David O McKay and Ezra Taft Benson mourn over us

Some time ago, before the republican primaries had settled on Donald Trump, there was a survey at BYU in which 30% of the students there said they would vote for Sanders, a candidate who defines himself by his open socialism. No other candidate had that much support in the poll.

I have been surprised at the number of people in the church who openly support the same man.

We have been duped.

The words “communism”, “socialism”, “communist”, “socialist” appear in 23 of the 137 publicly available conference talks by David O McKay, which I believe includes all his conference talks since 1942. They appear in 26 of the 111 such conference talks by Ezra Taft Benson. These words are rather unusual. They don’t often make an entry into a talk on the gospel casually.

To give you a sense of that, there are also 23 of David O McKay’s talks that use the word “charity”, and only 13 talks by Ezra Taft Benson that use the word “charity”. Communism and socialism were recurrent themes for both of these men. These topics appeared in one out of every six talks David O McKay gave and in almost one forth of the talks given by Ezra Taft Benson. We can think of apostles and prophets with recurrent themes, which we hear about over and over, and which, even in a talk on something else, will find their way into the discussion. We know those are things they feel are crucial for members to live by.

And we have manuals that give us the teachings of these men. We may muse to ourselves because we don’t remember such a theme in those manuals. Maybe it slipped our mind? No. It is no lapse of memory. The words “communism”, “socialism”, “communist”, “socialist” do not appear a single time in the Teachings manual for either David O McKay or Ezra Taft Benson. Not once. As I recall, I have even seen a quote I recognized by Ezra Taft Benson in his Teachings manual that directly addressed communism / socialism, but those actual words were removed by ellipsis, changing the meaning of the quotation.

We need to recognize that our lesson manuals are not compiled by the quorum of the twelve. They are written by a committee.

Joseph Smith taught: “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.”

And thus it is with our teachings of the presidents of the Church manuals by David O McKay and Ezra Taft Benson. Those books are supposed to introduce us to the teachings of prophets, but rather than introducing us to them, the manuals silenced them. Our entire church has spent a whole year studying the words of both of these prophets, but those prophets have been gagged and bound. They were silenced. One of their major themes was removed not from one, but from both of the manuals. This is not “ignorant translators and careless transcribers”. They could not possibly have thought such teachings were irrelevant in a day where socialism has become prominent in our own nation. This was done with malice and forethought by men who sympathized with socialism and communism. This is the work of “designing and corrupt priests” just as the changes to the bible were, for you cannot silence the prophets on matters of doctrine being passed to the saints and be better than a “designing and corrupt priest”. When I think of one of the men who has served on the Sunday School board, I know he is just the man to gather all the quotes that, in isolation, will present a very different gospel than the one found in the scriptures.

Is there a time we needed those teachings more? Would the poll at BYU have been radically different if we had spent two years really studying the words of Ezra Taft Benson and David O McKay?

Our member support socialists and don’t even know that they have two prophets, two prophetic witnesses, in this dispensation that have spent enormous effort preaching that communism and socialism are direct enemies of the gospel of Christ, and will rob us of our freedoms if we do not fight them with great zeal. Our entire church spent two years reading the words of these men. Or they thought they did.

Men who sympathize with communism and socialism silenced our prophets, selecting quotations that fit their own personal intentions instead of representing our beloved prophets properly to the hearts and minds of the saints.

The Lord is leading this church. It is his. He holds the prophet and apostles in the palm of his hand. He watches over them and they are leading it precisely as he desires.

But that doesn’t mean all of the members are doing right before him. To quote Ezra Taft Benson (“To the Humble Followers of Christ”, 1969 General Conference):

“Not only are there apostates within our midst, but there are also apostate doctrines that are sometimes taught in our classes and from our pulpits and that appear in our publications. And these apostate precepts of men cause our people to stumble.”

Here, let me at least provide a sampling of some of the words of President Benson and President McKay.

But go read their talks yourself. Read large portions of their talks, not isolated quotes. We would speak better of Joseph Smith if we would just read his words and got to know him. If we knew Joseph by reading his words, we would want to shout “Hallelujah” all the time because we had the chance to learn at the hand of a prophet among prophets who stands second under Michael. We would speak better of Brigham Young if we pondered his words and realized what a giant he was among men and prophets alike, and how much he has to offer each of us.

One day, as a consequence of all this, it may well be that saints speak as ill of David O McKay and Ezra Taft Benson as they do today of Joseph and Brigham. Quite possibly because of their strong words denouncing socialism and communism as nothing short of satanic.

But we should read their words. Their words, not the compilations made by corrupt priests whose sympathies silenced the prophets. Read their words, and come to know and love them as we are edified and rejoice together in the spirit bearing witness to our souls of the truth and meaning of their words.

David O McKay

“The position of this Church on the subject of Communism has never changed. We consider it the greatest satanical threat to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work among men that exists on the face of the earth.”

“The entire concept and philosophy of Communism is diametrically opposed to everything for which the Church stands—belief in Deity, belief in the dignity and eternal nature of man, and the application of the gospel to efforts for peace in the world. Communism is militantly atheistic and is committed to the destruction of faith wherever it may be found.”

“Communism debases the individual and makes him the enslaved tool of the state, to which he must look for sustenance and religion. Communism destroys man’s God-given free agency.

No member of this Church can be true to his faith, nor can any American be loyal to his trust, while lending aid, encouragement or sympathy to any of these false philosophies, for if he does, they will prove snares to his feet”

“Well, the era through which we are passing is no exception. On the flyleaf of the book, The Naked Communist, by W. Cleon Skousen, we find this quotation, (and I admonish everybody to read that excellent book of Chief Skousen’s):

‘The conflict between communism and freedom is the problem of our time. It overshadows all other problems. This conflict mirrors our age, its toils, its tensions, its troubles, and its tasks. On the outcome of this conflict depends the future of mankind.’

Elaborating that statement, I should say that the most urgent problem of our day is a spiritual problem. I agree with one leading educator who said, and I quote: “Unless the spiritual problem is solved, civilization will fail; indeed we already have a foretaste of that failure in many parts of the world”

For Ezra Taft Benson, talk titles might almost suffice such as “Communist threat to Americas” (1961), or “The Threat of Communism” (1960). He spoke on the matter frequently. Here is an extensive quotation from one talk by Ezra Taft Benson in which he, in turn, quotes others of the brethren:

As a fitting conclusion to my review I sought the words of modern-day prophets. They have said much by way of counsel and warning for our guidance today. I turned to one who has been called “a seer in the area of government” and who has stood closest to the prophet of the Lord—the President of the Church—longer than any other man in Church history. I speak of President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and I quote: “There always comes a time when unpleasant truths must be retold, even though the retelling disturbs the ease and quiet of a luxurious error. Today seems to be such a time. On such occasions, the criticism, slander, misrepresentation that one gets, are of no consequence.” (“Some Elements of Postwar American Life”—1-24-45. Address to the Utah Woolgrowers Ass’n.)

“. . . today government has touched our lives so intimately in all their relationships and all these governmental touchings have been so tabbed as political, that we cannot discuss anything relating to our material welfare and existence without laying ourselves liable to the charge that we are talking politics.” (Deseret News, “Church Section,” June 16, 1945, p. 4.)

“I have been preaching against Communism for twenty years,” said President Clark, over twenty years ago. “I still warn you against it, and I tell you that we are drifting toward it more rapidly than some of us understand, and I tell you that when Communism comes, the ownership of the things which are necessary to feed your families is going to be taken away from us. I tell you freedom of speech will go, freedom of the press will go, and freedom of religion will go.

“I have warned you against propaganda and hate. We are in the midst of the greatest exhibition of propaganda that the world has ever seen, and all directed toward one end. Just do not believe all you read” (Conf. Rep., October 3, 1941, p. 16 and Ward Teaching Message, July 1961).

“The plain and simple issue now facing us in America is freedom or slavery. . .

“Our real enemies,” said President Clark, “are communism and its running mate, socialism . . .

“And never forget for one moment that communism and socialism are state slavery . . .

“. . . one thing seems sure, we will not get out of our present difficulties without trouble, serious trouble. Indeed, it may well be that our government and its free institutions will not be preserved except at the price of life and blood . . .

“. . . the paths we are following, if we move forward thereon, will inevitably lead us to socialism or communism, and these two are as like as two peas in a pod in their ultimate effect upon our liberties . . .

“We may first observe that communism and socialism—which we shall hereafter group together and dub Statism—cannot live with Christianity, nor with any religion that postulates a Creator such as the Declaration of Independence recognizes. The slaves of Statism must know no power, no authority, no source of blessing, no God, but the State . . .

“This country faces ahead enough trouble to bring us to our knees in humble honest prayer to God for the help which He alone can give, to save us . . .

“Do not think that all these usurpations, intimidations, and impositions are being done to us through inadvertency or mistake, the whole course is deliberately planned and carried out; its purpose is to destroy the Constitution and our Constitutional government . . .

“We have largely lost the conflict so far waged. But there is time to win the final victory, if we can sense our danger, and fight” (Deseret News, “Church Section,” Sept. 25, 1949, pp. 2, 15.)

Thus spoke the ever forthright and courageous President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

And finally, and most important of all, I turned in my review to the counsel or our beloved leader who has been an inspiration to me since boyhood, President David O. McKay. God’s mouthpiece on the earth today. “During the first half of the twentieth century,” said President McKay, “we have travelled far into the soul-destroying land of socialism and made strange alliances through which we have become involved in almost continuous hot and cold wars over the whole of the earth. In this retreat from freedom the voices of protesting citizens have been drowned by raucous riots of intolerance and abuse from those who led the retreat and their millions of gullible youth, who are marching merrily to their doom, carrying banners on which are emblazoned such intriguing and misapplied labels as social justice, equality, reform. patriotism, social welfare” (Ibid., October 18, 1952, p. 2).

“The fostering of full economic freedom lies at the base of our liberties. Only in perpetuating economic freedom can our social, political, and religious liberties be preserved . . . We must not let complacency blind our eyes to the real dangers threatening to destroy us” (Ibid., March 2, 1952).

“Communism is antagonistic to the American way of life. Its avowed purpose is to destroy belief in God and free enterprise,” declared President McKay. “In education for citizenship, therefore, we should not see to it that every child in America is taught the superiority of our way of life, of our Constitution and the sacredness of the freedom of the individual. Such definite instruction is not in violation of either the federal or the state constitution….

“I love the Stars and Stripes, and the American Way of Life. I have faith in the Constitution of the United States. I believe that only through a truly educated citizenry can the ideals that inspired the Founding Fathers of our nation be preserved and perpetuated.

Then President McKay listed as one of the four fundamental elements in such an education the “Open and forceful teaching of facts regarding communism as an enemy to God and to individual freedom” (Ibid., March 13, 1954, p. 3).

President McKay has called communism the greatest threat to the Church today. (Press Conference. Hyde Park Chapel, London, Feb 21. 1961.)

Because the latest words of God’s prophet are of extreme importance to the Latter-day Saints, let me in conclusion, quote very briefly and humbly from the counsel given by President McKay in the last three general conferences. In October 1961 President McKay gave a stirring opening address on our American way of life and the communist threat. He expressed grief and shock over a Supreme Court decision and stated that the enemies to our Republican form of government are becoming more blatant.

At the close of the general conference last April President McKay emphasized that “men are rapidly classifying themselves into two groups: believers and nonbelievers.” Then he quoted J. Edgar Hoover’s warning: “This nation is face to face with the greatest danger ever to confront it, a sinister and deadly conspiracy, which can be conquered only by an alert, informed citizenry. It is indeed appalling that some members of our society continue to deplore and criticize those who stress the communist danger. Public indifference to this threat is tantamount to national suicide. Lethargy leads only to disaster. Knowledge of the enemy, alertness to the danger, everyday patriotism are the brick and mortar with which we can build an impregnable fortress against communism” (Conf. Rep., April 8, 1962, p. 125).

In the last October [1962] conference President McKay said: “In these days of uncertainty and unrest, liberty-loving people’s greatest responsibility and paramount duty is to preserve and proclaim the freedom of the individual, his relationships to Deity, and the necessity of obedience to the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only thus will mankind find peace and happiness.”

He finished his address by urging us “to support good and conscientious candidates of either party who are aware of the great dangers inherent in communism, and who are truly dedicated to the Constitution in the tradition of the founding fathers.” (Ibid., Oct. 5, 1962. p. 8.)

We cannot say that the prophet of the Lord has not warned us. President McKay has emphasized the dangers to our God-given freedom again and again. Will we heed his counsel? Are we in harmony? Do we appreciate his repeated warnings? Every Latter-day Saint has spiritual obligations in four basic areas: his home, his church, his job, and his citizenship responsibility. Each of these areas should receive consistent attention although not necessarily equal time. Are we doing our duty in these important fields? What about our citizenship responsibility—our obligation to safeguard our freedom and preserve the Constitution?

The Prophet Joseph Smith said the time would come when the Constitution would hang as it were by a thread. Modern-day prophets for the last thirty years have been warning us that we have been rapidly moving in that direction. Fortunately, the Prophet Joseph Smith saw the part the elders of Israel would play in this crisis. Will there be some of us who won’t care about saving the Constitution, others who will be blinded by the craftiness of men, and some who will knowingly be working to destroy it? He that has ears to hear and eyes to see can discern by the Spirit and through the words of God’s mouthpiece that our liberties are being taken.

The enemy is amongst and upon us. Zion must awake and arouse herself. We, the elders of Israel can be and should be, the leaven in the loaf for freedom.

Years ago, President Brigham Young stated, “We all believe that the Lord will fight our battles D&C 105:14 but how? Will he do it while we are unconcerned and make no effort whatever for our own safety when the enemy is upon us? . . . it would be quite as reasonable to expect remission of sins without baptism, as to expect the Lord to fight our battles without our taking every precaution to be prepared to defend ourselves. The Lord requires us to be quite as willing to fight our own battles as to have Him fight them for us. If we are not ready for the enemy when he comes upon us, we have not lived up to the requirements of Him who guides the ship of Zion, or who dictates the affairs of His kingdom” (Journal of Discourses 11:131).

May we as a free people face courageously the challenging responsibility which faces us. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke.) We are not here to sit by complacently while our birthright of freedom is exchanged for a mess of socialist-communist pottage.

I love this great land—the Lord’s latter-day base of operations. I love the free world. I love our Father’s children everywhere.

God bless us in our stewardship. May we be at least as valiant for freedom and righteousness, here and now, as we were when we fought for these principles in the pre-existence.

There is no other safe way. For “Righteousness exalteth a nation” Prov. 14:34

I bear you this witness, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen




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John Robertson

I am nothing more than a regular member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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