120 years ago today - Dec 14, 1899

Brothers J. G[olden]. Kimball and J[oseph]. W. McMurrin, of the First Council of Seventies, having been invited to go into business for the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, with which concern their associate, Elder Rulon S. Wells, was already engaged under permission of the First Presidency, given last April, they now desired to know the mind of the Presidency upon their own case.

Brother Grant remarked that he could see no reason why they should not be left at liberty to enter into such an engagement. He also said that he felt there was an excellent opportunity to establish a Home Life Insurance Company among ourselves, and he heartily favored such an institution.

President Snow invited the brethren to express themselves on this subject, whereupon President Cannon said that he was against life insurance as a general proposition, but that he would favor a local organization. He could foresee, however, that if the Church were to engage in anything of that kind, it would invite attacks upon it by its opponents.

Brother Grant suggested that individual names might be used in behalf of the Church. He showed how money could be made in the business, stating that he himself had made as much as $1500 in three days. He would take delight in canvassing for a Church institution, free of charge. He showed that the risks among our people, who were more moral than others, would not be so great as those that other companies carried. Moreover, it would have the effect of keeping money at home.

Brother John W. Taylor reminded the Council that the only thing which induced our people to join secret organizations was to get the benefit of reduced rates of life insurance; and Brother Grant remarked that his brother, B[enjamin]. F. Grant, had told him that from personal experience he knew of nothing so potent as an influence to wean away the feelings and destroy the faith of our young men, as membership in these secret organizations.

President Snow observed that as this was a new idea to the Council, he thought each member might ponder it over for himself and discuss it further at some other time.

Meantime, it was asked, what should be done with the request of Brother Kimball and Brother McMurrin. Brother Grant moved that a committee be appointed to consider the question of the Church going into the business of life insurance, and that these brethren wait for an answer until that committee had reported. The motion was seconded by Brother Clawson and carried. President Snow then named Joseph F. Smith, Francis H. Lyman, John Henry Smith, Heber J. Grant, and Anthon H. Lund as the committee. ...

[Journal History, as quoted in Minutes of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1910-1951, Privately Published, Salt Lake City, Utah 2010]

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