The Back Story on Backing Off: Was Bruce R. McConkie Upset with Members of His Own Family Supposedly Spreading WIld Tales about the Black-Priesthood Temple "Revelation"? . . .

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  • user warning: Table './exmo_08072012/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>steve benson Dec. 2012</p>\n<p>Mormon Church apostle Bruce R. McConkie, in a public sermon to LDS seminary and institute teachers in August 1978 at Brigham Young University, spoke in dramatic fashion about what he insinuated actually did (and did not) occur in the Salt Lake temple some two months earlier when then-Mormon Church president Spencer W. Kimball told the assembled First Presidency and members of the Quorum of the Twelve that the LDS Church was abandoning its anti-Black doctrine--one which had historically denied the priesthood to men of African descent.</p>\n<p>McConkie’s account is of particular interest because of reports of claims (some speculative and unconfirmed but nonetheless shared with me by solid sources familiar with their circulation) that members of McConkie’s own family were allegedly spreading problematic stories about what they supposedly claimed took place during Kimball’s temple-revelation gathering with the Mormon Church’s High Command during the first week of June 1978.<br />\n_____</p>\n<p>Let’s first examine what McConkie declared publicly about the anti-Black priesthood ban being lifted during a secret meeting of the Mormon Church’s highest leaders in the Salt Lake temple on the evening of 1 June 1978.</p>\n<p>--The Reasons for Kimball’s Prayer for Revelatory Relief on the Black Priesthood Ban</p>\n<p>McConkie sermonized that in that evening temple meeting Kimball “was mouth” in offering a prayer in the presence of 10 members of the Quorum and the full First Presidency, where he asked the Mormon God “for a revelation” to deal with a “problem:” (as McConkie termed it) which , among other issues, “the Lord ha[d] permitted . . . to arise.”</p>\n<p>McConkie’s said the problem that led Kimball to ask for divine guidance had to do with taking the Mormon gospel to “all men . . . on an equal basis” (meaning, McConkie said, on “an equal basis with the seed of Abraham”). This was McConkie code-talk for asking whether now was the time to grant the Mormon priesthood to Black men--given that it had, in McConkie’s view, been denied them up to that point because of their supposedly insufficiently-demonstrated “premortal devotion and faith.”</p>\n<p>Attempting to justify any about-face of the Mormon anti-Black priesthood doctrine (which McConkie said if implemented “would reverse the whole direction of the Church”), he declared that “[w]e get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept.” That so-called modern-day revelation, McConkie told his BYU audience, had now given Mormons “a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject [which] erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more.”</p>\n<p>McConkie went even further in his effort to expunge from collective contemporary Mormon memory the contractions of Mormonism’s past racist anti-Black teachings and practices:</p>\n<p>“It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year, 1978. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the Gentiles. We forget all the statements that limited the gospel to the house of Israel, and we start going to the Gentiles.”<br />\n_____</p>\n<p>--Kimball’s Answer to Prayer</p>\n<p>McConkie said that revelation from Mormon heaven on how to move forward in dealing with Blacks came that night, 1 June 1978. It arrived, he said, in response to Kimball’s temple prayer--one which McConkie described as being offered “with great faith and great fervor;” in other words, as McConkie put it, a prayer that was “inspired.”<br />\n_____</p>\n<p>--Blowing the Secret Temple Meeting Revelation Out of Proportion</p>\n<p>When I personally asked my grandfather, Ezra Taft Benson, what it was like at that moment in the Salt Lake Temple when Kimball announced his “revelation” to the Quorum of the Twelve, he refused to tell me anything of substance, simply letting me know (with tears welling up in his eyes) that it was “too sacred” for him to talk about.</p>\n<p>That kind of non-answer answer is what predictably launches faithful Mormons into breathlessly suggesting that the experience must have been so special, so unique, so monumental and so astounding that the lips of those who witnessed the event were sealed by order of the Mormon God so that no one one would leave the temple that night and go divulging the divinely-delivered details.</p>\n<p>Apparently, McConkie didn’t get the memo,.<br />\n_____</p>\n<p>--McConkie Sets the Record Straight on What Happened During the Revelatory Flip-Flop</p>\n<p>McConkie proceeded to inform his audience of Mormon Church seminary and institute teachers that “when President Kimball finished his prayer, the Lord gave a revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost.”</p>\n<p>McConkie declared that it was not a Regular Holy Ghost Moment but, rather, a Super Holy Ghost Moment:</p>\n<p>“On this occasion, because of the importuning and the faith, and because the hour and the time had arrived, the Lord in his providences poured out the Holy Ghost upon the First Presidency and the Twelve in a miraculous and marvelous manner, beyond anything that any then present had ever experienced. The revelation came to the president of the Church; it also came to each individual present. There were 10 members of the Council of the Twelve and three of the First Presidency there assembled. The result was that President Kimball knew, and each one of us knew, independent of any other person, by direct and personal revelation to us, that the time had now come to extend the gospel and all its blessings and all its obligations, including the priesthood and the blessings of the house of the Lord, to those of every nation, culture, and race, including the black race. There was no question whatsoever as to what happened or as to the word and message that came.\"<br />\n_____</p>\n<p>--McConkie Sets the Record Straight on What Did Not Happen During the Revelatory Flip-Flop</p>\n<p>After going through his super-sized buildup, McConkie apparently decided it was time to splash some cold water in the faces of Mormons who might be tempted to read more into what transpired than actually did. So he proceeded to debunk the notion of spectacular, eye-witnessed special effects accompanying Kimball’s revelatory announcement, saying that there weren’t any:</p>\n<p>“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.<br />\nWell, 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.”<br />\n_____</p>\n<p>--Enter the Holy Ghost</p>\n<p>What instead occurred, McConkie said, was essentially akin to what faithful Mormons themselves experience during Holy Ghost-filled fast and testimony meetings in their local wards, where there they receive an inward, comforting feeling in their hearts knowing” that the Mormon Church is “true”--a feeling, McConkie added, about which uninspired non-believers have absolutely no clue.</p>\n<p>McConkie explained:</p>\n<p>“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)”</p>\n<p>(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 possession; see also the text of McConkie speech at: <a href=\"http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&amp;id=1570\" title=\"http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&amp;id=1570\">http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&amp;id=1570</a>)<br />\n_____</p>\n<p>--Why Did McConkie Put Such Heavy Emphasis on What Didn’t Happen in that Temple Prayer/Revelation Meeting?</p>\n<p>Indeed, what could be the possible reason or reasons why McConkie would go to such length and strength in order to disabuse his Mormon audience that nothing extraordinary in terms of the revelation\'s delivery occurred during that temple secret night gathering of 1 June 1978?</p>\n<p>This is where the story gets intriguing--and, for McConkie himself--personal.<br />\n_____</p>\n<p>--Enter McConkie’s Family</p>\n<p>According to my sources, McConkie may have used his sermon to the Church educator crowd as a way to pull members of his own family back into line--members who were might have been spreading overblown accounts concerning what went on behind the walls of the Salt Lake temple when Kimball made known his priesthood-ban reversal revelation to his fellow members of the hierarchy gathered with him.</p>\n<p>Specifically, sources tell me that McConkie may have been sending a not-so-subtle warning to his sister Margaret McConkie Pope and her husband Bill.</p>\n<p>My sources in this regard are two former Mormon Church career educators of well-earned professional reputation. One of these individuals was a senior administrator in the Mormon Church education system. The other is a close acquaintance of the former administrator and a life-long professor and researcher. (I have received permission from the previous administrator to go public with the following information but I have chosen to keep both their identities confidential).</p>\n<p>This former Mormon Church education administrator said that he has known Margaret and Bill Pope for “a long time,” when they lived in the Provo-Orem-Springville area.</p>\n<p>At one time Bill Pope was a BYU professor of chemical engineering who went on to start up some financially successful physics-related companies, most notably in the area of synthetic diamond production.</p>\n<p>Bill Pope was also a local stake president.</p>\n<p>According to my sources, Margaret and Bill Pope were reported to possibly be spreading stories about what allegedly occurred in the Salt Lake temple that June night in 1978--stories that were described to me as being “a lot more dramatic than Bruce [McConkie] wanted [talked about] in a semi-public place” or in “semi-public settings.” This unacceptable story-spreading refers to reports that the Popes were supposedly sharing these tales with at least family members (and possibly with others, as well) and that the stories may have involved \"Pentecost”-like descriptions of “rushing, mighty winds.” It was said that Margaret “and perhaps Bill [were] telling stories to family and repeating them in a talk in Church.”<br />\nThere was also a report--again, speculative--that Bill Pope had detailed these sort of accounts in a stake conference (although that could not be confirmed by either source as having been firmly established; however, it was noted that this could have been “likely”).</p>\n<p>Margaret was described as “certainly capable of blowing it up” [meaning accounts of the Kimball temple night revelation episode). Whatever form these stories took, I was told that they had to do “with the Popes spreading the word” in ways and places that upset Bruce R. McConkie because these stories were said to be “getting out of hand.”</p>\n<p>Why might McConkie supposedly have been upset? A couple of possibilities were suggested:</p>\n<p>First, as one of source observed, it could have been because McConkie regarded the Popes’ reported version of events to have been non-factual. “Lying,” one of the sources observed “is the name of the game but there are limits to it.”</p>\n<p>It was speculated that if the Popes’ stories were indeed inaccurate, the tales could have been viewed by the Mormon High Command as reflecting adversely on the Quorum of the Twelve. It was also speculated that if “the Salt Lake leadership” already regarded them as being “blatantly” untrue, that leadership would have wanted them stopped and perhaps could have \"directed\" McConkie to see that they were stopped.</p>\n<p>My sources raised the further hypothetical that McConkie may have gotten wind of these stories himself and wanted his family members to quit spreading them. Another suggested possibility was that McConkie had been “directed” by the Mormon Church’s Salt Lake leadership to see to it that these stories were no longer disseminated, with the hypothesis offered that the leadership might have itself known the accounts were not true and could therefore be embarrassing to the Mormon Church--particularly since the revelation on the Blacks was of such signfificant historical importance in the annals of the Church.</p>\n<p>Second, it was speculated that McConkie might have been trying to keep from public knowledge amazing, miraculous and super-sacred events that actually did accompany the Kimball announcement to his inner leadership circle that June night in the Salt Lake temple. That notion was one the sources felt could neither be proven or disproven.</p>\n<p>However, RfM poster \"resipsaloquitur\" wrote me the following about a document, said to have been written by McConkie, giving his own first-hand account of the 1 June 1978 revelation experience in the Salt Lake temple with Kimball, the First Presidency and members of the Quorum of the Twelve (including McConkie):</p>\n<p>\"Steve, I\'ve been thinking about this topic over the last 24 hours or so, because of your previous post(s) on the subject. I had a \'Doctrine and Covanents\' class at BYU in the mid 90\'s, where the professor (Hartshorn) distributed a repeatedly copied, and thus heavily distorted but still readable, manuscript of a talk allegedly given by Bruce R.</p>\n<p>\"The talk was about a page, single-spaced, and described in first-person language the \"miraculous\" events of the revelation. It included a narrative of the room being filled with the audible voice of God, which was powerful but quiet, and sounded like the rushing of mighty (waters as I recall, but it could have been winds). The voice of God spoke to Kimball, but all the rest in attendance heard it.</p>\n<p>\"This manuscript, as I say, purported to be Bruce\'s first person account. It seems likely now that the manuscript was on the order of the Creature From Jekyll Island, but it was distributed to us students in class as legitimate source material. And its purpose was clearly to establish the bona fides of the prophet.</p>\n<p>\"I have since searched for the manuscript but have been unable to locate it. I wish I had kept it. . . .<br />\n\'c<br />\n\"I suppose my question now is whether B[ruce] M[cConkie]\'s family (or others) could have taken it upon themselves to forge this account. If so that level of cynicism is dumbfounding, even for Momons. . . .</p>\n<p>\"I recall wondering at the time why this account wasn\'t more widely distributed. I found it to be an exceptionally impressive, near-contemporary account of an encounter with god. It makes infinitely more sense as a forgery that the corporation would distance itself from.\"</p>\n<p>(posts by \"resipsaloquitur\" to Steve Benson on \"Recovery from Mormonism\" bulletin board, 5 December 2012)</p>\n<p>After having received the above information, I called one of the sources directly and asked for a response. The source asked that I not identify him (to which I agreed), but he did allow me to quote him directly, albeit off-the-record in terms of keeping his identity confidential. Below is what the source told me, word-for-word, as I verified quotes with him:</p>\n<p>\"I know [BYU religion professor] Leon Hartshorn. If he was passing it out [the document purportedly of McConkie\'s first-person account detailing what happened in closed-door temple revelation to Kimball on the Black priesthood issue), he [Hartshorn] probably believed it was genuine. But calling it \'genuine\' does not make it a genuine experience. It might have been a genuine document for a very closed circle.\"</p>\n<p>\"These guys are in the business of convincing themselves and others that these kinds of things actually happen. That\'s their whole life.\"</p>\n<p>\"[People like Hartshorn] have a vested interest in believing Church leaders are prophets although they don\'t prophesy, so they could easily convince themselves.\"</p>\n<p>\"Bruce R. might well have dramatized this event in his head and then gotten slapped--\'it\'s not the kind of thing we talk about\'--and then he [McConkie] slapped down Margaret and Bill Pope. That is possible and might even be likely.\"</p>\n<p>\"Bruce probably said some of this stuff but then had it dialed back by somebody senior to Bruce--and you can\'t know beyond that.\"</p>\n<p>\"Ir is totally credible to me that he was talking out of school and was asked to pull back.\"</p>\n<p>\"That\'s my best guess and speculation--nothing but speculation.\"</p>\n<p>RfM poster \"resipsaloquitur\" reacted to the source\'s observations thusly:</p>\n<p>\"Thanks Steve. That all fits. Of course, someone lied, and whether it was BM [Bruce McConkie] or someone else hardly matters. The bigger issue is that the corporation knows that members have this folk belief in supernatural visitations, and while they don\'t crank out new versions anymore, they\'re happy to turn a blind eye to faith promoting stories like this one. They could set the record straight if they wanted to.\"</p>\n<p>**********</p>\n<p>Was Bruce R. McConkie’s Sermon on Lifting the Black Priesthod Ban an Effort to Ride Herd on Chatty Members of His Own Family?</p>\n<p>The sources indicated that certain elements of McConkie’s family were being mentioned in local circles as supposedly (and supposedly excessively) spreading the word around about what really went on in the temple that led to Blacks getting the priesthood. Maybe McConkie family members were telling the truth about what McConkie actually claimed he had experienced in the temple that night--that is, before McConkie may have been ordered to skin it back himself.</p>\n<p>At any rate, \"Family: Isn’t it about time . . they shut the hell up?\"</p>\n<p>:)</p>\n<hr />\n<p>Memphis Misraim<br />\nRe: The Back Story on Backing Off: Was Bruce R. McConkie Upset with Members of His Own Family Supposedly Spreading WIld Tales about the Black-Priesthood Temple \"Revelation\"? . . .<br />\nThe temple in Voree will be built, and James Strang will be resurrected to dedicate it.</p>\n<p>xyz<br />\nRe: The Back Story on Backing Off: Was Bruce R. McConkie Upset with Members of His Own Family Supposedly Spreading WIld Tales about the Black-Priesthood Temple \"Revelation\"? . . .<br />\nNot to be a cynic or anything, but, OK, I\'ll be a cynic:</p>\n<p>I\'ll just bet there were a lot of “rushing, mighty winds\" during that super-secret temple meeting, as Spence spelled out precisely how much remaining a racist religion was gonna cost the cult. \"Gasping\" would be a better term, since when you threaten the bottom line, the first thing a corporate tool does is consider his own bottom line, a.k.a. skin, a.k.a. bank account.</p>\n<p>topped<br />\nRe: The Back Story on Backing Off: Was Bruce R. McConkie Upset with Members of His Own Family Supposedly Spreading WIld Tales about the Black-Priesthood Temple \"Revelation\"? . . .&nbsp;</p>\n<hr />\nresipsaloquitur<br />\nRe: The Back Story on Backing Off: Was Bruce R. McConkie Upset with Members of His Own Family Supposedly Spreading WIld Tales about the Black-Priesthood Temple \"Revelation\"? . . .<br />\nSteve, I\'ve been thinking about this topic over the last 24 hours or so, because of your previous post(s) on the subject. I had a doctrine and covanents class at BYU in the mid 90\'s, where the professor (Hartshorn) distributed a repeatedly copied, and thus heavily distorted but still readable, manuscript of a talk allegedly given by Bruce R.\n<p>The talk was about a page, single-spaced, and described in first-person language the \"miraculous\" events of the revelation. It included a narrative of the room being filled with the audible voice of God, which was powerful but quiet, and sounded like the rushing of mighty (waters as I recall, but it could have been winds). The voice of God spoke to Kimball, but all the rest in attendance heard it.</p>\n<p>This manuscript, as I say, purported to be Bruce\'s first person account. It seems likely now that the manuscript was on the order of the Creature From Jekyll Island, but it was distributed to us students in class as legitimate source material. And its purpose was clearly to establish the bona fides of the prophet.</p>\n<p>I have since searched for the manuscript but have been unable to locate it. I wish I had kept it.</p>\n<p>steve benson<br />\nYou sure it wasn\'t 116 pages? :)&nbsp;</p>\n<p>resipsaloquitur<br />\nRe: You sure it wasn\'t 116 pages? :)<br />\nNo way would have I read 116 pages of that man\'s writings. Talk about a snooze fest!</p>\n<p>resipsaloquitur<br />\nRe: You sure it wasn\'t 116 pages? :)<br />\nI suppose my question now is whether BM\'s family (or others) could have taken it upon themselves to forge this account. If so that level of cynicism is dumbfounding, even for Momons.</p>\n<hr />\nsteve benson<br />\nPerhaps I could check with my sources and see if they recall any such document being circulated by Hartshorn or others.&nbsp;\n<hr />\n<p>resipsaloquitur<br />\nRe: Perhaps I could check with my sources and see if they recall any such document being circulated by Hartshorn or others.<br />\nI recall wondering at the time why this account wasn\'t more widely distributed. I found it to be an exceptionally impressive, near-contemporary account of an encounter with god. It makes infinitely more sense as a forgery that the corporation would distance itself from.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>steve benson<br />\nTalked to one of the sources and this is what he said<br />\n\"I know Leon Hartshorn. If he was passing it out [the document purportedly of McConkie\'s first-person account detailing what happened in closed-door temple revelation to Kimball on the Black priesthood issue), he [Hartshorn] probably believed it was genuine. But calling it \'genuine\' does not make it a genuine experience. It might have been a genuine document for a very closed circle.\"</p>\n<p>\"These guys are in the business of convincing themselves and others that these kinds of things actually happen. That\'s their whole life.\"</p>\n<p>\"[People like Hartshorn have a vested interest in believing Church leaders are prophets although they don\'t prophesy, so they could easily convince themselves.\"</p>\n<p>\"Bruce R. might well have dramatized this event in his head and then gotten slapped--\'it\'s not the kind of thing we talk about\'--and then he [McConkie] slapped down Margaret and Bill Pope. That is possible and might even be likely.\"</p>\n<p>\"Bruce probably said some of this stuff but then had it dialed back by somebody senior to Bruce--and you can\'t know beyond that.\"</p>\n<p>\"Ir is totally credible to me that he was talking out of school and was asked to pull back.\"</p>\n<p>\"That\'s my best guess and speculation--nothing but speculation.\"</p>\n<hr />\n<p>resipsaloquitur<br />\nRe: Talked to one of the sources and this is what he said<br />\nThanks Steve. That all fits. Of course, someone lied, and whether it was BM or someone else hardly matters. The bigger issue is that the corporation knows that members have this folk belief in supernatural visitations, and while they don\'t crank out new versions anymore, they\'re happy to turn a blind eye to faith promoting stories like this one. They could set the record straight if they wanted to.</p>\n<p>\"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org\"</p>\n', created = 1410753690, expire = 1410840090, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:4710c9b53c7e67f6cbdefbff2a533223' in /home/exmormon/public_html/d6/drupal/includes/cache.inc on line 112.

steve benson Dec. 2012

Mormon Church apostle Bruce R. McConkie, in a public sermon to LDS seminary and institute teachers in August 1978 at Brigham Young University, spoke in dramatic fashion about what he insinuated actually did (and did not) occur in the Salt Lake temple some two months earlier when then-Mormon Church president Spencer W. Kimball told the assembled First Presidency and members of the Quorum of the Twelve that the LDS Church was abandoning its anti-Black doctrine--one which had historically denied the priesthood to men of African descent.

McConkie’s account is of particular interest because of reports of claims (some speculative and unconfirmed but nonetheless shared with me by solid sources familiar with their circulation) that members of McConkie’s own family were allegedly spreading problematic stories about what they supposedly claimed took place during Kimball’s temple-revelation gathering with the Mormon Church’s High Command during the first week of June 1978.
_____

Let’s first examine what McConkie declared publicly about the anti-Black priesthood ban being lifted during a secret meeting of the Mormon Church’s highest leaders in the Salt Lake temple on the evening of 1 June 1978.

--The Reasons for Kimball’s Prayer for Revelatory Relief on the Black Priesthood Ban

McConkie sermonized that in that evening temple meeting Kimball “was mouth” in offering a prayer in the presence of 10 members of the Quorum and the full First Presidency, where he asked the Mormon God “for a revelation” to deal with a “problem:” (as McConkie termed it) which , among other issues, “the Lord ha[d] permitted . . . to arise.”

McConkie’s said the problem that led Kimball to ask for divine guidance had to do with taking the Mormon gospel to “all men . . . on an equal basis” (meaning, McConkie said, on “an equal basis with the seed of Abraham”). This was McConkie code-talk for asking whether now was the time to grant the Mormon priesthood to Black men--given that it had, in McConkie’s view, been denied them up to that point because of their supposedly insufficiently-demonstrated “premortal devotion and faith.”

Attempting to justify any about-face of the Mormon anti-Black priesthood doctrine (which McConkie said if implemented “would reverse the whole direction of the Church”), he declared that “[w]e get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept.” That so-called modern-day revelation, McConkie told his BYU audience, had now given Mormons “a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject [which] erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more.”

McConkie went even further in his effort to expunge from collective contemporary Mormon memory the contractions of Mormonism’s past racist anti-Black teachings and practices:

“It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year, 1978. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the Gentiles. We forget all the statements that limited the gospel to the house of Israel, and we start going to the Gentiles.”
_____

--Kimball’s Answer to Prayer

McConkie said that revelation from Mormon heaven on how to move forward in dealing with Blacks came that night, 1 June 1978. It arrived, he said, in response to Kimball’s temple prayer--one which McConkie described as being offered “with great faith and great fervor;” in other words, as McConkie put it, a prayer that was “inspired.”
_____

--Blowing the Secret Temple Meeting Revelation Out of Proportion

When I personally asked my grandfather, Ezra Taft Benson, what it was like at that moment in the Salt Lake Temple when Kimball announced his “revelation” to the Quorum of the Twelve, he refused to tell me anything of substance, simply letting me know (with tears welling up in his eyes) that it was “too sacred” for him to talk about.

That kind of non-answer answer is what predictably launches faithful Mormons into breathlessly suggesting that the experience must have been so special, so unique, so monumental and so astounding that the lips of those who witnessed the event were sealed by order of the Mormon God so that no one one would leave the temple that night and go divulging the divinely-delivered details.

Apparently, McConkie didn’t get the memo,.
_____

--McConkie Sets the Record Straight on What Happened During the Revelatory Flip-Flop

McConkie proceeded to inform his audience of Mormon Church seminary and institute teachers that “when President Kimball finished his prayer, the Lord gave a revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

McConkie declared that it was not a Regular Holy Ghost Moment but, rather, a Super Holy Ghost Moment:

“On this occasion, because of the importuning and the faith, and because the hour and the time had arrived, the Lord in his providences poured out the Holy Ghost upon the First Presidency and the Twelve in a miraculous and marvelous manner, beyond anything that any then present had ever experienced. The revelation came to the president of the Church; it also came to each individual present. There were 10 members of the Council of the Twelve and three of the First Presidency there assembled. The result was that President Kimball knew, and each one of us knew, independent of any other person, by direct and personal revelation to us, that the time had now come to extend the gospel and all its blessings and all its obligations, including the priesthood and the blessings of the house of the Lord, to those of every nation, culture, and race, including the black race. There was no question whatsoever as to what happened or as to the word and message that came."
_____

--McConkie Sets the Record Straight on What Did Not Happen During the Revelatory Flip-Flop

After going through his super-sized buildup, McConkie apparently decided it was time to splash some cold water in the faces of Mormons who might be tempted to read more into what transpired than actually did. So he proceeded to debunk the notion of spectacular, eye-witnessed special effects accompanying Kimball’s revelatory announcement, saying that there weren’t any:

“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.”
_____

--Enter the Holy Ghost

What instead occurred, McConkie said, was essentially akin to what faithful Mormons themselves experience during Holy Ghost-filled fast and testimony meetings in their local wards, where there they receive an inward, comforting feeling in their hearts knowing” that the Mormon Church is “true”--a feeling, McConkie added, about which uninspired non-believers have absolutely no clue.

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 possession; see also the text of McConkie speech at: http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=1570)
_____

--Why Did McConkie Put Such Heavy Emphasis on What Didn’t Happen in that Temple Prayer/Revelation Meeting?

Indeed, what could be the possible reason or reasons why McConkie would go to such length and strength in order to disabuse his Mormon audience that nothing extraordinary in terms of the revelation's delivery occurred during that temple secret night gathering of 1 June 1978?

This is where the story gets intriguing--and, for McConkie himself--personal.
_____

--Enter McConkie’s Family

According to my sources, McConkie may have used his sermon to the Church educator crowd as a way to pull members of his own family back into line--members who were might have been spreading overblown accounts concerning what went on behind the walls of the Salt Lake temple when Kimball made known his priesthood-ban reversal revelation to his fellow members of the hierarchy gathered with him.

Specifically, sources tell me that McConkie may have been sending a not-so-subtle warning to his sister Margaret McConkie Pope and her husband Bill.

My sources in this regard are two former Mormon Church career educators of well-earned professional reputation. One of these individuals was a senior administrator in the Mormon Church education system. The other is a close acquaintance of the former administrator and a life-long professor and researcher. (I have received permission from the previous administrator to go public with the following information but I have chosen to keep both their identities confidential).

This former Mormon Church education administrator said that he has known Margaret and Bill Pope for “a long time,” when they lived in the Provo-Orem-Springville area.

At one time Bill Pope was a BYU professor of chemical engineering who went on to start up some financially successful physics-related companies, most notably in the area of synthetic diamond production.

Bill Pope was also a local stake president.

According to my sources, Margaret and Bill Pope were reported to possibly be spreading stories about what allegedly occurred in the Salt Lake temple that June night in 1978--stories that were described to me as being “a lot more dramatic than Bruce [McConkie] wanted [talked about] in a semi-public place” or in “semi-public settings.” This unacceptable story-spreading refers to reports that the Popes were supposedly sharing these tales with at least family members (and possibly with others, as well) and that the stories may have involved "Pentecost”-like descriptions of “rushing, mighty winds.” It was said that Margaret “and perhaps Bill [were] telling stories to family and repeating them in a talk in Church.”
There was also a report--again, speculative--that Bill Pope had detailed these sort of accounts in a stake conference (although that could not be confirmed by either source as having been firmly established; however, it was noted that this could have been “likely”).

Margaret was described as “certainly capable of blowing it up” [meaning accounts of the Kimball temple night revelation episode). Whatever form these stories took, I was told that they had to do “with the Popes spreading the word” in ways and places that upset Bruce R. McConkie because these stories were said to be “getting out of hand.”

Why might McConkie supposedly have been upset? A couple of possibilities were suggested:

First, as one of source observed, it could have been because McConkie regarded the Popes’ reported version of events to have been non-factual. “Lying,” one of the sources observed “is the name of the game but there are limits to it.”

It was speculated that if the Popes’ stories were indeed inaccurate, the tales could have been viewed by the Mormon High Command as reflecting adversely on the Quorum of the Twelve. It was also speculated that if “the Salt Lake leadership” already regarded them as being “blatantly” untrue, that leadership would have wanted them stopped and perhaps could have "directed" McConkie to see that they were stopped.

My sources raised the further hypothetical that McConkie may have gotten wind of these stories himself and wanted his family members to quit spreading them. Another suggested possibility was that McConkie had been “directed” by the Mormon Church’s Salt Lake leadership to see to it that these stories were no longer disseminated, with the hypothesis offered that the leadership might have itself known the accounts were not true and could therefore be embarrassing to the Mormon Church--particularly since the revelation on the Blacks was of such signfificant historical importance in the annals of the Church.

Second, it was speculated that McConkie might have been trying to keep from public knowledge amazing, miraculous and super-sacred events that actually did accompany the Kimball announcement to his inner leadership circle that June night in the Salt Lake temple. That notion was one the sources felt could neither be proven or disproven.

However, RfM poster "resipsaloquitur" wrote me the following about a document, said to have been written by McConkie, giving his own first-hand account of the 1 June 1978 revelation experience in the Salt Lake temple with Kimball, the First Presidency and members of the Quorum of the Twelve (including McConkie):

"Steve, I've been thinking about this topic over the last 24 hours or so, because of your previous post(s) on the subject. I had a 'Doctrine and Covanents' class at BYU in the mid 90's, where the professor (Hartshorn) distributed a repeatedly copied, and thus heavily distorted but still readable, manuscript of a talk allegedly given by Bruce R.

"The talk was about a page, single-spaced, and described in first-person language the "miraculous" events of the revelation. It included a narrative of the room being filled with the audible voice of God, which was powerful but quiet, and sounded like the rushing of mighty (waters as I recall, but it could have been winds). The voice of God spoke to Kimball, but all the rest in attendance heard it.

"This manuscript, as I say, purported to be Bruce's first person account. It seems likely now that the manuscript was on the order of the Creature From Jekyll Island, but it was distributed to us students in class as legitimate source material. And its purpose was clearly to establish the bona fides of the prophet.

"I have since searched for the manuscript but have been unable to locate it. I wish I had kept it. . . .
'c
"I suppose my question now is whether B[ruce] M[cConkie]'s family (or others) could have taken it upon themselves to forge this account. If so that level of cynicism is dumbfounding, even for Momons. . . .

"I recall wondering at the time why this account wasn't more widely distributed. I found it to be an exceptionally impressive, near-contemporary account of an encounter with god. It makes infinitely more sense as a forgery that the corporation would distance itself from."

(posts by "resipsaloquitur" to Steve Benson on "Recovery from Mormonism" bulletin board, 5 December 2012)

After having received the above information, I called one of the sources directly and asked for a response. The source asked that I not identify him (to which I agreed), but he did allow me to quote him directly, albeit off-the-record in terms of keeping his identity confidential. Below is what the source told me, word-for-word, as I verified quotes with him:

"I know [BYU religion professor] Leon Hartshorn. If he was passing it out [the document purportedly of McConkie's first-person account detailing what happened in closed-door temple revelation to Kimball on the Black priesthood issue), he [Hartshorn] probably believed it was genuine. But calling it 'genuine' does not make it a genuine experience. It might have been a genuine document for a very closed circle."

"These guys are in the business of convincing themselves and others that these kinds of things actually happen. That's their whole life."

"[People like Hartshorn] have a vested interest in believing Church leaders are prophets although they don't prophesy, so they could easily convince themselves."

"Bruce R. might well have dramatized this event in his head and then gotten slapped--'it's not the kind of thing we talk about'--and then he [McConkie] slapped down Margaret and Bill Pope. That is possible and might even be likely."

"Bruce probably said some of this stuff but then had it dialed back by somebody senior to Bruce--and you can't know beyond that."

"Ir is totally credible to me that he was talking out of school and was asked to pull back."

"That's my best guess and speculation--nothing but speculation."

RfM poster "resipsaloquitur" reacted to the source's observations thusly:

"Thanks Steve. That all fits. Of course, someone lied, and whether it was BM [Bruce McConkie] or someone else hardly matters. The bigger issue is that the corporation knows that members have this folk belief in supernatural visitations, and while they don't crank out new versions anymore, they're happy to turn a blind eye to faith promoting stories like this one. They could set the record straight if they wanted to."

**********

Was Bruce R. McConkie’s Sermon on Lifting the Black Priesthod Ban an Effort to Ride Herd on Chatty Members of His Own Family?

The sources indicated that certain elements of McConkie’s family were being mentioned in local circles as supposedly (and supposedly excessively) spreading the word around about what really went on in the temple that led to Blacks getting the priesthood. Maybe McConkie family members were telling the truth about what McConkie actually claimed he had experienced in the temple that night--that is, before McConkie may have been ordered to skin it back himself.

At any rate, "Family: Isn’t it about time . . they shut the hell up?"

:)


Memphis Misraim
Re: The Back Story on Backing Off: Was Bruce R. McConkie Upset with Members of His Own Family Supposedly Spreading WIld Tales about the Black-Priesthood Temple "Revelation"? . . .
The temple in Voree will be built, and James Strang will be resurrected to dedicate it.

xyz
Re: The Back Story on Backing Off: Was Bruce R. McConkie Upset with Members of His Own Family Supposedly Spreading WIld Tales about the Black-Priesthood Temple "Revelation"? . . .
Not to be a cynic or anything, but, OK, I'll be a cynic:

I'll just bet there were a lot of “rushing, mighty winds" during that super-secret temple meeting, as Spence spelled out precisely how much remaining a racist religion was gonna cost the cult. "Gasping" would be a better term, since when you threaten the bottom line, the first thing a corporate tool does is consider his own bottom line, a.k.a. skin, a.k.a. bank account.

topped
Re: The Back Story on Backing Off: Was Bruce R. McConkie Upset with Members of His Own Family Supposedly Spreading WIld Tales about the Black-Priesthood Temple "Revelation"? . . . 


resipsaloquitur
Re: The Back Story on Backing Off: Was Bruce R. McConkie Upset with Members of His Own Family Supposedly Spreading WIld Tales about the Black-Priesthood Temple "Revelation"? . . .
Steve, I've been thinking about this topic over the last 24 hours or so, because of your previous post(s) on the subject. I had a doctrine and covanents class at BYU in the mid 90's, where the professor (Hartshorn) distributed a repeatedly copied, and thus heavily distorted but still readable, manuscript of a talk allegedly given by Bruce R.

The talk was about a page, single-spaced, and described in first-person language the "miraculous" events of the revelation. It included a narrative of the room being filled with the audible voice of God, which was powerful but quiet, and sounded like the rushing of mighty (waters as I recall, but it could have been winds). The voice of God spoke to Kimball, but all the rest in attendance heard it.

This manuscript, as I say, purported to be Bruce's first person account. It seems likely now that the manuscript was on the order of the Creature From Jekyll Island, but it was distributed to us students in class as legitimate source material. And its purpose was clearly to establish the bona fides of the prophet.

I have since searched for the manuscript but have been unable to locate it. I wish I had kept it.

steve benson
You sure it wasn't 116 pages? :) 

resipsaloquitur
Re: You sure it wasn't 116 pages? :)
No way would have I read 116 pages of that man's writings. Talk about a snooze fest!

resipsaloquitur
Re: You sure it wasn't 116 pages? :)
I suppose my question now is whether BM's family (or others) could have taken it upon themselves to forge this account. If so that level of cynicism is dumbfounding, even for Momons.


steve benson
Perhaps I could check with my sources and see if they recall any such document being circulated by Hartshorn or others. 

resipsaloquitur
Re: Perhaps I could check with my sources and see if they recall any such document being circulated by Hartshorn or others.
I recall wondering at the time why this account wasn't more widely distributed. I found it to be an exceptionally impressive, near-contemporary account of an encounter with god. It makes infinitely more sense as a forgery that the corporation would distance itself from.


steve benson
Talked to one of the sources and this is what he said
"I know Leon Hartshorn. If he was passing it out [the document purportedly of McConkie's first-person account detailing what happened in closed-door temple revelation to Kimball on the Black priesthood issue), he [Hartshorn] probably believed it was genuine. But calling it 'genuine' does not make it a genuine experience. It might have been a genuine document for a very closed circle."

"These guys are in the business of convincing themselves and others that these kinds of things actually happen. That's their whole life."

"[People like Hartshorn have a vested interest in believing Church leaders are prophets although they don't prophesy, so they could easily convince themselves."

"Bruce R. might well have dramatized this event in his head and then gotten slapped--'it's not the kind of thing we talk about'--and then he [McConkie] slapped down Margaret and Bill Pope. That is possible and might even be likely."

"Bruce probably said some of this stuff but then had it dialed back by somebody senior to Bruce--and you can't know beyond that."

"Ir is totally credible to me that he was talking out of school and was asked to pull back."

"That's my best guess and speculation--nothing but speculation."


resipsaloquitur
Re: Talked to one of the sources and this is what he said
Thanks Steve. That all fits. Of course, someone lied, and whether it was BM or someone else hardly matters. The bigger issue is that the corporation knows that members have this folk belief in supernatural visitations, and while they don't crank out new versions anymore, they're happy to turn a blind eye to faith promoting stories like this one. They could set the record straight if they wanted to.

"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"