50 years ago today - Apr 6, 1970

"Despite continued threats of demonstrations," Harold B. Lee's biography observes, "not a single hand was raised in opposition" to the First Presidency on 6 April 1970. After the vote, Lee spoke against "the possibility of using political devices or revolutionary methods that could cause much confusion and frustration in the work of the Lord." The official photograph showing the Twelve's vote for the current First Presidency showed only three apostles, and the photograph centered on Ezra Taft Benson.

Rank-and-file Mormons noted that for the first time "in many years," Ezra Taft Benson gave "his first non-political sermon" ... They regarded this non-partisan talk as a result of specific instructions the apostle had received from the First Presidency.

[Buchanan diary, 21 July 1970; Ezra Taft Benson, "A World Message," Improvement Era 73 (June 1970): 95-97, whose only political reference was prophetic: "The time must surely come when the Iron Curtain will be melted down and the Bamboo Curtain shattered"; Goates, Harold B. Lee, 414; Lee, "The Day in Which We Live," and photograph of "Council of the Twelve" vote in "The Solemn Assembly," Improvement Era 73 (June 1970): 28,20. 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.]

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