45 years ago today - Sep 3, 1975-Wednesday

[Leonard Arrington]
Last night Grace and I were invited to the Sterling Sills for dinner... Also at the dinner were: Theodore and Minnie Burton, Franklin D. and Helen Richards, ElRay and Luella Christiansen, and Joseph and Norma Anderson. It was an interesting evening for us since all were General Authorities and Assistants to the Twelve but us. ...

Elder [Franklin D.] Richards reminded Elder [Sterling W.] Sill of the occasion when they were at the end of a conference session and he gave a marvelous [two-minute] talk. This apparently happened at least three times. At the first, he induced President [David O.] McKay to "skip him" by saying he got to talk anyway on the radio every Sunday. [[Sill delivered a Sunday evening radio program from Temple Square on church- owned KSL radio from 1960 to 1977.]] "Let someone else talk." The next time, October 1961, they were already over time. Before the meeting, he told President [N. Eldon] Tanner he had a 15-minute talk, a one-minute talk, but thought they ought to skip him entirely because he had these other opportunities of talking. But when it came time, President Tanner called on him anyway for a few remarks. He got up and gave the famous "nut" talk that Elder Richards remembered. (Maybe as late as 1965 conference; perhaps not the October 1961). About picking up a black walnut, hard, hard shell. But has within it a power to split it open and from it a great tree grows. [[The talk given by Sill on September 29, 1967, in general conference consisted of only 321 words. Conference Report, Oct. 1967, GospeLink Digital Library.]] Took 2 minutes 10 seconds. President Tanner said he took 50 seconds too long! Then another one minute talk on occasion. Check the conference proceedings for these gems. Elder Sill is hearty at repartee, always has a funny little remark or story. I noted one of two "Jewish" jokes.

Apparently the Brethren have trouble hearing some of their number in their meetings in the temple-brethren who do not project their voices. Apparently they have particular trouble hearing Bishop Victor Brown and Elder Bernard Brockbank....

We learned that many, if not all, the General Authorities still do home teaching and have regular assignments from their quorums. Also that it was relatively recent, perhaps under President McKay, that church procedures provide for passing the Sacrament first to the presiding authority. Also that President Grant, in the meetings in the temple, upon being offered the Sacrament first, passed it first to his first counselor, then to his second, then partook himself. To show that they were "equals." Shows the progressive institutionalization of the position of Prophet.

[Confessions of a Mormon historian : the diaries of Leonard J. Arrington, 1971-1997, Gary James Bergera, editor, Signature Books, 2018]

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