A Vision Splendid: The Discourses of David O. McKay
“There had never been a Latter-day Saint church president in the mold of David O. McKay. Lampropoulos introduces us to his lofty, accessible, poetic vision that remains relevant, even vital, in a world he could never have imagined.” — Gregory A. Prince
“Through a sampling of his speeches to audiences throughout the world we become better acquainted with this magnificent man of letters.. . . . An inspiring read.” — Whitney Johnson
“Brings into focus evidence of President McKay’s facility as a both studious and extemporaneous speaker.” — Richard L. Saunders
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During his forty-five years as a Latter-day Saint apostle and nineteen years as the prophet, David O. McKay gave thousands of speeches, including hundreds of temple and chapel dedications, civic addresses, funeral sermons, and General Conference and other Church-related talks. Many of these speeches contain some of the same prose and poetry, but no two speeches are the same. All of these discourses were written by McKay himself, and virtually all of them were typed, organized, and kept in large, legal-sized leather binders by Clare Middlemiss, his long-time personal secretary. His choice of prose reveals his favorite authors and literature, a glimpse into his personal library. It also conveys his ideals and his fervent belief in their truth.
Never before, and not since, has The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had a prophet so well versed in secular as well as scriptural prose. McKay’s intellectual and spiritual worlds meshed as he recited with ease the poetry of Edgar A. Guest, John Oxenham, and Joaquin Miller, as well as the patriotic pronouncements of George Washington, Patrick Henry, and Benjamin Franklin. In one speech he seemed to have studied Scottish lore, and in another he effortlessly extolled current US statistics on crime or divorce. He was at times romantic and wistful, and at other times firm and warning.
In A Vision Splendid: The Discourses of David O. McKay, Anne-Marie Wright Lampropoulos culls from the vast records of McKay's discourses that Middlemiss kept and groups certain categories of speeches together: dedications, civic addresses, Church discourses, and funeral sermons. Each chapter broadly analyzes a category and then includes samples of illustrative full speeches. This analysis and compilation illustrates how McKay looked to poignant prose for a sense of his own personal identity and inspiration, as well as the larger identity and inspiration of Church members.
Comprehensive Table of Contents:
Studio City Ward Meeting House, August 10, 1952
Ontario Ward Meeting House, January 11, 1953
Hyde Park Chapel, February 26, 1961
2. Civic Addresses
Branch Agricultural College Commencement, May 22, 1953
Scots Day at Ben Lomond High School, January 25, 1961
Ricks College, September 20, 1961
3. Church Discourses
To the Youth, October 2, 1960
North British Mission, March 1, 1961
California Mission Conference, January 5, 1953
Junior Sunday School, Studio City Ward, August 10, 1952
4. Funeral Sermons
Lydia Spencer Clawson, February 5, 1941
Edward Jeremy Ashton, September 16, 1941
Hilda Johnson Summerhays, February 28, 1945
Praise for A Vision Splendid:
"There had never been a Latter-day Saint church president in the mold of David O. McKay—and perhaps there will not be another. Clearly distinguished from his predecessors in being a clean-shaven, immaculately dressed monogamist, he created an image that still fits only himself. McKay looked upon the world’s greatest literature as scripture and quoted it at least as often as he did Mormonism’s canon. In the carefully selected and annotated sermons and speeches in this volume, Anne-Marie Wright Lampropoulos introduces us (or re-introduces those of us who still hold memories of President McKay more than a half-century after his death) to his lofty, accessible, poetic vision that remains relevant, even vital, in a world he could never have imagined." — Gregory A. Prince, author (with Wm. Robert Wright) of David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism
"A Vision Splendid paints a picture of the seldom studied post-WWII period in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Truly internationalizing the Church for the first time, President David O. McKay would travel more than all his predecessors combined, as an ambassador of Jesus Christ and a messenger of hope. Through a sampling of his speeches to audiences throughout the world, from a Junior Sunday school talk in Studio City, California to the Hyde Park Chapel dedication in London, we become better acquainted with this magnificent man of letters. A Vision Splendid is also a paean to President McKay’s devoted, longtime private secretary, Clare Middlemiss, whose detailed record- keeping of his ministry made this book possible. An inspiring read." — Whitney Johnson, author of Smart Growth: How to Grow Your People to Grow Your Company, and host of the Disrupt Yourself podcast
"As arguably the first “modern” prophet of the Restoration, David O. McKay’s influence as a public figure was immense. This sparkling little collection is the first to bring into focus evidence of President McKay’s facility as a both studious and extemporaneous speaker. It brings the reader within the McKay spell as heard by his audiences." — Richard L. Saunders, author of The 1920 Edition of the Book of Mormon: A Centennial Adventure in Latter-day Saint Book History
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ISBN: 978-1-58958-777-9 (paperback)