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DAVID O. MCKAY
David O. McKay, 9th Mormon Prophet.
| I am not trying to be an advocate of anyone, but I do look back on the years when David O. McKay ran things, and wonder where it all went.
As Mormon church Presidents go, it did not get any better. He was, by Mormons standards, quite remarkable.
For starters, he was kind. He liked people, and he cared about the church members. Kindness has been at a premium of late. You just don't find it in the days of the Dark Prince Packer, or the cold eyes of Dallin Oaks.
He was not dogmatic, and not particularly full of the vindictiveness that came later. You didn't have the huge battles with the "intellectuals," and the efforts to pop off several bad souls at once. Many who left the church still speak of him very fondly.
Of course, I might be glossing things over, but if I am , its not by much.
The man fought Bruce McConkie over his dreadful, book, and did not discount evolution.
In fact, his counselors, and those they picked were "liberals," and purged when he died. His soft and kind brand of Mormonism did not appeal to those who came later
In fact, when a battle was raging at BYU--between the science people, and the so-called religion department, McKay went to Provo, and started his speech by saying "How nice it is to be here, beneath the mountains. We don't know how old they are. . ."
When people complained about some girls in the July 24th parade being in swimsuits, and "not dressed appropriately, McKay said, "I didn't see anyone who wasn't beautiful."
He read literature, went to plays at the U of U, and even wrote about the poems of Robert Burns. I have one of his books I acquired as a missionary, and it was full of references to literature, and history. He was quite literate.
When he died, we got the sniveling Joseph Fielding Smith, the most unimpressive and impossible to like leader the church could ever come up with. It never really got much better.
Maybe McKay was Mormonism's last chance to be really "mainstream." I do not know. But its interesting to look back, and see how far--downhill--we have come.
| John W. Taylor and Mathias F. Cowley resigned from the twelve while in hiding under federal subpoena to testify against Joseph F. Smith and the continued practice of polygamy after the Woodruff manifesto.
McKay was important for helping the Mormon Church to become far more mainstream than the 19th century version was. Though reigning in the excesses of some of his subordinates, he also was an extremely vain person, working hard to develop a personality cult around himself. McKay is interesting because he became President at a relatively young age due to the apostolic turnover that occured after the post-manifesto fiasco and the frequent deaths of older, Mormon pioneer apostles.
Keep in mind that David O. McKay was the man who called the current President, Gordon (I don't know we believe that) Hinckley as an apostle. He also was divinely inspired to call such losers as Boyd K. Pecker and Alvin R. Dyer to positions of prominence.
I will say that his nephew, Gunn McKay, served well as a Congressman and his neice Fawn was a notable historian. It is true that the church has descended to greater depths since he was profit, but the people he called to positions of authority are now the same guys we now castigate for their lack of inspiration.
David O. McKay was the first prophet I remember. However, in the overall scheme of things, he was most forgettable.
| I am not trying to beat the subject to death. I have felt like I was "gutshot" the past few days. Reading the McKay biography has been incredibly "revealing."
This book actually hit me harder than "Mormonism: Shadow or Reality," or the Grant Palmer book. You knew what the point of those books was. Yes, there were many things I did not know, and they were a shock. But the McKay book hit me harder--and I have not been in the church for 30 years.
I guess the McKay book hits hard because its current history, things that happened in my lifetime, and time in the church. The authors, who had great access to documents, wrote a biography of David O. McKay. They believe he was divinely inspired. They keep pointing that out throughout the book. But that is not the feeling a reader gets.
I did not really realize how "human" the brethren were. They were not just human, they were political in a corporate sense. I worked for a crooked California HMO about 22 years ago, and was shocked at what went on. Manipulation, conniving, twisting facts, stabbing people in the back--and lots of sex with secretaries, consultants, etc.
Take away the sex, and you have the McKay biography. Maybe that is the "moral distinction." If so, its not enough.
The church was full of rivalries, fights over turf, stabbed backs, jealousy, and treachery.
Ernest Wilkinson lived by being "tall enough to reach David O. McKay's pockets," but when the spy scandal at BYU broke, Wilkinson managed to pass the blame for the spying off on McKay. It was a stunning bit of treachery, pulled off on a man who could not understand it fully.
Harold B. Lee hated Wilkinson deeply, but managed to bide his time-- like a cat watching a bird. When McKay died, Lee took Wilkinson's job away. They both deserved each other. Lee was every bit as petty, treacherous, and cunning as Wilkinson. You cannot feel any affection, respect, or warmth for either of them. Two scorpions in a bottle.
Bruce McConkie waited until McKay was too old to know better, and then had him "sign off' on a reprinting of the dreadful "Mormon Doctrine." A truly deceitful act, like getting an old person to sign away their estate. Now, I understand the George Pace attack. This is the way its done.
And then there is "Correlation," the vehicle which raised Lee and Packer to power. It has gone on for years, and has been opposed every inch of the way. In the end, it prevailed, and the decline in church membership has been one of the results. Correlation sucked the humanity out of Mormonism.
Lee and Henry Moyle were friends, great friends. But as soon as Moyle was raised to the "First Presidency," Lee became bitter and jealous, and ended the friendship. It all hinged on place and power.
On and on it goes, leaving me stunned. I did not know the church was this bad. I thought that it had gained more humanity than that. Brigham Young was awful, and the modern leaders are not as vicious. But they are not anyone to follow, listen to, or be inspired by.
This book is stunning.
| From The Mckay Biography--The Rise Of Bruce Mcconkie, "Mormon Doctrine," And Masturbation |
Monday, Dec 18, 2006, at 12:03 PM
Original Author(s): Lightfingerlouie
Topic: DAVID O. MCKAY -Link To MC Article-
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| I have learned a bit more about Bruce McConkie, and it does not surprise me.
When he first wrote "Mormon Doctrine," McKay was disturbed by it. He had some of the "brethren" go through the book and find "errors." They were there by the hundreds. Some were found on every page.
Additionally, when the book came out, the Catholics were deeply hurt and offended by the reference to the Catholic Church as the "Church of the Devil."
McKay heard about it from the Catholic leaders themselves.
The book was pulled, and McConkie made a change or two. He removed the reference to the Catholic Church.
When McKay way dying, slippery old Bruce pulled out the tome again, and ran it by the weakened and senile McKay. Then, he had it published.
Here is the kicker. The authors say that because of McKay's ill health, and inability to resist McConkie, "Mormon Doctrine" became the basic foundation of the church--its writings were taught and accepted as true doctrine.
None of this means much to me now, but I recall my father having his stupid volume of McConkie handy.
As a kid, I masturbated and was deeply troubled. I felt guilt, and was convinced God would strike me down. I dared not talk to anyone. I cried about it, and even looked it up in Dr. Spock's book on child raising--funny that would be in the house with McConkie's book.
Finally, I determined to ask my father. Who else was there? Not the asshole Bishop.
I went to Dad, and told him "I have a problem. " He asked what it was. After tears, and fidgeting, I coughed it up "Masturbation," I said.
He exploded. "Who taught you how?" "Its a sin," he yelled, and rushed for McConkie's volume on the bookcase.
He pulled it out, read about masturbation, and ripped into me again. "You will not be able to go on a mission," he roared. "You must stop now, you are sinning. " It destroyed me. It really did. I never talked to my father about personal things again, and I realized that I was a wicked, wicked person.
Old Bruce had a real impact on the church--and those in it. He was an evil man. There was no real good in him.
| President David O. Mckay's Plagiarisms: A Case Study In The Uninspired Rip-Offs By Mormonism's Desperately Destitute "Prophets" |
Monday, May 21, 2007, at 07:59 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: DAVID O. MCKAY -Link To MC Article-
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| Ample evidence has been offered to show, from the record, that uninspired Mormon "prophets" are so hard up for sermon material that they are relegated to ripping off non-Mormon sources without attribution.
Cases in point include the non-original writings of Mormon president Ezra Taft Benson, incoming BYU president and General Authority Merrill J. Bateman and Mormon apostle Bruce R. McConkie:
But wait, there's more.
Now comes the case of Benjamin Disraeli disguised as Mormon church president David O. McKay.
McKay (1873-1970) is perhaps best known for his oft-quoted little couplet (which, come to find out, wasn't his after all):
"No other success can compensate for failure in the home."
(quoted on an official LDS website, from J. E. McCullough, Home: The Savior of Civilization , 42; Conference Report, April 1935, p. 116.)
McKay had, in fact, infamously ripped line off that famous line from Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), a renowned British politician, novelist and essayist who said:
"No success in public life can compensate for failure in the home."
**"No success can compensate for words that aren't my own
| David O. Mckay And The Rise Of Modern Mormonism By Gregory A Prince And Wm Robert Wright |
Monday, Dec 17, 2007, at 07:46 AM
Original Author(s): Lightfingerlouie
Topic: DAVID O. MCKAY -Link To MC Article-
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| David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism by Gregory A Prince and Wm Robert Wright (Hardcover - Mar 9, 2005)
I have been learning, from others, that the David O. McKay biography has a huge impact on the reader. Many pick it up with eager anticipation, fully expecting to find a heart warming bit of fluff about McKay.
Once they begin to read it, they get an enormous shock. This is real biography, and it is hardly faith promoting.
The more they read, the more they learn about deceitful people like Bruce McConkie, Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, and Ernest Wilkinson.
They get a real feel for the depth of racism in the church, and how much the "leaders' loathed "the Negro."
They also find that the men who ran the church were, to a very huge extent, conniving, scheming, and grasping bastards, with hardly any real kindness or goodness in them. They used McKay's age against him, and got him to sign off on things he did not understand he was signing. They manipulated and lied to him.
McKay, himself, comes across as a wishy washy fellow who could not make up his mind. He was in constant turmoil, and afraid to offend anyone. His decision making abilities were rather pathetic. It is almost sad to read about how poorly he ran things.
If you want to read a book about a man made, and man run institution, the McKay book is ideal. I have seen it hit people harder than the Tanners or Palmer. Sometimes some straightforward biography is shocking.
| David O. Mckay 1947 On The Curse Of Cain, Or, How God Was Mercifiul And Allowed The Black Man To Come To Earth |
Thursday, Oct 15, 2009, at 07:50 AM
Original Author(s): Confused
Topic: DAVID O. MCKAY -Link To MC Article-
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| Dear Brother,
In your letter to me of October 28 1947, you say that you and some of your fellow students "have been perturbed about the question of why the negroid race cannot hold the priesthood".
In reply I send to you ther following thoughts that I expressed to a friend upon the same subject:
Staed briefly, your problem is simply this:
Since, as Paul states, the Lord "hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth", why is there shown in the Church of Christ discrimination of the colored race?
This is a perplexing question, particularly in the light of the present trend of civilization to gain equality to all men irresoective of race, creed or color. The answer, as I have sought it, cannot be found in abstract reaoning, for, in this case, reason the the soul is "dim as the borroewd rays of the moon abd stars to weary, wandering travelers".
I know of no scriptural basis for denying the priesthood to negroes other than one verse in the Book of Abraham, however, I believe as you suggest, that the real reason dates back to our pre-existent life.
This means that the true answer to your question (and the only one that hasd given me satisfaction) has its foundation in faith -(1) Faith in a God of Justice, (2) Faith in the existence of a plan of salvation for all of Gods children.
He goes on to speak the same belief that God is merciful to the negro by allowing him to come to earth, but "set in the bounds of their inhabitation".
That because God is Just, the negro is given the opportunity to have a body, and therefore qualify for the blessings of some future state...
Continuing on, he concludes:
Sometime in Gods plan, the negor will be given the right to hold the priesthood. In the meantime, those of that race who recieve the testimony of the rRestored Gospel may have their family ties protected and other blessings made secure, for in the justice anbd mercy of the lord they will posess all the blessings to which they are entitled in the eternal plan of Salvation and Exaltation.
Nephi 26:33, to which you refer, does not contradict what I have said above, because the negor is entitled to come unto the Lord by baptism, confirmation and to recieve the assistance of the Church in living righteously.
Home memories of David O. McKay , by Lewellyn McKay - Deseret Book Co.
Mormon racism indeed.
| Personal Secretary Clare Middlemiss And Church President David O. Mckay: A Molten Attraction That Douses The Inspirationally-Fired But Historically Questionable “david O. Mckay Vs. The Volcano” Story? |
Wednesday, Nov 17, 2010, at 08:00 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: DAVID O. MCKAY -Link To MC Article-
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| In an another thread, "Fetal Deity" recounts a harrowing episode allegedly involving divine intervention where David O. McKay, said to have been prompted by the Spirit, warned his fellow sight-seers to step away from a precarious vista at Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, moments before the hanging balcony on which they were said to be standing reportedly gave way and disappeared into the mountain's molten mouth.
"Fetal Deity" (hereafter "FD") describes this reported episode as "one of the most impressive cases of prophetic inspiration that I can recall being told in my TBM childhood."
"FD" then asks a pointed question: "So what are your impressions of this anecdote? How would you explain it? Does it make you wonder if you jumped ship too soon?"
("'David O. McKay Versus the Volcano'--Do any of you remember this story?," posted by Fetal Deity, "Recovery from Mormonism" bulletin board, 16 November 2010, 06:29 p.m.)
The anecdote, which "FD" both cites and sources, is found in the account of Sister Virginia Budd (Jacobsen), published in "Cherished Experiences from the Writings of President David O. McKay," revised and enlarged, Clare Middlemiss, comp. " [Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1976)], pp. 52-53.
It reads as follows:
"It happened in 1921, while President McKay and Elder Hugh Cannon were making a tour of the missions of the world. After a day of inspiring conference meetings in Hilo, Hawaii, a night trip to the Kilauea volcano was arranged for the visiting brethren and some of the missionaries. About nine o'clock that evening, two carloads, about ten of us, took off for the then very active volcano.
"We stood on the rim of that fiery pit watching Pele in her satanic antics, our backs chilled by the cold winds sweeping down from snowcapped Mauna Loa, and our faces almost blistered by the heat of the molten lava. Tiring of the cold, one of the elders discovered a volcanic balcony about four feet down inside the crater where observers could watch the display without being chilled by the wind. It seemed perfectly sound, and the 'railing' on the open side of it formed a fine protection from the intense heat, making it an excellent place to view the spectacular display.
"After first testing its safety, Brother McKay and three of the elders climbed down into the hanging balcony. As they stood there warm and comfortable, they teased the others of us more timid ones who had hesitated to take advantage of the protection they had found. For quite some time we all watched the ever-changing sight as we alternately chilled and roasted.
"After being down there in their protected spot for some time, suddenly Brother McKay said to those with him, 'Brethren, I feel impressed that we should get out of here.'"
"With that he assisted the elders to climb out, and then they in turn helped him up to the wind-swept rim. It seems incredible, but almost immediately the whole balcony crumbled and fell with a roar into the molten lava a hundred feet or so below.
"It is easy to visualize the feelings of those who witnessed this terrifying experience. Not a word was said . . . the whole thing was too awful, with all that word means. The only sound was the hiss and roar of Pele, the Fire Goddess of old Hawaii, screaming her disappointment.
"None of us, who were witnesses to this experience, could ever doubt the reality of 'revelation in our day!' Some might say it was merely inspiration, but to us, it was a direct revelation given to a worthy man."
Another version of the same reported event is found in the Mormon Church's educational publication, "Preparing for Exaltation" (Teacher's Manual), Lesson 15: "Recognizing Personal Revelation," p. 80 (published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, copyright 1996, printed in the United States of America, ?English approval: 9/95, at: http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hid...).
The LDS Church's condensed lesson manual version of the story proceeds thusly:
"In 1921 Elders David O. McKay (who later became the ninth President of the Church) and Hugh J. Cannon visited missions around the world. While in Hawaii, they visited the Kilauea volcano, the largest active volcano in the world, with some of the missionaries. They discovered a natural balcony just inside the volcano, and Elder McKay and several of the missionaries climbed down to stand on it. On this balcony they were out of the chilly wind and had a marvelous view of the inside of the volcano. After a while, Elder McKay said, 'Brethren, I feel impressed that we should get out of here.' Almost immediately after they climbed back to the rim, the balcony on which they had been standing crumbled and fell into the molten lava below. (See "Cherished Experiences from the Writings of President David O. McKay," comp. Clare Middlemiss, rev. ed. , 51-53.)"
--Just How Plausible is This "David O. McKay vs. the Volcano" Tale?--
Is the story believable, particularly the version of events presented by Clare Middlemiss, David O. McKay's long-time, devoted secretary, as found in her compilation of "cherished experiences" from the life of McKay?
That question is a legitimate one for two reasons:
1) Questions of factual accuracy surround the story itself; and
2) Questions regarding Middlemiss's compiled version of events may have been unduly influenced by her close personal relationship with McKay.
--Issues Regarding the Historical Accuracy of the "David O. McKay vs. the Volcano" Story--
Richard O. Cowan, professor emeritus of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University, points out what could be a major synchronization problem between David O. McKay's (along with that of fellow sight-seer Hugh Cannon's) version of events at the volcano, when compared to the account provided by Virginia Budd (Jacobson )--the latter found in Middlemiss's compilation of "cherished experiences" from the life of McKay.
The lack of correlating confirmation between the two accounts arguably strikes at the heart of the "guided-by-divine-inspiration" theme of the faithful Mormon-preferred version.
Recall Budd's description of what supposedly happened when God is said to have intervened in order to save the observing party from certain death:
"After being down there in their protected spot for some time, suddenly Brother McKay said to those with him, 'Brethren, I feel impressed that we should get out of here.'
"With that he assisted the elders to climb out, and then they in turn helped him up to the wind-swept rim. It seems incredible, but almost immediately the whole balcony crumbled and fell with a roar into the molten lava a hundred feet or so below."
Yet Cowan, in his article "An Apostle in Oceania: Elder David O. McKay's 1921 Trip around the Pacific," notes that neither McKay or Cannon mentioned the inspirational moment of divinely-guided escape that makes Budd's account so moving for those who read and believe it on face value.
"Cited in Middlemiss, "Cherished Experiences," [pp.] 52-53[,] both McKay and Cannon described visiting Kilauea Volcano during the night of February 10-11 , BUT NEITHER MENTIONS EITHER THE `BALCONY' CRUMBLING OR THE PROMPTING [BY THE SPIRIT] TO MOVE OUT OF HARM'S WAY AT THIS CRITICAL MOMENT."
(Richard O. Cowan, "An Apostle in Oceania: Elder David O. McKay's 1921 Trip around the Pacific," published in "Pioneers in the Pacific," ed. Grant Underwood (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2005) pp. 189-200, emphasis added, at http://rsc.byu.edu/archived/pioneers-...)
--What Accounts for This Major Difference in the Two Accounts?--
Could Budd have simply embellished the story, adding dramatic elements designed for inspirational effect--ones that, in fact, never took place? That certainly seems like a possibility worth considering.
But what about Middlemiss's decision to include Budd's now-suspect and possibly-exaggerated version of events in her "Cherished Experiences" compilation? Could Middlemiss's choice to do so have had something to do with her desire to present McKay in the best, most impressive light possible--a desire driven on Middlemiss's part because of her close personal attachment to McKay?
--The McKay-Middlemiss Connection--
Authors Gregory A. Prince and William Robert Wright, in their book "David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism" (Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 2005), write about the long and close relationship between Middlemiss and McKay.
They note, for instance, her unique role as a groundbreaking female personal secretary to a Mormon Church president:
"McKay was not a conventional thinker [and made] . . . many unconventional moves . . . after becoming president. . . . McKay retained his personal secretary of sixteen years, Clare Middlemiss. Never before (or since) had the private secretary to a church president been a woman. During the subsequent nineteen years, Middlemiss would become arguably the most powerful woman in the history of the church, and would chronicle McKay's activities in unprecedented detail."
(Prince and Wright, "David O. McKay: The Rise of Modern Mormonism," p. 2)
Historian D. Michael Quinn, in his book "The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power," describes the unparalled and significant influence of Middlemiss over the operations of McKay's First Presidency office:
" . . . McKay's secretary Clare Middlemiss 'draft[ed] suggested answers to letters for [his] consideration before he had even read the correspondence.'
"Middlemiss also decided who saw her employer and who did not. When A. Hamer Reiser began his ten-year service as an assistant secretary in the First Presidency's office in 1956, he 'observed with disbelief the power exercised by Clare Middlemiss.' She gave instant access to McKay for her favorite general authorites and department heads but put off the less favored, including members of the Twelve. Being on good terms with Middlemiss was necessary to achieve sucess with McKay. Flattery become the administrative lubricant of the McKay presidency.
"One of McKay's biographers referred to this 'watchful diligence of the hovering Clare Middlemiss.' A mixture of devoted friend, confidante, and executive secretary since 1935, Middlemiss said, 'I have devoted my whole life to President McKay--I want nothing more.' During McKay's presidency (1951-1970) she had her own private secretary, and Middlemiss was a force to be reckoned with. For example, one church administrator noted in 1962 that 'through arrangement with President McKay's secretary whom I had converted to my side of this issue also, I went in to see President McKay.' For almost two decades after 1951, Middlemiss was a crucial ally, since McKay often made promises or decisions with those he met privately.
"In 1966 general authorities informed Utah's senator that 'one of the problems we have is that Miss Middlemiss runs the office of President McKay and often calls in his name to order things done.' A First Presidency secretary acknowledged that the administrative power of Clare Middlemiss 'created some unintentional problems' involving 'the historic differences between line and staf personnel.' In other words, she rivaled the authority of the Presidency counselors and this created 'problems' between Middlemiss and Counselor Hugh B. Brown."
(D. Michael Quinn, "The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, 1997], pp. 157-58)
Book reviewer Gary James Bergera, in "Sunstone Magazine," further lays out the basics of Middlemiss's relationship with McKay, describing her as McKay's "loyal personal secretary" who kept "McKay's voluminous diaries" (she not only kept them, but actually wrote them, given that McKay did not himself keep a personal journal).
Bergera notes how Middlemiss's deep devotion to McKay leads one to wonder to what extent she wrote about McKay's experiences through her own personal prism and not through the microscope of objective fact:
"As keeper of McKay's diaries, Middlemiss looms large in [Prince's and Wright's] book, her ghostly presence a constant reminder of our debt to her contribution to Prince's reconstruction. In fact, Middlemiss as creator of McKay's remarkable diaries causes one to wonder to what extent any introspection contained in the diaries reflects more of Middlemiss, and of her own `construction' of McKay, than of McKay himself."
Bergera then enters even greater speculative territory, where he subtly suggests that Middlemiss and McKay may have had a bond, if you will, that was deeply personal--and beyond the office.
Complicating that premise, however, is the fact that little of the Prince/Wright book is devoted to examining McKay's personal life. Still, Bergera hypothesizes about the possible nature of the relationship between MIddlemiss and McKay:
" . . . [E]xcept for a page or two, there is almost no mention [in the book] of McKay's private, or intimate, life--no detailed discussion of his relationship to his wife, Emma Riggs, nor to his children. Given his consuming involvement in the Church, if I were to base my judgment on Prince's account alone, I would conclude (perhaps incorrectly) that McKay was largely an absentee husband and father. In view of McKay's well-known, oft-repeated dictum, `No success can compensate for failure in the home,' I wonder how the McKay marriage and family operated on a daily basis. Assuming that Emma McKay acted as the primary parent and caregiver, I wonder what role(s) David O. McKay actually played in his own marriage and family."
"I also wish that more discussion had been possible of McKay's, his wife's, and his children's relationship(s) to Clare Middlemiss."
Bergera goes on to observe that, following McKay's death, the single Middlemiss never married and, in fact, spent "her final years alone as the president's `de facto relict'" [defined in broad terms as a survivor who, akin in this case to a "widow" of sorts, exercised power or served her function as the keeper of McKay's flame/legacy without necessarily being legally or officially authorized to do so).
Finally, Bergera suggests (in a short, one-sentence footnote at the end of his review) that Middlemiss may have been romantically drawn to McKay, to the point of perhaps desiring him as her husband in Mormon eternity:
"One wonders if Middlemiss, who never married, in life or death, was ever sealed to McKay."
Bergera ultimately leaves such questions unanswered, observing that the complication of family realities may have affected the writing of the Prince-Wright book:
"Given that Prince's co-author [Wright] is Middlemiss's nephew and executor, perhaps a more probing discussion of the dynamics of her relationship to the McKays, and vice versa, was not feasible. After the opening to the public in September 2005 of Middlemiss's copy of McKay's diaries, now house--thanks to W[illia]m. Robert Wright--in the Marriott Library's Special Collections department at the University of Utah, attempts to address these and similar questions may [now] be a little less complicated.
(Gary James Bergera, "A Book of Revelations: `David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism," book review, "Sunstone," Issue 38, September 2005, pp. 65-67, at: https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/wp-c...)
Another book reviewer agrees that Middlemiss's long and loyal service to McKay could have clouded her ability to be objective about him--possibly leading Middlemiss, as I am offering here, to portray her "bosom boss" (my term of endearment) in ways that exaggerated his life experiences in an excessively-positive and -inspiring manner (perhaps via an enhanced "volcano" story)--and all due to her deep admiration and affection for him.
Middlemiss certainly embarked on a devoted, deep and life-long commitment to McKay, perhaps marked by a strong inclination to embellish his stature, as the reviewer suggests:
"Claire Middlemiss served as personal secretary to David O. McKay from 1935 until he died in 1970. Shortly after she started working for Elder McKay, she began keeping a diary of his daily activities that eventually ran some forty thousand typescript pages. . . .
" . . . Middlemiss[`s] . . . vision, arguably, is not always 20/20. Her admiration for her subject is obvious, and her portrait is perhaps more flattering than one would expect from an objective chronicler."
("Objective History? Diaries and Observations from Afar?," book review of "David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism," by "Shirt Wearer" Moreno Valley, California, 8 December 2008, at: http://www.amazon.com/review/R3L8LE07...)
--Conclusion: A Fanciful Disruption of the Eruption?--
In the end, could Clare Middlemiss's strong attachment to David O. McKay have triumphed over her attention to historical accuracy? She obviously was devoted, in life and death, to McKay. She loyally defended him, highly regarded him, worked tirelessly for him, never married after he died and compiled a book of "cherished experiences" from his life-which may have included at least one story that had been exaggerated but that she nonetheless allowed to stand.
Could that have been because Clare was determined to stand by her man?
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