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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 06:45PM

From time to time the topic arises on this board about the secret transfer of administrative power from my debilitated grandfather, then-president of the Mormon Church Ezra Taft Benson, to his First Presidency counselors, Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson--a move that was done in clear violation of established LDS Church procedure on succession.

In a previous thread (currently up on this site), RfM poster “theoutlander” notes positive proof of that fact (as discovered in and publicly reported from the incorporation documents for the Mormon Church)--documents which prove conclusively that the Mormon Church is in the business of deliberately deceiving its members:

“I was just reading an interesting article titled 'Drawing the Line on Religion' and it made me wonder at what point do you think leadership in the Church is made aware of the scam they are perpetrating? Does that make sense? I mean at some point along the way (maybe when you get as high up as being a GA) the truth has got to come out.

“Maybe this will help you understand what I'm talking about. The article, as I understood it, was about Steve Benson's disenchantment with the Church and how that all came about. About half way through the writer states the following:

“'A reporter at the paper [the 'Salt Lake Tribune'] sifted some eye-popping information from Utah's corporation records. The published report said the corporation that manages the Church effected in 1989 a transfer of power from Ezra Taft Benson to his two counselors, Gordon Hinckley and Thomas Monson. That was done the same year that his grandfather last was seen in public, Benson said.

"'This is what's so ironic,' he said. 'The church leaders and members are saying, “Steve, where's your faith? Don't you have faith God could raise Ezra Taft Benson to speak and lead the church?” But in secret the leaders of the church had amended the faith that God would do that. . . . They put their faith not in God but in the lawyers who transacted the papers and who actually assured the transfer of power to them.'

“I have to think that there were more involved in the cover up than just Hinckley and Monson, so that's what made me wonder, "How many people really know the truth, and how far along do they get before they know?

“I think most people in the forum can agree that we've figured out this scam for ourselves, but I think it would be interesting to know how many in Church Leadership know and help to perpetuate the lie. Make sense?”

(“Church Leadership & The Truth," posted by:”theoutlander,” on “Recovery from Mormonism” bulletin board, 14 April 2012, at:,474354,474354#msg-474354)

Similarly, in an earlier thread, RfM poster "orlovna" wrote of the media-reported Mormon Church's use of then-LDS Church president ETB's signature machine/autopen to facilitate a backroom transfer of governing authority from ETB to his two First Presidency counselors, Hinckley and Monson:

" . . . Steve Benson ha[s] posted, here at RfM, about his incapacitated grandfather, at a time when Messrs. Hinckley and Monson took full (and undue) advantage of it (viz., that situation).

"I [meaning poster 'olovna'] 'alleged' (for that is what it is) [to the 'Salt Lake Tribune'] that Hinckley and Benson [*editing note: this should read "Hinckley and Monson" not "Hinckley and Benson"] crafted and drafted a backroom-deal type of document: one for each of them (requiring ETB's 'signature' on both).

"I told the ['Salt Lake Tribune'] readers that, in essence, they could check it out, through the freedom of information act (This was implied, more than factually stated).

"Perhaps ETB's grandson can affirm that the facsimile of Prez. Benson's signature that many, here, were able to view, was indeed the selfsame one that was 'affixed to' those two identical documents that Hinckley and Monson had submitted to the Utah Corporation Commission, back in the mid-90s [*editing note: the signature machine transfer of authority actually took place in 1989], before Pro$it Benson died."

Below is more detailed background information on that secret power transfer, via ETB's signature machine, of LDS Church operating authority:

By 1993, my grandfather was on his last mental and physical legs, being in full decline on both counts.

He exhibited only brief moments of awareness of his surroundings and was unable to carry on meaningful conversations, including with members of his own family.

I personally witnessed his condition deteriorate to this state over the course of several years.

By 1993, he had had a suffered from series of significant health setbacks, including blood clots on the brain, a stroke and a heart attack, all of which had been downplayed to one degree or another by the Church.

My grandfather eventually died in May 1994, barely a year after the conference to which you refer.

By September 1993, even Apostles Dallin H. Oaks and Neal A. Maxwell were personally (but only privately) confirming the reality of ETB's increasingly debilitated state.

In a visit that month with my then-spouse and I in Maxwell's Church Administration Building office, Oaks admitted that my grandfather's health was declining steadily (a fact that we both, as well as our children, already knew from personal visits with him in the confines of his apartment overlooking Temple Square).

Oaks said the Quorum of the Twelve rotated in pairs each week to visit my grandfather at the apartment, with the purpose of only to check in on how he was doing, not to engage in administrative action or to discuss major issues, since my grandfather was incapable of doing any such thing.

Maxwell said that when Church members asked him how the prophet was doing, he would reply only that "he is not in pain."

They said that major administrative decisions were not being made, given the inability of my grandfather to be involved in the process.

I asked Oaks why he didn't come out and set the record straight on my grandfather's health, especially since the Church Public Relations Department, headed by Don LeFevre at the time, was issuing press releases significantly misrepresenting my grandfather's actual mental and physical condition.

Oaks responded by waving dismissively in the direction of the the Church Office Building (which we could see through the windows of Maxwell's office) and saying, "I don't know what goes on over there in the high rise."

I then asked Maxwell why he didn't speak up on the actual state of my grandfather's health.

Maxwell replied by saying he already had several responsibilities and "didn't need any more."

Oaks then urged me to deal with the issue of my grandfather's health through "back channels," rather than in the public square (a sure-fire remedy for deep-sixing the whole thing).

I chose not to follow that advice.

A few weeks later, during 1993 October Conference, I encountered Don LeFevre of the Church PR Department and asked him why he was releasing statements about the health of my grandfather that were clearly not true.

LeFevre told me, "All my statements have been approved by my superiors."

I responded, "Don, that doesn't make them true."

LeFevre simply replied, "Steve, this is a difficult job."

It is a matter of public record (thanks to the reporting of the Salt Lake Tribune) that--in direct contravention of established protocol for the transfer of power in the event that the Church president should die OR become incapacitated--Hinckely and Monson had the power of attorney over LDS corporate affairs shifted to them in the Church's incorporation documents a few years before my grandfather's death (see Mormon apostle James E. Talmadge's treatment of Church governance procedures in his book, "Articles of Faith").

Instead of having the First Presidency dissolved and an acting president installed to administer the affairs of the Church in a situation when the sitting president was unable to perform his duties, Hinckely and Monson had legal authority to run the Mormon empire transferred directly to them by the highly unusual method of employing my grandfather's autopen signature machine on Church incorporation documents (see an account of this episode in historian D. Michael Quinn's book, "Extensions of Power").

Here's a breakdown of the details that, in and of themselves, should be enough for any honest Mormon to leave the lying LDS Church:

--I informed Quinn of this surreptitious power grab and he found it significant enough to write that Monson and Hinckley secretly conspired to angle himself into the position of de facto Church president, in clear violation of official Mormon Church governance protocol:

"By May 1989 . . . counselors [Hinckley and Monson] felt it necessary to execute legal documents giving them Ezra Taft Benson's 'power of attorney [which] shall not be affected by his "disability" or "incompetence.'"

"However, Benson was already affected by that 'disability.'

"Despite a notarized statement by the First Presidency's secretary, President Benson did not sign those documents himself. A signature machine produced Benson's identical signatures on these legal documents.

"Without public acknowledgment, this machine-signed document formally ended an official provision for dissolving the First Presidency that had been in print for ninety years. Since 1899 the book 'Articles of Faith,' 'Written By Appointment; and Published By the Church,' had specified that the 'First Presidency is disorganized through the death or disability of the President.'

"However, this 1989 document specified that the counselors would not dissolve the First Presidency or surrender their powers despite the fact of the church president's 'disability' or 'incompetence.'

"The current apostles have supported this policy, even though the officially published 'Articles of Faith' continues to specify that when there is 'disability of the President, the directing authority in [church] government reverts at once to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles." (D. Michael Quinn, "The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books], pp. 58-59,; fn 243-245, p. 432)

--The “Salt Lake Tribune” affirmed the story through its own investigative reporting efforts:

"In the years before his death President Benson suffered from poor health, suffering from blood clots in the brain, strokes, and heart attacks. During this time, Benson almost never appeared in public, and First Counselor Gordon B. Hinckley took on many of Benson's official duties, as he had done as Second Counselor in Kimball's last years.

"Joining Hinckley in this task was Thomas S. Monson, and the two of them received legal power of attorney to act in Benson's behalf in LDS corporate affairs. Important ecclesiastical and family documents continued to be signed in Benson's name, with the aid of a signature machine.

"There was some controversy as to whether Benson's actual mental health during this time was accurately portrayed by the Church. According to Church spokesman Don LeFevre, Hinckley and Monson reviewed major church decisions with Benson in his home, where he was attended by a staff of nurses.

"However, according to Benson's grandson Steve Benson, who later became a vocal, anti-Mormon critic of the church that he quit, the elder Benson by about 1993 was living in a sweatsuit, fed by others, and incapable of recognizing others or speaking coherently.

"Steve Benson stated that in a private meeting with apostle Dallin H. Oaks, Oaks explained to the younger Benson that the apostles rotated in pairs each week to visit the elder Benson at the apartment socially, but that Benson was incapable of conducting official business. . . .

"The fact that President Benson's counselors did not have a great deal of confidence in his ability to function became evident when documents filed with the state of Utah were examined by the 'Salt Lake Tribune':

"'Documents on file with the state of Utah are strong evidence that the parent corporation of the Mormon Church no longer is being directed by its president, Ezra Taft Benson.

"'It is the first time since the corporation was founded 70 years ago that anyone other than the church president has obtained total authority over Utah's most powerful corporation.

"'The documents, at the Utah Department of Commerce, were signed with a machine that duplicates the signature of 94 year-old President Benson. They were filed six months before President Benson . . . made his last public speech.

"'Church leaders said this week the filings and the use of a signature machine were routine, and done with President Benson's approval.... Today, the corporation owns all church assets--including a multi-billion dollar portfolio of financial and property holdings. . . .

"'Entitled "Certificates of Authority' and dated May 23, 1989, the documents say Presidents Hinckley and Monson can keep those complete powers--even if President Benson becomes disabled or is determined by a court to be incompetent. . . . the church made no announcement of the change. It has continued to portray President Benson as the ultimate power behind church affairs. . . .

"'Fran Fish, notary public administrator for the state Department of Commerce, said signatures written by machine are legal . . . .

"'Still, Ms. Fish . . . said use of a signature machine on state corporate filings 'is certainly out of the norm.'. . . Steve Benson . . . has said that his aging grandfather no longer possesses the mental faculties to handle church affairs.

"'"The church has misrepresented the condition of President Benson and stated flatly that his role as prophet has in no way been impeded," Steve Benson said this week. "My grandfather has become a storefront mannequin while the business of the store is conducted behind closed doors."

"'He said a signature machine has replaced his grandfather's hand on all personal and family correspondence.”Evidently," Steve Benson said, "the signature machine had not been programmed to sign, 'Grandpa.'"'"('Salt Lake Tribune,' August 15, 1993)"

(To view the actual signature machine-created signature of Ezra Taft Benson on the incorporation documents mentioned above, see "Hinckley Monson and Ezra Taft Benson's Signature Machine," by "cricket" [Steven Clark], 30 December 2006, at:; see also, Jerald and Sandra Tanner, "Mormon Inquisition?: LDS Leaders Move to Repress Rebellion," under "Non-Functional Prophets," in "Salt Lake City Messenger," No. 85, November 1993, at:

--The journalism trade magazine, “Editor & Publisher” also reported on the backroom power transfer:

"[Steve] Benson's views seemingly were verified by an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City. A reporter at the paper sifted some eye-popping information from Utah's corporation records. The published report said the corporation that manages the church effected in 1989 a transfer of power from Ezra Taft Benson to his two counselors, Gordon Hinckley and Thomas Monson. That was done the same year that his grandfather last was seen in public, Benson said.

"'This is what's so ironic,' he said.’The church leaders and members are saying, 'Steve, where's your faith? Don't you have faith God could raise Ezra Taft Benson to speak and lead the church?' But in secret the leaders of the church had amended the faith that God would do that. . . . They put their faith not in God but in the lawyers who transacted the papers and who actually assured the transfer of power to them.'" (Walt Jayroe, "Drawing the Line on Religion," in "Editor & Publisher," 1994, at:

--Further reporting:

"[Mormon] Church leaders acknowledge[d] that during the past four years Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson have held absolute control, legally, of the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Though a signature machine was used to append Benson's signature to documents transferring control from Benson to Hinckley and Monson, the two certificates of authority filed in May, 1989, were declared legal (in 'Salt Lake Tribune,' 15 August 1993, p. C 1)." (Timothy Oliver, Rick Branch, and James Walker, "Historical Events, Notable Doctrines: Mormonism Overview," in "Watchman Expositor," vol. 13, #4, 1996, at:

--Hinckley, plain and simple, lied to Mormon Church members in General Conference about the extent and severity of ETB's rapidly failing health.

Notice how, in this Mormon Church account of a Hinckley October 1992 General Conference talk, he mentioned nothing about ETB's deteriorating and debilitating mental condition indeed, he spoke only of his weak physical state, thereby misleadingly implying that ETB was still mentally functional--which was not the case at all. (If ETB had, in fact, been regarded as being mentally functional enough to make adminstraive decisions as Mormon Church president, there would have been no need for a surreptious power hand-over by signature machine to Hinckley and Monson):

“President Gordon B. Hinckley's account of a dramatic experience aboard a jetliner as it approached the airport set the tone for his Sunday morning address.

“President Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency, was returning from a regional conference when the captain announced that there was an emergency and asked passengers to obey crew members' instructions. An off-duty pilot, recognizing President Hinckley, told him, 'The primary control system has failed, but I think we are going to be all right. They have managed to get the landing gear down and the flaps down.'

"'Strangely, I felt no fear,' President Hinckley recalled. 'I knew that a redundancy system had been built into the plane to handle just such an emergency, and that the crew had been well-trained.'

“The congregation laughed when he said, 'I also knew that the effectiveness of that redundancy system would be known in a minute or two when the rubber hit the runway.'

“The aircraft landed without mishap. 'The crew were appropriately applauded, and some of us expressed to the Lord our gratitude,' President Hinckley related.

"'I have reflected on this experience in terms of the Church of which we are members.'

“Jesus Christ is the head of the Church, but the earthly head is the prophet, he explained, adding that while President Ezra Taft Benson holds all the keys of the priesthood, he has reached an age that places limitations on his PHYSICAL activities [emphasis added], as have prophets in the past.

"'Some people, evidently not knowing the system, worry that because of the president's age, the Church faces a crisis. They seem not to realize that there is a backup system. In the very nature of this system, there is always on board a trained crew, if I may so speak of them. They have been thoroughly schooled in Church procedures. More importantly, they also hold the keys of the eternal priesthood of God.'

“Each of the 15 men ordained as apostles holds the keys of the priesthood, but only the president has the right to exercise them in their fullness, President Hinckley explained.

“'We who serve as counselors recognize and know the parameters of our authority and our responsibility. Our only desire is to assist and help our leader with the tremendous burdens of his office. The Church is growing large, with more than 8 million members now. . . . The responsibilities are many and varied.

"'But I can say that regardless of the circumstances, the work goes forward in an orderly and wonderful way. As it was during the time when President Kimball was ill, we have moved without hesitation where there is well-established policy. Where there is no firmly established policy, we have talked with the president and received his approval before taking action. Let it never be said that there has been any disposition to assume authority or to do anything or say anything or teach anything which might be at variance with the wishes of him who has been put in his place by the Lord.'

“Quoting D&C 107:23-24, President Hinckley said the Council of the Twelve Apostles form a quorum equal in power and authority to the First Presidency, but they are always under the direction of the First Presidency.

“President Hinckley contrasted the work of the Lord with the process of electing government officials: 'No member of the Church in his right mind would think of applying for ecclesiastical office.' Rather, he said, Church officers are called of God by prophecy and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority.

“He expressed confidence that all General Authorities confess to the Lord their weaknesses and plead for strength and wisdom.
“He said the Brethren pray together and periodically partake of the sacrament together, and from various backgrounds and experiences, discuss problems and ways to improve and strengthen the work.

"'At the outset of these discussions, there may be various points of view. But before the discussion is ended, there is total unanimity, else no action is taken. The Lord Himself has declared that such unity is an absolute necessity.'

“He affirmed that the General Authorities would never lead the Church astray because the Lord Jesus Christ has the power to remove any found remiss in his duty or teaching that which is not in harmony with His divine will.

"'I say for each and all of us that we have no personal agenda. We have only the Lord's agenda. There are those who criticize when we issue a statement of counsel or warning. Please know that our pleadings are not motivated by any selfish desire. Please know that our warnings are not without substance and reason. Please know that the decisions to speak out on various matters are not reached without deliberation, discussion and prayer. Please know that our only ambition is to help each of you with your problems, your struggles, your families, your lives.'"

(“Built-in 'Backup' System Keeps Church on Course,” Gordon B. Hinckley, sermon at LDS General Conference,” published in “Church News,” 10 October 1992, at:

Hinckley continued the same deceptive theme throughout the same Conference, having kicked of the Saturday session with the same misdirect:

“My brethren and sisters, President Benson ordinarily would speak to us in the opening session of the conference and extend his warm welcome. We regret that he is not with us. He would wish to be here, and we wish that he were here. It is becoming increasingly hard for him to get out. His age makes public appearances difficult. He is now in his ninety-fourth year. It is not easy for him to do what he once did with such vigor and enthusiasm. His strong and vibrant voice has stirred all of us in times past. His eloquence in expounding the gospel and his tremendous testimony of this work, persuasive in its tone and cogency, have lifted all who have heard him. We miss him and pray that the Lord will comfort him and bless him that he may enjoy much of happiness for the remainder of his life.

“His burdens became much heavier when his beloved companion, Sister Flora Amussen Benson, passed away on August 14. They had been married for nearly sixty-six years. They have been an example to the entire Church. He now feels the terrible loneliness that comes to a man with the death of a gifted and beautiful wife, the mother of his children, his great support and comfort.

“Our hearts reach out to him in sympathy and love. We pray that the Lord will comfort him and sustain him and bring gladness into his heart while he yet remains with us as the prophet of God.

“He has asked that we go forward with the conference. We do so with his encouragement and with a prayer in our hearts that we will be blessed of the Lord—all who speak—that there may be a great spiritual outpouring among the Saints who will meet in many places and under a great variety of circumstances.”

(“Sin Will Not Prevail,” Gordon B. Hinckley, October 1992 General Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, reprinted in “Ensign,” November 1992, at:


Ezra Taft Benson was not meaningfully leading and/or directing the Mormon Church as its president--either physically or mentally--in his final years.

LDS apostles Oaks and Maxwell privately admitted that fact to me, in direct contradiction of Hinckley's public lies.

Furthermore, if, as Hinckley claimed, he (Hinckley) had no “personal agenda,” then why did Hinckley and Monson choose not to inform the general Mormon Church membership that they had, as far back as 1989, secretly transferred authority to run LDS, Inc. from ETB to them, via ETB's personal signature machine, without ETB being present for the transfer?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Subterfuge.

The LDS Church is rotten to the core but, alas, listen to the true-believing LDS snore. Never let the facts get in the way of a good Mormon myth.

Edited 10 time(s). Last edit at 04/15/2012 10:45PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: Mia ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 06:56PM

I'm wondering if Monson is now on the receiving end of the auto pen take over.

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Posted by: dk ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 07:04PM

Steve, what would have happened if your grandfather was declared disabled or incompetent? Did the church leaders not want to admit to that or was there some power play going on?

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 07:09PM

. . . Hinckley and Monson would have been returned back to their respective positions of pecking-order seniority in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the President of the Quorum of the Twelve would have then been designated as acting Mormon Church president (see Quinn).

The autopen manuever was a brazen, secretly-executed power play designed to circumvent established Mormon Church procedure on succession, thereby effectively keeping Hinckley and Monson in the First Presidency saddle, now fully empowered by a signature machine to run the Mormon corporate empire until ETB actually died.

Edited 11 time(s). Last edit at 04/15/2012 07:31PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: Makurosu ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 07:21PM

I've heard stories of him appearing for meetings when he wasn't well at all, and they were supposedly stories of his faithfulness.

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Posted by: No Mo ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 07:19PM

...on me as a young missionary was concerning a signature from Harry Lee. My clergy card that was given to every missionary and supposedly signed by the Lee became smudged by an ink stain. I asked mission president by the name of Driggs for a new one. He looked at me and smiled and said, "I don't know if he has the time to sign it" as if I had been asking for a huge favor. Harry must have been so busy running god's kingdom from Utard in his free Mr. Mac suit to bother with such a lowly misionary.

I was donating two years of my youth to that stupid cult and Driggs was placing a guilt trip on me for asking for a new clergy card. Now I am realizing that they probably never sign those cards to start with and the corp just has some clerk put the blanks under a signature machine. There were only twelve thousand missionaries for god's true church at the time. Asshole.

Thanks again Steve for background on the corporation.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/15/2012 07:36PM by No Mo.

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