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Leonard J. Arrington Diaries – “Portrait”

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Gave lecture at Northern Arizona University at Flagstaff on “Significance of the Mormons in American History.”  Approximately 700 persons in attendance.  When I looked out over the group and saw how many there were, I became very much afraid.  As a matter of fact, I became so emotionally excited that I had to go up to the bathroom and vomit.  At any rate the lecture went ahead on schedule and everything turned out very well.


[LJAD, diary entry, 14 March 1968]

May 1, 1969

Dr. Leonard Arrington

Department of Economics

Utah State University

Logan, Utah

Dear Dr. Arrington:

Each year as a highlight of our commencement activities, Brigham Young honors an outstanding citizen with the David O. McKay Humanities Award.  This award is bestowed upon one who has made an outstanding contribution in one or more of the fields of literature, languages, history of philosophy.

At a recent meeting of our Board of Trustees, you were approved as the recipient of this award.  It is a pleasure to inform you of this honor and invite you to attend the commencement services on Thursday, May 29, when the award will be presented.

Over the years, it has become traditional for the recipients of the awards to be in attendance when the awards are presented.  Because we are now preparing for the commencement program, we would appreciate receiving a biographical summary including your most important accomplishments by May 7.  We would also appreciate information that will enable us to have an academic cap and gown available for your use; therefore, we need to know your hat size (or inches around your head), height, and weight.  We would also like this information by May 7.

Please let me know who might be attending with you n order that we may reserve guest tickets.

Please accept my personal congratulations and the best wishes of the Board of Trustees, the faculty and the students of Brigham Young University.


Ernest L. Wilkinson


[LJAD, letter from Ernest L. Wlkinson, President, BYU, 1 May 1969]

We are all moved, but to some extent still in boxes.  We moved from Logan on June 8.  We settled financial arrangements with the purchaser of our Logan house a week later.  We are now all paid on the house in Logan so all of our obligations from now on will relate to the house here.  Our mortgage payment each month is abut $330, but we will be able to take care of that all right and still send three children to college.  We received a good salary for this plus the BYU position, and so we don’t have anything to worry us.

[LJAD, letter written to Carl Arrington, Monday 26 June 1972]

Father’s Day, June 17, 1973

When I arrive at the Pearly Gates

To give an accounting to the great

Correlation Committee (chaired by St. 

Peter), I will thank you for the following 


*  A mind that loves to create

*  A heart that loves to feel

*  Two hands that love to type

*  A tongue that longs to speak the truth

*  A name I am proud to be called



[LJAD, poem written by Carl, 17 June 1973]

Thursday night, August 23

We arose at 7:30 this morning in Copenhagen. Had continental breakfast in our room, and prepared to leave for Munich. The charge for the room was far more than we expected—almost $50 per night. We’ll never again stay in such an expensive place, at least while we are paying the bill.

[LJA Diary, 22 Aug., 1973]

In addition, I received a check in the amount of $933 from N.W. Arrington Farms, Inc. as consulting fees for the year. This will be the first year since James was born that we shall be able to settle our tithing and taxes in full without borrowing any money so that was a welcome check.

[LJA Diary, 26 Dec., 1973]

For the benefit of my family and friends I shall review the presidential elections I remember, and my best memory of how I reacted.

1928. I remember reading in the Twin Falls News, which was Republican, of the campaign of Hoover and Smith. I was only 11, but I favored Hoover, not so much because Smith was a Catholic, but because he favored repeal of Prohibition, which was evil, and because he was from New York, and nothing good could be expected from New York.

1932. Again, based on reading the Twin Falls News and Literary Digest, I favored Hoover over Roosevelt, because Hoover was a proven efficient administrator, Roosevelt favored repeal, and Hoover understood the farmer and represented traditional values.

1936. Still too young to vote, I favored Landon, because he was from a farm state, represented rural values, and Roosevelt had presided over a chaotic administration.

1940. This time I was old enough to vote and in North Carolina. I would have had to vote by absentee ballot, and I have a vague memory that I did this. I voted for Wilkie over Roosevelt. I was persuaded by Time, I think, that Wilkie would be a great president and that it was not good to set a third-term precedent. I think Wilkie would have made a fine president.

1944. I was overseas, in North Africa, in the service, and, as with nearly all servicemen, voted by absentee ballot for Roosevelt over Dewey. I was all but unthinkable to vote for anyone but Roosevelt.

1948. By now in Logan, Grace and I split our vote for president. I voted for Dewey, as being intelligent, well-intentioned, and more likely to conduct a respectable administrated attack on problems both domestic and international. Grace voted for Truman; he represented the little man, and would follow policies that would make for more equal distribution of income. Grace was jubilant when Truman won, and made me ashamed that I hadn’t voted for him. I think she was right. Truman turned out to be a fine president. I think I was overpersuaded by Time again.

1952. As between Eisenhower and Stevenson, Grace and I both favored Stevenson. We would have favored Eisenhower if he had been a Democrat, and we thought he was until he announced that he was Republican. We didn’t like those who were behind Eisenhower. We liked Stevenson’s eloquence, his intelligence, his education, his sophistication. In retrospect we are not sure we were right. Eisenhower was a reasonably goad leader. 

1956. Once again, we voted for Stevenson, for essentially the same reasons as in 1952.

1960. This was an easy choice. Neither Grace nor myself had ever liked Nixon, and we liked Kennedy for essentially the same reasons we liked Stevenson. We are confident we and the country made the right choice, despite the Bay of Pigs incident. 

1964. This was also a pretty easy choice for us. Johnson was a good administrator, we thought, and Goldwater was just too bond up with conservative rhetoric that we thought he’d discontinue many desirable programs and policies.

1968. Grace and I split once again. Maybe it was Time, maybe I was getting more conservative, maybe I ought to have had my head examined. Anyway, I voted for Nixon and Mamma voted for Humphrey. I couldn’t see Hubert as an administrator, and I thought he was too much of an idealogue. And Nixon, I thought, hadn’t done too badly in the campaign; I thought he might be the lesser of two evils. I was wrong.

1972 Once again, neither Grace nor myself liked McGovern, nor Nixon. So we simply didn’t vote for president on this one. McGoven represented the left wing, Nixon the right. So we sat this out, voting however for other offices.

1976. Grace and I both voted for Carter over Ford. We liked Ford, but thought he was not particularly smart and would represent a very conservative constituency that might inhibit desirable domestic programs.

[Reminiscence: Voting in Presidential Elections; LJA Diary, 19 Aug., 1978]

It has become evident to me that there are certain emotions that stir me so deeply that I resist to become involved in a way that would excite them and release them. I have long recognized that I enjoy plays, radio programs, and television programs that are entertaining without stirring these deep emotions. Programs I prefer today, or have preferred, are a kind of escape drama. Examples:

McHale’s Navy Sherlock Holmes

Hogan’s Heroes The Shadow

Grace has wondered why I don’t enjoy the Waltons or Little House on the Prairie. These stir up too many emotions. I cry too easily, or get apprehension so easily. These touch things which are dearest–family, personal values, religion, integrity, etc. Perhaps one reason I like opera is that, while it stirs fundamental emotions, it does so without maudlin sentiment, and it all wells up toward a climax where one can feel justified in releasing his emotional feelings. 

[Reminiscence; LJA Diary, 17 Feb., 1979]

Dad’s response:

My first ambition, coming as early as when I was thirteen, was to achieve in the political world–to be a senator. And at various times in my youth I was often called “Senator,” so my associates must have known of this desire. To have done this I should have gone to law school, but our financial situation was such that the family would give me nothing, and it was out of the question. I did not seriously consider going to law school after my sophomore year of college. 

My second ambition, coming after my B.A., was to become a good teacher of economics. This remained my principal ambition until about 1966, when I went to UCLA as a visiting professor of western history. At that time, my ambition switched to the desire to write and teach good Western history. Economics became secondary.

My third ambition, beginning in 1972, was to establish a research and writing division of the Historical Department. This was forcefully taken away from me in 1980, and so my present ambition is simply to finish up the Brigham Young book and then to do other studies on Church history. When the BY book is finished, I might well wish to complete my memoirs.

My present ambitions are:

1. To prove that good LDS history can be written and successfully marketed.

2. To help my associates toward realizing their own professional goals.

3. To help Mamma and our children achieve their personal goals.

I have had to great failure. I have had a series of second-best finishes: second in the county spelling bee, second in the regional FFA public speaking contest; second in the regional Rhodes Scholarship competition; getting a second-place position with the discontinuance of the History Division and creation of the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History. I have been completely satisfied with occupying a second place position, and therefore have accepted each of these.

Best trait: to be sensitive to the needs and desires of others.

Worst trait: to be insensitive to the needs and desires of others.

[Family meeting held 22 Dec., 1980; LJA Diary, 1 Jan., 1981]

There are certain brief, even momentary experiences in life which are nevertheless unforgettable. Let me mention some of then without any attempt at chronological sequence.

1. Waking up early in the morning of late July 1943 to discover a series of caravans of biblical vintage, near the village of Ber Rachid, Morocco.

2. Attending, at the strenuous urging of a friend, my first symphony concert at the University of Idaho, probably summer of 1937. Lead by Vladimir Bakalinikoff, Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony which proved to be exciting and memorable and I have enjoyed symphony concerts ever since.

3. Standing on a street corner, corner of Shoshone and 1st East in Twin Falls about the summer of 1936 waiting on someone to pick me up and hearing from the music store across the street a piano solo of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2.

4. In a USO building in Tunis, Tunisia, during the winter of 1943-44 listening for the first time to “Un Bel Di Vedremo” from Madame Butterfly.

5. On guard reading The Brothers Karamazov by Tolstoy in late summer 1943 in North Africa and feeling for the first time that I too could be inspired to write something literary.

6. A first stake conference attended in Logan, Utah in July or August 1946 and hearing the packed congregation in the Logan Tabernacle sing, “Come Come Ye Saints.”

7. On the second floor of the Cache Valley Hospital at 1st East and 1st North in Logan staying with Grace all night while she was in labor with her first child. Denied staying in the same room by hospital rules, Dr. Francis put me in an enjoining room with a crack in it so I could watch him deliver our first child, see him pat him on the back and hear his first whimper and then be invited in to look at his beautiful face. 

[LJA Diary, 3 Aug., 1981]

Resolutions for Self for 1982


1. Finish the Brigham Young biography by August 1.

2. Spend two weeks this summer in Cache Valley—one in June-July, one in August.

3. Lose ten pounds by Christmas.

4. Cut down on Sacrament meeting talks.

5. Finish editing a book on LDS administrative history.

6. Have a few ping-pong games with James.

7. Accept without bitterness the outcome of my request to keep an office here.

8. Start another book on More Saints Without Halos.

[Family meeting held 14 Feb., 1982; LJA Diary, file 1 Jan., 1982]

I have had four times in my life when I have felt terrified. I should like to record these for the benefit of my family and other readers. One of these occurred three or four years ago when our Charles Redd Center decided to have a board meeting in LaSal, Utah, at the home of Annaley Redd. Each member of the board–and nearly all attended– took the occasion to do site seeing in Southern Utah and so most of them traveled alone or with their families. I went down with Chas. Peterson as I recall.

After we had finished our meeting, dinners, etc., Hardy Redd led us on an expedition over the route of the Hole in the Rock pioneers, reverse direction. I rode with Tom Alexander and others in a jeep that was something like an Army weapons carrier. I am not sure where Tom got the car. He was a good driver and the company was pleasant. The trip took perhaps three or four hours.

Never have I been on such a terrifying trip. Every minute seemed to be the possibility of terrible accident to one or more of the cars. I was on edge the whole time–nervous, fearful, terrified.

We made it all right. Nobody was injured and each car or truck came through without serious damage.

The other three terrifying experiences are all related and have to do with my delivering talks on aspects of Mormon history.

I have believed all along that a person had to deliver a talk or paper or write a book suitable for the audience, congregation, or readers. Thus one tone when teaching a class, another when reading a paper at a professional convention, another when talking in Sacrament meeting or teaching a Sunday School class. Most of the time I have been able to do this without too much difficulty or preparation, but there were three occasions when I was confronted with a situation where I had several kinds of persons in the audience, and felt very uneasy about the correct approach.

The first was my commissioner’s lecture at the U of U in 1971. I had decided to give a kind of response to Fawn Brodie who had earlier talked there on manipulation of the Mormon past, by official Mormon historians. The title of my talk, eventually published, was “Kate Field and J. H. Beadle: Manipulators of the Mormon Past.” I prepared the talk for people like Sterling McMurrin, Jim Clayton, non-Mormon faculty at the University of Utah and so on. I tried to be “cool”, rather formal, keep a respectable distance in my involvement in Mormonism. I was very aware of the kind of audience that I would have and the general attitude of University of Utah administrators and professors towards those who are too ardent, too fervent in their Mormonism.

But when I walked into the lecture hail to find approximately 300 persons of whom at least two dozen were from the Church Historians office with whom I had been working on Church History, and another 20 or 30 who were teachers at the LDS Institute of Religion and some of the student leaders of LDSSA–it was then that I was terrified. If I was speaking to the Historical Department staff and the Institute I would have followed one line of approach, the line of faithful history but I had prepared a different kind of talk and would dare not apologize for doing so. I was uneasy throughout the talk and then they opened it up to questions and I got questions from both directions. How to answer simple confiding souls like Helen Warr and Linda Haslem and at the same time answer people like some of the anti-Mormon faculty at the University of Utah. I lived through three deaths, however Davis Bitton told me later that I did just fine. 

The second of these similar experiences was a talk about 1972 to an audience at North Arizona University at Flagstaff. I was invited there by William Lyon, head of the Department of History, and upon receiving the invitation felt that I would be speaking to a small group of perhaps 20 or 30 faculty and graduate students in History. I prepared a talk on Mormonism in American History which again was intended primarily for non-Mormon scholars. I used scholarly experiences and attitudes in the prepared paper such as, “Joseph Smith’s purported First Vision,” “supposed revelation,” “pretended prophet,” etc. When they took me into the lecture room maybe 10 or 15 minutes before the talk it turned out to be a large audience and it looked like there would be perhaps 1200 or 1500 persons. Apparently it was a general University convocation, to which people in the community had been invited. I was terrified of the audience. Upon inquiry I found that many in the LDS ward were there, many students from the Institute, and LDSSA, but the majority of the audience were presumably non-LDS students, faculty, and towns people. I felt very uneasy about my talk about the scholarly approach to Mormon History but that was the talk I had. I felt so uneasy that for the only time in my life I can recall I felt both like vomiting and purging. I asked Bill Lyon where I could find a bathroom–this was about five minutes before my talk. I went to the bathroom vomited and purged, came back white-faced ready to be introduced. Bill Lyon looked very puzzled and disturbed. Anyway, he introduced me and I went through it and once again did fine. No problems that I was ever aware of.

The third similar incident was at a session on Mormon History at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association at Atlanta, Georgia, about 1974. I was scheduled to give a paper on “Mormon Beginnings in the American South.” Jan Shipps was to be one commentator and I don’t recall the other one, but it was a non-Mormon. Most of these sessions at professional conventions are not very well attended and I did not think this one would be. Knowing that nearly all of the audience would be non-Mormon scholars I prepared a paper which I thought appropriate for them. When I got to the room I learned that a friend of mine without my knowledge or approval had telephoned the Institute and Seminary teachers in the area and ecclesiastical leaders so that the audience was made up more of Mormons than non-Mormons. One in the audience, an Institute coordinator there, was Joseph Fielding McConkie,the son of Bruce, who had given trouble to Jim Kimball and others at the University of Washington in Seattle. I knew he was a hard liner. Anyway I had to go through with my paper which was not in the line of a missionary or Sacrament meeting talk. I learned afterwards that Brother McConkie had brought some investigators, that he did not think my paper was proper for investigators to hear, that he complained about what Mormon Historians were doing with our history. He has never attended one of our lectures since and has been very distant and cool and his father who had demonstrated warmth and sympathy with our History Division efforts seemed at the same time to become cool towards us. I knew as I was giving the paper that I was not getting a good audience from the “faithful Mormons” there and therefore was uneasy throughout. 

[Recollections; LJA Diary, 11 Feb., 1982]

Kathleen has finished the typing of Lavina’s history of my work as Church Historian, I have had a few copies duplicated, and have taken them to the bindery. By Thanksgiving I should have bound copies to give to you. When I get caught up with other things I am going to try to write an article-length piece for Sunstone on the subject.

[LJA to Children, 12 Oct., 1982]

Today I had my semi-annual checkup with Dr. Reiser, and so I think I’ll go ahead and write while it is still on my mind. Then I can concentrate the rest of the week on other things.

Briefly, the doc found my blood pressure all right, my lungs fine, my pulse good, and my general health very good. He decided, for the first time, to give me and EKG, and an X-Ray of my lungs and heart and found everything normal. He decided to go an extra step also and give me a physical fitness test. I failed that one! I am overweight, I can’t run very far without breathing difficulties, and I get a constriction in my chest when I engage in vigorous exercise. He diagnoses this as the beginning of warning stage of angina. Meaning that when I exercise vigorously my heart isn’t getting enough blood. His solution to this is to give me some pills called Isosorbide, which, hopefully, will ream out my blood vessels a little so they will serve more blood to the heart. In the meantime, until we determine the effect of the pills, I am not to run upstairs or shovel snow, or do any jogging (as if I were)! Otherwise, carry on as usual, except lose weight. Lose at least a couple of pounds a month. Harriet agrees to do the same. We have each gained 10 pounds since our marriage. You will not say anything about this to anyone, of course. Nor about my hemorrhoids, nor about my prostate, nor about my sneaking some food on Fast Day, nor anything else affecting my soul or body.

[LJA to Children, 13 Feb., 1984]

Friday afternoon I went to see Dr. Reiser, and this is when he gave me instruction to prepare for an angiogram-a test on the arteries that supply the heart. We set the time for Tuesday, Feb. 21, when I reported at 6 am. Harriet stayed with me at the hospital (LDS) all day. I was instructed not to eat or drink anything after supper the night before. When they quizzed me, they discovered my thought that I had some allergy to iodine, shell fish, etc., so they decided to give me some cortisone, injected through the vein, along with some glucose in water, all thru IV (intravenous). They also gave me a shot of benedrille, all this to counteract any allergic reaction in case the iodine which was in the test chemical would cause a reaction.

They had me go to the hospital early and thought I’d have the test at 10:30 am. But there came some emergency and they weren’t able to give me the test until 3 pm. The test takes an hour. They puncture an artery in the right groin, insert a tube, and send through it a kind of thread which has been treated with iodine, etc. and will show up on X-Ray. They then probe it through one artery to see how it functions, then through a second, then through a third, and so on. There are five main arteries that serve the heart with oxygen. One of my arteries is already blocked-the right artery which serves the back of the heart. Fortunately, the heart has created its own by-pass, so the heart does get blood from one of the other arteries. But two of the subsidiary arteries that supply the left artery are also blocked, so it is not functioning fully. Also a couple of the arteries are, like, 80 percent blocked. Still getting enough blood through to function normally, but who knows when they will be completely blocked?

I watched all this testing on television as it was going on. Fascinating. I did not feel under any particular tension. Nor was I particularly surprised at the result. Many, many people, when they get my age, function on a reduced basis because of coronary disease (which is what they call my disease).

After the test was concluded I went back to my room where I was instructed to lie flat on my back and not move my right leg for eight hours. Actually, I did not move it until I went to sleep, which was about 1 am. Then I felt free to roll on my side and sleep. In the meantime, Harriet had stayed with me until 10 pm. Fed me supper, helped me with the urinal, etc. Then I watched the news, Mash, Hawaiian 5-0, and Hogan’s Heroes.

This morning the three doctors came to my hospital room to tell the news. It was both good and bad. Two of the doctors thought I should try some medication for a few weeks and see if that would take care of the angina. The third, Russell Nelson, a surgeon, thought I should prepare for a by-pass operation within two or three weeks. Obviously, Harriet and I opted for the medication trial. My doctor, A. Hamer Reiser, Jr., thinks the risk of a heart attack at this stage is minimal. Basically, he recommends the following:

1. Medication for a while to see if it can eliminate the angina. There are three different pills. He started me on one a week or two ago; it didn’t help much. He is now trying me on a second. If that doesn’t help much, he will try me on a third. If that doesn’t help and the angina becomes worse, then they will consider a by-pass operation. On the law of averages, the pills ought to help. But if they don’t an operation is probably inevitable. The main thing is to avoid the possibility of a heart attack which would damage the heart. My heart is in excellent shape now.

2. While we are testing out the effect of the pills I am to rigorously avoid rigorous exercise. No heavy lifting, no running upstairs, no jogging, no vigorous walks, no shoveling snow, no romping with the grandchildren. A calm sedentary life until we learn how much activity I can tolerate without getting angina.

3. Everything depends on how I feel, what I can stand, what I can do and still feels good. I can take the trip to Las Vegas, give the lectures, lead a normal life, etc.

Harriet and I have decided on our own to not drive to Las Vegas but to fly down, give the lectures, and fly back. We shall not go on to Southern California to visit Carl and Chris and Alexis. We have decided this for a variety of reasons. We think that when we get adjusted to the pills, get things stabilized, we’ll be able to do more of what we want to in So. Cal. So a trip later would be more enjoyable and more free. In addition, I have now received the BY manuscript and it needs about a month’s work. I would feel better finishing it and getting it back to NYC so that it might make the Christmas deadline. I don’t want to hold it up. I am also committed to finishing the bank history by March 15. If we drive to Las Vegas and stay in So. Cal., we’re a minimum of 10 days, versus only two to fly to Las Vegas and back.

My illness is called severe coronary artery disease. Sounds worse than it is. What it means is that the coronary arteries have severe obstructions which impede the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart. It is common among people my age. Whether this will cause me to retire earlier than seventy depends entirely on how things go during the next few weeks when I’m trying out the pills. A by-pass operation will put me out of business for at least two weeks, possibly three, and possibly for longer if there are complications. I am now scheduled to teach a seminar, a class, during spring term, which is May 1 to the end of June. I am not now scheduled for a class this fall. I am scheduled for some work on that secret project during the month of July, or possibly August. I am still hopeful that Harriet and I can spend the last week of May in Carl & Chris’s apartment in NYC.

[LJA to Children, 22 Feb., 1984]

A third good news is the doctor’s appraisal of my condition. I went to see him Monday. He gave me another EKG and it remains the same as earlier. He thinks now I’m in a little more stable situation than before. There is still a strong possibility that I’ll have to have the by-pass operation soon, but he feels more relaxed with my present period of working with pills. For a while he was fearful that I’d have a heart attack; he’s not so fearful. He recommends I keep on the medicine for a while and see how things go. He wants to see me in two weeks—that is, on March 19. So we have that long a holding pattern. In the meantime I can finish the BY and finish all but one chapter of the Tracy-Collins.

[LJA to Children, 9 Mar., 1984]

Monday I went to Dr. Reiser for my two-week checkup. He took an EKG, found it to have no change from previous tests. Everything seemed stabilized, so he instructed me to keep taking my three pills, keep following a restricted activity, and see him in three weeks. I feel sure I will have to have the bypass operation before long, but I’m trying to put it off until I get certain commitments fulfilled, and he agrees that this can safely be done. However, I had chest pain on Wednesday for several hours, and for a shorter time yesterday, so I’ve discovered it is not only a matter of eliminating vigorous activity, but of keeping down anxiety.

[LJA to Children, 23 Mar., 1984]

Some personal reflections on the conference just past.

One more letter today. Today I went to the doctor for my three-week checkup. No problems. More or less the same report. He asked me what I thought. I said I had formed an important conclusion: I am not getting any better as the result of the medication. I am not getting any worse either. Harriet would be glad to look after me for the rest of my life in this condition, I’m sure, but I do not wish to remain this way when there is a good chance I can improve it substantially. I want to be able to walk to the corner is I wish. I want to be able to lecture without fear of overdoing it. I do not want to live under the haunting fear of a heart attack some day.

The doctor agreed that I will probably have to have the operation sooner or later. He has been taking a conservative course; don’t rush into it. There are risks; don’t do it unless or until you have to. But he agrees with my basic premise: you’ll probably have to have it soon.

He suggested we telephone Russell Nelson to see what his availability is, now that he has been called into the Twelve. We then talked to him. He said “the Brethren” told him to take care of all his commitments, but not to make any new ones. He said he did regard my case as a commitment and would be glad to do it. However, he is leaving April 25 for China and will be gone a month. Then he will likely not do any more operations after that. I told him I did not want the operation until after April 19, when I am scheduled to give the graduation address at BYU. He suggested I go to the hospital on Saturday, April 21. He operates on Monday, April 23. This will probably be his last operation before the trip, and possibly his last one ever except where one of the General Authorities is concerned.

Dr. Reiser pointed out he (Russell) had two good assistants who had been with him for hundreds of operations (he performed three operations this morning). They were Conrad Jensen and Kent Jones. Harriet was not anxious to depend upon Dr. Jensen. She does not know Dr. Jones. She feels all right about me going ahead with Russell.

Dr. Reiser said under normal conditions I would be ready to leave the hospital in about nine days. Then two or three weeks of recuperation at home. (I can be working at my desk part of this time.)

[LJA to Children, 9 Apr., 1984]

I had additional tests at the hospital today. This being Easter, Annette, Bob, Matthew Hilary, and Chris took Harriet to the Alta Club for lunch (dinner), which she enjoyed very much. Salmon, as I recall.

In the afternoon a few came by to see me, partly on account of Easter and partly on account of my imminent operation. Mike and Jan Quinn came by for a while; just about as they were to leave Maureen Beecher came. So I asked Mike to join hands on my head with Maureen, Jan, and Harriet and ask a special prayer. It was a beautiful prayer and very much appreciated by each of us.

Later in the evening Heidi and Jeff came by for a visit. At the end I asked Heidi to be mouth in giving a family prayer for me, as we kneeled around the bed.

Still later in the evening, Elder Russell Nelson came by on his way back from the airport. He was on his way back from attending stake conference in Toledo, Ohio, where they set apart a new stake presidency. He was with Elder Ted Perry. He reviewed our operations procedures, said he had reviewed my angiogram and thought we could get by with six bypasses.

[LJA Diary, 22 Apr., 1984]

Technicians began to come to my room at around 5:15 am this morning. They began to shave me; they gave me a pre-anesthesiologist pill and they began other preparations that I don’t recall. Harriet came about that time to await the surgery in an anteroom. She had taken all my things home the night before except toothbrush, glasses, toothpaste.

By the time they were ready to wheel me out, I was completely “out of it.” I do not recall anything except the beginning of the shaving and the beginning of the anesthetic. 

Apparently, they wheeled me up to the operating room to begin at 8 am. Present were Russell Nelson, principal surgeon, and Dr. Charles Berry his assistant. Other operations, similar ones, were being performed that same morning by Dr. Donald Doty and Dr. Beveredge. Dr. Nelson and team performed six by-passes, two belt-line by-passes and four “windows” to other smaller arteries feeding the heart. The operation was completed by 12:30 pm or so. Harriet, Annette, Rick & Heidi, who had been waiting with her since about 7:30 am, all went in to see. Dr. Nelson then headed for the visitor waiting areas on the fourth floor, near the intensive care unit to find Harriet. She was not alone the whole time—part of the time with Heidi, part with Annette. Harriet asked him if there was a moment of tenseness when they removed me from the machine and my heart started beating. Things were always tense at that moment he said.

Dr. Nelson drew for Harriet a picture of what he had done; with blue and red ink. She asked him to sign it and promptly took it down to Phillips Gallery and had it framed. Dr. Nelson, Apostle Nelson, said everything went well. They had removed the “useless” saphines artery from my left leg to make the bypasses. Dr. Ted Adauss, went down to see Harriet and children and led them to the Intensive Care Unit to see me—my good solo regular heart beat and all. But they could only stay a minute. The two others in with me __ that night.

I did not awake all that evening. Annette took Harriet down to The Confetti to eat. Not until the next morning at 4 am did I awake. They said I asked for Harriet and they went to get her. I recall, on awakening, a feeling of exaltation “I must have made it through the operation.” I slept most of the time for the next couple of days, always on oxygen, EKG, and other connections. 

They removed me to a separate room on Wednesday, April 25, to 4N 98.

Tuesday, when I was awake for a while, Dr. Nelson came by, told me the operation had gone well. He smiled broadly and said  “Leonard, your operation has marked the end of an era. I have done thousands of these bypasses, some of them history-making in themselves, but this is the last. And I am so pleased that I have been able to perform this historic operation on a historian!” The anesthesiologist was Dr. Sutherland, a close friend of Keith Finlayson, who had been a close friend of our family since his mission with James in Brazil.

[LJA Diary, 23 {24-27} Apr., 1984]

The winter of 1983-1984 was one of the worst in Utah’s history. It began early and continued late. The snowfall was the largest in this century except for the winter of 1951-1952. The mountains had twice the normal snow pack. Records were set for cold weather. There were more continuous days without sunshine than any period in the history of the state. The roads remained icy and dangerous, so we seldom went out. The snowfall on our houses was heavy; without the usual occasional sun to melt it, it continued to accumulate. On February 14, the accumulation was so great that the roof of our neighbor, Ethel Saunders, fell in. All of us became fearful that ours would do the same and we employed people to clean off our roofs. More than four feet of snow was packed solid on the tops of our buildings.

I went out one Saturday in February to clean the snow from around my Pontiac Phoenix, parked in the driveway. Just a few movements of my arms and I felt a tightening in my chest and a feeling that I couldn’t breathe. I went in the house and after a few moments everything was back to normal. I informed Harriet of this experience when she returned from an errand, and she recommended I telephone my doctor, A. Hamer Reiser. I did so, he questioned me carefully, and he set up an appointment for the following Monday, February 13. In the meantime, he suggested that I refrain from any heavy exercise–do not lift, do not shovel snow, do not go for a walk, and so on. I was sixty-six years old and to that moment had enjoyed a lifetime of excellent health.

During my appointment, Dr. Reiser gave me an electrocardiogram test and found no heart problem. In fact, he said I had a “good” heart. There had been no heart attack, and his chief concern was that I avoid any activity that might produce such an attack. He gave me some medicine to dilate the vessels to the heart and set up an appointment for me to take a treadmill test to see just how much exercise I could tolerate without severe distress. He said I almost certainly had angina pectoris or coronary heart disease and that we must determine how serious it was.

In the subsequent treadmill test, done at the LDS Hospital, I walked just a short time before the attending doctor told me to stop, that my EKG was “acting up”—“going haywire”–suggesting that my heart was not getting sufficient oxygen. Obviously, my coronary arteries were clogged with cholesterol, calcium, or other fatty substances and were not able to furnish sufficient oxygen to the heart when it was beating rapidly. My doctor then recommended an angiogram or catheterization of the arteries that supply the heart. He arranged a two-day stay in the Salt Lake LDS Hospital for the purpose.

The test was given on February 21. After some preparation, they punctured an artery in the right groin, inserted a tube, and sent through it a kind of thread that was treated with iodine, etc. to show up well on X-ray. The doctor and his assistant then probed it through one artery after another to see how well the blood was getting into the heart. They found the right artery that serves the back of the heart to be completely blocked, “occluded.” Two of the subsidiary arteries that supplied the left and most critical artery were also occluded. Also three subsidiary arteries supplying the main heart arteries were more than 80 percent occluded. Fortunately, perhaps because of my active life, the heart had created its own tiny by-pass in the case of the right artery, so the heart did get blood through an unexpected channel–what the doctors call “collateral circulation.” The heart would get enough oxygen under normal circumstances. But it was not getting an adequate supply in periods of heavy use–vigorous exercise. 

This probing (“fluoroscopy”) I was able to observe on a television-like monitor, and it was fascinating. It produced no discomfort or pain, and gave one a sense of observing the journey of a tiny ship through space. 

Three doctors examined the X-rays: Dr. Hiram Marshall, who administered the catheterization; Dr. Russell Nelson, the foremost cardiovascular surgeon in the region; and Dr. Reiser. Dr. Nelson recommended an immediate by-pass operation, but Drs. Marshall and Reiser, a little reluctant to have open heart surgery before a trial under medication, suggested we try a few weeks before we make a decision. They gave me isosorbide dinitrate and inderal–propranolol–medicines which would diminish the vigor of cardiac contractions and dilate the arteries. I was to be careful, always carry tiny nitroglycerin pills, not do any vigorous exercise, and note any occasions when I had pain in my chest and hard breathing.

When I questioned Dr. Reiser about the ultimate cause of this difficulty, he said he was not able to give me a satisfactory answer. The usual causes of the “atherosclerosis,” as it was called, did not seem to apply. I had never smoked, had never had high blood pressure, was overweight but not obese, had never developed diabetes, registered in the high but normal level on cholesterol and triglycerides, and had never been under undue stress. Dr. Reiser pointed out that the studies made of Korean War casualties showed that up to 25 percent of the young men had substantial accumulations of plaques in their arteries. He said it must represent a tendency with which I was born, plus the way I ate and lived. He could not say definitely what had caused the condition in my particular case, but there was no doubt that it existed and was potentially dangerous. 

The trial period continued through March and into April. During that period I was able to give talks that I had previously scheduled, but occasionally had difficulty in walking any considerable distance to or from the chapel or other building where I was scheduled to speak. I could not climb stairs quickly, nor drive a considerable distance in the car. I could not take out the garbage without some pain in the chest, and any long period of work at my desk was sometimes accompanied by a tightening of the chest.

Much of my problem was an anxiety that I might have a heart attack. My children, who were kept informed of my condition, also expressed their fear that I might overdue and cause a heart-damaging “infarct” or attack of the heart muscle. They telephoned their concerns and warnings.

At the LDS General Conference on April 7, 1984, the LDS Church First Presidency announced the appointment of Dr. Russell Nelson as a member of the governing Council of Twelve Apostles of the Church. This would be a full-time ministry, and would mean the end of his service as a surgeon. It happened that my weekly checkup with Dr. Reiser was the following Monday. He suggested that we ought to telephone Dr. Nelson to see if he would be willing to perform the operation which Dr. Reiser and I had concluded was inevitable. Dr. Nelson said that the First Presidency asked him to perform only those operations to which he was already committed and then retire from the medical field. Did he regard himself as committed to perform my by-pass? He did. When would be the last date he could do it? He said he was leaving for a six-weeks trip to China on April 25, so he could perform the operation on April 23, if I still wanted him to do it. Harriet, Dr. Reiser, and I quickly decided we’d go ahead with the operation on that date. In the meantime, I would continue to take the medication and govern my activities so as to assure no heart attack in the meantime. Dr. Reiser explained to me that there was no guarantee that the operation would prolong my life. But it would remove the anxiety of a possible heart attack and at the same time assure that I could live as vigorous a life as I wished. I could walk to the grocery store, feel free to take a trip with Harriet, and resume my normal habits of work and play.

The sextuple by-pass operation was done on April 23.* Dr. Nelson said at the time that it was his last operation–a historic occasion for him and for the hospital–and he was pleased to perform it on a historian. He left any post-operative arrangements in the hands of one of his associates, Dr. Donald Doty.

During the operation Harriet waited in a special waiting room. She was joined during most of the time by her children. The interns wheeled me up to the operating room about 7:15 a.m. About noon Dr. Nelson came down to Harriet and said “It’s over and Leonard is doing just fine.” He proceeded to draw a picture, which he duly signed, illustrating just what he had done. There were two belt-line by-passes; these “opened windows” into subsidiary arteries, which were then attached to supply flowing blood to the aorta. The tiny vessels which served as the by-pass were taken from the saphenous vein in my left leg. Sections had been skillfully excised from as low as my ankle to as high as my groin.

When I awoke the next day after the operation my first thought was “I’m alive; I must have made it.” Harriet was there and the doctor came shortly. I was in an intensive care unit, with many tubes, wires, drains, and monitors. One tube provided blood; another oxygen; another glucose; wires connected to an EKG machine to monitor the heart; drains from my chest; and so on. I could not speak because of a rubber tube inserted through the throat into the abdomen. But I was in no particular pain or distress, and I was pleased at the smiles of Harriet, and the various doctors and nurses that came by. The LDS Hospital, I was told, had done 1,700 such operations during the preceding year. They had ample experience and were well-equipped.

On Tuesday morning April 24th I awoke about 4 o’clock. Four hours later the anesthesiologist came by to check on me as a post-operative visit. He asked me if I was awake. I nodded. He asked me how I felt and I tried to say o.k. (The tube was still in my mouth.) He wanted to see if my mind was functioning properly, so he asked me if I knew of an Australian scholar who was working at the University of Utah on Great Basin geography. He said Dean May had told him (the anesthesiologist) that he (the Australian) asked about me and wanted to know if I was doing o.k. As best I could, I tried to tell the doctor that, yes, I remembered the professor from down-under. He was so and so, he came to Utah to do thus and his major was economics. “Not long ago Harriet and I had dinner with Dean and Cheryll May and the Australian and his wife were present.” I gave the doctor a run down on the research he was carrying out. He had also been to Italy on a Fulbright just as I had been. So we had that in common. The doctor seemed to be very pleased that I was able to give him all this information, even if not clearly spoken, because it meant that my mind was functioning fully-that there was no damage to my brain from lack of oxygen at any point during the operation. He twisted my toe, turned, and walked out very pleased with himself. Harriet says she has seen doctors do this many times to determine if the person came through the operation in good shape mentally. It comes to my mind now since apparently my brother LeRoy who was operated on recently did not have this good experience. He came out of the operation very much disoriented and remained that way for several weeks, which suggests that at some point during the operation his brain had not received sufficient oxygen.

After another day in intensive care they transferred we to a private room and took out the tube in my throat so I could talk normally. I began to heal. On the ninth day I was released from the hospital and went home to a steady and unimpeded recovery. Harriet was always around to help me and encourage me and to give sound advice.

Months before, I had agreed to speak at the annual meeting of “oldtimers” at Chesterton, Idaho, held every Memorial Day weekend. This would be five weeks after the operation. Did I dare to drive that far–some 160 miles from Salt Lake City–and speak to the group? I went to see Dr. Doty, who questioned me closely and then advised me to go. It was a little grueling, but things went well and I enjoyed visiting with Susan and Dean and family on the way there and back.

At the end of six weeks, Dr. Doty said, I could feel free to drive a car and begin a program of exercise. By the end of the seventh week I had walked around our Salt Lake City block. By the end of eight weeks, two blocks. I now feel (July 3) completely recovered. I can run up and downstairs, work as much as I wish, travel as I desire, and eat with moderation. The doctors have recommended no bacon, low sodium intake, not too many eggs or too much milk, no gain in weight, and wisdom in lifting–never more than twenty pounds. Life is back to normal.

I have a scar running down the middle of my chest, and many Latter-day Saints historians have noted with interest that I now belong to “President Kimball’s Zipper Club” and to the Order of the Split Sternum. There are also large purple scars on my left leg that are somewhat sensitive. But no angina, no breathing difficulty, no anxiety about provoking a heart attack.

*For those interested, there is a splendid description of an angiogram and subsequent by-pass operation in Gordon Wallace, The Valiant Heart: From Cardiac

Cripple to World Champion (Prescott, Arizona: Ralph Tanner Associates, Inc., 1982). 

[My Heart By-Pass Operation; LJA Diary, 23 Apr., 1984]

Maureen, who is president of the Mormon History Assn this year, has decided, as one project, to interview all the former presidents of MHA. On tape. She has already done three and then came to interview me yesterday. Spent five hours Spent five hours here, so it was a pretty thorough interview. Partly autobiographical and partly pertaining to the function of MHA. The interview will be transcribed by Gordon Irving’s secretary, then sent to me for editing, then retyped. And I’ll get a copy when finished. A copy will be placed in the Church Library and made available to any interested person unless I place a restriction on it, which I don’t think I will. Just thought of the fact that maybe I ought to restrict it until I finish my memoirs, or else someone might jump the gun on me. Have to think about that.

[LJA to Children, 11 Aug., 1984]

Harriet and I have been trying to get things in order for our trip next week to Minneapolis, and two weeks later to Boston. We leave for Minneapolis next Wednesday to attend the annual meeting of the Western History Assn. Will return Saturday morning. We are looking forward to it. Harriet has never been there, and I have not been there since October 1934 when I spent two days there in connection with Future Farmer business. I continue to be flabbergasted by the amount of writing I had to do in connection with the FFA. If I had not taken typing as a junior I could never have done it. On the other hand, all that typing improved my skills that have been so necessary since.

[LJA to Children, 6 Oct., 1984]

Last night I had a dream which, despite awakening three or four times during the night, persisted. I do not know of anything that prompted it, but I have decided that it dealt with a basic theme of my life and is important for that reason. Normally, if I dream, which is not often, I don’t recall them after I awake. And normally they do not last all night. So perhaps this was important for those reasons.

I dreamed that I was with a large number of people. I do not recall who any of them were, but I have the impression that they were all Latter-day Saints. They seemed to be on the verge of splitting. It is not clear to me what the reason for the schism was. Was it ideological?-about to form separate organizations? Was it in anticipation of a trip, with one group going one way and another group another?

At any rate, the essence of the dream was my talking to everyone—people in both groups. I was trying to get each group to accommodate to some of the wishes and desires of the other group. I was trying to get the Liberals to trim down their views to accommodate to those of the Conservatives. And similarly trying to get the Conservatives to modify their position to accommodate the Liberals.

In a way, this has been my stand, whether it was at the University of Idaho among Greeks and Independents, whether at Utah State University among agriculture and science faculty and the faculty in the social sciences and humanities, whether at the Church Office Building among the iron rodders and the liahonas.

[My Dream; LJA Diary, 18 Nov., 1984]

Shooting from a professional bias that puts undue weight on the observation of the moment, I thought I’d fire from the lip about what I think your memoir should and should not contain. Clearly I am no great connoisseur of autobiography. We count it as a virtue if a profile can be completed in the time it takes the average American to execute a bowel movement. At People we know what we are, but there is little doubt that we are the best in the world at what we do. I recall when a journalist joined the People staff from Rolling Stone, where he was used to ample space to stretch out his prose. The first assignment this writer had was to fashion a profile of some showbiz lightweight in 86 lines. When I asked him in the hallway what subject he was cutting his teeth on at our celebrity journal, he replied that he had been asked to writes “a caption” to got with a picture of this particular subject. Astonished at his designation, I reacted dramatically, “A caption! My good sir, you have practically been asked to write the great American novel. Do not go gentle into that short prose!” So, take into account that my mental meanderings come from a man shaped by the stingy demands of space allotted to journals of passing fancy. Our rule of thumb is. “If it can’t be summarized in the time it takes to peruse a piece in the supermarket checkout line, it can’t be said.” With that caveat as to my prejudices, let me address the prospect of your autobiographical treatment. 

First, I believe at this point you should stalk a memoir rather than an autobiography. I distinguish the two in this way. An autobiography is a dispassionate accumulation of the facts of a personal life. A memoir is a far more subjective gaze across the sweep of a lifetime with benefit of hindsight. I would prefer to see your rich and exhaustively documented life revealed in a combination of biography,(written by a friend) and a passionate, no-holds barred memoir and is an unexpurgated assessment of your life.

I have now read and re-read your Christmas essay on the beginnings of your interest in Mormon scholarship. While it was factually rich and full of information, to me it was a skeleton essay that seems malnourished by personal insight. It seems to rely too heavily on events rather than insight and relationships. It is almost completely lacking in pithy anecdotes, scrimps on analysis and seems to be the kind of sketch that a graduate student might fashion given access to your personal documentary history. It is life-telling that is long on empirical data and short on insight. It gives a faithful accounting of your development of interest in Mormon studies and is lean on your own personal development. You have almost approached your life as if you were a scholar boiling down the documentary evidence of a dead subject rather than a live author insightfully mining the gems of human existence. 

My biased opinion is that a mere reconstruction of skeletal details robs the project of its very strength. You have the unique faculty to plum your prejudices and inner world to reveal the meat to clothe the factual bones. (To bastardize one of your phrases.) There is little sense that the subject of the personality sketch is sitting behind the typewriter.

Of course I might be leaping to conclusions about your progress-in-work that may not be representative of the overall work. Other personal accounts may be more subjective and insightful. I suspect that you need to make a conscious effort to shift professional gears and shrug off the objective view of biography and get baptized in the world of autobiography. At the risk of being presumptuous and a K.I.A. (yes, the dread Know It All), let me toss off some grist for your memoir mill.

You have lived an extraordinary life that has stretched from dire poverty on a potato farm to one of the nation’s most prominent intellectuals. That cultural Hejira is clearly fodder for sort of an Horatio Algier-type intellectual history. You will do a disservice to yourself, your descendants and your peers if you do not provide a courageous and personal accounting of that trek. Plenty of farm boys have gone on to achieve great things, yet your journey seems both unique in its scope and result. Great literature—fiction and non-fiction–floats or sinks on the rise and fall of fortune. Plodding evolution may be the reality of our lives, but the tides of achievement and despair provide needed drama.

Let me outline some suggestions that you keep in mind as you ponder a summation of your life.

1. Don’t shrink from controversy and passion. It is clear in everything from your personal letters to your professional articles that you put great stock in a rational and objective approach. You must cast that approach aside temporarily if you are going to fashion a pioneering memoir. You have at your disposal the life and documentation to write what could not only be the best “Mormon” recollection ever published, but a tale that could become a classic in the field of American intellectual history. I believe that a theme of your life has been that of a fence straddler–someone akin to the guards who control the frontiers between hostile groups. It is laced with the same kind of tension that exists in the DMZ zone in Korea or sentries at the Berlin wall. I believe your experience has been diplomatic. You have inhabited the nasty territory between extremist groups. The poor and the rich. The believers and the doubters, the academics and the laymen. There is a particular and unique personal constitution that allows one to survive–and even thrive–in the midst of such competition. The resulting synthesis is both historic and transformational. Not to flatter the diplomat, but I believe Jesus came not just to comfort the afflicted, but to share the vantage points of opposing factions. I believe it was no accident that he drew his coterie of personal witnesses from such a divergent group. I believe that it is tempting to such cultural diplomats to develop such a fidelity to the middle course that they allow their ability to “advocate” a single passionate viewpoint becomes impaired. I think that has happened to you. The strength of Metternich and Kissinger was that they were not just able to forge a common ground between two bellicose factions, but a kind of split personality that allowed them to reasonably assess what each side needed and the ability (and courage) to defend those viewpoints.

Your life seems steeped in the tension wrought of balancing on a cultural highwire between two opposing factions. By now I think the position has been so deeply engrained in your marrow that it is second nature. You are so prone to synthesize and advocate the middle ground that it has become a task to clearly articulate the demands and prejudices of either side. 

That approach has clearly given you the blessings of the peacemaker that Christ referred to on the Sermon on the Mount, but it has also produced blinders. Like with a carriage horse, blinders obscure full peripheral vision so that the brain no longer assimilates the data from the extreme outer vision.

For at least a while, I believe you must take off the blinders and allow your vision to roam. Without doing so, your vision will be constricted and incomplete. I would hope that such a brave mood might be inspired by a desire to, as the bailiff oath in the courtroom goes, “tell the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help me God.” 

Your memoir will only be a triumph if you write it for your loved ones rather than something that will have a few tidbits to appeal to everyone. You are not writing an institutional history, you are not assessing the life of an extraordinary prophet, but you are giving a personal assessment of your own life. Every time the thought sneaks into your brain, “What would brother Hinckley think of this?” or “What would be the effect on my colleges at MHA when they read this?” or “What will be the effect on the average member’s faith?” I suggest that you banish the thought. You must write this book for yourself and the ones you love, or you might as well re-hash the institutional life of other banker or pioneer. This must be the most personal, emotional and subjective document of your career. It must be spiritually insightful in the tradition of “Clothe these Bones,” it should be frank in the tone of a love letter, and be rampant with personal opinion. Write bold and then edit.

It seems clear to me that you need some sort of an intellectual emetic. It’s what my rock ‘n’ roll crony used to refer to as “taking a head shit.” You need to wisk away some of the cobwebs, prejudices of writing for a mass audience and personal recounting of events with the muse of history staring over your shoulder. There are a variety of ways I think you can accomplish this. It is not an easy prescription, but one that will yield a richer literary work in the long run. One alternative that I have mentioned in the past is that you sign up for six months of psychoanalysis with a shrink. For all your lip service to the “natural” need for these half-assed Freudmongers, it is clear that the prejudices of your generation provide a stumbling block to such a step. You may be able to rationalize it intellectually, but I fear there is an inner prejudice against such a step that is a holdover from the era when only “nuts” sought out the Couch Commandoes. Frankly I believe that attitude is about as progressive and intellectually mature as someone railing against the “communist plot” of floridation or lame belief that the world is still flat. Psychiatrists are merely service stations for the mind. They provide a socially acceptable atmosphere for examining this unwieldy instrument we call the brain. I think the exercise would be both painful and profoundly useful for you. My own experience with shrinks was not altogether satisfying. I recall the case of a Dr. Freudenberger where after 10 sessions and nearly a $1000 in fees, his total assessment of me was that “Arrington is a complicated nut.” In retrospect, I have come to treasure his pithy remark, though I suspect that Herschel or Midas might have been similarly accurate. The fact remains that you, too, are a complicated nut. A nut that has developed into a mighty oak, perhaps, but still essentially a nut. I suspect that you may never be able to triumph over your Depression-inspired attitudes, though I think the exercise would be helpful and less traumatic than you expect. I was finally able to find a therapist in New York who provided a forum for me to work through some of my delusions, dreams and repressed notions and I feel the richer for the experience. I must say that while I was controlled during the sessions, I tried to be honest–which was at moments uncomfortable and frequently devastating. Actually, I never felt I’d gotten my money’s worth unless I walked out of her office stunned with some unexpected insight and that can only come if the patient is painfully honest. I should mention that after my first pallid experience on the couch that I was more than a bit belligerent to my second counselor. I told her in no uncertain terms that I expected her to pay attention and engage the subject of my life. After all, I said, I am often expected to profile subjects after a mere 90 minute interview section and at psychiatrist-rates, they could damn-well keep alert enough so that I don’t have to keep explaining who the cast characters in my drama were. My brutal assault seemed to work and she rarely had to be reminded of who I was talking about and I found the experience to be very therapeutic. Of course in the Catholic context this sort of thing may be accomplished with a parish priest. Since Mormondom provides little framework for personal confession and few safeguards about confidentiality, shrinks seem to be the next best thing.

An alternative to that, I might proffer, would be a series of oral history interviews with someone like myself. I’m not sure how comfortable you would feel relaxing with a stream on consciousness reflection on your life, but I believe such a conversation could at least start in the fifth inning, whereas a shrink would have to begin at the very beginning. I believe that such an interview between us could be accomplished in, say, 20 hours of taped conversations with the ground rules that no subject would be off limits and that the tapes and transcripts would be exclusively your property.

It is just my strong, strong impression that your memoir will continue to be stymied until you get closer in touch with your psychic foundations.

My own assessment of you as a person is that you suffer an imbalance between your intellectual and emotional selves. There is almost no conduit between the two aspects of your mind. Colin Wilson, in a recently published work called Frankenstein’s Castle provides a fascinating synthesis of the research that has been done on the bi-cameral mind. The left brain controls our rational analytical self and the left brain is the somewhat passive, though powerful, repository of our deeper self that houses the unconscious, our dream world and muse. Jung called “individuation” the balance when an individual reached some harmony of the two halves. I have no belief that the left brain/right brain theory is biologically or psychologically correct, but it does work as a model for examining our personality. My own judgment about you is that you have consciously developed your left brain the way the weightlifters have developed their biceps. Yours has involved a lifetime of exercising caution, analysis, reason and rational behavior. Almost to the degree that your brain has evolved, your right brain (emotions) have almost atrophied because of disuse. The few times the right brain has burst forth, the results have been anywhere to frightening, to exhilarating, to inappropriate. Love has loosed the tenants of your emotional village, as have tragedies and profound works of art. That is why, I suspect, that you find yourself weeping over some circumstances with little insight about the cause from your “rational self.” Madame Butterfly, Night of the Shooting Stars, your romance with Brook, your dreams. Your reactions to these stimuli indicate to me that your mental tag team has not established a very practical conduit of communication.

I am not sure that you can adequately steady this imbalance in a fortnight or with one fell swoop. It has taken a lifetime to develop your particular personality and Plato cannot be transformed in a day. Even Paul showed gradual insight and progress after his miracle on the road to Damascus.

What I believe you need to do is make a conscious effort to beef up your emotional grey matter. Shrug aside the “Life of the Mind” for a few months and actively feed the “Life of the Heart.” Read stirring novels. Keep a journal of your dream life. (I’ve found that a couple of Vitamin E pills taken at bedtime often helps in dream recollection.) Re-read your war correspondence with Grace. Drop the hum-drum flow of Mormon studies reading and pick out some fantasy literature. Read the Dune series by Frank Herbert, read some Doctorow, trying Being There by Jersey Kosinski, get a volume of Joseph Campbell, read some fiction. Besides providing a little grease for the cerebral transmission, I suspect it will tickle a new part of your brain. My own belief that your most inventive work has come from synthesizing two seemingly disparate subjects. In short, you need to spice up your intellectual diet with some broader lore. My impression is that you have furrowed your way into an intellectual rut that may be appropriate to writing for scholars and the academic community, but will rob your projected memoir of what could be its very most vital aspect.

You have too much sense of writing for a posterity of scholars. Damn them! Write for people. In recent years your works have taken on more and more of a dispassionate tone encoded with private phrases that may telegraph a particular meaning to an elite cadre of readers, but remains meaningless to most laymen. If Jan Shipps, Richard Bushman, Davis Bitton and Jim Allen all read your work and deem it a “fair and important contribution to Mormon studies” you will have failed miserably. At the risk of seeming egotistical, I want a memoir that is written for me. I don’t want the catch phrases and pulled punches and weasel words that need an enigma machine to decipher. The first loyalty of a writer is to be honest with the facts, the next is to communicate with the reader. By couching certain events in cryptic phrases, it fails to communicate. If you are not going to say what you mean, why not write your cloaked meanings on your bellybutton and contemplate it in the privacy of your study with the shades drawn. Be bold, man. G. Homer Durham was a scumbag and invertebrate. Gordon Hinckley is a shrewd and lying S.O.B. BYU is a bastion of mealy-mouths and apologists. Joseph Anderson was a fog who could be hoodwinked. Okay, I don’t expect from you the kind of loaded vituperative language that a “High Noon” verbal gunslinger like myself would use, but pallid assessments of villains and faint praise for heroes is damnable.

If you see yourself as guardian of the middle ground between extremists and that is a repeating theme of your life, I cannot dispute that. But unless we get some feeling for the passion of both sides we are merely left with a portrait in shades of grey. A good example was your single volume version of “Doves and Serpents.” The book was technically correct, but I know that it glosses over the horror and intrigue and haunted the whole episode almost from the beginnings. Unless you tell the true tale of skullduggery with names and dates you will not only lose credibility among your peers who know the complete story, but you will shirk your responsibility as an honest historian. Remember, you are not writing a biography of some long-since diseased pioneer. You are shaping a personal experience in which you have been Hamlet. A reader is entitled to your private thoughts, your petty quibblings and your uncensored appraisals of those you have come in contact with.

I know you have misgivings about the approach I have suggested because it will cause a certain amount of controversy and, perhaps, embarrassment to the Church. Certainly those are elements that must be considered when undertaking a memoir. Yet those elements must be weighed against integrity, honesty and the fact that this document should be a personal work. My own feeling is that it should be more in the tone of “Clothe These Bones” than your biography of Brigham Young. You need to assess your weaknesses and personality quirks as an individual or it will be incomplete. It needs to include a frank appraisal of your marriage–which at times was less than ideal, and must provide some acknowledgement of your phobias and obsessions (black ice, creative incompetence when it comes to household tasks, obsession with scheduling, petty dislikes for some people, an almost pathological fear of confrontation, a fear of shellfish, egotism in the pursuit of professionalism, insistence at playing the country bumpkin after five decades, your dressing habits, your sometimes blind optimism, your romantic life and your paranoia about the press.) And more jokes!

I think I pretty well understand your fidelity to Mormonism after carefully observing what you say and don’t say in your sermons. I can understand your desire to be diplomatic in your expressions of belief since they are clearly unorthodox. Yet you must, I repeat must–fashion a summary of your beliefs about Mormonism, authority, the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith.

Much of what I suggest will have the effect of salt on an unopen wound. You will be tempted to file this away with you stacks of letters and acknowledge this missive with a terse phrase in a family letter conceding “thanks for your recent letter.” Spare me the faint praise. I would much rather that you read over this letter a few times and either do something about it or commit it to the flame. I love you as I love few people on this planet and I would prefer to think of this document reduced to carbon in your fireplace rather than gathering dust in your file cabinet because you could not confront the frank tone and admittedly terrible challenges.

I do not write all of this to be critical, but because I believe you have been allowed to develop a myopic view that is unworthy of your lifelong fidelity to the marketplace of ideas. I suggest that you try writing a few things for yourself of a confessional nature with the idea of never letting them see the light of day. I suspect that you find that the boogey-man that lies mostly comatose in the inner recesses of your mind is not nearly as “insane” as you might have envisioned him to be in your dream, but is more like the “Fixer” in Bernard Malumud’s novel who might emerge from prison in triumph with a little help. May the Lord bless you on your quest to know yourself.


Your son,


[Carl Arrington to LJA; LJA Diary, 28 Dec., 1984]

On Wednesday, January 9, around noon, I felt, for the first time since my heart operation, a slight constriction or tightening in my chest, a little pain. I reported this to Harriet, who suggested calling Dr. Reiser immediately. He told me to put a nitroglycerin pill under my tongue and another in a half hour and see if the pain goes away. It did, and I phoned him to tell him so. He suggested I come in to see him Friday in order to check out my heart.

I felt a slight pain again that evening after supper, again the next morning after breakfast, again that evening after dinner. Took no pill because the pain was not hurtful enough and didn’t last more than ten or fifteen minutes. No pain since then.

Yesterday I went to see the doctor, who gave me an EKG. No change since the last one he gave. Perfectly normal.

He said theoretically there should be no angina after a bypass operation. I told him that I had been sedentary, without taking walks, for sometime, while working on the index, etc. All of a sudden, I was all day in Provo while Kathleen worked on the index, then Tuesday in town where we walked a good deal, and then walked to the corner and back to get my hair cut at Syd’s on Wednesday. He said that might have caused it. He said I should resume walking at least a mile a day and try to lose some weight.

I told his I was scared enough that I had already begun to watch my diet and exercise. 

[LJA Diary, 12 Jan., 1985]

Neil Robertson 

Dr. A Christlow

History 491

15 Feb. 1987

Leonard J. Arrington

Religious Historian

Leonard J. Arrington is the sole member from Utah in The Society of American Historians, a prestigious organization limited to invitation only. Leonard Arrington also has the distinction of being the only professional historian to have held the position of Official Historian of the Mormon Church. It is the intent of this paper to explore how a historian can be both an academic historian and church historian.

To understand the tensions and possible conflicts that might arise as one attempts to balance the roles of academic and church historian some background information may be useful.

Leonard grew up in the southern Idaho town of Twin Falls. He was raised as a Mormon in a predominantly non-Mormon community, being only slightly aware of his membership in a minority group. He graduated from high school in May 1935 with the intention of going on to college to earn a degree in agriculture. While at the University of Idaho he discovered that agriculture required chemistry classes and Leonard promptly switched to economics, wherein he excelled.

It was while a student at the University of Idaho that Leonard first encountered some of the perplexing problems of the intellect such as the conflicting theories of evolution and behaviorism. “Although he never fully answered the questions raised by these issues, he emerged with an open-minded faith tempered by the liberalism of George Tanner, director of the LDS institute of Religion at Moscow. In Tanner, Leonard found a friend who listened to his questions and who counseled that the development of right attitudes was more important than quick answers” (Whittaker, 25). A philosophy that would serve him well later in his life.

After Leonard graduated with honors in 1939 he accepted a graduate teaching fellowship at the University of North Carolina. However, because of some time consuming interruptions such as World War II, teaching and raising a family, it was not until 1952 that he received his doctorate degree from North Carolina. While he was in the south Leonard was introduced to a regional approach to economic analysis and history. As he says, “An idea often repeated at that time was that all culture is local culture, all history local history; rather than begin with Greece and Rome, one ought to begin with one’s own neighborhood, state and region. The more one understood the culture in which he lived, the closer he came to understanding humanity” (Arrington, BYU Studies, 197).

In writing his doctoral dissertation, “Mormon Economic Policies and Implementation on the Western Frontier, 1847-1900” (published in 1958 as “Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830-1900”) Leonard needed access to the documents located in the LDS archives. This was no small obstacle as the archives were supervised by Church Historian Joseph Fielding Smith and Assistant Church Historian A. William Lund whose collective attitudes seemed to be that the archives were not a research department but rather a mere repository of records. It was only by following the advice of apostle John A. Widtsoe: ask first for published books, move to the Journal History then to specific documents, that he was able to gain full access to any documents that he might need.

An interesting insight into Leonard’s historical philosophy can be derived from the preface of “Great Basin Kingdom.” In it he presented the need for, and value of, an objective study of this religious economic system:

The true essence of God’s revealed will, if such it be, cannot be apprehended without an understanding of the conditions surrounding the prophetic vision, and the symbolism and verbiage in which it is couched. Surely God does not reveal His will except to those prepared, by intellectual and social experience and by spiritual insight and imagination, to grasp and convey it. A naturalistic discussion of “the people and times” and of the mind and experience of Latter-day prophets is therefore a perfectly valid aspect of religious history, and indeed, makes more plausible the truths they attempted to convey. While the discussion of naturalistic causes of revelation does not preclude its claim to be revealed or inspired of God, in practice it is difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish what is objectively “revealed” from what is subjectively “contributed” by those receiving the revelation. (Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom, ix)

This naturalistic method of reporting religious history has become a popular method for many new Mormon historians.

In 1972 Leonard was asked to be the official LDS Church Historian. It was the first time in the church’s 140 year history that someone other than a General Authority was appointed to the office. It was the beginning of what some would call “the Arrington spring” and others would refer to as the “Ten Years in Camelot” (Bitton, Dialogue 9).

What was behind the decision to bring a professional historian into the position of Church Historian? Much reorganization was going on in the fast growing church and it appeared that there was a need for someone with historical experience to manage the archives and administer the research projects. Leonard had what would appear as the right qualifications. The most prolific scholar in the fields of Mormon history, and founding member of the Utah History Association. He helped start several scholarly periodicals: BYU Studies and Dialogue, which were devoted to Mormon topics. He was active in the church and had held leadership positions. “If the church wanted a historian who could command respect, Leonard was clearly the man.”

The new Church Historian and his staff had grand plans for the future of their department, many of which were accomplished. There were a number of well received books printed such as “The Story of the Latter-day Saints” and “The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints.” At the historical department, as one historian put it, “research was the name of the game.”

As the new history department was producing great amounts of new material there were clouds forming on the horizon. In August of 1981, Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Twelve Apostles gave a speech to the Church Educational System Religious Educators’ Symposium entitled “The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect.” The tone of the speech is reflected by Elder Packer’s declaration that, “This is an unparalleled opportunity in the lives of your students to increase their faith and testimony of the divinity of this work. Your objective should be that they will see the hand of the Lord in every hour and every moment of the Church from its beginning till now.” (Packer, 262). Elder Packer goes on to give four “cautions” which include: the ideas that there “is no such thing as an accurate, objective history…without consideration of the spiritual powers…” “Some things that are true are not very useful.” Hazards of being objective, impartial and scholarly. And the problems of using material that is currently available without regard to it’s source. In some respects the cautions, which are directed to historians, may have some validity, however, it should be obvious that some of them fly in the face of naturalistic or a truly academic view of historical research.

Perhaps it would be useful to pause at this point and ask just what the conflicts or tensions are between church historian and the academic historian. Leonard himself is very aware of the problem. He speaks of the need to be skeptical of easy explanations of events that could be attributed to Deity but may be explained by natural forces. “The historian must strive against the conscious or unconscious distortion of events to fit the demands of current fashions; he must renounce wishful thinking.” (Arrington, Dialogue 127) On the other hand the religious historian looks for the supernatural, the hand of God and insights of religious leaders. He “wishes also to bear testimony of the reality of spiritual experience.”

Speaking to the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History, Brigham Young University, Leonard pointed out that “some tension between our historical training and our religious commitments seems inevitable. Our testimonies tell us that the Lord is in this work, and for this we see abundant supporting evidence. But our historical training warns us that the accurate perception of spiritual phenomena is elusive-not subject to unquestionable verification. We are tempted to wonder if our religious beliefs are intruding beyond their proper limits.” (Arrington, 127)

Thus it becomes plan what the conflicts and tensions are in trying to combine the two different roles. The question becomes one of just how does one go about administering those roles when they are combined in the same individual? How does Arrington see his priorities and goals in those roles?

Leonard is very aware that life is complex and unpredictable and that even the Lord’s church is not always benign. Thus history, if it is to be creditable, must reflect exactly those facts. He is also aware that the writing of history is a process of selection and his goal is to make that process not one of selecting one important truth over another but of including all important facts and then selecting the proportion of space that they receive. Speaking to this subject Leonard has said, “I have never felt any conflict between maintaining my faith and writing historical truth. If one sticks to historical truth that shouldn’t damage his faith in any way. The Lord doesn’t require us to believe anything that’s untrue.” (Sunstone, 1979, 41)

History can provide people with some shocking incongruities which may be devastating to one’s belief. But the problem is usually one of expectations and not history. Thus as one of Leonard’s colleagues, Davis Bitton has put it, “One of the jobs of the historians and of educators in the Church, who teach people growing up in the Church and people coming into the Church, is to try to see to it that expectations are realistic.” (Sunstone, 41) That view may be at odds with Packer’s admonition to teach that God’s hand touches all.

As has become apparent, Leonard, as the academic and church historian must try to balance those roles with great care. His awareness of that balance was made clear in a speech he made to the Mormon History Association. He said, “Let me repeat an observation made by the renowned Roman Catholic theologian, Hans Kung: ‘The neglect of truthfulness leads to destructive fanaticism.’ We must guard against both. Let us here resolve that our histories will be marked by thorough research, superior writing, and the display of the true spirit of Latter-day Saint-ism.” (Sunstone, 1983, 45)

In 1982 Leonard was released as Church Historian and some said that Camelot had disappeared. However Leonard refuses to think of it negatively. He was made director of the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History at Brigham Young University, which carries on many of the research projects started under the History Division. He and Davis Bitton are co-authoring a book appropriately titled: “The Mormons and Their Historians: The Tensions of Religious History.”


Arrington, Leonard J. “Personal Reflections On Mormon History” Sunstone. July-Aug. 1983, p 45

Arrington, Leonard J. “An Interview”. Sunstone. July-Aug 1979 pp 40-41

Arrington, Leonard J. “The Writing of Latter-day Saint History: Problems, Accomplishments and Admonitions”, Dialogue. Autumn. 1981 p 127

Bitton, Davis. “Ten Years in Camelot: A personal Memoir” Dialogue. Fall 1983 pp 9-29

Packer, Boyd K. “The Mantle Is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect” Brigham Young University Studies, 21 no. 3 1981, pp 259-278

Whittaker, David J. “Leonard James Arrington: His Life and Work” Dialogue. Fall 1978 pp 23-32

The author also wishes to thank Mr. Arrington for the time and information provided by phone.

[Leonard J. Arrington, Religious Historian; LJA Diary, 15 Feb., 1987]

Ted Wolff, in the course of talking about something else, said he had had a couple of mystical experiences. I didn’t get a chance to ask him to describe them, but I’ve thought of it since. In The Summing Up, Somerset Maugham related a spiritual or mystical experience he had. Ralph Waldo Emerson related one he had. In the Brigham Young papers is a narrative of one that he had. Charles Callis had one that he told my father about. Harriet has told me about two that she had, years ago. I have never had one of the type usually described, although I had a dream—I guess it was a dream—one night in Milan, Italy, that was so vivid I believed it actually happened, and did believe it until we went back to Milan in 1959, and I then knew it could not have. I think I told you about it one time.

I have had experiences that transported me into a moment of ecstasy, a feeling of exaltation. Experiences of such overpowering feeling that I have always remembered them and savored them. Experiences that did, in fact, alter my life, even if ever so slightly. Examples:

In the summer of 1938, when I was attending summer school at the University of Idaho, I went to a concert by the U. of I. Symphony Orchestra and heard them play Tchaikovski’s Fourth Symphony. It brought inexpressible joy and led to my general appreciation for symphonic music.

In the spring of 1936 I was introduced to Wordsworth’s poetry in a class in Romantic English Literature. I remember the joy that came from reading Wordsworth silently and also orally. I still enjoy “nature poetry.” Having seen the very village where he composed some of his poetry, the countryside, the green hedges bordering the fields, the gentle sloping pastures, I feel a kinship with him.

In 1939, when I was beginning my graduate work at the University of North Carolina, I took time out to read a few novels. One that I read was Green Mansions by W. H. Hudson. The beautiful writing, the images he presented, the portrait of nature in the South American forest, enraptured me; I felt a glow that lasted for days.

In June 1940, when my first year at UNC was over, I hitchhiked west across the southern U.S. Among other places, I was invited to spend a day with Ann somebody who was also a graduate student in economics at UNC. She was visiting her aunt in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I did stop to see her and while there we listened to Churchill’s address over the radio, the one in which he electrified everyone with the following eloquent words:

We shall not flag or fail. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

Another such entrancement occurred when I was in a tent at Ber Rachid, at the POW camp outside of Casablanca in October 1943. I read, almost in one sitting, The Brothers Karamzov by Dostoievsky. One of the great works of all time. It was a transporting experience, and led me to write the eloquent letter which is still preserved in Mamma’s “little box.”

In the spring of 1944 I first heard, in a Soldiers Recreating Center in Tunis, a recording of “Un Bel Di.” My introduction to operatic music and still my all-time favorite aria.

Only one work of art has given me a similar ecstatic experience. In the spring of 1945, in Rome, the Vatican opened its museum of art to the public, and I spent a day there. I have visited many art exhibitions, but the only time I have been moved was on that occasion when I saw Raffaello’s Madonna and Child. It was so beautiful, so inspiring, so exciting, that I have never hesitated to see art exhibits, tho I have never seen anything else that moved me so much.

I’ll just give two more. One was the occasion during the winter of 1946-47 that I attended my first stake conference in Logan—I think Feb. 1947, and joined with others in singing “Come, Come Ye Saints.” I felt like I was part of a heavenly chorus. This was in the Logan Tabernacle.

The final experience I’ll mention is the first sight of our first son, “Jamie” in December 1948. What an incredible experience. An intense feeling of mental and spiritual transport. Life after that was not the same. It was a spiritual experience fully equal, for me, to the visions that others have had of heavenly beings!

[LJA to Children, 5 Aug., 1987]

Maureen Ursenbach Beecher captured this dimension of Leonard very well. She was on the staff of the History Division when Leonard was its director and has written the following: “When, after three years’ employment on Leonard’s staff, I was going to lose my job because I was about to give birth and the policy was then in force against the mothers of small children, he fought a very important bureaucratic battle. On the very day my baby was due, we were both summoned to the employment office to hear the decision in the case. No longer was it the matter of a waiver of policy in my behalf, but we were hoping to alter the policy across the board. The First Presidency had decided in our favor, and in the favor of all married women employees. It would thereafter be women’s own decision whether or not to keep working after having children, and women applying for jobs would not be discriminated by virtue of their motherhood.

“From incidents such as these, I have learned of Leonard’s high conscience, his devotion to principle, his compassion, his warmth and immediate acceptance of all people, his defense of his own against bureaucratic machinations, and the value he placed on personal autonomy, his own and others.”

Leonard exudes energy. How many GI’s during World War II mastered the language of the countries in which they were stationed–a small minority. Leonard’s energy gave him the drive to capture Italian, if not Italy, before he returned to the states following the war. It was the command of Italian that leveraged a Fulbright Lectureship to Genoa later in his career. While in Italy, Leonard did not just lecture, but also published a book and several articles in Italian–all a product of his indefatigable energy and will.

His colleagues in economics, history, the LDS Institute, and elsewhere on campus became his friends. A small group of these colleague friends, including George Ellsworth, Eugene Campbell, and Wendell Rich, met on a regular basis to discuss issues related to economics, history, the West, and Mormon culture. Leonard picked their brains, and they, his. George Ellsworth, in particular, introduced Leonard to the tools and methodology of the historian; and Leonard soaked up ideas like a sponge. Davis Bitton has suggested that Leonard moved rapidly along the spectrum from agricultural economics, to economics, to economic history; and finally, to history per se. 

Leonard, as Institution, derives from his roles as scholar and mentor and finally, as head of the History Division of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Davis Bitton, in his introduction to Festschrift reports that some important reorganization was taking place in the Church Historian’s Office (presumably) in the late 60s and early 70s.

Risking the assertion that I may be assuming the guise of Bob Woodward, I would suggest that a key person in that reorganization was Elder Harold B. Lee. The responsibilities which devolved upon him during this period cannot be overstated. This observation is predicated on my association with him as a nephew by marriage for a ten-year period prior to his death in 1973. 

I was pleased to learn of his appreciation for history. He knew what a great treasure the Church Archives represented. Also, he was clearly cognizant of the rich human resource in the Church’s professionally trained historians.

On several occasions, during that period, I had the privilege of talking to him about the organization and operation of the Church in general, on the role of the Correlation Committee, on the use of consultants in the business affairs of the Church, and on the value of public higher education in the addition to the specific role of Brigham Young University.

Never was I heroic in any of these conversations–certainly not prescriptive, nor even given to suggestion. I was fundamentally a grateful listener.

While he knew I was a colleague of Leonard Arrington, I did not need to inform him of Leonard’s extraordinary accomplishments. I merely confirmed what he already knew.

When Leonard was selected to be the Church Historian, no one had higher expectations and hopes for the office than President Lee; and during his short presidency, President Lee was proud of Leonard and the profile of the new office. 

Douglas Alder, while not part of the History Division, is a professionally trained historian and has been a spiritual fellow traveler with those who were directly involved in the Camelot experiment. He shares my perspective that because of Leonard’s leadership in that important venture and his other inimitable achievements, he has become an institution. Like Lowell Bennion and a few other giants, Leonard is a person for whom no title or office would be an elevation. His name alone stands for an era and a standard. 

“Perhaps Leonard’s major achievement will really be as the entrepreneur of the so-called ‘New Mormon History.’ He generally knows every person in the world who is working on this topic. He shares his files with these scholars, he helps them apply for funds and seek publishers. When Leonard served as Church Historian he sold the Church leadership on the idea of writing the history of the church instead of just collecting documents. He engaged many bright young scholars on fellowships. He helped them start their careers. He encouraged scholars not of the LDS faith to come to Salt Lake and use the archives. He built ties to colleagues in the Reorganized Church who shared the idea of scholarly history. The driving idea of this movement was to use the professional craft of history as taught in the best graduate schools–objective examination and documentary corroboration–to examine the Mormon past. He argued that we had nothing to hide and that casting light on the subject from all directions would benefit in the long run.

“Much continues from the grand experiment of professionalizing LDS Church History from the inside. The Oral History program continues. The Joseph Fielding Smith Institute continues. The historians continue to write. The Mormon History Association continues. And its fine journal continues–under Leonard’s editorship. Especially Leonard continues—firm in his commitment to the two principles of his life, faith and scholarship.”

[Statement at LJA’s Dinner by Stanford Cazier; LJA Diary, 4 Nov., 1987]

The following is a thought on becoming angry that I thought of in High Priest meeting Sunday.

When my father became upset he spit. I saw him do it many times. When a horse fell in the mud and broke his leg, when my brother injured his hand when fixing the cultivator, when the tire of our Model T Ford went flat, when our dog was run over by a passing car—whenever anything terrible happened, Dad didn’t say a word; he just spit.

We had an aunt, Alden’s mother, who, when she was angry (which wasn’t seldom) threw whatever was in her hand against the farthest wall. I was in her house one time when she flew into a rage about something and threw a dinner plate loaded with food; it broke into a hundred pieces and pieces of food were scattered everywhere. Most people say “Dam” or “Hell” or strike out at anybody close. I have seen people slam doors, utter obscenities, and kick out at anything near.

Myself, when I become perturbed, I start to laugh. I have done this for so many years that it has become habitual. It comes automatically. When I spilt milk on the rug the other day, I caught myself chuckling, and laughed because I was laughing about a “disaster.” When I stub my toe against the bathroom door, when I read a stupid letter to the Deseret News, when I misplace a book I need or break a glass, I let out an involuntary chuckle. I suppose if I came home and surprised a thief, I’d let out an involuntary chortle that would perplex him just enough to hold off shooting.

I don’t know how or when I began this habit, but it was a long time ago. Perhaps when I was a teenager. Neither of my parents swore, so I didn’t. It was also bad form to show anger. So I cloaked my unhappy moments in humor. Humor was my armor against hard emotions. If it was a distortion of truth, it was at least a happy escape, not an angry one. And it was better than striking out against an innocent bystander—a spouse, a child, a friend. It was also, as I tell myself, better than my father’s habit of spitting, because I would spend most of my life, not on the land as he did, but indoors at a desk. Can you imagine the comments if I was invariably caparisoned with a spittoon?

[LJA to Children, 9 Dec., 1987]

Dad, I still think you should consider doing a memoir. I think what holds you back is the monumental size of the task. Try a different approach. Do it orally with tapes and an interviewer the way Jung’s, Dreams, Memories & Reflections was produced with his protégé Aneila Jaffe. I fear you are spending precious years organizing the facts of lives so much less interesting than your own. If you don’t leave a frank assessment and summing up and simply leave it as a mosaic to be pieced together than you will have left your great work purposefully undone. Okay, so Charlie Redd was a colorful old coot. Southern Utah is full of them. You stand at the fulcrum of the intellectual mind of a major religious movement and you are letting the dim bulbs of the Quorum define the theology. I think you need to shrug off the traumas and wounds of the end of Camelot and the Hofmann bombing and finish the work.

Your loving son,


[Carl to LJA; LJA Diary, 14 Apr., 1988]

I suppose will heed your suggestion to checkout the LDS ward in the area, but I confess I don’t have great hopes. I’m afraid the combined meeting schedule and the current flavor-of-the-year in Mormon Faith makes me a bit queasy. My feeling is that the Church is as its lowest ebb since 1845. The siege mentality has never done much for the spirit, I believe, whether it was in the Old Testament or the Latter days. It is unbecoming of the Saints, on the other hand, as I inspect the vapid culture I have been re-immersed in, the rituals and ordinances of Mormonism (or Catholicism or Judaism) offer a kind of social antibiotic for what ails us.

Why was your life miraculously spared during the influenza epidemic? Was it to write a history of the Steiner Corporation or Charlie Redd’s biography? I do not doubt the historical value of those worthy projects, but there are others who could do them. And yet there are some projects that only you could accomplish. The most crucial of these, I believe, would be a kind of spiritual autobiography-a story of your faith. As a descendant of Noah, Brigham, Edna and Clio I believe you are in a unique position to fashion a lasting gift for your children (physical, intellectual, spiritual). I believe the Mormon culture is hungry. They need some refreshing water in the baptismal fonts, someone who can properly bless the sacrament, a man with power to name and bless a child. The Army needs a leader with charisma to awaken and mobilize them. I say this not to flatter you, but perhaps to plat a seed. 

Let me make a proposal. I suggest that we do a book together. The project would take the form of a long interview-or a series of interviews conducted in different places. Here is the line-up: 

Chapter One: Twin Falls-This is a natural place to begin for obvious reasons. I suggest that this chapter deal with the issues of childhood, poverty and farming. I think Sue would be a natural interviewer for this segment.

Chapter Two: Moscow, Idaho-This would treat the subject of education and coming of age. Also the issues doubt, camaraderie and faith. Maybe James might accompany you for this portion.

Chapter Three: Arrington Creek, TN and Wake Forest, NC-There we would deal with the family “roots,” the South the Civil War/Civil Rights, courtship, teaching, congregational faith, the Depression. This is a segment I would like to do. I would propose that we drive back along the same route we did in the spring of 1952 when I was a baby and Mom got sick. I think it would make a fascinating journey.

Chapter Four: Northern Africa-This would cover war, separation from loved ones, bravery, correspondence and the Army. I would like to conduct this one, too.

Chapter Five: Italy-This would cover art, ancient civilization, decadence (Pompeii), Catholicism, opera, food, bureaucracy. Carl.

Chapter Six: Logan-Family, child rearing, work, ambition, thrift, research, dedication, community, in-laws, death, hope, sacraments, the mountains, importance of friends. Sue.

Chapter Seven: Palmyra-Faith, visions, mysticism, magic and Mormonism’s beginnings. James.

Chapter Eight: Nauvoo-Community-building, politics, 19th Century culture, polygamy, sacred space, ritual, persecution and succession. James. (Or some historian like Richard Bushman or Paul Edwards).

Chapter Nine: Machu Picchu, Peru-Book of Mormon & Ancient America, Indian culture, transcendence, the New World, prayer. Carl.

Chapter Ten: Salt Lake City-Brigham, United Order, Church government, aristocracy, tragedy, health, honesty, integrity, humility, re-marriage, hope, journalism. Davis Bitton, Daniel Boorstin, Arthur Schesenger, Wallace Steigner.

Chapter Eleven: Berlin-This may seem an odd choice, but I believe this city is a great metaphor for our era. Divided, a tainted past, heroic, a symbol of our post-war world. Carl.

Chapter Twelve: Jerusalem-The Holy City. James, Sue & Carl.

It is an ambitious idea, and I may be impertinent even to suggest such a thing and include myself. The form of the book I have borrowed from Vander Post’s A Walk with a White Bushman which was produced out of a series of interviews with journalist Jean-Marc Pottiez. I have broadened the cast of interviewers because I think it would add breadth to the work and I think it would mean as much to Sue & James as it would to me. I suggest the moveable feast of venues because it has been my experience that geography sparks the imagination and gives fresh breath to the muses by providing new stimuli to the senses.  

Of course I don’t know whether the idea will have any appeal to you. I know you have made certain commitments and a professional agenda of your own. I am prompted to suggest this as a result of several dreams I had earlier this year that I just recently re-read. I also have a growing desire to make a reconnection with my roots: with you, with Mormonism, with the deep spiritual roots that seem to pervade the foundations of my psyche. The story of my own faith is a rich web of mystical enchantment, disappointment, anger, hope frustration, denial. At times I feel like a prodigal son. Part of me feels like a naïve and vulnerable child and another part feels like a wizened old sage. And yet I am neither. I am 32 years older than Alexis and 34 years younger than you.

I have spent much of the past year thinking about Mom. Her looks, her love, her pain, her unrealized ambitions, her legacy. It would be natural to spend some time during the coming year examining your life and experience and how your myth has propagated mine. Perhaps a book, or series of conversations, or a cycle of dreams, or a series of letters—or a combination would forge a kind of father’s medallion that I could keep with me to see me through these troubling times.

Perhaps there remain some embers from Camelot that we could stir and nurture to build a fire for Emily, Rebecca, Sarah, Rachel, Joseph, Susannah Grace and Alexis.

Much love, 

Carl Wayne

[Carl to LJA; LJA Diary, 6 Oct., 1988]

I am glad you have so many pleasant memories of me. I have sorted through the details of enough lives to realize that by almost any standard of measure I enjoyed quite an idyllic youth. Having both parents and a stable family environment alone qualifies as being exceptional in today’s American culture.

But as I have tried to sort out the shape and condition of my character during the past year with the aid of memories, dreams, reflection, analysis and the I Ching, a more three-dimensional view of my personal history has emerged. While there are many happy moments to enjoy, there are also perhaps as many painful and troubling episodes. 

Most of your work as a historian has been done with a reliance on memory through documents and records. The book I have in mind would be a search for meaning based on the sum of your life experience as a scholar, a soldier, a husband, a father, a son, a brother, an elder statesman and friend. In my outline I called it a “spiritual autobiography,” but I use that term in the broadest sense. Not a series of so-called spiritual experiences, but rather a carefully arranged selection of observations and insights. I think my approach would be narrower and deeper than your project with Becky. You might think of it more as a collection of meaningful stories rather than a chronological account of your life. I think you have quite thoroughly sifted your life to provide a dispassionate account of your activities.

For the book to succeed, it would mean putting aside your objective scholar’s mantle for a while and a ready willingness to summon the wisdom of your accumulated life experience. It would require direct and unambiguous language on a broad range of topics on everything from modern art and journalism to an accounting of having your heart by-pass operation. Perhaps you are uncomfortable with this approach because it does not provide a mask of Clio from which one might argue a case. It would be a very personal book. I am quite sure you are capable of all this, but perhaps it does not have much appeal because it is beyond what one normally thinks of as the parameters of normal expression for an historian. Naturally all of your training and skills must be brought to bear in a natural fashion, but here there is a presumption of accumulated wisdom worth passing on to another generation.

I suggest that we let the idea marinate for a while and see if it takes on some kind of life in your psyche, for it is from that basis that it must develop. In the interim, might I suggest you take a look at Van der Post’s White Bushman, The Myth of Meaning by Aniela Jaffe and any of Joseph Campbell’s books on mythology (Hero of the Thousand Faces is probably the most significant single volume.) I still like the idea of going to different places, not because of their historical significance but because of the stimulation that new geography provides. I, too, know that the mind is a great and facile traveler, but the point is not merely to remember and recall, but to find application and meaning from experience.

Anyway, lets let the book gestate a bit and continue our correspondence. That may develop more naturally. As ever, Carl Wayne

[Carl to LJA; LJA Diary, 5 Nov., 1988]

You all seemed to want less news of our doings and more on our thoughts. So here is a thought or two for the week.

First, I have always, or nearly always, been a moderate person, going along with whatever seemed inevitable, not trying to reform anybody or anything, not getting angry or neurotically upset. If you were hoping, by getting me to do more writing about my reactions to events, to get some heated remarks about people and happenings, I’m afraid you will be disappointed. If you expected to get some purple language about current happenings and people we read about or deal with, you will be let down. I realize that this is a defect in my character. I am too accepting, too agreeable, too willing to go along with what others propose, too anxious to avoid a fight. Some persons are born to be mediators; I may have been one of them. My father tended to be one of these, and I may have emulated him. Studying about Jesus tends to reinforce that attitude–at least I have felt that it did. Persons who become angry almost never achieve as much as they think they can. If my writing seems calm and unimpassioned, this is not just the result of studied effort, but my natural tone. There are exceptions, I’m sure, but not often.

Second, as part of the same mentality, I tend to be supportive of existing institutions and traditions. I remember how angry a close friend of ours was about putting Christmas trees in chapels. Christmas trees were a part of pagan rituals in pre-Christian Germany. Being pagan, they shouldn’t be used in Christian worship. This attitude seemed silly. Uncertain or questionable origins do not make existing customs or practices unsuitable or unacceptable. In my historical research I attempt to determine what happened and why, but there is no intention to demean, to condemn, or to render it invalid. I am not interested in proving or disproving as much as making it meaningful, whatever the finding. I try to be creative and responsible, to be constructive in reconciling points of view and differing traditions. I find Mormon history to be rich and colorful, challenging and complex, fully worthy of concentrated study and thought, and a worthwhile vehicle for understanding the world and its people.

Third, and along the same line, I try not to take myself or my work too seriously. This trait, I am sure, comes from my mother. She cried aplenty, I am sure, but most of the time she was cheerful and pleasant. She enjoyed jokes, repeated them often, used them in shutting off argument and disappointment. She could see the humor in words, in situations, in people’s behavior. Folk tradition used to associate red hair with fire–redheads had a fiery temperament, were hotheads. Well, my red-headed mother was not like that at all. She was characteristically laughing, joking, grinning, enjoying. She was the life of every party, a happy, pleasant person–and this with 11 children, of whom 9 were living! She could cut down people who were pretentious and pompous, she did not like snobbish and hypocritical people. Inflated egos did not impress her.

Fourth, and finally, I have tried to do what I thought I should do and not concern myself with matters that were not connected. I am, of course, interested in what goes on around me, but I try not to let these things distract me from the pursuit of “my job.” On July 20, the 20th anniversary of the landing on the moon, I went back in my diary to see what I wrote on that day in 1969. Well, I learned, nothing! I remember very clearly watching the events on television, all of us at home did. We thrilled, we were excited, we were inspired. But no comment on the achievement in my diary. You may be assured, however, that there is a nice diary entry on the date that each of you was born. And likewise one on the date that each of your children was born. “Our” history is fully covered! 

[LJA to Children, 21 Jul., 1989]

I was thinking of things I appreciate in the modern world. I’m one of the few who was a child and youth in a pre-modern world. When I was a child we had horses and buggies, hand plows, horses and wagons. No telephone, no electricity, none had ridden airplanes, and of course no indoor plumbing. Outdoor toilets, wood stove we had to light each morning, water we had to pump from a cistern into the kitchen. No dental hygiene. We all came down, at one time or another, with typhoid, yellow jaundice (hepatitis), red measles, and the older ones with small pox. Marie with scarlet fever. When I was about 12 we had a telephone. When I was about 13 we got electricity. When I was 14 we got a radio. We got our Model T when I was about 4. So I’ve seen a lot of changes.

Things I Most Appreciate in the Modern World

Inventions: The automobile, the airplane, the typewriter, the Xerox machine, the telephone, modern banks, air conditioning, refrigerators, central heating, dental equipment, medical equipment.

Public education: Permitting the children in poor families to achieve and advance in social status. The openness of society to poor, struggling families. The absence of a class society.

Public television stations: So we can get worthwhile nature programs, geographical and historical documentaries, talk shows, news without editorial slanting.

Things About the Modern World that I Don’t Appreciate

Insistence on special rights for criminals, rights which leave them on the streets to continue their predations and harmful activity. It is a shame that many old people live in constant fear of being attacked, robbed.

Environmentalists, by demagogic tactics, are forcing us to avoid projects of benefit to many citizens just so the “wilds” can be protected for the benefit of California millionaires. 

Modern poetry, modern fiction, modern art, modern dance, modem music. Either my upbringing, my age, or my good sense reacts against them. Life is great, people are wonderful, and I find enough enjoyment with the old poetry, the old fiction, the old art, classical dance, and the old music. Let the new reign, but not to my enjoyment. A defect in me, I’m sure.

One other complaint. Why should the wealthy persons in nearly every community be doctors–medical doctors? They don’t work any harder than many of us, they didn’t invest any more in education, they aren’t any smarter. So why should they earn $350,000 a year while the rest of us do well to earn $20,000, $30,000, or $40,000?

I also wish there was less emphasis on sex in the modern world, less litigation, more emphasis on the community and less on individual freedom to do and say what you please, and I with the Tabernacle Choir wou1d occasionally sing “Dixie” along with that Yankee Civil War song “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory.”

Well, those are my thoughts for the week. 

[LJA to Children, 26 Jul., 1989]

My Dislike of Administrative Duties

When I joined the faculty at Utah State Agricultural College and began my program of research in 1946, I decided that I wanted to avoid as much as possible administrative responsibilities. Through the years I was faithful to that decision. On two occasions I turned down the opportunity of being department chairman. I will also confess something I have never told anyone else, that I turned down the opportunity of serving in the Tenth Ward bishopric for the same reason. I do not regret any of these decisions. I enjoyed my research, writing, and speaking, and felt I was making a worthwhile contribution. My work in the USU Stake was really not administration but more speaking, writing (I prepared most of the releases), and interviewing.

When President Tanner asked me to be Church Historian I accepted with the thought that I would research, write, and speak. I left Earl Olsen to do the administering, handle budgets, personnel, and housekeeping. At BYU, as director of the Redd Center, I left Tom Alexander to handle administration. I concentrated on what I could do best and what I thought the Church and the Center needed. Once again, I do not regret this, even though, in afterthought, it might have been helpful if I had created a power-base at the Historical Department that might have been helpful in the long run. Certainly, Elder Durham demonstrated what could be done by using the Historical Department as a power base instead of a center for research, writing, and publishing.

When I was in the USU Stake Presidency, I regarded myself as an adviser. When I was in the Historical Dept. of the Church, I regarded myself as an adviser to the Manager of the Department–Elder Dyer, then Elder Anderson, then Elder Durham. I have been trying to consider the position of adviser–I got into this for the first time when I wrote the biography of Brigham Young–who were his advisers, what functions did they perform, did they change over the years, and so on. I wrote a few pages on this in Chapter 12 of the biography. One might consider various types: pragmatic advisers, analytical advisers, ideological or doctrinal advisers, manipulative advisers, and sycophantic advisers. (I have taken this classification from Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. who wrote of the Jacksonian and Roosevelt eras in American history.) Pragmatists look at each problem and suggest practical ways of meeting them. I personally think I was this type. Analytical advisers look at problems with more depth and consistency and suggest principles to adhere too. Davis Bitton was this kind of an adviser to me when we were in the Historical Department. Ideological advisers, like, say, Orson Pratt under Brigham Young, or Bill Nelson and Roy Doxey to Elder Benson and the Twelve during the 1970s and early 1980s. Manipulative advisers, like John C. Bennett in Nauvoo. Sycophantic advisers who tell leaders what they want to hear, like, say, Wilkinson in the last years of President McKay’s life. Whatever the nature of the advisers, the executive must run the show.

I think of the large number of strong-minded and committed persons held together by Joseph Smith. Reminds one of the group of New Dealers held together by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Joseph Smith was remarkable in being able to retain the loyalty of a large number of able, forceful, determined persons, although, to be sure, he lost some too. He had an interest in almost everything; he tried to maintain contact with almost every field of knowledge. Nothing was beyond his interest or concern. Thus, as it seemed to some of his more strict and Calvinistic followers, he tolerated many things that shocked them; he understood the weaknesses of some of his converts; he put up with bickering and self-seeking. He developed community with many people and groups and was thus a unifying agent for the Church and the Cause. That is why he was a great leader, why the Church lasted so long, why it was ultimately so successful.

[LJA to Children, 28 Jul., 1989]


North Carolina is much nearer to sea level than Idaho, so breathing is a little harder, the air a little more oppressive. During the first fall I was in Chapel Hill; that is, about November 1939, I developed bronchial asthma. Hard to breathe, much coughing, much accumulation of phlegm. I got a fever, pretty bad, and decided to go to the infirmary. The doctor examined me, said I had bronchial asthma, and put me in the infirmary for three or four days. I got over it, went back to classes. Survived the winter in reasonably good shape.

The second year I was in Chapel Hill, in November 1940, I came down with the same thing. Back to the infirmary. Release after three or four days.

I had a few outbreaks again in Raleigh, but nothing serious. Never went to a hospital. But I had some difficulty in breathing. When I volunteered for the air force and for the marines, in the spring of 1942, I was turned down because of problems with asthma. Not serious, took no medicine, but they could hear me breathe with a wheeze when they examined me.

I was drafted into the Army in the spring of 1943. They didn’t give a thrip about the asthma, just took a look through my rear end and couldn’t see my face, so I was admitted.

When I went overseas I had occasional problems with asthma, and went on sick call a time or two in Bizerte, and a time or two in Italy. Upon my return to North Carolina in January 1946 I had problems with breathing and I was discharged with a ten percent disability. This entitled me to a check each month of something like $20. I went to the hospital at Duke, was examined by a doctor. He gave me the asthma test where they treat you for 20 or 30 different things to see what you are allergic to. I proved to be allergic to several things–house dust, ragweed, pineapple juice, orange juice, chocolate, and very allergic to mold–minute fungi. So the warm, damp climate of North Carolina, and perhaps of Bizerte, Milano, and Switzerland, had caused the bad outbreaks of asthma. (I forgot to mention that when I went to Switzerland for that week in September-October 1945 I had a terrible case of asthma; had real problems sleeping and breathing, but survived.) The doctor prescribed hydrillin racephedrine and said I might do better in the West, where it was dryer. I did eliminate orange and pineapple juice, ate chocolate only in small amounts, and, oh yes, avoided cabbage, which was another no-no.

Well, we moved west in the summer of 1946. I had a reoccurrence of asthma in October when the university classes began. Was it due to ragweed, or to the nervous anxiety of meeting classes, or the damp weather, or all three? I went to the Veterans Hospital for an exam, but, in order for my check to be continued I had to take an exam in Salt lake every quarter. That was too expensive, ruined a day when I should be teaching, so I gave up the exams and quit getting the check and haven’t got one since.

In the meantime, I kept taking the hydrillin racephedrine, month after month, year after year. I was in mortal fear of not taking it because I would break out with breathing problems. I gradually resumed eating an orange or drinking orange juice occasionally. I could drink a little pineapple juice or eat two or three halves of pineapples, but no more. I could eat chocolate without problems. Every fall, when school started, the breathing would be worse. The year we went to Italy, I had problems in Genova, and had brought along several bottles of hydrillin racephedrine to take. So no problems.

After our return to Logan, I began cutting down on my pills. Started taking half a pill each night instead of a whole one. By the time we went to SLC in 1972 I was taking only a little part of a pill, perhaps the size of a grain of wheat. I’m sure it didn’t help-just psychological. When we moved to SLC in 1972 I determined to quit taking the pill and did. I kept a bottle just in case, and I did have a few outbreaks occasionally when I did take a pill or two. But I haven’t had any serious problems in several years. No ragweed, no mold, no house dust, no humidity. On my trips to England in 1986 and 1987 I had no problems. I have long since thrown away the remaining hydrillin racephedrine pills. Now, if I get a little breathing problem, Harriet gives me some new pill and it seems to take care of the problem. I would say that I am over the asthma. I do get sore throat easily, do follow it up with sinus infection, two or three times a year, and avoid shrimp, lobster, and crab. Otherwise, completely normal. Whether the years of taking the asthma pill affected my heart or blood vessels, I do not know. Anyway, I’m still alive!

[LJA to Children, 2 Aug., 1989]

As I’ve told you several times, art does not move me like music does. But once, when I was in Italy, I saw a work of art that did move me. It was during the winter of 1944-45, in Rome. I learned that the Vatican had arranged a show, of their finest art-perhaps some that had been brought in from occupied countries. I went through the exhibit for an afternoon, and then was stopped in my tracks by a painting of the Madonna and Child by Rafaello (Raphael). It was a beautiful, moving painting–the equivalent, for me, of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, or a poem by Wordsworth, or Dostoievsky’s Brothers Karamazov. Funny thing, I have gone through various art books with paintings of the great masters, including Rafaello, and I have not seen that same Madonna and Child. Could it be that it was the way it was exhibited that struck me so forcibly? Could it not seem the same reproduced in a book? Could it have been the circumstances-the war, my loneliness, my emotional status–that gave it such an impact? I shall always remember that moment, and it pleases me that, despite boredom with most art exhibits, I could have been so unforgettably affected by that one painting.

To go from the sublime to the ridiculous. One of my vivid memories is the back scratch thing that went on in the days I was growing up. An evening ritual in front of the old oven door was my mother scratching my Dad’s back. In the daytime, my mother would often move over to a door post and rub her back against it with such obvious pleasure. I don’t see this today. Is it because we take showers every morning? Back in the old days we took baths in tubs and we couldn’t scrub our backs. I recall that one of our relatives, I think Uncle Jake, made some backscratchers to give to his friends and relatives, and we got one. My memory is that it was made out of wood, and looked something like a small garden rake, or an enlarged comb with a handle. Move it up and down the back as a backscratcher you could use on yourself. Grunts of satisfaction and pleasure.

One other memory. When we got a telephone–about 1929 when I was twelve–we were attached to a rural line and all of our neighbors were attached to the same line. Only one person could talk on the line at any time. Anyone could hear the conversation of anyone else talking on the line. You wanted to keep up on the local gossip, you just picked up the receiver and listened to what was being said. If one of the women was about to have a baby, someone would inevitably hear the phone call to the doctor and would then notify everybody else. If someone was talking and you were anxious to get the line, you might break in to say, “Mrs. Sackett, I’ve got an emergency, could you finish up in a hurry?” If a young girl had a boyfriend and they were having a little spat, everybody in the neighborhood knew about it and would joke about it behind their backs.

When my Dad was made bishop I was away at college, but I’ve heard him say that he determined to carry on his bishop’s business (that part that involved telephoning) between 5 and 6 in the morning. That way he could get the phone, and that way he would not have any unintended listeners. I’m told that he officially, publicly, told the ward in Sacrament meeting, that if they needed to call him about some private matter, that they do so between 5 and 6 in the morning. The phrase was “listening in.” “Did you have anyone listening in to your conversation?” You could tell when a receiver went up, and sometimes you could tell who it was because some receivers sounded a little different than others–some could be identified. Sometimes you’d lift up the receiver to see if you could get the line, and if you listened a minute or two, Mrs. Sackett might say,

“Mrs. Arrington, would you mind hanging up?” Life in a country neighborhood. In the 1920s and 1930s-and maybe longer. 

[LJA to Children, 6 Aug., 1989]

Yesterday was important in world history—the tearing down of the wall between East and West Germany—the removal of restrictions on leaving East Germany.

I had gone into Harriet’s study to watch the 5 o’clock news, while Harriet was fixing supper. The whole thing came out like the projection of a beam of light, like the news of an important victory for which we all had prayed. I burst out in tears and went in to tell Harriet and could hardly choke it out. It was the first time I had been affected this way since June 9, 1978, when I learned that the First Presidency had announced the revelation giving the Priesthood “to all worthy males.”

So many thoughts run through my mind. My parents, in 1913, decide to leave Oklahoma and take train to Idaho to start a new life. I decide in 1939 to go to North Carolina to work fro the Ph. D. in economics. We go to Italy in 1958 to spend a year on our Fulbright Professorship. We go to Oxford, England, in 1987 for the annual convention of the Mormon History Association. We travel to Alberta and Toronto, Canada, in connection with celebrating the centennial of the Mormon presence in Canada. How much it has meant in our lives to be able to travel—to be able to go somewhere for a worthy purpose, and to go in all innocence and enthusiasm. What it would have meant if we had been prohibited from going.

Brigham Young had sought to establish an independent commonwealth in the Great Basin and he had hoped that few would come in and few would go out. How fortunate that he was disappointed in pursuing that goal! In come the Forty-niners, in come the Federal troops in 1858, in come the California miners in the 1860s and 1870s. And out go the Southern Saints (and others) to California to settle San Bernardino. Out go missionaries and others throughout the 1850s and 1860s. How much richer the Commonwealth by having interchange of people and resources! One cannot develop a people, or a region, without freedom of movement of people and resources. The Berlin wall, the German wall, for twenty-eight years! A whole generation deprived of the wholesome travel and interchange which modern life requires and induces! That the removal of restrictions came as the result of popular uprisings, popular discontent, is itself a stunning development.

It struck me as particularly poignant that word of the announcement was conveyed to the West German parliament when they were engaged in a bitter debate on some aspect of economic policy. The presiding officer read the announcement to the delegates, there was a momentary silence, and then they all, spontaneously, joined hands and arose to sing “Deutschland, Deutschland, uber Alles.” A touching moment to remember. A moment when our humanity unites us to celebrate a great victory for humankind—for our brothers and sisters and for everyone.

[LJA to Children, 10 Nov., 1989]

The new AMERICAN HERITAGE, my favorite magazine except for DIALOGUE, is thirty-five years old. To celebrate, they asked for a number of people to recall moments when they were in the presence of a historical event, even if they did not immediately recognize it as such. The responses were entitled “A Brush with History.” I have tried to think of any events in my life which could be construed as “A Brush with History.” The time I saw Roosevelt and Churchill and Chiang Kai-Shek pass by us in a motorcade in Casablanca when they were attending a summit conference there, I think November 1943? The time I observed Pope Pius XII being carried into St. Peter’s and then administering the Eucharist to attending troops and others in December 1944? The time I was present in the Logan Temple worship room and heard a woman give her testimony in tongues; this was about 1951? Each of us is a child of history and there are brushes that would qualify in our individual eyes, if not in those of others.

My brush with history is having watched the passing of a disappearing style of life. I was 13 before we had electricity. Before that we had lanterns, candles, kerosene lamps, and the light of the fire in the stove. Until I went to college we had a pump in the kitchen, outdoor privy, a washboard for manual washing of the clothes, and weekly baths in a big galvanized tub. No telephone until I was ten, no radio until I was 15, no automobile until I was four, no refrigerator until I went to college. Clearly, the technological revolution that replaced the cellar, the kitchen pump, the woodstove, the kerosene lamp, the outdoor privy, and the horse, had a greater impact on our everyday life than all the Popes, Generals, and Presidents in our history.

[LJA to Children, 29 Nov., 1989]

Do you know how much I owe to you? The phrase I so dislike from Mother’s Day rhetoric suddenly takes on meaning: “All that I am, or ever hope to be. . .” That I am not better than I am is my own insufficiency; that some good has perhaps come of my efforts is due to your example, your gentle guiding hand, your encouragement. You always saw the beauty in whatever flawed work I might produce, and helped me see it, and try again. You were an immovable pillar against which I might press, and press, and press again until I discovered it was I, not you, who saw things blindly.

I have more to learn from you, Leonard. Often I find myself seeing askew, and long for your direction once again, your even temper, your rose colored glasses that see truer than my clear bifocal ones. We at the Smith Institute should be grownups now, marching to our own internal drummers. And for the most part, I guess we are doing all right. But we–I, at least–miss your clarion call.

For what you have been to me, Leonard, I thank you. And praise the Lord that he let me come so long under your influence.

[Maureen to LJA; LJA Diary, 7 Dec., 1989]

When we moved to Logan in 1946 I was “Jimmie” Arrington and remained so for a year or so. Then about 1948, under orders from Dean Wanlass who thought Jimmie was not dignified enough, I became Leonard. My Dad also gave me $20 to go back to Leonard. I began to publish in 1950–really I decided to send articles for publication in 1949, and I went through the process of deciding what to name myself for a by-line. I thought of L. James Arrington, Leonard Arrington, Leonard James Arrington, and Leonard J. Arrington. I finally settled on Leonard J. But not without a lot of thought. I never have rethought the name, but now, when I sign books, I just put Leonard Arrington and I get many letters now addressed that way. I just thought that you ought to know that the way I sign my books and articles did not come automatically. I decided deliberately, and after considerable thought, on Leonard J.

[LJA to Children, 3 Feb., 1990]

Dear Children:

Harriet passed by my study door and said, “I like that tune.” “What tune?” I asked. “Why that tune you are whistling.”

I didn’t know I was whistling. Nor do I know what tune was in my mind. A matter of unconscious habit, I guess.

I began whistling when I was a boy about six. My older brother LeRoy, four years older, whistled away and I tried to imitate him. It seemed eternity before I could whistle satisfactorily, but after that I whistled a lot.

Whistling was common on the farm. Persons worked alone—milking, feeding the horses and cows, taking care of the chickens, picking fruit, weeding beans, cultivating potatoes, chopping kindling wood, and walking to the mile corner to catch the school bus. When I was a teenager I began to be more self-conscious about my whistling. I memorized tunes that I could whistle all the way through. I varied the tone and pace, added trills so I could whistle like a bird. Whistling became a pleasure. When I was in the Seventh Grade someone who had heard me whistle asked me to stand in the wings and whistle like a robin for a high school play. Was I proud? I whistled church songs, Stephen Foster songs, songs we sang in school. (We did not yet have a radio, so no inspiration from that source.)

Out alone in the bean patch, while getting weeds and nightshade, I whistled loudly and nobly to keep myself company—to prevent loneliness. Music always seemed dear to me, and whistling was the simplest way to make it. Unlike singing, it doesn’t presume a well-developed voice, or special training—doesn’t even require knowing lyrics.

In our society girls did not whistle. I don’t know why. Maybe the old saying, 

Whistling girls and crowing hens,

Always come to no good end.

At any rate, I never heard Marie whistle, nor your Mamma, nor my Mom. But LeRoy whistled, I whistled, and I presume my younger brothers did. People today listen to music with headsets, but hardly anyone makes music. Sad.

When people hear me whistle, they often comment, “You must be happy!” Maybe I am. If so, I am always happy, because, as Harriet says, I whistle all the time, or at least much of the time. Mostly without realizing it. A habit started when I was six.

I wonder if you-all whistle and under what circumstances? Is it a satisfying way of giving vent to your feelings? A way of reassuring ourselves as we hear so many non-human sounds around us—cars passing by, airplanes overhead, furnace coming on, a radio blasting away in a neighbor’s backyard? Whistling seems so natural that the Big Game Hunters in prehistoric times must have done it. Robert Frost wrote:

Before man came to blow it right

The wind once blew itself untaught.

Now we can blow it right, but few of us do so. Regrettably, few of us share our moods with others by the simple songs that we whistle.

[LJA to Children, 26 Oct., 1990]

Seven years ago I underwent the heart bypass operation. I still feel good, although not quite as good as the year after the operation. My breath is shorter, and I’m not quite as sharp in my movements. I have not followed the doctor’s instructions very religiously. I exercise, but not as much or as regularly as he recommended. I have gained as least ten pounds in weight, which is a no-no, and I keep working on it to bring it down, but not too successfully. But I lead a happy life, mostly because of the creative work I do writing. I wish I could see you-all more often, but you are all doing well and I am delighted with your own productivity and proud of your work and accomplishments. 

[LJA to Children, 23 May, 1991]

Tomorrow is Harriet’s birthday. She will be 67. In another ten days I will be 74. My health is reasonably good, as is Harriet’s, but I feel all the more keenly the generation gap. In earlier generations, I would have died before this age, and would not have had the problem of facing a world with which I was not comfortable. There are so many things about today’s world that are uncongenial.

Every person must make adjustment to the world in which he lives. Leaning to adapt to the “outside” world of the 1930s, ‘40s, ’50s, and ’60s was not inconsiderable. Poor farm boy to college, college to North Carolina, North Carolina to North Africa and Italy, adjustment to being a professor, moving into the world of scholarship, research, and writing–all of this I have done with the help of my mother and father, your mother, and others. Now that I “have made” it and am ready to enjoy “the world we live in,” it has become a different world. I feel like an alien who no longer has the power or the will to accommodate. I am destined to live in the world of the past–the world that I had become used to.

Many aspects are pure joy. The copy machine, the computer (even if I don’t use it), modern automobiles, the airplane, beautiful books, central heated homes, improved medicine, television, long-distance telephoning–all of this and even more. Somehow or other, however, the world we could have seems to be deteriorating. The disharmonies of modern music, crime, emphasis on sex, modern poetry that doesn’t rhyme or make sense, the self-righteousness of so-called liberals, the litigiousness, the asinine emphasis on “politically correct” thinking on college campuses, the deterioration of “great” magazines like The Atlantic, Saturday Review, and ever the Journal of American History which has been politicized. It’s an alien world out there. You all will feel at home, but I feel increasingly out of it. Age. I’m at the prime of life; but it not only takes longer to get primed, I have also lost the percussion cap, or when I flick it it doesn’t work. Life is not as zesty as it could be. Maybe it’s just that I have been hard at work for a year and have not taken time out to enjoy a new experience. 

[LJA to Children, 21 Jun., 1991]

I’ve noticed something about myself that I have never acknowledged before and is worth mentioning. I like the ordinary things of life to go on and on as they are, even though my intellectual life may be changing all the time. I don’t appreciate surprises in the progress of living. I would go on eating the foods I am accustomed to for years; I would wear the same clothes; I would drive the same car; I would watch the same television shows; would go to bed at the same time; would not vary my lifestyle. I like the furniture to be where it has been. I’m very conservative in my tastes and surroundings. I want things to go on just as they have been.

Yet in my intellectual life I move about easily. It was no great problem to move from chicken-raising to college life, from agriculture to economics, from economics to history, from economic history to social history, from history to biography, from biographies of men to biographies of women. I have conceived of new approaches and new fields and have been (I think) a creative scholar.

Harriet is almost the opposite. She wants to rearrange the furniture, put up new drapes, throws away clothes—not because they’re worn out but because she is tired of them. She’s always trying some new food to cook, some new thing to do. Is always urging me to get a new suit, a new shirt, a new tie, a new pair of shoes. I resist. I want things to go on as they are.

A mother and father quail with nine tiny quail have been spending most of their time in our backyard the past few days. Makes us wonder if the nest was also in the backyard. Perhaps. We found a nest for an earlier group that is now half-way grown was in our south flower patch near the side door of the house. I enjoy watching them, carefully concealed behind a curtain, of course. Nine little ones!

[LJA to Children, 18 Jun., 1992]

Let me start with a comment about the impact of ageing. As one reaches my age one seems to develop a yearning for things that were part of his childhood. This came to my mind yesterday when Harriet brought home a box of Kentucky Fried Chicken. I reached out automatically for the leg bone. When I was a boy, my mother usually had fried chicken for Sunday dinner, and they always gave me the leg bone; this is what a boy should have. When I grew up and had fried chicken I took the white meat breast. That is what my parents ate, and that was what I was supposed to eat as an adult. I ate this for the next fifty years. Now I am back to the stage of preferring the leg bone.

When I was a growing boy we had hollyhocks at the edge of our lawn. They grew and reseeded each year. I didn’t particularly care for them—they were scraggly and ungraceful—scrawny, uneven, ragged. Now all of a sudden, I am wishing we had some hollyhocks. I asked the gardener, three years ago, to plant some. He did, and they didn’t do well. Same two years ago. Same last year. Again this year I asked him to try to make them a success, and he planted a couple of bunches which have done reasonably well. I love them! I have done something similar to get purple lilacs.

[LJA to Children, 11 Jul., 1992]

Things I don’t like about the church

1. The imposition of one pattern for everybody rather than suggesting two or three patterns and letting local wards or stakes or districts follow the one most convenient for them. Examples, the three-hour meeting schedule on Sunday.

2. Appointing the highest tithe payers to positions of leadership rather than the most capable or worthy. In choosing stake leaders, the General Authority comes with a list of the 15 or 20 highest tithe payers and starts down the list to choose a stake president and high council.

3. The maintenance of a disloyalty file on liberals, including articles they’ve written with questionable statements, newspaper clippings. These are used against the person without him or her knowing what is in the file and having a chance to deny it or explain it. The supposition is that liberals are out to destroy or embarrass the church, a supposition entirely false.

4. The insistence on unanimity among the Twelve, which means that the most obstinate member, the one holding out against the rest, wins.

5. The insistence on choosing a new president from the senior member of the Twelve. This means we’ll always have a president far beyond his energetic, creative period of life. We should retire persons from the Twelve at age 75 and never choose anyone over that age to be president of the Church.

6. The First Presidency and Twelve should call a person in to talk with him/her before putting the person on the blacklist, not to be cited, his/her books not to be sold in Church bookstores, not to be allowed to speak in Church, etc.

7. The church should allow historians to present “human” material in biographies of presidents and General Authorities.

8. We should allow women to be associates to the Twelve and sit in on their meetings. The Relief Society president should sit in on bishopric meetings. Mothers should be allowed to stand in the circle to bless babies, confirm newly baptized persons as members of the Church, just as they now can open and close meetings with prayer.

9. The manuals used in adult Sunday School, Priesthood, and Relief Society classes are absolutely hopeless. Using the same gospel doctrine manual every fourth year; the same with Priesthood manuals. Hopeless. Why can’t they assign a skilled and experienced writer to do a new manual every year? 

[Things I don’t like about the church; LJA Diary, 17 Aug., 1992]

Dear Children:

We are sitting here listening to election returns. The polls in Utah have not closed yet, nor have they elsewhere in the Far West, but on the basis of media projections, Clinton is an overwhelming winner. I like George Bush; he is a decent man, was moderate and practical in his policies, and I thought was a fine president. I voted for him because I thought he would be more successful in holding the line against inflation. But “we” did not win, and my big fear in the years ahead is a progressive rise in the general price level. That will surely cut into the value of our savings, small as they are. I predict we’ll have some difficulty making a go of it as we depend more and more heavily on our social security and retirement payments. I don’t suppose that I will get future commissions to write books, and will simply live off a fixed income while prices of things we have to pay for will rise.

Now let me say that I think Clinton will make a good president. I was never impressed with the “character” charges against Clinton. I think that he also is a decent, competent person—just as much as Bush. Who ever cared about the “affairs” of Jefferson, FDR, LBJ, Dwight Eisenhower. Clinton must have real leadership qualities. The people of Arkansas elected him five times, the nation’s governors, both Republicans and Democrats, voted him as the best of them. Clinton is intelligent, experienced in political organization, and is a good American.

[LJA to Children, 3 Nov., 1992]

A personal note. I cannot do as much in a day as I used to do. Working on the Idaho and previous projects, I could turn out five to seven pages a day. But no more. Three to four pages is about the limit. My typing is not as accurate, I sometimes have to stop and look up names, and, though I am still imaginative and creative, the result is more modulated, less sharp. I suppose this is partly due to ageing and partly to being more resigned, less intense. 

[LJA to Children, 5 Mar., 1993]

As a part of my Hawaiian preparation, which incidentally, has now been set for the last week of May, I was reading Lowell Bennion’s essay on “The Things that Matter Most.” For me they are: personal integrity, Christian love, and exercising one’s opportunities to be creative.

[LJA to Children, 25 Feb., 1994]

I’ve had telephone conversations with all of you, but ought to record for the record my angiogram last Tuesday. I went to the hospital at 6:30 am, LDS Hospital. They gave me various tests and questionnaires for an hour and a half, then upstairs for the operation. They cut into a vein in my thigh and put dye into my bloodstream and took pictures of it as it flowed toward the heart. Took about ¾ of an hour or so. Then back to my bed where I had to lie still on my back for 6 (repeat 6) hours! Harriet had come with me and was present to hold my hand, bring me water, bring me the urinal, and other necessaries. After the six hours they got me up to walk around and be sure of no bleeding. Well, none. Everything o.k. We waited and waited for Dr. Preece to come and give us the verdict. He finally came at 6:15 pm.

Dr. Preece said that a main artery to the heart, one that had been a by-pass ten years ago, is gone. Occluded. Also a diagonal artery is 80% occluded. This accounts for my occasional chest pain and arm numbness when exercising. They can’t use the balloon treatment, because they’re by-passes. They don’t like to consider operating because of my age and my diabetes. He suggested two medicines to take daily: Norvasc, a pill that is supposed to help the blood move to the heart; and a blocker that is supposed to cut down on chest pain, if any. Presumably I’ll be taking them the rest of my life.

Since Tuesday I’ve done a little walk each day, but not uphill and not very far—maybe half a mile. No chest pain, but still some numbness in my arms. I guess that is to be expected. The Doc said to go about all my business, work and play, pretty much as before. Said I am not in serious condition, not really dangerous. But be cautious and keep taking my medicine. He also gave Harriet and me a further caution about what we eat—don’t eat bacon and fatty foods; eat lots of fruit and vegetables and breads. So my diet is going to be a little more limited than before. We asked him about going to Hawaii. He said, “Oh sure!”

So the news is basically good—could be worse—but cautionary. Good thing we did the angiogram. Now we know what we’re up against. I suspect I’ll live at least two or three more years, which ought to enable me to finish a couple of more books. I want to finish Alice Merrill Horne, and Madelyn Silver, and maybe the economic programs of the New Deal in Utah in the 1930s. The only one that will pay anything is the Silver book, so our income is going to be less, but we’ll have enough to make out unless our medical and dental bills become excessive. 

[LJA to Children, 8 May, 1994]

Perhaps its age, perhaps nostalgia. I’ve been thinking of some of the things I miss from my youth.

1. The excitement in the spring of going out to the garden and planting radishes, lettuce, carrots, beets, and other vegetables. In a few days we see them poke thru then in a few more days they’re ready to eat. How exciting to eat them. We’d look forward to them since the summer before. Now, you can go to the store and buy radishes, lettuce, carrots, and beets anytime of the year. Nothing exciting to look forward to or to look back upon. I guess Susan & Carl still go thru this excitement.

2. The family get-togethers (our family was enough) around the piano. Mom played the piano while we sang folk songs from the old hymn book. “Old Black Joe,” “Old Folks at Home,” “My Old Kentucky Home,” “Carry me Back to Old Virginey,” “Roll, Roll, Roll Your Boat, Gently Down the Stream.” There must have been others, but those are the ones I remember. Now, the family heads for the TV set and watches whatever is watched. 

[LJA to Children, 18 May, 1994]

Remarks on the occasion of a program and dinner honoring Leonard and Harriet Arrington, August 23, 1994, at the Marriott Hotel in Salt Lake City.

by William Mulder

Leonard, it must be more than forty years since I enjoyed your hospitality in Logan after that Academy symposium on Mormon culture and we put our heads together in your kitchen, planning future forays into regional history and sipping the fruit of North Carolina’s scuppernong grape you kept on a high shelf in the cupboard out of reach of the children.

[Remarks by William Mulder; LJA Diary, 23 Aug., 1994]

I feel good, usually, but can’t concentrate on my work for long. I like to get up and walk around, fix myself an apple or eat some Graham crackers or drink some apple juice or apricot juice. I end up putting in four or five hours a day of work. I take a nap every afternoon except when we are on trips, and usually get 7 to 8 hours sleep each night. I get up an average of three times a night. I enjoy watching Nature, Nova, and Mystery on TV. Oh, yes, Matlock, and I think I’ve seen all of his and some twice or even three times. If they eliminate federal support of PBS, as Newt Gingrich insists, it will be a low blow to people like myself who can’t stand the usual commercial TV fare. 

[LJA to Children, 19 Feb., 1995]

Some people have told me that I keep my health, mentally and physically, because I keep working–writing, plus presumably the walking. I do feel good most of the time. I keep hearing of others–it’s golf or tennis or fishing or boating or traveling. Let me make a confession. I have played golf only once–when I was a junior at the University of Idaho when George Tanner took me with him to play. I have seen one hockey match–one in the indoor stadium in Kansas City in 1934 when I was at the FFA Convention as a high school junior. I have never seen a professional boxing or wrestling match. I have never been fishing since I was 9 years old when I went with Cousin Alden to Rock Creek near where we lived when Dad was on his mission. I have never seen a professional baseball game since I was nine when Dad was on his mission. Twin Falls used to have a professional baseball team and they played in a stadium behind Uncle Jake’s store. Uncle Jake used to sell pop drinks and he would pay me 1 cent a glass for every one I found and brought back to him. I’d make a little spending money. And I watched the game and had in mind becoming a bat boy for the team. But then, of course, Dad came home from his mission and I never went to another game. 

Love to all of you,


[LJA to Children, 21 May, 1995]

I got to thinking–what were important differences between our life 60 and more years ago and that for young people today. Here are some I could mention.

1. We had absolute security of person. No muggings, no drive-by shootings. No public graffiti. No drug problem. No rapes. Well, maybe not absolute, but that’s the way we felt, and it was nearly so.

2. Our talk was not always grammatical, and filled with localisms, but hardly any expletives. Dirty language was rare, at least in public.

3. We were pretty much all “poor” by government standards. Nearly all either from the farm or a rural town. And our class seems to be today pretty equal in income and wealth. We had one classmate who hit it lucky on a venture, but he died of alcoholism. Some have sizable acreages out in Jerome or the Salmon Tract but they are land poor. Until they sell it, they’re just as poor as the rest of us.

4. I was surprised that all of us—we’re all 78—looked pretty healthy. None of us walked with a shuffle or were bowed down. Once was in a wheelchair, but he looks healthy. Nobody yet slurring their speech. We heard of a couple classmates with Alzheimer’s, but they didn’t come. Only one had no children. All married. Some have dozens of grandchildren and one has 18 great grandchildren. Possible? Anyway, he says so. He won a prize at our reunion. Another won a prize for the most hair. The prize for farthest away went to Helenita Smith Choat who lives in Arkansas.

5. I think 3 of us are LDS; no conversions during all these years. Virtually all are Protestants. Several had read or read parts of my Idaho history. At least two class members looked exactly like the way they looked 60 years ago. Several looked to see if I was still wearing a chicken ring.

6. Transportation and communication so much better. We used to ride to work or anywhere on horses and in Ford tin lizzies. No more! And we have TV!

[LJA to Children, 17 Jul., 1995]

Dear Children:

I just had a thought and will write it down now. From as early as I can remember I had a positive attitude toward people. I had confidence in them, trusted them, felt goodwill toward them. I had a positive attitude toward life as well. Felt cheerful, confident, and expected things to work out well. My obligation was to work hard, plan well, exercise good control over myself, and treat people well. My job as a teacher was to help people understand things; once they understood, they would do the right thing.

This attitude was bolstered by Mormonism. Man was a potential god. A child of God with good qualities and the capability of extraordinary goodness.

This optimistic theme is found in my papers at the U of I and UNC, and in my speeches at USU. I had the same optimism in World War II and during my years at USU. The student revolts of the 1960s, during the Viet Nam War, took away some of this optimism. Students kidnapping professors, burning books, barring doors to university classrooms, setting fire to laboratories, and so on. It seemed that there was a streak of orneriness in the human spirit. But it seemed like a temporary thing. We got over it, or so it seemed.

What is going on today appears to reveal that our hallowed tradition of tolerance has turned into something opposite. The secularist attitude partakes of the same arrogance, irrationality, and intolerance that characterized the religious inquisitors of the Middle Ages. Secularism is something like a faith with a passion for certainty. There are the same assumptions and attitudes held by the Puritans toward deviance, sinners, and rectitude. They are the kind of people who massacred the Huguenots. They refuse to listen to speakers they disagree with, interrupt speakers with vegetables, catcalls, and epithets. They stage protests, bar people from entrance to auditoriums.

Where is the tolerance for different ideas? After our experience with Stalinism, Nazism, Fascism one would think people had learned something of human fallibility, of humility, of the human capacity for error. Clearly, fanaticism, long associated with religion, is now a characteristic of secularism. Clearly, its roots are deep in human nature.

I wrote this last Dec. Don’t know why I didn’t mail it. I send a copy along for your information. 


Sent 6 Nov. 1996

[LJA to Children, 12 Dec., 1995]

Since I want Susan, along with James and Carl, to be among my pall bearers, I just thought of a story I once heard of an aged woman who had never married. She left instructions for her funeral service, insisting that there be no male pall bearers. She gave the reason: “They wouldn’t take me out when I was alive, and I don’t want them to take me out when I’m dead!”

[LJA to Children, 9 Mar., 1996]

I feel grateful to be in good health at age 80. I have diabetes, irregular heart, very high white blood count that borders on leukemia, prostate cancer, and high blood pressure. Anyone of these could do me in. And yet here I am, enjoying life, writing books, enjoying children and grandchildren, and doing interesting things with friends. The Lord is blessing me, even if there is no reason to deserve it. I thank all of you for coming up for my birthday dinner. It was wonderful, and you are all wonderful children. May the Lord bless you!

[LJA to Children, 4 Jul., 1997]

I mentioned in my last letter that I was working on the photos and captions for my memoir. Susan wrote back in a nice letter that came today asking what it was. So let me make sure you all understand. The memoir is entitled Adventures of a Church Historian. It is concerned mostly with my experiences as Church Historian, 1972-1982. But there are chapters on my early life, on my early research and writing, on my work at USU and USU Stake, and on my work since 1982. It was read in draft form by Davis Bitton, Ed Kimball, Armand Mauss, and by Jan Shipps. And Carl had a brief crack at it a year or two ago. It’s about 450 pages long. I have tried to be discreet and kind, but it is honest, and some people will think it tells things that ought to remain under cover. Illinois Press expects to have it out next fall. Their editing job is superb. There’s a certain risk in publishing it, but I am 80, so now it is now or never. 

[LJA to Children, 19 Sept., 1997]

David Whittaker

Dear David:

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for that nice letter of 22 September. You are more than kind and generous.

But I need to make a confession to you. Over the years I have struggled to write a memoir of my experiences, and it is now accepted by University of Illinois Press and scheduled for publication next September, a year from now, under the title Adventures of a Church Historian. This is for your information, but not to be spread around. You can understand why I wouldn’t want word of this to reach certain people.

The book is honest but discreet. There are heroes: Presidents Tanner, Lee, Kimball, and Alvin Dyer and Joseph Anderson. There are also others who are not heroes but treated fairly and with good taste, I hope: Elders Benson, Petersen, Stapley Packer, and Durham.

I make this confession because some will not think this a “Christian response.” Maybe I should never talk about our experiences. Maybe it should all be hushed up. Maybe it was of Church history that should be overlooked.

Anyway, I wanted you to know in advance and not make a judgment about my “Christian response” until the work comes out. 

As ever your friend,


[LJA to David Whittaker; LJA Diary, 24 Sept., 1997]

Dear Children,

Here is my reasoning out, with some assistance from the source noted of the perennial problem of philosophy. This is the sermon for the day!


[LJA to Children, 16 Nov., 1997]

As we think about life and living, we are faced with the problem of evil. We believe God to be all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good. So how can the world be full of evil? We look at our morning or evening newspaper and read of many examples of suffering. In Africa, armed peoples are stealing food from their starving neighbors, some of whom are dying by the thousands. In Bosnia we read of Muslim women and girls, some as young as ten years old, being raped and tortured by Serb soldiers. In India, Hindus went on a rampage that razed a mosque and killed over 1,000 people. The tobacco companies are trying to defend themselves from charges that they engaged in a campaign to induce young people to smoke. A high school principal is indicted on charges of molesting elementary and middle school boys over a period of 20 years. A man is charged with killing a 4-year-old girl. One could go on–assault, murder, greed and exploitation, war and genocide. Everywhere there are people who are suffering. The author of Ecclesiastes says: “I observe all of the oppression that goes on under the sun; the tears of the oppressed with none to comfort them; and the power of their oppressors, with none to comfort them. Then I accounted those who died happier than those who are alive and still have lives to live.” (4:1-2)

We shake our heads sadly or angrily and then go about our business. We work hard, worry about our children, help our friends and neighbors and look forward to birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas dinners. There is health and strength in our ability to overlook the evil we see. Our good cheer makes us hearty and fit.

Some people believe that evil can be eliminated; that we can set up a better society by reforming, by removing the human defects that produced the evil in the first place. The Communist social experiment was a sad example of this approach to evil. Others tried in early America to set up little ideal communities in what we call the communitarian movement. Ecclesiastes summed up the prospects of these idealistic movements and was skeptical: “I have seen everything that has been done here under the sun; it is all futility and a chasing of the wind. What is crooked cannot become straight; what is not there cannot be counted.” (1:14-15) Ecclesiastes went on: “I applied my mind to study and explore . . . all that is done under heaven. It is a worthless task . . . I applied my mind to understanding wisdom and knowledge, madness and folly, and I came to see that this too is a chasing of the wind. For in much wisdom is much vexation; the more knowledge the more suffering.” (1:13, 14, 18) But this, he goes on to say, is pathological. You have to live with hope, with belief in goodness, with expectation that things will turn out all right. As he says: “Eat your food and enjoy it; drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has accepted what you have done . . . Enjoy life with a woman you love all the days of your allotted span here under the sun, for that is your lot” (9:7,9)

We all seem to have an intuitive ability to recognize things that are evil—a feeling that is beyond reason and memory and perception. We have been taught many things, what is ordinary wrongdoing and what is the better thing. But we have an intuitive recognition of real wickedness and real goodness. They are something more than something we have learned. Loud music in a neighboring house is one thing, but consider the story from Bosnia. A young Muslim mother was repeatedly raped in front of her husband and father, with her baby screaming on the floor beside her. When her tormentors finally tired of her, she begged permission to nurse the child. In response, one of the rapists swiftly decapitated the baby and threw the head in the mother’s lap. This is a different degree of evil. It fills us with utter revulsion–almost disbelief.

This intuitive faculty also discerns goodness. We recognize acts of generosity, compassion, and kindness without needing to reason it out. And when the goodness takes us by surprise, we are sometimes moved to tears by it. We are watching a movie, or a TV show, or reading a biography or a novel, a magazine article or the newspaper. When Becky Bartholomew and I were reading about the activities of the young men who went back to save the suffering handcart emigrants in November 1856, we followed their preparations, their journey–all this was history. Then we learned what the men did to rescue the emigrants–holding them in their arms to cross icy waters, giving to them the food they needed for themselves, wrapping cold bodies with their own overcoats—as we read, we were overcome by emotion and we sobbed. This kind of goodness is as different from ordinary goodness as real wickedness is different from ordinary wrongdoing. We weep when we are surprised by true goodness. It must affect us the same way as seeing true beauty—beauty in nature, beauty in art, beauty in music. This kind of beauty appeals to our highest and deepest instincts. As Plato said, the beauty we enjoy is a shadow or image of divine beauty. True goodness is a gift of God, or a reflection of Him. The psalmist tells us to taste and see that the Lord is good.

Our taste of true goodness opens our hearts, calls us to serve, gives us an insight to God. Although we are fully aware of evil, we are comforted by the existence of God. Ecclesiastes is not depressing but deeply comforting. Job was afflicted with torments. He prayed and prayed and asked God why. In the end he was comforted. He said to God, “now I see you.” It means all the world to us to know that we are in the arms of a God who is truly good. We see evil. Suffering remains painful, violence and greed are execrable. We try to lessen the misery of others, and our own troubles continue to torment us. We do not know why God permits evil–some of the possible reasons are scrutinized in the Book of Job, which suggests that God created a world with free creatures and is thus limited by their willfulness. But knowing that God is always there permits us to have peace and joy. Like a woman in childbirth, as Paul says, we feel our pains of the moment, but they are encircled by an understanding that brings peace and joy. (I Tim. 2:15) As Ecclesiastes said, “Go eat your bread in gladness, for your action was long ago approved by God.” (9:7) You may be at peace with yourself and your world regardless of the ghastly evils that exist.

As we are moved by goodness, we want to ally ourselves with it, to diminish the evils of the world, to alleviate suffering. Those who love God ?. The love of God, as John says, gives us compassion for the world’s needy. (3:17) James says that true religion is visiting the fatherless and the widows in their affliction. (1:27) The suffering ones are in the hands of a God who is truly good. The Psalmist says, “I am calm and quiet like a weaned child clinging to its mother,” (131:2) A child being weaned cannot understand the evil of its weaning. What he wants is right there and he wants it very much. But in his thrashing about he sees his mother, he feels her love for him, he senses her goodness, and ends up trusting her. He ends up being weaned and resting peacefully by her side.

Habakkuk had this kind of temperament. He began his book by declaring: “How long, Lord, will you be deaf to my plea? ‘Violence,’ I cry out to you, but you do not come to the rescue. Why do you let me look on such wickedness, why let me see such wrongdoing? Havoc and violence confront me, strife breaks out, discord arises. Therefore law becomes ineffective, and justice is defeated; the wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.” (1:1-4) After describing an agricultural disaster, the worst imaginable, Habakkuk ends his book with:

The fig tree has no buds, 

the vines bear no harvest,

the olive crop fails,

the orchards yield no food, 

the fold is bereft of its flock, 

and there are no cattle in the stalls.

Even so, he concludes, “I shall exult in the Lord and rejoice in the God who saves me. The Lord God is my strength.” (3:17-19)

[On the Existence of Evil; LJA Diary, 16 Nov., 1997]

When I was a senior at the University of Idaho my advisor, Dr. Graue, suggested I take some philosophy from C. W. Chenoweth, an old-time philosophy lecturer and teacher. I took two courses from him and at least was introduced to the literature. I remember writing one paper for him in which I expressed the view, which he himself believed, that if people were rationally persuaded of the moral rightness of a thing, they would act upon that knowledge. The developments in the world since then have dented that idealistic belief: ruthless competition in the business world, conflicts of race and nationality, the human hostility, self-interest, and prejudice. The life of reason is still the desirable goal, but to expect it of people generally is beyond reality.

My study of history, however, has not made me pessimistic. The human capacity for moral grandeur is unquestionable. The lives of good people–the heroes and heroines. Maybe not in the vast majority, but there. Lots of good role models. Lots of people we are grateful for. The ordinary social relations fostered in colleges, grade schools and high schools, in study groups, in neighborhoods. Lots of selfless people. The life of reason is still possible!

[LJA to Children, 2 Jan., 1998]

Do you remember Zorro? We used to watch it in our Pasadena house in 1956-57. And I enjoyed it, and think you did too. Never saw it again after coming to Utah, nor even the year we were in Pacific Palisades in 1966-67. Anyway, I was watching the Disney Channel for a moment on cable TV and suddenly comes on the Zorro half-hour. Not only the handsome, secretive effective and compassionate Zorro, but also the big fat Sergeant Garcia, the deaf and dumb assistant, always loyal, a beautiful senorita who needed help, and her respected father. Zorro finally disposes of the villains and everything turns out fine. I enjoyed it and will look for other Zorro programs. Now if I could only find a Hogan’s Heroes and McHale’s Navy my life would be much richer. 

[LJA to Children, 9 Jan., 1998]

Dear Children:

At the last Tabernacle broadcast, the speaker of “The Spoken Word” talked about, “an ordinary day.” This inspires me to talk about my ordinary day. I think I have never written it out. 

I wake up usually around 7:15 or 7:30. Head first for the bathroom. Then to my study to pick up the house keys. Stop on the way to change my little desk calendar to the new day. Then to unlock the side door, then the front door. I open the front door and pick up the morning paper, The Salt Lake Tribune. Then adjust the thermostat to turn on the furnace. 

Next go to the strawberry room and pull the drapes and get water for Whitney and make sure he has plenty of birdseed. Then to the dining room and pull the drapes. I spend a minute looking out. I see daffodils shedding their pretty yellow color. Purple crocuses. Primroses. Pansies that have lasted through the winter and are now blooming. Buds on the bushes and trees. As I look, I see a little finch fly by, then a robin. The lawn is almost green.

As I head for my study to read the paper I hear Whitney start singing. A pleasant sound. I suddenly remember I have to check my sugar, so I head for the table and take out the set for testing. This morning it is 130, which is a little higher than usual, so I get out the insulin and needle and give myself a shot of 54 units. I go back and read the paper—takes all of 10 minutes. Then to the kitchen to squeeze an orange or two, add some cranberry juice, and take my 4 morning pills: one for cholesterol, one for heart, one for thyroid, and one to drain water from my lungs if any has accumulated through inadequate heart functioning. Then get some dry cereal and have a bowl. Occasionally Harriet will fix some oatmeal or pancakes or fried eggs with fried potatoes.

Some mornings, after breakfast, I’ll head out walking. Perhaps to the grocery store for a few things that I’ll carry home. Sometimes around the block. Sometimes some errand—to the copy stop, the bank, the library, or post office. Sometimes a book report on cable TV. I shave and brush my teeth. Then sit down at my desk to read or write or edit or write checks or whatever.

Listen to the 12pm news broadcast and eat lunch. Then listen to Matlock if it’s one I haven’t seem more than once. Then a brief nap. Then a little walk and then back to the desk for reading, writing, or editing until 5 pm. Then I listen to the national news, get my shot, and eat supper. In the evening, watch TV if anything interesting. If not, back to the desk for anything urgent. Watch Dick Van Dyke at 10:30, then head to bed. An ordinary day with some beauty, some enjoyment, some sense of accomplishment, some enjoyment of creature comforts. Above all, Harriet is around usually—not always, but usually. No sense of loneliness or frustration or sadness. That is, unless there is!

Ordinary life is a mixture of pleasant aromas, pleasant sights, pleasant sounds, pleasant thoughts, and pleasant experiences. That is, ordinary life. There might occasionally come sadness, or unpleasant sounds, aromas, or experiences. But then it would not be ordinary.

[LJA to Children, 30 Mar., 1998]

The third and fourth volumes of the BYU history will be distributedtomorrow and I was busy last night and today signing slips of appreciationto be placed in each volume. These slips carry the signatures of Dr. Wilkinson,myself, and Bruce Hafen. I said to Bruce that I thought this was one of thegreat histories of an American college. He said, “I agree, it is probably thegreatest history of BYU. At least I hope it is good enough to pass theembarrassment test.”

Nedra went to get me a can of Coke to keep me awake while I was signingthe slips. She avoided the very appearance of evil, however, by bringing itin a brown bag. It did manage to keep me awake.

[LJA Diary, 21 Oct., 1976]

The proximity of the election this year reminds me that I have never setdown my preferences and participation in prior elections.

The county I was brought up in, Twin Falls County, was solidly Republican.Many of the settlers were from Kansas and Nebraska, which were Republican because they were still voting for Abraham Lincoln. Idaho had no large cities,which were traditionally Democratic. Idaho had few settlers with ancestors who were from the Democratic planter aristocracy of the South. Idaho Democrats were not substantial citizens, viewing the matter from our perspective. Theywere labor agitators, ambitious lawyers, anti-Mormons, extremists, of varioustypes. The Arrington household was not a political household. I do not everrecall my father discussing politics, nor my mother either, for that matter.I recall Grandfather Arrington (Lee) getting excited over the Townsend Planduring the l930s, when it enjoyed wide vogue among old folks, but we alllaughed at him and his dream of $200 a month, and we thought his attractionto the plan was irrational and a sign of senility. I guess it was simply understoodin Twin Falls County that solid, thinking right-hearted and right-minded peoplewere Republicans. Nearly everyone was, so no arguments. I assume I had all ofthe prejudices and convictions of these people as I was growing up.I recall the favorable press of Coolidge and Hoover; the Twin Falls News, to whichwe subscribed, was solidly, if too obviously mid-western, Republican. The TwinFalls Times was Democratic, but it had a far smaller circulation, and only city people read it seriously.

The first election I recall was 1932, when Hoover and Roosevelt were pitted

against each other during the worst winter of the depression of the 1930s. Ourpaper was solidly pro-Hoover, and published Literary Digest figures provingthat he was solidly backed by the nation. Moreover, he was backed byexplicit statements of President Heber J. Grant, which were given good playin the papers. Roosevelt was an easterner, a big-city, Tammany-contaminatedcandidate, and he was for repeal of Prohibition. The choice for Hoover was a clear one.

The election of 1936, when I was a sophomore at Moscow, was again clear in

all our minds. Landon was a farmer, a Westerner, represented solid ruralvalues of thrift and self-reliance, hard-work ad honesty. I am sure, if I hadbeen old enough to vote, I would have voted for Landon. My hero was Borah, aRepublican Senator, and I would have preferred him to Landon, but Landon wascertainly preferable to Roosevelt according to my thinking of the time. 

During the campaign of 1940 I was in North Carolina, although the summercampaign of that year occurred while I was back in Idaho. I was now old enoughto vote, but I do not recall that I did. I was not registered in N. C., and doubtthat I could have voted there if I had tried. And I don’t recall going to thetrouble of registering and voting by mail in Idaho. I was thrilled bythe campaign by Wilkie, and was attracted to him. At the same time, I hadattended some talks in N. C. which were strongly Democratic and pro-Roosevelt.N. C. was perhaps the most solidly pro-Roosevelt in all the South and perhaps inall the nation. And I was influenced by that exposure. Frankly, I don’t knowhow I would have voted if I had taken the trouble to ballot by mail. I read Time, which was very pro-Wilkie; but I also read N. C. papers, which werepretty solidly pro-Roosevelt.

By the time of the next election, 1944, I was overseas in North Africa.

The Army newspaper, THE STARS AND STRIPES, carried on a campaign to educatethe troops in voting. Soldiers should vote, precise editorials and news storiestold us how to cast absentee ballots, and I recall getting an absentee ballotfrom Idaho and voting in that election. Most of my tentmates did the same. Weall voted for Roosevelt, of course. So my first vote in presidential election was for Roosevelt. And I was proud of it and have never regretted it.

The election of 1948 occurred while Grace and I were in Logan. Logan, again,

was Republican territory. Although it had given Roosevelt majorities during theNew Deal period, it had gone back to Republican at the end of World War II. Duringthe 1946 elections for Congress, Cache Valley and Utah had elected Republicans toCongress and to other offices. I recall in private conversations “talking up”the Dixiecrats, and have a recollection of being part of a team of three people whogave presentations before some civic groups and public meetings, one (WendellAndersen) representing the Democrats, another (don’t recall who) representing theRepublicans, and myself speaking up for the Dixiecrats. That was a lot of fun, andnot at all serious. It gave me a chance to make fun of some of the Republicanand Democratic claims and to make a few points for conservative Democrats. Whenit came to the election, Grace was strong for Truman, I decided to vote forDewey. I don’t know why, except I had no particular appreciation for Truman,and Dewy seemed to be a reasonably responsible person. After the election,Grace crowed that she had voted for the “right” one, and I guess she did.

The 1952 election was between Eisenhower and Stevenson. Grace and I were

both very much influenced by the eloquence and wit of Stevenson. Despite my basic loyalty to Eisenhower as General of the Armies, and my belief that he wassuperior to both Dewey and Truman, I voted for Stevenson as the more intelligentand exciting. I thought he would be a great president, and still think so.

The 1956 election was a sort of replay, and I voted for Stevenson again. In the 1960 election between Kennedy and Nixon, we were solidly forKennedy–more intelligent, more resourceful, less deceitful, represented more ofthe values we held out for. The 1964 election was between Johnson and Goldwater, and we voted for Johnson. We thought Johnson was a clever and farsightedpolitical leader whose influence was to unify the nation and resolve differencesin a reasonable and justifiable manner. We considered Goldwater to be a die-hard,dogmatic conservative-too conservative to look after the best interests of thenation. In 1968 we voted for Humphrey over Nixon, or at least Grace did. Shenever did like Nixon. Grace remembers that I voted for Nixon this turn around, and I may have done so. But I cannot imagine it now. In 1972 I am sure that I voted for Nixon in preference for McGovern. My recollection is that Gracedid not like either candidate and did not vote for President. But she mayhave voted McGovern. As I mentioned, she never liked Nixon and always votedagainst him when he was on the ballot. She was right, of course, even ifher reasons for disliking him were not always rational.

Throughout most of my adult life, I have listed myself as an Independent; that is, I have never listed myself as a Republican or Democrat, or whatever.When people have asked me my politics, I have said independent. I have alsobeen basically apolitical in public stance. I have steered clear of partisanpolitics as a professor and as a writer. I do not think any person could determine how I have voted or would have voted on the basis of my writings. I havenever attended a precinct meeting nor any political convention; I have nevercampaigned for any person with the exception to be noted below; I have never made any contributions to candidates except to be noted below and an occasionalfriend running for office to whom I sent $10. And I have never voted a straightpartisan ballot. In every election I have voted for both Republicans andDemocrats. And never for one of the third parties. I have tended to vote forthe man rather than the party or its platform on the theory that the platformis something to get in on and not something to pay any attention to after the election is over. I have thought political campaigning was inconsistent withmy attempts to stand as an objective historian or economist, non-partisan andunaffiliated. I still believe that.

There is one campaign I was a party to. I don’t recall the year–perhaps1968. Anyway, Franklin Gunnell was running for a fifth or sixth term in theUtah House of Representatives and there was not a strong Democrat runningagainst him. People had become disgusted with Franklin, with his ambitionto be Governor, his ambition to make some money, his disregard of localinterests and feelings to make political deals to his personal benefit. A group of as also knew some things about his private life which disgusted us. His disregard for the feelings of his wife and family as he ditched his wife andtook up with a Salt Lake City secretary. We also had evidence of fraud. Atany rate, a group of us agreed to sponsor Charles (Chick) Bullen as a write-incandidate. Chick is a Republican, had the backing of some Loganbusiness groups, and of some university and church groups (though he is nota strong churchman). I served as one of his backers, allowed my name to beused as such, made some contributions to his campaign. It seemed an impossibility–it had never been done before–but he won the election with a healthymajority over Gunnell. I was proud of my role in that campaign, and regardedit as nonpartisan and progressive. Chick served two or three terms in theHouse and is now almost certain to be elected to the State Senate replacinghis cousin, Reed Bullen. He is intelligent, energetic, and reasonable. Hispolitical activity has justified our confidence in him.

[Recollections of Elections; LJA Diary, 27 Oct., 1976]