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with: C. Lee Caldwell
Interview by: Louis J. Marchiafava
August 8, 1975
LM: 00:05 Interview with Mr C. Lee Caldwell, August 8, 1975. To begin with, I think it would be useful to obtain some information about your personal background and how you came to the church, whether you are a native Houstonian.
LC: I supposed I’m near to an adoptive native Houstonian. I was born in Los Angeles, California, but only lived there for 2 years. I was reared in Utah in a small town in Eastern Utah. In the fall or summer of 1958, I first came to Houston as a missionary for the Mormon Church. I was raised as a member of the church from my childhood. I came to Houston and the surrounding areas in Texas as a missionary and was here between 1958 and 1960 for a two-year period. Then I returned to Utah, completed some undergraduate study, and went into the military service and came back to Houston in 1967 and we’ve been here since that time. So my involvement in the church has been since infancy. My residency in the City of Houston has been, now, for the last eight years, and two years prior to that.
LM: Your present position in the church is the….
LC: My present position in the church is as President of the Houston, Texas, stake. A stake being geographical location. There are in the City of Houston at the present time, two stakes, and they include—oh, for example, a congregation is known as a “ward,” and anyone residing within a specified geographical area will be known as members of that particular ward. There are, in the stake, anywhere from, oh, perhaps six to eighteen wards and/or branches, which are just smaller units than the wards. Within the stake, I preside over the stake as president of the Houston Texas Stake. The other stake is known as the Houston Texas East Stake and is presided over by President Martell Belnap, whose home is in LaMarque, but the City of Houston is almost divided in half. I suppose a little more of the city is our side, as far as the state is concerned, than the other but not much more, and we take the entire west side and north to Huntsville and south to Bay City and that presently includes the Houston Texas Stake.
LM: 02:49 About how many Saints are there in Houston today?
LC: Well I can tell you as far as our stake is concerned, there are about fifty-three hundred. Now, the other stake, I think there are just over four-thousand. So to say, “in Houston,” it’s difficult to say because that, as I say, includes north to Huntsville and south to Bay City in our area, but the great bulk of them will be within the Houston proper. So I would guess we’re probably looking at a total of somewhere—seven, seven-and-one-half thousand members of the church.
LM: So it’s fairly large.
LC: A fair number.
LM: It has grown substantially since you first came as a missionary.
LC: Very much so. When I first came to Houston as a missionary in 1958, there were at that time, I believe, three congregations of the church in all of Houston. We owned at that time one building and the rest were in rental facilities. The three congregations were very small in terms—and when I speak of numbers, an average size ward would probably be about six-hundred members. These wards were all below that in number at that time in 1958. Well, there are now—three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve—about thirteen or fourteen wards and branches in that same geographical area. And so, it has grown very substantially in that period of time.
LM: Do Houston Saints differ in any significant way than their Salt Lake City counterparts?
LC: Only that we hope they’re living better. I say that because we’re personally involved. As far as doctrine is concerned, as far as teachings are concerned, as far as things that members of the church are expected to do, they’re the same worldwide. So whether it’s in Salt Lake City; Houston, Texas; or Istanbul, Turkey it doesn’t make any difference. The organization is the same.
LM: What is your role in the church as—in your official position.
LC: As stake president?
LC: 05:02 My role is to be responsible for everything that goes on in the stake. That means everything in terms of organization. It’s my responsibility to make recommendations to
personnel to serve as bishops, which are the presiding officers of the wards. I make the recommendation to the First Presidency of the church in Salt Lake City. After they approve it, then I extend the call to serve to the bishops. So I’m very literally involved in overseeing all the organizational matters of the church. I’m responsible to see that doctrine is properly taught. I’m responsible to see that we do all that we can do to meet the needs of each of our members, that we try to help them, that we try to keep the teachings of the church proper and pure as it were, that we try to help the members keep their lives consistent with those teachings that they’re professing. So, it’s an overall general responsibility for the church in almost any way you can think of it. I have a temporal responsibility, in that I’m responsible, as all church officers are, for the temporal welfare of all the members that we have responsibility for. In this case, I have responsibility for about fifty-three-hundred of them.
LM: How are state presidents selected?
LC: State presidents are designated—well, I need to back up a little bit, I suppose, to acquaint you with just a little bit of the general organization of the church. Organizationally, we are presided over worldwide by the president of the church whom we sustain as a prophet, seer, and revelator of the Lord. He, at the present time, is Spencer W. Kimball. He resides in Salt Lake City. The First Presidency of the church is comprised of the president and two counselors, and so this is the top governing body of the church. Directly under their jurisdiction are twelve men know as the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Now, these fifteen men plus one other man who is called the Patriarch to the Church—those sixteen, are known as—all sustained—as prophets, seers, and revelators. The one, the president, presiding over all other members of the church worldwide as well as those other officers. Now, with that much background, a member of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve, one of those fifteen men, has to come to Houston and designate a new stake president. This was done my case, in of November of 1972. Elder Boyd K. Packer, who was one of the Council of the Twelve, came here, and our teachings and our convictions are that when they come for that purpose, they come and start looking for one who is already designated to be called in that position, and they just start talking to people. They may sit in this office, for example, and invite all of the people who have had some experience. The likelihood is, it’s going to be someone who’s had some experience somewhere in church government. So they started inviting them in for two or three minutes at a time. Now that’s not a very long interview, but that’s all it
takes. And having had just a little bit of an experience as to just about how that feels, on both ends of it really, it’s adequate, because when that individual comes in, there’s a witness that that’s the one. And so, that’s the way that selection is made, and then that member of the Counsel of the Twelve will stand in a general conference, in the stake, usually the next day—he usually does the interviewing on Saturday, and on Sunday morning there’ll be a stake conference, and he then will present the name for a sustaining vote of the members of the individual who has been selected as the stake president and then called. Now, the stake president then has the option of recommending two to serve as counselors, and they are approved first of all by this visiting authority and then presented to the members of the church for a sustaining vote. So, that’s all part of the process, and whenever a change is made in the stake presidency, in terms of the president being changed, that’s the process that’s followed.
LM: 09:36 Do you work closely with other Texas state presidents?
LC: Yes, very closely. We have not a
direct line organization but more of a correlating activity
relationship with other stake presidents in the state. I
meet periodically with the other stake president in Houston
and the other stake president in Beaumont. These three
stakes are known as a region, and it’s purely to share
activities and common interests that we meet
periodically. None of us has any authority over any
other, but we meet to correlate those activities. The
from time to time we’ll meet with other stake presidents in
surrounding areas, and so we meet with stake presidents from
San Antonio, from Austin, there’re two in Dallas, one from
Fort Worth, one from Longview. So we meet from time to
time and as occasion requires it, there’s no scheduled meeting
particularly that asks us to meet.
LM: Could you give us a rough estimate as to how many Saints there are in Texas today—or say the Texas region?
LC: The Houston region that I’ve talked about, these three stakes—I can come closer to that one than the whole state.
LC: Because I have really very sparse information as far as the state is concerned, but as to what we call the Houston region, these three stakes, Houston Texas Stake, Houston Texas East Stake, and the Beaumont Texas Stake. There will be approximately twelve-and-a-
half to thirteen-thousand in this area, which would go from Houston, as I have described, on over to the state line of Louisiana.
LM: 11:27 Do you know offhand if any of those twelve or thirteen-thousand, if any are descended from the original Lyman Wight Colony?
LC: Right offhand I’m not aware of any. That does not mean there’s not. We have for example a young lady who is a member of the church, a convert to the church of just about two years ago, who is a direct-line descendent relative of David Whitmer who was one of the three original witnesses to the Book of Mormon in the days of Joseph Smith. Now she did not know anything about the church until she ran onto it here in Houston about 2 years ago, but she has recently joined the church and is now very, very active and related there too. Now when we speak of the Lyman Wight organization, they moved primarily into the northeast Texas area when they first came. We do have some members of the church here who have come from that area and who grew up in the church in that area, and there are a few, but to say they’re descendents of the original colonizers there, I’m not prepared to see either that they are or are not. I don’t know. They have a pretty strong heritage from there, but how far back they go, I don’t know—and there won’t be very many, but a few.
LM: Does Houston have a temple?
LC: No. We’ve requested consideration for the construction of a temple here, but it requires a thousand to twelve hundred adult individuals to man a temple. Now, that doesn’t mean that they’re involved forty hours a week, every week of the world. It just means that there have to be available—people who can devote probably four to six to eight hours a week, every week, to doing that, and at the present time—probably the structure of the church is not large enough to justify a temple here although we’re all very anxious for that because there’s a great spirit that comes with a temple present. I lived in Salt Lake City for some period of time, and my wife and I used to visit the temple on a weekly basis, and any who have lived near a temple and utilized it’s facilities with any regularity, recognizes the grave difference it makes in our lives to have that access. Our nearest temple now is in Mesa, Arizona, and that’s some eleven-hundred miles away. So, we’d be very, very anxious to have a temple here. Going in the other direction, of course, we go to Washington, D.C., so we’re a long ways from any temple here, but we’d be very happy if we were successful. I don’t anticipate it real soon although we’d be very happy if it were to be done. The First Presidency of the church designates where temples are to be build and when. So, we’ve made the recommendation to them and requested consideration and it’s under advisement.
LM: 14:24 How does this—does this interfere with the functioning of the—with the church here?
LC: The lack of a temple?
LM: The lack of a temple.
LC: No. As far as the functioning of the church is concerned, everything can be done for the benefit of members of the church with a single exception, and that is sometimes in life they need to make a trip to a temple. Now, as far as the regular day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month operation of the church, it doesn’t affect that. It would enhance what we can do, because we could meet there for special, sacred meetings and special opportunities and experiences for our members. It would enhance their spirituality and their experience in the church. But as far as limiting what we can do, with that one single exception, it really makes—does not make a difference in our ability to service or provide services for our members.
LM: Are all members eligible to visit the temple? I understand that only some members can.
LC: All members are eligible if they meet the criteria of eligibility. Now, what that says is that all members are not eligible in a sense I suppose (both laugh). But all can be eligible. In other worse, there are some rather straightforward standards of living that are prescribed for members of the church. Any who follow those standards can be eligible to go to the temple. We’re not restrictive in terms of numbers or quotas or anything of that nature. Any member of the church who has followed the pattern of living as we subscribe to it can be eligible to go to the temple, and we’re very happy to have them go to the temple. It requires, for anyone who does go, an annual interview to determine that they’re still worthy. And they interview with the bishop, and then they interview with me or one of my counselors, and there’s a form know as a Temple Recommend, and when that Recommend is properly signed and endorsed, then they are admitted to any temple in the world, but without it they can’t get in. Now, all that means is that we interview to determine that in fact they are following the prescribed standards of living. Now, any adult—and I speak of adults as being eighteen or nineteen years of age, and there’s not a strict age point there, it’s more dependent on preparation than age in that respect—any adult is eligible to go enjoy the full facilities of the temple. Any youngster twelve years of age and older can go for some limited purposes, and of course, in some cases there are instances when ordinance may be performed that would involve very small children, and they can go for that very limited purpose. Even as infants, for example. Otherwise, it’s
pretty much limited to any eligible, in terms of their own preparation and eligibility—for the adults.
LM: 17:25 Is there anything secretive about the temple? Secrets that are kept by the members of the church.
LC: Well, yes, I suppose would say secretive in the sense that they’re not talked about outside the temple. In terms of—we look on them not so much secretive as we do—they’re very, very, sacred to us. And we feel because of the very secret nature of them, that we don’t publicize them to the world because the world wouldn’t understand them. It’s a little like trying to start out a study of mathematics by taking calculus. That’s not where you start, and by the same token, you don’t understand the depth of the doctrines of the Mormon Church by knowing all about what goes on in the temple. So, it’s not a matter of saying that it’s secretive and not available to anybody because it’s available to anyone who makes themselves eligible and prepares themselves to go, and we’re happy to have them go, who so prepared themselves. But by the same token, because it’s sacred to us, we’re not anxious to have them subject to ridicule by those who don’t understand or subject to any number of other approaches because people don’t understand. And so that’s the reason that they’re not discussed. It’s not because by nature they’re secretive, but because they’re very highly sacred, and we treat them as such.
LM: Are they sacred rituals?
LC: There are some ordinances performed there. I suppose you could speak of them as rituals. I’m more inclined to think of them as ordinances, because ritual probably has a connotation of chanting and voodooism or something of that nature.
LM: I didn’t mean to give that implication…
LC: Well, I understand, but for clarification so that you do understand, it isn’t that type of thing—rituals in the sense of religious ordinances, we think of baptism as an ordinance, we think of partaking of the sacrament of the Lords supper as an ordinance, and in that context, are ordinances that are part of the temples service, and we feel that they’re of a nature that is highly sacred to us on an individual bases, and so we don’t make them public.
LM: 19:39 On the physical aspects of the temple, does the temple differ very much from the interior of any other type of church?
LC: Yes, very much so. And I say very
much so—the things I may have—(shuffling)—I’d be happy to give
you a copy of this booklet which describes some of the things
that go on in the temple. Understand this was written
for members of the church, so if some things don’t make sense
to you, that’s alright, there’s nothing wrong with your having
it. I don’t have any problem with that. You might
have a little difficulty—but there are a number of pictures in
here—that’s why I’m giving it to you—of the interior rooms of
the temples. Temples are all opened to the public prior
to their dedications. After construction is finished,
they’ll all be opened to the public so that people can be
taken on tours and see them. As far as the building
itself is concerned, there’s nothing in there that’s secretive
or hidden from the world or anything of that nature. But
once it’s dedicated, then it’s dedicated for the special
purpose of the ordinances that are performed, and only
members, worthy members, thereafter are admitted for that
purpose. So, you’re welcome to take this and look at the
LM I’d like that very much. Thank you.
LC: Of course this is not all-inclusive of all temples but will give you some idea of some of them.
LM: I haven’t been to Salt Lake City myself. I’m curious to see these.
LC: Well, there are a number of pictures there of the interior of the Salt Lake temple, so I think that’ll be of interest to you.
LM: Yes. Thank you. Let me just follow with one question. The issue of converts and eligibility to attend services in the temple. What criteria is established for that?
LC: Alright. It takes a year, really, after a member joins the church as a convert before they’re eligible to go to the temple. Now, we’ve said that a year is a minimal time because it’s pretty hard for one to really grasp the depth of understanding in any less time than that. Some people take more than a year. But we don’t send people to the temple who have been members less than a year, because that’s about a minimal time. Now in terms of what happens during that time, the ordinances and opportunities for growth in the church involve a lot of things, but it involves a way of life. It involves a way of life that will result in what we believe is a complete, personal relationship with our God and complete, personal satisfaction and understanding of ourselves, and you don’t come from not having that to having it, overnight. It involves an understanding in terms of teachings, in terms of study, in terms of personal preparation, it involves a period of time
in which you prove to yourself that you, in fact, can live the standards and teachings of the church for some extended period of time—a year’s not a great long time. In addition to proving to yourself, it’s an opportunity to prove to the officer’s of the church and prove to the Lord that, in fact, your convictions are such that for a period of time, not less than a year, you can live them. Well, it’s not too long, but at the same time, it’s long enough. Unless you’ve got a pretty good reason to do so, you’re not likely to do it. And so, it’s kind of a judging time. That means, for example, the men will have progressed in opportunities to serve in the church. They’ll be ordained to the priesthood and to respective offices in the priesthood, and then the time comes that they reach a certain office in the priesthood known as the Elder. When they’re ordained an Elder and receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, then there’s no reason to assume that it’s been a year—that may occur before a year, but once that’s done and the year’s lapsed, then they’re eligible to go if otherwise they’re worthy—and they should be, or they wouldn’t receive that ordination. So, basically it’s that kind of preparation. There are no written exams to be passed. It’s not a matter of, can you run five-hundred miles in four days or anything of that nature. It’s not that kind of a proving time. It’s a matter of putting our live in harmony with principles that we believe are going to result things that I mentioned.
LM: 24:04 Would you recall some of your experiences as a missionary? How did you go about converting people?
LC: Yes, I’d be happy to do that. In
saying that I went about converting people—we were more
convinced that our role as missionaries is to teach, and that
it’s the role of the spirit of the Lord that converts.
And as such, we are engaged in teaching and presenting
information and in baring our personal testimony to people as
to our feelings about those teachings, and then leave it to
the individual in his own personal relationship with his God
as to whether he, in fact, has a conversion process.
Now, experience wise, I was
20-years-old when I came to Texas in 1958, and I came, as all missionaries do, without any financial assistance from the church. At that time I had saved a little money. I had been in school at the University for two years so I didn’t have a great deal of money available. But I’d saved a little and my parents assisted me additionally, and during that two-year period then—we lived—we live always by two’s—missionaries, so that we have a companion, and we’re never left alone. For our own safety, and likewise, for the fact that it’s a matter of two witnesses of anything done or said, and we can go together
25:30 as two witnesses, not as a single person. But, in that experience I served in Houston, I served in Victoria, I served in Austen, I served in Corpus Christi and Amarillo and Dallas and Fort Worth. So I came to have a pretty broad spectrum of touch of the people of Texas. I traveled for about a three-week period working with missionaries throughout Louisiana and Mississippi, which at that time that was all part of the mission territory that we covered. It’s since been substantially reduced and so that’s different. But the teaching process includes any opportunity that we can have to teach and explain to people who are interested in hearing. It may mean, for example, I’ve had opportunities to be interviewed on radio programs. We’ve had opportunities to preach messages by film or lecture presentation or in classrooms, in schools, public gatherings. Our most common ways, I suppose, would have to fall into two categories. One would be what we call a “field teaching experience,” where you just go out and start down the street and just go from one door to the next and tell people who you are, and if they’re interested, you’re there to talk to them, either then or at a later appointed time, and if they’re not, you thank them for the opportunity to say hello and go on to the next. That’s probably a most efficient way of thorough coverage. At least you’re trying to contact as many people as possible. But it’s also the least productive, because you’re spending lots of time to do a little bit, generally. The most highly successful is where we’re involved as—whether as non-missionary members, and that’s really a misnomer because every member is encouraged to be a missionary in a sense—or as full time missionaries, but in either respect, we’re engaged in association with people on a daily basis, and you probably are well aware that Billy Casper and Johnny Miller were members of the Mormon Church, but you don’t know what church any other golfers belong to in all likelihood. There are baseball players, like Vernon Law and Harmon Killebrew who were members of the Mormon Church, and you don’t know much about the religious affiliation of any others. So, it’s an interesting thing that members of the Mormon Church are pretty well known to be members of the Mormon Church, for whatever reason, at least it’s so. And so, we take occasion, without trying to push ourselves onto people, to give people an opportunity at least to understand and to know if they want to embrace and accept that’s fine, that’s their prerogative, and if they prepare themselves properly, we’re happy to include them. If they don’t then that’s also their prerogative. So the missionary activity really is an ongoing thing, and we approach it from an opportunity of trying to tell anyone and everyone who’s interested in learning about us and in learning about the message that we have to tell the world and to share with the world. Now, I don’t know how well that answers what you really asked.
LM: 28:36 That was fine. One scholar has remarked that to be born Mormon is to be born with a second nationality. Others have observed that the religion is best described as a total way of life. Would you agree?
LC: To say a second nationality, probably is true, because we speak of the church as a worldwide church, and so we’re not trying to take over the world in terms of a
government, but by the same token, our message is not restricted to Utah, the mountain states, the United States, or the Americas either. It’s a message that’s going throughout the world, and that as a result, when we speak of the church, we speak of it everywhere. For example, I have some very good friends in the military service who have been all over the world, and everywhere they go the see out the organization of the church, and they find the same experiences and opportunities for growth and fulfillment in their lives wherever they are. There may be more challenges in terms of difficulties encountered in numbers and the rest of it, but essentially it’s the same wherever we go. It is a complete way of life. It’s not religion that you can leave at the church when you go home on Sunday, because it involves a complete way of living. For example, we have a code of health. It’s not intended as a restrictive thing necessarily, but it’s for the benefit of all the members of the church. We urge them and strongly encourage them to abstain from things like alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee, any of the drug traffic, and have done so since the early 1830’s, because it was our feeling that the Lord let it be known that that was harmful for man at that time. Now we didn’t know in that day why it was harmful for man, but we feel that the Lord revealed that it was, and as a result we’ve taught that to our members. That’s the kind of thing that you live seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. We teach a law of tithing with respect to funds. We teach a way of living in honesty in our business practices. We teach a way of life with our children. The whole structure and organization of the church really is geared to one thing and that’s strength in the family, and everything that we do is focused on that one objective, and so, when we talk about the objective of the church being to strengthen the family that makes it a way of life, and my family is what it is because of the influence of the church in it. Every other family in the church that participates in and takes advantage of the opportunities of the church, is what it is, because of taking advantage of those things in the church.
ML: What type of reception did you receive here in Texas in your missionary work? Texas is a big part, I guess, of the protestant belt, and there’s some—some of the sects are fairly strong. I was wondering just what kind of reception you received?
LC: 31:46 The reception varies of
course. As I say, when we talk in terms of going door to
door, down the street, the reception is not likely to be
particularly overwhelming, and it never has been, and I don’t
ever anticipate a day soon that it will be. In terms of
the other kind of people that we visit as missionaries, and
that is, for example, if I have a very personal acquaintance
that I have acquainted with the church that has expressed an
interest and wants to know about it, I may invite him to my
home, and in my home also have some of the missionaries there,
and they share a teaching experience. Under those
circumstances, the receptivity is very, very high.
Probably a full two-thirds of those who have that initial kind
of an interest and are acquainted with the church doctrinally,
in that fashion, will subsequently accept and join the
church. Not because they’re pressured to but because
they have that interest to start with, or they wouldn’t be
there. Now, as far as my own experience, in 1958
to 60, was very limited. As I say, in two years I
traveled over a fairly substantial part of the state and
visited I don’t know how many hundreds of people—used every
possibly opportunity to acquaint people with the church.
I don’t know that I could say exactly how many people who
accepted that message and change their way of live by becoming
converts to the church. It was not an overwhelming
number. I would say probably somewhere in the vicinity
of twenty or thirty. I really haven’t tried to compile
that, but the success in those terms, in that time, was not
nearly what it’s been in the last few years. When I came
back to Houston eight years ago, there still was one stake in
Texas, and it was not—well, I’d have to tell you this—the
Houston stake was organized in 1953—in October of 1953—which
lets you know immediately that it’s only twenty-two years old,
and at that time, the Houston stake, north of and west of San
Antonio, went down an included Corpus Christi, went over to
Louisiana and north somewhere between here and Dallas.
That’s a tremendous territory for one stake. In those
twenty-two years, there’s now a stake in Beaumont, there’s two
stakes in Houston, there’s a stake in Longview—much of which
grew out of the Houston stake—there’s a stake in Austen,
there’s a stake in San Antonio, there’s a stake in Corpus
Christi. That’s the kind of thing that’s happened since
then. It started with one stake in ’53. I was here
five years later and so we still—and at that time there was
the Houston stake and the San Antonio stake—so there’d been
one division in those first five years. Since that time,
you can see what else has happened, and its growing—it’s rate
of growth is accelerating—almost a geometrical progression
type thing, and we anticipate that the rate of growth will
continue to accelerate because that’s the experience we’re
ML: Do you have any idea why?
LC: 34:48 Yes. I have several ideas why. Some of which are founded on experience, and some of which are my own thinking I suppose, and maybe all valid and maybe none. But at any rate, my ideas are—in the first place, we believe that the message we’re presenting is a message from the Lord to his children, and as such, we think it has a familiar ring to his children. His children that are of a religious inclination of a seeking of their God relationship, and when that is a genuine relationship, very, very often—and don’t misunderstand, I’m not throwing stones at anyone—very, very often people of that inclination will find something of great interest in the message that we declare. And so,
the more there are to present it in the way that I described our greatest receptivity, the more there are going to be who learn of it in a favorable way and who are likely to accept it for that reason. I think another reason is very significant, in that this nation and every other nation of great strength in the history of this world has been built—in its period of strength—has been built on the foundation of solid families. When great difficulty has
occurred, whether in this nation or any other, you can look to the breakdown of the fiber of the family. Our message is to strengthen the family and to keep it strong and that rings pretty true to a lot of people and they find that of great interest and with that kind of approach—that we’ve had since the church was organized in 1830—with that kind of approach, it is of interest to people. People are very interested in knowing about it. There are lots of families who are losing their youngsters in our society, and in our times, throughout the world. And they recognize the need to try to do something to keep their children growing with a conviction morally, with a conviction of a way of life as well as spiritual convictions that can be offered when there’s that solid relationship of a religious experience that we present, and of course we feel that we’re presenting principles of truth, and when those truth principles are presented and embraced, then they’re a fulfilling experience for people, and they grow from it. Nothing breeds success quite like success. And when we see people who have had serious, serious problems, whether in their home or their personal life, and I speak of people nearing marital breakups, people with alcoholism, all of the problems drug addicts and all the rest. When people see some of those, who embrace the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints and see what that can do, and often does do for them, then that causes people to think too and wonder what’s happened to them and why. And so, those are some of the reasons and some of the results too, as to what has occurred.
ML: I take it that in members of the stake here, from your knowledge, there is a low rate of divorces and juvenile delinquency.
LC: Relatively low. I am by training, an attorney, and I’ve had some association with the juvenile probation and detention people in Harris County, and up until about ten or fifteen years ago, it was almost unheard of to have a member of the Mormon Church appear there for any reason as a juvenile. Now that’s not so anymore, and part of that I suppose is by sheer weight of numbers because there are many more of us. The other
part of it is that the—with the pressures of society being as they are today, that can’t help but have some effect in the lives of our members too. But I think that taken as a group, that there is certainly a lower incident both of juvenile truancy problems as well as the divorce rate. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any. It just means that we teach against it. We try to work for principles that would be contrary to that and the results of that.
ML: One question I jotted down that came to my mind—you were speaking of the church as a total way of life and the impact the members have on one another—does this mean that a Saint would not care to establish friendship with someone from another faith outside the Mormon group?
LC: 39:29 Certainly not. We
encourage it, encourage it very much, and not only from a
missionary standpoint either. We encourage it because we’re
convinced that our way of life is a solid, good way of life
and a right way to live whether people embrace our teachings
or not. And if it’s good and if it’s right, we
believe it ought to be shared with anyone who’s interested in
it, and so, for example, last year we had a Family Unity Month
declared in Conroe by the mayor of the city of Conroe. I
was invited to go up there and speak to a gathering of people
who gathered to hear his address and mine, and we talked about
family unity, what we have within the church, a program known
as the family home evening. That is, every Monday night
we don’t have any church activities anywhere, worldwide.
Monday night is family night, and that’s designated as a night
when—and of course, sometimes that has to be adjusted for
individual families because of employment, because of their
way of life, but they’re urged when that’s the case to select
another night. But as far as church is concerned, we
don’t schedule anything, any activities that would draw
members of the church away from the homes on Monday
nights. On that night the father, who is the presiding
individual in that home, sits his family down and involves all
the family in a learning experience together, whether it be by
a formal lesson experience or whether it be by learning
through activities, recreational activities or whatever it
be. Whatever he feels is the thing needed for his
family, and it might just be to sit and talk for an hour about
the problems they see in their own families, financially or
otherwise. This unifies families, and it brings then
together and it gives them something solid on which to build a
life. People who are not members of the church have seen
it and have recognized it, and so, one of the things the Mayor
of Conroe asked us to present in that Family Unity Month was
the concept of a family home evening to all of the residents
of the community. As a result of it, there are family
groups meeting in different subdivisions on Monday night or
any other nights when they care to meet, and we’re happy to
provide literature and information for them to do so. We
held a comparable activity in Houston during the Month of
December last year. We anticipate
the mayor will again proclaim a month. We hope to do it annually from a standpoint of encouraging the strengthening of family units, whether they be in the church or out of the church. As I say, obviously we would be very happy to have them embrace the principles and join the church but whether they do or not, we’re convinced that the strength of America, and any other nation in the world, lies in the strength of the family, and we’re anxious to have that. So, yes we’re anxious to spread what we believe to be a very wholesome influence where ever we can, in whatever way we can.
ML: 42:22 Are there every any cases where members might be expelled from the church?
LC: Yes. One of my responsibilities is to see to the discipline of the church. Which means that if there are those who very substantially violate and transgress the laws of the church, then they’re called to what we call a church court. Church courts are held on two
levels. There may be Bishop’s Court, the bishop of course being the presiding officer of the ward. He may call any member of the ward to that court, but if it’s a man who has received the Melchizedek Priesthood, been ordained an Elder, then the bishop is limited in what kind of penalty that may be imposed. The High Council Court is the other court of general jurisdiction. I preside over that court, and it’s a court—we call it the High Council Court—I have two counselors and then there’re twelve men designated as High Counselors who are administrative staff-type officers that help us in the carrying out of the functions of the church in this stake. The fifteen of us meet as a body of the court over which I preside, and to those courts members may be called for accountability. If they have been involved in transgressions—now it’s not a witch hunting expedition. We call those courts for the purpose of trying to help people put their lives in order and bring this fulfillment back into their lives. And so, on occasion, we have excommunicated members of the church, which means a complete severance of membership. Sometimes they’re dis-fellowshipped, which means that privileges of membership are withheld on a probationary—for a probationary time. Excommunicated members can subsequently be rebaptized and come back into the church. It’s a difficult thing, and they have to be convinced that it’s the right thing and want it very much. But it can be done and has been done. So, yes, we are involved in it, and we do do it. We don’t like it. It’s not a pleasant experience by any means, but it’s part of the responsibility of the presiding officer.
ML: The Saints, of course, have a long history of persecution.
ML: 44:39 I couldn’t help but wonder if there have been any incidents in Houston, in your memory.
LC: Well, persecution takes many
forms. In terms of—the best known persecution of the
church, of course, came in the very early days of the church
between 1830, when it was organized, and about 1850, when the
Saints in Utah still were subject to very, very heavy
persecution. During that time many lives were lost. We’re talking there about physical, violent persecution. I am not familiar with any persecution of that nature occurring in my memory in Houston. That’s not to say it has never occurred. There have been members of the church, both on missionary expeditions and otherwise, in the State of Texas since the mid 1800’s, and during that time some of them had some pretty difficult experiences, and there was some persecution of them. Of course at that time, lots of people in the United States and worldwide thought Mormons had horns and were all kinds of grotesque figures and did all kinds of strange things. As a result of those misconceptions and the prejudices that were built up as a result of them, there were some difficult things that occurred. That nature of things is not what we’re looking at now. We really feel that our present, greatest problem in the church—and I don’t know if it’s fair to call it in the same category as what we’ve been talking about—but we think our greatest problem in the church right now is probably prosperity. Because, generally speaking, we’re well received worldwide. Not entirely and not everywhere, but generally. We have members of the church who enjoy a comfortable living in most cases. That leads itself—lends itself—to a spirit of laxity, and people are not fighting for convictions and not working to maintain them. Under those circumstances is when they’re being driven from their home and their lives are being threatened and they have to stand to be counted or else they leave. That breeds a strength all its own. So, we’re facing a different kind of persecution, if you will, in this day and yet it’s not a visible—what we’d normally think of as persecution.
ML: You mentioned the success of many of the members. Could you give us an average profile of what a member does—what profession—professional activities?
LC: I don’t know that I could, and the reason I say that is because the appeal of the church goes to all spectrums. George Romney, of course, who is pretty well-known to be a member of the church and President of American Motors and built it from where it was to what it has become, whatever that is, but at least he accomplished a great deal. In that respect he’s a pretty well-known member of the Mormon church. There’ve been some cabinet officials, ambassadors, senators of course, many public officials, and that’s not always the greatest recommendation I suppose. Many military officers, many
professional people, in judgeships, medical people that are very highly renowned worldwide. At the same time, some of the finest members of the church I’ve ever know have been laborers. We don’t seek to take our message to any particular group or strata of income. We seek to take our message to the world and to anyone in it that wants to hear it. And so, to say what an average income or average strata would be—I don’t know what it would be. I suppose one could find a mean somewhere and yet that wouldn’t really mean a great deal either. We have lots of people in all categories throughout the church and in Houston. We have some people who are people of some means in Houston. We have other people who have a very difficult time to provide for their families in Houston who enjoy the same blessings as far as the church is concerned and fellowship in it.
ML: 49:07 I have read one of the
articles of faith of your church is the belief in the gift of
tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing and so
ML: This would seem to dovetail the so-called charismatic movement in Houston today, and I was wondering if any Saints attend these evangelical services?
LC: No, they don’t, and the reason it is, is because our understanding of what that means is different than what it means to them. Now, for example, the commonly understood experience of a gift of tongues is, where there are people in a congregation or in a meeting where someone stands and babbles and says something, usually unintelligible, to most other people there, and that’s spoken of as a gift in tongues. That’s not our impression of what the gift of tongues is. I can give you probably an illustration or two that would give you some idea as to what we speak of when we talk about the gift of tongues. We believe that the gift of tongues is a gift of the spirit given for a purpose, and not for the purpose of entertainment and impressing people but to serve as communication. For example, not very many years ago, David O. McKay was president of the church and he served for many years and he died in 1970. During the term of his administration, he traveled to South America—President McKay never learned a word of Spanish unless it was—you know—the common half dozen expressions or so. But he was speaking to a congregation of people in a country in South America, and he had an interpreter standing at his side, and his experience as he stood to speak in that particular congregation and that meeting was related to members of the church and recorded. As he stood and spoke, he spoke in English and that was his native tongue, but when he finished
speaking, he put his hand on the shoulder standing next to him and said, “Don’t bother to tell them or interpret it because they understood.” And he knew they understood and of course anyone that does any public speaking knows when he’s relating to those who are there and when they’re understanding and communicating together. He had sensed that and he had seen them. He had seen, for example in that message, the tears start to flow. On another occasion, on that same trip, the interpreter was interpreting what President
McKay had said, and as he finished there were a handful of people who stood and corrected him, corrected his interpretation. These were people who didn’t speak English, but they knew that what he—that he had understood things wrong, or that his interpretation had been a little erroneous. And so, that’s the nature of the kind of thing we talk about. We send missionaries worldwide. We have from the Houston stake, for example right now, somewhere in the vicinity of about 30 young men all over the world. Many of them have to learn a language that they’ve had absolutely no experience with. Now, they’re given six weeks of rather intensive training in a language school before they go, but six weeks of learning a language is not very adequate, and that’s only been done, oh, maybe the last ten or twelve years. Prior to that time there were many who had experience in picking up and learning abilities to communicate very, very freely and very quickly, which we would consider to be a manifestation of a gift of tongues. Now, there may be another circumstance, and that might be, for example—and these are very, very rare—but on some occasion where one will speak in a tongue that is not known to those present, whenever that occurs, then it is to be followed immediately by one, who understanding, will come and give an interpretation thereof. So, that’s very rare and unusual. The most common manifestation of the gift of tongues to us is as I’ve described. But as far as the interpretation of tongues, I’ve told you about what that means. As far as the gift of prophecy, yes, we believe it’s real, but it’s reserved for those who have a need to prophesize something for the benefit of the church that may be for the benefit of the family but it’s done in order. We believe that there’s order in the Lords Kingdom, whether it be as church on the earth or his kingdom in heaven or wherever it be, and there’re things that are not done for the purpose of bringing confusion to the minds of people. And so, was we think of those experiences and as we think of the manifestations of these particular gifts of the spirit, whether it be tongues, prophecy, revelations, visions, whatever it may be, therefore very specific purposes and not for entertainment or that kind of an emotional experience. And so, that’s why there really is no relationship here in terms of organizational or in terms of a really personal interest of a member of the church who understands and is living the principles of the Gospel with what you refer to as a charismatic-type movement.
ML: 54:20 Would you, as president of the stake, correct a member who attended these services?
LC: I would counsel them not to. I see very little benefit to come from them, and they would not be called to an accounting at a church court. If they want to go, that’s their own affair, and they have every reason to—every right to I should say, but I would counsel
them against it because I would not feel it would strengthen them nor provide them any particular help and could cause—could have a detrimental effect.
ML: Not all of those, who would call themselves Mormons of course, adhere strictly to the tenants of The Church of Latter Day Saints.
LC: That’s right.
ML: Are there, for example, members of the reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints here in Houston?
LC: Yes, there are. Now, they don’t call themselves Mormons and would be a little offended if they were so referred to. And some of them I’ve developed some friendship acquaintances with them, and of course, they’re fine people like any other person that is
good, and I have no personal antagonism toward them. The reorganized church is not a formal part of The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints, having organized—reorganized themselves as they teach it, in the early 1800’s after the Saints left Nauvoo. That was made up of some who stayed in that area, and they structured themselves as an organization and so-termed it as a reorganized church. They believe that the name Mormon should apply to those who went with Brigham Young west, and those who accepted the tenant of that organization. They have not sought to affiliate themselves particularly with us. Their headquarters in Independence, Missouri, is different from our own. Their growth is different than ours. They’re organization is a little different—their teachings are becoming more and more different. They’re tending more towards the traditional protestant teachings although they still have several of the teachings that came from the teachings of Joseph Smith. In Houston, I suppose there are probably three or four congregations that are fairly small, and I think they’re referred to as branches. So that would give you an indication that they are small units. There’s one on South Post Oak. I have been told of a couple of others in the east and northwest part of the city, and there may be perhaps another somewhere, but that’s about the extent of the Houston organization.
ML: 56:57 Would you elaborate a little further on doctrinal differences of these two churches?
LC: Yes. With the death of Joseph Smith in June of 1844, there came a question in the minds of some as to how the leadership of the church should continue. Joseph Smith, in our view and as we interpret the teachings of church history and the things that have
occurred, indicated that the Council of the Twelve Apostles, with a presiding officer being the president of that council, was to assume the leadership of the church upon the death of the president. Now when the president dies, that dissolves the presidency, which means his counselors no longer are in the presiding position in that respect. So the presiding counselor of the church then, is the Counsel of the Twelve. Well, at that time the Counsel of the Twelve was presided over by Brigham Young as president of that council. So the leadership of the church, in our view, quite naturally moved to that council under the direction of Brigham Young. It was some approximately three years later before the first presidency of the church was again reorganized with Brigham Young, in that concept, as president of the church although in the meantime he did preside. It was then reorganized, that first presidency, others were called to fill the vacancies in the Counsel of the Twelve, and that’s been the pattern in the church since that time. It’s the feeling of the reorganized church that it ought to be a patriarchal type organization and that, in fact, after Joseph Smith’s death it should naturally have evolved to his son and from there in a father/son, family-structured organization, the presiding officer of the church. So, that’s what they’ve attempted to do since that time. That’s the probably most fundamental doctrinal difference. Secondly, for example, their word of wisdom teaching, which is the law of help, differs a little bit from ours in that they, for example, do not place the same emphasis on abstinence from alcoholic beverages that we do or tobacco for that matter. And depending a little bit on local interpretations in the reorganized church, they may vary a little bit from one place to another. In the use of temples, the reorganized church does not have any use of any temples anywhere. They don’t have any temples and the work that is done there, that we—as we’ve discussed earlier—they’re not engaged in, in any way. So all the doctrines of the church relating to temple work, in our teachings, are different from their own. I understand, although I’m—I would hesitate to say this—and please understand I’m not an authority on the reorganized church and I don’t pretend to be—but I understand that as far as baptism, for example, that the reorganized church has now moved to the point that they will accept the baptism of any organization as being proper and a valid baptism. We have never accepted it and have felt that anyone who comes into the Mormon church would come by baptism as an ordinance. And so, there are a number of rather substantial and basic doctrinal differences, and I’m sure there are many other.
ML: 1:00:27 Are there, in the
southwest, any fundamentalist cults who still practice
LC: I’m advised that there are, I think maybe one in—somewhere around Kerrville as far as Texas is concerned, and I can’t vouch for that. I don’t know, but I have heard that there is. At one time, maybe twenty years ago, there was one up in East Texas near where Lyman Wight people originated, but I am not aware that that’s still there and I’m not really certain that it was there then. I’ve heard of that, in Arizona, there will be some of those cults developed from time to time, and I’m sure if you were to make a thorough search and have the confidence of the people involved, you could find some of them in Arizona. Many members of the Mormon church have settled in different areas in Arizona. There’s a strong church influence in the State of Arizona. There are some of those cults there. So, when we speak of the Southwest, and it includes the State of Arizona, then that probably would be where you more of them than anywhere else.
ML: I take it that you regard these people as outside of the church.
LC: Yes. Anyone who’s found practicing plural marriage now will be excommunicated from the church.
ML: Another issue that’s somewhat controversial is the status of black priesthood. In the church today, I know there are a lot of misconceptions about this. Has this changed in any way in recent years?
LC: No, and we don’t anticipate a change in the future. President Kimball has indicated that he doesn’t anticipate a change. Again, I think we have to preface any conversation, about that or about any other doctrine of the church, with a very, very fundamental principle that is fundamental to our faith, and that is that we believe in continuing revelation. The most important scripture in the world to me is what the Lord is saying right now. What’s in the Bible is scripture, and it’s vitally important to me. But that’s what the Lord said to some prophets and some people a long time ago. He doesn’t change his message particularly, but he may change his method of implementation of that message to meet the circumstances of the people to whom he’s talking, and he did so from time to time in the Bible itself. And so, I don’t think it’s unfair for me to say the Lord has that
1:02:49 prerogative. Well, as a result of it, because we say the president of the church is a prophet, then the most important prophet, as far as I am personally concerned, is the living prophet, because that’s the one that the Lord’s talking to now about me, while I’m alive. And so, when I say that President Kimball had indicated he does not anticipate it, he’s neither closed the door either. He recognizes that if the Lord says something different, then that’s what we’re going to do. If the Lord would indicate to President
Kimball this afternoon that that should be changed, then that would be changed, and we’d all change it, there wouldn’t be any problem with that. But as it stands at the moment, the position of the church has not changed in a good long while, and we don’t anticipate necessarily that it would. Now, I think probably it would be appropriate for me to make a statement or two about what our position really is, because you spoke of some misunderstandings as to our feelings about it. We have to say that there are some black members of the church. There are some in Houston. There are some worldwide. There have been, from time to time, I think presently there are a few black members of The Church of the Tabernacle Choir, for example. We embrace them as members of the church. We’re happy to accept them as such. We invite them to our church meetings. They are invited to participate in many, many service activities that lots and lots of people and lots and lots of churches are not given opportunity to do, whether they be black or white, or whatever. Just by nature of the structure of those churches. And so, they’re given many opportunities in this church that they’re not given in other churches. They do not have the opportunity and are not given the opportunity to receive the priesthood, which is the male governing authority in the church. Now, that simply, based on what I’ve told you—you’ll understand why I say that—that simply is because the Lord has said it’s not to be. We don’t pretend to understand it. We don’t pretend to understand why, for how long, or under what conditions it may be changed, but at least for the present, that’s the direction that we’re following. When and if the time comes to change it and we’ve had indications that there will come sometime, somewhere, that will be changed. Brigham Young said it, that he thought there would come a time. I don’t know if it will be in my lifetime. It may not, but it may. Whenever that time comes, if and when it comes, then we’ll make that change, but until it’s told as differently by the president of the church, it won’t, and our whole teaching about that or any other doctrine is based on this concept of continuing revelation of accepting and sustaining that man as a prophet living today. And we bear witness that that’s true, and as a result, when he speaks on behalf of the Lord, which is what we believe he does, when he does, then that’s what we follow and that’s what we feel we should follow and we gave personal testimony that that’s what he’s doing and so subscribe to those principles.
ML: 1:06:06 Be that as it may, I would suspect that some of the local civil rights organizations have criticizes this belief.
LC: Not only the local civil rights but the local publications, newspapers, magazines, and all over the world, so, not restricted locally but certainly, hopefully, yes. They criticize it and yet they criticize it—it’s interesting that they criticize as they do, because in the first place, it seems a little strange to someone who is not a member of the church to want us as members of the church to do something to someone else who’s not a member of the church. And yet, they don’t accept the teaching that makes possible that something in the first place. And so, I really have a very difficult time understanding the basis of their argument and the basis of their feeling. If you talk to those of the black race who are members of the church, then they’re not campaigning for the change in doctrine of the priesthood because they understand the concept of continuing revelation. They know that whatever the circumstances and reasons, that that’s not going to affect their eternal life. It has to do with an existent circumstance in this life, and I don’t know why and I don’t pretend to know why. The church does not say why, except that that’s what the Lord has said. When that changes, we’ll change and until then, we won’t.
ML: Has this been in any way, any kind of road block to conversion? For example, has someone said to you, “Well I might become a Saint, but I just can’t stomach this particular belief,” someone who felt strongly about civil rights.
LC: There have been have been a few that have made those statements, yes, and I would be inaccurate to say there’s not been any, but they’ve been relatively few, and those who have are those who have not accepted that very, very fundamental basic concept of latter day revelation. If you can’t accept that then you can’t stomach Joseph Smith. You can’t
stomach the book of Mormon. You can’t stomach lots and lots of teachings of the church of which the position with respect to the black in the priesthood is really a very minor one. So, for someone to use that as a criteria to say, if it were not for that position I’d join your church, I really don’t believe that. I’m much more inclined to think that if someone is saying that, what they’re saying to me really is that they don’t have a testimony of continuing revelation and that’s the reason they don’t want to accept the church. And we wouldn’t want them to join the church without accepting that. It wouldn’t be fair to them and certainly would not be fair to the organization.
ML: So you think it would be fair to say that this entire issue has been blown out of proportion.
LC: 1:08:49 Very much so. Very, very much so. I suppose—we talked early about persecution, if there’s going to be persecution of the church in our times that’s of significance, I suspect it would be over this issue. And yet, as far as I’m concerned, really that is an issue that is so completely minor to everything that the church does. As I say, we are very happy to accept members of the black race into the church and fellowship them and make available services of the church and do lots of things for and with them and we do, worldwide. There is that one restriction, but we feel, for example, and perhaps it’s a statement of some boldness to make it, but we do—we feel that we can provide to the members of the black race, both temporally and in eternity, opportunities for growth that no other church in the world can offer. And with those kind of feelings, I have some real difficulty in feeling that we’re doing something that is very bad for them or to them, and as I say, those members of the church who have accepted the church, who are of the black race, it’s a very, very unusual circumstance when they’ll take a side with that issue. It’s usually after they’ve fallen out fellowship and out of harmony with other fundamental principles and doctrines of the church if they do.
ML: We are getting near the end of the interview, but I would like to ask you a question dealing The Book of Mormon and its relationship to the Old and New Testament, is there a relationship—or—how would you look at it?
LC: There is a definite relationship as The Book of Mormon is written as the second witness that Jesus is the Christ. It’s written as a testimonial to the Jew and gentile alike, and when you use those two terminologies, in the Old Testament you are either a Jew or a gentile, and so, it’s in that sense that it’s used. In that sense, I’m a gentile, and my neighbor right next door to me is a Jew. There are other ways of using that terminology, but purely by identification it’s a message to the Jew and gentile alike that Jesus is the
Christ. In other words, to the world, and so it has a very common-thread message to the Bible and follows those teachings very clearly. At the same time, it elaborates substantially, in some cases, doctrines which in the Bible are left a little vague and unclear. In addition to that, as you think in terms of time—chronology—the old testament moving up to what we speak of—the meridian of time—the time of Jesus of Nazareth and the New Testament thereafter to a period of something less than one-hundred years. Then The Book of Mormon time begins about 600 BC. Essentially, the bulk of the story. Now there’s a small segment of it that begins back at 2200 BC in the time of the Tower of Babel, but that’s a very small segment of that book. The bulk of it begins at 600 BC at the time when Abraham was alive—or not Abraham, I’m sorry—at the time when—well it may have slipped me—anyway, the Old Testament prophets, shortly after Isaiah—Jeremiah—that’s what I’m trying to think—at a time when Jeremiah was living and some of his contemporaries, Ezekiel, and others. It was during that time
in Jerusalem that a family left Jerusalem. That’s the story of The Book of Mormon. It’s the story of that family and that man who was a prophet. A prophet in the same time as Jeremiah and some of these others, but he and his family left Jerusalem. They came by boat to the Americas, established a colony and that’s the story of their descendents up until about 400 AD, 421 AD. So it’s essentially a thousand-year chronology that spans both sides of the time when Jesus of Nazareth lived and walked on the earth.
ML: 1:13:00 I think we’ve covered the
main questions in this time, the very important
questions. I’ll leave it now to you if you wish to add
anything. Perhaps we’ve overlooked something that you
think should be mentioned.
LC: I suppose that the only think I would think of that perhaps might be significant in what we’ve talked about is the very fundamental beginning of what is spoken of as the Mormonism movement, if you want to use that term, and of course Mormon is a nickname to us. We accept it and embrace it. It’s not offensive to us, but it is a nickname and doesn’t have anything to do with the official name of the church. But with the beginning in 1805, experienced to a young man by the name of Joseph Smith in Upper State of New York, the experiences that he had in terms of his searching for truth and the messages that came to the world as a result of that young man at fifteen years of age and the things that happened to him then and subsequently in his life, that’s where this concept all began. As far as differences with other Christian movements and structures are concerned, we’re different in that we are not part of either a Catholic or Protestant movement. We believe and claim to be a restored organization in that it is our teaching that there was an organization during and shortly after the life of Jesus of
Nazareth and that that organization, through persecution, dissolved and was destroyed upon the earth, that it was restored in the time of and at least in part through the instrumentality of Joseph Smith and others with him in the early nineteenth century. So this whole thing has grown from that meager beginning. In 1830 when the church was organized, there were six members of the church. Today we have some three-and-a half million and very rapidly growing. I remember well, the day we reached our first million. So it’s been very much in the recollection of my life time, that we’ve had that kind of growth rate, and it’s continuing at an accelerating rate. We look to that from that meager beginning, and yet very significant beginning, to our convictions and where the future will take us, what the future will show.
ML: Well it’s been a very useful interview, and very interesting. I want to, on behalf of the Houston Metropolitan Archives and Research Center—I want to thank you for the time you’ve given us for this discussion.
LC: It’s been my privilege.
ML: Thank you very much.