The Life of J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
W. Cleon Skousen. The Life of J. Reuben Clark, Jr. September 1, 1992. This speech was delivered at the Grantsville High School, Grantsville, Utah, on September 1, 1992.
Friends, it is a great honor for myself to stand this day, to introduce our speaker this evening, Dr. Skousen. He was the man that really inspired me to study the life of J. Reuben Clark. He often quotes him in his talks. It’s been quite a great journey for me to learn of this man, because I was seven years old when J. Reuben Clark died, and I really didn’t know him personally. But I’ve come to really appreciate J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and I know after you hear Dr. Skousen speak of this great man today, you will appreciate J. Reuben Clark, Jr. for his accomplishments.
Our speaker has served sixteen years with the FBI. A professor at BYU for more than ten years, author of more that thirty books, he has given lectures in forty-four foreign countries, and all fifty states. He has gained an international reputation as an authority on governmental philosophy. He is the founder of the National Center for Constitutional Studies, which was established to help restore constitutional principles in the tradition of America’s Founding Fathers. I know that he’s also a great admirer of J. Reuben Clark, Jr. I give you Dr. W. Cleon Skousen.
W. Cleon Skousen
Thank you. Thank you, Bill, and Mayor Murray, and Senator Mantese, and Representative Nielson, and all you wonderful distinguished people. I feel honored tonight to be here on this historic occasion, when we are initiating a whole new series of programs honoring this great friend and native of this community, J. Reuben Clark.
I’d like to say right here at the beginning: I wish I had Ron’s voice. My, that was beautiful. I had a voice, not like that one, because mine is tenor. Thirty years ago I could really boot it out pretty good. But time has taken its toll. After an average of about 350 speeches a year for these many years, it’s a little bit on the rusty side. But I appreciate a good voice when I hear one, and that was great tonight.
Utah Holds Protection for the Saints
I just want you to know what it did to me, rolling across this highway coming in here tonight. It’s been a few years since I’ve been here. But I visualize the time when this valley will be filled, and Grantsville will have its own place as a center of a lot of very grateful people. Grateful that you have preserved the inheritance of this environment that’s here.
Won’t be long before Utah is filled. As I move across the country, both East and West, I feel the restlessness, I feel the anxieties, I feel the insecurity of people for their children, for themselves, for their safety. They know something is very seriously threatening on the horizon of the future, and they instinctively sense that in the cloistered valleys of these mountains, there is a spirit of protection and security which if we live worthy of it, will one day be the salvation of many millions of people, who will look to these mountains for safety and protection.
We wish sometimes that we could control events, but as we read the writings of the great persons that God raised up and allowed to see the future, we know that there would come a time when there would be a generation that would see the fulfillment of what these prophets saw. It would be very challenging, and it would take people with great integrity and capacity for endurance, to stand steady and know that God is in heavens, that his purposes will be fulfilled, and that the blessings we have just living here are beyond measure. Beyond measure.
J. Reuben Clark knew that. This is sacred ground to him. You know he used to come out here to recharge his spiritual battery. Isn’t that something? Come out here and ride those beautiful horses of which he was so proud, that I understand once, about two or three miles from here, I’ve seen pictures of it, though I’ve never visited it. But I feel very happy to be in the home territory of J. Reuben Clark.
J. Reuben Clark Had Great Impact Wherever He Went
In a sense I sort of followed in some of his footsteps, back to Washington and so forth. I watched the great impact that he had made wherever he went. When I was interviewed for the passing of the bar in Washington DC, the man who was interview me said, “Did you know J. Reuben Clark?”
I said, “Yes, I do know him.”
“Well,” he said, “I sat next to him. My desk was next to him for four or five years in the State Department. I never knew a more righteous, Christian gentleman than J. Reuben Clark.”
Then when I told this to President Clark, on one occasion, and he embarrassed me by asking me the man’s name. I think I’ve identified him, as I’ve gone through the biographies and everything, but he certainly admired J. Reuben Clark. He loved him, as a fellow Christian.
J. Reuben Clark, during nearly all of his life, pioneered — in the sense that he carried the message, the charter and the banner of the restored gospel wherever he went: to law school, into the State Department, into the highest circles of post-war arbitration meetings, etc. He was well-known for what he was.
He didn’t push it on people, but the word would pass, “He’s a Mormon.” There would be people, you know, suck in their breath, “Oh, is that right?” You know, you can just hear it, because they have so many preconceived ideas, inaccurate as they are. But in any event, it makes a person stand out and make inquiry, so that eventually they know him better. Everywhere that J. Reuben Clark went, he aroused admiration, except for a period of his life that I will tell you about tonight.
Clinton and Bush are Part of the New World People
Everything that I’m going to tell you is out of three books: This is J. Reuben Clark: The Public Years by Frank Fox, This is J. Reuben Clark: The Church Years by Michael Quinn. This book is called Tragedy and Hope, this is written by Carol Quigley of Georgetown University. It’s one of the more prominent histories of the world in our time. It’s big: thirteen hundred pages.
Bill Clinton praised Carol Quigley the other night in his acceptance speech, and said this man, when Clinton attended Georgetown, inspired him and gave him great visions of the future. He therefore became a Rhodes scholar and became part of a team that I’m going to tell you about tonight, that have great ambitions to change our society and change the Constitution.
He’s not alone, because President Bush had the same training. It’s kind of interesting, because they have gobbled up most of those who exhibited leadership qualities and abilities, and tried to get them to join a movement to accomplish a new world order. They’re now coming out and calling it the new world order. When you sit down and talk with them, you’ll say, “My that sounds like that would be great.” But J. Reuben Clark knew exactly what it would produce.
Last night in the newspaper I saw a full-page ad by just an ordinary citizen down in Florida. He said, “I’ve had it. I’ve had it. And I’ll tell you why.” He just went ahead and itemized: 66 percent of our income taxes going to pay interest on an accumulated debt. That interest, of course, is being paid to a number of major banking houses that bought up the government IOUs that have been issued over the years by the tens of thousands, even the millions. They’ve got them, and we’re paying them.
J. Reuben Clark saw that all coming. It came after his day, mostly. But he ran into it head on when he was practicing law. So that’s a little story that I want to tell you briefly about tonight. My problem is that I only know a pittance of the real J. Reuben Clark, but it’s a lot more than I could tell in the time that would be available tonight.
Every year when you meet, you might even take a theme out of his writings. Any one of — oh, I can think of twenty or thirty themes — you could take out of his writings. It would fill a whole evening, just learning to appreciate the mind and the leadership of this man.
Brief Biography of J. Reuben Clark
Now I just want to read a page or so of biographical notes here at the beginning so I don’t miss any details. Tonight we are celebrating the 121st birthday of J. Reuben Clark, Jr. He was the first of ten children. When he was born in Grantsville the population was 1,240 people. But when he had died in 1961, it had grown to 2,100 people. How are we doing now, mayor? Are we holding it? We got to hold it, because you’re pivotal to a great group of the future. Actually he liked the fact that Grantsville was a small town. He called it his “spiritual retreat.”
His mother was Mary Woolley, daughter of Edwin D. Woolley, a former Quaker who joined the Church and became a close friend of Joseph Smith. After the move to Utah he became a business associate of Brigham Young. I think he was a Bishop of one of the wards in Salt Lake City for a couple of decades.
His father was Joshua Clark. He was never christened, Joshua Reuben Clark. He found that when the mail came through while he was fighting in the Civil War, there were too many J. Clarks, so he just stuck in Reuben, to give it a little character and dignity. Of course, then that became a family name. Joshua Clark was a son of a German Baptist who belonged to the brotherhood called the Gunkards. He served in the Union Army during the Civil War and then went west to haul freight.
While going through Farmington on a Sunday, and being a good Baptist he stopped off and went to church. It was different than any church that he was ever in before. But they were all baptized — that made it pretty good for a Baptist. So he stayed over, he kind of liked the people. Wasn’t very long before he was baptized and he became a member.
Now, he asked if there was any place where he might get a job because he was a teacher. They said, “Well, they have a ward school out in Grantsville that they’re looking for a teacher.” So he came out here, and he got the job.
Joshua met Mary Woolley at a Christmas party in Salt Lake and they were married in the Salt Lake Temple in 1870. J. Reuben was born the following year, 1871, the first of ten children.
His mother began his home schooling early — you home schoolers, you see, it goes with Grantsville — and then he attended his father’s ward school in town for one year. Then his father began to realize his education was more limited than he had thought. This son of his asked more questions. So he had his son go ahead to the regular school beginning at the age of ten.
By this time he was an important asset to the family farm. At age nine he was milking two cows and taking care of the irrigation turns. By the time he was eleven he was hauling rocks for their new stone house that his father built. He was able to brand calves, and round up cattle on his cattle pony. By his mid-teens, he could use hand sheers to sheer eleven sheep a day. I don’t know whether you’ve ever tried to wrestle a sheep, and get that wool off his back, but that’s an assignment, even for a teenage boy.
On September 2, 1879, he was baptized by his father and confirmed by the Stake President. The Stake President was Francis M. Lyman. Brother Lyman had been sent to preside over the Tooele stake by Brigham Young. He didn’t particularly want to come, he had a nice place in Salt Lake, but that’s the way Brigham Young did it. He would just simply say, “Brother Lyman, they need a Stake President out in Tooele, (and that Stake was the whole county,) so you just go out there, will you, and will ordain you to be their Stake President.”
So he came out, but he was released about a year later in 1880 to become an Apostle, and they sent out a young 23 year old “boy” to be their new Stake President. We’ll the folks out here were tough pioneer stalk, and this young whipper-snapper from Salt Lake City, age 23, he wasn’t very well received. Brother Woolley came out and assured the people, “He’s a fine young man. He has great promise.” His name was Heber J. Grant. Little did nine-year-old J. Reuben Clark Jr. know how important this young Stake President was going to be in his life.
Heber J. Grant — A Great Influence on J. Reuben Clark
About a year later, they asked Heber J. Grant if he would have his picture taken. So he went in and had it taken by Charles Savage, who became probably the most famous photographer in Utah. We are over-indebted to him for a lot of these pictures of our wonderful antecedents who settled these valleys.
While Charles Savage was preparing to take the photographer of Heber J. Grant’s, he suddenly stopped. He said, “Young man, within a year you will be named and ordained an apostle in the quorum of the Twelve.” Of course this shocked Brother Heber J. It’s bad enough to be a Stake President, and he had to tell him he was going to be an apostle.
But one year and four days later it was suddenly announced that the vacancy in the quorum of the twelve would be filled by this young man, only 26 years of age, named Heber J. Grant. A big, tall sturdy boy. I mean, this wasn’t exactly what he would have chosen for a career. He wanted to be a baseball player — you remember that story — but couldn’t pitch worth a darn. But he learned to be a great pitcher just by doing it over and over again.
He had a terrible scribbling hand, you thought he was a doctor or something. So he just took lessons, and he became one of the most beautiful pen men in Utah. I’m sure some of you have books in which he has inscribed his name. Because at Christmas he used to send out a nice little book or a memento of some kind with that beautiful signature in it.
Well I want to say another word about Heber J. Grant, because he figured so closely in the life of J. Reuben Clark. He felt very uncomfortable in his calling. He didn’t speak very well, and he didn’t even sing that well. My grandmother, who was his cousin, sat at the piano by the hour, saying, “Now Heber, it’s up a little. Listen carefully, it’s up a little.” And he’d go up a little. Then she’d hit another note, “No, it’s down a little.” Then up a little, up a little more.
He would go over that until my grandma, who was an Ivans, almost went crazy. But he learned to sing! At conferences he’d insist on doing it. I don’t know whether you were ever at a stake conference where Heber J. Grant sang, but sometimes he’d announce the song he was going to sing and the pianist would start playing, getting the background for the song he was going to sing, and he’d sing a different song! She’d have to change fast and try to get it in the key.
The Reason Heber J. Grant was Called as an Apostle
Oh, what a great man! He was another great, great human being, prepared in time to be a prophet of the Lord. Well, in the beginning he was very uncomfortable. As he was going horseback riding down to a conference, and coming back, he’d given a pretty poor speech. He said, “I don’t have the Spirit with me yet, something’s wrong. The Spirit of my calling just isn’t with me yet.”
So as they crossed a little brook, he stopped to give his horse have a drink, and he let the brethren all go by. He knelt down beside the horse and said, “Heavenly Father, am I really where I’m supposed to be?”
All of the sudden the veil parted and he saw a group of men seated around a table. He recognized some of them, it was quite a large group, looked like a quorum of twelve apostles or something. But there was Brigham Young, who had been dead for a number of years, and there was Joseph Smith, and there was his father who had died a number of years before. They were talking about selecting an apostle.
Someone said, “Joseph, we don’t have any of your descendants in the church, but Rachel Grant was sealed to you, and she now has a son Heber. Why don’t we have him made the new apostle so that at least you’ll be represented by him?” They all agreed, and the veil closed, the vision disappear.
Heber J. Grant knelt there crying. He”didn’t get the honor of being an apostle because of himself, he0was there to honor someone else> He set his face like flint, like Isaiah says you have to do sometimes, to try and represent the first prophet of the restored Church the best he could. I’m sure all of you have heard that account before, it’s been published a number of times in the Era and elsewhere. But to me, it’s a very precious story. We don’t know very often why we find ourselves in special places, or with special callings. The main thing is to perform it well and honorably.
J. Reuben Clark is Noticed Because of his Scholarship
J. Reuben Clark finished the 8th grade here in Grantsville, but there was no high school. So he took the 8th grade again. He didn’t want to miss going to school, he just loved to go to school. So he graduated from the 8th grade three times in Grantsville. Then he was ordained a priest at seventeen, his father ordained him an Elder at eighteen, and ordained him a Seventy at nineteen. Finally, in 1890, his father enrolled him in the LDS College in Salt Lake City, which had a new young principle named James E. Talmage.
James E. Talmage is another one of our favorite people. He was born in Britain, came west, went to college at the Lehi University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, then went to Johns Hopkins. What an individual. He became an expert in a whole series of things. He started out in geology, and then he advanced over to chemistry. Then he went into medicine, and finally he received an honorary degree from one of the Protestant universities back east for his Bible scholarship. Isn’t that something?
James E. Talmage wasn’t much older than J. Reuben Clark, but he had this position over the school in Salt Lake City. He watched this young fellow, J. Reuben Clark. He comes in there with no high school education. He comes into the LDS college, and lo and behold, the very first year he’s the only one of 75 students to get any 100s on his tests.
He had a number of 90s and a number of 80s — nothing below 80, except in one field: penmanship! He flunk it. He never quite learned how to write with a scroll, etc. He gave up on penmanship, and took shorthand, and became an expert in shorthand. Isn’t that interesting?
So, Dr. Talmage hired him as his secretary, and had him earn fifty dollars a month as his assistant and the curator of the new Deseret Museum they were setting up. Dr. Talmage was in charge of that along with the school.
Joshua Clark is Called on a Mission
Then his father was called on a mission. You know, it just amazes me when I think of this man now, with a whole brood of children, and his oldest son is over in Salt Lake City, and he’s got to turn that farm over to his wife and all these young children while he fulfills a mission. He did it. Out of that fifty dollars, J. Reuben Clark supported his father for two years, that fifty dollars a month.
Of course we know that fifty dollars bought a lot more in those days, but that just amazes me. That just shows the spirit of that family, and the spirit of Joshua Clark, this former German Baptist, that headed up that marvelous family.
In 1898, J. Reuben Clark had gone to four years at what turned out to be the University of Utah. He graduated first in his class. He was student-body president, and he was the speaker for his class. He’d also been the editor of the Chronicle. There were great qualities of leadership, and intensity of purpose in this J. Reuben Clark from Grantsville.
Marriage and an Early Career
He had barely gotten out of college, and there was a sweet girl that came along. They spell her name, L-u-a-c-i-n-e, and I’ve always assumed it was pronounced “Lucine” or “Lute” as he called her for short. If I am wrong on that, I hope some of you will correct me. But anyway, he married the daughter of our famous Charles Savage photographer.
They began their married life. He got a job up at Heber, eighty-five dollars a month. Oh, that was luxurious! That was a pretty good wage. He remained there one year when they asked him to go down and preside over the branch of the University of Utah at Cedar City. He loved it down there, but at the end of year, he proposed a budget to make this little school in Cedar City a great school, and he quadrupled the budget petition … and got fired.
So he came back to Salt Lake City, and he began studying business law and sharpening up on his shorthand under the guidance of Joseph Nelson, who owned and ran the Salt Lake business college. It was very apparent to Joseph Nelson that if J. Reuben Clark wasn’t a genius, he made up for whatever he might have lacked with hard work.
He had already gotten into his fourteen-hour-a-day routine. You know, sometimes we say we don’t have time. He took the time. It made a great scholar out of him. So, at age 32, in the year 1903, he was offered an advance by Joseph Nelson. He said, “I’m going to pay for you to go to law school.”
Law School at Columbia
Oh, J. Reuben was so anxious to go to law school, so he’d written to Yale, and he’d written to Harvard. Oh, the cost of going to those two schools, was and still is, outrageous. He didn’t like the spirit of the Harvard dean who wrote him back. He was very high-faluten and snobbish, and so he said, “I won’t go to that school.”
So he decided he wanted to go to Columbia. All of these schools were originally started by various religious organizations. Columbia was started by the Episcopal church. But he decided on going to the law school at Columbia, so he had two little daughters by now, and he packed up and went to New York, on money loaned to him from Brother Nelson.
Right from the beginning, he continued those fourteen hours of study, and everyone was amazed. The only Mormon any of them had met, but what a worker! The next thing you know, he’s on the Columbia Law Review Panel, which was a very rare, special opportunity. A little later on they let him have the Recent Cases Analysis, where they take all the latest cases from the appellate courts, analyze them, decide whether or not the courts had made a correct decision, etc.
One of his favorite professors was Dr. James Scott. It was within a year that James Scott had an assignment to write a couple of texts, and they were mostly written by J. Reuben Clark. Scott took the full credit for it, didn’t say anything in the preface about who had done all the work, and hunted up all the cases, etc. J. Reuben Clark had written two texts in the name of James Scott.
The State Department Years
But Scott was then invited to become the solicitor of the United States State Department, and he immediately hired J. Reuben Clark as his assistant. This is the beginning of six years in the State Department in the Solicitors Office. When I was being interviewed to pass the bar in Washington, one of those companions that admired J. Reuben Clark as a great Christian gentleman, worked with him during that period.
It wasn’t very long before J. Reuben Clark had written some of the most notable synopses or background or briefs on various problems that came up. That was a period, you know, when we had the revolution in Mexico. We had American citizens down there: do we have a right to invade that country to protect the rights of our citizens? He wrote the brief that justified it.
So, in the State Department he was becoming a very strong voice for principles. He always justified it with good research, etc. Now he got behind two or three policies that he later repented on. Dollar diplomacy was one of them. Interventionism turned out to be another. He eventually took the position that while we are entitled to go and protect our citizens, we have no business doing what we did in Mexico, where we didn’t like the President. We had manipulated and maneuvered diplomatically and otherwise, and got him kicked out, and put our man in, and he was ten times worse.
J. Reuben Clark used to say, “Don’t try to go in and solve the problems of other countries. You don’t have the right, and you won’t do it as well as they do. Most of the time you’ll make a mess of it. We did in Mexico. I was responsible for it.” That is, he thought, “You know, we got to straight the Mexicans out. We got to give them a good President.”
Saul Loses Right to be King of Israel
Kind of like Saul. Samuel was broken hearted because he had been rejected as the priesthood leader. He’d won battles against the Philistines, and everything else. The people said, “But your two sons are very wicked. When you die they’ll come in. We want a king like all the rest of the people.”
He went to the Lord, and the Lord said, “They’re not rejecting you, Samuel. They’re rejecting me. But I’ll give them a king, and he’ll be the best that’s available.”
Great, big, tall fellow from the tribe of Benjamin, head and shoulders above his fellows. He put him in there, and he was great. He was a great warrior, he won battles. But one time when Samuel wasn’t there to start a battle out with a blessing and a sacrifice, Saul put on the priestly robes, and decided to offer the sacrifice in place of Samuel.
When Samuel arrived he said, “I wish you hadn’t done that. I was going to be able to promise you victory. Now, you will not only be defeated, but you’re rejected by God as the king of these people, and a neighbor of yours will rule in your stead.”
“Oh no,” Saul said, “no, no. I’ll do whatever you say.”
“No,” Samuel said, “it’s too late.”
Samuel Finds a New King for Israel
A little later on Samuel was moping because he’d lost this great king. He was so good looking, he was so kingly. The Lord said, “What are you moping around about Saul for? I have someone else to choose. Now you go down into Bethlehem where Jesse lives, and I’ll show you who the new king should be.”
So he went down there, and he said to this Jesse, “Bring in your sons, I want to see them.”
In comes a son, and he was as handsome as Saul. Samuel said, “Boy, the Lord picks them.”
But the Spirit whispered and said, “No, that’s not the man.”
“Well, bring me your next son.” He was good looking too.
The Spirit said, “That’s not the man.” He went through six sons, and the Spirit wouldn’t accept any of them.
So, you remember, then he said to Jesse, “Don’t you have anymore sons?”
“Well, not really. I’ve just got a little boy, a shepherd boy.”
“Well,” Samuel said, “bring him in.”
So as he came through the door, he was a rugged little fellow, you know. The Spirit said, “That’s him.”
“Oh,” Samuel said, “this is dangerous.” But he uncorked the bottle, anointed him king. Corked it up and went home. The Lord wants him to be king, he can put him on the throne. Samuel’s not going to take responsibility for it, and all of you know the circumstances that finally lead up to it.
Saul called David in because he could play the harp and cheer him up. The next thing you know he had killed Goliath, and it wasn’t long after that, that he became the king. Great stories of how the Lord picks people, puts them in the right place, and gives them the circumstances necessary for them to serve. We have this in the life of J. Reuben Clark.
J. Reuben Clark Practices Law
As he got to be practically the Secretary of State, it was amazing how all the solicitors, who are the lawyers for the State Department, kept going away, or being gone. This J. Reuben Clark found himself counseling with the President as though he were Secretary of State.
At the end of six years, there was a change in politics. President Wilson was elected, Republicans went out, and J. Reuben Clark went out with them. He then went into private practice, and he was very successful. He had a great reputation by now. But he didn’t know that he was just about to run head on into one of the most monstrous forces of evil that was being gestated or generated in the United States at that time.
In order to tell you that story, which is out of this book, The History of the World in Our Time, I just have to quote a few things. In what we call a people’s republic, you do not find tranquility. Everybody has his rights, everybody is free to speak his opinion, and they all do. You just have a turmoil of constant bubbling and burblings — everybody’s got their ideas solving problems. It isn’t an atmosphere of tranquility, it isn’t Shangri-la.
But, when you’ve educated people, as they did in the early part of the history of this country, they loved it that way. They’d come out of Europe where they were under somebody’s thumb and heel all the time, and they loved it here where they could speak their opinions and then vote the way they wanted to, etc.
Those Who Don’t Like the Constitution
There was one group of people that never liked it. They didn’t like the Constitution, they didn’t like the turmoil, they didn’t like this kind of a republic. You see, this bubbling and burbling and so forth, and everybody putting in their two bits worth, etc. — that produced Washingtons, that produced Jeffersons, John Adams.
I mean, if you’d been at the Constitutional Convention, it wasn’t a nice, sweet, peaceful convention. Those great men with strong opinion hammered and hammered. But when they got through, God says, “I established this Constitution by the hands of wise men that I raised up for this very purpose. Anything that’s more or less that this is evil.” — section 98 and section 101. It all came out of this burbling and gurgling. You got to have fun with it, you’ve got to get used to it.
But these people, who are very rich and very powerful, have always hated it. The reason they hate it is because they operate big industries, where they speak and things happen, where there’s a certain amount of order. If there isn’t, they can change it, just like that.
They said, “Now that’s the way our society should be, that’s the way government should be. We’ve got to change this thing so we’ve got the smartest people in charge, and compel these stupid masses to do what’s good for them.”
In 1908, there was a congregation of these very wealthy people, they represented the greatest powers in the railroad industry, in the oil industry, in the banking industry, in the commercial industry. They were congregated together in the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace. They tried to decide how you could change the whole American system, peacefully if possible, but, if necessary, do it with war.
Using War for a Collectivization of Power
They worked on that for a year. In time of war, the people will tolerate a collectivization of control: mandate, and people do what they’re told to do. They said, “That should be set up so that it’s the permanent pattern of our society.”
They decided that they’d have to do it through war, “You got to get a war, get them in that mood, where they will tolerate the centralized, dictatorial mandate and authority, and then have another war, if necessary, until it becomes a pattern.” That’s what those men decided to do.
The next question was, “How would we get control of the government under those circumstances, and then maintain it?” The answer was, you’ve got to control the State Department and the Presidency. That’s what they agreed upon.
We have the minutes of those meetings. The man who secured them, almost accidentally, a good friend of mine, was working for one of the Congressional Committees. They got the minutes of 1908, when it was resolved that, “We’re going to use war from now on until we get this nation under control.” So, they’ve got to get their own man for President, and they’ve got to have him appoint a Secretary of State of their vintage or mentality.
Remember this is the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, plotting war! Any of you heard of this before? Yes, some of you have. I didn’t get it in school. I had to dig it out years later when I found that something had gone wrong.
Woodrow Wilson’s Rise to Power
The man they picked out to be their president, to run in the other party — the Republicans were in power — was a man by the name of Woodrow Wilson. He was the head of the department of political science at Princeton. He’d been very critical of the Constitution for a variety of reasons. He liked the British system better.
So they thought, “There’s somebody we could probably mold and weave into what we need.” So they started working on him, and they got him to be governor of New Jersey. They elected him, and this is the book that tells how they did it, how they put the money in, and they used money to manipulate and massage the people of New Jersey until this professor was elected the governor of New Jersey.
Then they started manipulating Woodrow Wilson to agree to this different approach, “Maybe we can get back closer to the British system. Certainly we’ll change the Constitution.”
Right in the middle of that, listen to what Woodrow Wilson says, “Since I’ve entered politics, I’ve chiefly had men’s views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men the United States in the field in commerce and manufacture are afraid of something. They know that there is a power, somewhere, so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they better not speak about their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.”
That’s Woodrow Wilson. He doesn’t know it, but they’re the people that have now taken him in tow. J. P. Morgan and the Rockefellers and the Carnegie money is going in behind him, and getting him set to be President, on condition that he will go for a Federal Reserve system, that will eventually get rid of gold and silver as a money system, establish a credit system with no bottom to it: “Just use the taxing power of the people as a basis for money in the future. It’s necessary that we do get ourselves involved in the affairs of the world, so we can guide the world toward a better structure. It will probably have to be through war.”
That’s an interesting phenomenon, that this book tells all about, Tragedy and Hope. This man believed in this group. He apologizes for them over and over again. He said, “Maybe they were a little clumsy, but their ultimate goal was a good one.” Can’t believe it.
Then he documents all the things that I later put in a book called The Naked Capitalist, that went to a million copies, based on his book, telling people what’s really been going on. For a while it was widely read, but not so much anymore. People have kind of lost touch with who’s running things. It’s the same people.
So we’ve got ourselves a new President, and we got the Federal Reserve. Wasn’t very long before, as you know, we got rid of gold, everybody had to turn it in. All the gold clauses and contracts were wiped out by the Supreme Court. J. Reuben Clark knew all this was unconstitutional — the whole fabric was unconstitutional.
J. Reuben Clark Was Trapped
But meanwhile, he had been trapped just like Woodrow Wilson had. It all came about in 1916, when a man — who was one of the wealthiest men, one of the top men in the country, whose name was Willard Strait, he was part of the J. P. Morgan people — came to him and asked if he wouldn’t like to have a junior partner. To have Mr. Strait, you know, as your partner, for a boy from Grantsville, way out in Utah, I mean, he’s gone clear up on the top level.
“Well,” he said, “where would we have our office?”
“Oh, in New York.”
“Where in New York?”
“Well, we have a skyscraper there, and we’ll be on the lower floor. Everything above you will be our client.”
“Just one client?”
“Yes, just one client.”
“What’s it called?”
“The American International Corporation, the first international conglomerate of industrial power that was ever organized in the United States.”
“What are we going to do?”
“Well, we’re going to use our money that all our people have, and we’re going to start buying up the industries and get things kind of organized together.”
What J. Reuben Clark didn’t know, they were going to have a war within about eighteen months, and they wanted to all of the copper and the steel and the boats and the railroads and everything to make the money from it. Clever. American International Corporation, and guess who was its attorney? J. Reuben Clark.
At first it seemed great, because they were buying up these great industries in Central America, the big fruit companies, all the boats they could get their hands on, the wharfs, steel, copper — I have them all listed here.
At the head of this international association, listen to who was on their board: Stone of the Webster Engineering Company, Percy Rockefeller of Standard Oil, J. Ogden of the Armor Company, Charles Kaufman of General Electric, James Hill of the Great Northern Railway, Oliver Kahn of Kunelob and Company, Robert Lovell of the Union Pacific, and so it goes on. I mean, you’re talking with the richest, the most powerful, and the strongest. He’s buying up millions and millions of dollar’s worth in all these companies.
So in 1916, Woodrow Wilson was elected on the basis that he would keep us out of the war. After he was inaugurated, we were in the war within six weeks. It’s all in this book. At that time, I was about five years old. I was getting on the scene now, gradually here, so I could watch what J. Reuben was doing.
J. Reuben Clark Awakens To What is Going On
But anyway, J. Reuben Clark didn’t awake to what was happening until about 1923. He began to fuss at them, and make their lives so miserable, as he saw what they were doing. One time, he considered dishonestly, they fired him. 1923.
Guess what he did? He came back on Constitution Day and spoke in the Tabernacle about the great United States Constitution. “I’ll tell you,” he said, “it is in jeopardy. I see forces rising all around us today that have as their goal and objective, the destruction of the very thing that made the United States the greatest nation in the world!”
Well, I’m not sure they paid much attention to him. He quotes from his 1923 speech the rest of his life. I finally got a copy of it. It’s great. He took the whole strength, the golden threads of the Constitution, to stress to the people here in Utah what a great responsibility they had to preserve that institution.
Already the foundations are being very badly eroded. So the State Department called him back as Assistant Secretary of State. He was puzzled about just what he should be doing. In Utah we wanted him to run as Senator. Someone was talking about putting him on the Supreme Court. By this time he had such a tremendous reputation he could almost named what he would have liked to run for. In this state, he would have been supported wholeheartedly, and it didn’t work out.
Instead of that, he became ambassador to Mexico. He did a great job down there. He taught the Mexican people to trust him, and to love him. He did a lot to help our Mormon colonies in Mexico during that difficult period where I went to school a couple of years.
Called to be an Apostle
Then in 1933, right in the midst of his getting all of this thing straightened out for Mexico, here comes a letter from the First Presidency calling him to be a counselor to Heber J. Grant. You’ve got to know a little bit about the background of J. Reuben Clark at that time as far as the church was concerned, to appreciate what a shock this was.
He hadn’t been where he could be active in the church for 20 to 25 years. He’d never been a Bishop, never been a Stake President. He paid his tithing, but there wasn’t any church, very often, to go to. In Washington you could go to a little Sunday evening affair that Senator Smoot held, but J. Reuben didn’t get along with Senator Smoot, so that was kind of an ordeal.
And anyway, he worked seven days a week. He was a workaholic. He afterwards said, “I broke the Sabbath for years! The Lord blessed me in spite of it, but certainly not because of it. You people obey the Sabbath day!” My close associate while I was in law school, in fact my mentor, was Ernest Wilkinson. He did the same thing because J. Reuben Clark did it, he worked all day Sunday. He’d take time out for church, but then he was right back at it. He said the same thing, “I broke the Sabbath day trying to become a great lawyer. I paid a price for it. You obey the Sabbath day.” Isn’t that kind of interesting?
So J. Reuben Clark — and I must hurry now just to give you a little final closing scene here. J. Reuben Clark was very disturbed that he would be called to the First Presidency of the Church. He found himself telling Bishops and Stake Presidents how to run their Stakes and their Wards.
Finally he said — and this is an apocryphal story, although it’s hinted at in Michael Quinn’s This is J. Reuben Clark: the Church Years, but I have this apocryphal story in this form, that I picked up from people who claimed they were close to the scene.
Why the Calling Came
J. Reuben Clark said to President Grant, “Don’t you make these choices by inspiration?”
President Grant said, “Yes, we do.”
J. Reuben Clark said, “I can understand why a lawyer of international prominence and so forth, like myself, may add to the prestige of the church. But I don’t know what I an doing here. I am doing things that I never was trained to do. I’m instructing people. I feel very inadequate.”
Well, according to the story that I was told, President Grant said, “That’s not why you were chosen as a counselor.”
“Well, why was I chosen?”
“You were chosen because the Constitution of the United States is in jeopardy. The church needs to be aroused, the country needs to be aroused, and we’ve got to start training our people to defend that Constitution before it’s shredded and lost.”
“You are the best Constitutionalist in the church.”
All of the sudden you hear him quoting his 1923 speech in Conference. You see, we were a Democratic state, 62 percent Democrats. They began to call that Republican politics in Conference. Oh, he got the Dickens! By the time I got here to Utah, sometime later, J. Reuben Clark was one of the most unpopular people in this state.
“Politics” in Church
They didn’t mind him talking on the gospel, but any time he’d start talking on the Constitution, “that terrible Republican instrument!” Isn’t that something? All through California schools, I was told the Constitution was obsolete. Here’s this man standing up, which everybody knows he’s a Republican, defending the Constitution, and “that’s politics in church.”
President Grant would try to assure the people that we wanted the Saints to hear this. It was not popular. He never did become a popular speaker. Years later when I was here, he spoke at the University of Utah. Here is a member of the First Presidency, and he was a counselor to three Presidents over a period of 28 years. We’ve never had another human being in this church serve as a counselor to Presidents of the church longer than J. Reuben Clark.
So he was so well known, they decided to have him speak at the University of Utah. He stood up before that audience, and they booed him, a member of the First Presidency. Majority of the audience LDS. They booed him. He stood there, by this time he was pretty heavy-set, you know, and he smiled at them.
He said, “Well, I don’t mind you calling me old-fashioned, because I am.” Yeeaahh! “I don’t even mind you calling me antediluvian (which is before the flood!)” Huurraay!! “But,” he said, ” I am a little sensitive about you calling me pre-historic!”
The students all laughed, and immediately they sat back to listen. I’ve got a copy of that speech, and it’s just great. Of course the students had been trained not to believe those things anymore. But he sowed the seeds.
Our Constitution Has Been Shredded
Already the Lord was beginning to build his kingdom preparatory to survive the great destructive forces of Constitutional government. You see, we didn’t realize how badly shredded the Constitution had become. We didn’t realize the whole concept of separation of powers had been shredded. We had Congress delegating to the President the authority to make administrative law.
Most of our laws were not coming out of Congress as required by Article 1 Section 1 of the Constitution, they were coming out of bureau agencies at administrative law. I studied it in school, how it worked. The next thing you knew, if you didn’t like what happened, where’s you appeal? You didn’t really have an appeal, because Congress approved it. They were delegating their legislative authority, and you were having laws that the Congress had never examined, scrutinized or debated. We were covered with them.
So that’s how far we had gone. We had lost our money system based on gold and silver, that was gone. We had lost control of the Supreme Court, beginning with the Butler Case, 1936. The Congress could pass anything that they considered for the welfare of the American people. It was no longer general welfare, it was now private welfare: farmers, schools, etc.
J. Reuben Clark was an educator at heart. He felt the schools were getting a bad deal, and they would be hurt in the process. He tried to defend the importance of maintaining the integrity of our schools. That was interesting. So many things were happening to our society, that from a Constitutional standpoint, we were very seriously at risk.
So this man from Florida that wrote this whole page of newspaper protest the other day, I just went down and checked off the items, “J. Reuben, did you say amen? Yes, he said amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.” You know: going on to four trillion dollars worth of debt, 62 percent of all your income taxes going to pay interest to banks on that debt. We give ourselves a trillion dollar budget, and then we overspend even that much. You know that we are way off balance.
The Butler Case, 1936
I want to say just this little bit about the Butler case. In 1936, the Supreme Court handed down a decision, and while it held against the appellant, it set forth the proposition that Congress can appropriate money and legislate for private welfare. The general welfare clause went right out the window.
The original idea was, if you tax all the people, then you can’t pass a law except for all the people. You can not pass a law that will favor this little group, and that little group. You can’t do that, because these are general taxes. States can handle those problems, the federal government can not. That was all wiped out, 1936, in the Butler case.
Our budget in 1936, in spite of World War I, and already numerous, expensive programs for agriculture, etc. that had been coming up; our budget was 8 billion dollars. We had gone to 800 billion dollars by about 1980. Now you know where it is, trillions. There’s no stop, they will not stop. You couldn’t stop that train, no matter who you elected right now. So, there’s a remedy. J. Reuben Clark knew what it was. I’m going to close now by sharing it with you.
J. Reuben Clark was a Great Man
But I just want to tell you how I learned to love that man, and have him stand up in the face of a very antagonistic, not altogether, but the majority of our people of our state did not like J. Reuben Clark. His biographies all admit that. He wasn’t appreciated until they had a symposium after he was dead, and decided he was great man. Who do I read telling that he was a great man? Some of those who fought him the worst when he was trying to help us.
But in those 28 years, he served three Presidents, and part of the time he was all alone. Brother Grant had a stroke and lived another five years, couldn’t hardly do anything. David O. McKay, the other counselor, he was very sickly and weak, until he became President of the church. Isn’t that interesting? All of the sudden, his health improved tremendously, so he did pretty good, and he just went on and on for a long time.
J. Reuben Clark, of course, died in 1961, but by that time, President McKay had already given us the great announcement of hope. Beginning in 1950, he said, “God is now pouring out into the families of those that he has treasured up from the beginning, the youth that can take it in the days that lie ahead. You’re getting some of the choicest spirits out of heaven.” He announced that about 1950.
We Live in an Exciting New Era
By 1960, he said, “Now I can tell you the new era has begun for this great kingdom. We’ll began to become an influence for good, much more impressive and much more productive than in the past.” 1960. You see, we had worked thirty years to get ten thousand converts in Latin America. Thirty years to get ten thousand. We got the next ten thousand in two years. We got the next ten thousand in one year. Now we get ten thousand every few months.
This is a new era, and you’re in it. All of the buildings that began. During the last ten years of David O. McKay’s life, he felt so helpless. He asked me to do an errand for him one day, and I came in and found that he couldn’t even stand up. He had a couple of strokes. Here were needles and oxygen tanks, and one thing and another. He could see, as I looked around his office, the amazement in my eyes.
He said, “Don’t feel sorry for me, Brother Skousen. Nobody expects me to do anything. All I have to do is stay close to the Lord and make the decisions.” Which he did, and we doubled the membership of the church in the next ten years, when he was an invalid. We doubled the number of temples, I tell you, we just went forward. So when these prophets become very elderly, indisposed, the work goes on, magnificently.
In his day, J. Reuben Clark did that. Now President Hinckley and President Monson carry it on. Oh, what great leaders they are. I love them. Great leaders.
So I come to my conclusion, and it’s J. Reuben Clark’s conclusion. He could see that the powers that existed were so well entrenched, so voluminous, had such a grip on the media, both the parties, the money, that that was going to have to run its course, like an express train going hell-bent to destruction.
But the Lord isn’t going to allow this government to be destroyed. Although administrations may destroy themselves, systems may destroy themselves, this country’s going to survive. J. Reuben Clark knew how it would survive: build track two. Don’t get in front of that train on track one, it will just run over you. You quietly build track two.
Sometimes people say, “Dr. Skousen, you spent your whole life studying these things that have gone wrong, with the attack on the Constitution and everything. Why are you so optimistic?”
I say to them, “I read the book, and in the end, we win.” Now, it’s on track two that we win. J. Reuben Clark never lost confidence in having a generation finally become alert, and finally doing its homework, and getting into a position where they would do what God and the Founding Fathers intended that we should have been doing all the time.
So, I bless his memory. I bless his integrity. I bless his tenacity. I’m so grateful for that man. He’s been my inspiration, I’ve learned to love him. I knew him, but not well. I received counsel from him two or three times. One of my books became a national best seller, and he gave me a little bit of counsel about what God was doing, and what to expect, and I was very grateful for that.
His 1937 Prophecy
Oh, what vision, what insight he had. So I close now. On other occasions, you’ll tell more about him. I’ve only touched the highlights. Because during the 28 years that he served in the kingdom, he filled several volumes with teachings and instructions and insights and warnings. You will have other speakers, I’m sure, come and analyze various phases of that in detail, so that you become authorities on the beliefs of J. Reuben Clark, which are identical with the original Founding Fathers.
In the beginning, he said he made some mistakes. But he learned from experience. In the end, when he finally became a counselor to the First Presidency, he told the saints what to expect. I should have told you that in 1937 he gave one of his most famous speeches. I consider 1923, 1937, and 1952 among his greatest talks.
In 1937 he said, “The power people are now planning another war for you. They have made this depression last many more years than it would have ordinarily lasted. They got stock down to 14 cents on a dollar. They just bought up everything at 14 cents on a dollar, and they’re now ready to make additional billions as they put you through another world war.
“They’re going to have you pay for it. You’re going to be involved in it. You don’t think you’ll get involved, but they’ll say that for the peace of the world, you must come in, and you’ll feel so soft-hearted about it, you’ll come in. It will be just as big a mistake as World War I,” which I thought was just great when we went in, and I now know, could have been handled differently, and we could have saved ourselves a lot of problems.
So, he gave the prophecy. Then in 1941, after we were in the war, he said, “May I quote from my 1923 speech, and my 1937 speech….” That’s what he did the rest of his life, quoting his former speeches, where he predicted what would happen, and it did. He truly was a prophet of God, counseling a prophet of God. I bless his memory in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.