55 years ago today - Apr 8, 1966

Ezra Taft Benson attended the Birch Society dinner in April 1966 without speaking, although his name was on the program as a speaker. Others at the dinner gave him a standing ovation. The Salt Lake Tribune's report included a photograph of Benson sitting next to the Birch president. BYU's president had declined the invitation to substitute for Apostle Benson in introducing Robert Welch. Even Benson's muted attendance at the Welch dinner infuriated anti-Birch Mormons, including the wife of Utah's incumbent Democratic governor.

["Welch Raps 'Senseless' U.S. Policy," Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Apr. 1966, B-l, with photo on B-2; "Birch Dinner in Salt Lake City Vexes Mormons," New York Times, 8 Apr. 1966, 28; Hugh W. Gillilan, "500 Misled Americans," and Mrs. Calvin L. Rampton, "JBS' Tasteless Violation," Salt Lake Tribune, 10 Apr. 1966, A-16, with reply by J. Reese Hunter, "Answers Mrs. Rampton," Salt Lake Tribune, 13 Apr. 1966,18; also Anderson, "Church and Birch In Utah," 1,16. 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.]

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