Utah Life in 1965

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moksha
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Utah Life in 1965

Post by moksha » Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:49 pm

Benson was critical of the civil rights movement, which he felt was being controlled by communists. In July 1965, the NAACP called for all Third World nations to refuse to grant visa to missionaries of the LDS Church for its "doctrine of non-white inferiority," and planned to protest the churches October general conference. In response, Benson wrote a memorandum to all Birch Society chapters instructing them to spread rumors that the protesters planned violent riots:

"It is common knowledge that the Civil Rights Movement is Communist controlled, influenced and dominated. ... when necessary we must adopt the communist technique in our ever present battle against Godless Communism. It is urged that in the coming weeks the Utah Chapters begin a whispering campaign and foster rumors that the Civil Rights groups are going to organize demonstrations in Salt Lake City in connection with the forthcoming LDS conference. ... A few well placed comments will soon mushroom out of control and before the conference begins there will be such a feeling of unrest and distrust that the populace will hardly know who to believe. The news media will play it to the very hilt. No matter what the Civil Rights leaders may try to say to deny it the seed will have been sown and again the Civil Rights movement will suffer a telling blow."

Soon a near-hysteria was created in Utah over imminence of feared upcoming riots. Rumors of professional demonstrators and rioters prompted the Utah National Guard to begin riot control maneuvers. The NAACP issued a statement in an effort to calm fears that they were planning a riot, stating, "The NAACP deplores the malicious and totally irresponsible rumors circulating in many sections of the state to the effect that Negroes are planning a riot at the LDS conference." There were no riots or demonstrations at the 1965 general conference, and the Birch Society's role in creating the rumors created resentment among many in the LDS Church.
That was from the Wikipedia. Mormon Utah was a bit different back then. Want to learn more? Saved the best for last.

https://history.utah.gov/race-riot-fear ... mber-1965/
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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2bizE
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Re: Utah Life in 1965

Post by 2bizE » Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:50 pm

Very interesting. Very interesting indeed. I knew Benson was a communist freak, but this certainly shows what the church is willing to do...no wonder the NAACP has ill feelings...
~2bizE

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blazerb
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Re: Utah Life in 1965

Post by blazerb » Sat Sep 05, 2020 5:59 am

moksha wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:49 pm
... when necessary we must adopt the communist technique in our ever present battle against Godless Communism.
The hypocrisy shown here is stunning. I can't believe how much I admired this man when I was young. The church needs to apologize. Obviously, there are valid concerns about Jonathan Streeter's hoax, but at least he could explain to the church what an apology looks like.

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nibbler
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Re: Utah Life in 1965

Post by nibbler » Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:47 am

The more things change the more they remain the same.
We see things not as they are, but as we are ourselves. - H.M. Tomlinson

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deacon blues
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Re: Utah Life in 1965

Post by deacon blues » Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:25 pm

I remember attending that Oct. conference. Our family went on a road trip that took us from Rexburg, ID to SLC to Bryce and Zion canyons, to the Grand Canyon, to LA(Disneyland). The Watts riots had happened earlier that summer and I was vaguely aware of them. It was during "potato harvest vacation" and I was 9 at the time. Wow, memories. :D
God is Love. God is Truth

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blazerb
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Re: Utah Life in 1965

Post by blazerb » Sun Sep 06, 2020 4:43 pm

deacon blues wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:25 pm
It was during "potato harvest vacation" and I was 9 at the time. Wow, memories. :D
I'm a little younger than this conference. We once took a similar vacation. My mom was mortified when I explained to people that we were out of school for "spud harvest."

Wonderment
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Re: Utah Life in 1965

Post by Wonderment » Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:11 pm

moksha wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:49 pm
Benson was critical of the civil rights movement, which he felt was being controlled by communists. In July 1965, the NAACP called for all Third World nations to refuse to grant visa to missionaries of the LDS Church for its "doctrine of non-white inferiority," and planned to protest the churches October general conference. In response, Benson wrote a memorandum to all Birch Society chapters instructing them to spread rumors that the protesters planned violent riots:

"It is common knowledge that the Civil Rights Movement is Communist controlled, influenced and dominated. ... when necessary we must adopt the communist technique in our ever present battle against Godless Communism. It is urged that in the coming weeks the Utah Chapters begin a whispering campaign and foster rumors that the Civil Rights groups are going to organize demonstrations in Salt Lake City in connection with the forthcoming LDS conference. ... A few well placed comments will soon mushroom out of control and before the conference begins there will be such a feeling of unrest and distrust that the populace will hardly know who to believe. The news media will play it to the very hilt. No matter what the Civil Rights leaders may try to say to deny it the seed will have been sown and again the Civil Rights movement will suffer a telling blow."

Soon a near-hysteria was created in Utah over imminence of feared upcoming riots. Rumors of professional demonstrators and rioters prompted the Utah National Guard to begin riot control maneuvers. The NAACP issued a statement in an effort to calm fears that they were planning a riot, stating, "The NAACP deplores the malicious and totally irresponsible rumors circulating in many sections of the state to the effect that Negroes are planning a riot at the LDS conference." There were no riots or demonstrations at the 1965 general conference, and the Birch Society's role in creating the rumors created resentment among many in the LDS Church.
That was from the Wikipedia. Mormon Utah was a bit different back then. Want to learn more? Saved the best for last
The church has a long past of mistaking legitimate movements for social reform in a democracy with nefarious conspiracy theories. They did that with the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and also with the Prop. 8 movement in California to guarantee equal rights to the gay community. They are extremely resistant to any call for increased human rights and equal representation. Ezra Taft Benson was a reactionary who was particularly opposed to social progress. The church has consistently been on the wrong side of history. - Wndr.

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Hagoth
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Re: Utah Life in 1965

Post by Hagoth » Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:02 am

when necessary we must adopt the communist technique in our ever present battle against Godless Communism.
Oh man, that says so much and it can be applied in so many ways. Example:
"when necessary we must adopt the anti-Mormon technique in our ever present battle against Godless anti-Mormons."

I don't remember Benson saying that but I remember the repercussions in my family and community. That must have been when my dad showed me the safest place in our house to hide when the "n******s show up with their machine guns."

Benson was probably still butt-hurting from the repeal of the interracial marriage laws just two years before. I'm almost surprised Utah let that one slip through without dragging out at least another decade.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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