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Thunder from the RightEzra Taft Benson in Mormonism and Politics$
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Matthew L. Harris

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042256

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042256.001.0001

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Ezra Taft Benson Meets Nikita Khrushchev, 1959

Ezra Taft Benson Meets Nikita Khrushchev, 1959

Memory Embellished

(p.53) 2 Ezra Taft Benson Meets Nikita Khrushchev, 1959
Thunder from the Right
Gary James Bergera
University of Illinois Press

In 1966 Ezra Taft Benson, high-ranking official of the LDS church and former U.S. secretary of agriculture, delivered a speech on the campus of LDS-owned Brigham Young University in which he summarized his encounter with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in September 1959. Benson told BYU students that Khrushchev had bragged to him, in part, “[W]e’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you'll finally wake up and find you already have Communism. We'll so weaken your economy until you'll fall like overripe fruit into our hands.” This essay examines the accuracy of Benson's recital of Khrushchev’s alleged comments and concludes that Benson misstated the incident and attributed statements to Khrushchev he did not make. It also speculates why Benson misrepresented, or misremembered, the facts of the encounter.

Keywords:   Nikita Khrushchev, Cold War, Cuban Missile Crisis, socialism, communism, USSR, Evil, enslavement

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