The Red Peril, the Candy Maker, and the Apostle : David O. McKay's Confrontation with Communism
Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought
Prince explains the controversy surrounding the Church, the John Birch Society, and Ezra Taft Benson during the time when David O. McKay was president of the Church. During the Second World War and the years after, the United States considered communism to be a clear and present danger. Although the Church publicly recognized the Communist movement around the world as an enemy to the growth of the Church and Christianity as a whole, they discouraged members from getting involved in extremist groups that fostered paranoia and fear. Prince describes Elder Benson's steady support of the John Birch Society, an anti-communist organization, and open promotion of its mission and manifesto. This caused tension among other general authorities of the Church as well as the general membership. Many supported Benson's views, while others balked at his apparent lack of concern for using his position in the Church to further his political, and some felt extremist, agenda. The article describes President McKay's attitude toward the controversy that seemed to expand with every attempt to smooth it over and how he tried to support Benson's anti-communist views while unsuccessfully attempting to persuade him to separate them from his duties as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve.