Ezra Taft Benson Chronology: Presidency

Ezra Taft Benson Chronology (Part VI): November 10, 1985 to 2014 (President of the Church)


Ezra Taft Benson became the 13th President of the LDS church in 1985 after the death of Spencer W. Kimball. His first address began a recurring theme of his presidency – calling on members of the church to read the Book of Mormon. Conspiracies described in the Book of Mormon to overthrow God’s plan – rang true to Benson, who saw similar conspiracies in his time. He compared his call to read the Book of Mormon – to that of Lorenzo Snow’s call to pay tithing. “The Lord has revealed [this, in order] to get the Church … out from under condemnation”.

Upon his ascension to the presidency, non-Mormon journalists noted that his anti-communist politics had “antagonized numerous members of the church, leading to fears of a major schism if he became president.” But the political passion of the 50s and 60s had retreated and the John Birch Society had lost much of its relevancy. He became president in the middle of America’s conservative “Reagan Revolution”, and he largely abandoned his ultra-conservative evangelism, but never-the-less promoted “Birchism” to an extent, such as buying subscriptions to a Birch publication for his new counselors.

During his administration, the Church established a relationship with the communist German Democratic Republic. First, missionaries were first allowed into the country. Then the church was allowed build a temple. And later, the Berlin Wall came down. Also during Benson’s administration, Russia granted the church official recognition. These events seem to be poetic justice for Benson’s earlier anti-communist efforts.

His earlier rhetoric branding some ultra-conservative political ideologies as components of the gospel left a continuing impression on many Mormons. For example, ultra-conservative presidential candidate Bo Gritz received 28,000 votes in Utah. Groups like the ultra-conservative American Study Group were organized in Utah.

Other ultra-conservatives resisted the more mainstream direction of the church. For example, church officers grew concerned with “those obsessed with the early speeches of LDS Church President Ezra Taft Benson and who believe the ailing, 93-year-old leader has been silenced because his opinions no longer are politically popular.” Some believed was being held hostage, and possibly drugged by his counselors. Based on instructions of a general authority, stake presidents in central Utah prepared a list of twenty warning signs of apostasy, including “John Birch membership or leanings.” Eventually a “purge” was executed resulting in the excommunication of a number of ultra-conservative church members.

Ultra-conservativism also manifested itself in Utah politics. Just as Benson had denounced Martin Luther King decades earlier, conservative members of the Utah legislature insisted that “Martin Luther King Day” be called “Human Rights Day” instead. Today, Utah is, by some measures, the most conservative state in the union, with many Mormons informed by Benson’s Birch emphases from the 1960s.

In 1988, the Benson administration began efforts to combat gay marriage in Hawaii. Petitions were rejected by courts until the church could demonstrate “property or transaction” in those cases. Efforts under Benson’s administration laid the groundwork for the creation of the “Proclamation on the Family” (1995) which was announced the year after Benson’s death. This allowed the church to participate in court cases related to gay marriage. (1)

The first black stake with an all-black leadership was organized in Nigeria, and the first black general authority was ordained during Benson’s presidency. These events demonstrate how things had changed, as Benson’s had suggested (23 years earlier) to abort missionary work in Nigeria.

President Benson continued his crackdown on secularism and internal criticism. BYU discouraged its facility to avoid Dialogue and Sunstone, and the First Presidency released a statement expressing concern about topics discussed at a Sunstone symposium.

News of the existence of the secretive “Strengthening Church Members” committee, which kept records on intellectuals, feminists and others considered critical of the church, became public. Benson’s former executive secretary, William O. Nelson (who shared Benson’s Birch political leanings) was the executive secretary. He had managed spying efforts at BYU for Benson in the 1970s, tracking liberal-leaning professors. The First Presidency released a statement justifying the group’s existence, comparing it to the earlier church collecting information on Missouri mobs.

Tensions crescendoed in September 1993 when six prominent critics dubbed the “September Six” were excommunicated. Others were interrogated, disciplined, or fired from church employment during his administration.

Echoing Benson’s post-WWII humanitarian mission to Europe, the church donated one million pounds of food to drought-stricken Somalia. In another humanitarian gesture, President Benson personally delivered a contribution of ten million dollars to President Ronald Reagan to be used to procure food for the world’s hungry.

Some of the other efforts / accomplishments of his administration include:

– Revision of missionary discussions
– Reorganization of the office of Seventy
– Speaking out against gambling & child abuse
– Conversion of the Hotel Utah into the Joseph Smith Memorial building
– Organization of Young Women’s presidencies
– Renaming Genealogical department as the Family History department
– Joining the Vision Interfaith Satellite Network
– Reemphasizing traditional role of women
– Having a woman speak in conference for the first time
– Discontinuance of ward and stake budgets
– Streamlining church services into a three hour Sunday block
– Implementing term limits for some General Authorities
– Increased restrictions on missionary service for behaviors related to reproduction
– Modifying aspects of the temple ceremony to soften some patriarchal language and masonic elements
– Allowing endowments for church members with unworthy spouses

News of Benson’s declining physical and mental health became a public controversy. He was the second oldest man to assume the presidency of the church, and was already suffering dizzy spells, memory loss, and difficulty in public speaking. His presidential responsibilities gradually shifted to his counsellors. He passed away in 1994.

He was a dynamic, driven leader, shaped by a life of rich experience. He was a man of principal and abiding spirituality, leaving a distinct mark on the legacy of the LDS church.

— 10 Nov 1985
Ezra Taft Benson, President, chooses Gordon B. Hinckley as First Counselor, and Thomas S. Monson as Second Counselor. Marion G. Romney becomes President of the Quorum. Because Marion G. Romney was suffering from health and age difficulties, Howard W. Hunter was set apart as Acting President of the Quorum. (2)

Benson was the second oldest man to become LDS church president and already suffered dizzy spells, memory loss, and difficulty in public speaking.

Non-Mormon journalists noted: “In the past Benson’s heavy-handed political maneuvering has antagonized numerous members of the [LDS] church, leading to fears of a major schism if he became president.”

When he ascended to that office in November 1985, church officials insisted that Benson’s political activism was “in the past.”  (3)

— 9 Dec 1985
The Birch Society’s new magazine heralded the appointment of “the long-time Americanist patriot” as the new LDS president. “As in numerous past attempts to smear him and distract from his anti-Communist message, recent news articles have linked Benson to The John Birch Society,” the magazine noted two weeks later in its regular “American Hero” section. The Birch magazine then mentioned Reed Benson’s affiliation and quoted President Benson: “I do not belong to The John Birch Society, but I have always defended this group.”  (4)

— 22 Dec 1985
The First Presidency issued a special invitation to those members who had ceased activity or become critical of the Church to “come back”, and they opened the temples to worthy members married to  spouses.  (5)

— During 1985
Special fasts raised $11 million for famine victims. (6)

The temple recommend question was simplified to, “Do you live the law of Chastity?” from “unnatural acts.” (7)

— 1986
Ezra Taft Benson – Published Volume – The Constitution: A Heavenly Banner. Deseret Book (8)

— January 2, 1986
Ezra Taft Benson to the editor of the Birch Society magazine:

… Congratulations on a job well done. I am deeply grateful for “The New American”.

May the good Lord sustain you and bless you as you enjoy your work as editor. The magazine is needed and so are you. …

Faithfully, your friend and brother,

<Signed: Ezra Taft Benson>

Ezra Taft Benson, President.


Will you be kind enough to send a subscription of “The New American”, ‘A Weekly Review of the News and American Opinion,’ to D. Arthur Haycock [secretary to the First Presidency] at 47 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150; and bill me for it please.  Thank You.

Will you also send copies of “The New American” to my associates, Thomas S. Monson and Gordon B. Hinckley, both at the same address I have, and also send me the bill.   (9)

— 5 Jan 1986
At the Annandale Virginia Stake conference, President Ezra Taft Benson addresses the Saints for the first time as President of the Church, testifying of the power of the Book of Mormon to change lives and lead people to Christ (a message that would become a recurring theme of his presidency).

— 13 Feb 1986
Conservative members of the Utah legislature refused to allow the state to call this national holiday by King’s name.  The state of Utah uses the name “Human Rights Day” instead of Martin Luther King Day.  (10)

— 2 Apr 1986
BYU’s administration prepares document for its external accreditation review, including: “BYU administrators are advised not to publish in ‘Dialogue, a Journal of Mormon Thought,’ nor to participate in ‘Sunstone’ symposia.” (11)

— April 1986
When Ezra Taft Benson was sustained as President, the quorums did not sit together in Solemn Assembly, and the ceremony was substantially shortened, requiring only ten votes.   (12)

— April 6, 1986
In his opening address the newly sustained president, President Benson stressed the need to “cleanse the inner vessel, beginning first with ourselves, then with our families, and finally with the Church”. In commencing that cleansing, he declared, “The Book of Mormon has not been, nor is it yet, the center of our personal study, family teaching, preaching, and missionary work. Of this we must repent”.

In his concluding address of the conference, he said, “The Lord inspired His servant Lorenzo Snow to reemphasize the principle of tithing to redeem the Church from financial bondage…. Now, in our day, the Lord has revealed the need to reemphasize the Book of Mormon to get the Church and all the children of Zion out from under condemnation – the scourge and judgment”.

To that end, his address “The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God” was repeated in regional conferences throughout the Church.  (5)

— 30 Apr 1986
Church membership was estimated to have reached the 6-million member milestone. (13)

— 6 Jul 1986
Announcement of “Improved missionary discussions [which] put aside the specific dialogue of the past. Missionaries will now use their own words and follow an outline to share the gospel.” This ends twenty-five years of requiring LDS missionaries to memorize and speak word-for-word dialogue when teaching non-Mormons. (11)

— October, 1986
President Benson announced that all stake quorums of the seventy were discontinued. The church encouraged local leaders to have ordained seventies meet with the local elders quorum or to ordain them as high priests.  Soon church’s only Seventies are general authorities who have been ordained High Priests. (14)

— October 5, 1986
President Benson’s administration expressed Church opposition to the legalization of gambling and government-sponsored lotteries being proposed in many states. “First Presidency Issues Statement against Gambling.”  (15)

— 9 Oct 1986
Joseph B. Wirthlin is ordained an Apostle, replacing Thomas S. Monson, who had been called to the First Presidency.

— October 24-28 1986
President Benson dedicates Denver Colorado Temple. This is the 4th temple dedicated during his presidency, the 1st by Benson. Historically, temples are usually dedicated by the president as their health permits.  (16)

— During Nov 1986
Ezra Taft Benson: “The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion… Just as the arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does all the Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The enemies of the Church understand this clearly. This is why they go to such great lengths to try to disprove the Book of Mormon, for if it can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph Smith goes with it. So does our claim to priesthood keys, and revelation, and the restored Church.”  (17)

— 4 Dec 1986
Benson’s son Mark A. Benson leaves board of the National Center for Constitutional Studies.  (18)

— 22 Feb 1987
President Ezra Taft Benson speaks at a televised “Fireside for Parents.” In his talk (which is later published as a pamphlet, “To the Mothers in Zion”) he states, “Contrary to conventional wisdom, a mothers calling is in the home, not in the marketplace.” He quotes Spencer W. Kimball: “It was never intended by the Lord that married women should compete with men in employment.”

— March 1987
An article in the Ensign magazine describes Benson’s term as secretary of state: “Secretary Benson was the target for more organized and sustained attacks than anyone else in high government office.”  (19)

— 12 Mar 1987
Announcement that church’s Hotel Utah will be remodeled into additional office building for LDS Bureaucracy. When completed in 1991, renamed “Joseph Smith Memorial Building” has 75,000 square feet of floor space. (11)

— March 14, 1987
President Benson continued emphasis to reading and teaching from the Book of Mormon. That year nearly 450,000 of 2.9 million copies were distributed through the family-to-family program and, during 1988, 1.4 of the 6.6 million printed that year.   (20)

— 25 Apr 1987
The First Presidency announces the creation of four new areas as part of the Church’s realignment of worldwide administrative areas.

— 20 Jun 1987
In a letter sent to priesthood leaders, the First Presidency defines the organizational structure of ward Young Women presidencies and requests consistent midweek activities for Young Women.

— 15 Aug 1987
The First Presidency announces the renaming of the Church Genealogical Department as the Family History Department.

— August 28-30 1987
President Benson dedicates Frankfurt Germany Temple. This is the last temple (2nd) dedicated by Benson. The remaining four temples are dedicated by his counselor Gordon B. Hinckley. Typically presidents dedicate temples as their health permits.  (16)

— 4 Sep 1987
A letter from the First Presidency announced the discontinuance of the International Mission. Responsibility for its areas reverted to the respective area presidencies of the Church. (13)

— November, 1987
Sheri Dew publishes a 565 page biography of Ezra Taft Benson (Deseret Book). The terms “Communism,” “John Birch Society,” and “Robert Welch” do not appear in its index.  (21)

— 1988
Published Volume by Ezra Taft Benson – A Witness and a Warning: A Modern-Day Prophet Testifies of the Book of Mormon. Deseret Book (8)

Published Volume by Ezra Taft Benson – The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson. Bookcraft (8)

— January 1988
First Presidency Message, Ezra Taft Benson: “the Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention. It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time- Now, we have not been using the Book of Mormon as we should. Our homes are not as strong unless we are using it to bring our children to Christ. Our families may be corrupted by worldly trends <and teachings unless we know how to use the book to expose and combat falsehoods in socialism, rationalism, etc>The situation in the world will continue to degenerate unless we read and heed the words of God and quit building up and upholding secret combinations, which the Book of Mormon tells us proved the downfall of ancient civilizations.”

[Angled brackets “<>” indicate text removed from other works such as “The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson”] (22)

— 15 Jan 1988
The First Presidency renews the call for all Church members to be active in volunteer service and political, governmental, and community leadership.

— 27 Feb 1988
President Ezra Taft Benson breaks ground for the San Diego California Temple.

— 6 Mar 1988
The ARIZONA REPUBLIC reports that Cleon Skousen solemnly affirmed to a largely Mormon audience during a fundraising dinner for the Evan Mecham campaign that God foretold the gubernatorial candidate that he would attain the governorship to help save America from going to hell in the handbasket of socialism. Skousen refers to Mecham as “a modern-day Isaiah,” who also was “beaten, spat upon, and persecuted for being a prophet.”

— 12 Mar 1988
First Presidency statement supports Child Abuse Prevention Month and encourages Mormons to combat this “pernicious problem.” (11)

— 15 May 1988
First stake organized in black Africa in Aba, Nigeria. [All leaders are black] (23)

— 18 May 1988
Apostle Howard W. Hunter signs agreement with State of Israel that “the Church will not engage in any missionary activity within the borders of Israel, as long as such activity is not allowed by the government of Israel.” (11)

— 20 May 1988
Counselor Marion G. Romney dies. Howard W. Hunter becomes President of the Quorum. (2)

— 28 May 1988
The First Presidency issued a statement on the subject of AIDS, stressing chastity before marriage, fidelity in marriage, and abstinence from homosexual behavior, yet extending sympathy to those who have contracted the disease. (13)

— 1988 August
The Church completes 100 million endowments for the dead. (24)

— 17 Sep 1988
LDS church joins VISN television network (Vision Interfaith Satellite Network) sponsored jointly by different religious organizations; renamed “Faith and Values Channel.”

— 1 Oct 1988
President Ezra Taft Benson opens general conference with a challenge for the Saints to flood the earth with the Book of Mormon.

— October 1988
[Conference address] “[Wickedness] is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations lusting for power, gain, and glory are flourishing. A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world.”  (25)

— October 2, 1988
Delivers his final general conference address in person. (After October 1988, his frail physical health prevented him from speaking at general conference. His counselors in the First Presidency read sermons on his behalf or quoted messages he had given in past addresses.)  (26)

— Oct 2, 1988
Michaelene P. Grassli, general Primary President, is first woman to speak in general conference in 133 years. (27)

— 6 Oct 1988
Richard G. Scott is ordained an Apostle, replacing Marion G. Romney, who had passed away.

— 18 Oct 1988
At request of Counselor Gordon B. Hinckley, President Ezra Taft Benson appoints committee of three apostle-lawyers (Howard W. Hunter, James E. Faust, and Dallin H. Oaks) to formally investigate the publicly announced claims that as an apostle Hinckley allegedly had long-term homosexual affair with younger man. Circulated internationally by Protestant evangelicals through anti-Mormon video and book GODMAKERS II, these allegations are repudiated by apostolic committee as “pure fabrication” after “an extensive probe.” Hinckley puts formal end to this investigation on May 6, 1993 when he reads statement to Presidency and Twelve. While he is counselor, temple council decides against making any kind of public denial.  (11)

— Oct 24, 1988-28
President Thomas S. Monson led a delegation of Church leaders that met with the German Democratic Republic’s top government officials. It was announced Nov. 12 that the Church had been granted rights to send missionaries to the DDR and for LDS members from the DDR to serve as missionaries in other countries. (13)

— During 1988
The Church contracts the Hawaii marketing agency, Hill and Knowlton, to monitor and promote the Church’s stance on gay issues in state legislatures and the U.S. Congress. One function of working through a non-mainland marketing agency was that the name of the Church was separated from the legislative efforts that the firm undertook. (28)

— 1989
Published Volume – A Labor of Love: The 1946 European Mission of Ezra Taft Benson. Deseret Book (8)

— 12 Feb 1989
The Church announces that worthy, unendowed members whose spouses are not members or the Church or are not worthy to enter the temple may receive their individual endowments. (53)

— Apr 1, 1989-2
The Second Quorum of the Seventy was created and all General Authorities serving under a five-year call were sustained as members, along with another eight newly called General Authorities. (13)

— April 1, 1989
Gordon B. Hinckley reads a talk for ailing Ezra Taft Benson titled “Beware of Pride,” considered one of the best sermons by Benson. Grandson Steve Benson argued that portions were of the talk were plagiarized from C. S. Lewis “Mere Christianity.” A series of parallels exist, but attribution is given for just one Lewis quote. The talk may have been written by Ezra Taft Benson’s daughter-in-law May Benson (married to Reed Benson) over a two week period of time in St. George. She had been reportedly working on a book on pride. (29)

Many national and international citations and awards, including a number of honorary doctorate degrees, were bestowed on him. From the Boy Scouts of America he received the Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope, and Silver Buffalo; he served on their National Executive Board. On April 1, 1989, he was presented world Scouting’s highest award, the Bronze Wolf.  (5)

— Aug 1989
Republican U.S. president George Bush awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal to Benson. This was another personal vindication of Benson’s decades of political activism. This information was omitted from the 1993-1994 Church Almanac, 370.  (30)

— Sep 1, 1989.
Elder George P. Lee of the First Quorum of the Seventy is excommunicated “for apostasy” and “conduct unbecoming a member.” Letters Lee releases to the press include criticisms of the church’s neglect of Lamanites and incidents of personal discrimination against him by other general authorities.  (31)

— 30 Sep 1989
Elder Paul H. Dunn, age 65, of the Presidency of the First Quorum of Seventy is given emeritus status “in consideration of factors of age and health.” [He had exaggerated many of his stories in books and sermons]. He continues, however, to participate in money-making ventures including tours of major-league baseball parks throughout the United States. (11)

The first General Authorities called to serve for five years are released.

— 9 Nov 1989
The Berlin Wall came down, paving the way for eventual unification of East and West Germany. (13)

— 25 Nov 1989
A major change in policy for financing local Church units in the United States and Canada was announced by the First Presidency. Ward members would no longer have stake and ward budget assessments. (13)

— 2 Dec 1989
Church membership reaches seven million.

— 1990
Published Volume – Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice. Deseret Book (8)

Published Volume – Missionaries to Match Our Message. Bookcraft (8)

— 31 Mar 1990
Conference sustains first general authority of black African descent, Second Quorum of Seventy Helvecio Martins of Brazil (who is released in 1995). Chieko Nishimura Okazaki is sustained as first counselor in general presidency of Relief Society, first non-Caucasian member of auxiliary presidency in Mormon history. (11)

— Apr 1990
President Benson was physically unable to speak at general conference from April 1990 on. His last public appearance was in 1992. (32)

[A]pocalyptic-minded Mormon members of the Birch Society organized “the American Study Group” which grew to 1,400 members within two months.  (33)

— 10 Apr 1990
Changes in temple ceremony promote gender equality, de-emphasize symbolic violence, and eliminate Protestant minister from endowment drama. This becomes nation-wide news in special reports by NEW YORK TIMES, LOS ANGELES TIMES, TIME MAGAZINE, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, and in Associated Press report published in local newspapers. (11)

— 13 Nov 1990
In 1991 Utah membership of the John Birch Society mushroomed as a result of U.S. president George Bush’s proclaiming U.S. participation in a “New World Order.” As part of the United Nations successful Gulf War, President Bush adopted a phrase used by ultra-conservatives for decades to identify the “collectivist” goal of the international conspiracy. By May 1991, Utah had 1,000 members of the Birch Society, an increase of nearly 50 percent from two years earlier.  (34)

— 1991
Church membership exceeded 8 million members. (35)

— 15 Feb 1991
Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan speaks at Brigham Young University and pays a courtesy call to Church headquarters.

— March 6, 1991
Efforts to fellowship and integrate new members into the Church community received emphasis during President Benson’s administration.   (36)

— 24 Jun 1991
Russia granted formal recognition to the Church. (6)

— 23 Aug 1991
First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve Apostles, by infrequently used format of joint declaration, issue statement which refers to the Sunstone Symposium’s annual meetings on 7-10 Aug. It condemns “recent symposia” for presentations which are “offensive . . . in bad taste . . . and publicized in such a way as to injure the Church or its members or to jeopardize the effectiveness or safety of our missionaries.” In following weeks church authorities instruct local leaders to meet with Mormons, particularly BYU faculty, who participated in Sunstone to persuade them to cease such activities. (11)

— November, 1991
A mass excommunication of several ultra-right-wing survivalists in southern Utah occurs. Some of them believed that their political hero, President Ezra Taft Benson, was being “silenced” and possibly drugged and held hostage by his more moderate counselors.  (37)

— 1992
Ezra Taft Benson Published Volume – Elect Women of God. Bookcraft (8)

— 2 May 1992
President Ezra Taft Benson breaks ground for the Bountiful Utah Temple.

— 22 May 1992
First Presidency statement that King James Version of Bible is the only English language Bible to be used in LDS church meetings. This codifies position maintained for decades by former First Presidency counselor J. Reuben Clark.

— Jun 27, 1992.
A Salt Lake Tribune article by Peggy Fletcher Stack reports “ongoing intimidation of Mormon intellectuals,” including hate mail received by Martha Sonntag Bradley, BYU faculty member and new coeditor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. (31)

— Aug 8, 1992.
An Associated Press story by Vern Anderson quotes church spokesman Don LeFevre’s acknowledgement that the “Strengthening Church Members Committee” “provides local church leadership with information designed to help them counsel with members who may hinder the progress of the church through public criticism.” It also reports the experience of Omar Kader of Washington, D.C., formerly of BYU’s political science department. Kader says a BYU administrator told him that Nelson, then Kader’s stake president, kept a file on his political activities as a Democrat in Provo in the late 1970s. Nelson “categorically denied keeping a file on Kader” and also denied “knowing Omar and Nancy Kader.”

Nelson was the director of the Evaluation Division, Church Correlation Department, which reports to Elder Boyd K. Packer, and was executive assistant to Ezra Taft Benson while Benson was president of the Quorum of the Twelve (1974-85).

Nelson was a veteran of Benson’s abortive 1977 BYU spy ring. Previously, maintaining such files on church members were usually ad hoc activities of the First Presidency’s office, Presiding Bishopric Office, Mark E. Petersen’s special committee, Correlation Committee, the Special Affairs Committee, and Ezra Taft Benson’s office. Only the Church Security Department has had an on-going responsibility to maintain information files on “disloyal” or “potentially dangerous” Mormons and to conduct physical and photographic surveillance. Such intelligence gathering is conducted through what Church Security calls its “Confidential Services.”

A man who served as assistant secretary in the First Presidency’s office from 1974 to 1981 had never heard of this committee’s existence during the Kimball presidency.  (38)

— Aug 13, 1992
Due to publicity [regarding the Strengthening the Members Committee] including New York Times, Presidency issues statement on 13 Aug. defending organization of this apostle-directed committee as consistent with God’s commandment to Joseph Smith to gather documentation about non-Mormons who mob and persecute LDS Church. Presidency lists Apostles James E. Faust and Russell M. Nelson as leading the committee. (27)

— Aug 14, 1992.
Peggy Fletcher Stack’s Salt Lake Tribune article reporting the First Presidency statement [regard the Strengthening the Members Committee:] … [Ross Peterson] described his own “grill[ing]” by his area presidency who “continually drew photocopied items out of a file and asked him about things he had written decades ago. The file was sitting on the churchmen’s desk, but Mr. Peterson was not allowed to see its contents.” “Files are a strange carryover from a paranoia that resembles McCarthyism,” says Peterson. The article also cites unnamed “LDS Church employees” who tell the Tribune that William O. Nelson “shares President Benson’s John Birch Society politics” and that “the church has kept files on outspoken members for decades.  (31)

— August 14, 1992
President Benson mourns the death of his wife, Flora.  (26)

— 26 Sep 1992
The First Presidency authorized the use of humanitarian relief funds to be sent to Somalia and other African nations in the grip of the drought of the century. In an initial response, one million pounds of food was shipped. (13)

— 3-Oct 4, 1992.
Although not identifying specific issues, several general conference talks seem targeted at specific audiences. Possibly in response to right-wing survivalists, Elder M. Russell Ballard warns, “We must be careful not to . . . be caught up in extreme preparations” for the end of the world. President Gordon B. Hinckley, perhaps responding to right-wing beliefs of a “silenced” prophet, explains the “unique and tremendous system of redundancy and backup which the Lord has structured into His kingdom so that without interruption it may go forward, meeting any emergency that might arise and handling every contingency. . . . We have moved without hesitation when there is well-established policy. Where there is not . . . we have talked with the President and received his approval before taking action. Let it never be said that there has been any disposition to assume authority or to do anything or say anything which might be at variance with the wishes of him who has been put in his place by the Lord.” Elder Boyd K. Packer adds: “There are some among us now who have not been regularly ordained by the heads of the Church who tell of impending political and economic chaos, the end of the world . . . . They are misleading members to gather to colonies or cults. Those deceivers say that the Brethren do not know what is going on in the world or that the Brethren approve of their teaching but do not wish to speak of it over the pulpit. Neither is true.”  … (31)

— 25 Oct 1992
Based on the instructions of a general authority, stake presidents prepared a list of twenty warning signs of apostasy. Third on this list was “John Birch membership or leanings.”  (39)

— Early November 1992 or earlier.
Three separate lists begin to circulate in the Utah South Region. Apparently at least one, “Profile of the Splinter Group Members or Others with Troublesome Ideologies,” was reportedly created by a stake president who had taken notes during a speech by Elder Jeppsen, added additional specifics to the list, and then circulated it among additional stake presidents, some of whom also added items. Harold Nicholl, one of six Sanpete County stake presidents, uses the first list “as a guide for excommunications.” This list consists of twenty unnumbered points, including: “They follow the practice of home school. There is a preoccupation with the end of the world. . . . Many have John Birch membership or leanings. Many do not work and have no jobs. They study the mysteries, feeling that what is provided in our meetings today is superficial. They meet in study groups. They listen to . . . `Bo Gritz’ tapes and others about such topics as Armageddon. They are inordinately preoccupied with food storage. They . . . teach that . . . the government is corrupt. . . . They feel that President Benson’s counselors have muzzled the prophet. . . . They staunchly profess that they sustain the prophet and local leaders, but when asked to stop doing certain things . . . they tell you straight out they will have to take the matter to the Lord. . . . They read the books of Avraham Gileadi. . . . Many of these folks are on state welfare and others try to obtain Church welfare. . . . Plural marriage . . . continues to surface as a part of the belief structure of many. . . . Some have held prayer circles in full temple clothing outside the temple. . . . Some of these folks would linger in the celestial room of the Manti Temple for hours to teach one another.” (31)

— Nov 19, 1992.
Timothy B. Wilson, who is preparing Mormon’s Book: A Modern English Rendering for publication, is called in by his stake president and asked about his project and whether he knows Avraham Gileadi. His stake president also asks whether he would drop the project if he were so instructed. Tim’s bishop told him that the First Presidency “objected to the format of his book,” which arranged the standard and modernized rendering verse by verse in parallel columns. Tim revised his rendering to a paragraph, rather than verse, format in an effort to resolve the problem. Inspired by President Benson’s challenge to “flood the earth with the Book of Mormon,” he has spent two years and $20,000 on this project, which he hopes will makes the Book of Mormon more accessible to millions of readers. (31)

— 29 Nov 1992
Mormon advocates of Ezra Taft Benson’s ultra-conservativism found themselves in a religious quandary. LDS church officers were suspicious of “those obsessed with the early speeches of LDS Church President Ezra Taft Benson and who believe the ailing, 93-year-old leader has been silenced because his opinions no longer are politically popular.” Such ultra- conservative Mormons were being excommunicated or disciplined in Utah and surrounding states. One of them protested, “We support President Benson 100%,” but “there are some brethren who speak 180 degrees against him.”  (40)

As the ultra-conservative presidential candidate in the national election of 1992, most of the support for Mormon James “Bo” Gritz, was in the “Mormon Culture Region” centering on the state of Utah which alone gave him 28,000 votes.   (41)

— Dec 2, 1992.
Church spokesman Don LeFevre issues a statement announcing that “disciplinary matters are . . . strictly between the individual and . . . local ecclesiastical leaders,” stating that Elder Jeppsen “said he had never provided any such list,” denying that high church officials are “sedating” Ezra Taft Benson, and denying that there has been “any increase in the number of people excommunicated from the Church.” (31)

— 6 Dec 1992
The total number of wards and branches worldwide reaches twenty thousand. (42)

— 7 Dec 1992
Concerning recent pressures against Mormon ultra-conservatives, James ‘Bo’ Gritz observes: “The critics I’m talking about are not little people but church authorities [who] have said what Ezra Taft Benson says before he was a prophet doesn’t count.”  (43)

— 15 Dec 1992
The First Presidency announces an effort sponsored by the Relief Society to raise literacy rates in the Church worldwide.

— 21 Dec 1992
[New York Times] The rate of excommunications of Mormon political extremists increases. (44)

— During 1992
The Church publishes “Understanding and Helping Those Who Have Homosexual Problems,” a handbook for bishops and stake presidents. The handbook teaches that “such thoughts and feelings, regardless of their causes, can and should be overcome … change is possible”, that leaders should “be careful not to label the person as ‘homosexual’ or ‘gay'”, and that “there is no conclusive evidence that anyone is born with a homosexual orientation”. It does emphasize the position that “marriage should not be viewed as a way to resolve homosexual problems”, which differs from earlier policy. This publication was in use by the Church up through at least 2008 – and was the most current material available that is directed specifically at ecclesiastical leaders. (45)

— January 1993
News stories began to surface about the apparent mental instability of church president Ezra Taft Benson. While it had been clear through his silent public appearances from the late 1980s that his mind was failing, church leaders had continued to insist that he was aware of what was happening around him. Precipitated by Benson’s hospitalization, news reports started to focus more closely on his mental capacity. … Lavina Fielding Anderson commented as well: “News photos of [Benson’s] counselors helping him to wave or hold a shovel are deeply distressing,” Anderson said.  (37)

— 4 Mar 1993
First Presidency letter absolutely excludes following persons from possibility of serving full-time missions: “Individuals who have become HIV positive . . . Persons 19 to 26 who have been divorced . . . Young men who have encouraged, paid for, or arranged for an abortion resulting from their immoral conduct . . . Sisters who submit to abortions growing out of their immoral conduct . . . [anyone who] has fathered or given birth to a child out of wedlock.” Persons with “homosexual activity” would be eligible only on these conditions: “if there is no current indication of homosexual tendencies” or if “there is strong evidence of complete repentance and reformation, with at least one year free of transgression.”

— Spring 1993
To liberal intellectuals beginning to feel besieged by church leaders, President Benson’s mental incapacity meant one thing: greater freedom for the acting president of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, Boyd K. Packer, widely rumored to be behind the recent actions against liberals and feminists. D. Michael Quinn noted in another controversial session at the 1992 Sunstone Symposium, LDS president David O. McKay’s mental incapacity in the late 1960s had afforded then-apostle Ezra Taft Benson greater freedom to wage personal wars in the church hierarchy over his conservative politics. This situation, many believed, was paralleled in the early 1990s, when Benson’s own incapacity allowed Packer latitude to punish those he would later brand “so-called scholars and intellectuals.”  (37)

— 27 Jun 1993
President Gordon B. Hinckley of the first Presidency rededicates the refurbished and remodeled Hotel Utah, renaming it the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Used primarily for Church offices and meeting facilities, it also contains a five-hundred-seat theater for the presentation of full-length Church films, the first of which was the 1993 drama Legacy (directed by Academy Award-winning film director Keith Merrill, with the musical score by Merrill Jenson).

— July 10, 1993
Steve Benson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist for the Arizona Republic, asserted that his grandfather’s “physical and mental infirmities were preventing him from participating in meaningful Church leadership and decision-making . . . [and] ultimately he grew so weak and infirm that he spent his waking hours silently wrapped in a blanket in his reclining chair.”

He criticized use of news photographs showing the president looking at birthday cards, with his foot on a shovel at a ground breaking, and with his hand raised as if greeting people, saying those images misled the viewer. He said there should be emeritus status or an executive committee to substitute for an incapacitated president. At the least, he said, there should be candid acknowledgment of the president’s incapacity.  A spokesman for the Church called the proposals “impossible. The Lord’s in charge.”

President Hinckley, speaking in 1994 of President Benson’s similar incapacity, described the practice for managing such situations:

“When the President is ill or not able to function fully in all of the duties of his office, his two Counselors together comprise a Quorum of the First Presidency. They carry on with the day-to-day work of the Presidency. In exceptional circumstances, when only one may be able to function, he may act in the authority of the office of the Presidency. . . .  But any major questions of policy, procedures, programs, or doctrine are considered deliberately and prayerfully by the First Presidency and the Twelve together. These two quorums . . . consider every major question . . . [and] . . . no decision emanates . . . without total unanimity. . . .”  (46)

— 13 Jul 1993
ARIZONA REPUBLIC reports that First Presidency Spokesman Don LeFevre claims “the typical faithful Mormon” already knows that Ezra Taft Benson’s mental condition prevents his participation in decision-making. This is in response to continued publicity of Steve Benson’s statements during past week that his grandfather is mentally incompetent, and that LDS leaders are exploiting him by giving impression in photographs and official statements that church president is mentally active. Steve Benson withdraws from membership in LDS church in Oct, after excommunication of several scholars and feminists. (11)

— During September 1993
The September Six face church discipline for their feminist and intellectual work

Six prominent LDS intellectuals, several of whom were feminists, faced church discipline for their writings.  The six include Paul Toscano, Maxine Hanks, Lavina Fielding Anderson, Lynne Kanavel Whitesides, Avraham Gileadi, and D. Michael Quinn; Whitesides was disfellowshipped while the other five were excommunicated.  Although the church does not disclose its reasons for pursuing disciplinary action, it is commonly understood that these six individuals faced that action due to their writings about Mormon history, scripture, and doctrine.  This action followed Boyd K. Packer identifying homosexuals, feminists, and intellectuals as key enemies of the church in the spring of 1993. (47)

— 17 Oct 1993
The First Presidency issues a statement reaffirming the Church’s right to discipline members of the Church.

— 23 Nov 1993
The First Presidency issues a statement that emphasizes keeping the Sabbath day holy.

— 1994
The Church joined with others in 1994 to defeat a legalized lottery proposal in Oklahoma.   (48)

— 1 Jan 1994
End of congregational hymn-singing and general meeting prior to individual Sunday school classes, as per First Presidency announcement on 25 Sept. 1993.

— 1 Feb 1994
First Presidency endorses appointment of 1994 as -International Year of the Family – by United Nations, organization which currently disabled Ezra Taft Benson has repeatedly denounced as illegal infringement on U.S. sovereignty. This reinforces his grandson’s claim that counselors are making decisions without church president’s coherent consultation or approval.

— 14 Feb 1994
The First Presidency issued a statement declaring opposition to same-sex marriage in response to Hawaii’s attempt to legalize same-sex marriage. The Church urged members to support efforts to outlaw marriage equality. (49)

— 7 Apr 1994
Robert D. Hales is ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, replacing recently deceased Marvin J. Ashton.

— 13 May 1994
President Ezra Taft Benson is inducted into the University of Idaho alumni of fame.

— 30 May 1994
President Ezra Taft Benson dies. Howard W. Hunter becomes president.

— December 1994
When the state of Idaho flew flags at half-mast at Ezra Taft Benson’s death, angry complaints flooded in from people who believed that the gesture honored his Church position rather than his service as an Idaho native in the Eisenhower cabinet.   (50)

— 21 May 1996
[Paul H. Dunn] “Early in my career I found that there was not a whole lot of support or appreciation for Benson constantly harping on the communist issue. Although, every time President McKay was present or in a meeting, he would be the endorser, or thanking President Benson for doing what he was doing. That kept the other elements sort of quiet. Hugh B. Brown really thought President Benson had gone overboard. And yet President Benson -I talked with him several times, not on this subject but just in conversation-would remind me that he was doing what the prophet had asked him to do.” (51)

— 3 May 1998
The First Presidency asked Democrat General Authority Marlin K. Jensen, to give an interview to the Salt Lake Tribune assuring readers that one may, indeed, simultaneously be a Democrat and a Mormon in good standing. He explained that church leaders “regret … that there would become a church party and a non-church party. That would be the last thing that we would want to have happen.  (52)

— 2003
Published Volume – Sermons and Writings of President Ezra Taft Benson. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (8)

— 2014
Published Volume – Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (8)


1 – Laura Compton, “From Amici to ’Ohana: The Hawaiian Roots of the Family Proclamation” Rational Faiths (http://rationalfaiths.com/from-amici-to-ohana/)
2 – Wikipedia, Chronology of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (LDS Church), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_the_Quorum_of_the_Twelve_Apostles_(LDS_Church)
3 – Dew, Ezra Taft Benson, 486-87, 469-70 ; Bob Gottlieb and Peter Wiley, “Mormons to the Right,” San Jose Mercury News, 1 Dec. 1985, 9; also “Possibility of Benson Heading Mormons Worries Some With Different Views,” Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 1976, Pt. 1,32; “Mormon Church Faces A Fresh Challenge . . . But Now, A Change of Leaders May Bring A Split In Its Ranks,” U.S. News & World Report 95 (21 Nov. 1983): 61; “Conservative Seeking Leadership Worries Some Mormons,” Baltimore Sun, 11 Dec. 1983, A-3; Gottlieb and Wiley, America’s Saints, 247, 257; “Mormon Church Council Meets To Pick New Leader,” Dallas Morning News, 11 Nov. 1985, A-4; “New Chief of Mormons: Ezra Taft Benson,” New York Times, 19 Nov. 1985, A-16; also Robert Lindsey, “The Mormons: Growth, Prosperity and Controversy,” New York Times Magazine, 12 Jan. 1986, 46. These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, “Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts”, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
4 – “New Head of Mormon Church,” The New American 1 (25 Nov. 1985): 9; Evans-Raymond Pierre, “The True Man of Principle: Ezra Taft Benson,” The New American 1 (9 Dec. 1985): 56. These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, “Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts”, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
5 – Encyclopedia of Mormonism, “Ezra Taft Benson,” Reed Benson and Sheri Dew, Daniel H. Ludlow (editor), New York: Macmillan, 1992
6 – Hemidakaota, “Church Chronology from 1800-2000,” http://lds.net/forums/topic/10668-church-chronology-from-1800-2000-part-1/
7 – Exploring Mormonism: Bishopâs Interview Timeline, http://www.exploringmormonism.com/bishops-interview-timeline/
8 – Wikipedia: “Ezra Taft Benson”
9 – Ezra Taft Benson to Mr Jeffrey St. John, Editor, “The New American,” Jan 2, 1986 (provided by Joe Geisner)
10 – For the difficult passage and renaming of Martin Luther King day in Utah, see Deseret News, 14 Oct. 1985, A-2,13 Feb. 1986, A-l; Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Feb. 1986, A-l, 28 Feb. 1986, A-5,18 Mar. 1986, B-l. For the Utah legislature’s continued disrespect toward the national King holiday, see “Martin Luther King Holiday or Not, Utah Lawmakers Convene Today,” Salt Lake Tribune, 18 Jan. 1993, B-l; also companion article “Utah’s Mix of Church and State: Theocratic or Just Homogenized?” Salt Lake Tribune, 18 Jan. 1993, B-2. These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, “Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts”, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
11 – On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com
12 – “The Solemn Assembly and Sustaining of Church Officers,” Ensign 16 (May 1986): 73-75 — as referenced in Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball (Working Draft)
13 – Church News: Historical Chronology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, http://www.ldschurchnewsarchive.com/articles/58765/Historical-chronology-of-The-Church-of-Jesus-Christ-of-Latter-day-Saints.html
14 – “Stake Seventies Quorums Discontinued”. Ensign: 97-98. November 1986 — as referenced in Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball (Working Draft)
15 – Church News, October 5, 1986, 4. In 1994, Mormon efforts helped defeat a lottery initiative in Oklahoma. “Members Help Defeat Lottery Initiative,” Church News, July 23, 1994, 12 — as referenced in Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball (Working Draft)
16 – http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/chronological
17 – Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign
18 – The Constitution: The Voice of the National Center for Constitutional Studies, Nov. 1985, 4, Dec. 1986, 3 — as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, “Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts”, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
19 – Derin Head Rodriguez, “Flora Amussen Benson: Handmaiden of the Lord, Helpmeet of a Prophet, Mother in Zion,” Ensign , March 1987, 19. For context and full cite, see Gary James Bergera, ‘”Rising above Principle”: Ezra Taft Benson as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, 1953-61, Part 1’, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (Fall 2008, v 41)
20 – “Missionaries Number 33,000,” Church News, March 14, 1987, 3; “The Family-to-Family Book of Mormon Program,” Ensign 17 (May 1987): 101; Edward L. Carter, “Y Scholar Finds ‘Explosion’ in Book of Mormon Use,” Deseret News, June 14, 1997, E2. In 1955 about 300,000 copies of the Book of Mormon were distributed, about 750,000 in 1977, and about 5,440,000 in 1999. Victor L. Ludlow, “Internationalization of the Church” in Out of Obscurity, 210 — as referenced in Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball (Working Draft)
21 – Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Write, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press (2005)
22 – Ezra Taft Benson, First Presidency Message, Ensign, January 1988
23 – Sherry Baker: Mormon Media History Timeline: 1827-2007, http://byustudies.byu.edu/showTitle.aspx?title=7984
24 – Madsen, Truman G., The Presidents of the Church
25 – Ezra Taft Benson, “I Testify,” Conference, October 1988
26 – Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc. (2014)
27 – Quinn, D. Michael, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, Appendix 5, Selected Chronology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1848-1996, http://amzn.to/extensions-power
28 – Crapo, Richley, Chronology Of Mormon / LDS Involvement In Same-Sex Marriage Politics http://www.mormonsocialscience.org/?q=node/59
29 – Ezra Taft Benson, “Beware of Pride”, Saturday morning session, 159th Semi-Annual LDS General Conference; Chapter “The Great Sin”, C.S. Lewis, “Mere Christianity,” New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1952, revised and enlarged; “All in the Family: The Identity of the Individual Who Researched and Wrote Ezra Taft Benson’s “Beware of Pride” Sermon”, http://mormoncurtain.com/topic_stevebenson_section11.html
30 – Deseret News 1991-1992 Church Almanac (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1990), 315 — as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, “Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts”, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
31 – Anderson, Lavina Fielding, “The LDS Intellectual Community and Church Leadership: A Contemporary Chronology,” Dialogue, Vol.26, No.1
32 – Ensign 20 (May 1990): 1, 20 (Nov. 1990): 1, 21 (May 1991): 1, 21 (Nov. 1991): 1, 22 (May 1992): 1,22 (Nov. 1992): 1; photographs in “LDS Historian Says Benson’s Right-Wing Beliefs Caused Infighting, Church To Censure Speeches,” Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Aug. 1992, A-7, and in “Age Taking Its Toll On President Benson,” Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Jan. 1993, C-l. These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, “Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts”, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
33 – “Longtime Doomsayer Seeks ‘Safety’ Back in LDS Fold,” Salt Lake Tribune, 24 Jan. 1993, B-6; also reference to the American Study Group in Malcolm S. Jeppsen, “We Shall Not Be Led Astray,” 8, computer print-out, 25 Oct. 1992
34 – John F. McManus, “‘A New World Order’ Means World Government,” The John Birch Society Bulletin (Nov. 1990): 3-14; “Birch Society Lauds ‘Fertile Soil’ In Utah,” Deseret News, 13 May 1991, B-2; “Utah’s Birchers Organizing To Fight Bush ‘Conspiracy,'” Salt Lake Tribune, 27 May 1991, B-l; “John Birch Society Skeptical of Communist Party Demise,” Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Sept. 1991, B-l; ‘”John Bircher’ Recruits Join Fight Against New World Order,” Salt Lake Tribune, 21 June 1992, B-l. These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, “Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts”, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
35 – Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Daniel H. Ludlow (editor), New York: Macmillan, 1992, Appendix 2: A Chronology of Church History
36 – First Presidency and Twelve, “Fundamental Considerations in Proclaiming the Gospel,” March 6, 1991, Kimball Papers — as referenced in Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball (Working Draft)
37 – Bryan Waterman & Brian Kagel, “The Lord’s University: Freedom and Authority at Byu” Signature Books (1998)
38 – Anderson, Lavina Fielding, “The LDS Intellectual Community and Church Leadership: A Contemporary Chronology,” Dialogue, Vol.26, No.1; “LDS Official Acknowledges Church Monitors Critics,” Salt Lake Tribune (8 Aug. 1992): D-l; “LDS Leaders Say Scripture Supports Secret Files on Members,” Salt Lake Tribune (14 Aug. 1992): B-l; “Secret Files,” New York Times (22 Aug. 1992): 9. ; Michael Quinn interview on 5-6 September 1992 with Rodney P. Foster, assistant secretary in the First Presidency’s office from 1974 to 1981, and member of the Temple Department at LDS headquarters from 1981 to 1989. These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, “Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts”, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
39 – “Profile of the Splinter Group Members or Others with Troublesome Ideologies.” This list was based on instructions to stake presidents by Second Quorum of Seventy member Malcolm S. Jeppsen in his “We Shall Not Be Led Astray,” especially on page 8 of his computer print-out, 25 Oct. 1992 — as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, “Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts”, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
40 – “It’s Judgment Day for Far Right: LDS Church Purges Survivalists,” Salt Lake Tribune, 29 Nov. 1992, A-l, A-2. In “LDS Deny Mass Ouster of Radicals,” Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Dec. 1992, 1, an official LDS spokesman denied only the estimate of “hundreds” of excommunications. See also “LDS Church Downplays Reports On Discipline,” Deseret News, 4 Dec. 1992, B-l — as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, “Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts”, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
41 – “Hero-Turned Heretic? Gritz May Be Leading LDS Flock Into Wilderness,” Salt Lake Tribune, 29 Nov. 1992, A-2 — as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, “Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts”, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
42 – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, United Kingdom, “On This Day,” https://www.lds.org.uk/show_oda.php
43 – “Ultraconservative Gritz Remains as Bold as Ever,” Salt Lake Tribune, 7 Dec. 1992, B-2; also “LDS Zealots Muzzling Outspoken to Protect Tax Status, Gritz Says,” Salt Lake Tribune, 22 Jan. 1993, B-l. These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, “Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts”, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
44 – “Mormon Church Has Begun To Expel Many Extremists,” New York Times, 21 Dec. 1992,10 — as referenced in D. Michael Quinn, “Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts”, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
45 – LDS Gay History Timeline [Unabridged], http://mormoninthecloset.blogspot.com/2008/11/lds-gay-history-timeline-unabridged.html
46 – Stephen Benson, “Ezra Taft Benson,” Sunstone 17, no. 3 (December 1994): 35; “Reaction to Benson’s Statement ‘Very Emotional,’” Provo Daily Herald, July 13, 1993, B3; Vern Anderson, “Church Leader Retired in All but Name, Grandson Says,” Provo Daily Herald, July 10, 1993, A6; Gordon B. Hinckley, “God Is at the Helm,” Ensign 24 (May 1994): 54, 59; Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Church Is on Course,” Ensign 22 (November 1992): 53 — as referenced in Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball (Working Draft)
47 – Mormon Women’s History Timeline, http://www1.chapman.edu/~remy/MoFem/mormonwomen.html
48 – Quinn, Extensions of Power, 401 — as referenced in Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball (Working Draft)
49 – Timeline of Mormon Thinking About Homosexuality, http://rationalfaiths.com/timeline-of-mormon-thinking-about-homosexuality/
50 – “Anti-Mormon Sentiment Shocks Idaho Lt. Governor” Sunstone 17, no. 3 (December 1994): 81 — as referenced in Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball (Working Draft)
51 – Paul H. Dunn interview as referenced in Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Write, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press (2005)
52 – Dan Harrie, “LDS Official Calls for More Political Diversity, Salt Lake Tribune as referenced in Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Write, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press (2005)

53 – Ezra Taft Benson, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Thomas S. Monson, circular letter, Feb. 12, 1986, cited in Devery Anderson, The Development of LDS Temple Worship: 1846-2000: A Documentary History


Ezra Taft Benson Chronology: Presidency — 1 Comment