55 years ago today - Sep 23, 1963

Benson gave a talk in Los Angeles praising Birch Society founder Robert H. Welch. Unlike his earlier praise for Welch, Benson delivered these remarks to a meeting officially sponsored by the Birch Society and attended by 2,000 Birchers. He began his talk by announcing: "I am here tonight with the knowledge and consent of a great spiritual leader and patriot, the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President David O. McKay."

Welch had just published his most controversial book, The Politician. It accused former U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower of being "sympathetic to ultimate Communist aims, realistically and even mercilessly willing to help them achieve their goals, knowingly receiving and abiding by Communist orders, and consciously serving the Communist conspiracy, for all of his adult life."Benson publicly implied endorsement of the allegation.

Robert Welch had published the following in The Politician:

"Dwight Eisenhower ... became, automatically and immediately, captain and quarterback of the free-world team, in the fight against Communism. In our firm opinion he had been planted in that position, by Communists, for the purpose of throwing the game."

Benson was asked his opinion of Welch's statement, and replied simply that Eisenhower:

"supported me in matters of agriculture. In other areas we had differences."

[Source: Benson, "Let Us Live to Keep Men Free": An Address . . . at a Patriotic Testimonial Banquet for Robert Welch, sponsored by Friends and Members of TJte John Birch Society at the Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, California, September 23, 1963 (Los Angeles: N.p, 1963). From D. Michael Quinn, Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992), also in Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3.;Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Write, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press (2005)]

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