65 years ago today - May 18, 1956

[J. Reuben Clark]
"President Richards telephoned, quite literally puffing for breath, saying there was one matter of business he felt he must take up with me. While in New York Elder George Q. Morris and President George H. Mortimer of the New York Stake said they had confidentially learned that Tammany Hall [an influential New York City political organization] had recently held a "powwow" (President Richards did not use this term) and had determined that they had a vulnerable point on every member of the Cabinet except Secretary Benson, and as to him, the only point they had found was the attitude of the Church on the negro question, for which, of course, Benson stood.

"President Richards indicated to them that he was not too much impressed by the fact that Tammany Hall might have reached such a decision, and he pressed President Mortimer on the point that perhaps it was the Republican Party that was really raising the question, and Brother Mortimer finally admitted that that was true, that it was Brother Mortimer's party and not Tammany Hall that was urging it.

"President Mortimer wondered if we couldn't issue a statement making clear our position on the negro question. President Richards replied that we were governed by revelation and that nothing contradictory had ever been received. We could not very well change the revelation to meet some political exigency (in the latter part of the conversation he stated that he did not see how we could undertake to change a revelation because of political exigency and I said I wholly agreed with him.) President Richards pointed out what our traditional position on the negroes was as based on the revelation. Brother Mortimer raised the question as to whether or not the Prophet Joseph did not ordain a negro. President Richards stated that he was not sure about that. I told him I thought it was true, but I also understood that that ordination was made before the revelation was received. However he promised that he would let Brother George Q. Morris know in Washington whether or not we felt we could do anything.

"I did not understand from Brother Richards that Brother Benson or any other responsible person in the Republican Party had made any overtures in the matter.

"President Richards and I agreed that perhaps we were not in a position to make any changes and that we so advise Brother Morris addressing him in care of J. Willard Marriott.

[The Diaries of J. Reuben Clark, 1933-1961, Abridged, Digital Edition, Salt Lake City, Utah 2015]

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