David O. McKay and the ‘Twin Sisters’: Free Agency and Tolerance David O. McKay served as church president for nearly two decades and left a positive legacy that continues to enlighten church leaders and members to this day. He was a highly principled man, both in dealing with individuals and in administering the affairs of the church, and the bedrock of his principles was a firm commitment to free agency. The firmness of that commitment was shaped to a large extent by his personal exposure to and aversion to Communism, which he considered to be the antithesis of free agency. However, he realized that other forms of government as well as non-governmental groups and individuals were always at risk of abusing their powers and thus limiting the exercise of free agency among their constituency. A firm commitment to free agency demands an equivalent commitment to tolerance of divergent views and demands action. Using eight case studies, this paper will examine the remarkable extent to which President McKay respected both free agency and tolerance, thus endearing himself to Latter- day Saints across the philosophical spectrum, as well as to a large non-LDS community.
Gregory A. Prince, Stan Larson