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David O. McKay Diaries – “Word of Wisdom”

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

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Tues., 17 Jan., 1939:

“President George H. Robinson of the Bear Lake Stake called and considered the following question:

Where should the line be drawn in releasing or sustaining officers of the Church who are selling tobacco and beer?

Answer:  Thus far tobacco has been considered a commodity that might be kept in stores and sold as other commodities, and an officer of the Church is not considered to be out of harmony who deals in that product.

With beer it is different–beer is intoxicating.  No Stake Officer, member of a Bishopric, or President of a Quorum, or an officer in an auxiliary should be sustained who sells beer to young people.”

Thur., 30 Jan., 1947:

“After council meeting phoned to Ward Holbrook at the Capitol. Following our conversation when you called at the office a few days ago, I have been looking into the matter about which we talked. It seems that something had better be done about it. Confidentially, the qustion came up today in our meeting of the First Presidency and Twelve as to the interpretation of the law regarding drinking.  The sentiment of the Twelve is to exclude drinking from the hotel entirely.  It is understood that it is against the law to drink in a hotel, but there seems to be some question about it.  The law reads as follows: ‘No person shall drink liquor in a public building, park, or stadium, or be in an intoxicated condition in a public place.’  Is it possible for us to get the ruling on that?  It is Rule #46-0-168.

We heard recently that some man ‘threw’ a big party at the hotel and took whiskey and served it to his guests.  That was several months ago.  We should like to exclude liquor entirely from the hotel, and if we can have the interpretation of this law, and if it applies to this place, we can take action.  If the law doesn’t apply, then, let’s amend it so it will.”

Fri., 7 Mar., 1947:

“Called Ward Holbrook at the Senate Office andasked him if there is a law against advertising beer or tobacco in the State.  I explained that I asked this because I am worried about letting the beer manufacturers put floats in our Centennial parade, and that if there is a law against advertising of their products that that will answer them.  Brother Holbrook said that he would have the law looked up and call me back. . . .

Mr. David King, reference attorney for the Senate, called me at the request of Senator Holbrook, with reference to State Laws on advertising of beer, tobacco, and liquor.  He gave the following information:

Section: 93-2-1:  It is a misdemeanor for any person to display on any billboard, street car, blackboard, or any other object or place of display any advertisement of cigarettes, cigarette papers, cigars, chewing tobacco or smoking tobacco.

Beer and Whiskey.  Sections 46-0-181, 46-0-182:  The advertising of alcoholic beverages by the Liquor Commission and any window display thereof in its stores are hereby expressly prohibited.

Section 46-0-182:  The prohibition against advertising of alcoholic beverages and against window displays in liquor stores of the Commission shall apply in like manner to all manufacturers and licensee of alcoholic beverages and to package agencies.  Proviso–provided further that advertising of light beer shall be permitted under such regulations as the Liquor Commission may make.”

Sat., 2 Oct., 1948:

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

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

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

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

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

Wed., 2 Feb., 1949:

“[Telephone call]  Bishop Wirthlin said he is assigned to the Mesa Stake Conference, and that question on ‘local option’ is coming up, that all of the outside churches are for it, and they want some word from us before we (the Church) commit ourselves.  Conditions in this respect in Mesa are pretty bad.  I said that there is but one ideal for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that is Prohibition.  We cannot deal with whiskey.  We stand for absolute Prohibition, based upon the revelation that ‘Strong drink is not good for man!’  Our people are justified in taking any stand that will lead toward that ideal condition.  They say that local option causes trouble–bootlegging, etc., but there is bootlegging right now.  The secret of success in local option is when the people vote for enforcement, and when it is known that public sentiment is for enforcement.

Brother Wirthlin then said that Murray at night is a ‘ghost town’ but just north of them towards 33rd South, there are ‘a lot of taverns that are completely surrounded with cars at midnight and after’ and that ‘there is something wrong somewhere.'”

Wed., 11 May, 1949:

“At 9:30 o’clock, President Parker of the Hillside Stake came in to ask whether the Presidency of that Stake shoiuld do anything further about the State Liquor Commission’s establishing a Liquor Store at the corner of 17th South and 17th East.  I reiterated my objections as follows:  First, that I think it very inadvisable to sell packages of whiskey in an icecream parlor.  Second, that it is inadvisable to have a liquor store in a residential district, particularly when that district is made up of young married couples just starting out, and Third, it is poor politics for the Liquor Commission to insist upon establishing a Liquor Store in a community, 90% of which are opposed to it.

Then I said that I have a Fourth objection, and that is that it will injure Brother and Sister Castleton and their family.

President Parker then said ‘It is rumored that you gave your consent; that you said you had no objections to the Liquor Store being established.’  I said: ‘I did not see how the rumor got started until last evening, and then I found out the source.’  Last Evening, Sister Castleton called by telephone at my home and said: ‘You remember, President McKay, that you said that you were glad that such people of high character as we–the Castletons–were going to conduct the store.’  ‘Oh,’ I said, ‘I don’t remember saying that I was glad that you were conducting it.  I have been afraid that it would be the ruination of you.’  I said to Sister Castleton, and shall repeat it here:  ‘It is the law that liquor stores should be established, and the higher the character of hte men and women who cnduct them, the better it will be for the community.  That is evident; If they have to have one, I shall be glad that you folks (the Castletons) have it, but I do think that it will be your ruination.’  Sister Castleton said: ‘Yes, I think it will be.’  I told Sister Castleton further–‘Because of the bitterness you have in your heart, which you cannot afford to have, toward your Bishop, you will be injured more than he will.’

I then reported to President Parker the suggestions that I made to Sister Castleton–in substance, they are as follows:

I asked Sister Castleton how much they had paid out in preparation for this liquor store, and she said ‘Oh, $1000 for lumber or something, $800 for something else.’  I said ‘Possibly $1800 or $2000’–She said ‘Yes.’  I said, ‘Suppose that you were reimbursed for that.  Would you be willing to give it up?’  She said, ‘I should have to think about that.  Who would reimburse us?’  I said, ‘Never mind that; if you were reimbursed, wiould you give it up and let the Bishop announce in the Ward that Brother and Sister Castleton had decided not to sell liquor?’  I said, ‘It would have a good effect upon you, upon the Community, upon your business.’ She said: ‘Well, I will have to think about it.’

So, while President Parker was still in my office, I called Sister Castleton by telephone, and asked her if she had considered the suggestion that I had made last evening.  She said, ‘No, I have not had much time to consider it, and haven’t consulted my husband regarding it.’  I said, ‘I still think it would be a good thin.’ She said, ‘Will they take the beer out of the store across the street?’  I said, ‘I cannot say anything about that; it may be that the will try.’  The Sister Castleton began to tirade against the Bishop again.  I said, ‘Will you think about it?’  She said she would think about it and call me.’

President Parker reported that the Young of the Ward–about 500 of them–petitioned to have the liquor store removed.  The petition has not been presented yet.

Later, Bishop Paul Newmeyer of the Mountain View Ward, Hillside Stake, said attorney Rex Hansen had had a conference with Commissioner Done of the Liquor Commission who said that Seegmiller was reported to be out of town today; that he didn’t know whether he was trying to avoid the issue of the liquor store on 17th East and 17th South.  He will check up on it.  Com. Done commented that if this store was pulled out, the Church could not think they would take others out.  Bishop Newmeyer said the people had threatened to picket the store and they don’t want that to happen.  Said Seegmiller should see that the store is taken out before that happens.”

Wed., 18 May, 1949:

“William W. Seegmiller called at the office regarding the controversy over establishing a package liquor store on 17th East and 17th South.  He said that he had talked with Mrs. Castleton and he believes that she will consider very favorably giving up the agency if they will reimburse them for the expense to which they have gone in preparation for such sales.

Later, called President Parker of the Hillside Stake who said he believed that the amount for reimbursement can be raised.  I told him that I would be glad to join them in contributing.”

Thur., 19 May, 1949:

“At 7 a.m.–came to the office and was busy with duties pertaining to correspondence, etc. until 8:30 a.m. when President Parker of the Hilside called–He said he thought it a good thing for Castletons to relinquish the store for liquor sales, and that Rex Hanson should call upon the Governor and see if the State cannot reimburse them rather than individuals to make contributions.”

Wed., 8 Jun., 1949:

“At 10:30 a.m.–W. W. Seegmiller of the Liquor Commission called with respect to the liquor store at 17th East and 17th South, stating that their plans had gone awry with the Castletons.

I called President Parker of the Hillside Stake, under whose jurisdiction this matter comes, and told him that I had learned this morning that things had reached a crisis with respect to the liquor store on 17th East and 17th South, and that it had come to me that the Bishop of the Mt. View Ward–Bishop Paul Newermeyer–is going to handle the Castletons for their fellowship.  I said that I had had a consultation with President Smith this morning; that we didn’t get very far financially, but that I had told Pres. Smith that I would be one of 18 to give a $100, and Pres. Smith said that he too would give that much in order to pay the Castletons.  I told President Parker to instruct Bishop Newermeyer not to take steps to handle those people.  Pres. Parker said that he had suggested to Bishop Newermeyer to have a talk with me as Pres. Parker believes that the Bishop is not sold on the idea of reimbursing the Castletons.  Said that the people up there are continually after the Bishop to have the store closed.  I said ‘We want the store closed, but we do not want to kill those people in doing it.’  Pres. Parker said he had talked to Seegmiller and hoped that he had stirred him up a little.  Said the Bishop feels if we help these people we shall be setting a precedent.  I said the Castletons were sincere in accepting the contract and that they will lose money if their store is closed.  I again told Pres. Parker to tell the Bishop not to take steps until he hears from me.”

Wed., 15 Jun., 1949:

“[Telephone call]  Governor J. Bracken Lee–called him and said that I thought I could save his time by talking to him over the telephone rather than coming to see him personally.  Told him that I had unwillingly been drawn into the liquor controversy on 17th East and 17th South.  Furthermore that I had been told that I had been quoted in the Governor’s presence as saying that I favored the continuance of this liquor store.  I told the Governor that that is of course a misstatement of fact that I had never made such a remark; that the condition under which this liquor store has been established is very unfavorable.  I then told the Governor that Pres. Parker and Bishop Newmeyer of the Mt. View Ward of the Hillside Stake had been in touch with me concerning this matter, and they have informed me that the people are quite determined to come in a body to the Governor’s office and petition to have the liquor store removed.  I stated that I think this matter can be settled amicably by reimbursing the Castletons for the amount of money they have expended on the store, and to this end have offered to contribute $100 to a fund to be raised in the amount of about $1800.  The Stake President was willing to contribute, but others refuse to settle the matter this way.

I then asked the Governor if it would be possible for the Finance Commission of the State to approve of making reimbursement to the Castletons and moving the liquor store away from this vicinity. I told the Governor that according to Mr. Seegmiller, the Liquor Commission has no funds with which to reimburse the Castletons. The Governor then said that he had given the matter some thought, and he wondered why the Castletons could not be moved to another store in another location; that the Castletons could then rent their home and use the money to rent another house.  The Governor said that he would call the Liquor Commission and see what could be done.

Later, I received a call from Governor Lee and he said that he had been in touch with the Liquor Commission and they will start looking for a new locatino for the Castletons right away, and that we should let things remain as they are until we hear further from them.

I then called President Parker of the Hillside Stake and gave him the result of my conversation with Governor Lee.  He seemed very pleased, and said that he would hold things in abeyance until he heard further from me.  He thought the moving of the Castletons to another location would be the solution to the whole situation.”

Thur., 23 Mar., 1950:

“Called Doyle Green, upon receipt of a letter from him dated March 23, in which he stated that the Editorial Staff had decided against publishing an article on sugar which I had sent to them sometime ago with the request that they publish it in an early issue of the magazine.  I told Brother Green that I wanted and had requested that that article be published, and that I should take all responsibility.  He answered that the reason for their decision was that it had not been proven scientifically sound, and I answered him, ‘Neither was the other article you published against sugar scientifically sound.'”

Tues., 16 May, 1950:

“[Telephone call] Mr. Castleton, operator of the liquor store on 17th East and 17th South, telephone and wanted to speak to President McKay with relation to having Pres. McKay release the governor from his promise that the store shall be closed.  It has been decreed by the Governor and Liquor Commission that that dispensary will be closed on the 18th.  (As President McKay was not in at the time he called, Mr. Castleton did not speak to him–he however reached President McKay later at his home, and President McKay told him that he would certainly not release the governor from his promise to close that store, and that he intended to have nothing more to do with the matter.)”

Wed., 17 May, 1950:

“At 7:30 a.m.–I received a telephone call at home from Mr. Castleton, ownder of the liquor store at 17th East and 17th South, who requested an appointment with me.  I told him that I was just out of the hospital and could not see him; and further, that I shall have nothing further to do with the matter.  He said that the Governor had ordered the liquor store closed on the 18th and asked that I relieve the Governor of his promise to me.  I told Mr. Castleton that he would have to see President Parker and the people up in that district who had petitioned that the store be closed; that I certainly would not ask the Governor to order that the store be not closed.

Note:  Orval Adams reported that he had received a visit from the Castletons (owner of the liquor store on 17th E. and 17th South) who asked him to intercede for them with Governor Lee that their liquor store be not closed.  He refused to give them any aid whatsoever in the matter.”

Thurs., 9 July, 1953:

Consultation with Bro. J. Percy Goddard

He talked mostly about the Word of Wisdom.  Said it is surprising how many members have to be excused from accepting responsibilities or who have to be released therefrom because of their ill health or of sickness in their families.  Yet such people, in nearly all cases, are not users of alcohol, tea, coffee, or tobacco.  Although our health statistics show better than for the nation as a whole, still we are wondering if by the exercise of more wisdom in the matter of diet we might not realize more fully the blessing promised in the concluding verses of the Word of Wisdom.  In a letter sent to me later by President Goddard he said:  ‘President McKay, we and  hundreds of others that we know, have good reason to believe that we are being richly rewarded by reason of our investigations and greater discrimination in our eating habits.  We are praying sincerely for wisdom in these matters and believe we have realized good results.  We do not believe, either, that we are entitled to be designated as ‘faddists.'”

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 

47 East South Temple Street,

Salt Lake City, Utah

May 13, 1954

Bishop Wilbur Emory Hammaker

The Methodist Church

110 Maryland Avenue, N.E.

Washington, 2, D.C.

Dear Bishop Hammaker:

Responsive to your request regarding a statement from me as to my personal attitude and the attitude of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which I am President, regarding the Bryson Bill, I am happy to make the following observations:

For almost a century and a quarter the Church has lived under a principle embodied in the revealed word which the Church knows as the Word of Wisdom (a law of health) which condemns the use of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and hot drinks, and calls for moderation in consumption of other foods.

For this entire time this Word of Wisdom has been preached from the pulpit as constantly and frequently as any other principle of the Restored Gospel which is proclaimed by the Church.

Under these circumstances, I as the President of the Church, and also the Church as a whole, always look with favor upon any measures that will reduce the consumption of alcoholic beverages.  We firmly believe that the use of intoxicating liquors is inimical to the health of all partakers and thus non-use becomes a cardinal welfare element in our whole social and economic life as a nation.

Since the advertising of these beverages under all the allurements which are now built around the advertisements, since the use of these advertisements has an undeniable tendency to increase the consumption of alcoholic drinks, particularly among the youth of the land — indeed, such must be admitted to be the purpose of the advertisements, in loyalty to our convictions, we earnestly support every proper and legal effort to decrease the use of alcoholic drinks by the people.

Therefore, I may say for myself and for the Church that we favor any legal measures that will bring about this result.

Sincerely yours,



*The Bryson Bill (H.R. 1227)

The Measure was presented by the late Joseph Bryson of South Carolina, a few months before his death.  It would make unlawful in interstate commerce alcoholic beverage advertising of all kinds.  Naturally, it would include air-borne beer and wine advertising that constitutes the most brazen and insidious attempt to induce favorable attitudes, even in the minds of children and youth, toward the consumption of beverage alcohol.” 

“Bishop Wilbur Emory Hammaker, D.D., LL.D.


The Methodist Church

        110 Maryland Avenue, N.E.

Washington 2, D.C.

Office of the President


  and PROHIBITION COUNCIL May 28, 1954.

Dear Doctor McKay:

You will be pleased to know that your statement, along with others from a notable and outstanding company of religious and social leaders made a profound impression, when I presented a score of communications to the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee on Monday, May 24th, at the conclusion of the Hearing on the Bryson Bill.  The chairman, Honorable Charles A. Wolverton of New Jersey, was moved to make unusual comments, saying among other things that nobody could be uninfluenced by the expressions of such a significant group of top-notch figures in our social and religious world.

To our surprise, there seem to be a plethora of Hearings on anti-liquor advertising Bills.  The Senate Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee has just announced one on the Langer Bill (S. 3294) for June 21-23, 1954.  It is all-inclusive, being a replica of the Bryson Bill.  I know you shall want to send me a copy of your statement concerning the matter to be used at the Senate Hearing.  The original statement on your letterhead was handed over to the House Committee.

If you will have your Secretary write the same letter substitution in the first paragraph for ‘the Bryson Bill,’ the words ‘for the Langer Bill’, the cause will again be served.  I can think of no other changes that could profitably be made in your challenging and compelling statement.  The one slight alteration, the current dateline and your signature will fix us up for the Hearing on June 21-23, 1954.

I hope I am not becoming a nuisance.  Since these Hearings place very much of a load on my shoulders, I shall appreciate a reply at your earliest convenience.

With every good wish and kindest personal regard, I am,

Sincerely yours,

/s/ Wilbur E. Hammaker


Reverend David O. McKay, D.D., LL. D.,

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,

47 East South Temple Street,

Salt Lake City, Utah”

Fri., 28 May, 1954:

(4)  I reported that I had received a letter from Wilbur E. Hammaker; also a letter from Congressman Dawson and Senator Bennett regarding letters that I had written setting forth our feelings in regard to the Bryson Bill.  Senator Bennett says that he doubts that the bill will pass this year as there are many departments and organizations that are opposed to it.”

Wed., 4 Apr., 1956:

Telephone Conversation with Elder Mark E. Petersen, April 4, 1956.

I called Elder Mark E. Petersen and asked him if he had in mind someone to present at the Priesthood Meeting, Saturday evening, the plan of the Church to counteract television and other advertising of liquor, cigarettes, etc. by placing posters in all the chapels of the Church and distributing literature telling of the advantages of the better life, and abstaining from the use of liquor, cigarettes, etc.  Brother Petersen stated that his Committee would like to suggest Brother Lee if it is agreeable.  I told him that I thought we should like to have him (Brother Petersen) give this address.  Brother Petersen stated that he would do anything we wanted him to do.  I told him to take thirty minutes or whatever time he needed to present the problem, and then this would take the place of his regular conference address.  I told Brother Petersen that this is a very important thing, and we should like to get it over to the Priesthood members.  Elder Petersen stated that he would be at our service and do anything I wished.

We discussed for a moment the problem of using illustrations in the meeting.  Brother Petersen stated that he would show the illustrations to those who could view them in the Tabernacle.  Then he wuld try to explain them sufficiently in order that those listening by direct wire, etc. would know what he was talking about.

I told Brother Petersen that he would be the first speaker at this meeting.”

April 6 to 8, 1956

‘April 6 to 8, 1956


Saturday, April 7, 1956, 7 p.m.


By Jack M. Reed

Tribune Church Editor

Details of an extensive ‘advertising’ program about Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints principles, aimed at the church’s young people, and an appeal to church members to do their part in diminishing traffic accidents were highlights of  an LDS general priesthood meeting Saturday night in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

The meeting – ‘attended’ by more than 30,000 men and youths in some 68 halls throughout the West and in Hawaii – was part of the church’s 126th annual conference, which will conclude Sunday.

Special Permission

In previous years the priesthood meeting has been declared ‘unreportable’ by church officials, but because of the content of Saturday night’s meeting, LDS President David O. McKay gave special permission for it to be reported publicly.

The new program of attractively instilling church principles into minds of young people was outlined by Mark E. Petersen, member of the Council of Twelve Apostles.  He said the plans evolved from a specially appointed committee headed by Harold B. Lee of that council.

Briefly, the program entails:

1.  an attractive large-sized poster to be displayed in every ward and branch chapel within organized stakes of the church and changed every other month, coupled with a message concerning the poster.

2.  Distribution to every young person, 12 to 20 years old, of every ward and branch a postcard-size reproduction of the current poster with an inspirational message on the back.

3.  Full-page display in all church publications each month concerning the program.

To Spur Interest

‘Be Honest With Yourself,’ the program’s theme, will be printed on each poster.  Subjects to be dealt with, according to samples shown Saturday night in the Tabernacle, include virtue, health and the world of Wisdom.

Elder Petersen pointed out that ‘men of the world attempt through alluring advertising to make evil appear to be good.’  The church now will adopt ‘alluring advertising techniques’ to make the church principles more interesting to young people.

Plans are for the first posters to reach the wards and branches in June, Elder Petersen said.

The appeal for more careful driving and more strict law enforcement came from Stephen L. Richards, first counselor in the LDS First Presidency.

He deplored what he called ‘the greatest carnage our country has ever ‘known’ and particularly admonished speeders to stay within the law.

‘No man has the freedom or liberty to dispose of even his own life,’ President Richards said ‘and yet many drive in suicidal fashion.’

He read at length a newspaper article quoting a Connecticut judge who fines speeders without giving them a second chance.

The judge has many good ideas, the speaker said, for many fatal accidents involve persons with unblemished records who take just one chance.

President Richards quoted an unidentified acquaintance who said, ‘I reserve the right to criticize the law but never to break it.’

He urged the priesthood members of the church to develop among themselves and their families a respect for the law ‘which will enable us to avoid many of these tragic accidents.’

Other speakers Saturday night were President McKay, who gave instructions concerning the holding of some ward meetings and for improving ward teaching; J. Reuben Clark Jr., second counselor in the First Presidency, who spoke of the advantages and responsibilities of the church; and S. Dilworth Young, member of the LDS First Council of Seventy, who recounted events in the Smith family at the time Joseph Smith Jr. reported he had a vision, which later led to establishment of the church.

Special music for the meeting was provided by the Reno, Nev., LDS Male Chorus, directed by Ladd R. Cropper.  Roy M. Darley, assistant Tabernacle organist, was accompanist.

Invocation was offered by Ralph B. Lake, Eugene, Ore., Willamette LDS Stake president, and the benediction was by Roy D. Olpin, Fillmore, Millard Stake president.

The Salt Lake Tribune, Sunday, April 8, 1956″

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.”

Sat., 26 Jan. 1963:

“7:30 a.m.

Accompanied by my son, Lawrence, and at the invitation of Governor George D. Clyde, attended the Second Annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast held in the State Capitol Plaza Cafeteria, at which more than four-hundred State government, business, and civic leaders were present.

Lt. Gen. M.H. Silverthorn (retired) of Washington, D.C. was the featured speaker.  Elder Richard L. Evans offered the invocation.

It was a very commendable gathering, acknowledging officially the existence of God.  The guest speaker emphasized Christian principles and Christian ethics.

Sitting at the table on my left was Rabbi Strom, whom I have met before.  The Rabbi ordered his coffee, and surprised me by saying: ‘Now, if this coffee offends you, I will not drink it.’  I answered: ‘You go ahead and drink it,’  and thinking I would make it easy for him, I said: ‘I like the smell of it, but I shall drink my milk.’  I think it was very considerate of the Rabbi to ask my permission to drink his coffee.”

Wed., 27 Mar. 1963:

“8:00 – 10:30 a.m.

First Presidency’s meeting held.  President Moyle in London.

Baptizing People While They are Smoking

President Brown reviewed impressions received about the permissibility of baptizing converts before they have stopped smoking.  President Brown said some members of the Missionary Committee go on something that I said within recent time which was considered to mean that requirements are being lowered.  I commented upon an interview of the corespondent for TIME magazine when nothing was said about smoking or lowering of the standards.  The correspondent asked to what we attributed the great increase in membership, and I replied that it was due to the activity of the members of the Church that this is a layman’s Church, and each one is carrying the responsibility.  I said that I had said nothing about smoking, and that nothing was said about lower standards of membership.  However, in the TIME magazine article, the correspondent said that I indicated that I am more lenient toward smoking, and that is probably the origin of this talk.  This comment was unjustified.  There is no occasion whatever for it.  The standard is just the same as it has always been.

President Brown then recited a case in which a Mission President was directed to go ahead and baptize a man and his wife who are chain smokers, and that they had been told that they would have to quit smoking.  The President of the Stake, whose Stake overlaps the Mission protested, and the President of the Mission said he did not think it should be done, but the general Missionary Committee passed upon it, and on the basis of something I am supposed to have said in one of the meetings, directed the Mission President to go ahead with the baptism.

I related the case of a family in Scotland when I was on my first mission.  The wife and the children were faithful, but the father of the family was not an observer of the Word of Wisdom.  The father could not and would not join.  He liked his pipe too much.  Meetings were held in his home with his approval.  An Elder from Zion, a middle-aged man, when he was released to return home, sat in the home of the man and lit a cigarette.  The man who had felt unworthy to be baptized because he liked his pipe, rebuked the Elder.  The Elder said he was released now and he would do as he pleased.  I said the inference is that we keep men from baptism, and yet we permit the calling of a man on a mission who smokes.  He is considered worthy to represent the Church.  He is a man who uses tobacco all the time.

President Brown commented that some got the impression that the position was that if we allow men to go on missions or to hold other positions in the Church who were smoking, we should not deny applicants for baptism who are smoking.  He said President Lincoln Hanks said do not baptize that man.  I said Lincoln Hanks was right.  President Brown said he held out, but the Mission President was told to go ahead.

After consideration, it was agreed that the subject be clarified for the new Missionary Committee.

Thurs., 11 Apr. 1963:

“Tobacco Companies Mailing Packages of Cigarettes to Homes in the Redondo Stake (California).

President Moyle stated that President Prestwich of the Redondo Stake had related that Bishop Alfred R. Ostergren had received from a tobacco company through the mail a package of cigarettes.  He was very much concerned about the effect upon the children in families receiving this form of advertising and inducement to use cigarettes.  Apparently others had received the same kind of complimentary package.  President Prestwich asked advice in the matter.

I said I think we ought to take action, and notify our Congressmen to get a bill passed to stop this sort of thing.  President Brown suggested that other Senators and Congressmen be asked to cooperate.

I said that we had better not sit by and do nothing.  It was agreed that we present the subject to the Council today.”

Fri., 2 Aug. 1963:

8:30 to 11:00 a.m.

The First Presidency and Presiding Bishopric meetings held.  Many items were discussed and acted upon.  Among these were:

Cigarettes – Law Requiring Notice of detrimental effect of tobacco.

President Hugh B. Brown explained that attorneys in California have found an old law regulating the sale of tobacco.  They propose organizing a non-profit corporation.  The law requires cigarette companies to give notice of detrimental effect of tobacco.

The President of the Oakland-Berkeley Stake has referred the matter to his counselor, Elmo R. Smith, a lawyer.  The organization requests a representative of the Church.

President Brown expressed the opinion that the Church should not become officially connected with the organization.  I said that if there is anything we might do to fight the use of cigarettes, I want to get it; that their use is one of the abominations of the present era.  I asked President Brown to go over the proposal carefully and to bring in his recommendation.

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:

Wed., 2 Dec. 1964:

Note by CM

Word of Wisdom – President McKay’s Reply to Man Who Chastized Him for Speaking Against Cigarette Smoking

On October 14, 1953, President McKay received a letter from one Dee L. Leavitt, stating that he could not ‘condone your continual reference to cigarette smoking as the ‘root of all evil’, and that ‘I haven’t attended Church regularly for eight years simply because of your (President McKay’s) attitude, and as a consequence of the attitude of all Church members against the smoking habit.’

President McKay wrote an excellent letter telling this man in no uncertain terms that ‘if you want to smoke, smoke; if you want to drink intoxicating liquors, drink; if you want to do anything else that injures your body or weakens your will, do it; but don’t blame me for it.  You, yourself, are responsible — nobody else — nor ‘the sun, the moon, or the stars.’; that ‘You are the fellow that has to decide, etc.’

On this day, after eleven years, President McKay received a letter from this man telling of his change of attitude, of his happiness in the Gospel with his wife and children, and asking for forgiveness ‘for things said from a darkened and most miserable mind.’  President McKay replied, saying, ‘I am happy to learn of your increased testimony’, etc.  ‘You may rest assured I have only feelings of good will and friendship for you.’

Fri., 23 Apr. 1965:

“8:30 a.m.

My Counselors and I met by appointment Governor Calvin L. Rampton, at which time we discussed the matter of federal government youth camps to be set up in Utah.

Liquor Distribution

The Governor said that there was another matter he wished to discuss with the First Presidency.  He mentioned that the handling of liquor in Utah is a constant problem and challenge to the Governor and the enforcement agencies.  He stated that one of the problems involved is that we have liquor stores which are established in order to make liquor readily available to the populace, but that it is almost impossible for the tourists who come here to know where to go to find liquor.  The Governor said that he is faced with the problem now of closing the liquor store on Second South and Second East because it is becoming a community nuisance, and that since the closing of the liquor store on the west side of Second South and Third West the liquor store on Second South and Second East is drawing to that store winoes and others, and that the Second South and Second East area is a residential neighborhood, that the store is across the street from a Methodist Church, and that there is also a parking problem involved. 

The Governor mentioned that it was his proposal to place twelve small package agencies in hotels and large motels that cater to tourists, that this would be merely an experiment, so that the visitors to our city who desire to obtain it might be able to obtain liquor.  The Governor said he was opposed to the sale of liquor by the drink and he thought there was growing pressure for the handling of liquor in that manner.  He hoped that the package agency proposal would satisfy the situation.  He explained that under this arrangement the liquor would not be sold by the drink, but would be sold in bottles the way it is now, that it is only a question of whether these distributing agencies should be located in residential areas or in tourist centers.

After listening to the Governor’s presentation of the matter, I said this, too, is a matter of a governmental nature which I do not feel to oppose.  The Governor said that he would adopt this policy on an experimental basis for a period not to exceed one year to ascertain how it would work out.

I told the Governor that no matter how it is handled, that when one touches liquor it contaminates him.  The Governor said he would make a report to the Presidency regarding the progress of the program.  The Governor further said that if the brethren have anything they wish to tell him he would appreciate any advice they would care to give.

I told Governor Rampton that we were watching him with interest.

Fri., 28 May 1965:

“Bonneville International Corporation – Advice of James Lavenstein, Radio and Television Consultant

President Tanner reported the conversation with James Lavenstein, radio and television consultant serving KSL and KIRO, who expressed concern about the Church’s approach to and support of its position against tobacco advertising on radio and television.  Mr. Lavenstein was with CBS and knows the president.  He understands and appreciates the Church’s position against smoking.  He advised caution in the way the Church expresses its views to the world through KSL, WRUL, and KIRO, and said unless we handle this very wisely, we could lose CBS affiliation.  If we lose that, we would lose other things and our voice could not long be heard.  We could not get programs which people are listening to.  He will prepare a memorandum which can be brought to me.  Mr. Lavenstein suggested also that we consider enlarging maybe with a radio station in San Francisco.  CBS owns one station there.  There is one in Boston.  It would be in the interest of the Church to spread its message over the nation as the Church can afford to.

William F. Edwards in the board meeting two months ago said almost the same thing.  He cautioned that if this is approached in the wrong way the effort can defeat itself instead of being effective against the use of tobacco.

President Tanner reiterated to Mr. Lavenstein that the Church does not want to leave any doubt in the mind of anybody as to how it stands on the subject.  Mr. Lavenstein agreed and cautioned against getting involved with critics who are extremists and fanatics.

CBS advertises tobacco for tobacco companies and affiliated industries and the advertisers budgets are very large.  CBS will not take a stand against this fact.

We are going to be in the vanguard against this sort of thing if we can wisely circumvent, and steer our course to keep our voice heard, we can be cautious in our action, and this is his concern.  William Edwards has exactly the same view.

President Tanner asked Mr. Lavenstein if the Church could put out its views in good straight editorials.  He suggested that this be done but not continuously lest it lose its effectiveness.  He expressed the opinion that this would not prejudice the Church.  He said, ‘I think it will have a good effect.’

I said that I have in mind that the present opposition should be carried on and we should join that.

President Tanner reported that there was some criticism about having Robert Barker appear before the commission, but does not think that hurt very much.  We can join in any way we want on an editorial basis.

Tues., 1 June 1965:

“8:30 a.m.

Held the regular meeting of the First Presidency.  Some of the matters we discussed were:

Brigham Young University Graduation Exercises

President Brown reported that graduation exercises at the Brigham Young University were well attended and very successful; 1,783 graduates received diplomas.

President Brown will attend the commencement exercises of the Utah State University in Logan on Friday, June 4.

President Tanner will attend graduation exercises at Snow College on the same day.

President Tanner referred to Mr. Emerson Foote, advertising executive, who resigned to devote his time to the effort against the use of tobacco.  The Brigham Young University conferred an honorary degree upon him.

Mr. Foote expressed to President Tanner the view that the Church should not try alone to fight advertising of tobacco, because the Church will be hurt if it does.  Regardless of how strongly the Church is opposed in its attitude in teaching on the subject, the Church will be hurt by weakening its present position so it cannot fight.  Three men have expressed the same view — James Lavenstein, William Edwards, and now Mr. Foote.

I said, ‘I am sure we will make a mistake if we try to fight it alone.  We will help the other effort.’

President Tanner commented that everyone knows the stand of the Church.  We must not fail to let it be known.  President Brown said we must not close the doors which are open to us now to present our message.

Mr. Foote prepared his views on the subject in writing.

Bonneville International Corporation  – James Lavenstein’s Memorandum on Church in Broadcasting

President Tanner read Mr. Lavenstein’s written memorandum on the Church in broadcasting.  It affirmed that the Church must uphold its policy.  Commercials in every case are so integrated into radio and television programs that to attempt to edit them out would emasculate the programs.  CBS would never condone such editing.

CBS would not be able to clear tobacco sponsored programs in this area.  It would not make a special case for Utah.  If we insist upon dropping tobacco advertising, CBS affiliation will be lost.

President Tanner explained to Mr. Lavenstein that the Church is not concerned about losing revenue but is concerned about losing the audience and the prestige rating of its presentations as a television organization.  To this I agreed.

In the opinion of Mr. Lavenstein to refuse to accept the programs with tobacco commercials would result equally drastically.  The largest advertising agencies represent the tobacco companies.  These agencies also represent the bulk of the advertising of other commodities.  There is no doubt we would receive far less consideration from them.  Income would drop to a point where the stations would become a financial burden to the Church.  The Church has two alternatives:  one, selling off its stations and getting out of broadcasting business altogether.  If the sale be made to parties sympathetic to the Church, Church Conference programs might continue to be broadcast but there is no way to guarantee this cooperation.  It is quite possible the Church would be frozen out of Salt Lake City and stations here might become hostile to 47 East South Temple.

The other alternative would be to weather the storm and continue the present course until Congress or the courts decide the future of tobacco advertising.  Mr. Lavenstein expressed the opinion that the Church should not go over to hostile movements and should not sell its stations.  Television is the greatest means of communication known to man.

Mr. Lavenstein expressed the view that the Church must not stop but might enlarge its interests and acquire stations in larger cities.  He expressed willingness that his statement be released to the Board of Directors, the First Presidency and other interested parties.

President Tanner said Mr. Lavenstein would strongly recommend considering enlarging the Church’s means of communication.  If we have the finances to do it, he would suggest that we try to buy a station in San Francisco and one in Boston.  He knows this can be done.

President Tanner commented that the policy could be adopted of using the profits and earnings of the radio and television stations now owned by the Church to pick up one of these other stations.

I said steps have already been taken along these lines in having KSL, KIRO, and WRUL.

President Tanner referred to buying the CBS Station in San Francisco and said ‘I would not recommend that we buy it for cash but out of earnings from the stations.’

I said we must move with care on that.

I said the step we have already taken is to augment opposing tobacco.  We are letting them lead out.  President Tanner commented that sometimes much more is gained by taking a positive course in what we believe than in taking a hostile course against something.  Mr. Lavenstein in response to President Tanner’s question about continuing editorials over KSL, said you have a perfect right to carry on the editorials as you want.  You can continue to tell what you think of using tobacco.

I exhibited a document upon the subject.  President Brown and President Tanner indicated that they have seen it and consider it good.  I said we can back them in that.  President Tanner said Mr. Lavenstein feels the same way.

Tues., 23 Nov. 1965:

“Sanka Coffee Ads Not to be Accepted

Brother Hawkes then raised the question as to whether we should accept Sanka coffee advertising on a general basis from the General Foods Company.

I ruled that if we have never accepted such advertisements in the past, we should not do so now.

Thurs., 17 Feb. 1966:

Olympics for 1972, Winter

I told the Brethren that I am a little concerned about a request that has come to me from Brother Earl Hawkes, Manager of the Deseret News, asking that I sign a letter addressed to the International Committee of the Olympics recommending the bringing of the Olympics to Utah in 1972.  I said that they want me to assure the committee that there will be no interference in the Olympics on the part of the Church in Salt Lake City.  I asked the Brethren how they feel about the Olympics.

Several of the Brethren questioned the wisdom of the President of the Church signing any such letter, and said the question involved is what they mean by ‘interference’; that normally on such occasions they serve liquor, have many of their activities on the Sabbath, and do a lot of carousing.  The Brethren also indicated that undoubtedly the Church will be solicited for a contribution to help finance the Olympics in the event the games are held in Utah.

It as the sentiment of the Brethren that the Church should have nothing whatever to do with the matter.

Elder Hinckley mentioned that representatives of the committee that are endeavoring to have the Olympics held here had called him and wanted to know if the Church would use its Mission Presidents in overseas countries to bring whatever pressure they could in foreign countries to get the Olympics brought here in 1972.  Elder Hinckley said that his response was that that is something for the First Presidency to decide, but that as far as he could decide that is now why our Mission Presidents are in these countries.  He said that from this point of view, he did not think they should be involved in that kind of politicking in their posts in various countries.

Elder Benson mentioned that someone had called his office and asked if he would be willing to make a statement expressing the hope that the Olympics would come to Utah, and that he had declined to do so.”

Thurs., 24 Feb. 1966:

“10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

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

I told the Brethren that I had been engaged in consultations with various persons on Church matters throughout the week, in addition to attending First Presidency’s meetings every day.

I also mentioned that I had been reading one of our Church magazines and was struck with the number of young men who were married in the Temple principally because the girls wanted to go to the Temple and would not be married in any other place; that these young men went through the Temple, and afterwards put aside their garments and failed to keep their covenants and started using tobacco.

I also said that yesterday I sat by the side of Sister McKay as she was watching television, and that the number of people shown on the screen who use cigarettes was shocking.  I stated that I consider this habit one of the worst evils in the nation.”

Tues., 12 Apr. 1966:

Pepsi Cola Advertising

President Tanner referred to calls that he has had from different people complaining about the Improvement Era advertising Pepsi Cola.  He said he feels to agree with them that we should not advertize it inasmuch as we know it is detrimental.

I agreed that it would be best for the Church magazine not to advertize Pepsi Cola.  President Tanner said that he will deliver this message to the management of the Era.

Tues., 19 Apr. 1966:

“Production of Malt Barley for Coors Beer Company

We gave consideration to a letter from the Presidency of the San Luis Stake stating that members of the Church in that area have sought advice from the Stake Presidency and Bishops regarding the production of malt barley.  The explanation is made that the Coors Beer Company is offering a premium to growers of malt barley, and that other beer companies are offering similar premium prices.  The Stake Presidency explain that in addition to the moral question involved such a contract would require close supervision by the beer company field men; that the growers might be required to harvest their barley on Sundays; that they would be considered as a part of the Coors Company and expected to promote the company’s product.

Wed., 15 Feb. 1967:

“8:30 a.m.

Met with Presidents Brown, Tanner, and Smith in a regular meeting of the First Presidency.  Among matters discussed were:

Beer – Sale of by LDS Family and their Worthiness to Receive Temple Recommends

Attention was called to a letter from President Robert L. Webster of the Dutch John Branch written in behalf of a family in the branch who operate a service station, and in connection therewith a cafe, in which cafe beer is served.  This matter having been presented to the Presidency in 1965 by President William B. Wallis of the Ashley Stake, the brethren had written that under the circumstances these people should not be permitted to hold offices in the branch while trafficking in beer.  President Webster of the Dutch John Branch says that this family are a very active and fine family, that they pay their tithing and serve as far as possible, although during the summer months they cannot attend their meetings as frequently as they should because of their activities at the service station and cafe, that one of the sons of the family is attending the Brigham Young University and is expecting to go on a mission this summer.  The Branch President raises the question as to whether, under the circumstances, his parents may be permitted to have recommends to go to the Temple when the son goes to the Temple after he receives his mission call.

In discussing this matter, I ruled that if the parents are otherwise worthy, as indicated by the Branch President, except for their involvement in this cafe operation, they may be given Temple Recommends.

Tues., 5 Mar., 1968:

“Alcoholics Anonymous – Final Payment of Loan Made by the Church 

My son, Lawrence, being worried about my overtiredness, cancelled the appointment which I had made with Mr. Clyde W. Gooderham of

Alcoholics Anonymous, and arranged for him to meet with the First Presidency. Later it was reported that they met with Mr. Gooderham in the First Presidency’s Board Room at 8:30 this morning. Thorpe B. Isaacson, who negotiated a loan from the Church with my approval of $160,000 to Alcoholics Anonymous ten years ago was present. Lawrence McKay and Graham H. Doxey were also present.

The final payment of the loan was made this morning. Mr. Gooderham made a brief report of receiving the loan, and of how they were enabled to pay it back. He said he had promised Brother Isaacson that he would stay with the Alcoholic Anonymous until the loan was paid back, and that he is now pleased to see this become a reality. He spoke of the 160 men who guaranteed the loan by subscribing $1000.00 each. He then handed a check for $22,689.13 to Lawrence McKay who accepted it in behalf of President McKay. Mr. Gooderham told of the good that had been accomplished in the period of time involved; that 5,000 people had been processed, some of these two and three times, but that today 4,000 of them are living — remaining sober and living good, productive lives. He also commented that when the work started in Utah 3.4 persons out of every 100,000 were addicted to alcoholism, but that today the rate has been decreased to 1.9 out of every 100,000. This he compared with New York and California; that in California 8 out of every 100,000 persons are addicted to the use of alcohol, and the problem is on the increase. Utah is the only state in the Union that has shown a decrease in alcoholism.

The check was given to Graham Doxey in behalf of Zions Securities,

and various legal documents covering the loan were given to Alcoholics Anonymous which closed the deal.

I was indeed gratified to learn of the good that has been accomplished, and happy that we were able to render this assistance to this organization during the past ten years. I was sorry that I was unable to accept the final payment from Mr. Gooderham as he desired. Mr. Gooderham sent his thanks and appreciation to me.”

Thur., 21 Mar., 1968:

“8:30 a.m.

Held a brief meeting with the First Presidency. We discussed general matters.

Council Hall – Reconstructed – Smoking In

Elder Dyer mentioner that a former Bishop who is now custodian at the University Travel Bureau Center, which is the old City Hall, that the Church had restored and turned over to the State, called on him this morning and made the claim that when this building was turned over to the State it was with the understanding that no smoking would be allowed in the building. He states that this requirement has not been enforced. Elder Dyer will check with the Legal Department to ascertain if there were such an agreement. The

Brethren could recall no such provision, and indicated that inasmuch

as the building had been turned over to the State they doubted that

we could control a matter of this kind.

However, later, I wrote to Governor Calvin L. Rampton about this condition, and sent Gus Backman a copy.

Tues., 16 Apr., 1968:

“8:30 a.m.

Met with Presidents Brown, Tanner, Smith, and Dyer in a meeting of the First Presidency in my office in the Hotel Utah Apartment.

Among official items discussed were the following:

Liquor — Proposed Liquor By the Drink Referendum 

President Tanner mentioned that Jack Gallivan, Max Rich, and Gus Backman had called on him about the proposed liquor by the drink referendum. They explained that they had prepared a proposed bill which they have titled “An Act For the Endorcement of Liquor Control”.

President Tanner said that he is meeting with Elders Marion G. Romney, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Howard W. Hunter today for the purpose of discussing this matter.

I expressed concern with the measure, and stated that we should pursue the matter of seeing to it that our people are informed on the policy of the Church concerning this important matter.

Elder Dyer suggested that, to the extent that we were able to do so, we should enlist influential non-members to work on an overall committee to defeat the measure; that we should capitalize on the experience that the Church had of single-handedly attempting to persuade the members to oppose the repeal of the Prohibition Law some years back, and despite the appeal of President Heber J. Grant, Utah, predominantly Mormon, voted for repeal — ironically being the State which helped to reach the majority vote for repeal. Brother Dyer said that as he recalled this experience, it was the apparent issue of making a challenge by the Church which caused so many inactive members to go along with non-members in voting for the repeal.

Brother Dyer suggested that Weston E. Hamilton would be a good man to help with non-members of influence to work for the defeat of the referendum to be placed before the voting public later this year .

I agreed with this, as did President Tanner, and said that we should seek all the outside halp we can get to help in defeating the measure. (See Friday, May 10, 1968 for Public Statement by President McKay.)

The brethren then departed from the office.

Thur., 18 Apr., 1968:

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

9:40 a. m. 

Left the Hotel for the Salt Lake Temple.

10 to 1:30 p.m. 

I was very happy to be present this morning, and commenced the meeting promptly at 10:00 a.m. I presided and conducted and directed the reports and discussion on the various matters discussed by the brethren. Although I did not intend to do so, I remained the full 3-1/2 hours of the meeting. Many important matters were discussed during that time, and I wanted to consider them carefully.

One or Two of the Matters Discussed:

Liquor — Referendum on Liquor By the Drink 

A discussion was held concerning the results of a certain group of men to have placed upon the Fall ballot a referendum for a change of the presently State-controlled liquor law to that of a legalized State-controlled bill for liquor by the drink. President Tanner told of a visit to his office by Jack Gallivan, Max Rich, and Gus Backman in the interest of a good law to properly control liquor by the drink, since it appeared to these men that the people would no doubt support the referendum for liquor by the drink. President Tanner stated that he felt that their efforts represented a clever and insidious method to gain support for the referendum. He said the only way we can defeat it is to organize throughout the Church and throw this weight against it. Brother Gordon Hinckley said that we have three alternatives, and that we must decide on one of them, and then work accordingly. He said one is to do nothing, and as surely as we do nothing there will be liquor by the drink after the first of the year. He said we have a copy of their bill which clearly provides that. Two, we can try to defeat their referendum by trying to encourage enough people in the state not to sign it and thereby disqualify them from getting the number of signatures they want. That, he said, he thought was impossible. Three, go forward with our proposal, which will not be a Church proposal. He said Commissioner Barker has already presented this to the City Commission, and it is possible that the Salt Lake City Commission would become the official sponsor, at least three of the commissioners, and possibly one of the other two, would go along with it.

He said he is reliably informed that these other people now have a purse of $85,000.00 at least; that they have some of the ablest men in the state working on this, and have their referendum forms all printed; that they are ready to go out into the fifteen counties of this state which they think are the most vulnerable to get the necessary signatures to have their referendum placed on the ballot; that our effort will have to be a two-stage fight: One, to get the necessary signatures in fifteen counties that we can count on to get this on the November ballot; and two, to campaign in behalf of the project so that the electorate of the state would sustain this proposal. He thought it would take at least $100,000.00, a very good organization, and an immense amount of effort.

I said that we must be prepared to revent liquor by the drink; that if we were to get liquor by the drink, we would have trouble.

President Tanner emphasized again that he was sure these men (Gus Backman, Max Rich and Jack Gallivan) would attempt to use anything that I might say to promote their own cause; that we must be sure to avoid this — that our slogan is no liquor by the drink and state control. They need not fear that I shall go along on any proposal they might have. 

Elder Stapley moved that we fully support the committee and vigorously go forward in overcoming the proposed liquor law proposed by this opposite group, namely, liquor by the drink, and that we authorize our committee to take such measures as are necessary, which means spending some money in order to defeat what the liquor interests want, namely, liquor by the drink. The motion was seconded.

I then asked if the brethren were all united on the matter, which they indicated they were. The matter was then put to vote and unanimously approved. I firmly stated: “Let them know we mean something.”

Wed., 8 May, 1968:

“Held a meeting of the First Presidency in the office of my apartment in the Hotel Utah. Presidents Tanner, Smith and Dyer were present. President Brown still resting in California.

Some of the Matters discussed were:

Liquor — Sale by the Drink 

President Tanner referred to the discussions that had been held in the Council meeting regarding the petition that is being circulated by certain interests for a referendum to be placed on the ballot in favor of liquor by the drink. He said this matter is being given consideration by a committee of the Twelve, that the committee has conferred with James Faust, President of the Cottonwood Stake; George L. Nelson, President of the Monument Park Stake; Wendell Ashton and others, and there is some question whether we should oppose the referendum entirely or put in an alternative for the people to vote on. He said this matter will be brought up for discussion tomorrow morning in the meeting of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. He explained that the people who are circulating this petition must get the signatures of 10% of the voters on the petition in 15 of the counties of the State, that they will have no trouble in getting signatures in Salt Lake and perhaps in some other counties, but the question is whether we should enter into a campaign to prevent them from getting the signatures they need.

I said this matter must be decided definitely.”

Thur., 9 May, 1968:

“Did not hold a meeting of the First Presidency this morning; nor did I attend Council Meeting. Had a sleepless night. It was 4 a.m. before I closed my eyes. Sister McKay had a slight heart attack during the night which kept us awake, and I was greatly concerned.

Liquor By The Drink – Decision By Council To Defeat Referendum 

In Council Meeting Elder Marion G. Romney opened the report by the Committee from the Quorum of the Twelve who had been assigned to the program of opposing the liquor by the drink referendum. Elder Romney raised the question as to whether a strong effort should not be made now to defeat the referendum in its initial form rather than to initiate an alternative bill. It was agreed by all present that our first effort should be made to defeat the referendum and that all Stake Presidents in Utah should be called and advised of this determination; they in turn to advise their Bishops, and that a strong article would be placed as an editorial in the Friday evening Deseret News.

At 2:30 p. m. – LIQUOR BY THE DRINK — Meeting of the Committee

Statement Made by President McKay for Publication in the Newspaper

(At about mid-morning President Dyer received a telephone call from Elder Marion G. Romney, member of the Committee appointed of the Quorum of the Twelve assigned to represent the Church on the Liquor by the Drink Referendum, stating that the Committee is desirous of having a statement from the First Presidency to appear in the Saturday evening Deseret News and asked him if he is in favor of it. Brother Dyer answered that he knew that President McKay was strongly opposed to this proposed liquor the drink bill, and would favor such a statement. He said that he would call Dr. Macfarlane and see if a short meeting could be arranged for the Committee to see President McKay.

President Dyer called Dr. Macfarlane and he agreed if they would stay no longer than ten or fifteen minutes, they could see him, and that he would so inform the nurse.)

Meeting on Liquor by the Drink was held with President McKay in his Hotel Utah apartment. Those present were: Elders Marion G. Romney, Gordon B. Hinckley, Wilford Kirton – Church attorney, and Joseph Anderson – secretary to the First Presidency. (See copy of Presidents Dyer’s Minutes which follow. No minutes submitted by Joseph Anderson. Also see copy of President McKay’s Statement and Newspaper clippings.)”

“(From minutes of President Alvin R. Dyer on Liquor by the Drink)

FRIDAY, May 10, 1968

There was no meeting of the First Presidency held on this day. President Tanner was out of the City and President Brown is still convalescing. President McKay had had a sleepless night and it was the feeling of Dr. Macfarlane that he should not receive anybody on this day.

(Telephone Call from Elder Marion G. Romney)

At about mid-morning I received a telephone call from Elder Marion G. Romney who is a member of the Committee appointed of the Quorum of the Twelve assigned to provide active opposition through Church channels and otherwise to the proposed bill which would authorize the sale of liquor by the drink. He stated that an editorial would appear in the Friday evening Deseret News which expressed the feelings and effort made by the Committee to call to the attention of the members of the Church the perils of this bill if enacted. He stated that the opposition was putting on a big drive to get the necessary signatures so that a referendum could be placed upon the voting ballot this fall and that they were desirous of having a statement from the First Presidency appear in the Saturday evening Deseret News and asked me if I favored such a move. I told him that I was heartily in accordance with it and I knew that President McKay was so strongly opposed to this proposed bill that he would be in favor of it but there was a problem because of his discomfiture and the doctor’s feelings that no one should see him. That would need to be surmounted if possible. I suggested that he and Brother Hinckley prepare the article and that I would see if it were not possible to see the President for a brief period on the matter.

At 2:00 p. m. on this day Elder Romney and Elder Hinckley came to my office with the proposed article. I had previously talked with the nurse and she suggested that I contact Dr. Macfarlane and I had been trying to get in touch with him but was finally able to reach him while they were here in my office. I explained to him the urgency of the matter and that it concerned something that the President was strongly in favor of and that if we could have just a few minutes with him we could settle the matter. He agreed that if we would stay no longer than ten or fifteen minutes that we could see him and he would so inform the nurse.

Brother Hinckley had gotten in touch with Wilford Kirton, the Church Attorney, so that the article could be carefully scrutinized so that there would be no legal repercussions in it. I had also spoken to Joseph Anderson so that he could accompany us to see President McKay that a proper minute could be made of the transaction.

LIQUOR BY THE DRINK — Meetin with President McKay — Statement by Pres. McKay 

Thus, at about 2:30 p.m., with Elder Marion G. Romney, Elder Gordon A. Hinckley, Wilford Kirton, and Joseph Anderson, we went to the apartment of President McKay in the Hotel Utah. He was not looking too well, I suppose because of a lack of sleep, since Sister McKay had suffered a mild angina during the night and this had, of course, kept the President awake.

Nevertheless, he said that he was most pleased to see us and was always happy to see the brethren come. I briefly explained why we were there and then Brother Hinckley read to him the prepared statement which we desired to have placed in the Deseret News the following day for his approval.

(President McKay Energetically Endorses the Statement)

President McKay energetically approved of the article and said most positively that we must do everything in our power to defeat the bill that would provide liquor by the drink. He authorized that his signature be attached to the statement and placed in the Deseret News on the front page in the May 11 issue in all editions. So as not to tire the President, we left directly and returned to the Mission Office.

I had contacted Earl Hawkes of the Deseret Nesvs and was advised that the article would need to be in his hands that evening or not later than 9:00 a.m. the following morning in order to meet the deadline of all of the Deseret News editions for Saturday, May 11, 1968. A short while after our return from our visit with President McKay and after Elder Hinckley had consulted with Wilford Kirton, the article was very slightly changed as to one or two words and placed in my hands. My secretary, Laura, typed it and President McKay’s signature was placed on the statement. Copies were then distributed to Joseph Anderson, Clare Middlemiss, Elder Marion G. Romney, and Elder Gordon Hinckley, and the article was dispatched to Earl Hawkes of the Deseret News.

(Article Appears in Deseret News)

The article appeared completely in the Deseret News, Saturday Edition of May 11, 1968. A copy of this, as well as the letter from President McKay, is made a part of this Journal record.

(Article in Salt Lake Tribune)

The following morning, May 12, 1968, an article appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune on the first page of Section “B”. This article is also reproduced here as part of the Journal record.”

“May 10, 1968



Citizens of Utah are now being approached to sign petitions to place on the November election ballot a so-called “liquor-by-the-drink” proposal. It is said that this is being done in the name of creating an enforceable law.

Let no one be misled concerning the real intent.

The true purpose is to make liquor more easily available.

The complaint is made that enforcement is virtually impossible under the present law. If this is true, the prevailing deplorable condition results from methodical removal of state enforcement machinery and practical nullification of local enforcement.

This situation can be remedied through legislative action to restore enforcement provisions or otherwise modify the present statute without the broad proposal now designed to make liquor freely available in hundreds of restaurants and eating places throughout the state, and which, according to provisions of the proposed statute, would make it possible to serve drinks even without food.

We may expect specious arguments emphasizing economic benefits. A member of the First Presidency speaking in April Conference said, “Surely every mother, father, and worthy citizen can see the folly of this and what it would do to our youth. We must not sell our heritage for a mess of pottage.”

I call upon members of the Church throughout the State, and all citizens interested in safeguarding youth and avoiding the train of evils associated with alcohol, to take a stand against the proposal for “liquor by the drink. “

David O. McKay, President”

Wed., 7 Aug., 1968:

“9.00 a.m.

Held a meeting of the First Presidency. Presidents N. Eldon Tanner, Joseph Fielding Smith and Alvin R. Dyer were present.

Many matters were discussed, among which were the following:

Word of Wisdom – use of Coffee as Stimulant

A letter was read from President E. L. Singleton of the Huntington Park Stake reporting that there are three individuals in his stake who have been advised by their doctor that they should use coffee regularly as a stimulant and as a diuretic. One of these individuals is a paralytic and the other two are elderly. The stake president asks for counsel on the matter. It was decided to answer President Singleton suggesting that if these individuals need caffeine such as is in coffee they could perhaps obtain from their doctor capsules that could be used instead of drinking the coffee, inasmuch as if they were allowed to go to the temple even though they drink coffee it might have a harmful influence on others. In the event a capsule will not answer the purpose it was agreed that these persons should obtain written statements from their physicians to the effect that because of their health they should be permitted to use coffee regularly as a stimulant and/or a diuretic.”

Tues., 24 Sep., 1968:

“At 11:00 o’clock this morning my Secretary Clare came up to Huntsville. I was delighted to see her as I had not seen her for a month and I have been worried about the Conference. I said, “It is good to see you”.

She took up the following matters with me:

Liquor – By- The – Drink

Read a letter addressed to Presidents of Stakes and Bishops of Wards in Utah regarding the Liquor-By-The-Drink issue.

(See copy of letter following)

“September 23, 1968

To Presidents of Stakes and Bishops of Wards in Utah

Dear Brethren:

In support of the efforts of the “Citizens for a Better Utah through Opposing Liquor-by-the-drink,” we desire that all family heads become familiar with the facts on Liquor Initiative Petition #A to be voted on in the November election.

Accordingly we suggest that on the second Sunday of October all Melchizedek Priesthood quorums and all quorums and classes of adult members of the Aaronic Priesthood discuss this issue in their regular class period.

We likewise suggest the same procedure for all ward Relief Societies in one of their meetings in the early part of October.

As a basis for this discussion class leaders may use the pamphlet, “Questions and Answers on Liquor Initiative Petition #A.” This was issued by the Citizens committee to provide information for block captains and voting district coordinators, and we are confident that a plentiful supply of these is available locally. If further copies are needed they may be obtained from the Citizens committee at 37 East First South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111.

We also suggest that class leaders, in connection with this discussion, urge all to register so that they may be qualified to exercise their franchise as citizens.

Sincerely your brethren,

David O. McKay

Hugh B. Brown

N. Eldon Tanner

The First Presidency”

Wed., 2 Oct., 1968:

“10:00 a. m. – 11:00 a. m.

Held a meeting with Presidents Tanner and Dyer. President Brown is at home ill, and President Smith is speaking at the Relief Society Conference.

Liquor-By-The-Drink — Statement for Conference

President Tanner handed me a letter from Elder Gordon B. Hinckley

suggesting that he hoped that I would incorporate in my Conference talk at the opening session a statement regarding the liquor-by-the-drink campaign.

I told the brethren that I had already made a statement regarding this matter in my opening address.

Note by CM:

Two weeks ago, secretary Clare Middlemiss visited President

McKay in Huntsville, at which time he went over the manuscript of his conference address. He had already made some strong statements regarding the drinking of alcohol and the proposed new law to have liquor-by-the-drink in Utah.

(See Letter from Elder Hinckley which follows)

Opening Address

I stated that I had decided to ask my son Robert to read my opening address, and that I would hand the talk to Robert a little later.

Note by CM:

Later, Robert, after having read his father’s opening talk, informed the secretary that the statement regarding liquor-by-the-drink is to be taken out of President McKay’s talk. The secretary informed Robert that this statement had been made expressly at the request of the General Authorities who had been working to defeat the bill to have liquor-by-the-drink in Utah, and that his father had made the statement, read it many times, and approved of it, and further that President McKay’s talk containing the statement on the evils of liquorby-the-drink had already been distributed to all the newspapers and other news media.

Later, Robert contacted the secretary and said that he had talked to his father again about the statement and that President McKay had stated that his statement regarding liquor-by-the-drink is to remain in his address.”

“October 1, 1968

President N. Eldon Tanner


Dear President Tanner:

I suggested to you the possibility of asking President McKay to include somewhere in his conference messages reference to the “liquor-by-the-drink” proposal. I would think that some such thing as the following would be adequate:

“Last May I issued a statement on the proposal concerning “liquor by the drink” in Utah on which we shall vote in November. I now wish to restate what I then said and again urge members of the Church throughout the state, and all citizens interested in safeguarding youth and avoiding the train of evils associated with alcohol, to take a stand against this proposal.”

Sincerely your brother,

Gordon B. Hinckley”

Thur., 3 Oct., 1968:

“At 9 a. m. held a meeting with Presidents Brown, Tanner and Dyer.

October Conference

President Brown reported that Sister Middlemiss had given to him a copy of the outline of the Conference. He asked me if I had decided which one of my sons would read my talk in the opening session of the Conference inasmuch as there is a blank space in the program for this information. I said I was not ready to announce it. President Brown then asked me if I had any instruction as to how the counselors should proceed with respect to conducting the sessions; that is, who should conduct the various sessions. President Brown said it was felt that perhaps President Joseph Fielding Smith should conduct the session when the General Authorities are sustained. I said I would take care of that later. President Brown then inquired if it is my intention to appoint a new Assistant to the Twelve at this Conference. He mentioned that the counselors had not had an opportunity to discuss any of these matters with me and would like to know “where we are going”. I said, “We shall proceed under the right power.” President Brown then asked me if Sister Middlemiss would inform the counselors in due time, and I said yes I would either inform them directly or send word through Sister Middlemiss.

4 p.m.

After trying to see me all day, without my knowledge, my secretary Clare was finally admitted to the office at the Hotel by the nurses. Clare took up several Conference matters with me.

She read to me again the statement regarding liquor-by-the-drink in my opening address, and I said: “That is all right!” I also went over the program for the various sessions of the Conference, and told Clare that everything was in readiness and that I am greatly relieved.

Clare then left for her office in the Administration Building.”

Note by CM: 

Statements on the Evils of Alcohol and Liquor-By-The-Drink Left

Out of President McKay’s Talk

For some inexplicable reason Robert did not read his father’s statements on liquor-by-the-drink, leaving out a page and a half of President McKay’s talk. This caused much consternation and concern on the part of many of the Brethren who had depended so much on what the President would say about this matter in his major address. Following is the statement President McKay made to be read in his address:

“I am deeply concerned about the personal and community-wide problems that can be and are created by the unlimited availability of liquor. That is why, as President of the Church, I made a public statement, and urged members of the Church throughout the State, and all citizens interested in safeguarding youth and avoiding the train of evils associated with alcohol, to take a stand against the proposal for ‘liquor-by-the-drink’, which will liberalize the flow of liquor, especially to a youthful clientele. We are opposed to this, as we are to the partaking of liquor in any form whether it be ‘liquor-by-the-drink’ or ‘liquor-by-the-bottle’.

“We most earnestly urge every citizen of our beloved Country to study the issues involved in the coming election, and to know the character and intentions of the men who wish to lead and direct the affairs of national and local government, and thus exercise their God-given franchise to make their wishes known at the election polls in November.””

“Copy of Minutes by President Alvin R. Dyer Regarding Robert’s Omission of President McKay’s Statement Against The Liquor By The Drink Issue Which Has Been Placed on the Ballot for November.

Robert McKay, the son of President McKay, was asked by his father to read the talk, but for some reason the complete statement about liquor-by-the-drink was left out of the talk. The difficulty arose from the fact that copies of the talk had already been given to the United Press, the Associated Press, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News, and the translators. The copy which they received included the statement and when the statement was not read it was assumed by those who are in favor of the liquor-by-the-drink measure that President McKay had perhaps changed his mind with regard to further endorsement of the opposition against the measure. In fact, a radio announcer on Friday evening suggested this.

The Committee appointed by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve to conduct the campaign against this measure, (Elder Marion G. Romney, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, and Elder Howard W. Hunter), were very much concerned about the fact that this statement had been left out of the President’s talk. All three members of the Committee approached me and wondered what could be done to counteract the fact that this had been omitted. I saw Gordon Hinckley on the steps of the Church Office Building Friday and he intimated that it appeared to be up to me to get the matter straightened out with the President.

(See Saturday, October 5, 1968, for President McKayts Statement

Read at the General Priesthood Session)”

Sat. 5 Oct., 1968:

“12.15 p. m. Discussion Regarding Liquor-By-The-Drink Statement

By appointment met President Alvin R. Dyer at which time I discussed with him the situation that had developed due to the fact that the statement I had made in my opening remarks regarding the evils of alcohol and the Church’s stand regarding the proposed liquor-by-the-drink flaw, had been completely omitted by my son Robert when he read the talk at the opening session of Conference.

President Dyer explained that my talk, which included the statement, had been distributed to the news media the day before it was given, and now they cannot understand why the statements had been left out. Elders Marion G. Romney, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Howard W. Hunter appointed to take a stand against the liquor-by-the-drink measure, and others, felt that I should issue a statement to be released to the Press immediately to offset the damage that has been done.

I stated emphatically that I had not changed my mind; that I am opposed to liquor-by-the-drink, and that I feel we should release a statement immediately to the Press regarding my stand on this matter. I also granted permission for my statement to be read at the Priesthood Meeting this evening.

President Dyer suggested that rather than just read the same statement I had prepared for my opening address yesterday morning, which had been omitted, that I could repeat and reaffirm the statement I made for the press on May 11, 1968.

The secretary to the First Presidency was present, and he made a record of our discussion. I was truly concerned about the whole matter, but President Dyer assured me that the matter would be taken care of.

Earl Hawkes, Manager of the Deseret News, and Henry Smith, press representative of the First Presidency, were given copies of the statement agreed upon, and the news media given copies soon after our meeting.

(See copy of President Dyer’s minutes which follow for details of)

7:00 p. m. Priesthood Talk Read by Lawrence McKay – Liquor Statement Read by President Alvin R. Dyer

The fifth, and General Priesthood Session of Conference, was held. I watched and listened to this meeting over a direct hook-up from the Tabernacle. At my request my son Lawrence read the address I had prepared for the Priesthood members of the Church on “Priesthood Holders To Be Examples In Daily Life As Representatives Of The Most High”.

At my direction, President Dyer conducted these services, and also read the statement on Liquor-By-The-Drink. President Dyer reported in his minutes that the Liquor Committee members appreciated and were greatly relieved over the statement.

“(From Minutes of President Alvin R. Dyer)

At 7 a. m. in the morning I received a telephone call from President Tanner who suggested to me that I go to the President and find out why the statement was omitted and explain the situation to him and endeavor to obtain a re-affirmation from him in support of the opposition against the measure to counteract what our enemies are proposing and will continue to use against us because of the omission. I agreed with him to proceed in this manner.

I shortly thereafter called President McKay’s apartment and talked to the nurse. She advised me that it would be virtually impossible for me to see the President before the morning session of Conference, but that it would perhaps be an advantageous time to come immediately following the morning session. I made arrangements with Joseph Anderson, secretary to the First Presidency, for him to go with me so that a record could be made of what the President would instruct us to do.

Before the morning session I talked to Elder Marion G. Romney and he said it looked as though something had to be done, otherwise the whole program that had been carried forward would be undermined by the omission of the statement of the President. Marion said to me, “It looks to me, Alvin, like it will be up to you to save this, and I sincerely hope that you can get it worked out with the President. “

The morning session of Conference was conducted by President Hugh B. Brown and President N. Eldon Tanner of the First Presidency was the opening speaker.

Immediately following the morning session, Joseph Anderson and I went to President McKay’s apartment. By previous arrangement, I had asked Henry Smith to be on hand, close by, outside of the apartment, but requested that he not go in since it would look like we were converging upon the President. Later he was joined by Earl Hawkes, the manager of the Deseret News, and they awaited in the hall while I talked to the President concerning this matter.

The President was glad to see us, although he looked somewhat tired. I explained to him the situation as it has developed because of the omission of the statement opposing liquor by the drink from his talk on the previous morning and that the opposition was stating that he had changed his mind concerning it and expressed to him the feeling that something should be done to reaffirm his stand with regard to the matter. He asked me three separate times as to why it had been omitted. He apparently was not aware that it had been, or if something had been said about it, then there was some misunderstanding that developed between hiln and his son concerning its presentation. I explained to the President that copies of his talk with the statement included (as had been explained to Robert McKay before he delivered the talk) had been distributed and were in the hands of the various news media agencies and that they were wondering why the statement had been omitted. In order to offset this wonderment, something should be immediately released to the press and a statement made in the General Priesthood Meeting that night to offset the damage that could be done if something were not done in this respect immediately.

President McKay was emphatic in stating that he had not changed his mind; that he was opposed to the liquor-by-the-drink issue, and that he felt something should be done immediately in a release to the news media and granted permission that a statement could be read in the General Priesthood Meeting this evening.

I suggested to President McKay that rather than just read the same statement that was in his opening remarks which had been omitted, perhaps it would be better to reframe another statement sustaining that which he had said in May concerning this measure. The President agreed to this.

(Comment:) Liquor-Statement by President McKay

I had previously talked to Elder Gordon Hinckley about this and we had framed a statement which, if the President would agree to, could be read in the Priesthood Meeting that night and also released to the press, which would accomplish the purpose which the Committee had in mind and, in my judgment, would offset any misunderstanding that the press and the wews media might have obtained because of the omission. The statement, therefore, Which the President authorized be released to the press is as follows:

“I wish to reaffirm the statement I made on May 11, 1968, and urge all members of the Church in Utah, and all citizens interested in the welfare of youth, to tatce a stand against the proposal for “liquor by the drink.”

Then, thereafter, to read the principal segment of the statement which he made on May 11 and which was published on the front page of the Deseret News. As a matter of information, the May 11th message is essentially as follows:

“Let no one be misled concerning the real intent.

“The true purpose is to make liquor more easily available.

‘The complaint is made that enforcement is virtually impossible under the present law. If this is true, the prevailing deplorable condition results from methodical removal of state enforcement machinery and practical nullification of local enforcement.

“This situation can be remedied through legislative action to restore enforcement provisions or otherwise modify the present statute without the broad proposal now designed to make liquor freely available in hundreds of restaurants and eating places throughout the state, and which, according to provisions of the proposed statute, would make it possible to serve drinks even without food.

“We may expect specious arguments emphasizing economic benefits. A member of the First Presidency speaking in April Conference said, ‘Surely every mother, father, and worthy citizen can see the folly of this and what it would do to our youth. We must not sell our heritage for a mess of pottage.’

“I urge members of the Church throughout the State, and all citizens interested in safeguarding youth and avoiding the train of evils associated with alcohol, to take a stand against the proposal for ‘liquor by the drink.'”

Joseph Anderson made a record of all of this. Thereafter, we left the President, but before doing so I told him not to worry about the situation, but that we would take care of it and see that no damage would come out of the omission. The President seemed quite concerned about the whole matter and there was a complexing look upon his face. This was the reason why I assured him several times that we would take care of the matter and that he should not worry about it.

We left the President’s apartment and, immediately on the outside of his door in the hall, we found Earl Hawkes and Henry Smith and released the statement to them which the President had made. This statement appeared on the front-page of the Deseret News that afternoon.

(General Priesthood Meeting)

As stated before in the Journal, President McKay had assigned me to conduct the General Priesthood Meeting. The music was furnished most excellently by the male chorus of the Tabernacle Choir under the direction of Richard Condie. A talk had been prepared from President McKay’s former statements. This talk was read by Lawrence McKay, his son. It was a most excellent talk and Lawrence did a very excellent job in reading it to the Priesthood.

Following his talk, I read the statement which President McKay had authorized to be given in that meeting concerning the opposition that he personally has against the liquor by the drink measure.

Liquor-By-The-Drink Statement Appreciated By The Brethren

At the close of the meeting, the members of the Committee and many other brethren came forward to express appreciation of the fact that the statement by President McKay had been read, particularly Brother Romney, Brother Hunter, and Brother Hinckley, who represent the Committee.”

Tues., 5 Nov., 1968:

“8:45 a.m.  Held a meeting of the First Presidency.  Those present were:  Presidents Hugh B. Brown, N. Eldon Tanner, Joseph Fielding Smith and Alvin R. Dyer.

Some of the items discussed were:

LIQUOR-BY-THE-DRINK – Statement Regarding Defeat of Bill

The next morning at the request of Henry Smith, Church Press Representative, I expressed my feelings as follows regarding the defeat of the proposed Liquor-by-the-Drink law:

Liquor – by – the – Drink:

“I am pleased with the defeat of the proposed liquor-by-the-drink measure. I am grateful for the efforts of those, both in and out of the Church, who worked so energetically to bring about this result.

I am satisfied that what has been accomplished is in the best interests of the people of the state, particularly our youth. Now let the Legislature solve the problems of the present law.”

(See following newspaper clipping for printed statement)

Thur., 7 Nov., 1968:

“At 8:45 a. m. I met with my counselors, Presidents Brown, Tanner, and Dyer for a meeting of the First Presidency. President Smith is meeting with the Twelve in the Temple, and President Isaacson is still at home because of his stroke.

The following items were discussed at this meeting:

Liquor-By-The-Drink Problem in Utah

President Tanner referred to the successful outcome of the campaign against liquor by the drink and said that the Governor has now announced that he will get the two groups together to try to arrange some proper legislation. President Tanner said that this morning he had met with Marion G. Romney, Gordon B. Hinckley, James Faust and Wendell Ashton and it was his feeling and theirs that there should not be any compromise whatever with the other group; that our committee should go forward and get legislation ready and fight for our convictions in the matter. President Tanner said that Elders Romney and Hinckley and he, and Brother Howard W. Hunter if he is in the city, will meet with the Governor and tell him of the committee’s position in the matter, that we have a mandate from the people, and that we do not propose to compromise with the other side; that the other side claims they want enforcement and that is what we are after also. President Tanner said it is also the intention to call in Haven Barlow, president of the Senate, and a committee representing the Senate, and also to ask Frank Gunnell, Speaker of the House, to bring in his committee and let them know where we stand.

President Tanner said that Brother Barlow called on him the other day and said that they want to know what we want them to do and that Brother Gunnell had called on Brother Romney and made the same remark. President Tanner said he was quite sure that Mr. Van Winkle and Mr. Kastler will go along with us.

I made no comment.

At the Council meeting held today held in the Salt Lake Temple, according to the minutes, an open discussion was held with regard to procedures to be followed now that we have won the mandate of the people on the Liquor-by-the-drink issue in working with the Legislature and so forth.

Elder Harold B. Lee pointed out that care must be taken in endeavoring to dictate to members of the State Legislature as to what they should do in the Legislature with regard to this. He said that this is a matter that needed to be carefully handled, and Brother Dyer agreed with Brother Lee that it could be dangerous to us and put us in a bad light, but that, nevertheless, something must be done to offset the efforts now by the opposition to obtain some compromise, for example, to permit Liquor-by-the-drink in the clubs, etc. But it seems to be the determination of this body to exercise the mandate that has been won, and to see to it that the present law is strengthened, and that there be no compromise with the principle of Liquor-by-the-drink.

Wed., 15 Jan, 1969:

“8:45 a. m. Meeting of the First Presidency in the President’s Hotel Apartment. Present were N. Eldon Tanner, Joseph Fielding Smith and Alvin R. Dyer.

The following are among the matters presented for discussion:

Liquor Legislation

President Tanner reported that this morning he had met with Howard W. Hunter, Gordon B. Hinckley, James Faust and Wendell Ashton in regard to the proposed liquor legislation. He said that Elder Hinckley reported to the First Presidency and the Twelve on Thursday last the various items in the proposed bill, and the brethren felt that it was about as good as we could expect. It was decided in the meeting this morning that Gordon B. Hinckley, James Faust and Wendell Ashton be asked to sponsor the bill. These brethren will explain what the conditions are in the state, that the police department and enforcement officers feel this is a great improvement over the present law, and that while the Church is not happy with all parts of the bill we feel it is a realistic approach and should have their support. He said they would then meet with the legislators and explain the bill to them and go into it in some detail and let them know that as a Church we are not opposing the bill. President Tanner said it is felt that the bill is an improvement in enforcement restriction and that it makes provision that the profits will not go to the distributors but to the state.

President Tanner said he was making this report so that I will be informed.”

Mon., 27 Jan, 1969:

“No meetings were held today.

Letter from First Presidency

A letter was sent our all Presidents of Stakes and Bishops of Wards in the United States and Canada under the signature of the First Presidency stating that “on moral issues the Church and its members should take a positive stand. . . Latter-day Saints must always be alert and united in contending against any influence which tends to break down the moral and spiritual strength of the people.”

(See complete statement which follows)”

“January 27, 1969


Dear Brethren:

We recognize the urgent need of encouraging legislators and civic groups to use their good offices to combat the evils of drinking, gambling, immorality and other vices. While strictly political matters should properly be left in the field of politics where they rightfully belong, on moral issues the Church and its members should take a positive stand.

We urge all members of the Church to wield their influence in the matter of encouraging the introduction of proper legislation that will, when enacted into law, combat evil of the kind mentioned, and safeguard the morals of members and nonmembers alike. Latter-day Saints must always be alert and united in contending against any influence which tends to break down the moral and spiritual strength of the people.

Sincerely yours,

David O. McKay

Hugh B. Brown

N. Eldon Tanner

The First Presidency.”

Thur., Jul. 31, 1969:

9:00 a.m.  Meeting of the First Presidency in the President’s Hotel Apartment.  Present were Presidents Hugh B. Brown and Joseph Fielding Smith.

Among the matters discussed were the following:

Word of Wisdom

A letter was read from Elders William J. Warner, Scott B. Smedley and Dean W. Carver, a group of missionaries at the Language Training School in Laie, Hawaii, asking if the Word of Wisdom is now a commandment. They report that their discussion manual says it is a commandment and that a letter they received from Elder LeGrand Richards states that to his knowledge it has never been made a commandment. In discussing the matter President Joseph Fielding Smith mentioned that he recalled many years ago hearing the president of the Church announce in conference that from then on the Word of Wisdom was a commandment. It was also mentioned that in the days of President Brigham Young he had presented to the conference the proposition that the Word of Wisdom be considered as a commandment in the future, which proposition was approved by the vote of the conference.

It was also mentioned that letters from the First Presidency during recent years at least have indicated that the Word of Wisdom has not been given to the Church as a commandment and a copy of the letter that is usually written was read to the brethren to this effect, indicating that while it was not given as mandatory it should be observed by all saints in the light of a commandment as the same blessings follow its observance if given to the Church as a law.

After hearing the discussion and the facts in the matter, I said that it should be left as it is.