Updated: 17 July 2014
I had come to Salt Lake City in a personal crisis, looking for help and counsel from old friends, colleagues and Church leaders whom I had known in graduate school at the University of Utah from fall 1960 to summer 1963. During the last two years at the U of U, I served as an extra-curricular Mormon Church stake missionary under the direction of Morris A. Kjar at whose home I am now a house guest. Since he is well-connected with Church General Authorities at the highest level, Kjar is able to make appointments for me to meet with several general authorities. My primary objective for coming to Salt Lake is to meet with President David O. McKay.
The first appointment was with Joseph Fielding Smith, then president of the Quorum of the Twelve and next in line to become Church president at the passing of McKay. I was surprised by how feeble Smith's mind was as we talked. I had originally wanted to discuss the "revelation" of July 25, 1965, and how it might affect the Mormon policy of discrimination toward the Negro race, since Smith was well known for his ultra-conservative position on the issue. When Kjar realized the subject I had come to discuss, he felt it too much of a burden to keep it to myself, which is why he arranged for me to see Smith. Unfortunately, while meeting Smith in his office it soon became clear that such a conversation would be fruitless. When I told him that I might be excommunicated because of that event, he demanded to know which stake I was a member of in order to call the stake president to back off. However, when I told him it was the San Diego Stake, he heard "Sandy Stake" and immediately began to call to the Sandy Stake president. (Sandy is a suburb just south of Salt Lake City). I was surprised and disoriented by his misunderstanding and immediately realized that it would be useless to continue the meeting. So, when the call did not go through, I thanked him for his time and left the office without further conversation, but with a sinking heart.
The second appointment was with Harold B. Lee, next in seniority after Smith and a future Church president. I had written him a letter a month earlier about my experience with KR and the crisis with former Ricks College professor Howard Salisbury, a mentor of mine whom Lee had once championed as a potential stake president and general authority long before Salisbury was excommunicated by Hugh B. Brown in 1963.
Lee greeted me as I entered his office with angry orders demanding "Don't you ever see that woman again!" without any preliminary questions or discussion of the issue. I was somewhat prepared for him because of a dream I'd had of him some months earlier, but unprepared for him as a bully. I told him that I would obey him, not because I believed him, but because I was committed to the order of the priesthood. Without a moment's hesitation he roared "Well, you'd BETTER believe it!! That principle has been repudiated!!" I was again shocked by this behavior and, remembering my May Day dream the previous May 1, I silently vowed never to sustain him when he becomes Church president. Before leaving his office, Lee suddenly changed his attitude--like Jekyll and Hyde--into one of gentle solicitation, "How is Howard?" When I reply that Howard was having a tough time, Lee added, "We are trying to save souls, not destroy them." I left his office realizing that this man had no clue as to how destructive the Church excommunication process is and has been.
When I realized I would not be able to meet with President McKay because of his fragile health, as well as his having to prepare for the impending semi-annual General Conference, I wrote the poem Nathan's Cry and delivered it personally to his private secretary Miss Clare Middlemiss, with whom I had spoken by phone the previous January (1965) about a national security issue.
|Poem for President David O. McKay|
(Found in President McKay's personal papers in 2005 by Church archivists and emailed to me.)
Prior to the above appointments and the attempt to contact President McKay, I had the following dream:
Dream: 0530, 22 Sep 1965 in
I am with some people at an outside celebration of some kind and in close contact with two women, one my wife (Betty). The other I don’t recognize (in outer life). I walk over to kiss the other woman (large, well shaped, long blond hair) while my wife looks on approvingly. Then turn to those gathered and remark, “This is to celebrate the beginning of the re crystallization of the Church.” Then I return to and kiss my wife who is happy and responsive and gives me a knowing and approving smile.
Commentary on the term “re-crystallization”
Re-crystallization is a common metallurgical term that metallurgists use to describe what happens when a metal, such a steel or copper, is heat treated in order to render the metal able to absorb stress while forming it into a final shape.
Let us say that the smithy has a metal ingot (some basic form such as a cylinder or cube) that he wants to fashion into some useful form, say a tool, vessel or weapon. He firsts heats the ingot to an appropriate temperature (usually about 70-80% of the melting temperature) where he can begin forging it into a desired shape. This forging or shaping cannot be done all at once, but requires many stages. Depending on the metal used and the end use envisioned, the smithy must know how much stress and deformation the metal can absorb before it fractures. If he mistakenly applies too much stress too soon, the material will fracture and be lost.