40 years ago today - Jan 15, 1980

[Gary] C[arlson]:38 What happened in these early days [late 1950s], really when we started working with Brother [Hugh B.] Brown, is that they asked us to look at some basic concepts. We worked with the people in the Genealogical Society and did what [we] thought were some very simple calculations such as estimating how many people have been born on the earth. Some estimates were around seventy billion. At the time we were doing about one million endowments per year in the temples. One million goes into seventy billion an awful lot of times. We made some charts and some fancy overheads and so on to try to explain to the Brethren and help them understand that the numbers get very large, if you assume we need to do the genealogical work for everybody, not knowing who is going to accept and who isn't. I still have some of those charts and they may be in some of those papers that I've passed on to you. The figures showed that if the Church kept on growing the way it was, then every adult member of the Church could spend eight hours a day in the temple seven days a week all of his life and we would never come up to the rate of new births in the world. Even if we were all in the temple all day, we'd still be falling behind. We must have made a half a dozen presentations to various groups trying to just get that idea across, that the numbers were big and we needed computers to process the data and get the job done. Some of the Brethren thought we were tampering with doctrine. They were very nervous about our interferences. ...There was a lot of discussion and I know that some of the Brethren thought we were a bunch of heretics. Again we kept saying, "We don't want to impinge on doctrine. We just want to help you understand the problems, from a data processing standpoint, and the implications for physical processes that have to be faced sooner or later."...

[Gary Carlson oral history, Jan. 15, 1980; pp. 8; 10; 20; 25; excerpt in Buerger Papers as quoted in Anderson, Devery; The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History, http://amzn.to/TempleWorship]

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