55 years ago today - May 3, 1962

Richard Nixon, the defeated presidential candidate in 1960, was competing against Democrat Edmund G. ("Pat") Brown for the gubernatorial chair. John M. Russon, president of the Los Angeles Stake, had given permission for Nixon to speak in the stake center and, as a result, other church members asked that Pat Brown be given equal time in the same venue. It turned out that Russon had not acted independently; rather, when the question of Nixon's speaking in the building came up, Russon had consulted the General Authority visiting at quarterly stake conference—Ezra Taft Benson. The apostle had approved it. Caught in a bind, McKay gave a qualified "yes" to the Democratic request: "I said that it is the rule of the Church that we do not open our houses for political purposes; that under the circumstances in this case, however, we should give Governor Brown the same privilege that was given to Nixon, and then tell them that this has to stop.

[Source: David O. McKay diary as referenced in Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Write, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press (2005)]

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