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David O. McKay Diaries – “Tolerance”

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

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Fri., 15 Mar., 1946:

“8:45 a.m.–Hampton Price met me by appointment.  I instructed him to let me know what his new assignment will be with a view of seeing what Church work he could be engaged in.  He inquired regarding the ‘Brodie’ book.  I explained the viciousness and inaccuracy of the writer.”

Fri., 22 Mar., 1946:

“8:00 a.m.–Mety Judge Jensen on the ‘Brodie’ book.  Read the third letter he has sent back to that woman on the subject.”

Wed., 28 Mar., 1951:

“At 7:30 a.m. met by appointment Gus Backman, Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce Manager.  Brother Backman expressed himself as being perturbed because he had heard that one of the General Authorities had said that he, Gus, is ‘anti-Church.’  ‘Now,’ said he, ‘it doesn’t make any difference to me when the lesser fellows in the Church (and he named one or two with whom I am well acquainted) say that; I just do not pay attention to their opinion, but when it comes from one of the General Authorities of the Church it hurts deeply, and I want you to know, President McKay, that it would hurt me very much if you believed it, because I do not want to lose your good opinion, because the accusation isn’t true.  I’ll tell you now that I will do anything you want me to do for this Church.’  I know that Brother Backman meant every word he said.

I assured Brother Backman that nobody can mention in my presence, or even hint at his disloyalty to the Church, without getting a reprimand from me.”

Mon., 16 Apr., 1951:

“[Clare] Mrs. Agnes Stuart, General Manager of Auerbach Company called.  Said Auerbach Company has made arrangements with the publishers of the book Family Kingdom by Samuel Woolley Tayor, to have an autograph party, and to also have a window display of the book.  Mrs. Stuart said further that she called Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith and inquired if the Church objected to the book. Pres. Smith told her that the Church did object to the book, and would prefer that Auerbach Company do not conduct the autograph party, nor have the window display; in fact, that he would like to go so far as to ask Auerbach Company not to sell the book.  Mrs. Stuart then said that she has found that the Deseret Book Store and the Z.C.M.I. are selling the book, and she wondered if there is some misunderstanding.  Said she had a card which stated that the Deseret Book Store and Z.C.M.I. recommend the book for reading. Mrs. Stuart was advised that the message would be given to Pres. McKay and that we would call her later.

The secretary then called the Deseret Book Store who reported that they had refused to have the autograph party, that they have sent out no cards concerning the book, and that they have no display of the book; that there is one copy of it on the shelf.  Z.C.M.I. was also called who reported that they also refused the publishers the autograph party, the window display, and that they had sent out no advertising on it whatsoever; that they have purchased 50 copies and have them on their shelves.

When President McKay was advised of the above, he stated, ‘You may tell Mrs. Stuart that the church does not approve of the book, but that it is entirely up to the Auerbach Company whether they hold their autograph party or put in a window display on this book.’ Pres. Clark was also consulted on this matter, and he agreed that we have no jurisdiction over the Auerbach Company; that they of course may do as they choose in the matter.

The secretary then called Mrs. Stuart and gave her the facts regarding the Deseret Book Store and the Z.C.M.I. with respect to this book, and also President McKay’s message, and she answered: ‘We would not want to do anything contrary to the policy of the Church, and we shall not hold the autograph party, nor put in a window display.’  Mrs. Stuart also explained that the card she has with respect to the Deseret Book Store and Z.C.M.I., was sent directly from the publishers.”

Wed., 4 Jul., 1951:

“At 10 a.m. a 4th of July service was held in the Huntsville Ward meeting House. . . . I referred to the blessings that we enjoy under this Constitution, and compared our freedom with the conditions under which people of other countries are living.  I then related the experiences of Robert A. Vogeler, American business man was imprisoned behind the Iron Curtain as an American spy by the Communists.  Also told of the experiences of Elinor Lipper during eleven years in Soviet Prison Camps.  I recalled the part Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and other patriots played in the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and stated that these men were actuated by two fundamental and eternal principles–the free agency of the individual, and faith in an overruling Providence.  I concluded my remarks with an admonition that our individual freedom is in jeopardy and that we should defend it with our lives if necessary.

It was a very successful meeting, and the people were very attentive, many of whom had come from Odgen.

After the meeting we went directly to the old home.  I had a great disappointment upon my arrival there–the first persons I met were the Brodies who are visiting here from New York.  Their presence put a damper on the entire day for me.  I shook hands with Mr. Brodie, but refused to recognize Fawn–I just cannot bring myself to accept her.”

Mon., 16 Jul., 1951:

“Wheelwright Interview

The Wheelwright boys are interested in a lithographing business, and they would like to have a closer connection between their firm and the Church (The Deseret News Press).  They stated that at present some of the Improvement Era printing is sent to California, and they would like to get some of this business.

I told them that nothing can be done at present, as at present we have under consideration changes over at the Deseret News, and that it would be just as well to let matters stand until those changes are consummated.

The father is interested in bringing Brother Richard R. Lyman back into the Church, and wanted to know why we had not answered a letter he had sent regarding this matter.  I told him that we had a report from a brother who had interviewed Brother Lyman and the latter had not showed much repentance nor desire to come back into the Church, so we had just let it stand.  Brother Wheelwright said: ‘I was interested because we have always been such good friends.’ I answered, ‘Yes, I concluded that when you put him on your program at your Golden Wedding anniversary.'”

Wed., 7 Nov., 1951:

“Report on proposed making of a picture on the story by Juanita Brooks on the ‘Mountain Meadow Massacre.’

I took occasion to look into the matter of the report that Warner Brothers were going to make a moving picture of Juanita Brooks’ story of the ‘Mountain Meadow Massacre.’

I contacted Mrs. Mildred Gagon, former secretary of the California Mission, who is now a lawyer and has an official position with the film world.  She felt that the best approach would be through the director to who this particular work had been assigned, and the following day she reported that she had met this young man who is now writing the script, and whose parents were members of the Church.  He agreed with Sister Gagon that the script should not be completed after she told him that the First Presidency of the Church were opposed to its production.  Mrs. Brooks talked with President Richards about the matter and she has also said that it will not be filmed.  (See letters pertaining to this matter attached hereto.)

November 7, 1951

Dear President McKay:

To the best of my ability I have tried to outline the enclosed report.  Hope it is clear.

It is always so good to see your lovely daughter at our ward. President Blood loved her so dearly, and Sister Blood waited so sweetly for her telephone calls and visits.  I guess I could not help absorbing a good portion myself along the way.

I often think of the wonderful days spent at the California Mission, and very often wish I could now go back to the work I felt was unfinished, especially now that my children are both married and I am alone with no particular responsibilities.  Some day you may find a corner for me and call me on a real mission; I was never officially ‘called’ you know.

Kind regards to you and Sister McKay.

Mildred Gagon.

Brief Report on Film in Treatment Form at Warner Brothers Studio.

‘Mountain Meadow Massacre.’

November 7, 1951

By:  Mildred Gagon

My meeting was with FINDLEY McDERMITT, the Story Editor who now controls the Screen Treatment, and who informed me he was a former Salt Lake man–attended East High School and lived many years in the Federal Heights District.  His grandparents were members of the Church.

Mr. McDermitt was very courteous with me, even assuring me he has felt dubious about this story from the beginning.  We have an appointment for next week to further discuss the story, and at which time he will give me a copy of the Treatment and a full report as to the progression of the film plans, so far as is possible at this point.

The Producer, Mr. Brian Foy, is out of the city this week end. He is a typical Hollywood producer who has gained his fame and position through determination and the courage to produce films others feared to try.  This makes our position a little more difficult.  Another personal observation which we should consider is that he has replaced a man named Jerry Wald at Warner Brothers Studio in many respects.  (Wald left the studio several months ago, and it is reported he was also interested in doing this story).  Foy will be more ambitious to do the unusual due to this professional desire to supersede his predecessor.  When he returns I will see him.

Juanita Brooks, the school teacher at St. George, was offered the position of technical advisor on the film.  This she refused.  She was also consulted regarding the position the church might take in regard to the film, and she assured them she had discussed it with ‘high authorities’ and was assured by two important ‘Elders’ the church would not oppose it. They could not name the ‘Elders.’  She does not own the film rights, so had no power to stop the purchase nor enter into it, although she was contacted by Warners for discussion.

Film Rights were reserved by STANFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, the publishers of her book.  The book has been accepted among University circles as excellent material.

THE GENERAL TREATMENT (as at present) tells of a young farmer (LDS) who is fighting the evil of Lee and his followers in an attempt to live in this Valley.  When it is known Lee might cause the Indians to attack the village, the young man tries to get the message to President Brigham Young, but the messenger is killed.  All of his struggle unto death is treated sympathetically and heroically, according to my information, and the character role of Lee is to be portrayed in all of its ugliness, with his sin and depravation contrasting the goodness of the young man who valiantly tries to save the colony and to save Lee.

McDermitt assured me Warner Brothers was not unmindful of the fact there are far too many Latter-day Saint members who would protest anything unbecoming to the church or its noble history.  I think that is a good one for us to remember, since what they really are concerned about is their box office receipts.

He furthermore said he would appreciate my personal assistance in helping him find the most dependable technical advisor for the film.  My answer to that was it would be impossible at this point for me to make such a suggestion because our best advice was not to make the film at all.

I definitely stated we wished to register the protest of the church authorities and that we are very unhappy about the prospect of this sad and tragic episode being prepared for filming.

His reply was sympathetic, and he remarked it was ‘fortunate the story had not progressed beyond treatment in case it is dropped.’  He also offered to allow me to view all presently owned preparations and discuss it further.  This I will forward to you of course.

Any suggestions or instructions you wish to forward will be more than welcome, and meantime I will continue the discussion as outlined.

Mildred Gagon.

NOTE:  Since the above reports were received, word has been received at the office of the First Presidency that Warner Brothers will not film this story of the ‘Mountain Meadow Massacre.'”

Mon., 31 Aug., 1953:

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

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

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

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

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

Telephone Calls

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

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

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

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

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

Thurs., 29 Oct., 1953:

Sound Pictures of Temple Ceremonies

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

I stated that Pres. Smith should be released from the Reading Committee, to give him some relief and that he and the other members of the Twelve now serving on the Expenditures Committee should be released and others appointed.  I suggested for membership on the Reading Committee – Adam S. Bennion, Bryant S. Hinckley, and Thomas C. Romney.  [Did this reflect O. C. Tanner’s book?]

Thurs., 5 Nov., 1953:

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

At this meeting, we decided to release the following from the Church Literature and Publications Committee:  Joseph Fielding Smith, Chairman, Harold B. Lee, and Marion Romney.

The following were appointed to take their place:

Spencer W. Kimball, Chairman

Adam S. Bennion

Thomas C. Romney

Sun., 14 Mar., 1954:

“Confidential talk with Dr. Sterling M. McMurrin of the Department of Philosophy, U of U, City.  Discussed with him his views pertaining to the blood atonement, etc.  (see letter following which was received from him a few days later)

March 14, 1954      (Sterling M. McMurrin)


Salt Lake City, Utah

March 24, 1954

Department of Philosophy

President David O. McKay

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

47 East South Temple Street

Salt Lake City 1, Utah

Dear President McKay:

I would like to again express to you my sincere appreciation for the pleasant visit which I enjoyed with you a few days ago.  Your generosity in calling on me at a time when you must have been extremely busy and were not entirely well was surpassed only by the liberality of your ideas and attitudes as you expressed them to me.

You have always been a symbol to me, as to countless others, of the religion that reaches out to include rather than exclude, that unites rather than divides, that is concerned with large moral and spiritual issues.  Our visit was for me an intimate and personal confirmation of all this, and much more.  It was a most precious experience.  I wish that it could have been shared by many others.

Please accept my kindest personal regards and my best wishes and prayers for your continued health and strength.


Your brother,

Signed  Sterling M. McMurrin”

8 Apr., 1954:

“Excerpt from a letter received April 8, 1954 from M. Lynn Bennion, Supt. of Salt Lake City Schools:

‘Dear President McKay:

Our recent conference impressed upon me more than ever that Religion is a constant struggle between the formalistic and the traditional on the one hand and the unending stimulation of the spirit.  Your conference messages are based on laws and commandments, but the great stress is upon love, freedom, and compassion.  I want to congratulate you again on your prophetic leadership.

Sterling M. McMurrin is an intimate and trusted friend of mine.  He told me of his profound appreciation of the confidence you have expressed in his spiritual and intellectual integrity.  I believe that Sterling will make a great and lasting contribution.  I am most anxious that he be permitted to make that contribution in our community and within the Church to which we belong.  There is a fundamental issue at stake in the case being formulated against him.  You expressed it directly when you spoke of man’s right of freedom to think and to worship within the Church.  God bless you for taking this stand.  It is our most precious possession and worth every sacrifice to maintain.  I noted with joy that a number of the brethren caught your spirit and spoke in the same vein lauding the values to be found in all people without regard to race or color.

You have my prayers for your continued good health and long life filled with joy and success.

Faithfully yours,

(signed)  M. Lynn Bennion”

Fri., 2 Apr., 1954:

“First Presidency’s Meeting

2.  Dr. Sterling W. McMurrin — President McKay told of his interview with him.  Dr. McMurrin says he has faith in the Gospel; that it was in his blood, etc.

Fri., 9 July, 1954:

“8:30 a.m. – Elder Joy Dunyan of the Department of Education came in by appointment at his request.  He reported that Brother Harold B. Lee had asked them to write a paper giving their estimate of value of Joseph Fielding Smith’s new book on ‘Man’.

I said that I was of the opinion that Brother Lee had no right to do this, but that I would look into the matter and find out more about it.

I asked Brother Dunyon to ask Brother Lee whether or not this book has been authorized by the Committee; that he was to do this on his own and was not to quote me – that it is his responsibility to find out whether or not it is approved.  If the book has not been approved, then it should not be used as a text book, or considered in the class, more than any other private book.

(see July 14, for Brother Dunyan’s report)

9 to 12 noon – First Presidency’s meeting – see over 

12 noon – left the office

Wed., 14 July, 1954:

Telephone Calls

5.  Brother Joy Dunyan of the Board of Education called to report on two things:  1.  Was asked to bring in some of the writings of our teachers.  He has been unable to obtain them as yet, as they are in the hands of Roy West and Harold B. Lee, for reading.  (2)  He asked Harold B. Lee about the book recently published by Pres. Smith, as to whether or not it has been passed by the Reading Committee, and Brother Lee said that it had not been passed.”

Wed., 18 Aug., 1954:

9 to 10:30 a.m. – Attended the First Presidency’s meeting.

Among items considered were:

1.  The number of letters that I had received from seminary and institute teachers regarding President Joseph Fielding Smith’s book, ‘Man, His Origin and Destiny.’  The Brethren were agreed that inasmuch as this book has not been passed upon by the Church that it should not be used as a study course in the seminaries and institutes.  They felt that the matter therein discussed is really not essential to the advancement of the cardinal principles of  the Church.”

Mon., 13 Sept., 1954:

“At 8:30 a.m., met by appointment at their request the following Seminary Supervisors and teachers:  Elders Joy Dunyan, Lowell L. Bennion, Edgar T. Lyon, and George Boyd.

They said that they were concerned about what their attitude should be regarding the recent work of President Joseph Fielding Smith on ‘Man His Origin and Destiny.’

I told them that that book should be treated as merely as the views of one man.  It is true that one man is President of the Twelve, and makes it more or less authoritative, but it is no more to be taken as the word of the Church than any other unauthorized book.”

Wed., 29 Dec., 1954:

“Returned to the office at 2 p.m. at which time I met, at his request, Dr. Richard D. Poll, Chairman, Department of History and Political Science, Brigham Young University.  He came in regarding the book written by President Joseph Fielding Smith on ‘Man, His Origin and Destiny’.  He wanted to know if seminaries and church schools are obligated to teach this book.

I told Dr. Poll that the Church has not approved of the book; and that so far as evolution is concerned, the Church has not made any ruling regarding it, and that no man has been authorized to speak for the Church on it.”

6 June, 1955:

“June 6, 1955

President Claudious Bowman of the Mexican Mission called from Mexico at noon today:

He reported that one of his missionaries has been affected by Annalee Skarin’s book ‘Ye Are Gods’.  This woman was excommunicated from the Church sometime ago, and the Elder is questioning the right of the General authorities to cut her off from the Church.  He is thoroughly convinced that the doctrine she teachers is inspired and direct from Heaven.  The Elder – Daniel C. Carlson – says he accepts her book with all his heart — that it comes from God.  Brother Bowman said that he had been laboring with him for two days and has had no influence whatsoever on him.  Elder Carlson’s home is in Provo.  He was educated for the ministry of another Church, and is a convert to our Church.  His father is a minister, and he is the only member of his family who has joined the Church.

I told Brother Bowman that it is a serious thing to excommunicate a person; that I will look up Elder Carlson’s record here in the office – that in the meantime he should work another 24 hurs with the Elder to see if he can make him see the error of his ways.  Brother Bowman said the Elder has not taught his doctrine to any one else in the mission field; that he has been fair in that respect.

I then instructed Brother Bowman not to excommunicate this young man, but if he insists upon following his present course, he will have to give him a dishonorable release and send him home.

Later, I called Gordon Hinckley of the Missionary Office, and together we went over Elder Carlson’s record.  A telegram will be sent to President Bowman to extend a dishonorable release to Elder Carlson and instruct him to report to his Ward and Stake authorities, and to the Priesthood quorum that is supporting him in the mission field.”

Mon., 13 June, 1955:

“8:30 to 9:30 a.m.  Conference with Brother Joy Dunyon, Supervisor of Seminaries of the Church, just recently released.

Brother Joy Dunyon called at the office and asked my advice regarding his future relationship with the educational system of the Church.  He said he has enjoyed his positions as seminary teacher and supervisor of the seminaries.  He has looked upon these positions more as Calls than as jobs, and now he has reached the point where he must decide whether to accept the position offered him as an instructor in the School of Religion of the Brigham Young University, or whether to choose a business career.  He explained that if he accepts this proffered position as an instructor at the B.Y.U., it means that he accepts teaching as his life’s profession, and must go on and win higher degrees.

There are reasons why he hesitates to accept this proffered position at the Brigham Young University.

He has promising prospects before him in the business world, which will enable him to work in the Church, to remain with his family in their lovely home which they own, and, to a satisfactory degree, succeed in the business world.

After a confidential interview, I said:  ‘I deeply regret to see a man of your strength, ability, and leadership withdraw from the educational system of the Church; we need just such leadership as you possess, but under the circumstances, I believe that I would not accept the proffered position at the Brigham Young University, but would spend the next year or two in completing your business affairs with this understanding that during the Winter months you get your Master’s Degree whether you ever teach or not – you are so near that accomplishment that you cannot afford to not get your Master’s Degree, and you can get that either at the Brigham Young University or the University of Utah as you wish.'”

Thurs., 30 Jan., 1958:

“Brother Alvin Allen of Hyrum, Utah who is 86 years of age called at the office, and said that he would like to publish a book on the Book of Mormon, including in that book reasons why the plates were buried in the Hill Cumorah, and how they got there.  He would also like to print in this book a vision.

I said to Brother Allen:  ‘This is a free country–it is up to you as to whether you publish the book or not, but please do not include me in it in any way–do not use my name–and do not say that you called on me about it.

Brother Allen said:  ‘I shall not even mention your name, or that I called on you.’

Tues., 4 Feb., 1958:

“8:45 a.m.  By appointment at his request Brother Wilford C. Wood came in.  He had with him some pictures and materials which he would like to print into a book.  The materials covered events connected with the organization and early history of the Church, including uncut sheets of the first edition of the Book of Mormon.

I did not have time to go over all this material, but from a cursory glance told him that I could see no reason why he should not publish these materials in book form.

Later I received a letter from Dr. O. Preston Robinson, General Manager of the Deseret News Publishing Company who stated that Brother Wood had come to him stating that he had had a chat with me, and that I could see no reason why the material he has should not be published.  Brother Robinson then said:  ‘We have agreed to handle the printing of his book which, incidentally, I believe should have wide interest throughout the Church.’

I answered Dr. Robinson’s letter and told him that it is understood that Brother Wood alone is responsible for the printing of this book – that I had glanced through some of the pictures which he proposes to print with a copy of the first edition of the Book of Mormon, but that for these and whatever else is printed in the book Dr. Robinson and Brother Wood will be responsible; that it is not a Church publication.

Tuesday, February 4, 1958

    Deseret News Publishing Company

      P.O. Box 1257       EMpire 4-2581

    Salt Lake City, Utah

February 6, 1958

President David O. McKay

Office of the First Presidency

47 East South Temple Street


Dear President McKay:

A few days ago, Brother Wilford C. Wood came in with some pictures and materials which he wants us to print into a book for him.  In view of the fact that the materials covered in somewhat of an intimate way the events connected with the organization and early history of the Church, including uncut sheets of the first edition of the Book of Mormon, I suggested that he have a talk with you before we gave him our decision whether or not we would print the book.  He tells me he has had a chat with you and that you see no reason why the material should not be published.  Consequently, we have agreed to handle the printing of his book which, incidentally, I believe should have wide interest throughout the Church.

If you have any suggestions or instructions to us in respect to this matter, will you please let us have them.  Otherwise, we will move ahead with this project.

Thank you, and continued sincerest best personal wishes.


/s/ O. Preston Robinson

General Manager


Tuesday, February 4, 1958

February 6, 1958

Dr. O. Preston Robinson, General Manager

Deseret News Publishing Company

P.O. Box 1257

Salt Lake City, Utah

Dear Brother Robinson:

In reply to your letter of February 6, 1958 regarding Brother Wilford C. Wood’s request to print in book form pictures and manuscripts that he has assembled, I will say that it is understood that Brother Wood alone is responsible for the printing of this book.

For a few moments Wednesday morning I glanced through some of the pictures which he proposes to print with a copy of the first edition of the Book of Mormon.  For these and whatever else is printed in the book you and he will be responsible.

It is not a Church publication.

Very truly yours,

David O. McKay”

Tues., 1 Apr., 1958:

“1:30 p.m. – Left for home.

Just before leaving for home called Dr. Lowell L. Bennion and arranged for him to come to the house this afternoon.  (see following notes)

At Home

4:30 p.m.  Conference with Dr. Lowell L. Bennion.  Asked him to give a talk at the general priesthood meeting next Saturday evening.  I told him that I disapproved of the custom among young men and women, when attending dances, to dance all evening with the partner who accompanied them to the dance.  I asked Dr. Bennion to discourage this practice in his talk, and also to bring up any other problems concerning youth he thought wise and proper.

Tuesday, April 1, 1958

Telephone conversation with Elder Lowell L. Bennion, Director, Institute of Religion, University of Utah, Tuesday, April 1, 1958.

President McKay:  Hello, Brother Bennion.

Brother Bennion:  Yes.

President McKay:  Where are you?

Brother Bennion:  I am at the Institute.

President McKay:  What time do you leave this afternoon?

Brother Bennion:  Well, I can leave any time President McKay.  I am through teaching for the day.

President McKay:  You will be there this afternoon?

Brother Bennion:  Yes sir.

President McKay:  I should like to see you this afternoon.  Do you have a car there?

Brother Bennion:  Yes sir.  I could come any time to any place.

President McKay:  May I call you this afternoon?

Brother Bennion:  Yes.

President McKay:  All right, I shall call you.  I should like to see you.

Brother Bennion:  All right.

(Later at home President McKay talked to Brother Bennion and asked him to deliver an address at the General Priesthood Meeting in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, April 5, 1958, paying particular attention to teenagers and their practice at dancing parties, of partners dancing together all evening, and not asking others to dance with them, as well as other teenage problems.  Brother Bennion willingly accepted the appointment and made a masterful address at the Priesthood Meeting.)”

Fri., 6 Feb., 1959:

10 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. – The regular meeting of the First Presidency continued.

Books by General Authorities to be submitted to First Presidency.

At this meeting I stated that the General authorities of the Church should be informed that the First Presidency except no book to be published unless it be first submitted.  The Authority will still be the author, but the First Presidency want to know what is in the book before it is published.  In the minds of the people the General Authorities in their individual capacities cannot be separated from them in their official capacities.

Many other Church problems were brought up and considered.

Sun., 8 Feb., 1959:

“Came down to the office this morning.  Called Joseph Anderson and asked him to get a copy of Bruce McConkie’s book ‘Mormon Doctrine’ and then place it on my desk.

This he did, and later I took the book to my home where I studied the book, and made an outline of questions that I shall take up with Brother McConkie when he meets with the First Presidency next Wednesday morning.  I then went to the office and dictated my notes to the dictaphone.  (see 1959 file for notes.)”

Tues., 10 Feb., 1959:

“8:30 a.m.  – Attended the regular meeting of the First Presidency.

Dr. Kimball Young’s book – ‘Isn’t One Wife Enough?’

I took into this meeting a report from Elder LaMar S. Williams of an audition of a tape recording of a radio broadcast given by Martin Malone of the Speech Department of the Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, of a book by Dr. Kimball Young (head of the Department of Sociology of Northwestern Universtiy) entitled ‘Isn’t One Wife Enough?’, being an attempt to ridicule and slander the Church through the polygamy issue.  The review had been broadcast as one of a series in the University’s Americana programs.  After reading Brother Williams’ report of the radio broadcast, it was decided to refer the material to President Edmunds of the Chicago Stake, with the request that he look into the matter for the Church.

Wed., 11 Feb., 1959:

“8:30 to 9:45 a.m.

The First Presidency met with Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the First Council of Seventy.”

Thurs., 5 Mar., 1959:

“2:35 p.m. to 2:40 p.m. — Elder Mark E. Petersen and Elder Marion G. Romney called at my request.  I asked them if they would together go over Elder Bruce R. McConkie’s book, ‘Mormon Doctrine’ and make a list of the corrections that should be made preparatory to his sending out an addendum to all members of the Church who have purchased his book.

Wed., 21 Oct. 1959:

11:40 to 1:00 p.m.

Conference with Clare and her secretary, Irene Hougaard.  I told Irene to have nothing to do with the members of the so-called ‘Digest Group’ with whom she has been associated.  This group has been meeting against Church counsel.  They have a project to compile and publish a book on Church doctrine and scripture, and associated with this project have been dreams, revelations, parables.  Irene’s part in this project is to be of such import that it is likened unto the power of the atomic bomb.  She has been told by Elder Mark E. Petersen, her Stake President, and by me on two different occasions to have nothing to do with this group.”

Thurs., 7 Jan. 1960:

10:15 to 12:45 p.m.

Re:  The book – ‘Mormon Doctrine’

The First Presidency met with Elders Mark E. Petersen and Marion G. Romney.  They submitted their report upon their examination of the book ‘Mormon Doctrine’ by Elder Bruce McConkie.

These brethren reported that the manuscript of the book ‘Mormon Doctrine’ had not been read by the reading committee; that President Joseph Fielding Smith did not know anything about it until it was published.  Elder Petersen stated that the extent of the corrections which he had marked in his copy of the book (1067) affected most of the 776 pages of the book.  He also said that he thought the brethren should be under the rule that no book should be published without a specific approval of the First Presidency.

I stated that the decision of the First Presidency and the Committee should be announced to the Twelve.

It was agreed that the necessary corrections are so numerous that to republish a corrected edition of the book would be such an extensive repudiation of the original as to destroy the credit of the author; that the republication of the book should be forbidden and that the book should be repudiated in such a way as to save the career of the author as one of the General Authorities of the Church.  It was also agreed that this decision should be announced to the Council of the Twelve before I talk to the author.

Elder Petersen will prepare an editorial for publication in the Improvement Era, stating the principle of approval of books on Church doctrine.  A rough draft will be submitted to us for approval. 

January 7, 1960



The Council of the Twelve

47 E. South Temple Street

        Salt Lake City, Utah

      January 28, 1959 

President David O. McKay


Dear President McKay:

This is my report on MORMON DOCTRINE, by Bruce R. McConkie, which on January 5, you asked me to read.

The book is a 776 page work which, in the words of the author, purports to be, ‘the first major attempt to digest, explain, and analyze all of the important doctrines of the kingdom … the first extensive compendium of the whole gospel–the first attempt to publish an encyclopedic commentary covering the whole field of revealed religion.’

‘For the work itself,’ the author assumes the ‘sole and full responsibility.’  (Exhibit I)  (The exhibits cited in this report consist of printed pages from the book.  The statements in point are underscored in red.)

Preparation of the volume has entailed much study and research.  Its favorable reception evidences a felt need for such a treatise.

The author is an able and thorough student of the gospel.  In many respects he has produced a remarkable book.  Properly used, it quickly introduces the student to the authorities on most any gospel subject.

As to the book itself, notwithstanding its many commendable and valuable features and the author’s assumption of ‘sole and full responsibility’ for it, its nature and scope and the authoritative tone of the style in which it is written pose the question as to the propriety of the author’s attempting such a project without assignment and supervision from him whose right and responsibility it is to speak for the Church on ‘Mormon Doctrine.’  Had the work been authoritatively supervised, some of the following matters might have been omitted and the treatment of others modified.

A. References to churches and other groups who do not accept ‘Mormon Doctrine’.

1.  ‘Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,’ who sometimes refer to themselves as ‘Josephites’.  (Exhibit II-1, pages 50, 141, 362)

2.  ‘Christian Churches’ generally.  (Exhibit II-2, pages 139, 455)

3.  ‘Catholic Church’.  (Exhibit II-3, pages 13, 66, 69, 129, 130, 216, 241,

242, 314-15, 342, 346, 350, 422, 499, 511, 697)

4.  Communists and Catholics.  (Exhibit II-4, pages 26-7, 131)

5.  Evolution and Evolutionists.  (Exhibit II-5, pages 37, 77, 136, 180, 228,

238, 659)

B.  Declaration as to ‘Mormon Doctrine’ on controversial issues.

1.  ‘Pre-Adamites’.  (Exhibit III-1, pages 17, 262)

2.  Status of Animals and Plants in the Garden of Eden.  (Exhibit III-2, pages

36, 234-35)

3.  Meaning of the various accounts of Creation.  (Exhibit III-3, pages 157-8, 167- 8)

4.  Dispensation of Abraham.  (Exhibit III-4, page 203)

5.  Moses a translated being.  (Exhibit III-5, pages 206, 445, 466, 727-8)

6.  Origin of Individuality.  (Exhibit III-6, page 404)

7.  Defiling the priesthood.  (Exhibit III-7, page 437)

8.  Manner in which Jesus was Begotten.  (Exhibit III-8, page 494)

9.  Written sermons.  (Exhibit III-9, pages 634-5, 716)

          10.   Resurrection of stillborn children.  (Exhibit III-10, page 694)

C.  Miscellaneous Interpretations.  (Exhibit IV)

Frequency of Administrations, page 22

Baptism in the ‘molten sea,’ page 98

II Peter 1:19, page 102

Paul married, page 112

Status of those ‘with Christ in His Resurrection’, page 128

Consecration of oil, page 147

Councils and schools among the Gods, page 151

Limitations on Deity, page 154

Sunday not a proper day for family reunions, page 254

Geological changes at time of the deluge, page 268

The Holy Ghost a spirit man, page 329

Facing east in temples when giving the Hosanna Shout, page 337

Details on family prayer and asking the blessing on food, page 526

Women to be gods, page 551

Interpretation of the Doctrine and Covenants 93:1, page 581

Interpretation of ‘Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning,’ page 606

Status of little children in the celestial kingdom, page 607

Resumption of schools of the prophets, page 613

Time of beginning of seasons, page 616

Interpretation of III Nephi 12:20, page 618

D.  Repeated use of the word ‘apostate’ and related terms in a way which to many seems discourteous and to others gives offense.  (Exhibit V, pages 123, 125, 160, 169, 212, 223, 383, 528, 538, 546, 548, 596)

Faithfully and Respectfully submitted,

Marion G. Romney



As per my letter to you of January 9. I have promised to contact Marvin Wallin, manager of Bookcraft Company, by the 9th of February about the 4,000 volume edition of MORMON DOCTRINE which he is holding.

I shall therefore seek to contact you about the matter near the end of next week.



Note:  Original letter and copy of manuscript in First Presidency’s Office.”

Fri., 8 Jan. 1960:

“11:55 to 12:15 p.m.

The First Presidency held a meeting.  We decided that Bruce R. McConkie’s book, ‘Mormon Doctrine’ recently published by Bookcraft Company, must not be re-published, as it is full of errors and misstatements, and it is most unfortunate that it has received such wide circulation.  It is reported to us that Brother McConkie has made corrections in his book, and is now preparing another edition.  We decided this morning that we do not want him to publish another edition.

We decided, also, to have no more books published by General Authorities without their first having the consent of the First Presidency.  (See January 7, 1960) (also see Jan. 27, 1960)

Thurs., 14 Jan. 1960:

“8:30 to 9:50 a.m.

Was engaged in the meeting of the First Presidency.  Among matters discussed at this meeting were the following:

(1) Elder Mark E. Petersen’s Proposed Editorial on Books by General Authorities

A draft of a proposed editorial for the Improvement Era, prepared by Elder Mark E. Petersen, on the subject of selecting good books, and upon the approval of the publication of books by the First Presidency, was read.  After consideration it was decided that the general statement, without the reference to ‘Mormon Doctrine’, and, ‘ancient America and the Book of Mormon’, which should be handled separately, would be a suitable editorial on the subject of selecting good books.  Further action on the matter of publishing a statement relating to the approval of books by the First Presidency was deferred awaiting consideration of the subject by me with President Joseph Fielding Smith.

Wed., 27 Jan. 1960:

3:00 p.m.  

Conference with Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith

Re: Bruce R. McConkie’s book ‘Mormon Doctrine’

At the request of the First Presidency, I called President Joseph Fielding Smith, and told him that we are a unit in disapproving of Brother Bruce R. McConkie’s book, ‘Mormon Doctrine’, as an authoritative exposition of the principles of the gospel.

I then said: ‘Now, Brother Smith, he is a General Authority, and we do not want to give him a public rebuke that would be embarrassing to him and lessen his influence with the members of the Church, so we shall speak to the Twelve at our meeting in the Temple tomorrow, and tell them that Brother McConkie’s book is not approved as an authoritative book, and that it should not be republished, even if the errors (some 1,067 of them) are corrected.’

Brother Smith agreed with this suggestion to report to the Twelve, and said, ‘That is the best thing to do.’

I then said that Brother McConkie is advocating by letter some of the principles as printed in his book in answer to letters he receives.  Brother Smith said, ‘I will speak to him about that.’  I then mentioned that he is also speaking on these subjects, and Brother Smith said, ‘I will speak to him about that also.’

I also said that the First Presidency had decided that General Authorities of the Church should not publish books without submitting them to some member of the General Authorities, and President Smith agreed to this as being wise.”

Thurs., 28 Jan. 1960:

“8:30 to 9 a.m.  Bruce R. McConkie’s Book

Was engaged in the meeting of the First Presidency.  I reported to my counselors that I had talked with President Joseph Fielding Smith about the decision that the book ‘Mormon Doctrine’ should not be republished and about handling the matter to avoid undermining Brother McConkie’s influence.  President Smith agreed that the book should not be republished, and said that he would talk with Brother McConkie.  It was decided that the First Presidency should inform Brother McConkie before he learns of our decision from some other source, so Brother McConkie was asked to come into our meeting this morning.

When he arrived, I informed him of the desire of the First Presidency with reference to his book not being republished, to which he agreed.  The recommendation was also made that he answer inquiries on the subject with care.  Brother McConkie said, ‘I am amenable to whatever you Brethren want.  I will do exactly what you want.  I will be as discreet and as wise as I can.’  In answering letters he said that he would express no views contrary to views which the First Presidency has expressed.  He said that he would conform in every respect.

Many other matters of importance were considered at our meeting this morning, and then we dismissed to attend the Council meeting in the temple.

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

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

At Council meeting I reported to the Brethren our decision regarding Elder Bruce R. McConkie’s book ‘Mormon Doctrine,’ stating that it had caused considerable comment throughout the Church, and that it has been a source of concern to the Brethren ever since it was published.  I said that this book had not been presented to anyone for consideration or approval until after its publication.  I further said that the First Presidency have given it very careful consideration, as undoubtedly have some of the Brethren of the Twelve also, and that the First Presidency now recommend that the book be not republished; that it be not republished even in a corrected form, even though Brother McConkie mentions in the book that he takes all responsibility for it; and that it be not recognized as an authoritative book.

I said further that the question has arisen as to whether a public correction should be made and an addendum given emphasizing the parts which are unwisely presented or misquoted or incorrect; but it is felt that that would not be wise because Brother McConkie is one of the General Authorities, and it might lessen his influence.  The First Presidency recommend that the situation be left as it is, and whenever a question about it arises, we can answer that it is unauthoritative; that it was issued by Brother McConkie on his own responsibility, and he must answer for it.

I reported that the First Presidency had talked with Brother McConkie this morning, and he said he will do whatever the Brethren want him to do.  He will not attempt to republish the book, nor to say anything by letter, and if he answers letters or inquiries that he will answer them in accordance with the suggestions made by the Brethren, and not advocate those things concerning which question has been raised as contained in the book.

The Brethren unanimously approved of this.

I then said that the First Presidency further recommend that when any member of the General Authorities desires to write a book, that the Brethren of the Twelve or the First Presidency be consulted regarding it.  While the author need not get the approval of these Brethren, they should know before it is published that a member of the General authorities wants to publish a book.  I said it may seem all right for the writer of the book to say, ‘I only am responsible for it,’ but I said ‘you cannot separate your position from your individuality, and we should like the authors to present their books to the Twelve or a Committee appointed.’  I asked the Brethren of the Twelve to convey this information to the other General Authorities.  On motion, this became the consensus of the Council.”

Thurs., 18 Feb. 1960:

10 a.m. to 1:45 a.m.

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

One matter considered at this meeting was Brother Mark E. Petersen’s report on an assignment given him to investigate a game called ‘Exaltation’, which has been prepared by the Bookcraft Company, and which is being sold in various stores, Z.C.M.I., Deseret Book Company, etc., and said that he had made an investigation of the game and explained to the Brethren just what that nature of it is.

I commented that the Church is a sacred institution; that it is the only ‘Light’ that the world has today; the only means by which peace can be established and the world saved, and anything that will cast reflection upon it should be avoided.  I said I certainly did not think that such games are uplifting when played in a group of people who are assembled for pleasure and recreation.  I said that devotion and reverence are elements that need to be developed.  Humor, amusement, recreation, are elements intended to build character also, but the name of deity should not be associated with amusement and pleasure.  I feel that the association used in this game is not reverential, and I think it would be well to let the Bookcraft Company know that we look upon the selling of this game in that way.”

Wed., 9 Mar. 1960:

“Note by cm

Judging Our Fellow Men

This morning, President McKay read from the publication called ‘The Pointer’, printed by the Prison at the point of the mountain, all six verses of a poem entitled ‘A Convict’s Plea for Understanding.’  (see copy of poem following)

After reading it, he looked up and said, ‘You know, we cannot judge our fellow men — it is not our place to do so, and I’ll not do it.’

Wednesday, March 9, 1960


(By Johnnie DeYoung)

Don’t find fault with the man who limps,

or stumbles along the road,

Unless you have worn the shoes he wears,

or struggled beneath his load.

The burden may cause him to bow his head,

and hide the way from view,

Or the burden he bears,

if placed on your back,

Might cause you to stumble too.

Don’t sneer at the man who is down today,

unless you have felt the blow,

That caused his fall, or felt the shame,

that only the fallen know.

You may be strong, but still the blows,

that were his, if dealt to you,

In the self-same way, and self-same time,

might cause you to stagger too.

Don’t be harsh with a man who’s sinned,

or pelt him with words or stones,

Unless you are sure, yes, doubly sure,

that you have no sins of your own.

For you know that if the tempter’s voice

should whisper so soft to you,

As it did to him when he went astray,

it might cause you to falter too.”

Sat., 2 Apr. 1960:

7 p.m.

Presided at and conducted the proceedings of the general Priesthood meeting held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.  Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the First Council of Seventy, Presidents Clark and Moyle, and I were the speakers on this occasion.  This meeting was relayed by closed circuit to an estimated audience of 55,000 gathered in 244 buildings throughout the United States, and Canada.  It was the largest Priesthood gathering in the history of the Church.”

Fri., 9 June 1961:

Clare called me at the apartment and said that Elder Ezra Taft Benson had called and left a message that he was greatly concerned over what had been reported to him about the MIA play, ‘Promised Valley’.  He said that he has heard that in one scene there is ‘too much kissing’, and in the ‘sparkin’ on a Sunday afternoon’ scene is not what it should be.  I told her that we would judge that after we have seen it this afternoon.

5 p.m.

Sister McKay and I attended the MIA’s production of the play ‘Promised Valley’ held in the Kingsbury Hall, U of U Campus.

The original of this production was composed by Dr. Crawford Gates at the request of the Centennial Commission of which I was Chairman in 1947.  I was, therefore, very interested in seeing this musical again after all these years.  It received wide acclaim at the time.  Sister McKay and I thought this production by amateurs was wonderful, and much credit should be given to the MIA drama directors for the excellence of the entire play.  There was nothing in it that could be criticized.  I understand that this play will not be produced throughout the stakes and wards of the Church.”

Sat., 10 June 1961:

“At 8 o’clock, I met by appointment at his request, Brother Willard Marriott of Washington, D.C. who asked what his attitude should be with his hotel business in states that permit the sale of liquor in hotels.

I told him that my attitude is that this is a matter of a business company, and he is to conduct it on as high a plane as he possibly can and wherever it conflicts with the duties of his Church, we shall have to release him.  These hotels are run by Hotel Boards made up of non-members of the Church in Texas, Chicago, Illinois, Washington, D.C., and other places in the United States.  Some of these members of the Board say, reported by Brother Marriott, ‘Why should we permit Marriott to let his religion affect his business interests?’

I said, ‘So far as I am concerned, there is no more difference in your hotels conducting the hotel regarding the sale of liquor in accordance with the laws of the State, than for Z.C.M.I. to sell tobacco, tea, and coffee.’  I further said, ‘If a Chairman or a member of the Board of these hotels permit the business to interfere with his Church duties, it is up to the church to deal with him.  Otherwise, I cannot see any objection to it.’

Spent the afternoon at home with Sister McKay.”

Fri., 10 May 1963:

8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Was engaged in the meetings of the First Presidency and also of the Presiding Bishopric.  Among other matters, we took up the following:

Mormonism – A New Look At (Book)

We looked at a new book called ‘A New Look at Mormonism’, which has just come off the press.  The text is by John W. Rich and the cartoons by Fred O. Alsteh.

I said that the book, its caricature nature, having an effect of holding up sacred subjects to mirth and ridicule, is in very poor taste.

Tues., 18 June 1963:

12:45 to 1:00 p.m.

Elder Ezra Taft Benson came in and said that complaints had come to him about the ZCMI Fashion show and the displaying of gowns used by acress Elizabeth Taylor in the movie ‘Cleopatra’.  I asked Brother Benson to contact Harold Bennett, Manager of ZCMI and make inquiry into this matter.

Later, Harold Bennett telephoned and said that the Fashion Show at ZCMI is arranged; that they have engaged the Hotel Utah and the women have paid for their tickets, and that there is no way that they can stop this show as Elder Benson had told him he would have to do.  Brother Bennett said that the gowns that have been sent are beautiful and that there is nothing indecent about them.  They will be careful that the film ‘Cleopatra’ will not be ‘played up’ too much.  I told him under those circumstances he could go ahead with their plans.”

Tues., 25 June 1963:

“Church of the First-Born

I reviewed briefly activities of representatives of the Church of the First Born at the Saturday meetings of Stake Conferences held by the MIA where tracts are offered to members leaving the meetings.  Specifically, the instance is related where the tracts were distributed among young men of the Aaronic Priesthood while dismissal of the Auxiliary Conference meeting was awaited.  The Stake President was informed that representatives were outside awaiting opportunity to pass out the tracts.  The President informed the people to reject the tracts.

The announcement of Bishop Hector J. Spencer of the Dublan Ward, Juarez Stake, in the sacrament meeting that he was resigning as Bishop because he had become a member of the Church of the First Born was also considered.  The earlier decision to ignore the activities of the Church of the First Born and to treat them with silence was commented upon.  I said that the time has come to inform our people with the facts about this group.  President Moyle said Henry Richards of the East Mill Creek Stake Presidency has assembled and published a good statement of facts in his effort to save Steven Silver from this apostate group.  I asked that a copy of Brother Richards’ material be obtained before tomorrow morning.”

Thurs., 4 Mar. 1965:

Note by CM

A man by the name of Terry from Arizona came into the office regarding a biography he is writing on President McKay.  This man has no permission from President McKay or any member of the family to write this book, but he insists that he has a right to go forward with his writings.  He had talked to Llewelyn McKay, who informed Brother Terry that President McKay’s sister, Jeannette McKay Morrell, is writing a biography, and that he felt he should not continue with his work.  Brother Terry says that he wishes to write President McKay’s biography from a layman’s point of view.

In presenting this matter later to President McKay, he said, ‘We cannot stop him from writing a book; that is his privilege.’  I told President McKay that as his secretary I had given the man no encouragement, nor had I given him any information.”

Tues., 20 Apr. 1965:

John W. Taylor, Reinstatement of

President Brown mentioned that Samuel Taylor, a son of John W. Taylor, is appealing for the reinstatement of his father, John W. Taylor, to membership in the Church and restoration of his blessings. 

I said that I should like to talk with Samuel Taylor, and that he be requested to call on me.

Wed., 12 May 1965:

“8:00 a.m.

By appointment met with Samuel W. Taylor this morning.  Presidents Brown and Tanner were also present.  Brother Taylor appealed for the reinstatement to membership and restoration of former blessings for his father, John W. Taylor, who, as a member of the Twelve, was excommunicated from the Church March 28, 1911, and who passed away October 10, 1916.

I ruled, in which my counselors agreed, that authorization be given for this reinstatement and restoration.  The matter will be reported to the Council of the Twelve in the meeting of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve tomorrow.

Fri., 14 May 1965:

8:30 a.m.

Meeting of the First Presidency.  Among matters discussed were:

John W. Taylor – Reinstatement of

President Brown reported that the Twelve had yesterday passed favorably upon the reinstatement of John W. Taylor.  He mentioned that the Brethren raised one question which they were not prepared to answer; namely, in the restoration of John W. Taylor’s blessings the question was raised as to what Priesthood should be restored to him — in other words, should he be restored to the Apostleship.  I said that he should simply be given the Melchizedek Priesthood and the blessings of the Temple, and that President Joseph Fielding Smith should take care of this restoration.

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:

‘Dialogue’ – A Journal of Mormon Thought – BYU Professors on Board

There was read to the Brethren a letter from Richard L. Bushman, Member of the Board of Editors, and Eugene England, Jr., Managing Editor of ‘Dialogue’, a Journal of Mormon Thought.  These brethren explain that they are making plans for a quarterly journal to be called ‘Dialogue’ in the hope that this magazine will reach people who do not respond to the usual appeals of the Church.  They indicate that various Church leaders with whom they have spoken have expressed interest in the project.  They are sending out announcements describing their policies and their hopes for the magazine, and express the hope that the magazine will appeal particularly to students who seem to lose interest in the Gospel while under the influence of secular learning.  They say that they will indicate explicitly in each issue that the magazine does not presume to speak for the Church.  They state, however, that they would be pleased to have individual General Authorities submit articles appropriate for the magazine.  President Tanner mentioned that when this matter had been discussed on a previous occasion by the Presidency, it was decided that we would not want to endorse anyone becoming a member of the staff of the magazine, nor would we wish to refuse to permit members of the BYU faculty to take a position on the staff.  It was the sentiment at that time that we do not think it wise to oppose it nor to support it.  President Tanner mentioned that they have been in touch with some of our professors at the BYU and some have agreed to be on their board.  It was the general sentiment of the Brethren that we would not wish to become involved in the matter in any way.

The brethren thought it is not necessary to answer the letter.”

Thurs., 10 Feb. 1966:

“8:30 a.m.

Met with Counselors — Presidents Brown and Tanner — in a meeting of the First

Presidency.  President Smith is meeting with the Council of the Twelve in the Temple, and President Isaacson is in the hospital.

Some of the matters considered by us were:

General Authorities – To Consult With First Presidency or Twelve Before Authoring or Publishing Books

There was called to our attention an action by the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, January 28, 1960, to the effect that when any member of the General Authorities desires to write a book, the Brethren of the Twelve or the First Presidency should be consulted regarding it, that while the author need not obtain the approval of these Brethren, they should know of its proposed publication before it is published, and that the authors should present their books to the Twelve or a committee appointed to consider the matter.

In this connection, it was mentioned that certain ones of the Brethren of the General Authorities have published and are now considering publishing books without consulting the First Presidency or Twelve.

We decided to send a copy of the action of the Council referred to each of the General Authorities for their information and guidance.

Tues., 5 July 1966:

“8:00 a.m.

Publishing of Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie

According to appointment, I met with Brother Bruce R. McConkie, of the First Council of Seventy.  Brother McConkie discussed the matter of re-publishing his book ‘Mormon Doctrine’.  I asked him a number of questions about the original publication, about the need for the book, and asked him to give me the facts about what has been done since we stopped the publishing of the book.

He said that the book has been read with care by one of the brethren, but no one has gone over the corrections he has made since the reading.

I told Brother McConkie that should the book be re-published at this time, he will be responsible for what is in it, and that it will not be a Church publication.  I said that Elder Spencer W. Kimball who has in the past been chairman of the Reading Committee should check the changes that he has made as a result of the prior reading.

I asked Brother McConkie to meet with Brother Kimball and give him this message.

Tuesday, July 5, 1966

July 8, 1966

Dear Clare:

On Tuesday, July 5, 1966, I had the privilege of meeting with President David O. McKay and discussing the republishing of my book, Mormon Doctrine.  At your request, I give the following information:

President McKay discussed the entire matter with me, asked numerous questions about the original publication, about the need for the book, and about what had happened since its publication.  We discussed the fact that the book had been read with care by one of the Brethren, but that no one had gone over the corrections I had made as a result of this reading.  President McKay indicated that the book should be republished at this time, said that I should be responsible for what was in it, that it would not be a church publication, and that Elder Spencer W. Kimball, who has in the past been chairman of the Reading Committee, should check the changes I have made in it as a result of the prior reading.  He asked me to meet with Brother Kimball and convey this message.  I did so and Brother Kimball graciously agreed to do this as his time and circumstances permitted.

Please accept my sincere appreciation for your help and cooperation in this matter.


Bruce R. McConkie


Thurs., 1 June 1967:

“8:30 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency with Presidents Brown and Tanner.  President Smith was meeting with the Twelve in the Temple.

Dialogue Magazine – Statement concerning printed in the Priesthood Bulletin of March-June, 1967.

The following statement appeared in the March-June 1967 issue of The Priesthood Bulletin concerning Dialogue Magazine:

“Dialogue Magazine

In answer to questions from stake and ward leaders and from individual members of the Church, the magazine Dialogue is an independent magazine, privately owned, operated and edited.  It has no connection with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints either officially or unofficially.  Articles appearing in this publication are never submitted to Church Authorities for approval and therefore are the sole responsibility of the editors.’

Fri., 1 Dec., 1967:

“Did not hold a meeting of the First Presidency today.

Dialogue Magazine

Elder Dyer read to me an article which appeared in “Time” magazine in 1966 concerning the quarterly magazine “Dialogue”, edited and published by “liberals” and University professors. I was surprised at the content of the “Time” magazine article, but glad that the Council of the Twelve members are aware of what is going on in this regard, and are giving their attention to it.


I also read to the President an article which appeared in Time Magazine in 1966, concerning the quarterly magazine “Dialogue”. Elder Benson had advised me that the continued publication of the magazine, and of its liberal content, was a matter of discussion in the Quorum of the Twelve meeting on Thursday, November 30. The President was both interested and surprised at the content of the Time Magazine article.

Wed., 24 Jan., 1968:

“9:45 a. m.

Met with my Counselors, Presidents Hugh B. Brown, Nathan Eldon Tanner, and Joseph Fielding Smith, also Elder Alvin R. Dyer, who meets in all meetings of the First Presidency when held with me at the office in the Hotel Utah apartment.

Brigham Young University – Truman Madsen Information Service 

President Brown requested that Truman Madsen, who has depleted a small cash budget allotted him by the First Presidency to keep in touch with certain book publications (details not given), be given $500 as a budget to continue this work. We approved of this appropriation.

Elder Dyer asked President Brown if Truman Madsen, Professor at the BYU, had any connection with “Dialogue” magazine, and President Brown answered “Absolutely none. ” Later, I was informed that Brother Madsen had written an article on the subject of “Joseph Smith and the Sources of Love”, published in the “Dialogue” magazine, Volume I, No. 1, 1966 issue.

Wed., Sept. 17, 1969:

Meeting of the First Presidency

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


President Tanner said that Eugene England, one of the editors of ‘Dialogue’ had called on him and was very serious about his connection with ‘Dialogue’ and said he wanted to retire from the project.  President Tanner said he told him that there was one thing he had to do and that was protect his name and he did not see how he could do that with the kind of stuff that is going into the magazine.  President Tanner said Brother England wants to do what the Church wants him to do.”

Wed., Sept. 24, 1969:

9:20 a.m.  Meeting of the First Presidency in the President’s Hotel Apartment.  Present were Presidents Hugh B. Brown and N. Eldon Tanner.

The following matters were discussed:

Obert C. Tanner

President Brown mentioned Obert C. Tanner, son of J. M. Tanner, and said he had had some dealings with him of late and he thought he was a very capable man and that his books are well written.  President Brown thought that we ought to be using his services in some way although he understood that there is some prejudice against him.