60 years ago today - Jan 10, 1963

Some Mormon members of the Birch Society criticized the First Presidency for its January 1963 statement. For example, one pro-Birch Mormon informed President McKay that she loved him as a prophet, but that the church president had inadvertently "given much aid and comfort to the enemy." She concluded that "this statement by the First Presidency regarding the John Birch Society and Reed Benson . . . might have an ill effect on the Missionary work." Such letters stunned even the normally hard- crusted first counselor Henry D. Moyle, who wrote: "When we pursue any course which results in numerous letters written to the Presidency critical of our work, it should be some evidence we should change our course." Only five days after the statement's publication, the first counselor apparently now had second thoughts about the First Presidency's anti-Birch statement.

[Nancy Smith Lowe to David O. McKay, 10 Jan. 1963, MS 5971 #1, LDS archives. 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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