40 years ago today - Oct 20, 1978-Friday

[Leonard Arrington]
I sat across the aisle from a close friend, well along in years, and closely acquainted with high church and government officials. Here are some of his statements to me:

1. [Apostle] Jim Faust ... was a protege of President [Henry D.] Moyle, close to President [Hugh B.] Brown, to Franklin Richards, and to President [N. Eldon] Tanner. In short, well known by the Democrats. President Tanner, in particular, had proposed him for the apostle vacancy when Hugh Brown died, but Elder [Ezra Taft] Benson was opposed and Elder [David B.] Haight was sustained instead. This time, he was pushed again by Elder Tanner, and Elder Benson was not so vigorous, and so the appointment went through.

2. Elder Benson was brought into the Quorum [of Twelve] through the influence of President [J. Reuben] Clark, although President Clark did not like him, and distrusted him because of his support of [farm] cooperatives. He [Clark] regarded these as, somehow, one step in the direction of Communism. He was not close to Elder Benson and often argued with him. Elder Clark was a brilliant and persuasive man and, ultimately, may have won Elder Benson over to a conservative position. Brother Benson's swing to ultra conservatism after his service in the [Dwight D.] Eisenhower cabinet [as Secretary of Agriculture] was probably [due to] his disillusionment and disgust with the climate in Washington. He didn't like dealing with the blacks and the Jews, the Commies and ultra liberals and others. And thought their influence satanic and inordinately strong. He was deeply impressed with the revelations of the [Joseph] McCarthy era, and apparently believed most of the charges made by McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, and others. He'd seen enough of this sort of thing in Washington to believe it.

3. President Tanner says he is tired, tired, and would like to be released. My friend thinks there is good likelihood that Presidents Tanner and [Marion G.] Romney may be put on emeritus status at the next conference. [[Tanner remained a member of the First Presidency until his death in November 1982, Romney until two and a half years before his death in May 1988.]] Leave them in the Twelve to soften things a little.

[Confessions of a Mormon historian : the diaries of Leonard J. Arrington, 1971-1997, Gary James Bergera, editor, Signature Books, 2018]

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