Non-Mormon journalists noted: "In the past Benson's heavy-handed political maneuvering has antagonized numerous members of the [LDS] church, leading to fears of a major schism if he became president."
When he ascended to that office in November 1985, church officials insisted that Benson's political activism was "in the past."
[Dew, Ezra Taft Benson, 486-87, 469-70 ; Bob Gottlieb and Peter Wiley, "Mormons to the Right," San Jose Mercury News, 1 Dec. 1985, 9; also "Possibility of Benson Heading Mormons Worries Some With Different Views," Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 1976, Pt. 1,32; "Mormon Church Faces A Fresh Challenge . . . But Now, A Change of Leaders May Bring A Split In Its Ranks," U.S. News & World Report 95 (21 Nov. 1983): 61; "Conservative Seeking Leadership Worries Some Mormons," Baltimore Sun, 11 Dec. 1983, A-3; Gottlieb and Wiley, America's Saints, 247, 257; "Mormon Church Council Meets To Pick New Leader," Dallas Morning News, 11 Nov. 1985, A-4; "New Chief of Mormons: Ezra Taft Benson," New York Times, 19 Nov. 1985, A-16; also Robert Lindsey, "The Mormons: Growth, Prosperity and Controversy," New York Times Magazine, 12 Jan. 1986, 46. 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.]