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*Impact of Protests on Apostles (Part 7 of 7)

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Matt:  President Kimball said in 1975. Let me get this right. If I don’t lift the ban, my successor won’t do it, nor will my successor’s successor. Of course, he’s talking about Benson and Mark Petersen. So that was President Kimball, saying very clearly if I don’t do this, they won’t. Harold Lee was just intractable. He refused to lift the ban and Joseph Fielding Smith, too. It’s interesting how people evolve because Elder Kimball, I don’t want to give you the sense that he’s a racial progressive. One of the things that his son talks about is my father shared some of the same prejudicial views towards black people that other people of his generation did. Clearly, that’s easy to believe if you realize that we’re all products of our environment, right?  But what’s unique about Kimball is not that he had prejudicial views, it’s how he evolved and that he saw that it was the right thing to do to further the advance of the church. That’s why I admire him so much is that he knew that there were obstacles. David O. McKay had the same obstacles, different personalities in the Twelve, but the same obstacles. I think I can make a strong argument that President McKay might have lifted the ban in the 1950s had it not been for some of the hardliners there. What’s different between President McKay and President Kimball, is that Kimball recognize that it was worth fighting for, it was worth going to bat for. I don’t want to say that McKay didn’t think it wasn’t worth it. But Kimball spent a lot of time nurturing relationships with the personalities that he had to work with the most, which is McConkie. I’m not sure about Petersen, how much of the one on one, but I do know with Elder McConkie, he spent extensive time with him working him through these issues. We talked about how McConkie gone to Brazil several times in the weeks and days leading up to the revelation. So when they went to the temple in June of 1978, it wasn’t like the manuals, say, “Oh, I just had a revelation one day.”  No, this is something they knew they we’re going to change when they got there. I’m not trying to take away from their revelatory experience and the inspiration of it all. But there’s no doubt in my mind that President Kimball knew the ban was going to go that day and I’m quite certain that the others knew that it was going to go, too. It was just a matter of being unified and probably feeling that last-minute inspiration that they felt they needed to have.

What are your thoughts on Matt’s research on the ban?

Dr. Matt Harris describes how Pres Kimball got the apostles on board with the 1978 revelation.  This is the group of apostles from 1969 that did not overturn the ban under President McKay when many of the protests took place.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Dr. Harris!

352: BYU Law School Almost Lost Accreditation

351: Civil Rights Investigation at BYU

350: Sports Protests Against BYU

349: Race & Religious Minorities at BYU

348: How Brazil Influenced Official Declaration 2

347: Did Nixon & Carter Pressure BYU Over Race?

3 thoughts on “*Impact of Protests on Apostles (Part 7 of 7)

  1. Hey, Rick — I saw this today and thought of this podcast. Thought you’d be interested:

    About the Book:

    This is the autobiography of Russell Marion Nelson who is now President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is a hard book to come by since it was printed by President Nelson in 1979 (before he was the President) and was just for his family and friends with a reported production of only 500 books. It contains visions and other information not found in his official biography later on. It’s a fascinating book! Dennis B. Horne listed it as number 1 on his list of the top 10 Mormon biographies.

    Due to the extremely personal and familial nature of the work, as well as some very sacred experiences that are shared, it’s not surprising this isn’t currently mass-produced, and was replaced by an updated biography. For those interested in an example, here is a record of his visions of President Harold B. Lee, following that Prophet’s death (pp 159-160):

    “Since the passing of President Lee, I have had two very special dreams involving him. The first was in April of 1975. The substance of that message is too sacred to mention here, but it was a very reassuring and humbling experience.

    “The Second occurred on September 16, 1978. In the dream there were two vivid messages: first, that if President Lee had gone on living, a very severe affliction would have developed in his body which, if allowed to progress, would have given him great pain, suffering, and incapacity. The medical details of this were dreadful and distressing. He said his sudden death in December 1973 was brought about as an act of love and mercy, for the Lord wished to spare him and the Church the misery that otherwise would have ensued. His second message was that the revelations received and the actions subsequently taken by President Kimball were the very same as would have been received and performed by President Lee had he remained as the prophet. President Lee exclaimed that the Lord gives His will to His living prophet regardless of who the prophet is at the time, for the Lord indeed is directing His Church.”

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/From-Heart-to-Heart-Russell-M-Nelson-Autobiography-Hardcover-Mormon-LDS-RARE/114004225001?hash=item1a8b2e6be9:g:xi4AAOSwSGNd6sqk

  2. This is something I found online today that made me think of this podcast. It’s an excerpt from then Elder Russell Nelson’s autobiograaphy, From Heart to Heart:

    “The Second occurred on September 16, 1978. In the dream there were two vivid messages: first, that if President Lee had gone on living, a very severe affliction would have developed in his body which, if allowed to progress, would have given him great pain, suffering, and incapacity. The medical details of this were dreadful and distressing. He said his sudden death in December 1973 was brought about as an act of love and mercy, for the Lord wished to spare him and the Church the misery that otherwise would have ensued. His second message was that the revelations received and the actions subsequently taken by President Kimball were the very same as would have been received and performed by President Lee had he remained as the prophet. President Lee exclaimed that the Lord gives His will to His living prophet regardless of who the prophet is at the time, for the Lord indeed is directing His Church.”

  3. Wow, that’s cool. Thanks for posting, but that price is much too steep for my budget! (I’d love it as a gift from one of my listeners though!) 🙂

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