The Editing of an Apostle

In the April of 1972 General Conference, then Elder, Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave a talk that still causes controversy and raises questions to this day,  about what was actually meant. He recommended that all members of the Church read The John Birch Society book, None Dare Call it Conspiracy.   He said, “There is no conspiracy theory in the Book of Mormon—it is a conspiracy fact. And along this line I would highly recommend to you a new book entitled, ‘None Dare Call It Conspiracy’.” However, this recommendation did not make it into the official version of the conference report, and remains edited out to this day.

Before the advent of the internet and sites like YouTube, it was extremely difficult to determine with certainty what had actually been said.  As we can see in the video here, the quote above is accurate.  Therefore we know that this wasn’t a case of misunderstanding, or an imagined quote.  So was Elder Benson reprimanded and forced to change the text of his talk – as some have suggested?

The change in the official record of this talk and what was “really behind it” has been the subject of much and speculation, and has been of concern to many people ever since the official record of the talk was released by the Church.  Some even wrote to Elder Benson asking him what happened.  Thankfully, some of those people saved the response they received from Elder Benson, (which can be read here) and the reason isn’t nearly as sinister as some have claimed.  No, he wasn’t reprimanded and forced to change his talk; and no, there weren’t some “dark-forces” at the Church office building trying to silence the words of an Apostle.

In one of the letters he wrote concerning the subject, he said, “When I learned that we had representatives from behind the Iron Curtain at our conference, where we have over 5,000 members, I made a few minor changes in my talk of my own volition…  Our Ensign magazine has worldwide distribution and it seemed the part of wisdom to make a very limited number of minor changes.  I continue to encourage people to read NONE DARE CALL IT CONSPIRACY.”

There are those that seek to discredit the words of the leaders of the Church – like Ezra Taft Benson, because they don’t like the fact that their views are the antithesis of The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and so they do whatever they can to discredit those Church leaders that speak boldly.  Then there are others that try to create suspicion of other Church leaders.  No matter the motive behind such efforts, let us not be fooled by hearsay or circumstantial evidence – but stick to the facts and let them lead you to the truth.  As the Savior said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

17 thoughts on “The Editing of an Apostle”

  1. Thanks for posting this.

    I’ve heard on various occasions that Elder Benson was told to tone down his political statements. As evidence I am to look at the lack of political speeches later in his life. Seems the root of this rumor is addressed above.

    … On another level, do we not know that there is conspiracy anyway? Whether the actors are willing co-conspirators or ignorant pawns the root of the conspiracy is still the Adversary and has existed long before America came onto the scene. The battle remains the same — not against people but false principles.

    I’m sure that what we can easily ‘see’ is the tip of the iceberg… I think the founding fathers would agree that it would be wise to view ‘tip’ with suspicion vice blind acceptance.

  2. G. Michael Craig

    Many LDS see the history of the Church as segmented into two major time periods: BETB and AETB(Before Ezra Taft Benson and After Ezra Taft Benson). This is reasonable inasmuch as the Church took a hard turn to the left after the administration of Pres. Benson. He and other general authorities had warned about this, about increasing numbers of “ravening wolves” getting baptized and then called into leadership positions in the Church at the ward, stake, and even the general level. The evidence of this fact is overwhelming. I know of three brethren, two High Priests and a Seventy, who were immediately released from all callings after quoting Pres. Benson over the pulpit on the subject of our responsibility to defend the Constitution. Conservatives are no longer

  3. G. Michael Craig, are you claiming that the church has been infiltrated by a left-wing conspiracy? I thought church leaders were selected by inspiration. Please elaborate.

    1. When I’ve discussed this sort of topic with friends we’ve wondered whether the Lord is not emphasizing the ETB-like urgency any more because the church membership failed to take action.

      Surely the problem has not been eradicated.

      If we don’t receive the light offered then we will have it taken away. Non members established this country and its Constitution under His guidance. Surely He can sustain it that way was well. This is sad to say, since we have more instruction from the Lord on the subject than any other people.

      (It seems at times we seem to have a culture of non-commitment to and suspicion of non-prescribed action.)

      …But all men are sufficiently instructed in the Law, and the Spirit of Liberty is fundamental to all men I think as part of the Law

      1. I’ve given this some thought as well. When secret combinations (aka conspiracy) were getting entrenched in government, we had many warnings about it. The government has passed the tipping point and the church’s focus is on it’s central mission: eternal life through Christ. Anything that detracts or restricts that mission is not a part of the message. I ask, what is the best approach to calling out the sheep/ wheat? By calling out entrenched combinations around the world (remember, we’re world-wide now), or developing relationships to open doors and hearts to the Gospel? I personally think JFK was killed by secret combinations in ’63 because he stopped listening to them (advisors). The best path to liberty, and weapon against secret combinations, is a testimony.

  4. I have a copy of None Dare Call It A Conspiracy. It is a great read! The interesting thing about it is that, even though it was written decades ago, it now reads like a history book. It was incredibly accurate in it’s predictions on what would happen here in America due to conspiring groups within our own government.

  5. Michael W Tindall

    I believe that the Lord counseled him to edit the published talk because we had not progressed enough to understand the message. Look at it. Here we are today talking about conspiracies and such. He, the Lord, that is, has done this before. Look at the Ten Commandments. So who has read the book?

    1. I have. A couple more great books on the subject by Brother Benson are Stand Up For Freedom and An Enemy Hath Done This.

      I have a personal testimony as God freed me from prison for standing for liberty. I was held for 18 months with no bail while the Federal government put 6 of my co defendants and me through 2 trials. Just before the verdict in the first trial a prayer was said. We promised God if it was his will for us to continue the fight and he released us, we would continue. Those of us who said Amen walked as free men later. One who said he was an Atheist, got a 67 year sentence. One who said he was done with the fight, 16 year sentence. We were not just talking and spreading the news either. This was an armed standoff with Federal law enforcement. I testify that God has released me from chains to continue the fight for freedom using force if necessary.

      Remember IF the constitution is saved it will be by Church Elders.

  6. I don’t think that the church has changed its stance, rather it has been FORCED to change its methods, thanks to the US Gov’t’s change in churches tax status as 501c3 organizations. Before that time there was NOT a freedom of speech gag order on the clergy/churches. Now there is. I have a great admiration to the “Black Robe Regiment” which consists of Churches and clergy who are not complying with the gag order.

    There is also wisdom in making the message acceptable in the instances where there foreign Gov’ts that would question our motives for being in their countries….. steps towards freedom in those instances requires first a change in heart of the people and eventually its leaders.

  7. Our Father in Heaven sees all things before they happen. We are in the last days right before the Mark of the Beast, the Anti-Christ, the One World Dictatorial Government, etc., etc., will rear its demonic head. It will not be stopped, it will happen. The Lord’s church and its Prophets and Apostles are commissioned to preach the gospel worldwide in all countries and gather in those looking for the truth.
    Being apolitical allows the missionaries to travel under the political radar and save souls in all countries may they be socialist, communist or democratic. No church leader will intentionally say or do anything that will cause a country to close the door on our missionaries. The gospel must be taught in all the world and then the end will come.

      1. Same reason Church is not picking sides in Ukraine. It is assuming a neutral position by helping those in need regardless of political persuasion.

        1. There are members in both sides of this conflict. It is bad enough if a member from Russia is has to fight against a member from Ukraine. Think how they would feel if the church took a side.

          “The priesthood is a heavenly principle, but it is carried in earthly vessels,” to paraphrase B. H. Roberts. I think sometimes the Lord allows His servants (meaning, all of us) to work things out to the best of our abilities. However, nothing we can do will upset His plans or the prophecies from happening. He is in control.

          Also, the amount that we (collectively as a church, as well as individually) magnify our callings is directly proportional to what we can expect from our leaders. The Lord said it in the Doctrine and Covenants, that if the Church as a whole had been more righteous at the time, the church would have been redeemed. (Doctrine and Covenants 105:2)

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