EZRA TAFT BENSON: MORMONISM’S PROPHET, SEER AND
RACEBAITER (Part Two)
The purpose of the following examination is to document and report the
private and public views of my grandfather, Ezra Taft Benson, on what he derisively
described as the “so-called civil rights movement,” the Rev. Martin Luther
King, Jr. and other related racial issues
Based on the information from a variety of sources (including many of my own
personal encounters with him), it is conclusive that:
--Ezra Taft Benson was a racist, as amply demonstrated by his own words,
actions, beliefs and associations
--Typical of many White racists, Ezra Taft Benson was condescendingly
tolerant of Blacks—as long as they “knew their place” and behaved as he insisted
--By contrast, Ezra Taft Benson was viciously accusatory and patronizingly
dismissive toward Blacks when they engaged in activities that he viewed as
politically in opposition to his (and, by extension, God’s) interests and
purposes. He frequently portrayed Blacks as a threat to the American Way of
Life—at least as he defined it.
Correspondence to Me from Mormon Anti-King Benson Supporters
You can tell a person by the company they keep.
For my grandfather, his company included rabid Mormon racists.
Many of them were involved in obnoxious efforts to convince fellow Saints of
their supposed obligation to support the anti-King views of Ezra Taft Benson.
One of these outspoken anti-King Mormon agitators was Shirley Whitlock of
Mesa, Arizona. Whitlock, at the time, was president of the local chapter of
Phyllis Schlafly’s far-right “Eagle Forum” and had worked as a political
operative for Arizona’s impeached Mormon and openly racist governor, Evan
(As a side note, Whitlock and another of Mecham’s Mormon minions, Earl
Taylor, wrote my grandfather, angrily demanding that I be removed from all my
Mormon Church responsibilities because of my anti-Mecham cartoons. They
warned my grandfather that if I was not removed from my Church callings, I
would face a Church court. Upon receipt of their letter, my grandfather’s
office manager, Gary Gillespie, phoned me at my newspaper office in Arizona,
asking me why such pro-Mecham Mormon extremists could not understand how they
were making the rest of the Latter-day Saint community look like “fools.” My
grandfather did not act on Whitlock and Taylor’s demand that I be given the
boot, although my stake president shortly thereafter did release me from my
position as high councilman because of my anti-Mecham drawings and after
having received pressure to do so from a local Mormon legislator, Jerry
Gillespie [no relation to my grandfather’s office manager]).
With regard to Ezra Taft Benson’s views on Rev. King, Whitlock sent me the
“Contrary to your apparent belief, Ezra Taft Benson, not E.M. [Evan Mecham]
is my political mentor.
“I read him agreed with him, learned from him committed to his political and
religious views--long before I ever heard of E.M.
“Do YOU conclude, from the enclosed [anti-King] writing by your grandfather,
that this proves HIM to be a racist bigot?
“Your judgment of same for E.M. is based on far less ‘evidence’!”
(Shirley Whitlock, letter to Steve Benson, 20 September 1989, original
Enclosed with the letter was a photocopy of pages from my grandfather’s book,
An Enemy Hath Done This, with his King-clubbing rhetoric highlighted
for my benefit.
Ezra Taft Benson’s Private Conversations with Me on the Rev. Martin Luther
In the mid-1960s, I was in junior high school. It was a time when the nation
was being rocked by the tumultuous struggle for civil rights.
During those uncertain days, I remember my grandfather telling me that Dr.
King was a tool of the Communist conspiracy and urging me to read John Birch
Society literature on King’s supposed true nature and Communist-inspired
That propaganda was readily provided me by my father and mother (the latter
who was a card-carrying Bircher).
My father kept thick files in his home office on his favorite conservative.
One of my weekly chore (for which I earned my allowance) was to organize and
categorize their contents.
In the process of doing so, I came across Bircher articles purporting to show
Dr. King’s Communist connections.
I remember, in particular, a photograph of a young Martin Luther King, Jr.
sitting in a classroom at the allegedly Communist Highlander “Folkschool”
training center in Tennessee, where, Birchers claimed, he and others underwent
undergone Communist indoctrination at the hands of their Kremlin-directed
That accusation was, in fact, without foundation. The school was not
Communist but, rather, a progressive institution devoted to fighting racism.
It was attended by none other than Rosa Parks the summer before she refused
to give up her seat on the Montgomery Alabama, bus.
(Herbert R. Kohl, reply to Marshall Brady, New York Review of Books,
19 January 1984,
Unfortunately, as a youngster in junior high school, I didn’t know these
facts and, thus in dutiful ignorance, was encouraged by my father to
enlighten my fellow classmates as to the “truth” about Martin Luther King,
Under my father’s direction, I gathered up stacks of John Birch propaganda,
(complete with the photograph of Dr. King supposedly taking orders from
Communists in that Tennessee classroom), and brought them to school to show a
skeptical classmate. He took one look at my “proof” and laughed.
I was crestfallen.
I had lost that battle to warn my friends against the coming Communist
“Negro” invasion. My mother later warned me to limit my association with
Black people because, she said, they were “different.”
In the Benson household, racial equality was not a topic of priority.
Orders from the First Presidency to Ezra Taft Benson to Implement
Racial Segregation in Mormon Wards
The Mormon Church had confidence that Ezra Taft Benson would follow orders
when it came to dealing with racial matters.
In 1940, my grandfather was appointed the first president of the
newly-organized Washington [D.C.] stake. According the Sheri Dew in her
Church-published biography on Ezra Taft Benson, he proved to be
“forward-thinking” as he dealt with the “many and complex” problems facing
the stake. (Sheri L. Dew, Ezra Taft Benson: A Biography [Salt Lake
City, Utah: Desert Book Company, 1987), pp.157-58).
Dew failed to mention that one of those “problems” had to do with Black women
sitting too close to White women during Relief Society lessons.
In a letter to “President Ezra T. Benson, Washington [D.C.] Stake,” dated 23
June 1942, the First Presidency issued him a directive to segregate the races
during Mormon class time:
“Dear President Benson:
“Through the General Board of the Relief Society, who reported to the
Presiding Bishopric, and they to us, it comes to us that you have in the
Capitol Reef Ward in Washington two colored sisters who apparently are
faithful members of the Church.
“The report comes to us that prior to a meeting which was to be held between
the Relief Societies of the Washington Ward and the Capitol Ward, Bishop
Brossard of the Washington Ward called up the President of the Relief Society
of the Capitol Ward and told her that these two colored sisters should [not]
be permitted to attend because the President of the Capitol Ward Relief Society
failed to carry out the request made of her by the Bishop of the other ward.
“We can appreciate that the situation may present a problem in Washington,
but President Clark recalls that in the Catholic churches in Washington at
the time he lived there, colored and white communicants used the same church
at the same time. He never entered the church to see how the matter was
carried out, but he knew that the facts were as stated.
“From this fact we are assuming that there is not in Washington any such feeling
as exists in the South where the colored people are apparently not permitted
by their white brethren and sisters to come into the meeting houses and
worship with them. We feel that we cannot refuse baptism to a colored person
who is otherwise worthy, and we feel that we cannot refuses to permit these
people to come into our meeting houses and worship once we baptize them.
“It seems to us that it ought to be possible to work this situation out
without causing any feelings on the part of anybody. If the white sisters
feel that they may not sit with them or near them, we fell very sure that if
the colored sisters were discreetly approached, they would be happy to sit at
one side in the rear or somewhere where they would not wound the
sensibilities of the complaining sisters. We will rely upon your tact and
discretion to work this out so as not to hurt the feelings on the part of
“Of course, probably each one of the sisters who can afford it, has a colored
maid in her house to do the work and to do the cooking for her, and it would
seem that under these circumstances they should be willing to let them sit in
Church and worship with them.
“Faithfully your brethren,
“Heber J. Grant
J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
David O. McKay”
Attempting to downplay the condescending bigotry evidenced in the First
Presidency’s orders to my grandfather, Mormon historian Lester Bush argued
that “[i]t is, of course, no more justified to apply the social values of
1970 to this period than it was to impose them on the nineteenth century, and
the point to be made is not that the Church had ‘racist’ ideas as recently as
1950. . . . On the other hand, from our present perspective it is impossible
to mistake the role of values and concepts which have since been rejected in
the formulation of many aspects of previous Church policy.” (Bush, Mormonism’s
Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview, p. 43)
There is no record that Ezra Taft Benson resisted this directive from Salt
The First Presidency was apparently impressed with my grandfather’s
willingness to do as he was told, however.
A year later, he was called into the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.
(Lester E. Bush, Jr., compilation of “scattered” and incomplete “notes” on
the “history of the Negro in the LDS Church,” pp. 241-42; see also, Bush, Mormonism’s
Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview [Arlington, Virginia: Dialogue:
A Journal of Mormon Thought], reprint of original article in Dialogue,
Vol. 8., No. 1, Spring 1973, p. 43)
Ezra Taft Benson’s Open Association With, and Sympathy For, Avowed
Segregationists and Racists
Ezra Taft Benson’s life followed a regular pattern of rubbing elbows with
He comfortably associated, for instance, with a notorious segregationist and
anti-Communist named Billy James Hargis. In 1967, on the campus of an
anti-Communist training school run by Hargis, my grandfather delivered a talk
entitled, “Trade and Treason,” which Hargis later reprinted in his campus
magazine, Christian Crusade.
According to a letter from First Presidency counselor Hugh B. Brown to a
Church member, the First Presidency received “numerous” complaints about my
grandfather’s link with Hargis. Brown offered his reassurances that my
grandfathers “activities in this connection will be curtail[ed].”
(Quinn, Extensions of Power, pp. 97, 462)
Hargis was eventually humiliated in 1974 when two of his Summit Bible College
students (a male and a female) came forward to claim he had sexually
deflowered them. Hargis admitted to sexual predation and resigned his
pastorship, blaming it on “genes and chromosomes.”
(Kevin Lambert, “Scandals in Eden: Selected Tales of Religious Misbehavior,
Part 1: Billy James Hargis,” http://www.postfun.com/pfp/features/97/oct/hargis.html])
Ezra Taft Benson’s remarks delivered at Hargis’ bigotry-breeding Bible
bastion were reprinted--with my grandfather’s permission--in a racially
poisonous book entitled, The Black Hammer: A Study of Black Power, Red
Influence and White Alternatives. Additionally, his address was entered
into the Congressional Record by the notorious segregationist senator
from South Carolina, Strom Thurmond (more on the connection between Ezra and
The cover of the Black Hammer book showed the thick-lipped,
lowed-browed, decapitated, bleeding head of a Black man superimposed upon the
symbol of the Communist hammer and sickle.
(Ezra Taft Benson, “Trade and Treason,” reprinted in condensed form as
foreword in The Black Hammer: A Study of Black Power, Red Influence and
White Alternatives, by Wes Andres and Clyde Dalton [Oakland, California:
Desco Press, 1967], pp. 13-23; and Quinn, Extensions of Power, pp.
The Presidential Draft Ticket of Ezra Taft Benson and Strom Thurmond
In 1966, an organization spearheaded primarily by John Birchers and known as
the “1976 Committee,” nominated my grandfather as its choice for President of
the United States, with avowed racist and South Carolina senator Strom
Thurmond as his running mate.
At the time of the announcement, I remember the excitement among the Benson
clan at the prospect that the grand patriarch of our family might become the
president of the country. I recall buttons and bumper stickers being passed
around and my grandfather smiling proudly amid all the buzz.
Thurmond was the prominent White supremacist who had himself run for
president in 1948 on the platform of the States’ Rights Party, commonly known
as the “Dixiecrats.” The primary goal of Thurmond’s earlier presidential bid
was to preserve racial segregation. As he declared at the time, “All the laws
of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negroes into
our homes, our schools, our churches.”
(Jeff Jacoby, “The Death of American Racism,” http://www.bigeye.com/jj071303.htm)
Thurmond later became a strident opponent of civil rights, famously filibustering
a 1957 civil rights bill for a record 24 hours and 18 minutes.
(Robert Tanner, “Dixiecrats fueled by racial politics, Civil rights spurred
Thurmond’s 1948 bid for presidency,” Arizona Republic, 14 December
2002, sec. A., p. 9)
In an effort to understand the nature of the group that had hand-picked its
Benson-Thurmond ticket, I retrieved from my father’s personal office files a
news article announcing the formation of this “1976 Committee.” Across the
top of the article was handwritten the note, “for your memory book.”
According to the article, the “1976 Committee” had derived its name from the
belief of its members that it was “necessary to head off some sort of
conspiratorial one-world, socialist take-over of the United States by 1976.”
This fear was rooted in its claim that “the U.S. Communist party’s recently
professed plan [is] to promote the establishment of state socialism in this
country in its next ten-year plan—by 1976.”
(Neil Munro, “Benson-Thurmond Team Pushed by Holland Group, ‘1976 Committee’
The Committee's motto was “Stand Up for Freedom . . . No Matter What the
Cost.” Its stated goal was to launch “a ten-year course to restore the
In its campaign literature (copies of which littered my home during that
time) my grandfather and Thurmond were billed as “the best team of ‘68” and
“the team you can trust to guide America.”
Invoking the powers of heaven, the “1976 Committee” described Ezra Taft
Benson not only as “unquestionably . . . a scholar and patriot [but] . . .
primarily a man of God.” He was heralded as “one of the Twelve Apostles of
the worldwide Mormon Church,” “a kind and compassionate man,” one who “does
not impose his standards on others” and “an outspoken and thoughtful critic
of liberalism, socialism, and Communism.”
The “1976 Committee” touted Thurmond was as a popular and renowned public
servant, a decorated WWII combat veteran who was dedicated to “military
preparedness” and a person determined to formulate “an effective policy to
eradicate Communism from the Western Hemisphere.”
Among the priorities of the “1976 Committee” were:
--opposition to “international Communist activities,”
--support for pulling the U.S. out of the United Nations,
--warnings about Communist control of the civil rights movement,
--accusations that the U.S. Supreme Court of “waging war” against America,
--advocacy for U.S. retention of the Panama Canal,
--complaints of liberal bias in the media,
--inveighings against Communist “infiltration” of the nation’s churches,
--calls for a return to economic the gold standard; and
--resistance to nuclear disarmament treaties with the Russians.
Not coincidentally, much of the “1978 "Committee’s” recommended
literature was published by the John Birch Society.
(“The Team You Can Trust to Guide America,” campaign brochure published by
"The 1976 Committee," 222 River Avenue, Holland Michigan 49423,
undated; and “The 1976 Committee,” campaign brochure, undated)
Not everyone in the leadership of the Mormon Church was thrilled as either
the Benson family or Birchers at the prospects of Ezra Taft Benson running
for President of the United States--especially amid claims that my
grandfather had won the support of then-LDS president, David O. McKay.
According to First Presidency counselor Hugh B. Brown, Ezra Taft Benson had
“a letter from President McKay endorsing his candidacy” and feared “it would
rip the Church apart” if my grandfather released it publicly as part of a
(Hugh B. Brown, interview with BYU professors Ray Hillam and Richard
Wirthlin, 9 August 1966, transcribed “from Rough Draft Notes, fd 6, Hillam
papers, and box 34, Buerger papers, and quoted in Quinn, Extensions of
Power, pp. 96-97, 461)
My grandfather’s official biographer, Sheri Dew, offered a benign and
misleading account of the controversy, claiming that McKay merely advised
Ezra Taft Benson to neither encourage or discourage efforts by the “1976
Committee” to draft him.
Grassroots momentum for the Benson-Thurmond ticket began building in early
1967, but eventually died out when it became apparent that Richard Nixon was
the Republican front-runner.
(Dew, Ezra Taft Benson: A Biography, pp. 383, 392, 394; see also,
Francis M. Gibbons, Ezra Taft Benson: Statesman, Patriot, Prophet of God
[Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1996], pp. 244, 247-48)
The Ezra Taft Benson-George Wallace Bid for the White House
In 1968, my grandfather gave me a copy of the platform of George Wallace’s
American Independent Party. I remember that it was adorned with a
broad-winged eagle across the top and printed in red, white and blue.
He told me that the principles of Wallace’s party were “closer to those of
the Founding Fathers than either the Republicans’ or the Democrats.’
At the time, we lived in Dallas, Texas, where my father was a local organizer
for the “Wallace for President” committee. There, he had planted a “Wallace
for President” campaign sign in our front lawn. Our African-American maid,
Lilly, had to walk past it every week when she came to clean our house.
Told by my insistent parents and grandfather that Wallace was the solution to
our nation’s problems, I volunteered as a young high schooler to participate
in a mock debate held in my government class during the run-up to the
Two of my classmates represented the major candidates, Republican Richard
Nixon and Democrat Hubert Humphrey, respectively. I was chosen to stand in
for George Wallace, with the assignment of defending “states’ rights” and
public school segregation.
During the event, my government teacher (who was a Humphrey supporter) stood
at the back of the classroom holding up a poster board sign she had made
which read in large letters, “If you liked Hitler, you’ll love Wallace.”
When I told my parents about this afterwards, they demanded a meeting with my
teacher to complain. She assured them she had only waved the sign around in
order to generate interest among the class in the debate.
As it turned out, George Wallace himself had made serious attempts to
generate Ezra Taft Benson’s interest in joining his third-party presidential
ticket as Wallace’s running mate.
This was the same George Wallace who, when running for Alabama’s
gubernatorial seat in 1962, defiantly declared, "I draw the line in the
dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say, segregation
now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."
The same Wallace who, in defiance of a federal court order, infamously stood
in the doorway of the University of Alabama, flanked by armed state troopers,
in an unsuccessful attempt to block two African-American students from
registering for class.
The same Wallace who, faced with another federal court order to integrate his
state’s schools, commanded police to prevent their opening but was thwarted
when President Kennedy again nationalized the Guard to enforce the decree.
The same Wallace who was governor when state troopers unleashed dogs, tear
gas and whips on African-Americans marching from Selma to Montgomery.
(Richard Pearson, “Former Ala. Gov. George C. Wallace Dies,” Washington
Post, 14 September 1998, sec. A, p. 1)
The same Wallace whose presidential platform my grandfather described as
being closest to the hearts and minds of our Elohim-inspired Founding
Actually, George Wallace and the 1968 platform of his party was more
accurately described as follows:
“The American Independent Party was a ‘white supremacist . . .
ultra-conservative’ . . . organization founded in reaction to the 1960's
civil rights movement and the Supreme Court's overturning of ‘separate, but
equal’ (Plessy v. Ferguson) statute that forced integration.
(see Daniel A. Mazmanian, Third Parties in Presidential Elections [New
York: Franklin Watts, 1974], p. 130).
Candidate Wallace was described as “a pronounced racist who . . . ran his
campaign on a platform of state's rights and increased defense spending and
gained a large following of voters in Southern states.
“The political purpose of Wallace's campaign was to force one or both of the
major party candidates, Nixon and Humphrey, to a more conservative position
on the issue of state's rights. Wallace wanted the federal government to give
the states the power to decide whether of not to desegregate.”
(“The Effect of Third Party Candidates in Presidential Elections,” http://www.123student.com/politics/3417.shtml)
Wallace strongly requested that my grandfather join him in that fight—and, in
response, my grandfather gave serious consideration to the offer.
After support of efforts by the “1976 Committee” to draft him and Strom
Thurmond on a presidential ticket had fizzled, my grandfather began jockeying
into position to be offered the spot as Wallace’s vice-presidential mate.
In February 1968, he and my Uncle Reed (Ezra Taft’s oldest son), met behind
closed doors at Wallace’s governor’s mansion in Montgomery to examine the
After the meeting, Wallace sent a letter to President McKay requesting his
“permission and blessings,” coupled with “a leave of absence” for Ezra Taft
Benson, so that my grandfather could join Wallace in their bid for the Oval
Later that year, Wallace approached my grandfather again hoping to convince
him to join him on the ticket. Wallace was steered a second time to McKay in
his efforts to get my grandfather’s boss to change his mind.
McKay held firm.
(George C. Wallace, letter to David O. McKay, 12 February 1968, and McKay to
Wallace, 14 February 1968, cited in Quinn, Extensions of Power, pp.
99, 102, 463; and Dew, “Ezra Taft Benson,” pp. 398-99)
My Personal Conversations with Ezra Taft Benson on Matters of Race
In all my conversations over the years with my grandfather, I do not recall
him holding up to me any Black person as a role model or example of high
Indeed, our discussions very rarely dealt with Blacks, except in the negative
or passing sense.
As noted earlier, my grandfather never spoke to me about the Rev. Martin
Luther King, Jr., except in disparaging terms, calling him a “liar.”
That only remotely positive reference I recall him making to me about
African-Americans had to do with his experience while serving as Secretary of
Agriculture in the 1950s.
He had been assigned a Black chauffer, whom my grandfather simply described
to me as a nice “colored man.”
Following President Spencer W. Kimball’s announcement in June 1978 that
worthy Black males could receive the priesthood, I asked my grandfather in
his Church-owned apartment what it was like to have been in the temple with
the rest of the Quorum of the Twelve when Kimball made known to them his
Had he been so inclined, my grandfather certainly could have told me what had
happened, since he had often spoken directly and forthrightly to me in the
But in this case, he refused to offer a substantive response, saying only
that it was “too sacred” to talk about and that it constituted one of the
“most spiritual” experiences of his life.
Curiously, however, another member of the Quorum of the Twelve who was in the
same room and the same temple meeting with my grandfather when Kimball
announced the change in Mormonism’s anti-Black priesthood policy did not have
any difficulty talking about the experience.
Indeed, Apostle Bruce R. McConkie spoke freely about what actually
happened--in detail and in public. While he said he felt the impact of the
occasion on a profoundly personal level, he admitted there was nothing
“miraculous” about Kimball’s announcement to the assembled Quorum members:
“The Lord could have sent messengers from the other side to deliver it, but
he did not. He gave the revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost.
“Latter-day Saints have a complex: many of them desire to magnify and build
upon what has occurred, and they delight to think of miraculous things. And
maybe some of them would like to believe that the Lord himself was there, or
that the Prophet Joseph Smith came to deliver the revelation, which was one
of the possibilities.
“Well, these things did not happen. The stories that go around to the
contrary are not factual or realistic or true, and you as teachers in the
Church Educational System will be in a position to explain and to tell your
students that this thing came by the power of the Holy Ghost, and that all
the Brethren involved, the thirteen who were present, are independent
personal witnesses of the truth and divinity of what occurred. . . .”
McConkie then did some more confessing. This glorious in-temple event was
increasingly becoming comparable to experiencing that inexplicably happy
feeling during a typical fast and testimony meeting when believing Mormons
“know” that the Church is true. McConkie explained:
“To carnal people who do not understand the operating of the Holy Spirit of
God upon the souls of man, this may sound like gibberish or jargon or
uncertainty or ambiguity; but to those who are enlightened by the power of
the Spirit and who have themselves felt its power, it will have a ring of
veracity and truth, and they will know of its verity. I cannot describe in
words what happened; I can only say that it happened and that it can be known
and understood only by the feeling that can come into the heart of man. You
cannot describe a testimony to someone. No one can really know what a
testimony is--the feeling and the joy and the rejoicing and the happiness
that comes into the heart of man when he gets one--except another person who
has received a testimony. Some things can be known only by revelation, ‘The
things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.’ (1 Corinthians 2:11)”
(Bruce R. McConkie, "All Are Alike unto God," general assembly
address to Book of Mormon Symposium for Seminary and Institute teachers,
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 18 August 1978, manuscript copy in my
There were no angels. No rushing of winds. No appearance of God, Jesus Christ
or Joseph Smith to make the grand announcement that the time had finally
arrived for Black men to receive the priesthood of the great White God.
It all boiled down to those assembled in the temple to hear Kimball’s
announcement just getting a good feeling in the heart--so overwhelmingly
good, in fact, that apparently my grandfather could not bring himself to talk
to me about it.
Yet, my grandfather had exhibited a willingness on other occasions to speak
publicly about highly personal temple experiences.
For instance, he spoke openly of the “sacred” baptisms for the dead
supposedly performed for the Founding Fathers in the St. George temple, under
the direction of President Wilford Woodruff.
Just six months after he had refused to share with me what it was like to be
told behind temple walls that Black men could now wield power and authority
in God’s name, my grandfather was freely talking about famous disembodied
spirits appearing in the House of the Lord:
“When I became President of the Twelve and Spencer W. Kimball became
President of the Church, we met, just the two of us, every week in our
Thursday meetings in the temple, just to be sure that things were properly
coordinated between the Twelve and the First Presidency.
“After one of those first meetings, we talked about the man sacred documents
in some of the older temples. St. George was mentioned in particular . . .
and it was agreed that I would go into the archives—the walk-in vault—of that
great temple and review the sacred documents that were there. . . .
“And there in the St. George Temple I saw what I had always hoped and prayed
that someday I would see. Ever since I returned as a humble missionary and
first learned that the Founding Fathers had appeared in that temple, I wanted
to see the record. And I saw the record. They did appear to Wilford Woodruff
twice and asked why the work hadn’t been done for them. They had founded this
country and the Constitution of this land, and they had been true to those
principles. Later the work was done for them.”
(Ezra Taft Benson, address delivered in Sandy, Utah, 30 December 1978,
reprinted in Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake
City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1988], p. 603)
But that was not the whole of it. In earlier remarks at the re-dedication of
the St. George Temple entitled “Our Founding Fathers Stood in This Holy Place,”
my grandfather again spoke openly of these “sacred” experiences in the temple
(Ezra Taft Benson, “Our Founding Fathers Stood in This Holy Place,” St.
George Temple Re-dedication, 12 September 1975, LDS Church Archives; see
also, Benson, “The Faith of Our Founding Fathers,” in Faith [Salt Lake
City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1983], pp. 21-22).
Not only did my grandfather talk uninhibitedly about spirits of the Founding
Fathers materializing in sacred LDS temples, he also spoke openly of watching
his mother iron Mormonism’s secret temple clothes.
His account of this event was published during his lifetime--accompanied, no
less, by an illustration depicting his mother pressing this intimate apparel
as a young Ezra stood by watching and asking questions:
“With the Benson parents, religion was of highest importance. One day when
just a young boy, Ezra was coming in from the field, and as he came close to
the old farm house, he could hear his mother sing, ‘Have I Done Any Good in
the World Today?’ She was bending over the ironing board, papers spread over
the floor around it. It was very warm and beads of perspiration stood on her
forehead as she ironed long strips of white cloth.
“’What are you doing, Mother?’ asked Ezra.
“She answered, ‘These are temple robes, son. Your father and I are going to
the temple in Logan. Then she put her old flatiron on the back of the stove
and said, ‘Sit here by me, Ezra. I want to tell you about the temple.’ She
explained to him the importance of the temple and the blessings of the sacred
ordinances there. She said, ‘I hope and pray with al my heart that some day
you and all your brothers and sisters will enjoy these priceless blessings. I
pray for this not only for my children but for my grandchildren and even my great-grandchildren.’
“Ezra Taft Benson later remembered his mother’s words as he performed the
temple marriages of each of his own children, who were, of course, his
mother’s grandchildren, and later, the great-grandchildren.”
(Della Mae Rasmussen, The Illustrated Story of President Ezra Taft Benson:
Great Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [Provo,
Utah: Eagle Systems International; Steven R. Shallenberger, publisher, 1987],
Despite my grandfather’s willingness to publicly reveal the details of
certain personal temple experiences, he abruptly refused to give equal time
to describing what it was like to receive word in the temple from God’s
prophet on equal rights for Black men.
I think I know why.
Ezra Taft Benson—a man who made a career bashing uppity “Negroes”—did not
like talking about that kind of thing.
Revelatory Notes from Ezra Taft Benson’s Personal Files on His Private
Attitudes about Race
Ezra Taft Benson had a practice of passing on news articles and other items
whose contents he found worthy of note to my father, accompanied by my
grandfather’s personal, handwritten notations.
From my interactions with him over several years, I observed that my
grandfather was not a deep reader; he was, instead, a regular skimmer. He
would underline portions of what he was perusing which he thought were
valuable and then relay them on, before quickly moving on himself.
My father, in turn, would often pass these items on to me and my siblings for
While passing along information in this fashion, my grandfather rarely made
special note of that with which he disagreed.
In fact, he was not particularly inclined to spend much time with sources
with which he was at political/religious odds.
This trait of my grandfather’s was clearly evidenced in the nature of his
personal files and library. They were voluminous but overwhelmingly slanted
toward what he considered the “right” ideas.
In essence, my grandfather’s database was not so much a source of knowledge
gleaned from a wide variety of viewpoints but, rather, a reinforcement of his
One item that fit into this category was a photocopy of a letter to the
editor, published in BYU’s Daily Universe, written by a non-Mormon who was
upset with boycott efforts by schools in the Western Athletic Conference
against BYU because of the Mormon Church’s anti-Black priesthood ban.
Passed from father to son, to grandson, it read in part:
“I am one non-Mormon who thinks the notion of the University of New Mexico’s
student Senate is one of the most unreasonable examples of the bigoted minds
of so-called ‘liberals’ I’ve ever seen.
“In the first place, BYU is a privately-endowed school. It is not supported
by the taxpayers like the other universities are members of the WAC.
“Mainly, the reason for Negro athletes being at the other schools stems not
from any great degree of humanitarianism on the part of those institutions.
To the contrary, the reason for many, or even most, of Negro athletes being
at these schools is because of their acknowledged athletic ability. The
alumni preferred these schools during the past 10-15 years to give athletic
scholarships to Negro athletes to assure success for their teams.
“The Negro athletes have won games for these schools, they have seen and
heard the coed cheerleaders go into hysterical frenzy over their
exploits—only to find, after the game was over, they were supposed to keep
their place. They were led to believe that by attending otherwise predominantly
‘white’ (a silly word, if you examine it closely) schools), the Negroes would
be pals with all the other students and it didn’t work out that way. Now, the
more militant want their own dorms, eating facilities, etc.
“On the other hand, Brigham Young University has competed with the other
members of WAC handicapped by not having black athletes on their teams, but
the students, and alums, have registered no complaints. Mind you, BYU is not
tax supported, therefore, I ask what the hell business it is of your
sanctimonious hypocrites who the BYU administration wants to have on its
“The Negroes have reached the state in their development in this country at
which anyone who doesn’t agree with tem is considered a ‘racist,’ or bigot.
The white students at schools such as New Mexico who voted for the expulsion
of BYU from WAC don’t give a real hoot about their black brothers. They just
consider it the in-thing to be ‘liberal’ about such matters.”
The final paragraph of the letter was accompanied by my grandfather’s
handwritten notation in the margin: “Very good.”
Directly across from that notation, the letter read:
“If the LDS only want to have whites for the priesthood, what business of the
Negroes? Do they have members of the Black Muslims, the Black Panthers, who
are ‘white’? As a Protestant, such as I am, can I take communion at a
Catholic Church? As a non-Mason can I attend the secret sessions of the
“All the more power to Brigham Young.”
(Bill Mazill, “More Power to BYU,” letter to the editor, reprinted from the
Daily Optic, Las Vegas, New Mexico, in the Daily Universe, 12 November 1969,
photocopy in my possession)
Also from my grandfather’s private files, I came across a copy of a speech by
then-ASBYU president, Brian Walton, delivered on 28 October 1970, at the
Ernest L. Wilkinson Center on the BYU campus.
Like the preceding letter, Walton’s remarks came at a time of increasing
criticism directed at the Mormon Church (and by extension, BYU) for its
discriminatory doctrine against Blacks.
Below are portions of Walton’s speech that my grandfather
underlined--indicating, as was his habit, his approval of certain ideas:
“What we are involved in is a nationwide feeling of frustration against
continuing discrimination. The black man has been tied down too long. He is
tired of being lied to. He is aware of the betrayal of his dignity from the
Declaration of Independence until now . . . .
“Do we have to remind ourselves yet again of the almost unspeakable history
of black men in America? Hopefully, as Mormons we are aware of the impact of
the destruction of family ties which took place in the lives of thousands of
American slaves. Surely, as Latter-day Saints, we realize and appreciated the
meaning of an environment like Harlem, Watts, or Bedord-Stuyvesant. The
Church is obviously aware of the importance of home environment to success in
living. And why is the black man in this plight?
“With Martin Luther King we can ask:
‘Why does misery constantly haunt the Negro?’ . . .
“Listen to Claude Brown, author of “Manchild in the Promised Land, and an
escapee from the prison that is Harlem, describe the continuing misery of the
American Black Man as he moves from the degradation of the South to the new
experiences of urban America. . . .
“Here now Jack Newfield describes a part of the promised land—the
Bedford-Stuyvesant ghetto in Brooklyn, New
York . . . .
“For every year, 1948-1969, unemployment among Negroes and other races has
been double that for white people . . . .
“In various ways Black people are saying that ‘the American dream has been
thrown at me long enough. Now I’m gonna take my place. We will put up with
the disrespect, the emasculation, the taunts, the insults, and the overall
repression no longer.’ . . .
“And some blacks and many whites who want to feel that they are doing
something in a moral way, look at BYU and think they sell all that white
America represents. WE then become what some students in the Black Student
Union in Tucson referred to us as a scapegoat . . . .
“We are caught up in a social movement which is huge and ongoing . . . .
“Proposals have been made that we begin at BYU a recruitment and development
program similar to that which has brought 475 Native Americans (or American
Indians) to our campus this year. It is thought by some that the largest
private institution in the nation should have more than a dozen black people
in its 25,000-member student body. . . .
“I have decreasing tolerance for those views which seek to excuse gospel
obligations with the rhetoric of ‘every man for himself’ . . .
“Joseph Smith, the Prophet and first President of the Church, in 1844,
seventeen years before the Civil War, publicly advocated freeing of the
slaves and having the federal government sell public lands, if necessary, in
order to obtain money to purchase their freedom . . . .
“Now to the University and what it can do. The suggestion of bring more black
people to the campus raises several issues . . . .
“Would black people want to come here? Has anyone asked them if they want to
come here? If is about time white men asked black men what they wanted to do
rather than making decisions in a vacuum. . . .
“Who would pay for it? . . .
“Should a pilot program be set up . . .? . . .
“Does the University have the facilities . . . to cope with an influx of
black people? . . .
“Are we prepared for a Black Student Union . . .? . . .
“What about other alternatives? . . .
“In an attempt to have answers provided, I have formed an investigating
committee which will attempt to provide solid information regarding this
topic and allow us to thereby know where we stand . . . .
“The committee is open-ended and will attempt to investigate the total
situation . . . .
“I hope this evening has helped you understand ‘where our heads are.’ . . .
“[Quoting from a First Presidency statement on ‘their obligations as members
of the communities in which they live and as citizens of the nation’]:
“’Where solutions to these practical problems require cooperative action with
those not of our faith, members should not be reticent in doing their part in
joining and leading in those efforts where the can make an individual
contribution to those causes which are consistent with the standards of the
Church.’” (Brian Walton, ASBYU President, “BYU and Race: Where We Are Now,”
ASBYU Convocation, Ernest L. Wilkinson Center, Brigham Young University,
Provo, Utah, 28 October 1970)
As a man reads, so is he.
Ezra Taft Benson, the White Supremacist
The evidence presented up to this point leads, unavoidably, to the conclusion
that my grandfather was actually a White supremacist, when the term is used
to describe “one who believes that White people are racially superior to
others and should therefore dominate society.”
Such an assessment should not be surprising since Ezra Taft Benson was a
faithful advocate of all things Mormon, and that Mormon theology is, at its
roots, White supremacist in nature.
Baptist pastor Mike Schreib, in a blunt analysis of LDS doctrine entitled
“Mormonism: A Religion for Dumb White People,” points out what Mormon
canonized scripture clearly declares: that, in the eyes of the Mormon God,
White makes right:
“The Book of Mormon teaches that there was continual warfare between the
Nephites who were righteous before God, and the Lamanites who were
unrighteous and wicked. This wickedness eventually led God to curse the
Lamanites with dark skin:
“‘And it came to pass that I beheld, after they had dwindled in unbelief they
became dark and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all
manner of abominations.’ (1 Nephi 12:23)
“‘The skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set
upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their
transgression.’ (Alma 3:6) . . .
“The Book of Mormon goes so far as to teach that if the Lamanites truly
repented of their wickedness, the visible proof would be their skin once again
“‘And the gospel of Jesus Christ shall be declared among them; wherefore,
they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers...and many
generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and
delightsome people.’ (2 Nephi 30: 5-6)
“ (Note: Recent editions of the Book of Mormon have been changed to read, ‘a
pure and a delightsome people.’ The attempt to water down the original
teaching would seem obvious.) . . .
“The second president of the Mormon Church, Brigham Young, was not shy
concerning his beliefs about White superiority, or the curse carried
specifically by the Negro.
‘Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white
man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the
penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.”
(Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, p. 110, 8 March 1863)
“Later Mormon leaders would also state the official doctrine of the Church
concerning Blacks and the priesthood:
“‘Negroes in this life are DENIED THE PRIESTHOOD; under no circumstances can
they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty.’ (LDS “Apostle”
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p. 527)
“‘Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he
became the FATHER OF AN INFERIOR RACE...Millions of souls have come into the
world cursed with black skin and have been DENIED THE PRIVILEGE OF
PRIESTHOOD.’ (LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way To Perfection,
1931, pp. 101-102) . . .
“In early 1978, the Mormon Church found itself suffering from a massive news
media campaign criticizing their attitudes towards Blacks and Non-whites.
Allegations of discrimination and racism by such groups as the NAACP and ACLU
were directed against the LDS church, and rightly so. The Mormon leadership
began to sweat.
“If things progressed badly for them, they feared losing large numbers of
their members who saw the church as a White supremacist haven, and were
willing to tell the media about it. Even worse, they feared losing their
federal tax exempt status from the IRS, a loss that would have devastated
their financial empire. . . .
“On June 8, 1978, Mormon President and prophet, Spencer W. Kimball announced
to the world a new ‘Official Declaration’ from the Lord. Suddenly, he
“ ‘ . . . . all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the
priesthood WITHOUT REGARD TO RACE OR COLOR.’
“This was after he and his fellow leaders had ‘pleaded long and earnestly in
behalf of these, our faithful (Black) brethren...supplicating the Lord for
“They told their members and the world that,
“‘He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the
long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may
receive the holy priesthood . . . ‘
“What happened to the Black race being an ‘inferior race,’ and that ‘under no
circumstances’ could they hold the authority of the priesthood?
“Certainly, if this was God’s church he was free to give new instructions to
his designated servants. Yet, we can only guess that fearing the loss of
their tax benefits was a great motivator in their ‘long and earnest’ prayer
meetings. The timing couldn’t have been more convenient. . . .
“Anyone who has studied these matters in detail must see that the history of
the Mormon religion is a long history of racial nonsense, offensive doctrine,
and well-timed ‘revelations’ intended to help the leadership save face.
“Non-whites who would join such a religion need to open their eyes to the
truth, and dumb White people who accept it ought to be ashamed of
Author and self-described “positive atheist” Cliff Walker also shines a light
into the dark corners of Mormonism’s historical doctrines replete with White
“The Mormon God’s main revelation, the Book of Mormon, explains why . . .
many . . . humans have dark skin . . . In 2 Nephi 5:21, Mormon scripture
describes Whites: ‘As they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome
to come upon.’
“White skin is a reward from God; dark skin is a course, the result of
“‘Their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the
Nephites. And their daughters became exceedingly fair.’ (3 Nephi 2:15-16)
?‘O, my brethren, I fear that unless you shall repent of your sins, that
their skins will be whiter than yours, when you shall be brought with them
before the throne of God.’ (Jacob 3:8)
“Mormonism has a shameful history of White supremacist doctrines and
practices. While I denounce anyone painting an entire group with a broad
brush, neither should we allow ourselves to forget things like the history of
(Cliff Walker, “Did Dennis Rodman Have A Point?”, July 1997, http://www.positiveatheism.org/crt/cliff77.htm)
My grandfather (like scripturally-faithful Mormons are today) was a White
supremacist, in the sense that he believed in the inherent pre-eminence and
transcendence of the White race over the Black race.
A particularly ugly piece of evidence I came across from his personal library
supports that grim reality.
In 1995, I discovered a book that had belonged to my grandfather. Over the
years, he had given me many books from his own collection. At the time I
stumbled across this particular one, I did not recall having seen or read it
My grandfather’s handwritten signature adorned its front cover, which was
somewhat unusual. I had many of his personally-owned books and normally he
would sign and/or stamp them on the inside.
From the nature of the signature, I could tell that he was proud to have
owned this particular book. He not only signed his name to it, he lavished
his signature—“E.T. Benson”—upon its cover, above the title, in the upper
right-hand corner, in a large, bold, looping writing style--where it could
not be missed.
The book was entitled Race and Reason: A Yankee View, authored by Carleton
Putnam and published in 1961 by Public Affairs Press in Washington, D.C.
The book’s title was in bold, black, capital letters against an orange and
white background depicting shattering glass.
On its back cover were the following endorsements:
“A blockbuster . . . [A] book that ought to be read by every thinking
American, North and South. It may be the opening gun in a literacy
counterattack against ideas of race that have influenced the thinking of
Supreme Court justices, Presidents, preachers and writers.”
“[This book is what] the South most needs now for its case . . . [It] is a
‘categorical imperative’ for Southerners . . . who know [the light’s] fullness
will depend henceforth on their own intelligence, literacy, authority and
“We predict that this book will be on the tongues of all informed
Mississippians in the days ahead.”
“Incisive, authoritative, effective . . . Mr. Putnam has put all serious and
objective students of the race problem in his debt.”
As I examined the book’s contents, I found myself so repulsed that I stopped
reading and wrote the following on its title page:
“This book is brimming with vile, racist and repugnant notions that I find
deeply disturbing. I came into possession of it from my grandfather’s
personal library some years ago and, until recently, it remained tucked away
in a dusty closet corner. I cannot condone any attempt to justify racial
superiority or the segregation of the races. It is inhumane, immoral and
destructive to the peace and progress of human kind. –-Steve Benson, 9-12-95”
I went to the Internet and looked up the book’s author and title. Not
surprisingly, it came up on a White supremacist website, along with several
other like-minded works, accompanied by short explanatory texts:
--Who Brought The Slaves to America?
”The Jews did! And did they get upset when the Black Muslims incorporated
this into their teachings. Shatters myth of ‘White guilt.’ Paperback. 30
pages. 14 illustrations.”
--White Man, Think Again!
”A. Jacob. The White man must rule or perish. Paperback. 348 pages”
--Tracing Our White Ancestors
”Frederick Haberman. Answers many questions. 185 pages.”
Links offered to other subjects included:
Then, at the bottom of the web page, was Putnam’s book from my grandfather’s
library, Race & Reason: A Yankee View, with the teaser:
”Explains in-depth racial differences and the dangers of race-mixing. A must
for all serious students. Paperback. 120 pages.”
Researching further, I discovered that Putnam’s book is part of an array of
White supremacist literature housed at the University of Southern Mississippi
under the title of “Citizen’s Council/Civil Rights Collection.”
The same collection also contains autographed photographs of one of my
grandfather’s political mentors: George Wallace.
Digging deeper, I found that Putnam’s Race and Reason: A Yankee View
is listed among “Selected Right-Wing Apocalyptic, Conspiracist, Populist and
That list also includes Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kamp, and two John Birch
works: Alan Stang’s, It’s Very Simple: The True Story of Civil Rights
and Birch founder Robert Welch’s The New Americanism.
(“The Public Eye,” sponsored by Political Research Associates, 1310 Broadway
St., #201, Somerville, Massachusetts, 02144-1731)
I also learned that my grandfather’s personal copy of Putnam’s book was
offered as recommended reading by none other than the “American Fuehrer” of
the American Nazi Party, George Lincoln Rockwell, as a guide, he said, for
ferreting out “left-wing Jews . . . [who are] . . . deliberately poisoning
the minds of two generations of American students at many of our largest
(George Lincoln Rockwell, “From Ivory Tower to Privy Wall: On the Art of
Propaganda,” circa 1966)
Most unsavory of all were excerpts from the book itself—a book, keep in mind,
that was part of the personal reading material of a supposed “prophet, seer
Examples of its racist filth abound:
“[F]rom the horrors of Reconstruction through the Supreme Court’s
desegregation decision . . . the North has been trying to force the black man
down the white Southerner’s throat . . . “ (p. 9)
“[The Negro] may force his way into white schools, but he will not force his
way into white hearts nor earn the respect he seeks. What evolution was
slowly and wisely achieving, revolution has now arrested, and the trail of
bitterness will lead far.” (p. 9)
“The essential question in this whole controversy is whether the Negro, given
every conceivable help regardless of cost to the whites, is capable of full
adaptation to our white civilization within a matter of a few generations, or
whether the record indicates that such adaptation cannot be expected save in
terms of many hundreds, if not thousands of years, and that complete
integration of these races, especially in the heavy black belts of the South,
can result only in a parasitic deterioration of white culture, with or
without genocide. . . . The sin of Cain would pale by comparison.” (p. 27)
“There is no basis in sound science for the assumption, promoted by various
minority groups in recent decades, that all races are biologically equal in
their capacity to advance, or even to sustain, what is commonly called
Western civilization . . .
“[W]hat great civilization of the kind we are seeking to develop in the West
ever arose AFTER an admixture of Negro genes?. . [T]he question answers
itself . . .” (pp. 36-37, original emphasis)
“The ratio of non-whites to whites in the United States as a whole . . . [is]
about 10%. If completely absorbed, this would be a substantial admixture,
with noticeable effects. More serious is the fact that a large part of the
Negro population is concentrated in the South. Absorption in any of these
states would be disastrous.” (p. 37)
“When white men marry Negro women in any numbers the trend is toward a
gradual change in social attitudes of acceptance, and a slow infiltration of
the dominant white society by the offspring, with the consequent changing of
the standards of that society, as evidenced in various Latin American
countries.” (p. 37)
“. . . [A] thorough study of Negro-white intelligence tests DOES reveal
conclusive mathematical proof of the Negro’s limitations . . . .
“[T]here is not question that the frontal lobes of the typical Negro are
smaller and the cerebral cortex less wrinkled than the typical white’s.” (p.
41, emphasis in original)
“When the chart of the Caucasoid race as a whole is laid besides the chart of
the Negro race as a whole, in those attributes involved in our type of
civilization, the Caucasoid will be found superior at each level except
perhaps the lowest . . .” (p. 42)
“I am advocating a doctrine of white leadership, based on proved achievement
. . . As far as the Negro race is concerned, if it is interested in such
cultural elements as our white civilization has to offer, it should realize
that to destroy or to debilitate the white race would be to kill the goose
that lays the golden egg. It is a temptation as old as the human species, and
always ends with a dead goose and no eggs.” (p. 55)
“. . . [O]ne thing is sure: crossing a superior with an inferior breed can
only pull the superior down.” (p. 59)
“Almost all the great statesmen of our nation’s past have foreseen the danger
of the Negro among us and have sought to remove it, even to the point of
transplanting the race to Africa. The idea of making the Negro the social
equal of the white man never entered their heads. Among those besides
Jefferson and Lincoln who favored removal to Africa may be mentioned Francis
Scott Key, John Randolph, Andrew Jackson, Daniel Webster, and Henry Clay. The
modern segregationist is in good company.” (p. 62)
“It may be too late to return the American Negro to his biological and
spiritual home, but it may not be too late to redeem in America the heritage
of the white race.” (p. 69)
“The Communists have made the integration movement a part of their conspiracy
. . .” (p. 73)
“The white man who preaches to backward races a doctrine of equality not only
demeans himself and his own race, but forfeits his opportunity to be of real
“Let us not suppose for a moment that the average African Negro is about to
understand our ideals, or to fight or sacrifice or die for the principle of
liberty. All he wants . . . is a greater and greater share of what white men
have created, regardless of his ability either to protect, manage or pay for
it.” (p. 80)
“The fact that it is wrong to bully, humiliate or exploit a Negro, does not
make it right to integrate him.” (p. 91)
“. . . [T]he self-control and judgment . . . of the rank and file, including
their willingness to contribute to, rather than drain, the common treasury,
are the qualities which produce a stable, free civilization. These were the
qualities which built the great Western democracies. There are few signs of
them in Africa.” (p. 93)
“The greatest of all human rights is the right of a race to protect itself
against genocide, and its culture against deterioration.” (p. 94)
“For the North to force him[ the Negro] on the white South is as blunt an act
of hostility—of hate, if you prefer the word—as can be imagined. It has
already damaged the Negro, indeed, it is damaging the whole country. The
spirit of those back of the integration movement is not love.” (p. 96)
“To suppose that [the development of the Negro race] has reached the point
where an infusion of color in government amounting to policy control, or to a
balance of power, is an acceptable or healthy thing for a previously white
society [is] absurd on its face . . . The inclination of Negroes in the mass
to be primarily interested in spending rather than conserving their own or
other people’s money, is but one of many aspects to this problem.” (pp.
“Equalitarianism spells stagnation and mediocrity for both [the individual or
of society] . . . [I]t is of the very essence of this ideology to build the
inferior up by pulling the superior down, and the result is invariably the
same. The inferior, in gaining what has not been earned, has lost the spur,
and the superior, in losing what was well deserved, has lost the crown.”
“Can you name one case in all history in which whites and Negroes in large
numbers have lived together without segregation and have failed to
intermarry? Can you name one case in all history in which a white
civilization filed to deteriorate after intermarrying with Negroes? Can you
name one case in all history of a stable, free civilization that was
predominately, or even substantially, Negro?” (p. 105)
Conclusion: Ezra Taft Benson Was a Dyed-in-the-Whitest-Wool Racist
The evidence pointing to my Ezra Taft Benson as a racial bigot is
overwhelming and undeniable:
--Ezra Taft Benson vehemently opposed the U.S. civil rights movement.
--Ezra Taft Benson despised the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
--Ezra Taft Benson’s sermons and writings struck ugly, resonant chords with
fellow Mormon racists, who leapt to his defense against Dr. King and in
opposition to equal rights for African-Americans.
--When Ezra Taft Benson presided over the Mormon Church as its leader, the
Church could not bring itself, morally or politically, to officially honor,
by name, the legacy of Dr. King.
--Ezra Taft Benson publicly associated and sympathized with racists and
--Ezra Taft Benson admired and forged strong political ties with racist
politicians—notably, Strom Thurmond and George Wallace,
--Ezra Taft Benson was directed by the First Presidency to carry out racist
actions against African-American members of the Mormon Church in his own
--Ezra Taft Benson’s personal notes and documents from his private files give
evidence of his racist views.
--Ezra Taft Benson’s personal conversations with me on racial matters
exhibited an overall lack of understanding, depth or compassion for
--And, to punctuate it all, Ezra Taft Benson’s personal library contained an
insidiously White supremacist book, emblazoned with his handwritten signature
on the front cover and full of bigoted bile.
Yes, Ezra Taft Benson was the Mormons’ Prophet, Seer and Race baiter.