Ezra Taft Benson, 7 Feb 1982

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-- 7 Feb 1982
NEWSWEEK article on the rift between LDS historians and Church leaders: "A major conflict is brewing between professional Mormon historians and a group of church elders who insist that LDS scholars write only `faith promoting' accounts of the church. . . . [Apostles Boyd K. Packer and Ezra Taft Benson] "have been harshly critical of the methods and motives of LDS scholars who attempt `objective' histories of the church. What particularly exercises Benson is the effort made by scholars to place what are supposed to be divinely inspired church doctrines in a relevant social and historical context. . . . According to the dicta of Benson and Packer, Mormon history should be presented as a sacred saga so that students can-in Packer's words-'see the hand of the Lord in every hour and every moment of the Church from its beginning till now.'" The article further quoted a lecture distributed to all Mormon educators in which Elder Packer denounced professional scholars who " write history as they were taught in graduate school, rather than as Mormons" and enjoined LDS historians to write selectively about "the faults and contradictions of church."

-- 2 Apr 1982
First Presidency announces two changes to lessen financial burdens on church members. First, church headquarters henceforth pays for all costs of meetinghouse construction. This relieves local members of requirement to finance construction in addition to paying tithing. Second, service of male missionaries is reduced from 24 months to 18 months. "It is anticipated that this shortened term will make it possible for many to go who cannot go under present [financial circumstances]," counselor Gordon B Hinckley explains. "This will extend the opportunity for missionary service to an enlarged body of our young men." Instead annual number of new missionaries level off. Annual convert baptisms decline more than 7 percent each year rather than increase by same proportion as before. (1)

-- 3 Oct 1982
First Presidency announced addition of subtitle to the Book of Mormon: ―Another Testament of Jesus Christ. (2)

-- 09 Oct 1982
The First Presidency announces plans to build the first temple in a communist nation in Freiberg, Germany Democratic Republic (East Germany).

-- October 17, 1982
President Ezra Taft Benson dedicates the Kirtland LDS Ward building in Kirtland, Ohio. (3)

-- Dec 2, 1982 - 5 November 1985
Marion G. Romney called as First Counselor; Gordon B. Hinckley called as Second Counselor (death of N. Eldon Tanner). (4)

-- 1983
Published Volume - Come Unto Christ. Deseret Book (3)

-- Jan 1984
After Reagan signed the law for King Day, Cleon Skousen's Freemen Institute observed that this national holiday honored "a man who courted violence and nightriding and broke the law to achieve his purposes; who found it expedient openly to collaborate with totalitarian Communism; and, whose personal life was so revolting that it cannot be discussed." (5)

-- 12 Apr 1984
Russell M. Nelson is ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, replacing LeGrand Richards, who had passed away.

-- 03 May 1984
Dallin H. Oaks is ordained an Apostle, replacing Mark E. Petersen, who had passed away.

-- 26 Nov 1984
The First Presidency announced that, beginning Jan. 1, the term of full-time missionary service for single elders would again be 24 months. It had been shortened from two years to 18 months in April 1982. (6)

-- 18 May 1985
”In the May 18, 1985, political-operational report of Department XX … regarding the political-ideological orientation of the US-American Mormons, it was determined that they are to be classified as representatives of the right wing of American conservatism. There are close connections between their leadership and ruling circles within the government [at that time the Reagan administration]. Relationships also exist between persons and institutions of the church and the American secret service.” (7)

1 - On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com
2 - Sherry Baker: Mormon Media History Timeline: 1827-2007, http://byustudies.byu.edu/showTitle.aspx?title=7984
3 - Wikipedia: "Ezra Taft Benson"
4 - Wikipedia, First Presidency (LDS Church), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Presidency_(LDS_Church)#Chronology_of_the_First_Presidency
5 - Willard Woods, "Martin Luther King Day," Freemen Digest, Jan. 1984, 23; also Skousen and R. Stephen Pratt emphasized King's association with Marxists and Communists in their two articles, "The Early Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.," and "Reverend King's Ministry: Thirteen Years of Crisis," Freemen Digest, Jan. 1984,11,13,16, 17,18,20. Aside from guilt-by-association, the concluding sentence of Skousen's and Pratt's first article (14) was guilt-by-similar-interest: "As the King program got under way, Gus Hall, head of the Communist party USA, declared: "For us, by far the most significant development is the escalation of mass protest movements by the American people.'". These are referenced in in D. Michael Quinn, "Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992) and Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3
6 - Church News: Historical Chronology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, http://www.ldschurchnewsarchive.com/articles/58765/Historical-chronology-of-The-Church-of-Jesus-Christ-of-Latter-day-Saints.html
7 - Karlheinz Leonhardt, Die Ersten Hundert Jahre, 358 (1985 internal report by Stasi, the East German secret police) as referenced in Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Write, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press (2005)

LDS History Chronology: Ezra Taft Benson

Mormon History Timeline: the life of Ezra Taft Benson

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