows the situation he could carry on until such time as he or someone else be appointed to take over this responsibility.

We then discussed the matter of Mark B. Garff as a prospective manager for the Building Department.  Some difference of opinion was expressed on this matter.

Elder Isaacson reminded the Brethren that about eight months ago President McKay had appointed a committee with Delbert L. Stapley as Chairman, the committee consisting of Brother Stapley, Legrand Richards, Howard Hunter, Franklin D. Richards, and himself.  He said the committee had been asked to make some recommendations which they have done, and prepared some charts regarding the Building set-up.  Brother Isaacson further reported that Brother Stapley and he had been asked by President McKay to submit three names and that they did recommend three brethren and had discussed these three brethren with me, one of whom was Brother Mark B. Garff, and the others were Carl W. Buehner and Ted Jacobsen.  Elder Isaacson further stated that in some way Elder Mark E. Petersen had learned that Brother Dunn was being considered for this appointment and he had written strongly opposing Brother Dunn for this position.  The thought was expressed that any opposition to Brother Dunn was undoubtedly because he was closely associated with Brother Mendenhall in the management of the Building Committee.  Presidents Brown and Tanner both indicated that they were greatly pleased with the attitude that Brother Dunn is manifesting and that they were satisfied that he would carry on the work the way we would wish it handled until a manager is appointed.  After a rather lengthy discussion, I said that the matter would be held over until next Monday so that more thought could be given to it.

Elder Isaacson and Dr. McKay were then excused from the meeting.

Fri., 14 May, 1965:

11:15 a.m.

The secretary brought over letters and office matters for my attention.  While she was there Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson came.  He reported to me that President Joseph Fielding Smith and Elder Delbert L. Stapley had urged him to come over and to explain to me that they had only voted for the Committee presented, and voted that Howard Dunn be made Chairman of the Building Committee at the Council Meeting yesterday because they thought it was what I wanted.

I told Brother Isaacson that I do not want Brother Dunn in that position, not even on a temporary basis; that if we should call him to be the Acting Chairman and then release him in a short while there would only be feelings, and we do not want that.  I told Brother Isaacson that I do not feel right in my heart about appointing Brother Dunn to this position.

I then reported to Brother Isaacson that Brother Mark B. Garff will be back in Salt Lake on Sunday and that I have asked him to come and see me then.  I said that I feel that Brother Garff is a man that would do anything the Church might ask him to do; that he is a good man.

Brother Isaacson then extended to Sister McKay and me his love and desire to be of service wherever possible.  I told him that I sincerely appreciate his devotion and loyalty to me and to the Church.  He then departed.

Fri., 21 May 1965:

“8:30 a.m.

Met with President Brown in First Presidency’s Meeting.  President Tanner still in Florida.

Thorpe B. Isaacson – Letter from

I asked that a letter from Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson addressed to me be read.  The letter mentioned speaking engagements Brother Isaacson is filling to address graduating students in two Idaho High Schools at one of which he served 45 years ago.  It also expressed his gratification at the appointment of Elder Mark B. Garff to be Manager of the Building Committee.

Wed., 26 May 1965:

11:30 a.m.

Leasing of Church Property at Independence, Missouri

In the meantime, Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson telephoned and asked if he could come over to see me, and I told my daughter, who had answered the telephone, to tell him to come right over.  

Brother Isaacson mentioned to me a visit that Elder Alvin R. Dyer, Brother Wilford Kirton, Church Attorney, and he had with a representative of Alex Chalmers of Independence to discuss this proposition.

I suggested that these three men go and find out the details, and report back to me; that if a lease is given it should not be for too long a period.  Elder Isaacson will see me when he returns.

After Brother Isaacson’s departure, I took a rest.

Thurs., 10 June 1965:

“8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting with my counselors in the office in the apartment.  Some of the matters discussed were:

Church Administration Building – Responsibility for Allocating of Space

President Tanner inquired as to who is responsible for allocating space in the Church Administration Building, 47 East South Temple.  He said that he desired this information so that he would know with whom he should work relative thereto.

I said that President Tanner should take charge of this work along with the work that he is doing on the other buildings.  President Tanner said that under this arrangement he could then work with the Presiding Bishopric, in that it will be necessary to move from this building part of their operations.  It was explained that this would mean that President Tanner would take charge of allocating space in the administration building and any changes or moves to be made.  (Later, there was called to my attention the fact that there is already a committee for this purpose with Elder Isaacson as Chairman.)”

Tues., 15 June 1965:

“8:00 to 8:25 a.m.

Had a conference with Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson in my office in the Hotel.

10:00 to 10:30 a.m.

Conference with Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson whose meeting this morning was interrupted.

I handed Brother Isaacson a letter from Elder Mark E. Petersen regarding the large sums of money that are now on deposit in banks in Great Britain upon which we are receiving no interest.  I asked Brother Isaacson to meet with Mark Garff of the Building Committee and ask him to investigate this matter.  

I also took up the matter of Short-wave Station WRUL and the necessity of a change in management.  It was decided that we should have a meeting with Arch Madsen, Richard L. Evans, and Gordon Hinckley and decide what to do.

At this time I told Elder Isaacson that I should like him to serve on the Deseret Farms (Florida) Board, and made a note to speak to Lawrence McKay, secretary of the Deseret Farms Board, about this matter.”

Mon., 28 June 1965:

“8:00 a.m.

Elders Thorpe B. Isaacson and Coleman Madsen came in on Florida property matters.  Brother Madsen expressed again the desire of Brother Leo Ellsworth to have Elder Isaacson on the Florida Board.  I said that I had already sent a letter to my son, Lawrence, telling him, as secretary, to notify the Board of my wishes in this respect.”

Fri., 9 July 1965:

“8:00 a.m.

President Hugh B. Brown called and inquired if there would be a meeting this morning, and I told him that there would be no meeting.

10:00 a.m.

Building Committee – Severance Pay for Retiring Committee

Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson of the Personnel Committee came over and reported that the Personnel Committee had received a letter signed by the First Presidency instructing them to give three months severance pay to the retiring members of the Building Committee, where as previously they had been instructed by me that these committee members were not to get severance pay.

I emphatically told Elder Isaacson that I do not want them to have this severance pay; that most of the members resigned of their own free will when Brother Wendell B. Mendenhall was released.

I instructed Elder Isaacson to tell President Brown that I had decided at one of our meetings of the First Presidency that this severance pay should not be given as these men had all done very well while at the Building Committee, but that President Tanner had brought the matter up again and pleaded for these men to get the money.

Following the meeting, Elder LeGrand Richards, Chairman of the Personnel Committee, and Elder Isaacson called on President Brown and told him that I had instructed the Personnel Committee not to give three months severance pay to members of the Building Committee.  President Brown became very upset because of these instructions, and shocked Elders Richards and Isaacson with his attitude.”

Tues., 13 July 1965:

10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Laguna Beach Property

Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson called at the apartment, and handed to me the inventory of the Laguna Beach property made in May, 1951 which Clare had found for him in her files.  I handed to Elder Isaacson an appraisal of this property sent to me by mail by Ferren L. Christensen, the caretaker at the Laguna property.

I asked Elder Isaacson to take this matter in hand, and make recommendations regarding the sale of the property.

Fri., 15 Oct. 1965:

“After Clare had presented numerous letters and other important matters, I expressed appreciation to her for her devotion and steadfastness.  I told her that I cannot remember when she took a vacation or any time off for herself; that she must not break her health.

Choosing of Another Counselor

I then told Clare that I think I shall choose Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson as a Counselor in the First Presidency; that I need more help.  I told her to say nothing about it; that I have been giving it serious thought for some time.”

Mon., 18 Oct. 1965:

“10:00 a.m.

Counselor Chosen

Had a conference with Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson.  He presented his itinerary for assignment under Elder Ezra Taft Benson to visit the European Missions.  He said he is leaving a week Saturday, and if the schedule outlined is followed he will be gone until the middle of December.

I told Elder Isaacson that he had better not be gone so long; that someone else would have to take the Stake Conferences.

I then said that after much prayer and serious thought, I had decided to call him as a Counselor in the First Presidency; that I should like to make the announcement before he leaves for Europe.

Brother Isaacson bowed his head and wept.  He said he wanted me to know that he had never expected anything like this; that his only desire had been to help me.  He then said, ‘I believe that I can say to you as Dr. Willard Richards said to the Prophet Joseph Smith, ‘I will die for you if necessary.’  We both shed tears of brotherhood and affection.  I told Elder Isaacson to plan to go over to Europe for about two weeks, filling necessary appointments; that I should like to make this announcement right away.  I turned to Clare, who was present during this interview, and asked her to remind me of this.

After some discussion, Elder Isaacson left for his office.

I then took up office matters with Clare, who also shed tears, saying she, too, has had only one aim during her years with me, and that is to assist me in my heavy duties, and to serve the Church.  I told her that she has to start taking care of herself, as I cannot get along without her.”

Thurs., 21 Oct. 1965:

“1:15 to 3:45 p.m.

Choosing of Two Additional Counselors in the First Presidency

Met with my secretary, Clare, for a few moments, and then told her to call Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson and tell him to come in.

Told Elder Isaacson that I had decided that someone should be assigned to take his Stake and Mission assignments in Europe.  I again discussed with him the matter of his becoming one of the Counselors in the First Presidency.  I stated that probably I should call the First Presidency and members of the Twelve into a special meeting right now, but when I noted the time, decided that it was too late to do that this afternoon.  I then called my secretary and asked her to have Brother Ezra Taft Benson, who was waiting in the outer office, to come in.  It told Brother Benson that I planned to call Elder Isaacson to be a counselor in the First Presidency, and asked him if he could support me in this, and he answered ‘One hundred percent, President McKay — I have expected it, and have been glad that you have used him over the past few months for various phases of your work.’

Brother Benson then explained that he had wanted to see me about the fact that a very prominent man, representing a large group of Americans who are strongly in favor of freedom and the preserving of a conservative government, had approached him and solicited his support in their efforts to preserve freedom and conservative government in the United States.  He said that even the Republicans are becoming soft toward socialism and Communism, and that they may have to start a third party.  I told Elder Benson that he must not have anything to do with a ‘third party’; that it would be completely useless; that, however, he should look into what these men have in mind.

Elder Benson then referred to an article by J. Edgar Hoover, and asked if it could be printed in the Improvement Era.  He told me of the contents of the article, and I said that it would be all right to have this printed in the Era.  Elder Benson then left the office, and I continued my conversation with Elder Isaacson.  I asked my secretary to call President Joseph Fielding Smith and ask him to come down, and when he came in I told him that I had called Elder Isaacson as my Counselor and asked him whether he could sustain me in that action, and President Smith said that he could one-hundred percent.  I also asked him if he could support Elder Isaacson, and he said that he could with all his heart.

I then took President Smith by the hand, and said that I wanted him also to serve as a Counselor in the First Presidency.  That took President Smith by surprise, and he said, ‘You mean you want me to serve in the First Presidency?’  With tears in his eyes, President Smith said, ‘I’ll do anything you ask me to do.’  He then reminded me of the years we have been together in the Council.  I told President Smith that I knew he had been loyal to me and that I trusted him completely.

I told the Brethren that I would decide when to call them, and that they should stay close; that I would call a meeting of the Twelve and present this matter to them.  I told President Smith to assign one of the other Brethren to take the Stake and Mission assignments in Europe that had been given to Elder Isaacson; that Elder Isaacson could take the Servicemen’s Conference in Germany and then return home.  

Thursday, October 21, 1965


Thursday, October 21, 1965                            3:45 p.m.

Today at 1:20 p.m., Brother Darvey Wright, building manager, came to my office and told me that Sister Clare Middlemiss, President McKay’s secretary, had asked him to step into my office and tell me that President McKay was in his office and that he would like to see me.  So I went with Brother Wright to President McKay’s office.  President McKay had me come in and take a seat by the side of him.  He told me that someone would be assigned to take my conference assignments in Germany.  He stated that he had just come from the meeting of the Twelve, but that he had left his notes on his desk in Huntsville.  He came directly from Huntsville to the temple meeting, and he did not, therefore, take up with the Presidency and the Twelve the matter he had discussed with me on Monday.

He hesitated and then stated that perhaps he should call in the Presidency and the Twelve for a special meeting in the board room next to his office.  Then he looked at his watch and thought it was too late.  He asked me when I would be leaving for Germany, and I told him next Saturday, October 30.

President McKay asked me to remain seated where I was, that Brother Benson was coming in and he wanted me to stay there with him.  He asked his secretary, Clare Middlemiss, to have Brother Benson come in as he was waiting in the outer office.  Brother Benson entered and greeted both of us.

President McKay asked Brother Benson whether it was all right with him if I remained there while they talked, and Brother Benson agreed and said it was all right.  Then President McKay stated to Brother Benson that he had called me to be his counselor and asked Brother Benson whether he could sustain him in this.  He said he could support President McKay in this 100%.  He congratulated the President and congratulated me and told the President that he felt that he needed me very badly.  President McKay said that was why he had called me.  Brother Benson assured President McKay and me that this decision met with his approval 100% and expressed to President McKay that he had expected it and was glad he had used me over these past months.

After that announcement, President McKay asked Brother Benson to proceed with the things he had on his mind.  Brother Benson told President McKay that on Wednesday in New York City a very prominent man who represented a large group of Americans who were strongly in favor of freedom and the preserving of the conservative government had approached him.  He did not wish to divulge the name of this man because it was so confidential.  Brother Benson explained to President McKay that they had solicited his support in this movement to preserve freedom and to develop a conservative attitude and conservative government in the hopes that we could stem the tide of socialism and the softness toward communism.  President McKay concurred and asked Brother Benson how they would proceed.  Brother Benson answered by saying that they wanted him to contact Senator Thurmond of South Carolina and that they wanted Senator Thurmond and Brother Benson to get together and they would take this throughout the states of the nation, hoping they could get it into the Republican Convention.  Although Brother Benson explained that the Republicans were becoming soft toward communism and drifting toward socialism and away from conservatism about as badly as the Democrats.  They hoped they could keep it in the Republican Party; but if not, they may have to start a third party.  President McKay strongly disagreed and expressed his opinion and hoped that Brother Benson would not become associated with any third party because it would be completely useless.  Brother Benson stated that he did not care to get into politics, but he thought the Church should take a stand; that if somebody did not do something it would be too late.  President McKay agreed with this.  Brother Benson asked whether he should look into it further or forget it.  President McKay told him to go ahead and make further inquiry and to do what he thought was right.

Brother Benson discussed with Brother McKay an article by J. Edgar Hoover and wondered whether it could be put in The Improvement Era.  He told President McKay of the contents of the article and asked President McKay whether he could talk to Brother Green and have it put in The Improvement Era.  President McKay authorized him to contact Brother Green and have this article published in The Improvement Era.

That ended our discussion with Brother Benson and he left.  I was going to leave, but President McKay told me to stay there and asked Sister Middlemiss to call President Joseph Fielding Smith and have him come down, which she did.  President Joseph Fielding Smith came in and greeted President McKay.  President McKay told President Smith that he had called me as his counselor and asked President Smith whether he could sustain him in that action, and President Smith said he could 100%.  The he asked him whether he could support me, and President Smith said he could completely and was very complimentary in his remarks.

Then President McKay took President Joseph Fielding Smith’s hand and said he wanted him to serve also as a counselor in the First Presidency.  President Smith was shocked and said, ‘You mean you want me in the First Presidency?’  President McKay said he did.  President Smith answered President McKay and said he would do anything President McKay asked him to do.  They exchanged greetings and President Smith reminded him of the years they had sat together in the Council.  President McKay said he trusted President Joseph Fielding Smith and knew he was loyal to him.

President McKay then made some confidential remarks and stated that the Church would receive a ‘shock’.  I did not know nor did I try to interpret what he meant.

President McKay said he would decide when to call us, but for us to stay close.  He had not determined as to when he would talk to the Twelve.  He did state that he wanted to do it before I left.  He asked us to stay close in the next few days.

That finished our conversation.  President McKay asked President Joseph Fielding Smith to arrange to assign someone else to take the four stake conferences in Germany and Switzerland that had been assigned to me so that I could go to the Servicemen’s Conference at Berchtesgaden, meet with the mission presidents of that area, and return home as soon as possible.  Then President Smith and I went and talked to Vella.  She and President Smith studied the assignments and decided to send Elder S. Dilworth Young to attend these conferences – one to be in midweek, and one to be on the weekend.  

/s/Thorpe B. Isaacson”  

Thurs., 28 Oct. 1965:

9:40 a.m.

Left the apartment for the Salt Lake Temple.

10:00 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Was engaged in the meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve held in the Salt Lake Temple.

Announcement of the Choosing of Another Counselor in the First Presidency

Following the reports of the Brethren, I announced to the Brethren that after much deliberation and prayer, that I have considered it advisable to choose another counselor in the First Presidency, which would not be a violation of any precedent, and that I should like the approval of the Brethren in this.  I mentioned that there is nothing wrong with me physically except when I start to talk, and then I have difficulty, and that a large part of my work involves a lot of talking.  I said that I feel well enough, but my legs are not responding as I should like them to.  I stated that I feel my present counselors should be relieved of some of their work and given some help.  I told the Brethren that I would report to them later if they feel to approve of my choosing another man to be a counselor.  Elder Benson moved approval, and the motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

I then said that I appreciate the opportunity of meeting with the Brethren; that I love them all, and that I am sorry I cannot give them more help; that I keep pretty close to the office, to Sister McKay and family, and have enjoyed being in Huntsville the past week where the weather has been perfect — not a cloud in the sky; however, Huntsville is beautiful whether it is raining or snowing or the sun is shining.

I thanked the Brethren for their faith and prayers, and said Sister McKay is getting along very well; that she looks well and is feeling well.  (See Friday, October 29, 1965, for special meeting of the Council and the choosing of two counselors.)

3:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Elder Ezra Taft Benson came down to the office.

4:30 p.m.

First Presidency – The Choosing of Two Additional Counselors

Called Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson into the office and told him that I had presented to the Brethren at Council meeting today the matter of choosing another counselor to which they gave their approval.  I then called President Joseph Fielding Smith into the office, and in Elder Isaacson’s presence told him again that I should like him to serve as a member of the First Presidency; that he would not lose his status as President of the Quorum of the Twelve.  President Smith answered:  ‘President McKay, I love and respect you, and I will do anything you want me to do.’  I said, ‘I know how you feel, and you have shown your loyalty.  Can you work with Elder Isaacson?’  President Smith answered, ‘Why certainly!’

I then directed my secretary, Clare, to call Henry Smith of the Deseret News and ask him to come over to the office.  I gave him a statement regarding the appointment of the Brethren to the effect that they will be Counselors in the First Presidency, and set apart as such.  Brother Smith is to prepare a statement for the press tomorrow and submit it to me tomorrow morning.  I said that I shall have a meeting with the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve tomorrow morning and present this matter to them before anything is done.”

Fri., 29 Oct. 1965:

“7:00 a.m.

Was examined by the doctors.  They seemed to be satisfied with my physical condition, however, cautioned me not to overdo.

7:30 a.m.

Clare called by telephone and said that President Joseph Fielding Smith, Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson, and Henry Smith of the Deseret News wished to see me this morning to read the statement that has been written up regarding the announcement of the appointment of two additional counselors in the First Presidency.  I told her to have them come over right away.

7:45 a.m.

President Smith, Elder Isaacson, and Henry Smith of the Deseret News came to my office in the Hotel.  Clare Middlemiss, secretary, accompanied them.  Brother Smith then read the statement which he has prepared to go into the Deseret News today, which included the following statement from me:

‘Due to the increased work of the First Presidency, I should like to

announce the choosing of President Joseph Fielding Smith and Elder

Thorpe B. Isaacson as Counselors in the First Presidency, to assist

in all duties of the First Presidency.  They will be set apart as Counselors

in the First Presidency.  President Joseph Fielding Smith will maintain

his status as President of the Quorum of the Twelve.’

We approved of the statement as it is prepared.  I then gave Brother Smith permission to have this printed in the papers if approved at the meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve to be held this morning at nine o’clock.

9:00 a.m.

First Presidency – Calling of Two Additional Counselors Approved

The following is a copy of the minutes of a special meeting of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve which was held in the Church Administration Building at 9:00 a.m.:

‘Present:  Presidents David O. McKay and N. Eldon Tanner of the First Presidency; also the following Brethren of the Council of the Twelve: President Joseph Fielding Smith and Elders Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, Delbert L. Stapley, LeGrand Richards, Richard L. Evans, Howard W. Hunter, and Gordon B. Hinckley.  (President Hugh B. Brown in the South Pacific with Elder Thomas S. Monson.)

The opening prayer was offered by Elder Ezra Taft Benson.

Calling of Counselors in the First Presidency

President McKay referred to his announcement in the meeting of the Council yesterday to the effect that he proposed to choose an additional Counselor to serve in the First Presidency, and that on that occasion the Council had indicated their approval by unanimous vote.

President McKay said:  ‘This morning we report to you the fulfillment of that recommendation, and present the names of two brethren to act as counselors in the First Presidency; namely, Joseph Fielding Smith, President of the Twelve, and Thorpe B. Isaacson.  We present those two for your consideration.’

Elder Lee responded:  ‘I being next to President Smith, if it is in order, I move the approval of your recommendation.’

Elder Spencer W. Kimball said, ‘I would like to second it.’

President McKay then said:  ‘This will not affect the standing of either member.  President Smith is President of the Twelve.  This is just an addition.  Brother Thorpe B. Isaacson is an Assistant to the Twelve.  Brother Isaacson was notified to be present and he is here now.’

President McKay the asked these Brethren:  ‘Are you Brethren willing to accept this additional work?’

President Smith and Brother Isaacson both answered in the affirmative, and Brother Isaacson stated that he would do the best he could.

President Tanner then asked this question of President McKay:  ‘You said that these two brethren would be Counselors to the First Presidency.  Do you mean Counselors to the President in the First Presidency?’

President McKay answered, ‘Yes.’

‘President Tanner then inquired, ‘Wouldn’t it be right and proper then to have President Smith as your First Counselor?’

President McKay answered, ‘No, we have two Counselors in the First Presidency already.  You remain.’

President Tanner then said, ‘These two Brethren will be Counselors in the First Presidency, not ‘to’ the First Presidency.  You said ‘to the First Presidency.’  I was just trying to get this clear.  They will be Counselors ‘in’ the First Presidency and not ‘to’ the First Presidency.’

President McKay said, ‘That is right.  There will be four Counselors in the First Presidency, and President Smith will remain the President of the Twelve just the same.’

President Joseph Fielding Smith then commented that this is not something that is new, because a similar situation existed in the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

President McKay then asked for the vote of the Brethren as to whether they favored the proposition, and the vote was unanimous.  He asked if there was any opposition vote and there was none.

President McKay commented:  ‘I am feeling a little better.  The Lord is blessing me, and I am using my right hand better than I have done, but I find that talking is one of my important duties and my speech is affected, so if you will be patient with me, with my stuttering, I will do the best I can to fulfill my duties.’

The President then said that these Brethren would be set apart later.

The meeting adjourned.’

9:45 a.m.

Following the meeting with the Council of the Twelve, held in the First Presidency’s office, President N. Eldon Tanner, President Joseph Fielding Smith, Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson, and I remained in the office of the First Presidency, and at this time I was voice (with President Tanner) in setting apart President Joseph Fielding Smith as a Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and in conferring upon him all the powers and authority of that position, and prayed the Lord’s blessings to attend him in this special calling.  I told him that he will continue as President of the Twelve and as a member of the Council of the Twelve, but that this is an extra ordination conferred upon him, and that he now becomes one of the First Presidency of the Church.  (See copy of setting apart following.)

Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson Set Apart to First Presidency

We then layed our hands upon the head of Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson, and I asked President Nathan Eldon Tanner to be voice in setting apart Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson as a Counselor in the First Presidency and in conferring upon him all the powers and authority of that position.

Later, Brother Henry Smith, reporter, was given permission to release the announcement to the newspapers.  (See newspaper clippings following.  See also copies of letters received expressing approval of the appointment of President Joseph Fielding Smith and Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson to the First Presidency.)

10:00 to 11:30 a.m.

Regular meeting of the First Presidency and Presiding Bishopric held in the office of the First Presidency.  Presidents Joseph Fielding Smith and Thorpe B. Isaacson attended their first official meeting with the First Presidency. 

Friday, October 29, 1965

October 29, 1965

Friday, October 29, 1965, at 9:45 a.m., President David O. McKay and President N. Eldon Tanner met in the First Presidency’s office with President Joseph Fielding Smith and Thorpe B. Isaacson, and President McKay was voice (he was assisted by President Tanner) in setting President Joseph Fielding Smith apart as a counselor in the First Presidency as follows:

Setting Apart of Joseph Fielding Smith

Brother Joseph Fielding Smith, esteemed fellow-worker, by virtue of the Holy Priesthood and the authority of us vested, we members of the First Presidency unitedly lay our hands upon your head and confer upon you the authority and position of counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and all the powers and authority of that position we confer upon you, and pray the Lord’s blessings to attend you in this special calling.

You will continue as President of the Twelve and a member of the Council of the Twelve, but this is an extra ordination that we confer upon you, and you become one of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  May the Lord bless you in this extra calling.

We give you power to respond to every assignment and appointment with which you will be associated in the office of counselor in the First Presidency of the Church.  The Lord bless you.

Our Father in Heaven, seal and ratify this added blessing upon thy servant.  He has spent years of faithfulness as a member of the Twelve Apostles and as president of that body.

These authorities and blessings we confer upon you by virtue of the office of the First Presidency, in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.”

Thurs., 4 Nov. 1965:

“7:45 a.m.

At my request my secretary, Clare Middlemiss, came over to the office in the Hotel Utah apartment.  At this time I went over letters prepared for the usual signatures of three members of the First Presidency.  I considered again the question as to whether the two new Counselors — Presidents Joseph Fielding Smith and Thorpe B. Isaacson — should sign all letters and documents needing the signature of the First Presidency.  Although this matter had been discussed in the meeting of the First Presidency last Tuesday and the decision made that just the two counselors; namely, Presidents Brown and Tanner, should continue to sign the correspondence, I decided this morning if the two newly-appointed brethren (Presidents Smith and Isaacson) are to be members of the First Presidency as they have been set apart, and announced in the newspapers, they should also sign the letters and fully participate as members of the First Presidency.

I decided that I would take this matter up again with the counselors and tell them that I have decided that the two new counselors should participate in the signing of all letters, documents, etc., which have heretofore been signed by the three members of the First Presidency.  One exception will be the missionary certificates, which are too small to carry the five signatures.  I shall sign these alone.

Fri., 5 Nov. 1965:

“8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting with President Joseph Fielding Smith in the apartment office.  President Hugh B. Brown was absent, he being indisposed, President Nathan Eldon Tanner is attending the dedication service at the BYU, and President Isaacson is attending the Servicemen’s Conference in Germany.

Some of the matters discussed by President Smith and me were:

First Presidency – New Counselors

The secretary, Joseph Anderson, read the galley proof of an article prepared by Albert L. Zobell, Research Editor, for publication in the Improvement Era regarding the appointment of President Joseph Fielding Smith and Thorpe B. Isaacson as Counselors in the First Presidency.

There was also read to us by Joseph Anderson historic information regarding assistant Counselors to President Joseph Smith and President Brigham Young.

I reiterated my decision that Joseph Fielding Smith and Thorpe B. Isaacson are Counselors in the First Presidency and not Assistant Counselors. 

First Presidency – Signatures on Letters and Missionary Certificates

Consideration was given to the question as to what signatures should be attached in the future to First Presidency letters.  President Smith and I were in agreement that the First Presidency letters should be signed as follows:  ‘The First Presidency, By’, and one line on which one member of the First Presidency could attach his signature, and that as a general rule this should be the President’s signature.  In special cases, however, where it seems important that a letter or statement should bear the signatures of the full First Presidency, provision should be made for five signatures with the title ‘The First Presidency’, underneath the signatures.

(This was later changed.)

Consideration was also given to the question as to what signatures should appear on the small missionary certificates which heretofore have carried lines for three signatures with the name “The first Presidency’ underneath.  We decided that in the future these certificates should be signed by the President of the Church only.  In other words, that there should be only one line for signature attached to the certificate, on which line the President’s name would appear, and underneath the line would be the word ‘President’.

First Presidency – Sustaining of in Stakes and Wards

It was mentioned that the question has been raised as to whether or not in sustaining the General Authorities in the Wards and Stakes a new form should be provided listing for the sustaining vote of the people the new First Presidency consisting of President David O. McKay and Counselors — Hugh B. Brown, Nathan Eldon Tanner, Joseph Fielding Smith, and Thorpe B. Isaacson.

I said that new forms to this effect should be prepared and sent to the Stakes.

First Presidency – Christmas Greeting to Missionaries in South Africa

Attention was called to a letter that had been prepared as a Christmas Greeting to the missionaries and saints in the South African Mission, which letter has been signed by David O. McKay, Hugh B. Brown, and N. Eldon Tanner as the First Presidency.

I instructed that this letter be re-written and provision made for the five signatures of the Brethren of the First Presidency.

Our meeting concluded at 9:50 a.m.

Tues., 9 Nov. 1965:

“8:30 a.m.

First Presidency Meeting with all Four Counselors Present for the First Time

Held a meeting of the First Presidency, at which meeting all four Counselors were present for the first time since Presidents Smith and Isaacson were set apart as Counselors.

I greeted the Brethren and made the following comments:

I welcome you as the Counselors in the First Presidency, and acknowledge with hesitancy that I am not so well as I used to be, and have called you Brethren as Counselors in the First Presidency to help carry on the work.  I pray the Lord’s blessings to attend us in this Quorum of the Presidency.  It is nothing new in the Church — The Prophet Joseph had several Counselors; President Brigham Young had seven at one time.  I think; and this will constitute the Quorum of the First Presidency now.

I should like to meet regularly with you and take up matters and preserve the Quorum as occasion requires.

I then asked each Counselor if he is willing to support me, and asked him to state his willingness this morning.

President Joseph Fielding Smith said:  President McKay, speaking, of course, for myself, I want to be absolutely loyal and bear you up; sustain you, pray for you, that the Lord will bless you and lengthen your life that you may have His Spirit with you always.’

President Hugh B. Brown said:  ‘I would like very much to continue, President McKay, with the loyal support which I have tried to give you, and help you in any way I can.  I have no hesitancy and no reservation in expressions of love, admiration, and support.’

President Nathan Eldon Tanner then said:  ‘I can reiterate what I have said before several times.  You are the President of the Church and we certainly sustain you as a Prophet of God, and I just hope that I can be worthy of the great honor that has come to me to be a Counselor to you in the First Presidency.’

President Thorpe B. Isaacson said:  ‘I am very happy to be here this morning.  I came home sooner than a lot of people expected, but I remember one of the statements in your letter, that we should make our visits effective and brief.  I have had a great experience, particularly in the LDS Servicemen’s Conference, something that would take me a long time to report.  I am very glad to meet with you Brethren.  I sincerly hope that we can have a feeling here of oneness; that there shall not be anything but what is right and proper and open and frank.  I am sure we can develop a great love and affection for one another.’

Servicemen’s Conference at Berchtesgaden, Germany

I then asked President Isaacson to give us a report on the Servicemen’s Conference.  He stated that he had arrived in Frankfurt, Germany early last Sunday morning and on Monday drove with President Cecil Broadbent and his wife from Frankfurt to Munich and from there to Berchtesgaden.  He said he was astounded because Servicemen were there from all over Europe; that there were six general sessions — one at 10:00 a.m., two in the afternoon, Priesthood Meeting at 8:00 a.m., and auxiliary meetings at 4:00 p.m.  President Isaacson said he had never felt a richer outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord than at those sessions.  He said that most of the Mission Presidents in Europe and their wives were present at the Conference, in all fifteen Mission Presidents and their wives.  He stated that some of the meetings were turned into testimony bearing, and that the Church never had a stronger group of Mission Presidents than we now have in Europe.  Everyone of them, and their wives, seem to be outstanding, full of spirit, and intersted in their missionaries.

President Isaacson said this was the thirteenth annual LDS Servicemen’s Conference, and that these Servicemen come together entirely for a spiritual conference; not in the interest of recreation or entertainment.  He mentioned that they have many branches in the Servicemen’s districts; that Colonel Haines, who is in charge, is a very high class, highly educated man.  He also said that the manager of the Hotel where the servicemen stayed had told him that generally speaking they like to avoid housing servicemen in the Hotel because of the rowdiness and behavior of these men.  Some of them carouse, break furniture, windows, etc.; that, however, so far as these servicemen are concerned, they have never had a plate nor a window broken, nor anything to complain about in the matter of late hours or anything that was improper.

President Isaacson said that at the close of each meeting, they engaged in testimony bearing and they could not get up fast enough. 

He explained that this Conference is held under the auspices of the Church and the coordinators are all Church men and our Chaplains were there also.  In the past they have always had one or more of the General Authorities attending these Conferences.  Brother Isaacson recommended that we continue to hold these Conferences, that the Servicemen are hungry for the Gospel and spiritual meetings.  Some of the Servicement made the statement that they did not pay enough attention to the Church at home, but that they have been interested in the Gospel since they went into the Service.  President Isaacson said that the Servicemen’s Committee has general supervision over all the Servicemen’s activities and send to the different groups from time to time Church materials.  He said that there were cases where the district presidency was made up of servicemen, very high grade men, and in answer to the question as to how many had attended missions, he found that a large number of them had served missions, also that the majority of them are married men and have their wives with them, that the single men are in the minority.

In answer to my inquiry regarding the holding of these conferences, President Isaacson explained that our coordinators and chaplains call them together and the government grants the servicemen a week’s absence in order that they may attend the Conference.  He said that the thought was expressed that they could get 2,000 more to attend if we had a place to accommodate them.  He mentioned that there is a considerable number of servicemen located in some of the missions and that the mission presidents look after the servicemen who are in their particular areas.

President Isaacson strongly recommended that we continue these servicemen’s conferences.

President Isaacson stated that two or three of the coordinators and Colonel Haines had made the suggestion, which he thought had merit, that all LDS Servicemen before they leave home attend one or two days of seminar where they could get some training in missionary work and have the brethren of the General Authorities and Servicemen’s Committee speak to them.  Many of the boys who now go into the service are not interviewed by their Bishops, they are gone before the Bishop knows about it sometimes.  He said that most of these boys are trying to do missionary work and they would like better instructions before they go into the service.

President Isaacson stated that missionaries were not invited to nor did they attend this Servicemen’s Conference, that, however, he did not think he had ever attended a Stake Conference where ‘so many wanted to extend their love to President McKay’ as was the case with these Servicemen.

President Isaacson said that these young men are as devoted to the President and the Church as are most missionaries, that as a matter of fact if one had not known it was a servicemen’s conference, he would have thought it was a missionary conference.

Fri., 13 Nov. 1965:

“Deseret Farms – Selling of Property, etc.

One of the items we discussed pertained to the Florida and Georgia ranches.

Brother Isaacson called attention to a letter addressed to Presidents David O. McKay, Hugh B. Brown and N. Eldon Tanner, and the members of the Florida Board by Coleman Madsen representing Leo Ellsworth.  President Isaacson explained that the letter came to me and that I had asked that it be brought to this meeting.  President Isaacson also stated that Brother Ellsworth had been asked for a budget showing his expenditures and estimated income and that he now gives us an estimated income on the calves he will sell in 1966 of $2,542,250.  This is what he estimates the earnings in Florida will be next year.  Sometime ago, President Isaacson explained, Brother Ellsworth was instructed to commence selling off the property.  He stated that at our latest meeting it was estimated that the Church is owing 34 million dollars in Florida on which we are paying interest.  He also stated that Brother Ellsworth was authorized to sell two pieces of property, one 1700 acre piece on which he had an offer of $80 per acre, and which he thought he could get $100 an acre for, that he was authorized to sell this property at $100 an acre.  There was also a 50,000 acre property that he thought he could get $200 an acre for, which would be 10 million dollars.  He was authorized to make contact and report to us on that, but we have heard nothing from him.  He stated that while we have authorized Brother Ellsworth to sell the property in an orderly manner advantageously, we have no report of anything having been sold.  President Isaacson said he was wondering if we shouldn’t urge Brother Ellsworthy to move on this matter and sell by all means.  President Isaacson had been invited by Brother Ellsworth to come down and look at certain of our lands there, but he thought it unnecessary for him to go until he had something concrete to look at.

I said that we would keep the matter in President Isaacsons’ hands, he to report to the First Presidency.  He also stated that it was the opinion of all concerned that we should dispose of the property as fast as we can.  President Isaacson will notify Brother Ellsworth by telephone of this decision and which he will conform by letter.”

Mon., 15 Nov. 1965:

“Had a two-hour conference with President Thorpe B. Isaacson.  We discussed a number of important Church matters.”

Tues., 16 Nov. 1965:

“9:00 a.m.

Following our discussions, we went through the tunnel to the Church Administration Building and on into the First Presidency’s Office, where we held the regular meeting of the First Presidency.  A number of items were discussed, among them were the following:

First Presidency – Sustaining of at Quarterly Conferences

There was brought to our attention the question as to the language that should be used in sustaining the First Presidency in the record of officers sustained at the Quarterly Conferences of the Stakes.  It was the decision of the First Presidency that the language should be as follows in the matter of sustaining the First Presidency:  ‘David O. McKay as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Hugh B. Brown as First Counselor in the First Presidency, and Nathan Eldon Tanner as Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and Joseph Fielding Smith and Thorpe B. Isaacson as Counselors in the First Presidency.’  It was also agreed that the name of Thorpe B. Isaacson should be removed from the list of Assistants to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles to be sustained.”

Sat., 20 Nov. 1965:

“8:30 a.m.

President Ernest L. Wilkinson of the Brigham Young University came to the office in the apartment of the Hotel Utah.  Spent an hour and a half going over BYU problems with him.  President Isaacson should be added to the Board of Education and Board of Trustees.”

Sat., 27 Nov. 1965:

“Airplane Crash Takes Lives of LDS Physicians

I was deeply touched and saddened over the news that a DC-3 Airplane had crashed this morning on the snowy hillside just Northwest of Camp Williams.  The plane was chartered from the Edde Airlines to take a group of former Brigham Young University graduates to a football game in New Mexico.

All thirteen aboard were killed, their bodies burned beyond recognition.  Among them were four LDS physicians who were associated with our Cottonwood LDS Hospital — Drs. J. Bernard Critchfield, Marion E. Probert, Roger W. Parkinson, and Antoine Dalton.  One other doctor – a dentist – Dr. Gordon K. Lewis, was also in the crash.

President Ernest L. Wilkinson and his son, Dr. Ernest L. Wilkinson, Jr., and President Thorpe B. Isaacson were to have been on that flight; however, a last-minute decision on the part of President Isaacson and Dr. Wilkinson not to go, and the fact that President Wilkinson decided to catch the plane in Provo rather than in Salt Lake, saved them from death.”

Thurs., 2 Dec. 1965:

Note by CM

President Thorpe B. Isaacson came into the secretary’s office following Council meeting and reported ‘President McKay was wonderful at the meeting today.  He conducted the meeting with such dignity, awareness, and efficiency!  It amazes me — the keenness of his mind, and his grasp and understanding.  The Lord is surely with him!’

He then added, ‘At our First Presidency’s meeting this morning, he remembered items that he had asked the secretary to get for him two or three days before, and he was the only one in the meeting who remembered what the items were.  It is wonderful!'”

Fri., 3 Dec. 1965:

“3:40 p.m.

Deseret Farms – Florida Matters

Brother Coleman Madsen of the Deseret Farms of Florida called at the apartment regarding Florida Ranch matters.  He gave a report of the land that has been sold by Leo Ellsworth and prospects for future sales.

Brother Madsen said that Leo Ellsworth is very desirous that President Isaacson work closely with him on the Florida property, and suggested that he be made Vice-President of the Deseret Farms of Florida.  I said that I should like President Isaacson to take care of these matters for me, and accordingly prepared a memorandum to President Isaacson informing him that I am asking the Board to appoint him as Vice-President of the Deseret Farms of Florida.

Friday, December 3, 1965

December 3, 1965

To the Members of the 

Board of Directors of

KSL, Inc.

c/o President Hugh B. Brown, Vice-Chairman


Dear Brethren:

Please accept my sincere appreciation to each of you for your dedicated interest in directing the affairs of KSL Radio-TV.  I am pleased with the progress being made.

I suggest that President Thorpe B. Isaacson and Elder Ezra Taft Benson be elected to the KSL Board at your Board Meeting to be held December 15, 1965.

With best wishes, I remain

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay


Wed., 8 Dec. 1965:

“8:30 a.m.

Met with Presidents Tanner, Joseph Fielding Smith, and Thorpe B. Isaacson, President Brown absent, being in the hospital.  Some of the matters considered by us were:

California Gold Rush Centennial – Mormon Battalion’s Participation in When at Sutter’s Fort in 1848

I called attention to a letter I have received from Robert Combellack, President of the ElDorado County Historical Society of Placerville, inviting a member of the First Presidency or one of the other General Authorities to attend the annual Gold Discovery Celebration to be held at Coloma, California, January 22, 1966, on the spot where the first gold was discovered in California in 1848.  The writer of the letter refers to the part played by the Mormon Battalion at Sutter’s Fort (1848) and the Mormon Pioneers in the early history of California, and states that the pageant which will be held at that time has been written, directed, and produced by the Mormon people in Northern California.

The Brethren were agreed that someone of the General Authorities should attend this celebration.  I will make the appointment later.

Later, I appointed President Thorpe B. Isaacson, however, he became ill and was confined to the hospital on Wednesday, January 19, 1966, so Elder Ezra Taft Benson was asked to take the appointment.

Thurs., 13 Jan. 1966:

“7:30 to 8:10 a.m.

Deseret News – Appointments to Board

Had a conference with President Thorpe B. Isaacson regarding general Church matters, among them being the advisability of releasing the present Temple Square Mission Presidency, and the announcement in last night’s Deseret News that at a meeting of the stockholders held Wednesday, a new position of chairmanship of the Board had been created and that Nathan Eldon Tanner had been appointed to that position.  I had previously sent a letter to George L. Nelson, President of the Board, and instructed him to appoint Thorpe B. Isaacson as a member of the Executive Committee, and also a member of the Board, but I knew nothing about the appointment of President Tanner.

Later I asked my secretary Clare to call Brother Nelson and inquire of him when the appointment of President Tanner was decided upon, and to tell him that the announcement came as a complete surprise to me.

Clare reported that Brother Nelson said that several months ago when President Tanner, Elder Thomas S. Monson, and Bishop Victor L. Brown were appointed members of the Board, he (as President of the Board) was embarrassed to preside at Board meetings with President Tanner sitting there; so the Board decided to create the office of Chairman of the Board.  Brother Nelson said that President Tanner was asked at the time to accept this office, but he said he wanted to think about it.  ‘Then’, said Brother Nelson, ‘just recently I asked him again to take the position, and he accepted, so we had him voted in at the meeting held yesterday.’

Clare said that she said to Brother Nelson, ‘Did you present the matter of appointing President Tanner to President McKay?, and he answered, ‘No, I didn’t think it was necessary.’  The secretary said she remarked, ‘And yet you had a letter from President McKay authorizing you to appoint President Isaacson.  The President was surprised when he read the announcement, because he had other plans for the Deseret News Board, and he feels that as President Tanner is his Counselor, he would like to say which Church positions he accepts.’

Brother Nelson said, ‘I’ll go over to the President and explain about this.’  The secretary said, ‘Well, it is done now; I’ll give this report to President McKay as he instructed me to do; then if he wishes you to come over, he will call you.'”

Wed., 19 Jan. 1966:

Church Board of Education – Appointments of Presidents Joseph Fielding Smith and Thorpe B. Isaacson

Dictated a letter to the Church Board of Education and asked them to appoint Presidents Joseph Fielding Smith and Thorpe B. Isaacson as follows:  As Vice President of the Board — President Joseph Fielding Smith, as Vice-President and member of the Board — Thorpe B. Isaacson.  (See following copy of letter.)

Brigham Young University – Appointments of Presidents Joseph Fielding Smith and Thorpe B. Isaacson

Also dictated a letter to the Board of Trustees of the BYU and recommended that they make the following appointments: 

Vice-President of the Board — President Joseph Fielding Smith

Vice-President of the Board, Member of the Executive Committee, and Member of the Board of Trustees – President Thorpe B. Isaacson (See following copy of letter.)”

Mon., 7 Feb. 1966:

“At home.  Held not meetings today.

Was grieved to learn that President Thorpe B. Isaacson was stricken with a stroke this morning and taken to the hospital.  He had just come home from the hospital last week and was planning to come to the office in a day or two.  He is paralyzed down his right side, and is unable to speak.”

Wed., 9 Feb. 1966:

We also discussed Elder Thorpe B. Isaacson’s condition, and I stated that although he is seriously ill, I think he is going to make it.

Fri., 11 Feb. 1966:

10:00 to 11:30 a.m.

Meeting with my secretary on office matters.

President Thorpe B. Isaacson’s Illness

Clare also told me of her visit to President Isaacson at the hospital yesterday afternoon at the request of his son, Richard Isaacson.

I asked her what she thought of President Isaacson’s condition, and she said she was shocked when she saw him; that he is paralyzed on his right side and cannot talk or swallow solid food.  She said it was pitiful to see him.  When he tried to talk to her, she told him she knew what he wanted to say — ‘That he wanted to get well so that he could help President McKay, and for me to give President McKay his love.’  She told President Isaacson that she would convey this to me, and she said he nodded his head that that is what he wanted.  I told Clare to convey my blessings and love to him when she goes again.

Thurs., 17 Feb. 1966:

“President Thorpe B. Isaacson’s condition

I said that I had been very busy all week with meetings and consultations; that I had been in touch with President Thorpe B. Isaacson indirectly, and had learned that his condition had now changed from a critical stage to a satisfactory stage.

Fri., 18 Feb. 1966:

11:45 a.m.

Dick Isaacson, son of President Thorpe B. Isaacson, and Royal Tribe, son-in-law, representing Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, called on me at the apartment.  Dick reported that his father is better; that he has been sitting on the edge of his bed; that he can move his right arm a little, and that he is very hopeful that he will be better.

Dick said that ever since the morning of his father’s stroke when I sent word that I was praying, and that I thought his father was going to make it, he said he has had no doubt.  I told Dick to tell his father that I am praying for him, and that my thoughts are with him each day.

Brother Tribe and Dick then told me that the last thing his father did before his stroke was to get the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company to increase the health and insurance benefits for the General Authorities and employees from a cover of $10,000 to $15,000, and an increase from $50 to $100 on laboratory fees without cost to the Church and just a slight increase of cost to the employee.

They presented the papers for me to sign covering these increases, and Dick said his father wanted me to have the credit because it was I who got the Insurance coverage for the employees in the first place.  I signed three documents, and told Dick to tell his father that I am giving him all the credit.

Wed., 23 Feb. 1966:

“President Thorpe B. Isaacson’s Condition

Clare reported that President Isaacson is now sitting up in a chair, and has some movement in his right leg.  However, he cannot speak as yet.  I said that I feel he will keep on improving.”

Wed., 13 Apr. 1966:

“President Thorpe B. Isaacson, Report On

Clare reported that Dr. J. Louis Schricker had telephoned and asked her to relay to me a message concerning President Isaacson.  The doctor said that President Isaacson is coming along pretty well at the University Rehabilitation Center.  There is some improvement, and he is behaving himself beautifully, although the fact that he is submitting himself to a four-patient bedroom shows that his mental condition is not what it used to be.

Dr. Schricker thinks it will be a long, drawn-out procedure for President Isaacson, and said that he has a very pessimistic outlook — that he is very doubtful about his ever being able to resume his usual duties at the office.

I was depressed to hear this news about President Isaacson, and remarked that unless a miracle occurs President Isaacson probably will be unable to come back to where he was before.” 

Fri., 15 Apr. 1966:

Note by CM

At this point President McKay stated that he misses President Isaacson very much, and that he would have to appoint another counselor.  He seemed greatly worried over the affairs of the Church.”

Fri., 29 Apr. 1966:

Visit to President Thorpe B. Isaacson at University Medical Center

I visited President Thorpe B. Isaacson at the University Hospital this afternoon.  When Brother Isaacson saw me, he broke down and wept.  I was emotionally moved and saddened to see him in his condition, and especially to realize that he could not talk to me.  He repeated one or two words over and over again, trying to express his delight at seeing me.”

Tues., 6 Sept. 1966:

2:00 p.m.

Birthday Greetings Extended by President Thorpe B. Isaacson

President Thorpe B. Isaacson called on me at the apartment.  Sister Isaacson, who accompanied him, said that it is his birthday today, and that his one desire was to see me and convey his greetings to me.  What a happy moment it was for me to see him, and to extend my personal best wishes to him for his birthday!  He had been brought in a wheelchair, and his face was brightened up with joy when he saw me.

Note by CM

What a scene it was to see President McKay and President Isaacson when they met each other.  They had not seen each other for weeks, and many tears were shed.  President Isaacson gave vent to many months of suppressed emotion, and he just sobbed with his head down as he tried to express his feelings to President McKay.  However, he was unable to talk, but President McKay, with tears glistening in his eyes, looked up and said, ‘What a happy occasion; you couldn’t have given me a better birthday present’, and then President Isaacson looked up and smiled.  It was a very touching event!

President Isaacson took his leave, and was taken over to the Church Administration Building where everyone there greeted and welcomed him.”

Tues., 20 Sept. 1966:

“8:30 a.m.

I met my counselors, Presidents Brown, Tanner, Smith and Isaacson, and photographers from the Deseret News and Tribune.  The first official photographs of the five members of the First Presidency were then taken.  President Isaacson had been brought from his home to the office by his son Richard.  He looked pretty well, and seemed very happy to be able to meet with the Brethren once again.  It was good to see him, and I realized more than ever how I had missed him.

Note by CM

Many pictures were taken for an hour or more and President McKay was patient and smiling through all the poses and instructions given by the photographers.

9:45 – 10:30 a.m.

Met with the First Presidency for a regular meeting.

President Isaacson’s Presence

I expressed my pleasure at the presence of President Isaacson after such a long period of illness.  President Isaacson met with us and participated as much as possible in the meeting.  It was indicated that it is now about eight months since President Isaacson went into the hospital because of a serious stroke.  Mention was made of the approaching Conference, and President Tanner stated that he supposed ‘there are more people praying for the health of President McKay and President Isaacson’ than for anything else in the world.  I said I hoped that President Isaacson and I would continue to improve in health.  I also said, ‘We have the assurance that the Lord is with us and there is nothing else to worry about.’

Wed., 30 Nov. 1966:

“Was busy with various matters in my office in the apartment until 10:00 a.m., at which time my secretary, Clare, came over at my request.

She presented for my approval a list of those to whom I shall send Christmas cards, gifts of flowers, plants, candy, fruit, etc.  She also presented letters and other matters needing my attention.

In discussing the affairs of my office, I stated that one of the biggest disappointments of my life was the sudden illness of President Thorpe B. Isaacson; that I was so thankful for his support and loyalty that I felt relaxed and secure.  I said that I had had great hopes that he would get well, but that now it looks as though it is not to be.  I expressed regret over the opposition that had been shown toward him, and said that ‘no man either out or in the Church has ever talked to a President of this Church as I had been talked to by a certain counselor a little while before I appointed President Isaacson as a counselor.  This has been a source of real concern to me.”

Sun., 21 Dec. 1966:

“10:00 a.m.

My secretary, Clare, came over.  We just got started with the office work she brought over when people started to arrive.

10:30 a.m.

President and Mrs. Thorpe B. Isaacson came in.  Sister Isaacson said that President Isaacson was very anxious to visit me personally to extend his Christmas greetings.  I stood up as President Isaacson slowly approached the desk, walking with the aid of a cane, and his left arm in a sling.  All he could say, with the tears streaming down his face was ‘hello’ as he shook my hand.  We kissed each other as loving brothers, and there were many tears shed as I told him how happy this visit had made me.  I said to President Isaacson, ‘Nothing has hurt me more than your illness which has deprived me of your loyalty and strength!’  As President Isaacson could not tell me, Sister Isaacson told me what they had been doing.  She said that she drives her husband down to Provo to the BYU three times a week where President Isaacson has speech therapy, and then two or three times a week he goes up to the University of Utah Hospital where he has physical therapy.  She said that he is trying very hard to get well so that he can come back and help me.

I visited for twenty minutes with them.  Their son, Dick, was also present.  I extended to them my love and blessings, and wished them a most happy Holiday Season.”

Thurs., 26 Jan. 1967:

“10:00 – 12:30 p.m.

Presided and conducted the weekly meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve, held in the Salt Lake Temple.

Just following the opening song and prayer, I expressed appreciation for the privilege that I have of coming into the presence of this body of men.  I said, You brethren do not know how noble you are, and the worth of your judgment in matters pertaining to the Church.  My heart is overflowing with appreciation from the knowledge of who you are and what you are.  May the Lord continue to bless you with the radiation of His Spirit — you are His chosen Twelve.  With all my heart I say, God bless you!

I then asked each of the Brethren to make their reports.

President Thorpe B. Isaacson, Report on

Elder LeGrand Richards reported having visited President Thorpe B. Isaacson and his wife yesterday, and said that President Isaacson still cannot talk so that you can understand him; that it will be a year next week since he had the stroke, and he has not come very far with his speaking.  Elder Richards said he asked President Isaacson if he would like to bring his love and greetings to the Brethren, and he nodded that he would.  Elder Richards said that President Isaacson can use his legs better now, and can get along, but has practically no control of his right hand.

Note by CM

Later, Elder Ezra Taft Benson of the Council reported that President McKay ‘inspired us all again today; he conducted the Council Meeting in his usual efficient way, and seemed stronger than ever, his voice was strong, and the words came out readily and distinctly.

When the names for new Mission Presidents were being read to the Council, he asked why he had not seen any of these men, and said, ‘I want to meet them and look them in the eye.’

Elder Benson reported further, ‘President Tanner spoke up and said that he had an appointment for this afternoon to interview Brother Howard Badger for the presidency of a South African mission, and said, ‘Do you wish me to interview him first, or shall I send him to you first?’, and President McKay said, ‘You send him to me first; I want to see how he feels before anyone else has any influence on him.’

1:00 p.m.

Returned to the apartment.

3:00 p.m.

Interview with Howard Badger Regarding Presiding over South African Mission

Brother Howard Badger came over to the apartment by appointment and I interviewed him regarding his going to the South African Mission.

I had a very satisfying and interesting visit with him.  Brother Badger is willing and eager to accept the appointment to preside over the South African Mission.  I told him of my visit there; of the interesting country; of the meetings held with the members, etc.  I then inquired about his wife and family, financial conditions, etc.  There seems to be nothing to interfere with his accepting this call.”

Tues., 7 Feb. 1967:

President Thorpe B. Isaacson, Report On

President Tanner reported that he had visited President Thorpe B. Isaacson and that his condition does not seem to change.  President Tanner said that he did not see any improvement in his speech, that he does move about very cautiously with a cane.  President Tanner said that in talking with President Isaacson, he suggested that he should go to the coast for a month of relaxation, get into the water, etc.   Sister Isaacson told President Tanner that President Isaacson is going to the gymnasium and taking some exercises in the pool and seemed to be enjoying it.  President Isaacson said that he would like to go to Laguna Beach as suggested.  President Tanner said that he was wondering if I would like to invite President Isaacson to go to Laguna and use the President’s housing accommodations there for a little while.

I said that I do not know just what the situation is at the present time concerning the Laguna Beach home, and that I think it would be a good thing for President Isaacson to go there; that there is no reason why he should not be permitted to do so.  President Tanner asked if I should like him to investigate the situation and make the necessary arrangements, and I asked him to do so.”

Wed., 15 Feb. 1967:

11:15 – 1:00 p.m.

My secretary, Clare, came over and presented a number of letters and Church matters that had come to my office.

After talking over a few matters, I remarked that President Isaacson is not going to get better, that I am going to call Alvin R. Dyer as my counselor.”

Mon., 20 Feb., 1967:

11:30 to 12:00 noon

Clare took up a number of important letters and office matters with me.

After talking with her about the work and the fact that President Isaacson is not improving to the point where he will be able to come back to the office, I said that I have in mind choosing Brother Alvin R. Dyer as a counselor in the First Presidency.'”

Tues., 14 Mar.1967:

11:30 a.m.

President Thorpe B. Isaacson was brought over to the office in a wheelchair so that he could see me for a few moments.  Sister Isaacson and his secretary, Eleanor, accompanied him.

President Isaacson looks better, but his speech is not much improved, and he is not able to use his right arm, nor to walk without a brace and a cane.  I said to President Isaacson, ‘You are looking fine, but I thought you would be running around by now.’  Sister McKay, who was present, said, ‘You are very welcome here.’

It was good to see President Isaacson, and tears filled our eyes as we saw each other.  His illness has been a great sorrow and a real loss to me.”

Wed., 26 Apr. 1967:

“President Isaacson – Telephone Connection to His Office

The question was raised by the Brethren as to whether we should continue to maintain a telephone extension to President Isaacson’s office in his name because of the condition of his health.

I said that we should continue to maintain a separate line to his office in his name.

Fri., 4 Aug., 1967:

“Did not hold a meeting with the counselors this morning.

10:30 a.m.

By appointment at his request, met with Richard Isaacson, son of President Thorpe B. Isaacson, who reported that his father is still about the same and that he is discouraged because he cannot continue with his duties. He said that he is able to say a few more words, but cannot carry on a conversation. I asked Richard to convey my love and greetings to his father.

Brother Isaacson then said that a year or so ago the Church purchased from his father and him a piece of property located on Main Street adjoining ZCMI property. Zions Securities made the purchase for the Church, and they have been making payments to Richard Isaacson and this sister Gayle, who owned the property. Now Richard would like to have Zions Securities let him have $40,000 of the money owing him so that he can make a payment on his home, thus saving him interest and also saving the Church interest. However, Richard said that Bill Clawson, secretary of Zions Securities Corporation, does not want to do this; he has told Richard that they would like to pay off the whole indebtedness to Richard and his sister. However, Richard says his sister does not want this, because she will have to pay income on the money she receives.

I told Richard that inasmuch as he had done a favor by selling the property to the Church when they really wanted to keep it as an investment, that he should talk to Graham Doxey, Manager of Zions Securities, and have him look into the matter and see what can be done. I asked my secretary, who was present, to follow through with this, and report to me.”

Fri., 5 Jan., 1968:

“8:30 a. m. 

Held a meeting with Presidents Brown, Tanner, and Elder Alvin Dyer. President Joneph Fielding Smith is indisposed today, and President Thorpe B. Isaacson is still absent because of the stroke he suffered two years ago.

A number of various items were discussed, the details of which are recorded in the minutes of the First Presidency. A few important items discussed were:

Isaacson, Thorpe B. – Occupation of his Office bv Elder Dyer 

One matter I decided upon, after discussing the matter at the meeting of the Brethren this morning, and later with Elder Alvin R. Dyer, is to have Elder Dyer occupy President Isaacson’s office in the northwest corner of the first floor of the Administration Building, which has been unused since Brother Isaacson’s illness two years ago. President Tanner had suggested at the meeting that Patriarch Eldred G. Smith take this office, but after thinking the matter over, I decided that it would be unwise to bring him in to that office where members of the Church, mothers with children, and others would be coming right into the offices of the First Presidency where confidential work is being done, and where meetings are often held.

In talking the matter over later with Elder Dyer, I told him that it was my desire that he occupy that office; that, however, I do not want President Isaacson to be offended or hurt in any way. I said that I should like to call on him myself and talk to him about it, but that I do not feel up to going in a wheelchair to his apartment. I, therefore, asked Elder Dyer to call on President Isaacson, talk the matter over with him, and see how he feels about it. Brother Dyer said that he would do this Sunday and take Sister Dyer with him.”

Mon., 15 Jan., 1968:

Thorpe B. Isaacson’s Office – Elder Alvin R. Dyer to Occupy

I discussed with Clare the matter of President Isaacson’s office which has been unoccupied since his illness two years ago. I said that President Tanner had suggested in a recent meeting of the First Presidency that Patriarch Eldred G. Smith occupy the office, but that after giving the matter much thought, I feel that this would be unwise because it would mean the bringing into the office of the First Presidency mothers with their babies, and many members of the Church seeking Patriarchal blessings and they would have to wait around and pass right through the private offices of the First Presidency.

I stated that I had had a conference with Elder Alvin R. Dyer regarding the office, and inasmuch as Elder Dyer needs another office because of the undesirability of the one he now occupies, and the further fact that I should like him nearer to the First Presidency, I have decided that he (Elder Dyer) should take that office. I asked Clare to tell Elder Dyer to move into the office immediately. She said, “Do you want me to get him on the phone now so that you can tell him ?”, and I said, “No, that is not necessary; I have already talked the matter over with him and he is the one who should go in there; you call him and tell him that I want him to move in that office immediately.”

Clare said that she would get the word to Elder Dyer as soon as possible. She reminded me that it was 12:30 p. m., and that probably she had better go, and I said, “I hate to see you go — you always make me feel better.”

Clare said, “I was just saying the other day that in all the years I have worked for you, whenever I have been with you to attend to office business, I have never wanted to leave your presence; that I have always received an ‘uplift’ from being around you.”

I smiled and told Clare that it had been mutual and that she had proved herself many years ago. I stated that it was a feeling of great satisfaction are joy to know of her loyalty and desire to serve.

Clare smiled as she left the room, and said that she would keep in touch with me about the work.

Later, I was amused and somewhat surprised to learn of the reactions of several persons regarding Elder Dyer’s occupying President Isaacson’s office; Richard Isaacson, son of President Isaacson, attempted to clear up the misunderstandings that some persons have about the occupancy of his father’s office, stating that his father had been very pleased about Elder Dyer’s coming into his office. He said his father had asked for a piece of paper, upon which he had written as best he could the following: “The work must go on. President McKay needs help. I want Elder Dyer in there.” Dick said, “I have that note and I shall always keep it.” (See notes by Clare following.)”

Mon., 15 Jan., 1968:

“NOTE by CM:

10:30 a. m.

Went over to President McKay’s office in the apartment. Mrs. Noyce, the nurse, answered the door; I said goodmorning to her and walked on into the President’s office where he was sitting at his desk. He had the oxygen apparatus on, but looked very alert and well. He commented upon my happy smiles, and I said: “I am always happy to see you and to see you looking so well.” He then asked me if I knew of the meeting which was held earlier this morning at which time the Presidency met with the Brigham Young University Seminary personnel and viewed the film “After School, What?” I said, “No, Secretary Anderson never informs me of any meeting that is scheduled; although I should know so that there will be no conflict of appointments.” President McKay said, “Well, he should.” Then I told the President that yesterday I had placed on my desk by Anderson’s secretary, First Presidency’s Minutes dated as far back as December 8, 1967–over a month’s minutes which I shall now have to go through all at once. This makes it so that I have to work in the dark so to speak regarding appointments the President has had and his decisions and wishes regarding Church matters which should be entered in his diary. The President was not pleased over this.

I then took up with President McKay letters and other office matters. I read a number of letters of “thank you” for Christmas remembrances from friends and associates, and also letters congratulating Sister McKay and him on their 68th Wedding Anniversary. Tears glistened in the President’s eyes as I read of the love, respect, and admiration the people have for him.

President McKay then discussed with me office matters; one of which was the occupation of President Isaacson’s office which has been unoccupied ever since his illness two years ago. He said that President Tanner had suggested in a recent meeting of The First Presidency that Patriarch Eldred Smith occupy the office, but that he (President McKay) after giving the matter much thought, felt that this would be unwise because it would mean the bringing into the office of The First Presidency mothers with their babies, and many members of the Church seeking Patriarchal Blessings, and they would have to wait around and pass right through the offices of The First Presidency.

President McKay then said that he had had a conference with Elder Alvin R. Dyer regarding the office, and inasmuch as Elder Dyer needs another office because of the undesirability of the one he now occupies, he feels that Brother Dyer should move into President Isaacson’s office. President McKay said he wanted Elder Dyer to have an office nearer to The First Presidency.

President McKay then told me to tell Elder Dyer to move into the office immediately. I asked the President if he wanted to call him, and he said, “No, that is not necessary; we have already talked the matter over and Elder Dyer is the one who should occupy this office; you call him and tell him that I want him to move in that office immediately.” Clare said that Dick Isaacson reported to her that Mrs. Tanner had told his mother a year ago that President Tanner would like to move in that office. President McKay looked surprised at that. (See January 19, 1968, for further word on this from Dick Isaacson.)

Clare also said that Brother Dyer had reported that when he went in to talk to President Tanner and told him that President McKay for sometime had wanted him to occupy President Isaacson’s office, that President Tanner said he had no business going to President McKay and changing his mind about Eldred Smith’s occupying the office. He also said, “You and Clare see him more than I do; you two are running the Church.” At that President McKay smiled broadly and said to me: “Well, I think you are a pretty good “runner” of the Church. I have wished many times that you were a man (Not always, because no man would have done what vou have done for me) so that I could appoint you as my counselor. You have been and are a great girl–you have been dependable, wise, and have had good judgment.” Brother Dyer also reported that President Tanner said that President McKay had appointed Elder Dyer in the wrong way — that he should not have presented his name before all the General Authorities (i.e., the PBO, Seventies, Assistants, the Twelve at the pre-Conference meeting) but just to the members of the Twelve; and that furthermore, Elder Dyer has interpreted the Doctrine and Covenants all wrong when he claims that President McKay may have up to twelve counselors. Elder Dyer told him that he (President Tanner) did not understand the scriptures; that President Joseph Fielding Smith interprets them to mean just as President McKay does. President Tanner also said that it is a known fact that Clare had a lot to do with putting him (Elder Dyer) in that office. Elder Dver reported that he told President Tanner that that is not true; that his relationship with President McKay had been very close ever since their trip to Missouri a year or so ago; and that President McKay had called him to be a counselor before he left for South America, and that they (President Tanner and President Brown) had done everything in their power to prevent President McKay from having him sustained as a counselor. President McKay remarked at that point, “Did he tell President Tanner that?” I said, “Yes, so he reported. ” President McKay answered, “Good for Alvin; I am glad he told him that. ” President Tanner further said, “President McKay will no doubt have you sustained at the April Conference as a counselor in The First Presidency .” Elder Dyer answered, “That is up to President McKay.” President Tanner also was told bv Elder Dyer that so far as Clare and he running the Church is concerned, that that is just what people are saying about him — that he, “President Tanner, is running the Church.”

Thur., 18 Jan., 1968:

“9:00 to 9:30 a. m. 

Held a meeting with President Nathan Eldon Tanner and Elder Alvin R. Dyer. President Brown is in Palm Springs, California taking a rest, and President Smith is meeting with the Twelve in the Temple. President Isaacson is at home recuperating from a stroke. The matters discussed at our meeting were:

President Thorpe B. Isaacson – Occupancy of His Office 

President Tanner referred to an earlier consideration by the First Presidency of a proposed rearranging of office space, at which time he had suggested that Patriarch Smith move into the office that has been occupied by President Thorpe B. Isaacson. President Tanner said that Elder Dyer had indicated that he would like to use that office and that he had stated that I favored this proposal; further, that Elder Dyer’s secretary could have a desk with other secretaries in the First Presidency’s office where President Isaacson’s secretary has been located. President Tanner, therefore, recommended to me that if Brother Dyer wants to go there he might just as well do so as anyone else. President Tanner explained that we are much crowded for space in the Administration Building, and that President Isaacson’s room is not being used, which is the reason for suggesting that Elder Dyer move into it.

Elder Dyer commented that originally he had made no request for the office; that, however, the information was conveyed to him that he was to occupy it. He said he told President Tanner he felt he should go there because this had been his understanding previously, that when he had discussed the matter with me it was agreed that he should do so. He said that he and Sister Dyer had at my request visited President and Sister Isaacson to make certain that President Isaacson would not be offended, and that he seemed to feel all right about the matter. It was further stated that President Isaacson’s family have now moved all of President Isaacson’s belongings out of the room and it is ready for occupancy. He said he had suggested to President and Sister Isaacson that they wait until they received word from me before they moved these things, but they had taken care of the situation at once.

I said that Elder Dyer should occupy this office as I had instructed him.

(See following minutes of Elder Dyer put here at my request after having read them.)”

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


THURSDAY, January 18, 1968

(Meeting of The First Presidency)

I met with The First Presidency prior to their meeting with the Council of the Twelve in the Temple. I do not attend these meetings. President Brown is resting in California, and President Joseph Fielding Smith was absent in order to conduct the Quorum of the Twelve Meeting.

The President seemed fit and was prepared to attend the Temple Meeting which he did.

Several items were discussed in The First Presidency Meeting, the principal one being raised by President Tanner relating to proposed rearrangement of certain office rooms in the Church Administration Building, including the question of my occupying the Northwest corner roorn on the main floor. President McKay at first seemed not oriented to what President Tanner was saying, and when it seemed like he was, President Tanner brought into his presentation the Southeast room on the second floor which Joseph Fielding Smith has kept open as a standby office for the Quorum of the Twelve. President Tanner wondered why President Smith could not be persuaded to relinquish this space. Bringing this office status into the discussion of my occupying Thorpe Isaacson’s former office seemed a little confusing. Hoeever, before that was left, it was decided to defer any discussion on it until President Smith was present.

President Tanner, in returning to my proposed office, recalled to the President that in the first discussion on the Northwest office the Presidency had agreed that Eldred Smith was to be moved down there, but that later I had made it known that I wanted that particular office. Upon hearing this statement, I said that originally I had not had any desire nor did I take any steps to be mooved into the office in question, but that when I was called to be an Apostle at the last General Conference and assumed the status as an advisor to President McKay, the understanding was conveyed to me by the President that at the proper time, if Brother Isaacson did not return, I was to be placed in it. And that it was because of this understanding, that I returned to see President McKay to determine whether or not, since it appeared now that someone would be placed there, he still wanted me to occupy it. (This is the point upon which President Tanner and I had had some discussion. He felt I had gone around him in going back to the President that day, because he had been appointed with Brother Howard Hunter to study the office space problem. He wondered why if the President wanted me in there, he or I did not bring it up in the meeting. The answer to this is simple. The occupancy of the office by Eldred Smith was not fully understood by the President; he thought he was giving approval to study the overall problem. I said nothing as I did not want to embarrass the President, but thought it better to come back and talk to him personally.

In continuing my statement in the meeting I said that I went back to see the President at which time he said he did not want Eldred Smith to move into the office, and that he had not changed concerning my occupancy of it. However, he said that I should not occupy the office either unless President and Sister Isaacson and Dick felt all right about it. (This is the reason for May and I visiting with Thorpe, Lou, and Dick, at the request of President McKay. What was said upon that occasion is included in this Journal and need not be reiterated.)

One point, however, should be clear; I did not request or even suggest that the office be vacated. My visit was to find out how they would feel about it, but nothing would be done until they were officially advised. The removal of Brother Isaacson’s things was the doing of Sister Isaacson and Dick.

At any rate the President confirmed the instruction he gave me through his Secretary, Clare Middlemiss, which was actually a fulfillment of the understanding I had had from the President previously that I was to move into the office.

As the meeting of this morning came to a close, and we were putting on our coats to leave, the President beckoned me to come back into his office. I took his hand which he held onto quite some time even as I started to leave again. He said, “Well, that’s all taken care of”.

Read and Approved by President David O. McKay”

Fri., 19 Jan., 1968:

“Did not hold a meetings with my counselors this morning.

11:00 a.m. 

Clare came over and presented letters and requests for appointments to me.

President Thorpe B. Isaacson – Misunderstanding Over Occupancy of Office Clare reported the statement Eleanore O’Dell (President Isaacson’s secretary) had made to Mrs. Joseph Fielding Smith. Eleanore has been working for Joseph Anderson during the past two years, or since President Isaacson’s illness. This girl was very perturbed because Sister Isaacson and her son, Richard, had come to clear out President Isaacson’s belongings from his office, and had voiced her opinion to Sister Smith that she knew who was back of the whole thing (meaning Clare Middlemiss and Alvin Dyer).

(See following memorandum for further explanation which I asked Clare to include in these minutes.)

Clare asked me if she could show this girl the sentence in the minutes of the First Presidency at which time President Tanner had suggested that Patriarch Eldred G. Smith occupy President Isaacson’s office.

I told Clare that she had my full permission to clear up this whole misunderstanding. She said that she would like to have Richard Isaacson come to the office when she talks to Eleanore, because he knows that Sister Tanner had asked Sister Isaacson if her husband would mind if President Tanner occupied the office, and that she would like Eleanore to know that she (Clare) had nothing whatever to do with Elder Dyer’s occupying the office. I said that it would be a good thing to have Richard Isaacson present when she talks to Eleanore.

Clare also reported that there had been other difficulties at the office, but that she would not report these at the present time; that she had “had enough for one day; that it had been a very disappointing day.”

I told her that these matters are in her hands; that she is to use her own judgment, and can report to me later the outcome.”

“Note by CM

Received a telephone call from Sister Jesse Evans Smith stating that Eleanore O’Dell, President Thorpe B. Isaacson’s secretary, had told her yesterday how upset she is because Alvin R. Dyer is taking President Isaacson’s office. Sister Smith explained that this was the First Presidency’s decision, and Eleanore said she did not believe that; that she knew who was back of it. She gave Sister Smith to understand that Clare is back of it, and Sister Smith said, “No, this is President Tanner’s suggestion for someone to occupy that office.” Eleanore said she did not believe that; that “this always blaming President Tanner for things was not right.”

I asked Sister Smith if she would mind if I talked to Eleanore to let her know that I did not have anything to do with the decision to put someone in President Isaacson’s office, and she said, “Why, no, because I know you did not.”

As a matter of fact, I had already called Eleanore and told her I wanted to see her, because I could see that something was wrong with her when she placed a letter on my desk early this morning; and I intended to ask her what was wrong with her. Eleanore came in, but I was on the telephone talking to Dick Isaacson, as I wanted him to know what was being said, so she did not stay.

I had to go over to the President’s, and I told him that I was getting the blame for Alvin Dyer’s going into President Isaacson’s office, and I explained to him what I had heard from Sister Smith this morning. I asked him if he would give permission to show Eleanore, when I talked to her, the minutes where President Tanner had suggested that Eldred G. Smith occupy President Isaacson’s office, since she was so sure that President Tanner had had nothing whatever to do with it; that I wanted this matter cleared up. He said, “You have my permission to show her, and to clear this thing up.”

It was 2:00 p. m. before I heard from Dick Isaacson. He said he would meet me at my office in 15 or 20 minutes. At the appointed time, Dick came in and told me the whole situation. He said that both his father and mother felt very good about the whole thing and they were appreciative of the fact that President McKay had sent Elder Dyer up to their home to present the matter to President Isaacson to see how he felt about Elder Dyer’s going into his office. It was explained to him that President Tanner had suggested that Elder Eldred G. Smith, Patriarch to the Church, be placed in that office, and President lsaacson forcefully shook his head and said, “No, no.” But he was pleased to have Brother Dyer go in there.

Dick said that later that afternoon he went back to see his father to see if he really and truly felt all right, and that his father motioned for him to give him a piece of paper, and with his left hand he wrote the words: “The work has to go on. President McKay needs help, and I want Brother Dyer in my office.”

Dick said that he has kept the note for his Book of Remembrance. He then said that “a year and a half ago, Sister Nathan Eldon Tanner asked my mother if she thought my father would feel all right if her husband (President Tanner) occupied President Isaacson’s office, as he felt that that office would be more convenient for him. When this was mentioned to President Isaacson, he very much resented it and shook his head, no; that he didn’t want that.”

At this point, Eleanore was called in, and Dick repeated the above to her. Then I told her that I had heard she was blaming me for Brother Dyer’s going into President Isaacson’s office. I told her that I wanted her to hear this explanation direct from Dick. I also read a short sentence to her from the minutes of January 5 (permission for which had been given to me by President McKay), stating that it was President Tanner who had suggested that Eldred G. Smith occupy President Isaacson’s office.

I said, “Now, you see, Eleanore, you should get at the bottom of these things before you wrongfully accuse someone.” She said, “Well, I am glad to know; and I am glad you told me.”

I then asked her if she is working permanently for Brother Anderson, or if her work would finish now that someone else would occupy her boss’ office. She answered that she was doing work for Brother Anderson, and that she was sure he would need her to do the work she is doing. I said, “What if Brother Dyer asks you to do work for him?” She answered, “Oh, I would rather work for Brother Anderson.”

Clare Middlemiss

(Read and approved by President McKay to include in this day’s journal.)”

Mon., 26 Feb., 1968:

“8:30 a.m. 

Clare came over and presented letters and several petitions for cancellation of Temple seatings. All of these cases were women who had divorced husbands who had been untrue to them and to the Church, and who were asking to be sealed to men whom they had married since their divorces.

Clare also presented a memorandum she had written for the journal concerning reports regarding occupation of President Isaacson’s office, also Elder Dyer’s interview with President Tanner regarding this matter and also his attitude regarding Elder Dyer’s appointment as an Apostle, which he said “was not done in the right way.” She said she did not want to include this in my journal unless I approved it.

After reading it carefully, I gave my permission for it to be included in my journal.

(See January 15, 1968.)

Clare then said that she feels hurt and disturbed over these attitudes and misunderstandings, and I said, “The Lord will take care of it — it does not worry me and you should go on as you are and pay no attention to what any of them say; that I know her and her motives. She said she does worry, but that lately she is beginning to “throw it off”. She then said that she is staying home tomorrow to gather some material for the talks I shall give at April Conference.

I said, “All right, but stay close to me.””

Thurs., 14 Nov., 1968:

“Did not hold a meeting of the First Presidency, nor, upon advice of my doctor, did I attend Council Meeting.

Church Insurance Matters 

10:00 a. m. President Thorpe B. Isaacson and his son Richard (Dick) Isaacson met me by appointment.

I was very happy to see President Isaacson as I had not seen him other than briefly at two of the Conference sessions in October. After a very happy and warm greeting of friendship and brotherhood, Richard, speaker for his father, said that they had come to hand to me a premium refund check in the amount of $59, 000, made out to the Church by the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, which company carries the health insurance for all General Authorities and employees of the Church.

I was surprised and pleased with this large refund which, of course, cuts down the expense to the Church of premiums paid for health insurance coverage for employees.

I asked Richard if he had taken care of the two matters that Brother

Wm. J. Critchlow, Jr. had brought to me regarding insurance matters, and he answered, “Yes sir, on one of the items; but I have had trouble on one of the items”. He said that now I had inquired about it again that he will see Elders Stapley and LeGrand Richards and see that it is taken care of right away.

“MEMORANDUM OF MEETING with President David 0. McKay in his apartment Thursday, November 14, 1968 (By Richard Isaacson)

My father and I were admitted by Mrs. Noyes at 5 minutes to 10. The President was in his office and he was very delighted to see President Isaacson and expressed his great joy and said this day ‘was like a little bit of heaven for him in having both of them together.’

He had me wheel dad over so he could hold his hand while they talked. President McKay asked me to sit myself across from him and said I was to talk and the two old men would listen, and then he laughed. I showed to him the premium refund check from last year’s experience and recalled to him the projection I made to him last year with Brother Stapley present.

He then asked me if I had implemented the two things he and Brother Critchlow had wanted done on the group insurance and I said I had done one of them, and he said wanted both of them done in memory of his beloved associate.

He said he did not want anything to stand in the way of that, so I told him I would prepare a letter for him to sign, and this I did. He said he would sign it himself even though his writing was not too good any more, but he wanted to see this was done and then notify the other people.

He particularly wanted me to appraise Brother Stapley of this work. He said he missed seeing dad and we were to come whenever dad wanted to come and it made it a lovely day for him to get to see dad.

In this instance, I have proceeded directly as President McKay indi cated today and these matters were initiated by him and Brother Critchlow. /s/ Richard Isaacson”

Wed., 14 May, 1969:

“10:15 a. m. President Thorpe B. Isaacson and his son Richard Isaacson visited with me and turned back to the Church two checks in the amount of $142,412. 00 from the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company.

(See copy of letter detailing visit and photostat copy of checks which follow; also copy of letter from Richard Isaacson and my reply.)”

“Clare stayed and took up various office matters with me including several letters, 7 petitions for the cancellations of sealings, and the upcoming groundbreaking at Nauvoo for the new Information Center. She read me the statement made by the First Presidency to go in the brochure for that occasion.

Note by CM:  President McKay said, ‘I do not like this business about Nauvoo’. He has been worried when matters have come up concerning Nauvoo.”

“Minutes from Discussion


President David O. McKay

His Apartment

Wednesday 10:00 A.M.

May 14, 1969

My father and I [Richard and Thorpe Isaacson] were admitted to the apartment of President Mckay at l0:00 on Wednesday morning. While we were expected it was a pleasure to see the President looking so well.

I told him I had made all the plans necessary for the admission of Sister Middlemiss to the hospital, and also told him I would have the doctor’s forms referred to me and have so notified the hospital as per his request. He told me he appreciated this and was grateful I had taken the time to do it because she had served him well and faithfully for many, many years.

He then raised his hand and pointed his finger at me and said I was to be very certain she had the best treatment in the hospital, and that she would suffer no financial loss through her illness, the same as it would be if it were any one of the brethren, and that she was to have one of the finest rooms in the hospital where her chances for complete recovery would he greater. I told him we had already arranged this and he seemed very pleased. After pausing for a moment he said he was greatly relieved about this as he would have liked to take care of these arrangements himself since she had taken care of his affairs for so many years, and he appreciated my giving it my personal attention. I told him he did not need to thank me for things like that because I considered it an honor to help him in any way I could and also to help Claire Middlemiss.

After that I presented to him the checks for $46,555.00 and for $95,857.00 and explained to him the refund on the Church Group insurance. He was very pleased and I told him how much I always appreciated the opportunity to work with him on this and then he said how grateful he was for the years of service from President Isaacson, and if he recommended the insurance it would be a good thing for the Church and this plan had worked out marvelously well.

I also told President McKay that we were prepared to handle the Church custodians in the manner he and I had discussed with Brother Critchlow shortly before his death, and which plan was later authorized by President McKay in November of 1968.

I explained to him we wanted the custodians included for premium discount but not according to their experience because we did not know how that group would fare and we did not want to endanger in any way the Church refund.

Sister Middlemiss was present during this discussion and I asked President McKay if this was the way he wanted it done and he said this was the way he wanted it to go, and it was to be handled in the same way as he had authorized in November 1968 and we were to proceed immediately.

I told him I needed an authorization letter to this effect and again he told me he would see that we received it, and that we were to proceed to take care of this in the same manner as we had done previously and were to let nothing stand in our way of getting this completed. I told him we would do so.

President McKay was very glad to see my father, President Isaacson, and was delighted with the refund checks and pleased with our arrangements for Sister Middlemiss. He again authorized our going forward on the insurance coverage for the Custodians in this manner and even though others of the General authorities would want to delay this matter of the insurance coverage for the Janitors, President McKay instructed us to complete this without delay. He made it very clear we were to get this finished with no further delay.

[Signed at the bottom, in a very shaky hand, “OK D O McKay”.  Beneath that, in Clare’s hand, “These minutes signed and approved by Pres. McKay May 19, 1969.”]”

“(Minutes of a Meeting of President Dyer with President McKay in the Hotel)

(Meeting with President McKay)

At 10:30 a.m. I went to President McKay’s apartment to fulfill an appointed consultation time with him.  Upon arriving, however, I found that Thorpe Isaacson, his son Richard, and Clare Middlemiss were there presenting to the President the insurance refund checks.  Clare Middlemiss came to the door as I rang the bell and asked that I come in, but I felt that I should not since I had not been asked and I did not want to interfere with anything that was in process and for another reason, which was more important than this.  I did not want to discuss what I had to discuss with the President in the presence of others, so I returned to my office.

No sooner had I arrived there than a telephone call was awaiting me from President McKay’s apartment asking that I return.  I immediately returned to the President’s Hotel apartment and found that Thorpe B. Isaacson and his son had left.  Clare Middlemiss then showed me the checks which had been turned over to the President as a refund on the profits of the insurance handled by the Lincoln National Insurance Company and also the experience refund check.  Both of them were quite substantial and represented a genuine return to the Church financial-wise.

Thur., 28 Aug, 1969:

“I held no First Presidency Meeting this morning.

Upon reading the Temple minutes for this day I instructed my secretary Clare to include the following matters that were presented in my Diary:

1:40 p.m.

I met with President Isaacson who extended birthday greetings to me. Many tears were shed as we greeted each other. President Isaacson, who is still unable to express himself, nodded his head with tears running down his face to let me know how glad he was to see me. I have keenly missed President Isaacson since our last visit on May 14, 1969.

l – – 

His son Dick, who had brought his father in the wheelchair, was 

present and also my Secretary Clare Middlemiss.

President Isaacson and I discussed the status of Clare’s work when I am no longer here to run affairs. We agreed to certain conditions.

Clare left with me a number of letters and copies of editorials from the Newsweek and other magazines regarding the great work that has been done by President Ernest L. Wilkinson at the Brigham Young University. Both President Isaacson and I vehemently shook our heads when the subject came up about his being released as president of the BYU.”