“President David O. McKay received an invitation from former Congressman John Rousselot, asking that I be authorized to give a patriotic speech at a testimonial dinner for Robert Welch. President McKay after careful consideration told me I should take the talk and that I had his permission and blessing. And so the invitation was accepted.

“This talk was given at the Hollywood Paladium, September 23 of this year. Nearly 2,000 heard my talk that night and 4,000 Kiwanians heard a similar message the following day when I spoke at their annual convention.

“Both talks dealt with the preservation of the Constitution and the need to resist the Communist threat. At the Welch Testimonial dinner I commended that John Birch Society and encouraged them to protect the principles of liberty throughout our land.

“Of course, as all of you know, this talk brought an immediate outcry from some liberal elements in Washington. These voices said that I, as a Church official, had no business speaking at the Robert Welch dinner. They said it was making me “controversial.” Patrick Henry and the Founding Fathers were “controversial,” as true patriots have ever been. Perhaps they did not realize that I had filled this assignment with the full approval of President McKay. And perhaps they did not realize that President McKay has not hesitated to speak out for freedom even if some people have considered such patriotism as “controversial.” And neither will I hesitate.”
(Ezra Taft Benson, Prophets, Principles and National Survival, p. 294. December 19, 1963.)

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