55 years ago today - Apr 7, 1968

In response to U.S. president Lyndon Johnson's designation of 7 April as a national day of mourning for Reverend King, Apostle Ezra Taft Benson immediately prepared a statement for distribution which complained that "the Communists will use Mr. King's death for as much yardage as possible." Benson's hand-out continued that "Martin Luther King had been affiliated with at least the following officially recognized Communist fronts," and listed three organizations. Benson was simply repeating the Birch view of King.

Asked about this hand- out, Counselor Brown replied that Benson's "views do not coincide with the opinion of the majority of the General Authorities and we regret that they are sent out." The first counselor added: "However in President McKay's state of health we cannot get a retraction and must, I suppose, await a change in leadership before definite instructions can be given regulating such items of interest."

[Ezra Taft Benson, "Re: Martin Luther King," 6 Apr. 1968; Hugh B. Brown to John W. Bennion, LDS bishop of the Elgin Ward, Chicago Stake, 29 May 1968. 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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