60 years ago today - Dec 23, 1963

Joseph Fielding Smith wrote [to Congressman Harding]: "I am glad to report to you that it will be some time before we hear anything from Brother Benson, who is now on his way to Great Britain where I suppose he will be, at least for the next two years. When he returns I hope his blood will be purified."

[Joseph Fielding Smith to Congressman Ralph Harding, 23 Dec. 1963, photocopy in folder 2, box 4, King Papers, and in folder 22, box 5, Buerger Papers. Apostle Smith's letter was first quoted in "Ike, LDS Leaders Thank Harding For Anti-Birch, Benson Speech," Idaho State Journal, 20 Feb. 1964,1; "Ike Praises Idaho Solon For Benson Criticism," Salt Lake Tribune, 21 Feb. 1964, A-4; also Anderson, "Church and Birch In Utah," 12. (21 Feb 1964) Newspapers printed (Joseph Fielding) Smith's caustic assessment (of 23 Dec 1963) and the Quorum of Twelve's president made a public disclaimer which actually verified the political motivations for Benson's assignment to Europe: "I meant that when he returned he would be free of all political ties." 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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