(Compiled by Dennis B. Horne)
I had a rather interesting meeting with L____ W____ who was one of the directors [in the Welfare Department]. I told him I was greatly distressed with the treatment we were giving to our Deseret Industries workers. It sometimes seemed to me like we were in the business to make money, which was not the way it should be. We talked over basic concepts, and before we were through, he reversed the policy on cutting hours and furloughing some workers when sales were down. I felt that we ought to keep our people busy regardless of how we were doing financially—I still do.
A rather sad thing happened in Welfare on the 24th. 'Two of our top men flew to an eastern city and fired our area manger there for some stupid thing he had done with Church funds. I was greatly distressed. Bishop Burke Peterson of the Presiding Bishopric heard about it and spoke to me. Bishop Peterson met with President Hinckley to talk about the situation. President Hinckley ruled against firing the man and commented that what the manager had done was, indeed, stupid, but that we should not fire good people for being stupid. So we brought the man back on the job, transferred him to another place and let him carry on for several more years as a valuable employee. I was very grateful for the attitude of Bishop Peterson and President Hinckley.
Brother Edwards had worked closely with the First Presidency for a number of years and had been their personal financial advisor. He had also been the stake president in New York City several years earlier. I knew him to be an exceptionally important man. I had met him on several occasions so I felt we should make his trip pleasant. His wife was the sister to Camilla Kimball (President Spencer W. Kimball's wife) and was a lovely and delightful person. Their visit, which took four days and much of our time, was well worth it. I drove them to see the Waitomo caves and some other beautiful areas of New Zealand.
We enjoyed Brother and Sister Edwards' visit. They were both 80 years old, but were bright and intelligent. A number of years ago, he had been hired by the First Presidency to make an audit of the entire welfare program—why we were in it, what we were doing, and so forth. His report was very negative and upset Harold B. Lee, Henry D. Moyle, and Marion G. Romney, and me. If the Brethren had followed his suggestions, we probably would have closed down the welfare program. He was a financial man, and welfare was not making money. Anyway, welfare survived, and I still had great respect and good feeling for this fine man and his wife.
Weston and Jaroldeen Edwards were rather remarkable people. They had, I believe, 12 children, including some with special needs. Jaroldeen surprised everyone by publishing a couple romance novels. Weston was quite high up with one of the Wall Street firms, Merrill Lynch I think. Given the assignment to review the welfare system, I am sure he did what was requested (and needed), provide a clear-eyed numbers-oriented dissection of management and financial systems and make recommendations for improvement. Any decision on what to implement would have taken in additional factors not appropriate to Weston's assignment, I am imagining, including the spiritual and emotional implications to the many people involved.ReplyDelete
Good to learn more of the story.ReplyDelete